Liaisons

 

 

 

The small bar was dark and intimate with hushed voices and dark jazz playing in the background.  Ken Hutchinson scanned the place upon first entering and almost nodded in approval.  It was quiet, out of the way and given the mixed couples he was seeing, few questions would be asked.

 

Hutch brushed through the crowd and moved to the bar.  After sitting, he ordered a vodka and tonic, then began scoping out the patrons.  Every few months, he thought with a near smile.  A person could almost set a clock by him.  It was as often as he dared even though fortune smiled only sporadically at best. 

 

All his life he had done everything asked of him and without question Hutch had followed.  He was told to get good grades and he did.  He was told what activities to excel in and he did.  His parents had bristled at his chosen college, but granted their approval upon learning of the fine law school it offered.  Hell, Hutch even married the woman they wanted.

 

Vanessa offered much in the way of beauty and brains.  He took her out to meet his parents and the expected blessing came.  A lavish Hutchinson wedding was arranged and after a quick honeymoon to the Cayman Islands, he returned with his new bride to California.

 

Hutch went back to finish college, started working part time in a law firm ran by a friend of his father’s, and continued on as expected.  He was now reaching the end of his first year in law school. 

 

Even doing the expected, deep burrowed secrets remained inside and only when the pressure got too much he would go in search of that companion where pretense wasn’t needed.  They were fleeting encounters with an occasional first name exchanged, but he always found temporary release.

 

He heard about the place from a surreptitious conversation in the library.  The few details he gleaned seemed to indicate this little out of the way spot would suit his purposes.  Final exams were approaching, his boss was pushing for Hutch to join the firm upon graduation and Van had maxed out the MasterCard for the third time since their marriage.  Hutch was ready to break and rather than blowing a fuse he escaped. 

 

He sipped his drink and looked around at the customers who appeared to be having a good time.  Couples were in the corners and out on the dance floor.  He caught two men slipping out the back door to the alley.  It struck Hutch as an odd place for a back door, but the easy access and escape made sense.

 

“Need another one?”

 

Hutch looked over his shoulder at the lean black man standing not far away.  He turned on the stool and watched the man slide onto the one next to him.  “Sure.”

 

Some would call him skinny and wiry.  Trim and fit he was in Hutch’s eyes.  The long fingers playing with the cigarette were practiced and sure of themselves.  There was thoughtfulness behind the brown eyes and as dark as he was, the ebony skin appeared smooth.  Hutch’s cock twitched in response.

 

Another drink was set before him and after finishing the one in his hand he set it aside and grabbed the next.  “Thanks.

 

“Never seen you here before.”

 

“I heard about it a couple of weeks ago.”

 

The golden boy had Huggy Bear’s full attention as soon as he walked into the place.  He knew what he was looking at and hadn’t hesitated to make his way over.  “Wanna dance?”

 

Hutch shook his head.  “I don’t do much dancing.”

 

“Of course you don’t.  Not why you came here.”

 

Their eyes met and Hutch shifted on the seat.  His jeans were growing tight at the low timbered voice beckoning to him.  “No, it’s not,” he admitted.

 

Huggy moved in a little closer.  “Name’s Huggy Bear.”

 

The whiskey scented breath mixed with cigarette smoke enticed Hutch in more ways than he ever imagined.  “Hutch.” 

 

He winced inside at the slip.  Normally, his first name was always used, but his guard had wavered just enough for the nickname escape.  If Huggy noticed, he didn’t show it.

 

“I know the owner.  He’s got a room upstairs he lets me use.”

 

Hutch took a nervous drink and exhaled the breath he’d been holding.  There was no doubt in his mind.  Vanessa would be gone for hours with her country club friends.  She probably wouldn’t make it in before dawn.  This wouldn’t be brief and he could let loose all that he had bottled up inside of him.  “Yeah.”

 

The warm hand took his arm and Hutch’s cock tightened at the intimate contact.  He felt weak as Huggy led him through the crowd to the stairs.  Hutch trailed behind as Huggy unlocked the door and held it open.

 

It was small.  A full size bed in the corner got his attention almost immediately.  Huggy made sure the door was locked and pulled out his cigarettes and lighter.  He handed both to Hutch.  “Go ahead and have one.  Gimme a minute.”

 

Hutch had never touched cigarettes.  Unless you count the joint I had my freshman year of college, he silently commented.  As Huggy began readying the bed and made other preparations, Hutch lit one of them and even with the burning of his throat, it did the trick in relaxing him more.

 

While Huggy was in the bathroom, Hutch stuck the smoke in his mouth and sat down in the nearby chair.  He kicked off his shoes and pulled off the socks.  He leaned back and took a few more drags off the cigarette.  Upon hearing the bathroom door, Hutch straightened and started unbuttoning his shirt.

 

“No, man, don’t do that.”

 

Hutch’s eyes went to Huggy.  All he wore was his pants and the lean dark body made him more curious.  He’d never been with a black man before.  This man was different.  So appealing he was that Hutch’s cock bobbed its approval.

 

Huggy took the smoke from Hutch’s lips, inhaled then snubbed it out in an ashtray.  He pulled Hutch’s hand and brought him to his feet.  The first touch was almost Hutch’s undoing.  A quick flash of Van screeching about their small apartment was enough to bring the stiff member under control.

 

His breathing became a little heavier when Huggy started the process of removing Hutch’s shirt.  The fingers on his skin caused him to warm and he had to suppress the urge to take the man into his arms.  Hutch wanted this to last a long time and he prayed it would.

 

A spell overcame him as the shirt fell to the floor.  He breathed even harder at Huggy’s approval.  “Damn, you are one fine man.”

 

The voice inside of Hutch refused to speak and when Huggy stepped in even closer, he relished the warmth and closeness.  When Huggy’s lips found that tender place where his neck and shoulder met, Hutch moaned.  He held onto Huggy’s hips as the mouth worked its magic.

 

Yeah, this is it.  What he needed and wanted forever and a day was happening now in this room.  Hutch was in his comfort zone and all barriers came down as Huggy worked his magic.

 

“All blond and all mine,” Huggy whispered into Hutch’s ear.  “Do I got you for the entire night?”

 

“Yeah,” Hutch breathed.  “All night.”

 

“I’ll need it,” Huggy chuckled in a low voice and continued his pleasurable task.

 

Hutch couldn’t take it any longer and began pushing Huggy towards the bed.  They both sat at the same time and Huggy put Hutch to his back.  His mouth began its work downward and once at the nipple, Hutch arched his back and groaned his appreciation.

 

Huggy moved further on top of Hutch as he tongued the golden skin.  He almost grinned when Hutch began his own exploration by running hands on top of his head to his neck and shoulders.  The fevered breathing, tangy skin and sandalwood aroma were heaven and Huggy intended to take full advantage of this treasure lying beneath him.

 

He moved further down and his chest rested on Hutch’s crotch.  He dipped his tongue into the navel and the sensitive response pleased Huggy.  He could feel the hard mound digging into his sternum.  He needed to slow him down. 

 

Huggy slid lower and was at his knees.  He looked at the rapture on Hutch’s sweat-covered face.  He took the brief moment to run his hands up Hutch’s long thighs to his chest.  His own body reacted with impatience as he went to the dark nipples.  They rose immediately under his ministration.

 

The outside world ceased to exist the moment Huggy dragged his hands back down to the button on Hutch’s jeans.  The cock had grown considerably and the moment he opened the snap a sigh of relief escaped Hutch.  Eagerness threatened his impatience and as he pulled the zipper down the jeans opened up. 

 

When Huggy pulled the pants down dragging the underwear with them he was delighted in seeing Hutch’s cock spring to life at newfound freedom.  He tossed them aside and moved farther up.  Huggy admired the erection.  “Damn, you put a nigger to shame.”

 

Hutch was dying a thousand deaths just from the anticipation alone.  His hands went to the spread and turned into fists grasping the cover.  “Yeah,” he encouraged when Huggy took hold of his hard dick.

 

Pumping on the erection, Huggy was just as eager as his new lover.  His own cock was begging for release, but he could take the time.  From all indications, Hutch couldn’t.  Just in the short amount of time they’d been together, he’d put the story together.  The dying anticipation on the man’s face told him it’d been a while.

 

When the hot mouth took him, Hutch almost flew off the bed.  The lips and the hand worked simultaneously to bring him to the edge.  He wondered how long his body would be there.  On one hand it was hard to take and on the other he wanted it to last forever.  He was flying and when he didn’t think he could go higher, he did. 

 

“Goddamn,” Huggy whispered.  “You’re so damn hot.”  He ran his tongue along the underside of the cock until it reached Hutch’s sac then drew a testicle between his lips.  Huggy wanted to chuckle at the obscenity of pleasure which escaped Hutch as he rolled it around his mouth.

 

Huggy pulled away and changed his position on the bed.  He licked Hutch’s nipple then raised his head.  He brought his free hand to Hutch’s mouth and watched as the blond sucked on his two fingers until they were moistened to his satisfaction.

 

Hutch looked into Huggy’s eyes and licked his lips.  The brown eyes glittered with desire.  Spreading his legs wider, his eyes never wavered.  His head fell back when a digit began probing his center.  He felt the long slim finger work its way inside and widened his legs further to enable access. 

 

When his lover moved his butt for more probing, Huggy indulged him with a second finger.  “Shit, yeah,” Hutch said in a low voice.  “More.”

 

The sensations doubled with a mouth on Hutch’s cock and two fingers in his ass.  He rocked back and forth taking in and pulling out.  It had been too damn long and Hutch was lost in the heat of the moment.  Please, last all night, he silently begged.

 

Huggy’s tongue snaked out and he took more of Hutch’s cock into his mouth.  The act was Hutch’s undoing and when his entire erection was embedded deep into Huggy’s mouth the throat moved.  “Fuck!”  A wild orgasm exploded and continued for an eternity it seemed like.  His hips bucked and the mouth milked the essence from him.

 

Hutch rolled his head back and closed his eyes.  “God, that was…”

 

“Yeah.”  Huggy grinned and moved up Hutch’s body.  “You carry some load, Hutch.  Damn near choked on it.”

 

“You okay?”

 

Huggy licked Hutch’s ear.  “You taste damn good.”

 

It was the first time Hutch had smiled in a while.  He put Huggy on his back and his hands went to the belt.  It took only seconds to remove the pants and when Hutch saw the large organ he stared.  The long black erection was almost menacing in appearance, but the temptation was as enticing as sweet chocolate.

 

Hutch tilted his head as he took the cock in hand.  He ran his fingers along taking in every detail. 

 

“Ain’t ever had one of these before?” Huggy questioned.  He could tell Hutch didn’t want to voice it for fear of offending him.  “A big black cock normally scares the shit out of white folks.”

 

Hutch wrapped his hand around the member.  “Is it true what they say about never going back?”

 

Huggy’s chuckle was low and dirty.  “Wouldn’t know.  I never asked.”  He sat back on his elbows and watched Hutch’s exploration.  While his body ached for release, Huggy wasn’t about to stop him.  This was someone he could get used to and he hoped the feeling was mutual.  It would take more than one night to tire of Hutch.

 

It was a heady taste as Hutch began a slow lick along the underside.  Huggy’s groan of pleasure made him smile.  He had yet to explore the entire body, but was in no hurry.  This was going to be an all night venture.

 

He had never taken a cock all the way in his mouth to his throat before and Hutch wasn’t sure if he could do it with this monster.  Rather than make the effort tonight and possibly ruin the mood, he decided taking what he could, loving it and giving pleasure was the best course of action.

 

The voyaging with his mouth on the erection was purposeful and erotic as hell.  Hutch took what he could and used his tongue to heighten the sensation.  Given the moans of pleasure and words of encouragement, he knew he was doing more than an adequate job.  Tasting a hard willing cock was something Hutch had missed.  Previous encounters were usually brief and not many were in a bed.  It was mostly groping and rubbing with whispered pleasure.

 

“Okay, man…enough,” Huggy lightly warned.  “I’m not ready to blast off yet.  I want a handful of that fine ass.”

 

Willing to accommodate, Hutch moved farther back on the bed and propped his head on a pillow.  He was surprised to realize the lamp light was still on.  Hutch made no move to turn it off.  He wanted it on.  Watching the firm lean body coming towards him, Hutch’s dick twitched in anticipation.

 

Huggy got into the bed next to him and Hutch rolled next to him.  Their hands covered each other’s bodies and took in every contour and line.  Huggy twisted away and opened the drawer to the small nightstand.  He found the lube and removed the cap.

 

Hutch took the tube from him.  “Let me.”

 

He squeezed a small amount on his hand and when Huggy moved to his back, Hutch proceeded to ready the black cock for him.  It was big and might hurt some.  It had been a while and his body might rebel, but Hutch’s want was past that. 

 

When Hutch finished, Huggy set the lube aside and moved to his knees.  He maneuvered his blond to his side and scooted in next to him.  Huggy brought his fingers to Hutch’s opening and probed even more until he had three fingers inside stretching to help pave the way.

 

He lifted Hutch’s leg, moved his hips until his cock was well-positioned.  Once he began, Huggy saw that there was still some tightness and pushed on.  The head went in and Hutch groaned.

 

It hurt more than what Hutch expected.  Not deterred in the least he moved to enable more of Huggy’s erection inside of him.  Needing more stimulation, Hutch brought his free hand to his cock and pumped on it several times as the hard member worked its way inside.  The added stimulation helped and once Huggy was firmly in place, the added pressure to his prostrate furthered his pleasure.

 

Huggy began slow and easy.  He was concerned about the amount of pain, but when Hutch answered every thrust with an equal and opposite movement, the pleasure became apparent.

 

The mixture of plain and pleasure was a great aphrodisiac for Hutch.  He wanted more, needed more and kept up with the pace.  His cock was coming alive once again and as the heat built inside of him Hutch hurried for more.

 

Huggy was getting too damn close too fast.  The tight ass had his erection in a grip and wasn’t about to relent.  He pushed Hutch onto his stomach and rolled with him never breaking the rhythm.  He grabbed onto Hutch’s shoulders and began pounding into him with no letting up.

 

Hutch was yelling his pleasure/pain.  He arched his back and closed his legs. 

 

Huggy repositioned his own long legs outside of Hutch’s body and kept moving.  The tightness increased and he growled as his orgasm was being heightened and pulled in agonizing gratification.

 

Hutch’s cock was at complete attention and Huggy’s thrusting into him caused the friction to increase along with the sexual high he was feeling.  He was going to come again.  God, this was it.  The fury of his wantonness doubled.  “Goddamn!  I’m gonna…!” 

 

After several more hard thrusts, Huggy orgasmed and the ass clenched taking more from him.  “Fuck, yeah!”

 

It was immediate that Hutch found his second release in the tangled sheets.  Both men collapsed with their sweaty bodies fused together in the aftermath of their sexual frenzy.

 

Huggy was slow to extract himself from Hutch’s body, then rolled off.  He got to his feet and put a hand on the wall to steady himself.  “Bro, if that’s an indication of what’s to come tonight, I’ll die an old man by morning.”

 

Hutch laughed a little and grabbed hold of a pillow.  He turned to his back and watched Huggy cross the room to a compact fridge in the corner.  He propped himself up on the pillow as his lover came back with two cold beers.  Hutch took one and accepted a cigarette as well.

 

The both got comfortable on the bed with beers and smokes.  Huggy took a long drag then looked at Hutch.  “Been a while, huh?”

 

“Yeah.”  Hutch took a drink from the bottle.  “It’s been crazy.”

 

“Normal thing to do is not getting personal.”

 

“In situations like these?” 

 

The corner of Huggy’s mouth came up in a half smile.  “Go for it.”

 

Hutch inhaled the smoke, then blew it out.  “Finals are coming up, boss wants me fulltime and...”

 

“And it’s been a while,” Huggy added.

 

“Yeah,” Hutch admitted.  He toyed with the cigarette in his fingers.  “This is where either I fuck, get fucked or tell the world to get fucked.”

 

“Sometimes all of the above.”

 

Hutch shrugged his shoulders and drank more of the cold beer.  The sweat was starting to dry and his sated body relaxed even further.  “Only when it’s possible.”

 

“Double lives certainly suck, m’man.”

 

“You, too?”

 

Huggy shook his head.  “Not really, but I seen enough.  White breads like you trying to be who they want to be, but they ain’t even when they are.”

 

“Is that what you think I am?”

 

“Not sure, yet.  Time’ll answer that question.”

 

“If I’ve got a story, you sure as hell have one, Huggy.”

 

With a laugh, Huggy shook his head.  “Tell me yours and I’ll tell you mine?”

 

“You’ve been around enough to know mine.”

 

“Lifestyles of the poor and androgynous works for me.  I ain’t got no one to answer to except for the mirror I see every morning.”

 

Hutch lowered his eyes and used the cigarette to push the ash around in the ashtray.  “Makes life easier, don’t it?”

 

“Mine ain’t so complicated as most.”

 

“I’ve drawn a perfect line,” Hutch told him.  “It’s clearly marked and the two sides will never know the other exists.”

 

“How long has that strategy worked for you?”

 

“Long enough.”  Hutch’s smile was half-hearted.  “I have no trouble separating the two.”

 

“And the rest of the world sees the perfect all-American golden boy,” Huggy added.

 

“Only because it’s what they want to see.”  Hutch put the cigarette out after taking a final drag.  He tipped the bottle and finished it off.  He set the items on the nearby nightstand.

 

Huggy’s eyes sparkled with want as he leaned towards Hutch.  “I think the after-fucking conversation is over.”

 

Hutch gave him a knowing smile.  “We’ve talked too much as it is.”

 

They explored every inch of each other’s bodies throughout the remainder of the night.  There was no holding back on Hutch’s part and he relished the freedom to explore, satisfy and be satisfied.  Without the heavy restrictions on his other life, this one offered him much more in the way of release and comfort.

 

The sun was just beginning to rise when both men decided it was time to end the interlude.  Hutch grabbed a final cigarette and lit it.  He sat to put his shoes on and glanced up to see Huggy buttoning his shirt.  “Listen, if you ever want to get together again…”

 

“I’m one step ahead of you.”  Huggy pulled a card out of his pocket.  “When the need hits, just call this number.  We’ll hook up here if you want.”

 

Hutch took the card.  “Yeah, I’d like that.”

 

“I don’t give that out to just anybody.  Don’t forget it.”

 

After slipping the card in his pocket, Hutch stood and picked up his jacket.  “Huggy, thanks.”

 

“I ought to be thanking you, Hutch.  Finest sex I’ve had in a while.  The wet dreams will be uncontrollable,” Huggy finished with a grin.

 

Hutch chuckled.  “Same here.  Take care.”

 

“Be seein’ you.” 

 

Huggy watched him leave and shook his head.  He still wanted more time with the golden man.  He needed more nights…days, too, he mentally added.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Hutch almost groaned when he saw the used Rolls in their parking space.  He stepped out of the cab and after paying the driver, he hurried inside to the elevator.  It was a stylish apartment complex and cost him plenty.  He had wanted a house with a yard, but Van insisted on the upscale accommodations.  As expected, Hutch went along even against his better judgment.

 

Once in the apartment, Hutch saw his wife’s purse on the couch.  He stood in the hallway and undressed.  He was careful not to wake her as he walked into the room and even more so as he slipped in between the sheets.

 

“Where’ve you been?” was the accusatory question.

 

Hutch closed his eyes.  “Out.”

 

Van turned over and swept the dark hair back with her hand.  “All night?”

 

“When’d you get in?”

 

The battle lines were already drawn and she didn’t look to be giving an inch.  “Fine.”  Van rolled to her side with her back to Hutch.

 

He took a deep breath and chastised himself for being a jerk.  She had every right to question him.  Hutch leaned towards her.  “Van, I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t have stayed out so late.”

 

Vanessa pushed him away in disgust.  “God, you smell like cigarettes!”

 

Hutch considered apologizing again, but closed his mouth.  He moved away to the other side of the bed.  His mind went back to the night spent with Huggy and Hutch began calculating the next opportunity he’d have.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Over the next three months Hutch and Huggy had infrequent encounters with the busy schedule that always seemed to get in the way.  It was easy to keep the two lives he lived separate from one another.  Huggy, on the other hand, had no such duality. 

 

After a hellish week both at work and Van’s temperament, Hutch made the call and arrangements were made for that night.  His wife was headed to San Francisco for the weekend and seeing two whole days ahead alone with Huggy brought a smile to his face.

 

Hutch even considered bringing Huggy to the apartment, but quickly dismissed the idea.  It would violate the rules he had made plus word was bound to get around for the questionable company he kept.  The unspoken rule of the complex was exclusivity.

 

He was driving through one of the worst parts of the city on his way to a new meeting place when the traffic slowed down.  Much to Van’s displeasure Hutch found a beaten old Ford flatbed pickup.  He liked the vehicle and was pleased when she swore never to set foot in it.  He cared less about the disapproving looks from other tenants and his coworkers.  He was proud of the act of rebellion.

 

What got his attention was the ambulance blocking one lane of traffic and sitting behind it was the police car.  On the sidewalk was a uniformed officer speaking with a distraught woman holding an infant.  Coming up behind them was another one with a greasy haired man in dirty jeans with hands cuffed behind his back.

 

Hutch was mesmerized by the entire scene.  He was moved beyond degrees he could describe by the way the victim, he assumed, was comforted with a gentle hand to the shoulder and the touching of the infant she held.  Seeing what he believed to be the perpetrator set in the backseat of the police car Hutch saw an instance of making a difference that would likely make a profound impact on that woman’s life and possibly the baby she held as well.

 

He was witnessing a moment that he knew would remain with him for the rest of his days and it offered him something he knew he had to have.  What it was, Hutch couldn’t be sure.

 

The honking of the horn from the vehicle behind him got his attention and Hutch drove on.  The image remained with him and even after arriving at the bar to meet with Huggy, it still was at the forefront of his mind.

 

He spotted Huggy at the end of the bar talking with someone, but who he couldn’t tell with the crowd milling about.  Hutch reached him and his eyes went to the other man.  He faltered at seeing the man because of the intense attraction that hit him. 

 

“Hutch, didn’t think you were going to make it,” Huggy told him.

 

He tore his eyes away and glanced at Huggy.  “I got held up.”

 

“This is my good friend Dave Starsky.  Starsky, the original white bread himself, Ken Hutchinson who is more likely to answer to the name of Hutch.”

 

Hutch took a deep breath and held out his hand.  “Hi.”

 

“Hey, yourself,” Starsky said taking the outstretched hand.

 

Hutch regained control of his hormones.  Even as fascinated as he was, he could tell this man had no interest in the same sex.  But the wanting never subsided for Hutch.  Tight faded denim left little to the imagination and the sumptuous dark curls were enticing.  Starsky’s dark blue eyes danced with mischief and when Hutch looked into them he could easily be lost.

 

Huggy took the opportunity to motion towards the pool table.  “Hey, Starsky, that table you wanted is going to be opening up in a few.”

 

“Oh, yeah.”  Starsky straightened.  “Be right back.”

 

After he was gone, Huggy moved close to Hutch.  “I got a call a few minutes ago.  Seems my cousin saw fit to run off with the reverend’s daughter.”

 

“To where?”

 

“Vegas.  They think they’re in love.”  Huggy rolled his eyes.  “I’ve been appointed the unenviable task of retrieving the lovebirds so they can face the fury of their very uptight parents.”

 

Hutch knew his disappointment was showing.  “So tonight’s off.”

 

“Considering how big Vegas is and my limited resources in that fine city I’d say the rest of the weekend is out of the question.”

 

To say Hutch was let down was an understatement.  He took a smoke from Huggy’s pack and lit it.  “It’s okay, Hug.  It’ll give me a chance to catch up on the rest of the world.”

 

The light chuckle from Hutch was telling.  Huggy was discouraged himself.  He had been looking forward to a night of hot sex and the interesting discussions they’d had in the past.  Hutch’s personal life remained off-limits.  It was the bigger questions of life they discussed which crossed politics, religion and much larger issues.  Even the little shit wasn’t immune to their appraisal.

 

Huggy prided himself on his ability to walk away from anything and anyone when the moment called for it.  But Hutch was a walking contradiction.  One life was the process of building the all-American dream of being a lawyer and inheriting the family fortune.  The other was behind closed doors and Hutch expressed physically and intellectually all that he suppressed in his other life.  He had to admit it.  Loving Hutch was getting easier and Huggy couldn’t call it off.  He didn’t want to.  He had no problem with being greedy as far as whom he called ‘his blond’ was concerned.

 

They both looked up at Starsky’s approach.  “You two want to join me in a game of pool?”

 

Huggy gave Hutch’s shoulder a meaningful squeeze.  “Go ahead, Hutch.  I’ve got family business to deal with.”

 

“Sure.”  Hutch didn’t mind at all.  In fact, he was looking forward to getting to know this intriguing man more.  “I’ll buy you a beer.”

 

For the next hour Starsky and Hutch played pool, traded light-hearted barbs and they both grew comfortable in the easy presence of the other.  After getting some beer, they headed to a corner booth and sat across from each other.

 

“You gave me a run for my money,” Starsky told him.

 

“You’re a natural.”  Hutch grinned and lifted the glass.  “It’ll take a while before I can actually beat you.”

 

“Only if you can afford it.”

 

Hutch chuckled.  “I’ll be sure to practice.”

 

“How long have you known Huggy?”

 

“A few months.”  Hutch was careful with his words and made the decision to keep it as vague as possible.  “You?”

 

“About a year.  A guy at my uncle’s garage is friends with him.”  Starsky finished off his beer, then pulled a cigarette out of his pocket.  After lighting it, he glanced at Hutch.  “I was thinking of hitting a drive-in tonight.  Wanna go?”

 

“What’s playing?”

 

Starsky shrugged.  “Don’t know.”

 

“Sure.” 

 

Starsky stepped out of the booth and started heading for the door.  He looked over his shoulder at Hutch.  “I’ll warn you.  I’m using my aunt’s car until the brake work on mine is finished.”

 

They stepped outside and Hutch looked at his old pickup.  “Let’s take mine.”

 

Seeing the ten year old vehicle with dents and rust, Starsky froze.  “This heap is yours!”

 

Offended, Hutch stepped in front.  “Easy, now.  She’s got a sensitive disposition.”

 

“You sure she’s got one?  Looks like it’s been beaten into submission.”

 

Starsky’s first name escaped Hutch’s memory for some reason.  “Starsky, it would make more sense to take it.  I’ve got a blanket under the seat and we can sit in relative comfort in the back.  There’s even an ice chest we can fill with ice, beer and whatever else you’d like.”

 

The idea had some appeal and would be by far more comfortable than the old worn out seats in his aunt’s car.  “Okay.”

 

An hour later, both were comfortable in the back of the pickup while ‘The Sound of Music’ played on the large screen in front of them.  Hutch liked the musical and Starsky groaned at having to sit through it before ‘The Man With The X-ray’ eyes came on.

 

Starsky’s eyes traveled to his companion.  He started at the long legs and stopped at the light blond hair.  “You don’t seem the type.”

 

“Type?”

 

“Yeah.”  Starsky handed Hutch a cigarette and took one for himself.  “A drive-in, beat up old pickup and having Huggy for a friend.”

 

Hutch lit the smoke.  “What type am I?”

 

“Suits, champagne and the other finer things in life.”  He lifted the bottle to his lips.  “Am I wrong?”

 

“No,” Hutch admitted.  “I’ll be working in my father’s firm once I finish law school.”

 

“You don’t look too happy about it.”  He watched Hutch shrug his shoulders.  “You want to do something else?”

 

The image from earlier in the day came to mind.  “M’ not sure.  My wife certainly wouldn’t be thrilled with a change of heart.”

 

“You being happy with yourself seems like it should be important.”

 

“What about you?”

 

Starsky sat forward and picked up his beer.  “I work at my uncle’s garage, do some moonlighting at a bar and whatever else I can to scrape a few bucks together.”

 

“Sounds more interesting than law school.”

 

“It’s not, because I don’t want to still be doing it at fifty.”

 

Hutch stared at Starsky for a moment.  An idea was forming, well already had, but he saw someone needing more just as he did.  Starsky interrupted his thoughts.

 

“When I was a kid my Ma sent me out here to live with my aunt and uncle.  I was a handful back then and I got straightened out with the help of a neighbor.  He and his wife didn’t have any kids and I suppose I was close enough.  Anyway, he’s a cop.”

 

Heart pounding excitement burst forward in Hutch’s chest.  He could see it in Starsky’s eyes.  “You want to be a cop?”

 

“Been thinking about it for a while.”

 

“Jesus, Starsky, just today on my way over I saw some police officers and had an epiphany!”

 

“Serious?”  At Hutch’s nod, Starsky was amazed at the coincidence.  He knew it was much more than that.  “I can talk to Johnny.  He’d probably point us in the right direction of what we need to do.”

 

“I’ll go to the academy and pick up the applications.”

 

“I can’t believe this.”  Starsky’s face lit up with a wide grin.  “We can go and be cops.  Maybe even room together.”

 

Hutch smiled at the idea, then remembered.  His physical attraction to Starsky was still there and he’d have to keep it in check.  He had no doubt that it would pass.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Hutch questioned the sanity of taking a day off of work without telling Vanessa.  After getting the applications and discussing it with Starsky, they agreed to meet and complete them together.  From what Starsky’s neighbor had said the next rotation was due to start in a month and he would put in a word to help expedite the process.

 

He saw Starsky at a booth sipping on a cola and crossed the bar.  He scooted in and set his briefcase on the table.  “I’m ten minutes early.  How long have you been waiting?”

 

“Almost half an hour.  I couldn’t hack waiting it out at home.”  Starsky eyed the briefcase.  “What’s that for?”

 

“Considering how much work is ahead of us I thought being organized would help.”

 

“Good idea.”  He nervously played with the cigarette while Hutch opened up the briefcase and set out the papers.  He was handed a couple of pencils.  “We’re supposed to fill these out in ink.”

 

“We will after using pencils.  It saves on mistakes and the applications look neater.”

 

“Oh.”  Starsky set his smoke in the ashtray and pulled an application closer.  He picked up the pencil and started.

 

Hutch stilled and looked at his friend.  “You’re left-handed.”

 

“Yep.”  Starsky raised his eyes.  “And?”

 

“Nothing.  I just don’t know many.”

 

Starsky set the pencil down and leaned forward.  “I don’t have horns growing anywhere and I don’t cast spells.  I ain’t even got an evil eye.”

 

“Is that what you’ve been told?”

 

“Ma warned me about the old wives tales floating around.  I like to dispense with them right off the bat.”

 

Hutch kept his smile hidden.  “Makes sense.”  He really liked Starsky.  The simplicity in his eyes and thoughtfulness of the man brought forth a soothing feeling.  His presence was so powerful and when entering a room Hutch was sure everyone noticed.  How could anyone not? 

 

He managed to keep the physical attraction in check since their meeting.  He’d been attracted to straight men before and putting the feelings in their proper place had never been a problem.  It wouldn’t be this time.  He valued the new friendship too much.

 

Before Hutch could begin to start on his application he looked up at Huggy motioning to him.  “Be right back.”

 

Starsky didn’t look up as Hutch crossed the room to Huggy.  “I thought you were out of the city for the day.”

 

“Canceled.”  Huggy glanced across the bar to Starsky who was concentrating on his task.  “I’ve got a free night.”

 

The tenseness in Hutch’s shoulders and the familiar urge still ran through him.  The week of making this major change in his life without telling anyone was straining.  Tonight was the night Van usually met her friends at the country club.  “It’ll be late.”

 

“I’ll keep the bed warm.”

 

Hutch made plans to have dinner with Starsky and he didn’t want to break them.  “About eleven give or take.”

 

A nod was all it took and Hutch went back to the booth.  He grabbed the pencil and started on his name.

 

“What’d Huggy want?” Starsky asked without looking up.

 

“Oh, I told him I’d help with some legal advice from a soon-to-be former law student.” 

 

Hutch was glad Starsky didn’t question him any further.  The lie settled deep in the pit of his stomach and the guilt began as a tiny lump.  He hoped he wouldn’t have to lie too often.  Starsky didn’t deserve it. 

 

He considered questioning Huggy about Starsky, but decided against it.  It was clear David Starsky was as straight as they come.  He watched the man conquer the women with a flourish.  They fell so easily for his charms and at times Hutch found himself enthralled.

 

Besides, discussing it with Huggy would violate the careful rules Hutch had in place.  He had only expressed a few basics such as a wealthy family, law school and the job he hated.  He never discussed former lovers, family or even Van.  There was no way Hutch was about to move the distinct line he drew between each world. 

 

 

~*~

 

 

Upon arriving at Huggy’s apartment, Hutch took in the mediocrity of the building.  It wasn’t upscale and trendy.  It was just a normal apartment building with none of the bells and whistles his place offered. 

 

After knocking on the door, he heard Huggy’s voice and opened it.  When he stepped inside Huggy sat on the couch with a glass of scotch in hand.  “You got the good stuff, didn’t you?”

 

“Good scotch is much harder to come by than what the general public is aware of.”  Huggy raised his glass.  “Help yourself.”

 

Hutch moved to the small bar and his eyes went to the bed against the far wall.  The sheets were turned down and lube lay innocently on the nightstand.  He made a drink then turned.  He stood in the middle of the room and sipped his drink.

 

His cock stirred in anticipation at the sight of Huggy wearing a red silk robe.  He sat with a casual look on his face, but his legs sat apart.  Hutch almost smiled when he saw that his lover wore nothing underneath.  He finished off the drink and set the glass aside.

 

Hutch crossed the room and got to his knees in front of Huggy.  Leaning forward he took the silk strap in hand and slowly pulled until it was undone.  The black cock taunted and teased him.  Hutch couldn’t resist taking it in hand.

 

Being on his knees in this way gave him power.  He felt strong and confident as a man.  Those who denounced this act between men had no idea what they were talking about.  The knowledge of what he could do, wanted to do went to Hutch’s head and he was drunk from the dominance he felt over this man before him.

 

With no hesitation on his part, Hutch took the large organ in his mouth and Huggy’s groan encouraged him on.  This night he would take control and be the one to make the ebony body sweat under him.

 

He sucked on the cock, played with the heavy balls until Huggy came into his mouth.  Hutch swallowed it all greedy for the taste.  He continued pumping and taking as much liquid inside of his mouth until there was no more. 

 

Licking his lips, Hutch got to his feet and helped Huggy to his.  He pushed the robe off and tossed it on the couch.  After guiding his lover to the bed, sitting him down, Hutch began undressing.  Eager for the coupling, his dick hardened almost immediately. 

 

The tightness in jeans was starting to grow to a discomforting level and as soon as Hutch removed them, he sighed in relief.  He pushed Huggy to his back and crawled onto the hard body then lowered his head to the black nipple.

 

After sucking, licking and biting it to hardness, Hutch worked to Huggy’s neck and continued until he had positioned the man to his stomach.  With his hands on Huggy’s hips, he encouraged him to his knees.

 

Hutch reached for the lube and dabbed some on his fingers.  He pushed the longest digit inside of the tight rectum and began breathing heavy as Huggy moved back against him.  A pace was set and Hutch inserted another finger with ease.  He could put in a third, but there was no reason to.  Huggy was more than ready as was he.  His cock was heavy with want and leaked.

 

He withdrew his hand and positioned himself behind Huggy.  His cock met the opening and Hutch pushed.  With erotic wonder, he watched the head enter the black body. 

 

“Shit, yeah,” Huggy murmured.  Being filled up by Hutch in such a way was bringing him to the edge much quicker than he was prepared for.

 

Even with the sexual clamp the firm ass had on his dick, he pushed onward.  When he was firmly seated inside of Huggy, Hutch’s head fell back and he moaned.  “Damn.”

 

Huggy took Hutch by surprise by moving against him and in a matter of seconds they were thrusting and moving against each other hunting for that familiar orgasmic high.  Their pace doubled and Hutch gripped Huggy’s hips as he pounded into him.  He erupted inside the hot sweaty body and voiced his pleasure at such a powerful release.

 

When Huggy still hadn’t found satisfaction, Hutch reached around and took the heavy cock in hand.  It only took a few thrusts for Huggy’s seed to find it way onto his hand and the sheets beneath them.  He pulled away and both men fell to the bed sated and covered in perspiration.

 

After a few deep breaths, Hutch pushed up and swung his feet to the edge of the bed.  Unmindful of his nudity, he stood and went into the living room.  He searched his pockets and found the pack of cigarettes.  By the time he reached the bed, Huggy had returned as well with two beers.

 

They got on the bed and shared the brews and smokes.  Huggy took a long drag and glanced at Hutch.  “You and Starsky are going to be cops.”

 

Hutch wasn’t quite sure how he felt about hearing Starsky’s name at this moment.  Starsky was a part of his straight world even though it was Huggy who had introduced them.    He didn’t want this melding of the two.  He’d have to figure it out later.  “The next rotation starts in two weeks.  The paperwork will be pushed through so making it shouldn’t be a problem.”

 

Huggy studied him.  He couldn’t put his finger on it, but there was a distinct change in Hutch’s mood.  “I take it to mean our late night rendezvous will even be less infrequent.”

 

“Come on, Hug.  You of all people know that cops making it with another man won’t cut it.”

 

“Don’t have to educate me, m’man.”  Huggy inhaled the smoke.  “Just say the word.”

 

“Yeah.”  Hutch took a long drink from the beer.  He looked at the cigarette in his hand.  “Would you make it with a cop, Hug?”

 

Huggy looked at Hutch out of the corner of his eye.  “Looks like I will be.”

 

With a chuckle, Hutch finished off the smoke.  “There will be a few dry spells so don’t wait on me.”

 

It was on the tip of Huggy’s tongue to tell Hutch he would wait, but kept quiet.  This thing with the white-bread from Minnesota was turning into more than just a couple of guys getting their rocks off.  He didn’t know what to think about that.  Telling Hutch was certainly out of the question.  The rules had been set and laid almost from the beginning. 

 

Huggy knew he’d be pushing it if he tried to get anymore personal at this point.  Hutch didn’t want or need the entanglements.  While Huggy’s feelings may be growing, and he refused to admit even to himself they had, Hutch’s wouldn’t.  His lover wouldn’t allow it.  Huggy didn’t have to question it. 

 

If Hutch had wanted a relationship out of the open, Huggy would certainly oblige him.  It seemed Hutch refused to accept this part of his life.  It only existed to bring some sanity to living with the urges society deemed unacceptable and an abomination.  As pure and innocent as Hutch looked, Huggy had no doubt he had been raised with the harsh teachings about the unacceptability of homosexuality.  So into the closet it went and there it would stay.

 

He watched Hutch searching for his clothes and he debated asking him to stay for the night.  If staying was an option he would.  There were few nights when the sex lasted so long.  But with responsibilities waiting for him in his straight world, Hutch would give them priority.  This came second which meant Huggy came in second.

 

After Hutch was gone, Huggy found his robe on the floor and slipped it on.  He picked up the expensive bottle of scotch and poured a drink.  Chastising himself for acting like some needy wench, his smile was a bitter one.  He knew the score going into this thing.  He’d suck it up and take it.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Hutch slipped the key into the mailbox and opened it.  He’d been leaving work in the late afternoon for the past week to check the mail before Van got home.  He still hadn’t told her and felt the coward for not doing so from the beginning.  The plan was to have everything set in stone before letting anyone else know.  Hutch had to mentally prepare himself for the negative reactions he was sure to get.

 

He pulled out the mail and grimaced at the credit card bills.  Spending habits will have to change, Hutch thought.  Since his marriage to Vanessa, his father had subsidized their income with a generous monthly allowance.  Most of it went to Vanessa’s lavish lifestyle.

 

When he saw the police academy insignia on a letter, Hutch’s heart almost stopped.  With nervous fingers he opened it and as he read the decision he restrained himself.  He wanted nothing more than to jump and yell to celebrate the good news.  Starsky had been telling him not to worry.  There was no reason why they wouldn’t get accepted and with the date set in two weeks, he wouldn’t have much time.

 

Hutch shoved the letter in his pocket and left.  He was almost to the pickup when he saw Starsky pull up in his aunt’s car.  He grinned when he saw him jump out and hurry over to him.  Starsky wore greasy coveralls and several large smudges were painted across his face.

 

“I got my letter, Hutch!  I thought you’d get yours…”

 

“I did.”

 

They both exchanged excited smiles and Starsky pulled Hutch to him.  Hutch was startled by the sudden show of emotion, but didn’t fight the embrace.  In fact he welcomed it and returned the hug.  The warm strong arms enveloped him.  Temptation was running through him, but what struck Hutch more than anything was the closeness he felt with Starsky.  A bond was growing and he wondered if Starsky could feel it as well.

 

When they pulled away and he looked into Starsky’s eyes, he could see it.  Their friendship had moved into a new phase with this journey they would be taking together.

 

The mood was broken by a long black car pulling to the curb.  Hutch frowned when he saw Vanessa stepping out and on the passenger side was Elizabeth Corey, a friend from their country club.

 

“Well,” Van said as she walked over.  “I didn’t expect to see you.”

 

They exchanged kisses on the cheeks and Hutch glanced at Starsky.  “Starsky, this is Vanessa.”

 

“It’s great to meet the Mrs. Hutchinson.”  He held his hand out and when he caught the distaste in her eyes, Starsky looked at his hand.  It was covered in grease.  He wiped it across his coveralls.  “Sorry, I ran over here from work.”

 

In an attempt to ease the awkwardness, Hutch stepped forward.  “We were making plans to get together tonight.”  Hutch’s eyes met Starsky’s and he hoped the hidden message to go along got through.

 

Vanessa eyed Starsky with curiosity.  She grinned like a Cheshire cat.  “Elizabeth and I were planning on going to the club for dinner tonight.  Hutch, why don’t you and your friend join us?”

 

Hutch could see the wheels turning in her head.  “What about that new dance club instead?  Starsky?”

 

Starsky’s eyes went from Hutch, to Vanessa, then to her friend.  “Sure, sounds like fun.”

 

Elizabeth pushed her thick brown hair from her eyes and smiled.  “I’d love it.  Sounds much better than the country club.”

 

Vanessa gritted her teeth, but managed to smile.  “It’s all set.  It’ll give Elizabeth and me an excuse to go shopping for something to wear.”

 

“How ‘bout if I meet the three of you there,” Starsky offered.  Self-conscious of his appearance, Starsky ran his hands over the dirty coveralls.  “About nine?”

 

“Sure, Starsky.”  Hutch shifted back and forth.  He didn’t trust Vanessa’s easy agreement.  “We’ll see you there.”

 

After Starsky left, Elizabeth went to the car to wait for Vanessa.  He watched her approach with mistrust. 

 

“What are you doing home so early?”

 

“I took a late lunch and came by for a different tie.”

 

Vanessa reached forward and ran her manicured nails over the tie.  “The same tie you picked this morning.”

 

“I haven’t made it inside yet.”  He knew she doubted what he was saying and it made little difference to him.  “I might be a little late.”

 

“Did you finally need a mechanic for that beast?” She asked.

 

“Starsky’s a friend.”

 

Vanessa folded her arms and tilted her head.  “Is he now?  He matches your taste in cars.”

 

“Van…”

 

“I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t have said that.”  Vanessa leaned in and kissed Hutch on the lips.

 

The affection was there and Hutch wanted to believe it.  “It’s okay.  Let’s just have a good time tonight.  We both could use it.”

 

Her eyes gleamed as she held her hand up.  “I promise to behave.”

 

Hutch’s laugh was a good natured one.  “So will I.”

 

 

~*~

 

 

The trendy club was packed with dancers of all types.  Hutch followed behind Vanessa and Elizabeth and after a quick scan, he found Starsky sitting at a table.  He guided the women over and when Starsky stood, Hutch was pleased with how well he looked.  He then realized the man had probably done a little shopping as well.

 

The jeans were brand new and Hutch was fairly sure the midnight blue shirt was as well.  He wore a simple black blazer, but the effect brought out his blue eyes even more and made his hair even darker than it already was.  He had to admit that Starsky had a magnetism all his own.  He glanced at Elizabeth and the approval was in her eyes.

 

Given the smile, he had no doubt she would fall under the weighty charms of his friend.  The women made their excuses and headed for the ladies room.  Hutch moved close to Starsky.  “Listen, there’s something I have to tell you.”

 

“Something wrong?”

 

“Vanessa doesn’t know.”

 

“Know what?”  When Starsky looked into Hutch’s eyes, the meaning was clear.  “You haven’t told her?  Why the hell not?”

 

“It’s complicated, but I planned on it tonight.  It’ll have to be tomorrow now.”

 

“Better be soon, buddy.  Any woman would have right to send you to the doghouse for keeping something like this to yourself.”

 

Hutch couldn’t agree more at this point.  “Don’t worry, she’ll know soon enough.”

 

The rest of the night passed in relative comfort.  Hutch was surprised at the wonderful time he and Vanessa were having together.  They got in some dancing and he was pleased to hold her close.  He was starting to think that maybe telling her about the police academy wouldn’t be as bad as he expected. 

 

Starsky had most of Hutch’s attention.  He knew the man was in the process of seducing Elizabeth and seeing it first hand was a unique experience.  He was attentive and as much of the gentleman as Starsky was being, he could see the little ways in which he was getting to her. 

 

The way Starsky would put his hand in the small of her back and guide her to and from the dance floor showed a level of intimacy.  He’d watch Starsky lean in close to her and whisper jokes into her ear.  By the end of the evening Elizabeth was under Starsky’s spell.  They were arm in arm, exchanging caresses and kisses.

 

Hutch thought her lucky as he watched them leave together at the end of the night.  When he and Vanessa arrived home, they both went to bed and while Hutch undressed his wife came in close and helped him finish.  She sat him on the bed then stood and was slow and sexy in how she removed her clothing.

 

Their lovemaking always varied.  At times it was slow and precise.  Other times it was frenzied and sweaty.  It always depended on Vanessa’s mood.  Tonight it was the care.  Hutch had no problem with her setting the pace and as he lay on his back, he watched as she did her seductive dance with his body.  She always knew what to do to get the most out of him.

 

After a few minutes, Hutch knew she was ready and he put her on her back.  After the preliminaries were finished she was making the right whimpers.  He slid into her and proceeded to fuck her.  At one time he could call it ‘making love’, but given how tempestuous their relationship was at times he could only call it fucking.  This woman underneath him would get what he would give any other woman.  He would give her what was expected.

 

 

~*~

 

 

By mid-morning, Vanessa pulled herself out of bed.  She grabbed her robe and slipped it on as she went to the bathroom.  When she finished, she went to the kitchen and started some coffee.  After the pot finished, she poured a cup and moved to sit at the table. 

 

Hutch’s blazer set on back of the chair she pulled out and as she sat her elbow hit on an envelope in the inside pocket.  Vanessa got it out and she looked curiously at the emblem on the front.  After opening the letter, he eyes widened with every sentence she read.

 

Furious, she clenched the paper in her hand, stood and stormed into the bedroom.  Hutch was still sleeping and her rage doubled at the sight.  She pushed on his shoulder.  “Ken.”

 

Hutch buried his face into the pillow with little reaction.  She pushed harder.  “Ken, wake up!”

 

He finally opened his eyes and rubbed them with the brightness hurting his eyes.  “What is it?”

 

“What the hell is this?”

 

Hutch’s vision cleared and he raised his head.  Vanessa held out the letter and he slowly sat up.  “You read it.  You know what it is.”

 

“You make a decision like this without consulting me!  How could you?”

 

Hutch got to his feet and went to the dresser.  “I did it because I already knew how the conversation was going to go.”  He found a pair of sweats and sat to put them on.  “You go ahead and start.  By the time I finished dressing you may have most of it out of your system.”

 

“Answer me, Ken!  I want to know why!”

 

He got to his feet then pulled the sweatpants up.  “I want to be a police officer, Van.”

 

“You’re going to law school!  It’s better!”

 

“Better for who?  You?”

 

“Stop with the damn games.”

 

Hutch threw his hands up.  “Fine.  I want to be a cop.  I can make a real difference.”

 

Vanessa headed out of the bedroom.  Over her shoulder she said, “You can make a difference as a lawyer.”

 

Clenching his fists, Hutch followed her into the kitchen.  “The kind of difference I want to make won’t happen in a courtroom.  Call it the Hutchinson genes, but I still like the law.  Being a police officer gives me that and the opportunity to help people.”

 

Vanessa picked up her coffee and leaned against the counter.  “No, it gives you a gun, bullet holes and a mediocre salary.” 

 

“Van, this is something I really want.  I need your support.”

 

“Support you in throwing our life away?  That’s what you’ll be doing, Ken.  Not just your life, but mine as well.”

 

“The only life you’re interested in is the one that gives you a country club membership, access to a six figure salary and prestige.”

 

“At least it’s a future!”  Vanessa stepped forward.  “It’s because of this friend of yours, isn’t it?”

 

“I was thinking about it before I met Starsky.”  It wasn’t far from the truth.  His epiphany had happened just minutes before meeting him, but there was no doubt in Hutch’s mind where it was leading.

 

“I know you too well, Ken.  He does have something to do with it, doesn’t he?”

 

“We both applied together.”

 

The cold smile on her face was only a small display of the ferocity of her emotions.  “So without saying a word you are changing your entire life and mine.  What about your father?  Have you told him any of this?”

 

“I will tonight when I call him.”

 

Vanessa stepped close to Hutch until they were almost nose to nose.  “Don’t you dare make me pay a price for your rash decisions.”

 

“I’ve thought this through, Van.”

 

“Excuse me while I doubt it!”  Vanessa’s eyes flashed with fury before swinging away from him.  She slammed the cup down on the table and started out of the room, then stopped.  “I won’t be penalized for your inability to come clean with the rest of the world.  Make sure of it when you talk to your father.”

 

Hutch moved to the kitchen chair after she left and lowered his head.  She expected him to insure the funds continued from his father and Hutch had no doubt how the conversation would go.  His father would be enraged over the sudden change and use the family money as leverage.  He wasn’t about to back down now.

 

He got up and grabbed the pot of coffee.  Vanessa would take care of it, Hutch thought snidely.  She would make her own call in a few days and after some crying he would grant whatever her heart desired.  His father believed Vanessa to be the right woman not to only give him grandchildren, but also to be a more than adequate asset to the Hutchinson family. 

 

The hope he had at this point was that being a police officer was everything he expected it to be.  He didn’t doubt the bad that would come with it, but the good would outweigh any drawbacks.

 

Hutch changed his mind about the coffee.  He went straight to the bedroom and dressed.  He needed Starsky’s support right now and that’s exactly what he was betting on.

 

 

~*~

 

 

As small as the cramped apartment was, Hutch was always impressed by its organization.  Starsky managed to have so much in such little space and the fact it never appeared that way impressed Hutch.  He strived for order as a student and working at the law firm, but outside of that, he cared little and only did enough to get by on. 

 

Hutch wasn’t crazy about the idea of hiring help to clean with Vanessa not working, but she insisted on it.  For that he was thankful since her skills at housekeeping and cooking left a lot to be desired.

 

He sat down on Starsky’s loveseat and listened to the noises coming from the bedroom.  Starsky had answered the door in a well-worn terrycloth robe and Hutch couldn’t hide the smile on his face at the sight of his unkempt partner.  He was like a little boy who had gotten caught with his Playboy magazines.

 

When the door opened, Hutch turned his head as Elizabeth walked out while buttoning her shirt. 

 

“Hi, Ken.”

 

“Morning, Elizabeth.  Have a good time?”

 

She had the good grace to blush as she picked up her purse.  “He’s something else, you know.”  Elizabeth started out the door, then stopped.  She fumbled through her purse.

 

Starsky came out of the bedroom and strode over to her.  He grinned as he held out his hand.  “Looking for these?”

 

Seeing her earrings, she smiled.  “Thank you, Dave.”  Elizabeth took them then moved in close.  “You can call me anytime.”

 

“I will, sweetheart.”  Starsky gave her a thorough kiss before sending her on her way.

 

Feeling rather proud of himself, Starsky sat on the couch next to Hutch and grinned.  “If I keep this up, I might become the son-in-law of a real estate developer.”

 

Hutch chuckled.  “Don’t hold your breath, lover boy.”  He leaned over.  “Elizabeth Corey has a real penchant for blue collar workers.”

 

“You’re just saying that.”

 

“Let’s see if I can remember them all.  There were the two construction workers at the new building her father had remodeled.  Then there was the truck driver in San Diego.  Oh, and the garbage man at the complex.  I think she spent two days in his trailer.”

 

“What are you saying?”

 

“She has a thing for the working class, Starsk.  In a week, it’ll probably be a bricklayer in Bakersfield.”

 

The disappointment was there for a brief moment, then it passed.  “Oh, well.  If I keep rubbing elbows with you I may wind up with the daughter of a bank president.”

 

Hutch laid his head back and closed his eyes.  “At the rate I’m going you’ll probably be rubbing elbows with me, prostitutes and pickpockets.”

 

“So you told her.”

 

“Yep, and I have no doubt at this moment the couch is being converted into a very fashionable doghouse.”

 

Starsky gave Hutch an affectionate nudge on the arm.  “She’ll get over it.”

 

“Only in hopes I change my mind.  I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s already on the phone with my father before I’ve had a chance to talk to him.”

 

“Hutch, they’re your family.  They may not be thrilled with the career change, but they’d still want you happy.”

 

“Yeah.”  Hutch got up from the couch and headed into the kitchen.  “Got anything to drink?”

 

“Orange juice and milk.  I haven’t made coffee yet.”  He turned his head and watched Hutch pull the juice out.  “Are you saying they don’t want you happy?”

 

“I’m supposed to be happy following my father’s footsteps.”  After pouring the juice, Hutch set the container back in the fridge.  “Anything else they’ll see as temporary insanity.”

 

“Maybe when Vanessa and your family see you happy they’ll accept it.”

 

Hutch walked into the living room and looked down at Starsky.  “You really believe that?”

 

“Yeah, I do.”  Starsky got to his feet and put his arm around Hutch’s shoulder.  “Instead of waiting for them to come around why not you do it instead, Hutch?  You might be surprised.”

 

He was surprised with the new perspective Starsky gave him.  While he didn’t hold out much hope for any of them, including his wife, Hutch would do as Starsky suggested.  He’d keep an open mind rather than writing them off so quickly.

 

The conversation with his father later in the evening went as Hutch expected.  The man was furious, but restrained.  Losing your temper was not a Hutchinson trait.  Hutch found himself wanting his father to blow his top, but it never came.  At least if his father did, Hutch could argue right back and get just as angry.  It finished with his father ordering him to get the desire to be a cop out of his system then go back to law school.

 

Between Vanessa and his father’s disapproval for his career change the pressure was building from the base of Hutch’s spine to the back of his neck.  He had been prepared to move out of the high-dollar apartment, but his father insisted on paying the rent for the time being since he wouldn’t allow for the extra funds.

 

It wasn’t in Hutch to argue.  He didn’t want the money at all, but Vanessa had made it clear.  Considering she was still showing her unhappiness with his decision Hutch thought it wise they remain where they were for the time being.  He’d have maybe a year, he speculated.

 

Knowing everyone was watching and waiting for him to change his mind, Hutch made the impulsive decision to go see Huggy.  He needed to get rid of the building frustration and the desire he knew was sure to starting being in such close quarters with so many men.

 

The coupling was fast and furious.  Huggy was upon him almost immediately and both hurried to get out of their clothes.  Hutch was against the wall and Huggy behind him driving the thrusts deep inside of him.  He swore he was going to be fucked into the next room.

 

Afterwards, both dressed and the conversation was short.  Hutch still had a few days before reporting to the academy.  He thanked Huggy for the words of encouragement and left.

 

 

~*~

 

 

The next several weeks were filled with classes and various types of training.  There was little down time and with every new piece of information concerning law enforcement strengthened Hutch’s resolve.  He was bound and determined to see it through no matter what.

 

Starsky surprised him, though.  While Hutch had some difficulty conforming to a military style way of life, his friend slid into it as if he was born to it.  He could understand it.  Starsky had been in the Army and got out just as most in his unit were preparing to go to Vietnam.

 

In the beginning they had been relegated to different rooms and in just a few short weeks, Starsky had managed to swap with Hutch’s roommate with little fuss.  Upon asking, his new roommate informed Hutch that getting things done on the police force was little different from the Army.  Come to find out later, Starsky had used a bottle of fifteen year old scotch to get the room assignment changed.  Hutch didn’t have to ask where it came from.

 

After the first few weeks, the trainees were allowed weekends off unless they were rotated to stay on duty at the academy.  Going home was a trial within itself.  Vanessa continued to make her displeasure known in a variety of ways.  At times she never appeared and other weekends she wouldn’t speak a single word to him.

 

One weekend, Vanessa served an incredible dinner Hutch was positive she had delivered and after a night of wine, teasing pleasure, they stumbled into bed wrapped in each other’s arms.  It had been a passionate night of lovemaking, but the following morning Hutch discovered it had been one more machination to change his mind.

 

Furious, he stormed out of the apartment and was almost to Huggy’s when he pulled off to the side of the road.  He wasn’t going to have a rendezvous with the man while at the academy.  Hutch turned the pickup around and headed back.

 

What made it all bearable was Starsky.  His friend picked up his spirits and before long they opened the books while Hutch explained habeas corpus.  They had both made a good friend by the name of John Colby whose cavalier attitude and practical jokes had bonded the three of them.

 

The three made academy history with their constant competitiveness.  Both Starsky and Hutch were shocked towards the end of the rotation by Colby dropping out and going off to war.

 

Graduation came and Hutch hid his disappointment of Vanessa or anyone from his family coming.  Instead, he found friendship with Starsky’s family who came in droves to see him graduate.  Hutch was asked to come along for a family dinner and he was hard pressed to say no.  After a quick call to the apartment and not getting an answer, Hutch went and spent the day getting to know Starsky’s family.

 

It was later that night out on the back porch of Starsky’s aunt and uncle’s home when he was handed a beer.  Hutch took the bottle from Starsky and opened it up.  “Got a cigarette?  I could use one.”

 

“Left them in my bags.  Aunt Rose doesn’t let anybody smoke around the house.”  Starsky sat on the chair next to Hutch.  “You okay?”

 

“Fine.  Why?”

 

“Your wife and your family didn’t come, Hutch.  That can’t be easy.”

 

Hutch shrugged his shoulders and took a drink.  “You shouldn’t have been surprised, Starsky.  They weren’t about to support it by showing up.”

 

“It’s supporting you they should be doing.”  Starsky played with the label on the bottle.  “I got this idea.”

 

“If it’s to get back at Sergeant Habersham for his making you polish all the balls from the pool table, leave me out of it.  You should’ve known better than to try and hustle him.”

 

Starsky grinned when he remembered.  He lost fifty bucks for the attempt.  “I’m gonna be at Metro and you’ll be over at the hills.  I was thinking that maybe we should be partners after we get put through the paces.”

 

“I think it’ll take more than a bottle of scotch on this one, buddy.”

 

“We’d have to do it right, Hutch.  We could both work on transferring to the same precinct.  It shouldn’t take much to make it happen.”

 

Hutch couldn’t think of a better person to partner up with.  Starsky had turned into not just a good friend, but a best one.  He could tell him anything…well, almost.  The other life had nothing to do with him so Hutch saw no reason to tell him about it. 

 

Starsky had proven his loyalty, caring, thoughtfulness and love in everything he did.  It was in every smile, look, question and every other aspect of the man.  Hutch had no doubt about Starsky’s ability or determination.  Having him for a partner would be the best he could ask for.  “Yeah, Starsk, I’d like that.”

 

 

~*~

 

 

When Hutch left the Starsky family he was on his way home when he made an impulsive decision.  He went home long enough to get out of the uniform and changed clothes.  Vanessa wasn’t there which was no surprise.  She’d continue to boycott the choice by not being there and he didn’t expect her home anytime soon. 

 

Upon arriving at the small bar, Hutch found Huggy sipping on a drink.  All it took was one look and both men were headed upstairs.  Once in the room, Huggy pushed Hutch against the wall, opened up his pants and got down on his knees.  Hutch almost came right there when his cock had a wet and willing mouth.

 

Little preparation was needed as Hutch turned the tables on Huggy by bending him over the dresser.  After lowering their pants, he drove his cock into the lean black man’s ass.  After only a few minutes, they finished and Hutch collapsed in a chair.

 

He took the offered cigarette and leaned his head back as he relaxed.

 

“So it’s official.”

 

Hutch turned his head towards Huggy.  “What?”

 

“I got fucked by a cop.”

 

A smile couldn’t be helped.  “Complaining?”

 

Huggy’s eyes danced with humor.  He toyed with the smoke in his hand.  “Nope.”

 

When Hutch finished his, he grabbed his pants and started to slide them on.  “Not often I’ll be able to get away like this.”

 

After dropping the cigarette in the ashtray, Huggy got off the bed and kneeled in front of Hutch.  His long black fingers ran along the limp penis.  “It’s not just any fucking with you, goldilocks.”

 

Hutch leaned back a little and watched Huggy’s expert hands work to bring his cock to life. 

 

Huggy leaned down and took the soft organ into his mouth.  He flattened his tongue and drew all of it in until it reached the back of his throat.  He pulled back and it dropped from his mouth.  “I was ready for you,” he told Hutch.

 

Thrusting his hips upward, Hutch hissed while Huggy worked his magic.  “Damn!”

 

“Made sure you could bend me over that dresser.”  Huggy pumped on the erection and looked at Hutch with heavy lidded eyes.  “You had it bad.  Almost as fucking bad as the first time.”

 

“Shit, Huggy!”

 

The lecherous smile on Huggy’s face tightened up Hutch’s balls and he spread his legs father in open invitation. 

 

“What do you want, Hutch?” Huggy taunted. 

 

The lick down the side of the cock tantalized him even more.  “You know it, damn it!”

 

“Say it.”  Huggy leaned in and sucked on a ball.  He rolled it around his mouth and was pleased at Hutch’s groan.

 

“Goddamn, Huggy!  Suck it!  Suck my fucking cock!”

 

Huggy’s chuckle was a low one.  “Yeah, that’s what it is.  A fucking cock.”

 

Hutch almost breathed a sigh of relief when Huggy took the engorged organ in his mouth.  It only took minutes for him to shoot his load and when Huggy finished he fell back on the bed.  “God, I’m wiped out.”

 

Huggy got to his feet and picked up Hutch’s pants.  “I thought it was about time to make use of my finer abilities.”

 

Hutch lifted his head when the pants were dropped in his lap.  He sat up and stuck one leg inside.  “I won’t forget.”

 

With a laugh, Huggy crossed the room and found his discarded clothes.  “That was the idea.”

 

 

~*~

 

 

The encounters were infrequent and it became the norm for Hutch and Huggy to get together for only a couple of hours.  Hutch never showed up in uniform even when it would have been easier.  He needed his cop life separate.  It was his straight life.

 

The first year as police officers passed quickly for both Starsky and Hutch.  They got together when they could, but with both men at separate precincts it made the prospects difficult.  When they did it was always the same.  Their bond was growing and it soon became the norm for the guys to talk on the phone at least once a day.

 

Vanessa came to loathe the uniform and the cop lifestyle.  She tried every maneuver possible to get Hutch to reconsider his career choice.  The last one had been only a few weeks ago and the nasty battle was enough to draw a complaint from two neighbors.  Since then the couple tolerated each other and the bedroom activities grew nonexistent.

 

“I was thinking.”

 

Hutch looked up and watched his wife using her fork to play with the food on her plate.  “What?”

 

“Maybe it’s time we consider having a baby.”

 

The fork dropped from Hutch’s fingers and seeing the hardness in Vanessa’s eyes he set it aside and grabbed his napkin.  “Sorry, it’s just that you never wanted to discuss it before.”

 

Vanessa leaned forward and rested her arms on the table.  “I shouldn’t have dismissed the idea.”

 

“Why the change of heart?”

 

“Why not?  Can you think of any reason not to?”

 

“Several.  I still don’t make a lot right now.  I would prefer a house and considering my hours aren’t stable enough for me to be home enough, I’d rather we wait a few years.”

 

She ran her finger on the top of the wine glass.  “Do you want children, Ken?”

 

“Of course I do, Van.  You know that.”

 

“You can get your job back at the law firm.”

 

Hutch dropped the napkin and picked up his glass.  “I already have a job.”

 

“A dangerous one.”

 

“Sometimes, it is.”

 

“Ken, if you quit no one would hold it against you.  The law firm…”

 

“Wait a minute.”  Hutch set his wine down.  “Did you talk to Harry?”

 

Vanessa averted her eyes for a moment, then brought them to Hutch.  “He wants you back and will pay you more money.”

 

Hutch got up out of his chair and left the dining room.  “I don’t believe this,” he muttered.  He could hear Vanessa coming up behind him.

 

“You can spend more time studying and he will help you graduate much sooner.”

 

Hutch rounded on her.  “That’s what this is all about?  Get me to quit by having a baby?”

 

“Why not?  People do it all the time.”

 

“Most don’t manipulate their spouses either, Van!”

 

Vanessa shook her head and rolled her eyes.  “God, Ken, quit being overdramatic.”

 

“When I’m being bribed with a baby, I don’t think I am!  I can’t believe you would do this!”

 

“What the hell am I supposed to do?  Watch you throw your entire life away?”

 

“I’m not throwing it away!” Hutch yelled.  “It wouldn’t matter what I was doing! You and the rest of my family would still see it that way!”

 

“This isn’t just about you!  You made a unilateral decision without talking to me first!  I’m your wife!  That should count for something!”

 

“Yes, I should have talked to you first.  I didn’t.  But what I want to do with my life should count, too.”

 

With pleading in her eyes, Vanessa went to Hutch.  She put her hands on his shirt.  “It does count, Ken.  We can do so much more together.”

 

Tired of the fight, Hutch asked, “What are you talking about?”

 

“I know I’ve been a disappointment to you as a wife.  I can be a much better one.  If you don’t want to go back to the law firm, talk to your father.  He’ll be more than happy…”

 

“Van…”

 

“Wait, Ken!”  Vanessa kept hold of Hutch’s shirt.  “Hear me out.”

 

Hutch took a deep breath and let Vanessa guide him to the couch.  When they sat, she took hold of his hand.  “You take another job…one that pays better and can support a family.  We’ll have a baby.  I promise, Ken, I’ll do better.  I’ll make a good home for us and a baby.”

 

He could see it in her eyes.  The desperation was there and Hutch knew she believed her own words.  Vanessa was always one who tired and moved onto something else.  She had more majors in college than anyone else he’d ever known.  Everything from administration to political science she had tried her hand at before growing bored.

 

“I have an alternative.”

 

Thinking he was close to changing his mind, Vanessa smiled and scooted closer.  “What?”

 

“In a few years I’ll be promoted and the money is much better.  By then we can have enough saved for a house.  A decent one you’d like and then we’ll have a baby, Van.  We won’t have to depend on my father for anything.”

 

When her hands slipped from his, Hutch knew that was it.  As a signal of sorts he didn’t think it was a bad one.  He was saddened to see it and could feel a sense of relief flow through him at the same time.  It was an odd sensation.

 

Vanessa stood and went to the window.  “Can you see me as a cop’s wife, Ken?”

 

They both knew the answer.  Hutch looked down at his hands.  “I kept hoping you and the rest of my family would come around.”

 

“You won’t change your mind…even for me.”

 

“It’s what I want, Van.  I love being a cop.”

 

When she turned around, Hutch expected to see tears in her eyes, but none were there.  She crossed the room to the bar and made a drink.  “Apparently more than you love me.”

 

Hutch kept quiet.  He didn’t want to say if any love had ever existed, it had died some time ago…long before becoming a police officer.  He knew she expected him to deny it, but Hutch wasn’t about to stop what was coming.

 

Vanessa gripped the glass at her husband’s lack of reaction.  She took a large drink.  “I have a friend from the club.  He’s been after me for the last several months to help him out with an investment in New York.”

 

“You never told me.”

 

“Not much reason to.”  She set the glass down and folded her arms.  “Anyway, he said the payoff could be huge.”

 

“This is your plan B, I take it.”

 

“You may not want much for your life, Ken, but I sure as hell need more for mine.”

 

Hutch moved to his feet and moved near her with the bar separating them.  “You knew that when you married me.  It’s the kind of life you always wanted.”

 

“I love you, Ken.”

 

He had no reason to believe her.  The conversation they’d had up this point proved it.  “When are you leaving?”

 

“I can call Elizabeth and stay with her.  The trip is in a week.”

 

Hutch went back to the couch and sat.  He heard Vanessa going into the bedroom and a few minutes later she emerged with a bag.  “I’ll be back tomorrow for the rest of my things.”

 

He didn’t move at the door closing and sat for an hour.  Hutch was numb.  He cared about Van when they married and believed he had loved her in the beginning.  The first year was fairly good, but seemed to go downhill with each passing day.  It didn’t take long for him to question whether he had ever loved her at all.

 

 

~*~

 

 

When Hutch opened up the door, Starsky walked inside and whistled.  “These are some digs.”

 

Hutch almost smiled.  He had called Starsky and was relieved that his friend was willing to drop whatever he was doing to come over.  “It’s overpriced and overrated.”

 

Starsky ran his hand over the expensive couch.  “You okay?”

 

“I don’t know.”  Hutch headed for the kitchen.  “You want a beer?”

 

“Sure.”  Starsky peeked into the bedroom.  “So she’s gone.”

 

“Yeah.”  Hutch carried two beers over and handed one off to Starsky.  “She left a couple of hours ago.  She said something about going to New York.”

 

After taking a long drink from the bottle, Starsky said, “You don’t look too broken up over it, Hutch.”

 

“I didn’t expect it to last.  It’s strange you know.”  Hutch moved to the couch.  “On our wedding day I was standing at the front of the church and she was walking down the aisle.  Right then and there I knew.”

 

Starsky eyed an expensive painting and went to take a closer look.  “Knew what?”

 

“We’d get a divorce.”

 

The statement amazed Starsky and he turned.  “Really?  Why’d you marry her if you knew it wasn’t gonna last?”

 

“It was the next the step.  That’s not to mention the Hutchinson family expectations which I was supposed to live up to.”

 

“Didn’t you love her, Hutch?”

 

“I thought I did, but I don’t think I had any idea what love is.”  Hutch took a drink from the bottle.  “Still don’t.”

 

“Who does?” Starsky went and slumped down on the couch next to Hutch.  “So what’s next?”

 

“Well, I need to find a lawyer.”

 

“Can you afford this place on your salary?”

 

“I couldn’t before.  Dad’s been paying the rent and the only reason why I went along with it was because of Van.  Guess it’s time to move.”  Hutch smiled a little.  “Somewhere more my style.”

 

“Will she clean you out?”

 

“She’ll try.  My father has control of most of the money so she won’t get much there.  She can’t touch the trust fund.”

 

“You have a trust fund?”  Starsky couldn’t believe it.  “I never knew anybody with one of those.”

 

Hutch laughed a little.  “It’s from my grandfather.”

 

“So use it for a lawyer and a new place to live.”

 

“No, I’ll never touch it if I can help it.  I don’t need it anyway, Starsky.  I’d rather manage on my own.”

 

“It’s no wonder, Hutch.  You must’ve damn near choked on that silver spoon.”

 

He loved the way Starsky made him smile and was thankful for the unwavering support.  “I’ll take some time off and start looking for a place to live next week.”

 

“Oh, I almost forgot something.”

 

“What?”

 

Starsky straightened and turned towards Hutch.  “You’ll hear about it tomorrow, but I wanted to be the first to tell you.”

 

“Something wrong?”

 

“No, you’re getting transferred to Metro…where I am.”

 

“How in the hell did you manage that?  They said it could take months.”

 

“I talked to Watkins in homicide and he’s been wanting a change of pace.  He said that if he could find someone to take his place he’d swap.  I told him about you and he loved the idea of working in the hills near the coast.”

 

“And the brass is okay with it?”

 

“They loved it.  Metro covers one of the worst districts in the city and they’re looking for new blood.  I’m already up for homicide.  Buddy, we’re gonna be partners.”

 

Hutch was flabbergasted.  It was if the pathetic excuse for a life he had was about to do a complete turnaround.  “You sure about this?  We’re partners?”

 

“Well, not yet, but with both us heading for the same department it makes sense.  In fact, you’re due to report to Metro in two weeks.”

 

“It doesn’t give me much time to look for a place to live and with getting a lawyer…”

 

“Slow down, Hutch.  We’ll go looking for a new place and the lawyer can wait until after you move and settle in at Metro.”

 

“You’re right.”  Hutch rubbed his eyes.  “God, this is just so much to happen at once.”

 

“You’re tired.”  Starsky got Hutch to his feet and led him to the bedroom.  “Go get some rest, Blondie.  It’s late and you need to be on your toes tomorrow.”

 

“Starsk…”

 

Starsky reached up and brushed the hair strands away from Hutch’s face.  “It’ll be okay, Hutch.  I promise.”

 

The intimate gesture touched Hutch in such a way the urge to take his soon-to-be partner in his arms was as strong as anything he’d ever known.  To feel the warm and loving arms was something he now wanted.  Rather than take action, Hutch nodded.  “Thanks.”

 

When Hutch’s head hit the pillow his last thought was of Starsky holding him close.  Nothing sexual entered the brief fantasy.  It was about the love and the closeness Hutch yearned for.  He was almost gone when he realized he had never had it.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Hutch struggled to pick up the pieces and with Starsky’s help he did.  After getting rid of most of the furniture with a few items bequeathed to Starsky as a result of the death of his marriage, he found a new home and a new lease on life.

 

When the pickup refused to budge any longer he found another car suitable to his tastes.  Starsky pretended outrage at the sight of the clunker and insisted all shifts be done in his candy apple red Torino.  After some debate, they agreed to take turns.  Hutch could only grin at his partner’s grumblings.

 

It was several months after his transfer and early in his partnership with Starsky before Vanessa’s lawyer had Hutch served with divorce papers.  He had already gotten the four star lecture from his father about his failure.  Hutch guaranteed he would handle it and did even as costly as it was.  She’d taken most of the small savings Hutch had set aside and he was ordered to pay alimony for one year.

 

He didn’t mind.  It was the least he could do since he knew he shouldn’t have asked her to marry him in the first place.  Starsky bristled over it and Hutch was glad to see his partner show his unhappiness for what he saw as an injustice.

 

They both threw themselves into their work and found it to be rough, long and in many cases rewarding.  Even with the losses outnumbering the wins, the wins put them on a higher level of satisfaction. 

 

Finding new contentment in his life, Hutch began to branch out in other areas he had sorely missed.  The years of piano lessons paid off when he began strumming on an old guitar he had found in a thrift shop.  He even took up painting after so many years of wishing.

 

After a long day, Hutch stopped off at the store to pick up a few groceries.  Just as he stepped out a downpour began.  The cold rain quickly soaked him and he rushed to his car.  Once inside, Hutch set the sack aside and started on the way home.  He was still several blocks away from the house when the sight of a lone figure walked along side of the road.

 

Hutch leaned forward to get a better look and saw that it was a thin slip of a girl.  It was obvious she had nothing with which to protect herself from the harsh rain.  He drove passed her and pulled to the side of the road.  Hutch stepped out of the car and he watched her halt in her steps. 

 

The drenched blonde had fear in her eyes and Hutch proceeded with caution.  “Are you okay?” He asked through the rain.  When she didn’t answer he stepped closer and pulled out his badge.  “I’m a good guy.”  He made sure she saw it.

 

“Y-you’re police?”

 

Hutch nodded.  “You need help.”

 

Her eyes lowered and Hutch had to do something.  He was now as drenched as the girl was.  “Come on.  I’ll give you a ride.”

 

She considered the offer and seeing no other alternative she walked to the car.  Hutch helped her inside and was soon going down the road.  He saw her eyes go to the sack of groceries. 

 

“I’m Hutch.”

 

“Jeanie,” she whispered.

 

“Listen, my place isn’t far.  We can get dried off and have a hot meal.  What do you say?”

 

When she nodded, Hutch knew.  This girl had nowhere to go and he guessed it’d been a while since she ate.  They arrived at his place and once inside, Hutch didn’t notice her eyes going straight to the bed he had set up in the main room.

 

After setting the groceries in the kitchen he came out and saw her staring at the bed.  Hutch regretted having it in plain sight like that.  He pointed to the bathroom.  “There are towels in there.  I’ll get you something to wear.”

 

Half an hour later after both had changed, Hutch brought out hot soup and they sat at the table across from each other.  They ate quietly for a few minutes and Hutch took a chance.  “Want to tell me why you were walking in the rain?”

 

The shake of Jeanie’s head was adamant.  “Do you have anywhere to go?”

 

She set the spoon aside and pushed her damp hair away from her face.  “Why are you doing this?”

 

“I’m a sucker for a damsel in distress.”

 

“Is that what I am?”

 

Hutch grew serious and leaned forward.  “No, you’re hurting and you need help, Jeanie.”

 

A tear streamed down her cheek and she was quick to wipe it away.  “I just had to get away.”

 

“From what?  Who?”

 

Any more attempts Hutch made after that point went unanswered.  He coaxed her to bed and after retreating to the couch he promised himself he would do whatever he could to help her.  He hoped in time she would trust him enough to talk to him.  She was running.  That much was obvious.

 

After Starsky showed up the next morning to pick him up Hutch kept the introductions short and to the point.  He assured Jeanie she could stay as long as she liked.  With her promise to remain, Hutch was comfortable leaving her there alone.

 

After only a week, Hutch was growing to care for her and it soon became apparent she wasn’t comfortable living off of him the way she was.  Jeanie was desperate for some independence.  He loaned her the money for a decent furnished apartment and the next step was a job.

 

With no job experience, her prospects were limited.  Hutch took her to Huggy’s and sat her at a table.  He found Huggy in the kitchen.

 

“Hutch, long time no see.”  Huggy moved in close.  “Listen, man, I can’t for the next week.  This place has been crazy.”

 

Hutch shifted back and forth knowing what he was talking about.  “It’s not that, Hug.” 

 

Huggy stopped what he was doing.  “What’s up, man?”

 

“You’ve been running shorthanded, right?”

 

“For the last two months.”

 

“I’ve got a friend who needs a job.”

 

“I smell a drawback in there.”

 

“She’s never had one before, Huggy.”

 

“Hutch, I ain’t got time to show her the ropes.  This place needs someone with a good memory who knows how to make my low brow clientele happy.”

 

“Come on, Hug.  Give her chance,” Hutch pleaded.  “She’ll work hard and if nothing else you’ve got someone who can at least pour a beer.”

 

“Maybe the kitchen doing dishes or flipping burgers.”

 

Hutch remembered the havoc Jeanie caused in his own kitchen.  “I’m not sure if working in the kitchen would be up her alley.”

 

“Oh?”

 

“Let’s just say the kitchen isn’t her forte.  Besides, Huggy, if she’s out front she’ll make enough in tips that if she breaks anything you can take it out of that rather than her pay.”

 

“You must have a hell of a lot of faith in this chick.”

 

Hutch took his arm.  “Come on and I’ll introduce you.  You’ll change your mind.”

 

Huggy stepped out of the kitchen and saw her.  Even if she broke every glass in the place, the tips she’d make based on her looks alone guaranteed the compensation.  The customers would return to just to look at her.

 

“Jeanie, this is Huggy Bear.”

 

“And if this blond bozo would’ve told me how enchanting you were I wouldn’t have spent the last five minutes wasting my time with him.”

 

Hutch had to laugh.  Huggy could turn on the charm as quickly as Starsky could.  Within minutes a schedule was laid out and Hutch agreed to make sure he took her and picked her up from work.  She was eager to work and willing to make a go of it.

 

Over the next three months Jeanie slid into her new life with relative ease.  She loved the job and made enough in tips and pay to live comfortably.  With her new independence came a lease on life Hutch was familiar with.  He had no problem in going along with a change in their relationship.

 

Even with the drive to be with another man, Hutch put that separate life on the back burner.  Jeanie still wasn’t talking and there was a lot of fear.  She had sworn him to secrecy early on and he had not told a soul how he had come to find her.

 

 

~*~

 

 

One of the best waitresses Huggy ever had disappeared during the busiest night of the week.  He was pissed not just at her, but also Hutch for taking off with her.  He handled it and he swore the next time he saw Hutch, he’d let him know just how badly he needed good help.

 

Starsky had come to see him in search of his wayward partner, but Huggy had nothing to tell him other than what he already knew.  It had been over a week since Jeanie had left her job high and dry.  Huggy chalked it up to Hutch being temporarily enthralled with a new beauty. 

 

It wasn’t uncommon.  He’d seen Hutch snuggle up with some girl on more than one occasion.  He knew the cop liked women, but his preference was always for the male species.  Even though it had been a while since they’d gotten together, Huggy accepted it as part and parcel of their odd relationship.  It was because he cared for Hutch so much he didn’t push it.  At times he questioned his own sanity for going along with it.

 

A few days after Starsky’s visit, Huggy was in the kitchen arguing with the cook over the latest additions to the menu when a strong hand yanked on his collar.  He was shocked to see it was Starsky who was dragging him out the back to the alley.

 

He walked to the car and upon seeing Hutch, Huggy blanched.  He knew his face had to have grown as white as a sheet at the sight.  Hutch was curled up on the front seat shaking and sweating.

 

They managed to get Hutch inside discreetly and Huggy paused when he saw Starsky crawl onto the bed with his partner.  He watched the man he knew as his lover clinging to Starsky out of desperation and pain.  If it wasn’t for the abject torture Hutch was suffering, Huggy would’ve been jealous.

 

For the next two days he stood by and watched Hutch go through the most gut-wrenching withdrawal he had ever seen.  Huggy wanted to be the one Hutch went to and the one he clung to in moments of the greatest agony.  It was obvious the only person Hutch wanted was Starsky.

 

Without saying a word, Huggy went along with it.  If it helped Hutch, he’d do it willingly.  When the entire truth of the matter came out, Huggy debated on asking for the sort of favor that would insure the agonizing death of one in prison.  There were two downsides to that scenario.  Number one…Hutch would find out.  It might be possible for it to get traced right back to him.  Number two…it would violate the rules and number one would insure that should Hutch discover what he was did.

 

So life continued on.  After some months of recuperation, Hutch got back into the swing of things and Huggy found out later on it did not include him.

 

 

~*~

 

 

It had been a week of pure hell for Starsky.  First it was the shooting of young Lonnie Craig and the deaths of two police officers.  Hutch had stayed with him constantly even though his partner assured him he was fine.

 

After seeing the girlfriends off on their flight, they were right back at work and after two grueling nights of stakeouts, Hutch offered to take Starsky to one of his favorite nightclubs.  He was pleased at the ready agreement.

 

Hutch sipped on his beer as he watched Starsky doing his infamous moves next to the attractive woman.  His body hardened at the sight of his partner’s well-endowed ass moving seductively to the beat.  Hutch made a mental note to pay Huggy a visit in a few days.  It had been far too long and he had put that world on hold for Starsky.

 

Her name was Sheila.  She had long red hair and wore a seductive silk dress that left little to the imagination.  Starsky had been the one to approach her and before long they were drinking and having a good time.  Hutch had gotten out on the dance floor a few times with her, but his preference was to sit back and watch his partner doing his thing.

 

The suggestion to go to Starsky’s was Sheila’s idea and Hutch was about to make his excuses when she made it clear that the both of them was more than adequate to complete the night.  Brief looks passed between them and the agreement made.

 

An alcohol buzz heightened their sensations and as Starsky guided Sheila to his room, Hutch followed.  He had never done anything like this, but had heard enough about it that he was too intrigued not to stop.

 

He stood in the doorway while Starsky and Sheila kissed.  Their mouths were fused together and nothing else seemed to exist for the couple.  Hutch debated on quietly making his escape until Sheila separated herself from Starsky and glided to him.  “I wonder who the better kisser is.”

 

Hutch smiled a little and he saw Starsky watching him with smoky desire in his eyes.  His attention turned back to the woman and he didn’t hold back in the kiss he gave her.  Hutch ran his hands over her body and delighted in the soft curves.

 

She began pulling him towards the bed and when Hutch saw his partner he was already shirtless.

 

“Take his shirt off,” Starsky told her.

 

Sheila’s smile was seductive as she did as she was told.  Hutch’s body was already reacting to the sexual atmosphere and he only had to help a little in removal of his shirt. 

 

“Oh, look at this,” Sheila said running her hands down to Hutch’s groin.  His cock was thick and aching for release.  She needed no prodding to unsnap the jeans and helped to pull them down. 

 

Hutch groaned a little when her tongue ran along his cotton underwear.  He thought he was going to die from the eroticism of the act.  Aching for more control, Hutch stepped back and kicked off his jeans after doing away with his socks and shoes.  “Don’t ignore Starsky now,” he lightly scolded.

 

Her laugh was sultry as she went to Hutch’s partner.  He watched as she leaned Starsky back on the bed and helped him take off the remainder of his clothes.  Hutch’s breath caught in his throat at the sight of Starsky’s thick cock resting against his belly.  His mouth watered and his heart pounded.  The urge to push the girl away and to take the erection into his mouth was as fierce as was his thirst for Starsky’s essence.  The powerful longing was difficult to reign in, but Hutch managed to get a handle on it.

 

Starsky pulled the fully-clothed woman down on top of him and began tonguing her neck.  He looked over at Hutch who hadn’t moved from his place.  “Take her dress off, Hutch.  She’s got too much clothes on.”

 

“Not too much,” Sheila giggled.

 

Hutch walked over to the waterbed and moved in close to the couple.  Starsky’s hard cock was foremost in his mind as he leaned over and pulled the straps down.  She rose up just enough for the dress to come down off her body.

 

She was right.  All she wore underneath that sexy dress was a solitary pair of underwear.  She slid down Starsky’s body and took his erection in hand.  When her mouth went down on him, Hutch wished he was the one giving his partner such pleasure. 

 

He looked at Starsky’s face saw the sexual haze overtake him.  Beads of sweat were beginning to form on his forehead.  Hutch’s eyes traveled to Starsky’s chest.  There was just enough hair.  Not too much, but enough for a person to relish in the warmth of it.  Starsky’s hand ran across his chest over his nipples in a moment of self-gratification.

 

Hutch’s heavy cock hadn’t wavered once single bit while Sheila serviced his partner.  In fact, it continued to make its need known by the twitching and bobbing.  Hutch took it in hand to get some control over it, but it only wanted more stimulation.

 

Starsky saw his partner playing with his dick and raised Sheila’s head.  “Looks like my partner needs a little assistance over there.”

 

She chuckled and moved to the middle of the bed on her knees.  “Come on, Hutch.  Don’t make me come to you.”

 

“Maybe not to me, but you’ll come alright.”

 

All three laughed and when Hutch got to the bed, her mouth went directly to his cock.  He sighed in relief at her ministrations.  He was on his knees and it was instinctive to widen them further apart.  Hutch put his hand to her hair and helped guide her along to show what he liked.

 

He saw Starsky’s hand running along her backside, watched as the last of the clothing pulled away and then his partner’s hand disappeared between her cheeks.  The mouthful she had didn’t stop the whimpers and groans from Starsky’s encouraging fingers.  The threesome was elevated to an even higher plane as they continued on with the pleasurable tasks.

 

Sheila finally raised her head and rolled to her back.  Starsky moved on top of her and with utter fascination, Hutch watched him slide into her as if it was the most natural act in the world.  It was, Hutch reminded himself. 

 

It was Starsky Hutch was watching.  It was the way his strong arms were resting around her as he covered her body with his.  The thick muscles in Starsky’s back flexed and moved in conjunction with the rest of his body.  The large back was as tempting as was the rest of Starsky.  Hutch imagined how smooth and firm it would be under his hands.  But that ass.  Hutch almost shook his head.  It was almost criminal not to make use of it.  He could envision himself moving in behind Starsky, grabbing that god-given magnificent ass and burying his dick as far as it would go deep inside.

 

His leaking cock was a strong indicator of his desire.  Hutch pumped on it some more while Starsky continued fucking the girl beneath him.  Her sounds of pleasure told him how good his partner was at this act and Hutch wondered what it would feel like having Starsky inside of him.

 

The fantasy was interrupted by Starsky pulling out and Sheila getting on her hands and knees.  When Starsky repositioned at her head, Hutch shifted and moved in behind her.  He was eager for the coupling and moved inside of her.  The smell of sex permeated the air and the sexual high was at its height.

 

He looked over at Starsky who took care as he thrust into Sheila’s mouth.  Hutch rocked back and forth and glanced down at his cock moving in and out of her.  She knew what she was doing the way she flexed the muscles deep inside of her. 

 

Hutch looked up at Starsky whose head was rolled back with eyes closed.  He could tell his partner was very close.  Hutch continued to push back and forth, but decided to take hold of his control and wait for his partner to get off.  He was mesmerized by the look of pure ecstasy on Starsky’s face.  When Starsky came, he growled deep as a bear and thrust more vigorously as his cum poured into her mouth.

 

It was the most erotic sight Hutch had ever witnessed in his life.  Nothing would ever match it.  He had almost forgotten what he was doing and his hard cock reminded him by overtaking his will.  Hutch grabbed onto her hips and it took only seconds for him to orgasm.  Sheila’s cries of pleasure left no doubt that she had hit that high as well.

 

The three were spent from the powerful sex and the alcohol intake.  They fell asleep almost immediately with Hutch being the last to close his eyes.  He stole a look at Starsky’s naked body.  It wasn’t the first time he had seen it, but it was a first at seeing it at its sexual height and afterglow.  Just before Hutch fell asleep, he wondered if he’d ever see the magnificent body in the same way again.

 

 

~*~

 

 

In the few short weeks following the intense encounter, Hutch shoved the urges deep down once again.  He kept his distance from Huggy just to make sure he had them well in hand so as not to take any chances that his growing physical attraction for his partner wouldn’t come out during a moment of sexual weakness.  The controls had to remain much tighter now than they ever did before.

 

After getting Huggy out of the hot water he’d found himself in from the attempt of helping an old friend, Hutch was ready for some downtime.  He had neglected too many of his hobbies and took an extra day off to spend more time on them.

 

The knock at the door came after finishing lunch and Hutch was surprised to see Huggy.  “Hey, come on in, Hug.”

 

“Thanks.”

 

“You want something to drink?”

 

“Got anything stronger than beer around here?”

 

Hutch headed to the kitchen.  “No, just beer.”

 

“I’ll take one.”  He followed Hutch and took the one offered.

 

After getting one for himself, Hutch leaned against the counter.  “What brings you by?”

 

“I appreciate the way you stood up for me, Hutch.  I didn’t give you much cause to do it.”

 

“I told Starsky…” Hutch remembered the conversation in the alley.  Starsky was put off by Huggy’s lie and he had defended him.  “How’d you know about that?”

 

“Behind the bar.”  Huggy’s smile was faint.  “I got my own snitches.”

 

“You had good reason.  I don’t hold it against you.”  Hutch could see Huggy was deep in thought.  “Something else on your mind?”

 

Huggy tried to smile, but failed.  He straightened.  “Guess a man gets an itch, you know.  Thought maybe you would, too, and we’d give each other a good scratch.”

 

Hutch stilled.  He didn’t know what to say.  He was always the one to initiate their sessions and this was out of left field.  He stared into Huggy’s eyes and the meaning was more than clear.

 

The movement was slow and deliberate.  Huggy stood next to Hutch and his hand began reaching for him.

 

“Not here, Huggy.  We can’t.”

 

Huggy didn’t want to move away from Hutch.  He needed him and was starting to believe he wasn’t above begging at this point.  The front door flung open and Huggy was so startled that he jerked away.

 

Both turned to see Starsky strolling inside.  “Hey, Huggy.  I saw the caddy outside.”

 

Starsky didn’t notice the looks passing between Hutch and Huggy.  He headed straight for the fridge and after finding a beer pulled it out.  “What are the two of you up to?”

 

Hutch lost the power of speech and had to clear his throat to get it back.  “Just visiting.”

 

Huggy set his beer on the counter.  “If I don’t get back to the bar that lazy waitress I hired is liable to let the customers down my stock.”

 

“See ya, Huggy,” Starsky told him.  He watched the man leave without saying another word then looked at Hutch.  “Something wrong?”

 

Hutch averted his eyes and picked up the bottle Huggy was holding.  He poured the rest down the sink.  “Fine.  Huggy wanted to thank us for helping him out.”

 

Starsky started to say something and changed his mind.  He couldn’t put his finger on it, but both Hutch and Huggy weren’t themselves.

 

 

~*~

 

 

How long it had been, Hutch had lost count.  The months had passed by too fast and the need to let off some steam was so strong he knew he would blow up at anything and anyone that got in his way. 

 

It had taken every ounce of control, thought and timing to get out of the Italian restaurant in one piece.  No, not him, he corrected.  Starsky.  His partner had come too close this time and the fear was far more intense than anything he’d know since becoming a cop.

 

Hutch didn’t even think twice about heading to Huggy’s place and once there, they grabbed onto each other while struggling to remove the constrictive clothing.  After stumbling into bed, they each grappled with fevered passion vying for control over the other.  Hutch fell back on the bed while Huggy crawled on top of him and groaned when his lover stroked and lubed his cock.

 

The maddening drive threatened to overwhelm him as Huggy sank onto his dick with excruciating slowness.  It was a slow ride and with every thrust upward, Hutch needed more than he was getting.  He grabbed onto Huggy’s arms and rolled him to his back.  Hutch grabbed the long black legs and held them up while he pounded into him.  Their groans of hot sex filled the room and it took only minutes for the two to come.

 

When the orgasmic high began to subside, Hutch slowly pulled out and moved to his back next to Huggy.  He looked up at the ceiling.  “You okay?”

 

Huggy chuckled.  “I got fucked to the floor.”

 

Hutch was still breathing hard and it took him a moment to speak.  “I was a little rough.”

 

“No need to apologize, Hutch.”  Huggy wiped the perspiration from his brow and sat up.  “How’s Starsky?”

 

The question came out of left field.  One Hutch was ill prepared for.  He swung his feet to the side of the bed and reached for his underwear.  “Fine.”

 

He didn’t know how to take it.  Starsky had nothing to do with this portion of his life and he had taken steps to insure it.  The other part of his life, his partner played a dominant role in.  No one else had ever been such a large part of it.  His own family had little to do with his life.

 

Huggy picked up a smoke and lit it.  He scooted up in the bed and watched Hutch hurry to dress.  He wasn’t sure what he was seeing and wondered if the ordeal was still with Hutch.  “It wasn’t your fault, you know.”

 

Hutch stopped and looked at him.  He knew what he meant, but Huggy was misreading him.  “I know.”  It was the fact that he didn’t want Starsky to have anything to do with this world even if it was in name only.

 

The door slammed and Huggy lay back on the bed.  By all rights he should call the relationship off.  His feelings were getting meshed into the sex with Hutch.  A few years ago it was easy.  The fantastic sex was addictive, but along with it was a divided cop who was giving, loving and as fantastic a person as Huggy could ever hope to find.  Each time Hutch came to him any refusal went out the window and they were right back in bed for more.

 

He had no illusions about a future with Hutch.  There was none.  Even with the few one night stands he had with other women would never compare to the interludes with a white guy who could never take him home to introduce him to the rest of the white-bread family.  Huggy took it one sexcapade at a time.

 

 

~*~

 

 

She was beautiful in every way.  It was in every smile, look, touch and word.  How close to perfect can one get?  Gillian, Hutch thought.  He had met her while in a bookstore.  While he was glancing through cookbooks, she had been perusing the women’s studies section.  When he first saw her he’d been taken aback at the sheer beauty and Hutch was bowled over by the dazzling smile.

 

Dinner came next and before he knew it, he was so taken with her that letting the rest of the world in on it would have been an intrusion.  She seemed to know him so well from how to make him smile, laugh and a touch that took over all of his senses.  It was the perfect union of his two lives.

 

She eased the buried inner longings within him and he was relieved he’d never have to speak of it to her. The rest of his life was on the backburner during the whirlwind romance.  So selfish was he of this first discovery of inner peace that in order to believe it was real, Hutch didn’t even tell Starsky and then after he told his partner, it still took weeks of courage to introduce her.

 

So petrified of the longings coming back in the midst of his relationship with Gillian, he waited.  Weeks passed and they never made themselves known.  For the first time since he could remember he found rest with Gillian believing she loved him.

 

Hutch remained on cloud nine up until the call from Huggy.  Still unknowing, he arrived at her apartment only to discover Starsky there.  His entire world came crashing down upon learning the truth.

 

The bitterness remained for weeks afterwards.  She knew because of her well experienced skills.  He wanted to believe she loved him, but knowing that Gillian had been with other men, maybe women as well, while in the midst of their affair had been a bitter pill to swallow.  He questioned every smile, look and touch.  Was it her or was it a part of what she did for a living?

 

He would never really know, but it did answer one undeniable truth.  Starsky would do anything for him.  Not only did his partner clean out what little he had in savings, but also borrowed from his aunt and uncle to protect him.  The plan was to also sell the Torino. 

 

The importance of Starsky in his life became clear that night as they stood over Gillian’s body.  It was when Hutch discovered how important he was to Starsky.  Their closeness and bond was strong, but to know he was as important to Starsky as his partner was to him was a profound and delicate moment.  It was forever etched in Hutch’s memory.

 

It was the little moments as well that always struck Hutch as so important and at times he would look at Starsky and wonder if the feeling was mutual.  Starsky never complained when he stole a French fry from his plate.  Hutch said little when Starsky took a drink out of his cup or beer.  He still laughed when his partner took it upon himself to teach him to dance in Captain Dobey’s office, but when Starsky dipped him low and was close enough to kiss, the untold fear only lasted a moment.  It was those moments when Hutch was relieved he was the much better actor.

 

Some of his wondering was answered after Starsky had been kidnapped by the bloodthirsty cult members.  After the thorough exam at the hospital, Hutch would have taken Starsky to his place.  His partner insisted on home saying that his own bed is where he’d rather be.  Hutch didn’t question the request.

 

Once inside, Hutch led Starsky to the bathroom and helped him get started.  He closed the door and put his ear next to the door to make sure the shower was running.  He made a fresh pot of coffee and by the time it was done, Starsky emerged in his robe.  “Want some coffee?”

 

Starsky shook his head.  “All I want is to get to bed.”

 

Hutch noted the heavy eyelids.  “Of course.”  He walked with Starsky to the bedroom and pulled the covers down.  “In you go.”

 

Starsky had a sheepish smile on his face and got in under the sheets.  Still wearing the robe, he pulled the covers up to his neck.  “Hutch.”

 

“Yeah.”  Hutch sat on the bed with him.

 

“It’s really dark in here, you know.”

 

“Want the light on?”

 

“Just the living room.”

 

Hutch made sure the covers were secured around Starsky then stood.  “Get some sleep.  I’ll be out here if you need anything.”

 

Starsky nodded and closed his eyes.  Hutch stood there for a moment afraid to let his partner out of his sight.  He was reluctant to, but did step out of the room.  Hutch busied himself with some cleaning around the apartment and after a few hours exhaustion overtook him and he stretched out on the couch.

 

 

~*~

 

 

What it was that woke Starsky, he didn’t know.  It might have been the brutal beating.  There was also the poisoned water that tore his gut apart or the bright sun blinding his eyes.  The butcher knife was so shiny that the glare forced him to clench his eyes shut.  But he opened them in darkness with only a small light coming into the bedroom.

 

Starsky sat up and rubbed his eyes.  His hands shook, his breathing fast and labored, but it was terror that pounded in his chest.  He looked towards the door where the light was coming from and got out of bed.  He couldn’t deny how afraid he was.  A million thoughts ran through his head.  Did they get them all?  There were so many cult members scattered around the city.  Would they come after him again?  Just because Marcus was sentenced to a lifetime behind bars didn’t mean they wouldn’t use him to barter for the madman’s freedom.  Were they outside his apartment?  They could be in the next room waiting for him.

 

He instinctively reached for his gun then remembered that Hutch had given it to Dobey upon finding it at the old zoo.  Starsky looked around for something to fight with and found nothing.  His old baseball bat was in the closet and he knew how much racket it made when pulling it open.  He laughed at himself for remembering to use WD-40 on it.

 

So he clenched his fists determined not to let them take him so easily this time.  With uncertain steps, Starsky moved forward into the living room.  His eyes darted around expecting a black-coated cultist to jump out.  He bumped into the couch and was startled to find Hutch sleeping.

 

Of course, Starsky thought with a shake of his head.  Hutch wouldn’t let him out of sight so soon.  He saw the exhausted sleep his partner was in.  Hutch would have gone without sleep until he was found.  He shoved the what-ifs aside as he watched him.

 

Hutch’s eyes opened and widened at seeing Starsky.  He sat up.  “Starsk?  You okay?”

 

“Yeah, fine.  Couldn’t sleep.”

 

After getting up from the couch, Hutch moved close to Starsky and rested his hands on his partner’s shoulders.  “You were dead to the world when I left you.”

 

“Okay, I had a nightmare,” Starsky admitted.  He felt like a little kid begging to sleep with his folks because of monsters in the closet.  It didn’t seem like a bad idea now that he was thinking about it.

 

“Want to talk about it?”

 

“I can’t remember much.”

 

Hutch started for the kitchen.  “What about coffee or I can fix you something to eat?”

 

“No, Hutch.”  Starsky walked over to him.  “I’m not hungry or anything.  It’s just that…”

 

“What is it, buddy?”

 

Starsky turned away and went to the bedroom.  “This is stupid,” he muttered.

 

Hutch was quick to follow and met him at the door.  “Come on, Starsk.  Whatever it is, it’s okay.”

 

“It’s not like I’ve never had a rotten dream before,” Starsky insisted.

 

“You’ve been through hell.  No normal person would come away without a few nightmares to add to the rest of the trauma.”

 

“Hutch.”  Starsky stepped closer.  “I don’t want to sleep by myself.  I’m a grown man and…”

 

“After what those bastards did to you…”  Hutch took a deep breath and calmed his anger.  “Dobey said you could talk to someone.”

 

“I don’t want anyone, Hutch.  I want you…my partner.”

 

This wasn’t the needful voice Hutch was familiar with when it came from himself or Huggy.  This was unadulterated fear.  It was the kind of reasonable emotion after undergoing such an ordeal that brought about the need to feel safe.  Hutch couldn’t deny him.

 

But the threat over his physical sanity remained.  The only time he was in bed with another man was in the midst of hot sex and the prospect of crawling into bed with his partner, Starsky, was overwhelming.  He still remembered the threesome with Sheila and how Starsky’s tight ass flexed as he moved in and out of her.  Hutch shoved the memory aside in preference to giving Starsky the safety and assurance he needed.

 

Hutch placed his hand on Starsky’s shoulder and guided him in the bedroom.  He helped him to bed then removed everything but his underwear.  Hutch got in on the other side and moved in next to him.  He almost grinned when Starsky snuggled in next to him.  Hutch kept his arms around him and closed his eyes.

 

“Can you sleep like that?” Starsky asked.

 

“Sure.  You?”

 

“Yeah,” Starsky said with a contented sigh.  “Hutch?”

 

“Hmm?”

 

“Thanks for saving me.”

 

“I think we’re running even on that score.”

 

“You keep score?”

 

Hutch smiled.  “Now that I think about it you might still owe me one or two.”

 

Starsky chuckled a little then closed his eyes.  “I don’t mind owing you.  Means you can’t get rid of me.”

 

Hutch hoped not.  He couldn’t imagine his life without Starsky.  No matter what he did with his life in the distant years to come, Starsky was always a part of it.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Terry Starsky had a nice ring to it.  Hutch rolled it around his head and the name sounded so good that the idea of having to share his partner didn’t bother him in the least.  He could do that.  They’d still be best friends, Hutch would be a godparent to three, four or however many kids they’d have. 

 

He’d still go to Huggy on occasion, release the bottled up tension that threatened to blowup at any given moment after a month or two.  The sexual coming together still happened, but with less frequency these days.  Starsky and the job took up a lot of his time. 

 

Hutch figured when the inevitable did happen and they married, he’d wind up spending more time with Huggy than before.  He’d dismissed the idea of every marrying again after Gillian’s death.  The sordid mess left such a bad taste in his mouth that he swore any woman he took seriously would never live with his duplicity.  It wasn’t fair to her.  The male need for another man would continue on until he died.  Hutch accepted it.  Marriage was out of the question.

 

Starsky still wanted the happily ever after and who could blame him.  A wife, kids, a house mortgaged to the hilt with toys scattered on the front lawn fit his partner.  If anyone was matched to the all American dream it was Starsky.

 

 

 

~*~

 

 

 

Starsky always loved roller coasters.  As a kid he’d make a point of riding every one of them at least twice when his family would take their trips to Coney Island.  Even after moving to California, he’d hit every adrenalin rushed ride he could get.  As an adult he’d never broken the addiction and still thrived on it.  He supposed that may have been part of the appeal of police work.

 

The years of being a cop was slowly catching up and the last few months roller coaster had been more gut-wrenching than he had ever expected.  A trip to the islands sounded great and wasn’t half bad up until he’d tried to kill Hutch.  It wasn’t his fault, he told himself.  But it had been his hands wrapped around his partner’s throat and the desire…no, the need had been as real as anything else he felt he had to have or he’d die.

 

He almost killed Hutch a second time after that.  Well, not kill as in literally trying to do it, but damn near.  Starsky blew off his partner’s claims of a sick woman bent on revenge for the imagined betrayal on Hutch’s part.  In the end she had broken into his apartment and tried to butcher the man. 

 

He’d lost Terry already and couldn’t handle losing Hutch.  Starsky tried to tell himself there was no comparison, but the argument seemed weak.  He had to admit how important Hutch was in his own life.  Hutch was his best friend.  That was easy.  But when it came to day to day, eating, drinking and breathing, Hutch was just as essential. 

 

No matter what Starsky did he couldn’t put Hutch just on the best friend level.  It wasn’t like Hutch was replaceable, he wasn’t.   But looking over other best friends he had, they’d gone one with their lives and once in a while there would be a phone call or letter.  This was different.  Starsky didn’t just need the friendship.  He needed a hell of a lot more.  It wasn’t that Hutch was there for the highs.  It was the fact he was there for the lows and when Starsky was at his worst.

 

After the investigation at Cabrillo, he’d gotten Hutch home and saw his need first hand.  It was more obvious than any other time.  His partner’s abduction by Ben Forest didn’t come close to the painful need he felt when they were apart.  Starsky remembered the nights in that place.  He was helpless in the dark and the echoing insanity in the hallways permeated his brain.  Starsky had no doubt those voices in pain would remain with him for years.

 

Watching Hutch forced to leave him every night was the most fear he’d ever felt in his life.  He was alone and separated.  Most thought he was the crazy one and every time he even blinked wrong Nurse Bycroft came with needle in hand.  God bless her for finally putting a stop to the insanity of the employees.

 

It was John Blaine that put it all in perspective.  It was John who made Starsky begin to reevaluate his relationship with Hutch.  He’d heard all the cracks and lewd remarks before.  He’d been hearing them for years.  That wasn’t what bothered him.

 

What got him thinking about his relationship with Hutch after what happened with John was his need.  He needed Hutch, but more often than not Starsky wondered if he needed him too much.  He always made a point to talk to Hutch unless his partner was taking off for a day or two.  Starsky let himself into Hutch’s apartment as if he lived there and it was the same with his place.

 

They were such an integral part of each other’s lives that the day to day living wasn’t complete unless he saw, heard from or talked to Hutch.  Starsky had a hunch it was the same for his partner. 

 

Okay, Starsky thought.  He shook his head.  He’d thought about his relationship with Hutch, but in perspective it was not and he didn’t think it ever would be.  He leaned back against the back seat and picked up the newspaper.

 

Hutch glanced in the review mirror at Starsky who buried his nose in the paper.  “What’s the matter?”

 

“Nuthin’.”

 

“You know it was a joke, don’t you?”

 

Starsky looked up.  “What?”

 

“The kissing.  I was kidding.”

 

“Yeah, I know.”  Starsky lowered the paper.  “It’s a dumb joke, Hutch.”

 

“Are you telling me that you thought I was serious?”

 

He set the paper aside and leaned forward.  “Half the time I can’t tell if you are serious or joking.”

 

“Come on, Starsk.  Anyone within hearing distance would know it was a smartass remark.”

 

Starsky went back to the seat and debated on ignoring Hutch by using the newspaper.  “Most people think we’re screwin’ around anyway.  They’d probably think there was something to it.”

 

“Since when do you care what people think?”

 

“Since I don’t like people thinking we’re joined at the hip.  If Huggy refers to you or me as the better or other half again, I’m liable to knock his head off.”

 

“We’re partners, Starsky.  Don’t be surprised when assumptions are made.”

 

“That’s where you’re wrong, Hutch.  We’re more than partners and you know it.  None of the other guys catches as much shit as we do because like you said a minute ago…we spend 75% of our time together.”

 

Hutch gripped the steering wheel until his knuckles whitened.  “I take it you’ve got a problem with that.”

 

“Yeah, I guess I do.  Maybe we ought to think about spending a little more time apart.”  Starsky grabbed onto a handle when the car swerved to the side of the road.  He lurched forward at the slamming of the brakes.

 

Hutch turned in his seat to look at Starsky.  “If you’re so determined to spend time apart, now’s the time, buddy.”

 

The tension in the car had gone up to the point that both men were sweating and neither broke eye contact from the other.  Starsky wasn’t prepared to back down.  He shoved the newspaper aside and opened the car door.  After stepping out, the car sped away with tires squealing.

 

 

~*~

 

 

By the time Hutch arrived home he was furious.  He grabbed the bottle of scotch under the cabinet and poured a healthy portion.  While drinking he couldn’t decide who he was more pissed at.  It was either John for his stupidity or Starsky for wanting some distance between them.

 

The cheap dirty hotel room still overtook his senses.  The moldy smell filtered through the walls, cigarette burns and unknown spills stained the carpets and the loud voices that expressed so many distraught lives were all around him.  John’s body, even fully clothed, looked obscene to many of the police officers going in and out of the room.  Hutch saw the disgust in their eyes upon learning the truth of the veteran cop’s reason for being there. 

 

The double life John had led was too close to Hutch’s.  It was the life he led, but he’d been careful.  He would never get a room in such a place nor become a frequent enough visitor to be recognized.  Since becoming a cop, Hutch had narrowed his other life to such a degree that he never acknowledged it until he allowed himself to live it which was rare.

 

Hutch wondered if John had picked up on his sexual preference.  It wouldn’t have surprised him any.  John was an adept cop and set the standard for how to see underneath the skin of people.  He and Starsky had learned a lot from him.  The unspoken rule was to never out anyone who didn’t want to be outed no matter what.

 

Peter Whitelaw knew.  Hutch saw it in his eyes and the way he had moved his eyes from him to Starsky said plenty.  The ex-teacher was right.  A movement was about and gays were coming out of the closet in droves, but men like John still lived in the age of secrecy and silence. 

 

Coming out had never once entered Hutch’s mind until meeting Whitelaw.  It was never an option before.  Being a Hutchinson and living the lifestyle they deemed acceptable prevented it.  He only considered the idea for a brief second until Starsky’s face came into focus.

 

His very straight and very macho partner was the big question mark.  He’d seen the disbelief in Starsky’s eyes.  Hutch tried to search for disgust, but couldn’t be sure between the shock and grief.  Starsky was having a hard time rectifying the man he grew up knowing and the man found dead in a sleazy hotel room.  The two just didn’t add up and the more Hutch thought about it, the more he was convinced Starsky would have even more difficulty trying to do the same with him and his other life.

 

Gripping the glass even more, the argument in the car weighed heavy on Hutch’s mind.  He still couldn’t believe it.  Where it had come from, he had no idea.  Starsky wanted some space.  Space Hutch wasn’t sure he wanted to give him. 

 

Thinking about it, the new revelations Starsky had been forced to deal with were monumental.  They’d dealt with gays and other lifestyles questionable by the majority of society, but having it so in your face would unsettle anyone who wasn’t overly familiar with it.  His partner most certainly was not.

 

Hutch downed the rest of the drink.  He wasn’t any closer to finding out what led to Starsky’s declaration than before.  He needed a meal and a hot shower.  Going to Huggy right now, even as much as he needed to, was not an option.  Hutch declared silently to the room that distance was necessary.

 

It was after the relaxing shower a knock on the door got Hutch’s attention.  He turned down the heat on the stove and hurried to answer it.  He wasn’t surprised at seeing Starsky.  “Hey.”

 

Starsky shifted back and forth uncertain of what to say.  “Can we talk?”

 

“Yeah, come on in.” 

 

Hutch closed the door behind Starsky and headed to the kitchen.  “I just heated up some soup.  Want some?”

 

“Only with a roast beef sandwich.”

 

“Help yourself.”  Hutch stirred the soup and looked over at his partner rifling through the fridge.  “You okay?”

 

Starsky put a heap of mayonnaise on the bread and spread it around.  “Yep.  A long walk will sure settle a temper.”

 

“I shouldn’t have done that, Starsk.  I’m sorry.”

 

“It’s okay.”  Starsky added lettuce and tomato before putting the bread on top.  He grabbed two bowls and a plate.  “I needed it.  Had to get some thinking out of the way before talking to you.”

 

After getting the meal on the table, both sat down.  Hutch looked up at Starsky who took a large bite from the sandwich.  “Did John’s death have anything do with it?”

 

“No…well, sort of.”  Starsky set the food down and leaned forward.  “Maggie and John were married for a long time, Hutch.  She knew what he was without him having to tell her.”

 

“I don’t understand what you’re getting at, Starsk.”

 

“I remember as a kid they always seemed to know what the other was thinking.  That’s why I thought they were such a great couple.  Aunt Rose and Uncle Al had some fights when I was a kid and so did my folks.  Maggie and John rarely raised their voices at each other.”

 

“You weren’t living with them either,” Hutch pointed out.

 

“It’s like two colors…say red and blue…they meld together to become a totally different color.  They’re not separate anymore.”

 

Hutch picked up his wine glass.  “Not red and blue.”  He took a sip from the glass.  “Are you afraid of losing your identity in our partnership?”

 

“Yeah, I guess I am.  Wherever I go if you’re not with me people ask where Hutch is because they expect you to be there.”  Starsky sighed and pushed the plate away.  “I’m not doing a good job of explaining.”

 

“You’re doing fine, Starsk.  It’s not that you want the distance, you want something for yourself apart from me and our partnership.”

 

Starsky’s half grin was a mellow one and he was a little saddened at how the statement sounded.  “We’re together so much, Hutch, that I think we need a little time away from each other once in a while.  I’m not looking to change anything here.”

 

Just my whole world, Hutch thought.  “What do you want to do?”

 

“I was thinking of getting back into photography.  I haven’t spent much time on it as I’d like.”

 

Hutch took his bowl to the counter.  “Sounds like a good start.”

 

Starsky couldn’t put his finger on what he was seeing and rose to meet Hutch near the sink.  “You okay with this?”

 

“Of course I am, Starsky.  The last couple of years haven’t been the easiest for either of us.  If taking a step back is what you need I think it’s a great idea.”

 

Unsure if could accept Hutch’s explanation, Starsky reached for his wine and headed into the living room.  He sat down on the couch and debated on watching TV, then stopped.  Starsky realized that his decision to spend more time away from Hutch would mean actually being away from him.  He didn’t want to leave.  “Hutch?”

 

“Yeah.”  Hutch came into the living room with his glass and the wine bottle.

 

Starsky lifted his glass and watched Hutch refill it.  “Do you think we need each other too much?”

 

“Is there such a thing?”  Hutch added more wine to his and set the bottle on the coffee table. 

 

“You don’t think so?  There are needy people in the world.”

 

“And you think that’s what we are?”

 

“Quit being philosophical, Hutch.”

 

“I’m not sure what you’re asking, Starsky.  If you mean by need, could we live without each other…?  I don’t know if I can answer that objectively.”

 

“Neither can I,” Starsky admitted before taking a drink.

 

The answer was staring them right in the face and Hutch knew it.  He wasn’t sure if Starsky could or would even acknowledge it.  “On the street we do.”

 

Starsky’s eyes went to Hutch and he had to agree.  There was no one else he could imagine being his partner and he didn’t want to.  “Maybe that’s what’s got me running scared, Hutch.  We’re so close off the job that when it comes to the job everything else takes second compared to keeping each other alive.”

 

It was a sobering reality.  Hutch looked down at the wine in his hand and thought if he took another drink he’d wind up throwing it right back up.  “You really believe that.”

 

“Yeah, and you do, too.  That girl last year almost died because I killed the only ones who knew where she was because I thought they killed you.  Instinct took over on that one.”

 

Hutch got off the couch and went to the window.  “We talked about it, Starsk.  Shooting out a tire may not have even stopped them.  It was an older car with a combustible gas tank.”

 

“Against a high powered rifle?”  Starsky set his glass down and went to Hutch.  “Hutch, we gotta slow it down with you and me.”

 

“And how in the hell do you expect us to do it?” Hutch said raising his voice.  “By not taking risks anymore like we usually do?  If that’s the case then we both might as well get behind a desk right now!”

 

“I don’t know.”  Starsky rubbed his eyes then dropped his hands to his sides.  “I don’t have all the answers.  I’m just saying that we can’t keep going like this.  People are going to get hurt because I put you and me above everything else.”  He went back to the couch and sat down.  “I don’t want to do that anymore, Hutch.”

 

It took everything Hutch had to regain some control over his wild emotions.  On his way to the kitchen he grabbed the wine and both glasses.  “I can talk to Dobey.  See about lightening the caseload for a while.”

 

Starsky watched Hutch’s back and noted the hard tension in the shoulders.  “Yeah, I can live with that.”

 

Hutch considered doing the dishes and changed his mind.  He had to get out of the apartment.  He knew what he needed and Starsky was too damn close for comfort.  If it was an option, he would’ve taken his partner on the living room floor.  “I’m bushed.  I think I’ll make an early night of it.”

 

When Hutch came back to the living room, Starsky was hesitant in his approach.  “You okay with this, Hutch?”

 

“You’re probably right.  We need to slow down.  A vacation isn’t a bad idea either.  We haven’t had one in a while.”

 

Starsky gave Hutch a reassuring hug.  “We’ll fix that, partner.”

 

Hutch did his best to smile and managed a nod.  

 

 

~*~

 

 

Their caseload did change and Starsky was content with the simpler black and white easy to answer problems they faced on the job.  Even the tragic life of a little boy living under the violent hand of his mother was uncomplicated in the solving.  The little bits of time away from Hutch turned out to be more difficult than Starsky counted on.

 

It was the times he least expected it when Hutch’s absence made the space next to him much larger and emptier.  One time he decided on a trip to Catalina Island and halfway there he saw a pod of dolphins playing along side the boat.  Starsky snapped a few pictures and felt sad his partner wasn’t there to share the moment.  He chastised himself for the thought.

 

His own sanity was in the balance when Hutch came down ill from a killer pathogen.  He knew how close he was to losing it.  Starsky couldn’t control the desire to do whatever it took to save Hutch.  He was almost to the point of not caring who was sacrificed in order to keep his partner on this earth for another hundred years or so.

 

It was Huggy who helped him keep his balance in this terrifying time.  Starsky was ready and willing to make a deal with the devil himself and going to Roper, a cold-blooded untouchable monster, wasn’t out of the question.  He would barter his morals, his peace of mind and his own soul in order to save Hutch.  Would Hutch do the same if the positions were reversed? 

 

When Hutch was on the road to recovery Starsky saw Hutch’s family for the first time.  Dobey had told him he called them when Hutch’s death seemed inevitable.  Starsky knew who they were when they moved passed him and rather than step up and introduce himself, he leaned against the wall to get a better look.

 

As they spoke with the attractive doctor, his eyes went to Hutch’s father.  Richard Hutchinson had a good two inches on Hutch.  The stiff coat had the perfect fit and Starsky bet the man wasn’t much different than the tapered and starched clothing he wore.

 

Mrs. Hutchinson appeared to be the ideal wife.  The attractive hairstyle would only work if done professionally.  Everything from her stylish dress to her expertly manicured nails spoke of refinement.  He couldn’t see Margaret Hutchinson ever doing anything as low as changing a diaper.

 

But the real enigma stood behind Hutch’s parents.  She wasn’t Kathleen as Hutch had called her.  Starsky would’ve thought her more of a Katie type.  Her hair was tied back with a few strays of blonde hair falling in front of her face and the dress she wore didn’t look right on her.  In fact, he’d say it was more of a binding for the girl rather than something to accentuate her femininity.  This was a girl he’d expect to see playing softball or involving herself in other outdoor activities.  Katie, Starsky couldn’t see her any other way, looked like she was straddling two worlds.

 

 

 

~*~

 

 

Three days, Hutch thought with a near smile on his face.  Three more days and he was out of the hospital.  He loathed the confinement, but at least was feeling human.  Still weak, Hutch was well on the road to recovery and he had to admit it was comforting to have his partner back.  For how long he didn’t know.  It was inescapable that Starsky would soon need to feed his independent streak, but for the time being Hutch took pleasure in having him so close.

 

He expected to see Starsky when the door opened.  Upon his father first entering the room, Hutch immediately straightened in the bed.  It was normal for him to stand when his father entered a room as if it was the president of the United States.

 

“Son, you look well.”  Richard Hutchinson moved to the end of the bed with precise stiffness.

 

Hutch’s mother, Margaret, came nearer and touched his shoulder.  “Kenneth.”  She seemed almost afraid as she pulled back. 

 

He started to reach for her, but instead adjusted the covers.  “I didn’t expect you.”

 

“Your captain deemed it worthy to contact us.”  Richard’s hands remained in his pocket.  He looked too stubborn to budge from his spot.

 

Hutch realized Kathleen had planted herself near the door.  “Kathleen?”

 

It took a moment, but the young woman who was almost five years his junior, finally came forward.  Her head was slightly bowed, but raised her eyes to meet Hutch’s.  “You don’t look like death.”

 

“Kathleen!” Margaret scolded.

 

Hutch almost grinned, but when he saw his sister’s eyes lower at the chiding, his heart went out to her.  “Come here and give me a hug.”

 

When she stepped forward, Hutch was proud.  Despite his family they’d always knew the time to buck against the family way of doing things.  He frowned when Margaret stepped in and took hold of his sister’s arm.  “You’re brother’s been ill, Kathleen.”

 

“It’s okay, Mother.  I’m not contagious.  They wouldn’t have let you in the room otherwise.”

 

After the affectionate hold, Kathleen moved away when Richard cleared his throat.  It was the signal and as his sister and mother left the room an unsettling gloom settled around Hutch.  “You didn’t just come here to see me in case I didn’t make it.”

 

“Of course I knew you’d live, Kenneth.”  Richard slid his hands in his pockets almost as if touching anything would tarnish his perfect image.  “I thought after this latest escapade you’d see reason.  You’re unfit for this lifestyle.”

 

“Escapade?”  Hutch couldn’t believe what he was hearing.  “I almost died and you act like I went on vacation!”

 

“Your tone is unacceptable.”

 

Hutch took a calming breath.  He knew if he continued to express his anger his father would walk right out the door.  “I apologize, Dad.”

 

“I’ve spoken with Allen Myers.  His firm is in need of experienced investigators and he is willing to take you on if you go back to law school part-time and graduate.  Your salary will, of course, be more than you are currently accustomed to.”

 

Hutch rested his head back against the pillow in defeat.  The ache in his chest hurt so much he was ready to cry.  His eyes darted to the door in hopes Starsky would interrupt.  He needed him. 

 

“Kenneth?”

 

“Go away.”

 

With his eyes closed, Hutch heard the door open and shut.  He should’ve known.  He did know, but for one brief second a dash of hope had leapt into his heart.  At not seeing relief he had survived in their eyes had hurt far worse than he’d ever let on.

 

It must be a Hutchinson gene, Hutch speculated.  The inner workings of his soul were meant to be kept boxed up and stored away such as forgotten photographs in an attic.  He wondered if his father had desires and dreams put away meant to remain forever out of mind.

 

He couldn’t live that way.  Richard Hutchinson would call it a weakness.  Maybe it was, Hutch thought.  There was no way he could move through life without not allowing that part of himself he separated from the straight world be allowed an escape even if it meant for only brief far and in between periods. The rare moments it did happen it relieved just enough pressure to get through day to day.

 

Hutch stared at the closed door and willed Starsky to come through it.

 

 

~*~

 

 

One thing Starsky noticed about Hutch’s sister was the way she remained in the background.  He spotted it right off the bat when they were speaking to the doctor.  Seeing her now as she made her way in the cafeteria it was the same as she picked a table far in the back where few people sat.  Starsky picked up an apple and after paying for it he headed in her direction.

 

“This seat taken?” Starsky asked.

 

Katie’s eyes lifted a little and she shook her head.  Starsky sat down across from her and propped his feet up on the chair next to him.  He eyed the frosted flakes in her cereal bowl.  “I’m a fruit loops man myself, but Tony the Tiger is good.”

 

“Who are you?”

 

“Dave.  I’m Hutch’s partner.”

 

Her eyes widened and Katie ran her eyes over him.  “I heard about you.  Vanessa said it was all your fault.”

 

“My fault?”

 

“My brother didn’t become a lawyer and move back home to take over the firm.”

 

“Oh.”  Hutch rarely mentioned Vanessa and he doubted his partner knew she spoke with his family.  “I guess I don’t mind taking the blame, but it seems like Hutch already knew what he wanted.”

 

Starsky watched her for a moment and took a large bite of apple.  “So where’s the rest of the Hutchinson clan?”

 

“Dad’s meeting with an old friend.  He says Kenneth is going to take another job.”

 

“A job?”  Starsky straightened and leaned forward.  “Hutch is quitting?”

 

Katie sighed and pushed away her bowl.  “Probably not, but Dad thinks he will.”

 

He set the apple in the bowl and leaned back.  She was probably tired of talking about her brother.  “Are you going into the family lawyer business when you get your masters?”

 

She pushed the strands away from her face and Starsky saw the strong family resemblance.  “Do I look like a man?”

 

The question surprised Starsky.  “No.”

 

“My fiancé will work for Dad when he graduates from law school next spring.”

 

“Hutch never said anything about you being engaged.”

 

“He doesn’t know.  I never told him since he hardly ever calls.”

 

Starsky wasn’t surprised.  Hutch rarely discussed his family.  “So what’s the plan when you’re done?”

 

“Not much a person can do with an art history major in Minnesota.”

 

The story was told.  Katie would marry and her husband would take Hutch’s place.  She’d be the display piece of the Hutchinson family expected to take a leading role in society.  It’s no wonder she preferred to stay in the background.  “Why art history?”

 

“Why not?” She challenged.

 

Starsky smiled a little.  The girl did have some backbone and for that he was pleased.  “Like you said, not much you can do in that field in Minnesota.”

 

Her eyes lowered and a long strand fell over her eyes.  “I like art.”

 

“You paint like Hutch does?”

 

“Kenneth paints?”

 

“Yeah, he does that and plays the guitar.”  The attempt to imagine it was in her eyes.  “Don’t you?”

 

“At school.  Dad and Mother hate it.”

 

“And you love it,” Starsky observed.

 

“It’s like I’m not here when I do,” Katie said in a low voice.  “I can be whatever I want.”

 

“Sounds like a change of major is in order.”

 

Katie laughed at the suggestion and shook her head.  “No, I can’t do that.  Dad would cut me off and Phillip…”

 

“Chicken,” Starsky playfully taunted.  “The only one keeping you from doing it is you the way I see it.”

 

She was about to respond when her parents arrived.  Katie immediately stood and Starsky scrambled to his feet as well.  “Mom, Dad.  This is Kenneth’s partner…”

 

Starsky held his hand out and smiled.  Maybe he was wrong about them.  “Dave Starsky.”

 

“Mr. Starsky,” Richard said with a slight nod.  “Kathleen, our flight leaves in the morning.  It’s time to leave.”

 

“Hutch gets out of the hospital in a couple of days.  Why don’t you wait?” Starsky asked.

 

“We must be getting home,” Margaret told him.  “Come, Kathleen.”

 

Starsky caught the wink in Katie’s eyes and he knew she wouldn’t soon forget their conversation.  He looked at Richard who stepped closer to him.  “Mr. Starsky, your influence on my son has cost this family dearly.  I expect our paths not to cross again.”

 

He would never forget the words because Richard Hutchinson knew nothing about his son.  Hutch had begun his rebellion years earlier and Starsky had little to do with it.  If anything, he was just a passenger when it came to his partner’s decision making.  He didn’t mind being blamed for Hutch doing what he wanted and if he read Katie right she’d soon be changing her major and following her own dreams.  He was more than happy to be the one everyone pointed fingers at when she proved to be as talented as her brother.

 

It was no wonder the Hutchinson kids sought escape.  The world they came from was as restrictive as being tied to a chair and forced to eat Brussels sprouts.  Starsky couldn’t comprehend it.  Whether Hutch wanted to admit it, he still resembled his father.  The tight controls remained in place most of the time.  When it came to the job and their own struggles, his partner sought out as much as he could.  The more Hutch had, the stronger the grip became on it.  It was almost as if Hutch was waging a battle and for what, Starsky didn’t know.

 

 

~*~

 

 

The vacation was supposed to be over but having an extra day until they were due to get back to work Starsky and Hutch opted for a night out.  Hutch was glad his partner had forgotten about the plans to spend more time apart and the night began at Huggy’s with playing pool for mixed drinks.

 

Hutch was reminded of their meeting as they played.  He couldn’t recall feeling this damn good in a long time.  When their glasses ran low, Hutch picked them up and headed to the bar.  While the waitress refilled them, he followed the motion of Huggy’s hand.

 

In the kitchen, Hutch moved near him.  “Something wrong?”

 

The only answer Huggy provided was pushing Hutch against the wall with his mouth on the blond’s neck.  He ran his needy hands over the body relishing how it grew hard.  Hutch’s heavy breathing encouraged him on and Huggy was about to get on his knees to reward him with a blowjob.

 

Hutch found his control and pushed Huggy away.  “Are you fucking crazy?”

 

“Yeah, I guess I am.  It’s been a while.”

 

His cock was growing tight under his jeans and Hutch wanted nothing more than to take Huggy on the spot.  He heard distant laughter on the other side of the doors and was painfully aware of Starsky’s close proximity.  “Tomorrow night.”

 

Huggy leaned against the wall when he was alone.  Hutch’s needs might have subsided, but his had grown.

 

 

~*~

 

 

It took a trip to the bathroom and a few minutes to get his raging hormones under control.  Hutch threw cold water on his face and looked at the mirror.  He hated what he was seeing.  The fraud he was looking at bore no resemblance to the man he used to be.  With each visit to Huggy, it was a reminder of what he was and Hutch knew the time would come when a decision would have to be made.  He left the bathroom promising himself to figure it out later.

 

Hutch emerged from the bathroom and met Starsky at the pool table.  He forced a smile to his face. 

 

“You get lost or something?”

 

“Like I should count the times I’ve had to send out a search party for you?”

 

Starsky laughed and pulled Hutch’s arm towards their table where a gorgeous brunette waited.  She wore a skimpy tube top and shorts.  “This is Roxie.  She had a friend who was unexpectedly called away for an emergency root canal.”

 

“Dentists?”

 

“Hygienists,” Roxie corrected.

 

Starsky leaned closer to Hutch.  “Very oral,” He whispered.  Holding up the pool stick, Starsky helped Roxie to her feet.  “She wants us to teach her how to play, Hutch.  What do you say?”

 

Hutch took the item from his partner and grinned.  “I’m an expert.  I’d be glad to show her the ropes.”

 

“An expert at getting your ass whipped.” Starsky added with a wink. 

 

Roxie moved between the men and extricated the pool stick from Hutch.  “I bet the both of you make great teachers.”

 

The seductive gleam in her eye set the tone for the rest of the evening and the three wound up at Hutch’s place.  After sharing a large glass of scotch, they got to the bedroom. 

 

Starsky took the initiative and slowly pulled down Roxie’s top to her waist.  Everyone smiled when her generous breasts were freed.  He ran his hands over them and rolled the nipples between his fingers. 

 

Hutch moved forward and after removing his shirt pulled the covers down on the bed.  It wasn’t often they did this, but when they did his body always came to attention in response.  He turned his head to see Roxie grinding her ass into Starsky’s groin while her breasts were massaged.

 

He pulled her away from his partner and was guiding her to the bed when she stopped.  Her eyes danced with sexy mischievous as she got onto her knees.  “Come on, boys.  Strip.”

 

The demand was easy to follow and both hurried to do her bidding.  When they were naked, Roxie held her hands out.  “I’ve got to get my mouth on those.”

 

Starsky was eager and grinned at Hutch who followed along.  Roxie took hold of both cocks and pumped on them.  Hardened and ready, she put Hutch’s in her mouth first.

 

The sensations were building and Hutch could scarcely believe it.  Here he stood shoulder to shoulder, skin to skin, with his partner.  The threesomes of before they’d never gotten so close.  He was already having second thoughts about this night.

 

After switching back and forth for a few minutes, Roxie pulled both cocks together and stretched her mouth around them.  Hutch thought he was going to die from the intimate contact.  How she managed to get them both inside, he didn’t know, but cock to cock was almost his undoing.  It was too close to Starsky, a man he still lusted after.  It was always a refrained desire that he kept cornered with rules and walls.

 

Much to his relief, Roxie moved away and did a seductive dance as she removed the rest of her clothing.  She crawled onto the bed and made sure she showed off her best attributes.  Thinking this would now go according to standard expectations, Hutch got to the bed and put Roxie on her back.  His mouth went to work on her breasts and out of the corner of his eye he saw Starsky widening her legs and diving in with his tongue to feast on the delicacy.

 

Roxie’s sighs, whimpers and moans filled the room and when she was ready Starsky got to his knees.  Hutch moved behind her and rested her against him.  He played with her breasts while Starsky positioned himself at her opening.  He smiled with pleasure as his partner slid inside the woman.  Nothing brought him more gratification than seeing the erotic haze on Starsky’s face.  It was as close as he would ever get to experience the act with his partner.

 

Hutch lay back when Roxie pushed Starsky away and got on her knees.  She sucked on Hutch’s cock for a minute then moved astride him.  Her tight opening descending on his erection brought a moan from his lips.  After riding him for a few minutes, Roxie looked behind her at Starsky who took in the entire scene with a grin.  “Come on, Dave.  I need filled up…completely.”

 

More than willing to grant her request, Starsky had no problem in scooting closer to her.  Hutch’s cock remained imbedded inside of her and he had watched his partner with great interest plunging in and out.  It had been a while since he had done it, so Starsky was careful as he inserted a finger in the only opening left to him. 

 

She moaned and moved to the stimulation.  When nothing else was required Starsky put his cock to her ass and pushed in.  He was slow to allow for any discomfort she might have to pass.

 

Hutch thought he was doing to die.  If he did, he wouldn’t have wanted to go any other way.  Starsky was moving inside of her and he could feel it.  His partner’s thick cock was so close, but still separated by a thin barrier.  It took every ounce of control for Hutch not to blow his load. 

 

He could feel Starsky’s legs brushing against his as the three settled into position.  The urge to reach around Roxie to grab a hold of Starsky was so strong, Hutch couldn’t trust himself.  Instead, he rested his hands on her breasts.

 

It was Roxie who started to move, then when Starsky began thrusting, Hutch was pulled along for the ride and the hot sex got better as the orgasm approached and thrust the threesome higher.  The three were willing prisoners of the drive to reach their peak. 

 

Closing his eyes and groaning, Hutch’s hurried thrusts grew frantic as he imagined nothing separating him from Starsky.  They were cock to cock, body to body, holding, kissing and loving each other.  He was so close.  A thousand times of too close filtered through his mind as every single intimate moment of friendship was relived through the coupling. 

 

The orgasm hit like a large wave against the rocks and Hutch thrust in almost lifting Starsky and Roxie from the bed.  He opened his eyes and saw the contorted desire on Starsky’s face as he came.  Hutch had to bite his tongue to keep from calling out his partner’s name.

 

As they began to come down from the sexual high, Starsky and Hutch’s eyes locked.  The entire experience had rattled Starsky to his core.  He pulled out and as Roxie rolled to her side, he watched Hutch pull the covers over her.  Never before in his life had he ever had such an encounter.

 

Starsky got off the bed and went to the bathroom.  After cleaning up, he headed back to the bedroom and saw that Roxie had already fallen asleep.  Hutch was sitting up in bed.  He picked up his pants and slid them on.  “How ‘bout if I meet you at work on Tuesday.”

 

“Sure.”  Hutch wished he hadn’t quit smoking at that moment.  The embarrassment was all over Starsky’s face.

 

Starsky sat on the bed and started on his socks and shoes.  “It’s just that I don’t want to her to feel bad.  You know how it is, Hutch.”

 

“Yeah, Starsk.”  Hutch ran his hands over his face and wished Starsky would just stop talking.

 

When Starsky finished with his shirt, he rushed out of the room leaving Hutch alone.  The shift in their relationship was almost fundamental at that moment and he had no doubt this would be the last of their threesomes.

 

It was for the best.  This one was too close.  The melding of two worlds was too risky and Hutch wasn’t about to put Starsky in a position of moving farther away from him.  He had no illusions that there would be repercussions, but hopefully not to the degree that he expected.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Huggy had spent all day looking for a certain brandy.  It wasn’t just old, but rare and it had cost.  He set two decanters on the bar along with the bottle.  Hutch hadn’t been very specific concerning his arrival and whenever it was, Huggy wanted to be ready.  He missed the blond in the last few months.  More so than any other time when their nights together had so much distance between them. 

 

He’d been so close to exploding when Hutch came down sick with a plague.  Starsky was losing it and lashing out at anyone including him.  Huggy almost told him.  His desperation had to have been as powerful as Starsky’s.  He’d called in every favor and asked for more even from sources he normally wouldn’t make use of.  Huggy was ready and willing to give whatever it took to save Hutch, but Starsky had beaten him to the punch with the visit to Roper.

 

His attention was brought to the present at hearing the knock at the door.  Huggy opened and when Hutch came in he breathed a sigh of relief.  Seeing the tall blond standing in his living room brought forth a rush of pleasure.  Huggy went to the bar and picked up a glass.  “I found this brandy that Napoleon himself couldn’t have gotten his hands on.”

 

While pouring it, Huggy felt like a sixteen year old kid on a first date.  He handed the glass to Hutch, then poured one for himself.  He watched his lover sip the brandy and nod.  “This is good.”

 

“I figure we could at least act sophisticated before getting down to business.”

 

Hutch looked down at the glass, then set it down.  “Huggy, we…I mean, I can’t…We need to keep our distance.”

 

To say he was floored was an understatement.  Huggy’s heart skipped a beat and the bottom dropped out of his stomach.  The urge to beg was foremost in his mind and Huggy started to think he was not above it.  “I know I broke protocol last night, Hutch…”

 

“It’s not that.”  Hutch was having a hard time looking at Huggy in the eyes.  “It’s too risky right now.”

 

“So maybe later.”

 

“Sure.”

 

Huggy knew there wouldn’t be another night.  This secret part of their relationship was over even though Hutch didn’t have the guts to make an official declaration.  By the time he sat down on the couch, Hutch was gone.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Hutch couldn’t believe he was here.  There was so much in the last few days he couldn’t believe.  Vanessa blew into town and knocked him off his game.  He’d stumbled and stuttered his way along until she was right back at the familiar manipulations then he’d blown his cool. 

 

The look on her face told him she hadn’t expected the tongue lashing she’d gotten and Hutch had more.  Years of resentment and built up anger was just under the surface and he’d left the bar before it poured out of him.  The rest was history.  Vanessa was dead and the evidence was piled at his feet.

 

He barely remembered the moments after finding Vanessa lying on the floor.  Still in shock with grief so close to the forefront, Starsky came running.  His partner had shuffled him to the bedroom while a crime team converged on the apartment.  Hutch had almost fallen to his knees when he saw the blood stain on the floor.

 

He rubbed his eyes to erase the memory and when Hutch opened them he remembered where he was.  Starsky had insisted on coming to Huggy’s.  It was the last place anyone would look.  He watched Starsky crawl under the covers of the very bed where they had so many memorable encounters

 

It seemed like only yesterday he had told Huggy they had to back off for a while.  Hutch didn’t want to end it, but he knew that’s what it was.  He still wanted an avenue to the separate life he had carved out of his much larger one.

 

The squeak of the bed signaled Starsky’s shifting to get more comfortable.  Hutch could see his feet sticking out of the covers from his position on the couch.  The need for warm breathing love was showing itself through his cock.  Hutch ran his hand over the growing erection.

 

He had insisted on taking the couch and Starsky retreated to the bed while Huggy used the futon in the other room.  It was the safest course of action.  Hutch didn’t trust himself to share a bed with either man.  The strain was at its breaking point and showing itself through the tautness of his body and the needy desire. 

 

A shadow emerged from the other room and Hutch shifted his vision over to see Huggy coming closer.  “You okay?”

 

“Yeah,” Hutch whispered.  “Can’t sleep is all.”

 

“Woman did a number on you, Hutch.”  Seeing Hutch lower his eyes, Huggy moved closer and saw the hard cock pocking through the cotton briefs.  He leaned over and took Hutch’s wrist.  “Come on.”

 

“Huggy…”

 

“Trust me, man.  Let’s go before he wakes up.”

 

Hutch let Huggy help him to his feet and was led into the bathroom.  He went against the wall while Huggy got to his knees.

 

“I’ll suck you off so you’ll get some rest.”

 

When the underwear was pulled down, Hutch let out the breath he was holding.  “You don’t understand, Hug…please.”

 

Huggy stroked the hard member and looked up.  “You’re so fucking wired you’ll never shut those baby blues.  Close your eyes, Hutch.”

 

Hutch did and when the hot wet mouth took him he almost died from the ecstasy of it.  Vigorous friction drove his blood pressure up and he breathed heavy as the lips sucked and fucked his cock.  In his mind’s eye, Starsky was on his knees giving such devastating pleasure that Hutch drove the erection deep into his throat.

 

How many different ways Starsky could give him dying erotic thrills was something Hutch could barely comprehend in the straight world, but in this one, it was countless.  As he rocked his hips back and forth, Hutch dreamed of taking Starsky to the same heights he was now experiencing.  “Oh, God,” Hutch moaned.

 

This was more than just need and drive.  It was a dying passion building to such a degree that the very idea of giving such personal intense fulfillment and erotic love to the man who had been everything for these many years that it drove Hutch to the edge of forever.  His cock swelled when he remembered the blissful orgasm on Starsky’s face and thinking of him being the reason, Hutch exploded.  “God, Starsk!”

 

It wasn’t until Huggy pulled away that Hutch realized what he said.  Their eyes locked then he closed them.  His lives had collided in the most unexpected way and in Huggy’s bathroom of all places.  Hutch wanted to crawl into a hole.

 

Assurance was on the tip of Huggy’s tongue, but he changed his mind.  “It’s because of Starsky.” 

 

Hutch went to the bathroom sink and cleaned up.  He couldn’t speak.

 

“I’ve crossed over to being the bigger fool than the two of you.”  Huggy sat on the toilet.  After Hutch had left him alone, Huggy put his head in his hands.  He’d had no illusions about any relationship with Hutch, but to know where the big guy’s love belonged was a rude awakening.  He was the fool for not realizing it sooner.

 

Huggy didn’t know who to feel sorry for more…Hutch, because he’d never say a word or Starsky, who wasn’t even aware of his convoluted partner’s powerful emotions.

 

 

~*~

 

 

 

The Hutch Starsky saw now was in almost complete contrast to what he’d grown familiar with in the early years of their partnership.  Physically, he was the same, but the manifestation showed itself in a variety of ways.  It became all the more apparent after Starsky’s crazy attempt to chase down a couple of thieves. 

 

Hutch had called in an old friend to play doctor since no reputable physician would ever perpetuate such an outrageous scheme.  After a dose of Hutchinson charm, the nurses even went along.  Starsky had been livid, but after blowing off some steam at his incorrigible partner, he’d calmed down considerably. 

 

Starsky had chalked it up to one of those stupid jokes only they could get away with playing.  If anyone else had pulled the half the pranks they did on each other, the person would have found themselves victim to the double wrath of two men with a fierce overprotective streak of one another.

 

He began noticing more changes soon after when they began investigating the murder of cab drivers.  Starsky dived into the role and soon found himself entranced by a young hopeful singer/cab driver.  As soon as he’d told her which way he didn’t swing, he was pulling all the old familiar tricks to get her in his bed.

 

His partner disappeared for a couple of days while Starsky wined and dined the girl.  He tried to remember her name, but instead added it to the growing list of other women whose names he’d forgotten.  While Starsky continued with chasing skirts, his partner had set his sights on other less strenuous activities such as yoga.

 

Whether any good came of it, Starsky didn’t know.  All he saw was Hutch searching for something without a name to it.  He doubted his partner even knew.  He wondered if he was doing the same thing with the numerous women coming and going through his life. 

 

 

~*~

 

 

Losses are hell, Hutch thought.  There’d been more than he could stomach as of late that covered every aspect of the job.  Cops dying, kids on the street and a general public who preferred seeing the eyesores locked up rather than give what was most needed.  He became a cop to help people and the revolving doors from the jail to the courts to prison and back out on the street wasn’t slowing down.  The ones who needed the most help rarely got it and those beyond it found it easy to get back out in order to repeat their crimes. 

 

Cops were becoming victims and criminals.  There was no such thing as good cop/bad cop anymore.  The harsh world was taking a toll even on the strongest of them.  He’d seen a good veteran cop resort to horrific lows in order to play executioner.  It had cost the department a young officer who couldn’t handle his own role in the sordid mess.  Another, Luke, Hutch had looked up to.  He’d set the standard for Hutch and when the man was crying in his arms, he almost quit on the spot.

 

Going undercover was now rare and for that Hutch was glad.  But the last time he was closer to walking off the job.  Marianne was attractive and reminded him of those old blues singers he listened to at home.  She had a voice that brought back sweet memories of Billie Holiday and Nina Simone.  The way she spoke and looked at him out of the corner of her eye got under his skin.

 

He’d done a bang up job on that assignment.  Using their common love of music was the best way to get to her.  After a quick getaway, they both wound up at Hutch’s place out of breath and laughing.  The next thing he knew he was kissing her and she was working at getting his shirt off.

 

They tangled up in each other’s arms and it was afterwards when the real world decided to intrude.  They both knew it when retreating to their separate thoughts.  He cared for her and his fraudulence was killing him.  Between the job to get her in front of a grand jury and his own shortcomings, Hutch had taken her to bed just to have a taste of false happiness if only for that brief moment.

 

She figured it all out easy enough.  Hutch should’ve known how in sync she was with the rest of the world because she had him pegged from the first moment.  No words were needed.  Marianne Owens recognized him as a duplicitous bastard.  How could he argue with that?

 

The point was driven home when she sat in the hallway of her apartment building crying over her dead brother.  As soon as his body was taken away, she turned on him.

 

“You didn’t get me!” Marianne cried.  She swung her hand and slapped Hutch across the face.  “My brother’s dead body got you Joe Fitch!”

 

She was right, of course.  Hutch got Fitch and it was Harry who would put the nail in the coffin.  It had all been pointless.  He pushed too hard and Marianne had nothing left. 

 

“Hutch.”

 

He didn’t answer Starsky.  He was too busy watching Marianne follow the gurney carrying her brother.  Hutch hated his job and more than anything, he hated himself.  He brushed past Starsky and once outside decided to walk home.

 

 

~*~

 

 

Partners were easy, Starsky realized.  After a while they work together as one with one objective in mind.  The predictability could be counted on and he liked it.  When Hutch had been laid up with a bullet wound, he’d been temporarily assigned a young detective on her way up through the ranks.  They were more alike than different.  He broke all the rules with Meredith.  He’d taken her to bed and the simplicity of the act was a breath of fresh air.  Yep, easy.

 

Hutch wasn’t just any partner.  He was high maintenance and couldn’t be swapped around with other cops until a match was found.  Hutch was Cinderella’s foot and Starsky was the glass slipper; a perfect mold designed to protect his partner.  Maybe it was a bad analogy, but it was the best Starsky could come up with.

 

That’s what he was thinking when he drove up to Hutch’s apartment.  The scene in the hallway with Joe Fitch, Marianne, her dead brother and Hutch played over and over in Starsky’s mind.  Hutch’s face took a dominant role and he’d never forget it.  The self-defeat his partner wore hurt.

 

Starsky rebuked himself for not remembering this wasn’t just his partner.  This was his best friend.  Somewhere in the mess of their lives he’d forgotten and tried to set the relationship in the perspective of partners on the job.  He pulled back to the point of their off-duty time being spent separate.

 

He walked into the apartment and seeing it empty, Starsky considered patrolling the street until he found Hutch.  Knowing his thoughtful partner, he’d take a long walk via Phoenix.

 

“What are you doing here?”

 

Starsky swung around to see Hutch in the doorway.  The bruises on his face were beginning to show themselves.  “Came to see how you were doing.”

 

Hutch closed the door and moved to the living room.  He slipped the jacket off and tossed it on the couch.  “Marianne give a statement?”

 

“Dobey’s taking care of it.”  Starsky did a slow turn following Hutch with his eyes.  “He wants your report by end of business day tomorrow.”

 

Hutch gripped the refrigerator handle.  “And I suppose you promised him I would.”

 

“Yeah.”  The tone in Hutch’s voice told Starsky to tread carefully.  “I told him you needed the rest of the day off.”

 

After retrieving a beer, Hutch leaned against the counter and stuck his hand in his front pocket.  He pulled out a cigarette and lit it.

 

“Thought you quit.”

 

“Easy habit to pick up after spending a week in a barroom full of smokers.”

 

Starsky wasn’t sure what to do at this point.  He watched Hutch take a long drag, then a drink of beer.  He decided it was time to go to him.  “Listen, what happened wasn’t your fault, Hutch.  You had no idea…”

 

“She warned me, Starsk.  Marianne told me if I kept on it would be her brother’s life.”  Hutch’s laugh was dark and bitter.  “I wouldn’t let it alone.”

 

“And she was our only shot at getting Fitch.  We’ll never know now many people he wasted.”

 

Taking a long drink from the beer, Hutch decided it wasn’t strong enough.  He needed whiskey.  “To do my fucking job I had to fuck her.”

 

“You know how it is, Hutch.  We’ve gone down this road before.”

 

“I remember!” Hutch yelled.  “I almost got my block knocked off when the roles were reversed!”

 

Starsky moved his gaze away.  “It’s not the same.”

 

“Of course it wasn’t the same.  You at least thought you loved Rosey!”  Hutch left Starsky for the greenhouse and once among the foliage he saw how much he had neglected the plants in the last week.

 

“Okay,” Starsky admitted as he trailed behind Hutch.  “You’re right.  It was a fucked up case from the beginning, Hutch.  I’m sorry it turned out so lousy and I’m sorry Marianne Owens took it out on you.  You’re not the one who pulled the trigger.”

 

“If that’s supposed to make me feel better…”

 

“I don’t know what the hell to tell you!  You’re too busy running as far and as hard as you can get.  How to stop you, I don’t know.”

 

Hutch was way past caring at this point and he dropped the half-smoked cigarette to the floor and squashed it with is foot.  “Maybe you shouldn’t.”

 

It took Starsky a moment to catch his breath.  He grabbed hold of the wall to steady himself.  “You want to call it quits?”

 

“I’m not sure if we’re doing each other any favors.”

 

Fear took hold and Starsky struggled with it.  The very idea of not having Hutch scared the shit out of him.  Attempting to comprehend not having his partner, his best friend, brother and everything else Hutch was to him, was incomprehensible.  “No.”

 

Hutch turned.  “What?”

 

“I said no.”  Straightening, Starsky believed the courage inside him was nothing more than a façade in order to fight Hutch.  “You think I’m letting you quit just like that, you’ve got another thing, pal.  We’ve been to hell and back and there is no way you’re getting off the hook so easy.”

 

“Starsky,” Hutch began.

 

“Are you listening to a word I’m saying, Hutchinson?  We’re a team.  We’re staying that way and the only way you’ve got a right to quit on us is if I let you.  The answer’s no so whatever notions you’ve got in that blond head of yours, you might as well just forget it.  We’re partners on and off the job, Blondie.”

 

Hutch couldn’t believe his ears.  The look on his partner’s face told him that he was surprised at the words out of his own mouth.  If he didn’t know any better, Hutch would have sworn they’d just gotten married.

 

 

 

~*~

 

 

They clicked.  It was as simple as that.  Even with all their idiosyncrasies banging against one another, Starsky and Hutch clicked as if it was the first year of their partnership.  Hutch slid into it as comfortably as he would his favorite old pair of shoes.  After so much upheaval in their lives a calm had settled and with it came the return of the familiar banter and affection.

 

He accepted the fact over a year ago their relationship would never be what he dreamed, but this…this he could live the rest of his life with.  Hutch was finally content.

 

There would be women.  Not for him, Hutch reminded himself.  He was finished with that road and on occasion double dated with Starsky, but it never went any further.  Sometimes a good woman like Allison May would come along and he’d play the competitive game with his partner.  Hutch in the end would bow out and let Starsky have his fun.  As he saw it, Starsky left the ‘mortgaged house and toys on the lawn’ dream behind.  Neither were interested in changing the status quo.

 

Well, until SHE came along.  Kira was just a part of the game as far as Hutch was concerned.  Starsky was playing and didn’t appear to mind his role.  It all started with a hard gaze and a few cross words.  Hutch had blown it off.

 

It wasn’t that serious.  It couldn’t be, Hutch told himself.  Kira knew the game as well as they did.  She was along for the ride and Hutch chalked it up to the sexual revolution in full swing mode.  They’d played and flirted a lot, but the rule was to never bed anyone the partner was already bedding. 

 

The next thing Hutch knew Starsky had turned into Mr. By the Book Cop and he felt like a demoted rookie with every reminder to do his job.  He was growing to resent the change and rather than let it fester over time he took the initiative by paying a visit to his partner.  The declarations of love had floored him. 

 

None of it made sense.  Kira couldn’t possibly be that serious about Starsky.  He hightailed to her place and the next thing Hutch knew he was carting the woman off to bed and spouting something about love.  Stupid, stupid, stupid!

 

Even the words he tried using sounded like a miserable attempt to justify his own stupidity.  Hutch could sit down and try to tell a stranger the entire story, but when it came to his fucking her, there was no excuse for it.  He really didn’t have any way to explain his failure.

 

Kira’s mistake had been not to take Starsky’s love seriously.  He knew from experience that Starsky’s love must always be taken with genuine honesty.  Anything less was unacceptable.

 

Hutch should’ve known better than to attempt to reach out to him, but he did and the violence erupted.  The punches didn’t even hurt that much.  He’d only had the wind knocked out of him.  He was pissed at himself for screwing her, at Kira for her nonchalant willingness to sleep with him and Starsky for not seeing beyond his own feelings.

 

That night at Huggy’s they clicked again in the midst of their anger and it dissolved as easily as sugar into water.  They left the place arm in arm.  After an uncomfortable silence out on the sidewalk, Starsky pulled Hutch to his car and drove him to his apartment.  They spent the remainder of the night talking, playing checkers, chess and pinochle.  Hutch was glad to see Starsky fall asleep on his couch.

 

With the whole ugly affair behind them, they went back to what worked best.  It was each other of course and Hutch let things continue on as they had.  It continued just fine for a week.

 

The screeching of metal on metal seemed to split Hutch’s eardrums in half.  The next thing he remembered was the gravel digging into the palms of his hands and glass falling around him.  When he jumped up some pieces fell down his shirt.  The gun powder in the air seemed to burn his eyes and he thought he was going to vomit from the stench of it filtering into his nose down to his gut.

 

All Hutch could do was aim and fire.  Looking back on it he did remember yelling Starsky’s name.  They got away and when he didn’t see his partner, the bottom fell out of his life again and Hutch found Starsky lying on the ground with his head resting within the inner sanctum of the wheelbase of the Torino.

 

Cops were yelling all around him as Hutch scrambled over, but all he saw was the blood.  It was pouring out of Starsky’s chest.  He planted his hands on Starsky’s torso and when he saw more blood coming out of the other side, Hutch did the same to his back.  It wouldn’t stop and when thick bandages were applied to the wounds, Hutch helped to keep his partner together.

 

The unthinkable was already sinking into Hutch’s brain and as he climbed in the back of the ambulance he was sure Starsky would be pronounced DOA.  What kept Starsky going, Hutch didn’t know.  What kept him fighting, he couldn’t fathom.  The heart kept beating and life wouldn’t relinquish its strong hold.

 

While Starsky was in surgery, Hutch was shocked to discover the blood on his hands.  He’d had his partner’s blood on him before, but seeing so much of it at one time just about pushed him over the edge.  He went to the bathroom to wash it off and when he finished, Hutch threw up his breakfast and then some. 

 

He listened to the words of the doctors and they all said the same thing.  Don’t expect David Michael Starsky to live.  People don’t survive gun shots like these at point blank.  Hutch stared through the window and rehearsed the speech to Starsky’s mother.

 

He prepared the funeral in his head and made mental notes on all the requests Starsky had given him over the years.  Hutch couldn’t for the life of him remember the name of that Rabbi his partner liked so much.  He had to ask Rachel.

 

The funeral never came.  Hutch was torn between laughing, crying and yelling for joy at the top of his lungs.  He was sure he’d done all of the above when Starsky opened his eyes.  He was like a little kid for days afterwards and when the moment came to arrest James Gunther he tried to keep the good feelings, but upon seeing the man in the million dollar mansion every positive emotion left and was replaced with pure black revenge.

 

As he walked into the ornate office, it reminded Hutch of his father’s, but the memory soon left when his eyes landed on Gunther sitting in peace at his desk.  He took the steps slow.  The hope was Hutch would get his excuse to put a bullet in Gunther’s head.

 

Instead, he got a weak man whose only power was the money and the twisted ways he put it to use.  He’s not worth it, Hutch realized.  He got far more satisfaction by putting the cuffs on and envisioning the billionaire behind bars.

 

 

~*~

 

 

 

The first time Hutch had sought to quench the thirst for man-sex was during his second year of college.  A few fumbling and awkward experiences taught him that if he were to deal with the strong urges running through him he would have to change tactics, places and people.  The rules were set in stone early on.

 

Starsky’s recovery gave him little time to want the feel of a male body next to him and the truth of the matter was, there was only man Hutch wanted.  For months now, he hadn’t given a second thought to quelling any itch.  It was the simple fact no other got his attention except for Starsky.  Nothing new there, Hutch thought.

 

His straight world was now Starsky world and no other existed.  Hutch smiled when it occurred to him.  This was how it was meant to be and living the life of a celibate monk would be simple as long as his partner remained in it.

 

Finally with some contentment, Hutch could go about his day without the yearning pushing its way through the carefully constructed façade.  Starsky was straight.  So simple and to the point, Hutch had always known which made the line very clear.

 

Hutch began gathering his dirty clothes and doing some much needed cleaning while Starsky went to a follow-up appointment with his surgeon.  His partner was recovering so well that he knew in a matter of a few weeks Starsky would be released by the physician. 

 

What future that held, Hutch didn’t know and he really didn’t care.  They hadn’t talked about whether Starsky would stay a cop or not.  If he didn’t, Hutch would hand in his badge without a second thought.  If he did, he would take his place at Starsky’s side on the job.  Either way, Hutch was a firm believer he and Starsky would always be together.  Even without saying it, he knew Starsky felt the same.

 

The knock at the door broke his train of thought and Hutch left the greenhouse to answer it.  He was surprised to find Huggy waiting.

 

“Hug, what brings you by?”

 

“Got a minute.”

 

Hutch stepped aside.  “Sure.”  He observed Huggy’s awkward demeanor and it was apparent this wasn’t a social call.  “You want a beer or something?”

 

“No.”

 

Rather than stand in one place, Hutch had the need to keep busy.  He headed to the greenhouse and picked up the watering can.  “Starsky’s at the doctor.  I’m headed to his place tonight.”

 

Watching Hutch focusing on his plants was more like avoidance.  Huggy knew it showed he wasn’t here to pass the time.  “Maybe this time you and Starsky will get down to the business of your relationship.”

 

Taking a dried leaf from a plant, Hutch kept his eyes on the task in front of him.  His heart pounded so damn hard he thought it was going to jump out of his chest.  “What business is that?”

 

“Don’t treat me the fool, Hutch.  You’ve never done that since the first time we met.”

 

Hoping to avoid what he knew was coming, Hutch turned and headed to the kitchen.  He was careful not to meet Huggy’s eyes.  There was no way he was going to allow anyone to see the turmoil raging through him.  Just when he thought peace was at hand, war erupted in his heart.  “It’s not your business.”

 

Huggy grabbed Hutch’s arm and pulled him around.  “If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t’ve trusted me.  You know what I’m talking about!”

 

“Goddamn it, Huggy!  We don’t do this!  You know that!”

 

“It’s about damn time someone around here broke those fucking rules you hide behind!”

 

“It’s over.  It doesn’t matter anymore.”

 

“You’ve been telling yourself that lie for a while now.”  Wishing his words could make a difference, Huggy wasn’t about to back down now.  “It matters because Starsky matters.”

 

“Shut up!” Hutch yelled.  “Don’t bring him here!”

 

“He was always here almost from the beginning, Hutch.  Don’t make me prove you a liar.”

 

Shaking his head in refusal, Hutch said, “It’ll always be what we are now.  I won’t allow it to be any other way.”

 

Taking a step closer, Huggy searched Hutch’s eyes.  “It can be what you’ve always wanted, Hutch.  He can give you everything if you give him the chance.”

 

Fear formed under the intense battle growing within him and Hutch moistened his dry lips.  “I can’t, Hug.  I won’t.”

 

Huggy knew what finality sounded and looked like.  He couldn’t shelter the disappointment he felt.  “So you’re gonna live the rest of your life with him never knowing.”

 

“It’s easier than you think.”

 

“You had a lot of practice, haven’t you?”  The answer was in his eyes and Huggy was almost ready to leave then stilled.  “The one thing you and me never did.”

 

“What’s that?”

 

“I always wondered why we didn’t and I think I know why.”  Taking a step towards him, Huggy could almost taste the Hutch aroma he had sorely missed.  He couldn’t deny the physical urge running through him, but Huggy knew that part of the relationship was over.  He had accepted it some time ago, but his curiosity had remained.  Knowing their odd relationship would continue to survive, Huggy was ready to throw it out there.  “Vulnerability looks good on you, Hutch.  Looks better when you fight not to show it.”

 

“What are you talking about, Hug?”

 

“We did everything under the sun but kiss.  You kissed enough women, but it was never quite the same.  They expect it.  It’d be different, wouldn’t it?”

 

Lowering his eyes, Hutch struggled to find an explanation.  “Call it another rule.”

 

“Give it to me, Hutch.  You trusted me with everything else.”

 

“Hug…”

 

“The sex is done.  That body of yours is under new ownership.  I can’t change it.”  Seeing no argument, Huggy stepped into Hutch’s space.  “Call it my last hurrah in this fucked up arrangement between you and me.”

 

Closing his eyes, Hutch didn’t move and when Huggy’s lips touched his, he was surprised at the tenderness and friendship behind it.  For as long as it had been, the once primal need didn’t show itself.  There was no Starsky power and scent.  He seemed to feel it when his partner entered a room.

 

So undemanding was the kiss between friends, Hutch relaxed under persuasive mouth, he sighed.  The lack of intrusiveness, pressure and naked want made Hutch realize Huggy wanted this to seal the finality of their sexual history and that he was ready to give.

 

The soft sound might as well been the slamming of a door and it was enough to break through the tender moment.  Hutch lifted his eyes open and they moved passed Huggy to Starsky who stood just inside the doorframe leading from the greenhouse.

 

Tearing into him was a far worse look than when he had stepped out of Kira’s bedroom half-dressed.  Eyes with utter disbelief began filling with hurt, betrayal and disappointment.

 

The agonizing rehabilitation was a cake-walk compared to the jagged hurt Starsky felt ripping into his gut.  It was as if someone had reached inside and pulled out his intestines hand over hand with torturous slowness.  He was in no way prepared to meet the sight before him.

 

Huggy was slow in stepping away from Hutch.  Thunderous silence filled the room and the atmosphere grew heavy with tension.  It was almost enough to bring everyone to their knees with reality giving way to common knowledge. 

 

Looking from Hutch to Starsky, then back to Hutch, it dawned on Huggy their eyes were not on him, but on each other.  He wasn’t in the room or even in the universe they had created between them.  That was then he decided on escape rather than be in the middle of the tornado readying to explode.

 

Every second Starsky stood staring at Hutch his slow churning anger was building.  Fury was growing like storm clouds on the horizon with violence trailing behind it.  His chest heaved with heavy breaths and tightening his fists until the knuckles whitened, the eruption was beginning to bubble to the surface.

 

Like a wolf pouncing on its prey, Starsky rushed over and gripped Hutch’s arms.  He slammed him back against the refrigerator and took the parted mouth in a bruising, punishing and unforgivable kiss. 

 

Starsky’s rage surged through every part of Hutch’s being.  His mouth was forced open and their teeth butted together.  The tongue demanded entrance and Hutch was powerless to stop it.  Hot breath was pushed inside and he felt his partner’s anger wind its way down to his groin.

 

The moment the courage came to give the essence that had been locked away in Hutch’s soul, Starsky pushed away from him and took two steps back.  Starsky was the only man he knew who could convey every thought, emotion and mood with a look.  It was gratifying to know he was one of the few who could read his partner.  The one time he wished he couldn’t was now. 

 

Anger was a thin layer of ice covering Starsky’s raw hurt and Hutch stood unmoving, unready for whatever was flung at him.  More silence hung in the air threatening to cave in Hutch’s chest.

 

Fighting to hold onto the wrath burning within him, Starsky wasn’t about to let loose the untold grief ready to rupture from the pressure of how much pain the discovery had brought on.  He rubbed his eyes hard trying to quell the cry threatening to take over.

 

“Why?” Starsky roared.  “Tell me why?”

 

Hutch flinched.  Never in all their years together had Starsky ever spoken to him with such hostility.  It was acrid, like the stench of gunfire and Hutch was nauseated by the bitterness rolling off of him.

 

Backing away, Starsky swung and marched to the living room.  The wolf was back and rather than looking to ease the hunger, it was now looking for blood to satisfy the rage.  He stopped the pacing and brought his furious gaze to Hutch who hadn’t moved.

 

“I came over here…”  The heavy breathing slowed and Starsky’s voice lowered.  That’s when Hutch realized it was far worse than he could ever know.  “I got released from the doctor.  I waited…”  Slipping in to replace the blood boiling was the hurt of betrayal.  He couldn’t control the broken words.  “Wanted to be well for you, Hutch.  Goddamn you, I was fucking scared to death you wouldn’t want me like I wanted you.”

 

The knees under Hutch almost gave way with the admission.  His mouth opened, but no words would come.  The years of sealing away, silence and hiding had done a more than adequate job.  Never speaking of it, acknowledging it to anyone in his straight world made it impossible for him to put a voice to everything he had concealed.  And now, that secret had cost him the very person he valued above all others.

 

Seeing Starsky walking out, Hutch’s knees finally had nothing under them and he began sinking to the floor.  By the time the door slammed, he was sitting and the loss was immediate.  What part of himself he lost, Hutch didn’t know.  All he knew was the emptiness was far more heartbreaking than he could ever imagine. 

 

 

 

~*~

 

 

Driving with a vengeance, Starsky pushed his foot on the accelerator forcing the car down the highway at breakneck speed.  Mingling torrents of emotion warred for supremacy and no single image came to mind except for Hutch’s lips connected with Huggy’s.

 

How could he do it?  Why?  How long?  Questions raced through his mind and upon seeing the needle hit the 100 mph mark, Starsky eased off and the Torino slowed.  Taking deep breaths the betrayal ran thick in his veins.  His heart pounded so hard, Starsky finally pulled over and rested his head on the steering wheel.

 

A snapshot of the scene appeared when his eyes closed.  Like Polaroid pictures being laid one on top of another, Hutch’s face showed the guilt at being found out. It was then Starsky realized his partner had shut down.  Even in their worst arguments Hutch fought back with reason and tenacity.  He had never seen him give up without a fight.

 

Why didn’t Hutch come after him?  Starsky opened his eyes and looked at the radio.  Why wasn’t he hearing him now?  Something…Starsky didn’t know what…was off.  It occurred to him he had only seen a small sliver of the entire story.

 

He turned the car around and began the drive back to Hutch’s.  He remembered the remorse covering Hutch’s face.  Why would he blame himself?  For not telling me?  The look was there before his outburst.  Hutch could read him like one of his well-used books on the shelf.  He knew him word for word.

 

The only exception being Hutch never saw Starsky’s own love for him coming.  He had been toying, wrestling, and outright arguing with himself for weeks after the shooting over the sanity of falling for his partner.  When it happened, Starsky didn’t know and it didn’t matter.

 

Acceptance took over and with that came unbounded joy.  I love Hutch.  Starsky was never much good at saying the words, but he conveyed it in every way conceivable except that way.  It was ‘that way’ which gave him pause.  No throwing up, no wanting to throw a punch at the suggestion and no throwing anything at Hutch should he bring up the notion.

 

Never afraid of his own sexuality or emasculating himself, Starsky wanted to be Hutch’s in every way possible.  As far as he was concerned Hutch was his…well, until today.  He belonged to Huggy. 

 

Exploding with rage, Starsky hit the steering wheel with his hand.  Huggy!  It was him.  Had to be!  Rather than unleash the second rise of fury on Hutch, Starsky took the next right and headed to the one place where he knew Huggy to be.

 

 

~*~

 

 

The evening crowd was growing thick and as Starsky made his way through he searched for Huggy.  Seeing him talking with a few customers, he marched over and all one look was all it took.  Starsky walked by the kitchen and pushed open the door leading to the alley.  He turned as Huggy came through.

 

A confession was expected from the hard stare coming from Starsky.  Huggy pulled out a long cigarette and lit it.  He sat on a trash can crossing his legs in front of him.  “You came out thinkin’ I led the blond astray.”

 

“Give up the truth, Huggy.  You and I both know Hutch wouldn’t of…”

 

“The truth!”  Incredulous, Huggy got to his feet and pointed at Starsky with the cigarette between them.  “You don’t have a clue of what you saw!”

 

“I know what I saw!”  For the first time since he’d known Huggy, Starsky was ready to take a swing at him.  “You and Hutch, right?”  At the nod, his stance stiffened.  “Ain’t much more truth than that, Hug.”

 

“We’ve done some fucking.  That’s the truth you think it is, but your version is so far off it ain’t even in the galaxy.”

 

“And you love him.  Don’t tell me you don’t,” Starsky warned.  Hutch was slipping away from him and between the panic, the jealousy and burning in his gut, he struggled with their downpour seeping into every part of him.

 

“Goddamn right I do, Starsky.”  Taking a long drag, Huggy blew the smoke out of his mouth.  “Fool that I am, but what the hell does it make you?”

 

Swinging away, Starsky clenched his fists again.  Huggy was making it sound as if it was all Hutch and he shook his head against the notion.  How surreal can reality get?  There was never the slightest indication Hutch would…Starsky looked over his shoulder at Huggy.

 

“That’s right,” Huggy confirmed.  “It was mutual from day one.”

 

Huggy tossed the cigarette butt away and planted his hands on his hips.  “Took you long enough to come around, Starsky.”

 

 

 

~*~

 

 

The only light coming into Hutch’s apartment was the shafts the low hanging moon provided.  How or when he got to the couch, he didn’t know.  Just that he sat in the dark watching the illumination begin to disappear. 

 

He heard the opening and closing of the screen door from the direction of the greenhouse.  Footsteps were behind him and Hutch made no effort to see who it was.  He knew already.  Out of the corner of his eye he saw a hand reach for the light.  “Leave it off.”

 

The darkness was the only form of secrecy he now possessed.  For so long it had acted as his protection and losing it was the last vestiges of the other world he thought was gone.

 

Starsky stood just behind the couch looking down at Hutch.  He watched his partner lift the glass filled with brown liquid to his lips and take a large drink.  Bourbon.  He couldn’t remember the last time Hutch had taken to the hard stuff.  After the Fitch case?  No, before that.

 

“You already got your questions answered,” Hutch said.  “What are you doing here?”

 

He took his time in walking around the couch and moved in front of Hutch.  Starsky pushed the candles aside and sat on the coffee table.  “To get the rest answered.”

 

Hutch finished off the drink and rested the glass in his lap.  “You saw, you talked to Huggy.  What more is there?”

 

“What don’t I know, Hutch?” 

 

The question was firm, with no allowing for equivocation from the truth.  It was all crashing against Hutch like a violent windstorm with no defense from the harsh gusts.  He pushed up from the couch, the glass dropping to the floor, and went to the window.  The moon was rising higher and Hutch wished he was anywhere but here. 

 

“Everything I thought I knew…”  Starsky picked up the empty glass and set it next to him.  He turned to look at Hutch.  As if seeing him for the first time, he froze unable to ignore the man before him.  “Jesus,” he whispered.  “I did know.  It was in front of me all this time and I…”

 

“Didn’t want to see it,” Hutch muttered.  He remembered telling that very thing to Huggy their first time together. 

 

Looking down at his hands, everything began clicking.  Small looks passing between Huggy and Hutch over the years, the Hutchinson parents and even Katie was a prime example of living in two very different worlds.  “You worked so damn hard keeping it from me.”

 

“Easy when you have to.”

 

Starsky got up and went to Hutch.  “You don’t have to, Hutch.  Not anymore.”

 

“I have to!”  Barely containing seething passion from years of compacting everything he was into the well-defined person he was expected to be, the words punched out of him like an uncontrollable force of nature.

 

“You have to?”  Confused, Starsky stepped closer.  He needed to understand.  He had to.  “Not me, Hutch.  Never with me.”

 

“You had no more to do with it than Van.”

 

“Vanessa?”  Starsky’s mind rolled back in time to their first meeting and Huggy stood between them.  “All those years ago.”  He went back to the coffee table and sat.  “You and Huggy.”

 

“Aside from the sex, he had little to do with it.”  Hutch turned back to the window praying for some kind of escape.  “It was all me.”

 

“Did Vanessa think it had nothing to do with her?”

 

“It didn’t.  My marriage or any other part of my life didn’t…”  Knowing how it sounded, Hutch stopped.  The words were making little sense.  “She never knew.”

 

“Think Maggie felt that way?”  It was a low blow, but Starsky wasn’t ready to let him off the hook just yet.

 

“John was stupid,” Hutch answered keeping his voice low.  He was ready for the thin ice with Starsky.  Maybe this time he would get knocked into next week.

 

Backs turned, unwilling and afraid to face each other, they kept their positions.  Forcing out the truth without looking each other in the eye was far easier.

 

“He lied to her!”  You lied to me!  Anger was again starting to boil. 

 

“It had nothing to do with her.  She knew it.”  Hutch rested his head against the window frame.  His desolation was growing as dark as the night.  “He regretted not trusting her enough with it.”

 

John and Maggie.  Starsky pushed his fingers into his hair.  Starsky and Hutch.  “He didn’t love her like…”  Getting up he finally turned to Hutch.  “What do we do?  Do I leave and tomorrow pretend none of this happened?  Do you find some night to sneak over to Huggy’s and…” 

 

“No.”  Finally leaving the window, Hutch forced himself to look at Starsky.  The hardest thing he ever had to do was look him in the eye with the truth between them.  “No.”

 

Beseeching eyes searched his and Starsky took a step towards him.  “I can’t leave, Hutch.  I swear I can’t.”  When Hutch’s shoulders sagged in relief, Starsky caught his arms.  He guided him to the sofa and they sat together, close.

 

Lying back, Starsky pulled Hutch with him until they stretched across the couch.  He cradled his head and tucked it in under his chin.  “Tell me everything.”

 

In the shadows of the living room, Hutch began slow and as near to the beginning as he could remember.  Talking of the years from high school to college was almost easy.  It was only at the point of their meeting when his voice turned to a whisper and the pain of splitting himself in half and withholding so much of his being away that the words became harder.

 

When he learned Hutch put a stop to the interludes with Huggy some time ago, Starsky was relieved, but disturbed, too.  That was when the unrecognizable partner appeared.  Feeling blind and foolish for not recognizing Hutch’s love for him sooner, Starsky tightened his hold around him.

 

Neither knew whether the baring of Hutch’s soul lasted a few minutes or a few hours.  Just that it continued until nothing was left to tell.  When he stopped, Starsky rested his cheek against Hutch’s forehead.  The only sound to be heard was the breaths they took together.

 

“When you took me home after Marcus’ goons got a hold of me, I couldn’t sleep and you got into bed with me.”  Starsky ran his hand along Hutch’s hair as the memory brought a small smile to his face.  “Your arms wrapped around me like I was a caterpillar in a cocoon.  God, I never felt so safe in my life, Hutch.  Nothing like it in the world.”

 

“Are you wondering if I had other ideas?”

 

“No.  You gave me everything I needed like you always do.  You love me, Hutch.  Not the kind of love cops have for other cops or brothers.  It’s the kind that doesn’t know the meaning of limits.”

 

A sigh escaped Hutch and the contentment flowed like an easy river.  With no more secrets, no more avoidance, no more hiding and no more rules to weigh him down, Hutch was light as a feather.  Freedom never felt so goddamn good.

 

Starsky twisted and groaned.  “We gotta get up.”

 

Hutch eased off him and helped him to his feet.  “You okay?”

 

“Yeah, let’s hit the sack.”  Starsky started for Hutch’s bedroom and when he saw his partner unmoving, he turned around.  “Hutch?”

 

What was he doing?  Starsky was acting as if them crawling into the same bed together was as normal as when they got in the Torino.  There were no squeamish looks or uncertainty in his partner’s eyes. 

 

Feeling the virgin on a wedding night, Hutch moved his feet and upon entering the bedroom he paused as Starsky kicked off his shoes near the bed.  The breath caught and held in his chest when Starsky pulled the t-shirt over his head and tossed it on a nearby chair.

 

Why Starsky didn’t feel the least bit nervous he didn’t know.  He supposed it could be he had already worked it all out in his mind.  Seeing the reasons for Hutch’s actions up to this point was all he needed.  They’d work around it as they always did with everything.

 

He offered Hutch a reassuring smile as he came closer.  “I know you’re not sleeping in all this.” 

 

Hutch might as well have been naked with everything his partner knew about him.  There were no criminals out to get them, no nightmares to fend off and no fear of anything from the outside world threatening harm.  The rationale was that Starsky wanted him, needed him and loved him.  It was always a distant fantasy, but now the dream was alive and so close to him.

 

He started to reach for Starsky to make sure this was all real and not some vision brought on by his castle in the sky desires.  His partner beat him to the punch by starting at the top button of his shirt.

 

After it was gone, Hutch took the silent initiative by removing his pants.  He got to the bed first and when he felt the dip behind him, Hutch fisted a portion of the sheet within the palm of his hand. 

 

Starsky scooted in behind him and pulled Hutch close until the smooth skin touched his chest.  He wasn’t quite sure what to do at this point, so as usual, he let his instincts guide him. 

 

The warm body next to him brought a sigh from Hutch.  Contentment and solace flowed into him.  He compared it to how he felt after a long swim at the beach, laying on a towel and allowing the sun to dry him.  The completeness enveloped him as a roaring fire would after a cold winter day of playing in the snow as a child.  The competing memories made him smile.

 

“What?” Starsky asked.

 

“After Van left you told me to get some rest.”

 

“I remember.”

 

“I wanted this so much it hurt.”

 

“You and me?”

 

“No bargains, no emotional blackmail and no ulterior motives.”

 

Moving Hutch to his back, Starsky leaned over him and stared into his eyes.  “We were idiots…you and me.”  Amazed at the love continuing to grow, Starsky brought his hand to Hutch’s cheek, ran his thumb along the jaw until it reached his lips.  Just as smooth as the rest of Hutch.

 

He traced his thumb over Hutch’s mustache.  So soft.  Starsky was captivated by the velvety feel.  Most would be too harsh for tender skin, but not Hutch’s.  It was as smooth to the touch as the blond on his head.

 

Intuition took over and he leaned in touching Hutch’s lips with his own.  It was the smallest of kisses, but as powerful as a strong wind threatening to sweep him away.  Needing more, he melted his mouth against his partner’s, tasting the warm wet essence, inhaling as much of him as possible until Starsky was out of breath.

 

So alive was Hutch from the intimate joining, he rolled Starsky to his back, moved atop him, and gave him all that he had received and more.  But he had to take and breathe in all that Starsky was.  Hutch was amazed at how well their mouths fit together, worked together, giving, taking and sharing all they were.

 

He lifted his head and their eyes locked.  Seeing the wild love in Starsky’s eyes, Hutch almost looked behind him to see if there was someone else his partner was looking at.  He lowered his head and buried his face in Starsky’s neck.  “Starsk,” he whispered.

 

“Say it again.”

 

Confused, Hutch raised his head.  “What?”

 

“If I’m reading the situation right we’re gonna make love, Hutch.  I wanna hear you say my name when we’re doing it.”

 

“You don’t think we’re moving too fast?”

 

Starsky pushed his hand into Hutch’s hair and threaded it through his fingers.  “I’ve been waiting my whole life for you.”

 

No other words were needed, but Hutch gave it anyway.  “Starsk.”  He offered his mouth again to his partner and whether this was a single solitary act never to happen again or the first of thousands, he was giving in to every longing ever to cross his mind in the years of their partnership.

 

The contour of Hutch’s back was smooth, strong and rippled with tight muscles.  Starsky memorized it with his hands determined to lock it inside so he would carry it with him always.  He didn’t stop when his fingers reached the elastic band of Hutch’s underwear.  Working them inside, he cupped the cheeks with his palms and relished the fabulous feel.

 

Hutch had to slow it down.  He was ready to climax in his shorts.  Whether was the long dry spell without sex or his heated desire for wanting Starsky for so long, he didn’t know.  He pulled away and leaned back to take in the man lying under him.  He lay his hand on Starsky’s chest still trying to comprehend they were in bed together and what was in store for them.

 

The darkness seemed to bring out Starsky’s raw sensuality and Hutch wanted him even more.  How was it possible that his partner was as much a part of him as his heart beating?  Rather than answer the impossible question he traced the scars with his finger and upon seeing his hand over Starsky’s heart, Hutch pressed his palm against it until he could feel the solid reassuring beat.

 

Eyes smiling back at him, Hutch’s own was shy and he moved his hand along the furred chest.  Not too much and not too little.  It was a perfect balance that was Starsky.  Rough enough to tease his senses, but silky to calm his raging libido.

 

His hand rested on Starsky’s hip just above the underwear.  Almost afraid to go any farther, he shifted his look to his partner.  The implicit trust never wavered and Hutch took the next step in pulling the obstructing cloth away while Starsky lifted his hips.

 

The cock was growing and Hutch couldn’t tear his eyes away from it.  The first time he had seen it in the height of arousal had almost been his undoing.  Seeing it now his mouth watered, his heartbeat speeded up and rather than take it in hand, Hutch stretched out on the bed and laid his head on Starsky’s hip with it so close to his cheek.

 

Hot breath on his shaft drove Starsky’s want further.  He smiled a little and stroked Hutch’s hair.  His partner’s hand went to his knee, behind it, up the back of his thigh and covered his ass. 

 

Starsky knew he had to be the only one who noticed Hutch’s hands.  Elegant, long and beautiful they were.  So many times those hands had made him well, eased his pain, added to his comfort and offered the only real love that had stood the test of time.  No hands had ever given him so much.

 

Under the short time Hutch had gazed at Starsky’s cock it had grown firm, powerful and he was mesmerized by the sheer beauty of it.  So flawless it was, his eyes traced the vein on the underside before settling on the crown.  Taking it, he raised his head at Starsky’s sharp intake of breath.  Hutch ran his fingers over it learning every curve, line and texture.

 

He licked his lips, moistened his mouth until the saliva thickened.  The moment his tongue touched the erection, Hutch became drunk with the taste.  Wetting it until it was covered, he took as much in as possible and when it hit the back of his throat, Hutch swallowed.  Deep-throating the potent organ made him high.

 

Never had anything felt so damn good in his life.  Starsky gripped the sheets, threw his head back, clenched his eyes shut and growled.  Hutch’s mouth was taking him.  Taking him how and where, he didn’t know.  He was being taken, possessed and driven mad.

 

His partner’s fabulous hand was cradling his ass, pulling his cock further in and on the verge of having the climax of his life, Starsky groaned.  “Hutch, I’m gonna fucking come!”

 

It was meant as a warning, but for Hutch it was a welcome.  He suckled more and the essence blasted the back of his throat and he milked every drop of it inside of him.  The core of Starsky settled in his belly, warming him with such deep pleasure, Hutch knew the memory alone would intoxicate him.

 

Beads of perspiration were already rolling off Starsky’s forehead.  It was as if he went on a ten mile run and the exhilarating exhaustion made him hungry for more.  Hell, he was dying for more.  “God, Hutch.  That was…”

 

The heady taste stayed with Hutch and he laid his head back on Starsky’s hip.  If this was all that passed between them for the rest of his life, it would be enough.  Hutch still wasn’t ready to believe Starsky was here in his bed for lovemaking.  He waited for the bubble to pop and reality break in with a vengeance.

 

Starsky pulled on Hutch’s shoulder.  “Come here.”

 

No way would Hutch deny him anything.  He crawled up and settled in Starsky’s arms.  Whatever came tomorrow, he didn’t care.  For tonight, Hutch would keep this precious moment locked inside his heart until he died.

 

Curious, Starsky lowered his head and kissed Hutch.  Exploring the inner sanctum, the mix of his semen and Hutch’s flavor was unlike anything he’d ever known.  Still dizzy from the mind-altering orgasm, Starsky swallowed everything he pulled from Hutch’s mouth.

 

He broke the kiss and looked down at Hutch’s crotch.  The hard cock was still encased in his underwear.  “If I screw this up, you’ll tell me, won’t you?”

 

“Starsk,” Hutch breathed.  “You don’t have to.”  The sexy smile on Starsky’s face told Hutch he wanted to.  The sure confidant hands ran over his nipples, along his ribs, down his abdomen.  A groan escaped when fingers traced the thick bulge. 

 

“It’d fit me.”  Fascinated, Starsky continued the gentle stroking.  “Just like everything else, it’d fit perfectly.”

 

Moved beyond words, Hutch struggled with something to day.  His eyes blurred with tears.  “It might hurt.”

 

“Sometimes the first time is.”  Starsky was guessing.  He turned his attention back to Hutch and pushed the hair from his face.  “It belongs inside me and nowhere else.”  Seeing the emotion on his lover’s face, he smiled.  The next kiss was filled with commitment, trust and undying love.  “Love me, Hutch.  The way you’ve always wanted.”

 

“Is this about trying to…”

 

“No,” Starsky whispered.  His thumb traced the mustache again and then he brought his hand down to Hutch’s cock.  He worked it inside and grabbed onto the hard member.

 

Hips surged into the tender grip and Hutch thought he was going to die from the eroticism.  Starsky’s hand pumped back and forth with Hutch meeting every movement.  When he couldn’t take it anymore, he pushed the man to his back and covered his body.  He yanked the underwear to his knees and felt Starsky’s foot pull it further down until he could kick it off.

 

Driving his cock into Starsky’s hip, Hutch groaned his need.  “Love you, Starsk.  So goddamn much!”

 

Opening his legs, Starsky raised his arms over his head.  This he wanted.  Ready, willing, trusting and loving, this was the act which would be a testament of their life together.  With so many other tributes over the years, this one would culminate their marriage of the flesh.

 

Too fast!  Hutch didn’t care.  Every second thought, self-doubt and unworthiness left him.  His sex-filled hunger was at its height, but foremost in his thoughts was the man beneath him.  As selfish as he was with his own needs, this was about Starsky, pleasing him, loving him and giving all of his being to him. 

 

After wetting his fingers, Hutch put them to the small opening that had never known a man.  He was humbled by the gift Starsky was giving him.  The treasure would soon be his to cherish as was the lover who looked up at him with trusting eyes.

 

Stretching, filling and widening Starsky was unprepared for the carnal sensations surging through him.  Another finger fitted in next to the other and he moved his butt in need of more.  He got his wish with a third.  Any pain he felt added to the stimulation and before he knew it, Starsky was grounding his ass against the fingers pushing into him.

 

Still nervous at the idea of hurting him, Hutch took his hand away and reached for the dresser.  In the past he used spit, but refused to take any chances at causing even the slightest amount of pain.  Starsky had been through far more than his share and Hutch ached inside at the notion of bringing him more.

 

Starsky sat up on his elbows and watched Hutch coat his heavy cock.  It looked even more enticing shined with lube.  He had yet to taste it and grinned when his erection began to come to life at the image of him on his knees in front of Hutch.  “You want to know what I’m thinking?”

 

Afraid to speak for fear of breaking the mood, Hutch looked at him.

 

“What it’ll be like when I wrap my mouth around your dick.”

 

He didn’t trust his own voice to echo Starsky’s sentiments.  Hutch took a pillow and pushed it under his partner’s butt lifting him just enough to ready for this meeting of the flesh.  Trepidation came back like a ghost haunting his every waking moment as he ran his hand along Starsky’s thigh.

 

Seeing the worry etched in Hutch’s face, Starsky took the hand from his leg and brought it to his cock, surging with want once more.  Their eyes met and the message was clear.  He waited, patient for his lover, to assuage any and all doubts.  When Hutch shifted closer, Starsky was more than ready…he was eager for the coupling.

 

The pain he expected wasn’t there.  Once the cock breached the opening, Starsky was taken by surprise by how he stretched to accommodate the bulk filling him.  The little pain he did feel added to the sheer lust raging through out him. 

 

Breathing hard, pumping in and out, sweat running down his back and chest, Hutch died a thousand times and the erotic hell was the only place he wanted to be.  He looked down and watched his cock sliding in and out of Starsky.  Utopia would never bring this much pleasure.

 

Legs wrapped around Hutch’s waist and pulled him in for more and he rocked harder.  God, we fucking fit!  How goddamn pure it was, Hutch would never be able to describe.  All he knew was the giving and taking was met thrust for thrust.  The sexual peak would soon be coming and he was on the edge of fucking forever.

 

“Please, Hutch!” Starsky shouted.  So damn close he was that he grabbed onto Hutch’s arms.  “Now!  Goddamn it!  Now!”

 

Determined to make it a perfect ending to a perfect fucking, Hutch grabbed one of Starsky’s legs for leverage and took his hard leaking cock into his free hand.  The momentum of the sex escalated.

 

They met their addiction to each other with an orgasm of earth-shattering proportions  Coming off of the high, Hutch kept moving his cock in and out to insure everything that was within him was inside Starsky.  Never releasing the hold on his lover, he slowed while Starsky’s rocking of his hips subsided.

 

Mindful of the pain which was sure to come to Starsky, Hutch was careful as he pulled out.  He started to leave the bed and stopped when he felt a hand on his shoulder.  “I’m getting a towel.”

 

“This first.”  Starsky guided Hutch over and moved into his arms.  They shared a kiss then he relaxed against his partner’s chest.  “Forever, Hutch.”

 

“Didn’t think you believed anything lasted forever.”

 

Raising his head, Starsky brought his hand up to Hutch’s cheek.  Their eyes fixed on one another.  “I didn’t until now.”

 

 

 

THE END

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