This story was first published in The Fix #18. Comments on this story can be sent, as usual, to:


Give me one good reason we can't be together
I've got this notion you've been wasting your time
When you go spinning your wheels on those fancy one-night deals
I know somewhere there'll be a change of mind
Nobody does too well without love
You know I've maybe been babied too long
Sweetheart I knew in my heart; It was you from the start
And now I know where you and I belong
Fools For Each Other—David Soul

Can you believe that guy? Starsky fumed, exiting the Torino in a rush and slamming the door harder than he intended. The car rocked as if protesting its abuse, but he hardly noticed. He was too steamed. He jogged up the stairs to his apartment, hurriedly unlocked the door, then slammed that shut as well.

Bad enough he cons me into payin' his gym dues. Again! But then he says he'll make it up to me. Take me to dinner. Yeah. Sure. I'll follow you, Starsk! Sure, I will—and then he takes off. Made sure I couldn't catch up, either! Like who in his right mind feels like eatin' chili all by his lonesome?

Irritably, Starsky shrugged out of his heavy sweater, dropping it unceremoniously over the back of his couch. An' I'm supposed to trust this guy!

He was halfway to the fridge when the import of what he'd just thought finally registered. The last three days came back in a rush. Especially the last two.

Most especially that moment in the laundry room when they were confronted with the truth of what they were dealing with.

"What you're sayin'," Starsky had told his partner, "is that...anyone of nine million other guys who might be tryin' to kill us has a direct pipeline to the department? Who're we supposed to report this to?"

Had he asked Hutch that just yesterday?

The two cops had been clothed in nothing but towels, waiting for their water-soaked clothes to dry in the apartment building's laundry room. They'd just narrowly avoided being murdered by two professional hit men, the same way they always narrowly avoided disaster. One of them—this time it had been Starsky—yelled a warning and the other instantly obeyed as they simultaneously dived into the deep water of the apartment's swimming pool, avoiding the hail of bullets that had killed their suspect.

But once in the laundry room reviewing the events, they'd finally come to the unsettling realization that whoever had been trying to kill them wasn't some bad guy they'd busted somewhere along the way. No, the connection behind the would-be assassins out to abruptly end their careers had to be someone in the police department. Someone like DA Henderson. Or maybe the IA head, Lieutenant Steele. Or possibly even their own Captain, Dobey. Starsky still remembered the sickening lurch in his gut as he understood how alone the two of them suddenly were.

Unable to figure out who they could discuss the case with safely, he'd finally looked Hutch in the eye and asked, "I mean, who in hell are we supposed to trust?"

Hutch had stared back at him, all serene, and given the only answer they'd ever needed. "Same people we always trust. Us."

As Starsky finished his trek to the fridge, he felt all his irritation dissolve away. Fishing out a beer, he popped the top then took a big swallow. He moved over to the couch and collapsed onto it, stretching out on its comfortable length. The jumbled events of this last case kept marching around his brain, but his anger was gone, replaced by the memory of Hutch's total trust and confidence in their team of two. He never could stay mad at Hutch long enough for it to matter, anyway.

'Sides, maybe blondie's got a date. Don't usually pay to meet your girl with chili on your breath. Least not the kind of chili I'd planned on introducin' him to.

He couldn't help but wonder if WhatsHerName—Hutch's latest vapid blond—was into the same kind of horrendous diet Hutch insisted on consuming. Soybean steaks and wheat germ pie.... Starsky shuddered just thinking about it. The things you were expected to do for your partner shouldn't have to involve committing gastronomic suicide. He could still taste the last organic meal Hutch had forced him to eat. An hour later he'd had to wolf down two donuts just to make up for it.

Wonder if he is seein' WhatsHerName tonight. Was it Betty? No—Amy? Cindy? No, Starsky was seeing Cindy. He frowned. Was he supposed to see Cindy tonight? He couldn't remember. He and Hutch had been on night shift these last few days, and that, combined with the intensity of the case, was playing havoc with his personal life.

That made him laugh. What personal life? Since he and Hutch had finally become partners, whatever personal life they'd managed before had pretty much hit the skids.

Hutch's divorce had changed him, changed his whole attitude toward women. He was much more wary now, as if a pretty girl were as dangerous as a minefield, just waiting to remove a few of his precious parts if he made one wrong move. All his energy now went into his job, and his focus and drive ended up curtailing a lot of Starsky's action, too.

Only 'cause I let it, he admitted to himself. But, after all, he was Hutch's partner.

Starsky remembered again the joking conversation of three days ago—before their case went haywire.

Hutch had started it by asking how Starsky's latest date with Cindy had gone. Starsky didn't look at him, but stared out the passenger window of Hutch's car and murmured coyly, "Acceptable. Acceptable."

Hutch asked nothing more, but Starsky knew he understood his verbal shorthand. The terse answer meant that after two weeks of serious courting Starsky had finally managed to get the physically desirable but emotionally reluctant Cindy into his bed. Acceptable was the minimum standard for Starsky.

He wasn't all that happy with Cindy's reluctance, but he understood it. She, after all, was a sensible girl with definite plans for her future, who was seriously debating whether to add Starsky to those plans. However, Starsky had no interest in including Cindy in any future plans of his own. She was fully aware that he was interested in her for the moment—not for the future. He never lied to seduce, never insinuated more than he planned to deliver. And while Starsky wanted nothing more than to find himself a fine lady he could settle down with and raise a few kids behind an oh-so-normal picket fence, he knew damned well Miss Cindy was not It.

Since a policewoman named Helen had dumped him flat on his heart a year or so back, he had yet to meet another woman who interested him nearly as much.

Maybe I'm getting just as wary as Hutch, he thought, not liking that idea.

Cindy had finally let him take her to bed, but she hadn't totally yielded, because she didn't dare give him everything, knowing he had no intentions of giving everything back. So acceptable was the best it was ever going to be between them. He planned on seeing her again...but not tonight. Not right after this case. He just wasn't up to all the effort it would take to get the lady back in bed. And he couldn't even resent her reluctance since she was just mirroring his own uninvolvement.

Thinking about all that only made him remember Helen, and the last thing he wanted to do tonight was think about Helen. So he brought the rest of that seemingly inconsequential conversation with Hutch back to mind instead.

"You still seeing WhatsHerName?" Starsky had asked after giving Hutch his one word report on his date with Cindy. It had become a running joke with them that Starsky could never remember the name of his partner's current girlfriend. But both of them knew it was a slight dig at the fact that Hutch couldn't stay interested in any one of them long enough for Starsky to memorize their names.

Hutch had only laughed at Starsky's typical memory block and said, "Sure. Yeah, I'm still seeing WhatsHerName. Took her to the watchamacallit. Gave her my thingamajig."

By this time they were both laughing as Starsky sputtered, "I didn't know it was that serious!"

And Hutch had sobered instantly, murmuring, "It's not."

That pretty much ended the conversation.

These days, Starsky didn't ask too many questions about Hutch's dates. They weren't exactly one-night stands, but whenever they double-dated, Starsky always had the sense that Hutch wasn't really there—but it wasn't his physical part that was present, which is what you'd expect with most guys. No, with Hutch, it was more like his cerebral part was the only thing involved. And as far as Starsky was concerned, Hutch spent entirely too much time being cerebral and not enough time being physical.

Some of the girls Hutch dated he never even went to bed with, and considering the lookers they usually were, Starsky couldn't fathom that for the life of him.

I mean if you're gonna go to all that trouble, with dinner and small talk, and havin' to remember all the stuff that went into the small talk, while sharin' enough of yourself to interest her, yet not so much as to bore her, and certainly not so much—bein' as how me an' Hutch are cops in one of the roughest parts of town—to scare the hell outta her—the least you should be able to look forward to was some kinda reward.

But Hutch never seemed to care about that.

And that scared Starsky a little. Because there was a part of him that worried that that might be partly his fault.

Because he loved Hutch.

If he were being totally honest, he would even admit to being in love with Hutch.

But the worst of it was that Hutch knew it.

Knew that Starsky loved him with a love that was so intense and so real that on occasion—occasions that worried Starsky, occasions he both regretted and revered—that love had spilled over into an intense, soul-rattling passion.

And deep inside, Starsky knew Hutch liked being the focus of that love in spite of the times when they'd crossed the line.

Even though Hutch was straight, as straight as Starsky strived to be, he'd allowed Starsky to introduce him to that passion one intense night in the Academy. And since Hutch worked at being the All-Time-Open-Minded-Liberal-Guy-of-the-Universe, he acted like dabbling in that kind of passion that night and a few times since then was no big deal.

But it was a big deal to Starsky. A very big deal. Because in his heart he knew that if he wasn't careful, the kind of love he felt for Hutch could become his world, his everything, and that, Starsky knew, was Not A Good Idea.

They were cops. Their careers were taking off. They were the best team at Metro, maybe in the whole city, and Starsky took a lot of pride in that. He believed that they were meant to work together, to be partners together, to have good solid careers they could be proud of. They needed to have decent, normal family lives to share in that pride, and to complete it. That had been Starsky's plan even before he'd ever entered the Academy. Career, marriage, kids, home—the perfect American dream. It didn't matter to him that every now and then nature threw him a curve, having him meet someone of the same sex for whom his feelings might get a bit confused. It was his problem, and he could handle it.

The plans he'd made he intended to keep, for himself, and for Hutch, too. Hutch could act as liberal as he wanted. Starsky knew the score. If they were ever even suspected of being queer cops their careers would be in the toilet—if they didn't actually get killed in the streets, waiting for backup that never came, double-crossed by their own brother cops. If anyone even suspected he and Hutch had that kind of interest in each other, their lives wouldn't be worth a nickel. Hutch didn't deserve that. It wasn't his fault Starsky's heart occasionally took a turn he didn't expect. He'd be damned if he'd let Hutch pay the price for his loving loyalty, either.

He rubbed his face tiredly, suddenly remembering Lt. Steele, the head of IA, explaining to Captain Dobey that he had reason to believe his two top detectives might be in danger. Two kids in a stolen red Torino had been shot to death at point blank range, Steele believed, because the hit men "thought it was Starsky out with a girl. He has that reputation, you know."

Starsky had given Dobey his best innocent look, but Hutch couldn't even face him without smirking.

I damned well oughta have that reputation, he thought smugly. I worked hard enough to get it. Too hard sometimes—going out with women he really wasn't that interested in, bugging the lady cops at work, making sure a shapely set of legs never passed without his notice. Hell, some of the guys at work wouldn't introduce their wives to him—but that only made him laugh. Sure, he was over-compensating, but it wasn't like he didn't have the interest—or the stamina—to follow up on it. He kept the ladies busy every night he got the chance. It kept him focused, and helped to burn off a nearly frenetic level of sexual energy he often built up over days of working side by side with Hutch.

It probably didn't help that he started every workday by watching Hutch work out at Vinnie's Gym....

He smiled, remembering how he came up behind Hutch the day the whole Henderson case started. His blond partner was working the heavy bag, working it hard, showing his strength, the power in his arms, his long back. There were times when Starsky thought Hutch felt burdened by his good looks, making sure he was always fit, so that he had substance to back up his choirboy face.

Starsky had come up behind him, watching all that action; grinning, he called out, "Bee-you-tee-ful!" He'd had to shout to be heard over the racket in the gym.

They both knew he was talking about more than Hutch's boxing form.

He couldn't exactly see the knowing smirk on Hutch's face, but he heard his complaint clearly enough. "You're late!" Hutch informed him, giving the bag a few more good shots.

"Comin' down here to watch you sweat ain't exactly the high point of my day," he'd told Hutch. It was as big a lie now as it was then. He always showed up in the middle of Hutch's workout and Hutch always complained that Starsky was late, like he needed him there to be his audience so he could perform at peak. Every day he tried to get Starsky to workout with him, and every day Starsky declined. They both knew why.

Hard to watch the guy while you were goin' rounds with him, Starsky thought, smiling to himself...and watching Hutch was one of Starsky's great, unspoken pleasures. They both knew that too, even if neither of them ever talked about it. Starsky knew Hutch knew he was being watched and Starsky knew Hutch liked it. Why else would he always take his shower right in front of the open doorway where Starsky could see him with an unobstructed view? Sure, they always talked about stuff while Hutch showered, but that's the way they legitimized the whole thing.

Kept it normal.


While Starsky watched.

And Hutch let him, basking in the attention.

What was it Hutch had said to Fat Rollie while they were shaking him down? It was something Starsky had heard him say many times before. "...There's something you oughta know about Starsky and me. We're not like most partners."

Starsky shut his eyes wearily. No, Hutch, you sure got that right. We're not like most partners.

Unbidden, uninvited, the image of Hutch's tall form in the gym's shower came to him behind his closed lids. He lay perfectly still on the couch as if fearful that he would catch himself indulging in this, his guiltiest of pleasures, as he allowed his mind to focus on the image and make it clearer.

That long, lean, trim body...water and soap cascading over all that blondness...Hutch's strong arms and legs moving and flexing under a cover of suds and spray....

He saw Hutch's small, brown nipples harden under the pummeling water. He knew just how they would feel...under his toying thumbs...sliding wetly into his open mouth. In reflex, his jaw dropped open.

Stop, he ordered himself, but it was too late. His cock was rising, swelling under his jeans as he continued to lie perfectly still. Eyes closed, he refused to consciously acknowledge his forbidden desire, yet was unable to stop the beautiful memories from assaulting him either.

Quietly, silently, he watched the movie in his mind grow more detailed.

Hutch is leaning' against the shower wall, his face turned up into the spray as he rinses his hair. Pushing' off the wall, he turns, just like he does every day, and faces out the doorway, his eyes still shut from the water dripping' from his hair. Real precisely, he starts rinsing' the soap from his sides and back, but he always does it in such a way so's I got a clear view of his front. He's so blatant about it, most of the time, I gotta go sit by the lockers and wait for him, my back to the shower, it rattles me that bad. But once in a today...when no one's around to notice, not even Frankie...once in a while I let myself watch. He knows when I'm watchin', too, 'cause he keeps his eyes shut and takes forever at the job—gettin' rid of all that soap, first, from his long neck, then from his strong, hairless chest, then the narrow waist and prominent hips, and finally...finally and most importantly, he makes sure all the soap is off his heavy, long, gloriously uncut cock.

Starsky swallowed, just thinking about it.

He always does that last, touchin' himself so careful, movin' his cock from side to side while the water streams suggestively off its tip. He lifts his balls to free up any trapped soap, then carefully runs his hands up under there, making sure it's rinsed clean. The fine, blond hairs on his groin are always flattened straight from the rushin' water, so they seem to disappear. It makes Hutch's body look, right then, almost hairless. Which always makes him seem, somehow, even more nude.

Starsky would always feel a flush of goosebumps rise up along his spine whenever he saw that. But that wasn't the only part of him rising now, he realized, as his cock squirmed in its denim prison. He ignored it, refusing to touch it, as he examined the picture of Hutch handling his own wet organs. For once, Starsky allowed himself all the time he needed to enjoy the spectacle he only ever got to glimpse at every day. But all those glimpses allowed him to construct the fully detailed film now running slowly through his mind.

Hutch handling himself under the water. So beautiful...

Finally, after rinsing' every part so perfect, the big blond turns around, showin' me that broad, pretty ass of his. Water's running' smoothly over it while he slides his big hands over all of that, making sure the soap is gone...making sure I'm seein' all I need to.... He rubs the soap away till I think I can't stand anymore, then, when he's rinsed enough, he makes one more slow pass—this time down the crack, making sure it's clean.

And that's when I can't handle no more and have to turn away for good.

He couldn't bear watching Hutch stroke his own ass for fear that all the fantasies he'd ever had about the man would blast through his mind like some bizarre psychedelic trip and he'd suddenly discover himself in that shower, either on his knees ready to lick that big cock clean, or worse, pushing Hutch face first against the shower wall so he could show him a whole new use for soap.

Why am I doin' this to myself? he wondered bitterly, even as he envisioned himself in that shower...nude...alone with Hutch...slowly, reverently kneeling, while staring mesmerized at that powerful uncut cock....

Hutch is smiling, liking the way I'm lookin' at him, like I'm ready to eat him alive—which I am. He reaches out to me, brushes the knuckles of his hand against my face.... Yeah, that's just what Hutch would do, too, that kind of sweet, loving gesture. All trust and caring.

Starsky nearly fell apart imagining that one singularly non-sexual gesture that was so like Hutch it lent a shocking reality to the whole fantasy. Hutch touched his cheek, and—

I close my eyes, so happy he loves me like he does. And then to show him how happy I am, I move forward and take him in my mouth...real slow...just the way he likes it.

Starsky's eyes squeezed shut as he remembered vividly tasting his partner the night Hutch's wife left him for good. Hutch was drunk and it put the tang of alcohol on his sweat, but the essence of Hutch was unchanged. Sweet and clean and musky, and so very masculine. The taste of the man came back so sharply, Starsky's mouth watered and he gasped. His cock throbbed angrily, needing freedom, needing touch, needing something.

Reluctantly, his fingers trailed over the denim, manipulating his flesh, straightening it, making it more comfortable. But he didn't dare release it. Not yet. That would be like giving in to needs he had no right to have. That would be like admitting defeat, caving in to the side of him he refused to indulge. Instead, he ran his fingertips lightly over the worn blue fabric, letting himself feel just a bit of comfort from his own he let himself go down on Hutch in his mind.

Taking him into my mouth. Tasting his salt. Sucking him way back into in my throat, the way I haven't done to anyone since the Army. Grabbing his hips, pulling him into me. Feeling all of him in my mouth, in my throat, growing, swelling, fucking my face so good. I never liked it much before Hutch. Did it just to give pleasure, didn't know it could bring me pleasure...but with Hutch....

He could see it so clearly, both of them under the shower, the warm water striking Hutch's back and shoulders as the blond head tipped back and that wide, beautiful mouth opened in a soundless gasp....

...From what I'm doing' to him, from how I'm making' him feel. Like no one's ever made him feel. Specially no woman...not ever...not like this....

Starsky felt Hutch's hands burying themselves in his thick, short curls, felt those broad palms steady his head as Hutch rocked his hips, never rushing, never shoving, just moving so sweet, so steadily into Starsky's mouth....

Loving it so much, the both of us. He's loving that he's able to fuck my mouth so deep, and I'm loving the way he tastes, the way he feels sliding' down my throat, the intense pleasure only I can give him....

Starsky was panting now, his chest rising and falling, his heart rate beating a quiet staccato tempo. He flattened his hand, rubbed it over his swelling bulge, as if trying to calm it.

Don't. Don't do this. It's not right. Not over Hutch. Not over your partner.

The admonishment wasn't helping. He tried to switch the fantasy, tried to imagine Cindy in Hutch's place, but the image was too tenuous. She'd too adamantly opposed anything experimental. And there was no way he could see her going down on him. No way. Not without some serious commitment on his part—and as Helen had tried to tell him when she dumped him, he'd already made the most serious commitment of his life—to Hutch.

He was locked in the fantasy now, as if it were in control of his mind and body, and all he could do was yield.

Hutch has had all he can handle, so he pulls out of my mouth, then takes me by the arms, lifts me off my knees, slides his long, wet arms round my waist, then pulls me in close...moves his head....

Starsky groaned, tensing all over.


But it was too late. Hutch was kissing him. Tipping his head to find the perfect angle to home in on Starsky's mouth, the mouth that had just devoured him.

"No," Starsky groaned out loud, lost in the imagery.

No matter how they fooled around, Starsky had only ever kissed Hutch once, back in the Academy, and the sensation had been so heady he'd nearly lost complete control. He'd never let it happen again, fearing his own reaction, needing that restraint. He had to keep a grip on himself. He didn't dare lose himself with this man...and kissing...kissing was for lovers and whatever they were, Starsky made sure there was no confusion over that issue.... They could never be lovers....

But in this fantasy shower, Hutch was kissing him anyway, aggressively kissing him, holding his jaw in place with one of his big blond paws, while the other one anchored him like a vise at the back of the head. Hutch nearly shoved his tongue down Starsky's throat, as if trying to taste his own essence in his partner's mouth, and all Starsky could do was part his lips and let him in. He moaned under the assault, feeling the wonder of Hutch's hungry kiss and returning it double.

He grew dizzy under the passionate kiss, and shoved Hutch back against the tile wall, making their legs intermingle, grinding their staffs together, letting their wet bodies slide over each others' like two slippery seals. Then...

I can't help it. I gotta run my hands down that long, slick back, 'til I find that big pretty ass in my palms. Oh God...I touch him there, rub him, stroke him, loving the way he feels, all wet silk and satin. He likes it, too, and rubs against me harder to let me know while trying' to suffocate me with his powerhouse kisses. I can barely breathe, it's all so overwhelming, so good. And finally, I can't hold back anymore, and I let my hand move to the top of his crack. And real slow, real deliberate, I slide my fingers down between the globes of his ass and pet his anus real careful...real sweet.

Hutch breaks the kiss then and throws his head back in surprise, gasping, "Starsk, Starsk...!"

But I can't stop, now. I slide the tip of one finger right inside. Letting him know. Making it plain. And he groans 'cause it's good. And then he says it 'cause I can't.

"Oh, Starsk! Come on and fuck me, babe. I need that from you! I need it bad!"

Starsky's eyes snapped open, staring up at his own ceiling, trying to focus on it, to bring himself back to reality. He could feel the pounding of his heart, the harshness of his heavy breathing.

Stop right there! he ordered himself, but he was shaking all over, and completely ignored his own command. He was stroking himself blatantly now and had no idea when he'd started doing that. And his cock was killing him, needing him to either stop or get serious and let him out to play.

But Starsky couldn't do that, it was too blatant, too much like using Hutch for his own depraved needs.

He took a couple of deep breaths, trying to unsuccessfully slow his heart rate. But all he managed to do was calm his raging need to an ache. At least the shower scene dissolved with the distraction.

And was replaced instead with the image of Hutch undressing beside him in Tallman's mansion just before they entered the gangster's steam room. The two of them were so business-like, taking their clothes off, carefully not looking at each other. They were on duty now, and that always changed things. If Hutch really wanted Starsky to watch him at Vinnie's, he was almost preternaturally modest once they were on duty. They almost never bathed near each other at the precinct, making sure they staggered their moments in the community shower, dressing and undressing with their backs to one another. Just like all the other cops did. It was as if there was this unspoken code in the locker room that partners couldn't be too friendly with each other in there, just in case anyone was paying attention.

So some of that reticence carried over at Tallman's. It was weird enough, being on duty, yet undressing in a mansion, needing to question a suspect in a sauna. But they were doing their job, and doing it together, so that somehow made it all right. And Hutch had looked so good standing beside him, methodically stripping, talking about his mom always telling him to wear clean underwear. Even as Hutch prattled on, it had given Starsky another opportunity to surreptitiously compare the two of them and enjoy, for just a moment, the differences that made Hutch so beautiful to him.

The creamy, pale color of his skin. The light bronze tan he carries all year. The fine dusting of small, golden hairs all over his body that always makes me think of a palomino stallion. So different against my darkness and ruddy skin tones. Even his cock is pale, and it just hangs there, all covered up by his foreskin when it's not erect. While mine is always darker than the rest of me. And my crown is so clearly defined by my circumcision....

In Starsky's mind, Tallman's female aide never showed up to startle the hell out of them as they finished undressing. Instead...

I take an orange towel that's right nearby, and I cover Hutch with it, as if to protect him from my own prying eyes. He smiles at me and starts to return the favor, but as he does, my cock starts to rise, tenting the towel.

I shake my head back and forth, and murmur, "Now look what you've done."

"I can fix that," Hutch whispers, and smiling, starts to ease down to his knees.

On the couch, Starsky felt his heart rate nearly double as his mind screamed a protest.

No! No, not that! Hutch is straight. This ain't his scene! It's not right!

Like kissing, this was on the forbidden list. The night Hutch's wife left him, when he'd gotten drunk over The Bitch's dumping him, he'd repeatedly offered to do that very thing to Starsky, until Starsky had been forced—yeah, that's what you tell yourself, you were forced—to suck Hutch off just to get him to go to sleep. But for Hutch to reciprocate that act was way at the top of Starsky's NEVER EVER list.

Hutch was straight. And straight guys never went down on another guy, they never even considered it. Ever.

Starsky considered himself bi, and he could live with that label. Especially since he'd made a conscious decision to end his sporadic adventures with men right after the Army. It was too dangerous. And now that he was a cop it could be way too costly. It wasn't worth it. He liked women just fine, loved them in fact. He didn't need to be risking his career, his whole future—and now Hutch's, too—playing with fire. So if he'd gone down on Hutch to help his buddy out, and if his buddy was okay about it, then he was okay about it, too. It didn't mean it was ever gonna happen again. It didn't mean he should dwell on it.... Remember it.... Think about it.... And it sure didn't mean he should demean his partner by imagining him—

...Perched on his knees right in front of me. Wearin' nothing but that fluffy orange towel that looked so good against his skin. Staring' up at me all wide-eyed Minnesota choir boy.

"I can fix that," he says to me, whispers it soft, but even though he's locked onto my eyes and not at the growin' lump under my towel, we both know what he means.

Even in a fantasy, Starsky had to protect Hutch's innocence.

"No," I tell him. "Get up from there. This ain't your scene. Don't, Hutch...." But he's not listening to my words. He's staring deep into my eyes where he sees the ache, the wanting, the heart-crushing hunger I'm carrying for him. Carryin' it deep, where even I can't look at it.

"I can fix all of that," he murmurs, and he means it, and I know I'm finished. He unwraps my towel like it's a privilege and by now, I'm a fuckin' flagpole, my cock so hard it's hurtin', but I don't dare touch it. I'm dripping precome already I'm so hot and my cock is standing straight up and tappin' my belly with need. It actually hurts and that scares me cause I can't imagine how it's gonna feel when he finally soothes it.

"I can fix that," he says again, and I know he's right. No one's ever gonna be able to fix that again like Hutch. If he wanted to. If I let him. An' right now, I can't do nothin' but let him. Oh, God help me, it's gonna happen!

Unable to resist his own fantasy any longer, Starsky unzipped his fly, and eased his cramped flesh out of its denim prison. He groaned softly at the instant relief that gave him, and petted his aching hard-on, as if consoling it for dwelling on something he knew he'd never be able to deliver.

Except in his mind....

Hutch stares at my cock like he's half-scared, half-starved, like he don't know what to do first. Then he looks up again at my face, and I know I'm lookin' just as freaked as he is. My conscience is screaming at me to get out of there, to break this up before it's too late, but my cock's runnin' the show now, so my conscience is left talkin' to itself.

Real impulsively, Hutch leans forward. I think he's gonna do it now, and I stop breathing completely, but, no.... He closes his eyes for a moment, and real slowly, he rubs his cheek against the underside of my cock. It surprises me so much I gasp out loud, which makes him smile, so he does it again. I've had women do this to me a few times, but never a guy. It's so different, the way his face feels. Soft, yeah, Hutch's skin is soft, but there's a trace of beard and the surprise is that it's soft, too—like a velvet bristle brush, as it scrapes along the underside of my rod. It's like nothin' I ever felt in my life.

He does it again, and again, then grips my hips while he does it some more and I realize...he's workin' up the courage to do me. Cause he's never done this before. Tasted a man. Never.

Slowly, Starsky rubbed the fingertips of his left hand up and down the underside of his shaft, emulating Hutch's contact.

While he's still rubbing against me and makin' me wild, he finally reaches up, all slow and easy, like he knows just how bad I'm hurtin'. He grips my rod—

With his right hand, he took hold of the base of his sensitized erection—

—I'm so stiff, it hurts when he moves it— and just as slow and careful, he lowers the crown 'til it's nearly brushing those beautiful wide lips, then leans forward and actually kisses the tip, just below the slit.

As he rubbed his thumb over the exact spot that Hutch's lips embraced, a drop of precome made the touch silken soft. He shuddered all over, totally lost in his fantasy.

I can't speak...I can't he starts rubbing my crown against his lips, like he's taking this one step at a time, goin' just as far as he can stand, till he can make the next move. The sensation is incredible, my flaring crown stroking his beautiful mouth, and it's making me crazy. Then, just when I think I can't stand no more, his jaw drops a little, and his tongue peeks out and runs wetly over the underside of my cock, right on the most sensitive spot.

More precome bubbled up from Starsky's shaft, dripping warmly over his crown. He caught it with his thumb and imitated Hutch's tongue perfectly. His legs trembled.

The jolt of that touch is almost more than I can take!

Arching against the couch cushions, Starsky moaned aloud as his hand tried desperately to mimic his fantasy lover.

He must've decided he liked the taste, cause he does it again, and again, and then he starts gettin' bold, licking in longer and longer strokes, from the base to the tip. He's making my knees turn to jelly, and I can't stop moaning, wanting him to know how I love what he's doing to me, how crazy he's making me.

He's watchin' me, too, seein' the pain and the pleasure all right there on my face. I can't take much more of this, and find my hands gripping his long, fine hair.

"Hutch!" Starsky murmured softly. "Damn it, Hutch!"

And he answers me just by opening his mouth and finally taking the head of my cock inside.

"Oh, jeezus!" Starsky muttered, rubbing his crown furiously with his palm. He was swollen so hard he was aching.

I'm losin' it now. I can't help myself. I hold his head, stroke his jaw, letting him know I need more, I can't wait. Real slow, he takes me in, deeper, deeper, and starts licking, sucking, servin' me so good. And his eyes roll up and close in bliss, and he moans around me...God! how that feels!...letting me know he loves it. Loves doin' me. Oh, shit, he loves doin' me.

"Ah, Hutch...." He was using both hands now, stroking hard with the left, while giving the crown the special attention it needed with his right. His hips rocked in his favorite rhythm while, in his mind, he allowed himself, finally, to use Hutch's mouth for his pleasure.

I need to go deeper. I gotta have it. I rub his throat, hold his head, lettin' him know. He shudders all over and I feel him relax, and next thing I know I'm down his throat. He chokes at first, then he handles it like a pro, takin' me in, all the way down, till his nose is brushing my groin, and my cock is completely buried in heat and tight Hutch! Oh shit...I'm in his mouth...!

He was trembling now, the fantasy running completely on its own, like a train out of control.

I can't take much of this, fuckin' his face so deep, so good, watching his jaw work, feeling his tongue, his throat. No, no, I can't take much of this.... Not as hard up for him as I am. So, I make myself pull out. I'm shaking all over, my balls so tight they hurt. He looks dazed, gaspin' for air, not knowing what's wrong, why I pulled out. He wants more of me, and tries to follow my cock, tries to do me again.

I'm losin' it quick, but I know what I want. What I need.... What I've always wanted.

On the couch, Starsky quivered, realizing consciously what he planned to imagine and finally giving himself permission to do it. Something he'd never let himself even dream of before.

I don't say nothin', I can't, I just grab him by the arms, pull him up off his knees. I'm on him so quick he doesn't know what hit him, and I'm kissing his open mouth hard, tasting myself inside him and that makes me even wilder.

I pull out of the kiss, and both of us are dizzy. His mouth is all wet and swollen from suckin' me, and I think he's never looked more beautiful than he does at this moment. He moves to try to kiss me again, but I got other plans.

There's a bed in the room—

There had been none in the anteroom in front of Tallman's sauna, but Starsky wasn't about to let reality interfere now—

a big one, and I tow him over to it, kissing him quick once or twice, just to keep him off center. I don't want him thinking too much right now. I wanna do all the thinking for us both.

He's still with me, hard as a rock, as I pull his towel off and push him down on the bed. I kiss his face, his jaw, move to his throat, then finally latch onto one of those sweet, small brown nipples.

Hutch nearly loses it then, thrashing under me so wild I nearly let go of him. But I hold on somehow, sucking him hard, making him crazy, as I grab hold of his heavy cock in my left hand, while my right latches onto the underside of his knee. I slide my right arm under the knee and pull it up and he groans, suddenly knowing where I'm headed.

I can't say nothin', but it's not like he don't know.... I've warned him before....

Starsky's hands were moving in sync, granting him a facsimile of the pleasure he could never take in reality.

His eyes are right on mine, waiting, while he gasps for air, so hot he can barely breathe. He wants it. Wants me....

We don't speak. We don't have to. It's the first time we've done this, but not really. We've done it a hundred times, like this, right here in my dreams—dreams I can never let myself remember.... I pull his leg up high, hook it over my shoulder, grab hold of my cock and center it against him. He closes his eyes, wanting to feel everything. And I push just a little and let him feel it. The head of my cock, shoving right up against his ass.

In Starsky's mind, Hutch's virginal state and his lack of lubricant were not impediments. Even in his fantasy, he was simply too impatient to put off his pleasure any longer.

He bites his lower lip as I do it, shove into him, one big push, all the way in, first time. He cries out, arches hard against me, but I'm grippin' his ass so he can't get away. He's so hot, so tight around me I feel like I'm gonna come, but I clamp down on it. Not yet. Not yet. It's too good....

On the couch, Starsky forced his hands to slow, feeling the urgency cresting and not wanting it to. He'd never allowed a conscious fantasy to go this far before, but now that he was here he wasn't about to let it end prematurely.

I'm in him, really in him, finally inside of my Hutch, and he's handling it. Shakin' all over, eyes open wide and wild, feelin' me fill him up, splittin' him in two. Something no one's ever done before. He grabs me, claws my back, shocked by the pain, the possession, the size of me. So I wait and catch my breath, while he tightens so hard around me I think I'm gonna faint. But then the spasm passes, like I know it will, and he falls back against the bed, and his body relaxes.

He's staring at me like he's never seen me before...and he never has...not like this. Then finally, I'm ready to do what I've been waiting to do all these years. I grab his hips and hold them, pinning his ass to the bed so he can't move...and I start to fuck.

Panting harshly, Starsky's hands moved faster....

I start to fuck my partner...the man I love...have loved...will always love...oh, goddamn, I start to fuck. I fuck him deep and slow and steady, the way I've always wanted to. He's holding onto me as if I might try to get away, and he's moaning softly, his head thrashing on the pillow. He's loving it, loving me in him, loving the way I'm givin' it to him. Cause he's in love with me. And he needs me. Needs me in him....

In real time, his hips rocked to the frantic rhythm of his hands...

...Hutch dances beneath me as I try to hold him down. He wraps his long legs around my waist, pullin' me in closer, deeper yet. So good...I'm makin' us feel so damn good....

It wouldn't be long now. His hands seem to know this with a knowledge all their own and moved more assuredly, tighter, smoother, just a bit faster, long smooth strokes that had pleased him all these years....

Hutch needs to come. I can see it in his face, feel it in his body. And I'm gettin' closer, too. I don't want it to end, but it's gotta sooner or later. I take hold of his cock, feel it swelling so hard it's ready to burst. I stroke him and he gasps as if he can't believe it can get any better. And I make it better yet. Still fuckin' strong and sweet. And we're both getting so close—it's gonna happen—we're gonna do this together—

The blaring sound of the phone startled him so much his whole body jerked and he clutched his erection too hard. Locked in the fantasy, both his imaginary self and his real self automatically lurched, reaching for the ringing phone at the same instant, before either of them had a chance to recover. Striking the phone with the side of his hand, he sent the receiver tumbling, and cursed breathlessly as he groped around for the handset.

Snatching it up too fast, he jerked it to his face and gasped angrily, "What?"

There was a moment's pause before Hutch—who, in his mind was still Starsky's disheveled, besotted, totally fucked out fantasy lover—asked, "Don't tell me you're still pissed about dinner?"

Excited beyond endurance, mere moments before blast-off, Starsky was too confused, too disoriented to figure out the correct response.

Hutch asked again, "Well, are you? Pissed about the chili? Come on, Starsk, you know I can't hack that kind of food. I'm warning you, it shortens your life! Someday you're gonna find yourself a wizened, burned up, tiny old man whose insides are so scarred from all that hot food that.... Starsk? Are you okay? Why are you breathing so hard?"

Finally, alarm bells went off in Starsky's sex-fogged brain. He forced his eyes to open, to stare at his real surroundings. He was holding the phone right against his mouth, while his left hand was still—

"What the hell's the matter with you anyway?" Hutch was saying in his ear. "You haven't said a word since you answered the phone. You're gasping like you've run a mile uphill and—"

Closing his eyes in misery, Starsky held his breath, but it was too late.

"Oh, shit," Hutch muttered, as if he finally figured it out, "Starsky, I'm sorry. Cindy's there, right? I always did have the worst timing."

Stifling a groan, Starsky considered how quickly he could get his partner off the phone—and back in his bed.

Lie. Say yes. He'll hang up and leave you alone.

But Starsky was too heavily wrapped around his fantasy to tell a convincing lie to the man his brain was still making love to. Cock in hand, the feel and scent and essence of Hutch was still with him, surrounding him. He found himself clutching the receiver in a death grip as the disembodied voice of the person he really wanted taunted him from a distant phone booth.

"Starsk? Is Cindy there? Look, just tell her it was a wrong number, and I'll hang up and..."

No! Don't let him hang up!

"Cindy's not here," Starsky finally managed to stammer, his voice strangled. "I'm...alone...." Starsky nearly bit his tongue in frustration. Why did you tell him that?

There was a very long pause as Hutch digested all the facts. Neither of them said anything for what seemed to be an interminable period of time.

"You still mad about dinner?" Hutch finally asked apologetically.

Of course I ain't mad about dinner, Starsky thought wearily. That's why I've been fuckin' you through the floor for the last half hour.

"Starsk?" Hutch, the ever-persistent, asked again.

"I ain't mad," Starsky blurted, still unable to get his breathing under control.

"You sound mad," Hutch insisted.

Oh, don't be so dense, blondie.

"If you're not mad...and Cindy isn't with you..." Hutch always did have to work on things out loud. Even the most basic things. "Then someone else must be with you...."

Starsky started to insist no one was there when Hutch interrupted.

"If not physically, then at least...spiritually."

Starsky held his breath again, as his cock throbbed angrily in his hand. There had been nothing spiritual about what he'd been doing to his partner.

"Anyone I know?" Hutch asked, his voice dropping an octave.

Starsky found himself grinning in spite of the pain in his groin. "You expect me to fantasize and tell? What kind of guy do you think I am?"

Hutch's low throaty chuckle caused goosebumps to lift all along Starsky's arms.

"You tell me everything else," Hutch insisted, and Starsky had to admit that was so, "with a hell of a lot more detail than I ever asked for. Why not this?"

Starsky shook his head, forgetting for the moment that Hutch couldn't see him.

"So, come on..." Hutch murmured, his voice taking on a tone guaranteed to crank up Starsky's fever another five degrees, "confess. What do you think about when you're alone and you...don't want to be alone?"

Starsky opened his mouth, tried to find something non-committal to say to deflect the conversation.

But as he inhaled to form his answer, Hutch asked, "Or should I say who do you think about when...?"

"Hutch!" Starsky protested, then realized what that sounded like.

He pounced on it. "Really? You think about Hutch? You think about me?"

"Hutch, will you quit!" Starsky finally managed to bluster out, proud that he sounded peevish.

"Should I be flattered?" Hutch wondered, ignoring the feeble protest, "Or should I be insulted?"

"Neither," Starsky blurted, "Both! Wha'd'ya want, anyway?"

"What do you want?" Hutch fired back, his tone still low, suggestive.

That voice was so evocative of the fantasy Starsky had been enjoying that his left hand once more resumed a comforting slow stroke. As his eyes drifted shut and the phone nestled naturally between his shoulder and the back of the couch, he allowed himself the pleasure of just listening to his partner. It couldn't hurt anything, to just listen to Hutch—could it? His cock certainly didn't think so as it nestled snugly in his warm, enticing palm.

"Really, Starsky?" Hutch asked pointedly. Hearing his friend's breath blowing into the receiver made it easy for Starsky to imagine that sweet, Hutch-scented air moving against his Hutch leaned over him in the bed as Starsky stroked himself...and grew harder.... His cock jumped at the image.

Hutch kept prodding. "What do you want? Really?"

What do I really want? Starsky could see Hutch lying nude in bed propped up on one elbow as he asked his partner that question. There was only one answer. What I've always wanted. You. Under me. For as long as I can bear it. Starsky's mouth went dry. Even in his fantasy, he couldn't say that.

"Or do I already know the answer?" Hutch wondered. Starsky heard something in Hutch's tone that gave his fantasy counterpart the most provocative expression.

Starsky squeezed his eyes shut as the image became harder to endure than the reality. "Hutch. Please." He no longer knew what he was asking for.

"I'm right on the corner, Starsk," Hutch warned suddenly, as if he'd decided something. "Aren't you glad I didn't just drop in? Now that I think about it...maybe I should have. And since—technically, at least—you are alone— I'm coming over." The naked Hutch looked very pleased with himself.

Starsky nearly panicked. "NO! Don't!"

There was silence, but the connection was unbroken. Finally a plaintive voice asked, "Why can't I?"

Irritably, Starsky struggled to get himself under control. But he could no longer turn off the persistent mental image of his nude partner reclining seductively in his bed and looking incredibly desirable. "What the hell's with you, Hutchinson? You feelin' playful tonight?"

A shorter pause. "If that's what you wanna call it." A beat. "You think I don't know how it gets, after a case like this? Being all wound up with no place to let it out. No way to get through it. I know. There's no one else who even understands.... Except...your partner. Partner."

Now both of them were silent. The Hutch in his mind reached out to touch Starsky's cheek.

"Let me come over," Hutch asked. Really asked. Waiting for permission. Starsky could see him so clearly, that heartbreakingly beautiful face, the longing in those cornflower blue eyes—

He didn't dare. "No," he whispered, almost pleading.

Hutch sighed, sounding weary. Starsky could see the stubborn set of his jaw. "Stop protecting me—"

"—I'm not protecting you—"

"—From you! Yes, you are. Starsky—"

"No!" Firmer now. But not just in his voice. His cock pulsed every time Hutch spoke. In bed with him, Hutch's eyes lowered, blatantly watching Starsky handle himself. Reaching over, he covered Starsky's smaller hand with his broad one, making him smother a gasp.

"It was our case," Hutch argued hotly, even as he helped Starsky's jagged stroke. "Don't you think I-I...don't you think it affects me, too?"

I can't afford to think like that, Starsky realized, but nothing could stop his brain from seeing the beauty of Hutch's full-blown erection lolling against his stomach, the angry red glans emerging from his foreskin, stretching it....

Hutch was still debating the issue even as he pushed Starsky's hand out of the way and took over pleasuring him. Starsky began to wonder if he were becoming psychotic, but the fantasy was too delicious to yield. He'd never forget the feel of that big hand from the night Helen left him. Hutch had needed to comfort Starsky as much as Starsky needed the comfort. And the memory of that moment was burned into his brain...the feel of that broad hand, and the way it wrapped itself around both their hard-ons and brought them off together. In spite of the pain of his loss, Starsky had been able to accept Hutch's comfort, his love, his gentle pleasuring that night. And ever since he'd been unable to forget that touch—

He was brought back to the now as Hutch continued arguing even as his fantasy counterpart fondled Starsky's hyper-sensitive cock. "How do you think it makes me feel, when you-you push me away like this?"

"It should make you feel grateful," Starsky managed to argue back. "You should feel safe." He swallowed. "You should feel normal." The only thing Starsky had ever really wanted to be.

Hutch's grip tightened, making his stroke that much more urgent. "'Grateful' that my partner would rather...lick his wounds in private than share his hurting with me, his best friend? Uh-uh. Safe? Like at the pool, when those hit men showed up? What made me safe then? And the parking garage when it was just you and me shooting it out with the bad guys? Why was I safe then? When are you gonna get it through your thick head that the only time I'm really safe is when you're with me? Shoving me away doesn't make me feel safe, it just makes me feel alone." Hutch's hand became almost cruel as it stroked, making Starsky wince.

Then his partner paused and exhaled in a rush right in Starsky's ear which only made his blood pump faster, pushing his imagination into overtime.

"And what the hell is normal, anyway?" Hutch muttered disgustedly as he grew gentle again, rubbing and stroking and fondling. Another surge of precome dripped over Starsky's crown and Hutch caught it expertly, using it to make his stroke that much smoother.

Without thinking about it, Starsky unbuttoned his shirt and trailed his right hand up over his furry chest, teasing his nipple, but soon it was Hutch tormenting him, tweaking, pulling at the sensitive nub as he kept up his debate. "Two cops out there, on their own against a crooked DA? A beautiful young girl lying in a morgue with her face blown away because she was dumb enough to fall in love and get knocked up? Is that normal? You said it, Starsk. What we do, and where we do it, it's a toilet, and we're just two bugs in it, lucky we can swim. Lucky we can swim together. For us, that's normal."

Starsky shook his head, wishing he could just hang up and finish his fantasy in peace. But Hutch was too persistent for that. And if he were being honest, Starsky would have to admit that the only thing he really wanted was to see him. But it was the last thing he could afford.

"I'm coming over," Hutch insisted, his stern gaze boring into Starsky across the bed, "and we can argue about what's normal face to face—"

"No, you're not," Starsky muttered, and it took every ounce of resolve he had to say that. "I can't, Hutch. I'm not pushing you away, I just...can't handle it right now." He couldn't handle any of this, not Hutch's voice in his ear, not the image of his beautiful blond lying so near yet so far, and certainly not his own nearly-out-of-control fantasy life.

"Why can't we handle it together?" Hutch asked, his voice pitched low again. Then he pinched Starsky's nipple hard enough to make him stifle a groan.

Starsky's whole body thrummed as he considered just how they might end up handling it. He made himself look his fantasy partner directly in the eye, as if that would help convince the man on the phone. "Look. This ain't just somethin' you can play around with. At least, I can't. You think you can. But me, I indulge myself and...we're gonna get burned, Hutch. Try'n understand...."

"I am trying," he insisted. "I'm trying to understand why I can be your friend in all the different ways you need me to be...except in this." Hutch rubbed the offended nipple gently with the back of his hand.

Starsky quivered and wondered when they had learned how to communicate so well without ever speaking directly.

"I can be your friend," Hutch continued more softly, "when you need fun and games, even when it gets physical, like when we wrestle or play basketball. That's okay. That's normal."

Starsky recognized this new tone as Hutch's most dangerous. It was his thoughtful tone, the one he used to break down Starsky's best arguments, knowing just how susceptible his partner could be to that throaty, gentle voice. In the bed, Hutch's expression was so open, so appealing, that Starsky's cock throbbed with the beat of his heart. He swallowed, but couldn't find the words to argue back.

"I can be your friend," Hutch went on as he subtly increased the pressure of his teasing, exciting stroke, "when one of us is hurting, when we need to hold each other just to control the pain. That's okay, too."

Starsky yielded, giving in to the feel of that remembered hand and the excitement of the moment. There was no stopping Hutch once he was on a roll, anyway.

"And I can be your friend in joy, even when we hug each other to share it. All still within your narrow definition of safe, of normal. But I can't be your friend when you need me the most?"

The hand tightened almost cruelly and Starsky nearly cried out until he remembered that he was supposed to be resisting his friend, not encouraging him. "Why are you bein' such a pain in the ass about this?"

"Interesting choice of words there, buddy," Hutch muttered, causing Starsky to flush brilliantly. "Freud would have a field day."

Starsky nearly blurted, Fuck Freud, but caught himself in time.

"Starsk, don't you get tired sometimes of making up all these rules, setting up all these limits, just to keep me safe?"

"I didn't make 'em, Hutch," he whispered to the beautiful man lounging in his bed. "Everyone else did. I just gotta try and live with 'em." He swallowed the heavy lump that had suddenly formed in his throat and ran his fingertips over that totally desirable mouth. To be in there...just for a moment....

"I'm still trying to figure out who died and put you in charge of setting up the parameters of our relationship," Hutch snapped, cranky now.

Starsky decided to look up parameters later rather than try and sidetrack Hutch now. And you were worried about him being too cerebral.

"Why can't I be your friend now?" Hutch asked, sounding really sorrowful. "Why can't I be with you? Why can't I come over? Starsky?" The expression on the face of the man in his bed was so imploring Starsky felt his resolve weaken.

He ain't gonna let you off the hook. And if you don't do somethin' soon, your dick's gonna turn to stone and fall off.

"You are my friend, Hutch," Starsky told his partner tiredly. "You're bein' my friend by bein' with me right now, here, on the phone."

"What good is that doing anybody?" Hutch complained disgustedly.

Starsky exhaled in a rush, and finally let his partner hear the edge of excitement in his voice. "It's doin' a world'a good—for me...."

"Yeah?" Hutch asked hesitantly, then paused as if to think about that.

During the pause, the man in Starsky's bed leaned over temptingly for a kiss, but that was disrupted when the operator interrupted, wanting more money.

Starsky flinched, fearing that was all the excuse his partner needed to hang up impatiently and storm over to the apartment. He wondered if he could get himself zipped up and out of there in time. For that matter, could he pull his brain out of this imaginary bed where Hutch still toyed with him, making him crazed? Man, he hated driving around with a hard-on. Well, it wouldn't be the first time....

A musical chiming sound told him that Hutch was feeding coins into the phone. Multiple coins. A bunch. The operator went away.

Starsky stared at the apparition in his bed who only shrugged apologetically, then reached to run his thumb over Starsky's lower lip.

Neither of them said anything for a minute, and Starsky knew he needed to give Hutch something more. A reason to stay on the phone. And stay in his bed—safely. He thought hard, his brain fogged with desire.



"You wanna be my friend?"

Pause. Then, definitively, "Yeah."

"Then talk to me?"

The man in the bed looked sullenly suspicious. "'Bout what?"

Starsky shook his head. The boy could be so literal sometimes. "Just talk. If you my friend...?"

"I don't know why I can' your friend...up close and personal," Hutch pouted, looking like he was about to swing his legs out of the bed and leave.

Give him something more, Starsky told himself even as he questioned the wisdom of that. He reached out, grasped his friend's forearm, remembering the strength in those arms when they surrounded him...the warmth of that tawny skin....

"Hutch," he breathed into the phone, letting his voice take on the timbre which his partner had only heard a few times before, "you already are here. You been here the whole time." The man in the bed looked at him so intently, Starsky nearly released him. But he held on, explaining, "If...if you walked through that door right now, really walked through it...I couldn't handle it. I just couldn't. my friend...the way I need you to...and just talk to me. Please...?"

Another bout of silence. Finally Hutch said, "Why are you always willing to settle for so little from me?" The expression on that beautiful face completely undid him.

"'Cause you always give me more than I ever expect," Starsky admitted. That must've hit Hutch just right, and he settled back in place, once more taking Starsky's erection in his hand. Starsky's relief at the renewed touch was nearly audible.

On the other end of the phone, Hutch grew quiet as if considering what he wanted to say. A moment later he murmured, "After I left you at the gym, I drove around for awhile. I thought I wanted to go home, but...pretty soon I realized...I didn't want to be by myself. I...I couldn't stop thinking...about the case...." In the bed, Hutch moved closer, stroking smoother, more rhythmically. Starsky could smell his scent, feel his body heat, and his excitement climbed.

Closing his eyes, Starsky let his partner's voice insinuate itself into his reality. His erection throbbed, so he let Hutch stroke it slowly, just to keep it happy.

Hutch laughed lightly, making Starsky's heart ache. "I kept thinking how weird it was, the way we were forever taking our clothes off during this case...." Starsky grinned in agreement, and they shared the joke. "Y'know, first at Tallman's, then later in the laundry room. That was so bizarre, having to strip just to question Tallman about the hit. But for some mind keeps going back to the laundry room."

Not so weird, Starsky thought. That was when they realized how alone they were, how dependent they were on each other. Thee and me—like usual. His fantasy lover nodded.

"We were lucky the manager was willing to let us use those towels," Hutch added, nuzzling the words into Starsky's ear, deliberately enticing him.

"Yeah," Starsky said softly, "even if yours barely covered the essentials."

Hutch chuckled again and the sound was wonderful. It felt so good to hear him sound happy. "It wasn't my fault you grabbed the beach towel first. I ever tell you how good you look in stripes?"

As he said that, Hutch's talented fingers slid down, teasing Starsky's testicles for a dangerous moment. He sighed softly, letting Hutch know it was good, it was fine. Hutch's hands, his big, beautiful hands-

They both laughed, enjoying the memory. Then Hutch asked, "Is...that what you've been remembering? The laundry room?"

"No," Starsky breathed, as he realized what Hutch was trying to say. He's been thinkin' about the laundry room. That moment between us. That's why he ditched me for dinner—he needed some separation. But he couldn't leave it alone. He had to come back. He wet his mouth. "I was...thinkin' of Tallman's."

"Oh, yeah?"

"Speakin' of towels, I ever tell ya you look really good in orange?" And even better in just all of that tan skin....

"Not lately," Hutch purred, and they laughed again. His expression grew coy. "You sure it was me you were thinking about? There was another blonde in that room, and a fine looking one at that."

The lady who surprised us when we were at our best, Starsky remembered, smiling. She was a looker, all right.

"Or maybe..." Hutch added as if it just occurred to him, "you've been enjoying two blondes for the price of one?"

Starsky chuckled softly, "Ah, come on, Hutch—" It felt so good to lie here in bed and banter with his lover....

"I mean, it wouldn't be the first time," his partner argued. "Or do you think I've forgotten about the Stedmen sisters? They spent exactly one half-hour giving you a purse-snatching report and for the rest of the week I had to listen to you going on about your-your athletic events with those two young women!"

"Well, that was a special case," Starsky explained, deliberately goading Hutch, wanting him jealous. He couldn't believe Hutch was still annoyed with him about that, but since he was.... "It's not every day you get to date two professional gymnasts who happened to be working as exotic dancers—"

"They were high-class strippers, Starsky," Hutch reminded him. "And you never dated those girls, you just slept with them! Both of them! At the same time! More than once!" Hutch looked highly disapproving.

"Well, if you wanna be technical, we didn't really sleep—"

"Exactly! If they hadn't taken that gig in Vegas, I'd be hearing about it still! Do have any idea how annoying it was to see that glassy expression on your face every day?"

"I told you they thought you were cute," Starsky reminded him. "They would've been more than happy to—"

"Well, excuse me if I'm a little old-fashioned, but I like to focus on one lover at a time," he emphasized his preference with a pointed, cruel squeeze, "if that's okay with you."

Ignoring his partner's sanctimonious tone—and dangerous grip— Starsky asked bluntly, "Never done a threesome, have you, choirboy?"

Hutch stammered for a moment and Starsky watched the crimson color rise in his face. But then Hutch recovered and asked, "Well, that depends. Did I do one today? With you—and Tallman's blonde?"

Starsky smiled. Jealous, Hutch? Don't wanna share? Me, neither. "Nope. Not today. Maybe I'm gettin' old fashioned, too. Or maybe I just you said." Yeah, he was focused all right. He couldn't imagine anyone else holding his attention as well as Hutch was at this moment.

"Yeah?" Hutch said softly. "I guess Tallman's place was a little better appointed than the laundry room."

"You can furnish a fantasy any way you want, Hutch, even a laundry room," Starsky reminded him, thinking of the luxurious bed he was currently seducing his partner on. Or was his partner seducing him? Still, he wouldn't trade it for the very real voice murmuring in his ear and fueling that fantasy.

Hutch got quiet for a moment and Starsky lay still, just listening to him breathe, while concentrating on the feel of the hand exciting him, driving him wild. Hutch picked up the pace just a bit, raising Starsky's blood pressure, making him squirm in the bed. But Starsky knew all of this was just preliminaries, Hutch's way of leading up to something he found difficult to say.

"There-there was a moment, in the laundry room," Hutch confessed. He never lost that magic rhythm, keeping his hand moving in perfect sync with the beat of Starsky's heart and his rushing blood. "You probably don't even remember it."

"Tell me," Starsky asked, knowing when Hutch needed prodding. Meanwhile, he was losing himself in the fantasy of bottomless blue eyes and the whisper of gold hair—

"It was after the manager left and we were alone, waiting for our clothes to dry. And we were trying to fit all the pieces together—the hit men...the kids in the Torino...everything.... Then I remembered that Fat Rollie hadn't dialed eight for an outside line, and it all started running together. We were batting it back and forth the way we do and all of a sudden, we realized what we were faced with. That we were working a case where the bad guys were on the inside. And there was no one we could trust—but us."

"You think I coulda forgot that?" Starsky murmured as Hutch's wide, kissable mouth edged nearer his own. Why had he ever denied himself the pleasure of touching that mouth with his? Invading those full lips with his tongue...? Right now, he couldn't come up with a single reason.

"The thing I keep coming back to," Hutch told him, distracting Starsky's current train of thought, "was the way you looked at me just then. It hit you so hard. There you were, wearing nothing but a striped towel, asking me with the most wide-eyed expression, who could we trust now?"

"You had the answer, too, didn't'cha?" Starsky murmured.

"It's the only answer we've ever had, ever since we met in the Academy. But when I told you that, as usual, we were the only people we could ever really trust—" Hutch paused, then went on in a rush, "the way you looked at me right then—you were so vulnerable, so open—and-and at that moment—" his voice tightened up but finally he whispered, "you were so damned beautiful to me just then. I mean, I just loved you so much right then, right there. I-I can't ever remember feeling anything like that before, not anything that intense...for a man. I just wanted to hold you, put my arms around you...I don't know.... And you looked like you needed holding." His voice dropped to a whisper. "Needed...loving. By me.... Starsk? You still there?"

Here? No. In heaven, maybe. "Yeah," he managed to croak. "I'm here." Heart hammering, he was barely aware that his left hand—or rather Hutch's right—was maintaining an insistent, necessary rhythm without any conscious action on his part. With Hutch's voice in his ear and his fantasy image in his bed, saying things Starsky could never have imagined Hutch saying, he was on automatic pilot. His excitement rose, climbing higher, his every nerve thrumming wildly as he hung on whatever Hutch might say next, knowing it could either make things more intense or send him crashing.

Hutch's voice was still a whisper, a low sultry sound boring into his ear, his brain, going straight to his groin. "Anyway, right at that moment, I were the most important person in the world to me. That, maybe, you always would be. I guess it kind of rattled me some. Somehow, I managed to keep it together in the laundry room.... Then all the stuff from the case came down, and kept us too busy to think about much else. But it was always with me, in the back of my head, that...revelation. That moment."

That's why you started pullin' away once the case got wrapped up, Starsky realized.

"I guess that's why I gave you such a hard time in the parking lot outside the gym," Hutch confessed, confirming Starsky's guess. "I wasn't ready to deal with it. What it meant. What it means. So when I pulled away and lost you in traffic, it gave me time to breathe, y'know? But I couldn't stop thinking about it. How you looked at me. And how it made me feel." He hesitated a moment then switched gears, sounding frustrated. "And then I could hear you in my head, yammering the way you do, about the way you feel versus the way I feel and what all that means—"

Starsky knew what "yammering" Hutch was talking about. He was referring to what Starsky considered the critical difference between them. I know you love me, Hutch, but you're not in love with me. Not the way I am with you. It made a world of difference to Starsky.

"—And right now I don't know what any of it means," Hutch went on, still on his tangent. "I just I felt in that laundry room." He waited a couple of beats, then asked timidly, "Did-didn't you feel it?"

The blood was pounding so hard in Starsky's ears he could barely find the voice to answer. "'Course I did." Momma, I just met a cop. I know he loves me, but....

His aching erection felt it, too. At this point it was impossible for Starsky to disguise the tempo of his breathing, but then, Hutch wasn't trying to hide what was happening between them, either.

"So, when I couldn't find any answers," Hutch continued, sounding pretty breathless himself, "I just kept driving around till...till I found myself in your neighborhood.... And now, I'm standing here in this stupid phone booth, so my partner can breath heavy in my ear and-and.... This is ridiculous! Why do I even listen to you? I'm coming over!"

Starsky squeezed his eyes shut, gripping his erection so hard his knuckles ached. He was so damned close. "Hutch, wait!"

"For what? It's just semantics, Starsky, that's all. What's the difference between loving and being in love? Can you tell me that?"

Not right at this moment, Starsky realized as Hutch's words tore at his heart, his groin. In his fantasy, Hutch rubbed a thumb over his flaring crown nearly making him dissolve.

"I know what I felt in that laundry room, and I know what it meant," Hutch growled into the phone. "And I'm tired of arguing about it over the phone. You're just gonna have to face me, that's all. Look me in the face and explain to me why we can't...why I can't...why it won't...oh, damn it!"

He's scared shitless, Starsky realized. Scared' cause of how he loves me. Scared of all these feelings between us. An' he damn well should be!

Unbidden, a memory came to Starsky of Helen giving him his walking papers, pushing him out of her life as gently as she could. He'd never forget how beautiful she looked as she stood there, struggling not to cry, while trying to make him see what she understood so clearly.

"You love him," she'd said. "And he loves you. More than either of you have ever loved anyone else. More than Hutch ever loved his wife. You love each other with a love so real— You don't want to admit it, because it scares you, but it's there. You and Hutch are forever."

There was silence over the line, then finally Hutch whispered, "Starsk? What are we gonna do?" He sounded desperate.

It was the last thing he could deal with. The lure of that husky voice and the slide of the hand that was both his and yet Hutch's tortured his needy, aching flesh. It all combined to coalesce into a piercing moment of pleasure. In his mind, he reached for Hutch's magnificent organ and grasped it hard. Hutch was hovering on the knife's edge of pleasure, just like Starsky was. And Starsky couldn't wait anymore.

"Hutch," he breathed into the phone, wanting to say the right thing but having no idea what that might be. "Hutch!"

"I'm here," he whispered back, his own breathing ragged, uneven.

Oh, God, he really is in this with me, Starsky realized with some shock. In the phone booth? Hutch? He couldn't reconcile the thought of the big blond hunkered in a public booth playing pocket pool with himself, but he couldn't deny the strangled edge in his voice.

"Hutch...." There had to be something better he could say, something to help his friend, help himself.... How the hell did they get in this position anyway? I need you. I want you with me. I wish, oh, God, I just wish.... He couldn't make himself say anything.

In his mind Hutch smiled sadly, as, over the phone, he murmured, "I know. I know."

The two men continued to breathe at each other, their staccato respiration telling each of them exactly what was in their hearts. Hearts in hand, Starsky thought erratically as his flesh pulsed wildly in his palm. He knew with a sudden insight that he was really holding Hutch, just as Hutch was holding him, that they were stroking each other in perfect rhythm in spite of the fact that they weren't even in the same building.

We're always together, Starsky told his fantasy lover, even when we're apart. And your shadow's always hangin' over my bed, no matter who else is really in it.

Without his having said anything to his partner, Hutch whispered to him, "I feel the same, Starsk...I swear I do...." He sounded like a man on the verge of tears-or the edge of orgasm.

It was too much for Starsky to contain. His own delayed release suddenly ripped through him without warning as he ejaculated powerfully into his hand, his hips arching up off the couch. As the Hutch in his fantasy watched him with a smile, he bit his lower lip, but couldn't completely stifle his heartfelt groan of relief. It came out as one long sigh, "Huuuutch...."

"Oh, God, yesss," the soft voice answered, and the Hutch in his bed came with him, shooting his seed in an erotic spray that spattered the bed and Starsky's own chest.

Then there was silence again, as the line hummed in his ear and he wondered if the real Hutch had dropped the receiver. His fantasy lover finally dissolved from the startling reality of what he'd just gone through—which was too bad, Starsky thought, since he could use another kiss right now. He wet his lips and struggled to catch his breath.

Eventually, his heart rate slowed enough for him to be able to concentrate on the distant object of all that pent-up passion. "Hutch? You still there?"

"Damned if I know why," Hutch murmured, even though they both knew very well why. He sounded semi-recovered, and Starsky began to wonder if he'd imagined Hutch's reaction. "You still haven't answered my question."

No, there's that funny catch in his voice, that little sound he makes when he's just gotten it good. Starsky smiled, feeling too smug to feel guilty. He was a good lover even over the phone!

"'What are we gonna do?'" Starsky mumbled breathlessly into the phone as he pulled his handkerchief from his back pocket and cleaned the spatters from his chest and hand, then tucked his shrinking organ back into his pants and zipped his fly. He wadded the used handkerchief into a ball and tossed it through his open bathroom door, hoping it might land somewhere in the vicinity of his hamper. His limbs felt like lead and all he really wanted to do was roll over, hug his partner tight, then go to sleep. But that could never happen; not in this lifetime. He sat up on the couch, shouldering the receiver as he buttoned his shirt.

He still had to deal with Hutch.

"'What are we gonna do?' I'll tell ya what we're gonna do."

Hutch swallowed audibly. His mouth must've been right on the receiver as he murmured expectantly, "What? Tell me what to do."

"You're gonna hang up the phone, and you're gonna dig out another dime, and you're gonna call...WhatsHerName. You're gonna call her, and you're gonna take her to your whatchamacallit, and you're gonna show her your—"

"You sonuvabitch!" Hutch hissed, making Starsky flinch. "If you think you're gonna leave me high and-and-and—dry in this phone booth, in-in-in this condition...! Starsky! Don't you dare move! I'm coming right over!"

Without another word, Starsky slammed down the phone, grabbed his keys and bolted for the door, counting on the fact that it was a lot more difficult to move fast with a hard-on, than without one.


How the hell did he get out of here so fast? Hutch marveled as he looked around the abandoned apartment. He didn't even stop to lock the door.

Hutch was pissed as hell. Not to mention hard as a brick. He rubbed his aching erection and tried, futilely, to adjust it. The small orgasm that had taken him by surprise in the phone booth had hardly been enough to take the edge off. He was wired, hot as hell, and uncomfortably sticky besides. He'd never done anything like this before—come in his pants out in public. That damned partner of his could provoke him into anything.

He moved over to the couch and noted the heavy sweater tossed carelessly over the back of it. The impression of Starsky's reclining form was still on the cushions. Hutch rested a palm on the center one. I can still feel his heat. That bastard. He shook his head and smiled wryly. Well, you got just what you deserved, didn't you Kenny? You ran out on him earlier. For the first time Hutch wondered if his friend ever even got dinner.

The phone rang, startling him. He moved over to it, picked it up quickly and just assumed who the caller was. "Where the hell are you?" The receiver felt warm in his hand, making his palm tingle.

"You don't need to know that," Starsky answered. "I just hadda're not mad, are ya?"

Hutch almost laughed. Were they doomed to start all their conversations this way? "Yeah, I'm mad. I'm furious. You ran out on me!"

Starsky did laugh then, enjoying the exchange of roles. "Feels shitty, don't it? Next time you'll eat dinner with me like a man and stop worryin' about your precious innards."

"You're not getting off the hook that easy," Hutch warned. "You know damned well we weren't talking about dinner! Why don't you just come back here and face me, like a man?" He gripped his erection through his jeans as he read Starsky the riot act, having no clear idea of what he would even do if he were suddenly faced with his partner.

Starsky sighed, then said quietly, "I love ya, Hutch. You know that. Ain't nothin' gonna change the way I feel, not ever. I'll always love you. But we're still stuck with livin' in this world, doin' the best we can."

Hutch closed his eyes, wishing he could ignore the dose of reality being thrown at him. "Starsky—"

"Call her, Hutch. Call your girl. See her. Make love to her as hard as you can. You'll feel better, you know you will. I'm gonna do the same thing, I'm gonna go see Cindy. And tomorrow...well, tomorrow everything'll make a lot more sense to both of us. You know it will."

Hutch didn't want to know that, just like he didn't want to spend the evening with someone who had no idea what he'd been through the last three days. But if he was afraid to put the name to exactly what he did want, he knew at least what he would be willing to settle for. He exhaled tiredly. "Okay. If you say so. Will you pick me up at the gym tomorrow?"

There was a longer than usual pause and for a moment Hutch was afraid he'd pushed things way too far. But then finally Starsky said, "Sure. An hour before our shift. At Vinnie's. But we're takin' my car tomorrow. No arguments! I ain't spendin' another day running around in that wreck of yours."

"Sure, Starsky," Hutch said, taking some small comfort from their typical banter. "No arguments."

He hung the receiver up gently, then picked up the half empty beer sitting beside the phone and took a swallow of the tepid brew. He found his gaze trailing over the heavy sweater abandoned by its owner. Pulling it off the back of the couch, he brought it up to his face, inhaling his friend's familiar scent. Like a provocative perfume, it made a nerve in the head of his cock pulse.

What am I gonna do with you? he wondered, but he had no answer.

He rubbed his cheek against the sweater, then let it drop in his lap. Picking up the receiver again, he quickly dialed a number and waited a moment.

"Melissa, you're home! It's Hutch. Yeah, well, work's been kind of crazy these last few days. You busy now—? No? That's great. Well, I'm free right now, too— Half hour? Dinner? Sure, I'll be there. Oh, yeah? Well, you can tell me all about it when I see you...."

He never realized that, while speaking to the lady, his right hand kept petting the sweater strewn across his legs.

Give me one good reason we can't be together
I see no answer in your watery eyes
And should you walk out again; Don't believe it's the end
I'm always fool enough for one more try
Looks like I've always be a fool for you Darling
It goes much deeper than our eyes can see
We've always been fools for each other
And no one knows better than the Lord and you and me
It goes much deeper than our eyes can see.
Fools For Each Other—David Soul