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     Hutch had been fighting a battle with himself for the past eighteen months, ever since Starsky had been shot. The battle was simple - he was in love with Starsky, but didn't know how or if he should tell Starsky. He was so afraid of losing Starsky's friendship. He knew he would never survive if he lost that. 

     It had easy to keep his personal battle hidden right after Starsky was shot because everyone had been sure Starsky was going die so no one paid much attention to him. Then when Starsky had woken up, he had buried all signs of his internal battle and had devoted all his time and energy into helping Starsky - so again no one had paid much attention to him.

     But now, Starsky had healed, he'd returned to work, and his life was back to normal. So now people, including Huggy and Dobey, were starting to notice that something was bothering Hutch. He was finding it harder and harder to keep his battle an internal one. The battle was causing him to become frustrated with himself and, more and more often, he found he was taking that frustration out on whoever happened to be around him. 

     The final straw came when Dobey had told him and Starsky that two rookie uniformed officers had gone into a bar the night before not knowing it was a bar that the two detectives, along with Simmons and Babcock, had been watching for the past two weeks because the word on the street was that someone was dealing heroine and cocaine from inside the bar.

     Simmons and Babcock had been sitting in the bar watching the bartender when the two officers had entered. The first thing they had done was call out "Hello" to both officers and mentioned their names. Then they sat at the bar and got to talking with the bartender. Simmons and Babcock had left shortly after because they figured their cover was blown. 

     When Simmons and Babcock had come in that morning, they had gone directly into Dobey's office and told him what had happened. He had called the two officers into his office and asked them for their side of the story. They told him and apologized to Simmons and Babcock for probably blowing their cover.

     When Dobey told Starsky and Hutch what had happened, Hutch had exploded, "That's just great!!!!!! Two weeks work blown to high heavens!!!!!" Starsky tried to calm him down, but it didn't seem to do any good. He said, "You know I'm right, Starsky. Whoever is selling the drugs may know about Simmons and Babcock which means it's going to be harder to get any other officers in there now, which means we have to put this on hold for who knows how long!!"

     Dobey had hollered right back, "I don't like it any better than you do, but what choice do we have!?!! Now get out of my office and get to work!!!". Starsky and Hutch left the office and gone back to their desks.

     Hutch had barely spoken a word the rest of the day and, when he did, he had still snapped at whoever he was talking to - Starsky included. When their shift was over, he had left without saying anything to Starsky. Arriving at home, he had hung up his jacket and gun before dropping on the couch.

     As he sat there, he realized that the internal battle he'd been fighting was getting too hard to keep going. He had to tell Starsky how he felt. He just had to hope it wasn't going to destroy his friendship with Starsky. Fortunately, the two of them had tomorrow off. He would invite Starsky over for dinner. Then he would tell Starsky how he felt.

     The next morning, he called Starsky and invited him to dinner. He said it was to make up for the way he had treated him the day before. Starsky said he would be glad to come to dinner and that he would be there at seven.

     Hutch spent the morning straightening up the apartment, then went shopping. He came home and started cooking. When things were to a point they could cook on their own for a while, he went and got a shower.

     When he reentered the kitchen, he was wearing black chords, a black turtleneck, and black dress boots. He was putting the finishing touches on dinner when there was a knock on the door. He opened the door and let Starsky in. He was wearing faded blue jeans that clung to him in all the right places, a blue button down shirt that matched his eyes, and his sneakers. 

     Hutch decided to wait until after they had eaten to make the big jump and tell Starsky how he felt. He only hoped that Starsky felt the same way. They sat down to eat. Dinner for each of them was a steak, baked potato with butter, butter basted carrots and a glass of wine. Then there was fresh strawberries and cream for dessert.

     After dinner, Starsky helped Hutch clean up, then they went into the living room and sat on the couch. Starsky who had sensed all during dinner that Hutch had something important on his mind said, "Whatever you have to tell me, Hutch, you know I'll be there for you." 

     Hutch said, "Starsky, I love you." When Starsky didn't say anything, Hutch stood up and walked into his greenhouse. He stood there expecting to hear the sound of his apartment door close as Starsky walked out. Instead, he jumped a little as he felt Starsky's arms slip around him from behind and pull him close. He turned around to see Starsky smiling at him through his tears. He said, "I love you, Hutch." They met in what would become the first of many kisses over the coming years.