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Hot Child in the City

The woman smiled at the stranger and she walked to him with the saucy sway of her hips. She looked at him and watched as he pulled a fifty out and held it up in front of her. She smiled that smile men loved and followed him down the darkened alley. Very few moments pass and a shrilly scream echoes through the night.


It was the early morning hours and the alley was taped off as a crime scene. Starsky and Hutch flashed their badges and walked to wear the body still laid. Hutch kneeled down and held up the sheet. Hutch closed his eyes and Starsky sighed loudly at the sight of the slain woman.

"Jesus," Starsky murmured.

Hutch let the sheet fall on the body and he stood and looked at his partner.

"Third one in two weeks," Hutch told him.

"Last thing we need is another psycho running the streets," Starsky answered.

"He butchered the hell out of her face and then stabbed her repeatedly just like the others," Hutch said with a heavy sigh.

Starsky looked over at the crime guys and he motioned for one of them. The guy walked over with a camera in hand.

"Stan, anything?" Starsky asked.

"Nope. Just like the others. This guy is real clean. He sure as hell knows what he's doing. Poor whore," Stan stated matter-of-factly.

Starsky and Hutch looked at each other and they walked over to the tomato red car with the large white stripe. After they sat for a few minutes in the car they looked over at each other.

"We're gonna put in some serious overtime on this one," Starsky told Hutch.

"We'll start tonight, buddy," Hutch told him. "We'll get out there and start pounding the pavement."

"First off, let's go see Huggy. Maybe he's heard something new," Starsky offered.

Just as they were ready to leave they got a call over the radio. "Zebra 3. Zebra 3."

"This is Zebra Three. Go ahead," Hutch said with a sigh.

"Report to the precinct immediately."

"We're headed for a lead, Mildred," Hutch told her impatiently.

"Orders of Captain Dobey," she stated.

"Acknowledged. We're on our way," Hutch told the radio.

Starsky shook his head and they sped out down the road.


Half an hour later, both men were in Dobey's office listening to him and the assistant D.A. who stood quietly next to the wall.

"The press is having a field day with these murders," Dobey told him. "They're calling them the happy hooker murders."

"That's original," Hutch said with a sarcastic smile.

"Cool it, Hutchinson," Dobey said with a raised voice. "There have been three murders in the last two weeks and we don't even have one lead."

"Cap'n," Starsky intervened. "Hutch and I are gonna hit the streets tonight. From here on out, we're on overtime till we get this guy."

The lawyer standing quietly took a step forward. "Gentlemen, just make sure you realize that you have to get me something solid. I can't work if you haul somebody in without the evidence we need."

"Thanks for telling us how to do our job," Starsky responded. "I could go to your house and tell your wife..."

"Starsky," Dobey yelled.

"Captain, I hope this isn't your best," the D.A. remarked. "If you have a case that won't stick, it's your ass!" The lawyer stormed from the room and both detectives jumped at the sound of the door slamming.

"You two hit the streets and get this perp! Get the hell out of my office!"

Starsky and Hutch left the office and as they were headed to the car, Hutch gave Starsky a side look.

"Did you have to mention the guy's wife?" Hutch asked.

Starsky shrugged his shoulders as he opened the door. When they were headed down the road towards Huggy's, Hutch sighed. Starsky looked over at his partner.

"What?" Starsky asked.

"You and your mouth," Hutch said with an exasperated look.

"Oh, come on, Hutch. The guy is anal. He's just like all those other tightwads downtown. They care more about their career than these women getting sliced up."

"True, but you sure as hell don't make our job any easier by shooting your mouth off when ever you come within ten feet of these people."

"Damn pencil pushers," Starsky mumbled. "Hutch, those people you're defending have no clue of what it's like out here on the streets. They haven't seen the junkies, the dead bodies and the suffering. They get our nice clean antiseptic reports and pass judgment on it. They need to see what we see."

"Pal, I'm not defending them. They work in a whole different avenue than we do."

"It's not black and white, Hutch. It pisses me off that they think they know what's going on out here when they have no clue."

Hutch was silent during the rest of the drive to the Pits. Hutch knew how much that stuff bothered his partner. Starsky hated hypocrites and in his mind the people downtown that sat behind desks were. Hutch wished he could tell his friend how wrong he was, but he knew that Starsky was right in his observations.

They arrived at the bar and found Huggy getting ready for the night's business. Huggy set the glasses down and walked over to them.

"I figured you guys would make it here, but I didn't expect you here this early."

"How's it going?" Hutch asked.

"Man, this whole happy hooker business has the flesh rattled. Girls are so damn scared some of them are letting their pimps use them as punching bags to get off the street."

"Some of them?" Starsky asked.

"Yeah, the upper class pimps have pulled their girls off the street to keep 'em safe. Don't know how long that'll last though. Dough is tight. The lower level ones are lettin' their girls pick up the excess business."

"We came here hoping you'd have something," Hutch sighed.

"This guy may be a tourist," Huggy told them. "It's anybody's game."

"Huggy, keep your ears open, man," Starsky told him.

"Always do."


Starsky and Hutch were out of ideas. They went back to the station and pored over the case files of the three hookers who had been murdered. The only connection they had was the fact they worked the streets. They called it a day and agreed to meet up later that night to case the streets.


Starsky and Hutch sat in the small café talking amongst themselves. They had loaded up on coffee to ready themselves for the long night ahead of them. They heard a commotion at the door and looked over as the owner had run off two girls.

"Hey, was that necessary?" Starsky hollered at him.

The owner gave Starsky an angry glare and walked behind the counter. He pulled down a sign and set it on the counter for Starsky to read.

"We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason."

"Oh, yeah," Starsky replied. "I have my own sign." Starsky pulled his wallet out and flipped his badge open for the man.

"So," the owner told him. "You can't tell me who I can and can't have in my place."

"I think the health department would be very interested in checking this place out," Starsky challenged him. Starsky ignored Hutch's hand on his arm.

"Come on, Starsk. He's not worth it."

"This is bullshit," Starsky told him angrily.

"It's his place," Hutch whispered.

Starsky knew his partner was right. He snatched up his thermos and walked out of the café with Hutch following close behind.

"I bet that guy has at least a dozen violations in that place," Starsky told Hutch.

"Probably right, buddy. We call the health department, he'll be back open in a month and he'll still be an asshole."

Starsky nodded and when opened the door to his car he looked over across the street. The girls that the owner had run out were slowly walking down the street in the opposite direction. "Hutch."

"Yeah," Hutch answered.

"Let's talk to these girls."

Before Hutch could respond, Starsky was headed across the street to head off the girls. He had to jog to catch up with his partner.

"Hey, give us a sec," Starsky hollered.

The girls stopped and looked at him. Hutch caught up to them and he stood next to his partner. Starsky pulled the picture from his pocket and held it up.

"Do you know this girl?" he asked.

One girl stepped closer to look at the picture and Starsky watched as the other one rolled her eyes and walked off. He turned to catch up to her while Hutch stayed back to talk to the other girl.

"Hey," Starsky said. "Did she look familiar to you?"

"I'm working," she told him. "I don't get paid for twenty questions."

He watched as she popped the bubble gum in her mouth and he suddenly realized this wasn't just a girl, this was a kid he was looking at.

"Fine," he told her. Starsky pulled a twenty out of his pocket and handed it to her. "A buck a question," he stated.

"Five," she shot back.


"Four," she said angrily.

"Deal. Did you know the girl?"

"I saw her around from time to time. She always thought she was all that."

"When was the last time you saw her?"

"Week ago over on Sunset."

"Everything okay with her?"

"She was working just like the rest of us."

"How old are you?"

She stopped and looked at him square in the face. Starsky could see the heavy makeup on her was serving to make her older than what she appeared. However, the low cut shirt and the tight mini-skirt gave the appearance of an almost full-grown woman. He wondered what color of hair was under the black wig she wore.

"I paid for the question," he told her.

Starsky was unwilling to move and he watched as she kept popping the bubble gum in her mouth.

"Eighteen," she told him.

Starsky knew it was a lie and he made the choice not to push the issue.

"You have one more question," she told him.

"What's your name?" he asked.


Starsky watched as she strutted down the street and he slowly turned around and walked back to Hutch who had finished up talking to the girl. "Anything?" Starsky asked.

"Nope. She had seen her around and that's about it. Didn't even know her name. You?" Hutch asked.

Starsky shook his head and as he and Hutch walked back to the car he looked over his shoulder and watched as Billie got in a sedan.


Starsky and Hutch ran the streets for another few hours before heading to Huggy's place. Hutch looked over and he could see his partner staring straight ahead. The conversationalist Starsky was had taken a vacation, Hutch thought to himself.

"So what's eating you?" Hutch asked.

"That girl."

"Which one? We talked to nearly a dozen tonight."

"Earlier, from the café."


"Something about her. Not sure what it is. She told me she was eighteen. If she is, then I'm Nixon's wife."

"We could track her down and run her in," Hutch offered.

"No. I'm not willing to do that. It'll force her underground and I want to keep an eye on her."

"Watch the crusading, pal," Hutch told him. "She may not want to be saved."

They arrived at a bustling crowd at the bar and found a seat towards the end of the bar. Hutch looked over across the room and saw Huggy taking care of some customers. Huggy looked up at him and nodded.

A few minutes later Huggy was seated in between Starsky and Hutch.

"I hate nights like these," Huggy told them.

"I thought you liked these nights," Starsky remarked.

"I would, except for these chicks goin' down. It's got everybody on edge. I'm just waitin' for somebody to jump."

"What do you know about a hooker named Billie?" Starsky asked.

"I've seen her around. She blew into town about a year ago. Got picked up by Moby."

"Moby?" Hutch asked.

"Yeah. Mean dude. He don't take any shit from any of his girls. He can play the all around good guy and turn into mean Joe Green in a heartbeat."

"How old is she?" Starsky asked.

"Some say fifteen and others say nineteen. You never know with these chicks, Starsky. She's on the way up from what I've heard. People say that little piece will be working uptown in six months. Normally chicks like her have a short shelf life, but this one has a future on the upside of town."

Starsky shook his head at the information Huggy had given him.


Billie stepped from the car and pulled some bubble gum from her purse as the car sped away. She looked at the money in her purse and sighed. It had been a lousy night, she thought to herself. She had only brought in 120 bucks. She pulled the twenty out from the guy who had questioned her about Cookie. She hadn't been totally honest with him and she almost wished she had. Cookie was always looking for the way out.

She walked towards the apartment and thought about the guy. Billie knew he was a cop. She could see it all over him, but she could see the caring in his eyes. Billie pushed him out of her mind as she walked upstairs to the dirty apartment and walked inside.

Moby sat on the couch with one of his girls and looked up when he saw her. "Billie," he said with a smile.

Billie hated it when he looked at her like that, but she loved him. He had taken her in and gave her food, clothes and a place to live. Moby was a fat guy and she knew that was where he got his name. His bulky arms showed his strength and Billie hoped she didn't have to experience those fists.

"How did you do?" he asked.

Billie walked over and handed him the money. She watched as he counted and she saw the angry look in his eyes.

"This was it?" he demanded.

"It was dead out there," she told him. "These murders are spooking the johns."

Moby stood and walked over to her. He slapped her on the side of the face and Billie staggered back. "Stupid bitch whore! You're working today and tonight to make up for last night," he yelled.

Billie looked as Mavis stood up. "Moby, I'll work it, baby. She's been up all night."

"Shut the hell up, Mavis! Billie's doing it." He looked back at Billie and raised his fist at her.

"I want you out on the street by noon and you sure as hell better bring me more than this shit. Get the hell out of here!"

Billie ran from the room to the bedroom. She slumped on the bed and Mavis walked in.

Mavis sat down next to her. "Hell, kid. I'm sorry."

"It's okay, Mavis. I can do it," Billie said with a half smile.

"You better get some serious cash tonight," Mavis told her. "Moby won't be nice if you don't work your ass off. I've got some good stuff that'll cover that up. It'll be ugly in a few hours."


"Get some sleep, honey."

Billie nodded and watched Mavis leave. She lay back on the bed and looked up at the ceiling. She needed to sleep and all she could think of was having to go back out on that street. Billie wished she could be normal, but she had never had a normal day in her life. She felt a tear on her cheek and she stood up to take off her clothes. In a few minutes, she was fast asleep on the bed.


Starsky arrived at Hutch's place at noon with donuts and coffee. He found Hutch's key and let himself in. He could hear the shower running and Starsky made himself comfortable on the couch with the donuts, the coffee and the TV. When he heard the door open, he looked over his shoulder to see Hutch walking out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist.

"What are you eating?" Hutch asked.

"I brought coffee and donuts," Starsky told him.

"You know I don't touch donuts."

"They're for me, Blondie."

Hutch finished dressing and walked into the room while he buttoned up his shirt. He looked at Starsky's donuts with distaste in his eyes and headed for the fridge. Hutch opened it up and pulled out a large glass of brown milk. At least that's what it looked like to Starsky.

"What is that stuff?" Starsky asked while Hutch took a large drink.

"Barley," Hutch replied. "It's very good for you. Want some?"

"Hell, no. I'm not grazing today."

"Starsk, you should really think about changing your diet."

"We are not having this talk again. You stick with your cattle diet and I'll keep my donuts and my burritos."

Hutch shook his head and finished his drink. "So what's on the books for today?" Hutch asked.

"I wanna see if we can find that girl today," Starsky told him.

"Buddy, she's just one of many. You can't save 'em all."

"Yeah, well, maybe I can save one."

Hutch looked at his best friend and he knew something about this girl had really gotten to him. He hoped Starsky could help this girl just for his own piece of mind.


Starsky and Hutch had cruised around for the better part of three hours looking for Billie. They had been having no luck. Hutch was getting ready to tell him that it was no use when he spotted her leaning into a Cadillac. Starsky spun the car around and pulled up not far from her and the car. He and Hutch jumped out of the car and Billie stood up when she saw them approaching her. She didn't move as they walked over to her. She watched as the tall blonde flashed a badge at the businessman in the car.

"Holy shit," he exclaimed and he sped away.

Billie gritted her teeth as she watched the car heading down the street. "I knew you were a cop," she bit out. Billie walked away and sauntered down the sidewalk swinging her purse.

Starsky and Hutch caught up with her.

"I haven't done anything wrong," she told them. "Did you see any laws broken?"

"You lied," Starsky told her.


"Yeah," Hutch told her. "We've talked to a few girls and they say that you and Cookie ran the streets together quite a bit."

"So," Billie responded.

Starsky grabbed her arm and stopped her. Starsky ignored the large dark sunglasses she wore over her face. "That's called obstruction, honey. We can run you in right now."

Moby's threats ran through Billie's head and she didn't want a repeat of the early morning hours with him. In fact, she knew it would be much worse the second time around. She had seen Moby work over his girls and it was never pretty.

"I knew Cookie. We worked together. So what?"

"Any problems with her johns?" Hutch asked.

"Nothin' out of the ordinary. Cookie could always take care of herself real good."

Starsky could see the hardness in her face as she spoke and he took a deep breath. "Yeah, Billie. Cookie wasn't so careful a few days ago. She was butchered so bad even her mother wouldn't recognize her."

Billie didn't let it show how much Starsky's statement bothered her. She kept silent and looked the other direction. "Is there anything else?" she asked impatiently. "I've got to make a living."

Starsky was ready to lose his cool with the girl and he looked at her closely. Before Billie could stop him, Starsky reached up and pulled the sunglasses from her face. He flinched when he saw her swollen cheek and the discoloration. "Moby?" he asked.

Billie yanked the glasses from his hand and put them back over her face. "I ran into a fuckin' door," she told him forcefully. "Are you through?"

Starsky was silent as Billie walked away. He watched her leaving and started to follow her and Hutch grabbed his arm.

"What the hell are you doing?" Starsky asked Hutch.

"I was about to ask you the same thing."

"I'm taking her in and getting her off the streets. You know it's for the best."

"I know, Starsky. We could run her in and the state will throw her in a foster home or something. How long do you think it would take for her to run back to Moby?" Hutch could still the anger in his partner's eyes. "As far as she's concerned her pimp is the only guy that cares about her. He's got her head and heart right now. There's nothing you can do."

Starsky nodded and looked back down the street at Billie's retreating form. He watched as she swayed her hips back and forth. Hutch put his arm around Starsky and led him back to the car.


The face watched as the girl walked away from the cops. He smiled when she left them. Not yet, he told himself. Not yet.


A few days had passed and both detectives could feel their frustrations building. It was only a matter of time before the maniac struck again and as they cruised the streets, they weren't getting anywhere. Starsky could feel himself tightening up inside. Every time he saw Billie, he could feel his gut clench. Hutch was right, he told himself. Billie wouldn't get off the street unless she wanted off. There was no indication at all that she was willing to walk away.

The next afternoon, the detectives were called to an alley behind a club. They weren't surprised at what they found. Another hooker laid dead who had been cut to pieces.

Starsky and Hutch looked at each other with knowing looks and they knew they needed to work fast before another girl was killed. They were almost to their car when they heard a commotion. They looked back and watched as Billie ran towards the crime scene. Starsky could see the frantic look on Billie's face and he ran to cut her off.

Billie dodged the cops and ran to the corpse lying in the street. She jerked the sheet back and jumped back. "Mavis," she screamed.

Billie fell backwards and landed on the hard cement. She scrambled back and when a uniformed officer grabbed at her; she fought and kicked at him.

Starsky made it over and pulled the officer away from Billie. He grabbed Billie by the arms and pulled her close. He felt his breath leave him as she instinctively clung to him. The sobs coming from her jerked at his gut and Starsky knew he had to get her out of here.

He looked up at Hutch and his partner nodded. A minute later, Hutch pulled the Torino next to them and Starsky lifted Billie in his arms. He held on to her tightly as he got in the passenger side with him.

Hutch drove the car while Starsky held onto the girl.


Fifteen minutes later Starsky and Hutch were sitting with Billie at Starsky's place. She was drinking tea and Starsky could see the little girl in her.

"Mavis offered to work for me the other day," she told them. "But Moby said no."

"Where has she been working?" Starsky gently asked.

"On Cleveland. The action's been picking up there a bit and she thought she would do better over there."

"Anything unusual?" Hutch asked.

Billie shook her head and took a sip of her tea. "I need to clean up a bit. Is it okay?"


Starsky led her to the bathroom and walked back over to Hutch.

"The murderer could have picked her up over there and she wound up over where her body was found," Hutch offered.

"Maybe. Could be she wasn't doing any good at Cleveland and she checked for action at that club."

"Damn," Hutch whispered. "I can't believe we have absolutely nothing to go on. Not a single piece of physical evidence."

"Only that this guy really enjoys his work," Starsky told him.

"What are you going to do about this girl?"

"I'll talk to her and see what I can do."

"I'm headed to the precinct," Hutch told him. "We've got to be missing something."

Starsky nodded and watched as his partner left his home. A few minutes later, Billie reappeared from the bathroom. The change in her had been startling. She had washed the heavy makeup from her face and she held the wig in her hand. Starsky could see the girl was closer to 16 than the 18 she had told him. Her honey blonde hair hung just above her shoulders.

"You look great," he told her. "Much better than that getup."

"Goes with the job," she told him.

"Billie, you don't have to back out there."

Starsky was a bit surprised to see the bitter look coming from her. "Is that what you do?" she asked him. "You get on your horse and rescue young girls?"

"There's a maniac running the streets, Billie. For all you know, you could be the next one!"

"There's a million of 'em," she yelled. "I know what I'm doing!"

"Do you? You've been out on the streets--what--a year? Mavis and Cookie have been out there a hell of a lot longer than you and they are dead!"

"I'm out of here," Billie told him.

Starsky watched as Billie gathered her things together. He walked over to her. "I'm sorry," he told her. "You don't belong out there."

"Where do you think I belong?" she asked him. "You want to rescue me and dress me up like some school girl. You honestly think I can fit in with other kids after this? I don't belong there either!"

Billie stormed from the apartment and after the door slammed behind her Starsky kicked the couch and cursed loudly.


Starsky arrived at the precinct not long after Hutch had arrived. He slammed the door behind him and slumped behind his desk across from his partner.

"Didn't go well, I take it," Hutch asked.

"Nope. She is right back out there just like you said."

"Well, buddy, I found her file."

Starsky sat up and reached for the file.

Hutch held it away from him. "You won't like it," Hutch told him.

Starsky yanked the file from his hand and opened it up. When he read it, he felt like he had been kicked in the gut.

"She turns sixteen in two months," Hutch told him. "Her parents were killed when she was a baby. Went to her grandmother and she died. After that the state came in. The kid has seen more foster homes than god. Each one always worse than the one before it. Reported charges of physical and sexual abuse and nothing was ever proven. She ran away at fourteen. The rest is history."

Starsky closed the file and slammed it on the desk.

"She's messed up, partner. Billie has a lot of problems and she may be beyond any help anyone can give her."

"So I should just give up on her?" Starsky bit out.

"No, buddy. I'm saying you should be realistic about this. She has never known real love. She has no clue what it even is or what it's like to experience it. The only love she has felt from anyone is her pimp."

The cold statement from Hutch rang true to Starsky. He knew that Billie relied heavily on Moby and he wished he knew how to break the loyalty she felt towards the piece of shit.


It was late at night and Billie walked the lonely streets. It hadn't been a good night and she hoped she could convince Moby she could make more money tomorrow. She was still several blocks from the apartment and when she looked down the dark streets, there were few cars and even less people. It was after three am and Billie's feet were killing her.

She stopped for a moment and looked around. She thought she had heard something, but didn't see anything.


Starsky was quiet as he drove the car through the city. As he kept driving, he noticed how the early morning hours were driving everyone in. It had been a quiet evening and Starsky hated it. He knew the psychopath would strike soon. He looked at his partner. They had spoken very little since their earlier conversation. Billie's circumstances were getting to Starsky. He knew Hutch was backing off a bit to help him and Starsky felt a sense of relief.


Billie kept walking and when she heard some steps behind her she stopped and turned around. She could feel her heart pounding in her chest as she looked through the darkness. She carefully turned around and slowly began walking. Billie had taken only a few steps when arms wrapped around her body and she felt herself being pulled down the alley. She screamed loudly as the tight arms refused to let go and she cried out when she found herself being dragged into the darkness.


Hutch looked over at his partner and looked down at his hands. He wished there was some assurance he could give to Starsky about Billie. He knew that his best friend needed to see the reality of the situation. He looked down at the radio when the call came.

"Zebra Three respond."

"This is Zebra Three. Go ahead," Hutch replied.

"Report of woman screaming corner of Sunset and Eighth down the alley."

"Zebra Three responding."

Hutch looked over at Starsky as he put the cherry on top of the car. Starsky floored the car and Hutch had never seen Starsky run the car as hard as he had as they headed to the reported crime.

Starsky could feel his gut clenching as he pushed the accelerator as hard as he could. He rounded the corner and as soon as the car turned into the alley, he saw a masked man standing over a bloody body. Starsky put the brakes on and the man ran down the alley. Hutch jumped from the car and Starsky floored the accelerator to after the guy. Starsky followed him for only a few blocks and then suddenly the guy was gone.

He cursed loudly knowing he had lost him. Starsky turned the car around and headed back to where he had left Hutch. When he got there, Hutch was still leaning over the body and Starsky radioed for an ambulance. Starsky jumped from the car and walked over.

"She's alive," Hutch told him. "Starsky, it's Billie."

Starsky felt the breath suddenly leave him as he knelt down. She was covered in blood. He felt his stomach churn as he tried to wipe the blood from her face.

"Billie, it's me. David. Come on, honey. Open your eyes."

Starsky held her tightly and he could feel the regrets starting to rise inside of him. It was all ifs and he hated himself for it. He looked up when the ambulance arrived.


Starsky sat in the waiting room wiping the blood from his hands with a paper towel. Hutch stood not far looking at him.

"I should've busted her, Hutch. Maybe..."

"Starsky, there is no way you could have known. Don't beat yourself up over this."

"I should, you know. That girl almost died tonight."

"Starsky, she's alive and that's what matters, buddy."

Starsky was going to answer but when the doctor walked in he stood up and walked over.

"You're family?" the doctor asked.

"No," Hutch told them. "I'm Detective Ken Hutchinson and this is my partner David Starsky."

"How is she, Doc?" Starsky asked.

"She's fine. She's lost quite a bit of blood, but that's to be expected with facial wounds of this type."

"She wasn't hit anywhere else?" Starsky asked.

"No. We did a thorough examination. She does have a severe laceration from her mouth to her ear. We've stitched it up."

Hutch could see there was something else and he took a step forward. "What is it?" he asked.

"This wound will leave a significant scar. I've consulted with a plastic surgeon and there is nothing we can do to reduce the damage to her face. I'm sorry."

"When can we see her?" Starsky asked.

"She's sleeping right now. I've given her a sedative. You can go ahead and see her, but I doubt she'll wake up."

Starsky nodded and after the doctor left he looked over at Hutch. "What," Starsky asked him.

"She's our only witness," Hutch told him.

Starsky nodded.

"I've got to talk to Dobey. Stay here, buddy. I'll see you later."

Starsky watched Hutch leave and he turned to head to Billie's hospital room. When he walked in, he was taken aback by what he saw. She looked like a little girl in the big hospital bed. Her pale face was halfway covered by a large bandage. Starsky walked in and sat in the chair not far from her bed.


A few hours later, Billie felt a sudden sharp pain. She cried out.

Starsky sat up and took Billie's hand. "Billie," he whispered. "It's me, David. I'm here."

He watched as she cried. "It hurts," she said with tears in her eyes.

"I know, honey. Just wait and I'll get them to get you something."

Half an hour later, Billie was sitting up in bed sipping on a cup of water. Starsky stood next to the bed.

"My face," she whispered.

"You're gonna be fine," Starsky assured her.

"Did you get him?" she asked.

"No. We're hoping you can help us."

Billie closed her eyes and she remembered the hand with the knife. "No," she cried. "I can't."

Starsky leaned forward and took her hand in his. "It's okay, Billie. Just take your time, sweetheart."

"It hurts," she said.

Starsky saw the tears in her eyes and he wished there was a way to take the pain away from her. He watched as she quietly fell asleep. He left the room and he found the doctor getting coffee.

"Doc, can we talk?" Starsky asked.


Both men found a small table and sat across from each other.

"It's about Billie," Starsky said. "This thing with her face. How will it affect her emotionally?"

"It's really hard to say," he told him. "It depends on her history and what manner of support she gets from here on out. She's not even sixteen yet and teens her age put a lot of emphasis on appearance. It won't be an easy thing to deal with."

"Doc, she's had a tough life. I'm looking for anything to give her something to grab on to. I'm afraid she won't make it through this."

"Detective, in time she could learn to accept what has happened to her. It will be a tough road for her. Chances are it will get worse before it gets better. I wish I could offer you better news."

Starsky nodded as the doctor left and he sighed heavily. He debated offering her a place to live with him, but he knew he couldn't offer the support she needed. He worked crazy hours and there would be times he wouldn't be there with her when she needed it. The odds were stacked against Billie and he knew it.

Starsky went back to Billie's room and opened the door. He stopped and watched her sleep. He heard the nurse walk over to him.

"She'll probably sleep through the night," she told him. "We gave her a sedative. Come back tomorrow."

Starsky nodded and quietly closed the door behind him.


Late that night, Billie opened her eyes and saw the doctor walking into her room. "I didn't think you'd still be here," she told him.

"I thought I should check on you," he told her with a slight smile.

Billie smiled back and she looked down at her hands. His hands were on the rail of her bed and something caught her eye. When she saw it, her eyes widened and when she looked up at him, there was an empty smile on his face. He grabbed at her and Billie struggled with him. She grabbed the metal bedpan and swung as hard as she could. The bedpan landed on his forehead and he fell back.

Billie wasted no time in jerking the IV from her arm and scrambling out of bed. She saw him getting up and she hit him again with the bedpan. He slumped back and she shot out the door. Billie stopped at the nurse's desk and she looked over her shoulder when she heard a voice.

"Stop her! She attacked me!"

Billie shot down the hallway before anyone could move and in a matter of a few minutes she was running out of the parking lot of the hospital into the night.


Early the next morning, Starsky walked into the hospital carrying a large teddy bear. He had a huge smile on his face and he whistled as he headed to Billie's room. He opened the door to Billie's room and he was surprised to see she wasn't in her bed. He walked over to the nurse's station and set the bear on the counter.

"Where's Billie?" he asked.

"You haven't heard?" the nurse told him.

"What?" he said with an edge to his voice.

"Crazy kid! She attacked her doctor and blew out of here!"

"When?" Starsky demanded.

"Late last night."

Starsky cursed loudly and ran leaving the teddy bear behind.


Billie had finally made it to the apartment. She was cold and hungry. Before she entered the building, she touched the bandage on her face. Moby would help her, she thought. He always told her that no matter what; he would take care of her. Billie needed him and she felt confident that Moby would protect her.

She reached the door and walked inside. Moby stood up when he saw her. "Where ya' been baby," he said with that smile.

"I was in the hospital," she told him. "That maniac tried to kill me."

Moby noticed the bandage on her face and he walked forward. Billie saw something in his eyes and she took a small step back as he approached her. She jumped when the bandage was ripped from her face. Moby's face turned ugly when he saw the swollen face with the hideous stitches.

The slap on Billie's face came from nowhere. She landed on her back on the hard floor.

"You stupid bitch," Moby yelled. "What the hell am I gonna do with an ugly whore like you!"

Billie tried to scramble away from him. He grabbed her by the hair and laid several hard punches to her jaw and eyes. When she fell back, she felt four hard kicks to her stomach.

"Goddamn!! I spent a shit load of money getting you ready for uptown and you had to get yourself cut up! I've got no use for you," he screamed.

Billie lay on the floor in a heap and she did her best to protect her face. She cried out as he grabbed her by the head. He turned her to face him.

"Get the hell out!"

Moby hauled Billie by the hair to the door. He opened it and threw her out. She landed hard on her back and when she heard the door slam she sobbed loudly. She looked up and saw one of the girls carrying a large coat over to her.

"Billie," she whispered. "Get out of here, honey. If you stay, Moby will kill you."

Billie took the coat and she managed to pull herself up. She watched as the girls left and staggered down the stairs.


Starsky was gripping the steering wheel tightly as him and Hutch cruised the streets. He had been searching all day for Billie with no indication. No one had seen her. It was as if she had dropped off the face of the earth. He and Hutch found a couple of Moby's girls and they swore they hadn't seen anything of Billie. Starsky was so worried about Billie; he didn't see the fear in their eyes.

As Starsky sat in the car drinking his coffee, he looked over at Hutch. "Something scared the hell out of her, buddy," Starsky told Hutch.

"What would scare her enough to make her run like this?" Hutch asked.

"Why on earth would she attack the doctor? He was tryin' to help her."

"It could be the perp knew she was there," Hutch told him.

"How would he know where she was?"

"It's a big hospital, Gordo. Hard to say."

Hutch looked over at Starsky and he could see the concern in his eyes.

"Starsky, why don't you head home? She could have come there. I'll go to the hospital and see what I find out."

Starsky nodded.


Starsky sighed as he walked through the door of his house. She wasn't here. He had dropped Hutch off at the hospital. Starsky called the precinct to see if anyone there knew anything. When he finished he set the phone down and grabbed his jacket. He would keep looking for her.

Starsky opened the door and standing in his doorway was someone he didn't recognize. His eyes widened when he realized it was Billie. She fell forward and Starsky caught her before she hit the floor. He slowly sat on the floor holding Billie in his arms. His gut clenched at the sight of her. Someone had beaten the hell out of the young girl.

"Billie," he whispered.

"Moby," she cried.

Starsky felt a liquid anger pulsing through his body at the thought of that fat pig hurting Billie. He leaned down and kissed the top of Billie's head.

"No one will ever hurt you again," Starsky promised.


An hour later, Hutch walked into the house and he found Starsky closing the door behind him.

"How is she?" Hutch asked.

"She's sleeping, thank god."

Hutch didn't say anything as Hutch took the bloody rags and threw them in the sink.

"How in the hell can anyone have any kind of life like this?" Starsky asked him.

"I don't know, buddy."

"She has suffered so much in her life and I don't know what to do for her. That fat bastard Moby beat the hell out of her because of some sick psychopath. Hutch, she deserves a fair shot at a life and now I don't think there is any way for her to get it like this."

Hutch was silent as he watched the anger in Starsky's eyes.

"Starsky, what do you want to do, buddy?" Hutch asked.

Starsky looked at Hutch with hard eyes. Hutch knew what Starsky was thinking and he was thinking the same thing. They both nodded and Starsky picked up the phone to call Sweet Alice.


In the hallway of the apartment of Moby, a thundering crash made the wall vibrate. Inside, Hutch was leaning against the doorway as Starsky grabbed Moby by the shirt and flung him across the room. As big of a man Moby was, Starsky had no problem with the anger he felt.

Moby landed on the floor and Starsky walked over and gave him several kicks to the gut.

"Come on, you fat pig," Starsky yelled. "Fight back you useless slob!"

Starsky leaned down and pulled Moby up off the floor. He dragged Moby over to the wall and threw him up against it. The girls jumped back as Starsky landed several blows on Moby's face. Starsky grabbed Moby by the hair and gave it a viscous yank upwards forcing Moby to look at him. Starsky pulled his gun and placed the barrel in Moby's left eye.

"Listen and listen good, you sack of shit! If you get any ideas of charging me with assault, I'll have this place crawling with cops and a few mob bosses. I'm sure they'd like to get their hands on a piece of filth like you! I'm gonna walk out of here and leave you to wallow in your own piss. But before I do, you had better remember a few things. If I so much as see your fat ass on the street, I'm gonna personally drag your carcass out to give you my own little piece of retribution. Do you know what a Columbian necktie is?" Starsky asked. When he didn't get a reply, Starsky gave him a deadly smile. "You slit the throat and pull the tongue through the hole in the neck. It's not a good way to die."

Starsky threw his knee into Moby's groin and the man grabbed his balls and collapsed on the floor moaning in pain. "Close up shop, Moby," Starsky told him. "It's the only way you can save your fat ass."

Starsky stepped over Moby's prone form and left him lying. After he and Hutch left the room the girls looked at each other for a moment. They all gathered up their things and left their former pimp lying.


When Starsky and Hutch arrived back at the house, Sweet Alice was sitting on the couch.

"Hey, Alice," Hutch said with a small smile.

"Hi, guys."

"How's Billie?" Starsky asked.

"She's okay. She woke up for a bit. She's sleeping again. Poor kid must be exhausted."

"Good," Starsky said with relief.

Alice looked over at Starsky and he looked back at her.

"You heard," Starsky asked.

"Yep. Kinda hard not to," she told him. "I know why you did it. A lot of the girls on the street are breathing a lot easier either way."

"Can I give you a ride home?" Hutch offered.

"I've got a cab coming." Alice picked up her things and headed to the door. "See ya' guys later."

After she left, Starsky sat on the couch and rubbed his face with his hands. When he opened his eyes, Hutch was holding a cold beer out in front of him. Starsky took the beer, opened it and took a long drink.

"I shouldn't have done it, Hutch," Starsky told him. "I lost it today."

"Starsky, if it wasn't you, it would have been somebody else."

Starsky nodded at his partner and they drank in silence for a few minutes.

"Do you remember Joanna Lawrence?" Hutch asked.

"Yeah, I do."

"She's married, you know. Real super guy. They don't have any kids."

Starsky looked over at Hutch. "Hutch, that's a big something to ask of someone."

"I'm not going to ask. Let's take Billie over there and see how it goes. She and Joanna might just hit it off."

"Think it might work?" Starsky asked.

"I don't see what we have to lose," Hutch told him.


The next afternoon, Starsky could see how withdrawn Billie had become. She wasn't talking and they couldn't even question her about what had happened at the hospital. The bruises on her face looked horrible and Starsky managed to get her to the car. He and Hutch sat in the front while Billie hid in the back. Starsky glanced in his mirror and he could barely see the top of her head.

No one spoke during the entire trip and when they finally arrived, Starsky smiled when he saw Joanna standing out on the porch. He and Hutch got out of the car. He held the seat up for Billie, but she stayed hidden in the seat. He looked over at Hutch.

"What's wrong?" Hutch asked.

"Go on. I'll take care of it."

Hutch nodded and Starsky waited till he was gone. Starsky got in the backseat of his car and sat next to Billie.

"This is a real nice lady," Starsky told her. "I would never lie to you."

"Are you leaving me here?" she whispered.

"No. We're just visiting. That's it."

"She'll see my face," Billie said with tears in her eyes.

"Billie, Joanna is a very special lady and you'll find that out when you meet her. Just give her a chance and trust me."

Starsky held his hand out to Billie and after a moment Billie took it and she slowly crawled out of the car. She stood behind Starsky as he walked towards the house. They walked inside and Hutch was sitting in the living room.

"Joanna's getting some coffee," Hutch told him.

Starsky sat down and he watched as Billie walked around a bit. She looked like a scared kitten he thought to himself. He watched as she walked into Joanne's studio and looked at the art that decorated it.

Billie gently touched the pottery. It was so pretty she thought to herself. She looked around at the paintings, which seemed to cover the walls. She turned around when a tall woman with long black hair walked into the room. Billie stayed silent and her eyes widened when she saw the large burn on the side of her face. There were also two large scars across her forehead.

"I'm sorry," Billie told her. "I didn't mean..."

"It's okay. I'm Joanna. You must be Billie. David's told me a little about you."

"This is so pretty," Billie said motioning to the art.

"Thanks. To be honest, I never I thought I had it in me," Joanna told her with a smile.

"Really?" Billie asked.

"Yep. Come here, let me show you something."

Billie walked over as Joanna opened up a drawer and pulled a photo out. It was a very beautiful woman on the cover of a magazine.

"This is you," Billie asked.

"Sadly, it was. It's like I'm looking at a different person."

"I don't understand. You were a model. That must have been wonderful."

"It was more work than what it was worth. All I cared about were my looks. My face, my makeup, and my hair... you know. It was all exterior. No substance. I no idea of who I was," she said with a sigh.

"I'm here for a lecture," Billie told her cynically.

"You're here to hear my story. What you decide to do with it is up to you, Billie. I'm not here to pass judgment on you or tell you what to do."

"Okay," Billie told her. "I'll listen."

"Several years ago, I was in an accident. My car was hit head on by a drunk driver. Starsky and Hutch were there and they saved my life. After it was all said and done, I had no job and I had no hope. I honestly believed my life was over. Who would want someone who was as ugly as I was? It took me a while to figure out that I wanted me. I had to learn how to care about who I was. I found out I could paint and I loved pottery. When I saw what I could do, the world opened up for me. I found out the world wasn't what I had thought it was. It was what I took and what I gave back to it."

They heard a noise in the doorway and looked over. Billie saw the most devastatingly handsome man she had ever seen in her life.

"Hey, baby," he said with a smile. He walked over and gave Joanna a passionate kiss.

"Ryan," Joanna said. "This is my friend, Billie."

"Hi, Billie," he said with a pleasant smile.

Billie was speechless as he gently shook her hand. He turned to Joanna and Billie could see the love in his eyes for her.

"I brought Chinese home."

"Sounds great," she told him.

She smiled as he left the room and when she turned back to Billie, she saw something in her eyes, but she wasn't sure what it was.

"Is he your boyfriend?" Billie asked.

"My husband. We've been married three years now."


"Yes, Billie. After the accident. There is one thing I want you to understand. I never really cared about myself before the accident. I thought people only cared about my face and my body. I found out the hard way that there was more to myself than that. As time went on, I learned how to care about myself and who I was. Then I met Ryan. He is a wonderful man who I love and he loves me. Billie, Ryan loves what's inside me. That's what drew us to each other."

"I'm dirty," Billie whispered. "Inside and outside."

"No, you're not, Billie," Joanna told her softly. "You need to find the art in you. It may be painting, music, writing or any hundreds of other things. Once you discover the beauty inside, the world will change right before your eyes. You have to give yourself the chance to discover it. And discovering it can be such a wonderful experience, Billie."

During the drive back to Starsky's home, Billie quietly looked out the window. Starsky felt an odd sense of relief to see she wasn't hiding in the back as she had been during the drive over. He knew the conversation that she had had with Joanna had made an impact on the young girl.


Late that night, Starsky slept on the couch and Billie slept quietly in his bed. Starsky jerked up and went for his gun when a scream came from the bedroom. He ran in and watched as Billie fought and kicked at the covers. He ran over to her and grabbed her by the arms.

"Billie," he said. When she didn't come out of it, Starsky shook her. "Billie," he yelled.

Billie's eyes suddenly came open and Starsky pulled her close.

"What happened?" he asked.

"The knife," she whispered. "The knife."

"You're safe," he told her.

"It was on his hand and he kept..."

"Shhh, Billie. It's okay. Did you see his face?" Starsky quietly asked.

"It was on his hand and he wouldn't stop," she cried.

Starsky pulled her closer and after a while, Billie drifted back to sleep. He pulled the covers tightly around her and slowly backed out of the bedroom. After he closed the door, he walked to the couch and picked up the phone.

"Yeah," a muffled voice answered on the other end.

"It's me," Starsky told him.

"What's wrong?" Hutch asked.

"Billie had a nightmare."

"Want me to come over?"

"No. She's sleeping."

"She's got to find some peace," Hutch told him.

"Yeah, I know. Hutch, she said something odd about her nightmare. I don't know if it's anything or not."

"What is it?"

"She said something about the knife on his hand."

"Starsky, she probably meant that it was in his hand."

"She said it twice, Hutch."

"It could be something, but I'm not sure."

"On his hand," Starsky repeated. "Anything yet at the hospital?"

"Nope. The doctor and the nurses said there wasn't anyone near Billie's room. Everything check's out."

"Hutch, what if our perp works at the hospital? That would explain a lot about this case. The crime scenes are clean and the M.E. not being able to get even a single piece of evidence."

"I agree, partner. I'll head over tomorrow and start pulling the employee records. It'll take a while."

"I'll meet you," Starsky told him.

"No. Stay there with Billie, Starsk. Let's play it safe."


"Night," Hutch told him.

Starsky hung up the phone and lay back down on the couch. He tossed and turned and didn't get much sleep the remainder of the night.


Hutch was at the precinct and putting some files in the filing cabinet when he heard a whistle behind him. He smiled and when he turned around Minnie was standing not far from him.

"Minnie," he said with a smile.

She handed him a file. "Here ya' go, gorgeous," she told him.

"What's this?"

"It's from Seattle. I guess the cops up there heard about our slasher problem and they thought you could use it."

Hutch opened it up and whistled.

"Anything?" she asked.

"Yep. Same MO. They thought the guy worked at one of the local hospitals, but before they could come up with anything concrete, the killings stopped."

Hutch grabbed his jacket and just as he was heading out the door he stopped. He turned around and walked over to Minnie. He gave her a kiss on the cheek.

"My old man gets very jealous," she told him as he left.


Starsky fixed Billie's lunch and he carried it on a tray to her in the living room.

"What's this," she asked.

"Starsky's specialty," he told her. "I made this myself."

Billie smiled and took a bit of it. "It's good," she told him.

"Billie, is there anything you can tell me about the night you were attacked?"

The smile left Billie's face and she set the fork down on the plate. "I remember the knife. It was on his hand. I'm sorry."

"It's okay," he told her. "Sometimes, when something bad happens to someone, their mind doesn't want to remember no matter how bad they want to remember."

"I don't remember anything except the knife on the hand and running. I've tried."

"Billie, don't push it too hard."

Billie gave Starsky a weak smile and continued eating her meal.


Hutch stood in the hospital administrator's office looking at a very angry official.

"Detective, I can't just turn over personal employment records of my staff! Those are confidential!"

"There is a madman running the streets killing women! You can't just sit there and do nothing!"

"Unless you have a court order, I have no intention of allowing you access to those records!"

"How do you think the public will react once they hear the administrator of this hospital refused to assist the police department in this investigation? It wouldn't look too good if the press got wind of the fact that this hospital is more than likely employing a psychopath and declined to help us catch him."

The administrator slammed his fist on the desk and stood up. "Detective, I don't like being blackmailed!"

"Make your choice," Hutch said with a lethal voice.

"Fine. I'll call the records department."

Hutch could see that he didn't like it, but he really didn't give a damn. He quickly left the office and as he headed to the records department he ran into Billie's doctor.

"Detective Hutchinson," the doctor said.

"Dr. Grey."

"How's Billie? I heard you located her."

"She's fine. She's with my partner."

"I've talked with a plastic surgeon in San Francisco. He's made some fabulous advances in the field. He thinks he can help Billie. I'd like to speak with her about it."

Hutch pulled out a piece of paper and wrote Starsky's phone number on it.

"This is Starsky's number. Call and arrange it with him. Understand, I can't give you his address."

"I understand," the doctor assured him.

Dr. Grey watched him hurry off and he smiled. He could do the rest, he thought to himself.


Hutch watched as the records clerk began looking through the records.

"I've got a set of cards that I run through a machine. It'll help narrow what you're looking for."

"That sounds great."

"It could still take a while," she told him.

"Okay, let's get started. Let's start with all the employees who started two months ago."


Billie sat quietly on the couch as Starsky finished up the dishes. He walked over and sat next to her.

"There's some stuff on TV," he asked her.

"Sure," she said with a half smile.

Starsky turned on the TV and they were quickly engrossed in a show.


It was still a pretty thick stack the clerk held in her hand. Hutch shook his head.

"How many people you got working here," he asked.

"Are you kidding? This hospital is a part of a complex. Everyone is included in this. You're talking over 2000 people."

"The men. Narrow it down to the men."

She turned and put the cards back into the machine.


Starsky looked over at Billie and he could see she wasn't watching the show. She looked a million miles away. He turned off the TV. "What's going on, Billie?"

"I've never had anyone do the things you've done for me and not ask anything in return," she told him.

"That's how friendship works. You do things for each other and don't expect anything in return."

Starsky was silent as Billie stood and walked to the window. "I want to do something for you," she told him.

"Billie, I don't expect anything from you."

"I know. That's why I do," she told him.

Starsky watched as she walked over to him. As she walked, his breath caught in his throat as she unbuttoned her shirt and dropped it to her elbows. Starsky was speechless. He stood and walked over to her. He looked in her face and he took the shirt and pulled it over her shoulders. He swallowed the lump in his throat as he closed the shirt in front of her. "Billie..."

He looked into her eyes and he could see the tears forming in her eyes.

"I wouldn't be a good friend if we did what you think we should do."

"You don't want me," she cried.

"Billie," he whispered. "You are a beautiful girl. You have so much to offer the world and it wouldn't be right for you or me. You know that, don't you?"

Billie nodded and Starsky hugged her tightly.


"All right," the clerk told Hutch. "We've got it narrowed down to 24 people."

"I can't think of anything else," Hutch told her. "Let's pull the files."

After a few minutes of looking through files, Hutch was surprised to find that Dr. Grey had only been working at the hospital for less than four weeks.

"Dr. Grey," he stated out loud.

"Yeah," the clerk told him.

"He's only been here for a month."

"Transferred from Portland," she told him.

Hutch closed the file and moved to the next one when he heard a chuckle from the clerk.

"What is it?"

"Just something about him. It's cute, but weird at the same time."

"What's that?"

"He's got a sword tattooed on the inside of his wrist. It's weird I guess."

"What," Hutch asked with shock in his voice.

"Yeah, I guess he got it over at one of those Saigon tattoo parlors."

Hutch grabbed his jacket and ran from the room.


"You okay?" Starsky asked.

"Yes. I guess I still have a lot to learn," she said with a smile.

Before Starsky could answer a knock interrupted his thoughts. He walked over to answer it. When he opened the door he was surprised to see Dr. Grey standing in front of him. He heard a noise behind him and he turned to see Billie holding her hands to her mouth. The terror in her eyes spoke volumes to him. He turned back around only to feel something on his head.

Billie jumped when Starsky crumpled to the floor.


Hutch pushed his LTD as hard as he could. He picked up the radio. "This is Zebra Three."

"Go ahead Zebra Three."

"I need black and whites to Detective Starsky's house. Possible attempt on his life."

"There are none available in the area," was the reply.

"Get some there ASAP," he yelled.

Hutch threw the radio down in frustration and pushed car harder.


Billie stepped back as it all came back to her. She remembered him in the alley and she remembered the hospital. She looked down at Starsky as he lay on the floor.

"David," she cried.

Grey stepped over Starsky's unconscious form.

"You all are just alike," he said with a voice she didn't know.

"Please," she cried.

"You are like her," he whispered.

Billie moved back as he stepped closer to her. She didn't know why she hadn't seen it before, but he held a scalpel in his hand. He raised it higher as he stalked her.

Billie grabbed a lamp and threw it at him and he batted it away. The lamp shattered when it hit the floor. She scrambled away from him and he grabbed her by the foot and pulled on her. She screamed as he dragged her closer to him. She felt him almost on top of her.

Starsky pulled his head up and he watched as Grey yanked on Billie. He staggered to his feet and launched himself at Grey. Both men tumbled on top of each other.

Billie stumbled away from them and she froze at the struggle that was going on. It was obvious that Starsky was still dazed from the earlier assault. Grey managed to subdue a stunned Starsky and he was on top of him with the deadly scalpel raised to strike.

Billie grabbed the plate on the table and hit Grey on the back of the head. He paused for just enough for Starsky to shove him away. Grey fell back and rolled to a standing position. He held the scalpel above Starsky.

Billie screamed and several gunshots went off. Grey stood for an eternity and then collapsed in a heap. After a moment, she ran over to Starsky and held his hand in hers. She looked over as Hutch came over to them with his gun in his hand.

"Took long enough," Starsky mumbled.

"Traffic was a bitch," Hutch replied.


The sun was shining and the birds sang. It was a perfect day in the park. Starsky and Billie sat on a park bench together.

"You saved my life, Billie," Starsky told her.

"No, I didn't," she whispered.

"If you hadn't of distracted Grey when you did, I would have been dead. Probably you, too."

"I'm scared, David. I don't know what's going to happen."

"No one does. You can only make the best choices you can."

"I don't have any choices. I can't work anymore and I can't be normal like other kids my age."

"Billie, all you can do is be who you are. You are beautiful and special. I can see you doing a lot with your life."

"There's nothing for me," she said sadly.

"There's Joanna and Ryan," he told her.


"They've been talking to Social Services about you and they want you to come and live with them."

"So I'm going to another foster home."

"No, Billie. It's not like that. It's a home. A real home where you can be who you want to be. Not what everyone else thinks you should be."

"Why do they want me?"

"I think it's because they see in you what I have seen from day one."

"I felt like she understood me that day," Billie told him.

"Let yourself be happy," Starsky, told her. "Take this chance you've got and run with it Billie. They want you to make the choice to live with them. Joanna feels it's important for you to decide."

"What should I do?"

"I can't tell you," Starsky answered.

"I want better than what I've had, David. Maybe this will be different."

"What have you got to lose, kid?"

Billie looked at him and she saw the teasing smile on his face and she smiled back. Billie saw him looking behind her and when she turned around, she saw Hutch standing with Joanna and Ryan. She stood up and Starsky stood next to her.

"Thank you, David."

Billie hugged Starsky and gave him a kiss on the cheek. Starsky watched as she walked over to Joanna and Ryan. They put their arms around her and led her towards the park. Starsky smiled as Hutch walked over to him.

"You did it," Hutch told him.

"She did it," Starsky answered back.

"She wouldn't have if you hadn't been there, partner."

"I just pointed her in the right direction, Hutch."

"Since when are you so modest?" Hutch said with a sarcastic smile.

"Did I tell you how much she loves my cooking?" Starsky asked.

Starsky shook his head as Hutch went into his unhealthy eating habits. Starsky really wasn't listening and he looked over his shoulder and watched as Billie was hugging Joanna.

That's one, he thought to himself.