Disclaimer: Don't own, ain't getting paid – that goes for all the chapters
Pairing: H/J of course – I won't even pretend to think anyone else would do for Jackie.
Summary: Set just after Misfire (Season 8) – Jackie's world tumbles in on her when she realises it is really over for her and Hyde and seeks to escape how awful her reality has become. The method of that escape is pure Jackie.
A.N. This little story has been bouncing around in my brain for a couple of years, ever since I saw the first episode of Season 3 Grey's Anatomy (won't go into detail, you'll remember it after you read the chapter). Hope you enjoy!
"I swear to God I will never set eyes on him again. I bind my honour to you that I am done with him in this world. It is all at an end. And indeed he does not want my help; you do not know him as I do; he is safe, he is quite safe; mark my words, he will never more be heard of."
- Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Chapter 5
The front door opened inwards as a young woman and man cautiously crossed the threshold of the Burkhart Mansion. Although it was a house that was never known for its human warmth, it was particularly forbidding this day as it was shrouded in darkness. Quite deliberately shrouded – the curtains were drawn, the mirrors had black cloths covering them and the only light came from a scattering of candles flickering eerily from the shadows.
The young man clutched the arm of his companion.
"Aii, I don't like this." His eyes darted nervously around the room. "On second thoughts, I am sure Jackie is just fine. She is probably waiting for us back at the Foremans – I'll just go and check."
The tall blonde arrested her retreating friend with a sharp jerk on his collar. "Fez, no one has seen Jackie in 3 days. This was your idea to search her out! Now we walk into her house and find it's gone all Addams Family and you want to bail?"
"Well, maybe she is just getting ready for Halloween," Fez suggested.
"In February?" Donna clamped a hand around Fez's arm and tugged him towards the staircase. "C'mon, we have to find her. This place, it feels like…like…"
"Death," Fez supplied. The two friends suddenly looked at each other with wide eyes as the same horrible thought occurred to them together. "She wouldn't…"
"Jackie!" Donna yelled, taking the stairs two at a time. "Jackie, where are you? Jackie!" Donna and Fez began opening the doors of all the rooms they passed, becoming ever more frantic as they found each room empty.
"Shouldn't her mother be here?" Donna muttered.
"Don't you remember? She stole Jackie's car and took off for South America," Fez said.
"So she's been living here alone? Jackie hates being alone," Donna argued, scanning Jackie's oppressively pink bedroom, praying to find some sign of the over-opinionated princess who had wriggled her way into Donna's life. "She could have come to me."
"I guess she figured you'd be too busy giving Sam the grand tour of Point Place to have any time for her," Fez said with a shrug.
Donna was about to hotly deny the hidden accusation but no words would come. She knew Fez had a good point there. But then, how was she to know Jackie would be so put out by her overtures to Sam? It wasn't as if she actually liked the tube-top sporting stripper; the way she made her living was against everything Donna believed in, plus her dim-witted whorishness reminded her too much of Laurie. The fact remained, Hyde had decided to stay married to her so the best thing for everybody was to come to terms with that and find a way to accept her. Yet as she clattered down the halls of the empty house, she wondered for the first time if it was the best thing for Jackie.
Just when Donna was ready to give up, Fez suddenly shouted, "I found her! Donna, come quick!" The urgency in his cry made Donna break into a panic sweat as she barrelled down to the end of the hall to the main bathroom. Please, God, let her be alright, she prayed fervently. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry I was a bad friend, just please let her be alright. Breathlessly she burst into the shining white tiled bathroom. Then her eyes took in the sight of the still small figure curled up on the bathroom floor wearing a lavender prom dress, her eyes staring lifelessly into nothingness. Donna let out a keening sound at the picture.
A life had been taken.
Three days earlier…
It couldn't be, Jackie thought to herself as she strode quickly away from Fez's apartment building. She had just been over to scope out the place as, now that Michael was moving to Chicago, he had offered her his room to rent out. That was her main reason, but if Fez felt like gossiping about how Steven had reacted to Michael's marriage proposal to her last night, she would not be averse to listening. To be honest, she did not know how much longer she could keep up this act of not being bothered by Steven and his resident slut. She had done everything she could to get a reaction from him. She had flirted with other guys, worn her cutest and hottest outfits and pretended to ignore him, three manoeuvres that had always worked for her in the past. But nothing seemed to shatter that cold ice in his blue eyes whenever they looked at her. Then Fez had let slip that Michael was planning on proposing to her before everyone at the Forman's anniversary party last night. It was the perfect plan. Nothing broke through Steven's zen like watching Michael hit on her; to watch him propose to her would have him snatching her away from the handsome doofus, throwing her over his shoulder and racing them both down to his bedroom, where he would lock the door and forget he ever had a wife. So she had pretended to Fez and Donna that she was actually considering the idea, knowing Fez would spread the news back to Hyde that there was a chance he could lose her. But last night as Michael had offered her a balloon in place of an engagement ring (what an idiot!) and asked her that question she had been waiting to hear for so long, Steven had just stood in the background, his arm around his 'wife', watching the scene play out with as much interest as he gave the yearly church Christmas pageant.
But it had to be zen. Just very, very…very convincing zen. Right?
Jackie quickened her pace as she neared her destination. She had to get to the basement. After what Fez had told her, her faith in Hyde's hidden love for her was sorely stretched. She needed to search his room and find something, some proof that he did care for her, that he wanted to be with her but was too darn stubborn to reach out. But as hard as she tried to hold onto that belief, Fez's annoyingly accented voice kept ringing in her ears to contradict it.
"You know, Jackie, it is a happy ending all around that you turned down Kelso's proposal last night," Fez had said as they measured the wardrobe in her prospective room together. "Although how you could say no to those liquid brown eyes…"
"A happy ending for who, Fez?", Jackie asked, hoping he would say 'Hyde'.
"Why, for Kelso of course! I mean, he really did want to marry you, Jackie – in the morning. But then by the afternoon when he got that sweet job offer, he was backpedalling like crazy. You know, if it wasn't for Hyde he would probably be hightailing it to California as we speak!"
"Steven? What did he have to do with it?"
"He told Kelso he couldn't back out, that he'd never get another chance with you if he did."
"So… Steven wanted me to marry Michael?" Jackie asked with a sick feeling.
"Oh, definitely," Fez said cheerfully. "So there's another happy ending right there – you don't have to worry about him ever coming onto you again because you guys are ancient history as far as he's concerned." Fez raked Jackie with his sexiest leer. "Of course, I will be happy to fill the void of indecent proposals now both Hyde and Kelso are out of the picture."
Jackie grabbed her purse, her numb fingers barely able to keep hold of it. "I have to go," she forced out. Fez watched her stumble away with a puzzled face, wondering if he had said something wrong.
Finally Jackie reached the basement, relieved to find it empty. Throwing her purse on the couch, she entered Hyde's room and started frantically looking through his drawers. She had given him so many keepsakes in their time together, pictures of her, silly little presents, each one a private joke they shared between them. If she could just find his secret hoard that he no doubt sifted through each night when everybody was asleep, a lonely tear of regret sliding down his cheek… there must be something. But the only items in the room that weren't Hyde's were obviously the possessions of a person with very low moral standards, judging by the lack of cloth involved. Then suddenly she heard the basement door open. A vapid giggle split the silence.
"Baby, I made such a good take at the club last night. Let's go into your room and you can search out all the places where they put those dollar bills." Jackie made a disgusted face, barely stifling her "ewww". She held her breath waiting for Hyde's answer.
"Whatever," he replied Did that mean 'God, your complete lack of decency makes me want to hurl' or 'Let me just grab the whipped cream'. Damn his ambiguity!
Then she heard them at the bedroom door, not turning the door handle but rubbing up against the door. She wished she had enough time to vomit at the thought of what they were doing but she needed to hide before they found her in here. Silently apologising to her designer Chanel jacket, she crawled under Hyde's bed, pushing a large shoe box out of her way to make room. Just in time, too, because the next moment the bedroom door burst open and the two newlyweds were inside, so wrapped around each other you would have needed a Teflon spatula to pry them apart.
"Oh, Sam," Hyde groaned, as he pulled her down to his bed, crushing the mattress against Jackie's head. "Baby, you are so hot!"
"Hotter than your bratty ex?" Sam breathed, clawing at Hyde's T-shirt.
"Hell, yeah," Hyde replied enthusiastically. "She was nothing next to you."
Sam gave a little squeal of delight as Jackie felt a hundred daggers pierce her heart. "I knew it!" she cried in the manner of one who has asked this question before but had not in the past received an affirmative. "What else do you like about me, baby? In what other ways am I better than her?"
"Well, you… uh… you have an interesting… um…" Hyde seemed to be having a hard time coming up with examples. He shook his head free of all cogitation. "Sam, there's just one thing you need to know - I love you."
"Oh Hyde? Really?" Sam cooed in a slutty sirens voice that made Jackie want to stuff the dirty sweat socks that bred under Hyde's bed down her throat. "More than Jackie?"
Hyde barked out a harsh laugh. "Well, sure, anything greater than zero is more." From the confused look on Sam's face this piece of math was obviously beyond her. Hyde broke it down even further. "Sam, you're the first person I've ever said I love you to and actually meant it."
That was it. That was the breaking point. With a choking sob, Jackie shuffled out from under the bed. She ignored Sam's startled cry. She refused to look at Hyde face as she raced out of his bedroom, grabbed her purse and fled out of the basement. If she had she might have seen that he did not share Sam's surprise. For a moment there was a glimmer of regret in his eyes at the sight of Jackie's distress, but then the ice froze over his heart again.
"What the hell was she doing here?" Sam cried. "Is she going to team up with that pervert foreigner and hide in people's rooms when they're having sex?" She fixed a suddenly shrewish eye on her husband. "Or maybe she was waiting here to have sex with you and I spoiled your little party?"
"Don't be stupid, Sam," Hyde said coldly, the cloying sweet tone he had used minutes before dropped completely. "How should I know why she was here?"
Sam pouted. "Well, now she's just killed the mood. I've lost that sexy feeling having strangers touch my almost-naked body gives me." Sam sighed. "Raincheck until after tonight's show, baby?"
"Whatever," Hyde said with disinterest. "Hey Sam, do you want to get me a beer?"
"That's what I'm here for," his wife purred. If it was any other woman Hyde knew, that remark would have been sarcastic. With Sam, it was a sad statement of fact.
As soon as Sam closed the door, Hyde dived under his bed and dug out the shoebox that was pushed back against the wall. If Jackie found this…
When he opened the box he found its contents exactly the same as how he had last left it; every photo of her in order, all her gifts and stuffed toys where he had placed them last night. He breathed a sigh of relief. As soon as he had seen her purse on the couch, his thoughts had flown to the shoebox and when he had walked into his room and caught the delicate trace of her perfume, he was furious with her for snooping and probably discovering what a sap she could still turn him into. But he had got his revenge. From the shattered look on her face she had believed every lie he had told Sam. She wouldn't be poking around his room again.
As he pulled out the little troll doll from the shoebox, he read its inscription; Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
"Shut up!" he growled.
Three days later…
A life had been taken.
But it wasn't Jackie's.
As Fez touched Jackie's cheek, he found the surface wet with warm tears. Heart beating faster, he noticed the slight tremor of her lips which was all that signified she was breathing. He let out the breath he was holding in a grateful rush. "She's alive! Donna, she's breathing!"
"Jackie," Donna said, kneeling by her friend who still seemed to be locked in her own little world. "Jackie, can you hear me? Say something!" No response, other than the steady trickle of tears from her dilated eyes. "Jackie, look at me! I'm wearing plaid – c'mon, go to town!"
Fez held up a hand to Donna and spoke in a tender voice to his friend. "Jackie, it's me, Fez. Are you OK? Please say something, Donna and I are so worried about you." Donna nodded vigorously, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand.
At first, nothing. Then…
"Fez?" Her voice was dry, as though all the moisture in her body had left through her eyes.
"Yes, Jackie my princess! Please, won't you get off this cold floor and talk with us? We'll watch Grease with you if you like, or do makeovers – whatever you want."
"I can't get up yet, Fez," Jackie said. "It isn't over yet."
"Over? What do you mean?" Donna asked. "Jackie, what are you doing?"
"I'm sitting Shiva," Jackie answered, her voice still small and distant as though coming from far away.
"Shiva?" Fez asked, his brow puckering in confusion. "What is that?"
"I think it's some sort of Jewish custom," Donna explained, "The way they mourn for the dead."
"My grandmother told me," Jackie said, "that when a loved one dies that the way to bid them farewell is to shut out all the light, cover the mirrors and mourn them for seven days."
"Jackie, you can't stay on this floor for seven days," Donna objected. "You'll get tile creases in your cheeks. And anyway, you're not even Jewish!"
"I'm half Jewish," Jackie retorted with the first show of spirit yet. "Even if my mother wasn't practicing, it still counts. I figure since I'm half Jewish, I only have to mourn for three and a half days. I should be done by lunchtime."
"Oh," Donna said, somewhat befuddled. Fez said nothing, he just stroked Jackie's glossy hair until someone thought to ask Jackie the obvious question.
"Oh my God, did someone you love die?" Donna tilted her head downwards so she could look into Jackie's pain-filled orbs, which began to overflow again at this inquiry. Mutely, she nodded her head yes.
"Sweetie, I am so sorry," Donna gasped, holding Jackie's passive hand between her own. "Who was it? Your father?" Jackie shook her head. "Your mother?" Again, no. Donna racked her brain to think who it could be. "Who?"
Turning her head slightly for the first time, Jackie fought to get the name past her aching throat. Finally, she said, "Steven."
Donna dropped her hand in shock. "Steven? You don't mean… are we talking about…?"
"My boyfriend, Steven, you lumberjack," Jackie said before her shoulders began to shake once again.
"How…" Fez began, as much at a loss as Donna. Could she mean Hyde? The same Hyde they had just left at the basement when Fez had insisted it was unnatural for Jackie to be away from the centre of attention for so long and they should go look for her. The same Hyde who had barely lifted an eyebrow and slurred "whatever" as he slugged down another beer?
"It happened just after Chicago," Jackie recounted in a dull voice. "Steven found me with Michael and he got the wrong idea and before I could tell him nothing happened he jumped in his car and drove to Vegas."
"Yes, Jackie, we know all that," Fez agreed. "He went to Vegas and – "
"Crashed," Jackie finished. "Drove his car right into a strip club."
"A strip club?" Donna repeated warily as she shared a WTF look with Fez.
"The car, the club, Steven – they all went up in flames," Jackie said sadly. "There is nothing left of him now. Nothing but my memories."
"Jackie, when you say 'Steven'," Fez said cautiously, "Are you talking about the same Steven you dated for the last two years? The one who took you to the Christmas dance? That Steven?"
Jackie breathed an impatient sigh at her friend's obtuseness. "Of course I mean that Steven. What is the matter with you? Who else would I mean but the same Steven who has loved and protected me for the best two years of my life?"
"But Jackie, Hyde isn't dead," Fez said, eager to bring her this good news. Donna rushed to agree.
"That's right. We just left him in the basement 30 minutes ago."
Jackie crinkled her forehead in puzzlement. "Hyde? Hyde who?"
Another blank look from the two friends – they were flowing thick and fast today. "Well – Steven Hyde."
"I don't know any Steven Hyde," Jackie declared in genuine confusion. "I'm talking about my boyfriend – Steven Jekyll."
A.N. Fake out again! Man, that's fun to do. Please don't hold my teasing against me; I need some validation, people! REVIEW!