Disclaimer: Don't own them or else the final season wouldn't have been such a pointless, ridiculous mess that made most people's skin crawl because of the wrongness of H/S and J/F.

Warning: Language

March 21st, 1981 11:00 am Forman's basement

The continuous chatter of the people around Hyde was starting to drive him nuts. He didn't need for them to talk about what was happening today over and over like broken records. Everyone in the room knew all too well what today was and what it meant. But for some reason that escaped him, they either wouldn't or couldn't shut up. Maybe they didn't want to or maybe they needed to lay out every possible situation and outcome just to keep themselves occupied. Whatever the hell their reason, the constant stream of conversation was grating on his last nerve, which was raw and threatening to snap at any moment.

A few of the voices were anxious and worried. The others were hopeful but tinged with the slightest note of apprehension. If the topic hadn't been so serious, he would have laughed at the inane, redundant nature of the discussion as one of them again launched into the already played out what if segment once again. And like the hundred previous times the topic was broached, none of them could offer viable answers. Since his input wasn't wanted and wouldn't be appreciated, he choose to remain tight lipped on the subject, his face a mask of blankness and his eyes hidden behind his trademark aviator glasses.

He huffed, the tapping of his foot increasing as he tried to drown out the talking, wondering what the big deal was. Out of the six people in the room, five of them had paid weekly visits to the Kenosha Medical Rehabilitation Center. So they knew exactly what they were going to be facing when the Forman's came home. They had the awkwardness and trepidation out of the way and could concentrate on other things. But he would be walking into this whole thing blind, going only on things Forman had told him after the last visit.

Jackie was still firmly entrenched in the land of amnesia but apparently hadn't suffered any brain damage from the coma. She knew their names and faces because of them going to see her and stopped looking at them like they were strangers. They filled her in on their roles in her life and some basic information about herself but hadn't touched the subject of the past yet because of the orders of the medical staff. The doctors hoped that being home and surrounded by familiar things would trigger her memory on it's own accord. It was also instructed that the people in her life had to wait for her to ask about her life before volunteering any answers because she could develop false memories and that would be a major set-back in her recovery.

She'd have to see a psychiatrist every week and a neurologist once a month for tests. The doctor's explained that amnesia was not a well-documented condition and that the few documented cases varied by the individual, which basically meant that they had no clue if she'd ever remember. They warned that she could suffer periods of depression and mood swings. That she might not act like herself and do things that she never would have before losing her memory. And due to the fact that her careless use of Valium, Percocet, Xanax and Quaaludes led to her coma, they wouldn't prescribe her any medication to help with any possible side effects.

He stood and walked out of the basement to the driveway. Leaning against the El Camino, he lit up a cigarette and took a deep drag. His eyes studied the cigarette and he frowned, trying to remember why he started smoking again after quitting for almost three years. Stress? Aggravation? Boredom? A coping mechanism? An excuse to get away from everyone for a few minutes? Whatever reason he created, it was just an excuse for falling back on bad habits when things weren't going his way.

Inhaling again, he pushed his thoughts out of his mind. The smoke filled his lungs and the nicotine entered his blood stream. He blew the smoke out slowly, pretending to savor the usually satisfying burn. But unlike most days, it did nothing to calm him down or ease his mind. It seemed to have the opposite effect, wiring him even more and making his thoughts blur together in a nervous jumble.

Those racing thoughts all centered around seeing his ex for the first time since that horrible day in the hospital. This encounter would be just as painful. The idea of her not knowing who he was and who they had been to each other shook him to his core. To look into her mismatched eyes and not see any recognition there shredded his gut. She was essentially a stranger with Jackie's face and body and he was forced to live in the same house as her.

Talk about being sentenced to live in hell.

He flicked the burnt cigarette away and took a deep breath. If he wanted to survive this in tact then he had to stop thinking about it and stick to the plan he set in motion the day he left her hospital room, avoid her at all costs. It had been working well for him for the past two months and while it would be harder to accomplish in the cozy confines of the Forman's, it was doable. All he had to do was get up and out before her and come home when she was sure to be in bed. He wouldn't hang in the basement when she was down there and he wouldn't eat meals with the family.

Kelso and Donna would prefer it that way. Things with them were still rocky, tense and had only grown more so over his refusal to visit her in the rehab facility. Fez would probably be too wrapped up with his goddess's return to notice that he was purposely going MIA. Forman would be disappointed in him for taking the easy way out but would understand after they talked or argued about it. Red and Kitty would notice his absence and probably yell at him about avoiding his problems again.

The most predictable reaction of all would be Randy's. After Jackie went into the facility, he had quit Grooves. They hadn't spoken since his former employee requested to only work shifts with Leo. But from what Hyde heard, or rather what Donna made sure to point out when he was around, Randy spent a lot of time at the facility with Jackie. If what the vindictive blonde said was true, he made her laugh and let her know that he intended to be there for her, that he cared about her. Another thing Donna always threw out was the fact that Randy wanted to make sure that nothing upset Jackie, especially people who didn't have her best interests at heart.

That smug, condescending, know it all assumptions pissed him off even though he was used to it. None of them had a right to pretend like they knew what he was thinking or what his actions meant. Especially some feathered haired, pretty boy Andy Gibb look-a-like who had only been around the group for about year and interested in Jackie for an even shorter period of time. Not that their opinions matter to him. One look at their faces and he could see through their crappy facades.

It was all so transparent and pathetic. Kelso and Donna were fucking clueless, self-righteous morons who were only interested in looking like the good guys in Jackie's eyes if she ever regained her memory. They wanted to have someone to point the finger at, someone else to blame for their shortcomings as friends. Randy was just trying to make himself indispensable to her because she was his way to remain in good with the group. Three dates didn't give him enough time to get to know the real Jackie in order to care for her like he claimed to.

Hyde shook his head derisively and lit up another cigarette. They didn't matter. Whether or not he stayed away from his amnesia stricken ex was his choice. If they didn't know by now that he was his own person, hated authority and didn't do things because other people wanted him to then that was their problem, not his. The choices he made were by only thinking about what was best for him and the other person involved.

With their recent history of pain and misery, he figured that the best thing he could do was stay far away from Jackie. If she had her memory and recuperating from surgery, a broken leg or something like that, she'd fully agree with him. Hell she'd probably be the one who would suggest it. Or more accurately, she'd demand that he stay the hell away from her then kick him in the shins as an exclamation point.

"Hey, when did you start smoking again?" Forman's bewildered voice pulled him from his thoughts.

"Oh," He shrugged, Zen to the bone. "A while ago."


He rolled his eyes and mentally cursed Forman's inability to take a hint. "I just felt like it I guess."

"Yeah, I guess I can see that." Eric twitched, eyes sliding to the basement door. "My parent's called. They're just waiting for the last of the devil's release papers and should be here in an hour."

"That's cool." He took a long, heart-steadying drag on his cigarette.

"They, uh, wanted me to ask if you could do them a favor."

Something told him that he didn't want to hear this. That nothing good would come from Forman's mouth. He tried to think of an excuse, something that would get him out of there before the favor could be asked. But his mind was a complete blank and he took another pull of his smoke, staring down the driveway. Maybe he could make a run for it before Forman could open his mouth.

"She needs her clothes but they can't trust Kelso or Fez to do it because they'll steal her panties for whatever the hell reason." A shudder ran through him and he shook his head, his face betraying his disgust. "And Donna and I have to be here when they get back…"

"Randy's her boyfriend, right? Ask him." He stated flatly, taking a step away from the El Camino and flicking away his smoke.

Eric sighed, "Fez doesn't want Randy in Jackie's room. Something about him having a secret stash of candy in her closet that he knows will be gone if I let the outsider into his private sanctuary. Or at least I think that was what he said because he was talking so damn fast." He rolled his eyes. "It's all a moot point anyway cause Randy's at work and won't be able to do it until later."

"Well, I don't want to do it."

"Come on man, she can't walk around with no clothes. I'm pretty sure that I'd end up having nightmares." He whined; face screwed up in fear. "It would be like seeing Darth Vader without the helmet! Terrifying and haunting at the same time."

He rolled his eyes at that. If Forman saw Jackie naked, the last thing on his mind would be anything Star Wars related. Because he knew from experience that the sight of that perfect, tight, toned olive flesh had the ability to rob you of the ability to think about anything but touching it and committing the curves, texture and planes to memory. After that, you lost control and had to taste it. But once was never enough. No matter how hard you tried to deny it, you always wanted more.

A hand waved in front of his face and he blinked, turning slightly to look at his best friend who had a perplexed look on his face. "Quit leering at me like that or else your going to get a close-up of my fist."

Eric laughed nervously, "You fall asleep or something?"

"Nope, just ignoring your whining as usual." He ground out and stepped away from the scrawny guy. "Seriously man, you get more girly and wussy everyday. I'm going to have to start calling you Erica again."

"Well excuse me for not wanting to see the devil in all her nakedness! I know that I'm the only guy in our group who can make that claim but it's true. Plus, Donna would stop letting me touch her naughty places-"

"Would you just shut up already?" He growled, sick of hearing Forman drone on and on about Jackie being without her clothes. "Your voice is all high and annoying, like Minnie Mouse on helium."

Eric huffed, "You know, I can go on and on about this."

"And I can run you over with my car." Hyde countered, crossing his arms and raising an eyebrow in challenge. "Want to see what gives first, your mouth or my bumper?"

"Uh, no, I don't want to play that game."

"Good to know."

"Um, but she does need her stuff…" He held up his hands in mock surrender as a death glare was locked on him. "I just thought you might need to get away for a while and figured this was a good excuse."

He stared at Forman like he had grown a second head. "Sorting through Jackie's crap doesn't sound like getting away to me. Sounds like a punishment. A Donny Osmand and Abba poster, pink unicorn and flower decorated hell."

"It doesn't look like that anymore." There was something in Eric's tone, something that almost sounded like sadness. "Hasn't in a long time."

"Doesn't matter."

"Ok, then I guess that Kelso and Fez get their wish and Jackie goes without clothes. I just hope that I can get the camera out of their hands."

It was a cheap ploy but one that was highly effective. At the mention of the moron twins seeing her naked and taking pictures, a surge of jealousy coursed through his body. His jaw clenched so tightly that the muscle twitched. Forman gave him an infuriating, what can I do about it shrug and lifted his hands. He sighed, a scowl on his face but started walking toward the driver's side door.

"Hyde, man, where you going?" Eric grinned, following the path he took. "Oh, you're going to get Jackie's things. Guess the idea of someone who'd enjoy seeing Satan naked was too much for you to take."

"Shut your pie hole!" He called as he climbed into the El Camino, slammed the door and started the engine.