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This story takes place in the "Talk Dirty" universe that the author shares with another fan writer. Comments about this story or inquiries about other "Talk Dirty" stories, can be sent to FlamingoSlim@erols.com.
This one's for the Glowing
The third sneeze was so powerful, it nearly knocked Hutch clean off his feet.
"I'm gonna kill you, Starsky!" he grumbled as he levered the open-ended over-packed carton he was carrying onto the top of a precarious pile of four other over-packed cartons. His back gave a warning twinge.
"What was that, partner?" the Starsky in question asked as he popped up from behind a mountain of moving boxes not three feet away.
His sudden appearance startled Hutch so much he jumped. "I thought you were out in the truck."
"Uh-uh," Starsky assured him, bending back down behind the cartons so that he completely disappeared again. "Brought in the last two crates. This seemed to be the best place to put them.... What did you say before, Hutch?"
Hutch leaned wearily against the tower of boxes nearest him. His muscles felt like spaghetti, his feet like hamburger, and every single nerve felt frayed raw. "I said," he repeated calmly, "I'm gonna... gonna...ah...AH--" Quickly, he grabbed for the handkerchief sticking out of his back right pocket and covered his face before letting loose with another thunderous sneeze. That brought Starsky out of his hiding place again.
"You okay, buddy?" he asked innocently, which only aggravated Hutch further. "You're not catching a cold, are you?"
Hutch glowered at his partner, who was also his lover of one year. He wondered if they were going to successfully make one year and a day at this rate. At the same time, he had to struggle not to notice how attractive Starsky was with that red bandanna tied around his forehead, or how great his arms and abs looked in the sleeveless cut-off scrap of sweatshirt that ended just below his nipples. "No, I am not catching a cold! What I'm doing is having an allergy flare-up."
Starsky looked puzzled. "This time'a year? From what?"
Hutch gestured around the cramped, box-festooned environment he was trapped in. "From all this, that's what! All this stuff, this motley collection of things, these cartons of randomly assembled clutter--all of it yours. And I'm ready to hazard a guess that none of it has been dusted."
"Dusted?" Starsky asked innocently, opening his indigo eyes wide.
If he tries that eyelash-batting routine, Hutch swore, I will kill him! "Yeah, dusted. As in, taking a cloth and wiping things clean. As in, not packing stuff with the six month's dust accumulation on it most of your things had. As in--do you even need half this junk--?" Hutch turned around in the small space he'd found to stand in and nearly got poked in the ear by the mainstay mast of one of Starsky's model ships that was sitting half in-half out of the top box.
Hutch counted to twenty. "I'm allergic to dust, remember? Especially when it's coating everything a half inch thick. Starsky, I swear--"
"Hutch." The voice was even, soothing, and the expression on his partner's face had gentled amazingly. "Calm down. You're panicking again."
"The hell I am!" he insisted, even as he gestured wildly with one hand, nearly upending the nearest box. "It's one o'clock in the morning, we've been moving stuff from your place and my place since seven a.m. with nothing more than a lunch break, and what have we got to show for it? A house packed to the gills with junk--dusty junk at that! Our furniture looks like it's been dumped in here after having been tossed around by a Mix Master, and, and--"
Somehow Starsky managed to make his way over to Hutch and was suddenly beside him in the small space. He took hold of the flailing arm and towed it down, hanging on to it. "Hey, hey, partner, look at me."
Hutch blinked rapidly and glared at his friend.
"We're done," Starsky told him. "We just unloaded the last of it. I've already locked up the truck, and we don't have to have it back till tomorrow night. We're done."
Hutch should have been elated, but he couldn't seem to let go of his anger. That was pretty funny considering that it was the only thing he had the strength to hold on to. "That's fine. That's great. You think we're done. What the hell are we supposed to do with all this shit? Where are we gonna put it all? How are we supposed to--"
Starsky gave his arm a slight tug. "You're panicking, Hutchinson. You're just having another case of the 'new house jitters.'"
"The hell I am!"
"The hell you are. I know you. You're getting all overwhelmed again, just like you did at the closing. Since then you've been so busy packing you haven't had time to worry about things, but now that everything's unloaded, you're standing here in your own living room, freaking out. We're gonna be okay, Hutch. How many times I gotta tell you?"
Hutch felt his face grow warm as he stared at his partner. "It's...it's not because of you--of us...." he said lamely.
"Sure it is," Starsky said agreeably, patting Hutch's cheek and smiling. "But that's okay. I mean, it's only been a year. And there's that Minnesota Lutheran side of you that every now and then just hasta freak out. And now you and the man have bought a house together! Just like a real, committed couple. For the first two weeks after we made the offer, you kept waiting for Dobey to fire us, or for IA to demand our badges."
Hutch tried not to resent the fact that Starsky was right. He couldn't stop himself from glancing over at the huge fruit basket that had been waiting on the steps for them when they pulled the rented truck up in the driveway. It had been sent by their Captain and his wife as a housewarming gift.
"And you froze up completely at the closing," Starsky recalled. "I thought I was gonna hafta carry you outta there."
"I wasn't that bad," Hutch said defensively.
"Yes, you were. But it's okay. Buyin' a house is a scary thing. It kinda binds us together for the next thirty years. You'd'a been crazy not to be a little scared. I was." Starsky's smile was pure affection. "It didn't help that everyone at the closing was bein' so respectful, with all their Mr. Starsky's this and Mr. Hutchinson's that, so's they could tell themselves they hadn't treated us like two queers buyin' their first house. How many papers did we sign that day? More'n we ever have for our most complicated court case, I know that. Yeah, I knew you were gonna freak, I just kept hopin' you'd hold it together till we got outta there. And you did. Barely."
Starsky was grinning now, but Hutch didn't think it was funny. For about five minutes that day he had thought the only way he'd live through the ordeal was if he and Starsky broke up. But he couldn't figure out any way to break up with his lover and still keep him as his working partner, and the confusion that had caused just added to his distress to the point where he thought he might actually burst into tears. He could barely breathe by the time the closing was actually over. He didn't remember anything about the ride back to Venice Place.
"Like I said, Hutch, it's okay," Starsky reassured him. "We'll get a good night's sleep tonight, and tomorrow we can start makin' some sense outta alla this."
Hutch just shook his head. Sometimes he thought Starsky's ability to take things in stride was just a front he put on to aggravate him.
"Look, buddy," Starsky told him, as he picked his way carefully through the maze of unloaded goods, towing Hutch behind him by the hand, "moving is one of the most stressful things you can go through. It's right up there with death and divorce. The scientists all say so."
"Right now, I'm considering picking one of the other two in preference," Hutch muttered.
"Ha, ha. Very funny," Starsky admonished, wagging his head. "Look. Why don't we just throw some sheets on the bed and hit the hay? Everything's bound to look better after some z's."
Even Hutch couldn't argue with that. But when they found the spacious master bedroom where they'd put Hutch's old brass bed, he could only sigh wearily as he stared at the bare mattress and box spring lying askew on the floor. His whole body throbbed with tiredness. He wasn't prepared for this.
"Starsk, the bed not only isn't made, it isn't even assembled!"
"So what? You gonna tell me that when you were in college you didn't have a bed that sat right on the floor?"
"That was college. I was younger. A lot younger."
"Come on, babe! It'll get us through the night. What more do we need? At least we unloaded 'em right. The box spring is on the bottom." Starsky sashayed his hips provocatively. "It'll be like bein' kids again. Bringin' a date home to the pad--tryin' t'score...." He wiggled his eyebrows up and down.
Hutch was unmoved. "There is nothing romantic about sleeping on the floor. It's uncomfortable. Inconvenient. But I'm too tired to argue about it anymore. I'm going to shower." He edged his way around the bed, and found a narrow path that led to the master bath.
Flipping the light switch, he was assaulting by a sudden blinding flash and a pop followed immediately by darkness. "Fuck!"
"Now what?" Starsky asked, standing beside him.
"The bulb blew. We'll have to buy new ones tomorrow. I'll break my neck trying to shower in the dark. I guess I'll use the hallway bathroom." Before Starsky could answer, Hutch returned to the bedroom and started poking around. "Do we even know where the sheets and blankets are, or the towels?"
"I've found the pillows!" Starsky announced cheerily.
That was when Hutch unearthed the bedclothes, in an untidy pile half-buried under a pile of boxes. Cautiously, he pulled them out one at a time. "What the hell--?" His hand hit something cold and clammy. He sorted through the sheets and blankets. "Starsky, did you use these to pack something?"
"Well, uh, yeah, I guess--" Starsky edged over after tossing the pillows onto the bare bed. "What's the matter?"
"They're wet! The sheets, the blanket, they all have this big wet spot...." He sniffed it suspiciously. "Doesn't smell like anything, but--"
Starsky looked chagrined. "Well, uh, I kinda wrapped 'em around the cooler to keep the refrigerated stuff extra insulated. I must've caught part of 'em under the lid and they soaked up some of the melting ice water."
Hutch closed his eyes. "All the rest of the linens are sealed in a carton somewhere in one of these rooms. It'll take hours to locate, assuming we can even find them."
This was it, he realized glumly. The proverbial last straw. He was too tired, too worn out, too stressed. It didn't matter that he was a cop long used to endless hours of mind-numbing labor, that he could jump into the middle of a hostage situation or face armed killers at a moment's notice or after a twelve-hour day of blindingly dull paperwork. This, all of this, this move, this total disruption of his life, had sapped the energy from him like some insidious disease. He didn't have the reserves to handle wet sheets.
Whatever made him think he could live with this man? Whatever made him think buying a house with his partner was a plausible solution? Whatever made him think--?
He stuttered, "I-I-I...can't handle this. It's-it's j-j-just..."
Starsky gently pulled the wet sheets out of Hutch's hands. "Oh, yeah. You've had it, pal. Give 'em here."
Hutch shook his head. "What--what are you--?"
"Hutch!" Starsky said, giving him a little shake. "Hutch, listen to me. We're here in our own house. Our house. The house we been waitin' three months to move into. It's our very own house, and in the basement of our very own house is our very own washer and dryer. In ten minutes, these sheets and blankets will be dry and toasty warm. Are you listening to me?"
Hutch blinked dimly. Did he say, washer and dryer?
"Oh, you've had it, baby blue," Starsky muttered, peering at him worriedly. "Come on. I'm gonna take care of this." He started towing Hutch back to the dark bathroom.
"Starsk, the light--"
"Don't worry about that," Starsky admonished, pushing Hutch into the dark place, and guiding him to sit on the lid of the toilet. "This is our master bath, right off our bedroom, and we're gonna use it! I got everything under control." He stepped out of the room for a moment then returned with what Hutch could just barely make out was a small carton. "The very last thing I brought in."
Starsky ripped open the box and rummaged for a minute, then extracted the three fat pillar candles that had formerly sat on Hutch's coffee table back at Venice Place, and a box of matches. As he lit the candles, he said, "My mom told me to pack an 'emergency' kit--cups for coffee, the coffee itself, a few spoons, all the kinda stuff you need to get through the first morning. But I knew we'd be at this late at night, so I added stuff to the box. Then I made sure it was the first thing in the truck so it would be the last coming out."
"First things first," Starsky murmured, finding a secure location for the three big candles on the long black marble sink counter. When he lit them, the golden glow of the flames lit up the room warmly.
Tiredly, Hutch rubbed his face, glancing around at a room he'd only seen once, and then in broad daylight. It had been a major selling point to Starsky, but to Hutch it had just seemed like a wasteful extravagance--something that just added to the cost of the house. Leave it to Starsky to fall in love with a bathroom.
He'd fallen in love with the house because of the combination dining room/atrium that was perfect for his plants. The meticulously landscaped corner property had also called to the gardener in him. But Hutch had had reservations about the neighborhood, and still wasn't sure they'd made the right choice.
It was an old neighborhood, and racially mixed. That was fine by both of them--they were comfortable living in an area that was culturally not unlike their own beat. But it was only after they'd put their money down that they discovered that many houses in the old neighborhood were being bought out by gays and refurbished. In fact, that was why their real estate agent had steered them to it. Their place had been partially redone, but the gay couple who'd owned it had decided to head back to Santa Fe for a better job. Because it wasn't completely remodeled, they'd gotten a good price on it.
However, when Hutch had realized why he and Starsky--two adult males buying a house together--had been shown this house and this neighborhood, he had been surprised to find himself troubled. He didn't like it, didn't like what it said about him. He was a man who had never yielded to prejudice, never permitted it to be expressed in his presence, but suddenly, he found himself saddled with a label he'd once dismissed to his partner as not meaning anything. So if the label didn't mean anything, then what was his problem?
He looked up as Starsky pulled something else out of the emergency carton, some kind of bottle. It was hard to see in the flickering candlelight.
"You just sit there, buddy, and let the good doctor take care of everything." Starsky moved over to the big tub and turned on the jets, pouring liquid from the bottle into the running water.
"Starsky, let me warn you now," Hutch said, in his most serious tone, "I'm too tired for a bath, and I'm definitely way too tired for a seduction. So, if that's where your mind is heading--"
"Who, me?" his partner said in all innocence. "Look, it's gonna take those sheets a good fifteen minutes to dry. It's impossible to be too tired to sit in a hot tub, and after all the work you did today, your body needs that heat just to relax enough to sleep." He tested the rising water with his elbow. "'S'good. Come on. Climb in, blondie, so I can take care of the sheets."
"Starsky..." Hutch grumbled warningly.
"No seduction, I swear," Starsky promised, making a boy scout salute. "Just hot water, relaxation, then warm, dry sheets to sleep on. Come on, get outta those clothes."
Hutch glanced askance at the big, oversized tub. The smell of the herbal bath oil was enticing.... He pulled his shirt over his head. "All right, all right," he groused.
"Atta boy. You'll thank me when you crawl under those sheets and fall dead asleep, without your muscles cramping and twitching for a half hour. Y'know, that's why they walk horses after a race, Hutch, to get their muscles to relax and cool down after all that hard work. But I think a nice, hot bath is even better."
As Hutch skimmed out of his grimy pants and stepped into the heated water, he grudgingly admitted Starsky was right. He tried not to sigh out loud as he eased himself down into the tub.
"Come on, old man," Starsky chided, "stretch out and enjoy it."
Hutch narrowed his eyes. Starsky was bound and determined to make him fall in love with this tub. It's a bathtub. Nothing but steel and porcelain. It just happens to be--big. It was a luxury tub, extra deep, extra wide, and extra long--big enough for two, the real estate agent had bragged, beaming at them. Hutch had gone completely crimson at the suggestion.
Reluctantly, Hutch stretched his legs and watched them disappear under the filmy, scented water. He almost never took baths. He felt cramped in most tubs, his tall frame having outgrown standard ones while he was still in his teens. While this tub wasn't quite so huge that he couldn't touch the other end, still his knees weren't up around his chin like they usually were. He sank lower, and his legs still managed to stay submerged. The steaming, fragrant water lapped against his shoulders. He hated admitting it, but after the day he'd had, this felt damn good. He glanced up.
Starsky was hovering over him, fighting a smile and, no doubt, a rousing chorus of "told-you-so's." "How's that? Warm enough?"
"Just right, doctor," Hutch murmured, unable to deny the mellow feeling overwhelming him. "I am so tired...."
"Sure you are. You worked that big pretty butt off today. Me, too." Starsky glanced at his wrist. "Man, it's almost two! Let me get those sheets in the dryer, okay? Don't drown while I'm gone!"
Hutch sighed as his partner left him in silence and candlelight. You know, it really is a great tub, Hutch thought, relaxing into it. I don't know why I was being such a jerk about it. Of course, I doubt if I'll feel this mellow when we get the water bill. He felt his eyes grow heavy as the dancing candlelight bounced off the bathroom's mirrors. Our first night in our first house.
Hutch knew he should feel happy, that he was starting a new adventure with Starsky, a real, committed life, with a committed relationship, but he couldn't shake this sense of foreboding that had overwhelmed him as he'd packed up Venice Place. You'd think I'd be happy to leave that place. How many times had it been broken into? How many times had I been ambushed in my own home?
The sudden shocking memory of walking in and finding his ex-wife Vanessa dead on floor came to him in a rush, and his eyes filled. A knot formed in his throat. He couldn't still be mourning her could he? That was crazy.
My first house should've been with Vanessa. But we couldn't find what she wanted--or couldn't afford what she wanted. Hutch shook his head. This was nuts. Vanessa had never, ever loved Hutch for one single day with half the passion his partner had even before they were lovers.
He submerged himself under the scented water, as if he could drown his troublesome memories. When he came up for air, he pushed wet hair and water out of his face and eyes. Speaking of Starsky...? He listened, then heard him messing around in the bedroom. How does he keep going? Starsky had worked every bit as hard as Hutch had, but Hutch could hear him whistling out there, moving around, doing things, as if he were tireless.
Maybe he still has energy because he's so happy about the move, so confident we're doing the right thing. Hutch felt even more depressed then. Why couldn't he share the joy with his partner? Am I that embarrassed by the label? Or just that scared to make the commitment?
No, that wasn't it. He'd realized a long time ago he'd made the most serious commitment of his life to this man the first week he'd met him. From that day to this, they'd been partners. It was what they always knew they were meant to be. That was the only label that should matter to either of them. Hutch focused on that as his weary body succumbed to the lure of the hot bath.
"Hey, how's it goin', partner?" Starsky's gentle voice surprised him and he realized he'd actually fallen asleep. For how long? He felt confused.
Hutch blinked and looked up as Starsky knelt by the tub and brushed dark knuckles against his cheek.
"You doin' okay?" Starsky asked again, worriedly. Even so, his eyes were sparkling with an inner joy.
"You're really happy, aren't you?" Hutch murmured.
"Yeah. Sure," Starsky replied hesitantly.
"Why are you so happy?" Hutch pressed. Needing answers for his own state of mind, he wondered if he could find them in his opposite.
Starsky considered for a moment. "Lotta things. I'm thinkin' about all the mileage I'll save on the Torino, not havin' to pick you up in the mornings. Y'know, at her age, we gotta think about those things. And I'm thinkin' how nice it'll be, not worryin' about the rent goin' up when I'm not expecting it, or my landlord complaining about 'bringin' work home with me,' like that time that junkie huntin' Sharon Crane broke into the place. And I'm thinkin' how great it is to be able to do laundry at two in the morning when ya need to. And.... And I'm thinkin' how great it is that we finally got it together enough to decide to share our lives a hundred percent of the time, not just seventy-five percent." Starsky smiled that same, warm crooked smile. "For starters."
"For starters," Hutch parroted.
"You about ready to get outta there?"
Hutch shook his head. "Not yet."
"You look tired right to your bones," Starsky murmured softly, the caring thick in his voice.
"Water's great," Hutch told him. "Care to join me?"
Starsky's eyebrows shot up in delight. "Really? Can I?" Before Hutch had a chance to reconsider, Starsky had skinned out of his cutoffs and dropped the fragment of sweatshirt, and was climbing into the opposite end of the tub.
"Well," Hutch remarked, sitting up straighter and making room, "it is a tub built for two. Real estate agent said so."
"Yeah, an' I thought you were gonna pass out when he did," Starsky added, laughing, as he settled into the warm water, facing Hutch.
"What I can't figure," Hutch said, as Starsky added a bit more hot water to the tub, "is how come none of this bothers you, all this, this...lifestyle stuff. When we lost John Blaine, you acted like you'd been pole-axed."
"I was, then. Guess I've had plenty of time to grow up. Figure out what was important." Starsky rubbed some oil over the gunshot scars on his chest.
"I want to feel that, Starsk," Hutch said plaintively. "I want to feel your joy at moving in here, but all I feel is tiredness, sadness, almost like--I don't know--like I've lost something-- I should feel like I've gained something. What's wrong with me?"
"Nothing's wrong with you, Hutch," Starsky said simply.
He took a sponge he'd removed from the emergency carton and a new bar of Hutch's favorite herbal soap and made a rich lather. Gently, he proceeded to wash Hutch's neck, shoulders and chest with it. The scent tickled Hutch's nose, reminding him, as it always did, of lemon-oiled wood and hand-rubbed leather. Already he could feel his body relaxing, trained as it was to do so under the hands of his favorite magician.
"It's a big change in your life," Starsky said quietly, never pausing in his sudsy massage. "You're having to redefine yourself. Last week you were a cop who had his own space, his own place, where everything was arranged just so according to your own plans." He lifted one of Hutch's arms, scrubbed diligently underneath, then into the pit--not gently now, because that would tickle--then down the side. Hutch had to suppress a groan.
"This week," Starsky went on, laying down the arm and going to the other, "you're a cop whose belongings are all scattered and disorganized, and who's suddenly sharing his space with another man. I know that's not exactly the way either of us saw ourselves ending up." He was lingering over the hard plains of Hutch's chest, rubbing the sponge over and over his already hardened nipples. Hutch smiled a little, realizing his partner was getting just a little distracted.
"Plus," Starsky added, his voice sounding more focused now, as he went back to wash Hutch's neck, then down his back, "moving in here says something to the whole world about who we are, what we are. It's not as blatant as it could be, I mean, I've got a 'bedroom' and you've got a bedroom, in case anyone cares to check, but--it's not like living in two separate apartments."
Starsky sat back some in the tub so he could lift Hutch's leg by the ankle, soaping and scrubbing from foot to ankle to calf to thigh. "So, in a way, you're kind of mourning the death of a lifestyle. No more free and easy bachelor. No more bachelor pad. Instead, it's lawn-mowin', and home maintenance, and mortgage--kinda like the end of adolescence. Hello, grown-ups-ville. Where the responsibilities can seem kinda overwhelming."
Hutch blinked, listening to his partner make sense.
"I've had my moments, too," Starsky confessed, laying the first leg down then lifting the other. "Maybe I just hid 'em better. Or maybe I shrugged 'em off faster 'cause comin' that close to death, well, it makes everything else seem like small shit. Which doesn't mean it is. Whatever you're goin' through, Hutch--I'm here for you."
Hutch finally found something to smile about. "Think I don't know that?" When Starsky released the other leg, Hutch pulled the soapy sponge away from him, and started reciprocating. He began with an arm, and couldn't help but linger over it. He loved that corded, wiry strength, the tight, beautifully shaped arms, the almost delicate hands at the ends of them. Hands that were so proficient at defense, throwing a punch, shooting a gun. Hands that were just as proficient at loving him. At rendering him helpless with the merest glide of fingers on flesh. "You trust me when I say this isn't about you, don't you? I don't want you to think I regret, even for one minute, our becoming lovers. There's no doubt in my mind about that, not one bit."
"No, I know you're okay about that," Starsky assured him, as he closed his eyes blissfully under Hutch's ministrations. That made Hutch smile. How he loved giving this man his pleasure. "Sometimes you just need a little help in learnin' how to enjoy life. That's what you need me for. I mean, if it wasn't f'me, you'd still be sufferin' them daily blender nightmares, insteada eatin' somethin' decent for breakfast like--"
"Captain Crunch? Starsky, please--!" Hutch could feel the tension start to slide away as he lathered his lover. He worked on the other arm, soaping, massaging, watching Starsky give himself over to the gentle, thorough caring.
Tending to Starsky like this reminded him of the days after the shooting, when they were sure he would live, but that he'd need a lot of help to do it. It had given Hutch focus in a world suddenly without focus, as Dobey had forced him to take compassionate leave after the Gunther bust. In his own way, he'd been as physically shattered as Starsky after watching his partner lie helpless and dying in the parking lot, and then in the hospital. And there was a part of Hutch that loved caring for Starsky, loved showing his feelings that way--helping with his therapy, keeping him mentally occupied with games, making him feel like he was still, and would always be, his partner. Which was nothing more than the truth, anyway.
Hutch's smile broadened, and he felt the odd tightness in his chest abate. "But I guess I do need you to show me how to enjoy some things."
"Like this tub?" Starsky asked slyly, peering out of one half-closed eye.
Hutch was grinning now. "Like this tub."
"There's a small skylight over it, Hutch," Starsky reminded him. "It'll be a good place for summa the jungle. You just gotta promise me one thing."
"What's that?" Hutch asked, as he really got into his washing task, swirling the luxurious suds over Starsky's furred chest and down his abdomen.
Hutch nodded. "No cactus! Agreed. Hey, what's this!" Pulling the sponge underwater to wash his friend's lower belly, he bumped into something he didn't expect--a full blown Starsky erection. As he took hold of it cautiously, Starsky sat completely upright, making the water surge around them. "Some strange, underwater creature--"
"Easy, there, Cap'n Ahab! That's attached!" Starsky chided, laughing, grasping Hutch's wrist, trying to get him to release his grip.
"Seems like something we have to do something about, eh, matey?" The bath oil in the water made everything wonderfully slippery. Hutch stroked downward gently and Starsky hissed, but didn't let go of his friend's wrist.
"Uh-uh. No, we don't. He's just a rude guest that showed up without an invite. If we ignore him, he'll go away."
Hutch looked surprised. He would not yield the firm column, loving his possession of it, loving the fact that Starsky couldn't resist his touch. "Suppose I don't want him to go away."
Now it was Starsky's turn to look startled. "You said, 'No seduction!' I take you up on this offer and sooner or later, I'm gonna hear about how I conned you into it when you were too tired to stand. You're whipped, Hutch, worn out, exhausted. The only thing you really need is a good night's sleep." His words positively dripped with sincerity.
Hutch shook his head in disbelief. "If you expect me to believe all that razzmatazz, you're nuts. This is just another of your little dirty tricks, another of your infamous dirty moves, your little broken-field-running-then-trip-the-quarterback-when-no-one's-looking sneaks. Just another of your coy manipulations to get laid when you know there's no way I'm gonna be in the mood. And, as usual, it worked." Hutch grinned, showing teeth. "I know you, Starsky. You had this planned to the nines. The candles. The herbal soak. The soap--"
Starsky was all big eyes and protests. "Just to help you relax, and maybe get you to appreciate the tub. Honest. No seduction, that's what I said, and that's what I meant!" Then he shivered a little and gulped. "...But it would sure help if you'd let go of me, Hutch. I get a little crazy when you hold me like that and you know it." That familiar, needy tone of voice went right to Hutch's own groin, which was steadily rising.
"Maybe," Hutch murmured, with a sly look of his own as he deliberately ran his soapy hand over his lover's hard-on, "I like making you a little crazy. Maybe, without even trying, you're making me a little crazy."
"Hutch," Starsky warned.
He took hold of Starsky's free hand and placed it on his own underwater sea serpent which had fully risen from the depths.
Starsky blinked. "That's not my fault."
"If you say so," Hutch acquiesced, "but it's definitely your problem. What now, matey?"
"The things you get into, when you bathe with a sea scout," Starsky grumbled with a sigh, as Hutch leaned into him for a kiss.
The kiss lingered, just a soft taste of lips and tongue-tips, as they held each other, manipulating their erections slowly underwater.
Hutch chuckled happily, feeling his depression lift. "Next you'll try and tell me our favorite jar of Vaseline isn't sitting at the bottom of that 'emergency' box?"
Starsky attempted, unsuccessfully, to repress his smile. They shared another kiss at that same lazy tempo, teeth clicking, tongues dancing. "Well...I was worried, you know, about it getting lost, an'...maybe I'm just an optimist."
"Your mother told you to pack that box, huh?" Hutch asked, tasting the familiar flavor of his lover's kisses--the essence of chocolate, sometimes peanut butter, and usually just a hint of beer. A flavor that fed all the hunger in his soul.
"She never mentioned the Vaseline," Starsky confessed, drawing up on his knees as he pursued another kiss. There was hunger in it this time. "I thought'a that by myself."
"I bet you did," Hutch purred, rubbing his thumb wickedly over Starsky's crown, even as he fed his dark lover his tongue, his entire mouth, and all of himself with it. "So, are you gonna get it, or what?"
Starsky paused, then drew back, staring at him seriously. "You sure? You're not too tired...?"
Hutch ran a sudsy hand over Starsky's cheek. "Tired of you making love to me? I could never be that tired."
Starsky snorted. "I'll remind you of that next time you're in one'a your, 'Touch-me-tonight-and-it's-knuckle-sandwich-time' moods."
"I can't help it if I get sinus headaches," Hutch complained. He squeezed Starsky's organ harder, just to watch him jump. "But if I'm gonna mourn my change in 'lifestyle' I want to mourn it in my own way." He zeroed in for another kiss just to punctuate his sincerity.
When Starsky pulled back this time, he licked his lips as if tasting Hutch there and that pleased him. Without taking his eyes off Hutch, Starsky reached back in the box and found the jar without groping at all. Hutch just shook his head, amused.
Starsky held the jar out so Hutch could unscrew the lid. Starsky's left hand was busy reminding Hutch of how talented it was, while Hutch's right had much the same responsibility. They'd long ago gotten used to rubbing wrists with their mismatched limbs. And right now neither of them wanted to release the other just to provide the right mechanics for their act, so that meant they'd have to work together--something they were inordinately good at.
Hutch removed the lid, as Starsky steadied the jar, holding it out for his partner. But instead of taking a handful of the lubricant, the way Starsky seemed to want him to, he removed the jar from Starsky's hand and offered the open end to him. "You do it," was all he said.
"You sure?" Starsky asked softly.
Hutch nodded. "I'm the tired one, remember? That means you get to do all the work. I'm just gonna lie back, relax, and let you love me."
Starsky flushed dark and his cock, still held snugly in Hutch's hand, jumped. "No problem. It's the work I love best." He reached in the jar, pulling out a heavy dollop. Hutch set the jar within reach on a shelf, in case they needed more.
"You just lie there, baby blue," Starsky purred, as he moved between Hutch's knees. He took another kiss, this one etched with a tense urgency, and Hutch surrendered willingly to it, letting Starsky know this was prelude to the ultimate surrender. "Mmmm, yeah. Just lie there. Let me take care'a you for a change."
Hutch settled back against the sloping contour of the tub and drew his knees up, just as Starsky slid his lube-filled hand under water. He wanted to be cared for, to be manipulated, controlled. He wanted this man. Ultimately, it was the one thing he always wanted.
With the most delicate touch, Starsky negotiated the terms of the arrangement with Hutch's body. He never rushed. He never assumed. He never appropriated. Not Starsky. No matter how eager, how achingly tense his own need, he always took his time. He seduced. He convinced. He enticed. As the two continued to slowly masturbate each other in the deep tub, delicate, gentle fingers touched Hutch's anus, anointing him, coating him, preparing him for pleasure just the way he loved. He exhaled in a rush, loving that touch, finding a need for it uncurling inside him.
Touch me. Love me. Open me up for you. Then take me. Hutch swallowed, knowing that burning need and all his chaotic feelings were right on his face for Starsky to see. He could never hide anything from this man. Why should he? When Starsky would give him everything just for the asking.
Starsky leaned closer, needing to kiss, and Hutch smiled, happy that he did. There was tension in the kiss, and he liked that, too, as Starsky's tongue entered him forcefully, taking his mouth, demanding he open, give in, yield. With a groan, he did, loving it. His turn, this time. It could, just as easily, be the other way. That was the beauty between them. The one area in which there was no contest, no games. I give myself to you. You give yourself to me. Equally. No question. The fairness between them made the yielding easy. Anticipated. Desired. My turn. Yes. Thank you. My turn-- Take me-- Soon--
And the hand agreed, soon. The fingers traced a slippery, wet pleasure all around, stroking the buttocks, loving their shape, tracing the separation. He couldn't help it, the tender touch always made him anticipate, made him tremble. His anus clenched spasmodically, eager, yet nervous. The dilemma always there. The yielding. He gasped into Starsky's mouth, and Starsky purred in answer.
Then the fingers circled the wary orifice, teasing it so carefully, warning it with a seductive touch. The rhythmic massage eased the nerves, relaxed the muscles, and sent shivers down Hutch's spine. Still, the loving hands continued rubbing, easing, gentling, until Hutch felt all the tension at the base of his spine just fade away. The hands just continued, not nearly in as much as a hurry as the mouth that was ravaging him, pushing him back against the tub, taking him over and over and over, the tongue plunging, feeding off him, shoving and manipulating his own tongue into a frenzy of kissing.
Hutch always marveled at how Starsky's body could do that, maintain a different pace of urgency at one end than at the other. When Hutch was taking him, there was always that moment of urgency within him when he felt he couldn't wait, couldn't hold back, couldn't be gentle anymore. That moment when he was all need, all hunger, all of it for this man. It made Starsky panic a little when he got like that, he knew, and it shamed him but he had to admit that panic fed the hunger. To be allowed to take Starsky, to have this man under him, to be inside.... He groaned under the ravishing, ravenous mouth.
Then the hands knew, and suddenly, one digit entered his body, slowly, easily, knowing just when it would be admitted, just when it was right. Hutch moaned and tightened around it, but Starsky wouldn't release his mouth, couldn't seem to release his mouth. Hutch's lips were swollen, and he had trouble getting air, but Starsky was suddenly a merman, never needing to breathe.
He's stealing my air, Hutch thought, and released it to him, just as he had on the tarmac, desperately breathing life and love into the shattered body he adored. He closed his eyes, not wanting that to intrude, not now, not when--
The hand knew and distracted him, plunging deep, making him open. "Do it!" he gasped around that beautifully rough mouth. "Come on, let's do it!" The hand torturing his organ so beautifully, so maddeningly, tightened hard at the suggestion. Oh, god, yes, he needs me! Hutch thought, and the joy swelled in him, making his heart beat double-time.
"Easy," Starsky warned, even though his kisses said anything but. "Easy. We've got time. Can't rush. Easy." The kisses said now, right now, I need you now, but Starsky kept acting as if his mind and his body were two separate things.
The single finger continued its job, slipping in and out slowly, teasing, seducing the port to open, unlock the gate. The hand on his cock worked in time, up and down, tighter, tighter. Hutch was dying. He swallowed, feeling the hunger rise, and bit the tongue in his mouth just so.
Starsky grunted, and leaned hard against him, fighting his own need, but slipped another finger in. Hutch cried out, but not in pain. It wasn't enough, not nearly enough, why was he making him wait? He sat down hard on the hand, wanting to swallow it with his nether mouth, wanting to inhale the whole thing up to the wrist, up to the elbow. Oh, god, Starsk, please!
Starsky tortured his glans, something Hutch could barely stand. Of course, the incubus knew that. The palm rolled round and round the crown while two fingers fucked him rudely, no pretense anymore. Hutch rode it easy, loving it, needing more, clenching and releasing around the hand, telling it what it wanted, what it would do if only given a chance.
Prove it, the hand said, and slipped a third finger in.
Hutch fell away from the kiss, his need for air, more air, undeniable now. The mouth, like a living thing all on its own, abandoned his swollen lips like prey now forgotten, and traveled his jawline until attacking his unprotected ear. It pounced there, devouring, wet and slippery, plunging deep, then nipping the lobe, cranking everything up and up as three fingers fucked him. Fucked him, oh so good. His long thighs trembled, half in, half out of the water. This was so good. So damned good.
The mouth was angry, losing it, frantic for something it couldn't find. It started biting, first the ear, then the long, tanned throat, then the shoulder. It made Hutch lurch and jump, and clamp down hard around the hand, and that was special, so he groaned. Then the mouth found a nipple and Hutch gasped, becoming completely undone as the tongue teased even while the teeth tortured.
"Starsk!" he cried out, not even sure what he wanted to say. "Starsk!" It was a strangled sound, half plea, half urging. The teeth did exactly what he wanted, biting hard, then nibbling, then the mouth cooperated, sucking strongly with its wet tongue, then biting again. His lower body came alive, tightening, relaxing, tightening, around a hand that manipulated him perfectly, opening him, preparing him for the last assault.
Soon! Oh, please, god, it has to be soon. His free hand clutched at the tub rim for balance, even as he struggled to keep his own hand on Starsky's cock, if only to know where it was. The hand he used to grip the tub rim slipped suddenly, and he nearly went under. But then it grabbed a fistful of Starsky's hair for anchor, pulling the mouth off his bruised, bedeviled nipple, bringing it back to his own lips. The kiss was nearly savage, both of them warring, wanting something so incredible, so combustible they could barely stand it.
Finally, Hutch pulled back and heard himself gasping, demanding, "Let me eat you. I need it. Come on, let me."
Starsky shook his head. "Not now. Can't. Not now!" He could barely speak. Oh, how Hutch loved knowing that.
Hutch swallowed, needing to be clear. "Come on. Just for a minute. A taste. I need it. Need you."
Starsky shivered all over, making Hutch smile. Did either of them ever really dominate the other when all it took to reverse their positions was a word, a plea? "I'll have to come out," he warned.
Hutch nodded. It didn't matter. He was all anticipation now, he wouldn't tense up again, he wouldn't be able to. Yet, the separation was always hard. But it was for a different joining, so Hutch didn't care. He needed this. This intimacy. He wanted to give Starsky everything. Everything. So, first, take my mouth--
Starsky stood on shaky legs and leaned over Hutch diagonally, pressing his palms on the tiled wall, holding his weight on his arms. Lather and water streamed down his well formed body, and Hutch stared up at his glistening, radiant merman. So beautiful. And all for me. He marveled at it as he always did.
Starsky's eyes were a deep sea blue, filled with a haze of lust and love so commingled it couldn't be separated. His mouth was half open, his chest heaving. Soap trailed down his lean sides as water ran through the hair on his chest and the dark trail of it that led to his groin. His erection jutted forward, eager, bobbing with anticipation. The cut around the crown made it prominent, dark, almost angry looking. "Just for a minute," he warned. Limits had to be drawn if Hutch wanted what he wanted.
His mouth filled with saliva. Yes. Oh, yes! Come here, you beautiful thing, and let me please you. His hands shook as he encircled the base of the organ for control and surrounded the tight testicles for pleasure. Then his mouth slid around the crown, and he tasted pre-come and it was as if he'd finally been given nourishment after a long fasting. That same sense of intense pleasure suffused him as the heavy organ filled his mouth, rubbed against his tongue, feeding him, giving him drink. Starsky's flavor. That was what he'd needed. The essence of chocolate and the backbite of beer, powerful and sharp, and so satisfying. Starsky. In his mouth. Feeding him. He moaned around the organ and took it all, swallowing it down, into his throat, needing to be filled so bad. Give me what I need. Give it to me.
Above him, Starsky shuddered, moaning, "Oh, jeeeeezus!" and collapsed against the wall, barely able to hold himself up. His legs trembled more.
Hutch's mouth worked like a starving man's, his throat gulping, his tongue rubbing, licking, tasting, yet still not getting enough. He released his grip on the organ, on the tender sac he'd been rolling in his palm, and instead grabbed rough handfuls of round, luscious ass, pulling Starsky into him, deeper, deeper yet. Oh, how he loved cock-sucking this man. He loved the profound helplessness he caused, the absolute melting of strength and power when his mouth was wrapped around all that lovely hardness.
"Hutch, no!" Starsky begged, trying to pull back. He ignored him, seeking his own need, and finding so much pleasure in the giving.
With a moan, Starsky pushed off the wall and dug a thumb into the socket of Hutch's jaw. He pulled out with a gasp, then slid down into the tub, his open mouth finding Hutch's as his hand gently cradled the jaw. "Too much!" he said around the kiss. "Couldn't handle it. And you know it."
Hutch groaned at the loss, empty again but not for long, he knew.
Starsky was all focused efficiency now. Waiting was over. Playing was over. This was serious, now. Starsky located the Vaseline, dug some out, and coated himself with it. Then he took more and brought it underwater for Hutch. They both knew what to do. Long ago they'd worked out all the steps of this dance.
Hutch lifted up slightly, giving Starsky access. The hand wasn't seducing now, it was all business, coating him outside and in, making it easy, so they could make it so good. Hurry! Hurry! Hutch's brain was racing with anticipation, and he had to bite his lip to keep from blurting that out loud. If he did, Starsky would torture him by slowing everything to a crawl. He couldn't risk it.
Starsky got on his knees, and reached for Hutch's ass. Hutch gripped the sides of the tub to keep from being towed underwater, while Starsky pulled his ass onto his thighs. Water sloshed everywhere, up against the tiled walls, over the rim of the tub--they didn't care.
Then, finally, Hutch felt it, that blunt probe resting against his tight portal. So hard, so beautifully hard. They locked eyes, Starsky's asking permission, Hutch's granting it, pleading for it to begin.
Starsky intruded slowly, as carefully as he always did, as they watched each other react. That was half the turn on for both of them, seeing each other give and receive so much pleasure. And Starsky went slow, so very slow, taking such care with this man who'd been shot and stabbed and beaten and could handle pain better than any man, except maybe Starsky. But he had never felt pain there, and Starsky was determined he never would, not at his hands, neither for his love nor his need.
The only pain now, after all these long months of so much loving, was the pain of a hunger unsatisfied, as Hutch gripped the tub and felt the entry as if it had never happened before, as if he'd been waiting a lifetime. Starsky moved in deeper, and Hutch yielded, his eyes rolling back, his body opening like a trained thing--which it was. Trained to love Starsky. He moaned his pleasure, wanting to be sure Starsky knew it, recognized it. Starsky pushed in deeper.
His knuckles were white where they gripped the tub. He was being filled, consumed, burned alive while immersed in water. It was baptism. It was death. It was the most wonderful possession. He felt his ass pulled hard against Starsky's thighs and sighed. He slid his long legs around Starsky's back and locked his ankles. Fill me. Fill me up.
"That okay?" Starsky managed to ask, his voice shattered. He was shuddering all over, gasping for air, reduced to a husk of desire and wanting. For Hutch. Oh, god, how he loved that. All for Hutch.
Hutch could only nod, feeling all that presence within him, taking him, opening him to more love than he could've ever imagined.
"Take hold of me," Starsky ordered, and without pausing, Hutch obeyed. Releasing his grip on the tub, Hutch grasped Starsky's shoulders and pulled himself forward then slid his arms around his lover's back, so that his long legs and arms surrounded his lover, enveloped him, pulling them together. Cover me! Go round the back! Take hold of me! It was all the same, in the street, in the bed, in here. One of them saw the way clear, gave the order; the other obeyed. My turn this time. Thank god, it's my turn.
Starsky's arms slipped around Hutch's waist, securing him. Wet hands slid over his ass sensuously, gripping his buttocks, possessing them. Not large hands, but powerful and graceful. They gripped his ass, lifted him up then pulled him down. Set the rhythm they both craved.
Hutch helped Starsky by flexing his legs, tightening and releasing his ass, and they began the perfect dance, up and down, in and out, in a rhythm as old as time, as old as pleasure. Hutch closed his eyes to fully enjoy the sweet wonder of being fucked, even as he knew Starsky did the same, loving the delight of fucking. They moved as one, making water splash and slosh as they brought their joined power to bear for each other. And oh god, could they fuck.
It was as sweet and white-hot as Hutch had known it would be, their exhaustion from the move seeming to crank up the endorphin level to raise the ecstasy that much higher. Had it ever been this good, this powerful before? Or did Hutch wonder that every time this incredible thing happened between them? As Hutch felt Starsky pull him down harder and harder over his needy cock, he didn't know. The water added heightened sensation to it all, making them slippery and slick, giving even more pleasure to their pleasure-flooded nerves. They clung to each other as if to save themselves from drowning.
Then Starsky grew bigger within him.
Hutch cried out in surprise, and Starsky's mouth was there to capture the sound, to kiss away the startlement, to heighten a pleasure already so intense, Hutch thought he might faint.
"Gotta come, babe," Starsky gasped in warning. "Just gotta."
Hutch felt the tension in the slight body, felt every muscle tighten down. Now? Oh yes, now! "In me," he whispered against Starsky's mouth, as if asking for a favor he might not be granted. "Please. Come in me."
A violent shudder wracked Starsky body as he groaned low in his throat. "Hutch!" he gasped urgently, "Hutch! Oh, god, love you. Need you!" And it happened. As sudden as a squall. Starsky gripped him tight, pulled him down with a hard jerk, and held him there. Hutch's whole body spasmed, and Starsky gasped, then cried out his name, a keening sound.
Hutch felt it, really felt it, as Starsky's cock pulsed and erupted. His own body waited for that experience, then, convinced it was happening, seemed to blossom, as his own seed burst forth into the tub between them, streaming into the water, baptizing the baptismal font. The pleasure was exquisite, searing, shuddering through every nerve and cell in his whole, long frame. His anus tightened and released spasmodically, making Starsky spasm again, increasing his own pleasure, each of them echoing the delight of the other in this most beautiful give-and-take. The perfection of two partners loving.
They held each other still for long moments, shuddering, sighing, stroking long backs gently with wet hands, living and reliving the moment, the beauty between them, and the love. Finally, heart rates slowed, and respiration returned to normal. They touched foreheads.
"Beautiful," Hutch whispered. "It's a beautiful tub, Starsky. I love it. And I love you."
His partner only chuckled, and flipped a switch, turning on the Jacuzzi, making the filmy, sudsy water come alive in a churning, massaging jet. The forceful water buffeted Hutch's body with a muscle-relaxing pummeling as Starsky's softening organ slipped away and Starsky eased him off his thighs.
"I love you, too, Hutch," Starsky murmured, kissing his cheek, and settling back at the other end of the tub. They both stretched out, intermingling limbs and enjoyed the surging water.
Hutch found the Jacuzzi easing away the typical backache he usually endured after one of their frantic poundings. Hard to believe Starsky was that far-seeing, but when it came to accommodating his pleasure, the man was a master. Hutch purred like a cat and slipped under the water until only his head and knees showed.
A few moments of blissful quiet, then suddenly the jets were off, and he was blinking, looking around confused.
"Come on," Starsky urged, finding his hand underwater. "We both fell asleep. We'll drown this way. Let's rinse off, dry off, and get in bed. I'm drained."
Before Hutch could answer, Starsky had pulled up the plunger and turned on the shower. It took them a second to adjust it, then another minute to wash each others' hair, scrub off the remains of the Vaseline, and rinse completely.
The towels Starsky had packed for their first night were plush and fragrant and the rubbing his dark lover gave him left Hutch tingling all over. The bath oil had left his skin soft, even as the loving left him happy and weak. They brushed their teeth standing side by side over the twin sinks, and even then, they kept touching, as if loath to break the contact even for essentials.
Starsky took hold of Hutch's hand before leaning over to blow out the candles, as if he feared he might lose him in the dark. Then his partner led him into the bedroom, walking him carefully through the maze of boxes he'd completely forgotten about. The low-slung bed was already made up, one side turned down. There were candles on each night stand to light their way.
"What? No chocolates on the pillows?" Hutch chided gently.
"I forgot to pack 'em," Starsky confessed sheepishly. "They're in one of the other boxes."
Hutch moved closer to him. "All the chocolate I need is right here." And he kissed him deeply, searching for the familiar flavor and finding it, even under toothpaste.
Starsky sighed, leaning heavily against Hutch, his furry front tickling Hutch's bare skin. "If I wasn't totally drained, you'd be getting in trouble all over again, baby blue."
"Yeah," Hutch said skeptically, giving Starsky's lush ass a light slap. "I love it when you threaten me." He slid into the bed, moving over against the far side, and lifted the covers for his love.
Starsky needed no urging, and, after blowing out his candle, pressed himself against Hutch's warm length. Hutch surrounded them with the warmed sheets and blankets, cocooning them against the outside world, before leaning back to blow out the last remaining light. Just before he did, though, he noticed the dancing shadows the candle cast against the walls, from the tower of boxes surrounding the bed. The packed boxes were suddenly the turrets of a castle, protecting them from all the threatening shadows without. All of a sudden, the clutter and disorder seemed comforting, the beloved objects of their familiar lives all contained and secure and surrounding them with safety. He liked that. The feeling of security permeated their new home.
As he blew out the candle and settled down with Starsky comfortably snuggled in his arms, Hutch listened to the new sounds of this new place and knew they would soon become part of the background noises of his new life.
"I love our house, Starsky," he whispered into a curl-covered ear. "I love our room. I love our bathroom. And I really, really love our lifestyle."
"Yeah," Starsky grunted amenably, if sleepily. "Queer cops in water. A concept whose time has come. Get it? Come?" He giggled inanely at his own silly witticism.
"Nice to know you're still the same old moron," Hutch quipped back. He kissed the ear. "I love you anyway."
"Love you, too, babe," Starsky mumbled,
squeezing the fair arms surrounding him--but Hutch suspected he was already asleep.