Disclaimer: Starsky and Hutch don't belong to me; neither does anything else in "Pariah," including the zoo. Guest appearance of my local zoo in this story is not authorized either. This is just for fun and nobody is making any money.

Comments on this story can be sent to: jat_sapphire@fan.as

What You Want, What I Need
(missing scene from "Pariah")



(for Killa, who wanted to know what I'd write when I had more episodes under my belt; hope it's not too h/c. Thanks also to Nikki, Raven, Dana, Leslie and Barb for comments in draft. And neverending thanks to Lasha for taping eps for me.)


    Three men in a deserted road, dead leaves drifting. Around them acres of empty cages.

    Though Starsky had uncocked his Beretta and turned away from where Prudholm lay bleeding in the dry gutter, still the air blew cold against the back of Hutch's neck and his hands weren't any steadier than his partner's voice. "Read him his rights, Hutch." Starsky faced away. Hutch had given him Prudholm's rifle and saw how Starsky held it away from his body as if it were a snake.

    Hutch could barely trust himself to touch Prudholm, either. He tried pretending this wasn't real, some kind of practice or demo with another cop or even a dummy. He didn't convince himself, but he worked hard at it and it helped a little. And he could Mirandize someone in his sleep, so he didn't need to think about that. He was acutely aware of Starsky's tense muscles, his stillness, the hard breaths he drew in, as if he'd run much farther than halfway up the service road to the tiger cages.

    When Prudholm was restrained, Hutch pulled him to his knees holding the cuffs, heedless of the man's jerking movements and the bloodstain growing on his shoulder.

    "Starsk?" he said at last, and even then Starsky moved his head but did not actually look.

    "Hey," Hutch began again, "Starsk, I can take him in and book him. You go home, huh?"

    "I got the car," said Starsky, voice still rough. And then swallowed, and seemed to think of it: "How'd you get here, anyway?"

    "I, uh, borrowed a squad car."

    "The backup." That seemed to sink in slowly too. "A black and white?" Now his eyes met Hutch's and they were angry. "Hutch? Here? When I told you, I told you he said if he even goddamn smelled a cop he was going to waste a carload of kids, and you bring a fucking black and white here?"

    "He was here already," said Hutch, really not wanting to do this now, and sounding more dismissive than he'd meant.

    "You knew that?" Starsky was really shouting by this time, gripping Prudholm's rifle so hard that it shook. "You some kind of fucking psychic now?"

    Usually, especially when there was an audience, one of them could keep a cool head and control the other when he went off the map like this. Hutch also knew, had been reminding himself for two days, that Starsky was carrying a load of guilt and anger and frustration and sadness that couldn't come out in any other way than these moments when he shouted and kicked things and couldn't think about what was coming out of his mouth. Now Hutch opened his own mouth, knowing that it was a mistake and that he would regret what he was going to hear himself say, and still could not stop. He'd been carrying his own emotional load and was tired too.

    "All right! All right! I should have let you walk into this sick creep's line of fire--" he shook Prudholm and the older man made a helpless noise that gave Hutch a horrible moment of pleasure-- "I should have let you commit suicide, I should have stood there like a helpless dumbfuck when you drove off and just looked for your body afterwards, and that would have been smart, right? That was what you wanted! Right?"

    They both glared, just barely not striking out at each other. Then Starsky threw the rifle hard into the bushes, turned on his heel and walked away. Hutch was willing to bet that he wasn't even moving in the direction of the Torino. But at least he wasn't going the way Hutch had to go. Again he jerked up on the cuffs and again Prudholm made a kind of barking noise at the pain, and Hutch snarled, "Get up and walk, you fucking piece of shit, or I'll drag you all the way to the car," and so Prudholm did. Hutch picked up the rifle and prodded him with the butt when he stumbled. The old zoo paths snaked back and forth and sloped up and down and Prudholm stumbled a good deal.

    "Son of a bitch . . . I'll bring charges . . . police brutality . . . " Prudholm gasped.

    "Try it," said Hutch, and that was all the conversation they had until they reached the gate where Hutch had left the squad car. For that matter, they said almost nothing all the way back to Metro.

    A couple of hours later, Prudholm's shoulder was patched up, the paperwork was done, the man was in custody, and Hutch felt just like shit. No sign of Starsky. He wasn't at home--or wasn't answering the phone--wasn't at Hutch's, wasn't at Huggy's, wasn't at his current girlfriend's. Hutch even called Starsky's Aunt Rosie, and he suspected he'd confused the hell out of her, reluctant to give details and sounding so anxious. He'd have to call her back later--when he'd thought of something he could say. You see, Rosie, he's been trying to resign and today he almost shot a man who was just lying there and we yelled at each other and now I don't know where he's gone . . . . Sure.

    Meanwhile he knocked on Captain Dobey's door and went in, laid the report on his desk, and waited to be asked where Starsky was. The top sheet of the report was curling at the end just a little; he'd pulled it from the typewriter too fast, he supposed.

    "Hutch," said Dobey, sounding as if he'd already said it. Hutch raised his eyes. "Go on home." Dobey's voice was gruff, but Hutch knew the affection hidden in it and tried to smile.

    "Okay, Captain. Don't have to tell me twice."

    "Just did. Now get out of here and let me get some work done."

    Hutch was at the door, the handle turning in his fingers, when Dobey added, "And tell Starsky, good job." Hutch nodded without looking back. Then left the office and soon the building, still lost in thought.

    Tell Starsky. There was a lot Hutch could say to him, the least of which was an apology. Never should've yelled back, never should've let him go off alone when he was feeling . . . . I don't even know how he was feeling. Not really. But he couldn't tell Starsky anything until he found him.

    He drove past Starsky's apartment and didn't see the Torino. At least Starsky hadn't been ignoring the phone.

    Hutch tried to get hold of himself. Starsky was an adult; he evidently wanted to be alone, and he had every right to have some time to himself if he wanted it. Hutch told himself that while he drove home. No Torino there either. Of course not. He parked his car in its usual place, nose to the canal, and sat in it while the crotchety motor pinged and sighed to rest. No reason not to get out, go inside, have dinner, spend a normal evening. He could call Stephanie, or Colleen, or someone. Was Molly back in town yet? He could find out.

    He restarted the car and drove back to the old zoo.

    The sky was still pale blue, but the oblique late-afternoon sunlight didn't come under the trees or around the bases of the stone-slab towers and shallow caves in the animal enclosures. The paths were shadowy and rustling with the last zoo denizens, the little wild things that lived everywhere, chipmunks and rabbits and squirrels; perhaps there were feral cats or dogs on the grounds, too. Hutch walked briskly, looking down forks in the path, listening for another human tread. He crossed a little footbridge over an ornamental stream whose bed had been dry for years and was now full of sticks and leaves and what looked like some sort of nest, though it probably wasn't. On the other side was a shack where refreshments had once been sold and a little playground, the equipment half-removed and completely rusty.

    There was something spooky about a place that had been built for crowds and had held so many, but was now so empty. Hutch's feet scuffed through the fragmented remains of cedar chips that had drifted onto the asphalt path.

    "Starsky!" he called though he was almost certain there was no one else within hearing range. Of course there was no answering voice.

    Back at the tiger enclosure, Hutch paused, looking up at the spot where Prudholm had waited to shoot Starsky. It had come so close to happening. Hutch had been just barely in time to shout a warning. And still Prudholm had gotten a couple of shots off--it was only luck that he'd missed.

    Starsky's luck. Sometimes it was miraculous. Though Starsky probably couldn't see how fortunate he'd been today, not past the cruel bad luck of everything that had happened since Lonnie Craig had turned to fire a gun in an alley full of innocent bystanders, and Starsky had done a policeman's job and dropped him.

    Hutch needed to see that his partner wasn't still trapped in that terrible, undeserved guilt. "Starsky!"

    Still no answer.

    Up the service road, past the bloodstains, the direction he'd seen Starsky go, Hutch found a little footpath away from the broken fence of the enclosure and ducked into it. Maybe he was following his partner. Maybe it would make a difference to do that, though it had been hours since Starsky had perhaps come this way.

    Narrow as a deer-path, the little strip of worn earth wandered up and down and around the wooded area between sections of the zoo. Hutch had never been in the place when it was operational and didn't know anything about the layout, something that was beginning to bother him as the woods grew dimmer and he lost his sense of direction.

    He found a break in the trees and stumbled on something as solid as a stone but not so rounded; when he looked more closely he realized he'd found the track of a miniature train, about two feet across and nearly buried in the detritus of the woods. Now this was something that would have interested Starsky, or at least something that would lead Hutch back to the main parts of the zoo. He began to follow the cleft in the branches above, the awkward footing of rails and ties below.

    Stepping over and on the ties and listening for Starsky should have kept Hutch's brain busy, but somehow he couldn't help going over everything again: all the words he shouldn't have said and the remembered details of stance and movement and voice that had betrayed Starsky's pain, as well as several versions of the conversation they might have when Hutch finally caught up with his partner. None of this was your fault. Nobody can blame you. Don't, Starsk, don't let this get to you. You're the best damn cop in the city. He imagined Starsky's face but it was skeptical and reserved. Or turned away as it had been when Hutch cuffed Prudholm.

    The track was overgrown, and Hutch ducked under low branches and moved aside tall weeds as he went. When his forehead collided damply with a large spiderweb, he thought coldly, This is stupid. Starsky didn't like the woods and wouldn't have come here voluntarily.

    Hutch needed to give this up. Needed to go home and wait, stop acting like Starsky couldn't take care of himself, couldn't survive anything without Hutch. Of course he could.

    It hurt to think so. That wasn't right. You're a selfish bastard, Hutchinson, he told himself.

    The track crossed one of the public paths, and when Hutch was in the middle of it, he could see the main gate and the rusted turnstiles. So he wasn't trapped forever in the damn zoo. His car was parked around the back, but he remembered passing the main entrance as he drove in, and figured it would be faster and feel less weird to walk around the outside of the property.

    He walked up one last artificial hill and clambered over the turnstiles, climbed a wire-mesh fence and was out. He felt as if he'd escaped some kind of prison, but had left his cellmate behind.

    By the time he was back in Venice it was fully dark. There wasn't a streetlight at his cottage, so it was only the low beam of his headlights, wheeling with his turn, that showed him the red and white bulk occupying his normal parking spot. Gladness rolled through his body like heat, like a blush.

    But he'd known before that it was he who needed Starsky, even when it looked like the other way around.

    Hutch backed out onto the street again and parked, grabbed the jacket he'd slung over the seat, got out in a hurry and walked around the cottage. Starsky was sitting on the low step of the porch, facing the canal. His elbows were on his knees, his hands clasped, and his head sagged forward.

    "Hey," said Hutch softly.

    "Hutch," said Starsky, conversationally, looking up. "Where've you been?"

    There was something to be said for fatigue: Hutch heard no anger in the question and gave none back in his answer. "Looking for you."


    Hutch walked up to Starsky, who watched him without moving. "Why didn't you go in?"

    "Dunno, just . . . didn't seem right. And I wanted to look at the canal, think some."

    "Will you come inside now?"

    "Sure." And then Starsky did get up.

    It was inky dark inside, at the door, though a faint blue and amber glow came from the big skylight. Hutch reached for the light switch, but Starsky grabbed his arm. "Not the overhead, okay?"

    "Sure," Hutch said gently, thinking that the light from the desk lamp or even the one at the couch might not be welcome either. So leaving Starsky by the door, Hutch moved quickly past the couch to the kitchen. He rearranged the furniture pretty frequently but he knew where everything was, and anyway his eyes were still adapted to the dark after his drive. As the light went on he asked, making his voice as ordinary as he could, "Want anything while I'm in here? A beer?"

    A click, and more light: Starsky had turned on the couch lamp himself. "If you're having one."

    But when Hutch brought the bottles out, the room was empty. "Starsk!" The cry was too loud, and Hutch was embarrassed even before he heard Starsky's calm answer.

    "Over here."

    Hutch walked over to the alcove as if it were booby-trapped. He hadn't expected to give this form of comfort, had hardly allowed himself to remember it.

    Starsky lay across the foot of the bed, still in his windbreaker. Apparently, he'd sat down and then flopped back, legs hanging. His arms were folded behind his head; the jacket had fallen open at his sides; he was looking up into the dimness of the alcove. Hutch moved around the end of the bed, put the bottles on the bedside table, and sat down, then half-turned to put one hand on Starsky's head. Hutch used just his fingertips, stroked from between the rough eyebrows into the softer hair, then did it again. Starsky closed his eyes.

    "Been awhile," Hutch said. "This what you want, tonight?"

    "I guess."

    An unwilling smile tugged at Hutch's mouth, and he lowered himself to the bed, propping his head on one hand while the other reached for Starsky's cheek, backs of the fingers pulling across the roughness of the growing beard. "I've had more flattering propositions."

    "I'm sorry." Starsky opened his eyes, looked over, but didn't move his head; then his gaze went back to the ceiling. "I mostly didn't want to go home. I mean--ah, crap, Hutch," he sat up suddenly and Hutch did too, but now the width of the bed was between them and Starsky was facing away. "I'm being a jerk, I'm sorry, it's all coming out wrong."

    Hutch got onto the bed, not even taking the time to kick off his shoes, slid one knee on either side of Starsky and wrapped both arms around him, holding him tightly. "Hey, it's me," he said to the bent head, then squeezed a little tighter. "You don't have to sweet-talk me. What you want, buddy, what you need. I'm here. Just tell me."

    Starsky tilted his head back onto Hutch's shoulder. "There's no mirror here," he said very softly.

    All wrong, it was all wrong Starsky should feel that way. One of Hutch's arms slid higher, across Starsky's chest where the shirt was open, and one snugged even tighter around his waist, pinning his arms to his sides; Hutch turned his face into Starsky's neck. He wanted to pull Starsky all the way into his body, wrap his very bones around his partner. The urge was partly sexual but stronger even than that.

    "Uh," said Starsky, breathlessly, and Hutch realized how confining his hug was. He let go all at once, but Starsky reached back for Hutch's head, and Hutch put his arms under Starsky's and hugged again, firmly but not as frantically. "That's good," Starsky said. They settled together, relaxed together. "Thanks, Hutch. That's good."

    "Good," Hutch echoed, perfectly content to sit like this all night, or at least until his legs went to sleep.

    But after a few minutes Starsky took a deep breath and sat up. Hutch let his arms fall slack though he didn't take them away. Starsky laid his hands over Hutch's as they clasped loosely at his waist.

    "I stayed at the zoo for a while," he said. "Walked around. Ran, actually. Some."

    "I looked there."

    "Did you?" A half smile. Starsky was looking down at their hands, and moved his left one back and forth a little, palm on Hutch's skin. "I didn't stay that long. Used to go there as a kid, you know, when I first got to California. I didn't like it empty."

    "Neither did I."

    "Used to think I'd work there, maybe, when I got older. On the train."

    Hutch thought, and knew Starsky was thinking, of another kid who wasn't going to get any older now. The fingers resting on Starsky's shirt traced circles around the lowest button. "I thought you always wanted to be a cop."

    "You can't be a cop in high school. That's what I meant, a summer job."

    "Did you ever?"

    "No." Another deep, nearly-sighing breath. "Then I went down to the beach. Did you look there too?"

    "No, just the zoo."

    "That was no good either. I had to do something. But you were doing it."

    Hutch lowered his head, telling himself that it wasn't the first mistake he'd made over this. "Thought you wouldn't want to. Book him. Did you, would it have helped?"

    Starsky gripped harder and turned his head to look Hutch in the face. "No, I couldn't be near him, couldn't stand it. I wanted--" Hutch tightened his arms again, pulled the strong body to his as it quivered with remembered emotion. "Jesus, Hutch, I've never been that close. He almost did it, almost made me . . . what he said I was."

    "But you're not," Hutch said into Starsky's cheek. "You're not. You're a better cop, a better man, than he understands, than he knows exists." He kissed below the dark mole, then above the sideburn. "You're a great cop, Starsky," he said, voice low, lips brushing Starsky's ear.

    And felt Starsky begin to laugh, a shaking in his stomach almost like a sob, but his muscles relaxing instead of tensing. The breath huffed from his nose and his mouth widened. "I bet you tell that to all the girls," Starsky said. "It's so romantic."

    Why Starsky laughing at him should be a turn-on, Hutch didn't know, but it definitely was now. He was suddenly aware of his cock pushing hard against the zipper of his pants, and slid his hands lower to cup Starsky's package through his jeans. "Fuck the girls," he said, fingering Starsky and feeling him grow.

    "Ah, fuck them later," said Starsky and turned around, wrapped his arms around Hutch and kissed him, briefly but firmly. "Fuck me now."

    Hutch didn't think he meant it literally; it was something they'd only done a few times. But he kissed back, matching Starsky's pressure and firmness, stroking out with his tongue, gripping and releasing his shoulders while Starsky's fingers brushed through Hutch's hair. They separated and kissed again, over and over, for the sweetness of that moment their lips met and the power of each other's hands pulling and pushing. Hutch stroked down the long planes of Starsky's back and Starsky slid his fingers along the hairline, then down the tendons of Hutch's neck to the collar of his shirt.

    "Too many clothes," Starsky murmured, perhaps an inch from Hutch's mouth.

    "Absolutely," Hutch said, remembering their shoes and running his palm across the strap of Starsky's holster through his windbreaker. But he kissed Starsky again anyway before he pushed him half an arm's length away and said, "Okay. Yes. Clothes."

    He'd noticed before that Starsky loved it when he got monosyllabic, and now was no exception. There was one of those high-voltage, extra-teeth Starsky grins, as if nothing had ever been wrong, though Hutch knew that in a moment it could all come crashing back, and probably would. But not for a while. Not while they were loving each other.

    He got off the bed, and unsnapped his holster. By that time, Starsky had dragged off his windbreaker and the holster too, and Hutch held out his hand for it. He put them both on the bedside table, promiscuously nudging the beer bottles, and then just started dropping clothes on the floor. That made Starsky grin too, and Hutch thought, Next time I do it on purpose.

    Off came the pale blue shirt, and Hutch looked hungrily at the sculpted torso with its dark hair. He touched his own skin above the waistband of his cords and saw how Starsky watched him. Head bent as he pushed off his pants, Hutch could hear the echoing zipper on the other side of the bed as if it were right in front of him--he wished it were. He looked up. Starsky was straightening, his erection pushing up into his stomach, and the sight made Hutch's own cock surge again, as if reaching. And his partner's eyes positively burned in the dim light.

    "Come on," said Starsky, throwing back the spread, and Hutch managed to kick free of his pants legs, got into the bed, and met Starsky in the middle.

    This pleasant shock of skin against skin never lessened, never became commonplace even with the women Hutch fucked most casually. And he never had casual sex with Starsky, not really. Now they lay chest to chest, stomach to stomach, cocks and hips matched, Starsky's knees resting just above Hutch's, the dark head on Hutch's arm and Starsky's knuckles moving along the underside, armpit to the middle of the biceps and back. Their free hands stroked each other; their mouths merged again and again. Hutch cupped Starsky's jaw in his palm and rubbed it slowly. They stopped kissing for a moment and just looked into each other's eyes, foreheads touching and eyelashes practically tangling. "I'm so lucky," Starsky whispered.

    "You're so good," Hutch answered. "Taste--" he kissed lightly-- "so good, feel--" he stroked more tenderly, fingertips and palm just barely brushing-- "so good, oh Starsk," and he nuzzled into his friend's throat and licked and sucked there, down to the base where the little hollow had the softest skin and his lower lip found the gentle prickle of chest hair. Starsky fell onto his back as if he could no longer hold himself up and Hutch followed, lips never off Starsky's skin. One knee fell between Starsky's legs and nudged up under his rigid cock.

    Starsky closed his thighs around Hutch's leg, tightening and loosening, rocking his hips. Hutch reached down and adjusted Starsky's cock to lie along the raised leg and stroked it, while his other hand was in Starsky's hair and his lips touched down anywhere, randomly, cheekbone and shoulder and chest and throat and ear.

    "Love you, buddy." More light kisses. "You're the best. Ah--" Just as he bent to the hard chest again, it surged up to meet him and a nipple pressed into Hutch's mouth. He loved that move and he knew Starsk knew it. As flesh nestled between his lips and crisp hair tickled his nose, Hutch suckled, licked, then rubbed the front of his teeth against the bumpy aureole. Slid both hands under Starsky's back to hold him.

    Starsky's head moved languidly back and forth on the pillow, his eyes shut. "Oh, man."

    Hutch ran his hands up Starsky's back, under his shoulders, until they framed his head. "This is for you," Hutch said, but the movement of Starsky's head became a clear shake.

    "Uh-uh. Us."

    Hutch kissed his throat again, said, "You," kissed the tip of his chin. "This time. Tell me what you want." Starsky's lips pressed shut, his head still moving. Hutch bit his adam's apple, not hard, but enough to make Starsky jump and open his eyes. "Dave."

    They hardly ever used each other's first names. Hutch tried to look stern as he levered up on his elbows and met his partner's startled gaze. "Tell me."

    Starsky smiled so slowly that Hutch was utterly mesmerized, had almost forgotten his own question by the time Starsky's lips parted and he said, "Already did."

    Hutch had evidently missed something. "What?"

    "Ken." Starsky's tone was as deliberate. "I said fuck me."

    Eventually, Hutch said, "I didn't think you liked it."

    Now Starsky was beginning to look irked. "Gonna make me talk it to death. Okay, Hutchinson, listen up. I never said I didn't like it. I think I said I had to be in the mood for it. This is the mood. Right now." Still Hutch couldn't quite believe it, and his hesitation made Starsky frown. "Tomorrow," he said firmly, "I'm gonna fuck a girl. She's gonna have a good time, Hutch--I'll make her feel like she's flyin'. That's what I want tonight. I want to forget everything. I want to fly. Okay? You asked me what I wanted." After another pause, Starsky reached up and stroked Hutch's hair back from his face. "I think you're the one who doesn't like it. We don't have to, Hutch. I was pretty nearly flyin' from what we were doing."

    Hutch turned his head, caught Starsky's hand, and kissed the palm. Keeping the hand in his, he bent to lay the same light kisses on Starsky's nose, forehead, eyelids, temple. "I wanted to give you something tonight," he said, "and now you're offering me . . . ." He didn't quite know how to finish, so kept up those little kisses instead.

    "Told you, it's no sacrifice. It's what I want." He smiled, and Hutch felt the shifting muscles with his lips. "I'll ride you, boy."

    This time, Hutch kissed that smiling mouth less gently, thrust his tongue in and pulled it out a few times as if to give Starsky one last chance to realize what he'd asked for. But Starsky met him still, matched him strength for strength, and Hutch gradually lost all apprehension. Wanted this. Wanted Starsky around him, Starsky holding him more tightly than his hand or even his mouth could. Starsky's will moving him. "Yes." He gave in. "Yes."

    "Then give me the K-Y."

    Hutch raised himself to hands and knees reluctantly, chilled by the rush of air as he lifted his body; he moved to the edge of the bed, sat there. While he was opening the drawer of the bedside table, his eye fell on the incongruous tangle of holsters and beer bottles, and he smiled at that while he looked for the tube of lubricant.

    "How much shit you got in there?" Starsky's conversational voice and his body pressed against Hutch's back were startling, and Hutch didn't answer. "Buddy, you are one bad housekeeper. And if Fifi just shoves things into drawers . . . "

    "I think," said Hutch, grasping the silver tube, crumpled in the middle from previous use, "we could discuss my household organization later."

    "Yeah," Starsky conceded, took the tube, and sat back to wrestle with the little cap. "Damn thing's stuck."

    What Hutch really didn't like was the element of farce that seemed inextricable from this act, or the preparations for it, anyway. He sighed and resigned himself to starting virtually over when they finally got the lube open. And then smiled at the absorbed look on Starsky's face. Always the same, whether he was driving or interrogating someone or tinkering with the car or typing reports with two fingers and one thumb. So focussed, so much in the moment. Hutch meditated for hours to reach the state Starsky found whenever something interested him.

    "Okay." Starsky had the cap off, then gave it a tiny twist, barely hooking the plastic back onto the metal threads. He put the tube in the hollow of one pillow and turned back to Hutch. All that focus on Hutch, now. He felt like a bright, hot light had pinned him down, and he reached out to save himself, to hold on to Starsky and be anchored.

    And Starsky came to him, or Hutch went to Starsky, who seemed as solid as the earth, as certain as the day. Starsky's mouth touched his, and it wasn't at all like starting over: it was like crashing through some barrier Hutch hadn't believed was there, like parachuting out the open but inviolable door of an airplane, like . . . the metaphors left his brain, and all that was left was sensation. Falling. They fell onto the mattress and tried hard to press through each other's skins, down each other's throats, and all of Hutch's body seemed as hot and taut as his cock, throbbing and needing the friction of Starsky's hands and mouth and hair and skin. "Oh, damn, oh God," Hutch said.

    "Yeah, you're flying now," said that voice. A warm wet suction plucked at one nipple, then low on the jugular, then above a rib, then near his navel, and Hutch forced his eyes open in time to see Starsky's mouth approach the head of his cock, seeming to move in slow motion, tongue stretching out. Just there, just at the very tip, where fluid leaked out and beaded and slid down, Starsky touched him, and Hutch thrust upward involuntarily and Starsky jerked his head back. "Mmm, no, not this time." He reached for the silver tube and fiddled with it briefly, curving around his working hands to lick once more at the end of Hutch's burning cock.

    "Oh!" Hutch writhed, reached for Starsky, who seemed just past arm's length, and then almost lost it when the slick gooey jelly and Starsky's knowing fingers were wrapped around him where he was hottest, smoothing down and around. "Starsky!"

    "Hang on," said Starsky, pumping, and Hutch clenched his jaw and his fists. Not right, he thought very slowly and against the roar of his body--it wasn't right that Starsky should be so coherent. Not now. That was not why they were doing this. It was supposed to be for Starsky. Hutch screwed his eyes as tightly shut as they could go and watched the spangles of light and focussed as hard as he ever remembered doing in his life.

    "Babe, you look like you're in pain," Starsky's voice reached him, and he shook his head.

    "No," he tried to say, but his voice was barely working. He swallowed.

    Fingers, only slightly tacky, combed into his hair. "Come if you have to. It's okay, Hutch."

    "No!" That harsh sound was his own voice, ragged but audible. "Damn!" He opened his eyes and Starsky's face was nearer than he'd thought. Hutch reached and rolled and got Starsky under him, kissed him until their teeth squeaked together, lay carefully down and rubbed his chest back and forth against Starsky's, their cocks rasping wet silk against silk. Bolts of pleasure jangled through Hutch and he shuddered with them but kept his eyes open and his hands moving. And Starsky's eyes sagged shut, his cock jumped and throbbed, the breath sighed and gasped from him, and Hutch murmured, "How high are you?"

    No answer except a hard breath. Hutch sucked the dry nipple and nibbled around it. He ran his teeth down the muscle of the nearer arm and licked and blew into the crease of the elbow. That hand jerked up and found his hair, moved randomly in it. Fingernails grazed his ear.

    Hutch lifted his head and found the lube, tidily replaced on the pillow. He reached for it and found the cap gone, which at the moment was fine with him. Putting the tube on the mattress, he pressed it with the heel of his hand and caught the gel in his fingers. Then turned his wrist to send the tube skidding off the edge of the bed, out of the way. His other hand was busy, petting down Starsky's thigh, plowing through the hair to where it grew thickest, then pulling back up the taut inside curve. Starsky spread his legs, and Hutch withdrew to get his knees under him, hating to leave the touch of this yielding skin but craving the hot hard grip of Starsky's ass. He licked at one knee and the body beneath him shuddered, so he kept going down the slope of the thigh to the testicles in their furry sac. "Are you flying?" he asked, though probably his voice was lost here. He mouthed the balls and felt Starsky's hips jerking and didn't really need a verbal answer. The smell made his mouth water and Starsky groaned, lifting his leg higher. The hand full of K-Y hooked through, and Hutch slid his dry hand under from the other side, so he could stroke and separate the buttocks without wasting the gel.

    There it was, the puckered opening clenching and relaxing already, and when he rubbed around it with dry fingers, Starsky made a keening sound that told Hutch he was nearly in orbit. Hutch poked in with one gel-slicked finger and then two, thrusting, then twisting and scissoring, trying to go slowly but almost as crazy himself as his writhing, moaning partner. Starsky pressed his ass down onto Hutch's hand. "So big," he said, suddenly articulate. "Your fingers . . . so long." Hutch, taking the cue, slid as far in as he could, almost all the way out, then back in, and again, though he knew he couldn't do this much longer. Every time Starsky clamped around his fingers, on every stroke, Hutch's cock jumped in eagerness and wept more freely.

    Hutch pulled his hand out and knelt between Starsky's thighs, then pushed the spread knees up and apart. This wasn't the best position--Hutch could scarcely see the opening--but it would allow him to keep Starsky's legs out of the way. The other time Starsky had bottomed, he'd hit Hutch such a crack on the jaw with one knee that the bump had been visible for days.

    The head of Hutch's cock was against Starsky's ass. Hutch pushed as slowly as he could manage, and Starsky gave his hips a kind of twist and helped, and then the head was beyond the first hard ring of muscle. Hutch pressed, palms flat, against Starsky's knees, separated them like the pages of a book he was reading, gentled the stretched tendons and pushed in farther. "Fuck," said Starsky and Hutch couldn't tell whether it was an exclamation against pain or a command, but he hoped the latter because it was too late to stop. He rocked a little, a few short strokes back and forth, and Starsky whimpered. Obviously Hutch hadn't hit the prostate yet.

    He pushed in farther, harder, those inner muscles opening around him so slowly and rippling against him, squeezing, "Oh, so strong, Starsky, God," and he nudged farther, hit something rounded, and Starsky jumped and reached desperately into the air.

    "Hutch! Hu-utch!"

    Hutch reached out in return and their hands grabbed each other, almost too frantically to get their fingers intertwined. Hutch's right ring finger was bent back and then to the side, Starsky clutched so hard. His head pushed back into the pillow until Hutch couldn't see his closed eyes, and his neck was corded with effort. Hutch pulled out a little and then rocked his whole torso forward to kiss that tense throat. "Breathe. Dave. Breathe."

    Starsky gasped. Again. Hutch sat up and pumped, evenly, slowly, savoring. Starsky gasped on every stroke.

    "Top," Starsky said faintly, his knees jerking up a little. "Turn over."

    "Okay," Hutch told him, and leaned back, guided Starsky's legs with his elbows, and pulled on their still-joined hands until they were both almost vertical, stomachs touching and Starsky's erection between them. Starsky made a soft, inarticulate sound and took Hutch's mouth, his own wet and sucking hard.

    "Burns," he said when their lips parted. "Oh, it's . . . so good, so bad," his knees reaching down around Hutch's hips, holding tighter as they rocked together.

    Hutch let go with one hand, though Starsky immediately grabbed above the wrist, sliding his bruising grip up to above the elbow as Hutch braced against the mattress and began to turn. Then he lost his balance and they fell, twisting in the air, and Starsky was on top while Hutch's head hung off the side of the bed and his cock felt like it might burst.

    "Not yet, not yet," Starsky rasped out, and they squirmed for a better position and shuddered and grunted at the jolts of fire in their nerves--pleasure or pain, it hardly seemed worth while making the distinction.

    "Hurry," Hutch said, the word squeezed out of him by Starsky's movements. His hands were free now, though he didn't remember letting go, and he reached for Starsky's cock and stroked it as best he could though the angle was strange and keeping his focus almost impossible.

    Starsky didn't seem to mind: he shook and rocked and grew even larger between Hutch's fingers, and when Hutch rubbed the tip with one palm and gripped behind the head with the other hand, Starsky shouted "Hutch! Ken!" and convulsed, drilling Hutch's palm with a jet of semen and clenching around his cock until he saw stars and felt himself falling upward into Starsky, giving up everything into Starsky. He thought he shouted but didn't hear it. He lost track of time. Their orgasm seemed to go on and on.

    Eventually he came back to himself, sitting more or less upright with Starsky lying on his legs. Hutch's cock was deflated but still inside Starsky, whose eyes were closed and whose breathing was fitful. The dark curls were clumped with sweat and the whole lean body as drenched as if he'd been in the shower. He looked dead or out cold, but for the heaving of his chest and his eyes slowly opening.

    Hutch petted the thighs under his hands. He tried to speak but nothing came out. He cleared his throat, and that did make a sound, so he tried again. "Okay?"

    "No." Starsky's voice was weak too. Hutch's slow mind couldn't reach concern before Starsky managed to go on, "I'm destroyed," his mouth stretching in what would have been a little smile if his facial muscles had cooperated. But Hutch knew. "You mind not moving? Like, forever?"

    "Can't move much." It was true, though his head was swimming and he would have given a lot to be horizontal.

    Maybe he actually swayed, because Starsky looked worried and began to pull in his elbows, got them painstakingly under him and hoisted himself up as he said, "Hey, buddy, just joking." A movement of Starsky's hips and Hutch slid out of him, and they both winced. "Jesus Christ." Hearing his Jewish friend say that made Hutch catch his breath in what would ordinarily have been a chuckle. "Lie down, Hutch. Come on."

    They had almost settled when a spasm crossed Starsky's features. "Dammit." He backed off the bed and then doubled over it. "Oh."

    "What?" Where the energy came from Hutch didn't know, but he was sitting up and then on his feet, coming around the bed, taking Starsky in his arms.

    "Didn' happen last time--" Starsky mumbled and stood up. "Hutch, I gotta--"

    Light dawned. Hutch pulled his partner through the door and got him to the toilet. Starsky leaned back against the tank and closed his eyes. Hutch crouched in front of him and rubbed his stomach, circles he hoped were soothing, and felt the muscles twist under his hand.

    "Feel like such a baby . . . " said Starsky.

    "No," Hutch answered.


    "Yup," said Hutch after a moment, and Starsky laughed weakly.

    "Damn, that's disgusting. And," he opened his eyes, "I don't believe you're down there."

    "Well," Hutch got up, half-sat against the sink, and braced his arms on either side, "I do want you to know that's not my kink."

    "Oh, good." Starsky brought his knees closer together and leaned forward on them. "You don't really have to watch, then, do you?"

    Hutch hesitated. "If you're okay."

    "Yeah, yeah." Starsky made shooing motions.

    But Hutch had barely sat down on the bed when he heard a noise of pain from the bathroom. He got up, went to the door, paused. "Starsk?"

    "I'm okay."

    "You didn't sound like it." Hutch waited, but Starsky didn't answer. "Starsky, tell me. You torn up?" Nothing but the toilet flushing, water running in the sink. "Do you need to go to Emergency?"

    "No." Starsky came into view around the edge of the shower wall, one hand wrapped around the corner. "Stings, but I'm sure it'll be fine." Hutch said nothing, didn't move, but that had never stopped Starsky from reading his mind before. He walked easily for two steps --And how much did that hurt, buddy?--and took Hutch's shoulders in his hands, gazed frankly into Hutch's eyes. "I wanted you to fuck me," he said firmly. "It was good. And I bled just a little, but I promise I'm okay." He gripped harder, shook Hutch an inch or two back and forth. "What, d'you think I'm lyin'? Believe me."

    "Okay," said Hutch with some reluctance. He put his arms around Starsky and pulled him close. "Hurting you is the last thing, the last thing, I wanted."

    "It's not high on my list either," said Starsky into his shoulder. "What did you say before? Not my kink."

    "You goon." Hutch rubbed his partner's back. "Come to bed. Drink some flat beer. Sleep."

    "Sleep sounds good."

    They lay on their backs, some space between them. Starsky hooked a leg over one of Hutch's, and Hutch put a hand on Starsky's hairy stomach.

    "Your hands are so warm," Starsky murmured.

    Hutch's chest tightened at the sleepy pleasure in his friend's voice. "Wish we were at your place," he said.


    "The mirror. I wish I could see us." And he thought, Wish you always saw yourself the way I see you.

    Starsky's leg rubbed his, lazily. "Know where I went after the beach?"

    Hutch thought back, and only then realized Starsky had never finished his story. "No, where?"

    "Visited Mrs. Craig."

    Hutch turned his head to see Starsky's face, but it was relaxed, eyes shut, and his voice when he spoke was still calm. "She's an amazing lady, Hutch. Should come with me next time. Her heart's as big . . . as big. She really," he paused longer this time, and swallowed, "forgave me."

    Hutch had to swallow too, and his hand moved to Starsky's hip bone, gripped it. "You," and his voice was too rough, so he had to swallow again before he went on, "you always find your way." And he thought, You don't need me, with a weird mixture of pride and sorrow.

    Starsky rolled up onto his side, Hutch's hand moving to cup what turned out to be a buttock, so he stroked up to Starsky's spine below his shoulder blades. When they were still, Starsky had his chin on the back of his hand, on Hutch's chest. He gave Hutch a level look.

    "Found my way here, didn't I?" He levered himself up and kissed Hutch's forehead. "Know just where to go when it's who-do-we-trust time." Then he lay down again, on his stomach. "Mmm, that's better. Wake me when breakfast's ready." The words dragged. "Long as it isn't any of that . . . nasty junk you drink." He was mumbling now, nearly asleep. "Gotta . . . show you . . . somethin' better."

    "Any time," said Hutch, closed his eyes, and fell off a cliff into sleep.