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Part 4B

Charlotte Frost


Harold Dobey regarded the two men in front of him. Then he grunted to express his consideration of the plan they had just presented. He was hoping to get home to Edith soon, and it was hard to stay focused on the conversation at hand.

"Yeah," he finally said around a sigh. "I think trying to talk to Peterson first would be the best way to go. If he talks, then you don't have to involve Sampson and risk giving him away."

"And if Peterson doesn't talk," Starsky noted, "we still have Sampson as a backup. And by the time we talk to Peterson, anyway, it might turn out that something's shaken loose with Huggy's contacts, and we might have some new leads that way."

Dobey nodded again, anxious to have the detectives out of his office. "Sounds good all the way around. So, get to work." He glanced at the window. "Besides, it looks like it may rain soon. Better get to Peterson before he heads for cover on the street."

The atmosphere in the office changed in a way Dobey didn't understand. When his gaze returned to the detectives, he found them both with... interesting... expressions on their faces. They avoided looking at each other, but both had a calculating demeanor, as though something important had just been said.

Then Starsky was on his feet, strolling to the window with his hands behind his back. "Does it really look like it's going to rain?" He pressed his face near the glass. "Hmm. So, it does." Cheerfully, he looked back at his partner. "It's gonna rain, Hutch." He made a tsk, tsk noise. "And just before our days off, too."

Hutch shifted restlessly in his chair but didn't even glance in Starsky's direction.

Dobey was puzzled and soothed, "Maybe it won't be that bad. The weather reports didn't mention anything. You two still might be able to enjoy your days off outdoors."

His words didn't seem to have an effect. Hutch had an almost... guilty expression on his down-turned face. As though he'd been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

Starsky sighed contently, still looking out the window. Then he said, "It's a good thing I've been prepared for rain." He turned to the door and left the room without a backwards glance.

Hutch was still looking away, rubbing at his face in a nervous way.

"You all right, Hutchinson?"

"Uh," thick swallow, "yeah." Distracted pause. Then a bashful laugh. "Well, maybe not. Been feelin' like I'm coming down with something. Maybe it's just as well that it rains so I can spend my days off in... in-in-in bed." Hutch abruptly stood, picked up the case files from Dobey's desk, and marched out of the room.

Dobey shook his head. Something about those two in the past few months... He couldn't quite put his finger on it. Didn't even know if the difference was better or worse. In a way, it was like his prize detectives were more intense than before... yet, also more mellow. Distracted, yet more focused. Pleasant, yet more standoffish.

"Hmm," he grunted. In any case, he wished Hutch wouldn't have mentioned "bed". His own thoughts had been there far too often lately. After Starsky and Hutch had been rescued, Edith and the kids had returned home. But Edith had stayed mad at him for a long time, waiting for him to admit that he should have let her support her husband while Starsky and Hutch were kidnapped, rather than pushing her away. When Dobey had finally admitted she was right, a reconciliation had taken place.

They were still making up for lost time. They hadn't made love this intensely since the first few years of their marriage. Today, the kids wouldn't be home for another couple of hours, since they both had extracurricular activities after school. If he left right now, he and Edith would have plenty of time....

Dobey cleared his throat as he stood and reached for his coat. Being a captain was full of headaches and frustrations. But it also had its privileges. He intended to take advantage of one right now.

He left early. Just as the first drop of rain splashed on the window.

The End