Disclaimer: I don't own.
Warning: Mild language
Author's Note: I was going to wait to post this until after I finished "Convincing", but decided to post now. To keep me motivated to write it.This is set post series finale. For those of you who've read "Reawakening" and "Convincing", you know that I do my best to stay true to the characters as portrayed on the show, but will expand and grow them. This story, in particular, will involve certain people growing up a great deal.I always read more into the characters on the show than actually shown, and this is how I see them.(I'm just saying all this because I know some people don't really like any out of character-ness, and wanted to be upfront about it.) I hope this will interest you!
Clichés and Things "They" Say
Chapter One – It's the Little Things
They say that where there's smoke, there's fire. Hints of truth in the smallest things, the tiniest of feelings, the most insignificant happenings. Gut instincts. Suspicions. Rumors. Speculation.
They say that everything means something.
And they say that everything happens for a reason. Fate. Destiny. Romantic notions of "meant to be".
There are no coincidences.
Everything means something.
Everything happens for a reason.
But they also say that something becomes cliché because it has the ring of truth.
January 15, 1980
It was the littlest thing that made him start thinking about her again. When she wasn't around. When she and her new boyfriend weren't around. A note she'd written to him when they were still in high school, shortly after they'd started dating. Stupid, silly, shallow. Just like her. Except she wasn't stupid. Not very silly, except when she was high or drunk. And despite the surface she so carefully cultivated and presented to the world, not really shallow at all.
He closed his eyes and tossed the note back where he'd found it a few weeks ago, under his cot.
Why couldn't it, and everything else she'd ever given him, or left and never come back to get, miraculously get lost?
He'd managed to lose her, after all, why notall the little things that reminded him of her?
It was for the best. She was a vindictive, self-centered bitch. She was everything he hated. Mean, rich, bossy. Obsessed with being part of the establishment. Everything he railed against. Everyone had been right about them. They'd been sick and wrong. Destined to end badly.
They'd met their destiny. Satisfied their fate. Guess in that sense, they'd been a success.
"Hey, Hyde! Come on! Charlie's Angels is on!"
He sighed and rubbed his temple. Damn headache. Must be the fact that he hadn't had a drink yet today. That would have to change. Soon. Now. He stood up and left his room, heading for the main room of Forman's basement. Another day in Point Place, Wisconsin, and his wonderful life. Hardly working at the record store his new black father had given him. Coming home, hanging out with a group of friends just as lazy and unmotivated as he was. Spending his free time in the circle and getting as drunk as possible as often as possible.
If there was more to life than this, he wasn't interested. Wasn't worth the bother. Anything more only ended up screwed up. He'd learned.
He stood up and walked out of his room and into the main room of Eric Forman's basement. Everyone was there. Kelso, Forman, Donna.
Jackie on Fez's lap.
In his chair.
She used to sit on my lap. On my chair.
It's the little things that mean the most. Good or bad.
He stopped by the lawn chair and glared at them. His jaw tensed as tightly as his stomach now felt wound up in knots. He didn't care, of course. It didn't bother him that her fingers were in the back of Fez's hair. That Fez's hand rested on her hip, his other on her thigh. No. He just wanted his chair. It was his. Everyone knew that.
"Out of my chair."
Fez frowned. "Can't you sit somewhere else for once, Hyde? We were here first. And we're all settled in." He smiled adoringly up at Jackie. "My goddess looks so beautiful in this light."
"OUT, Fez, before I kick your ass."
They stood up and moved to the couch. Eric and Donna moved down for them, and Fez sat down. Jackie perched herself once again on his lap, and Fez grinned. "Oh, it does not make any difference. My angel is still gorgeous wherever we sit."
Hyde stared hard at the television, but in his peripheral vision saw Jackie nuzzling Fez's cheek. And murmuring something to him as she did. Probably recycled words she'd once purred to him or Kelso. She wasn't very original.
He heard the smack of a soft kiss.
But he didn't give a damn. The fact that his head was now pounding like a bass drum in a marching band halftime show, and that his stomach felt like a ball of barbed wire meant nothing. Only that he needed a few beers. He had his chair, and now if he had a beer or two or ten, he'd be all good again. "Kelso, do something useful and grab me a beer."
Kelso, sitting in the lawn chair and idly bouncing a ball on the floor, pouted. "Why can't you get it yourself?"
"'Cause I want YOU to get it. Besides. You're closer to the shower."
Kelso rolled his eyes, but he could sense that Hyde was in a bad mood. Hyde was violent when he was in a bad mood, and he didn't want to start anything. His arm was still sore from the last time he'd started something. "Fine." He shook his head, stood and walked to the shower. "Man, it was better when Sam was here to get you beer." He walked to Hyde, handed him the can and smiled wickedly. "I always used to stare at her ass when she bent over to kiss you. And she had a fine, fine ass."
Fez grinned. "Well, why don't you give him a kiss, Kelso? We can all get a glance at your fine, fine ass." Everyone looked at Fez, and he shrugged. "Oh, come on! You've all thought it and you know it!"
Jackie rolled her eyes. She was becoming used to…well, at least she was trying hard to…her boyfriend's…well…eccentricities. He adored her. Worshipped her. Bought her presents and gushed over her all the time. That made it all worth it. Well, she hoped it would, eventually. "Yeah, why don't you, Michael?" She smiled nastily at Steven. "It would be the most action he's gotten since his whore…I mean, wife left him."
Eric grinned. "Now, that was a good burn."
Donna chuckled. Not often that Jackie had the presence of mind to burn anyone, and it was amusing to see the master of burns be burned himself.
Kelso nodded, his smile wide. "Oh yeah!" His smile fell and he looked at Hyde. "Not that I'm gonna do it or anything." Nervously, he stumbled back to the lawn chair.
Hyde said nothing. He stared at the television set. Her taunts weren't worth acknowledging. Just a stupid little thing.
It's the little things that mean the most.
Jackie shook her head. "Going Zen, huh, Steven? Truth hurts, I guess."
She didn't know why she was being so nasty to him. It felt good, though. It felt good to watch the slight movement in his jaw that she knew only she noticed. The tiny pursing of his lips. The way his left hand curled briefly into a fist. No one else realized what that all meant.
It felt good to be nasty to him. He deserved it. He'd married that whore. Stayed married to that whore. He still hadn't been punished enough for what he'd done.
"Would everyone shut the hell up?" Hyde snapped, ignoring Jackie's voice, ignoring the weight of her eyes on him. "You're interfering with my appreciation of Farrah Fawcett."
Fez sighed dreamily and gazed at the television screen. "Ah, yes, Farrah. The goddess of all goddesses."
Jackie frowned and swatted the back of Fez's head. "I thought I was the goddess of all goddesses."
Hyde snorted. "Right. Maybe the goddess of all goddesses in hell."
She snapped something back, but he didn't hear her. He didn't look at her. God. What he wouldn't give for her to actually go to hell.
Go to hell, Jackie. Just go…to…hell.
Later that night
Jackie walked down the steps towards the Forman's basement. She'd left her purse there earlier, and since she was planning on going shopping early in the morning, she'd decided to get it now.
She was thinking about Fez, and how long he'd waited to be with her. A slight smile played upon her lips as she reached the bottom of the stairs and grabbed the doorknob. The fact that he'd waited so long, always yearning to be with her, always adoring her from afar…it meant something. It had to. Something special and beautiful. Something she'd never experienced before.
Michael had never waited for her. She rolled her eyes and almost laughed at the thought. He'd moved on from her while they were still together…a million times. And Steven…right. He'd come right out and said he wasn't going to wait for her.
You didn't think I was gonna wait around all summer for you, did you?
Neither of them had pined for her. Fez had.
She opened the door and walked in, and her smile faded. No one was around except Steven. She stopped just inside the door. He was lying on the couch, and sleeping. She rolled her eyes. Typical. He was too lazy to walk the maybe twenty feet to his bedroom.
Her purse was on the floor in front of the couch, near his head. She bit her lip. She didn't want to wake him up, but she needed her purse.
Her expression soured. Could he have rifled through her purse? Stolen her money?
No. No. Steven stole, but never from his friends.
Well, except for me. From Michael.
She smiled. Couldn't really blame him. She was fabulous, after all, and irresistible.
Then again, did he even count her as a friend? Hard to believe that he did, the way he talked to her and glared at her all the time. She'd have to check her purse, just to be sure.
Moving as carefully and as softly as she could, she walked in front of the couch. She leaned over to pick up her purse, but his quiet moans startled her, and she paused, half bent over, to look at him. He looked unsettled. Like he was having a nightmare.
She'd seen that before. He used to dream about his mom leaving. And his dad leaving. God, he'd been left a lot. She understood that all too well.
His head rolled slightly on the pillow, and his face was tight. She stood up slowly.
Her mouth opened when his hand shot out wildly, searching for something. His fingers caught her wrist and circled it almost painfully tightly.
She'd forgotten how strong his fingers were. How warm they were. How good his rough skin felt on hers. He hadn't touched her in so long.
Opposites. Rough, dirty against smooth, creamy, porcelain.
He must be dreaming about his mom again. Or Sam.
What felt like a mildly muted bullet shot through her stomach.
"I…I know. I know. Said I didn't…but…I know."
The words brought a bittersweet suggestion of tears to her eyes. How she'd loved to have heard those two words from him. Only a year ago, those two words from him would have sent her dancing to heaven. Two stupid words. Two stupid little words.
It was the little things. Like little words.
Gently, she pried his grip off her wrist and lay his hand down on his chest. He sighed and turned his head. Maybe he was settling down.
She picked up her purse and turned to leave.
But those words kept repeating themselves.
"I know. I know."
Stupid little thing that didn't even mean what the nerves in her stomach seemed to hope it did mean.
So many stupid little things that she had to forget. She was trying. She really was. She had Fez. That would make it easier. Because Fez was the one for her. He was the one who was going to treat her like a queen, like gold in human form. Like she was priceless. The way she deserved to be treated and never had been.
He'd never cheat on her with skanks like Pam Macy. Or some random nurse. He'd never marry a whorey stripper. He'd never tell her he didn't know if he could see a future with her.
And that was what mattered now. Not those little things she'd once held so dear. Like when Steven shaved his beard for her. Convinced Donna to ask her to move in with her. The little smiles he used to give her. The little kisses and touches. None of it mattered. What mattered was that Fez would never hurt her. Soon she'd share little things with him to hang her heart on and to cherish. Sure, instead of coupling her name with his on the water tower, he'd done so with Michael. But he'd meant well. His heart was in the right place. With her.
She left and closed the door behind her as softly as possible.
A little thing. A little fling. That's what her relationship with Steven had been, otherwise it would have lasted.
Now it was on to bigger and better things. With Fez.