Comments on this story can be sent to:

Vengeance in Bay City

Carly Augustine sat in the car with her partner, Danny. His dimpled cheeks and soft brown hair made him the draw for all the ladies, but his one and only devotion was to his wife and young son. She sighed heavily and looked out the window of the car they were sitting in.

"So, this guy doesn't know the difference between an axle and a tire iron," Danny told her. "It doesn't mean anything."

"Sure it does," she replied. "He's supposed to know at least something about a car. We were stuck out in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire and he didn't have the first clue on how to fix it, Danny."

"Okay, you fixed the flat. Then what?"

"Then he wants to thank me," she told him with a snide look.

"I see. Did you let him?"

Carly gave him a shocked look and smiled. "I have no use for a man who doesn't know how to fix a tire."

"Carly, don't you think your standards are a bit on the high side?"

"Could be."

Danny looked over at his partner and sighed.

"I get tired of playing these games," she told him. "I feel like I'm caught up in a bad soap opera every time I date someone new. It runs hot and cold. It's worse when these guys find out I'm a cop. They practically run the other direction."

"Times will never change," he told her with a side look. "My species will always be threatened by a dominant woman."

Carly chuckled at the comment and for a moment she wished she could meet someone like Danny. He always listened and he understood her so well. She was lost in thought for a moment and suddenly Danny nudged her. She looked over at across the street and watched a large man leaving the expensive hotel.

"There he goes," Danny stated.

"About damn time," Carly shot back. "I was beginning to consider celibacy."

Danny ignored the remark and put the car in drive. They had been following Otis Fox for almost a month waiting for him to make contact with his supplier. He was a hotshot drug dealer and they wanted the big fish. Danny and Carly knew that this pipe lead straight to Nico Devlin. He was the target.

Carly watched as Danny kept his distance. She didn't have to say a word to him because he already knew. Carly and Danny knew everything about each other and they were closer than a brother and sister. The only person that seemed to understand their relationship was Katherine, Danny's wife.

They drove for another half hour and Danny looked over at Carly. "Where the hell are we?" Danny asked.

"We're headed towards the docks," she told him. "Since when does Otis do his business way out here?"

Danny was silent as he continued following Otis. Suddenly, Otis' car sped quickly away from them.

"Damnit, he made us," Danny yelled.

"How in the hell could he have done that?" Carly questioned. "Shit!"

Danny lay on the gas and followed the speeding car.

"We'll take him in for traffic violations," he smirked at her.

Carly nodded and pulled her .38 from her holster. She radioed for back up as Danny continued his pursuit of the vehicle. Suddenly from nowhere, a large black car pulled out in front of them and Danny slammed on his brakes in order to keep from hitting it. Danny and Carly watched as two men with automatic weapons stepped from the car. Danny and Carly ducked as a barrage of bullets ripped through the car. She could feel glass raining on her. It seemed to last forever and then there was a brief reprieve. As if on instinct, Danny and Carly sat up and jumped from their vehicle. Using the car doors as protection they emptied their guns on the gunmen until they lay dead at their feet. Danny looked over at Carly and they both began walking towards the dead bodies. Carly heard a noise behind her and she turned her head slightly to see what it was. A large black car had quietly pulled in behind them.

Carly could feel a moment of dread overcoming her as she saw the barrel of a gun poking out through a window. She turned and looked over at Danny was now turning to see the car.

Carly didn't know she had screamed Danny's name until it had already escaped her lips. She felt sharp pains throughout her chest and fell back. Carly screamed from the sudden pain and when she hit the pavement, darkness overcame her.


She had no idea of how long she had lain on the hard cement. Time had stopped. Carly could hear sirens. She opened her eyes and saw two people standing over her. When Carly moved her body screamed out in protest. She had to get out of this damn vest, she told herself. She could barely breath.

"Danny," she breathed.

Carly ignored the pain in her chest and rolled over onto her stomach. She could see his hand and she pushed herself to crawl over to him. Carly saw the blood around him and she told herself he had to be okay. She wouldn't accept anything else. They had survived before and they will again.

She pulled his head into her lap and Carly froze. Something wasn't right. She looked down at him and she could see the empty look in his face. She felt his warm blood seeping onto her jeans and then she saw it. A large hole on the back of his head told her the story.

"No," she whispered. "No. Goddammitt, Danny, no!!! Oh, God! No!"

Carly screamed into the air as she held him tightly in her arms. She was unaware of the patrol cars, which stopped around her, and she fought them to stay with Danny.


Carly was numb. Her whole body was numb as the doctor pronounced her well. She had a few bruised ribs and she would be sore for a few days. The vest had saved her life. As Carly was putting on her jacket, she looked over as the door opened. She looked up and said nothing as her captain walked in the room.

"I'm sorry, Augustine," he whispered.

"I need to talk to Katherine," she told him.

"Not now."


"Augustine, look at you," he said with a raised voice. "You've still got Danny's blood all over you. I've got people with her already."

"How is she?" Carly bit out.

"She's hanging in."

"We were set up."

"They must have tailed Otis," the Captain explained.

"No! Somebody knew what we were doing and they knew we were going to be there! I know who it is."

"You're off the case," he told her.

"Like hell I am!"

"IA has ordered a full investigation into this mess! You are suspended!"

"What the hell?" she yelled.

"Goddammitt, Augustine! You know that's standard procedure! Besides, I want you to take some time off. You're my best detective and I can't afford to lose you, too."

"What about Nico Devlin," she asked with steel in her voice.

"He's left the city. He boarded a flight to LA."

"He did it, Captain."

"Augustine, you are off as of right now! Devlin is off limits. Even if he did it, I want him brought to justice and not some vigilante cop justice. We're doing this by the book. The cops in Los Angeles will handle this since he's in their backyard."

"Damn," she yelled.

"I mean it, Augustine. We'll get our shot at him. He's got too much down here to just walk away from it all."

"He would since he dropped a cop," she mumbled.

Before her captain could say another word to her, Carly tore out of the room and headed home. She knew what she was going to do and she would do it alone. An hour later she had her pickup packed and she was headed out of the city. Carly didn't look back as she drove out of the Houston city limits. She knew one way or another, Nico Devlin would die. If she had to die to do it, she would.


Los Angeles-3 days later

Hutch and Starsky found themselves sitting in one of the most expensive nightclubs in the city. They were relieved not to be picking up the tab at this place. The city was. Hutch looked over at his partner and sighed. He could see how much Starsky hated the place.

"Hey, buddy. It's a night out on the town at the city's expense. Enjoy yourself."

"Easy for you to say, Blondie. I would rather we'd have done it someplace that's a little more my speed instead of this place."

"Oh, come on, Starsk," Hutch told him. "We may be on duty, but at least enjoy the atmosphere."

"I would rather enjoy some bowling and burritos," Starsky bit out.

Hutch shook his head at his partner. There was a new player in the streets and the smack was practically flooding the streets. They had been able to pipeline the stuff to a guy new to town. They still knew very little about him, but enough to know how ruthless he was. He had already begun putting the squeeze on the smaller dealers. Those that didn't go along with the game plan were winding up in the morgue.

"Starsk," Hutch called.

Starsk looked up and both detectives watched as a well-dressed man with dark brown hair and olive skin walked into the room. Both men could see the dangerous look in his eyes as he scanned the room. He walked over to a group of people and casually sat with them.

"The guy acts like he owns the place," Starsky stated.

"Those threads must have set him back at least a grand," Hutch told him.

"How in the hell are we supposed to even approach the guy?"

Hutch wasn't sure. This guy was in a new league and they needed to find a way inside. Hutch took a long drink from his beer and he froze at the figure who walked past him. He could feel her silk dress brush against his forearm as she walked away from him. From the back, he could see that she worked out from the muscular build in her shoulders and back. Her long think brown hair looked like a sheen of silk and it gently lay on her shoulders. Hutch had to resist the urge to jump up and chase after her. When she turned sideways, he had a better look of her face. He could see the sultry look in her eyes and he felt his body turn hard at the sight. He watched as she sat at the table not far from his.

It didn't take long for a waiter to make his way to her. The waiter quickly returned with a glass of champagne. Hutch could see the man was bending over backwards to please her. She flashed him a sexy smile and the man was quickly on his way. Hutch had almost forgotten where he was when he felt a hard nudge at his elbow. He turned and looked over at Starsky.

"Didn't you hear what I said?" Starsky asked with a snicker.

"Uh, sorry."

Starsky looked over at the woman who was casually sipping her champagne.

"What a looker," he told Hutch. "I think she's a whole new level for the both of us, pal."

"What are you talking about?" Hutch replied testily.

"Look at her, Hutch. She's all champagne and diamonds. We're beer and country music."

"You may be beer and country music, but I'm not."

Starsky was silent as Hutch stood. Starsk watched as his partner headed over to the beauty, but stopped short when Nico Devlin approached her. Hutch made his way back to the table and sat with a defeated look in his eyes.

"Well, at least we know Devlin ain't gay," Starsky said with a smirk.

Both men watched as he smiled at the beautiful woman with the silky brown hair.


"I sent for more champagne," Nico told her.

Carly could see it was more of a demand for her to stay with him rather than a request. She watched as he took her hand in his and she felt her stomach churn. She felt ready to play this thing all the way, but she knew she had to watch her steps very carefully.

"Good," she said with sultry look. "You are Nico Devlin."

"I should be suspicious," he said with a sly look.

"I was sent here for a reason."

"And what would that be."

"I have an associate in Miami that is looking to expand."

"I have never done business in that area," Nico told her.

"He's heard of you. A friend of a friend. I understand that you can be very accommodating."

Nico could hear the seductiveness in her voice and he wanted to take her right then and there. But he held back.

"I never mix business with pleasure," he told her. "Stay here and enjoy the night with me. Tomorrow, we will discuss business."

Carly smiled at him with sultry look in her eyes. She didn't say a word as he led her to his table.


Starsky and Hutch watched silently as Nico Devlin lead her to his table. They studied the new couple for half an hour. Hutch could see the sudden possessiveness in the man as he kept her close to him. He could see it when they danced together.

"Didn't take him long to find her," Starsky told his partner.

"Yeah," Hutch replied. "She went with him easily enough."

"Don't start getting paranoid on me, buddy."

They spent the remainder of the evening watching them as they drank champagne and partied the night away. Hutch felt something in his gut, but he wasn't sure what it was. He kept it to himself and as the club closed, he and Starsky watched as Nico put the beautiful woman in a limo and sent her away. He left in the opposite direction in a sports car.


Carly arrived back at her hotel feeling dirty. She threw her purse and keys on the bed and quickly took the silk dress off. She jumped in the shower and scrubbed her body until the scouring hurt her skin. Afterwards, she stepped out in her robe and looked at the large briefcase sitting next to the bed. She hauled it onto the bed and opened it up.

Carly pulled out the guns from the large stacks of cash and began cleaning them. As she cleaned, the awful day with Danny came flooding back to her. It was like she was still there. She could feel the bullets hitting her vest and she still saw the blood on her hands and clothes. Carly could swear she could still feel the stickiness of Danny's blood on her hands.

She had talked to Katherine during the trip to California. Carly knew from Katherine's silence that she knew what she was doing. Carly knew that Katherine understood everything she was doing and she was relieved when Katherine didn't make any attempts to talk her out of it. Carly closed her eyes for a moment and took a deep breath.

Carly stood and pulled out her black jeans and black sweatshirt. She had heard enough that a deal was going down in the next hour and she wasn't going to miss the party.

As Carly dressed, she suddenly remembered a man watching her. She had caught him out of the corner of her eye at the club. His soft blue eyes and blonde hair had caught her attention. She had wished she could go talk to him, but this trip wasn't about her, she told herself. Carly remembered him standing up, but he had went back to his seat when Nico had joined her. God, how she hated that man.


Starsky and Hutch had followed Nico to an abandoned dock at the wharf. They stayed in the shadows and watched as Nico talked to two other men. They both looked at each other as Nico walked to his car and sped away.

"We stay here," Hutch told him.

"I know," Starsky replied. "He sure is keeping himself clean."

"Easier to do business if you don't have to take all the risks," Hutch replied bitterly.

Both men froze as they watched a dark shadow not far from them. They looked at each other and nodded. Hutch pulled his .357 out of his holster and quietly walked towards the dark shadow. He noticed the figure stealthily approaching where the deal was currently going down. He froze as it jumped out and held the gun on the men. Another had arrived with the drugs in hand beforehand.

Hutch watched from a distance as the person ordered the men down. The men were quickly subdued with their arms behind their backs. The person picked up the briefcase and the bag and quickly stole away. Hutch's first instinct was to untie the men, but he knew they would be made for cops.

He turned the other way and after a few minutes he found the person getting into a pickup. Hutch heard the sound of a motor and turned to see Starsky arriving in the nick of time with his red Torino. Hutch jumped in and Starsky quickly accelerated the car to catch up with the speeding pickup. They saw it and Hutch put the cherry on top of the car.

As they sped down the streets, Starsky was having a hell of a time keeping up with the Ford.

"What the hell does he have in there?" Starsky yelled.

The pickup swerved suddenly to a side street and Starsky turned to follow it. They spent almost a full five minutes chasing the vehicle down alleys and streets. Hutch looked over at Starsky and ignored the curses coming from him.

"Damn, he's good," Starsky told him partner.

They were headed down an alley and as the pickup sped across the street into another alley, a truck suddenly pulled out. The pickup suddenly skidded to a stop sending it in a tailspin. Starsky laid on his breaks and as both men looked up, their mouths dropped open.

The headlights of Starsky's car illuminated the face of the woman they had seen at the club. Before either could speak, she sped off. Starsky put on his accelerator and when he did that, the truck pulled up some more, unintentionally blocking their path.

After Starsky yelled a few choice words at the driver, the truck moved and the Torino moved forward. It was just enough time for the pickup to make its getaway.

Starsky stopped the car in a parking lot. He put it in park and sighed heavily.

"What the hell was she doing there?" Starsky asked.

"Maybe trying to cut in on Nico's business," Hutch offered.

"Tell me you got a plate," Starsky asked his partner.

"Are you kidding? She was moving too damn fast for me to get a fix on it."

"Texas plates," Starsky offered.

"Great," Hutch bit out. "Do you have any idea of how many pickups there are in the state of Texas?"

Starsky was silent for a moment before speaking. "Dobey's gonna have our asses for this," he told his partner.


Early the next morning, Starsky and Hutch were called out to the docks by dispatch. When they saw Dobey, they looked at each other. The large man approached them.

"Tell me you know something about this," Dobey demanded.

"Cap'n," Starsky began. "We were watching the deal go down. Nico left and then they were heisted. We followed the perp."

Starsky gave Hutch a look when he said the word "perp" and looked back at Dobey.

"So the perp iced these guys," Dobey asked.

"I don't know, Cap'n," Hutch offered. "She cleaned 'em out and we set after her. We lost her."


"Yeah, it's a her," Starsky told him.

"Devlin could have done it," Hutch told them. "He's could've taken these guys out for getting ripped off."

"Goddammitt," Dobey yelled. "This is getting messy. I want this guy and want this damn perp! Whoever the hell she is, she's gonna start a war!"

Both detectives were silent as their captain walked away. They looked over at each other and said the same word at the same time.



Carly lay in the bed and stared at the TV. She had just watched the news report about the three dead bodies found at the docks. She knew Devlin had taken them out and she wished she could feel some remorse at their deaths. She was responsible. She took the dope and the money. Devlin had given them their punishment. Carly knew it was something that went with the territory.

She thought about the cops that had given chase. She saw the blonde in the passenger side of the car. Carly felt a weird sense of relief that he was a cop. She had to be extremely careful now. These guys were casing out Nico, too. Carly looked over at the dope and the cash she had stolen from Nico. Nico would never see the inside of a prison, she told herself.


Starsky and Hutch sat with Huggy in the far corner of the bar. Huggy kind of smiled and they gave him a questioning look.

"Yeah, I seen her. A leggy brunette came in here a few days ago. Seems she's looking for a connection. Word has it; she has a high roller boyfriend back east looking to go nationwide. She specifically asked for Nico."

"You sure about this?" Starsky asked.

"I didn't talk to her personally, but the word is good."

"She must be the front for whoever is trying to squeeze Nico out of the loop," Hutch stated.

"But why meet with Nico?" Starsky asked.

"Starsky, you ever heard the saying 'keep you friends close and keep your enemies closer'?" Hutch asked.

"Thanks for the education, blintz."

"I don't mean to interrupt the tête-à-tête, but I do have something else for you."

"What's that, Huggy?" Hutch asked.

"It seems as if our friend Nico is highly pissed. After he iced his buddies at the wharf, he's been tearing into the streets for the dumbass that pulled the job. People on the streets are highly nervous."

"Thanks for the tip," Starsky replied snidely.

"You don't understand. This guy will fill more body bags to find out who ripped him off. I can tell you this much. If he finds the guy who did it, there won't be enough of him left to scrape up with a spatula."

Huggy stood up and left the partners staring at each other.

"We have to find her," Hutch told him.

"In this town, leggy brunettes are a dime a dozen," Starsky replied. "We can try the club again?"

"I think somebody needs to go in," Hutch told him.

"Blondie, take a step back," Starsky warned. "This guy is as dangerous as they come. How in the hell do you think you're gonna get in with this guy?"

Starsky watched a gleam come into his partner's eyes. "I know I'm not gonna like this," Starsky said with dread in his voice.

"I'm gonna return his dope to him," Hutch told him with a sly smile.

Hutch stood up and walked away from the table. Starsky sighed and followed his partner out the door.


Starsky and Hutch sat at their desks and looked over the case file of Nico Devlin. Minnie walked up to them and slapped another file on top of the others.

"What's this?" Hutch asked.

"Case file on your guy from Houston," she told them.

"Why are we just now getting this?" Starsky asked.

"It was under review in Houston. It took a lot of strings for me to get this."

"Why?" Hutch asked.

"They think he had a cop killed," she told them and left.

Both men straightened up and began their reading.

"Says here the detectives were on his case for six months when one of them was killed. He was shot down," Starsky said with resignation in his voice.

"What about the other?" Hutch asked.

"Yeah, a Carl Augustine. Doesn't say much."

"Give me the number for Houston," Hutch asked. "Maybe this guy can help us out."

Starsky read the number off as Hutch dialed.

"Detective Carl Augustine," Hutch said. After a few moments, he heard the other line pick up. "Is this Detective Augustine?" he asked.

"Hell, no! This is Captain Miles, and no jokes," said the gruff voice at the other end.

"No, sir. My name is Detective Ken Hutchinson with the Bay City P.D. I'm trying to locate Detective Carl Augustine. I would really like to talk to him."

"Him is a her!"


"It's Carly Augustine, Detective. I put her on suspension when her partner was killed. She's cleared to come back to work if I can find her."

"Shit," Hutch whispered.


"Sir, that name sounds familiar. Could you describe her please?"

"Tall, pretty brunette and the best damn cop I've got! Do you know her?"

"I don't think so," Hutch lied.

"If she got it in her head to head to Los Angeles, you send her packing back here to Houston," he told the detective.

Hutch heard the phone slam down and he set the receiver back down on its cradle.

"What was that all about?" Starsky asked.

"I think our leggy brunette is a cop," Hutch told him.

"No fucking way," Starsky breathed.

"The name isn't Carl. It's Carly. He put her on suspension when this happened."

"You think she's here to take out Nico."

"I'd bet my next paycheck on it," Hutch told him.

Neither spoke as they grabbed their jackets and left the precinct.


They found Nico standing outside a posh restaurant with none other than Carly on his arm. Hutch's breath caught as he watched her standing close to him. He caught the familiarity when she touched him and he found himself wondering if she had slept with him.

Hutch threw the thought from his mind. He found himself fascinated by the way she moved and the way she pushed her long hair away from her face. He had an urge to run over and pull her away from the scum. He kept asking himself how far would she go to get close enough to take him out.

"He's putting her in the limo," Starsky stated.

Hutch watched as she got in the limo and Nico helping her in. Hutch could feel his gut clench when Nico bent down and gave her hand a slow kiss.

"He's not going with her," Hutch stated. "I've got her."

Before Starsky had a chance to respond, Hutch jumped from the car and caught a taxi. Starsky could see that Hutch was fascinated with the woman. Hell, he couldn't blame his partner. She was damn gorgeous. He only hoped neither of them got over their heads.


Hutch was a bit surprised as the limo pulled in front of the Lexington. It was a trendy and expensive hotel. He paid the driver and followed her inside. He watched as she checked in at the front desk and then head for the elevator. Hutch ran towards the elevator and when he saw no one inside with her, he jumped inside.

Carly jumped when she saw the man leap in the elevator with her. She froze when she saw the blonde cop lean against the wall casually watching her. Neither spoke as the elevator moved to the fifth floor. Carly couldn't tear her eyes away from the blue eyes, which were intently studying her.

As soon as the elevator doors opened, she ran and he quickly followed her. Carly managed to get the door open and when she tried to close it on him, he put his foot in the doorway.

Carly backed up as he walked inside. She saw his gaze go towards the bed and look at the cache of weapons, money and drugs sitting on the bed. Carly could feel her heart pounding loudly in her chest. Normally she could always keep her cool, but this time, it was different.

"Detective Carly Augustine, I presume," he spoke.

"How did you know?"

"I called your captain to speak with you. I wanted to see what you could tell us about Nico Devlin. I guess that's not necessary since you're here."

"Just turn around and pretend you never saw me," she spoke evenly.

"Have you lost your mind?" Hutch bit out. "Go home, Carly."

"You don't have any clue," she told him.

"It doesn't matter. You don't belong here."

"I saw you and your partner at that club and in the car," she breathed. "He's your best friend, isn't he?" Carly could see by his reaction she had called it right and she continued. "Imagine for a moment that you and you're partner are gunned down. Imagine that you survive and then you are holding your partner in your arms. He has a hole in his head. You can feel his blood pouring out of his head and his lifeless eyes staring up at you."

Hutch could almost see it and he closed his eyes against the thought.

"I can't leave and I won't. I've come too far."

"What are you going to do with the dope?" he asked.

"It's expensive to keep this cover," she told him.

"You're going to sell it?" Hutch asked incredulously.

He could see by her reaction it was true. He ran his hand through his blonde hair and cursed loudly.

"You are going to put that shit back out on the streets, so you can avenge your partner's death. Is this what he would want, Carly?" Hutch yelled.

"Nico Devlin is going down," she yelled back. "You have no idea of what it's like!"

"I'm taking you to the airport and putting you on the first plane back to Houston," he stated.

"You can't," she told him.

"Oh, why not?" Hutch responded.

"I'm inside and we're working a deal. I've got the cash I need and he's going to supply the party favors. If I suddenly disappear, he'll run south and set up shop somewhere else. You know it."

"He keeps himself clean. He's got guys to do his dirty work."

"I know that."

Carly walked over and sat on the bed and gave Hutch the same sultry look he had seen her giving Nico. "I think he's in love with me," she told him.

Hutch could see where this whole thing was going and he didn't like it one bit. He turned around for a minute and looked at the dope. He looked back at Carly. Carly could see the wheels turning in his head and she stood up.

"By the way," he told her. "My name is Detective Ken Hutchinson. Looks like we are going to be working very closely together."

"Now, wait just a damn minute," she told him with a glare in her eyes.

"No, you wait. You are in my territory on a vigilante mission with a ton of dope, cash and weapons. I can haul your ass in this minute."

"But you won't," she finished.

"We both want Nico Devlin, but we are taking him out by the book. You are coming to the precinct," Hutch told her.

"You're joking, right?"

"I'll explain to Captain Dobey the situation and you will give him the performance of your life that you have seen the error of your ways. He will call your captain and work everything out. You can finish what you started and we'll take him down."

"I can already tell there's a condition in this."

"I'm going in with you," he told her.

"Are you crazy! How in the hell am I going to explain you to him?"

"You've been telling everyone how you're boss wants to expand his operation. He should make an appearance to give you some legitimacy."

"I don't know."

"Carly, he'll appreciate the fact that I'm giving his dope back to him and in order to gain his trust, I'm going to kill the person that stole it from him."

Carly's eyes widened at the statement and she wished she could hit him for the amusement in his eyes.

"You're really enjoying yourself, aren't you?" she asked with spite. Carly slumped down on the bed as she watched him pick up the phone.


That afternoon, Carly found herself standing in front of Captain Dobey with Starsky and Hutch standing behind her. She wished she could crawl under the desk as the speakerphone seemed to have a life of its own.

"Goddammitt, I put you on suspension and you take off to L.A," Captain Miles yelled. "Augustine, you have really put yourself in a bind this time. As soon as you're back, you'll be doing meter maid duty in school zones!"

Carly could feel herself take a breath at the sudden silence from the speakerphone.


"Yes, Captain."

"Do this and come back in one piece. You hear me?"

"Yes, sir."

She watched as Dobey turned off the speakerphone.

"All right," he told them. "There's nothing we can do to change the situation as it is right now. Hutchinson, you'll go in with Augustine as we discussed. Whatever it is that you've got up your sleeve to get in good with him, do it."

"What about me?" Starsky asked.

"I think Carly's right. There's a leak somewhere. There's no way that hit would have went down if someone hadn't known what was happening. Find it," he told Starsky.

"Captain, that could be anywhere between here and Houston."

"I know. Do what you can. He's got an inside man somewhere."

Starsky nodded and the three of them prepared to leave the room.

"Augustine," Dobey said.

Carly turned around and looked at him.

"Stay here. You two, out!"

Carly was silent as Starsky and Hutch closed the door behind them.

"From what I've gotten so far you are a damn good cop. Losing a partner is a tough thing. If your personal grievance gets in the way of this investigation for one sec, I'll pull you out so damn fast, you'll think you're back at the academy. I won't have your baggage get in the way and make a mess out of an already tricky situation. I'm putting my two best guys with you. Am I understood?"

"Yes, Captain."

"Get the hell out of here."

Dobey watched her leave and sighed. He wondered if he wouldn't do the same thing if he were in her place.


Carly stepped into the room and looked at the two detectives she had been put with. She felt like all eyes on the room were on her and she felt like she was going to suffocate. She heard a phone ring and watched as Hutchinson answered it. Carly wasn't prepared to have Starsky stand up and face her.

"Coffee?" he asked.


Carly followed him out of the room to the machine. She didn't say anything as he put the money in and a minute later he handed her a cup of coffee. As she drank it, she watched as he moved down and put some change in the candy machine. She watched as he pulled out a candy bar.

"Hutch and I are close. I mean closer than brothers. He's going in with you and frankly, I don't like it one bit. That means I have to trust you and so far, I don't have a reason to."

"I know what you're saying," she told him.

"Do you? I'll put it this way. If anything happens to Hutch, you won't need to worry about your captain in Houston or my captain here. You'll have to worry about me."

Carly watched as he walked back in the squad room. She found a chair in the hallway and sat in it. She wished Danny were here, she thought to herself. He would be telling her to lighten up and quit taking herself so seriously. He hated it when she did that.

Carly had just stood when Hutchinson and Starsky walked out of the squad room carrying their jackets. Hutch motioned to her and she followed them out to the car that had been chasing her when she had stolen the drugs and the money. She watched as Starsky got in the driver's side and Hutch held the door open for her. Carly pulled the seat up and crawled into the back. Hutch threw the seat back and sat in the front.

As they headed down the road, Starsky looked into the rearview mirror at Carly.

"So tell me," he asked, "what's under the hood of that truck of yours?"


"Are you kidding?" he told her. "I could barely keep up. I should have known it was a cop behind the wheel. Houston must be one hell of a city."

"Really? Wasn't a problem for me," she said snidely.

Hutch looked over and almost laughed. Starsky had an offended look on his face and he knew that Carly was lying about it.

"So where are we going?" Carly asked.

"We are going to visit a friend of ours who will set up our little play for Nico," Hutch told her.

"What," she asked.

"Don't worry," he told her. "You'll see."


That night Carly and Hutch sat in the limo as it headed for the club. Hutch looked over at Carly and he could see the pensive look on her face.

"Relax," he told her. "Everything will be fine."

"If we are even off by the slightest bit, this whole thing will blow up in our faces," she told him.

"Tell me about your partner," Hutch asked her. He was hoping to distract her before their arrival at the club to set everything in motion.

"Danny was the best friend anyone could have," she said with a slight smile. "He had this way about him. He always knew how to relax a person and make them feel good."

"You two...."

"Oh, no," she told him. "Danny was married. He has a four-year-old son. He was my best friend. We always knew what each other were thinking. We've pulled each other out of some pretty hairy situations."

Hutch smiled and he understood. It was always like that with him and Starsky. He could see how painful losing her partner was and he wished he could just take it all away.

"I always thought that Danny would be the one to get the promotions ahead of me. I figured one day, I would be saying 'yes, sir' to that man. I'm the hotheaded one who rushes in blindly where angels fear to tread. No matter what, he was always there for me."

Hutch could see the wistful look in her eyes and he understood. He wanted to express his understanding when the limo stopped. He looked over at her with a look asking her if she was ready. Carly gave him a look of let's do it. The door opened and she was assisted out of the limo.

Hutch followed behind her and he suddenly saw the change in her. In the limo he had seen a tough cop with a vulnerable side to her and now he watched a demure woman seductively walking into the place. He watched the heads turn her way as she made her way to Nico. Her slinky red dress clung seductively next to her body. He looked up and watched as Nico rose and pulled her close to him. Hutch clenched his fists as Nico passionately kissed her. Nico had his arm around Carly's waist as he looked over at Hutch.

"Who is this?" he asked.

"Nico, this is my boss and my half-brother Ken. He flew in this morning. I thought you two should meet."

"I don't like it, baby," Nico told her. "I don't know him from the busboy."

Hutch bristled at the comment and fought to retain his cool.

"I'm far from that," Hutch told him. "I heard about a shocking event involving some stolen merchandise."

Nico's eyes hardened at the comment. He played it cool and motioned for him to sit down. After they had all sat, Nico pulled Carly closer to him.

"Where did you hear that?" Nico asked carefully.

"I have ears here," Hutch told him. "In fact, I can give you the guy that took your merchandise. I can get you the stuff, but the cash is gone."

"We're talking three kilos," Nico bit out. "That's almost fifty grand. Where is this guy?"

"I've got him cooling at a warehouse not far from here."

"Let me understand this," Nico told him. "You've got the connections to get my property back, but you don't have them to expand."

"I need a bigger pipeline," Hutch told him. "People say you're the best and my sister has done nothing but rave about you. You need to unload your stuff and I need the stuff. I have the cash. I can assure you. We can do business if you're willing."

Nico eyed him for a moment before speaking. "Let's go see this thief."


During the limo ride to the warehouse, Hutch could see that Nico was closely watching him. Hutch noticed how Nico's arm casually laid on Carly's lap. It was obvious the mistrust Nico had for Hutch and Hutch knew it. This thing had to work perfectly or the game was over, Hutch thought to himself.

When the limo stopped, the three of them stepped out. Hutch looked over and saw Nico's man getting out of the front of the limo. They walked inside of the warehouse and it took a moment for everyone to adjust to the dim lights. The abandoned warehouse was just that. There was an awful echo as they walked to the lone figure hanging from a steel beam.

Carly swallowed the hard lump in her throat as she watched Huggy hanging from the rope. His hands were tied behind his back and the rope was wrapped around his shoulders and arms. His head hung down and the bruises on his face looked very real to her. Carly knew that Starsky and Hutch had been working the details of this with Huggy for quite sometime.

Huggy was hanging only about three feet from the floor. It was high enough to have the desired affect, but low enough to keep the target visible.

"So where's my stuff?" Nico asked.

Hutch walked to the far side of the warehouse and knelt down. He pushed some boards aside and yanked the small satchel out. He walked back over and handed it to Nico.

Nico motioned for his man. "Check it," Nico ordered.

Everyone was silent as his man checked the stuff. When he finished he nodded and Nico sent him to the limo. Carly and Hutch were silent as Nico walked towards Huggy and stood in front of him.

"Where's my money, punk?" he demanded.

"Screw you," Huggy bit out.

Nico swung a fist and it landed in Huggy's gut. Carly and Hutch looked at each other for a quick second. Carly decided to make her move and she walked seductively around Nico with a purpose.

"Oh, come on, baby," she purred. "You should really give him the money. Nico does have a horrible temper, but nothing compared to his girl."

Suddenly Carly pulled her leg back and nailed Huggy right between the legs. She bit her tongue as he howled and squirmed in the ropes. Carly turned and looked at Nico when she heard the soft chuckle escape from his lips.

"My baby has a mean streak," he stated aloud.

Nico walked over to Carly and pulled her close to him. Hutch wanted to turn away as he watched Nico kissing Carly and running his hands over her.

"He's still not talking, baby," Carly purred to Nico.

"Maybe you should give him a little more," Nico told her.

Carly swung around with venom in her eyes. She was just about to kick him again when suddenly he began talking.

"Okay, okay," he begged. "I blew it at the damn track! I tried to sell the stuff, but I got caught."

Hutch looked over at Nico whose eyes were blazing with a furious vengeance. He could see Nico reaching inside of his coat and Hutch quickly pulled his gun out for him.

"Here, my friend," Hutch told him.

Nico studied him for a moment and he took a step back. Hutch wanted smile at the predictability of Nico. He knew the man would never want to sully his hands on the likes of a thief.

"Do it," Nico told Hutch.

Hutch kept an even look at Nico and then walked over to Huggy.

"Thieves are weak," Hutch told him.

Carly watched as Hutch raised the barrel of the gun. Huggy started to scream and she almost jumped as four gunshots were hit him in the chest. The blood spurted from his chest and she felt something on her cheek.

Hutch looked up at Nico and smiled as he holstered his gun. Hutch looked over at Carly and he suddenly realized something. Her face was white as a sheet and he could see the perspiration pouring off of her. As they left the warehouse, Nico slapped Hutch on the back.

"I like you my friend. You and your sister have much in common," he told him. "Tomorrow, we talk and begin our business relationship."

Hutch nodded and looked over at Carly. He watched as Nico pulled her close to him. During the limo ride over, Hutch leaned towards Carly.

"Are you okay?" he asked.

Nico took the moment to look at Carly. "Of course she's not okay. I shouldn't have allowed for her presence during this thing. I'll drop you two at the hotel. I will call tomorrow."


A few minutes later, Carly and Hutch walked silently into the hotel room. Neither was speaking. Carly sat on the bed and took off her shoes. Hutch walked over and sat next to her.

"I'm sorry about that," he told her. "I shouldn't have let you come."

Carly angrily stood up and walked into the bathroom. Hutch heard the door slam and a shower running. He sighed heavily as he picked up the phone and called Starsky.


"Hutch. About time you called."

"How's Huggy?"

"Other than having the shit beat out of him, he'll live. You?"

"Fine. Carly was with us. She's not handling it too good right now."

Hutch could hear Starsky sigh heavily over the phone.

"Sorry, partner. We thought if she was there it would add some credibility to the whole situation."

"Starsk, anything new on your end as of yet?"

"Nope. So far everything's checking out. Been running checks on everyone that's had a hand in the Devlin investigation in Houston."

"What about Carly's partner?" Hutch asked.

"What? Hutch, the guy is dead. Do you think he was on the take?"

"I don't know," Hutch said with a sigh. "Just see what you can dig up."

"Sure. Tomorrow, partner," Starsky, told him.

"Yep," Hutch replied.

Hutch set the phone down and walked over to the bed. He could hear the shower still going in the bathroom and he wondered what was going through her head at that very moment.


Carly stood in the shower with tears running down her faces. She scrubbed and scrubbed as hard as she could. She knew the blood from Huggy was fake, but it had landed on her. She could still feel Nico's running his hands over her body. When she closed her eyes, she saw Danny's blood on her hands. Carly cried as she scoured her entire body. She crumpled to the floor of the shower as she cried and pulled her arms around herself. There was no way she could wash all the blood off of her.


Hutch sat up at the sound of a noise coming from the shower. He wasn't sure if he should even go in. He looked at his watch and suddenly realized she had been in there for almost half an hour. Hutch slowly rose from the bed and walked over to the door. He gently knocked on the door. "Carly?"

When there was no answer he slowly opened the door and carefully walked into the bathroom. He could see the steam in the bathroom from the shower. "Carly?"

He heard a noise from the shower but there was no answer. Hutch hoped she wouldn't kick his ass for coming inside, but he had to know if she was okay. He slowly walked to the shower and when he saw her, his breath caught in his throat. She was sitting on the floor of the shower with her arms tightly around her. He could see the pain in her face as she had her eyes closed. Hutch quickly grabbed a towel and walked over to her.

Unaware of the hot water hitting his back, he kneeled down and wrapped Carly's wet body up in the thick towel. He picked her up and walked into the room with her in his arms. Hutch sat on the bed with Carly and pulled her close to him. He held her tightly as the sobs left her body. Hutch closed his eyes and he prayed he would never know the pain she was feeling.

A few minutes later, Carly sat on the bed drinking some water Hutch had given her. He sat close to her and watched as she set the cup down.

"Carly, you need to talk to someone about what happened."

"I did," she told him. "I gave IA my statement."

"No. I mean really talk to someone."

"A shrink? No thanks," she told him.

"Carly, talk to me. Tell me what happened," Hutch asked.

Carly took a deep breath and she realized she had never really talked to anyone about what had happened with Danny. She felt so unsure and she relaxed when Hutch pulled her close to him. They lay next to each other on the bed and she began talking.

"We had been on this case for almost six months. Nico Devlin was a major supplier of dope on the street and Danny and I were determined to bring him down. We'd been able to make some progress. Busted some of his goons and shut down a few of his smaller operations. He was always a step ahead of us. Getting him was the key. At that point, going in was too dangerous. Danny and I knew that. Otis Fox was one of his biggest dealers and Danny and I staked him out. We followed the guy for a while without so much as getting a parking ticket on him. Just when we were about ready to try another route, we got a tip that Otis needed new supplies."

"Everything was going smoothly," Carly said with bitterness in her voice. "Otis left the hotel and got in his car. Danny and I never kept the same vehicle whenever we were on a stakeout. We got jumped a few years back after somebody eyed us."

"Everything was going fine. We stayed back and followed him. It was strange because Otis was headed in a part of town he never did business in. I should have known then. The warning signs were there and I ignored them."

"What happened, Carly?" Hutch asked.

Carly sat up out of bed and walked towards the window. She kept her back towards Hutch as she talked.

"Otis sped off and we lit out after him. He had somehow made us. Nico's goons cut us off and they tried to kill us. We got them first. Danny and I didn't see the other car. Before we knew it, they had opened fire on us. Danny and I always wore vests. We never went a minute without it when we were on duty. One of the bullets hit him in the head."

Carly closed her eyes in a feeble attempt to push the memory away. She didn't fight Hutch when he approached her from behind and put his arms around her.

"It's not your fault, Carly," Hutch whispered. "There is no way you could have known or prevented it."

"I keep telling myself that," she replied. "But then I think we should have had back-up sooner. The minute I saw us headed into unfamiliar territory, I should have known something was up."

"How could you?" Hutch told her. "You're following a lead and it all came crashing down. Do you think you were set up?"

"Yeah," she answered. "It wasn't a secret that Danny and I were on this case. Most everyone knew our whereabouts and what we were driving. I hate the idea of a cop going bad, but it wouldn't be the first time."

"You've held up pretty well," Hutch told her.

"Are you kidding," she said with a bitter laugh. "I can barely hold it together without you babysitting me."

"Look at everything you've had to deal with. You're partner was murdered in front of you and you barely escaped with your life. You've got yourself undercover as the girlfriend of the man responsible. After what happened tonight with Huggy, I'm surprised you're still standing after all of this."

"God, that was so real," she whispered. "I'm glad I told your friend to wear a cup. Think we're in good enough?"


Hutch gave her a kiss on the top of the head and lead Carly over to the bed. He pulled the covers over her and watched as she fell into a fitful sleep. He knew she had been through too much and he hoped she would recover enough to remain a cop after all of this was said and done. Before Hutch realized it, he was fast asleep on the other bed.


Carly looked over at Danny and smiled. She laughed at something he said, but she didn't know what it was. She couldn't hear him. She watched him turn his head and her eyes widened in horror as blood poured from the large hole in the back of his head. The next thing she knew his head was in her lap and she was covered in his blood. Carly kicked and screamed to push it away from her. She felt hands holding her arms very tightly and she looked up to see Nico laughing at her and refusing to let go. Carly cried and screamed as he refused to let go.


Hutch kept trying to wake her but he could barely hold on as she fought him. He could see by her closed eyes she was in the middle of a nightmare and he shook her.

"Carly," he yelled.

Carly suddenly opened her eyes. Hutch could see the terror in her eyes. Carly looked around the room and at herself. The blood was gone and she realized she had been having a nightmare. Instinctively she pulled Hutch close to her.

Hutch crawled into bed with Carly and he held her tightly as they slept.


Hutch arrived at the station early the next morning. He found his partner going over a stack of paperwork at his desk. Hutch sat across from him deep in thought about everything Carly had told him.

"If I had known I'd be stuck with all this paperwork, I would have gone in," Starsky told him. When Starsky didn't hear a response he looked up at his partner. "Hey, buddy. You okay?"

"Yeah. Anything on Carly's partner?"

"No. I'm still waiting for the computer to spit out some more info. What's up?"

"I'm not sure. Damn, this whole thing stinks. It was a cop that set up the hit on Carly and her partner. I'm sure of it," Hutch replied.

"If her partner is dirty, I'm not finding anything as of yet. The guy is as clean as they come."

"How does his bank records look?"

"He's only got one account that I can find. There was a deposit of 76 grand a few days ago. Life insurance," Starsky told him. "Do you think he set the hit on Carly and he got it instead?"

"I don't think so, Starsk."

"Where is Carly by the way?" Starsky asked.

"She's at the hotel waiting for Nico's call."

Starsky looked at his best friend and studied him closely. "You've got a thing for her," he told him with a small smile.

"She has been through a lot of hell, buddy. This thing with her partner..."

"Yeah, I know," Starsky finished. "They were pretty tight from what I've been told."

"Tell me."

"Danny and Carly were as close as two people can be I suppose. The only one that knew that they didn't have a thing going was his wife."

"You talked to his wife?"

"Yeah. She understands the relationship pretty well. It's like what you and I have. Pretty much everyone else though they were screwin' around."

"She's not taking it too well, Starsk. This whole thing has her wound up pretty tight."

"Hutch, if she as so much slips up once..."

"I know, I know. I'll keep her together. She wants Nico pretty badly and I don't think she's going to allow herself to screw it up."

Neither spoke for a minute and Hutch looked over at his partner. "Tell me something," Hutch asked.

"What's that?"

"Would you go to the lengths she has..."

"If something like this happened to you," Starsk finished. "I've thought about it lately. I don't know. We're supposed to be cops and vigilante justice is supposed to unacceptable. Hard to say how I would react in the same situation."

"Come on, Starsk. You can do better than that," Hutch told him evenly.

"Fine. I think I would, Blondie. I think I would do whatever it takes."

Starsky could see Hutch thinking about what he had just told him.

"You?" Starsky asked.

Hutch smiled at his partner and stood to leave.

"Hutch?" Starsky asked.

Hutch ignored him and started to leave the squad room. Starsky stood up and followed him.

"Hey," Starsky called. "I'd do it for you, wouldn't you do it for me?"

Starsky watched as his partner left the room with a nonchalant attitude. He stood for a moment and watched as Minnie walked over to him. He gave her a dirty look as she put a stack of files in his arms. "What's all this?" he asked.

"Houston," she told him.

Starsky sighed heavily and walked over to his desk. He set the large paperwork on the desk and proceeded to go through it.


Nico stood behind his desk with the phone to his ear.

"I know you don't have friends here in L.A.," Nico told the person on the phone. "I need to know who the heat is...I'm making a major expansion and I don't want any interference...Yeah, I'll pay your expenses... Whatever it is you do, do it fast...What the hell are you talking about...? Who is doing it...? Find out, dammitt!"

Nico angrily hung up the phone. He walked over and poured himself a drink. "Someone here in L.A. is doing some serious snooping about my operation in Houston," he told his men. "Flush 'em out!"

Nico was silent as his men left the room. After they left, he set the glass down. Nico pulled out the felt case from his drawer and opened it. A long strand of diamonds lay gently on the felt. He smiled when he thought of Carly. What a beautiful woman and what a great addition to his team he thought. Either way, she had no business involved in his business. After he got rid of that brother of hers, she would be just another trinket in his collection.


Carly tossed the remote to the television on the bed and sighed heavily. She hated this part. She hated the waiting and she hated the boredom. Carly heard a knock at her door. She pulled her gun out and quietly walked over to the door. She looked through the peephole and a large smile came over her face.

Carly opened the door and jumped into the man's waiting arms. "Uncle Saul! How did you know I was here?"

"Hey, you know me," he told her. "I heard you were here working on Nico's case and I came to see if I can help."

"Do you know how much trouble you can get into here? The only reason I got to stay is because I'm already under. I'll be lucky if I'm a meter maid when I get back home."

"Hey, Captain Miles is a big softie when it comes to you," Saul reassured her.

"I'm glad you're here anyways, but you have to leave."

"Why? I can help out."

"Saul, I really appreciate it, but if Nico sees you, this whole thing will be pulled out from under our feet."

"Hey, kid. Danny was good stock. Nobody ever understood what it was you had with him, but I did. I wanna help."

Carly hugged her uncle again and stepped back. "I know you do, but I've got to finish this. Please understand."

"I do, kid."

Before either of them could say anything, Hutch walked into the room. Hutch looked over at Carly and looked back at the older man standing next to her.

"Ken, this is my uncle Saul," she said with a smile.

Hutch warily shook hands with the man and looked back at Carly.

"Don't worry, kid. I'm one of the good guys."

"Yeah," Carly said with a smile. "He's a cop. In fact, he's the one who got me in the academy.

Hutch smiled briefly.

"Yeah, my niece tells me you're gonna catch this piece of shit."

"Hope so," Hutch told him.

"Well, I guess I came out for no reason," Saul stated.

"Saul, I'm really glad you came, but you have to understand," Carly told him.

"I do, kid. Promise me something," he asked.

"Sure," Carly said with a smile.

"Call me if you need anything. I don't care what it is."

"I promise."

Hutch watched the scene play out as they hugged each other. He didn't say anything as Saul left. Carly closed the door and threw herself on the bed.

"Any calls?" Hutch asked.

"Nico's picking us up at eight tonight."

"How did your uncle know where to find you?" Hutch asked casually.

"My uncle Saul has more contacts than any other cop I know. I'm not surprised he was able to track me down. If he had shown up before you did, he would have been taking your place."

"He got you in the academy?" Hutch asked.

"Yep. My old man was killed in an accident when I was a kid and Uncle Saul was there. He's been great."

Hutch nodded and he didn't say anything as she headed into the bathroom. Hutch picked up the phone and dialed his partner.


"Starsk, it's me," Hutch replied.

"What's up?"

"Get a line on a Saul Augustine."


"Yeah, buddy. Carly's uncle. He dropped in suddenly."

"Anything else I should know?" Starsky asked.

"Yeah. He's a cop."

Starsky was silent as he heard the click on the phone. He left a note on Minnie's desk and headed to the Pits to meet with Huggy. When Starsky arrived, he walked over to the small table in the corner and Huggy followed suit.

"Anything?" Starsky asked.

"It's quiet, man. Too quiet."

"Why do you say that?"

"Since the word went out that the thief bought it in a warehouse, the street is in a state of suspended animation. Everyone's waiting for the next move."

"Hopefully, they won't have to wait too long. Hutch is due to meet with Nico tonight. Maybe this thing will finally break."

"Are you worried that Hutch will buy it like Carly's partner did?"

"No. Yeah," Starsk said after an afterthought.

"A dead cop means that this guy will do anything to protect what's his. He thinks he's untouchable and that makes him dangerous."

Starsky watched Huggy leave the table. He took a long drink from his beer and he only hoped Hutch and Carly knew what they were doing.


Carly answered the knock at the door. When she saw Nico standing there with flowers in hand she gave him a sly smile. He handed her the flowers and walked into the room.

"Oh, Nico, they're beautiful," Carly exclaimed.

Nico pulled her close to him and kissed her intimately. Hutch watched in silence. Nico pulled away and pulled several hundreds from his pocket. He handed a couple to Carly.

"Baby, the shop in the lobby is still open. Go buy yourself something."

Carly was surprised at his request and she looked at the money in her hand. She looked over at Hutch who stood in the middle of the room. At his nod, she set the flowers down, grabbed her purse and left the room. After she had left, Nico walked closer to Hutch.

"This business should be between you and I," Nico told him.

Hutch nodded and offered Nico a drink. The two men stood in the middle of the room sipping at their drinks.

"I have a delivery coming in. It will be here in two days at midnight," Nico told him. "You be there with your cash and we will begin our association."

"What about you?" Hutch asked.

"I make it a policy to never make personal appearances during these dealings."

"I don't feel comfortable showing up at a party and not know who my dance partner is," Hutch answered back.

"I'm sure we can come to an agreement," Nico told him.

"I'll have a hundred grand, Nico. You be there or I'll find a new partner," Hutch demanded.

Hutch had thought he had pushed too hard when he saw the hard glint in Nico's eye. He relaxed when he saw the sly smile on Nico's face. "I trust you," Nico assured him. "I expect the same from you. Oh, and your sister won't be a part of this."

"Why's that?" Hutch asked. "She's the one who put it all in motion."

"I don't like my women involved in my business."

"She won't like it," Hutch told him.

"I'll take care of it," Nico told him.

Hutch didn't like the way Nico made the statement. As if on cue, the door opened and Carly arrived with a small bag in hand.

"Did I interrupt anything?" she asked.

"We're finished here," Nico told her.

Nico took her hand in his and began to leave the room. Carly stopped short. "Wait, what about Ken?" she asked.

"I'm sure your brother can find his own pleasure for the night," Nico smirked. "I have no wish to share you tonight."

Carly felt trapped. She looked over at Hutch and they both knew there was no getting out of it without blowing their cover. When the door had closed and Hutch stood alone in the middle of the room, he cursed loudly and threw the glass at the door. The glass shattered in a million pieces and he sat on the foot of the bed.

Hutch reached over and picked up the phone.


"I thought you'd still be working," Hutch told him.

"Yeah. No rest for the wicked. What's up?"

"Can you put a tail on Nico's limo tonight?" Hutch asked.

"Consider it done. Everything okay?" Starsky asked.

"I don't know."

"Where's Carly, Hutch?"

"With Nico," Hutch said with a heavy sigh. "There was no way to back out of it."

"Shit. Think she'll be okay?"

"I hope so," Hutch replied. "It goes down in two days. He's bringing in ten kilos."

"Lotta dope," Starsky told him. "We're gonna have to have a strategy session before this goes down."

"Yeah," Hutch told him. "How goes the research?"

"Interesting. I've got some stuff on Danny."

"Doesn't sound good."

"I'll let you be the judge of that, Blondie. It seems as if he was working on the side. He knew there was a leak and he started his own little investigation. He was getting close, pal. He's had two other attempts on his life prior to getting killed."

"They didn't miss," Hutch replied.

"Hutch, I'll bet you my car that he knew who the leak was."

"Why didn't he tell his partner?" Hutch asked.

"He may not have had the chance to tell her," Starsky speculated out loud.

"You know, Starsk, the more I think about that hit that killed him, I get more suspicious."

"Why's that?"

"If the hit was an inside guy, then it's also possible he had Danny taken out. He had to have known they wore vests and what vehicle they were driving."

"He didn't want to make matters worse by taking out two cops," Starsky stated.

"Maybe. It was Nico's guys that were the shooters. You don't get that kind of information from the street."

"Anything on Saul?" Hutch asked after a moment.

"Nada. I'm still waiting on the computer to spit something out."

"All right. I'll cool my jets here and wait for Carly."

"Partner, she'll be okay."

"Yeah, I hope so," Hutch breathed.


Carly was impressed at the house. Well, mansion, she corrected herself. It said money inside and out. When she walked in, she saw the art and she watched as the butler guided them to an intimate setting out on the balcony. She noticed the champagne and she avoided looking at the bed.

Nico came around her and pulled her close to him. "I have something for you," he whispered in her ear.

Carly smiled when he pulled out a velvet case from his jacket. He handed it to her and she gently took it from his hand. She could feel her heart pounding in her chest as she opened it. Carly's breath caught at the diamond necklace shining up at her.

Nico took the necklace from the case and proceeded to place it around her neck as he spoke. "I had this flown in from New York this morning," he told her.

"Oh, Nico. It's too much," she breathed. "I can't."

"Yes, baby, you can," he demanded. "Nothing but the best for my lady."

Carly couldn't miss the possessiveness in his voice and she watched as he walked over to the table and poured champagne for the both of them.

"Here's to us, baby," Nico said raising his glass.

Carly raised her glass as well and took a small sip.

"I want you moved in soon," he told her.


"You're brother and I are in business together now. I want you here with me," he told her.

Carly could see the earnestness in his eyes and she knew if she pushed him away now, it could blow up in her face. This wasn't a man who was accustomed to hearing the word no.

Nico set his glass down and took Carly's glass and set it down next to his. She froze when he walked over and pulled her close. Nico began kissing her and running his hands over her body. Carly responded as much as she could. She could feel her forehead sweating as Nico continued. Carly suddenly realized she couldn't go through with it. Nico's ardor was aggressive and when his hand found her breast, she pulled away from him.

"Nico," she breathed. "I didn't..."

Carly could see the anger in his eyes and she knew she had to think fast.

"Baby, I want you so badly, but I didn't come prepared."

"What are you talking about," he demanded.

"Well, I'm certainly not ready for a little surprise nine months from now," she said with a cunning smile.

Carly breathed a sigh of relief when he nodded.

"I would certainly want to make an honest woman of you before you bear my children," he told her.

Carly felt her gut clench when he said it. She knew he had made plans well into the future for them and she wasn't about to have any part of it. Carly watched as Nico stepped close to her. He put his hands on her shoulders and she thought he was leaning in to kiss her. She felt the pressure from his hands and she was shocked as he forced her to her knees.

"I will get what I want from you, baby," he whispered.


Hutch paced the hotel room for an eternity it seemed. He kept looking at the door hoping she would come through it. He cursed at himself for expecting it. Hutch was well aware of how badly Carly wanted to take down Nico and he wondered how far she would go to do it.

They had only been gone a few hours and Hutch knew the night would last an eternity.

Suddenly the door flew open and Hutch looked over to see Carly run in. She ran to the bathroom and behind the closed door, Hutch could hear her vomiting. He closed his eyes and leaned against the wall. What he didn't want to happen had happened. Hutch composed himself and opened up the bathroom door. Carly was brushing her teeth vigorously. He didn't say anything as she finished it off with mouthwash. Carly walked over to the shower and turned it on.

"You took a shower this morning," he told her.

"Well, I need another one," she yelled.

Hutch was silent as she flipped her shoes off. He left the bathroom slowly and quietly closed the bathroom behind him.


A few minutes, Carly appeared in the room. She was wrapped up in her robe. Hutch looked over as she brushed her wet hair. Neither spoke for what seemed an eternity. Carly finished brushing her hair and she looked over at Hutch who was lying in the other bed.

"I didn't," she began. "I couldn't go through with it."

Hutch sat up and looked at her. "What happened?" he asked with a worried look in his eyes.

"Ken, please don't ask me that. Just don't."

Hutch was silent as Carly stood and walked over to him. She pulled the necklace that Nico had given her from the pocket of her robe and handed it to Hutch.

"Compliments of Nico Devlin," she told him. "It seems that Nico has made some rather extensive plans for our future."

"What?" Hutch asked.

"Oh, you know. When this deal is done he expects me to move in with him."

"Jesus," Hutch breathed.

Carly walked over to the other bed and sat across from him. "After Danny was killed, I was ready to go to any lengths to get to Nico. I was willing to sacrifice my morals and my dignity to do it. There was this voice in my head telling me, that I had a choice. It was my choice. Either way, we would still get Nico and I could find a way out of this."

"I'm glad," he told her. "I thought..."

"I know," she whispered.

They both stared at each other for an eternity. Suddenly they stood and Hutch pulled Carly into his arms. Carly felt her body turn to liquid when his lips found hers. She pulled him tightly to her body and returned the erotic kiss. She could feel him pulling the robe from her and when she was freed from its confines, she began unbuttoning his shirt.

The outside world was entirely forgotten as they held on to each other. They hungered for each other and clung tightly as they made love.

Early into the morning hours, Carly laid in Hutch's arms. She smiled as he ran his hands through her hair.

"I wish room service still delivered," she told him.

"Me too," he told her with a chuckle. "Carly after this is over..."

"No, Ken. I don't want to talk about us till this is over. Please."

"Okay. We'll wait," he whispered. "I have to know something."

Carly sat up and looked at him.

"Did Nico tell you the details of our conversation while you were gone?"

"No. We never got around to it. Why?"

"It goes down in two days, Carly. It's all set."

"Will Nico be there?" she asked.


"Good. In two days this whole mess will be over. Thank god."

"You won't be there, Carly."


"Nico expressly told me you were not to be there."

"That's bullshit!" Carly angrily got out of the bed and pulled her robe on. "That son of a bitch had my partner killed. I'll be there!"

Hutch stood up and pulled his jeans on and faced Carly. "If you show up after he said for you not to be there, this whole thing will blow up in our faces! There is too much on the line for you to go in there..."

"Yeah," she interrupted with a bitter laugh. "Where angels fear to tread."

Hutch pulled Carly in his arms and held her tightly. "Honey, I know how bad you want this guy. We'll get him and we'll put him away."

Carly let Hutch hold her and she prayed he was right.


Starsky arrived at the hotel with a stack of paperwork in his hand. He knocked on the door and he was surprised to see Carly opening it. He walked into the room and noticed one unmade bed.

"I was looking for Hutch," he told her.

"He's on his run." Carly noticed the thick file in his hand. "What's that," she asked. Carly could see how uncomfortable he was over it and she felt a coldness settling over her.

"It's what I've uncovered about your partner," he told her.

"What? You investigated Danny? You wouldn't do that unless you thought he was dirty," she bit out.

"We did think that," he admitted.

"We? Ken thought my partner was dirty?" she breathed.

"He's not, Carly. Danny was clean."

"Hell, yeah! I could have told you that! Danny was a choir boy about doing everything by the books." Carly looked at the thick file in his hand. "What is it, Starsky," she asked.

"Danny was running his own investigation."

"I don't understand."

Starsky handed Carly the file and she opened it and began reading what he had found out.

"Danny knew there was a leak and he had been trying to find out who it was. He was getting close."

"Danny never said anything. Why wouldn't he say anything?"

"I think he was trying to protect you."

"He's never kept anything from me before," she told him.

Starsky was silent as she kept reading the file and he watched as she sat on the bed still holding the file.

"Carly, I have to know. Did he say anything or give anything away at all?"

"No. He never let on once."

Carly looked up at Starsky and she caught something in his eyes.

"There's more, isn't there?" she asked.

"There were two prior attempts on Danny's life before he was killed. He was run off the road."

"He said it was an accident. His car was totaled."

"The other was at some convenience store. They missed both times."

"I was his partner! Damn you, Danny! Why didn't you come to me?"

"Carly, I think when that hit went down, Danny was the one they were gunning for. If they knew when and where you were and what you were driving, they knew enough about you and Danny to also know, that you guys wore your vests."

"Are you saying, that I wasn't supposed to be killed," she asked.

"Yeah. Danny was the target. Not you. If you had been, I don't think you'd be here right now."

Carly was in shock. She stood up and walked over to the window. Starsky walked over and stood behind her.

"It's an inside job, that's for sure. But it's also someone with a lot of pull in your department."

"I don't know," she told him. "I know some pretty rotten cops in Houston, but none of them have the access to the kind of information you're talking about."

"Today we're going to get our cards in order for this deal that's going down tomorrow night. This is a highly sensitive operation, Carly."

"You don't have to tell me that," she told him.

"Hutch is going to be right in the middle of it," he explained. "If there is anything you can think of that can throw this thing, I need to know now."

"Well, detective. You will be relieved to know that I won't be there. Nico doesn't want his woman there."

"I think I'd almost feel better if you were there," he told her.

"I thought you didn't trust me," she said with a smile.

"You're a good cop," he told her. "I was wrong about you."

"Thanks, Starsky."

Carly and Starsky smiled at each other. They turned when they heard the door open and saw Hutch walk in.

"Hey," he told them. "What's up?"

"Starsky was filling me in on what he's got so far," she told him.

"Are you okay," he asked.

"I'm fine," she said with a smile.


That night Nico stood with his back to his inside guy. He looked down in his hand with a black and white photo of Starsky and Huggy standing outside.

"So, you're sure this guy is a cop?" Nico asked. Nico turned around and watch as the man nodded his head. Nico clenched the photo tightly in his fist and slammed it down on the desk.

"That fucking thing was a set-up," he bit out. "If they're cops that means my new business partner is a cop as well!" Nico leaned in close to the man and with venom in his eyes told him his next order. "If we are going to protect what we have, kill this cop! I want him dead!"

Nico slapped the wadded up picture in the man's chest. The man opened up the photo of Starsky and looked at it.

"I'll take care of my partner," Nico said through clenched teeth.

Nico faced the window and he could feel the anger coursing through his body. He would take care of that bitch who had set up this entire mess. She wouldn't escape by way of death either, he thought to himself.


The next day Hutch sat in on the strategy session and he felt a little guilty. Carly had got them where they were and he wished she could be a part of it. They got everything finalized and had the details of the operation planned down to the last element. Hutch felt confident that they had all their bases covered. He caught up with Starsky afterwards.

"Hey, any new leads?" Hutch, asked.

"Nope. I've got some stuff that'll be here in an hour," Starsky told him. "You know, buddy, I would feel a lot better about you going in there if we had this guy under wraps."

"I know. But we've got everything covered. It would take an act of Congress to get the details on this little operation. It's over tonight, Starsk," Hutch said with relief.

"I know you're wantin' to get this behind you," Starsky told him. "She's a hell of a woman, buddy."

Hutch smiled and patted Starsky on the back. "Thanks."

"Get out of here," Starsky told him. "You'll be late."


Dobey was working late in his office when the door suddenly swung open. He looked up to see a tall robust man standing in the doorway.

"You, Dobey," he demanded.

"Who the hell are you," Dobey yelled.

"Captain Miles from Houston P.D. I want to know where the hell my cop is!"

"Have a seat, Captain."

Miles sat in the chair with a suspicious look in his eyes.

"She's on ice at a hotel. The deal goes down tonight with one of my guys. Once it's done, Nico is out of business. She's a hell of a good cop."

"Yeah," Miles admitted. "Her partner was, too."

"It's tough losing one of your boys," Dobey told him.

Both men had an understanding look in their eyes.

"By the time everything is said and done, we should be able to get him for killing your boy," Dobey told him.

Before either man could get any further, Starsky burst in the office.

"You ever heard of knockin'," Dobey yelled.

"Cap'n, I've got something," Starsky told him.

Both captains froze waiting on the news from Starsky.

"Danny did know who the leak was. It took some doing, but I got it. Our boy likes to travel. He's been to the Cayman Islands four times in the last year."

"Since when is it against the law," Miles demanded.

Starsky gave the man a hard look.

"This is Miles from Houston," Dobey explained.

"He's been doing some traveling and he's been doing some banking. He's got three accounts in the Cayman Islands' banks. They're under alias', but he's been using the same place for all of his wire transfers."

"Isn't that stupid?" Miles asked.

"Normally, yeah. But the guy there is one of Nico's men. I've got the paperwork and they are all done at the same exact place at the same exact time two days a week. You could set a clock by him."

"How much are we talking about?" Dobey asked.

"He could retire five times with as much cash as he's got down there."

"So who the hell is it?" Miles asked.

Starsky looked at his captain and Miles suddenly stood.

"I have a right to know if one of my men is on the take," he yelled.

"Augustine," Starsky whispered.

"What?" Miles whispered.

"Saul Augustine. That's why Carly wasn't killed," Starsky told them. "He didn't want her to die."

"There's a mistake," Miles told him.

"No, sir. I've got it all. Phone records, itineraries, and bank statements and just about anything else you want. If you look at each of 'em by themselves, it looks like nothing. Put it all together and you've got a cop on the take. He went to Nico about Danny. Nico leased his boys to Saul."

Starsky didn't have to finish the rest of the statement and the room settled into an uneasy silence.

"Shit," Dobey whispered.

"What, Cap'n?" Starsky asked.

"Houston cop paid me a courtesy call."

"What?" Miles responded.

"Yeah. Saul Augustine. Goddamn, I told him where Carly was staying."

Starsky could feel his heart grow cold.

"He knows," Starsky whispered. "He knows about Hutch." Starsky flung the door open and ran out.

Dobey picked up the phone.

"If he knows about your boy, then it's a sure bet, Nico knows about Carly," Miles stated.


Carly paced the room as she watched Hutch get everything together. She was wound up and she wished Hutch could at least act a little nervous.

"How's the wire?" she asked.

"It's good," he told her.

"You have to make sure the exchange goes off 100% without a hitch."

"I've done this before, Carly," he said with a small smile.

"I'm sorry. I guess I would relax more if I could be there."

Hutch stood up and walked over to her. Hutch pulled her close to him. "Just stay here and wait it out. Everything will be fine."

Carly hugged him tightly.

"I have to go," Hutch told her.

"I swear, Hutchinson," she bit out. "If you don't call me the minute that this thing ends, I'll tear down there like there is no tomorrow."

Hutch smiled and kissed her. Carly watched him pick up the briefcase and head out the door.


Hutch was smiling as he stepped in the elevator. He was wondering if he loved Carly. It was beginning to feel that way and he really liked the way she worried about him. When the doors opened, Hutch walked through the lobby and out the front door. He saw the limo waiting for him. The door opened and he stepped inside.

Before he knew it, he felt his arms pulled behind him. Nico's man had grabbed him and tightly held Hutch in the back of the limo. Hutch looked over and saw the evil gleam in Nico's eyes. Nico reached over and ripped Hutch's shirt open. When he saw the wire taped to Hutch's chest, he ripped it from him.

"You son of a bitch," Nico yelled.

Before Hutch could respond, Nico swung the butt of a gun at him. Hutch slumped against Nico's man. Nico's opened the door of the limo and walked into the hotel.


Hutch had only been gone a few minutes when there was a knock on the door. Carly smiled and wondered what he had forgotten. She opened the door and her breath caught in her throat at the sight of Nico. She saw the coldness in his eyes and she began backing away from him. Before she could get very far, he grabbed her by the wrist.

"If you want your cop lover to live, you'll come with me," Nico seethed.

Carly froze and she knew he was telling her the truth. She walked over to him and Nico pulled her close to him. It seemed an eternity before they got to the limo. Nico opened the door and pushed her inside. As soon as she saw Hutch she went to him. Nico got in behind her and closed the door. As the limo began moving, Nico grabbed Carly and pulled her away from an unconscious Hutch. Nico grabbed a handful of hair and cruelly yanked her head back.

Carly couldn't help but cry out at the intense pain in her scalp.

"You will never betray me again," Nico swore.


Starsky arrived at the docks in record time. He found the vice teams and SWAT preparing to leave.

"Hey, we were getting ready to call you," one of them told him.

"What," asked Starsky.

"The whole party no showed."


Starsky didn't wait for him to respond as he jumped into his Torino and tore out of the parking lot. He picked up his radio.

"This is Zebra Three. Patch me through to Dobey."

Starsky only had to wait less than a minute when he heard Dobey's voice.

"Dobey, here."

"Cap'n, the deal never happened. I need an address for Nico."

"It's not here, Starsky. However, I have the next best thing."


Carly stood next to Nico and watched as him man threw cold water on Hutch. Hutch pulled his head up and she could see the pain in his face. He was sitting in a chair with his hands tightly bound behind his back.

"A fucking cop," Nico spit out.

He walked over to Hutch and punched him viciously across the face. Hutch's head snapped back from the hit. He slowly raised his head and spit the blood out from his busted mouth. Nico grabbed Hutch by the hair and forced him to look at him.

"You think you're gonna take down Nico Devlin," Nico told him with steel in his voice. "No, cop. I have other plans for you."

"Give it up, Nico," Hutch told him. "Everyone knows about you and your operation. Once they figure it out that the deal didn't go down, this place will be flooded with cops. You're trapped."

"No, my friend. By the time the cops show up, you'll be dead." Nico released Hutch's head and gave him another hard punch.

"Nico," Carly screamed.

Nico turned towards Carly and slowly walked over to her. He grabbed her and held her tightly in his arms. He looked over at Hutch who was looking at him with murder in his eyes.

"This bitch is mine," Nico told him. "After we drop your dead body in the ocean, Carly's coming with me." Nico grabbed Carly's breast and Carly cried out from the pain. "I never let go of what is mine," Nico told Hutch. "She will pay for her betrayal, but she will always be mine."

Nico began pulling Carly from the room. Carly fought him and tried to pull away. "Ken," she cried out.

Hutch tried to fight his bindings as he watched Nico pulling her with him. Suddenly Nico stopped and looked at Hutch.

"You should know that Carly has a well experienced mouth. She is very good, my friend."

Carly sobbed loudly upon Nico's statement of what had happened. She couldn't bear to look at Hutch. Nico pulled her out of the room and as Hutch listened to her sobs he struggled with the bindings around his wrists.


Starsky could feel his insides tearing in two. He sat in his car outside the large house and watched as Saul Augustine walked into the house. The plan had been for him to grab Saul and force him to lead him here. They guy was already in his car; by the time Starsky had found him. Starsky could see that there were very few men around the house. He pulled his gun and checked to make sure he had a full clip inside.

Starsky quietly opened the door and gently closed it. He hid in the darkness and made his way to the house.


Carly couldn't fight the strong arms that held her as Nico pulled her through the living room. He was pulling her to the stairs when he suddenly stopped. Carly turned to see what he was looking at and her mouth opened at what she saw.

"Carly," Saul replied.

He was just as surprised to see her, as she was he.

"Oh, my god," she breathed. "You're the leak."

"You're the girl," Saul said, with surprise in his voice.

"Damn you," she screamed. "How could you? I loved you! Danny looked up to you!" She cried as she could see the lack of remorse in his eyes.

"Your old man died," he told her. "I had to take up the reigns. It's not cheap to raise a kid you know!"

"How long?" she asked with tears in her eyes.

"Since you're old man died," he told her. "He had his life insurance put in a trust and I couldn't wait for the money!"

"Oh, god," she cried out. "Danny."

Carly hung her head when she heard Nico laughing in her ear. "So this is the one you wanted to protect," he told Saul.

"What are you gonna do with her?" Saul asked.

"I will abide by our agreement. She will stay alive, but with me."

Saul started to argue, but the glint in Nico's eyes told him not to.

"I've got one cop in the other room. Find the other one and kill him."

"It's over," Saul told him.

"Yes, it's over. Go to your nest egg when you've finished up here."

Carly cried when Nico pulled her upstairs and Saul left the room to find his prey.


Nico found the bedroom and he pulled her inside. Nico turned Carly around to face him. He viciously backhanded her and she went flying and landed on the bed. Carly was dazed from the unforgiving slap and she lay on the bed. She could hear him moving around the room and she started to move when she saw one of his men standing next to the bed.

"You had Danny killed," she told him.

"I will not explain myself to you," he told her as he opened up a drawer.

"What are you doing?"

"Keeping you subdued until it is time for us to leave," he answered.

"I'm not going anywhere with you," Carly yelled.

"You are mine," he yelled. "As soon as that cop is dead, we're leaving on the boat."

"Hold her," Nico told one of his men.

Carly tried to escape from the bed, but Nico's man had grabbed her. He held her down to the bed. Carly looked over at Nico who held a syringe. Her eyes widened as he walked over to her.

"No," she whispered.

As Nico walked closer to the bed Carly fought harder and she found herself immobile. She looked over as Nico set the syringe down on the nightstand. Nico grabbed her arm and Carly struggled against the tight band being tied around her upper arm.

"No," she cried out.

Carly stopped when she saw Nico lift the syringe and she screamed as she felt the needle in her vein. When Nico had finished, he looked at Carly's eyes. He watched as they began to cloud and her head fell back on the bed. Nico and the man stepped back. Carly was out.

"Let's take care of our other problem," Nico told him. "She's not going anywhere."

They left the room and Carly lay on the bed drifting in out of a cloud of haze.


Starsky had found an open door through the patio. He held tightly onto his gun as he walked inside the darkened room. Starsky crept quietly inside and he was making his way over to the door when something hard came crashing down on his arms. The gun fell to the floor and a body tackled him down to the floor.

Starsky struggled with the man and he felt cold metal against his temple. He knew it was a gun and he swung his fist against the head of the man he was struggling with. The man fell back and Starsky scrambled to his feet. When he looked around the room, he saw the man getting to his feet.

Starsky ran over and grabbed him by the shirt.

"Where's Hutch," Starsky said.

Saul could hear the venom in his voice and he laughed. Starsky could hear the bitterness in his laugh.

"Tell me!"

"Stupid cop," Saul replied. "He's dead."

Starsky could feel his gut clench at the statement, but he refused to believe it. He hit him in the gut and the man slumped over. "Hutch! Where is he?"

"You're too late," Saul gritted out. "Nico's with Carly."

"She's your fucking niece," Starsky said angrily.

"If I hadn't done what I did, she'd be dead by now."

Starsky swung the man around and threw him against the wall. "I'm not asking again," he warned.

"I don't know where he is," Saul told him. "Carly's upstairs."

Starsky grabbed his cuffs and suddenly Saul grabbed the gun from his coat. Starsky was unprepared for the shove that Saul had given him. Starsky looked up as Saul held the gun with the silencer on the end of it. Starsky knew he was dead, but he was shocked as Saul turned the gun on himself and pulled the trigger.


Hutch could feel his hands going numb from the bindings. He kept repeating Starsky's name over and over in hopes of getting him here faster. Hutch looked to the door and wondered what Nico had done with Carly. His heart was pounding heavily at the thoughts going through his mind.

Nico entered the room and Hutch tensed up.

"Where's Carly?" Hutch demanded.

"My woman is resting quietly upstairs," Nico told him snidely.

"Fucking bastard! What did you do to her?"

"She isn't your problem anymore," Nico told him. "Carly is mine and she goes with me."

"Nico, you're losing it," Hutch said with a laugh. "She's a cop. How far do you think you'll get with her? You killed her partner and then you'll kill me. You kidnapped another cop. Every cop in the country will have a bounty on your head."

"We are leaving the country, my friend." Hutch saw the cold glint in his eyes as he stepped forward. "You will not be so fortunate. First I will break your jaw, and then I will break your arms, then your knees. I'm sure you can see where this is going. When your body is a mangled mess and you are begging me to kill you, I will cut your heart out while you still live."

Hutch watched as Nico pickup a heavy pipe and swung it in his hands.


Carly could barely move. When she opened her eyes, the room seemed to move. All she could think of was Hutch. It was the only thing in her mind. She had to get to him, but she wasn't sure why. Carly pulled herself to the edge of the bed and when she reached the edge, she landed on the floor. She managed to pull herself up to a standing position. Carly swayed for a moment and she held to the wall for support. She staggered to the door and made her way out of the room.

When Carly reached the top of the stairs, she looked down and everything spun wildly out of control. She took a step down and she fell down the stairs. When she landed at the foot of the stairs, she smiled. She hadn't felt anything. She pulled herself up and Carly's hand landed on an ivory tusk. She grabbed it and held it tightly in her hand. She couldn't figure out how come her foot wasn't working right. She could walk, but it had a strange feel to it that she didn't understand.


Starsky heard a noise coming from the other room and he sneaked from the room to investigate. He could see Carly standing at the foot of the stairs holding something in her hand. He was just about to walk over to her when he saw one of Nico's goons approaching her with a gun in his hand.

Starsky yelled as the guy was pointing his gun at her and he fired two shots directly in his chest. He watched the man fall and Starsky could see the scene had no effect on Carly. He could see something wrong in her eyes. Before he could approach her, he felt something in his back.

"Drop the gun, cop," Starsky heard the voice say.

Starsky dropped his gun.


Nico had the pipe over his head when he heard the gunshots. He looked over at his man and nodded. Nico watched as he left.

As soon as the guy walked into the room, Carly turned and hit him in the face with the ivory tusk. When he fell, she fell on top of him. She crawled over him and made her way into the room where Nico and Hutch were.

Nico saw Carly stagger into the room and he smiled. "Want some more, baby?" he said slyly.

Hutch could see something was wrong with Carly as she staggered over to him. "It's over, Nico," she said with slurred words.

"Oh, baby, it's just starting." Nico held the pipe in his hands and he looked at Hutch. "I'm taking this pretty boy out and we're outa here."

"No," Carly told him.

The smile left Nico's face and he walked over to her. "Stupid bitch! You will not tell me what to do!" Nico swung his hand and hit her on the side of the face.

Carly flew against the wall and fell to the floor. Carly looked up as Nico turned back to Hutch. Her breath caught in her throat as he raised the pipe over his head. She stood up and hit him on the back of the head with all her might with the ivory tusk still in her hands. He slumped to the floor and Carly ran over to Hutch.


Starsky was walking with the goon's gun still in his back. Mentally he counted to ten and then he swung around and grabbed the gun by the barrel. Starsky swung his fist at the guy's face and the guy hit floor.


Carly fumbled with the knots on Hutch's wrists and she was breathing hard.

"Carly," Hutch asked. "What's wrong?"

She didn't answer him as she yanked at the knots and was able to get them loosened. Hutch shook off the remainder of the ropes and when his arms were freed, he began undoing the ropes around his feet. Carly turned when she heard Nico moaning on the floor.

She walked over and searched him. She found his gun and stepped back. Something in her clicked as she slowly aimed it at him. Nico looked up at her and laughed.

Hutch had just pulled the last knot out when he heard the laugh coming from Nico. He looked up and saw Carly with a gun aimed at Nico. Hutch could see the look in her eyes and he slowly stood up.

"Carly," he whispered. Hutch was getting irritated at the laugh, which was coming from Nico.

"She thinks to kill me," Nico said with an evil laugh.

Carly took a step forward and kept the gun trained on Nico. The smile left Nico's face and he began sweating.

"Put the gun down, Carly," Hutch asked.

"He killed Danny," she cried. "The bastard killed him, and what he did to me..."

"I know, honey. He's not worth going to jail over."

"Cops do it," Carly told him. "They kill the piece of shit and plant a gun in their hands."

"You said Danny was a good cop, Carly. Is this what he would want? Ask yourself if he would want this. Is it worth it?"

The words seemed to echo in Carly's mind and she wasn't sure if it was whatever Nico had given her or if it was Hutch getting through to her. She knew she couldn't go through with it. Carly let her hands fall and Hutch took it from her hands. Carly turned around and Hutch held her tightly.

When she had turned, Nico pulled a small pistol from the holster on his leg and aimed it Carly's back. One shot had gone off and then four others landed in his chest.

Hutch turned around and saw Starsky standing with his gun pointing at Nico. Hutch smiled at his partner and he turned his attention back to Carly who was still in his arms. He looked down at her and his heart froze as she sank down to the floor.

"Carly," he whispered.

Hutch knelt down with her still in his arms and Starsky rushed over to them. Hutch could feel his heart filling with dread as he looked at Carly's pale face.

"She's okay, buddy," Starsky told him.


"He caught her in the shoulder," Starsky told him.

"Thank god," Hutch breathed. "Babe, you have got to wear a vest."

Starsky and Hutch smiled at each other and they laughed as they heard the sirens in the background.


At the hospital, Starsky and Hutch sat in the waiting room while Carly was getting cared for. Hutch looked over at him.

"Have I ever told you, that you cut your timing just a bit on the close side," Hutch told him.

"Better late that never, pal."

"I hear that," Hutch replied. "Starsk," Hutch asked after a moment.


"She had the gun aimed right at Nico," Hutch told him. "If I hadn't been there..."

"Hutch, if she didn't do it with you there, I don't know if she would have still done it if you hadn't been."

"You didn't see the look in her eyes. The only thing that kept her from shooting him, was my telling her that Danny wouldn't have wanted it."

"You were right, buddy. Danny was a hell of a good cop. He wouldn't have wanted her to destroy herself by killing someone in cold blood no matter how much they would have deserved it."

"Danny and Carly were tight," Hutch stated. "They were like we are now. If something like this ever..."

"It won't," Starsky interrupted.

"But if it does," Hutch tried to tell him.

"I don't even want to go here," Starsky said with a sigh.

"Let me just say it, Starsk. I don't want you to go vigilante on me if something like this happens to me. Promise me."

"I don't know what I would do," Starsky told him honestly. "I'd like to think I would do it by the book, but I don't know."

"We both would. Starsk, we are cops for a reason. It's not just because it's a job or because we're good at it. We came into this to help people. Make the world better if its even possible. If we compromise what we believe is right and ourselves in order to gain some type of satisfaction for an act of murder, what's it worth? Are we still good cops?"

"You're right, Hutch. I know it. Thing is we're talking about if one of us gets taken out by a guy like Nico. In our heads, we know what's right and what's wrong. It's our hearts that guide our actions."

"It's tossing out our morals in the process I'm talking about. If we get rid of what makes us what we are for the sake of vengeance, then who are we afterwards?"

"There is no black and white answer, partner. I hope we never find out," Starsky answered.

Hutch sat back and hoped for the same thing.


A few days later, Hutch sat on his couch with Carly in his arms. They had just finished making love and he pulled her closer to him.

"I was thinking we could take a drive to San Diego tomorrow," he told her.

"I have to leave tomorrow," Carly told him.

"I thought we were going to talk about us."

"We are," she answered. Carly sat up and looked over at Hutch. She could see the pain in his face.

"So you're going back to Houston. I had thought you were going to take some time off."

"I am, Ken. We have to be honest here. We're both cops."

"You could be a cop here," he told her.

"Yeah. And you could be a cop in Houston."

"Carly, I care a lot about you. I'd like to see where this goes."

"I have to go back to Houston, Ken. You were right, you know. I have a lot of baggage that I have to deal with. I lost my best friend and right now I'm not even sure where my head is. I can't even think about being a cop until I get myself together."

"Do that here," Hutch asked.

"You know I can't. Even if I did, don't you realize how this thing with us would go?"

"I'd like to think it would go somewhere great," he told her. "We're good together, Carly."

"Yeah, we are," she whispered. "If I stayed, it wouldn't take long for our jobs to get in the way of our relationship. Be honest with yourself, Ken. You know I'm right."

"I guess I was hoping we could find a way to make it work."

"I know. I wish we could make it work."

Carly snuggled up close to Hutch and he put his arm around her.

"It doesn't mean that you can just disappear altogether," he told her. "I expect regular updates."

"Of course," she said with a smile.


Early the next morning, Starsky and Hutch were seeing Carly off and they stood outside the precinct with her.

Carly walked over to Starsky. "Take care of him," she told him.

"The big lug can't live with out me," Starsky told her in his best Bogart voice.

Carly and Starsky hugged tightly and afterwards she walked over to Hutch.

"I guess this is it," he told her.


"Call me when you get in," he told her.

"Well, we still have some final details to work through on the case. You have some reports my boss is expecting."

"Will you two cut the shit?" Starsky yelled.

Hutch and Carly looked over at him with questioning looks.

"Kiss her, dammitt," Starsky told his partner.

They watched as Starsky walked over to the Torino and got in the driver's side. Carly laughed when Hutch pulled her close and she smiled when his mouth made contact with hers.

When he finished he could see the blush in her cheeks and he smiled as she got in her pickup and drove off.


Hutch settled in the car on the passenger side and looked over at Starsky.

"Gonna miss her, huh?" Starsky asked.

"Yeah," Hutch replied. "She'll be okay. She's going home."

Starsky smiled as he started the car and they drove away.