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"Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged." Colossians 3:20-21

Saturday, June 20, 1981

Starsky woke first. He was smiling before he was even fully awake. It was Saturday, they were off, and they had plans: elaborate plans that Hutch had suggested—rather hesitantly—and Starsky had bought into—rather hesitantly. He wasn't sure how the day was going to unfold and he knew Hutch wasn't, either.

Only one way to find out, he reminded himself yet again. Gotta give it a try.

He rolled up on his elbow, looking down at his lover still sleeping, his blond hair bright against the pale blue pillowcase.

"Hey, Hutch!" He nudged his bedmate. "Wake up."

Hutch shifted restlessly but didn't come to.

"Wake up!" he wheedled. "Please?"

A couple of eye blinks and then Hutch glared up at him, his ice blue eyes annoyed.

"Now, don't," Starsky counseled, patiently. "It's Saturday."


He nodded with a tentative smile on his face. "Saturday."

"Saturday." Hutch looked up at Starsky, quizzically. "You still want to?"

Starsky nodded, his expression serious in the midmorning sunlight. "But we sure don't hafta."

"I know that!"


"So, I still want to."

Starsky nodded. "Me, too. But I'm not gonna have any mercy on you."

"Do you ever?"

The darker man shrugged. He was trying to lighten the mood. "Guess not."

Hutch settled on his back, clearly trying to relax as he lay on the cotton bedsheets. "Do your worst. I'm ready."


They were quiet for a moment, smiling slightly at each other. No matter what happened today, it could only enhance a love that both men had long ago discovered was central to their existence.

Seizing the moment, Starsky hopped out of bed and hurried from the room, shutting the door behind him. After only a moment, he knocked on the door and came right back in.

"Kenny?" he asked, his voice soft as he perched on the edge of the bed. "Time to get up."

Hutch was feigning sleep but at the sound of Starsky's voice he turned his head towards his partner. "Already?" he whined.

"Yep, 'fraid so."

"I don't wanna get up."

"Hey," Starsky said, his voice still soft. He leaned over towards Hutch. "Don't forget, it's Saturday. I'm going to take you to the park. And maybe out for some ice cream. It's gonna be a fun day. Just for us."

"Just us," Hutch repeated, hope tingeing his voice.

"Yeah, just us."

"I . . . I can't wait."

"Me, neither," Starsky responded, genuinely. "Just a day for us guys."

"Okay," Hutch was excited now. "I'll get up."

"Make sure you put on some clean play clothes, and brush your teeth. Comb your hair. I'll make you some breakfast."

"Okay, Daddy!"

Starsky smiled, no hint of mockery in his expression. "Okay, Kenny."

After some cereal and milk for breakfast—no coffee, but Starsky let him take a sip of his, just like a big boy—Hutch was ready for the day. He helped Starsky put the dishes in the dishwasher and won high praise for putting the milk away without being told. Starsky directed him to comb his hair again, paying a bit more attention to the part this time, and he supervised Hutch as he tried to make his blond strands behave.

"Now, you have to mind me in the park," Starsky warned, as they headed for the door. He locked the front door behind them.

"I know." Hutch's voice was childishly petulant.

"Then make sure you do." Starsky paused there on the driveway, turning back to look Hutch full in the eye. "I don't want you wandering off and getting into trouble."

Hutch nodded with the air of a child deciding to be obedient, at least for a while.

Starsky hadn't moved again towards the car and after a moment he reconsidered his words. "I know I can count on you to be good."

Hutch nodded again, but this time it was a quick bob of the head coupled with a pleased expression.

They got into Hutch's station wagon, with Starsky seeing Hutch to the passenger side and then helping him fasten the lap belt. Starsky also shut the car door for him, after making sure that Hutch's fingers and toes were well out of the way.

It was about 9:30 and the traffic wasn't bad. As they drove, Hutch was looking all around him out the window, taking in the world. In no time at all, they were pulling in the parking lot of the Edith S. Bonds Recreation Area. It was their local municipal park, featuring a large, hilly, well-maintained expanse of green, sure to be populated by a sufficient number of citizens enjoying their day off that Starsky hoped their behavior would not get noticed.

He hurried around to the passenger's side of the car and helped Hutch out.

"Nice day, isn't it, Kenny?" he asked. It was alternating between cloudy and sunny, with a hint of a warm breeze.

Hutch nodded. "I'm glad you didn't have to work today. So we could be together."

"There's no other place I'd rather be then with my little boy," Starsky said quietly.

"And I want to be with my daddy," Hutch responded, equally quietly.

"I love you, Kenny," Starsky murmured, standing close to Hutch.

"Me, too."

They looked at each other for a moment or two, on the verge of falling out of character, but Starsky rallied. "Wanna play some catch? I think the mitts and the ball are in the back of the car."

"Okay," Hutch agreed, his voice animated once again. He hurried to the back of the car and sure enough, the ball and gloves were there.

There was never any confusion about which glove was whose when a leftie and a rightie lived together. Hutch handed Starsky the left-handed mitt.

"Let's go, kid," Starsky directed, as Hutch loped out to an empty stretch of the park.

They stood a respectable distance from one another but it was still a far shorter distance than Hutch could throw normally. He had an excellent throwing arm.

Starsky tossed the ball to him, overhanded but without a lot of force.

Hutch reached up and easily snagged it out of the air. But when he threw it back, he did it underhanded as he did when he'd been learning to throw three decades before.

Starsky fielded it and threw it back.

Hutch got it again and swung his arm down and out as he lobed it back to the other man.

"I'm going to throw it a little harder this time," Starsky warned. "Okay? You ready?"

Hutch nodded his head with great vigor. "Yeah!"

Starsky did throw it then, really throw it, and Hutch intercepted the pitch with the ball making a satisfying 'thunk' in his glove.

"Good boy," Starsky praised. He looked around but they'd picked one of the less popular corners of the park. No one could hear him.

"Son," Starsky said, his voice just loud enough to carry over to Hutch. "Try throwing it overhand this time."

Hutch nodded. He pulled back his arm as if he'd never tried to throw a ball like this way ever before. "Like this?"

Starsky nodded in return. "Yes, just like that. Keep your eyes on my glove and let the ball come to me."

Hutch took a deep breath that Starsky could hear even from the other end of the length of grass they'd claimed.

"Come on," Starsky encouraged. "You can do it. You're a big boy now."

Hutch threw the ball, sloppily, but it was a decent attempt and Starsky only had to take one step to get it.

"Great job!"

Hutch grinned shyly. "Thanks."

Starsky, tossing the ball indolently in his left hand, came over to his partner then. "You get better at this every time we play catch."

"I like it," Hutch explained, simply, and Starsky remembered the stories Hutch had told him about playing varsity baseball for his high school team.

"Next time, we'll have to bring a bat and you can practice hitting."

"I want to hit like you," Hutch responded at once.

"Like me?" Starsky was puzzled. He didn't bat nearly as well as Hutch did, but it wasn't Hutch today after all, it was Kenny. Maybe that was what Hutch was getting at?

"Yeah, like you. With my other hand. My other side."

"Oh," Starsky breathed. "Left-handed."

Hutch nodded. "Just like you."

"Well," Starsky counseled, stalling a little while he pulled himself together. He was so emotional today, which was pretty weird because they'd decided to act out these roles today for Hutch's sake. Not his.

Taking a deep breath he tossed the ball a few inches up in the air and nodded at Hutch to retrieve it on the way down, which he did. "Why don't we practice both ways?"

"Okay." Hutch's voice was a bit uncertain, though.

"It's called being a switch hitter," Starsky explained, backing up slightly and preparing to resume the game. "The pitchers won't know what to expect with you. You'll be able to bat either way."

"Okay." Hutch was more confident now. "As long as I can bat like you."

"You will," Starsky assured him. "You will." He nodded and Hutch attempted another overhand throw to him.

That went on for about twenty more minutes and as the game processed the two men didn't drop their terms for each other, but they started throwing harder, more normally, and as the park filled up, they lowered their voices more and more.

"Enough!" Starsky called, smiling. "You're wearin' me out!" Slyly, he nodded toward the ice cream stand up the hill on the right. "You hungry?"

Hutch grinned. "For ice cream, yeah."

"Okay, let's go get some."

When the two men walked together usually, it was customary for Hutch to be just the slightest bit ahead, but today it wasn't like that. Starsky set off and Hutch trailed after him, staying close to his partner.

"I'm minding you, like I promised," Hutch reminded the other man.

"I can see that," Starsky confirmed. "I'm proud of you. You really are a good boy." Couldn't hurt to say that to Hutch a few times and it was nothing but the truth, anyway.

"What kind of ice cream are you going to get?" Hutch asked, as they neared the stand.

"I don't know," Starsky said. "Vanilla, maybe."

"I'm going to get strawberry," Hutch declared, with the air of someone who'd agonized weeks over this momentous decision.

"That's great," Starsky said.

"I was wantin' vanilla too, but I can only have one scoop, right?"

Starsky looked over at his lover with an indulgent smile. "Your eyes are bigger than your stomach, Kenny."

Hutch sighed.

"You can have a bite of mine, how's that sound?"

That was acceptable. Hutch nodded, his good humor restored.

Starsky presented himself to the ice cream vendor, a slight Mexican who reminded Starsky of Kiko, vaguely. "Two ice cream cones, please." He patted his chest. "I'll have vanilla, and he'll have strawberry."

The young man nodded, and busily set about filling the order. After Starsky had handed the dollar fifty-nine over, he had the two ice cream cones.

"Here, Ken," he said, kindly, turning his back to the ice cream stand. "Strawberry for my boy."

Hutch took the cone eagerly, and essayed a huge bite of the pink confection. His eyes grew big. "It's cold!" he sputtered after he'd choked down the mouthful.

Starsky laughed. "Come on." He drew Hutch with him back towards the car. "I have a few more surprises for ya today."

Hutch licked the ice cream as he walked alongside. "What?"

"That's my secret. You'll see."

Hutch looked over at Starsky. Suspicion was written on his broad face. "Will I like it?"

"Haven't you so far?"

The younger man had to nod at that. "Yes," he declared. "I have."

"Okay, then."

They reached the area where they'd been playing catch. "Give me your cone," Starsky directed. "I'll hold it while you pick up our gloves."

Hutch nodded dutifully, scurrying off to get the equipment after handing his ice cream over. "You can have a bite," he called back. "If you want."

"Okay," Starsky responded. "That's nice of you. It's good to share."

"I don't always like to share," Hutch confided as he rejoined his partner, gloves in hand. "But I try."

"All ya can do is try," Starsky counseled him. "Sometimes, I don't like to share, either."

Hutch looked uncertain, as if he wasn't sure he could handle his hero father having any flaws.

"But I always like sharing with you," Starsky reassured him. He nodded towards the trunk of the car, which he'd opened, and Hutch tossed the gloves in there.

"Do you want to try some of my vanilla?"

"Yes, please," Hutch said, his eyes intent on the ice cream cones.

"I'll hold it for you." Starsky glanced around as he said that but no one was nearby.

He held his ice cream cone steadily, just slightly higher than he would need to for himself so that Hutch wouldn't have to lean down very much.

The blond man eagerly licked at the white treat. It was melting a bit now in the warm day and a dribble of ice cream ran down his chin.

"You need to wipe your face, Kenny," Starsky told him. "You're making a mess."

"Sorry." He looked around helplessly. "Daddy, I don't have any napkins."

Starsky grinned tolerantly. Both ice cream cones went back into Hutch's hands and Starsky retrieved a couple of cheap paper napkins from his pocket. He gently wiped Hutch's chin and lips.

"I guess you'd better finish your cone before I let you in the car!" Starsky opined.

Shamefacedly, Hutch nodded, and Starsky regained custody of his ice cream. Both of them were melting now, and both men licked and swallowed them down as quickly as was practical.

"Once more," Starsky said when they were done. "Let me see your hands."

Palms up and out, Hutch presented himself to the other man.

"This will have to do until I can get you home and wash you up," Starsky decided, swiping the napkin over the large hands of his lover.

"Are we going home now?" Hutch asked.

Starsky shook his head. "No, got one more stop for us before we go home."

Hutch opened his mouth.

"Don't ask me, because it's a surprise. Just get in the car."


Once they were both in the car, Starsky looked over at Hutch. "Get your seat belt fastened."

It already was, and Hutch demonstrated that fact by running his hand underneath the belt, tugging at it to show it was tight.

"Good boy."

Hutch flushed a bit. Starsky noticed it as he started the car and he added, "I'm so proud of you."

That was the right thing to say. Hutch's cheeks were rosy now with pleased embarrassment.

"It makes it great," Starsky continued, "to do nice things for you when I can count on you to be such a good boy."

Hutch smiled shyly as Starsky continued. "You're about the best little boy a man could ask for."

It was clear that Hutch was lapping this up and Starsky pulled out all the stops. "Look at how good you threw the ball today, and plus, you're smart, you're clever, and you work hard. You're gonna be able to be anything you want to be, when you grow up. And I'm going to stay so proud of you."

Hutch's face was reddening slightly at all the praise, but Starsky knew he was hanging on every word. He smiled to himself as he piloted their car out of the parking lot of the park and regained the main street. Starsky headed west, towards the mall. Hutch did what he'd done earlier, looked out the window at the kaleidoscope of human activity and the remnants of Southern California nature, beaten down by those very humans. In a few minutes, they were at a store near the mall.

"Kiddie City!" Hutch enthused. "Wow!"

"Think we can find something in here for you?" Starsky asked. It was a rhetorical question with no need for an answer. That was good, because Hutch was already at the door of the store.

Starsky hurried after him. "Don't forget to look both ways before you go running out into the parking lot," Starsky reminded him as they entered the store, but he was talking to Hutch's back. The man was noticeably excited.

Once inside, Hutch wanted to visit every aisle, even the ones that sold Barbies and the tiny makeup and jewelry kits that little girls could use to play dress up. With some difficulty, Starsky steered him towards toys appropriate for a twelve-year old boy.

"I want to buy you one of these," Starsky told him as they looked at the dizzying array of toys. He kept his voice extremely low. The place was packed with kids.

"Okay," Hutch said, his voice small. He seemed overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of items on the shelves.

"Lots to choose from," Starsky agreed, understanding.

"Yeah," Hutch uttered, fervently.

"Well, let's try to narrow it down." In very quiet, private tones, they discussed the matter at some length. Hutch gradually regained his confidence and Starsky let him take all the time he needed. After all, it was a very important decision Hutch was making.

"This one," Hutch finally decided. He pointed at an average sized, light-blue bunny rabbit. It was on the very bottom shelf and appeared a bit forlorn there, not near any of the fancy, expensive toys. "He looks lonely."

Starsky regarded the stuffed animal with appropriate seriousness. "You're right. He does look lonely." He thought it an unusual choice for his son, however, and he decided to ask him about it. "But I was thinkin' you'd want a GI Joe, Kenny, or a baseball mitt even. Maybe a bat? You need a bigger one now that you're so grown up."

Hutch ignored him. "Is this one okay? Can I have this one?"

"Of course you can," Starsky assured him instantly. "You can have any toy you want. But why a little bunny?"

Hutch regarded the small, blue item in his hands. He already seemed attached to it. "I just like it," he confessed in a small voice. "I always wanted one, but . . . " His voice trailed off.

Starsky stood a little closer to him and lowered his voice. "But what?"

"I wanted one before." He looked beseechingly the other man. "But I didn't get to get it." Hutch's face darkened and he quoted: "It's a girl's toy. Only sissies would want one."

Starsky had no problem reading Hutch's veiled reference to his father. "No way, Kenny. This isn't a sissy toy at all. I like it, and I'm not a sissy, right?"

Hutch shook his head vigorously. "No!"

"Then let's just forget what that guy said. You know bullies. They try to tear ya down, to build themselves up. Just ignore them."

"So it's okay to want him?" Hutch gestured with the stuffed animal, his face full of yearning for a positive answer.

"Of course," Starsky promised, smoothly. "Can't think of one reason why it wouldn't be. Okay to want him, okay to have him. And you like bunnies, Kenny."

Starsky went on, trying to reassure his charge just a little bit more. "I think—"

"May I help you?"

Starsky whirled around, startled beyond words. He'd been so busy being a good father, while simultaneously keeping the kids and parents around them completely ignorant of what they were doing that he'd never heard the saleswoman approach. She was middle-aged, plump, and probably new at her job, to still be so enthusiastic.

Or perhaps she's just starved for adult conversation. He was in no way ready to handle this. Panic swirled into his heart. What in the hell am I gonna say?

Hutch had turned as well. He faced the woman now, pulled up to his full height. "Thank you, no," he responded courteously. "I think we're set."

"What a wonderful choice," the woman enthused, looking at the stuffed animal in Hutch's grip. "A present?"

"Yes," Hutch responded instantly. He was completely in control and ready for anything. That was more—far more—than Starsky could claim. "For my niece."

"Your niece?" The salesperson looked doubtful now. "Pink would be better for a girl."

"You're probably right," Hutch conceded. "But she likes blue, as it happens."

"Oh." Recovering, the woman invited them: "I can take you over here at my register, if you're ready."

"Thanks," Hutch said. "In a minute."

She had to leave at that, as polite but as firm as the dismissal was, and Hutch turned towards his partner.

"Did I do okay?" he asked, dropping at once back into his role as the little boy.

"Ken." Starsky's admiration was heartfelt. He wasn't playing a role. "You did great."

After they'd purchased the small toy—Starsky had let Hutch handle the money and it was almost painful for him to see the furrows of concentration on the blond's brow as he painstakingly calculated the amount of money due back to him at the close of the transaction—they headed back to the car.

"Home now?" Hutch asked, submissively.

"Home now."

Starsky pulled out of the parking lot into traffic, enjoying the warm weather, the responsiveness of the car, and the company. The day was going pretty well. More importantly, Hutch seemed to be enjoying himself.

"Thought about what you're gonna name him?" Starsky asked, conversationally. It was only going to be a few more minutes until they got home, assuming the traffic behaved.

Hutch had been looking over his acquisition, straightening out the floppy blue and white ears and stroking the soft plush. His answer was immediate.


Starsky glanced over at his partner in utter surprise. "David?"

Hutch nodded. "Yeah."

"Kenny." Starsky sensed his voice about to break. He swallowed and started over. "Why that name?" He'd been expecting something innocuous like "Mr. Ears," or "Bunny," or "Easter." Not the name David.

"It's your name," Hutch explained earnestly. "And I love you." He spoke with the transparent honesty of the very young.

"Yes, it is," Starsky acknowledged, his voice a bit rough. Only Hutch could rock his world like this, effortlessly giving him the peaceful knowledge and comfort of being fully and perfectly loved.

"I love you, too, Kenny." Starsky hated using Hutch's first name, now. He wanted his Hutch back; just long enough to tell him how much he meant to him, but Hutch was making a big effort to stay in his role. Starsky wanted to, as well, if for no more reason than to justify all Hutch's acting efforts.

Hutch bestowed a smile on the other man at that, a smile Starsky knew he could live forever and never forget. He wondered just then if he'd ever be ready to pound Hutch into the mattress again. He simply felt like a man utterly and permanently lost in love for his partner.

One more left turn, into their street, and then there was the driveway. They were home now and Starsky pulled the vehicle up to the garage door. They both piled out of the car and into the house. Starsky went to the kitchen and Hutch trailed after him, clutching his bunny.

"You hungry?" Starsky asked quietly. It was warm and still in the small house.

Hutch merely shook his head, his expression relaxed. "No, Starsk. Thanks anyway."

Starsky's heart sank for a moment. He'd really gotten into the game and he wasn't quite ready to give it up. It seemed as if Hutch were, though. And this was Hutch's day.

"Come here," Hutch was saying. Starsky obeyed and found himself being pulled towards the bedroom. Hutch perched on the edge of the bed and waited for the other man to join him.

"I'm here," Starsky quipped, softly. "What's up?"

You sure you're done with the game? Already?

Hutch was quiet and Starsky had the good sense to match that. He could hear the faint ticking of Hutch's windup alarm clock, over on the far side of the bed.

"It's okay," Starsky finally said. "We don't need to—"

Hutch interrupted him. "Thanks."

Starsky looked into Hutch's eyes, reading the combination of gratitude and embarrassment there. "It was nothing."

"Not really," Hutch disagreed, his voice soft. "It was a lot."

Starsky nodded. It'd been good but it had ended up being a lot heavier than he'd expected. He could only guess Hutch felt the same way. "It was fun," Starsky settled for saying. He wanted to minimize any uncertainty Hutch might be feeling.

"Yeah," Hutch said. "It was fun. I sure liked it. This is about the first time in the last forty years I spent any time with my father without feeling like a dolt. A disappointment."

Starsky shook his head, reflexively, but he knew Hutch was speaking the truth. It was his truth, anyway, so who was he to argue with him? "I guess, babe, but I hope you know you're not. You're not a dolt. You're not a disappointment."

He paused a moment and then spoke, with emotion. "God, if you'd been my kid . . ."

"If I'd been your kid, what?"

Okay. If Hutch had to hear it again, that was cool. "I would have been so proud of you, and loved you so much, you would'a never forgotten you were the best kid any man could ever ask for. Ever. I would have—"

He stopped abruptly but Hutch didn't say anything. He merely watched Starsky with clear, honest eyes.

"I would've treasured you, Hutch. You would have been my life."

You are my life.

Hutch swallowed, hard, and Starsky watched Hutch's Adam's apple bob. "I wish you had been. I wish you, you would have really been my dad."

Starsky smiled. He leaned over and kissed Hutch, very briefly, on his cheek. "Maybe. Maybe things are better now, though. Would'a missed a few things along the way, with me as your dad and not your partner."

Hutch smiled as well. "Yeah."

Starsky nodded. "Yeah." Speaking of Hutch being his partner . . . "You ready for one more game? Maybe something a little more along the lines of a couple of guys that can't get enough of each other?"

Hutch nodded, his face growing a touch more animated.

"I love you," the darker man reassured him, touching the side of Hutch's face with his hand.

"I love you, too, Starsk," Hutch replied, moving them even further back into their real, adult relationship. He leaned his cheek into Starsky's hand.

Starsky took the man he'd chosen to be his only lover and lifemate by the hand and helped him stand up. They hadn't made the bed that morning but Starsky had pulled the covers up neatly before they'd left for the park. The window curtains were still drawn from the night so only the faint glow of the afternoon sun, creeping around the edges of the dark blue fabric, was seen.

"Why don't you put David down for a few minutes?" Starsky teased gently, as they stood face to face by the bed. Hutch had unwittingly carried the toy into the bedroom with them.

Hutch tossed the rabbit on the bed. "What are we gonna do?"

Starsky shrugged. He didn't plan his lovemaking sessions out ahead of time. "Don't matter. Whatever we want."

"Okay. Guess that's okay." Hutch paused, and then echoed his comment from the morning, with a wicked grin. "Do your worst. I'm ready."

Starsky fought back against the desire. He felt like taking Hutch, pushing him face down on the bed, cutting his jeans off and forcing himself into the man. He knew he'd never do that. And sometimes the length of the wait made things all that much better.

He took Hutch's hands in his and brought them up to his shirt. He was wearing an old white button-down that he'd had for years. It was a little big on him and he often wore it with his jeans if he didn't feel like wearing a tee-shirt.

"Unbutton my shirt," he directed. "I need your help in getting all my clothes off."

"Sure you do," Hutch gibed, but his hands, large and sure, deftly ran down the column of buttons on Starsky's shirt and the fastenings on his belt and jeans. Then Starsky helped Hutch undress. Hutch was slowing it down by not helping much.

The delay only served to heighten Starsky's readiness. His penis was very, very hard and he knew he'd had to get off once before he tried to fuck Hutch. It was just too much.

He perched on the side of the bed, his legs spread and his penis jutting out. "Get between my legs," he told Hutch, tugging at the taller man's forearm until he'd sunk to his knees between Starsky's legs. The part of him that needed all the attention was only inches from Hutch's lips.

"See this?" Starsky asked, unnecessarily.

"Yeah, I think so." Hutch sounded sardonic and Starsky really couldn't blame him. His erection was hard, reddish, and marked with blood vessels full and pronounced. It was impossible to miss.

"Open your mouth."

Hutch immediately opened his mouth.

"Remember the ice cream?" Starsky asked, gently, taking a chance by referring back to an event of the day.

Hutch nodded, his eyes fixated on Starsky's penis.

"See what you can do for me, 'kay?" Starsky asked. "Lick and suck on this, babe, kind of like I watched ya do with the ice cream cone."

Slowly but surely, Hutch took the organ into his mouth. He alternately expertly between teasing the sensitive underside of his lover's manhood with his tongue, and sucking it in deep and hard. He swallowed once or twice and the sensation was almost enough to send Starsky over the edge into orgasm. Starsky loved having this done, always had. He'd just never had anyone do it with the 'attention to detail' that Hutch did. Hutch did it like he meant it, like he had all day to do it and there was nothing he'd rather do more.

"That's good," Starsky encouraged him. "Suck harder." He moaned. "Oh, Hutch, baby, this is good."

Hutch started to pull off, apparently to say something.

Firmly, Starsky held him in place, his hand on the back of Hutch's head, Hutch's mouth still on him. "Don't stop. Don't talk. Make me feel good. "

Hutch nodded slightly and bent his efforts even more intensely towards what Starsky wanted.

A few moments of this and Starsky felt the orgasm gather in him. Intellectually, he knew that he should warn Hutch about it. He didn't usually come this quickly and he hadn't given Hutch any warning. But he was well beyond that capability. Somehow the day, innocent as it had been, had bonded Starsky even tightly to his lover and everything Hutch was doing to him was that much more intense.

He gave in gratefully to his body's urges and came, hard. Hutch jerked back in complete surprise. Instantly, Starsky leaned forward to comfort him. He rested his hand on his cheek. "You can spit it out," he offered, breathlessly. Hutch always swallowed.

Even as he spoke, he was reaching for a discarded piece of clothing that Hutch could expectorate into.

With an effort easy to see on his face, Hutch swallowed it all in a large, noisy gulp.

"You okay?" Starsky asked, concerned. He'd ejaculated a lot of fluid into Hutch's mouth.

Hutch nodded slowly, his eyes big.

"What was that, Starsk?" he exclaimed, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. "You sure got to the finish line in a hurry."

"Just a minute." In deference to the open shades in the living room and kitchen, and the neighbors, Starsky threw his robe on as he exited the bedroom. He fetched a can of beer out of the 'frig and hurried back to Hutch, opening it as he walked.


Hutch took a sip as Starsky was getting into bed. He was so tired now. Just gonna close my eyes. Just for a minute. Then I'll do him. Just need a minute or two to rest.

It only took Hutch a few minutes to down his beer and wash up a bit in the master bathroom, but Starsky didn't even feel the far side of the bed dip when Hutch got in and snuggled up to his sleeping partner.

No one would ever call Ken Hutchinson a deep sleeper. Yes, he slept better now than he had before he and Starsky had become lovers, but his sleep was still light and irregular. True to form, after about a thirty minute doze he was awake and looking over at his slumbering lover.

"Starsky," he ventured quietly, touching the darker man's forearm.

Starsky didn't stir and Hutch didn't miss the faint circles of fatigue under the man's closed eyes.

"Damn you, Gunther," he muttered to himself as he carefully got out of the bed. A day of fun in the park and some great, but brief, sex, and the other man was exhausted. Gunther's bullets' legacy.

He pulled on a tee-shirt and shorts as he stole out of the bedroom. The tee-shirt was dark blue and ended short of his waist, tight across the shoulders. Oh well. He'd picked up one of Starsky's shirts by mistake.

Opening the refrigerator door, he grabbed the orange juice, downing a healthy slug directly from the carton. He liked beer and he loved Starsky's come, but his mouth was tasting . . . weird.

He gazed out the sliding glass door by the pool, and decided to work in his garden for a while. He slipped his gardening sandals on from their resting place by the door and walked out into the backyard. It was the very first hint of twilight.

Crouching down, he began the rhythmic, steady work of weeding his marigolds. The feel of the dirt and the joy of being outdoors started doing what it always did for him, relaxed and revitalized his spirits. As he worked, he realized that he was in a pretty great mood.

It was about forty-five minutes before he heard the sliding glass door roll aside again.

"Hi," Starsky said, as he walked up to where Hutch was working.

Hutch looked up at him peacefully. "Hi, Starsk."

"Give you a hand?" Awkwardly he bent down to help Hutch.

"Don't," Hutch announced, getting up himself. "I'm done for now. Let's get some dinner ready."

"You hungry?"

Hutch nodded. "Yeah."

"Me, too."

They stood there a minute.

"Was it okay for you?"

Starsky laughed a bit at that. "What do you think?"


"Oh, yeah."

Another few moments of silence at that, but it was a comfortable silence. Hutch marveled at how merely being with Starsky was improving his mood even more. Whatever Hutch was missing in his psyche—and God knew, he was missing much of what make normal people happy and productive in life—Starsky had evidently been sent to replace.

He loved him beyond expression.

"You know, partner," Hutch stated, seriously, "you would've made a great father."

Starsky shrugged.

"No, really. You would have been perfect. A wonderful dad." He looked away at that, suddenly depressed. "Just one more thing you gave up when you shacked up with me."

Starsky snorted a bit. He seemed to sense Hutch's downward spiral.

"Shacked up? Not quite how I remember you describing it to your parents. I think you said something more along the lines of falling in love with your best friend, marrying him, committing your life to him, for better or for worse, in sickness and health, till death do us part?"

Hutch pressed his lips together, frowning. That was almost word for word what he had said to his folks. Hadn't gone over well, but he hadn't expected it to. In fact, he hadn't spoken to his parents since then except for the obligatory, sterile Christmas greeting cards every December. He didn't even hear from them in August anymore.

"Yeah, I guess." His eyes hardened a bit. "I just wish you could've been a dad. You would've made your son or daughter, so happy."

Starsky nodded in agreement. "Well, buddy, I wish you could have been a son. You would've been a great son."

Hutch was annoyed. What're you talking about? "What?"

"You heard me. I wish you would've been given the chance to be some lucky man's son. Someone that loved you, took time with you, played games with you and showed you what it meant to be a good man. You never had that chance."

Hutch got it then. Starsky never stopped doing his best to heal the rift between Hutch and his father, but he didn't look at the older man with rose-colored glasses, either.

In fact, Hutch knew that Starsky very nearly hated his father for that way he'd beaten Hutch down and belittled his every effort with faint praise. His dad was the type of man who greeted the news that Hutch had gotten 98% on his math regents—at the time, the highest score in the history of Hermantown High School—with a query about the missing two percent.

Hutch had grown up trying to clear a bar that was placed ever higher with each success. And he'd had many, many successes that inched that bar up.

The twilight had fully arrived now, which mean it was about 8 pm. Hutch was very hungry and ready to go inside and cobble together something half way nutritious for their dinner. Then they'd watch a little TV, if he knew Starsky and he did.

He had something to say, first, though. "Thanks, Starsk."

"For what, babe?"

"This whole thing today. I really liked it. I liked being your little boy. I liked . . . "

There was so much more to say. He loved the chance to spend the day with his "dad", a day where he'd been the center of attention. Hadn't had to listen to his parents fight, or had to vainly try to get his father's attention away from his sister and his golf and his business to listen, really listen to him, and do something—anything—with just him. It'd been a unique day where he'd been the beloved child.

He'd never had a day like that before. But he didn't know exactly how to explain it to Starsky. As a matter of fact, Hutch suspected he sounded a little nutty already, maybe, with this whole idea.

But Starsky seemed to understand without the words, as he usually did.

"I liked it too, Hutch," he said, his tone light but his eyes serious. "I liked the chance to be the kind of dad my dad was. It was fun, too."

"Let's do it again sometime?" Hutch hesitantly suggested.

"For sure."

"You can be the son next time, if you want." Hutch didn't want that, didn't see himself in father role at all, but he had to make the offer.

Starsky smiled gently at him as he turned to go back inside. "Don't forget your pile of weeds there," he reminded Hutch. He concluded the conversation then. "No, I think we'll keep it this way, next time too. There's a lot more I want to do with my favorite kid."

Hutch felt a warm rush of happiness as he gathered up the weeds to toss in the compost heap. There was so much more. The beach, Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm. And camping, and hiking, and maybe even going to a Dodgers game, though the tickets were kind of expensive . . . .

He hurried after Starsky into their house.