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From the same universe as "The General" from HAS 2

Charlotte Frost

"We're home," Starsky told his partner unnecessarily. Beside him, Hutch yawned and opened the passenger side door of the red Ford Camaro. Knowing the blond would be more interested in hurrying to the house--for already The General's excited cry could be heard from within--Starsky popped the trunk and said, "I'll get our stuff."

Thankfully, there wasn't much. One suitcase and some hiking and fishing gear were all they had needed for the one-week vacation to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. As Starsky gathered the items, he could hear Hutch at the door the blond had just unlocked, cooing at The General, who sounded like he was so overjoyed to see his master again that all he could do was whimper loudly over and over again.

"Hey, let me in, " Starsky called when he approached the door, which had slammed shut. Attention on the dog, Hutch reached back to hold it open.

Starsky let everything drop to the floor as soon as he stepped over the threshold. The General was racing madly about the living room, bounding on and off furniture at such a rapid pace that Starsky felt dizzy watching him.

"Oh, poor boy," Hutch said from where knelt on the living room floor. The dog charged him and flew into his arms. Hutch hugged him tightly. "Oh, poor boy. Left here all by yourself. Poor, poor lonely boy." The dog licked madly at his master's face while now having his head patted.

"Man," Starsky noted, "he really is glad to see us." He decided not to elaborate, for fear of Hutch scoring a point. The decision on whether or not to take The General along on the vacation had resulted in a discussion which, over a period of days, eventually turned into an argument. One which Starsky had won. Though The General loved riding in the car, a full week of it seemed to be asking too much of a dog who was used to being active. Plus, it would greatly curtail motels they'd be able to stay at. Besides, Starsky had argued, the sisters next door, Toni and Annette, had seemed very eager to take care of The General in their neighbors' absence.

Still, watching The General react so heavily to his master's return made Starsky feel a twinge of guilt that the little family vacation hadn't included the whole family.

There was a knock on the screen door. "Hey, can I come in?"

Starsky reached back to open it. "Sure, Annette." With his foot, he pushed the luggage and gear out of the way.

Annette had light brunette hair with a touch of gray. "I won't stay long, because I know you guys want to relax after your long drive."

"No, it's okay," Starsky said.

Holding the dog, whose rear end--which had a mere stump for a tail--was still wagging frantically, Hutch gestured to the couch. "Go ahead, sit down. Give us a full report on whether he was a good boy or not."

Starsky also moved to sit on the floor next to the dog. He patted the brown and white coat. The General glanced at him while wagging his tail harder, but otherwise his attention remained on his master.

"Oh, he was a good boy," Annette said. "No trouble at all. He just wouldn't eat much, because he kept wondering when you were coming home. Most of the time he'd just sit there at the front window and stare out the curtains. I tried to get him to fetch his toys, but he wasn't interested. He just wanted to stare out that window."

"Ah, poor boy," Hutch cooed. "I bet you thought we were never coming back, huh?"

The attention earned Hutch a wet kiss.

Starsky bit his tongue to refrain from pointing out that since they'd returned this time, maybe The General would understand they'd be returning in the future. He decided to hold that thought until they went on another vacation, when he could point it out to Hutch who, surely more than ever after hearing how lonely the dog had been, would want their pet to come along.

"So, did you guys have a good time?"

"Yeah," Starsky said while Hutch nodded agreeably. "It's beautiful country out there. I wouldn't hesitate to go back for an instant."

Annette stood. "Like I said, I don't want to keep you guys. Your mail is all on the kitchen table, along with this morning's newspaper. I threw the other newspapers away."

Finally, Hutch stood, giving The General a final pat. He clasped Annette's hand. "We really appreciate you and Toni taking care of him."

"Anytime, guys. He really is a good dog."

Starsky stood and held the door open for her. "You and Toni decide what night, and we'll take you out to a seafood dinner."

"Really, fellas, you don't need to do that."

"We insist," Hutch said. "Besides, we haven't had seafood in a while."

"That's right," Starsky put in. "So, let us know."

"All right, then," Annette stepped out the door. "I'll check with Toni. You guys have a good afternoon."

"Thanks, Annette. Bye."

They waved and then closed the door behind her. Hutch looked at the luggage and equipment. "Is that everything?"

"Yep." Starsky sighed. "Guess I'll start putting it all away."

Hutch reached for the leash that was on the coffee table and said to the dog. "Wanna go for a walk?"

The General's entire body wagged frantically in reply.

* * *

Starsky exhaled as the last of his semen spurted, his orgasm instilling a wonderful lassitude. He turned to look at the empty pillow beside him. Hutch might think that Sunday mornings--like every morning--was for going for a jog with The General, but he himself preferred to stay in bed until it was time for the televised sports events to start.

On all mornings he usually stayed in bed while Hutch and The General went for a jog. It wasn't until recently that Starsky had started masturbating during the private time. At first, he'd felt guilty. Then he rationalized that he wasn't hurting Hutch by indulging himself. After all, Hutch got all he wanted merely for the asking. And it wasn't that Starsky didn't get enough lovemaking with Hutch, it was just that...well, he found himself looking for a little variety.

The guilt was still there, stronger now, but it had nothing to do with the act of self-indulgence in and of itself. It had to do with the nature of the fantasies that he used to bring himself to orgasm. They were variations of the same fantasies he'd always used...long before he and Hutch started making love with each other.

She never had a name, sometimes not even much of a face. But she made wonderful noises and made him feel good. Sometimes she was blond, sometimes brunette, sometimes a redhead, sometimes even sexily bald. Sometimes she was a corporate secretary, sometimes a prostitute, sometimes a dancer, sometimes a wealthy housewife. Sometimes he met her on the bus, sometimes she wanted to give him a reward after he'd saved her from harm, sometimes they crossed paths on the beach.

Whatever the scenario, she was always a she.

Which was perfectly normal, Starsky tried to tell himself now, guilt overtaking the pleasure of the afterglow. After all, women were all he'd ever fantasized about throughout his life. He was sure at some point that he must have fantasized about Hutch, but since they'd started making it with each other shortly after reaching that point in their minds, his dreams came true very quickly. For certain, he'd never fantasized about another man. But that didn't make him feel any less guilty about his desire for self-indulgence.

Not hurtin' anyone, he silently insisted. In fact, it was better to release the tension in a harmless way, rather than letting it feed on him.

But why do I feel tension in the first place? a small voice demanded in the back of his mind. The desire for masturbation and the accompanying female fantasies had been going on for just a few months, if that.

He and Hutch were happy. Content. They had a job that they both believed in, a comfortable home life, and each had hobbies--Starsky mainly his car, Hutch mainly the dog--that kept them occupied when they weren't being attentive to each other. They also had a nice sex life.

Starsky frowned. Maybe that was the problem. Their sex life was "nice". Not thrilling, not exciting. Just nice. Even on their recent vacation, there had been nothing out of the ordinary except perhaps some extended foreplay.

"Dammit," he muttered, reaching for a towel from the nightstand and wiping at the puddle on his stomach. What right did he have to complain that their lovemaking wasn't something one could write a lusty book about? When they made love to each other, it was always done with the utmost tenderness, love, and passion. Starsky didn't have any complaints, and he was sure that Hutch didn't either.


Starsky bit his lower lip. He couldn't help it that he remembered. Remembered how it was to kiss her soft skin, feel her curves. Slide into her slick, warm wetness.

His eyes closed. There was nothing like it. When it came to sheer, physical sensation, there was nothing like it at all.

Surely, Hutch misses it, too?

While Hutch preferred walking and jogging to stay physically active, Starsky had decided to coach various Little League teams throughout the year. It got him out of the house, he enjoyed working with the kids, and it gave him a sense of satisfaction to help them be the best they could be. It was also good exercise.

Sometimes, Hutch would come and watch when Starsky's team had a game to play. But many times he preferred to stay at home, watch TV, mess with the dog, whatever.

Does he jerk off when I'm gone, too? Starsky wondered now. It made him feel a little better, knowing that Hutch might. And, surely, the blond's fantasies for those times centered around women, as well?

Starsky sat up in bed. He almost wanted to talk to Hutch about it...missing doing it with women. But he was afraid that if it turned out that Hutch didn't miss it, then he might feel threatened by Starsky's need.

Best not to bring it up at all, Starsky decided. Besides, it's not like we can do anything about it, anyway.

Trying to shake off the feeling of frustration, Starsky stepped toward the shower.

* * *

Later that afternoon, Starsky sat at one end of the sofa while Hutch sat at the other, their feet on the coffee table, eyes on the baseball game. Both men had beers. But Starsky's lap was empty while Hutch's was full of The General. The dog seemed to be dozing while his master idly scratched at his ears and rubbed and petted along the length of his body.

Starsky was interested in the game, but his glance kept straying to the events at the other end of the couch. He was feeling a little lonely, and not above feeling a little left out. But he squashed any thoughts of pointing it out, for he knew it would only result in his being accused of being jealous of the dog. And while it might be true that he was jealous at the moment of the attention the dog was receiving, he liked knowing that Hutch and The General had that degree of attachment. After all, that was what had attracted him to the banner that had announced the special adoption day at the pet store when he first got The General, nearly a year ago. The sign had said, "Give Yourself the Gift of Unconditional Love. Adopt a Pet." It wasn't himself he'd wanted to give the unconditional love to.

Another inning passed, and then The General suddenly came awake, his head cocked as though he were listening to something far away. He jumped off the couch and stuck his head between the closed curtains of the living room window.

Starsky didn't hesitate an instant. He put his beer aside and stretched out on the sofa, his head landing nicely in Hutch's lap.

The blond didn't speak. Instead, his fingers continued their motion, scratching behind Starsky's ears, his other hand rubbing along the cotton of Starsky's shirt.

Starsky grinned, but restrained the chuckle that threatened to emerge. It was tempting to make a joke about being treated like a dog, but he didn't want to disrupt the motion that was feeling awfully good right now.

In fact, it was feeling a little too good. As Hutch's hand rubbed at his denim-clad butt, Starsky felt the other side of his pants grow tight.

For that matter, as he wriggled and pressed himself tighter against Hutch's lap, he felt a movement in the denim that touched his shoulder.

The motion of the hand slowed. Then it slipped into the back of his jeans.

His crotch hardened fully, feeling that warm hand along his bare ass. Starsky was still staring at the TV, but he no longer knew what was happening in the game. Nor did he care. The hand that had been scratching at his ears reached inside his shirt and rubbed along the hair of his chest.

Starsky couldn't stand it any longer, and he rolled toward Hutch, his mouth landing right on the firm tent of denim. He reached to the fly and brought it down, Hutch wriggling to assist. At the same time, Starsky felt his own fly being lowered.

They ended up partially undressed. Starsky sucked avidly on the turgid flesh that had emerged when he lowered Hutch's fly. His lower body was twisted awkwardly, as he was trying to assist Hutch's hand in stroking his own flesh, which was no less hard.

They hadn't spoken a word. There was only the sounds of the baseball game, The General's low noises of whatever fascinated him outside the front window, and the suction of his mouth on Hutch's cock, and Hutch's hand working his own.

It felt good, stretched out like this on a Sunday afternoon, pleasing each other when neither had expected it.

Suddenly, The General started barking. And then the doorbell rang.

Starsky threw his head back, feeling his desire deflate. "Who could that be?" he wondered with disgust.

"Girl Scouts selling cookies," Hutch replied, already moving his hips to dislodge Starsky. "I saw them earlier when I was jogging."

Starsky sighed and sat up. Both men zipped their flies and rearranged their clothing before answering the door.

* * *

"Yeah, he was really sad while you were gone," Toni said as she mashed up her baked potato. The four of them were in their evening best, as Starsky and Hutch were treating the sisters to a "thank you" dinner at one of the city's finer seafood establishments. "He'd go for a walk with me, but then he'd be pulling on the leash to go back toward the house. I really think he thought he'd never see you again."

Annette looked at Hutch. "It really is neat how much he loves you." She laughed briefly. "I've had pets before and they never felt that way about me."

Hutch ducked his head bashfully. "I guess maybe we over-bonded."

"Nothing wrong with that," Toni approved. "He was really lucky that David rescued him from the Dumb Friends League. We all know how those dogs end up, if no one adopts them."

Starsky recalled, "He seemed to be the only one there that would fit our house and our lifestyle. They had all these little yappy dogs, and hairy dogs, and drooly dogs." He made a face. "I couldn't see having any of those. There was a Great Dane in the pen with General that I liked, but he was too big."

"You guys sure gave him a good home," Annette said. "It's just too bad he doesn't have anyone to play with when you're gone. Toni and I," she glanced at her sister, "talk about getting a cat sometimes, but we can never quite decide to just do it. But maybe if we did the cat could go over to your yard and play with General."

Toni rolled her eyes. "I keep telling you, Annette, cats are really independent. They aren't going to go over to a neighbor's yard and play with their dog. They have too many of their own little cat-things that they like doing. They aren't the kind of pet you can order around."

Annette looked at the men while gesturing to her sister. "So she keeps telling me. My sister, the expert on cats, even though she's never owned one."

They all chuckled and the conversation changed. Except Starsky found himself silently focusing back on what Toni had said. If The General had a companion, then there wouldn't be any more arguments about whether or not to bring him along on vacation. And they wouldn't have worry about The General being sad when left behind.

Everyone laughed and Starsky did, too, though he had no idea what had been said. He was too busy planning.

* * *

Starsky sat slumped in his chair at the kitchen table, watching his spoon sink into the pile of oatmeal in his bowl.

"You going to eat it," Hutch demanded, "or are you just going to sit there and stare at it?"

Starsky's eyes rose to meet those of his partner. Hutch was dressed for work, as Starsky was, and he was sitting across the table from Starsky and in the process of peeling an orange.

"Hutch, I've been thinking."

The pale lashes batted at Starsky. "Should I run away screaming?"

Starsky kicked him under the table.

"Ouch!" The blond reached to rub at his shin.

"Will you listen?"

"Damn, that hurt." Hutch's hand nursed the spot.

"Will you just listen to me a minute?"

"I'm listening, I'm listening."

"I've been thinking about what the girls said about The General and how lonely he gets." As predicted, Hutch was listening carefully. "I mean, even when we're just gone to work, it probably gets boring for him to just sit on the back patio all day."

"Yeah?" the blond encouraged.

"Well, you know there could be an easy solution."

"Which is?"

"We could get another dog, so he'd have someone to play with."

Hutch seemed surprised at the suggestion. But he said, "Well, sure, that would be fine by me. I'm just surprised that you'd want to put up with another dog."

"As long as we got one that was already housebroken, doesn't seem like it would be a big deal. At least now we're experienced owners."

The blond smiled. "That'll be great. You can have a dog then, too."

Starsky furrowed his brow, feeling that his partner was missing the point. "I don't need a dog, Hutch. I'm just saying that it would be a companion for The General."

"I know, but since I already have a dog, it's only fair that the next dog be your dog."

"Right. Whatever," Starsky said quickly, not understanding why Hutch wanted to make a big deal about the ownership thing.

"What kind do you want?" Hutch asked eagerly. "Male? Female? Large? Small? Furry? Short-haired?"

"It doesn't matter," Starsky insisted. "I don't have any special preference. Except I'd like to, you know, adopt one again. It's kind of a neat feeling knowing you've given an unwanted dog a good home."

"Yeah," Hutch nodded, as though he were pleased with Starsky's reasoning.

"We shouldn't get one too small," Starsky said thoughtfully. "I mean, it needs to be sort of the same size as The General, so they can play together. But we don't want to get one too big because our yard is so small. In fact, it probably ought to be somewhat smaller than General."

Hutch shrugged. "When do you want to go?"

"I guess Friday after work. Then we'd have all weekend to help it get used to its new home."

After breakfast, Hutch let The General out into the back yard. As he did so, he said, "Just think, fella, this weekend you'll have a boyfriend." He gave the dog a final pat. "Whaddya think of that?"

From behind his partner, Starsky reached to squeeze the nearest buttock. "Yeah," he said with enthusiasm. "Every creature on this Earth ought to have a boyfriend."

* * *

"Geez, there's so many," Starsky said as they walked along the rows and rows of glass-enclosed pens at the Los Angeles Dumb Friends League. He'd been excited about the idea of finding a new member to add to their household, but now he felt trepidation at having to choose among so many unwanted canines.

"Yeah," Hutch said, "You'll just have to choose the one that suits you."

Starsky frowned. Though he knew it would be, once again, talking to a brick wall, he grumbled, "Come off it. We'll pick one out together. I don't care whether it's 'my' dog or not. We're here to find a new friend for The General. That's all."

"You'll like having a dog of your own," Hutch insisted.

Starsky restrained a sigh and kept walking. He smiled at a black Labrador mix that came up to the glass at his approach, tail wagging eagerly. "You're friendly, aren't ya?"

"Fido," Hutch read from a paper taped onto the glass window. "'I'm four years old and need a new home. I like children and other pets. I need lots of exercise. In return, I give lots of love. Please take me home.' Aaaah," Hutch said, bending to get eye level with the dog. "You're about the same age as General." He watched the tail wag. "I bet you'd like playing with him."

"He's nice and friendly," Starsky noted. "But I think he's too big, Hutch. Our yard's too small for the two of them."

Hutch sighed. "Yeah, you're probably right. Let's look for smaller dogs."

They continued on, tapping on glass and cooing at the animals that greeted them eagerly.

"Oh, look at this," Starsky said, bending to a Sheltie mix that sat stone still, watching out the glass, "it looks like a miniature Lassie. Hey, Lassie," he tapped on the glass. The dog simply gazed back at him, not showing much reaction. "Geez, sure seems quiet."

"He might be anti-social," Hutch noted, "especially if he's ever been abused." He studied one of two cards on the glass. "Nikki. Sheltie. Oops, female. Spayed. Approximately one year old. That's all it says."

"What's the other card?" Starsky asked. "There's another one in there." The second dog was a grayish-tan, short-hair, a little smaller than the Sheltie, sitting back in the corner, wide eyes staring at the two men. It trembled visibly. "Ah, look how scared it is."

"Female," Hutch read. "Approximately two years old. That's all it says. Not even a name."

"Ah, poor girl," Starsky cooed at the glass. The dog seemed to shake harder. "Hutch, look how scared she is. Poor little thing. She's shaking all over, like she's thinks we're gonna hurt her."

"Well, can you imagine what it must be like?" the blond said sympathetically. "To be dumped off here, probably by strangers, and then be put in a pen with a strange dog and then put on display so all these people can come by and stare at you?"

"I wonder what her background is," Starsky said.

"Whatever it is, she doesn't look very playful."

Starsky looked back at his partner. "Well, gee, waddya expect? Like you said, if she just got dumped off here because she was a stray or something, she's too scared to be playful. But that doesn't mean she won't be once she gets rescued from this place."

"Starsky, are you seriously considering her?" Hutch asked with surprise.

Starsky straightened to look at his partner. "Well, why not? She's the right size. Well, maybe a bit small, but--"

"We don't even know if she's housebroken," Hutch pointed out.

Oh, yeah, there was that. "Well, let's go talk to the adoption desk and see if they know anything about her."

Hutch pulled a sheet out of his jeans pocket, which he'd picked up when they had entered the shelter. "We're supposed to write her card number on here and take it to the adoption window. Are you sure you don't want to look at some others first?"

"No, let's see what we can find out about her. If she doesn't pan out, we can look some more."

They went to the adoption window where they had to wait in line for over twenty minutes before it was their turn. The clerk at the window asked them questions to see if they understood what they were getting into by adopting a dog. When Hutch testily pointed out that they'd already adopted one, things went faster.

The clerk pulled a card. "It says here that she was a stray found by a family. The family kept her for a few months until the kids got tired of her, so they brought her here. They assume she's housebroken because they kept her outside all the time. That's all the information there is. Everything else is 'unknown', except they were feeding her dry dog food." The clerk looked up. "Would you like to meet her before making a decision?"

"Sure," Starsky said.

"Just have a seat and she'll be brought out to you."

Starsky rubbed his hands together as they sat down. "At least she's housebroken."

"We think," Hutch pointed out. Then, "I don't know, Starsk. She doesn't seem to be quite what we were talking about."

Starsky didn't respond, because he knew Hutch was right.

Ten minutes later an attendant appeared, carrying the trembling dog toward the row of chairs where people were sitting.

"There she is," Starsky said, getting up.

"You can meet with her in here." The attendant led them to a tiny room with a bench attached to the wall. "Ring the bell," he pointed to the wall, "when you're done." He placed his bundle on the wooden bench and left the room, closing the door behind him.

While Hutch stood by the door, Starsky sat on the bench next to her. "Hey, little girl," he whispered, reaching to pet her. She trembled harder, hunching low as though she wanted to disappear. "What you so afraid of, huh? There's nothing to be scared of." He petted her head, and he was relieved that she didn't move away. "Uncle Starsky is right here. He's not gonna let anything happen to you."

He took his hand away and she sat there shaking so hard that he half-expected her to urinate.

"Guess this is kind of a scary place, huh?" he continued to whisper. "It's tough when you don't know what's gonna happen to you. All these strange dogs and strange people. Some go away and never come back."

She ducked her head and took a hesitant step toward him.

"Ah, that's a good girl," he approved. "No need to be afraid of Uncle Starsky. He wouldn't hurtcha for anything in the world."

She put a trembling paw on his thigh.

"Ah, that's a good girl." He put his arm around her, and she crawled into his lap. "Ah, what a brave girl." He petted along her coat, liking the softness, as it was a little thicker than The General's. She burrowed against him, putting her head inside the flap of his jacket.

He looked at Hutch, who had remained silent. "It's like she wants to hide."

The blond said, "At least she trusts you enough to get in your lap."

"Ah, poor girl," Starsky stroked the brindle coat. "I can see that you're a good girl. You deserve a nice home." He continued petting her and felt something happening to his chest, his whole body seeming to turn to mush. His mouth dropped open and looked up at his partner. "Hutch, she stopped shaking."

Hutch came forward, kneeling. "Maybe she exhausted herself."

Starsky wasn't sure of the reason; he just knew that her trust in him was something he couldn't betray. "Hutch, we got to get her. I can't put her back in the cage where she's gonna be all scared again. She trusts me." He continued to pet her, loving the warm bundle in his lap, they way she rested against him with such faith that he would make everything right in her world.

Hutch sighed. "I'm only going to say this once: you're making an emotional decision, not a practical one."

"So? When I got The General in the first place, it was totally spontaneous. In fact, I was scared as hell while I was driving him home, because I was afraid you wouldn't like him."

Hutch chuckled softly. "Yeah, I guess you're right. Besides, it probably wouldn't hurt to have a female in our household." He stood and went to the button on the wall. "Just wait until General finds out he's going to have a girlfriend instead of a boyfriend." He pushed it.

A moment later the attendant appeared.

"We'll take her," Starsky said.

The attendant reached for her. "Tell the people at the adoption desk you want her."

The dog started shaking again at being taken from Starsky's lap.

"Where are you taking her?" Starsky asked.

"Back to her kennel." Seeing the look on Starsky's face, the man said, "Don't worry.

If you want her, she's your dog. But you have to go through the paperwork first."

Starsky looked at Hutch, and the blond said, "Let's get to the paperwork then."

They had to take a number and wait nearly an hour. When they were once again at the window, the attendant said, "We'll have to keep her here for a couple of days to be spayed. You can pick her up Monday."

"Monday?" Starsky stuttered in disbelief. "Can't we take her home now and bring her back later for that?"

"I'm afraid not, sir. Our regulations are that no adult animal leaves here without being sterilized first."

Starsky started to protest, but Hutch said, "Come on, it'll be better this way to get it over with."

"Yeah, but what's that going to do to her?" Starsky wanted to know. "Being operated on on top of everything else."

"Sir, it's a very simple procedure. Very routine. Almost all dogs recover without any side effects at all. She'll just have a few sutures that will need to come out in five to seven days. We'll give you a list of vets who will do it for free, and at the same time give her a checkup at no charge."

"There's no way she can come home earlier than Monday?"

The woman smiled. "Sir, she'll be in good hands."

"But she's so scared," Starsky protested.

The woman's smiled broadened.

Starsky wasn't sure he liked being laughed at. "What?" he demanded.

"It's nothing," she said pleasantly. "It's just that you're demonstrating bonding behavior. We like to see that. I have no doubt that you'll give her the utmost in love and care. Now, if you'll just sign this," she presented a form, "and pay the $25.00 adoption fee, she'll officially be yours so no one else can adopt her."

When the paperwork was finished, they strolled away from the adoption area. "Man," Starsky said, "it's going to seem like forever before Monday. Think maybe I'll call in sick so I can spend all day with her."

Hutch was silent beside him, as the blond had mostly been throughout the entire adoption procedure. Starsky looked at him. "How come you're not saying nothin'?"

A sly grin spread beneath the mustache. "I'm trying hard not to."


"Starsky, do I really have to say I told you so?"

"Whaddya mean?"

"About having a dog of your own?"

"She's both of ours."

The blond smirked. "It wasn't my lap she crawled into."

"Well, you were standin' up."

"It wasn't me who was throwing such a fit at the window about why does she have to stay to be spayed."

"Well, someone hasta stand up for her."

Hutch chuckled. "Right."

Starsky was about to make a retort, but then he spotted a pet store near the exit. "Let's go in here and buy her some stuff."

After they picked out some supplies, including a matching pink collar and leash, Starsky picked up a book. "Look at this. Second-Hand Dog." He leafed through the pages. Then he said, "Listen to this," and read, "'The second-hand dog is second-hand for all his life. He's been disappointed. He put his love and trust in a person or in a family and they broke that trust. They gave him up.' Ah, Hutch, we gotta get this book." He tossed it at the blond, who had taken on the task of holding all the supplies Starsky picked out.

"What about a bed?" Hutch gestured to where the baskets were.

Starsky picked up one with a pink cushion. "I like this one."

"You know," Hutch said as they went to stand in line at the counter, "she may be like The General was and not want to sleep in it at first."

Starsky grinned at him. "Then after she gets to know me I'll put my dirty underwear in it and she'll think it's heaven."

Hutch tried not to blush at the amused glances from the people around them.

* * *

"A girlfriend," Hutch emphasized to The General, who sat obediently before the sofa, listening to his master. "Your very own girlfriend."

"Yeah," Starsky said, kneeling beside the dog and patting him on the head. "Your very own girlfriend to play with." The dog turned to look at him. "But you've got to treat her with lots of respect. Share your toys and stuff."

"But not your bed," Hutch shook his finger as the canine head turned back to him.

"Unless you want to," Starsky amended, and The General looked at him again. "Except your bed smells too much like Master Hutch, so she'll probably want to sleep in her own bed, which will smell more like Uncle Starsky."

"Yeah," Hutch told the eyes that returned to him. "Especially since Uncle Starsky's underwear is a lot dirtier than Master Hutch's."

"Yeah," Starsky said, "and the reason Master Hutch knows that is because he has a really strange interest in Uncle Starsky's underwear." The dog had no sooner looked toward him before his attention was drawn back to his master's voice.

"What Master Hutch would really like is if Uncle Starsky didn't wear any underwear at all."

"Except that Uncle Starsky has such a huge prick that without underwear it would get caught in the zipper all the time and get damaged, and then Master Hutch wouldn't like Uncle Starsky any more."

Hutch shrugged. "Except Master Hutch," he waited for the dog to look back at him, "could still make use of Uncle Starsky's backside, so he'd still keep him around."

Starsky took the General's nose and turned the dog back toward him. Forlornly, he asked, "Is that love or what?"

The General licked Starsky's face.

* * *

They had told Starsky that he could pick up the new member of their family at nine am. After leaving Hutch with the responsibility of telling Dobey that he was too sick to come into work, Starsky left for the Dumb Friends League with leash and collar in hand.

Thankfully, early in the morning the shelter was less crowded, and Starsky didn't have to wait for his turn at the window. He told them who he was and was asked to sit down and wait until they brought the dog out. It ended up being a long wait. Finally, he spotted her in an attendant's arms and stood, reaching for her.

"This is your dog?" the attendant asked.

"Yeah." She was still shaking, but looking bright-eyed and alert.

The attendant maneuvered her onto her back. "Her stitches," he indicated the sutures, "will need to come out in about a week. Just be careful around them. Otherwise, she should be fine."

"Okay," Starsky said, taking her trembling form in his arms. He decided not to bother with the collar and leash. "Thanks." He started toward the door, soothing, "It's okay, it's all okay now." He shifted his arms and she ended up with her head on his shoulder. He was startled when she buried her face in his neck. "Ah, little princess," he cooed, rubbing along her back and feeling his blood pressure lower. "Uncle Starsky is gonna take good, good care of you."

He emerged from the shelter to the parking lot and she lifted her head. He tightened his arms, wondering if she might try to get away, but she seemed more relaxed and wasn't shaking any more.

"Hope you don't get car sick," he said as he opened the passenger side of the Camero. "Just gotta take a little ride to your new home. It's gonna be your home forever and nobody's ever gonna get rid of you ever again." He lowered her to the seat, then quickly shut the door. He got in the driver's side and started the motor. She put her front paws on the armrest and looked out the side window. "Maybe you like riding in the car," he noted. He reached over and rolled down the window a few inches. "There, now you can get some air."

He drove slowly, watching her look out the window. He kept talking to her, and she occasionally glanced back at him. He also reached to pet her periodically, but she seemed more interested in where they were going than acknowledging the attention.

Finally they were home. "Okay," he said as he parked behind Hutch's Mercury and turned off the motor. Apparently, the blond had decided he wanted to be part of the welcoming committee and had found an excuse to leave Parker Center. "This is your new home. It'll be real nice, but The General might get excited when he meets you. But he's real nice, too."

Starsky put on her collar and leash. The bright pink looked attractive against her brindle coat. He went around to the passenger side and opened the door. She jumped out but, unlike when he'd first brought The General home, she didn't seem to have any interest in trying to run away.

Starsky walked in front of her. "Come on," he said, leading the way up the sidewalk.

She trotted behind, looking around her.

Hutch opened the door and held it open from a squatting position. He had The General by the collar. "Ah, look," he said softly, "your new girlfriend."

The General strained forward, his rear end wagging hesitantly.

Hutch pulled at his collar. "Come on, boy, let her come inside."

Their new dog also seemed hesitant, and when she resisted the tug on her leash, Starsky picked her up and carried her inside.

He sat in an easy chair and put her on the floor. "There you go, girl. Say hello to your new brother."

"Boyfriend," Hutch corrected, letting The General move toward her.

"Well, whatever."

The two dogs sniffed noses. Then they moved a step and sniffed at each other's rear.

Hutch grinned. "Now you don't have to wait to meet other dogs on walks before you get to sniff some ass, huh, boy?"

The new family member tried to move away, but The General kept sniffing at her.

Starsky scooped her up in his arms. "Give her a break," he scolded.

"It's going to take them a while to get used to each other," Hutch said. "We're going to have to let them work it out themselves."

The General was staring at the bundle in Starsky's arms. He lay down at Starsky's feet and whimpered softly.

Hutch said, "You're already wanting to play, aren't you, boy?"

The stump of a tail wagged in response to his master's voice.

"It would be nice to let her get a chance to get used to everything," Starsky said. The dog now seemed comfortable in his arms.

"Maybe we should put them outside, where there's more room."

Starsky sighed, then realized it wouldn't be a bad idea. Especially since they didn't know for sure if their new dog was housebroken or not. He stood, holding her. "Hey, Girlfriend, you wanna go outside?"

She didn't react, other than raising her head from his chest.

Hutch slid open the glass door. "Outside, boy."

The General ran out, but then turned around to watch the center of attention.

Starsky carried Girlfriend out and put her on the grass. "There you go, girl. Why don't you look around?"

She sniffed curiously at the grass, then began to move along the edge. The General watched her for a while, then moved closer, studying her intently.

"Leave her alone," Hutch said firmly. The dog looked up at his master's voice, but didn't seem inclined to obey. He shadowed her while Girlfriend continued her exploration.

Starsky slipped his arm around Hutch's waist. "Our little family has now grown to four. Never woulda imagined it when we first moved in."

Hutch merely grunted, watching their pets.

Starsky leaned next to Hutch and found himself thinking of last night. There wasn't anything very memorable about it. They done a sixty-nine and then rolled over and fallen asleep. As with most of their lovemaking these days, the act was for the most part an afterthought, something that they figured they may as well indulge in since the lights were out. And perhaps for no reason other than that they hadn't done it in a while.

Starsky wasn't even sure it could be said that they made love at least once a week anymore.

As always when the subject crossed his mind, he tried to rationalize it and tell himself that it was only natural that their desires would diminish with time. That because they were in each other's presence so much, the need wasn't there to join so intimately on a frequent basis. That they received enough pleasure from day-to-day life that their passions didn't demand a more intense outlet.

And yet, Starsky felt an urge now to apologize to Hutch. To tell him that he was sorry that last night had been lacking in fireworks, that they should make a greater effort or not bother at all. Lack of frequency was one thing, but languor and indifference were more difficult to swallow.

But Starsky also knew he would not speak his thoughts out loud. For Hutch didn't show any ill effects from last night. In fact, Starsky realized now, his big blond's seeming acceptance of their lackluster lovemaking was what was most disturbing of all.

Or is it that he feels as I do and is just as afraid to say anything, because he doesn't have a solution, either?

That was a more comforting thought, though Starsky still had no idea as to what the answer to their troubles would be.

Hutch turned away from Starsky's grip. "I've got to get back to work," he said with a regretful sigh.

"Did Dobey believe you when you told him I was sick?"

The other shrugged. "What difference does it make?"

"Well, I'll stay here and keep an eye on the pooches while you slave away."

"I hope my 'slaving away' means I can expect a full-course meal tonight."

Starsky grinned. It was an unspoken agreement that whenever one stayed home--unless he was really sick--it was his responsibility to make a 'real' dinner. "Have I ever failed you?" he challenged.

Hutch opened the glass door. "Only the time you considered home-delivered Chinese food to be a 'real' meal."

Starsky chuckled. He sat down in a patio chair and continued watching the dogs while listening to Hutch drive away. Girlfriend had explored most of the yard, relieved herself, and was now looking around. She spotted Starsky and came trotting eagerly toward him. The General still followed close, studying her, as though not sure what to make of this new presence in their lives.

Starsky scooped her up when she was close enough. "That's a good girl." He looked at The General, who stood at his knee, watching her, hind end wagging slowly. "She's a nice girl, isn't she, fella? Uncle Starsky picked her out himself. When she gets used to you, she'll be a nice playmate." He patted The General, as though to enforce the words.

Girlfriend curled up in Starsky's lap, eyes darting back and forth, as though unsure of what to make of her circumstances.

Starsky stroked her, feeling the warm fuzziness come over him again, knowing this was what was meant when scientists said that pets were good for one's health. He remembered when he used to always feel that fuzziness when he was around Hutch. He did still feel it at times, like just a few moments ago when he put his arm around him. He also used to get horny around Hutch with very little provocation. He still got horny now, but there seemed to be a spark that was missing.

Never thought we'd get like that, pal. After seeing how much joy makin' love to each other could add to our lives, I never thought we'd become nonchalant about it; or that it would ever seem ordinary.

Starsky patted the arm of the chair. "Here, General. Sit."

The General sat next to him.

Starsky patted the dog's head as he hugged their new family member closer against his body. "At least we all got each other. I guess that's something, even if Master Hutch and Uncle Starsky don't have to show it to each other anymore."

Speaking the words out loud brought no comfort.

* * *

Starsky twirled the spaghetti around his fork, over and over again.

"What's eating you?"

He looked up. "Huh?"

Piercing blue eyes met his own. "Something's bothering you. What is it?"

Starsky's eyes lowered to his plate. It made him feel guilty that Hutch was concerned. Still, he couldn't imagine telling the truth. He shrugged, settling for a half-truth. "I'm kinda disappointed in myself because I really wanted to make a nice dinner. Garlic bread and the whole bit. Maybe candles." He smiled bashfully, shrugging again. "Just didn't take the time."

Those eyes now twinkled with mischief. "Well, dog owner, you did have other things on your mind."

"Yeah, but she's done pretty well." Starsky glanced down at the brindle form lying on the kitchen floor. Her eyes were still darting about suspiciously. As usual, The General was at his master's feet. The animals had had their dinner with bowls on opposite sides of the patio. The General kept looking up to see what Girlfriend was eating, but he hadn't actually stolen from her dish until she had turned away from it.

"Hopefully, she'll be interested in playing before too long." Hutch shook his head, eyes on the subject of the conversation. "She does seem like such a homely little thing."

Starsky muttered, "She just needs somebody to love her."

Hutch nodded, grinning. "Isn't it odd how she's chosen you as the one who's going to love her, never mind that you had no interest in a dog of your own."

Starsky knew he was doomed to being teased for all eternity about that. "Well, I can't help it if she chose me to be her master."

"Only after you melted all over when you saw her in the window. Dogs aren't stupid. They know a schmuck when they see one."

Fine. He could give as good as he got. "Then congratulations to The General for making you his Number One Schmuck. He ain't no dummy, either."

"Hey, when you bought him, you bought him for me," Hutch defended. "He had no choice but to make me his master because you didn't want to be." The General had already straightened into a sitting position after hearing his name. Hutch now petted and cooed to him. "That's because you knew who was going to take you for a jog and for walks, huh?" The dog's hind end wagged as he got to his feet. "All Uncle Starsky does is work on his car and putter around the house." Hutch patted his head. "You knew who would be a much more fun master, didn't you, boy?"

Starsky rolled his eyes. "Never mind the little fact that Master Hutch had stopped jogging altogether until Uncle Starsky got him a dog to get him off his lazy ass."

"Speak of lazy asses," Hutch said more seriously, beckoning The General to once again lie at his feet, "are you going to take your little princess out jogging with us tomorrow morning?" His tone made it obvious how Starsky was expected to answer.

Starsky frowned, turning his attention back to his spaghetti. It tasted horribly bland. "I doubt it. Especially not tomorrow. She needs time to get used to things. She's a lot more timid than The General was when we got him."

Hutch turned his attention to his own food, looking as though he were fighting back a frown of his own.

They hardly spoke the remainder of the meal.

* * *

"Hey, Girlfriend," Starsky whispered to the form stretched out on the floor beside the bed. Like The General when they first got him, she hadn't shown any interest in sleeping in her basket. "Wanna come into bed with Uncle Starsky?" She raised her head and looked up at him. "We can't tell Master Hutch." Hutch would kill him if he knew he let her get into their bed, after Starsky had been adamant that The General wouldn't be allowed on the bed. But this was different, he defended to himself, because Girlfriend needed extra special love.

She got to her feet as he leaned over the side of the bed and scooped her up onto the mattress, he said, "I think I should be Master Starsky to you and Hutch would be Uncle Hutch. But then, I guess, things would get confusing when you and General are in the same room. Guess we better leave things as they are." He pushed gently at her until she lay on her side, and then he rubbed up and down her chest and back. "It's not so bad living here, is it?" he asked, chin in his head. "It'll be even better when you get used to it. The General is a really nice dog and you can have a good time playing with him."

Starsky swallowed, wishing the guilt would go away. He had turned Hutch down once again this morning when Hutch had tried to encourage him and Girlfriend to go jogging with him and The General. He didn't know how to explain his reluctance to Hutch. The truth was that they spent so much time together, Starsky had come to enjoy the twenty minutes every morning when they were separated. Especially when he had the urge to...think about how it used to be doing it with girls. Except he hadn't been interested in that either this morning.

He sighed out loud, still stroking the dog, who seemed more relaxed. "It's probably not that easy being a dog," he told her, "but I promise you, it's a lot tougher being a human being. You love somebody a whole, whole bunch--and they love you--but sometimes just knowing you love each other isn't the whole picture. There's other stuff, like making an extra effort to do special things for each other. Like making each other feel real, real good. I mean, making each other feel good shouldn't be a chore."

He stopped speaking out loud then, not even brave enough to tell Girlfriend what was on his mind. He wondered again if his thoughts of women were unique to himself, or if Hutch thought about it as often as he himself did--or at least sometimes. He wondered if Hutch was just as restless as he, was thinking about their relationship this very moment, wondering what to do to add the spark back...put the romance back into their love.

We've always been able to solve anything, as long as we talk about it, he reminded himself. Yet, if he told Hutch of his insecurities and/or his fantasies--and Hutch hadn't felt the same--the damage could be irreversible.

Starsky did know one thing for certain. He had to come up with a solution. For his distraction was getting noticeable and would only become more so.

He sighed again. "Just don't know what to do," he told Girlfriend, then scooped her up and gently placed her back on the floor. He got up from the bed and glanced at her again. "But I've got to do something, don't I?"

She looked at him sadly.

* * *

A few evenings later, Starsky and Hutch both watched from the back porch as The General raced around the yard and then came to a halt in front of Girlfriend, who was lying in the grass, watching him.

The General lurched down into the grass with his front legs, his hind end in the air and wagging profusely.

"Ah, look, he wants her to play," Hutch said.

The General feigned this way and that, but Girlfriend only stared at him. Finally, he nudged at her, but she seemed only to curl back upon herself.

"Ah, come on, Girlfriend," Starsky called, "go play with him. It's okay."

The General let out a high-pitched bark of encouragement and frustration. Still, Girlfriend wouldn't move.

"I wonder what's wrong with her," Hutch said, his own voice edged with frustration. They had taken her to get her stitches removed the day before, and the vet had looked her over and said she was in good health. Hutch now moved out onto the grass and picked up a squeaky toy. "Here, boy," he called, squeezing it to get The General's attention. "Go fetch." He tossed it into the air. The General tore out after it and caught it before it landed. "Good boy!"

Starsky picked up a little ball that they'd gotten just for Girlfriend, because it was too small for The General. He rolled it in front of her nose. "Here, girl, go get it!"

She merely looked at him without raising her head.

"Come on, it's okay," he encouraged. But she wouldn't budge.

Hutch was still playing fetch with his dog. When he threw the rubber toy into the bushes where The General couldn't find it, the dog went over to Girlfriend again and playfully lunged at her. As soon as he moved away, she got up and went over to where Starsky was and lay down next to him.

Hutch shook his head, watching her. "What a party pooper."

Starsky patted her head. "Geez, give her a chance." He loved her unconditionally. But he couldn't deny his own disappointment.

* * *

Starsky hung up the phone and looked at his partner across the table in the squadroom. "I guess I'm gonna have to stay home again on Thursday." It was two days away.

Hutch looked up. "Why?"

"The phone company says they can only schedule appointments between eight and noon and between one and five on weekdays. So, I made it for between eight and noon on Thursday."

Hutch raised his voice. "So we've got to go tonight and tomorrow without a telephone?"

Starsky shrugged. Their phone line had gone dead sometime yesterday. "They say that's the best they can do."


"Would you rather stay home instead?"

"No," Hutch muttered, leafing through the files on his desk. "You go ahead."

Starsky knew that the reason Hutch didn't want to be the one to stay home was because he didn't want to have to fix dinner. "Well, in that case," Starsky said, "I guess I'll call a lawn service to also come out that day, since we've been meaning to have the grass analyzed." It seemed to be less healthy than usual the past few months.

Hutch was involved in his files and didn't seem to be paying attention.

Starsky gazed at the blond head of hair. He wondered what Hutch would think if he had any idea about where Starsky's thoughts had been headed lately. One thing was for sure: for better or for worse, Hutch was going to find out on Thursday.

* * *

The telephone man presented Starsky with a clipboard. "If you'll just sign right here, Mr. Starsky."

Starsky signed where the man had put an X. "We won't be charged for this, right?"

"No. The problem was out on the pole, so it's the phone company's responsibility." He tore off a sheet and gave it to Starsky. "If you have any other problems with your telephones, just give us a call back."

"Right." Starsky led the way to the door. "Thanks." He let the man out and then closed the door behind him.

He laid the paper on the kitchen table, then stood staring at the phone. The one that now worked. The lawn company had said they'd be out about four o'clock, and it wasn't even quite eleven yet.

Starsky swallowed and picked up the receiver. As he dialed the familiar number, he had a sense of destiny...of reaching a point of no return.

"Hutchinson speaking."

Starsky resolved to sound firm. "You need to come home."

"Why?" Suspicious.


Now concern. "Starsky, what's wrong?"

"Just come home."

"Okay, when I break for lunch I'll--"

"No. Now."

A pause, then a soft, worried, "Are you in trouble?"

Starsky felt a stab of guilt, knowing that Hutch was probably imaging someone holding a gun to his head. "No. But you have to come home. Right now."

Annoyance this time. "Why?"

Starsky gritted his teeth. "Be-cause-I-said-so."

Long silence, which meant puzzlement...for starters. Finally, a short, "Okay." The line went dead.

"Good boy," Starsky whispered, hanging up the receiver.

Stomach churning, he slowly moved back to the bedroom. When he reached it, he straightened a corner of the spread of the made bed. Convinced there was nothing more he could do there, he went back down the hall. Then he returned to the kitchen and opened the sliding glass door.

The dogs had been waiting on the patio for it to open, and they trotted inside. While The General went into the living room to watch out the window for his master, Girlfriend sat next to Starsky's leg.

He reached down and patted her. "Good girl." Then he scooped her up into her arms, needing something to hang onto while he waited.

Normally, the drive between Parker Center and their house was twenty minutes. If Hutch was curious, he'd cut that down to twelve to fifteen minutes, depending on traffic. If he was feeling resentful of being ordered home, he could easily make sure it was half an hour.

Starsky grinned, rubbing his cheek against Girlfriend's coat. He thought the twelve to fifteen minutes a more likely possibility.

He paced the living room floor back and forth, speaking occasionally to the dogs.

Finally, twelve minutes later, the green Mercury pulled to an abrupt halt in front of the house. The General rushed to the door, hind end wagging eagerly.

Starsky didn't follow suit. He waited, holding Girlfriend, as Hutch tore open the door and marched into the house. "What's going on?" With his questioning eyes on Starsky, he squatted down and petted The General.

"I needed you to come home. Let's put the dogs out."

Hutch frowned, watching as Starsky went to the sliding door and opened it. "Go on," they both prompted the dogs.

After closing it, Starsky said, "Back here," as he led the way to the bedroom. Instead of entering it, he stood to one side, so Hutch could enter first.

He came up behind Hutch and put his hands on his shoulders. "Just stand right here a minute."

Impatiently, Hutch turned and demanded, "What's going on?"

Starsky squeezed the shoulders warningly. "Just stand here a minute. And don't talk."

"What do you mean--"

From behind, Starsky reached around and clamped his hand over Hutch's mouth. In his ear, he growled, "I said, don't talk."

Hutch stilled, his confusion dominating the air around them.

From behind the taller man, Starsky stretched to open a dresser drawer. He pulled out a pair of black socks. He wrestled them apart, then let one drop to the floor. With the other, he reached up and put it around Hutch's eyes.

"Just relax," he soothed as he tied it at the back of the blond head. Hutch started to speak, then shut up. "You know I'm not gonna hurt you." Starsky noted with a touch of amusement that he felt it necessary to make that statement.

He moved back a few steps, watching Hutch from the side, liking the black sock against the fair skin and hair. "Undress," he ordered.

The other's mouth moved a moment, but then the jaw firmed as Hutch again decided to be obedient. As he reached to remove his jacket, Starsky noticed a slight movement at the crotch of his partner's tight jeans.

Good boy. You've got the idea.

The jacket was off and Hutch hesitated, as though not knowing what to do with it. Finally, he let it drop to the floor. Then he unsnapped his shoulder harness and did likewise, though was more careful about lowering it gently. He unbuttoned his plaid shirt. He started out fast, but then slowed down, as though realizing the point of this.

Starsky grinned. So far, so good.

The shirt was now on the floor. Hutch's slightly tan, leanly muscled upper body presented an even nicer contrast against the black blindfold.

Hutch put his hands on his jeans, parting the snap. He seemed to be getting impatient, for now he pushed the denim and his underwear down together, and Starsky wasn't surprised to see the partial erection that was revealed. He waited while Hutch maneuvered out of his shoes and socks, and then slipped his pants the rest of the way off.

"Nice," Starsky whispered after Hutch had straightened. He watched the other's penis rise a little higher at the compliment. Then he stepped closer and took Hutch by the arm. "Over to the bed." When Hutch's knees touched the mattress, Starsky directed, "Go ahead and get on. Lie on your back."

Starsky helped maneuver Hutch into the position that he wanted him in. When he was satisfied, Hutch was lying in the middle of the bed, head on the pillows. Starsky carefully straddled him and picked up his partner's right hand. Though he didn't think it was necessary, he whispered, "You know I'm not going to hurt you," as he tied an elastic strap around Hutch's wrist, securing it to the brass headboard. He was pleased that Hutch let him pick up the other wrist and tie it, as well.

Starsky moved to one side, then stood. He crossed his arms and regarded the naked form, blindfolded and bound, lying full length on the bed. "Know why I wanted you to come home?"

Hutch's jaw moved, then he seemed to remember that he wasn't supposed to talk.

"It's okay to move your head," Starsky told him.

Hutch shook his head back and forth.

Gently, Starsky said, "I needed you to come home because I had a story to tell you. A bedtime story." He watched the facial muscles move to form a frown of puzzlement.

Starsky sat on the edge of the bed. "This story takes place once upon a time, back before know." He leaned close to his captive. "Think back, Hutch," he beckoned. "Back to how it used to be."

The other's face smoothed into curiosity.

Starsky sat with his hands in his lap, facing his partner. "You've had a long, hard day at work. People murdered, no leads, your partner is surly, nothing makes sense anymore. You wonder why you bother. You leave the station in your pathetic-looking LTD. You mean to go home, but you know going home will just mean feeling worse because you won't have a partner to take your misery out on. So you see a bar you've never been to before, and you decide to stop. You tell yourself you're just going to go in and have a beer.

"You walk in, and it's not too busy yet. You've never been here before, so no one knows you're a cop, and they don't take any special notice of you. But as soon as you head for the counter, you see exactly what you're looking for, and you know that's why you really came here.

"She's sittin' there, Hutch. She has nice, long soft hair. Medium brown, falls just past her shoulders. She's wearing this simple red dress. But there's nothing innocent about it. It's short enough that you know there's no way she'd be in this bar, sitting at the counter alone, unless she was hoping to leave with a handsome dude like you. When she spots you, she re-crosses her legs, and you know that she wants you to see how long and graceful they are.

"You go up next to her, thinking how easy this all seems. That it was meant to be. You smile and say hello and ask her name. 'Candy,' she says. And you're thinking it's not her real name, but she chose that name because it has a double meaning. She's looking you up and down, and it makes you feel a little embarrassed because she's so obvious about it, but you're thinking again how easy this is. And you're glad.

"'Candy,' you say to her, 'can I buy you a drink?' You notice then how red her lipstick is. She says, 'Thanks, I'll have a screwdriver.' She looks you right in the eye when she says that, and you're thinking it's more double meanings and you can't believe your luck. You get the bartender and order her a screwdriver and just get a beer for yourself. You remind yourself that you're a gentleman and you resist telling her that you've got your very own personal screwdriver, which you'll happily loan to her, if she's interested."

Starsky paused, watching Hutch's erection harden. Otherwise, his partner was completely still. "But, instead, you talk about how nice the weather is. You ask her if she's from around here and she says 'born and raised'. The bartender brings the drinks and you decide to go ahead and sit down next to her, even though it sort of crowds things in the front of your underwear. She plays with the little umbrella on her drink, and then she looks at you over the top of her glass as she licks the end of it. Then she takes her first sip.

"You watch her, thinking about how great those red lips would feel wrapped around you. Then you try to tell yourself that you might be assuming too much because you don't want to be disappointed. You wonder how long of a lead-in there's going to be. You both drink a little more, watching each other, then you say, 'Would you like to go to a movie?' She looks at you, smiles a little like she's amused, and you hope she's thinking that she hopes you aren't serious about seeing a movie first. She says, 'That would be great. I have a newspaper back at my apartment. It's just a couple of blocks from here.'

"Another strike. Her apartment is just a couple of blocks away. You find yourself wanting to say something like 'how convenient', but you're afraid it'll sound too corny, so you just say, 'Great.' You make a point of tilting your beer bottle like it's empty, but it really isn't. She watches you while she sips on her straw until she makes a slurping sound. Then she puts her glass on the bar and stands. 'I'm ready. Let's go.'"

"You follow her, thinking this wouldn't be so easy if you hadn't been so gifted with good looks. It's almost like you were exactly what she was waiting for. You know she's pleased with you as she leads the way out of the bar, wriggling her ass before your eyes. You find yourself wondering how of all the men that may have dropped in and out of the bar while she's been sitting there, why it is that she chose you. You're handsome as hell, but you know that if she talks to you a little bit, she might decide there's some things she doesn't like. You resolve to keep your mouth shut as much as possible.

"You slip your arm loosely around her waist as you walk down the sidewalk. You wonder how she's going to react when she finds out that you're a cop and you carry a gun. Most of the time it doesn't matter, but sometimes your piece scares women and you always dread that moment when they first see it. You just hope you can distract her with that other piece you have that's capable of doing her lots of favors."

Hutch's lips had parted slightly, and his erection was full.

Starsky swallowed. "You realize as you walk that she's actually pretty short, even with her heels. You get glimpses down into the front of her dress. She's built, and you get all hard just thinking about when you're going to get your hands on what's in there. And then you tell yourself that it might be awhile because maybe she thought you were serious about the movie.

"She turns up a sidewalk and the sign out front says 'Wishing Well Apartment Complex". More double meanings. It's almost like God is watching you from heaven and knows exactly what you need. The other billions of people in the world don't matter.

"'Do you mind if we take the stairs?' she asks.

"You shake your head, and you enjoy watching as she starts climbing the stairs in front of you. She tells you that she lives on the third floor and stresses that it's the scenic view. You can't believe your good fortune.

"She unlocks the door and walks in. Her apartment isn't that big, but it's clean and fairly neat. She picks up a newspaper section from the table and opens it wide. 'What kind of movie do you want to see?' she asks without looking up at you.

"You know it's the turning point. And it's up to you to decide if you're going to take her on a real date, or if you're going to risk rejection and go straight for pleasing your own selfish desires. But, when it gets down to it, you don't really even have to think. You just hope you answer in a way that she finds flattering. You step closer to her and whisper, 'Whichever one is starring you.'

"A smile breaks out on her face. You've pleased her. She puts the paper down and turns to face you fully, looking up at you. You bend down and kiss her. Her lips are so full and lush. She reaches up and puts her arms around your neck. You know you have to break the mood then. You pull back and as sweetly as possible you say, 'Just so it doesn't surprise you, I'm a cop and I carry a gun.' She is surprised. It shows in her expression and for a moment you're worried. But then she stares up at you, and you know she's thinking how handsome you are and how it doesn't matter. Then she smiles again and steps real close and brushes herself against you. She purrs, 'I'm well aware of the gun you carry.'

"You laugh because you're so relieved, but your prick's tryin' to move inside your pants and you hold her by the waist, keeping her away from you. You bend down and kiss her again, harder this time, wanting things to go faster so you can get out of your clothes. She's just as hot, groaning against your mouth, and you hope you're not being too forward when you reach down the front of her dress and squeeze her breasts, which are tight inside her bra. You get even harder, feeling how soft those mounds are, and she's making all these noises against your mouth. Finally, she whispers to you, 'The zipper's in the back.'"

Starsky watched fluid ooze from the tip of Hutch's penis. The blond's chest was rising and falling rapidly. "It's the invitation you've been waiting for. You hold her against you so you can get to the zipper at the back. You pull it down. Then you pull the dress off her shoulders. You don't mess around after that. You reach behind her again and unsnap her bra. You let the straps fall from her shoulders. Then you push the cups down and there's her tits, all full and the nipples all hard. You duck your head and start sucking on the left one, tonguing it, and she starts moaning like crazy, holding your head in place, and you suck even harder, and you're thinking how incredible it is that God or whatever made men and women different so they could make each other so happy. Because you'd be the happiest man on Earth if you could suck on a nice firm nipple all day long.

"Except you've got a big problem because your shorts are damp because your prick's leaking all over the place. You're relieved when you finally feel her hands on your jeans. She undoes the snap and pulls down your fly. You realize she has long fingernails when you feel her pull your prick out to freedom. You groan as she squeezes it. You wish she'd kneel down and suck it, but in order to do that your mouth would have to let go of her tits, and you aren't ready to do that yet."

Starsky paused to take a breath. His own jeans were feeling very tight. Hutch was panting nicely.

"You've got your mouth on one tit, your fingers are squeezing the other, and with your other hand, you reach down inside of her lowered dress and find her panties. You shove your hand inside and find where she's all wet. You slip your finger in there, and she moans again, and you place your thumb over her clit, and you hear her gasp of surprise, and you know she's pleased with your skill and she'll tell all her girlfriends how good you were. Finally, sounding drunk, she says, 'The bed's just a few feet away.'

"You let go of each other, and you're both so crazy that you undress yourselves. Then she grabs your hand and takes you to the bedroom and throws herself back on the bed. You get a good look at her for the first time and see then what a fantastic body she has, and you throw yourself on top of her. You grab her tits in both hands and you love how they're just the perfect size for your hands. And then you press them together and put your mouth over her two nipples and run your tongue back and forth across them. She arches up against you and makes this incredible noise and grabs your head and you know that no one has ever done that for her before."

Starsky swallowed. He reached to the nightstand and picked up the tube of lubricant they kept there. "Then you lie full length on top of her, your prick resting just below her little secret place, and you French kiss her real deep." He squeezed a thin stream of ointment along his fingers. "And you're thinking how bad you want to put your prick in her mouth, but you know you'll come right away and she'll be frustrated." Starsky shifted on the mattress, then clamped his lubricated hand around Hutch's shaft. Hutch started with a noise of frantic bliss. Starsky squeezed a little, dragging a groan from his partner, and he was glad that he knew Hutch's prick so well that he knew exactly what to do to make it come.

"You reach down and stick your fingers inside her again, and you can't believe how wet she is, wantin' you so bad. You break the kiss, leaving her gasping for breath, and then you move down to her tits and suck each one into your mouth. And then you take your prick in hand and rub it across her clit, and she arches her hips up like crazy, wanting you."

Starsky stroked gently a few times. Hutch was gasping loudly. "Then you position yourself and take a moment to enjoy how easy everything was, because you know you're going to come as soon as you're inside her. You press yourself against her wetness, and then you thrust." Starsky stilled his hand, and Hutch pleaded with a whimper.

"She makes this little noise and you pause. You haven't hurt her, but you know she's surprised at how huge your cock feels. She's never had something that big before." Starsky felt the shaft throb in his hand. "You give her a moment to adjust, and then you feel her hands on your ass as you plunge the rest of the way in."

Starsky used both hands, rubbing a thumb along the crown, brushing over the tip. "And she screams in ecstasy."

Hutch arched his hips and yelled loudly. Starsky grinned and gripped in rhythm as white seed burst upon the pale stomach. He loosened his grip after a moment, knowing how Hutch liked it as orgasm receded.

The big blond lay panting, his head thrown back, and then soft groans emitted from his lips--the telltale sign that he'd had a good time.

It was tempting to feast upon the white droplets, but Starsky had other plans. He reached to the headboard, untied Hutch's left wrist, then crossed it over his right one and retied it. Gently, he whispered, "Now it's time for part two of your bedtime story." He nudged at Hutch's ribs. "Turn over, you big, magnificent beauty." Hutch sighed with languor, then used his feet to turn himself over, thereby uncrossing his wrists.

Starsky stood next to the bed and began to unbutton his shirt. "For part two we jump to later. It could be a few years later, a few months, a few days...." His voice lowered with intrigue as he removed his shirt. "Remember what it was like, Hutch? In the beginning? That day that we were both trying to say how felt, but not say too much, and our words stumbled all over each other, because we were both tryin' so hard to make the other understand what we were tryin' to say; and, yet, afraid that the other might understand too well what we were trying to say...and that it would ruin everything." He unzipped his jeans. "But, somehow, our words met in the middle, and then we kissed each other. And then we kept kissing because it felt so nice. And we did that almost the whole night." He pulled off his shoes, then pushed his jeans and underwear down. "Remember how beautiful it was, Hutch? We thought we had something so perfect, and then we couldn't believe it when we found out it could be even more perfect." Starsky straightened, grateful that his erection was now bobbing freely in the air. "We talked all the next day, trying to figure out how it was going to be like, how we should go about making our lives together. And then after all the talking we wanted to enjoy all the pleasure again. So, we started out with kissing and then fumbled our way through our first blow jobs."

Starsky sat on the edge of the bed. He laid a hand on Hutch's lower back. "I loved everything we were doing, Hutch. But I kept being afraid of what was gonna happen when you went all the way with me, because I wasn't sure I could handle it. And you told me that was okay, that it would be fine with you if you were always the one of the bottom. You offered yourself so freely, Hutch. And remember that day? We showered and went to bed, and I mellowed you out with the first truly decent blow job I'd ever given you. And then you turned over," he rubbed at Hutch's skin, "and said you wanted it from me."

Starsky swallowed at the memory. "It about made me crazy. All these feelings running through me: so incredible that you wanted it, that you'd let me do it, but so scared that it would be a bad experience, that I'd hurt you. And, even beyond that, I was thinking to myself how strange it was that I didn't see you as...well, you know, something I wanted. I mean, not the way I'd always viewed women when I want them." Starsky's voice softened with wonder. "I was so used to wanting to make it with people that I was attracted to on the outside. But I never thought of my feelings for you as being an attraction; I mean, I never evaluated you as something desirable to make love to. Instead, I just knew that my insides were crazy about your insides. It was just a different feeling, preparing to make love to someone whom I didn't think of in terms of appearances. I just knew that you were someone I was crazy about--had always been crazy about in a manner of speaking, an I was gonna get to join with you in the most intimate way possible."

Starsky hesitated, then picked up the tube of lubricant. He knelt on the bed and with amusement, said, "Remember that first time, Hutch? We hadn't thought ahead and there wasn't anything for grease, so at your suggestion I had to get some Crisco? It didn't seem like a very romantic way to go about it, but I couldn't imagine disappointing us both. So I took the plastic lid off that can and scooped up the white stuff." Starsky squeezed a good helping of ointment onto his fingers. His other hand spread Hutch's buttocks. "And so I put that stuff on you...tried to stick it in." He applied the lubricant now. "And I was thinkin' how there was no way I was gonna fit in there. And I got all worried again about how it was gonna hurt and you wouldn't like it, even though you thought you would." He looked up. Hutch's cheek rested against the pillow, his expression one of listening intently. "I wanted it to be good for you, Hutch. So good. That's all I wanted. And I was worried that it wasn't going to be possible." He squeezed more ointment onto his erection, and began smoothing it along the shaft. "And then I put that white gunk on me, and while I was getting so nervous about making it good for you, and you said, 'Don't forget to enjoy yourself.' And I knew you were serious. That was really what was most important to you--" Starsky exhaled a heavy breath, "it made me love you ten times more than I already did. I mean, I knew then that whatever happened, it was gonna be okay."

Starsky got in between the spread legs. He laid his hand on a pale buttock. "I was just amazed, as I got ready to do it, that this is what it had all come down to. That we had so much closeness together that we would want--need--to be this intimate with each other. That it had reached a point where it was only natural that we do this."

He guided his erection to the orifice hidden between those pale buttocks. "Except I was still scared. Because, bottom line, I didn't want to hurt you. No matter how okay it was with you." He pressed against the opening. "But I wanted it, wanted so much for us to have this special secret." He pressed again, and penetrated the opening that had been stretched from numerous joinings. Then he paused. "I knew it'd hurt when I put it in. And I waited, wanting more of the sensations I was getting, but I made myself wait. And then I saw your face against the pillow. And you smiled." Starsky eased himself the rest of the way in, loving the tightness. "And you said, real soft, 'Enjoy yourself, partner.'" He stretched out on top of Hutch, placing his hands on his shoulders. "So, I decided to enjoy myself."

Starsky stopped talking and drove himself into Hutch. He pumped sharply, steadily, frantic for release after having been aroused for so long. It only took a few undulations, and then he was groaning his pleasure.

He lay there a long moment, his cheek resting on Hutch's back, wondering what Hutch was going to think about his bedtime story, wondering if this little interlude would mean anything in the long run.

Starsky withdrew, then shifted to one side and reached to untie the elastic around both wrists.

Hutch was still blindfolded, but his arms sought his partner, and he wrapped Starsky close. He applied soft, tender kisses all about Starsky's face. Starsky chuckled and pulled off the sock. He got a glimpse of the sparkle in those sea blue eyes before Hutch ducked and started kissing across his chest.

"Did you like your bedtime story?" Starsky whispered.

In answer, Hutch clasped him close once again. And then he covered Starsky's mouth with his own, and kissed him deeply.

Starsky relaxed against the mattress, grateful that his idea had been a success. Hutch hadn't yet spoken a word, and he realized that the blond preferred it that way, not wanting to break the mood. They rested for a couple of minutes, their foreheads together, and then Hutch abruptly left the bed. Without looking at Starsky, he dressed quickly. And then he left the house and returned to work.

* * *

"I think Uncle Starsky made Master Hutch a very happy camper," Starsky informed the dogs a few hours later, while preparing a meatloaf. "He seemed to like his little surprise."

Starsky wondered again if Hutch had been having the same fantasies as he about women. He supposed he'd never know for sure. In truth, he admitted to himself, he didn't really want to know. Every human being deserved the right to keep certain things private about themselves, even from their lifelong mates. But it was a treat to know that they now had a way of sharing those fantasies with each other, for their mutual pleasure, with no harm done to either party.

He wondered, if their sex life got a little lacking in the future, one of them might simply have to turn to the other and say, "Tell me a bedtime story."

Starsky put the meatloaf into the preheated oven. He cleaned up the kitchen while the dogs watched, then relaxed on the sofa to watch some afternoon game shows.

As it neared four o'clock, he heard a car drive up. He thought it sounded like Hutch's Mercury, although it should have been the lawn company. The General was at the door in an instant, hind end wagging frantically.

Wondering why Hutch was home early, and wondering if the other would say anything about their earlier interlude, Starsky went into the kitchen and pulled potatoes from the potato bin so he could start peeling them. He noticed that Girlfriend had taken her usual spot at his heel. She never seemed interested in greeting Hutch, which Starsky took a certain degree of satisfaction in.

There was the sound of the door opening and closing, and Hutch's enthusiastic words of greeting to The General.

Starsky looked up from his peeling. "What are you doin' home early?"

In two giant strides Hutch was in the kitchen. His eyes were as alive as Starsky had ever seen them. The blond's chest heaved before he spoke. "I've been thinking about you all afternoon."

Starsky grinned and turned to face Hutch fully. He loved hearing that his little ploy had worked, loved seeing the flushed look on the other man's face. "Is that so?"

Hutch bent and captured Starsky's lips. It was a searing kiss, and Starsky felt hands on his face, holding him still. The long body in front of him was trembling with arousal.

It was an effort, but eventually he was able to pull back. "Hutch, the lawn company is gonna be here any minute."

"So? They can watch." He pushed hard on Starsky's shoulders. "On your knees."

Starsky dropped to his knees. He wanted to protest again because they were probably going to be interrupted, but he knew Hutch was in such a state that he wouldn't listen. And Starsky didn't really want him to.

Hutch parted his own jeans and unzipped his fly. The full erection burst free, and Starsky thought he could get Hutch off quickly. He gobbled it up eagerly, aware of the dogs around them.

With Starsky sucking full force, Hutch stretched to the sliding glass door. After an awkward moment, he had it open. "Go on, boys and girls," he told the dogs, "outside."

The dogs bounded into the yard and the door slid shut.

Starsky began working in earnest, anxious to get Hutch off before the lawn company came.

But Hutch pulled back and now gripped Starsky's shoulder. "Stand up."

Starsky did.

Roughly, Hutch pulled at his shirt. "Turn around."

Starsky obeyed, loving it that Hutch was demanding to get what he wanted, even though Starsky was still nervous about being interrupted.

"Find something for grease."

Starsky was against the stove, and he reached to an overhead cabinet. As he did so, he felt Hutch's rough fingers working with his jeans, yanking down his pants and underwear to his knees. He saw a bottle of vegetable oil and pulled it from the cabinet.

Hutch grabbed the oil. Starsky was aware of his own erection resting against the edge of the stove. It hardened further at the thought of coming all over the nice, clean stovetop.

Greasy fingers probed at his anus. Some of the grease ran down his legs, and Starsky wondered how they'd look to the lawn care man if they were to be seen: two men standing in a kitchen, their pants down to their knees, one standing right behind the other, trying to defy the laws of gravity and insert grease up into the other's asshole.

The bottle of vegetable oil landed heavily back on the countertop. Starsky felt his cheeks being spread. He stretched out his arms to arch out his rear, giving Hutch greater access.

"Uh-uh," Hutch reprimanded breathlessly. He pushed at Starsky's back, driving him against the edge of the stove. "Keep it right up against there," he demanded, as Starsky's penis was again perched on the edge of the appliance. "Right where I can see it."

Starsky decided he didn't care, either, if the lawn company appeared right then.

He felt his shirt tail pushed up, exposing his buttocks completely. His cheeks were parted, and Starsky would have accommodated by spreading his legs further, but his jeans pooled at his knees prevented him from doing so. He felt a greasy bluntness at his asshole. There was a heavy grunt from his partner, and the bluntness pushed up into him. Starsky's body quivered, for the bluntness felt so much more piercing than usual, since his legs were so close together.

He took a deep breath, accepting it, glad that in two years of lovemaking he had learned how to take that huge cylinder of flesh without pain. Unlike Hutch, who had loved being fucked from the start, Starsky had been much slower at finding pleasure in being the recipient. But he'd always enjoyed pleasing his partner.

Hutch shoved powerfully again, and Starsky felt him go deeper. The blond's hot breath was at his neck, gasping, and then his face burrowing against him. The other's hands were on Starsky's hips, holding them in the best position for Hutch's maximum pleasure.

Hutch began to pump, long deep strokes that were accented with a grunt at the end of each thrust. The motion sent sensations rippling through Starsky's lower body.

It was only in the last six months or so that Starsky had learned how to have an orgasm while being fucked. Now, as the one of the receiving end, he knew it was his responsibility to come first. Because all the muscular contractions created by his orgasm would do wonderful things to increase Hutch's enjoyment.

His penis was rubbing back and forth against the stove top, in tune to Hutch's thrusts, but the blond's hand finally reached around and played with the head, manipulating it with well-practiced fingers. Starsky groaned, grateful for the assistance, and focused on bracing himself against the stove with his hands, for Hutch was slamming harder against him.

And then those fingers moved over him just right. Starsky's lower body quivered and he cried out as the most wonderful sensation shot from his testicles, through his prick, and exploded out over the stove. He made sure he kept his eyes open as he watched the milky whiteness splatter along the clean, brown surface.

There hadn't been an answering yell. Instead, Hutch's breath was hot and heavy against his ear. "Good boy," it praised in a tight whisper. The thrusts had stopped, and Starsky knew that Hutch hadn't allowed himself to come while enjoying all those sensations that rippled through where their bodies were joined.

"Brace yourself."

Starsky wasn't sure if it was an order or a warning, but Hutch now pulled at his waist, causing him to step back and bend more, so that his ass was, finally, in a more accessible position. Hutch gripped his shoulders and started thrusting frantically, his hips slamming against Starsky's ass.

He indeed had to use his arms to brace himself against the stove, to keep from being driven into it. Hutch's motion was almost violent now, as he kept pulling almost all the way out, and then slamming back in. Starsky could hear the wet sounds of the vegetable oil being seared back and forth within his body.

The hands shifted as Hutch slammed into him a final time. They now wrapped around Starsky's body, Hutch holding them both tight together, the blond making noises of ecstasy against Starsky's hair.

It seemed a long time before Hutch fell silent. And, even then, there remained heavy pants of effort. Finally, he groaned and rested his cheek against Starsky's back.

Ah, Hutch.

They were no longer joined, but Starsky was reluctant to move and dislodge his big blond's peaceful rest. He was still bent over the stove, and he gazed at the drying, white droplets, wondering if he'd ever want to clean them up. It might be fun to just leave them there as a reminder of the special little interlude.

The doorbell rang and the dogs began barking from outside.

Both men stood abruptly. "That's the lawn company," Starsky said, quickly pulling up his pants.

Hutch was also pulling up his clothes as he made a quick move past the living room to go down the hall.

Starsky tucked in his shirt, took a deep breath, and approached the door as the bell rang a second time. He opened it.

A man stood there and handed out his card. "Mr. Starsky?"

"Yes, that's me," Starsky said as he accepted it.

"I'm Jim Thorn with Best Care Lawn Company. I've already examined your front lawn. If you don't mind, I'd like to take a look at the back."

Starsky held the door open. "Sure, Jim, come right on in." As he led the way through the kitchen, he found himself amazed that Jim had been out in the front yard while he and Hutch were fucking in the kitchen. He felt a shiver go through him as they passed by the newly-decorated stove. He slid open the glass door. "Don't mind the dogs. They're real friendly."

Jim stepped out and the dogs sniffed suspiciously at him. He reached down and petted them, then turned to Starsky. "I'll be about ten minutes. I'll knock on the door when I'm done."

Starsky nodded and slid the door shut. His underwear was uncomfortable, with stickiness in the front and grease in the back. He wondered how Hutch was doing and moved down the hall to find him.

Hutch was standing in the second bedroom, which was a "catch-all" for their fishing and other outdoor gear that didn't fit anywhere else in the house. The blond's eyes were alight with mischief as Starsky entered.

Starsky simply grinned at him, then lowered his eyes bashfully.

Hutch laid his hands on his partner's shoulders, then ducked his head to capture Starsky's lips. In the process, Starsky was pressed back against the wall. He couldn't believe how hot Hutch still was. They'd both had two orgasms in less than six hours, and still Hutch seemed hungry for more.

When the other released him, Starsky teased, "You still haven't gotten enough?"

Blue eyes batted at him, and Hutch softly replied, "How could I ever have enough of you?"

Starsky gazed back at him, his heart thundering at what Hutch was saying. It was almost as if the other was reaffirming all they had intended to be to each other...forever.

He swallowed, then said, "You shouldn't ever. Because I'll never have enough of you."

Hutch grinned, then pinned Starsky once again with a throat-swabbing kiss.

Starsky breathed deeply. "Hutch, the lawn man is out in the back."

"So?" Hutch's fingers were working on his shirt.

"You horny devil." But Starsky was grinning again.

A couple of buttons were undone, and Hutch moved the open part of Starsky's shirt until it was centered over a nipple. "You've got me pegged," he admitted, then bent to lap at the little protrusion.

Starsky tilted his head back against the wall, letting sensations filter through him, knowing there was no use fighting it as they centered down into his groin. His legs were still wobbly from his prior orgasm, and here Hutch was...starting it all over again. As though he were some teenager in lust.

Or man in love.

Hands were at Starsky's snap now, undoing his jeans. "Hutch," he protested feebly, wondering if he'd ever find the strength to come yet again. Then he pointed out, "I didn't get a chance to--"

He trailed off when it didn't matter. Hutch had drawn out his short, almost-limp length, and was lapping at the dry semen there.

There was a knock at the back patio and the dogs started barking.

Hutch rose. "You stay right there." His eyes danced with mischief. "I'll take care of Jim."

Starsky rolled his eyes as Hutch left. He had an urge to pull up his pants, but he didn't want to disappoint this man he loved so much. He listened to the sliding glass door.

He heard Hutch say, "Hi, there, I'm Mr. Starsky's roommate. He's on the phone right now, so I can sign whatever you need signed."

"I'd like to talk to him about a fertilizing schedule for the lawn, because it can use some nutrients, but I'll call him later this evening, if that's all right."

"That'll be fine."

"I don't need you to sign anything. I just," Starsky heard the tearing of paper, "would like to leave this for him. It shows here the analysis I did of the lawn components and what I think needs to be done."

"Uh-huh, uh-huh."

"It would probably help to water it more often, but watering can only go so far without a good fertilization program."

"Right. I'll point that out to him. In fact, why don't I have him call you sometime tomorrow. I think he has to be somewhere tonight."

"Oh, that's fine then. Let me leave another card. I'm usually in the office by nine a.m."

"Uh-huh. I'll have him call you then. Thanks very much." There was the sound of movement to the front door. "Thanks very much for stopping by."

"You're very welcome." The door opened. "Just make sure he calls me, because there's a patch of grass in the far corner, too, that can use some special attention. I noted it on my sheet, but--"

"Uh-huh, I'll tell him. Thanks very much."

"Have a nice afternoon."

"You, too." The door closed.

Starsky listened, feeling himself twitch, anticipating his eager lover's return. He heard footsteps move back through the living room, but instead of coming down the hall they went into the kitchen. He thought he heard the oven door open, and he realized the meat loaf should be about done.

For a long moment there was silence.


He started, surprised by the urgent tone. He quickly pulled up his pants.

"Starsky, come here!"

The excited tone now sounded joyful. Tucking in his shirt, Starsky trotted down the hall to the kitchen. Hutch was standing at the glass door. "Look!"

Starsky went to his partner's side and looked out the glass door.

"They're playing tag," Hutch said with delight.

The General was running at full speed, diagonally across the yard. At his flank was Girlfriend, also full out. As soon as they reached the far corner, both dogs turned around, and now it was Girlfriend leading the way to the opposite corner, The General in pursuit.

"Isn't that great?" Hutch beamed.

Starsky laughed as he felt himself go mushy aside. "Ah, man, she's finally gotten over her insecurities and learned to play. What a good girl." Hutch slid the glass back, and they stepped out onto the patio. Both dogs came charging at them.

Starsky knelt down and braced himself as Girlfriend threw herself into his arms. "Ah, what a good girl," he praised as he petted her. "Are you having a good time? Huh? Huh? Ah, The General is a fun playmate, isn't he?" He hugged her close. She seemed puffed up with excitement and was still wagging her tail. "I'm so glad you can be a happy dog now. Maybe we can go for a walk with him and Master Hutch after dinner." As Starsky set her down, he realized that he liked the idea of the four of them taking a walk together. He still didn't want to give up his mornings of laziness while Hutch and The General went jogging, but going for evening walks would be a nice compromise.

Hutch had been petting The General, and now he tossed a Frisbee into the yard. As soon as the dog took off after it, Hutch stood.

Starsky looked up at him. "You going back inside?"


"Then how about making yourself useful and peeling some potatoes? The meat loaf ought to be about done."

Hutch didn't reply as he turned and closed the glass door behind him.

Starsky sat on the patio, Girlfriend now resting beside him. The General trotted up to him with the Frisbee, and Starsky tossed it back into the yard. He patted the furry form beside him. "That's too big of a toy for you, huh? Maybe we'll find your ball later and play with that."

He spent a few more minutes with the dogs, then looked behind him into the kitchen. Hutch had a partially peeled potato in his hand, and the blond was staring at the stove top. As Starsky watched, Hutch reached out with a finger and ran it along the stove. Then he slowly inserted it into his mouth, unaware of being observed.

Starsky quickly looked away and closed his eyes, his heart thundering against his chest. He knew what this meant for dinner. Hutch would eat his food in such a way as to make all sorts of suggestions and innuendoes. His big blond was in that kind of mood.

Starsky now shook his head, eyes opening as he gazed at the ground, feeling the warmth spread through him. It was funny how much difference a little bit of effort could make. And to make an effort, all one had to do was care. If their sex life ever got dull again, all either of them had to do was take it upon themselves to add a little spark.

It's almost like we've fallen in love with each other all over again, Starsky marveled. And yet, he decided, they'd never really fallen in love a first time. There had never been an insanity between them like what poets wrote about; just raw feelings that eventually needed a more intimate form of expression.

He stood and reached to open the glass door.

A little insanity might not be a bad thing.

The End

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