Heartfelt Thanks
by pepcidDC

SHSVS, Episode 614, Part 2

Back to Part 1

The scent of roasting turkey filled the air, along with other good smells. Starsky closed his eyes and breathed deeply, enjoying the tingling in his nose. Sweet potatoes, rolls, salad, and pumpkin pie. He settled a little deeper on the bed, and turned to admire the view. It took a bit of doing, but with his head down by the foot of the bed, propped up on pillows on his side, he could see Hutch through the windows.

Hutch was puttering in the greenhouse, something he hadn't had a chance to do in a long time. The sun filtered through the glass gently, displaying the blond in all his glory. Starsky never got tired of the way Hutch seemed to glow in the light. Even his photographs never seemed to do him justice. His face looked relaxed as he worked his way through the mass of greenery, pruning, clipping, watering, and talking to his babies softly under his breath. The dark t-shirt emphasized his lover's features.

A warm contrast to Starsky's worst nightmare.

Starsky reached the bluff's plateau and stopped dead in his tracks. His last breath left him in a whoosh, and he was completely unable to draw in another. There on the ground, Hutch lay face down, unmoving with a slowly spreading red stain on the back of his tan jacket. "Oh, my God."(11)

God, what a horrible moment that had been. Made that much worse by his absolute conviction he had shot Hutch through his own carelessness. His stomach clenched at the memory, and he closed his eyes.

Swallowing again to try to speak past the lump in his throat he was sure would suffocate him, Starsky looked slowly from one man to the other. "I…didn't…do it," he grated out the words.

"Didn't do what?" Arturo pressed.

"It wasn't…my gun." Starsky closed his eyes tightly, tears he hadn't shed since the shooting, unstoppable now, flooded past his lashes.

"Starsky--" Hutch tried to turn Starsky's rigid body toward him.

"That was Dobey. He called to give me the forensics report on the blast pattern and the ballistic report on the few pellets they retrieved during surgery. They didn't match my gun…" Starsky's voice broke with a sob, and he let Hutch turn him completely--only then risking a look into his lover's face. "It wasn't my gun…" he whispered, lips trembling as the tears fell. "I…didn't…do…it."(12)

He sucked in a deep breath, then let it out, and opened his eyes to focus on Hutch--his Hutch--with such a look of peace on his face. Slowly, his stomach relaxed and he breathed in again, relishing the aroma of turkey and of home. A slow smile stole over his face as he contemplated the best thing in his life.

"Stop that." Hutch's voice came through the windows, sounding amused.

"Stop what?" Starsky chuckled.

"Stop checking me out. You're supposed to be picking your sonnet."

Starsky sighed and picked the book off the bed. At least they didn't have a paper due. All the prof wanted was for each of them to pick a sonnet and explain what it meant to them in their own words. Harder than it looked. Starsky frowned at the book. Shakespeare's plays were a hell of a lot easier to read than his poetry. "Hey, Hutch?"

"Hmm?"

"What's a 'bark'?"

"Give me the context."

Starsky cocked an eyebrow and waited. Finally, a chuckle came from the other room. "Read me the line."

"'It is the star to every wandering bark, whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken'."

There was a rustle of greenery. "I don't have a clue."

Starsky snorted, leafing through the book. "You know, not all of these are really love poems. Some of them are downright depressing." He studied the pages a bit longer, then dropped the book and flopped on the bed, staring at the ceiling. "I like the plays better. They make more sense."

"You're making it harder than it is."

"I suppose you already got one picked out." Starsky put a pout in his voice.

There was a silence for a moment, then Starsky looked up and over. Hutch was standing in the door of the greenhouse, leaning against the jamb, looking at him intently and smiling his sweet, slow smile. Starsky's heart leaped at the sight.

"Yeah."

"Really?"

"Yeah." Hutch tilted his head and closed his eyes. "'When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state'." He opened his eyes to gaze at Starsky, the blue glittering in the light.

Starsky swallowed hard. "That means when you're sad, 'cause it seems everyone is against you. You wanna crawl into a hole and hide from the world."

Hutch nodded and continued, "'And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries, and look upon myself and curse my fate'."

"Mad at God and everybody and yourself, and no one listens."

Hutch straightened and walked over to the bed. "'Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd, desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least'."

Starsky sat up, never taking his eyes off his blond lover. "Wishing you had tons of money. Wishing you were handsome and popular, maybe an artist or a scientist."

Hutch looked surprised. "Scientist?"

Starsky grinned. "Using a microscope."

Hutch roared--a full-throated, relaxed laugh. He lifted his hand to stroke Starsky's cheek and continued, "'Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising, haply I think on thee, and then my state, like to the lark at break of day arising from sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate'."

Starsky reached up, grabbed Hutch, and pulled him down on the bed. "Just when you're as sad as you can be, you think about me, and you're as happy as a lark."

614-6.jpg Hutch lowered his head, putting his forehead against Starsky's. "'For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings, that then I scorn to change my state with kings'."

Starsky looked up, his dark eyes glittering. "When you think about loving me, you wouldn't change places with anyone in the whole world."

Hutch kissed him, wrapping his arms under the other man and taking his time. A long, slow exploration. They broke for air, and Starsky chuckled. "You should work on the plants."

"You should pick a sonnet."

Starsky flipped them and pressed down, rocking Hutch's hips. Hutch gasped, arching up. "To hell with the plants." His voice was rough with passion.

"To hell with the homework."

The phone rang while Starsky was taking the turkey out of the oven, refusing to let Hutch help. Hutch was laughing as he picked up the phone. "Hello?"

"Happy Thanksgiving, Ken."

"Mom?" Hutch froze, images running through his head.

"Well," Richard began coldly, and not once did his eyes return to Hutch and Starsky. "I guess there's little left to say to either you or your...partner." He made the word sound like something distasteful and toxic.

Hutch waited for the cowed adolescent to emerge, for shame and fear to wash over him and bring with it that desperate desire to earn his father's approval, no matter what it took. But all he felt was warmth pulsing between him and Starsky--the warmth of his partner's skin, of the love and support they had exchanged and that had sustained them, one way or another, for nearly a decade.

Quietly, he said, "I guess not."

"Well, then," Richard repeated, with a breath that told Hutch he was about to be dismissed. "I will ask your mother and your sister to pack your things and bring them here. I would...appreciate it if you...neither of you...returned to the house."

Ever again hung in the air.

"If that's what you want," Hutch said softly, his voice tinged with regret.

"Yes." His voice firm, with no trace of emotion, Richard stepped back from the bed, brushed his hands together as if dusting off something dirty, then strode to the door and pulled it open. "Miranda," he said. The word was an order.

Miranda did not look at him. "You go ahead," she instructed him calmly. "I'll be right there."
He opened his mouth, then snapped it shut and left the room.

Suddenly, the oxygen seemed to return, and Hutch breathed for what felt like the first time in an hour. He felt the side of Starsky's head press against his, a tender gesture that abruptly filled his eyes with tears.

His mother moved gracefully to the side of the bed and brushed the hair from his forehead. "I'll make sure everything makes it to the hospital," she promised him gently. "You boys be careful going home."

She turned to go, but Hutch stopped her, catching her hand in his. "Mom," he said hesitantly. "How do you...what do you--?"

She gave him an uncertain smile, then patted his hand with the one he wasn't holding. "I don't really know yet," she admitted. "But I know I love you, and I've always liked David. I guess we'll just have to go from there."

"Okay," Hutch whispered, feeling foolish as the tears threatened to spill over. Miranda kissed his forehead, reached across the bed to briefly squeeze Starsky's arm, then slipped out of the room.(13)

Starsky poked his head around the corner and looked at Hutch with a question in his eyes. Hutch managed a smile, which was answered with a blazing smile, a quick shake of curls, and Starsky popped back into the kitchen.

"Hey, Mom. Great to hear from you. How're you doing?"

"Just sit there and keep your eyes shut." Starsky was moving around the kitchen, rattling pans and dishing up their feast.

Hutch had been made to sit at the table, with orders to keep his eyes closed. But that didn't stop him from sniffing the air. "Sure smells good."

"Oh, yeah." Starsky chuckled. "Almost ready."

"I'm gonna peek," Hutch teased.

"No you aren't," Starsky responded. Hutch heard him settle a dish on the table and then sit on one of the kitchen chairs. "'Cause its ready. Open your eyes."

"Wow." Hutch breathed deeply, appreciating the smells as well as the sight of a fully roasted turkey, fresh salad, rolls, and sweet potatoes covered with marshmallows.

Starsky had a smug look on his face. "Pumpkin pie and ice cream for dessert."

Hutch gave his lover an awed look. "You are a genius."

"Damn straight." Starsky placed his palms together and arched an eyebrow at Hutch, who did the same. "Thank you, Lord, for each new morning with its light, for rest and shelter of the night, for health and food, for love and friends, for everything thy goodness sends. Amen."

Hutch's mouth went dry as he stared at Starsky, his eyes filling. "It's just that I..." He couldn't finish.

Starsky grinned at him, his own eyes filling. He leaned forward. "Me, too, Hutch. Me, too." He kissed him--a slow soft kiss. "Now, let's not let this go to waste. We gotta eat and clean up before the game starts."

They ate the pumpkin pie and ice cream on the sofa as they watched the game. Neither team was a favorite, so they poked fun at the bad plays and yelled for all the good ones. Half-time found them on the sofa, stuffed and relaxed. Starsky was watching the tube, but Hutch decided to indulge in a favorite hobby. Starsky watching.

There was just something about the look of the man.

"That's right," Starsky whispered, reaching his other hand around Hutch's waist. "We both survived."

Neither spoke again. They walked as one into the bedroom, then Starsky lit the few candles in the room before pulling off his shirt. Shoes and socks were removed before he sat on the bed and held a hand out to Hutch, beckoning him closer. "Come 'ere."

Hutch never took his eyes from his partner's face as he crossed the floor to join him. Once seated, he turned bright eyes on Starsky, his expression thoughtful and tender.

"Whatcha thinking about?" Starsky asked, lacing his fingers through Hutch's fine hair.

"About how good you look in candlelight," Hutch answered in a whisper. "Or moonlight or sunlight…about how good it's going to feel to make love to you."(14)

Something about his touch.

A soft touch to his shoulder brought Hutch out of the endless loop. He turned slightly in the straight-backed chair and wrapped his arms around Starsky, rubbing his cheek against Starsky's belly like a big cat. Starsky's arms engulfed him eagerly, and Hutch couldn't help but relax into the embrace--feeling loved, feeling safe. Starsky bent down to place a kiss on top of Hutch's head. Strong, long fingers rubbed up and down Hutch's back, loosening tensed muscles and pulling him tighter into an embrace.(15)

"Aren't ya gonna watch the game?" Starsky's voice brought him back to the here and now.

"Like watching you better." Hutch settled back in the corner of the sofa.

Starsky turned, fixing his dark, warm eyes on Hutch's. "Maybe you'd rather talk."

"Talk?" Hutch looked at him, puzzled.

"Talk." Starsky moved, putting his feet on the other arm of the sofa and his head in Hutch's lap. Hutch automatically reached to stroke the dark curls. "Talk about yesterday."

Hutch tensed.

Starsky lay there, silently. Waiting.

"Guess I was just overtired," Hutch finally spoke up. "All I could see was that prison riot and you being held, and I guess--"

"Know what I think of when I remember that day?" Starsky whispered. "I think of seeing you with that head wound...and that night...the best damn hotel in the city...and being in you for the first time."

"Ah, God, Starsky." Hutch leaned over, his eyes bright.

Starsky sat up, then stood, extending his hand to Hutch. "Come to bed."

Hutch took his hand, allowing himself to be pulled up and led to the bedroom.

Starsky took his time undressing them, offering soft kisses to every part of Hutch's skin as it was uncovered. Hutch returned the favor, kiss for kiss and stroke for stroke. Once they were nude, they came together again and kissed.

"You taste like stuffing," Hutch whispered.

614-9.jpg Starsky muttered something about stuffing that had nothing to do with food. Hutch laughed, and Starsky tumbled him onto the bed, covering him with his body. Their erections came together, and they both gasped at the contact. Hutch pushed up, wanting to move to his hands and knees, but Starsky denied him that movement, pushing him to the bed. "Not so fast."

They lay entangled, skin on skin, nothing coming between them but their breath. Starsky used his entire body to touch and stroke, letting the fire within grow gradually. Only when Hutch's moans were continuous, only when he felt like one more touch and he would explode, did he reach for the lube and start to prepare him. Even then, lube-slicked fingers moved slowly, pushing past the ring of muscle to explore Hutch's depths with an agonizing patience. Starsky found the nub and rubbed it carefully, slowly, over and over. Hutch was a quivering mass by the time he moved, putting Hutch's legs over his shoulders. Starsky cupped Hutch's buttocks in his hands. "Breathe, lover."

Hutch breathed, and Starsky sank the tip of his cock into that hole.

Hutch threw his head back, reveling in the feeling. "More. More!"

"Breathe, lover." Starsky trembled with the strain, but didn't move.

Hutch took a deep breath, and Starsky sank in a little farther.

"Starsky, please."

"Breathe, lover."

Hutch did, and Starsky sank in until his balls pressed against Hutch's cheeks. He froze there, feeling the heat and the pressure, and took his own deep breath. "God, you feel so tight, Hutch. So damn--"

Hutch opened dazed blue eyes. "If you don't move now, I swear I'll get my gun and shoo--"

Starsky flexed his hips. Hutch opened his eyes wider and moaned. Starsky did it again and again, setting up a rhythm that set the bed to rocking. Hutch threw his arms out, steadying himself on the bed as Starsky moved. Movement that Hutch craved as he concentrated on some internal movement of his own, trying to clench around Starsky's cock on every thrust. But sensation soon overcame both of them, and the pleasure took them as they cried each other's names.

Starsky collapsed to the side, sliding out from under Hutch's legs and out of his ass. Hutch managed to pull him in close before sleep claimed them. Neither had the energy to do more than pull up the sheet and exchange a kiss before falling into the warmth of slumber.

Something woke Hutch.

He listened carefully to the sounds of the night. After a few minutes, he relaxed, certain there was no threat. Instead, he studied the face near his, slightly mashed into its pillow. They were entangled, close together on their sides, sort of wrapped around one another, yet having space to breathe. It was such a simple comfort. Hutch breathed their scents in deeply. His body stirred, a slight tingle at the base of his spine.

Hutch smiled slightly. Very slowly he pulled Starsky over, arranging their bodies so Starsky covered him like a warm, living blanket. His lover muttered a bit, but didn't really awaken, just settled his head under Hutch's chin and sighed. A moment frozen in time--the beat of his lover's heart, the scent of his skin, the pressure of his body. Hutch tried so hard to commit it all to memory.

Like so many perfect things do, it changed. Starsky shifted slightly, bringing his thigh between Hutch's. Without really thinking, Hutch arched at the pressure, moaning slightly as the tingle grew. Starsky responded, his thigh shifting slightly, his hands coming up to stroke Hutch's sides. Hutch closed his eyes and lifted his arms to wrap around, stroking that broad back as the pleasure swept over him.

Hands threaded into his hair, and he opened his eyes to see Starsky's glittering above him. Starsky placed his lips against his and kissed him softly. Hutch returned the kiss with gentle passion, running his hands down to the gentle lift of Starsky's ass. He pressed down, trying to get Starsky closer.

But his lover was having none of that. Starsky's body shifted, using only the softest movement to assert pressure. It was a long, slow climb, filled with soft moans and gentle touches, each moving to the beat of their hearts. Hutch hit the peak first and fell, throwing his head back against the pillows. Starsky leaned down and nipped Hutch's collarbone, causing the blond to surge up. The move sent Starsky spiraling out and down. They both landed where they had begun--entangled, close together on their sides, sort of wrapped around one another, yet having space to breathe. A last soft kiss, and they both drifted off to sleep.

Friday:

Hutch woke, blinking his eyes at the light. He didn't usually sleep in this late. He got up and stumbled to the bathroom. After taking care of business, he opened the door to discover Starsky, stark naked, standing in front of the sofa with his hands on his hips. He scowled at Hutch and gestured at the room with one hand. "Look at this."

Hutch grinned. "I'm looking."

Starsky scowled again. "Not at me. At this place!"

Hutch looked around, taking in his apartment, a fear growing in his gut. "Looks okay to me."

"It's disgusting." Starsky stood there, glowering.

"Hey." Hutch moved in close and drew Starsky into his arms. "We've got the day off. I've got a great idea of how to spend the day." He kissed Starsky, who leaned into the embrace, then pulled back with a smile on his lips.

"So do I. We are cleaning this place." With that he kissed Hutch again, pulled loose, and headed for the bathroom.

Hutch groaned.

David Starsky was on a rampage.

Hutch considered his alternatives. Hiding in the greenhouse. Faking appendicitis. Fleeing the country. But before he could marshal his resources, he found himself in the bathroom, cleanser in one hand, toilet brush in the other.

As he worked, he could hear Starsky moving about like a whirlwind. Hutch considered for a brief moment staging a rebellion. It was, after all, his apartment. He stared at the bristles of the toilet brush and contemplated the potential consequences. Discretion was the better part of valor. He shrugged and got to work.

Only after every surface in the bathroom gleamed, did Hutch dare to emerge. The living room was spotless, the carpet having been vacuumed into submission. Hutch gave it a sympathetic look as he cautiously approached the kitchen.

The refrigerator door was wide open. Starsky was sitting on a chair, staring into its depths.

"Starsky?"

Starsky kept his unwavering gaze on the helpless contents of the fridge. "When was the last time this was cleaned out?" He leaned forward slightly, as if to interrogate a suspect, and Hutch felt slightly sorry for the poor appliance.

"Last year?"

Starsky pulled his head back and glared at his partner. "That explains a few things." His gaze sharpened. "Go do laundry."

Hutch glanced over by the bed and saw the mounds of dirty clothes and bed linens. He cast one last look at his partner, heaved a sigh, and went to face his doom.

"I'm begging here."

"Big baby," Starsky scoffed at his partner.

"No, seriously." Hutch looked at him with pleading eyes. "Everything's spotless, Starsk. Everything's been cleaned right down to the nubbin, I am begging you to--"

"Down to the nubbin?" Starsky pulled his head out of the closet and looked puzzled. "What the hell does that mean?"

Hutch shrugged. "Something my mom used to say. You're missing the point. I'm begging for mercy. Can we please stop cleaning?"

Starsky snorted and dove back into the closet. "Hutch, you got clothes in here that you haven't worn in--"

"A foot rub."

Starsky stopped digging through the stuff in the bottom of Hutch's closet. "A foot rub?"

"And a back rub. With some of that new sesame-scented oil you bought last week." Hutch lowered his voice and moved in for the kill. "You've worked so hard; let me pamper you for a while."

Starsky pulled back and looked deeply into his lover's soulful, pleading eyes. He grinned like a school kid, his white teeth flashing. "You are so pathetic."

Hutch grinned back. "Is it gonna work?"

Starsky pulled him in for a fast, hard kiss. "Nope." He turned, and drew an armload of clothing out of the closet. "Three piles. Goodwill. Repair. Pitch. Start sorting."

Hutch groaned.

Saturday Morning:

Hutch was halfway through his run before he woke completely. The Cleaning Rampage had petered out in the wee hours of the morning, when he and Starsky had finally collapsed onto a freshly made bed with very clean sheets. Too clean, he grumbled to himself. As he neared the apartment he grinned. They wouldn't be clean for long. He had definite plans for his lover and they did not include cleaning.

Except with his tongue.

"It's going to be okay. I really have a feeling that Cynthia will come through for us. It's going to be all right," Starsky encouraged, as he drew large circles over Hutch's bare back. Starsky kissed against the side of Hutch's head and nudged it upward so he could nuzzle the side of Hutch's face, and eventually mapped his way to press his lips against Hutch's. Their tongues dueled with increasing enthusiasm until both men were caressing and kissing aggressively, all thoughts of the fatigue that had seemed so oppressive earlier, apparently gone.

Starsky rolled Hutch farther on top of him, locking his legs around Hutch's waist to press them close together. Hands and mouths caressed and inflamed, leaving both men panting. "Love me, Hutch. Make me feel you this time tomorrow. I want you so bad."

Hutch groaned his appreciation of Starsky's words, answering by reaching to the bedside table for the tube of K-Y resting there. Hutch squirted some out and tossed the tube out of the way. He quickly slid a wet finger inside Starsky's body, joining it with a second, probing and gently stretching and preparing.

"I'm ready, babe. Come on, do it, do it now. God, I need you so much." Starsky arched up to press his rock-hard erection against Hutch's body, then pressed down to further impale himself on Hutch's long fingers. Hutch's gentle insistence caused a level of frustration that made Starsky thrash about wildly, trying to get purchase on Hutch's body to line him up for the penetration Starsky so desperately wanted. "Please, babe. Let me feel you inside. I want you."

Hutch slicked his cock, then positioned it at Starsky's entrance, sliding slowly forward. They locked eyes as Hutch entered him, as they often did. Hutch acutely aware and vigilant for any discomfort; Starsky lost in the intense feeling of being loved and taken.

"Thank you," Hutch whispered, "for everything you give me."

"There is nothing in my body or my soul that isn't yours already. Let me feel you, let go. Give me everything you've got." Starsky tightened his muscles around the full length of Hutch as he was fully sheathed. Hutch moaned and shuddered at the sensation and began picking up his force and speed, each stroke taking Starsky harder; each withdrawal dragging the head of Hutch's cock over Starsky's sensitive prostate. Starsky fought to ward off his climax wanting to make it last--not only for himself, but to keep the world at bay for his precious lover a bit longer as well. But he couldn't hold back, and his own cock spurted his completion between their bodies, and he howled Hutch's name. Feeling Starsky's rectal muscles milking his cock during his orgasm was evidently too much for Hutch to withstand, and Starsky soon felt the hot wash of Hutch's ejaculate shoot forcefully inside him. Both men collapsed in a limp heap of arms and legs entwined together, falling asleep almost immediately.(16)

Hutch ran into the apartment, his cock twitching in anticipation.

Only to find his fully dressed partner, cutting fruit for breakfast. "Hurry up and shower so we can go clean my place."

Thankfully, Starsky's place was not in need of a major overhaul. They tackled the chores fast, and Hutch managed to get Starsky busy with laundry before he could investigate the refrigerator. Hutch tackled the bathroom and kitchen in a frenzy, hoping his lover could be distracted before he found more "projects" to do.

Starsky was making the bed with the new wine-colored sheets when Hutch emerged from the bathroom. He caught his breath at the image, as Starsky leaned forward to tuck in the sheet. Hutch moved quickly, tumbled Starsky down onto the bed, and covered him with his own body. Starsky lay there, smiling. "You smell like 'scrubbing bubbles'."

Hutch just stared for a moment, looking at those dark eyes. "My gypsy prince."

"Huh?" Starsky looked puzzled.

Hutch smiled, and lifted his hand to run it through those dark curls. "My gypsy prince. Remember that bed in Major Lotsoff's guest room?" He smiled at the memory.

Hutch softly opened the guestroom door and looked in. Starsky lay sprawled across the bed at an angle, with the corner of the bedspread pulled up over his shoulder. He looked for all the world to Hutch, at that moment, like a gypsy prince. Dark curls surrounded by dark maroon and gold brocade.(17)

A slow blush covered Starsky's cheeks, and he looked away. "You think that about me?"

Hutch chuckled and stole a kiss. "Oh, yes, my dark-eyed gypsy prince."

The blush grew brighter, and Starsky's voice grew hoarse. "Well, just remember what they say about gypsies." Starsky smiled up into those blue eyes. "They'll steal anything that ain't nailed down."

Hutch leaned down and nuzzled him behind the ear. "How about a little exercise before we go to Huggy's?"

Starsky half-closed his eyes. "Oh, yeah. Sounds great."

"Good." Hutch sat up so fast the bed bounced. "I'll get the basketball; you grab your sweats."

"Huh?"

"Gonna run your ass all over the court." Hutch laughed as he stood and pulled Starsky from the bed. "Let's play some ball."

Starsky grumbled as he pulled sweats from the drawer. "Not the kind of one-on-one I was looking for, Blintz."

There was an empty court when they arrived at the park, and they started playing hard immediately, each trying to outscore the other. While Hutch had reach, Starsky had moves, and they were fairly evenly matched. Soon they were both wringing wet.

What pleased Hutch was when Starsky stripped off his shirt.

"Hutch...." Starsky moved away, breaking the intense and delicious kissing that had kept them joined for long minutes. "Don't."

"Don't what, babe? Touch you?"

"Just...leave the shirt alone, okay?"

"No, it's not okay." Hutch took Starsky's troubled face in both hands. "I want to make love to you. All of you. You don't have a mark on you I haven't seen. Haven't touched, for that matter. Don't shut me out, babe. Let me love you," Hutch pleaded softly, kissing Starsky again, pulling him in close, keeping his touches on the outside of the shirt, forcing himself not to return to that soft, warm skin beneath until Starsky gave his consent.

"Your skin's like silk," Starsky said a little breathlessly, his hand skimming the part of Hutch's chest exposed by the open buttons of his shirt. "The scars...they feel...funny. And they're so damned ugly, Hutch. I hate 'em. I know I'm s'posed t'be grateful I'm not dead, and I am, but I hate lookin' in the mirror and seein' this monster lookin' back at me," Starsky admitted brokenly, his eyes focused on Hutch's chest until they closed at the painful words. "I hate 'em and I want 'em to go away."(18)

Hutch was careful not to draw attention to Starsky's action. He was sure that it was unconscious, but it was a sign that Starsky was letting go of those old fears. Instead, Hutch took the ball and drove hard to the basket, forcing Starsky to think of nothing but defense. The sight of those intense eyes focused on him, body moving in anticipation of his opponent's next move, was almost enough to make Hutch shout with joy.

Instead, he concentrated on making his shot.

They ran into the apartment, laughing as Hutch bounced the ball off the wall by Starsky's head. Starsky headed for the kitchen. "Want something to drink? Think there's some root beer left." He opened the fridge and looked in.

Hutch's voice brought him up short. "Nah. Not thirsty. Hungry." The low growl brought Starsky's head up fast, and he turned to find his golden lover moving toward him with an intent look in his eyes. In a heartbeat, Starsky found himself sitting on the counter, with the dish drainer pushed to the side to make room. Hutch had spread his partner's legs and was standing between them, pressed against him, his warm hands under Starsky's shirt. "Very hungry." With that, Hutch claimed his lips

Starsky moaned, opening his mouth to Hutch's demands. Warm fingers moved down under his waistband to tease the base of his spine with soft touches. Starsky squirmed, putting his arms over Hutch's shoulders to draw him in tighter. The kiss grew hotter as they worked at each other's clothing. Starsky tilted his pelvis, letting his legs drop until his ass barely sat on the counter, trying to rub his aching cock against Hutch. Hutch clung to him, putting his hands under Starsky's ass, trying to maintain the pressure. They both moved together, and in a hot sweaty tangle, they exploded against one another, panting for breath as they rode the wave of pleasure.

They stood frozen, locked in each other's arms, breathing hard. Starsky spoke first, his voice rough. "Shower. Huggy's expecting us."

Hutch nodded, and they stumbled to the bathroom in a daze.

"Wear this." Starsky got out a white button-down shirt for Hutch, and a pair of blue jeans.

Hutch looked at his partner with a questioning gaze, but Starsky just smiled that innocent smile that didn't fool Hutch for a second. "We coming back here after Huggy's?"

"Yeah." Starsky was humming under his breath, pulling on his sneakers. "What did you do with those leather bootlaces that were too long. Did you pitch them?"

"Noooo." Hutch gave his lover a long look. "They're in the junk drawer in the kitchen."

Starsky stood and swaggered, yes, swaggered into the kitchen. Hutch could hear him rattling around in there, then heard a soft sound of triumph as the laces were apparently located. Hutch shook his head as he buttoned up his shirt. The man was up to something, that was certain.

Hutch thought for a moment, then made a slight change in his wardrobe. Might as well be prepared.

"You coming?" Starsky was at the door, waiting to leave.

Hutch snagged his jacket. "Coming."

"Oh, my God." Hutch paused in the doorway and looked around in astonishment.

"Wow," Starsky echoed from behind.

They were about fifteen minutes early, and there wasn't that much of a crowd yet. But what hit both of them was how the place looked. It was immaculate--scrubbed and polished. The usual odor of beer and smoke had been replaced with bleach and soap. Hutch and Starsky moved to a booth and sat, looking around in wonder.

Hutch glared at his partner. "You snuck out and cleaned this place, didn't you?"

Starsky shook his head. "No, but I'm impressed. I think they even scrubbed down some of the regulars."

Huggy appeared, beers in hand. "My cousin gave me the word. A surprise health inspection." He put the beaded bottles down in front of them. "Been cleaning ever since. The kitchen would like to blind ya."

Hutch tilted his head. "You wanted us to come clean the place?"

"Nah. Got the name of the lady doing the inspection." Huggy smirked. "Figured it couldn't hurt to have ya here and eating, seeing as you dated the lady."

Starsky took a swig of beer. Hutch just looked puzzled. "What's her name?"

"Kathleen Donovan." Huggy had a smug look. "You dated her a few years ago."

Starsky coughed, spilling his beer.

"Figured you could put in a good word." Huggy looked around nervously. "She's due any minute."

"Oh, man. " Hutch started to slide out of the booth. "Huggy, you should have asked before--"

Starsky looked up at Huggy. "That one didn't end well, Hug."

"Mr. Bear?"

They all turned to see a woman standing there, clipboard in hand. Her eyes rested on Hutch, and one lip curled as if she had found a dead mouse on the table. "Detective Hutchinson."

Hutch smiled weakly. "Kathleen. How've you been?"

The woman's face seemed to almost snarl, then smoothed over into a killer professional look. She turned slightly. "Mr. Bear, I am here to inspect your restaurant. Let's start with your coolers, shall we?"

Huggy went gray as she turned and marched into the kitchen. He shot them a desperate look as he followed her past the swinging door.

"Chinese?" Starsky asked.

"Sounds good," Hutch replied, as they slid out of the booth and headed for the door.

Hutch was still laughing when they entered Starsky's dark apartment.

Starsky followed him inside and moved in on him, capturing that laughing mouth in a kiss. Hutch made a soft sound of surprise, but welcomed those lips, opening his mouth to Starsky's explorations. He allowed himself to be maneuvered, pushed through the apartment, running into doorjambs, and finally falling onto the bed with his lover on top. Starsky pinned him there, grabbing his hands and kissing him hard, claiming him, bringing their groins together. Hutch moaned, whispering his lover's name, allowing those lips to claim his complete attention. It was only when Starsky broke off the kiss that Hutch discovered what Starsky was going to use the leather bootlaces for.

He was tied to the bed.

"Starsky!"

Hutch squirmed around to see that the leather was wrapped around his shirt cuffs, binding his wrists together and then trailing off to bind him to the bed. Astonished, he looked back to find Starsky tying his knees together with the other lace.

"Warned ya." The husky voice floated in the night. "Told ya gypsies steal everything they can."

Hutch struggled, pulling at the leather, but there was no give to his bonds.

"Stealing horses, food, jewels." Starsky was up and moving, taking off his jacket. "Hearts." Hutch looked over to see him by the bed. There was an evil gleam in those glittering dark eyes. "Souls."

Hutch relaxed and flexed his body slightly, pleased Starsky was raking him with those dark eyes. "You already own my heart and soul."

Starsky climbed onto the bed and moved over his bound lover. "Then I'll just have to take something else."

Hutch caught his breath, trying to keep his voice nonchalant. "Such as?"

He had a brief glimpse of a smile as Starsky's head lowered. "My time."

Hutch's mouth was claimed then, claimed hard. Starsky was relentless, exploring every inch of his mouth. Hutch gasped when his mouth was finally released, only to have those lips caress his jaw, moving down to his throat. A moan escaped the blond, as Starsky opened his collar slightly to get at the junction of shoulder and neck. He writhed as a small nip was taken of his skin. "God, Starsky. Please--"

"Gonna steal it all, love. Gonna take and take and take." Hutch drew a sharp breath as his shirt was unbuttoned. Hovering on all fours, Starsky used his nose to move the fabric and nuzzle one of Hutch's nipples. He ran his tongue over it in one quick stroke, pleased at the way it hardened and puckered slightly. Warm breath followed, and the tip seemed to quiver under his tongue. Hutch lay panting under him, squirming slightly at the touch. Starsky smiled and nuzzled the shirt over to expose the other nipple, giving it the same treatment. Only this time, he caught the nub in his teeth and pulled ever so gently.

The sounds from Hutch weren't really words, but carried a wealth of meaning for Starsky. He eased back onto his knees and unbuttoned the shirt a little farther, to reveal Hutch's stomach and navel. Reaching with his hands, he stroked both nipples with his thumbs, then trailed his fingers down to circle that delightful belly button. Moving lower, he used his mouth to follow the trail, letting his fingers tease Hutch's ribs and flanks. Not a tickle, just a soft, barely there touch.

Hutch trembled under his hands, moaning softly as Starsky continued his assault for long, slow minutes. The words had long fled Hutch's mouth, but Starsky heard the pleading in his voice. He chuckled. "Since when does a gypsy prince listen to the pleadings of his prisoner?" He moved back, kneeling over Hutch's knees, and slowly lowered the zipper on Hutch's jeans. "Ah." Starsky chuckled to find Hutch hadn't worn underwear. He pulled carefully, to avoid pulling any pubic hair, and was well rewarded when Hutch's cock arose from the confines of the denim. Starsky pulled the zipper back just far enough to make sure the teeth wouldn't catch, then sat back to admire his work.

Hutch looked like a debauched angel, lying in the moonlight, his clothes in disarray. Starsky moved forward and kissed his angel for a long time, fingering his length, tickling his balls. Sensing the edge fast approaching, Starsky shifted quickly and swallowed Hutch's cock to the root. Hutch exploded, fast and furious, then lay panting as Starsky cleaned him with his tongue.

Hutch lay quietly, coming down from the heights slowly. He turned his head to see Starsky was standing by the bed now, getting undressed. Dark eyes smiled into his. "Okay?"

Hutch nodded, smiling dreamily. "Oh, yeah."

Starsky leaned down. "Back in a minute." He headed for the bathroom.

Hutch sighed and floated in that deep, relaxed feeling good sex gives. He was just starting to realize he was still tied, when Starsky entered the room and came back to the bed. Glowing in the moonlight, just like the gypsy prince of his fantasies. Hutch smiled into those serious dark eyes. "Gonna untie me now?"

Starsky crawled onto the bed. Hutch caught his breath as Starsky moved in to cover Hutch's body with his own. Starsky growled low and soft. "Not done taking yet." He claimed Hutch's lips again, and within moments, Hutch was hot and hard, thrusting his hips up against Starsky and begging into his mouth. Starsky broke the kiss first, panting. "You know, most gypsy princes, they hoard their gold in jewelry--necklaces and earrings and nipple rings." He bent down and licked Hutch's nipples. Hutch arched up, writhing under his lover. "Me, I keep all my gold in one place."

With that, Starsky grabbed Hutch's cock in a firm grip and with strong strokes, brought him to the brink, seeming to demand Hutch's response. Just when Hutch thought he was going to explode, Starsky moved back and impaled himself on Hutch's cock.

They froze, both inhaling at the sensations, so familiar and yet so new.

"You look so innocent, like a golden angel that flew too close to Earth and got caught in my net." Starsky settled down a bit more and swiveled his hips slightly. Hutch knew exactly when he hit that sweet spot, because Starsky threw his head back and groaned, a low deep sound. Hutch watched as Starsky played with his own nipples, watched that healthy firm body flex as he clamped down on Hutch's cock. He jerked at his bonds again, wanting to touch, wanting to feel. Denied that outlet, he tried to push up against the weight that held him down.

But Starsky remained in control, and he flexed his thighs to rise up slightly and settle down slowly. Now it was Hutch's turn to thrash and groan at the sensation in his groin. Starsky looked down, his eyes so dark, so serious. "Sometimes, I see you move so graceful, so quiet, and I expect to see a wing flicker out from behind you, all gold and glowing like your hair." Starsky sat without moving, breathing hard. "Or to find soft feathers in my bed when I wake up."

Starsky watched as a blush stole over Hutch's cheeks, and his golden lover tried to change the subject. "Want to touch you, want your cock." Hutch pulled at the leather.

Starsky squeezed and Hutch groaned. "Want this?" He lowered his hands to his cock, its tip shining in the light, so hard, so lovely.

"Yes." Hutch wanted to stroke it, to feel that velvet skin.

"No." The voice was dark and commanding. "You're mine now, and I'm taking what I want." Starsky moved, setting a hard, punishing pace, pumping himself up and down on Hutch's cock. He fell forward slightly, using his hands for balance, and pushed down and back, driving Hutch deeper and deeper into his depths. Hutch groaned, then shouted, as his cock was used for Starsky's pleasure. Starsky laughed and moved his right hand to cover Hutch's mouth gently, continuing the rhythm, moving his hips in a circular pattern, as if to drive Hutch deeper and deeper, and deeper still.

614-7.jpg Hutch lost control first, arching his back and feeling his cock spurt deep into his lover. Starsky reared back at that and used his hands to grab his own length, exploding into his own orgasm, pulsing out onto Hutch's skin and clothes. He slowly lowered himself, groaning as Hutch slid from his body, and they both drifted off to sleep.

Hutch awoke to find Starsky cleaning his cock with a warm washcloth. "Starsky."

Starsky looked up and smiled. "Hutch. Thirsty?"

"Yeah." Hutch watched as Starsky headed for the fridge. He stretched a bit, only to discover he was still bound to the bed. Before he could ask the question, Starsky was back and a straw was between his lips. He drank greedily, then leaned back with a sigh. Starsky put the glass aside and climbed back into the bed. He curled up next to Hutch, lying on his side. One hand slid under Hutch's shirt and began to caress his stomach. Hutch had to smile at that. "Not sure there's anything left in this body, partner."

Starsky leaned in. "You forget. I know this body, Hutch. Know all your secrets. Nothing can be hidden from the gypsies." Starsky moved his hand lower, using his nails to lightly scratch the skin below Hutch's belly button. "Especially from their prince." He moved in and gently nuzzled behind Hutch's ear.

It was like electricity coursing down his body and straight to his cock. "Jesus!" Hutch breathed. "God, Starsky, I still have my clothes on!"

That drew an evil laugh from Starsky, who started slowly licking and kissing the side of his neck, and moved his hands down to assault his nipples yet again. Hutch moved his head to give Starsky better access, and Starsky took full advantage of the opportunity. Once again, hands and lips moved over his body, and his cock responded to the sensations.

Starsky moved, straddling Hutch in the classic position, and lowered his own cock to Hutch's lips. Hutch sucked eagerly, working his mouth and tongue along the length as Starsky fed it to him slowly. "Oh, yes, that's so sweet, Hutch. Get me hard and wet, so that I can take my pleasure again."

Hutch was hard and panting when Starsky moved off and rolled him over onto his side. Those warm hands slid his jeans down to where ass met thigh, and spread his buttocks to breathe warm air over the pucker. "You want this, don't you?" Starsky stroked the edges of the opening with his finger. "Such a lovely, needy angel."

"God, Starsky, please!"

Starsky moved up to kiss Hutch as he stretched him, going slow, taking his time. Hutch tried to thrust back, but Starsky remained in control, especially since Hutch's legs were still bound at the knees. Even after Starsky had three fingers in, he left them there, stroking Hutch's ass and flank, murmuring soft sounds until Hutch was ready to kill him. He strained, pushing back against the intrusion. "Goddamn it, fuck me, Starsky. NOW!"

"Such a demanding angel." The voice was low, but Hutch could hear the strain in it. "Lucky for you..." The fingers were removed "...that's just what I planned to do."

Hutch drew a deep breath of satisfaction, as Starsky slid deep within. It felt so damned good, as did the hand that cupped his cock. Starsky was using his fingers to stroke his balls as he settled in tight against his ass. A long, slow stroke out and a long, slow stroke in, and it seemed as if Starsky was even deeper than before. "Taking my time. Taking my pleasure." Hutch shuddered slightly as Starsky repeated the slow stroke. Over and over, building the pressure and pleasure to one blinding explosion of pure white joy.

Sunday Morning:

The day was simply gorgeous. Bright blue sky, a few white clouds, a chill in the air made filling lungs a pleasure. Hutch seemed to find a zone as he moved, running with a grace and ease he rarely felt. Each step seemed easy, his body tight, his breathing deep and regular. Down familiar streets, over well-known sidewalks, stopping at the park to grab a drink of water at a fountain--it all seemed commonplace and ordinary, yet tinged somehow with a newness he cherished.

Hutch smiled. He had slept all night, only waking when sunlight filled the room. Untied, half-dressed, covered in drying fluids, and sore as hell in all the right places. Starsky had been dead to the world, never even stirring when Hutch had crawled out of bed, changed into sweats, and left for his run. Now, feet pounding on the pavement, Hutch had to admit he felt better than he had in a long time. Amazing how stress could get you all tied up in knots without you even noticing.

614-8.jpg With every step he took, he breathed a silent prayer of thanks. During the hard times, the tough times, it was so easy to ask for things. For miracles. Hutch wanted to remember to give thanks as well, in the good times. Thanks for his partner. For their love. For their lives together.

Up the steps, into the apartment, Hutch didn't even feel winded. Until he stopped at the foot of the bed and got a look at his partner. Then his breath seemed to flee his body in an instant.

There, on the wine-colored sheets in a patch of sunlight that streamed through the windows, lay his lover. Healthy pink flesh flushed from the warmth. Dark curls a riot against the pillows. Starsky was sprawled, having managed to spread out over the entire bed and wrapped himself around both their pillows. His back could be clearly seen, as well as his ass. Hutch let his eyes roam over the bed, taking in the strong arms, the tight buttocks, the long muscular legs. The shadows between hinted at even more interesting sights. He smiled as he felt the intimate tingle, the first rush of blood to his cock, the feeling only this man could give him.

"So." Starsky's voice was rough and sleepy. "We gonna clean some more?"

Hutch pulled his sweaty t-shirt over his head. "Nope."

Starsky yawned and blinked sleepily. "Wanna go to the park and play some more ball?"

Hutch toed off his sneakers and pulled off his socks. "Nope."

His dark-haired gypsy prince stretched a little, letting his muscles ripple. Sun and shadow danced on his skin as he moved. "Read the paper? Make some breakfast?"

Hutch pushed his sweats down, taking his underwear with it. "Nope."

"Finish our homework?"

"I'm done." Hutch smirked slightly as he crawled up and over Starsky.

There was a slight smile on the face below him. "What are we gonna do?"

Hutch moved into position, on all fours, hovering over Starsky. "I am gonna hold my lover, tell him how much I love him, and then I'm gonna taste every inch of his sun-warmed skin."

The slight smile blossomed into a full grin. "Sounds like a plan." Starsky rolled onto his back, looking up at a Hutch haloed in light.

Hutch smiled at him. "Then we can clean your fridge."

Starsky started laughing and pulled him down into a kiss.

Flashback references

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