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Falling Over Flowers

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Steven was nine, curly hair wild as anything and an attitude to match. He spent his days playing with sticks and stones and marbles, avoiding home whenever he could and trying to get along with everyone. He did well in school by all accounts, never enjoying it but naturally talented. His clothes were hardly something to be proud of: jeans torn where he had fallen over time and time again, shirts which never seemed to be clean. But he had a sparkle in his eyes which came out from time to time, especially when his friends were around. He knew his manners but rarely did he show them.

       She was nine when she moved in to the bad part of town, immediately disliking its blandly coloured houses and untidy front yards with junk strewn all over them. The rusted bikes which all the children seemed to ride did not match their happy smiles, which unsettled her. She had been told her entire life that you needed to have money to be happy. Her different accent interested the neighbourhood children, and some fought for her attention. She was a new attraction, someone from a far off land that they would never get to see.

      He would watch her ride her bike down to the stream by herself sometimes. The pink tassels were bright and blew in the breeze as she rode past his house, remnants of an easier past which she would probably never get to experience again. Though the children had offered her their friendship, she preferred to keep to herself. She was quiet and didn't say much. Likewise, he hadn't said a word to her. Sometimes he wanted to follow her down to the stream so that she wouldn't be so alone. He could tell her about the games he played and show her which trees were best to climb. But though she lived in his street, and though her clothes were no longer as clean or as neatly pressed as they once had been, she had an air of purity about her that made her seem so out of touch from him, so out of reach. He felt like he might dirty her if he talked to her.

       Sitting down on the side of the road, throwing rocks, he watched her hair be blown about as she pedalled past him. It matched the pink tassels on her bike, they seemed to wave in time with one another. The hot July sun poured down on them, and he squinted watching her go. She looked at him as she passed, noticing his gaze, and smiled — timid and shy, yet kind. He smiled in return. And though no words had been said between them, Steven knew that there was something in that shared look. As he watched her pedal further down the road to the stream, he knew that he wouldn't be so scared to talk to her any more.

       Her name was (Y/N). She had come from a town that he'd never heard of, in a place he'd heard of only once or twice. She had no siblings but had an older cousin that liked to pick on her. She lived with her father and her cousin and her aunt Narelle in the off-white house at the top of his street. She told him that she was fairly well-off once, but one look at her and he had already known that. Her mother was dead and had been for years. She didn't say much about her. Some days she had bruises on her arms and there were always bags under her eyes. Steven didn’t ask about it. She tended not to say much, but that was alright. When she did speak it always seemed to be worth the wait. She smiled a lot, especially when he tried to crack a joke. Her laugh made his heart warm and he tried to hear it as much as he could.

       That summer he introduced her to his friends. She liked Donna, the only girl in their group, the best. They got along well, it was clear to see: making fun of the boys and talking about how 'icky' they were. Eric was nice to her, though at times snarky like he was to everyone. Steven noticed Eric didn't have the same spark in his eyes when he talked to (Y/N) that he did when he talked to Donna, and much to his confusion that made him a little pleased. Kelso made her laugh a lot, probably not meaning to, but he was a naturally charming boy and he could be very funny. Sometimes Steven felt jealous -- not that he'd ever admit it. He felt oddly possessive of (Y/N); he had found her and that meant he had rights over her.

       (Y/N) spent her evenings with Steven in an old treehouse by the stream, listening to the water as it rushed on by. They created worlds in their heads and acted them out, often with hilarious consequences. They told ghost stories and read the comics Eric would lend Steven. While most of these meetings were happy and innocent, away from the stresses they had at home, sometimes something would be off with one of them. They would climb up to the treehouse and their mood would be different. Silence filled the air during these times, a wordless bond between them, one of shared experiences and trauma. They didn't need to talk about it, both understanding in some way what the other was going through. The bruises still showed up on her arms, the bags under her eyes ever-present. They never visited each other's houses, but that was understood as well. No one visited each other's houses in this neighbourhood.

 Steven was twelve, his mischievous attitude continuing to get the better of him. Everyone called him Hyde now. He was beginning to notice the girls more, some of them were taller than him and their maturing faces made him stare. He sometimes whispered to his friends about which of the girls were the prettiest and about who they liked. Eric had his heart set on Donna (he had for years, after all). Hyde liked her too, her fire-red hair was striking and her personality reminded him of his own. Kelso liked everyone and no one in particular.

       Hyde stared at (Y/N) the most. Though she wasn't the most matured of all the girls, she was who he knew best and who he felt closest to. Her humour had become more dry over the years, and strong opinions were beginning to blossom. Hyde liked those thoughts, inklings of agreement spreading across his mind. He was becoming more and more anti-establishment with each passing day… Not that it meant much when you were twelve, mostly consisting of thinking old people were stupid and politics didn't matter. But it was a start nevertheless.

      They spent most of their days with their friends. He had saved up for a bike and now they were able to ride to Eric's house together; her bike still with the pink tassels on either side which had faded since those years when she would ride down to the stream by herself. She was still the quietest of the friends, but over the three years she had come so far out of her shell it was like she was born anew. She did well in school, one of the brightest pupils: her skills in writing were especially impressive. Teachers complimented her polite and reserved manner in class, but she always took their words rather awkwardly. She liked joking around but was fairly serious compared to the rest of them, perhaps even more so than Donna. The boys liked to say the girls could be no fun, and the girls said the boys were immature.

As your early teen years flew by, boys started to flirt with you. Of course, you were hardly the most glamorous of girls. Plain and fairly unsuspecting, you didn't stand out much from the crowd. But apparently it didn't matter to horny teenage boys whose testosterone levels were soaring through the roof. Girls were girls, and you were a girl, after all. Hyde tended not to flirt with you, and it made you feel a bit, well... excluded. Especially when he flirted with other girls, right in front of you. It made you feel like his little friend that he had moved on from.

      And for much of your life in Point Place, Wisconsin, that was how you spent your days. You performed well in school, good grades littering every report. Your heart belonged in feminism and equality and a love of literature swept you up. College began to seem like more of a possibility with each passing day. New York felt like a world away, and yet you and Donna often dreamed of it. As you continued to mature, you and Hyde drifted apart. Becoming a woman and becoming a man were two very different things, and the differences grew and grew between you. Quite literally, one day you woke up and realised that you were closer with Donna than with Hyde. Hyde's attitude turned more and more anti-establishment each day, as did yours ― but in different ways. And he continued to grow fonder of Donna every time they hung out together.

      Still, hanging out with the gang in Eric's basement everyday didn't feel like such a bad life to live. Even if it meant Hyde would never see you as more than his little friend and seemed determined to win over your best friend. Right?

Chapter Text

The Smokin' Patty wasn't the best place to work. Ask anyone and they'd tell you the place was greasy at best and rat-infested at worst. But a job was a job, and it paid. Besides, no one said you had to eat the burgers, and it was only a couple of afternoons every week, anyway. Plus it meant you could get away from home. Ignoring the glances the popular girls gave you in your uniform was pretty tough to deal with, though... And boy, did they glance.

Though, seeing cute guys from your school was probably the toughest of all. Their reactions could be either obnoxious flirting mixed with teasing ("oh wow (Y/N), I didn't know you had tits!"), or they barely recognised you and asked if you knew each other, which you would then act oblivious to or tell the honest and embarrassing truth; "Yes, hi cute guy, I'm (Y/N) from your History class and I work here smelling like grease all day! What can I get you?" At least you worked with a nice guy. Aaron was his name. He was one of those people who you'd never talk to if you didn't work with each other: athletic, attractive, and popular. Even though you'd only been working with him for a while, you couldn't deny that you were getting a crush on him. Seeing him was one of the only things that made your days working there better. That, and seeing the gang.

Speaking of which... The doors swung open and in they came, Jackie hanging off of Kelso's arm. They all collapsed down in one of the booths, Eric and Jackie taking the seats closest to the wall; Kelso sat closest to Jackie (the two of them already sucking each other's face, much to everyone's chagrin... with the exception of Fez who was sat next to them, enjoying the show). Donna was next to Eric on the other side of the table, and Hyde beside her. You couldn't hide a confusing, little spark of jealousy at how close he was sitting next to her, but you quickly pushed it aside. Donna spotted you and waved for you to come over, tucking a strand of her red hair behind her ear as she picked up a laminated menu and began to scan it. You gave her a smile and wandered over, taking the notepad and pen from your apron pocket. Even if you were at work, seeing them made it a bit better.

A big grin was plastered on your face. Store policy, of course. Still, even the blinding smile on your face wasn't enough to hide your dead eyes, so symptomatic of every teenager stuck working a job. "Welcome to The Smokin' Patty, valued customers. What can I help you with today?"

Eric jumped suddenly and shivered, placing his hand on his heart. "Guys, I think I just had a flashback. I can see the Fatso Burger uniform right in front of my eyes..." he began, eyes shut in pretend agony. He opened his eyes then. "Oh, wait. It was just you, (Y/N). And hey, you're looking a little less greasy than I expected."

You narrowed your eyes at him, pursing your lips. You and Eric were good friends in reality, but that didn't mean you weren't going to make fun of each other. "Shut it, Forman. You're not even working anymore and you still look greasy. Anyway, you're just jealous that I'm earning money while you sit on your butt all day."

"His butt, (L/N)?" Hyde chuckled. "Wow, quite a mouth you've got on you. What would your boss say?" You rolled your eyes, smirking at him. He was too clever for his own good.

"Well, I think you look great, (Y/N)," Donna smiled, covering both Eric and Hyde's mouth to stop them from insulting you again. "Even if the uniform is a little degrading. But we can't blame you for that." You nodded in solemn approval. It was hardly an appropriate outfit, and one that made your feminist toes curl in disgust. The red and white plaid dress was short and tight, and not to mention cut low in the front. You felt just like the pieces of meat you were selling. 

"Not here, Michael!" Jackie cried all of a sudden, voice piercing through the restaurant and causing her and Kelso to pull away from each other. "We're here for (Y/N)." She pulled down her top (which Kelso had no doubt pulled up in the first place) and huffed, eyes turning to you. Her eyes turned into saucepans once she saw you. "Oh, wow." If you hadn't felt vulnerable before, you certainly felt it now. 

"I know," Eric muttered again, shaking his head. You glared at him, pulling down your skirt self-consciously. "It looks more like a teatowel than a uniform."

Jackie seemed not to care about this rare moment of agreement between her and Eric, and began lecturing him at once. "Hey! Even if (Y/N)'s outfit isn't the right size and looks like it's from two decades ago, you of all people, Eric, shouldn't make her feel worse about it."

"Gee, thanks Jackie," you muttered, frowning. A firey blush spread across your cheeks, which only made you even more embarrassed. 

Kelso turned to you now, a grin spreading across his face. "Actually, that waitress outfit really suits you. Smokin' Patty my ass, more like smokin' (Y/N)," Kelso flirted obnoxiously, seemingly forgetting the pretty girl sat next to him. You cringed ― for your own sake, and Jackie's. "Think you'd wear that in the bedroom?"

"Hey!" Jackie exclaimed, pushing herself away from Kelso. "I'm right here!"

"Damn, Jackie! Don't take it so personally!"

"Ugh!" she scoffed, standing up. "That is so typical. I'm going to the little girl's room. Donna?" Donna instinctively looked away, rubbing her neck reluctantly. Jackie seemed not to notice, or more likely, she seemed not to care, "Donna!" Your redhead friend sighed and made her way to the restroom with Jackie. You cringed. Who knew what kind of state they'd be in when they came out. You did feel bad for Jackie, even if she could be a bit insufferable at times. You wouldn't wish Kelso on anyone.

"You're such a dumbass, Kelso," you said, hands on your hips. "Why'd you say that? You know Jackie's just gonna get upset."

"Yes, Kelso. I hate to see her so upset," Fez added. "I much prefer it when she and you are touching each other..." Eric's eyes could not physically roll back further into his head, and Hyde laughed. You turned to Hyde and gave him a smile, which he returned. Even with his sunglasses, you knew what he was thinking: that the whole goddamn thing was stupid, man.

"Hey, (Y/N)!" yelled your manager suddenly, making you jump out of your skin. "I don't pay you to stand around and talk all day! Move your ass, will ya!"

You sighed, though panic spread through you. Yelling... well, it didn't go well with you. You quickly ordered for the gang (guessing what Donna and Jackie would want), then hung the order up for the cooks to take. It was a quiet day today, so hopefully they'd get it done fairly soon and you could escape another scolding from your boss. While it was being completed, you stood behind the counter and chatted to Aaron. 

"I went and saw this movie the other night at the drive-in," he began, leaning on the counter. You smiled and nodded attentively. "Yeah, it was really good. It's called The Omen. You heard of it?"

"Oh, yeah! I think so. About an evil kid, or something? I've heard it's really scary, aha."

"Well, I didn't think it was that scary. Some girls say they get scared though. How are you with horror?" He grinned happily, shuffling a little closer to you. 

You blushed a little. Was he... Flirting with you? "I don't really know... I think I'd probably be a bit scared. I don't think I could see it by myself, that's for sure."

"Well," Aaron began, tilting his head to the side and placing his hand on top of yours. "If you had a strong guy like me there to make you feel safe, I'm sure you'd be alright." Yep. Definitely flirting with you. You laughed, embarrassed at his words, and looked away shyly. You liked his flirting. It didn't happen alot to you, and a girl could always do with a boost of confidence every now and again. Especially when it came from someone like Aaron.

Finally, the order was ready, and you brought it out to the gang. The girls still hadn't come back. Oh dear. That couldn't be good. You were almost tempted to check on them. "Here's your food and drinks, guys," you said. "Eat up! And, uh, if you see any rat tails in there, just keep quiet, y'know?" Fez made a disgusted face at your words, his face crinkling at the thought. You giggled. He really was quite cute sometimes. 

"Hey, (Y/N)," Eric began, leaning on his arm casually. "I think Kelso wants to ask you something."

"Shut up, man!"

You furrowed your brows, placing the food and drinks down on the table. Hyde began to sip from the soda he'd ordered, ears pricking up at the burgeoning conversation. "What is it?" you asked. No one said anything, and Kelso in particular was avoiding eye contact with you. "Oh, come on! You have to tell me, you guys!"

"Yeah, go on, Kelso," Hyde added. "I want to hear what you were gonna say too. The tension is practically killing me here."

Kelso sighed, and turned to you. "Fine... But you're not gonna like it." You only raised an eyebrow in response, cautious of getting caught slacking off again by your manager. "Well, look. I'm through with Jackie--"

You rolled your eyes. "You've been saying that for ages, Kelso."

"But this time I really mean it! Jackie's gone! And I have a plan. You just need to pretend to be my girlfriend for a while. It doesn't have to be for long, just until--"

Hyde spat out his drink, getting it all over Fez who let out a cry of anguish. Poor Fez, you thought briefly, but your attention was centred mostly on Kelso at the time being. "What?! You're kidding, right?" the words left your mouth without you even thinking them through. Fury spread through you. What an awful thing to say! "There is no way I'm gonna do that! Don't be stupid, Kelso."

"Aw, come on (Y/N)!" he said, grabbing your arm before you had a chance to turn away. "I'm not being stupid, you are. It's only for, what, two seconds! Then it's over! You don't have to do it ever again. I don't see what the problem is... Ugh, I knew you wouldn't like it!"

"Shut up, moron. You knew I wouldn't and yet you asked anyway. How could you not see what the problem is? Of course I'm not going to do it. Jackie's my friend! Why're you even asking?! If you want to break up with her, just break her heart quickly like you always do, dumbass. Don't get me to do your dirty work!"

Kelso groaned. "I can't break up with her, she'd ruin me! And I'm all I have! Please, (Y/N)!"

Hyde took the role of your defender. "Look man, she said no. Now shut it and eat your burger, before I ruin you myself."

Kelso sunk back into his seat, crossing his arms over his chest and pouting. You smiled gratefully at Hyde. "I'll get you some napkins, Fez," you said, before turning away and getting back to work. You didn't speak to them again for the rest of your shift. You'd see them after work in Eric's basement, anyway. It didn't take much longer for Jackie and Donna to come out of the restroom, the former with her shirt unbuttoned seductively and hair swept back perfectly. Fez was practically drooling at the sight of her, and by the looks of it, Kelso didn't seem that disappointed either. Guess that solves that problem for the time being, you thought. 

Work continued to drag on, but soon it was seven o'clock and time for you to go home. Well, to Eric's home at least. You quickly changed into the outfit you'd brought and left The Smokin' Patty. It wasn't that far of a walk to the Forman's residence, and you enjoyed the walk in the evenings. In winter you couldn't do it, but during spring and summer it was a perfect opportunity to relax. The birds sang in the air and every so often a car would drive by and you'd catch a brief glimpse of a song. It all made your heart swell. Kitty opened the door with a big smile and embraced you tightly, gushing over you like she always did. You loved Kitty. She was like the mother you'd... well, the mother you'd hardly had.

The gang were down in the basement as usual, hanging out around the couch, though Jackie and Kelso were nowhere to be seen. Hyde and Fez were listening to music, Hyde probably telling Fez why disco sucked or something, while Donna and Eric sat (somewhat awkwardly) on the sofa together. The stairs creaked a little as you walked down them, and Donna waved you over with that beaming smile of hers. She seemed glad to have you there. Well, she was nervous as anything around Eric, after all. You dumped your bag in the corner and collapsed down on the sofa next to her.

You closed your eyes and sighed. The conversations in the room died down in the darkness that engulfed you. You might just fall asleep, right here. Would that be so horrible? It had been a long day. Surely someone would wake you up, eventually... 

"Long day working for the man, huh?" Hyde said in your ear suddenly. Your eyes opened wide and you jumped up in fright, placing a hand to your heart. He just laughed at you.

A scowl crossed your face. "Leave me alone, Hyde," you muttered, rolling over, cheeks heating up in embarrassment. 

"Aw, what's wrong? Did I scare you?" Hyde messed your hair up, like a father would to their son. You batted his hand away, irritated. You hated it when he made you feel like a kid.

He didn't say anything else and sat down on the chair next to you, but apparently you weren't worthy of his attention anymore. "Hey Forman, did your dad ever say what happened with that keg of beer after we got busted?" You smiled at the thought of the party in the empty house. What a disaster that had been. You'd never forget the looks on the people inspecting the place once they saw the pool full of teenagers. "As you can see, it's a nice neighbourhood. Heavily Caucasian!" Not surprisingly, Hyde's main concern was still the beer. 

Eric blinked a couple times, a bit confused. "Well, no. What do you think? That he's just gonna... Let me keep it?"

"I don't know, man. Maybe he'd have a change of heart." Silence filled the room before everyone burst out laughing, including you. Red Forman, loosening up? Now that was funny.

Donna leaned in closer to Eric. To your side, you could see Hyde tense up. "It was so funny when you arrived with the tap," she laughed, then threw her hands out, pretending to be Eric. "Everyone, I have stolen my dad's tap! Ha! You really thought you were doing something. You guys should've seen the look on his face when he saw Red and the police standing there. It was priceless."

"Oh, yeah? Well your dad didn't look too happy either, you know."

"Yeah, but he can't stay mad at me," Donna replied, tilting her head. "Whereas you, hoo-boy, you knew you were in trouble." Eric gave her an annoyed smile, but of course he wasn't really annoyed at her. He could never be really annoyed with Donna. 

The evening continued on, with all of you watching TV (well, with no sound while Donna and Eric gave them voices). Eric was somehow able to smuggle a couple of beers down from upstairs for you guys to have. Fez was the first to leave, somewhat reluctantly, but his strict exchange parents would have a heart attack if he was back too late. Donna invited you to stay over at her house for the night. You couldn't, however ― your father was expecting you home tonight, and you needed to look after your aunt Narelle. That meant you'd walk home with Hyde, seeing as you did live on the same street.

You smiled up at him and gestured towards the back door. He nodded, seemingly a little reluctant to leave. "Bye Eric, Donna," you called as Hyde stood up and stretched. "I'll see you guys later, yeah? And hey -- behave." Donna just rolled her eyes at you, though with a smile.

"Bye Eric," Hyde said, then walked over to Donna and placed his hand on her shoulder. "I'll, uh... I'll see you 'round, Donna." His hand stayed for too long on her shoulder. He was staring at her way too much. This had gone past casual. We were right into the tension stage now. Eric, watching it all happen, gave you a look of confusion, which you returned with a shrug and an equally bewildered expression. There was no way were you about to tell him that his best friend was into Donna as well. 

"Right," Donna said, breaking the tension a little. She offered Hyde a small smile. "See you 'round, Hyde."

"You know," you said, the fresh night air piercing your lungs as you breathed in, "you should probably be more subtle around Eric."

"Huh?" Hyde responded, raising his eyebrow. He took a drag from the cigarette in his hand, the smoke exiting through his nose. If you weren't so used to the smell, it wouldn't have looked as hot as it did. He always seemed to be bathed in smoke, your Hyde; weed, tobacco, hell even fumes from a car. You watched it make trails in the dark night air: eyes diverting to his open lips for a split second before you turned away, biting your lips. What was up with you?

You sighed. He was going to make you spell it out for him, was he? Fine. You shoved your hands in your pockets and looked down at your feet. "With Donna? I know you like her. And if you're not careful with your behaviour, soon Eric will as well."

Hyde let out a chuckle at your words. "My behaviour? God, (Y/N), you sound like you're about to give me detention." He took another drag from his cigarette, a broad smile on his face. Maybe it was just the moonlight, but despite the smile, his face seemed sad. "Anyway, I don't like Donna. Where'd you get that from?"

"Oh, knock it off Hyde," you laughed at him. Was he really trying this whole routine? Really? "You've had a thing for her since we were kids. Don't deny it, you won't be doing yourself any favours. I just wanted to let you know that your flirtation with her isn't going to stay unnoticed."

Again, he chuckled lowly. "Nothing gets past you, huh?"

Silence engulfed you two for a while. But that was alright. Nothing was ever awkward between you and Hyde, even when it had to with him trying to get with your best friend. You felt the sudden urge to hug him, tightly. Not out of romantic reasons, you told yourself, but because you loved him so dearly. It was disgustingly melancholic. You felt like you were in the middle of a teen drama. 

Once you were approaching your street, Hyde stopped to drop his cigarette and put it out. When he lifted his foot, it was little more than a sorry pile of ash mixed with bits of white paper. You frowned at the sight. "I'm, uh, I'm glad you brought that up actually, (Y/N)," Hyde began, offering you a friendly grin. You wished he wasn't wearing his sunglasses, or you might have had a better chance of knowing what he was thinking. "Walk with me," he said, holding his arm out for you to take in yours. You raised your eyebrow at him, an apprehensive smirk on your face. What was he playing at? "C'mon!" he laughed. "What's the worst that could happen?"

You put a hand to your chin in mock thought. "Hmm, let's see. A rebellious, no-good guy like you takes advantage of innocent little me and leads me down a dark path of hedonism and self-destruction?"

"Ha! Oh, you wish. I think you can lead yourself down that path just fine, Little Miss Teacher's Pet."


Hyde just laughed at you. "Ah shut up and take my arm, idiot." You did so, and the two of you began to walk towards your street again. "Because you saw through my little act, you might as well put yourself to good use. Now, I know that Eric likes Donna. He's lived next door to her his whole life, of course he would. He is a man after all... Even if he doesn't always act like one. But just because he likes her doesn't mean she has to like him too, y'know? I mean, why can't she like me?"

"So, what you're saying is, you don't care that your best friend is practically in love with Donna, and that you're going to keep trying to get with her anyway?"

"Hey, who said I wasn't in love with her either?"

You're not sure what expression your face twisted into, but one look at it and Hyde shrugged in defeat. "OK, OK, I don't love her. Not yet. But I could. I could. I just... Need her to give me a chance. And while she's still obsessing over Eric I'm never going to get one."

"Fine, whatever. I'm not the boss of you. But what's this got to with me?"

He sighed and turned to you. You were practically at your house now. You could see the light from the TV shining out the window. Hyde looked you in the eyes. In the reflection of his glasses, you saw the anxious look on your face. "Do you remember what Kelso said to you today? Like, about the whole pretend-relationship thing?"

You furrowed your brows at him and blinked in confusion. "Uh, yeah? Why are you bringing that up?"

"Ugh, just listen, idiot. Well, today I was thinking, 'How can I possibly win Donna over? ' I could tell her and Eric were getting really close. And then Kelso -- goddamn Kelso, man! -- he asks you to do that! And it hit me! It was perfect!" You just blinked and shook your head in complete and utter confusion. Hyde laughed at it all. "(Y/N), you need to pretend to be my girlfriend!"

Time seemed to go still. You could feel each breath in and out like a wave coming to shore, each blink like a bird flapping its wings. Reality came back to you in a rush of realisation that felt like you'd just been punched in the stomach. "What?!" you exclaimed, pushing away from him. "Are you crazy?! Goddamn it Hyde, I already told Kelso no! And now you?"

"I know, I know! But just think about it, right?" He pushed his sunglasses up onto his forehead and grabbed hold of your shoulders. His face was wild with passion and inspiration. "If Donna likes me, once she thinks I'm taken she'll get jealous. And then she'll know she wants me. Like, at the moment, she doesn't realise if she likes me or not because I'm right there, you know? But if I'm taken, then she'll realise that she can't have me anymore. She'll get jealous. You never know what you have until it's gone, that kinda shit, yeah? Once she confesses, then we can just break up with no hard feelings! You can give her your blessing, or whatever... Hell, we can even come clean if you really wanted to."

You wanted to slap that mad smile off of his face. Instead you just stared, mouth open and eyes wide. You couldn't believe what he was saying. And more so, you couldn't believe he was making it sound somewhat possible. Still, not like you were going to admit that. "Hyde, do you realise how crazy you sound right now?"

"Yeah, man! But it'll work!"

"You don't know that! And what's in it for me, hm? I'm not gonna gain anything from doing this! You get Donna and I look like the second-rate girl that gets dumped for her."

Hyde didn't have an immediate response for this one, and nothing was said for a while. You got back your breath in the meantime, not realising how angry you had been. Eventually, however, he smiled confidently again. "Alright, so that is an issue. But! It works both ways. What about that guy at your work today? I saw you guys flirting. Don't you want to make him jealous?"

"You mean Aaron?" You blinked a couple times. "I... I don't know, he's probably just fooling around."

"But do you like him? That's the question here."

Hmm. Well, you did like him. He was cute and all... Tall and friendly and athletic and attractive. He might've even been a year older than you, which was all the better. But did you like him enough to go through all this? The relationship between you and Aaron was nothing like the relationship between Hyde and Donna. Still, you liked the idea of dating him. "So what if Donna doesn't like you? And what if Aaron doesn't like me? What'll we do then?"

"Well... No big deal, I guess. I mean, I won't be happy or anything. And you probably won't be either. But, you know, we'll get over it. And who knows (Y/N), maybe we'll fall madly in love with each other while we're at it." You managed to roll your eyes and choke out a laugh at his words. He was clearly joking, and you knew that. So why did it bother you so much? You were being stupid. "Come on. I know you think it's a good idea."

You weren't sure why you liked Hyde so much. He was immature and hardly the kind of guy most girls dreamed of. He could be rude and this whole damn thing only proved how little he cared about manners and societal norms. Your father disapproved of him and hated you hanging around him. He was probably going to end up in prison sooner or later. But that wasn't all of what Hyde was. Within that tough shell of his was kindness and vulnerability: the image of the sweet, innocent boy who'd showed you around when you first got here always remained in the back of your mind. 

Maybe it was the way his eyes lit up magically under the light of the moon. Maybe it was the sweet, boyish naivety on his face that seemed so out of place for him. Maybe you did actually like Aaron and just didn't fully realise it yet. Or maybe you were just as crazy as he was.

Whatever the reason, the next words out of your mouth surprised you both. "Fine. I'll do it."

Chapter Text

"Wait, wait, wait!" Jackie screeched. "You're dating who?!"

She grabbed you by the hand and pulled you into Eric's car, practically forcing you inside. Donna followed in afterwards, thankful not to have been the one pushed in this time. Eric, Kelso, and Fez were playing basketball so hopefully they wouldn't notice your sudden disappearance. Fortunately Hyde wasn't there to say something, thank God.

Jackie took a deep breath in, collecting herself. You would've laughed if it wasn't you she was mad at. "(Y/N)," she began, taking hold of your arm gently like a mother would. "I need you to repeat what you just said, please. For both our sakes, since I need to know if I heard right before I  murder you!"

You pursed your lips and sighed, turning away from her. "You know what I said," you muttered. "I'm, uh... I'm dating Hyde."

"Oh my God!" Jackie screamed, loud enough to shatter glass. Donna tried to reach over and calm her down, but it was futile. "I cannot believe you would want to date Steven! (Y/N), do you have no respect for yourself?! Do you want a criminal for a boyfriend? Is that what you want? Someone who's more interested in tearing down the government than planning for their own future? If you were that desperate you could've asked me for help! I would've found you someone, you know!"

"Jackie, come on..."

"No!" she cried, covering her face in her hands. "I don't want to hear it! I've completely failed as a friend. Donna, we've both failed!"

"Hey, don't drag me into this!" Donna exclaimed, throwing her hands up in defence. 

"I really don't see what the big deal is here," you said, crossing your arms over your chest. "This is worse than when Donna said she kissed Eric."

Jackie looked like she might faint. "You... don't see... what the big deal is...?" Her voice was no more than a squeak, but she broke out into anger again. "I cannot believe you right now! Donna, tell her."

"Tell her what?"

"What do you mean, tell her what? Do I have to spell everything out for you two?"

Donna leaned over your seat, hand resting on your shoulder. "I don't have an issue with it," she said with a small smile. "I mean, not really. Hyde's a good guy, I know he is. I'm just a little surprised, is all. It is rather... sudden, to say the least."

"Yeah, sudden and stupid!" Jackie took hold of both your arms now, and stared you down with those big pretty eyes of hers. "Listen to me, (Y/N). You can do so much better than Hyde. I know you can, Donna knows you can, and deep down inside so do you. He's never going to be able to give you the future that you, as a woman, and as my friend, deserve!"

You laughed at the sheer stupidity of it all. How the hell could a fake relationship be causing this much trouble already? It was insane. "Jackie, you're making a big deal out of nothing. Trust me. I don't love Hyde or anything."

"Not yet! But you could. You could. And then we'd really be in trouble."

Donna sighed. "It does seem kinda strange though," she said, her brows furrowed. "I mean, he didn't seem that into you yesterday. And I don't wanna make assumptions or anything, but it felt like he was, well... Sort of flirting with me?" Jackie gasped as loud as anything at Donna's words. That was what she wanted to hear, apparently. "Especially down in Eric's basement, when he was staring at me. And then he goes and asks you out? I don't know, (Y/N)..."

You swallowed dryly. Well, Donna certainly had a point there. Goddamn it Hyde. He really wasn't making this easy for you. An unsure smile crossed your face. "I know, right? I thought it was weird, too. But he seemed genuine. And I don't think Hyde is the type of guy to ask someone out on a joke, y'know?" you sighed. "And I'd like to think he especially wouldn't do it to me."

You looked away from Donna then, and out the front window of the car. Just coming up the driveway was none other than Hyde. He made eye contact with you and grinned, giving you a small wave before inserting himself into the game of basketball going on. Your eyes went as wide as saucepans. No! Jackie gasped once she saw him, and began fumbling with the door to rush out. "Jackie, wait!" you yelled, but it was no use ― your brunette friend had already swung the door open and rushed out the car, calling out for Hyde. You and Donna looked at each other in shared panic before jumping out after Jackie.

"Jackie, what's the matter?" Kelso asked, trying to calm her down a little.

She seemed not to care. "What's the matter?! Why don't you ask your friend Steven that, hmm?"

Hyde turned to you as everyone else turned to him. You just gave him an apologetic shrug and a wan smile. What could you have done? There really was no stopping Jackie once she'd set her mind to something. Ever-casual, Hyde just looked to Jackie and tilted his head to the side, inviting her to get more angry. "I have no idea what you're talking about."

She scoffed, placing her hands on her hips as she glared at him. "Fine then. If you won’t say it, I will. Steven and (Y/N) are dating!"

A chorus of shocked sounds echoed around the gang. Kelso guffawed at her words, Fez's expression was how you'd imagine it'd be if someone had just spat on his grandmother's grave, and Eric, typically, looked like he was about to faint. Even Donna looked a little surprised at it all, like she was only just realising it was true. A deep blush spread across your face. Goddamn it, they were all eating it up. And he wasn't even really your boyfriend!

"Man!" Kelso exclaimed happily.

"Uh, when the hell did this happen?" Eric said. "You're telling me that over the period of... What, ten hours? You both somehow recognised your attraction for each other and then made enough moves to wind up dating?"

Fez laughed. "It really must shock you, Eric, because you still have not done that with Donna and you have had your whole life." Eric sputtered for an answer, but before he could think of something to reply with, Hyde started talking.

"Jackie's right, guys," Hyde said, strolling over to you casually with a confident smile on his face. As he approached you, your mouth went dry and your face even more red. What was he going to do? You'd never been this nervous around Hyde before. "Me and (Y/N) are dating." He wrapped his arm around your shoulders and pulled you closer to him, which you awkwardly let him do. Your mouth twisted into an uncomfortable smile. Apparently trying to seem as confident was harder than Hyde was making it out to be.

Eric blinked a couple times, trying to process it all. "Well, congrats guys," He brought his hands together. "I think I speak for everyone here when I say that this is not unpleasant, though it is very unexpected."

"And unwelcome!" Jackie muttered, crossing her arms over her chest grumpily. Her lips pulled into a pout. "But... Even though I don't like it, if you're happy, (Y/N), then that's what matters. I guess." She wandered over to you and pulled you out of Hyde's grasp, then hugged you tightly. In a whisper, she said, "If he hurts you, you let me know right away. And that is not an offer, (Y/N), that's an instruction."

You chuckled awkwardly at her, rubbing your neck. "Thanks Jackie." She offered you a smile before glaring at Hyde briefly and returning to Donna's side. 

Kelso sighed. "Can we get to basketball now?" Fez and Eric made sounds of agreement and started playing. 

Hyde turned to you with a charming grin. He took hold of your shoulders, yanking you towards him quite roughly and then placed a chaste kiss on your cheek. He looked to Donna, no doubt trying to see any jealousy from her, before turning away and playing basketball with the guys again. You scowled a little at him, rubbing the spot on your cheek where he'd kissed you. Did he really need to do that?

Eric's basement, 4:15pm. Once that whole ordeal had ended, you all headed downstairs and had spent the rest of the day there. Jackie was sat to the side reading a newspaper, barely looking up from it when Eric announced he was going to play a card game with everyone. The rest of you were sat around a table, and Fez's recent addition to the gang meant it made for a tight fit. You were squeezed in between Donna and Hyde, the two people you knew best.

"The game is Anaconda," Eric began, dealing out a bunch of cards to everyone. "Big Ace, Red Lady, Jackson, Fiver, Wild Man--"

"Oh my God, Michael!" Jackie exclaimed suddenly, throwing her newspaper to the side and rushing over to everyone. Naturally, everyone's attention gravitated to her. "They opened up a disco."

"Where at?"

"In Kenosha," she replied, then narrowed her eyes at her boyfriend with a grin. "You can wear your David Bowie butt-huggers." You had to stifle a laugh at the face Kelso made, so full of excitement and joy.

Hyde didn't bother to hide any humour he found. "Michael, that would be super!" he teased, mocking them both.

"Laugh if you want, man, but my butt looks pretty good in those."

This was enough to make even Eric look up from the game. He shook his head, trying to ignore the dancing Jackie beside you. "Come on guys, are you crazy? I mean, a disco? No way."

"I don't know," Donna said with a shrug. "It might be kind of fun to go dancing." 

Eric's eyes popped out of his head. "Or we could go!" 

You smiled shyly at everyone. "I think it would be good to go, too. I've never been to a disco. Plus I'm working all the time now... It would be good to unwind a bit."

Jackie squealed in excitement, her dancing getting more and more obnoxious. When Kelso headed upstairs to make some popcorn, Hyde groaned at him to take Jackie with him. You chuckled at the clear antagonism between them both. If they got to know one another, they'd probably find more similarities between than they thought.

Once they'd gone, Fez looked up from his cards with furrowed brows and a sigh. "What is disco?" he asked. It was easy to forget he still didn't understand much of American culture, particularly the newer parts of it. Hell, even you needed to explain stuff to your father and aunt, and they lived here.

You pursed your lips, tilting your head to the side. "It's like... A place where people go to dance with each other, Fez. But it's also a type of music." You looked him up and down, tapping your chin, a smile crossing your features. "You know what? I think you'd really like it."

Hyde, apparently, didn't enjou that explanation. He placed a hand on your arm, somewhat patronisingly, and began his own answer. You rolled your eyes at him. He really did seem to have a personal vendetta against disco. "No, no, don't listen to (Y/N). Disco is from hell, Fez, OK?" he said. "And not the cool part of hell with all the murderers, but the lame-ass part where all the really bad accountants live."

Fez seemed still a bit confused about who to believe, but the replies were enough to satisfy his curiousity. With Kelso gone, Donna leaned over the table and looked at his cards. Eric scoffed at her. "Excuse me, what are you doing?" 

Donna raised an eyebrow nonchalantly. "Looking at Kelso's cards." 

"That's cheating..."

"Eric! We can't find the popcorn!" came a feminine voice from upstairs.

Eric got up from the couch, but before leaving turned to Donna. "Hey, um... Donna, why don't you take a look at my cards? Then you won't even have to wait for me to leave," he shoved his cards in her face, and the two of them fought with each other for a bit. "Come on, take a look! Tell me what I have, you cheater!"

"Guys!" you squealed, getting squished against the arm of the couch. You pushed back against Donna with a grin.

Donna fought him off a little before looking at his cards with a confused scowl. "You've got nothing," she said.

"Yeah, I know. And I'm gonna bluff, so watch out."

With that, Eric ran off upstairs. With more space on the couch now, Donna moved over and you were able to sit properly. Fez, clearly still unable to understand the nuances of suburban teenage American life, smiled up at Hyde. "Donna has stuff for Eric, yes?" You couldn't help but laugh. God, nothing like brutal honesty to lighten the mood. Donna shoved you in your side to shut you up, which you muttered a quick apology to. Fez was even more confused now, however. "I do not understand why it is you are laughing, (Y/N)." 

"Fez, it's not stuff -- thing," Hyde corrected. "Donna has a thing for Eric."

Donna turned to him with pursed lips, trying to act irritated. But it was a difficult thing to deny, and she wasn't even going to try. You looked to Hyde with a raised eyebrow, curious at his words. He just returned the gesture, before turning to Donna again. You couldn't help but feel a little... Forgotten.

"Why do you have a thing for Eric?" he asked, his voice lowered. He’d become serious all of a sudden, and you could feel the atmosphere of the room change.

"He makes me laugh," She leaned over into Hyde's face, "he doesn't ask me stupid questions. He's smart, and y'know..."

"No, I don't know," Hyde said. You kicked his leg, signalling for him to stop, but he didn't pay you any attention. 

Fez's hand shot up eagerly, like a child trying to impress a teacher. "I know!" he exclaimed. Hyde, grinning, gestured for him to answer. You groaned and hid your face behind your hand. This was going to be good. Fez cleared his throat, as though he was about to make a speech. "It is because Eric is noble, and a woman wants her first love-making to be in the arms of a man she can trust."

The three of you laughed at his words, though you could tell that behind Donna's laughter was anger. Hyde, on the other hand, seemed to think it was totally hilarious. You didn't know what to think.

"Fez?" Donna said.


"Go make popcorn!"

There was no way Hyde was going to that disco. And yes, he'd been telling himself that since he'd heard about it... What about it? If his friends were going to be stupid and waste their time and money on it then good for them! But Hyde? No man, no. He, apparently, had brain power and was gonna actually spend his life doing something worthwhile. Like smoking pot.

"Man, I can't believe you and Jackie are dragging everybody to that disco," Hyde muttered, wandering over to the trash can where Kelso was sitting. They were in Eric’s garage trying to collect scraps to pay for gas. Fez came over and joined them, copying Hyde's stance as he threw aluminium into the bin. "It's so sad."

Kelso, as usual, went on the defensive. "No, man, I'm just going to meet Kenosha chicks. I'm breaking up with Jackie."

The exchange student on Hyde's left jumped to get a word in. "Oh, get a tall chick, 'cause you and Jackie look so silly together." More of Fez's hilarious advice? Well how could Hyde ever refuse? He laughed, picking up a towel to wipe his hands on. Huh, junk really could get you dirty.

Eric came over now, dumping the cans he was holding into the bin. He stood back and admired his hard work for a moment, but his anxieties kicked in again soon. "OK, that's all the deposit bottles, and the aluminium cans. We've gotta have at least..." he paused, voice wavering, "...A dollar fifteen worth of gas." Hyde would've laughed if it wasn't so goddamn pathetic, so he had to settle for a smug smile instead.

"Come on," Kelso said, standing up. "My dad's got a ton of empties." He ran off to his house, Eric and Fez following him.

With them gone, Hyde was left wiping the rest of the dirt off his hands. That left just him and Red, who'd been standing and listening to the side. He'd understand, wouldn't he? Yeah, of course. Hyde couldn't imagine Red wanting to dance, or even begrudgingly tolerating it. He turned to leave and threw the towel down on the floor of the garage with a sigh. "Man, I can't believe they're gonna waste all their money on a stupid disco when they could buy a really big bag..."

Hyde shut up faster than he ever had before, stopping walking as well as talking. Red turned around, the usual glare in his eyes. Hyde avoided eye contact. "...Of caramels." 

Before he could male a run for it, however, Red began talking to him. "Not going to that disco, huh?"

A smirk crossed his face as he leant on the door frame. "No. Phoney people listening to crappy music does not sound like my kind of time."

Red just grinned at him. "Can't dance, can you?"

Well how the hell did he know that?! "No, no, I can dance."

"Oh, I don't think so, pal."

"can dance."

"Not one step."

Hyde just sighed and frowned. What was the point in lying to someone who'd never believe him in the first place? "You're right," he admitted. "Not one step."

Red smiled and sighed as well, reating his food up casually on to the trash can as he opened his can of beer. "Well, then you've got a problem, son," he said, "'Cause you've got a woman now, and women wanna dance... They always wanna dance. Always."


"'Cause," he began, taking another sip from his beer. Hyde leaned in closer to him. He couldn't deny the sense of fatherly care Red was showing him at the moment, and perhaps unwittingly he was desperate for more of it. "They can get close, and wiggle their bodies around in front of a man in a safe atmosphere."

Hyde shrugged, not happy with the advice he was being given. What kind of a reason was that?! He laughed at the stupidity of it. "Well, you see, I don't really wanna 'wiggle around' in public."

"Well, of course not. You're a man. My point is, you're going to have to learn," the man paused, holding his beer up to his mouth. "Otherwise, later on in life, you're gonna be wiggling all by yourself. Now, if you want," Red took yet another sip from his beer. "I can help you out."

The Smokin' Patty was busy today: customers streamed in and out, each seemingly more rude and demanding than the last. Working weekends sucked ass. It felt like the whole town increased in population tenfold, though it was probably just their rudeness which made it seem worse. The only benefit that came with busy days was that time seemed to stream by much quicker. On a regular day, 15 minutes felt like four hours. During busy times, it only felt like two.

Your lunch break came sooner rather than later. It was hard to totally relax while you knew outside your workmates were being pummelled with incorrigible rudeness from middle-aged people who'd never worked a day of fast food ― or hell, even retail ― in their lives, and had to deal with screaming children who hopefully wouldn't end up vomiting everywhere. Still... Better them than you, you supposed.

Sometimes, lunch breaks would run into others. Just as yours was ending, Aaron's was beginning. He came in just as you took the last bite of your sandwich, and instinctively you gave him a smile. Some lettuce was sticking out of your mouth. He chuckled at you as you tried to cover it with your hand. Blood rushed to your face. Nice one, (Y/N). You were tempted to roll your eyes at yourself. You'd never see Donna or Jackie do something like that...! 

"Good lunch?" Aaron asked, turning to you with an eyebrow raised. He unzipped his lunch bag and brought out a juice box and a fancy plastic box full of pasta. You blinked in surprise at it. He had that for lunch?! You looked down at the sorry remnants of the cheese, lettuce and tomato sandwich in your hand with a frown, before stuffing it into your mouth.

"Yeah, not bad. Not as good as your lunch looks, though."

Aaron laughed, his eyes squinting into his lightly freckled cheeks. He sat down next to you at the small lunch table and began to eat his lunch. God, it looked good. What made it worse was knowing that you'd never get anything like that. Ugh. Why some people had good lives while you had... Whatever words could be used to describe yours, you'd never understand. At the thought, however, you could practically hear your father's words in the back of your mind, 'You chose this life!'

It was quiet for a while between the two of you. Avoiding eye contact with Aaron made you nervous and you wanted to just leave. There was no way near this much tension between you two the last time you talked. What had changed? 

"There's a disco happening soon," he said. "In Kenosha."

Oh? He was going? Well then, that meant it might be a very successful night for you and Hyde. "Yeah, I think I'll be going with my friends,” you replied. “It sounds really cool, huh? I've always wanted to go to a disco, they sound so fun. And I mean, come on... Who am I to turn down a trip outta Point Place."

Aaron chuckled, a happy smile on his face. "Maybe I'll see you there?"

"Oh, I am exhausted," Kitty exclaimed as she wandered into the kitchen, Hyde trailing after her and equally as tired. She opened the fridge in front of her and pulled out a couple of sodas. "That is sweaty work!"

Who knew how tough learning to dacne would actually be? Not Hyde, that's for sure. As she opened the bottles, Hyde sighed. "Mrs. Forman, I would really appreciate it if maybe we didn't tell anybody about what we're doing here." It wasn't that Hyde was embarrassed... OK, maybe that was a part of it. But for the most part, he just wanted it to be a surprise for Donna. She'd never expect him to dance. Hell, even (Y/N) was gonna be surprised.

Kitty just shook her head. "Oh, mum is the word," She zipped her lips with a giggle and handed Hyde the soda. "Tomorrow after school, OK?"

Hyde smiled and nodded at her. "Thanks."

"Steven?" Kitty began, a big grin on her face. "You were good. (Y/N) is going to be so happy with you."


"Well yes, sweetie, (Y/N)," Kitty said, a pleased smile on her face. "Eric told me about you two." She placed a hand on her heart as another laugh took over her. "I always thought you two were going to end up together. I remember when she moved in, you were such a sweetheart in being her friend. She was so shy, the poor thing, and you took her under your wing..."

"Right, Mrs. Forman," Hyde muttered, shuffling his feet. Well this was going to be awkward to explain when it all ended. He actually felt a little... Guilty now. And as for that rising feeling of uncertainty at the bottom of his heart? Well, that was best left ignored. "I've gotta go. Thanks for the lesson and the soda. See you tomorrow."

Well, it was the night of the disco. You'd gone to Donna's house to get ready, and also to use some of her better makeup supplies. Secretly, you'd hoped Jackie could come so that you might get to use some of her rich girl products. Y'know, just to appreciate how the other half live for a brief moment of your life. She'd not come, however. Something about Kelso.

Donna had just finished doing her makeup in her mirror. With a smile, she turned back to you. Though she wasn't wearing much, the little she did wear was enough to highlight the natural beauty she had. She looked glowing. It wasn't hard to see why both Hyde and Eric liked her; coupled with her personality Donna would be a catch for anyone. It amazed you how some college guy hadn't come in and swept her off of her feet yet.

"You look beautiful," you said. And you meant it.

She laughed at you, slightly bashful. "Thanks. And hey, I'm sure you will, too."

"Ugh, no. I'm terrible at makeup... My skills start and end at a bit of concealer and mascara. Sometimes I can get the eye shadow to look nice, but really that just depends on my luck."

Donna laughed as you got up to her mirror and began applying concealer to your face. You'd gotten a bit of acne lately and needed to cover it up (typical, of course... Just when you needed to look nice). "Do you think Eric is gonna ask you to dance tonight?" you asked. Donna looked up from her hands and pursed her lips.

"I don't know," she said, with a bit of a sigh. "I'd like to think he would, especially since that's really the only reason I'm going. But it's Eric we're talking about, and Eric seems to be morally opposed to dancing." She picked up a hairbrush from her bedside table and began to brush her hair. "What about Hyde, though? Will he wanna dance? I'm still surprised he wanted to come in the first place. He must really like you, hey?" She poked your arm with a teasing grin.

You only managed to offer her a wan smile in return. "Yeah, I guess," you mumbled. "Really likes someone, at least..."

"What was that?"

"Oh, nothing," you said, patting down the concealer on your face. "What do you think of Hyde, Donna?"

"Of Hyde?"


She furrowed her brows and made a face. "Like... What do I think of him as a match for you?"

"No," you shook your head and pouted, trying to play innocent. "Just him in general."

Donna just blinked in confusion. "Uh... I don't really know what I think of him, (Y/N). I've known him forever, he's Eric's best friend. He's a nice guy? I don't know. What do you want me to say?"

"I don't want you to say anything you don't think yourself," you replied. In all honesty, you knew the relationship between Hyde and Donna was mostly one-sided. Mostly. Eric and Donna were practically made for each other; yet Donna and Hyde seemed a better match, in all reality. They were both rebellious and a little pessimistic, and she'd known Hyde for almost as long as she'd known Eric. You'd be lying if you said you hadn't noticed an element of shared attraction between them.

"OK," Donna muttered, unsure what to make of you. "I'm going to go get changed now. Once you're done with your makeup, you can too. Oh, and I have a new perfume if you wanna borrow some."

"That's great, Donna. Thank you. What are you wearing?"

Donna smirked at you and placed her hands on her hips. "Why are you asking me that just as I'm going to get changed into it?"

You rolled your eyes with a smile. "I just meant like, a dress or pants." 

The face your best friend made was enough to make you burst out into laughter. "A dress?!" she exclaimed, grinning. "Come on, (Y/N)! And here I thought you were my best friend... You think you know someone, yeesh!"

After Kitty had taken some photos of you all in Eric's driveway, you'd all headed into the car and driven to the disco. You sat in the back next to Donna, trying to push off Kelso and Jackie who'd just insisted on making out with each other in the back alongside you. You really just could not catch a break lately. Surprisingly, it didn't take that long to get to Kenosha, but time always flowed differently when you were with your friends.

You could hear the music pouring out of the disco as soon as Eric pulled into the parking lot. And just as soon as you'd got inside, Kelso took to the dance floor in those David Bowie Butt-huggers of his and started making a rather ungracious scene. As much as you didn't want to admit it, his butt really did look good in them. His dancing was a less impressive sight, but one had to admire his effort if nothing else. From where she sat next to Fez, Jackie didn't seem that happy with him at all.

The rest of you were sitting down on the side of the room, around a couple of tables. You'd been keeping an eye out for Aaron all night, but so far you'd not seen him. Eric had been an awkward figure and had refused to budge from his seat. You'd tried to seem like more of a couple with Hyde, but he was reluctant to talk much. And not just with you, with anyone really. Donna seemed to be sulking since no one had asked her to dance yet, and you were almost tempted to kick Eric into gear. God, how blind could the guy be?

Once he was finished, Kelso came fumbling over to everyone and rushed over to a scowling Jackie. "Jackie, where'd you go?!" he cried.

"I had to get something for you to bite on 'cause I told everyone you were having a seizure!" she yelled. You cringed at Kelso's sake. She was really mad. And an angry Jackie was not pleasant for anyone to deal with, let alone someone like Kelso. Kelso just sighed and sat down next to her, looking miserable at the situation he had found himself in.

Fez shuffled in his seat, frowning slightly. "When do they play the disco music?"

"This is disco music," you exclaimed, trying to be heard over the volume. 

"No, no. This is samba," he insisted.

Hyde chuckled next to you. "Fez, it's disco, man. It's crap."

"Oh, well, I think I like this crap!" He got up off his seat and grabbed Jackie by her shoulder. "Come, Jackie. Let's get down."

Jackie looked like she was about to laugh or cry at the boy in front of her. "No," she said, turning sharply to Kelso. "I think I'm a little tired, actually." 

Fez, it seemed, was having none of that. Your eyes nearly popped out of your head at what he did next; like some sort of romance novel Latin lover, Fez placed his finger under Jackie's chin and turned her head towards him. "Don't resist me, mama," he said. "It's boogie time." And just like that, Jackie was under his spell and followed him onto the floor.

"Ha, I told you Fez would like disco!" you exclaimed, watching the two of them in amazement.

"I think you just lost your date," Donna told Kelso.

He tried to seem unbothered, and shrugged as he shuffled in his chair. "Yeah, well, it's cool," he muttered. "'Cause Jackie and I are history!" His nonchalant act wasn't enough to hide the jealous glare he sent Fez. You couldn't help but feel a little bad for him, seeing as how he'd refrained from flirting with any other girls tonight. Still, you supposed he'd mostly brought it upon himself.

Meanwhile, Fez and Jackie's time together was going exceedingly well. Fez's dancing ability was the best you'd ever seen, and Jackie was like a girl in love. She followed his lead and let herself be swept off her feet by Fez's talent. If you looked over at Kelso, you were sure you'd see steam coming out of his ears. And yet... None of you could turn away from your dancing friends. It was like Fez was Clark Kent and he'd just revealed himself to be Superman.

As the song ended, Fez took Jackie over to the tables where everyone was sitting, but pulled her right back out onto the floor again. Jackie was more than happy to join him once more. Disappointed that no one had asked you two to dance, you and Donna watched your brunette friend miserably. You pouted your lips. It wasn't fair that she got to have fun dancing while you guys had to settle for just listening to the music.

"Wow, they are really good!" Eric said.

"Yeah, if you wanna dance that way..." Kelso mumbled, sounding more grumpy than ever.

Donna scoffed. "I would love to dance that way."

"You wanna dance?" And just like that, Hyde made his move, embarrassing you, Donna and Eric in a mere number of seconds. Everyone turned to him, wide-eyed. Eric looked like he was about to yell something like, 'stop', but no words came out his mouth. Donna, naturally, looked at you for a response.

You didn't want to say she could dance with Hyde. It was, quite frankly, humiliating to let your pretty friend dance with the guy who'd just become your boyfriend. Well, fake boyfriend. But that was beside the point. Hyde looked to you now, an expectant grin on his face. Oh... What? He was thinking you'd just happily cheer and give them your well wishes? That was...! That was... Part of the deal. So why was it... Why was it so hard to do?

You forced a smile on your face and looked to bright-eyed Donna. "Go ahead, you guys."

Happy to be asked to dance, Donna wasted no time in accepting Hyde's offer. As he stood up, Hyde placed his glasses down on the table and gave you a quick kiss on the forehead. While you offered a small smile, his actions only made you more embarrassed. You felt like the ugly girl whose friends were just so lovely that boys couldn't resist them. Now you were the only one without a dance partner. What a loser! Ugh! You could hardly bear to watch them dance together. Why couldn’t you just be happy for them?

Eric looked over to you, an equally hurt expression on his face. You gave him a sympathetic smile as he spoke to you. "What's all that about? Why would... Why would Hyde do that? He knows I like Donna. And aren't you two together now?"

You shook your head at the stupidity of it all. "Yep!" A laugh escaped your throat. "I'm, uh. I'm sure they're just dancing as friends, is all."

Your eyes drifted up to Hyde and Donna again. Their bodies swayed naturally to the slower song playing, perfectly in time with one another. It was clear they were not just dancing as friends. Hyde's eyes were glazed over. The smile on his face was unlike any you'd ever seen him have before. It looked like he was about to kiss her. You swallowed, dryly. "Right..." muttered Eric, slumping down in his seat.

"I'm going outside for a bit," you said, standing up. It was just too pathetic to sit by like a loser while they were together. "To get some air." You didn't wait for a reply, and walked outside. 

The cool air hit you like a slap in the face. "Should've brought my jacket," you whispered to yourself, crossing your arms over your chest for extra warmth. From outside, you could just make out the lyrics of ABBA's Fernando playing. Well, you'd probably never be able to listen to this song again without thinking of Donna and Hyde embracing each other, so that was great. What a wonderful night this was shaping up to be. As you sighed, you watched your warm breath made a small cloud in the air.

A car pulled up into the lot and you cringed away from its bright headlights, blinded momentarily. When it parked, out came a group of teenagers in fancy clothes. You shrunk away from them shyly, stepping back into the shadows. When they approached the door, one of them made eye contact with you. It was Aaron! He gave you a wave and told his friends to head inside, moving over to you.

You glanced him up and down. He looked good. Scratch that, he looked really good. If him in work clothes was nice then him in a disco geye-up was drop-dead gorgeous. A slight blush came to his cheeks as he caught you staring. Or maybe it was just the cold. "What are you doing out here?" he asked, rubbing the back of his neck.

"Oh, uh," you said, laughing a little to break the tension. "Just stepping out to get some air."

He smiled at you. "Fair enough. I've heard discos can be pretty intense, hey?" You only nodded in reply, not feeling up to talking. You really just felt upset, and not knowing why you felt upset only made you more so. Aaron seemed to notice something was up, and placed his hand on your shoulder. "You wanna come inside again?" he asked. "I'd love to dance with you. That is, if you want to dance with me, of course. I'm not the best dancer, so don't get your hopes up--"

"I'd love to," you grinned, looking up at him. "I'd love to."

And so you and Aaron danced together for much of the night. He really hadn't been the best dancer, like he'd said. And though a small part of you wished he had been secretly amazing, like Fez, he was more than good enough for you to have a good time. By the end of the night you didn't even really care that Hyde had asked Donna to dance. Because now you had Aaron with you. And who needed Hyde when you had Aaron?


Chapter Text

"Yeah, that's right!" Eric yelled into the phone, a phoney Midwestern accent coating his voice. "A hundred bags o' manure... Yeah, the wife and I are redoing the front lawn. And, uh, tell you what, if I'm not there, just dump it all on the front porch! Uh-huh, bye-bye." He took the phone from his ear, a grin spreading ear-to-ear as he gave himself little devil horns. 

Hyde, having sat back and watched it all unfold, laughed at Eric. "Yeah, man!" he exclaimed. He felt proud of him, like a father would with their son. Ah, he thought, My little boy is growing up. "Coach Jefferson is gonna freak!"

Eric shrugged. "He just shouldn't have given me that 'D'."

A gasp came from the left of Eric. "Oh, no. Dick Tracy is trapped in a giant clam," Fez cried, looking up from the comic he'd been reading. His face was so sad you'd think his mother'd died, or something. "Farewell, sweet Dick!" He shook his head emotionally, looking back down at the comic.

Hyde, ever with sex on his mind, couldn't help but read further into Dick's unfortunate death. "A man being eaten by a giant clam," he began, eyes darting to Eric who gave him only a confused look in return. "Now, I'm not Sigmund Freud, but..."

"Eric!" Kelso exclaimed, interrupting Hyde before he could finish his insightful analysis of the clear yonic symbolism in Dick's demise. "The Omen's playing at the drive-in. You know what this means for us?" He grabbed hold of Eric's hand excitedly, a look of pure joy on his face. "It's make-out city!" 

Eric just stared at him, wide-eyed. "I... I really like you as a friend, Kelso," he said gently. "Can I... bring a girl?"

"Yeah! Man, it's gonna be great," Kelso was apparently blind to the homoerotic undertones of his words and continued to get excitedly closer to Eric. "Horror movies turn on chicks faster than porno." 

Hyde rolled his eyes but secretly he'd been thinking the same thing. "Really?" he sarcastically exclaimed, tilting his head to the side. "Faster than that?"

As blind to the true meaning of things as ever, Kelso just sighed. "Yeah. If only somebody would make a porno horror movie."

"Well, then there'd be no stopping you!" Eric chimed in, throwing his arms out in mock exasperation. Kelso just shrugged and pouted, saddened at the thought of how much more ass he could be getting had the world just been a little less cruel.

Footsteps started coming down the stairs, and everyone turned their heads instinctively. It was Red, unsurprisingly. "Eric!" he yelled. "Is that kid from, uh... Not America down here?"

Hyde frowned a little. Red didn't mean it rudely, but it still wasn't a very nice thing to say. Eric seemed to think the same thing. "Dad, it's Fez," he said, gesturing over to him.

"Yeah, whatever," Red shrugged, dismissing Eric's concern with a wave of his hand. "The Erdmans called, and they, they want him to..." He leaned over to try and see where Fez was sitting, frustration building on his face. "...Go home!" Fez looked up to Hyde and gave him a shrug of the shoulders, looking regretful that he had to leave. They'd grown closer, Hyde and Fez, and he gave him a frown as he got up from the seat. 

As Red left back up the stairs, he shouted down, "And Kelso, stop saying 'porno.'"

Kelso jumped out of his skin in fright, dropping his newspaper on his lap. "I didn't say it, Mr. Forman! Fez did." He chuckled to himself, proud of his ability to pass blame onto the innocent. Hyde rolled his eyes at him again. Idiot.

Fez, however, could stand up for himself. From where he stood by the door, he glared over at Kelso with his hand on his hip. "You are a bitch!" he exclaimed, then walked out the door and slammed it behind him. Everyone laughed, though Hyde did still feel a little bad for him. 

Kelso gasped suddenly and turned excitedly around to Hyde, grasping his arm. Hyde yanked it out of his grasp instinctively, giving him a funny look. Naturally, he didn't like it when people touched him harshly. Kelso didn't seem to notice, however, and started talking loudly. "Hey, you should totally come too, man!" he exclaimed.

"Heh," Hyde said, rubbing his arm as casually as he could. He needed to calm himself down. "I don't think so. Might be a bit of a sausage fest." 

"What are you talking about?" Eric scoffed. "It won't be if (Y/N)'s there."

"Oh," Hyde muttered, pulling back and blinking in surprise. Gee. He should really get better at this whole pretend-relationship-thing. "Right. Didn't think about that."

Kelso guffawed at him, an incredulous look on his face. "You just didn't think about how it's a perfect time to get some?" he turned to Eric and nudged him. "Looks like (Y/N) must've already put out."

"Hey!" Hyde exclaimed, shooting Kelso a glare more vicious than he ever had before. "You know (Y/N)'s not that kinda girl. Don't talk about her that way."

Kelso only laughed even louder, and got right in Hyde's face. "Aw, is that a sensitive subject? Don't tell me she's waiting 'til marriage!"

"No, man! Keep her name out of her mouth if you're gonna talk filth. God, you're a fucking idiot..."

"Woah, woah, OK guys!" Eric exclaimed uncomfortably from where he sat on the couch. He placed a hand on Kelso's shoulder to stop him from responding again, and angering Hyde further. "Why don't I try to smuggle some beers from upstairs? Or... We could play a game of cards? You know, I don't think we ever finished that game of Anaconda from the other day." With that, he leapt up from the couch and scrambled quickly over to the back of the basement, trying to find a pack of cards.

Hyde watched him with a frown. Maybe he had gotten a bit too worked up about it. He knew Kelso hadn't meant to make him angry. And he didn't even know why he got so angry in the first place. He turned to Kelso and gave him an apologetic smile. "Look, Kelso... I'm sorry for getting so mad at you. You didn't deserve that."

"It's cool," Kelso replied. "I'm sorry for saying all that shit. But you know I didn't mean any of it, right? I was only kiddin' around."

"I know, man, I know. Don't worry."

"Aw, you guys!" Eric gushed teasingly from behind them. Hyde turned around to see him wiping an imaginary tear from his eye and holding a hand to his heart. "It's so refreshing to see you aren't afraid to get in touch with your feminine sides."

Hyde rolled his eyes at him and grinned. "Worried we might be getting more girly than you? Don't worry, Forman, I think your role as most sensitive guy is still in the bag." Kelso laughed at Hyde's joke, and they smiled at each other. Just like that, Hyde knew they were good again. There really was nothing like the quick forgiveness of teenage boys.

For the first time in forever, you had a weekend off. When the roster was released you almost cried with joy. God, you could taste the freedom on your lips! On Saturday morning you made your way to Donna's house, as per usual. She came running down the stairs and yanked you inside before you could even say hello to her mother. The two of you bolted to her kitchen table, a place where you often sat to discuss and chat about things. You took a chair each and prepared yourself for the onslaught of problems no doubt about to fall from her lips.

"So I was Eric's house today," she began, and you nodded in reply. "He invited me to go and see The Omen with him."

"The Omen?! Isn't that at the drive-in?"' Uh-oh. You knew what that meant. Everyone knew what that meant. The drive-in was where teens went to get it on. Who knew why movies made you all so horny. You were tempted to say that since cars offered some privacy, and that since emotions shown in films often illicited the same responses from viewers, that it was a perfect hive of feelings and secrecy to get youth in the right mood. But maybe you were reading too much into it. Still, you didn't want to think about how many cherries had popped in that lot.

"Yeah," she sighed, resting her head on her hand with a pout. You could tell she was worked up about it all. It was quite a thought. "I really like Eric. And I'd... I'd like to have a physical relationship with him, but..." You couldn't help but laugh at her words, and you nudged her teasingly. She grinned bashfully. "Shut up, this isn't funny! I wouldn't tease you if you said this stuff about Hyde."

"Um, what? Yes you would, liar."

She hit you playfully and hid her face in her hands. "Alright, alright, I would. But this is serious! I'm freaking out. I don't want any of this physicality to be public. I don't want it to be tacky, I don't want there to be pressure!" she buried her face in her hands. "And now it's just gonna be this tacky, public pressure, make-out thing!"

"I know, Donna, I know," you frowned, patting her arm gently to offer some form of comfort. "OK, let's focus. I'm sure we can sort something out. He asked you to the drive-in. And you said yes?"

"Yeah," she said. Before you could reply, suddenly she looked up at you and clasped your hands excitedly, her eyes full of hope. "I've got it! You and Hyde can come with us!"

"What?" you sputtered. Oh, what a great time that would be! Hyde would spend the entire night sulking about Donna and Eric's budding romance all the while you'd be awkwardly stuck with two teenage boys fighting over a girl. And you weren't even that girl! "No. No, I couldn't go."

"Why not? You'd be like, my loophole. A way to get out of it. I could just talk to you if I get nervous, you know."

There was no way you were going. You'd be totally left out the whole time. Not to mention the awkwardness would completely ruin the night, and the movie. You wouldn't go. Not in their car, anyway... Oh! That was it! You could just spend the night in separate cars. That way you could see The Omen and also be there for Donna if she really needed the support. Because as much as you didn't want to, you wanted to be there for her. "Wh-what about, we go with you guys, but me and Hyde stay in his car, and you guys in Eric's? I'd be right next to you, and that way we won't get between it all if you two decide you do want to do some... Making out."

Donna thought about it for a few moments, biting her lip. You could tell she wasn't very pleased about it, but there wasn't much she could do. "Ugh, alright," she sighed. "That's better than nothing, I guess. But I can guarantee that we will not be doing any making out."

"Mhmm," you teased. "We'll have to see, won't we?"

You didn't stay in Donna's house much longer, thoughts of possible outfits swirling around in your head as you went out her front door. On his way to Eric's was Hyde, and you caught him just as he was walking along Donna's fence. "Hyde!" you called out to him, waving your arms as you ran. He turned around just in time to see you rushing towards him, and he pulled back in case you didn't stop in time.

"(Y/N)," he greeted you with an amused smile and an eyebrow raised. "You're certainly eager to see me."

You rolled your eyes at him. "Shut up and come with me, idiot." With that, you grabbed his hand and pulled him away to behind the hedge separating Eric and Donna's houses. Right in the corner. That way, no (or very few) people would be able to see or hear what you said.

You stopped once you'd reached the edge of the fence. Hyde, having been pulled along by you, was close behind. You turned only to find Hyde practically face-to-face with you, his warm breath fanning over the top of your face. You looked up to him, eyes wide and heart beating faster. Hyde grinned down at you, but slowly that grin fell into a more loose smile. You could feel his eyes move over your face, falling on your lips for a moment before they moved back up to your eyes. You smiled shyly and turned away. It felt like the only thing you could do.

"So," Hyde said as he took a small step back and shoved his hands in his pockets. "What did you want to tell me?"

"Oh, uh. Right," It felt awkward to talk now. The tension had began to thin but it was still suffocating. You laughed dryly and looked up at Hyde, placing your hand on his shoulder as a friend would. Because that's all you were. Obviously. "Donna and Eric are going to the drive-in tonight. Have you heard?"

The frown that crossed Hyde's face completely destroyed any remaining tension. "Ugh, no," he groaned, shrugging your hand off. "I mean... I'd kinda suspected it would happen. But actually hearing it sucks. Shit. That's just, shit."

You rolled your eyes at him. Really? He was sulking already? "Oh, shut up. What were you expecting would happen? That Donna would miraculously come running to you and just completely ditch Eric? Well I hate to break it to you, Hyde, but you need to face reality. That's not gonna happen!"

"Alright, alright!" Hyde exclaimed, shooting you an irritated look. "Sorry for getting a little upset at the fact that the girl of my dreams continues to slip through my fingers!" You frowned at him, saying nothing and averting your eyes. Maybe you had been a little harsh. But Donna was all he talked about. And he knew her interest in Eric when you began this stupid deal, so he had no right to complain. And you weren't going to apologise for that. Hyde breathed out heavily and crossed his arms over his chest. "Whatever. Doesn't matter. What were you saying?" His voice was still frosty but his anger wasn't hot anymore.

"I told her we'd go with them."

"You what?!"

"We're going with them, Hyde. I've already promised her we would. We'll have to take your car though. I'm not sitting with them."

Hyde looked like he was about to start laughing hysterically at the abject horror you'd just presented him with. "Are you crazy? You didn't think to even ask me before you volunteered me for this? I'm not going. I'm not going."

You laughed dryly at him. "Um, yes you are. And if you let me finish I'll tell you why. First of all, I've been wanting to see The Omen for ages and I'm not passing up the opportunity. Secondly, and here's your seller, Donna is reluctant to go with Eric because she's worried he might try to get on to her. Only she doesn't want him to, because it'll be in public. Christ ― I feel awful saying this, but, if he were to upset her or something, you could maybe try and comfort her? Oh my God Hyde, you're turning me into a monster."

Hyde's mood perked up at your words. He turned to you with a slightly bashful smile, embarrassed at having criticised your idea before even having heard it. "OK. That sounds fine. I get ya now. I can do that."

"Oh?" you grinned teasingly. "What's that? My idea was good? And you yelled at me for no reason?"

He laughed at you. You'd missed that. "Hey, come on, I never said it was good idea. I said it was fine."

"Details, details," you muttered with a dismissive wave of your hand, broad smile still on your face. "So we're all good then? Remember to take your car. Come by Eric's house at like... Eight. And then we'll make our way to the drive-in with Eric and Donna. Obviously not in the same car. You know what I mean."

Hyde just smiled at you and nodded his head. You said your goodbyes and it wasn't long before you headed home to get ready for your evening out. Your father was sat on the front porch when you got there, smoking a cigarette as he glared out at the neighbourhood. You averted your eyes and kept your head down as you approached, tensing up at the sight of him. 

"Where've you been?" he growled, more of a demand than a question.

You froze. Your heart almost jumped right out your throat. "At Donna's," you replied, still staring down at your feet. "We're going out tonight."

He scoffed. "Where?"

"The drive-in."

"Waste of time. And you better not be going with that gutter trash."

Fury bubbled up inside you. He meant Hyde. "So what if I am?"

You bit your lip, wincing at your words as soon as they'd fallen out of your mouth. The temperature practically dropped around you. The sound of your dad standing up and walking over made you sick to the stomach. Yet you couldn't move from where to stood. Oh God oh God oh God, you thought, I'm such an idiot I'm so stupid --

He grabbed hold of your arm, with such strength and brutality that you couldn't help but let out a small cry of pain. You tried to pull away but he only grabbed harder, yanking you close to him, close enough for you to smell the sickly cigarettes and alcohol on his breath fan all over your face. You were going to throw up. 

"Then I better not see him," your father said lowly into your ear. "'Cause if I do, I'll make you'll wish you never fucking met him."

With that, he let go of you and pushed you to the side, dropping his cigarette on the porch as he opened the front door and slammed it behind him. Tears pricked your eyes, one daring to roll down your cheek. You quickly wiped it away, ashamed. Your arm felt like it was on fire, and you glanced at it only to see a huge red mark where your father's hands had tarnished your innocent skin. Looked like you'd be wearing a jacket tonight.

You finished getting ready at half seven and made your way to Eric's house. He and Donna were chatting outside, looking a little awkward. You smiled at them and they waved you over. Donna seemed particularly nervous, probably fretting over what might happen tonight in her mind. You mouthed "You'll be fine," to her, because you knew she would be. Eric was a good guy. He wouldn't push her or make her do something she wasn't comfortable with. And he was probably just as nervous as her about it all.

Hyde rocked up at ten to eight, looking noticeably better than he usually did. Maybe he could tell he was fighting a losing battle against Eric, and needed to step his game up. He walked over to you and pressed a quick kiss to your cheek in greeting. You'd probably never get used to that.

"Are you... Wearing cologne?" you asked, an eyebrow raised. He definitely did smell nice, you had to admit. "Or did you just take a bath?"

"Oh ha ha. Very funny." He rolled his eyes at you with an embarrassed grin. He was obviously avoiding the question, but that was alright. You would refrain from teasing him for the time being. After all, he was nervous enough already, and there was no need to be cruel.

You arrived at the drive-in just in time to get comfortable and find the right radio station to hear the movie. Eric and Donna were parked beside you, and you gave Donna a comforting thumbs-up. She returned it with an uncertain smile and nervous grimace. 

Concentrating on the movie proved difficult when Hyde kept stealing glances over at Donna and Eric. It felt like as soon you were getting into it, Hyde would distract you with a heavy sigh or by shifting uncomfortably in his seat. You'd have told him how pathetic he looked had he not been your only way to get home. Just as soon as the evil child's mother was about to be tripped down the stairs, one of the major climaxes of the movie, Hyde let out one of his loudest sighs yet. You groaned and turned to him with a scowl, about to tell him to be quiet, but stopped dead in your tracks as soon as you saw his face. 

Hyde looked more heartbroken than you'd ever seen him ― hell, he looked more heartbroken than you'd ever seen anyone. He had sunk down in his seat just high enough so that he could still peer out the window. You furrowed your brows in pity and looked out to where Eric and Donna were. Your eyes widened at the sight in front of you. They were making out horribly. And on the hood of Eric's car for everyone to see, no less.

"Oh," you said, quickly turning away. Blood rushed to your cheeks in embarrassment. You really hadn't needed to see that. And you'd never be able to unsee it, either. Slowly, you looked to Hyde again. He was no longer looking out the window but at you instead. Your eyes met for a brief second before he looked away, miserable. You bit your lip in sympathy and sighed. Leaning over, you placed a gentle hand on his leg to comfort him. "Hyde, I'm... I'm sorry you had to see that."

"What does it matter if I see it?!" he retorted angrily, sitting up. You knew he wasn't mad at you, but it still stung a little. "What matters is that they're doing it at all! Fuck, (Y/N). This sucks. Why'd I even think that she'd say no to him? That he would ever upset her? And even if for some god forsaken reason he did, she'd go to you instead. Not me." He covered his face in his hands like he was going to cry and let out a shaky breath. "Fuck."

You swallowed dryly, unsure what to say. What could you say to someone who'd just had their heart stepped on? You looked down at your hands, beginning to pick at your nails nervously, guilt riddling you. "It's my fault you're here, Hyde," you whispered to him. "Despite what you say, I know it'd be worse to actually see it in person than to just hear about it happening. I'm sorry for dragging you out here all because I wanted to see some movie," Your eyes flicked back up to the screen, only to see the characters talking about how the child was the Anti-Christ. "It's stupid anyway." You leaned over and turned off the radio, then fell back in your seat.

Hyde took his hands away from his face and sighed. It was lighter than it had been before, however, which gave you some hope. You smiled kindly at him and patted him on the leg again. "Come on. Let's get out of here," you announced softly.

"And go where?"

"I don't know," you shrugged. "How about we go see Fez?"

Fez's host parents' house was nice. Real nice. The front lawn was neat and tidy, the hedges perfectly trimmed, the flowers watered just the write amount to blossom, and the bird baths really were the cherry on top. Even in the dark you could tell their curtains were delicate white lace, and that their door was painted a welcoming peach colour. Religious. No doubt about it. It felt almost wrong to step foot in this neighbourhood, let alone go up to their front door and ring the bell. Which was exactly what you and Hyde were doing.

Before the door opened, Hyde leaned over to you with a big grin and whispered. "A word of warning, (Y/N). His host parents are seriously religious. And I mean seriously. I've never met people like 'em before."

"Guessed as much," you replied with a grin of your own, gesturing to the garden behind you. "Only the God-fearing keep their lawns this tidy."

Hyde laughed just as the door swung open. He quickly pulled back and gave the woman at the door his most charming smile, which you quickly tried to imitate. It proved a little harder for you, however, and you could only hope you didn't look more constipated than charismatic. The woman pursed her lips and furrowed her brows at the two of you. "Can I help?" she asked.

"Yes," Hyde began. "Mrs. Erdman?" She nodded her head in response but said nothing. "Hello, we're friends of Fez. I'm Steven, and this is (Y/N)."

You gave the woman a polite bow of the head and smiled up at her. "Lovely to meet you, Mrs. Erdman," you said. "And may I say you have a simply beautiful home." God, it felt like she was your teacher. Seemingly impressed with you so far, she gave a smile and nodded her head in return.

Hyde continued speaking. "We've come to pay Fez a visit, to say hello. Maybe listen to some music together? Only appropriate music, of course. Like, Pat Boon or some Ray Conniff?" You turned to Hyde incredulously. Pat Boon? Ray Conniff?! What was he talking about?! You didn't wanna listen to them, you weren't that much of a loser! He just turned to you, completely ignoring the look on your face, and patted you on the shoulder. "We're big fans of them."

"Oh, how wonderful!" Mrs. Erdman cried, placing a hand to her chest in joy. "That sounds fantastic. I hardly ever hear of teenagers enjoying that type of music nowadays, and it just breaks my heart. I'm so relieved that Fez has such good friends like you two to lead him on the right path. I do worry about that boy, sometimes... Ah, never mind silly little me! Come in, come in!" She opened the door for you and then rushed back inside to tell Fez.

You punched Hyde on the shoulder. "What the hell? I'm not listening to Ray Conniff!"

He laughed and shook his head, tut-tutting at you. "(Y/N), (Y/N), (Y/N)... You expect so little of me." Without explaining what any of that meant, he grabbed your hand and lead you inside the house. His hand was warm and much bigger than yours. They fit perfectly together. You couldn't help but grab it a little tighter. Hyde looked briefly back at you with a curious expression, but said nothing.

You were brought into the lounge room by Mrs. Erdman, where Fez was sitting down on the couch, waiting. "Ah, hello my friends," he exclaimed, turning to Hyde. "We will be listening to the music, yes?" 

"That's right, Fez," Hyde spoke. "But only appropriate music, just like we talked about. You have the headphones, don't you?" He winked at him, and Fez winked back obnoxiously, nodding profusely. You glanced between them both in confusion.

Mrs. Erdman, however, couldn't tell anything was wrong and went off to get some "healthy snacks for you three." Once she'd left, you turned to Hyde and Fez with your hands on your hips. "OK," you began. "Does somebody wanna tell me what's going on? Because I'm really confused here."

"Take a seat, (Y/N)," Fez smiled, patting the couch beside him. "We will show you."

Somewhat warily, you moved over to the sofa and sat down. Hyde took the seat beside you. From the side of the couch, Fez pulled out some records. Low and behold, they were Pat Boon, Ray Conniiff and the Singers, and even the goddamn Chipmunks singing Burt Bacharach. He passed them along the line, giving you Pat Boon's record. "Uh... Thanks," you muttered. "But I'm gonna have to pass on this one, I think."

Hyde rolled his eyes and snatched the record out of your hands, put the record on the player, and then shoved a pair of headphones on your head before you could dodge out the way. What you heard was not some corny goody-two-shoes music but rather the heavy tones of AC/DC blasting in your ears. You gasped and turned to Hyde with a laugh. "This isn't Pat Boon!" you exclaimed, a little too loud since AC/DC were currently stopping you from hearing yourself properly.

He laughed and pressed a finger to your lips. "I know, idiot. Now shut up and enjoy the record."

He and Fez did the same, and the three of you sat down and began singing to the rock music in your ears. You felt at home with them, Hyde in particular. What made it even more enjoyable was quickly changing to singing a different, more family-friendly song whenever Mrs. or Mr. Erdman wandered into the room. A favourite of Hyde's was Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head. Fez's foster parents didn't even suspect anything was amiss, the naive fools. And so you spent the remainder of the night rocking out on the couch together.

Hyde pulled into your street, stopping his car just out of range of the street light so that no one in your house could see. You'd asked him to, after all. He'd not bothered you about it, or even asked why. He understood how things were. How life was. 

He leaned back in his seat with a sigh, resting his head on his hand as he leaned against the window. You copied his posture and stared out the window. Silence engulfed the two of you. And you'd be lying if you said it wasn't a little tense. You hated it. "Thanks for tonight, Hyde," you said quietly, a gentle smile crossing your lips as you looked down shyly at your hands. "I had fun."

He chuckled lowly to himself. "So did I. Despite the whole drive-in thing, y'know. But a part from that it was a good night." From the corner of your eye, you saw him turn to look at you. "You made it a good night."

A blush rose to your cheeks and you laughed, a little embarrassed at his words. "Don't be silly," It was impossible to will yourself to look at him, like you'd shrivel in on yourself if you tried. "It was not me. You're the fun one. If it weren't for you Fez's house would've been a drag. You always make things fun."

"Ah, quit getting all sappy on me, (Y/N)," he said, shuffling in his seat. He was a little embarrassed. Was he feeling as awkward as you? He certainly didn't seem his regular self, that was for sure. Secretly, the thought of making him nervous gave you a little thrill. Why it did that, however, you honestly had no goddamn clue. "I've missed spending time with you," Hyde continued, voice a little shaky. "We used to be so close. I forgot how good of a time I used to have with you."

Now it was your turn to get embarrassed. You laughed quietly and rubbed the back of your neck, staring down at your hands. It still felt impossible to look at him. "We always spend time together, though." You knew that hanging around with the gang wasn't what he'd meant. But the thought of having a heart-to-heart with your emotions made you wanna throw up.

Hyde continued. "Yeah, but with other people there." Out of the corner of your eye you saw him turn towards you. But you were too shy and too scared to meet his gaze. You swallowed, dryly ― it got caught in your throat. "I'm talking about when we used to be best friends. When we were kids. We were so close back then."

"People grow apart. Stuff happens." You wanted to reverse time once the words had fallen out of your mouth. There was Hyde, trying to have a heart-to-heart moment, and you'd gone and ruined it with your casual tone. It was instinct to go on the defensive, to push him away. And you hated that you couldn't stop yourself. That bubbling feeling in the pit of your stomach was making you sick. You needed to leave. "I have to go. See ya," you muttered, opening the car door and practically running out of it. Hyde said nothing. He didn't try to stop you. You only hoped he understood why you'd done it.

The front door was unlocked. A quick glance into the living room revealed your father had fallen asleep waiting up for you. You ran into your room, eyes already pricking with tears. Not allowing them to fall, you resolved to collapsing on your bed and buried your face in the pillow. If you couldn't force the tears back in, you wouldn't let any more escape. Life had left your emotions repressed and buried deep down. Hyde was bringing out some things you weren't ready to deal with, didn't want to deal with. If you'd stayed in that car any longer, you would've been left vulnerable. Vulnerability made you weak, weakness lead to hurt. And you'd had enough hurt to last a lifetime.

Chapter Text

Thanksgiving had always been a nightmare for you. You didn't know why your father insisted on having a big turkey each year when you could hardly afford next week's groceries most of the time. You assumed it had something to do with his need to prove himself as a man and therefore a good provider for the family. Or maybe it was that good ol' US patriotism that filled the hearts of him and every other insufferable American this time of the year. The whole premise of Thanksgiving made you sick. Oh hey everyone, let's celebrate the kindness of the Indigenous people in saving us from sure death, who we then went on to kill and rob and steal land from! Yay!

Every other year, he'd been able to scrape just enough money from his steelworks job to buy a turkey for you all to share. But with the recent lay-offs, blue collar workers like him now had no jobs and no money. So that meant someone else would have to buy the turkey this year. And gee, who was the only member of the family who still had a job? Oh, right. You.

You didn't want to buy a meaningless, tasteless turkey with your hard-earned money. Most of your pay went to bills anyway, and it felt wrong to have what little was left get thrown away into the stupid turkey fund. But, who would back you up if you refused? Your cousin Dan was away training in the army (the only real option left for a working class boy after dropping out of high school), but you doubted he'd support you anyway. After all, he always had been a bootlicker. Aunt Narelle was nice enough but she was ill, and arguing with your father would only make her feel worse. You wouldn't want to drag her into a fight with him.

The turkey was what you found yourself thinking about at work that day. Your boss had given you the public holiday shift, of course, because no one else had wanted it. But at least it was quiet (probably because everyone was spending the day with their loving family, like you were supposed to do), and at least you got paid penalty rates, and at least you closed early. Still, it was hardly the way you'd like to be spending your day.

Thirty minutes before closing, and a good twenty minutes since you'd last had a customer, in wandered none other than Aaron. Immediately you noticed something was off. He had a shifty look in his eyes, which he tried to hide as soon as you made eye-contact with him. But his pale face and the way he'd shoved his hands uncomfortably into his jacket pockets were telltale signs of something sinister going on. Still, he sure had one convincing grin. "(Y/N)!" he exclaimed, rushing over to the counter where you stood. His tall stature towered over you, and you craned your neck to look up at him. "Working on Thanksgiving?"

You sighed and smiled sadly, breaking eye-contact sheepishly. The way he said it, so clueless... He really didn't get it, did he? "Yeah. Gotta make money somehow." 

"Still... On Thanksgiving? Shouldn't you be spending it with family or something?"

"Could ask you the same thing."

That wasn't you who'd said that. It came from behind Aaron. You both looked to see who it was. Oh. Hyde. You hadn't even heard the door open. He strolled up to the counter with his hands casually in his pockets, giving you a nod in greeting.

Aaron was less than impressed at his sudden intrusion. "And just who are you?" he asked, looking him up and down with narrowed eyes. Anyone else might've shrunk a little under his glare, but Hyde just narrowed his eyes in return.

"Oh, Aaron, this is Hyde. He's my... Friend."

"Actually," Hyde interrupted, leaning confidently on the counter. "I'm her boyfriend."

"Boyfriend?!" Aaron exclaimed, wide-eyed. He turned to you, an incredulous look on his face. "(Y/N), I-I didn't know you had a boyfriend!"

Before you even had a chance to respond, Hyde butted in again. "Aw, well, she's awful shy about it. Aren't you, babe?"

You choked. A vicious heat rose to your cheeks. Wh... Why was Hyde doing this?! Did he like embarrassing you this much?! You couldn't even get a word out, and stood there sputtering like an idiot in front of them both. Your face felt like it was about to explode into flames. "I..."

"What's going on out there?" called the cook from the kitchen, poking his head out the door. "Is everything alright, girly?" The tension was dissipating by the second as everyone was drawn back into reality. You hadn't realised how thick the bubble surrounding you three had become. You didn't even know the cook's name, but at that point in time, you would have kissed his greasy face a hundred times in thanks.

"We're fine, thank you!" you replied with a nervous laugh, throwing your arms out. He nodded his head and then grabbed his coat, heading out the back door. The cooks always got to leave early. Late customers had to deal with pre-made food. Once he'd left, you turned around to face Hyde and Aaron with a gulp. "Um... Right. Where were we?"

"Is this guy your boyfriend?" Aaron demanded. Apparently he hadn't calmed down at all.

You winced at his sharp tone, eyes trailing over to Hyde. He was looking at you expectantly, an eyebrow raised. You could practically feel the enjoyment radiating off of him. He had you stuck, and he liked it. You pursed your lips and tried to shoot him a subtle glare that said, this is your fault, you jerk! If he did notice it, he made no effort to seem apologetic. The asshole probably thought it was funny! 

"...Yes. He is," you muttered, unable to look Aaron in the eye. You'd probably crumble into a million tiny pieces if you did.

He said nothing for a while, but eventually took a big breath in. "Right, OK," he began, turning to leave. "I think I'll just go to Fatso Burger." 

"Aaron, wait--!" you called after him, but he ignored your words, and before you knew it he was out the door and had slammed it behind him. You turned to Hyde in a rage, steam almost coming out of your ears, and face burning red ― this time, in anger. 

"Woah, woah, woah! Let's calm down a little, hey?"

"You asshole!" you yelled, not caring if a customer happened to walk in then and there, and see you screaming at him. "Why would you do that?!"

He threw his arms out in defence, as though he'd done absolutely nothing wrong. "Do what? Go along with the plan? The thing we've been doing for literally weeks? You know, the whole 'make him and Donna jealous' thing?"

"You don't understand," you answered, crossing your arms over your chest. "Aaron's not like that. It would've been better off if you'd not said anything, and he'd just thought I was single."

"So if you'd lied?"

"That's not a lie, what are you talking about?!"

"Oh, never mind that. What I don't get is why you're getting so annoyed at me! I mean, talk about being unfair. How was I supposed to know that? For all I knew, I was helping you."

"You knew you weren't helping," you exclaimed. "You saw how uncomfortable and humiliated I was, and yet you didn't care. You just wanted me to suffer."

You regretted the words as soon as they'd left your mouth. Hyde recoiled. A scowl crossed his face. Not one of disgust ― but rather, one of hurt. Your stomach dropped. "(Y/N), I..." he shook his head. "Don't say that. I would never want you to suffer, never. That's... Please don't say that..."

He didn't get the chance to say anything else. You fell forward over the counter and wrapped your arms tightly around him, burying your face in his neck. "I'm sorry," you whispered against his skin. "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean it." You didn't know exactly why those words had gotten to him in particular, but you didn't need to know exactly why. You understood this pain well enough. Knowing the exact reason wasn't necessary. Sometimes silence could be more telling than words.

Slowly, and perhaps nervously, Hyde's arms wrapped around your body as well. You relaxed under his touch. And so did he under yours. He rested his head in the crook of your neck, and held you tight. So tight that he started to grip at your clothes. You knew what it felt like to want for comfort, so you just pressed yourself closer against him. "I'm sorry too," he murmured, a little shake in his voice. Suddenly he pulled away. Whatever connection had been growing between you, it was quickly shattered once the touch was broken. You shuffled back awkwardly into your place behind the counter.

He cleared his throat. "I mean, I'm sorry for being an ass," Hyde continued. "You're right about that. As usual."

"I think you mean, 'as always'?" Though you still felt a little strange, it didn't take long to get back into your normal, sarcastic self around him.

"Whatever, man," he rolled his eyes with a chuckle. "But look, I wasn't doing it to make you feel bad. I was doing it to make him uncomfortable. Now, I know what you're thinking, why would I want to make Arthur uncomfortable?"

"Aaron," you corrected.

"Aaron, right. Well, anyway. The reason I'd want to make him uncomfortable is because I don't trust the guy. I was willing to be friendly to him, in fact I was intending to be, but right off the bat he started getting all aggressive and alpha-male. Maybe you couldn't see it, but I'm a guy so I could. Trust me, when you're a man you understand how other men think."

You decided to ignore the whole 'man' thing (they were both far from men, in your book). "You're being silly."

"No, I'm not!" Hyde said. "Look, I know I'm a real screw-up most of the time, but trust me on this one, OK? I'm not gonna tell you stop liking the guy, but... Just remember what I said, alright? Be... cautious."

"OK, mum," you teased. "Thanks for the warning." You weren't sure how seriously to take his words, but one thing that put the odds in his favour was how suspicious Aaron had looked when he walked in. You couldn't ignore the feeling that something really had been up with him. What exactly, you had no idea. But it was enough to upset your intuition. That, and Hyde rarely looked as serious as he did now.

Hyde stayed with you until you closed, even helping lock the doors (the lock was always so hard to close). He asked if you were intending to go to Eric's Thanksgiving party, but you told him no. Your family were waiting for you to finish work until they started dinner, and while normally you might have time, insufferable cousin Dan was coming home for the dinner, so you wouldn't be allowed to leave for some time. Hyde was going to Eric's, however. Apparently Eric had kissed some college girl (you assumed Laurie's friend, who you'd heard them talk about), so Donna was angry at him. You wished him luck with it all, but didn't really mean it. It was immoral to pounce when they were going through a rough patch, but like Hyde would listen to anything you said about it. He saw any opportunity to get ahead as fair game.

After work you popped into the nearest supermarket to find a precooked turkey. Slim pickings, seeing how late in the day it was, but better than nothing. You forked over cash for the fattest one you could find and gave it to the cashier. Had they been working the whole day? You wished them a happy Thanksgiving and that you hoped their shift was almost over. There really was nothing like the solidarity between retail/fast food workers. Hurrying home so the turkey wouldn't get too cold (it was coming into Winter, after all), you knocked on the front door. Dan opened the door, a big grin on his face. His hair was shaved, and he had the arrogant look of someone who was riding the high of joining the army and all the benefits that came with it. Still, you were pleased to see he hadn't put much muscle on. Deep down, he was always gonna be some scrawny kid from Point Place.

"Hey, cus," he greeted. You had to force a pained smile onto your face. "Long time no see, hey? Aw, I've missed you." He glanced down at the shopping bag in your hand. "Is that the turkey? Took you long enough. Better be a big one! Or else your daddy won't be too pleased, will he?" You shoved passed him and into the house. It was going to be a long Thanksgiving. 

Dinner had been terrible, just like you'd known it would be. Dan had spent almost the entire time talking about his time in the army. It hurt your leftist heart not to be able to retort his patriotism freely, and it was unimaginably boring. He even mentioned how many girls he'd slept with ― fifty, apparently! Now that was ridiculous. Just how many willing girls hung around army training bases? Even your father seemed doubtful.

Once Dan's stories had started to wind down, you thought you might have the chance to relax a little, even slip away early. The turkey hadn't been a disappointment, at least, and your father seemed to be in a better mood than he usually was. But then Aunt Narelle started talking about you. She said that you had been working hard and that you'd been earning quite a bit of money, enough to support the family most weeks. Something in your father snapped. His own insecurities surrounding work, you guessed. He started to badmouth you to your face, saying that your fast food job was unskilled and you were lucky to get a paycheck for it at all. Then he started talking about your love of literature. A "useless knack," he called it, "for those who are too stupid to do anything but say things prettily." 

You wanted to defend yourself, but managed to bite your tongue. It was so hard to just sit there and listen to him insult you over and over again. How many nights had you imagined screaming back at him, punching him in the face? Hell, running away was one of the things you thought about most. You didn't know why he hated you so much. Maybe you reminded him of your mother, whatever she had been like. You could barely remember her face let alone anything to do with her personality.

When dinner finished, and you'd done the washing up, you grabbed a jacket and practically ran out the house. No one tried to stop you, especially not Narelle or Dan. Much like you, they both harboured animosity towards your father. He might've been worst with you, but that didn't mean he wasn't hard on them as well. Even Dan, who you never got along with, empathised with your plight.

Your feet seemed to have a mind of their own. You weren't sure where they were taking you, though you knew once you'd arrived at the right destination. The treehouse lay empty beside the stream, unused in the cold of November. You looked up at it wistfully. The cool wind blew through your hair as memories of a more innocent time swirled around in your head. You wanted to go up there. But it felt wrong to do it at this age. It felt like you'd be ruining childhood memories if you went in. And could you even go up there without...


You whipped your head around to the voice. Standing there was Hyde, a bottle of Jack Daniels in his hand and his nose a rosey pink. You smiled at him. Speak of the Devil. "Hyde," you said, clutching your jacket tighter across your chest. "That's the second time you've snuck up on me today."

He just shrugged. "What can I say? I'm a master of stealth." Casually, he strolled up to the treehouse and began to make his way up. Seeing your hesitance, he perked up an eyebrow. "Are you coming?" he asked. Still, you gave no response. What's up with her? he thought. He couldn't help but try to lighten the mood. "What, don't tell me you're scared of heights now?" You just smiled sadly, not moving closer. Something was definitely wrong. Hyde sighed quietly, thumbing the bottle in his hand. He threw it softly into the treehouse, then offered you his hand. "Come on," he encouraged, face decorated with a lopsided grin. "What's the worst that could happen? Aaron sees you acting like a kid and you get all embarrassed?"

You laughed, eyes brightening. "Nah, he's too middle-class to be caught dead in this neighbourhood." You stepped forward and took Hyde's hand. It was warmer than you'd expected. He squeezed your hand tightly and pulled you up the steps. Just like old times.

Once inside the treehouse, you and Hyde collapsed against one of the walls, pressed together. Hyde had wrapped one arm over your shoulders, pulling you closer to him. For warmth or for comfort, you didn't care: it was nice to have him with you, and that's all that mattered. You glanced around the small wooden room. "Much smaller than I remember it," you mumbled, breathing out heavily. "Makes me realise how much I've grown up." Hyde just shrugged at your words, and raised the bottle of Jack Daniels to his lips. He took a swig of it, enough to ensure he'd feel some effect. You eyed the bottle. Alcohol had never been a vice for you. In fact, you tended to abstain from the stuff most of the time, limiting it to the occasional party. And most alcohol tasted disgusting anyway. But today, it was a hard temptation to refuse.

Hyde, noticing your gaze, handed the bottle to you. Readily you grabbed it and brought it to your lips. The strong taste of whiskey made you wince. Hyde laughed at you, pulling it away from your mouth before you could do too much damage to yourself. "Don't overdo it, (Y/N)," he teased. "I don't wanna have to carry you home."

You huffed, and snuggled in next to Hyde. If you hadn't known any better, you would almost say he tensed up a little. But why would that even happen? It was a silly thought. "Do you come here often, Hyde?"

For a moment he considered getting all teasing, saying that that was the oldest line in the book and that you'd have to try a little harder if you wanted to win his heart, but decided against it. You didn't seem to be in the right mood for joking around. "Yeah," he replied with another shrug. "I guess. It's really the only place I can get away from the shit at home. You don't?"

"No. I haven't been here for years."

Silence engulfed the two of you. While for you it was pleasant and calming to be with Hyde in the quiet, Hyde's heart was racing beside you. The way your arm rested across his waist was making him feel a little... Nervous, to say the least. And it was a very confusing kind of nervous, which he didn't like. He took another sip of whiskey. But what he really didn't like was the pressing issue of what had made you so upset. It was in the way you sighed, spoke, the way your eyes had been so dim when he'd first got here. He recognised the look on your face well; his own face had mirrored it many times.

"Wanna talk about it?" he asked, looking down at you. Now it was turn for your heart to race. "You don't have to if you don't want. I won't push you. But, I'm here to listen if you need it. I'm always here for you."

Slowly, you tilted your head to look up at him, wide eyes glistening with the onset of tears. You shook your head, biting your bottom lip. It had begun to quiver. You looked away before he saw any tears fall, wiping them away harshly. "It's really nothing that bad," you said, laughing at your own pathetic actions. "Just my dad. I don't know why I'm getting so upset."

"Hey, at least that makes two of us who got upset on Thanksgiving," Hyde joked, patting your arm. "We're in this together, aren't we? A couple of messed up kids trying to help each other even though we can't even help ourselves."

A sigh escaped you as you snuggled in closer to Hyde again. "Why does it have to be us?" you whispered. "Why don't we get to have lives like Eric or Donna?" His silence was answer enough. It wasn't like there was anything he could say, anyway. You'd both rolled snake eyes at the lottery of life, and was just the way it was. No matter how much you wanted to, there was no way you could go back and start over. 

"How'd it go with Donna?" you asked, changing the subject. He stiffened a little at the suddenness of it. "Did you manage to win her over?"

"Uh, nah. She wasn't having it. I even offered her some pie. When she refused that, I knew today was a lost cause. I think her and Eric made up though, so... Yay for him, I guess."

"Damn, I wish I could've had some pie. Kitty always makes such good ones."

"I would've given that pie to you before Donna any day."

Hyde's heart stopped once he'd realised what he'd said. Somehow he managed to drink some more whiskey to hide his embarrassment. A wince came, both because of the alcohol and because of his inability to keep his stupid mouth shut. You didn't say anything, but hid your face away from him. Such a silly, insignificant thing he'd said; it could be taken any number of ways. So it would be unfair to let him see the way your face lit up, unfair for him to notice the warm smile that now decorated it. It would be unfair to let him know the true feelings that lay within your heart.

Because as much as you tried to hide it, you couldn't deny that deep down, Hyde had was becoming more than a friend to you.

Chapter Text

Christmas, much like Thanksgiving, was not a day somebody like Hyde really looked forward to. He never got to spend a dinner with loving family, or the evening cuddled by the fire with a special someone, or the morning unwrapping presents under a tree with his mother. Nah. That was something reserved for those with the privilege of a normal, happy, middle-class life. 

So he'd be lying if he said he wasn't just a little jealous of Eric's normal, happy, middle-class life when Kitty started gushing over the beautiful tree they'd just stolen from the side of the road, when Red had specifically instructed Eric to haggle for one at a lot. Granted, stealing state property had seemed the much better idea when it meant they got to spend whatever money was left on Eric's Christmas Eve party. Only time would tell if it might come back and bite Eric in the ass, but for the time being, he was even more the apple of his mother's eye.

The only time Christmas could be good, and the only reason Hyde didn't spend the whole twenty-four hours moping around, was the chance to get gifts for the people he cared about. He liked to think of himself as somewhat of a generous person, and there was no better time to show off his generosity than Christmas. This year, his main target was Donna. And as he recognised her mother Midge approaching from the Pinciotti residence, he saw his chance.

He could picture it now: it would be at Eric's party, and they'd all be high on the joy of the Christmas spirit. Donna would be surprised he'd even gotten her a present at all, and when she opened it and saw the thoughtful gift awaiting her inside (what that gift was exactly he wasn't sure, but he was sure it would be thoughtful), her eyes would light up like a Christmas tree, and her heart would flutter, and maybe, just maybe, it would flutter a little more for him than for Eric that day.

"Mrs. Pinciotti," he greeted her. Midge smiled at him warmly, which only made him nervous. He swallowed. "Look, I was thinkin' about getting a present for... this girl. And, um, she's about Donna's age, so I was just kinda wondering what Donna likes."

Midge grinned up at him knowingly. "Perfume," she answered. "Donna wears White Shoulders. It's not just for shoulders, you can wear it anywhere!"


"Sure! Like your neck, or the mall. But if you want, I can ask Donna if she knows what kind of perfume (Y/N) likes? Wouldn't it be better to get it directly from her?"

Hyde paused for a moment. "Uh, no, thanks. That won't be necessary." Truth be told, he hadn't really considered getting a present for (Y/N). The thought had crossed his mind once or twice, sure, but he'd tried not to pay any attention to it. He only had a little money anyway, so what little he did have should go towards Donna. Right? She was the girl he was trying to win over. Right? 

He needed to break out of his thoughts. "Um, alright. So how much does a bottle of White Shoulders run?"

"Mm, about twelve dollars."

Oh. Well it looked like White Shoulders was fast becoming plan B! Twelve dollars was nothing to scoff at for Hyde. Plus, from his last count, he didn't have much more than five. As much as he liked Donna, he didn't really fancy spending that much on her. Besides, he could make up for it by buying her dinner once they started dating! "Well, what about a bottle of crappy perfume? What does that run?"

Midge pursed her lips and tilted her head to the side. "Gosh, I don't know. I'll call Bob's mother!" she said, before turning heel and wandering back over to her house. 

Hyde sighed. Was it something he'd said? Looks like he'd have to ask someone else.

Hyde found himself in Eric's kitchen drinking a soda. Jackie and her blonde entourage of rich girls had been pestering Kelso to drive them around on Christmas Eve to "distribute gift baskets to the less fortunate bums," as she'd so kindly put it. Kelso's main concern was, of course, still being able to attend Eric's party. Jackie got up from her seat to get herself a soda.

Hyde recognised this as another chance to ask what Donna might like for Christmas. "Jackie, come here," he said, taking a sip from his soda.

She turned around, face in a scowl ― as it usually was when she talked to him ― and put her hand on her hip. "Why?"

Why was she always so difficult? It wasn't like he was about to yell it across the room. "Just come here!" 

Jackie slammed her soda down on the counter and made her way over to where he stood, clearly annoyed. "Hyde, if you want to make out with me, the answer is no."

Hyde scrunched his face up at her words. He didn't even want to think about that. It would be opening an entirely new can of worms, one he knew was better left closed. "Uh, right. Look, Jackie. I know you and I don't exactly get along, but I could really use your advice right now. There's this girl, right? And I want to get her a Christmas present--"

"Oh my God, it's Donna!" she gasped, putting her hand to her heart.

How the hell did she know that? How the hell did she know that?! If anyone heard her, he'd be stuffed! This little brunette who barely fit in with the gang was about to ruin everything. "It's not Donna! Obviously I mean (Y/N)."

"Liar," she exclaimed, practically spitting the words out. "If it were (Y/N), you would've just said so. Why wouldn't you ask me what (Y/N) specifically liked? Why not name her immediately? You mean to tell me that you're not willing to even talk about your relationship with her? That's ridiculous. Don't try to deny your feelings for Donna. I've seen the way you look at her. You think nobody saw how you acted at the disco? Or how you sulk whenever her and Eric are together? You're a liar and a cheat, Steven, and you're stupid to think (Y/N) won't notice."

She'd read him like an open book. Had Donna as well, or Eric? Had everyone? God. The whole thing was made worse by the fact that no one else knew the relationship was phoney, so Hyde just looked like an ass who was trying to cheat on his girlfriend. God! The only thing he could even do was go on the defensive. "It is (Y/N)," he warned.

"OK, it's (Y/N)," Jackie glared, clearly not believing him. "Well, how much do you have to spend?"

"Six dollars."

The look Jackie's face contorted into was one of absolute disgust. Hell, she looked more disgusted now than she did during that whole lecture. "You don't deserve girls like (Y/N) or Donna for six dollars!"

"I'm not trying to get Donna!"

"Good. 'Cause you won't for six dollars."

This whole thing was falling apart. It had been a disaster. Jackie had seen right through him and she needed to go now. "You know what? Thanks a lot, never mind, bye-bye," Hyde muttered, pushing her gently away. She went over to her friends, throwing him a last glare before they all left with Kelso.

Well, now who the hell could he ask? He couldn't ask (Y/N). That would just be lousy, even by his standards. That meant he'd have to go it alone. Maybe they really are right when they say if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.

You'd spent all afternoon getting ready at Donna's. Eric's Christmas party was tonight, and it was something you were looking forward to a lot. Your first ever Christmas party! It was going to be a special night. Besides, you'd been moping a lot thinking about how your chances with Aaron were probably finished. So it would be good to get out of the house for a while. You wanted to see Hyde, and give him the present you'd bought for him. You knew he'd love it.

Once again Donna looked lovely despite her not having tried that hard. You both envied and admired her effortlessness, feeling outshined by her whether you dressed up or down. Ah, gotta love that female insecurity. You chose a denim skirt and your favourite shirt, one with a colourful pattern of spirals and twirls that clung somewhat tightly to your body. It would remain hidden, you suspected, given how cold the late December weather was in Point Place, but it was enough to give you a little boost of confidence. With a little makeup, you felt ready to head over to Eric's.

You spent most of the night hanging around with Donna, Hyde and Eric, at the side of the room, drinking beer. Maybe a little too much beer, if you were being honest. Jackie spent her time talking with everyone. Kelso had disappeared to god knows where. As for Fez, he had been hounding after three friends of Jackie's. 

Over time, they certainly warmed up to him. At one point you looked over to see them fawning over him, flirting giddily as he purred, "my darlings" at them. Even Jackie rushed over and took hold of his face lovingly. If you didn't know any better, you'd say they were drunk. They had been drinking a lot of that punch, but surely... 

"Man, what's going on with the pep squad?" Hyde asked.

Donna shrugged, leaning on the washing machine. "Yeah, they seem extra stupid tonight."

Suddenly Kelso ran into the basement, slamming the door shut as soon as he was inside. "Jackie!" he exclaimed, handing a package over to his girlfriend on the couch. "This is for you."

Jackie leapt up and snatched it from him eagerly. "Ooh Michael, what is it?!" she ripped off the wrapping and gasped, jumping up and down in wonder. "It's hot rollers!" she squealed, showing her friends with delight that it came with steam. She turned back around to Kelso, a huge grin on her face, and clapped excitedly, before embracing him in a hug. Alright. That was sweet of him. You would'nt mind getting a gift like that from a guy you liked.

The night progressed. Most people left early. You didn't blame them. They probably wanted to go home and spend at least some of Christmas Eve with their families. Still sipping at a beer, you sat down next to Donna on the couch and gave her her present. A Nancy Drew book, one she hadn't read before. Then she gave you yours, a record of your favourite bad. With a hug you both thanked each other.

Hyde approached, sitting down on his regular seat beside the couch. "Hey," he greeted her, completely ignoring you. You sunk back in the couch and drank your beer miserably. Well, this was gonna be fun. "I got you something. It's no big deal, but, you know, Christmas." You rolled your eyes at him. Yeah that's right, act real non-chalant, Hyde, you thought bitterly, I bet you got her a goddamn wedding ring.

Donna took the gift with a smile. "Suddenly Hyde's getting bashful?" she teased. He just shrugged. You wanted to throw up. Those beers certainly weren't helping.

Donna wasted no time and opened it up readily. It had been wrapped in only newspaper, but you could tell it had been done so lovingly. "Oh, wow," Donna gasped. "This is great!" You peered over at it. 

A photo of Hyde and Donna. It was taken when they were kids, about ten, you guessed. Smiling together at a school sport's day, their faces bright and hopeful as they looked up at the camera. Hyde's clothes looked dirty compared to Donna's, but she had thrown her arm around his shoulders and pulled him close to her, like they were the best of friends. He'd even framed it. Cute. So cute. So horribly, disgustingly cute that you wanted to cry. 

From behind you, Eric spoke. "Hey, what is it?"

"It's a picture of me and Hyde," she smiled, showing it to him. You didn't look at it as it passed you. 

"Yeah, it's me and you in fifth grade," he explained. "I've had it in my drawer forever, so I just framed it." 

You were literally about to cry. This was awful. He was making you not only look like an idiot, but feel like one too. This gift could not be written off as something from a friend to a friend. It was personal, it had meaning. And you hated that he'd given something like that to Donna instead of to you. Hadn't you been his best friend growing up? Hadn't you been there for him in ways Donna never could be? Hadn't you experienced so much more with him? Hadn't you earned his love?

"That is so sweet," Donna said warmly, gazing at Hyde.

"Yeah, that is just so sweet," Eric muttered bitterly. You felt bad for him. He was probably feeling just as bad as you were. He quickly grabbed his present for Donna and sat down in between you and her. You knew he didn't mean anything by it... But it only made you feel even worse, being literally shoved to the side. You curled away to the side of the couch and buried your face in your hand, trying to fight back the tears.

"Why don't you open my present?" Eric asked. 

Donna took it and smiled, opening it. "Oh, White Shoulders!" She sounded pleased with it, of course ― it was her favourite perfume after all. But not as happy as she was with Hyde's present. "I love this stuff, thank you."

"You're welcome."

You glanced back over to see Donna press a quick kiss to Eric's cheek. His face was smug and content. But that pride soon fell when Donna put down the perfume and started looking at the picture of her and Hyde again.  "Oh my god, you can see my training bra through my shirt!" she exclaimed.

Hyde laughed, obviously quite happy with himself. "Yeah, I remember that training bra," he flirted. You frowned and rolled back over again. You didn't want to see any of this. In fact, you were tempted to leave all together. Your stomach certainly didn't want you to stay. 

"Gee," Eric began, his voice quiet. "I uh, I wish... I'd gotten you something like that..."

Hyde dismissed Eric's words. "Man, dude. It's nothing." He was fishing for compliments. He wanted Donna to tell him how thoughtful he'd been, how kind, how much better he was than Eric. And you'd had enough of it.

"It's not nothing," you began, louder than you'd expected to be. You turned around to them, and the three of them turned to you. Hyde's eyes widened at the sight of you. Maybe your face looked ugly. Or maybe he was afraid of what you might say. Honestly, you didn't care. You were full of bitterness, and the alcohol you'd drunk was demanding that bitterness be realised.

"You clearly put a lot of thought into that gift. In fact, I'd say it's one of the sweetest gifts you could give to someone. Like something you might give to a loved one. It's very personal and heartfelt. So what's the deal, Hyde? Have you got something you want to say to Donna?!"

Before anyone could reply, Red Forman made his presence known. "Eric!" he shouted from the basement stairs. Everyone whipped their heads around to him, including you. "Before you explain the beer, maybe you can tell me why there are two state troopers in the living room confiscating our Christmas tree?"

Eric stood up defensively, face going the colour of eggnog. "Oh, that... Um, funny story! And you're gonna laugh, actually--"

"Get to the point!"

"We cut down the tree off the side of the interstate!"

Red wasn't boiling with anger. And that was somehow scarier than if he were. It felt like the calm before the storm. "Well, that's just great, Eric," he breathed out heavily. "Now the party's over, you're grounded, and I want what's left of my forty bucks."

Eric turned to Kelso, who had moved slowly and quietly to the side of the room. "Kelso, give it to him."

"Oh, no," Red groaned, turning to Kelso as well.

Kelso stood, bashful, with his hands in his pockets. He looked sheepishly up at Red. "Yeah, I... Sort of spent it on Jackie's gift."

From where she had been sitting, Jackie jumped up and ran over to him. "Oh, Michael, my hot rollers!" She pulled him against her and hugged him tightly with another giddy squeal. "You got in trouble for me, Michael? Oh, I love you...!" She started sobbing against his chest, as Kelso stood there awkwardly. All her friends started to cry at the scene as well, and Fez embraced them.

Jackie pulled away slightly from her boyfriend and pointed at the four of you. "And Hyde loves Donna!"

Hyde leapt out of his chair and began to back away, throwing his hands up in defence. "Woah!" he cried, chuckling nervously. "She's crazy, man!" You just buried your face in your hands again, fighting the growing feeling of sickness in the pit of your stomach. 

"Eric, what the hell is going on here? Have these girls been drinking?!" Red yelled.

"No, no! Look, dad, I swear. Just mum's punch."

Red leaned over and grabbed a spoonful, raising it to his lips. His face contorted into a look of betrayal. Calm Red had gone, and he'd been replaced by one that burned with rage. "Lousy with hooch!" 

"You see, you see?" Hyde insisted. "She's drunk, man. That's drunk talk! False." Eric just turned to him with furrowed brows. "And (Y/N)'s crazy, too! You saw how many beers she had! Look at her, she can barely talk. She doesn't know what the hell she's saying. She's being stupid." 

Oh God. He hates me. He actually hates me

With that thought, you were unable to control yourself any longer. You leaned forward and emptied the contents of your stomach onto the floor of the Forman's basement in a spectacular display that caught everyone in the room's attention. Hyde and Eric jumped away from the vomit, worried they might get sprayed with it. All that alcohol you drank had come back to bite you in more ways than one. As you sat there, throwing up, you considered just how your life had lead itself to this moment, and what, given the chance to start again, you might do differently. For one, you might start with drinking a few less beers.

As the vomiting slowed, sounds of shock and disgust echoed throughout the room. You looked up only to see Donna patting you on the back, a sympathetic smile on her face. You couldn't find the strength within yourself to give a smile back.

Red sighed and shook his head, making his way over to the stairs. "Come on, Jackie, I'll take you and sob sisters home. Donna, go take (Y/N) upstairs to see Kitty. Your father's there waiting for you anyway. Eric, the rest of that beer goes in my refrigerator. Steven, you help Eric clean up. And Kelso..." he paused for a moment, as if considering whether or not to punish him. Eventually, he settled on a simple solution. "Go home!"

Once she'd heard what happened, Kitty fussed over you like you were her own daughter. She made you a cup of cocoa and insisted you spend the night at their house, sleeping on the couch. You were too tired to refuse her offer, especially when it included a warm bed and a safe environment for once. It wasn't like your family would miss you. In fact, since cousin Dan had come back (and not left since Thanksgiving, you might add), it seemed your father didn't care at all where you went. A nice change while it lasted.

Donna came up and saw you before she left. It was just you and her in the living room, all the guests had left the Forman's party and the Formans themselves were elsewhere. She sat down beside you, and you managed to smile tiredly at her.

"That was some pretty awesome throwing up back there," she teased. "I don't think I've ever seen someone do it so incredibly. Really, your timing was A-plus."

You groaned and grinned, embarrassed, hiding your face in your hands. "Shut up, oh my God," you mumbled through laughter. "Was it really that awful? Ugh, oh God I probably looked like a complete idiot."

"Nah, not a complete idiot. Hyde took that cake."

At the mention of him, you visibly tensed. Donna sighed, looking down at the feet. "Sorry to bring him up," she muttered.

"No, don't be. It's not your fault." You stared up at the ceiling. If there had ever been a chance of you getting together with Hyde, it most certainly had disappeared now. You didn't even know when you'd started to like him, but it was all over now. You'd embarrassed him and yourself. What were you thinking, acting like that? Hyde didn't like you, and now you'd blown his chances with Donna because of your selfishness.

"(Y/N), I... I have to ask," Donna's voice was shaky, unsure. You knew what she was going to say. She didn't even need to say it, really. "What's going on with you and Hyde? Are you two really--"

"Together?" you cut her off, still staring up at the ceiling. She said nothing, but that was answer enough. "No. No, we're not." An immense weight was lifted off your chest once the words rolled out. It felt like you'd waited your whole life to say that, to finally be free of the pain the secret had brought. You half expected her to start talking, but she waited patiently for you to continue. "We were never together. The whole relationship was completely fake. He asked me to because he wanted to make you jealous. I said yes because I felt sorry for him. And because I... I wanted to make him happy. And it seems he can only be happy when he's with you."

You didn't even notice the tear rolling down your cheek before Donna wiped it away. When you looked up at her, they began to fall like a rainstorm. "I don't know what to do, Donna," you cried, your voice trembling through the tears. "I really care about him. But every time he looks at you, I can feel my heart breaking. He never looks at me like that. But I want him to. I want him to so, so much. And I know it's not fair for me to feel that way, because it's not your fault, and it's not his fault, and I just feel so stupid because there's nothing I can do, and he doesn't like me at all, and I... I'm so sorry Donna that I did it, I know you like Eric and I'm sorry I let him manipulate you..."

You stopped talking and let yourself dissolve into tears. Donna hugged you lovingly, resting her chin on your head. "It's alright," she said comfortingly. "Don't cry. It's not your fault."

Hyde was busy cleaning up downstairs with Eric. It'd been a little tense between them for the most part, but he understood why. It was his fault, after all. Maybe the photo had been too much. Maybe he had crossed the line. He felt guilty for what he'd said about (Y/N), and even more guilty for not being man enough to go check up on her.

Donna came down the stairs and into the basement, her arms crossed over her chest. She glanced over at Eric. "Eric, can you please leave us alone for a minute? Hyde and I need to talk." Eric looked like he might break into tears. Even Hyde was confused at her words. Really? She wanted to see him after all that? Noticing Eric's hesitance, Donna sighed. "It's nothing like that. Please?"

Eric nodded his head reluctantly and went back upstairs. Once he'd left, silence consumed the two of them. Hyde thought he'd love the opportunity to speak to Donna alone, knowing that no one was there to interrupt them. But now that he had it... He hated it.

"Look, my dad's waiting for me upstairs, so I'm not gonna bother dragging this out. You're a real asshole, you know that?" Donna began, getting up in Hyde's face. 

He pulled away, frowning. "What?"

"Oh yeah, that's right, play dumb. (Y/N) told me everything, you jerk!"

"I don't know what--"

"Can you shut up for five minutes?! Or would that hurt your ego too much? I know all about this little game you were playing. Asking (Y/N) to fake a relationship to make me jealous? To try and break Eric and I apart? Huh?! Does that ring any bells?"

Hyde didn't say anything. Couldn't say anything. He didn't have a right to.

"I can't believe you were willing to do that to your best friend. Eric would give the world for you, and this is how you repay him? It's bad enough to keep flirting with me, but to drag her into this? To... Use her like she's some kind of pawn in your quest for me?!"

"Hey, that's not true!" Anger had started to rise within him. "(Y/N) had just as much reason to do this as I did, OK? She wanted to make Aaron jealous."

Donna burst into dry laughter. "She did it because she wanted to make you happy. Because as much of an asshole as you are, she cares about you. She cares about you so much. And you break her heart everyday. You break my best friend's heart with your selfish actions, with your inconsiderate plans. And somehow, after all this, you think you're gonna win me over?"

"What?" No... That couldn't be right. She liked Aaron, didn't she? Why would she do all that for him?

Donna put her hands on her hips. "Oh, you didn't know? Maybe your head is too far up your own ass for you to notice it, but she really likes you, Hyde. And yet, you insist on pursuing me."

Before he could even think it through, Hyde leaned forward and pressed his lips against Donna's. He had to do it. He had to. It was going to be his last chance to win her over. She pushed away almost immediately, shooting him a abhorred look that made him take a step backwards.

What was worse than that, however, was that he felt nothing. Absolutely nothing. When he'd thought about kissing Donna, he'd always pictured it like fireworks on the Fourth of July: sparks igniting between the two of them, star-crossed lovers, something like the scenes in bad romance movies when the boy and girl finally get to show their love for each other after being kept apart for so long. But... It had been empty. Meaningless. He'd felt nothing but a chasm between them, a chasm so deep he couldn't cross.

In that moment Hyde realised something. He and Donna weren't meant to be together. They never had been.

"Are you done?" Donna spat. She reached under the Christmas tree and grabbed two presents. One of them, she shoved into his hands. "This is for you. Don't try to get with me ever again." She said nothing else, running up the stairs and slamming the door behind her. Just like that, the girl who Hyde had dreamed about for years finally slipped through his fingers. 

He sat down on the couch and opened the gift. He smiled bitterly at what it was. Tube socks. Of course. He was stupid to expect anything more than that. Donna didn't like him. She never had. Now, he'd ruined his friendship with both Eric and her because of his inability to see reason. And whatever had been forming between he and (Y/N) had been ruined, too. He didn't even need to speak with her to know that.

Hyde leaned back on the couch with a heavy sigh, eyes drifting over to the Christmas tree. Underneath it was a single present left unopened. Curious, and too depressed to do anything else, he wandered over and picked it up. It was for him. He raised an eyebrow. It didn't say who it was from, but he recognised the writing. She wrote so much, how couldn't he? It was from (Y/N).

His heart felt heavy, pained, like someone had squeezed it in their fist. Hyde tore at the wrapping, trying desperately to ignore how each fold had been made with love, how the wrapping was favourite colour, how he didn't deserve whatever was waiting for him within. 

It was a shirt. A Led Zeppelin shirt. Black, just his size. He'd wanted one forever. They were his favourite band. But he'd never been able to afford one. They were so expensive. How much had she spent on him? How many hours had she slaved away at her stupid job just to buy this for him? How long had she thought about buying it for him? How much time, how much effort, how much care had been wasted on him? And he... He had given her nothing.

Hyde pulled it close to his chest, breathing in its scent. A tear rolled down his cheek. He didn't even bother wiping it away. Fuck. Memories started to flood his head, memories that made his heart ache in pain. Their time together in childhood, their bond, their struggle, their heart break. She'd always been there for him. And like the idiot he was, he hadn't even noticed. He hadn't noticed her shy smiles, the way she looked at him, her laugh, her kindness, her passion... Her beauty that was hidden beneath the shadow of familiarity.

How hadn't he realised it? He loved her. He was in love with (Y/N).

Chapter Text

"Hey, (Y/N)," Aaron began, leaning on the counter in front of you. You looked up from the menu you'd been attempting to memorise, with an eyebrow raised. "I hear you and that guy Hyde broke up?"

"Yes," you replied, for the sake of simplicity. "Why?"

A happy grin took over his face. "Well... Since prom is coming up, did you wanna go with me?" 

You blinked. A few weeks ago, your heart probably would've fluttered and you would've been overcome with a blush fiery enough to burn down hell. But not today. Today, his words made you feel nothing. Maybe even a little disappointment. You didn't want to go with him.

"OK," you said. "I'll go with you."

Aaron laughed incredulously at your words. "OK?" he exclaimed. "That's it? Come on, I just asked you to prom, you could at least try to act a little excited."

You pursed your lips and looked down at your hands, embarrassed. "Sorry," you mumbled. "I didn't mean anything by it..." You weren't even all that sure why you'd said it, anyway. You'd given him an answer that you hadn't meant.

The thing with Hyde had completely broken you. You floated through life now, doing a routine that required no conscious thought to it, like a plastic bag floating through the air. Words fell from your mouth without you thinking them through. Your body moved of its own accord. It was hard to remember little things, like who was waiting on which order. Numb, meaningless... It didn't help that no one noticed what you were going through. And you didn't want to tell them either — it felt wrong, though you knew it wasn't, to tell even Donna about it. Like a betrayal of your independence. 

You wanted to tell Hyde. But talking to him also felt like a betrayal. After what he'd done, Donna had insisted you not speak to him. You agreed with her, of course, in theory. But it was hard forgetting. 

"I know you didn't, but how am I supposed to feel? A lot of girls wanted to go with me, you know." Seeing that you probably weren't going to start grovelling at his feet, Aaron sighed and moved back to the tables he was serving. "Look, never mind. The break up probably messed you up a little, I get it. We'll discuss this more later, alright?" 

"Alright," you murmured, barely loud enough for him to hear. He shot you a disappointed look before turning his back. You did feel bad about it all. Aaron deserved to go with a girl whose heart would flutter and whose blush would be hot enough to burn down hell when he asked them to prom. And you weren't that girl. What girl were you?

"Guess who's taking Pam Macy to the prom?!" Kelso shouted, bursting the basement door open and slamming it behind him excitedly.

In the week it had been since Christmas, Hyde's relationship had improved with Eric. He tried his best to properly apologise and all that; he'd been selfish and arrogant and rude, and worst of all not a good friend at all. Eric had forgiven him with a sad smile, saying he understood why he'd done it, and all that mattered now was that he didn't pester Donna again. Besides, word had gotten around about his and (Y/N)'s unspoken break up, so he didn't want to be too harsh with him.

Truth be told, Hyde didn't need to promise Eric he'd leave Donna alone. She'd told him that herself, and he was hardly one to start harassing her. He could be an ass sometimes (or maybe a lot of the time), but he wasn't a creep. Any chance he'd had with Donna had been ruined long ago when she and Eric had started falling for one another. He realised now just how blind he'd been to the love between them, and how blind he'd been in his arrogance. He didn't like her anymore anyway.

Kelso and Fez had remained blissfully ignorant of his awfulness for the most part, and were their regular selves with him. Kelso had gone through his own break up with Jackie, after all, so his mind was mostly concentrated on that. For someone who complained the whole relationship, he did seem awful sad about her leaving. Apparently something had happened between her dad and him, there'd been an argument. Truth be told Hyde didn't really care, not after all that'd happened.

Jackie had found out about Hyde's actions, as expected, and since then she had outright refused to talk to him. Add that to how upset she was about breaking up with Kelso (despite the fact that she'd been the one to call it off), it was a recipe for disaster. Jackie had been a ticking time-bomb the last week and anything he said risked setting her off. That meant Hyde had to avoid more than he usually did.

As for (Y/N), the girl he now realised held his heart? Well, they'd not spoken since Christmas Eve. At first Hyde just thought she was embarrassed or something, and that sooner or later they'd be able to talk it out, and confess their love to one another, and everything would end up happy in the end. But every time he tried to talk to her, she wouldn't let him. 

He knew he'd been horrible to her. And it was naive to think she'd feel any other way. But that didn't stop the pain in his heart when she ignored him. He wanted to show her how he felt, he wanted to kiss her and hold her and touch her and make it like nothing bad had ever happened. But she didn't want him to do that. And he wasn't going to push forgiveness on her, now matter how much it broke his heart.

Eric smiled up at Kelso, an eyebrow raised. "Hey man, you aren't going with Jackie?"

"No way, man. Jackie dumped me! There's no way I'd take her after that. Do you know how embarrassing that shit was for me?"

"Hey!" Fez gasped. "I can take Jackie!"

The once happy and easy-going Kelso turned furious, glaring down at Fez as he pointed a finger at him. "Yeah do that, Fez, and I'll kick your ass."

"Well, well, well. Look who suddenly cares."

Never one for words, Kelso reached over and punched him on the arm, hard enough to hurt and maybe even leave a bruise. Hyde winced a little at the action. He probably should ease up on Fez a little. He hadn't deserved that, even if he had embarrassed Kelso.

Hyde leaned back in his chair, eager to break the tense atmosphere that was quickly forming. "You know, you guys are making me sick with all your prom talk," he muttered. "Proms are stupid."

He didn't really mean it, of course. Much like the disco, Hyde was just saying that because he had no one to go with and the happiness of his friends was making him feel sick with jealousy. He didn't want to feel that way. He wanted to be happy for them. But expressing his feelings was not something Hyde did. Bottling them up was a much easier route to take. And if he couldn't go with (Y/N), then he sure as hell wasn't going to admit how much that broke him inside.

Eric saw through it. "Hyde, what would you know? You've never even been to a prom."

"Yeah, well, I haven't been to the dentist either, but I don't need to go to know it's lame."

The words were bitter, even for him. But he could hardly start crying then and there, in front of all his friends, about how he wanted to go with (Y/N) and that whenever they talked about prom his heart shattered into a million pieces, could he? He was Hyde. And Hyde was tough and cool and apathetic and didn't get caught up in all that shit, right? Right? He sighed and sunk down in his seat. As usual, it seemed, he didn't have anyone but himself.

Donna was happy for you. Ecstatic, even. When you arrived at her house Jackie was there, depressed as anything since she had no date to prom and Kelso was apparently taking Pam Macy. Because of that, she was a little less enthusiastic with your recent news. Not that you minded, since you were hardly enthusiastic about it either. After helping sort out Donna's dress and shoes together, Donna disappeared to get some food.

Jackie approached you somewhat nervously. "(Y/N), I'm about to ask you something that you probably won't like. But you have to promise not to get mad at me, alright?"

"OK," you said, a little reluctant. "That doesn't sound very encouraging."

"Yeah, it's not. Look, you know how much I love the idea of prom. It's so romantic. I've had my heart set on going with the boy of my dreams since sixth grade. But since me and Michael broke up, and now that Michael's going with Pam, I won't be able to do that. So it hurts me as much as it hurts you for me to say this, but... Would it be alright with you if I asked Steven to go with me?"

Your eyes widened, and your stomach dropped. "What? You want to go with Hyde?!"

"Shh! Don't just scream it out!" she gasped, glancing around to see if anyone might've heard. "I do not want to go with Steven. Given the choice, he would be the last on my list. But I don't have a choice, (Y/N)! He's the only guy I know who hasn't got a date. Please, can I have your permission to ask him? If it helps, I can promise we'll both have a lousy night. I'm just really desperate, and I wanna make Michael jealous..."

Looking into Jackie's pleading eyes, your heart fought against itself. One the one had, you wanted to say yes for her. She'd been a lovely friend to you since the whole thing with Hyde happened, and she was really obsessed with the idea of prom. But on the other, you wanted to tell her no. It felt wrong to be so possessive over him, but your feelings for Hyde still burned down in the bottom of your heart. You wanted to be the one to dance with him, you wanted to be the one to hold his hand late into the night, you wanted to be the one who felt butterflies whenever you looked into his eyes because he looked so handsome, and know that he also felt the same butterflies because you looked so beautiful.

But that would be selfish. And you were not selfish.

"That's fine, Jackie," you said. "You can ask him, I give you my permission. Besides, I'm going with Aaron, so I probably won't even be thinking about Hyde at all!"

Maybe you weren't selfish. But you were a rotten liar.

There was nothing more annoying than a Jackie who wanted attention. For some reason, she'd suddenly decided Hyde was worth her presence again, and had sat herself down next to him on the couch in Eric's basement as he tried to watch TV. It was beyond awkward, and had he not wanted to risk a tantrum, he probably would've gone home. That meant for the last five minutes, she'd been sighing obnoxiously and uncontrollably.

There was no way he could bear this any longer. You try and be polite, but the world keeps testing you...

"Jackie," he began. "If I ask you what's wrong, will you stop doing that?"

"It's the prom," she replied immediately. "Stupid Michael's taking Pam Macy. And I don't have a date, so I'm gonna go there by myself or not go at all. I'm a complete loser."

He couldn't help himself. The laughter started bubbling up in the pit of his stomach, and before he could even think about stopping it, it had tumbled out of his mouth. What a goddamn hysterical situation she was in, so absorbed in popularity she couldn't stand one night of being by herself.

The glare Jackie shot him was cold enough to make Santa Claus feel frosty, and Hyde shut himself up before any serious damage could be done. "No you're not," he muttered, his mouth stuck in an apologetic grin. 

Fortunately Jackie was able to control her temper, and refrained from yelling at him. She sighed and looked down at her hands. "It's just that, I thought he was gonna ask me, and now everyone who's anyone is already going."

"Ugh, that is so true."

She groaned, throwing her hands up in the air. "Can you, like, not take a hint or something?! 'Cause I've been throwing you heaps of them, and you're not catching any!"

Hyde turned to her, an incredulous expression on his face. "What are you talking about? I thought you were just whining!"

"Whining?! No wonder you can't keep a woman!" She faced him and crossed her arms over her chest. "Steven, I want you to take me to prom."

"You what?!" he yelled, jumping up from the couch. He almost clutched his heart in shock. What the hell was she talking about? Jackie had hated him no more than two hours ago and now she's asking him to prom? Had she finally gone insane?

"Don't make me repeat it!" she cried. "I'm not happy about this either, alright? But I'm desperate. Please?! I bet you clean up real good!"

The thought of going to prom with Jackie almost made him sick. She was pretty enough, he guessed, but morally it just felt wrong. If he should go with anyone, it should be (Y/N). Even if that would never happen, she was the only one he would ever want to go with. "Well, I do clean up good, but I won't," he began. "See, that's a big part of who I am. And anyway, it wouldn't be right to go with you. Not after what happened..."

"Oh, see! I thought you'd be reluctant because of (Y/N), but don't worry. I already asked her about it, and she gave me her permission."


"She said it was fine! After all, that guy Aaron asked her, so it's not like she'll be home alone while you're there with me. Oh, please? I won't ask for anything special, I'll be perfectly..."

Jackie kept talking, but nothing except white noise was falling out her mouth. Hyde collapsed back down on the couch and stared ahead, unable to focus on anything but the feeling he'd just been shot in the stomach and the bubbling nausea that threatened to spill out at any moment. He should've known that would happen. Deep inside, he probably did see it happening. But it didn't make the pain any less real. Of course Aaron would pounce now that (Y/N) was single. I guess the plan really did work for her, he thought.

Jackie hit his arm, bringing him back to reality with a bite. "Steven, are you even listening to me?" she asked, brow raised. He nodded in reply, but Jackie didn't buy it. With a sympathetic sigh, she looked up at him with pleading eyes. "I know it'll suck to see (Y/N) there. But hey, Michael will be there too, so I'm in the same boat. If you come, we can at least we can look like losers together."

Hyde smiled sadly. His gut instinct, of course, was to say no. The thought of having to see (Y/N), in her beautiful dress, dancing happily with some guy he didn't like, was already breaking his heart. Having to actually see it might destroy him all together. But it wasn't right to feel that way. (Y/N) deserved to feel happy, even if that happiness wasn't from him. He wanted to see her again, to speak to her and tell her his true feelings, and give her and Aaron his blessings. No matter how much it hurt.

"Alright, Jackie. I'll take you to prom."

The brunette let out a scream loud enough to be heard in China, gripping his arm excitedly. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" she squealed. "You won't regret it, Steven. I'll stop by your house at eight, alright? I'm gonna look so pretty, Michael will regret ever asking that Pam Macy to prom..."

Hyde started to zone out again. He imagined dancing with (Y/N), the spotlight on them as slow music played, no one else in the world there to disturb them. He would smile down at her, move to rest his forehead against hers. She would blush a little, and a little shy, would lean in. "I love you (Y/N)," he would tell her, as he stared into her loving eyes. "I've always loved you."

"I know you do," she would whisper, smile gracing her lips, as she leaned even closer to him. "And I love you."

With a warm smile, he would finally close the gap between them; the kiss would be slow but full of passion, he imagined their lips fumbling a little, neither had had much experience, but it would be alright because they were learning together, and when they finally pulled away, they'd laugh a little and --

The door slammed shut. Jackie had gone. And there sat Hyde, alone again... He was so tired of being alone.

Aaron came to pick you up at quarter to eight. Before he'd even gotten out of the car, you were already rushing out of your front door. You were embarrassed of your family, and didn't really want to subject Aaron to them. That would just start the night on an even more sour note. Fortunately, your father was sleeping, and not even Dan was horrible enough to wake him.

You quickly jumped in the passenger seat. Aaron laughed, and got back in the car. "Eager, huh?" he teased. "Don't worry, there'll be plenty of time for fun tonight. I can still meet your folks if you want."

Your heart-rate sped up at his words. That sounded... Particularly discouraging. Just what kind of 'fun' was he expecting? "Um, nah. It's all good. Let's just... Get going, OK?" 

From behind you, someone coughed. You whipped your head around and almost gasped at what was in the back seat — three guys, all dressed in freshly-pressed suits, hair greased with gel and an eager look in their eyes. "Uhh... Aaron?"

"Oh, yeah, right!" he laughed, as though he'd just remembered his friends were there. "(Y/N), these are my friends. Dean, Raymond, and Hugh. Say hi guys."

"Hi," they said.

OK... You flashed them an unsure but polite smile, then leaned across to Aaron. "Wh... Why are they here?" you whispered. "Are they coming to prom with us?" This was hardly how you'd imagined your prom night, stuck being the only girl in a car with a bunch of males you didn't know.

"Huh? Yeah, babe. Is that a problem?"

You cringed at the pet-name. It wasn't right to hear him say that. In his voice, it came across mangled and rude, like a stranger giving you a nickname. He didn't deserve to call you babe.

You pulled away and leaned back in the car seat. "No. It's fine. Just a surprise, I guess." You really were becoming a serial liar in your pursuit of politeness.

"Aw, that's the spirit. Before we go to prom, we just need to do something first. It won't take long, I swear," With a mischievous grin, he looked back to his friends and laughed. "We'll be quick, won't we, fellas?"

They all started laughing amongst themselves. One of them leaned forward and slapped Aaron on the shoulder. Aaron gave them one last grin before slamming on the stereo and driving out of your street. You buckled up and pursed your lips. This did not bode well.

As you passed by Hyde's house, the sound of Aerosmith ringing obnoxiously in your ears, you found yourself thinking about him. Did he have a date to prom? A pretty girl with big beautiful eyes that gave him butterflies and made his heart flutter every time she looked at him? It was so hard to forget him. To forget the way he made you feel inside. To forget the yearning that burned deep in your soul.

Was one happy ending really too much to ask for?

Jackie came by at eight o'clock sharp. The girl was punctual, he had to give her that. Hyde came out the door in the nicest suit he'd been able to afford, grabbing the gift and shoving it under his arm. She stood tensely by the door, clearly feeling uncomfortable in the neighbourhood. She'd probably never even driven by this street before. 

Before he had a chance to greet her, Edna's voice rang out throughout the house. "They're all gonna laugh at you!" she screeched.

Her words didn't bother him like they used to. "Shut up, ma! You're makin' the night too damn special!"

Awkwardly, he turned to Jackie, who looked even more uncomfortable after that exchange. "Hey," he said, glancing her up and down. Jackie was dressed to the nines in a pink dress littered with frills, her hair in a fancy bun and makeup matching it all. Conventionally pretty, he supposed. "You look... Nice."

She seemed to know he hadn't really meant it. "So do you," she managed to reply. Her heart was hardly in it. Not that he minded. He just felt sorry for her. "Um... Do you want me to go inside and meet your...?"

"No, no, no. Trust me. She's lovely," he said, taking hold of her arm and guiding her to the road. "Let's just go, alright?"

Jackie stopped halfway down the footpath, and gestured at the gift under his arm. Hyde shuffled nervously. He didn't know why he'd even brought it. Some kind of stupid dream, he guessed. "Is that for me?" she asked.

It wasn't for her. Of course it wasn't. One look at it and she'd know that. But telling her no felt impolite, wrong. She was still his date, shouldn't he have a present for her? He just stood there, silently, unable to look Jackie in the eye and tell her no. He couldn't bear to give it to her, he couldn't bear to tell the truth.

She took it from him regardless. All he could do was stand there and watch her look over a present that had never been meant for her. "I..." he tried to choke out.

Jackie laughed softly. "It's alright, Steven," she smiled, placing a delicate hand on his shoulder. "I know who it's really for." He looked up at her, and much to his embarrassment realised his eyes had began to prick with tears. "Give it to her. She'll think it's beautiful." She placed the gift back in his hands.

"Jackie, I..."

"It's alright, Steven. Seriously. Let's just go, OK?" her voice changed tone almost instantly, to the typical peppy girl she usually was. "I have my dad's Lincoln. Did you wanna drive?" She held up the keys and dangled them in front of his face.

"Yeah," Hyde replied, taking the keys. As they walked to the car together, Hyde realised that maybe Jackie wasn't so bad after all.

They were robbing a store. They were robbing a goddamn supermarket, and in their suits nonetheless. If your being in the car hadn't made you an accessory to the crime, you might've laughed at the shear hysterics of it all. Instead of calling the police like a good citizen might do, you waited in Aaron's car, trying to keep your head down and look innocent. Or at least none the wiser.

After they'd grabbed all they could, they ran out of the store and jumped in the car. Aaron dumped all his loot on your lap as he started the car, ripping off the mask he wore, and pulled out the parking lot. 

He and his friends were a mess of cheers and adrenaline, screaming in joy over each other about how awesome that was. You just sat there silently, sorting slowly through the stuff on your lap. Fortunately there was nothing heavy (or else your dress would've been ruined... and your mood even more so). Snacks and cigarettes, mostly.

The sound of cans being opened, and the smell of beer, began to fill the car. That was no surprise. Prom was an excuse for most kids to get drunk, and a quick glance into the back of the car revealed that alcohol was most of what they'd stolen. At least they'd had the dignity not to throw the cans of beer on you.

Aaron leaned over and pressed a rough kiss to the side of your face. You quickly shoved him off, and a scowl crossed his face. "What's the matter?" he exclaimed, apparently totally ignorant to how upset you were.

"What's the matter?" you asked incredulously. "Can you seriously not see why I would be annoyed with you right now?!"

A hand reached around the car seat and pushed an opened can of beer in your face. "Hey (Y/N), want one?" one of Aaron's friends offered. 

You shoved the hand away. "No, I do not."

"C'mon, (Y/N), don't be so uptight," Aaron said. You could tell he was getting a little irritated with you, though he hid it well under an easy-going facade. "Honestly, I thought you'd be into this."

You shot him a glare. You hoped he wasn't about to say what you thought he was about to say. "And just why would you think that?"

"Well, you're like, poor, aren't you? Poor people always steal shit. I was even expecting you to join in."

"Excuse me?" you gasped. Flames of anger began to burn inside you — bright with rage and fury and injustice. If he'd not been driving, you might've slapped him. "How dare you say that. Poor people steal because they're desperate. Because they're hungry and sick and can't afford to buy what they need. They steal because they have no other choice. You and your goddamn pals back there robbed that store because you think it's cool. And you know what? You can get away with it, too. Because you're all good middle-class boys and your fathers have the time and money to support you. Poor people don't have that fucking luxury. If we steal, it's because there is no other option! It's not something we do for a good time!"

"Alright, alright! Chill, Jesus Christ," Aaron muttered, sending his friends a look of confusion. "If you're not even gonna try to have a nice night with me, I don't even know why I'm taking you anymore. And you know, maybe I wouldn't have thought that if your dad wasn't the fucking neighbourhood drunk..."

You were literally about to burst into flames, and burn his car and everyone in it. You didn't even know what to say to that. There was nothing you could say. Because he was right. You were hardly about to start defending your father. But the way he'd said it... In that moment you realised that everyone in Point Place judged you because of your family. Because of your father. It was a prison you couldn't escape. You weren't (Y/N), you were your father's daughter before you were your own person. And it made you sick to the stomach.

Unable to express your anger in any other way, you leaned over and started punching his shoulders as hard as you could. You weren't the strongest person, far from it, but you were so angry. And the rage within you, not only against Aaron but for all the pain you'd been put through in your life: the abuse, the neglect, the fear, the judgement, it all came to the surface.

"Agh, fuck!" Aaron exclaimed, swerving on the road. "Will you stop?!" His friends held you away from him. He pulled over to the side of the road and slammed on the breaks. "Get out of my car," he told you, eyes alight with fury.

Your cheeks were burning up. Your whole body felt like it was on fire. You started to cry. Silently, you opened the door and walked out, closing it slowly behind you. Aaron drove away without a second thought, his tires screeching into the distance.

Just like that, you were alone in the dark. It was cold. You didn't have a jacket or a cardigan or anything. Fortunately, you weren't far from the school. You could see its lights in the distance. And so you began your journey there. Old tears clung to your cheeks as new ones fell. This time you didn't wipe them away. 

Hyde pulled into the car park. Jackie's Lincoln had been a wonder to drive. When people saw him behind the wheel, and Jackie sitting next to him, to say they were amazed would be an understatement. For a brief moment, Hyde liked the thought of impressing them. But then he realised that he didn't care what they thought. And for the first time in his life, he really meant it.

"Oh my God. Steven, is that (Y/N)?" Jackie gasped, clutching onto his arm. "She looks awful!"

Hyde whipped his head around to where Jackie was pointing. Walking into the lot was (Y/N). She was alone, and holding her arms tightly to her body. She must've be freezing. Where the hell was Aaron?

"Oh God, and she's alone, too. That's terrible. Steven, go and talk her."

Hyde didn't need any more encouragement. He practically ran out the car and towards her. When she heard him coming, she looked up with wide eyes. She'd been crying. That much was clear. The makeup she'd had on had smudged and run down her cheeks. Her face looked pale and cold. But there was a fire in her eyes, a bright one at that.

For a brief moment, Hyde thought she was about to hug him. But instead she quickly broke eye-contact and started walking away. Hyde couldn't help himself — he reached out to her, grabbing her arm gently but firmly. She gasped quietly, looking up at him again.

"Please, (Y/N)," he said. "Just let me talk to you, please."

You ripped your arm away from him. Fury was still bubbling inside you. "I don't want to talk." You didn't really mean the words that fell from your mouth. They tasted bitter and sick and stung you viciously. You regretted them instantly. But you were nothing if not a stubborn fool.

"I know you don't," Hyde whispered softly. His face had fallen, turned even darker under the night sky. "And you have a right to feel that way. But I'd never forgive myself if I didn't at least try to right the wrongs I've caused." He grabbed hold of your hands. They were cold, but warmer than yours. "God, (Y/N)! I'm begging you, I..."

Your words got caught in your throat. "Alright, Hyde," you replied.

A choked laugh escaped him. As he looked up at you, his face red, you realised he'd been stifling back tears. "Come inside with me."

The hall had been decorated with balloons and streamers and banners. One particularly large banner read, PROM 1976-77 - UNDER THE SEA!. Hyde pulled you over to the side of the room and you both took a seat at a table. In the distance you saw Eric and Donna dancing together, so engrossed in one another that they didn't notice you or Hyde. Jackie and Kelso, as for where they were (or who they were with), you had no idea.

"You didn't end up coming with Jackie?" you asked the boy sitting opposite you, raising an eyebrow. "She said she was gonna ask you."

He'd relaxed a little more; his posture was casual again, leaning back in the chair and crossing his arms. Poking out of his inner jacket pocket you could see the frame of his sunglasses. You couldn't stop a small smile crossing your face at the sight of them. "I actually did come with her," he answered with a sigh. "She asked me, and I... Well, I felt bad for her. So I said I'd go with her. But she didn't come here for me, she's probably off trying to talk to Kelso."

You gave him a kind smile. "That's really good of you, Hyde. I know how much she wanted to go. I'm surprised you said yes, but happy that you did."

"Yeah, well, I knew how she felt," he said. "Where's Aaron, if you don't mind me asking?"

You frowned. Not at Hyde, but at remembering your would-be criminal prom date. "I don't know where he is. I assume he's here somewhere. At least, that's where his car was headed when he kicked me out of it."

If Hyde had been drinking, he would've spat it out. You laughed a little at the face he made. "He kicked you out of his car?"

You nodded through laughter, face getting hot in embarrassment. It was so easy to forget you were meant to be upset with him. "Yeah, oh my God. I mean, I deserved it. I was like hitting him and stuff. But he deserved that as well, OK? I'm not some violent maniac,"

"Don't bother trying to hide it! Your true motives have been revealed. I'm gonna go and get the principal."

Speak of the devil, and he shall appear. From behind Hyde approached the principal, looking very somber indeed. At the sight of him, you tensed and sat up straighter. Hyde turned around, and unsurprisingly seemed not to give a damn. "Ah, Principal!" he exclaimed. "We were just talking about you."

"Were you just, Steven? That's funny, because I was just talking about you to someone as well."

This time, Hyde tensed up a little. "Uh, who? And why? Please don't tell me Edna's rang to embarrass me."

A smug smile pulled at the principal's lips. You leaned in closer to Hyde subconsciously, trying to act as some form of moral support. "Not quite, Steven. The owner of the local supermarket called. They told me they were robbed earlier this evening," he tilted his head to the side. You froze. Oh, God. "You wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would you?"

"No, I don't," Hyde furrowed his brows. He didn't sound panicked, just irritated, if anything. "I've been here all night."

"Oh, is that so? Well, I'm not sure whether to believe you or not. The owner said the robber was wearing a maroon suit, and knew that our school was holding a prom tonight. Now, let's look at what you're wearing... A maroon suit."

"Principal, if I could say something--"

"Not right now, thank you, (Y/N). I would prefer not to see such a bright student defend a criminal."


Hyde's face was going red. "Look, man, it wasn't me. What did the robber's face look like? I wasn't there, I don't even know what you're talking about!"

"They didn't see the robber's face, they were wearing a mask. Now given you and your family's history, the fact that you're wearing a suit similar to the one described, and that you have been acting awfully defensive, I'm going to have to ask you to come with me."

"Principal!" you exclaimed. "Will you please let me speak?!"

They both whipped their heads around to you, eyes wide. The principal frowned bitterly at you. "Well, go on. But I'd like to remind you that defending a criminal and perhaps even involving yourself in a crime, would not look very good on your academic record."

Truth be told, your whole future rested on good academic standing. Without it, colleges would be reluctant to offer you a scholarship, and there was no way you could fund a full tuition without burying yourself in debt you'd never be able to pay off. What you said could put your future at risk.

You glanced over at Hyde. His look was confused, given that he didn't know what you knew, but in his eyes was a hope. If he was charged with the robbery, you knew he would suffer at the hands of his mother. That was all you needed to know. The principal's threat was frightening, but there was no way you'd let him be punished for something he didn't do, not when you could defend him. If obedience was more important than truth, you wouldn't just sit by and obey.

"Thanks for the warning," you said sarcastically. "Now let me ask you something, principal. More than one person robbed that store, didn't they?" Hyde guffawed and turned around to the principal.

"Wh... Yes. How did you know that, (Y/N)?"

"Because I was there."

"You were there?! Were you involved?"

"No, I had nothing to do with it. But I can tell you who did." Your eyes darted around the hall, trying to search for Aaron and his friends. You found them over by the punch bowl, talking to some girls who were giggling at their words. You pointed over at them. "Those boys over there." 

The principal followed your finger and raised his eyebrows at the sight. "You mean Aaron and his friends?" He laughed nervously. "Come now, there's no way you could expect me to believe they did it. Aaron's a star student, he's on the track team, he gets good grades... Hell, his entire family has attended Point Place High!"

You pursed your lips. "Exactly, you'd never suspect them. That's half the reason they did it. Just look at the suit Aaron's wearing, it looks pretty maroon to me. In his car is all the junk they stole. Ask him to show you his car, if I'm wrong there's nothing to lose."

The principal considered what you said, his lips thinning into a line. He sighed, tilting his head at you. "How do you happen to know all this, (Y/N)? You must've played some role in the crime to know this much about it. Are you expecting that I'd let you off scot-free?"

"I was there, Principal," you said solemnly, staring down at your hands. "I won't lie to you. But I had nothing to do with it, I was just sitting in Aaron's car while they stole. The only bad thing I did was not run out of the car and find a phone to call the police. I should've, I know, but truth be told I was a little scared to. I didn't want to make him angry at me since he was my only ride to prom."

He looked down at you, with an understanding but disappointed look, and nodded slowly. "Very well, (Y/N), I'll take your word. You're lucky you have such an intelligent person to defend you, Steven." With that, he turned around and walked over to where Aaron and his pals were standing.

Hyde glanced over at you, his eyes lidded. "That was hot," he said flirtatiously.

A fiery blush rose to your cheeks. "Shut up, idiot," you muttered with an embarrassed grin.

Hyde offered you another smile, before clearing his throat and reaching into his jacket pocket. From out of it he pulled a gift — a small one, but the way he held it told you it was more special than something from a dollar store. "I, uh... I have this for you," he said, handing it to you with a wan smile. He was a little nervous, but hiding it well. 

Your stomach fluttered at his words, and gently you took the gift from him. "For me?" you whispered, more of a statement than a question. Slowly, you turned it around in your hands. 

It was a small box, one that looked like it'd originally come from something else. You opened it up. Inside lay a necklace; its chain glittered under the lights of the hall. Its centre was a carved wooden heart. It looked a little messy, like it had been made by an amateur but loving hand. Your heart swelled at the sight of it. You touched it, holding it in your palm.

"I couldn't afford a proper necklace, so I made it myself. I know it's not amazing, but--"

"It's perfect," you whispered, voice shaking a little. Emotions flooded your body. He'd... Made it himself? You looked up at him, tears beginning to wet your eyes. He leaned over and took the necklace, then placed it around your neck, his hands delicate as they danced across your skin. You looked across at him. "It's perfect."

"Agh, don't get all soft on me," he grinned, though inside his heart was bursting with joy. "I, uh, I also wrote you something," he pulled out a sheet of paper from his jacket pocket and cleared his throat once more. He looked like he might throw up in either fear or embarrassment. "It's probably really bad, just warning you,"

"Mhmm. Read it," you smiled teasingly, leaning in closer.

Hyde took a deep breath in and laughed awkwardly. It totally went against his better nature to do such a soppy thing, but some things were more important than looking cool.

"Sometimes, you meet someone and your world stops turning. Other times, you meet someone and you don't notice anything at all. Sometimes, you think you know someone inside and out, but don't stop to think whether that someone knows you. Sometimes, you ignore. Sometimes, you're blind. And other times you're a stupid moron who acts like an asshole," he paused as you laughed. "But sometimes, just sometimes, the stars align and bring you someone so beautiful, so intelligent, so kind, that even though you don't deserve them, decide to stick around. And the love you feel for that someone, once you realise it, is enough to make the universe stand still."

Hyde folded the piece of paper and put it back in his pocket. You felt like you were about to explode, wrap yourself around him and never let go, drown him in kisses and love. He'd never been that in tune with his feelings. You knew that. Neither were you. The poem wasn't the most skilful thing you'd read, but that didn't matter. The fact that he'd written it for you made you want to cry. With a smile, he held his hand out for you. You took it. His grasp was tight but loving. You looked up at him, face coated in a hot blush, and eyes sparkling with tears.

Through the speakers, as though some divine force was looking down at the two of you, began to play How Deep Is Your Love, by the Bee Gees. You'd always loved this song. You half-expected Hyde to start complaining, but instead, he gave you a hopeful smile. "Dance with me," he said, standing up.

You took his hand and walked together to the dancefloor, where couples were dancing slowly together. To the side you saw Donna and Eric still together, and Kelso and Jackie had reunited as well.

Hyde pulled you close to him, arms wrapping around your waist as yours rested on his shoulders. Lovingly, you gazed into his eyes. He smiled down at you, moving to rest his forehead against yours. You blushed, still a little shy at the prospect of it all, but leaned in closer to him regardless.

"I'm sorry for being so horrible. The way I treated you, and Donna and Eric, it was awful. I didn't wanna make you upset. I was just... Selfish and stupid. You didn't deserve to go through that. Whenever I think about how I acted, I just wanna punch myself and beg your forgiveness. I'm sorry, (Y/N), I'm such an idiot."

You nodded. "Yeah, a stupid idiot."

"A stupid, stupid, idiot."

"You forgot moron."

"OK, OK," Hyde rolled his eyes with a sorry smile. "Seriously, though... Do you, or could you, forgive me?" In his eyes was sadness. You could feel the regret through the desperation in his touch and how close he held you, how deeply he felt through his soul. "Because, I mean, you don't have to but I'd probably die if you were still angry at me."

You tilted your head to the side and nodded kindly, pressing a hand to the side of his face and stroking his face lovingly. "Of course I forgive you," you whispered. "You might be an idiot, but you're my idiot. You hurt me, Hyde, but I know you know that. I forgive you."

He swept you up in his arms and spun you around. You let out a small squeal at the sudden action. Once he'd set you back down, Hyde's eyes darted to your lips, studying them for a moment, before looking back at your face. "I think I kinda wanna kiss you right now, (Y/N)."

"Shut up," you said, before closing the gap between you.

Your lips caught his in a burning fire; the kiss was messy, neither of you had had much experience, but that didn't matter — there was so much love in the way your mouths moved together, fit together. He smelt like cologne and cigarettes, you of vanilla and pine needles. He clung tighter to your waist and pulled you closer against him. You shivered against his touch. Pressed together under the blue lights, it felt like the whole world fell away, and you and Hyde were the only souls in existence, perfectly made for each other, uniting at last at the end of the universe. 

When you finally pulled away for air, a small laugh escaped both of you. Hyde drew small patterns on the small of your back, his eyes lidded dreamily as he gazed down at you and pressed a quick kiss to your neck. "I love you," he murmured against your skin. "I've always loved you."

You sighed in contentment and rested your head on his shoulder. "I know," you smiled warmly. "And I love you."

The sound of a camera shutter going off took the two of you out of your little world. You whipped your heads around, only to find Eric taking another picture of the two of you, as everyone else stood around him happily grinning at the two of you.

"Guys..." you groaned through an embarrassed smile, blushing hotly as you hid your face in Hyde's neck.

"Forman, you better delete that," Hyde warned, though his voice was about as serious as a clown at the circus.

"Oh like hell I will," Eric laughed with faux arrogance. You could tell by the look on his face that he was bursting with joy for his best friend. "I'm never letting you live this down."

You glanced over at Jackie, clutched against Kelso, who gave you a pleased wave and blew you a kiss of support. You then turned to Donna, whose eyes looked like they were beginning to tear up. She offered you a kind smile, one full of love and happiness for you, as she gave Eric a kiss of his own on the cheek. Fez seemed about to burst into joyful tears.

Hyde looked back down at you, and took hold of your hand in his. You smiled up at him. Who knew what the future held, but in that moment you knew, you'd all be alright.