Title:  Hotel California

Disclaimer:  Don't own, ain't getting paid

Pairing:  J/H, E/D

Rating:  Pg -13

Archive: If you want just ask – I will freely give.

Summary: Summer before Season 5.  Jackie and Hyde accompany Eric on his quest to get Donna back.  AU 

Credit:  The Eagles –Best of my Love

A/N:  This is a new series (finally – I know some people can't read Nightmare).  Each chapter is going to be a different POV.  (Eric, Hyde, Jackie, Donna) I'm sorry if this chapter is a little short.  Eric isn't really someone I do.  So the Jackie and Hyde chapters will probably be much longer.  Sorry –just an old Zenmaster can't change my ways.

Every night I'm lyin' in bed
Holdin' you close in my dreams
Thinkin' about all the things that we said
And comin' apart at the seams
We try to talk it over
But the words come out too rough
I know you were tryin'
to give me the best of your love

Beautiful faces and loud, empty places
Look at the way that we live
Wastin' our time on cheap talk and wine
Left us so little to give
That same old crowd
Was like a cold dark cloud
That we could never rise above
But here in my heart I give you the best of my love
Oh sweet darlin' you get the best of my love                                                                                                                                          

I'm goin' back in time
And it's a sweet dream
It was a quiet night
And I would be all right
If I could go on sleepin'
But every mornin'
I wake up and worry
What's gonna happen today
You see it your way
And I see it mine
But we both see it slippin' away

You know we always had each other baby
I guess that wasn't enough
Oh, but here in my heart
I give you the best of my love
Oh, sweet darlin'
You get the best of my love
Oh, sweet darlin'
You get the best of my love
Every night and day,
You get the best of my love
Oh, sweet darlin' you get the best of my love


The endless days of summer stretched out in front of him like the endless distance between there and here.  Eric tried not to think about it.  He tried to bury his sorrows in cotton sheets and closed eyelids.  He tried to block out the present, not linger too much on thoughts of the past and steer clear altogether of the facts of the future. 

Life sucked.  It was a realization that he had come to of late.  But now it had hit him full force.  He had always thought of his life as a snow globe, perfect and contained.  He had had a few shake ups.  But none compared to this.

Certain things should be written in stone.  The formula should always work.  Boy meets girl, boy woos girl with charisma and blind devotion, boy gets girl.  He had managed all that.  His happily ever after was supposed to be forthcoming.  But instead he had lost the girl.  The girl was in California.  And he was here, watching the water drain from his sheltered existence. 

"Would you get up," Hyde demanded walking into said shelter and yanking the comforting blankets from his unwashed head. 

"Leave me alone." He replied without much conviction.  Strength and passion weren't his strong suit these days. 

"You are depressing you know that.  All you do is lay in this filthy bed all day, moaning about Donna.  Donna's gone, man.  This isn't going to help."

"Then what the hell will?" he asked still firmly curled into his protective ball.

Hyde had no answer for that. 

They hadn't seen much of each other since the beginning of the summer.  He had been avoiding the basement, leaving his friends to their own accord.  If his world was tainted, they could take care of themselves. 

"Oh honey" Kitty cried coming into the room. Walking past Hyde she planted herself beside him on the bed. "It is not good for you to be cooped up in here.  You should go out, get some sun."

Turning over in the bed and away from her concern he replied sullenly "I don't want to."

"He'd rather waste away up here.  There is no talking to him.  It's pathetic." Hyde offered with no sympathy.

"I agree." Red stated joining the impromptu intervention. 

Eric rolled his eyes.  "It is my summer to waste as I see fit."

"Well if you don't get out of that bed and sweep the garage I'll waste a perfectly good foot up your ass."

It was Red's oldest threat. It had always scared him. But this time his apathy was unaffected.  Sighing, he got up anyway.  If they wouldn't leave- he would


Walking into the garage, Eric snatched up the broom violently. 

"Man what is wrong with you?" Hyde asked having followed him.

He heard himself snort in indignation before turning on his friend.  "Donna LEFT.  What do you think is wrong?"

Hyde's zen mask didn't show a reaction to the sarcasm.  "What you miss her or something?"

Was Hyde clueless?  Of course he missed her.  He hadn't bathed in a week.  He hadn't laughed in over a month.  How had Hyde missed that?  Maybe all that time he had spent alone in the basement was starting to warp his brain.

Not waiting for a response Hyde continued. "What you want her back?"

Eric didn't know where he was going with this ridiculous line of questioning. So he answered honestly "Yeah, yeah I do."

"Then why don't you do something about it man?  Get her back."

"How pray tell am I supposed to do that?" Eric challenged.

Hyde laughed. "Well not by turning yourself into a damn hermit."

"Have you missed me Hyde?  What can't handle Jackie all by your lonesome?" He watched his comment hit its mark. 

Jackie had been coming around a lot in spite Kelso's absence.  Eric had been avoiding her for more reasons than one.  He didn't like how well together she seemed.  Why wasn't she a wreck like him?  Oh yeah, he consoled himself, she was the devil.

Hyde grabbed the broom and poked him in the chest with the tip.  "I'm trying to help you."

He rubbed his chest absently "How? By attacking me with cleaning products?"

Just then Jackie walked in, looking perfect as always. 

He let his eyes roll.  "What do you want Jackie?"

Jackie glanced at Hyde suspiciously. "You haven't told him yet?"

"Well I was going to ease him into the idea gently.  But now that your big mouth let the cat out of the bag."

The last thing he wanted was to listen to Jackie/Hyde banter.  "Somebody want to fill me in?  Why the heck do I get the idea that you guys are in cahoots? And isn't that a sign of the apocalypse?"

Jackie sighed "Eric shut up.  We are trying to help you."

Well that really was the last straw.  He had heard that line before.  But if Jackie was trying to help him he must be super pathetic. He mentally added one more item to the list of the world's imminent doom.  Any minute now toads were going to rain from the sky.

Hyde took back the broom.  "We are going on a road trip."

He suddenly felt like he had missed something more than Family Feud this summer.  "Again with the -we?  Who is we? Did I miss something?"

Hyde poked again but it was Jackie who responded.  "One too many showers I'd say."

"We man – me and you…." At Jackie's expectant look he finished hesitantly "and Jackie."

"Huh?" he was really confused now. 

Jackie explained loudly and slowly.  "WE ARE GOING TO CAL-I-FORNIA"

For the first time in weeks he felt something.  It wasn't apathy, or loneliness, or pain.  It was good old fashioned hope. It was short lived though.  His parents weren't going to let him go to California.

Hyde anticipated the pessimism.  "I have already okayed it with Red. He said and I quote "anything that gets that dumbass out of bed" "

Hope returned.  "But why is Jackie going?"

"She is paying for the gas." Hyde quickly enlightened.

"You aren't going to drag Kelso back kicking and screaming?" Eric antagonized. 

He wished she were.  They could discuss strategy.  Because now he had to think about what he was going to say to Donna when he saw her.

Both boys turned to Jackie for her response.  She rolled her eyes.  "I have no interest in dragging Michael anywhere.  I'm just bored." Looking at Hyde pointedly she added. "There is nothing to do around here."

"Don't you need to run off and pack?" Hyde asked angrily.

"Pack?" He squeaked.  "When are we leaving?"

"Tomorrow my friend.  High noon."


Settling himself in the back of the Vista Cruiser for the trek cross country, Eric felt himself getting excited.  He was going to find Donna.  He tried not to consider the fact that she might not want to be found.  He had to hope that they really were meant to be.  Formulas were formulas for a reason.  He didn't care that he had failed Chemistry.     

In the front of the car Hyde was slapping Jackie's hand away from the radio dial.  "I'm not listening to any of your easy listening lovey dovey crap."

"Well I don't want to spend the whole trip listening to the All Led station." Jackie whined.

Hyde shot the cheerleader a look "You could use a little Led for your head."

"Oh, oh, you could use…a razor." Jackie sputtered back. 

Eric smiled; she had never been very good with the burns.  "Guys could you shut up.  I'm trying to run romantic scenarios in my head back here.  And your screaming at each other isn't putting me in the mood for love."

Hyde turned the dial back to the original station, smiling when Jackie let him. 

Turning around in the seat, Jackie smiled as well.  "Eric, don't worry so much.  I'm sure Donna will be glad to see you."

He waited a beat for her true colors to show. 

"I mean I don't know what she sees in you personally, but it kept you together for a long time."

She had a point.  No matter what had happened over the years, they always ended up with each other. All he could do is hope they would again.