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Thanks to my marvelous beta readers Ozy and Wolfling. This is certainly different for them from my normal fare (TS). Also, thanks to Mcvey who gave me some great help with characterization. Any remaining problems are due to my own stubborn refusal to change the dialogue :)
This story is for Sheri with my thanks. Disclaimer: The characters used here, sadly, do not belong to me. I have received no monetary reward, I do it simply for fun.
Author's note: This story begins where the episode Black and Blue ends. For those of you unfamiliar with this episode, here is a short synopsis (as I see it anyway <g>) Hutch is shot by a young girl as he and Starsky attempt to stop a robbery. He is shot because he can't bring himself to shoot the girl. While he is recovering in the hospital, his partner, Starsky, is paired with a female detective to try and break the theft ring that is using underage kids. Starsky gets along very well with his temporary partner, Meredith. Starsky and Meredith are captured by the bad guys but just before they are about to be killed, Hutch (who has released himself from the hospital) comes to the rescue.
The day was cloudy and hot. Hutch leaned his head back against the seat of the Torino, ignoring his partner's questioning glance. He knew that he had been withdrawn all day and that it was beginning to wear on Starsky. His exuberant partner had been surprisingly reticent about calling him on it though. That was odd, but Hutch couldn't summon up the energy or desire to give it much thought.
"Is your arm still bothering you, Hutch?" Starsky's voice was full of concern.
Hutch frowned. How could he explain to his partner that his arm was the least of his concerns? It was just a wound. It wasn't the first time he'd been shot and this injury would heal like all the others before it had. Physical discomfort wasn't his problem. Hell, he didn't even know exactly what his problem was. Ever since Starsky had last visited him in the hospital, he had been overcome by a feeling of unease. Then seeing his partner with Detective Second Class Meredith he felt what? Anger jealousy of being so easily replaced after seven years? Whatever it was he didn't think he had the energy to deal with it right now. He couldn't seem to let go of his partner's cutting words in the hospital. His mind kept coming back to one question. Was he really so expendable to his partner?
"Can we just drive and not talk?" Hutch asked, trying to keep the bitterness out of his tone, and knowing he failed miserably. Starsky's tight grip on the wheel revealed his anger at being dismissed. "Listen, Starsk. I'm just tired. I checked myself out of the hospital against doctor's orders and my arm is killing me. I just want to fill my prescription and go home to bed. Okay?"
Hutch had been shot because he couldn't pull the trigger and kill a young girl. She had no problem shooting him though. If he had just pulled the trigger then he wouldn't have been shot, Starsky wouldn't have been captured and nearly killed, and most importantly, his best friend wouldn't have realized that there was someone else in this world that could stand beside him as his partner. That he, Kenneth Hutchinson, was no one special.
Starsky's grip eased on the steering wheel and he smiled slightly. "Okay, partner. We can do that. Thanks by the way."
Pulling himself out of his self-condemnation, Hutch turned his head to regard his partner. "For what?"
"For saving my butt, what else?" Starsky grinned. "I never expected to see you come barreling in like that. I thought Vivian was going to burn me for sure."
"Glad to be of assistance, partner." Hutch winced as the words left his mouth. The bitterness in his voice wiped the smile off his partner's face.
"Hutch, just what is your problem?" Starsky set his mouth into a grim line.
"Just let it go, Starsk. Let it go."
"I don't think so partner. I don't know what's gotten into your empty, blond head but we are going to talk about it."
Hutch sighed and closed his eyes, concentrating on the throb in his arm instead of the pain in his heart. "I'm not up to it today, Starsk," he said honestly. His partner seemed to accept this and didn't press any further. Silence reigned for the rest of the drive, broken only by Starsky's insistence that he go in to the drugstore to fill Hutch's prescription.
When they arrived at Venice Place, Starsky didn't give him an option as he followed Hutch up to his apartment. It was then that the blond man realized that the conversation wasn't over for the night, just delayed for a short while. Giving in to the inevitable, Hutch didn't argue as he led the way into his apartment.
Sitting down on the sofa, Starsky waited patiently as Hutch took his pain medication, made coffee and fumed.
Hutch had had just about enough of his partner. Where did he get off sitting there with that stupid look of concern on his face? It was Starsky's fault after all that he was screwed up. He stalked over and stood in front of the couch glaring down as his friend.
"Are you just going to sit there like that?" he asked, not bothering to keep the irritation out of his voice. "Aren't you going to say anything at all?"
"What do you expect me to say, Hutch? You've been treating me like you can barely stand to be near me all day. Just what's going on with you?"
"You have a lot of nerve acting like the injured party here, Starsk. I saved your bacon today and you still wanted to go off with Meredith. Just what do I have to do to get your attention? I checked myself out of the hospital, tracked you down and rescued you both and still it's not enough. What do I have to do, Starsk? Just tell me!"
Starsky looked up at him, shocked at the outburst. "What are you talking about?"
"I feel like I'm banging my head against the wall. If there was one thing in this world that I thought I could count on, it was our partnership your support. What went wrong, Starsk? Tell me what have I done?" Hutch took a deep breath trying to get a handle on his anger. This was doing no good. Why was he even bothering? He could hardly stand the look of surprise and hurt on his partner's face.
Starsky seemed to be trying to make sense of his friend's angry words. Did Hutch want to break up their partnership? Why? "Hutch?" Starsky started, then stopped, looking as if he wasn't sure just what he should say. Not sure what he could do to fix the rift between them.
"Just forget it. If you want out, just say so," Hutch said tiredly.
Starsky met Hutch's eyes, unflinchingly. "What do you want?" he asked intently.
Hutch began pacing in front of the couch, holding his injured arm. "What do I want? I want a car that runs, I want three day fishing weekends, I want my damn arm to stop hurting but most of all " He turned to face his partner, feeling the words rush out of him, unable to stop them... unwilling to stop them. "Most of all I want to stop doing this."
Starsky froze for a moment, then took a shaky breath before responding. "What exactly do you want to stop, Hutch? Stop being friends, partners what?" Hurt overlaid the anger in Starsky's eyes.
"You don't want to know what I really want, Starsky." The words were heavy with warning.
Starsky stared up at his partner. Hutch could see the fear in his eyes, his worry that maybe their seven-year partnership was really in danger. He could almost see the wheels turning as Starsky tried to figure out what he could do to stop him from tearing them apart. The dark-haired man grabbed Hutch's arm, his eyes begging his partner to really listen to what he was saying. "I do want to know, Hutch. I do. You can tell me anything. I swear you can tell me anything and I'll still be there for you. I just need to know what's happening here. What's wrong? Please, tell me what you need."
Seeing how he was hurting his partner and Starsky's obvious desperation to make things right between them, Hutch felt his anger fade, leaving behind only a deep sadness. It was time to tell his partner the truth. His real fear in all this. The fear that one-day Starsky would meet someone that could replace him in his partner's heart. Seeing Starsky with Meredith had hit him hard. It showed him that maybe there was someone else out there who could be a partner to Starsky, who could give could give him everything everything that Hutch wished he would someday be allowed to give Starsky.
Kneeling in front of his partner to look into his eyes, Hutch put his hand on the other man's knee. "I need to stop pretending, Starsk. Pretending that when I touch you," he flexed his fingers, digging into the denim-clad knee, trying to feel the warmth of the skin beneath, "that I don't want more." He moved his hand up to his best friend's cheek. "Stop pretending that when I touch your face, I'm not dreaming of kissing you, pressing against you. Stop pretending that what I feel is only friendship." Hutch stood and turned away from the shock he saw in Starsky's eyes. Well, it was out in the open now. The ache in his arm had diminished somewhat, obviously the pain pills were kicking in. All that was left was the exhaustion and sorrow that it had come to this.
"Go home, Starsk. Forget I said anything if you need to." Defeated by the lack of response from the other man, Hutch headed for his bathroom, not bothering to look at his partner again. He had seen all he needed to, it was clear his feelings weren't welcomed. After closing the door, Hutch leaned against it and shut his eyes.
The stupid thing was he didn't regret his words. Even if his friend didn't return his feelings, the man deserved to know. Hutch didn't like having the secret between them. They could get past this. Tomorrow he would call Starsky, ask him to come over and they would work it out. It wasn't like he planned on jumping the man. Even if he wanted to, his knowledge of the subject was lacking.
Hutch turned on the water and carefully washed his face. Looking at himself in the mirror, he hardly recognized the pale, exhausted man looking back at him. "Guess I should have waited till I looked semi-attractive before I made my move. It's a wonder he didn't run screaming." The dark circles under his eyes were even more pronounced in the harsh lighting of the bathroom. Hutch clamped his jaw shut on a chuckle, hearing the barely controlled hysteria in it.
What if Starsk couldn't get his head around the idea that his friend and partner loved him was in love with him? No, that wasn't an option. Hutch knew he would make any concession necessary to ensure their continued partnership. Pushing away from the sink, Hutch headed for the door.
Sleep now. Tomorrow he would make things right with his partner.
As soon as he opened the door, Hutch froze, letting his mouth fall open. He was greeted by the sight of his partner naked to the waist, in the process of wiggling out of his jeans.
Hutch found his voice again. "What the hell are you doing?"
Starsky turned and grinned at him, throwing his jeans to the floor. Wearing only his tiny black briefs and his necklace, he stepped toward his astonished partner. "You did just say you loved me, didn't you? I couldn't quite tell since you never actually said the words. Reading between the lines I figured that's what you meant, though. If not, you'd better say now."
Hutch stayed silent, letting his eyes rove the firm body of his friend--the body that he had desired for so long.
"Good," Starsky declared. "Now get over here you big blond beauty and give me a kiss."
Hutch moved one step forward, not quite believing that what he was seeing was really happening. "Why are you doing this, Starsk?"
Sighing mournfully, Starsky seeming to resign himself to talk rather than action. "Well, it's certainly not because of any big seduction scene on your part. Come over here and sit down before you fall down, you big dope." He grabbed Hutch's arm and propelled him toward the couch, sitting down beside him. "Today has certainly taken its toll on you, my friend."
Hutch faced Starsky, forcing his eyes to stay on his partner's face, fighting the desire to let them once again roam his partner's exposed skin. "Three hours ago you were ready to throw me over for Meredith, now you seem ready to " Hutch didn't finish the sentence; uncertain just what Starsky was ready to do.
Staring at Hutch in surprise Starsky blurted out, "What are you talking about?"
"Well you seemed willing enough to cut me out of things when I was in the hospital." Hutch's mind went back to Starsky's refusal to fill him in on the case and his cutting words. 'My partner is filled in plenty,' he had said, meaning Meredith. Meaning his help wasn't needed or wanted. He came back to himself as Starsky jabbed him in the ribs.
"Care to come back to the conversation? You're not talking about my partner comment are you?" Starsky looked at his partner's face carefully. "You are! I was teasing you dummy, like I've done a thousand times before like you've done a thousand times before. It's what we do. You snipe, I snipe, but when it comes down to it we are there for each other. Meredith is a good cop and a beautiful lady but you're my partner. You and me, Hutch, till the day we retire. I don't want or need anyone else." Starsky looked down at himself. "God, Hutch, I'm sitting here almost naked. Haven't you figured it out yet? I love you in so many ways. You're my partner, my best friend, and my support in this world. My life has revolved around you, become so twisted with yours for so long I don't think I could separate myself from you if I wanted to which I don't. I love you, Hutch I'm in love with you." Starsky stopped and took in the suspiciously wet eyes of his friend. "You're not going to cry, are you?" he asked in mock horror.
Hutch smiled, feeling the tears of happiness and relief fill his eyes. "Maybe I am. It'd be your own fault, you know." He held back the tears, struggling to control his emotions. "I love you too."
Starsky blinked. "That's it?"
"Yeah. I love you."
"After my big long heartfelt speech, all I get is, 'I love you, too'? Why didn't you just say 'ditto' and be done with it? I wouldn't want you to strain yourself or anything." Starsky smiled widely, making it seem like he had twice as many teeth as a normal person.
Moving forward, Hutch embraced the other man carefully. "I'll do better later, I promise," he whispered into his partner's ear. "Right now I'd like to stop talking."
Starsky pulled back and looked into his face. "Yeah? What'd you have in mind?" He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.
Hutch didn't speak; he simply leaned forward and captured his partner's lips with his own in a first kiss. As their lips met, he was touched by the strangeness of the situation. He was kissing his partner, his very male partner. The thought fled into nothingness as the lips beneath his parted, inviting him inside. The kiss deepened as Hutch explored his partner's mouth with abandon. His body felt charged with the urgency to possess his dark-haired friend. It felt dangerous, strange and more arousing than anything he'd ever experienced. He had imagined this moment so many times. When he realized his feelings for his partner were more than just those you felt for a friend, it had scared him. Made him doubt who he was.
That time was spent in self-discovery. He had turned it over in his mind so many times, examining the feeling from all angles. In the end he knew he couldn't fight it, didn't want to fight it. As time passed the love he felt for his partner became less strange and the need to express it and experience all that it entailed, became overwhelming. Eventually, leading to this point in time. The act itself after so much agonizing thought seemed so natural that he wondered why it had ever concerned him.
He pressed himself closer to his partner, feeling the hardness against his thigh. Obviously he was not the only one benefiting from the caress of tongue against tongue. Hutch moaned deep in his throat and felt Starsky thrust against his thigh in response. The movement brought them even tighter together and he had to pull back abruptly with a gasp of pain.
Starsky opened his eyes in shock and then understanding dawned. "I'm so sorry, Hutch. I got too caught up in the kiss, I forgot to watch out for your arm."
Hutch clutched his arm, waiting for the sharp pain to subside. Of all the rotten timing. Here they were finally ready to do something other than trade long looks and he wasn't able to even maintain a kiss. "Not your fault Starsk. It's just this damn arm." Hutch gave a frustrated sound of disgust and sat back against the couch. "I'm sorry Starsk. I guess I'm not ready for this tonight."
Grinning, Starsky slid off the couch, arranging himself between his partner's legs. "I don't know about that Hutch. You seemed to be doing great before I got carried away and pressed myself up against your arm." He ran his hand up to cup Hutch's softened cock in his hand, squeezing gently through the cloth, laughing as it twitched beneath his palm. "There's one part of you at least that isn't finished just yet. I think a new game plan is needed, that's all." He continued stroking his partner's rapidly filling cock through the material of his pants. "Just lay back, Hutch. Let me do the work tonight?"
Hutch laid his head back against the couch and groaned at the wonderful feeling of his partner's hand on his crotch. "Please?" he ground out.
Starsky grinned and pulled down the zipper of his friend's pants, freeing the erection within. He quickly pulled off Hutch's shoes, then his pants and boxers. Hutch had reopened his eyes and was watching his dark-haired lover closely. He felt the air swirl around his naked bottom half and shivered, partly from the cold but mostly from the sight of his partner running his tongue across his bottom lip as he looked up at him like he was the most delicious thing he had ever seen.
Starsky leaned forward; keeping his eyes locked with his partner and drew his tongue across Hutch's throbbing cock. The blond man clenched his eyes shut and moved his hips up, trying to recapture the wonderful sensation. Starsky gripped his partner's hips with his hands, holding him down firmly on the couch. "Uh uh, none of that. I'm not going to have you jarring your arm again and ruining my fun. Stay still." After pressing down firmly for a moment to punctuate his point, Starsky released him and bent down once again. This time he started slowly, pushing his partner's legs farther apart so that he could kiss his inner thigh lightly, leaving a trail of moisture as he made his way higher. Hutch groaned above his partner as Starsk kissed his balls before taking them into his mouth, sucking gently. The dark-haired man released his prize with regret and ran his tongue along the underside of Hutch's penis. Hutch shifted slightly unable to keep still, but settled back down as Starsky pulled away.
"You okay?" the dark-haired man asked.
"Get on with it, Starsk," Hutch growled. "If you don't hurry, it's going to be over before you even get started."
Starsky smiled, stroking his partner's erection with his hand. "That close are we? Well, I can't have you coming before I get a chance to taste you." He glanced up at Hutch, looking a bit surprised by the desire he clearly saw in his blue eyes. Starsk shivered slightly and with his right hand, drew his own erection out of his briefs.
Hutch knew that his partner would never let him come alone. He watched with increasing arousal as Starsky began to stroke himself as he worked Hutch's erection with his other hand. Hutch felt close to exploding and knew neither one of them would last long.
He reached down and grabbed his partner's curly locks pulling him up urgently. "Want to kiss you."
Starsky rose to his feet gracefully, careful not to touch his partner's wounded side and took his lips in a fierce kiss. Their tongues dueled as Starsky continued to stroke quickly. The dark-haired man settled himself, facing his partner so that his butt rested on Hutch's knees, as the kiss continued. Neither man wanted to end it, each intent on exploring every crevice and surface of the other's mouth.
Starsky pressed his erection against Hutch's; gasping into his partner's mouth as his cock touched the other hard flesh. Hutch groaned deeply but refused to release Starsky's mouth as the dark-haired man pressed both erections together. Grasping them in his hands, he began to stroke them together, and Hutch moaned, loving the feel as his cock, aided by pre-cum, slid along the length of his partner's erection. Starsky pressed his tongue into Hutch's willing mouth, thrusting in and out in time with his hands on their erections.
Starsky was the first to come, spilling his seed over his hands and onto Hutch's erection and stomach. He threw his head back and away from Hutch's questing lips as his body stiffened in ecstasy. Then he let himself slide back down onto the floor and took Hutch's erection deep into his mouth.
Hutch screamed as the warm heat enfolded him and came explosively, unable to resist this final act of love. His hips thrust upwards of their own accord and he gave himself over to the overwhelming orgasm.
Starsky continued to work his partner's erection till Hutch collapsed in exhaustion and the last of his cum had been swallowed, then leaned back looking up at his lover, licking his lips. "We taste great together, Hutch." Starsky smiled and stood, leaning over his sated partner. He kissed him, letting him taste their mingled fluid.
Hutch licked his lips and seemed to consider the taste. "I've never done that before, you know?" he said quietly.
Starsky looked stricken. "No, I didn't know. Why didn't you tell me? I would have I would have ."
Hutch pulled his partner back down and kissed him solidly, stopping the words. "I didn't tell you 'cause it's not important. The only thing that matters is that I love you and I want you in every way I can think of. Just because I've never done it before doesn't mean I don't know what I want. I've had a long time to work through this, Starsk. My feelings for you aren't new. I want to do everything with you. Preferably as many times as we can manage, as often as possible."
Starsky grinned and settled down next to Hutch on the couch, cuddling up to his uninjured side. "I'm with you, partner. Though I think you and I need to talk about this before we go any further and I think we had better wait till you're better before we try some of the more ahh adventurous positions."
Hutch turned his head to look at his partner, letting him see the emotion in his eyes. "I think you may be right, Starsk. We can take it slow. We have all the time in the world."
"Yeah," Starsky breathed, relaxing against Hutch. "You and me Blondie, for keeps."
Closing his eyes and feeling the warm sleepy body beside him, Hutch felt at peace with himself at last.
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