This story first appeared in the zine, Above & Beyond (1996). This zine and many other fine S&H zines can be obtained from Agent with Style at: www.agentwithstyle.com. Comments on this story can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org and will be forwarded to the author.
K Hanna Korossy
"Thanks for helping me clean this place up, Starsk. And for...everything else." Believing in me, sticking by me, busting your hand on Simonetti... And...understanding.
(Shrug.) "Didn't have anything better to do tonight." You don't have to say it. We're partners--of course I was there for you.
"No, I mean it. I know I haven't been great company the last few days." 'You're awful quiet, buddy.'--I was a real jerk, Starsk. I don't know why you put up with me, let alone risked jail for me. And Dobey told me about the resignation...
"Hey, it's okay. You were having a rough time, 's all." It's already forgotten, partner. I know what it's like to lose someone you love. "Speakin' of which, how are you holdin' up?" I know you and Van weren't together anymore, but that doesn't stop the hurt.
"I'll make it." Thanks for being here, but I got no regrets, just... some old feelings to work through.
"Well, you mind if I crash here? It's kinda late and I don't wanna drive home now." We could always get drunk and play Monopoly...
"Be my guest." I know what you're doing, but I can't say I don't appreciate it. "Say, uh... You want to come with me to the funeral tomorrow?" Please. I don't want to do this alone.
"Yeah, sure, I already talked to Dobey. He's not expecting us in tomorrow." Of course I'm coming. I wouldn't have let you do it alone.
"Oh. Uh...that's good. I think I'll turn in now, Starsk. I'll see you in the morning." Thanks.
"Good-night, buddy." Anytime.
"Why don't you get some sleep, Starsk? We're still 20 minutes from home and the doctor said you need to get some rest." The doctor didn't sound too worried, but you can't hide from me how awful you feel. Those kooks really worked you over, partner. Thank God it's over.
"Nah, not yet. Got too much going on in my head." I'm only just beginning to lose the shakes and... Hutch, I'm still scared!
"Yeah?" Talk to me, buddy, I'm here, and Lord knows I was scared too.
"Yeah. Those guys weren't your everyday variety of weirdoes. I can still hear them chanting..." 'Simon, Simon, Simon.'--totally nuts. I told you what happened, but how can I tell you about the fear?
"Starsk, they were just plain sick. You can't explain or reason with people like that no matter how much you try." And I tried as hard as I could. I was scared too, scared to death of losing you. "Do you know the hoops Simon made us jump through to find you?" ...With my heart in my throat every second of the way...
"Yeah, Dobey told me 'bout the dreams." And about the way you and Huggy worked all night to figure it out. That creep knew what he was doing and he was playin' games with both of us. "I don't know if I could've figured it out." 'What took you so long?'--sorry, buddy, I didn't know.
"You could've if you had to." If it'd been my life on the line, you would have done the same thing. I just wish it could have been sooner. "Just don't go off to the john before the next trial, okay?" And don't you ever disappear on me like that again!
"Really." (Yawn.) "Think I will take a nap. Wake me when we get home, huh?" Don't know how you did it, but not so scared now...
"Sure thing." I'm not letting you out of my sight.
"Starsky, this plane is gonna land in half an hour and you haven't said two words." What's on your mind?
"Just been thinkin' 'bout Papa Theodore's neat little tricks." Like making me attack you. Attacking my best friend. Could've killed you...
"He probably did it with drugs, Starsk. They've worn off by now." It's over, Starsky, it wasn't your fault. Don't worry about it.
"How do you know? I mean how do you know it won't happen again?" I could turn on you again, someday, and that scares me, Hutch. How can you trust me when I can't trust myself?
"Starsk, it's over. You didn't hurt me and you're okay now." I'm worried about you, not about me. I trust you more than I do myself.
"You sure about that?" I don't know... Do you really trust me?
"Absolutely." Completely. You'll see, it'll be fine.
"Yeah, I guess you're right." Thanks.
"You okay? You never did get checked out after Finch's goons beat you up?" As if that were the problem.
"No, I'm okay. Just a little tired." And worn down. How many more times will I end up hurting those I love?
"You wanna come over for dinner tonight?" I know the feeling, but, you know, I'm here if you want to talk.
"I'm not in the mood for 2-day old pizza, Starsky." No.
(Quietly.) "You know, you should've told me where you were before. Huggy and I turned the city upside down looking for you after Finch set out his wanted posters." Didn't you know I was worried about you!?
(Pause.) "I know. I'm sorry. It's just..." What can I say? It was a lousy situation and I didn't want to lay it on you.
"I know." You needed some time, like me with Emily. I understand. "But don't do it again, huh?" You can count on me even when life is lousy.
(Smile.) "Yeah." I know.
"So, uh, what's going on with you and Meredith?" 'Next time my partner gets shot...'--nice sentiment.
"She's a swell lady." What do you mean by 'what's going on'?
"Yeah, you warmed up to her real fast." And forgot me just as fast.
"Well, we were stuck with each other, so we made the best of it." Oh, I get it...
"That's all." 'Made the best of it'--what is that supposed to mean?
"She also liked my car." (Pause.) "I wouldn't want her permanently as a partner though." Is this what you have to hear?
"Oh? Why not?" You're not going to make me ask, are you?
"I can't read her mind." ...but you're as transparent as glass, buddy.
"What?" All right, I'm asking.
(Shrug.) "I'm used to you." You're my best friend. But you knew that, didn't you?
"Oh..." Yeah, I guess I did.
"You still thinkin' 'bout Luke?" I wouldn't blame you if you were; I know I won't forget this week for a long time and I hardly knew him.
"I really loved that guy, Starsk." Numb. It's hard to know what to believe in anymore.
"Yeah." Go on.
"I don't know what happened to him. It's almost like...he just gave up." Crying in my arms... Ah, Starsk, is this what's going to happen to us?
"Maybe he didn't have someone to keep him going." Luke isn't us. I was there once upon a time, but...
I was there once upon a time, too. Until I met...you. "Like a friend?" You're right, Starsk, we are different. We've got each other.
(Smile.) "If you're lucky." We sure are, and we both know it.
"Anyone I know?" ...got each other...
Written in 1995