A/N: Thanks for all your reviews, you guys! Love you all – you guys are like, the BEST!
Disclaimer: C'mon, dude. Seriously?
Chapter 11: Tell Me, Bud's Son…
Of all the stupid holidays – and they were all stupid, in Hyde's opinion – Thanksgiving had to be on the top five of holidays that he despised. The celebration of giving thanks – whatever, man. Thanksgiving was just another ridiculous holiday. So the Pilgrims and the Indians came together – what the fuck did the Pilgrims do then? They came, and conquered, took away the Indians' land and freedom, and forced them to live their lives on reservations, because some stupid European white man couldn't handle the heat of some religious persecution.
And come on – it's not like Hyde had a lot to be thankful for anyway. Most of his life had been spent in absolute misery. It was only by some cosmic kickass intervention by the cosmos (and Forman's big freakin mouth) that he had somehow survived the wrath of Edna and Bud. And then later, come to find out, Bud wasn't even his father.
Which, when he took the time to really think about it – which wasn't often, just to be clear – kind of appeased him, and pissed him off. Just because a kid wasn't yours doesn't give you the right to treat him like shit and leave. Granted, W.B. hadn't been there either, but W.B. hadn't known he had a son. Bud thought Hyde was his, and treated him like shit anyway. Left Hyde behind to deal with Edna, and all of her abuse and bullshit. Oh yeah, Edna Hyde turned out to be a great mom. Mother of the freakin Year sixteen years running.
In more…chemically enhanced moments (which were always by himself), Hyde liked to think that the cosmos knew that they had really fucked up in giving him Bud and Edna as parents. So they gave him the Formans, which was perhaps the closest to The Cleavers as Point Place could get. But their cosmic penance came too late, because by the time that the Formans took him in, Hyde had perfected zen, and well.
The rest was history.
He lived life angry, and pissed, and just…determined to live his life in whatever way that he wanted. He got high, drunk, and laid. He laughed at his friends' expense, and was rightfully fearful of Mrs. Forman's menopause.
He was even able to keep a job. He was high most of the time…but whatever.
And yet, through all of that – and it was freaking incredible to think that this was the highlight of his twenty years – but the best part of it – the best part of him…was a short, demanding, brunette cheerleader who had the balls to call him "Puddin Pop."
She had given him all she had. Everything inside of her – her heart, soul, all – had been fed to him piece by piece, given to him in tiny handfuls. And when she was empty, when he thought there couldn't be any more inside of her to give…she found a way to give him more still.
Her capacity to love him, her uncanny ability to know him, had made him stupid and insecure. Protecting himself from possible abandonment, from ridicule from his friends…from feeling. Jackie had made him feel, man. Even when she was being annoying to everyone else – she never really annoyed him. Hyde remembered it bothering it at the beginning when she started coming around – she had been this shrill, bossy, annoying presence that he had gotten used to – and later, enjoy. He didn't know when it happened, but…he had liked having her around.
She just…Jackie did wicked things to the blood, man.
That summer where they first hooked up was a blur of beer, circles, and making out with Jackie. God, his feelings for her had always confused him, since that frickin date on Veteran's Day. Shit, if he were to be completely honest with himself, the feelings that Jackie inspired had been bugging the shit out of him since he took her to prom. But that summer… God, their hooking up had been wrong and hot and intense and there were times when he would have given up his right to breathe if he could just stay deep inside her mouth. The lightening sparks that had been forced to lay dormant since their kiss on her daddy's Lincoln had raged so hot and bright, and as he thought back on it now it seemed amazing that they had waited so long to have sex. Their lust for each other had been so intense – but…even as she straddled his lap on the basement couch while having her tongue make love to his mouth, the pleasure that she gave far outweighed the release he got from nailing other girls. It was a feeling that would keep coming back, constantly in different forms – how life's experiences, even the crappy ones, they had just…they had felt better cuz Jackie had been there.
And now that she was gone…
Life just sucked, man.
And he hated her for it.
What the fuck! Steven Hyde wasn't supposed to act like this, feel like this. He wasn't supposed to be acting like frickin Forman, he was Hyde, zen personified, and now…
This wasn't supposed to happen this way. That girl…she wasn't supposed to be so entrenched inside him, so wrapped up deep in his heart and soul that now that she was gone even fricking breathing had become an issue. She had represented the worst parts of life in his opinion – she was shallow, rich, mean, and bossy…
And it would really make him freakin feel better about the whole entire situation if all that shit had turned out to be true…!
Because, regardless of all supposed bullshit justifications he would use to pull himself away from her – she really hadn't been any of it. When they were alone, when it was just the two of them – God, she had let him see parts of her that she hadn't shown to anyone else, not even her supposed best friend. She had opened herself up to him, talking to him about important stuff – stuff that he had interest in, too. She talked about her mom, and her dad, and how their abandonment made her feel. How she sometimes didn't get Forman and his Red issues, because she would do anything to have a father that involved. In private, she was so much more than what he had originally thought she was, she was deeper, genuine, and she was just…
Her freaking imperfections had made her perfect for him, man. She had had the same issues, faced the same fears as he did. And even as it became glaringly obvious how alike they were, he still held fast to the preconceived notions that he had of her, because to do otherwise would finally admit to the overwhelming depth of feeling this chick had aroused in him. And he couldn't do that. Couldn't do it because no matter what his birth certificate said, he was Bud's son, and Bud was an alcoholic jackass who fucked up everything in his path. And Bud's son didn't deserve to have someone that beautiful look at him with love and desire in her eyes, didn't deserve to have her look to him to have all the answers. Bud's son didn't deserve the love or the desire, and he sure as hell didn't have all the answers. All Bud's son was good for was a beer, a bag, and a bang.
And a stripper wife. Yeah, Bud's son was good for that, too.
So what if he had craved more? More for himself? Wanted to be less like Bud, and more like Red? So what if when he thought of "father" he thought of Red Forman? So what if he would look at how Red and Kitty were and then look at his faux wife and knew that they were never going to have that kind of marriage? He and Sam would never have that depth of understanding; never have that bond like Red and Kitty. Hyde knew that. He knew that because he was Bud's son, and Bud's son didn't deserve that kind of life. Didn't deserve that kind of happiness.
Steven Hyde didn't do happy.
He just did less pissed off.
Of all the lies he had told himself in the past five hundred days – the days he had spent ignoring Jackie's pleas for a future with him, days he had chosen to get wasted in the basement instead of going to her graduation party, nights when he would make love to her and deny the connection to save himself, nights when he chose to pass out in a beer warehouse instead of telling Jackie how much he needed her, nights he had spent wishing her the worst because he had caught Kelso in a towel even though he knew deep inside of himself that she would never go there, days and nights he got so plastered that he picked up some random stripper and married her, days when he would burn the shit out of Jackie, needing to see her cry and hurt and in pain in retribution for the shit show that was his life that he blamed on her and her alone, nights when he would let her fall into a creek cuz he was too wasted to help her, nights comparing her to every slut Point Place had to offer – all those days and nights that had been filled to the brim with lies and crap and his twisted sense of self-preservation that probably could've come undone had he admitted to one small and simple thing.
Happy. Jackie Burkhart made him happy.
But he couldn't do that, couldn't even fathom admitting to that, because he feared the moment he did, she was gone. She would leave, after breaking him down, and she would run back to Kelso, after just dishing the greatest burn in basement history.
Jackie Burkhart didn't deserve Bud's son. She deserved good-lookin guys like Kelso, or rich dudes that could cater to her every whim.
But she didn't. She wanted, needed, him.
No, the lie that could've saved them wasn't his admitting to her making him happy. It was the lie he kept telling himself, day after day, night after night, that Jackie had just been biding her time, wasting time with him while Kelso grew the fuck up. He refused to believe that Jackie was his and his alone – because to admit it, to believe it – it would mean that he allowed himself to believe the fairy tale. The wife, the house, the kids – things that he never allowed himself to want or believe in because if Bud's son hadn't been enough for Bud, or even good enough for Edna, why the fuck would anyone believe that he was good enough for Jackie Burkhart, princess of Point Place?
And, God, he just kept fucking pushing her away, ignoring her pleas for something, anything, that would show her if she meant anything to him. That he saw her in his future. He didn't have the words for her, because, damn it, he didn't know. He didn't know if she was going to be in his future because he wouldn't let himself believe that she would allow him in hers. That she wouldn't someday look at the crappy life he had provided for them, and walk out of it. It didn't matter that she swore she never would, it didn't matter that he could see the love and devotion almost dripping from her fingertips as they lay in bed – none of it mattered, because he couldn't allow himself the fantasy of having her beside him for life.
Even if that's what he wanted. Even if – the more he fell in love with her, the more she amazed him every day – even if he couldn't imagine a future without her in it. That he didn't want a future without her in it. None of that mattered. Because – at the crux of it, the core of it – Hyde loved Jackie the way he loved air – he needed it to breathe, to feel alive. And the fact that she had caused him to feel so many things in so many different ways…God, she had opened up a new world of feeling that he had spent so much of his life trying to avoid. She made him feel, made him want, made him need. He had never wanted something the way he had wanted her. Never needed someone the way she made him need. The feelings she had inspired had made him both furious and addicted to the feeling. Jackie had slowly become his drug of choice - the simple high that he would get from being with her. Being on the receiving end of her loving gaze was a high all on its own. And while his heart had rejoiced in the attention, his pride and sense of self-preservation had been furious to know that this 95 pound girl could fell him so easily.
She didn't have the right to make him feel this way. She was supposed to be his total opposite, to be everything that he swore he was against. But she wasn't. She was more like him than he ever admitted – had fought the same battles, waged the same war. But she didn't fight through life's bullshit with zen and detachment – she fought it by throwing herself into everything she could. Tried to be everything to everyone, in the hopes that her actions would make them want to stay.
And what does she get for her effort?
Shitted on. By everybody.
As he sat in his chair in the basement, reluctant to join the upstairs Thanksgiving festivities, he stared at the television, watching but not seeing. All Hyde could see in his mind's eye was her face, with those crazy, expressive eyes of hers. And how she would simply just…exert emotion. God, but she was beautiful. Just fucking gorgeous, man. He would never admit it to anyone, but he had loved the fact that she was so emotional. So…extreme. Even when they were broken up, he had loved the fact that she had put her all into everything she did, even if that meant trying to prove that she didn't care about him anymore.
But he knew she did. He had always been able to read her.
Until he stopped trying.
Hyde sighed, not wanting to go down the whole stripper craptastic lane in his mind. Yeah, he fucked up, he knew that. Fucked up in one of the most unforgiving ways possible. He couldn't do anything to change it now, though, could he? So what was the point of all this brooding and introspection?
He needed a circle.
As he started to get up to get his stash, Brooke rushed in through the back door, with Betsy in her arms.
Hyde froze in mid-air. He didn't have a problem with Brooke, per se, but he remembered the attitude that she gave him when he went to visit Kelso in Chicago, and the anger plain on her face throughout the whole dinner fiasco. He had the feeling that Brooke didn't like him very much, but, he really couldn't blame her. Hyde was starting to finally be able to admit that for much of 1979 and all of 1980, his behavior had been severely lacking.
That didn't mean that he wanted to have a big, emotional, Forman-esque conversation though. That just wasn't his style.
Fuck. He had wanted to have a circle, but couldn't very well do it with the baby in the room. He wasn't that far gone.
He also didn't want to raise Brooke's anger further. He'd had enough of recriminations and blame, and frankly, it wasn't the way he wanted to spend his Thanksgiving.
He also had enough of this gnawing discomfort any time someone was in the room with him, like they were pissed and frustrated and didn't know how to talk to him.
Hyde had had enough of that shit, too.
"So, uh…Yeah, I'm just gonna head out."
"Where are you going? It's Thanksgiving, Hyde. Mrs. Forman would be devastated if you weren't here."
"No, I'll be back in time for dinner. I just… I'm gonna go out for a drive." He paused. "Yeah."
Brooke Spencer had had enough. It was Thanksgiving, one of her favorite holidays, and the fact that there was this big ugly cloud over it this year was really starting to piss her off. Add to that fact that Betsy was being extra cranky today, Michael was being…Michael – which wouldn't have necessarily bothered her except she had a particular hellish day at the library the day before, they had gotten stuck in traffic for like two hours from Chicago on the way over to the Formans, and she was on the first day of her period which just made her pissed to begin with.
She had come down here to get her and Betsy away from the madness upstairs for a little while, but now that she found Hyde here, she had a few things she wanted to get off her chest. She hadn't really expected to see Hyde down in the basement – she had thought he would be in his room, since he wasn't upstairs – but now that he was here, she had a couple of things to say to him. Michael and his friends could be scared all they want, but Betsy wasn't the only one who could throw a temper tantrum.
Plus, she wasn't one to let things lie. And this…situation had gone on for far too long.
"Afraid to be in the room with your goddaughter, Hyde?" Brooke was snide. She snickered. "She doesn't bite, you know."
Hyde had a feeling of where this conversation was going, and he wasn't in the mood for it. He just wanted to go out for a drive, damn it.
"I just want to get out of here for awhile, okay?"
It took him a second…but from the look on Brooke's face at his response told him that that had not been the right thing to say.
"Of course! The great Steven Hyde…once again, leaving! That's what you do best, isn't it? Or have you made being a grade-A fuck your signature move?"
Hyde was shocked. He had never heard Brooke curse before.
Brooke stood there, staring at him furiously. Hyde wasn't the only one who was surprised, Brooke never cursed, but the dillhole in front of her had pushed her to her limits.
"You know, when Michael told me how you had convinced him to stick around so he can be a father to Betsy, I thought that you were one of the good guys. That, beyond all the pot and the dirty t-shirts, you were really a good guy. But you're not. You're just some stripper-marrying tool who doesn't care how he hurts other people!"
At the sound of her mother's raised voice, Betsy started to cry. She was used to happy voices…and she was a little afraid. She had never heard her Mama this way.
"Shhhh, baby. It's okay," Brooke tried to comfort her daughter, while still remaining firm with Hyde. She knew that it was a tough job, but it was extremely difficult to hold the image of pissed off female while making cooing noises. It just didn't fit the persona.
Which pissed her off even more.
"No, you listen! Jackie adored you. YOU! The conspiracy theory lovin burnout from the basement. She would've crawled to the ends of the earth for you. And what do you do? You, who anyone could tell would do the same for her, but do you cop to it? Do you even once admit how much she means to you? No! All you do is treat her like she was some kind of hobby until you found someone else who was much more worthy of your time. You treated her like she wasn't worth the effort, like you were the one lowering your standards," Brooke snickered. "Because we all know that strippers and whores are so much more worthy of your time than the girl who redecorated your room and went through God knows what lengths to make you happy!"
"Look, man…it wasn't…it wasn't like that, okay? Me and Jackie…"
"You and Jackie what, Hyde? Weren't good for each other? Weren't more similar than anyone would ever care to admit? Weren't abandoned by their parents? Weren't misunderstood by everybody else, yet you completely understood each other? Tell me, Hyde. Tell me how you couldn't just tell her that you wanted her in your future. Tell me how you could let her go to Chicago, when I'm sure you knew that that was actually the last thing she wanted. Tell me how you can go to Vegas and marry a freaking stripper! How you can give a virtual stranger the one thing that you couldn't even admit to seeing with Jackie. How you can let that stripper stay, and treat Jackie like she was the whore. Like she was the one that came in here and ruined everything. Tell me how you can treat Jackie like she didn't matter to you, like she was garbage, like she was worthless. Tell me how you could hurt the godmother of my child and treat her with such revulsion that she would cry herself to sleep almost every night. Tell me how you could let everyone else treat her like garbage, when you were the only one she really trusted. Tell me how you can sit here, and drink and smoke and act like nothing's wrong, like nothing's your fault. Tell me how you could sit here, and have Jackie hundreds of miles away, instead of being here with her goddaughter. How you can't be a man and finally go after her. How you're too much of a little boy to man up and be the man that Jackie sees in you."
"C'mon. Tell me, Steven. Cuz I would really like to know."