A/N : Okay, confession time, I actually wrote this over the Christmas/New Year break. Not sure where it came from, just an idea that formed in my head over a couple of days and demanded to be written. Still, when it was done, I didn't quite feel ready to post it. Since I've now finished posting 'Something Better Than This' and it got a good response from those that read/reviewed, I think it's time to give this a go. Just a short piece, one part posted now, the other to follow next Sunday, since I'd like to get some reaction to the beginning first. I trust you peops to tell me - does it rock or does it suck?
Disclaimer : All recognisable characters from 'That 70's Show' do not belong to me in any way at all.
Talking To An Angel
PART 1 of 2
"I can't take this, man!" Steven Hyde yelled at no-one in particular as he sat on his bed with his head in his hands, "How did I end up like this?!" he asked rhetorically, jumping violently when someone actually answered his question.
"You fell in love, that's how" said the short bearded man in the white suit who now stood beside him, having seemingly appeared from nowhere.
"What the hell?!" Hyde exclaimed, looking over at the freaky guy, "Did I smoke more than I thought today?" he checked, trying to recall.
Maybe that new stuff he'd bought was more 'special' than he'd reckoned on.
"Steven Hyde" the bearded guy smiled, hands clasped behind his back, "Well now, you are an interesting case" he said with a sigh, "You were barely on our radar for a while there, but since you fell in love with Jackie Burkhart, you've definitely changed, and now you need our help"
"Look man, I don't know who the frickin' hell you are, but you got the wrong guy" Hyde explained as he got to his feet, "I don't need anybody's help, and as for love, I don't think I even know what that is"
"Steven" the white-suited man sighed, "Love is what you and Jackie felt for each other, perhaps what you still feel..."
"Okay, now you're pissing me off" Hyde said suddenly turning on the stranger with an angry look, pointing a finger in his face, "Nobody calls me Steven, and nobody tells me what I feel, okay, freakazoid?" he said threateningly.
His eyes nearly popped out of his head when the guy he was yelling at disappeared and suddenly reappeared behind him, tapping his shoulder to get his attention.
"When you're quite finished being rude and obnoxious" he rolled his eyes at the younger man, "I might explain to you why I'm here"
"Yeah?" Hyde pretended to look like he cared before letting the expression slide, "Well, I might not care why you're here, so how about you save us both some time and just scram already" he suggested.
"I suppose I could" the stranger looked to be considering it, before meeting Hyde's eyes and smiling, "Or I could fulfil my job as an angel, and help you like I was sent here to do"
"An angel?" Hyde scoffed, not really believing it at all, "I saw a more heavenly body when Big Rhonda followed us to the swimming baths" he smirked at his own joke, but the apparent angel looked so serious, "Damn, what kind of freaky trip am I even on?" Hyde asked himself, looking away and rubbing his eyes with the back of his hand.
"Okay, time for the big guns" the angel sighed, and when Hyde turned around he found the little guy in white to be floating three feet off the ground, glowing with a bright light, a ring of gold about his head.
"What the...?!" he began but was too stunned to even finish the sentence.
"Steven James Hyde" the angel said sweetly, or as sweetly as a short, hairy, freakish guy could say anything, "Blessed and misguided child" he continued, "I have been summoned here to ease your broken heart, and ensure a mistake that has been made is mended"
Hyde watched curiously and with confusion as the light dissipated and the angel floated back down to the ground, landing beside him.
"Okay" he said, thumbs in his belt-loops as he looked the other guy over, "Let's say for a minute that you are an angel" he considered, "Why would you wanna help a guy like me out?"
"The world is not as it should be anymore" the angel explained with a shake of his head, "Plans that the almighty powers that be had were ruined by interference from the other side" he explained, a finger pointing downwards.
"What does that have to do with me?" Hyde asked, still not understanding, "I got my own problems to worry about"
"Your problems are our problems, Ste..., er, Hyde" the angel corrected himself as the menace returned to Hyde's eyes, "For the world to be in alignment, to be balanced and as it should be, you must be with your true love"
"Tough luck, Colonel Sanders" Hyde sneered, "I don't have a true love, I don't even have a fake love anymore" he yelled, "Me and Jackie, we're through, forever" he explained angrily.
"You don't mean that" the angel told him calmly, which only made Hyde more mad about the whole thing.
"Yeah, actually, I do mean that!" he shouted, right in the messengers face, "In fact, I wish I never let Jackie Burkhart get so close to me! That stupid damn Prom, that was when this started, I wish I'd never took her there!"
"Fine, that's the way you want it, then that's the way it'll be" the angel told him with a nod.
Hyde was soon much calmer, and again confused.
"What?" he asked looking baffled, "What, are you just gonna snap your fingers and re-write history?" he asked, seemingly amused by now.
"I am an angel" he was reminded by the shorter man, "I have the power to do almost anything" he explained, "You wish you never took Jackie Burkhart to your Junior Prom? Well, how about we take a look at what your life might've been if you never had" he said, with some distaste at their surroundings.
"Sure, why not?" Hyde shrugged, standing toe to toe with the angel, accepting what he took to be some kind of challenge, "Take me to the happy place where Jackie never bugged me, or cried on me, or made me think I actually had feelings for her"
"Very well" the angel smiled, "Here we go..."
"Look Hyde" Jackie was saying, as a future version of Hyde along with his angel guide appeared behind the couch, "I know we've had our differences" she told the younger Steven, "but..."
"Jackie" he interrupted her, as his older-self watched in astonishment, it was hard to believe this was really happening, that he was watching himself and Jackie play out a scene he remembered so well, "We've had nothing but differences! In fact, don't we kind of hate each other?" the '77 Hyde told the girl beside him, the much more vulnerable Jackie that wasn't much seen anymore in the time Hyde had travelled back from to see all this again.
"Yes, but this is the Prom!" the little brunette cried, leaning forward, her head not quite landing on Hyde's shoulder as he swiftly got up from the couch and walked away.
His future self looked between the two shadows of the past, then at the angel, and back at himself as he walked away up the basement steps.
"That never happened" he said shaking his head, "I didn't walk out on her, and she... man, she was really crying" he winced as he looked down at Jackie, all tear-stained and apparently genuinely upset by now.
"You said you wished you never took her to Prom" the angel shrugged his shoulders, "You thought life would be better if you hadn't, so here it is, kid, your wish come true"
"Jackie..." Hyde said more to himself than to her as she sobbed into her hands.
He reached a hand out to her shoulder but the angel stopped him making contact.
"She can't hear you, or feel you," he rolled his eyes, "dumbass" he muttered under his breath as Hyde glared at him, "This is what could've been, Hyde, not what is. We're just observers, we're not a part of this"
"Whatever, man" Hyde shook his head, retracting his hand and using it to push his hair back instead, "So what now? You fixed it, we go back to the future, and everything's okay, right? I never took Jackie to Prom, my life is fixed"
"Oh, you think it's that simple, huh?" the angel smirked, "Wrong, Mr Hyde" he told him with a shake of the head, putting his hand on the boy's shoulder, "Oh so very wrong"
(a few weeks later)
"Now what?" Hyde asked the angel as they suddenly appeared in the Formans' living room.
"Listen, watch, and learn" he was instructed by the man in white who pointed towards the door.
"I'm not afraid of anything, and I'm going!" Hyde heard his younger self yell as he stormed in from the kitchen, almost bowling over Jackie who was coming the other way with a drink in her hand.
"Hyde!" she squealed, "You almost made me spill this on my expensive clothes, you idiot!" she complained.
"Oh, I'm so sorry" Hyde dead-panned, though the edge of anger in his tone spoilt the effect.
He was going to walk straight across the room and out of the front door, but her voice calling to him made him stop.
"What's gotten you so mad?" she asked.
She shouldn't care, she knew she shouldn't. It wasn't like she and Steven Hyde were friends, in fact these days she barely spent any time in the basement with the gang, not since she and Michael had broken up and he'd taken Pam Macey to Prom. Jackie herself had not attended, and it was Hyde, her last resort, refusing to take her, that had made her really face up to the fact her life had changed. She'd hated him for it at first, but then she realised he'd actually helped her.
"Everybody thinks they can tell me what to do" Hyde complained from across the room, as his future self and the angel watched the scene unfold, "I'm not a kid anymore, I can do what I want"
"What do you want to do?" Jackie asked curiously as she moved across the room and put down Mrs Forman's drink on the table.
Hyde met her on the couch and they sat down together. He may as well talk to her, nobody else was listening. Maybe an outsiders view was what he needed and it wasn't like Jackie would care about him getting mugged or spat on in the Big Apple.
"I met this girl" he explained, "She's amazing, and she's going to New York to start a punk band. She asked me to go with her" he explained.
"Eeew" Jackie wrinkled her nose, "A punk band?"
"Why am I even talking to you?" Hyde rolled his eyes as he got up from the couch and made to walk away, realising what an idiot he'd been even contemplating having a serious conversation with the cheerleader.
"Hyde, wait" she urged him and he turned back, though he remained holding the front door open ready for a hasty exit, "You should follow your dreams while you have the chance. It's easy for dreams to get broken" Jackie told him, knowing it was true. She'd dreamt of a perfect life with Michael Kelso, but that vision had been shattered a while ago now.
"Thanks, Jackie" Hyde smiled at her, maybe the first genuine smile she'd ever seen on his face, "I'll see you around, doll" he said before finally leaving, as Jackie stared after him, a shaky smile on her lips.
"Okay, first of all" the future Hyde snapped at the angel, "Stop trying to make me feel bad by having Jackie all teary in every little 'movie scene' you show me" he told him, "and second, you just proved me right, man!"
"Really?" the angel asked with fake interest, "And how exactly did I do that?"
"I never took Jackie to the Prom, and now look at me" he gestured towards the door through which he had watched himself pass, "I'm headed to New York with Chrissy, livin' the dream!"
"Not quite" the angel shook his head, "Let's take a little hop and a skip forward, and see where things went from here..."
"Where are we?" Hyde asked, as he and the angel popped up in a new location.
"More specifically I think you mean 'when' are we" the apparent heavenly entity suggested, "and that would be just six short months after your escape to the Big Apple that never was"
"Never was?" Hyde frowned, opening his mouth to ask for an explanation but never actually doing it as he got his bearings and realised he was in the darkened surroundings of the Formans' basement and a figure of a young man he knew very well was just now waking up on the couch.
"Steven?" a voice called from above and suddenly Kitty appeared, moving around the couch to switch on the light and then coming back to address her son's friend, "Steven, honey, are you awake?"
"I guess, kind of" Hyde muttered from beneath his jacket and a blanket that appeared to have been haphazardly thrown over him, "What time is it?"
"Well, sweetheart, it's almost time for lunch" she said with that kind smile that she did so well, "Are you hungry?"
"I could eat" Hyde nodded as he pulled himself up from the couch and headed for the stairs.
"If you could just be a little quiet when you go up, Steven" Kitty urged himas he lurched awkwardly up the steps, "Eric's still in bed"
"What the hell is going on here?" the older version of Hyde asked his angelic companion, "Why are me and Forman both still sleeping in so late?" he checked, before the frown on his face turned into a grin, "Did we get wasted last night? Red must be steaming mad"
"Red's not here to yell, Hyde" the man in white explained, "All the shocks and stress he's had over the past few months have taken a toll"
"What do you mean by that?" Hyde asked, almost afraid of the answer, though he would never admit to such fear.
The angel didn't say a word, just clicked his fingers and landed the pair of them outside a hospital room. Through the closed doors Hyde could hear yelling in Red's own voice, calling the doctor a dumbass, and cursing everything in sight.
"I know I had a damn heart attack, but I don't wanna stay in this God forsaken place anymore!" he bellowed as Hyde looked stunned and turned to the angel beside him.
"Heart attack? This didn't happen" he frowned, "and there is no way it would just cos I didn't take Jackie to a stupid Prom!"
"Every action has a consequence, Hyde" his new 'friend' reminded him, "All the little things add up, and lead to big things"
"No, no way, I'm not buying this crap! I'm outta here" he declared, turning to walk away.
A snap of the angel's fingers brought him right back to where he started from at the end of the corridor.
"You didn't take Jackie to Prom, which meant she never saw Kelso there, and they never got back together" the bearded guy explained patiently to his far less patient companion, "Kelso stayed with Pam Macey, meaning he didn't feel the need to cheat with Laurie" he said, images of all this passing by Hyde as if he were walking through a movie, "Instead, Laurie used Fez, and an accident led to her being pregnant with his child" the angel told Hyde, who looked comically stunned at the sight of his little foreign friend and Forman's whoreish sister with an expanding belly, "At the same time, things got strained between Eric and Donna, she didn't have Jackie to turn to since she'd moved on to a new guy and didn't hang out at the basement anymore. Things just broke down between those two crazy kids, no one was around to help out or give advice, and before you know it, they were over"
"Damn" Hyde physically winced as he saw a muted version of his friends final argument as they broke up for good.
"All this took it's toll on Red, in a physical way" the angel said, as Hyde was forced to watch his father figure drop to the ground with pains to his chest, "and someone else in another way" he heard the angel's voice say as he watched himself, guzzling stolen beers and smoking way more than he was used to, not in a circle with his good friends, laughing and joking, but by himself in his back room of the basement, looking angry and upset all the time.
As the pictures faded from around him, Hyde was left standing in his basement bedroom, back where he'd started his journey with the angel.
"Okay, man, I get it, I learnt the crappy Christmas Carol lesson" he sighed, "If wishing I never took Jackie to Prom leads to all that pain for me and the world then I take it back, or whatever" he said with half-hearted enthusiasm as he moved to sit down on his bed.
The angel swiftly grabbed his arm and pulled him back to his feet.
"Oh no, you've only had half the lesson" the angel smirked, "You may have seen what the past might've been, but there's a place still left to face" he announced over-enthusiastically as he raised a hand to the ceiling and violently loud punk/rock music blared something about a White Wedding.
"What the hell?" Hyde asked, in the general direction of the ceiling from which the music seemed to emanate, though honestly the song sounded pretty cool.
"We're going into the future" the angel told him with a smile, "Hold on tight"
...To Be Continued...