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It’s a going away party, but in relatively good spirits. They’ve talked things over, all admitted it was for the best for their futures, and Starsky at least, has promised to keep in touch with Laura while she studies in Paris. 

“So, Hutch tells me you’ve got a whole new assignment, Paco,” Starsky calls, as he watches Hutch and Paco move in the kitchen, and thinks they are a good set together. Starsky can appreciate that without even a little jealousy. Of course it helps that Laura is gorgeous, and Paco’s about to exit their lives for the foreseeable future. “I hope it treats you well, you’re a damn fine detective.”

“Ohh,” Paco says, with great feeling. He puts his hand over his heart, which is a sweet gesture except he's holding the chile spoon and chile splatters everywhere. “Starsky, you are too good to me. Gracias. I hope your are going to look after this gringo for me, huh?”

“Hey, who you calling gringo, cabrón?” Hutch replies, bumping Paco with his hip as he brings a cutting board full of sliced limes to the table. 

“You, since it’s accurate,” Starsky laughs at Hutch, one arm slung companionably over Laura’s shoulders.

“Ooh, are we doing shots?” Laura asks,  already pouring herself a shot of tequila. 

Hutch and Starsky exchange a look. Yeah, she probably needs some place more exciting than Bay City. 

Then Paco shouts something in Spanish, and Hutch answers rapidly before going back to the kitchen to work the oven. Paco has been living here for over a month, but still makes Hutch handle the oven. It’s one of those things that Hutch finds adorable only because they'd only been sleeping together for a few weeks. Probably good that he's leaving, on some level, as much as Hutch likes the guy. 

When they all settle down for dinner, Starsky enjoys the feeling of family that it brings, even though they’re about to all part ways. It’s just the sort of amicable parting that he treasures, anyway. The sort that doesn’t really end anything, just changes the way things are. 

“Alright, a toast,” he says, though Laura’s already two shots down. “To the future, to the past, and to us, right?”

“Oh, I like it,” Laura says. “Salud!”

Starsky digs in, hoping Paco is leaving his recipes behind. 

“Starsky,” Laura says, all of a sudden. “Are you wearing those sneakers again?”

“Sure,” he says, grinning. “What if I need to chase somebody?”

“That’s why we need you to stick around, Laura,” Hutch says, letting Paco prop his recovering leg up on his lap. “Until your fashion advice sinks in.” 

Laura sighs, running a hand through Starsky’s hair. “I think he’ll always be a work in progress. That’s part of his charm, isn’t it? And yours, too.”

If she looks accusingly at Hutch’s slightly worn out shirt, Starsky laughs. “That’s not even his worst one.”

“Hey!” Hutch cries indignantly, but they ignore him, and Paco, in his designer polo, laughs.

“I know,” she says, because she does. “Anyway, I wish I could stay, but I start my apprenticeship with Yves next week, and while I’ve loved the slow, lackadaisical way you do things here in Bay City, it doesn’t do to be late to opportunity, now does it?”

“‘Course not,” Starsky says. “I’m proud of you.”

“Slow?!” Paco laughs. “I'm hoping for a more relaxing time in the FBI!” 

Hutch squeezes his shoulder. Though he's sad he'll be shipped off to Langley for training, then who knows where for reassignment, he's proud of Paco. 

After the cheese melts and grills on the plate of enchiladas, Hutch gets up to bring the hot dish to the table. By then they're all several margaritas and a whole dish of guacamole in, but everyone is still hungry. 

“Oh,” Laura moans, “If I don't fit into my clothes when I get to France, I'm sending you a bill.”

“Send it to Paco,” Starsky says. “Hutch isn’t normally this good of a cook.”

Starsky honestly thinks this is probably the best double-date they’ve had in a while. Since Nancy found her Capricorn, and Hutch had that whole mess of bad happenstance earlier in the year, this feels good. Level. He’s sorry it’s over, but glad at least that it’s over for good reasons. 

At the end of the night, Starsky says goodbye to Laura with a chaste kiss on the cheek, and a long hug, wishing her a good flight to Paris, and seeing her into the cab to get her safely home.  “Have a safe flight, and think of me whenever you see ugly sneakers.”

She laughs, and Starsky is charmed all over again, and then she’s gone with a flight in the morning. 

Paco’s cab comes a little bit later for him: he has an overnight flight to Langley. 

“Hey, Starsky,” Paco says, squeezing Starsky in a big bear hug and kissing his cheek. “You look after Hutch for me, and take care of yourself , too, muchacho.”  

Starsky returns the hug earnestly, with a hearty thump to Paco’s shoulders. “Thanks for fixing him up for me, amigo. Break a leg at Langley, man. You’re gonna make the whole Bureau more respectable.”

He’s going to miss Paco, and not only because he was so good for Hutch. It was hard not to like the guy.

“I already broke the leg,” Paco laughs, “or got shot, anyway. Surely this counts?” 

A honk from below summons him, and Paco goes to the door and picks up his bags. There’s a moment of hesitation when Hutch stands in front of him, and then Paco drops his bags and cups Hutch’s face with his hands. He kisses him sweetly, once, and whispers something to him in Spanish. 

Hutch is left with a dopey smile on his face as Paco limps out to the cab. 

Starsky slides a sidelong look at him, smiling too, arms crossed over his chest. “He was one to take home to your mama, huh?”

When Hutch looks at him to answer, Starsky uncrosses his arms and swings his free hand to swat Hutch on the butt enough to sting. He doesn’t really want an answer to that question, but he does intend to see to the request Paco made and take care of Hutch. 

“Ow!” Hutch yelps, hand covering the offended area. “Actually, he said the same thing about you.” 

He’d said a bit more than that, actually, but it made Hutch blush to think about it; it hit a little too close to home. 

“If you help me with the dishes, I’ll let you have enchiladas for breakfast,” Hutch offers, not quite able to meet Starsky’s eye. 

“I was gonna help you anyway, but now that you sweetened the deal I can hardly say no,” Starsky says, bumping Hutch hip to hip. “Wash or dry?”

“I’ll dry,” Hutch says. “You put my dishes weird places.” 

They talk about cleanup and work until they settle into a routine of quiet work. They’ve always been able to spend time together not even talking, just being there, but tonight Hutch feels the need to fill the silence. “So...you doing okay?” 

“Well, how about you?” Starsky turns the question around back to Hutch, scrubbing the dishes gamely like he’d promised he would. He even takes the extra time to scrub all the cheese off the enchilada plates before rinsing them and passing them to Hutch. “You need cheering up?”

“No, I don't need —” Hutch begins, and then realizes that comes across as insulting either way. “I mean…”

He doesn't know what he means, and loses himself in thought, drying dishes and putting them away in the wrong places. “Do you ever think we...ah, forget about it.”

Starsky looks at him with a twinkle in his eye, rolling one shoulder up in a shrug. “Partner, no matter what you’re about to say, I’m sure we’ve done it at least once. I mean, I’d be hard pressed to come up with something we haven’t at least tried .”

He passes Hutch the last dish, and then takes the dish towel from Hutch when he’s done drying it to dry his own hands after draining and rinsing the sink. 

Hutch sighs, a bit relieved at Starsky's assumption. Sex is easy for them. 

Paco had hit too near the mark without knowing it, and Hutch at least wasn't ready to deal with it. 

“You're right,” Hutch laughs, on the edge of teasing, but at the same time very serious. “It's convenient when our partners leave us on the very same night. Need me to comfort you?”

“If you’re offering,” Starsky says, with a grin. “I think we can call it mutual comforting, right?”

Starsky pulls Hutch into his arms, pushing him back against his own counter with a smile that suggests he’s glad to have Hutch at least partially back to himself. Honestly it’s starting to seem like longer and longer, every time they date other people, even though the actual amount of time they usually date them for is about the same. He kisses Hutch with the relief that he can again, slow and sweet and long, like a welcome home. 

Hutch finds his mind wandering through the kiss as Paco’s words of goodbye come back to him: 

“¿Usted y él?”

“Por despecho,” Hutch said, with a bit of a laugh, and Paco’s eyes darkened. 

“No, no, mi amigo. Yo soy de segundo plato. Él es el primer plato.

Hutch blinks when Starsky pulls back from the kiss, and he realizes he wasn't giving it his all. Whatever else Starsky was, he was here now. He smiles. “Yeah, I could go for some mutual comfort.”

Hutch lifts Starsky up, palming his ass, and carries him off to the bedroom, laughing. Starsky is so dense, surprisingly heavy, and always surprisingly strong, so it's a fun challenge to wrestle his clothes off in between kisses and teasing tickles and pinches. 

Starsky could make it easy for him, but he doesn’t, instead wrestling Hutch, not for control but just to mess around. Until they’re both laughing and half undressed, with their clothes gone inside-out in every which way direction, and Starsky has his legs wrapped around Hutch’s waist, squeezing to hang on. 

He loves it when Hutch takes control, loves it when Hutch gives it up. Today, Starsky eventually lets Hutch have his way, but not before they’re both sweating a little, all warm from wrestling around and Starsky’s already pretty hard from just the contact. “I feel better already.”

“Me, too,” Hutch agrees, grinning, and in this moment, utterly content. He finally works Starsky out of his underwear and gets a hand on his cock, leaning down to kiss-bite his lips. 

“I like when I get you all to myself,” he hums, “after someone’s had their hands all over you. You smell like another woman’s perfume.”

Hutch laughs. “Is that a kink?” 

Starsky laughs, too, running his hands over Hutch’s back, and just watching his face, the way it changes when he gets a hand on Hutch in kind, loving how he feels when he’s so close, and how he looks when he’s happy and just starting to give himself over to pleasure. “I guess it could be. I never took you for the kinky type, but I guess I know better now.”

“If you didn’t know by now, boy...” Hutch says, pressing a hand flat on Starsky’s chest and leaning over him to grab lube and condoms—they’re already out, just sitting on the nightstand—and getting them both rubbered up. 

Starsky rolls his hips up so their cocks slide together in a smooth, slow rhythm that leaves both of them breathing a little faster. “I guess I got the good end of the deal, in that case. He had better taste in cologne than you do.”

“Ha,” Hutch says, leaving a love-bite on Starsky’s neck. He lubes his fingers and begins teasing his way toward Starsky’s hole, kissing him sloppily all across his face and neck. “You smell like—a lady . Gives a man certain urges, you know.” 

“Urges?” Starsky asks, mock innocent, and a little breathless. He hikes his hips up a little, making things easier for both of them, as he keeps his fist pumping lazily over Hutch’s cock, feeling the way the latex catches under his fingers until he can get his turn with the bottle of lube and start slicking Hutch up in return. “What kinda urges? The real dark sort, I hope. Primal.”

“Very. The kind of things you can’t do to a lady,” Hutch growls, trying to sound intense, though he makes himself giggle. “Or a—foreign dignitary…” 

He works a second finger into Starsky even as he spreads his legs for Starsky to keep going. He’s talking big, but he’s not sure they’ll get further than just fingering each other open, especially when he finds Starsky’s prostate, swallowing his cry with another kiss. 

Starsky groans into Hutch’s mouth, giving him a squeeze and rocking his hips up into it, helping to keep Hutch right where he wants him, so they can hurry each other along. Starsky lets his eyes close and just surrenders to the sensations, to how good it feels just to have Hutch right there with him. Maybe it’s part of a pattern, but when things came around and felt good like this, how could Starsky really care?

“Maybe,” he grunts, rocking into the motion with a low groan. “If you tried this with more foreign dignitaries, international relations would really improve.”

Hutch laughs, his whole face crinkling up in delight and bliss. “Yeah. They should put us in charge.” 

He moves to pin Starsky’s hands, gentle but irresistible. “If you don’t stop, I won’t last long enough to fuck you, Starsk. How do you want it, baby?”

“Like it’s you and me and nobody else in the world,” Starsky says, lifting his hands over his head permissively and opening his eyes again, with a slow grin. “But you could hurry it up a little.”

“That’s right,” Hutch agrees, settling over the top of him, heavy and protective, still opening him up with insistent fingers. “Just us.” 

It feels a little dishonest, but certainly in the moment it’s just them, and it’s really so easy, almost too easy. He decides to hurry it up by way of apology, or perhaps just so he doesn’t have to think any more. Three fingers deep in Starsky, he bites one nipple, then the other, and when he’s got Starsky moaning and shivering beneath him, he slicks up his cock and pushes against him. “How’s this for fast?” 

“Yeah,” Starsky pants, encouraging, pressing his hands flat to the bed and pushing up to help Hutch ease in even faster, his whole body relaxed and open for it. He sighs out when Hutch is fully inside, like he’s got everything he wants and his life is complete. Perhaps, for the moment, it is. “Oh, that’s good Hutch. Keep it up?”

Quirking an eyebrow at him, Starsky wraps his arm around Hutch’s neck so they can move together, so that they don’t have to go very far apart from each other and Hutch can take him as deep as he wants while Starsky moans encouragement in his ear, and maybe for a moment Starsky wonders why either of them ever stray from this when it’s so right and good and perfect. Maybe because they’re both afraid of losing the part where it’s easy, too. 

“Starsky,” Hutch groans, throwing all of himself into this, into this moment, like it’s their first and last time, except that they know each other so well from past experience, and know this won’t be the last time they seek comfort in each others’ arms. Hutch tries to turn his brain off, fucking into Starsky harder, faster, and it works at least until they come apart for each other, moaning the other’s name. 

“That’s my boy, Starsk,” Hutch gasps, pulling out once Starsky has come, too, and kissing him more gently. Tomorrow might be a turtleneck day for Starsky. “You alright?” 

Instead of answering, Starsky pulls Hutch’s mouth to his, and kissing him around his need for air. He runs his hands through Hutch’s hair, over his broad shoulders, down to the taper of his waist and smiles at him. “Yeah, I’m alright. Why, you think you could do that again if I wasn’t?”

“I think, for you, I could,” Hutch says with a bit of a laugh. “After a quick nap.”