“Skinny, we know you’ve knocked the liquorshop owner out. He’s in a coma now. If I were you…”


Starsky crouched in front of the man, wincing when his sore shoulder contacted with the corner of the table in the interrogation room. The injury from the shootout in the Italian restaurant was still giving him trouble


“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” whined the suspect, “I’ve never been there. I was out of town when it happened, you can ask Sally, my sister. I visited her because…”


“Stop the crap!” Hutch roughly shoved the table aside. One table leg jiggled dangerously. Kicking with his foot against it, Hutch cursed. He left the room, and slammed the door behind him.


“I should tell you something about my partner,” Starsky said slowly massaging his left shoulder. “Today he isn’t in a good mood. Last time he got this furious with a suspect I had a hard time holding him back. See my shoulder? I paid for my intervention. It’s always the same: He will come back after a few minutes. Then he’s offering to buy a coffee for you. Today it’s my turn to go, he knows that. As soon as I’ve left, I can’t do anything for you. It’s up to you.”

The suspect only shook his head and groped for the packets of cigarettes.

The door opened again and Hutch came in smiling.


“Skinny, I’m really sorry. I got carried away. Hey, what about a nice cup of coffee, huh?” Hutch forced Skinny to look at him by grabbing him by the chin. “That would be great, wouldn’t it? Starsk, please get the coffee. It’s your turn,” Hutch said to his partner, who straightened up and walked to the door. Skinny followed Starsky with his eyes. When there wasn’t the desired reaction, Starsky opened the door without any hesitation and walked out.

“No! You can’t leave me here!” Skinny almost cried trying to avoid Hutch’s gaze. Then he broke down.


“He attacked me first and I hadn’t intended to hurt him, just needed some cash…”


Fifteen minutes later the detectives left the interrogation room.


“Hey, it worked again,” Starsky smiled, thinking of their good cop/bad cop  performance.

“Yeah, as long as we don’t have to pay for the damaged furniture. The chair you broke during Harry Sample’s interrogation isn’t repaired yet,” Hutch said.


Starsky shrugged his shoulders, immediately feeling the pain there, and he suppressed a moan.


“You still hurting?” Concerned, Hutch looked at his partner, noticing how pale Starsky still looked.

“No big deal. What about a candy bar?” Starsky sidetracked and moved toward the candy machine.


“What about a decent dinner tonight? I know a place where they make good pasta,” Hutch started.


“No way, Blondie,” Starsky mumbled, chewing on his candy. “Ya know, I’m fed up with Italian restaurants. There’s no point in going there only because it reminds me of my grandmother…”


“… who lived above such a restaurant,” finished Hutch.


Starsky went on: “This one is different. Let me show you and you’ll see it’s worth the visit. The place is on the safer side of the town. No chance that there will be scum like Joey and what was the other name.”


“I’d prefer scrambled eggs though,” Starsky mumbled and trudged to the squadroom.


“I’ll pick you up about seven,” Hutch called after Starsky before he hurried to the elevator.




Hutch stopped in front of Starsky’s apartment. He had been in a rush and was late. Hopefully Starsky hadn’t fallen asleep in front of the TV. Since he had been released from the hospital he tired much easier and still needed a lot of rest. He had insisted on starting to work full time though, but Hutch knew that Starsky couldn’t use his left arm properly and had a hard time even to get dressed. He didn’t want to wear the sling to protect the shoulder. How could a man be so stubborn, Hutch mused, and rang the bell. No one opened and Hutch felt ill at ease.

He used his own key and entered the apartment.


“Starsk? Everything okay?”


There was no sound and Hutch moved toward the bedroom only to find it empty. Then a sound from the bathroom caught his attention. Carefully he opened the door – and couldn’t believe his eyes. Starsky was lying in the tub asleep, his face almost touching the water surface.


“My God, what’re you doing?” Hutch shouted, and rushed to the tub to keep Starsky’s head out of the water. At this moment Starsky flinched. Thrashing around he soaked Hutch jeans and part of his shirt.

“Shh, calm down. It’s me,” Hutch soothed, and couldn’t be angry any longer.

“Can’t leave you alone, can I?” He looked into Starsky’s blurred eyes.


“Hutch? Sorry, must have fallen asleep. Just wanted to take a bath. Thought it would help my shoulder, ya know,” Starsky mumbled and didn’t object when Hutch helped him out of the tub, putting the robe round Starsky’s shoulders.


“So you’re finally ready for our big evening out?” Hutch smiled and Starsky tried to look cheerfully, though it didn’t work completely. Hutch led his partner to the bed to get dressed.


It occurred him that Starsky had lost weight in the last weeks. The wound on his back had healed but the shoulder still gave him trouble.


“You need some help here?” Hutch asked and Starsky shook his head. “Okay, I’m in the living room. Just holler if you need me,” and Hutch left the room, not hearing Starsky’s soft spoken words: “I always need you.”.


Hutch took care of Starsky’s plants when he heard a hissed “Shit!” from the bedroom. In a second Hutch was with his partner. Starsky lay on the bed, trying to get his tight jeans on . It was a one-time sight and Hutch chuckled.


“Who told you to buy those skin tight jeans, and may I tell you that you forgot your underwear,” Hutch noted dryly, only to hear a mumbled “Too much effort…”


“Then stand up so we can get you dressed.” Carefully, Hutch hauled Starsky up from the bed and helped him with his jeans. Zipping them Hutch smiled. “Nothing penned in?”



Starsky shook his head and gave an embarrassed smile. Then he leaned into Hutch as if to gain some strength from his partner. Hutch enfolded him, feeling the chilled skin of Starsky’s exposed upper body.


Running his hands down Starsky’s back Hutch felt a wave of affection for his partner.

On the spur of the moment he dropped a kiss on Starsky’s injured shoulder. Then he released his friend, clearing his throat.


“I’ve reserved a table for us, so decide quickly which shirt you want to wear.”


Starsky still gazed at Hutch with an indefinable expression. Then he moved to the closet to fetch the dark blue shirt Hutch had given him last Christmas.


“Where’re we going?” Starsky’s curiosity rose while they were driving. Suddenly he had a sneaking suspicion. “I know where you want to take me. It must be that place where trainees cook and serve. No objection against these young people but you also said that you have to wait for the meals more than usual and the meals aren’t spicy.” Starsky sighed and closed his eyes.


After a while Hutch pulled the car in a parking lot and nudged his partner to open his eyes.

“We’re here. Get out of the car.”


Sleepily, Starsky opened his eyes and looked around. “You must be kidding. This is your place!”


“As I told you before, it’s safe and I know the cook personally.” Hutch’s smile glowed in the dark and Starsky looked disbelievingly at his friend.


“You’re surprising me again and again,” Starsky mumbled, following Hutch through the front garden to his little cottage.


Hutch switched the light on and Starsky could see the table set with white cloth and candles.

“Hutch, I don’t wanna be the odd one out. I’m leaving. Enjoy the time with your date.”

Starsky turned to go and heard Hutch say: “That’s exactly what I was thinking.” Hutch pointed to the chair and motioned Starsky to sit down. Now Starsky saw that there were only two place settings.


“Give the personel some time to prepare the meal,” Hutch joked, and disappeared into the kitchen.


Starsky sat down at the table and looked around. The table was set lovingly with napkins in rings, cut crystal, and two candles in the middle of the table. Is that the way the Hutchinson family used to eat, Starsky wondered. Normally Hutch didn’t set much value on these things. He must have a reason to celebrate a certain important event.


That was it! Starsky snapped his fingers. Maybe Hutch wanted to announce his engagement with what’s her name and wanted his best friend to be alerted first.


Starsky thought about Hutch’s ladies. He knew that none of them had been special to Hutch. After his divorce from Van, Hutch hadn’t been choosy. Once they had both dated the same stewardess, and had ended in a threesome. Afterwards they had felt awkward, not contented with the way things had turned out. When they were together with women they had a competitive way of acting with each other. When they were alone, though, there was the feeling of total acceptance and trust.


“Can you light the candles, buddy? The matches are over there.” Hutch carried a tray with several bowls and different plates.


“’ course.” Starsky managed to find the matches, and lit the candles.


Saucer-eyed, he looked at the filled bowls and plates that Hutch had put on the table.


“For you: Linguini with clams, for me veal piccata.” Hutch smiled and held a bottle in his hand. “Vino di casa.”


Open-mouthed Starsky looked at the meal, smelled the wonderful aromas – and couldn’t help but getting misty-eyed. He put his hand on Hutch’s holding the bottle of wine.


“Thank you so much, friend. Well, I only wanted scrambled eggs…” Starsky joked, hiding his emotion.


Hutch put the bottle on the table, lost contact with Starsky’s hand in the process and left the room.


“Not that I would forget the little things that make you happy,” he said coming back with a plate with scrambled eggs for Starsky.


“Enjoy your meal!” Hutch said sitting down and opened the bottle.


Soon both men were dugging in their meal. Halfway through, Hutch raised his wine and they clinked glasses.


“I have your words in my ear when you said in the Italian restaurant that you were still hungry when all was over. So I hope that you’ll stop complaining that you didn’t get your meal,” Hutch said and Starsky who felt a lump in his throat added. “To all special events and to friends who watch each other’s backs!”


Later they settled on the couch and Hutch admitted that he had had a little help from the kind neighbor to cook the Italian dishes.


“You’re someone special,” Starsky said emptying his third glass of wine. Then he took heart and asked:


“When’s the engagement? You have already engagement rings?”


“Whaaa?” Hutch’s glass almost dropped out of his hands. Averting Starsky’s eyes Hutch blushed deeply.


“No reason to feel embarrassed. How long have we known each other? You can tell me who’s the lucky one you fell in love with. Do I know her?” Starsky crossed his legs and sat opposite of Hutch on the couch.


Hutch looked back at him with an inexplicably expression in his eyes.


“No engagement, no rings,” Hutch mumbled being quite occupied with his glass turning around.


”Is it Sandy from  bowling that you met this summer?”


“Not Sandy,” Hutch got up and paced through the living room toward the window that viewed the canal.


Silence spread over the room and Starsky sensed that something was wrong. He got up from the couch and approached his partner. Both men looked through the window into the dark. Hutch kept quiet, so Starsky looped one arm around Hutch’s waist.


“What’s the reason you set the table this way and cooked this meal?” Starsky looked at Hutch. In the dimmed light he couldn’t see his eyes.


There was a pause and then the softly spoken word: “You.”


Starsky had to cope with what he had just heard. He knew they cared for each other and it suited Hutch to cook the dinner they had missed at the restaurant. But something was different. It hit him in a flash that Hutch really loved him, was in love with him. Overwhelmed by this sensation Starsky pulled Hutch closer. Listening to his quickened heartbeat he had to admit for the first time that Hutch meant the world to him.


Not sure at all about his own feelings Starsky whispered: “Let’s talk, c’mon,” and he led an unresisting Hutch back to the couch.


Starsky settled again cross-legged next to Hutch his knees brushing Hutch’s thighs. The physical contact, often performed, had a new impact on Starsky and he realized it with astonishment. He looked at Hutch’s face, the features that had become so familiar to him.

He put his hand under Hutch’s chin to turn his head to face him.

Light blue eyes still tried to avert Starsky’s gaze but for Starsky there was no use hiding his feelings any longer.


“I need you,” Starsky said and let his hand linger on Hutch’s cheek. Hutch leaned into the touch, closing his eyes. “I’ve always needed you. You’re the most important person in my life and it makes me proud that you feel the same.”


Now Hutch returned the look smiling sadly. “Starsk, you don’t understand…”


“Shh, Blondie, I understand. C’mon, get more comfortable.” Starsky motioned Hutch to lie back against his chest. Shifting a little Starsky, was able to go easy on his left shoulder. With his right arm he massaged Hutch’s neck till he felt his friend relax against him.


Sneaking his arm around Hutch’s waist, Starsky cherished the closeness of his partner. He propped his chin on Hutch’s shoulder and smiled.


“Did I ever tell you how beautiful you are?” Pulling a resisting Hutch even closer Starsky went on, “And did you know that I’m only happy when you’re with me?”


Starsky touched his head to Hutch’s and found an earlobe that was worth nibbling at. Then he whispered some words into Hutch’s ear that made his friend blush and moan in anticipation.


Fade to black . . .


The end




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