Artwork by Elvira

This story is dedicated to Avoca.

There was a charity auction for those in need in the Gulf Coast area.

Avoca won my story at the auction.

Thank you, my friend.


Starsky's nose tickled and he felt the warmth of a sunray that had found its way through the curtains. He wasn't ready to face a new morning, he needed some more sleep and less sunshine. He turned round in his bed -- and felt a stinging pain when his nose bumped against something.

"Ouch!" he cried and heard "Shit!" He blinked and looked straight into the sleepy eyes of his partner who was lying next to him and who had moved his hands to his nose to see if all was still in place.

"Hutch, what the heck are you doing here?" Starsky tried to concentrate, feeling a bad headache coming on.

"Well," Hutch croaked, "I only remember that I had to carry you upstairs last night. Probably the last Tequila was too much for you." Starsky rubbed his aching head.

Very slowly the images from last night came back. They had been celebrating Huggy's 5th anniversary of "The Pits".

Starsky looked down at his tired partner and he had to chuckle. "Okay, big boy, your condition wasn't so good either. Or wasn't it you who wanted to try a table dance at Huggy's and almost fell off the table? If I hadn't been there to catch you...!"

Hutch frowned but then he relaxed and, rubbing his cheek on Starsky's shoulder he mumbled "Let me sleep a little longer... oh God, my nose..." He was asleep again.

Starsky lay down on his back. Thinking of the last night he had to admit that they had drunk -- well, more than enough. Nevertheless, he and Hutch took care of each other. One of them was always able to help the other. How often had they been in situations when they had watched each other's back?

Starsky still shuddered when he remembered the shooting in the Italian restaurant. He had felt so helpless, and when he heard the shots he thought Hutch had been hit, too. Fortunately all went well. When Starsky had been released from hospital Hutch stayed with his friend during his recovery. Slumped on Starsky's old couch Hutch had simply wanted to be near his friend, and then there were the times when Starsky had woken them both, thrashing around because of a nightmare. Hutch had held him until he felt safe again.

They had become like brothers.

Now Starsky affectionately tousled his friend's hair and closed his eyes. If Dobey could see them... Dobey? My God, Dobey! Hadn't they promised to look after Rosie this Saturday? Harold and Edith planned to visit Cal's new college in San Diego. And Rosie, who adored her Uncle Ken and Uncle Dave, had convinced them all, that it would be much better for her to stay at home and do something fun.

Starsky sat up. This abrupt movement made him feel sick and he hurried to the bathroom.

"Hutch! It's your turn!" Starsky emerged from the shower, feeling better already. Still wet, he went to his closet and grabbed a new towel. Some waterdrops fell on Hutch and this made him stir.

"Huh?" he tried to say something intelligent. "We aren't in a hurry, are we?"

"Sure we are! Think of Rosie, we promised to go to the beach with her." Starsky answered and put on his cut off jeans and his red shirt.

"Yeah, yeah," Hutch mumbled, got out of the bed and shuffled to the bathroom. "Should you miss me after an hour I have fallen asleep in the shower. Oops, was that a rhyme?"

Starsky breathed a sigh of relief when he heard the shower. He started to prepare a light breakfast in the kitchen, not forgetting to set out aspirins with the orange juice.

One hour later the two detectives were on their way to the Dobeys. Starsky looked sportsmanlike in his cut off jeans, the opposite to Hutch. He felt quite uncomfortable in Starsky's white shorts. Somehow they were a little tight, but if he didn't move too much, there wouldn't be a problem. Maybe they could go to the cafe and get ice-cream...

"Uncle Ken! Uncle Hutch" They had just parked the Torino when the front door flew open and a little girl ran toward them. Starsky caught her in his arms. "Hey, princess, how are you? You already waiting for us?"

"Uncle Ken, are you playing hide and seek with me?" Her enthusiasm caught Hutch flat- footed.

"What about saying hello first?" he tried to calm her. Damn, his headache should be gone by now. He got a hug from her and edged her carefully in the direction of the house.

Edith and Harold Dobey were ready to leave and after a few instructions for her daughter (Don't get on Ken and David's nerves and act like a little lady!) their car disappeared round the next corner.

"Who's first to my car?" Starsky shouted, already rushing forward. Rosie was just behind him, giggling. Halfway Starsky pretended to have a sprained ancle so Rosie could overtake him. Hutch didn't need to pretend anything to be the slowest of the three. This was not going to be his day.

Driving to the beach Starsky was humming a song -- it was by Jim Croce -- Hutch assumed. He put on his sun glasses and tried to listen to Rosie's report about the best ice-cream on the beach.

Hutch's thoughts were drifting. He was remembering that he had met his ex-wife, Van, in an Italian restaurant in Duluth, Minnesota, and he had invited her to an ice-cream. Though he had pushed the sundae by accident and most of the ice-cream dropped on her expensive trousers, she had only laughed. He had fallen in love with her then and thought it was mutual. Too late he noticed that she only wanted him because of his wealthy family. When he decided to become a cop instead of a doctor all hell broke loose. In those bad times it was Starsky who stood by his side, who helped him to find the right solution. It ended with the divorce last year. And it had started with an ice-cream...

"Buddy?" Starsky's voice, full of concern, startled him out of his reverie. "How are you feeling? Look, we're at the beach and over there is the cafe. We can have an ice-cream, what do you think?" Hutch felt Starsky's hand on his neck and he nodded. From behind, Rosie pressed her head against Hutch's hair and she whispered: "Uncle Ken, you are the bestest uncle I have! Can I have the banana split?"

That moment got rid of all Hutch's depressing thoughts. He started to laugh and decided to enjoy the day to the full extent. "What do I hear? A big ice-cream? Okay if you share it with me!" And he got out of the car, helped her out and scooped her into his arms. Starsky stood there, flat-footed by the sudden change of Hutch's behaviour.

He smiled and felt a warmth inside. It didn't make any difference to him which mood Hutch was in. He loved that guy...

Starsky followed his friends and they found a nice place in the shade. The beach was getting more crowded now and there was a lot to see. Hutch enjoyed his dark coffee and he let Rosie feed him with spoonfuls of the delicious ice-cream. Starsky had forgotten about his earlier nausea; he ordered a piece of appletart with whipped cream. Done with that he felt ready for a spaghetti ice. He ignored Hutch's disgusted glance. Life was beautiful again. Suddenly a ball flew in their direction. Hutch caught it and saw a little boy looking for it.

"Come here, I got it," Hutch winked and the little boy came up to them slowly. "Here you are," Hutch said and when the boy took the ball he looked shyly at Rosie and asked: "Do you like playing with me? My older brother only wants to stay with his friends..."

Rosie blushed and looked at Hutch. "Well, why not, if you want to," he said putting his arm protectively around her shoulders. "If your Uncle David finishes his meal in the next half hour we can accompany you!"

Some minutes later the two men were sitting on the blanket Starsky had fetched from the Torino. In front of them Rosie was playing with her new friend. Hutch pulled off his shirt and enjoyed the sun.

"You'll get sunburn," noticed Starsky after a while but Hutch only said: "Forgot the sunlotion..." Starsky who didn't have these problems because of his tanned skin, looked around and clicked his fingers. "Just a moment," and Hutch kept his eyes shut listening to the laughter of the kids. Suddenly something cold dropped on his nose, startling him. A smiling Starsky said. "Help yourself." He looked over to the bunch of girls who were waving now. A little embarrassed Hutch smiled, too, and put the lotion on his legs, arms and chest. Then Starsky took the lotion and started to rub it on Hutch's back. "Leave it, Starsk" Hutch objected. He got up and said: "I'll bring it back, okay?"

Starsky watched his friend as he talked to the girls and laughed with them. Good ol' Hutch, Starsky thought, always up to flirt with the ladies. It seemed that they were debating about something. Finally two of the girls got up to accompany Hutch back to their spot.

"Get up, old man," Hutch was clasping his hands in anticipation. "Wanna play beach volleyball? Me and Tina against you and... what's your name? Aha, this is Laura, okay, buddy?"

Quickly Starsky rose and started with some impressive stretching . "Hi, Laura, I'm Dave. I already feel very sorry for our rivals. You're a lucky lady, playing with the best beach volleyball player of this beach and..." his hand pointed to the north.

"Starsk," Hutch interrupted, "what about Rosie and her new friend? They can join us, what do you think?"

"Sure, of course," Starsky agreed concentrating on the little girl again.

Soon they had organized a volleyball, the field was awaiting them and Rosie shouted: "Ready steady -- go!"

Starsky had picked her in his team -- they could start!

Starsky did some spectacular twists and leaps to get the ball over the net. "Me too," Rosie begged, and the next time Starsky lifted her up in his arms and she proudly threw the ball over the net. Hutch was perfectly capable of getting it, but didn't. Rosie cheered: "One more point for us!"

Of course Starsky bumped into Laura several times, when they both wanted to play the ball and he enjoyed the contact. By contrast, Hutch played more carefully. He let the little boy handle the ball and showed him how to bring it over the net. He smiled at Tina and she didn't kill the joy. By accident they touched each other and their smiles deepened.

With a last wonderful pirouette Starsky managed to bring the ball over the net, unreachable for the other team.

"We are the champions, aren't we?" Rosie shouted.

Starsky and Laura agreed, clasping their hands and giving each other a hug.

"Well, but we weren't too bad either," pointed Hutch out, his hands on Tina's shoulders, the little boy walking behind them. They joined the other group to congratulate them. Rosie reached her arms out to give Hutch a hug and all the others followed. The small boy felt awkward; he didn't belong to that "family". Only when Rosie held hands with him did he look contented.

"Let's have a break," Starsky proposed, wiping the sweat from his forehead. He sprawled on the blanket and Laura joined him. Tina brought her towel for Hutch and herself and soon they were chatting and laughing. Even Rosie and Pete, her new friend, were busy making a sandcastle.

Hutch felt more relaxed now knowing that his tight shorts had stood the test so far. It was late afternoon already and they would take Rosie home soon. He glanced at Tina and hoped for a promising evening.

"Mommy! Daddy!" Rosie reached out her hands and ran toward her parents who stood on the parking lot near the beach.

"Wow! They're back early," Starsky noticed, waving to his superior and his wife that they should join them.

"We have to go, I think," said Tina and started to get up, as did Laura. It seemed that they didn't want to intrude further, but both men said in unison: "No, please stay."

There was a big Hallo when Edith and Dobey met the group. There had been a road construction on their way to San Diego that held all the traffic up. They had been forced to return otherwise it would have been too late for Rosie.

"No, it isn't late, I'm having a lot of fun with Uncle Dave and Uncle Ken," said Rosie very convincingly.

"They are the bestest volleyball players all over the world."

"I gotta see this," Dobey smirked. If he ever had expected what followed next... he would have held his tongue.

"Let's all play volleyball!" Rosie enthusiastically cried and Starsky joked: "Starsky and Hutch against the rest of the world...l"

"Yes! Mommy and Daddy, let's play against Ken and Dave, pleeease!" Rosie was very excited now.

"Honey, we have to go home," Edith interfered, but Rosie didn't give up so easily. She went to Hutch, her eyes begging for a little more fun. He put her on his lap and after locking glances with Starsky he said: "Sounds good to me -- if your Mom and Dad play along with us. Hey Cap'n, any objections?"

Before Dobey could react Starsky got up, pulling Tina and Laura with him.

"Tina and Laura will support you, okay? And Pete here is a real help for you," Starsky smiled.

"Forget it, you two!" Dobey growled, " I am not dressed for the beach. On the other hand I was pretty good when I was young, you wouldn't believe it..." His voice trailed off, as if he were remembering the good old times.

"Okay, then let's start, and Edith, don't worry, you have such good players on your side, look at this little lady," and Hutch shoved Rosie onto the other team. Edith looked self-conscious, but she didn't want to be a spoil sport. What exactly was it about volleyball, she asked herself as the ball flew towards her and she caught it.

"Honey, this isn't handball, let me show you..." and Dobey showed his wife very patiently how to handle the volleyball.

On the other side of the net the two detectives exchanged views. "We should give them a little showdown," Starsky proposed, shuffling the sand between his toes.

"Okay, but don't get too exaggerated," Hutch couldn't go on, he had to fend off the next ball. "Well done, Cap," he hissed. Starsky was already diving for the next throw. The girls applauded and even Dobey spilt some praise.

Hutch had the feeling that he had to show something extraordinary, too. He got the ball from Starsky, moved it over the net so that it was very hard for Tina to get. He smiled, confident of victory, but Tina knew how to play the ball. When the next ball came over the net, Starsky and Hutch weren't sure who was supposed to play, so both went for it. They bumped, fell into the sand and had to untangle themselves, all the while hearing the laughter of the other team.

Seeking revenge Hutch decided to do something special to show them all what kind of player he was. Now Dobey had the ball. Hutch could see the smile on Dobey's face. It showed him that Dobey wasn't convinced of Hutch's abilities. The ball came over the net. Hutch leaped high and twisted his body, trying to do the pirouette Starsky had done earlier.

The ball was somewhere else and when he fell in the sand he heard a ripping noise. "Oh my God, not that! My shorts!" he thought. He lay in the sand till a concerned Starsky hovered over him.

"What's up, buddy? Don't worry, in figure skating they woulda given you a 6.0 I'm sure."

"I can't get up, Starsk," Hutch mumbled. He tried to feel with one hand where the tear was, but at that moment the strong arms of his partner encircled him to pull him up.

"No, don't do it! My shorts, hm... your shorts are torn, you know..." Hutch felt like a dead weight in Starsky's arms now and Starsky let him sink back again.

"Hey! Any damage over there, or are you already giving up?" They heard Dobey shouting and Starsky reassured them: "No, it's all okay."

"Come on, buddy, ever heard of covering your back? Let's try it," Starsky calmed him and this time Hutch gave in and raised himself up carefully.

Awkwardly Hutch trudged through the sand, Starsky always a step behind him. "Whose turn is it?"

Starsky shouted and Hutch clasped his hands pretending to feel fine.

"What kind of formation are you practising there, if I may ask," Dobey looked at his detectives standing back to back and the girls started giggling.

"Huh... nothing special, it's only to irritate the enemy," was Starsky's lame explanation. But it helped. They got more points because the other team had to laugh so hard that they lost the ball several times.

Hutch got a little more confident after a time. Maybe it wasn't too bad with the torn shorts. And he remembered that he had put on white briefs Starsky had given him that morning, so the tear in his shorts probably wasn't so obvious.

Finally the game was over and Dobey looked impatiently at the snack bar next to the parking lot. "Well, not too bad, Starsky and Hutchinson. I think I could do with a little snack." Tina and Laura said their goodbyes to the detectives after exchanging phone numbers.

When they were leaving they looked back at the group -- and couldn't believe it. Starsky's hand was on his partner's butt as they were walking to the snack bar!

In a thoughtful mood, the girls left the beach...

"Starsk, what the hell are you doing? Let go of my ass!" Hutch again felt uncomfortable. "Your wish is my command," answered Starsky in a low voice, "but I must tell you that everyone can read what it says on the briefs, I lent you... Monday... and I don't want people to get upset, because you know, today is Saturday...!"

Early in the next morning...

Hutch was soundly asleep when there was suddenly a blow against his nose.

"Starsk, not again!" he almost yelled. Then he felt something soft against his cheek and someone mumbled: "Starsk? -- I'm so sorry, hon, but tell me, is there something I gotta know about Starsky and you?"

Hutch opened his eyes, and dark brown eyes were looking at him. "Tina!" he said and, stroking her long brown hair, he repeated the question: "You want to know if you gotta know something about Starsky and me? Oh yes, a lot! But nothing you should worry about!" And with these words he pulled her down. She smiled and savored the closeness. It was gonna be a beautiful summer day!

The end


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