"Thrips! Damned thrips!" Hutch sighed and put the spray bottle down to look more closely at the wilting Plechtranthus. It was another one for the trash can. He sensed a question in the silence from Starsky. "They're these tiny bugs that just suck the life out of anything green," he explained without breaking his inspection of the yellowing leaves that had dry, silvery spots all over them. "I should've noticed them sooner. I could've saved at least some of these plants."
A movement caught his eye and he looked up, his mood lightening a little - only Starsky could lounge like that on a hard, straight-backed chair. Starsky reached for Hutch’s arm, and Hutch felt those familiar fingers slide lovingly up over his shoulder and into the hair at the nape of his neck, caressing there. Hutch closed his eyes and absorbed the other message that Starsky's actions, that relaxed posture and the easily extended arm, were broadcasting loud and clear: Starsky wasn't hurting, at least not much. The long, black summer of hospitals, physical therapy, and barely concealed despair was behind them. They had made it.
"Maybe you had something else on your mind," came Starsky’s voice as he moved smoothly to sit behind Hutch on the bench he was straddling. Arms wrapped around Hutch’s chest, and a moist breath touched his neck. Hutch leaned back and tossed the Plechtranthus, still in its pot, to the general direction of the garbage bag where he had dumped other sadly neglected green friends. They could all go. There'd be new plants, a healthy new jungle to grow in that sunny front room of the small house that was already waiting for its new owners to move in. Whereas there was only one Starsky - and he really was something else, Hutch thought, shivering as Starsky’s tongue found his ear.