Dobey looked out into the main detective area of the squadroom, seeing Starsky and Hutch huddled at one desk with Lizzie and Arturo at the other. The four had done a great job and brought in a solid bust, but as his eyes raked over them he was struck with how exhausted Starsky and Hutch looked. Starsky, he could understand, he wasn't back to work one hundred percent yet, but Hutchinson looked even worse.
"Good job, all of you. When your reports are on my desk, take off and add Monday to make it a long weekend." Dobey continued over the chorus of thank-yous to say, "Starsky, I want to see you in my office when you're finished." With that parting shot and the silence it wrought, the big man went back into his office and quietly shut the door.
Starsky looked up to meet Hutch's eyes briefly, then with a shrug and almost his customary smoothness, he rose from his chair and went to knock on Dobey's office door.
"Come in," Dobey called from inside.
"You wanted to see me, Captain?" Starsky asked as he hesitantly entered the room.
"Sit down," Dobey said as he closed the file he was reading and folded his beefy hands over it. "That was a great sting you all carried out today. How are you feeling?"
"Fine," Starsky answered truthfully.
"I see on the black-and-white's report that things got a little physical there for a while. Are you really okay?"
"Yes, really. I didn't take any punches, if that's what you need to know. I'm okay."
"What about your partner?" Dobey asked, pinning Starsky with a look that said plainly not to bother with any bullshit.
"He's...he's gonna be okay. He's been pushing himself, you know that. Taking care of me, then coming back to work and still taking care of me. It'll be better now that I'm back at work, too. He just needs a little time to really relax, a few days of downtime...."
"See that he gets it," Dobey interrupted. "I've done everything short of making it an order for him to talk to someone. I'm trying my damndest to keep a thing like that out of his file. He needs to be as whole and fit for duty as you do. You, I'm happy to say, I'm no longer worried about. But, Starsky, I can't say the same for that partner of yours. He's looking worse every time I see him. You have a week. Take it. I'm giving that time to both of you. Maybe he'll talk to you, or you can convince him to talk to someone else. But see if you can't get him to accept the help he needs. If not, you'll be coming back to full duty paired with someone else until he gets his head together." Dobey opened his file and began reading again, indicating the meeting was over and the subject matter not up for further debate.
"Captain, you can't do that...." Starsky stood to lean over his boss, both hands flat on the desk.
"I can, and I will, if I have to." Dobey looked up quickly then back to the papers in front of him. "Get your report finished and get out of here. I'll see you both in a week."
Starsky stood for just a second, his mind spinning with the need to say something else, his heart pounding. You can't split us up, it would kill both of us, he thought, and wanted to scream, but said instead, "Yes, Captain." He turned and left the room.
"What'd Dobey want?" Lizzie asked when Starsky was again standing at the desks.
"Just wanted to make sure I'd followed orders and hadn't overdone anything," Starsky said.
"He been taking classes at the Hutchinson school for mother hens?" Arturo joked, then sobered instantly when he saw neither Starsky nor Hutch had shared in the joke. Flores looked between the two men and reached for the papers Hutch held in his hand. "I'll finish these. You guys get out of here. See ya later."
"Right, Tuesday," Hutch answered. "Have a great weekend, everybody." Hutch pulled his jacket off the back of the chair and moved toward the door, holding it open as Starsky passed in front of him.
"I'm beat, you hungry?" Hutch asked.
"Yeah. You head home and I'll swing by the deli and pick up some stuff and meet you there. Okay?"
"You got it," Hutch agreed easily, then hesitated. "Want me to come with you?"
"No, just give me a ten so I won't have to go by the bank."
Hutch opened his wallet and passed off several bills. "Here, use whatever you need. See you at my place."
Starsky watched for a moment as Hutch trudged out to the street where he'd parked his car. For a flash, he felt a brief second of fear-driven irritation. If I can park in the garage so the car isn't hot as hell, why can't you? He took a deep breath and let it out, feeling a new sense of determination. He stopped at the phonebooth to make a call before hitting the store.
"Hey, man. How's it going? Look, I need a favor. You remember that beach house you set up for me a while back? Yeah, that's the one. Can you make a call and see if it's available now? Yeah, like right now. I need to use it again. No I'm fine...I just need to get a certain partner of mine out and away from everything for a few days. He needs to wind down, you know? That's a good place to do it. Yeah...thanks, Hug. We need it real bad. Thanks. I'll give you a call in thirty minutes or so, when I get to the store. Will that give you time enough to reach your friend?" Starsky smiled, "Yeah, I know you said he was still out of town, but check for sure, okay? Thanks." Starsky slowly hung up the phone, thinking about the beach house and their night in front of the fireplace. "This should do the trick if anything will," Starsky muttered to himself as he walked off with a soft and tuneless whistle.
Starsky pushed the grocery cart quickly up and down the aisles, getting what he felt would be needed for the night's dinner and a few days at the beach house. He stopped at the pay phone at the end of the fresh vegetable counters and dialed a number. "Hey, you got good news for me?" he asked. "Great, thanks, Hug. I'll be there in less than twenty for the key. You bet. Thanks again."
Taking the side trip to The Pits then back to his own place to grab a few clothes, caused Starsky to pull up in front of Venice Place almost two hours later than he'd expected. Please just have gotten home, taken a shower and then a nap, don't be pacing the floor, Hutch, Starsky silently hoped as he climbed the stairs, leaving everything in the car.
Starsky quietly entered the apartment and saw Hutch stretched out on the couch, a towel from the shower across his lap and one arm thrown over his eyes. Perfect!
Starsky stepped silently to the couch and dropped to his knees, then leaned over to place butterfly-light kisses on Hutch's belly and chest, working his way up to his neck, nuzzling under the elbow to get to Hutch's mouth, just as it was curving into a sleepy smile.
"Hey, 'bout time you got here. I'm starved. You have to go kill the cow to get the meat?"
"I got more than that, babe. Go get dressed--something easy--and toss in a bathing suit and a coupl'a pairs of shorts and some t-shirts. I'm taking you away from all of this."
"What?" Hutch opened his eyes wide. "Starsky, I'm beat. I don't want to go out tonight...."
"Not just tonight, gorgeous, the whole weekend and into next week. I've got the key to the beach house, and we're going to go and unwind and relax." Starsky smiled with a wag of his eyebrows and a nod of his head that Hutch should get up and start moving.
"What do you mean into next week? We have to be at work Tuesday," Hutch said as he sat up.
"No...Lizzie and Flores have to be at work Tuesday. We have all next week off. Dobey's little welcome back present," Starsky smiled broader and jingled the keys to spur Hutch on.
"He did what?" Hutch stopped his trek toward the sleeping alcove to turn and stare. "Why would he do that?"
"Because he likes my face," Starsky answered, not meeting Hutch's eyes. "Come on, will you? I've got food in the car that's been there for a coupl'a hours. Let's go."
Hutch took slightly longer than usual to take in Starsky's words before turning to get dressed and throw a few things in a gym bag.
The trip to the beach house went quickly, the delay of earlier long enough to miss the normal commute crunch. Starsky parked the car with a great sigh and turned to his lover.
"Just you and me, in a great house and nothing to do but enjoy it...and each other." Starsky ran his hand through the soft silky strands of Hutch's hair, drinking in the feel of it. The look he saw shining back at him was a good indication of how much better Hutch looked since his nap.
Two trips each from the car to the house, and everything was inside. Some frenzied unpacking of the perishable groceries into the fridge was all they took time for. Starsky pushed the refrigerator door shut after the last item had been placed in there and took Hutch's hand, leading the way out the sliding glass doors to the deck. The stars were winking out gradually as the darkness began to win over the glow of the city lights. The three-quarter moon floated lazily over the view of the ocean below them, casting silvery shadows on the whitecaps of the small waves in the distance and a phosphorescent light show on the breakers as they rushed to shore. Turning Hutch so the moonlight bathed his face, Starsky captured it between his hands and gently kissed each eyelid, then nose and finally falling to rest his lips against Hutch's full ones, already parted and waiting for him.
"I love the way you look at night, in the moonlight. What it does to your hair and your skin, it's magic. That's what you are to me...a magic man...." Starsky spoke the last words against Hutch's mouth, then slipped his tongue inside to take the earlier soft kisses to a new height. His passion was accepted and returned, each man crushing the other to him as if driven by the need to mold into one body, one soul.
Hutch leaned back, the first to break the contact. He raised his hand to brush back Starsky's hair where the sea breeze pushed it forward, and clutching his fingers in a handful, let out a shuddering breath. "If I'm magic, you're the wizard, all dark and beautiful mystery. Like a gypsy...God, how I love you."
Hutch brought his mouth to Starsky's again, and they began kissing each other breathless. Starsky's hands reached to pull up the knit shirt Hutch was wearing and toss it to the deck chair close at hand. He began kissing down the long neck of his lover, tonguing over the mole on the right side, then following that path past collarbone to chest. With each kiss to that smooth chest, Starsky pushed Hutch back a little farther until the back of his lover's long legs hit the cushion of the double lounge and he sat down abruptly, the arms around Starsky's waist causing him to follow. Hutch's hands tugged his t-shirt out of his jeans, and Starsky let his head fall back at the feelings created by Hutch's hot hands as they raked through the hair on his chest. Hutch's long fingers made quick work of the snap fastening of his jeans and eased the zipper down to free Starsky's hard cock. Hutch's low, throaty chuckle telling Starsky of his lover's appreciation that Starsky hadn't bothered with briefs. Starsky reached to pull at the athletic shorts Hutch wore, pulling them and the elastic of his jockey shorts down in one, swift movement, freeing his cock as well.
Starsky looked down between their bodies at the two cocks jutting upward in the moonlight. the sight of Hutch, as he wrapped his long fingered hands around both of them and began to slowly pump, was almost his undoing. Starsky rested both of his hands against Hutch's shoulders, his knees clutched tightly around the other man's outer thighs. Both men's breaths were coming faster, intermingled with groans and moans of pleasure as Hutch's hands stroked firmer and faster. Starsky dug his fingers into the tense muscles of Hutch's biceps, as he urged him on with licks and nips to Hutch's throat. "Oh, God, babe, yes--just like that. You feel so good, so hot." Starsky was bucking his own hips in tandem with Hutch's strokes; a fast glance down showed moonlight glistening off the wetness of each head.
"So close, almost...almost...." Hutch breathed then stiffened and shot. Starsky felt the hot cum spurt against his belly and wash over Hutch's hand to slick his own shaft, and he added his essence to the mix with a shout. He dove at Hutch's mouth, taking it in a fierce kiss, still moaning his completion. Finally, he broke the kiss and rested his forehead against Hutch's shoulder as they dragged in great lungfuls of air.
Starsky slid off to the side, lying back on the lounge, drawing Hutch back with him. "I love you, more than my own life," Starsky said, softly kissing Hutch's damp hair.
"I love you, too."
"We made it...." Starsky breathed against Hutch's hair and felt his boneless sprawl begin to stiffen.
"Yeah, it was great...." Hutch offered uncertainly.
"I wasn't talking about that," Starsky whispered.
Hutch tightened his grip around Starsky's waist but stayed silent.
"Do you think we're any closer because of the sex?" Starsky asked softly.
"I...I don't know...."
"I've always loved ya, blondie. I'd have always stepped in front of a bullet to keep you safe. I never needed this to give me that kind of love."
"Me neither." Hutch kissed at the patch of hairy skin nearest his lips. "It doesn't feel like it's the love that's different, just the expression of it. It's like now I really don't need anybody else for anything. You're all there is." Hutch sighed loudly before continuing. "Maybe it just seems like there's that much more to lose now...more than there was before."
"Yeah, I guess you could look at it like that."
"How do you see it, Gordo?" Hutch teased, his body becoming loose and relaxed against Starsky's
"That everything we have is gravy, way far over and above. My grandmother used to say, dance like there's no one watching. You ever hear that?"
"What?" Hutch laughed. "No, what did she mean?"
"You know how some people are always saying everything will fall in line--after I get married, or after I get that new car, or after a kid comes along, or after the kids are out of the house. No matter where they are in life, there's always something stopping them from finding joy in where they are."
"What are you trying to tell me?" Hutch asked seriously.
"That we are the lucky ones; we already know that none of the rest of anything matters. We've both seen a glimpse of what it would be like without the other. So as long as we're together, we've got all we need."
"So we can dance like there's no one watching, huh?" Hutch asked.
"Yeah." Starsky leaned down stretching his neck to reach Hutch's lips and gently press his own to them. He leaned back, tightening his arms around his lover as they lay there in the cooling moonlit air. "And that's a good thing."
"What?" Hutch asked around a yawn.
"The 'no one watching' part," Starsky answered, his voice singing with a suppressed smile. "Especially the way you dance."
The quiet night was split by the sound of laughter--healing, loving laughter.
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