Actions

Work Header

All I Want for Christmas

Work Text:

All I Want for Christmas

Sergeant Ken Hutchinson signed the last report and passed it to his partner. He and Starsky were trying to clear their desk before the three-day holiday that would start that night. Starsky signed it and laid it in the folder. He sat back and sighed.
"That's it. Thank God. I wasn't sure we'd finish before tonight. I'd hate to spend Christmas Eve in this chair, working on reports."
Hutch nodded. "And I wouldn't want to face Dobey, either. He threatened to put us on traffic detail for a month if we didn't get done. That's not where I want to start the New Year."
"Me, neither. Hey, speaking of Christmas, have you got any plans?"
Hutch raised an eyebrow. "I thought we were going to Dobey's. You got something else in mind?"
Starsky shook his head. "No, I meant before dinner. You planning on doing anything?"
"Not really. Why? Do you have any suggestions?"
"As a matter of fact, I do."
Hutch cocked an admonishing eye at his partner. "This doesn't involve a red suit and white beard, does it?"
"Aww, I thought you made a good Santa. And the kids at the hospital really liked it last year."
Hutch smiled. "Yeah, I guess they did. It was fun. So, is that what you want to do? It's your turn to play Santa, if it is."
"Nah, Ricky Parmley is going over there. He makes a better Santa anyway. He doesn't need any padding."
Hutch echoed his friend's grin. "You're right about that. I think Dobey goes easy on him about his weight just because he knows Parmley makes a good Santa for the kids. So, what did you have in mind?"
"I ran into Libby Evans yesterday. She helps run the kitchen at the Mission. Some of their usual volunteers are out sick and can't help serve Christmas dinner this year. She was wondering if we'd lend a hand."
Hutch thought for a moment, then nodded. "Sure, if you're up for it. I haven't been there in quite a while. Is Eddie still there?"
Starsky grinned. "Yeah, and he still calls me 'Hup'. Same old Eddie."
"Yeah, that's for sure. You know, I was thinking about him the other day. He's got to be getting up there in age now."
"Yeah, but he looks the same as he always did. He might just outlive us all."
"You got that right. If you want to help out, I'm game. It will be good to see him again. That's a really nice thing to do, Starsk. I'm proud of you, seriously."
Starsky smiled back. "Thanks, buddy. You know, I can't help remembering something my mom always said: There, but for the grace of God, go I. I never knew what she meant until I got older. There were so many times that I could have made the wrong decision, Hutch. I guess we all could say that. It kinda makes me thankful for the life I've had, even with all the bad things that happened."
"Yeah, I know what you mean. OK, the Mission it is. Edith said dinner wouldn't be ready until 4 o'clock anyway, so that gives us plenty of time to finish at the Mission and get cleaned up."
They had just turned their finished reports in to Captain Dobey when Simmons and Babcock walked through the door. Both men were covered in black soot. Starsky and Hutch traded glances.
Starsky walked up to the other detectives. "Hey, Simmons, what happened to you? Are you guys OK?"
Simmons tried vainly to wipe the soot off his face with his handkerchief, making it worse. He sighed wearily.
"Yeah, we're OK. But the Mission isn't. There was a fire in the kitchen this morning. The Fire Marshall said it was faulty wiring. It can't open until the kitchen AND the wiring is fixed. It looks like there won't be a Christmas dinner for those people this year. Libby is trying to find other places for them to go, but all the Mission's are stretched to their limits already."
Starsky shook his head sympathetically. "Man, that's too bad. Is there anything we can do to help? Hutch and me were gonna help serve dinner this year. I hate to see it cancelled."
Babcock nodded. "Yeah, we're trying to get enough volunteers together now to rebuild the kitchen. Simmons' brother-in-law is a certified electrician. He said he could help with the wiring, but it's going to be cutting it close. If you want to lend a hand, we're all meeting there tomorrow afternoon. As soon as Robbie finish's the wiring, we'll start on the kitchen."
Starsky clapped him on the back. "We'll be there. We're off duty for the next three days, so we'll do everything we can to help."
Babcock smiled. "Thanks, you two. With everybody working together, we might just do it."
The next afternoon, Starsky and Hutch walked into the back of the River City Mission. They had wisely dressed in old clothes, prepared for manual labor. Hutch smiled to himself. With Starsky, you never really knew which of his clothes were old, and which weren't. The volunteers gathered quietly in the back, waiting anxiously for the Fire Marshall to OK the new wiring. When he nodded, and signed the certificate, there was a quiet cheer from the volunteers.
Simmons grinned and said, "OK, everybody, let's get to work! We've got a lot to do and Christmas ain't gonna wait for us to get it done."
The crew went to work on the damaged kitchen. The wall where the fire started was the worst. All the appliances had to be pulled out and cleaned. The entire wall had to be replaced, and new outlet covers installed. Robbie Houseman carefully supervised any task involving the new wiring. They had worked too hard to start making mistakes now.
Starsky and Hutch stood to one side, holding the new sheet rock for the wall. Eddie Hoyle walked up to them, carrying two glasses of ice water.
"Hi, Starpy. Hi, Hup. We sure do thank-you for helping out today. I was afraid we wouldn't have Christmas this year."
Hutch smiled at the smaller man. "You're welcome, Eddie. We know how much this place means to all of you. We're glad we could help."
"You guys are great. Hey, you want a glass of water? We don't keep any alcohol here, and we can't make any tea until the kitchen is fixed."
Starsky gratefully accepted the glass of water. "Water's fine, Eddie. Thanks."
As Hutch took the other glass, he noticed the bandages on Eddie's hand. "What happened to your hand, Eddie? Are you OK?"
Eddie looked down at his hand. "Oh. Yeah, I'm OK. I tried to put the fire out, and I got burned."
Starsky looked at the homeless man, concerned. "That was a brave thing to do, Eddie, but you could have been seriously hurt."
Eddie looked down at the floor. "It didn't do any good. I couldn't put the fire out. It was too big. Maybe if I wasn't so dumb, I would have known what to do."
Starsky gently squeezed Eddie's shoulder. "I'm sorry, Eddie. But you tried. Don't put yourself down. You tried, and that's what matters."
Hutch nodded. "Yeah, and we'll get this kitchen back together soon. Don't worry, Eddie. You'll have a great Christmas, I promise. We're going to help serve this year, so we'll make sure it's finished in time."
Eddie smiled widely. "Thanks, Starpy. I'll see you guys tomorrow, then. I guess I'd better get back to work. These other guys look thirsty, too."
Starsky nodded. "Yeah, we'd better get back to work, too. See ya later, Eddie."
The crew of volunteers worked through the afternoon, and into the night, stopping only long enough for a sandwich for dinner. Hutch finished the sandwich and held a second glass of ice water to his face. The cold glass felt good against his hot skin. He spotted Starsky across the room, talking to some of the other detectives. He smiled as Starsky grinned in response to something that the other men said. Even after all these years, his partner's smile could still light up a room.
The blonde detective thought about what Starsky had said earlier. "There, but for the grace of God, go I." He was sure that none of the people that depended on the Mission planned on being homeless. Who knew what tragic events in their lives had led them here? He was grateful for all the blessings he had, especially Starsky.
Hutch watched his friend, and said a small prayer. He had come so close to losing Starsky. That was a pain he'd never forget. But there he was, across the room, smiling and gesturing animatedly with his hands. Starsky would never be quite the same man that he was before Gunther, but he'd come a long way. Their partnership and friendship had carried them both through Starsky's recovery. Now, he was back on the force, doing what he wanted most. Hutch didn't have to wonder if miracles really happened. He had already witnessed one.
Suddenly, a childhood Christmas song came to mind. "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth."
Hutch thought fervently that all he wanted was to grow old with Starsky, no matter what they ended up doing. He'd had a glimpse of what life would be like without his best friend, and shuddered at the thought. As long as they were together, they could beat anything. Two pairs of blue eyes met across the room, and Starsky raised a glass in salute. Hutch smiled fondly, and forced his tired body up. Wearily, he joined his partner.
Christmas day was sunny, with just a slight chill in the air. The new kitchen was filled with tantalizing smells, and people talking cheerily as they worked. Starsky and Hutch helped carry the huge pans of food out to the steam table after they were filled. Starsky was decked out in a chef's hat and white apron over his best jeans and blue shirt. Hutch simply shook his head and thanked God that Starsky left the Santa's hat at home.
The meal was a complete success. Despite what uncertainty the rest of the year brought, this was one day that the men and women that called the Mission home could get a hot meal, and a warm place to stay. Long time members gathered together and enjoyed the day. The two detectives helped clean up after the meal, then went home to change.
When Starsky arrived back at Hutch's apartment, they exchanged their gifts. Starsky watched carefully as Hutch opened his gift. His face lit up as Hutch drew in a sharp breath. A short time before he was shot, Starsky had accidentally destroyed the autographed Buddy Holly album that Hutch had bought. Even though Hutch hadn't been angry, Starsky felt badly about the incident. It had taken him a long time to find another one, but was finally successful. As an added bonus, he'd found the autographed sheet music to "Peggy Sue", one of his hit songs. Hutch looked at his friend.
"Starsky, I don't know what to say. You didn't have to do this, but I'm glad you did. Thanks, buddy."
"You're welcome, Blintz. You could have gotten real mad at me for burning your album, but you didn't. I'm glad you like it."
Hutch grinned and handed Starsky a small box. "Here, open yours. I hope you like it as much as I like mine."
Starsky tore off the wrapping with his usual enthusiasm, and opened the black velvet box. In the box lay the Rolex watch he had wanted for so long. With the medical bills and lost wages over the past year, the watch was far too expensive for his budget. He sat speechless for a moment, then looked back at Hutch.
"Oh, Hutch. I can't believe it! It's the best present I've ever gotten. How did you know?"
Hutch grinned. "It wasn't hard to figure out. You've only stopped in front of that store about a thousand times. I'm glad you like it, buddy."
Hutch watched as Starsky put the watch on and gazed at it proudly. You've already given me the best present I could ask for, Starsky. You're sitting right here beside me.
When they arrived at the Dobey's and told Edith where they had been, she hugged them both and kissed them on the cheek.
"That was so kind of you! For that, you get an extra piece of pumpkin pie."
Dobey grumbled good-naturedly at that, then winked at his men. "Better loosen those belts, you two. Edith has outdone herself again."
The rest of the evening passed quickly. Cal and Rosie showed the two detectives all the gifts they had received, and watched with excitement as Starsky and Hutch opened up their presents. For Starsky, it was another model of a ship. He had made the comment that he was glad he finished the other one, but missed having something to build. Dobey had overheard him, and mentioned it to Edith. For Hutch, it was several new canvasses and some new paints. After Gunther, Hutch had stopped painting. He said he found it hard to find beauty in anything when a man as evil as Gunther existed. Dobey hoped that the new supplies would encourage Hutch to start painting again. The blonde detective was talented, but it was more than that. Dobey knew how much pleasure painting gave Hutch, and hated to see him leave that part of his life behind.
By the time he got back to his apartment that night, Hutch was exhausted. It had been a good day, but now he was winding down. He took a long, hot shower to soothe his tired muscles, and got ready for bed. As he reached down to turn his bedside lamp off, a strange object caught his eye. A gold frame stood on the table, with a photograph inside. He held it up, and looked at the two men in the picture. At first, he didn't recognize them, so he took a closer look. His heart stopped when he realized who they were. The familiar curls were gone, but there was no mistaking that Starsky smile. Except for the laugh lines beside those blue eyes, the face was the same. He looked at the other man in the picture. Was that really him? The blonde hair that had darkened over the years was thinner, and slightly shorter. The mustache was gone, too, but the face was undoubtedly his own. His vision blurred with tears as he looked at the picture. He didn't know if it was a trick of photography or a glimpse into the future, but it didn't really matter. He and Starsky would grow old together.
Ken Hutchinson held the picture close to his heart, closed his eyes and smiled.