A Post Gunther Story: How will the two partners deal with all the changes following Gunther's attack?
Categories: Starsky H/C. Hutch Angst.
A Post Gunther Story: How will the two partners deal with all the changes following Gunther's attack?
Categories: Starsky H/C. Hutch Angst.
Sealed with a kiss by Sam KW.
Everything had changed after the attack; even how they felt about each other.
Sitting at Starsky’s bed in the hospital, waiting for him to wake up, Hutch realized that he had fallen in love with his very handsome, very straight, very male, partner.
"Terrified" was an underestimation for what he was feeling right now. His fact-based, analytical mind had no clue as to how, when, and why he had allowed this to happen, and most importantly, what he'd do about it, hereafter. All what he knew for sure was that his feelings towards the one and only person that mattered to him in this whole world had changed; big time! Starsky would have said ‘T’rrific’.
He had never fallen for a man before- Never had romantic feelings for them… and he knew that these feelings were still only towards his partner… they were not towards ‘men.’ He had gotten himself into a fix he couldn't un-fix.
So what was he going to do now? He had to say something. He had to let Starsky know how he felt, right? Yeah right, like that will go really well, Hutchinson!
He knew Starsky loved him like a brother; so how'd Starsky take this bit of news? They had always been honest with each other about everything, so how could he hide something like this from Starsky? He had to do something. He had to talk to him. He just couldn’t sit here and do nothing or say nothing; he had to
make sure that Starsky knew how he felt.
But that would change everything! How could he risk that? What if Starsky wouldn't want to be partners anymore?
Yet, somewhere deep inside, Hutch knew Starsky would go to the ends of he earth to make Hutch happy. So he had to be selfish here to get Starsky back to the living; selfish? Yes! so what? If that'd make Starsky fight back for his life, that's all what mattered. Hutch would move heaven and earth to get Starsky to wake up… he had to tell everything he felt for his partner, his buddy.
"You aren't going to die, Starsk, because you can't just die and leave me all alone here. I want you-- I need you! You hear me? I want you back. You have to fight and come back for me. You can't die, Starsk. Not now, not ever. You have to come back to me because if you don’t come back I-I don’t think I can go on anymore. I don’t want to take even one breath, or live another millisecond without you. Do you hear me, Gordo? I want you to come back to me."
He watched for hours and hours for any reaction from his partner; a twitch in the eye, a movement in Starsky's arm, his fingers, which Hutch had been holding forever. "Dammit, Starsk, open your eyes," Hutch hissed, bringing Starsky’s hand to his chest, and holding it tight. "You got to open those blue eyes and smile at me, please, just for me."
Hutch placed his forehead on the bed, not caring enough to control his sobs. This time, there weren't any fingers running through Hutch’s hair. No fingers were massaging his scalp. No palm resting on his cheeks to comfort him. Everything was at a standstill. Starsky’s eyes were closed. Hands were still.
Hutch wiped his cheeks with the back of his hand. How on earth am I supposed to go through this, Starsk?
"There's something I have to tell you (sniff), something that you should know. I don’t want anything from you, and you don’t have to be anything different from what you are now, but I have to tell you, Starsk, (sniff)"
It was more difficult than he thought.
"You have to know about this. You need to know how I feel. Maybe you already do. You know everything about me (stifled sob). I-- I love you. Do you know that? I mean I really really love you, Starsk. I am in love with you." Hutch felt lighter in his heart. Happy to finally being able to say it, but moreover, happier that Starsky couldn't really hear him at the moment.
"I guess I have loved you for a long time, but didn’t realize it until... well, I don’t know exactly when, but I just know it now. Does that make me gay? It's not like Ive ever had feelings for men --It's just you, Starsk. Just you." Hutch sighed. "I mean I don’t like other men. I just love you. I guess that would make me gay, huh? But it feels different. You've got to wake up. You've got to wake up so that I can show you how much I love you, how much you mean to me. I want to love you and take care of you for the rest of my life."
The last statement was out of his mouth before even he knew it. Take care of him for the rest of my life? Why the heck am I acting like some love sick teenager?
"Don't get me wrong, Starsk." Hutch said, hurriedly. "It's not like I want things to change between us. Nothing has to change. I... I just want you to come back, okay. Nothing has to change. Just come back, buddy. Come back for me, please."
When it was time for Hutch to get some sleep in the uncomfortable hospital chair, he placed his lips against Starsky’s forehead. "Sweet dreams, buddy, sleep well. I am right here beside you. I will be here with you until you wake up. I am always near you. Love you, Starsk... in every way ever possible. Today you are still in pain and I understand why you don’t want to wake up, but tomorrow should be different. Tomorrow, you have to wake up. Nothing and no one else matters, Starsk. You are my life, do you hear me.? You are my life!"
So how can I go on without my life?
The following day, sometime in the afternoon, Starsky opened his eyes. For Hutch, that may have been the most beautiful event he witnessed during his whole life. From that minute onward he behaved like a kid who had given a ton of candy.
Huggy and Captain Dobey couldn’t figure him out. This was not the Kenneth Hutchinson they had known, but they didn’t care. They themselves were feeling giddy and silly with happiness after that close call.
For the next three days Starsky was in and out of consciousness. Once Gunther was in custody and Hutch’s work for the present was done, he never left Starsky’s bedside. He didn’t talk anymore about his love but always kissed Starsky Goodnight, when Starsky was already asleep, inhaling the smell of
Starsky and hanging on to it for his dear life. He felt as if his kisses were an avenue to pass his energy and life into Starsky. He would do anything to get his partner back to him. Hutch wondered whether Starsky heard what he had been saying during his coma/sleep/unconsciousness, and if he heard anything. Did he
still remember any of it even if he heard it?
When Starsky was fully conscious and out of all danger, everybody had insisted that Hutch should go home and get some decent sleep. Although he didn’t actually want to, Hutch reluctantly agreed thinking that the more rested he was the better he could take care of Starsky.
When Hutch was about to leave that night Starsky was still awake. Hutch went up to him and rustled his dark curls. "I will go home and come back tomorrow, okay? I think I need to change my clothes or else this room will start to stink. Will still be here when you wake up in the morning. I'll always be close by, buddy. Now it's time for you to sleep, okay?"
"'Kay," Starsky replied with a voice barely audible, and then he said something as Hutch was moving away from his bed.
Hutch didn’t hear him clearly. He came back to the bed and bent towards Starsky. "What is it, Starsk?" He asked gently.
"Where's my night kiss?" Starsky asked.
Hutch froze. How did he know? did he feel my kisses? but how? How did he know? He was always asleep when I kissed him? Does this mean that he also heard me?
Starsky didn’t understand why Hutch had gone pale suddenly. He raised his eyebrows as if to say ‘Well… I need my goodnight kiss’ What's wrong with Hutch? Didn’t he kiss me goodnight, every day? As far as I can remember he did that every night. I am sure of it! So why not today?
"Waz' wrong utch?" Starsky croaked. Hutch didn’t want to answer that question. He simply did what he thought was the best for the moment. He kissed Starsky on his forehead, for the first time when he was fully awake, as it was the most natural thing to do in the whole world.
"Sleep well, Starsk," he said not trusting his own voice, and Starsky smiled.
Suddenly everything seems to be just fine. Starsky sighed and closed his eyes. He was asleep before Hutch stepped out of the room.
Huggy was standing outside and witnessed what had just happened. He wasn't surprised. "Well... well... let us see how Blondie takes it from here," he said to himself.
Hutch came out of Starsky's room and saw Huggy smiling at him. Hutch pointed his finger with that deadly look in his eyes.
Huggy raised his hands. "I didn’t see nothing, man" he said, and Hutch stormed by.
It continued to be the normal thing to do. Every night in the hospital when the time came for Starsky to sleep, Hutch gave him his 'goodnight' kiss. At the end, Hutch didn’t care who was around, and the nurses, if they were around, smiled fondly at the love the big blond guy was showering his partner with. None
of them saw it as something unusual. They knew that the fast recovery of Starsky was all due to the love of his partner.
When Starsky was released from the hospital and came home, Hutch moved in with him to take care of him. The bullet wounds were on the right side and Starsky could now sleep only when he was lying on his left side with pillows propped against him. The pain relievers helped Starsky to sleep, which was a relief to Hutch. But unfortunately, Hutch couldn’t sleep at all.
As soon as he drifted into a sleep his worst nightmares embraced him. Starsky lying in a pool of blood, Starsky getting shot from all angles; Starsky was always dying. Sometimes Dobey calling him to get back to the hospital, and he kept running in his dreams. But no matter how fast he ran, it seems like he could never get into the hospital. People were blaming him; Starsky didn’t make it because Hutch couldn’t get to the hospital in time. Hutch would wake up drenched with sweat, and panting; reaching for Starsky. He would sit on the couch afraid that he had awakened Starsky. He would go and check on Starsky to make sure he had not disturbed him. Luckily, all those medication always made Starsky sleep well, oblivious to his surroundings.
The only time Hutch would fall asleep was when he was together with Starsky, in front of the TV, while watching some of Starsky’s monster marathons. Starsky would lean against Hutch, and Hutch would have an arm around Starsky’s shoulders. It was only during those times that Hutch would truly feel that
Strasky was safe. It was only then that he could close his eyes and go to sleep without having nightmares.
When Starsky hear the soft snores coming from Hutch, it would make him smile and he would feel as if his heart could burst of the love he felt towards Hutch; his friend, his partner, his soul mate. My life! He too would fall asleep, feeling safe and content with the warmth radiating from Hutch’s body.
With time, Starsky noticed the dark circles around Hutch’s eyes. He could bear any pain he felt, but Hutch’s pain he couldn’t. Hutch had lost weight during the past few weeks and Starsky was worried. He realized that Hutch as not getting enough sleep. So what kept Hutch from sleeping?
What is going on, Buddy? This is far more than the tiredness you are feeling from taking care of me. I have to find out what is bothering you- Aren’t you sleeping at night? Is that why you fall asleep when we are watching TV? I know you won’t tell me if I ask you about it. How could I help you if you don’t tell
me your problems. You are trying to shield me from all the ugliness and problems and troubles of the world- You even change the news channel if something bad is been reported. For how long are you going to keep me in this happy bubble, Hutch, and how long are you going to take all the ugliness and lock it up inside you? This is not right!- I have to do something because you are sinking, Hutch, you just don’t know it, yet, and if I don’t do something I am going to lose you, and you are going to lose yourself.
The only way to find out what was going on in the night was to stay awake, and that is exactly what Starsky did. One night he didn’t take all the pain medications because those pills also made him sleep deeply. He managed to hide some pills in his palm, and later slipped them under the mattress while Hutch wasn’t
watching. Then he faked his sleep. Hutch didn’t notice a difference because he was not looking for any.
Once Starsky was asleep Hutch came out of the room, had a shower, cleaned up the kitchen and returned to his couch. Starsky, by that time, had insisted on replacing the couch with a better one since that was going to be Hutch’s bed for sometime. The new couch was large, firm just like Hutch liked it, and comfy. But it wasn’t easy to sleep when Starsky wasn't near him. It was not like they were in two apartments, of course, Starsky was in the next room, but this was not how Hutch wanted things to be. He wanted to stay close so that he could feel Starsky breathing and would know that he is alive.
What if you suddenly stop breathing and won’t come back; what if you decide to just go away. If I'm near you I would know if you stop breathing, and I won't let you go- I wont let you leave me. What if you are in pain and cannot call me? So close yet so far. Hutch sighed.
Starsky tried listened to what was going on with Hutch in the living room. Starsky knew that he'd have to suffer that night, immensely, as the result of not taking all the medication; the pain would surely keep him awake. However, he feeling a little bit sleepy, Starsky drifted into a half asleep, half-awake, when suddenly he heard a noise coming from the living room. He tried to get up from the bed, but the pain radiated across his torso like rays of lightening. By the time he managed to sit up, he was sweating all over. He couldn’t get up from the bed, so he listened to what was going on; Hutch whimpered and mumbled in his sleep.
Hutch's having nightmares, and that is why he cannot sleep. I have to go to him, now, but I cannot get up- If I try to I will fall over and that will bring Hutch into this room. I will never be able to help Hutch. God, what should I do? Aww, Hutch, buddy- what should I do. I have to be with you, partner!
Starsky had to go to Hutch. He had to hold Hutch, but he felt so helpless not even being able to get up from the bed by himself. His eyes were brimming with tears. He could only imagine what Hutch must be going through during his nightmares over and over again. Seeing me getting shot and lying in blood;
fearing I was dead and then not knowing the outcome at the hospital- I am no good to Hutch like this- I have to think of something else- I have to stop his nightmares and I need a plan. Hutch will never agree to anything If he thinks I am trying to help him. So I need a good plan.
Hutch cried out. "Please, Starsk. Don’t die. Don’t leave me. Starsk, please."
Hutch was hurting and Starsky could do nothing. He couldn’t get out of the damn bed no matter how much he tried. He had never felt this hopeless before; hopeless and helpless of not being able to be with his partner when he was hurting.
"Hutch," Starsky called out. It wasn’t much of a sound, but he had to try again- "HUUUTCH," he said a little bit louder this time. He banged his fist on the night stand a couple of times as hard as he could, ignoring the pain the vibrations brought in.
Hutch didn’t know what woke him up; whether it was the nightmare or some other thing. Did Starsky call him? Hutch jumped off the couch and tip toed towards the bedroom and pushed open the bed room door very slowly to check on his friend. Starsky was sitting on the bed. It only took a flash of a second for Hutch to get to Starsky.
"Starsk- what’s wrong?" His voice was full of concern. He switched on the bedside light, and was horrified to see Starsky in tears. "What's going on? Are you in pain? Talk to me, buddy, what happened?" Hutch was frantic; he sat beside Starsky.
By then the physical pain was too much for Starsky and he was hurting for real. He was, in a way, glad that he didn’t have to fake anything. "It 'urts, 'utch," he managed to say. Starsky felt guilty for what he had done. Although his intentions were noble it got Hutch worried again.
"Aww, babe, you can take only another one more pill for the pain, buddy. Do you want me to get one?" Hutch was worried about Starsky’s pain- It didn’t make any sense for the pain return when he was taking all the pain medications and he was doing very well all these days. So why now? Why is this happening?
Starsky felt Hutch’s confusion and frustration. He should tell Hutch the truth about not taking the pills, but not the real reason behind it. If not, Hutch would start analyzing every event that took place through the whole day to find out a reason for his sudden pain.
"Utch… I... er... din take all today."
"What?" Hutch wasn’t sure he heard right- Did Starsky say that he didn’t take all his meds today? But I gave him everything. I gave all the eight pills.
"I wanna see ow I'd do without 'em." Starsky lied.
Hutch couldn’t believe what he was hearing. "Are you telling me that you purposely didn’t take the pills to see how it goes without them?"
Starsky nodded, his eyes full with tears.
"din wanna get addicted."
Hutch understood the 'not wanting to get addicted' part very well, but it was too soon to worry about addiction. For heaven’s sake it was not even two weeks after coming home from the hospital. "So where are the meds I gave you? The ones you didn’t take."
Starsky pointed towards the mattress. Hutch shook his head, and raised the mattress to find three pills in there. He gasped.
"Starsky!!!! Were you out of your mind? One of these is an antibiotic. You cannot break the dose. God, why do you have to be so stubborn? Why can’t you just take the doctor’s orders and do as I say just for this once?"
Hutch was clearly angry by now and Starsky was feeling worse by the second. Not only because the pain was sky rocketing, but also because now he had managed to make Hutch angry.
"Sorry. Don’t…. not angry," Starsky said in a small voice.
Hutch came back with a glass of water and made Starsky take the meds; Watching until every one of them disappeared down his throat. Then he climbed onto the bed and sat behind Starsky leaning against the headboard. He gently pulled Starsky towards him so that now Starsky’s head was resting against
Hutch’s chest. Hutch’s chin was on top of Starsky’s head; his curls tickling Hutch’s nose. Hutch wiped the tears that were on Starsky’s cheeks. "I am not mad at you, Starsk, but God, you sometimes do really really stupid things you know."
"Thanks for agreeing with me for once."
Starsky managed a small smile. As long as Hutch was here he could keep away his nightmares. Starsky promised silently that everything will be alright by tomorrow.
Hutch dropped a feather light kiss to the top of his head.
Starsky sighed. Everything has changed between us, Hutch; how we feel about each other, how we treat each other. We are more than just best buddies. I never thought there could be more between us than what we had, but boy, wasn’t I wrong. I know you have changed, and I think I have too.
Despite all what was going on Starsky had also managed to notice all the other changes in Hutch. How he behaved, how he talked to him, and that special soft expression in his face every time he said "Starsk" was medicine for his soul. He never wanted that expression to fade away.
Starsky had not felt this peaceful for a long time. He finally felt that he was at home, where he belonged, with the person he belonged to. He couldn’t remember much of the first few days after waking up in the hospital. But he felt that there was something in the back of his mind about him and Hutch. He had heard or felt Hutch talking to him, about something very important that he felt that he just couldn’t leave, but had to come back, alive, to talk to Hutch. But what was it all about? He didn’t remember.
Hutch had never said anything when he was awake other than kissing him every day, on his forehead or on his head. At the beginning, he thought that was something they had done every day, but later when he was out of it, and when his mind was back to normal and away from all the drugs that was given to him, he
knew that they never had a routine ‘goodnight kiss’ like that before. For heaven’s sake they were two guys- two cops- partners – best friends. And... they DID NOT kiss! At least not like this! But then why he himself asked for that kiss before going to sleep thinking or feeling that it was something they had always done? And if they had never done it before why didn’t Hutch say anything? Something was missing... they had to talk about something… but what? He knew it was in the back of his mind and waiting to be triggered to come back to him.
But for now he had to take care of Hutch. Starsky knew very well that the emotional scars were a million times stronger and painful than physical ones. Hutch was hurting and only he, Starsky, could cure him.
"I'm not going anywhere, Starsk."
"I mean now."
"Yeah I know. I won’t go anywhere. Not now, not ever."
"I mean sleep… ere…"
Hutch’s eyes widened.
"Sleep with you?"
"Are you proposing to me Starsk?" Hutch asked in an amused voice- Starsky giggled, but suffered the result as a wave of pain hit him right through is chest. He cried in agony and Hutch held him tighter.
"Easy, easy, buddy."
"Can't laugh. Don't make me laugh."
"I know, Starsk. I know." Another kiss on the head.
"You do thatta lot," said Starsky.
"What do I do a lot?" Hutch asked.
"Whaddy’a just did."
"That is what I asked. What is it?"
"I know that you know what I said that you do a lot. So why you actin' like you dunno what I said?"
This is one more thing about Starsky. He would never complain and hang on to the pain, especially if it is an unbearable one. That didn’t make sense but that's who Starsky is. "You make my head hurt, Starsk." Hutch sighed, but he was also smiling. He planted another kiss on Starsky’s curls without even thinking about it.
Starsky’s smile widened. "There… you did’t again, partner," he said.
"Ohh," Hutch was alarmed. Had he overdone it? He had been overwhelmed and happy about Starsky’s return from the dead he didn’t even think of what he was doing.
"You don’t like it?" He asked fearing and not knowing what was on Starsky’s mind.
"I din say that 'utch. It’s nice, you know. Feel loved."
"Of course you are loved, Starsk. You should know that by now," Hutch's voice changed into a soft whisper, caressing Starsky's soul. "I've always loved you."
And there it came, like the flood gates of Dworshak Dam were opened. Starsky's memory started to overflow with each and every piece of conversation Hutch single handedly conducted when Starsky was struggling with his options between living and dying. Was all of it for real? If so, how could Starsky convince Hutch about how he really felt about all of this?
"Were you talking to me when I was in the hospital?"
"What do you mean whether I was talking to you? Of course I was talking to you all the time, dummy," Hutch said fondly.
"I mean when I was not fully alright. I mean when I was still in a coma?"
"Yes. I talked to you. I wanted you to come back, and was afraid that you'd think you were all alone. Had to let you know that I was waiting for you, you know."
"What was it that you talked ‘about’ ?"
"Well, I umm… I can’t remember, but mostly I wanted you to wake up, and err... I just said whatever came to my mind. Why?" Hutch said.
"I feel as if I have to talk to you about somethin', but I am not sure." Starsky’s pushed his head back and downwards along Hutch’s chest slowly, looking up at Hutch questioningly.
Hutch was as red as a beet root. "Well... mm... I... errr... I don’t know, Starsk. Maybe it'll come to you later."
"I hoped you'd help me remember. Maybe it was just some dream or hallucinations."
"Maybe. Go to sleep now, Starsk."
"'Cos I didn't get my kiss." Starsky said.
"Wellhh! Wasn’t it you that said that I was doing it all the time? And now you are complaining that I didn’t give kiss you good night? I gave ‘that’ about three hours ago, mush-brain."
"Yeah, but that doesn’t count anymore ‘cos this is a new sleep."
"Sometimes you are worse than a five year old. You know that?"
"What am I going to do with you, Starsk?" Hutch leaned forward and kissed Starsky on the head. "There- now you should be able to sleep."
Starsky's face lightened up with that thousand watt smile. Hutch would've done anything to keep him smiling. Anything! Even if it meant that he had to keep his feelings to himself and act like nothing has changed between him and Starsky. It was getting harder and harder each day to just be with Starsky
without showing Hutch's true feelings; he longed to do more and say more. But for the moment he had to mask his feelings, and that only intensified his torment.
"Feeling sleepy yet, buddy?" Hutch asked.
"You will stay with me?" Starsky’s pain had lessened. The medication was taking its effects, and Starsky was feeling sleepy and happy to have Hutch close to him, holding him.
"You want me to?"
"I feel cold, "
"Cold? So why didn’t you tell me. I could have got another blanket. Aw, Starsk, you have to tell me, you know."
"I have given you enough trouble already, Hutch."
"Oh, Shut up. Getting you a blanket is trouble? How come?"
"It's not just a blanket, Hutch. I mean... I err... I feel cold and… well... kind’a lonely in the night."
"You're not alone, Starsky. You know I am here with you."
"Yes but when you are in the couch and I am ‘ere in this room. Too far away ‘utch." Starsky looked sad.
Hutch just melted away. Of course. Why didn’t he see this before- Being close to each other was vital to both of them.
"I can bring the couch to the room, Starsk"
"Not the couch."
"You can sleep with me - ‘ere" Starsky patted the bed beside him.
"I don’t’ think that's a good idea, Starsk"
"What if I hurt you?"
"Your wounds aren't healed well, yet. What if I push you in my sleep or something?"
"Well, I’ll push your sorry ass down the bed if you start strugglin’ and kickin’ and-"
"Oh, yeah? You think you are strong enough to push me?"
"'nytime Blondie!" Starsky smiled happily knowing that his plan was working perfectly. Hutch scratched the back of his neck staring at Starsky for a moment. Sighing, he went to the living room after making sure Starsky was lying against a line of pillows. Hutch fetched his own pillows from the couch and placed it next To Starsky. He wasn’t sure whether this was a good idea or not. Of course, he loved being close to Starsky; this close! This was his dream, but what if he did something stupid in his sleep. He wasn’t just worried about
hurting Starsky physically by thrashing around, but what if he said something stupid in his sleep. Starsky would never forgive him.
Hutch placed more pillows against Starsky’s back for support. He then lay beside Starsky gently and carefully. "So you trust me, huh?" He asked, switching off the light.
"Now what type of a stupid question is that? Of course, I trust you, with my Life!" Starsky was annoyed.
"Well, then you have to trust me with this too, okay?"
He gently pulled Starsky towards him, making sure no pressure was placed against his bullet wounds.
"What are you doing?" Starsky asked.
"You said you trust me. So trust me!"
"I am just asking what you are doing."
"Making you feel warm. Chasing away your loneliness," Hutch whispered, turning towards Starsky and spooning him with a solid layer of pillows in between. Would Starsky welcome this new arrangement? Was Hutch going too far? Hutch’s heart was beating fast.
This was just perfect, Starsky sighed. Hutch was in his bed, and now Hutch would not have any more nightmares. No more sleepless nights. Hutch was with him and he'd make sure Hutch will stay that way
every night. He smiled, feeling quite pleased with himself. David Michael Starsky, you are indeed a very clever man. Starsky pulled Hutch's arm and placed it against his heart "Feels good, Hutch," Starsky mumbled already drifting into sleep. Hutch closed his eyes listening and feeling Starsky’s heart beat
against his palm.
Their lives were turned upside down after Gunther’s attack. That was three months ago. Starsky was now on physical therapy sessions 3 times a week and then seeing a psychiatrist together with Hutch, once a week. Starsky was gaining both his physical and mental strength faster than anyone ever believed he would.
Their life was falling into a new routine. Hutch was on desk duty, working 6 hour shifts instead of 12 hour shifts to begin with. Starsky managed to take care of himself except driving. Merle had restored the battered Torino back to its old self. Hutch made sure there would be no visible scars on the Starsky’s beloved striped tomato when he laid eyes on her. Starsky was delighted to have her back in his driveway.
Hutch! He never seized to amaze Starsky during these past couple of months with his love, patience, and resilience. He had taken care of Starsky’s wounds, cleaned them, washed them, dressed them as if
they were the most precious things in the whole world. They were his 'miracles.' They reminded him that despite those wounds Starsky was still alive.
‘My living miracle’ he would call Starsky at times when he needed to be reassured that Starsky was alive and he was not just a dream. Hutch would trace Starsky’s wounds and how they have healed. Every time he wondered what would have happened if Starsky had died. Hutch's life, as he had known it, would have ended with Starsky that day as well. He would have followed Starsky.
Hutch was still living with Starsky in his apartment. His nightmares had disappeared as soon as he started to sleep with Starsky. Hutch would go back to his own apartment sometimes only to water the plants or check his mail. Starsky was getting better and Hutch was wondering whether he should now move back onto
the couch. Starsky would want that, wouldn’t he?
Starsk would want his independence back. Having me in his bed is surely not what he wants in life permanently. He is the one who had dreams about having a house with a white picket fence, a wife to come home to, and children. I cannot give that to him. I cannot be selfish- I will have to move out.
One Friday Hutch came home early.
Starsky’s face lit up. "Hey, you are early." He got up from the couch as soon as he saw Hutch walking inside.
Hutch smiled at Starsky’s shining eyes. "Why Starsky someone would think that you are actually happy to
"I am happy only because this means I can have dinner early."
"Should have known it had to do something with your belly," Hutch said touching Starsky’s stomach.
"So what can I have today? Mexican?"
"In your dreams Starsky. No matter how many times you ask, you are not getting any spicy food yet, buddy."
"Why are you home early?"
"Took care of everything on my desk. Dobey gave me one hour off."
"He has gone all soft like a jelly on ya."
Hutch went to the kitchen to prepare their supper and saw something already on the stove. "Starsky, what have you done?" He opened the saucepan and saw something like a soup..
"I made something for you." Starsky said joyously.
"How? Why? Where did you get the groceries?"
"Huggy helped. It's just a sea food gumbo."
"Gumbo? From where did you learn to make that?"
"You have no idea about what I am capable of, Hutch." Starsky said proudly. It was nice to do something for Hutch in return for all what he had done for him.
"You should not be doing this, Starsk. You aren't fully recovered."
"Oh, come on, Hutch. The only reason why I'm still at home is because the department has not cleared me for work, yet. They are just waiting to see what the shrink says. I am fine, you know."
"Just don’t overdo anything, buddy. You are far from being normal."
"You worry too much, Hutch. What is normal, huh? I can walk around by myself, I can climb the stairs by myself. Can take a shower or a bath by myself. Can remember to take the medicine by myself. I can even get up from the bed myself--"
"Well…" Hutch remained thoughtful for a while. "In that case... maybe I should return back to the couch, huh?"
Starsky’s smile disappeared. "If that’s what you want. Sure," Starsky said, turning away from Hutch and walking towards the living room.
Hutch cursed himself. I am the world’s number one prick! I just couldn’t keep my big mouth shut, and now I have wiped out all the happiness away from Starsky. I just had to go destroy all his happiness. ‘Hutch you are a moron!’
"Hey," he quickly caught up with Starsky. "I didn’t mean it like that, Starsk. Hey, look at me."
"I'm not mad at you, Hutch. I know you need your space. I have been very selfish, wanting you here with me all the time. I'm … I'm sorry." Starsky apologized, sorrowfully.
"Oh, God." Hutch reached out and held Starsky by his shoulders. "Don't even think of what you're thinking right now. I am a big jerk, you know. I open my big mouth and say some stupid thing that I don’t mean at all. I wasn’t thinking of myself Starsk. I was thinking that maybe you would want your ‘normal’ life back. I don’t want to leave you. I hate going to my apartment. I cannot stay there for more than I have to," he said sincerely.
"Really? You mean it?"
Hutch wondered for the millionth time how Starsky was still able to possess that childish innocence and naïve-ness, in spite of all the ugliness he had seen and experienced in this world. "Yes, I mean it from my whole heart. Here, feel it." Hutch placed Starsky’s palm on his chest.
"Hmm." Starsky pretended to feel. He smiled at Hutch. "Your heart says that it's hungry."
"Are you sure you are not listening to your stomach, Starsky?"
Starsky chuckled. "How did my stomach end up in there.?" he said poking Hutch’s chest with his finger and moving back to the couch.
Hutch shook his head and breathed a sigh of relief. He made a mental note to not to say anything of moving out unless Starsky brought it up. Works fine for me.
He wondered whether Starsky ever remembered what he thought he heard when he was at hospital. Hutch never summed up enough courage to speak to him about his feelings and sometimes felt that it wasn’t really necessary. It was is if they had moved onto some kind of a relationship that both of them were comfortable
in, and didn’t question about it. Although this was not what all Hutch wanted, he settled for what he had, for now.
When the time comes I will talk to him. He promised himself. It wasn't time, yet. Starsky was just getting back to be his own self. Hutch didn’t want to coax him into something because Starsky had to depend on him. When Starsky comes to me it should be on his own terms, and not on my terms. Oh, Hutch knew Starsky loved him. He just wasn't sure how. We are sleeping in the same bed though we're not really ‘sleeping together.’ We live in the same apartment though it's not like we were really ‘living together.’ We even have joint bank accounts now though we are not actually ‘bound’ to each other by law. God, I even think like Starsky, now.
Life was good. Hutch had his partner back alive and back to his own goofy-self, almost, and he himself was working again. Desk work was just fine with him. He didn’t want to be out on the streets without Starsky by his side. After what had happened he wouldn’t want Starsky to be out there at all if he could help it. Hutch had already talked to Dobey about it.
Dobey knew that he had to let go of his detectives from street work. They were like his own sons and he didn’t want to see them go through another round of what just happened. It was lucky to have them both back because he very well knew that if Starsky died that day, he would be dealing with a lot more than one dead body.
Life was good… that was until Hutch got a call from Huggy, one Friday afternoon.
"Hey, Hutch, my man. How are you doing?" Huggy’s friendliness made Hutch smile.
"Hey, Huggy. Haven’t seen you in ages. We are all doing fine. How about you?"
"I am fine... I am just fine... but the question is, Blondie... have you talked to him?"
"I asked... have you talked to him?"
"Talked to whom? Talked about what?"
"Have you talked to Starsky about how you feel about him. I have not forgotten what happened at the hospital, and don’t give me any ‘I don’t know what you are talking about’ crap. So tell me that you have talked to him."
Hutch sighed. There was no point lying to Huggy. He looked around and was thankful to find the squad room empty. "No. I haven’t."
"That’s what I thought. Are you that dumb, Hutch?" Huggy snapped.
"Now wait a minute. What’s that supposed to mean?"
"Are you waiting until someone comes and sweeps him off his feet and carries him somewhere you cannot find him, huh?"
"Will you please come to the point, please."
"Alright then, you asked for it, Blondie. Rosey is back."
"Rosey Malone is back." Rosey Malone. Hutch felt as if he was handed a death sentence. The receiver almost fell off his hand. "What the hell is she doing here?"
"Apparently her father passed away a month ago. And that means there's no one holding her away from Starsky. So, naturally, she came back to Bay City, and she stopped by the Pits last night. She asked me about Starsky and I told her that she should talk to you. She'll drop by the station sometime today." Hugy aused for a while. "Hutch, are you still there?"
"Huh? Yes, yes. She's coming here?"
"Hutch. Listen to me. Don’t let go of him. No one can love him or take care of him like you do. Rosey will end up hurting him one way or another."
Hutch sighed. How would Starsky react to this news?
"It's not what I want Hug. It's what Starsky wants, and you know, Rosey is the only woman he loved enough to think of a family with, after Terry."
"Are you listening to yourself, Hutch? That was a life-time ago. He's a changed man, now. Don’t you let go of him."
"We’ll see. Thanks for telling me, Huggy." Hutch replaced the receiver with a heavy heart. He leaned against the wall and closed his eyes. Why did she have to come back to Bay City after all these years. He felt sick.
"Hutch. What's wrong with you?" It was almost a command than a question from Dobey who had walked out of his office.
Hutch’s eyes flew open and he tried to get his composure back. "Rosey Malone is in town," he managed to say before exiting the room and running towards the bathroom.
An hour later Rosey was at the station.
Hutch who was buried in a heap of paperwork raised his head sensing the presence of someone in front of him and locked eyes with the tall blonde woman; she was as beautiful as she was when she left Bay City three years ago. "Rosey," Hutch stood up, extending his hand and welcoming her, knowing that she very well would take away the only person that mattered to him in the whole world.
"Hutch, thanks for seeing me. I won’t stay for long. How are you?"
"I am fine. I am sorry about your father. Huggy told me just now and I didn’t know that he was sick?"
"He had problems for some time, but at the end his body just gave up. It was cancer."
"I am sorry, Rosey. Must have been hard on you. I can only imagine," Hutch said sincerely. He knew what it was to lose someone you love; almost lose someone you love.
"I didn’t know about David. I mean that he was shot, and… Huggy told me."
"He is getting back on his feet. Wasn’t easy. We thought we lost him one time."
"You wouldn’t let him go, Hutch. Would you?" Rosey smiled.
"Was not his time to go. What brings you here, Rosey?"
"Hutch… I... Please I just have to ask before doing anything stupid. Is he... Is David seeing someone? Is there a woman in his life?"
Hutch’s heart was getting heavier by the minute. "No, Rosey. There's no woman in his life right now," Hutch said truthfully.
Rosey’s face lit up with that news. "Can I… can I talk to him? See him?" Rosey asked.
Hutch sighed. "You don’t have to ask me, Rosey. You can see and talk to him any time you want to or
anytime he wants to." He smiled weakly.
"I mean... I wanted to make sure that he is alright with seeing strangers... I mean... I'm like a stranger now."
"You are no stranger, Rosey. You know what, why don’t you come for dinner tonight. I'm sure he'd love to see you." That will give me enough time to tell him that you are in town and give him time to get used to the idea of having you for dinner.
I am sure Starsky would love to see her. She is the only woman alive on this earth whom he loved enough to get married to and have a family with. She is free now, and Starsky is not tied down in anyway.
"Hutch, are you sure?"
"Yes... how about seven o'clock?"
"That's... that's wonderful. Thanks, Hutch. You're a good friend."
"You did WHAT?" Starsky's angry outburst wasn't something Hutch anticipated. "Why the hell did you invite her for dinner? Why didn’t you just tell her to get lost?"
"Come on, Starsk. You loved her. And the reason why she left was nothing to do with her not loving you or you not loving her. She simply had to go with her father. Starsk… just talk to her. I think she still loves you, buddy." And I think you still love her, too.
"Well... I don’t! I don’t love her anymore, and don’t try to tell me how I feel about her. I can make the decisions for myself. How could you ask her to come for a visit? Why didn’t you ask me before you invited her?"
"I thought you'd like to talk to her. I'm sorry, Starsk. I should have asked you first. It just seemed like a good idea at the time."
"It's okay. Sooner the better."
Starsky’s emotionless voice troubled Hutch. "Starsk? Should I call her and ask her to not come?"
"No. You invited her, and YOU had your reasons. I think it's time to face the ghosts of the past." Starsky’s tone was again void of any emotions. "Time to put the voices of the past to rest."
Hutch felt goose bumps on his neck.
God I hope I have not made a mistake- I just wanted Starsky to see that he could still have his dream future. With a woman he loved. I am not going to come in between a woman and him because I cannot give him what a woman can give. But he is acting all weird about it, as if I have done the unforgivable- as if... as if I have been unfaithful. It doesn’t make sense, but that is exactly how he's acting.
The rest of the evening passed by with an uncomfortable silence. Hutch prepared a dinner with a salad, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, and grilled chicken. Rosey arrived on time and Hutch opened the door not wanting to look at Starsky.
When Rosey stepped inside and Starsky took a couple of steps towards her, the thickness of the air that hung between them could have been sliced with an axe.
"David," Rosey’s voice was barely a whisper.
Starsky was trying to control his emotions; his Adam’s apple moved convulsively up and down, and his
eyes brimmed with tears. The pain reflected in his eyes was just the same as what Hutch witnessed when Rosey left him so many years ago. Starsky was speechless, staring at Rosey not knowing whether he should hug her or shake hands with her or just turn his back and walk away from her. Rosey didn’t give him any time to decide as she walked towards him and hugged him tightly.
"David," she whispered again.
Hutch’s eyes filled with tears. He walked away giving some privacy for the two lovers. He felt he did the right thing. Starsky still loves her and this will give him a chance for the future he always wanted.
I'm his best friend and I'll be right with him through all his decisions. I love him and that means I have to let him go. He deserves the best! ‘Two’s company; three’s a crowd’ If I'm around Starsky will never be comfortable enough to talk to Rosey. I should leave… I need some excuse but I have to leave... God,
Starsky, please forgive me. I hope I'm doing the right thing here. I hope this's the best that could've happened to you.
He removed one plate from the dinner table leaving only two. When he went back to the living room Rosey and Starsky were seated, but not together. They were in two separate comfy chairs. It looked like both of them were trying hard to strike up a conversation.
"So, Rosey, do you still go back and forth to Mexico?" Hutch asked hoping it would give Starsky and Rosey something to talk about. Rosey was involved in helping Mexican artists sell their creations in the US. Her face lit up with a smile for being asked something she truly loved doing.
"Yes, I do. It has not been easy when daddy was ill, but now I am trying to set up a permanent base in California. Haven’t decided where, yet. It'll help me have a permanent place to come to after travelling in Mexico with all what I collect and then send for sale from the base."
A permanent base. Like Bay City? She would stay here if Starsky still feels the same about her? The pieces of the puzzle were falling into place right in front of Hutch's eyes.
"So is it profitable?" Hutch asked, glancing at Starsky, but he was still avoiding eye contact with Hutch. Come on, buddy. You cannot be angry with me. I didn’t do anything wrong. I brought your woman back.
"Oh, you know I don’t do it for profit or money, Hutch. I want to help these poor people. I have enough money for my future. Daddy made sure of that. I'm just helping these people in any way I could. I make sure that they get what they deserve without a middleman getting in-between."
Rosey explained all about her overseas business and the Mexican artists she had helped. Starsky was falling into the conversation and was warming up towards her, but not towards Hutch. He glared at him whenever Hutch said something to him.
After sometime into the conversation Hutch felt it was time to take his leave.
"Err... well... you know... I was planning on staying for dinner, but just before I left work, Dobey gave me this new case I had to finish writing but I told him I'll come back later tonight to finish it up. So... errr… I have to go now… I hope you will like the food, Rosey. I wish I could stay, but you know... duty calls."
Starsky’s head shot up, his eyes wide with surprise and hurt.
Hutch tried to tear his eyes away from that gaze, but was bound by its intensity."Starsk... I... err… I will see you tomorrow... ok?" Come on, Starsk... try to understand what I'm saying. I cannot tell you that I will come back tonight- Rosey wouldn’t understand why I'm still spending nights with you. Please try to understand what I am saying. I'll be back later... you know that!
"Tomorrow?" That was the first word Starsky had directed towards Hutch for a long time.
Rosey couldn’t understand what was going between the two friends. She looked from Hutch to Starsky back and forth. She knew how strong the friendship between Hutch and Starsky was but why did Starsky looked so distressed when Hutch announced he was going back to work? What did she miss?
"Bye, Rosey. It was good to see you," Hutch said.
"You sure you cannot stay, Hutch? We never got a chance to get to know each other, you know." Rosey tried to stop him as she felt that Starsky clearly didn’t want to see him leaving.
"I'm sure we'll have time to know each other later, but not tonight, Rosey. I really have to finish this report."
"Ok then, Hutch. Thanks for everything." She gave Hutch a friendly hug.
Hutch hugged her back and took his leave. He stepped outside the apartment avoiding Starsky's glares. Once outside he leaned against the door closing his eyes and allowing the breeze of the night sweep across his face. The breeze was more like a strong wind though. Something was different... A storm brewing?
What have I done? I just handed over Starsky to Rosey. I just gave away my life! No turning back now. I just have to take a deep breath and try to get through the rest of the night.
After sometime Hutch was at Pits... with Huggy.
"You know, Hutch, I have never run into anyone as dumb as you."
"What else could I have done, Huggy?"
"You could have told Starsky how you felt about him, man, simple as that."
"It is not as simple as that, Huggy. If I had told him how I felt, do you think he would have considered Rosey even if he was in love with her?"
"Maybe you are correct or maybe not. But you would have given him something to think about, but now... he has no one, but Rosey. What if he chooses her because he thinks that there is no one else to love him?"
"Huggy, this is Starsky we are talking about. He wouldn’t just choose someone because there is no one else around. If he really loves her, if he still loves her, then he should be a free man to go to her. I'm not going to tie him down in anyway."
"I still think you are making a big mistake, Hutch. A big mistake."
Huggy left Hutch and went to tend to his other customers. Although Hutch ordered a beer, he wasn't drinking it. He was always with Starsky whenever they came to Pits before Starsky was gunned down. And then Hutch never had time to come here. Lately, as soon as he was done with his work, he would drive home
to Starsky. His happiness was with his partner. He should have known his happiness was short-lived. He never could have Starsky for himself. Never! Starsky would never belong to him. He'll always be my friend, my partner, my buddy, but not my lover.
Hutch left Pits and drove back to his apartment not knowing what else to do. It felt so cold, empty, and lonely. In the old days, the two of them would spend most of their spare times here, watching TV, having pizza and beer. Seems like ages ago. Hutch went to his green house to talk to his plants and spend some time with them. Those plants in his greenhouse were the only living things that knew each and every little feeling he had for Starsky. Hutch must have told them everything in his mind a thousand of times by now. If my plants could have spoken or moved they would have already marched into Starsky’s apartment and told him all about my feelings.
Hutch looked at the time, it was close to 10 o’clock- too early to go home when Starsky was on a ‘date’ - though generally they would have been asleep by now on other days. Starsky would fall asleep around 9 o’clock, and both of them would go to bed. Yes… everything had changed after the attack.
Hutch tried to clean the apartment a little bit. I might have to come back to live here for good, he mused. What must be going on at Starsky’s place? Starsky’s first date since the attack. Is Rosey still with him? The pain he felt to think of Starsky in Rosey’s arms was unbearable. I'd go mad if I stay here thinking of what they must be doing- I have to get out and go somewhere... anywhere.
When Hutch finally stepped outside of the apartment it was drizzling... He didn’t know that a storm was heading towards Bay City. He never switched on the TV while he was at his place. He drove away from his apartment without thinking of a destination. He just wanted to kill time before the time would kill him.
He left the apartment and closed the door behind him just when the phone started to ring, but the sound didn’t quite reach his ears.
Starsky gazed at the closed door once Hutch left, as if by some power would bring Hutch back to the apartment. Starsky couldn’t understand Hutch's reasons to invite Rosey to their home. How could he ask Rosey to come for a visit and why? Why is he trying to push me towards Rosey? This doesn’t make sense... unless… unless…. Starsky’s heart sank. Was everything just a pretense?
"David… are you alright?" Rosey broke the silence. She couldn’t understand Starsky’s behavior. This was not the same David she knew three years ago. He had changed a lot. He had lost a lot of weight; his usual playful attitude was gone. Also she noticed that when Hutch left, so did the spark and the shine that was in David’s eyes. They looked haunted and full of pain and confusion. This was not the man she knew three years ago.
"I... err... I'm sorry, Rosey… I was thinking of something else."
"Is everything okay between Hutch and you?"
"Yes... Yes... Of course. I... err… I didn’t know he was going back tonight. He didn’t tell me until now. I hope he'll get back before the storm. I'm not even sure he knows that there will be a storm tonight."
Get back? So was David expecting Hutch to be back here? Rosey knew that Hutch was and still is taking care of David, but now he looks like he can manage things by himself. So then why does Hutch still stays with him? What was she missing here?
"David, does Hutch live with you. Here?"
"Of course. Blondie would not leave me alone. He's an amazing person, Rosey. I am the luckiest man in the whole world to have him in my life."
Rosey noticed how Starsky’s expression softened when he was talking about Hutch. She was not surprised to see how strong the bond between them had evolved with time. They were always close and tightly bound to each other. An attack on one only would have brought them closer. They were indeed lucky to have each
"David… so tell me… how have you been?" Rosey wanted to change the topic to something else. She wanted to know how Starsky felt about her; did he still think of her... did he have any feelings for her?
"Well… I don’t know what to say or where to begin. So much have happened since you left, Rosey. So why are you really here? Are you here to stay?"
"I don’t know. I haven’t decided that, yet, David... I'm sorry I hurt you. I'm sorry I left you. I wish things were different. I wish I could go back and change the past."
"You did what you thought was the best for the moment."
"I never stopped loving you," Rosey said looking hopefully at him.
Starsky took a deep breath, but he didn’t speak. Instead he smiled sadly at Rosey. "I, too, wish things were different, Rosey. I wish we can just go back to our past and pick up things from there, but it is not that simple. We can’t change the past and we can’t change what happened. We can only go forward from
"Can’t we just be friends, to start with... David?"
Starsky watched the oval shaped face and the person it belonged to; the woman he had loved so many years ago. He had hoped for a future with her. He thought they could be a family... have children... live happily ever after. But she left. She broke his heart and he knew it would never be the same again and that he could never love her the way he loved her before. "You know, Rosey. I think we should eat. I'm hungry."
Rosey smiled. "At least some things haven't changed," she teased.
They sat at the table and Starsky eyed the food Hutch so lovingly had prepared for them. Ah, Hutch. I just don’t understand you sometimes. You are willing to make any sacrifice, but this is too much. This, you shouldn’t have done. You shouldn’t have left me here with Rosey. You should not have left me at
all... period! Where are you? You didn’t even eat anything. Will you come back and eat something, with me? Where the hell are you Hutch? I know there was no report to finish up at the station.
Rosey noticed that Starsky wasn't eating, but just messing around with the food.
"David... the food is wonderful. Hutch is a good cook, isn’t he?"
"Mmm hmm… yes he is."
"So then why aren’t you eating?"
"I am not that hungry as I thought. I haven’t been able to eat that much after the shooting. My stomach is still not up to itself you know." Starsky smiled.
Rosey felt it had to do with something else... like not having Hutch around. They must have had dinner together all the time and today he is not around, and David just doesn’t want to eat without his partner.
The ate in silence, or at least Rosey had some food. Starsky was chasing the carrots around his plate.
A loud crash startled them both; the thunder rolling angrily across the sky was deafening.
"Damn…" Starsky looked up from his food. "This is going to be a bad storm. I wish Hutch would come back before it starts."
"David... you should try to eat something. You haven’t touched anything on your plate, other than pushing it around. Come on, David. At least eat something for Hutch. He cooked this and he would feel very sad if we don’t eat anything." Rosey tried to get Starsky to eat something but nothing seems to work.
"Maybe later. I'm sorry, Rosey. I have been a very bad companion today. I am just tired and … I wasn’t expecting any company tonight. When Hutch told me that he invited you for dinner I just didn’t know what to think of it." He stood up from the table and placed his plate in the sink.
"You didn’t want to see me?" Rosey’s eyes filled with tears. Was she losing him?
"I didn’t know what I wanted, Rosey. It was hard, you know, when you left. I didn’t want to think of living anymore. It hurt so much, but I got over you, and I wasn’t expecting to see you again. Then you come back and now you say that you may even stay here forever. What do you expect from me, Rosey? I am not the same person I was three years ago. I can’t just pick up from where we stopped and move on."
"I am not asking you to be the same, David. I know everything has changed- everyone has changed, but can’t we just be friends and see how things will go from there? Please?" Rosey came and stood behind Starsky at the kitchen sink. She inhaled the scent of Starsky. She closed her eyes, so close yet so far. She
wanted to hold him close and hug him, kiss him, taste him, make love to him. She wanted everything to be just as they were together the last time. She knew she could make him happy... she was so sure of it.
Starsky moved away from her. It still hurt. The memories hurt; the memories of her leaving and pushing him into a dark hole. Her presence back in his life and the promise to stay didn’t erase those memories, nor did it lessen the pain that was once evoked. We cannot be friends, Rosey. We would have only being one thing
and you destroyed that. We had our chance and you killed it. How can we go back and start over?
"Don’t I get a second chance David? Don’t tell me that there is no going back anymore. I won’t believe it." Rosey didn’t want to imagine a rejection. "Hutch said that there's no one in your life, David." Rosey was so confident that she could win his heart back . "I know you love me, David… I know somewhere in that heart you still love me."
"There is someone, Rosey. There is someone in my life."
"But Hutch said..."
"What did Hutch say... exactly?"
"That there's no woman in your life."
Starsky sighed. Of course there's no woman in my life.
Starsky went back to the living room. He had to tell talk to her and make her understand that there was no going back for them anymore. "Rosey… there is something you should know." Starsky began.
Once out of the apartment, Hutch started to drive his LTD without any sense of direction. He kept on driving until he reached Highway 5 and was heading North. Am I running away? But where am I running to? Where can I go? I have no one other than Starsky. God I am pathetic. My life is pathetic. I am a
no-body without Starsky.
Thirty minutes in the Highway he knew that the weather had changed dramatically. Within another few minutes rain turned into heavier rain with strong wind gusts. It came to a point that Hutch couldn’t see where he was going anymore. I will have to stop somewhere if I don’t want to get killed. He drove until he saw a gas station and pulled over. He ran getting soaked all over before he stepped inside.
"Well, well, well… so there are still living souls out there in this storm? What are you doing out at this time, son? Didn’t you know about the storm... hard to miss though... the radios were blasting of this from morning." Hutch was greeted by a kind faced old gentleman at the desk.
"I didn’t know. Is it going to last a long time? Er... I am Ken Hutchinson," Hutch introduced himself.
"Who knows… but it's going to do lots of damage. I am Don, by the way. "
Starsky! I have to call him and tell him that I won’t come home tonight. He's not going to like this. I will have to lie or else he will drive all the way up to this gas station rain or no rain, and he has not driven the Torino after the accident. But what if Rosey is still with him? Well… then I will just tell him that I am tired and that I am going to just spend the night at my apartment. Yeah right! I'm sure that will go really well with Starsky. I am in big trouble. There's no one, but my own stupid-self to blame this time.
"Don... can I use your telephone?"
"Sure son... wanna let your wife know you are in trouble?" Don smiled pointing out where the telephone was.
"No. I am not married. I have to tell my partner where I am."
"Partner?" Don eyed him suspiciously.
"Yes… I am with the BCPD. Detective sergeant Kenneth Hutchinson." Hutch flashed the badge to put the old man at ease.
"Oh, that kind of partner." Don’s smile was back again.
Hutch winced. Yeah, ‘that’ kind of partner.
Hutch dialed Starsky's number and listened to the rings that never stopped. He frowned. Where is Starsky? It was 11.00 clock now. Why is he not picking up the phone? Am I dialing the correct number? He tried again but same result. Maybe he is in the bathroom- I will give him ten minutes and try again- So he did. Ten minutes and twenty minutes later, but no answer. Something is wrong... very wrong. There's no way Starsky would drive because Hutch had hidden the keys of the Torino to make sure that Starsky'd not try to drive anywhere by himself. Did Rosey take him to her hotel? No... I don’t think so… Starsky wouldn’t go. Would he? The more he thought about it, that was the only place he could think of looking for him. Where did she say she was staying? Oh... yes.. The Almeidas. Hutch found the number from the directory and dialed the number to the Hotel and asked for Rosey Malone.
"Hello," Rosey sounded sleepy.
"Errr... Hi Rosey. It's me, Hutch. Umm... Is... err... is Starsky with you?"
"With me? No, Hutch. I left about two hours ago. David was at home. Is anything wrong?"
Two hours ago? Damn it! I should have gone home without driving around.
"No, no. Umm... err... he didn’t answer the phone and I was wondering whether he was with you."
"He was feeling tired. He was waiting for you, Hutch. Maybe he fell asleep. Where are you?"
"I errr... I'm not that far away. I'll be going home soon. Thanks, Rosey. Good night!"
Hutch tried home again; same result. The phone just kept on ringing. Damn it, Starsky... where are you? Where did you go? Or is something wrong with you? I just cannot stay here. Rain, hail, blizzard, twisters, tornadoes. No matter what this damn storm is all about I am coming home…
Hutch turned back and saw Don looking at him with confusion.
"You ain’t tryin’ to leave are you?"
"I have to go. Something's wrong."
"Something will turn wrong, IF you go out in this weather, son. You cannot go nowhere. It's suicidal you know."
"I have to. My partner won’t go anywhere by himself. He... he has been sick for a long time and just getting back on his feet, and there's no reason for him to not to answer the phone unless something is really wrong. I have to go to him. Thanks for allowing me to use your phone, Don. I have to go."
Hutch was out of the door into the rain before Don could say anything else. He started his LTD and turned back to go home. He was determined to get back and nothing was going to stop him. He drove as careful as possible, desperately trying to see where he was going. It wasn’t easy; it wasn’t possible. He could see nothing but heavy golf ball size rain beating his windscreen. He was cold and hungry... why didn’t I grab a coffee at the gas station?
He couldn’t see the road anymore. He didn’t know the car was going out of the road and heading straight towards a tree by the side. He hit the brakes a little bit too late. The LTD violently collided head-on with a giant redwood tree and the already dark night turned into pitch black with him losing consciousness
with an excruciating pain in his head.
After the heart-to-heart talk, Rosey finally left around 9 o’clock. Starsky knew Hutch wouldn’t come home this early. He wasn’t sure whether Hutch would come at all. Did he really mean it when he said that he will talk to me ‘tomorrow’? Did he mean that he'd not come home tonight or did he say that just because Rosey was there.
By 10 o’clock Starsky was pacing the apartment like an angry tiger. He had called Hutch’s apartment. No Hutch. He had called Pits. No Hutch. Huggy said Hutch had left and was going to his apartment. Called the Station just in case. No Hutch. Starsky didn’t know where else to call.
I am going to skin you alive when you get home. Running away and leaving me with someone whom you invited for dinner thinking I am still in love with. Arrrhhggg… Just wait until I get my hands on you.
The clock ticked… 10.30... 10.45... and still No Hutch. The rain had started to fall and Starsky knew it was going to get worse in a few minutes. He was not angry anymore; he was getting anxious by the second and scared; terrified to think that something is wrong, and that Hutch is in trouble.
What if he is IN the apartment hurt? What if he cannot get to the phone? I have to go to him. I have to find him.
Starsky looked for the keys to the Torino, but it was not in its usual place. You bastard! You have hidden it.
Starsky opened all drawers in the house and looked in all corners, even under the mattress. No Key.
He had to think like Hutch. Hutch will hide it in plain sight thinking that it would be the last place I will look at. But what if… what if he anticipated my moves and thought that I'd try to think like him, and then instead of hiding it in a ‘Hutch-like’ place, he decided to hide it in a non-Hutch-like place? But if he thought all of that… Starsky's mind went in circles, and finally Starsky knew where the key was, and he found it.
He left a note on the table telling Hutch that he was going to Venice Place, just in case if Hutch comes to the apartment while he was out. He felt good sitting at the Torino. He kissed the steering wheel. ‘Ahh, My Baby. You have to take me to Hutch- You cannot fail me.’ In another 20 minutes Starsky was at Hutch’s apartment, opening it to find it empty. He checked the room, bathroom, he even opened the kitchen cupboards and drawers shaking his head while doing so. I am going mad. Did I really think he'd be in a cupboard?
Starsky stood in the middle of the living room, looking around. He sat on the couch holding the cushion close to his chest and burying his head in it, inhaling the faint smell of Hutch’s shampoo. This was the first time he was in Hutch’s apartment after the attack. Nothing had changed. Everything looked the same, but no Hutch. He felt lonely, sad, and helpless. What was going on and where was Hutch? The rain was getting stronger and stronger, and Starsky was exhausted. The activities of the day was too much for him. He had driven his car for twenty minutes, though his wounds were healed, his body was not up to its normal self yet. He was tired. Drained out. Exhausted. He closed his eyes drifting off to sleep. The activities of the day were too much for him.
A clap of thunder woke him up and he sat on the couch taking a few minutes to remember where he was and why he was here. A look at the clock and he got spooked- 1.00 o’clock and No Hutch..? Something was terribly wrong. He knew without a doubt that Hutch was in trouble.
He called Huggy, again.
"Hutch is still not back. He's not at Venice Place, Huggy."
"Man, Starsky. How the hell did you get to his place?"
"You cannot drive Starsky. How did you find the key? Hutch said he hid it."
"Stop worrying about my driving and try to think where Hutch would have gone. Think, Huggy. What did he say?"
"He said he was going to his apartment, Starsky. That's all what he said," and that he couldn’t tell that he loves you because that stupid dumb blond thinks that you love Rosey. Huggy added silently. "Starsky, just sit tight. He'll come back. Don’t try to drive anywhere else, now. Do you hear me?"
"Yeah, I know. I left a note at my apartment so he would know that I am here."
"Yeah, that would sit right with him knowing that you were wondering around by yourself… at this hour... in THAT car!"
"Well then he shouldn’t have left. Tough luck!"
"You two are worse than a married couple. Do you know that?"
"Huggy you are not helping. I need to find him."
"Just wait. He'll come back. Just wait"
Yeah right. My favorite pastime activity. Waiting! I have been doing that a lot since the attack, anyway, starting from waiting to die to waiting to be able to walk; waiting to take a piss by myself; waiting to feed me by myself, waiting to be able to put on my clothes by myself, and finally, today, I got to drive my Torino by myself.
The wind was howling and the rain was falling like a sheet of water than drops. Starsky tried to see how it looks outside but could see nothing. How can I even drive anywhere even if I knew where he is in this weather; and then, just like that Starsky knew what must have happened. Of course… why didn’t I think of
this before? He dialed the phone company. Glad for their 24 hour service and glad that he was in the Police Force.
"I need to know the last couple of telephone numbers for the calls I received to my phone."
It took a few minutes for the customer service to get back to him but they had a couple of numbers for him. He knew all except the last one. He called Captain Dobey. He knew he will get an earful for calling at this time of the hour, but this was an emergency.
"Cap’n -this is Starsky. I need a favor."
"Starsky, do you know what time it is? Do you know it is raining cats and dogs out there, and why are you calling me at this time asking for favors. I am NOT going out," Dobey yelled at the phone.
Starsky had to hold the receiver away from his ear to stop him from going deaf of the noise. "I don’t need you to go anywhere," he said calmly. "I want to check a number for me."
"Hhhrrrmpphh," Dobey snorted. "Now why would I do that?"
"It is Hutch. I think he is stranded somewhere and he tried to call me, and I have to know where the call came from."
"So why didn’t you ask him where he was when he called you."
"Because I was not at home when the call came in."
"Then how the hell did you know he called?"
"I checked with the telephone company."
"Why didn’t you call the number itself?"
"Called, but no answer. Maybe those lines are down." Starsky was getting more and more agitated. What is it this with twenty questions.
"Where are you now?"
"At Hutch’s place?"
"WHAT? What are you doing there?"
"I came here looking for him. Cap’n... what matters now is to find where Hutch is. Please, I need to know where this phone call came from."
"Why can’t you two just have a normal life like we do, huh? If one of you seems to be okay, then for sure the other is in trouble, and when--."
"CAPTAIN!!! The number!"
"Stop shouting at me. I can hear perfectly well. Give me a minute." Dobey hung up.
Starsky waited impatiently staring at the phone for it to ring... and it did in another 6 min and 39 seconds.
"It is a Casey’s Gas Station on Highway 5. What's Hutch doing on Highway 5? Are you sure it was him that called you?"
"There's no one else. Thank you Cap’n. You are the best."
"Now wait a minute. What do you think you are going to do?"
"I am going to bring him home."
"You are not going anywhere in this weather. You cannot go anywhere at this time! IT IS AN ORDER! DID YOU HEAR ME?"
"Not right now Cap’n. you cannot order me now. I have to go."
Starsky hung up while Dobey was still shouting at him. Then he called Huggy again.
"Huggy I need you NOW!- Don’t waste my time asking any questions. Just get to Venice Place right now!"
Within another thirty minutes Starsky and Huggy was driving towards Highway-5 in the rain. Huggy knew there was nothing he could do to stop Starsky and the only way to make sure that he can keep an eye on him was to go wherever he was going to.
"Keep your eyes on the road," Starsky shouted at Huggy when once they were on I-5
"What if he skidded and went out?"
"Not on this way Huggy. That is what we have to watch out when we are on I-5 South. "
"What do you have in that bundle in the back seat?" Huggy saw Starsky packing stuff into the car.
"Some clothes and food… if…" Starsky didn’t complete the sentence and Huggy completed the sentence in his mind - If he is hurt and out there in this storm we will need all the clothes and blankets we can get our hands on.
Huggy prayed for Hutch’s safety, for Starsky’s sake.
"You shouldn’t be driving, Starsky. Why don't you allow me to take the wheel? Blondie will kill me when he get to know that I was sitting beside you, looking pretty, and you were driving. You know you shouldn’t."
"Not pretty in that hideous red and blue outfit. I have no idea where you get these from."
"What do you mean hideous. This is made of out of the finest Italian cashmere--"
"Oh, I bet they are, Huggy. Now could you please look out for the Casey’s gas station."
"You think he's still there?" Huggy asked just wanting to make conversation.
"No. That's what I hope for, but I know he is not there."
"So you think he would have driven back in this weather."
"That's what I would have done if I called Hutch and couldn’t get him on the phone when he was supposed to be at home and not go anywhere."
"So... if you think he would have driven back, then why the hell didn’t you stay at home waiting for him until he comes home."
"Because… because it was enough time for him to reach home from the time he made the phone call from Casey’s up to the point where we left. Do I have to explain everything Huggy, and yes, even in this weather; even if he drove 5 miles per hour, he still would have made it home . But he didn’t and do I have
to tell you what that means?"
"Okay, okay. Don’t bite my head off. I'm not Hutch. So I don't know what exactly you are thinking. Just look where you are going and go where you look... man… Starsky this is just madness, you know."
"Tell that to Hutch - not me."
Hutch! Starsky prayed. I'll do anything. I'll even eat that goofy stuff you prepare with all those dried things you puts in your shakes. Just be safe. God! Please keep him safe. He has too many nightmares. Please… don’t let them get to him.
Huggy could only imagine what must be going through Starsky's mind. Right then Huggy saw the big sign of the ‘Casey’s. "Starsky.. there. .. the Casey’s. Do you think it is the one?"
"Only one way to know." Starsky steered the Torino towards the Gas Station noticing there was no LTD parked in front of it. Just like I thought he wouldn’t be here.
Starsky was already inside the convenient store when Huggy was closing the Torino door. Starsky is going to suffer for all these later. How the hell did he run like that when he still cannot walk for ten minutes without experiencing shortness of breath? He is on an ultra-high adrenalin surge now and Huggy didn't want to think of what'd happen when he comes down of it.
Startsky was out of the convenient store before Huggy got a chance to get in.
"He had been here, and left about three hours ago. Come on, Huggy. No time to waste."
Starsky was already in the Torino and Huggy climbed inside as fast as he could because if not he knew Starsky would have driven without him if he had to at that point, and would never look back .
Driving South was harder than driving North. The rain was coming right at you and it was not just rain drops. It was like a whole waterfall beating on the windscreen non-stop. After about another thirty minutes Starsky’s eagle eyes spotted the LTD, beside the road… and his heart sank.
"Starsky... why are you stopping?" Huggy couldn’t see anything... until he followed Starsky’s stare into the dark. "Jesus Christ." He couldn’t imagine how Starsky managed to see the bumper of the LTD while driving when Huggy couldn’t see it when all he was doing was looking for it.
Starsky was already out of the vehicle running towards the LTD. He was already soaked head to feet, and when he reached the driver’s side his worst nightmares were realized. The front windscreen was all gone, the front end was smashed in, and Hutch... with his head on the steering wheel; blood dripping off across the face with the rain water that was bathing him continuously.
"Hutch, Huuuthch… wake up. Wake up. I am here, partner. I am here. Everything will be okay, now. Wake up, please. " Strasky was desperately trying to find a pulse and flinched at the icy cold skin against him. He breathed a sigh of relief when he felt the faint but steady pulse.
"He's alive. We have to get him out of here."
"Aren’t you going to call an ambulance?"
"We didn’t get the police radio back in the Torino, and I can’t reach Hutch’s radio. It's all smashed. Come on. I don’t think there’s any damage to his legs. His arms... well... I don’t know. I can only assume I am not going to do more damage."
"Hutch, wake up. WAKE UP." Starsky shouted continuously. "Do you hear me, you Big Turkey Buzzard- you... you… wake up or so God help me I'm gonna kill you with my bare hands. Can you hear me? Wake up--I said Wake UP"
Even a three thousand year old mummy would open its eyes if it heard Starsky’s threats, and sure as hell Hutch opened his eyes. Hutch wasn't focusing on anything though he welcomed the familiar voice.
"S.. Starskk?" He mumbled.
"Don’t you Starsk me, you old devil. What the hell were you thinking, huh? Driving in a storm like this? What the hell were you thinking?"
Huggy wasn’t sure whether the wetness on Starsky’s cheeks were tears or rain water. The threatening voice was turning into a sob and Huggy placed a hand on Starsky’s shoulder. Easy Curly... easy...
"Starsk?" Hutch was conscious by then and wasn’t quite sure whether he was seeing things or whether it was for real. "Starsky, are we dead?"
"You’ll wish you were in a few minutes," Starsky mumbled all the while trying to release Hutch from the seat belt that was holding him tight. Together with Huggy he carefully rolled Hutch out of his seat and carried him into the Torino.
Starsky opened the passenger side door and got Hutch in. Then he ran back to the LTD and got whatever Hutch had in its glove box, looked around to make sure nothing important was left and came back to the Torino. He climbed from the other side and sat beside Hutch.
Hutch was shivering by then, and Starsky had to get him under dry clothes. "Huggy, help me to take his clothes off." Against Hutch’s groans Starsky and Huggy managed to remove his wet clothes that were tightly clinging to him. Hutch protested when they tried to remove his boxers and Starsky silenced him instantly.
"Not the time to be modest, partner. Should have thought of this before taking the wheel."
In another few minutes Hutch was all wrapped and bundled up in dry blankets- He was glad they thought of putting some boxer shorts on him. How did his boxers end up in the Torino, and the blankets? The key! How did Starsky find the key?
"Huggy-- drive." Starsky handed over the keys to Huggy.
Huggy climbed into the seat, all wet and soaked. Starsky was worse than him. "Hey, Starsky. I think you should get into something dry as well."
"I removed my shirt. Here…" Starsky tossed a t-shirt to Huggy. "You should wear this tee, Huggy. I don’t have any dry pants though."
"I am fine, Starsky, but you shouldn’t be in the cold man."
"I'll be alright. Just drive, Hug. We don’t need another accident."
"You can say that again."
Starsky pulled Hutch against him. Starsky leaned against the door extending his legs along the backseat. Hutch lay on his side, between Starsky's legs that were securely holding him. His head rested right under Starsky’s chin. Starsky held Hutch firmly with one arm, using the other to dry him off; wiping the blood
off of his face with a towel he had packed along with all other clothes. Hutch’s blood was already on Starsky’s chest, pants and face. The cut on Hutch's forehead was not deep, but very wide, from right side up to the center. Starsky pushed a flock of Hutch's hair back preventing them from sticking to the wound. Hutch had lost a lot of blood and they had to get him to the hospital as soon as possible. Although Hutch had no broken bones it was obvious that he'd be covered in bruises.
Starsky's warmth crept into the sheets and surrounded Hutch, keeping him comfortable; his teeth had stopped chattering. Starsky stroked and gently massaged Hutch's his hands, his sides, and back, moving up and down, keeping him warm and safe.
"Starsk," Hutch called out weakly. "I'm sorry. I don't know what came over me."
Starsky sighed, closing his eyes and hugging Hutch closer. What if Hutch couldn’t make the call from the gas station before the lines went down; what if Starsky didn’t get the number from the telephone company. What if Starsky didn’t see the LTD in the rain? What if Hutch had died before Starsky got to him…
A warm wetness fell on Hutch's nose. Aw, Starsk. Please don't cry, babe! Hutch pulled out an arm out of the blankets. He reached out and brushed off the tears streaming down Starsky's face. "I am alright, Starsk. You found me, like always. I'm alright, now."
"You better be." Starsky said hoarsely.
Wind, rain, storm; had no chance against Starsky. Even if the world turned upside down, Starsky would have found Hutch.
"You need something to drink? - I got some orange juice from your fridge," Starsky asked wiping off some stray tears off his cheeks.
"Orange juice is fine," Hutch replied. Orange juice? Did he say from ‘my’ fridge? How the hell?
"From my fridge?" Hutch asked, after having a few sips.
"Details aren't important, now. All what matters is that you are safe, and that we are getting you to a hospital. Okay?"
"Shhh. Just rest. You have already lost a lot of blood, Hutch. Let us not lose the little strength you have. So stay warm and relax."
I am relaxed. I am warm. Why wouldn’t I be when I am in your arms, Starsk? I am the luckiest man in the whole world- Only if I can tell you that…
Hutch's mind zig-zagged all the way back to where it all started. Rosey! Starsky was with Rosey. I don’t even know what happened between them. Did they agree to see each other- I only know that Rosey left earlier than I thought. Maybe because of the storm or maybe because of Starsky was tired.
His mind went beyond…
Oh, Jesus! Starsky himself must be in a bad shape; running around and...Oh, No! Did he drive all the way until he found me? Was it Huggy behind the wheel all the time? Knowing Starsky I'm sure he drove until now- He must be exhausted. Oh, God, what have I done? I have put my partner in danger. He was not cleared fit for driving and what if he pulled the stitches inside. What if he has some internal bleeding... and I am leaning against him putting pressure on his wounds.
Hutch became restless and his breathing became heavy.
"Hutch, what’s wrong?" Starsky asked when Hutch started to move away. "Talk to me, babe. What is it?"
"Starsk... you... not well... on feet... long time." Hutch managed to patch up a couple of words.
"Will you stop worrying about me for once, Hutch? Am I the one with blood running down my face? Am I the one without any clothes? Am I the one with a smashed totaled car? "
"Your wounds… I am on them-"
"Hey... don’t you dare move." Starsky warned, holding Hutch even tighter and closer. "I feel cold without a shirt on me, and you keep me warm. So stop struggling for heaven’s sake and just relax. Enjoy the ride, now. Will ya?"
"Do as the man say, Hutch," Huggy shouted while driving. "Enjoy the ride."
Hutch rolled his eyes. I am enjoying the ride, alright! My head hurts as if it has been beaten with ten baseball bats. But he did savor the moment. Starsky may not be his lover, but he'd always be his partner!
Starsky placed his cheek against Hutch’s head, exhausted and drained of energy. It was just a matter of time before he'd collapse. Starsky had to get Hutch to a hospital before that. He couldn't allow Hutch see his condition.
Huggy was worried about both of them. He hoped he could get all three of them (or four, counting the Torino) to the hospital in one piece (or four).
Finally they got to the Memorial Hospital and then began the familiar routine; one partner on the trolley, the other on his feet, nurses, doctors, two men trying to hold on to each other, trying to get around hospital rules.
Fortunately, it was Dr. Stevens who was in charge, the same doctor who had treated Starsky not that long ago. He was well aware of the relationship of the two detectives, and knew that the only way to get everything done quickly was to let them be together. That also made the recovery process quick; that was what
hospitals were all about now, after all, wasn’t it? However Starsky was not allowed in the operating room.
"You better let me in there if you are planning to stick him with needles. He is also allergic to morphine," Starsky warned the anesthesiologist, a new doctor Wayne. No one knew about Hutch’s ordeal with Monk and his thugs and that he was injected heroin repetitively to get him to reveal the place where his girlfriend
was staying that week. From that day Hutch rejected any type of drug that comes in needles; he would accept one only when Starsky was around to approve.
"Oh, he will be fine, Mr. err…"
"David Starsky, BCPD detective sergeant. You don’t understand, Dr. Wayne. You won’t be able to do anything if you don’t let me in there."
"Sure." Dr Wayne smiled and walked away.
"Don’t tell me that I didn’t warn you," Starsky said under his breath watching Dr. Wayne disappearing into the OR.
Huggy watched Starsky very closely. Starsky had lost a lot of weight during the past months.
Starsky held on to a chair for support, not ready to give up, yet. He would wait until he was sure Hutch was out of danger. It didn’t take that much of a time to hear all the commotion from the OR.
"Told ya. Didn’t I?" Starsky mumbled watching Dr. Wayne hurrying towards him.
"Er... Detective David Starsky. I think we need you in there?"
"Glad to be of assistance." Starsky walked into the OR as fast as possible.
Hutch was sitting up, ready to take down all the demons in the room and in the whole world. "Starsk." He calmed down as soon as Starsky was beside him.
"What are you trying to do, huh? Why are you troubling these pretty nurses and the good doctor?" Starsky asked, placing his arm on Hutch’s shoulder and giving it a gentle squeeze.
"Starsk..." Hutch looked pleadingly.
"I know, buddy. I know, but this is nothing bad. I promise. You trust me?"
"Don’t go." Hutch held on to him.
"Hey, I'm here. Aint I?" Starsky rubbed Hutch’s back. "I will stay here as long as they allow me to, but I will have to go when they start to stitch you up." Starsky caressed Hutch's cheek with the back of his hand.
Hutch nodded, leaning towards the warmth of Starsky's arm; Hutch never took his eyes off Starsky and Starsky of him. He didn’t even feel the needle entering his arm. In another few seconds Hutch closed his eyes
registering the deep blue eyes in his mind.
In a while Dr. Stevens was in the room and it was time for Starky to leave the OR.
"I will let you know of everything, David. I don’t think your partner is in any danger. All he needs are a couple of stitches, but we'll take a couple of x-rays and do a few tests to make sure there are no fractures and no internal damages. Don’t worry, he'll be all right." Dr. Stevens did his best to put Starsky at ease.
Starsky came out and lowered himself on to a chair beside Huggy.
Huggy already had a coffee with him for Starsky, just the way he liked it, with lots of sugar and lots of cream… He pushed the cup into Starsky’s hand.
"Here, drink this. You look like a ghost."
"I feel like one, too," Starsky replied. The coffee did make him feel human and brought some color into his face.
It took another hour and half to Dr. Stevens to come out of the OR- he walked straight towards Starsky who was now having trouble getting up from the chair.
"Everything went very well, David. He has lost a lot of blood and we are giving him three pints now- His cut needed 12 stitches. No internal injuries as far as the test results go, but we have to keep him under observation for at least another 24 hours, though. He will wake up in an hour or so when he comes
out of the anesthesia."
"Three pints? That’s a lot of blood."
"Yes, but Hutch is all right. He can go home soon."
Those words were what Starsky was waiting to hear - A relieved Starsky fell back on the chair.
"Are you feeling all right?" asked Dr. Stevens.
"Why don’t we take a look at you since you are already here- wouldn’t do any harm."
"Yes. Please Dr. Stevens. This man has been on his feet the whole day. Driven his red tomato all around the world and carried Hutch to and fro. Please…" Huggy took full advantage to explain Starsky’s condition ignoring the glares coming from the chair.
Dr. Stevens sighed. This was not good- He signaled for a trolley, and when he turned back Starsky was throwing up.
"Starsky..." Huggy jumped in front of Starsky on time to hold Starsky who collapsed, going limp in Huggy’s arms. "Starsky," he yelled but no sound from Starsky.
Before Huggy knew what was happening, Starsky was wheeled away into an examination room.
Please Almighty God... Please let him be ok. They have suffered enough. Please let him be ok. Huggy prayed silently. He couldn’t take his eye off the exam room Starsky was taken to. Leaning against the chair he fell asleep and didn’t try to fight it. He was awaken by Dr. Stevens an hour later who informed him that Starsky was given an antibiotic and immune drip, and a sleep aid.
"He needs to sleep and get some rest- The body can take only so much of stress at a time, and for David, as you know… he is still very fragile. No serious damage but he needs to rest- we have given him something to sleep. He should sleep for another good eight or ten hours- He needs to rest for a couple of days- he had one too many activities today. It's just too much for him."
"Immune drip?" Huggy asked.
"His immune system is still not up to its normal state. We are giving an immune boost to make sure he will not get pneumonia, bronchitis or any other respiratory disease- just a precaution."
It was almost 6 o’clock in the morning and Huggy debated whether he should call Captain Dobey or not- and finally he did, giving him a full explanation of the events that took place that night. Dobey was in the hospital within the hour.
"How are they now?"
"Both are sleeping. Starsky is in 311, Hutch in 302."
"Huggy… you look terrible." Captain said with his usual grumpy tone.
"Sorry, I couldn’t do my makeup for you, Captain Dobey!" Huggy matched the tone just the right way.
"Now what was Hutch doing on I-5?"
"I have no idea."
"And what did Starsky think he was doing driving all night in that storm? Both of them could have got killed. Why can’t they stay out of trouble, huh? How come you didn’t stop this madness?"
"Don’t look at me, captain. I have nothing to do with any of this."
"Hhrrrmmpph." Dobey gave one of his snorts and went looking for Doctor Stevens.
He came out with the doctor and doctor Stevens informed that Hutch was awake.
"I will go to him- Not having Starsky around will not sit well with Blondie." Huggy went into Hutch’s room.
"Huggy, where is Starsky? Is he OK?" Hutch asked as soon as he saw Huggy.
"He's sleeping, Hutch. Don’t worry."
"I have to see him. What's wrong with him?"
"Now calm down, Hutch. Nothing's wrong with him- they gave him something to sleep- he was tired."
"It should be something more than that- He would have never left my bedside. He would have been here when I woke up. I know my partner, Huggy, so cut the crap and tell me what's going on." Tears welled up in Hutch’s eyes. "What's wrong with him?"
"Man, Hutch, stop worrying- Starsky was tired and they gave him something to sleep. That’s all- I swear. Now you should try to get some rest, too, you know."
Right then captain Dobey walked into the room with doctor Stevens-
"How are you feeling?" Captain asked kindly.
"Captain, I need to go to Starsky," Hutch replied.
Dobey looked at doctor Stevens for help.
"David is sleeping, Detective Hutchinson. He is under observation."
Wrong word! Huggy cringed.
"Observation? What's he been observed for? What's wrong with him?" Hutch tried to get up, but was stopped by Huggy, Dobey and Doctor Stevens all together before he could hurt himself by pulling away the blood drip.
"He's just been observed to make sure he has no internal damages- we are sure he is perfectly fine- but it is always good to take precautions."
"Please… let me see him. Please." Hutch begged.
"Is there any way we can bring Starsky here and keep him with Hutch in the same room?" Dobey asked Dr. Stevens, knowing very well that Hutch would never rest until he sees his partner.
Doctor Stevens thought about it for a little while and agreed. "Alright. But he should not be disturbed, and you, detective Hutchinson, should get some sleep, too."
In a minute, Starsky was wheeled in on a portable bed and seeing him hooked up to a drip unsettled Hutch once again. After explaining what it was all about Hutch calmed down, but he couldn’t rest until he spoke to Starsky; until he see that face lightening up with that smile; until those blue eyes were smiling at him again. But for the moment he was content to have Starsky near him. He made them bring Starsky’s bed right next to his bed. Hutch extended his free right arm and managed to lay it near Starsky, making contact with him.
When everyone left Hutch kissed his own fingertips and placed them on Starsky’s forehead.
"Sweet Dreams, Babe," he whispered. There... now everything would be fine. Hutch closed his eyes and drifted off into a deep sleep.
"Well, detectives. Both of you are doing fine. You should be able to go home tomorrow," Doctor Stevens announced, a day after Starsky and Hutch were hospitalized. Having both of them at the hospital at the same time was the best thing that could've happened under the circumstances. Weird as it sounds, it made things easier for everyone around because the two well-known partners were able to stay together ‘officially’ without one trying to sneak in and be with the other when they are not supposed to.
"Ya hear that, Hutch? We can go home." Starsky’s smile never ended.
During the past 24 hours in the hospital Starsky was mostly sleeping. The stormy night events had taken its toll on his body and getting him back in shape seemed like a daunting task. Hutch watched his exuberant partner happily.
‘Home’ was a nice place to go to and think of he sighed. Hutch wondered what happened with Rosey. She didn’t come to the hospital to visit, yet- Does that mean she and Starsky was not going to be together, or she still doesn’t know that Starsky is in the hospital? He wanted to ask Starsky about it but didn’t have
the courage to bring up the subject.
"Hey Starsk… any plans after going home?"
"Plans? Mmm... sleep, sleep and sleep," Starsky said.
Hutch groaned. "How can you sleep more, Starsk? That's all what you have been doing."
"Why are you complaining? I didn’t ask you to sleep. I said I am going to sleep." Starsky settled down and made himself comfortable.
"I can’t believe you're sleeping? Again? Arrhhg. I am bored. I think I'll take a walk along the corridor for a minute."
"You do that, Blondie, but don’t go far. "Starsky closed his eyes, still smiling.
Hutch shook his head and got out of the bed.
Rosey had tried to reach Starsky at home. When she couldn’t get to him she tried Hutch’s place, but no luck. Then finally she was informed by Huggy about the whereabouts of the partners. Rosey decided to come to the hospital to talk to Starsky for the last time, before she left. She found Starsky alone in the room.
Starsky thought it was Hutch coming back after his walk in the corridor.
"You back so soon? What happened to your walk?" He asked without opening his eyes.
"David. It's me, Rosey."
Starsky opened his eyes to find Rosey, beautiful as ever, standing in front of him at the bed. "What are you doing here?" He asked kindly, lovingly. He felt bad about how things went with them during their last meeting.
"Huggy told me. Why do you have to get into trouble all the time David?"
"Maybe something to do with my stars- Yep!"
"You can say that again." Rosey sat on the bed placing her palm on Starsky’s face. Starsky held her hand, knowing that this was the last time he'd ever hold her. He could still change everything with just one word and ask her to stay, but it was too late now. As painful as it was Starsky had said Goodbye to her a long time ago.
"I am leaving BayCity, David. I don’t think I will be back. I don’t have a reason to come back anymore. Do I?"
"You could have other reasons, but I won’t be that reason, Rosey."
"I love you, David."
Hutch entered the room right at that moment and he stood frozen at the scene unfolding in front of him. He just heard the words Rosey had uttered.
"Love you too, Rosey," said Starsky.
Rosey understood what he meant. You loved me so fiercely once, but now that sparkle is dead. You
love me but you are not ‘in love’ with me. The words were unspoken, but Rosey knew. "David... you have to talk to Hutch. You have to tell him. Our lives are too short to be wasted, David. You have to talk to him and get this over with."
"I know, Rosey. I will," Starsky promised.
Hutch slipped outside to the corridor before Starsky or Rosey saw him. He had heard enough. Starsky still loves her- I heard him say it, and Rosey wants him to talk to me without wasting anytime- she said ‘because our lives are short’ She asked Stasrky to ‘get this over with’ - and Starsky agreed… He agreed to talk to me and tell me his decision to get together with Rosey.
So this is it? They are back together? Isn’t this what I wanted for Starsky?
But this was not what Hutch was hoping for. I didn’t want him to get together with Rosey. I wanted Stasky to be happy... yes! but I was also hoping that he would be with me.
But… what should I do now? Starsky will never ask me to leave his apartment… he loves me too much for that. I have to be brave here.... he has suffered too much in his life. He needs to be happy with the woman he loves and I am his friend- I have to be a real friend now and forget my selfishness.
Hutch knew exactly what he should do; anything for Starsky’s happiness the same way Starsky would have sacrificed anything for him. He made plans as to what and how he should handle the situation and trying to get his composure back before he went to the room to face Starsky.
"That was one long walk you had," Starsky sounded worried when Hutch went back to the room- Rosey was gone by then.
"I… err... I just wondered around. So how come you are not sleeping?"
"I had a visitor."
"Oh..? Who is that?"
"Ahhh, Damn it! I missed her again- So how is she?"
"Fine! Where did you walk Hutch?"
"Just along the corridors.There are good things to see; the posters are very informative- You would like those you know."
Hutch knew his partners thirst for knowledge didn’t stop at any one thing- he would read anything he finds and his mind and brain was so sharp that he never forgot anything he reads. He would have made a hell of a graduate if he went to college.
"Oh… really? I have never noticed. Huh!"
"So how are things with Rosey..?" Hutch tried to fish more information from Starsky.
All answers were limited to one word when it came to Rosey.
"Everything alright between you two?"
"Yes! You know, Hutch.. I am glad you invited her for dinner- I tried to bite your head off that day, but… Thank you, partner! That made me think about a lot’a things- you know. "
"Hmm, about what is important in our lives and what we have to do and… you know.. lots’a things."
"Well.. I am glad I could help, Starsk!" Hutch knew he had to do what he had to do... one step at a time.
"When we get out of the hospital, can I go to my apartment?" Hutch asked not knowing what type of a response he would get from Starsky.
"Sure... now what type of a question is that? Of course you can!" Starsky replied.
OK.. step one complete- I think he believes that we are just going to stop at my place… well.. that is not what I meant but I will take that as a yes for what I thought.
"What were you doing on I-5? " Hutch knew this question was coming soon.
"I was just driving, Starsk… didn’t know about the storm coming."
"So you were not running away?"
"Running away? No!"
Hutch placed a hand on Starsky’s knee. "I'm sure."
"Okay," Starsky smiled faintly.
"How did you find the key to your tomato?" Hutch asked. He had been so sure that Starsky will never find it.
"Piece o’ cake Hutch! I was just thinking like you did."
"No, that can’t be. I tried to not think like I do."
"I know.. that is what I said. I – I thought like you; I knew that you would think that I would think like you would think - so you thought of not thinking like you and well.. so I stopped thinking like you and... you know… I don’t have to say it all… that is how I knew that you will hide the key in my blue denim jeans."
"Oh, God. You really do hurt my head, you know that." Hutch didn’t know for once how Starsky figured where the key was- He was so sure he had thought of a good hiding place. Starsky was not wearing his tight blue jeans anymore because they were hanging lose around his waist since he had lost a lot of weight, but
those were his favorite, and would have been the last place he would have thought that Hutch would use as a hiding place for his car keys… at least that is what Hutch thought but…
"So then.. If I thought like me, where would I hide the key?" Hutch asked.
"Now wouldn’t you like to know that." Starsky flashed his thousand watt smile.
"What do you mean you are going to sleep here? Aren’t we going home?" A bewildered Starsky asked Hutch. They had just got back from the hospital and Huggy drove them to Hutch’s apartment.
"Starsk. We can’t live like that forever. You know that, buddy. I think this is a good time for us to go back to our normal lives."
"Normal Lives? Are you telling me, now, that we were living abnormally?"
"Starsk… we have to move on. I have to move on."
Starsky couldn’t understand what changed Hutch like this- How can he NOT live with me? How does NOT living with me become normal to him? "Hutch, what is going on?"
"What do you mean ‘what is going on.’? Did you really think that we can just live together like that forever?"
"Get real, Starsk, and stop acting like a spoiled child. Okay? I want to move back to my apartment and I think you should have your apartment to yourself." To yourself and Rosey… he added silently.
"You are kicking me out of your apartment?" Starsky was trying desperately to understand Hutch’s behavior.
"I am kicking myself out of yours Starsk. It is about time…"
"But... Hutch-- "
Starsky sighed, hanging his head like a sole loser, he picked up his crumpled jacket from the chair… If this is what Hutch wants there was nothing he could do- He was still too tired to think about anything.
"Starsk, where are you going? I didn’t mean that you have to go to your apartment now."
"If you don’t want to stay with me there, why would you want me here, Hutch? I am going home."
"No. you shouldn’t drive. NO. You are not going anywhere. Not now. Come on, Starsk. Hey… you can go back tomorrow."
"I am not going to stay here-I am not going to stay in a place where I am not wanted. Like you said- I have to move on, and that is exactly what I am going to do. I am moving on. I can drive myself back."
Starsky left Hutch’s apartment before Hutch could do or say anything to stop him- When Starsky stepped out of the apartment and drove off in the Torino, Hutch leaned against the door, allowing the tears to wash away the pain he was trying to hide from Starsky. He was doing the right thing, didn’t he? Why couldn’t
Starsky understand that? He, Starsky, and Rosey couldn't live together. Hutch couldn’t live at Starsky’s apartment when Rosey starts to visit him. Starsky will understand with time.., right now he is hurt, but he will understand.
Starsky drove back to his apartment feeling empty. He couldn’t understand what came over Hutch suddenly.
So when he asked me whether we can go to his apartment at the hospital, he really meant that he wanted to move back to his apartment. But why? Why this sudden change of heart? What about all what we had together?
Starsky entered his apartment with a heavy heart. The last time Hutch was here was when he invited Rosey.
Was she the reason for his change?
Everything was still a puzzle for him. He couldn’t just let this go like this and give up, could he? But what can he do if Hutch doesn’t want to be with him anymore?
He took off his clothes and went to take a shower.
Time passed slowly. Starsky sat at the couch all evening, staring at a TV that was not even switched on.
All afternoon and evening he had reached the phone and picked it up to call Hutch, but changed his mind. Hutch doesn't want me. Hutch wants ‘his’ life back. A life without me?
It was closer to midnight and he was still awake. Hugging Hutch’s pillow close to his heart, he was numb with the pain. Starsky simply didn’t know what to do or where to go in life from here. What about the
nightmares? What if Hutch’s nightmares return? He felt betrayed; his life was draining off. This is not the life I wanted… This is not what I came back for. Hutch, you lied to me. YOU LIED TO ME!
Tears started to flow along his cheeks.
Hutch tried to clean his apartment to kill the time. Time passed, but sleep never came to Hutch. With the
clock ticking he felt that his heart was closing up. The pain was too much. He thought of calling Starsky; picked up the phone, dialed the number half way, and stopped.
He never called me after going home… Oh, Starsk. What am I going to do without you? Being with you felt so right; like it was what was meant for us. Did I do the right thing by bringing Rosey in to your life? I think I did. You said yourself that you thought about a lot of things- lot of important things. I know how much it meant to you to have a proper family. I am trying to move out to allow you to have that dream, Starsk, but it hurts too much.
I think I handled the situation in the wrong way. I should have explained to him more clearly why I am doing this. Maybe I should go to him now; just see how he is doing- if he is sleeping then I will come back, and if I see Rosey’s car at the apartment, I can still turn around; and if he is awake, and alone, then maybe we can talk and I can make him see why we should do this; why we should start living our own lives, like before.
But that wasn't the real reason why he wanted to see Starsky.
Ah, Hutch. You are just fishing for excuses to go back to him, to feel his arms around you; to lean against him; drop little kisses on his head and feel his hair tickling your nose and feel the smell of that herbal shampoo he always uses; drown in those deepest darkest bluest eyes you love so much.
That just did it.
Hutch just couldn’t stay in the lonely cold empty lifeless apartment anymore.. He decided that he can postpone being a nobleman to the next day. He called a cab since he didn’t have a car anymore. The old LTD had seen its last days, and after the accident it retired by itself.
Approaching Starsky's apartment, Hutch noticed a light on in the house. The Torino was parked in the drive way, but no other car in close proximity.
Starsky's at home and Rosey is not with him. He paid the cab driver and climbed the stairs, nervous and feeling guilty. I shouldn’t do this, but I can’t stop myself. I have to see him, just talk to him.
He opened the door with the key he had. He turned the key and opened the door as softly as possible. He stepped in and the apartment was quiet. The living room light was on but the TV was off, and Starsky was curled up on the couch. Hutch needed all the strength he had to stop himself from going to Starsky and
pulling him close.
He stood at the door, sighing. How on earth was he going to live without this man?
He walked into the apartment and towards Starsky who was sleeping on the couch. Hutch noticed the tears caught between his eye lashes. He touched the pillow Starsky was holding onto- Hutch's pillow. God Starsk.. I didn’t want to make you cry.
He sat on the floor at the couch, feeling lost.
Sensing another presence Starsky opened his eyes. His eyes widened with surprise to see Hutch near
him. Then his expression changed. "What now?" He asked a frown forming around the corners of his mouth. "Why are you here, Hutch? You suddenly decided that you wanted to come back to our abnormal lives?"
"Starsk, I am sorry."
"You always say that, but do you even mean it anymore, Hutch? Why do you do things to be sorry in the first place?" Starsky sat up straight. "I can’t do this anymore," he said softly.
"What? What are you talking about?" Hutch asked.
"You and I. Me and thee. I can’t take this anymore. I can’t do us anymore, Hutch"
Hutch was terrified. A cold hand was crumpling and squeezing his heart into pieces. "Starsk, let me explain."
"No. NO." Starsky said firmly. "I don’t need your explanations." Hurt, anger, frustration, and sadness filled Starsky’s soul. "When did we need to explain things to each other, huh? We knew what was going on by just one look- one touch. That's all what it took, and now I feel that everything was a big lie." Starsky looked straight into Hutch's eyes. "Why did you lie to me Hutch?"
Hutch’s eyes narrowed. He didn’t understand what Starsky was talking about. Lie to him? "I don’t understand, Starsk. What lie?"
"At the hospital."
"Yes, when I was dying, or dead, or whatever that was happening to me after the shooting- three months ago." Starsky stared at Hutch.
Hutch swallowed hard. Dying... dead… ? after the shooting? I lied to him? I said I loved him. It was not a lie. He knows? He heard? He remembered?
"Why did you lie to me?" Starsky asked again.
"Lie?" Hutch managed to whisper that much.
Starsky grabbed Hutch’s shirt by both of his hands, pulling him closer and staring at him with such intensity. "YOU said you LOVED me. YOU said you were ‘IN LOVE’ with me. YOU asked me to come back. YOU said that I cannot leave you. So tell me why you lied to me like that? Was it just to get me back because it sure did work. Didn’t it?"
"Wasn’t counting on it, huh? Of course I remembered. Why do you think I am here today? Why do you think I came back? One time I was already on the other side, Hutch. Other side. I could have left if I just decided to, but I decided to stay for you, because during that time, you said you loved me, and I knew I had to come back for you. Because I couldn’t leave you by yourself anymore. I came back to this body that was painful, ugly and scarred and ripped apart with shots. I came back because of you, but now I see that I came back to a lie. You lied to me, Hutch." Starsky let go of Hutch, stood up and walked away from the couch.
Hutch's lungs were shrinking. Starsky was on the other side?
He could have left anytime?
He could have left?
Could have left me?
Hutch called out for Starsky, but no words formed. The nighmares he had those nights so long ago was unfolding in front of him; what if Hutch didn’t get to the hospital in time that day? So, Starsky left because he didn’t feel me around? Because I was not at the hospital that time? He decided to come back when he felt my presence?
What if I couldn’t come back on time? I would have lost him? He would not be here today if I didn’t come to the hospital in time? It was just a matter of seconds…
Hutch gasped for air; his face lost all color and looked as pale and white as a ghost. He was falling though he was already sitting on the floor. He held onto the couch as tightly as possible trying to breathe; He choked, shaking uncontrollably. He had to breathe, but he couldn’t. The pain was too much that the tightness of the chest was unbearable.
Starsky walked back from the kitchen with a glass of water, and realized that something was very wrong with Hutch. "Huuuutch? What’s going on?" He was at Hutch’s side in a flash. "Hutch, breathe. BREATHE," he shouted, rubbing his hand across Hutch’s chest.
"Come on, babe, stay with me. Look at me, hey, come on, buddy. Breathe." I poured too much of information on him. Dammit! "Come on, Hutch. I am here. I am right here, and I am not going anywhere. Please, come on now, breathe, Hutch, breathe for me, please."
As soon as Starsky's warmth sorrounded Hutch, he managed small breaths. Starsky sat on the floor leaning on the couch placing his legs on either sides of Hutch and pulling him towards him so that he was sitting at a right angle leaning against Starsky’s left leg while his head lying on Starsky’s chest.
Starsky sighed. No matter what, we always end up like this. Holding each other; leaning against each other. This is where we belong.
"You c-c-could have l-l-left me?" Hutch managed a few words.
"Hutch, I didn’t leave. I am here. Aint I?"
"You could have - left me."
"I am here with you. "
"You could have left me." Hutch closed his eyes.
Hutch wasn't even listening or hearing anything Starsky was saying. Next minute, he broke into spasms of uncontrollable sobs. Starsky held him tight rocking him back and forth. This breakdown was long due and had to comeback sometime.
The skin around the gash on Hutch’s head that had twelve stitches was tight.
"Hutch, babe. Open your eyes." Starsky said softly.
The last time Hutch broke down like this was when Gillian died. That was four years ago. Since then
though there were emotional nerve wrecking moments Hutch had never cried like this. This was ten times worse than what he saw with Gillian.
"It’s alright, babe. Let it out, just let it out, but please open your eyes. Please open your eyes for me. Please." Starsky begged.
"You w.. w-w.. w wanted to leave m.. m.. me? How could you le..le...leave m..m..me, Starsk? "
"God, Hutch… Why do you hold on to one little thing that didn’t even happen, and forget everything else that I just said? Did I leave you, Hutch? I said I came back for you. I came back because of you... just think of that. I am here because of you. For you!"
Starsky wiped his own tears on his t-shirt sleeve. He understood, felt, knew, how scared, terrified, uncertain and frustrated Hutch must have been during and after the shooting, not knowing whether his partner will survive or not. Didn’t he himself just experience it a few days ago when Hutch went missing during the
storm. And many times before that, like when he had the plague, and when he was poisoned with a soup can that contained botulinum toxin. How many times were they scared for the other during their time together.
Starsky kept reassuring Hutch that he was alive and wasn’t planning to go anywhere.
Hutch was slowly coming back to earth. His sobs were subsiding while Starsky was constantly talking to him, running his left hand over his back while holding his head with the other hand to his chest. His front was soaked by Hutch’s tears.
"You said you can’t do us anymore. What do you mean by that, Starsk?"
"It has been a long day, and I know you are tired. We have to talk, but not now. It won’t make any sense to talk in this state- Come on. We are going to bed and you and I are going to sleep together, like we have done for all these days. Okay?"
Hutch would have agreed to anything as long as Starsky was near him.
Starsky managed to get Hutch into his pajamas and then to bed. He himself changed into another t-shirt and lied beside Hutch. Without any warning, Hutch curled up to Starsky’s chest, pulling him close, just like a baby cuddling up to his mother. Hutch wanted to make sure he will not lose Starsky through the night. He couldn’t forget the fact that Starsky could have left him. Whether he had decided to be with Rosey was something to consider later. For now, Starsky was completely his and he was not going to let him go. His left hand was around Starsky’s slim waist; his head right under Starsky’s chin; his face buried somewhere in Starsky’s chest.
Starsky sighed. The way Hutch was cuddling up to him was not something Starsky expected, but he wasn’t surprised either. Hutch was still in his ‘panic attack’ mode. It would be a miracle if he could sleep through the night without having any nightmares. Starsky settled and positioned himself to make Hutch more comfortable, cradling Hutch’s head in place, against his chest, tangling his fingers in the soft gold strands of Hutch’s hair.
After sometime Hutch raised his head; his eyes were all red and puffy.
"You got to promise me one thing, Starsk."
"Anything," Starsky laid his palm on Hutch’s cheek.
"Promise me that you will never even try to think of or dream of or even go near any thoughts of leaving me."
"You got to promise me, please." Hutch’s eyes filled up with tears again.
"I never wanted to leave you, Hutch. I never thought of leaving YOU." Not wanting Hutch to worry for even for a second Starsky replied.
"Promise me. Say it."
"I promise that I will never even try to think of leaving you and that I will do everything in my power to be with you. Is that enough for Ya?" Starsky promised, meaning every word of it from the bottom of his heart.
Hutch placed his forehead on Starsky’s forehead, like when they were trying to solve a case, and then slowly placed a kiss on Starsky’s forehead.
Starsky smiled, "now that's more like it. Tomorrow, we are going to have a long talk, Hutch, but for now, just sleep."
Hutch settled back to his previous comfortable position on Starsky's chest and closed his eyes, still afraid that he would lose Starsky if he wasn’t near him.
Starsky opened his eyes not knowing what awoke him. Hutch had moved away from his arms and was breathing heavily.
Starsky switched on the bedside light. Hutch’s face was twisted with pain.
He was wrapped in a nightmare that was terrorizing him, and Starsky didn’t have to guess what it was all about when Hutch moaned ‘please don’t go… please don’t leave me.’
Starsky gathered Hutch in his arms and held him tight to his chest to ease Hutch out of the terror grip that was holding him. "I’ve got you, babe. I’ve got you. Everything is okay, Hutch. I'm here. I'm with you. Everything is going to be okay. I promise. I'm not going anywhere. "
Hutch was still wrapped in his dream. He held on to Starsky tightly. Even in his sleep, he refused to let go of the physical contact he had with his partner.
Starsky cupped Hutch’s cheeks gently with his palm, feeling Hutch’s breath on his face.
A tear spilled from Hutch’s closed eyes. Half awake, half asleep, Hutch mumbled, "don’t you ever leave me, Starsk. Love you in a way no one can ever love anyone."
Starsky’s lips touched Hutch's forehead. "Love you too, Hutch. Have loved you my whole life, babe," Starsky whispered. "Like this," he said, placing feather light kisses on Hutch's creased forehead, avoiding the
stitches that ran from one end to the other. He then moved his lips onto the closed eyes. "And like this." Starsky rested his lips on the eyelids for a moment, kissing away the tears trapped within the eyelids. "And like this," he continued moving onto the nose, and to cheeks. "Like this, too." He kept on kissing Hutch with utmost tenderness, trying to take away the pain in Hutch’s heart, trying to cure him and make him happy by pouring all his love through his kisses.
Hutch clutched on to Starsky as if his whole life depended on it.
Starsky kissed the sensitive ridge between Hutch's nose and the mouth. Hutch's breathing quickened and he groaned. As if that was the entire cue he needed, Starsky’s lips brushed upon Hutch's slightly parted lips. "And, yes, like this mostly," he whispered.
Hutch floated between a dream and a fantasy. Was Starsky kissing him? Did Starsky declare his love to Hutch?
Starsky didn’t stop his little kisses, moving back up from Hutch’s lips to the brow between the nose and the lips, the nose, eyes and to the forehead.
Hutch didn’t want the kisses to stop. He didn’t want to lose the contact; he pulled Starsky towards him.
"Easy, easy, babe." Starsky was careful in putting pressure on Hutch’s ribs, which he knew was still bruised and sensitive to touch. "I've got you, Hutch. I am right here. I have loved you all my life. Now go to sleep. No more nightmares. Not now, not ever. I’ll never let you go."
A heavenly warmth engulfed Hutch, rocking him into a safe sleep. He didn’t want to move from Starsky’s touch. Starsky loved him. Loved him!
Next morning Hutch woke up locking his eyes with Starsky. Hutch wasn’t sure which was real and which weren’t from what he remembered of the night before. Did Starsky really kiss him? He had to know the truth about many things. He would never be able to put his mind at rest without knowing the whole story.
Not that many words were exchanged between them though it was a comfortable silence. Washing, cleaning, breakfast and sometime later, Hutch decided he needed all answers to the questions lurking in his mind.
"I want to know," Hutch said sitting at the couch. "I want to know everything that was going on in your head at the hospital. Whatever you remember of those days- I want to know all of it."
"You sure of this?" Starsky asked.
"Yes." Hutch said firmly.
Starsky moved onto the couch. He arranged the cushions and leaned against them sitting upright with his legs on the couch, parallel and vertical to the couch, signaling Hutch to come near him.
"Come closer, Blintz."
There was no need to tell Hutch a second time; He was already lying on Starsky’s chest. Settling into a comfortable position.
Starsky smiled and put his arms around Hutch, taking time to examine the wide cut on his head, making sure the stitches were intact. A considerable amount of hair had been shaved off of Hutch.
"How does it look?" Hutch asked.
"Well… they shaved off some hair, not that it had that many anyway," Starsky teased. "Does it hurt?" Then he asked with a more serious tone.
"Ah, you have no idea." Hutch lied, enjoying all the attention he was getting from Starsky.
"Really? Do you need something? I can get some aspirin."
"No, No. Just do what you are doing. That's enough. Or you can kiss and make it better."
Starsky bit back his laughter. He continued to stroke the area around the wound running his fingers through hair. He kissed Hutch lightly.
Hutch closed his eyes feeling and remembering the sensations he felt the other night. Did he really kiss me last night?
"So what do you want to know?" Starsky’s voice made Hutch open his eyes.
"Well... the last thing I remember was you shouting at me to get down, and then I felt this pain in my chest. I was on the ground, and couldn’t breathe. Then I heard you calling me. I wanted to talk to you, but everything was disappearing. I mean I couldn’t see anything. I didn’t see you and I didn’t know whether you were hurt or not. I wanted you to tell me that you were okay, but I couldn't talk."
Hutch recalled that moment when he saw Starsky lying on the ground. A pool of blood was getting larger and larger by the second, and Starsky was not moving. He was curled up beside the Torino. "Your heart had stopped twice during the transfer to the hospital."
"I don’t remember any of those. Then later I was awake and I started looking for you."
"You didn’t wake up for two days Starsk."
Starsky sighed. "I know." He thought for a while. "I wasn't awake physically, but my mind was awake." After thinking for a while and choosing his next words carefully, he said, "I was awake, but I was not in my body."
"What do you mean you were not in your body?" Hutch instantly shifted his position, turning around to get a good look at Starsky.
Starsky caught a stray hair falling onto Hutch's face and tucked it behind his ear. "I could see myself lying on the bed. I was watching me from somewhere else."
Hutch started to breath rapidly, feeling the tightening sensation in his chest again. "Starsk?"
"You are not going into another episode of panic, Hutch, ya hear me? I'm here. I'm right here with you. I didn't die." Starsky’s voice was stern and firm.
It worked on Hutch as he calmed down. " I don’t want to think that you could have gone, just like that."
"Well... I didn’t go. For all I know what I am telling you could be just a dream when I was out of it, you know."
But Hutch had the feeling that what he was hearing is not just a dream … this happened for real.
"So well... anyway... I was looking for you and you were not in the room with me or outside. I saw Huggy and Dobey, but not you. I thought you were hit by the bullets as well, and you were in another room, but I couldn’t go out looking for you from where I was. I saw my... my body on the bed and there was something
invisible that kept me from moving away from that body… like I was tied down to my body… Ahh, I don’t know to explain it, Hutch."
"I think I understand," said Hutch. "Your body was alive, so the physical body didn’t let go of your spirit because the body was alive."
"Yes- it was kind'a like that." Starsky smiled. "I didn’t want to go back to my body without finding you, or knowing where you were. And then… something happened; like a switch turning on, and I was free. I was able to roam around freely. I wasn't tied down to the body anymore. I could move without my body…
It's a strange feeling, Hutch, but it was good. I wasn't hurting because my body and I was not in the same plane anymore."
"Guess that was when your heart stopped." Hutch said shakily.
"Hey…" Starsky moved forward and laid his chin on top of Hutch's head. "Do you want me to stop?" he asked softly.
Hutch scooped down and rested his head on Starsky's lap, looking at the ceiling with an empty expression. He felt cold; a shiver ran across his body. "Was this how people die? Could you feel yourself away from your body and ‘see’ your own body?" Hutch stood up and sat on the couch. He turned and faced Starsky, leaning his head against his hand that was bent at the elbow and resting on the crest of the couch. "Go on, Starsk. There’s no way we can stop this conversation now."
Starsky leaned towards Hutch and kissed him on his forehead. "I didn't leave you. Just remember that," he said. "That's all what matters."
Hutch grabbed Starsky and held him tightly for a minute and released him. "I know."
"So… while roaming around and looking for you and there you were - I felt you in the room, and I saw you running along the hospital hallway. I called you relieved to find you in one piece, but you didn’t hear me. I realized at that point that you and I were not on the same side of existence. I just felt it, and I knew that I had to come back to my body if I wanted to be with you. But when I looked at my body, all I could feel is pain."
"You were torn between two worlds, weren’t you?"
"Yes, I was, and with each passing second or however the time was counted in that world, the need for me to go back to my body lessened. I was moving away from it... some force was making me move away. "
Hutch closed his eyes and lowered his head. If he didn’t make it to the hospital on time, that day, Starsky would have died and moved on. Hutch would not have him sitting in front of him today."
"But I came back, Hutch." Starsky reminded him, again. "My mind, spirit, soul was still wanting you no matter how much I was going to suffer in my physical body. Do you know what this means?" Starsky’s knuckles brushed against Hutch’s cheek making him open his eyes. Starsky took Hutch’s hand and laid it
against his heart. Starsky’s healthy heart beat was the most beautiful music Hutch had ever listened to.
"Hutch... this means that my heart started to beat for you. I came back because of you. Do you understand that? I am living here because of you; for you! My life is yours… it's simple as that!"
Hutch nodded, his eyes filling with tears, again. Starsky came back to his battered bullet hit body amongst the pain just to be with him. He could have moved on to a better place but he came back. He came back because of me. Hutch held Starsky's hand to his chest. "I will never let anything happen to you, Starsk," he promised. He also promised himself that if Starsky gets sick or had to be hospitalized, he'd NEVER leave his side even for one second. He'd never stop talking to him. I'll not give him a chance to go look for me leaving his body again. I will be with him and talk to him and make sure he'd be right where he is; right where he should be; beside me.
"Now, Hutch," Strasky broke the silence. "Don’t give more trouble to the hospital staff if I get to go to the hospital again, okay?" Starsky teased.
Of course they could read each other’s minds. Hutch smiled. "Not more than my usual, Starsk. But… but… God, Starsk, what if I couldn’t get to the hospital?"
"But you did. And I'm here. So stop worrying about what could have happened."
"All right. So… so what happened next? You said that you still could have left if you wanted to."
"Well… when I came back to my body I started to feel the physical pain. It was unbearable. I wanted to leave it, immediately. There was this force pulling me away from the pain; a good force- I mean I had a feeling that it was a good force of a good place, and I wanted to leave just because I felt peaceful and weightless with this force. And then... I heard your voice. It wasn’t clear like we are talking now. I just heard bits and pieces or maybe I just remember only some of it now, but it was like a dream. I heard you telling me that you were in
love with me, and that I should come back to you or else you were going to die, too. Did you say that, Hutch?"
"I... er... er... yes." Hutch said avoiding Starsky's stare.
"Did you just say that to get me back or did you really truly mean it?" asked Starsky.
Hutch’s mouth went dry. This was the moment and there was no escape anymore. He had to face it for better or worse. "I meant ever word of it, Starsk. I wasn't lying. I never lied to you."
"Well, then. Here I am. I came back. When I was awake for real everything was a haze... I only felt the pain; didn’t remember any of what I saw or experienced before that. Didn’t remember your talks or anything. I started to remember things much much later, but then again I wasn’t sure whether it was real or not because you never said anything after I woke up."
"It was my fault, Starsk. I should have watched your back. I am supposed to watch your back, but I failed and you paid the price."
"Now don’t go on that 70 mile long guilt trip, okay. It wasn't your fault. There was no way you could have stopped them. What matters is that you and I are here together."
"So have you forgiven me? For everything that happened?" Hutch asked, hopefully.
"Not before we clear one more thing." Starsky asked, distancing himself a little bit from Hutch. "Now tell me what all this nonsense was about Rosey. I understand why you asked her for dinner, but why the hell did you try to get me together with her if you loved me?"
"I did it BECAUSE I loved you Starsk. I know how much you loved her. It took months and months to get you out of that dark mood you were in after she left. There was no other woman who got close to you after that. So when Huggy told me that Rosey was looking for you, I had to forget what I was feeling and I had to allow you to choose."
Starsky grabbed Hutch by his shirt collar. "No... NO. Listen to me. Listen to me and get this into your head. There is nothing like ‘I am letting you go because I love you’ crap between you and me. Do you hear me? If you love me, you don’t let me go for any reason. If you love me you will fight for me and keep me for yourself forever, do you hear me?"
"What if you don’t love me the same way?"
"Is that what you still think? After all what I have said all this time, don’t you still know?" He let go of Hutch’s shirt.
Hutch opened his mouth but then he remembered what he saw and heard between Starsky and Rosey. "But, Starsk, I heard you talking to Rosey at the hospital and you said that you loved her and then she said that you should talk to me and get this over with. So what was all that about then?"
Starsky shook his head. "Is that what this was all about? That you heard a ‘part’ of our conversation and assumed that I am getting back with her? So you decided that you should move back to your apartment. Geez man."
"I was afraid to hope for too much, Starsk. Don’t hate me for that."
"Aw, Hutch. I can never hate you. Haven’t you heard anything I was saying. Mr. Big Detective? Do I have to spell everything for you, Mr. Brains of this Partnership?"
"So you are not getting together with her, again?"
"NO. N - O- I am not getting together with her. She came to the hospital to say goodbye- the other night when she was at my apartment I told her that I cannot be with her, because I was already in love with you."
Hutch gasped. Did he really hear what he heard? Did Starsky say that he loved me and that he told Rosey that?
Starsky sighed. "Was it me who kissed you last night or was it someone in your fantasies? By God Hutch don’t tell me you were thinking of another man ‘cos I swear I will kill whoever it is." Starsky asked and Hutch’s eyes widened.
"So it was not a dream then?" Hutch was already blushing and Starsky was shaking his head.
"There’s only one man in my life, Starsk." Hutch said softly. "There has been only one man, and there'd be only one man for me, Starsk."
"You smooth talking devil. Don’t think we are done talking."
Starsky said giving him a dangerous look and walking away to the kitchen. Hutch was forgiven. He knew everything was alright. He had found his man!
When Starsky returned a few minutes later, he saw Hutch had fallen asleep, leaning his head against the couch. A slight smile decorating his face, peaceful and content. The lines on his forehead were relaxed.
Starsky sighed. This was his soul mate; his lifelong partner. His life, his love. My Hutch!
Life has never been the same since Gunther’s attack on them. That was six months ago. A month in the hospital, two months at home under the care of Hutch, and another three months of physical therapy with Hutch by his side, and with a psychologist together with Hutch brought Starsky back to fulltime active duty.
Since then, Hutch has been protective of Starsky like ten mother elephants put together. Hutch had been on desk duty until Starsky was allowed to come back to work. Captain Dobey knew that Hutch would not be safe without Starsky and that Hutch himself was not the ‘same Hutch’ anymore after the attack on Starsky. The
only way the two would survive was if they were together. Period!
Now they were not on streets anymore. Both of them were assigned to the Youth Services Unit. Hutch knew that he didn’t want to go back to working on streets. He was sick of it and had been even before the attack on them. But he knew how much their work meant to Starsky. He would have gone along with anything that
would please Starsky. He was afraid of what Starsly would say or do after hearing the captain’s decision on assigning them to the Youth services division: A division that didn’t have the excitement or the dangerous life they had on streets, the life which Starsky loved. But to his amazement, Starsky nodded and agreed with everything captain said. Hutch didn’t know who was more surprised, the captain or him. They expected an outrage cry of "Are you insane" or "what the hell are you talking about" or a "I'll always be a street cop"
Instead, Starsky just agreed. That troubled Hutch very much. So he had talked to him. Starsky’s reply,
"The last couple of months was not a carnival for either of us, Hutch. If you get shot, (sigh) and if I saw you lying on the ground in a pool of blood, (a deep breath) If I had to see what you saw, I don’t know whether I will survive, Hutch. I feel that I will just die before even knowing whether you are alive or not (sigh). And if you survive a shot like that, you won’t have me to take care of you because I'd already be dead. If I'm dead who's going to hold you and tell you that everything is going to alright because it is NOT going to be alright. That is only one part of the story. If this happens again; If I get shot again, do you think you can go through this another time? and you know what is worse than that? If I die, who's going to take care of you? I don’t want either of us to end up alone. I want us to be together as long as possible. I want me and thee forever, Hutch, and I will do whatever it takes to be with you- alive- and healthy."
They locked their eyes with each other for a long time without saying anything anymore. They knew exactly what each other was feeling and knew no words were needed anymore.
Before they even knew what was happening they realized that working with the Youth services unit was even more exciting, not dangerous… not to the extent of street work at least. The work was very satisfying and each day brought new challenges. Dealing with young adults was the most challenging nerve racking thing either of them had ever done. They were glad to be assigned to this unit- so that they can nip the trouble in the bud and help these teenagers be better adults. The best of all was that they were not just detectives or police officers anymore. They were also teachers, in class rooms, teaching law and justice, the dangers of alcohol; building self-esteem and confidence in these kids.
There was no other person good as Starsky when it comes to teach self-esteem and confidence, Hutch thought. Starsky who was cocksure of himself had suffered badly after Gunther’s goons attacked him; the guy who loved to wear open shirts and show off his body was suddenly wearing crewnecks or buttoning his shirt to the top most buttons.
But now, Hutch recalled proudly, Starsky was as good as he were or even better. He was a survivor. There was simply no one like Starsky, Hutch thought fondly. And I am the luckiest man on this earth to have the man I love, love me back, in the same way, for eternity.
************************************** The End *********************************