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“S.. starsk? H… h… help me! Oh, God, p… please help me!”

“Hutch! What is it?!” Starsky was instantly alert. He heard the pain and even fear in his partner’s voice. “Where are you?” He was slipping on his shoes as he listened for Hutch to tell him where he was.

But the next voice he heard wasn’t Hutch’s.

“Detective Hutchinson! You are a bad boy, aren’t you?

“No! Don’t! P… p… please?”

Starsky heard the phone fall and the sound of a scuffle and Hutch continuing to yell ‘no’. He pressed the phone harder against his ear, trying to hear what was happening. He could hear punches landing, but had no clue who was being hit. He could hear Hutch call out now and then.

“HUTCH!”

Suddenly, he heard the sound of a gunshot, and of something heavy hitting the floor. Then silence.

“HUTCH?”

The handset of the phone was picked up. Starsky held his breath, hoping to hear Hutch.

“Detective Starsky, I hate to inform you that your partner is not able to return to the phone at this time. I had intended to make this call in an hour or two, but it would seem Hutchinson wanted to speed up my timeline. So, we’ll get started.”

“Who is this? What happened to Hutch? I heard a gunshot! Is he all right? Where is he?”

“Patience, Detective. Your questions will be answered, all in good time.” Starsky heard the sound of a hand being put over the receiver and a voice talking to someone else. “Yes, put him in the room. Tell the doctor to… proceed. But, not too far.”

“Doctor? Proceed with what? You better tell me what happened to my partner or I’ll…”

“Stop making threats. They neither scare me nor intimidate me.” The voice paused. “I want you to listen very carefully to what I have to say. Your partner’s life depends on you doing exactly as I tell you. Have I made myself clear, Detective?”

“What do you want? Who is this?”

“I want something that was taken from me. It was taken by you and your partner. So, I took your partner from you. I propose we make a trade.”

“What kind of sick…”

“Shut up and listen. Or Hutchinson dies!”

Starsky held his questions. He couldn’t risk Hutch’s life. He’d… they’d figure this out together. For now, he had to play by this guy’s rules.

“So, you can follow instructions! That will make this much easier on everyone involved.”

“Just tell me what you want! But I want to talk to Hutch before I do anything.”

“I’ll go you one better, Detective. I’ll let you see Hutchinson.”

“Tell me where, and I’ll be there.” Starsky gripped the phone so hard; it felt like his fingers were making dents in the receiver. He quietly pulled his gun out of its holster and checked that it was fully loaded. He slid it back into the holster.

“You don’t make the decisions here. I will have two of my men pick you up. But, first you need to know the rules of this little arrangement.”

Starsky remained quiet for a moment. “Tell me.”

“First, after I have explained everything, you will put the receiver down. Do not hang up. This will insure you don’t call your police friends. If you hang up, Hutchinson dies.”

Starsky closed his eyes. He had been planning on calling Dobey.

“Second, when I tell you to leave your house, you do so immediately. You will not take your gun with you. If you have your gun when you reach the car I am sending to pick you up, Hutchinson dies.”

Every time the man said Hutch was going to die, it felt like someone had punched him in the stomach. He bit his lower lip and prayed Hutch wouldn’t be hurt any more… or worse.

“Third, you will follow the directions of the men I send to get you instantly and completely. If you don’t… well, I think you have the picture.” The man chuckled.

“Yeah, I got it. Now what do you want? What is it you think Hutch and I took?”

“I don’t think you took it, I know. But we’ll discuss that when you arrive here.”

“Just tell me! I’ll get it and we can exchange. Hutch for whatever.”

“Do I need to remind you, Detective, that you are not making the decisions here?”

Starsky remained silent.

“Put the phone down, take off your gun and walk out of your place, now. A car is waiting for you. Your partner’s life is now depending on your actions.”

Hearing the phone on the other end being placed on top of something, Starsky laid his phone receiver down. He slipped his holster off and hung it on the hook inside his closet door. He tried to think of something he could take as a weapon, but decided against anything, so as not to endanger Hutch. He opened his door and saw a non-descript dark black sedan idling at the bottom of his stairs. He hurried down the stairs.

There were two men standing at the bottom of his stairs. Starsky didn’t recognize them, but made note of everything he could to help identify them later. He held his jacket out to show the men he was unarmed. The taller man grabbed him, pushed him against the door of the car, and frisked him. Pulling him away from the rear door, he shoved him into the door the other man had opened.

“Lay down on the seat, face down. Put your hands behind your back.”

Doing as he had been told to do, Starsky felt handcuffs being snapped on his wrists. Before he could protest or try to move, a dark cloth hood was yanked over his head.

“Don’t make a move or sound. Don’t try to remove the hood. Your partner will pay for it.” The man shut the door and within a few seconds both were in the front seat, and the car was pulling away from Starsky’s house.

~*~*~*~*~

Trying to keep track of the turns the car was making, Starsky realized it was useless. The driver could be driving around and around the block, for all he could tell. Neither man spoke. They had the car’s radio blasting. He focused his mind on seeing Hutch. Once they had a chance to talk, they’d figure out what to do.

It was hard to tell, but he thought they had been driving for about thirty minutes when the car came to a stop. The door by his head was opened and the two men pulled him out of the car by his upper arms. He winced at the pain this caused in his wrists from the cuffs, but didn’t say anything. They left the hood on him and began to walk on either side of him, leading him where they wanted him to go. He could smell the ocean and hear the waves on a shore, but with most of California being near the ocean, that didn’t give him much of an idea of where he had been taken.

He heard a door being opened. Hearing their footsteps echoing, he guessed they might be in a warehouse. Still not much a clue of where he was as the coast was dotted with them. He was brought to a halt and he heard the voice of the man who had called him.

“Any problems?”

Both men replied ‘no’.

“Welcome, Detective Starsky. I am feeling encouraged by your cooperation. Perhaps this trade will go smoothly after all. Take the hood off him.”

Starsky blinked his eyes to adjust to the sunlight pouring in the high windows of the warehouse he was in. A man in a very expensive looking suit was standing in front of him. “Where’s Hutch? I want to talk to him before anything else happens.”

“I’m afraid speaking to Detective Hutchinson won’t be possible, but I did promise you could see him.” He nodded to the men to escort Starsky to a door about ten feet away. “I must caution you, your partner received some… injuries… when he was taken, and also while you and I talked on the phone. This is regrettable and not what I had planned. But, I didn’t expect him to be awake when he arrived here.” He pushed the door open and the men walked Starsky into the room.

“Hutch…” His breath caught. Hutch was lying in what looked like a hospital bed. The head of the bed was slightly elevated. He had some kind of oxygen mask on his face and intravenous lines running into both arms. His face was bruised. The right eye was almost swollen shut. Stepping a bit to one side of the bed, he could see a catheter bag hanging from the side of the bed. He noticed the urine in the bag had a reddish color. He also saw a dark red spot on the sheet over Hutch’s left side. He wondered if Hutch had been shot during his aborted call.

“Hutch!”

Hutch didn’t move or indicate awareness of hearing his name. Starsky turned back to the man in the suit. “What happened? Why is he…”

“Detective Hutchinson is in a medically-induced coma. The doctor felt it was the best way to keep him under control. Also, it is the best way to insure that you cooperate. Once you have returned my property to me, the doctor will give him the proper meds to bring him back to consciousness. Until that time, he is receiving the oxygen and fluids he needs.”

Seeing Starsky looking at the bloody urine, he continued, “He took a punch to one of his kidneys. Doctor assures me the blood is normal under such circumstances.” The man took a step toward the door. “Let’s discuss what I need from you out here.”

Starsky didn’t want to leave Hutch, but he also didn’t want to upset the man holding Hutch’s life in his hands. He took one last look at Hutch, hoping he could feel that he was there. Following the man back into the main part of the building, he tried to look around for any clue as to where the building was located.

“I would suggest you pay attention to me, Detective.” When Starsky focused on him, he continued, “Last Wednesday, you and your partner intercepted one of my couriers. He had less than a pound of weed on him. I am not concerned about that. He was also carrying half a million dollars’ worth of fine diamonds. The diamonds are what I am concerned with. They are what I want in return for your partner’s life.”

“Diamonds? Hutch and I patted him down. He didn’t have any diamonds on him.” Starsky’s gaze darted back to the door that separated him from Hutch. “We found the weed and a gun, but no diamonds.”

“Ahhh, I wondered why I didn’t hear anything about the police finding a fortune in diamonds. It would seem my former employee decided to go into business for himself.”

“So, let Hutch go. The police don’t have your diamonds and…”

“No, I don’t think so. I think you are still the key to getting my gems back. You can… interrogate… Seaton. You can pressure him to tell you what he did with my diamonds. Did he sell them to someone else? Did he hide them somewhere? I wouldn’t be able to talk to him, not without raising a lot of questions that I would prefer not to raise right now. So, Detective Starsky, it’s still up to you to find my merchandise. Detective Hutchinson’s life is still in your hands.”

Starsky began to say something, but was interrupted, again.

“My men will deliver you back to your house. You will keep the hood on, until you can no longer hear their car. Another of my men will be watching to be sure you comply with these instructions. If he calls and tells me you tried to read the tag number, your friend in there will pay for it.” He motioned for Starsky to follow him to a window in the room Hutch was in. He pulled a curtain back and tapped on the window, nodding at the doctor sitting behind the desk.

Starsky watched as the man pushed a button on the panel in front of him. He looked up as he saw Hutch begin to cough and struggle against the restraints holding him in the bed. “HUTCH! Stop it! What’s happening?”

The man nodded and the doctor pressed the button again. Hutch immediately calmed.

“You see… we can impact your partner’s life at a second’s notice. Even if you knew were you are right now, you could never get here in time to save him if my men call me.”

Starsky kept his eyes focused on Hutch, until the man pulled the curtain closed. He nodded at the man in front of him. “I understand.”

“You will call this number when you have the stones.” He handed Starsky a piece of paper with a phone number on it. “My men will pick you up, just like the last time. I get my diamonds, you get your partner.”

The hood was pulled back over his head and he was led back out to the car. Tossed in the back seat again, he tried to remember anything about the ride. He couldn’t hear sounds as the men in the front still had the radio turned up very loudly. They turned so many times, he was totally lost.

When the car stopped, he was hauled out and walked a few steps away. The cuffs were removed. One of the men reminded him, “Remember, wait until you can’t hear the car before you take the hood off, or your partner is dead.”

He pulled the hood off when he could no longer hear the car. He hurried up the stairs and picked up the phone to call Captain Dobey and Huggy. Worried that they might have bugged his phone while he was gone, he hung the phone up. He grabbed his car keys and ran to his car to go to Hutch’s. He quickly looked through the apartment. The bed wasn’t made, and the lamp was lying on the floor beside it. In the kitchen, the coffee pot was still plugged in. He unplugged it. Walking to the door, he opened the closet door and saw Hutch’s holster and gun hanging there. He opened the door, walked out, closed and locked it.

He drove to Huggy’s and told him what had happened and all he could remember about the men and the warehouse. Huggy promised to put the word out on the street. “Don’t worry, my man, we’ll get our blond brother back.”

From there he headed to the station to talk to Captain Dobey and see what he could find out from the man Hutch and he had arrested.

~*~*~*~*~

Starsky walked into the station and straight to Captain Dobey’s office. He shut the door behind him and sank into a chair. He looked at the empty chair were Hutch usually sat and shuddered.

“Starsky?” Captain Dobey had noticed the shudder. “What’s wrong?”

“That guy Hutch and I arrested yesterday... Seaton. His boss kidnapped Hutch. They have him…” He had to stop for a moment. “Hutch is in a coma. That guy has some quack who gave Hutch something to put him in the coma. He called this morning. Made sure I cooperated with the thugs he sent to pick me up. They have Hutch somewhere down by the ocean, but I have no clue where exactly. They beat him up, Cap’n… and I think he was shot. Oh, God!”

“Starsky! Tell me what this has to do with Seaton.”

After steeling himself, Starsky continued, “Seaton had some diamonds on him. Half a million worth. He didn’t have them when Hutch and I searched him. This guy wants his diamonds back. Or he’s going to kill Hutch. Cap’n…?”

“Tell me what you need. Huggy?”

“I stopped and talked to Huggy before I came here. He’s gonna tap his snitches; try to get a line on Seaton and the diamonds. I need to talk to Seaton. See if I can get him to talk.” Starsky looked away from his boss, then back. “This doctor… all he has to do is push a button and Hutch dies. He… they… demonstrated before they let me go. He just flipped a switch and Hutch started struggling to breathe.”

“You need to send the crime lab to Hutch’s. It looked like they took him from there. His gun was still in the closet.”

“I’ll get them over there right away. Hang in there Starsky. Hutch needs you to be strong right now for him. Let me call down and get Seaton taken to an interrogation room.” Dobey called for the crime lab to go to Hutch’s, then he called downstairs and relayed his orders about Seaton.. “Now, tell me anything you remember about where they’re holding Hutch. Maybe something you don’t even know you remember?”

Starsky spent the next fifteen minutes telling his boss what little he remembered. He was anxious to talk to Seaton. When the jailor called to tell them Seaton was in an interrogation room, Starsky stood and almost ran from the room. Dobey followed him.

Feeling off-balance without Hutch beside him, Starsky knew he was going to have to play both good and bad cop. He knew Captain Dobey was in the observation room. He also knew Dobey would overlook things if Starsky got a little… creative with his technique.

Pacing around the small table where Seaton was sitting, Starsky didn’t say anything. He looked at the small man as if he were a bug under a microscope. He waited until Seaton began to fidget, then he asked a simple question. “Where did you hide the diamonds?”

The man jerked his face up to stare at Starsky. “What… what are you talking about?”

Starsky noticed a fine sheen of sweat popping out across his brow and upper lip. He smiled to himself. “Oh, come on, Seaton. You think half a mil in diamonds will stay a secret for long? It’s all over the street. I have a feeling you are going to be a very popular man for all kinds of folks who will want to visit.” Starsky paused, then continued, “I bet there are some who are even lining up right now to pay your bail. And I’m pretty sure they will be only too happy to give you a ride to pick them up. Of course, they may leave you… or rather, your body… there. Sort of an offering to replace the gems.”

Seaton was dripping sweat now. And about to jump out of the chair.

Starsky walked behind him and put a hand on his left shoulder. When the man jumped, Starsky smiled to himself. He let the silence drag out a few more minutes then said, “Yeah, I’d say your life won’t be worth a nickel, much less half a million. What do you think?”

Letting the silence build, Starsky leaned against the wall and studied Seaton.

“I could help you out here, Seaton.”

“How?”

“Well… if you tell me where you hid the diamonds. I could go pick them up. Turn them over to the evidence officers. Then maybe no one else might want to beat you to a pulp trying to find out where they are. I could have you put in an isolation cell. Make sure all visitors are thoroughly screened. Maybe even let it be known to certain snitches that the diamonds were recovered by the police. Might keep you alive.” Starsky shrugged, as if it didn’t really matter to him.

Captain Dobey watched Starsky work. He smiled when he saw how scared Seaton was becoming. When they had Hutch back, he needed to give them both a few extra days off. They were his best detectives, as well as his friends. He needed to be sure they knew that.

Seaton screwed up his courage and said, “I want to go with you to pick them up. Maybe you might take them, keep them for yourself, and come back to tell me they weren’t there.”

Trying very hard to keep his temper in check, Starsky figured it might be his best bet. He didn’t want to spend time arguing with Seaton. He had to get back to Hutch before something happened to him.

“Okay. I’ll take you. You show me where the diamonds are and I’ll bring you back here. I’ll even speak with the judge on your behalf. Tell him you cooperated.”

“Then, let’s go.” Seaton stood up, turned his back to Starsky and indicated he wanted the cuffs off.

“Oh, no. Those cuffs stay on. I’m not taking any chances on you trying to run.”

Starsky took Seaton by the arm and walked him out of the room. When he turned to walk him down the hallway, Dobey stepped out of the observation room. “Starsky, where are you taking him?”

“Out, Captain. We’re… ahhh… going for a burger. Right, Seaton?”

The man nodded.

“You can’t take him out of here without the proper paperwork. You know that.”

“It’s on your desk, Cap’n. Filled out in triplicate.” Starsky smiled at Dobey. They had planned this to make Seaton trust Starsky. He grabbed the man’s arm and began to hurry him down the hallway. He knew Dobey had assigned officers to tail him.

~*~*~*~*~

On Seaton’s directions, he drove back to the alley where they had arrested him. Parking the Torino, he pulled Seaton out of the car by his arm. “Ok, we’re here, where are they?”

“Over here.” Seaton began to walk over to one side of the alley where there was a stack of old crates and boxes. You’ll have to move these two out of the way, since you won’t take off the cuffs.” Seaton nodded at the two he wanted Starsky to move.

Moving the crates Seaton had indicated out of the way, Starsky looked around the ground. When he didn’t see anything, he grabbed the man by the shoulder and shoved him against the wall of the building. “I don’t know what kind of game you are playing, but you’re playing with the wrong man.”

He drew his gun, cocked it, and shoved the barrel under Seaton’s chin. “Your boss has my partner. He’s going to kill him unless I get his diamonds back for him. So, I don’t have time to play games with you. Tell me where they are. No more games. I’m going to count to three. If you don’t start talking, well, I guess you won’t have to worry about your boss coming after you. Two… three…”

“Hey, wait! What happened to “one”?!”

“I’m in a hurry. Two… thr…”

“You can’t do this!”

“My partner’s life is on the line. I’ll do whatever I have to do to save his life. See, without him, I won’t have a life. Two… thr…”

“In the pipe! They’re in that pipe! Unscrew the lid! They’re in a black pouch! I swear!”

Seaton looked like he was about to cry. Keeping an eye on him, Starsky stepped over to the pipe extending out of the building. He was able to turn the lid easily. When it was loose, he dropped it and reached into the pipe. About eight inches back he felt the pouch. Pulling it out of the pipe, he opened it and dumped the contents into his palm. Seven very large white stones fell out of the pouch. He replaced them and tucked the pouch into the back pocket of his jeans.

“Okay, Cap’n. Got them.”

Seaton began to curse as Captain Dobey and several officers appeared. Starsky told him, “I said I’d bring you. I didn’t say anything about not inviting others to the party.”

Two officers led Seaton away. Starsky turned to his Captain. “You have the tracker?”

“Won’t need it.”

“What? Why not?”

“Huggy came through A woman driving by some warehouses looking for a building to use for a painting saw some men dragging a tall blond man into one of the buildings. She’s a friend of Huggy’s. She heard he was looking for information about a kidnapped cop. She called Huggy, he called me. I’ve got men around the warehouse all ready. They’re waiting for orders. How do you want to play this?”

“I’m going in. I need to be in there… in case. If we try to raid the place, Hutch could be dead before we even get in the door. You got a wire…”

Dobey held up a small transmitter. Starsky chuckled. “You’re always are a step ahead, Cap’n.”

He slipped his jacket off, and pulled his shirt up so Dobey could tape the wire in place. He pulled the pouch of diamonds out of his pocket and dumped the stones into Dobey’s hand. He grinned when he saw the stunned look on his face. “I didn’t count ‘em, Cap’n. Should one or two find their way into Cal and Rosie’s college fund, I’ll never know.” He bent down and picked up seven rocks from the alley and put them in the pouch.

Dobey snorted, “You know me better than that, Starsky.”

“Yes, I do! Thanks Cap’n. For trusting me…”

“Tell me later what a great boss I am, right now we need to rescue Hutch. I’ve got an ambulance, with Doctor Griswold in it, stationed about a block from the warehouse. Let’s go get your partner. I’ll be about three blocks behind you. Be careful, Dave.”

“Hutch is careful, I’m cute. Remember?” He touched Dobey’s shoulder, turned, and ran for the Torino. He had seen a phone booth about two blocks from where they were. He didn’t want to waste the time driving back to his house. Every minute might be the difference between life and death for Hutch.

~*~*~*~*~ 

He was standing on the curb next to the phone booth when the same dark sedan and men pulled to a halt. He put his hands behind his back and turned facing away from the men. As soon as the hood was placed over his head, he was roughly shoved into the back seat. The ride was the same as the others; loud music and lots of turns.

He was pulled from the car and marched into the building. The hood was removed and he found himself standing in front of the same dark-suited man.

“Quick work, Detective.” He held his hand out. “My diamonds.”

“Not so fast.” Starsky stared at the man.

“What? Do I need to remind you that Hutchinson’s life depends on you following my instructions?”

“And you getting your diamonds back will depend on my instructions!”

“You better start talking, and fast, or your partner is a dead man.” The man’s gaze turned steely and he motioned for one of his men to go open the curtain over the window to the room where Hutch was being held.

Starsky could see Hutch. And he saw the doctor look up, questioning what he should do. “Let him know everything is fine. If he touches that switch, you will never see your stones.” He watched as the man nodded to the doctor.

“Very well, what do you want?”

“I want these cuffs off. And I want to go see my partner.”

The man nodded to the two who had brought Starsky into the warehouse and one of them took off the handcuffs, while the other pulled his gun and kept it trained on Starsky as they all walked into the other room.

Starsky walked over to the bed and reached out a hand to touch Hutch’s face. It felt cool and a little damp. “Hutch? Hey, I’m here, buddy. It’s all going to be okay. Just hang in there.” He wanted to snatch Hutch up and run from the building with him, but knew that would get them both killed.

He forced himself to take a step away from Hutch. “I’m going to reach into my pocket. Your men know I am unarmed.” He reached into his jeans pocket and counted out the seconds. Timing would be crucial for his plan to work. He pulled out the black velvet pouch and tossed it to the man in the suit. Watching the man open the pouch and begin to dump the rocks into his hand, he said, “It didn’t take much to get Seaton to give up the stones. I would say it was as easy as one, two, THREE!”

He quickly lunged for the perp with the gun and was able to grab the gun and knock him out with a hard punch to his head. He turned the gun on the other three men in the room just as he heard gun shots and the sounds of police entering the building from several directions.

“Put your hands in the air. Don’t make any other moves. Now!”

The doctor raised his hands, then quickly dropped them to the panel in front of him. Before Starsky could do anything, he had pushed one of the switches, then he shoved the entire panel to the floor.

Starsky watched the panel shatter and heard Hutch begin to gasp at the same time. He kept the gun trained on the men, as he watched the doorway for Dobey and his men to enter. It seemed like forever, but was, in fact, only a few seconds.

The officers quickly cuffed the man in charge, but when they headed for the doctor, Starsky saw him put something in his mouth. He began to cough and gag. He grabbed at his chest and fell to the ground. Starsky could tell he was dead before he hit the floor. He tossed the gun behind him and hurried over to Hutch.

“Hutch! Hold on, babe.” He quickly removed the mask from his face. It seemed like the mask had prevented Hutch from taking a breath. He placed two fingers on the side of Hutch’s neck and could feel a faint pulse. He could tell Hutch wasn’t breathing.

He quickly bent over and began artificial respirations. Between breaths, he shouted, “”Get those medics and Doctor Griswold in here, now!”

“We’re here.” Doctor Griswold and the medics moved Starsky aside and took over life-saving efforts. Oxygen was attached to an ambu bag and one of the medics began rhythmically squeezing the bag, pushing oxygen-rich air into Hutch’s lungs. Dr. Griswold was listening to Hutch’s lungs. He quickly pulled the sheet down to check where the blood on it had come from.

Wincing, Starsky saw the fiery red gunshot wound on his partner’s left side. He could see blood still seeping from it. He watched as the medics and doctor worked to stabilize Hutch. He was carefully moved to a gurney and rolled toward the door, with one medic continuing to work the ambu bag.

“Cap’n?”

“Go with Hutch. I’ll be there shortly.”

With that, Starsky took off running after the medics. He climbed into the back of the ambulance and found a corner where he wouldn’t be in the medic’s or doctor’s way, but could still reach out and touch Hutch. He half-heard what Doctor Griswold was saying over the phone to the hospital emergency room, but didn’t panic until he mentioned having a ventilator ready.

“Doc?”

“Until we know what that quack gave him I don’t know how to treat him. If I give him the wrong thing, it could kill him. I may need to put him on a ventilator to keep him stable.”

Starsky reached out and put his hand on Hutch’s wrist, being careful not to dislodge the intravenous line the medics had started there. “Hold on, Hutch. Keep fighting.” He whispered the words, hoping Hutch could hear them.

~*~*~*~*~

When they rushed Hutch into a room in the emergency room, Starsky refused to be denied being by his side. He shook off the guard’s attempts to stop him, then finally flashed his badge at him.

“Starsky, I am going to have to put Hutch on the ventilator. This isn’t always an easy procedure, and may be hard for you to watch.” Doctor Griswold motioned for Starsky to step out of the room.

“Do it. I’m not leaving him.”

With that, Starsky watched as they prepped Hutch and began to insert the tube down his throat. He swallowed and hoped Hutch wasn’t feeling any pain with the procedure. He relaxed a little when it was accomplished on the first try. Watching them attach the ventilator, he found himself breathing with the same rhythm of the machine.

Doctor Griswold then began checking out the gunshot wound. He glanced up at Starsky. “This is not deep. We’ll clean it and I’ll put in a few stitches. He’ll be on an antibiotic through his IV because it looks a bit red.” A nurse cleaned the wound and Doctor Griswold quickly closed it with sutures.

“All right, let’s move him.”

“Move him?”

“We’re going to move him to an ICU room where they can monitor his breathing closely while we check his blood to see if we can discover what medications he might have been given. We’ll need to know, so we can give him the proper drugs to bring him out of his coma.”

“Yeah, you told me.”

He followed them up to the second floor ICU area. Once Hutch was settled in the bed, and all the nurses stopped scurrying around him, Starsky stepped into the room taking a chair and moving it close to the bed. Reaching out, he took Hutch’s hand in his and began to talk, “Hutch, you’re in the hospital. They got you on a breathing machine. Dobey and the guys are searching that warehouse for any clues as to what that quack gave you. Soon as they find it, Doc will fix something to wake you up. You just have to hold on. You hear me, babe? Hold on. Please?”

~*~*~*~*~

An hour later, Captain Dobey stepped into the room. At Starsky’s hopeful look, Dobey spoke, “Sorry, Dave. We couldn’t find anything in the warehouse about what they gave him. His apartment was clean. No prints.” He paused and looked at Hutch and all the machines surrounding him. “How’s he doing?”

“How do you think he’s doing?” Starsky looked up at his Captain and friend. “Sorry, guess I’m just on edge a bit.”

“I understand. We got the doc’s address so I sent a team there to search. Why don’t you head over there and help? I’ll stay here with Hutch. Huggy’s heading this way soon, too. I promise I’ll call if anything changes.”

‘No…”

“Dave, you need to get out of here for a while. This could take some time. Hutch will need you when they give him the antidote. Go help with the search. I won’t leave him. I promise.”

“Okay, Cap. Just… if he should wake up…”

“I’ll tell him you’re on your way back, and then I’ll call you.”

Starsky got the address of the doctor’s house, squeezed Hutch’s hand and headed out. The sooner they found the formula for what that quack had given him, the sooner he would have his Hutch back.

~*~*~*~*~

After three hours of searching the small house, they hadn’t found anything remotely resembling a chemical formula. Starsky thanked everyone, locked, and re-sealed the door. Leaning against it for a few seconds he couldn’t help but think they had missed something… he had missed something. Pushing away from the door, he walked to the Torino and headed back to the hospital.

He knew better, but he still hoped Hutch would be awake when he got back.

~*~*~*~*~

Hurrying into Hutch’s room, he saw Huggy sitting beside the bed. “Hey, Hug. Any change?”

“No, Starsky. Nothing. Sorry.”

“Not your fault, my friend. Thank you for being here with him.”

“My pleasure… anytime. How are you holding up?”

Starsky shrugged. He took the chair Huggy had vacated. As he was getting ready to tell Huggy goodbye, Doctor Griswold came into the room.

He checked the readings on the machines. “No change. Captain Dobey told me you didn’t find anything at his house.”

“Not a damn thing!” Starsky pounded his fist on the arm of the chair. “How could a doctor do this?! I thought you all took an oath to heal people, not try to kill them!”

“There are greedy people in all walks of life, Starsky. If someone offers them enough money, morals get tossed by the wayside, like so much trash. I don’t understand how he could throw away his life like this, either.”

Starsky suddenly sat up straight. “Trash…”

Both Huggy and the Doctor stared at him.

“Trash! There were a bunch of papers in the trash can under the sink in his kitchen. I didn’t pay any attention to them! What if…?” Starsky stood up and grabbed Huggy’s arm. “Can you stay a while longer? I have to get back to that house! Doc, get the lab ready! If I’m right, you’ll have the formula!”

“You know I’ll be here ‘til I’m not needed, my man. Go!”

Doctor Griswold called the lab to alert them so they would be ready when Starsky returned.

Starsky ran for the exit, ignoring staff telling him to slow down. He couldn’t slow down. Hutch’s life was on the line!

~*~*~*~*~

Starsky put the MARs light on the roof and flipped the siren on. “Come on, baby, we gotta go get those papers so we can save Hutch’s life.”

He arrived at the doctor’s house in record time.

Taking the house key out of the ashtray where he had tossed it earlier, Starsky ran up the front steps. He tore the yellow crime scene tape off the door and unlocked it. Running, he headed for the kitchen, flipping on the light as he went. Opening the cabinet door and reaching under the sink, he pulled the trash can out. He took a step to the table and carefully pulled out the papers in the trash can. Smoothing them out on the table he saw they were covered with chemical formulas.

“Jackpot!”

He gathered all the papers and ran back to the Torino, stopping to re-lock the door on his way.

“I’m on my way, Hutch. Just hold on, babe.”

~*~*~*~*~

Doctor Griswold met Starsky at the ICU doors. He took the papers and glanced at them quickly. He smiled as he looked back up at Starsky. “Good job, Detective!” He left with the papers, heading for the lab.

Starsky headed to Hutch’s room. Huggy stood up as he walked in, looking a question at him.

“Yeah, Hug. I found them! Doctor Griswold is on his way to the lab right now with them!” He turned to the bed and took Hutch’s hand. “You hear that, buddy? You’ll be waking up soon. I promise.”

“Do you need me to stay?” Huggy asked.

“No. We’ll be okay. But thank you, Hug! You’re the best! We’ll owe you!”

“You two turkeys already owe me! Your bar tab is at least four months late!” Huggy looked at Hutch, lying so still in the bed. “But, I think getting sleeping beauty to wake up… well, that might be worth tearing up that tab!” Huggy squeezed Starsky’s shoulder and left.

~*~*~*~*~

Starsky sat beside Hutch’s bed for a few minutes. Then he was up and pacing in the small room. Then he would sit again. He was both excited and scared. What if the formulas weren’t the right ones? He talked to Hutch, not letting any of his doubts show.

“Doc is down in the lab cooking up a cure for you right now, buddy. You hear me? Hang on and you’ll be awake and griping about the lack of health food in a hospital in no time! You hear me? Hold on, babe. Just hold on.”

It was almost two hours later when Doctor Griswold came back in the room. He had a syringe on a tray, which he placed on the table by Hutch’s bed.

Starsky was ready to explode with nerves. “Doc?”

“We got it! I’m getting ready to administer the medicine to Hutch now. If all goes well, he should start breathing on his own, and we can wean him off the ventilator.”

“So, he’ll be waking up…?”

“Yes, he should wake up fairly soon.” He cleaned a port on one of Hutch’s IV lines and began injecting the medication into it. “We’ll be monitoring him closely, keeping an eye on his vitals and… well, everything.”

As soon as the medication was in, Starsky looked at Hutch’s face. There was no change. He reminded himself of what the doctor had said. ‘Time’, he had to give the medication time. He wasn’t a patient man. He knew he would need to be patient now, or lose his mind.

Starsky sat in the chair by Hutch’s bed through the night, afraid to close his eyes in case he missed Hutch waking up. He drank enough coffee to keep a platoon of men awake. He watched as nurses and interns came in, checking on Hutch. And he continued to talk to Hutch, urging him to wake up, encouraging him just to open his eyes.

But, other than his body taking over some of the breathing from the ventilator, there was no sign that he was waking up. By seven in the morning, he was becoming more and more concerned. So, when Doctor Griswold walked into the room, Starsky was waiting for him.

“Why isn’t he waking up? Were those the wrong formulas? What’s going on?”

“Easy, Starsky. I told you this might take some time. Actually, we are almost ready to take him off the ventilator. We’ve turned it down almost every time we checked it during the night. Hutch’s lungs are now doing almost 95% of his breathing. That’s a good sign.”

“Then why is he still out?”

“He was on their meds for quite a few hours. The meds we were able to formulate and give him are working. But it’s just going to take some…”

“Time… I know. Sorry, Doc. I just want him to wake up.”

“So do I, Starsky. So do I. Why don’t you go home and sleep for a couple of hours? I’ll call the second Hutchinson starts to wake up. I promise.”

“Thanks, but I’m okay. I’ll stay. He… he needs me to be here.”

Having known this pair for some time, Griswold had known Starsky wouldn’t leave. And he knew that Hutchinson did need Starsky close… but Starsky needed to be close to Hutchinson as well. They had an undeniable connection with each other. He nodded at Starsky, acknowledging his choice.

“If things continue as they have been, I believe we will remove the ventilator before noon. Do you want me to have one of the nurses bring you a pillow and blanket at least? You could try to sleep in the chair?”

“Yeah. Thanks, Doc. Sorry about…” He waved his hands, indicating his earlier outburst.

Patting Starsky’s shoulder, Doctor Griswold said, “Totally understandable. Try to get some rest.” He checked Hutch’s vitals and the ventilator setting one last time and walked out of the room.

~*~*~*~*~

Refusing to give into sleep, Starsky alternately paced the small room and sat, holding Hutch’s hand while encouraging him to continue to wake up. He ate the hamburger the nurses brought in to him. The only breaks he took were to go to the bathroom. He had a feeling he needed to stay close to his partner.

Around eleven, Doctor Griswold and two nurses came back into the room. “We’re going to remove the ventilator, Starsky. We’ll remove it, and watch Hutchinson’s breathing. If he seems to be having trouble, we may have to re-insert it. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. Do you want to step outside the room?” He knew the answer to that question, but felt like he should offer the option.

“No. Go ahead.” Starsky stood and pushed his chair back so he and it wouldn’t be in their way. He watched the preparations closely, not sure why, as he had no idea what they were about to do, other than pull that breathing tube out of Hutch.

The nurses and Doctor Griswold worked smoothly, as a team. Each performed the tasks assigned to them. Before Starsky even realized it, the tube was out and Hutch was breathing on his own.

Hutch was breathing on his own!

Smiling, Starsky nodded at Doctor Griswold. He didn’t trust himself to speak right now. Odds were good he would break down crying. He was tired and the stress of not knowing if the antidote would work had him wound tight.

“When… how soon will he wake up?”

“I can’t tell you for sure. Besides the gunshot wound, he suffered from some pretty heavy blows. His urine still shows traces of blood, but it’s much improved from when he was admitted. His body is taking time to heal.”

“Yeah, okay.”

“One of the nurses or one of my residents will be coming in frequently to check on his status. That’s normal and nothing to be concerned about.” Doctor Griswold smiled at Starsky. “I wish you would get some rest. It may still be a while before he wakes up.”

“I’m alright. I… I… just don’t want to miss…”

“I know.”

~*~*~*~*~

Starsky alternately paced the small room and sat in the chair, touching Hutch’s hand or arm. He kept up an almost constant stream of pleas for Hutch to wake up, to open his eyes. The nurses brought him in small snacks which he paid little attention to. They also brought coffee, which he drank.

Around three in the afternoon, his body refused to stay awake any longer. He pulled the chair close to the bed. He reached out and put his left hand on Hutch’s right hand. Pulling the blanket over his body, he sat back in the chair with the pillow cushioning his head. He was only going to close his eyes for a few minutes. Just a few…

~*~*~*~*~

Pale blue eyes opened slightly.

Trying to make sense of where he was, Hutch closed his eyes, then re-opened them. His throat hurt. So did his side. As he took inventory of himself, he realized he hurt all over.

Finally figuring out he was in a hospital, he glanced to his right.

Starsky.

He should have known, if he was in the hospital and not still in the hands of the bad guys that Starsky would be here.  He tried to say his name. “S…s…stars...”

His throat protested his attempts and he could barely hear his own voice.

Looking around for the nurse call button, he couldn’t find it.

Oh, well, he was tired. He’d just close his eyes for a few seconds, and then try again to get his partner’s attention.

Just a few…

~*~*~*~*~

Starsky woke up suddenly. Something… something…

Glancing at Hutch, he saw him still sleeping soundly. It was four in the afternoon. He’d slept for an hour. His body felt hungover.

“Hutch? Hey, you hear me, babe?”

No answer. And no movement from Hutch. He needed to hear from Doctor Griswold what was going on. He’d get up and ask the nurses to call him… In just a few minutes.

Within seconds he was sleeping again.

~*~*~*~*~

Hutch opened his eyes again about an hour later. He still hurt. His throat was dry and he was afraid to try speaking again. He closed his eyes and focused his other senses on his environment.

What was that noise?

It sounded familiar.

Starsky!

It was Starsky! He was snoring lightly. He’d know that sound anywhere. He had heard it enough in the car on overnight stakeouts.

Starsk. He was here. He had somehow rescued him and was now guarding him.

Wait! How could he be guarding him if he was snoring? Hutch tried to gather saliva to swallow so he could wet his dry throat and try to speak. The first swallow felt like fire going down his throat. He moaned with the pain.

A nurse came in just then. She looked at Starsky, asleep in the chair and walked quietly over to the other side of the bed. She bent down and whispered. “Welcome back, Mister Hutchinson.”

Hutch nodded at her and raised his left hand to his throat.

“You were on a ventilator for about twenty hours. We removed it today. I’m sure your throat is dry and sore?” When he nodded, she reached behind her to the counter and picked up a cup full of ice chips. “Want to try a few of these?”

He nodded again and she carefully spooned a couple small chips of ice into his mouth. The first swallow hurt, but the cold and wet felt so good, he opened his mouth for another couple of chips.

“I’m going to go call Doctor and tell him you are awake. I’ll leave this cup of ice on the over-bed table. Just go slow. Don’t overdo. If you start coughing, stop. Are we clear on that?”  

Hutch pointed at Starsky and raised his brows.

“He finally fell asleep about three hours ago. He’s been here, and awake, since you were brought in. He’s only left you long enough to go to the bathroom. I know he wanted to know as soon as you woke up. Do you want me to wake him?”

Hutch shook his head ‘no’.

She smiled at him and walked out to the nurse’s station to call the doctor.

His hands were shaking a little, but Hutch managed to feed himself several more chips of ice. They still hurt, but not as bad. He set the cup back on the table, leaned back and closed his eyes. He tried to remember what day it was, but he wasn’t sure how long he had been held. He’d have to ask Starsk when he woke up. He tried to go back to sleep, but Starsky began to snore louder.

“Starsk…” His voice was still quiet and it still hurt to speak. There was no answer. He tried a little louder, “Starsk.”

“Huh? S’eepin’.” Starsky answered in his sleep.

“Starsk, you’re snoring.”

“Not time yet. You’ shift.”

Hutch watched as Starsky pulled the blanket closer and pushed his head back into the pillow. He needed to try something else.

“Starsk! Help…” He said it as loud as he could, which wasn’t very loud.

Starsky jumped out of the chair, getting tangled in the blanket and almost falling. He had his gun in his left hand and the pillow in his right. He finally kicked the blanket out of the way, and stood up straight, looking around the room, trying to find the danger.

When his eyes landed on Hutch’s face and he saw the eyes open and the smile on his face, he holstered his gun and stepped up to the bed. “HUTCH!” You’re awake! NURSE!! NURSE!!” He moved to the doorway to call for the nurses, but she was right there.

“What? Is Hutch okay? His doctor is on his way up here now.” She walked over to the bed and saw the smile on Hutch’s face. She laughed. “You woke him up?”

Nodding, Hutch moved his hands in a pantomime of what Starsky had done. He laughed and then decided that wasn’t a good thing to do when his throat complained.

“Easy, Hutch. Take some slow breaths, then we’ll try a little more ice.” She helped him, coaching his breaths and watching the monitors for his vitals at the same time. Then she spooned up a couple more chips of ice. “Doctor Griswold will be here in a few minutes.” She smiled, “Welcome back, Detective.”

As she walked out of the room, Starsky walked over to the bed. ‘You really are awake?” When Hutch smiled at him, Starsky felt his eyes tear up. Then he remembered how his partner had awakened him. He glared at him, but he was too happy to see those blue eyes open to take issue with Hutch.

“God, Hutch, I was so scared. I thought you were going die.” He took Hutch’s right hand in his and held it as he looked at Hutch’s eyes and smiled. “You feelin’ okay?”

“Throat… sore.” Hutch whispered.

“They had to… had to put you on a ventilator. You weren’t breathing so good.”

Hutch nodded. Then he pointed to his left side. “Hurts.”

“You managed to get shot while fighting with the goons who grabbed you. It’s just a crease. Doc put some stitches in and slapped a bandage on it. You got some bruising from the fight with them. One of your kidneys was bleeding, but Doc says it’s clearing up.”

Doctor Griswold walked into the room. “Welcome back to the living, Hutch.” He began to check the monitors. He asked ‘yes/no’ questions, so Hutch could answer with a nod instead of having to speak. “Everything looks very good. I think we can move you to a room out on the ward tomorrow. For now, you need to rest, work on the ice chips, and later tonight, we can try a liquid diet.” He chuckled at Hutch’s grimace. “I don’t think you’re up for tacos just yet.” He left the room, telling them to call the nurse if there were any problems.

Both men were tired, but neither wanted to sleep. Starsky sat back in his chair and scooted it closer to the bed. They locked eyes, and hands. So much was said, with not a word being spoken. They both nodded, messages sent and received.

Starsky picked up the blanket and pillow and, after making sure Hutch was comfortable, settled back into his chair. Still holding hands, they closed their eyes and drifted off to sleep. Secure in the love flowing back and forth. And knowing they had dodged being separated again.

Both slept.

Each guarding the other.

As always.

~*~*~*~*~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

EPILOG

Hutch woke up and for a few seconds he didn’t remember where he was. Blinking to get his eyes to focus, he realized he was still in the hospital. But he was in a private room now, not the ICU.

Hearing a soft sound, he looked to his right and saw Starsky asleep in a chair pulled close to the side of the bed. Since Starsky was sleeping, Hutch took advantage and spent some time looking closely at his partner.

Starsky had saved his life. There was no doubt about it. And it wasn’t the first time his loyal partner had saved him. Hutch wasn’t sure he could accurately count the number of times. He felt something clench in his heart. What would he do without him?

Looking at Starsky, he noticed his hair was messier than normal, with the curls going every which way in no particular order. Hutch knew how soft those curls were. They had hugged often enough for him to have had ample times to feel that softness against his face. And when he had saved Starsky’s life, he had bent his head and kissed those curls more than once.

Unlike his own mostly straight hair, Starsky’s was a mass of confusion. But there was nothing Hutch would have liked more than to run his fingers into that mass. To feel those curls wind around his fingers, almost like they were trying to trap and hold his fingers prisoner. And they would release that aroma that had and would always be associated with Starsky. A little sandalwood, a little sweat, and a lot pure, male Starsky.

Letting his eyes roam downward, he stared at the face that, at times seemed more familiar than his own. That expressive face displayed Starsky’s feelings for the entire world to see. Unless he was undercover. Then Starsky could slip on a mask that even Hutch had trouble seeing through at times.

He focused on Starsky’s nose. Nothing really special about it. Straight and strong, it was just a nose, but Hutch had the most incredible desire to kiss the tip of it. Wait! Where had that thought come from? He shook his head then regretted it because it made him feel a bit dizzy.

His vision dropped to Starsky’s lips. Slightly parted in slumber, they allowed a soft snore to escape now and then. Hutch studied those lips, feeling both drawn and compelled to memorize them for some reason. Soft. They looked soft. Kissable. Desirable.

Hutch shook his head again. What was he thinking?  

Blinking, then looking up at Starsky’s closed eyes, Hutch was struck by how long the lashes were. They fanned out over his cheeks, curling slightly at the end. They were thick. He’d rarely seen lashes so lush and thick; not even on any of the women he had dated.

Closing his eyes, he pictured those deep blue eyes when they were open. He’d read a quote somewhere about the eyes being windows to the soul. Well, that was certainly true with his partner. Shining with laughter. Steely with resolve. Welling with tears. No matter what, those eyes told the story of Starsky’s feelings. Hutch opened his eyes and focused on Starsky’s eyes again.

Suddenly, those eyes opened.

Hutch was caught staring at his partner. He could feel a blush spread over his cheeks.

He also felt something else. Looking down, he realized the sheets covering his groin were tented. He had an erection! Just from looking at Starsky! He grabbed the extra pillow lying beside him on the bed and tried to casually move it to cover his erection.

~*~*~*~*~

Starsky woke up feeling like someone was staring at him. When he opened his eyes, he found it was his partner. He blinked and glanced around the room. As his glance skimmed over Hutch, he was shocked to see the sheets over Hutch’s groin were covering an erection! He looked back at Hutch’s eyes as Hutch moved a pillow over his groin.

“Hutch?”

“Uh, s… sorry, Starsk. I, ahh, just woke up. You know?”

Standing, Starsky pulled the chair flush against the edge of the bed, and sat down. Casually, he reached over and moved the pillow back to Hutch’s side. His eyes moved from Hutch’s blushing cheeks down to the obvious erection. “I thought that only happened in the morning because your bladder is full? Do you need the urinal or to go to the bathroom?”

“No. I… I’m okay. Look, it’s not a big deal, Starsk.”

Starsky raised his gaze from the prominent erection to Hutch’s face. “Looks like a pretty big deal to me, Hutch.”

“Starsk…”

“No, don’t ‘Starsk’ me, buddy. I wake up to find you staring at my face and you have an erection. What’s going on?”

Hutch had no idea what to say. How was he supposed to tell his straight partner of years, that he had become sexually aroused, just by looking at him? He picked up the nurse call button, intending on calling for someone to come into the room to derail Starsky from his line of questions.

“Oh, no you don’t.” Starsky grabbed the call light out of Hutch’s hands. “We’re going to talk.”

“Look, there’s nothing to talk about. It… it just… happened. Okay? It doesn’t mean anything.” Hutch couldn’t look at Starsky now. He kept his eyes on the window, looking out at the blue sky. He thought of how much bluer Starsky’s eyes were, and then could have kicked himself. He shifted in the bed, trying to make his condition less evident.

“I disagree, babe. I think there’s a lot for us to talk about.” Starsky reached out and framed Hutch’s still-red cheeks with his hands. Keeping his eyes on Hutch’s, he slowly bent down and placed a kiss on Hutch’s lips. Getting no resistance he kissed him again, and again, this time running his tongue softly along the seam of his lips.

Hutch groaned and opened his mouth, closing his eyes at the same time. He thrust his tongue up to duel with Starsky’s. He moaned.

What was he doing? What were they doing?

He pulled away and stared into those blue eyes which were so close to his face.

“Starsk… I… what… we…”

“Exactly, babe… ‘we’. ‘We’ need to have a long, long talk. I think its way past time for it.” Starsky dropped another soft kiss on Hutch’s lips then settled back in his chair. He reached out and slid his hand under the sheet, then under Hutch’s hospital gown, placing it on Hutch’s thigh, close to the straining erection. Lightly stroking his fingers over the soft skin there, he saw Hutch’s cock jump.

Hutch was unable to stop the small thrust of his hips from the touch.

Starsky looked back at his partner’s face.

“Yeah, babe… time for talk… and other… things.”

 “Other th… th… things?” Silently, Hutch cursed his propensity to stutter when he became nervous. “L… like what?” He was also having trouble meeting Starsky’s gaze again.

Starsky slid his fingers a little closer to Hutch’s cock, continuing to stroke softly. The tips of his fingers brushed ever so gently against the base causing Hutch to turn slightly toward him and thrust again. Starsky could feel the heat radiating off it.

Smiling at Hutch, he said, “Things like… how much I love you; have loved you for a long time. Things like… how I have thought about what it would be like to kiss you… to make love to you. Things like… why you’re so hard right now; why you keep thrusting and trying to move closer to my hand. Things like… if I move my hand… take your cock in my hand… stroke it… firmly… would you last more than a few seconds?”

As Starsky said that he moved his hand and grasped Hutch’s erection. He pumped it three times and stopped.

But Hutch didn’t stop. He continued to pump his cock into that tight grip. Once. Twice. On the third thrust he cried out as he orgasmed. His head pushed back in the pillow as his hips arched toward Starsky. Eyes closed, he panted, trying to wrap his spinning mind around what had just happened.

When his eyes opened, it was to see Starsky smiling at him. Those beautiful deep blue eyes were focused on his. “Yeah, I think we have a whole lot to talk about, babe.”

~*~*~*~*~

Hutch felt lost. Starsky loved him? Wanted to love him? His head was spinning and his heart was racing. Maybe he was still asleep and this was a dream?

“Starsk, I… you… we…” He took deep breath and tried again. “You want to make love… with me?” It was hard, but he kept his gaze locked on his partner’s.

“Yes.”

“But, when? How?”

Starsky chuckled to himself as his usually smooth-talking partner was reduced to one-word sentences. “Seems like it’s been forever now. But if you want specifics, I would have to say it’s been about a year since I started feeling different about you. I would look at you, and all I could think about was kissing you, making love to you.” He stopped talking and looked down. “I didn’t know whether to say something to you, or not. I would catch you looking at me and I would think ‘he feels the same thing’, but I wasn’t sure so… I never said anything to you.” He looked back up to see the stunned look on Hutch’s face. But there was a small smile on his lips too, so Starsky took heart from that.

“That long? You should have said something. I’ve felt a change for about the same time, but I didn’t know what to do either.” He gave a soft laugh, as his eyes roamed over Starsky’s face again. “Some detectives we are, huh?”

“The best detectives, Hutch. With everything but ‘me and thee’. I was afraid of changing that… us. And how was I supposed to let you know that I wanted more? That I wanted it all… with you?”

“I understand, babe. Believe me, I understand.” Hutch reached out and took Starsky’s hand in his. He pulled him up out of the chair and down so he could kiss him. A proper kiss. A loving kiss. Full of all the love and emotion he was feeling.

They both heard a noise outside the door and pulled away from each other. A few seconds later, Clair, Hutch’s nurse stepped into the room after giving a quick knock on the door.

“How’s my favorite patient doing today?” She moved around the bed, checking the monitors in the room for his vitals, noting his pulse rate was slightly elevated. When she looked back at Hutch, she saw a blush on his face. She also noted the wet sheet and then the distinctive aroma of semen. Smiling softly she said, “I’ll get you a clean sheet, Hutch. Don’t be embarrassed, it happens after traumas more than you would think.” If she noticed both men were now blushing, she kept that observation to herself.

These guys were heroes to her. Who they loved, and how, was their business. Besides, she herself was in a committed relationship with another female. A police officer, who happened to work with them. She had been lovers with Minnie for almost year now. Who was she to judge?

“I’ll be right back in.” She stepped into the hall and down to the linen closet. Grabbing a new set of sheets, some towels, and washcloths, she knocked and stepped back into the room. She noticed Starsky had scooted his chair back a bit from the bed, and they were both still pink-cheeked. Setting the linens down on the over bed table, she went into the bathroom and ran warm water into a bath basin. She took it and some liquid soap into the room and put it beside the linens. “I thought you might like to freshen up a bit. Would you like me to help bathe you or are you feeling up to doing it yourself?” She paused, then with a soft smile continued, “Perhaps Starsky might be able to help you? That might be more comfortable and less embarrassing for you?”

They both looked at her, and when she winked at them, they smiled at her and then laughed.

“I’m pretty sure I can help him out if he needs it, Clair.” He stood, stepped over to her and kissed her on the cheek. “You’re a peach!”

Clair blushed, smiled, and walked to the door. “I’m going to put a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door. I’ll be back in about an hour or so, unless you need something sooner. And I may be a ‘peach’, but like my good friend Minnie says, ‘You two are trashy boys!’” Laughing softly, she walked out of the door, pulling it firmly closed behind her.

~*~*~*~*~

They looked at each other, both putting Clair’s comment about Minnie and that phrase together. They laughed and relaxed, sure their activities would be kept safe by Clair.

“Minnie…” Starsky began.

“And Clair…” Hutch finished.

“They are perfect for each other.” Starsky said.

“A bit scary, too. With their brains, and strengths, they could end up ruling the world!” Hutch added in an awed voice.

“You got that straight, buddy!”

A silence fell between them, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. Starsky got up and walked around the bed, picking up the washcloth and dipping it in the warm water. He lifted the sheet and began to wash the evidence of Hutch’s orgasm off his abdomen and chest, despite Hutch’s protests that he could do it himself. As he gently cleaned Hutch, he bent down and kissed each area once cleansed.

Hutch couldn’t take his eyes off his partner. He could see the love in his eyes and felt the caring in his hands. When Starsky took his penis in his hands and began to clean it, Hutch almost cried at the tenderness Starsky was handling him with.

“Starsk… I love you. I know I’ve said that to you before, but… now it has a deeper meaning. I love you. And I want to love you.”

Pausing in his ministrations to Hutch, Starsky looked up into his partner’s eyes. “I know, Hutch. I feel the same. I thought it would feel… hard… or bad… but it’s so…”

“Natural?” Hutch asked.

“Yeah, babe. ‘Natural’. Like it’s always been this way, we just didn’t admit it. To each other, or ourselves.”

Hutch nodded.

When Starsky had cleaned Hutch of the after-effects of his orgasm and the sweat it had cost, he dumped the water in the bathroom and put the soiled towels and linens in the cloth basket, also in the bathroom. He walked back out into the room to see Hutch had scooted to the left side of the bed.

“Hutch?”

Hutch raised the sheet on the right side of the bed. “Join me?”

“Is that a good idea, babe?”

“It’s the best idea I’ve had for a long time, Starsk. Clair will warn us if we’re about to be disturbed.” He patted the clean sheets. “C’mon, I want you beside me. I need to have you close. Please?” He looked up, into Starsky’s eyes; his own eyes pleading his case.

Never being able to resist Hutch, Starsky toed off his shoes, took his jacket and holstered-gun off and hung them on the back of the chair. He sat on the edge of the bed then swung his legs in. He watched Hutch put the sheet over him. He scooted closer when Hutch held out his arms. Finding himself wrapped securely in those long arms, he laid his head on Hutch’s shoulder, hearing his partner let out a soft sigh.

“Hutch?”

“Hmmm?”

“Have you ever…”

Sleepy blue eyes opened. “A few times. In college. You?”

“Same here. In the service.”

“Did you… like it?” Starsky watched Hutch’s face closely.

Yeah. But...”

“But… what?”

“But… it wasn’t anything like what I… you… what we did. Here in this bed. I’ve never come so quickly, been so turned on before.” Hutch leaned closer and kissed Starsky.

They would kiss, pull apart and smile at each other. Then they would kiss again.

Hutch slid his right hand down Starsky’s chest, stopping to rub and pinch the hard nipples he found there. His hand continued down, until he was cupping Starsky’s cock through his jeans. He rubbed up and down the length of it then reached further down to press lightly against his balls. He smiled as Starsky pressed his body closer and claimed his smiling lips.

“Open your jeans for me, babe. Please?” Hutch whispered to Starsky.

Starsky looked at the door, then back into Hutch’s eyes. Without a word, he reached down, unbuttoned the button then slid the zipper down. He raised his hips slightly and slid his jeans and briefs down just far enough to release his cock which was beginning to ooze pre-come.

“Thank you, babe. I want to touch you. Like you touched me. I want you to feel the love I felt.” Hutch kissed Starsky then slid his hand down that muscled chest and abdomen. He felt Starsky’s abdomen contract at the touch of his hand. When he reached Starsky’s cock, he took it in a light grip, slowly pumping his fist up and down. Touching him the way he liked to be touched… stroked… he began to work his hand harder and faster. His eyes would move from watching his hand to watching his partner’s face. He couldn’t decide which was more fascinating.

He had Starsky’s cock in his hand.

He had Starsky’s cock in his hand!

Leaning over, he kissed Starsky’s lips, pushing his tongue inside that hot mouth while his hand pumped faster and harder. He ran his hand over the top, smearing the fluid there, lubricating his hand with it. Groaning, he kissed Starsky harder. His left arm was under Starsky’s shoulders, so he pulled his right leg up, moving it between Starsky’s legs. He pushed gently up against his partner’s tight balls, feeling the body he was holding so closely jump.

Breaking his lips free, Starsky sucked in a couple deep, panting breaths. “Huuutchhh!”

“Shhhh. It’s okay, babe. It’s okay.” Hutch re-claimed his lips, thrusting his tongue in rhythm with the movement of his hand. He knew it wouldn’t be much longer. Reaching down by his hip, he grabbed the washcloth he had taken from the stack of linens and gently placed it over the top of the cock he was working so hard.

He felt Starsky’s body stiffen. He gentled his stroke, and pulled his body closer with his left arm. Starsky pulled out of the kiss and pressed his lips to Hutch’s shoulder to muffle his yell as he came, shuddering and gripping Hutch as tightly as he could.

Wrapping his right arm around Starsky, Hutch gently rubbed up and down his back. He kept up a reassuring litany of words, trying to help calm him. When he felt the tension in Starsky’s body let up, he eased him back so he could see his face. When those dark blue eyes focused on his, he smiled softly. “Welcome back, love.”

That crooked grin spread across Starsky face. “Damn. You trying to kill me? Warn me next time so I’m prepared for what’s gonna happen.” Starsky leaned in and kissed Hutch, then rested his forehead against his. “Good thing neither of us was hooked up to one of those heart monitor things.”

Hutch chuckled. Then he laid his head back on his pillow, closed his eyes, and took in a deep breath.

“Hey, you okay, Hutch.”

“Yeah. Just basking in the Heaven I am holding in my arms right now.”

Ducking his head, Starsky took a moment to get control of his emotions. “Aw, babe. You’re the one glowing like the sun. I’m the lucky one here.”

Opening his eyes, Hutch replied, “We’re both lucky, Starsk. After all the years we’ve been partners, friends… to take this step… to both want this… is nothing short of a miracle.” He paused and a sick look came over his face. “You… you do want this… don’t you? I… I mean… if you don’t… this doesn’t have to mean anything. It could just be…”

Kissing Hutch to get him to stop talking, Starsky waited until Hutch melted into the kiss, pulled back and said, “I want this. I want YOU. This means everything to me, Hutch. YOU mean everything to me.”

“Starsk, fix your jeans, and put this in the linen bag. I didn’t want Clair to have to bring us more new linens.” Hutch blushed and handed Starsky the wash cloth he had used to collect Starsky’s semen. “Then crawl back in bed, and let’s rest for a little while. Okay?”

Standing, Starsky pulled his zipper up and re-buttoned his jeans. He took the cloth and put it in the hamper, shaking his head at Hutch’s ingenuity.

He thought about sitting back in the chair, but Hutch lifted his head from the pillow, held the sheet up and patted the bed beside him. “They’ve seen us in bed together before. It’s not going to shock them, least of all, Clair.”

So he slid back onto the bed, scooting close, and wrapping his arms around Hutch. They didn’t talk, just held each other and exchanged soft kisses. Both drifted to sleep within a few minutes.

~*~*~*~*~  

Clair tapped lightly on the door about two hours later. She had a tray with sandwiches and sodas on it. Opening the door quietly, she saw them cuddled together on the bed, sleeping. She smiled at the picture they made and quietly backed out of the door, and put the food and drink in the staff refrigerator. It would keep until they were awake.

~*~*~*~*~

Clair looked up from the nurse’s station when the elevator door opened. She smiled and got up when she saw Minnie step out onto the floor. Minnie was carrying a small bouquet of flowers. They hugged and Clair said, “For Hutch?”

“Not even close, girlfriend. These are for you.” Minnie followed Clair to a small kitchenette behind the nurse’s station.

Clair pulled a vase from under the sink, filled it with water and put the flowers in it. “Thank you, Min. They’re beautiful!” She glanced around, saw no one, and kissed her.

“I’ll have to remember to bring you flowers more often!” Minnie grinned. “How’s Hutch doing? Is he awake yet?”

“He is awake and doing well! I’d let you go in and see him, but Starsky’s in there and…” She blushed and stopped speaking. Not sure what to say.

Minnie grinned. “I’ll just peek in the room, see if their awake.”

“NO! Errr… I mean I’m pretty sure they’re sleeping now. Hutch was pretty tired and Starsky was too, from staying up to keep an eye on Hutch.”

“I’ll be very quiet.” Minnie said, holding her fingers up in a Girl Scout gesture.

“Let me go look in on them.” Clair was nervous. She didn’t want to say something that might make Minnie wonder what was going on.

“Clair… are you trying to keep me from seeing them in a … compromising position?” Minnie grinned again. When Clair stared at her, she continued, “I’ve known those boys were headed for a sexual relationship for a long time. Probably even longer then they themselves have.” She laughed at the look on her lover’s face.

“You have?”

“Girlfriend, it was written all over their faces. Every time they would look at each other, touch each other… it was like a bright, glowing red, neon sign to me. Others didn’t see it. But I sure did! Just like I saw the glances you gave me. That’s why I asked you to go to coffee with me six months ago. And that was the best question I ever asked anyone!” She leaned in and kissed Clair.

“Now, I wanna peek in on them.”

Minnie walked over to the door and carefully opened it. She peeked through the small opening and saw the guys curled up on the bed together. Hutch was lying on his left side and Starsky was lying against Hutch, with his head on Hutch’s chest. Hutch had his arms around Starsky, and his face was pressed into Starsky’s curls.

Clair glanced in and Minnie closed the door. They both smiled, and Minnie wiped a tear from her eye.

“Bout time those trashy boys got it right!” Minnie pushed Clair away from the door as they both started to laugh softly. They walked back to the nurse’s station, talked for a few minutes then Minnie left so Clair could get back to work.

~*~*~*~*~

“Well, Detective, I think it’s time to spring you from the hospital. Your labs are all normal, your chest X-ray shows your lungs are clear, and I see no reason to keep you any longer. So whenever you’re ready to go, you can. I’ve left some prescriptions for antibiotics and pain meds with Clair. Fill them and use ALL the antibiotics. The pain pills as you need them. Also, make an appointment to see me in one week at the office. Do you have any questions?”

“No, Doctor. Thank you. You saved my life.”

“Your partner did most of the work, coming up with the formula for what they gave you. But, you are welcome.”

“I’ll go get you some clothes and be back in under an hour to pick you up. You’re gonna stay at my place for a few days, Hutch. That way I can make sure you are abiding by Doc’s orders. When I get back we can blow this popsicle joint. Anything specific you want me to bring?”

“No. Sweats would be good. More comfortable.”

“You got it.” Starsky leaned down and dropped a quick kiss on Hutch’s mouth. “I’ll be back soon.” He hesitated before he turned to walk to the door. “I love you, Hutch. Just so you know.”

“I do know, Starsk.” Hutch looked right into those deep blue eyes and said, “I love you, too.”

Clair walked into the room as Starsky was leaving. “Okay, Hutch. Let’s get you up and into the shower, so that will be taken care of. One less thing for you to do when you get home. Okay?”

Hutch nodded his agreement, and Clair helped him into the shower in the bathroom, making sure he had everything he needed. “I’ll be in the room if you need help.” Hutch was glad she had done this, as he was very tired once he got out of the shower and into his hospital gown. He was a lot weaker than he had thought he would be.

He signed his release papers and waited for Starsky to return.

~*~*~*~*~

Starsky was back in less than twenty minutes. He put a sack with Hutch’s sweat pants, a t-shirt, and underwear on the bed. “Need help?”

Smiling at him, Hutch nodded. “That shower about wore me out.”

Between the two of them Hutch was dressed and ready to go when Clair brought in a wheelchair for him to ride in down to the entrance. “This is a no-refusal ride, Hutch. You have to use this.” Clair gave Hutch her best stern look.

“I won’t refuse. I think I used up all my energy taking that shower.” He stood and kissed Clair’s cheek. “Thank you. You have been a true angel of mercy.”

“Sit down, you charmer. I’ll give you the scenic tour on the way out.”

Both guys laughed at Clair’s statement. Starsky walked beside the wheelchair, keeping a close eye on his partner. He could tell Hutch was tired. Once they were home, he’d make sure Hutch took a nap. A light snack, then bed. Satisfied with his plan, Starsky opened the passenger door of the Torino and helped his partner out of the wheelchair and into the car. They waved goodbye to Clair and headed for Starsky’s place.

“Dobey radioed while I was heading back to the hospital. Said to tell you he’s glad you’re recovered. He gave me the next five days off to play nursemaid to you.”

“’Nursemaid’, huh? So, like being at my beck and call?” Hutch chuckled.

“More like Nurse Ratched.” Starsky laughed at Hutch’s horrified expression. “Aw, come on, Blintz. You know I love you and would never lobotomize you!”

Hutch laughed. Then he sobered and looked at Starsky. “We don’t have to do anything… you know…”

Stopped at a red light, Starsky looked back at Hutch, “I still want to. I want more with you. I want it all.” He paused, “You changing your mind?”

“No. I thought maybe you might have changed yours. Or maybe it was just emotions running wild because I came so close to dying. Or… “

“Shut up, Hutch. I love you. I want to make love with you. So, unless you’ve changed your mind, this is going to happen.”

Smiling, Hutch reached across the seat and squeezed Starsky’s arm. He took ahold of Starsky’s hand when he dropped it to the seat. They drove the rest of the way home holding hands and exchanging smiles of anticipation.

~*~*~*~*~

Starsky parked the Torino and exited the car quickly to get to Hutch so he could help him out of the car. He opened the door and reached inside to take Hutch’s arm. “Easy. Lean on me, babe.”

Hutch stood up, closed his eyes, and took a deep breath. “Thanks. Starsk.”

They walked up the steps, taking a couple of breaks for Hutch to catch his breath.

“I never realized how many steps there were.”

“You’ve never been in a coma before.”

“And I hope to never be in one again.”

“You took the words right out of my mouth.”

Finally making it to the top of the stairs, Starsky unlocked the door and helped Hutch over to the couch. “Sit. Rest.”

Getting a couple of blankets out of the closet, Starsky put one around Hutch’s shoulders and the other over his legs. “Stay here. I’ll be right back with food and drink.

Starsky hurried to the kitchen and checked what he had in the refrigerator to fix sandwiches with. He had roast beef and chicken. He went back to the living room to ask Hutch which he wanted.

“Awww, babe.”

Hutch had scooted down on the couch and was fast asleep. Starsky debated for a few seconds then walked over and shook his partner’s shoulder gently.

“Hutch, come on. Stand up. Let’s get you into the bedroom. Sleeping here will kill your back.” He managed to get Hutch to wake up enough to walk into the bedroom with his help. Starsky quickly undressed Hutch, and helped him slip into the bed and under the covers.

Deciding he would wait to eat until Hutch woke up, Starsky undressed and slid into the bed. He scooted up behind Hutch and pulled him close. He put his arms around him and held him. He placed a gentle kiss on the back of his neck. After losing out on so much sleep in the hospital he fell asleep quickly.

~*~*~*~*~ 

Hutch became aware of feeling warm. And safe. He felt happiness and love well up inside of him. He was wrapped up in someone’s arms… held tight enough to feel secure. His neck was warm from the breath of the person holding him.

Starsky.

Smiling and scooting back the little bit he could, his entire body was in contact with Starsky’s. Ahhh… that was better. He drifted back into a deep sleep with a smile on his face.

~*~*~*~*~

This time it was the heat of passion that woke him up.

His fully erect cock was cocooned in warmth and wetness. Being lovingly sucked and licked. His hips moved before he was even aware he had moved them. They lifted, asking… no… begging… for more. And more was granted. Those lips closed more firmly around his cock. That talented tongue began to lick and stroke harder, focusing on the area right underneath the head. Even as those feelings registered in his head, his cock was being sucked down… down into a tight throat. The feelings were intense… erotic… awakening.

He forced his eyes open, lifted his head slightly from the pillow and looked down.

Starsky was lying between his legs, sucking on his cock. Taking him deep down his throat then pulling off to suck just the head, using his tongue to flick at the sensitive area there.

Starsky looked up when he realized Hutch was fully awake. He stopped what he had been doing long enough to smile at Hutch and say, “Good morning, Hutch.” Then he ran his hands up Hutch’s sides. He took Hutch’s hands in his and moved them over Hutch’s head. Using his fingers to curl Hutch’s around the bars of the brass headboard, he gave a squeeze, silently telling Hutch to hold on. Then he took up where he had left off. His hands became busy holding Hutch’s cock steady, teasing Hutch’s sensitive balls, and tracing patterns across his perineum to his anus.

Hutch moaned and tightened his grip on the headboard, thankful Starsky had encouraged him to hold on to something. Every time his partner would touch him in a different spot or lick him in just the right spot, Hutch would flinch and tighten his hands more.

Starsky was trying to drive him insane!

“Starsk, you… ahhhh… you don’t have to… damn, babe… I can… you sh… sh… should let me… mmmmm…”

Pausing briefly, Starsky waited until Hutch looked at him. “I want to. I want to love you, to show you how much I love you. Later… you can… later.”

When Starsky returned his mouth to the hard cock in his hand, he no longer teased. This time he worked it with everything he had in him. Taking Hutch deep, sucking harder, gently squeezing the balls he held… Starsky showed Hutch no mercy.

When Starsky began to hum and pushed a wet finger inside his lover’s anus, Hutch lost it.

He turned loose of the headboard to drop his hands to Starsky’s head, threading his fingers deep into the curls there. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to pull Starsky off his cock, or pull him closer. So he just held on as Starsky brought him to a shuddering climax like he had never had before.

“STARSK!! Oh, God… good… so… good…” Hutch could barely speak. The ecstasy he was feeling was too intense.

At the first pulse of Hutch’s cock, Starsky stopped sucking and just held it in his mouth, using his tongue to gently stroke the underside. He waited until the pulses stopped and pulled off, easing the cock back to rest against Hutch’s thigh. He moved up in the bed, smiling as he listened to Hutch panting… trying to catch his breath. He was on his side, with his head braced on his arm. When Hutch’s eyes opened, Starsky smiled a cat-that-ate-the-canary smile. “Good morning. Feel better?”

Hutch smiled then leaned over and kissed Starsky. He tasted himself on Starsky’s lips. He deepened the kiss, wanting more. When they broke the kiss, Hutch caressed Starsky’s face. He ran his fingers through the brunet curls and pulled Starsky’s head to his shoulder. Whispering in Starsky’s ear, he laid out his heart.

“I love you, Starsk. Never… ever felt love like this for anyone else. You have made my heart feel full. I… I don’t know what to say, other than I love you.”

Starsky raised his head and smiled at Hutch. “I feel the same way, babe. Never felt like this before either.” He chuckled. “Took us long enough, didn’t it?”

Hutch yawned and said, “Yeah it did. But maybe it took us just the right amount of time. Maybe we weren’t ready yet… before.” He yawned again. “Sorry. It seems like you took all my energy.” Smiling at Starsky he started to slide down in the bed, wanting to return the favor to his partner.

“Hutch, wait. You need to rest. Doc said to take it easy for the next couple of days.”

“But I want to take ‘it’ hard, Starsk!” Hutch grinned and tried to move again.

“’It’ isn’t going anywhere. ‘It’ will be right here when you wake up after resting.” Starsky pulled Hutch back into his arms. “Rest, Hutch. I want to lie beside you and just sleep. I want to share everything with you. Sleeping and waking, I don’t want to be apart from you.”

Hutch ducked his head to Starsky’s chest, not wanting him to see the glint of tears in his eyes from hearing what Starsky had said.

“Hey? Look at me.” Starsky raised Hutch’s head and stared into his eyes. He saw the tears. “What’s wrong? Are you all right?”

Reaching up, Hutch wiped the moisture away. “Sorry, I’m just so happy. And so in love with you.”

Now it was Starsky’s turn to get misty-eyed. “Come on, Blintz. Let’s catch some sleep before we both turn into weeping willows.”

~*~*~*~*~

Opening his eyes hours later, Hutch looked down, careful not to move his body. Starsky was laying half over him. His head was resting on his shoulder and he had one arm and one leg tossed over his body. He smiled. Content like he had never been before. He laid there for a few minutes then his bladder made its needs known.

Slowly and carefully, he slid out from under his partner. Hurrying to the bathroom, he took care of matters and walked back to the bedroom. Starsky was lying in the same spot, only he had reached out and was now cuddling Hutch’s pillow. Hutch smiled and closed his eyes trying to imprint the image of his naked lover curled up in bed in his mind so he could remember it to paint later.

The contentment he felt, looking at his lover, was exhilarating. Love thrummed through him. He felt like he might burst if he didn’t do something… anything to show Starsky how much he loved him.

Reaching into the top drawer of his bedside table, Hutch pulled out a jar of lubricant. Quietly taking off the lid, he dipped his fingers in. He pulled them out and coated his anus, carefully working the lube inside, stretching himself. His cock became erect as he worked the lube into his body.

Closing his eyes, he clamped down on his need. He was stunned to realize that just looking at Starsky like that would have been enough to make him come.

When he was ready, he gently climbed back into the bed and slowly pulled the pillow away from his lover. Dipping more lube from the jar, he coated his hand and began to stroke Starsky’s penis. Long slow strokes. Base to tip and back. It only took a few strokes and Starsky was hard and pumping into his hand.

“Hutch?” Starsky sleepily questioned.

“Yeah, babe. I need you.”

“What…?”

Hutch slid closer to Starsky. He grabbed the pillow and slid it under himself, raising his ass up. Reaching over, he hauled Starsky in between his legs, sliding Starsky up his body until Starsky’s hard cock was pressed against his perineum.

“Take me, babe. Please?”

Suddenly totally awake and alert, Starsky realized what Hutch wanted. “You need to…”

“I’m ready, Starsk. Make love to me.”

Starsky carefully pushed against Hutch’s anus, realizing it was slick with lube. The tip of his cock slid inside. He rocked carefully and felt the tight muscles stretch to accommodate him. It only took a few thrusts until he was fully seated.

Hutch moaned, “Yessss…”, feeling the stretch and fullness. He tilted his pelvis up, inviting Starsky to move deeper and harder. “More… give me more.”

“Love you, Hutch.” Starsky began to move deeper and faster. Hutch’s body clung to his cock, squeezing it with tightness and wrapping it in heat. He knew he had hit Hutch’s prostate when he felt Hutch’s body jerk and clamp down harder on his cock. He held his body up and rocked in and out, targeting that spot with each stroke. He pulled almost all the way out only to plunge back in as deep as he could go. Hutch’s moans encouraged him to thrust harder, to try to go deeper.   

Hutch was on the edge. He had had lovers before, but none had ever made him feel this good… none had felt this… right. He moaned and moved his hands to Starsky’s ass, pulling him closer and closer. He rocked his hips up; desperate to take everything Starsky could give him. His cock was dripping on his stomach. Moving one of his hands, he began to stroke his cock in time with Starsky’s thrusts.

Seeing Hutch stroking his cock made Starsky wild. He was thrusting as fast, hard, and deep as he could. His orgasm was imminent.

“H… Hutch…?”

“Yesss… now…”

Starsky pushed one last time and his body froze as he came deep inside Hutch. He managed to keep his eyes open and saw Hutch’s cock erupt, spraying come on his stomach and chest. Hutch’s eyes opened and locked on his.

His arms giving way, Starsky eased himself down on top of Hutch. He felt Hutch’s come gluing their bodies together and felt like he had finally found his home. Anything that had been missing in his life was now found.

When he had caught his breath, he said, “This... you… me… this is what I…”

“…have been missing.” Hutch finished his thought.

“Yes.” Starsky smiled. He felt his cock slide out of Hutch and mourned the loss of all that heat and tightness.

Hutch’s body jumped a little as Starsky’s cock slid out of him. He wished they could remain joined forever then realized they were joined forever.

“Forever.”

“Forever.”

As always, they communicated perfectly with only a word or two between them.

After a few minutes, Starsky got up and went into the bathroom. He cleaned his cock and Hutch’s come from his chest and abdomen. Then he took a warm, wet washcloth and towel into the bedroom and cleaned and dried Hutch. He tossed the cloth and towel into the trashcan and slid back into bed to lie close to his new lover.

“Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why did you do that?”

“I didn’t do that… you did.” Hutch chuckled, then sobered. “I wanted to show you how much I love you.” He shrugged.

“I already knew how much you love me.”

“Then I’ll never let you do that again.” Hutch had trouble not laughing as he saw the stunned look on Starsky’s face.

“Let’s not get hasty here!” Starsky said.

Both started laughing and collapsed against each other in a tangle of arms and legs. They were quiet for a time, but both wore satisfied smiles.

“Hutch?”

“Yeah?”

“You okay?”

“With?”

“Everything. All this. Us.”

“Starsk, if I were any more ‘okay’ with this, you’d have to arrest me for premeditated happiness.”

“Good to know. I’ll keep my cuffs handy, just in case.”

Again, a comfortable silence settled between them.

Curled together, touching from head to toe, both basked in the afterglow of making love.

“Starsk?”

“Hmmm?”

“I love you.”

“I love you too, babe.”

“Just wanted you to know.” Hutch said slowly and yawned.

Starsky switched instantly into protective mode. “Enough talk. Enough sex. Doctor said you needed rest. So you need to rest.” He looked down and saw Hutch’s eyes were closed and he was breathing deeply. When he heard a soft snore, Starsky smiled and reached down to tug the sheet and quilt up over them.

“Rest well, babe. I got you.”

A few seconds later, Starsky fell asleep, lying half over Hutch; head on his shoulder, arm and leg tossed over his body; Hutch’s arms around him holding him in place.

Neither had ever slept so deeply.

FIN