Chasing Windmills.

Summary: Words can mean anything, depending on their context. A Jackie and Hyde character study set post Season 8.

Disclaimer: I don't own That 70's Show or its characters, nor do I own any songs that might be referenced. Title comes from the Toad the Wet Sprocket song Windmills. Chapter title is from The Ani Difranco song Adam and Eve.

Part one in a four part study of my favorite couple. This won't affect updates of Into the Woods.

Rated T for Language and strong Adult Content.

Chapter one: Letting go of the ratio.

It's just sex, she tells herself, and it doesn't mean anything. Except, deep down, she knows it does mean something. They're not back together, he's made that perfectly clear, and it certainly doesn't change the fact that she has nothing but distain for him now, but somehow she knows that it's more than just sex. It's more than just lips caressing, more than just hands exploring parts of the body that are usually covered. It's more than just sweat and heat and everything else that's typically associated with the act of making love. She doesn't know what it is though, so she resolves herself to stop thinking about it and simply tells herself that she is wrong, and it is just sex.

She's partially afraid that he knows what she's thinking; he was always so good at reading her thoughts, of understanding what she was saying beneath her shallow demeanor. But then again, sometimes he wasn't so good at translating her speech. He certainly hadn't understood "I need to know we'll get married." Really meant "Just ask me to stay!" So perhaps she has nothing to worry about. Right, she thinks. Nothing to worry about at all.

After he rolls off her, she gets up to put on her clothes. She has no intention of staying, no intention having the awkward conversation that is sure to follow. The one where he reminds her that this was a one time thing (as though she didn't know that, jackass) and she replies with a yes, I agree, and then he says it again, because somewhere along the line he decided that she was as dumb as Michael, and needed to have things explained to her in small words and now she really wants to kick him in the shins, just on principle.

"Leaving so soon?" He almost sounds disappointed, but she understands the subtext, she understands that what he's really saying is "Thank god, you're not trying to stay and talk." Well, she has nothing to say to him anyway, except maybe a good fuck you. Talking is for people who have something in common, and the only thing they have in common is that they're both desperate.

"Yeah." She replies, leaving it at that.

She knows that he's watching her; she can feel his eyes on her back as she ties her shoes.


Here they go, she thinks.

"Steven." She replies as she picks up her purse.

He doesn't reply at first, which makes Jackie want to roll her eyes. It's like he's trying to find the right words to let her down easy. He's never been careful about his words before, why should tonight be any different?

"Are… are you going to be okay?"

She repeats the question again in her head. Is she going to be okay? Okay with what? Okay with not being with him? Okay with not speaking about this night with anyone? Okay with Ronald Reagan becoming president? How does she answer that?

"I don't know what you mean." She admits as she opens her make up mirror to check her face.

"Are you going to be okay with this?"

Ah… just as she suspected. There are a thousand things she wants to say to him, and none of them will make any difference. They're just words to him; they mean anything depending on the context. What he wants isn't reassurance that she won't come begging reconciliation, but for her to walk out the door and never look back. It's what he's wanted all along. God knows he spat it in her face constantly. Little does he know that he's about to get his wish.

"Steven, tonight was just about two people who were looking for a release, nothing else. I'm fine." And she is fine. It's great not having to lie.

"Good, because this," He gestures to the both of them, "Was just a one time deal."

"Don't flatter yourself." She can't help herself from saying, "I'm not interested in anything from you."

"Same here."

He really doesn't know when to shut up. They all say she talks too much, but if they knew the truth about him, they'd be in for a shock. Sure, he doesn't typically say much, but when he does, it's always wrong and he doesn't know when to stop. It just spills out of his mouth like bad… bad… damn, she can't think of a good analogy. But it doesn't matter, because she's learned to tune him out when he gets like this. It's the only reason she hasn't killed him yet.

Really, she should be sainted for it. Saint Jackie, patron saint of dealing with dumb ass boyfriends. If only she was Catholic. She can't stop the giggle from coming out.

"What's so funny?" He asks.

"I was just thinking about something I saw on TV." She lies. She has everything she needs now, and can finally leave.

"So, you're going now?" He actually sounds disappointed this time, and Jackie can't find anything beneath the surface of his words. She stares at him in dismay as her answer.

"It's just… I was thinking we could go get some breakfast."

Breakfast? It's not even two am and he's already thinking about… oh. She gets it now. He wants her to stay. Well, this just messes everything up. He says one thing but he means another, he does one thing and it means something else, it's just too freaking complicated. If he wants to be with her, he should just say so instead of resorting to these childish games. On the other hand, pancakes sound pretty good.

"You could have said something before I put my shoes on." She says lightly, still standing by his door. She watches him as he removes himself from the bed, the sheet wrapped around his shoulders and walks over to her. Even though she's dressed, she feels naked as his eyes peer into hers.

"Come to bed."

He's doing this all wrong! He's supposed to let her go, supposed to go back to pretending that there's nothing between them, burning her at every opportunity. He isn't playing by the rules. This is rebellion of the worst kind, because it isn't just records of Eric's stash he's stealing, but her heart, and she promised herself that she wouldn't let him do that to her again.

His arms wrap around her, and both of them are enveloped in the sheet. His chin is resting on the top of her head, and she's face to face with his chest. She can smell her perfume on his skin, and it makes her dizzy.

"If you want to go, you can." He tells her. "But it's alright if you don't."

She doesn't say anything, because truth is she can't make up her mind. He ends up making up her mind for her, stepping away from their embrace just long enough to remove her clothes with little protest from her part. She's too tired to argue anyway she tells herself.

"I've got a shirt you can wear." He tells her and she nods. She doesn't want to sleep naked. He walks over to his dresser and pulls out yet another Led Zeppelin shirt and hands it to her like it's no big deal, but it's all Jackie can do to stop from crying, because not only is it a Led Zeppelin shirt, but it's his other favorite one. She wonders if he understands the significance. Of course he does, she reminds herself. These shirts mean the world to him.

Damn it, it was just supposed to be about sex. They had an agreement. Was nothing sacred anymore?

"You gonna stand there all night or are you going to put it on?" He says it teasingly, but she can read his impatience.

She slips on the shirt, gulping the entire time. It's worn and soft and it smells like him and damn it she isn't supposed to fall in love with him again. He takes her hand and leads her to the bed and climbs in before her. He keeps his hand on hers though, and lightly pulls her down. She gets in, knowing deep in her gut that it's a bad idea.

She can hear him chuckle behind her, as though he's celebrating some grand victory.

"What?" She doesn't bother to try to hide the curtness from her voice.

"Just thinking about something I saw on TV." She knows it's a lie, but doesn't say anything. They're two for two now, even.

Except that they're not even, not even close. So far, he's leading by ten and all she's got is a measly two points. If this was a game of H.O.R.S.E she'd be on the letter R. But, it isn't a game, which makes it far more dangerous. He might like to live dangerously, but she's long been accustomed to a certain life style, one where her heart doesn't get trampled on.

Great, now she's making puns. Now she knows she's lost it. Only sick people make puns. Don't ask her where she learned that, but it's true.

She can hear him snore softly behind her. How can he actually sleep when she's going through a mental crisis that he caused? Selfish, that's what he is.

"If I told you to stop that, do you think you'd actually go to sleep?" So much for him actually being asleep.

"I'm not doing anything." She argues, and it's true, she's been perfectly still.

"You're thinking." He tells her, "And you think too loud."

"I'm sorry; I'll try to quiet my thoughts down so you can get your beauty rest." She replies sarcastically.

His response is to kiss her on the back of the head and say thank you. What the hell is the matter with him?

Jackie feels like she was going around in circles, spiraling downwards into the abyss that was them. It had been so long since she had been her own woman, independent from any man and she wasn't sure she wanted to give that up. A relationship with Steven would only result in heart break, and then she'd had to pick up the pieces yet again, rebuild herself and for what? The next time he got it in his head that he wanted to be with her? Damn circles. Steven loved circles, he lived for them. But, circles meant something entirely different to Jackie, yet here she was, in his bed, wearing his shirt, in his arms, and she has to admit that deep down, beneath all the fear and resentment, it felt good.

She pushes herself out of his arms and stands up. She can't stay here, can't let the cycle continue.

"I'm sorry, but I can't do this."

He raises his eyebrow, conveying nothing. She loves and hates that about him. Hates. She reminds herself, she hates him.

"Sleep?" He asks, but both of them knew what she means.

"No," Jackie answers, "I can't stay the night and I don't think I can go have breakfast with you."

He's sitting up now, reaching over to turn on the radio. "Jackie, what did you think tonight was about?"

Two bodies looking for release. Nothing more. But somehow, Jackie doesn't want to say the words out loud, because then that made it real. When she doesn't answer, he reaches over and grabs her hand.

"You really think I'd have a one night stand with you?" He asks gently, but the words cut deep.

"Steven, if you didn't want this you could have just said so before we had sex, and do I need to remind you that this was your idea?"

"That's not what I meant and you know it." He snaps. "You're the one who…" But he doesn't finish his sentence, choosing instead to place his mouth on hers, burning her insides up with a kiss that said everything that words couldn't.

Who needed words anyway? They could mean anything, depending on context. Kissing however was an entirely different beast. How did that song go again? If you want to know if he loves you so, it's in his kiss.

"But you said…"

"I say a lot of things, Jackie, but you of all people should know when I'm lying."

Lies. It had been their lies that had gotten them into this mess in the first place. She can't resist laughing at the irony.

"That must have been one funny TV show." He states, still holding her in his arms.

"It was." She nods. "Funnier than…" But she didn't get to finish because he was kissing her again. And again, and then yet again. Finally she was able to pull away.

"Steven, what are we doing here?"

"What do you think we're doing?" He counters, stepping away from her.

"I don't know!" She exclaims, throwing her hands in the air. "I thought we agreed this was just a one time thing."

"Yeah, well, I changed my mind." He states simply, as though he's informing her that grass is green.

She can't help but stare at him in shock as she processes his words in her head. "You changed your mind? When?"

"While you were getting dressed."

Time seems to stand still for Jackie as she remembers that not even an hour ago he had tried to remind her that this was a one time thing, and now he was saying he changed his mind and wanted more? She hates him, she reminds herself. He had done nothing but break her heart time and time again, he was a no good, two timing, whore…shit she was going to cry if she let that train of thought continue.

"So, in the span of you saying 'this was a one time thing' and the time it took me to put on my makeup, you changed your mind?" She enunciates every syllable of the last four words.

"Yep." He replies, grinning sardonically.

It was time to put him into his place. "I hate you." She loathed him, despised him, wanted him to be cut up into tiny pieces and then fed to the birds.

"No you don't." He replies matter-of-factly.

She can't believe it; he actually has the nerve to tell her how she feels. How in the world would he possibly know how she felt? He didn't know anything. On the radio, Sam Cooke sang.

"Don't know much about history, don't know much biology, don't know much about a science book, don't know much about the French I took, but I do know that I love you, and I know that if you love me too, what a wonderful world this would be."

Of all the songs they could play, they have to play that one? She reaches over and turns off the radio.

"Jackie, do you remember that night at the bonfire?"

"I remember you trying to sabotage me getting together with Fez." It still annoys her, even to this day.

"Not that." He replies, "The other thing."

What other thing? Aside from him telling her that she would pay for calling the cops, they hadn't spoken for the rest of the night.

She had lost count of how many beers he had. It wasn't as bad as the time he threw the party at his father's house, but it was enough for him to start slurring his words and bumping into people as he shouted how much disco sucked. Government oppression, blah blah blah, she had stopped listening to him after he set Fez up with the blonde whore. Why did he want to ruin a good thing for her? She sat on the log and threw a people into the woods, cursing the name of Steven Hyde.

"Hey Jackieeee." He stumbled over to her. "Jack.. Jackieee.Jackiiiie." He laughed at himself. "Your name sounds funny."

She rolled her eyes. "What do you want?"

He straightened himself up and looked her in the eyes. "I need to tell you something."

Great, she thought, here comes the burn. "Okay."

"I still love you." And with that, he turned and walked away, leaving Jackie in a daze.

"You were drunk!" She shouts at him, and then she looks down at the shirt she's still wearing. He had been wearing it the night of the bonfire.

"Yeah, but I still meant it." He laughs softly, "Did it ever occur to you that there was a reason I kept trying to sabotage you and Fez getting together? Why I broke the two of you up?"

"Wait that was your fault?" She had wanted to break up with Fez anyway, but it was the principle of the thing. He couldn't keep…

"It's never going to change between us is it?" She asks voice low and head towards the ground. "We're going to keep playing the same games with each other, circling around the other until one of us finally breaks." By one of us, she means her, because she was always the one who broke. Always. It's just not fair. She wants to stomp her feet and yell at the injustice of it all.

"Or we can just accept that we should be together." He replies.

She's too tired to think, too tired to deal with this right now. "Let's just go to bed and we'll talk about it in the morning." She tells him as they get into his bed. There's silence between them when he finally speaks.

"You don't hate me." He attempts to reassure her.

"I know." She replies, not wanting to get into another conversation about their feelings.

"I meant what I said." He whispers into her hair. She knows exactly what he means, and that's what scares her. She still knows him, just like he still knows her. He's in her blood, like a damn parasite that she can't get rid of.

"I know." She says, leaving it at that. He knows what she means. The tear falls from her eye against her will, and she just prays he doesn't notice that she's crying. All this time she had been trying so hard to resist his charms, to keep herself from falling in love with him again that she didn't realize that she already was. How did this happen? She asks herself. Was it when they started reminiscing on the couch? Was it when he poured her that second glass of wine? Was it when she had kissed him to see what it would taste like? Was it when they moved to the bedroom, frantically removing their clothing while desperately trying to stay attached? Somehow she had let her guard down. But none of that matters because she can't stay awake any longer. Sleep is beckoning her and regardless of how scared she is of the man sleeping behind her or the conversation they'll have over breakfast, where she says this was great but it can't happen again and he smirks and says whatever, like he doesn't really believe her. She can't blame him; she's never given him any reason to before.

It's just breakfast she tells herself as she falls asleep. It won't mean anything.

Pancakes might not mean anything, but reviews do, so please tell me what you think of this.