Disclaimers: The faces are familiar and so are the names, but the setting seems a little strange? I kidnapped a few cuties from television land. I accept that they never did and never will belong to me, but I am having oh so much fun while I have them.
Notes: This is part three of a planned series of stories in "The Coming Home Series". For parts one and two please see "He Comes Home To Me" and "Going Home".
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Starsky strutted into the Pits with his usual bravado. He barely made it past the doorway when he felt someone grab his shoulder. He tensed up immediately and only relaxed when he turned to see Huggy standing next to him.
"What's the matter, Hug? I just got in the door. You trying the stop your new waitress from seeing me and falling in love?" he joked.
Huggy didn't even crack a smile. He looked far too serious and tugged on Starsky's leather jacket to follow him. Starsky frowned and silently followed his friend into the kitchen. He leaned against the counter and waited for Huggy to stop pacing the floor. Huggy rubbed the back of his neck and looked up nervously.
"You shouldn't be here, Starsky."
Starsky was shocked. "What? I always thought that I was welcome here!"
"You are, man. You are," Huggy calmed, "But just not now."
"What's wrong? You in trouble?"
"No, it's not me who's in trouble," Huggy muttered under his breath.
"What did you say? Who's in trouble?"
"Nothing. No one, brother. What are you doing here anyways? I thought you were supposed to be on a hot date."
"I was, but she cancelled at the last minute. That's not the point. You're hiding something from me, Hug."
Huggy moved closer to Starsky. He placed his body in the direct path leading out into the pub. He leaned against the counter and his fingers dug into the wood.
"Okay, man you want the truth. I've got some patrons right now--old friends--who wouldn't be too happy to see you around. Nothing illegal, just that authority figures give them the heebie-jeebies."
"You're lying," Starsky voice lowered dangerously.
In a swift move born from experience Starsky swept past Huggy and pushed the swinging door open just enough to look around the pub. He recognized almost everyone scattered at tables and stools as regular patrons. Towards the back of the bar he saw a familiar blond head and the profile he loved so much. He squinted and his brow furrowed with concentration as he looked upon the scene.
Hutch was leaning over the table and his chin was resting in his upturned palm. His eyes sparkled and he seemed to be enjoying himself immensely. Starsky frowned when he realized it had been quite awhile since he had seen that beloved face so relaxed.
Starsky knew all of the signs. The tilt of Hutch's head a certain way, the way his eyes crinkled up when he smiled, his general body language and another million little things screamed the bleak reality to him. Hutch was very much attracted to the person sitting adjacent to him. Starsky's attention moved to critically view his competition.
"A red head," he huffed to himself, "Hutch likes brunettes."
The red head in question was leaning far too close to his Hutch. Too big--Red hair--Looks dumb. Starsky's mind named off numerous flaws to try and diminish the situation in front of him. The biggest flaw of all was that the object of Hutch's desire was another man. Hutch wasn't into men--except him. Starsky was trying to be rational, but right now he wanted to rip the throat out of that six-foot-something, two-hundred-pound-plus red head. He was about to charge out of the kitchen when he was pulled back sharply and pinned against the counter by Huggy.
One word cut through his rage and he looked into a pair of concerned brown eyes.
"Just don't do this. You want answers, you get them from me. Understand?"
The rage flared again and Starsky pushed Huggy away roughly. He glared at the swinging door, but began to pace near the deep fryer.
"What the fuck is going on?" he demanded. Simple. Effective.
"First of all calm down. If you go do something rash, you are only going to hurt yourself and Hutch. You've already hurt Hutch enough, so simmer down."
"What are you talking about? You don't know anything about Hutch and me. What's that big Neanderthal doing near my Hutch, anyhow?" Starsky fired off in rapid succession.
"I'm talking about the fact that your Hutch is hurtin' bad and you're too self absorbed to notice. I know about you and Hutch. I've known far more than anyone else for years. That Neanderthal's name is Toby Harris and he's on date with a certain blond we both know and some love more than others."
Starsky stopped pacing and stared at Huggy in disbelief. It was too much to process and he remained silent from shock.
Huggy took advantage of the silence and continued, "Who do you think had to nurse a broken Hutch when you started fucking with his head?"
"What are you talking about?"
"Since you started cheatin' on Hutch, I've been the one holding him together while you were out fucking some lady."
"It's not cheating," Starsky's voice was much lower now, "It's always been that way."
"The ways things are is not the way they always should be. He sure feels it's cheating and the stupid fool won't do anything about it until now."
"He better not be leaving me."
Huggy rolled his eyes and sighed. "He's not leaving you, you stupid fool. He's just following your example after some thorough convincing from me. You chose to date other people again, so I convinced him he should do the same. What's good for the goose is good for the gander--um I mean the other goose," Huggy shook is head, "Well, you get the idea."
"You're responsible for this!" Starsky growled and began to stalk Huggy.
Huggy raised his hands and backed away. He looked at a large wooden mallet, but decided he was too young to be sent to prison for homicide by meat tenderizer.
"No, you are responsible for this. I just set things into motion."
"Hutch was hurting so bad. He loves you deeply, man. He's put up with you sleeping around for months now and never said a bad word against you. He blames himself, ya know. Says he can't give enough, whatever in the hell that means. When you are out he's taken to coming here. A few weeks back when you where out with some blonde, and might I add, that's just rubbing it in--he was in a real low place. That's when my friend Harris comes into the picture. He spent some quality time with Hutch--"
Huggy was interrupted by a deep growl coming from the curly headed detective. The blue eyes flashed a warning.
"Calm down. They just played pool and talked. Hutch was so lonely. It just so happened that every time after that when Hutch showed up, I made sure Harris was here, too."
Starsky launched himself at Huggy and threw him against the fridge. His hands were knotted in his polyester lapels and he thumped him against the metal door again.
"You bastard, who are you to interfere! I thought you were my friend."
"I am your friend. Hutch's, too and I like to help my friends when they are miserable. You seem happy enough to step out on him so you don't need my help in that department. I was just there to make sure he wasn't left in the cold. He loves you and will never leave you, you stupid asshole. He puts up with everything because he loves you blindly. But as long as you continue to dick around with some anonymous pussy, don't you dare judge him for seeking out a friend--whoever that may be!" Huggy retorted.
Starsky's arms dropped to side and he stepped away defeated. "Have I lost him?"
"You really are blind aren't you? He has eyes only for you, always has. Do you think it's a coincidence that all of his other relationships have blown up? He doesn't choose well when he isn't getting what he really wants. I always thought of it as self-punishment. Never thinks he's good enough."
"He's the best there is," Starsky said more to himself.
"I'm surprised you don't realize that more. He loves too much and for some unknown reason it's all directed at you. My advice is for you to leave right now," Huggy jerked his thumb at the back door, "Let him have a little happiness. Harris is a good man. He really likes Hutch. Until you're ready to commit, give him this."
The only noise in the kitchen was the eerie echoes from the pub. Starsky was turning a funny grey color and his eyes were beginning to go bloodshot from too much mental pressure. Life was a bitch when the truth chose to reveal itself to the blind. Starsky turned and left out of the back door without saying another word. Huggy watched the door glide shut and shook his head sadly.
"You have a lot to think about, old friend. I only hope that was enough to shake you up into fighting for Hutch," he said to an empty room, "You are your own worse enemy."
Next story in the series: Symbols of Home