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"Where's that partner of yours?" Dobey grumbled while seated behind his desk.
Hutch decided not to sit down, for he hoped this wouldn't be long. He shrugged, hands in his pockets. "Getting something from the cafeteria."
The captain picked up a file folder and held it out. "I want you both to get on this right away."
"What is it?" Hutch asked as he took the file and leafed through it.
"A professional thief who just got paroled. We got a lead that yesterday's jewelry robbery may be him. If so, he's already altered his prior MO, because this time he left the store clerk dead."
Hutch stepped toward the door. "Decided to change his ways, huh? We'll get right on it." He reached for the door handle.
The blond paused, puzzled by the softer tone. He turned. "Yes, sir?"
The black man presented a wry smile. "You're looking good, son."
For a moment, Hutch felt a stab of vulnerability that he could be read so easily. But he also knew that Dobey had been genuinely concerned about what had happened to him, and realized now that his superior was trying to indicate that he knew Hutch was a hundred percent recovered. He smiled back, turning the handle. "Thanks, Captain." As he stepped over the threshold, it occurred to him that he had something of his own to say, and now was probably as good a time as any.
He turned again. "Captain?"
Dobey looked up.
Hutch's smile was gentle this time. "I thought I'd let you know... your minister was right." Hutch waited for the slight inclination of Dobey's head to show that he had been understood. "Thanks," he added, then left the room, closing the door behind him.
He spotted his partner sitting at their desk, eating a gooey roll, one foot on the desktop and one foot off, studying a file folder.
Hutch let his eyes dart about the room, enjoying the thought that no one suspected what went on between them in their private time. No one knew how he had so deliberately seduced Starsky the past couple of weeks, working with him and playing with him, fine tuning him in preparation for conquering the final barrier between them. He had been so patient, so careful, just stroking with an outer finger at first, while loving Starsky in other ways. Gradually, over time, he had pressed a finger in. Later, there had been two. Eventually, he worked it up to four, which had stroked and caressed and stimulated. Finally, last night, Starsky had asked for the real thing. In retrospect, Hutch suspected his partner had been fooling him somewhat; because Starsky had proved to be so ready that he had taken Hutch into his body all the way the very first time. Not only had he accepted the thickness, but he had asked for something else, as well. And, even now, in the brightness of day, the memory sent Hutch's lower regions into a fit of quivering.
"Take it out," Starsky had demanded huskily, once fully penetrated. "Take it all the way out and put it back in."
Hutch had obeyed, though not quite understanding why Starsky wanted him to do it. And then it was repeated: "Take it all the way out and put it back in."
The request was made over and over, and Starsky began to writhe and pant and mutter something about loving the sensation of Hutch filling him. And Hutch had found himself richly stimulated by having his cock pass through that tight ring over and over, back and forth. From the standpoint of sheer eroticism, it was the most memorable sex he had ever known.
And Starsky sat in the squad room now, looking as though nothing special had happened last night, not giving any indication of the residual soreness that Hutch knew he had to be feeling.
As for himself, Dobey was right. Hutch felt big and strong and powerful. In control. For he had never felt himself more a man than when he'd been so patiently loving with Starsky, helping the other conquer his fear. Thinking of Starsky more than himself.
Hutch flexed his shoulders as he moved toward the table, feeling the pull of scars, which stole his attention away from his fantasies. He had stopped thinking about plastic surgery. The scars were a part of him and Starsky accepted that.
And Starsky's opinion was all that mattered.
His partner looked up at him while biting into his roll. "What did Dobey want?"
Hutch tossed the folder onto the table. "Yesterday's jewelry store robbery may be the work of someone who just got paroled."
Starsky clicked his tongue against his teeth while opening the file. "Not very bright on his part."
"Nope." Hutch picked up his jacket from the back of his chair. "Let's roll, partner."
"I figure we can start with his old girlfriend. Maybe he's been in touch with her since he got out."
Starsky was on his feet and reaching for his own jacket. "Ever wonder why women wait for creeps like that to get out of prison?"
Hutch shrugged as they moved toward the door. "Who are we to judge love?"
Starsky looked up at him as they exited, a grin lighting the side of his face. Seeing no one in the corridor, he softly said, "We are love, babe. And don't you ever forget it."
Hutch knew that, with Starsky at his side, he never would.