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    They were sharing an evening at Huggy's, shooting pool, drinking beer, swapping insults and jokes, laughing at themselves and each other.

    Hutch, waiting for Starsky to make his shot, leaned his back against the bar, taking a moment to breathe relatively clean air from the propped open door. The haze of cigarette smoke colored the crowded bar blue, distorting the colors of the crowd, adding to the atmosphere of a hopping scene on a Saturday night. Hutch watched his friend, a small smile on his lips as he sipped his beer. Starsky was bent over the table, totally concentrating on the bank shot he was setting up. His soft faded jeans were stretched tight across his ass and thighs, outlining the tight muscles, and Hutch couldn't help but watch. His body reacted to what his eyes were seeing and his mind was imagining. Not now, he told himself sternly. Later, at home, in bed with his dark lover, he could let his fantasies roam free.

    Starsky made his shot, glanced at his blond companion with a smug smile, then started setting up his next shot. Hutch finished his beer, signaled Huggy for a refill. Huggy pulled himself away from the scantily clad blond that he was entertaining, ambled over to Hutch's end of the bar, dragging a polishing towel with him. He pulled Hutch his beer, sat the tall glass down at Hutch's elbow, then followed Hutch's fond gaze to Starsky.

    Huggy shook his head and ‘tsk-tsked’ at Hutch. "You've got it bad, Hutchinson. I hope you realize that if anybody else knew you like I know you the cat would be out of the bag."

    Hutch met the dark brown eyes and held them for a second, then shrugged. "Can't keep it a secret forever, Hug." He sipped his beer, eyes flowing back to his partner for a moment. "I never knew what love was, Huggy. Until I met Starsky. Can't help it if it shows."

    Huggy wiped the polished bar for a moment, shaking his head. Around them, the Pits was at full swing and the tall owner surveyed the crowd before continuing his observations about his blond friend. Huggy watched Starsky run the table then looked at Hutch. "You've got it bad, man." He chuckled deep in his throat. "Is he as bad as you? 'Cause if he is, I wanta know how to bottle it and sell it. I can make a fortune." Hutch laughed.

    The eight ball fell and Starsky laughed, coming over and accepting the beer that Hutch handed him. "You owe me dinner." Two pairs of blue eyes met, held. Starsky saw crystal cornflower blue, studying him with love, smiling at him, and his heart leaped. The smile on Hutch's face was one that Hutch reserved for him, full of love, mischief, and a promise for later. Starsky couldn't help but respond, heart leaping into his throat, body following the surge of fire in his veins. For a second, the bar and everyone in it faded away.

    Hutch felt his heart quicken at Starsky's grin. Starsky's indigo eyes were bright, almost fully dilated in the smoky, dim light of the bar. Even through the smoke Hutch could smell the cologne that Starsky wore. It was some type of cedar musk that teased his nose and made him want to reach out, bury his face in the long neck, and inhale to the depth of his lungs.

    Huggy cleared his throat and broke the spell. "Guys, I hate to tell you this, but this bar is rated R. So if you plan to do what you're thinking about're gonna have to leave."

    Starsky laughed again, a deep chuckle that echoed through Hutch's body. He clicked his beer bottle to Hutch's glass. "So where are we gonna have dinner?"

    "Your choice. But I think you've got someone waiting to play you." Hutch pointed with his glass at the table. A lanky red-head was standing there, leaning on his cue. Bar rules were in effect, winner played the next guy that put a quarter on the table, unless he bowed out completely. Starsky finished his beer, swaggered back to the table and broke the rack. Hutch settled down on the barstool, waited for his partner to win or lose.

    With long practice Hutch scanned the crowded bar. Every table was taken and Huggy's two waitresses were busy, moving easily through the crowd. Several single men stood around the pool table, watching the game in progress, waiting their chance to play. Hutch's trained eye saw them, passed over them and then came back to one dark-eyed, dark-haired man. Something jolted in Hutch's stomach and he mentally ran through a list of suspects, past arrests, snitches. The list came up blank and Hutch almost dismissed him, but something about how his eyes followed Starsky bothered him. He watched the man watch his partner, worried about a multiple of possibilities as his teeth worried his lower lip. Hutch was already considering him a suspect as he catalogued his clothing and stance. He wasn't wearing a jacket, so he wasn't armed, unless it was tucked into the back waistband of tight black jeans. The dark blue tee-shirt showed off a muscular frame and well defined arms and chest. Hutch put his beer glass down on the bar, caught Huggy's eye. Huggy wandered over, sensing that Hutch was not looking for a refill. He leaned on the bar, arms dangling from propped elbows.

    "Yeah, man?"

    "You know that guy?" Hutch motioned with his chin toward the man he was watching.

    Huggy followed Hutch's line of sight, then studied their target and shook his head. "Contrary to popular belief, I do not know everyone who darkens my doorway." He watched Hutch for a second. "You know him?"

    "Don't know, can't place him. Something about him...." Hutch trailed off. Starsky had just lost the game and had graciously shaken his opponent's hand. He placed the cue in its rack, turned to join Hutch. But he was blocked by the man that Hutch was watching.

    Hutch was immediately on alert. A crowded bar was no place to pull a gun, but a knife would be easy, and silent. Behind the bar, Huggy was on alert as well. He would back up Hutch if he needed it, but he also had to protect his patrons and business. Bar fights were nothing new, but he didn't need one involving his friends. Hutch wasn't wearing a jacket, which meant he was unarmed, but he was big and fast, and good with his fists and wouldn't hesitate to use them if it looked like someone was threatening his partner.

    "Be cool, man." Huggy whispered, his voice barely audible over the blare of Stones on the juke box.

    Hutch nodded, eyes never leaving his partner. Starsky was listening to the man, body relaxed, obviously not feeling threatened. Hutch couldn't hear the conversation and couldn't quite read either pair of lips. He saw Starsky dip his head for a moment, then look the other man square in the eye. Hutch could read quite plainly 'no thanks' on Starsky's lips. His partner made a move to go past the stranger but was stopped by a hand on his elbow. Hutch made an abortive step, stopped when Huggy's hand landed on the back of his elbow.

    "Be cool, Hutch. He doesn't need the White Knight."

    Hutch spared Huggy a wide-eyed glance, even while his heart was pounding in his chest.

    How would he know if Starsky was in danger or not?

    Starsky stared at the hand on his arm, then back into the stranger's face. After a second, the hand released him and Starsky stalked away, the stranger's eyes following him to the bar. The man finally encountered Hutch's furious gaze and quickly turned away.

    Suddenly, everything clicked into place for Hutch. He'd just watched a guy try to pick up his partner. His Starsky! For a split second, his mind blanked with jealous white-hot rage before he got it under control.

    "Hutch? Hutch, you okay?"

    Starsky's voice pulled him back from the roaring white pit that he had fallen into, and he met the puzzled blue gaze. A gaze that he found himself drowning in.

    "Yeah. Okay." Hutch sipped the beer that Huggy handed him, acknowledged Huggy's knowing look with a brief nod. Of course, Huggy would have picked up on what was happening as soon as he saw it. He owned a bar, was a student of the human condition in all its forms. Hutch told himself he needed to talk to Huggy someday about all the things he'd encountered standing behind that piece of polished oak.

    "Yeah, let's get out of here." He tossed some bills on the bar, waited for Starsky to finish the last of his beer. Then he found his would-be rival watching the two of them from a single table and with great deliberation took Starsky's hand to lead him out the door. Starsky looked at Hutch, over to Huggy, who shrugged and made a 'go on' motion with his hands. Starsky didn't have much choice but to follow the blond's lead.

    Outside, Hutch didn't let go of his partner's hand until they reached the car, parked behind the dumpster in the back of the Pits. When he did, he leaned against the fender, combed his hands through his hair, studied the ground for a moment.

    "Do you mind telling me what is going on? Since when do we hold hands in public? Hutch? What's wrong?" Starsky reached out, touched Hutch's chin, slid his hand along the cheek. His eyes were full of questions, concern.

    Hutch looked at his lover, seeing the curly hair, long nose, high cheekbones, wide lips, dimly visible in a street light. He knew every inch of the man in front of him, every scar, every mole, every spot that was ticklish. He was beautiful to Hutch, in every way. And his heart still pounded when he thought of that other guy. It was a reaction that surprised and startled him, and he didn't like it. Jealousy was a new emotion, a side of love that he hadn't experienced before.

    "That guy that was talking to you--he tried to pick you up?"

    "Yeah, so?" Starsky's voice was puzzled, not understanding why Hutch seemed upset over such an inconsequential thing.

    Hutch looked at the sky, back to his partner. "Would you believe that I was jealous? So jealous for a second I couldn't see straight." Hutch shook his head, ran his hands through his smoke filled hair again. "Can you believe that? I don't think I've ever been jealous in my life."

    "Hey." Starsky's voice dropped to a hoarse whisper. Hutch, jealous? "It's okay. You've never had a reason, you know that. Don't you?" Starsky's breath caught at the vulnerable look in Hutch's eyes. Was Hutch that unsure of what they had? Did he really think that he'd want anybody else? "Hutch?" He touched his partner's face, thumb caressing a cheek. "You know that I love you, don't you?"

    Hutch took a deep breath, captured the hand that held his face so caringly. "Yeah, I know. I never doubted it. I just was so…surprised…at my reaction to some other guy approaching you." He took the captured hand, kissed the palm. "Guess I never loved someone enough to be jealous before."

    "Guess I ought to be flattered, uh?"

    Hutch chuckled low in his throat. Only Starsky could look upon his lover being jealous of someone else and take it as a compliment. "Depends on how you look at it." He linked his fingers with Starsky's, studied their interlocked hands. The jealous rage that had filled him was long gone, replaced with relief that Starsky could accept a part of Hutch's personality that he didn't know existed. "You could look at this as an indication that I don't trust you." His voice was an embarrassed whisper.

    The noise from Huggy's bar rose as someone opened the back door and the light spilling from the door caught them in profile, startling them, before the door slammed and the light vanished. The dim light from the street light cast their shadows, inseparable, on the building as Starsky leaned into Hutch, his body trapping the blond against the car, hands on the hood on either side of Hutch. Hutch put both arms around the smaller man, pulled him tight against his body, willingly letting himself be pinned.

    "I'd never think that, Hutch. I love you, Blondie."

    Hutch kissed the dark hair, inhaling the smoke that permeated the curls. "It's a good thing. I'd hate to think that what I feel for you is one-sided."

    Starsky stroked the blond hair. "Let's go home. Then I can show you how much I love you."

    Hutch nodded, eased his grip on his partner's body. After a second Starsky slid his hands down Hutch's legs, pulled his companion up and opened the passenger door, pushed his partner into the seat before hustling around to the driver's side of the car. The pleasant buzz from the couple of beers he'd consumed was gone, victim to the emotional turmoil that Hutch was enduring.

    He pulled into the late evening traffic, on auto-pilot for home. Beside him, Hutch was silent. After a long minute, Starsky reached over, took his lover's hand and pulled Hutch closer, finally getting him close enough that he could put an arm around Hutch's shoulders. Hutch squirmed around until he could comfortably lean against Starsky's body, head on his shoulder. Starsky's fingers were in his hair, combing the blond strands. Hutch sighed, snuggled against the warm body.

    "Feels good." Hutch whispered, eyes closed. He slid an arm around Starsky's waist and relaxed. Listening to the traffic roar and the Torino's engine was almost enough to seduce him to sleep. An old memory surfaced, him and Gillian, on a date, her body nestled close to his as he drove her home. Funny, the memory didn't hurt, just made him realize how far things had come in the past couple of years. From him driving a beautiful woman home, to nestling against the strong body of his partner, being driven home. From being the protector, to being protected. And not feeling strange or uncomfortable about it.

    Starsky's fingers stroked through Hutch's hair, found the curve of his partner's ear and stroked it, following the shell of the ear down to the lobe and back again. "Hutch?"

    "Mmmm?" Hutch's hand had drifted from Starsky's waist to inside of his thigh and was slowly stroking the tight muscle, each stroke climbing higher.

    "You still owe me dinner."

    "Rain check. Not tonight. Unless you want me to spring for pizza." The wandering hand had found the zipper to Starsky's jeans and one finger was sliding up and down the length of it.

    "Nah, I'm thinking more of a juicy steak with all the trimmings." Starsky wiggled in the driver's seat, not exactly trying to get away from Hutch's touch, but trying to drive and control his reactions to it at the same time.

    "Sounds good." Hutch's palm flattened across Starsky's crotch, pressing and rubbing, feeling Starsky's arousal grow at the touch, until the erection was visible against the denim. Starsky growled at him.

    "You keep that up and you're gonna get raped as soon as we get home."

    "We need a shower first. Both of us smell like a bar. Besides, how can you rape someone that's willing?"

    "You could pretend." The Torino turned into Ocean, heading for Venice Place. It glided into the parking space where Hutch's LTD normally resided, and Starsky killed the engine. "Come on, I want to kiss you and I don't think we want to shock your neighbors."

    Hutch straightened, climbed out of the car, aware of the desire swimming through his veins. He followed Starsky up the stairs, through the apartment door, threw the deadbolt. Starsky was waiting when he turned, arms ready to embrace him as soon as he stepped close.

    Kissing Starsky always made Hutch's knees melt. His dark-haired lover knew his every weakness and used that knowledge to bring Hutch's blood to a boil. Hutch pulled Starsky tight, felt the straining erection against his own. He groaned into Starsky's mouth. "Oh, babe, that's good."

    Starsky's hands were on his ass, holding them together, gently rocking them, increasing the heat. He broke the kiss long enough to breathe, smiling into his partner's dazed face. "Shower?"

    Hutch looked puzzled for a moment, totally caught in the passion he was feeling. "Uh, yeah." He stripped Starsky of his tee shirt, dropped it on the floor, lowered his head to gently bite a nipple. Starsky's hands were busy unbuttoning Hutch's shirt, pulling it off. He ran his hands up his partner's chest, found the erect nubs and squeezed them gently, then using his palms, rubbed in a circle.

    Hutch straightened, arms around his partner again, kissing him, gentle teasing kisses on the face, ears, neck. Then he broke the embrace, stepping back to study Starsky's aroused state, smiling at what his touch could do to his lover. He took a hand and led him to the bathroom and shower, where he finished stripping his companion and himself.

    Under the warm spray the two men played, teased, and rubbed, oil and soap caressing silk skin, matting dark fur. Hutch pinned his lover against the shower wall, rubbing their lower bodies together, until they were both groaning at the sensation, one step away from overload. Starsky grabbed his partner, held him tight, bucking against him, increasing the rhythm until Hutch's mouth clamped down on his and cried out as he came, convulsing against the smaller body. Starsky followed him a second later, crying out as ecstasy over came him. They sagged against the shower wall and the warm water flowed over them. It was a long time before Hutch could move, ease his larger body from his partner's, give him some space to breathe.

    Hutch looked at the sex-sated eyes, heavy lidded from pleasure. "I love you, David. Forever." He seldom said the words, feeling that he could only share them with this special person when his heart was so full of love it was about to explode. "And I'm never going to let you go."

    "That's good." Starsky panted, watching the water run down the tanned body, making patterns in the blond hair on legs and arms. "Cause I'd have something to say about it if you didn't--especially after what we just did." Starsky enfolded the blond in his arms, kissed the warm lips. "Love you, Hutch."

    They dried each other off, hands following towels, lips following hands, nipping with teeth, hands caressing, massaging each other, easing aches from the day. Hutch pulled Starsky to him, wrapped one towel around both of them, kissed him thoroughly.

    "Bed?" He rubbed against his partner, feeling arousal returning, feeling Starsky responding to him.

    "Bed. And some water." Starsky tried to move but was completely trapped. He grinned at the blond, lopsided smile and twinkling eyes, bewitching in the steam filled room, setting Hutch aflame. "I can't walk like this, and we won't fit through the door together."

    Hutch nibbled the long neck, slid his hand down under the towel, fondled the partially erect cock, stroking the warm velvet. "I'll let you go on one condition."

    "Name it." His voice was husky, head dropping back to allow Hutch freedom as the blond licked from collarbone to ear, cool breath on damp, hot skin.

    "No ice in the water." Long pause as Hutch studied the twinkling eyes. "Promise."

    Starsky sighed. "Promise." He had to chuckle. One of his favorite jokes was to drive Hutch crazy with ice-chilled lips and tongue once they were in bed.

    Hutch released the towel, allowed Starsky to escape to the kitchen while he went to the bedroom, turned down the sheets, lit the small nightstand lamp.

    After a moment, Starsky joined him under the cool sheets, snuggling close. Hutch kissed him again, rolled on top of him and pinned his arms while he ravished the long neck, licked up to the ears and bit them. He couldn't stay like that long, his weight would crush his partner. He eased up to study the fully dilated eyes, strawberry lips, open and panting.

    "Love you, David. Always have. Always will."

    Starsky wrapped his legs around Hutch's thighs, locking them together so they could rub together, erections crossing, bellies damp with each other. He studied the earnest face above him, seeing the eyes close as the passion soared higher. Hutch was beautiful in the soft light, all hard angles gone, just gold silk hair and rose skin. Then Starsky was lost to the sensation of their love-making.

    Much later, curled together, Starsky stroked the blond head that was nestled on his chest, feeling the sleeping breath warm on his skin. Each time they made love was such a surprise to him. Always different, always exciting, pulling them tighter together until neither man knew where one stopped and the other started. And it kept getting better. The sleeper stirred.

    "Starsk..." sleepy soft voice.

    "Yeah, babe."

    "Can I ask you something?" the voice was more awake and the body connected to it moved, hugging Starsky tighter.

    "Sure, anything."

    "What did that guy say to you?"

    "What guy?" Starsky was blank, not following Hutch's train of thought at all. Light dawned. "Oh, that guy. The one at Huggy's."

    "Yeah." Hutch rubbed his face against the soft chest hair, found a nipple to suckle.

    "Nothing much. Just that he liked the way I stroked a ball and would I like to play a more private game." Starsky grinned at the memory, his hands stroking the length of Hutch's back.

    "Some pickup line, uh?" Hutch's soft voice definitely held a laugh. He blew on the wet nub, watched the flesh around it erupt with goosebumps.

    "If you say so. Never had a guy make a pass at me before."

    "Never?" Hutch raised up to look at his lover's face. Starsky shook his head, reached down and kissed Hutch. Breaking free, Hutch settled down next to his partner again, pounded on a pillow. "I'll file that away for future reference."

    "I'm sure you will." Starsky turned out the light, pulled the covers over them. The apartment was still and quiet, the traffic outside almost silent. Starsky's stomach growled, disturbing the peacefulness. "Hutch?"

    "Mmmm." Hutch snuggled against Starsky's side.

    "We forgot to eat dinner."

    "Won't hurt you to miss a meal."

    "Easy for you to say."

    "I'll fix you your favorites in the morning."

    "Then don't gripe if my stomach wakes you up."

    "If it does, I'll kick you out of bed."

    Starsky lay on his back, hands behind his head, listening to Hutch's breathing for a moment, digesting the last comment. He finally looked over at his friend who was curled on his side. "Would you really?"

    "Really, what?"

    "Kick me out of bed."

    Hutch sighed, turned over to study his partner in the dim street light. "I might," laughing husky voice. "Depends on how loud you are."

    Starsky smiled, snuggled up to the blond. "Good night love."

    Hutch reached out, found an arm and dragged it over his body. He kissed the fingertips.

    "'night, babe."

The end.

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