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November Rain

by

Kathy K.

After Gillian died, was murdered, I watched my partner and best friend, Hutch, deteriorate rapidly. His heart had been broken and it would take some time for it to mend. Captain Dobey gave us both some time off of work. Time for Hutch to put his life back together, and time for me to help him. I had never seen Hutch so much in love. He was happy, smiling all of the time, laughing at things that were really not funny, glowing at the thought of her. He was in love. I was happy for him. He deserved to be happy after all of the bad things he had been through. He deserved just this one chance at peace and happiness. Instead he was left with despair and sorrow.

I wasn't sure how I was going to tell him that the woman he loved was a prostitute. Gillian was not a bad person; she just got caught up with the wrong people. People that now owned her. She was willing to risk her life to love Hutch and got herself killed in the process. When I found Gillian on the floor I knew she was dead immediately. I knew that trying to bring her back to life was fruitless, but I had to try. I loved my partner, too, and knew this was going to tear him apart. When he appeared in the doorway to Gillian's apartment I didn't know how I was going to handle the situation. The truth was the only way.

"She's dead, Hutch."

I had never seen my partner cry the way he did that night. His dream had been shattered; the woman he loved was dead. I continued to tell him the truth. A horrid truth he did not want to believe, but one that he needed to know. He hit me and I let him. I knew he wasn't upset with me, but he had to direct his anger and misery somewhere. I was there. I would have let him beat the crap out of me if I thought it would help, but it wouldn't. Only time could heal a wound this deep. I know. It took me a long time to come to terms with Terry's death. But the one thing that was a constant in my life and kept me going was Hutch. He never let me give up . . . I wanted to many times. I didn't feel my life had any meaning and at times didn't want to go on living. It hurt so bad. I felt I would never find another who would love me so unconditionally, love me for better or worse, in sickness and in health. I would come to know that I was wrong . . . . There was someone else out there who did love me more than I could comprehend. This person would love me for better or worse, in sickness and in health, in the good times and the bad. I had loved this person from the minute we met, but it was after Terry died that I realized I was 'in' love. I kept talking to Hutch and he realized I was telling him the truth. He fell into my open arms. I needed him as much as he needed me in those moments.

We took care of Grossman and his thugs at the movie theater. That was so hard for Hutch. And to add to his already tortured mind, the scumbag Grossman had to play a sleazy movie staring Hutch's Gillian. I got lucky when I shot at the movie projector and actually hit it, stopping the movie. I feared for my partner's life that night. He was so vulnerable. I didn't know if he would be focused enough to keep an eye on Grossman and his cohorts. He did it though. He even had the courage and control not to kill Grossman after we caught him. I remember how I wanted to kill Prudhome and I could have too. Hutch would never have told another soul . . . but it was because of Hutch that I didn't do it. I knew it would have been wrong and it would not have brought Terry back. Killing Grossman would not have brought Gillian back either. We took care of Grossman and his slimy gang, and then I took Hutch home.

It was a long night. I poured Hutch a glass of whiskey and made him drink it. I had a little myself. He cried. I cried. He got sick and I held him as he heaved over and over again. I wet a cool washcloth and smoothed it over his face, hot from crying and vomiting. He was like a zombie, crying one minute, staring into space the next. I tucked him into bed and stayed with him until I thought he was asleep. I kept stroking his hair and rubbing his back and arms even after he was asleep. My own heart was breaking for Hutch, knowing the pain he was in. I wanted to make this better . . . fix it. But there was not a thing I could do but to be there for him as always.

I quietly got up off of the bed to go into the living room and let Hutch get some sleep when he could. I would be close enough to hear him if he needed me. I didn't get far. Hutch woke as I got up, calling for me.

"Starsk?"

"Yeah, buddy?"

"Please don't leave me . . . I don't want to be alone. I need you here."

"Sure, buddy, anything you want."

I sat down in the chair next to Hutch's bed, taking his hand, letting him know I was there for him.

"No, Starsk. I really need you with me. The bed is big enough. Can you just hold me?"

The tone in Hutch's voice cut like a knife through my heart. He was hurting and sounded so lost.

"Of course, babe. Scoot over a bit."

Hutch made room for me to lie next to him, and as if it were the most natural thing in the world, he lay his head on my chest and put his arm around my stomach. I stroked his fine blond hair and talked soothingly to him.

"I'm right here, babe. You'll never have to be alone 'cause I'll always be here for ya."

Hutch was too out of it to notice the bulge in my jeans growing hard, but I wasn't. I had been able to hide this part of my feelings for Hutch for a long time, but tonight it was not working. I pulled the blanket up over the part of me that had a mind of its own and continued to hold my partner. It felt good. I never wanted to let him go.

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Over the next couple of weeks I made sure Hutch got out of the apartment. He didn't want to do anything but lay in bed. He wasn't eating and continued to get sick. He was losing weight and falling into a deep depression. He refused to see anyone . . . anyone but me that is. It became routine to sleep with Hutch. It was the only way he could get to sleep. He was like a baby in many ways, so vulnerable. I felt his dependence on me and felt my growing dependence on him.

I took him to the beach, hiking, bike riding, anything at all to get his mind off of things. It seemed to help and I saw my partner gradually returning to the Hutch I knew before Gillian died. The walls he had built around himself were gradually coming down. It felt so good to be with my partner, but I knew it was time to return to my apartment and let Hutch get on with his life. I planned to talk to him that night.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"No, Starsk! Please don't go. Not yet." Hutch seemed to fumble for words. "Can't you stay again tonight? There's a good baseball game on TV."

"Hutch . . . I . . . I guess . . . sure, I'll stay."

Each night there was another excuse for me to stay with Hutch, and it was not always Hutch making the excuse. I found myself making just as many excuses.

We were both beat after spending the day fishing down at the docks and decided to call it an early night. I started to make my bed on the couch.

"Starsk, what are you doing?"

"Just gonna get some sleep, babe. You okay?"

Why was he tantalizing me like this? I looked into his baby blue eyes and saw only love and innocence. I wanted to love him and I didn't know how many more nights I could sleep in the same bed with my partner without him realizing just how much I wanted him. Many nights, after I was sure Hutch was asleep, I quietly had to take a cold shower, go for a walk or satisfy myself with images of making love to Hutch screaming in my mind. I didn't want to go back to my apartment, but I knew I couldn't stay with Hutch night after night without him finding out.

"I'm okay, Hutch. Just tired."

"Starsk, can you . . . I . . . would you . . . "

Hutch quickly turned away from me and headed for the bedroom, but not before I saw the tears welling in his eyes. I quickly followed him. He was obviously hurting and couldn't seem to tell me what was wrong.

"Hutch?" I found him sitting on the edge of his bed, our bed, in the dark, softly crying, looking down at his folded hands, suddenly finding them very interesting.

"Just go away, Starsk, I'm okay. You can go home if you want."

"Aw, Hutch, what's wrong?" I sat beside my partner and put my arm around his now trembling body.

"It's nothing, Starsk. I'm just tired, that's all."

"Since when do you start to cry when you're tired?"

"I'm not crying."

"What are those wet things rolling down your cheeks then? Is it Gillian, Hutch?"

"No, it's not Gillian. It's someone else."

"Wanna talk about it? Must be someone pretty special."

"It is. He is!"

I lifted Hutch's chin and turned him so I could look into his eyes. "He? Hutch, talk to me, babe."

"Starsk, I think I'm in love. I know I'm in love. I have been for such a long time, but I never had the courage to say anything. It would kill me if I lost this person. I loved Gillian and thought that would fill the void I had felt in my life for so long, but I realize now that it wouldn't have. I loved her, but not as much as . . . ."

"Hey, you know you can talk to me buddy . . . you'll feel better if you do."

I wiped at the tears that continued to fall and pulled his head down onto my shoulder.

"Starsky, I don't want to lose you as my friend. My partner. These past couple weeks have made me realize something and I can't go on denying it any longer. I'm so in love with this person I can't think straight, but the thought of losing him is tearing me apart. I can't take it anymore, Starsk. I have to risk it."

I was starting to feel a pang of jealousy as Hutch talked about being in love with a "he." I kind of felt sick. I wanted Hutch to be in love with me, but as long as Hutch was happy, I would be happy for him.

"Hutch, you know I'll be here for you no matter what. I'll be here when you're ready to talk about it, okay?"

"I'm ready now, Starsk. This person . . . the one I'm in love with . . . well, he's the best friend a guy could ever have asked for. I know he loves me, I'm just not sure it's in the same way. He's funny, loving, dedicated, strong, has horrible eating habits and can be a real smart ass . . . but I really love him . . . I want to make love to him and have him make love to me. I want to make him happy, protect him from all the bad things in life . . . hell, I want to grow old with this wise ass."

I couldn't hide the smile that came to my face, as I knew Hutch was talking about me. I thought my heart would jump out of my chest. How could I not have known after spending the last couple weeks with him? Even after his strength was returning, I continued to wake only to find him holding onto me tightly, needing to be near me. Of course I needed the same and had not felt so good in all of my life. That is until now . . . . The man I loved so much loved me too.

"Starsk, you still listening?"

"Yeah, sorry buddy."

"This man I love . . . he's real close to me, to my heart and he's real close to me right now, physically. Actually, he's sitting next to me. I love you, David Michael Starsky. I've been in love with you for so long. I thought I could make those feelings go away if I tried hard enough and I tried with women . . . I really tried. They didn't come close though. It's always been you. You've been the light in my life for so long. I've known so much happiness because of you . . . and I've known love. Real love. I know I can be a bastard at times and I can drive you crazy, but you don't leave me . . . don't get angry, you just continue to love me for the messed up guy I am. So, now you know. If you want to leave, I'll understand. Just remember, I love you. You've been my world and my best friend."

Starsky started to laugh. "I'm sorry, Hutch . . . ."

"What's so funny?"

"Aw, Hutch . . . I've loved you since the day we met. I'd never had feelings for a man before and didn't quite know how to handle them. I tried to overcome those feelings too, with women and. . . well, it didn't work. Almost with Terry, but after she died I realized just how much I was 'in' love with you. It's been so hard trying to hide this for so long. I love you too, blondie. I've been in love with you for so long and sometimes so much that it hurt. I didn't think I'd ever be able to tell you about it. I was afraid of losing you. I'd do anything not to lose you, Hutch. I really do love you and I want to make you happy. I've wanted to make you happy for so long."

Hutch ran his hand through Starsky' s thick curls and pulled him into a close embrace, kissing him on the forehead.

"Starsk? What are we supposed to do from here?"

"Well, I'm not 100% sure, but I think it will come to us. Can I kiss you, Hutch?"

"Only if I can kiss you in return."

Both men were nervous and elated at the same time. Together they experienced their first kiss. It was electric for them both. Soft and gentle. They explored each other's mouth, taste, and love. It felt natural and wonderful. They practiced the kiss for a long time, making sure they were doing it right. Sounded like a good excuse at the time. The first kiss turned into the first touch, the first loving caress as they gently undressed each other. Soon they found themselves next to each other in bed, totally undressed. Skin again skin. Love against love. Starsky against Hutch.

"Hutch? Why are you crying, babe? We can stop right now . . . it doesn't have to go any further."

"No. Starsky, I'm crying because I'm happy. I never thought I could feel this way. Never thought I'd have you to love me like this. You can't imagine what this means to me."

"I think I can, babe. It means that much to me too. God, I love you, Hutch."