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Always There

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The most used disclaimer:
The TV show "Starsky and Hutch", and the characters from it
are the property of the persons who hold the copyrights
and other legal rights to them.
This story is a work of fiction, written for pleasure only
and not for profit. It is not intended, in any way,
to infringe on these preexisting copyrights.

ALWAYS THERE

Jacqueline©February 6, 2004


unedited short story inspired by "Starsky's Lady"



He didn't know how long he'd been sitting there, hunched over her still form, when someone touched him on the shoulder and woke him from his grief filled stupor.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Starsky --- she's gone."

He heard the soft voice, but somehow it didn't register.
Somehow the meaning of the words was completely lost on him.

He looked at her once more. The love of his life. So beautiful. So fragile. So peaceful, as if she were sleeping.

But the hand on his shoulder forced reality to sink in.
Second by slow second his brain started remembering.
How she had spoken her last words 'I'm not afraid anymore ---'.
How her hand had slipped down, limp and lifeless.
The stone hard truth of losing her had hit him within a few seconds and he had wept. He had sobbed. He had poured out all his immeasurable sadness. But still, even as his brain had realized his loss, his heart had forced him to look up at her sweet features every few minutes or so, just to check if she had really left him. Even as he'd felt the warmth leaving her still body, his heart was still filled with hope. Hope that her eyes would open again and look at him in that loving way.

She had taught him to hope.
At the very first moment, when Dr. Quo had told him the awful prognosis, he had been overcome with feelings of doom and fear. He'd only heard Terry might be taken from him as soon as the very next day. But Terry had weighed her options and had decided she wanted to live her life as if nothing was wrong. Live her life to the full, by the side of the man she so adored. She'd convinced him that her choice was right and her spirit had moved him and had made his heart hold on to the most optimistic possibility. If she could hold on for a year, surely somehow, somewhere, someone would find a way to remove the piece of metal that was threatening their future together.

Even when the second opinion came in, which only confirmed the dark diagnosis, their despair was short lived. Terry had mourned the dashed hopes for better news. They'd shared their fears for the future, however short it might be. But still --- still their hearts would not let the awful possibility of loss and farewells in.

And then today happened. The final verdict. The last day had arrived. So soon - too soon. And Terry was still so beautiful, so perfect and healthy looking it all seemed like a terribly tasteless practical joke. But as energetic and active as she had started her last day, as quiet and peaceful did she leave. 'Not afraid anymore'. She'd promised she would wait for him, and watch over him until it was his time to join her.

He left her, there, at the hospital. After the medical personnel came in, he had finally stood up, touched her hair and cheek one last time and had joined Dr. Quo to discuss what would happen next. He could not remember a word of their conversation or how long they had talked. He had walked out of the hospital in a daze, found his car purely by luck and had driven around in a world that seemed eerily quiet and dulled.

He'd ended up at Terry's apartment. Once inside, he wandered around aimlessly.
"I'll always be there when you need me ---"
He looked at the framed photos of her alone and of them together.
Knelt down beside her bed and smelled at her pillow case, just to experience her scent. Smelled her clothes, touched her hairbrush, read the little notes she had made to remind her of 'things to do'.

"I need you, Terry ---" his broken voice sounded in the quiet apartment.
"I need you --- where are you?"

Nothing. He couldn't feel her. His eyes searched the apartment for a sign, anything that would tell him she was there. Nothing.

The sense of loss suddenly overwhelmed him. He couldn't stay here, not now. He just couldn't. He locked up her apartment and got back into his car to continue his aimless quest for that unattainable treasure.

Then Terry's school appeared in front of him. He parked and walked to the tables on the playground - the pompoms she had made with her students still there. Not a single person in sight. No sense of her, either.
How alone, how abandoned could a person possibly be at a time of such great sorrow and despair?
He sat down at the table and buried his face in one of the pompoms and again he wept, his moans of despair and grief smothered by the fabric.

No matter how much he believed her, when in her last words Terry had told him she would always be there if he'd need her; when he was scared or felt like his world was falling apart ---- no matter how he wished he could feel her --- he couldn't.
The tears stopped and a raw sense of desolation and loss began to seep into his system. He turned away from the pompoms on the table and tried to understand and make sense of something so ultimately senseless.
Terry, who had been the center of his life and his hope for a long and happy future together since he had met her, was no longer here. Why bother going on? What was the point?

After what seemed to be forever, a familiar figure approached. His walk purposeful, his face kind, warm, compassionate and understanding.
Starsky could tell his partner would have the answer, not just from his expression, but from the touch of Hutch's hand on his shoulder.

"They've got Prudholm ---"

It took every effort from Starsky to be able to respond.
"In custody?"

"No, he tried another heist. Grocery supply house this time. Only the silent alarm worked."

"He's barricaded?"

"He's holding hostages."
Hutch got up, ready to lead the way.

But Starsky wasn't able to follow just yet.

Hutch looked back at him, then said,
"He says he's gonna kill them unless you come ---,".

Starsky looked up at his partner. And suddenly he felt it. Terry, the one, the love of his life. She had kept her promise. She had gone to fetch his partner, his life long best friend, to be with him. To walk with him. To help him through. He wasn't alone. He would never be alone.

For Terry would keep Hutch always there - by his side - during all his times of need.