A/N : I Really have to learn not to be so easily distracted! Again, I must apaologise that this chapter is late, and also that this is in fact the last chapter. There is more I could do with this story, but I could see it fast becoming a carbon copy of series five if I continued, and I didn't want that. Basically in the eight chapters here I have done what I set out to do, brought Jackie and Hyde together in a new and hopefully interesting way, earlier than they got together on the show. This was my goal, and I think I have acheived it, therefore, this is the end...
(For disclaimer, etc. - see chapter 1)
Chapter 8 - The Fall-Out
"Oh, burn!" Kelso exclaimed, "Oh that is the best prank of the whole frickin' day, man!" he yelled, laughing loudly.
Eric and Kitty shared a troubled look. From what they were seeing, it didn't look much like a prank, it just seemed that Jackie and Steven were in love as they kissed passionately in the driveway.
"Er, Kelso..." Eric began awkwardly, taking the other young mans attention from the kissing couple, "I don't think that they're... I don't think that's a prank"
"Oh, come on, Eric!" Kelso rolled his eyes, still laughing, "Like Jackie would seriously want to kiss Hyde like that!"
"Well, y'know, honey" Kitty said carefully, "they've been spending a lot of time together lately and..."
"No! No way!" Kelso protested, looking back out the screen door at his friend and ex-girlfriend, still lost in a moment together, "I'll kill him" he said suddenly, rushing from the door which opened with more ease than he'd expected and he tumbled through almost falling to the ground. He righted himself just in time and faced Hyde who had been distracted from kissing Jackie by the loud clattering of Kelso joining them in the driveway.
"Michael" Jackie yelped, guessing he'd seen her with Steven and worrying what his reaction might be.
Sure, she'd dumped his sorry ass, and she could be with any man she wanted, but she had enough heart and left-over love for Michael that she didn't want him to find out about her feelings for Steven in such a way, she would rather have told him herself.
"You're dead, Hyde!" Kelso growled as he scrambled to grab at his so-called friend.
Hyde just pushed on the other boys back as he tried to get up, sending him sprawling on the ground once again.
"Hey, cool it, man" he instructed him, "What is your problem?"
"My problem?!" Kelso echoed, looking up from the ground, "You're kissing my girl!"
"No, Michael!" Jackie shrieked at him, "I am not your girl, I dumped you remember, we are so over" she reminded him and Kelso looked somewhat less angry and a lot more sad as he was finally allowed to get to his feet.
"But..." he began, as he looked at his best friend and ex-girl standing there with an arm around each other still.
They hadn't done anything wrong, not really. Jackie was right, they were broken up, but he'd always thought they'd get back together someday though, they always did.
"But, you hate Hyde" he said lamely, knowing that couldn't be true anymore since he'd just witnessed a rather spectacular game of tonsil hockey through the screen-door.
"No, Michael" Jackie shook her head, feeling at least a little bad for Kelso by now, "I did hate him, at least I think I did, but that was a long time ago"
"Yeah, man" Hyde agreed, "The hate thing, it kinda blew itself out. I like her now" he said, careful of exactly what he said.
Even though he knew he liked her an awful lot, and could even be falling for her, Hyde wasn't ready yet to be spilling out words of true love. If that came later, so be it, but it'd be a long time coming.
"We like each other, a lot" Jackie confirmed, feeling stronger just because Steven's arm was around her, holding her close, "We didn't do this to hurt you, Michael, we..."
"Whatever" Kelso waved his arm in a non-caring gesture as he strode away, tears evident in his eyes.
"Michael, wait!" Jackie called behind him, hating that she'd caused him pain, even if she shouldn't care after all the times he'd made her cry. Besides, they were broken up, she had every right to move on.
"Wow, guys" Eric appeared from the kitchen, smiling so much he was almost laughing, "Great prank, like the best one yet"
"Forman" Hyde sighed, "You know it's not a prank"
"Oh, come on" Eric rolled his eyes, "You and Jackie? That's like.. that's like... it's like you've gone over to the dark side, man!" he said in a faux whisper aimed at Hyde which Jackie could so obviously hear anyway.
"Well, I think it's just wonderful" Kitty gave her opinion, since it seemed everybody else was going to, "I'm just, I'm so very happy to see you with a nice girl, Steven. Besides, there ought to be at least one happy young couple around here" she said, trademark laugh following on from her sentence as she made a point of not looking at her own son.
"Thanks, Mrs Forman" Hyde smiled at her, "You may be the only one who thinks it's so wonderful"
"No, she's not" Jackie told him, "I think we're wonderful too" she smiled, and he smiled back before kissing her briefly.
"Aaaw" Kitty smiled, "You two are just so cute together, I don't know why it didn't work out the first time around" she said with a sigh as she went back into the kitchen to continue her housework.
"Mom!" Eric complained, as he turned and followed her, "Don't encourage them!" he was saying as the screen-door slammed shut behind him.
Back out on the driveway, Jackie looked down the street where Kelso had gone and let out a sigh.
"I never meant to hurt him" she said sadly, "I didn't plan any of this, I just, I was talking to Donna, and the more I talked about you, the more I realised, I couldn't stick to that stupid deal we had. I don't want us to just be friends anymore"
"Yeah, me and Fez pretty much had the same conversation" Hyde admitted as they began walking back to the basement together, his arm still around her.
"Who knew the lumberjack and the foreign kid could be good relationship councillors?" Jackie said thoughtfully, as Hyde grinned at her bizarre wording.
Sure she could be annoying as hell, and way too into her girlie crap like pink glitter and unicorns, but there was more to this chick than he gave her credit for. Maybe they could make it work in the long term, only time would tell.
"No way, Mom!" Eric whined to Kitty as he stood by the counter watching her ice cup-cakes with chocolate icing, "No way are Hyde and Jackie in love. Okay, Hyde doesn't even believe in love!"
"Oh sure he does, sweetheart" his mother told him, "He believes in it, he's just, well, he hasn't had too much of it, and maybe he gets a little scared of admitting his feelings. Y'know the way his mother and father treated him, I'm surprised that boy's not a complete emotional wreck" she said in a low voice, just in case anybody around might hear, not that there was anyone that could.
"I'm sorry, Mom, but Jackie and Hyde together?" Eric told her, "That is never going to be normal"
"Well, y'know, some people thought you and Donna shouldn't be together" Kitty reminded him.
"And obviously they shouldn't" Red said as he strolled through the kitchen to the table and sat himself down with the newspaper, "She was too good for you, Eric, everybody could see it but you"
"Thanks, Dad" Eric nodded, sarcasm evident in his tone, not that Red seemed to notice or care.
"Oh Red, it's wonderful" his wife told him excitedly, the grin she wore threatening to split her face in two as she bounced up and down like she were a spring-loaded toy, "Steven has a girlfriend"
"Alright, Steven" Red smiled, "Y'know I was starting to worry about that boy. Could be that a nice young woman in his life is what he needs to really straighten him out"
"Yeah, 'cept he hasn't got a 'nice young woman'" Eric air-quoted, "He's got Jackie" he said distastefully, unable to hold back the involuntary shudder that ran through him.
"Jackie?" Red said thoughtfully, realising that that names of Eric's friends really didn't stick in his head correctly anymore, there were just too many of these damn kids hanging around his home lately!
"Yes, Red, you remember Jackie" Kitty urged him, "Short, dark hair, a little bossy, but in a sweet way, I think" she said awkwardly.
"Oh, right" her husband nodded, "The one I like, the one who can hold a flash light, and is always polite and honest" he smiled as he went back to his newspaper.
Eric just looked between his parents who seemed not only to be happy that Hyde and Jackie were together, but they were able to carry on as if it were a normal day.
"Come on, guys, don't you know what this means?!" he asked over-dramatically, "Jackie and Hyde together? That's like a sign! A sign that the end of the world as we know it is on it's way!"
"Oh, Eric, are you okay?" Fez asked as he appeared from the basement, "You are turning a strange mixture of colours" he noted, "And they do not go with your outfit" when Eric didn't reply, Fez simply ignored him and approached Kitty, "Miss Kitty, I cannot stay in the basement, may I sit up here and have some cake?"
"Well, of course, Fez, honey" she smiled, handing the boy a cup-cake, "but why can't you sit in the basement like you were before?"
"Oh, because Hyde said I was not allowed to watch him and Jackie making out" he told the Formans' with a sigh, "He is a strange boy, no?"
"Maybe we should've let Fez stay down here" Jackie sighed, "It was a little mean kicking him out"
"You want an audience when we're together?" Hyde frowned slightly before smiling, "Cos I guess I could get into that"
"Steven!" Jackie complained, swatting him across the chest, "No! I just, I don't want to upset anymore of our friends" she said, the look on her face telling Hyde exactly what she meant.
"Jackie, you can't worry about Kelso" he told her, "He didn't worry about you when he cheated on you, or let you down, or made you cry"
"He did do that stuff a lot" she nodded, "You love me too much to do that to me, right Steven?"
"Sure thing, doll" he said, leaning in to kiss her once again, "Wait a second, love?" he said, backing off suddenly, "No, no way, I'm not..."
"Steven!" Jackie complained, "Just shut up and kiss me" she urged him, and despite his better judgement, he did just that.
After all, what was there to fight over. What he might feel, what she might feel. What they had was cool, and for now it worked, as undefined as it was. As to the rest, they'd worry about that later, if they had too. This was better than it had ever been for either of them right now, and Kelso, and Eric, and everybody else could say and do what they wanted, right now Jackie and Steven couldn't care less. There seemed no point in spoiling what they had with talking when they could be kissing each other.
Nothing was better than this.