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Baby of the Family

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“I don’t understand you Americans’ obsession with birth,” Fez shook his head, confused. “In my country, we celebrate the mother’s work to bring a child into the world, not the child. What did he do? Laze about for nine months. He did nothing!” The awkward pause hung for about a minute before he broke it again, “But I was born in what you white men call March. Not that anyone cares,” he glared at all of them. “I'm leaving, for candy.”

“But Fez…!”

“I said ‘for candy’!” he stormed out.

Kelso waited a second before letting out an irritated huff, “Aw man, now want candy.” He hurried off after their eccentric friend, leaving Hyde, Donna, and Eric behind without a second glance.

“So, wait, we’ve been friends for, what, ten years? And I still don’t know when your birthday is?” Eric couldn’t believe this. Shouldn’t everyone know when Hyde’s birthday is? Hadn’t they celebrated it as kids, ever? How could Kitty have forgotten her second son’s birthday? None of this made any sense. It was like… like a plot hole, or something; like whatever being orchestrating their existence lost the script and never paid attention to their lives.

“I dunno, man,” Hyde scowled, tugging at a sugar packet between his fingers, just to avoid looking at anyone. “I coulda sworn I was older than you at some point.”

“You turned seventeen before me, but…” Eric wrinkled his nose. “Wait, no, you couldn’t have…?”

Hyde shrugged his shoulders, “Government conspiracy, man, I’m clearly a time traveler or alien of some kind, and they’re keeping it from me.” He tossed the sachet onto the table with a casual sniff, leaning back in his chair. “Whatever. It’s stupid, and time’s relative anyways.”

“You’re just saying that 'cuz you found out you’re the baby of the group,” Donna teased, enjoying this fully. Hyde switched his gaze to her, glaring.

“What? No I’m not!” he argued, because, in fact, he hadn't thought of that yet. How could he be the youngest? Clearly he was vastly better than them in terms of intellect, beard growth, and sexual prowess. All the things that made you mature and... adultier. Or whatever. He couldn't be the 'baby' of the group. Not when that was so obviously Eric's job.

“Yeah, you are!” Donna laughed. “Since Kelso's been held back, he's the oldest of all of us. Then me, Fez, Eric, then you,” she pointed the end of her straw at the flustered young (youngest) man, grinning ear to ear. “You're the baby!”

“Am not,” he complained, denying the more evident truth because he refused to accept it. As usual. “Jackie's still here!”

The Hub’s door broke open wide, revealing said girl, all in aflutter over something. Probably new hot rollers or lipstick. Something inane, Hyde was sure, but he was also grateful they might escape the current topic. And never think of it again.

“Guys, guys, guys!” she squeaked, flapping a paper around. “I just found out my birth certificate was misprinted! I wasn't born in ‘60, I was born in ‘59! I'm a whole year older than I thought I was!” She looked a cross between horrified and dismayed, tears actually welling up in her big dark eyes. His arms twitched instinctively, readying for the full force of a barreling hug from the petite girl. Since when had he become accustomed to that?

It took a full second for her words to sink in, however, and by then, Hyde already knew exactly how he felt. His stomach fell to the floor, twisted into knots, as his jaw joined it there. “Are you kidding me?!” He'd pull on his mask of Zen, but it was impossibly out of reach at the moment. No. No way. Jackie could not be older than him. A typo?! What the hell! How... how?!

Donna and Eric laughed so hard tears came to their eyes, “Wait, wait, Jackie,” Donna rubbed away tears. “Doesn't that put your birthday in, uh, summer of ‘59?” she darted a mischievous look at Hyde, who was slowly turning even paler than usual.

“Yes!” Jackie nodded emphatically, pressing her lips together hard and resisting the urge to grin.

“You're the baby!” Eric shouted at Hyde, sending both himself and his girlfriend into further hysterics. Growling, Hyde stood up from the table, chair skittering away behind him in his haste.

“You're, you're all babies,” he snapped, realizing instantly how terribly childlike that ‘burn’ was with wide eyes, before hurrying out the door.

Jackie took his evacuated seat, smirking to herself happily. Eric and Donna traded glances before looking back to the strangely satisfied cheerleader as she fluffed her hair and straightened her skirt.

“Uh, Jackie?” Eric's eyes fell to the document before him. “Why does your birth certificate look like oddly similar to The Hub’s menu?” As in, exactly like The Hub’s menu, down to the misspelling of “side of Franch fries".

Her smirk grew, “For the burn, Eric. For the burn.”