First story in my Fix series. Comments on this story can be sent to: TazzyJan@aol.com
My Kingdom For A Fix
"Please, Starsk. I need it. Just a little. Just to get me through. Please."
The begging tore at Starsky's heart, but he couldn't give in. Not now. Not ever. The cost would be too high. Hutch's only hope was his partner. He was not going to let the man down again. He cursed Forest and his goons. And he wished to God he could take his place. He would give his soul if he could just take some of Hutch's pain away.
"Please, Starsky," Hutch begged for the umpteenth time. "I'll do anything...anything you want...just please..."
"Anything?" Starsky asked, his heart aching anew.
"Anything!" the haggard man replied. "Just name it. Just name your price."
"You," came the soft reply. Starsky couldn't bring himself to look at his friend, couldn't bring himself to look at what the drug had done to his partner.
"Me?" Hutch asked, confused.
Starsky brought his eyes up then and locked them with those of his partner. And Hutch knew what he meant then. He knew what Starsky was asking for. He was asking for him. "Sure, Starsk. If that's...if that's what you want. I'll try...try to make it g...good for you."
"I'll think about it," he said wearily. "Why don't you try and sleep some more, Hutch. We can talk about it when you get up."
"Starsky?" Hutch called out as he got up from the bed. He wandered into the main room, looking for his friend. He snorted as he thought about Starsky. The man wasn't just his friend, he was his partner. Hell, right now, he was his lifeline. Starsky was his only hope. And Hutch knew it. He found him huddled in the corner of the small kitchen. He looked so small sitting there on the floor, his back pressed into the corner. He looked small and lost and scared to death. For the first time, Hutch wondered what all this was costing his friend.
"Starsk? You okay?"
"Yeah, buddy," he replied as he climbed to his feet. His movements were slow, awkward, as if he were moving through a thick cloud of something. "How ya' feelin'?"
"A little better," Hutch said, more to soothe his friend than from any real feeling of progress.
"S'pose you wanna talk now." Muttered more to himself than out loud.
"Starsk?" Something was wrong. Something was very, very wrong. Hutch wasn't sure who this doppelganger was, but he sure wasn't Starsky.
"S'pose you wanna talk now, huh? C'mon, let's sit down."
Silently Hutch sat down beside his friend. He cursed himself as he began to shake, the unholy desire for the drug once more screaming through his veins. With a visible effort, he pushed his desire back. He had more important things to worry about right now. Something was wrong with his partner.
"Would you really have done it?" Starsky asked, breaking the heavy silence at last.
"Prostituted yourself to me."
Hutch recoiled as if slapped. Snippets of conversation played through his head. He seemed to remember telling Starsky he'd give him anything. And then Starsky asking for the impossible. But when he'd agreed, his partner had put him off. "I don't know," he whispered. "I think... I think I might..."
"You said you'd give anything for it," Starsky interrupted, his eyes looking more dead than Hutch had ever seen them. "Well, I got nothing left to bargain with, pal. I've tried everything else I could think of. You said you'd give anything for it. What I gotta know, is if you'd give us."
Hutch sat and stared at the man sitting beside him. To say the least, he was stunned. The withdrawal was making it hard enough to think without Starsky asking him questions like this. Would he trade them for heroin? Would he? "Starsk..." Hutch trailed off, unsure what he was going to say. He wasn't sure if there was anything he could say to that.
Starsky sighed. It was now or never. Either Hutch would choose them or he'd choose the heroin. Reaching inside his jacket he pulled out a small bag out of one pocket and his Beretta out of the other. He laid both out on the table in front of Hutch. "Go ahead. Open it."
With shaking hands, Hutch lifted the back and poured its contents out. A syringe, spoon and small bag of powder rolled out onto the table. His shaking intensified as he looked up at his partner. All he could think of was that Starsky was giving up. Starsky was finally giving up on him.
"It's your choice now, partner," Starsky said softly as he picked up the gun. "I can't do it alone. I can't help you if you don't want to be helped. You said you'd trade anything for it. You said you'd trade anything for it, your body, our partnership. Well, there it is."
"What's the catch?" Hutch asked, even as his hand inched forward.
"You have to clean up the mess."
The words were spoken softly, barely above a whisper. At first they didn't even register as Hutch picked up the small bag of powder. But he sound of the hammer clicking back stopped him cold. His head snapped up to look at his partner. He thought his heart would stop. Starsky had the Beretta cocked and ready. And nestled under his chin.
"Go ahead. Shoot up."
"Starsky, stop it," Hutch said, his voice weak and raspy. This could not be happening.
"You find oblivion that way, partner, and I'll find it mine," he stated softly. "Cause you shootin' that shit inta your veins is gonna be like a bullet in the head for me anyway."
"Here, let me help ya'," Starsky said as he laid the gun on the far side of the table and grabbed Hutch's arm. He yanked the shirt up revealing the healing tracks and brought a vein to the surface with expert ease.
"What are you doing?" Hutch said as he tried to pull his arm back.
"Helpin' ya'. C'mon, Hutchinson, this is what you're willing to trade our friendship for, partner."
"No. You'll trade your body for a fix. You'll trade us for a fix. Trading my miserable excuse for a life for one shouldn't be any problem to you. So go ahead and shoot up. Then you can watch me redecorate Huggy's walls." Hutch felt panic clutching at him. He craved the drug laid out before him. But one look at his partner's face told him Starsky meant every word he had just said. Hutch knew he could easily trade his own soul for a fix right now. But could he trade Starsky's?
Starsky watched as Hutch began to shake even harder. He could see the indecision warring on his partner's gaunt face. It was now or never. He just hoped he had the guts to go through with it if... Somehow, if Hutch let him down, he didn't think he'd find blowing his brains out to be all that difficult. Taking a deep breath, the dark-haired man steeled himself and picked up the gun once more. Locking eyes with the man beside him, he pulled the hammer back again and once more placed the barrel under his chin. All he had to do now was squeeze and, for him, this nightmare would be over.
Hutch watched as the one man he loved more than any other prepared to kill himself. An image flashed through his mind of his partner lying still and lifeless on the floor, the top of his head blown out by the impact of a single bullet. The choice was simple. The drug his body was dying for or Starsky's life.
"No!" Hutch shouted as adrenaline surged through him. Gripping the side of the table he turned it up and over onto its side, scattering the contents across the floor. With a growl, he jerked the gun away from his startled partner and threw it across the room. His chest heaved as he took in great gulps of air, trying vainly to calm his out-of-control emotions.
Starsky watched, too stunned to speak, as his partner towered over him. Slowly, the fight seemed to drain from the man and he sank to his knees and buried his face in his hands. As the first sob tore its way up, Starsky moved to his knees as well. With the gentlest of hands, he pulled the other man into his arms and held him.
"Don't leave me, Starsk," he could hear Hutch beg through his tears. "Please don't leave me. I need you. I can live without the...the drug. I can't...I can't live without you."
"Sshhh. It's all right," Starsky crooned as he rocked him back and forth, his arms tightening his hold. "I won't leave you. Not now. Not ever. I love you, ya' big dummy. I could never leave ya'. But if ya' shoot that stuff inta your veins, then the Hutch I love, he won't be here no more. And I need him. I need him real bad."
"I love you. I love you. I love you," Hutch repeated over and over, needing to say it.
"I know," Starsky replied, his own voice growing heavy with emotion. "That's what I was countin' on."
2nd story in The Fix series: Fixing Us