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Truth or Dare
Hutch sighed as he looked through his binoculars again. This was proving to be a damned boring stakeout. He turned his blond head to look at his partner sitting at a small table playing solitaire. "Hey Starsk, you winning?"
Starsky looked up and grinned. "Yeah, but I'm cheatin'."
"How do you cheat at solitaire?"
"Well..." he started to answer when their radio crackled to life.
"Hey, you guys as bored over there as we are here?" came a disembodied voice.
Hutch picked up the radio. "Jenkins? Hell yeah we're that bored. Where are you guys?"
"Look across the street. Second building on the block, third window up and in."
Hutch looked through his binoculars and saw Jenkins standing there, staring at him with binoculars and waving at him. "Boy, you are bored!"
Starsky looked up at where his partner was standing waving out the window. "We should play a game to pass the time."
"Starsky thinks we should play a game to pass the time. What do you think?"
"What the hell are we gonna play with you over there and us over here?" Jenkins' voice sounded tinny through the radio's tiny speaker. "Tiddly-winks? I mean, I used to be kinda good at it when I was a kid, but I don't think I'm THAT good!"
"What about truth-or-dare?" Hutch heard Jenkins' partner, Hodges say in the background.
"Sounds good to me," Jenkins answered. "Well guys? Truth-or-dare?"
Hutch turned to his partner. The dark haired man was grinning up at him from where he still sat at the table.
"Sounds good to me!"
"I guess that's a 'yes'," Hutch said. "You want to go first or should we?"
"We'll go first," Jenkins answered.
There was silence on the radio for a minute and as Hutch looked through the binoculars, he could see the other two detectives conferring. After another minute, Jenkins straightened up and waved. Hutch could see him pick up the radio. "Okay, guys, truth-or-dare?"
Starsky and Hutch looked at each other. Violet-blue eyes met ice blue. "What do you think, Starsk?"
"Let's start with 'truth' and see where it goes from there."
"Alright," Hutch said and then picked up the radio again. "Truth."
"Okay guys," Jenkins said. "Tell your most embarrassing moment with a chick."
Hutch turned to Starsky and shoved the radio handset at him. "You wanted 'truth'; you go first!"
Starsky sighed and took the proffered item. "Alright, when I was in high school, my girlfriend decided this one night that it would be my lucky night, if you know what I mean. We would have dinner with her folks and then head to Lover's Lane. Well, I went to the nearest drug store to purchase, uh,"
"Condoms?" Hutch said with a smirk.
"Yeah," Starsky answered. "I was still fairly inexperienced at the time and I asked the pharmacist behind the counter for recommendations. Told him I was gonna get lucky that night and I needed to be well prepared."
Jenkins' voice came over the speaker. "So far, I don't hear nothin' too bad here, Starsky."
"That's comin'" Starsky said impatiently. Then with a sigh, he continued. "Well, that night I went to meet her folks for the first time. Like I said, we were gonna have dinner and then head out. You'll never believe who her father was!"
Hutch's eyes widened. "Not..."
Starsky nodded. "It was the pharmacist! Man, you should have seen his face when he saw me! I don't think I ever ran so fast in my life!"
Starsky could hear Jenkins' and Hodges' laughter through the little speaker and he looked up to see Hutch trying desperately not to laugh at him (and failing miserably).
"Oh man, Starsky!" Jenkins' voice came over the radio and both Starsky and Hutch could hear him snorting in his laughter. "So, did you ever nail her?"
Starsky grinned, "Of course! Granted it took another six months before her father would let her out again!"
"Your turn Hutchinson," Hodges' voice spoke up.
"I don't think I could top that one!" Hutch said, wiping tears of laughter from his eyes. "I was just gonna tell about the time I got my watch band caught on my date's sweater, but that's just..."
"Alright already!" Starsky said, his cheeks flaming red. "Could we get on with this?"
Hutch took a deep breath, collecting himself. After a minute, he picked up the radio again. "Okay, guys, truth or dare?"
There was a pause and Hutch could see through the binoculars the other set of partners conferring again.
"Dare," came the reply.
"They're either very brave or very stupid," Starsky said. "Lemme see those binoculars."
Across the way, he could see the window where the other partners were standing. He noticed a small vase with a couple of roses in it on the table.
"Nice flowers," Starsky said. "You guys having girls over or somethin'?"
He saw Jenkins turn to look at the table. "Nah, they came with the room. They're plastic anyway."
Starsky got a wicked gleam in his eye. Hutch looked worriedly at his partner.
"Be careful what you ask them to do, Starsk. They could really get even, you know."
Starsky wiggled his eyebrows at his partner and then spoke to Jenkins. "Okay, take the rose out of the vase and put it between your teeth. Then, grab your partner and tango. Every time you change directions, you give the rose to your partner, without using your hands!"
There was an audible sigh from the radio and Starsky looked through the binoculars in time to see two grown men dancing up and down the room, trading a rose back and forth with their teeth. He grinned and handed the binoculars to Hutch, who immediately looked across the street and nearly fell over in his laughter.
After a couple of minutes of the torrid Spanish dancing, Jenkins stepped back over and picked up the radio, the rose still in his teeth. "Okay guys," he mumbled before he spit the rose out. "Truth or dare?"
Without hesitation, Starsky said, "Dare."
Hutch turned to him with eyes wide. "What are you, nuts?"
Starsky just shrugged. "Might as well get it over with."
"I don't suppose you guys have heard the rumors about you two," Jenkins said.
"Yeah," Jenkins continued and Hutch could have sworn that he heard the other man leering. "About you guys bein', uh, more than partners if you know what I mean."
"That's stupid!" Starsky said, with a sidelong look at his partner. "We're partners, best friends, what more is there?"
"Okay, here's your dare," Jenkins said. "You guys have to kiss. And I mean really kiss, open mouth, tongues, the works!"
"Starsk, what have you gotten us into?" Hutch hissed at him.
"Come on, Blintz, just pretend I'm a chick."
"Starsk, it's not the same," Hutch protested. "I mean...you're...and I'm...I mean, it just wouldn't be a good idea."
"Whatsa matter, Hutch?" Starsky looked at his partner and noticed that the blond was decidedly uncomfortable. "It's just a game."
"I don't like this game," Hutch said and went to sit on the bed out of sight of the window.
"Hey Starsky! Hutchinson!" Jenkins' voice started Starsky out of where he was staring at his partner. "You guys gonna do the dare or what?"
Starsky was alarmed to see the obvious depth of panic that this game had induced in his partner. He lifted the handset to his mouth and said, "I guess you guys win. We're out."
"Knew you guys were chicken!"
"Knock it off!" Starsky snapped. "Just leave it. We'll see you guys later." He put the handset down and switched the radio off. Then he went over to sit next to Hutch. "Hey, you wanna talk about it?"
Hutch just resolutely shook his head.
"Come on," Starsky put his arm around Hutch's shoulders and was surprised to feel his best friend flinch under his touch. "Hutch?"
"I don't want to talk about it."
"Hutch, this ain't like you. You're gonna let some stupid game upset you this much?"
"It wasn't the game."
"Then what was it?"
Hutch turned to look into his partner's eyes, amazed at the depths of concern he saw there. He stared at Starsky until the darker man began to squirm.
"It's just, ever since you were shot, and I took all that time off to take care of you,"
"I guess I realized just how much you really meant to me. I mean we're best friends and I love you, I always have and I think you knew that. But since I came so close to losing you,"
"It started a few weeks after I had been staying with you."
"I was having dreams about you and me; and we were..."
"Hutch?" Starsky suddenly had a suspicion about what had spooked his partner so badly. "You were dreamin' 'bout us sleepin' together?"
Hutch stared at his feet, unable to meet his partner's gaze. "Yeah. I mean, I tried to explain it away that I had just been worried about you and as soon as I moved back home, the dreams would stop."
"They didn't, did they?" Starsky guessed quietly and Hutch nodded.
"If anything, they got worse. I would wake up missing you, you remember how we shared the bed when your nightmares got so bad? I didn't realize how much I liked having you next to me until you weren't there. I guess my subconscious was telling me that I wanted you back."
"Hutch, I..." Starsky began.
"I know. Don't say it. I'll request a new partner from Dobey as soon as this stakeout ends."
"New partner?" Starsky was floored. "Why the hell would I want a new partner? You're the best partner I've ever had and my best friend to boot. There ain't no way I'd work with anyone else."
Hutch allowed himself to look at Starsky. The darker man was looking at him with wide eyes. "I just told you that I wanted to sleep with you! How can you NOT want to get away from me!"
"Hutch, I don't care if you had just told me you were Jack the Ripper. It wouldn't change the fact that you're my best friend and I love you. Of course, if you were Jack the Ripper, I'd probably have to arrest ya," Starsky attempted to lighten the situation a bit. "But I'd come visit ya a lot!"
Hutch chuckled mirthlessly. "You don't have to try to make me feel better, Starsk. I know this is gonna change things between us and I think you know it too."
"So maybe it does change things. That ain't necessarily a bad thing."
"You know, we WERE dared," Starsky said softly. He reached up and let his hand stroke Hutch's cheek.
Hutch stood up quickly and moved to the other side of the room. "This isn't a game, Starsky! I love you! I'm IN love with you and I don't know what's gonna happen to us."
"What's gonna happen is our friendship is gonna reach a whole new level."
"You aren't upset? I mean, I never figured you'd go for something like that. You always seemed so...straight. You've never looked at another man in that way."
"And you have?"
"Well, no...but," Hutch's voice trailed off. He was completely at a loss.
"I'll let you in on a little secret," Starsky said as he cautiously approached Hutch. "I kinda liked sharin' a bed with you, too."
Hutch was watching his partner carefully. "Starsk? What happens now?"
"What happens now is that we both try something that just last year would've made us both sick to even think about."
"Starsky, I don't think," Hutch began.
"That's good," Starsky whispered as he moved in closer. "Don't think."
Hutch started to protest again when his partner kissed him. Hutch froze for an instant and then almost instinctively relaxed into his friend's embrace. For a brief moment, he forgot the stakeout and the fact that his relationship with his partner could never go back to what it was and the fact that he wasn't supposed to love his partner like that.
Wasn't supposed to...Suddenly, Hutch seemed to realize exactly what he was doing and, pulling away quickly he moved across the room, dropping into a nearby chair.
"Starsky...we shouldn't start something we can't finish. This can't work out and you know it. I'm not going to risk our friendship over a bad case of hormones."
"Hormones?" Starsky echoed. "You think that's all this is? We're just sex-starved? Hutch, I hate to break it to you, but if that WERE all it was, we'd just find us a couple of chicks and have some fun. This ain't sex...this is love."
"But this will change our lives forever. Change our lifestyle forever...Starsky...we'd have to stay in the closet...what would the guys at work say? Would we still be able to be cops? What if this doesn't work out? I can't lose your friendship."
"You won't," Starsky said gently as he cautiously approached his partner. "I'll always be your friend and you'll always be mine. Ya know, if you wanna know the truth, I think we been lovers for a long time. We just didn't do the sex part before."
Hutch looked at his partner with wide eyes. "You...thought..."
Starsky grinned at his partner. "Think about it. How many times one of us give up a girl to hang out with each other."
"That was different," Hutch argued. "That would happen when one of us was depressed or something."
"Or something..." Starsky said softly as he gently reached up and stroked his partner's cheek.
Hutch felt his resolve weakening. He decided maybe he COULD take the chance. Starsky was right. It was love, not sex. He leaned in bravely for another kiss...only to jump back when he heard the gunshots.
"Damn!" Starsky swore softly as they jumped apart. "Forgot the stakeout. Let's go partner!"
Guns drawn, the two men ran down the stairs to the street. Hodges was standing with his back against the brick wall.
"Where the hell have you guys been? I think we got 'em pinned. Harry's gone around to the other side. You guys take the back."
Hutch met his partner's gaze and the partnership that made them legend on the force took over. They instinctively knew the other's moves and moved to corner their targets while watching out for each other.
An hour later, Hutch was frantically pacing the hospital waiting room. Occasionally he would stop and, with his eyes closed, shake his head, as though trying to rid himself of the sight of Starsky with a head wound.
He had heard the shots and went running towards the sound. When he got there, he saw his partner and best friend lying on the ground with blood running down his face. He was lying so still...so very, very still.
Jenkins and Hodges managed to corner the shooters and had them rounded up in minutes. Hutch just sat on the ground next to Starsky's body and prayed.
At the sound of the doctor's voice, Hutch stopped pacing and ran to the man in the white coat.
"How is he?"
The doctor smiled. "He's going to be fine. It was just a graze. He took a few stitches, and he'll be pretty out of it for the rest of the day, but he's fine."
Hutch felt his knees weaken with relief and he quickly lowered himself into a chair before he landed on the ground.
"Thank God!" Hutch said reverently. "When I saw him lying there...there was so much blood..."
The doctor chuckled. "Yes, scalp wounds do bleed completely pig-like, don't they?"
Hutch looked up in surprise at the doctor's rather non-medical description of a head wound. The doctor grinned at him, patted him on the shoulder and said, "The nurse will be in when we get him settled into a room. We're going to keep him overnight for observation, but I don't think there's anything to worry about."
Hutch pulled himself to his feet and shook the doctor's hand. Then he fell back into the chair and waited not-so-patiently for the nurse.
The next morning, Hutch was there to take Starsky home. As they pulled up in front of Starsky's apartment, there was an unusually awkward pause.
"You wanna come up?" Starsky asked, suddenly unsure of himself and the situation.
"I don't know if that's such a good idea Starsk," Hutch said and then looked at Starsky. Inside his mind there was a war going on; leave Starsky for the safety of solitude of Venice Place or stay with Starsky for the sake of helping him get around with a concussion. Finally, Hutch realized there was really only one choice. "Yeah, I'll come up. Can't have you passing out when I'm not there, can I?"
Starsky chuckled. "I ain't plannin' on passing out. But if that's the reasoning you need to come up and talk to me, then it works for me."
There was another awkward pause before Hutch finally got out of the car and ran around to the passenger side to help his partner.
As Starsky entered his apartment, he was aware of Hutch behind him. What he wasn't aware of was what Hutch had finally decided. He turned around to face his partner. Hutch was leaning against the front door looking at him with wide eyes.
"Hutch? You okay, Babe? Whatsamatta?"
Without a word, Hutch stepped forward, put his arms around his partner and kissed him. It was light and tentative, as if Hutch knew just how fragile the bridge he was crossing could be.
Starsky, meanwhile, was determined to burn that bridge. He put his arms around Hutch and pulled him close, until there wasn't a sliver of daylight between them. Then he gently ran his tongue over his partner's lips, asking permission...it was granted and as Hutch opened his mouth to his partner, the bridge was officially ashes.
It was several hours later and Starsky was lying in bed awake, watching his fair partner sleep. Hutch lay there silently sleeping with look of contentment on his face that Starsky had rarely seen. He reached out and gently ran a finger over his sleeping partner's features. Hutch tried to brush away the bothersome hand, but Starsky kept at it until finally Hutch opened his eyes and looked at him.
"Hey," Starsky said softly.
"Hey yourself," Hutch said. "Now what?"
Starsky leaned down to kiss Hutch. "I can think of a few things."
Hutch chuckled into the kiss before pulling away and sitting up. "That's not what I meant and you know it."
"Now we go back to real life. That what you mean?"
"Yeah," Hutch answered with a sigh. "This sort of thing isn't usually considered acceptable."
"Since when have we ever gone for acceptable?"
"You know what I mean. This is a major change."
"I told you already, Hutch. It ain't that big a change. It just added sex to a relationship that was already beyond friendship."
"Sex isn't that big a change?" Hutch stared at his partner. "How can you say that?"
"I love you Hutch. Do you love me?"
"You know I do."
"Before we did this...before you started gettin' these sort of feelings. Did you love me?"
"But nothing! Love, sex, sex, love...we're here, we're together. Me & Thee. That's all we've ever had. That's all we need."
"Hutch, lemme ask you something." Starsky turned his violet-blue eyes to meet his partner's ice-blue eyes. "You were the one who started this when we got back here. You kissed me! If you didn't want to take our relationship here, why'd you do it?"
"I thought you were dead when I saw you lying there. I couldn't believe I had been such a coward and then there was no time left..."
"So you did it 'cause you were glad I lived?" Starsky pulled back a little bit. "That was just a 'nice of you to live' gesture?"
"NO!" Hutch exclaimed. "I did it because I love you! When I saw you lying there, and then later when the doctor told me you'd be okay, I realized life is too precious to be a coward and I didn't want to live like that. Look, I don't know how we're gonna handle the real world. I mean, there's a little thing called staying 'in the closet' and if we want to keep our jobs, we'll have to..."
"Long as we got Me & Thee, there's nothin' we can't handle."
"Half full, huh?"
"Yeah," Starsky said as he ran his hand down his lover's body. "But I can fix that."
Hutch laughed as he reached for Starsky.