A/N : So here ends my first attempt at 'That 70s Show' fic. I hope I did the show justice, you reviewer-types seem to think so, which makes me very happy! Maybe I'll try another story in this fandom soon.
(For disclaimer, etc. - see chapter 1)
Steven Hyde let himself into the basement of the Forman house via the back door, swung his bag off his shoulder onto the couch and sighed. Here he was again, despite deciding less than twenty four hours ago that he was going to leave this place indefinitely. Still, he had to admit, it was kind of nice to know he was missed and that at least a couple of people wanted him back here. With a slight smile he went towards the staircase and bounded up the steps to the door that led to the kitchen. He turned the knob and his smile turned to a frown. No amount of wiggling, pushing, or pulling would make the door open, it'd been locked from the other side.
"Weird" Hyde said to himself as he moved back down the staircase, just as the other door from outside opened.
"Donna, what is the emergency, I was just..." Jackie stopped short of completing her sentence when she realised her red-headed friend wasn't in the basement, but Steven was.
"Jackie" he greeted her awkwardly.
"Hey, Steven" she replied, looking just as uncomfortable as she hugged herself and looked around, "Um, Donna called, she said there was some kind of emergency and she needed me to be here"
"Nobody here but me" he shrugged, "And I only just got back so..."
"Uh-huh" Jackie nodded, "Well, that's cool"
An aggravated sound emanated from by the back door and both Jackie and Hyde turned to see a flash of red-hair and a male hand throwing a paper dart at them before the door was firmly shut and locked from the other side.
"What the..." Hyde began as he reached for the paper at his feet, opened it up and read it aloud, with Jackie peering over his shoulder so she could see too, "'You guys need to figure this out once and for all. For God sakes talk damnit, or never leave this basement! Eric & Donna'"
"They think they can just lock us in here like animals!" Jackie exploded, not exactly relishing the prospect of spending time alone with Hyde right now, after all the last time was on their date when they'd kissed and she'd lied about how she really felt to save face. If something happened between them again, she wasn't sure she could keep up the pretence a second time. She was so in love with this man, it was taking all the Zen strength she could find to pretend otherwise.
"Well, since they locked both the exits, I guess we're not going anywhere for awhile, grasshopper" he smiled, sitting down on the couch, "So, I guess we may as well talk"
"I don't really see what we have to talk about" Jackie huffed, knowing she was lying but determined not to be the one to break first. A part of her thought maybe she'd been right all along, that maybe Steven did like her and was hiding it just like she was trying to do. If that was true, there was a chance she could make him confess first, after all he had nowhere to run with the doors locked and nobody else to hide behind since they were alone for the foreseeable.
"Doesn't have to be about anything, man" Hyde shrugged, "Just talk, about whatever"
"Okay..." she stretched out the word as she turned and looked at him, "Why'd you leave?"
That seemed to give him something to think about it and it was several minutes before he began a verbal answer.
"Lots of reasons, man" he told her, "I guess mostly I felt like I had nothin' left to stay for, y'know?"
"No" Jackie shook her head, "No, I really don't know" she said as she sat herself down beside him, "Explain it to me"
Steven sighed and took off the glasses he usually hid behind, tossing them onto the table and running a hand over his face.
"Jackie, you and me, we're different, right?" he tried to explain as he looked across at her, "You have this perfect family and your perfect big house and all your money and friends and stuff" he told her, as if she didn't know, "Me, I have no parents, maybe a half dozen real friends, and I'm living in somebody else's family home"
"And your point is?" she checked, not understanding what his had to do with anything.
"My point is, you're so used to getting everything you want and then throwing it out with the trash when you get bored" he told her, "I've been thrown out with the garbage enough times now, I know that doesn't feel good, man"
"You do know I'm totally lost now, right?" she asked, looking totally confused, and Hyde was frustrated by both her lack of comprehension and his own inability to say just exactly what he meant, as he got up from the couch and walked away towards the freezer. He turned back a moment later and stared a little too intensely at Jackie.
"Let me put this a way you'll understand" he said, "How long have you had those shoes?" he asked gesturing towards her feet. Jackie frowned slightly as she looked down and studied her footwear, trying to remember.
"I don't know, maybe a couple of weeks" she shrugged.
"And how long before Daddy buys you a new pair you'll like better?" he checked, "How long before you'll get bored and just throw them out because they're not as pretty or as interesting as the next pair that comes along?" he asked, sounding kind of worked up since he was only talking about shoes.
"Steven, I don't..." Jackie began, before suddenly realising something. Sometimes she could be a little slow, maybe not as slow as Michael, but still, she didn't always catch on as fast as others. Right now she was proving that it seemed, as the cogs turned in her head and finally everything clicked into place.
"You don't what?" he prompted, "What, you still don't get it?"
"Steven" Jackie sighed, shaking her head as she got up from the couch and walked over to where he was, back to the freezer and staring at her, "Are you afraid of me?" she asked and he laughed out loud at that idiotic suggestion.
"Afraid? Of you?" he chuckled, "You're way off, doll" he told her, putting his hands on her shoulders to move her out of his way. Jackie refused to be pushed aside, and put her own hands to his chest pushing him back. He could've moved of course but he didn't, things were just now getting interesting.
"Steven Hyde you are afraid" Jackie told him, "Maybe not of me exactly, but what you think might happen between us" she said, knowing now she was right, "What I said last night on our date, about you feeling like you don't deserve to be loved, maybe I wasn't right about that, but I am right about this" she said determinedly, frustrated by the fact he wouldn't look her in the eye, "Steven, you're afraid that if we get close that I'm going to leave you, but I won't" she swore to him, but he shook his head and pushed his way past her.
"You think you're the first person to say that?" he said frustratedly, "You think my Mom didn't tell me she loved me? That my Dad didn't promise to stick around this time?" he said, looking back at her, his frustration and anger evident, "Newflash, Jackie, people lie, and things change, man, look at you and Kelso!"
"Michael cheated on me" she countered, "So I dumped him, but I would never cheat on you, and so long as you didn't cheat on me why would I ever have a reason to leave you?"
"I don't know, why don't you go ask everybody else that already did?" he suggested, sarcasm evident as he sat back down on the couch and ran his hand back through his hair, "This is the conversation I was trying to avoid" he muttered, "At least it's one of them"
"Steven Hyde, you are not going to punish me for what your parents and other people did" Jackie told him firmly, waving her arm in emphatic gestures, "Do you really think you're the only one who's afraid of getting their heart broken?" she asked incredulously, "Cos you might just be crazy"
"Whatever" Hyde muttered, trying to turn his back on her, but he should've known by now that the young Miss Burkhart was not one to be so easily ignored.
"After what Michael did to me, I could so easily say to hell with men!" Jackie exclaimed, "But you made me see that not all guys are the same. Michael was a cheater, but you're not. You're so much smarter, and sweeter, and better than him... it's why I love you" she said, the anger falling out of her voice as she spoke those final few words so honestly. When Hyde turned around he found she was no longer standing over him, yelling like a crazy person, but that she was sat right beside him, looking beautiful as ever and so incredibly sincere.
It was like a slow motion flashback to the night before, sitting on the hood of the car in the moonlight, looking into each others eyes and anticipating a perfect moment. As they both leaned in closer, neither was sure whether this was going to end with happily ever after or absolute disaster. Either way, they had to take the risk and find out for sure. Their lips met then in a tender kiss that deepened as it went on a few seconds more. Neither wanted to be the first to speak when they parted, but as usual Jackie found her voice first.
"So, did you feel anything that time?" she checked, with a nervous smile, "Cos I sure did" she admitted, praying she wasn't about to be shot down after all this.
"Did I feel anything?" Hyde echoed, looking at her too seriously until suddenly a smile broke through, "Man, I felt everything" he told her, pulling her close and kissing her again.
"Thank God!" Eric cheered in a whisper beyond the back door where he and Donna sat spying on their friends.
"Took them long enough to get there" his girlfriend agreed, "but I'm glad they figured it out. Look how cute they are together"
"Yeah, I guess" Eric nodded, though honestly he wasn't so sure he would ever say this particular pair were cute. After all, Hyde would probably kill him for thinking such a thing, and Jackie was just way too annoying to have compliments thrown her way on a regular basis.
"Hey, you think they'll be mad at us for locking them in like that?" Donna checked with her boyfriend, "I mean it was kind of sneaky"
"We'll worry about that later" Eric waved away her concern, "Right now, can we please just stop watching because I do not need to see... that" he said, making a grossed-out face as he gestured vaguely through the glass where Hyde and Jackie were moving into serious make-out mode on the couch.
"Yeah" Donna agreed as they scrambled to their feet and moved on up the stairs, "Making out, so not a spectator sport"
"You're so right" Eric agreed as he got a hold of her and kissed her lips, "What do you say to a moonlight stroll, Ms Pinciotti" he smiled when they parted.
"Sure, let's go" she agreed as they set off with their arms around each other, "So, you're never going to run away from me, are you?" Donna checked as they walked of into the distance.
"No way" Eric assured her, "We'll leave the complicated issues to the kids downstairs" he smiled, not realising just how simple things had just gotten for the pair he and Donna had helped get together.
Jackie Burkhart and Steven Hyde, perhaps an unlikely couple, but a couple none-the-less, with no intentions of letting each other go for a long time yet.