This story was originally printed in the multi-media zine INDIGO BOYS #2, and reprinted in the S/H zine THE INDIGO STORIES OF STARSKY & HUTCH in 1998 by In Person Press. Special thanks to Daphne for preparing this story for the archive. Comments on this story can be sent to Flamingo who will forward them to the author.
(This is another in the "Secrets" series, published in THE FIX)
Darkness had closed in like a vulture, threatening to shatter Starsky's life forever. There were close calls before, times when he hadn't even known whether Hutch was dead or alive. Yet he'd been unprepared for the emotional holocaust of those long hours searching for Thomas Callendar, while the plague, silent and brutal killer, slowly pulled his partner away from him. The one man who had survived it and could provide the antidote with his blood - a wanted felon who had a vested interest in not being found.
Helpless, alone, Starsky's soul cried out for that which was his life, closed away behind cold, impersonal hospital walls. He'd raced time so desperately, afraid Hutch would never hear the words he should've spoken long ago. Afraid the secret would be forever buried in his heart.
Only after, when Hutch was safe and he'd finally broken down from the fear and relief and exhaustion, did he wonder if he dared to risk the miracle that had been given back to him.
"You ready to go?" Hutch repeated the question in a patient tone. He'd been in high spirits all day, and showed no annoyance at Starsky's preoccupation.
"Huh?" Starsky turned slightly bewildered eyes on him, then snapped back into his surroundings with a smile.
Hutch smiled back automatically. "C'mon, I wanna get out of this place." He glanced around the hospital room with open disgust. "And Judith is waiting for her ride to the airport."
"Your wish is my command."
Starsky watched covertly as Hutch got two beers from the refrigerator, wondering if he were having a breakdown. Reality seemed to be wavering, and he was having trouble focusing on anything. He also wondered what those beautiful hands wrapped around the beer cans would feel like on his body . . . but that was beside the point.
"Are you still on medication?" Starsky asked, accepting the beer that was offered. He immediately popped the top and took a long, fortifying swallow.
Hutch sank onto the sofa next to him, opening his own can. "Give me a break, Starsk." His voice turned dramatic. "I thought I might never taste one of these again!"
"I understand," Starsky intoned with just as much mock seriousness.
With mutual grins, they lapsed into familiar companionable silence, content to soak up the peaceful atmosphere. The clock ticked unhurried minutes away, while shadows lengthened on the wall.
Starsky finished his beer before Hutch and helped himself to another. He watched the breathtaking profile from the kitchen, his resolve strengthening. He felt close to Hutch since this had happened. Surely his honesty couldn't hurt their relationship now. He was beginning to believe nothing ever could or would.
As Starsky came back into the living room, Hutch finished his beer and yawned. A cue. The nausea rolling in the pit of his stomach told him the time was at hand.
"You should get some rest," Starsky told him softly.
"Guess so," he agreed.
Starsky took a deep breath. "Ready?" Definitely a breakdown.
"For what?" the blond asked.
"To be tucked in, remember?" There. The battle was half-won.
Hutch looked at him, as if wondering how to take the words.
"I been thinking, and, uh - I definitely think it's a good idea." Trying not to think about what he was doing, Starsky grabbed Hutch's hand and pulled him to his feet. Now the silence unnerved rather than comforted. He led his partner into the bedroom, avoiding eye contact. The brief glimpse he'd had of Hutch's face revealed only an odd waiting expression.
"Do I get a bedtime story, too?" Hutch teased as he got under the covers.
Stalling, Starsky tucked the blankets around his friend gently, looking for the first move, the right words to begin this important declaration.
They never came.
By the time Starsky had finished fussing over the blankets and looked at Hutch again, his eyes had closed and he was nearly asleep. The drugs and beer and exhaustion were pulling him down into dreamland effortlessly.
"Sorry . . ." Hutch mumbled, his voice laced with regret. "B'time story hafta wait . . ."
Tenderness overtook Starsky. "Sweet dreams, babe," he whispered into Hutch's ear. He gently touched his lips to the closest cheek, and rose.
You're right, Judith, he does look like a little boy.
With one last lingering gaze at his deeply sleeping partner, Starsky turned off the light and left the room. There would be time for revealing secrets another day.
They had time now.