Safe is a companion piece to The Words That I Can't Say by Brit.
Comments about this story can be sent to:
britwrit@juno.com

Safe
Musings from A Coffin For Starsky

by

Brit
9/12/00

    The only thing I can call it is panic. I can feel my heart beating a mile a minute in my chest. My breath is coming in rapid gasps that sound incredibly loud in my ears and all but drown out the sound of my gurney being pushed down the hallway. Shoot, I half expect for them to push me straight to the morgue rather than ICU. God, I am so scared... I'm...

   I'm dying.

   I'm dying and there's not a stupid thing I can do about it. I can't even scream which is all I want to do. Crap, I can't even swallow. OhmyGodohmyGodohmyGod...

   I can't control my fear...I'm going to explode...I can't take this - can't stand it.... Hutch! Where are you? Please, oh God, don't leave me, I can't do this! I can't die alone like this... HUTCH!!

   The two attendants can't even tell what's going on, what I'm thinking. They just wheel me into the room and hook me up to a heart monitor and stick an oxygen tube under my nose. God, don't go! Don't leave me here like this! Please....

   My vision...what the?? That's going now, too. Please God, take me quickly, please take me now because I can't stand being this afraid... alone, I'm alone... Hutch, please... I know I thought that I wouldn't want for you to see me this way... for you to remember me this way... but I need you... I need to know that you're here with me, please.. oh God! please! Don't let me die alone this way... I can't... I can't feel anything... my head... I can't move it all now... there's black spots blurring my vision... I can't see the ceiling... is this it? Is this the coma they warned us about... oh God, please... please let me see him one more time.. please... let him know somehow to come back...I can't do this alone... I can't... oh, God forgive me. Forgive me... please... please don't let me

>

   Hutch had followed the gurney as they wheeled his partner from the lab to a private room. All tests had shown that the antidote had successfully neutralized the poison before it reached the final stages of destroying Starsky's body. A CAT scan had been taken for good measure along with a battery of other tests, and all signs pointed to there not being any permanent damage to the vital organs. All that was left was for him to wake up. Hutch wouldn't be convinced of their success until he saw the sapphire eyes, heard the voice, felt his partner's hand respond in his.

   The night had been long, the weary man estimated that he hadn't slept in over 34 hours. Grimly he knew that he would go another 100 if that was what it would take to save his partner. The blonde detective shifted again in the hard hospital room chair. Fatigue and tension were at war with his emotions and he felt himself drawn tighter than a bow string. Stiffly he pulled himself up and placed his hands on his lower back, arching in some semblance of a stretch. The morning light from the window added to the burning sensation in his eyes. After wasting a few moments staring outside at the awakening city, Hutch turned back to the silent bedside.

   Starsky's face had regained some of it's color, it's normal tone finally overcoming the gray mask of death that had settled there hours before. Breathing seemed far less labored and his features had relaxed from their rigomortis-like state.

   So close... so close. Hutch felt his knees again grow weak from the realization and he lowered himself on to Starsky's bedside before he collapsed. The tremor in his hand was evident as he reached out to lay his hand on the side of his friend's head. The reassuring warmth of his living partner was more than the overwhelmed man could bear. Noiseless sobs shook the blonde as the tears that he had been holding back for more than a day finally streamed into a day's worth of stubble.

   "..'utch?"

   "Starsk!?! Oh God, you're..."

   Bleary eyes opened further and darted disorientedly around the hospital room. "What are you... are you...?"

   Hutch's smile was flooded with an overwhelming joy and relief. All the words that he wanted to tell his partner were pushed aside as intense emotions closed off his throat.

   A single tear trickled from Starsky's eye. In his weakened state he was unable to reach up to brush it away, so it silently trailed into his dark curls.

   "I... I thought I was dead."

   Hutch forced himself to draw a calming breath. His short laugh sounded slightly water-logged.

   "Then I'm probably the ugliest angel you've ever seen." Hutch's self-depreciating grin softened. "Welcome back, partner."

   "Hutch..." Swallowing was still difficult, and his voice raspy. "I... I was scared. I was really, really scared this time."

   "I know, Buddy. I was too. This one was too close for comfort."

   "I'm...sorry." Starsky's energy was quickly becoming depleted. "Hutch I'm so sorry...." A small sob escaped the darker man.

   "Hey, hey... c'mon Starsk." Hutch quickly stood and laid his hand back against his partner's face, his thumb reaching out to gently brush away the tears that began to come in earnest. "What have you got to be sorry about?"

   "I lost... I thought that it... was all over. I shoulda... I shoulda known better." Starsky took a steadying breath. His eyes were bright with intensity as he met his partner's worried gaze. "I never got to tell you... how much you mean... to me... how much I loved you. I didn't... I didn't want to die without you knowing..."

   "Awh, Starsk. I knew. I always knew pal..."

   "You saved me..." Exhaustion began to overtake the war-torn body. "I'm safe now..."

   Midnight eyes closed as fatigue overtook the darker man. Another sob, one of relief, shook Hutch's frame. Gently, as not to disturb his sleeping partner, Hutch lowered himself back onto the bedside, his partner's hand clasped firmly in his grip.

   "Yeah, Buddy. We're safe now..."

THE END