Dislaimer: No, I did not acquire the rights to That 70s Show since the last chapter.
A/N: Thank you so much for reading and for your kind comments! This is the second, and final, part. I realize it's pretty J/H heavy, but what can I say? I wanted to include interactions between certain characters, and the ones I had left to do pretty much all involved Jackie and Hyde. Hope you like it!
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST
Hyde sat at the kitchen table with Red, Kitty, and Bob.
"Well, I guess this is normally where you'd ask me what happened. But since you were eavesdropping, I say we just skip on ahead to the part where you tell me what I did wrong."
"Oh Steven, I thought it was romantic. Who knew you had it in you? I did!" Kitty raised her arm in the hair, squeezing her eyes shut and grinning.
Bob nodded his agreement. "Me too. But I think a song would have added a little something extra. 'Staaay…oh yeah…just a little bit loooonger….'." He, too, closed his eyes and swayed in his chair. Red looked at him like he couldn't believe he and Kitty were moving to Florida with him. Because he couldn't believe he and Kitty were moving to Florida with him.
"Bob! We need to talk to Steven."
Bob stopped swaying and looked serious. "No, you're absolutely right. Go right ahead."
"Do you mind? It's really a family matter."
"I see." He tried to cover his hurt with false pride. "Well, I think the ladies may be missing me at the party anyway. Is your piano tuned?"
Red and Hyde watched Bob leave as Kitty put three mugs of coffee on the table and sat down in her chair.
"Okay, let's have it. 'This came out of nowhere', 'What are you thinking, quitting your job and moving two hours away?', 'What kind of a man makes a scene like that at a party?'. C'mon, Red, I know you've got one in you."
"Actually, Steven, I was going to tell you I'm proud of you."
Hyde almost threw his neck out, turning to make sure he heard him right.
Kitty was just as surprised. "You are?"
"What are you two looking at me like that, for? Can't a man take a break from being a hard ass once a year?"
Hyde's eyes were wide and disbelieving. "But you already used this year's on Eric."
"Yeah, remember he gave him his Army knife?"
"Oh, that's right. That really was sweet," Kitty giggled.
"Are you two ladies done, now? I've got something to say. And if you don't shut it, I'm going to change my mind and resort to plan B. My foot in your ass."
Kitty and Hyde turned their attention away from each other and back to Red, letting him know they were listening.
Red cleared his throat. "All I'm going to say is that it's about damn time you stepped up and made some kind of decision about that girl." Realizing how harsh he still sounded, he softened his face a little. "Look, Steven. You've done all right. You made it to twenty without any major incarcerations, you graduated from high school, and you're running a business. I'm sure you'll do just fine in Madison."
"Wow. Thanks, Red."
"But now that you mention it, you do have some kind of plan don't you? For work? A place to live? You know that Burkhardt girl isn't going to sleep in your car."
Hyde nodded. "Actually, I do. I've got a call in about a job that I'm pretty sure is going to pan out. And once I get a couple paychecks, I'll find us someplace. Until then, Donna told Jackie she could stay with her and Eric. I'm sure they'd appreciate having me around, too, to keep in her in line." He laughed. "Of course, I don't know how long I'll be able to stand living with those two. Now that they're engaged again, that's all they're gonna talk about."
Hyde clamped his hand over his mouth the second he realized what he had said.
Kitty jumped up, her eyes wide. "WHAT?"
"Engaged! When did this happen?"
Red just rolled his eyes, taking the news in stride. "Oh Kitty calm down. What are you getting so worked up about? It's not like it's his first engagement. Hell, it's not even his first secret engagement."
"Yeah, well, he should have learned his lesson the first time." She clenched her teeth. "I'm going to kill him."
At Jackie and Fez's apartment…
Jackie arrived home to find the door propped open. She peered around the room as she entered it, but there was no sign of anyone. Walking over to the couch, she tossed her purse onto the coffee table and plopped down with a sigh.
Eric appeared at the door and was surprised to see Jackie there with her face buried in her hands.
"So, I guess we're going to be roommates."
At the sound of Eric's voice, Jackie raised her head in surprise.
"What?...Oh, right. Yep, look's that way. I mean, if it's all right with you."
"Oh, it's fine with me. As long as you keep your broom in your own closet, we shouldn't have a problem," he teased as he joined her on the couch.
Jackie smiled weakly. "I promise it'll only be temporary. As soon as I find a job and save a little bit of money, I'll start looking for my own place."
"You can stay as long as you want to, Jackie." He was surprised himself, but he realized he meant it. As annoying as Jackie sometimes was, he knew she would need Donna.
"Thank you, Eric." Jackie was touched by his unusual display of kindness toward her.
"Hey, Donna needs someone around to complain about me with, right?"
"Right," Jackie laughed.
"So…what happened with Hyde?"
Jackie forced nonchalance. "Oh, nothing much. He just told me he wants to get back together and he wants to move to Madison with me. Says he still loves me."
Eric smiled, proud of his friend for finally stepping up to the plate. "He said all that?"
Jackie nodded. "It was weird. I mean, even when we were together, the only time he ever talked about his feelings was when I threatened to kick him if he didn't. And even then I had to feed him the words." She thought for a moment. "But this time, it just kind of came out of the blue."
"I wouldn't say that," Eric mumbled, thinking about the drafts of his proposal speech that Hyde had written.
Eric shook his head. "Nevermind. So, did you give him an answer?"
Jackie sighed. "I told him I had to think about it. Oh Eric, I don't know what to do!" she wailed as she lay her head on his shoulder.
"Do you want to be with him, Jackie?"
She nodded on his shoulder, so he continued. "Look. He really does love you. We both know he wouldn't have spilled his guts the way he did tonight for anyone else."
Jackie began to smile and blush slightly.
"And I know I was repulsed by the two of you in the beginning, but even I have to admit that you guys were good for each other. Before you, Hyde never would have been motivated enough to run a record store and he sure as Hell wouldn't be thinking of leaving Point Place."
Jackie raised her eyebrows, considering the validity of Eric's words.
"And Hyde was good for you, too. He never let you get away with the crap that Kelso did. Greatly reducing the amount of whining and crying and shrieking the rest of us had to put up with, I might add. I'd go so far as to say he made you downright tolerable!"
Touched, Jackie lifted her head from Eric's shoulder and wrapped her arms around his neck. "Thank you, Eric." Her voice was small as she hugged him.
"Don't mention it," he responded, hugging her back. "No, seriously. Don't mention it. Ever. To anyone."
Eric looked up from their embrace to see Fez standing in the doorway. He cleared his throat, disentangling himself from Jackie. Confused by his sudden movement, Jackie searched his face for an explanation. When his eyes remained focused behind her, she turned her head to see what had stolen his attention.
"Hi Fez." Jackie offered him a small smile.
"I guess you got my note." He tried to say it casually. He didn't want Jackie to think he was sad.
She nodded. "Both of them, actually."
"Oh, that. Well, I knew you would be heartbroken after I dumped you so I thought it would be nice to arrange a backup for you. I remembered what a mess you were after Kelso left you and Hyde did a pretty good job of distracting you from the pain. He distracted you all over the place, if I remember correctly. And I think I do."
It was the only explanation that Fez could come up with that didn't make him look like a complete fool. He may have lost Jackie, but he was not going to go down with his tail between his legs. It may not be much, but he did have some pride.
"Thank you for thinking of me, Fez."
"I hope that one day you can forgive me for dumping you. I just…I realized that two people as sexy as ourselves cannot make a relationship work together. You and Kelso tried it, with disastrous results. No, we have been ordained by God to share The Sexy. Like Donna shares hers with Eric, we need to share ours with others who are less fortunate."
"I understand, Fez. And you're right. I'll just have to try to accept it."
Jackie was playing along and Fez was grateful. "Do you think you'll be able to get over me?"
She nodded slowly. "I think so. In time."
Fez took her hand in his and squeezed it firmly. "Be brave."
"I'll try." Jackie was looking down into her lap. Fez bent his head down in front of hers and looked up into her eyes, willing her to raise her head. When she finally did, she smiled sadly. He opened his arms and she wrapped hers around him.
"I love you, Fez," Jackie whispered, laying her head on his shoulder.
"I love you, too, Jackie. But only as friends. God, why is this so hard for you to accept?"
Pulling away from him, Jackie swatted him on his chest, but she was smiling,
Later that night…
Jackie threw open the basement door and rushed inside. "Steven?" Her eyes searched the room for him, but all they found was a bunch of boxes. Even the couch was gone, already sitting on the curb, waiting to be picked up by the garbage truck.
She knew the party was long over. All the lights upstairs were off, so she knew he couldn't still be there. She rushed into Hyde's bedroom, again yelling his name. "STEVEN!" She stopped suddenly when she saw that, except for the cot, it too, was empty.
He was gone.
In a daze, Jackie walked back out into the main room. She stumbled over to the washing machine, leaning her back against it. It was sinking in now. Hyde was gone. Really and truly gone. She covered her face with her hands and started crying, the events of the last several hours finally catching up with her.
She hardly noticed as Red came barreling down the stairs, panicked, trying to determine the source of all the yelling. When he reached the bottom step, he saw Jackie and the mystery was solved. He should have known.
"I should have known."
Jackie jumped, startled by the unexpected voice. When she looked up and saw Red, though, the floodgates open. Without thinking, she ran to him and threw her arms around him, burying her face in his chest. Red, of course, just stood there.
Jackie had begun wailing. "Oh Mr. Forman, what am I going to do!"
Red just raised his eyes to the ceiling and shook his head.
"I ran all the way over here, in heels, to tell Steven that I want to be with him and he's not even here! How could he just leave without waiting for my answer!"
Red's only response was to lift his left wrist in front of his face so he could check his watch. He couldn't believe he was standing in his basement, in his pajamas, at 12:30 in the morning the night before moving across the country, with another one of those damn kids clinging to him.
And now she was sniffling on his chest. Great.
"Mr. Forman, I've ruined everything! I should have told him Yes as soon as he asked me but I was afraid I'd just end up losing him again and I couldn't handle that because what happened in Chicago was so horrible and…"
Jackie could barely catch her breath between her crying and her dramatics. She was so caught up that she didn't even hear the basement door open, or Hyde walk inside. His eyes narrowed, confused by the scene in front of him.
"…I just love him so mu-u-uch!" she finally choked out, her words dissolving into sobs.
Red turned his head toward Hyde and opened his arms even wider, far from Jackie's body. He shot him a pleading look, asking for a little help with the mess of a girl wrapped around him. Hyde only raised his eyebrows, still thinking about what Jackie had just said.
Realizing he wouldn't be getting rescued by Hyde, Red placed his hands on Jackie's shoulders and pushed her gently, trying to extricate himself from her tight hold.
"Jackie, for God's sake, stop this."
Hyde finally decided to intervene. "No, no, no, no. Let her finish. I want to hear the rest."
Jackie jumped away from Red, snapping her head toward Hyde's voice. She was confused and searched his face for an explanation. All she found was a grin.
"Steven? What are you-? I thought you left."
"Nah, I was packing up the El Camino. My home's being yanked out from under me tomorrow, remember?"
Jackie was embarrassed that she had jumped to conclusions and made such a scene. Why was she always so dramatic? And why did she have to do it in front of Steven? Even worse, her eyes were probably all puffy and God only knew what shape her mascara was in.
"How long have you been standing there?"
"Long enough to hear your profession of undying love." He was being smug and it infuriated Jackie. Okay, most of the time it kind of turned her on, but this time? It was infuriating.
She balled up her fists at her sides and glared at him. "I could kill you right now, Steven."
Red threw his hands up in defeat, rolling his eyes. These kids were ridiculous. Always with the breaking up and making up, yelling at each other one minute and sucking each other's faces off the next. He didn't know who was worse, Eric and Donna or these two.
He turned to Hyde, peering at him. "Son, are you sure you want to move to Madison with this?" He jerked his thumb and head in Jackie's direction. Hyde's only response was to smile wider.
"You're a braver man than I." Red headed for the stairwell, walking up slowly and shaking his head. "We could've used a few more like you in Korea." His voice faded away as he reached the top of the stairs.
Jackie was still glaring at Hyde, her hands on her hips. Undeterred, Hyde walked slowly toward her until they were directly in front of one another.
"Steven! You ruined everything!"
Hyde jumped abruptly to the left, hoping to spare his shins from an attack by Jackie's size fives.
"Don't worry, Steven. I'm not going to kick you."
Hyde's face relaxed. He moved closer to her again, causing Jackie to raise her finger in front of his chest. "But I am mad at you."
He knew Jackie's tone. This was not her Angry voice. He still remembered the cold, steely edge that it had when she broke up with him the first time. No, this was her Pouty voice. The one she used when something hadn't gone according to the fairy tale she had planned. It used to piss him off sometimes, but hearing everything she had said to Red had put him in a pretty good mood, so he played along. He knew she had something she needed to get off her chest.
"What did I do now?"
Jackie threw up her arms and laid into him. "You robbed me of my moment in the spotlight! I was supposed to rush in here, calling your name, and you were supposed to be sitting in the dark, lovingly caressing my picture, with a solitary tear running down your cheek. I even had a beautiful speech planned for you, all about how I love you and I want us to be together again and I didn't even get a chance to deliver it."
She was whining like a little girl, but it only made Hyde smile wider. God, he had missed her ramblings.
"Sure you did, baby. You just delivered it to Red's shoulder, that's all." Hyde's familiar teasing, not to mention the fact that he called her 'baby', caused a tiny smile to creep onto Jackie's face as well. When he reached over to gently nudge her chin up with his finger, she felt such a surge of love for him, she thought her heart would burst. "And, hey, didn't I give you your fifteen minutes of fame back at the party? You had practically every busybody in Point Place riveted. You love that crap, remember?"
Jackie considered Hyde's reasoning. Maybe he was on to something. Everyone had been staring at her, and not like they did when her dad was sent up the river or after the Get Off My Boyfriend disaster. They had all seen that Jackie Burkardt was fabulous enough to steal the heart of a tough, orphaned rebel who had sworn off finding true happiness, and inspire him to declare his love for her publicly. Okay, so the love declaration actually took place in private, but still. It was implied.
She gasped. "Steven, you're right!" Her hand flew to her chest. "It was my moment. It was dramatic and suspenseful and romantic all at the same time. And there were at least forty people there. That's so much better than a speech in an empty basement."
She looked up at him through her eyelashes. "Thank you, Steven," she said as she flung herself into his arms. He wrapped his arms around her firmly, closing his eyes and breathing in the familiar smell of her hair. He thought about how close he came to never feeling this again, and squeezed her even tighter.
"So," he began, pulling her hair out from in front of his mouth, "It was kind of hard to tell with all the crying and yelling, but…did I hear something about you wanting me to come to Madison?"
Jackie pulled back and looked up into Hyde's eyes. She nodded softly and smiled, biting her lower lip.
Hyde tilted his head back slightly and released his breath. "I was hoping you'd say that, 'cause all my crap's already in the car and I really didn't want to have to move in with Leo."
Jackie let out a gasp of protest and slapped him playfully on the chest. She knew he was kidding, though, and she smiled at him warmly. Hyde chuckled a little, pleased with himself, and smiled back.
Jackie's breath caught in her throat as she closed her eyes and prepared for the kiss she knew he was about to give her. It had been so long since she had enjoyed Steven's kisses, but she remembered them vividly, and the anticipation alone made her weak in the knees.
After several seconds, Jackie opened her eyes. Hyde was just looking at her, grinning. She rolled her eyes, groaning in frustration as she grabbed the collar of his t-shirt and pulled his face down to hers. She kissed him long and deep and hard. Hyde responded quickly, putting every bit of love and want and ache he had felt over the last six months into devouring her mouth.
When their kiss finally slowed and then broke, Jackie buried her face in Hyde's neck and he turned his head to kiss her temple.
She sighed into his neck. "Steven, I can't believe you're willing to give up your record store just to be with me. What's your dad going to say?"
"Well, I actually already told him and he said something along the lines of 'You can have the store in Madison, too'."
Jackie jerked her head up from Hyde's shoulder. "Too!"
"Yeah. Randy's gonna manage the Point Place store for me and I'll run the other one. But they're both mine." He said it casually, but it was a big deal. And he knew Jackie would be ecstatic.
"Oh my God, you have a chain!" She squealed, but then her eyes clouded over and her voice became husky. "You have never been sexier than you are right now." She flew into his arms again.
They groped at one another frantically, mouths everywhere, hands tangled up in each other's clothes and hair. Finally, having taken their passion as far as they could fully- clothed, they broke apart. Breathing heavily, Hyde spoke first. "So…what do you want to do now?"
Jackie arched one eyebrow. "I'm not opposed to doing it."
Hyde smiled knowingly, but then looked at her seriously. "Do you think maybe we should wait? I mean, we just got back-"
He was cut off by the look on Jackie's face. She meant business.
They stood facing each other for a moment, silent, until they lunged at each other once again. Jackie tugged at the hem of Hyde's t-shirt, prompting him to jerk it up over his head and toss it to the floor before returning his mouth to hers. Jackie stepped out of her shoes while Hyde reached behind her back and unzipped her dress. Still kissing, he quickly pulled the straps down over her shoulders and she wiggled out of it.
The moment she was free of her dress and left standing in her slip, Hyde bent down and grabbed her around the back of her thighs. He threw her over his shoulder and headed towards his bedroom while she pointed at her dress lying in a ball on the floor, meekly protesing, "My dress is going to wrinkle, Steven!" Hyde's only response as they passed through the doorway was to slap her on the ass and kick the door closed with his foot.
The next morning…
The Forman family and Eric's friends were gathered in the driveway. Red bent over the engine of his car and held out his right hand. Jackie handed him the cap to the oil tank and held the flashlight steady so he could see to screw it on.
"Well, that ought to do it." He let the hood fall closed and turned to Jackie. "Thanks, kid." He let her hug him and even kissed her on the forehead. He whispered something to her that no one else could hear, but it must have been pretty nice because Jackie had tears in her eyes when she pulled away from him.
Red then walked over to Eric, who was standing awkwardly next to Hyde. He cleared his throat. "Listen. You two morons won't have me around, supporting you anymore, so turn off the lights when you're not using them and keep the thermostat set at 68 degrees." He kept talking, hoping it would dislodge the lump in his throat. "And don't open the windows when the air-conditioning's running. You don't need to-"
"-refridgerate the whole neighborhood. We know, Dad."
"Well, you don't."
Red quietly extended his hand first to Eric and then to Hyde, before muttering, "Aw screw it," and pulling them both into a hug. Donna and Jackie looked on.
"How sweet!" Donna teased. All three men pulled apart from each other and told her where she could stick it.
Kitty came up behind them. "Girls, don't forget to call us in Florida once your phone is hooked up. I want to hear all about your little apartment." She hugged both Donna and Jackie tearfully.
"Mom, I told you, like, a hundred times that we will."
Kitty spun turned her attention to her son. "Well, I'm not sure I can count on you to tell me anything, seeing as both times you've gotten engaged you've kept it a secret from me!"
Eric just shook his head in defeat and stepped away.
Hyde put his arm around Kitty. "Don't worry, Mrs. Forman. When Jackie and I get engaged, you'll be the first to know."
Kitty patted his cheek. "That's a good boy." Hyde smiled sweetly.
Eric coughed into his fist. "Mama's boy." Hyde scowled and frogged him in the arm as he walked past.
Kelso and Fez approached Kitty sheepishly. "Goodbye Mrs. Forman / Goodbye Miss Kitty."
She stood on her tiptoes to pull Kelso into a hug first. "Now, Michael, you take care of that baby. Send me lots and lots of pictures." She looked over her shoulder to see if Red was listening. "And tell your brother I said 'goodbye'," she added, giggling.
Next it was Fez's turn. "Oh, Fez. I've watched you grow up before my very eyes, from a wide-eyed innocent boy to…having affairs with my high school friends," she finished awkwardly. "You stay out of trouble in Chicago. Both of you." She looked from Fez to Kelso and back again. "You know what? I'm just going to have to be calling to check on you, too, that's all there is to it."
Both boys beamed.
"Okay, Kitty. It's time to go. We've got to get a move on if we want to beat Bob to Florida. He left a good ten minutes ago."
"Right." She rolled her eyes and climbed into the passenger seat. Eric followed her and leaned on the open door.
"I love you, Mom."
Kitty tried to blink the tears in her eyes away, but they spilled over her cheeks. "I love you, too, Eric."
He leaned into the car and kissed her on the cheek, then pulled back and closed the car door gently. He walked around the front of the car and joined Donna where she was standing next to Hyde and Jackie, and Kelso and Fez. They all waved as the car rolled down the driveway, turned onto the street and disappeared from sight.
They were all silent for a moment until Kelso spoke up. "Well, Fez and I will be leaving for Chicago in an hour or so, and you guys'll be off to Madison, so…one last time?"
Fez smiled. "I thought you'd never ask." He followed Kelso through the sliding door.
Donna looked at Eric and shrugged. "One more couldn't hurt, I guess. We don't have to be responsible college students for another day or two."
"Excellent reasoning. Are you sure you don't want to go Pre-Law?"
Donna laughed as she and Eric entered the house, leaving only Jackie and Hyde remaining in the driveway.
Hyde turned to Jackie, who was grinning. "Well?"
Her smile widened as she sauntered closer to him. "You told Kitty-"
He cut her off. "I know, I know. Just get in the house."
Jackie stood on her tip-toes to kiss him lightly on the lips, then floated into the kitchen. Hyde exhaled deeply and followed.
The six friends sat in a circle on the floor of the now-empty basement. A cloudy haze surrounded them.
"Man, my basement looks so weird like this. What is always this dreary?"
"Yes." Donna was emphatic. "We just never wanted to tell you."
"Actually, Donna, you did tell him. Remember? You guys were broken up and you were going out with my brother?"
"Ixnay on the aseycay, Kelso. That is a bad memory for our friend Eric."
"Look Fez, if we're going to be roommates, you're going to have to quit using your native language. You're practically an American now. Speak English!"
Jackie looked around the room from her spot on Hyde's lap. "Eric, you're right. This place is ugly. And those awful posters you had up didn't help much either. You know, I'd be happy to do all the decorating at our new apartment!"
Eric and Donna looked at Hyde threateningly.
"You know what Jackie? Why don't you just stick to our room? You don't want Donna taking the credit for your hard work, do you?"
"That's a great idea, Steven!" She hugged his neck.
Kelso and Fez looked at them with disgust.
"Hey! Don't judge! You don't know the power of the kangaroo!"
Thirty minutes later…
The stash was depleted and the smoke had cleared. The kids rose to their feet awkwardly, not knowing what to say. So many words had been spoken between them in this place: silly, ridiculous, helpful, insightful, hurtful, prophetic, life-altering words. But now, none would come to them.
As they walked across the room, they each turned around slowly to survey the room that had been their haven through their teenage years. Memories flooded their minds: of eating popsicles, hiding from Red, playing stupid games, planning pranks just because they were bored. Memories of running up the stairs and hopping over the couch. Memories of smoking and drinking, laughing and crying, breaking up and making up and making out. Memories of wrestling for fun and fighting for real. They all knew this place was more than just a basement.
For Kelso, it was where he had spent the most fun times of his life. He had conducted ill-advised experiments, lit things on fire, and glued himself to more things than he could count. What he would remember most, thought, was that in this place, he was understood. He could say whatever was on his mind, no matter how ridiculous or far-fetched or offensive. Outside, nobody took him seriously. But in the basement, he was The King.
For Fez, it was where he learned how to be American. He drank his first beer, smoked his first joint, listened to his first Ted Nugent record, planned his first act of vandalism, unhooked his first bra, met his first wife. It was where he made his first and best American friends. He was teased and tormented, but he was also cheered and protected. And it was where he first felt a part of something.
For Donna, it was where she felt normal, even special. In the basement, it didn't matter that her parents were whack-jobs or that she had ugly red hair or even that she was stronger than all the guys. They respected her for it; they worshipped her for it. They were the Lost Boys and she was their Wendy. In the basement, she found her first and only girlfriend and the love of her life. It was where she found her future.
For Jackie, it was the only place that she felt real. Before the basement, nobody saw her as anything more a rich, popular cheerleader. She wasn't even sure there was more to her until she made real friends who demanded she be more. They didn't let her get away with being bossy and self-centered just because she was beautiful. They insisted she pull her weight and pay her dues with the rest of them. Because of them, she found out that she was smarter and stronger than she ever knew and she found more happiness than she ever thought possible.
For Hyde, it was where he had been given a chance: a chance to be safe and clothed and fed; a chance to be cared for by people who gave a damn whether he came home at night or went to school or got arrested; a chance to figure himself out and make mistakes, knowing someone had his back; a chance to believe that a poor orphan could have a happily-ever-after, even with the head cheerleader. A chance to call someplace home.
For Eric, it was where he was appreciated. He wasn't just the dumbass kid who couldn't throw the ball right or screwed up the lawn or got called Foreskin at school. In the basement, with his friends, he was funny. He was smart and adventurous and sometimes, even cool. Cool enough to win the heart of the redhead next door. And he was the glue that held them all together.
Without him, there wouldn't have been a place for Kelso to be understood, or Fez to belong, or Donna to feel normal or Jackie to learn to be real or Hyde to have a chance.
All six of them stood near the door, offering each other small smiles, knowing that they were saying goodbye to the basement, but never to each other. They slowly made their way through the doorway and into the stairwell, Kelso's hand resting on Fez's shoulder, Hyde holding Jackie's hand firmly in his, and Eric's arm slung around Donna's waist. Before passing through the door for the final time, Eric ran his hand down the wall and turned off the lights.
Then he closed the door behind him.