sequel to ‘The Weight of Fog”
With an effort, Starsky lifted his head slightly from its comfortable situation in the juncture of Hutch's neck and shoulder.
"Heh?" That, he determined after checking in with his limbs, was enough work for the time being. He let his head flop forward again. "Ow."
"Collarbone," he explained to Hutch's neck. "Forehead." Later, when he'd regained the use of his arms, he'd rub it, probably.
Who cared what time it was? It wasn't time to go to work, and it wasn't time to get out of bed, and that was all Starsky cared about. "Why?"
All right. That was something he could relate to. Can't live on love. "So eat."
" 're lyin' on me."
Starsky contemplated this revelation for a moment. Huh. So he was.
"Don't want ya to." The mumble was mournful.
Hutch was managing sentences with four words. Was the honeymoon over already? "Gotta pee anyway," Starsky consoled the neck. "Stickin' together, too."
A large sigh blew through Starsky's hair and tickled his ear, and a large hand made sudden contact with his left butt cheek. Starsky's knee got a little too personal with the Hutchinson family jewels in the ensuing scramble, which left him on the floor nursing his pride along with his rear end.
"Geeze, Hutch, you just hadda say!"
Hutch's face appeared over the edge of the bed. "'Say'? I have to tell you not to knee me in the balls? What kind of stuff do you usually get up to in bed, anyway?"
"Generally there's only one set of balls in my bed, and my knee doesn't reach 'em." He hoisted himself to his feet and sat at the edge of the bed. Hutch shifted to sit beside him, and elbowed him gently in the ribs.
"Generally." Starsky elbowed him back, grinning.
There had been a few other girls who, like Kelly, had wanted to know what it would be like to be with them both at the same time. There'd even been a few times over the years when Starsky's sexual curiosity had led to masturbation sessions with other men. But never before had there been only Hutch and him, staring and touching as much as they wanted. As much as Starsky wanted. Anyway, almost as much. The weekend was still young.
"I could cook up the steaks," Hutch offered.
"Nah." Starsky fended off Hutch's laughing attempts to check his forehead for fever. Tonight he wanted to do something they always did, to see whether it would feel the same as always. "Let's save them till tomorrow. If the fog burns off we can take them down to the beach and do them. Let's just pile stuff up on the coffee table and sit around in our underwear and see what's on TV."
"If you fix nachos, I'll make the guacamole. And I get first shot at the shower!" Hutch was already out the door. Starsky admired the view. Yes, the man was fine from behind. He snickered. That sounded like something Huggy would say. Although he'd better not say it where Starsky could hear it if he knew what was good for him.
"Starsky!" came a shout from the bathroom. "Get me some clean shorts from my bag, will you? It's in the living room behind the couch."
"Me!" Starsky was on the move. "Why can't you get your own shorts?" He was already anticipating rifling through Hutch's bag. Not that he hadn't done it a couple hundred times before for one reason or another, but…
"Because you never close your blinds and I have no intention of giving your neighbours a free peep show."
Yeah, sure. The neighbours had been the last thing on Hutch's mind yesterday.
The water shut off, and Starsky heard Hutch open the linen cupboard door. "Where's my towel?"
"In the laundry. Use the green one."
Starsky paused, Hutch's shorts in hand. Hutch had a towel. Hutch had a towel. And a quilt. And a beer mug. And a coffee cup. And, my god, a soup spoon. And he had pillows, a toothbrush, clothes and a steady supply of root beer at Hutch's.
Wow. He'd never thought about that before. Why hadn't he ever thought about that before? Hutch kept his fridge stocked with root beer, and he didn't even like the stuff.
He pushed open the bathroom door. Hutch stood in front of the mirror, fussing, as usual, with his hair. He had half as much hair as Starsky did, and spent twice as much time on it. Starsky lobbed Hutch's shorts at his head, and told him to quit leaving his towel on the floor. Habit almost led him from the bathroom then, but hey! He could hang around this time and enjoy the nakedness, and Hutch couldn't call him a pervert.
"If you're going to stand there leering at me you may as well get into the shower," Hutch said. His eyes stayed on his reflection, but his stance got just a little hip-shot, which did very nice things to his ass. "And make sure you shave. You took half the skin off my shoulder before."
He had, had he? That, Starsky thought, was pretty sexy. He sidled up behind Hutch to look at the reflection of Hutch's shoulder in the mirror, and sure enough there was a reddish patch right where he'd tucked his chin.
He crowded closer, ignoring Hutch's half-hearted protest, and breathed deep. This was how his shampoo smelled on Hutch's hair; this was how his soap smelled on Hutch's body. And he knew these smells, had known them for years, but this time--wow, didn't Hutch smell like a do-it-yourself party, and wasn't that ever… just… wow. Wow.
"Hey, Crusty, get in the shower. I'm starving." Mirror-Hutch was smiling at him. His cock stirred. Maybe he was going to get a hard-on every time they looked at each other in a mirror from now on. That'd go over big in the men's room at the precinct.
"Yes sir, Master Kenneth, sir!" He was adjusting the taps when Hutch's voice made him pause. "What?"
"Kennet." Hutch was putting toothpaste on his toothbrush, and his face in the mirror was starting to match the red patch on his shoulder.
"I say again, what?"
"Kennet, not Kenneth. My name is Kennet."
Stunned, Starsky sat down on the edge of the tub. "What? What're you talking about? How could I know you for so long and you not tell me your name isn't Kenneth?" He felt betrayed, as if Hutch had been hiding a piece of himself all these years.
"Everybody's always just assumed it was Kenneth," explained Hutch around his toothbrush. "It's not a big deal; I'm used to it." He rinsed his mouth and turned. "I guess I should have mentioned it to you at some point, but it didn't matter to me before."
Starsky's hurt feelings vanished like witnesses at a bar fight. "But it matters now?"
"Yeah. It does."
"I'm really glad you told me, Hutch." He took his new discovery for a test run. "Kennet. It's kind of exotic."
"It was my grandfather's name. He was Norwegian."
"Huh. Kennet." Kennet, Kennet, Kennet. Hutch's name was Kennet, and nobody knew but Starsky. He wanted to give Hutch something in return.
"My grandfather's name was Shmuel," he offered. "It's my Hebrew name."
Hutch looked astonished. "You have a Hebrew name?"
"I'm Jewish, Hutch," he explained with exaggerated patience.
"I know you're--gah. Go shower while there's still some hot water, Shmuel."
"Going, Kennet." They grinned at each other, and Starsky reluctantly closed the shower curtain on the image of Hutch adjusting himself inside his underwear.
Life was good.
They ate--and argued--their way through a double episode of "Six Million Dollar Man". Hutch insisted that Steve Austin's real leg would never be able to keep up with his bionic one and that he'd need two bionic legs, not just one, in order for there to be any impact on his running speed. Starsky suggested that maybe he really hopped at super-speeds but since it looked so dorky they just pretended he ran on two legs for the show.
"For god's sake, Starsky, he doesn't 'really' do anything! It's a TV series, not a documentary! If they show him running that way, that's the way he runs!"
"You don't say," Starsky responded mildly, watching Hutch's eyes narrow in annoyance at the realization that he'd walked right into Starsky's trap. Touchdown!
Starsky was stuffed but had no intention of letting the last of the guacamole go to waste, so he compromised by scooping it up with his finger rather than a tortilla chip. Why, he asked himself with the third finger-full poised at his lips, wasn't Hutch complaining?
He looked up to see Hutch's eyes fixed on his mouth. "You want some of this?" he asked, extending his finger, although he was pretty sure that wasn't what Hutch was watching.
"What? No! I was just thinking, that's all." Hutch turned back to the television, but Starsky could tell he was stealing looks from the corners of his eyes.
He licked the last of the guacamole from his finger. "About what?"
"Well…" Hutch gnawed on his thumbnail for a minute. "Are you done eating?"
"Why, is this going to make me sick?" He instantly regretted his joke when Hutch's face went stony, and he moved closer so he could rest an apologetic hand on Hutch's thigh. "Sorry, Hutch. I get mad at you when you don't take me seriously, then I turn around and do the same thing back."
"Yeah." Hutch glared at him, but didn't pull away from his hand. In fact, he might have moved a little closer. Starsky straightened his legs to make sure there was plenty of room for Hutch to get closer if he wanted to.
"Okay, I was thinking that… we haven't… Um. Kissed. Yet."
Wow, was that ever not what Starsky had been expecting to hear. Surprise rendered him briefly silent.
"Never mind, it's not important."
Oops. Maybe not so briefly after all. "No! Hutch, it's important! Really, really important!" Really important. It hadn't been an hour ago, or even thirty seconds ago, but suddenly, wow! It was the most important thing in the world.
The first kiss was awkward. They leaned toward each other at the same time and knocked noses, then rearranged themselves to face each other more fully. Starsky watched Hutch's mouth until it was so close it blurred, then closed his eyes and waited. When their closed lips finally bumped together, Starsky was too worried about his breath and whether he had guacamole on his chin to concentrate.
Done. He pulled back, and opened his eyes to find Hutch watching him warily. "Now we got the first one out of the way, we can get some real work done here," he explained. Hutch started to smile. That was good.
The second kiss was surprisingly sweet. Hutch put his hand on Starsky's shoulder, and when their mouths touched he slid his fingers into Starsky's hair to cradle his head. Starsky opened his mouth to tell Hutch how much he liked that and Hutch's tongue slid in, giving Starsky's tongue a flick and making itself gently and easily at home. Starsky couldn't help it: he sighed into Hutch's mouth, and this time it was Hutch who broke the kiss to rest his forehead against Starsky's shoulder. "Third time's the charm," he whispered. Starsky couldn't have agreed more.
The third kiss was fierce and noisy and wildly nasty, and Starsky was pretty sure Hutch was growling way down low in his throat, and wasn't that just too fucking hot for words?
There was a fourth and fifth and tenth kiss, Starsky thought, or maybe there was just one, long, wet and wonderfully messy. There was certainly lots in the way of tongues and groping, and even some panting and groaning, right up until Hutch huffed a laugh against his mouth.
"What's so funny?" He was wounded, and a little worried.
"Yesterday you were my partner and my best pal. Today you're my partner, best pal and new boyfriend. I've gone from two-thirds of you to all of you. I do have all of you, don't I, Starsk?" Hutch asked, suddenly serious.
Didn't he know? "You've always had all of me, Hutch. And now we got all of each other."
Hutch lifted Starsky's arm and studied the skin and its tracing of veins for a moment, then licked a swath from wrist to bend of elbow. Starsky yelped and tried to twitch his arm away, but Hutch refused to relinquish his grasp.
"Hey! Are you nuts? You know how ticklish I am there." Starsky patted down his quivering forearm hair and tugged gently against Hutch's grip again, just to make sure Hutch wasn't planning on letting him go any time soon.
"I did it because I could." Hutch was grinning broadly. "Because I could. Sue me, but as far as I'm concerned that's something to laugh about."
Well, Hutch had always been a little slow. "You could have done that anytime. Except with less tickling, maybe."
"But I didn't know that, did I? Hell, I didn't know I wanted to do it."
"Okay, then." Starsky looked closely at his arm, still feeling the path Hutch's tongue had taken and hoping the feeling would last a while longer. "Just as long as you don't plan to kiss up my arm like those guys in old movies."
"Maybe I will, if I feel like it."
Hutch was so beautiful when he was smiling, really smiling all over his face. He didn't do it nearly enough. Starsky was determined to make him do it a lot from now on. But not in public where it might cause fainting and traffic accidents. He laughed out loud, and Hutch's grin widened.
"Oo la la, my leetle cabbage, your skin is like a field of--hairy daisies," he crooned in a painful imitation of a French accent, and rained kisses and terrible mock-French endearments over Starsky's forearm. Starsky squirmed and protested between breathless gusts of laughter, careful never to twist hard enough to break Hutch's grip, until it felt like all the hair on his body was standing on end and his world had shrunk to the size of Hutch's laughing mouth.
Was this what love felt like? he wondered. It hadn't felt this way with Terry. He'd die for Hutch, but he would have done that anytime. But he didn't suddenly feel protective of him or anything the way he had with her. Terry had said he was her best friend and he loved that. But Hutch was his best friend, and always would be.
"Hutch? Do you think you can love people different ways?"
"Romantically, you mean?" Hutch released Starsky's arm and lay back against the cushions, hands linked behind his head. "Sure. I mean, everybody fits together differently, don't they? So naturally you'd love people differently according to the way they fit. Doesn't necessarily mean you love person A more or better than person B, just differently. Don't you think?" He turned his head slightly to watch Starsky.
"Yeah. That sounds… right. Differently." He felt the lift of a small weight that he hadn't known he was carrying. There was no point in comparing Terry and Hutch and feeling guilty, was there? If Terry had lived he would have been happy with her and loved Hutch no less, but she hadn't, and now he loved Hutch differently, and that was all right.
In fact, it was terrific.