DISCLAIMER: I do not own That 70's Show because, trust me, if I did, this season would be a lot better. Also, this contains spoilers, so if you don't want to know, than don't read.
Author's Note: Okay, so since I've been so busy I decided that as soon as I got the chance, I'd updated A LOT. I've been so busy because for the passed two months or somy boyfriend has been realy sick. So sick that I actually didn't think he was going to make it for a while. But he's better and has been for a little while and I can finally stop worrying and do some more fanfiction. So I got the idea for this at work because I'm forced to listen to country music and I heard this song by Dierks Bentley called "Settle for a Slow Down" and I thought that it fit. So this songfic will start as a regular fic in the first chapter and will change to a songfic in the second chapter. Also, this is a JH but it doesn't really have a happy ending. But I think it's decent to read, considering the real ending of That 70's Show will be horrible.
Summary: Hyde has been treating Jackie like crap for almost a full year and she's sick of it. This is what happens.
The Leaving Song
Chapter 1: Lot Of Leaving Left To Do
Jackie pulled her sweater tighter around her shoulders as the harsh Wisconsin wind whipped around her mercilessly. She had been crying for the passed three days straight.
"Jackie, I'm really sorry but we can longer be," the foreign accent said.
Her eyes widened in shock. "What?"
"You are beautiful Jackie, as I am handsome, but even though we look very good together, we cannot be." It hurt him to say the words but Fez knew he had to. It was for the best, even if she couldn't see it now.
"What? Why?" she stuttered, feeling her already torn heart breaking.
"You don't love me," he said simply.
"Fez, yes I do. I thought that I had proved that to you. That's why you stayed and didn't go back to your home country." Her eyes torn holes into his, pleading.
"I thought that you could learn to love me, but I was wrong. You can never love me because you still love Hyde. I've already talked to Kelso. He has a room in his apartment for me and I'm leaving in three days."
Those three days had ended and he was gone on the first bus to Chicago. It was almost like a trade though; when Fez left, Eric came back. It seemed to Jackie that their once closely-knitted group was falling apart and it would never be the same. But for her, it hadn't been the same since her last time in Chicago. Ever since then she became the outsider that she was when she first stared dating Michael.
She sighed and wiped away the last traces of tears. Soon she'd have to go back to the basement. She still had some unresolved things that she needed to do. Maybe she would even change her mind. Maybe her friends would change her mind. She prayed to God ever since she made her choice that they would change her mind.
She slowly got up from the park bench and straightened out her skirt. Even though she knew they really didn't care, she wanted to look her best. Nobody made Jackie Burkhart look trashy.
It took her almost a half an hour to walk from the park to the Forman's. Soon, they would be leaving for Florida, with Bob, and the old familiar place would belong to a stranger. It would never be the same, which only added to her sadness. By the time she got to the basement, the cars were in the driveway; the Vista cruiser and the El Camino. When she reached them, she tentatively traced her fingertips on the hood of the El Camino. More tears threatened to fall but she wouldn't let them. Not now.
Her mind was racing with all the memories she had thought she was passed. She had spent months getting over him just to find that she hadn't. Fez had been right. She still loved him, just the same as she always had. And she knew in heart that if he wanted her, she'd forgive him. She always had and she always would. Her love was deeper and stronger than her hurt.
She noticed that she was at the doorway to the basement. She heard laughter on the other side; slightly girly laughing. Eric. She smiled. She really had missed him. She didn't go to his homecoming, after all, it was only a few hours after Fez left and she couldn't deal with anyone. Once he was gone, she's holed herself up in her giant mansion and locked all the doors. A few times a day she'd get up to eat, shower and pee. But mostly she just slept, her mind trying to sort out what had happened to her life in the passed year. It had turned into such a mess, she didn't even know how she could stay and fix it. All her dreams were shattered. All of her hopes were abandoned. She had nothing left but her beauty and she always knew in her heart that one day that too would fade. And she would be left the shadow of her former self, pitied by the world. She loathed the thought of that happening but she didn't know how to escape it.
Another burst of laughter broke her from her thoughts and she readied herself for her entrance. Taking a minute to primp herself, she threw open the door and stepped in. It was quiet, never a good sign, but she smiled just the same. Three pairs of eyes bore into her but she pretended that she loved the attention. After all, there was a time when she did.
Finally, someone broke the silence. "I thought that the Devil had finally taken you to the underworld to train you for the position."
"I'm surprised that you didn't come back sooner, seeing as how you hate insects and the ones in Africa are as big as small animals."
"Don't even joke about that! They were huge!" he whined, his face in fear. But soon it changed to sincerity and he stood up and faced her, before enveloping her in hug. Happy to have some comfort, even if it was from Eric (who had grown some muscle), she closed her arms around him tightly. As they hugged, Eric noticed the strength she put into it and realized that her embrace wasn't just because he was home. He sensed that their was a lot of hurt in her that she needed comfort for. So he hugged her tighter, until the other two in the room grew uncomfortable.
"Okay, that's enough. Don't hog him," Donna said from the couch.
As they broke apart, Eric caught a look in her eyes, telling him of her plan. She smiled gently and nodded. Somehow, she understood and smiled back. They had known each other for years but not until now did they realize how much they had in common. They were both the underdogs. No one had ever thought that Eric was god enough for Donna and everyone wondered why Hyde would be with a bitchy girl like Jackie.
Jackie put on a brighter smile and turned to the rest of the group. "What are we watching?"
"We're watching Gilligan's Island. So you can just leave." Hyde spat, aiming to kill.
But he misfired apparently, because she just gazed back at him with a smile. "Is that all you've got? Come on, you've burned me way better than that? What's the matter? Stripper got your balls?"
"Jackie, Sam left him, you know that," Donna said.
"Oh yeah. That's why I haven't smelt skank in the passed month or so," Jackie burned.
"Jackie, that was harsh," Donna reprimanded.
Jackie knew that she should have been angry at her best friend but after the passed year, she didn't expect anything else. Donna hadn't supported her in a while; she knew that they were no long best friends, even if they were friends at all. "Oh, it was. I hadn't noticed. I guess all the burns on me this year have completely charred my sense of decency."
"Oh lay off it, Jackie. It hasn't been that bad," Hyde tried to reason.
"That's right. It hasn't been that bad. Which is why I'm leaving," Jackie said, staring straight at Hyde for a reaction. But she didn't get it.
"That's what I've been trying to get you to do," Hyde semi-yelled at her.
"No, Hyde, not the basement. Point Place. Wisconsin."
Her words hung in the air. The room was silent, all except the low volume of the T.V. Finally, Eric spoke up. "Where?"
"Oh," she heard someone say, but she didn't see the person who it came from.
"Yeah, that's the reason why I came here. I leave the day after tomorrow. I already told Red and Mrs. Forman," she looked at Eric, "Your mom is giving me a going away party."
"Cool," Hyde said, not looking at anything or anyone in particular. His brow was slightly furrowed in thought, but his eyes, luckily, were shaded by his glasses.
"Yeah, cool," she said back, her heart dying once again, like it had been ever since she'd found out about Sam. But she'd be damned if she'd show it.
"I can't believe you're leaving," Donna said.
"Why do you care?" Jackie asked, rather snobbishly, but she really didn't care.
"What do you mean, why do you care?" the 'blonde' shot back.
"Never mind, I really don't want to get into it right now. I'm just going to finish packing. I'll see you guys tomorrow," she said and left, leaving what was left of the friends stunned.
"Way to go, Hyde," Donna said.
"You do know that you're the reason she's leaving," Donna accused, her eyes glaring over at him with her formerly redheaded fury.
"And what? You've been the great, supporting friend that she's needed?" he questioned.
"I've had a rough year, too!" she yelled at him, looking back at Eric quickly, although he didn't notice it.
"Yeah, you have. I admit that. But she's been there for you," he said, rising and pointing his face roughly at her face. "So, don't you yell at me for making her leave. If I did it, then you helped!" On those words he walked to his room and slammed the door shut behind him.
A few moments of silence went by. "Donna?" Eric said, breaking the tension that was sticking to the walls.
"I'm sorry," he said, looking at the floor.
"Eric, don't even. I'm really not up for this talk."
"Donna, we have to. Okay, look. I've been gone for a year. We've been broken up for almost all of that time. I know now that when I broke up with you I hurt you and I know now that I did it for no reason. I thought, when I was in Africa, that I was doing you a favor."
"God Eric, you've always had the best of intentions," she said, sighing.
"I know that. I can't help that I'm a dumbass and I screw everything up and when I fix things, I screw them up even more which really makes me wanna this out before I mess it up. I love you, Donna. I always have. Ever since the moment we met and you hit me. And I always will, even if you reject me now. So, the ball is in your court. All I have to offer is my promise to try not to screw up and to love you forever. That's all I can offer." After he finished he looked at her eyes, waiting for them to react, in any way.
He wasn't disappointed. Her brows drew in and her mouth quivered. Eric couldn't tell if she was about to scream or cry.
"I'm moving to Madison," she said simply, hiding her emotions until he spoke again.
"I'll go with you."
"Like that's anything great! Eric, if you haven't noticed, you've got nowhere else to go. Sure, your mom wants you to go with them to Florida but Red doesn't. And Fez is gone and Hyde's too busy being Zen to notice anybody anymore. So, sorry, but your offer to go with me isn't that romantic. It's desperate!" she screamed at him, which wasn't what he was expecting. But he knew how to make it better.
"They offered me a ten year contract to teach in Africa after I went to college and get my degree. The pay wouldn't have been great, but I liked it there. Besides the bugs," he said, shuttering, "I was needed there. I was never needed here."
"Are you freaking kidding me?" she screamed at him, a statement that he'd heard in the past. He gave her a quizzical look, silently asking her to continue. "You're the glue that held us together. Without you, the group fell apart. We held on as much as we could but it's over now. We've fallen part. Out of this group, only one of us is happy and that's Kelso and he was always fairly happy! God, Eric, don't you see? WE'RE NOTHING WITHOUT YOU!"
He sat, mouth open, staring at her like she was an alien. Well, not an alien because is it were, then he'd ask it if he knew Luke Skywalker, but something like it. "Me?"
"Yes, you. Dumbass," she said, slightly laughing at his ignorance.
"I didn't know," he said honestly.
"We now you do," she said. Everything started to get back to normal when she remembered why they started the conversation. "So, you gave up the great job for me?"
"Yeah, I just was hoping that we would be together, mostly because I already applied and got into Madison. And I talked to their high school and they said that they have a teacher's assistant job open and with my experience they'll let me have it. One of their teachers is retiring in three years, so when he does, I'll take over," he looked at her. "See, I was really hoping that you'd take me back."
"I can see," she said, her mind not knowing what to say, her body not knowing what to do. Sensing her apprehension, Eric did something that he wanted to do since the moment he left. With one motion, he bent forward and captured her lips in a passionate kiss, trying to convey his love for her with every second.
Bounding down the steps, Kitty carried her final basket of laundry. Her spirits were low, knowing that in a few days, they'd be leaving for a new state, a new town, a new home. She glanced over to the basement couch and her mouth took the shape of her almost trademarked smile. I'll leave them alone, she thought.
Note: The second part of this will be posted very soon, within a day at the latest. I just want to check it and make sure that I get what I want out for you guys to read. PLEASE review.