This was written purely for entertainment purposes, not for profit. No infringement on any copyright held by anyone on the characters of Starsky and Hutch is intended. Comments about this story can be sent to:

Author’s Note: I would like to thank Flamingo for her invaluable editing suggestions and generous encouragement. If anyone besides me enjoys reading this, it is because of her.






One Afternoon, 1980 

        Starsky and Hutch were talking quietly when suddenly Capt. Dobey’s door opened. "Hutchinson! Starsky! In my office," he commanded when he saw them at their desks.

        That wasn’t as rare a sight as it used to be, before Starsky’s shooting in the garage. They were no longer so eager to use any excuse to take them out on the streets now. This was partly due to an increased maturity that came with age and tragedy, and partly because Starsky wasn’t quite as agile as he used to be. His maturity showed in that he would admit that.

        The two detectives went inside Dobey’s office and shut the door.

        "What’s up, Cap’n?" asked Starsky, taking one chair while Hutch took the other.

        "We seem to have a new serial killer on our hands, and I think you two might be the right men to handle this case," Dobey said, holding out a file.

        Hutch took it so Starsky wouldn’t have to stretch, which sometimes hurt his sides and back.

        "Two pairs of two men killed together?" asked Hutch, studying the pictures. They were a grizzly sight; not just because of the blood, but also because the bodies had been mutilated after being badly beaten. He looked up quizzically, first at his partner, then at Dobey.

        "Yes, two gay couples," Dobey explained. "Each pair was found in the apartment they shared. Forced entry, late at night, when they were in bed together."

        "Some sicko that takes offense at gays, and thinks that makes it alright to kill them," Starsky said in disgust.

        "Sickos, I would guess," commented Hutch. "I don’t think one man could have done that by himself, even if he surprised them while they were sleeping."

        "Right. That’s what the chief thinks, too," Dobey said, seeming a little ill at ease. "Listen, we want a pair of male cops to go undercover in the gay community as bait for the killers. It’s a very dangerous assignment and we need two tough, experienced detectives who can take care of themselves in any situation, but who are willing to ‘act gay.’ … Well, what do you say? Will you take the assignment?"

        Starsky and Hutch glanced from Dobey to each other, with identical disconcerted expressions.

        "Just exactly what do you mean by ‘acting gay’?" asked Hutch, putting the same inflection on the phrase as Dobey had. His tone implied that he had visions of swishing around, lisping – all the awful stereotypes.

        "How the hell should I know?" bellowed Dobey, appearing more uncomfortable with the whole topic by the minute. "You’ll have to do the gay bar scene, and we’ll set you up in an apartment you’ll share during the assignment. Look," he said, his voice softening, "if you really don’t want to do it, I won’t force you. You can help in other ways, but you won’t be the bait. That’ll make it harder to catch these bastards, but not impossible. It’s up to you. I want you to discuss it today, and then let me know your joint decision in the morning. If both of you don’t feel comfortable doing this, then it won’t happen."

        Dobey peered intently at his detectives for a few seconds.

        Returning the gaze, Starsky wondered if there was any insinuation to be read in choosing them. Some of their fellow detectives used to tease them about how close they were, but Dobey never did. Now Starsky wondered if their boss ever pondered their relationship, especially after John Blaine’s death. Did he think that they were hiding a secret life, too? Had he noticed how Hutch couldn’t seem to keep his hands off Starsky, always patting his back and squeezing his arm? Starsky loved that contact, but could it be giving others the wrong impression? He didn’t think that he touched Hutch as much as Hutch touched him, but he tried to think if he did anything similar that could also be misinterpreted. He couldn’t come up with anything, unaware of his tendency to stare at Hutch’s mouth while he spoke, even though he had no hearing problem.

        Cutting short his speculation, Starsky got up, mumbling "Okay; tomorrow," and led Hutch back to the squad room.

        While Hutch took the file to his desk, Starsky stopped and poured them fresh cups of coffee, bringing them around to the empty desk next to Hutch’s and then sitting down next to his partner.

        As they looked over the file together, Starsky grumbled disgustedly, "This pisses me off. Some poor excuse for a human attackin’ a stranger just because he’s a member of a group he hates -- blacks, Jews, gays; take your pick -- anyone he wants to bring down just so he can feel superior. Pathetic!"

        "Yeah, I know" Hutch agreed. "There’ll always be prejudice in every society; we can’t change that. But we can at least show people that they can’t get away with acting on their worst impulses toward people they don’t like. I really want to see the scum that did this" -- he pointed to the pictures in front of them -- "have to answer for it."

        "Yeah, me, too…. But I don’t know about takin’ this case," Starsky said quietly. "How do you feel about it?" Deep down, he hoped Hutch would say he didn’t want to take it, so the refusal couldn’t be blamed on him. A feeling close to fear crept over him when he thought of what this case would entail, but it wasn’t concern for his physical safety.

        "I don’t know either," Hutch agreed. "Dobey said if we don’t want to go undercover, we can still help out in other ways. Why don’t we go through all this stuff this afternoon then talk about the ‘bait’ part after dinner?"

        "Good idea," Starsky responded. "Let’s see the report." He started sifting through the papers in the file. He wanted to act professionally about this now, and worry about his feelings later.


        They worked diligently till around 6:30 p.m. when Starsky asked Hutch, "Gettin’ hungry?"

        "Yeah, I guess so" replied the blond, checking his watch. "We still have to talk about whether we wanna take the case, so maybe we should get takeout. That’d be faster." He pulled on his jacket and headed for the door, followed by his always-hungry partner.

        They picked up Chinese on the way to Starsky’s and ate without mentioning the case. Once they had finished cleaning up, they moved into the living room. After Starsky put on the TV with the Dodgers-Giants game, they sat on either end of the sofa, partially turned toward each other.

        "Well, Starsk, should we take the case?" Hutch asked, obviously wanting to get the discussion going before his friend got too involved in watching the game.

        "…And the Dodgers take the field on a beautiful night for a ballgame…" came from the TV speaker.

        "I just dunno, Hutch," Starsky said quietly, after lowering the volume so the play-by-play could barely be heard. "I wanna help, but I can’t say I’d feel comfortable actin’ like I’m gay. I don’t usually care what other people think about me, but I’d feel funny about that."

        Starsky knew that it wasn’t really what people would think of him that worried him, it was what he might find out about himself that was making him start to sweat. His feelings for his partner had intensified since the Gunther shooting. He had always loved Hutch as anyone would love his best friend. Maybe more so, since they had to trust each other with their lives every day in their line of work. Since the shooting, however, he'd become more emotional, and more appreciative of the things in life he had to be grateful for. Number one on that list would be having Hutch for a partner and best friend. Hutch had taken such good care of him when he was recovering; was at his beck and call twenty-four hours a day, since he stayed at Starsky’s apartment with him. He grew to depend on Hutch being there, and loved their increased intimacy. He loved having him near at all times, loved being able to reach out to touch him whenever he felt the need. When Hutch moved back to his own place right before Starsky returned to work, Starsky was devastated. He couldn’t believe he missed him so much. They saw each other at work every day, and still usually spent most of their evenings and weekends together, too. He couldn’t understand why he felt so possessive about his partner, why he wanted 100% of his time. He knew that wasn’t fair to Hutch, and he felt bad about it. He was hoping that time would make those feelings go away, that he would eventually accept things the way they used to be. But now this assignment would mean living with Hutch again. Not just living with him, but pretending that they were lovers.

        That word "lovers" in the same thought with "Hutch" sent shivers down his spine. He was afraid he had begun to love his partner in the "wrong" way. He sneaked a glance at his friend and it hit him how attractive he found the blond to be.

        "I understand how you feel," Hutch said. "But I’d hate to think that these jerks could get away with murder just because we don’t like people thinking we’re ‘queers.’ There’s nothing wrong with that, anyway, so what if people do think it? What’s really important here -- our macho images or innocent victims being tortured and killed?"

        "Geez, do ya have to put it like that?" Starsky said with a little hurt and annoyance in his voice. "Ya make me feel guilty for even considerin’ refusin’ the assignment!" He had a lot of reasons to feel guilty, not the least of which was his sitting here admiring his partner’s good looks.

        "So you don’t want to take it, then?" Hutch asked evenly, looking intently at Starsky.

        "I don’t know!" Starsky snapped. "I’m sorry," he immediately added in a repentant tone. "Do you want to take it?" He glanced at Hutch’s eyes, the first time during the conversation that he'd done that. His eyes had remained on the TV, though his mind was on what Hutch was saying.

        "What’s the matter, buddy?" Hutch asked, moving to the center of the sofa and putting his arm lightly around Starsky's shoulders. "Why is this bothering you so much? You know, I read this article once about sexuality. It said that sexuality is like a scale; it’s not an absolute thing. Like, if it’s a scale from one to ten and one is completely heterosexual and ten is completely homosexual, there are very few people who are ones or twos, or nines or tens. The majority of people fall somewhere in between. Like three or four, or seven or eight. And they’re not always at the same place on the scale; it can vary at different times of their lives. Like guys in prison having sex with other guys, but never doing that outside the joint. Anyway, my point is that we almost all have some tendency to swing both ways, so no one should have any problem with anyone else’s sexuality; it probably isn’t much different than their own. Not to mention that it’s nobody else’s business!"

        "’S'at true?" Starsky asked, again gazing into his partner’s eyes. "Ya really read that?" Maybe what he was feeling wasn’t so weird, after all. And how could you love someone in the "wrong" way? All love was good, as long as you didn't act on it inappropriately, he thought.

        "I swear," said the blond.

        After digesting that information, Starsky decided to feel out Hutch’s impression of the assignment. "What do you think we’d have to do? I mean, just hang out at the gay bars together, and then go home to ‘our’ apartment, hopin’ to be followed?"

        "I think that’s pretty much it, at least at night," Hutch answered. "We could still do research on it during the day."

        "What’ll we do in the bars?" Starsky asked, turning to the game again.

        "Oh, just look like we’re in love." Hutch smiled at his partner. "Drink. Dance with each other. Doesn’t sound too terrible, does it?" He squeezed Starsky’s shoulder.

        "Dance together?" Starsky asked with a little smile, thinking he would really enjoy that.

        "Yeah, Ramon. I’ll even let you dip me," Hutch teased.

        "Ooh, now you’re tempting me!" joked Starsky. "I think I could handle that."

        "And we’d have to make out," Hutch added.


        "Come on, Starsk, didn’t you read the files? What made these two couples stand out was the fact that they were so obviously couples. They danced only with each other and cuddled in a booth and kissed. That’s apparently what set off the murderers. These guys weren’t flamboyant queens they could just make fun of. These gay men had the nerve to look ‘normal’ and act like any heterosexual couple would. We’ll have to do the same thing to get the killers’ attention."

        "I dunno, Hutch. I dunno if I can do that." Starsky gasped, his chest constricting. The thought of them kissing excited him too much. He suddenly had to face the truth: he was in love with Hutch. He would be taking advantage of the assignment to do things to his partner that he would otherwise never get to do. That would be deceptive, and he hated being anything but completely open with him. He didn’t know what to do.

        "Whatsa matta? You don’t wanna kiss me?" Hutch joked, leering.

        "It’s not funny!" Starsky said, really sweating now.

        "Let’s talk about it, buddy." Hutch put his hand on Starsky’s cheek and turned his friend’s head to face him. "There’s more to this. What is it? You know you can tell me anything, babe," he said softly.

        Starsky was silent a moment, then looked away. He could at least tell some of the truth. "I’m afraid it’ll change everything between us. Just like when you have sex with someone, you can never look at them the same after that. You can never take back what’s happened. Even though we won’t have sex, just havin’ to be this..." he struggled for the right word, "intimate with each other…it may make us uncomfortable with each other physically from now on. We’ll be afraid how any touch or hug will be interpreted. I don’t want that to happen."

        "Neither do I. What would I do without your hugs when I need them? It won’t happen, Starsk, I promise."

        Starsky looked doubtful.

        "Look, buddy. I’ve always loved you more than anyone in my life and I think you’re an attractive guy. But that doesn’t mean I’ll try to jump your bones. Things won’t change. We’ll still chase women when this is done. But a kiss is just a kiss. It isn’t a sex act; it’s an act of love…. Do you love me?"

        "You know I do," Starsky replied, meeting Hutch’s gaze for a moment. But you don’t know how or how much.

        "And I’m not repulsive to you, am I?" the blond asked, laughing a little.

        "Don’t be ridiculous," Starsky answered, feeling uncomfortable. "You’re very appealing. Why do I have to tell you that?"

        "You know, I’ve wanted to kiss you sometimes," Hutch confessed to Starsky’s surprise. "Sometimes, like when I was so grateful you survived some close call, I was just so overwhelmed with love that I thought I’d burst. And I had no way to express it, except with a hug or squeeze. Those are fine, but sometimes they didn’t seem enough."

        "Why didn’t ya do it?" Starsky asked, both fascinated and terrified by his friend’s confession.

        "Because I was afraid I’d upset or offend you, I guess."

        "You could never upset or offend me by showin’ your love, Hutch" Starsky said, beginning to wonder how his friend loved him. Could it be he feels the same? "Guess what?" he asked, wondering how much he should confess.

        "What?" Hutch asked, sounding truly curious.

        "I’ve wanted to kiss you, too. To comfort you, to thank you for so much you’ve done for me. But I guess I was afraid how you’d react. I thought you’d be embarrassed or annoyed."

        "…Two balls, no strikes," came the sound of Vin Scully from the TV.

        "Really?" Hutch said. "It’s funny we both felt the same and didn’t know it. I thought we always knew each other so well we could almost read each other’s minds. I guess maybe we weren’t comfortable enough with the idea ourselves to think of telling each other. But now that we know how we both feel, I’d say it’s time to do what we’ve been wanting to do." Hutch's voice was low, seductive. He turned toward his partner and slipped his hand into Starsky's dark curls, supporting the back of his head, and leaned forward and kissed him gently on the lips.

        As he did, Starsky also turned and reached up to embrace him, but stopped suddenly and grunted.

        "I’m sorry." Starsky said through gritted teeth. "I got a pain in my side, twistin’ like that." He’d been having problems like that since the shooting, but the anxiety he’d just been going through didn’t help his muscles, either.

        "Oh God, I’m sorry! I wasn’t thinking," Hutch exclaimed as he jumped up. "Here, lie down." He lifted Starsky’s legs onto the cushions slowly as Starsky turned to lie down. Hutch took some pillows from the other end of the sofa and added them to the ones behind Starsky's head, neck and upper back.

        "Better?" Hutch asked, as he sat down next to Starsky’s knees. He unbuttoned Starsky’s shirt the rest of the way and, with one hand, started rubbing the side Starsky had been holding. With the other hand he smoothed Starsky's hair back from his forehead. "You okay?"

        "Yeah, the pain’s goin’ away." Hutch’s touch seemed to have healing powers. "Now, where were we?" Starsky asked, as he put his hand into Hutch’s blond hair and pulled him down towards him. He was not going to let the opportunity of kissing his beloved slip by; he wanted to do it now, before Hutch changed his mind. He couldn’t believe his partner was willing, even eager to do this. He softly kissed the blond’s mouth.

        Hutch quickly kissed his partner back, and they easily fell into a pattern of longer and longer kisses.

        After a few minutes, Starsky felt Hutch’s tongue on his lips. Startled, he pulled his head back slightly, and his eyes opened wide. Blue eyes looked into his. He saw such love there, he thought, This was meant to be. He closed his eyes, opened his mouth, and let nature take its course.

        After several minutes of their tongues exploring each other’s mouths, and more kisses, Hutch ducked down to kiss Starsky’s neck, then his chest.

        "Oh, God, Hutch!" Starsky moaned breathlessly, putting his hands on the blond head.

        "No. I’m sorry," Hutch sighed, just kissing Starsky’s chest one more time before resting his head on the soft hair there. "You okay, buddy?" He sounded a little concerned.

        "I’m more than okay, babe" Starsky answered, stroking Hutch’s blond hair. "Don’t be sorry."

        "I was wrong" Hutch murmured after a few moments.

        "’Bout what?"

        "Remember after John Blaine died, when I said you weren’t even a good kisser? You’re not just good, you’re terrific!" He lifted his head to look up at Starsky’s face. "Yeah? You ain’t so bad yourself."

        "Yeah?" Hutch chuckled, obviously pleased. He straightened up enough to lean across his partner, resting his head on his elbow near Starsky’s shoulder.



        "Can we still do this after the case’s done?" Starsky asked. He still could not believe that his partner might feel the same as he did, but he hoped he could ensure himself a little bit of ecstasy in the future. Maybe that could be enough.

        Hutch smiled back. "On special occasions, I guess."

        "Just on special occasions?" Starsky asked, the disappointment evident in his voice. "Like when?"

        "Like any time we’re alone together," Hutch laughed, his head darting forward quickly like a bird’s, planting a kiss on his partner’s lips, then smothering his face with little kisses.

        "Whoa!" Starsky giggled, gently pushing him away, afraid that he would become too aroused. "I’m sure glad you shaved off that mustache you used to have. That would’ve felt really weird…. So, we’re telling Dobey we’re taking the case?"

        "Right, Gordo" Hutch answered.

        "Well, I’m thinkin’…. It’s one thing for us to be doin’ this here, but can we do it in public?" Starsky really wasn’t sure he could handle that. Much as he loved his partner, he wasn’t sure he liked the idea of being seen kissing another man.

        "Good point…. I think we won’t have a problem if we’ve practiced enough," Hutch said, with a mischievous laugh. "Practice makes perfect, you know."

        "I like that idea!" Starsky exclaimed as he grabbed the back of Hutch’s head, pulled him close, and started sucking on the blond’s full lower lip.

        Maybe he could get over his public embarrassment if they kept at it long enough. He certainly wasn’t going to pass up Hutch’s invitation. He couldn’t believe Hutch seemed to be enjoying this as much as he was.

        Maybe he loves me more than I realized, and he’s not afraid to show it. Maybe this case will turn out to be just the kick we needed. I think this is goin’ to turn out fine, if we just take things slow. One step up that sex scale at a time. We’ll just go to six tonight. He laughed to himself.

        "Ball four! And Garvey takes a walk to first base" came softly from the announcer.

        Cuddling by the flickering light of the TV, to the low play-by-play of America’s pastime, they "practiced" America’s other favorite pastime the rest of the evening.

        Later, after Hutch left, Starsky lay in bed thinking about how he hadn’t felt so happy in a long time. He was now looking forward to their new assignment, believing it would mean more evenings like tonight. He was glad that they hadn’t been too afraid to follow where love led, and wondered where it would lead them in the days ahead. He fell asleep longing to know what his partner was feeling.

Chapter Two