A/N: Thanks to everyone who trusted us enough to stick around. You guys were great. We hope this story can be included amongst those that have helped chip away at the dried up piece of crap that we call season 8. This was our contribution, strange as it was. And look for us again in December with something new and even stranger than this, although no one dies and no one shall dream. Hehe. Thanks again, enjoy the finale.
P.S. This one's for Jackie...
"This is Hot Donna," the radio announced, "and that was the complete 'Dark Side of the Moon' by Pink Floyd, part of our Floyd tribute. The band just released their new album 'The Wall' this week. If you haven't already, run out and pick it up, it's…" Hyde stood from the bed and snapped off the radio before turning back to his wife…
Yeah, It's Gonna Be Alright
Steven Hyde stared at his wife in horror, finding himself unable to move. His wife…Samantha. The woman who had taken Jackie's place. So he had hurt Jackie after all and killed everything they had had together. Half listening to Sam babble on, he heard about how he had twitched and moaned as he slept, but all he could think was that this woman didn't belong here.
Sitting back down on his bed, Hyde was taken aback at how groggy he felt. The nightmare he had experienced was still buzzing at the front of his mind, influencing and haunting his thoughts so much that he could not shake the feeling of dread that had tortured him so powerfully. But he could still hear Jackie's voice, echoing whispers of love and forgiveness to his subconscious and he could still feel her soft hair on his skin, her body enveloping his as he sat on his bed and tried to figure out why in the hell this was happening. Earlier that day, he had gone to the mall with Fez and Kelso in search of chicks, and their words seemed to haunt him now…
"I talked to Eric today," Fez smiled happily, pulling a Dum Dum out of his mouth. "He loves Africa, and I do not think he wants to come back." His smile fell. "He says he might break up with Donna because he has to 'find' himself over there." He began to pout. "Ai…I miss Eric. Nothing is the same without him around."
"I dunno man," Kelso responded gleefully. "Single Donna and a tube top-wearing stripper around 24/7? That doesn't seem so bad to me!" He smiled goofily before snagging some of Fez's candy.
"I am tired of the stripper!" Fez exclaimed, seeming almost surprised by his own words. "She's a stupid whore and if Eric was here…" Fez trailed off and looked bashfully at Hyde. "Sorry," he whispered. Hyde just shrugged his shoulders, feigning nonchalance as his wife was insulted. The truth of the matter was that he still wasn't sure how to wrap his head around being married. After all, it had only been a few weeks. But everyone just seemed to accept his stripper wife. Kitty and Donna were friendly with her. Kelso and Fez thought she was hot. If Eric was around…well, some part of him knew that Eric would convince him to send the blond girl packing, and he couldn't decide whether or not he liked that idea. After all, by this point, he had fucked things up beyond repair with Jackie. He might as well stick with the stripper.
"Oh, awesome man!" Kelso called out. "The new Floyd album is out. It's supposed to be super cool. Let's go buy it!"
"I own a fucking record store, moron," Hyde shook his head at his idiotic friend.
"Yeah, well THIS store lets you enter a contest for Zeppelin tickets when you buy 'The Wall!' How cool is that?" The three walked into the record store, discussion of strippers forgotten as they looked over the music…
Closing his eyes, Hyde thought about how much he still felt for Jackie. The anger of seeing her with Kelso in Chicago had worn off weeks before and all that was left was his sinful pride, keeping him from admitting to himself that he still wanted her. God, how had he managed to forget how happy he had been with her? Happy. Not just 'less pissed off' or whatever he had said. But fucking happy. And he had thrown it all away in favor of the path of least resistance: staying married to a fucking stripper rather than apologizing to the girl he loved—treating her like shit rather than just admitting that he had fucked up. He remembered Jackie's words in his dream. She had forgiven him…did that mean she would forgive him in reality? Was any of it really possible?
A few feet away, Samantha Hyde was still rambling in her seat, going on about how she had kept herself busy while he had dreamt of the girl he really wanted. And he knew it now. Jackie was the one he wanted. Maybe he had always known it but had been too stubborn to admit it to himself. And now, on this Saturday afternoon, after having practically felt her body in his arms, seen her smile again, naked and warm beneath him, he wanted it all back.
In an act of spontaneity, Hyde looked up, taking his first baby step toward making things right again. "Sam."
Her eyebrows were furrowed with worry as she continued to drone on. "…and then like five minutes ago you yelled at me to shut the fuck up and called me Fluffycakes. It was so weird. But cute. I think I like it. You can…"
Taking a deep breath, Hyde tried again, louder this time. "Sam!"
"What?" she finally acknowledged, looking up at him expectantly. "What's up, baby?"
Staring at her, so out of place in his room, he felt somewhat bad for what he was about to do. It really wasn't her fault. She had never known Jackie even existed, never known, or asked, why he was so detached on the night they had met. This fucked up mess was all his doing. "I think…" Hyde rubbed his chin, unsure of how to articulate what it was he wanted to say. "I think maybe… it's time you headed back to Vegas."
She instantly stood and approached him. "What? Hyde, what's wrong?"
"Look, Sam. I made a mistake, okay, and I don't know exactly what to do about it but… I do know that you can't be here anymore. It was a mistake letting you stay. Everything. Vegas. All of it… it was a mistake."
"Hyde, what…what are you talking about? What did I do?"
"Nothing. I don't know. I just," His gaze still bleary from sleep, Hyde buried his face in his hands and tried to shake the intense emotions that his dream had uncovered. All of it had felt so tangible, so real, and it still did as he looked up at his wife. "I want my life back, Sam."
Her blue eyes glistened with fear and confusion, begging him to stop. "But, why didn't you …you should've just told me to leave when…"
"You're right. I should've. Look, it's nothing personal. I just…" Hyde stood up to face her. "Come on, this was a mistake and you know it. I… Damn it. Here." Reaching into his back pocket, he pulled out his wallet and handed Sam its contents: a little over a hundred dollars. "Will this help? Get you a hotel and get you back to Vegas? I...I really need you to leave," he said insistently while his eyes bore into hers, conveying his earnestness. "Just… Today, Samantha. If you give a shit about me at all, you'll just go. Please."
She nodded sadly. "Yeah, ok. I just wish you would've just said something sooner, Hyde. I didn't mean to…"
"I know. Look. I'll get a lawyer or something, I don't know. Just call me and I'll let you know…"
"Well…actually," Sam interjected, smiling and feigning innocence, as she tried her best to salvage their rapidly failing relationship. "See…we're not exactly…technically married."
Hyde grimaced. "What?"
"Well, I'm sort of…already married," she said, cringing and watching nervously as Hyde frowned back at her in bewilderment. "But we're separated," she added hopefully.
Hyde stared at her, completely indignant. "Then why…"
"Because…I like you," she confessed quietly, lowering her head, "and we did get married that night. We're just not technically husband and wife, but I still think we can …"
"Sam," Hyde scoffed gently, shaking his head, unable to believe that he gave away the only girl he ever loved, to ever love him…for this. "I think it's time for you to leave," he told her, indifferent as her eyes fell dejectedly to the floor.
"Fine," she conceded and immediately began to pack her things as Hyde left the room, wearily taking a seat out in the basement. At least he wasn't like Bud, abandoning a wife. He had no wife. Thank fucking God. Kelso and Fez turned from their seat on the couch, where they had been loudly arguing the merits of gummy candy versus hard candy, to watch their friend sulk down into his chair.
Unmindful of their stares, Hyde closed his eyes and wondered how he had let things come to this point: three people's lives fucked up beyond recognition, all because of his anger and mistrust. Like a gravitational force, those misguided emotions had pulled him away from home and led him to the city of sin, where he had somehow lost himself in the madness. He couldn't help but imagine that all of it could have been avoided with one solitary word: Stay.
"Uh, hello!" His thoughts disrupted, Hyde looked up at Kelso, who waited expectantly for something. "What's up, man? You said you'd only be a minute. We listened to the whole album waiting for you! So…I guess you were pretty busy in there, huh?" Kelso asked, grinning wickedly and waggling his eyebrows suggestively. "Having hot stripper sex."
"Man, Kelso, shut-up," Hyde spat, already vexed by the moron's assumptions.
"You know, for a guy who's puttin' it to a stripper on a daily basis, you're pretty cranky!" Kelso informed him gruffly, "I'm starting to think you're just an angry person, Hyde!"
Sitting quietly beside Kelso, a more observant Fez thoughtfully studied his dispirited friend. "Hyde, what's the matter? You look much whiter today than usual."
The question found Hyde's ears but didn't seem to register as his eyes shifted from Kelso to Fez and back again; both of them had loved Jackie at one time, probably still did, and he was going to need their help. "Hey, lemme ask you guys something…what," Tapping his foot nervously, he smoothed his hand over the back of his neck and cleared his throat, "what has…uh…Jackie been saying…you know, about me?" Hyde's throat went dry as he waited and watched his two friends' faces gloss over with confusion.
"What do you mean?" Kelso asked as he stood up and headed for the deep freeze.
"Well…I mean, has she said anything about me?"
Oblivious to the sincerity in his friend's voice, Kelso snickered while he searched the freezer thoroughly. "Uh, do death threats count?" he joshed, popping up with an orange popsicle that he immediately shoved in his mouth. It was all Hyde needed to hear to bring him back to reality. Since waking up, lingering voices from his dream had been telling him that Jackie could forgive him, maybe even love him again, but the truth was…he had blown it.
"Shut-up, Kelso" Fez barked, rolling his eyes. "That's not all she says... Although she has wished some pretty violent deaths upon you," he admitted, turning regretfully toward Hyde. "But mostly…she just cries." There was a long break of silence, a rare calm that filled the basement that left Hyde thinking. She'd been crying, over him, just like in his dream… I need you so much, Steven. Please don't leave me… "She cries a lot," the foreigner added purposefully, "especially after she leaves here."
Carrying all of her belongings in a large suitcase, Sam entered the room, stopping briefly at the door to gaze expectantly at Hyde. "Well, I'm…I'm all packed."
"Good," Hyde replied, glancing up at the biggest mistake he ever made. She seemed to be waiting for something, a word from him telling her to…stay. As he watched the hope disappear from the blonde's eyes, he couldn't help but remember that last day with Jackie… I'm going. Unless… unless, Steven, there's something you'd like to say, in which case, I'm listening… Everyone's attention rested on him as he sat motionless in his chair, somewhat lost in the evocative memories that his dream/nightmare had induced. "Bye Sam," he muttered, more than aware that she was still waiting. He heard her huff, making her disappointment clear as she walked out of the basement and out of his life.
"What the hell, Hyde! Now who's gonna flash us when we're bored?" Kelso bellyached.
"Shut up, you idiot!" Fez smacked Kelso on the arm. "My goddess has been so sad since all this happened. Hyde did the right thing, sending the stripper away." Turning to his curly-haired friend, Fez sought reassurance. "You did send her away, right?" he whispered, hope laced deep within his stifled breath.
Hyde smiled slightly at Fez, thankful that at least one of his moron friends still cared about Jackie. "Yeah, Fez. She's gone." Sighing with relief, Fez relaxed into his seat and smiled at Kelso, who was busy gathering circle paraphernalia in support of his newly single friend. Still thinking about his dream, Hyde sat back in his chair, gratefully accepting a joint from Kelso and taking a large hit. It felt like his brain was clear for the first time in over a month…he had been so focused on hurting Jackie, he had barely thought about the fact that he had been punishing her for nothing. He had given up on her when she needed him most and wondered if she had given up on anything. Her optimism seemed boundless at times, but lately she looked so…beaten...and alone, abandoned by those with whom she had placed her unconditional faith. Looking over at his friends, Hyde frowned slightly as they laughed and talked together. Maybe it was natural that his perverted friends would love having a stripper around…but what was beginning to bother him was Donna. In a situation like this, she should have taken Jackie's side; he could've respected that. But he remembered something that Kelso had told him earlier that afternoon at the mall…
As the three boys left the record store with the new Floyd album, Kelso talked excitedly about his chance to win Led Zeppelin tickets and what a great burn it would be to tell Eric that he had missed the concert.
"Speaking of great burns," Kelso added, "did you hear what happened last night when Donna had Jackie and Sam over?" Hyde cocked his head to the side in curiosity. Sam hadn't actually mentioned the night, and he had wondered if Jackie and Sam had had some sort of blow up. "Donna totally chose Sam over Jackie! She loved the powder blue Trans Am and then made this big deal about how she didn't know why she was even friends with Jackie!"
"Ai, Kelso…that is not funny. Jackie came to me and cried so much after that. My poor goddess feels like she has no friends left." Fez pouted for Jackie's sake before turning to Hyde. "Sorry," he whispered, not wanting to hurt Hyde's feelings.
Hyde just nodded his head, hiding his reaction to the story. He should be happy that Donna approved of his wife…so he wondered why it bugged him so much. During that horrible summer after the nurse, Jackie had cried on Donna's shoulder for months, and now Donna was just abandoning her after only a few weeks of Sam's presence. He'd always known that Donna had something of a mean streak, but that was just bitchy beyond forgiveness…especially after Jackie had paid for part of her engagement ring and talked her out of her irrational anger towards Eric on numerous occasions.
And why…because of Sam's Trans Am? God, she had whored herself off to Kasey Kelso for the same reason. Swallowing down the irrational anger he felt, Hyde reminded himself that it was good that Donna was on his side and just continued to follow his friends to the mall, blocking out thoughts of Jackie that inevitably came as he walked through her favorite place…
Separating himself from his chair, Hyde began to pace anxiously, pumping himself up for his second step. He was going to need all the adrenaline he could muster. "Hyde, man. I'm starting to think you're having an off day," Kelso astutely observed as he watched his friend stride from one side of the room to the other. "You kick your stripper wife out, you're asking crazy questions about Jackie and you haven't even asked me about my new shirt."
Clearly lost in his own world, Hyde stopped and turned to his friends, his face beaming with hope and determination as he spoke. "Man, I think I'm gonna try and get Jackie back." Turning to each other, Kelso and Fez could not help but laugh at their friend's blind audacity. Hyde was confused. "What?"
"Yeah, ok," Kelso mocked, snickering and smiling at Fez. "Lots of luck with that, Hyde," Fez simply smiled back and shook his head. "You be sure to let us know how that goes!"
"Man, what's so funny?!"
"Hyde," Fez condescendingly began as he turned in his seat to find Hyde's befuddled expression. "Now I may not be as smooth with the ladies as Kelso here…" Kelso grinned arrogantly at the mention. "But I do know that they do not like being replaced by strippers."
"Yeah. That's true," Kelso confirmed sincerely. "Oh! And they also don't like it when you try to sleep with their mothers either, which is a damn shame in Jackie's case."
Irritated with the tactlessness of his friend, Hyde lost his temper. "Kelso, will you shut up! I'm about ready to kick your ass! You know what… screw this. I don't care what you idiots think. Jackie… she's… forgiving, you know. And she'll just be happy that I got rid of Sam… maybe… and then… we'll… Crap, I'm so screwed." Hyde began to pace again.
Kelso nodded excitedly. "YEP! But it's gonna be hilarious to watch you grovel and try to explain away dumping her for a stripper! Can we come?"
"No! And I didn't dump her for a stripper! I caught her with you," Hyde shouted, recalling up his anger on the matter. This whole thing had started with Kelso in that god-damned towel. "That's it! Get up! I'm kicking your ass!"
Suddenly flustered, Kelso began to fidget in his seat, preparing an escape through the backdoor if need be. "Wait! You already punched me and you said you were done!"
"Well, I was wrong! Now get up!"
Fez stepped in between his friends, mediating to prevent what he was sure would be an unfair fight. "Okay! Enough you two! Hyde, maybe you should just focus on Jackie right now. Kicking Kelso's ass, although very satisfying and quite fun to watch, is not going to help you get her back!"
Nodding curtly, Hyde inhaled deeply and worked to calm himself down. Fez was right; he had plenty of time to kick the idiot's ass. But Jackie couldn't wait, not anymore. Hell, he couldn't wait. The need to feel her, to hold and kiss her, to be inside her, was overwhelming. The chance of her taking him back was slim, he knew, but he also knew that at the very least, he had to try. So, without another word, he grabbed his coat and stepped out into the cold Wisconsin air, eventually settling into his car. He sat for several minutes as the El Camino idled, rationally doubting the voice in his head that told him to go after Jackie—that told him that she could ever forgive him for the pain he had so callously inflicted upon her. He worried that his faith in that dream, in her words, was fucking ludicrous and that he would only make a fool of himself. And he suspected that the Jackie of his dreams only told him the things he wanted to hear, probably not the things she would actually say. Or would she? Feeling discouraged, Hyde smoothed his palms over his face. It was times like these that he would have turned to Eric, or, at least, Eric would have sensed his anguish and turned to him. As he backed out of the Forman driveway, it occurred to Hyde that he had been missing his oldest friend earlier that day at the mall, too…
Hyde held his breath as the group walked by Halverson's Department Store, sparing a quick glance at the tuxes and wedding gowns on display in the front. He remembered vividly how beautiful Jackie had looked in her wedding gown on that day well over a year ago. How funny, he thought, that he remembered that day better than he remembered his real wedding. Jackie had looked so radiant, and he had wanted more than anything to follow her into that dressing room. Why hadn't he gone in there, he wondered to himself.
Then there was later that night, when he and Eric had talked briefly about Jackie and wedding things, after the skinny boy had been charmed by her Sugar Daddies and frank honesty. Eric had told him that maybe Jackie wasn't really so bad…maybe she was actually really nice when she wanted to be. That was the first time he could remember his friend expressing such real approval for his girlfriend, the first time anyone had truly admitted that maybe Jackie and Hyde complemented each other well. The memory made him smile, but also hit him with a pang of sadness, since both Eric and Jackie were absent from his life now, replaced with a stripper, two perverts, and a once red headed whore who couldn't think of anything nice to say about her best friend. But he was better without Jackie, he told himself again. They were both better off now.
Rolling his eyes, Hyde watched as Kelso jumped around in front of a pet store, looking in at some dogs playing together. He followed his friends inside, irritated at having to look at a bunch of cute, fluffy creatures with big eyes that seemed to beg for love. They all reminded him of Jackie, and that was too much to bear at the moment. He figured maybe he'd head back to the reptiles and watch a snake eat some cute, fluffy little creatures. Maybe that would make him feel better…
The El Camino screeched to a stop outside the Burkhart residence, and he knew that the absence of Pam's pink Lincoln meant Jackie was home alone. Feeling suddenly nervous, Hyde climbed out of his car and started down the long walkway to the front door.
He remembered how angry he had been at Jackie's insistence on a marriage proposal…but really, was that what she was asking for? Thinking back to the way she had always looked at him, eyes full of trust and love and hope, Hyde knew that all she had ever wanted was some reassurance that her feelings were returned. And marriage was how Jackie Burkhart imagined that a man expressed his love. But damn, she had settled for a foil wrapped burger instead of a silver locket; what had given him the idea that she wouldn't have been perfectly happy with an honest declaration of his feelings?
The saddest thing, he thought, was that he had always known what Jackie really wanted from him, but he had been too afraid to give it. Or maybe too much of a jackass. He had always expected her to love him unconditionally, always expected her to be faithful, always expected her to make him feel loved and wanted. But somehow, he had convinced himself that it was unreasonable of her to expect the same in return. That was the real reason that he had stayed married to Sam, he supposed. It had nothing to do with honoring fucking marriage vows, it was just that there were none of these scary feelings involved…she got him beer and she put out and that's all he cared about. Maybe he had tricked himself into thinking that if they stayed married, he wouldn't be like Bud, running out on his responsibilities… The memory of his mother's derisive laughter at what he had made of his life haunted him...wasn't marrying a whore he didn't love the first step on the path to becoming Bud?
All these thoughts swirled in his head as he rang Jackie's doorbell, and when the door flew open a few seconds later he felt his stomach turn to mush at the sight of a teary eyed Jackie.
"Oh god, Jackie," he began, almost breaking down at the sight of her, alive and well and just as beautiful as he remembered. Mesmerized by her features, he couldn't stop staring, soaking her in while she simply stared back at him coldly, seemingly angry at his presence. But he couldn't help it. She was so gorgeous that he almost didn't care if she took him back; he was just happy to see that she was alright. Or so he thought.
"What do you want, Steven?"
"I just wanna talk to you," he replied quietly, fighting the urge to just pull her into his arms and kiss her right there. She had been dead, gone from his life and God, how he had missed her and the way she could make him feel. It took everything he had not to submit to his temptations.
Jackie grimaced, convinced that there was a catch. "For what? To tell me that I'm ruined? To remind me that I have no job and no boyfriend? Or to flaunt your whore in my face?" A thick tear dropped freely from her bottom lash, leaving Hyde with a painful sting between his eyes; he had done this to her. He had done and said all those things she was accusing him of. "Well, no thanks! I've already heard it all!" she shouted and nearly slammed the door in his face before he caught it with his hand.
"Jackie. Will you please just talk to me?" His heart pumping furiously in his chest, Hyde waited for her response, desperate to be let inside and forgiven—anxious to put all of this behind them and start over. "Look. I'm sorry, okay. I didn't…I'm an asshole…And I'm so fucking sorry, Jackie. She's gone…" Hyde hesitated as her eyes narrow suspiciously.
"Oh," Jackie muttered as she thought over what her ex-boyfriend was doing on her front porch and what in the hell he was trying to tell her exactly. "Alright, so let me get this straight: Your whore left you and now you want me back and I'm so stupid that I'll say yes? Does that about cover it, Steven?"
"No. Jackie, I told her to go…" Hyde paused, swallowing down his insecurities; he hadn't really thought this whole thing through, and, as he had feared, she wasn't impressed by the gesture. Her arms were folded, and that look she usually had, the one he had learned to find comfort in, that told him he was loved and always would be, was missing from her face. "Look. I don't know what to say to you, Jackie. I…I messed up, okay…really bad this time. I know. It wasn't…it wasn't alright. But, can you just…let me in so we can talk about it?" he asked, making a subtle move toward her.
Thrusting her body into the space her open door provided, Jackie seemed to come to life, her eyes practically glowing with hatred for the man that was invading her porch. "No! No, you can't! You had your chance with me! But you thought it would be funnier to give to some whore what I've been trying to earn for years: YOU!" she screamed, finally breaking down into tears of anger that she stubbornly wiped away. "Your stupid love! It was all I ever wanted and you gave it to a stranger who doesn't even love you…not the way I did," she added frostily. "So no…you can't just come in. In fact, I think you should leave."
Unwilling to let her anger dissuade him, Hyde tried to push through the wall she had built around herself, the one he had provided every fucking brick for. "Jackie, I was pissed off, okay. I thought you had cheated on me!"
"Oh. You mean like how you had cheated on me? Wow, cause I know when you slept with that nurse, I ran right out and had sex with the first person I saw! Oh wait, NO, I DIDN'T!" Her words cut through his sturdy exterior and tore a hole in his false illusions of her; she wasn't the weak girl he expected to open that door. "Get off my porch!"
"No," he stubbornly replied, folding his arms in defiance. "I won't."
"Don't you get it, Steven? This isn't your choice anymore. I'm not yours to take or throw away, so just go and screw your Las Vegas slut and leave me alone!"
She had broken through, leaving him disconcerted as he dropped his arms and shifted his feet into a staunch position. "But I don't want her, Jackie!"
"Yeah? Well you did when you wanted to hurt me. What did you think, Steven? That I was just gonna forget how you paraded her around in front of me? Kissing her and smirking at me when you were about to have sex with her?" Jackie's voice was crumbling as she spoke but she pushed through it fearlessly. "God, don't you have a heart at all? Do you have any idea how that felt?"
"Yeah. I think I do, Jackie."
"No, you don't! You'll never know what it's like to see the person you love…touching and…wanting someone else. It hurts, Steven. It killed me!"
"I know what it's like, Jackie," Hyde told her as the disturbing images of her and Kasey Kelso continued to torture his thoughts. "You have no idea what I saw."
"What? You don't know anything! Just leave!"
"No," he quietly refused and took a deep breath, squeezing his eyes shut and trying to figure out what in the hell it was she needed to hear. He remembered what her dreamed-up counterpart had told him just one hour before. "Jackie… I love you… and… I miss you and I know you miss me. Well, at least I hope you do."
Shaking her head with disgust, Jackie backed up, her hand still planted protectively on the door knob. "Well, I did…Steven. But I don't anymore. And I don't love you. All you are is pain and hurt and disappointment."
"Fine," he accepted sadly, "But, I still love you," he stubbornly reiterated, holding in the pain her words were causing. "And I know you love me; you're just pissed off."
Jackie shook her head. "No… I don't," she said matter-of-factly. "And I don't care if you love me, Steven. Your love is worthless…it only shows itself after you've screwed up. And that's not love. That's desperation." She watched him flinch and accept the hateful truths she threw at him. And although nothing in the world would've compared to being able to hurl her body at him and take his pain away, she couldn't; he had made sure of that with his cruelty. "Just go away, Steven. I don't want you here anymore." As Hyde stared into the empty space between them, exhausted from defeat, Jackie locked herself back inside her house, leaving him without her once again.
"I'm sorry," he muttered to the Fall wreath that hung on her closed front door. Somewhere deep inside, he had always just assumed that he could have her back anytime he wanted, that the choice was always his to make for the both of them. But it wasn't. She didn't want him anymore and it made him wish for sleep, to go back and find comfort in the girl who promised him otherwise. She had been so wrong; there was no forgiveness left, no more love, no more chances, and only he was to blame. Part of him wanted to hate her for it, but he couldn't. Instead he smiled weakly, right there on her front porch; he was so proud of her for standing up for herself when no one else would. The girl was stronger than he would have ever imagined she could be. So, conceding victory to her—beaten and crushed by a hundred pound girl—Hyde walked away, unaware that on the other side of that door, Jackie lay curled in a ball, crying her heart out and wishing she could take it all back, still madly in love with him.
Forty-five minutes later…
Hyde stood under the hot spray of the Forman's shower, wishing that the water would wash away the lingering sting of rejection. Jackie had been so firm, so final, in her rebuff, that he felt all chances of a happy ending totally crushed under his despair. He thought back to the Jackie in his dream, so full of forgiveness and love even after he had done something so horrible to her, and he knew that he had killed that part of the real Jackie. What was worse, though, was that he had done it cruelly and methodically, parading Sam around just as she had accused. He was the last person in the world that deserved forgiveness, but at the same time he knew that the man who had been so cruel and thoughtless was gone. He would never hurt her like that again…never do anything that would separate them again.
Like a beacon of hope, one image seemed to lodge itself in his mind. Jackie, dressed in that wedding dress at Halverson's, glowing with radiant beauty even under the ugly neon lights in the store. He would have given anything now, he thought, to see her dressed like that just for him…at their wedding.
Suddenly, he knew exactly what he had to do. Sure, the odds were against him, but he wasn't going to let Jackie go without a real fight.
One hour later…
Hyde walked out of the mall's jewelry store fingering a blue velvet box and wondering what Jackie's reaction would be. Judging from their earlier encounter, it was hard to tell, but in the end, he knew what he had to do. As he walked towards the mall entrance, he passed a large glass window and looked in at all the furry faces staring out at him from the pet store. One familiar set of beady eyes and a twitching pink nose seemed to call to him, and he detoured into the store, thinking back to earlier in the day when he and Fez and Kelso had come in…
"Oh, look at this fluffy white bunny!" Fez exclaimed, clapping his hands with glee as he looked at the fat fur ball.
"Hey, it has a pot leaf on its ear!" Kelso smiled widely as he pointed at the brown shape on the fuzzy ear.
"Are you boys interested in a rabbit?" A kindly old lady who worked at the store approached them, clearly pleased at Fez's enthusiasm. "You probably don't want that one; she's pregnant," the lady explained as she picked up the bunny and showed them her distended stomach. "She should give birth to her kittens in a few days time."
"Hey! Bunnies can have kittens? I always thought they laid eggs," Kelso nodded thoughtfully to himself as the lady gave him a strange look.
"No, young man, rabbits are mammals and give birth to live young, and it so happens that a new born rabbit is known as a kitten." She turned her attention away from Kelso and looked back at Fez, who seemed to be deep in thought.
"I should get her for Jackie," he said, mostly to himself. "She has been so sad lately, and you know, I bet baby bunnies would cheer her up since she was…" Fez turned to Hyde bashfully. "Sorry, Hyde," he whispered. He wanted to stay firmly in the middle when it came to Hyde and Jackie, but it was so difficult when Hyde was being such a jerk. "It's not your fault…"
"What do you mean it's not his fault?!" Kelso interjected, starting to laugh as the old lady set down the rabbit and walked away, not wanting to eavesdrop on the conversation. "Staying married to that stripper was, like, the harshest burn, like, ever! I know we said "we" ruined her, Hyde," Kelso turned his attention to the curly haired man, "but seriously, I can't believe how far you've taken it! You could've slept with her best friend and it wouldn't have been as bad! You've practically killed her, man! I mean, even I would have dumped the stripper and tried to work things out with Jackie by now!" Kelso continued laughing as he watched two dogs play fight in a small pen.
Hyde just stood silently as his friends talked and wandered the pet store, trying not to think about Jackie. He was better off without her in his life…he was sure of it. Jackie had been nothing but unreasonable and demanding. He tried to tell himself that, but what sat with him most was that she had also been loving and faithful, so unlike him. The reality was… he didn't deserve her…
Another hour later…
Hyde rang the doorbell at Jackie's house for the second time that day, nervously shifting on his feet as he held the familiar white rabbit, a tiny sachet tied around her neck that held the best engagement ring he could afford. He didn't think he had ever done something so stupid and silly, but at the same time, he had a hard time caring about all that. He had a lot to make up to Jackie, and it was about time he accept that it was he who was lucky to have her.
The door opened, revealing Jackie, still disheveled and pale from crying.
"Jackie," Hyde began, taking a step towards the door.
"I said NO, Steven!" she screamed at him as she slammed the door in his face, sending thrills of intense pain through his nose. At the sound of his sob of pain, Jackie threw the door back open, horrified to see her former lover's face covered in blood. "Oh, Steven," she whispered, wanting more than anything to take joy in his pain, but finding herself unable to do anything other than grab his hand and lead him into the kitchen. She cursed herself for being weak, but she had accepted long ago that Steven Hyde would always be her greatest weakness. It seemed no matter what he did, she couldn't shake the love she held for him.
Hyde sat on a barstool in shock as Jackie tenderly cleaned up his face, gently touching his nose as she worked.
"I don't think it's broken," she told him softly as she threw away the bloodied paper towels that littered her counter. Hyde's eyes followed her worried form as it fluttered around the kitchen.
"Why are you being so nice to me…after everything?" he asked, looking down at the floor.
"It doesn't make me feel better to hurt you, Steven." Jackie looked him in the eye as she spoke. "I wish it did, sometimes, since it seems to work so well for you." She rolled her eyes, trying to cover up the emotion behind the statement, putting up the toughest front she could now that Hyde had invaded her home.
"No, Jackie…it never makes me feel better. Baby, I already told you. I'm sorry…"
"It's a little late for that now, don't you think?" she asked, still standing across the room as he watched her.
"No, please don't say that, Jackie," he whispered, dropping his gaze to the floor. "I love you," he said quietly, "and I want to be with you."
Jackie still seemed so angry at those words, though. "Why couldn't you say that before I left for Chicago, then? Why do you only say it when you've cheated on me? I mean, why should I even believe that you mean it?!"
"I was being a dick, Jackie, and I'm so sorry, but I do mean it." The fluffy rabbit shifted in his arms, and Jackie seemed to notice her for the first time.
"What's that?" she asked suspiciously.
"Oh. Her name is Miss Zeppelin… I… I got her for you." He could barely look her in the eyes as he said it, but Jackie smiled slightly and walked towards him, always a sucker for presents. "She's pregnant," Hyde explained as he showed her the distended stomach. "I thought you would… you know." He blushed as Jackie took the rabbit from him. "No one wanted her and I thought…you might."
"Oh my God," Jackie squealed, carefully pulling her new pet into her arms, "She's gonna have baby bunnies! I love teeny-weeny, witty-bitty baby bunnies!" she cooed as the rabbit twitched her nose, trying to catch the scent of her new owner. Then, Jackie had a thought and made a strange face at Hyde. "Why 'Miss Zeppelin'?"
"Uh, that's what the lady at the store called her," Hyde lied, refusing to admit that he had dreamt of the rabbit and taken quite a liking to her. He shrugged dismissively. "It's what she answers to: Miss Z."
"No, Miss Z," Hyde repeated, over-enunciating the Z. "I mean, you can change it if you want."
"No, I like it," Jackie finally said, eyeing him distrustfully. "You know, Steven. I hope you don't think that a little bunny is gonna…"
"Hey…she's got something on her neck," Hyde interrupted, feigning ignorance as he pointed to the small pink sachet hidden beneath Miss Z's thick fur. "Look. Right here." Unable to control himself, Hyde grinned affectionately when Jackie took the bait and set the small animal down on the counter, furrowing her brows in honest curiosity; she was so beautiful.
"What do you have here, Bunny? Oh, I mean…Miss Z," Jackie corrected, glancing at Hyde, who simply confirmed with a nod. As she fiddled with the knot that held the pouch closed, she continued to nervously sneak peeks at her ex. It was so strange being in the same room with him again and to not feel that wretched pain that she had come to know so well over the past few weeks. Instead, she was feeling the nervous butterflies of a smitten school girl. Although, she still didn't trust him; he was up to something. And as she tugged on pink satin strings, she finally figured out what. Two of Hyde's thick fingers reached into the tiny bag and pulled out a sparkling diamond engagement ring and before she could comprehend what was happening, Hyde was on his knees.
"No, Steven. Don't."
"Will you please just listen," he begged, his eyes pleading for a chance, "and then I'll leave… if you still want me to."
"Fine," she muttered, her exhausted eyes filling with tears. Taking a deep breath, Hyde nodded and then swallowed nervously; buying time as he tried to remember the speech he had planned on the car ride over. But he couldn't; the pressure was too much. "Steven?"
"I forgot what I wanted to say," he admitted ruefully and watched her move away in a huff. "No, wait," he said, grabbing hold of her hand and standing up to face her. "Look, Jackie. I screwed up. And…I know I should've fixed it right away, but I didn't think you'd just take me back and I was too stubborn to try. But…I was so fucking pissed at you…"
"Pissed at me?!"
"Yes, Jackie! Now, let me finish!" he demanded, mindful of the glare she was giving him. "I need to say something before I lose my god damn nerve, okay?" Grabbing her arms, he held her in place, determined to make the most of his final chance with her. It was all they had left: this night, he was sure of it. "I was angry about Kelso, okay, and I did what I promised I would never do again: I got pissed and cheated. And then she showed up and I thought we were married, and it got all fucked up…" Upon her look, he repeated himself, "Yeah, thought, we're not, and I…I treated you like shit cause…I guess … I don't know why."
"I know why. It's cause you're an asshole, Steven!" she shouted in his face, feeling strangely dissatisfied as he nodded; admitting she was right. "And okay, maybe I do love you but I can't take you back. Don't you get it Steven? You screwed everything up. If I take you back now, then you'll just think that it's alright to cheat on me. And I can't take it anymore."
"I won't. And I know I said that before but…" Before her eyes, Hyde seemed to panic, fidgeting and squeezing his hands into fists before finally looking her in the eye and smiling. Jackie's body betrayed her by smiling back slightly. She couldn't help it. He looked so at peace and so happy as his eyes danced between hers. "You're the one I wanna be with, Jackie. My whole life." His eyes fell down to the bunny that sat staring at them from her perch on the counter; his hand smoothed over her white fur. "Jackie…" he began quietly, taking a deep breath and turning to her again. "Will you marry me?"
Shocked, Jackie scanned the world around herself; it seemed to be spinning and she wondered if this was all really happening. Looking at him, it was difficult to believe that this was the same person who had been so cruel to her and had scowled at her with a seething hate only two days before. Because now, his eyes were so alive and loving that she began to cry. And through her clouded vision, she stared down at the ring that sat so firmly in his shaking hands; it was everything she'd ever wanted and he was all she had ever been waiting for. "Please, baby. I'm gonna spend my whole life making this go away for you …even if you don't take me back. But I'm asking you to, Jackie. I know you probably don't believe me, but I need you."
"Steven…" She wasn't sure what to say, scared to death to admit that she needed him, too, and missed and wanted him more then any human being should ever miss or want another. Plus, she was still so angry at him and the clash of emotions was frustrating, especially with him waiting so anxiously in front of her.
"Jackie," he whispered, laying the ring on the counter and cupping her face gently in his hands. "I missed you so much."
"Steven, I don't…" Before she could finish her thought, Hyde captured her lips with his own, ignoring the way her hands rose to his chest, trying to push him away. His hands slid from her face down her torso to cup her ass, pulling her body flush against his and kneading the soft flesh as they kissed. Even as her hands continued in a half-hearted attempt to push him away, Jackie returned his kiss, opening her mouth and allowing his tongue access to the warm cavern.
Something in Jackie's head screamed at her to stop this madness…Hyde had hurt her before, surely this was a terrible idea. But as his hands rubbed over her body and his lips moved so sensually against hers, all thoughts of objection seemed to evaporate as the overwhelming need for him took over. Before she knew what she was doing, she gave up all forms of protest and wrapped her arms around his neck, losing herself in the kiss she thought she would never feel again.
When Jackie moaned against his lips at the feeling of his erection rubbing against her stomach, he felt his lingering control slip away. As his kisses grew rougher and more urgent, Jackie grew more responsive in his arms, clearly giving herself over to the need she had for him.
"Jesus, baby," Hyde whimpered as he felt Jackie's hands smooth down his back and dip into the waist of his low riding jeans. He pulled her smaller body more tightly against his, savoring the way she felt against him. He wasn't sure what would happen when this was all over; all he could think about was that he needed her like he'd never needed another person. When Jackie moaned slightly at the sensations of his fingers brushing over her denim-clad core, Hyde wasted no time lifting her small body a few inches off the floor and carrying her to the kitchen table.
Hyde set Jackie onto the hard, sturdy wood of the table before hastily stripping off her sweater and pulling down her jeans and panties at once. The thought of her arousal overwhelmed his senses, filling him with a need and desire that no other woman had ever matched. Pushing her back against the table, he pried her thighs apart and leaned forward to bury his face in her delicate folds.
All Jackie could do was moan loudly as Hyde worked his nimble tongue over her clit while he held her thighs wide open, leaving her fully exposed. Writhing wildly against him, Jackie panted loudly at her approaching orgasm only to be disappointed as Hyde pulled back, leaving her unfulfilled.
"Steven, please," she groaned as Hyde stepped away and the cool air of the kitchen washed over her naked body. The metallic zip of his lowering fly filled her with anticipation; her body almost shook as she lay exposed on the table. When his naked body lowered over hers a moment later, brushing bare flesh over bare flesh, she gasped at the feeling of warmth that surrounded her.
"I love you," he whispered in her ear. The low rumbling tone sent shudders of pleasure through her body, and the ease and sincerity with which he uttered the words filled her with warmth. "Only you, Jackie." With that, he guided his aching erection into her wetness, groaning at how tight and hot and perfect she felt as he moved into her in slow, shallow thrusts. They held eye contact as he pushed into her, but at the feeling of complete penetration, Jackie's eyes squeezed shut and she threw her head back in pleasure. Hyde shuddered as her inner muscles squeezed around him, growing accustomed to the feeling of him after so long, and he stayed still, happy to just enjoy the sensation of being with her.
"Baby," she moaned up at him, thrusting her hips upwards and silently begging him to move. He couldn't hold back his smirk at the unbridled desperation in her eyes, and he began slow movements of his hips, building a burning fire in her abdomen that grew with every thrust. "God… Faster, Steven," she whimpered, wrapping her legs around his hips and bucking towards him as he readily complied.
Her naked back rubbed against the cool wood of the table as his thrusts gained speed, irritating her delicate skin. She hardly noticed, though; her whole being was entirely focused on the man driving her towards completion with every movement of his hips. Sinking her teeth into Hyde's shoulder, Jackie muffled a loud screech as her orgasm tore through her body.
The stab of pain in his shoulder nearly sent Hyde over the edge, but he held it in, clenching his teeth as Jackie's muscles pulsed with liquid heat around him. As soon as her shudders stopped, Hyde pulled out and flipped her over, driving into her heat again as she lay face down on the table. His hips nearly slammed into hers as he thrust against her, his movements becoming jerky and uncoordinated as she began to convulse against him again while a second orgasm burned through her body. One final thrust sent him over the edge, and he erupted inside her, calling her name loudly before collapsing on top of her.
Slowly, they slid onto the floor, still wrapped around each other as they panted.
"Marry me," he whispered as his breathing calmed down, and he reached for the ring on the counter, sliding it onto her outstretched finger. "Please, Jackie."
"Steven... I love you," she confessed, her eyes tearing with emotion. "But if you ever…" He cut her off before she could continue.
"Jackie," he stared into her eyes, "I won't, baby. I love you. I know that now." She smiled at the words, and especially at the way he spoke them so openly and sweetly.
"It'll take time, you know, to get back to normal," she told him, staring down at the floor. "We've been through a lot, and… I just…"
"You can have all the time you need, Jackie," he whispered to her, holding her tightly against him as a sense of peace swept over his body.
"Hey," Jackie pointed towards the counter where Miss Z was sitting, staring down at the sweaty couple. "Do you think it's alright for her to be watching us do it like that?"
Hyde laughed openly at her question, wrapping his arms more firmly around her as she curled into him. "Yeah, I think it's gonna be alright..."
Steven Hyde + Jackie Burkhart
And that's how you do that! So fuck you, season eight writers!
A/N2: Please keep your hands inside the roller coaster as it slowly comes to a stop. We hope you enjoyed the ride, those of you who didn't fall off or jump out screaming, and thank you so much for having faith in us. We truly appreciate it and we really hope you enjoyed it, at least at some point because we had a lot of fun writing it. And finally…Reviews are better than Naked Hyde proposing to Naked Jackie in front of a white, fluffy, pregnant bunny rabbit.
Well, goodbye folks. This is gah-linda and luvcali76 signing off…