Right out of the gate and we’re right back in as deep as ever.  That had been Hutch’s first thought upon their first case since Starsky’s return to duty after the shooting.  Several months of recovery later his partner was itching to get his feet wet.  Hutch suspected Starsky was eager to prove his capability to do the job as well as before.

 

As pleased as he was over Starsky’s return, Hutch still brought his rough cynicism with him.  There would be no more high expectation to win every battle and no more brash eagerness.  He’d gone down that road before and more often than not, it was paved with bitter disappointment and even more tragedy.  The only reason he stayed on the force was because of Starsky.  I don’t have anything better to do, was his wry thought.

 

Hutch checked himself in the mirror while he waited for Starsky to arrive at his place.  This undercover assignment seemed easy enough, but Hutch wasn’t going to call it that.  Luther Kegan was a dealer.  Not just any dealer, either.  He was considered a respected businessman through his art dealings and real estate developments.  It was believed through those businesses he smuggled in large amounts of cocaine and laundered the flow of cash.

 

All they needed to do was to put Kegan and the drugs in the same place.  It would be enough to give the Feds, DEA and the Justice Department reason to invade Kegan’s businesses and various homes.  Simple idea, yes.  But Hutch knew a man like that didn’t get where he was by being stupid.

 

He told Starsky exactly that.  But it soon became clear Starsky expected the task to be much easier than it appeared.  Hutch supposed it was because Kegan oversaw the majority of his dealings personally.

 

With another stroke to his mustache, Hutch straightened.  He took the comb through his hair one more time.  The double-breasted midnight blue suit with the white shirt underneath gave off the right signals.  Hutch checked the gold cufflinks.  His father had given them to him for graduation.

 

He remembered his father’s declaration.  A man’s success will be detected by the small details…never the large ones.  The cufflinks were designed by an expensive jeweler for Hutch.  The last time he wore them was his marriage to Vanessa.  Since then they had sat in a small box at the top of the closet.

 

Hutch wasn’t leaving anything to chance.  If he was going to play the role of successful buyer, he intended to be as convincing as possible.  He had spent an entire day searching for the right wardrobe.  Since he knew the case could last a few weeks, Hutch had bought several items and the US government had no problem footing the bill.

 

The door to the apartment opened and Hutch stepped out of his bedroom.  Starsky, wearing his black suit, looked as dangerous as any bodyguard could get.  While his wardrobe wasn’t quite as high-dollar as Hutch’s was, it got the message across.  Intimidation was in every look and movement.

 

The grin filled Starsky’s face, sloughing off the dark aura he had exuded.

 

“Well, look at you!”  Starsky strolled over and gave Hutch a once over.  “If I didn’t know better, I’d think were a CEO of some super corporation.”

 

“Right.”  Hutch rolled his eyes.  “Did you get the car?”

 

“Yep.” Starsky headed to the kitchen and opened the fridge door.  He rifled through the items and came out with a leftover sandwich.  “It’s out front.  Huggy’s pissed.”

 

Hutch walked over and leaned against the counter.  “Playing chauffer was never his line of work.”

“Not only that.  His cousin said if we got so much as a scratch on the Rolls, he’ll sue the city, the county, and any other governmental entity associated with this case.”  Starsky took a bite of the sandwich.

 

Glancing at the Rolex on his wrist, Hutch said, “It’s about time.  You ready?”

 

“Let me finish this,” Starsky said between bites.

 

After getting a glass down, Hutch moved around his partner and pulled milk out of the fridge.  He poured a glass and slid it over. 

 

“Thanks.”  Starsky drank half, ate another two bites finishing off the sandwich, then drained the glass.  “Okay, I’m ready.”

 

Hutch pointed at Starsky’s mouth.  “Milk.”

 

Starsky started to wipe it off with his sleeve, then stopped.  He glanced around and found a towel.  He dried his mouth and followed Hutch out the door. 

 

Once outside Venice Place, Hutch halted at the sight of the elegant black Rolls.  He whistled.  “My father swore he would buy one of these after he made his first million.”

 

Starsky couldn’t help but admire the car as well.  “He didn’t?”

 

“He waited until he made five.  I guess he wanted to make sure he’d keep it.”

 

Huggy stepped out of the driver’s side of the car and as he walked around the front, his eyes narrowed at Starsky and Hutch.  “You two clowns owe me big for this.”

 

“Come on, Hug,” Hutch said.  “It’s for a good cause.”

 

“Cliché has never been my style,” Huggy declared.  He looked down at the uniform with disgust on his face.  “If anyone sees me in this it’ll ruin my rep.”

 

Starsky couldn’t hide the smile.  “You’re secret’s safe with us, Huggy.”

 

“I am not opening the door.  You two honkies can do it yourself.”

 

Hutch stopped him from going back to the car.  “You will play the part, won’t you?”

 

“Don’t I always?” Huggy stalked back to the driver’s side grumbling under his breath.

 

Starsky stepped forward and opened the back door with a flourish.  “After you.”

 

Hutch slid inside and after Starsky crawled in, they were on their way.  He found the small envelope in a leather pocket and opened it.  He dropped the key into the palm of his hand and held it out.  “You’ll hold onto this.”

 

Starsky took it and examined it.  “Guess the Feds agreed with you.”

 

“Having the ability to flaunt will help secure our covers.  The city can’t afford it.”

 

With a sigh, Starsky put the key in his pocket and leaned back in the seat.  “Still hard to believe you walked away from it all.”

 

“Why?”

 

Starsky shrugged his shoulders.  “Seems like too much to walk away from, but then if you didn’t we wouldn’t have met.”

 

“Glad you see the positives.”

 

With a chuckle, Starsky looked out the window.  “I guess that’s why I’m the bodyguard.  I’m easily impressed and you’re not.”

 

“Trust me when I say being wealthy is overrated.”

 

Starsky gave Hutch a wink.  “I’ll try.”

 

Hutch smiled and after another few minutes they arrived in front of the large mansion.  Limos and various vehicles were everywhere indicating the large party going on inside. 

 

Valets stood at the ready and when their car opened, Starsky got out first.  He did a quick scan of the area, then nodded.  Hutch stepped out and after straightening the well-cut suit, he headed inside.  

 

Starsky pulled out the exclusive invitation and once inside, his eyes traveled over the various guests.  He stood close to Hutch.  “See him?”

 

“Not yet.”  A waiter passed by and Hutch took a filled champagne glass from the tray.

 

Both detectives’ eyes went to the top of the stairs at the man headed down.  The guests turned and applauded.  He wore his confidence and wealth as well as the tailor fit casual clothes on him.  Dark wavy brown hair hung just below the collar and the sharpness to his face added to the firm control he held in place.

 

“Damn,” Hutch whispered.

 

“What?”

 

“We’ve got our work cut out for us, partner.  Luther Kegan owns whatever world he’s in.”

 

“Hutch, quit worrying.  He puts his pants on one leg at a time like everybody else.  He probably had to waste a few people to do it.”

 

Hutch’s eyes never left Luther Kegan.  The unease in his gut was growing and he didn’t like it.  Everything told him this was dangerous if he voiced it, Starsky would blame it on having a huge case so soon after his return.  Hoping for luck to find their way, he turned.

 

“Let’s mingle.  We’ll get a look at the artwork and after a few hours get the introductions out of the way.”

 

Playing the dutiful bodyguard, Starsky nodded.  Staying at Hutch’s back, he followed and stayed out of the conversations Hutch held with various people.  He would answer a few questions, but his position didn’t allow for as much interaction as his partner.  Starsky liked it that way.

 

He could take in the room, eye questionable guests and be prepared for any variety of getaways.  He knew how edgy Hutch was about taking on a case like this so soon, but Starsky needed to prove to his partner and himself he was ready.  His recovery had been hell and being back to what he was before the shooting was the goal.  He wasn’t ready to chuck the badge, yet.

 

Only an hour had passed since their arrival and while they were crossing into another room a large abstract painting on the wall got Hutch’s attention.  He wandered over and he breathed in the beauty and complexity of the art.  Starsky was near his shoulder and Hutch took the moment to give his love of art the chance to appreciate the work.

 

“She’s my favorite.”

 

Hutch turned, along with Starsky, to see Luther Kegan standing close by.  “It’s beautiful.  I thought all of Forkner’s work was in New York.”

 

A wide smile spread across Luther’s face.  “You know art.”

 

Hutch turned his gaze back to the painting.  “All of his work was bought.”

 

Luther walked over and stood next to Hutch.  “This piece popped up at a country home in France.  As soon as word got out, I bought her.  I couldn’t let her slip away.”

 

Art was personal to Luther, like a living breathing thing, and he would own it.  Hutch filed the information away and stole a quick glance at Starsky who didn’t seem to mind not being included in the discussion.  “You’re very lucky.  There are people who would give their eyeteeth for a scribble on a napkin.”

 

“I call it knowing the right people.”  Luther held his hand out.  “Luther Kegan. And you’re Ken Hutchinson.  Thank you for coming.”

 

“Invitations were hard to come by.”

 

Luther slid his hands into his pockets.  “I don’t care to mix business and pleasure, but we need to get a few preliminaries out of the way.  Walk with me.”

 

After another look at Starsky, Hutch followed Luther out to the large swimming pool.  Lights decorated the area and people were milling about with some taking advantage of the water.  They meandered through the stone pillars and Hutch felt like he was in the height of Rome’s wealth.

 

Luther motioned for a waiter and took two glasses from the tray.  He handed one to Hutch.  He eyed Starsky who wasn’t far away.  “Friend?”

 

“Bodyguard, go-to man, assistant...” Hutch shrugged his shoulders. 

 

“The dirty work,” Luther added.  “Someone has to do it.”  He sipped the glass and looked at Hutch.  “When I got the word you were looking to buy, I checked you out.”

 

Hutch took a drink.  “I expected as much.”

 

“You want to supplement the family business’ lack of business.”

 

“The company’s been in my family for three generations.  Someone else can fail…not me.”

 

“You’ll need a large number of customers to keep satisfied.”

 

“Already taken care of.” Hutch eyed Starsky to pass the message.

 

Luther’s smile was a sharp one.  “Of course you wouldn’t dive in not knowing who the sharks were.”

 

After a small raise of his glass, Hutch took a drink.  “Of course.”

 

Taking a step closer to Hutch, Luther said, “Listen, rather than jump into business too soon I would like to get to know you better.  Think your bodyguard would let you wander more than ten feet away so we can talk?”

 

“Sure.”  Hutch turned and stepped over to Starsky and spoke in a low voice.  “You okay with this?”

 

“I think he’s suspicious, Hutch.  Just a hunch.”

 

“I think you’re right.  Not much to worry about with a party this size.”

 

Starsky nodded.  “I won’t be far.” 

 

With great interest, Starsky’s gaze remained on Luther who put a hand on Hutch’s shoulder while they walked away.  He spent the next few hours wandering and following Hutch with his eyes.  His partner appeared interested in the dialogue with Luther and Starsky wondered what they were discussing.  Given Luther’s desire to keep business and pleasure separate he knew it wasn’t all about buying cocaine.

 

 

~*~

 

 

It was growing late and Hutch was ready to leave.  Luther was a far more interesting man than the drug dealer he expected.  He was complicated with depth and thought.  He wasn’t the criminal Hutch had readied himself for.  His approach was growing more complex.

 

“We won’t be able to do any business until the day after tomorrow.  I’ll be in San Francisco most of the day,” Luther explained.

 

“You have my contact information.  Call me when you get back.”

 

“How about I do you one better.”  Luther stood next to Hutch and looked into his eyes.  “Have dinner with me tomorrow night…without your bodyguard.”

 

Hutch’s heart lurched and he hoped his shock didn’t show.  He admitted to feeling a certain understanding with Luther, but this was out of left field.  Maybe he was wrong about the suggestion.  “I like to have him close by when it comes to business.”

 

“This isn’t business and I think you know it, Ken.”

 

Whether it was the warm closeness or the alcohol, Hutch couldn’t be sure.  Luther read him far better than he had realized.  He needed the distance to get his bearings and Hutch didn’t want to risk the case by turning down Luther.  He had no idea how the man would react.  “Yes, I know.”

 

“You’ve felt it, too,” Luther pressed.  He reached over and pushed a strand of Hutch’s hair into place.  “We owe it to ourselves to see how far it goes.”

 

“I came here to do business, Luther.”

 

Luther smiled.  “Of course, but I didn’t expect the man I got.  You didn’t either.”

 

Trying to keep his heartbeat steady was taking more work than Hutch planned.  He took a drink from the champagne glass and set it aside.  Even alcohol wasn’t having the desired effect.  “Tomorrow night, then.”

 

The smile on Luther’s face was a victorious one.  “I’ll see you at eight.”

 

Watching Hutch walk away, Luther folded his arms.  The first time he laid eyes on Ken Hutchinson the attraction had been instant.  There was more to him than the rich boy who couldn’t run a business.  That much Luther was sure.  He was looking at a complex man who had plenty of stories to tell. 

 

His resources had been very thorough in the investigating of Ken Hutchinson and even with the vast amount of knowledge Luther had acquired he now suspected it was only the tip of the iceberg.  Luther was determined to get to know the walking contradiction better.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Once in the Rolls, Hutch took a deep breath.  “Huggy, get us to the Waldorf.”

 

Ignoring the grumbling of his friend, Hutch leaned back and rubbed his eyes.  He looked at Starsky whose face was lined with worry.  “Day after tomorrow we’ll get the details of the shipment.”

 

“Good.  Maybe this thing will be over much sooner than we thought.”

 

Not for me.  “I agreed to have dinner tomorrow night with him.”

 

Starsky pulled up his foot and slipped off the shoe.  “I hate these things.”  He rubbed his toes and looked at Hutch.  “What’s wrong?”

 

“The dinner doesn’t include you.”

 

“What’s it for?”

 

Hutch shook his head.  He didn’t want to tell Starsky, but there was no getting around it.  “More getting acquainted.”

 

“But, I thought that’s what tonight was.”

 

“Starsk.”  Hutch closed his eyes.  “It’s a dinner date.”

 

“What?” Starsky exclaimed.

 

“Shhh.”  Hutch pushed the button and the window came up behind Huggy.  “Will you calm down?”

 

“No one said he was gay!”

 

“I doubt anyone knew.  He’s a businessman and it probably doesn’t do him any favors by it being public knowledge.”

 

Starsky relaxed in the seat.  “So he’s on the make for you.  What are you going to do?”

 

“I don’t know.”

 

“Hutch, you can’t let him…well, you know.”

 

“I have no intention of fucking him or vice versa,” Hutch iterated.  “I can play hard to get.”

 

“He doesn’t strike me as the kind who takes well to being led on.”

 

“It’ll be enough of a chase to keep him guessing.”  Hutch doubted it would so simple.

 

The car stopped and after waving Huggy off, both men walked inside the expensive hotel.  After arriving in their suite, Hutch slipped off the blazer and proceeded to remove the cufflinks.

 

Starsky sat on the couch and removed his shoes.  He glanced at Hutch.  “What’d you mean?”

 

“About what?” Hutch didn’t look up.

 

“Keeping him guessing.  What does that mean?”

 

Hutch crossed the room and went to the large plate glass window overlooking the lighted city.  “Do I need to draw pictures?”

 

After removing his socks, Starsky got to his feet and went to Hutch.  “How far?”

 

“What?”

 

“How far will you go?”

 

Tired, Hutch ran his hand through his hair.  “It may not take too much on my part.”

 

“But you don’t believe it.”

 

“Starsky,” Hutch said as he turned towards him.  “There’s no way of knowing this soon.  Tomorrow night I’ll have a better idea.”

 

“Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to find another way inside.  The Feds think some of the pieces Kegan’s brought in from overseas are how he got the drugs in country.”

 

“It’s not enough and you know it.  He’d get out from under anything he’s not directly involved in.”  Hutch stepped closer to Starsky.  “I don’t like it any better than you do, partner, but this is the in we needed.  It’s no different than any other time we’ve had to go…”  Hutch paused.  “Above and beyond.”

 

The insinuation was clear.  It was true and in a few rare cases the results had been a disaster.  Starsky questioned if this would be any different.  He answered with a silent resounding yes.  Luther Kegan was a man and it wasn’t the fact Hutch had never been with another.  It was the reality their suspect had already set his sights on him and considered Hutch as belonging to him.

 

Starsky remembered Luther’s stance around Hutch and the possessiveness in every move, in every look and in every word.  Instinct told him that.  How it happened so quick, Starsky couldn’t be sure.  He knew their covers were intact.  The Justice Department had made sure of it.  His best guess was that Luther Kegan knew what he wanted from the very outset when he investigated his new business partner.

 

 

~*~

 

 

It was with nervous anticipation that Hutch arrived at Luther’s estate.  Starsky had been subdued after learning of the dinner invitation and Hutch couldn’t blame him.  If there were any way to get out of it without alarming their target, Hutch would have taken it in a heartbeat. 

 

He was led in by at butler out to the pool.  Hutch faltered at the intimate atmosphere and he gazed at the candlelit setting for two.  The underwater lights in the pool added more to setting the stage for a romantic evening.

 

“Ken, I’m sorry to keep you waiting.”

 

Hutch turned and watched Luther headed in his direction.  The clothing was far more casual than he expected.  A loose shirt of pale Egyptian cotton and khakis looked good on him.  Hutch hated admitting it.  He almost regretted the plain white shirt and black slacks he wore.

 

“I haven’t been here long.” 

 

The butler and maid appeared with the food and Luther dismissed them for the rest of the evening.  “I was on an important overseas call and couldn’t get away.  I hope you like filet mignon.”

 

“You went to too much trouble,” Hutch told him.

 

“Nonsense.”  Luther opened a bottle of red wine and after pouring a glass, he handed it to Hutch.  “I rarely get the opportunity to privately entertain anyone.”

 

Hutch sipped the wine and was impressed by the heady flavor.  “This is good.”

 

“Only the best.”  Luther picked up his filled glass and raised it.  “Here’s to the future.  May we be blessed by it.”

 

With a soft tap of his glass, Hutch nodded.  He walked over to the chair Luther had pulled out for him and sat.  When both were comfortable and eating, Luther looked at Hutch.  “I was thinking of you today.”

 

Hutch took a small bite.  “Oh?”

 

“I bought a new gallery and it’s being renovated.”

 

“San Francisco?”

 

Luther nodded.  “On my last visit I found too many galleries offering art more for the inside of hotel rooms and not enough high quality sculptors and the like.  When I was looking for pieces I was having a hell of time choosing since it’s an area I’m not particularly strong in.”

 

“And you think I am?”

 

With glittering brown eyes, Luther’s smile was one of desire.  “I bet you have a great eye.”

 

Embarrassed, Hutch set his fork down and picked up the wine.  “It’s just a hobby.”

 

“You know artwork, Ken.  Don’t be so modest.  I love your passion for it.”  Luther pushed the food across his plate.  “So how did you go from jet setter to running the family business?”

 

“No one else wanted it, plus it sounded like a good idea at the time.  I wasn’t exactly at the top of the list to take it over.”  It was easy to tell the story.  Much of Hutch’s personal life had been used to secure his cover.

 

“Your father’s company was in trouble before you took the helm.  I’m not sure if you’d be able to scrape up the cash you need without starting this endeavor.”

 

“You’re right there.”  Hutch wiped his mouth.  “In a few years a cousin will have his masters and he can have it.”

 

“Three years if I’m not mistaken.”

 

Hutch already knew the history, but the need to make conversation seemed to help divert from the real reason he was here.  “Those two years in boarding school didn’t offer any reason for me to want to take it on.  I prefer lifestyles of the rich and lazy.”

 

With a low laugh, Luther picked up his glass.  “Everything about you says otherwise.  Bored is more your style, Ken.”

 

He hated Luther’s insight into his life.  “And you?  How’d you wind up dealing when you have so much?”

 

“You’re aware it’s not how I made my money, I take it.”  At Hutch’s nod, Luther continued.  “I suppose one must start at the beginning.  My father was a cold-hearted bastard.  He was a truck driver and whenever he came home, he hit the bottle and then me.  It was a brutal life.”

 

“Jesus.”

 

The smile appeared slow.  Luther appreciated Hutch’s reaction.  “When my mother died, he continued on the road and I was shuffled off to some relative.  I was sixteen at the time.”  He leaned forward.  “It always pissed him off I never cried out or begged for him to stop.  Somehow, I felt if I did, it would give him more power over me and I refused to give it.  It made the beatings worse, but in the end, he lost control and I kept it.”  Luther played with his wine glass as he spoke.  “I worked my way through college, found a job working for a successful stockbroker.  I kept my mouth shut, learned and made money.  I invested it in real estate and a few other enterprises.” 

 

“You’ve done well.”

 

“The drug dealing is for kicks, Ken.  I love the rush and since cocaine usually finds its way into the hands of the well-to-do, I feel no remorse.”

 

Hutch toyed with his napkin.  “It can be a nasty business.”

 

“I agree, but I’m different than your standard drug dealer.  You see, I never kill.  It’s messy and brings unwanted attention.  I have other methods more to my liking.”  Needing to drive the point home even more, Luther continued.  “I did track down my father.  He was still living in that same damn house.  I bought the homes around it and sent an agent to him to make an offer.  My father refused as I knew he would.  The money offered was paltry compared to the worth of the house.  Then, I sold shares of the property I had bought to a developer who was looking to expand on an idea.  They took my father to court, he used up his pension in the fight, he lost and died in a homeless shelter.”

 

The retribution was unique and Hutch couldn’t find the words to counter them.  He looked at Luther who brought the wine glass to his lips.

 

“My own form of reckoning is far more damaging than taking a life.  Anyone can kill, Ken, but not everyone can wield power in such a personal way.”

 

Locking away the interesting piece of information, Hutch found his plate empty of food.  He hadn’t noted his pace of eating during the conversation with Luther.  He looked up when his dinner companion stood.

 

“I want to show you something.”

 

Hutch rose and followed Luther into the house.  They went up the stairs past a large library and Luther stopped in front of a door.  He took a key from his pocket and unlocked it. 

 

When Hutch first entered, the darkness enveloped him and rather than alarm, there was a strange sense of comfort.  He heard Luther’s footsteps behind him and section by section, lights over paintings appeared.

 

The illumination of artwork prompted Hutch to walk over to the nearest painting.  Stunned, he moved farther down and looked at another.  He stepped away and his eyes scanned each piece until they settled on Luther.  “My God, this is incredible.  Some of these I didn’t know existed.”

 

Luther moved farther down closer to Hutch and he looked at a rare piece.  “It’s my private collection.  From time to time I’ll have one displayed.”  He ran his finger along the frame of one.  “This is my favorite room in the house.  I come here sometimes to think.”

 

“I don’t blame you,” Hutch said.  He was in awe of the magnificent artwork.  “I could spend hours here.”

 

“I knew you’d appreciate it, Ken.  This is a special place for me and I rarely show it off.”  Luther moved towards the end of the large room and stopped in front of a rather large painting.  “I would never allow anything as lowly as drug money to demean this or any other private purchase.”

 

The value Luther placed on the art he possessed wasn’t lost on Hutch.  He was beginning to doubt Luther used any artwork purchases to smuggle the cocaine.  “I don’t blame you.  Its purity would be tarnished.”

 

“I knew you’d understand.”  Luther appeared relieved and he walked over to Hutch.  “We’re alike, you and I.  You understand my passions far better than most anyone else.”  He took an intimate step closer.  “I understand yours.”

 

Hutch heart pounded in his chest, his mouth grew dry and much to his surprise, his cock twitched.  Luther’s nearness was overpowering and the headiness of it made him dizzy. 

 

Before he could say anything, Luther’s lips were on his, demanding, wanting and expecting.  The power would not be denied and Hutch’s mouth submitted much to his surprise.  He was so taken aback by the command of Luther’s mouth Hutch steadied himself by taking hold of his arms.

 

He was pulled to the hard body and being nestled so close, the physical response almost swept him away.  Upon realizing how easy it would be to allow it, Hutch broke away from the potent kiss and stepped back.

 

Luther almost smiled at the effect on him.  “I’ve wanted to do that since I first laid eyes on you.”

 

Hutch touched his lips with his fingers trying to comprehend his reaction.

 

“Ken, forgive me for prying, but I must know.  Have you ever been with a man?”

 

Still trying to get his bearings, Hutch took a deep breath.  “How can you possibly know?”

 

“It was a guess.”  Luther took a step closer.  They were eye to eye and he wished he could take Hutch in this room.  “I could get so lost in you.”  He laughed a little.  “You are the only person I’ve ever met that I’d willingly let go of my control for.”

 

“Never let it be said you don’t know what you want.”

 

“Exactly.”  Luther was filled with desire for this man and he knew how easy it would be to seduce him.  To move so fast was out of character, but he knew what he wanted and it was Hutch.  He’d step back and let his future lover catch his breath.  “Come on.  We’ll finish off the wine and talk some more.”

 

For that, Hutch was thankful.  He needed to get his head together.  An Army of cops wouldn’t have been able to break the spell he had been under during the kiss and he was rattled to his core.  As he followed Luther out of the room, Hutch prayed the case would end soon.

 

 

~*~

 

 

It was after midnight by the time Hutch returned to the hotel suite.  Starsky was stretched out on the couch asleep and the TV blared.  He turned it off and walked over to where his partner slept.  Hutch wore an admiring smile as he studied him. 

 

Starsky’s arms were under the small pillow in an attempt to snuggle to it as close as possible.  Almost nothing could wake him.  Hutch knew how deep his partner’s sleeps were.  Even that he puts one hundred percent in.  It never ceased to amaze him how passionate Starsky could be.

 

Upon studying Starsky, Hutch’s eyes went to his lips.  He’d seen his partner kiss various women over the years and it always appeared he put as much of himself as possible into the act as he would anything else he loved doing.  Hutch wished he could be more like Starsky, but more often than not, he would get caught up in his partner’s zeal and the ride was rarely disappointing.

 

For the first time since he had known him, Hutch wondered what it would be like to be the subject of a Starsky kiss.  He loved Starsky and was curious how much of it would transfer into something physical.  They were always affectionate, but Hutch’s wonderings were taking him beyond the usual musings when it came to his partner.

 

He shook his head and walked away.  Luther’s desires were bringing out something unexpected in Hutch.  He was still having a hard time adjusting to his body’s out of control reactions to the man.  Needing a harsh shower, Hutch headed to the bedroom.  He had to get it together.  Since first laying eyes on Luther Kegan Hutch was having a hell of time keeping his feet under him.

 

 

~*~

 

 

It was midmorning by the time Hutch emerged from the bedroom.  He was surprised to find Starsky sitting at the table with a large breakfast before him.

 

Starsky set the newspaper aside and reached for his orange juice and grinned.  “Morning, Sleeping Beauty.”

 

Hutch nodded and rubbed his eyes.  He sat across from Starsky and poured some coffee. 

 

“What time did you get in last night?”

 

“Late.”  Hutch sipped the hot drink hoping it would give him the needed start.  “We should get a call later this afternoon.”

 

Piling strawberry jelly onto his toast, Starsky glanced at Hutch.  When nothing else came, he said, “Well?”

 

Hutch picked up a fork and stabbed at his eggs.  “Well what?”

 

“Last night.  How’d it go?”

 

“Oh,” Hutch said as if he’d forgotten.  He hadn’t, but he hoped Starsky would.  “Fine.”

 

Starsky wasn’t happy with the short answers he was getting.  “Is that all you’ve got to say?”

 

“I don’t think he’s running drugs through his art galleries or shipments.”

 

“The Feds don’t agree.”

 

“He loves art too much, Starsk.  It’s hard to explain.”

 

“Try me.”  Starsky couldn’t gage much from Hutch and he didn’t like it.

 

“Remember that time you told me about a gold watch you lifted from a store when you were a kid?”

 

“Sure.  I wound up giving it back and getting a good grounding as a result of my honesty.”

 

“You had to have the watch and you knew there was no way you’d ever have the money to pay for it.  Once you swiped it you hardly ever wore it for fear of someone discovering what you did and when you did have it out, you couldn’t enjoy it because of how you got it.”

 

Starsky set his half eaten toast down and leveled his gaze at Hutch.  “You’re telling me Kegan would feel guilty by using artwork to smuggle drugs?”

 

Hutch shook his head.  “Not exactly.  He smuggles and deals because of the thrill he gets from it, but still looks down on it.  Art is too precious for him and to bring it down to the level of drugs would take away the pleasure he gets from it.”

 

“I don’t think the Feds will buy it.”

 

“The Feds don’t know who they’re dealing with.”

 

“So who are we dealing with?”  Starsky stuck a piece of bacon in his mouth.

 

“A very smart man who knows what he’s doing every step of the way.”  Hutch pushed the food around on his plate.  The kiss was never far from his thoughts.

 

“You admire him.”

 

“It’s not that.”  Hutch struggled to explain.  “He’s far more complicated than I originally thought.  He uses control and manipulation to get what he wants, but he also has deeply seated passions he keeps separate from everything else.  He doesn’t have to do this at all.”

 

“Sounds to me he’s sharing a lot of his passions with you.”  Starsky was growing a deep hatred of this man because of his effect on Hutch.

 

“The smuggling and dealing is on the edge.  It shouldn’t be a surprise.”

 

Toying with the napkin, Starsky gazed at Hutch.  He had to ask.  He had to know.  “Anything interesting happen last night?”

 

Hutch kept his eyes down.  “He showed me his private art collection.  We went through a bottle of wine and talked.”

 

“Hutch.”  When his partner’s eyes met his, Starsky leaned forward.  “What happened?”

 

He was getting tired of being read so easily.  “He kissed me.  Satisfied?”

 

Starsky got his question answered and wasn’t sure how he felt about it.  Another man had put his hands on his partner.  Another man was playing havoc with his partner’s passions.  Another man had kissed his partner.  “And you let him.”

 

“Christ, Starsky!”  Hutch tossed his fork down.  “What was I supposed to do?”

 

“Tell him you’re straight!”

 

“Sure, and risk the case.”  Hutch shook his head.  “I told you the other night we’d do what we have to.”

 

“Hutch, I don’t like it.”

 

“Think I do?  Starsky, it’s no different than the other times.  If leading him on keeps us in and leads to our arresting him we do it.”

 

Leaning back in the chair, Starsky watched Hutch leave his unfinished breakfast and go into the bedroom.  This case was going in a direction he didn’t like.  The speed it was taking bothered him more than the direction.  Hutch was off balance and Kegan was the reason.

 

 

~*~

 

 

It was late in the afternoon when Starsky and Hutch got the call.  They were due to meet at Kegan’s estate and upon arriving were led into the large library on the second floor of the mansion.

 

Luther rose and he gave a smile meant only for Hutch.  Plans had already formed in his mind to up the stakes in their new relationship and he looked forward to breaking down all of Hutch’s defenses.

 

Starsky regarded Luther with more suspicion and upon eyeing the man standing near the desk, his mistrust grew. 

 

“This is my associate, Stuart Paxton.”

 

Stuart gave a short nod.  His thinning hair and thick rimmed glasses gave off an appearance of a weak man, but Starsky read him far differently.  Underneath the well-pressed suit was a gun as well as a fit body.  This was a disciplined man and the way his hazel eyes regarded him, the misgivings were apparent.

 

“Gentlemen,” Stuart said.  “I will be assisting with the transaction.  I prefer trust between us.” 

 

As a signal, Stuart reached inside his jacket and pulled out a handgun.  He set it on the desk.  Starsky hated it.  The piece was expensive and specially made unlike his well-used berretta.  It also forced him to expose more of himself and that he didn’t like.  After a glance at Hutch, Starsky pulled his weapon out and set it next to the more costly one.

 

“Good,” Luther declared.  “Would anyone care for a drink?”

 

“No,” Starsky said.  He had spoken up over Hutch in order not to allow anyone to make moves not to his liking.  “Let’s get down to it.”

 

“David’s a professional,” Hutch said.  “He prefers cutting to the chase.”

 

Luther tilted his head at Starsky.  “A trait I admire.”  This was a man he knew he’d have to be more careful of.  He didn’t have Hutch’s refinement and had little use for the finer things in life.  It made for someone who took everything at face-value and trusted little.  “How much are you looking to start with, Ken?”

 

“Twenty kilos.”

 

“So much?” Luther sat in the leather chair and leaned back.  “I expected half that.”

 

“I spoke to some buyers and they’re looking for expansion as well.”  Hutch took a seat on the sofa across from Luther.  “Call it helping the little guy.”

 

Luther laughed.  “That kind of load will take time.”

 

“How much?” Starsky asked.

 

“Stuart?” Luther asked.

 

“A week.”

 

“Not good enough.”  Starsky kept his stance even and relaxed.  He’d seen enough of deals go bad he was ready for anything.  “Three days.”

 

“Won’t happen,” Luther told him.  “We set the schedule and I will not deviate for you or anyone.  If it’s not to your liking, you and you employer are more than welcome to take your business elsewhere, but you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who can fulfill your requirements.”

 

Hutch had told Luther he allowed Starsky great leeway in this deal and he was hesitant to speak up at this point.  Overruling his partner during such a crucial moment would hurt the work they were trying to do.

 

“Fine.”  Starsky took a look at Hutch and swore he almost saw relief in those eyes. 

 

“How much?” Hutch asked.

 

“$700,000,” Luther answered.

 

“A kilo costs thirty grand on the street,” Hutch said.  “We’re buying in bulk.  Five hundred.”

 

“I have expenses,” Luther countered.  “Six fifty.”

 

“Six,” Hutch answered.

 

A sharp smile grew on Luther’s face.  He loved Hutch’s negotiating skills.  “Agreed.”

 

The loathing in Starsky’s gut grew.  “When and where.”

 

Stuart stepped forward.  “I’ll let you know.”

 

Starsky shook his head.  “Not good enough.  We agree on a time and place now.”  He turned his head to Luther.  “Non-negotiable.”

 

The smile disappeared and Luther’s eyes shot to Stuart, then back to Starsky.  “We have an out of the way location.  The cocaine is dropped at a nearby airfield and brought to a small farmhouse.”

 

“I like to avoid unannounced visitors,” Starsky said.  “I’ll send someone to scope the place out.”

 

Stuart went to the desk and opened up the top drawer.  He pulled out a manila envelope and brought out several pictures.  “We keep it secured.  This should put your suspicions at ease.”

 

Starsky walked over and looked over the photos.  One was an aerial shot and he glanced at Hutch who remained seated.  The others were of the road leading to the farmhouse and the inside.  “Do you mind?”

 

“Not at all,” Stuart said.  “Go over them at your leisure.”

 

After putting the photos back in their envelope, Starsky said, “We’ll be in touch.”

 

Satisfied, Luther stood along with Hutch.  “I look forward to a productive business relationship, Ken.”

 

“So do I, Luther.”  Hutch took a look at Starsky and saw the impatience in his eyes.  Luther would want to celebrate with drinks to start off their venture.  “I do have to leave.  Some problems have come up that require my attention.”

 

“Of course.”  Luther walked Starsky and Hutch to the door.  Seeing Starsky in the lead, he moved next to Hutch as they took the stairs.  “I’m taking my boat out tomorrow.  Please come.”

 

“I have an appointment…” Hutch searched for a viable excuse.  Luther’s closeness was intoxicating.

 

“Break it,” Luther softly ordered.  “You know you want to.”

 

To say he was torn was an understatement.  Luther still affected him as strongly as the night of their kiss and he was frightened of his own reactions.  On the other hand, they couldn’t afford to alienate this man before the transaction took place.  Hutch still remembered Luther’s ruthlessness towards his own father. 

 

“Where?”

 

“Come here.  It’s docked close by.  We’ll have a relaxing dinner when we get back.  Around two?”

 

Hutch nodded.  They were at the door and when he looked at Starsky, the questions in his eyes were going to be hard to answer.  “I’ll see you then.”

 

“I’m looking forward to it, Ken.” 

 

Luther’s handshake was telling in the hold and when Hutch felt his thumb caress the back of his hand, his heart trip-hammered crazily over the small intimate touch. 

 

Hutch was out the door and followed Starsky to the waiting car.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Not a word passed between them on the way back to the suite.  Once inside, Hutch stripped off the expensive clothing and put on his sweats.  He came out of the bedroom and glanced at Starsky who had changed as well.  His partner was at the table taking the berretta apart in preparation to clean it.  Hutch crossed to the bar and fixed a drink.

 

“You’re seeing him again.”

 

Hutch kept his eyes averted and added ice to his drink.  “Tomorrow.”

 

Starsky put the small swatch on the end of the pipette and pushed it into the barrel.  “Are you going to fuck him or will he fuck you?”

 

His temper snapped and Hutch slammed the drink down.  “We’ve been over this!”

 

There was no reaction from Hutch’s outburst.  “I bet he’ll fuck you.”

 

Hutch whirled.  “Damn it, Starsky!  If you’ve got something to say, say it!”

 

Starsky set the items down and stood.  He moved to Hutch and looked into his eyes.  “He doesn’t just want you, Hutch, he thinks he’s already got you.  What I don’t get is why you don’t see it.”

 

“No one owns me.”  The words were spoken low tinged with anger. 

 

“That’s not what I saw, partner.”  When Hutch went to the large window, Starsky followed.  “He’s got you set in his sights and if everything you told me about him is true, he won’t let anything he wants get away.”

 

“Luther can think what he wants.  It changes nothing.”

 

Frustrated, Starsky turned and went back to the table.  “Maybe you want him to own you.”

 

Disbelief flowed through Hutch and his eyes found Starsky.  “Where in the hell is this coming from?”

 

“I don’t like it, Hutch.  I don’t like Kegan and I sure as hell don’t like this case!”  Starsky still remembered the possessive looks in Luther’s eyes.  “I don’t like what he’s doing to you.”

 

“If you’ll remember, buddy, you were more than happy to take this assignment to prove to the rest of the world you still had it.”

 

“It wouldn’t have mattered if it was before the shooting or not.”

 

“Nothing we can do about it now.”  Hutch headed back to the bar and retrieved his drink.  “We’re in it.”

 

“Get out of tomorrow with him.  Find an excuse.”

 

“Starsky, if I do…”

 

“Don’t give me that!” Starsky yelled.  “You can’t come up with a sick relative?”

 

“I’m not risking this case because you don’t like the fact our target wants to fuck me!” Hutch yelled back.  Just once, he wanted more control over his raging emotions.  He took a deep breath.  “We’ve got a week, Starsky.  Let’s just get through it and put him behind bars.”

 

Starsky sat down and picked up the pieces of his gun.  He hated the entire case with every fiber of his being.  Everything told him this was altering his relationship with Hutch in ways neither was prepared for.  He was tempted to confront Kegan, but the risks were too high.  Stuart Paxton’s involvement upped them considerably.  Starsky saw him as a dangerous man who did Kegan’s dirty work.  Unable to concentrate, Starsky set the items down.  This assignment wasn’t going to end at Kegan’s arrest.  He was almost sure of it.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Exhilarating was the only word that came to mind during the time he was out with Luther.  It wasn’t just any boat.  It was a high class sports machine and taking it out on the open water with nothing to stop them was a new high for Hutch.  He had to admit to his enjoyment and was pleased when Luther allowed him behind the wheel.  He wished Starsky could have shared in it. 

 

Surf splashed on them during the excursion and by the time they returned, Hutch was almost drenched.  After a quick drive back to the estate, Luther brought Hutch to his bedroom.  He could see the unease on the man’s face.  Hutch needed to relax before he made his next move and the time wasn’t now.

 

After finding Hutch a change of clothing, he tossed them on the bed.  “Hand over what you’re wearing and I’ll have the maid clean them before you leave.”

 

There wasn’t a reason to argue.  Hutch couldn’t find a single excuse to turn him down.  Luther stood expecting him to accede to his order.  He took a deep breath and brought his hands to the top button.  As he removed his shirt, Hutch remained under the steady gaze of Luther.

 

The lean body only brought more of Luther’s need for Hutch.  Watching him undress was a pleasure in itself and one he doubted he’d ever tire of.  He took in every line, muscle and arch.  Luther’s eyes settled on the heavy bulge at Hutch’s crotch, but he moved them quickly to his future lover’s eyes. 

 

Luther took the clothes and headed for the door.  “I’ll be in the den waiting.”

 

Hutch was starting to believe Starsky had been right in making up an excuse not to be here.  He dismissed it upon seeing the potential cost to the case they were building.  The comfortable muslin outfit felt good and after slipping his sandals on, Hutch was more the bohemian than he would ever let on to his partner.

 

He arrived in the den to find another intimate meal waiting.  Night was rolling in and the fireplace was alive with dancing flames.  With a few lit candles scattered about it was the perfect atmosphere for seduction. 

 

Luther approached Hutch with two wine glasses.  He handed one over.  “I hope you don’t mind, Ken.  I wanted us to relax and enjoy each other.”

 

“Not at all.”  Hutch forced a smile. 

 

“Let’s eat before the food gets cold.”

 

Taking the seat that Luther motioned towards, Hutch let a nervous breath out.  The food looked delicious, the ambience was perfect and Luther played the perfect host.  Hutch knew what he was facing and he readied himself for it when the time came.

 

Throughout the meal they chatted about art, sports and other areas of interest.  Hutch found Luther to be engaging, intelligent and humorous.  It passed so fast, Hutch was unaware of the time.

 

They moved to the leather sofa in front of the fire and with their wine in hand spoke of more serious subjects.  Luther seemed to be probing for more than just standard ‘getting to know someone’ questions.  Hutch remained on guard even with Luther’s close proximity.

 

Luther moved a hand to Hutch’s knee and relished the strong muscle under the thin fabric.  “How long are we going to play around with each other, Ken?”

 

One look into Luther’s eyes told Hutch what he wanted.  “You think that’s what we’re doing?”

 

“You knew I wanted you since our last evening together.  I thought you would have become accustomed to the idea by now.”

 

As Luther’s hand continued to roam, Hutch took another breath.  The intoxicating nearness was getting to him again.  “It’s still new to me.”

 

With a sexy smile, Luther said, “It’s time to rectify it.”

 

The wine glass was taken from Hutch’s hand and set aside.  He looked into Luther’s eyes which were growing dark with desire.  Luther’s fingers ran through Hutch’s hair and the tingles sent delightful waves to the rest of his body.

 

This kiss was no different than the first.  It was insistent, and Hutch’s mouth yielded to the demand.  A soft moan escaped when Luther’s tongue snaked inside and subdued Hutch’s.  Dizzy with excitement and the growing heat from his very being, Hutch gave in to the crazy need of his body. 

 

Luther expressed his desire for more by pressing into the lean body.  When Hutch’s hands traveled over the contours of his body, Luther almost smiled into the kiss.

 

Much to Hutch’s thrill, Luther was almost atop him.  Even with the power this man had over his every need, he couldn’t help but respond in kind.  The dominate position was clear and his body loved submitting.  The potency of the lips on his and the tongue in his mouth was as addicting as anything he’d ever known. 

 

A hand moved across Hutch’s chest.  He barely noticed with his body’s needs overriding any reasoning.  When it found his growing erection, he surged in response.  So powerful was the reaction, Hutch broke the kiss and pushed Luther off. 

 

He got to his unsteady feet and moved to the fireplace.  With his hands on the mantel, Hutch looked down at the seductive dance of the flames.  “It’s too fast,” he breathed. 

 

In most circumstances, Luther would have been livid at such a response, but this was no ordinary man.  This was his match and he believed it with his very being.  He rose and stood near Hutch.  “Why?”

 

Hutch closed his eyes.  “We have to slow down.”

 

“You don’t want to, Ken.  You want me as much as I want you…perhaps more.  You are frightened of your body’s response to another man.  It’s understandable.”

 

“I’m not ready for this, Luther.”  Hutch looked at him.  “You’re right…I do want you, but moving this fast isn’t something I do.”

 

“No, it’s not.  You’re more comfortable keeping control and setting the pace in everything you do.”  Luther stepped closer.  “For just a few moments on that sofa, you gave in, Ken.  You allowed yourself the freedom of not being constrained by your own thoughts.  You are not the man I investigated, Ken Hutchinson.  I suspect no one really knows who you are.”

 

On the tip of Hutch’s tongue was Starsky.  That was a man who knew him, but even his partner hadn’t tapped into these desires with such adept precision.  How close Luther was hitting his mark unnerved Hutch to his core.

 

“You are far more disciplined and restrained than you allow anyone to see.  It’s a matter of allowing yourself to let loose of the bindings you fitted for yourself.”  With Hutch so close, Luther could steal another kiss.  Enticing Hutch would have been easy.  He wanted a willing bedmate eager for him.  “You have two choices, Ken.  You can either walk out the door back to the world you created with its restrictions and control over you or you can come upstairs with me, right now, and I’ll show you a world where you can be free to express every longing and need you’ve ever had.”

 

Luther stepped back and watched the warring emotions on Hutch’s face.  “It’s your choice.”

 

He was free to leave.  It blared back at Hutch with crystal clarity.  His opening was there and all he had to do was take it.  If he rejected Luther it could cost the case.  The argument was beginning to wear thin and Hutch wondered if it’s what he used to convince himself to stay for as long as he did.  Rather than chance it, he looked to find Luther making his way out the door.

 

Hutch followed and halted at the foreboding staircase leading to Luther’s bedroom.  He took the first step and his eyes found Luther with an outstretched hand.  Hutch took it and was led to Luther’s bedroom.

 

Seeing the enormous four poster bed a second time was far more intimidating.  Hutch was almost ready to change his mind, but with the confidence and surety on Luther’s face, his racing heart began pounding a different beat.  His body remembered the encounter on the couch and thrummed in response.

 

Luther stood close and he leaned in.  He breathed in Hutch’s strong scent and his smile sharpened with want.  “God, you have no idea how much I’ve wanted you,” he whispered.

 

Hutch’s body hardened and he was amazed at the response.  Luther hadn’t even touched him, yet, and he ached for it.  The muslin top was pulled over his head and tossed aside. 

 

Luther’s eyes roved over his body, stopping at the scar on Hutch’s shoulder.  Luther ran his fingertips over the old wound.  “What happened to you?”

 

No lie came to Hutch immediately, so he opted for truth.  “I was shot.”

 

Why he hadn’t noticed before, Luther didn’t know.  It mattered little at this point.  The scarring added more to the mystery of Ken Hutchinson and Luther looked forward to unlocking the secrets of the half naked man before him.  He leaned in and kissed the scar, then ran his tongue over the faded lines.

 

The intimate act almost sent Hutch to his knees.  He never expected the tenderness, but it soon turned to hot pleasure searing across his sensitive skin.  The seductive dance sent goose bumps all over and Hutch was having difficulty keeping his breaths even.

 

The play along his neck continued and worked up until their mouths met in stormy need.  The kiss lasted only a moment and Luther stepped away to watch his hands discovering the body he had lusted after.  “So smooth,” he whispered.  “But hard.  Even your body tells a story.”

 

Hutch was afraid to speak.  If he did, his words would echo the yearning running through him.  Luther got to his knees and with fascinated eyes, Hutch watched him pull down his pants until they fell at his feet.  The underwear soon followed and the chill didn’t abate his erection in the least.  When his cock was taken in a firm hand, Hutch groaned.  Luther’s grip on his was unyielding.

 

“What a mouthful.”  Luther’s mouth watered at the sight and he pumped on it.  He looked up at Hutch.  His face was covered with a fine sheen of sweat, his eyes closed and mouth open.  So pleased was Luther, he took Hutch’s cock in his mouth in thanks and self-gratification.

 

Hutch grabbed a hold of Luther’s shoulders as soon as the lips wrapped around him.  The expertise with which Luther used to subdue him was mind-altering erotic.  His hips began moving in sync with the mouth working him to a sexual frenzy and Hutch knew at this pace it wouldn’t be long.  He was starting to worry if he should pull away when it happened.

 

Luther sensed Hutch’s confusion.  It brought great satisfaction that he could feel the growing turmoil.  He pulled back and continued to work the organ.  “I want you to come in my mouth.  I want to taste you and your come inside of me.”

 

“Oh, God!” Hutch moaned.  The words shot to his cock which was being worked, manipulated and pushed to new heights.  Luther’s mouth took him until he felt it hit the back of the man’s throat.  The very idea of being so deep inside of Luther sent thrills of hot spikes throughout him.  That’s all it took for Hutch to explode.  “Fuck!”

 

Sucking and milking as much as he could, Luther relished the power.  Most found they were demeaned by such an act.  Not Luther.  It was supremacy.  On his knees, with a hard cock in his mouth, he took absolute pleasure in manipulating the sex.  Not only that, he was the first man to put his mouth on him.  Being the first left an indelible memory that would never leave Hutch.  Luther loved that power.

 

When he finished, he got to his feet and took in the afterglow on Hutch’s face.  “God, you’re beautiful after an orgasm.”

 

They locked lips and after kicking off the clothing at Hutch’s feet, Luther guided him to the bed and put him on his back.  As he positioned himself in the middle of the bed, Hutch watched Luther remove his clothing.

 

The man’s body was well-honed and fit.  Knowing more was to come, Hutch’s cock started to twitch back to life.  Luther Kegan was a sexy man and it showed in every movement.  Hutch’s  wild need couldn’t be tamed.

 

Hutch lay back as Luther crawled on the bed and moved over him.  Luther’s leaking cock left a trail of pre-cum across his thigh and the carnality of it brought forth a sexual rawness Hutch didn’t know existed within him.

 

Their lips met and once again Hutch quivered under the onslaught of persuasive desire.  Luther’s hands roamed across his chest and took a nipple in between his fingers.  Hutch groaned his response into the mouth taking control of him.

 

Luther dragged his mouth away and went to Hutch’s ear.  He took the lobe in his teeth and the gentle bite excited the man under him even more.  Needing to own Hutch even more, he worked to the delectable neck awaiting him.  His tongue tasted and licked the willing skin.  He lifted his head and ran a hand over the smooth flesh.

 

What Luther was waiting for Hutch didn’t know.  He needed the touch as much as a drink of fresh water after crossing a hot desert.  Even the thought of such heat turned Hutch on even more and when Luther’s mouth landed on his neck, the nibbling turned into sucking.

 

It grew in strength and when the pain started to overcome Hutch, he felt Luther’s hand on his ever-growing erection.  The mix of pain/pleasure was almost too much for Hutch to bear.  He bucked in wild abandon against the powerful body laying on him.  It slowly subsided and the place on his neck was teased and licked into sweet longing.

 

Seeing his large mark on the side of Hutch’s neck brought satisfaction to Luther.  No one could deny this encounter and no attempt to hide it would be successful.  The size of it was an indication a man had applied it for no woman could.

 

Luther positioned himself at Hutch’s side and rested his thigh on Hutch’s leg.  He gave him another deep kiss.  He raised his fingers to Hutch’s lips.  “Suck them, Ken,” was his whispered command.

 

No more prodding was necessary as Hutch took the two fingers into his mouth.  He ran his tongue under and over.  The spicy skin sent thrilling shivers along his body.

 

“That’s it,” Luther encouraged.  “Wet them good.”

 

Hutch did as ordered and when they left his mouth, he was startled to find Luther’s hands searching under his balls. 

 

“Spread your legs, Ken.”  Luther smiled when he did.  “A little more.”

 

Luther pushed a moist digit in and when Hutch stiffened, he leaned until his mouth hovered over Hutch’s.  “Easy, now.  I’m getting you ready for me.”

 

Hutch closed his eyes and allowed for the manipulation to continue.  The sexual plane he was on climbed higher when Luther declared his intentions.

 

“Open your eyes, Ken.  I want you to look at me.”  Their eyes locked and Luther pushed in a second finger.  “After you came in my mouth and kissed me, did you taste yourself on my lips…my tongue?”

 

“Yes,” Hutch breathed.  “God, yes.”

 

The stretching and filling was the most exciting thing, Hutch had ever known.  The small amount of pain it inflicted dwarfed in comparison to the aching and growing desire to have more inside him.  His hips met the insistent probing and when a third finger stretched him even more, Hutch’s head went back.  “God, that feels good.”

 

Luther’s laugh was low and dirty.  “It’ll get better, lover.”

 

When the fingers left him, Hutch’s body screamed in frustration.  He opened his eyes to see Luther reaching to the dresser.  On top was a small tube of KY and the thought hit him that Luther had planned this interlude. 

 

Luther moved between Hutch’s knees and sat on his haunches.  He took a pillow in hand.  “Raise up.”

 

Hutch did as instructed and after it was shoved under him he relaxed.  His legs were splayed open and the vulnerability he felt at that very moment frightened him.  A calming hand touched his thigh.  He watched in utter fascination as Luther coated his heavy cock.

 

“I won’t lie, Ken.  There will be some pain, but the pleasure is far more than you will have ever known.”

 

It wasn’t in Hutch to argue.  He rested his head back while Luther scooted close until his thighs were on top of his.  The head rested at his opening and Hutch wasn’t sure if he should steel himself or not.  Reassuring hands ran across his thighs and he relaxed under the soothing touch.

 

The pressure wasn’t much at first, but then when the head of the cock pushes through the tiny opening, he hissed at the intense pain.  It began to subside and Hutch took deep breaths.  What began as agonizing torture as Luther’s hard organ paved a path into him slowly turned into the most sex-filled type of throbbing he had ever experienced.  He could feel Luther’s cock pulse with life as his passage was opened for use.

 

Luther gritted his teeth at the slick tightness taking his cock.  He looked down and watched it sink into Hutch’s ass.  The pain was there for his lover, but it wasn’t taking long for the sex to overshadow it.  He continued to move back and forth with mind-blowing satisfaction from being the first to breach such a vulnerable and breathtaking body.

 

Hutch’s moans turned to yells of joy as the slow thrusting became a hard pounding into his flesh.  Luther’s balls slapped against him and the sound along with the oppressive need to come was taking hold of him and sending him on a fiery ride to oblivion. 

 

 “Your cock is so fucking hard!” Luther breathed.  He never let up on Hutch and didn’t intend to.  His drives into Hutch were unrelenting and given the responses, he enjoyed it.  “You’ll come without me touching it!”

 

The words drove Hutch’s passion and as he spiraled out of control, he said, “Fuck me!”

 

Answering his demand, Luther pounded into him and his sexual gratification came after hearing Hutch cry out upon climaxing.  He continued pumping his cock into Hutch until every bit of his essence was inside his new lover. The sight of the sweat covered man beneath him who had been so overcome with hot sex brought a smile to Luther’s face.

 

He was careful as he pulled out and got off the bed.  Hutch was coming off the orgasmic high and was exhausted from the carnal encounter.  Luther crossed to the master bath and returned with a towel and a wash cloth.  He wiped the semen from Hutch’s belly and then cleaned around the still gaping rectum.

 

Hutch flinched then breathed deeply at the cool cloth soothing of the raw passage.  He was almost asleep when he felt Luther get in the bed and move behind him.  It took little for him to find sleep after expelling so much energy.

 

Luther brushed Hutch’s moist strands of hair from his face and kissed his cheek.  There was no doubt now.  Ken Hutchinson was his and Luther would never let him go.  The powerful joining had sent the message home.  As sleep took him, Luther was already making plans.

 

 

~*~

 

 

When Hutch’s eyes opened, the room was in darkness and not a sound could be heard.  He turned his head and saw Luther sleeping.  Hutch got up on one elbow and glanced at the clock on the nightstand.  It was after 2am.

 

He kicked the covers off and got up to put on the clothes Luther had given him, when he saw his own clothes cleaned and pressed on a nearby chair.  Hutch dressed careful not to make any noise.

 

“Ken.”

 

Hutch looked and saw Luther on the bed.  “I have to go.”

 

“It’s all right.”  Luther watched Hutch slip on a sandal.  “Come here.”

 

After adjusting his shirt, Hutch walked over and sat on the edge of the bed.  Luther pulled him down and they met in a deep sensual kiss.  He was thankful when it ended.  It was too easy to fall into the sexual abyss again.

 

“I’ll call you later.”

 

Hutch was relieved Luther couldn’t see his reactions in the dark.  Even just thinking of their intense session shot thrills through him.  He got up and headed out of the room.

 

 

~*~

 

 

By the time Hutch reached the suite, he was as alert as if he’d just woken up from a long sleep.  Every touch, word, and action from the hot sexual encounter with Luther was at the forefront of his mind.  He was still trying to deal with his over the top reactions.

 

He was surprised to find Starsky sitting on the couch nursing a beer.  “Didn’t expect you to still be up.”

 

Starsky stared at the blank TV.  “I was starting to wonder if I should call Dobey.”

 

Hutch decided on a drink to help wind down before going to bed.  He went to the bar and tossed some ice in a glass.  “I should’ve called.”

 

The words they exchanged were distant and awkward.  The gaps of silence in between added to the tension.  Starsky drained the last of his beer and got to his feet.  He regretted having so much with the unsteadiness he was feeling.

 

“You shouldn’t have drunk so much,” Hutch reminded him.  He filled the glass over halfway with scotch.

 

Ignoring the comment, Starsky walked over and his steps faltered.  The mark on Hutch’s neck couldn’t be ignored.  The size and darkness made sure of it.  Even a turtleneck wouldn’t cover it all.  He moved in with slow precision and when he stood close enough, Starsky pulled down the collar. 

 

He couldn’t believe it.  Women had attempted to leave their marks on Hutch’s skin before.  His partner had told him how much he loathed it.  “So he fucked you.”

 

Hutch pulled back and looked at Starsky.  “What?”

 

“Your neck.”  Starsky pointed to it.  “He wants everyone to know what he did to you tonight.”

 

Disbelief surged through him and Hutch marched into the bathroom.  In front of the mirror he shoved the collar aside and when he saw the enormous hickey, he was taken aback.  As much as he despised them, this one sent a clear message and Hutch knew it.  There was no denying it now.  “Oh, my God.”

 

Why he hadn’t detected Luther’s intention, Hutch didn’t know.  Maybe he didn’t want to.  So caught up in the spiral of sexual liberation, Hutch may not have cared.  His body loved what Luther had done and wanted more.

 

The turbulence on Hutch’s face tore at Starsky’s gut.  He was already regretting his treatment of Hutch over the last few days.  Starsky stepped close and put a hand on Hutch’s arm.  He was stunned at his partner’s retreat from his touch.

 

“Don’t,” Hutch breathed.  He couldn’t bear any at this moment.

 

“I’m sorry, Hutch.  I know you wouldn’t have done it if there’d been any other way.”

 

Hutch raised his hand.  “Just shut-up right now…please.”  He couldn’t bear hearing Starsky’s comforting words and to correct him was not an option.  He hated himself not just for having sex with Luther, but for enjoying it as much as he did.  “I need a shower.”

 

Starsky was speechless and when the bathroom door shut, he hoped his partner would somehow find the cleanliness he sought under the water, though he doubted it would.  The running shower seemed too loud and even with his intake of alcohol Starsky wished it would quiet down.  He envisioned Hutch trying to wash the stench of a drug dealer’s smell away.

 

He left the bedroom and by the time he sat on his own, Starsky leaned forward and rubbed his weary eyes.  He felt like he was sitting in the backseat of a speeding car hurdling down the highway with no driver behind the wheel…no, Luther Kegan was driving.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Nothing would hide the obscene mark and it was too hot for a turtleneck.  Considering how high it was on his neck, the tight collar wouldn’t even cover it enough.  Luther’s calculated move to show the world what he had done was a clear indication of his boldness. 

 

As much as Hutch hated the hickey, it was a constant reminder of the hot frenzied sex they had shared.  Every look in the mirror sent clear memories of Luther’s body on top of his, Hutch clutching and yearning for more, and the feel of the man’s hard cock pumping in and out of him.

 

He and Starsky spent much of the following day in the suite with few words passing between them.  Hutch was relieved Starsky didn’t attempt to comfort him for his so-called sacrifice for the case.  For that he was grateful.  He preferred his partner’s interpretation of events and didn’t have the guts to correct him.

 

The ringing of the telephone broke the silence and Hutch answered it.  “Hello.”

 

“Ken, how are you today?”

 

An uneasy look went to Starsky on the couch who was flipping through a magazine.  Hutch sat at the table.  “Fine…good.”

 

Luther’s easy laugh sent a thrill through Hutch, and he took a breath.  He hated his body’s betrayal over the subtle reminder of the sex they shared.

 

“Still trying to get your bearings after last night, I take it.”

 

“Yeah, I guess I am.”  Another look at Starsky told him even with the visible nonchalant display, his partner was listening.

 

“I expected you would need some breathing room, but I really want to see you.”

 

“I have a few meetings.  They’ll keep me tied up most of the day.”

 

“How about tomorrow morning we have a nice, safe breakfast, Ken?  It’ll be tough, but I think I can keep my hands to myself.”

 

Hutch closed his eyes.  Luther’s hands were on him and he was begging for more.  Stop it!  “I’ll have to see if I can clear my calendar.”

 

“We need to talk, Ken.  You know it.”

 

A heavy sigh escaped and Hutch rubbed his eyes.  “Okay, I’ll be there.  Eight?”

 

“I’ll see you then.”

 

After setting the receiver on the cradle, Hutch looked to his partner.  “We’re having breakfast tomorrow morning.”

 

Starsky turned a page and didn’t look up.  “Some people like morning sex.”  His eyes rose and locked with Hutch’s.  “Can you handle it?”

 

“It’s just breakfast.”  Hutch got up and grabbed a glass from the bar.  He filled it with water and took a long drink.

 

Much to Hutch’s relief, the subject never came up again, but continued to dog his thoughts the rest of the day.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Hutch arrived at Luther’s right on time.  He was led to the pool and Luther sat with casual confidence wearing his silk robe.  The exposure reminded Hutch of their night together and he wished he could escape it.

 

Before he could sit, Luther grabbed his arm and looked into Hutch’s eyes.  “How about a morning kiss?”

 

Unable to deny him, Hutch bent down and another deep kiss was exchanged.  His mouth welcomed Luther’s tongue and of its own will Hutch’s responded in kind.  He straightened and saw the delectation in Luther’s eyes.  He moved to the seat next to him and took in the wide array of food decorating the table.

 

“I hope you like the selection,” Luther explained.

 

Hutch remembered his hunger and his mouth watered.  “It looks good.”

 

“Help yourself.”  Luther filled his plate and glanced at Hutch who was doing the same.  “I’m glad you came, Ken.  I wasn’t sure if you would.”

 

“Why?”

 

“You’re still getting your bearings and I know you didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as you did.”

 

Pushing the food around his plate, Hutch conceded.  “I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life.”

 

“I like to think you wouldn’t with anyone but me.”

 

“I’ve never been attracted to another man before,” Hutch admitted.

 

The battle with his sexuality was on Hutch’s face as was the confusion.  “You need more time.  I hoped we could get together tonight, but I don’t want to overwhelm you.”

 

“You already did that,” Hutch said without thinking.  Hearing Luther’s laugh, he raised his eyes.

 

Gazing at Hutch, Luther wanted him again.  “I would love to take you right now under the hot sun, Ken.”  He could see Hutch’s tan skin glowing from the perspiration.  He tilted his head.  “Is it still there?”

 

Hutch’s face filled with heat and his cock shuddered under the powerful memory.  “Mostly.  In a few days no one will be able to tell.”

 

“Let me see it.”

 

The soft command sent a charge through Hutch.  His eyes darted around the pool and when he felt it was safe, Hutch unbuttoned his shirt enough to show what Luther wanted.  While shrinking in size, the mark was still as bold as it was the night he received it.

 

“It looks fantastic on you.  I’d cover you with them if it was possible,” Luther bragged.

 

Hutch took a drink of his juice.  “Maybe next time you won’t make it so obvious.  It’s not easy to explain away.”

 

“I’ll be careful,” Luther promised.  “I asked you here not just to see how you were doing, Ken.  I have a proposition.  One I want you to seriously consider.”

 

He hoped it was about business, but Hutch was almost sure it wasn’t.  “What is it?”

 

“We’re starting a new venture together and I expect it’ll be very profitable in the coming months.  You and I are alike and good together.  We share the same passions and even though you’re still working to accept our attraction to one another, you have to admit we’re made for each other in the bedroom.”

 

“I don’t know what you’re asking of me, Luther.”

 

“I want to share what I have with you.  I want us equal partners in everything.”

 

Hutch was stunned.  The last thing he ever expected was anything close to this.  He looked forward to getting back to the life he had prior to this case.  He needed the predictability.  “I don’t know what to say.”

 

“I expect you’ll think about it and we’ll spend more time discussing the particulars.  I’m not looking for just a bedmate, Ken.  I can get that anywhere.  You are the only man I’ve ever met who was my equal and I believe we’ll make for a hell of a team in every aspect of our lives together.”

 

“We’ve known each other less than a week, Luther.  How can you make this kind of offer so soon?”

 

“I know what I want.  I don’t have time for sentimental courting and I’ve come to know you easily because you are like me.  I think you know it, too.”

 

Hutch was still shocked and he saw that Luther expected the reaction.  No assignment in his entire career could come close to the discoveries made about him.  Of course it was impossible and even if Hutch was tempted, he’d never leave Starsky.

 

“Think about it.  When our first shipment is done, we’ll spend more time talking.”  Luther picked up his coffee and took a sip.  “We only have a few days until the meeting and I want you to take the time to consider my offer.”

 

“I will.”  It was an easy lie.  Hutch was getting the distance he needed to get back on track, and he knew with the passage of time his sexual liaison would be far enough in the past to be forgotten and buried.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Hutch didn’t tell Starsky about Luther’s proposition.  It would’ve added more to their already tense relationship.  As the day for the meeting approached, plans were laid out with a team of officers and Captain Dobey.  A careful study of the area gave them what they needed to ready themselves for Luther’s arrest as well as Stuart Paxton’s.

 

Rather than the late night rendezvous Starsky and Hutch were accustomed to, this was set in the middle of the day.  The bright sun above gave off a fresh aura that left Hutch feeling exposed.

 

He wished it was a late night meeting in a dirty warehouse.  He could hide in the shadows and no one would be the wiser for how deeply he was affected by Luther’s presence.

 

Starsky, on the other hand, was eager.  He had cleaned and polished his weapon to a fine sheen in preparation.  He couldn’t wait to slap the cuffs on Luther Kegan.  Nothing brought him more pleasure than taking him from the wealthy world he coveted.  It took Kegan away from Hutch, too, which was far more important.  His partner had turned into a silent brooding man who would often in retreat to his own thoughts.  Starsky needed him back and putting Luther Kegan away would insure that. 

 

In the suite, Starsky and Hutch prepared the wires and as standard practice they assisted each other in applying the devices.  Hutch was on his knees assisting with the tape.  It was always harder on his partner with the hair on his chest.  It occurred to Hutch that Starsky’s skin was unique in its tone and texture.  Smooth and soft weren’t even a word he would use.  No clear description emerged, but the feel under his fingers sent tiny shivers of delight through him.

 

Cursing his own weakness, Hutch got to his feet and stepped away.  Luther had gotten deep into his psyche and he was unable to push it away. 

 

“What’s wrong?” Starsky asked.

 

“Nothing.” Hutch slipped off his shirt and as Starsky helped him, he studied his partner.  It wasn’t the confidence of his touch that got Hutch’s attention.  It was the gentle care Starsky took in making sure the tape didn’t harm his tender skin.  It was love behind the touches and Hutch was comforted by it.

 

 

~*~

 

 

If the farmhouse had been meant for anything other than a drug deal, Hutch would have probably enjoyed coming.  It looked far better in person than the photos.  He glanced at Starsky who drove the dark sedan towards the building.

 

“Looks like they’re waiting,” Starsky observed.

 

Standing near a similar vehicle, Luther and Stuart Paxton waited.  Starsky pulled the car next to it and he stepped out.  He went to the back door, opened it and pulled out the large leather case holding the cash.

 

By the time Starsky and Hutch walked to them, the trunk of their car was open.  Looking inside, they saw it was packed with the requested cocaine.  They were to exchange vehicles afterwards.

 

“Take your pick,” Luther stated.

 

Starsky stepped forward and his eyes skimmed over the white bundles.  He picked one just under another.  After handing the money off to Hutch, Starsky pulled it out and followed Luther and Stuart inside.

 

There were none of the amenities Luther required to be at ease, Hutch noted.  Perhaps it was due to the fact this was a place for the exchanging of drugs and didn’t want to blemish what he valued.

 

At the plain wooden table, Hutch set the package down and Starsky placed the bag at his feet.  He pulled out his small pocketknife and made a small slice to slip the blade in.  He took out the tester and after dropping some granules of the white power into it, Starsky shook. 

 

The liquid turned purple and Starsky handed it to Hutch.  “It’s the right color.”

 

“You’ll like the purity,” Luther gloated.  “Only the best.”

 

“The money, please,” Stuart ordered.

 

Starsky lifted the bag and sat it next to the cocaine.  He watched as it was opened and the nods of satisfaction from both men at the cash in front of them.  He turned his attention to Hutch who would give the signal.  Seeing his stiffness and nothing coming from him, Starsky was almost ready to say the words himself.

 

It took more effort than Hutch thought it would to stick his hand out.  “It was nice doing business with you.”

 

Luther’s salient grin filled his face and he returned the handshake.  “And much more.”

 

Hutch almost lost it right there.  Luther was going to advertise the proposition.  Sirens filled the air and the doors flew open.  In a flash, Starsky had his gun out while the cops filled the room.  Instinct kicked in and Hutch had his out and aimed at Luther.

 

Luther was startled at the ruckus going on around him and seeing the large weapon being held by Hutch at him, realization settled over him.  All became clear.

 

Starsky got his cuffs on Stuart and he glanced at Hutch.  “Hutch, cuff him!”

 

Heart pounding with adrenaline mixed with nervous excitement filled Hutch’s chest.  The once shaken look on Luther’s face was now gone and replaced with cold amusement.  Hutch steeled himself and put Luther against the wall.

 

When a uniformed officer came over, Hutch had to step away.  “Make sure you read him his rights.”

 

Ignoring everything happening around him, Hutch stepped outside and took a deep breath.  He looked over at Luther with his hands cuffed being escorted to a patrol car.  Their eyes locked and the surety never wavered in the least from his eyes.

 

He escaped the crowd of officers and found solitude at a small pond not far.  Hutch saw he was still carrying his gun and holstered it.  He leaned against a tree to get his bearings.  He barely heard Starsky’s approach.

 

“You okay?”

 

“I will be,” Hutch assured him. 

 

“Want to go home?”

 

Hutch shook his head.  “I want to get the reports finished.  The Justice Department will be screaming for them before the day is out.”

 

Starsky stepped close and squeezed Hutch’s arm.  “It’s over, Hutch.”

 

Even though Hutch didn’t believe it, he nodded.  It would never be over.  The dark urges Luther had awakened in him were like a Pandora’s Box that could never be closed.

 

 

~*~

 

 

In Dobey’s office, Starsky glanced at Hutch pulling the collar up over the brand Luther had left.  He could sense Hutch’s uneasiness and he hoped in time after this case had been adjudicated, they could work on putting their partnership back together to what it was supposed to be.  He wasn’t sure if the changes in Hutch would allow for it, but he wasn’t about to give up.

 

“Kegan’s already got a team of lawyers,” Dobey said.  He folded up the file and sat behind his desk.  “I expect the Justice Department will have their hands full.  You two did a hell of a job.”

 

“You think he’ll walk?” Starsky asked.  “We got him with the drugs.”

 

Dobey shook his head.  “I don’t see how, but we know he’ll put up a hell of a fight.  Kegan should take a fall.”

 

“No judge will give him bail with the amount of cocaine he had,” Starsky said.  “It should be enough.”

 

“Let’s hope.”  Dobey leaned back in his chair.  “Soon as I get your reports you both are done for the day.”

 

Starsky nodded.  Getting out early was just what he and Hutch needed.  “Sounds great.”

 

Hutch followed Starsky out the door and moved to his own desk.  He rubbed his eyes and found the form he needed.  He turned to his typewriter and looked up at a uniformed officer with a note.  Hutch opened it up and clenched his teeth.  “I’ll be right back.”

 

Starsky’s eyes followed Hutch.  “What’s wrong?”

 

“Luther wants to see me.”

 

“I’ll go with you.”

 

“No, it’s okay, Starsk.  I’ll handle it.”

 

Starsky wasn’t sure if he wanted Hutch to see Luther.  His gut told him to stop his partner.  Hutch wouldn’t have any of it.  He’d want to deal with it head on and walk away with the knowledge it was a closed chapter of his life.  Starsky could accept it.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Hutch went to the first door, opened it and stepped inside.  Looking through the two-way mirror, he observed Luther sitting with smooth confidence.  It was as if the man could predict the future and Hutch’s anxiety increased.  He glanced at the uniformed officer at the recorder.

 

“Shut it off and take a break.”

 

The officer did as ordered and Hutch closed the curtains.  He hoped these steps were enough to dissuade anyone from listening in on their conversation. 

 

Hutch walked into the interrogation room.  He could feel Luther’s penetrating stare as he took a seat across from him.  “The Justice Department and the DA will probably offer you a deal in exchange for your contacts.”

 

“No niceties after everything we’ve shared, Ken?” Luther taunted.  He took a deep breath and let it out.  “You are still conflicted and the reason for it is now clear.”

 

“Don’t!” Hutch warned.  “No more games!”

 

“Games!” Luther fired back.  “I never played games with you, Ken!”  He leaned back in the chair and folded his arms.  “I’ll offer you a deal.”

 

Tired, Hutch rubbed his eyes.  “I doubt you have anything I want.”

 

“I know you still want me, but that’s a discussion left for another time.”  Luther straightened and his sharp hazel eyes locked with Hutch’s.  “I mean to fight these charges.  I won’t allow this to ruin my life.”

 

“And how do you intend to do that?”

 

“My attorneys tell me the judge will more than likely deny me bail.”

 

“The public’s tolerance for drug dealers isn’t what it used to be.”

 

“If I’m behind bars, beating it will make it that much more difficult, even with Stuart’s willingness to take the fall for me.”

 

“The DA will more than likely offer him enough incentive to roll over on you.”

 

“As much as I love the thrills, I pay Stuart enough to be willing to do a few years in prison.  He’ll have access to my legal team and whatever else he needs to do as little time as possible.  Your incentives can’t match what I offer him or overrule his loyalty.”

 

“You’re not telling me anything.”

 

“In the little time that’s passed since finding out you’re a cop, I’ve discovered you are a powerful man in your own right.  You are well-respected, a decorated veteran police officer and even those in elected office listen to you.  You carry a lot of weight with the city officials, Ken, and that’s what I want you to use to get the judge to grant me bail.”

 

Hutch shook his head.  He couldn’t believe what he just heard.  “You’re crazy.  If you know me as well as you say you do, you know I won’t do it, Luther.”

 

“Of course in normal circumstances, you wouldn’t.  You have a great deal of integrity and to compromise it goes against everything you are.”  Luther leaned forward.  “It’s so little to demand of you, Ken.  Consider it a small sacrifice.”

 

“For what?”

 

“If I am forced to fight these charges behind bars, I will make sure the trial is so well publicized that half the country won’t be able to pick up their morning paper or turn on the TV without learning how far the police department will go to stop a drug dealer from selling to the rich.”  Luther stood and walked to Hutch.  He planted his hand on the table and leaned down.  “I’ll get on the stand and proceed to tell them how you came in my mouth.  That won’t be enough, though.  I’ll testify that Detective Ken Hutchinson came from me ramming my dick into his ass.”

 

Heat surged to Hutch’s cheeks.  The potent images flashed and he could feel Luther’s hot cock surging into him.  “It changes nothing!”

 

“It changes everything!” Luther breathed.  He straightened and studied Hutch’s reactions.  “My lawyer will paint a picture of a decorated officer so desperate to catch a respected businessman that he will resort to prostituting himself.  Too many normal American families look down on homosexuals as it is.  Whether you call yourself that or not won’t matter.  Labels like deviant and pervert will be used.  They’ll look at your partner and wonder what he did to make a case.  Did he take it up the ass like you did?”

 

Hutch shot up from his chair.  “Shut up!”  He moved away from Luther and leaned against the wall.  “It won’t work.”

 

“Maybe…maybe not.”  Luther crossed the room and stood just behind Hutch.  “But the damage will be done.  It will be enough to discredit you and your partner.  Every cop in this building will look at you and him and wonder.  Even if there was no reason before to suspect, there will be now when the truth comes out.  You may be able to shake it off, but will he?  I saw the women flocking to him at that party, Ken.  Think he could adapt as well as you?”

 

Hutch closed his eyes and Luther’s words came alive like a slide show.

 

“I swear, Ken, if I don’t get what I want, I’ll put the whole goddamn police force on trial for what happened between us.”  Luther moved in closer until he was breathing in Hutch’s ear.  He ran his fingers into Hutch’s hair and grabbed a handful, then yanked.  “This is not the price for your betrayal.  That comes later.”

 

Just as Luther released his hold and stepped away, the door opened and Starsky came through.  He moved back to his chair and sat.  Hutch escaped the room leaving them alone.

 

Starsky’s gaze was level and feral.  “What’d you say to him?”

 

“We discussed my case.” 

 

He hated Luther’s confidence and moved with dark grace towards him.  Out of nowhere, Starsky yanked Luther out of the chair and slammed him against the wall.  He put his arm against the man’s neck and applied just enough pressure to send his message.  “You come near my partner again and I’ll tear you apart, you son of a bitch!”

 

The black rage in Starsky’s eyes would have been enough to rattle most men, but Luther knew what was before him.  A police officer with rules and regulations weighing him down was what he saw.  “I already did,” Luther sneered.  “He came twice.”

 

With a furious yell, Starsky shoved him away.  Luther’s snide laughter followed him out of the room.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Starsky pushed open the doors of the squadroom and found Hutch sitting at his desk staring at the phone.  He stood near his own desk across from his partner.  “You okay?”

 

“I’m fine.”

 

“You looked pretty rattled back there, Hutch.  What happened?”

 

Hutch shook his head.  “Just Luther being Luther.”

 

Seeing his troubled look, Starsky wasn’t convinced.  “Why don’t we get out of here?  We’ll go get a beer or something.”

 

“I need to finish up a few things first.  Besides, I want to go home, shower and sleep…in that order.”

 

“Yeah, I don’t blame you,” Starsky sighed.  “Dobey gave us a three day weekend.  I can come over tomorrow night and cook you dinner.”

 

Hutch looked up and met Starsky’s caring eyes.  “I’d like that.”

 

“Good.”  Starsky picked up his jacket from the back of his chair.  “I’ll see you then.”

 

After giving Starsky a wave, Hutch turned his attention back to the phone.  Luther’s words hung over him like a dark cloud readying to unleash its vengeance.  Hutch knew the man better than he wanted and there was no doubt Luther would follow through with his threats.  Every promise would come to pass and the repercussions would be far reaching.

 

Hutch toyed with the cord as the scene played out in his mind.  Luther’s attorney would hammer home the story of a cop willing to compromise the badge he wore by literally getting into bed with a reputed drug dealer.  Vivid images would be spread about for the world to hear and little would be left to the imagination.  Sex always sold and getting a respected cop in bed with the male target of an investigation would hit the stratosphere.

 

The entire police force would be feel the impact and not just with this one scandal filled with debauchery.  It would open them up to a host of potential lawsuits from those either legitimately wronged or imagined.  Some outright lies would even come to fruition. 

 

As the entire story played out in Hutch’s mind, he saw it getting even worse with the low morale hitting his fellow cops.  Even if he and Starsky somehow weathered the storm, the backlash from the officers they worked with on a daily basis would be unrelenting.

 

With Starsky added to the mix, it complicated matters further.  His partner prided himself on being a top-rated cop.  It wasn’t the commendations and medals.  Hutch didn’t mind bending the rules from time to time.  In their early years, he was by the book all the way.  He’d lectured his partner enough.

 

Somewhere along the way, Hutch’s attitude became more lax while his partner’s strengthened and grew stricter when it came to adhering to the rules and regulations.  The thought of Starsky accused of being less than the cop he considered himself to be was a nauseous one.  Hutch had no doubt his partner would take the accusations hard and considering how Starsky was, having his entire life under the microscope would hurt him in ways Hutch didn’t want to think about.

 

That’s what it all came down to.  It wasn’t the police force, it wasn’t the department, it wasn’t the city and it sure as hell wasn’t Hutch’s own career.  His partner would be hurt and that was unacceptable in Hutch’s eyes.  Nothing was worth the price Starsky would pay.

 

Hutch picked up the phone.

 

 

~*~

 

 

It was early in the morning when Hutch got the call at home.  Dobey explained a bail hearing had been set and he and Starsky were expected to be present if the judge deemed it important to have the DA question them.  He knew it was coming, but hoped for an extra day to prepare for it.

 

Midmorning, he met Starsky at the courthouse and while they sat in courtroom, Hutch found a half-filled pitcher of water in his direct line of sight sitting on the prosecutor’s table. 

 

The courtroom was filling with people and he could hear Luther’s low voice speaking to his attorney.  Whether it was intentional or not, Hutch didn’t know.  He couldn’t meet anyone’s eyes.  Starsky sat close to him and he made a point of keeping his focus elsewhere.

 

When the judge arrived, they stood, then after he called the room to order, it began.  The charges were read, he heard the lawyers speaking.  The pitcher reflected everyone’s movements and Hutch questioned the sanity of picking such an object to focus on.  He could almost see Luther’s triumphant face taunting him.

 

The banging of the gavel startled Hutch and he closed his eyes.  He heard Luther’s pleasing tone and why he remembered it now from their liaison, he didn’t know.  He couldn’t face anyone and even a mirror was unappetizing. 

 

“I don’t believe it.”  Starsky shook his head.  “Even half of the take wouldn’t have gotten anyone else bail.  Who does he got in his pocket?”

 

The last statement was a hit to the gut and Hutch lurched to his feet.  “It’s over.  Let’s go.”

 

 

~*~

 

 

Even not having to go to work didn’t offer Hutch the reprieve he needed.  He said a quick goodbye to Starsky and headed home.  Nothing could remove the heavy guilt which threatened to suffocate him.

 

Preparing for the dinner later in the day couldn’t keep his mind away from what he had done.  Hutch had to live with it.  There was no choice.  He couldn’t undo it and he didn’t want to.  Luther’s intentions, if Hutch didn’t do what he wanted, were repugnant.

 

He had just set dinner on the table when his front door came open.  Hutch watched Starsky saunter in carrying a manila envelope.

 

“You had a visitor.”

 

“I didn’t hear the door.  The courier must have come by while I was in the shower.”  Hutch took it and flipped it over.  “They’re probably the papers Terrence wants me to sign.”

 

“Isn’t he the one with the funny hair?”

 

Hutch set the envelope on the counter.  “That’s him.  He still tries to cover up the bald spot with a few strands longer than my sister’s.”

 

Starsky sniffed the shrimp fettuccini alfredo and smiled.  “How does he like running your dad’s company?”

 

“Well enough, I guess.  When I last spoke with him he was having problems getting the government contracts filed, but I think we ironed it out.”

 

“I thought I was supposed to cook, Hutch.”

 

Shrugging his shoulders, Hutch said, “I wanted to.  You like?”

 

“Yeah.”  Starsky grin was a hungry one.  “I like.”

 

They sat down and the outside world weighing so heavy on Hutch’s shoulders disappeared.  The meal was filled with light banter and reflections on their early days.  When the table was cleared, Starsky went to the greenhouse and Hutch came out a few minutes later with two large glasses. 

 

Starsky sniffed the unrecognizable liquid and looked at Hutch with suspicion.  “What’s this?”

 

“Try it, then I’ll tell you.”

 

After another smell, Starsky took a small drink.  His eyes widened in surprise.  “This is good.  What’s in it?”

 

Hutch moved next to him in the wicker loveseat.  “Low-fat milk, vanilla yogurt, honey and strawberries.”

 

Satisfied, Starsky took a larger drink and turned in the seat to lie against Hutch’s shoulder.  They gazed at the stars.  “Hutch.”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“A few years ago I figured out I’d probably never get married.”

 

“Where’d that come from?”

 

“Just hear me out.  In the last year or so I figured out that what we’ve got now…I could live with for the rest of my life.  I don’t need anything else.  My life’s complete.”

 

“And women?”

 

Starsky sighed.  “I haven’t been laid in so long, the big guy probably forgot what to do.”

 

“I doubt that,” Hutch joked.

 

With a little laugh, Starsky continued.  “It’s all different now.  Contentment…that’s the word I’m looking for.”

 

“So if we stayed like we are now, you’d be happy with it.”

 

“Sure.  I know there’s no marriage plans in your future and I think if one of us did, it’d come between what we’ve got now.”  Starsky turned his head to look at Hutch.  “I don’t think I could take that.”

 

It was a strange conversation and even stranger was that Hutch would almost swear they had just exchanged vows of some kind.  He didn’t mind.  He wouldn’t trade anything for the life he had.  Even the guilt couldn’t overpower it and never would.

 

“I have to go,” Starsky said with a regretful sigh.  “I told Mrs. Arlington I’d change her oil in the morning.”

 

“And you said no women would come between us,” Hutch teased.

 

Starsky got up and gave Hutch a half-smile.  “You haven’t had one of her pies.”

 

“Just make sure you share the wealth, buddy.”

 

When he was gone, the fulfillment Hutch felt at that moment was more than he had hoped for.  He grabbed the glasses and carried them in the kitchen.  After setting them in the sink, he eyed the envelope and picked it up.  Hutch opened it on his way to the living room and he halted when he pulled out the contents. 

 

In black and white, with no dispute as to whom it was, were photographs of him with Luther in the throes of their heated lovemaking.  He looked through several and as he did, Hutch’s anger grew until it boiled over.  He yanked his jacket off the couch and stormed out the door.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Hutch banged on Luther’s door with his fist.  When no one answered, he opened it and moved inside.  The large hall was empty and as Hutch continued on he saw a light coming from the pool.  Seeing a figure, Hutch gripped the manila envelope and marched to where he knew Luther was.

 

Once outside, Hutch saw Luther sitting casually in a metal chair wearing a midnight blue silk robe.  “What the hell is this about, Luther?”

 

Luther rose and strolled to the small bar.  He picked up a glass and tossed a few ice cubes in.  “I didn’t think a polite phone call would get you here.”

 

“If you think you can use what we had as leverage for every one of your whims, you got another thing coming.”

 

After pouring scotch into the glass, Luther turned.  “I never use the same resource twice, Ken.  It weakens my position as you are well aware.  I knew those photos would get you here.  It’s all I required.”

 

Hutch’s stance remained stiff.  “What do you want?”

 

“It should be obvious.”  Luther moved like a big cat on the prowl towards Hutch.  “You betrayed me.”

 

“I was doing my job!” Hutch bit out.

 

“You weren’t a cop in my bed and you know it!”  Luther walked with careful precision around Hutch.  “How many times did you have to convince yourself that you came to me to avoid my retaliation?”

 

Luther’s ability to see the war raging in him was pushing Hutch over the edge.  He couldn’t begin to describe the emotions tearing through him.

 

Stopping in front of him, Luther’s eyes glittered with cold anger.  “You can use your badge to your heart’s content as a motive, but you and I both know you came to me and my bed of your own volition, Ken.”

 

“It doesn’t matter,” Hutch argued. 

 

“Perhaps not, but remember this.  I chose this night to take payment for your duplicity.  I could have picked any number of alternatives to force you here.  Any of them would accomplish what I require in order for us to be on equal footing once again, but it would involve more than just you and me.  I prefer my personal reckoning to stay between us.”

 

Hutch could walk out the door, but Luther’s need for him to atone for his actions would dog him.  Luther had to keep them on level ground.  It was essential for their relationship in Luther’s world.  He had to get Luther out of his life once and for all without involving others in the mess he found himself in.

 

Luther turned away from Hutch and walked back to the bar.  He picked up the decanter.  “Take off your clothes.” 

 

The breath left Hutch’s body and as he watched Luther refill his glass, his head swam with the realization of what he was about to do.  Vile oaths spewed from Hutch’s mind,  all directed at the man who had so much power over him.

 

By the time Luther turned, the manila envelope had dropped from Hutch’s hand.  He sipped his drink as Hutch started on the buttons of his shirt.  Nursing the harsh liquor, Luther watched with dark pleasure as his lover removed the constrictive clothing. 

 

The mark he had left to brand Hutch was almost gone.  Luther made a mental note to rectify the matter before the night was over.  It was no longer necessary to declare his ownership to the world.  Hutch already knew and Luther rejoiced in it.

 

Luther strolled over to Hutch once he was nude.  His eyes roamed over the magnificent body and stopped at the scar on Hutch’s shoulder.  “You were such an enigma and to an extent, you still are.”  Luther reached over and ran his fingers over it.  “This answers so many questions.”

 

Hutch’s nipples hardened at the touch and he wished he could fight his body’s traitorous response.  Seeing this, Luther stepped away.  He walked to the chair and pulled it out.  “Come here and sit down.”

 

Naked and vulnerable, Hutch did.  Once in the seat, the cold metal sent shivers through him.  The chill of it warred with the heat surging in his out of control body. 

 

Luther set a glass of wine in front of Hutch.  “Once you adjust yourself, drink this.  It will relax you.”

 

After moistening his lips, Hutch reached down and moved his limp cock and balls to a more comfortable position.  He took the wine and brought it to his lips.

 

Luther was pleased with Hutch’s obedience.  It was just the beginning in setting their relationship to where it had to be.  He moved around Hutch.  “The first time I saw you I knew I had to have you.  It was purely physical.  But then as I got to know you, I saw a man who not only shared my passions, but whose intellect matched my own.  To have someone who could understand me so well was rare.”

 

Hutch shifted in the harsh seat and after a deep breath, he drank more from the glass.

 

“I learned long ago to not open myself up because to show weakness invited those who would take advantage.  Even trusted business associates wouldn’t be acceptable.  It wasn’t until you, Ken.  I knew I had met my match in every way and the rarity of it brought me such great pleasure.  You found my weakness and used it to further your work.”  With casual movement, Luther brought his hand to Hutch’s hair.  He loved the gold strands running through his fingers.  “I opened up my home, my passions and myself to someone I trusted.”

 

Hutch jumped when Luther jerked his head back.  His lips were taken in a ruthless and unforgiving kiss.  Luther’s tongue forced its way inside Hutch’s mouth and demanded complete submission.  Hutch closed his eyes and gave it.  The mastery of the act sent bolts of heat through him.

 

Luther pulled away and gazed into Hutch’s eyes.  He released his hold and moved to the other side of the table.  “Come here.” 

 

As Hutch got out of the chair, Luther put a hand on his shoulder.  He pressed until he was on his knees.  Luther pulled back his robe and his heavy cock signaled its requirement to Hutch.

 

Hutch didn’t have to look up to know what Luther expected of him.  He had never taken another man’s cock into his mouth and Luther knew it.  The sex emanating from the organ threatened to overpower him and as it waited for him to service it, Hutch had to take a breath to attempt to get a handle on his rampant emotions.

 

He closed his eyes and took in a lungful of air, then slowly let it out.  Hutch then opened his mouth and the erection was eased inside.  The taste of it was intoxicating.  How he could like it, Hutch didn’t know.  He had no idea what he was doing.

 

Luther grinned like a Cheshire cat when Hutch took his cock in his mouth.  The hot tongue and lips working him was exquisite, but he relished this dominate position over the man he had let come into the private workings of his life.  “God, Ken!” Luther breathed.  He rocked his hips and watched his erection sliding in and out of Hutch’s mouth.  “I love fucking your mouth!”

 

The talk of it sent carnal waves through Hutch and his cock continued to grow heavy.  He sucked harder as a result.

 

The thrill of it was a high to Luther.  “I was the first man to take your cock into my mouth, the first to fuck you and now the first you suck.”  He brought his hands to Hutch’s head and continued to thrust.  “When I come, you take it all, Ken.  Not a drop is to spill from your lips.”

 

The cock would threaten to hit the back of Hutch’s throat each time and as the momentum increased the farther back it seemed to go.  Luther’s erection grew and when he exploded in Hutch’s mouth, hot semen splashed in the back of Hutch’s throat and the only place for it to go was into him.  More came out and he swallowed rather than risking a drop escaping.  The taste was dizzying and heady.

 

Luther stepped back and helped Hutch to his feet.  “God, you’re fucking incredible.”  He pulled him in for another hard kiss.  He licked Hutch’s lips, teeth and explored the inner sanctum.  “You taste fantastic with my come in your mouth.”

 

Punch-drunk with the power of it, Hutch steadied himself by taking hold of Luther’s arm.  “Jesus,” Hutch breathed.

 

Gratification streamed through Luther.  “Come with me.”

 

So aware of his nakedness was Hutch, that as he trailed behind Luther through the house, his vulnerability seemed to expand and grow.  He walked through the kitchen, to a door and as they descended the winding stairs downward, Hutch’s curiosity was beginning to get the better of him.  He had no idea where Luther was taking him.

 

Luther pushed open the thick door and stepped aside for Hutch.  He watched the varying waves of disbelief roll across Hutch’s face.

 

Hutch was struck speechless by the sight before him.  In one corner was a large mahogany bed, but what got his attention was a section of wall padded with dark red cushion and two chains were joined together at the top.  Leather cuffs hung from them.  The roaring fireplace, well-placed candles and the antique furniture could not change the fear that began rumbling through him.

 

The dark brick of the walls gave off the aura of a dungeon waiting for its next victim.  A large armoire not far left took over a corner.  Hutch could only guess what secrets it held.  Luther moved forward around the room and to Hutch he appeared more the lord of the manor who commanded his peasants.

 

“I built this room several years ago not long after buying the house.  I would explore every fantasy I had ever dreamed of.”  Luther ran his hand along the mantel of the fireplace.  “As with any overindulgence, I tired of it.  I found the less time I spent here, that when I did, the reward would be the excitement I craved.  It’s been a while since and it’s rare I find anyone I wish to share it with.”

 

The implication was clear.  Luther intended to seek out his gratification in this room through Hutch.  The trembling in him was mixed with the provocative questions as to what would happen.  Hutch wasn’t sure if he wanted to know, but he remained in place.

 

Luther went near the blood red cushioned wall and his eyes settled on Hutch.  “You know where I expect you.”

 

Hutch’s payment still had not been met and he knew it could take the entire night to give it and even with the trepidation running like lava through him, he forced his feet to move.  Once there, Luther put a hand on his chest and positioned Hutch against the soft cloth.

 

He took hold of Hutch’s hand and raised it above his head.  A cuff was applied and Hutch’s heart skipped a beat.  The same was done with his other hand.  Standing exposed, helpless and bared before Luther was as intimidating as anything Hutch had ever known.  Second thoughts raced through his head.

 

His eyes followed Luther going to the armoire and when it was opened, Hutch’s eyes widened.  Every item designed to force the recipient to submit was flaunted with wanton brazenness.  He watched Luther running his hands over each one.  “Luther!” Hutch breathed.  Panic was starting to set in and he jerked at the cuffs.

 

Luther returned with a large strap and took another look at the elegant body.  He ran the thick leather over Hutch’s chest and saw the nipples perk in response.  “What you fear, Ken, you will in the end, love.”   He brought the piece down to Hutch’s semi-erect cock and used the belt to toy with it.  “In pain, there is a reward that you will never experience unless it is under this lash.”

 

“Please, Luther,” Hutch begged.  “Don’t do this.”

 

“Turn around, Ken.  I have no desire to mar your front.”

 

Hutch didn’t know whether to be grateful or not.  He did so and took quick breaths, but his heartbeat refused to obey.  The fear was taking over.  He felt Luther’s hot breath on his ear. 

 

“Ken, I will not hurt you.  You will discover pleasure in your punishment.”

 

The breathing against the cushion seemed so loud and was like a tempest raging in his ears.  He yelped when the first strike landed across his back.  Those that followed, Hutch hollered at the pain inflicted.  It soon turned to sharp jolts of pleasure shooting straight to his cock.  With each hit from his upper back to his ass, the sensations continued and the shards of exquisite agony pulsed to his center.

 

When it finally ended, Hutch’s ragged breathing was deafening in his ears and even with the anguish working through his torso and lower body, his erection stood at attention from the onslaught of wicked ecstasy rushing through him.

 

He felt Luther come up behind him and grip his hips.  His legs were pushed apart and Luther’s hard cock surged into him.  Hutch yelled at the initial shock of pain, but as Luther hammered into him his cock ached from the sheer rapture of being so completely filled.

 

Hutch’s knees buckled when Luther pulled out.  “Lean against me,” Luther ordered.  With nothing left in him to protest, Hutch did as he was released from the cuffs. 

 

Luther helped Hutch to the large bed and positioned him on his side and pushed his thigh up for better access.  After positioning his cock at the opening, Luther pressed in.  When he was settled deep into Hutch, Luther leaned forward.  “Don’t come until I say, Ken.  Do you understand?”

 

Hutch managed a nod and when the thrusts began, he gripped the silk sheet.  His cock ached for release and holding onto the orgasm threatening to burst from him took everything he had.  His back was still on fire from the lashing and beyond that a surge of carnal high took hold of him.  “Oh, God, Luther!”

 

With the high of overpowering sex, Luther let loose his glee at hearing his name on Hutch’s lips during such a moment.  “Yes!  Say my name again!”

 

“Luther, I have to come!”

 

The pounding was relentless and unforgiving.  Luther exploded inside of Hutch and the hot ass milked everything out of him.  When his orgasm subsided, Luther put Hutch to his back.  He moved on top of him.  “Look at me, Ken.”

 

Hutch’s eyes opened and Luther’s sex-filled face hovered above him.  “I knew you would come tonight and I knew you would come to this room.  I prepared myself for you.”

 

To show his meaning, Luther took hold of Hutch’s cock and positioned it underneath him.  He sank down and Hutch’s groans of ecstasy filled the room.  With precise movements, Luther began rocking back and forth.

 

To die from such intoxicating warmth taking his cock would have been a sweet death and Hutch was dying a thousand from the stimulation.  His hips took control and thrust upwards.  He drove his cock further into Luther and gripped his thighs. 

 

The riding of Hutch was far more powerful and exhilarating than Luther had counted on.  Much to his delight, the cock was now controlling him.  Luther stopped the rocking and closed his eyes as the hard fucking continued.

 

“I can’t!”  Hutch was drenched in sweat and shaking his head back and forth.  “I have to…now, Luther!”

 

“Come inside me!” he commanded.

 

That’s all it took for Hutch to let loose.  The orgasm took hold and his body was wracked with spasms as it let loose of the animalistic need.  Hutch roared his relief and exultation of the moment.

 

When Luther was sure there was nothing left inside the man to give, he extricated himself and moved in next to Hutch.  He gave him a warm sensual kiss.  “I’ll be right back.”

 

Exhaustion was coming upon him and Hutch closed his eyes.  The sleep he took seemed to only last a short time.  Luther returned and got him to a sitting position.  “Come on, Ken.”

 

Too tired and sore to argue, Hutch did as Luther instructed.  He leaned into him as they walked across the room.  Upon hearing a door, Hutch opened his eyes.  A hot bath awaited him and when he was lowered in, he winced at the contact of his body to the tub.  It took only a few seconds for the soapy water to penetrate him and Hutch let loose a relaxing sigh.  He opened his eyes and looked at Luther who was sitting on the edge and lathering a cloth.

 

Luther leaned over and gave Hutch a passionate kiss.  “You did well, Ken.  I’m very proud of you.”

 

Why, Hutch didn’t know.  He closed his eyes again and let Luther wash the sex away.  There was no energy left in him and afterwards, Hutch was brought back to the bed.  Clean, but still sore and raw from the rough session, he was asleep almost from the instant his head hit the pillow.

 

Sometime during the night, Hutch had no idea when, he was awakened with Luther running his hands over him.  His body began to come alive at the urging and rather than the stormy sex from earlier, it was tender and warm.  This loving encounter was everything the others were not.  Luther moved on top of him and with their erections rubbing against one another, Hutch’s orgasm came on the heel of Luther’s.  Another kiss was exchanged, then sleep overtook him.

 

 

~*~

 

 

When Hutch opened his eyes, he had no idea how long he slept.  He turned his head and saw no sign of Luther.  He pushed up and his body rebelled at the aching throughout it.  Hutch saw his clothes lying folded on a nearby chair.  Once he got to his feet, he went to them and dressed.

 

He took the stairs and in the kitchen a maid was busy about doing her duty.  She didn’t appear to notice him and Hutch walked by her.  He debated on locating Luther and changed his mind.  Home was the only place he wanted to go.

 

Outside, Hutch looked up at the bright morning sun.  He got to his car and when he sat, Hutch winced at the pain.  It would take a few days for the soreness to leave him.  He got home and still tired from the previous night’s activities, Hutch trudged up the stairs.  He headed for the kitchen and poured a large glass of orange juice. 

 

He’d gotten half of it down when the front door opened.  Starsky came through and eyed Hutch with curiosity.  “I tried calling last night after I left.”

 

“I didn’t hear the phone.”  The lie settled in the deep pit of his stomach.  The orange juice didn’t taste good any longer and he carried the glass into the kitchen.

 

Starsky halted at seeing Hutch’s made bed.  He turned his attention back to his partner and saw he was wearing the same clothes as the day before.  “When I didn’t get you on the phone this morning I thought I’d come over and check up on you.”

 

“Sorry, Starsk.  I was dead to the world.”

 

He took another step closer to Hutch.  “You’re still wearing the same clothes from yesterday and your bed hasn’t been slept in.”

 

Hutch’s smile was a weak one as was the shrug of his shoulders.  “I fell asleep on the couch.”

 

Everything in Starsky’s gut told him something was wrong.  He shook it off and blamed it on the hard case they had finished.  “I have to take Aunt Rose to visit a sick cousin and I was thinking when I got back I’d come over.  It’ll be a little late, though.”

 

“Sure, I’d like that.”

 

Starsky gave Hutch a smile.  He turned to leave, stopped then looked at Hutch.  The brightness of the morning always brought more of the sunlight in Hutch’s hair out.  He liked how his partner looked and for a moment, Starsky wanted to kiss him.  The impulse to show his love for Hutch was strong enough, but he thought better of it.  There’s plenty of time to figure it out later, Starsky thought.  “I’ll see you later, Blondie.”

 

Hutch smiled at Starsky’s retreating back.  He needed his partner more than ever now and he looked forward to a relaxing evening.  Hutch went to the bedroom and took off his shirt.  He started for a change of clothes and stopped.  He went to his dresser and turned his back to it.  Looking over his shoulder at the mirror, he saw the remnants of his raw night with Luther.

 

Wide marks crisscrossed his back.  As sore as he was, he knew they extended below the waistline.  The night of torturous ecstasy came back and Hutch could scarcely believe how he had responded to the rough treatment.  Once again, Luther had tapped into something Hutch didn’t even know existed within him.  He hated Luther and himself for it.

 

 

~*~

 

 

After darkness fell, Hutch spent time relaxing in the greenhouse caring for the plants.  The small diversion was a welcome one and while he waited for Starsky, Hutch allowed himself the time to forget the outside world.

 

Hearing a knock at his front door, Hutch set aside the watering can.  He headed over, curious who would be knocking at this hour.  Starsky would’ve just come right in. Hutch opened the door and stiffened. 

 

Luther stood wearing his tailor fit suit and carrying a briefcase.  “I hope you don’t mind me coming unannounced.”

 

“What are you doing here?”

 

“I need to talk to you.”

 

“Luther, we don’t have anything more to talk about.”

 

An easy smile appeared on Luther’s face.  “Yes, we do.  May I come in?”

 

With a resigned sigh, Hutch stepped aside and closed the door after Luther was inside.  He watched him take in the apartment.

 

“This is nice.  Cozy.”  Luther saw the greenhouse and walked over.  “It’s beautiful out here.”

 

Hutch followed and folded his arms.  “Why are you here?”

 

Luther walked to a plant and caressed the leaves.  “Even your passions have perfection,” he observed.  He turned and his eye caught several paintings sitting against a wall.  Luther set the briefcase down on the table and went to them.  He crouched down and picked the first one up.  “My God, Ken, this is…elegant.  The precise lines are finely drawn and your strokes are genius.”

 

“Luther,” Hutch warned.

 

Taking his time, Luther flipped through the paintings.  “In the briefcase.”

 

Hutch moved to the table and opened it up.  He found a thick file inside and took it out.

 

“You know, these really belong in a gallery, Ken.  They’re too good not to share.”

 

Ignoring the compliment, Hutch flipped through the papers and his mouth came open.  “You’ve been checking into my father’s company.”

 

“It took fifteen years for your father to build Transatlantic and since then it’s become the sixteenth largest shipping company in the world.”  Luther pulled another out and admired it.  “I got a hold of the prospectus and went from there.”

 

“Why?”

 

He set the painting back and studied a few that caught his eye.  “With its success came unprecedented growth.  Since your father’s heart attack almost two years ago the doctors recommended against him keeping his high stress position as CEO.  You didn’t want it and instead it went to Terrence Smith.”

 

“Terrence has been with my father from the beginning.”

 

Luther rose and turned to Hutch.  “The sentimentality of such an arrangement hasn’t done your father’s company any favors.  Even though Terrence Smith is as loyal as they come, he has no head for running Transatlantic.  Your father knew this which was why he wanted you on the board.”

 

“Where in the hell is this going?”

 

“Since the minutes of the board meetings are public record I took the liberty of going through them.  Over the last year you attended the meetings by way of phone and the suggestions you made, Terrence implemented.  The company’s revenue has increased almost 30% over the last year.  No small task.”

 

“Luther…”

 

“I’m getting there, Ken.  Be patient.”  Luther looked out at the night sky and continued.  “Transatlantic received three large government contracts and in order to fill them, Terrence Smith borrowed the money.  An unexpected strike came up and as a result, a payment was delayed.  Production slowed and the government is withholding payments until it’s back on schedule.  The lack of cash resulted in another payment to the bank not being made on time.  If a third one happens, Transatlantic goes in default and there is a real chance of losing those contracts.”

 

“It’s already been taken care of!” Hutch said in a harsh tone.  

 

“Yes, you called in favors from friends of your father’s and bought more time.”

 

“You still haven’t made your point.”

 

“I bought out the loans.”

 

The bottom fell out of Hutch’s gut.  “You what?  Do you have any idea how much those are worth?”

 

Luther’s grin was a greedy one.  “Of course.  I expect to make the money back and more.  It also got me a seat on the board.  Once my foot was in the door I bought several large blocks of stock.”

 

Still in shock, Hutch sat in the wicker loveseat. 

 

“I can take over Transatlantic whenever I want.  If I do, I’ll break it apart and sell it in pieces to the highest bidder.  The company will cease to exist.”

 

“I’ll have you voted off the board.”

 

“They are just as greedy as I am, Ken.  They’ll know the risks by taking such a bold move.  With the exception of a few loyal old friends, you won’t have the votes plus I can call in the loan any time I choose.  There is precedence.”

 

He needed time.  Hutch had to find a way to outmaneuver Luther.  “What do you want?”

 

“What I’ve always wanted.  You.”

 

Hutch turned his head away.  “You already had me and more than once.”

 

“Ken,” Luther smiled.  “You are a fine wine no one could ever tire of.  Besides, I want you in more than just my bed.  You are my equal in every way that matters to me.  You’re a talented artist, you have a shrewd mind for business and you are passionate in almost everything you do.”

 

Hutch stood and set the file on top of the briefcase.  “No.”

 

Luther folded his arms and studied Hutch.  “Do you honestly believe I’ll stop at Transatlantic to get what I want?  It’s only the company your father built and I have no qualms about going farther.  You can run it if you’d like, Ken.  Your personal touch would make it a force to be reckoned with.  You know me and you know what I’m capable of.”

 

“This is blackmail, Luther.  You willing to get arrested again?”

 

With a laugh, Luther shook his head.  “I’m making you a lucrative proposition, Ken.  I’m offering an equal partnership in everything.  I made calculated and legal moves with far reaching repercussions should you refuse.”  He turned serious and moved close to Hutch.  “You’ve been living a life that’s beneath you and as a result you’ve suffered for it.”

 

“I chose this life!”

 

Luther held his hands out.  “Look around you, Ken.  This apartment is the only freedom you have.  The rest of your life is dragged down not just with the rules a police officer has to live with, but also with the ones you made for yourself.”

 

 

 

~*~

 

 

Starsky parked around the corner of Hutch’s apartment and shut off the car.  He was relieved to get back sooner than expected.  Hutch had remained in his thoughts the entire day and he looked forward to exploring and discussing the new feelings billowing from him.

 

He stepped out of the car and started down the alley.  Starsky was almost to the stairs leading to the back of Hutch’s apartment when he caught sight of a figure standing in front of Hutch.  His fists clenched at the realization it was Luther.  He could just make out the words being said.

 

 

~*~

 

 

“You broke from every moral guide and law you set for yourself last night, Ken.  The man I saw was free to give in to his desires and wasn’t afraid of them.  You calling out my name while I had my cock buried inside of you told me that.”  Luther took Hutch’s face in his hands and kissed him.

 

 

~*~

 

 

The wind left Starsky and the hard kick to the gut of what he had just heard sent him reeling.  Hutch had lied and worse, yet, he had been with Luther Kegan; a man his partner knew he despised.  He watched the shared kiss for only a moment.

 

Starsky stepped back and took furious steps to his car.  Once inside, he sped away.

 

 

~*~

 

 

The sound of squealing tires broke the trance Luther had him under and Hutch pulled away.  “I can’t walk out on my life here.”

 

“Your integrity is telling you that, Ken.”  Luther picked up the file and slipped it into his briefcase.  After snapping it shut and taking it in his hand, he looked at Hutch.  “I don’t expect you to make this decision tonight.  It’ll take you a few days to realize the only place you have to come to is me.”

 

Hutch didn’t move as Luther left and when he heard the closing of the door, did he sit.  It would tear his father apart if Luther took the company away and broke it apart.  Hutch rubbed his eyes and the pressure sunk his shoulders even lower.  He had no idea what he was going to do.  No matter what, Luther’s demands were out of the question.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Sitting on the floor with his back against the couch and facing the door, Starsky caught the tennis ball when it bounced back at him.  He’d been up most of the night going over everything he knew at this point.

 

He rifled through the facts one more time as he glanced at the clock almost ready to hit the top of the hour.  Hutch slept with Kegan.  Kegan thought he owned Hutch.  Hutch hated the assignment.  The night before Hutch and Kegan slept together again.  Last night Kegan and Hutch kissed. 

 

It was possible the sex had been that good.  Starsky admitted that some women were addicting in bed, but it rarely lasted past a few times.  This was different.  Kegan may offer Hutch something he had been missing in his life, but that didn’t sound like the Hutch he knew.  Hutch liked sex, but he could go eons without and not miss it in the least.  Prior to meeting Luther Kegan, Hutch hadn’t been with anyone for months.  This he knew for a fact.  He also knew Hutch’s face after a night of hot sex.

 

With still no answers coming his way, Starsky threw the ball again.  It hit the floor, bounced off the wall and he caught it with one hand.  He looked at the clock and seeing it at eight, he got up and went to the phone.

 

After dialing, he waited.  “Arlen Williams…Sergeant Dave Starsky…Thanks.”

 

Starsky squeezed the tennis ball while he waited.

 

Sgt. Starsky.  I’m surprised to hear from you so early.”

 

“I’ve got a question about the Luther Kegan case.  Why did the judge give him bail?”

 

Your partner didn’t tell you?”

 

Closing his eyes, Starsky took another hit to the gut.  “No.”

 

He recommended bail based on Luther Kegan giving up two of his connections.  So far they haven’t panned out.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

One skipped the country and two days ago the other was killed in a car accident.  We’re still waiting on the official report from the sheriff’s department.”

 

“You think it wasn’t an accident?”

 

Well, the toxicology reports said his blood alcohol was twice the legal limit.”

 

After taking a deep breath, Starsky rubbed his eyes.

 

This is surprising.  Normally, your partner’s recommendations are always right on target.  In this instance, it may cost us this case.”

 

“Why?”

 

Stuart Paxton is pleading guilty to most of the charges and will serve some time.  Luther Kegan on the other hand is fighting us tooth and nail.  His attorneys are planning on using Paxton’s statements to indicate that Kegan wasn’t heavily involved.”

 

“He won’t get away with that.”

 

I don’t know, Sergeant.  Kegan has access to resources we’re only beginning to discover and the way his team of lawyers is working, we might actually have to make an offer rather than face a public court battle we could lose.  If we are forced to negotiate a deal it’ll be bargained down to accessory and Kegan will get a slap on the wrist.

 

“Great,” Starsky bit out.

 

Our chances would have been better if he’d stayed behind bars.”

 

Starsky didn’t need to hear anymore.  “Thanks, Mr. Williams.”  He hung up the phone and moved back to his place on the floor.

 

Once he started throwing the ball, his mind worked.  Something happened.  There was no doubt, but what, he didn’t know.  Hutch had practically given Kegan the keys to his jail cell.  Why he would do it escaped him.

 

He caught the ball and gripped it when the epiphany hit.  Hutch may have fallen in love with Kegan.  No!  Hutch hated what he was doing.  His mind went back to Marianne Owens and the guilt his partner had struggled with.  Hutch didn’t love her and she wasn’t the target of their case.

 

There was nothing to tell Starsky Hutch loved Kegan, but the guilt was there and seemed to weigh heavier on his partner than he’d ever seen.  He recognized the grudging admiration Hutch had for Luther in the beginning and it was possible it turned into something more.

 

They also had similar interests and even if it was no basis for love, Starsky couldn’t ignore it.  Art, wealth and privilege was their common bond.  Add sex to it and the combination could be potent.  Hutch could think he was in love when it was just the above factors coming into play instead, but that made no sense.  Hutch was far more careful with his emotions and acknowledged each and every one of them with crystal clarity.

 

Starsky couldn’t imagine Hutch falling in love with a man like Kegan and he loathed admitting it made the perfect motive.  It explained all of Hutch’s actions and reactions to date even though Starsky saw no indication of it.

 

All the reasoning and putting clues together couldn’t stop the fear tearing into Starsky’s stomach.  His heart ached with more pain than he thought was possible.  The betrayal to their partnership hit him hard and Starsky was still trying to grapple with the revelations.

 

In his wildest dreams he never imagined anything coming between them and it wasn’t just Kegan.  Even during the Kira fiasco, Starsky had no doubts their relationship would survive.  Hutch’s actions had torn into them and it cut down the middle of their partnership of so many years.  The letdown hit as callously as would a spouse cheating on his devoted half.

 

Rage took over and Starsky flung the ball as hard as he could at the wall.  While it bounced about, he lowered his head and covered his stinging eyes growing moist from the onslaught of heartbreak.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Driving to work, Hutch almost changed his mind and went to Starsky’s.  He didn’t want to be late and he expected to see his partner waiting for him there.  He was still chewing on Luther’s visit and he tried getting a hold of his partner last night.  He suspected the trip had lasted later than planned.  Hutch was close to deciding whether or not to tell him the entire truth.  He couldn’t see a way around leaving many details out.

 

He walked through the doors of the squadroom past Dobey’s open office door.  When he heard his name called, he went inside. 

 

“Hutchinson, what’s going on with that partner of yours?”

 

“I haven’t talked to Starsky since yesterday morning.  Is something wrong?”

 

“I was hoping you could tell me!  He called in sick this morning and if he is then I’m Marilyn Monroe!”

 

“He did take his aunt to visit a sick cousin.  Maybe he picked up something.”

 

“Check it out and if Starsky’s not sick you read him the riot act about stretching his days off!  If I do, he’ll be scrubbing out the backs of patrol cars after the graveyard shift!”

 

“You got it, Captain.”  Hutch did an about face and left the office.

 

When he got to the car he hoped Dobey was wrong for his partner’s sake.

 

 

~*~

 

 

When Hutch opened the door to Starsky’s apartment, he was surprised to find him on the floor leaning against the back of the couch.  “Hey, partner.”

 

Starsky got to his feet and went into the kitchen.  He grabbed the coffee pot and worked to busy himself while Hutch observed.

 

“Dobey said you called in sick.  You okay?”

 

“I guess I am sick,” Starsky muttered.

 

The mood Starsky wore was dark and disturbing.  Hutch wasn’t quite sure how to approach his partner.  “What’s wrong?”

 

Just thinking about it, Starsky’s temper snapped.  He threw the items into the sink and turned on Hutch.  “What the hell’s wrong with you?  I don’t know you anymore!  You’re a bigger mystery to me now than ever!”

 

“Starsky, whatever it is we’ll work through it.  Talk to me.” Hutch reached over to touch his arm and was stunned at the vehemence with which Starsky threw him off.

 

“Don’t!”

 

“Why not tell me what’s wrong rather than throwing whatever it is you’re throwing?”

 

Disbelief flowed through him.  “I can’t believe you’re going to stand there and act like you don’t know.”

 

“I don’t know!”  Hutch was growing tired of Starsky’s attitude.  “You don’t show up for work and I get here only to find you ready to tear my head off with no explanation!”

 

Starsky took an intimidating step towards Hutch.  “You’re still sleeping with Luther Kegan.”

 

Fear overtook Hutch’s heart and he knew it showed on his face.  “How…?”

 

“I showed up at your place last night and I saw you two doing a lip lock in the greenhouse.  I heard enough to know you screamed his name in the middle of whatever fucking you two were doing the night you said you slept on your couch.”

 

Hutch grabbed onto the wall for support.  “Jesus,” He breathed.  “Starsky, I swear it’s not what you think.”

 

“That you’re fucking him?  Of course that’s what it is!”  Starsky stormed past him and went to his bookshelf.  The impulse to tear everything off was there, but he was determined not to show how deep the rage went.

 

After taking a deep breath, Hutch followed him.  “It’s over between us, Starsky.  What you saw wasn’t what it looked like.”

 

“Your actions so far tell me different, Hutch.”  Starsky kept his voice low and even.  He was struggling with the fury enough as it was.  “That’s not counting the goddamn lies!”

 

Desperate, Hutch took a step closer to Starsky.  “I should’ve told you about the other night, but, damn it, Starsk, it’d take a while to explain it all.”

 

“Make excuses, you mean.”  Starsky shook his head.  “That’s all you’ve got and nothing will take back what you’ve done.”

 

“I slept with Luther twice and you act like I’ve been carrying on a fucking torrid affair behind your back!”

 

Facing Hutch head on, Starsky raised his chin.  “You did more than that, Hutch.  You used your pull as a cop to keep your lover out of jail without saying a word to me about it!”

 

Another truth slammed into Hutch like a head-on hurricane and he could barely remain on his feet.  “You have no idea what Luther’s capable of, Starsky.  If I hadn’t…”

 

“Shut up!” Starsky yelled.  “No matter what you thought you were trying to do, Luther Kegan’s out walking free!  Those contacts he turned over were useless and one is dead!”  Seeing the stunned look on Hutch’s face, Starsky’s anger took over and he continued.  “It looks more like you saving your lover than whatever noble act you try to paint it with!  You sleeping with him after the fact proves it, Hutch!”

 

Hutch sank to the arm of the couch.  “I did it for you.  I didn’t give a damn what he would do to the department or me.”

 

Starsky wasn’t buying it.  “You didn’t just compromise yourself, Hutch, and it wasn’t only your reputation on the line.  It was us…our partnership on and off the street.  Your carrying on with him behind my back, I can forgive, but not this, Hutch.  I can’t.”

 

The backlash ripped Hutch in two.  He lowered his eyes as the reality settled over him.

 

“Either you can transfer or I will.”  It took far more effort than Starsky had counted on to get the words out.  “I don’t care which.”

 

“At least…”  Hutch swallowed the agonizing lump in his throat.  “Let me explain why.”

 

“No.”

 

When Hutch raised his eyes, Starsky was headed to his bedroom and when the door slammed, it shook through every fiber of his being.  There would be no talking to Starsky now.  He was set in his decision.  Hutch left.

 

 

~*~

 

 

In the past, whenever Starsky had gotten angry, Hutch could either talk reason to him or give it time to subside.  It usually did and Starsky would feel guilty over his behavior.  Too many times Hutch recalled giving him wide berth until Starsky was calm enough to talk reasonably.  Over the years, Starsky had gotten a better handle on his temper.

 

This time was different.  Huggy had said it more than once.  What’s a Starsky without a Hutch or vice versa?  Starsky and Hutch were a team who spoke with one voice.  Even if one didn’t agree with the approach, their disagreements were kept to themselves and hashing it out came later in the privacy of their homes, their cars or whenever they were alone.  People could usually count on the fact that if one said it that meant both of them said it. 

 

Their unified approach to their jobs and every aspect of it showed if they did choose to negotiate, they did it together.  If they didn’t, they were a solid wall and wouldn’t budge.  It was said it was why they couldn’t be bought.  More bad guys than either could count had approached them numerous times separately and together only to find one stood next to the other in solidarity, protection and devotion.

 

Hutch had violated the very heart of their partnership by taking matters into his own hands.  By picking up the phone and giving Luther Kegan what he wanted, no matter Hutch’s reasoning, he went against everything they stood for. 

 

He was tired.  From almost the beginning, Hutch had been backed into walls with nowhere to go.  Whether it was by Luther, the case or his own common sense, the corners he found himself in were non-winnable. 

 

As he found his parking spot at Metro, the regrets were already building.  From the very beginning, Hutch had ignored his misgivings about every aspect of this case.  Luther’s machinations were no excuse for his poor decision-making.

 

The world seemed to be running at breakneck speed and Hutch moved in it at a snail’s pace.  Even trying to explain to Dobey why he was resigning without going into the sordid details felt like a movie running in slow motion.  After a sorrowful goodbye, Hutch found a box and cleaned out his desk.

 

Hutch’s numbness soaked in even further as he made his way through the officers working around him.  He didn’t expect the death of his partnership with Starsky to hit him until later tonight when he was alone.  While he cleaned out his locker, fresh memories of his odd conversations with Starsky over the years played like an old silent film.  The face with the large smile and twinkling eyes refused to budge.

 

Late into the night, Hutch sat on the couch filled with self-loathing.  He drank straight from the bottle of scotch he had picked up on the way home.  At one point he had gotten so angry at Starsky’s refusal to hear his side, he flung a glass against the wall.  The shattering was the only sound to break the silence.

 

He woke up the next morning to a loud banging on his door and even with the hangover raging in his head, Hutch hoped against hope Starsky was coming back to him.  His heart sunk at the young man holding out the clipboard.  Hutch signed for the thick envelope and he opened it as he went to the kitchen.

 

After sliding the papers out and skimming through them, Hutch tossed them on the table.  New contracts had to be filed with his signature.  Luther’s company name was emblazoned across them and the tight hold the man had over him was unrelenting.

 

The only good thing Hutch could do at this point was to save his father’s company.  He couldn’t save his partnership with Starsky, but if nothing else, he could come away from the entire mess with his father’s legacy still intact and completely free of Luther.

 

For the remainder of the morning, Hutch spent on the phone working every contact he had.  He called friends of friends, banks and other powerful entities for help.  He got the same answers most of the time.  Luther Kegan was a powerful businessman who they didn’t want to make an enemy of.  His ruthless reputation was formidable.

 

He looked at the clock and on most days they would be at Huggy’s by now having lunch.  At the end of the day they would go to their separate apartments, but not for long.  Majority of the evenings they spent together either working late, eating out or at one of their apartments, watching a movie or any number of a thousand things.  No matter what it was, they’d be doing it together.

 

Starsky was right.  He’d never marry again.  No woman could come close to filling the large role Starsky had in his life.  Any sane female would run in the other direction rather than try to be more important than Starsky.  It was impossible and Hutch wouldn’t have it any other way.  He couldn’t envision any person taking a front seat other than his now former partner.

 

With no choices before him, Hutch turned on the familiar stoicism that had become a trait in his family.  If he was ever going to have any control over his life or be able to live it by his choice, he had to play the game Luther played so well.  He didn’t know if he could.  The machinations Luther toyed with casual precision was almost an art within itself.

 

Decision made, he picked up his jacket and slipped it on.  Hutch closed the door behind him on his way out.  When he got out front he took a look at Venice Place.  The next time he returned, his life would be in sharp contrast to the one he was leaving behind.

 

He drove to Luther’s estate and the butler allowed him inside without question.  Hutch didn’t have to ask where Luther was.  He walked out to the pool and showed no reaction to the satisfied look on Luther’s face.  Hutch took the chair next to him and didn’t stop Luther from reaching out to him.  The firm hand on his neck pulled him close and Hutch’s lips locked with his.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Starsky carried the large stew pot along with a bottle of Jack Daniels outside and set the pot on the picnic table.  He took a large swallow of the liquor before going back inside.  When he returned, he had a boxful of photographs.

 

He emptied the contents into the pot and found the lighter fluid under the grill.  Starsky turned it upside down and watched the liquid soaking the pictures.  He found one picture that hadn’t been touched and picked it up.  Starsky gazed at it. 

 

It was their graduation day from the academy.  Fresh smiling faces looked back at him and he remembered Hutch helping him with the legalese he couldn’t grasp.  Starsky felt nothing when he pulled the lighter from his pocket.  With a slide of his thumb, the small flame appeared.  His movement was slow and precise as he put the fire under the picture.

 

The flame caught the corner and Starsky watched in morbid fascination as it grew and the smiling faces disappeared.  He dropped it in the pot and the fire erupted taking the lot with it.  Starsky took the bottle and tipped it at his lips.  Two large swallows later, the harsh liquor burned a path inside of him.  It felt as hot as the fire he was watching.

 

Starsky reached into his front pocket and pulled the fresh pack of cigarettes out.  After a couple of taps to the bottom, he opened it up and put one to his lips.  He lit it and inhaled the smoke into his lungs.  It burned, too.

 

Physically cutting Hutch out of his life was much easier than he thought it would be.  He had boxed up everything belonging to his ex-partner and addressed it.  Starsky planned to drop it off at the post office during his lunch break tomorrow.

 

The flames leaped before him turning old memories into ashes.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Hutch remained with Luther for most of the day going over what he would be doing as his partner.  Trying to keep his focus on the new work ahead was made more difficult as the remembrance of Starsky’s face filled with betrayal dogged him. 

 

It was late afternoon by the time he left Luther’s estate.  He was relieved Luther didn’t press him to stay the night.  Hutch wasn’t ready for a sexual encounter right now, but the man wouldn’t wait long.

 

He still had to search for a way to push Luther out and Hutch’s hope was that the opportunity would present itself sooner rather than later.  The motive was to salvage something out of the mess he had made of his life.

 

Tonight he would pack and tomorrow he would begin a new life with the old one boxed away in a dusty attic.  The thought was depressing.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Starsky wasn’t about to sit around the apartment moping about Hutch.  He was angry…no, pissed as hell.  Still.  If he continued to drink he would wind up getting down and he wasn’t going to let Hutch have that kind of impact on him any longer.

 

Determined to prove to himself he could go back to the world of the living without Hutch and without regret, Starsky put away the liquor, drank a cup of coffee and went to work.  Dobey pressed for answers and Starsky gave just enough to put off his concerned captain.

 

Once at his desk, he set about catching up on forgotten paperwork.  The first hour he was fine, but every time he looked across and didn’t see Hutch, his mood grew dark.  The fury was building and masking the pain. 

 

Starsky knew the hurt was there just beneath the surface, but rage was preferable.  He could live with it and he would relish it.  He was ready to hold onto it for a hell of a long time.  The pain of the breakup could wait until he was ready to deal with it.

 

By the end of shift, Starsky was slamming doors, snapping at everyone and being an asshole.  He knew it and didn’t mind a single bit when Dobey ordered him home to cool off.

 

Rather than go home, Starsky drove around and found himself sitting in front of Venice Place.  Hutch’s car was there and Starsky gazed at it forever it seemed like.  He smoked a cigarette as he stared and his mood grew blacker with each passing second.

 

His patience snapped and Starsky got out of the car, slammed the door and stormed to the apartment building.  He took the stairs two at a time and got to the door.  No customary knock was necessary.

 

Starsky flung the door open and saw Hutch in the kitchen drinking a beer.  “You owe me.”

 

“Oh, yeah?” Hutch knew he wasn’t going to get a contrite Starsky for a while.  This he could handle.  The man was ready for his answers now.  Problem was Hutch didn’t know how much he could tell him.

 

Stalking to the kitchen, Starsky’s hands were knotted into fists and he felt ready to do violence.  “Yeah, and don’t feed me some bullshit about how Kegan was blackmailing you.”

 

“Then you don’t want to know the truth.”  Hutch took a drink of beer and walked around Starsky to the living room.  He wasn’t going to offer unless asked.

 

Starsky followed.  “Do you have any idea what you did to us?”

 

“I know exactly what I did to us,” Hutch answered with anger tinged in his voice.  He wished he could be pissed at Starsky, but right now he was more into being angry at himself.  “I went behind your back and compromised us.”

 

“Was it worth it?”

 

That question was sobering.  Hutch didn’t know how to answer it.  He lost the most important person in his life while trying to protect him at the same time.  “I don’t know.”

 

“What the hell kind of answer is that, Hutch?”  Starsky yelled.  “We’re through and you don’t know if it was worth it!”

 

“What do you want from me?  You want me to tell you that throwing my career under the bus in favor of your integrity wasn’t worth it?  I don’t know, Starsky!”  Hutch took a long drink from the bottle.  “I don’t know a damn thing anymore.”

 

Starsky wasn’t ready to let Hutch off the hook.  He wanted his anger.  Keeping it close and nourishing it until he found a way to expel it all was foremost in his heart.  “Don’t talk to me about integrity, Hutch.  You gave yours away from the get go.”

 

A vile oath was on the tip of his tongue, but Hutch held onto it when he realized how right Starsky was.  He moved to the window and leaned against the frame.  “I sure as hell rationalized myself into that,” he muttered.

 

“That was before Kegan’s arrest.  What about after that?  How did you talk yourself into it?  Was the fucking that good?”

 

“What does it matter anymore?”  Hutch sighed.  He hated himself enough right now and hashing this out wouldn’t make the life he would soon be leading go away.

 

When Hutch started for the kitchen, Starsky met him halfway and grabbed his upper arm.   “Wait a minute.”  Seeing Hutch flinch in pain at his grip the rage evaporated.  “What’s wrong with you?”

 

“Nothing.”  He needed another beer.  “If you think you’re ready to hear the truth, get your own beer.”

 

Not letting his eyes off Hutch, Starsky noticed how stiff his former partner was moving.  Something was wrong and Hutch didn’t want him to know.  Starsky was determined to get to the truth before walking out of Hutch’s life for good.

 

Starsky got a beer from the fridge and followed Hutch to the greenhouse.  He couldn’t sit on the bench where they had shared so many nights together.  It was a horrible reminder of how much he had lost.

 

Hutch kept his eyes downward as he talked.  “Luther was determined to get out from under the drug charges even if it meant dragging us and the department down with him.”

 

“What makes you so sure he’d do that?”

 

“It’s his M.O.  No killing, but he would make you wish you were by the time he finished.  He retaliates by using other people’s weaknesses as his strengths and he had a laundry list of mine.”  Hutch did look at Starsky then.  “That included you.”  He turned his attention back to the bottle.  “If Luther had been a woman I went to bed with, the jury and the judge would have called me a lucky bastard.  Since he’s a man…well, you get the picture.  That’s how he got to me that day in the interrogation room.”

 

“That convincing, huh?”

 

“Yeah.”  Hutch could feel his weakness growing.  “He had no qualms in dragging you into the middle of it all.”

 

“You should’ve trusted me.”

 

Hutch took tipped the bottle and leaned back.  “I didn’t trust myself.”  The memories of Luther tapping into the darkest part of him came back and it was almost enough to make him lose the contents of his stomach.  “I was twisted inside out.”

 

“So you went to the D.A., gave him what he needed in order for Kegan to get bail.”  The beer wasn’t settling well and Starsky set it on the table.  Still not ready to be near Hutch, he went to a plant and noticed the dryness of the soil.  “And after that?”

 

There was no way Hutch was going to look at Starsky.  He couldn’t.  “Luther sent photos…graphic ones of when…”  Dirt couldn’t feel any lower than he did right now.  “I went to his house to tell him he couldn’t keep using what happened between us against me.  They were just a ruse to get me there.”

 

“To get you back in the sack?”  Starsky was confused.

 

“Partly.”  How Hutch got the rest of his beer down, he didn’t know.  Maybe it was an attempt to keep from having to tell Starsky the sordid details of his liaisons with Luther.  “The night you saw us was the night Luther laid out his plans for the future with me.”

 

Now, that surprised Starsky.  Hutch had basically turned on Luther and the man still wanted him.  “What kind of plans?”

 

“To make me his partner…in every way.”  Keeping his eyes down, Hutch hated telling Starsky this.  He took a deep breath, then looked up.  “He owns a chunk of Transatlantic.  If I don’t go along, the company gets broken up and goes on the auction block.”

 

How did Hutch go from betraying Luther to being his partner?  Something was missing.  “You never cared about that company, Hutch.  Not really.”

 

“I’ve lost enough as it is.  I’m not going to add my father’s company.”

 

“You’re going along with this?”  Starsky was stunned.  How could Hutch do it?  “After what you did to him…”  He watched Hutch put his hand on his knee and push up from the bench.

 

“It’s complicated.”

 

Starsky’s eyes locked with Hutch’s.  There was no doubt in his mind now.  “Come over here.”

 

The lump in Hutch’s throat felt like the size of a baseball.  He started to shake his head.

 

“Hutch.”

 

The tone left no room for argument and Hutch wondered if he could find an excuse to run away.  When would he ever get another chance to be close to Starsky?  He took slow steps over and once in front of him, Starsky moved to his back.  He closed his eyes once he felt Starsky’s hands on his shirt.

 

It was as if someone had punched their way inside of Starsky’s gut and twisted his intestines around their fist.  The dark marks across Hutch’s back went to below the beltline to his upper back.  Starsky guessed that when he got a hold of Hutch’s arm it was enough of a jerk to pull on the tender muscles.  “Jesus Christ,” he whispered.

 

Hutch stepped away and pulled his shirt down.  “Luther needed us on equal ground.”

 

“And you let him?”

 

“What makes you think there was a choice,” Hutch said raising his voice.  “You have no idea how Luther operates or even what kind of man he is!”

 

“Since when do you let someone jerk your strings like that?” Starsky yelled back.

 

“When I realized Luther knew every button to push and how to do it, Starsky.  I made a shitty decision the first time thinking it was for the case.  After that, Luther had his hooks in me and refused to let go.”

 

“You walk away, Hutch!  Fuck Luther Kegan!”

 

Hutch turned his back on Starsky and stuck his hands in his pockets.  “Like I said, Starsky, you don’t know.”

 

“Maybe it’s you I don’t know.”  Starsky turned and left the greenhouse finding the whole mess as mysterious as he did from the start.  Nothing was black and white anymore.  He needed that more than ever right now.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Starsky was back on the floor with the tennis ball in hand.  Next to him was the liquor from earlier.  He threw the ball at the door and after a bounce to the floor he caught it.  Trying to make sense of everything that had happened up to this point was getting more and more difficult.

 

Hutch didn’t think he had a choice in anything concerning Kegan’s wants.  That didn’t work in Starsky’s head.  Hutch thrived on control and worked his ass off to make sure he had as much as he could get his hands on.  A Hutch with no power to see to his own fate was almost like a Hutch without an identity.

 

But Hutch believed Kegan’s threats enough to do what the man wanted and that included in submitting to being whipped.  Starsky threw the ball again and shook his head.  How could Hutch allow it? 

 

It went back to control.  With Hutch most of the time it did.  He’d had so little of it through most of the case that Hutch must have lost himself somewhere along the way.  Now, that did make sense to Starsky.

 

He caught the ball with his left hand and picked up the bottle with his right.  After a drink, he began throwing again.  The only way Kegan could keep Hutch was to not allow him the control.  That had to be it.

 

Starsky had to find a way to give Hutch his control back which meant figuring out how to get Kegan out of their lives.  This time the ball bounced away when Starsky didn’t make an effort to catch it.

 

Our lives, Starsky thought.  Here he was trying to find a clear path to understanding what had happened and in the process Starsky was looking for a way to help Hutch.  He was forced to accept that Hutch had called it right from the beginning.

 

He remembered the party and the uneasiness that had taken over Hutch.  “We’ve got our work cut out for us, partner.  Luther Kegan owns whatever world he’s in.”  Those words echoed in his ears as clearly as that night.

 

And Starsky had sat on the sidelines the entire time blaming Hutch at every turn.  He leaned his head against the back of the couch and closed his eyes.  I’m the bastard, Hutch.  Not you.

 

There was still resentment Hutch hadn’t come to him with what was happening, but Starsky could understand it.  Kegan.  His hatred of the man was growing by leaps and bounds.  Starsky would find a way to usurp Luther Kegan from their lives.

 

 

~*~

 

 

The one time Starsky had been inside Luther Kegan’s estate he hadn’t been impressed with the wealth that time.  It was mostly due to his reprehension towards him.  Now, looking it over from the outside, Starsky thought more about the man that owned the huge mansion and the grounds on which it sat.

 

With night falling, Starsky leaned back in the car seat and sighed.  Kegan thinks he owns Hutch just like he owns this place, Starsky thought.  Kegan doesn’t comprehend love, but ownership he understands.

 

The iron gates opened and Starsky put the Torino in reverse.  Before the stretch limo could pull all the way out he backed away enough to not be seen.  Confident Hutch was in the limousine with Kegan, Starsky followed.

 

He wasn’t surprised to see the black car pull to the front of a new gallery.  When Hutch emerged after Luther, Starsky’s breath caught in his throat.  He’d seen him in a tuxedo before, but this time was different. 

 

Even from across the street, Starsky loved how the lighting highlighted the blondness in Hutch’s hair.  The tuxedo brought it out even more.  He could almost see those ocean blue eyes he could get lost in and find Hutch’s soul.

 

After the doors closed behind the rich crowd, Starsky reached under the passenger seat and got out his thermos.  What this staking out was going to accomplish, he didn’t know.  If he was going to find a way to free Hutch, he had to get to know Kegan for himself.

 

Hutch could tell him a million times over and Starsky could understand it, but he still needed to do more.  He had to find Kegan’s weakness and make it his strength.  That’s what Hutch said.

 

Starsky took a drink from the plastic cup.  His eyes went back to the gallery.  Kegan thinks he owns Hutch, but what would make the bastard give him up?  What if he got something in return?  What if it’s something as valuable as Hutch?

 

Shit, Starsky thought.  There is nothing on the planet worth as much as Hutch.  Not in his eyes, anyway.  Maybe in Kegan’s there is something.  He just had to figure out what that was.

 

Almost three hours later, Hutch and Kegan emerged from the party.  Starsky straightened and once they were in the limo, he started the car.  When he got to the estate he parked not far.  It occurred to him Hutch probably knew he was staking them out.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Once in the master bath, Hutch went to the counter and leaned on it.  His breathing was uneven because of nervousness.  This would be his first night with Luther on a regular basis.  Hints had been dropped the entire evening about this night and Hutch didn’t know if he was ready for whatever plans Luther had cooking in his head.

 

He had seen Starsky parked away from the gallery where most people wouldn’t notice.  Hutch could spot the Torino a mile away.  What Starsky thought he was going to accomplish, he didn’t know.  It was supposed to be over, but his ex-partner was never one to let go easy.

 

Hutch pulled at the bowtie until it hung loose around his neck.  He walked out of the bathroom to the far side of the room to a small bar.  He poured a scotch, went to the bed and sat on the edge while he contemplated the enormous changes in his life.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Sizing up Luther Kegan was the only option to Starsky at this point.  In their previous encounters he considered Kegan a criminal like any other despite what Hutch thought.  Starsky chastised himself for ignoring Hutch’s reservations early on.

 

When he had been allowed through the gate, Starsky was surprised.  At the front door, he rang the bell and a quiet butler guided him to a large library.  Kegan was on the phone, but Starsky considered the premeditated move a tactic in order to intimidate him.  It became more obvious when he noticed Kegan watching him out of the corner of his eye.

 

Yeah, I got you figured out, you son of a bitch.  Starsky would keep his patience and not allow Kegan one shred of control over him.  The call ended and Kegan leaned back in his chair.

 

“Detective Starsky.  What brings you out so late?  Have I broken some law?”

 

Starsky folded his arms.  “If there was one for being a piece of shit, you’d be the first I’d arrest.”

 

With an easy smile, Luther stood up.  “I appreciate your honesty.”  He would have to tread carefully with this man.  In every way David Starsky was a polar opposite.  The anger in his eyes hid too much from Luther and he didn’t like it.  “You know everything.”

 

“Yeah, I know.”

 

“And your intentions?”

 

“To let you in on a piece of information.”

 

“What would that be?”

 

Taking a step closer, Starsky’s eyes bored into Luther’s.  “You may think you own Hutch, but you don’t.  You never will.”

 

“The fact he’s here in my home and soon to be waiting in my bed says otherwise, Detective.”

 

“Only because he doesn’t see another way,” Starsky countered.

 

“I’m well aware of what Ken sees.  He thinks he has nothing else to lose at this point and will be looking for ways to counter the moves I made to get into his father’s company.  Ken is the only one who could challenge me and I look forward to his attempts.  His intelligence and other attributes make him my equal.  No one else has been able to do what he has.”  Luther’s sharp smile accentuated the superiority he felt.

 

“You don’t own Hutch and I’ll prove it to you.”

 

“How?”  Luther slid his hands in the pockets of his tux.  “By assuring him all is right with the two of you so he’ll walk out?”  He shook his head.  “Ken knows I’ll just find other means.  You’ll have to do better than that, Detective Starsky.”

 

“You tell me, Kegan,” Starsky demanded.  “What would it take for you to let him go?”

 

“What would you do in order to assure I would release him?”  Luther moved closer to Starsky as he continued.  “How far would you be willing to go, Detective Starsky?  What would you sacrifice?”

 

Starsky wasn’t sure what was going on in that sick brain of his.  “What do you want?”

 

“Follow me.”

 

Starsky turned and trailed after Luther out of the library.  His unease was growing to the point of turning his guts into knots.  They went down the hallway, through the kitchen and to a door.

 

It was with trepidation he followed Luther down the stairs and he stopped in his tracks once he saw the room.  While filled with elegant furniture, the dark stone reminded him of a dungeon of sorts.  Dark and oppressive.  No one had to tell Starsky what this room was about.

 

“So tell me, Detective.”  Luther strolled around the room with casual ease.  “Are you willing to follow through with my challenge?”

 

So, that’s what Kegan wanted from him.  Just like Hutch, he was being given a choice.  Have sex with the man and Hutch would be free.  Simple enough.  Starsky could do it.  “If I do this, you let him go…him and his father’s company.  All of it.  You get the hell out of his life.”

 

“There are no guarantees in anything.”

 

What was Luther expecting to find out of this?  Even not knowing, Starsky wasn’t going to let a chance to help Hutch slip by.

 

His eyes on the large mahogany bed, Starsky could feel the hard thumping of his heart through his chest.  He could almost swear it was going to jump out of him.

 

No guarantees, Starsky thought.  Anything he went along with could be for nothing and Hutch would still have Kegan calling the shots in his life.   Maybe this would do it.  Starsky didn’t know.  All he knew was he had to get Hutch away from Luther Kegan.

 

“Yeah, I’ll do it.”

 

 

~*~

 

 

Coming down the stairs two steps at a time, Hutch had made up his mind.  He couldn’t go through with it.  He was prepared to, but giving up his entire life, even without Starsky in it, was unacceptable.  He’d find another way to get control of his father’s company.

 

Hutch had no idea how and for all he knew Luther was well-prepared for any maneuvers he attempted.  A few thoughts had already crossed his mind, but first he needed to talk to Luther.  Maybe some reason could be found within the man.

 

After checking the library and a few other rooms, Hutch was beginning to wonder if Luther was even there.  He crossed the hallway into the large kitchen.  At seeing the open door leading down to the very room where Hutch had given so much of himself over he paused.

 

The memories of that night were still with him as were the marks across his back.  Most of the soreness now gone, he was still reminded every time he reached for a button on his shirt.

 

Speculation of whether or not Luther’s intentions for the night were in this room was rampant in Hutch’s thoughts.  He took the stairs slow unsure if he even wanted to know what was in store.  Shaking the uncertainty away, Hutch remembered why he was searching for Luther.  It didn’t matter now.

 

When he walked into the room, nothing could have prepared him for what he saw.  Starsky was standing near the bed and Luther wasn’t far from the armoire.  “What are you doing here, Starsky?”

 

Starsky turned around and licked his dry lips.  “I had to come.”

 

“Your friend here dropped by unexpectedly,” Luther announced.  “Curiosity, perhaps?”

 

Hutch went to Starsky.  “I want you to leave right now.”

 

“Answer me something, Hutch.  Does he ever lie or renege on anything?” Starsky whispered.

 

“No.  What’s this about?”

 

“You sure about that?”

 

The nervousness in Starsky’s eyes sent warning signals all over Hutch.  He swung towards Luther.  “Out of the question, Luther!  He’s not involved in this!”

 

“His being here says otherwise, Ken.”  Luther took his time going to Starsky and moved in front of him blocking Hutch’s access.  He saw the surety in Starsky’s eyes and shook his head.  “If it were just you and me in that bed, Detective, you would grin and bear it.  As noble of a sacrifice that is, it’s not enough.”

 

When Luther’s eyes went to Hutch, Starsky’s gut turned cold.  Now he knew the price and it was one he never dreamed of in a million years.  Luther looked back at him and the smile he wore was shaped as a serpent’s.  “You think I’m so willing to let you off that easy?”

 

Luther went to a small table in the corner, poured a brandy and carried the glass to Starsky.  “Drink this.  It’ll help.”

 

Much to Hutch’s shock, Starsky took the glass and downed the contents.  “Goddamn it!  No!”  Hutch swore.  He turned Luther around uncaring of what anyone thought.  “There is no way in hell I’ll allow it!”

 

Hutch’s vehemence wasn’t completely unexpected, but the ferocity in his eyes was.  Luther wasn’t about to back down.  He had to know how much of Hutch belonged to him.  This was the only way.  Luther took the empty glass from Starsky.  “Ask him, Ken.  See if he’s having second thoughts.”

 

When Luther stepped back, Hutch moved in close.  “Starsky, please.  You don’t have to do this.  I’m not staying with him.”

 

The pleading in Hutch’s eyes was almost Starsky’s undoing.  It wasn’t enough.  He had to somehow find a way to gain Hutch’s complete freedom without fear of Luther’s reprisal later down the road.  “Just don’t go far.  Okay?”

 

Decision final, Starsky looked to Luther who was enjoying the angst-ridden scene.  “Ken, undress him.”

 

The scream almost tore from Hutch, but he saw the agreement in Starsky’s eyes.  What was Starsky hoping to accomplish?  What was to come wasn’t going to release Hutch.  The face looking back at him had implicit trust…something Hutch never thought he’d see again.

 

Moving to Starsky’s back until they almost touched, Hutch hoped he could make the experience as tolerable as possible.  Given what was about to occur, he had his doubts.

 

Luther stood close by, sipping on a brandy, watching them.  Hutch, still in his tuxedo with the collar open, the bowtie hanging freely about his neck, looked as elegant and rich as Luther had ever seen him.  Starsky’s look, on the other hand, was in completely opposite.  The blue denim signified working class, a man who used his hands and had little use for the finer things in life.  The combination of the two men was potent.

 

All in blue, Hutch thought.  Denim was always Starsky’s comfort zone.  From the faded tight jeans with a hole in the knee, to the worn shirt of the same material, it was all about being at ease for him.

 

Hutch reached for the dark blue windbreaker and pulled it down.  He tossed it aside and his eyes went to the holster strapped to Starsky’s back.  As if he was stripping away Starsky’s last line of defense, Hutch removed it and wrapped the straps around the gun and holster. 

 

After setting it aside, he got in closer behind Starsky and the husky aroma that he was so familiar with filled his senses.  It was his sanctuary…his home to know that Starsky was close and everything would be fine. 

 

When Hutch reached around Starsky’s arm, his hand went to the outside of the light denim shirt.  He slid his other hand up Starsky’s opposite arm taking in the firm muscles beneath it.  Hutch was admiring the strength and hoping for some himself.

 

Looking over Starsky’s shoulder, he watched his hand move just inside the shirt.  The dark hair always seemed to tease him in the past.  As well as he knew Starsky’s body, he had never considered touching it in such a way.  The soft hair tickled his senses and he wished he could smile in response.

 

Curious to see more and touch more, Hutch’s fingers worked a button loose, then moved onto the next.  The firm back was at his chest and he moved in closer to feel even more of Starsky.  His eyes went to Starsky’s neck and instinct kicked in. 

 

Licking the skin, Hutch thought he would get drunk off the taste of Starsky.  The flavor was strong and dizzying.  Hutch opened his mouth, ran his tongue along the column.  He remembered how sensitive Starsky’s neck was and was eager for more.

 

Eyes closed, Starsky’s head leaned back to allow for further access.  He leaned back more when Hutch’s hand covered his chest.  The sensations were beginning to build and taking over.

 

Seeing the two men lost in each other angered Luther.  He wasn’t about to let it go any longer.  He moved forward and when the spell was broken between them he reached for the buckle on Starsky’s belt.

 

The scars on Starsky’s chest told Luther of a man willing to live on the edge if need be.  Perhaps this wasn’t as much as a risk for Starsky as Luther initially thought.

 

Hutch felt Starsky’s hand touching his thigh and he looked at Luther who pulled off the belt and dropped it to the floor.  There was no signal to stop and Hutch watched Luther unsnap Starsky’s jeans, pull open the zipper and push on them dragging the underwear down.

 

Starsky grabbed Hutch’s arm and worked his sneakers off.  Before he knew it, he stood naked before Luther and Hutch.  He was about ready to bolt, but looking into the pure pleasure in Luther’s eyes Starsky knew he had to see this to the end…whatever that might be.

 

Luther went to his knees and Starsky was relieved to feel Hutch’s presence behind him.  His limp cock was taken in hand and manipulated until it began to grow.  As much as he didn’t want to be here, Starsky knew how quick his body reacted to such stimulation.  His breathing was growing harsh and he leaned into Hutch as the sexual bolts began running through him.

 

“Easy,” Hutch whispered in Starsky’s ear. He lowered his head and began the tasting of the potent skin.  The least Hutch could do was make this as pleasurable as possible.  There was still a night ahead of them.

 

Luther’s mouth went to Starsky’s erection and adding that to the incredible work Hutch was doing on his neck along with the caresses his knees weakened at the double pleasure.  “Shit!”

 

Time stopped for an eternity as the men did their magic on Starsky’s body.  Never in his wildest dreams could he have anticipated it would be like this.  He had always prided himself on his stamina, but at this rate he would blow his load into Luther’s mouth.

 

It sounded like a good idea, but Starsky knew without the desire, this act he would have to suffer through.  He’d had enough of that in his life already so Starsky worked to keep his need to orgasm in check.

 

When Luther got to his feet he looked at Hutch.  “Put him on the bed.”

 

Hutch watched Starsky catch his breath and he wasn’t about to do it unless Starsky wanted to.  At this point he was ready to take him out of here regardless what anyone said, but when Starsky took a step towards the bed, Hutch went with him.

 

He eased Starsky to his back and looked over his shoulder.  Luther was removing the tuxedo and Hutch had yet to remove one piece of clothing.  He turned his attention back to Starsky.  “I’ll get you off and we’ll be done with this, Starsk.”

 

“No.”  Starsky shook his head.  He still hadn’t figured out what to do to insure Hutch’s emancipation and somewhere along the way, Starsky hoped he would find out.  He had to.  “We gotta do this, Hutch.  Please.”

 

Whether to curse Luther or Starsky, Hutch didn’t know.  All he knew was that Starsky was now in the world Hutch had come to loathe.  This dark twisted desire was never in his partner.  Starsky’s refusal to budge from this place flabbergasted Hutch.

 

Hutch straightened and removed his jacket.  “You sure about this?”

 

“Stay with me.”

 

The fear of the unknown was in his eyes and Hutch wasn’t about to leave him to Luther’s machinations.  He’d go through it with Starsky and hopefully ease the apprehension.

 

At Luther’s approach to the bed, Hutch removed the last bit of clothing and started scooting in close, but was stopped.  “I want to see you suck him.”

 

Hutch got to his feet and moved around the bed to the foot.  He crawled on and saw Luther position himself nearer to Starsky’s head.  Rather than give himself time to think about it, he got hold of Starsky’s cock and pumped on it to revive it back to its hardened state.  Before putting it in his mouth, Hutch looked up to see Luther guiding Starsky’s mouth to his own erection.

 

The taste of Luther was like soap.  Not bad, but he didn’t care for it much.  What kept distracting him was the attention being paid to his hard cock by Hutch.  Damn, a mouth’s never been so fucking hot, Starsky thought. 

 

Hutch was trying to make the act tolerable for him and Starsky loved him for it.  He was being sent spiraling in every direction.  The friction, the wetness and Hutch’s hand on him was going to send him over the edge.  His control was slipping away. 

 

The moans coming from Starsky despite Luther’s cock in his partner’s mouth was a mantra to Hutch.  His own body was reacting to the man he was sucking on.  This flavor was stronger than any harsh liquor.  It went to every part of him and as with any drug, Hutch needed more.  He opened his mouth wider and took all of Starsky inside until he felt the organ hit the back of his throat.  Wanting overcame him and he allowed the cock to go down deeper inside.

 

Not even a woman could imitate the grip Hutch’s throat had on Starsky’s center.  The dick in his mouth couldn’t stop the intense growl coming from him.  He pushed his hips up for more.

 

When Luther disengaged himself from Starsky, the breaths came quick and fast.  Starsky’s head collapsed on the pillow and he was ignorant to what Luther was doing in favor of the exquisite pleasure he was receiving from Hutch.

 

“Move up, Ken,” Luther ordered.  This was his production and he’d be damned if they were going to take it away from him.  Luther reached for the lube on the nightstand and went between Starsky’s legs.

 

Nervous as to the next stage of the session, Hutch did.  He reached for Starsky.  “On your stomach, babe,” Hutch whispered.

 

Getting on his hands and knees, Starsky’s gaze went to Hutch’s needy cock.  “Let me, Hutch.  I gotta do it.”

 

No wasn’t a part of the vocabulary at this point.  Hutch leaned back and watched Starsky take hold of him and feed the cock to his mouth.  “God,” Hutch breathed. 

 

The act wasn’t just to give him pleasure…not the way Starsky was doing it.  This was to know him, taste him, to learn his secret pleasure and to express the devotion.  Hutch felt it in every motion of Starsky’s tongue on him.

 

Hutch was startled by Starsky’s sudden stop and the stiffening of his body.  He looked up and saw Luther working his fingers inside of Starsky.  “Move up,” Hutch told Starsky.  “Get on top of me.”

 

Starsky did as he was told even though he was disappointed in having to stop the very thing he had wondered about for so long.  I’ll do that again, he promised.  Once on top of him, his eyes went to Hutch’s. 

 

Never in all their years together had they ever shared such intimacy.  Their bodies fitted together so close as if they were made for one another.  It was then Starsky realized how much he needed Hutch.  Not just the closeness, but in his life.

 

He felt Luther moving in close behind and adjusting him for better access.  Oh, God, Hutch.  Starsky rested his head on Hutch’s chest as he felt the pressure in his ass begin to grow.  Once the hard cock began to pave its way inside of Starsky, he groaned not in pleasure, but unadulterated pain.

 

“Slow down,” Hutch ordered Luther.  He was hurting Starsky and was ready to do battle.

 

“Distract him, damn it.”  Luther wasn’t going to be undeterred and he pressed on.

 

“Starsk,” Hutch whispered.  When he saw Starsky’s pain-filled eyes, Hutch lifted his head and kissed him on the lips.  Starsky’s mouth opened and Hutch took the opportunity to explore and taste him.  Their tongues wrapped around one another’s. 

 

When Hutch heard the grunts of pain coming from Starsky he had to do more.  Still keeping his mouth on his partner, he moved his hand downward in between their bodies and grabbed hold of Starsky’s waning cock. 

 

The movement of Starsky’s body from Luther’s thrusting helped to bring the organ back to life.  He broke the kiss in order to concentrate on bringing Starsky gratification.  “How’s that feel?”

 

“God, Hutch.”  Starsky held onto Hutch’s arms and focused his attention on the hand massaging his cock.  It was damn good.  The mix of pain from behind and pleasure from the front hit Starsky like a hurricane.  The conflicting sensations warred with each other and Starsky liked it.  The experience was pulling out desires he had never known existed.

 

The pummeling stopped and over Starsky’s shoulder Hutch could see Luther pulling out of him.  He realized he had a protective hand over the back of Starsky’s head.  “You okay?”

 

“Fuckin’ A,” Starsky answered in a low voice.

 

“Your turn, Ken,” Luther told him as he began moving up the bed.

 

“It’s too soon.”  Hutch didn’t want to move from his spot.

 

Starsky lifted his head and gazed into Hutch’s eyes.  “Do it, Hutch.”  Luther still hadn’t gotten what he was looking for and Starsky would be damned if he stopped now.  His love for Hutch and determination would get him through this.

 

“Starsk.”  Hutch was ready to argue, but Starsky’s eyes said differently.  This was the person he loved above all and his fear of inflicting more pain paralyzed him.

 

Resolute, Starsky kept his focus.  “I want you to.  Understand?”

 

The reservations overwhelmed Hutch, but he got out from underneath Starsky and moved behind him.  There was no need for lubrication since Luther had seen to it already.  He could feel the man’s presence not far.  Hutch put the head of his erection at Starsky’s ass and pushed.  It went in easy and the muscles clamped down in need.  “Yeah,” Hutch breathed.

 

Once he was seated all the way inside, Hutch leaned forward until his chest touched Starsky’s back.  “How you doin’, partner?”

 

There was still some pain, but nothing like before.  This was Hutch inside of him.  Damn, Starsky couldn’t believe it.  Hutch’s cock was buried deep inside him and the thought of it sent a thrill down his spine.  He moved of his own accord.  “Shit, Hutch,” Starsky breathed.  “Feels good.”

 

Maybe it was the length of his cock verses the thickness of Luther’s, Hutch guessed.  No matter.  Starsky’s movements were heating him up and he was answering every one with the rocking of his hips.  The complete eroticism of the fucking had a hold on him.

 

Hutch propped one arm on the bed and wrapped the other around Starsky’s chest as he pumped in and out.  This he could do forever.  If they could just stay like this the world would be perfect and nothing else would matter.

 

The hand on Hutch’s backside caused his rhythm to falter a bit.  No! He wanted to scream at Luther.  Hutch closed his eyes as a cock was pressed to his ass.  Luther had done little to prepare him and the stretching hurt a little.

 

He lowered his head to Starsky’s back and kept humping as Luther’s erection began the same search for satisfaction.  The best Hutch could call it at this point was a hurting fuck.  Starsky’s ass still had a leather tight grip on his cock that Hutch craved more of and the distracting ache behind him pushed him further into the man beneath him.

 

A rhythm was finally established between the three.  Heavy breathing, groans and sweaty skin was shared by all.  Starsky was getting close.  He could feel Hutch’s grip on his cock and never wanted him to let go.  “Hutch, oh, God, Hutch!”

 

The perspiration was dripping from Hutch and he could feel it rolling down his back.  He pulled Starsky’s body closer as he drove himself deeper and harder.  With his forehead resting on Starsky’s shoulder, Hutch whispered, “Love you, Starsk.  Love you so goddamn bad.”

 

The words stopped Luther cold.  He pulled out and stepped away from the bed.  Hutch was still pumping in and out of Starsky.  Their bodies close and tight together were moving as one.  Furious at not getting his pleasure he left the room unbeknownst to the two men on the bed.

 

The orgasm hit Hutch hard and fast.  His pace quickened to meet the oncoming surge of euphoria.  The sounds erupting out of him were animalistic and felt damn good.

 

When Hutch had regained his senses he realized Starsky still hadn’t gotten there.  He kept moving his waning erection inside him and began pumping on Starsky’s cock.  “That’s it, Starsk,” Hutch whispered in his ear.  “Come for me, baby.”

 

“Fuck!”  It was coming at Starsky from all sides.  The climax was so damn close and he wasn’t stopping until he got there.  He had to get there.  Hutch’s hand on him and Hutch inside of him was foremost in his thoughts. 

 

With his eyes closed, Starsky could mentally pull back and see Hutch fucking him.  Imagining that firm ass and the broad back muscles flexing sent Starsky over the edge.  “I’m coming!  God, Hutch, I’m coming!”

 

As fast as his hand could move, Hutch yanked on Starsky’s cock to pull out every bit of the essence.  When Starsky was down from the climax, Hutch wiped his hand on the sheet and then put his arm around Starsky’s waist.

 

“Ease down, Starsk.”

 

Drained from the intense experience, it wasn’t in Starsky to argue.  He lowered himself to the bed and closed his eyes.  Nothing could have prepared him for what had just happened.  He was too tired to grapple with what he loved and what he hated.

 

The next thing he felt was Hutch pushing his legs apart.  “Let me check you over, partner.”  Starsky complied and sighed at the cool cloth cleaning between his cheeks. 

 

“Will I make it?” Starsky mumbled.

 

“Yeah.”  Hutch hated it when Starsky joked at the worst possible times and this was no different.  He found his underwear and slipped it on.  After spending a few moments gathering Starsky’s clothes, he went to the bed.  “Sit up.  Let’s get you dressed.”

 

“Wanna sleep forever.”  Starsky willed his body to move and sat on the edge of the bed.  He watched Hutch kneel down in front of him and help to get his jeans on.  “Hutch.”

 

“Stand up.”

 

Starsky did and helped a little as Hutch pulled the pants up.  It was obvious Hutch was barely keeping his emotions in check.  The fury was just beneath the surface.  “It’s okay, Hutch.”

 

No, it’s not!  Hutch wanted to yell it at Starsky.  He helped put the shirt on and retrieved Starsky’s gun.  “Here.”  He handed it over and picked up the black pants he had been wearing earlier.  Hutch slipped them on and stole a glance at Starsky.  “I want you to leave now.”

 

“Hutch…”

 

“Listen to me!”  Hutch walked over to Starsky.  “You are to get in your car and leave right now!  Never come here again.”

 

That was the Hutch Starsky knew well.  It was also the tone Starsky learned not to argue with either.  As he headed up the stairs, Starsky swore it wasn’t over by a long shot.

 

When Hutch was sure Starsky was gone, he went in search of Luther and found him in the library.  At the sight of the man who had orchestrated the entire wicked scene, he lost it.  Hutch stormed into the room, grabbed Luther by the dark blue robe he was wearing and slammed him against the bookshelf.

 

“You ever put your hands on Starsky again, I will kill you!  I swear it!”

 

“Jealousy doesn’t suit you, Ken,” Luther taunted.  Hutch released his grip and stepped away.  Luther went to his desk and picked up the drink.  “I got the answers I wanted.”

 

“That’s what it was about?”  Hutch was furious and ready to do violence.  “What the hell did you want with Starsky?”

 

“He came here looking to free you of me.  I underestimated his willingness to sacrifice himself for you as he did.”

 

Hutch turned away and looked at some book on a shelf.  “Taking Starsky like you did wouldn’t have done it.”

 

“Of course not.  I’m sure he knew it.”  Luther sipped from the glass.  “He was right.”

 

At the statement, Hutch turned.  “What are you talking about?”

 

Luther walked around the desk to Hutch.  “What I have I own 100%...mind, body and soul.  Your mind and body I have, Ken.  I expected your soul to follow suit, but seeing what happened just a short time ago tells me that’s not the case.”

 

“I love Starsky and you can’t compete with that.”

 

“It’s no competition.  I expect nothing less than all of you and since I can’t have that, I have no use for you.  We’re not equal because you allow this emotion to rule you.  Your reaction to everything that happened and when you came in here tells me that.”

 

It can’t be this simple.  “This was your challenge to Starsky.”

 

“I needed proof without anyone’s knowledge and I got it.”

 

“You’re a fucking bastard, Luther.”  Any desire for Luther Hutch had prior to this night fled knowing at what lengths the man was willing to go through no matter the costs to the one person that mattered most to him. 

 

Ignoring the caustic statement, Luther went back to his desk and sat.  “In a few days my lawyers will send new contracts ending my involvement with Transatlantic.  The stocks will be sold back and I’ll turn over the loans to the banks.  They can oversee them as they see fit.” 

 

There is no way it could be so easy.  “You’d give me and Transatlantic up…just like that.”

 

“Yes,” Luther answered.  “If I can’t have every part of you, I don’t want any of you.  You have until the morning to leave.”

 

Still in shock, Hutch turned his back on Luther and headed for the door.  “I won’t need it.”

 

 

~*~

 

 

How Starsky got home, he didn’t know.  His body was drained of energy from the extreme sex he had just experienced.  He pulled into the drive, forced himself up the stairs and into his place. 

 

Without missing a beat, Starsky pulled off his clothes as he headed to the bathroom.  After getting the water as hot as he could tolerate, he stepped in and sighed as the hard droplets massaged his worn body.

 

He was still struggling with the mix of fear, pain, eroticism and love the night had pulled from him.  It was disjointed and the fragments of memory that stuck in his mind were mostly about Hutch.

 

With every act Starsky went along with, he could still see Luther Kegan’s triumphant grin.  If it were possible to hate the bastard anymore, Starsky would.  But did it work?  He didn’t know.  Hutch didn’t let him stay long enough to find out.

 

All Starsky knew was that after he had the most powerful orgasm of his life Luther was nowhere to be found.  He couldn’t contemplate his next move until after he got some sleep.

 

Starsky stepped out of the shower, dried himself off and went to the bed.  He groaned as he crawled under the covers and was asleep by the time his head hit the pillow.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Two hours after Hutch’s confrontation with Luther in the library he stood in his own apartment as he had left it.  Strange, Hutch thought.  He expected to feel differently now.  He anticipated he’d be ecstatic at not being under Luther’s thumb.

 

He felt more alone now than ever as he went to the bedroom and set his bag on the bed.  Tomorrow he would call Terrance and assure his father’s old friend Transatlantic was back as it was.  The task ahead now was to make sure no one else could get a foothold on the company again.

 

Hutch went to the kitchen and started after the scotch, but changed his mind.  He’d had enough hard liquor in the last few weeks to last a lifetime.  Instead he chose his favorite red wine.

 

Carrying the bottle and the filled glass into the living room, Hutch needed to put the entire ordeal into some sort of perspective.  He wasn’t sure how.  After he sat on the couch, he leaned back and propped the wine glass on his chest.

 

Starsky had sacrificed his own peace of mind by offering himself up to prove Luther didn’t own him.  How did he know?  It was a huge risk.  If Luther hadn’t seen whatever it was he saw, Hutch would be in the man’s bed this very minute. 

 

He took a large gulp of wine.  The sordid triangle he had been involved in would have all been for naught and Starsky would have to live with that debasing memory.  What was worse was Hutch’s own involvement.

 

Goddamn!  I shouldn’t have allowed it!  Everything Starsky was had become lodged into his memory.  The aroma, the taste and the feel of him would remain with Hutch for the rest of his life.  He loved fucking Starsky and he loved that fantastic mouth on him.

 

Hutch finished off the glass and set it on the table.  Guilt was settling on him more than it ever did before.  Hutch could corner off this part of him away from everyone else…especially Starsky.  He had done it before.

 

Now, he was faced with Starsky being a part of that darkness.  Closing his eyes, he could see him and Starsky on that damn mahogany bed.  Starsky underneath, Hutch pumping his cock into him, holding onto that massive hard-on and urging him to come in his hand.  It was enough for Hutch’s jeans to tighten.

 

He cursed himself again.  Starsky didn’t deserve that.  Maybe his former partner would reconsider the marriage business now.  Hutch kicked off his shoes and stretched out on the couch.  He allowed his eyes to close and before he drifted off to sleep he saw that now infamous memory.

 

 

~*~

 

 

The phone call with Captain Dobey the following morning went better than expected.  Starsky got a few extra days off and he suspected his captain was hoping that when he came back Hutch would be with him.  Starsky didn’t know about that.

 

He drove to Hutch’s and parked across the street.  Normally, he’d pull in behind that crate on wheels.  After Belle was sidelined from a fender bender, Hutch had sold her to a college student and managed to liberate a twelve year old Cadillac from an ex-girlfriend’s aunt.

 

Just seeing the car was enough to give Starsky some hope.  Hutch had said he wasn’t staying with Kegan, but Starsky was determined to ensure his partner was released from Luther’s hold permanently. 

 

No matter, Hutch was inside his apartment.  Of that, Starsky was sure.  Knowing him as well as he did, Hutch was attempting to work out the repercussions of last night’s threesome in his head.  That could take a while.

 

Starsky doubted his patience would last so long.  He considered asking Hutch out to lunch.  Some place neutral where they could talk without getting too serious.  He imagined Hutch passing the salt and heard himself saying “Hutch, please fuck my ass again.”

 

Leaning his head back, Starsky sighed.  He had to admit the power Hutch had over his body.  If he didn’t, he might as well be a hypocrite.  He loved every damn minute Hutch had his hands, his mouth and his dick on him.  Hell, Starsky loved Hutch just the same.

 

Raising his head, it dawned on Starsky why Hutch wasn’t at Kegan’s estate.  In the heat of the sex, he heard the declarations breathed in his ear.  Hutch loved him.  Kegan must have heard it.  For a guy who prided himself on owning everything, that must have been a kick to the gut.

 

Starsky couldn’t keep from smiling.  That was as close as he’d ever get to getting back at Kegan for his manipulation of Hutch.  At least this time he didn’t sit on his ass.

 

He put his hands on the steering wheel and pulled himself forward.  Looking up at Hutch’s window, Starsky wondered what he was doing at that very moment.  He couldn’t decide whether or not to go up there. 

 

Would Hutch want to talk?  Hell, would Hutch even want to see him after what happened last night?  Could Hutch face him?  There was no doubt Hutch was blaming himself and already into full brooding mode.  Maybe Hutch would just kick his ass for even showing up.

 

With a sigh, Starsky started the car and drove away.  Sitting in his apartment doing nothing but thinking about it all sounded too depressing.  Starsky had done enough of that to last a lifetime.  So, he drove to the station and told Dobey he had to work without telling him why.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Dobey had little for Starsky to do since he had been scrubbed from the roster.  Instead of working in the squadroom Starsky was sent to help with an understaffed booking.  He didn’t mind it so much.

 

It kept him busy and he rarely had time to think with locking up drunks, hustlers, and other criminal sorts.  The day was hectic and by the time Starsky got home the only thing he wanted at that point was a beer and a shower.

 

What shocked him was seeing the old Cadillac parked out front.  His mouth came open as he drove by and seeing Hutch step out Starsky’s chest pounded.  Why, he didn’t know.

 

After he parked and got out, Starsky watched Hutch come over to him.  He didn’t get a chance to say a word.

 

“Where’ve you been?  I couldn’t reach you here or at Metro.”

 

“I got put in booking for the day.  Hutch, what…”  Starsky was stumbling over his words. 

 

“I figured your head would explode if we didn’t get this done.”

 

“Right…yeah…I mean okay.”  Starsky shook his head.  “Yeah, okay.  Come on in.”

 

He stole a look out of the corner of his eye at Hutch while they took the stairs.  Starsky had to make sure he wasn’t dreaming.  Once inside, he stripped off his jacket.  “Listen, Hutch.  I’m not avoiding here, but I got puked on twice and barely missed getting pissed on.  I need a shower.”

 

“Sure.”

 

Starsky nodded, went to the fridge and got a beer.  On his way through the living room, he stopped and looked at Hutch again still unable to believe the guy was here.  He didn’t expect him over unless it was a presidential order.  Starsky had planned on calling.  “Make yourself at home.”

 

The smile on his face felt strange.  He went to the bathroom as he drank his beer and set the bottle on the counter.  Starsky hurried through his shower.  He could almost imagine Hutch give up waiting and going home.

 

He finished and after finding the sweats from the day before, Starsky slipped them on.  He picked up the bottle and in the living room found Hutch standing near the window looking out. 

 

Hutch turned and took a deep breath.  Damn it, why didn’t he put a shirt on?  “What the hell’s the matter with you?”

 

“Me?”

 

“I can’t believe you came to Luther’s estate?”

 

What’s he got to be pissed about?  Starsky couldn’t understand it.  “The plan was to get you away from the son of a bitch.  Thought you’d want that.”

 

“I already decided to leave, Starsky!  I told you that much before…”  Hutch clamped his mouth shut and turned back around.  “You should never have come.”

 

“But he still would have his claws in you, Hutch.  I couldn’t sit by…”  Starsky sighed and went to the couch.  “I didn’t do a damn thing while you were dealing with Kegan during the case.”

 

“There was nothing you could do.”

 

“Yeah, there was.”  Starsky looked up at Hutch who had turned around.  “I could’ve supported you…been there for you, but I wasn’t.  I did more accusing than being your friend.”

 

“I made the decision, Starsk.  You know that.”

 

“Maybe it would’ve turned out differently if I had done more.”  Starsky shrugged.  “Neither of us was thinking with a clear head.”

 

“Whatever it is we’re doing here isn’t going to change a thing, Starsky.  I lost control of the case, compromised us and let Luther walk as a result.”

 

“We’re trying to wrap our brains about what happened and working to salvage a relationship that’s always been the most important thing in our lives.”

 

Hutch crossed the room and sat down in the wicker chair.  “You wanted out, Starsk.  I don’t blame you for that.”

 

“That was before I knew everything.”  Starsky’s eyes went to Hutch and he wished he could take back that day he had called it quits.  “You were right, Hutch.  I really didn’t know what Kegan was capable of.”

 

“You were never meant to know like that…like I did.”

 

Starsky leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees.  “You took whatever power Kegan had over you away from him.  I thought I could do that for you…least I was hoping.”

 

Hutch smiled a little, but the bitterness of that night remained.  “I realized I couldn’t sell my life away without a fight.  Your showing up at Luther’s proved to me that I still had one worth fighting for.”

 

“I’d do it again, Hutch.”  Starsky had to own up to that much if nothing else.  He loved Hutch above all others.  “If it meant I had to screw every guy within a hundred miles, I would.”

 

Rubbing his temple, Hutch lowered his eyes.  “Don’t say that.”

 

“Why not?  It’s true.  I’d do anything for you, Hutch.  You could’ve left and you didn’t.”

 

“And left you alone with that bastard?”  Hutch shook his head.  He didn’t want to comprehend what Luther would have done to Starsky without him being there.  “But you would have let him do what he wanted, wouldn’t you?”

 

“I did let him.  I’m just glad you were there, Hutch.  I couldn’t have made it without you.”

 

“Goddamn it, Starsky!”  Hutch jerked himself out of the chair.  “You’re sitting there thanking me for being a part of that fucking sick fantasy of Luther’s!”

 

Starsky met Hutch in the middle of the room.  “You want to know what I remember, Hutch?  What stands out the most?  It’s how you put your arm around me and held me close.  It’s how you kissed me and how you loved me.  Yeah, I hated what Kegan did, but that barely registers in my head because of you.”

 

“Starsky…”  Hutch shook his head.  How could Starsky say that?  Luther orchestrated the entire scene.

 

“Listen to me..”  Starsky moved in closer and his eyes locked with Hutch’s.  “I didn’t come there for Kegan.  I came for you.  Kegan set it up for his benefit, but it was all about you and me.  From the very first to the end it was just us.”  The doubt was still on Hutch’s face.  “You took care of me like you always do, Hutch, and you loved me like you always do.  Kegan had nothing to do with what happened between you and me last night.”

 

“Oh, Starsk,” Hutch whispered.  “I want to believe that.”

 

“Then believe me.”  Starsky took Hutch’s hand in his.  “I wish I could count how many times you told me you loved me over the years.  Seems like so many missed opportunities.”

 

Soft, warm and gentle, Starsky’s hand on his felt good…reassuring.  “Why’s that?”

 

“It’s all the times I didn’t say it back.”

 

Nothing could have prepared Hutch for that.  The knot in his heart unwound like a knotted ribbon finding its freedom.  “I know you do.”

 

“Means more when I say it,” Starsky whispered.  He smiled.  “I love you, Hutch.  Always loved you.  I’ll say it a dozen times a day forever.”

 

The kiss came naturally out of the blue.  Their lips were on one another discovering for the first time of what everything that had happened meant.  As they got more into the intimate touch, both moved closer to each other.

 

Starsky had to break it to catch his breath.  “Damn, you can kiss.”  His smile was seductive.  “Why don’t we take this in the bedroom?”

 

“Now, just a damn minute, Starsk!” 

 

He wanted to smile at the flustered look on Hutch’s face.  “I wasn’t trying to rush you…honest.  It’s just that I’ve been like a stag in heat, Hutch.  Ever since that night I’ve been thinking of you and me…my bed, your bed, my car, your greenhouse…”  Starsky thought for a moment.  “But not your car.  Don’t think I could do it there.”

 

“Don’t you think we’re rushing this whole new relationship of ours just a bit?”

 

“We’ve known each other ten years, Hutch.  You think we’re going too fast?”

 

Hutch did smile then.  “I see I’m going to have hell catching up to you.”

 

“Well, I’ll let you,” Starsky said with a wink.  He turned serious.  “If you’re not ready, I understand.  I’m patient.”

 

Touching Starsky’s cheek with his thumb, Hutch sighed.  “I think I’ve been ready for a hell of a long time, buddy.  Just scared right now.”

 

“You’ll get it back, Hutch.  The trust you lost in yourself is there.  I’ll help you find it.”

 

“I think you will.”  Hutch’s belief that Starsky could do what he promised jumped.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Starsky was beginning to think Captain Dobey had ESP.  Without much argument from the man he had gotten another two days off.  His bet was he’d be making it up in more ways than one before the month was out.

 

Even better was the new understanding he and Hutch had gained in such a short amount of time.  Their talks of their years as partners brought even more insight into what got them together and what kept them close. 

 

With the time off, Starsky and Hutch walked the beach, took a long drive up the coast and spent the late afternoon on the second day barbequing ribs out on the deck.  It was as nice of a vacation Starsky could ever remember having.

 

The subject of Hutch getting his badge came up, but Starsky wasn’t surprised at the refusal.  Hutch was taking a larger role in running his father’s company.  Much to his relief most of the work could be done from California with an occasional trip to Minnesota.

 

What pleased him more than anything else was the confidence coming back into Hutch’s eyes.  The emotional wounds both men had were healing and with that came the loving affection both had missed.

 

The night was rolling in after the cookout and they sat on the couch together reflecting on their time at the academy.  Starsky stretched out on the couch and rested his head on Hutch’s thigh.  He sighed as Hutch ran his hand along his chest.  It felt good.  He turned his body towards it.

 

Hutch noticed and smiled at seeing the contented look on Starsky’s face.  He continued the caress and pushed his hand inside of Starsky’s open shirt. 

 

Closing his eyes Starsky breathed in and out hoping for more of the touch that was sending his heartbeat running.  He put his hand on Hutch’s and hoped it would move lower.  God, he needed this.

 

The body was coming alive under his touch and Hutch was thrilled by it.  No longer feeling oppressed by the lack of control, his heart filled with nothing but love for the man yearning for him.

 

Hutch knew what Starsky wanted and ran his hand down to the growing bulge in his lover’s jeans.  He watched with amazement as Starsky’s hips pushed up to get more of that wondrous feeling.

 

“Oh, God, Hutch.”  Starsky moved to his side allowing him for better access and began working on undoing Hutch’s pants.  He continued moving his hips towards that firm hand and got a grip on Hutch’s cock.

 

At that moment, Hutch laid his head back and let Starsky work his magic.  The mutual stimulation was driving his desire through the roof.  His fingers unsnapped the jeans and he pushed them open to gain entrance to the erection that was making his mouth water.

 

The power of Hutch’s hand on him urged Starsky on and he pulled the briefs aside to get his mouth on his lover.  God, how he wanted him.  He heard Hutch’s curse of pleasure and Starsky almost grinned.  Yeah, that’s what he likes.  Starsky pulled as much of Hutch’s cock inside of his mouth as he could and sucked hard.

 

“Starsk,” Hutch breathed.  Concentrating was a problem.  “Think we could get some of these clothes off.”

 

Starsky pulled away long enough to say, “Just a sec.”  He took two long licks and another mighty sucking of the cock.  He lifted his head.  “Okay.”

 

Hutch was surprised at how fast Starsky got up.  His clothes were coming off in record time with no assistance from him.  “You were actually the one I had in mind when it comes to undressing.”

 

“Oh, yeah.”  Starsky started to yank off his jeans, then remembered his shoes.  With an embarrassed smile he kicked them off and sat on the couch.  He pulled Hutch on top of him.  “This is much better.”

 

“You won’t hear any argument from me,” Hutch whispered before kissing him.  Skin on skin, chest on chest and heartbeat on heartbeat their bodies worked together as one.  Hutch had never known such intimacy with another soul.  He reached in between them and pulled their moist cocks together.

 

“Shit!”  The closeness was a beautiful thing for Starsky and it was fucking incredible.  He rocked his body back and forth relishing the exquisite flesh moving against his.  He felt a sharp dig into his lower abdomen.  “Hutch,” Starsky said. 

 

“Yeah,” Hutch breathed loving the fantastic lovemaking.

 

“You gotta trim your nails, babe.”

 

“Sorry,” Hutch whispered.  He adjusted his hand around the slick erections.  “How’s that?”

 

“Oh, yeah.”  Starsky closed his eyes.  “Much fucking better.”

 

Surging together as one they found their rhythm from the bodies sweating together to their heartbeats meeting together after a lifetime of sharing the same journey.  Needing more to find that solitary plane only they could reach as one, Starsky and Hutch yearned to bring one another that sensual love only meant for each other.

 

After Starsky’s orgasm, he took hold of Hutch’s cock and watched his lover’s face as he came.  It was the most beautiful state of pleasure he had ever seen.  Starsky’s mental promise was to make it happen often. 

 

Still holding each other and relishing the afterglow, Hutch said, “I could get used to this.”

 

“Hope so, Blondie.  I plan on us making this a habit.”  They lay together for a few minutes not speaking and enjoying the moment.  “Hutch.”

 

“Hmm.”

 

“I’m hungry.”

 

“You would be the one with an appetite afterwards.”  Hutch rested his head on Starsky’s shoulder.  “I’m too tired.”

 

“I suppose I could get dinner.”  Starsky wrestled out from underneath Hutch and got to his feet.  He went to the phone and dialed the familiar number.  “Two large pizzas with the works.”  As he rattled off the address, he looked over at Hutch who was pushing to a sitting position on the couch.  Starsky hung up the phone.  “Twenty minutes they said.”

 

“They’re getting faster.”

 

Starsky raised his eyebrows.  “I’m a good tipper.”

 

Hutch waved his hand at naked Starsky.  “You don’t plan on answering the door like that, do you?”

 

With a sly look at Hutch, Starsky moved in closer.  “We’ll play pizza delivery man after we eat.”  As Hutch laughed, Starsky got up on the couch and straddled him.  The laughter was silenced by a kiss.

 

 

 

THE END

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