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Author's note: This is a little bit from a story I'm writing . . . the quote Starsky mentions at the end is from Aristotle.

Dear Hutch



Dear Hutch,

Well, partner, looks like we made it again. We beat the bad guys and beat the odds one more time. You don't know how glad I am to finally be home. But then again, I think you probably do. I'm sorry, babe, I know this has been hard on you, too. All that time in the hospital gave me a chance to do some thinking, though . . . about a lot of things. (It's not like I have the energy to do much of anything else these days.) I guess there's nothing like dying and coming back to make you realize what's important in your life. And what's important in my life is you, Hutch.

I know that I wouldn't be here now if it weren't for you, Blondie. When I was lying there bleeding in the police garage, everything got dark and I couldn't really see, but I could hear you, and I could feel you holding my hand, letting me know you were there and that I wasn't alone. If it weren't for that, I probably would've just packed it in right there in the parking lot. But your touch and the love in your voice made me fight to hang on cause I knew I had to see you again.

You're the reason I came back after my heart stopped, did you know that, Hutch? The docs say they can't explain why I didn't die, but I know it was because Somebody up there listened when I said I couldn't leave you.

I don't remember everything about it, but I felt like I was floating, looking down at them working on my body, just like in the books, ya know? I even saw that bright light they talk about. For a little while I was tempted to stay there -- it was so peaceful, and everything didn't hurt anymore, but then I felt you come rushing through those hospital doors and I knew I had to come back. Then when I finally opened my eyes in the ICU, you were there, the joy on your face telling me without a doubt I had made the right choice.

And you've been here for me every day, supporting and encouraging me. But then it's always been that way, hasn't it, partner? Me and thee, practically from the first time we met.

I don't know if I ever told you, but when I heard that my roommate at the Academy was going to be some rich kid from the Midwest, I was pretty sure you were going to be a stuck up, snobby pain in the ass. But you proved me wrong, Blintz. I don't know how you felt about having a scruffy street kid with a chip on his shoulder sharing your room, but you always treated me like you thought I was important. You really listened when I talked and didn't try to make me feel stupid because you had more education than I did. You took the time to look past that tough guy front I had put on for so long to see the real me behind it. I could be myself with you, and that's something I hadn't been able to do for a long time.

I remember a case not long after we graduated -- a lady had been killed by her boyfriend and the cop I was partnered with and I were the first ones on the scene. The guy must've been a real sicko, there was blood everywhere. Turns out she had two little kids who had seen the whole thing -- I found them hiding in a closet, scared to death. I'll never forget the looks on their faces.

You and I were hanging out that night at your place and I was telling you about it, when suddenly I realized my eyes were getting blurry and my throat was getting tight. I was pretty embarrassed -- I hadn't cried in front of anybody since . . . well since my dad was killed. Most of the guys I hung around with when I was growing up would've laughed themselves silly if they had seen me like that.

But you didn't laugh. You just came and sat down next to me and put your hand on my shoulder and waited 'til I got myself together again. I could see the concern in your eyes -- concern for those kids, but mostly, concern for me. I never did tell you how much that meant to me, but you knew. Neither of us had to say a word -- we understood each other perfectly.

That's one of the things that makes us so good as partners, ya know. I always know what you're doing, and you always know what I'm doing. It's almost like ESP or something. The day they finally approved us being partners was one of the best days of my life. I just hope and pray that Gunther hasn't ruined all that and I can really be your partner again. I know what you'll say -that I'll always be your partner, no matter what, but I want to be out there on the streets with you, Hutch, backing you up like before.

You know, I've always been so proud to tell people that you're my partner and my best friend, but I think the time I was the most proud of you was after Forrest kidnapped you -- and that time I couldn't tell anybody. It almost killed me to watch you go through that withdrawal, babe. I would've given anything if I could've saved you from that pain. I know quitting that stuff was hell, but you made it, partner. Not many people would've been able to go cold turkey like you did, Hutch, but then you've always been one of the strongest people I know.

That strength has helped save me more times than I can count. Bellamy and his poison, those crazies in the Italian restaurant, Terri, and so many other times when you were there for me to lean on. I don't know what I would've done without you, babe, and I don't ever want to find out.

It was your strength that let you hold on when that lawyer's goons ran you off the road, and when you were so sick with Callendar's plague. I was really scared I was going to lose you that time, buddy, but thank God you made it.

You and I have always had a special bond, Hutch. Nobody knows me better than you do. For a while this past year I started to worry that maybe our relationship didn't mean as much to you as it does to me. It seemed as if there was some kind of invisible wall between us. I knew something was bothering you, but for the first time I couldn't reach you. Then all that mess with Kira happened and I felt like the bottom had dropped out of everything. I was angry, hurt, confused . . . but in a weird way it was good that it happened cause it forced us to take a long hard look at ourselves. We realized we had been taking each other and our friendship for granted, and we worked hard to fix things between us, because both of us knew that what we have is too important and too special to let go.

We've been through some rough times together, Blintz, but this thing with Gunther was our closest call yet. It's scary to think about, but I almost didn't make it this time. But what really scares me is that if I had died, I never would have gotten the chance to tell you how I really feel about you.

I love you, Hutch.

I hope you've always known that -- you're the best partner and the best friend I could ever ask for. But I told you I've been doing a lot of thinking lately and it's made me realize that what I feel for you is something more than friendship. I guess what I'm trying to tell you is that I'm in love with you, babe. I know what you're probably thinking -- it surprised the hell out of me, too. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I must've always known. Too bad it took getting shot and almost dying to give me the kick in the butt I needed to finally admit it to myself. Hutch, I love you more than I've ever loved anyone, and I want to spend the rest of my life showing you just how much.

But the way things are now, I don't know if I'll even have the guts to show you this. You deserve more than someone who's all patched together and can barely walk across the room to the damn bathroom by himself. I don't know if you could ever feel this way about me, either, and I don't want to risk our friendship, not even for this.

I don't know what I ever did to deserve the gift of you as a partner and a friend, Hutch, but I'm thankful for it every day. I saw something in one of those books you brought over here, "A true friend is one soul in two bodies." No matter what happens, that's us, babe. Forever.