A/N: This is my first attempt at fanfic writing, so please be gentle! All constructive criticism welcome!
After finding a link on IMDb for tanith75's Season 8 Redo (which is incredible btw - highly recommended!), I was inspired to try my hand at my own J/H fanfic. This is an AU Season 8, taking place immediately after the 7th season finale "Til the Next Goodbye."
For all you smut-lovers out there (and don't bother denying it! hehe), there won't be very much smut in the early chapters, unfortunately (if you know how Season 7 ended, you'll immediately know why). But all good things come to those who wait! There's also plenty of angst, 'cuz let's face it -- J/H is all about angst!
So far, all chapter titles come from top songs of 1979. I include snippets of lyrics when they're integral to the storyline. For the full multimedia experience, feel free to search YouTube for the songs.
Warning: Language (the f-bomb will be dropped!), sexual situations, drug and alcohol use
Disclaimer: I own nothing, so please don't sue me. I just felt that the J/H fanbase deserved a far better ending than what we got!
Songs in this chapter: "Heart of Glass" by Blondie, plus tiny snippets of "Minute by Minute" (Doobie Brothers), "After the Love is Gone" (Earth, Wind & Fire), "Just When I Needed You Most" (Randy Vanwarmer), and "(Our Love) Don't Throw It All Away" (Andy Gibb).
Chapter 1 - "Heart of Glass"
As if in a hypnotic trance, Jackie stared vacantly out the passenger window of Kelso's car, watching the Chicago skyline fade in the distance as they drove through the night. Nervously, she fidgeted with a Kleenex she held in her hand, occasionally using it to dry her eyes.
With every fiber of her being, Jackie willed herself to stop crying. Logically, she told herself that this whole situation was just a big misunderstanding and, once Steven had a chance to cool off, it would soon blow over. But deep in her feminine soul, she sensed it wouldn't be that simple.
God, that look on Steven's face when he saw Kelso standing there in only a towel! Closing her eyes, she shook her head and fought back the sobs that once again threatened to wrack her body. Suddenly, she felt a hand on her shoulder, and she turned her tear-stained face towards Michael.
"Jackie, I'm really sorry!" he said, with uncharacteristic sincerity. "I really screwed up!"
"It's ... it's gonna be okay," her voice trembled, choking back tears. "We'll just be honest with Steven, explain everything calmly, tell him exactly what happened. I mean ... that nothing happened. And he'll forgive me, forgive us ... he has to!"
"Yeah, Jackie ... um, I don't think that's gonna work. I mean, I've seen Hyde really pissed off before, like when I was nailing his sister. And that was nothing compared to this!"
The brutal honesty of Michael's words ripped a hole in what little was left of her self-confidence. Hot tears stung her eyes, and she fought hard to keep them at bay. But inside, her resilience was crumbling. Without warning, a wave of panic washed over her, and she suddenly felt helpless in its wake.
"Michael, just ... can you please just hurry?" she begged. "I've got to talk to Steven and straighten this whole mess out!"
Kelso didn't need much encouragement to put his foot down on the accelerator. Soon they were rocketing down the interstate highway, closing in on the Wisconsin border.
A few miles ahead on I-94, a lone El Camino raced northward towards Point Place. Try as he might, Hyde was finding it impossible to erase the images that now seemed burned in his brain. A tacky little motel room, Jackie in her short nightie, Kelso wearing only a towel and a goofy smile ... it was a scene straight out of some low-budget porno flick. And a pretty piss-poor one at that!
Reaching up under his trademark shades, he rubbed his eyes roughly, willing the mental pictures out of his head. But when he opened his eyes, the images continued to haunt him. The scene kept replaying itself over and over in his mind, and suddenly he felt a familiar pang in the pit of his stomach.
An intense anger welled up from deep inside, and his Zen facade started to crack under the strain. He couldn't decide who he was more pissed off at -- Jackie for her infidelity, Kelso for disrespecting their friendship, or himself for being so vulnerable and trusting.
History had taught him well, and long ago he'd made a vow to himself never to open up to anyone ever again. And yet, here he was, in the middle of Bumfuck, Middle America, kicking himself in the ass for breaking that sacred vow.
Dammit, how could I be so stupid? What the hell was I thinking?! How could I let my guard down, allowing a bitchy, stuck-up cheerleader like Jackie Burkhart to somehow worm her way into my life and into my heart?
"... you're listening to WFPP, the number one station in Point Place, Wisconsin. This is Hot Donna, and it's Dedication Night. Up next is a special dedication going out to Bruce from Cindy. Uh oh, Bruce -- sounds like you're in trouble! Here's Blondie singing 'Heart of Glass' ..."
"Once I had a love and it was a gas
Soon turned out had a heart of glass
Seemed like the real thing, only to find
Mucho mistrust, love's gone behind
"Once I had a love and it was divine
Soon found out I was losing my mind
It seemed like the real thing but I was so blind
Mucho mistrust, love's gone behind ..."
The lyrics seemed to taunt Jackie in her own private hell, as she tried desperately to shut out the tune.
"... In between
What I find is pleasing and I'm feeling fine
Love is so confusing there's no peace of mind
If I fear I'm losing you it's just no good
You teasing like you do ..."
Jackie closed her eyes and leaned her head against the cool glass of the passenger window. She'd never been much of a religious person, but at that moment, she found herself praying silently. "Dear God, please let this all work out!"
"... Lost inside
Adorable illusion and I cannot hide
I'm the one you're using, please don't push me aside
We could've made it cruising, yeah ..."
And with that, exhaustion finally overcame her, and she succumbed to a fitful sleep.
"... Once I had a love and it was a gas
Soon turned out I had a heart of glass
Seemed like the real thing only to find
Mucho mistrust, love's gone behind"
For the past 30 minutes, Hyde had been driving in complete silence, with only his tortured thoughts for company. Desperate for distraction, he quickly turned on the radio, hoping for some Stones or Aerosmith.
"... you've been listening to 'Heart of Glass' by Blondie, and this is Hot Donna on WFPP radio. For my last song tonight, I'm sending out a dedication to my boyfriend who's on his way to Africa right now. Eric, this one's for you -- here's the Rolling Stones with last summer's hit 'Miss You' ..."
Hyde groaned. Despite being a die-hard Stones fan since he was, like, eight years old, the thought of this sellout disco tune coming out of Mick Jagger's mouth only served to piss him off even more, if that was possible. He started punching buttons on his car radio to escape the atrocity ...
"Hey, don't worry, I've been lied to
I've been here many times before
Girl, don't you worry, I know where I stand
I don't need this love, I don't need your hand
I know I could turn, blink, and you'd be gone
Then I must be prepared any time to carry on ..."
"Shit, that's not helping!" he muttered under his breath. Next button ...
"After the love is gone
What used to be right is wrong
Can love that's lost be found? ..."
Next button ...
"'Cause you left me
Just when I needed you most ..."
Next button ...
"Don't throw it all away, our love, our love
Don't throw it all away, our love ..."
"It's a fucking disco conspiracy!" he grumbled, and shoved his Physical Graffiti cassette into the tape deck. Suddenly, the lilting chords of "Kashmir" came blasting through the El Camino's speakers, and a small smile played on Hyde's lips. "That's more like it!" he said to himself, and then stopped short when he remembered the last time he'd heard this song.
In his mind's eye, the memory returned in flashes. Jackie's smile, the feel of her hot skin on his lips, the smell of her hair, the salty sweetness of her ...
Dammit! Now even his beloved Zeppelin was forever tainted by her memory. Angrily, he turned off the stereo and once again sat in silence.
" ... It's almost midnight here at WFPP, and that means it's time for the Dr. Demento Show. Until next time, this is Hot Donna signing off! ..."
Michael glanced over to his right and noticed Jackie fast asleep in the seat next to him. Not wanting to disturb her, he quietly switched off the radio and turned to his own thoughts.
He had never been one to consider the consequences of his actions, but tonight's events had certainly given him reason. Hyde was pretty pissed off -- the understatement of the decade! -- but Kelso could deal with that. What he couldn't handle was the look on Jackie's face when he got back to the motel room -- a strange mixture of sheer panic and utter despair. Practically on the verge of hysteria, she was throwing all her things in a bag, tearfully begging Michael to take her back to Point Place.
Like a bolt of lightning out of the blue, it was at that moment he realized that Jackie was forever lost to him. Not that he seriously entertained the notion of ever being with her, but at least he believed the option was available to him -- until now.
Michael had always considered Jackie and Hyde's relationship to be a kind of fling, a rebound -- nothing more. But looking at her sleeping form, tears still glistening on her cheeks, he now knew he couldn't have been more wrong. It was a painful blow to the infamous Kelso ego.
Suddenly he spied something up ahead, a familiar set of tail lights in the distance, and he pushed even harder on the gas pedal. He couldn't be absolutely positive it was Hyde's El Camino, but he was damn sure gonna find out!
With a sudden need for some fresh air, Hyde rolled down the window and welcomed the cool breeze. Taking a couple of deep breaths, he felt his anger slowly dissipating as an internal debate began to rage inside his head.
A small part of him wanted to trust Jackie, to give her the benefit of the doubt. And it was certainly no secret that Kelso was the resident moron of the group, who'd pulled more half-baked stunts than Evel Knievel. Maybe there was some bizarre excuse for what happened back in that motel room.
Of course, it wouldn't be the first time that Jackie and Kelso were caught in a compromising position. And Hyde had jumped to the wrong conclusion then -- could he be wrong this time as well? The little angel on his right shoulder wanted him to believe that he was.
But the devil on his left shoulder was persistent and convincing. Kelso was naked, for God's sakes! Saying something about how people couldn't see them doing it from the parking lot! It didn't take a fucking genius to put two and two together and get four.
A rattling noise in the passenger seat soon snapped him out of his reverie, and he visibly winced when he caught a glimpse out of the corner of his eye. Inside that little blue gift bag was a small velvet box containing the biggest diamond ring he could afford on such short notice.
In one swift motion, Hyde grabbed the bag and jammed it underneath the passenger seat. The last thing he needed was a reminder of what could have been.
One thing was certain -- he had some decisions to make. But first, he needed to clear the cobwebs out of his brain. Glancing at his gas gauge, he noticed the needle sitting precariously close to empty. Fortunately, there was a truck stop at the next exit. He could fill up his gas tank, grab a cup of coffee and figure out where the hell he was going from here.
Not far behind, Kelso noticed that the car he'd been following had taken Exit 345, headed straight towards the Kenosha Truck Stop. Though he still wasn't close enough to be sure it was Hyde's car, he veered right and exited the highway as well.
Pulling into the plaza, Kelso spotted an El Camino in the parking lot, but it was a much newer model than Hyde's. "Damn!" he said under his breath. "False alarm."
As he prepared to make a u-turn to get back on the interstate, something caught Kelso's eye -- a sign advertising hot dogs for 10 cents! Suddenly, his desire for cheap hot dogs took precedence over catching up with his good friend Hyde.
Kelso parked his car and glanced at Jackie, still sleeping in the passenger seat. "It'll just take a second -- no need to wake her up," he reasoned. Opening his door as quietly as possible, he stepped out of the car, and gently closed the door. With one last look at Jackie to make sure he hadn't disturbed her, Kelso headed inside the store.
"Man, this is AWESOME! I can get, like, 6 hot dogs for a dollar!"
On the opposite side of the plaza, partially hidden by an 18-wheeler, Hyde started filling the El Camino's gas tank. He glared at the pump as the numbers spun around like a slot machine in Vegas. 86 cents for a gallon of gasoline -- what a fucking outrage! Silently he cursed the government for ripping off the common working man.
Setting the hands-free "kickstand" on the nozzle's handle, Hyde leaned back against his car, crossed his arms and stared up at the stars carpeting the night sky. It was one of those perfect summer nights -- crystal clear with a cool, light breeze blowing off the lake, an almost-full moon in the west.
There was something oddly comforting about the nighttime sky. As a young kid, Hyde would lay awake at night staring out his window, playing connect-the-dots and forming his own constellations. When World War III threatened to erupt in the room next to his, little Steven would escape into his own private universe filled with stars and planets, moons and asteroids, comets and meteors.
His fascination with the heavens never took that bizarre left turn into science fiction -- he left that for the Formans of the world. For Hyde, it was the constancy, the predictability that captivated him. During the darkest days of his childhood, the twinkling points of light were always there for him, dependable and reassuring. Any time Steven felt alone in the world, all he needed to do was look out his bedroom window and find a friend.
But tonight, he was looking for a sign. Yet so far, nothing had presented itself to him. As Hyde studied the night sky, his eyes fell upon an all-too-familiar "W" shape near the northern horizon, and a small smile danced across his lips.
At that moment, he realized that it would be no easy task to erase Jackie Burkhart from his memory. No matter how hard he tried to avoid it, his thoughts always turned to her. In a flash of guilt, Steven wondered where she was, how she was doing ...
Jackie slowly opened her eyes and tried to make sense of her surroundings. Drowsily, she yawned and stretched, squinting against the glare of the harsh parking lot lighting. As sleep gave way to consciousness, the memory of earlier events flooded her brain with the speed of a tsunami.
Fresh tears stung her eyes, and she put her head in her hands in an attempt to stop them. "No, I am not gonna do this -- no more crying!" she told herself. "Be strong, Jackie Burkhart!"
Quickly wiping her eyes with a tissue, Jackie reached up to adjust the rearview mirror and was shocked at the reflection -- barely recognizing the face staring back at her. Bloodshot and swollen with dark circles underneath, her eyes bore the brunt of the ravages of the past few hours.
"Damn you, Steven J. Hyde, for making me cry my eyes out!" she swore under her breath. "I look like hell and it's all your fault!"
As she deftly re-applied her makeup and repaired the damage, Jackie found a bit of her old fighting spirit returning. It wasn't much, but it was enough to give her a flicker of hope for the future, whatever it might bring.
Feeling stiff from sitting in one position for too long, she got out of the car to stretch her legs and walked around to the driver's side of Kelso's car. Her head throbbing and her stomach in knots, Jackie closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths to clear her mind. With a little hop, she sat on the hood of the car, gently swinging her tanned legs as they dangled above the ground.
"Where the hell is Michael?" she grumbled to herself. "Ugh, he knows I hate truck stops!"
As if on cue, Kelso exited the building loaded down with two huge grocery bags filled to the brim.
"Jackie, you're awake! Man, you are not gonna believe this ..."
"Michael, where have you been?! And why are we at a yucky truck stop?! You know how much I hate truck stops. And truckers. And trucks!" She punctuated her little tirade with a well-practiced pout.
"Jackie, let me explain! I thought I saw Hyde's car pull in here ..."
"Wait, Steven's here?! Where is he?!" she turned her head in every direction, desperately searching for the familiar El Camino.
"Damn, Jackie ... let me finish! I said I thought I saw his car, but it was a newer model."
"Oh," she said deflatedly. "So, why did you stop then? We should be in Point Place by now, Michael!"
Reaching into one of the brown paper bags, Kelso grabbed a hot dog and held it aloft in a moronic homage to the Statue of Liberty. "Hot dogs!" he proclaimed triumphantly. "They're on sale for 10 cents! I bought $10 worth! I can't wait to show Fez!"
"Wait ... you bought 100 hot dogs to impress Fez?" she asked.
"Don't be stupid, Jackie! Of course not! I said I bought $10 worth -- that's 60 hot dogs." He reached out and patted Jackie on the head. "You never were very good with math!"
"But ... oh, never mind! So, is there anything in there for me, or is it all Fez-related?"
"Oh, here ... hang on!" Kelso started digging around in the second grocery bag. "TAH DAH!" he exclaimed as he handed her a TaB.
For the first time in quite a few hours, a smile crossed Jackie's lips. "Oh, Michael, it's like you were reading my mind! I'm dying of thirst!" She greedily grabbed the pull tab ring, opened the can and took a huge gulp of the diet soda. "Mmmmmmmmmm!"
"Here, Jackie -- you want a hot dog?" Kelso asked, as he stuffed one in his mouth.
"Uh, no thanks, Michael. My stomach doesn't feel very good right now. Oh, that reminds me -- you don't happen to have any aspirin, do you? My head is killing me!"
Kelso's signature goofy grin spread across his face as he reached in the bag and produced a huge bottle of aspirin. "It was an impulse item at the checkout counter!"
Jackie opened the bottle, took two tablets and popped them in her mouth, swallowing them with a sip from her soda can. "Okay, so Michael -- now that you've done your grocery shopping for the month, can we go home now? I really need to find Steven and straighten things out."
"Yeah, okay." Noticing her bloodshot eyes, Kelso suddenly became concerned. "Hey, you doin' alright?" He brought his arm around her shoulders and gave them a gentle squeeze.
"Yeah, I'm fine -- don't worry. I just really want to get home, that's all. The sooner I talk to Steven, the better."
Kelso offered his hand and helped Jackie down from the car hood. "Well then, let's blow this hot dog stand!"
As she headed to the passenger's side of the car, Jackie reached up and gave Michael a hug. Wrapping his long arms around her tiny frame, he lifted her up until her feet dangled from above.
Giving Kelso a quick peck on the cheek, she whispered "Thank you" in his ear.
"Now put me down!"
With a familiar "click," the pump shut off and brought Hyde crashing back to earth. Glancing at the readout, he couldn't believe his eyes. "Shit, $10.32 for a fill-up? What the hell, man?" As he replaced the nozzle on the pump and screwed the cap onto his gas tank, he silently cursed Jimmy Carter and the latest gas shortage. At least he hadn't had to sit in long lines at the gas station as he'd seen on the news.
The truck stop was doing a booming business. There were 18-wheelers scattered everywhere throughout the plaza -- some parked on the perimeter, others at the fueling stations. Hyde had to weave his way back to the store to pay for his gas and maybe grab a cup of coffee to go.
As he turned the corner, he stopped dead in his tracks. There, straight ahead, was Jackie and Kelso, sitting on the hood of Kelso's car. Unnoticed by the pair, Hyde slowly took three steps backwards and hid behind the wall.
Secretly he watched as Jackie gave Kelso a hug and a kiss, and that familiar pang in the pit of his stomach returned. Adrenaline coursed through his veins, every muscle in his body tensed, and he felt his hands curl up into fists at his side.
"Kelso, you're a dead man!"
A/N: Since this is my first fanfic EVER, I'd really appreciate feedback! Thanks:-)