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Starving in Plenty

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Venice Place, New Year's Eve, 1979

Starsky took another sip of his drink while watching Hutch over the rim of his glass. His partner was in the arms of yet another chick, the third one tonight to claim him for a slow-dance and necking session at his neighbor's New Year's Eve party.

Hutch seemed to be having the time of his life.

Starsky couldn't blame him. The last two months had been a bitch, for Hutch almost as much as him. Sure, Hutch hadn't been shot, but every other aspect of his life had been turned helter-skelter by those three bullets. The ones that Starsky could swear he still felt inside him, as if they'd left something behind while passing through his body.

Hutch was laughing now, saying something to the brunette in his arms, and her hand was moving possessively up his back to just under the shoulder blade.

Good. He needs a little action. The guy deserved a break. He'd spent weeks doing the visiting hours routine, intervening for Starsky with his doctors and nurses at the hospital and, in between, hunting down the asshole responsible for putting him there. Then even more time taking care of his pathetic wreck of a partner at home while Starsky tried to get back on his feet. If anyone merited a little R and R it was Hutch. Even if it meant Starsky had to stand by and watch him give himself so carelessly to one empty-headed bimbo after another.

So don't look. And don't be a pisser about it when he kisses you off to go home with the lucky winner.

Starsky had no claim, after all. Just friendship. All they had ever had, but worth more than all the gold in Fort Knox. Worth it to Hutch as well as him, Starsky knew. He knew it in the gentle way Hutch had touched him when things had gotten rough, when the pain had gotten so bad Starsky had almost wished he'd died in the first place. He knew it in the way Hutch had given up any semblance of a normal life without hesitation, as if they were joined like those Siamese Twins that had fascinated Starsky as a kid.

Eng and Chang, those were their names, Starsky thought after a moment's digging. The one had died just hours after the other. Amazing what he could remember from when he was a kid, when nowadays it seemed like all that stuck in his memory was when his next physical therapy session was, or what god-awful new shake Hutch had whipped up for his 'healthy breakfast' that morning.

But Starsky remembered so vividly sitting on the bed memorizing his Ripley's Believe It or Not! Or the time he'd spent reading all the Tarzan novels back to back, borrowing one a day from his Uncle Lloyd, whose pipe smoke had embedded itself in the pages somehow. Nose buried, Starsky had imagined that was what the jungle smelled like—a dry, musty woody scent—as the mighty hunter battled one lion after another armed only with a knife.

And he also remembered his days in the Police Academy like they were yesterday. Meeting Hutch, this incredibly skinny, tall, blond hick with flame blue eyes that could melt steel, but with a coolness about him that you could easily mistake for him being stuck-up when, in fact, Hutch was just shy.

Shy. All that beauty, and the guy would trip sideways over his own big feet if someone even looked at him.

He sure got over it, Starsky thought, watching Hutch neck with his most recent dance partner. Van got him over it pretty fast. She was all about turning him into something else. Seeing Hutch now, Starsky was reminded strongly of another swinging party over ten years ago, and the day after, when they'd made their pact, he and Hutch. When everything had been decided and set in stone.

If only Starsky had known then what he knew now. If only he could go back there and clock himself one.

He needed a goddamned do-over.



Santa Monica Apartments, December 1969


This is a huge mistake, Starsky thought. He knew it even as he got dressed, carefully picking out a slick outfit that wasn't too provocative. He didn't want to give off the message that he was there to play. Just going to the party was risky enough. For one thing, there were usually illegal drugs at these shindigs, and if they got raided, his career was toast.

But even if no one got busted, just being seen at one of these things could be dangerous. A lot of kinky stuff could be going down tonight, and cops weren't supposed to be kinky. They were supposed to be married, if unhappily, and go home each night to their screwed-up family lives.

They were definitely not supposed to go to some swinging party just to watch two guys doing what he didn't dare to anymore. What he hadn't allowed himself since entering the Academy.

Don't let yourself want what you can't have. It was a lesson he'd learned early, when things were tight enough at home that even having meat for dinner was a luxury. So he felt double the fool for letting himself hunger after what he knew he could never have. Like crying after the shiny red-and-white bicycle in the window at Uncle Elmo's Toy Store.

Don't go. It only makes it worse afterward. He waffled for an hour or so, knocking around his apartment, wishing Hutch would call to shoot the shit and distract him long enough to forget about going.

But his new partner was busy with his new wife, tonight. And almost every night, it seemed. Starsky longed for the days back before Hutch had met that crazy witch. Of course, Hutch didn't think she was crazy. He thought she was 'vibrant and unpredictable'.

Starsky grabbed his keys and drove to the party.

His first thought when he arrived was, thank God it's only cigarette smoke. It seemed like the place was large enough for all the dope heads to retreat to the privacy of a back room to indulge in their vices.

Other vices, perfectly legal ones, were being staged right in front of his eyes, in the large living room that opened just off the hallway. As Starsky entered he was greeted by his hostess, a blonde named Veronica that he'd met at a grocery store near his apartment. He'd let her cut in front of him in line, since she was only buying Vodka and a couple of limes, and she'd taken one look at him and asked him if he was a swinger. As easy as that, he was in.

"Oh, I'm so glad you came, Devon," she said, running her long-nailed fingers casually down his chest.

"David, or Dave," he said.

"Right, Dave. Let me get you a drink. What are you having?"

"Just a beer, thanks," he said, ignoring her disappointed little frown. Apparently he was supposed to sip martinis and call her 'baby doll'.

He followed her to the standing bar and settled on a stool there, spinning occasionally to view the action going on behind him. Couples and threesomes were engaged in elaborate contortions. Lots of skin, but most of it female, and none of the groupings were what he was here to see and vicariously enjoy.

Occasionally Veronica would swoop by him and touch him provocatively, obviously interested in getting him to join in on the fun, but he just brushed her off with a kiss to the hand, treating her as if she were a high-class lady who was just out of his league. It seemed to pacify her.

On her third swing by, though, she asked him outright if he didn't want to 'play'.

"To tell you the truth, Veronica, I like to watch." It wasn't unusual. There were always folks who liked to watch, just like there were those who liked to be watched. It worked out.

"But you aren't watching, you're just sitting here looking so lonely. You're breaking my little hostess heart," she said, pouting.

Starsky shrugged. "I like to watch guys together," he said simply, feeling a burn prickle his neck. "They're a big turn-on for me."

She gave a throaty laugh. "Darling, that's marvelous." She leaned in and whispered, "I think you'll find what you're looking for in the bedroom. The most delicious couple I've ever seen, just dreamy...."

Starsky turned down the fresh beer she offered and sauntered toward the hallway. He found the bathroom first and took a leak, then wandered down toward what must be the master bedroom, his heart thumping a little. His cock stirred with hunger.

He heard the music first, Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit pounding through the cheap, pre-fab walls of the apartment. He cracked the door open slowly, not wanting to startle anyone.

It was dim—too dark, at first, for him to make out what he was seeing. He slipped in quietly, waiting for his eyes to adjust.

Large, overstuffed pillows were covering most of the floor, and on them, in one corner, lay two bodies going at it, a man and a woman humping vigorously; and in the other, a grouping of three. It looked like two men and a woman.

He moved closer. The woman was a brunette, lean, with a fabulous ass. She was kneeling just above two men who were lying facing each other, kissing. Starsky blinked a few times, and his eyes finally adjusted fully. He saw a long, powerful thigh rubbing slowly up and down another man's leg. The one leg was pale white, the other a duskier shade. A terrific contrast.

Starsky's cock grew instantly hard in his pants. Beautiful. How long had it been since he'd felt a strong, hard body twisting against his? Felt the heat of another man's cock burning him? He moved a few steps forward. The woman was running her hand over the pale hip and ass, and she leaned down to whisper into the man's ear. Her body was blocking Starsky's view and, irritated, he circled to the left, still remaining on the perimeter so he wouldn't inhibit anyone's play.

More of the men's bodies came into sight, and he saw that the paler man had now shifted to his back and was drawing the brunet's head down toward his crotch. Starsky's eyes were riveted by the man's massive erection. Even in the dim light, it was obviously huge. As he watched, fascinated, his dick punching at the seam of his jeans, the brunet leaned down and took possession of it, holding it to sink his mouth over the head.

The song ended, and in the brief silence Starsky heard it distinctly as the pale man groaned loudly, his voice deep.

Starsky's eyes shot to the man's face in complete shock.

Impossible. Starsky blinked twice, desperate for just a tiny bit more light. He approached slowly, as if in a dream, his cock still throbbing. The man tossed his head, and in that moment, Starsky knew. He knew.


Starsky's first thought was, I'll kill him.

His second thought was, I'll fuck him first. But he pushed that one aside almost faster than he could think it.

No, he would kill Hutch for risking his career and their brand-new partnership for a lousy roll in the sack with a complete stranger.

Can't make a scene. Starsky knew that, even as his hands tightened into fists. He forced himself to stand motionless, his eyes closed tightly, until he was a little calmer.

When he opened them again, it was still Hutch lying on his back, and Starsky absently identified Vanessa, who was now sucking at Hutch's nipple while the man tended to his cock. Hutch's head was thrown back, his long throat convulsing, and his hand was sunk into the man's hair, moving him up and down over his groin. Starsky's eyes were on Hutch's face and saw clearly the moment when orgasm took him, saw the groaning mouth as a hungry pit of black in the almost-dark.

Starsky exited fast, as quietly as he could. He went directly to the bathroom and took out his painfully hard erection, jerking it quickly with his left hand while his right hung onto the sink. He came in seconds, spattering the creamy pink tile of Veronica's bathroom.

He cleaned it up and left in a hurry.



"All right, what the hell is it?" Hutch said to him the next afternoon, looking up from the Book in which he'd been tracking their most recent parolees. Keeping the Book was a new idea Hutch had come up with last week, and so far it was paying off.

"What's what?" Starsky said, munching on his third taco. He'd won the lunchtime coin toss.

"You've been looking at me funny all day and it's driving me bugshit," Hutch said, sounding exasperated. He shook his head, the glint of his short, golden hair almost painful in the sunlight coming through the windshield.

Starsky looked away. I am not going to get into this with him now, he thought with determination.

"Besides which," Hutch said after he didn't respond, "You look like crap. Didn't you get any sleep last night?"

Starsky hadn't gotten any, it was true. He'd spent the whole night stewing, arguments and diatribes running through his head until even the skin of his scalp was itching with irritation.


"Later, Hutch." He refused to meet Hutch's eye. He saw Hutch take a breath as if to respond, but just then the radio squawked.

"Any unit in vicinity, 390 in progress on La Tijera and Fairview."

Starsky shot a look at his partner, who frowned disbelievingly.

"Starsk, it's a 390 for cryin'—"

"You got something better to do?"

"Yeah, eat my damned lunch," Hutch muttered, but he picked up the handset while Starsky hastily stuffed the remainder of his taco back into its bag.

"This is Unit 25—"

"Zebra Three," Starsky hissed at him, reminding Hutch of their new call sign.

"Correction, Zebra Three, we are in area and responding. ETA five minutes, over."

They pulled onto the corner of La Tijera and immediately located the cause of the disturbance, a young man who was weaving on his feet, either drunk or on something else entirely. He was wearing a purple tank top and indecently short cut-offs. One of his balls could be seen hanging out of them, Starsky noted with disgust.

"Folks, please go about your business, we'll handle this," Hutch said. The curious crowd drifted off and Hutch and Starsky confronted the drunk, who looked at their badges foggily and then stared up at Hutch.

"Ooh, take me in, Officer Beautiful," the young man said with a distinct lisp, holding out his wrists.

"Wouldn't you rather go home and sleep it off?" Hutch said, his tone amused.

"Only if you promise to come along and tuck me in, gorgeous," the drunk said, smiling up at him.

Starsky interposed his shoulder between the two. "Show a little respect," he grumbled, not missing the little noise of surprise Hutch made.

After talking to the guy they discovered he lived just a few houses down, so Starsky propelled the man home with the occasional nudge while Hutch trailed behind.

"Get in there and sleep it off," Starsky said, giving the man a final push through the door.

Starsky could feel Hutch's eyes on him all the way back to the car.

"You mind telling me what the hell that was about?" Hutch asked mildly once they were in.

Starsky didn't respond, digging out his keys. A hand on his stopped him from turning the ignition.

"Enough's enough, already" Hutch said quietly.

Starsky pulled his hand back. He didn't look at his partner. Truth was, all day long he could barely stand to look at Hutch. He kept seeing the shadowed, pale figure, and the thick erection being guided into a stranger's mouth. And he kept hearing the sound Hutch had made when he came.

Hutch sighed beside him, and then he was saying into the radio, "This is Zebra Three. We're going 10-10 for a few."

"Copy that, Zebra Three," said Dispatch.

"Well?" Hutch said when he'd hung up the mike.

"I saw you," Starsky found himself saying abruptly.

"Saw me?"

Starsky finally turned toward his partner and looked into the earnest blue eyes. So innocent-looking....

"Last night," he clarified tersely, "at Veronica's party. I was there."

He wouldn't have thought it possible for such a pale guy to get even paler, but Hutch did, his face stiffening. And then a flush rushed the skin of his neck to paint his face red. He looked away.

Starsky waited, pulse beating at his temple.

"Wh-what can I say?" Hutch said at last, his voice gone husky with obvious embarrassment. "It's not my normal scene, but Van...sometimes she likes to see me with...." Hutch stopped and rubbed his face briskly with one hand.

So, the bitch has a little kink, and you just went along with it? Or did you want it for yourself, too?

Hutch said, "Starsk, I know you must be...upset to learn—"

"You think I give a fuck about that? About whether you swing that way?" Starsky said, his voice low and angry.

Hutch looked over at him in surprise.

"But how could you be so fucking stupid, Hutch? You could wreck your career! You could screw us up royally—"

"Now, hang on a minute—" Hutch protested, sounding irked.

Starsky went from angry to furious in a heartbeat. "No, you hang on," he said, leaning forward to knock his knuckles against Hutch's chest.

Hutch pushed his hand away with a snarl.

Starsky sat back and forced himself to calm down a little. "You listen good, partner, 'cause I'm only gonna say this the once. I don't care what kinda ideas that crazy wife of yours has, you better not let 'em out of the privacy of your bedroom, you got that?"

Hutch's face blazed red again, this time with anger, his lips thinning and curving downward.

"You don't know anything about why Van—" Hutch cut himself off with a snap of his jaw. "Look, you can't tell me what to do with my private life. You don't have the fucking right—"

"I got every right!" Starsky said with heat. "This is our life, partner. Or do I need to remind you what happens to faggots on the force?"

Hutch recoiled and Starsky immediately regretted his choice of words.

"Wait, wait," he said, putting up a hand. Shit. I gotta tell him. He took a deep breath, and met Hutch's eyes. "Just so you understand, I-I been there, too. Down that road, you get me?"

Hutch frowned.

"I mean I've been over to that side of the street myself—at least, back before the Academy," Starsky said quietly, and now he felt his own face flush as Hutch's jaw dropped in surprise.

Starsky went on determinedly, "But I left that behind when I decided to become a cop. And now you got to, too. You gotta get it clear in your head, Hutch. This is no game. It could mean our badges. It could mean our lives."

He let Hutch sit and stew over it all for a while. They sat in silence, and Starsky could practically smell the burn of the gears spinning in Hutch's head.

"You—" Hutch stopped and cleared his throat. "You really...did stuff like that? Before?"

Starsky shouldn't have been surprised that that was the foremost thing on Hutch's mind. After all, swallowing what he'd seen had taken most of Starsky's own sleep the night before.

"Yeah. But girls are good, too. They're better, 'cause they're safe. You can fuck as many girls as you want and you won't end up like Ralph Jenkins, growing old on the same beat because he ain't never gonna see a promotion. You read me?"

Hutch stared at him for a moment longer before sighing heavily. "I read you. I knew it was stupid, the couple of times I let Van talk me into it. But she loved to see me...and it was exciting too, you know?" The last was said quietly, in the tones of confession, and Starsky could hear Hutch's confusion in there, as well. And a plea for understanding.

He had to give him that much. "I know. It''s a real rush. But, Hutch—"

"Yeah, yeah. Okay. I promise."

Starsky felt the tension leave him.

"But you have to promise too, Starsk." Hutch locked eyes with him, strangely intent. "We'll make it a pact."

"Of course I promise" Starsky responded. "I don't ever want to risk us getting burned on the street, you know that. And it's happened. Guys calling for back-up that's just a little bit too late...."

Hutch nodded in grim understanding.

With a silent sigh of relief, Starsky put the key in the ignition and started up the Torino, while Hutch called them in as active.

They were back on duty.



MacArthur Park, November, 1976


"Doesn't mean she doesn't love ya," Starsky said, hating the useless words even as he said them.

Hutch hated them too, from the look on his face. He shook his arm free from Starsky's grasp and went tearing up the hill. But the light yellow VW was already pulling away, and Abby along with it.

Starsky sighed and went back to Gina, who was on her knees on the blanket, nibbling at the contents of their cooler.

"Looks like the party's over, kiddo," he said to her. It was too bad. The picnic spread had looked real tasty.

"What happened? Abby left without saying goodbye." Gina pouted, and Starsky leaned over to give her a peck.

"She's going home to be with her family. I guess the whole thing messed with her head some."

Gina looked up at him, her dark eyes a little too wise in the young face. "She's not used to the rough stuff. Tell you the truth, Dave, if I was her I would run, too. I had enough of that when I was a kid."

Starsky sighed. "Look, I know we just got here, but maybe I'd better take you home."

She turned her head away and nodded. They packed up Hutch's picnic, and by the time he returned, walking slowly across the grass, they were ready to go. Hutch was silent as they helped him carry his things to the LTD before splitting up.

Gina didn't say anything in the car, and Starsky knew this would be the last time she'd be seeing him. Truth was, even before this mess with Artie, Gina had been making grumblings about not getting to spend enough time with him.

Whenever they hit that point, it was Starsky's signal to call it quits.

He dropped Gina off and carried her stuff up to the door. She gave him a hasty goodbye kiss, and he could tell by the wistful quality that it was over for her, too.

Gunning the Torino, Starsky pointed it toward Venice Place. Hutch didn't respond to his knock, but the door was unlocked, and he let himself in, cursing the stupid blond for his lack of caution. Wasn't a rat in the fridge enough of a hint?

Starsky found him out on the deck nursing a beer, his splinted, gauze-covered hand resting in his lap.

"Hey," Starsky said.

Hutch lifted his beer wordlessly.

Starsky went back in for one of his own and joined him, taking the chair next to the lounger. Close enough to touch, but far enough to give Hutch a little breathing room.

They drank in silence. The afternoon sun had dropped just below the edge of the next-door building, but there was enough of a glow to light up the dust rising lazily through the air. And the pale fan of Hutch's lashes brushing his cheeks.

Don't, Starsky commanded himself firmly.  

"I can't seem to hold onto 'em, Starsk," Hutch said at last. He looked down at his splinted hand and laughed a little, a bitter sound. "They keep slipping through my fingers...."

"Don't, Hutch. You weren't the problem."

"No," Hutch said, taking a sip of his beer and avoiding Starsky's eye. "It's them, isn't it? They aren't ever strong enough to—" He cut himself off.

There was a long moment where neither one of them spoke, and Starsky tried desperately to come up with some soothing words, but he was distracted by the image of Hutch moaning in pain, writhing on the grass and clutching his wrist. He heard his own voice saying, 'Come here, baby. It's okay'.

Christ. He could've lost it. He could've lost his shooting hand. Hutch could have been maimed for the rest of his life, no longer a cop. He wouldn't be Starsky's partner. Starsky winced and took a pull of his beer.

Hutch's voice interrupted his morbid thoughts. "I'm starting to wonder if maybe we shouldn't re-think that old pact we made," he said, his voice hesitant, low.

Starsky's head jerked, and he stared at Hutch in consternation. Hutch's face was turned away and there was a flush on his neck as he said, in fits and starts, "At least...that is, a guy...maybe could handle it better. Could take it. What we are, what we do—"

"Don't you even think about going back on our deal," Starsky said harshly, his voice ringing in the space between them. He tried to soften his tone. "Nothing's changed, Hutch. It's still our lives on the line if anyone found out."

Truth was, it wasn't just the need for the pact that raised Starsky's temper. He didn't know why, but the idea of Hutch going off with some guy also made him angry. It was bad enough seeing Hutch with girl after girl, watching him give it away like a cheap prize from a Cracker Jack box, as if his love were a plastic ring with a glass jewel at the center, worthless.

As if it weren't the most precious thing in the world.

Maybe Starsky just couldn't stand the shame of watching Hutch throw that prize to guys who would use it even more cheaply than his ladies did.

He was still waiting for Hutch's answer, and he kept his eye carefully on Hutch's profile, willing him to agree, his heart beating hard.

Finally, Hutch nodded abruptly, and tossed back the rest of his beer. His eyes slid Starsky's way and then he closed them, exhaling on a sigh.

Starsky sat with him as the long pale shadows grew near.



Train's Headquarters, November, 1978


Starsky checked his wrists, which were raw from the tight ropes that had tied him to the chair.

"You doin' okay, Dave?" Meredith asked, her voice almost lost in the jumble of noise coming from all the uniforms on the scene. Starsky nodded, but didn't look at her. His attention was now on Hutch, who was leaning hard against the wall and looking like he was about to keel over.

"Dave?" Starsky heard Meredith say. She sounded puzzled. He turned his head, and she looked at him, then over at Hutch, before smiling wryly.

Smart girl. Good cop, he thought. She knows where I need to be right now. Rubbing his wrists absently, he walked over to his partner. His real partner.

"You about ready to get out of here?" Starsky asked him. Hutch lifted his head wearily and nodded once.

"You okay, Starsk?" he asked for the third time, his face pale and damp with sweat, hair hanging limply. He looked like shit.

Starsky checked in with Dobey and then gently nudged Hutch outside to the lime green caddy. Hutch looked confused as he leaned against the door.

Starsky lifted the keys and jangled them in illustration, then got in on the driver's side.

He took Hutch straight to his own apartment. "What're we doing at your place?" Hutch mumbled, as if his lips were stiff.

"Taking you and putting you to bed," Starsky replied shortly.

Hutch rolled his head on the seat back and gave him an odd look.

Starsky shrugged. "I'll sleep on the couch."

"I have a perfectly decent bed of my own," Hutch said gruffly, but there was gratitude in his voice. Starsky smiled.

A few hours later Hutch came stumbling out of Starsky's bedroom, still looking like shit, but at least not like a piece of stale white bread. He had his sling on again, and his hair had dried curly and tangled. Starsky couldn't help grinning at the sight.

"What are you smiling about," Hutch asked, sounding disgruntled.

Starsky shook his head.

Hutch eased down onto the couch. From the stiffness of his movements, the nap hadn't helped with the pain much.

"Need an aspirin or something?"

Hutch grunted, which Starsky took as a 'yes'. He brought Hutch a couple of tablets and some water.

"What are you doing baby-sitting me, anyway? Don't you want to be out with Detective Meredith?"

Starsky looked at Hutch in surprise, trying to identify what he'd heard in his tone. But Hutch was gazing at him blandly, his expression even.

Starsky shrugged. "She and I are...we're nothing serious."

Hutch looked disturbed. "Why? She's smart. She's pretty. And she's a damned good cop, from what you told me at the hospital."

"But she's not—" What? For a second, Starsky had the strange sensation of his own thoughts being on the tip of his tongue. But it was gone already, whatever the thought was.

"She is a good cop," Starsky said slowly, "but I guess that's part of it. She's heading up, and we'd just knock elbows on the way." That seemed a fair assessment. "Anyway, it was great while it lasted."

Hutch gave him a hard look, then turned his head away.

"What?" Starsky asked.


"Hutch, don't give me that crap. You got something to say, you better say it."

"It's just...Jesus, Starsk, we can't—" Hutch sounded frustrated as he ran his good hand through his hair. "We can't keep going on like this, like little kids playing games, wasting everything." Hutch pushed restlessly from his chair, turning his back to Starsky. "All the ladies, all the sweet girls like chocolate cake, until you're sick from it, like eating ice cream for breakfast and candy for lunch, and still always so...hungry. I want...something else. I want...and I keep thinking there's a whole other...avenue we haven't tried…."

Hutch's voice trailed off, and Starsky sat immobile, trying to suppress the flutter of unease. "You want out of the pact again, is that it?"

Hutch shrugged, then winced and put his hand over his chest.

"What makes you think it would help?" Starsky said. "Do you really think it's any different? Pie instead of cake? It's not, trust me."

Hutch shook his head, and when he spoke the words came softly. "That's not what I'm talking about."

"Then what?" Fear put an edge to Starsky's voice.

The bright head dropped in defeat. "Never mind," Hutch said wearily.

They were probably the two words in Hutch's vocabulary that Starsky hated the most. "You want us to drop the pact," he said, digging. "You want to...?"

Hutch swung around. His face was unreadable. He stared at Starsky for a long moment, then shook his head again, more firmly.

"No. I told you, never mind. Look, I have to go take care of some things. Can you call me a cab?" Hutch stepped toward the couch to pick up his jacket, and had to grab the arm for balance.

"Don't be stupid," Starsky said. "You're barely keeping your feet. You're staying here tonight." He tried not to make it sound like a direct order.

"Are you my mommy, now?" Hutch asked, sounding amused. His mustache twitched.

"Damned straight," Starsky said, relaxing again.

"Well, I hate to break it to you, buddy, but you're missing certain vital equipment."

Starsky resisted throwing a pillow at the idiot. But it was a close thing.



Venice Place, New Year's Day, 1980


It was after one a.m., and Starsky couldn't figure on why he was here on Hutch's couch watching him snuggle with Megan, the girl that had won the brass ring for the evening. But Hutch had invited him to come upstairs to his apartment after the party, and the bleakness of the New Year was getting to him, so Starsky had agreed. He didn't want to be alone.

Of course, there were plenty of friendly ladies at the party who had offered to take him home, but Starsky had turned them all down politely. Ever since the shooting, he was real goddamn picky about who he got into bed with. Mostly he called his old girlfriend, Nancy, when he needed a soft body to be with. She was sweet, and funny, and safe, and didn't mind the scars.

Hutch was laughing and saying something to him about the new decade, and Starsky smiled and lifted his glass in a wordless toast, but the meaning escaped him. He was mulling over the pact they had made so many years ago. It had been on his mind a lot lately.

Because now it was moot.

At least for him it had been for months, ever since he'd taken three pieces of lead. No one was going to care if a broken-down cop on temporary disability took a walk on the wild side. And the verdict was still out on whether or not he'd be returning to the streets.

He knew Hutch believed he would. The guy looked at him lately as if he could walk on water. All it had taken to bring them in tight again after the past rough year had been the one small miracle of Starsky surviving.

He had his friend back.

But it felt like a threatened peace, because those slugs had shattered some boundary between them. The close contact of the last two months had been both the most painful and the most exhilarating of Starsky's life. He'd had Hutch's rapt attention every minute they were together, with him watching Starsky's every move, getting him whatever he needed. And always looking at him with those concerned blue eyes.

Starsky had discovered he liked that. A lot.

"Earth to Dave, come in Dave," came Meg's laughing voice.

"Wha?" he said foggily, and Hutch laughed softly.

"I was just telling Ken he should shave his mustache and start the new decade fresh," Meg explained. "He's being stubborn about it—"

"Hey, it gives me character," Hutch interrupted, reaching up to stroke it possessively.

"It makes you look like an ex-con," Starsky said shortly.

Hutch jerked his head, his hand falling from his face.

"I went out with an ex-con once," Meg said. "He was the driver on a bank job. They caught him because he was sitting out there, waiting, with a flat tire!"

Starsky laughed. When Hutch didn't join in, Starsky looked over at him.

Hutch's eyes slid away. "So, we gonna do this thing?"

"Really? Honest, Ken?" Meg jumped off the couch and pulled him up, dragging him over toward the bathroom. "You wanna watch, Dave?"

"Nah, thanks. I'm squeamish," Starsky said.

He yawned as he listened to the sound of Meg's laughter bubbling up over the running water, and then started fiddling absently with the top button on his shirt. He kept it fastened one button higher these days. Ever since the shooting.

It wasn't that he was embarrassed about his scars. Actually, he thought now that they had healed up and faded some, they made him look kind of cool. Dangerous.

Also, they were a big giant 'fuck you' to the universe that had tried to kill him, so they were a point of pride.

No, the reason he covered them up was whenever Starsky left his shirt open, Hutch never looked at his face.

It had taken Starsky a while to figure out what was happening. But one morning over breakfast he'd suddenly realized that Hutch's eyes had been glued to the gap in his robe for the previous twenty minutes.

"Hutch," he'd said, and Hutch hadn't even raised his eyes, just mumbled a 'Yeah?' while he continued to eat his eggs, his eyes never rising above Starsky's chest.

Starsky didn't know if it was because the scars were ugly, or so different from what Hutch was used to, or what. Only that if he wanted his partner to make eye contact, he had to keep that top button done up.

He was pretty sure Hutch wasn't even aware of what he was doing. And for the first time Starsky finally understood the complaint he'd heard a chick make to stop talking to her boobs. It could almost be funny, except it wasn't.

"Are you ready?" Meg said, coming out of the bathroom. She waved her hand with a flourish. "I proudly present the new-and-improved Detective Kenneth Hutchinson."

Hutch walked out of the bathroom and for Starsky, time imploded. He stared in shock, his mouth dropping open before he hastily closed it. "You-you cut his hair, too?"a

"Just a little. He was getting a little too hippie, you know what I mean?" Meg said in a teasing voice.

Hutch was rubbing his upper lip nervously. When he dropped his hand, the full effect nearly made Starsky hoot out loud.

"Don't..." Hutch said dangerously, but Starsky couldn't help it. The laughter hit him like a bomb, and he dissolved on the couch. After a while, he heard Hutch's reluctant chuckle joining his.

Starsky wiped his eyes and looked at Hutch again. Now that he was smiling, the effect was even more pronounced. He looked...happy.

Meg wrapped her arms around Hutch from behind and started dragging him toward the kitchen, saying something about finding more champagne. Hutch's eyes met his, and something on his own face changed Hutch's expression. He stared at Starsky for one second longer before turning to Meg and going with her to the kitchen.

What just happened? Starsky wondered hazily. He let his eyes close and drifted, listening to the sound of their voices. Meg's rose sharply at one point, and then went low again. It was a little like music, people's voices. Sometimes in harmony, sometimes not.

He heard the door close, and opened his eyes.

Hutch was standing there, one hand raised to rest against the frame, the other in his back pocket.

Starsky roused himself. "Where's Meg?" he asked, yawning again.

"I sent her down to her apartment," Hutch said vaguely.

"What for?" Starsky said, awake enough to feel a little concerned.

Hutch didn't respond right away, just walked over to the coffee table and started picking up bottles and glasses. He took them over to the kitchen.


"You look kinda beat, Starsk," Hutch said over his shoulder. "You gonna crash here tonight?"

And all of a sudden Starsky got it. And it made him ticked.

"You baby-sittin' again? Is that it? Chrissake, Hutch, she was rarin' to go. And I know how long it's been since you've dipped your—"

Hutch came back in. "Just shut up, okay?" he said, cutting Starsky off. "Look, Meg knows the score."

Starsky looked the question, and Hutch sighed and slouched down on the couch next to him, propping his feet carefully on the coffee table.

"She knows, just like everybody else does, Starsk. You come first. Hell, you should know that, too."

Starsky did. Oh, he did, and he couldn't deny how good it made him feel, even as he felt a twinge of guilt along with it.

"You can always just go downstairs to her apartment," Starsky said after a while. His voice sounded kind of funny. "I'm getting pretty tired, anyway."

"Maybe. But first we gotta talk about that look I saw on your face just now," Hutch said.

"What look?"

Hutch turned and Starsky's head followed automatically in response. He got a jolt when he saw the naked upper lip again and the shortened hair. It was like he was talking to a Hutch of five years ago.

"That sad look," Hutch clarified. "Something's buggin' you. Is it just the New Year's blues? Or is something else going on?"

It was the perfect opening, but Starsky found himself hesitating. The last time they'd talked about it, he had been the one to deny Hutch.

But something had to change. Starsky couldn't go on like this. The shooting had taken so much from him. Foods he could no longer eat. Things—simple, everyday things—he could no longer do. He was tired of denying himself.

And since he didn't know yet if he'd ever get back on the force, even his partnership with Hutch was a hazy thing. More to lose.

"There it is again," Hutch said quietly. "What's that look for, Starsk?"

"Hutch, I want—" Starsky stopped and cleared the gunk from his throat. "I want to talk about the pact."

Hutch's eyebrows shot up, and he looked down. Starsky saw his pulse throb by the corner of his jaw.

"What about it?" Hutch asked, his voice very soft.

"I want to...ah. The thing is, the reason for it is kind of moot for me, at this point. And it's gonna be for a while. So I guess I want a temporary unrestraining order," Starsky said, trying to make it like a joke.

Hutch pushed off the couch and paced a little in front of him. "You're giving up, aren't you? You think you're not going to re-qualify for the streets." He sounded agitated. "It's only been a couple of months! You have no idea—"

"I ain't giving up!" Starsky said, a little pissed even though he'd been wondering the same thing moments before. "You know I'll make it back," he said, feeling a little more confident about it for some reason. "But it'll take me a while. And in the meantime, it won't do any harm—"

"No." Hutch's voice was flat.

"Now wait a minute—"

"Why? Huh? What's the point? You said it yourself, pie versus cake—"

"Hutch. Look at me for a second." Starsky deliberately unfastened a couple of buttons on his shirt. Hutch's eyes dropped immediately to his chest.

"I ain't ashamed of it," Starsky said softly, "but you gotta admit it's not the prettiest sight in the world. Some guys...they don't care about pretty, so much."

Hutch made a strange sound and turned away, his throat working. It was some time before he responded, saying, "Not all girls are that superficial—"

"C'mon, Hutch!"

When Hutch turned back his eyes were hooded, his brows drawn low. He still didn't look at Starsky's face.

He nodded once, sharply, then walked away toward the bedroom.

Starsky watched him go, feeling a curious mixture of relief and pain. He had the go-ahead. But from the look on Hutch's face, what he'd asked for had hurt Hutch somehow. And Starsky never wanted that, ever. Guess it's not fair that I get what I want, but he doesn't.

Hutch returned carrying a pillow and a blanket. He dropped them onto the couch next to Starsky.

"Here. I'm gonna head downstairs and see if Meg is...still awake." He didn't look at Starsky.

"Okay," Starsky said quietly. "Happy New Year, Hutch."

Hutch nodded. "Happy New Year, buddy." He picked up his keys and walked out, leaving Starsky alone with his thoughts.

And his new freedom.



Metro Squad Room, February, 1980


Starsky threw the file into his outbox. His toss was a little too enthusiastic, and at least half the pages slipped out and washed onto the floor. He was in a squat, ass in the air, cursing as he scrabbled for the last sheet from under the desk, when a familiar, laughing voice said, "Looking for your brains?"

Starsky growled and straightened to look at his partner. His ex-partner, actually. Still, possibly, his partner-to-be, if Starsky passed his physical next month.

Hutch was smiling down at him, his face a little flushed for some reason. Starsky was about to return the smile when someone came up behind Hutch and slapped him on the back.

"You ready to hit this forensics report?" It was Jacobs, Hutch's current partner. Seeing his easy familiarity with Hutch made Starsky's stomach knot up like a fishing line.

He scowled and turned back to his desk. Replacing the papers in the case folder, he sat down and grabbed the next one from the stack. Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. All the fucking day long. The enforced inactivity was really getting to him, especially now he was feeling so much better.

"I'll meet you at our desk, Jacobs," he heard Hutch say. Starsky sensed his ex-partner still hovering over him, and he looked up irritably.

"How's it going?" Hutch asked quietly.

Starsky grimaced and gestured wordlessly at the stack of folders, which was so tall, the topmost were threatening to topple over onto the desk.

"Paperwork is the shits," Hutch said, sympathy in his voice. His eyes brightened. "Hey, what are you up to tonight? I've got two tickets to the Lakers."

Starsky dropped his head. "I, uh. Have plans. Going out," he muttered needlessly. He couldn't help the faint embarrassment heating his cheeks. He knew Hutch would know the kind of company he was keeping tonight.

"I see," Hutch said, his voice short.

Starsky looked up quickly, but Hutch had already turned away and was heading over to Jacobs' desk. While he watched, Jacobs said something and Hutch gave a quick laugh.

Starsky bent his head to his paperwork.




The mouth on his cock was hot, and wet, and very, very skilled. Starsky groaned as it took him in deep, and he thrust gently with his hips, eager to get there. When the wave struck him, he held tight onto Jason's head, his fingers tangling in the red-blond curls of his hair.

"You're so beautiful," Jason said afterward, his hand winding through Starsky's hair in turn. "How come? I mean, look at this nose." He tapped Starsky's schnoz with a fingertip. "And your eyes are too big. And too, too blue."

Starsky smiled.

"And your ass, don't get me started about your ass. It does not belong on a white boy."

Starsky rolled over and pinned Jason beneath him. "What about you, huh? What's with all this blond hair? You get this out of a bottle?" He clenched his fingers in the soft, short curls, trapping Jason's head.

Jason gave him an offended look.

"It's natural. You should know well enough, since it matches what I got going on elsewhere."

Starsky laughed and kissed his cheek before relaxing to the side. He ran his hands over the pale hair on Jason's chest.

"I should go," Starsky mumbled. "It's getting late, and it's a long drive home."

Jason sighed. "Why don't you stay?" he said, but there was resignation in his voice.

"You know why," Starsky said.

"I know what you told me, sure," Jason said, sounding irritated. He rolled off the bed and put on his robe. "Can't risk it, cop's career, blah, blah. It's all just a bullshit way keeping me at a distance."

"It's a risk for you too," Starsky pointed out. "Not like the guys at the firehouse are any more tolerant of the stuff we get up to."

Jason shook his head. "Look, you're deluded if you think there aren't other gay cops on the force."

"I'm not gay," Starsky said quickly, bristling.

Jason shot him a mocking look. "You are in the eyes of everyone who gives a damn. Suck one guy's cock and you're gay, gay, gay. You know that, doesn't matter how many women you sleep with. But there are ways around it, ways to be together so people don't suspect anything."

"Like what?" It was an idle question. Relieved that Jason was off the topic of the two of them, Starsky started getting dressed, moving around the bedroom to locate his clothing piece by piece.

"Well, for example, there are two guys in my firehouse who got apartments right next door to each other, in the same building. It's like they live together, but they don't, you know? No one is surprised when they come into work together, and they don't have to sneak out of each other's place in the middle of the night. They spend one night at one place, the next night at the other. Works perfect."

Starsky shook his head.


"You saying you want to get apartments close by so we can fuck whenever we want?"

Jason threw his head back in surprise, and then a wry expression crossed his face. "You think I don't know the score, Dave? You don't want that kind of commitment from me. I know that. You don't have to make it sound so fucking crude just to put me off." He left the bedroom abruptly, obviously pissed.

Fucked that up good. Starsky sighed and sat on the edge of the bed to put on his sneakers. This whole thing was a stupid mistake. The sex was as good as he remembered it; the only problem was it was no longer what he wanted. At least, he didn't think it was.

Truth was, he was confused as hell.



Hallway at Metro, March, 1980


Starsky plunged out of the squad room, almost running over a bulky guy in an olive overcoat. The stranger looked a little pale and sweaty, and Starsky apologized hastily, but he was in too much of a hurry to offer assistance. He was on a quest.

"Goddamn motherfucking fuck!" Down in Records, he kicked the big, steel filing cabinet, then bit back a shout at the pain in his toes. Nothing was where it was supposed to be. He was trying to locate an old case file he knew had a connection with the current one he'd overheard Hutch and Jacobs talking about.

But the damned thing wasn't here. And it wasn't upstairs. And he didn't know why, but he really wanted to find it and bring it to Hutch.

Starsky put both hands on top of the cabinet and rocked it a little in frustration. Then he drew back his foot for another pointless kick at the thing.

So he was caught off-balance when all of a sudden the building shook with a muted rumble, the lights flickering overhead.

Earthquake! He thought immediately, grabbing the heavy cabinet for balance. But the shaking stopped almost as soon as it had begun, a fine mist of dust scattering from the ceiling.

What the fuck?

"What in tarnation was that?" Bigelow was suddenly at his elbow, eyes wild behind the thick glasses.

"I dunno. It almost sounded like an explosion."

"Ex-explosion?" Bigelow squeaked. Starsky nodded and left, pushing slowly past a babbling cluster of people in the hallway before taking the back stairs up past Main to the third floor, and Homicide.

He entered into chaos. Dust, glass, and chunks of plaster and pieces of furniture littered the corridor, with most of the debris at the far end.

Down by the squad.

"Keep those people back," Dobey roared over the rumble of the mass of officers crowding the hallway. Dobey met Starsky's eyes across the distance and his heavy, expressive face wrinkled even further.

Oh shit. Oh shit.

Starsky surged forward, punching a hole through the crowd until a large, brown-suited bulk halted his charge.

"That means you, too, Starsky," Dobey said, his voice obscenely gentle. Starsky swallowed hard, his eyes drifting past the overturned candy machine to glue themselves on the shattered remains of the squad room doors.

"What...what..." His throat was choked with plaster dust and something else, something that made it almost impossible to breathe.

"I'm not sure, I wasn't in my office. But we think it was a bomb. Someone just walked in carrying a bomb, we don't know who...."

Oh God. That guy. That guy.

"I think I saw him, Cap! I saw this creep in a trench coat, he looked real pasty...." Starsky babbled, his brain trying desperately hard not to think about where Hutch was. Or where he wasn't. Why wasn't he there, helping to calm the crowd? Why wasn't he standing next to Starsky, where he belonged?

Starsky's body lunged forward of its own volition, and Dobey shifted again to block him.

"It's not safe, son," he said. "Most of the ceiling has already come down. We already have a couple of people in there looking for survivors, and the fire department is on its way. Let the professionals handle it."

"You think I give a good fuck about safe?" Starsky hissed, careful to keep his voice below the frantic chatter of the crowd. "Let me past. I hafta go help." I have to find him. It has to be me.

"Dave." Dobey put both hands on his shoulders, but Starsky pulled back, then feinted left and dodged right far too quickly for Dobey to stop him. He stumbled forward over the piles of glass, and what looked like it had once been an office chair.

And a human arm.

He passed it quickly, registering only that it was dusted with black hair, not blond. But visions of bad scenes from the '71 earthquake started swimming in his head, and he knew what he would find as he stepped gingerly over the remains of the squad room doors, walking forward as if in a dream.

Smoke stung his eyes. There were bodies, three of them as best he could tell, none of them Hutch. But Weiss he identified right off the bat, and Starsky suppressed the grief and rage that threatened to blind him. The long desks that had run down the length of the room were in smoldering pieces, covered with chunks of other furniture and hunks of the ceiling that gaped over his head. He moved to the right, away from what appeared to be the center of the blast, and finally saw some living people.

Meyers looked over at him, waving his hand in the smoke before his eyes.

"Starsky! Keep to the side, dammit!"

Starsky edged over to the far right. Something crunched under his foot, and he looked down to see the shards of a red and white piggy bank. He took a short breath and skirted around the remaining debris to where Hutch and Jacobs' desk had been. And saw his worst nightmare.

It looked like what was once a typing desk, one of those heavy ones with a side shelf that could slide out to hold the typewriter. And there was a body beneath it, long legs sticking out in blue jeans. Above the waist was only more desk.

Starsky turned away, fighting the urge to puke.

Jacobs wears jeans, too. Hutch wasn't wearing jeans today, was he? Wasn't he wearing the brown cords? I love those cords, so worn on him, like a second skin. Jacobs is tall, like Hutch. Same build. Oh, God. Don't let it be Hutch. Don't let it be. I'm sorry, Jacobs, but I hope it's you. Let it be you.

Starsky forced himself to move forward, forced up his leaden eyes to look.

It was Jacobs.  The legs were long, but the shoes were wrong, heavy black patrol shoes, as if Jacobs had never stopped wearing them after getting out of uniform. Not the crusty, tan suede sneakers Hutch always wore. Relief made Starsky feel suddenly weak.

Not him.  Not him. Oh thankyouGod. Thank you. I'm sorry, Jacobs.

"Starsky, get over here and help me with your partner!"

The words snapped his paralysis, and lent new dread to the fading chill in his gut. Starsky hurried forward.

Hutch was lying on the ground beyond the desk. A typewriter was by his side, and blood covered the wide forehead and snaked down, streaking his temples and coating the closed eyelids. Plaster dusted the red, making his face a crazy Halloween mask.

Starsky rushed to kneel beside him.  "Hutch!"

"I think he's the only one that made it," Meyers said wearily. "Tomkins is still checking bodies. There were people from upstairs...." He swallowed loudly.

Starsky nodded, his handkerchief already out and pressed to the wound on Hutch's head.

"The typewriter was next to him, I think it might've hit him, but I'm not sure," Meyers said, sounding worried. "I got most of the fire out with the extinguisher, but we gotta get him out of here before anything else goes."

Starsky raised his head, following the pointing arm. And held his breath.

The ceiling overhead was partially broken through, but large pieces still hung down precariously just above them.  Even as Starsky watched, something shifted and a small square of wood fell with a dull clatter. Fine plaster dust sifted down through air, and Starsky closed his eyes against it, rubbing at them.

"We gotta lift him," he said, making the decision. "But keep his back straight just in case." He coughed once, the dust and smoke clinging to his throat. He heard the groaning of stressed wood over his head.

"He's a big guy," Meyers said doubtfully.

"Then get Tomkins," Starsky said, impatient. "Let's get Hutch out of here and we can come back to find any others."

Meyers made a sound of agreement and called Tomkins over. The big, black cop shuffled around the debris and hunkered down.

"We're getting Hutch outta here," Starsky said. "You take his middle, and keep his spine straight, dammit. I'll get his head, and Meyers his legs."

They made the count and lifted together, Starsky with both hands gripping the jacket beneath Hutch's shoulders and the blond head cradled safely between his forearms. They shuffled slowly in unison toward the opening in the hallway, Tomkins directing Starsky's backward progress around obstructions.

And then they were out, and there were people all around them helping to ease Hutch down to the floor. It worried Starsky plenty that Hutch hadn't stirred in all the jostling, and the blood coming from his head wound hadn't slowed its inexorable trickle.

A white-shirted paramedic shouldered him aside, and Starsky went willingly, but reapplied the blood-soaked cloth to Hutch's head as the medic did his routine—pulse and pressure and careful hands checking body parts.

Open your eyes, babe. I think Roger might be feeling you up. They both knew Roger, of course. He had been one of the ones that stabbed Starsky with an IV back in the parking lot. He now gave Starsky a sympathetic look, shaking his head.

"Can't you two ever stay out of trouble?"

"Doesn't look that way," Starsky said, too numb to dredge up a comeback. Roger's face softened further.

"Are you injured?" His eyes took a quick inventory.

Starsky shook his head. "I wasn't even here." He choked on it a little. Why wasn't I here? But if I had been, I would've been where Jacobs was.

The thought was chilling, that Gunther's assassins might've even saved his life.

Except we'd be on the streets, Hutch and me. Where we belong. Only, who's to say we wouldn't buy it there? There ain't no place safe.

It was enough to make a guy crazy.

He heard a cough, and looked down. Hutch's eyes were cracked open, and his hand rose toward his face.

"Hey, sport," Starsky said, relief washing through his voice. "Welcome back."

"Ssst..." Hutch didn't finish, but Starsky got the gist.

"Yeah, I'm here. Hold still, okay?" He caught Hutch's hand and pulled it down, resting it on his chest.

Hutch nodded and then his whole face winced.

"That includes your head, dummy," Starsky said, exasperated and joyful.  He squeezed the hand he was holding.

Hutch just stared up at him, the blue eyes bright between the cracks of his red-painted lids. He looked like a kid's nightmare.

He looked like heaven.

"Ssstar..." Hutch tried again, and Starsky shook his head and leaned low, ignoring Roger, ignoring Dobey, who had come to stand across from them and was looking down with relief, sweat streaking through the plaster dust coating his brown face.

"What is it, Blintz?"


Starsky shook his head and closed his eyes, not wanting to see Hutch's reaction.

"Oh, God," Hutch whispered.

"Hutch, we're gonna put you on a back board now," Roger said. He nodded at his partner, who brought in the wooden board and set it beside Hutch.

They got him on it and strapped in, Starsky helping as much as he could, and then Hutch was taken away from him, lifted onto a gurney and slogged down the hallway and into the elevator. Starsky tried to follow, but Dobey caught his arm.

"I need everything you can tell me about the man you saw," he said, his tone firm.

"But, Hutch—"

"He'll be in the ER for a while, you know that. And he's alive, dammit, and at least eight good men and women aren't," Dobey said fiercely.

Starsky nodded guiltily and did as he was told.




In the end, no one could say why Henri Pastore, or 'the Metro Bomber', as the Bay City Times came to call him, had walked into Parker Center with five sticks of dynamite strapped to his torso. He'd left no note, and had no police record. His wife had died recently in a car accident, but investigation revealed it had clearly been a no-fault, a freak accident to be blamed on poor road conditions and bad brakes.

Eventually, everyone had shaken their heads and chalked it up to the increasing madness that seemed to possess the citizens of Bay City. Starsky himself had stopped thinking about it even before his partner got out of the hospital. Actually, he put it out of his head as soon as Hutch got out of the ER. Starsky had no need to understand any more than Hutch was alive.

Hutch, for his part, was awfully quiet for a few days, but without words he indicated that he wanted Starsky to stay nearby.

Starsky was happy to oblige.



 "Death by typewriter, that would've been one for Guinness," Hutch said. His head was wrapped turban-like with a swath of gauze, and both eyes were black and blue.

"Guinness doesn't record stuff like that. Now, if you'd eaten the typewriter first..." Starsky had both feet propped up on the couch, the morning paper folded in his lap.

Hutch gave him a look, then his eyes dipped down.

"I missed the funerals, you know?"

"I know." Starsky pulled his legs off the couch and shifted his chair closer so he could put a hand on Hutch's arm. "Frankly, I'm glad you missed 'em, if you know what I mean."

But Hutch frowned, looking puzzled.

"I'm..." Starsky cleared his throat and said on a hoarsely, "I'm glad it wasn't you, babe. I'm sorry, but I'm glad. And I feel like shit about it."

That cleared it up for Hutch, whose eyes went deep and soft.

They'd been incredibly lucky, again. The typewriter had stayed on the desk during its drop through the ceiling, and then bounced off to land on Hutch's head from only a couple of feet up. Enough to knock him out, but not to kill him.

All in all, damned lucky, and after a day of observation the doctors had sent Hutch home. Only, Starsky took him to his apartment, looking forward to his chance to give Hutch the same treatment he'd been given after the shooting.

Including painfully enforcing every last one the doctor's instructions.

So in spite of Hutch's assurances that he felt great, he felt fine and wanted to go sit on the beach, or at the Pits, or any-damned-where but Starsky's apartment, Starsky had stood firm and kept him grounded for the first few days. Safe, where Starsky could keep an eye on him.

And where, just coincidentally, he could have Hutch all to himself.

"There's nothing on that damned boob tube. And I can't read with my eyes like this," Hutch griped.

Starsky nodded his sympathy. So much blood had drained from the head injury down into his eye sockets that Hutch couldn't even open his lids after waking without icing them first. The swelling had gone down some, but still not enough for him to read easily.

"Then I'll read you something." Starsky gave Hutch a smile, but Hutch just grunted in irritation.

Three paragraphs into the lead story, though, Hutch was engaging him with vicious commentary on the subject of the article, corruption in mayor's office. Afterward, they spent a couple of hours playing checkers, until Starsky beat Hutch so handily that he complained of a headache and went off to take a nap.

Starsky grinned as he put away the checkerboard. Even when Hutch was bitching at him, Starsky was happy. Happy the cranky bastard was alive to bitch, his complaining tone as familiar as a worn pair of socks.

After Hutch awoke and had applied the necessary ice pack to his eyes, Starsky made them both some dinner. He noticed Hutch looking at him funny, but figured it was just the unaccustomed sight of Starsky cooking real food.

"This is good," Hutch said, sounding a little suspicious as he spooned the chicken soup into his mouth.

"You should be surprised I make chicken soup?" Starsky said, adopting his mother's thick accent.

Hutch choked a little on his mouthful, then laughed.

Starsky grinned.

Hutch's laugh faded, but it left the smile lingering on the full lips, which twisted slightly as he contemplated Starsky.

"What?" Starsky cocked his head.

"Whaddaya mean, what?"

"I mean what's that look for, and don't tell me 'nothing', that's what."

Hutch put down his spoon and leaned back in his chair. He reached up and scratched a little under his bandage.

"Don't scratch. You could get it infected—"

"Why aren't you out tonight with that guy?"

The question jolted him, and Starsky put his own spoon down, looking into his bowl to avoid revealing anything.

"What guy?" he said weakly. He heard a disbelieving sound from across the table, but kept his eyes carefully trained on a small piece of chicken and the way the noodles were curling around it. Reads me like a book, he always does, and I don't stand a chance if I look at him right now.

"The guy," Hutch said, forced patience in his voice, "that's been calling up these last couple of months and then hanging up when he hears me pick up for you. The guy who sounds like he thinks I'm—"

Starsky looked up at that. "Thinks you're...?"

It was Hutch's turn to look away, and he shrugged as he did. "Like I'm you're cheating on me with him, or something."

Starsky continued to stare, and after long moments he tracked a slow rise of red to Hutch's face.

"Well," Starsky said, keeping his tone level, "he won't be calling anymore."

It was nothing but the truth. Starsky had swallowed a couple of hard facts in the past three days, and one of the first things he'd done when Hutch was home and asleep was phone Jason and call off their 'dates'.  Permanently.

He felt embarrassed about it now, where his dick had been in its mindless questing. He had thought being with a guy would take the edge off the hunger that was dogging him, but all it did was show him that he had no idea what he was really hungry for.

In hindsight it was painfully clear. Seeing the way Hutch was palling around with Jacobs had been enough to make Starsky want to paste the guy, and he knew they were just friends. And not even that close. But Starsky hadn't wanted to see Hutch even near another guy, even as a friend, stupid as that sounded.

And then Jacobs had bought it, and Starsky's relief that Hutch had survived was so profound he'd almost missed what else he felt guilty about—he wasn't jealous anymore. And his hunger had nothing to do with men, but one in particular.

Now, in his fantasies, Starsky had started imagining another pale body under his, touching his, loving him.

He'd started to let himself want it.

The silence dragged after his quiet statement, and Starsky looked over to see Hutch's lips pressed tight, drawn like a battle line. Starsky knew from long experience that only a full-out war would get the words to escape.

And as much as he wanted to hear what was going on in that blond head, Starsky also noted the frown of pain that was creasing the swollen forehead below the gauze.

"Head still bad?" he said quietly.

Hutch looked startled. "Yeah," he admitted.

Starsky got him a couple of aspirin and dropped them into his hand. "Get some rest," he advised. "You're gonna need it. Tomorrow we're in Records with Bigelow."

Hutch gave a reluctant-sounding laugh. "Paperwork and more paperwork."

 "Meanwhile, the squad room gets another remodeling," Starsky said wickedly.

He felt a guilty pang of satisfaction when Hutch winced at the reminder.



Starsky's Apartment, April 26, 1980


"Hooton inept," Hutch grumbled, tossing some popcorn at Starsky's television.

"Hey, quit that," Starsky said. "I just vacuumed."

"Not so's I could tell," Hutch said slyly. Starsky whacked him with a couch cushion and Hutch freed a laugh.

Hooton ended the side, and they both cheered as the TV cut to commercial. Starsky yawned and stretched, feeling the painless, easy pull of his chest muscles and smiling to himself. All better.

"You thinking about tomorrow?" Hutch said. He had a slight smile on his face, but there was tension in his voice. "You're gonna be fine. I know it."

"Yeah," Starsky admitted. "It's gonna be weird really being back though, you know?"

"Yeah." Hutch exhaled a little loudly and slung his arm along the back of the couch. Starsky felt a tug at the back of his neck, and then Hutch's fingers were planted in the hair there.

Starsky closed his eyes for a moment.

"I missed this, you know?" he found himself saying, and almost bit his tongue.

But he sensed a nod from Hutch, and then heard him say, "I missed it, too. You've been real...busy." There was an edge to his voice, but his hand kept up the gentle caress. Too gentle, because it was sending tingles down Starsky's spine.

"Yeah, I know," Starsky said quietly. He'd been making himself scarce lately, circling like a lion, keeping downwind. He finally knew what he wanted, and he knew he was ready to go for it.

Question was, was Hutch? Except for a couple of threesomes with his wife, Hutch had never been with a guy. Just because he wasn't freaked by it didn't mean he wanted it. And it sure the hell didn't mean he wanted Starsky.  No matter how often Hutch touched him, or how much love was in his hands when he did so.

But there was so much. Even more of it lately, whenever they were together, the small touches a little tentative at first, but then growing more confident when Starsky always responded with a hungry lean.

The game was back on. Law and Smith got on board, and then Garvey advanced them with a sacrifice fly. Hutch grinned at Starsky and slapped his leg, leaving his hand there as he turned back to the watch Dusty Baker at bat.

Starsky dropped his own hand on top of Hutch's big one, covering it.

Hutch turned his head, raising a questioning eyebrow. Maybe he saw the intent on Starsky's face, because his mouth parted open, and then Starsky saw it close on a swallow.

Starsky couldn't hear anything over the pounding of his heart. He saw Hutch's jaw lock. Then Hutch pulled his hand away and turned back toward the television.

"Boy, I'm glad I didn't take Huggy up on that bet—"

"Don't," Starsky whispered.

Hutch closed his eyes. Starsky waited, and eventually Hutch turned back to meet his glance.

"Don't pretend you don't know." Starsky said, low.

Hutch was still staring at him, eyes wide, but Starsky could tell by the way they were fixed on him that Hutch was lost in his head. So Starsky waited, breathing short. He could feel sweat tickling the back of his neck.

When Hutch cleared his throat, looking away, Starsky felt his face fall. 

"Why the hell not?" he said. "It's not like you never done it—"

"What about our pact?" Hutch interrupted gruffly, his voice an uneven rasp. "The precious agreement that was supposed to keep our hides intact?" He leaned forward and grabbed his beer off the coffee table, taking a sip. He didn't look at Starsky. "You're going back tomorrow. We'll both be on the streets again. What about all those damned reasons you gave me?"

"They were stupid. I was stupid. There are ways…we could work it out. We could keep it real quiet, Hutch." Starsky heard himself babbling and made himself shut up. And think. After all of Hutch's efforts to get out of the pact earlier, Starsky just couldn't buy that that was what was holding him back now. And Starsky couldn't have mistaken all the touches, the warmth Hutch had been treating him to lately.

"What's really going on here?" Starsky asked, his voice rising.

Hutch shook his head, still refusing to look at him. "You don't…you never thought about me that way. You never let me want…" He shrugged helplessly. "Why now?"

Because I love you, you moron. You stupid, blond-headed idiot. Of course he couldn't say that. Hutch would run for sure, then. But at least Starsky could set the record straight.

"I have thought about it. A lot," Starsky said carefully. "In fact, I finally figured out the only reason I wanted the stupid pact to begin with was because...because I didn't want other guys touching you."

Hutch's head jerked up, his eyes slipping in a side-glance.

"And you had Vanessa, so I couldn't let myself think about you, want you...even after. It's like I tried so hard, I managed to convince myself."

The sideways look widened a little. Hutch didn't appear to be breathing much.

"But that's changed for me, Hutch. You've been changing it, ever since...ever since I got shot. And lately you keep...I mean, haven't you ever thought about it?" Starsky asked quietly. "Us?" He swallowed.

Hutch's face scrunched up for a second, and then he faced Starsky dead on.

"Yeah," he whispered. "All the time. Lately it's all I can think about."

Starsky's heart went into overdrive.

"But I don't know…I haven't the faintest idea…." The color was high on Hutch's cheekbones.


"I mean, you've been out there…you've... Shit." Hutch started to stand up, but Starsky grabbed his leg, holding him down.

"Is that what's got you hung up? 'Cause, you know, it's not like it's that different—"

Hutch's eyes called him a liar, and Starsky he realized he was right. Because it would be different with the two of them.

It would be right off the map.

Starsky cleared his throat. "I just…" Fuck it. "I just wanna kiss you so bad, Hutch."

Hutch's eyes widened, and then his lids dipped down and finally a small smile curved his lips.

Somehow, Starsky must've said the right thing, because Hutch leaned forward, his eyes mere slits locked onto Starsky's.

And he kissed him.

Oh man, was the only coherent thought in Starsky's head when he felt those lips at last, warm and honey-sweet, making him dizzy. Hutch's lips.

"This, I know how to do," Hutch murmured, and Starsky could only nod in helpless agreement as Hutch's lips clung to his, mouth opening so Starsky could taste him.

Starsky remembered fasting for Yom Kippur, back before his father had died, and how much he'd hated it. How dry his mouth would get, and how his belly would growl, and sometimes he'd think about sneaking into the kitchen and filching just a piece of bread or something, only he never did, because his mom was telepathic, and he knew he'd get caught.

And he remember how incredible it was to eat something, at last, and drink finally, clear cold water from the tap—being so thirsty, and drinking and drinking like he could never stop. He discovered when he was that thirsty, water had a flavor, like the most incredible thing he'd ever tasted.

Kissing Hutch was like that.

They kissed long, right through the seventh inning stretch and into overtime, tongue and teeth and nibbling lips. They kissed until Starsky's nuts felt like they were in a vise and his jeans were getting so wet with pre-cum that the head of his dick was chafing raw against the denim.

And still Hutch didn't stop kissing him, and Starsky couldn't seem to catch breath long to ask him if he could try for a home run.

Finally, Starsky shoved Hutch to a stop, pushing him back against the corner of the couch. Hutch's face was flushed, his hair sweaty and mussed. He looked like he'd been struck by lightning. Or maybe a fever.

Starsky waited for him to recover enough to focus on him. Then he deliberately unbuttoned his shirt.

Hutch's eyes dropped immediately to his chest.

"Hey," Starsky said softly.

"Yeah?" Hutch said, his voice rough.

"I'm up here."

It took a while, but Hutch's eyes finally rose. "Huh?"

Starsky sighed. "Never mind. We'll talk about it later when my dick isn't about to die of asphyxiation." He reached down, offering Hutch a hand, and Hutch swung his legs off the couch, standing up. He immediately wrapped his arms around Starsky, burying his face in his neck.

"Been wanting to do this for so long," he murmured.

"What? Watch the game?"

Hutch gave him a shake. "Hold you. Dummy."

"You hold me all the time," Starsky protested. "'S time to learn a new trick or two." He tried to keep his voice light, but it was shaking a little, and he felt Hutch's hand on the small of his back, a gentle touch.

"Me, too," Starsky admitted, and then he nudged Hutch toward the bed.

But Hutch pulled up and shot Starsky a glance beneath his lashes.

"What?" Starsky came closer, putting an arm around his waist.

"What if..." Hutch's voice was a naked whisper. "What if I'm no good at it?" he asked, sounding embarrassed as hell.

"You've gotta be kiddin'," Starsky said back. He turned Hutch to face him and looked down. The bulge in Hutch's pants made his stomach flutter like crazy. He grinned. "I really don't think it's gonna be a problem, Blintz."

Hutch finally seemed in with the game plan, because he dropped his head and started yanking his clothing off. Starsky helped out by hauling Hutch's t-shirt over his head, trapping his arms behind him. Then Starsky leaned in and put his lips to the clean-smelling skin.

"You took a shower?" Starsky asked, a little disappointed. He didn't want clean. He wanted to smell Hutch.

"Of course," Hutch said primly. "Always take a shower before going visiting."

"In case you get lucky?"

Hutch glared down at him, so Starsky retaliated by nipping at the small bronze nipple nearest his mouth.

"Ahh," Hutch said softly.

"That'll teach ya." Starsky finally tugged the shirt down off of Hutch's arms, freeing him, and Hutch reached for his belt, moving a little frantically. Starsky stepped back and got his hard-on out of his jeans at last, groaning a little in relief. He took off his pants and shoes and then shrugged out of his shirt, turning toward the bed.

He felt Hutch's warm hands on his back and drew in a breath when they began to move, palms circling restlessly, fingertips glancing over the scars.

Don't disappear on me, partner. Starsky turned and slung an arm around Hutch's bare waist, then toppled him sideways onto the bed.

Hutch bounced down, looking a little surprised at the move. Then he stretched back, leaning on his elbows, and stared up at him.

He's some kinda beautiful, Starsky admitted in the privacy of his mind, though he'd go to his grave before saying it to his macho partner. All that smooth skin, marred only by the scars of duty. There, on his chest where that little girl shot him, and on his left thigh, the twisted pucker from the car accident and subsequent surgery. But Starsky liked the look of them, because they meant he was tough, could take the punishment and come back. Would always come back to Starsky.

Maybe he was beginning to understand why Hutch was so obsessed with the scars on his chest.

"You're beautiful," Hutch said, tilting his head. "You're just….perfect, Starsk."

Oh, man. Starsky pounced on his partner, enjoying the startled look, watching it change, widening further, then glazing over when Starsky reached for the thick erection and gave it a gentle squeeze.

"Oh, Jesus," Hutch gasped.

"It can be so good, baby blue. Can't wait to show you," Starsky said, meaning it.

Hutch reached up and touched his face, a tender stroke from temple to jaw. "Anything you want to show me," he said, his voice a low rumble. "Anything, with you."

Starsky closed his eyes and ducked his head to kiss him, then tried to climb on top of him without breaking the lip-lock. Hutch urged him over, and Starsky captured one long leg between his so they could nestle together at chest and hip and aching cock.

"Ahh," Starsky said, thrusting gently. Hutch's cock was warmth and hardness pressed into his groin. Hutch's cock. Hard for me. Starsky pressed down and thrust some more, delighting in Hutch's small groans of pleasure.

"This is nuts," Hutch whispered. "How can it feel so good?" His hands came up to hold Starsky's face, and Starsky stopped moving for a moment to stare down.

"Who are you?" Hutch said, his voice disbelieving. He sounded like he was in shock. "Have you been here all this time?"

Starsky nodded, swallowing when Hutch released his head to put his palm on the largest of the scars on his chest.

Hutch eyes followed his hand. "You've been so serious, ever since. I kept thinking Gunther took the heart out of you, tore it right out of your chest. Took you away, even though you made it through." He sounded so damned sad.

Starsk sighed, impatient, and pushed his cock insistently against Hutch's thigh. "I'm here, Hutch. I'm all here. I'm me."

Hutch started to shake his head, but Starsky knelt up and caught his hands, pushing them down against the pillow.

 "You wanna know who I am?" Starsky asked fiercely.

Hutch nodded, looking dazed, his hands trapped beside his head.

Starsky bent down and bit down on one brown nipple, hearing Hutch hiss.

"I'm the guy who's gonna eat you alive."

A shiver traveled over the skin beneath his lips, and Starsky watched the nipple tighten further into a point. He licked it, sucked it, warmed it with his tongue, then stiffened it again with fierce little nibbles while Hutch groaned, long, soft and low. Starsky moved to the other, tasting it, satisfying his long hunger.

It only made him want more.

He moved down, kneeling between Hutch's legs, and hauled from underneath Hutch's knees to push them toward his chest. "Grab 'em."

Hutch looked startled.

"Alive, Hutch," Starsky reminded him, and Hutch closed his eyes and grasped his knees.

Starsky leaned down low. Here, the taut pink balls drew up and roiled under his tongue as if trying to pull away from the stimulation. Starsky trapped them in his mouth, giving them no escape. He scraped his bare teeth against the base of Hutch's cock, right where it disappeared into his nuts, and Hutch groaned and jerked. Then Starsky planted his mouth on the smoothness below Hutch's balls, sucking and kissing his way down until he had to spread Hutch's cheeks to go further, and Hutch gave a startled gasp.

Starsky lapped hungrily at the clenched little ring, tasting Hutch. The tight muscle tensed further under his tongue. Starsky raised his head.

"Relax," he admonished. Hutch was staring down between his legs, his eyes a little wide.

Hutch nodded jerkily and Starsky continued the torment, stroking at the wrinkled flesh before worming his tongue inside. He heard Hutch give a silvery moan, and pushed deeper until the muscle dilated, letting him in.

Letting me in. Starsky had wanted it so bad, dreamed of it for so long, that being inside Hutch, even this much, was making his cock throb on every pulse. He pulled away and slipped the tip of his middle finger into the slick opening, feeling Hutch jump and clench.

"You're so tight," Starsky whispered, looking up again. "I can't wait to fuck you."

Hutch smiled at him crookedly, his eyes a little uneasy.

"That what you want?"

"Oh yeah," Starsky replied. "What I've been wanting ever since that party so long ago, only I couldn't let myself think about it. I'm thinking about it now, though." Starsky slid his finger in a little deeper, and Hutch blinked, his lips parting.

Starsky continued to whisper, "Can't think of anything else but how good it will feel putting my cock in you. Show you what it's like. Make you mine." A sudden thought made him frown. "You never let any of those other guys...?"

Hutch shook his head, looking mesmerized. "Van just wanted to see them...see them wanting me, I guess. She only let them touch." His eyes squeezed closed as Starsky penetrated him more deeply, his fingertip just glancing against Hutch's prostate gland.

"God! What?" Hutch tipped his head back, and Starsky eagerly stroked harder against the spot, feeling the tight muscle loosen from the stimulation.

"Well, I ain't Van," Starsky said, grinning wickedly. "I'm gonna do more than touch, baby." He pulled away to go grab the K-Y where it hid in his dresser under his long johns. His hands were shaking as he uncapped it and returned.

Hutch had lifted himself onto one elbow, and he beckoned Starsky to the edge of the bed. "I want to touch, too," he said, his eyes on Starsky's erection. Then he reached for Starsky's cock, and for the first time Starsky knew what it was like to be cradled in that big hand, cradled like Hutch's Magnum, with those strong fingers curled around him. Starsky groaned with pleasure and pushed his hips forward, his eyes closing.

And then he felt wetness slip over the crown, and looked down in surprise to see Hutch's mouth on him, sucking at the tip.

It took all the force of Starsky's will not to thrust into that pink mouth, shove his cock down Hutch's throat. But Starsky had other plans.

"Nuh uh," he said, pulling away, cool air kissing his cock where Hutch's mouth had wet him. Starsky handed him the open tube, and Hutch squeezed some out, then coated Starsky's cock, his eyes never rising above it. The touch of Hutch's fingers drove Starsky nearly insane, and as soon as the job was done he took back the lube and crouched between Hutch's legs.

"Pull 'em up," Starsky said, gesturing at Hutch's legs. Hutch obeyed him, the uncertainty back in his face.

Starsky gentled him with his hands, stroking the long thighs, watching Hutch's lips curl at the tender gesture. Then Starsky spread Hutch's cheeks with one hand and with the other squirted lube directly onto Hutch's asshole, wanting to get him good and wet. He wetted two fingers and went into Hutch with them.

"Jesus!" Hutch gasped, his head falling back again, his throat distending on a swallow.

 "You won't believe how good it can be," Starsky said in a low, soothing voice. "Gonna take you to the moon with my cock, Hutch."

He saw a flush run up Hutch's face, and grinned privately when he realized how much the dirty talk was exciting his prim partner. Starsky worked the tight muscle with slow thrusts, both fingers spreading the gel deep.

It's show time. Starsky took a spare pillow, folding it, and patted Hutch's hip until the dazed eyes looked up at him. "Lift up." Hutch planted his feet, and Starsky tucked the pillow right under the small of his back. Then he hustled between Hutch's raised legs and lifted them over his shoulders.

"You ready for this?" Starsky had to ask, because Hutch was looking more than a little shocked at the new position.

But Hutch nodded, that same curious smile twisting his lips. "Didn't I say 'anything'?"

Starsky closed his eyes, afraid the words alone would put him over, let alone the sight of Hutch lying open for him, waiting to be taken. He guided himself to Hutch by feel, finding the slick opening with the head of his cock.

Hauling a deep breath, Starsky thrust hard and quick, taking Hutch's cherry in one smooth, deep stroke before his body could react to fight him. Hutch sucked in a harsh breath, and Starsky waited out the inevitable clampdown, his nerves swimming with pleasure.

"God, Starsk," Hutch gasped.

"Easy. Easy, babe," Starsky said, leaning down to run his palm over Hutch's heaving chest before taking Hutch's cock in his hand. He thumbed the tip, and Hutch cried out again.

Starsky massaged the pre-cum into the swollen head, and shifted his hips experimentally. The tight muscles gave before him, and he started to thrust, moving deeper into Hutch's warmth, tilting his hips to try to hit Hutch's sweet spot. He knew he'd succeeded when Hutch made another sound, a deep cry of disbelief and pleasure.

He looked down and saw Hutch's mouth open as he twisted beneath him. Starsky continued to thrust into the thrashing body, pumping the thick cock, and his mind flashed on the round 'O' those lips had made, way back when at that party when he'd watched Hutch coming, and had known such a powerful desire that he could only push it far, far beneath all thought.

But the desire was his to claim now, and Hutch's pleasure, and he smiled when at last Hutch yelled and convulsed around him, sending hot spurts against his belly and down his fingers, and Starsky kept pounding harder and harder, mindless hunger driving his hips as he forced his cock into Hutch again and again, until finally he came, pulsing deep inside the heat, his cock jerking within the tight sheath.

"Oh, God. Hutch! Oh, Hutch."  His arms gave out, and he lowered himself to the sweaty chest beneath him, Hutch's legs dropping to wrap around his hips.

Starsky rested there, his lips pressed to the swell beside Hutch's nipple. He thought he could almost reach it to give it a kiss, if he could find the strength to move his head...he tried to shift, but Hutch's arms tightened around him.

"Don't move," Hutch said.

Starsky was glad to give in. He let himself stay in Hutch's arms, all his weight on Hutch's body.

After a while, Hutch pulled them both over onto their sides and slid downward. Starsky was vaguely aware that Hutch's lips and hands were moving on his chest.

"What're you doin' down there," Starsky mumbled, his lips strangely numb.

But the kissing and stroking continued uninterrupted, and Starsky raised one hand to thread it in the pale tangle of Hutch's hair. He felt Hutch's mouth kissing obsessively at the topmost scar, the one high and to the left. The one that had almost clipped his aorta, they told him later, like he needed to know that little piece of information.

"Blintz?" A little worried now, Starsky pulled Hutch away and stared down. He found himself swimming in blue, a bright pool of gratitude and what looked like love.

Loves me. I know it. I always did.

But first things first. "You know you got to get over this thing, this worrying you're doing," Starsky said softly. "I'm going back out there in..." he checked the digital clock on his nightstand, "...less than eight hours."

Hutch's lids dropped over the blue, and he rested his forehead against Starsky's chest. "I'm not sure I can do it, Starsk," he whispered, his voice sounding shaky.

"You can." Starsky played with Hutch's hair while his mind sent him images of a typing desk and two long legs disappearing beneath. He shook the memory away. "You can, babe, and I'll tell you why. 'Cause every night we'll be here, together, reminding each other in the best way that we're still around." It rang true as he said it, and Hutch's head pulled away from his fingers as he moved up again to rest his face near Starsky's.

"And how're we gonna pull that off, huh? Sleeping together every night without the whole squad catching on?"

"Well, I got an idea," Starsky said, leaning in for a kiss. "You know if there are any apartments open at Venice Place?"



Starsky woke an hour or two later with Hutch's lips glued to his neck like a vampire, and he moaned and twisted under Hutch's hunger.

"Eat you alive," Hutch threatened, and he rolled out of bed to pull Starsky groggily to his feet and toward the bathroom. In the shower, Hutch dropped to his knees and soaped Starsky's cock with his big hands, staring at it from inches away as if cataloging it for a collection. Starsky leaned back and rested his head against the cold tile while Hutch rinsed him off. And then his hot mouth sucked Starsky in, gobbling him up and then pulling back again, over and over until Starsky growled and grasped the damp, golden head and thrust himself forward to come inside of Hutch's mouth.

Starsky was trembling from the speed and power of his orgasm, and was hardly aware of being toweled off and towed back to bed. Then Hutch was on Starsky's back, slick fingers probing his ass, making room for the big cock. Starsky lowered his damp forehead to the pillow and raised his hips, wanting it badly.

The first thrust burned like fire, a clean, piercing pain that settled to a throb within a few moments. He heard Hutch panting behind him, and felt strong fingers on his butt cheeks, kneading them while Hutch waited for him to adjust. Then the pumping began—fast, deep strokes that left Starsky weak with each shot to his sweet spot. When a hard hand reached below him to fondle his spent cock, he reared his head back and moaned with delight. Hutch chuckled behind him and continued to pound his ass roughly. Then Hutch came with a low groan, throbbing inside him, and Starsky heard his own name as a fractured whisper before Hutch withdrew and collapsed beside him.

After a pause he felt Hutch leave the bed and visit the bathroom, the water running, and was almost asleep when Hutch returned to roll Starsky into his arms.

Starsky barely had the energy for a damp, fumbled kiss before sleep took him out again.




"This is insane." Hutch's murmur awoke Starsky, who opened grainy eyes to see dawn threatening light through his bedroom window. He felt a wet mouth on his nipple and whimpered, looking down into Hutch's face.

"I can't seem to get enough of you," Hutch confessed, sounding embarrassed.

Starsky grinned. "Doesn't matter. There's always more where that came from."

"Is there?" Hutch's eyes were suddenly crystal-bright. "It's not like we talked about it any."

"I didn't think we needed to," Starsky said, surprised. He pushed his fingers through Hutch's hair, brushing it back. Hutch closed his eyes, but they opened again when Starsky said, "You and me, babe. You think, after all the time it took for us to get here, I'm ever letting you go?"

Hutch cleared his throat. "That's good, then," he said roughly. "'Cause I don't want to. Ever." Then he made a self-deprecating noise. "Although we will have to leave this damned bed eventually."

"Not 'til you finish what you started, baby blue," Starsky said pointedly, pulling Hutch's hand down to his erection. Still starving, my God.

Hutch laughed softly and stroked him with a gentle hand. Starsky was glad for the care, because the truth was his cock was little tender at that point. But not too tender to bury it in Hutch's ass, Hutch writhing on his belly, cursing brokenly as Starsky took him for the second time. Starsky had tried to ease slowly into the swollen opening, but it was Hutch who changed it, moaning and arching like a cat, pushing back against him.

He came too soon, unable to withstand the pleasure of Hutch wriggling around on his shaft, or the sound of Hutch's pleading whimpers. Starsky quickly withdrew and rolled Hutch onto his back so he could drink the moans from his lips.

And then he took Hutch into his mouth.

Until he wasn't hungry anymore.





July 2, 2006
San Francisco, CA

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