They parted with an argument. Following a suspect in Hutch’s old Ford, the car had broken down in the middle of an intersection. The perp was gone and Starsky cursed loudly while inspecting the smoking engine compartment.


“Shit! I can’t believe it! That’s the third time your so-called car has let us down. Last time we got stuck on Baywater Bridge and caused a traffic jam five miles long.  You promised to get the car repaired by Merle. And now?” Starsky wiped the sweat off his forehead leaving traces of dirt behind. The blowing horns around him made him even more furious. ”Hutch, you hear me? Get out of the car and look at this mess!” He reached for the driver’s door and yanked it open. His partner was sitting there still clasping the steering wheel and showing no emotion. Starsky noticed the pale face and the damp blond strands covering his forehead.


“What?” Absent-minded Hutch got out of the car in slow motion.


“Look! The cooler is overheated again,” Starsky explained. Hutch only shrugged his shoulders, slipped into the car again and grabbed for the microphone to patch them through..  Starsky didn’t know what else to say. His anger faded.  Instead, he felt affronted by Hutch’s disinterest.


When Merle came to tow away Hutch’s car both men kept quiet. Merle wondered when neither of them responded to his lame jokes about Hutch’s “old heap”. Trouble’s brewing! He thought and stopped talking, too.


Starsky shifted to get more comfortable in the truck seat. Hutch, next to him, moved at the same moment to get closer to the door. There was no doubt that he was avoiding the contact with Starsky.


Suppressing a sigh, Starsky leaned back against the headrest and let his thoughts roam. Where were the times when they had been so close that other officers had teased them: “Here come our joined–at-the-hip-detectives!”


They had laughed them off, never ashamed of showing their affection for each other. Starsky almost chuckled as he remembered the day Simonetti had made an ambiguous remark referring to their “special relationship.” Encouraged by the laughter of some other officers Simonetti had asked which of them would have the leading part.


To his surprise, Hutch had caught Starsky in his arms, dipping him.


“Guess who!” he had snarled at Simonetti. Starsky would never forget the expression on Simonetti’s face.


And then?


Starsky frowned thinking of the last months. Step by step, almost unconsciously Hutch had changed. He had started practising at Vinnie’s, not only in the morning but also after work. Starsky understood that Hutch wanted to lose some pounds, but when he extended his exercises and refused to have a pizza with Starsky, or hang out with him to watch a game on TV, Starsky started to worry.


Hutch rejected Starsky’s efforts to talk it over. Instead he began teasing Starsky in an insulting way. Making fun of Starsky’s unique way of regarding things and leaving him alone with difficult reports. Once Hutch had called him “childish” when he had told him a funny story he had heard on TV. That was the moment at which Starsky had thought of needing a change. Some weeks ago he had applied at short notice for an advanced training in San Francisco. The course would start the following week and Starsky hadn’t heard anything about it. Anyway, he would…


“Hey, get out, or do you want to stay here all night?” he heard Hutch’s sarcastic comment.


“Shut up, Blondie!” Starsky’s anger was raising again. While Hutch talked with Merle about the repair of his car Starsky looked for a cab that could take him back to Metro.


A cab stopped and Starsky slipped inside without calling for Hutch. He had a bad feeling about it though and he was almost glad when he heard Hutch shouting: “Wait for me!”


Without a word to each other they went to their squadroom. Starsky turned left for the men’s room to wash up. When he came back he wasn’t surprised to find that Hutch had left already. Starsky checked his watch . It was already late. He would call it a day, too.


He was arranging the folders on his desk when an envelope caught his eye. It lay between two folders that ought to be taken to Vice.


Starsky looked at the envelope.  It was addressed to him. He opened it and couldn’t believe it: He was accepted for the training in San Francisco! The date was from the week before. Somehow he hadn’t gotten the letter till now.


Excited, he knocked on Dobey’s door to tell him the news.


“I was wondering why they didn’t tell you earlier. Now I have to arrange the next two weeks’ duty roster differently to cover your absence. Anyway, enjoy this aspect of police work. I’ll see you in two weeks!”


Starsky was dismissed and hurried home to get prepared for two weeks in San Francisco.

He was looking forward to it, especially after the incident that afternoon with his partner.

He needed some space.  Starsky decided not to tell Hutch that he wouldn’t be there on Monday.


He had never thought of being separated. from Hutch. But now it was a most welcome distraction.


“He’s going to miss me when I’m gone,” Starsky smiled.


Almost relieved he went out to do some errands and to ask his landlady to look after his plants and collect his mail.


He was looking forward to getting to know another part of the police work. Getting trained to speak at schools to prevent kids to become criminals was an intriguing task.


As expected, Hutch didn’t call him on Saturday, so Starsky wasn’t tempted to tell Hutch about his absence. He cleaned his apartment, frowning when he found one of Hutch’s T-shirts behind the couch cushions. Hutch never put his things away. Once Starsky had found a pair of Hutch’s dirty socks behind the coffee pot in the kitchen. That guy simply wasn’t capable of organizing his stuff, Starsky muttered. The phone rang and Starsky hesitated before answering the call. He was lucky; it wasn’t Hutch.  It was Celine, his latest acquaintance. Her flight was delayed and she had to stay in New York that weekend. Starsky told her about his training in San Francisco. They decided to meet there the next weekend.


Everything was arranged when Starsky left Bay City early on Sunday morning. During the flight Starsky imagined all the things he was going to learn. Time passed quickly and soon the landing in San Francisco was announced.


After Starsky had made himself comfortable in the hotel room he joined the other attendees of the training conference in the lobby. Each of them got a name tag and soon Starsky was chatting with other police officers. They went to dinner together and uncharacteristically Starsky chose a chef salad, following the lead of the others.


Afterwards they had a heated discussion about modern police work. Starsky participated with his unique comments and got some laughter from the others. He went to bed feeling that an interesting week lay ahead.


On Monday, the training started. The participants learned about a government prevention program that had police officers working in schools to teach the children how to get along in life. Especially in those districts with high unemployment, there was a lot to do.

Starsky scribbled down notes. He could imagine working some day as a detective with the kids at school. He was thinking of Hutch, who had a good way with children, too. When they visited the Dobeys, Hutch always asked for Rosie first and soon the little girl threw herself into his arms. Starsky smiled, but forced himself to concentrate on his classes again.


All week, Starsky enjoyed the training.  Surprisingly though, he found himself thinking more often of Hutch, what he would be doing now, and if he had been surprised hearing of Starsky’s training.


On Saturday there were no classes and Starsky was looking forward to his date with Celine. They had met four weeks ago and this was their third date. When she walked toward him, her blond hair framing the beautiful face, he opened his arms to welcome her. Their lips met for a promising kiss.


On the way to his hotel they shared their different experiences during the last week. In his room they stopped talking and helped each other to get undressed to make love. Falling on the bed she giggled and reached out her arms for him.


Bending over his beautiful date he caressed her soft skin, trailed kisses over her neck and shoulders and was pleased when he heard her moan.


He wasn’t pleased at all with his own reaction, though. Somehow, he felt irritated. Stroking her blond hair the image of Hutch suddenly appeared. His hair felt like silk, it glowed when the sun…


Stop it! Starsky scolded himself. What was he thinking! He concentrated on Celine again, feeling her helping hand, but it didn’t work.


“Sorry,” he mumbled at last, lying beside her and feeling rather confused. Celine snuggled up to him, trying to reassure him that it was because of the unfamiliar surroundings or the exhausting classes of the previous week…


She had to leave early the next morning. Kissing each other goodbye, they both felt

insecure about the future of their relationship. They promised to call each other, each knowing that they likely wouldn’t.


When he met the other officers for breakfast one of them proposed a hiking tour on Sunday. They were all up for it and under the group pressure Starsky had to agree willy-nilly.


Honestly, he hated camping and hiking. His worst memories were with Hutch in the woods…


It turned out to be a strange trip for Starsky. Not because of the exhausting trail, but because he couldn’t stop thinking of all the times he’d done this with Hutch. When they had been in Dobey’s cabin and had met the weirdly-acting people in that small town – all because of the Satanists that had kidnapped a girl and wanted to sacrifice her. Altogether it hadn’t been too bad.


He’d had funny moments with Hutch when Hutch had imitated the growling of a bear and Starsky had believed it. Hutch had cooked a wonderful meal for the two of them and had told him a ghost story afterwards that had scared him a lot. To take the fear away, Hutch had put his arm around Starsky’s shoulder and Starsky had felt protected. That was Hutch; teasing him in a rough way and then showing his affection with little touches that felt so good.


Suddenly Starsky longed to be with Hutch. He missed Hutch’s smile, and the soothing, comforting touch of his hands. When he was feeling down, Hutch was there, ready to listen to Starsky’s ranting and babbling.


Starsky knew he was a terrible whiner when he felt sick. Hutch had always borne with him, had held his head when Starsky puked all over the sheets, had cleaned up after him without complaining, and had taken care of him when he got shot in the restaurant. Starsky still remembered Hutch lifting him up from the floor to carry him into the office of the restaurant.  Wiping his face with a wet cloth, and holding him in his arms when Starsky had fallen from the couch.


Closing his eyes for a moment, Starsky cherished these memories…


“Whoa, David, watch your step! You almost stumbled over a trunk.” One of the officers caught Starsky.


“Thanks,” Starsky said, a little embarrassed. He decided to call Hutch in the evening.




Annoyed, Starsky put the phone back on the nightstand. Obviously Hutch wasn’t at home, though it was already late in the evening. He was probably still at the Pits drinking beer.

Starsky tried to tell himself that everything was okay. But an uneasy feeling nagged at him.


If he’d been in Hutch’s shoes, he would have gone ballistic, knowing that his partner had left without telling him. They’d had their problems recently and had missed the opportunity to work it out.


What was he worrying about? No doubt Hutch was glad to get rid of his annoying partner – at least for a little while…


Starsky thought of the beautiful woman whom he had just failed miserably. Starsky shoved these thoughts aside and fell asleep.


The second week started with a series of interesting visits to different schools. Starsky loved talking to the adolescents and listening to the difficulties they had at school and in their families.


There was so much he could do, just being there for the kids, and helping them stay off the streets where numerous gangs tried to convince young people to follow them.


In class they were taught how to react when there was a fight between the students. And they learned how to give speeches in front of the young people.


Starsky felt appreciated and needed.


He tried several times to call Hutch, but when he couldn’t reach him he didn’t worry. The training took all of his concentration and he enjoyed it to the fullest.


On the last day of the course they had a barbeque. To his surprise, Starsky found himself once again choosing the healthier stuff. Hutch had lectured him endlessly about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and Starsky had always made fun of his partner. Now he didn’t object to eating salads and tropical fruits they offered .


He had to tell Hutch about these changes, he thought. From that moment on, his participation in the barbeque was only half hearted. Suddenly, all he wanted was to fly home back to Hutch. Forgotten were the past months full of disappointment, the lack of affection on the part of Hutch.


Instead, Starsky was longing for Hutch’s presence. When Hutch was smiling, nothing seemed bad anymore. His soft voice had a calming effect, and not only on Starsky. How often had criminals confessed their crimes in tears after Hutch had talked to them.


Starsky’s worries were back full force. Hutch had been acting so strange the last time they’d been together. As if he didn’t care any longer about their partnership…


They had to talk it over, Starsky decided.


“Be right back,” he told the other members of the course and left for the telephone. It was noon, early enough to book a flight back to Bay City.


Some of the others intended to stay for the weekend. Starsky excused himself explaining that he had to meet an old friend in Bay City this weekend.


With his diploma in his pocket, Starsky left for the airport. He couldn’t wait to see Hutch.




Two weeks earlier in Bay City



Arriving at the precinct, Hutch went straight to the squad room while Starsky turned to the left to the bathroom – not speaking a word. Hutch shrugged his shoulders. He could do without another argument. Starsky was mad at him. Understandable. Losing a perp because of a broken down car was not the best way to obtain some respect.


 It was undeniable, he had screwed up this time. He had known about the overheated cooler for weeks and he hadn’t taken care of it. He didn’t understand himself why he was acting this way. Did he want to make Starsky furious?  He had always teased Starsky, especially when Starsky’s Torino had given them trouble. Okay, Starsky didn’t have the money at the time for repairs, but he had teased him anyway, making fun of the “red tomato”.


Hutch sat down, feeling lightheaded. Was it because he had only had his health shake in the morning? For lunch he hadn’t been hungry at all and had watched Starsky eating an extra large burrito. Now he could do with a meal like that. Hutch chuckled.  He had started fasting  two weeks ago to lose some weight and he intended to fulfil his plan.


After a few minutes, when Starsky didn’t reappear from the bathroom, Hutch picked up his jacket and headed out the door for home.  He had a refreshing shower in mind to wash off the dirt of the day. Afterward, he would fix a good dinner to get some food in his stomach.


Approaching his usual parking, lot Hutch stopped abruptly. Shit! He would have no car for the next days.


Then again, this could come in handy. He had planned to work out at Vinnie’s anyway, so he could do some jogging to get there. He had underestimated the distance though, and felt like crap when he arrived panting, with a stitch in his side.


“Hey, you all right?” Vinnie asked him, concerned after having watched Hutch work out on the bags. The man looked exhausted, Vinnie thought. And no wonder. Hutch had been training extremely hard over the past few weeks.


“You owe it to yourself to take a break, friend,” Vinnie said, giving Hutch a fresh towel. Hutch only nodded and went to take a shower. Maybe he shouldn’t overdo it, he thought as the water refreshed his body and helped him relax. Soaping his body, he realized that he had lost weight. That had been his goal, he thought, contented. Having a constantly complaining partner at his side who couldn’t understand what healthy living meant to him was hard to bear. Thinking of all the burritos, root beer and pizzas Starsky had eaten over the last few months Hutch almost felt sick. He stepped out of the shower and had to fight a sudden dizziness. He leaned against the clammy wall and breathed deeply. Wrapping the towel around his waist, he slowly went to his locker to get dressed.


Suddenly he had a strange feeling that the floor was approaching him very quickly. Then he hit the ground, out like a light.


“Hutch? Hey Hutch! Wake up!” Slowly Hutch opened his eyes, looking into Vinnie’s concerned face. Hutch looked around. He was lying on one of the benches in the locker room.

“What…?” Hutch couldn’t remember anything.


“You were lying here on the floor.  I got another customer to help me lift you up onto the bench. You overdid it. I tried to call Starsky but he wasn’t at home. Shall I …?”


“No! I can help myself, Vinnie, no problem. I’ll drive home…Oh, I forgot. Vinnie, could you do me a favor and call a cab? My car is at Merle’s.”


“I want you to go first to the ER room to get this checked,” Vinnie insisted. He told the cab driver where to go and, embarrassed, Hutch went along with it. He was taught a severe lesson by the doctor, and had to promise that he wouldn’t continue fasting and working out at a gym at the same time.


Coming home he fixed himself a dinner with the few ingredients he found in his fridge. Afterward, he felt better. He briefly thought of calling Starsky to have breakfast together the next day, but he pushed the thought aside.


Their partnership had reached a point where it wasn’t easy to forget what had happened over the last few months. Hutch had to admit he had teased his friend in a way that could be called insulting. Starsky always had difficulty to writing reports the way Dobey wanted them, so Hutch had helped. Until these last few weeks, it had never been a problem.


Hutch had refused to help Starsky, commenting ironically, “You should be able to do your own work, buddy!” Remembering his nasty words, Hutch cringed. Where had the times gone when they had been inseparable? Now he had the urge to push Starsky away, while at the same time he wished for nothing more than to be close to him. Hutch was at a loss regarding his strange behavior.


On Monday he would have a talk with Starsky. For now he had to accept the emergency room doctor’s advice to slow down a bit.




Impatiently Hutch waited for Starsky to pick him up on Monday morning. Starsky had a tendency to be late so Hutch only started worrying when Starsky hadn’t arrived after half an hour. Hutch’s worry turned into anger. Starsky knew that Hutch had no car. How dare he drive alone to the precinct? Hutch paced through his apartment looking out of the window repeatedly but no Starsky was in sight. The effect of a relaxed weekend was almost gone when Hutch called a cab again, seething with rage.


Storming into the squad room, he skidded to a stop and stood rooted to the spot. Starsky’s chair was empty. Had he already gone to buy a candy bar? Hutch wondered, sarcastically.  Then he heard Captain Dobey call him into his office.


“You’re late, Hutchinson. By the way, for the next two weeks you are partnered with Morris. But first there’s a lot of paperwork to do. So get to work ASAP!” Dobey snarled.


As if he hadn’t heard, Hutch said, “Captain, my so called partner” – Hutch pronounced the word with precise articulation –“didn’t pick me up this morning. I have to talk to Starsky right away.”


He was turning to leave when Dobey stopped him.

“Starsky is in San Francisco. He takes part in a training course, in case you forgot,” Dobey stated, ironically.


“What?” Hutch stood open-mouthed.


“What do you mean by ‘what’?” Dobey asked. He looked into Hutch’s haggard face and lost it completely.


“Are you telling me you didn’t know anything about you partner’s plan to attend that training in San Francisco?” Dobey yelled.


Hutch couldn’t help it. His legs got wobbly. He perched on the arm of the chair in front of Dobey’s desk and realized that normally Starsky would be sitting next to him. But Starsky was gone. Without telling him he had left for a training that could have been a chance for both of them to go further in their careers…


Hutchinson! This is unbelievable! I shouldn’t have to tell you that working with a partner means being informed about all that’s going on. As soon as Starsky is back, you two are going to get your act together and work it out, whatever it is! Now, on your desk there’s some paperwork for you to do.” With that Dobey dismissed Hutch. When the door closed behind the detective, Dobey looked up pensively, and shook his head slowly. Something was wrong with his two best detectives.


Hutch slumped down on his chair and covered his face with his hands. The anger he had felt earlier had vanished completely. Instead there was an emptiness and a desperation that filled his heart. Starsky had abandoned him. He had chosen to take part in that training because he was looking for a different job, Hutch was almost sure. He was left behind and he deserved it, after the way he had treated Starsky the last time. Hutch cringed.


“Mornin’ Hutch. How are you? We never expected Starsky to study further – at last he’s thinking of his career. Good choice if you ask me,” Officer Thompson smiled, gently squeezing Hutch’s shoulder.


Shoving the self-pitying thoughts aside Hutch agreed, smiling back at the officer. What else could he do but think of his job? Who was Starsky? No one important.


Hutch straightened and dug into work.


Over the next several days he wrote countless reports, worked overtime and offered his help whenever an extra officer was needed by any of the other departments.


In the evenings he fell exhausted into bed denying that he was in a state of total avoidance.


The following weekend was almost unbearable. With no reports to write, or work to distract himself, Hutch’s thoughts went to Starsky enjoying life in San Francisco. He imagined his friend meeting a lot of interesting people and telling them in his own inimitable way what he was thinking about the world in general - and having a good laugh with them. Starsky had always found friends easily.


Hutch remembered his own arrival at the police academy. Being reserved, he had stayed apart from the others until the day an excited guy from New York had almost run over him in the hall. Suddenly his books were lying all over the floor and the guy was excusing himself for his stormy behaviour. His smile had lightened the room. They introduced themselves – the rest was history.


Till now, Hutch thought, sipping his beer. He was alone, abandoned by his best friend. He switched the radio on and listened to the music. Half asleep, he let the songs carry him away. He missed the ringing of the phone entirely.


Waking in the middle of the night, Hutch realized that the radio was still on. Confused, he looked around, belatedly realizing that he still lay fully clothed on his couch. They were playing a song he and Starsky had often mocked. Hutch got up to switch the radio off, but something made him hesitate. The lyrics of the song registered with him and he couldn’t help but listen to them:


I can’t smile without you

I can’t laugh

And I can’t sing

I’m finding it hard to do anything

You see, I feel sad when you’re sad,

I feel glad when you’re glad

If you only knew what I’m going through

I just can’t smile without you…


Hutch couldn’t believe what he was doing: Humming that song! He had to have gone completely nuts, making a fool of himself this way. If Starsky had been here he would have asked Hutch if he was all there.


But the words stayed in his mind, even after he had gone to bed. The realization hit him then that the song expressed exactly how he was feeling. Without Starsky he couldn’t smile, he had lost his joie de vivre. Everything he had fought for in the past had been for Starsky, for his well-being. But that didn’t match up with the way he had treated Starsky these past few months. Hutch sat up in bed, thinking hard.


Had he pushed Starsky away because he was afraid of his own feelings?


To provoke Simonetti and his close-minded mates, a few months ago he had caught Starsky in his arms and it had felt so good. They had always been close but that day their embrace had been different for Hutch. Feeling Starsky’s body pressed against his had carried him away.


That was the beginning of his retreat. He had stopped touching Starsky, had made fun of him, had insulted him – because he loved him in a way that wouldn’t be accepted by Starsky who loved the ladies and who loved him, too – but not the same way he did.


He had to fess up that Starsky was the love of his life. Without him his world would fall into thousands of pieces. He had to cope with the fact that Starsky had chosen to go a step further in his career without telling him. After the last few months Hutch could almost understand Starsky’s reaction. He had neglected their get-togethers, had refused to spend the weekends with his best friend. Instead he had been at Vinnie’s working out too hard, and fasting at the same time.

Suddenly Hutch understood his strange behavior during the last months. He had needed to distract himself from being too focussed on Starsky. Overdoing it and risking his health had been the result.


Hutch decided to take more care of himself.


He would never tell Starsky his true feelings. He had to look ahead, making his own way.


Finally able to put his mind at rest, Hutch lay down and closed his eyes. He slept until the alarm clock announced a new working day.




Hutch finished his last report and put the folder aside. He looked at the empty chair opposite him.  The two weeks were over and Starsky would be back at work on Monday.

He hadn’t heard from Starsky at all. Hutch felt nervous, thinking of the upcoming week.


Well, first he had to face the weekend ahead. He got up, snatched his jacket from the backrest and left the squad room.. Driving home in his repaired car – now it really didn’t matter what Starsky might say about his “old heap” because at least it was running – it started to rain. Just the right weather to stay inside and take care of his neglected plants.


Hutch opened the door to his apartment. Obviously he had forgotten to pull up the blinds in the morning; the room was in a half-light. Hutch tossed his jacket across the room in the general direction of the couch and went to the kitchen. He was thinking of a light dinner; maybe he could try the enchiladas Starsky had been always fond of. As he opened the refrigerator he suddenly felt a presence behind him. At the same moment a pair of hands covered his eyes. Hutch jerked free and reached for his weapon. Frantically, he turned around – to look into Starsky’s grinning face.


“Are you gonna shoot me, Hutch? Hey, it’s me, don’t you remember?”


Dumbfounded, Hutch looked at his partner. In a split second his mood changed to fury. How dare Starsky appear at Hutch’s home, acting as if nothing had happened! Standing there, arms spread in a welcoming gesture with that smile on his face, his dark blue eyes sparkling. It was more than Hutch could take.


In a single fast motion he grabbed Starsky by the shoulders, and pushed him against the opposite wall, pinning him there.


“If I remember you? You, who chose to enjoy himself in San Francisco?  Who didn’t pick me up - when I had no car?  Who let me wait for nothing?”


“I’m sorry….”


“Don’t tell me you’re sorry. You planned it very well.  You applied for that training in order to find another job, didn’t you, PARTNER! You want to get rid of me? You’ve got it!”


Hutch released his grip on Starsky and turned to go.


“Hutch, I never thought you would be this mad at me. I …”


“Leave me alone!”


Hutch stormed to the door, stopping only a moment to take off his holster. Then he was gone.


Starsky rubbed his shoulder.  It still hurt from Hutch’s rough grip. He had expected Hutch to be worried about his absence, and maybe even a little offended. But this reaction was too much. Starsky felt a lump in his throat. What had Hutch said? He thought Starsky wanted to get rid of him? He had to clarify some things right away, Starsky decided.


He rushed down the stairs and looked around, but he couldn’t see Hutch. The car was still there. Hutch loved the beach when he wanted to reflect on a situation. Starsky followed the street straight to the beach. It was deserted. Ignoring the rain that soaked his shirt, Starsky set off to look for his partner.


With long strides, Hutch ran along the shore. He couldn’t think clearly. He only knew that he had screwed up again, this time the worst of all. He had rebuffed his best friend. He had passed up on any chance for a reconciliation. He slowed his pace. That’s torn it, he thought. The ache in his side started again.


His anger was replaced by the desperation he had felt when he had first heard of Starsky’s trip to San Francisco without him. Now Starsky was back, had smiled at him, and all he had in mind was pushing Starsky away.


Exhausted, Hutch let himself fall against a pile of rocks. Not caring about his soaked clothes, he held his face up to the rain, his eyes closed.


He flinched when he felt a hand squeeze his shoulder.  A body settled next to him, achingly familiar. He didn’t dare open his eyes, afraid that it was all in his imagination. Then fingertips touched his jaw and his chin was turned to the right.


“Did you really think I was going to leave you, mushbrain? Don’t you know that you’re the world to me?” Starsky’s voice sounded fragile, and Hutch opened his eyes. Starsky’s face was only inches away from his. Dark blue eyes were glued to him. Still not ready to believe what he had just heard, Hutch turned his head away, feeling a lump in his throat..


Starsky looked down, brushing his hand over the damp fabric of his jeans. “I never intended to hurt you. I wasn’t so sure about our partnership these last few months, though. You seemed to be offended a lot.  You obviously needed more space and at the time I thought it would be a good idea to apply for that training course. I wanted to give us a chance to think it over…”


Hutch looked back at Starsky, raindrops trailing down his face.




Starsky looked up. “Call me nuts, but I missed you terribly. I don’t know what’s wrong with me…”


“Missed you, too,” Hutch croaked, and blushed. He lifted his arm to wipe the raindrops on his face away, but was caught mid air by Starsky’s hand.


“Hey, that’s my job.”  Lightly, Starsky traced his fingertips over Hutch’s cheek.


“I’ve missed your smile,” Starsky said. Slowly he leaned forward till his lips brushed Hutch’s. They were soft and cool and wet. It was a sensation Starsky had never felt before.


Was he nuts, kissing his partner? Starsky wondered. But somehow it felt so right. Hutch tensed, but he didn’t draw back.


Encouraged, Starsky moved on to Hutch’s earlobe. Gently nibbling and breathing into it Starsky savored Hutch’s scent. Hutch leaned into the caress. Then he broke the contact.


A shy smile lit up Hutch’s face, and he said, “Um, don’t you think we should go home?”


Starsky looked down at their soaked shirts and jeans and nodded.


Getting up, he held out his hand to help Hutch to his feet.


“Look, I think it has stopped raining,” Starsky noticed.  He started to brush the sand off his jeans.


“Hey, that’s my job,” Hutch said and rubbed with a little effort on Starsky’s knees.


“Turn round!” he ordered and cleaned Starsky’s behind. The feeling of Hutch’s hands on his butt through the soft denim of his jeans made Starsky shiver. He mumbled, “That’s okay for now…”


“Okay, for now,” Hutch repeated, smiling meaningfully.


They turned to leave, absorbed in their own thoughts for a while. Starsky wondered what had just happened to them. First Hutch had run out of the house, totally frustrated. Then he had kissed Hutch and Hutch hadn’t pushed him back. What was that supposed to mean? Covertly, Starsky glanced over to Hutch and their eyes met. Starsky saw the love in Hutch’s eyes – and the hurt of being left alone while Starsky had enjoyed his conference in San Francisco.


“Are you looking for another job?” Hutch questioned, seriously. Starsky stopped walking, and held on Hutch’s sleeve.


“Well, possibly there’s a chance…”


“What?  I knew it!” Hutch tried to break away, but he hadn’t counted on Starsky’s strong grip around his arm.


“There’s always a chance for another job – so long as you’re with me! Got it?”


Starsky’s other hand came to rest on Hutch’s stomach. Starsky could feel the tense muscles there slowly relaxing under his hand.


“C’mon, let’s head home!” Starsky said, with determination. He couldn’t wait to have Hutch warm and dry, and close to him. Walking the rest of the way home, they never lost touch.


They entered Hutch’s apartment, and Starsky went straight to the bedroom, unbuttoning his shirt.

“Must have some dry clothes in my suitcase,” he muttered.


“By the way, today is only Friday. Weren’t you supposed to come back on Sunday?” Hutch wondered.


He couldn’t hear Starsky’s answer, and just as he entered his bedroom Starsky hurried outside, wearing only his briefs. They bumped into each other and after a moment of confusion, they didn’t let go.


Hutch wrapped his arms around Starsky, running his arms up and down Starsky’s back.


“You’re cold.” Hutch stated, “ and a little sandy. What about a shower?”


“You, too,” Starsky said, letting his hand linger on Hutch’s butt. A little sand was trickling to the floor.


“Let’s get you out of these sand-caked pants,” Starsky said , fumbling with Hutch’s belt. He swatted Hutch’s hand away and unzipped Hutch’s pants.


Hutch unbuttoned his shirt, and then looked at Starsky as if he had never seen him before. Long dark lashes were hiding dark blue eyes. Some unruly curls were falling over his brow and Hutch reached up with one hand to push them aside. Starsky looked up and, as if they had the same idea, they leaned forward until their lips met, braver this time. It was pure bliss tasting the softness of each other’s lips.


Then Hutch gave a little yelp when Starsky put his hands inside Hutch’s waistband.  He pushed his trousers down with his underwear. Not hesitating a moment, Starsky claimed Hutch’s open mouth again letting his tongue slip in. Hutch was overwhelmed by this sensation. He felt his excitement grow and pulled Starsky closer. Starsky put his hand on the nape of Hutch’s neck and stroked the blond locks there.


Finally, they parted gasping for breath.


“How about that shower?” Starsky smiled.


Hutch nodded, pushing his pants further down to step out of them. Starsky went to the bathroom to turn the water on.


It was an odd situation, Hutch thought. He was going to have a shower with his buddy – nothing unusual. They had done it before, for example when they had been late again and were afraid of being roasted by Dobey. Like brothers they hadn’t cared about their nudity, had discussed each other’s “attributes” and their chances with the ladies. That had been years ago, before everything had changed. Hutch stood there, lost in thought, fumbling with his shirt.


“You coming?” he heard Starsky call from the shower stall.


Hutch took a deep breath, took off his shirt, and went into the bathroom. Steam was filling the room and he could only imagine Starsky behind the shower curtain.


“I need some help here,” Starsky’s voice could barely be heard from behind the curtain.


Hutch’s urge to assist got the upper hand over his nervousness, and he drew the curtain back. Starsky was standing with his back to Hutch, water dripping and squirting everywhere.


“Want me to soap your back?” Hutch asked and Starsky only nodded, handling him the soap. Hutch took care of Starsky’s broad back. His hand followed the spine and went further down till he reached Starsky’s buttocks.


“You mind?” Hutch whispered, lathering both cheeks with the soap. Then he put the soap aside and let his fingers slip into the crease.


“In case there’s some sand,” Hutch said, leaning his forehead against Starsky’s back. Starsky trembled under the touch . He turned around and wrapped Hutch in his arms, leaning back against the wall. Now Hutch stood in the full stream of the water. Wet lips met for a passionate kiss. Tongues explored each other, hands roamed over every inch of their bodies. Starsky drew back to examine Hutch’s. Lathering the smooth chest, dwelling on the hardened nipples and kissing them affectionately, too. Hutch was fully aroused now.


“Love you,” he said softly.  Starsky’s response was unexpected.


Starsky dropped down to crouch in front of Hutch, regarding the engorged cock. Before Hutch could react, Starsky had taken him into his mouth. Hutch gasped for air, the sensation was almost too much to bear.


“Starsk, no.” His hands tangled in Starsky’s wet curls. He tried to pull away, but Starsky wouldn’t allow it. Starsky’s hand ran up Hutch’s side, exploring the nearest armpit, caressing the dark blond curling hair, and never letting go of Hutch’s cock.

Hutch felt near the edge. But he wanted to last it a bit longer. He tugged on a black curl and Starsky looked up,


“I need you up here. C’mon,” Hutch urged. Starsky straightened, looking questioningly at Hutch. As if they could read each other’s mind, knowing exactly what Starsky was wondering, Hutch said sincerely, “You’re just…great. But now I want you to turn around.”


Puzzled, Starsky stood up and turned away from Hutch, leaning on the wall in front of him. Strong arms encircled his waist. He was drawn back against Hutch’s body. Something hard pressed against Starsky’s buttocks. Starsky’s thoughts became confused. Was Hutch going to…?


“Don’t worry,” Hutch whispered, leaning into Starsky’s neck and kissing him there. Moving his hands up Starsky’s body Hutch stroked the furry chest, feeling the warm stream of water on their bodies. His hands explored Starsky’s ribcage down to his navel. “No sand left here,” Hutch chuckled, trailing further down. Finally his hand enfolded Starsky’s erect cock. Starsky moaned softly and Hutch asked: “Are you ready for the upcoming event?” Starsky nodded, surrendering control and cherishing Hutch’s caresses.


Positioning his cock between Starsky’s buttocks Hutch began thrusting, rubbing against the soft skin behind his balls and between his thighs. Shortly it occurred him how beautiful it would be to be inside Starsky. But they had all the time of the world to explore each other that way. Soon they were moving in synch. Hutch moved along Starsky’s length, squeezed and teased the cock, fondling his balls in between.

When he felt that his own excitement hit its peak, he thrust a little harder and intensified his activity on Starsky’s cock. Starsky leaned his head back against Hutch’s shoulder. A deep moan escaped his throat and a shiver ran through his body when he climaxed. The next move brought Hutch over the edge. Waves of excitement made Hutch tremble and without noticing it he bit Starsky in his shoulder. Starsky moaned again and Hutch realized what he had done.


“Sorry,” Hutch said, kissing the spot.


“Love hurts,” Starsky chuckled, still enfolded in Hutch’s arms.


Starsky was about to turn the water off when Hutch said: “Just a second.”


Lovingly he cleaned Starsky’s cock and behind. Starsky returned the favour. The intimacy they were sharing now, and the tender expression of their love, touched Starsky.  He felt a lump in his throat. No soapy scenes! he reminded himself.

Hutch started humming as he stepped out of the shower and grabbed for a towel.


“Hey Blondie, that sounds familiar to me. What song is it?”


“Huh? Dunno. It just came into my mind,” Hutch hid his face behind the towel. He could never admit that he had fallen for the lyrics that night he’d been so unhappy.


“I would love it if you started composing again.” Starsky said. Suddenly he remembered the song Hutch had hummed. Not being able to smile without the other one… It was so true!

Smiling he wrapped a towel around his waist and led Hutch to the bedroom.

“Let’s get some rest, okay?”


Starsky shed the towel and dove under the covers.  Lifting one side of the blanket invitingly, he motioned Hutch to join him. Hutch stopped towelling his hair. Starsky admired the beauty of his partner’s strong body before Hutch lay down beside him. Putting their arms around each other they cherished the closeness of their bodies and their souls.


Starsky snuggled up to Hutch.  “Finally we’re warm…”


“…and dry,” Hutch finished. He closed his eyes. Forgotten were the times of doubt and fear he’d had of losing his partner. The future belonged to them with all of its challenges and uncertainty. But together they would survive and beat the odds.


Hutch’s stomach told him that he was hungry.


“Hey Starsk, what about enchiladas for dinner?” Hutch softly asked, combing his fingers through the dark curls.


“What about a salad?” came the sleepy answer.


Well, life was good.




The end


Note: This story relates to the song “Can’t Smile Without You” by Barry Manilow.



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