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Chapter 10

A Starsky and Hutch Reunion
by
Teri Colosimo 

Chapter 11

TIME IS ON OUR SIDE

Hutch was pointedly ignoring the man sitting on his desk--trying instead to concentrate on their latest case.

"Come on, Hutch. Just pick a card, already."

"Starsky. I will not pick a card. You still haven't gotten your little parlor games right--even after all these years."

Shoving the cards back at Hutch, Starsky just smiled. "So wadda you got to lose? Pick a card."

Sighing, Hutch picked a card, and laid it facedown on his desk.

"Geez, Hutch. You didn't even look at it," Starsky whined.

Grudgingly, Hutch picked the card up and looked at it. "Now what, moron?"

"Put it back in the deck, Blintz."

Hutch roughly shoved the card back into Starsky's deck.

"Thank you."

"You're not welcome. And get your ass off my desk."

Starsky ignored his grumpy friend. "You had the Queen of hearts."

Hutch quickly looked at his friend, then grabbed the deck of cards from him. "Give me those. They're probably all the same."

Starsky was so proud of himself, he could hardly stand it. "You're a sore loser, Hutch. Face it: I'm like fine wine--I just get better as I get older. Unlike you, my friend, who just gets older."

Hutch glared at his friend as he stood up and fairly strutted to the chair in front of Hutch's deck.

Promptly flopping his feet up on Hutch's desk, Starsky quizzed his friend. "So. You seen Trini today?"

Hutch grunted. "I haven't seen Trini today, or much at all lately. She's so wrapped up in the Kendrick case."

Starsky had to try hard not to laugh out loud at Hutch--Poor Hutch. He sure gets cranky without Jewel around to soothe his savage beast. "She still workin' real close with the girl's father?" Starsky asked.

Reaching forward, Hutch roughly shoved Starsky's feet off his desk, but didn't answer.

Grinning, Starsky continued, "I'll take that as a 'yes'."

Frustrated, Hutch slammed the folder shut, and got out of his chair to sulkily look out his office window. Shoving his hands deep into his pockets, Hutch quietly told his friend what was wrong--even though he hadn't meant to. "You know that Kendrick fellow has been askin' Trini out."

Starsky nodded. "I heard. She told him 'no'."

"Yeah. This time. What happens the next time a good looking guy--who's more Trini's age--asks her out? Is she always gonna tell 'em 'no', Starsk? Is she always gonna want to?"

Starsky contemplated, then sighed. "Look, Hutch. I don't know where this came from, or even where it's headed, but I know one thing: If you're so worried about it, put a ring on her finger."

Letting his head rest against the window, Hutch angrily asked, "It's all real simple to you, huh? Just marry her, and make her stay? Starsky, I love your niece more than I've ever loved anyone or anything else in this world."

Starsky didn't see any problem then, but Hutch must, so he asked, "But...?"

Hutch spun around to face his friend. "But, if I marry this girl, and use up who knows how many of her good years before I croak--all she's gonna have is 'young widow' written all over her. Open your eyes, Starsk! I...I probably can't even give her a kid. She doesn't even bring it up. Probably worried I won't be able to chase a kid with my walker."

Starsky couldn't help but laugh, causing Hutch to scowl at his friend.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's all real funny to you. You're gonna live long enough to see your kids go to school and...aw, screw it." Hutch threw his hands up, and sat down heavily in his chair. Staring up at the ceiling, he mumbled, "I feel like we're Bogart and Bacall. You know she still loves him? Bogart, I mean. Even after all these years, she still carries a torch for that man."

Starsky grew very serious. "Is that such an awful thing, Hutch? To have a woman love you, and cherish the love you shared, even after you're gone?"

Hutch was more troubled by this than Starsky could've guessed. "I...I've been scared of dying before, Starsk. You know how it feels: that adrenalin rush you feel looking down a gun barrel, and thinking to yourself: 'Is this the one I don't walk away from?' The moments when your life starts flashing in front of you, and you hope when you die people are proud of how you lived. This thing with Trini is so much worse than that, Starsk. It's fear, and guilt, and...pain. All rolled into one, and I can't fight it down, partner. I don't want to die and leave her. And, I sure as hell wouldn't want to leave my beautiful young widow with a fatherless child. That just seems ever more unfair, doesn't it?"

Hutch needed answers and advice, and he was practically begging for Starsky to help him. Starsky leaned towards Hutch and tried to give him the help he was so desperate for. "Kids are just an extension of the love a couple feels for each other, Hutch. When I'm gone, I know the boys won't replace me in Leslie's life, but they're not supposed to. I hope they give her comfort, and make her proud of the beautiful people we created together. A kid isn't something Trini would look at as a burden, Hutch. For some reason, she's insanely in love with you, buddy."

Hutch smiled a little at that.

Starsky pressed on. "The child you two would raise together...well, it would be your way of watching your love grow everyday. At least, that's how we feel. Hutch, don't stress so much. She loves you. And maybe you guys only got ten or twelve happy years, but that's more than you got outta three marriages all put together. Quit being negative about it. Don't waste this gift of love you were given. I think...I think we need to grab that brass ring and hold onto what we've been blessed with, Hutch. This merry-go-round ride don't last forever."

Hutch still hadn't spoken, but at least he was looking at Starsky now.

Starsky asked him, "Don't you think I considered all this when I realized you two were in love?"

Hutch looked down at his hands. "I figured you were smart enough to worry, yeah."

"Well, I'm also smart enough to see you two've been good together. It's been a long time since we had a fight over a girl, Hutch--don't let this be it."

Hutch looked up, puzzled. "You lost me, Starsk."

"My niece is expecting to marry you, and you'd better not disappoint her, pal. And if all you guys can do is 'practice' makin' a kid--I think she'll still be happy. Marry the girl, Hutch. Don't piss me off."

Hutch rubbed his eyes, and smiled. "You know, it kills me when you're right."

Starsky beamed. "I know. And, I think I deserve lunch for all this free advice."

Hutch rose, and grabbed his jacket. "I believe you're right. I'll even buy you a beer."

The two men were driving back from lunch when Hutch's cell phone rang. Finding it in his pocket, he answered it. "Hello?"

"Hi, sweetheart. Guess what?"

"What?"

Starsky smiled, and looked out his window--had to be Trini the way Hutch was beaming.

"I'm done with the Kendrick case. Huggy found her holed up in a crack house in San Francisco. We got time for you and me, now."

"That's pretty good timing, love. Tomorrow's Valentine's Day."

Trini laughed. "Wow. You remembered, and I forgot. Not your average woman, huh?"

Hutch smiled. "No, baby. You're way more than average."

"Be still, my heart. I think the man still loves me. Even when I neglect him."

Hutch stopped the car in front of their office, and looked at Starsky. His friend just sat there, smiling at him, until Hutch pointed at the door. "A little privacy, huh, Gordo?"

Laughing, Starsky climbed out of the car and leaned against the office door to wait for his friend.

Hutch whispered into the phone, "Hey. You can make up for all the neglect tonight, huh?"

He could hear the love in her voice when she answered, "It'll be my pleasure, Hutchinson. Anything else you wanna tell me before I hurry home?"

He snapped his fingers and added, "Yeah, sorry, just one more thing."

"What's that?"

"God, I love you."

"Ditto. Go and tell your partner you'll be spending the rest of the day in bed. I'm already on my way."

Hutch waved goodbye to Starsky and started to pull away. "Race you," he laughed.

~~~

Trini lay next to Hutch, slightly out of breath, but oh, so satisfied. Hutch was just as satisfied, but since Trini'd done most of the "work," well, he wasn't quite as tired.

He was contemplative though, and Trini had noticed. "A penny for your thoughts, Ken."

He licked his lips, and swallowed before he replied. "I was just thinkin' about how good you'd look holding a baby in your arms."

Trini caught her breath, and wondered what direction to go with this topic. She opted for humor. "I'm losing my touch, if that's what's crossing your mind with a naked woman next to you."

Hutch rolled over, and sat up to look down on Trini. "I'm being serious, here. Do you want kids?"

Rolling into Hutch's side, Trini curled up next to him. "The truth, Hutch?"

"No, lie to me. I like it."

"Yeah, Hutch. I want kids. But, only if you're gonna be the daddy to my mommy. You?"

Hutch sighed and pulled Trini closer. "You O.K. with adopting?"

Trini looked up at him. "Yeah, why?"

"So far, I've safely avoided this, but...well, nobody ever had a Hutchinson seed that took hold."

Trini was silent for a minute. "Did you and Van try?"

Hutch snorted. "Van pregnant? She'd have had to quit wearing furs, and gain weight. No."

"Well, Angie, then."

"No. She was never 'ready'. I think that one's fairly obvious."

"Maggie?"

"She already had three grown kids, and a hysterectomy to boot. Trini, what are you getting at?"

"Ken, what makes you think you've got a problem? It really doesn't sound like you've tried."

Stroking her hair, he told her, "Don't get all worked up, but I lived with a girl once who tried real hard to get pregnant. No rubbers, no pill, no baby. Not after a year. Trini, I believe I shoot blanks, love. I'm so sorry."

Trini nodded thoughtfully. "But kids are an option for us, right? You're not gonna throw the age thing in here, are you?"

Hutch laid back down, rubbing a hand on Trini's hip. "I was worried, and I had planned on throwing out the age thing, but a wise man talked me out of it. I'd love to raise a child with you, Trini. It'll be a completion--an 'extension of our love'."

Trini laughed. "You been talkin' to my uncle again?"

"Yeah. It frightens me, but he actually made sense."

Trini smiled, and purposely rolled onto her back. "Well, I'm glad you think a kid wouldn't be so bad. I'd been worried about bringing it up."

"Sorry. I was being a paranoid fool."

Hutch's hand was still idly rubbing on Trini's hip so she picked it up, and moved it onto her stomach. Holding his hand there, she turned to look in Hutch's eyes. "Ken. We need to talk."

He smiled. "I thought we were."

She nodded. "About babies."

Slowly the realization crept over his face, and he gently rubbed her stomach. Blinking several times, he sat up and pulled his hand away.

Oh, shit! Is he pissed? Lamely, she tried to explain, "We never discussed birth control, so I didn't think it was any big deal."

"No big deal!"

Oh, yeah. He's pissed! Trini tried to hold Hutch's hand, but he pulled back. "Hutch. Come on, sweetie. Can't we just talk it over?"

"Does Starsky know?"

Frowning angrily at Hutch, Trini sat up, too. "Do you really think I'd tell someone before you?"

Hutch laughed long and loud. "I finally got one over on him!"

Trini shook her head. "I'm so glad our being pregnant gives you reason for enjoyment."

Hastily, Hutch pulled her to him. "Oh, yes, my sweet. It gives me great reason for enjoyment. I can't believe it."

Slowly, he placed a gentle hand on her stomach. Trini reached up to stroke his face--he wasn't pissed after all!

Hutch was grinning idiotically as he whispered, "Are you positive?"

Nodding, Trini assured him. "Cross my heart. Daddy."

Trini thought she couldn't possibly love Hutch more than she already did, but she surprised even herself. The minute Hutch started to cry, she was again reassured he was the perfect man for her. The sight of his tears made Trini's watery eyes overflow, too. Her heart swelled with love as they held each other--crying happy tears.

~~~

Trini was trying not to listen in as Hutch made dinner reservations, but her curiosity got the better of her. His conversation was of great interest to her--even if she tried to pretend it wasn't.

"Yes, Marcella. Ken Hutchinson. Yeah, I moved back a few months ago. No, we're not on the force anymore--private investigations. He's great--you'll see him tonight. Yes--a table for six. That'll be fine, Marcella. I owe you." Hutch laughed a little. "Sure. One dance. O.K. See you tonight."

Shaking his head, Hutch hung up the phone, and stood up. Looking at Trini, he decide she was acting way too interested in her book, causing Hutch to smile. Wiping the smile off his face, he went to join her on the couch and announced, "We're set for 8:00."

Trini nodded, and continued to "read".

"An old friend of Starsky's and mine still works there. Incredible, huh?"

"Mmhm."

If Trini would only look up , she'd see the merriment in his eyes, but she was trying awfully hard to avoid eye contact. Hutch tried to explain. "About a hundred years ago, we'd all go out dancing. Marcella and me, and Starsk and Lucy. Never amounted to much."

Trini just nodded--still trying to look uninterested. Folding her book shut, Trini rose and disappeared into the bedroom.

"Whatcha doin'?" he called out to her.

Trini's head popped out the door. "Picking out clothes."

Hutch thought that was probably a good plan, and rose to find his tuxedo. Tonight was a celebration. Trini thought she knew what they'd be celebrating, but she was wrong.

So wrong it made Hutch laugh.

~~~

Trini looked absolutely stunning when she finally emerged from the bathroom.

Hutch had never seen her fuss over her hair and appearance the way she had tonight, and the effort was more than enjoyable to his eyes.

She had pinned her hair up in short ringlets all over her head giving it a Grecian goddess effect--complementing her Empire waist gown perfectly. The royal blue shoes and bag matched the dress color to a tee, and she had tossed a pashmina shawl over one shoulder. The diamond earrings, and necklace Hutch'd given her for Christmas glistened beautifully against her ivory skin.

She'd even dabbed a drop of Hutch's favorite perfume behind each ear!

He'd never seen her do this--usually just a swipe of blush, a little mascara, and this girl was set. Sometimes, a curling iron was used to "tame the 'do'," as Trini'd put it. Hutch had found that very amusing--curling curly hair to control it, but it did seem to work.

Smiling at her, Hutch couldn't believe she was so nervous. As far as she knew, they were "just" announcing the baby. He figured there was something else behind her anxiety, and he was on a mission to find out what it was.

When Trini grabbed the lint brush off her dresser, and "touched up" Hutch's tux for the third time, he knew she was spazzing out.

Reaching out, he carefully hugged her about the waist so nothing got wrinkled and stayed the way she'd planned. Trini distractedly tried to pull away and walk back to the bathroom to check her makeup--again.

"Ken, we don't have..."

He cut her off with a tender kiss on the neck. "You look fantastic," he purred against her skin, causing Trini to go limp against his embrace.

"Sorry," Trini told him.

Hutch teased her. "For being pretty?"

She sighed. "For being bitchy. I'm freaking over this dinner."

Hutch thought that was one of the most unnecessary comments he'd ever heard, but he waited for the explanation.

Trini started wringing her hands nervously. "You look so great tonight, Hutch."

Moving to hold her hands for support, and to stop that irritating motion, he told her, "You're the one who looks incredible, but thank you. I did it for you. You know, I don't put on a tux for just anybody, Trini--only the woman I love."

She turned her face away from him. "For all the women you've loved, Hutch? There's been so many, and I don't know how to compete with Marcella's and Lucy's. I just know how to be me."

"Trini, is this the hormone thing I heard about? There's nobody to compete with--we've had this talk before. My past..."

She cut him off. "Yeah, yeah. Your past, Ken Hutchinson. What about tonight?"

He was genuinely confused, and it showed on his face, so Trini pressed on.

"You're the most gorgeous man I know, and there's bound to be some old flames still hangin' around--just waiting to get their claws into the single Hutch."

God, she could be frail, and Hutch moved to hold her to him. "Katrina Starsky--you started this grown up game."

She nodded.

"And, I don't ever plan to stop playing it with you."

He felt her laugh a little, letting him know she was better. "You just don't understand, Ken. A sexy, single guy like you...on your old turf. I gotta keep close tabs on you."

Kissing her forehead, he whispered, "No you don't. I might need to worry about a young, beautiful thing like you..."

"No. You don't."

"Then, Katrina, for the last time--this is settled. Nobody's goin' after a different field of clover."

"Scout's honor?"

Holding up three fingers, he promised, "Scout's honor, my love." Then he added, "Besides, you're the only one who'll have an old man like me."

Trini was only half joking when she grumbled, "Oh, I doubt that. There's still some bimbo laying in wait for Ken Hutchinson--the Blond God--to return to California."

"Oh, honey," he chuckled, "you're my last hope. If this ever failed, I wouldn't want to try again."

Looking at him with squinted eyes, she told him, "You're a smooth one, Hutchinson." Then, much to his delight, and amazement--Trini firmly grasped both of his buttocks in her hands and squeezed. "Just remember who owns this," she threatened with mock severity.

Hutch nearly cried, he laughed so hard. "Baby, I couldn't forget, even if I wanted to."

Trini was now smiling happily--the glow of love and pregnancy made her the most attractive woman Hutch had ever seen.

He offered her his arm, and they started for the door .

Slipping her coat over her shoulders, Hutch asked, "You keep the handcuffs from Metro, Trini?"

She laughed, and swatted his rump for a change. "You're a dirty boy, Hutchinson."

~~~

True to his word, Hutch never gave more than a quick greeting or reply to any woman who talked to him. Some did marvel at the fact that he was back, and single again, but Hutch was quick to introduce Trini at that point. And when he went to the bar, Trini tried counting the women who fawned over him, and the number of times he pointed her out to glaring eyes. Finally, she got tired of counting.

Starsky had a hard time not laughing every time any female nineteen to ninety would approach his best friend. Trini's fur would practically stand on end until Hutch introduced her or pointed her way.

It turned out Marcella still seemed to be extremely interested in Hutch. At least until Trini walked by her and whispered, "Do you really feel like takin' on a cop?" The look of surprise on Marcella's face had been worth it. It didn't matter to Trini that she'd lied a little.

Sitting back at the table, Trini continued to shoot Marcella a "look but don't touch" glare that was total possessiveness. One time, Trini noticed Starsky smirking at her, and she nonchalantly rubbed the side of her nose with her middle finger. His already barely contained laughter erupted, causing Huggy, Candita, and Leslie to look their way.

Trini shook her head. "Don't worry folks. My uncle's just tormenting me." Everyone smiled and continued with their conversation--correctly figuring it was some secret between the two.

Finally ceasing his laughter, Starsky leaned over to his niece. "It's alright, hellcat. I've never seen him so happy. You got no worries."

Trini smiled at that, then waved to the latest woman Hutch was practically pushing away.

Starsky couldn't resist adding, "So retract the claws, huh?"

Trini had visibly relaxed, yet continued to keep a close eye on Hutch.

Starsky just shook his head--he'd never seen her so crazy about someone, and it did his heart good. For both of them.

Hutch finally made his way back to the table just in time to enjoy the meal being served. Placing his hands on the back of Trini's chair, Hutch bent to kiss her cheek. When he whispered, "I'm back. You can put your claws away now," Starsky could only control his mirth by biting his lip--hard.

Leslie patted her husband gently on the leg, and gave him the "she's had enough, dear" look, so Starsky excused himself to use the restroom.

Trini shot daggers at his back the whole way, and Starsky knew it. When he finally reached his destination, he turned towards Trini and made his hands into claws. The people remaining at Starsky's table had seen the whole incident, and burst into laughter as he disappeared behind the door.

"Asshole," Trini laughed--and nobody disagreed.

Dessert was being ordered when Hutch announced he was going to the lobby to get cigars. Starsky and Huggy rose to go with him.

"I do believe I will pick out my own Cuban, Golden One," Huggy informed his friend. "You probably pick out some nasty 'white' cigars. I want a 'brothers' cigar." Huggy pointed to Starsky coming around the table towards them. "See! Even curly don't trust you none!"

The three women laughed as the men left.

Candita commented, "They're so full of shit. They just wanna talk 'bout us an' look at the girls outside."

Trini started to turn in her chair in the direction of the departing men, but Leslie's voice stopped her. "Trini, Candita was teasing. Sit still, and quit worrying. If Hutch wants to look at a beautiful, young girl--he's got you."

Forcing herself to turn back to her aunt, Trini smiled and prepared to wait for her man to return. A moment later, Trini realized she didn't have long to wait for Hutch's "return" since he never really left.

The room lights dimmed a little, and Trini heard a very familiar voice using the stage microphone behind her. In a strong, confident voice Hutch announced, "Ladies and gentlemen--could I have your attention, please?"

Leslie and Candita were smiling back and forth from Trini to Hutch in amazement. Leslie whispered, "Oh my," as her hand flew to her breast. Candita mumbled something in Spanish Trini didn't understand, but it made Candita fan herself with a napkin.

Hutch continued, "I'd like to thank you in advance for your patience. You see I'm in love with that beautiful lady right there," the spotlight heat burned into Trini's back, yet she still didn't turn to look at Hutch, "but, I fear I may not have properly wooed this fine lady. You see, ladies and gentlemen, every woman craves romance and courting, and I haven't done this quite right. I haven't written poems that tell of her beauty, or sung her love songs--but, tonight I plan to remedy one of those grievous errors."

Starsky and Huggy suddenly reappeared on either side of Trini's chair. The two men smiled hugely at each other before slipping their arms around Trini and hauling her, extremely embarrassed, to the stage.

The crowd was eating this little "drama" up, and when Hutch handed Trini a single red rose everyone started clapping. Holding his hand out, Hutch helped Trini up onto the stage, then sat her down in the chair Starsky brought up. Hutch grinned wickedly at Trini, then turned to Huggy, who handed him his guitar.

Trini was doing her very best not to cry when Hutch's strong, clear voice began to serenade her . He was singing to her in Spanish--a love song he'd sung to her before, about a sailor who goes to sea and finds his lover dead upon his return. The man never found anyone else, and their souls rejoin in Heaven in the end.

Trini cast a quick glance to Candita, and saw she was crying. Swallowing hard, Trini looked back up at the man she adored and smiled.

When Hutch finished , the other patrons stood and whistled. Like Trini, they thought his show of love was over for the night.

They were all wrong.

Huggy fairly ran back onto the stage with an enormous bouquet of flowers, tied to an even bigger bouquet of balloons.

Looking up, Trini noticed all the balloons read "I love you." Pointing to them, she joked, "You must," and Hutch just smiled.

Starsky came back onstage with yet another "present," while the crowd held its breath. What had this man given her this time?

Placing the heavy box in Trini's lap, Starsky bent to kiss her cheek. Realizing how odd that must look, he sheepishly explained, "My niece." The crowd laughed again, as Trini opened the box.

Inside was a beautiful heart-shaped cake. In the center it read: "#4--then no more!" followed by "Trini and Ken forever" on the bottom. "Forever" was underlined.

Trini knew the crowd was dying to know what was in the box, but she was crying too hard to care as she handed the box back to Starsky.

Hutch handed her his handkerchief, and Trini noticed he was now on bended knee in front of her--holding up another gift. Cautiously, she inspected the envelope he handed her. Trini opened it and found it full of airline tickets to Hawaii. She looked to Hutch for explanation, but he wasn't done yet.

Holding her left hand in his, he told her, "Katrina Marie Bella Starsky, this is your last chance to turn and run before I ask you to marry me."

Trini looked at Hutch so shocked, the restaurant laughed again.

She heard a man call out, "Come on, honey. Put the man out of his misery!" His table laughed, and Trini slowly reached up to dry her new tears--beaming at Hutch.

Her smile was all the prompting he needed to continue. "Since you haven't run, I'm going to ask you to be my partner in more than business, lovely lady. Katrina, is there any way you can find it in your heart to settle down with a man like me? Will you marry me?"

Trini sat still long enough for Hutch to slip the ring on her finger before she threw herself at him. Kissing his face in childlike abandon, and with Hutch laughing so hard, they lost their balance. Trini fell on top of him, never breaking the kiss she'd finally connected to his mouth.

They were both vaguely aware everyone was watching, and they were receiving standing applause, but neither cared.

Finally, Starsky helped Trini off Hutch, then helped his friend up. When Hutch was on his feet, Starsky pulled him into a tight hug, and started crying. Hutch probably would've started too, if Trini hadn't asked, "What's with the plane tickets?"

Both men started to laugh, and Starsky let loose of Hutch so he could go to Trini.

"Well, Katrina, my love. I booked us a nice little chapel in Hawaii. Unless you have other plans, we'll be married there next month. The extra tickets are for all our family and friends."

Throwing her arms around Hutch again, Trini laughed. "You've been a busy boy, Hutchinson."

He nodded, and rubbed her back. "Love motivates me."

Trini looked up at him very seriously, and told him, "Then let's motivate our asses home. I've got a fiancÚ to thank." Too late, but much to the restaurant's delight, Trini realized she had been standing by the microphone--and it was still on. Red-faced, Trini looked to Hutch.

"I'll save you," he smiled. Sweeping Trini into his arms, he carried her off the stage.

Resting her head on his chest, she whispered, "I guess we saved each other, huh?"

"Yes, love. We sure did."

~~~

Even though it was Hutch's fourth wedding--he was nervous. I'll never do this again! he vowed. For more reasons than one!

Starsky came back to the dressing room to check on Hutch--a little out of breath. Starsky was playing father-of-the-bride, and best man today. Nick had been less than happy Trini was marrying Hutch--even when Hutch had called him himself, and purchased an extra ticket for Nick's latest girlfriend.

Starsky had apologized to Hutch. "Sorry my kid brother's such a pain in the ass."

Hutch had playfully kissed his friend's forehead. "It's O.K., Starsk. I guess I'm destined to only have two Starsky's love me."

Hutch's sister had declined his offer as well. Kim had sent Hutch a telegram wishing him well, but stated she had no interest in seeing another of her brother's weddings. He'd almost been expecting something so impersonal from his sister, but it still hurt.

Hutch wondered how to tell Trini about his own sister, and her father wanting nothing to do with this union. He was worried she might have reason to rethink their marriage, or consider the double snub a bad sign. But Trini'd seemed concerned only about Hutch's hurt feelings, and was doing well with it all--much to Hutch's relief.

Still, he'd spent the whole night before their departure worrying, until Trini had noticed he was still awake. "I love you," she'd whispered, and kissed his chest. "And I can't wait to be your wife."

Hutch was so relieved he'd finally been able to sleep. Maybe he'd just needed to hear it one more time.

~~~

Now, Hutch stood inside the little non-denominational chapel, trying really hard to breathe--much to Starsky's delight.

While the two men waited, Hutch got up to check how he looked in the mirror. After nervously inspecting his ivory-colored tuxedo, Hutch started to chew on his thumbnail as he turned towards Starsky. "Is it hot in here? I'm dyin'." Hutch began to pace, as if the motion would cool him off.

Stepping directly in front of Hutch to stop his incessant pacing, and pulling the gnawed-on thumb away, Starsky smiled and muttered, "Damn, Hutch. It ain't like this is your first rodeo."

Hutch glared at Starsky, but the man was too busy adjusting Hutch's tie to notice. Smacking Starsky's hand down, he growled, "This is different, and you know it, Gordo."

Starsky beamed and patted his friend's shoulder. "Ah, there we go."

Returning his friend's smile, Hutch realized Starsky'd only been trying to break the mood--it'd worked.

Gently pushing Hutch towards the door, Starsky quipped, "Let's get her married to you before she really starts to show."

Turning back, surprised, Hutch asked him, "How'd you know?" Trini and Hutch had decided not to tell anyone until she was further along--just to play safe.

Starsky smiled proudly. "Didn't--till you just told me."

"Asshole."

"Careful, Hutch, we're in a church."

As Hutch and Huggy waited for Trini and Starsky to join them at the altar, Hutch realized he wasn't nervous anymore. Standing in this little chapel, a great view of the island outside, their closest friends as witnesses, waiting for the woman he was going to spend the rest of his life with--Hutch suddenly breathed in contentedly, and smiled.

You haven't done too bad, Kenny. All the people you care about, care about you, too. You've come through it all O.K.!

There wasn't any more time for musings, though--the wedding march was starting.

Watching patiently, Hutch felt his chest swell up with pride when he first saw his bride and her uncle coming towards him. Starsky was beaming at the beautiful girl on his arm, and Trini kissed his cheek as they walked together down the aisle.

Hutch knew he had never seen a lovelier bride. He couldn't stop smiling at her, and marveling at her beauty.

Trini looked so much like she was part of the island now, Hutch wasn't sure he'd ever get her back home. Her skin had darkened up nicely, and her strapless ivory gown was so "native" she fit right in. Trini's bouquet consisted of fresh island flowers the hotel staff had arranged, and the hairdresser had woven even more live flowers into her hair.

Starsky stopped in front of Hutch, and instead of "handing off" Trini, he pulled his friend to him. The men hugged, and Hutch choked out, "Thanks for everything, Starsk."

Pulling back, Starsky wiped impatiently at his eyes. Hutch looked awfully close to crying himself, so Starsky laughed. "The women are supposed to cry at weddings, not us." Reaching back to Trini, Starsky took her hand in his and placed it into Hutch's shaking ones.

Hutch looked down at his hands. Damn! And I was doing so well, too!

Starsky moved to his position as best man, and Trini looked up at Hutch and smiled. As soon as she smiled up at him like that, Hutch knew it was O.K.--this was the one he'd been searching so hard for.

Thanks, Lord. I'm sure you wanted to give up on me, sometimes, and yet--you sent this gift to me. Thanks again.

~~~

The ceremony went off without a hitch, and it was beautiful, but Hutch was glad it was over. Trini could tell her new husband was relieved, and couldn't help teasing him. "You wanna come back here and re-new our vows in ten years?"

He'd practically whined, "Can't I just take you out and buy you jewelry or somethin'? Do people have to get remarried in ten..." Hutch stopped when he realized Trini was laughing at him. Pulling his devoted and beautiful (albeit young) bride to him, he whispered, "You weren't spanked enough as a child. Respect your elders." Placing his hand on her belly, Hutch kissed his wife (wife. Wow!).

Trini placed a gentle hand over his. "The way you puff up when you touch my stomach is a dead giveaway."

He shrugged. "What's it matter? Nobody will care now that I married my insatiable, young girlfriend."

Shaking her head, she laughed. "I'd punch you, but there'd be too many witnesses."

"Lucky me," he laughed.

Just then Starsky came by, drinks in hand. "Come on you two, we gotta make a toast."

Hutch pushed him away. "You are the best man. You make the toast and leave us alone."

Starsky smiled. "Oh, yeah."

Hutch laughed as his friend walked away. Trini looked down and shook her head at some private thought.

Hutch whispered, "A penny for your thoughts. Even if I don't have to pay now that we're married."

"I was just thinking how perfect you and David are together, and how perfect we are together. It just makes perfect sense that I'm carrying a Starsky and Hutchinson creation. What could be more, well...perfect?"

Laughing, Hutch squeezed his wife to him. "I can't top that one, love. Let's go listen to your uncle, then I'll make you glad you married me."

"I'm already glad. But, if you're planning on putting those old handcuffs to good use..."

Hutch roared with laughter as he sat down, pulling his lovely bride onto his lap to listen to Starsky. Hutch hated to be rude, but he hoped Starsky didn't take too long. He had a new bride to attend to.

~~~

Trini and Hutch were trying to make a graceful exit when Huggy walked towards Starsky--a pretty native woman in tow.

Starsky and Huggy were leaning in close to each other, deep in discussion, when Trini placed her hand on Hutch's arm. He'd been squinting so intently in the direction of the two men, he jumped a little when Trini touched him. She knew he was dying to know what they were discussing.

Trini smiled up at her husband. "Go on. See what's happened."

Gratefully, he gave her a hasty kiss, "Be right back."

As he hurried over to join the huddle, Trini laughed to herself, "Not for long. You're gonna have a case to attend to, my love."

Hutch came back to Trini after a few minutes, looking confused and a little angry. "Huggy overheard her talking with the island police. It would seem she's been 'working' the hotel with a friend, and the friend came up missing from a room party two nights ago. Wouldn't seem the police department is too concerned, but she is."

Trini knew his anger was directed at an inept police department, and the confusion...well, she knew he wanted to go and he felt guilty.

"Hutch. The three of you can put this to bed a lot faster if you all work together. Go ahead."

Relief crossed Hutch's face, and he smiled. "You are the best thing that ever happened to me. Are you sure? I mean, I don't want to ruin our wedding day."

"Hutch, we have all the time in the world. I'll keep the bed warm for you. Go solve this, honey."

Gently stroking her face, Hutch smiled, "All the time in the world, huh?"

Trini nodded, and kissed him.

Nodding back, Hutch ran to catch up with his already departing partners.

Trini started to turn back to the party when she heard Hutch's voice calling to her from the balcony above. "Hey!"

She waved and yelled back, "Hey, what?"

Throwing his arms up dramatically, and leaning over the balcony, he yelled, "I love you!"

"I love you, too, you idiot! Go solve this and get your butt back to me!"

Hutch placed a hand over his heart, and blew her a kiss as Starsky pulled him away from the balcony's edge.

"Come on, lover boy. Let's get to it, or my niece--your new bride--will hate us both." Even as he said it, Starsky knew it wasn't true. It made Trini happy when Hutch was happy. Ah, true love.

Trini smiled at the now empty balcony, as Leslie came and put an arm around her niece. Trini looked at her and laughed. "Officers Starsky and Hutchinson still reporting for duty, ma'am."

Leslie joined her niece in laughter. "Thank God."

THE END

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