The group sat uncomfortably as two of their members verbally shredded each other, once again. It was hard to tell if this was a new fight, the continuation of yesterday's fight or possibly even the same fight that had been going on for the past year. Whatever it was, it was unpleasant and tiring. Any interest and laughter at the cruel burns that were being lobbed back and forth like grenades had waned a long time ago, replaced by disinterest, frustration and a dull resignation. Trying to interject or end things only made it worse and gave them even more of a headache than the screaming matches did.
But the battling duo didn't even seem to realize that their audience had grown tired of this war several months ago. That their friends had reached a consensus and decided to lay everything on the line. If that didn't get through to them then they were prepared to take a leave of absence until a truce could be arranged. And the time to have this discussion with the enraged duo was rapidly approaching as this latest round of "Why you suck" started getting even more personal than before.
"What a surprise! You didn't get the job." The laughter was mocking, scathing, as were the words and steel blue eyes shot daggers into their opponent. "Guess there's no place in the land of employment for a spoiled princess with no marketable skills!"
Raven hair was tossed and mismatched eyes tolled, "Well maybe when my father comes back, he can buy me a store to play with just like yours did!"
"I'm sure that'll work out as well as your promising television career did! Oh wait! That crashed and burned faster than your relationship with Fez did!"
"Stripper marrying man-whore!"
"Vapid, materialistic gold-digger!"
The shrill shriek of fury was ear splitting and the tiny brunette reached for something to throw. She hefted the lava lamp in her hands and reared back, aiming for the arrogant face of her ex. But before the stupid novelty item left her hands, a loud whistle cut through the room and stopped her.
"Enough!" Eric yelled, the breaking point finally coming. Two sets of angry eyes landed on him and he glared back, not about to back down from his role as the group's official spokesman because what he had to say was too important. And if he didn't start then no one else would. "This needs to stop. Now. Because we're tired of it. Really tired of it."
"Yeah, this stopped being funny a long time ago." Kelso threw in, shaking his head. "It's driving us crazy."
"We're fed up." Fez informed them nervously, hiding behind Kelso.
Donna sighed heavily. "We've decided that if you two can't find a way to get over whatever the hell it is and get along that we can't hang out with you anymore."
"No more Jackie?" Hyde nodded enthusiastically. "I like the sound of that."
"Like they're going to pick you over me!" Jackie shot back stamping her foot. "It's not like you're good for anything but a circle."
"Well, you're not good for anything so I have you beat!"
"Hey!" Eric interrupted the ridiculous exes. "We're serious. Either you two end this war or neither one of you will be allowed to hang in the basement when we're down here."
Hyde smirked, "That's a hard threat to keep when my room's down here."
"Oh please. You couldn't keep me out." Jackie threw in with a huff. "Mrs. Forman would let me in. And if she didn't, Mr. Forman would. All I have to do is pout and agree to work on the Toyota and he'd be eating out the palm of my hand."
"Then we'll go somewhere else." Donna informed them flatly. "Someplace you couldn't find us."
"Yeah, like the X-rated movie theatre!" Kelso tossed out in excitement.
"Or the candy store." Fez added wistfully.
Eric shook his head, "Anywhere so long as you two aren't there and we won't have to keep hearing the same damn thing."
"You can't be serious man." Hyde laughed, finding the situation humorous. "If the daughter of the dark lord and I can't get along, you guys are going to ditch us?"
"Pretty much." Eric stated and the rest of the group nodded their agreement. "We're going out. When we get back, either you two better be getting along or else we walk."
"But Fez…" Jackie tried to get through to the foreigner, who despite their breakup was still wrapped around her little finger but he held up his hand to silence her protest.
"Or we walk!" He spun on his heel and dramatically made his way out of the basement, followed by the rest of the gang.
The door slammed behind then and Hyde shook his head in disbelief. Get along with his annoying, shrill, bossy ex or they were cutting them out of their lives. Why not just ask him to show proof that there really was a car that ran on water? Hell, it would be easier than the task they threw at his feet.
"They're not serious." Jackie announced; her eyes narrowed as she stared at the door their friends had just walked out of. "They can't be."
"Sound like they were to me." He rolled his eyes, "Too bad they didn't demand something possible."
She screamed and threw the lava lamp on the floor. It shattered, shards of glass flying through the air and the liquid congealing into a shimmering puddle.
"What the fuck?" He yelled and jumped up from his chair, which clattered to the floor, and back against the freezer, checking to make sure that her endeavor hadn't gotten any glass embedded in his leg.
"This is your fault!"
"My fault?" He scoffed, glaring a hole through her. "It's my fault that you're psychotic?"
"I'm not psychotic!"
"Oh, what term do you prefer then?" He challenged heatedly. "Fucking insane? Crazy? Mentally unstable?"
"UGH!" She closed the distance between them and kicked him in his shin. "Just shut the hell up! Maybe then we can pretend to get along."
"No I won't you crazy bitch!" He grumbled, rubbing the wounded area. "You kick me again and I'm going to kick you back."
"Oh really?" Perfectly tweezed eyebrows rose.
"Try it and you'll see."
He chuckled mirthlessly at that and fixed her with an even stare. "You and I both know that I would."
"Waste of space!"
Her eyes widened at that and she growled, her hand connecting with the side of his arrogant face. She smiled at the shocked look on his face and resisted the urge to shake her throbbing hand. Color rose on his cheek and her smile grew wider as she could make out the imprint of her palm and fingers. But the grin wavered as eyes that were no longer cold and aloof focused on her and she swallowed nervously.
"You just slapped me." He intoned in a mixture of shock and anger, taking a step toward her.
She realized that may have been too far and tried to put some distance between them but he copied her movement. Not about to let him know that she was afraid, she attempted to slap him again but he caught her wrist. A gasp tumbled helplessly over her lips as he pulled her to him, holding her flailing arms so she couldn't lash out again. "Let me go Steven!"
"No Jackie!" He dodged her attempted to kick him and grunted as her booted heel stepped on his foot. Despite weighing ninety-five pounds soaking wet, she was strong and he had to tighten his grip on her. The pointed toe of her boot connected with his already wounded shin and he hissed, pulling her closer to him. She tried to step on his foot again but he put his shoulder into her midsection and hoisted her over his shoulder.
"Put me down!" Her fists hammered his back and he winced. She kicked wildly, trying to either connect with some part of his anatomy or wiggle free. But he held her tightly, preventing either from happening. "I'm serious! If you don't put me down this instant…"
Her words were cut off as he unceremoniously dumped her on the couch. He grabbed her wrists again as her nails bit into his forearm and broke the skin. "Fuck! Knock it off."
"Then let me go." She countered, breathing heavily from struggling.
"I'm not going to let you go unless you promise that you won't kick, hit, scratch, bite or throw anything." He grimaced as her knee weakly connected with his stomach. "No doing that either!"
"Ok, ok, I promise!"
"Fine, I'll let go." He was about to release her when he remembered something she always said. She lies; it's what she does. And more than likely, she was lying now. His eyes narrowed as he stared down at the suddenly calm woman whose face was a mask of innocence. "I don't trust you."
"You don't trust anyone!" She retorted acidly, rolling her eyes and huffing in aggravation.
"Yeah, you've really shown that you can be trusted." He quipped as he dodged her attempt to knee him in the stomach. "See!"
"You're baiting me!"
"No, I'm not!"
"Yes you are!"
"No I'm not!"
She growled in irritation and flopped back against the worn, tacky cushions, letting her body go limp. "Ok, I give up!"
"Sure, I believe you."
"You jerk! If you don't get your grubby paws off me this instant, I'm going to scream loud enough for Bob to hear me. When he comes over here and sees you holding me down on the couch, you know what he's going think?"
He rolled his eyes, "Given the way I'm holding you down, he'll know that I'm defending myself from one of your vicious shin attacks."
"What if someone calls the cops, huh? They'll see this dirty, scruffy burnout with a pornstache holding down a beautiful, intelligent, classy woman." Her eyes lit up. "Maybe I'll get lucky and they'll shoot first and ask questions later!"
It was a cheap ploy, one he could easily see through. No one in the neighborhood had ever called the cops on them; well except the time Bob called because Laurie and Fez were fighting outside and he couldn't hear his TV. But other than that, incident, people usually ignored their actions. "I'll just tell them the truth, that you like it rough."
"I do not!"
"Faster! Harder!" He imitated her breathy cries during sex then smirked down at her incredulous reaction. "Sounds like liking it rough to me."
"Ugh, you pig!"
Both of them were aware that something had shifted, that their words had re-awoken something that been dormant for almost a year. Her breathing was still heavy but this time, it wasn't from a struggle. His heart was pounding in his chest; pulse racing wildly as he looked down into her mismatched eyes. Beneath his fingers, he could feel the powerful flutter of her pulse and swallowed thickly. She reeled in a tremulous breath but her pliant, lush lips remained slightly parted.
His tongue swiped over his lips just before they crashed down on hers. Hands that had been restrained now roamed freely, one threading through his hair as his tongue tangled passionately with hers and the other gliding over the sleek muscles of his back. Her knees clutched his waist and pulled his body down to hers, clutching it tightly. One arm around her slender waist, he pulled her up from the cushions so he could undo the strings of her halter-top. Her hands traveled down his body, stopping at the hem of his shirt and tugging at the soft material.
Her shirt was peeled away from her heated body and left to hang uselessly around her abdomen. She followed suit, stripping him of his Ac/DC shirt and tossing it blindly on the floor. His mouth met hers again, briefly but suggestively then traveled down her chin and over the sensitive flesh of her neck. Breathy whimpers fell from her lips as his skillful tongue finessed the spot where her pulse beat against the skin. He rocked his hips as his mouth feverishly tasted her neck, hissing against it as she moved hers in time with him. There was an urgency, a need, a desire that was frightening in its intensity and demanded that they comply.
He shoved her skirt up and pulled her black lace panties off her body. Her nimble fingers undid his belt, zipper and button. Small hands tugged his jeans down his hips and his erection sprang free. His hands grabbed her hips and pushed into her, both of them groaning at the familiar sensation. Their bodies moved on instinct, remembering every stroke, every caress, every maneuver that the other craved.
Grunts and moans filled the basement, along with pleas and playful taunting. It was a frenzied, fervent, intense encounter that stole the breath from their bodies and left them thoroughly exhausted. Entangled on the couch, they tried to collect themselves. But the realization that every fight, every burn, every heated glare was a twisted form of foreplay washed over them. That this wasn't just some random, unexplainable tryst that could be brushed off or forgotten. This was what they both wanted, needed and longed for since that fateful day they fell part.
It wouldn't matter if they tried to deny it or if they ignored it. The feelings were too strong to ever be destroyed. They could try to move on, put as much distance between them as possible and never speak again but deep down no matter how much they hated it; they'd always want each other. It would always be there, just under the surface, waiting to explode. And judging by what just happened, the explosion would be immeasurable.
Hyde got to his feet and pulled up his jeans, trying to figure out what to say. He wasn't good with words and would never be. But the silence couldn't last because it was getting on his nerves. "Jackie,"
"Don't." She pleaded, fixing her clothes. "I know we need to talk but right now, I just can't."
"I didn't love her."
Her eyes slid shut and she nodded. "I didn't love him either."
"I was using her to stay away from you because it was easier."
He heaved a heavy sigh, "I don't hate you. Never did."
"Me either." She tried to laugh but it broke, coming out more like a sob. "And believe me, I wanted to and I really did try. But nothing worked."
"You really hate my mustache?"
"Yeah." A vehement nod followed that. "It makes you look like a forty-something, disgusting, former porn star."
A hand was extended to her and he cocked his head toward the small bathroom in the back of the basement. "Come on, I'll let you shave it off."
"Oh Steven!" She entwined her fingers with his and let him led her into the bathroom.
The group cautiously approached the door, nervous of the possible carnage they could find behind it. They couldn't hear any yelling but that wasn't necessarily a good sign. Standing there, staring at the weather-beaten door, they all had a sense of dread in the pit of their stomachs and no one was eager to see what was going on behind it.
Finally Kelso stepped forward, in cop mode. "I'll do it. You're civilians. If they've killed each other then there's no need for you to see the blood on the walls or the bodies on the floor."
He turned the knob and pushed the door open, darting inside. A few moments passed and then there was laughter and a patented scream. "BURN!"
The rest of the group trickled in, looking around in disbelief of the chaos. Hyde's chair was on the floor. There was a sticky, glittery puddle that came from the smashed lava lamp and glass that resided there. The coffee table was askew and several of the things that usually rested on it were spilled onto the ottoman. But the most eerie thing of all was the feeling in a room, like a bomb had gone off or it was the scene of a massive fire, too quiet but with the distinct impression of devastation still hanging around.
"Damn, maybe leaving them alone wasn't the best idea." Eric mused, retrieving his crushed Millennium Falcon from the ruins of the stuff on the table.
"Ai! They ruined my bag of baby Ruth's!" Fez cried, exasperated. "They're all smooshed and broken now."
"I'm almost afraid to know what happened or who did it." Donna frowned at the carnage around them. "But I really should call Jackie."
"Either someone cleaned up the blood or one of them was a robot." Kelso stated as he dropped down on the couch. He made a face and reached for something under his leg, pulling out a pair of black lace panties. Excitement danced across his face, "Oh man!"
"You don't think…" Eric trailed off and looked at Hyde's bedroom door. A shiver ran through him and he shook his head to chase away the disturbing mental image Kelso discovery had out in there. "They wouldn't. Right?"
"No." Donna didn't sound convinced of her answer though.
"Then how else do you explain me finding panties?" Kelso twirled the scrap of black lace around his finger.
"You don't know that they belong to Jackie." Donna huffed, tapping her foot nervously.
Fez held out his hand and Kelso place the object of interest in his palm. He studied them, gave a creepy smile and nodded. "They do. She has the matching bra but didn't wear it today because of the sexy, backless shirt she had on."
Before anyone could respond to that, Hyde's bedroom door opened and he walked out, without the mustache. He noticed that all eyes were on him. "What?"
"Did Jackie forget something when she left?" Kelso asked as he pried the panties from Fez's hand and dangled them in his friend's face. "Like these?"
Hyde frogged him, hard, and took the lacy underwear from the moron's finger. "Touch her panties again and you'll have less fingers."
"So you two are what?" Donna asked cautiously, not knowing why she did.
"Doing it Donna!" Kelso rolled his eyes. "God! Try to pay attention."
Hyde frogged him again, even harder this time. "You guys won't have to find someplace else to hang out."
"Do we want to know why this place is such a mess?"
A smirk blossomed on Hyde's face. "Chalk it up as a causality of our truce talks."
They watched him walk away and shook their heads. The war was over. Finally. But knowing how it ended and exactly why the room was in such a state of disarray would inevitably cause them a few nightmares.