Maybe That's Why
a story for Jackie and Hyde
Disclaimer: Would you like some proof that I don't own That 70's Show? Just go watch Season 8. I don't even want to put my name on that. (shiver)
A/N: Why? Because there were so many things that coulda woulda shoulda gone differently, because there was something more to them, because it wasn't just another nothing. A take on how things were and how things should have been. Because apparently I'm proven once again to be a sucker for parallelism and introspective fluff. This is a one-shot to begin with, perhaps I'll add more should I find the time. It's kind of a fun thing to write about. :)
Chapter 1- Prom Night
Maybe it was because he had been hitting the circle a little much lately. That stuff screws with your brain, man. Hey, just look at Kelso- living proof that there should be a limit on that thing. After all the time he had spent with the guys in that basement, some damage was bound to be done eventually. He really couldn't be blamed in a lapse of brain function. Years of fog-induced acts of idiocy, and this was just one more to add to the list. Just because he remembered every minute of every second that it took her to ask him, and just because he would never be able to forget those few moments between the time she had asked, and the time he answered, didn't mean that it was special. Just because there was nothing hazy or unclear or in any way imperfect about the way she had asked for his help meant nothing.
Nothing at all.
Maybe it was because she had spent too much time in that sweet-smoke infested air. Yeelch. Michael was always down there, and even though she tried not to think about it, some of that stupor was bound to seep in through her skin eventually. Ew. So long as it didn't actually make her skin smell. Besides, sometimes it was fun- she didn't feel weird, just... looser, like she didn't have to worry so much about what people thought. Not that she worried about what people thought, but it was a nice feeling just the same. But obviously, her asking him couldn't have been a natural function, there must be something outside of her to blame it on. Because it was so weird, so spontaneous, so not her. And the very fact that she looked like she cared whether or not he went along with her last-ditch plan was proof that it couldn't have been conceived inside her brain. Because Steven meant absolutely nothing to her, nothing but someone to insult when she was bored.
Nothing at all.
Maybe it was because he was used to having her around. She had been hanging out in the basement ever since Kelso brought her around that first time, and had become her own fixture. Just like every single one of his other wonky friends, even if they were kind of weird, it would be even more weird if they weren't around- and not in a good way. Well, maybe it would be a little quieter, and maybe the TV would play a little less "Love Boat", and maybe he wouldn't spend quite so much time there. Maybe he'd be at home more, ignoring Edna and trying to get a little sleep every once in a while. Maybe Red wouldn't constantly be complaining about having an extra half-dozen teenagers in his kitchen. But whatever you want to speculate, she was around a lot, and he wasn't to be blamed for getting used to that feeling of knowing that she was there, talking and smiling and giggling the time away. There's wasn't anything he could do about any of it.
It wasn't his fault.
Maybe it was because she was so used to seeing him sitting there, looking all cool and Zen in his glasses, with his feet propped up as if he hadn't a care in the world. Sometimes, he just seemed so solid, so dependable, like he wouldn't just not be there one day, on a plane to Los Cabos. And it had become routine, to come in after school and see him there when she sat down to wait for Michael, to swap burns with him, to argue over what they were going to watch. It couldn't be her fault- just because she was human, and liked the idea of someone being there didn't mean that she was to blame in any way. She couldn't help it. And it certainly wasn't her fault for not being able to miss that he was better that Michael in so many ways- his intelligence, his humor, his ability to walk through a door properly. She wasn't to blame, and there wasn't anything she could do about that. He was just a part of her world now, a necessity.
It wasn't her fault.
Maybe it was because he was going soft. Damn, he wasn't supposed to be going soft. He was Hyde, goddammit, and he wasn't going to let a couple of tears make him do something he didn't want to do. A girl had never got to him that way before- because he wouldn't let her. Stupid, crazy chick. Not his fault she was cheating, hitting below the belt. It was her fault, hers for exploiting him and trying to play off him. It was hers for using him to get to prom, to make herself look good against the backdrop of his "scruffiness" and "dirtiness". It was hers for calling him scruffy and dirty, and letting him know just how lucky he was to have her as a date. It was hers for skipping out on him to go home with Michael, to make him want to do the right thing and leave her in his friend's arms as he walked off with a bimbo good for nothing except cheap sex.
It was all her fault.
Maybe it was because she was desperate. She just needed any way to get there. She wasn't even sure what she wanted when she did get there, but she thought that he could help her, that he wouldn't abandon her for another little whore. And somewhere, she wanted Michael to be as jealous as she felt, and to know that she chose his best friend to be with instead of him. She wanted to rub it in his big stupid grin, and walk off with a handsome guy, and know just what he was missing. She wanted him to see her having a completely fabulous time without him and with his best friend instead. She wanted revenge. But instead, he did the noble thing, and once again she was back with Michael. How did that even happen? It was his fault for feeling bad, for setting them up, for walking away with that whore just like Michael had. He was to blame for the fact that she was right where she had started, and she didn't know how.
It was all his fault.
Maybe it was because he wanted to be normal. Was that too much to ask? Was is too much to ask for a Dad who would show him how to work the damn tie, instead of him having to ask the snobby clerk how? Was it too much to ask for a Mom like Kitty, who smiled and laughed and took pictures and was proud, and only drank every so often, instead of a Mom who sat on the floor in a stained hoodie and screamed at his tux-clad back as he walked out to meet his date? Maybe he just wanted a night where he was one of the happy kids on the dance floor, who whirled around with beautiful girls in their arms and basked in their smiles. Maybe he just wanted to talk and laugh and live in the denial he scorned for a little. Maybe he didn't even care that it was his best friend's girl that he was taking, so long as she was beautiful and happy to be there- with him. Not some other guy she knew, not Fez, but him. Maybe he liked that feeling.
Was he to blame for that?
Maybe it was because she wanted someone to want to take her to the prom. She wanted someone that would let her look fabulous on his arm. She wanted someone who would walk in with her and whisper that she looked beautiful tonight. She wanted every last fantasy and every last cliché and she wanted it to be perfect, dammit. She wanted to walk off into that sunset. Maybe it didn't matter with who, at the time. She just wanted a guy who would buy a tux that matched so perfectly with her dress- how did he know which colours to get?- , and would slip the corsage onto her wrist with a gentle smile and gentler touch as he admired just how lovely she looked in it. Was it her fault that she got caught up in the romance of it all, and let herself be swept off her feet? Was it her fault that she thought that everything could finally, finally, be as perfect as she thought it should be?
Was she to blame for that?
Maybe it was because he just wanted to. Maybe it was because, when she asked him, his heart skipped a beat under his day-old t-shirt like some lovesick schoolgirl's. Not that he would ever admit to anything like that. Maybe he said he would because her big, brown eyes sparkled at him with a light that he somehow knew he had been waiting to see. Maybe it was because he finally found a way that this could work, that they could go, and she would be happy and he would be happy and they would dance and laugh at the cheesiness of it all and they could pretend that the world was good instead of the corrupt, lonely, cold place that it was. Maybe it was because he could live with the thought of fulfilling her scruffy-boy-meets-beautiful-princess fantasies if it meant that he would be her fantasy.
Maybe it was because of a thought he didn't want to admit- to anyone.
Maybe it was because she just wanted to. Maybe it was because she didn't need a reason, and found her palms getting sweaty and her heart beating faster as she sighed for him, waiting for him to ask her what was wrong. Because Steven was that kind of guy deep, deep down, and maybe it was because she knew he would ask. Maybe it was because she knew he could give her the night she needed, because she knew that when he cared, if he ever cared, if anyone could move him to that kind of feeling, it would be a much deeper and truer and purer feeling than any self-centered relationship Michael had had. Maybe it was because she wanted to be the one to rescue him, to be the one that made him feel the power of that feeling- for her. Maybe it was because something in her told her that to be the center of Steven's attention would be a very powerful thing.
Maybe it was because of a need she didn't want to admit- to anyone.