Originally published in Cross the Line, The Idiot Triplets Press, 1997. This zine is still in print and can be obtained by contacting: LCabrillo@aol.com. Scanned/first proof-read by Cyanne, final proofing by Sharon. Special thanks to both. Comments on this story can be sent to: Moonshine71@juno.com



Diana Dolor

(This story is set in the "Living Well Universe" and is lovingly dedicated to Linda, a touchstone of inspiration.)


Resisting the whispered call of the beloved voice, Kenneth Hutchinson dug deeper into the bed covers. He softened the rejection by pressing back against his lover's warm, hairy chest and conferring a quick caress to a lean hip. He felt the bed shift as Starsky redistributed his weight. A heartbeat later the butterfly-light touch of curls tickled his cheek and nose, causing them to itch; soft lips and hot breath traced the shell of his ear. Dimly, he perceived his name being whispered again.

"Hutch, c'mon babe, wake up."

"Wha?" he mumbled around a yawn. "Wha'dime izzit?"

The answer he received was a garbled non-committal.

"Wha'did you say?" he demanded groggily, a thread of irritation tingeing his tone.

"I said it's ten 'til four."

Suddenly more awake, Hutch cracked open one eye and peered out the window. Darkness dominated his view, confirming the ungodly hour. Concern sharpening his fuzzy faculties, he asked, "What's wrong? Are you sick?"

"No!" Starsky replied, indignation readily evident. "I want to make love."

The attempt to sound seductive fell upon deaf ears. Curling into a ball, Hutch pulled the covers over his head. "I was right," he grumbled, "you are sick. We made it four hours ago, Gordo. Go back to sleep."

"I'm excited," Starsky murmured, his voice husky, the register low and incredibly masculine. Hutch felt his partner shift again, this time rubbing an all-too-obvious erection into the base of his spine. Trailing lower, the bar of velvety steel delicately traced the raphe of his buttocks before pressing between his thighs in an effort to nestle against his balls.

"Never would have guessed. Go back to sleep," Hutch ordered again, less gently than before.

"I don' wanna go to sleep..."

"It wasn't a request, Starsky," Hutch rumbled dangerously.

"I'll do all the work."

"I'm tired!"

Hurt silence greeted this outburst as Hutch felt Starsky briefly stiffen against him before rolling onto his back. Serves him right, Hutch thought uncharitably, seeking the trailing reins of sleep. 'M tempted to put his ass in Cabrillo State as a sex maniac for real!

Just as Hutch was ready to slide across the line into the realm of sleep, Starsky flipped over, burrowed under the covers, and crowded in close. A second later, Hutch was fully awakened by his partner's lips latching onto his shoulder in a lingering lovebite. Normally the open-mouthed kiss, combined with the nip and tug of gentle teeth, was pleasurably maddening--but now it just made Hutch mad.

Scrunching his shoulder to meet his ear, he tried to dislodge his lover. Undaunted, Starsky merely switched targets and proceeded to nuzzle and bite the back of his neck. Shaking his head violently, hair flying, Hutch retreated beneath his pillow.

"I've got a gun, Starsk," he warned, voice muffled in his own ears by the pillow.

"So do I."

"Mine's bigger," Hutch answered coolly, visualizing the heavy magnum hanging on the hat rack in the hall.

Rubbing his cock in the well of Hutch's thighs, Starsky purred a reply rich in innuendo. "It's not the size of the equipment, it's how well you use it."

Hutch felt Starsky's left hand creep around his hip. Gentle fingertips made little circles, sensitizing the skin beneath. Gun hand--magic hand, Hutch thought dreamily, less grumpy than he had been a moment ago. Starsky's teeth bit harder on his neck, tugging a few stray strands of hair free. The tiny, incidental pain of their loss was countered by the spark of pleasure Hutch gleaned when the tip of his partner's hard cock passed with delicious promise across his anus. This sensation was trebled when a knowledgeable hand cupped his manhood, encouraging a response that was not at all reluctant.

Hutch squirmed, pleasure and desire warring with irritation and weariness. Then Starsky gathered his balls in a loose grip, weighing them in the palm of his hand prior to giving a light squeeze and releasing the sensitive orbs. Hutch felt his cock swell even before it was given three encouraging strokes. A tingling sensation arrowed from his groin to his heart. Got to make a decision, he thought, knowing he was teetering on the edge of sacrificing sleep for sex.

Starsky and he had been lovers for over two years now. For the first time in his life, much to Hutch's unspoken amazement, the novelty of sex hadn't worn off. In addition to the house he shared with Starsk, in addition to all their mutual comfort and companionship, his love life was the hottest it had ever been. His partner was a devoted and uninhibited lover, single-mindedly pursuing their mutual pleasure with the same determination he gave to everything he loved, be it the perfect wrist watch, car, or taco. My kind of hedonist.

Mind half made up, Hutch laid his hand over Starsky's, guiding the talented fingers to his chest and the small but extremely sensitive nubs there. He pushed the pillow off his head and asked, "What's got you revving your jets, lover?"

"My new car's gonna come today," Starsky said ingenuously into his hair, lightly pinching a nipple.

I might have known, Hutch thought frostily, his incipient erection already fading.

Starsky's new car had become a bone of contention between them. His partner had obsessively researched the pros and cons of every new model on the market. For the last three months Hutch had spent almost all of his off days haunting car dealerships, cooling his heels while his partner alternately drooled over flashy cars and think-tanked with salesmen and mechanics alike. He was tired of hearing about Starsky's new car.

"I know...you've told me fifty times," he said aloud, his tone matching the temperature of his thoughts. Imitating the defensive skills of a threatened tortoise, he retreated back under his pillow.

Starsky must have caught the chilly message, because his hand dropped down to check Hutch's now-lax genitals. "What's wrong?"

"Give it up, Gordo...you're not hard for me, you're hot for your new car. Why don't you go fuck some tailpipe and let me get back to sleep?"

"I don't want to 'fuck some tailpipe...' I want to fuck your tail."

"One more word, and I'm on the couch."

Dismissal complete, Hutch felt the springs bounce as Starsky flipped over, placing as much space between them as the mattress would allow. Peace at last, he thought, willing his body towards sleep.

Once again he was disturbed by movement from the mattress just as he imagined he was ready to slip into blessed unconsciousness, but this time it was movement of a completely different kind. By now he was used to weathering the storm of Starsky's pre-sleep nesting ritual, which consisted of several big flips and flops, followed by a deep, contented slumber. But instead of the expected rocky waves, Hutch felt a weird, rhythmic sensation vibrating the bed.

Wha' the hell...?

His tired brain tried to identify what the metered movement reminded him of. It came to him in an ironic flash. Magic Fingers! Magic Fingers was the quarter-driven device found attached to beds in second-rate motels across the country. His partner was shaking the bed like some cheap thrill machine. What does he think he's doing?

Keen ears dulled by the pillow over his head, Hutch listened carefully for an entire minute before gleaning his next clue: Starsky gave a tiny moan. It didn't take a detective to put two and two together--Hutch knew his sybaritic partner was jerking off. Let him, he thought, stubbornly determined to get back to sleep. I can ignore his antics...

Hutch was wrong--he couldn't ignore his partner. Against his will, he became increasingly aroused as his mind supplied images of his lover's actions. He'd seen Starsky pleasuring himself before, and he'd done it for him as an erotic tease leading to more "athletic" efforts. He knew how it started.

Dark with pent blood, Starsky's cock would rise to his washboard belly and tap-tap-tap with need a few times before that adept left hand would travel down. An expression of bliss suffusing his features, Starsky would finger all of his most sensitive places, stroking, applying pressure the way he liked it best. Then the right hand would drop to his balls. Starsky would gently knead the crinkly skin, cupping the rounded orbs within, caressing them encouragingly.

At that moment Starsky gave a muffled groan, further inspiring Hutch's imagination. He envisioned Starsky rubbing his thumb across the crown of his cock, teasing the tiny slit that split the rounded head. Hutch hardened helplessly at the thought. He knew his partner would be achingly aroused by now and nearly ready for completion.

Sensing it would be a matter of moments before Starsky initiated the gripping rhythm guaranteed to bring release, he flipped over and pounced upon his partner. Blanketing the lean body, Hutch trapped the flailing hands in his own, holding them hostage on either side of Starsky's head.

Startled, but unresisting, Starsky exclaimed, "Hey! What are you doing?"

"It's not what I'm doing," Hutch intoned seriously, "it's what you're doing!" He allowed his full weight to rest upon his partner, pinning him to the mattress. "I'll be damned if I'm going to listen to you jerk off, then lie here saluting the ceiling while you snore away."

Starsky grinned up at him, his face readable in the light cast from the street lamp. "I did offer to do all the work," he reminded. Hutch's heart seemed to skip a beat as his lover punctuated his statement with a suggestive wriggle of his hips--a movement which ground their hard-ons together.

"Damn right you will--" Hutch began, only to be taken by surprise when Starsky scissored his legs around his waist. With an energetic heave, Starsky rolled violently to one side, carrying Hutch with him. Taking advantage of his surprise, Starsky continued his movement to its natural conclusion--a complete reversal of their positions.

Not to be outdone, Hutch twisted to his side, slipping between his lover's thighs. Recovering quickly, Starsky tightened his legs, locking Hutch in place. At an impasse, Hutch went completely lax, hoping to fake Starsky out. It worked, but just long enough for him to wriggle out from beneath his partner.

He was struggling to rise on all fours when he was caught in a most unorthodox wrestling hold, Starsky gently but firmly taking possession of his balls. Hutch felt his partner's other strong, wiry arm circle his waist and his warm, muscular body canopy his back. Starsky's teeth grazed his shoulder, dealing little injuries of love that would fade in an hour, but inspiring shivers of delight that would be remembered much longer. All of this pleasurable torment was possible because of the portion of Hutch's anatomy held hostage against his cooperation with this wildly erotic game.

"I thought you said you'd do all the work," Hutch gasped, arching his neck to better expose his throat to Starsky's raking caress.

"If this ain't work, I don't know what is," Starsky answered breathlessly, taking advantage of the bared neck. Unable to endure such mindless pleasure without reacting, Hutch pushed back against his lover, trying to rise up on his knees. "Where ya goin', lover? Where ya goin'?" Starsky repeated wetly into his shoulder.

Exerting all his strength--for Starsky's game did not include hurting him--Hutch managed to push off the mattress and achieve an upright kneeling position. Starsky moved with him, changing his grip from balls and waist to one that circled Hutch's heaving chest. Hutch returned the favor, reaching back to grasp Starsky's hips in a steely-fingered embrace. Plastered together, back-to-chest, Hutch moaned helplessly as his lover latched onto his nipples. "Harder," Hutch groaned aloud, "m-make me feel it."

"You'll feel it, babe," Starsky promised, tightening his grip on his partner's pebbled nubs, twisting with slightly more vigor. Simultaneously, the rounded hardness of his cock made its presence known, probing blindly between Hutch's buttocks.

Eyes screwed shut Hutch felt a trickle of sweat steal down his breastbone and pass over his tripping heart. The droplet continued its aching journey down his taut abdomen, ending in his patch of pubic hair. Hutch felt Starsky's cock--slickened by what he imagined was a combination of sweat and pre-ejaculate--brush past his anus and slide forbiddingly across his perineum, only to bump and dig deliciously into the tight skin of his balls. On fire for his lover's cock, Hutch tilted his pelvis, trying to impale himself.

"Oh no you don't," Starsky whispered, nuzzling his face in Hutch's long hair. Moving to Hutch's ear, he caught the tender lobe between his teeth. Starsky bit just hard enough to distract his partner, to make sure he had his undivided attention. "You're gonna follow my lead, blondie."

"Yeah, yeah," Hutch gasped in assent, "whatever you say."

"Then lean forward," Starsky murmured softly into his ear. Acquiescent and aching with need, Hutch complied, bringing his forearms down to the bed's surface. "Lie down, baby," Starsky continued with his intimate directions, following his partner down to the mattress. Hutch stretched out flat upon his stomach, arms lax at his sides--waiting expectantly for his lover's attentions.

He felt Starsky's chest press to his back. He could almost see what they must look like--outward contrasts in every way, but inwardly they were two halves of the same heart. In his mind's eye, Hutch imagined how they appeared right now: himself prone and pliant, his back a canvas of pearly skin marked by a single asymmetry--a birthmark the size and color of a penny, set just below his right shoulder blade--all topped by a tangle of straw-colored hair; his curly-haired lover a mélange of wiry muscle and warm honey flesh decorated with a darkly erotic dusting of masculine hair.

The image was so intense Hutch ground his erection into the bed covers in reaction. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad having a mirror on the ceiling after all, Hutch mused erratically, his mind cloaked in arousal--in direct contrast to the many times he'd teased his partner over just such a mirror in one of his old apartments.

For one thrilling moment, Starsky allowed his full weight to rest upon him, binding him, holding him. Then his lover moved to lie on his side.

"Roll over," Starsky ordered gently. "No--the other way--with your back to me...that's right." Hutch felt a small kiss planted on his shoulder as he fitted his back to his lover's chest--a perfect fit.

Arms hooked around Hutch's torso, Starsky placed his left hand on Hutch's forehead, gently pressing him back to rest in the crook of his shoulder, deliberately arching his long neck. "Rest your weight on me...go on... I won't break," Starsky murmured. Again a tiny kiss was awarded, but this time to his cheek.

"Take your leg and hook it over my thigh...that's right...spread for me, Hutch. Show me you want what I got..."

"I want you, David," Hutch moaned, complying with his lover's erotic directions so that he was half-lying back on his companion.

"You feel this?" Starsky asked, slipping his hand between their bodies. Questing fingers traced his moist cleft. Breathless with aching need, Hutch thought he would die when a knowing fingertip circled his soft anus--still slick and lubricated from their lovemaking only a few hours ago.

"I feel it," Hutch answered, so bereft of breath he could barely whisper.

"You're wet...you're open...I made you that way."

"Yes..." his reply soft, almost wounded.

A finger extended, entered, and met no resistance. It was immediately joined by another. "This is me in you."

"I know."

"Only me, babe."

"Only you...love you..." Strained almost to the breaking point, Hutch found his voice and cried, "Oh, fuck me!"

The fingers retreated, leaving him empty and yearning. Hutch barely felt the hand that tucked into his hip; he paid little heed to the arm wrapped around his chest, supporting him, holding him steady. A snub head--an unfathomable blend of velvet softness and fresh-forged steel--sought his opening. Hutch groaned wildly as Starsky centered for one luscious second on the hungry muscle before sliding deep into his body in one quick thrust and then holding absolutely still.

Their earlier loving had left Hutch's body open and accepting. This new joining was made without a hint of resistance--all sweet fire--slick and electric. Starsky touched his deepest places...the heart of his body, the center of his soul, filling the emptiness within both.

Hutch ground down upon Starsky's cock, seeking all he had to give, wanting more, wanting all of his lover within him. The pleasure of the throbbing cock filling his emptiness, stretching him, the exquisite sensation of being opened by another, taken and taking at the same time, was unlike anything else. Hutch began to writhe in his lover's embrace, waves of pleasure arcing throughout his body.

At last Starsky began to move, churning Hutch's insides with his powerful fucking thrusts. Hutch tightened in reaction, unwilling to allow his lover's cock to retreat for even a second. Action beget reaction and Starsky ground into him, splaying his buttocks, the hair of belly and chest and groin rubbing erotically into his back, pressing into the cleft of his ass. Both men were wild now--out of control--a cavalcade of grinding trusts, grunts and moans, trying to join ever closer, to merge in body as well as soul.

Starsky's hand latched onto his cock. Two sharp tugs was all it took. Orgasm raced from Hutch's belly to his balls, emerging with the heat and power of a volcanic eruption. A strangled, inarticulate cry was torn from his throat as his body locked down tight in wave after wave of rhythmic, rippling pleasure. Starsky was a heartbeat behind him, his juddering pulses of hot ejaculate, milked by Hutch's spasming ass, spurting deep into his body.

They lay together, hearts thundering, delineated ribs heaving, until it seemed possible they might not expire from such exquisite ecstasy.

"Oh God, David...don't move--don't pull out," Hutch gasped urgently, his ass still weakly spasming in reaction, his prostate hypersensitive in the aftermath of vigorous fucking.

"M not goin' anywhere, lover," Starsky murmured into the shell of his ear, still supporting his partner's mass, "not going anywhere 'til you tell me to." Wiry arms, full of strength, circled his chest, soothing and calming with a warm, affirming grip. Starsky's hand stroked his cum into his belly as he whispered nonsense sounds to call him back, talking him down from that plateau of pleasure.

Aware that he must be heavy on his lover, Hutch sought to calm his body and senses. After a minute he shifted slightly, signaling silently that he was ready for Starsky to move. Starsky rolled them gently to their sides, allowing gravity to pull them apart.

Hutch rolled onto his stomach and lay panting and limp, not caring if he ruined the sheets. He heard Starsky fiddle with the nightstand drawer; he felt a gentle hand place a small hand towel between his legs, ready to absorb the physical evidence of Starsky's love for him. After what seemed like forever Hutch open his eyes, surprised to see the shadowy outlines of trees through the window--the first barely-discernable traces of dawn touching the sky. Who needs sleep? he thought bonelessly.

"You don't need a sequined mask, Starsk..." he mumbled appreciatively. "You're the best."

"Gettin' kinky for masks, Hutchinson?"

"I don't need to get kinky...I've got you."

"You're gonna like this place," Starsky said, walking backwards so that he could look at his lover, only occasionally cheating a glance over his shoulder to check his path. Inspiring this unusual ambulation was the uncharacteristically open and loving expression on his partner's handsome face. He looks like the cat that ate the canary, Starsky thought with an indulgent grin. Hutch practically glowed with contentment, obviously still luxuriating in the aftermath of their lovemaking.

Blinking his eyes to break the train of thought that led back to their bedroom, Starsky cast another glance over his shoulder--just in time to narrowly avoid the sidewalk's curb. "Fat Man's Café, you'll be happy to know, specializes in real home cookin'," Starsky said enthusiastically, bringing his licentious thoughts back on topic.

"If I wanted real home cooking, I could have stayed home and cooked for myself," Hutch needled without rancor.

"Yeah, well, sometimes it's nice when someone else does the work," Starsky reminded, not so subtly. He wiggled his eyebrows for emphasis and got the laugh he'd wanted. I love when Hutch laughs.

Hutch grabbed his arm and firmly spun him around, face forward. "Get a move on, Gordo. I want to eat and get this car thing out of the way."

"You see! That's the problem with you," Starsky said in a hurt tone of voice. "You don't just 'get something out of the way.' Certainly nothing as important as a man's wheels," he qualified, slowing his bouncing pace so that he was shoulder to shoulder with his partner. He purposely leaned into Hutch, bumping their arms, just so he could have contact with his lover.

"A car is just a car, Starsk."

"That's cold," Starsky intoned. "Would you say that Man o' War was just a horse?"

"Horses are bred, cars are manufactured--it's comparing apples and oranges," Hutch answered.

Starsky didn't have time to compose his retort as they'd finally made it to the shabby storefront housing Fat Man's Twenty-Four Café. "Here we are."

"This is it?" Hutch asked, incredulity coloring his voice.

Being partners with the same man for over a decade gave Starsky an edge in mood diversion. "Yeah! Looks homey--don't it?"

"I think you're looking for the word homely."

"Let's go in," Starsky said, ignoring Hutch's editorial remark, seeking to propel him along by the sleeve of his jacket. Sometimes that's just the best way to handle Hutch.

"I've had botulism once, buddy," Hutch stated mulishly, digging in his heels. "I'm not going through that again. C'mon...let's skip breakfast and go to the dealership."

"Uh, well," Starsky confessed, "the dealership doesn't officially open 'til eight..."

"You got me up before the crack of dawn to sit in some...some..." Hutch sputtered, looking about for the right descriptive term. He pointed to Fat Man's grimy windows, "Some fly-speckled dive to eat a two hour breakfast?"

Taking this show of obstinacy in, Starsky tried to figure how much of it was smoke screen, and how much of it was for real. He's cranky 'cause he didn't get enough sleep, Starsky thought with a mental groan. Oh terrific, it's gonna be one of those days...

"Look, I'll be your official taster, imperial one," Starsky stated in his best no-nonsense tone. "Will you go in, already? After this morning's workout, I'm starving."


Only the dishes and. some crumpled napkins remained to testify to the hearty breakfast consumed by both men. He'd watched Hutch loosen up once he saw how tidy and clean Fat Man's was on the inside. And he was happy to see that two cups of strong black coffee restored that look of sensual animation to his partner's fine features. It was all Starsky could do to keep his hands to himself. Maybe we shoulda eaten at home. At least there I don't have to restrain myself.

Starsky contented himself with bumping knees with Hutch at every opportunity. He liked that Hutch's body language betrayed little outward sign of his touches, but his heart thrilled at the appreciative glances Hutch threw in his direction. It's gonna be such a great day! Starsky thought happily. Hutch and my new ride. What could be better???

Ready to signal the waitress for the check, Starsky was startled by a sound that was a cross between a bellow and squeal emanating from one of the corner booths.

"Look at that, Starsk," Hutch said, nodding to the back of the diner.

Following the direction his partner indicated, Starsky took a good long look. In a corner booth, next to a jukebox that only played R&B and old Motown greats, sat a May-December couple. The man was older and heavyset, an Anglo--though it was hard to tell under the layer of sweat and dirt--and darkly bearded. The woman sitting with him was also white, at least twenty-five years younger--which put her at about the same age as he and his partner--and pretty in a scared, faded kind of way.

"C'mon, Deek," the woman said in a nasal whine, loud enough to be heard throughout the dining room. "You're hurting my wrist, baby."

"Shut the fuck up, you lyin' bitch," Deek growled.

He knew what Hutch was going to do even before the blond did; Starsky stood at the same moment as his partner, backing him up. Here goes my White Knight to save the damsel in distress. They walked to the rear of the restaurant. Starsky couldn't help but admire the menacing, totally masculine smile Hutch painted on his face as he greeted Deek--so different from that tiny, secret grin he reserved for his lover.

"The lady wants you to let go of her wrist, Deek," Hutch said in his best predatory murmur, a tone of voice he used rarely, and only on those he considered scum.

"Go fuck ya'self," Deek answered, not bothering to look up. A cloud of alcohol wreathed the man. "Me an' Darleen is havin' a private discussion." He tightened his already-bruising grip, causing a terrified squeak of pain to escape Darleen's lips. "Ain't that right, sweetie?"

"That's right, mister," Darleen quickly agreed, casting her pain-filled eyes up at Hutch, the signs of barely faded bruising evident on her thin face. "We don't need no trouble--everything's all right."

"I don't think everything's all right," Starsky piped in. "Do you think everything's all right, Hutch?"

"No. Everything is not all right," Hutch echoed grimly.

Deek's hammy arm swept his breakfast dishes off the table. Nimbly, Hutch sidestepped the crashing, spattering mess. "I think you two should just crawl back to ya' table an' leave good enough alone," Deek growled.

The little thrill of adrenaline that precipitated action warmed Starsky's blood. He looked to his partner, noting the pink flush that colored Hutch's neck and stained his fine features. If his heart wasn't already revving, the sight of his lover--so handsome, so masculine, so full of life--would have pushed him into overdrive. Hutch gave him a knowing glance. Starsky didn't have to be a psychic to know what he was saying: Get ready.

"I'd say we got a classic case of disturbing the peace. Wouldn't you, Starsk?"

"Classic," he agreed.

"Who are you guys?" Deek demanded loudly.

"Police, turkey," Hutch answered with a flash of his badge. "Now let go of the lady."

What happened next was predictable and just one of the reasons why cops hated to answer domestic violence calls. As expected, Deek put up a fight. He had alcohol and a fierce temper on his side, but the booth worked to Hutch's advantage. Starsky's partner thrust a long thigh across the opening, effectively blocking the big man's exit. Pinning Deek's left hand to the table, Hutch put the rest of his weight behind his shoulder, pushing the man against the far wall of the booth.

Starsky was already reaching for his cuffs when attack came from a completely unexpected quarter. Screaming like a banshee, Darleen leapt up on the table and launched herself at Hutch. In seconds there was a full-scale mêlée.

When the proverbial dust settled, and both assailants were in custody, cuffed, and Mirandized, Fat Man's Café was poorer by one jukebox, a set of crockery, and one rather large pitcher of 100% pure maple syrup. Starsky had the dubious honor of being baptized in the sticky brown mess, his shirt and jacket a complete write-off.

Thrusting Darleen and Deek into the back of Hutch's LTD, Starsky whirled in response to Hutch's insistent tapping. "What?" Starsky demanded of his partner. He watched, incredulous, as Hutch licked one syrup-damp fingertip--the finger he had used to garner his attention.

"You know, Starsk," Hutch said innocently, "this is the genuine article. Real maple syrup. A cheap café would try to pawn off something artificial. You were right; this is a great place. We'll have to eat here again sometime."

If I didn't love him so much I'd kill him, Starsky thought, stripping off everything but his jeans and shoes for the ride to Central.

"Starsk I'm telling you we should just swing by the house," Hutch said seriously.

"You said you had some clothes in your locker," Starsky stated patiently, still dripping from the shower. "The only way we're gonna have time to pick up my new car is if we go straight to the dealership." He gave his streaming curls and torso a cursory rub before bending to dry between his toes.

Think pure thoughts, Hutchinson...you're at work, Hutch mentally commanded himself.

He averted his blushing gaze from the perfect ass, thankful that shift change wasn't due for another hour. "I said, I have an old shirt you could cover up with 'til we got home." But he could tell his partner wasn't listening. He watched appreciatively as Starsky, legs still damp, struggled to get into his tight Levi's.

"C'mon, already. Give me the goods."

I can think of some goods I'd like to give you. Shaking his head ruefully, Hutch crossed to his locker. After working the combination, he fished out two rumpled articles: a not-quite-clean white tee shirt and his old orange shirt with the sombrero print, faded by time and hundreds of washings to a mellow mango color. "Here you go, partner."

"I thought you threw this away," Starsky said, indicating the sombrero shirt with a flick of his wrist.

"Was going to use it the next time I cleaned my gun at work, buddy," Hutch answered with a grin.

"My lucky day," Starsky said sarcastically, shrugging into his lover's dirty shirt.

"You don't understand," Starsky said for the tenth time, his patience beginning to wear very thin. "I have my purchase order. It says it right here," he pointed, "under description of color. My car is supposed to be 'Double-Metallic-Flake-Mediterranean-Midnight-Blue.'"

"And I'm telling you that your car is the right color," the service manager stated firmly in an annoying, supercilious tone.

"The right color!" Starsky roared, patience exhausted. He pointed out the showroom window to the parking lot housing a glittering, brand new, complete-with-all-the-toys-and-whistles 1983 Camaro. A Camaro that was painted an intensely bright banana yellow. "That is not what I ordered!" Starsky blurted angrily. "I paid for six coats of Double-Metallic-Flake-Mediterranean-Midnight-Blue!"

"It says right here, in black and white, that this is the car, you ordered," said the weasely service manager.


It was then that Hutch placed a restraining palm over his partner's mouth, cutting off the self-righteous bellow. Giving his partner the eye, as if to say 'Let me handle this,' Hutch pulled out his badge and laid it on the counter. "What my partner is trying to say is that he ordered a Camaro, not...a Canario." This last was said with a barely concealed snicker that Hutch took pains to hide--unsuccessfully in his mustache. Even the service manager couldn't stifle a titter.

Oh, you're a lot of fuckin' help, buddy, Starsky thought acidly.

"That badge don't impress me," the service manager said with a contemptuous sneer towards Hutch's shield. "My cousin is a cop, and he tells me just about every cop he knows is a moron."

Elbowing his partner out of the way, Starsky slapped his purchase order on the counter. "Will you just read this? Look at the description box."

"I don't read descriptions," stated the service manager. "I read numbers. And your number is BCS43511--Buttercup Canary Sunrise."

"But if you'll look at the description line--" Starsky began, only to be cut off again.

"I'm telling you, I don't read descriptions."

"Then why do you have the description box?"

"For the morons who can't use the number system."

"Hey," Hutch interrupted, a look of illumination painting his animated features, "this cop relative of yours. Is his name Bigelow?"

"Yeah, that's my cousin," he answered. "I'm Benny Bigelow, his dad's brother's oldest kid. What's it to you?"

"Oh, nothing," Hutch answered breezily.

"Listen you two," Bigelow said firmly, looking first at Starsky, then to Hutch, "what you're trying to pull is the oldest dive in the auto industry. You order a car, and you want it to be a special color, but you don't want to pay for it. So what you do is put in the correct ident number, but screw up the description or vice versa. Well, I ain't goin' for it." All throughout Bigelow's little speech, Hutch had been reading Starsky's invoice.

"The man's got a point, Starsk, " Hutch said thoughtfully, "it is your handwriting."

"What???" Grabbing back the invoice, Starsky checked the pertinent data.

"I've been reading that left-handed slanty, bass-ackwards scrawl of yours for ten years. It looks like you goofed, partner."

Starsky felt the blood drain from his face. Hutch's apologetic grin and Bigelow's vindicated smile met what he imagined was his own sickly, sour expression.

Yup, Hutch, you're a big fuckin' help...I'm having a real wing-ding of a day.

Willie, a twenty-year veteran with the police garage, was normally a very talkative fellow. Today the southern mechanic went about his work quietly, not saying anything.

"Okay, Willie," Starsky said heavily. "Say it. Take your best shot. I know you're dying to say something about my car."

"Nope," Willie drawled in his most deadpan voice. "My mama always said, 'If you ain't got something nice to say, don't say nothing at all.'"

Across the hood of the Camaro, Starsky gave Hutch his best long-suffering look.

Hutch shrugged with as much sympathy as he could muster.

"Why so glum, partner?" Hutch verbally poked.

"You have to ask?" Starsky mumbled, staring straight ahead, eyes on the road, as he expertly maneuvered the late morning traffic.

Hutch quietly absorbed the picture his lover painted: Starsky's face was stoically set, as if silently suffering some internal pain. Compounding the incongruity of his partner's expression were the completely uncharacteristic clothes he wore; his Starsky, dressed in a faded-to-tangerine sombrero shirt, was not a normal sight. By way of comparison, Hutch looked down at himself. He wore a newly acquired yellow Team Spud Bowling League shirt, topped by his white jeans jacket. His wicked sense of humor asserted itself; he couldn't help laughing aloud.

"Now what?" Starsky asked with mock patience.

"We look like two scoops of ice cream in a banana split," Hutch snorted, his mustache twitching with merriment. Starsky wisely chose not to respond.

The new radio crackled to life.

"Zebra-Three, we have a report of a 211 in progress. Silent alarm at Rose O'Shannis Finance Company at 414 West Murdock Street."

Starsky fumbled for the mike, hand unfamiliar with the new arrangement. "This is Zebra-Three responding," he finally managed.

"And here comes the cherry on top!" Hutch crowed aloud, putting the mars light in its place on the roof.

The 211 call was a washout, the silent alarm set off by accident, much to the manager's chagrin. This was only discovered after they had scared the employees half to death by bursting through the rear doors. Re-holstering their guns, he and Hutch left the loan company. As always, Starsky was glad they hadn't needed to use their weapons.

"We might as well enjoy the day, " Starsky said in the parking lot, looking up at a cloudless sky. "Help me take the tee-tops out."

"Aw, cmon, Starsk," Hutch whined. "The News says it's going to rain."

"You are so cranky today," Starsky stated emphatically.

"Oh yeah?" Hutch retorted defensively, "that's what happens when you don't get enough sleep, partner. If you're gonna dance, you've got to pay the band."

'M beginning to wonder if I ever want to "dance" with you again...

"Oh my God," Starsky said, shocked. "Lamont, I'm so sorry."

"Thanks, man," Merle the Earl's nephew and shop manager said. "Granny Bouchón was old, but it's still--you know--a shock. You always think these tough ol' folks are gonna live forever."

"When did it happen?" Hutch queried gently.

"Uncle Merle got the call late last night," Lamont answered sadly. "I took him out to the airport myself this morning. He's probably landed in Baton Rouge by now."

Starsky shook his head woefully. "Listen, I want to pay my respects. Do you know where the Arrangements are?"

"Yeah, Granny's people have been buried out of the East Lee Street Funeral Home since the Civil War."

Pulling his case book out of his back pocket, where he had placed it when his jacket bit the dust this morning, Starsky dutifully noted the address. "Lamont, I came here about the new car, but it can wait. When should I call Merle--a week? Two?"

"I just don't know, man...it's still too soon to tell," Lamont answered. "He's gonna have to close up her house and deal with the lawyers. Who knows how long that stuff takes? A bunch of us are heading down to Louisiana tonight. I'm just here right now to shut things down and hang a wreath."

"I'm sorry," Starsky repeated.

Lamont seemed to come to a decision. "You've been coming here forever, Starsky. Do you want to leave your car in the garage? I'm sure Uncle Merle could put it at the top of the list when he gets back."

"No, that's all right," Starsky said with a sigh. "I'll call some time next week and see what's going on--okay?"

"Sure man, you do that..."

"I hate to say I told you so, buddy, but I told you it was going to rain."

"'M not in the mood to hear it, Hutch," Starsky mumbled, looking for someplace--anyplace--dry and sheltered. He needed to pull over and get the tees back in before his leather upholstery was ruined by the sudden shower. "Hold on," he said, spying just the place.

Even mad as hell at his partner, Starsky briefly placed a steadying hand on Hutch's shoulder before making the sharp U-turn. The roar of the Camaro's V8 and a squeal of tires accompanied the maneuver, but in. less then ten seconds Starsky had his new car parked under the comparative shelter of a self-serve car wash.

"Did you see how she cornered?" Starsky asked excitedly, getting out of the car. "And on wet pavement, too!"

"Belle had a better turn ratio than this heap," Hutch groused, getting out to help with the heavy glass tee-tops. "And more character," he added.

"That's it!" Starsky stated hotly. "I've had enough of your snide remarks for one day. You've done nothing but bitch and complain all day and I'm tired of hearing it."

"Is that so?"

"That's right," Starsky answered, "so like Willie said, if you ain't got something constructive to say, don't talk to me, and sure as hell don't give me any more help like you did at the dealership."

"You don't want my help? That's fine," Hutch said, walking away from the trunk where the tee-tops were stored. "You can put your toy car back together by yourself."

Hutch walked to the mouth of the car wash and stood silently staring into the rain while his partner muscled the tees into place. After cooling off several minutes--and making sure Starsky had finished the work on the car--he came back over and got in the Camaro.

Without a word, his partner put the car in gear and pulled out.

They'd barely traveled a mile when Hutch noticed a drip-drip-drip sound plopping behind him. Turning his head, he could see droplets of water leaking through the tee-top's seal. "Um, partner," Hutch said gently, "I think I have something constructive to say."

"What?" Starsky asked frostily.

Pointing with his eyes at the drip behind him, he watched as Starsky cheated a quick glance over his shoulder. The long-suffering look returned to his partner's face. But even so, he couldn't resist his next line.

"You know, Starsk...maybe this car is a lemon."

"Bite my lemon."

"Look at my car!" Starsky bellowed through the driver's side window. Hands visibly trembling with rage, his partner flung open the door and hurled himself from the vehicle. Hutch watched with grim trepidation as Starsky absorbed the damage then thrust his arms heavenward in a gesture of complete disbelief. More slowly, Hutch extricated himself from the Camaro and came to survey the situation. And to keep Starsky from killing someone.

By now the driver of the truck had come around the tailgate of his ancient flatbed. He was a sturdy but elderly man, dressed in simple farming clothes that had seen a lot of wear. To Hutch's trained eye, he appeared to be about 5'2", 140 pounds, of probable Hispanic descent, and somewhere in his late sixties. But this was no criminal Hutch was sizing up; this was an old man mortified and appalled by his actions.

"Look what you've done to my car!" Starsky bellowed again, as if the damage wasn't apparent. A large metal pipe had rolled off the back of the flatbed, crashing into the nose of the Camaro.

"¡Ay Dios! ¡Ay Dios!" cried the elderly man, wringing his chapped hands, his weathered features twisted in dismay.

"You've cracked the fiberglass!" Starsky raged, still in high dudgeon.

"¡Ay Dios mío!"

"This is a brand new car! Do you know what this is gonna cost to fix?"

"Lo siento, señor...quánto lo siento..."

"I don't think he speaks English, Starsk," Hutch said sotto voce, leaning into his partner's curls to make his pronouncement. As planned, this caused Starsky to whirl and fix his steely gaze upon him. Holding up his hands in a gesture of "don't shoot," Hutch gave his lover a sympathetic look, telling him with a glance that he understood where he was coming from. But Hutch also gave a shrug, tipping his head in silent communication in the direction of the elderly Mexican. "What can you do? Kill him? He's just an old man."

Calming visibly, at least to the point of slow boil versus volcanic eruption, Starsky turned back to the driver. "Mira lo que has hecho."

'Look what you've done,' Hutch mentally translated. Good job, Starsk! Your Spanish really is improving.

"Oh God...I'm sorry, sir--really sorry," the elderly man repeated in fast Spanish for the second time, clearly at a loss for words.

Starsky was just reaching for his badge when the rest of the family piled out of the truck's cab. Four stair-step kids who were young enough to be his grandchildren--great-grandchildren even--came to crowd protectively around the stooped old man. The kids, ranging from ages four to ten, were just as tattered and careworn as the truck and its driver. Seeing their terrified expressions moved Hutch to pity, and apparently Starsky, too.

Hutch watched with pride as his partner manfully wrestled his righteous anger into something more manageable. With a supreme effort, Starsky obviously chose to let it go--all the tension, all the bullshit, as well as this latest disappointment with his car.

"Don't worry about it, uh, it was just an accident..." Starsky's brow furrowed with the effort of finding the respectful way to say this. "No se preocupe. Fue un accidente."

"Lo siento, señor!" The old man beamed, his smile filled with relief.

"No hay problema," Starsky reiterated. "Olvidemos que esto ocurrió."

'Let's forget this happened,' Hutch thought. Good job, buddy.

Hutch moved to help his partner lift the heavy, greased hunk of piping from beneath the front of the Camaro, only to be warned off by narrowed blue eyes that beamed the message 'You've helped me enough.' With a grunt, Starsky muscled the pipe onto the back of the old man's truck. With the agility that Hutch knew and admired so much, Starsky hopped into the flatbed and began to rearrange some the jumbled items.

When the last bungee was in place to his satisfaction, Starsky jumped down, his hands grimed with black grease and other assorted dirt. The elderly man smiled and bowed his thanks. Starsky stuck out his hand, took one look at the blackened mess, and with little conscious thought to his action, wiped it on the seat of his jeans before shaking hands with the old man. Hutch, who had been slyly admiring his partner's ass throughout his flatbed dismount, smirked appreciatively at the comma of grease that punctuated one fine buttock.

Of course, he tried to remind Starsky about the greasy spot, but his partner wouldn't listen until after he'd sat on the new upholstery.

"Why do you want to pick it up in the morning?" Starsky asked as reasonably as he could, considering the day he'd just endured. "Why don't we swing by and get it now?"

"Because it's all the way on the other side of town," Hutch stated hotly. "I'm fucking tired; I want a nap. I'm hungry, I want to eat, in the privacy of my own home. No more 'home cookin', thank you very much. And I want a shower...not necessarily in that order. Got it?"

"Yeah, I got it. But let me tell you one thing," Starsky admonished, "I wouldn't want to leave my car all alone in a strange part of town overnight, but if you want to pretend you don't give a damn about your wheels, no skin off my nose. Just so I don't hear it when someone steals your damned car."


Starsky locked the front door, already shrugging out of Hutch's humiliating sombrero shirt. His companion was also divesting himself of his white jacket and shoulder holster. They met at the mahogany hat rack where they hung their guns. As Starsky reached to hook his holster on its peg, Hutch's hand touched his, giving a small squeeze.

They were standing so close together Starsky had to tip his head back slightly to lock eyes with his partner. Hidden somewhere behind the coolly reserved sky blue gaze was his lover.

Hutch has been a rat bastard all day, Starsky thought defensively. But he had to own up to his own feelings, too. I guess my mood hasn't been much better.

"What do you want to do about dinner?" he asked quietly, finally willing to declare a truce.

"I cooked last night," Hutch answered neutrally, going along with the cease-fire.

"Want me to call for pizza?"

"Will you order one that won't rot my stomach?" Hutch asked hopefully.

"Yeah." Starsky let his head drop onto his lover's shoulder. Hutch's hand came to his neck, brushing aside the thick curls. The broad palm gripped his now-bared neck, massaging the tension away. Content to stay this way for a while, and knowing actions often speak louder than words, Starsky slipped his arms around Hutch's waist, letting his hands rest on the globes of his partner's ass.

That's funny, Hutch thought, stepping out of the steamy bathroom, wearing nothing but a red bath towel kilted around his narrow hips. The hallway was dark, but he could hear Starsky dialing the phone on the hall extension. The pizza order had been phoned in before he'd started his shower. I wonder who he's calling? The answer to his unspoken question came quickly.

"Hello, Ma? It's David."


"Yeah, I know it's not Friday..."


"I'm okay..."


"Yeah, Hutch is okay."


"Everything's okay, yeah, everything."

A longer pause.

"I dunno, Ma...guess I just wanted to hear your beautiful voice."


"Well, no. I-I wouldn't want you to keep Mr. Levin waiting..."


"I love you too. Bye-bye."

Hutch listened as his partner quietly hung up the phone. Starsky shuffled down the hall to the living room, the picture of subdued reflection. Hutch faded back into the unlit bathroom, choosing to remain hidden--not out of some desire to spy on his lover, but rather because he didn't want to give the impression that he had been spying. Starsky's thinking about Merle's mom, he thought sympathetically, padding silently in the opposite direction toward their shared bedroom. I'll call for funeral flowers in the morning.

Once in the bedroom, he rummaged through the folded but still-not-put-away laundry for his favorite flannel boxer shorts. There are times, he mused sadly, as he stepped into the pair of blue plaid boxers, when I can almost be thankful for an emotionally absent family...almost.

Heading for the living room dressed only his boxers, Hutch paused in the doorway, looking at his lover sitting on the couch. Piled up on the coffee table, the end the floor, and Starsky's lap were literally hundreds of promotional brochures featuring various automobiles. Bare to the waist, dressed only in his unbuttoned jeans and a pair of red socks, his partner was intently pouring over his car catalogues. Starsky was softly illuminated by the single lamp, and Hutch's heart tugged in its moorings; he thought he'd never seen anyone so desirable, so sensual, and handsome. Wish I wasn't so wiped out.

"A-hem," Hutch announced his presence.

Starsky looked up, his face open, his expression intent and a little confused. "I just don't know how I could have made a mistake like this..."

Crossing the living room, Hutch came to sit beside his partner. Without a word, he leaned forward and gently pressed his lips to Starsky's. "I've been an asshole."

"It's just been one of those days," Starsky said. "It's what I get for waking you up. Guess I shoulda let you sleep."



"No buts...it was the best ever, worth a lifetime of lost sleep. Nobody makes me feel the way you do, babe."

Gripping his lover's thigh in silent response, Starsky hung his head, obviously pleased.

The doorbell announced the arrival of their Avocado Avenger pizza.

For one of the few times in his life, Starsky wasn't very interested in watching a movie, even one of his all-time favorites. Instead, he paid bare ear service to the TV while quietly thumbing through his car brochures. Hutch, relaxed by his shower and sated with food, had fallen asleep with his head in Starsky's lap before the first commercial break. That was fine with Starsky; balancing the catalogue on the arm of the sofa left one hand free to absent-mindedly stroke his partner's hair.

Nearly an hour later, having narrowed the brochure field significantly, Starsky had a pretty good idea where the mistake had originated. The trouble seemed to stem from a three-ring binder of paint samples: each full color page was immediately followed by an information page--at least, that's the way it should have been. Instead, there were some sections that had been reversed and sure enough, the Buttercup Canary Sunrise info sheet erroneously followed the Midnight Mediterranean Blue sample.

Mystery solved, Starsky gave a deep, vindicated sigh. He knew there was no way he would have carelessly screwed-up something as important as the paint job on his new wheels. First thing in the morning, he would be down at the dealership, in Bigelow's face, sharing this defective product book with the service manager. Starsky could now turn his mind to other pursuits. He looked to the man whose head nestled in his lap.

Starsky allowed the back of his hand to lightly trace the smooth planes of Hutch's face. He marveled at the creamy texture of his partner's skin, closely shaven except for the mustache. Fingertips stroked the facial hair, finding it surprisingly silky and erotic. He remembered when his partner--having shaved the original lip-warmer shortly after Gunther's attempt on Starsky's life--had started growing it out again, how prickly it had felt against his face, how he'd worried that he wouldn't like the feel of it against his lips. That stage had been short-lived, lasting only a week; after that it was all velvet. Starsky was surprised to find that he thrilled to the touch of the mustache against his face.

It was then that Hutch stirred in his sleep, turning to face the back of the couch, his mouth and nose snuggled suggestively close to Starsky's groin. Warm breath engulfed his sex; Starsky hardened in response to this erotic intimacy. Cock rising, framed on either side by his unbuttoned jeans, he thought, Hutch'll kill me if I wake him twice in one day! Shifting his thighs just a little, Starsky tried to move his lover's head enough to redirect the flow of his breath. But the best-laid plans of mice and men...his partner woke with a smile.

"'M I always gonna wake up with one of these things in my face?" Hutch mumbled archly.

Starsky could tell his partner didn't mind--not really. Hutch's special little grin, the one reserved for him alone, curled the comer of his lips. "Probably," Starsky answered indulgently.

"Guess I can live with that."

Hutch only had to crane his neck a little to bring his wide, sensual lips to bear upon the cock. Starsky watched appreciatively as his partner's lips kissed, then nuzzled the base of his shaft. It still thrilled him that Hutch did this for him; he'd never had a lover so giving, one so focused in the delivery of pleasure. Hutch brought to their lovemaking the same intensity and concentration he brought to their cases.

Erotically hypnotized, Starsky sat frozen with pleasure as the soft pink tongue snaked out and laved where the lips had kissed a moment ago. Then Hutch rolled to his stomach; Starsky felt his lover rest a cheek upon the flatness of his belly. Delicate lips kissed his cock. A hot tongue tip traced the raised ridge of the glans, inspiring an appreciative moan. Adding a knowledgeable hand, Hutch rubbed the sensitive underside of the cock with his thumb, while his satiny lips teased the tiny slitted opening.

Eyes shut in bliss, Starsky felt his entire member engulfed in a moist and giving mouth. Heart thundering with desire, he rocked his hips in time to his lover's bobbing head. He rested his hands on Hutch's head and neck, though not to direct, never to force. The fingers of his right hand carded through the silky wheat of his lover's hair, the left latched onto the long neck in a massaging caress meant to encourage the ministrations he received.

Hutch responded, taking him deep in his throat. So deep, holding him there, the suction so sweet, the pull strong and perfect. Orgasm built in his balls, layer upon intensified layer, until he knew he would come if it didn't stop. He gripped Hutch's shoulder in silent communication.

"What?" his companion queried, pulling off his cock with a wet gasp, hair shaggy and disheveled from his endeavors.

"Don't..." Starsky gasped, "...not like that."

"How then, babe?"

Gathering his scattered senses, Starsky murmured, "Do you feel like doin' a little work?" He couldn't fail to note the heat that rushed to Hutch's face, staining the features with added heights of arousal.

"Yeah," Hutch nodded. "I'm ready to do some work. Here?"

Nodding assent, Starsky had an amusing realization: his own eyes must be just as hooded and smoky with desire as his partner's. He felt a smirking grin of pure happiness kink his face. Oh, Hutch...if you could only see how hot you look right now...

Permission asked and given, Hutch's large hands literally manhandled Starsky's ass to the edge of the sofa. Two tugs, and his socks were gone. The same alacrity was applied in the removal of his jeans. A swift kiss was conferred to his balls before a quick, "Stay like that, I'll be right back," was babbled. Starsky felt his grin grow, rather than diminish, as he watched his lover--dressed only in tented boxers--scramble away. He knew why Hutch had left...he was making a run for the lubricant.

Legs sprawled, splayed open, cock curving over his belly, knowing he must look the picture of wantonness, Starsky waited with simmering passion for the return of lover. Practically sprinting into the living room, Hutch nearly fell over in the effort to divest himself of his uncooperative boxers. He saw that Hutch's fingers shook as he unscrewed the blue and white tube of surgi-lube--the cap went sailing off, rolling unseen under the coffee table.

It was strangely humbling, gratifying even, seeing how excited Hutch became when they made love--how very much Hutch desired him...loved him. Even though they'd been lovers for two years, his partner still personified the phrase, 'With my body, I thee worship'. And as the object of all this passion, Starsky felt keenly his responsibility to calm and direct his lover's efforts--to never take advantage of all this unbridled emotion.

Retaining some semblance of coherency, he pulled the folded Navaho blanket off the back of the sofa. "Here, lover--save your knees."

Kneeling between his thighs, Hutch placed the blanket where it would do the most good. Reaching forward, Starsky deliberately stroked the hair out of his comrade's eyes--eyes as blue as the morning sky, yet as clear and jeweled as stained glass. Gently, gently, he combed the flaxen strands with his fingers--strands soft as silk. He continued his caresses until he saw the spark of wild passion that lit Hutch's eyes flicker and fuse into something deeper. Leaning forward, he put his arms around Hutch's neck, drawing him in close, soothing and gentling him with his presence. "There's no hurry," Starsky whispered intimately, "'m not goin' anywhere."

Taking what appeared to be a deep, calming breath, Hutch nodded, then bent to join their mouths in a lingering kiss. Incapable of passively accepting caresses, Starsky ran his hands across Hutch's shoulders and down his arms, kneading the lean muscles, tracing the smooth cut and curve of bicep and forearm. So strong...so smooth...

Their fingers met. A gentle squeeze was exchanged, then Hutch's hand withdrew. A moment later Starsky felt the cool presence of lubricant being applied to the tight circle of muscle that guarded his body. A tender finger delicately traced the little opening, massaging his anus, encouraging it to loosen. Clever, knowing fingers stroked his ass, caressed his balls, setting his senses ablaze. So fucking good! Starsky thought, thrashing with desire. Now it was Hutch's turn to calm, to mold and direct the fire that forged their souls. Hutch kissed him deeply, supporting his body in his strong embrace. Giving voice to his passion, Starsky groaned wildly into Hutch's mouth.

Hutch responded by deepening their kiss and thrusting his pelvis forward. Their groins met in a charged kiss of their own. Starsky's cock, already hard to the point of almost pain, helplessly wept clear tears of desire. Passion mounted, setting his blood on fire as Hutch slipped a fingertip into his body. Scissoring his legs around the narrow waist, he pulled his lover in tight, grinding their hard-ons together, suddenly desperate for completion, desperate to come.

Tipping his head back, moaning with arousal, Starsky sobbed, "Don't tease, Hutch... 'M so hot for you."

Hutch's head dropped to his chest, teeth nipping the taut nipple hidden by the dusting of dark hair. "I'm not teasing, lover. Its been a hell of a day...you're tight as a drum."

"M ready, baby...don't make me wait...want you...want all of you..."

"You'll get it...you'll get all my love...just be patient for a minute more," Hutch panted.

At that moment, a long finger slowly insinuated itself in his body. A feeling of fullness that was a strange mixture of satisfaction and trepidation washed over Starsky's senses, cooling his blood enough to see reason. If Hutch, his loving-but-well-endowed partner, had heeded his impassioned pleas for quick completion, it would have been a cause for pain--not pleasure. Thank God Hutch has enough sense to think for us both, Starsky thought, grateful once again that his partner-in-all-things loved him enough to literally watch his back.

"You okay babe?" the blond asked, his finger buried deep but unmoving.

"Yeah...give me another one," Starsky answered, his voice a ragged whisper.

"I'll give you another one," Hutch promised, bending to lap the crystal drops of pre-ejaculate pooled on his belly. True to his word, a second finger joined the first, and Starsky found himself breathing around a slight thread of pain.

"Give me a minute," he breathed, face clouded with passion and the pressure of Hutch's probing digits. "Just need a minute..."

"You tell me when to move," the beloved voice murmured.

Uncounted minutes passed as Starsky willed his taut body to relax. His fingers sank into the couch cushions, seeking purchase as he rode the wave of tension that sought to lock the door to his body. His erection softened somewhat, but experience had shown that once his body opened, his cock would reassert itself.

Sweet lips kissed his cock encouragingly. "We don't have to do this, David," Hutch whispered, nuzzling his pubic hair with his nose. "Let me pull out and suck you."

"No..." he answered, his fingers seeking Hutch's free hand. Their fingers twined in a steely embrace. "...Just need a minute." The tender kiss delivered to his abdomen testified to Hutch's patience and willingness to accommodate him.

At last, like some internal dam breaking, Starsky felt the muscles relax. His ass accepted the presence of his partner's, fingers and was ready to take more. "I'm ready," he breathed gratefully, his excitement already building again.

"I know...I felt you loosen."

Hutch withdrew his fingers. Starsky sighed, disappointed at their loss, feeling empty. But not for long--his lover returned to his anus again and again with more lubricant, one long digit thoroughly coating his insides with the clear gel. Then his partner gently filled him with the same two fingers, but this time he located and massaged his prostate from within, arousing his cock to a state of aching erection.

"Last one," Hutch announced softly, slowly folding his ring finger in beside the other two, stretching his opening that last, very necessary, little bit. It went in smoothly, without a hint of pain or resistance, making Starsky feel as though he would die from the pleasure of being spread so wide.

Thrashing his head side to side in pent erotic need, he cried, "Oh, Hutch...oh babe...don't make me wait...do it...fuck me baby..."

The next thing he felt clearly were two, large hands curving around his buttocks, lifting him, positioning him. Then all coherent thought fled as Hutch's cock pierced his body. The sensation of Hutch's hardness splitting him, mounting higher in his body, filling him with love, and lust, and a sense of kinship that was beyond fraternity, was indescribable. Whenever he took his beloved into his body, it was as though he had crossed the line that separated their souls, merging them into a single being, a being that drew no distinction between me and thee.

Just when he thought the pleasure was unendurable, it was trebled when Hutch began a gentle in-out motion with his hips, sliding out half way, perhaps farther, then pressing back in one long lingering stroke. Hutch fucked his ass, his movements unhurried and strong, big hands kneading his ass as he groaned, inarticulate with bliss. The big cock worked deep into his body, piercing him like a diamond-headed drill, filling him, completing him in a way undreamed of just two years before.

Starsky's hands latched onto his partner's shoulders, gripping, holding on for dear life as Hutch's strokes picked up speed and power. Hutch's cock pumped in and out of his body with ease, though he could feel his internal muscles grip and pull at the welcome invader, seeking to hold the column of flesh within, to milk it of its gift of life and love.

"D-David," Hutch stuttered, fumbling for his lover's cock. He found Starsky's aching hardness, and with the last bits of lingering lubricant clinging to his hand, worked to bring him to completion. "Come for me...come for me... I'm so close...please...please come..."

The sound of that beloved voice, so fraught with sexual tension, and the notion of control maintained but tattered were enough to push Starsky over the edge without the added stimulation to his cock. His body, galvanized by orgasm, shuddered and quaked, taking Hutch with him on the wild ride to completion. Hutch's hands returned to his waist, pulling him down, holding their bodies together as pulse after pulse of hot ejaculate spurted from Starsky and into him simultaneously. Gale-force orgasm ripped though Starsky's system, leaving him shattered, boneless, and utterly replete.

Senses finally reasserting themselves, he gave a rich groan. He practically sat in Hutch's lap, his legs loosely scissoring his partner's waist, pulled there in the last extremis of their lovemaking. Still throbbing with little tremors and aftershocks of delight, he felt the cock within his body slowly grow lax and collapse upon itself. Hutch's face was buried against his chest; strong arms held him close. Starsky waited for his companion to make the first move. I love you, he thought as he delicately traced his partner's features with his lips, knowing he didn't need to say the words now--not while his mate was still lost in himself.

As he waited for Hutch to come back from that special place where they weren't two, but one, Starsky realized he couldn't imagine trusting another man like this. He knew how careful Hutch was, how much strength he held in check as he loved his partner with his cock, never as strongly as he could, never brutish or out of control. His lover was a big man--strong and fit--but Starsky knew it was impossible for Hutch to hurt him. His lover was too responsible, too noble, to allow that to happen. Starsky was proud, honored even, that he could demonstrate his love by giving the gift of his body.

Reverie broken by a contented sigh that stirred the hairs on his chest, Starsky sensed that his partner was ready to move. Hutch's long-fingered hand latched onto the arm of the sofa, accidentally knocking over the sample book he'd been reading before they began making love. The ring binder hit the floor and sprang open, scattering its pages in a wide arc. Taking in the sight of the tumbled pages, Hutch's face took on a sickly look far out of proportion to the mess he'd made.

"Don't worry about it, babe," Starsky said lightly, giving the bridge of his nose a kiss. "That's the paint sample book from the dealership. It was defective to begin with--that's how I got the wrong color on my car. But don't worry, Bigelow is gonna hear it tomorrow." He planted another small kiss on Hutch's upturned face. "Isn't that great news?"

"Yeah, sure," Hutch said, not sounding the least bit convinced.

"C'mon, blintz, let's get a move on. Your knees have to be killing you."

"Yeah, sure," his partner repeated, as if in shock.

Working together, they managed to separate without doing one another any damage. Hutch remained kneeling, but helped him back to the couch. Starsky thoughtfully preserved their upholstery by covering his seat with the discarded boxer shorts.

"That was some workout," he opined admiringly, scratching his belly and the milky splatters of semen matting the hairs on his chest.

Hutch nodded. "Yeah, I guess it was."

Starsky stood and gave a big stretch. He could feel Hutch's cum trickling down his inner thighs. "Man, I'm a mess...'m gonna take a shower." Looking down at his partner, whom he was beginning to think was acting very strangely, he said, "If you're gonna stay down there, you might as well pick up the other mess you made."

"What?" Hutch asked stupidly.

"The color samples, Kemo Sabe," he stated with an exasperated gesture towards the scattered papers. "Put 'em back in the binder," Starsky said, already heading for the bathroom. "And don't forget, the info sheet goes behind the color, not in front..."

Ever since he'd seen the ring binder of paint samples scattered across the floor, Hutch had been in an agony of guilt and indecision. He remembered the last time he'd seen that very same binder. It had been almost a month ago, and he'd long since become weary of Starsky's search for the perfect car; he was especially tired of the plethora of pamphlets that littered their house. Brochures in the bathroom, leaflets littering the living room and most irritating were the stacks and stacks of sample catalogues crowding the kitchen counter.

Hutch's mostly-unspoken resentment came to a head one day when he burned his hand on a casserole dish due the lack of counter space. Nearly dropping the hot container, he turned to the kitchen table, only to be met by a three-ring binder of fall color paint samples. In a fit of pique, he'd knocked the offending book to the floor, where it had burst open, sending pages flying across the room.

Once he'd soothed the reddened skin on his hand, he'd dutifully cleaned up his mess. Bending, he'd scooped up the scattered pages, stuffing them back in the notebook regardless of order. He'd set them on top of the mountain of material covering the counter, then promptly forgotten about them. It had never occurred to him that the fall had disorganized the ordering information. Poor Starsk...no wonder he got the wrong car. I screwed up the sample book.

Knowing you were the cause of someone's misery and confessing to it were two different creatures. Hutch hesitated to tell his partner the truth; he knew how Starsky felt about his wheels. Messing with a man's car was a cardinal sin, nearly unforgivable. I've got to tell him, Hutch thought, nibbling his mustache in anxiety. But do I tell him now or in the morning? He considered his options.

If he told Starsky in the morning, it would mean he was assured of a good night's sleep before the bomb went off. If he told him now, while he was all fuzzy and bemused in a cloud of sexual satisfaction, he stood a better chance of getting a suspended sentence. Plus, his partner would have the night to sleep on it, and hopefully begin to process a bit before they hit the streets. It's got to be tonight.


Hutch was surprised at how well Starsky accepted his revelation. He put that bit of information away for future reference: the next time he screwed up, he'd be sure to "screw up" his lover before telling him. He'd outlined the chain of events leading to the mix-up, stressing his total lack of malicious intent. Yet there had been one point where he'd said the damning words, 'After all, its only a car'. As soon as the words left his mouth, Hutch knew he'd put his foot in it and thought he was a goner.

Indigo eyes flashing fire, Starsky's mouth had dropped open, preparing what appeared to be a verbal barrage. But then his lover's gaze had cooled, leaving him with a thoughtful expression. A little smile curled the corner of Starsky's mouth. "Accidente, amigo," Starsky said lightly, turning down the covers and inserting himself between them. "Not a problem--right?"

"S-sure," Hutch had stuttered in agreement, thankful to have avoided a clash, but somewhat disquieted by Starsky's ready capitulation.

Getting in on his side of the bed, Hutch rolled toward his lover. Settling in, he pulled the covers up to his ears. Hesitantly, apologetically, he stroked Starsky's hip, telling him with his body how sorry he was for his part in the Canario debacle.



"Thanks for...you know...everything."

"Go to sleep, Hutch. I love you too."



Captain Harold Dobey finished his call to the Commissioner and replaced the receiver on his telephone. He'd been distracted all throughout his conversation by noise generated in the detectives' squadroom. The volume had increased steadily, mixed with roars of hearty laughter, right until the finish of his call. Abruptly, the sounds of raucous merriment ceased, as if hanging up the phone had turned off a switch.

What are those chumps up to out there? Dobey thought, irritated. With a harumphing sigh, the hefty black man pushed away from his desk. Crossing over to the door connecting his office with the squadroom, he yanked it open, fully intending to chew some butt. If they don't have enough work to keep busy, I can fix that...

Dobey was just in time to see the trailing ends of his squad exiting the main room. The crowd of laughing men and women filled the hallway, heading in the direction of the elevators. Through the glass Dobey caught sight of the man he imagined was the instigator of this unprofessional behavior. At the head of the pack, like some modern day Pied Piper, was Hutchinson--long blond hair breezing behind, white teeth flashing with convulsive glee. "I wonder where the hell they think they're going," Dobey asked aloud.

"They're going down to laugh at my car."

Startled, for his question had been rhetorical and he hadn't expected an answer, Dobey turned to the corner where the voice had originated. "Is that so?"

"Yeah," Starsky answered with a sheepish grin, giving his superior a brief rundown of events.

"Well, I must say, you're taking this very well," Dobey said with a measuring gaze.

Starsky gave a good-natured shrug. "Hey, any car of mine is a million times better than that heap Hutch is driving. Besides," Starsky added, a wicked glint in his dark blue eyes, "I figure by the time ol' Blintz gets to the Z's in the phone book, he oughta be pretty glad that he has access to any car, even a Canario."

"And what's that supposed to mean?" Dobey asked, his eyes narrowing suspiciously.

"Nothin', Cap. Don't worry about it," Starsky said airily. "But if Hutch should come mooning to you about that missing mold experiment he calls a car, mum's the woid."

"I suppose I could forget this conversation ever happened..." Dobey trailed off.

Starsky took the hint. "Captain, I was just on my way out to lunch. How would you like a ride in my new car to Tacoria El Toro? My treat."

Dobey could feel a jubilant expression creep across his rounded features. In the Captain's portly--but parsimonious--book, the only thing better than a fine meal was a fine meal where somebody else picked up the tab. "You're on, Detective. Give me five minutes to make a quick call and get my hat..."


Starsky patiently waited for his boss to come out of his office. To kill time, and to destroy the evidence, he cleaned out his little black notebook--the one where he wrote his case notes. In the past, Dobey had accused him of writing official reports of nearly comic book proportions. He'd stopped that, but he had never been able to break the habit of almost diary-like submissions in his casebook. Especially if it's a special day.

He'd been so sure Tuesday was going to be perfect that he'd made the effort to jot little reminders to himself all day long. Woke up way early... Ate breakfast... Went to pick up the car... Starsky snorted in self-deprecation as he tore out yesterday's notes--all of which were meaningless in a police sense. What he really needed to remember--his love for Hutch, and how much his partner loved him in return--he could never forget.

There was only one notation of any significance, the one where he mentioned having Zed's Wrecker Service tow Hutch's car to Merle's. Any regret he might have begun to feel in the light of day at his chicanery had been eradicated when his partner, upon entering the crowded squadroom, had immediately begun regaling their co-workers with the tale of Starsky's "Canario."

Starsky imagined all the hysterically funny contortions his partner would perform in the search for his missing LTD. The hardest part will be keeping a straight face, Starsky thought, not the least bit guilty about his duplicity. This little exercise oughta be enough to remind Detective Hutchinson of the importance of a man's wheels...even a junker like his. He knew it was going to be fun, getting some of his own back from Hutch.

So what if I ain't got a Masarati under my butt, or a Cartier on my wrist? Starsky thought, a bemused grin quirking his mouth. I've got Hutch. Movie star handsome, his partner in life, Kenneth Hutchinson: a man whose biting intelligence was as deep and twisting as the Snake River.

It didn't matter to Starsky that his man was possessed by a stubbornness and black sense of humor that had gotten them into trouble on more than one occasion, because balancing this darker side was a great and noble heart. Through the eyes of love Starsky saw facets of his partner that few ever suspected existed, parts that were alternately precious as gold, hard as diamonds, and soft as silk.

Nah, I don't need a Masarati, Starsky thought with a satisfied grin. Not as long as I can rev Hutch's engine...

To read an excerpt from the sequel to Canario, another story in the Living Well Universe, go to Return of the Killer Tomato