You know when I really, really figured it out?
I'm betting you don't.
It wasn't when Forest got him, even though I felt like I carried around a ten pound block of ice in my gut while I tried to find him, afraid it was too late, that the bastard had killed him and me thinking Hutch was having fun, screwing that empty-headed good-for-nothing-else-but-screwing Jeanie.
Even with the ice in my gut, part of me knew he wasn't dead. If it had happened, I wouldn’t have finished a beer, or took a bath, watched a movie, got laid, whatever the hell I might be doing at the moment and not feel him leaving, no way.
I didn't have it figured out even when I thought I was dying from the poison Bellamy injected me with, knowing that part of Hutch was dying right along with me. Same as I would if he’d been the one poisoned. I mean, I knew I loved him, sure. But it's the way I love him that's changed.
I've always liked looking at him—who wouldn't? But the way I did that changed, too.
You want to know when?
<Can’t move my wrists—>
After Simon, that's when. When he found me. The sun was low in the sky. Looked like it set the treetops on fire. There he was, bending down over me, hair blowing around on his head in the wind, each strand capturing light and winking back at the sun overhead. His eyes were glacial, looking at something else beyond and through me, far away. It worried me but then he looked down and his eyes grabbed mine and turned back from unfocused glass to his usual pale blue. As if he’d come back from somewhere so far away, some bad place. It was like finding me saved him, not the other way around.
And then he said: "Nice looking nightgown you got there."
Funny guy. Trying to throw me off—he should have known that even as bad off as I was, I could still read him like a book, and was.
Nothing doing, Hutch. Can’t hide from me.
<Smells: old paper, damp. Dust and boxes. Gonna sneeze—>
<Concentrate. Stay calm—>
I knew he'd been holding on by his fingernails, desperate and sick at heart, just the way I was when Forest grabbed him. No, he was worse. His brains are an asset, sure, but when it gets personal, all those smarts turn on him. Too much imagination, too much fear for what might happen. And he still worked through it all and found me.
Hutch with the legs that go on forever and the smart mouth and the smart brain and the moodiness and the guilt and the beautiful eyes. I always loved him. I don’t know why I never knew I loved him that way. I can’t see him any other way now.
<Closed my eyes. They want them open so I try but I can’t keep them open….
Fuck you! They’re open they’re open! Aren’t they?
<I hear, I hear you but I can't—>
I want you to know, okay? I want everyone to know. I told him, right there, said, “I love you,” while his arms were around me and then I think I almost cried. Then I laughed. I love Hutch that way.
Funnier than hell. Crazy. And the most natural thing in the world.
He just held on to me, like it didn’t even faze him that I said that. At that moment I don’t think it did.
<Rusted black lamp burning on the ground. Stare at the flame. Stare at it. Or at the drip from the pipe above. The water drip holds a tiny, shimmering reflection of the flame from the lamp—
Oh shit ohgod that hurt.
Stare at the lamp.>
Two nights after, in the middle of the night, I walked out to the couch and knelt beside him, watching the shadows lying on his pale skin in blue pools and the shadow spikes of his eyelashes lying asleep. The nightmares that haunted him while he looked for me were still strong in his face. Something about the set of his brows and line of his cheekbones told me that. Time hadn’t chased them away yet.
I bent down without thinking and brushed my lips over his. His eyes flew open, staring up at me in shock. I did it again, then pulled back. His mouth moved, a little, but no sound came out. His bottom lip glistened from my mouth. I covered his lips with mine again. He grunted, and suddenly his whole body pushed off from the couch, pushed up into mine. The sound of that need turned my muscles shaky and weak.
Do you know what it feels like to finally touch the person you’ve needed forever?
I never would have thought about wanting a guy, for Christ’s sake. I thought that kind of thing was freaky. So I couldn’t understand wanting him, not in the part of my brain that makes its wants known. But I have this theory that even though most of my brain didn’t know I wanted him, the rest of me knew it for a long time.
I’d wanted to run my tongue down his body and touch all the smoothness and explore the folds and the arches and wrinkles and valleys and hidden places and open places. All of that wanting was damned up and damped down for so long and now, now, I’m almost out of control, sometimes. It’s an ache that never stops.
I know, I know what I said. I hate soapy scenes, right. Or so you think. Not when it comes to him. Not anymore. Things, they are a changin’.
<Look at the flame. Yellow smears, like a watercolor. Covers everything. The whole fucking everything. A blur.
It’s all a big yellow watery wash.
I’m still here! I’m alive! FUCK YOU!>
<Oh God. Hutch! Hutch—>
About that night.
I kissed him, again and again, my mouth tasting him, tongue exploring, and his tongue wound around mine, stroking, his hand coming up to the back of my head and pulling me down hard. My lips ground into his, pushed him down, and he moaned beneath me. I couldn't get enough air, couldn't get enough of him. I slid my fingers down over the curve of chest to the smooth skin of his stomach, the muscles there tensing, feeling him pull in a breath and hold it. The waistband of his shorts was beneath my fingers, and I moved impatiently down, touching him from the outside.
Hard oh so damn hard. My stomach clenched and my cock jumped. I groaned and rubbed myself with the other hand. It wasn’t enough. I was on fire. My fingers ripped the cloth aside and touched him, stroked him down from the top to the base, then gripped him firmly, and he made this strangled noise, raising his ass off the couch.
I held him there and looked up at his face. He panted with his mouth open, staring at me. I didn't move, just held his cock in my fist. The light in his hair was pale and cold now, dim, as if the moon leached the sun from it for its own purpose.
His eyes... he wanted me so bad.
Too much, too much—I leaned down and sank my mouth down over him, smooth and sweet, and all I could think was, Hutch in my mouth, and my dick jumped again, bumping up against my hipbone. He grabbed me in his right fist and I yelled, the sound of it hoarse and strange, as his hand moved up and down, faster. His body bowed up from the couch and he jerked to orgasm, gasping my name. His come filled my mouth and I swallowed and it was bitter but I wanted more. And I got it a little later. Wrung him out. I couldn’t stop.
Remember, I was a starving man.
I still want him more than anything I ever have or ever will.
You know when Hutch went on the run, playing tag with the phone booths, trying to keep up with the phone calls from the Haymes girl’s kidnappers? I killed those motherfuckers when they shot Hutch down in the street. I jumped off the motorcycle and aimed the rifle at the gas tank. I did it with malice aforethought, didn’t think twice, though it could have caused the girl’s death.
Yeah, I shot to kill. There’s never been a time I wouldn’t die for him or kill for him and leave all my grand principles lying face down in the dust.
<Help me, Starsky!>
<I'm coming. I swear it to you, Hutch, I swear it just a little bit longer—>
We’ve got our demons, you know? You walk in the dark for so long and it begins to touch you even when you’re walking in the light. Hutch can’t shake off that deadly despair when he needs to do it most. He gets tired of the streets and tired of thinking he can't fight our side and the other side both.
I have my demons, too, and sometimes they ride hard on your back in the middle of a shootout or a bad case. And I got no interest at all in controlling them if something happens to him. Not anymore.
I won't lose him to the Prudholms and Forests of the world. I'm done losing who I love to them, and most especially I won't lose Hutch to them. I know what that sounds like and I don't care.
Hutch was the one that kept me from killing Prudholm. He didn't know, maybe, the extent of his influence that day. He was the only thing that brought me back from the edge. And I remember what that bastard did, later on, because I didn't put him down when I should have.
If Hutch dies, there's no one left to stop me and no reason at all left in this world to make me want to stop.
Have you guessed yet what I’ve brought back from our walks in the dark?
< An animal, making sounds, all agony and rage. Thrashing around. Frantic. Caught in a trap.
Not an animal. Saying my name, over and over.
Starsky. Saying my name.
Smells rush back. Mildew, dirt. I see it again—the flame. Gotta tell him—
I'm okay it's gonna be okay Starsk you hear me…hear…>
<Stay with me, okay? I hear you I feel you I'll save you believe me please believe me>
I want crime victims to have their day in court. Justice. More than ever I do, and I try my damnedest to save them. It’s the bad guys I’m gettin’ a little hinky about. Don’t care too much about how we get them, just so we get them.
Doesn’t sound like much of a hero, huh?
We found someone that wasn’t supposed to be found. Now the big boys want to know where we stashed him. They like their games. Think it’s fun to torture my partner in front of me, make me tell them what they want to know. And yeah, I gave it up, all right. But Dobey moved him after me and Hutch disappeared. They just won’t believe that I don’t know.
Just let him know I’m here, I haven’t left him alone. Okay, God?
I’ve rubbed my wrists over the bricks in the wall until they’re torn all to hell. I need the blood. The blood flows faster. Good. Hurry, more. Before it dries, gets sticky. I work my wrists in circles against the rope. More. Pull. Hurts. Pull harder.
Hutch is there in the flickering flame from the lamp where I can’t afford to look anymore. I have to get us out of here. Have to concentrate, understand? I can’t do that when they’re tearing him up in front of me.
Now I look anyway. Just once, quick.
He’s no longer up against the wall in this filthy basement, but sprawled out on the floor, golden in the lamplight, and bloody and still, so still, face swollen red everywhere his chest face blood in his hair but the light’s still in it—
Please, just tell me the light’s still there.
I roll over into the legs of the nearest guy standing. My weight makes him stumble and I rear up on my knees and grab his gun. I shoot him point blank in the face. Blood and brains and bone blow out and rain down. It means less than nothing.
<Hutch Hutch wait wait for me—>
Another one down, screaming. I roll to my feet, shooting. The third one aims, misses, and I blow him away. I knew I wouldn’t miss.
The pipe overhead drips. I allow myself to see and smell the same things he did, laying there. I felt them like an echo. It nearly drove me insane, knowing what they did to him, how it felt. Maybe you think that’s what happened, that I went crazy. It sounds crazy. Doesn’t matter. I felt him.
I kneel down beside his body. His mouth is so soft and relaxed. All the lines of his face have smoothed out. How did that happen? I touch my mouth to his, to his broken face.
What happens when we die, what happens, do you know?
Yeah, I’m tough. I’ve brought down plenty of bad guys, you got it. But who brought them down with me? Who walks in the dark with me, sees the dark the same way I do? We’ve seen and done so much together on that road we’ve walked that we can’t be broken apart.
Do you still think that I wouldn't eat my gun if it meant even the smallest chance of being with him again?
Why don’t you get back to me on that.
Hutch, look at me. Open your eyes. Love you so much.
His hands are so cold. I hold them, try to warm them.
Plenty of bullets left.
Always, always, me and thee.