NOTE: I have chosen not to use warnings for this story. If you need them, they can be found here: http://bromancestory.livejournal.com/10696.html
With many thanks to Barancoire for beta help :)
And thanks to my artists!! :) I was fortunate enough to have three amazing artists work on my story. Check out their work:
David Starsky stood in the entrance to the police academy, and he knew he couldn’t do it.
His heart pounded too hard; it was too much. The day shone bright and hopeful, but all he could remember was his father’s funeral, and seeing all these uniforms mixed in with the students made his breath tight, made it burn in his throat. He felt like throwing up.
Someone bumped against him and then someone else. "Move it, punk," growled a voice.
Starsky moved. His heart was pounding too hard, and he felt funny inside, shaky. He moved to the side, to lean against the wall and catch his breath.
If it’s going to be like this every time I see a uniform, I’ll never make it as a cop.
He didn’t know how long he stood there, trying to catch his breath, trying to get his courage up, wondering if he would have to go back home and give up his dream.
Someone walking by jostled his shoulder. He turned to glare at whoever it was, but the blond man was already past, and he couldn’t see his face. The blond guy wore a blue sweatshirt and his hair was a little too long; he’d probably have to get it cut for the academy. Must be another new guy.
Starsky frowned after him, and then started to walk in after him.
It took him a full two minutes to realize he’d completely forgotten to worry about his father. The tight pain in his chest had disappeared.
He lasted the rest of the day without panicking more than twice. Perhaps he was just getting over it.
But the very next day it was back.
The first sight of a cop in the hall made his chest tighten, made his head feel like swirling, made him remember Dad and the coffin, and how neat his uniform had looked…
He wandered through the day, somehow, wondering how he’d ever, ever make it through the academy. Maybe he just wasn’t cut out to be a cop. Maybe he’d have to give up on his dream.
…And do what? What else could he possibly do? Getting out of the army had been a big relief. And he didn’t want to work for his uncle anymore, either. He’d never really wanted to be anything but a cop like his dad.
I can do this, I know I can do this. C’mon, Starsky. Pull your head out of the sand and do this!
Yeah right….I can’t do this. My dad…I’m letting my dad down because I can’t do this. What’s wrong with me?
"You’re blocking the hallway," said someone in a quiet voice. A hand brushed his arm as the big blond guy walked by again.
Starsky stared after him, feeling all the anxiety drain from his body. He stood there strangely relaxed, calm inside; a strange, gentle numbness seemed to reach from his head to his toes.
He stared after the blond guy, and blinked.
After that, Starsky made it his business to keep an eye out for that blond man.
His name was Hutchinson, and he’d been to college.
From that day forward, Starsky watched him. Just...watched. Trying to figure this mystery out.
He found out the Hutchinson’s first name was Ken. But his nickname was Hutch. He kept his mouth shut in class, even when he knew the answer. He liked to bowl, and he was apparently the most boring, placid guy in this year’s class. He was also one of the tallest, and definitely the blondest, with pale hair that made him stick out like a neon sign. And he didn’t seem to have a habit of making people’s panic vanish.
If Starsky hadn’t felt it himself, he’d have thought it was too stupid to be true. But he knew he hadn’t imagined that.
Then one day they faced each other across a wrestling mat.
Up close, Hutchinson was big. Or rather, he seemed bigger. His eyes seemed bluer. Was it that intensity, like anger, that his face held? He seemed to have shucked aside the quiet farm boy persona and be preparing to test himself all out against Starsky’s strength and cunning.
The two faced off for long moments, waiting for the signal to begin their contest. He couldn’t...for a second, he didn’t want to fight Hutchinson. He wanted to get away and just watch, and see what the big blond did.
Was that...fear, traversing his spine? Nerves, maybe. He wouldn’t get scared of a college boy, surely not.
The bell rang and they started for each other.
A lunge, a counter lunge, and Starsky was down. College Boy had him securely pinned. How’d he…?
Starsky struggled, but it was fruitless; whatever he’d done, whatever stunt he’d pulled, College Boy was good at it. Starsky tried going limp, maybe get Hutchinson to lower his guard. But it didn’t work. He kept a tight grip, calm but completely in control of the situation, didn’t let up the pressure of his arms, the grip of his hands even a little. His eyes were softer now, not so intense, almost as if he meant some communication with them. Starsky didn’t understand it and didn’t like it.
For a second, Starsky had the suffocating feeling that he wouldn’t be able to draw a breath. Hutchinson was too close, was on top of him, he wouldn’t be able to breathe, and the bell would never ring. In that crawling moment of panic, he fought, struggled until he gasped harsh breaths through his teeth, hating this guy who wouldn’t let up on him.
Hutchinson’s hand tightened in a gentle squeeze on his arm, tightening an already firm grip. But it didn’t hurt. It was like a switch flipped.
Starsky could breathe. His anger and panic reduced exponentially, a calm feeling overtaking him, like being pleasantly tired and climbing out of the water, something like lethargy; something like peace. He took a deep breath and looked into Hutchinson’s eyes. College Boy knew; whatever he’d done he knew it. And it felt so good.
For a moment, Starsky struggled against even that good feeling; but it was too tempting, too all-around pleasant.
The bell rang and Hutchinson let him up, helped him up; his hands were careful now. But hadn’t they always been? He hadn’t actually hurt Starsky; it had been panic.
For a second he didn’t want to let go of that big hand. And then he did, and moved away, trying to conceal the weird emotions going through him. The peaceful feeling stayed, wearing off slowly: a mellow, sleepy, Sunday-morning, slow-waking-up feeling.
He sat through class, examining the last of the feeling, both picking at it the way you would at a loose tooth and trying to hold onto it, savor it. But the more he thought about it the more quickly it dispersed, and he began to grow afraid again. Hutchinson could control him. Hutchinson had done something. Hutchinson wasn’t natural.
And then he wondered what else Hutchinson could make him do…
He didn’t look at Hutchinson; by the end of the class he couldn’t. He was crawling with shame and nerves.
Starsky couldn’t sleep that night, tossing and turning, with crazy plans, thinking he’d turn Hutchinson in, denounce him as—something. It wasn’t natural, it just couldn’t be. He’d done something, with his hands, his eyes, like Starsky was his prey. But instead of scaring him, Hutchinson had calmed him.
Except…his eyes…before the match. If he could look that dangerous, then he could scare you too, he could do whatever he wanted. Starsky was shivering, his teeth chattered a little, even though it wasn’t cold.
He had to leave the academy; he didn’t belong here. Had to get away. He’d never belonged.
The phone rang.
He picked it up, warily. "Yeah?" Who would call him in the middle of the night like this? It must be something important.
"Starsky," said a crisp, quiet voice.
Starsky went cold and rigid. "Who is this?"
"Hutchinson. I wanted to say I’m sorry about what happened in class today. For scaring you."
"How’d you get this number?"
"You’re in the phone book, genius."
That at least sounded more normal. He remembered the touch, the way Hutchinson had made him feel calm inside. He brought a shaking hand to his head and swallowing. It couldn’t work through the phone, could it? Just his voice? He’d be the most powerful man in the world, if that was the case. He’d run the world.
"Anyway, I wanted to apologize. I think I—I made you nervous," the voice finished in a low, awkward tone.
"What’d you do to me?" said Starsky abruptly. "Some kind of voodoo spell? Today, and earlier. You did something. Something—with your hands or your eyes. You some kind of warlock?"
"No! I wouldn’t... I just…"
"You just what?" His breathing sounded ragged and harsh in his own ears, and reflected back through the phone.
"I didn’t want you to be hurt," said Hutchinson awkwardly. He sounded confused and embarrassed, but not scared the way Starsky did—and that had to change.
"Yeah? Well, how about I go to the authorities with this? The school, maybe? How ‘bout the government?" He listened fiercely, but heard no response, no reaction at all. "Hello? You still there?"
"You think they’d listen?" said Hutchinson quietly. "You really think they’d listen?"
"But—but you can—do things! Tell me that’s normal. That’s…I’m sorry, but you’re wrong, Hutchinson, something is wrong with you. And I want you out of my head, and don’t touch me or—or look at me again or I’ll call the—the FBI, the president, whoever I h-have to call." Shouting made him feel a little better, but his bravado was going now, he was shaking. All he had to do was see the blond one more time and he could end up in his power for good.
"It’s not like that." Kenneth Hutchinson sounded exasperated and frustrated. "You think I can just control people? I can’t. I can…sense pain. I’ve always been able to. And sometimes I can take it—or some of it—away. Like…a painkiller, or a…a…" He was searching, groping for words that weren’t there. His expulsion of breath sounded frustrated. "I don’t know what. I’ve never heard of anyone else quite like me, and I highly doubt we’d be dangerous if there were."
He must be flustered, at least a little, or he wouldn’t have given up his precise way of speaking. He was still quiet, though, and relatively calm. Oddly enough, his words made Starsky feel calmer, too. Or was that the point? Was he doing it again?
"How do I know I can trust you?"
"Look, if I was what you seem to think, do you really think I’d be interested in infiltrating a police academy and getting control of some low-level student with daddy issues, so messed up he can hardly see straight?"
Starsky sat very still, not breathing, not blinking, not thinking or feeling. A weird sort of ringing seemed to be in his head.
"I didn’t mean that. I’m sorry, Starsky. I shouldn’t have said that." Hutch was very quiet now, penitent. "I shouldn’t have. I—I’m sorry. Are you all right?"
Yes. No. "Don’t call me again." He slammed down the phone. He’d stopped shaking, felt oddly calm. He would pack tomorrow and leave; that was all. He lay down, and then got up again and took a double dose of sleeping pills; and then he cried.
Someone knew. Someone had seen inside of him and despised him, and it hurt so bad. He wished he’d never laid eyes on that damned blond.
Morning brought with it pain, but not the memory of why; he felt miserable and just wanted to forget it. His limbs were like lead; it made no sense, but he didn’t want to leave. Even though he wasn’t doing well at the academy, and it had brought back all this old stuff about his father dying, he wanted to be here. He wanted to belong and prove himself and wear the blue uniform and mean something with his life, do something. But…Hutchinson. Starsky began to fold his clothes, very carefully.
There was a knock on the door. He went to get it, slowly, listlessly.