Past Tense, Future Imperfect

by Jaded (

Summary:  After high school graduation and a difficult break-up with Jackie, Hyde finally leaves Point Place in order to move on with his life, and only he knows where he is, and where he's going.

A/N: All lyrics in the prologue are from "Fight Test" by The Flaming Lips.  This story will be written in two points-of-view.  It'll start with Hyde in first person, and alternate with a more omniscient point-of-view every other chapter.

Disclaimer:  That '70s Show is not mine, nor are its characters.  Although some day I hope to possess Danny Masterson in mind, body, and soul.  Or just body, because I'm really not that picky.

Prologue: Fight Test

"I thought I was smart,

I thought I was right,

I thought it better not to fight,

I thought it was a virtue in always being cool."

Sometimes a man's just gotta do what's right for his own life, and hell, it's taken me eighteen years, but I think I'm just starting to get the idea, just the tiniest inkling of what's "right" and what's "wrong" for me.  The first thing, the first "wrong" on the list has gotta be Point Place.

            I've been suffocating for my whole life, and I never even knew it until I packed up and left and tasted fresh air.  Everything is tied up in Point Place.  I was born there, I was abandoned there, and I would have probably died there if I hadn't royally fucked up and . . .

            But that chapter of my life is closed.  It's done and gone, like so many other things in my life.  But like so many of those other things, I can do without them.  It's all about the Zen, man.  If I've made it this far with it, who knows where else it'll take me?

"So it came time to fight,

I thought, 'I'll just step aside,'

And that time would prove you wrong,

And that you would be the fool."

            Back in Point Place I told Jackie I loved her.  I can't believe I did that, not even when I did it, not even now.  I told her I loved her and still, she kicked me to the curb. Kelso cheated on her how many times?  Yet every time she ended up forgiving his dumb ass.  But when I almost—almost cheated—I was no better than yesterday's garbage.  Maybe it's a Hyde family trait, the one thing that Bud and Edna ever gave to me that stuck around.

How typical.

I should have seen it coming, you know?  I should have seen it coming long before any of this other crap had the chance to happen.  Hell, I should have seen it before Jackie yelled, "Get off my boyfriend!" to Annette, or even before I kissed her for that first time.  It's not like me to miss out on stuff like this.  It's old hat, and I should have been able to see it coming from a mile away.

But I didn't, because Jackie blindsides me.

"I don't know where the sunbeams end

And starlight begins,

It's all a mystery."

            She blindsides me and, I dunno, when she was around . . . after a while . . . when I got used to having her around all the time, she started to become the only thing I could see, the only thing in my life that made any sort of sense, (although logically, it still didn't, I mean, me and Jackie Burkhart?  c'mon), but sense in the way that way you can't put into words because it's in your guts.  When she came around I'd feel my stomach bottom out in that good kind of way, like butterflies in your stomach.  Wait, more like moths, 'cause you know, I'm not really a butterfly kind of guy, just so you know.

            When we were together, just her and me, nothing else seemed to matter, not the government conspiracies or the agendas of corporate thugs.  Nothing could touch us then.  It'd just be her.  And me.

"Oh to fight is to defend,

If it's not now then tell me when

Would be the time

That you would stand up and be a man."

            She forgave Kelso a million times.  And each and every time I was there, every time he broke her heart.  Then she'd just come running to me, throwing her little arms around my neck and sobbing into my shoulder.  Then in the end she'd just go back to him like, well I dunno, it still doesn't make sense to me why she'd go back.

            But with me?  Did she think that somehow I as different?  Or the same?  Or, maybe that I wasn't even as good as Kelso?  Kelso, man?!  Or was it . . . was it maybe because she thought I was bet . . .

            No, that can't be it.  Because that doesn't happen.  It doesn't make sense.

"For to lose I could accept

But to surrender I just wept

And regretted this moment,

Oh that I,

I was the fool."

            No, that's enough of this pansy-ass moping around.  Who do I think I am?  Forman?  Hardly!  I said I was going to move on, and move on I am going to do.  This?  This isn't moving on, this obsessing and thinking, and trying to figure it out stuff.  Me and Jackie are over, and there's nothing more to that.

"Cause I'm a man, not a boy, And there are things you can't avoid, You have to face them When you're not prepared to face them."             But I love her . . .loved her.  And now?  Well, she's probably back to hating me, like old times.  Not that she doesn't have every right to, because hell, I even kinda hate myself.  What else can I say?  We are past tense.  We're back to what we were like before all of this crazy stuff happened between us, when she hated me and I hated her and there was never even the idea of an "us." 

            The way things should be.

"I don't know where the sunbeams end,

And starlight begins,

It's all a mystery.

And I don't know how a man decides

What's right for his own life

It's all a mystery."

            I've learned at least one thing through all of this.  When over and over and over again, the people you love, the people who are supposed to love you, keep abandoning you, keep throwing you away, it's time to grow a brain and get the jump on them.  You have to leave them before they have the chance to leave you.  You have to break the cycle.

            And that's just what I did.