A/N : Wow, so many reviews! It rocks that you all like my story, thanx so much! I just hope the second half is as popular...
(For disclaimer, etc. - see Part 1)
Talking To An Angel
PART 2 of 2
"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"
"Woah" Hyde gasped as he looked around at the scene he'd landed in, "Donna?" he said in astonishment as he watched her, the material of her white wedding dress swirling around her legs as she turned to reveal she was in fact heavily pregnant, "I thought you said her and Forman were over, man. Now they're getting married, and having a kid" Hyde smiled with self-satisfaction at the angel who looked less happy.
"Sure, that much is true" he agreed, "but keep watching"
Hyde did as he was told, for maybe the first time in his life, as Bob entered the Pinciottis' living room and faced his daughter.
"You okay, sweetheart?" he asked her, as the red-head sighed.
"I guess" she smiled half-heartedly, "I mean, I know we have to get married, it's the right thing, and it's not like I don't still love Eric, I do, it's just..." her voice wavered and she glanced away for a moment before turning back to her Dad, "I'm fine" she forced a smile, "Really, it'll be great"
"I'm not buyin' that tone, man" Hyde shook his head, almost in unison with his future self who appeared in the doorway just as Bob left through the other one.
"This wasn't exactly the plan" Donna admitted as he came over to hug her and she finally let the tears fall, "I just wish I knew for sure that this was Eric's baby"
"Donna, he already told you he wouldn't care either way" her friend told her as he rubbed her back, "He still loves you, doll, just like you still love him, right?"
"Yeah" the red-head admitted, sniffing as she pulled out of his arms, "How come you always know how to say what I need to hear, and you're always fixing up other couples problems, yet there's never a steady girl for you?"
"You're startin' to sound like a real Mrs Forman now" Hyde smirked as Donna popped him in the arm for his comment, "And it's cool y'know, one day maybe I'll find the woman I'm supposed to be with. Right now, I'm okay being just me" he told her, as Bob returned to the room and told his daughter and Hyde they were needed, the ceremony was about to start.
As they all left the room, Hyde turned to his angel companion.
"I guess I got over the depression, huh?" he said, "And without any help from Jackie, since I don't see her around here, and Donna just said I don't have a woman"
"You got through your rough times" the angel conceded, "all of you did, and all in all today is a pretty happy day..." he said as he waved a hand and the scene faded from the Pinciottis' house through a wedding ceremony before the two of them landed in the Formans' back yard where the reception was taking place.
Donna and Eric stood together, laughing and smiling, along with Kitty and Red who looked much better than he had in the last scene. Then there was a slightly over-weight Kelso with a less-hot Pam Macey, they didn't seem to be getting along so well, though the way they alternated from yelling to making out, Hyde could barely keep up. Finally Laurie and Fez shared the porch swing, a small child of five or six sitting between them giggling. Shockingly they looked the most happy of anybody there.
It was then Hyde spotted himself, standing in the corner of the yard, with a bottle of beer in his hand that he was swigging from every now and then. He wasn't wearing the tinted glasses that were so often glued to his face back in '78, and Hyde saw pain in his future-self's eyes as he watched the happy couples and families that lie before him. He was about to say something to the angel about it when the older version of himself seemed to suddenly need a break from the celebrations and slipped away out of the back gate.
Without thinking, Hyde followed himself and was almost as startled as his future-self when he bumped into a woman who'd been hovering just beyond the fence.
"Oh, I'm sorry" the little brunette apologised, "I was just... Oh my God, Steven Hyde?" she said suddenly, her hand going to her face as she looked at him with wide eyes.
"Do I know...?" he began to ask before realising who she was, "Oh man, Jackie Burkhart" he smiled, "It's been a while"
"It really has" she agreed with a nod, "I just, I heard that Donna and Eric were getting married, I thought I'd pop by, say congratulations" she explained, "but then I got this far and... it's silly really, I shouldn't even have come here, I mean, it's not like we were ever best friends or anything"
"You should still go in, say hi" Hyde told her, "Y'know I think Donna missed you when you stopped hanging out with us"
"I missed her too" Jackie admitted, "In fact, I kinda missed... y'know, everybody" she said at length, though the look in her eyes suggested she hadn't literally meant the whole gang, perhaps just the member of it to whom she was speaking.
"Yeah" Hyde said, shifting awkwardly, "Well, I should get back in there so, it was nice seeing you, Jackie" he said, holding out a hand for her to shake.
With her right hand preoccupied holding the purse on her shoulder, she offered her left, almost blinding Hyde with the ring on her finger.
"Wow, that's some rock" he said, almost bitterly, perhaps not just because Jackie was getting married and he cared about her, moreover because here was another person who was moving on with life, finding happiness, getting married, having kids.
The Hyde from the seventies wondered how he ever got to a place where he'd be jealous of people like that, but since he started dating Jackie he really had thought about the future a lot. He wouldn't admit it, but it was true, and this version of himself now had the same problem. He wanted a happy ever after future somehow, yet he knew he'd never have the kind of thing Eric and Donna, or Fez and Laurie had found. They'd known each other years, got to know each other so well. Donna was the only friend that Hyde had like that, and in his world he'd had Jackie...
As Jackie began to explain how she was marrying some rich guy just like she always wanted the scene grew blurry and faded to grey, til Hyde and the angel were standing in nothingness.
"What exactly are you trying to show me now?" he asked, almost angrily, "I get it, okay? I got it before and I told you I did! I shouldn't have wished never to date Jackie, my life would suck without her!" he yelled in frustration, "Just like it does anyway because I screwed up and cheated on her!"
"Hey now, don't shoot the messenger" the angel backed up a step, hands raised in surrender as Hyde came at him with a nasty expression, "Hyde, I told you before, knowing you need Jackie in your life is only half the lesson. We have one more trip to make, then hopefully you'll understand part two of the message"
"One more trip, huh?" he checked, still glowering, "Fine" he sighed in apparent defeat, "Let's take the trip, and then maybe you'll leave me the hell alone"
"Deal" the angel nodded once as the scene shifted again and the two men passed through time.
"Steven Hyde, welcome to your ten year High School Reunion" the angel announced as they landed in a hall with a banner stating what this particular event was for.
"What the hell, man?" Hyde said for maybe the twentieth time on this trip, "What happened to Fez's hair?!"
"One day you'll understand" the angel assured him with a pat on the shoulder, as Fez walked by sporting a Flock of Seagulls do.
Eric was not far away with Donna, telling anybody who would listen about how happy they were now with great jobs, and a house, and kids. It seemed as though Kelso and Pam were still together, but only just, and neither had the looks they were famous for a decade ago.
"If I'm not at this thing, why am I here?" Hyde asked the angel with a frown, but his attention was soon taken by the woman who had just come through the door.
Jackie Burkhart was as beautiful ten years on as she was the day from which he'd travelled, and he was stunned by the sight of her in a tight black dress with bright coloured bows around her neckline and bare shoulders.
"Oh my God, Jackie Burkhart?" Donna gasped at the sight of the girl she had once been friends with, "Remember me? Donna Pinciotti?" she asked her, "Or should I say, Donna Forman" she grinned as the two women embraced.
"It's so great to see you guys again" Jackie smiled, "It's been way too long"
"It so has" Eric agreed, "You were the one person Donna hope we'd run into tonight, or at least one of the two people" he told her, his grin fading somewhat as he did so.
"Oh, who else did you wanna see?" Jackie was intrigued to know, as Hyde watched the scene unfold, wondering if it was him they were looking for.
If so, he was eager to know why he wasn't here, if the same fate had befallen him as his father, uncles, and cousins before him. That would mean that bars were stopping him from being here, or a pile of dirt in the graveyard.
"You remember Steven Hyde?" Donna asked her old friend as the young man in question physically winced. He almost didn't want to hear his fate.
"Y'know, I think I do" Jackie nodded, a ghost of a smile playing about her lips that Hyde couldn't quite understand, "In the meantime, I have something I should tell you. My name's not Jackie Burkhart anymore" she said and Hyde rolled his eyes as the subject was switched from him to the rings that adorned the little brunette's left hand. That engagement ring didn't look right though, not as big and shiny as it had when she showed the other him from '82...
"Wow" Donna gasped, "So, what do we call you now, if it's not Jackie Burkhart...?"
"Try Jackie Hyde" said a voice as a man appeared beside them.
Hyde was shocked by the sight of himself, looking overly clean and smart, dressed in a proper shirt with buttons, and a creamy white jacket with the sleeves pushed up to his elbows. He'd dispensed with the glasses he so often hid behind in the seventies, and the grin he wore looked like it was about to split his face in two.
As the future Mr and Mrs Hyde hugged Eric and Donna and caught up on what had been happening in their lives, the younger Hyde turned to the angel.
"But she was engaged to some rich guy, and we barely knew each other in this world" he said with confusion written all over his face, "How did we end up married?"
"Does it really matter?" the angel shrugged, "The point is you're together, just like you're supposed to be, in spite of all the changes that were made in your lives"
"Which would mean the point of this whole lesson is..." Hyde began, looking from the angel to his much happier older self with his arm around Jackie who was also grinning, "This is fate, like my destiny, to be with Jackie?" he asked sounding a little unsure of himself.
"My God, I think he finally got it" the angel said joyously, hands and eyes raised to the heavens, "It took you long enough, kid" he told Hyde who was barely listening.
This was kind of a revelation, to think that a large part of his life was mapped-out and that Jackie was it. She was the woman he was supposed to be with, forever. As scary as that was on some levels, it felt good in other ways. Unfortunately, memories of the way the world really was came hurtling back as the angel took the two of them back to his bedroom in the basement where they landed with a soft thump.
"That was a pretty cool trip, man" Hyde told the angel, "and yeah, I guess it'd be okay to do the happy ever after thing with Jackie one day" he admitted, "but I screwed up. I didn't trust her, and then I cheated on her, so she can't ever trust me" he complained as he sat down on his bed, putting his head in his hands.
"Everybody makes mistakes, Hyde" the angel told him kindly, "but things can be fixed, you just have to want them to be"
"Yeah, but..." Hyde began to speak, but when he looked up to see the angel, he realised the man in the white suit was gone, "Huh" he said to himself as he looked around the empty room.
1978 - Present Day
"Go away, Steven!" Jackie yelled through the bedroom door, wishing Donna were here right now instead of out on a date with Eric.
She couldn't face Steven alone, she just couldn't. Despite what he'd done, she still loved him. As crazy as it was, she even kind of understood why he'd done what he had, cheating on her with that nurse.
It hurt a great deal to think he could do that to her, and yet Jackie knew as she thought back over the past months, how such a thing might easily have happened. Steven was so used to being screwed over, he expected it to happen, and when it did he was determined to not care, even though it was obvious he did. He went with that nurse to get back at Jackie when he thought she'd cheated with Kelso, and though she herself knew she would never do such a thing, Jackie could see why Hyde might wonder. Michael was pretty persuasive, and so gorgeous, plus there was all that history the two of them had, and the incident not so long ago when Jackie had referred to her ex as her boyfriend.
"Jackie, please" Steven called to her, "I need to talk to you, I need you to understand what happened, and how sorry I am" he told her.
It broke Jackie's heart to hear the pain in his voice. He almost never showed emotion like this, and he certainly hated to have to apologise.
"Sorry doesn't make it better, Steven!" she told him anyway, from her position on the bed, legs crossed and pillow hugged tight to her, as she looked towards the locked door.
"I know that, I know" he replied, as he sat down on the other side of the door and continued to talk to her, "But I have stuff to say and if you won't let me in to hear it, well then, I'll just have to sit here and tell you anyway" he told her determinedly.
"Whatever" she called to him, making him smirk as she tried to cover any real emotion with the Zen that he himself had taught her.
"A weird thing happened to me today" he said as he sat there with his back leaning against the bedroom door, "I got thinking about stuff, you and me, how things might be if we never got together, if you weren't in my life" he told her honestly, "And y'know what, Jackie? It'd really suck. Fact is, I can't imagine my life without you anymore, even when you're buggin' the hell out of me I'm still glad you're there, man" he smiled to himself, "I'm probably not explaining this well, I know a guy that could do a better job" he smirked, eyes going heavenward as he thought of the angel that had shown him the way today, "But the point is, Jackie, we belong together. Not you and Kelso, not me and... anybody else" he shook his head, "You and me, we're destined, babe. You gotta know that, hell, you were telling me this stuff way before we ever hooked up" he recalled, "Look, I know what I did was bad, but I meant what I said before... I love you" he said softly, so much in fact that she barely heard him.
By the time she'd taken in his words and scrambled to the door to open it, Jackie found Hyde was leaving.
"Steven" she called behind him and he stopped in his tracks, turning around to face her, "I... I'm not saying it back" she repeated words he'd once said to her, and he smirked in spite of himself at the sound of them from her lips, "I can't just forgive you so easily" she shook her head, "I never thought anything would hurt as much as the way Michael treated me but you..."
"I am so sorry, Jackie" Hyde told her as he stepped forward, but she backed up the same distance.
"I know" she nodded once, "and I think you're right, at least I hope so" she said, managing a half-smile, "I do think we're destined to be together, I so want that to be true" she told him, "It's just, it's going to take me a little time to deal with this"
"I get it" Hyde said softly, feeling stupidly emotional, just wanting to get out of here as fast as possibly, "I can walk away for now, because I know what I said was right. We're destined, Jackie, it's fate. Maybe before I thought all that stuff was just crazy and stupid, but man, I believe it now" he told her, "One day we'll be together, even if I have to wait for Donna and Eric's wedding, or our ten year reunion, I'll do it, man. I'll wait for you"
Jackie's eyes watered with tears of pure emotion, not sadness or pain now, more of simply being so touched by the words her boyfriend was saying to her, even if some of it didn't make total sense.
Once in a while, when they were alone, Hyde would say such beautiful things, the gang just didn't know how totally romantic and sweet he could be, but then he didn't want them to know. She was the only one who saw the softer side he kept deep hidden most of the time, the side he was letting out now, so much it even surprised her.
"You don't have to wait that long" she said suddenly, voice breaking as she rushed forward into his arms and hugged him tight.
In moments, her lips sought out his and they kissed, a true kiss of love that neither could deny.
"I really am sorry, Jackie" he repeated when they parted, so close their foreheads were still touching.
"I know" she said softly, "Just please don't ever hurt me like that again"
"I promise" he assured her as they continued kissing each other.
From up above they could almost hear the soft laughter of an angel, congratulating himself on a job well done. He'd realigned the fates of two of God's unlikely favourites, and nothing could ever come between them again.
They'd be alright now.