AN: Here's my new story that I started on immediately when I finished Come Clarity. It's been on my mind for a while, and I'm pretty sure I'll finish this one too. Actually having an ending helps with that kind of thing, ;). This is of course a JH fic, but I've found a way to put some ED in here too. I've always felt that their relationship focused too much on the little things and they never moved forward. Well, in this fic I have found a way to push them forward. So to any ED out there, I have some stuff for you too. But the meat and bones of this story is completely JH.
Summary: Hyde is cynical, depressed, alone, and would really like to keep it that way. But how will he feel when something inside of him breaks through that is more than unhappy with his living arrangements? JH
Disclaimer: I own none of the characters featured in this fic from That 70's Show. Sadly, my creativity only extends to them, so I'm a poor writer.
Chapter 1: When the World Turns Black
Eric and Donna looked through the UW brochures they picked up on their visit to the campus just the day before. It had been the second time for both of them to look at these together, and for Donna, the uneasy feeling of déjà vu settled in the pit of her stomach. It made her remember the last time they did this together, right after Red's heart attack. They had their entire lives ahead of them, and they were certain they would spend it together. Now, Donna wasn't as certain as she was back then. Back then she was positive that she would go to college and be an independent woman who was happy because she made her own living by her own rules. However, like her foremothers before her, she clung to the dependency of a man and stayed home with Eric. Now, a year and a half had passed them by and Donna was in the same position as she was then. Staying with Eric didn't take her to the road of happiness. In fact, Donna had never been more miserable. When Eric didn't show up for their wedding, Donna was crushed, but her mom convinced her to take him back just because she loved him. They lived in an ignorantly blissful existence, never moving forward, but at least they weren't moving forward together. Then, Eric went to Africa to make something of himself, leaving Donna to live with the stagnant life that she had made for herself.
Bitter was an attitude Donna learned to live in harmony with. It had treated her well over the months Eric was gone, and in the few weeks he had been back, it had help keep her perspective of him in check. They were "back together", but Donna wasn't taking any chances this time. She had become the girl that allowed the man she was in love with to walk all over her and take her love for granted. She loathed that girl. What really sent her into the stratosphere though was the sorry excuse of an apology that Eric gave to her when he came back. However, she accepted it without an inhibiting thought in her head. She buckled after she promised herself she wouldn't just because she missed him so damn much. That was really what made it hard for Donna to sleep at night. She couldn't help but think that she was making a huge mistake again, and she'd certainly regret it later on. Being jaded was something she just had to live with.
Donna sat grumpily in her chair as she only half listened to Eric ramble on and make corny jokes about starting UW in the fall. His life was following a plan he figured out and set in motion. What was Donna doing? Following in his footsteps. Funny how their roles switched without her even noticing.
Kitty and Red Foreman walked into the kitchen through the sliding door, noticing the two looking through brochures together.
"What are you two lovebirds doing?" Kitty asked as she grinned down at their activities.
"Looking at different majors and financial aid stuff at UW. We're going to start classes in the fall." Eric grinned up at her and continued with his reading.
Kitty frowned slightly at his answer while Red looked on with a prideful smile. He was proud of how different his son was now that he returned from Africa. He was actually starting to take charge of his life, and he had a noticeable confidence boost. Eric reminded him a lot of himself when he returned from the Korean War, and Red was so proud that his son found direction in his life in order to succeed. Kitty was happy about all those things as well, but she wouldn't deny that she didn't feel sad that her baby boy just returned from months living on a continent on the other side of the world, just to begin planning on leaving the nest again.
"So, you're going to college, eh?" Red said with a very uncharacteristic Red smile.
"Yeah, Dad." Eric gave him a strange look. "I'm leaving the house again, which I'm sure you'll like."
"Oh, you can stay as long as you need."
Everyone in the room stopped and turned to face Red. They looked at him as if he had grown a second head that was gnawing off his face first face.
"Dad," Eric cautiously asked, testing the waters of this new Red that had taken over his father's body. "Are you feeling okay? You just said that I could stay in your house." Everyone continued to stare at Red, waiting for his reaction. Once he didn't reply, Eric tried to jog his memory. "Remember… I'm a dumbass. I annoy you and you're tired of all my dumbass friends running around here."
Red placed his hand on Eric's shoulder and looked down at his son. "Look son. I'm proud of you, and I know now that you actually have your head screwed on when it comes to your future. Going to Africa was probably the best thing you ever did."
A little sob sounded from Kitty who was pulling food out to make dinner. Everyone turned to look at her, and she just greeted them with a false smile.
"Are you okay, Mom?"
Kitty let out her trademark laugh, "Oh, sweetie. I'm fine. It's just…. OH who am I kidding?" Her face instantly turned sour. "You just got back Eric! You were gone for months and now you want to leave again!"
Kitty stormed out of the kitchen with Eric trailing after her. Red just looked on and shook his head at his wife's outburst. He turned his eyes to Donna who he noticed hadn't smiled once since he had returned home when he found her and Eric in the kitchen. He could tell something was very wrong. He watched her as she released a huge sigh that she had been holding in her chest and gathered up the brochures cluttered over the table. Without even saying goodbye, she left the kitchen, making her way down the basement. Red might have been proud of Eric for turning his life around as far as his future with a career was concerned, but he really messed up when it came to the girl the loved. He just hoped one of them figured something out soon.
Hyde sat in the far right of the sofa, engorging himself on bad TV and junk food on his day off from Grooves. When he wasn't working, he tried his best to keep his activities as minimal as possible. With Foreman home from Africa, he had put a stint in Hyde's usual lethargic pace. He was getting very nostalgic of the old times once he realized just how different things were from when he left, and it seemed like every night Eric was trying to get them to go out and do things just like they used to do. For a while, they catered to his offerings. They went to the Hub for a week straight and even saw a movie together, but after a while, everyone began making excuses of why they couldn't go, and finally Eric caught on to the loss everyone suffered. He stopped encouraging the get-togethers, and the rest fell back into their normal routines they had come accustomed to while he was away. Hyde's typical schedule consisted of sleeping in until noon, watching TV until his eyes burned, and then getting wasted until he passed out in his bed too sleep his drunken state off.
Hyde's sluggish trance was broken by angry footsteps pounding their way down the basement stairs. He turned his head only slightly to look over his right shoulder to see that it was Donna making all the commotion. He grunted a hello to her as she took a seat next to him on the couch, throwing the brochures she had in her hands down on the table.
"What crawled up your ass?" Hyde asked after a few moments of her huffing and puffing silently on her square of the couch. He really didn't want whatever bitch fit she was throwing to disturb him.
"Nothing, Hyde. Just mind your own damn business and go get drunk like you usually do." Donna snapped, keeping her eyes glued to the television set that she wasn't even watching.
Hyde turned his head and glared at the blonde next to him. However, he held his tongue from the insult he wanted to throw at her. He didn't have the energy to fight with her.
"Look, Donna. Don't take whatever stupid fight you got into with Foreman out on me, okay? I don't have time for your crap."
"I know you don't what with all the drinking you have to get done." Donna snarled. "Don't let me interrupt the next binge you're preparing for."
Hyde turned his body to face Donna as he rested one arm on the arm rest and the other on the back of the couch. "If you have a problem with me Donna, why don't you just spit it out instead of slapping backhanded comments at me."
Donna turned her head to face him, and through his sunglasses, Hyde saw the red in her eyes. He had never seen her this angry before. The hairs on his arms stood up straight as he prepared for the wrath he was certain she would unleash on him.
"Yeah, I have a problem with you, Hyde." Her voice shook with the anger she had bottled up for so long. "I think it's ridiculous that you sit up on this high horse all the time as if you are better than everyone else, when really you are just white trash like your parents."
Hyde just stared menacingly at her as he tried his best to keep his zen and not lash out at her. He didn't know why though, because the bitch deserved it. Really, he just didn't know how to respond to the boulder she just threw at him. He was stuck, so he did the thing he did best when handling a difficult situation.
"Fuck you, Donna." He pushed himself off the couch and grabbed his keys off the record player on his way out.
Once Donna heard the slam of the basement door, she toppled over on the worn couch, sobbing uncontrollably. She wasn't even sure why she just said all those things to him, but she couldn't do a thing to stop it once she started. She just told her best friend the thing she knew would hurt the worst. The saddest thing about it all was that she really believed it to be true. Just like her, Hyde had spiraled down into a place he never wanted to be in, and Donna rubbed it in his face. She wasn't even angry with him to begin with. He just happened to be there when the shit hit the fan for her.
Bitter wasn't such a nice shade of protection after all.
Fez snuck his way into Jackie's room where he found his goddess of a girlfriend primping herself in her vanity mirror. He caught her eye in the reflection and shined a smile at her that he hoped would make her heart melt. Jackie turned around to face him, satisfied that she was now pretty enough to go with whatever surprise Fez claimed he had in store for her. She hoped it was an expensive present like jewelry. Jackie looked down to a large folded sheet of paper that Fez was holding in his hands.
"Is that my present, Fezzie?" Jackie questioned, trying her best to hide the disappointment in her voice.
"Yes, Jackie." Fez nervously looked at the banner he had gripped in his hand. He loosened his hold so that he wouldn't crinkle his road to winning over Jackie's heart along with her body.
"I figured that since my previous attempts at trying to seduce you have just disgusted you…"
"Fez," Jackie interrupted. "They didn't disgust me."
"To be fair Jackie, you did say 'ew' once."
Jackie looked down at her pink toes squished together in her clogs. She had hoped he just didn't hear her when she said that.
"So I figured that I just wasn't giving you exactly what you wanted." Fez presented the banner by laying it on Jackie's bed. Jackie gazed at the cursive writing that spelled out, "Jackie and Fez Forever". It was all different shades of pink and laminated. It was more amazing than the banner she had planned for her and Michael, and it took her breath away. However, even this grand gesture by Fez that Jackie thought was his quality that made him the perfect boyfriend still didn't sway her decisions that she just couldn't sleep with him.
"It's really beautiful Fez, but…"
Fez blew out a defeated sigh and he folded the banner back up. "But what, Jackie?"
He watched as her bottom lip quivered, trying to find the words to reject him once again. Living with her had made Fez a master when it came to Jackie's body language. He had seen this look many times in the first few months after she moved in when she came back to Point Place to find that her previous boyfriend had married a stripper. He knew she was trying her best not to cry.
"I just can't, Fez."
Fez might have been one of the biggest pervs in Point Place, but he knew whenever his lady needed him. Sadly for him, she just didn't need him in the way he needed her. Fez made his way over to the corner of the bed that was next to the chair Jackie was sitting in. He sat directly in front of her and took her slender hands into his.
"Jackie. It's okay. You can just say it. Neither of us has to pretend anymore."
Jackie looked up at him in surprise but instantly found comfort in the warmth in his eyes. Even during this very sentimental moment between the two, Jackie just couldn't configure her strong feelings to be equal to the love she once used to feel so strongly.
"I'm sorry, Fez." She squeaked out. Her tears began to spill over the rims of her eyes. "I just don't feel comfortable in doing this."
Fez squeezed her hands within his, telling her that it was okay.
"I think that maybe, you and I are just better at being friends than lovers."
Fez nodded his head knowingly. Her confession didn't even come as a surprise to him.
"It's okay, Jackie." Fez replied. Jackie noticed that his voice didn't sound a bit angry like she expected. He just sounded disappointed. She wasn't sure if that was worse or not. All she knew was that she felt guilty as hell.
"I knew that this just wouldn't last between us. It was fun while it did though."
Jackie smiled up at him through her remorseful tears. Always count on Fez for trying to make the best out of a bad situation.
"Besides, we don't talk like we used to. Now that I'm your boyfriend, I feel awkward if I try to have girl talk with you."
Jackie giggled and pulled one of her hands from his grip to wipe her tears away. "So you're okay with us just being friends."
Fez shook his head in agreement. "Yes. It would be amazing to be with you, but I know that just won't happen. I'd rather be your friend than nothing at all."
Jackie felt that she must have been the luckiest girl in the world to have a best friend like Fez. She royally screwed him over, and he wasn't even saying one cruel or heartless thing to her. Why couldn't he be the one she loved? She tried so hard to make it so, but she soon realized that she just couldn't force her heart to do exactly what she wanted it to. Love was funny and painful that way.
Hyde stumbled his way to the El Camino from the bar. After his fight with Donna, he headed straight to Mike's Tavern, a bar that he had spent many a\ nights getting drunk in. He knew the bartender by his first name and many of the other regulars' too. Tonight, he barely conversed with his other alcoholic friends. He was too busy trying to drink his anger away. He couldn't understand the audacity of Donna. She was unusually snippy since Foreman's return, but she never just blew up on someone like that. It was common for her to turn to physical abuse to get her point across, but to just insult him as if he was the one that left her for Africa?
Hyde could care less at the moment though. Alcohol was a nice get away for him. Sure, it got him in a lot of trouble and made him make the biggest mistake of his life, but generally it helped him out. Like tonight. He no longer had any loyalties. There was no way he could get in trouble.
Hyde fumbled with the keys, trying his best to determine which one would open his car door. After many tired attempts, he finally managed to find the right one and he got inside, the slam of the door whipping through the crisp night air.
As he drove down the black asphalt of Point Place, his drunken brain clouded with chatter. It never really occurred to him until tonight just how much like Bud he had become. He might not have been his real father, but the effect his absence had on his him was more powerful than anything he learned from WB. That night he had chased every thought of how true Donna's words were with the cheap beer he had been guzzling. He really was white trash, and what stung the most was he dug himself in a place where turning around would just prove how right her accusation was, and Hyde hated to be wrong.
Most would say it was the alcohol, but later, when Hyde actually remembered, he'd say it was his complete disconnect with reality on a level beyond sobriety. At that moment, Hyde's trip down the empty highway of his little town took a sharp turn into the woods and straight into a tree. Hyde's world, as he knew it, turned black.
AN2: Expect another update in the next few days. Summer is nice for fanfic writers you know.