This story was first published in the stand-alone zine, If Love Is Real Addiction published by In Person Press. Comments on this story can be sent, as usual, to:


If Love Is Real: Addiction


Chapter 5

Last time I was sober, man I felt bad
Worst hangover that I ever had
            Heavy Fuel—Dire Straits

"Delivery for Starsky?" The young man held out a paper bag as he checked the address.

Starsky cinched the belt of his blue bathrobe more securely. "Yeah. Here ya go." He handed the kid a folded bill.

"Thanks, mister!"

Starsky nodded, bag in hand, and shut the door softly. Barefoot, he padded back into the bedroom to check on his partner, being careful not to crinkle the bag. It was early yet, and the last thing he wanted was to wake Hutch.

But he needn't have worried. Hutch slept soundly, eyes moving rapidly under shadowed lids, his breath steady, his arms and legs wrapped securely around the pillows Starsky had given him as substitutes for his own body.

Never had anyone wrapped around me like that before, he thought. Kinda nice.

Hutch slept on, unaware of Starsky's pensive mood. Starsky enjoyed watching him since it was the first really sound sleep Hutch had had since his ordeal. And, in a way, the hours Starsky had slept had been his first good sleep, too. They had remained intertwined for six solid hours before Starsky could no longer ignore the demands of his body and had to move.

At that point, he couldn't avoid going to the bathroom any longer, and that unpleasant experience had prompted him to call the drugstore with the twenty-four hour delivery service for emergency supplies. Remembering that he was still holding those things, he moved silently to the bathroom farthest from the bedroom—the one with the tub, not just the shower stall. Once there, he unpacked his order—medicinal cream, medicated bath salts, anti-inflammatory tablets, and—he looked into the bag, feeling an odd mixture of anxiety and anticipation—three new tubes of lubricant.

He sighed and drew himself a warm bath, adding a liberal dose of the medicated salts to the water. It was funny how something you hadn't done in so long could still be so familiar.

An hour later, feeling considerably better, Starsky poured coffee for himself and his partner. He'd called Dobey and, without saying anything incriminating, told him that they needed some leave. He implied that they'd made a breakthrough in Hutch's recovery, and Dobey didn't ask for details. In fact, Starsky had the distinct impression he didn't want any. He was so grateful that something positive was happening with Hutch, that he granted them as much time as they needed. He all but told Starsky that Hutch's well-being was in his hands. As Starsky hung up the phone he tried to imagine Dobey's reaction if he ever found out what form Starsky's therapy had taken.

After that, he put the drawer he'd knocked out back in place, and tucked the new lubricant in it. He even managed to find the old tube tangled in the sheets, and tossed it. Hutch had shifted a few times while he'd done that and he could tell from dozens of stake-outs that his partner would be waking soon.

He carried the cups into the bedroom and placed Hutch's on the nightstand, while he enjoyed his own. The scent of the dark brew brought Hutch up like a bloodhound. He inhaled, shifted the big blond body barely concealed by the cover sheet, then started blinking. It pleased Starsky that he didn't snap awake in wide-eyed hyper-alert mode like he had been doing the last two weeks.

Hutch peered at him, seeming confused, no doubt sorting out dream from memory. Before Starsky could worry about his friend's reaction to last night's interlude, Hutch reassured him with an easy, natural smile—something Starsky hadn't seen for awhile. The reaction it had on his own blood pressure was amazing.

"Morning," Starsky said softly. "Ready for coffee?" He wondered if he'd get the same argument he'd been getting ever since Hutch had gone cold turkey. But all Hutch did was stretch—rather provocatively, Starsky thought, deliberately averting his eyes from a half-revealed bare buttock—and nod.

Starsky handed Hutch the brew and he drank gratefully, then handed it back. As Starsky took a sip then put it on the nightstand, Hutch latched onto his wrist.

"You ran out on me this morning," Hutch complained with a gentle smile.

That relaxed, happy expression did unsettling things to Starsky's heart. "You know me. When nature calls, I gotta obey."

"Starsky," Hutch said hesitantly, and some of the smile left his face, "can I ask you something?"

In spite of the tightening in his gut, Starsky said in the same tone, "Anything. Any time."

Hutch's eyes searched Starsky's face. "Are we lovers now?"

The question took Starsky completely by surprise. Of all the things Hutch might say to him this morning, that was not even on the list. He could barely speak around the tightening sensation in his chest. "What do you want us to be?"

Hutch's eyes seemed startlingly blue, a wet, glistening color that was impossible for Starsky to look away from. "That's what I want. For us to be lovers, finally. For it to just happen, and for us to just be together in it. But...only if you want it, too. If you don't...."

He was long past the point of denying Hutch anything. In spite of the alarms going off in his head, his heart was running his mouth right now. "Then we're lovers. Together. Me and thee. Just like always."

Hutch actually grinned then, and Starsky felt dizzy that such simple words could pull that reaction from his partner. Hutch tugged on the wrist he held. "Then why are you out there while I'm in here? Or am I gonna make you late for work?"

Starsky remembered Hutch's self-enforced leave. "I've already called in. I'm takin' leave, too. We'll work out the details later."

"Okay," Hutch agreed unquestioningly. That should've bothered Starsky, but he wasn't ready to deal with it now. Hutch tugged on his arm more forcefully. "Then you're out of excuses. Come back here."

Starsky had one knee on the bed, but pulled back playfully. "Uh-uh." Ignoring all the warnings coming from his brain, he yielded to temptation. "Look, ya big blond stud, even lovers need to shower after goin' full tilt boogey like we did last night." He turned his hand around in Hutch's grip, clasped Hutch's forearm, then tugged back. "Come on. I'll wash your back. And maybe a few other parts." Hutch's face lit up again and Starsky knew he would be willing to say anything, do anything, that would keep that expression on this man's face.

"I guess I must be kind of rank," Hutch said. "And smell really...clean. Did you shower already?"

Realizing Hutch was smelling the medicinal salts he'd soaked his sore parts in, he decided to just side-step that whole issue. "I washed up some. Come on, lazy, outta the bed. I still got a few surprises for you."

Hutch let the sheet fall away as his long limbs moved over the side of the bed. Starsky had to force himself to stare at Hutch's face and ignore the body that was suddenly hypnotically alluring. Hutch's cock was already up, ready for him, and Starsky felt his whole body flush at the sight. His own cock started to tent his bathrobe and that made Hutch beam.

"Problem there, buddy?" he asked teasingly, one eyebrow arched.

"I think that's your problem," Starsky teased back. "Why don't we negotiate it in the shower?"

Hutch let himself be towed into the red-and-blue bathroom nearest the bedroom. Moving to the shower stall, Starsky adjusted the water flow one-handed without turning his back on his friend. He was neither ready to deny himself the privilege of staring at someone who was at once familiar yet brand new, nor was he completely comfortable at leaving his back unguarded. That was hard to admit, but it was there. He'd never known this level of sexual vulnerability before. Or this level of desire. He was treading new ground and didn't know how to deal with it. He didn't expect to feel inexperienced at this stage of his life.

Hutch didn't seem to have nearly as many inhibitions. Pulling at Starsky's belt, he untied the looped cord, and dropped the ends. The robe fell open and Starsky stood there while Hutch just looked at him.

This is nuts, Starsky thought. Me and Hutch have seen each other a million times, taken a hundred showers together. But they'd never really let themselves just look. One more of those things that were against the rules, Starsky realized. It was scary to be this free. He didn't know if he could get used to it. And he didn't think he should. But as Hutch examined his body in a bold and thoroughly sexual way, Starsky knew he no longer had the ability to resist the lure of that freedom.

Starsky shed the robe, and Hutch had to release his arm to let him do that. That seemed to free them from their mutual discovery of male beauty. Hutch turned to the sink, grabbed a toothbrush and paste. "You brushed your teeth, Starsk, I can smell it on your breath. Looks like I'm running to catch up here."

"Won't take long," Starsky assured him, and ushered him into the shower stall. He entered right after, latching the door behind them.

Hutch was briskly brushing his teeth as the hot water struck his back and shoulders, keeping most of the force of the stream off Starsky. That gave Starsky the chance to lather up a wash cloth and start soaping up his partner.

This was something he'd been dying to do while Hutch had been going through withdrawal. He'd been so unspeakably filthy, it had shaken Starsky to his core. It was bad enough Hutch was so grubby, but the fact that he didn't care about it bothered Starsky even more. It was pure pleasure now to wash him, tending to him in the way that he'd craved to do just a few weeks ago. It felt wonderful to lather up that big, familiar, beautiful body, to watch soap and water drip down over Hutch's strong arms, long neck, and powerful back and front. Starsky tried hard not to recall the images of his favorite masturbation fantasy—the one where he took Hutch in the shower....

"Having a good time?" Hutch asked, after he'd rinsed his mouth and put the toothbrush up.

"Actually, yeah," Starsky admitted a little shyly. He was still unsure of how much of this Hutch would enjoy, or how far he could go. Boldly, Starsky reached for the brazen member pointing at him, enfolded the heated length in the soapy cloth and washed it with careful attention. Hutch bit his lower lip and hissed.

"Should've done this last night," Starsky said, watching Hutch's reaction with a racing pulse. "It's not good to go to sleep without washing. You can get irritated that way." And God knows I wouldn't want that to happen. "But you wouldn't let me go."

Hutch's hands gripped Starsky's shoulders as if holding on for dear life. Blue eyes sparkled out of lowered lids as water cascaded over his body. "Didn't want to wash you off me."

You're as dangerous with words as you are with your body, Starsky thought. He lathered Hutch's heavy cock, soaped his balls, slid the wash cloth past them, spreading soap everywhere he could reach.

Hutch was watching him slyly. "You are having a good time."

"You object?" Starsky asked as he swished the soapy cloth up and around and started scrubbing Hutch's broad, pretty ass.

Hutch shook his head, his eyes never leaving Starsky's face. "Now I know how the Torino feels when you give it those long, meticulous baths. But I think I should be participating more." He reached past Starsky for the washcloth hanging behind him.

Two mornings ago we used this bathroom separately and never foresaw this moment, Starsky remembered, as Hutch pulled his own washcloth between them and lathered it. Carefully, almost reverently he began soaping Starsky's chest. The sensation was electric and Starsky felt as if someone had just pumped champagne into his bloodstream. His cock was as rigid as Hutch's. This was nuts. They hadn't even had breakfast yet.

Hutch was handling him so cautiously Starsky had to say, "I won't break, partner. I'm not fragile."

Hutch's smile was tenuous. "Yeah. I found that out last night." He swabbed the washcloth gently over Starsky's peaked nipples.

He feels guilty, but still can't talk about it. He's not sure how far to go, or whether there's a problem about last night.

Before Starsky could think of something to say to relax him, Hutch asked quietly, "Did I hurt you?" His expression showed a level of concern he'd kept concealed till now.

"I'm okay," Starsky tried to reassure him. "Like I said, I'm not fragile."

Hutch's jaw got that knot it always did whenever he was worrying something to death. "Did I hurt you?"

He considered lying about it, but knew Hutch would see through that. He reached up, grabbed a fistful of fair hair to make sure he had Hutch's complete attention. "Some. At first. It'd been a while. But the pain don't last, babe. Not like the joy. It was good for me, Hutch. It was beautiful." He rubbed his thumb over Hutch's wet cheek.

Hutch looked torn, as if agonizing over the right or wrong of what he'd done. Starsky couldn't stand to see him wearing that expression again. He turned them a half step so the water would rinse off the front of their bodies, their chests, erections, and legs. Then he turned them again so that the water was mostly striking Hutch's broad back.

"How long?" Hutch asked.

Starsky felt as if he'd lost track of the conversation. "How long what?"

"You said...'it'd been awhile,'" Hutch reminded him. "How long?"

The question almost made Starsky smile. When Vanessa had left Hutch he'd needed this kind of reassurance. How long since I let another man fuck me? "Since before I even knew you. Long time ago."

"Army?" Hutch asked softly.

Starsky nodded. And before Hutch could ask, he offered, "No other man since. Just you."

Hutch shook his head as if he couldn't believe it. "Why'd you let me?"

A dozen answers ran through Starsky's mind but none of them seemed right. Placing his palms against Hutch's wet chest, Starsky used him as a shield from the pummeling water as he sank to his knees. As Hutch watched with an expression that mingled dismay and anticipation, Starsky took hold of the straining shaft of flesh that beckoned him. Deliberately brushing his bristly cheek against it, he said simply, "Because I wanted you," then took Hutch's broad cockhead into his mouth.

Hutch lurched as if shocked by the sensation, then latched onto a towel rack for support. "Goddamn, Starsk!"

Starsky felt warm water striking his head and face and shut his eyes. He moved his tongue around the ridge of Hutch's crown, marveling that he was so erect that his entire foreskin had disappeared. Hutch's body jerked, his muscles tightened, and Starsky knew that he was pleasing his partner. He took the heavy cock deeper.

Hutch moaned and gently cupped Starsky's jaw with one hand, his thumb tracing his lower lip, as if he had to feel the connection between them to know it was true. Emboldened by Hutch's reactions, Starsky's hands moved possessively over his rear as he took his cock deeper, sliding his tongue all over the length and breadth of it. His own mind was reeling as he finally let himself play out his shower fantasy for real, giving Hutch the kind of pleasure he always dreamed of. He began sucking in earnest, wanting to delight Hutch, wanting to devastate him.

Hutch's hands told him that was exactly what he was doing. He touched Starsky's hair, his face, clutched his shoulders, conveying in their frantic contact how amazed, how overwhelmed he was by what Starsky was doing to him. Starsky took a deep breath, relaxed his jaw, his throat, and swallowed Hutch's length, deep-throating him until his nose was buried in the wet, blond fur of Hutch's groin. The sound Hutch made was somewhere between a curse and a prayer, and the desperate edge of it made Starsky's cock ache. He reached for himself, stroking some of the need away as he continued to suck his partner deep and strong.

I love doin' this to you, he admitted, relishing Hutch's flavor, delighting in the act itself. Sex with men had never been this involving before, not like with Hutch. It had been entertainment, the relief of need, sometimes affection or infatuation, but little more. Not this soul-rattling hunger. Right now, he was living for just one moment—the instant he'd make Hutch come in his mouth. He shuddered, anticipating it, wanting it.

"Why?" Hutch asked plaintively, confusing Starsky. "Why are you doing this?" He sounded shaken to his core, near to tears.

Startled, Starsky made himself look up, trying to see his expression through the splashing water, needing to know what was going through his head. But before he could, Hutch forcibly pulled out of his mouth. Grabbing a fistful of Starsky's wet hair and latching onto his upper arm, Hutch hauled him up, shoved his back against the shower stall, and braced him there with his own body pressed tight against him, chest to chest.

Starsky's mouth was still open, his jaw aching. He felt abandoned and confused. A stream of warm water splashed onto his head, dribbling down his face in a stream, forcing him to shut his mouth or drown.

Hutch pinned him against the tiles. "How you can you give me this, after what I said to you? After what I called you? Why would you do it?"

Then Starsky remembered. Hutch was talking about the night at Huggy's, when things got ugly. Starsky had pushed so much of that from his mind, not wanting to recall the vicious things Hutch had said. He wouldn't let himself think about them now, either. "That wasn't you. That was the drug talkin'. It didn't mean anything."

Hutch seemed baffled. "How can you say that? I knew exactly what I was doing, what I was saying. Everything I said was coldly calculated to have the maximum effect. I called you a—"

Starsky slipped his hand over Hutch's mouth. He didn't need to hear the words again. You called me a cocksucking faggot, and said I'd tried to turn you into one. I remember. At the time, the words had cut deep. Starsky had struggled not to let them draw blood, and he was proud that he'd risen above the moment. "They're just words, Hutch. Words people made up to turn somethin' good into somethin' bad. I don't have a problem with giving you pleasure any way I can. I'm not ashamed of it."

Hutch nodded as Starsky pulled his hand from his mouth, but his eyes were still clouded. "Well, I'm ashamed. Ashamed of what I said, and why I said it. Ashamed of the shadow it's thrown over the beautiful feelings you've given me. I want to take that shadow away." Pinning Starsky's wrists tight against the tile wall, Hutch dropped to his knees in the shower stall.

Starsky's eyes widened. "Hutch, what—? No, listen, don't do this! Hutch, I don't want—!"

Without Hutch's body to block the flow, most of the shower stream struck Starsky in the chest, stimulating his already sensitized nipples, then ran in rivers around his genitals. His cock loved the added sensation and bobbed in the air, alarmingly close to Hutch's face.

Hutch looked up as the shower water poured over his own head and back. "What don't you want? Me? This? Or me doing this? You said the words didn't matter. But they do, don't they? If I do this, if I go down on you now, then I make everything I said true, right? Isn't that what you're thinking?"

"No!" The sight of Hutch on his knees was making Starsky crazy, making it impossible for him to think, to breathe. And his cock was killing him, aching for a soothing touch—a kiss, just one from that mouth—NO! "Hutch, this ain't right. Get up from there, goddammit!"

"You don't want me?" Hutch's voice nearly cracked, his expression heart-breaking.

Starsky wanted to scream from frustration. "Of course I want you! Wha'd'ya think, I'm crazy? But it's not right! Hutch, you're straight!"

Now he looked furious. "You got a hell of a short memory, buddy. Last night, I fucked my best friend and then I slept the night away in his arms. If you consider that, and the fact that I'm also an ex-junkie, well, then even you have to admit that I'm not straight by anyone's definition!"

"It's not the same thing! Hutch, get up! I mean it! You can't! I'm—I'm too close!"

"That's suppose to scare me off? Look, if I were you, I'd hold real still. I'm new at this, and I might not be too good at dealing with a moving target." Then he fixed his attention on the pulsing erection inches from his mouth.

"Don't!" Starsky was flat-out pleading now. "If you do this—it'll change everything!"

Hutch looked up at him in surprise. "After all the things we've been through together, that's the only thing that really scares you, isn't it? Don't be scared, Starsk. If there's going to be changes, at least we'll be dealing with them together." As if that last speech had given him the courage he needed, he moved forward and planted a soft kiss on the underside of Starsky's dark, rigid shaft.

Starsky's knees nearly gave out and he gasped. Hutch still had his wrists pinned as he extended his tongue and ran it up the underside of the bobbing erection, lapping at Starsky's sensitive flesh and the cascading water running off it. He must've found the taste acceptable, because the next time his tongue moved more confidently, licking up and around the ridge of Starsky's crown, lingering for a knowing moment on the sensitive spot right under the head. Starsky's whole body tensed and lurched forward, revealing more about his need than even he was willing to admit.

Hutch's tongue grew bolder, licking all over his pulsing shaft, exciting Starsky to a level he hadn't thought possible. His toes were trying to curl even as he struggled to stay on his feet. Hutch kept licking. Now his tongue moved down, over the wet crease of Starsky's thigh, down to his shrinking scrotum. His testicles drew up tight. Hutch nuzzled them, kissed them, and gave them small, tentative licks.

"Don't! Don't!" Starsky begged futilely. "I swear I can't take this!"

That made Hutch smile and suddenly inhale one of his sensitive orbs into his mouth. Starsky arched back against the wet, warm tile, feeling his hard-on rub roughly against his partner's cheek. Hutch released the testicle, only to give the same attention to its neighbor. Starsky cried out, the sound echoing around the small space. He would die before Hutch was through with him. He'd have a heart attack, at least. He couldn't take much more pleasure, couldn't endure it.

Now Hutch was getting adventurous, nudging Starsky's tight sac out of his way with his nose so that he could run his tongue along the perineum behind them. No doubt he was emboldened by the clean taste of freshly washed skin and running water. Starsky was lost in the exotic sensations. He'd never imagined this in all the years he'd indulged his fantasy, and never imagined that reality could eclipse the pleasure he'd fantasized Hutch would give him.

Hutch's tongue moved up the crease of his other leg to finally home in again on Starsky's aching cock that had grown even darker with suffused blood. Hutch's eyes fixed on Starsky's tortured expression. "You said we were lovers. Don't lovers do this?"

The tiny portion of his mind that wasn't completely besotted with pleasure tried one last time to reason with him. "Hutch, don't have to do this!"

"Yeah, I do. Now, hold still."

Starsky held his breath as he stared, mesmerized, at the man kneeling before him. With the warm shower still cascading all over them, Hutch leaned forward and slowly took the tip of Starsky's cock between his lips.

I'm gonna come! Starsky thought, nearly panicked, and struggled to hold the roiling sensation down. He felt Hutch's tongue pressing seductively against the sensitive spot right under the head as he took more of the crown inside. The warm, wet tongue swirled around his glans tentatively, then more confidently, and Starsky thought he'd pass out from the effort of holding his need in. The taste of Starsky's wet, clean cock must have eased Hutch's last inhibitions, because he pulled back on the cockhead, then enveloped more of it into his mouth, sucking now, using his tongue, learning what it felt like to have a man inside him. As Hutch took him deeper, Starsky knew he couldn't hold back anymore. Just watching Hutch do him was enough to bring him off. The actual sensations of his tongue and mouth were hardly necessary.

"Stop!" he shouted, frantic. "Dammit, I'm gonna come!"

He'd have thought Hutch would've pulled off then, but no. Whatever absolution he needed was still eluding him. Hutch bent low, took the cock even further into his mouth, and used his tongue to rub the shaft hard.

No, no! Starsky's whole body tensed, his back arching as his crown touched the back of Hutch's throat, flared wide, and ejaculated.

Hutch flinched as the hot jet struck the back of his throat and Starsky waited for him to gag, but he didn't. To his amazement, Hutch swallowed and the sight and feel of that made Starsky's orgasm double in intensity. It was really happening. Hutch was sucking him off, and the eroticism of it nearly tore him apart. He shouted Hutch's name and yielded to sensations he could no longer control. His orgasm was intense, raging, and he filled Hutch's mouth with more of his essence than his inexperienced lover could handle. Hutch coughed but struggled to hold the spasming cock in his mouth, even as semen dripped down his chin and was washed away by the shower.

"Enough! God, it's enough. You gotta let me go now!" Starsky's voice sounded ragged even to himself.

But Hutch wouldn't release his erection until the last spasm had passed and the last drop spilled. The feel of that mouth was almost too intense at that point, and Starsky cried out again when Hutch finally released him. He was gasping by the time Hutch let go of his wrists and stood again.

"Wash your mouth," Starsky advised him, cupping his cheek. "Clean the taste out. Use the toothpaste. What the hell did you do that for anyway?"

"Don't wanna wash the taste out," Hutch insisted, moving against him. Starsky could feel the big frame trembling and that startled him. "Wanna share it." He captured Starsky's head in his hands and held him in place for a rough kiss. Starsky felt light-headed as Hutch's tongue invaded him, coated with his own bitter flavor. His lover's heavy cock stood as hard as a nightstick between them, and Starsky ached for him, knowing how needy he must be by now.

Starsky pulled out of the kiss that was making him heady. "Your turn, babe. Let me please you. You must be needin' it bad."

"Real bad," Hutch agreed as he pulled just far enough away to turn Starsky around. He pushed him against the wall and pressed the bulk of his cock against his crack, sliding it up and down.

Starsky closed his eyes. This wasn't what he'd thought he was offering, but Hutch clearly did. Good work, Davey! And you practically asked for it! "We need lube, Hutch! Not soap."

"Want me to get the tube from the bedroom?" Hutch asked, his voice betraying his intense need.

Starsky shook his head. "It's water-based. That won't work in here. There's baby oil behind you, near the shampoo." He was grateful for the small plastic bottle he kept there to soften his elbows and knees. "Use a lot. On me, too."

"I remember."

He felt the cool, slick glide of the oil drip down his crack and shut his eyes. After last night, this was going to be rough. He was already swollen, incredibly sensitive back there. The medicated cream had helped but—

"Starsk, I need you," Hutch whispered as he pressed his oiled crown against Starsky's slick hole. Slipping his hand under Starsky's right knee, Hutch drew it up to ease his entrance.

"I know, babe," Starsky assured him as he gripped the nearby towel rack and the handle of the soap dish. "Go on. I'm here for you." He closed his eyes and pressed his forehead against the tile.

Hutch encircled his chest with his left arm as he positioned his cock. The fingertips of his left land brushed lightly against Starsky's nipple, then stroked through the wet fur on his chest. Roughly, he pulled Starsky tight against him as he thrust forward.

Hutch groaned in pleasure as Starsky bit down hard on his lower lip. The piercing was excruciating, but in spite of the pain, Starsky was amazed to feel an intense, scary pleasure racking him from within. Hutch moved in hard and strong, claiming him in one smooth move, and for an intense second, Starsky thought he might pass out. But in spite of the pain and the shocking sensation, the pleasure pulsed through him like a frightening force he couldn't control, could barely understand. He tightened around Hutch making him groan again.

"I've got you," Hutch whispered, increasing his grip around Starsky's chest and still holding his leg under the knee. "I've got you. Won't let you fall. God, Starsk, I need you so bad."

Starsky let his head loll back against Hutch's shoulder, unable to do anything but feel as the massive cock took him, stretched him, filled his aching body. The sensation of Hutch fucking his tender tissues was frightening in its intensity, yet a sharp knife-edge of pleasure overrode everything. His lax cock rose again, growing hard, and Hutch's left hand moved low over his abdomen and found it, grabbing hold and stroking him with the same rhythm that big cock was using on his ass. Starsky couldn't move, again, he felt pinned fore and aft. Hutch's mouth moved against his ear, his tongue teasing Starsky's lobe. Hutch's teeth nipped him hard, but it was nothing compared to the unbelievable pounding pleasure going on in his lower body. Hutch was fucking him to death and making him love it.

"It's as sweet as heroin," Hutch told him. "I swear it is. Being inside you. That good. That intense. What are you doing to me?"

Doing to you? He'd never been helpless during sex before, not like this, actually physically helpless. It unnerved him when he could think about it, but right now he could barely think at all. You're doing it, Hutch, not me. You're injecting me with your beautiful passion. Makin' me crazy for your cock. Turning me into a junkie for you. Jeezus, you're gonna make me come again!

He heard himself moaning incoherently, felt his balls tightening, felt himself nearing the edge. He'd never recovered from an orgasm so fast in his life, even when he was a kid. What was happening to him?

Hutch's hips moved harder, faster, and Starsky prayed he was nearly there, too. "You're close, aren't you?" Hutch whispered. "Me, too. Come with me, babe? I need that from you. Please, Starsk—" He mouthed Starsky's ear, kissed his cheek, even as he pounded frantically into his tender ass.

Hutch's cock grew amazingly larger, and that was all Starsky could endure. He shouted, as Hutch tightened his grip on his cock. With a jerk, Starsky came, spattering the tile wall. A second later Hutch growled low against his neck, and he felt the telltale thrusting that indicated their release was mutual.

Starsky sagged as the strength fled his muscles. But Hutch supported him, holding him up. The shower turned cool. They'd used up the whole tank. The chilling water felt good as Hutch's cock slipped from his body. Hutch moved to the side slightly, so that the water could rinse oil and semen from them both. He washed them both quickly, efficiently, then rinsed them again as the water turned colder and became uncomfortable. Then Hutch turned it off and, grabbing one of Starsky's arms, slung it around his neck.

"I'm done," Starsky muttered, half in explanation and half apology.

"I know," Hutch assured him. "I've got you." He moved them out of the shower into the bathroom, snagged the towels hanging there, and walked them into the bedroom, still supporting Starsky's weary frame.

Once beside the bed, he wrapped Starsky in both towels and laid him on the bed. Starsky winced as his rear contacted the mattress, and shifted to his side to take the pressure off. His legs were trembling and he felt weak as a newborn.

Hutch covered him with the bedclothes, and went off somewhere out of the bedroom. Was he leaving him? Where was he going? Starsky felt so exhausted he couldn't even sum up the energy to call his name. But Hutch was back in moments, his own hips wrapped in a towel, with another draped around his neck. He plunked down the used tube of medicinal cream onto the top of the nightstand where Starsky could easily see it.


"Look what I found in your other bathroom when I went looking for more towels!" Hutch said accusingly. "I found the medicinal soak, too. You're hurting, aren't you? I'm hurting you. Why are you letting me do this to you? Dammit, Starsky!"

He closed his eyes. All he wanted was for Hutch to climb into bed behind him and hold him. He mumbled into the pillow, "I'm okay!"

"I'll be the judge of that," Hutch grumbled.

Starsky stifled a moan. He hated when Hutch got into "doctor" mode. Why couldn't he have gone into accounting instead of pre-med after he dropped out of law school?

Hutch briskly dried himself with the towel draped around his neck, then tossed it to the floor. He pulled the blankets off Starsky's damp form, then used the towels wrapped around him to dry him off. He enjoyed having Hutch fuss over him, but he knew the pleasantness wouldn't last. Sure enough, Hutch turned him gently onto his stomach and spread his legs.

"Oh, Christ!" Hutch swore, as he examined Starsky's rear. "I'm tearing you apart."

Starsky pulled away from him, and covered his bare rear with the blankets. "Do you mind? You're givin' yourself too much credit! I'm fine! Sure, it's a little swollen. That's what happens when you're outta practice."

"Yeah, right!" Hutch snorted disbelievingly. "Well, since you've got this stuff, let me at least put some on you—"

Oh, no! Starsky sat up abruptly, snatched up the tube of cream and left the bed. "Thanks, but I can take care of my own ass, if you don't mind." He tried to march back into the bathroom with some dignity, but even he had to admit his legs were too shaky to pull it off. Hutch was right behind him acting all solicitous, forcing Starsky to close the door practically in his face. Once inside, he used the cream liberally, then washed and dried his hands. As an afterthought, before leaving the bathroom, he swallowed a couple of the mega-vitamins Hutch ate every morning. He figured it couldn't hurt and might actually help him keep up with his hyper-sexed partner.

When he finally returned to the bedroom, Hutch was almost finished changing the sheets. He'd discarded the towel and attended his task in all his glorious blond nudity. "Will that stuff help?" Hutch asked as he tucked the last corner and drew the blankets up.

"Sure it will," Starsky reassured him. "It'll cure whatever ails ya."

Hutch looked at him bashfully. "Come back to bed with me? I...promise to behave."

Starsky smiled. "I'll only come back to bed if you promise not to make any stupid promises like that."

Hutch nodded. "Deal." He climbed in the bed, and held up the covers to beckon Starsky in.

Starsky climbed in beside him, and deliberately turned so that his back was pressed against Hutch's front. Loving someone was all about trust. He wanted to show Hutch that he trusted him completely.

Gently, Hutch encircled him with his arms and Starsky lay against his warm, fragrant body and felt the security those strong arms represented. Hutch nuzzled his still damp hair.

Starsky waited a beat, then said, "It was good for me, Hutch. It was incredible. Nobody's ever made me feel like that. Ever."

Taking a deep breath, Hutch said softly, "You lied to me, Starsk. All those years ago when Vanessa left me, and I asked you if it was better for you with men? You said it had nothing to do with men or women, it all depended on the feelings involved. You weren't telling me the truth. It is better with men. Loving you—all of it, everything, it's more intense, more powerful than any sex I've ever had with a woman. It's better than good. Fucking you...Starsk, it's better than anything. I never knew it could be like this, make me feel like this. It's always been intense between us before, but now— I've never needed anything the way I need you."

Starsky closed his eyes, Hutch's words shaking him to his core. "I didn't lie to you, Hutch. I told you the exact truth. It's so good cause we love each other so much. That's all. What we've got between us, it's the realest thing we'll ever have. That's what makes it so good."

Hutch's arms tightened around Starsky. And in a few moments, he started talking. "The first time they injected me, I had no idea that's what they were going to do."

Starsky lay still and just rubbed the arms holding him, wanting to transmit comfort and caring.

"They'd been beating me pretty steadily, but I wouldn't tell them anything. Then, all of a sudden they were all in the room, and I knew something was about to happen. I thought that maybe this was it, that they were tired of dealing with me and were just going to call it a day and execute me."

Starsky closed his eyes, imagining the sickening flood of terror that must've washed over Hutch in that moment.

"I tried not to show anything, but I was shaking all over. They untied my wrists, but I was still blindfolded, and really hurting from the beating, so they didn't have much trouble restraining me. One of them pulled my head back by the hair, then another one, I think it was Monk, grabbed my left arm and pulled my sleeve up and put on the tourniquet. Then I knew they were gonna inject me. I thought that's how they were going to kill me, just give me an overdose, and try to make it look accidental. It didn't make much sense to me, and I knew you wouldn't believe it for a moment, but that was all I could think of. Monk asked me one last time just before he injected me where Jeannie was, but I wouldn't tell him."

"Even when you thought it meant your life, you wouldn't talk, huh?"

"I couldn't tell them. She was so afraid of them. And once they had me, I really understood why."

Starsky felt a surge of pride. "You were bein' a cop, Hutch. All beat up and facing death, you still wouldn't betray a trust. You wouldn't give in to the bad guys. You were doing your job."

Hutch didn't say anything to that, just held Starsky tighter. "Then Monk gave me the shot." Starsky heard him swallow. "And in the space of a second, all the pain, all the fear, it just kind of went away. I was suddenly flooded with the most incredible pleasure. It was too good, too intense, and for a half-second I thought I would puke, but there was nothing in my stomach, and in a moment the nausea passed, and then there was nothing but the drug. I—I wish I could tell you exactly what it felt like. I know now why junkies stay hooked on it for decades. That moment, that rush, when it first pours into your blood, it's like—like kissing God. Like the best orgasm multiplied ten thousand times. It's like..." he kissed Starsky's ear, his warm breath tickling the sensitive skin there, "loving you. Like being inside you. That intense. That perfect. I loved it."

The shame in his voice nearly broke Starsky's heart, and he turned in Hutch's arms so he could embrace him. Hutch cooperated with the change in their positions, and tucked his head under Starsky's chin as Starsky rubbed his back comfortingly and held him tight.

"They never let me come down after that," he continued. "The moment I'd start to come off the high, start to show any lucidity, they'd hit me again. I tried to pretend the high lasted longer than it did, just so my mind could be clear for a little while, but they were too experienced. They could tell the minute I started to come down. They knew just how much to give me, just how high to keep me. I was on an endless rush for days on end. It was terrifying to be so helpless. But it was wonderful, too." His voice was thick with shame.

The events Hutch described startled Starsky, but it made sense when he thought about it. Most junkies doled out their drug, and spent a fair amount of their day just maintaining so they could be functional. But there was nothing typical about Hutch's enforced addiction. They'd given him the maximum they could of a really pure form of the drug, no doubt increasing the dosage every time. It all made sense to him now, why Hutch was so badly addicted in such a short period of time, and why it was so hard for him to kick it, why he had been so desperate to score again.

Hutch kept talking about how it felt to be forced into so much pleasure, pleasure he knew he shouldn't be having, shouldn't be enjoying. It told Starsky a lot about Hutch's mental condition, about the tug of war he'd been playing over the rights and wrongs of what he'd done and what he'd been forced to do.

And now we're confusing that whole issue even more, being in bed together, he worried. But Hutch needed to know he was loved, and worthy of being loved, that he wasn't ruined by what had happened to him. No matter what might happen, Starsky knew he wouldn't regret what they were sharing now.

Finally, Hutch's voice wound down and in the middle of a sentence he sagged into sleep. But Starsky didn't let him go, just kept holding him, enjoying the clean scent of his soft hair and the warmth that filled his arms.

They really fucked you up, didn't they, babe? God, just please don't let me be doing the same thing. Don't let this be bad for Hutch. It would kill me if that happened.

As Hutch slept soundly in Starsky's arms, Starsky stared at the ceiling and prayed until sleep stole over him as well.

Well you can slow me down or quick me up
You're my drug
Well you can spill me down and lick me up
You're my drug
And I don't know if I can give you up
            You're My Drug—Chips

Chapter 6

Mirrors on the ceiling
Pink champagne on ice
We are all prisoners here
Of our own device....
            Hotel California—The Eagles

"Delivery for Hutchinson?" The young girl held out a small package as she checked the address on her invoice. Glancing up at her customer, she stared at him with frank admiration, a sly smile spreading across her attractive face.

Hutch gathered his orange bathrobe more securely around his bare chest. "Yes, thank you." He handed the girl some folded bills.

"Have a nice day," she said with a wink as Hutch shut the door.

He nodded, package in hand, and shut the door softly. If I have any nicer of a day it might kill me. Barefoot, he padded back into the bedroom to check on his partner, being careful not to clatter the objects in the box. It was dusk, but after their strenuous morning the last thing he wanted was to wake Starsky. But he needn't have worried.

His partner—his lover—slept soundly, eyes moving rapidly under closed lids, his breath steady, his arms and legs wrapped securely around the pillows Hutch had had to give him as substitutes for his own body.

No one ever held me like that before, he thought. Of course, most of his bed partners weren't tall enough or substantial enough to envelope him in their arms the way Starsky could. One of those things that kept pointing out the strangeness of their affair. Still, he thought, I could get used to it—if he let me.

Hutch padded back out to the kitchen to peruse his purchases. In spite of the grit and grime he and Starsky were forced to deal with on a daily basis, there was one major advantage about living in LA. You could not only buy just about anything, you could get it delivered.

He opened the box and pulled out the organic herbal medicinal cream and the special mineral bath salts. He'd taken a good look at the commercial products Starsky was using and they were full of harsh chemicals and petroleum products. He was appalled by the contents and the toxic effects they could have on Starsky's health. The only hope Hutch would have for getting Starsky to try something more beneficial to his body was for him to not only supply the products, but somehow persuade his hard-headed partner to use them.

Hutch smiled. Why not take on a difficult task! He shook his head as he pulled out his purchases. Jasmine, the proprietor of The Emporium of Golden Health and Sunshine, had personally recommended this skin cream. Full of good things like Aloe, Vitamin E, and olive oil, she assured him it was not only excellent for body massages, but that it helped skin recover from sun damage, injuries, and scarring. He opened the jar and touched the silky lubricant, running it between his fingers. It had a nice feel, not too heavy, with a light scent. Starsky hated anything that smelled flowery.

A sudden glance at the crook of his elbow gave him a jarring reminder of just what brought them here, to Starsky's house, to this state of affairs. The small dark marks on his fair skin screamed at him, a vicious souvenir of his experience. He spread some of the healing cream on the tender skin. It was the first therapeutic gesture he'd made to his abused arm. For a long time, he would've much rather cut it off then spend a second nurturing it, as if the arm were responsible for his situation.

He definitely had a better attitude about it today. Starsky never treated that arm any differently than the other. He'd kissed the marked skin, loved it just as gently as he had the rest of his body. If Starsky could overlook the terrible things Hutch had said and done during his withdrawal, then the least Hutch could do was learn to deal with it, too.

He rummaged around in the box some more. The fresh vitamins and energy powder would definitely come in handy, as would the special high performance herbs the store's proprietor had recommended. It was a good thing he was a steady customer. He was able to get her to make recommendations on his vague and discreet information.

It wasn't like I could say that my newest lover was wearing me out! Though what he had said was close enough to the mark. He smiled. Starsk, what the hell are you doing to me? I haven't felt this way since I was seventeen!

There was a soft knock at the door, making him jump. Almost forgot! He grabbed more money out of his wallet.

"Delivery for Hutchinson?" an older man asked, holding out a flat square box and a bag.

He didn't worry about his modesty this time as the pizza man didn't seem inclined to flirt.

"That's right. Here you go. Thanks." Hutch handed the man the money, and took the objects from him.

Placing the box and bag on the table next to his other purchases, he stood back and tried to decide what to do first. Opening the flat box, he stared at the steaming pizza. Half of it was an image of healthful eating—it was packed with fresh roasted vegetables and a smattering of chicken strips. The other side—the toxic half—was a dieter's nightmare of spicy Italian sausage, hot peppers, anchovies, onions, and garlic.

The things you do for love, he thought ruefully.

He wouldn't think about what Starsky's breath would be like after devouring that mess. He damned well better not think about Starsky's breath, because that would get him thinking about—

Starsky's mouth...on the shower...Starsky nude, wet, his hair in dripping tendrils around his face as he knelt before me...Starsky on his knees...putting his mouth on me—

He jerked his mind away from the erotic image before he threw another rod.

Opening one of the jars of powdered supplements, he carefully dusted the product over Starsky's half of the pizza. This way, at least, Hutch could feel that he wouldn't be killing him by feeding him this slop.

Quietly, he opened the bag and pulled out a chilled bottle of root beer. Opening the bottle, he took a spoonful of vitamins and with a scientist's precision, poured it into the narrow-mouthed bottle. He was unprepared for the volcano-like reaction that occurred as the vitamins reacted with the carbonated soda. Instantly, brown fizz exploded out of the bottle.

"Damn!" Hutch grabbed the bottle frantically before it doused the pizza and the rest of his purchases. Soda spewed everywhere as he tried to protect the table, the vitamins, the pizza, and somehow keep the soda from baptizing himself. He reached for a dishtowel, but it was just too far away, and the sink seemed miles out of reach. As he stood juggling the bottle, the purchases, and the foaming soda in a scant second of indecision, a voice from behind completely unhinged him.

"Do I smell pizza?"

He spun around, nearly anointing Starsky with bubbling soda foam. His partner, used to Hutch's bouts of near-fatal clumsiness, sidestepped disaster, efficiently snatched the effervescent bottle out of his hand and dumped the foaming brew in the sink without a second thought.

"What the hell are you doing?" Starsky wondered as the bottle fizzled its remains harmlessly into the sink.

While Hutch stood with his mouth silently opening and closing as he searched for a reasonable answer, Starsky picked up the dishtowel, and began mopping up the remains of the soda that had spilled everywhere. He eyed the culturally conflicting items on his table, and started picking through them.

"Pizza and root beer? For breakfast? Hutch. You really do love me!" He grinned naughtily.

Hutch shrugged, embarrassed. How come he had never noticed how well that blue bathrobe accented Starsky's eyes? "It's almost dark. It's hardly breakfast."

"Pizza and vitamins?" Starsky examined the label of one of the jars. "Don't tell me you're sending half your salary over to Jezebel at The Empire of Quackery and Snake Oil again." He rummaged through the various jars and ointments, pausing over the items that were clear substitutes for his own more conventional cures.

Hutch felt suddenly ill at ease. "I-I-I just wanted to make sure we, that is, you, that is, we had whatever, you know, we might need, if—"

"Yeah, I hear ya," Starsky drawled with a slow smile. Then his expression grew suspicious. "You didn't put any of this health stuff on my half of that beautiful-lookin' pizza, did you?"

"Oh, no! Uh, well, maybe...just a little. A pinch. A dusting, no more, honest! You'll never taste a thing! I mean, if you don't want to eat it, you could eat some of mine, which already is very healthful—"

Starsky glowered at his partner. Pulling out a piece of the gooey, anchovy-encrusted side, he took a defiant bite and chewed thoughtfully. He narrowed his eyes.

"See! You can't taste anything over those damned hairy fish. And you better believe I'm going to personally supervise how well you brush your teeth after eating that gross concoction!"

One dark eyebrow quirked up as Starsky mumbled around a hearty mouthful, "You ordered it."

"Well, after all these years, I think I should have some idea of what kind of pizza you like. Don't stand there like a barbarian. Sit at the table. I'll get you a plate and some silverware—" Hutch was halfway to the cabinets when he had a disturbing thought. "You, uh—that is...I can sit down, can't you?"

Starsky's expression was once again a glower, but it was hard to take seriously with one cheek stuffed full of pizza. Without releasing his slice, Starsky snagged the nearest chair, spun it around and straddled it backwards, plopping down on it as if to prove his able-bodied condition.

The sight of Starsky's bare legs spread around the dining room chair while the bathrobe barely concealed his maleness caused Hutch to flush to his hairline. He forgot what he was supposed to do. All he could do was stare.

Starsky finally swallowed. "I'm sitting, already. You gonna get the plate, or what?"

Plate? Hutch thought, confused.

"Plate!" Starsky reminded him. "For the table? So I won't be a barbarian? Forget the silverware. You're the only one weird enough to eat pizza with a knife and fork." He took another substantial bite of pizza and a trail of cheese stretched between his lips and the slice. Staring directly at Hutch, he used his tongue to draw the stretchy stuff into his mouth.

Hutch couldn't move.

Finally, Starsky captured all the errant strands of cheese and licked his mouth. Softly, he asked, "Problem, buddy?"

Hutch blinked and came back from the fog he'd been in. Without a word, he went to the cabinet, grabbed some silverware for himself, a glass of water and two plates, and then returned to the table. He set a plate in front of Starsky who was looking entirely too pleased with himself.

"Just remember, friend," Hutch said, "sooner or later, my problem's yours."

Starsky grinned defiantly and devoured more pizza.

Somehow, Hutch managed to get a grip on his rampaging hormones and tackled the food. He was suddenly ravenous, and the combination of savory roasted vegetables, mozzarella cheese, and spicy tomato sauce lit up his mouth with pleasure. It had been weeks since he'd actually enjoyed eating. For once he didn't have that queasy feeling when faced with normal food. He ate with gusto as did his partner, and the suddenly normal moment between them as they downed pizza together nearly overwhelmed him with a wave of aching nostalgia.

As they put away most of the pie, Hutch's mind skittered around, remembering bits of this, moments of that, as it tried to shy away from another heart-rending round of what ifs.

Starsky was washing down the last of his first slice with a fresh bottle of root beer, and the letters "B-E-E-R" on the side of the label caught his eye. He blinked, staring at it.

Hesitantly, he asked, "Starsky, what happened to Mickey?"

His partner paused, bottle in mid-air.

The word "BEER" had made Hutch think of the two-bit snitch Starsky always swore would sell his own mother for a brew. "I, uh, I suddenly remembered.... Huggy said Mickey had a message for you, so I went to meet with him since you were busy. I felt pretty good when I left Huggy's but by the time I pulled into the bar to meet Mickey the physical activity of getting there had just about wrung me out."

Starsky's face grew grim. "Huggy wasn't supposed to let you outta there. You weren't ready for the streets. It was dumb, Hutch. You nearly got killed—"

"Because Mickey sold me out to Forrest's men. I figured that much out. But when we were filling out the reports...I guess I just blanked on his involvement. But I know you. You don't forget anything. And Mickey's been nowhere to be seen since. I didn't realize it till now, but it's like he just up and disappeared."

Starsky turned back to the pizza, refusing to meet Hutch's gaze. "A little weasel like that, who knows what might've happened to him. I'd promised him that if he ever lied to me, he'd have to find a whole new city to drink in. Maybe he's gone up to Frisco, or to Las Vegas."

Hutch got a cold feeling in the pit of his stomach. "Or better yet, maybe he's gone to hell. Starsk, did you—?"

Starsky looked exasperated. "Come on! If I didn't find some excuse to put a bullet in Forrest's ear when we busted him you think I'd risk everything to take out a worthless piece of shit like Mickey?"

"Okay," Hutch said, but he wasn't about to let the topic go. "So, tell me what did happen to him. Because we've worked together long enough for me to know that he didn't skip town. You would've never let that happen. What did you do?"

Starsky still wouldn't look at him. He picked up another piece of pizza. "Nothin', Hutch. I didn't do nothin' to Mickey. He'll turn up sooner or later."

Hutch sat back in his chair and stared at his friend. He didn't say anything, just watched Starsky go after a new slice. It was one thing for his partner to help him kick a heroin habit that had been forced on him and it was another thing for Starsky to treat him like an emotional cripple and hide the truth from him. He crossed his arms and waited.

After another two bites, Starsky put the half-eaten piece down, slugged back some of the soda and grimaced. "Okay. You wanna know what happened to Mickey, I'll tell you." He turned his unflinching gaze on Hutch. "He was picked up about an hour after the firefight with Monk went down. Right around the time we were bustin' Forrest. He was back at that hovel he calls a room, and the uniforms caught him throwing his shit into a sack, getting ready to bail out. They had a warrant. It was all legal."

"What were the charges?" Hutch asked, feeling suddenly cold.

"Conspiracy to abduct a police officer, conspiring in the attempted murder of a police officer, withholding evidence in the conspiracy, etc. etc."

"So, they picked him up," Hutch said hollowly, having a terrible feeling of what must have happened.

"The uniforms picked him up. He resisted—"

"You told them," Hutch said softly, feeling queasy again.

"They already knew about the abduction, Hutch," Starsky insisted. "Everyone at Parker knew you were gone. There was a missing officer report out on you, and everyone knew I was shakin' up the streets. That wasn't a secret. But they didn't know about the heroin, Hutch. Dobey and me, we kept that quiet. They just knew you'd gotten snatched and really worked over."

"And the uniforms thought Mickey was a part of that."

"He was!" Starsky said angrily. "He sold you out to them! 'Cause they outbid me. I offered him fifty. They gave him a hundred. He was ready to hand us both over for that much. They got another chance at killing you because that lyin' bastard sold you to them. And they came damn close to succeeding, too! So, don't sit there with that righteous look on your face and ask me to feel sorry for him."

Hutch couldn't let it go. "What happened after the uniforms worked Mickey over?"

Starsky went back to his pizza with a casual air that made Hutch want to throttle him. "He got put in a cell."

Hutch closed his eyes. "Mickey's a hard-core alcoholic. Did he get any medical help? Withholding alcohol from someone in his condition is—"

"—Like withholding heroin from a strung-out junkie to get what you want out of him?" Starsky said quietly.

Hutch shuddered. "You don't know what it's like. He would have the DTs. Hallucinations, the terrors, physical sickness—"

"Yeah, he had all of that," Starsky agreed mildly.

"He could have lasting brain damage from withdrawal that rapid!"

"And I'm supposed to care about that?" Starsky asked pointedly. "He sold you to men who were going to kill you. I'll tell ya, Hutch, he suffered all right. But you know what? His addiction was self-inflicted. No one kidnapped him, tortured him, and forced him to become an alky. No one kept him tied in a chair makin' him take drink after drink."

Hutch lost his appetite. He pushed away from the table, feeling like his skin was crawling. He rubbed his arms compulsively and wandered around the combined kitchen, living room, and dining area. He suddenly felt trapped, caged.

I need to get out. Just get out.

He felt Starsky's eyes on him, following him, watching, waiting. They might as well be back in Huggy's little room. He started to tremble.

"You don't know what it's like," Hutch said, but it was barely a whisper. "You don't know."

He closed his eyes, but all he could see was the specter of Mickey, huddled on the concrete slab of a holding cell, banging his head on the floor, screaming, crying, begging for a drink.

Did you go see him, Starsky? When it got really bad for him, did you go? Did you hold him tight against you and rock him to ease the pain?

He almost laughed. Starsky would've gone, all right. He would've stood there long enough to assure himself that the man who'd made the stupid mistake of trying to sell his partner was suffering, really suffering—suffering the way Hutch himself had. He would've taken no joy in it; that wasn't Starsky's way. No, it would've been an act of justice in Starsky's view. You hurt Hutch. Your turn now. He would've stood there with all his anger, his hatred as raw as a wound, and he would've told Mickey that he wasn't going through half of what Hutch had suffered. Maybe after ten dry years in jail, maybe then he might have suffered enough.

Hutch couldn't shake the image of Mickey drying out alone in the cell, without help, without anyone to care. He couldn't shake it and he couldn't bear it.

"I can't," he muttered to the walls, to the furniture, "I can't."

"Can't what?" Starsky asked softly.

"I can't do this," Hutch mumbled, not really to his partner.

"This what?"

"This. This. I can' a cop anymore. I can't. I don't have the stomach for it. The backbone. I don't have the guts. I can't do this anymore." He found himself wandering again. He wouldn't look at Starsky, wouldn't focus on anything, just walk, shake his head, move around, unable to escape the image of Mickey alone with the DTs. "I nearly blew it in that room with the hooker, nearly blew the whole case. You don't know how close I was to letting her shoot me up. How close I was to begging for it. How much I wanted it. You don't know. Don't know what it's like. I know. What it's like to crawl on the floor, begging someone for something you know you shouldn't have...but you've got to have it. You don't know what's like to need like that."

"So, tell me," Starsky said.

Hutch shook his head and laughed. "It's like every cell, every nerve ending is alive and focused on only one thing. That thing. That thing you need. It's all the way inside you. It is you. It's the only thing you are. That thing you need. It's like your real self is a prisoner somewhere inside, and that real self is begging you not to do this, but you've turned down the sound. 'Cause you know what you need. It's the only thing you know."

He could see Mickey gripping the bars, begging Starsky, promising everything, offering anything he could think of. In his mind, he was Mickey, in that cell, begging, just like he had in Huggy's room, and Starsky wasn't a friend holding him, rocking him, trying to ease the pain—no, in his mind, Starsky was dressed in Forrest's white suit, standing so far above him, so cool, so unneedy. Able to fulfill the need. But unwilling to do so. He closed his eyes wanting the image to fade but unable to shake it. Even now, Starsky had the one thing that Hutch needed—his body. Starsky still had the power.

"It's ruined me," Hutch admitted. "I'm too soft. I can't be a cop like this."

"I don't believe that," Starsky said.

"It doesn't matter what you believe," Hutch said wearily. "It's what is." Exasperated, he turned to his friend. "You saw what happened to me with that hooker. What do you think I'm going to do the first time I've got to deal with a hostage situation, somebody tied in a chair, blindfolded like I was. I'm gonna freak out, dammit! I can't even think about shit like that now without falling apart!"

Starsky sighed. "Look, Hutch, you need to deal with this stuff. You need to face it square and deal with it. Find ways around what happened so you can handle it in the future. You can do that. But not if you won't even try. You need to get this out of your system. You need to talk about it—"

"I can't!" Hutch shouted.

The denial hung in the air between them as Hutch saw the expression on Starsky's face change subtly.

I can't talk about it—unless I've fucked you. Then I can't shut up.

He felt his color rise to his hairline. He didn't need Starsky to say anything, the truth stood there in the room with them. Hutch could talk about it all right, but only after fucking. It shamed him. Give me everything. Then I'll give you a little of myself.

His eyes burned and he squeezed them shut, forcing the tears back. He wouldn't do that, wouldn't cry, not now, not for sympathy. He didn't want sympathy, didn't want Starsky to soften right now.

Be fierce for me. As fierce as you were when you stood outside Mickey's cell while he begged you for help. Make me do this.

Starsky didn't budge. Didn't change expression. Didn't say anything.

I can't. I can't.

He wandered some more.

Finally, Starsky said quietly, "You're right, Hutch, I don't know what it's like. None of it. All the stuff that's ever happened to me in my life, and as a cop—no one's ever kidnapped me, taken me hostage. So far, no one's ever even gotten the drop on me."

Hutch nodded. He turned away, afraid looking at Starsky's sympathetic expression might do him in completely.

He heard Starsky push the chair away from the table, so he kept walking, hoping Starsky would keep away from him. He couldn't endure being touched now, couldn't tolerate that kindness.

Starsky was padding around, but he wasn't coming closer. Hutch heard him go into the bedroom and open his closet and then some drawers. Maybe he was getting dressed. Maybe he needed to go out for awhile, get away from the intensity between them. Hutch rubbed his arms. If Starsky would just leave him alone for a little while, he might be able to get his head together—

There was a light tug on his sleeve and he jumped and spun around. He'd never even heard Starsky come up behind him.

Starsky was holding something in his hands, some cloths in a riot of color, reds and swirls of blue. Hutch just stared at it uncomprehending.

"Make me understand," Starsky ordered him. "I want to. Maybe if I really understand, then I can really help you."

Hutch still wasn't following. "Make you...?"

"Like back in the Academy, remember? When they used to make us try to get into a criminal's head, try to make us understand how their minds worked so we could figure out what their next move might be. We'd do those scenarios, remember? We'd have to act out whole scenes taken out of crime reports, critical scenes that had gone bad and see if we'd do better. They'd have actors bein' the bad guys and we'd have to be the cops and run the scene just like it had happened, only we didn't know the ending. We were good at those Hutch, even then, in the Academy. Any time they let us be partners, we always turned the scene around, remember?"

It was hard for Hutch to dredge up any memories before the ones that involved Forrest, but he forced himself to focus on what Starsky was saying. He remembered the crime scenarios, and he remembered that he and Starsky were so good at them that they split them up for the rest of the course and made them work separately. But he still wasn't sure he understood what Starsky wanted.

"Remember that, Hutch, how we always turned the scene around? We always won in those scenes when we worked together. Took a bad ending and made it right. Like changing history. We can do that again, here, now. Take me to that place, Hutch. That place you spent so much time in. Put me in your place. In the chair. Make me your hostage. Take me through the scene. Make me understand what it was like for you, what you felt, what you went through. You've talked about it some," after we'd fucked, went unsaid, "but it's all just words to me, not feelings, not experience. But if I really understand, then, maybe together, we can take that whole scene, and turn it around. Make it right. And you can deal with it, get over it. If we do this together."

Suddenly, the objects in Starsky's hands made sense. A red bandana. To blindfold him. An old stained tie. To bind his hands.

Hutch went cold all over. He wanted to refuse, but nothing would come out of his mouth. All he could do was shake his head and back away.

Starsky wouldn't let him escape, just kept advancing. "Come on, Hutch, we can do this. It'll work. Take me to that place. Work through it with me. We can turn this around."

"NO!" Hutch shouted as soon as he regained his voice. "No way! Get that stuff away from me!"

"Hutch, wait, listen—!"

"Back off, Starsky! Now!" His voice had gone shrill, frantic, as he bumped into an end table, knocking a lamp over.

Starsky grabbed him by the shoulders and shoved him into a sitting position on the end table, ignoring the broken lamp. His grip was strong enough that Hutch couldn't break away, not in this panicked state.

"Look at you!" Starsky snapped. "You're a mess. You're in a cold sweat, you've got the shakes, you're nearly hysterical. You've got all this terror inside you wrapped around memories you're afraid to face. You can't fix all of this in bed with me. You've got to face it now! Look at it square, for what it really is. Recognize what you've been through, and that you beat it. Recognize the strength that got you through it!" He grabbed Hutch's hand, pulled it forward, forced the tie and the bandana in it, then folded his bigger hand around them.

"I-I-I can't!" Hutch stammered.

"Stop sayin' that!" Starsky yelled. "You lived through that ordeal. You got away from those guys. You escaped on your own. You saved yourself! You can save yourself again." Starsky stopped, as if he realized he was shouting. He took a deep breath and calmed himself. "We can do this. You and me. Together."

He latched onto Hutch's wrist and hauled him back over towards the kitchen table. Hutch followed, if reluctantly. Once they were near the table, Starsky released him. He took hold of the kitchen chair he'd been sitting in and pulled it away from the table so that it stood alone. "So, how did it go down?"

He's gonna make me do this. Dear God, he's gonna make me— Hutch swallowed. "Like I told you, they knocked me out cold at the house."


"So, uh, when I came to, I, uh, I was already in the chair. Tied. Blindfolded."

"Were you sitting like this?" Starsky sat normally in the chair.

Hutch had to think about it. He didn't want to, but as soon as Starsky asked him the question he realized he wasn't sure how he was sitting in the chair. If I'd had to write a report on that, I don't think I could've done it. That's what a cop's life revolved around—details. Details on a report. Details that could make or break a case. Hutch didn't have a lot of details. The heroin made sure of that.

He forced himself to recall. "I-I woke up and I was in the chair." Hesitantly, he touched Starsky's shoulder, pushed him back so that he was sitting straighter, back against the chair. It wasn't a chair like this, though. It was a ladder-back chair. He could feel it suddenly, the wood of the chair pressing against his spine, his rear, his thighs. Something he hadn't remembered until now, the tactile feel of that chair.

Starsky followed his guidance, sitting back, relaxing as an unconscious man might.

"They used some heavy black cloth for a blindfold, an ascot or scarf." He stared at the bandana in his hand. It had a garish red and white pattern that made him think of that damned car of Starsky's—how good those familiar leather seats smelled when Starsky eased me onto them after I escaped—and wasn't as big as the blindfold they'd used on him. Nothing's the same. It couldn't be. He's not my prisoner; he's my friend. He's trying to help me. Starsky knew they'd used a black scarf to blindfold him. He could've handed him one of those, but he didn't. He could've found some clothesline, too. He didn't want to. He wanted it familiar, but not the same. He wants me to deal with it, not relive it.

"Go on, Hutch," Starsky said softly. "Take me through it."

With trembling hands, Hutch fastened the bandana around Starsky's eyes. "That's not too tight, is it?"

Starsky smiled. "Is that what they asked you? Not too tight, Detective? Are you comfortable, Detective?"

There were so many questions, Hutch remembered, but none of them had to do with his comfort. He checked the tightness of the blindfold himself. "Can you see anything?"

"No. Just brightness through the cloth. Is that what you could see?"

No. I couldn't see anything. Not even light. The blindfold was thick, but they must've been keeping the room dimly lit on purpose. He hadn't remembered that either. Alone with strangers, terrible strangers, in the dark....

When Hutch didn't answer, Starsky went on to the next salient point. "Were your hands tied in front, like this?" He crossed his wrists helpfully.

Hutch ground his teeth. He tried to keep his voice from wavering. "No. Like this." He grabbed Starsky's left hand and pulled it behind the chair, then did the same with the other. Crossing his wrists, he looped the tie around them and fastened them with a safety slipknot. "They used a length of old clothesline. Wrapped it around each wrist separately with a short length between them." He had told Starsky that before, but found he couldn't help talking about it again.

He didn't like this. The memories were coming back way too clearly. He grew angry with Starsky for pushing him into this. He knew his partner well enough to know that repeated refusals wouldn't help. Starsky would have his way. He might be the one tied in the chair, but he was still clearly the most competent person here. He was still the one in charge. That made Hutch angry, too.

"Comfortable?" he asked sarcastically.

Starsky had tensed when Hutch pulled his arms back and now sat rigidly still in the chair. His voice wasn't casual anymore. "Actually, no. This is pretty uncomfortable."

Hutch took a few steps back and looked at his friend. Starsky was still in his royal blue bathrobe, his thick hair still sleep-tousled. His strong, sculpted bare legs with their thick coating of dark hair were exposed to the thigh. His darkly furred chest was too, where the bathrobe opened to a V to his waist. The red bandana tied around his eyes always looked good on him when he used it as a sweatband, and it still looked good in spite of its purpose. Starsky had the perfect coloring for intense reds and blues.

Hutch realized with a shock that he was staring at his friend tied and blindfolded in a chair and marveling at how beautiful he was.

Hutchinson, you are one sick fucker.

His stomach rolled a little, so he went to the table, ignored the glass of water and, opening a root beer, slugged half of it down. The sweetness and carbonation helped. He still occasionally had that craving for sweets, another reminder of his addiction.

Starsky was following his movements with the only sense he could still rely on—his hearing.

"What's that feel like?" Hutch asked. "Being held in that chair, not being able to see, not knowing exactly where I am? What I'm doing?"

"Unnerving," Starsky said honestly. "You're my friend. I trust you. I know you won't hurt me. But just...not being able to see you...not knowing exactly where you are...."

"Uh-huh," Hutch murmured. He knew Starsky was going through this like an Academy exercise. Putting himself in Hutch's place. Making himself be Hutch.

I wasn't with friends. I wasn't in my own house. You're thinking about that, putting yourself there, in my head, coming to in that strange place, surrounded by strange men.

He went to the wall switch and shut off the lights, and the apartment went dark. The sun was setting, it was dusk, and streetlights were on already.

Starsky noticed the difference immediately and his head swiveled around as he tried to get his bearings. Hutch moved quietly on his bare feet, the way the men who'd kidnapped him had done. The first blows had come out of the dark silence. Expected, yet surprising none-the-less. He felt a sick quiver of anticipation as he recalled those moments right after waking.

Sensory deprivation, Hutch cataloged. Couldn't see. Couldn't hear anything. Just Monk's voice. All the questions. And then pain. And more pain. And more— His mouth went dry. He finished the root beer.

"It was dark in the room," he told Starsky. He needed to keep moving, and circled the chair at a distance, observing his immobilized friend from every angle. There was just enough light coming in from the street lamps to highlight Starsky in the criss-crossing shadows.

"I was blindfolded with a dark scarf. There was no light. I was tied in a chair, blindfolded, and kept in the dark." The whole time. Until they brought Jeannie in to see me. Why hadn't he remembered that until now?

Starsky fidgeted. Tested his bonds. Strained to hear where Hutch was.

He remembered doing that. "When-when I came to I was already in the chair, already tied. They were holding me up because I kept trying to fall over in my unconsciousness."

"What was the first thing you remember upon waking?" Starsky asked quietly.

Hutch felt a sudden overwhelming sense of rage. You're tied and you're blindfolded, held prisoner in the dark, and you're still asking the questions? That's not how it works, buddy.

In answer, Hutch silently took his half-full glass of water and without warning, flung the cold contents in Starsky's face.

Starsky lurched backward in shock, gasping, and the jarring movement caught him off-guard, making him nearly upend the chair. He struggled for his balance and Hutch let him, not helping, not speaking, just letting him flounder with the shock of sudden sensation, the helplessness of being alone, tied in the chair.

You wanted to be where I was at. So, be there.

"When they threw the water in my face, I came to all of a sudden," Hutch said softly, knowing Starsky was totally open to it now, the whole experience. Water dripped over his face, down his chin, onto his chest, the thirsty bathrobe absorbing it even as Starsky absorbed the scene and Hutch's helplessness and fear. "My head was throbbing, I was confused, disoriented, but I was trying really hard to think. Think like a cop. How many men were there? I tried to keep track of the hands touching me, but that didn't work."

He touched Starsky suddenly, not gently, not with love, but casually, as if his body meant nothing, as if he were nothing, a sack of meat in a chair to be positioned, to be restrained, to be used. He moved the chair a little, unbalancing his prisoner, pushed him back, handling him possessively, contemptuously.

"How many hands? I didn't know. I tried to pay attention to the voices, but I was too groggy. My head hurt. I was too confused. After a while, I began to think there were dozens. And all of them—" He stopped, and Starsky did, too, straining to hear whatever Hutch had to say. He wet his mouth. "All of them willing to hurt me." He took his hands away and left Starsky alone.

Starsky actually flinched. "Hutch...."

"Don't. Don't sit there tied in that chair and have the nerve to feel sorry for me." Starsky sat up straighter. "Besides, I stopped worrying about all of that very quickly. Because I knew I was going to die. They asked their questions. I wouldn't answer. They hit me in the face." He slapped Starsky's face lightly, first one side, then the other, just to give him the tactile anchor. Instinctively, Starsky jerked his face away.

"They punched me in the gut again and again." He pressed his fist slowly into his partner's solar plexus, in the most tender place. Starsky tried to curl his body protectively against the fist touching his abdomen, but couldn't. He shivered and Hutch knew he was imagining taking those blows and being unable to fight back.

"They'd beat me till I'd pass out or pretend to pass out and then I'd get a break for awhile. Seemed like it went on forever. But it wasn't the first time I'd been knocked around, so I just handled it. It was only pain, and I could deal with that. Every time I thought I couldn't take it anymore, I'd think that if I told them where to find Jeannie, they might do this same thing to her, and I'd clam up again. He had, too. Forrest. He used to beat the shit out of her. Always real careful, so he wouldn't hurt her face or anything vital. He's a savage bastard, and remembering that kept me from giving her up."

Hutch laughed bitterly. "Monk's thugs actually admired me for taking it the way I did. I heard them telling each other how tough I was. They didn't expect that from a cop."

He grew quiet then, just padded around the chair, knowing Starsky couldn't tell where he was if he didn't speak. He didn't want to talk about what happened after the hitting stopped. He didn't want to talk about it, because he knew it didn't matter what he said. Nothing could make Starsky understand what that was like, facing sudden death while tied helpless in a chair. To expect to die then, instead, to be kept alive, tortured with an incredible pleasure...he could never make him understand that.

But Starsky wouldn't let it go till he did.

Hutch shuddered hard. "I'd thought every one left after the last time I passed out. You know how that is, when everything goes dark. I know that's happened to you. The world goes cold and then, it seems like, minutes later you're aware again. And you have no idea how long you've been gone, or what's happened while you weren't there, or what shape you're in, or if you're in danger—" He had to stop, that moment of semi-conscious terror coming back to him in a flood. "I thought I was alone for a whole, dark, silent minute. It was scary but it was a relief, too, to just be alone with myself, to try to marshal my thoughts, try to plan, try to hope.... Then, just when my mind started working again—" Damn, he didn't want to think about this! He found he couldn't make himself say anything, so he demonstrated instead.

Moving closer to the chair, he placed the flat of his hand on Starsky's hip without warning, then slid it over the swell of his ass.

Starsky did the exact same thing Hutch had done when he had felt that violating hand in his semi-conscious state. He cringed away, shocked, revolted. But Hutch was holding the chair just as his captor had been. And Starsky couldn't get away. Hutch left his hand right there, cupping the swell of Starsky's ass, letting his partner fidget uselessly.

"He didn't say anything," Hutch whispered. He could hear Starsky's breathing increase as his heart rate accelerated—just as Hutch's had. "He didn't have to. They were all ex-cons, I knew that. And I understood the quiet threat. I was a cop, the kind of cop who sent men like them to prison for years at a time. There were worse things that could happen to me than a beating."

Starsky was breathing hard, actually shaking. Hutch hadn't talked about that before. He hadn't wanted to remember it. He never wanted to think about it again. He let Starsky think about it for awhile. Then he took his hand away as his invisible captor had, and let him stew on it.

After a few more minutes of tension, Hutch said quietly, "I heard them come back in the room, the whole group, two, four, I was never really sure." He'd told Starsky about this part before, but now it was time to demonstrate. He was at a loss.

He made more noise walking around the chair, wanting Starsky to hear him now. And his partner did the exact same thing he had done, turning his head, trying to figure out where, how many, and what—?

"I knew this was it. The end. They were gonna finish me. I just didn't know how."

He moved closer to the chair, brushing against Starsky, who jumped slightly at the contact.

"I thought of you," Hutch whispered, "how upset you'd be. I felt like I'd let everyone down. Let myself get taken so easy. And now I'd never get to say goodbye."

Starsky was listening with every cell of his body, totally in tune with Hutch.

"One of them came up behind me, grabbed my right arm, took hold of my hair." He buried his fingers in Starsky's thick, clean hair and jerked his head back roughly, making him gasp. He pinned his right arm to the chair, digging his fingers in. Starsky resisted, even as Hutch had, but he didn't ease his grip. He let him fight uselessly just as he had.

"They freed one arm, keeping the other one tied to the chair, and pulled my left arm out straight. I felt the tourniquet go tight and then I knew. I fought, but there were at least three of them. They asked me one more time, where was Jeannie? I wouldn't tell them." He held onto Starsky's hair but released his grip on his right arm. Sliding his fingers now up the left arm, he found the soft skin in the crook, and stroked it with his thumb. Starsky's skin was so warm, his arms so strong. Hutch could feel his pulse throbbing just under that smooth skin. He found himself mesmerized with the sensation.

"The needle hurt," Hutch remembered. "Monk hit the vein first try. And then—there was that incredible rush." He closed his eyes, the sweet memory flooding over him again. "It's never as good as the first time. But you keep hoping...."

This is pointless, he thought. How can he understand what that felt like, all that terrifying pleasure, something I never should've known—

He stared at Starsky, his head drawn back as Hutch held his hair, his throat taut, bared, tied and helpless. He was completely at Hutch's mercy, had put himself there voluntarily. His beautiful mouth was half-open.

Without making the conscious decision, Hutch suddenly knew.

He leaned down, covered Starsky's open mouth with his and plunged his tongue into that sweet, inviting wet place.

Starsky lurched in the chair in total shock, just like Hutch had when the horse hit his brain. He had understood in that sudden instant why they called it horse. It had been like being swept away on a rampaging charger, where all you could do was cling to the mane and hold on for your life as the ground rushed by.

Starsky, shocked by Hutch's ravaging kiss, struggled to get away, but that was impossible. Hutch's tongue took what it wanted, and what it wanted was Starsky's insatiable pleasure, the forbidden dark pleasure that Hutch knew he took from his kiss.

He could taste the pizza, the spicy sauce, a hint of rich cheese, even the salty aftertaste of the anchovy. In Starsky's mouth it was reminiscent of the heady flavor of semen and Hutch went hard instantly, thinking about it.

Starsky was gasping, whimpering, sounding just like Hutch had when the first rush hit him. He pulled away for air.

"Hutch, wait!" Starsky breathed. "Listen!"

"It's good, isn't it?" Hutch hissed back at him, still holding him by the hair. "It's racing through your blood, hitting your brain, and it's oh, so good. But you know you shouldn't have it. You shouldn't like it. Shouldn't love it." He kissed him again, and saw that Starsky had gone hard too, was tenting the robe. It would be so easy to expose him. Hutch shivered.

Starsky struggled a while longer, while Hutch took his mouth. But soon he had to yield, as Hutch knew he would. He couldn't resist Hutch's kiss, and Hutch knew that. It was a heady feeling, knowing something so simple could affect this strong man so easily.

He released Starsky's hair, stroking it instead of pulling it, running his hands lovingly over his face, his bare neck. Sweet, guilty pleasure, pleasure he was helpless to avoid. He could make Starsky come like this, just by kissing him, and the sense of power he felt at that was overwhelming. It was a power he'd never had over anyone before. Not just from a kiss—

He let Starsky breathe again, felt the frantic panting wash over his face, his own neck. "Hutch, please," Starsky whispered, and Hutch knew now he wasn't asking for release, but begging for more.

"Are you there?" Hutch asked, needing so badly to know. "Are in you that place you wanted to be? Are you there with me, feeling that rush? Not wanting it, yet not wanting to be without it?"

Starsky could only murmur, "Hutch, please—"

Hutch granted his wish and kissed him again. Starsky moaned deep in his throat, the sound vibrating through them both. Hutch's hands began to travel.

He slid them inside Starsky's bathrobe, over his shoulders, down his arms. Starsky struggled against the bonds, but he was held securely, and Hutch knew how frustrating that had to be for him. He'd loved Starsky enough times now to know how important it was for him to reciprocate, how he loved to gently touch, to stroke, to give pleasure back. This would be torture for him, to be forced to endure the light, teasing touches, the gentle pleasure while Hutch forced kiss after kiss on him.

Hutch wanted to see his hardness, watch him when he came. He untied the bathrobe's sash, and Starsky moaned a protest. Hutch let him up for air, long enough to open the robe and expose Starsky's body. His cock was so hard, already glistening in the dim shadows. It moved like a living thing with a mind of its own, blindly seeking its pleasure, looking for Hutch. Hutch let it search.

"Wait!" Starsky gasped, desperately sucking air into his lungs. "This isn't fair. Take the blindfold off. Untie me. Let me touch you."

"No," Hutch said, and he could see the surprise on Starsky's whole body. "It's scary, I know, but it's good, too. The pleasure. The sweetness. Being helpless. Having it forced on you. And loving it. It's good, isn't it?"

Starsky clamped his mouth shut as if the truth might escape against his will.

Hutch ran a fingertip around one of Starsky's small nipples and the body beneath him thrummed at the touch. "Say it, go on. Admit it to me. It's good, being helpless to forbidden pleasure. I need to know you understand, Starsk. So tell me. Or we'll be here all night." He realized he was pleading again and that made him mad. He'd make Starsky pay for that, and soon. "Okay, don't tell me. But you will. You will." Just like I told Forrest. Because I had to.

He shut his eyes at the memory and bore down again on Starsky's mouth. Starsky's heavy cock jumped in response. Hutch kissed him hard, long, and deep, and the moan that escaped Starsky told of a need so profound he didn't realize it himself. A need for me, Hutch thought, and his own cock throbbed at the thought.

Starsky made soft noises of helpless pleasure as Hutch kissed him and he frantically kissed back, their tongues waging a dark, wet war. Hutch almost missed it, it came on so fast, but suddenly Starsky jerked beneath his hands, nearly overturning the chair as his hips rocked. Then his cock fountained in the air, semen spraying them both as Hutch kept kissing the come out of him, making his lover shudder helplessly in ecstasy.

Yes, yes! Hutch thought triumphantly. Come for me. Feel the rush. I gave this to you, made you feel this. Come for me.

The pearly essence dotted Starsky's chest and thighs and groin as his moist cock softened. He was shaking, his legs trembling hard. Hutch kissed him gently one last time and released him. Starsky sagged bonelessly in the chair, and Hutch had to hold him upright, just as the men who'd injected him had had to.

"Oh, God, oh, God!" Starsky gasped. "You bastard." Finally, he was able to brace himself up in the chair.

Hutch laughed. Yeah. Go on, hate me. But it was good and we both know it. He left Starsky, left him to think on his experience, and went to the bathroom to get a washcloth and towel.

"Incredible, isn't it?" he asked when he came back. He washed Starsky's face carefully with the warm, wet cloth, then his neck, cleaning up droplets of semen as he did. He dried him with the same gentle attention.

Starsky was still panting. "That what they did for you?" he asked through his gasps. "Give you a shot and a sponge bath?"

Hutch laughed again, amazed that he could. "You know damned well they didn't. I guess their sense of smell wasn't as delicate as mine."

He'd urinated on himself after the first shot, he'd gone that deep into the rush. None of them seemed to care, yet the smell and feel of the drying urine on his pants drove him crazy...until maybe the fifth shot. By that time, nothing in the world bothered him except wondering how long it would be till the next hit.

He ran the washcloth over Starsky's chest and stomach, then lower, over his groin and thighs. It was a dispassionate cleaning, almost impersonal. It was just another way to let Starsky know they were playing the game his way, not Starsky's way.

When he slid the cloth around Starsky's back and over the swell of his rump, Starsky said, "How often did that guy touch you?"

Hutch froze. How quickly this son-of-a-bitch could regain the upper hand as long as he could use his mouth! He didn't want to talk about that. He didn't.

He took away the cloth, the towel, dropped them in a pile on the floor.

"I'm the one who asks the questions, not you. You're the one helpless in the chair, remember?"

Starsky's smile was slight, but Hutch could see it in the dim light anyway. He was like this in the Academy, too. Loving the most dangerous games, always so confident, knowing he would win.

The question hung in the air between them. He couldn't avoid it now. How often did he touch you?

"Once they started injecting me, he touched me every chance he got." Starsky stopped smiling. "At the height of the rush I wasn't always aware of it, but as soon as I started coming down I was hyper-aware of it. I could recognize his hands. His touch was different from Monk's or the other guys. He had big hands. He was a big guy." Hutch blinked. So much was becoming clear to him now. "He was in the back seat of the car with me. He was the guy I kicked in the face when I broke away...." The thought gave him an odd satisfaction.

"He would've fucked me if he got the chance," Hutch said matter-of-factly. Starsky tensed in the chair and Hutch wondered if he was feeling like the threat was aimed at him in a way. "The other guy kept warning him off. Said if Monk caught him pawing me it'd be a bad scene. Monk had no patience for that 'punk stuff.' I remember the guy fondling me saying to his buddy, 'How many chances are we gonna get to nail a cop? This is the perfect opportunity.' But the other guy wasn't in it for cheap thrills, it was just a job to him. He was nervous about the whole thing, knew what the repercussions could be for snatching and killing a cop. The big guy just wanted a shot at me."

Hutch walked around the chair. "I worried about it a lot at first. But after a couple of days, I was too out of it to care. And when they took the stuff away...when they took it away from me—" Starsky hadn't moved, hadn't budged, was listening with every part of his being, "—when they cut me off, I'd have given him anything he wanted to get some more. I wouldn't have thought twice about it. Fortunately, the others were still there, so it never became an issue."

He remembered crawling on the floor, begging them not to leave him alone, leave him with his need. Hutch realized suddenly that he was sweating, a cold, clammy sweat as he remembered all that.

You're still in charge, aren't you? Hutch thought resentfully. You ask a few questions and I jump through all the hoops. Cute.

Then Hutch remembered something else. "That was the only guy who wasn't at the shootout in the alley. The uniforms nailed him at the place where they held me when they raided it for evidence. He was the one who 'sang like a stuck canary,' as you told Forrest."

He didn't imagine the uniforms were any kinder on him than they'd been on Mickey. He'd sold out Forrest quick enough. Monk and his sidekick were dead. Starsky had killed them both, clearly in self-defense, and just as clearly in a vengeful fury.

At the time, Hutch hadn't felt anything about that. He'd been stuck on the top of a fence, where he'd run to save his own life. If Starsky hadn't shown up when he did, he would've been the casualty in the alley.

He stared at the man in the chair. The man willing to give him anything, everything, if it would only help him. Would it? Would any of this?

You don't look like much of a therapist, trussed up like that, Starsk. But you do look beautiful. Good enough to eat.

He moved quietly around the chair, making Starsky work to track him. Without warning, he leaned down, gently kissed the side of his partner's throat. Starsky leaned into it, and made a soft purring sound. He sighed, "Hutch, wait—"

"No," Hutch said, reminding Starsky that they were still in the scene. "Your recovery rate is your problem, not mine." He kissed the other side of his throat, nibbled the soft juncture of neck and shoulder.

"You made your point before," Starsky protested a little breathlessly.

"Oh, I don't think so," Hutch insisted. "Remember, this was your idea. You insisted. You wanted to let me help you understand." He nosed his way under a shock of hair and ran his tongue around the rim of his partner's ear. Starsky made a choked sound but leaned into the sensation, making Hutch smile. Yeah, he was ready.

He came around front and took hold of Starsky's chin. He kissed him lightly at the corner of his mouth, and Starsky turned into the kiss, unable to stop himself. Hutch smiled. Yeah, you've got it bad. But he didn't give Starsky the full kiss he wanted. He moved his head, kissed the other corner of his mouth, then his cheek, then his chin.

"Hutch, come on—" Starsky whispered, wanting the kiss.

"No," Hutch said just as softly. He pressed his lips against his partner's collarbone, then his Adam's apple. Starsky swallowed when he did that.

Hutch settled himself on his knees between Starsky's legs, and that made Starsky go tense. Hutch rubbed his partner's bare thighs and whispered, "Easy, it's okay." No one had comforted him during his ordeal, but the heroin had. It had been a tremendous comfort, taking away his pain, his worries, all his concerns. "You'll like this," he assured Starsky. Then he rubbed his face against Starsky's furred chest, loving the sensation of that smooth, clean hair against his face. It was such a masculine thing, something he could never experience with a woman. Those differences defined their love affair to Hutch. They made it too real to deny.

Starsky sighed in delight at Hutch's contact. His scent was intoxicating to Hutch, who couldn't have imagined enjoying that before now. He'd always loved the different flowery smells of women. Starsky's crisp sandalwood after-shave lingered on his body, a scent that marked his clothes, his car, everything that he spent any time in contact with. Hutch wondered if he'd begin to carry it, too. He wouldn't mind that, it was a good scent. Honest and clean, like Starsky himself. He inhaled.

"I want to touch you," Starsky whispered, testing his bonds, and Hutch could hear real hunger in his voice.

"What else do you want?" Hutch murmured back to him.

"I want to carry you to bed. I want to love you all night, sweet and gentle, like you deserve. I want to go down on you now." He was nearly panting as he recited his short, dazzling list.

Hutch's blood quickened. "There was only one thing I wanted." He knew Starsky would know that he meant when he was in the chair. "I just wanted to go home. I wanted not to be there. I wanted to live—"

"You did," Starsky reminded him. "You won. You survived."

He slid his arms around Starsky's waist and hugged him tight, pressing his cheek against Starsky's heart, counting the beats. He felt close to tears again.

"Hutch," Starsky whispered, giving him comfort with that small word.

Needing to dispel the huge lump that had grown in his throat, Hutch nuzzled Starsky's chest again, letting his mouth travel, letting it taste, inhale, absorb. He found a small nipple hidden in fur and tongued it gently. Starsky quivered in his grasp. Starsky's cock, pressed against Hutch's abdomen, began to nod and fill. It tickled his belly, and he rubbed against it, encouraging it to life. Starsky moaned softly.

He took the nipple into his mouth, working on it hard. Starsky grunted and leaned forward, as far as his bonds would let him. "'S good!" he whispered, his voice harsh. Hutch used his teeth. "Damn!" Starsky gasped. "What are you doin' to me?"

"Making you crazy," Hutch reminded him. "Crazy from pleasure." He moved to the other nipple and worked on it roughly, at the same time he took Starsky's half-erect cock in his hand. He rolled it in his palm, pressed it against his smooth belly, rubbed against it, loving the way it grew against him.

"Oh, jeezus!" Starsky cried out, throwing his head back.

I remembered praying, Hutch thought. First I prayed for escape...then I prayed it would never end. He bent his head, breathed on the pulsing cock filling his hand.

Starsky went rigid all over, every muscle straining. "No, Hutch, don't!"

That, again? Hutch marveled. Would Starsky ever give up his rigid notions of what made someone straight or not-straight? It was all just labels to Hutch, meaningless words. Starsky would give his life for him, nearly had a hundred times over. He imagined Starsky prowling the streets searching for him, growing more and more crazed by his partner's disappearance. He would do anything for Hutch, step in front of a bullet for him, anything. Yet this small thing seemed so terrifying to Starsky, so earth-shattering.

Well, that was good. Starsky needed to experience something earth-shattering.

A bead of liquid formed at the tip of Starsky's crown. Hutch was momentarily mesmerized by the way the dim light glinted off the fluid. It would be different here than in the shower. Starsky was clean, but not freshly scrubbed. Hutch could smell his male musk, something he couldn't detect in the shower. He was surprised to find the smell as enticing as Starsky's sandalwood. His mouth watered.

"Talk to me, Hutch," Starsky ordered. "Tell me what you're thinkin', what you're going through."

That's why we're doing this, Hutch remembered. To help me. To make me get over this.

"I'm hungry," Hutch said simply. "Hungry for you. I never thought I could feel like this. Want this. Want to do this for you. But I do."

Starsky struggled in the chair, but couldn't get away. "That's not what I meant!" He sounded exasperated.

Hutch laughed softly. "I know what you meant. I'm just a little preoccupied right now. You're beautiful to me, y'know that? Right here in my hand, so beautiful."

"Hutch, cut it out," Starsky protested. "Let me go. This isn't why we're doin' this. I don't want you to feel that way! I want you to deal with what's happened to you—"

"I am," Hutch insisted, squeezing the rigid organ gently. "I'm dealing with it with you...through you...." He closed his eyes remembering more than he wanted to, remembering entirely too much. He tried to explain. "As soon as I lapsed into normal sleep, as soon as I stopped nodding, they could tell. They knew exactly when the high wore off. They never let me off that high. Just let me come down a little so I wouldn't O.D. Constant pleasure. Mind-numbing, ecstatic pleasure. Like this." He leaned down to capture the bead of moisture with the tip of his tongue.

Starsky jumped and bit his lip.

The taste was intense, different from anything Hutch could've imagined. Essence of Starsky. Strong. Pure. Beautiful. He swirled his tongue around the smooth, clean head and Starsky exhaled in a rush.

"I never wanted it to go this far," Starsky insisted, his voice ragged. "I never wanted you to want this."

"I know," Hutch assured him. "But you can't control everything, Starsk. Sometimes, you have to give up control. That might've been the hardest thing I learned in the chair. But I didn't have any choice. Whatever control I managed to hang on to, the horse took away." Even now the memory was bitter. As the drug had raced through him, as the rush had hit him hard, he'd realized what was happening. They weren't going to kill him. He had known then they were going to string him out, addict him, and get the information they wanted that way. As he had felt his will dissolving under the power of the narcotic, the realization that they would undoubtedly win was incredibly bitter.

He was tired of talking. He leaned down, touched his tongue to Starsky's erection and began to explore. His partner reacted violently, struggling against the bonds, trying to move the chair. Hutch rubbed Starsky's thighs comfortingly as he slowly tasted every strong inch of his lover's maleness. His tongue traced the ridge of the crown, traveled slowly down the shaft. Starsky's musk teased his senses, tantalizing him with his special flavor. The texture of the velvet-like skin covering all that steel fascinated him. Starsky was dark where Hutch was fair, cut where he was not. The differences were wonderful and just intrigued him more.

Starsky's pubic hair was dense, wiry, tightly curled where Hutch's was thin, a pale ash blond and almost straight. They were beautiful together. He'd seen it in the mirror over Starsky's bed. Dark and light intertwined. His tongue moved lower, tracing Starsky's heavy testicles, which tightened up from the sensation. It thrilled him to produce that reaction, as it did to hear the low, throaty moans Starsky couldn't contain.

He realized he was hesitating, and got impatient with himself. It was all still so new, he still felt a touch of reluctance. He wanted to give pleasure, but the words he'd taunted Starsky with in his withdrawal still tortured him. Refusing to yield to his own squeamishness, he moved back up, took firm hold of the hard shaft and fed it to his mouth.

Starsky cried out in helpless delight. Hutch glanced up and saw his head was thrown back in ecstasy. Did I look like that when the rush hit? he wondered, and suspected he did. He took the cock in deeper, moving his mouth, trying to imitate what Starsky had done to him.

"I want to see you," Starsky gasped, moving his head as if to peer through the blindfold. "Let me watch you, Hutch."

Hutch released him long enough to breathe, "No. Just feel it, feel everything. Nothing else, just the sensations." He went back to the feast and Starsky hissed in pleasure. I'm doing that to you. Giving you that feeling. He moved his tongue, pressing it against the underside of the crown, that special spot most men loved. Starsky jumped, his hips bucking involuntarily. Hutch's hand moved, captured the heavy sac, and gently rolled the full testicles in his palm. Starsky sounded desperate.

Hutch went down on him with a serious purpose now. Licking, rubbing the edges of his teeth gently against his hardness, kissing, tasting, taking him as deep as he could. Starsky couldn't help himself, he was writhing in the seat, pumping up into Hutch's mouth, needing the completion so badly.

"No more," he demanded, sounding frantic. "Ah, God, Hutch, please, no more. Can't handle it. Let me go. Let me go."

Good, thought Hutch. You're not supposed to handle it. You're supposed to give in to it. Accept it. Let it handle you. He sucked harder, his mouth full of saliva and the taste of Starsky.

"Don't!" Starsky shouted. "Don't make me come, dammit! I'm too close! Why won't you listen?"

'Cause you still think you're in charge, Hutch thought at him. And you've got to learn that you're not. You've got to yield, lover, if you want to be where I was at.

Starsky's body stiffened all over, his cock growing more rigid. It excited Hutch, the desperate tension in Starsky's body that he was causing.

I love this, he realized with surprise. I love going down on you, making you feel like this, forcing your pleasure, pleasure you would've never taken from me on your own.

"Hutch, stop!" Starsky shouted. "Godammit! It's too good!"

Give in, Hutch begged him as his mouth worked harder. Give me this. Give in to me. I want it.

Unable to resist any longer, Starsky suddenly yielded with a sigh. "Oh, jeezus, so good! Yes, Hutch, oh, please, yes...." He lurched suddenly, his cock flaring wide at the back of Hutch's throat as it ejaculated.

Hutch gulped frantically, but the quantity wasn't as great as the first time since Starsky had come so recently. But the searing bitter taste was the same as it burned its way down his throat. He was determined to keep it all this time, not lose a drop. He wasn't surprised by its taste now or the suddenness of it. It was still totally alien in his mouth, as alien as the heroin had been in his veins, but it gave him almost as much pleasure.

I love swallowing you. What does that make me? The thought was like a slap, until he answered it himself. Your lover. The one thing you never wanted me to be.

"Stop, stop," Starsky begged, as his shaft softened. Hutch let it slip from his mouth, wet and shining, as he stood.

"Kiss me?" Starsky implored, sounding like a child who knew he'd be denied the one thing he craved. Hutch didn't have to be asked twice.

He took Starsky's face in his hands, held it, and kissed him deeply, sharing his own essence with him, knowing how erotic that would be to his ravaged lover. Starsky was sagging in the chair, but he kissed Hutch back with all his love, all his passion, his tongue searching his mouth, wrestling wetly with its mate.

Finally, breathless, Hutch pulled away.

"You haven't come," Starsky said knowingly.

Hutch hadn't even thought of his own insistent arousal until this moment, but it jutted from his body, angry at being ignored. "That's right."

"Oh, God," Starsky gasped. He sounded worried. "Hutch, I'm done. I'm spent. There's nothing left."

I felt that way over and over, he remembered, but they always found another vein, and showed me just how much pleasure I could endure and survive.

"Sure there is," Hutch promised him. "There's plenty left."

Starsky shook his head. He was heaving for breath, his heart beating frantically. Hutch could feel the pounding pulse under his fingers. "Let me go down on you. Let me ease you—"

"No," Hutch said. He reached behind Starsky and pulled the slipknot.

As soon as his hands were freed, Starsky nearly toppled from the chair, much as Hutch nearly did after the first big rush. He was prepared, and caught Starsky by the arm, supporting him. Slinging that arm around his neck, he steadied Starsky and lifted him to his feet. Their bathrobes flapped around them like limp wings.

Starsky, probably thinking the game was over, moved to pull the blindfold from his face. Hutch slapped at his hand. "I'm not done with you, yet."

"I can't, Hutch," Starsky insisted. He sounded so much like Hutch had just a short while ago, it startled him. "I can't."

"Can't what?" he asked, as he deposited him abruptly in the bed.

"You know damned well what. I'm drained, Hutch. I gotta sleep. They let you sleep some. Right now, I can't do nothin' else."

Was it really sleep? Hutch wondered. Laced with disturbing dreams, it was hardly restful.

He lifted Starsky's bare legs, placed them in the bed. Then he took the tie and loosely tied Starsky's wrists, the way his had been, in front of him this time. It had been like a formality, the clothesline around his wrists. He wasn't capable of much.

Starsky didn't resist being tied. His body was boneless with satisfaction, sprawled in an ungainly tangle across the bed. He was still panting, seconds away from sleep.

Hutch stared at Starsky's innocent beauty and the odd juxtaposition of blindfold and bound wrists. And in a harsh shock of remembrance he saw himself—beaten, bloodied, filthy, and just as sated, tossed carelessly across a strange bed. Struggling to cope, desperately trying to maintain his sense of self, he had finally been forced to yield as the hypnotic lure of the drug overwhelmed him.

Starsky whispered something in his near-sleep state.

Hutch touched his cheek, trying to rouse him. "What did you say?"

Starsky nestled his face against Hutch's palm. "Sleep with me. Five minutes. Come on."

Hutch's cock was aching, his whole body thrumming with desire and need. He wanted to roll Starsky over and fuck him for hours. But—bound and blindfolded—the purity of Starsky's total trust cut through everything. The tears he'd been choking back all day rose to the surface.

It's still your show isn't it, buddy? It always was. Make me jump through hoops, make me sit up and beg, you could take me through the paces in your sleep. God, I love you.

He trembled, memories of his ordeal mingling with new memories of passion and trust and a love that couldn't be defined by conventional means. He lost the war of emotions as his tears finally broke. One of them splashed against Starsky's exposed belly, and that roused him.

"C'mon, Hutch, five minutes. Sleep with me."

Unable to resist Starsky's weary plea, Hutch lay down and wrapping his arms around Starsky, nestling his head against Starsky's abdomen. Hutch's body shook as he cried softly.

Too drowsy to be totally aware, Starsky's bound hands awkwardly stroked Hutch's hair. "Shhh" he soothed sleepily. "'S gonna be okay. We're almost home."

Hutch hugged him harder as Starsky's hands moved slowly, comfortingly over his hair. He wondered if Starsky could console him even in his sleep.

"'M gonna take care of you soon's I wake up," Starsky promised, rubbing his leg against Hutch's persistent erection. "Good care of you...."

Starsky's body sagged into sleep while Hutch held him. Finally, his crying jag abated. He glanced up at the overhead mirror to watch them lie together, half-clothed. Starsky had slipped his bound hands over Hutch's head so that he could keep him in a loose embrace. Hutch stared at the picture they made, unable to get his fill. The prisoner imprisoning the captor with nothing but his open heart and endless willingness to give.

Hutch recalled the night Starsky held him in another bed as he writhed in the delirium of his withdrawal. The contrast of this scene with that wasn't lost on him. With a sudden shock of déjà vu, he faced the mirror and relived the repetitive dream he'd been plagued with since his addiction.

Just like then, I've lost all sense of time and place, lost everything except this need. What's happened to me? Who am I? An ex-junkie? A sex junkie? Starsky's lover? How do I define myself? Is this all I'll ever be?

Just like in the dream, he was in a new bed with fresh linen. He was clean, his hair soft, he even looked healthy, more like himself than he had in weeks.

Starsky was sleeping on his side, just as beautiful as he appeared in the dream, the lines of his body taut and powerful even in his sated sleep. Just watching Starsky sleep would be enough to make Hutch hard, if he hadn't been already.

I've loved you for so long, but not because you were a man. I loved you because you loved me. Now, I've learned to love you as a creature of beauty, as something to desire. When I tried to use that desire against you, you wouldn't let me. Now, I'm addicted to your body, your incredible passion, and you're ready to give me everything just to help me. What did I do to deserve love like that? What can I ever do to be worthy of it?

Hutch suddenly remembered Jeannie's hollow words as she left him in Forrest's bedroom while he nodded off in a drug-induced haze. He'd repeated those words to Starsky at Huggy's without realizing at the time where he'd last heard them.

Nuzzling Starsky's chest, he used those same words now to make an entirely different promise.

I'll be anything you want. You want me to be a cop. I'll be one. If you can give me so much, I can be strong for you.

It was a promise Hutch wasn't even sure he could live up to. But he'd do it or die trying. It was little enough to give back.

I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
Till the landslide brought me down
            Landslide—Fleetwood Mac