This story was first published in the stand-alone zine, If Love Is Real Addiction published by In Person Press. Comments on this story can be sent, as usual, to:


If Love Is Real: Addiction


Chapter 7

But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm getting older too
            Landslide—Fleetwood Mac

Hutch held Starsky close as he slept. He spent the time watching him in the mirror. The red bandana blindfold made him think of scarlet poppies swaying in the breeze. But two hours later, he was forced to move or give up the use of the arm supporting Starsky's weight. He shifted cautiously, not wanting to wake his partner.

Starsky took a deep breath and tried to stretch while still embracing Hutch. The stretch must've brought him awareness of his restricted movement and the still-present blindfold. His body tensed.

"Shhh," Hutch murmured, "it's okay. I'm right here."

"I bet," Starsky said, relaxing again. He sounded much more aware than Hutch expected him to be. He brought his leg up, sliding it between Hutch's, rubbing his thigh gently against Hustch's groin. Starsky frowned. "You're not hard anymore." He sounded disappointed.

"Good thing," Hutch said, kissing Starsky's sternum. "You've been out for a couple of hours. I'd have gangrene if I'd kept it up that long."

"You shouldn't have let me sleep so long. Not with you hurtin' so bad." His fingers trailed down Hutch's spine. "'M 'wake now."

"Barely." Starsky's sleepy lassitude was so reminiscent of Hutch's condition whenever they forced another shot on him that it unnerved him.

"Mmm," Starsky agreed. "So wake me up some more."

Hutch shifted, rolled Starsky onto his back and rested halfway on his chest. "I need something from you."

Starsky had the nerve to smile. "I know."

Hutch shook his head before remembering Starsky couldn't see him. "Besides that. I need something else."

Now it was Starsky's turn to look thoughtful. "Tell me."

Hutch had to wet his mouth. "I-I spent so much of my time high, so confused—and every time I started to have some lucidity they'd start asking me questions—who was I? What was I? Where was Jeannie? Eventually...I told them everything. I told them...." Even now, the shame of that burned him. His voice dropped to a near whisper. "You would've never told them."

"Hutch," Starsky began, his whole body tensing in denial.

"You wouldn't have. You would've never given me up."

"You're wrong, Hutch," Starsky said, his voice strong. He was fully awake and aware now. "No one could've resisted what they did to you. I would've told them anything. I would've given you up, my mom, anyone."

"You keep telling me that, but I can't believe it."

"Is that what you need from me?" Starsky asked. "If I am you in the scene—you need me to be you. You need me to give something up. You need me to tell you something—"

"You would never admit to otherwise. Something I'd never be able to find out without your telling me."

Starsky grew quiet for a moment, then finally said, "I don't know if I can give you that."

"I don't think you can," Hutch agreed. "That's why I don't believe you would've ever given me up to Monk. It's part of your strength. You share so much with me, but when there's something you don't want to let out—you keep it tight to yourself. And nothing can get it from you."

Starsky didn't look happy with the way this was going. "That's not what I meant. It's too different. I don't know anything critical, I'm not deliberately hiding anything from you, the way you were hiding Jeannie from Forrest."

They lay entwined in an oddly strained silence. Finally, Starsky said, "Let me give you what I can, Hutch. It might be enough...." He sounded doubtful.

"You've given so much already," Hutch acknowledged. "I've got no right to ask for more."

"You always have that right," Starsky insisted. "We're gonna get past this. I swear we will."

Hutch smiled. "You're just going to keep giving me your strength until I can stand on my own, huh?"

Starsky shook his head. "You've got your own strength, Hutch. You don't need mine, you just think you do. You had the strength to keep fighting when lesser men would've yielded. You don't even know how strong you are."

Hutch laughed. "That's why your stomach's wet from my tears."

"Tears, spit, semen—what difference does it make?"

"Let's see, huh?" Hutch slid his hand up underneath the bathrobe, stroking Starsky's leg, his hip, his side. The sensuous touch affected Starsky; Hutch felt his partner's organ nod. You're such a sybarite. One touch and you're ready to go.

As if to confirm that thought, Starsky murmured, "Still wanna go down on you. Let me do it now?"

"No," Hutch said.

"Remember, you said sooner or later your problem is mine? You gotta have a mighty big problem on your hands now, long as you've been holding out. I can solve it real easy."

"I said, no!" Would he have to put Starsky in irons before he'd remember that he was supposed to be held against his will? "When I'm ready...I'll take what I want."

Still, the suggestion was almost enough to do him in. Once suggested, it was almost impossible for him to think of anything else. Starsky's mouth on me— Reaching up, he touched his thumb to Starsky's lower lip. Starsky parted his lips, pulled the tip of Hutch's thumb into his mouth, sucked it, tormenting it with his tongue. Hutch's reaction was incendiary. His whole body flushed and his cock went rigid as if it had just remembered where they had left off before. Imprisoned by the tip of his lover's tongue, Hutch couldn't move as Starsky teased him with heat and wetness.

Finally, Starsky released him. "Do whatever you need to, Hutch. I'll deal with it."

"I bet you will," he agreed breathlessly. He was fully aroused now, needing to touch, so he did. His hands roved the chiseled body, and Starsky responded to his touch like a cat. He raised his bound arms over his head so Hutch could have better access, and made a sound very much like a purr. Hutch smiled, and stroked him more languorously. His need for Starsky flared hot but he banked it, enjoying the unsatisfied desire, letting it heighten his senses, his awareness of everything they were doing.

He rose to his knees, looming over his partner. Starsky was beautiful, lying stretched out on the bed, half-aroused, the blue robe beneath him, his body exposed and reflected in the overhead mirror. Impulsively, Hutch ran his tongue from the hollow of Starsky's throat to his navel, making Starsky hiss in pleasure.

"Quit playin' around," Starsky growled. "You need to fuck and we both know it. Come on!"

The words were like bullets, hitting him like a gut shot. He's trying to distract me, Hutch realized, and grinned. "Tell me something."

Starsky shook his head, frustrated. "Like what?"

"Tell me how this feels," Hutch prompted, and licked him again, this time from his hip bone to his nipple, then settled there, sucking the sweet bud hard.

Starsky arched up into it, gasping. "Damn! Wha'd'ya think? It feels terrific! You know I'm not good with words, Hutch. Come on, do me, will ya?"

"Tell me more," Hutch insisted, releasing the nipple just long enough to lay a series of sharp nips across Starsky's muscled chest until he found the other nipple. He ended up with one of Starsky's chest hairs in his mouth and had to stop to pull it out. But it only distracted him for a minute.

Starsky moaned. "Christ, Hutch, you're killin' me. Y'need to hear how good it is? Okay. I can barely breathe. I can't think when you're doin' that. Jeez, Hutch...! You're makin' me so hard...!"

"Mmm," Hutch agreed, reaching as he continued to tongue Starsky's nipple. He found the stiffened erection easily and gripped it tight. Starsky lurched under the double assault and gasped inarticulate sounds of pleasure and need. Hutch smiled and stroked him to a fever while feasting on him.

Hutch released the sensitized nipple finally and shifted. "Hungry for you," he whispered, and lowered his head to the prize he gripped.

"No...!" Starsky protested, but it was feeble, not like his previous complaints.

Hutch took the weeping crown in his mouth, and felt Starsky's cock pulse against his tongue, grow harder. Starsky tossed beneath him, touching his hair with his tied hands.

"You're stringin' me out," Starsky accused, as if he just realized it. "Makin' me so crazy, I'll say anything. Do anything. Okay, okay...I got it. Make your point."

Hutch pulled his mouth off, and looked at Starsky critically. Starsky was sweating, trembling, gasping, mouth opened. Suddenly, Hutch thought of something he wanted to know.

"Tell me this," he demanded, "we've been going at it like crazy all weekend. I haven't been able to keep my hands off you, can't stop myself from taking you every chance I get. And you've given me everything, held nothing back. But not once have you asked for reciprocation."

Starsky looked like he was struggling to concentrate, and Hutch stroked him hard just to keep him confused. Starsky shook his head as if he didn't understand, so Hutch made it simpler.

"Why haven't you asked to fuck me?"

Starsky froze, and Hutch knew he'd just asked the right question.

"You're all man, Starsky, the quintessence of 'stud.' Your rep at Parker is positively formidable. Yet, you've never even implied that you were interested in nailing me to the mattress. What's the matter? Don't you want me?"

Starsky's jaw clenched, and Hutch could feel him thinking.

"Are you gonna lie and tell me you haven't thought about it? You never fantasized about taking me? Or is that against the rules, too? Can't even imagine me under you? I can. How could I not? You put that image in my head how many years ago, back in the Academy, when you wanted to shock and scare me. Remember? I do. You threw it right in my face because I'd pushed you on it. 'I wanna fuck you, Hutch. I wanna hold you down so you can't move and fuck you senseless.' Hard to forget an image like that, buddy. It worked, too. Held me back a lotta times...when I thought...when I felt...confused about us. Nights when it went bad for us on the streets, and I I needed something more. It was a red light to me. But here we are, lovers. And you've never even hinted...."

"We were kids then, Hutch," Starsky protested. "It's different now. Just 'cause we broke the rules now doesn't mean.... I don't need that from you. What's goin' down with us, it's okay with me the way it is."

"You're a liar," Hutch insisted, getting angry now. "You don't think I can handle it. You can cope with me banging you black and blue, but I'm too fragile for the same treatment, right?"

Starsky shook his head. "No, that's not it at all. Makin' love's not about one-upmanship, Hutch. It's about what feels right at the time. You needed me, so I gave you what you needed. I don't need that from you."

"Yeah," Hutch agreed, "I needed you all right. Still do. But you never seem to need much, do you?"

Starsky shook his head. "It's not about that, Hutch. You gotta be dyin'. Let me go down on you—"

"You're really starting to piss me off, Starsky," Hutch said mildly. He got off the bed, went to the kitchen table and picked up the skin lotion, then strolled back to the bed. "I have to wonder if there's ever been anything you've needed from someone else. Really needed."

"I need lotsa stuff," Starsky protested. "I need you to be my partner, that's my biggest need. I need to know you're gonna be on the street with me, in the car, by my side, watchin' my back."

Hutch smiled as he filled his hands with the lotion and warmed it. Now Starsky was trying to bribe his way out of this. He shook his head as he slid his lotion-slick hands over Starsky's sculpted chest. Starsky sighed under the attention and quivered.

Hutch took his time bringing pleasure and relaxation to Starsky's long, dark body, caressing every muscle, kneading, stroking, working at making him compliant. Compliance was critical, Hutch knew, thinking of his own compliance in the surrender of Jeannie.

Even as he massaged Starsky, using the lotion liberally, he imagined Starsky curled in a fetal ball, trembling, shaking, needing a hit like his next breath. Hutch imagined Forrest slapping Starsky, demanding to know where Hutch was, where Starsky had him hidden.

"Where's your partner, huh? Where's Hutchinson? Come on, punk, where'd you stash him?"

And he saw—as clearly as he saw the beautiful man in this bed—he saw Starsky wrap himself around the pain, weeping, needing, but refusing to yield.

Starsky was breathing more rapidly, moving under Hutch's hands, enjoying the massage. Hutch began using just his fingertips, sensitizing Starsky's whole body, heightening his nerve endings, increasing his awareness of just how much he could feel. The blindfold would allow him no distractions. There would just be feeling, pure sensation. Pure pleasure.

"Hutch, it's good," Starsky gasped.

Hutch smiled. I want you to love it. Love it so much you'll confess....

Confess what, he had no idea. But that hardly mattered. It was the point of it. The one thing Hutch believed Starsky would never—could never—give.

He followed the only line of reasoning he had to go on. "Were you ever gonna ask me for it?" He knew he didn't have to specify the "it."

Starsky was too hot to evade the question, too vulnerable in his arousal. But even so, he could resist. "We're not doin' that."

The rejection was strong, Starsky's voice unwavering. But his dark cock pulsed at the refusal, as if it wanted its own vote.

"Why not?" Hutch pushed. "Don't you want me?" His fingertips traced long paths over Starsky's tight abs, down his lean flanks, then around, but not over, his groin, then down his strong thighs.

Starsky rocked in pleasure, shuddering. "Not important," he gasped.

"Of course it is," Hutch insisted. "I've taken you every chance I've had and you've let me. But I don't believe that's the way you saw things go down between us. Not for a minute. I know you, Starsky. I've seen you operate, seen you seduce. That's not the way you saw it going down at all." His voice dropped an octave. "What you saw was me, on my belly, legs spread, you between them. What you saw was you taking me, as deep and hard as—"

"No!" Starsky protested, but it was a groan, not an argument.

"Why not?" Hutch wondered. "Why won't you? This can't be simply one of those straight-not-straight issues you get all hung up on. There's something else going on. Pity? The knowledge that I couldn't handle it—"

"Shouldn't handle it!" Starsky insisted, still resisting. Now his voice went low. "You can never take that back, Hutch. Once it happens. Once you do something like that. It changes you. You've been through enough changes for one lifetime."

"But I can do it to you?" Hutch wondered aloud, not understanding the difference. "Doesn't it change you?"

Starsky paused then finally confessed, "Yeah."


"Jesus, Hutch, but what? You're killin' me here, makin' me so hot. Come on, quit teasin' and take what you need." He was shaking, having trouble breathing.

"What do you need?" Hutch asked. "I bet I know." He moved lower over Starsky's body, and grasped the angry erection jutting from Starsky's body. Starsky jerked and thrashed in surprise. Quickly, before his partner could think or protest, Hutch moved his mouth over Starsky's flaring crown.

Starsky's moan was low, musical, and needy. It thrilled Hutch down to his balls.

Just feel it, Hutch thought. Feel my mouth loving you, feel it giving you this. Feel my tongue tasting you, lapping up your secret self. Feel me loving you.

Starsky cried out in helpless desire.

"Tell me," Hutch ordered, panting hard himself. "Tell me what you need."

"Oh, dammit, I need to come, wha'd'ya think? You son-of-a-bitch, you're killin' me!"

Hutch kept a strong grip on Starsky's erection as he loomed over him. You might be blindfolded, but you can feel my nearness, can't you? "Okay, don't tell me. Let me tell you something. When we were up at Huggy's—"

Starsky tried to roll away from him, but Hutch tightened his grip and Starsky froze in place. "Don't, Hutch!"

"—When I woke up that time—" he had a sudden shocking flashback of the dream. White room. Red poppies. Green couch. Starsky. "—When I tried to seduce you, so you would bring me some horse—"

"Hutch, don't, don't!" Starsky was rocking in denial, not wanting to rehash that issue.

Hutch stroked him, made him pay attention. "When I begged you to score for me, when I said I'd give you everything—the thought of you bringing it to me, helping me prepare it, and especially the thought of you injecting it into me—it was very erotic."

Starsky looked like he was in pain. "Don't tell me that!"

"But it's true. And that's where it started, this thing I've got for you, this need. Thinking about you scoring for me, shooting it for me, getting the hit from your hands. All your strength and caring, all of it focused on making me feel good. It was hot. That's got to be it. Why after I got off the horse, all I could think about was you." It was crazy, but it made an odd kind of sense when he strung all those thoughts together. "Maybe I won't be able to get over this until that happens. Until you inject me...."

"Cut it out!" Starsky protested. "Don't think like that! It—it's totally different for me, Hutch. It wasn't the first time for me."

Hutch shook his head, forgetting Starsky couldn't see him. "You said you hadn't done it since the Army. That was so long ago."

"Don't matter. It wasn't the same thing for me, Hutch, not at all."

"Tell me I'm wrong," Hutch insisted, stroking the rigid cock slowly. "Tell me you didn't see things between us going down differently."

Starsky shook his head and remained silent.

"Tell me something," Hutch insisted, "or we're both gonna die of blue balls."

"Okay, okay! Maybe I did think it would go down different, so what? It went down the way it had to. And I'm glad it did. I wanted to help you. If it had gone the other way—it woulda been wrong. Wrong for you."

"How do you figure?" Hutch asked, not following.

Starsky swallowed, then wet his mouth. "What they did to you, Forrest and his goons, it—it was worse than rape. They took everything from you, your confidence, your strength, your heart. When I found you at the yellow cottage, talkin' to your gun, I was so desperate to find some way to help you, I came to think lovin' you might be like givin' some of that back."

Hutch was frozen in place, his hands stilling over Starsky's body. He almost wanted to laugh, but was afraid he wouldn't be able to stop.

"But...if I'd've fucked you while you were so low, even if you were willing—I would've been taking—not giving—just like them. That's not what you needed, and I figured that out pretty quick. You needed someone to give something to you—trust, strength, willingness—love...."

Tell me again, Starsk, how you're not good with words.

Unable to see him, Starsky reacted to his stillness by filling in the continuing silence. His words were rushed, like he was afraid Hutch wouldn't believe him. "Maybe it was a bad idea, but we can't go back and change it now. It went down the way it did. And if it's helped or hurt, I don't know, and that scares me, that maybe I've made things worse. But you woke up smiling today for the first time since I lost you, and that's gotta be worth something. And if it's changed us, well, we'll deal with it, I guess...."

Hutch remained perfectly still, as if he had just wandered upon some beautiful wild thing in the woods and was afraid a sudden movement would cause it to bolt.

"I'll deal with it," Starsky said, sounding as if he were talking to himself now, as if he'd forgotten Hutch were there.

Hutch suddenly became afraid of what Starsky might say next. He felt as if he'd uncorked a dangerous genie and all he wanted to do was stuff it back in the bottle. He reached out towards Starsky's mouth, wanting to cover it and keep him from saying more.

Starsky was breathing hard, talking faster, like he had to get it all out before he lost his nerve. "I never expected—I mean, how could I? I haven't had to deal with it in so long, it just hasn't been any kind of issue in forever—and then it was just happening, it was right now, and you needed me, and what was I supposed to do, huh? Right or wrong, what could I do, but give you what you needed? And it was good for you; I could see that. I could please you that way. Don't you think that made me feel good, too? But I didn't expect, I mean, I couldn't know—"

"Shhh," Hutch soothed, terrified of what Starsky might reveal. His hand hovered closer to his lover's mouth. "Starsk, don't. You don't have to say anything more—"

"—It never occurred to me that—that I could—that you could—that it would—!" He stopped stammering and took a second to collect himself.

"It's okay, Starsk," Hutch said. "You don't have to tell me—"

"I never cared about it before. It was just something you gave somebody back, something you did to be fair. I thought I could give it to you easy, no big deal. I'd done it before for guys I didn't even have much feelin' for. But with you—it all changed with you, Hutch."

Hutch shut his eyes, shuddering. No. Don't tell me this.

"Maybe it was all your pent-up rage, or just the force of your passion, havin' that turned on me so suddenly. You've always been so intense, always felt so much, I didn't think—" He paused for a beat, then said clearly, all in a rush, "How was I supposed to know you could make me feel this way about it? How could I know you'd make me love it?"

Hutch bowed low as Starsky revealed his secret, and touched his forehead to Starsky's abdomen. Starsky was trembling, quaking, panting like a runner. Gently, as Hutch rested against him and tried to collect his incoherent thoughts, Starsky toyed with his hair. How is it that you're the one who confessed, yet I'm the one who's broken?

"See, Hutch?" Starsky whispered roughly. "I'd'a told 'em. I'd'a told 'em everything, just like you."

"I'm sorry," Hutch whispered. He sat back on his heels, and pulled the slipknot loose, freeing Starsky's hands. He pulled the blindfold off Starsky's face and watched him blink as his eyes adjusted. "I'm sorry, Starsk."

Starsky was squinting at him, trying to focus. He latched onto Hutch's upper arm, pulled him foreword, tugging on him till Hutch was laying half over him. "Don't be sorry. I'm not. Not for any of it." He traced Hutch's features with his hand. "How ya feelin'?"

I just put you through the wringer, and all you can do is worry about me? He owed him an answer, an honest one. He had to think about it for a minute. How did he feel?

Lighter, he realized with surprise. Better. Did he feel like a cop? That he didn't know. But he definitely felt more like himself. Some of the demons had been laid to rest. One thing at a time.

"I feel pretty good, partner," he said.

Starsky smiled. "See, I told ya. Just like in the Academy. I knew we could turn this thing around." He wet his mouth and the motion of his tongue against his lower lip was suddenly fascinating to Hutch. "Can you do something for me now?"

Hutch laughed. "Sure."

Starsky grew serious, and his eyes darkened. He brushed his fingertips lightly over Hutch's mouth. "Fuck me, babe. I'm achin' for you."

Hutch felt dizzy with need, and suddenly realized he was painfully hard. "You sure?" he whispered. This was crazy. He'd been taking Starsky all weekend like a beach that needed storming and the first time Starsky offered it willingly, Hutch was suddenly overwhelmed with hesitation.

Starsky smiled. "Oh, yeah. I'm sure. Can we use that lotion you were rubbin' on me? Felt good. Smells good, too."

Thank you, Jasmine, Hutch thought, amused. He reached across Starsky for the bottle, but as he brought it near, Starsky took it from him.

"Let me," he said softly. The look in his eyes wouldn't let Hutch deny him anything.

Starsky took the bottle, poured the creamy lotion in his hand, cupping it, warming it. He rubbed it on the back of Hutch's neck, and on his shoulders, and used both hands to rub it in, massaging the tense muscles there. "Still wanna go down on you."

Hutch shook his head. "I'd go off like a bomb the second you did."

Starsky laughed lightly. "I bet. Okay." He rubbed more lotion down Hutch's spine, kneading his back, making him feel wonderful. After a few moments, Starsky gently pushed Hutch onto his back, and used the lotion on his chest and belly, and then his thighs, massaging him slowly, reverently, healing him with his loving touch.

As Hutch basked in Starsky's careful attention, he suddenly realized something. They'd been making love for hours and Hutch had held back the whole time, not coming even once. But as hot as he was, as much as he needed completion, he realized he no longer had that insane need to plunge himself into Starsky's body. He wanted to make love, yes, but how it happened was suddenly not so important. That terrible need was gone. If Starsky really wanted to fuck, then he would happily do it for Starsky. But he no longer had to do it for Hutch.

"You sure you want to do this?" Hutch asked. "We don't have to."

Starsky looked at him, and Hutch knew he realized what that meant. Starsky smiled. "I want to."

"Okay," Hutch said softly, brushing the back of his hand against Starsky's cheek. "Whatever you want."

"Careful, buddy," Starsky warned playfully. "That could be a tall order." He eyed Hutch's angry cock meaningfully, as he massaged Hutch everywhere else. "I'm afraid to be nice to him. I'm afraid he'll like it too much."

Hutch nodded. "No kidding. Don't even think about it. Let me handle him. Cool it down a little."

Starsky took Hutch's hand, pulled him back into a sitting position, and handed him the lotion. "Okay. It's your party." He lay back down, looking expectantly at his partner.

"Want to roll over?" Hutch asked. He felt surprisingly awkward. Before, they'd always done it in this blinding rush of passion. There'd been no planning, no concerns over positions or preferences. It'd just happened, like a tornado striking an unresisting structure.

"No," Starsky said firmly. "Wanna watch you." He glanced up at the mirror overhead. "In stereo."

Hutch refrained from pointing out that Starsky was mixing his metaphors. He knelt between Starsky's upraised knees, and filled his hand with lotion. He took slow, deep breaths, trying to calm his racing blood, needing the urgency to leave his erection. He didn't want to come too fast. He hadn't worried about that the other times, he'd been too crazed. Now, he needed to make it up to Starsky. He needed to make it good for him.

He's already come a few times tonight, Hutch realized with some concern. He'll be able to last. Hope I can. He hadn't been this anxious about his performance in years!

Starsky's handsome, dark cock lolled enticingly across his belly. Hutch slathered it with the warm lotion and stroked it slowly, capturing the big organ in his fist, rubbing it sensuously. Starsky's eyes grew heavy-lidded, but he watched Hutch's every move. Hutch rubbed more lotion over the tight testicles and Starsky squirmed beautifully. He looked like he might say something, then bit his lip to stop himself.

Holding out on me, Starsky? Hutch wondered. Well, that wouldn't last. He filled his hand again, rubbed it on the soft skin of Starsky's inner thighs, making him spread his legs wider, wantonly. He was starting to look a little glazed.

That's right, babe. Just relax. I'm going to take real good care of you for a change.

He filled his hand again, then moved it below Starsky's sac. He'd been awkward and timid about handling Starsky here. It seemed the most private of intimacies, the most personal of violations. Now, he was determined to get past his squeamishness and give Starsky as much pleasure as he could. However he could.

His fingers gently spread lotion up and down his lover's dark crevice. Starsky gasped and closed his eyes automatically, then forced them open again. Hutch spread the lotion, using the lightest of touches. Starsky tightened his buttocks around the probing hand, encouraging Hutch to be bolder.

Cautiously, Hutch slid his slick fingertips up and down the crevice until he finally found Starsky's small, tight anus. Tentatively, he stroked it, and was startled when Starsky reacted strongly, groaning. The taut orifice clenched, grabbing at Hutch's finger. He probed more confidently, and his gentle play had an amazing effect on his lover. Starsky gripped the sheets and moaned as sweat broke out over his chest.

"Quit playin' with me!" Starsky grumbled breathlessly.

"Why?" Hutch asked, grinning. "Playing with you is fun!" He collected more lotion and went back to the object of his fascination. Slowly, he eased a slick finger into the portal, amazed at his own boldness. As he eased it back and forth Starsky panted to endure it, his head thrashing on the pillow.

"'S good!" he hissed, as if wanting to reassure Hutch that he was pleasing him, not hurting.

Hutch needed the reassurance, too. This was new territory to him, which, considering his age, made him feel odd enough. But he'd grown up in the Midwest, not an area known for its adventurous sexual experiences. Van had been a good bedmate, but there were some things that were off limits, and this was one of them. Hutch never minded, hardly missing what he'd never experienced. So now, in his thirties, he found himself cursing his own ineptitude.

Starsky seemed to be losing patience with him. "Come on, Hutch, I can't hold out much longer. An' you gotta be dyin'. Let's go."

Hutch felt as if he were waking from a dream. "You-you really want me to?"

"You gonna make me beg for it?" Starsky growled.

"No...I...just wanted to be sure."

"Look at me!" Starsky demanded.

Hutch blinked. Starsky was the image of a man in need. In need for him. Hutch swallowed and gripped his own raging erection, trying to clamp down on its urgency. Go slow. Gotta go slow. Gotta last for him. He stroked himself roughly, trying to soothe, but it wasn't helping. His attempts to quell the storm weren't working.

He squeezed a liberal portion of the lotion on his hand, coated Starsky's anus with it, and rubbed some up inside. Starsky shuddered and bit his lip. Then he coated himself and leaned over his partner.

Helpfully, Starsky slung one leg over his shoulder, startling Hutch.

"Want you deep," Starsky gasped.

Hutch nodded, speechless, and gently lifted the other leg over the opposite shoulder. It all seemed so deliberate. Gripping his erection, he positioned himself carefully.

Starsky grabbed his arm as Hutch's crown nestled against his anus. "Oh, yeah," Starsky breathed. "Come on, babe. Come on."

Hutch saw Starsky staring at him, watching as he prepared him for the moment. "Starsk," he whispered, barely finding the breath for it, "I love you." His desire flared anew at the admission, and he thrust forward, his legs driving his need.

Starsky let out a long, low moan as his body accepted Hutch's intrusion, swallowing his hard-on effortlessly. Starsky's leg and ass muscles gripped Hutch like a powerful, unrelenting mouth, and the sensation was so exquisite it nearly tipped him over the edge. He fought the release with everything he had and succeeded, suppressing the urge.

Beneath him, Starsky arched up, wanting more, needing more. Hutch moved forward strongly, wanting to accommodate that need, and in one steady plunge he was sheathed completely.

"Don't move! Don't move!" Starsky implored as his body tightened down.

Hutch froze and the pause helped his self-control. With some embarrassment he realized how he'd rushed through the moment the other times they'd done this, never giving Starsky whatever time he needed to adjust. He'd wait forever this time, if that's what Starsky needed.

"Easy, easy," Starsky soothed, and Hutch could feel his body relaxing beneath him, feel the powerful grip on his organ ease up. The tight, slippery haven felt much more comfortable now, holding him snugly, not painfully gripping.

Hutch leaned over and kissed Starsky's leg where it rested on his shoulder.

"That's good," Starsky sighed, rubbing his hand up and down Hutch's arm. His gaze focused on Hutch's face again, and it was hazy with lust. "Go on, now, you big, beautiful blond. Give it to me good. The way I need it."

Hutch felt as if Starsky had gripped his heart. He slid his hands over Starsky's hips and held him in place. Then he started to move. The sensations ripping through him were exquisite, far more powerful then they'd ever been. Their deliberate care had made this moment more intimate than before. They were both equally participating, both, for once, taking the same incredible pleasure. Starsky had given him this experience on purpose, wanting him to see how beautiful it could be when it wasn't just a driving need but an act of love.

I love you, Hutch thought, unable to speak. I don't care how you define it. I know how I feel. I love you. He pumped deeper, harder, into the lush, ripe body loving him back.

Starsky tightened around him, giving him as much pleasure as he could. Hutch felt his desire climbing, climbing. He leaned forward, carrying Starsky's legs, bending him back over himself and drove in deeper.

"Yes! Yes!" Starsky gasped as he watched their action in the mirror overhead.

"It only looks like I'm fucking you," Hutch rasped. "You're taking me, and that's the truth of it."

Starsky reached, gripped the back of Hutch's neck. "Good. Fine. Then I'm gonna make you come in me. So deep inside you'll never find your way out."

For an incredible second Hutch thought those words would tip him right over, but he held on and pumped harder. Starsky shouted his name and rode it out. Hutch managed to pull his senses together enough to remember Starsky's hard-on riding roughly between them. He reached with a hand still slippery with lotion and stroked him with a heavy grip. Starsky thrashed wildly, so Hutch did it some more. And soon Hutch was stroking and pumping in unison, as Starsky's moans became one long note of intense need. He felt Starsky frantically gripping his shoulders, clawing him, and his only response was to stroke harder, faster, and keep pumping.

And then it was there, surprising him with its flashpoint intensity. A second before it happened for him, Starsky's cock pulsed in his hand, nearly making him lose his grip, then sprayed his belly and chest with warm seed, bathing him with Starsky's very life. Starsky's cry was beautiful, the keening of a wild thing finding joy.

Hutch gasped, unable to hold back any longer. Starsky was gazing at him, the blue eyes so dark they were almost black. "Kissing God," Hutch insisted, and came so hard he almost fainted. He felt stunned as he fell across Starsky, boneless and sated.

Somehow Starsky managed to get his legs off their perch, and slid them down over the backs of Hutch's legs. He kissed the top of Hutch's head and rubbed his cheek against it. "Beautiful," he whispered. "Simply beautiful."

"Gotta get up," Hutch mumbled into Starsky's chest. "Too heavy. Gotta get up. Gotta wash. Bathroom."

"Shhh," Starsky soothed, rubbing Hutch's back as if to comfort him. "Not yet. Not yet."

Oh, good, thought Hutch.

Dimly, he was aware that the tie he'd used to bind Starsky had somehow gotten entangled around his own wrist. The blindfold lay splashed across the bed nearby their sprawled forms. The colorful pieces of fabric just seemed to be harmless material again, not dangerous, terrifying reminders of his ordeal. And for once, his orgasm had not given him a driving need to talk about it, either. He'd already said everything he'd needed to. He was done with it. Right now, he couldn't even summon up the energy to pull the tie off as sleep overwhelmed him.

He burrowed into Starsky's warm body as his lover's comforting, gun-callused hands continued to pet him. Was Starsky still watching them in the mirror? How could he stay awake after what they'd just done? Remembering that Starsky had napped reassured him. Sagging into the security of his partner's strong, loving arms, Hutch finally just let himself drift away on the pleasant, safe feelings.

Oh, mirror in the sky,
What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
Well, I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I've built my life around you
            Landslide—Fleetwood Mac

Chapter 8

Ain't no church bells ringing
Ain't no flags unfurled
Just me and you and the love we're bringing
Into the real world
Into the real world
            Real World—Bruce Springsteen

Starsky heard the phone ringing but couldn't make himself care. He moved closer to Hutch's back and burrowed deeper into the junction of pillow and long, warm Nordic neck. Let someone else worry about the phone. He was a dead man and dead men weren't in any position to answer phones. Besides, it was Hutch's fault he was dead so Hutch could very well answer the phone himself. It was closer to his side anyway.

Hutch must've agreed with that mental assessment, because Starsky felt him react on the third ring and reach for the phone. Starsky tightened the arm he'd slung around Hutch's waist so he wouldn't get the idea that answering the phone meant he could pull away. Starsky was warm. If Hutch moved too much, all that delicious blond body heat would be replaced with a gust of cold air and he wasn't ready for that. He was dead, and dead men needed warmth.

"Mmm," Hutch mumbled into the phone, clearly not awake enough to sound coherent.

Starsky was glad he wasn't the only dead man in the bed.

Sometime in the night Hutch had woken up and showered. He'd tried to get Starsky to join him, but dead men don't shower either, so Hutch left him. When he had returned, he brought warm washcloths and dry towels and bathed Starsky with a solicitous care that surprised him. He'd barely been able to stay awake for it, especially as Hutch's gentle, loving touch lulled him right back to sleep. As a result, he felt clean, not grungy, not sticky from lotion and ejaculate. It felt good, lying in bed clean, next to a clean, warm Hutch. Even if he was dead.

"Hmmm-mmm," Hutch mumbled into the receiver. Then Starsky felt the body in his arms go tense. "What did you say, Hug?"

Starsky was suddenly—resentfully—awake. Why was Huggy calling anyway? They weren't cops anymore, were they? He couldn't remember, didn't want to remember. He just wanted to lie here next to Hutch and be dead.

"Yeah, yeah, I hear you," Hutch said, sounding worried. He pulled away from Starsky abruptly and swung his legs off the bed to sit on the edge. Starsky squeezed his eyes shut as cold air rushed into the warm place Hutch had abandoned. "I got it. We're on it. Don't worry. Yeah. Yeah. Thanks!"

Starsky pulled the sheet over his head in a final defiant act of denial. Maybe if Hutch couldn't see him, he wouldn't remember the dead man lying beside him and—

"Starsky, get up! We've got to hurry!" Hutch sounded frantic as he began searching the room, nude, looking, no doubt, for his clothes. When had they last worn clothes? Starsky couldn't remember. "Let's go! Let's go! We've got to move!"

The urgent tone finally forced Starsky out of his stupor and he left the bed before he had too much time to think about it or mourn the loss of the warm comforting shroud of his sheets. "What's goin' on?" he managed, but his voice was ragged.

Hutch flung a pair of jeans at him, smacking him in the face with them. Without even looking at the pants, or worrying about underwear, Starsky started climbing into them. Hutch next tossed a clean t-shirt at him, then tossed one out for himself. It seemed almost comical—Hutch half-buried in Starsky's closet throwing clothes out wildly. But his long, nude form was too distracting, and Starsky decided to focus on pulling his zipper up before he committed an act of barbarism on himself. Might need you later for something, he thought at his organ as he adjusted it in the tight pants. Though he couldn't imagine for what. It was dead, too, and that was almost a relief.

"Move faster!" Hutch barked as he dressed rapidly. "We don't have much time! Where's the key to the guns?"

That swept the remaining cobwebs from Starsky's brain and brought him up to sharp consciousness. "What d'ya want that for?"

"To get our guns!" Hutch snapped irritably, as if Starsky had lost fifty I.Q. points in the night. "Where is it?"

He was right in Starsky's face now, looming over him, all righteousness and fury. Starsky still had no idea what was happening. Some of Hutch's impatience rubbed off on him and he grabbed Hutch's upper arm. "What the fuck's going on? Answer me!"

As if he just realized that Starsky wasn't privy to the conversation with Huggy, Hutch closed his eyes and took a deep breath to collect himself. "Roxie called Huggy. She's really strung out. Jake's dealing with some big buyer from the Midwest, and Roxie's included in the package. When Roxie told Jake she didn't want to leave LA he beat the crap out of her, pulled all her stuff, and told her if she wasn't there when he got back with the buyer, he'd find her and kill her. Jake's on his way over to her apartment to hand her over now. Huggy tried to get her to leave, but she's too scared. We've got fifteen minutes to get there if we have any hope of nailing these guys. But not if you don't get your damned shoes on and give me that key!"

He tried to pull out of Starsky's grip, but couldn't. "Hold it, Hutch! We've gotta call Dobey. This ain't our case anymore."

"We're losing time while you—" he suddenly heard what Starsky had said. "What do you mean it's not our case?"

Starsky looked him straight in the eye. "After you left the station the day you handed in your report, Dobey called me in. He wasn't ready to let you get involved with a dope case. He pulled both of us off it, gave it to Simmons and Babcock. We gotta call this in, let them handle—"

"Like hell!" Hutch was furious now, as angry as Starsky had ever seen him. He jabbed a finger in Starsky's face. "Dobey had no right pulling us off this case without telling me. It's ours. I told that woman we'd help her if she cooperated with us and she's calling us on it. I gave her my word. Now, where is that key?"

Starsky let go of his arm. "It's in the small drawer in the lower cabinet." There was no point in reminding Hutch that a few hours ago he was convinced he couldn't hack it as a cop. In fact, Starsky would've cut his own tongue out before he ever brought that up. Hutch was in full-blown cop mode, and Starsky couldn't remember the last time he'd seen anything that made him happier.

As Starsky finished dressing and taking the fastest morning piss of his life, he could hear Hutch in the living room taking the guns out of the cabinet and checking them both. Coming back into the bedroom, he handed Starsky his loaded weapon and holster as he shrugged into his own. Starsky, who had wondered if he'd ever see his partner strap the big Python on again, couldn't help but stare as Hutch adjusted the holster with his usual efficiency.

"Where are the keys to the Torino?" Hutch asked.

"Tray on the dresser," Starsky said, buckling his holster and grabbing a jacket to cover the gun.

Hutch slipped into his own jacket, and then grabbed up the keys. "I'm driving. Let's go."

Starsky was so surprised all he could do was stare for a moment, then followed Hutch to the door. "Sure."

"Put the light on," Hutch ordered, as they got into the car. He started the ignition with an economy of motion, and flipped on the siren as he pulled away from the curb with a squeal of tires.

As soon as Starsky attached the Mars light to the roof of his vehicle, he said, "I'll call us in."

"Don't," Hutch said, his jaw tight. "Not yet. We'll wait till we're almost there. If we call it in too soon, Dobey'll pull us off. We can't afford to take that chance, or these guys will be out of there and we'll have nothing."

Starsky, trying to get used to the unaccustomed feel of being a passenger in his own car, was impressed with Hutch's reasoning. In fact, he was impressed with Hutch. Driving like he was possessed, his partner seemed so much like the cop he'd been before Forrest that Starsky felt as if he'd woken up in a time fugue, that they had traveled back in time before Hutch's abduction. That was the only way Hutch could be this sharp, this confident, this much like Hutch. It was such a radical transformation that Starsky felt uneasy, as if Hutch might suddenly wake up and realize what he was doing and panic. But in spite of his concern, Starsky couldn't take his eyes off the man beside him. The cop beside him. He was too beautiful not to watch.

A block before the bar, Hutch flipped off the siren and Starsky pulled in the light. They weren't talking now; they didn't have to. Hutch pulled the red car into a space around the corner from the bar and called for back-up while Starsky jogged to the corner to see if he could find Jake's flashy car. Spotting the immaculate gold El Dorado parked across the street, he ran back to where Hutch waited and nodded, indicating their suspect was on the scene. The two of them headed into the alley, going to the apartment building's rear entrance. The bartender might be on their side or not, but they couldn't risk his calling up to Roxie's room to warn Jake of their arrival.

The rear door was unlocked, and they slipped in and moved up the stairs quietly, cautiously. Creeping up to Roxie's room, they drew their weapons. Hutch positioned himself to the left of the doorjamb and Starsky moved around him to stand on the right. Then they froze into position, listening.

Roxie's voice was a tremulous quaver ringing with need and fear. They had to strain to hear her. Starsky was convinced they both stopped breathing at the same time. "I-I still don't understand why you need me in this deal."

Jake's voice came through much clearer. "An' I don't understand why you think I gotta tell you anything! You're so strung out, it ain't like you're gonna understand me. You're goin' on a trip. You're goin' with Mr. Randolph here, who paid good hard money for your old sorry ass. You better be grateful. Why he thinks he needs an ol' bitch like you to handle his young girls I don't know, but for twenty large, he can make his own decisions."

"It'll be okay, Roxie," another voice said. The voice sounded flat, white, maybe from Ohio, someplace like that.

Starsky focused harder. He saw Hutch's eyes narrow dangerously, realized his grip on the Python was tense. Their eyes met over the expanse of door, and Starsky felt that thrum of togetherness he always got whenever they were working right. The connection went right to his groin and he got half-hard and had to consciously slow his breathing. Hutch was with him, really with him and with a sudden shock of clarity Starsky realized that moments like this between them were as intense, as sexual, as anything they did in bed. The cohesion between them fairly crackled. He was nearly overwhelmed by the moment—a moment he'd feared he and Hutch would never share again.

"You take care of my business, Roxie," the Midwesterner was saying, "and I'll take care of you. I need you to keep the young girls in line, help move the horse, keep everything going. I know you can do that for me. And if you do, I'll make sure you've got everything you need. Money. Clothes. And really good horse."

"I-I-I don't know..." Roxie complained, sniffing. "I don't know anyone out there. Don't know how things work."

"You know me and Lisa, Roxie," a soft female voice said. "Please come with us."

They stared at each other, stunned. Did they have some of the underage girls in the room with them? That would help the bust, but it was dangerous, too. Too many people could cause a free-for-all when they busted in. And if shots were fired, those kids could get hurt. Starsky didn't like it. Hutch looked worried, too. But neither of them moved from their position.

"Look," Jake said impatiently, "Roxie don't know how to handle a man bein' nice to her, Randolph."

There was a scuffling sound and then Roxie gasped in pain. Hutch went tight as a bowstring, but Starsky caught his gaze and held it. They couldn't afford to rush this.

"But she knows how to handle it hard, don't you, Roxie?" They clearly heard a sharp slap and Roxie cried out. "You listen to me, girl. You're takin' a trip. Now, it can be to the morgue or with Randolph here, but you're definitely goin' somewhere."

"I need a shot, Jake," Roxie complained. Starsky could hear her crying. "I need it bad!"

"I got what you need, Roxie," Randolph told her, trying to comfort and convince at the same time. Starsky heard the distinctive snap of briefcase locks being unfastened. "Let me cook it up for you."

He met Hutch's knowing gaze. Oh, please let that be a big bag stuffed full of dope!

"It's my stuff, Roxie," Jake said. "Same stuff you always get. I'm gonna be supplyin' half the Midwest through Randolph here, so you'll always be happy, 'cause you'll still be getting your taste. These four kilos—that's just the start."

Four kilos? Oh, damn, this is gonna be sweet—if no one gets hurt.

Men carrying that much in drugs would be armed.

Hutch shifted impatiently, but Starsky held up a hand holding him back. Not yet. Not yet.

"Here you go, Roxie," Randolph said quietly. "You, Jess, and Lisa can share this taste, how's that? I've got it ready for you right here. And there's plenty more where this came from."

The timbre in Roxie's voice changed. "Th-thank you, Mr. Randolph."

Starsky nodded at his partner. Now!

Hutch hit the door high and it blew open with a bang. Starsky slid around the doorframe, moving low in front of Hutch as they filled the doorway, guns drawn and ready. Hutch shouted in that clear, beautiful tenor, "FREEZE! POLICE!"

But of course, no one did.

Roxie and the two girls screamed in shock and clung to each other as a white guy to the left of the bed reached into his jacket. Hutch kicked out high and his foot landed right in the guy's sternum, knocking the wind out of him and throwing him onto the bed. Starsky leapt up from his crouch and grabbed the guy's gun arm, pinning it.

At the same time, Hutch went after Jake. Jake must have carried his heat in the small of his back—the pimp wouldn't want to ruin the lay of his expensive jacket with a shoulder holster. He was reaching for it when Hutch backhanded him hard across the mouth. Jake crashed onto the night table, sending works, lamp, and other paraphernalia flying.

As Starsky flipped the stunned buyer, Randolph, onto his face and disarmed him of his small Smith and Wesson he saw Jake come up with his gun as Hutch moved in for a punch.

"HUTCH!" Starsky shouted, as he slapped cuffs on his prisoner.

Hutch heard him and grabbed Jake's wrist, twisting it brutally. The pimp shrieked and dropped the gun as Hutch hauled off and hit him full in the face, knocking him cold.

That was almost too easy, Starsky thought as he snatched up Jake's fallen weapon. Hutch was cuffing the unconscious pimp with an economy of movement.

Randolph, still face down, started bargaining. "Hey, come on, this doesn't have to go down this way, man. I've got some serious cash on me. We can work this out."

Hutch, still pumped with adrenaline and needing someone to expend it on, grabbed Randolph roughly by the collar and hauled him into a sitting position. He got right in the guy's face. "Oh, yeah, buddy? We can, huh? How's that? Spell it out for me."

Randolph tried to back off but couldn't. He was sweating as Hutch glared at him. Every muscle in Hutch's body was wound tight as a spring. When he got like this, Starsky knew to loosen the reins, let him run out the rage till it was gone. All Starsky had to do was hang back and make sure no one got really hurt. He knew he was wearing this little smirk he couldn't repress, but he really didn't care. Seeing Hutch like this was a major turn-on for him, and he didn't care who noticed.

"Uh, well, let's talk," Randolph stammered as Hutch got nose-to-nose with him.

"You've got two seconds to offer me something worth my while, Randolph. Talk or walk. You've got a bus to catch."

Randolph started babbling. "I've got fifty large and four kilos of uncut heroin. I'll leave it all behind, the cash, the dope, the girls, all of it, if you just let me walk out of here."

Hutch didn't move his body, kept it looming menacingly over Randolph, but turned his head toward his partner. "Four kilos of horse. What'll that go for in the street, Starsk?"

Starsky frowned. "Once it's cut? Gee, I dunno.... Over a million, I think."

Hutch turned back to the buyer. "Big buy-off, pal. Know what that tells me? It tells me you're wanted for some serious stuff in the Heartland." Hutch grinned wickedly. "Too bad you're not from around here, or you'd know that me and Starsky, we don't make deals. Guess what. You're busted!"

He shoved Randolph back onto the bed, then stood up and turned to Starsky as he holstered his weapon. "Y'know, I've always wanted to say that."

Starsky had to laugh at Hutch's genuine enjoyment of the moment.

The two young prostitutes were still huddled together, hugging each other and crying, but Roxie had abandoned them and was climbing around the end of the bed, searching for something on the floor.

Hutch, perhaps worried that she was looking for a stashed weapon, grabbed her by the arm and towed her near him. "It's okay, Roxie. It's over."

She yanked out of his grasp, distracted. "He dropped it. It's gotta be under the bed. Lemme go."

The fix, Starsky realized. She's strung out. That's all she can think about.

She suddenly found the syringe where it had fallen, and snatched it up. Like magic, she produced a tourniquet, wrapped it around her upper arm, slapped the crook of her elbow twice and took aim.

Hutch grabbed her wrist. "Wait! You don't think I'm going to let you do that right in front of me, do you? Drop it, Roxie."

She was shaking, falling apart. "Oh, please! Please! I need it, Ken, I need it bad. Please don't stop me!"

Starsky almost moved forward to intervene then halted. This is his scene. Let him play it the way he needs to. What might happen now could very well portend how Hutch would be able to deal with this issue in the future.

Gently but firmly, he took the syringe from her hand. With incredible tenderness, he said, "I'm sorry. I can't let you do that."

She burst into uncontrollable tears. "Oh, no! Don't do this to me. I did what you wanted! I helped you. You've gotta help me!"

Starsky had an all-too-clear memory of Hutch clutching him, begging desperately, "Help me. I need some help. You've got to get me some help."

As if Hutch were sharing that memory, he flinched. With all the gentleness Starsky had seen him show frightened children, Hutch gathered the trembling junkie in his arms. "I'll help you, Roxie. But not that way." He held her close, stroking her hair.

Starsky went around the bed to offer some comfort to the two underage hookers. In the distance, he could finally hear sirens from the police cars Dobey was sending as back-up. He wondered what his bear of a captain would think of Hutch's transformation. He wondered how angry Dobey would be over the way they handled the case.

He glanced at Hutch as he comforted Roxie much the way Starsky had comforted him while he was in withdrawal. Hutch met his gaze over Roxie's head and gave him a small smile. He was Hutch again, all the way, and Starsky found incredible joy in that. No one else mattered.


Huggy had a friend who was able to place Roxie in a drug rehab program where she could get cleaned up and be safe while Jake was awaiting trial. Starsky wondered if they could manage to keep her there and keep her clean long enough. Hutch was convinced that this would be a new start for Roxie, that he'd help her find a job, begin a new life. Starsky didn't bother correcting him. If it helped him to believe that, it was fine with Starsky. But he knew a hard-core loser when he saw one, and Roxie fit the bill.

With Jake's long string of arrests for violent offenses, they were able to convince the judge he was a flight risk and a danger to the witnesses. He would be detained until his trial. The Midwestern buyer, Randolph, wasn't just an average pimp. He had a record that was impressive even by L.A. standards and had connections in Mexico with some very questionable porn producers. The chances were excellent that what he'd really wanted Roxie for was to feature her in a homemade snuff film. Since the buyer had outstanding warrants in at least five other states, they didn't have to worry about keeping him incarcerated before his trial, either. The underage hookers were turned over to Social Services who would get them into foster homes and find out who the girls' parents were and try to reintegrate them into family life.

They were halfway through their extensive reports when Dobey finally showed up.

He stood in the squad room, eyeing his two men, both of them bent over matching typewriters, pounding away, and crooked an eyebrow skeptically. Hands on his hips, he announced, "Starsky! I want to see you in my office."

Starsky was about to answer him when Hutch stopped typing. "Anything you have to say to Starsky about this case needs to be said to me, too, Captain. He's neither my nurse, nor my interpreter."

The rest of the squad room went still as all eyes moved between the detectives and their captain. Dobey hesitated just a beat. "All right then, I want to see both of you in my office. Now!"

Hutch was up and at the door before Starsky could collect himself. Thinking he'd be a lot more efficient if he'd had some breakfast, he followed his partner dutifully through the door.

Hutch took the offensive before the door was even closed. "If you had a problem with my abilities to handle this case," he told Dobey, "then you should've discussed that with me! Not sent a message through Starsky. You had no right to pull me off a case without letting me know directly."

Dobey glanced at Starsky, plainly confused. All Starsky could do was shrug as he seated himself, crossed his legs, and smirked. Your problem, Cap. Deal with it.

"Well, frankly, Hutchinson," Dobey began hesitantly, "I wasn't sure you could handle a discussion like that at the time. Obviously, I misjudged you. I apologize. According to the reports, you certainly managed a damn impressive arrest today."

The look on Dobey's face told Starsky that the captain was dying to get him alone and ask, "What the hell happened to Hutch?" Starsky wondered what he'd say.

Hutch simmered down after the apology. He glanced at Starsky and looked a little sheepish. "That's okay, Cap. I, uh, I know after the problem with Forrest I was a little rocky for awhile, but...uh, well, my partner's support has helped me a lot."

"Well," Dobey said knowingly, "that's what partners are for."

The two detectives glanced at each other and when Hutch grinned broadly at him, Starsky felt himself coloring to his hairline. He smiled back wanly.

"You're right about that, Cap," Hutch agreed.

"Good work, you two. I know you're still on temporary leave and I appreciate your following up the case in spite of that. When you finish up your reports, go home and enjoy your weekend. I'll see you on Monday."

Hutch nodded as they both stood. "Thanks, Cap. We'll be in on Monday, first thing."

Starsky's stomach chose that moment to let out a huge growl. The others stared at him in surprise. "I never got breakfast!"

"Come on, partner," Hutch said, taking hold of his sleeve. "We'll finish those reports and I'll buy you a steak. You deserve it."


It was over the promised steak that Hutch sprung another surprise on him.

"Listen, uh, Starsk? I'd like to spend the night in Venice tonight."

Starsky stopped in mid-chew. Of course, he hadn't had much time to think about their future, how things would stand once Hutch's personal crisis was over, but he could've anticipated this turn of events.

He paused. "Sure. If that's what you want."

Hutch looked at him, suddenly shy. "Will, uh...will you stay with me there tonight?"

If Hutch had grabbed his heart in his bare fist and squeezed, Starsky couldn't have been more affected. He smiled and tried to keep it from showing. "Sure. Anytime. You know that."

His partner ducked his head, and they went on with their dinner. But suddenly, Starsky felt like he and Hutch were on a first date, and all he could think about was the end of the evening and how far he'd be allowed to go.

It was dusk when they entered the little yellow bungalow.

Hutch entered first as Starsky stayed behind, hanging in the doorway as his friend moved around the confines of his home. First he took a tour of the place, checking on his plants, opening windows, letting a breeze in. He didn't talk and Starsky didn't either, just watched him move around the place. Hutch murmured soft things to his abandoned plants and Starsky suspected he was apologizing to them for leaving them in someone else's care. Hutch touched the leaves, brushed his face against them, needing that tactile contact with living green things. It touched Starsky's heart to see him working so hard to feel at home in this place again.

After looking through his closets, Hutch remarked, "I just realized none of my stuff is here, it's all at your place. Clean underwear, shaving stuff, shirts...."

Starsky nodded, realizing they'd probably be bringing it back now. He tried not to be disappointed. It wasn't like he thought he and Hutch could live together happily ever after.

Hutch suddenly turned to him, looking expectant. "I have another favor to ask."

He's decided to stay here alone tonight after all, Starsky thought, schooling his face into a passive mask. He's strong again. He needs to put some distance between us. He's trying to figure out how to let me down easy. Aloud, he only said, "Sure. What is it?"

Walking up to him, Hutch took his hands and held them. "Make love with me here. In my bed?" The words were whispered, almost timid.

It rattled Starsky to his core. "Here? You and me? Sure, babe. You don't have to ask." Did he think I'd say no?

Hutch hesitated. "This...thing between us...I'm not taking anything for granted."

Starsky smiled. "Okay. Sure. I'm here for you." He reached up, stroked Hutch's cheek, and his handsome face turned into the caress, kissing Starsky's palm.

"You're always there for me," Hutch said clearly.

"Always will be, too," Starsky assured him.

Hutch took his hand, drew him over to the double bed that dominated the open space of Hutch's bedroom. "It felt good today, being a cop again, being your partner. Working together."

Starsky smiled. "It sure did. We should make a habit of it."

Hutch laughed easily, and it was music to Starsky. While a part of him missed Hutch's fierce, irrational need for him, this Hutch was so clearly the real one, Starsky could only rejoice in his return.

Climbing into the bed, Hutch towed Starsky after him. He lay back, tugging Starsky over his body until they were nestled together horizontally, Starsky on top. Hutch clung to him, hugging him, holding him close, but seemed oddly hesitant.

Starsky didn't assume anything, and just lay over his long body, stroking Hutch's cheek, petting his hair, waiting for him to decide what needed to happen.

"Starsk?" Hutch asked, staring at him intently.


"We still lovers?"

Starsky smiled openly, then made a display of looking around at them sprawled across the bed, clinging together as if they were on a narrow life raft. "Gee, I don't know...."

"Be serious!" Hutch demanded, his gaze suddenly worried.

Starsky hated to see that after the wonderful day they'd had. He stroked his furrowed brow and said, "We can be whatever you want us to be, Hutch."

"Why's it up to me?"

Starsky remained silent on that one.

"Because I'm 'the straight one'?" Hutch guessed.

Starsky didn't answer that either; he didn't have to.

"Well, since you're the one all hung up on labels," Hutch decided, "then I say we're still lovers. Okay?"

"Sure," Starsky said, amused that the title seemed so important. As if they needed that, as if the word partners didn't encompass everything they were, everything they would be.

Hutch wet his mouth and Starsky found himself fascinated by his moistened lips. "For how long?"

Starsky had to backtrack a moment to follow the question. For how long...? How long will we be lovers? "Long as you want." The answer was the only one he could come up with. After all they'd been through, he didn't see how he could find the strength to end their affair. It frightened him that he couldn't, but that was the simple truth.

"Why's that up to me?" Hutch asked again, looking just as worried.

Starsky sighed. "Why're you askin' me all these damned questions? You're back on the force one day and now you're interrogatin' me? Practice on the bad guys, blondie. I got other things on my mind!" Brazenly, he slid his hand down Hutch's chest, then his abdomen, until he found the simmering mound under his partner's fly. He gripped it hard through the denim, felt it bloom under his touch. "You held me off all day yesterday. You're not turnin' me down now."

Hutch said a little breathlessly, "I don't have the strength to."

"Mmm," Starsky purred, as he took hold of the tab of Hutch's zipper and drew it slowly down, making it growl. He unsnapped the fastener and reached into Hutch's pants.

Gasping, Hutch arched to meet his touch and it thrilled him to know his partner—his lover—still wanted that so badly. As Hutch's impressive living warmth filled his hand and continued to grow as he was freed from confinement, Starsky couldn't hold back his hunger any longer. Keeping his eyes on Hutch's face, he moved lower, then kissed the head of Hutch's cock wetly.

His gasp turned into a soft moan as Starsky used his tongue, savoring the taste of the man he knew so well and loved so deeply on levels even he didn't understand. Hutch's eyes rolled up then shut in bliss even as his big hands buried themselves in Starsky's hair.

That contact went right to Starsky's groin, turning him on fiercely. As he slid his mouth down over the crown, then lower over the heavy shaft, Hutch bucked up, his whole body yearning towards Starsky's mouth. Starsky took a deep breath, shut his own eyes and swallowed his big blond.

Hutch cried out, a low, trembling sound, his body rocking back and forth as Starsky's throat worked him.

"God, yes! Starsky, yes! Please, it tonight."

Starsky did as he was bid with joy. He went down on Hutch with all the pent-up passion of that day: the adrenaline rush of the arrest, the paperwork drudgery, the long work hours together, side by side, hip to hip, elbow jostling elbow, Hutch's scent in his nose, Hutch's hand on his elbow, his shoulder, his knee. Starsky had never noticed before how much body contact they shared, but he'd been hyper-sensitive to it today.

How long before all those moments became innocent touches again and not endless foreplay? Starsky didn't know, didn't want to think about it. Right now, all he wanted was to go down on Hutch, and keep going down until Hutch came, until he could absorb his essence and in that small way keep part of Hutch all the way inside him until he became part of Starsky's cells.

Starsky rubbed his tongue against the underside of Hutch's crown, that special place that made him insane, and which he hoped would make Hutch insane, too. It must have worked because Hutch bucked even harder and gripped his hair tighter.

Starsky towed Hutch's pants lower over his hips and ass, and pushed them down his legs. He heard a thump and realized Hutch had kicked off his shoes. That seemed like a good idea so Starsky toed off his Adidas, letting them thud to the floor. Hutch kept moving and Starsky realized he was trying to free his ankles from his pants and underwear, but needed help. Reluctantly, Starsky pulled away from the heavy cock to release him. Hutch stripped his own shirt off then started tugging at Starsky's. With a little mutual cooperation both of them were soon totally nude.

Ever focused, Starsky slid back into position between Hutch's legs. Sliding his arms under the strong thighs, he hoisted them over his shoulders to get as close as he could to his partner's groin. Hutch's feet slid along his back, his long legs letting him nudge Starsky's bare rear with his toes, encouraging him.

"Go on, Starsk, go on. I want you to..." Hutch insisted breathlessly, and Starsky obliged him, deep-throating Hutch ravenously. Hutch thrashed, crying out in helpless delight. It sounded like music to Starsky; it sounded like a love song.

His hands slid over Hutch's thighs where they pressed on his shoulders, over his smooth hips, his broad, handsome ass. Hutch was arching, pumping into his mouth, his legs tight with tension.

"Come on!" Hutch implored, gasping. "Do it! I want you to. Come on, babe—fuck me!"

Starsky was so startled, he nearly gagged on the mass in his mouth and withdrew to cough. "Huh?" he managed once he caught his breath.

Hutch reached for him, cradling Starsky's face in his big hands, stroking his cheeks. "I want it. I mean it. Let's do it now, okay?"

Starsky suddenly felt trapped by the long legs draped over him. His brain was too fogged with lust to figure out an answer.

"There's some lube in the nightstand. Get it, okay?" Hutch suggested.

He must've used it with Jeanne, Starsky thought. The image of Hutch and his woman on this same bed was suddenly more of a distraction than he could handle. He started backing up.

Hutch let him go, probably thinking Starsky was trying to reach the nightstand. But Starsky suddenly found himself out of the bed and partway across the room.

Hutch got to his knees and reached for him, but missed, and had to leave the bed to catch up to him. He surrounded Starsky's bare form with his arms, holding him from behind. "Hey, where're you going?"

He could feel Hutch's breath on his ear, feel his wet erection pressing against his buttocks. He grasped the strong arms that surrounded his chest and shook his head. "We're not doin' that."

Hutch snorted a short laugh and kissed his cheek. "Hey, that was yesterday's song. This is a new day. Come back to bed, we've just gotten started."

Starsky turned in his arms, rubbed his palms over Hutch's shoulders. Their mouths touched briefly.

"Come back to bed," Hutch said. "I've got something for you."

Starsky shook his head, made himself smile. "You got a whole lotta somethin' for me—but not that."

Hutch took his chin, made Starsky look at him. "Why not?"

Starsky shrugged. "I told you why yesterday. It's good the way we've been doin' it. Let's do that."

Hutch pressed him. "Starsky—!"

He closed his eyes, suddenly unable to handle the intensity between them. He tried to pull away, but Hutch gripped his upper arms. Would he ever get used to making it with someone just as strong as he was?

"I want you to!" Hutch insisted.

"I know...I know..." Starsky muttered.


Starsky's jaw tightened. "You said it yourself. It's all wrapped up in your head with all of that need you had when you were hooked. It's all twisted with gettin' those injections, with being penetrated by strangers. I'm not playin' into that with you. I'm not penetrating you."

Hutch looked sad now. "You're right, I did feel that way before, but that's over now. It's behind me. This isn't about that, it's about us. It's important to me. I really want this."

Starsky went rigid. "I said no!"

Now Hutch got mad, gripping him harder. "Hey! Maybe I was worried about the wrong term after all. Are we still partners?"

The question brought Starsky up short. He stared at Hutch in surprise.

Hutch frowned. "I know you, Starsky, you think I don't? It might not matter to you now, the way it's gone down with us, but it will. Sooner or later. Everything you've given me, everything you've let me do—it'll come back to haunt us. Someday, someway...somehow. We used to be partners. Equals. Then it changed. It changed when I was coming off the horse. I wasn't your partner then, I was a junkie. You think I'll ever forget that? Even after I got clean, I still wasn't your partner. I was just a basket case, holding on to my sanity with the tips of my fingernails. You kept pretending nothing had changed when everything had. So you gave me everything you could to try to pull me out of it—and it worked. I feel like myself again for the first time since Forrest grabbed me. I'm your partner again. I want us back on that even keel. It's my turn. It's only fair."

He closed his eyes again, unwilling to recognize the wisdom of Hutch's words. "I can't. It's been hangin' between us too long. I couldn't handle it. And it's not something you should have ever been introduced to. It's not part of your life, not part of who you are. It's not right."

Hutch started towing him backwards toward the bed. "It's the rightest thing I've ever done, Starsk. The rightest thing we'll ever do together, out of all the right things we've done." He turned Starsky around, urged him to sit on the bed. "Don't you know that anything we decide to do together is part of us, part of our life together." He cupped Starsky's face, leaned down, kissed him lightly then smiled. "And if you think I'm buying the line that you can't handle me, think again. You can handle it all right."

The hell I can, Starsky thought. A hundred images of past fantasies flooded his mind, which he struggled to ignore.

Hutch kept touching his hair, his face, his mouth, his throat, soft, intimate touches, a lover's touch, gentle yet knowing, possessive, yet giving. His face was open, happy, radiant. So different from the broken man he'd been before. It was obvious he really wanted this, but Starsky knew that was only because he didn't have a clue as to what he was committing himself to do.

He wet his mouth. "Listen, Hutch. You're not really thinkin' this through. I know I made it look like it was no big thing, but really, the truth is—"

"Shhh," Hutch ordered, touching his fingertips to Starsky's lips then tenderly stroked his cheek.

Starsky had a sudden memory of Hutch in the car right before he went up to Roxie's room that first time. He'd touched him like this then, his hands so gentle, so loving. But he was totally different now. He wasn't the same at all, not that shattered, fragile figure. He was full of himself, in his prime, wearing his arousal proudly, knowing he was beautiful to look at, beautiful to touch. Starsky suddenly realized that Hutch was determined to seduce him. And he realized, too, that there was no way he'd be able to keep saying no under the onslaught of all that raw sexuality.

"Stop fighting it, Starsk," Hutch said, rubbing his thumb provocatively over his partner's lower lip. "It's gotta happen." A moment of insecurity suddenly flickered over Hutch's face, and he said softly, "I'll try to make it good for you."

That subtle hesitation nearly broke Starsky's heart. He took hold of Hutch's roaming hands, brought them to his mouth, kissed the palms one after the other. Somehow, he found his voice. "You and me, what else could it be but good?"

That made Hutch smile. He started to push Starsky back onto the bed, but still, he resisted.

"Hey, where were we before we got rudely interrupted?" Starsky asked as he took hold of Hutch's erection.

Hutch hissed as Starsky fondled him, stroking him, rubbing his thumb over the glistening crown of his cock. "You always this hung up on foreplay?"

Starsky shook his head. "It's not just foreplay, babe." He looked at Hutch seriously. It was his idea. He might as well get Hutch thinking about what he'd committed to do. "You've gotta come before we can get serious about this. You need to be relaxed, and that's the best way to ensure that."

Hutch frowned. "I never worried about that with you—"

Starsky sighed. "We're different, you and me. Or haven't you noticed?" And before Hutch could argue with him further, Starsky brought the heavy organ to his mouth and took it in.

Hutch shuddered all over and gripped Starsky's shoulder. "Damn! Starsk...your mouth...!"

You like it, huh? Good. I'm glad. 'Cause I love doin' you all too much. You're sweet in my mouth, sweet and strong. Tell me how good it is, Hutch. He reached up and pinched Hutch's small brown nipples between his knuckles. Htuutch's knees buckled, and one of his hands buried itself in Starsky's curls.

Starsky reached around him and deliberately stroked Hutch's ass slowly, petting the smooth skin, loving the plush contour of his rear. Hutch made a strangled sound and pulled Starsky's head onto him.

Yeah. You think about this offer you're makin' so easy. Think about me in you, taking you, making you mine in a way no woman will ever be able to. You think about that, blondie, think hard.

Starsky felt Hutch's strong thighs tighten. He slid his hands under the swell of Hutch's ass and cupped his rear suggestively, possessively. Hutch tensed even more. All the while Starsky's mouth never let up the pressure, teasing, tantalizing, sliding up and down. Soon, Hutch was gasping, muttering things Starsky couldn't understand.

Give it up, Hutch. Give it to me. That's only step one.

Hutch's whole body went rigid and he moaned softly, his back arching. Starsky glanced up and found Hutch staring at him, his eyes half-lidded but refusing to close, his face flushed with passion, with a need so intense it amazed Starsky.

Can't get used to it, can you? Me, going down on you. That's why you had to do me so much yesterday. A little get-even, huh?

He flicked his tongue all around Hutch's heavy shaft, around his crown. A burst of strong flavor flooded the back of his mouth and then Hutch cried out loudly. Starsky dug his fingers into Hutch's rear and pulled him hard against him, taking Hutch deep as Starsky's mouth and throat were suddenly filled with fluid and Hutch's pulsing cock seemed to swell even larger. Starsky moaned himself, his song a counterpoint to his partner's.

Then Hutch was tugging at his hair, trying to pull him off, trying to make him stop, and all the rigidity seemed to leave his body all at once. Starsky released the shrinking organ as it slipped wetly from his mouth, and stood quickly, catching Hutch before he could fall. Carefully, Starsky eased his spent, panting lover back onto his bed.

Hutch rubbed a hand over his face. "Oh, damn, Starsk...!" He collapsed backward onto the bed, his legs dangling over the side.

Starsky couldn't help but grin as Hutch went boneless with satisfaction. I did that to you.

But Hutch didn't lose his sense of awareness, or his determination to finish what they'd started. "That was incredible," he said as he edged backward onto the bed until his whole body lay across it. He reached over and took hold of Starsky's bobbing, painful erection and gave it a soothing stroke.

Starsky hissed and grabbed his wrist. "That's nice, Hutch. Too nice." They both laughed.

"Yeah, we don't want it to be too good," Hutch agreed. "Not when we've got so much more to do." He released Starsky's hard-on and rolled over onto his stomach, never taking his gaze off Starsky's face.

The stretch of the long, beautiful body before him was almost more than Starsky could handle. Hutch's strong back was nearly flawless except for a penny mole low on his side. His ass was perfect, too, round and lush, broad and strong, entirely too inviting. Hutch's powerful legs seemed to go on forever, and as they parted slightly, Starsky had to hold his breath. Countless images of endless fantasies played across his mind. His organ jerked so hard at the sight of Hutch's bare ass that it slapped his stomach. Hutch grinned and Starsky felt himself go dark with a blush. How was it this he could seem so wanton and so virginal at the same time?

I'll never be able to handle it like this, Starsky realized. He's too beautiful, too vulnerable. I'll lose it completely. He took Hutch's arm, tugged him onto his side. "Not like that," he said, his voice rough. "I wanna see you, watch your face. I need to know you're okay. Roll over. On your back. We're gonna go slow."

Hutch hesitated, then did as Starsky asked. Starsky was surprised to see Hutch was half-erect already, in spite of his orgasm. And I thought I had good response time! Forcing himself to pull his gaze away from Hutch's growing erection, Starsky reached for the nightstand. He found a jar of something feminine-looking. Like I thought. Something Jeannie must've used. The thought bothered him. Dipping his fingers into it, he tested its consistency. It smelled like flowers, like a woman. He frowned.

"What's the matter?" Hutch asked, concerned.

Starsky shook his head, and closed the drawer. "Wait right there. Don't go away," Starsky warned, making Hutch laugh as he left the bed.

"I'm not really dressed for a quick escape, buddy," Hutch reminded him as Starsky entered the small bathroom.

He rummaged around in Hutch's medicine cabinet, looking past Jeannie's cosmetics and perfumes. He suppressed an urge to toss all of the little odds and ends in the trash, and just focused on his search. Finally, he had to give up. No Vaseline. Thinking ahead, he grabbed a few clean towels, draped them over his shoulder. Then he went into the kitchen.

"Starsky, what the hell are you looking for?"

Something that'll work, he thought, browsing Hutch's open shelves. Finally he spotted it. Grabbing the can he returned to the bed.

Hutch looked dismayed. "Crisco?"

Starsky had to smile. "That other stuff's too thin. This'll work better."

He could see Hutch's mind working overtime.

"Stop worryin' about the sheets," he scolded, climbing back in bed. "I'll wash 'em later." He tossed the towels onto a corner of the bed where he could reach them when he needed them. "You're sure you're still up for this? We don't have to—"

Hutch scowled like he was getting ready to argue, but Starsky forestalled that.

"Okay, okay, just checkin'. But I mean that. We don't have to do this. You can change your mind at any time. Any time. Understand?"

"I'm not going to change my mind, Starsky. Unless I die of old age first."

"Oh, you're in no danger of that," Starsky told him. Leaning over, he kissed Hutch lightly, then slipped in his tongue when Hutch opened his lips invitingly. Kissing Hutch so openly still made him slightly dizzy, still gave him that wild, heady feeling, so he indulged the need now, knowing he wouldn't dare later on, when he would need all the control he could muster.

"You taste like me," Hutch murmured against his mouth.

"Mmm," Starsky agreed, and moved his mouth down to Hutch's jaw, then his throat, then the nearest nipple. He didn't want to crank things up too high, didn't want Hutch to get tense with excitement, but he definitely wanted him hot.

"You do have a thing about endless foreplay," Hutch complained half-heartedly, even as he stroked Starsky's hair gently.

Starsky kissed Hutch's stomach, then nipped him lightly over his hips. "It's the secret of my incredible popularity," he confided with a grin.

Hutch rolled his eyes. "I'll try and remember that."

The banter felt so good both of them grinned at once, but the sense of normalcy seemed odd to Starsky as they played together, nude, on Hutch's bed. Then he brought the situation into sharp focus by removing the top of the Crisco can. It was a small can, half used, no doubt, in one of Hutch's endless baking experiments. But the contents were clean, uncontaminated by other ingredients. Careful not to brush his hand against the sharp sides of the can, Starsky took a small amount of the thick white shortening onto his finger.

To his surprise, the action caused Hutch to flush with arousal, and his heavy cock nodded as if in agreement. Starsky had expected him to tense, but he didn't.

"I never thought of lubricant when I needed you the way I did," Hutch said softly, his voice thick with regret. "If you hadn't made me use it...I could've really hurt you—"

"Shhh," Starsky admonished, not wanting negative thoughts to intrude on this moment. "Told ya. It was different with me. I'd done it before. Your body remembers. It was okay, Hutch. Don't worry about it now."

"Okay," Hutch agreed, and Starsky realized his partner was working hard to be as compliant as he could. It touched him deeply.

"I don't want you doin' any thinking right now," Starsky said softly. "I just want you to relax, and feel what I'm gonna make you feel. That's all you gotta do."

Hutch nodded, his gaze full of trust. He smiled as openly as if they were about to embark on a wonderful adventure. His expression nearly did Starsky in.

He leaned over and very slowly took the head of Hutch's cock into his mouth. He swirled his tongue over the hot crown as he heard Hutch gasp. As he teased the cockhead lightly, running his tongue under his foreskin, he slipped his left hand over Hutch's groin and under his sac. Slowly, carefully, he slid his greased finger up and down the crevasse of Hutch's buttocks.

Hutch made a soft sound and spread his legs, lifting his knees and arching into Starsky's touch. Good, that's my good boy.

Starsky took the cock a little deeper into his mouth, as his finger slid slickly along Hutch's secret place. He used his mouth to excite, to entice, and to give Hutch something else to think about as he gently discovered this most intimate part of him.

Slowly, seductively, his hand teased the entrance to Hutch's body. Hutch groaned low as he made that tentative contact and Starsky felt the blood rushing to his head as he touched Hutch's anus for the first time. His hand began to shake. Hutch reached over, stroked his hair then rubbed his neck and spine, trying, no doubt, to assure Starsky that he was enjoying this. That he still wanted it.

Starsky closed his eyes and, with his pulse pounding in his ears, gently slipped the tip of his finger into Hutch's body. He gasped in surprise, and then made soft sounds of delight as he squirmed against Starsky's touch. Sweat broke out all over Starsky's body. He used his tongue to excite Hutch as he used his finger to tease. With the utmost care, he moved into Hutch's body, using his finger to bring a slow blossoming pleasure to this new act. And Hutch responded vocally as he relaxed into that pleasure, whispering for Starsky to take more, to go deeper, to show him how much he could take.

Soon, Starsky had to forcibly keep his mind on what he was doing and remember whom he was with. He used more lubricant, used it liberally, wanting to eliminate any chance of pain or roughness. What Hutch was offering him was the most precious gift and he intended to treat it that way.

Hutch was so open, so accepting of this pleasure, it humbled Starsky. As he used his hand, one finger at a time, to tease and torment Hutch, to relax him, to help him open his body, his lover responded as if he had been born for this. He thrust against Starsky's hand, wanting more and more, rocking with the delight of it, tossing his head, his fingers threading into Starsky's hair. All the while, Hutch's cock kept growing in Starsky's mouth as if to prove how excited he was.

"So good! So good!" Hutch panted, gulping air. "Come on. Don't keep me waiting. Do it now!"

Starsky squeezed his eyes shut before drawing off the heavy organ, and allowing himself to really look at Hutch. His bare chest was flushed with arousal, his face and neck blushing as well. His broad mouth was open as he pulled air into his lungs to power his pounding heart.

Starsky froze in place, unable to go further. He felt like he was about to plunge off a precipice. Didn't Hutch know he was afraid of heights?

His partner grinned at him, held his face in both hands. "It's okay! Come on, partner. It's just you and me here, that's all. We can do this. Together. Don't be afraid."

And he was, he realized numbly. He was afraid. Afraid of hurting Hutch. Afraid of doing something so irrevocable. Afraid of changing everything between them. And mostly he was deathly afraid of how much he wanted it.

"I can't!" he whispered. "Hutch—I can't do this to you." Somewhere inside him he realized he sounded much like Hutch did just yesterday, when he was convinced he could never do police work again. Frowning, he eased his hand out of Hutch's willing body, and reached for a towel to clean it.

"Oh, Starsky!" Hutch chided him, smiling. "You can be so aggravating at times!"

Smoothly, Hutch sat up, took Starsky's shoulders and urged him to lie down. Starsky knew he had no fight left in him, no arguments to give. His cock was as hard as a tree, but he didn't care. All he wanted was for Hutch to give up this insane notion and just jerk him off so they could both go to sleep and forget this.

"What am I going to do with you?" Hutch admonished, as he leaned over Starsky's reclining form. "Look at you. You're rigid all over, tense as a board, and so hung up on all your little labels and platitudes you can't even let yourself have something you've wanted for so long. You really are crazy, you know that?"

Starsky could barely follow what his lover was saying. He reached for Hutch, wanting to pull him down on top of him. They could rub off on each other; it wouldn't take long—

But Hutch gently brushed his arms away, as he swung a leg over Starsky's hips. "I've gotta admit though, Starsk, your magical way with foreplay certainly must be the key to your popularity. 'Cause you surely are the most popular guy in this bed right now!"

Hutch settled his rear over Starsky's groin, and finally Starsky began to realize what his friend was up to. "Hutch, wait—"

Hutch shook his head as he reached for the Crisco can and took a healthy portion. "No more foreplay. No more stalling. You've got me so strung out I can't believe it."

It shook Starsky to hear Hutch say those words so casually, while smiling. You've got me so strung out— He had a sudden sharp memory of Hutch screaming that at him in Huggy's upstairs room. Look at me! I'm strung out! Why won't you help me? He shook off the memory, barely able to equate that man with the one sitting astride him. This man was so strong, so powerful, so totally in command.

Of me, Starsky realized with an unsettling insight.

Hutch scooted back along Starsky's thighs to expose his erection. Handling it as carefully as a loaded gun, Hutch grasped it, took control of it, and coated it thoroughly with the shortening. The cool substance was a shock to Starsky's heated flesh and he made a strangled sound.

"It's gonna be okay," Hutch soothed, as though it were Starsky's first time, which in a way, it was. "In a minute, it's just gonna be perfect."

Hutch sat up on his knees, lifted his rear and positioned Starsky's organ against himself.

"Wait!" Starsky begged, as if he were trapped, as if he couldn't move, couldn't scoot out from under Hutch, couldn't escape. "Hutch, please—"

Hutch stared at Starsky, his crystalline eyes as clear as Starsky had ever seen them. "Just hold still, babe." And with that last warning Hutch very deliberately lowered himself onto Starsky's erection.

Starsky froze at the command, his eyes widening as he felt the incredible sensation of his most sensitive flesh sliding into the body he loved. But Hutch's anus, at first cooperative, seemed to have second thoughts the minute Starsky's broad glans slipped completely inside the first ring of muscle. Hutch's whole body locked down tight, and he grimaced in surprise and pain.

Starsky felt Hutch try to force himself down further, and he realized he had to participate or Hutch's need to reciprocate would tear him apart. "Don't move!" he ordered sharply, and automatically Hutch obeyed. Somehow he found enough breath to instruct. "Can't rush this. You gotta give your body time to adjust. It will in a second. Just breathe real deep, two, three times—"

Hutch nodded, really listening to him. Just like on the street. Partners. Like always.

Starsky reached up, stroked the strong arms supporting Hutch's weight, petted his hair, rubbed his neck and shoulders. "You're so tight, babe, so hot inside. Just go slow. Don't move till you can."

Hutch blinked and Starsky saw the hint of a tear glistening. Then suddenly, he let out a big sigh and Starsky could feel his body's tension drain. He seemed surprised.

"Don't go crazy!" Starsky warned. "Go slow. It can happen again. It's your first time, so take it easy. Don't rush."

Hutch nodded and taking heavy draughts of air, eased back again, swallowing up more of Starsky.

The sensation was incredible, but so was the realization that Hutch wanted to do this so badly he'd endure anything. The intensity of the pleasure made his balls tighten, but Hutch's determination to please him nearly broke his heart.

Slowly, little by little, Hutch rocked back and forth, letting himself adjust to the sensation of having someone else inside him.

"What's it like?" Starsky whispered, needing to know.

Hutch gazed at him, his face suffused with love. He struggled to speak. "Incredible. Mind-blowing. Just knowing you're really a part of me now—"

"I've always been a part of you, ya big dope!" Starsky reminded him and they both laughed weakly.

Slowly, painstakingly, Hutch finally enveloped him entirely. Starsky couldn't suppress a low groan. Hutch closed his eyes tightly, then blinked. "Not sure I can move."

Feeling like Hutch's body had a death grip on his erection, Starsky struggled with his self-control, found it, and took a deep breath. "Go slow. Whatever you can handle."

Hutch nodded. Biting his lower lip, he moved forward carefully then eased back. He seemed puzzled then shuddered all over. He did it again and his face relaxed a little. He started moving a little more freely, his big, muscular frame towering over Starsky just as it had all the times Hutch had taken him. It was intensely erotic, watching Hutch discover this new sexuality.

"It's good," Hutch breathed suddenly. He sounded amazed. "Damn, it feels good, Starsk."

Starsky was so overwhelmed by what was happening he had the sudden urge to burst into tears. Instead, he reached up, rubbed the back of his hand against Hutch's cheek. "You're so beautiful, you know that?"

Hutch gave a short laugh. "Bet you say that to all the boys."

Starsky shook his head. "Never to anyone but you."

Hutch looked at him intently then, all seriousness. "Really?"

Starsky remembered how important that always seemed to Hutch, that things were different between them than it had been between Starsky and his long-ago lovers. He took hold of Hutch's face in both hands, stroked his cheeks with his thumbs. "You're beautiful, Hutch, the most beautiful man I've ever known. You're the only man I ever loved this way in my whole life. I mean that. And I swear to God there'll never be another man for me, ever. Never. I swear it. Just you. My beautiful partner."

Hutch closed his eyes for a moment, as if overwhelmed, then kissed both of Starsky's palms. "I want to make it good for you, really, really good."

Starsky grinned. "It gets any better and I swear I'm gonna die."

Hutch shook his head. "I want it to be the way you said. In the Academy. I want it to be that good for you. Not like this. I want you to take me the way you always wanted to."

Starsky trembled as Hutch rode him, remembering the words he wished he had never said, the words he'd used to slap Hutch with the fierce reality of his honest feelings. I want to fuck you, Hutch. I want to hold you down so you can't move and fuck you senseless.

His brain wasn't ready to process any more pleasure. "No, babe. I'm too close. This is so good. Just keep doin' what you're doin'!"

Clenching his jaw, Hutch got that determined look on his face. Starsky' gut tightened. Would there ever come a time when Hutch would simply take what he said at face value? Probably not.

To Starsky's dismay, Hutch pushed himself down as low on Starsky's cock as he could then held perfectly still. He tightened his body deliberately, squeezing Starsky's hyper-sensitive erection with his powerful muscles.

Starsky thrashed and cried out, his brain surging into a red haze of lust. He shouted Hutch's name.

"I'm right here," Hutch said. "You're in me. I can't go anywhere, even if I wanted to." He squeezed again, then relaxed. "And we can sit here all day if you want. But my arms are like rubber bands and my legs have gone numb. You want more of this, pal, you're gonna have to come after it."

"Don't! Don't do this!" Starsky shouted as Hutch tormented him with his body, tightening then relaxing, exciting him to fever pitch, but not giving him the friction he so desperately needed. I'll kill him. I swear I will. Right after I get off.

"Come on, then, take what you want! That's the only way you're gonna get it—"

Without making a conscious decision about it, Starsky surged up, grabbing Hutch by the shoulders and shoving him roughly to the side. Hutch's legs tightened around Starsky's hips as he fell. Starsky went with him in one smooth move, riding his love, staying with him as he pushed him onto his back, never letting his cock slip but an inch or two from its pleasurable berth.

"You-son-of-a-bitch," Starsky swore as Hutch chuckled low, then burst into genuine laughter. Starsky pushed up on his knees, driving deep into the willing body, making Hutch gasp. Damn, it was good, better than Starsky had ever imagined it. He stared down at Hutch, whose face was suffused with pleasure and delight.

"Come on, stud," Hutch taunted. "Let it happen. Just like you always wanted it to."

"Will you just shut up!" Starsky ordered, wondering just when Hutch had become so incredibly exasperating in bed.

Hutch wasn't listening. "Do it! Come on, Starsky, just do it! Take it!"

Starsky growled, his need to take coming on him with the force of a hurricane, clouding his judgment. Hutch was beneath him, open, flaunting his erection, daring him— He closed his eyes, but felt his controls slip away like sand castles under a relentless tide. Hutch, don't...don't!

"I want you to," Hutch hissed at him. He was pulling at him, tugging his arms, wrapping his long legs around Starsky's back, pressing him closer. He tightened his ass around Starsky's hardness over and over, squeezing, releasing, torturing him.

With a sound that was pure anguish, Starsky felt his judgment shatter. He surged forward, grabbed a fistful of Hutch's fine hair and yanked his head toward him. Hutch met him halfway and their mouths slapped together in a fierce kiss, teeth clicking, tongues battling. Hutch's nails raked Starsky's back and he purred in pleasure, or at least that was the way it sounded to him. Blood was pounding in Starsky's ears, and he felt like one giant heartbeat as he reared and plunged into the muscular body hard and fast. The sensation was incandescent, and he couldn't escape the realization of who was beneath him, whose body was tightening around him. It was all he could think of.

Hutch. Hutch. Hutch....

Starsky released Hutch's hair, but Hutch didn't pull his mouth away. Starsky had to do that first, and he did when he needed more air. Hutch fell back against the pillow, his hair plastered against his skull with sweat, his eyes rolling up as Starsky battered him with his cock.

Unable to stop himself, he gripped Hutch's arms in a punishing hold, pinning his arms to the bed as he reared up over him. He had to be sure Hutch didn't try to leave, had to be sure he'd hold still, just for a bit longer, just a little bit—

"Go 'head," Hutch gasped. "It's good, go 'head."

It didn't make much sense to Starsky, but right now little did. There was only the tension and slickness around his cock and a need so bottomless he thought it would be impossible to fill. He moved faster into Hutch's body, driving into him. He held him hard against the bed and thrust deeply, needing that tightness, that slick, sweet heat.

Hutch.... Hutch....

He was moaning Hutch's name, he realized dimly, over and over, in time with his thrusts. Plunging into that sweetness, against that incredible friction again and again. Unbelievably good. The fantasy of a lifetime. It had to be a fantasy because nothing this phenomenal could ever be real.

"Yes!" Hutch cried out. "Oh, God, yes, yes!" Then he shouted in surprise.

Starsky felt something small and round riding under his crown and realized he'd managed to move Hutch into the right position to stimulate his prostate. He wasn't sure how he'd accomplished it, since he was strictly on automatic pilot now, but it didn't matter. He had the bastard now.

"Oh, jeezus, what the hell are you doing?" Hutch struggled beneath Starsky, but that only made Starsky tighten his grip.

You're not gettin' away now, baby blue, not now.

"What is that?" Hutch gasped, crying out as Starsky never slowed, never let up the pressure.

"That's me in you," Starsky hissed, his throat as taut as the rest of his overstrained body. "Don't you ever forget it. What it's like. Me in you."

Hutch struggled, overwhelmed. "Starsk! It's too much! Aw, dammit!"

Starsky had to agree. It was too much. Way more than he could handle. His cock swelled even larger till he thought it was going to burst. The pressure was painful, but even that felt good. Too good. As Hutch cried out again, Starsky felt a rush of adrenaline and slammed into him once, twice, then suddenly it was happening. He shouted Hutch's name, and felt the vibrations of it rock the bed, as he poured himself into Hutch's body. Instantaneously, there was a rush of liquid heat between them and he realized he'd been stimulating Hutch's cock the whole time, rubbing his sweaty belly against it. Dimly, he wondered what that must've felt like to Hutch, having all that body hair stroking him off.

I penetrated you, Starsky thought wearily as he collapsed over Hutch. You wouldn't quit 'til I did it. Penetrated you. Injected you with myself. So how come, if I gave you all my stuff, I'm the one who's hooked?

Hutch wrapped his strong arms around Starsky, and held him tight. Hutch was shivering, trembling from head to foot—or was it Starsky who was doing that? He couldn't be sure.

Hutch started kissing his face all over, stroking his hair, his spine, one foot rubbing up and down his calf. Starsky was nearly insensate. All he could do was lie still and gasp for air and feel the trembling aftershocks rippling through him.

"You're part of me now," Hutch whispered. "Forever and ever."

"Uh-huh," Starsky agreed, "and ever." He tried to shift, faintly aware that he must be growing heavy as he used Hutch for a mattress.

"Don't move!" Hutch insisted. "Not yet! Just hold still."

That was the one thing Starsky actually felt like he could manage. Not moving. Holding perfectly still.

"I love you, Starsk," Hutch whispered against his ear. "I swear I do."

Starsky nodded. It sounded good to him.

"I mean it," Hutch said, as if he had to prove something. "It's real, the love I feel for you. The realest love I've ever felt for anyone."

Sure. He knew that. Knew it from the Academy. It had always been there between them, this fierce, real love. The realest love Starsky had ever known, too.

"I'm glad, Hutch," Starsky managed to say, as he cuddled down against Hutch's warm, comfortable body. He felt his erection soften finally, and slowly ease out the most wonderful place it had ever known. Hutch hissed and tensed, but then relaxed again. "You okay?"

"More okay than I've been in a long, long time," Hutch admitted.

That was nice. That made Starsky really glad. Unable to keep himself conscious a minute longer, Starsky pressed a kiss against Hutch's sternum and let himself sleep.

Everybody's got a hunger, a hunger they can't resist,
There's so much that you want, you deserve much more than this,
But if dreams came true, oh, wouldn't that be nice,
But this ain't no dream we're living through tonight,
...You want it, you take it, you pay the price.
            Prove It All Night—Bruce Springsteen