"Morning." Hutch entered the squad room and moved toward his chair. His smile froze when he saw his partner looking at
the folders in front of him. Starsky ignored his partner just like he had the week before. Hutch knew the reason all too well,
though. Since working on the case with Kira, their friendship had suffered from his betrayal of Starsky.
Hutch had slept with Kira shortly after Starsky had confessed that he really was in love with Kira. He originally just
wanted to speak with the blonde detective about her feelings, so he went to see her. He was prepared to back out before she
started to trying to seduce him, saying that she loved him as well as Starsky. Finally he couldn't resist her and when Starsky
suddenly appeared, well, there was nothing more to be said.
Afterwards they talked briefly about Kira and agreed that she had played her game with the two of them; she wasn't worth
it at all. Starsky had actually forgiven Hutch; at least that's what he said.
But Hutch knew the truth, and it made him feel miserable that Starsky was still suffering from his betrayal of trust. They
were working together, but there was no bantering, joking, laughing. Instead Starsky avoided looking at him, there was no
silent communication, and when Hutch asked Starsky to spend an evening together with pizza and beer, Starsky refused giving
One of the worst things was the lack of touches; they had always touched each other. It gave them a lot of comfort, for
example, when one of them was hurt or was feeling bad. Hutch was sure that Starsky needed him as well as he needed his friend's
care. But when Hutch tried to touch him, Starsky turned away.
Hutch made desperate efforts to get their friendship back, but it seemed to be in vain.
He had lost Starsky's love -- the most important person in his life was about to abandon him.
Hutch felt the lump in his throat and -- how embarrassing -- one tear had fallen onto the folder in front of him.
He cleared his throat, took out a hanky pretending to have a cold and blew his nose. For a moment he had the impression
that Starsky glanced at him; Hutch didn't care. He had to go on alone and would ask for a transfer to another unit. That way,
Starsky could find a better partner who would not betray him.
"Starsky and Hutch! There's an armed hold up in that liquor store two blocks east, at the corner of Highgate and Wisconsin.
Go and check it!"
Dobey's hollering pulled Hutch out of his thoughts. Starsky was already half way to the door before he could even pick
up his jacket and follow.
During the ride the silence between them spoke volumes. When they were approaching the corner they saw a crowd standing
outside and a woman cried: "My husband and my little daughter are inside. Please, is there anybody who can help them?"
At this moment a shot was heard from inside the store. The frightened people backed off. Without thinking Hutch was running
to the entrance of the shop. He didn't think about back up, his only thought was the father and daughter trapped inside.
He drew his weapon and could see the gunman who held a man and a little girl at gunpoint.
"Freeze! Police!" Hutch shouted and aimed his weapon at the criminal.
What happened next was like slow motion for Hutch. He heard that a trigger was pulled on his left and, turning, saw another
man aiming a weapon at him. There was no time to react and Hutch knew he had to give up. Pictures of his life were flashing
by, and when he heard the shot he closed his eyes.
He was pushed very hard and went to the ground. His side was hurting and he was wondering if that's where he was hit. He
felt a movement behind him and realized that there was a struggle, and a voice shouted, "Call an ambulance, he's hurt!"
Slowly Hutch opened his eyes. Now he was sure; the shot hadn't hit him. He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw that two
policemen had overpowered the criminals and father and daughter were safe.
Hutch tried to sit up when he caught sight of a huddled form lying on the ground.
"Starsk," he whispered, and he was shaken by the core when he realized what had happened. Starsky had taken the bullet
for him -- he had saved his life!
Hutch was pacing up and down the hospital corridor, waiting for some news about Starsky's condition. Finally a doctor informed
him that Starsky had been to surgery and that they had removed the bullet that stuck in his side. He was still in critical
condition but he would make it.
After a while Starsky was settled in and Hutch was allowed to see his partner. He hesitated before he entered the room.
He didn't feel comfortable with his mixed feelings. Starsky had turned away from him but he had just saved his life by risking
his own. Hutch felt confused.
His eyes had to get used to the dim light. Then he saw Starsky lying in the bed. Hutch stayed next to the door not daring
to move nearer.
He didn't know what to do, but then he heard a quiet voice speak, "Hey, is it really you? Come here," and Starsky's hand
raised from the sheet and motioned him to come closer.
It seemed to be an eternity that they had looked into each other eyes. When they did it now, it was so overwhelming that
Hutch felt suddenly light-headed. He was about to pull up a chair but was stopped by Starsky's grip on his sleeve.
"Stay here," Starsky said and a little smile crept over his face. Hutch sat down on the edge of the bed.
"What the hell did you do today?" Hutch croaked and tried to clear his voice. "I didn't deserve it at all. You should get
another partner, one who is worth it, who doesn't betray your trust like I did. I'm going to ask for a..."
"Shhhhh," he was interrupted by Starsky who let go of Hutch's sleeve. Instead Hutch felt a warm hand covering his own.
I'm going to lose my composure, Hutch thought.
"I have been a real asshole," Starsky said his dark blue eyes gleaming brightly. "I wanted to give you a hard time, but
it was even harder for me to be mad at you. I missed our evenings together, our special way to communicate... yeah, I missed
I should have never acted this way after what happened with Kira. It wasn't really love I felt for her. Now I know that,
and also that we make mistakes because we're human. Reminds me of today when you entered the shop without waiting for me to
back you up..."
"And you took a bullet for me," Hutch said affectionately and with pride in his voice. He was about to reach out to stroke
his partner's hair, but Starsky didn't want to be touched by him any longer, so Hutch held back.
"How are you feeling?" Hutch asked instead and he was shocked when he heard Starsky's answer, "really bad."
Hutch felt inconsolable. "Should I call the nurse? Are you in pain? What can I do for you?"
"Well there is one thing I need above all..." Starsky was speaking so quietly that Hutch had to put his ear near Starsky's
lips to hear the words.
He listened, and then there was a little pause. Hutch raised his head, both men began to smile and Hutch said, "Okay, it's
up to you."
Starsky reached out his arms and Hutch leaned into the embrace. All that had bothered him was melting away.
From now on Hutch would treasure their deep friendship. He knew there wouldn't be a life for him without David Michael
Starsky. Since he had met Starsky years ago at the academy, he had learned what unconditional love meant: being there for
each other and not feeling embarrassed to show his feelings.
Hutch held on a little tighter and was about to tell his friend about his thoughts when he heard a mumbled-- "Me too."
Hutch pulled back a little and looked into his friend's eyes. Their silent communication was back again!
And before they could think it over they said in unison: "Me and Thee forever!"
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