I own nothing. I'm just borrowing them.
Some language. You've been warned.
This chapter is dedicated to three of the best Zennies in the world: luvcali, kayjay and casper. I don't quite understand the obsession with always being nice when it comes to the couple you love. We're Zennies, it's not in our nature to be nice. We're bad asses, remember. And frankly, after the way we were screwed by the writers I think we deserve to be angry. So I would just like to say we got screwed by the writers, we got screwed by other "fans" of T7S and I'm not going to play nice and kiss ass anymore. And if you want to leave me a review just to blow off some frustrated Zennie steam, I don't mind. Feel free to post how pissed you are for what happened to our couple or just post how much you hated Jackie and Fez. Whatever. And if you want to post how much you hate me or my story or Jackie and Hyde because it makes you feel cool, go ahead. Like Captain Jack Sparrow says, "sticks and stones, love."
It had gone by too quickly. The end of their second day in Point Place was approaching and Jackie and Hyde once again found themselves saying goodbye to Red and Kitty in the small hotel room. They stood, facing one another; Jackie holding onto Michelle and Kitty clutching at Red's hand.
"Now, you promise you won't leave without saying goodbye?" Kitty implored Hyde, not bothering to wipe the tears that had formed in her eyes.
All Hyde could do was nod. "I promise, we'll see you tomorrow."
"Alright," Kitty smiled sadly. "Let me have this precious girl," she asked Jackie, reaching her arms out towards Michelle.
The baby, in turn, reached out her arms hungrily towards Kitty; repeatedly opening and closing her little fists. Jackie giggled at her daughter and gave her over to Kitty. Watching the scene with a bittersweet grin, Hyde felt a nudge in his ribcage. He turned to see Red standing next to him gesturing towards the corner of the room with his head. Without hesitation, Hyde followed Red until they were out of earshot of the women.
"Steven," Red began tentatively, "there's something we need to talk about."
Out of nervous habit, Hyde cleared his throat and quickly glanced at Red's eyes, then just as quickly looked away. "Sure, Red. Yeah, anything."
"If something ..." Red's voice trailed off and he found himself swallowing hard. "If something happens to me, I want you to promise me you'll bring Kitty to Duluth with you and Jackie and Michelle."
It hit Hyde like a ton of bricks. Not only was Red talking about dying, but he was asking Hyde to look after the person most important in the world to him - his wife. It was an honor felt he didn't deserve. "Red. Why me? Why us, I mean, after what we did." What he really meant was - why not Eric.
As if Red could read his mind, he continued, "If I'm gone, I don't know if Eric will be able to ..." For a man who hated talking about emotions, this was a nearly impossible conversation to have. But Red couldn't put it off any longer. "Eric hasn't been the same since Kelso died. He's not dealing with all this," Red sighed and Hyde couldn't tell if it was out of frustration or sadness, "all this cancer crap very well."
Hyde felt a pit beginning to grow in his stomach. He could only imagine how Eric felt. To Eric, it was just one more person in his life he was losing. It seemed incredibly unfair. And despite what had taken place between the two of them, Hyde couldn't hate Eric. "Yeah. Yeah, whatever you want, Red. But, you're gonna be okay, I mean ... right?"
With typical Red Forman gruff, he gave Hyde an indignant snort. "Of course I'm going to be okay. Do you think God wants me up there in heaven pissing everyone off? He's going to leave me down here as long as he possibly can."
Hyde couldn't stop the chuckle that escaped from his lips. Red's expression suddenly softened and Hyde turned to see that Kitty was standing behind him.
"Is everything okay?" she asked, looking back and forth between the two men.
"Everything's fine, sweetheart," Red nodded before turning to Hyde with a conspiratorial glance and then gently guiding Kitty towards the door.
Stealing one last glance over her shoulder at Michelle, Kitty blew the little girl a kiss goodbye. The giggling toddler reached out to grab the imaginary kiss from the air, and then proceeded to slap it on her cheek. Jackie had to turn away before Michelle could see her tears, but they didn't go unnoticed by Hyde. He ground his teeth together until his jaw ached. Things shouldn't be this way. Michelle deserved to know Red and Kitty. He and Jackie deserved to have people to call "family". 'But then again,' his guilty mind reminded him, 'Kelso deserves to be alive.'
"We'll see you tomorrow," was all Kitty could bring herself to say.
"Yeah," Hyde smirked, calling upon every ounce of Zen he had left. "Tomorrow."
The small family sat around a wobbly hotel room table eating delivered pizza for what seemed like the one hundreth time in a row. Jackie and Hyde chewed in silence, but the little girl who had not yet learned that there were some things in life better left unsaid, pushed her pizza around on her plate and pouted.
"Why can't we take Grandpa Red and Grandma Kitty home with us?" Michelle asked with innocence in her huge blue eyes.
"You can take them with you in your heart, baby girl," Jackie smiled as she brushed a finger across her daughter's cheek.
Hyde pushed his plate across the table harder then he meant to sending it careening down towards the floor. He knew a tantrum was coming from his daughter, but part of him felt he might have one first.
"I don't wanna go. I stay." Michelle whined and stuck her plump lower lip out as far as it could do.
"Michelle," Jackie began, "we can't stay. We have to go home."
"No! Stay." She stomped for emphasis.
Jackie turned to Hyde, her eyes pleading with him to help. But Hyde could do nothing, the anger was bubbling up in him and the hotel room began to feel like a prison. A prison whose walls were closing in on him.
"I gotta get out of here." Hyde stated flatly as he grabbed Michelle and hoisted her up onto his hip.
"What? Steven, where are we supposed to go?"
Without looking back at Jackie, Hyde started towards the door. "Anywhere but here."
The snow was falling fast and it was falling thick. It took the windshield wipers on high speed to keep the glass clear. And even then, it was hard to see through the white flakes that rained down on Donna and Eric's car.
Donna took one hand off of the wheel to rub her eyes in a feeble attempt to help her focus on the road. She knew she'd had too much to drink, but she was more sober than Eric. And that was usually how they decided who drove. It wasn't who was sober, it was - who's less drunk.
"Stop at the liquor store, I wanna pick up some beer." Eric said, pointing out the window.
Without questioning, Donna simply turned the car in the direction of Eric's finger. Barely waiting until the car stopped, Eric flung his door opened and stepped out into the night.
"Get me some cigarettes, too." Donna called after him as he trudged his way through the snow. Eric threw one hand over his shoulder in a half-hearted wave that signified he had heard her.
Watching him go, Donna's lips drew out into a small smile. He'd actually been in a pretty good mood at the bar tonight. They'd joked a little about their respective crappy jobs. Eric at Price Mart and Donna at the radio station. The fact that they both worked the same jobs they had in high school wasn't lost on either of them. Both had been passed over for promotions more times than they could count. But, the fact that they even had jobs, considering how many times they had called in sick or showed up still drunk from the previous night's partying, was amazing.
Suddenly feeling cold as hell now that the car and the heat were off, Donna reached into the glove box and pulled out a bottle of brandy. It was their, "in case we break down" bottle. If they were stranded in a snowbank somewhere, at least they'd have something to do.
She opened the bottle and took a long pull off of it. It used to burn all the way down when she drank hard liquor. Now, there was nothing.
"Aw crap." She muttered to herself. She had forgotten to tell Eric to pick up some wine. Her dad was coming over tomorrow. Clutching her brandy bottle, Donna exited the car slamming the door behind her. As she walked towards the store, a family out for a walk in the park across the street caught her eye. She shook her head. "Morons." That was something Jackie had loved to do, take a walk in the snow. Stupid and pointless. Donna's preferred activity in the snow was brandy and a smoke. She stared at the family in disgust and reached for her cigarettes.
Free from their plainly decorated and somewhat tacky hotel room, Hyde felt like he could finally breathe. He tried to put aside thoughts of a world without Red Forman, he tried to forget about Eric and Donna; about Kelso. Steven Hyde just wanted a minute of peace; a second - if that was all he could get. A life in hiding had made him tired, and it seemed like eight years had finally caught up with him because he was completely exhausted. He stood in the middle of a park, one he had played in with Eric and Kelso almost his entire childhood, and he let the snow fall on his body.
"Isn't it beautiful, Steven?" Jackie asked tilting her head back and letting the flakes hit her on the face.
Michelle giggled at her mommy and even Hyde couldn't help but smirk at Jackie. Her dark hair covered in white specs and her face damp from the melted snowflakes. She looked so beautiful; an angel in the snow. Or the devil. Sometimes he wasn't sure which.
Jackie straightened her head back up and smiled at Hyde. She could see the way his eyes darted back and forth, looking. She crossed towards him lifting her feet up as she trudged through the thick snow. "It's a cold, snowy night in a park, Steven. Who in the world are we gonna see out here?" She gave Hyde her best teasing smile to let him know he needed to relax a little bit. Taking the hint, Hyde grabbed Michelle's tiny, little hand.
"You wanna go for a walk, angel?" he asked the little girl with a smirk.
"I'm gonna throw a snowball at you, Daddy," she smiled.
"Oh ya think so, huh?" Hyde chuckled. "Why don't you throw one at your mom since this little park stop was her idea." Jackie cocked an eyebrow at Hyde and grabbed his hand pulling herself in closer towards him.
"Because, it's funny to throw snow at you, Daddy. It gets stuck in your hair."
Jackie laughed and Hyde did his best to look annoyed at being dragged through the snow by two girls who were determined to white-wash his magic 'fro.
"Are we done with the nature walk yet, doll?" he asked Jackie with his best scowl. Just then, Michelle dropped Hyde's hand and ran a few feet in front of them, reaching down to fill her mittens with snow. She proceeded to spin around and throw it all at Hyde, covering his face and, of course, his hair.
"Yeah, " Jackie nodded with a grin as she took in the sight of a snow soaked Hyde, "I think we're done, now."
"You think that's funny?"
"Steven, I know that's funny." she nodded and tried not to laugh too hard as Hyde shook his head, trying to free the trapped snow flakes.
"See," Michelle grinned proudly as she pointed at her daddy's head, "stuck."
Hyde sprinted towards his little girl gathering her up in his arms and tossing her in the air as she squealed.
"Do it again, Daddy! Again!"
Hyde smiled and leaned in to whisper into Michelle's ear. She covered her mouth with her mittened hands and giggled as she nodded. Hyde and Michelle both turned to look at Jackie.
"Don't even think about it." Jackie cautioned, knowing what they were plotting. She decided a preemptive strike was her best bet so she reached down and grabbed her own handful of snow running towards Hyde to toss it in his face.
"Now you're gonna get it." Hyde called after Jackie as she ran in the opposite direction laughing the whole time. "Hold on, angel" Hyde winked at his daughter and she squealed again, clutching onto her father's arm. They took off running and reached Jackie quickly.
"Don't you dare, Steven!" she called over her shoulder, but it was too late. Without even stopping, Hyde scooped up Jackie with his free hand and ran with her underneath his arm.
"We got you, Mommy!"
Hyde ran along holding onto both of them, Michelle giggling and Jackie protesting to be put down. The further he ran the less Jackie protested and the more the toddler giggled. Finally, when he was pretty sure he was going to run into a tree if he kept going Hyde stopped and put a wiggling and out-of-breath Jackie back on the ground.
"Alright, things are startin' to freeze. Things I use a lot, if you know what I mean" Hyde smirked.
"Are you cold, baby?" Jackie purred at Hyde, inching closer towards him. She threw her arms around his neck and leaned into him. Giving him a smile that threatened to melt the snow beneath their feet, she began kissing him gently on the mouth.
Fatigue gone, he grinned against her lips and pulled her in closer towards him. "Not anymore."
Coming back out from the liquor store Donna was irritated to find the family that had caught her eye earlier was still there. She watched as they walked hand in hand through the snow. Another pull off of her brandy bottle seemed to lift the fog from her brain momentarily and she tried to focus in a little better on the threesome in the park.
There was something about them. Something that kept her staring at them. She felt as if every force in the universe was pulling her towards them. So she walked closer and closer, closing the distance between herself and the mysterious group. The little girl was so beautiful, she was probably the most beautiful child Donna had ever seen. Donna watched as the girl grabbed a handful of snow and ran towards her dad, tossing it in his face. Then, the father turned towards the little girl and scooped her up in his arms, throwing her into the air. It was only then that Donna could see the man's face. The beard was gone, the sideburns were practically unnoticeable and there were no sunglasses. But it was Hyde.
Donna stood frozen in the middle of the street. It couldn't be. It just wasn't possible. He couldn't be here, there was no way in hell the person standing fifty feet from her was Hyde. Donna was staring at him with morbid fascination and she let out an audible cry when the woman turned around and Donna could see that it was Jackie. She ran towards Hyde and the little girl in his arms. Donna watched as Jackie threw a handful of snow at Hyde and then took off running in the opposite direction. She could see Hyde's mouth moving, and although Donna couldn't hear what he was saying, she could tell he was laughing. He shifted the little girl over to one side and then took off, running, towards Jackie. When he finally reached her, he lifted her up with his free arm and carried her under his arm like a football.
She could hear Jackie's laughter.
And as Donna watched the perfect family playing in the snow her blood began to boil. 'How dare they,' she thought. How dare they be happy. It didn't make any sense. What in the hell were they doing here? They had no right to be here. Donna didn't even realize she was still standing in the middle of the street until she heard the high-pitched beep of a horn. She shook her head to lift the fog of booze and anger and stumbled back onto the sidewalk outside of the liquor store, never once taking her eyes off of Jackie and Hyde.
As Eric swung the door open and walked quickly outside he ran smack into Donna almost knocking both of them down. "Jesus, Donna. Good place to stand."
Donna was staring off into the distance, mesmerized by something. Eric followed her gaze and his eyes tried desperately to focus on what it was she was so interested in. The liquor had taken hold of Eric's vision and it seemed almost impossible to un-cross his eyes, but he could see a family in the park across the street having, what appeared to be, a snow ball fight.
"You wanna go join 'em?" Eric asked with a sarcastic bite.
It was then that Donna's head snapped back to look at Eric and he realized her eyes were on fire. "Look at them, Eric. Look hard."
"Who gives a shit, let's get in the car. I'm freezing my ass off out here."
Donna took Eric's face violently in her hands and tried to hold it steady allowing him a chance to watch the family in the snow. "Try to forget how shit-faced you are and just look." Donna was holding onto Eric's face so tightly he reached up to pull her hands away. And then he stopped.
"Son of a bitch," was all he could think to say.
It was Jackie and Hyde, and a little girl. "Damn," he muttered, "they have a kid." He almost smiled at the thought but Donna's voice snapped him out of it.
"What the hell are we gonna do, Eric?"
Eric sighed. He had played this moment out in his head so many times over the past eight years. But never in all the scenarios he had thought about, never had Jackie and Hyde looked so happy. Eric had always assumed Jackie and Hyde had ended up like he and Donna - bitter and angry at what life had done to them. But, as he watched them now, Hyde carefully setting Jackie down and Jackie reaching up to throw her arms around his neck and cover his face with kisses, Eric realized he couldn't have been more wrong about what Jackie and Hyde had become. And he wasn't sure what made him angrier. Knowing they were in Point Place, or knowing they were happy. Suddenly, Eric was just too tired and too drunk to even care.
"We're not gonna do a thing. We're gonna get in the car, and drive home and drink every single one of these god damned beers."
Donna shot him a deadly glare and hissed at him. "You go ahead and do that." And without even waiting for Eric to respond she headed out into the street and walked at a furious pace towards Jackie and Hyde. There was nothing for Eric to do but follow.
As Donna got closer she could see that Jackie and Hyde were locked tightly together, kissing each other more tenderly than Donna would have thought either of them capable of. Hyde held onto the little girl on his left side and ran his right hand up and down Jackie's back. To Donna they looked like something out of a movie, the image of the perfect family. She quickened her pace wanting to reach them before they broke apart and noticed she and Eric heading towards them.
When Donna finally stood within a few feet of Jackie and Hyde, she stopped. What was she going to say to them? She wished she hadn't drank so hard today, she couldn't seem to form a sentence that conveyed how much she despised Jackie and Hyde as they stood there, loving each other, in the snow. So Donna did the first thing she thought of. She tightened her grip around the bottle of brandy she still clutched in her hand and she hurled it at the nearest tree.
The sound of shattering glass was covered up by the sound of Jackie's scream. Immediately Hyde and Jackie broke apart. And before Hyde could even see where the noise had come from he tucked his daughter's head under his chin, sheltering her from whatever was out there. Next he pulled Jackie tightly to him and she buried her head in his chest. Hyde didn't have to look far to find the source of the chaos. Before him for the first time in eight years, were Eric and Donna.
Acting quickly and calmly, he handed Michelle to Jackie and then gave both of them a gentle shove to move them behind him, placing his body between Eric and Donna and Jackie and his daughter.
"What in the HELL are you doing here?" Donna screamed at the top of her lungs.
By this time, Eric had reached her side. The two of them were close enough that Hyde could smell the booze literally permeating the air around Eric and Donna. Hyde was completely bowled over at how terrible the two of them looked. 'What in the hell had happened to them?' was all he could think. They looked about ten years older then they should've and their faces were hard and hollow. His daughter's soft sobs brought Hyde back to reality and he turned to cup Jackie's face into his hands.
"I want you to get in the car and you stay there, do you understand me?" Hyde rubbed his thumbs along Jackie's jaw as he held her face, trying to calm her. It seemed to work, as she kept her eyes glued to Hyde's.
Jackie nodded quickly and squeezed Michelle a little tighter. Giving Hyde the quickest of kisses she turned and then ran through the snow towards the car.
Donna called, angrily, after her. "Jackie ... Jackie, stop!"
Jackie never once turned to look back. She opened the car door and set Michelle carefully inside and then climbed in after her, quickly pulling the door shut. The fact that she had been ignored seemed to only feed Donna's anger and she took off in the direction of the Hydes' car. Before she had even moved a foot, Hyde was in her path.
"Donna, I swear to God if you take one step closer ..." Hyde spoke so quietly and calmly it unnerved Donna. Yelling and screaming she understood, the calm - she didn't.
Standing so close to Hyde for the first time in so long, Donna was amazed at how good he looked. He looked fit and strong and he carried himself a little taller then she had remembered. There were no sunglasses masking his eyes, there was no Zen in his expression. He looked confident, sure of himself. Everything she knew she and Eric no longer conveyed. It made her hate him more.
Eric could tell Hyde meant what he said, so he grabbed Donna's arm and tried to pull her back. A sober Eric couldn't fight Hyde. There was no way a drunk Eric would be able to. And although Donna had a fondness for violence Eric just didn't care enough about Hyde to try and bash his face in. Especially when it was so painfully obvious to Eric that he would fail. Hyde had always been bigger and stronger than Eric. But now the difference between the two of them was even more noticeable. Hyde's body seemed to be built to kick ass. Eric's body looked beaten-down and tired. A fight would only end badly for Eric.
Perhaps Donna realized the same thing because she stopped her march towards Jackie and let herself be pulled back towards Eric. Why had they come here? She couldn't even think straight. She yanked off her glove and reached into her pocket grabbing out her cigarettes. With trembling hands she pulled one out of the box and lit it. Hyde stared at her the entire time, waiting for her to speak. When all she did was take a long drag on her cigarette, Hyde spoke instead.
"We're only here for the night and then we're leaving. So how about we just pretend we never saw each other and we can all just go back to our lives."
Eric was so drunk and so God damn cold he wanted to agree; but Donna wouldn't walk away so easily.
"Go back to our lives, Hyde? What about Kelso? Remember him, the guy who no longer has a life to go back to."
"I remember, Donna. See, unlike you two, judging by the looks of you, I haven't spent the past eight years trying to drink myself into forgetting. I remember Kelso. And I remember us. All of us. And there isn't a day that goes by that I don't wish Kelso was still alive."
Eric couldn't believe Hyde could stand their and judge he and Donna after all the damage he and Jackie had done. "What a self-righteous son of a bitch you are, Hyde." Eric said, with a snort.
Hyde wasn't done with Eric and Donna yet. "Jackie and I have a good life. And we've forgiven ourselves for whatever part we played in Kelso's death. And we've forgiven you two and that's the end of it for us. You might wanna try it." Hyde looked the couple in front of him up and down, trying to think of who they reminded him of. "It doesn't really look like your way is working."
And then it hit him - Bud and Edna. Eric and Donna reminded him of Bud and Edna. Drunk, and worn-out and angry at everything.
And with that, Hyde turned to leave. There was simply nothing left to say. If Hyde thought Eric and Donna would forgive him and Jackie, he would've stood out in the cold talking until he was blue in the face. But it only took one look into Eric and Donna's lifeless eyes to realize there would be no forgiveness.
Donna could've let it go, but she had eight years of anger inside of her and she was going to let it out on Hyde. "You've forgiven yourselves?" She laughed, bitterly and watched as Hyde slowly turned back around to face her. "Well isn't that so great for you guys." She tossed her cigarette in the snow and took a step towards Hyde. "See, we'd like to forgive you two. But we're not really into forgiving murderers. I guess Eric and I are kinda funny that way."
"Donna." Hyde sighed, not wanting to sound patronizing but wanting to help the two completely defeated people who were once his best friends. "It'll destroy you." His blue eyes bared into her and she suddenly wished he still had sunglasses on. "If you don't make peace with what happened, it'll destroy you."
The words seemed lost on Eric and Donna as their expressions remained unchanged. And Hyde knew then, that it was too late. His words were too late. It had already happened.
Hyde resumed his walk towards his car expecting, but never hearing another word from either Eric or Donna. When he reached the car, he opened the door and climbed in. He shut the door behind him and turned to Jackie and his little girl. They both stared at him with identical eyes. He gave them a weak smile and kissed each quickly before starting the car. He hoped his daughter hadn't been able to hear the argument. With one last turn over his shoulder he silently said good-bye to Eric and Donna. Jackie followed Hyde's eyes and looked for herself.
It made her heart break to see them that way. And she thanked God, again, for that priest who had forced her all those years ago to stop blaming and stop hating. 'That,' she thought as she stared at Eric and Donna, 'is what hate does to you.'
Pacing the floor of her apartment, cigarette in hand, Donna practically wore out the dingy carpet underneath her stomping feet. Eric watched her silently from his place at the table. He knew her well enough to know that he should just leave her be. So, instead of trying to talk to her, he finished off another beer. Had he looked up, he would have seen his wife wiping a wayward tear from her flushed cheek.
"I can't believe they came back here." Donna said for what Eric was sure was the tenth time. "They have no right to be here."
She didn't even let him finish. "They were happy, Eric. Did you see them playing with their kid? They're happy. They're not supposed to be happy."
Donna couldn't get the images out of her mind. Hyde tossing his daughter in the air as she squealed. Jackie caressing Hyde's face and kissing him, tenderly. The way Hyde had instinctively protected Jackie and their little girl, the way he held them both. As the images flashed through Donna's brain, they meshed with the fog of alcohol and the images of Kelso. Kelso, being beaten in the Forman's driveway by Hyde. Kelso, his face a bloody mess as he lay by the side of the road. The combination of the images of Hyde and Kelso waged a battle in Donna's mind; the alcohol only acting to blur the images of the two men.
And then she thought of Jackie and Hyde's daughter. Their beautiful, perfect daughter. Donna had never gotten to meet her daughter, or son. She had never even known what sex her two lost babies had been. Why had two children been taken from her when Jackie had been given one? There was no fairness in life. If there were, she would never be forced to make the decision she was about to make.
She knew what she had to do. Jackie and Hyde weren't going to get their happy ending. Not if Kelso didn't get one. Not if she and Eric didn't get one.
Blindly, she crossed the room quickly tripping over Eric's feet in the process.
"Donna, what the hell are you doing?"
"I ... I have to," was all she could come up with.
She picked up the phone sitting on their coffee table and dialed the number she had memorized eight years ago. And then, she waited.
"Officer Williams? It's Donna Forman. I just thought you might want to know Steven Hyde's back in town."
I know. I'm mean.
Please review :)