Born to lose, I've lived my life in vain

Every dream has only brought me pain

All my life I've always been so blue

Born to lose and now I'm losing you

February 21st, 1980

The door to the basement creaked open, a rush of cold air sweeping through the room. Hyde focused on the tv set, not bothering with whoever was invading the basement at the moment. Besides, he already had a pretty good feeling as to who it was, and acknowledging her presence was the last thing he wanted to do.

But Jackie Burkhart was not a woman to be ignored, and as she took a seat on the worn couch, she cleared her throat loudly. Out of the corner of his eye, the focus of his gaze hidden by his sunglasses, he watched her.

Her cheeks were flushed an appealing shade of pink from from the cold, and she was staring at him, eyes narrowed, and suspiciously red, like she'd been crying. Shit.

Feelings of concern and annoyance rose, but he pushed back the concern, pushed back the part of him that would kick the ass of anyone who dared to hurt her, the part that loved her. It was easier to stay in control when he pretended he hated her.

He still kept up the pretense of ignoring her, and she made an annoyed sound, before clearing her throat again. She obviously wanted to talk, and if Hyde had learned anything about Jackie over the years, it was that when she wanted to talk, she would. It would be best to get it over with, and get her out of the basement so he could go on not caring.

"Fine, Jackie. I'll bite. What do you want?" He slid his gaze back to the tv show, refusing to give her his full attention.

"I got a call from Chicago today. It was the same T.V. producer who offered me a job," She paused, unsure as to how to phrase her words, "last time."

Hyde made a noncommittal grunting noise, but she had his full attention now. "He offered me the job again. And, uh, I told him I'd think it. I have until tomorrow to decide."

"So?" There's a pained look to her face at that, but he's telling himself he doesn't care about her feelings. "What's the problem?"

"Since Fez and I are over, there's not a lot keeping me here, but I thought..." She fell silent. "Can you please take off your stupid sunglasses, and talk to me, Steven? This is important."

And even after all that's happened, she still has some power over him, and before he even realizes what he's doing, he's sliding off his shades and turning to face her.

"What do you want me to say, Jackie? Please don't go, I want you to stay? I won't. If you want to go, just go."

There was a finality to his words, and she stood up, eyes flashing. "You know what, you're right. I don't know what I was thinking, coming here. I've got another chance at making something of myself, and I'm going to take it."

She stormed out of the basement, grabbing her jacket as she went.

"You'll be better off without me, Jacks," Hyde said quietly to the empty room. He pulled his sunglasses back on, and leaned back in his seat, letting the tv pull him back into oblivion.

---

Fin.

author's note: The song at the beginning is 'Born to Lose', by Ray Charles. It's a beautiful song. So, I don't think I wrote this as well as I could have, and I'm no expert at Hyde's POV, but for a first attempt at real angst, I don't think it's too bad. Should I try and make it into a two-shot, or you do like the ending as is?