Title: The Tough Get Going

Disclaimer: Don't own, ain't getting paid – that goes for all the chapters

Pairing: J/H

Summary: Jackie goes back to the news job in Chicago instead of hanging around Point Place as Hyde's punching bag. AU

Chapter 1 – When the Going Gets Tough

Once upon a time there were two very stubborn and impulsive people by the name of Hyde and Jackie. Their rash actions would constantly screw up their otherwise passionate relationship, as for instance when Hyde caught his recently ex-girlfriend with her long ago ex-boyfriend who was naked (aside from a towel) in a hotel room. Long story short, he instantly bailed on her, ran off to Vegas and in a drunken wedding he had no memory of, married a tawdry stripper. Now, most people would look back on these actions and wonder if maybe they had been a tad hasty. Unfortunately, admitting to errors in judgment was not Hyde's thing. This is how he came to be sitting in the basement playing cards with Kelso and Donna (he had strangely forgiven Kelso for his part in the whole fiasco), giving a thumbs up to his recent marriage.

"I gotta say," Hyde opened, "Sam is pretty cool."

"Yeah?" Donna replied in surprise.

"Yeah, yesterday for no reason at all, she grabbed a beer out of the fridge and just like gave it to me. I mean what is that all about?"

"Sounds like you've finally found a bright side to marriage, Steven," interjected Jackie as she walked into the basement, suitcase in hand.

"Yeah, it doesn't suck too bad – once you've found the right woman." Hyde drawled.

Jackie willed herself not to react, although with Hyde's usual talent for cruelty he had hit upon the most painful point.

"You going somewhere, Jackie?" Donna asked, deliberately turning the subject before Jackie's glare set Hyde on fire.

"I'm moving on and taking the next logical step."

"What's that?"

"Well, for one crazy moment I thought it would be going out to a bar, getting drunk and then throwing myself at some random stranger until I remembered hey, I'm not a slut – that kind of out of character behaviour only happens on really bad TV. No, I'm going back to Chicago."

"Didn't you quit your job? Cause you need to be earning money to survive on your own," Kelso advised. "I know, you think being incredibly good looking should get you heaps of free stuff, but the world isn't always fair."

"I did quit my job – kind of. I told my boss I was going back to my home town to explain to my boyfriend how I came to be alone in a hotel room with my naked ex-boyfriend and that as soon as I swore to him nothing had happened or was ever going to happen his deep love and trust for me would bridge the chasm between us and we would rush to City Hall to apply for a marriage licence. She looked at me funny for a minute… that's right, Donna, just like that… and said why don't we make the resignation effective in a week's time – just in case. So I'm going back before the week is up."

"Gotta say, Jackie, your farewell speeches are getting as predictable as I Love Lucy reruns," Hyde said in a bored tone. "So how long do you think you can stay away this time? I call 4 days in the pool."

"Put me down for 7," Fez piped up.

"I don't know, guys, she looks pretty angry," Kelso considered. "I'm going for 2 weeks. You can do it, baby. I believe in you."

"You guys are such jerks," Jackie said, voice trembling with fury. "Maybe I do have a hard time cutting ties to people I love – or loved," she said, looking at Hyde. "Some people would consider that a good quality. But I guess I should thank you for making this break so much easier. I think after recent experiences involving a heartless backstabbing bastard who shall remain nameless – "

"Oooh, I know who it is," Fez cried, jabbing his hand in the air.

" – that the next time you see Jackie Burkhart in Point Place the pigs in hell will be grounded due to the ice freezing up their wings."

"So – you're saying that 3 weeks would be a safer bet?" Kelso asked.

"Goodbye, Michael." Jackie turned coldly away from her goofy first ex and picked up her case. "Donna, you and Fez are welcome to visit me anytime. Give my best wishes and thanks to Mr & Mrs Forman and your Dad. I'll be in touch." Jackie purposefully strode to the basement door, but turned to face Hyde for the last word. "Hey, zenmaster," she baited. "you're so into foreign philosophies – ever heard of a thing called karma? Better sleep with one eye open, pal, because you've got a huge karmic kick in the ass coming your way."

And with that, Jackie made her final exit.