© October 2011 by Charlotte Frost



The grand irony was that Hutch had been in a lot worse situations than this.  He kept trying to find comfort in that thought, but it wasn’t comforting.


He snorted at himself, for trying to make it okay that his current circumstances were such that they were.


He was cold.  He was naked.  He was in darkness, due to the blindfold. His ankles were tied at the end of whatever wooden-feeling slab he lay upon.   His hands were tied above him.  Thankfully, his legs weren’t spread.  Though that hadn’t prevented the unwanted touches.


He hated what was happening to him mentally.  He was starting to look forward to the visits from the person who came into his room… or wherever it was he was being kept.  Even though the visits always led to contact he did not want, it was contact nevertheless.  For a moment, however offended he was at how the hands touched him, it was validation that he wasn’t completely in a prison of isolation.


Still, the man – for he thought the hands had felt masculine – would not verbally communicate with him.  Initially, Hutch had tried casual conversation.  Then he had gotten mad.  Then he had yelled and screamed.  Nothing he did brought any reaction.


He had been given liquids through a straw.  Usually various juices.  He hadn’t been allowed to relieve himself, so he had pissed on himself.  Then the man would come in and clean him up with a cold, wet rag.  And then the fondling would start.


The touches were only on his penis.  Never anywhere else.  Not even his balls.  The touches were becoming more skilled, so that he became erect more quickly and frequently.  But they were never persistent enough to try to bring relief.  After a few minutes, the hands and the man would leave


Hutch was hungry.  He wanted to know how long he’d been here, for he had no idea.  He wanted Starsky to come and hold him and make everything that had happened be okay.  He wanted to be allowed to move.


He was tied with some kind of straps.  Logically, they should eventually loosen, if he tried hard enough.  But after pulling and pulling, he’d tried instead to figure out the loops, but he hadn’t been able to.  Each hand was tied against something separately, so he couldn’t use one hand to assist the other.


He heard the soft creaking of a door that sounded like it might be down a hall, and then footsteps.  He had another tactic to try this time.


If he was in a room, any door was kept open, because he never heard the creaking of one.  He only heard quiet footsteps come closer.


“Please,” Hutch said softly, feeling the dryness in his throat.  “I have to move.  Just a little bit.  Please.  I won’t try anything, I promise.”


He flinched when the cold cloth touched his skin, cleaning up his latest soiling.


“Please untie me.  Please.  Please let me move.”


The coldness went away.


And then hands began to fondle him.





 He had figured out upon first awakening that it was chloroform that had done him in.  He had gotten a tip on a hot lead on a murder case, and since Starsky was sidetracked with another hot lead on his way into work, Hutch had driven out by himself to investigate the new lead.  It was just near the eastern edge of the county, in a semi-rural area, and upon entering the abandoned building of the address he’d been given, he had been jumped from behind, and a strong chemical smell assaulted him, as a cloth was pressed against his nose and mouth.


Upon awakening, he had found himself lying on some sort of board, and tied in the exact same position that he was now – a position that was becoming unbearable for healthy muscles which weren’t allowed to move, other than his concentrated effort to flex them, one by one.


Now, Hutch had a partial erection and the hands left him.


“Please.  I need something to eat.”  He wasn’t yet in danger of starvation, but with nothing to do but think, he was becoming more and more aware of how much his stomach was growling.


The footsteps disappeared.


“Please don’t go!”  Hutch cried out.


Silence answered him.





Hutch had no idea how much time had passed when the footsteps returned.  He thought they sounded different.


“I really need some food,” he tried again.


His nose and mouth were smothered in a strong, sweet smell.





“I’ve missed something,” Starsky said, pacing wearily around Dobey’s office.  “I have to go back out there.”


Dobey’s expression was grim.  “I guess it can’t hurt.  Nothing else is turning.”  He reached to answer his ringing phone.


The abandoned building on the eastern edge of the county was where they had assumed Hutch had gone, since the imprint of the address was left on the notepad next to Hutch’s phone, after Hutch had apparently torn off the top sheet.  They hadn’t found Hutch’s car.


Starsky turned to his desk, where he reached for aspirin to soothe his pounding headache.  He knew the aspirin was merely treating a symptom for which only a few good nights of sleep could cure.  But he hadn’t gotten more than a few hours of sleep the past four days combined.  Hutch was out there… somewhere.


After swallowing a cup of water, Starsky grabbed his jacket and headed for the door.


“STARSKY!”  came from Dobey’s office.


Starsky trotted back toward his superior.


Dobey was still on the phone and gestured for Starsky to come near.  He was scribbling on a note pad.  “What’s the address there?”


While Starsky waited breathlessly, Dobey put his hand over the phone just long enough to say, “Hutch is in a hospital.”


Starsky almost sagged with relief.  And then his stomach twisted with concern.  What was Hutch’s condition?


Dobey was nodding.  “Some clothes, right.  We’ll see to it.”


Hutch needed clothes?  He was well enough to leave?


“All right,” Dobey said into the phone, “thank you so much.  David Starsky will be there within an hour.”  He slammed the phone down while Starsky stood next to his desk, leaning toward his superior.  “Hutch is at Cranston Memorial Hospital out on 101st and Lakeside, in Townsville.”


“That’s in the general area of that abandoned building.”


Dobey nodded.  “He was found this morning, on the side of the road by a motorist, naked and unconscious.  He was taken by ambulance to the hospital.  They’re still examining him, but so far it looks like he’s in pretty good shape.  Once he regained consciousness, he told them who he was and to call us.  They expect to release him by the time you get there.”  Dobey tore off the paper on his notepad and handed it to Starsky.  “See a Dr. Phillip Holben in Emergency.  They said it would be good if you can bring some clothes for Hutch.”


Starsky stared at the paper.  What happened to you, buddy?  Naked and unconscious?


He started toward the door, extreme relief battling with all the questions in his mind.


“Starsky, let me know as soon as you have some details.”


“Right.”  Starsky rushed out the door.


He stopped at his apartment, because it was on the way.  He grabbed underclothes, a jogging outfit, socks, and a pair of slippers.  Then he headed toward the eastern outskirts of the country, toward Townsville.  He had planned on going there, anyway, before the phone call from the hospital.


He had to be correct, then, that the abandoned building that Hutch had gone to had something to do with his disappearance.  If Hutch were conscious, and apparently mostly okay, then he would be able to reveal what had happened.


Starsky felt relief that this mystery would soon be over.  Hutch would be home safe and sound, and Starsky would be able to catch up on some badly needed sleep.





Starsky put the mars light on the roof, so he could speed down the highway.  He cut the normally 50-minute trip down to half an hour.


This part of the county was sparsely populated, and the hospital was small and only two stories high.  Starsky rushed to the entrance that said “Emergency”, carrying a duffle bag. 


To the receptionist, he said, “I’m here to see Dr. Phillip Holben about a patient that was brought in this morning, Ken Hutchinson?  He’s expecting me.  David Starsky.”


“One moment,” she said, picking up a phone.  “Tell Dr. Holben that David Starsky is here.”  When she hung up, she said, “He’ll be right out.”


Starsky paced in a small circle, and then saw a physician approaching.


The physician held out his hand.  “David Starsky?”


“Yes.”  Starsky shook his hand.


“I’m Dr. Holben.  Your partner is doing very well medically.”


“What do you mean, medically?”


“Apparently, he was abducted a few days ago and subjected to some sort of sensory deprivation.  He also had his hands and feet tied for a prolonged period of time, so he was allowed virtually no movement.  We’ve treated him for some ulcerations that are commonly called bed sores.  They were in the early stages, so I’m not expecting any complications.”


Starsky was trying to get his mind past “sensory deprivation”.  That sounded like torture.  “What else?”


“His wrists and ankles have been badly bruised and lacerated from being bound, but they should heal without any problem.  That’s the extent of his injuries.  He’s denied being drugged, and the initial urinalysis supports that.  He tells us that he was knocked out with chloroform when he was originally abducted, and then when he was released.”


Who? Starsky wondered.  Why?  But the doctor wouldn’t know the answer to such questions.


Holben said, “According to him, he was denied food during his captivity – only given juice – and he’s had a meal since he’s been here.  He’ll probably have quite an appetite for a few days.”  He paused for questions.


Worriedly, Starsky asked, “The sensory deprivation… how has that affected him?”


“He’s only been here a few hours.  We haven’t witnessed any particular affects, except he seems eager to interact with the hospital staff.  If you notice changes in his behavior, he should be evaluated out by a psychiatrist.”  Holben hesitated a moment.  “He’s resistant to lying down, especially on his back, because he’s been lying down so long, but it’s difficult for him to stand for a prolonged period, because his muscles are weakened.  So, he’s been a bit restless, though fully cooperative.  It shouldn’t take him long to get his sea legs back.”


Starsky was trying to take that all in.  “Can I see him?”


“Certainly,” Holben replied, turning to lead the way down the hall.  “He’s asked a couple of times to make sure we’d called you.  We’ve finished treating him, so he can leave.”


Starsky felt a flare of anger that he hadn’t been called as soon as Hutch had been found.  But if Hutch had been naked, then that meant there wouldn’t have been a wallet with emergency contact information.  The hospital had needed to wait until Hutch regained consciousness to find out who he was.


I’m here now, buddy.  What the hell happened?  Why would someone remove your clothes?


Starsky took heart in the fact that Dr. Holben hadn’t said anything about sexual assault, and surely Hutch would have been examined for such, considering his captivity.


The doctor pushed open a door, and there was Hutch, wearing a white gown, standing next to a gurney while leaning back against it, talking to a nurse.


Holben entered and said to Hutch, “I believe you were waiting for this gentleman?”


Hutch’s head turned, and his relief upon seeing his partner made Starsky’s throat tight.


“Hutch…,” Starsky began, moving to him and grabbing his shoulder in a tight squeeze.


Hutch turned and threw his arms around Starsky, one hand trying to get a grip at the back of Starsky’s shoulder.


The embrace had a fragility that told of Hutch’s weakness, but there was no mistaking the eager welcome and relief.


Starsky dropped the duffle bag to the floor and slowly placed his own arms around Hutch, surprised that his partner was being so demonstrative in front of others.  Usually, moments such as this were reserved for when they had privacy together.


Starsky felt the bandages at the back of Hutch’s shoulder blades, through the ties of the open-backed gown, that covered the bed sores.  He assumed there were more along Hutch’s buttocks.


He reached up and put one had against the back of Hutch’s head, encouraging it to rest against his shoulder.  “I’m right here,” he whispered.  “Right here.”


When the arms around him showed no sign of letting up, Starsky placed his face against the crook of Hutch’s neck and shoulder and closed his eyes.  Sensory deprivation… take all the contact you need, pal.  “Not goin’ nowhere,” Starsky muttered.


The grip eased, but the embrace held.


That’s my Hutch.


After another moment, Starsky said, “I’ve brought some clothes from my place.  You ready to get dressed?”


Slowly, Hutch straightened, finally dropping his arms.  Then he nodded.


Starsky held onto Hutch’s arm with one hand, while grabbing the duffel bag and placing it on the gurney.  It was only then that he noticed they were alone in the room.


As Starsky unzipped the duffel bag, he asked, “Hutch, who?”


Hutch shook his head.  “I don’t know.  Was blindfolded the whole time.  They never spoke.”


“There was more than one?”


“I don’t think so.  Especially not after I was tied up.”


Starsky removed briefs from the bag and handed them to Hutch.  “What did they want?”


“Don’t know,” Hutch muttered.  Then he made brief noises of pain as he slowly bent low enough that he could pick up his feet and place them through the underwear.


Starsky put a supportive hand on Hutch’s lower back.  “You’re really hurting, aren’t you?”


Hutch slowly pulled the briefs up his legs, his breath tight.  “Trust me, it’s a good hurt.  It’s better than hurting from not being able to move at all.”  He straightened and released a breath.


Starsky handed him the sweat pants.  “Is the doctor prescribing a muscle relaxant or something?”


Hutch went through the same slow motion with the sweat pants.  “We discussed it.  I decided to pass, at least for now.  If it gets to be too much,” Hutch grunted while getting his second leg through the pants, “I can always have him prescribe something then.”  Once Hutch had straightened again, he said softly, “Seriously, buddy, I’d rather be feeling something right now.”


Starsky released a sigh, convinced that Hutch’s words had nothing to do with stubbornness or a macho trip.  He grabbed socks and house slippers from the bag.  “Let me do this.”


He knelt at Hutch’s feet and, careful of the bandage at his ankle, lifted the first foot and propped the heel on his knee, and then pulled a sock over it.  A house slipper followed.


Hutch rested a hand on his shoulder when Starsky tended to the second foot.


Starsky briefly clasped Hutch’s hand while straightening.  “Turn around and I’ll get the ties.”


Hutch turned to one side, his weight leaning against his arm on the gurney.


Thankfully, the gown was tied with bow ties that had yet to morph into knots.  Starsky was able to loosen them quickly, and then worked the smock off Hutch’s arms.  He handed Hutch the sweatshirt.


Hutch put his arms through the sleeves, and then drew in a tight breath as he lifted the shirt enough to get his head through the opening.


Starsky reached to help lower the cloth around Hutch’s torso. 


Hutch leaned against the gurney and exhaled a couple of heavy breaths.  Then he muttered, “I need to sit down a minute.”


Starsky looked around and found a chair with arm rests against one wall.  He pulled it up to the gurney.  “Sit down here.”  He grasped Hutch by the arm.


But rather than slumping in the chair, Hutch slowly sat in it sideways, carefully drawing one knee up.


Starsky realized that it hurt for Hutch to sit on his rear, because of the bed sores.  He leaned down to squeeze Hutch’s shoulder.  “I’ll drive the Torino out front.  It’s not much of a walk from here to the entrance.”


Hutch nodded quickly.  “Yeah, okay.”  He released a heavy breath, and then said more softly, “Just don’t be long, okay?”


Starsky squeezed him again.  “Less than five minutes, buddy.”


Starsky quickly turned and left, knowing the longer he prolonged their brief separation, the longer before they’d be on their way.


As soon as he was in the Torino and had started the motor, Starsky picked up the radio and had Dispatch put him through to Captain Dobey.


“Dobey here.  Starsky?”


Starsky eased the car from its parking space into the lane.  “Yeah, Cap’n.  I’m going to take Hutch to my place so we can both crash for a couple of days.  I’m going to leave the phone off the hook.  He doesn’t know who took him or why, but we haven’t been able to talk much.  He’s in pretty good shape physically, but he was tied up for a long time and it’s really hard for him to move around.  Plus, he was subjected to some kind of sensory deprivation.”


“Sensory deprivation?”


“Yeah.  I don’t know much yet.  I’ll get him to tell me the whole story when he’s had a chance to get his equilibrium.”  And I get some sleep.


“All right, Starsky.  Take the days you need, but keep me posted.”


“Thanks, Cap’n.”


Starsky hung up the radio and pulled in front of the Emergency entrance.


When he returned to Hutch’s treatment room, Holben and a nurse were there, and Hutch had a clipboard balanced on the arm of the chair, as he signed the bottom of a paper.


“Now your release is official,” Dr. Holben said.  “Take care, you two.”


“Thanks, Doc,” Hutch said.


The doctor left, but the nurse remained and began cleaning up the room.


Starsky reached out to Hutch.  “You think you’re up to standing and walking out of here?”


“Yeah.  I definitely want to do some walking.”


Starsky heard the sincerity in his voice.  “Come on, tiger.”  He bent down, so Hutch could brace against him, and then pull himself out of the chair.


Starsky slipped his arm around Hutch’s waist.  “Hang onto me.”


Hutch did, with a firm grip.


They moved as one, taking small steps.  It seemed easier, the farther they went.


Hutch was breathing hard when they reached the Torino, but he said, “Damn, that felt good.”  He was leaning against the roof as Starsky opened the door.


“You mean walking?” Starsky asked.


“Yeah.  For a while there, I was starting to wonder if I’d ever be allowed to again.”


Starsky swallowed as he held Hutch’s arm, while Hutch carefully lowered himself into the passenger seat.  Starsky closed the door and went around to the driver’s side.  As he got in, he saw that Hutch was leaning heavily against the door, and trying to draw his knees up onto the seat.


Starsky turned the ignition.


Once they were off the hospital grounds, Hutch quietly said, “I wasn’t hurt, Starsk.  I mean, whoever it was, he didn’t do anything to me directly, to deliberately hurt me.”


Starsky muttered, “He just wouldn’t let you move or talk or see….”


“I could talk,” Hutch said.  “I wasn’t gagged.  But no matter what I said, for the entire time, he never responded.  Ever.  To anything.  It was like I was talking to myself.”  Hutch abruptly asked, “This is Friday morning?”


“Yeah.  You’ve been gone since Monday morning.”


“I had no sense of time,” Hutch continued in the same quiet tone.  “I had no idea how much time had passed.  Except I started to get really hungry.  Speaking of which, I could really use a cheeseburger.”


“I’ll hit a drive thru.”  Starsky spotted one in the distance.  “What about relieving yourself?  Were you untied for that?”


He heard a thick swallow.  “No.”  Hutch bowed his head.  “I had to piss on myself.”


Ah, babe


“I-I-I’ll tell you everything later,” Hutch said.  Then, “Buddy?”


Starsky looked over at him.  “Yeah?”


“You need to crash.  I know that.  Let’s keep our priorities straight.”


Starsky turned into the drive thru.  He glanced at his watch and saw that it was going on eleven.  The joint ought to be cooking burgers by now.


He ordered double cheeseburgers for both of them, as well as a large fries for Hutch and drinks for them both.


After they received their order, Starsky parked in the lot.  He handed Hutch a burger, and then quickly bit into his.  He wanted to get home as soon as possible, but he didn’t want to drive while eating.  He was operating on less than a full deck, as it was.


Through the corner of his eye, he noticed that Hutch was chewing slowly, as though savoring every bite.


Ah, Hutch, there’s plenty more where that came from.


Starsky said, “I was going to head back out this way this morning, to that abandoned building you went to.  We saw the imprint of the address you’d scribbled on the notepad next to your phone.  Since you were found just a few miles from there, I’ll bet anything you were being held in the general area.”  Starsky gulped down the last of the burger, and then started the motor.


“I don’t know,” Hutch said.  “I was chloroformed as soon as I entered the building, so I have no idea how far I was taken.  And then chloroformed again… whenever whoever it was decided they were done with me.  Then I woke up in the hospital.”


As Starsky drove, he grabbed a few fries from the container between the seats and shoved them into his mouth. 


“The sensory deprivation thing,” Hutch said with a distant expression, “I’m not sure it was intentional.  I mean, I don’t know that torture was the intent.”


“Then what was the intent?” Starsky asked.


“I-I don’t know.  I was never able to figure it out.  And with whoever not ever saying a word….”  He trailed off, and then took the last bite of his burger.


Starsky accelerated onto the highway, feeling how gritty his eyes were as he focused on the road.  Finally, he asked, “Does anything about it make sense to you?”




“But you obviously weren’t a random victim.  You were deliberately called out to that area.”


“Yeah.  I’ve tried to examine it every way imaginable.”  Hutch swallowed heavily.  “Nothing makes any sense.”


Starsky reached over to clasp Hutch’s forearm, behind the bandage.  “Thank God they let you go, and you’re reasonably healthy.”  He released a heavy breath.  “I wasn’t getting anywhere, Hutch.”


“We’ll figure it out, buddy.  I know we will.”  Then, with a hint of amusement, Hutch said, “Just don’t fall asleep at the wheel before we make it to your place.”


Starsky was glad that Hutch had assumed that’s where they were headed.  It was closer than Hutch’s apartment.


He wanted to keep conversation going, if only to help him stay awake.  “I want you to take the bed, so you can be comfortable.”


After a long moment, Hutch said, “I will if you’re in it.”


Starsky looked over at him, trying to gauge the level of humor.  There was none.


Hutch quietly said, “We both need something.  You know we do, after something like this.”


Yeah, okay.  Starsky just wasn’t used to them saying it out loud. 


He wouldn’t be able to sleep, after the stress of spending an intensive four days searching for Hutch, unless he could have the assurance of Hutch’s nearness and well-being.  And after what he’d been through, and that long embrace at the hospital, Hutch obviously needed some kind of sustained contact for his own reasons.


Starsky asked, “Did you get enough to eat?”


“I’m still working on the fries.”  Hutch inserted a few into his mouth.


“I’m not sure what I have at home.  But I don’t want to stop first to get groceries.”


“I don’t either.”


Starsky sipped his cola, hoping the caffeine would kick in quickly.   After a time, he asked, “How long do you think you were at the hospital before you woke up?”


“Probably not long.  Certainly no more than an hour.  They had me on an IV and were treating my bedsores.  Had me on my side.  Felt so weird, being in a position other than stretched out on my back.  But what a relief.  I felt almost giddy.  Knowing it was all over, you know?”


“Yeah,” Starsky said quietly.  He swallowed.  “Wish I would have been there to find you.  Been there when you realized you were safe.”  That was my right.


With gentle amusement, Hutch asked, “Would it help to know that I couldn’t wait until you arrived at the hospital?”


Starsky glanced over at Hutch with a smile, and suddenly realized that his own emotions were close to the surface.  He looked back out the windshield.


Hutch ate a fry.  Then he said, in a low voice, “Some things I didn’t tell them at the hospital.  There was no reason to, medically.”


Starsky tried to blink away the grit in his eyes.  “Yeah?”




After a long moment, Hutch said, “I’ll tell you later.”


And then he was quiet.





Hutch was in the middle of Starsky’s bed, under the covers, which felt so good, as an arrangement of pillows were between him and the headboard.  He was sitting partially up, his legs curled beneath him, his shoulder leaning against the pillows.  He knew that he presented an awkward picture, but it seemed like such a luxury to have his arms and legs curled near his body, rather than stretched out, and not to have his weight directly on his rear or back.


Starsky emerged from the bathroom, rubbing vigorously at his hair with a towel, the rest of him nude.  He glanced up briefly to ask, “Did they wash you up at the hospital?”


Hutch grunted.  “In more ways than one.”


Starsky pulled the towel away and blinked.


Considering his partner’s extreme fatigue, Hutch elaborated.  “Gave me an enema.  They were concerned that I hadn’t taken a crap since before the abduction.”  Despite the unpleasant procedure, he had felt better afterward.


Starsky tossed the towel aside and went to his chest of drawers.   He pulled out a pair of pajamas bottoms and stepped into them.  Then he opened the drawer with T-shirts and pulled one over his head.


Hutch pushed the covers back on Starsky’s side of the bed, as best he could without having to move much.


Starsky staggered toward the bed and maneuvered beneath them.  He settled onto his back with a heavy sigh, leaving the covers down to waist.


Hutch considered the inviting sight of Starsky’s chest and shoulder.  As comfortable as he was at the moment, he wanted what they offered, and knew that Starsky needed it, too.


With the daylight outside the curtained window, the room had plenty of light.  Starsky looked up at Hutch.  “You wanna come closer?”


Hutch did.  He had to figure out how to move his limbs, and then shifted down to the mattress.  It didn’t hurt as much as he’d expected; thankfully, his muscles were becoming accustomed to moving around again.  He ended up with his head on Starsky’s cotton-clad chest, his hand resting on his partner’s stomach.


Starsky’s arm came around him.  “Hutch,” he said as an endearment.  With his other hand, he pulled the covers up around them.


Hutch closed his eyes, feeling the comforting rise and fall of Starsky’s chest.  Starsky’s thumb rubbed against his sweatshirt for a few moments.  Then all went still.




Hands were fondling his penis.  Hutch didn’t like that, and he startled awake.


He was in Starsky’s bedroom.  It was still daylight.  The steady rise and fall of his partner’s chest beneath his cheek told of the other’s deep sleep.


Hutch didn’t need sleep, but he didn’t want his restlessness to disturb his partner.  He closed his eyes.





Hutch hated what was being done to him.  He hated that he liked it.  He hated that he wanted more, but he wished so much that he would be touched elsewhere.  Just to reassure him that something about him existed besides his cock.


When Hutch’s eyes came open, he gazed at the wall for a long time.  He thought that it was now late afternoon.


Starsky had shifted some and rolled more toward him, leaving Hutch’s cheek resting rather awkwardly against the sides of Starsky’s rib cage.


Hutch decided to risk moving.  He gathered his courage, and then shifted back.  The pain of his muscles was tolerable.  The bed was taking most of his weight, so he let his cheek rest against the softness of Starsky’s belly.


He wanted this to all be okay.  For it not to change how Starsky felt about him, when he told him.  He couldn’t think of a reason why it would change Starsky’s feelings, but he couldn’t shake the sense of insecurity the thought brought.





The next time Hutch woke from the memory of being fondled, he carefully shifted to lie on his stomach.  That felt good, because it was so different, but to be comfortable he needed to be facing away from Starsky.  He must have dozed off, because when he was aware again, it was dark, and Starsky was using the small of his back for a pillow.


Hutch focused on that weight.  He remembered, when he was captive, that he had fantasized about Starsky finding him and holding him, and making it all okay.  Starsky’s presence always did that.


He hoped it would this time, too.





Hutch’s eyes opened to semi-darkness.  Some lights were on in the living area.  He heard movement.


He was alone in the bed.  He gathered is limbs beneath him and moved to the edge of the mattress.  Then he got up and went to the john to relieve himself.  When he was finished, he considered whether he wanted to return to bed.  He didn’t have any desire for more sleep, but he liked how comfortable all the softness and warmth felt.


He got back beneath the covers.


A moment later, a silhouette appeared at the bedroom entrance.  “Hutch?”




“I’m gonna get the light.”  A moment later, a lamp came on next to the bed.  It was on the lowest setting.  Starsky sat on the edge of the mattress, wearing a robe.  “What would you like me to bring you to eat and drink?”


Hutch considered juice, but the idea made his stomach churn.  “Just water.  What do you have to eat?  Anything fresh?”  He could really use a salad right now.   The idea of all those different flavors….


“Chips.  Crackers.   Some lunch meat and cheese.  I think there’s a couple of oranges in the crisper.”


“A sandwich and an orange.”


“Coming right up.”  Starsky turned away.


Hutch settled into the pillows on his side.  A glance at the clock showed that it was going on nine.  He was glad that Starsky had slept so many hours.  His partner could probably use quite a few more.


Hutch let his mind drift.  It seemed, when he wasn’t thinking of anything specific, his memory went right to the sensation of unwanted hands fondling him.  He hoped that once he told Starsky about it, the image would lose its hold.


Starsky brought in a plate and glass of water.  He put the water on the nightstand, and then handed Hutch the plate.


“Thanks,” Hutch said.  “Does Dobey know I’m here?”  He bit into the sandwich.


“Yeah, I updated him from the parking lot of the hospital.  He said to take a few days, if we need to.”


Starsky sat on the mattress, leaning back against the headboard.  “When you’re finished, I need you to tell me everything.  Including the parts you didn’t tell the doctor.”


Hutch nodded and chewed more slowly.


“I’ve had the phone off the hook, so we aren’t disturbed.”


Always, it seemed, everything came down to just the two of them.


Hutch found it difficult to swallow the last part of the sandwich.  He reached for the water and took a long swallow.


Starsky gazed at Hutch a long moment, and then said, “You seem to be moving around better.”


“Yeah.”  Hutch picked up the orange and began peeling it.


“You kept waking up, didn’t you?”


“Yeah.  Wasn’t that tired to begin with.  Had my share of rest.”


“Can’t stop thinking about being there?”


Hutch snorted.  “Wherever ‘there’ was.”  He tore of a section of orange and placed it in his mouth.  It tasted good.  He hadn’t been given orange juice while captive.


Starsky reached over, his hand landing behind Hutch’s knee.  His fingers rubbed gently through the sweats.


How much Hutch would have given, these past four days, to have had that small touch.


Now, it would be one of many he could count on to be there.  Whenever he wanted them.


His throat thickened.  He put the plate, with the remainder of the orange, on the far side of the mattress from him and Starsky.


Starsky reached to the nightstand and grabbed a paper towel.  “Here.”


Hutch wiped his mouth and dabbed at his mustache.  He wiped his hands, but he knew they were still a little sticky and smelled like orange.  He tossed the paper aside, toward the plate.


Starsky handed him the glass of water.


Hutch drank the rest of it and handed it back.


Starsky put the glass on the nightstand.


Starsky took off his robe and got back beneath the covers.  He looked over at Hutch expectantly.  “Want to come over here?”  More softly, he asked, “Or do you need to some space to tell me what happened?”


Hutch swallowed thickly and said in a near whisper, “I’ve had too much space lately.”


Starsky grabbed one of the pillows Hutch was resting sideways against, causing Hutch to straighten.  Starsky pushed the covers back and put the pillow on his lap.  He gently took Hutch’s arm.  “Lie down here.  You’ll probably want to roll toward me, so you don’t hurt your sores.”


Hutch shifted down to Starsky’s lap, resting his head on the pillow, and being just enough on his side that his weight didn’t press on his wounds.


Starsky bunched the covers against Hutch’s back, giving him support, the top coverlet partially covering his head.


Starsky clasped Hutch’s hand and let their combined fist rest against Hutch’s chest.


“Start with Monday morning,” Starsky said.  His other hand brushed Hutch’s bangs back from his forehead.


The tenderness in the gesture made Hutch swallow. 


“I-I had told you about the call we got from Freedman, regarding the Juniper murder, and you were going to check it out, since you were still on your way in.”  Hutch abruptly wondered, “Did anything come of that?”


“It sounded like Freedman had some good information, but Simmons and Babcock eventually took over the case, once it was apparent you were missing.  So, I don’t know what’s become of it.”


Hutch drew a breath.  “Within ten minutes after I’d talked to you about you dropping by Freedman’s, I got another phone call.  A man said he had information on the Juniper murder.  I’m sure I asked who he was, but all he gave me was an address.  I didn’t give it a thought.  I just yelled at Dobey that I was following up another lead, out near Townsville.  And I took off to the address the caller had given me.”


Hutch gave himself a moment to make sure his facts were straight.  “On the way, I started realizing that something was odd about getting the lead.  I mean, the Juniper case wasn’t even twelve hours old, there was nothing in the press yet, and here a guy way out on the eastern edge of the county was saying he had information about it.  Some part of me knew that it didn’t make sense, but I was hardly going to look a gift horse in the mouth.”


Starsky’s fingers rubbed gently at Hutch’s hairline.


“When I got to the address, it was an abandoned building, sort of off by itself.”  He looked up at Starsky.  “You know about it, right?”


“Yeah,” Starsky said,  “By the end of the day, no one had heard from you and no one knew where you’d gone.  That’s when I knew something was wrong.  The notepad you’d written the address on was beside the phone, and the imprint was on the next sheet, after you’d torn off the top one.  I, you know, put a blank piece of paper over it, and ran a pencil over the impressions, so that the white impressions spelled out an address.”


Hutch managed a grin.  How clever his partner was.


“Go ahead,” Starsky encouraged.


“When I got to the building, I looked inside the windows and it didn’t look like anyone was around.  So, I thought I’d wait a while for the caller to show up.  But then I heard noises from inside the building, so I thought maybe he was already inside.  Looking back, I guess they were trying to lure me in.  I turned the door handle, and it wasn’t locked, so I walked right in.  It was pretty dark.  And then arms grabbed me from behind and I realized I was being smothered in chloroform.  I tried like hell to fight, and I was able to get away, but I knew it was too late and I was passing out.”


“How many people do you think there were?” Starsky asked.


“One or two.  I keep thinking two, but when I really think about it, it could have been just one.  If so, he was really strong.  Even with the element of surprise, I feel like I could have fought off an ordinary man.”


“Sounds like you did fight him off, but you were already overwhelmed by the chloroform.”


“Yeah,” Hutch said distantly.  He swallowed again.  “I remember my last thought was, ‘They want me alive.’  Otherwise, why would they have bothered, you know?”


Hutch’s hand was squeezed.


He said, “I have no idea how much longer it was when I woke up.  But I was lying on some board on something.  Completely naked.  Just cold enough to be uncomfortable.  My hands were stretched out above me, but tied separately – not together.  My feet were stretched out in front of me, tied.  I couldn’t see anything, and after a while I figured out that I was blindfolded.  I couldn’t hear anything for a long time.”


Hutch made a point of relaxing into the pillow.  “I kept thinking that I should be able to get at least one of my hands free, if I concentrated hard enough.  But I couldn’t ever seem to figure out the loops.  They weren’t tight enough to hurt my circulation, but it felt like the way I’d been tied was complicated.  Like somebody really knew what they were doing.”


Hutch considered the rope aspect for a moment longer, and then Starsky squeezed his hand again.


Hutch released a breath.  “I have no idea how much time passed, but eventually I heard footsteps.  Soft footsteps.  One person.  They stuck a straw in my mouth.  I was apple juice, I think.  When they took it away, I started trying to talk to them, ask questions.  No matter what I said, they didn’t answer.  Didn’t react.  Didn’t make a sound.  Nothing.  And then – ” 


Hutch felt his throat closing.  He really hadn’t thought it would be difficult to say what happened next.  He took a deep breath.


Starsky hand slowly, gently pushed back through his hair.  “It’s okay, Hutch,” he said softly.  “I’m right here.  You can tell me.”


Hutch closed his eyes.  He imagined the unwanted hands on him.


Starsky put his own hand inside the back of Hutch’s sweat shirt, at the neckline, and rubbed across the back of his neck, and the tops of his shoulders.


Those were hands he wanted.


Hutch kept his eyes closed.  “Next thing I know, there’s hands on my cock.  Just playing with it.  Just a minute or two.  Then they left.”


The hand moved from his shoulders to cup his cheek.


Hutch swallowed thickly and opened his eyes, looking up at Starsky.


Starsky’s eyes shone with compassion.  In the softest of whispers, he said, “I’m sorry, Hutch.”


Hutch was determined to maintain the eye contact.  “After a while, I needed to piss really bad.  I yelled, but nobody came.  I don’t know if anyone was even around.  So, I pissed on myself.”


Starsky’s thumb gently rubbed along his cheek.


“Later, long enough later for it to have dried, I heard the footsteps again.  Next thing I know, there’s a straw in my mouth, and this time it’s some sort of over-sweetened raspberry crap.  So, I’m thinking, they obviously want me to stay alive.  I tried talking again, first really gentle, and then really angry.  Nothing.  No sound.  No reaction.  Then the next thing I know, there’s a cold washcloth or something.  Wet.  Cleaning up the piss.  Only the cloth touched me, never a hand.  And then when it went away, the hands started playing with my cock again.  Just a little bit.  Not like trying to arouse me, but just… playing.”


Hutch’s eyes had lowered, and he made a point of looking up at Starsky again.  “It went on like that.  It seemed like a long time between the footsteps.  But whenever they came, they always cleaned me up and then played with me.  Sometimes gave me something to drink.  At first, I was really nervous about the touches escalating, but they only touched my cock.  Not even my balls.  And then…,”  Hutch abruptly closed his eyes and looked away, burying his face into the pillow.


He knew he couldn’t hide from Starsky.  But it was so hard facing up to the facts.


Both hands took him by the shoulders, massaged deeply, fingers digging in.  Loving.  Reassuring.


“Hutch,” Starsky said tenderly, “whatever happened, it’s not your fault.  You know this is sexual assault.”


Hutch drew a deep breath.  “I know.”


Starsky’s fingers eased.  Now they petted along Hutch’s back.  The other hand furrowed through the strands of his hair.  “Take as long as you need.”


If he did, Starsky wouldn’t able to be that patient.  Still, Hutch appreciated the words.


He opened his eyes but wouldn’t look at Starsky.  “I-I started looking forward to the visits.  The touch of the hands.  Because it was the only interaction I had with another person.  I started getting a little aroused, because the hands started becoming bolder. B-But they never reached the point of deliberately trying to arouse me.  I mean,” he looked up at Starsky, “if the intent was to torture me, they could have easily done that by stroking me to a full hard-on, and then leaving me without any way of getting relief.”


Starsky’s expression was puzzled.  “It doesn’t make any sense.”




“Then what happened?”


“Nothing else, really.  At one point, the footsteps came into the room.  I was expecting to feel the cold washcloth.  But instead, a cloth was placed over my nose and mouth and I smelled the chloroform, and I remember thinking that I hoped that it meant I was going to be moved.  Because I was afraid I was going to lose it, mentally, not being able to do anything, except shift maybe half an inch.  And then I came to in the hospital, and I knew it was over.”  There were no words to adequately express the relief he’d felt.


After a long moment, Starsky said, “It’s hard to believe this has anything to do with the Juniper case.”


“Yeah.  And the more I’ve thought about it, I don’t think the caller referred to the Juniper case.  I think they just said something about a murder, and I assumed they meant the Juniper case.”


“But they wanted you, for some reason.”


Hutch said, “Maybe.  Or maybe not?  Anybody calling into the PD and asking for a homicide detective can be put through to our extension.  I-I can’t imagine why anybody would want to do that to me.  Go through all that just to play with my cock.  I mean, if somebody wanted to get me out of the way for a few days, they could have gone through a lot less trouble.  And if somebody wanted to harm me, demean me, there’s a lot worse things they could have done, while I was so helpless.”  Hutch released a heavy breath.  “That’s the hardest part.  Not understanding why, let alone who.”


Starsky drew his own deep breath.  “Hutch, do you think it was a man or a woman that was playing with you?”


Hutch’s eyes darted to his  “I assumed it was a man.  A woman couldn’t have kidnapped me, unless she had help.”  Hutch’s mind went back to the hands.  He said, in a small voice, “It never occurred to me that it could be a woman.  They felt like large hands.  But why would a man have been so timid?”  Hutch shook his head.  “Nothing about it makes any sense at all.  Including whoever they were just up and leaving me by the side of the road.”


Starsky was thoughtful.  “Is it possible that this could have been a one-man show all the way through?”


“Possible, I suppose,” Hutch said.  “But he would have had to be large enough and strong enough to move me around by himself.” 


“That eliminates a lot of people.”  After a moment, Starsky said, “How about you and I drive out to that abandoned building tomorrow and take a look?  We may as well take a look around the surrounding area while we’re out there.  Who knows, that area is sparsely populated enough that we may be able to find out where you were held.”


“Yeah,” Hutch said, grateful to be thinking like a cop again, “I’d like that.  That’s the worst thing about this – not knowing.”


After a long moment, Starsky said, “But first, we’ll stop at the station and fill out a report.  You need to reveal everything, Hutch, in case this is happening to other people.”


“I know.”  Hutch hadn’t intended otherwise.


Starsky clasped Hutch cheek and prompted Hutch’s eyes to meet his own.  “Buddy, I know there’s a lot worse things that could have happened to you, but whoever it was had no right.”


Hutch snorted.  “You know, it’s probably every man’s dream to have someone want nothing from them, except to play with their cock.  Well, I’ve got first hand experience that that fantasy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”


Starsky’s eyes narrowed.  “They didn’t want nothing from you.  They wanted to keep you tied up and unable to defend yourself.  And deny you any human interaction whatsoever, except the sexual assault.”


Hutch didn’t reply, but he was glad that Starsky wasn’t blowing the incident off.  Not that Hutch had thought he would.


It was so comfortable, lying there with Starsky’s compassion.  But Hutch said, “Buddy?  I need to get up and move around.”


“Yeah,” Starsky said with a sigh.  He began pushing the covers back.


Hutch slowly untangled his limbs, and then moved to sit at the edge of the bed.


Starsky did likewise.  Just as Hutch was starting to rise, especially since he felt the pain of his sores, Starsky pleaded, “Give me sec.”


He sat next to Hutch, so that their hips were touching, and put his arm around Hutch’s waist.


Starsky rubbed his cheek against Hutch’s shoulder.  “Wish that wouldn’t have happened to you.”  Then he said, “It just feels so unfinished right now.  You weren’t able to escape, I wasn’t able to find you, and yet you’re safe and mostly sound, I guess because whoever it was decided to let you go?”


“Yeah,” Hutch agreed softly.  “Everything about it feels strange.  Out of synch.”


Starsky slowly rubbed his hand along Hutch’s back.  “I’m glad you’re all right.  I’m glad you were able to tell me everything.”


Hutch’s mouth corner twitched as he glanced at Starsky.  “If not you, who?


Starsky patted his back.  “Yeah.  Let’s keep it that way.  Me and thee.”


Hutch looked fully at Starsky, a dozen thoughts running through his mind about this man, and all that he was.


“What?” Starsky beckoned after a moment.  “What is it?”


Hutch swallowed, holding Starsky’s gaze.  “Just thinking about how dependent I am on you, for so much.  It’s almost scary sometimes.  Even when I was captive, I, you know,” Hutch looked away, “was fantasizing about you rescuing me.  Even though I had no idea how you could possibly find me.  Fantasizing about… about how warm it would feel, when we were reunited.”


Quietly, Starsky said, “Most people aren’t facing what we do every day, Hutch.  Most people aren’t being shot at and have dozens of people wishing they could take revenge against them.  Most don’t have to deal with society’s worst.”  He clasped Hutch’s hand.  “We’re entitled, Hutch.  We get to have what most people don’t have because it’s necessary for us to stay alive and maintain our sanity.”


Abruptly, Hutch asked, “What about for reasons of just plain ‘I love you’?”  He turned his head to watch Starsky’s reaction.


Starsky grinned at him, and then ducked his head bashfully.  “I guess there’s that, too.”


Hutch squeezed Starsky’s thigh and then stood somewhat unsteadily.  He took a few steps, and knew that walking was going to be okay.  He was relieved to have full use of his muscles back so quickly.


Starsky followed him to the living area.  “You hungry again?”


“Actually, what I’d really like to do is take a walk.”


“It’s kind of late for that.  Kind of nippy out, too, I bet.”


“It doesn’t matter.”


“’Kay.  Let me get on some sweats.”


Hutch followed Starsky back to the bedroom.  “You know something, Starsk?  My clothes had everything.  My wallet.  My checkbook.  My keys.  My badge.”  Abruptly, he asked, “Do you know what happened to my car?”


“Hasn’t been found,” Starsky said, pulling on a pair of sweats.  “You know, that’s all the weirder.  Why go through the trouble of getting rid of your car, if they’re going to let you go, anyway?”


Hutch sighed.  “Yeah.”





Within a matter of minutes, Starsky decided that he liked the idea that they were taking a walk.  For one thing, it kept at bay the anger regarding what had happened to Hutch.


They moved at a leisurely pace, their hands around each other’s waists, along the sidewalk beneath the street lamps.


“You seem to be moving just fine,” Starsky said.


“Yeah, I’m okay, buddy.”  Hutch released Starsky, and slowly raised his arms above his head.  “It just hurts to stretch out like this – mentally as much as physically.”  He dropped his arms.


Starsky hooked his thumb in the pocket of the jacket he’d loaned Hutch.  “After what happened, do you think you’ll be okay about a date touching you?”


“Yeah, I think so.  It was the not knowing who it was, or what they wanted, and having no control over what was happening, that was so upsetting.  That’s not going to be the situation with a date.”


Starsky was glad that Hutch saw it that way.  “Yeah.”


They had moved out of the residential streets and a convenience store was up ahead.  Starsky said, “Hey, how about I pull some cash out of the machine, so you have some money?”




When they arrived, Starsky took a hundred dollars out of the ATM and gave it to Hutch.  He hoped that would last him until he got his finances sorted out, which would probably mean getting new bank and credit card accounts.  They didn’t get paid again for another ten days.


Hutch said, “Guess what the first thing is that I want to spend my money on?”




Hutch indicated the IHOP restaurant that was a couple of blocks farther up.  “They serve their full menu all twenty-four hours, right?  I’ve got a serious craving for a salad.”


Starsky said, “I don’t know how fresh it’s going to be, at this late hour.”  But he was pleased to see Hutch’s enthusiasm.


“We’ll find out.”


They walked briskly to the IHOP.  They were seated immediately, since patrons were scarce, and Hutch ordered a chef’s salad without looking at the menu.  Though he wasn’t particularly hungry, Starsky decided on French toast, since he’d always liked how they prepared it.


When their conversation dried up, Hutch got a distant expression.  Starsky ventured, “Can’t stop thinking about it?”


Hutch’s eyes darted to him.  “Yeah.  Every time my mind isn’t specifically focused on something, I’m right back there, not able to move, having no idea what’s going to happen.”


“It’s just takes time,” Starsky said.  He had plenty of his own experience with that, especially after Simon’s cronies.


Hutch released a breath.  “I know.  That’s how it was after I was trapped under my car.  And after….”


He trailed off.  Starsky knew Hutch meant Forest and the heroin incident.  It was something they both tended to avoid mentioning.


Starsky said, “You’re doing real good, Hutch.  Your resiliency is one of things I admire most about you.”


Hutch glanced away and fiddled with some silverware.  “You’re full of flattery tonight.”


“Not flattery.  The truth.”


Hutch ducked his head again.  Starsky thought it was cute.


Their meals were brought.  Starsky waited until Hutch took a few bites, then he asked, “Is it as good as you hoped?”


“Pretty close.”


Starsky picked at his own food, while watching Hutch savoring each bite of his.


When Hutch eventually spoke, it was to say something Starsky hadn’t expected.  “So, we’re entitled, huh?”


Starsky met his eye, processing the statement and where it had originated from.  “I think so.  You don’t?”


Hutch considered a long moment, and then asked, “That kind of dependency doesn’t scare you?”


“Why should it?” Starsky countered.  “What’s wrong with needing somebody?”


Hutch slowly chewed another bite of salad.  Then he said, “Nothing, as long as they’re always there.  That’s the scary part.”  He bowed his head.  “There’s no guarantees.”  Then, more softly, “You know that either of us can get taken out at any time.”


Starsky considered that.  “You’re right.  But I don’t see that as being adequate grounds for taking a step back from each other in the name of not getting too dependent.”


Hutch was thoughtful a long moment, his food forgotten.  Softly, he said, “There was a time when I thought I couldn’t live without Vanessa.”


Starsky drew a breath.  “I’m sure you think you can’t live without me, but you’d survive that, too, if you had to.  But I’m more interested in you and I both doing our damnedest to make sure we stick around to always be there for each other.  That takes courage, too, you know, being willing to love despite the fear of loss.”


Hutch smiled warmly.  “You’ve always had that.”  His tone was one of admiration.


“So have you.”


Hutch’s smile left.  “I question it sometimes, my own courage.”


“Why?  You’ve always taken from me what you’ve needed.  And given me whatever I’ve needed.”


Hutch lowered his eyes and pushed greens around his bowl.


Starsky studied him for a long moment.  He knew Hutch wouldn’t be so reticent if there wasn’t something important that he was afraid to say.  He gently taunted, “You can tell me what was done to you the last few days, but you can’t tell me what you’re thinking right now?”


Hutch put his fork down.  He reached up and ran his fingers along his mustache.  With his eyes lowered, he softly said, “There’s needs, and then there’s wants.”


Starsky took a long moment letting that sink in.  Hutch could be very complicated sometimes, by his own volition if not by necessity.  Starsky functioned best when things were straightforward.  He asked, “What is it you’re wanting that I’m not giving?”


Hutch grabbed his jacket.  “Let’s leave, okay?”


The waitress came by then and Hutch asked for their ticket.


Starsky realized that Hutch might not be avoiding answering, as much as he wanted them to be alone.


Sure enough, after Hutch paid and they were making their exit, Hutch put his hand on the small of Starsky’s back, as though to show he wasn’t trying to run away.


Starsky leaned into Hutch, wallowing in the strength of this man who, early this morning, was lying naked and unconscious by the side of the road.  It made him aware of his own weariness.  Though he’d slept away the afternoon and much of the evening, he needed more sleep still.


Hutch brought them to a halt next to a small neighborhood park.  He leaned back against the far side of a large tree.


Starsky stood close enough to rest his head against Hutch’s shoulder.  “I’m starting to fade out, buddy.  But I want to hear what you were trying to say.”


Quietly, Hutch said, “Sometimes I wish it was always like this.”


Starsky thought he had missed something.  “Like what?”


“Just the two of us.”


Starsky furrowed his brow.  He tilted his head back to look up at Hutch.  “It usually is, most of the time.  Who else do we spend as much time with as each other?”


Hutch’s mouth corner twitched.  “I guess I’m greedy.  Greed isn’t courage.”


Starsky wasn’t sure what else they were supposed to do for each other.  “Well, I suppose we could move in together.  Don’t see how that would make things better though.”


Hutch brushed his fingertips along Starsky’s cheek.  “We would save a lot of gas going to each other’s place.”


“There’s only one bed, Hutch,” Starsky said, feeling reasonable. 


“We both seem to fit in it okay.”


Starsky decided to keep going with the train of thought, because he didn’t know what else he was supposed to say.  “It’d be awfully crowded if one of us had a date.  To say nothing of us both having dates at the same time.”


Hutch seemed amused.  “We don’t seem to have dates all that often, do we?”


“We’d probably have none at all, if girls knew we lived together and slept in the same bed.”


Hutch’s grin was full of affection.  He gently tugged Starsky’s hair.  “You really are beat, aren’t you, buddy?”  He took Starsky by the arm.  “Come on.  Home.  I’ll tuck you in.”


Starsky allowed himself to be led away from the tree, so they were moving down the sidewalk.  There was no one else around, and Hutch was holding his hand.  He wondered if he should feel funny about that, but couldn’t figure out why.





Starsky came to consciousness hours later, listening to sounds of heavy breathing behind him, punctuated with brief, tight groans.  As his eyes opened, and the digital clock said it was 4:27 AM, he assumed Hutch was having a nightmare. 


Starsky abruptly came awake and reached to the lamp.  He turned it on and rolled over.


Hutch looked over at him with distress, his eyes blinking rapidly against the light.


“Hutch, what is it?” Starsky asked, reaching to grip Hutch’s cotton-clad shoulder.


“Leg cramps,” Hutch gasped.  “Can’t move.”


Starsky threw the covers back.  “Where?”


“All over.”  Then Hutch pointed to his left leg.  “My calf.”


Starsky placed a hand on Hutch’s ankle, and with the other he grasped the calf beneath.  It was tight and hard to a shocking degree, and Starsky began to rub briskly.


Hutch gasped and cried out.


Starsky didn’t know what else he could do.  “Ride it out, Hutch.  You have to ride it out.”


“God,” Hutch groaned, looking away with his eyes watering.  Then he reached to his other leg and began rubbing at his thigh.


Starsky felt the muscle begin to loosen, and he flexed Hutch’s foot. 


“The other one,” Hutch gasped.


Starsky moved to the right leg and felt the calf.  It was tight, though not as bad as the left had been.  He rubbed briskly, while also trying to flex Hutch’s foot.


Hutch’s hand eased on his thigh.  He turned his head away again and closed his eyes, releasing heavy breaths.


Starsky could feel Hutch starting to relax.  “Eeeasy, Hutch,” he soothed.  He slowly ran his hand all along Hutch’s leg, massaging with modest pressure.  Then he turned his attention back to the left leg and did the same.


“Thanks,” Hutch whispered, opening his eyes.  Then, “Damn.  I thought I was okay.”


Starsky muttered, “I guess muscles don’t forgive and forget that easily.”  He patted Hutch’s leg, behind his knee.


“It’s all right now,” Hutch said.  “Just came on all of a sudden.  All through my legs.”


Hutch was in underclothes, and Starsky rested his hand on Hutch’s cotton-clad stomach.  “Since we’re both up, how about we run a hot bath and let you sit in it a while?  I’ll try massaging your muscles a little more, and maybe they’ll loosen up.”


Hutch looked doubtful that it would help prevent a future occurrence, but he said, “Okay.”


While Starsky ran the bath water, Hutch come into the bathroom and began unwrapping the gauze around his wrists.  That reminded Starsky that Hutch also had the bedsores.  He stood and said, “Take off your shirt, and I’ll get the bandages.”


As soon as Hutch’s wrist was free of gauze, he did so, but not without grimaces that told of the ordeal his arms had been through.


Starsky stood behind Hutch and peeled off the large Band-Aids from the wounds on each of his shoulder blades.  “These are healing pretty good,” he said.


Hutch unwound the gauze from his other wrist.  Then he put a foot up on the edge of the toilet and unwound the gauze at the ankle.


Starsky stared at Hutch’s wrists, and now his newly exposed ankle.  The lacerations still looked raw.


Hutch put the other foot up, and as he worked with the bandage, Starsky said solemnly, “I hate what they did to you.  Whoever they were.”


Hutch glanced up at him briefly and his mouth corner twitched.  “While I was lying there, I was thinking that I’d been through worse things, you know?  I was trying to make it okay… tolerable.”  He glanced away.  “Hell, I was trying to think of anything to keep my sanity.”


“You did keep your sanity.”  Starsky went to the filled tub and turned off the faucet. 


Hutch put his other foot down and shifted so that his back was to Starsky.  “I gotta… uh…”  He stood before the toilet, where the seat was already raised.


Starsky moved away.  “I’m going to get some fresh towels.”


When he returned, Hutch was stepping out of his briefs. 


Starsky said, “You’ve got those Band-Aids on your rear, too.”


Hutch turned his head to look, and then gasped and aborted the moment.


“Ah, Hutch,” Starsky said, seeing how stiff Hutch’s neck was.  It seemed that his partner’s entire muscular system was rebelling against its prior confinement.  “Let me.”


Hutch still reached back with a hand, and between the two of them, they quickly removed the four large Band-Aids.


Starsky said, “These look a lot better than your wrists and ankles.”


“Hopefully, they’ll heal up soon, so I can sit down again.”


Starsky took Hutch by the arm.  “For now, do the best you can, sitting in the tub.  Maybe you can lean back, so that most of you weight is on your back.”


While Hutch got in the tub and carefully sat down, Starsky took a moment to relieve himself.  After he’d flushed, he turned to the tub and knelt beside it, facing Hutch.


Hutch was lying down as well as he could, with his knees jutting up.


Starsky put his hands in the water.  “I’m not sure how helpful I can be.  I was thinking I’d try to mimic the motion of a Jacuzzi.”  Beneath the water, he held Hutch’s lower leg and massaged into the calf muscle.  “How are your arms?”


“They’re not locking up, but they seem sorer than they did yesterday.”  Hutch reached to rub at a bicep.


Starsky considered what he could do for his partner.  “You remember when I used to date Suzy Duncan?”


“Little short thing, with short blonde hair?”


“Yeah.  Well, she called me a couple of weeks ago.  She’s engaged and her fiancé has completed massage therapy school.  She said he was looking for more people to do massages on, so he can get more experience.  He’ll do it for half price.  How about if I call him?”


“Yeah, well, I guess we can drop by in the next day or two.”


“No, I was thinking of having him come here.  Tonight.  She said he’ll make house calls if it’s a referral.  Then, you know, I can be here.  In case….”


Hutch furrowed his brow.  “In case what?”


“In case it’s going to bother you to have a stranger touching you in intimate places.”  Starsky wondered if he was making things worse by bringing it up.


With annoyance, Hutch said, “It’s not like he’s going to be touching my cock.”


“No.  But, you know, touches from a masseuse can get kind of ticklish.”  Starsky shifted to move up to Hutch’s thigh.


Hutch released a breath.  “I’m sure I’ll be fine.”


“Good.  Then I’ll see if he can come over later, after we’re done running around today.  I’d really hate to see a repeat of what you went through a little while ago.”


“Yeah,” Hutch muttered.


As Starsky worked – still questioning if his unskilled hands were being all that helpful – he thought back to how well Hutch had been moving around last night, as well as being rather relaxed and mellow in mood.


“What are you thinking about?” Hutch asked.


Starsky released the thigh and said, “Can you maybe move your other leg over here?”


Hutch shifted slightly, and brought his other leg out of the water, perching it on the edge of the tub.


Starsky straightened more on his knees and began working the calf of that leg.  Then he considered Hutch’s question.  He had one of his own and looked up.  “Was I really out of it last night, or were we holding hands when we walked home?”


Hutch presented a grin, full of mirth and warmth.  “Don’t worry, nobody saw us.”


Starsky didn’t know how to express what he was feeling.  “Not what one would expect from a couple of macho cops.”


“That’s why it was fun.”


Starsky wondered how much of last night’s activities and conversations were because of what Hutch had been through, and how much was just… Hutch.  “Did we have some kind of weird conversation about moving in together?”


“It wasn’t a serious conversation,” Hutch soothed.


“Hmm.”  Starsky now grunted, reaching to Hutch’s thigh on the far leg, which was partly under water.  “I was gonna say that we’d drive each other nuts.”


“We drive each other nuts, anyway, but we still get along okay.  We get along when it matters.”


Starsky asked hopefully, “Is this helping at all?”


Hutch shrugged.  “I don’t know, but it feels good.”  Then, more softly, “Any touch feels really good right now.”


Which reminded Starsky all the more of the sensory deprivation Hutch had been through, and he wanted to make those feelings of isolation go away as best he could.


He straightened, resting his arms.  “Why don’t you lean forward, and I’ll do your shoulders and your neck.”


Hutch brought his knees up, wrapped his arms around them, and rested his cheek against them, looking away from Starsky.


Starsky felt the stiffness of Hutch’s neck, as he massaged along both sides of it.


“You know what’s weird?” Hutch asked in a quiet tone.




“I wanted to be touched anywhere except on my cock.  I kept hoping the hands would touch me somewhere else.  Anywhere else.  So it would be…,” Hutch swallowed thickly, “like I mattered.  Like I existed – not just my cock.”


Starsky slowed his motion as he lovingly rubbed his hands across Hutch’s shoulders.  “That’s not weird, Hutch.  Of course, you didn’t like the way the hands were using you, when you never wanted them in the first place.”  Then he considered, “They’re called our private places for a reason.  There’s an assumed Keep Out sign, unless we invite someone else in.”


Hutch drew a slow, heavy breath, and then released it.


In his softest tone, Starsky said, “I’ll touch you anywhere you want, Hutch.”


Hutch was silent.


Starsky went on, “We’ve still got a couple of hours before daylight.  Why don’t we get you dried off, go back to bed, and I’ll hold you and love on you a while, huh?”  He reached up and scratched gently into Hutch’s hair.  “If there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s showing my buddy how much I love him.”  After further silence, he squeezed Hutch’s shoulders and prompted, “’Kay?”


Hutch started to rise from the water, and Starsky reached to steady him.


After Hutch was dry, new Band-aids and gauze were applied to his injuries.  He put his underclothes back on, and they got beneath the covers.


Hutch curled up on his side, and Starsky spooned around him, careful not to touch where the sores were.  His hand reached around to gently rub at Hutch’s chest and belly.


“Thanks, buddy,” Hutch said softly.  “Hard to believe I could barely move just a little while ago.”


“Wait until you get your massage, hopefully tonight.  I bet you’ll feel a whole lot better after that.”


“Feels pretty good now.”  Hutch patted the hand that rubbed along his torso.


Starsky rested his cheek against the crook of Hutch’s neck and shoulder.  “Hutch?  I know you said we were kidding around last night, but wasn’t there a serious part of the conversation?  I’m trying to remember.”


Hutch squeezed his hand.  “It doesn’t matter now.”


“Why not?  I don’t want to blow you off if you were trying to tell me something important.  I was just kind of beat.”


“I know,” Hutch said with a gentle amusement.  “How are you now?”


“I think I’m caught up on sleep.  I’m real anxious to get back to that abandoned building and see if we can find out anything.”




“Don’t change the subject.”  Starsky was thoughtful.  “I felt like you were wanting something from me that I wasn’t giving.”  He could feel a subtle shift in the body he was pressed against, though he couldn’t say in what way.


Hutch swallowed.  After a long moment, he said, “I told you that I wished it could always be like this, just the two of us.  And you said that it already is mostly is just the two of us, and then you said something about us living together, but I knew you weren’t serious.  I really wasn’t either.”


Starsky blinked, trying to process where Hutch was coming from, and the motivation for it.  “It was serious enough for you to mention it.”


Hutch took Starsky’s hand and gently clasped it, stilling its motion.  “What do you want me to say, buddy?”


“Well, I’m just wondering, did your thinking like that stem from what’s happened the past few days?”


“We’ve been extraordinarily close for a long time, buddy.”


“I know,” Starsky said, momentarily nuzzling his nose against Hutch’s neck.  “That means everything to me.  And that’s why I was wondering how you could want more still.  I mean… what would that be?”


Hutch’s fingers rubbed along Starsky’s fingers that he held in his grasp.  Plaintively, he asked, “Are you really that naïve, or are you being deliberately obtuse?”


Using the same even tone, Starsky said, “I don’t like head games, Hutch.”


Hutch started to shift.  “Roll back.”




“Roll onto your back.”  Hutch was getting his legs beneath him.


Starsky obeyed, while holding onto Hutch’s side.


It was dark, but Starsky was aware of Hutch leaning over him, as he was just able to see the light of the blond hair.


Soft fingers traced Starsky’s lips.  Then the hair came closer.


Starsky felt soft, dry lips touch his lips.  He felt gentle pressure, then brusque hairs from Hutch’s mustache.  His heartbeat quickened.


Hutch pulled back.


Starsky swallowed audibly.  “Is this the part where I’m supposed to say ick?”


A gentle snort answered him.  “Only if that’s how you really feel about it.”


“Of course that’s not how I feel about it.”  Starsky tugged on Hutch, until his big blond’s head landed on his chest.  Starsky put his arms around him.  “I love you so much.”


“I sense a but.”


“But… but I don’t why this is coming up right now.  I mean, after the last few days, how do you know what’s you just needing some extra special contact, as opposed to you just being your normal self?”


“It just seems that, no matter what’s going on, everything always comes back to you.  So, I’m not sure why the last few days matter.”


“Hutch, you were sexually assaulted!  That can mess with anybody’s head.”


Hutch kissed the t-shirt beneath his lips.  “I didn’t need to be sexually assaulted to know that you’re the center of my life.”


“Then how come this is coming up now?”


“You sound angry.”


“I’m not,” Starsky assured quickly.  “I just wasn’t expecting to be dealing with this.  I mean, it wasn’t what I had in mind for giving you some extra special tender loving care after what you’ve been through.”  He hugged Hutch closer against him, not wanting his partner to feel that his words were a rejection.


Hutch released a breath and his weight grew heavier.  Then he said, “I’ve just felt like we’ve always been moving in this direction.  The way we relate to each other keeps shifting.  I was starting to feel that it seemed that we were ready.”


Starsky needed one vital piece of information at this particular moment.  “Hutch, are you wanting me to touch your cock?”


Hutch squeezed Starsky’s shoulder.  “I don’t want you to do anything you don’t want to do.  And besides, that’s not exactly what I was looking for right now.”   He hesitated a moment, and then, “It just seemed like it was time to get idea out in the open.”


“The idea is definitely out in the open.”


“That’s all that needs to happen,” Hutch soothed.  “For now.  It’s not like I was looking to jump your bones, you know?  I’m still the same Hutch.  The one you can trust to watch your back and take care of you, when it’s necessary.  The one who’s always gonna love you.”


Starsky felt himself relax then.  He furrowed his fingers through Hutch’s hair.  He wondered how he’d feel about this if the last few days hadn’t happened.  That he loved Hutch with all his heart wasn’t in question.  He just wished he could be certain that Hutch wasn’t reacting to the tortuous few days he’d been through.  Hutch seemed very confident that those days weren’t a factor.


Starsky wished he could be.


Still, there was no denying that Hutch’s lips on his hadn’t bothered him at all.  Not in the least.  He might have even enjoyed it, had he not been puzzled by what was happening.


What he did know was that his arms were very comfortable right now, being full of his buddy.  He drifted into sleep.





When they got up a couple of hours later, Starsky arranged for the masseuse to come by at eight that evening.  


Then they went into Parker Center so Hutch could fill out his report.  Since it was Saturday morning, the squad room was sparsely occupied, but Dobey had come in for a half day.


They entered Dobey’s office together to present the official report on Hutch’s kidnapping, and sat silently while their superior read through it.


“Damn,” Dobey said, rubbing at his face.  Then he looked at Hutch.  “I’m sorry, Hutchinson.”


Hutch nodded.


Starsky said, “We’re heading back out by Townsville today.  We’re just going to snoop around and see if we can pick up any evidence.”


Dobey nodded, and then, “Hutchinson, I want you to see the Department psychologist.”


“Captain – ” Hutch started to protest.


“It’s not open for discussion,” Dobey interrupted firmly.  “Technically, you were a victim of sexual assault.  It’s Department policy that any employee who has been sexually assaulted must meet with the psychologist until the psychologist says otherwise.”


Starsky said, “It’s Saturday.  The receptionist in that division wouldn’t be working today.”


“They have a sign-up sheet for appointments.  Go on,” Dobey said to Hutch.  “Go up to the fourth floor and put your name on it now, or I’ll do it for you.”


Hutch exchanged a glance with Starsky and then rose and left the office.


Starsky said, “Cap’n, I hope we can keep this under wraps, except for those who need to know.”  He softened his voice.  “This is the kind of thing a lot of people can misunderstand.  A lot of guys might think it would be funny to fondled by a stranger.  They’d change their minds if it happened to them.”


Dobey grunted.  “I’ll do what I can.  But obviously, if there ends up being a bust and the perpetrators go to trial, it’s going to have to come out.”


Starsky knew there was no getting around that.  He just hoped Hutch had reached a peace with it, when the time came.


“How do you think he’s doing?” Dobey asked.


“I think he’s doing fantastic.  A psychologist is overkill.”


“It’s not my decision.”


“I know,” Starsky relented.  “But it’s not like Hutch is trying to pretend that nothing happened.  I didn’t have to drag it out of him or anything, though he didn’t mention being fondled to the doctors at the hospital since, you know, he didn’t have any injuries associated with it.”


Delicately, Dobey asked, “Do you think being fondled is the only thing that happened to him, from a sexual assault standpoint?”


“Yes.  He would have told me otherwise.  I’m certain of that.”  In fact, he’s being so open with me that he’s ready for our partnership to include kissing and stuff.


Starsky wondered what Dobey would think of that.





Hutch was issued another gun and a temporary ID, until he received a new badge.  Upon leaving Parker Center, they drove to the abandoned building near Townsville and arrived mid morning.  They brought a copy of the police report to give to the sheriff later in the day.


“This is about the time I arrived on Monday,” Hutch said as they got out of the car.  There was no one else around, and little traffic on the two-lane highway.


Starsky pushed open the door to the building.  “It’s still unlocked.”


Hutch followed his partner inside.  “I remember thinking that this looked like it used to be a restaurant.  And then hands grabbed me from behind and put the chloroform over me.”  He imagined the hands now, and could smell the sweet, medicine-like odor.


Starsky had taken a few steps away, and turned back toward the entrance.  “So, they were up against the side of the door, waiting for you.”


“Yeah.  They.  Or him.”  It rankled Hutch that it may have only been one person, and he’d been brought down that easily.


Starsky approached the doorway, and then knelt.  “There’s a stain here on the floor.”  He got down on all fours and brought his face close enough to sniff.  “Could be chloroform.  We might need to get the sheriff to get a forensics team out here.”  He straightened and looked up at Hutch.  “I wonder if they may have lured other people here.”


Hutch found himself hoping that it had happened to other people, so it wouldn’t mean he was singled out for some reason.


Then he felt bad about hoping such.


They both wandered around the room, which had remnants of a bar.  Starsky had already checked into the ownership while looking for Hutch, and it was owned by the bank, the former owner having gone into foreclosure nearly a year ago.


“Let’s check out the back,” Starsky said.


They made their way to the back door, which was also unlocked.  It opened into a clearing, surrounded by trees.  They spread out, looking at the ground, hoping to see something that could give some kind of clue as to who had been there on Monday when Hutch was abducted.


Hutch heard a car drive by.  He looked out toward the two-lane highway.


“What?” Starsky asked.


“The highway,” Hutch said.  He could feel himself back there, unable to move.  His hands and legs stretched out from his body.  Then the sound of a car in the distance.  He’d hoped so much….


“What about it?”


Hutch shook his head to clear it and looked at Starsky’s worried expression.  “I could hear the highway in the distance.  It wasn’t very busy.  Occasionally, a car would go by.”


“Hutch, you told me that you couldn’t hear anything except the footsteps.”


“I forgot to mention it.  There was definitely a highway nearby.”


“This highway?”


“I don’t know.  It sounded farther away than it does now.”  Hutch licked his lips.  “I’d play a little game with myself, trying to see if I could tell if any of the cars sounded like the Torino.”


Starsky grasped his forearm.  “Ah, Hutch.”


“It gave me something to do,” Hutch explained, not wanting Starsky to feel bad about it.  “But the cars were infrequent.  Maybe less than one an hour.”  Snort.  “Except I really had no concept of time.”


He looked away, feeling himself trying to shift on the wooden slab, while his bonds allowed him so little movement.  He took a few steps near a tree, and then put out his arm to lean against it.


Starsky slipped his arms around Hutch’s waist.  “Hutch.”  His head rested between Hutch’s shoulder blades.


Hutch smacked the tree with his hand.  “Dammit.”  He hadn’t felt anger until now.


“We’ll get them Hutch,” Starsky said.  “We’ll find out why.”


Hutch reached down and squeezed a hand that was around him.


Starsky straightened.  “Could you tell anything at all through the blindfold?  I mean, were there times when it was less dark than others, like it was daylight, or a light was on wherever you were?”


Hutch shook his head.  “It was always pitch black.”


Starsky released a sigh.  Then he said, “Come on.  Let’s keep moving east along the highway and see if we can spot anything that might be helpful.”





The more miles east, the more rural the area became.  When they found side roads, they would go up them, and most led to barns or farming houses.  Once they got out of the car to look around an old abandoned barn, but didn’t find anything that could connect the place to recent events.


When they started approaching the next city, they turned around.


“Where was I found?” Hutch asked.


“A few miles from Townsville.  It was on this highway, and another three miles from that old restaurant.”


“They could have taken me anywhere,” Hutch said.  Absently, he gestured, “We haven’t gone up this road.”


Starsky braked heavily and muttered, “It hardly looks like a road.”


It was a dirt road that had been somewhat grown over by vegetation.  Still, Starsky made a sharp turn to take it.  They bounced somewhat and he grumbled, “Hate to think what this is doing to my suspension.”


The road sloped upward.  When they reached the peak, they saw a dark red farmhouse in the distance.


“If people live here,” Hutch said, “they haven’t kept up the land.”


Starsky grunted.  He didn’t know what farm land was supposed to look like when it was taken care of.


The road approached the house, and Starsky could see where it went up another hill.  It appeared even more rugged past the house.  “Don’t know how far I want to go on this before we get stuck in vegetation or something.”


Hutch was silent.


They couldn’t tell that anyone was at the farmhouse.  No vehicles were around.


Starsky drove past it, and then spotted something and slammed on the brakes.


Hutch looked over at him.


Starsky’s heartbeat quickened as he shifted into reverse.  “Hutch, look at the windows on the basement.  They look like they’re covered up with black tarp or something.”


Hutch said with trepidation, “That’s weird.”  Then, ”This is a pretty good-sized house for no one to be living here.”


Starsky brought the Torino to a halt next to the house.  They both got out of the car, and a breeze blew strongly.


“If someone is here, we’re just asking for directions.”


Hutch said dryly, “Real men don’t ask for directions.”


Starsky chuckled as they stepped up to the porch.  “They will when they’re desperate.”


Starsky didn’t see a doorbell, so he banged on the screen door and called out, “Hello?”


They both started when they heard an odd noise from inside the house.


A male voice called, “Help!  Please!”


Starsky and Hutch both flattened themselves against the house and reached for their guns.


“I’ll open it,” Hutch whispered, pulling back the screen door.


Starsky nodded from the opposite side of the door. 


“Please!  Please!”  The voiced sounded more desperate, and somewhat far away, as though it was from coming from a basement.


Hutch turned the handle of the main door and mouthed, “Open.”  He forcefully pushed the door in.


Starsky swung into the entrance, and didn’t see anything except a mostly empty house.




“Police!” Hutch called.  “We’re coming!”  He turned toward the staircase.


Starsky carefully investigated the rooms on the main level, before heading down the stairs, where the darkness saw little of the day’s sunshine.


He heard the man’s desperate cry, Hutch’s soothing voice, and then “Starsk, I need your pocket knife!”


Starsky followed the voices and entered a dark room, where a tarp was over the window.  The floor was cement, and along the wall beneath the window was a wooden slab, where a naked man lay upon it, blinking from having had his blindfold removed, and with his arms and legs tied the way Hutch had previously described.


“It’s going to be okay, take it easy,” Hutch was soothing, squeezing the man’s shoulder.  “We’re the police and we’re getting you out of here.”  Hutch was standing over the man’s hands and glanced back at Starsky.  “I need to cut the straps.”


“Please untie me!” the man insisted.


“We will,” Hutch assured, as he took Starsky’s pocket knife.  “Call an ambulance, and get the blanket from the trunk.”


Starsky rushed up the stairs to obey. 


After calling for an ambulance and alerting the sheriff’s office, he grabbed the blanket from the trunk.  He took a moment to turn a slow circle, looking around.


No one was in sight.  Nor any vehicles.  Someone must be coming later.


When Starsky entered the darkened basement, Hutch was rubbing at the man’s biceps, having released his hands.  He was being excessively gentle and nurturing, and Starsky wished so much that he would have been able to come to his partner’s rescue in this place, before Hutch was dumped onto the side of the road.


“Ambulance is on the way,” Starsky said, spreading the blanket out over the man. 


Hutch held out the pocket knife.  “Get his feet.”


Starsky took the knife and moved to the man’s feet.  He could see that there were some sort of plastic ropes, with thick nylon straps wrapped around them.  He could understand why Hutch wouldn’t have been able to get out of them.


As Starsky worked, Hutch gently asked, “What’s your name?”  He was tucking the blanket around the man.


“Tom Morrison.”


“This is Saturday, about noon.  When were you taken?”


Morrison swallowed thickly.  “Friday, late in the morning.”  Then, desperately, “Who are these people?  What do they want?”


“We don’t know yet.  We just know that there’s been at least one other victim.”  Then Hutch asked, “Did they communicate with you at all?”


“No.  I tried talking to them, but they never answered.  Not a sound.”


“Them?” Starsky asked, freeing the second foot.  “There was more than one?”


“I-I guess. I’m not really sure.”


Hutch gently grasped Morrison’s shoulders.  “I know you want out of here, but we need to wait for the ambulance.  We’re going to turn you onto your side to give you some relief.”


Starsky took the man’s ankles, above where the straps had been, and followed Hutch’s lead, lifting to turn Morrison onto his side.


“God,” Morrison gasped painfully, as he was turned.


“Move slowly,” Hutch said, keeping a hand on the man’s shoulder.  “I know you want to curl up right now, but be very careful until you get your circulation going.”  He was now rubbing along the man’s forearm.


Starsky did likewise with Morrison’s legs, even as Morrison slowly drew them closer to his body.


“Thank you,” Morrison gasped.  “I-I didn’t think I was going to get rescued.”


Starsky regarded the man.  He looked to be in his late thirties or early forties, with short dark here.  He appeared to be somewhat muscular, as though he tried to keep in shape.  Starsky suspected that he wasn’t accustomed to depending on others.  But he obviously couldn’t refuse Hutch’s tender manner.


Starsky asked, “How did they capture you?”


The man clasped the blanket closer to his chest with trembling hands.  “I’m a professional photographer.  Somebody called and said they wanted ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures of a restaurant they were refurbishing.  They told me to meet them where the restaurant was, out on Highway 63.”


“We know the place,” Hutch said.  “That’s where the other victim was also taken.”


The man raised his eyes to Hutch’s.  Fearfully, he asked, “What happened to the other victim?”


Hutch presented a tiny smile.  “He was released and left along the side of the road.  Motorists found him and called for help.”  He rubbed along the Morrison’s blanketed back.


Starsky asked, “Do you know how many men it was that captured you?”


“There were two.  One had me by each arm.  I’m a pretty strong guy, but….”  He then said, “They put some kind of rag over my face and I passed out.”


“Chloroform,” Hutch supplied, then soothed, “There’s nothing you could have done to overcome it.”


Starsky wondered if there had indeed been two men that had captured Hutch.  He said, “I had to give rough directions.  I’m going to drive to the highway to wave down the ambulance.”


“Good idea,” Hutch said.





Within thirty minutes, Sheriff Williams and various deputies had descended upon the premises.  Tom Morrison had been taken away in an ambulance.


Hutch handed Williams a copy of the report about his own kidnapping.


When Hutch and Morrison had been alone, Hutch had been able to get Morrison to admit to the same type of sexual assault that Hutch had been subjected to.


Sheriff Williams said that weren’t any known occurrences of other victims – either people in the area reported missing, or others being found unconscious along the road.


By the time the forensics team had gone over the house, the sheriff was able to have his office track down the owner, who lived in Oregon and said he’d bought it a year prior as an investment, but hadn’t done anything with it yet.  He was shocked to learn that the house was being used to hold kidnap victims.


Starsky told Hutch, “My mind is going down two roads of thought.  One is that you were the first victim and Tom Morrison the second.  The other is that there might be many victims, who weren’t let go.  But for some reason, they didn’t want to keep you.”


Hutch released a heavy sigh.  “Yeah.”


Sheriff Williams approached the two.  “We’ve just got word of a four-car accident on Highway 63, with fatalities, so we can’t spare any personnel to hang around.”


Starsky said, “We still want to look around a bit.  If we find anything important, we’ll let you know.”


Williams nodded.  “We’ll be informing your captain of whatever Forensics finds.”


“Thanks,” Hutch said.


They watched the police cars move off the premises.


Hutch said, “The person who came to the house has to be coming back.  I’m doubt I ever went as long as twelve hours without something to drink.”


“Yeah, and there was nothing in the refrigerator.”




Starsky tilted his head at Hutch.  “Did you ever hear a car?  If someone was driving up, say, twice a day, you would have heard them, right?”


Hutch furrowed his brow while looking at the ground.  “Yeah, I guess so.  But I only heard cars along the highway.”


“Man,” Starsky said, “nothing about this makes sense.  Let’s go back inside and check out that basement.”


The evening sun was setting, and Starsky took a flashlight out of the Torino and had it on as they entered the basement.


There was a second room that also looked like it was set up to also hold a hostage.  The only other room was a storage room, which looked dusty.


Starsky put his arm around Hutch.  “How are you doing?”


Hutch squeezed his shoulder.  “The memories are really strong, but I’m glad to at least be able to see the place.”  Then he said, “I wonder if the person who was coming here saw all the police cars earlier and won’t be coming back.”


“I’m for waiting it out.”  Starsky tightened his grip on Hutch.  “How many times do you think you were fondled, altogether?”


Hutch shrugged.  “Maybe seven or eight.”


“So, like, twice a day maybe?”




“Maybe the person came here morning and evening, like maybe they have a real job?”


“Possible, I suppose.  But again, why wouldn’t I have heard them driving up?”


Starsky thought hard about silent vehicles.  “What if they maybe rode a bicycle?”


“Yeah.  Maybe.  But I still don’t remember hearing anything, like a kickstand.”


“Did you hear them enter the house?”


Hutch furrowed his brow.  “No, I didn’t.  Not, like, coming down the steps.  He abruptly turned, taking the flashlight from Starsky.  “There has to be door to the basement.”


“There was.  Saw it outside, at the side of the house.” 


They both moved to where the side door was in the basement, with concrete steps outside of it.


“Then, they must have entered through there.  Because when I heard footsteps, they were already close.”


“We need to wait to see if someone comes.  I need to ditch the Torino somewhere.”


“Maybe you can park it over the next hill.”


“Yeah, I guess.”





Starsky drove the Torino up the rugged road and over the next hill, which led to more pastureland.  He then got out and walked back to the house, where Hutch was on the main floor.


They turned off the flashlight and waited.


Starsky kept the curtain pulled slightly back on the main front window, and Hutch did the same at the side window.


Darkness fell.


Hutch said, “I wonder how Tom Morrison is doing.”


“He’ll be fine, I’m sure.  You had a nice bedside manner with him.”


“I was in a unique position to know what he’d been through.”


Starsky said softly, “Wish I could have rescued you from here.”


Hutch said soothingly, “It all worked out okay, buddy.”


“Yeah,” Starsky said with a sigh.  “And in some ways, that’s the most puzzling thing of all.  That you were let go.”


Hutch suddenly shifted.  “Starsk?  Somebody is coming from the woods.  With a flashlight.”


“One person?”






“I can’t say for sure, but it doesn’t look like it.  They look kind of large. Overweight.  They’re carrying something, like a box.”


“Let’s surprise them from that second room, downstairs.”


They carefully moved down the stairs in the dark, and went into the second room that was prepared for a victim.  It was directly across from the first room, and Hutch and Starsky each stood back against either side of the doorway, which didn’t have doors, their weapons drawn.


They heard the side basement door open, saw the light of the flashlight in the hall, and then footsteps on the concrete.


They saw the flashlight turn into the first room.


Starsky whirled into the hall.  “Police!  Hold it right there.”


The person didn’t react and moved farther into the room, their flashlight shining on the empty wooden slab.


Starsky looked at Hutch in puzzlement, who then also turned into the hall, his weapon drawn,  “Hold it!  Police!”


The person was frantically feeling along the slab, as though not believing it was empty, but otherwise didn’t react.


“They must be deaf,” Hutch said.


“And mute?” Starsky suggested, a few things starting to make sense about the case.  “We’ll scare them to death if we touch them.  Let’s turn on the flashlight.”  Starsky did just that.


The person suddenly whirled around, shining their flashlight at Starsky and Hutch, their expression shocked and horrified.


“Hold it,” Starsky enunciated, extending his pistol farther.


The person’s expression remained.


“We’ll take that,” Hutch said, taking the flashlight from the firm grip.


Starsky was staring at the facial features.  “It’s a woman,” he said to Hutch.  She was large though – big boned, as well as overweight.  He could only guess that she was a young adult.  He pointed the flashlight up to his own face.  “Do you read lips?”


She stared at him, her eyes still fearful.


“No point in reading her her rights,” Hutch said.  He lifted Starsky’s cuffs from his pocket, since he still needed to be issued new ones, and went behind the woman and cuffed her hands.


The hands that had fondled Hutch.


“Police,” Starsky tried to enunciate.  “We won’t hurt you.”


No reaction.


Hutch said, “Let’s get her upstairs, and I’ll fetch the car.”





As they dealt with getting the woman settled in the Torino, Starsky considered her mental state.  He knew it was easy to make the mistake of assuming that a person with a physical handicap also had some degree of mental deficiency, but this woman struck him as being… slow. 


He would have liked to see if she knew any kind of sign language, but he didn’t want to risk uncuffing her.  Hopefully, the sheriff’s office had somebody who knew sign language.  In any case, it was going to be a long – and probably frustrating – interrogation.


As though drove to the sheriff’s station, Starsky said, “So, she had to be the one coming into the basement each day.  Say, morning and evening?”


“Yeah, guess so,” Hutch replied in a subdued voice.


“Hutch, she doesn’t strike me as playing with a full deck.  Maybe the touching she did wasn’t because she was trying to be deliberately offensive.  Maybe she had a childlike curiosity or something?”  He looked dubiously over at his partner, wondering if that idea would make Hutch feel any better about being molested.


“Maybe.”  Then Hutch shifted and said with frustration, “But if she was doing some sort of exploring – maybe because she’s never seen a man before – then why just touch there?  You’d think she would have been interested in other parts, too.”


Starsky sighed, not having an answer.  “What I want to know is where she came from.  What’s on the other side of those woods?  How far does she have to walk to get to the house?”


“One thing I know for sure.  She sure as hell didn’t make that phone call to the station to tell me to come out this way.  And as large as she is for a woman, it certainly wasn’t her who attacked me, or Tom Morrison.”


“Yeah.  She might just be a convenient pawn in this, because she doesn’t know any better.  I sure hope she’s able to communicate something.”





Starsky and Hutch were severely disappointed when they reached the sheriff’s station.  Sheriff Williams had returned from the scene of the four-car pileup, but while thanking Starsky and Hutch for bringing the woman in, so they could hold her, they wouldn’t be able to get anyone who knew sign language until Monday.  Starsky and Hutch were eager to check out the wooded area to find out where she came from, but Williams was firm that it was his Department’s case, and they were to do no such thing, for he was putting his own men on it. He ended up calling Dobey, who was just about to leave for the evening, to get him to order Starsky and Hutch home.


“Too dark to see much anyway,” Starsky muttered as they got in the Torino to start the trip back.




Starsky suddenly snapped his fingers.  “Hey!  At least we should be back in time for you to keep your appointment for a massage.”


“Oh, yeah,” Hutch said, sounding interested.


“You’ll feel so much better afterward.”  When Hutch didn’t respond, Starsky asked, “Does it help to know that she probably didn’t know what she was doing?”


Hutch took a moment to reply.  “Yeah, I-I-I guess.  But I don’t want to assume anything until we know the whole story.  I mean, maybe whoever hired her or whatever told her to do it to us.”


“For what possible reason,” Starsky muttered to himself out loud.


“That’s the big question mark.”


“I keep thinking about when we had the Terry Nash case.  There was that whole castle out in the desert, doing mind control crap.  Maybe you and Tom Morrison were the subject of some sort of experiment.  Maybe there’s been others, but they are from other areas, so the local law enforcement doesn’t know they’ve been missing.  Or maybe the others were let go where they came from – well away from Townsville, so they never knew they were near Townsville.”


“That’s a lot of maybes, partner.  And even if you’re on the right track, why would they deliberately make a phone call to get me or some other detective to come out there?”


“I don’t know,” Starsky muttered.  “If they are doing some kind of experiments, maybe they need people from different occupations.”


Hutch released a heavy breath.  “I think you’re letting your imagination run away with you.”


Starsky didn’t bother saying that imagination was all they had to work with.





Brad Patton was young, tall, muscular, and ruggedly handsome.  Starsky couldn’t help but feel somewhat inadequate when the fledgling masseuse showed up at his door.   He’d had no chance with Suzy Duncan if this was the type of person she was most attracted to.


The important thing tonight, however, was that Brad make Hutch’s muscles feel better, and hopefully there wouldn’t be a repeat of the severe spasms that Hutch had suffered in the wee hours of the morning.


The bed was the only place that made sense for Hutch to lie down, so Starsky had made the bed while his partner had taken a quick shower.  After Hutch stretched out, face down on top of the covers with a towel draped over him, and Brad had put his supplies on the nightstand, Starsky squeezed Hutch’s shoulder and said, “I’ll just be watching TV.”


Starsky kept the television at a reasonable volume in the living room, so he could keep an ear cocked to the bedroom.  Brad gave a minimal introduction of what he was going to do, and then he began.  Eventually, Starsky heard an occasional gasp of discomfort, or grunt of pleasure from his partner. 


It wasn’t until some time after Hutch had been directed to turn over, that Starsky heard words.  There was a firm, “Don’t touch me there.”


Starsky held his breath.


“No problem,” Brad replied smoothly.


Starsky listened a moment, but didn’t hear any further protests.  He could only assume that Brad had been working on an upper thigh, and it was too close to the area where Hutch had been assaulted.


Even after Hutch had said during his bath that he couldn’t imagine a massage bothering him, and even though he seemed to feel a little bit better with the idea that a young, mentally handicapped women might have been the one that molested him, he still had enough emotional baggage to have stopped a touch that was intended to be healing.


We’ll get through this, pal, Starsky silently vowed.  For now, he was glad to hear the massage continuing.


Starsky returned his attention partially to a sitcom, without really following it.  Twenty minutes later, he heard Brad gathering his supplies.


Starsky stayed put until Brad emerged into the living area with a gym bag.  “All done,” he said quietly.


Starsky reached into his pocket for some bills, and counted them out.  “Here you go, Brad.”  His voice was equally soft.  “Thanks a lot for coming over.”


“Sure thing.”


After Brad was gone, Starsky went into the bedroom and found Hutch quietly snoring.  He took a blanket from a closet and spread it over his partner.





Starsky lay awake in the darkness.   It was going on midnight.


Beside him in the bed, Hutch shifted beneath the covers, grunting with contentment.


Starsky felt a wide grin stretch his mouth corners.  He’d been glad that he’d been able to arrange the massage for Hutch.  It had obviously made his partner feel a whole lot better, despite the momentary tension.


Starsky’s expression slowly sobered as he tried to project out to, say, a month from now.  Would Hutch be sleeping beside him?  Even if they kept separate apartments in which they could each have their own individual space, if Hutch came over for the evening, would he stay the night?


Would he be grunting contentedly in his sleep, because of something Starsky did for him?  Like maybe gave him a blowjob?


Starsky tried to examine that thought, but found his mind skirting away from fantasizing about the details.   That he would do anything for Hutch wasn’t in question.  It was just that he was so accustomed to loving Hutch in other ways.  Ways that felt safe and secure.  Fulfilling.  And right.


But he couldn’t deny what Hutch had said.  “I’ve just felt like we’ve always been moving in this direction.”  That was after Hutch had kissed him.  Gently.  And hadn’t pushed beyond that.


It’s up to me to make the next move, Starsky decided.


He tried to imagine life without making love to a woman.  Ever again.  He and Hutch weren’t ready to make any ultimatums, but they would inevitably face that question at some point.


Starsky turned his head to look at Hutch, who slept peacefully, curled on his side, facing him.


If it meant keeping Hutch with him, safe and secure – happy – then Starsky would give up anything for that.





Starsky had ignored the quiet movements going on around him, because his brain had figured out it was Sunday, and nothing had to happen today.  He dozed on.


His eyelids fluttered open when he felt fingertips on his cheek.  The apartment reflected the hazy grayness of dawn.


Hutch was dressed and smiling warmly at him.  Quietly, he said, “I’m going back to my place.  Why don’t you come over later for the game?”


The Los Angeles Rams were playing this afternoon.  “Sure,” Starsky grunted, and then closed his eyes.


His head was patted, and a few moments later he heard the front door close.


He slept on.





The game was exciting, pizza was delivered, beer was consumed, and Hutch seemed in good spirits.


All was content in Starsky’s world.


As the game was playing out the final quarter, Starsky’s mind began to mull over what he wanted to do after it was over.  He knew the direction of his thoughts would bring them close to a point of no return.  He also knew that he was ready, if that happened.


He and Hutch was sitting together on the sofa, occasionally nudging each other when observing a particularly great play, or laughing at something stupid one of the commentators said, or something absurd that appeared on a commercial.


The final two minutes seemed to take forever.  The game ended when the Rams lost with the clock running out on fourth down.


“They should have won this,” Hutch grumbled.  “They out-played the Bills the entire game.”  He crushed his beer can and tossed it to the coffee table.  Then he sat back.


Starsky felt butterflies in his stomach as he turned to Hutch.  Without allowing a second’s thought, he brought his hands up to grasp those pale cheeks and turn Hutch toward him.  The last thing he saw, before closing his eyes, were the plush lips that were his goal.


He felt the contact, pressed into the blending softness, felt Hutch open his mouth slightly.


Starsky made an effort to pull back, having only wanted to match Hutch’s actions the night before last, and not go any farther than that.


Hutch’s cheek rested against the sofa, his eyes dreamy.  “Should I say ick?”


Starsky grinned, and rested his own cheek against the sofa, their noses inches apart.  “I just wanted you to know that I hadn’t forgotten that the thought has been put out there.”


Hutch gazed at him for a ong time, a smile at his mouth corner.


Starsky asked, “What are two guys supposed to do when they’re crazy in love with each other, but have never wanted to do it with other boys?”


Hutch answered easily.  “We’ve always been unconventional.  So, let’s keep being unconventional and knock the socks off the status quo.”


Starsky liked that bravado.  But he felt compelled to admit, “I have a hard time thinking about the details.  I want everything I can have from you, but I don’t even know how to fantasize about it.”


Hutch’s eyes softened with compassion.  “Let’s just go one step at a time.”


“Have you fantasized about us?”  Starsky wondered how much farther Hutch might have mentally advanced than he had.


“Only about each next step along the way.  Past that, I haven’t known what the steps farther away are supposed to look like.”


“We’ll have to make our own way,” Starsky decided, “like always.”


“Like always,” Hutch whispered back.


Starsky wanted to know something else, though he was reluctant to interrupt the mood.  “Hutch?  Last night, when you had your massage, what was Brad doing that made you say not to touch you there?”


Hutch blinked a couple of times, adjusting to the sudden change in topic.  He swallowed audibly, and then his eyes darted to the ceiling.  “He got too close to my groin.  I didn’t like it.”


“Because of what happened?”




Hutch’s eyes came back to Starsky’s.  “It’s okay, buddy.”  His expression intensified, and he reached for Starsky’s wrist.  He held it loosely, and then carefully placed Starsky’s hand on the crotch of his jeans.


Starsky felt a shape beneath the denim.


With his hand on top of Starsky’s, Hutch pressed with a gentle motion.


Starsky felt shifting.


Hutch moved his own hand away and met Starsky’s eye.  “You’re always invited.”


Starsky gave Hutch a warm smile, acknowledging his own words about a person’s private parts.


He felt more motion beneath his hand, and moved it to Hutch’s stomach, muttering, “Don’t want to start somethin’ I might not be able to finish.”


Hutch nodded once, gazing at him.


As Starsky gazed back, he was aware the TV on, which sounded very intrusive.  “How about we turn off the television and fool around a little?”


Hutch considered a moment.  “You mean, like, being in high school and seeing how far we can go, knowing that nothing’s going to happen?”  He got to his feet to move to the TV.


Starsky watched him.  “Something like that.”


Hutch bent to punch off the television, and then straightened, gesturing to the kitchen.  “Want anything?”


Starsky felt the sensation of the butterflies moving inside his stomach.  “Just you.”  He shifted to lean back against the arm of the sofa. 


Hutch took the few steps toward him, and Starsky held out his arms.


Hutch carefully lowered himself on top of Starsky, settling between his legs.


Starsky’s arms circled around Hutch, and he gave himself a moment, testing how it felt to have a man’s full weight on top of him.  He’d held Hutch before, of course, with the intent to soothe and nurture.  He wondered if it would be different when sexual arousal was present, if an instinctive part of him would feel threatened.


Hutch nuzzled against Starsky’s throat.


Starsky brought one hand up to furrow it through blond strands of hair, feeling himself quiver from his partner’s touch.


He thought about kissing Hutch, just when Hutch kissed him.   It was a quick peck.  And then another, slightly longer.  And then another, longer still.


“Mmmm,” they murmured in unison, Starsky thinking that they had matching pizza and beer breath.


When they broke away, Hutch’s hand went to Starsky’s shirt, and began undoing the buttons.


Sensation was building between Starsky’s legs, and he didn’t try to fight it, but didn’t want to force it.  He knew it wouldn’t take much for them to dive off the cliff of passion, and in some ways, that would make things easier, via absolving them both of any responsibility in their actions.  But he also felt they both had an inclination to be tentative, to give themselves a chance to reach a trust with each new step along this unfamiliar path.


The top few buttons of Starsky’s shirt was open, and Hutch placed his hand against the hair and skin, and then moved that hand around, exploring.


Starsky felt calmer now.  “Feels different, doesn’t it?”


Hutch’s mouth corner twitched.  “It would be really weird if it felt familiar.”  Then he held Starsky’s gaze.  “Does the mustache feel okay to you?  I can shave it off.”


“Do you ask your women that question?”


Hutch lowered his gaze bashfully.  “Guess not.”


Starsky decided to answer more seriously.  “Don’t shave it on my account.  It doesn’t bother me.  But I’ve overheard women at the station saying they wish you’d shave it, because it makes you look less innocent.”


“That’s a big part of the reason why I grew it.  I wanted to look more intimidating, and not like such a soft touch.”


Starsky couldn’t help but grin, feeling his heart pound with love.  He rubbed along Hutch’s lower back.  “I already know what a big softie you are, so it doesn’t do anything for me, one way or the other.”


Hutch licked his lips and said pointedly, “I’m not feeling like much of a softie right now.”  With that, he lowered his face and their lips connected, this time for a long, lingering kiss.


When they finally parted, Starsky sighed contentedly.  “I like kissing you, Hutch.  A whole lot.”


Hutch laid his head against Starsky’s shoulder, looking up at him.  “Buddy?  Are you, you know, okay about the idea of the sex part, since you’ve avoided thinking about the details?”


Starsky wondered if Hutch wanted to go farther right now.  “I haven’t thought about it enough to know how I feel about it.”  He rested a hand on top of Hutch’s head.  “I just know that’s where we’re going, and going anywhere with you is a good thing.”  Then he furrowed his brow.  “Are you worried about the sex part?”


“No.  But I suspect it’s going to be awkward and seem kind of weird, at first.”


“Doesn’t matter.  It’s just us.”


Hutch smiled warmly.  “Yeah.”  Then he leaned up and reconnected their lips.


Starsky rubbed his hand all around Hutch’s head as the kiss continued.  When they parted, he liked how disheveled Hutch looked.


Hutch shifted to put more of his weight against the back of the sofa, so he was more on his side.  He released a heavy breath, and then rested his head against Starsky’s shoulder.  His hand rubbed leisurely at the opening revealed by Starsky’s shirt.


Starsky spent a moment listening to his body’s signals.  Then he said, “The thing about trying to play like teenagers, when you’re an adult, is that you know what’s waiting for you on the other side.”


Hutch moved his hand down to rest it against Starsky’s belly.  “Want me to take care of you?”


Starsky looked into those eyes that were looking up at him.  He was trying to think of the reasons that had prevented them from jumping off the cliff of passion in the first place.


“You don’t have to reciprocate,” Hutch said softly.  “Not right now.”


Starsky was finding it hard to answer.  No way he could reject Hutch.  Nor did he want to.


Hutch seemed to know the precise moment Starsky reached that decision, for his hand dipped lower and rested over Starsky’s crotch.  A moment later, his fingers pressed into the denim.


Starsky gasped, and then shamelessly arched up, seeking the pressure.


Hutch’s hand pressed harder.


Starsky’s head fell back.  “Yes,” was all he could manage.


“Relax,” Hutch whispered.  His fingers worked deftly with the fly of the jeans.


There was the feel of cold air as the clothing was pushed down.  And then Hutch’s large, warm hand was gripping him, encouraging his flesh to spring free of the clothing.


“Ah, man,” Starsky gasped.  “You’ve got beautiful hands.”


One of those hands pulled along his length, and his shaft hardened.  Then Hutch said, “The angle isn’t right.  You need to sit on my lap.”


Hutch was straightening into a sitting position, and Starsky allowed himself to be tugged upward, and then manipulated between Hutch’s spread legs.  A hot breath was at his neck, and then arms came around him, the right gripping him firmly, and then pulling upward.


“Wrong hand,” Starsky managed with a hint of humor.  He was used to stroking himself with his left.


“The right one for me,” Hutch said, gripping again.  “Put yours on top of my and show me.”


Starsky’s left hand made a fist around Hutch’s right.  He began stroking with the motion that he most favored.  “You can grip a lot harder.”


Hutch’s hand tightened as it moved up and off.


Starsky groaned and his head fell back against Hutch’s shoulder.  Hutch’s lips nuzzled wetly along his forehead.


Starsky tilted his head back more, and was gratified when soft, hot lips came down against his.  The angle was awkward, but they were making it work.


The sensations at his crotch propelled forward.  When Hutch’s lips moved to one side, Starsky whispered hotly, “Almost there. Don’t stop.”  His hand forced Hutch’s to move faster.


His mouth was possessed once again, and all he knew was the sensation of utter lust, gathering from various parts of his body, and coalescing within his balls and along his cock.


And then there was only his cock.


Hutch’s left hand quickly moved Starsky’s shirt out of the way, and the fluid burst out onto Starsky’s belly.


Starsky clamped down on Hutch’s hand, to stop the firm motion.  A moment later, as lassitude began to set in, he gentled his hold and moved Hutch’s hand up the shaft, to give a final squeeze around the head.  And then he released Hutch’s hand.


A moment later Hutch removed his hand from Starsky’s limp shaft.  He kissed tenderly along the side of Starsky’s face.


Starsky released an airy breath.  “Ah, man.  That was nice.”


He felt Hutch trying to shift behind him, but he was reluctant to move.  Then he realized that Hutch had stretched far enough to grab a box of tissue paper.


Starsky took the box and used a couple of tissues to wipe at the puddle.  Then he tossed everything to the coffee table.


He was aware that something firm and hard was pressing against his lower back, near his tailbone.


He relaxed back against Hutch.  “Give me a minute, and I’ll do you.”


Hutch’s hand rubbed slowly along his chest.  “Take your time.”


“Mmm.”  Starsky closed his eyes.  “Felt good, Hutch.  That’s the first right-handed hand job I’ve ever had.”


Hutch kissed behind his ear, and then said, “Didn’t seem so momentous, huh?  Felt pretty normal.”


Starsky knew Hutch meant that it was them doing it, rather than the mechanics.  He tilted his head back so he could meet Hutch’s eye, something else on his mind.  “I want to do you on the bed, so I can have my hands all over you.”  He didn’t want Hutch to feel like he had at the farmhouse – that his cock was all that mattered.


Starsky then chuckled softly.  “Maybe kiss you, too.”


Just then, Hutch’s lips came close to Starsky’s.  Starsky tilted his head back to accommodate, and they shares a wet joining where it was hard to say where one’s lips ended and the other’s began.


Starsky shifted slightly and felt the hardness again.  When their lips finally parted, he said, “Your boner is going to put a hole through my jeans.”  He clasped Hutch’s hand and managed to get to his feet, gently saying, “Come on, buddy boy.  I want to make you really happy.”


Hutch’s lips looked kiss-swollen, and his hair was mussed, his skin flushed.

As soon as they entered the bedroom, Starsky whispered, “Let’s get undressed, okay?”  He dropped Hutch’s hand to remove his own clothing.


Hutch closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths, and then removed his jeans and underwear first.


When Starsky was naked, he approached to help Hutch with his shirt.  As soon as it was pulled away, he took the t-shirt by the lower hem and began to push it up.  Hutch took over and raised his arms to pull it over his head, and then grimaced with the motion.


“Easy,” Starsky whispered, placing his hands on Hutch’s sides.  He stepped closer, trapping Hutch’s erection between their nude bodies, and then put his arms around Hutch, holding him in a loose grip.


He rubbed his hands up and down Hutch’s back, and felt where the Band-aids had been removed, leaving scabs in their wake.  Starsky quickly moved past them, and rubbed in broad circles along Hutch’s lower back.  “Love you so much,” he whispered.  He let his hands drop lower, using the same circular motion, and moved quickly past the scabs he felt on the buttocks.


After he’d massage upper thighs, he brought his hands back up, and now rubbed at Hutch’s neck with one hand, and into his hair with the other.


Hutch groaned and rested his head against Starsky’s shoulder.


Starsky held Hutch there, and introduced a slight swaying motion, back and forth.  He whispered again, “Love you so very, very, very much.”


He felt moisture brush along his belly.


He released Hutch’s head from his shoulder, only to take possession of it again, so he could connect their lips.


It was a long, lingering kiss, warm and sensual.


They pulled apart with a loud smacking noise.


Starsky briefly clasped Hutch’s hand again.  “On the bed,” he whispered.  “Gonna make you feel so good.”  He prompted Hutch to lie on his right side.


Starsky lay alongside him.  He moved his left hand and clasped Hutch’s penis in a firm grip.  “Let’s do it like before.  Put your hand on top of mine.”  He started to roll back.  “Lie back a little, so I can use both hands.”


It took some shifting, but finally they were both relatively comfortable, with Hutch lying partially on top of Starsky and partially on his side. 


Hutch wrapped his right hand around Starsky’s left, and pulled with a long, steady stroke.


Starsky let the hand guide him, and he silently marveled at the idea that he was actually loving the most sensitive part of this man whom he loved more than anyone else he had ever known.


With his other hand, he rubbed along Hutch’s chest, and then pinched briefly at a nipple.


“You’re everything to me,” he whispered in an ear.  “You’re my Hutch.”  He let the hand on his hand prompt him to stroke faster.  “The one I love so very much.  The one I want exclusive rights to.”  He knew that Hutch was in no shape to deny him, but he was using the ultimatum for the purpose of stimulation.


Starsky managed to shift as much as necessary to allow his free hand to move down Hutch’s torso, over his flanks, and then into his pubic region.  He moved below where their hands were working in tandem, the tempo increasing, and felt delicate, taut skin.


He gently squeezed that plump pouch.


Hutch gasped, and then groaned.


Starsky whispered.  “Harder?  Easier?”


“Easy,” Hutch managed in a tight voice.  “Persistent.”


Starsky gently squeezed the pouch, but didn’t let up.  He rolled the ovals within his palm.


Hutch’s head fell back against Starsky.  “I’m there.  God.”


He choked, and then there was a slight motion of his hips, and then a guttural, deep cry, and a stream of fluid shot to his belly.


Hutch moved Starsky’s hand more gently, the strokes long and slow, until he pushed Starsky’s hand way altogether.


Starsky released Hutch’s balls.


“Dear God,” Hutch gasped, his head burrowing against Starsky’s chest.


Starsky brought both hands up and furrowed his fingers in Hutch’s sweaty hair.  Then one dropped to Hutch’s chest, rubbing across there.  It had felt so good when Hutch had done a similar thing to him, afterward.


Starsky pulled at the covers until he found a sheet corner.  He used it to dab along Hutch’s belly.  Then he flung it aside, and pulled on the bedding until he could cover them up to their waists.


Hutch shifted until he was facing Starsky.  He sighed airily.


Starsky said gently, “Feels good to know everything’s working okay, huh?”


Hutch rubbed his cheek against Starsky’s chest.  “I wasn’t worried about that.”


Starsky lowered himself on the mattress, so that their lips could meet.  He spent the next few minutes planting a series of gentle kisses.


When they pulled apart, Hutch studied him with thoughtful eyes.  “Being loved by you feels different.  From women, I mean.”


Starsky felt he knew what Hutch meant, but he asked, “Better or worse?”


“Better.  It just feels different, being with you.  More comfortable.”


Starsky felt his mouth corner twitch.  “Trust.  That’s what we’ve got with each other.”


Hutch reached out and brushed a thumb along Starsky’s cheek.  “Yeah.”


Starsky liked that touch.  He continued in the same quiet tone, “Even with us being unfamiliar with the mechanics, we know we’re not going to hurt each other, and we’re going to be real attentive to what each other wants.  That counts for a lot.”


Hutch gazed at him for a long moment.  Then he asked, “Do you really want exclusive rights?”


“Haven’t really thought about it yet,” Starsky admitted.  “I just figure that issue is going to be addressed at some point.”


“I don’t need that from you right now.  Not yet.”  Hutch snorted.  “Might feel differently if I see you with a woman.”


Starsky grinned back.  “Yeah, let’s just see how it goes.  We know that, whatever happens, we’re going to be good to each other.”


Hutch closed his eyes, and ran his hand along the front of Starsky’s torso.  “That felt really wonderful.”


Starsky decided to keep on with the train of thought.  “Question is, what happens now?”


Hutch’s eyes opened.  “Whatever we want, right?”


Starsky said, “I’d like to sleep together tonight.  Fool around some more.”


Hutch grinned.  “That sounds like a great idea.”




They were getting ready for work Monday morning when the phone rang.


“Hello?” Hutch answered.


“Hutchinson, is Starsky with you?”


“Yes, Captain.  What’s up?”


“You two need to head back over to Townsville.  They found your car, Hutch.”





With rush hour traffic, they didn’t reach the sheriff’s office until after nine.


Despite having been annoyed with their interference the prior Saturday evening, Sheriff Williams was friendly on Monday morning.  “Just go to the impound yard on 102nd and you can sign your car out.  Your wallet, gun, and everything else is there and appears to be relatively intact.”


“Where was it found?” Hutch asked.


“In the woods between the park area and where the farmhouse is.”


Starsky asked, “What park area?”


“There’s a park area, about three-quarters of a mile away from the farmhouse, as the crow flies.  On the other side of the woods.  We’ve questioned residents in the area, and no one knows the deaf woman.  So, we’re thinking that someone was driving her to the area, parking in the park, and she was making the trek through the woods to tend to captives in the farmhouse.  And then returning to the car.”


Hutch asked, “Has anyone reported her missing?”


“Not yet.  We’re hoping they will, but if they’re into kidnapping people, then they probably don’t want to risk it.”


Starsky asked, “What about getting someone to communicate with the deaf woman?”


“Someone from Social Services is supposed to be here at ten.  I assume you two will want to stick around for that.”


They both nodded.


He eyed them sternly.  “That’s fine, as long as you don’t interfere with our interrogation.”


“How is Tom Morrison doing?” Hutch asked.


“He was released from the hospital after a couple of hours.  He lives in Stanton, so his wife came and got him.  We’ve got his information, if we need him for anything else.”


“Had his wife reported him missing?” Starsky asked.


“They were separated,” Hutch said, remembering the conversation he and Morrison had had while waiting for the ambulance.


Williams nodded his head.  “Right.  She hadn’t reported him missing, because she didn’t know he was missing.”


Starsky and Hutch went to retrieve Hutch’s car, and Hutch found that his possessions were indeed intact, except he’d had a small amount of cash that had been stolen.  The credit cards were undisturbed.


They returned to the sheriff’s station in separate cars.





It was quickly apparent that it was going to be a long day.  The sign language representative from Social Services was nearly an hour late.  When she finally sat down with the deaf woman, a lot of time was spent establishing communication and trust.  The deaf woman only seemed to know certain words and phrases.  They did establish that her name was Janet Black.  She couldn’t communicate where she lived, because she didn’t appear to know.


After nearly an hour, the social worker, at Williams’ direction, finally started to ask specific questions about the case.  It took a while, but Janet eventually began to make references to the “nice man” that took her to the park, so she could “take care of the animals”.  Since there had been no animals around the farmhouse, the law officers could only assume she meant the human captives.  Williams pressed about what “taking care of” meant.  She signed that she “gave them water”.  But when pressed about anything else she did, she would only sign, “And then go back to the nice man to take me home.”


Watching via the one-way glass, Hutch muttered to Starsky, “She knows what she did is wrong, so that’s why she won’t say anything about it.”


Starsky sighed.  “But someone had talked her into believe that ‘taking care of the animals’ is a nice thing.”


Hutch snorted.  “I sure felt like an animal.”


They turned their attention back when Williams, via the social worker, asked how many animals Janet had taken care of.  She smiled and signed proudly, “Lots!”


“Damn,” Starsky said.  “This is a lot bigger than you and Morrison.”


Williams then asked if any of the “animals” had ever gotten away. 


Janet began to get agitated and crossed her arms defiantly.


A deputy rushed to the interrogation room.  “Sheriff!  Someone has reported a retarded deaf woman missing.”





“Her guardian is on the way down here,” Williams told Starsky and Hutch a half later.  “She says that she let Janet be taken for rides with a cousin to ‘take care of the animals’ at a farm he was the caretaker for, and she trusted him, especially since Janet seemed to enjoy it.  She’s horrified to find out that Janet is involved in a felony crime.  I’ll wait until she arrives to give her specific details.”


Starsky said, “Then the cousin is the key to this mess.”  He looked at Hutch.  “At least now it looks like we’re going to get some answers soon.”


Williams said, “Unless the cousin has already fled, when he realized Janet wasn’t coming back Saturday night.”  His phone rang, and he reached for it.  “Excuse me.”  He picked it up.  “Sheriff Williams.”  After listening a moment, he said, “They’re right here.”  He held the phone out, and Hutch took it.  “It’s your Captain.”


Starsky exchanged a glance with Hutch, while his partner said, “Hi, Captain.”  He listened a moment, and then, “Yes, I’ve gotten my car back.  It hasn’t been damaged, and I got all my belongings back, except a few dollars.” 


While Hutch listened, Starsky heard Dobey’s raised voice from where he was standing beside his partner.


Dejected, Hutch said, “We’d just like to see this through.  They’ve gotten a major lead, and are waiting for someone to arrive with more information.”


Hutch held the phone away from his ear to ward off the answering bellow. 


Starsky heard the shouted words, “needed back here”. 


“All right,” Hutch relented, frowning at Starsky.  “We’re heading back in separate cars.  We’ll be there in about an hour.”  He hung up and said to Starsky.  “There’s been a murder – a stabbing – in an alley near Second and Benton.  Dobey needs us on it.”


Starsky sighed.  “We’ll be back in touch, Sheriff, to see what you’ve found out from the guardian.”


“No problem,” Williams said.  “Hopefully, we’ll have a lot more information within a few hours.”






Starsky hated that they had to drive the long distance back in separate cars.   With the newly-expressed intimacy between Hutch and him, he was all the more eager to be in his partner’s presence.  He especially wanted to see how Hutch felt about the new information revealed, however scant.


The new murder case absorbed their attention throughout the day and into the evening.  When they returned to the empty squad room after running down leads, Hutch found an envelope on his desk and opened it.


“What’s that?” Starsky asked as he sat down. 


Hutch spent a moment reading it, and then said, “I’ve got an appointment for next Tuesday with Dr. Seaton, the psychologist.”


“Maybe you’ll just have to see him the once, huh?  I mean, if this was just a mentally deficient person appeasing their curiosity about male anatomy, at least that’s not as sinister as some of the other possibilities.”


“I want to believe that,” Hutch said, sitting down.  “But maybe she was following someone else’s directions, like her cousin’s, and he told her to never tell anyone.”  Hutch reached for the phone.  “Let’s see what Williams found out today.”  He took a card from his wallet and dialed the number to the sheriff’s office.  After a moment, he said, “Sheriff Williams, please.”  He listened, and then sighed.  “Did he happen to leave any kind of message for Kenneth Hutchinson?”  Another sigh.  “Please tell him to call this number in the morning, as soon as possible.”


Starsky listened as Hutch gave the PD number with their extension.  As Hutch hung up, Starsky guessed, “He’s gone home for the day?”




Starsky waited until Hutch looked up and met his eye.  “I think we need to go home for the day.”


Hutch smiled warmly.  He softly said, “Yeah, I guess so.”





They ended up in Starsky’s bed.  After they’d spent a while pleasuring each other, they curled up in each other’s arms.


Starsky said, “It’s hard to be in a bad mood during the day, knowing we can come home to this.”


Hutch nuzzled Starsky’s hair.  “Yeah.”


“I’m thinking I really like this whole idea.”  Starsky pulled back to look at Hutch in the darkness.  “I’m glad you brought it out into the open.”


Hutch shrugged.  “Seemed like there wasn’t going to be any stopping it.  If we didn’t approach it consciously, I have a feeling that something was going to explode between us, whether we wanted it to or not.”


Starsky considered that.  “I have to admit, ending up in bed with you was never part of the grand plan for my life.”


“Not mine, either.”


Starsky squeezed with the arms that were around Hutch.  “But I’m glad that’s what’s happened.”


Hutch spent a moment massaging along Starsky’s shoulders.  Then he said,  “I have a feeling that the cousin is only going to be the tip of the iceberg.  Janet Black seemed pretty emphatic when she said she’d cared for ‘lots of animals’.”


Starsky realized that he shouldn’t be surprised at the sudden change in subject.  “I know you aren’t going to be able to put this to rest until we know what happened – and why.  I’m just sorry it’s on your mind.  I wish we were working the case.”


“No kidding.”  Then Hutch said, “It has to be people from different areas; otherwise, all those missing persons would have been noticed.”


“Unless they were missing such a short time that they weren’t reported.  Maybe everyone has been let go.  And most of them were loners.”


“Whoever called me to drive out there had to know that my being missing for a few days would be noticed.”


“Yeah,” Starsky relented, “and with you and Morrison both being from the same region….  That was pretty risky for them to do.”


They always came back to the fact that nothing about the case made any sense.


Yet, there had to be some purpose to the abductions.  “You know,” Starsky mused, “maybe, whatever the purpose was, it didn’t have anything to do with sensory deprivation.  You just happened to be taken care of by a deaf mute.  After all, they didn’t take away your ability to hear.”


“Except there was almost nothing to hear.  And there was the black tarp over the windows.  Why do that if we were going to be blindfolded?”


Starsky ventured, “Maybe so no one could see in?”


“But the farmhouse is set back so far from the road, so why would anyone see in?  And they didn’t seem to be concerned by my yelling at the top of my lungs.”


“Yeah.”  Starsky sighed heavily.  “Man, I hope Williams got some answers today.”


The one thing Starsky was sure of about the case, was that thinking about what Hutch had been through those four days made him want to make up for the suffering his partner had endured.


Starsky snuggled under the covers, and the pulled Hutch to him.  He rubbed up and down Hutch’s back, feeling the scabs from the bed sores, which had almost disappeared.


His hand eventually dropped down to Hutch’s naked rear, and Starsky hugged it protectively.  “The one thing I know,” he whispered intently, “is that I never want you to feel that kind of loneliness and isolation, ever again.” 


Hutch squeezed him back.


“My buddy doesn’t deserve that,” Starsky emphasized, wrapping his arms around Hutch once again.


“With talk like that,” Hutch murmured lovingly, “I might be up for round two.”


“Mmm,” Starsky approved.






Starsky loved him.


Hutch let that fact sink in the next morning, as he and Starsky picked up in the squad room where they’d left off the murder investigation the night before.


He had always felt loved by Starsky, but now that love was being expressed in a new, wonderful way.  Best of all, the sheer warmth of their closeness hadn’t been lost in the pursuit of sexual gratification.  So much for the belief that sex always changes things, Hutch thought with satisfaction.


The phone rang, and Hutch reached for it.  “Hutchinson.”


“Detective Hutchinson?  This is Sheriff Williams.”


Hutch quickly put his hand over the receiver.  “Starsk, line two.”  Then he removed his hand.  “What did you find out, Sheriff?”


Starsky picked up the phone to listen.


Williams said, “Talking to the guardian has opened up a whole new can of worms.  She said that her cousin, Rory Sanchez, got along well with Janet, and she felt it was totally safe to let him take Janet with him to ‘take care of the animals’.  She thought he had small animals at a farm that he was hired to be the caretaker of, though she says she never even knew exactly where the farm was.  Sanchez would take Janet every morning and evening, for an hour at the most.  When she would ask Janet about it, Janet would just smile and say that she’d helped take care of the animals, and she seemed really proud about it.”


Hutch asked, “So, where is Sanchez?”


“The guardian gave us a couple of addresses and phone numbers, but we can’t find him.  He’s been involved in petty crimes in the past.  We’re doing everything we can to look for him.  The guardian seems determined to find him, because she was shocked to find out what Janet was actually being used for.”


Hutch said, “Janet sounded like she’d taken care of a lot of ‘animals’, so I bet there’s been a lot more victims, perhaps not held at the same place.”


“Yeah, I’ve got someone checking with other law enforcement departments, to see if we can find any similar situations.”


Starsky abruptly asked, “What about the sexual assault?”


“Janet would never admit to anything when questioned, but the guardian said that she’s been known to fondle genitalia on actual animals.”  He hesitated, and then said, “It could be that she didn’t mean anything by it, and it’s just an odd quirk that comes with the mental retardation.”


“Or maybe not,” Hutch put in.  “Morrison and I were kidnapped and held for a reason.  Janet’s role had something to do with that reason, even if it was just to keep us alive for some greater purpose.  I’ll bet anything that the cousin is also just a peon in the larger picture.  He alone couldn’t have chloroformed us.  There’s a greater intelligence behind this.”


“That might very well be.  Rest assured, Hutchinson, my Department is doing everything in its power to get to the bottom of this.  We’ve also got surveillance on that abandoned restaurant, just in case somebody shows up.”


Starsky asked, “Have you had Forensics go over the restaurant?  There’s a spot on the floor, just inside the front door, that could be chloroform.”


“It’s on the list for the immediate future.”


When Starsky and Hutch had nothing further to say, Williams assured, “When we find out anything else, I’ll let you know.”





In the ensuing days, when they were able to connect with Williams, the sheriff had little to tell them, other than that no jurisdictions could say with any confidence that their missing persons had any connection to the Townsville case.  The search continued for Rory Sanchez, with Janet Black’s guardian being fully cooperative in trying to reach him.





On Tuesday afternoon, Hutch was glad to be back on the third floor, after having made the journey from the fourth.   Down the hall, he saw his partner grinning broadly, while getting out his wallet and chatting up the young woman from the cafeteria, who often brought around a cart of donuts and other snacks.


Starsky had always been naturally flirtatious, and Hutch had no desire to change that.  His partner had asked the woman out in the past, though she never seemed to take him seriously, so Hutch felt no reason to feel threatened by the flirtatious behavior.


But what if she wanted to date Starsky?  Did he have a right to not expect Starsky to want to date others?


In the midst of their lovemaking of late, they had avoided broaching the subject.


Starsky took a white sack from the girl, and looked up.  His face seemed to soften when he spotted Hutch, which made Hutch feel very good inside.


As Starsky approached, Hutch teased, “You can’t help yourself, can you?”


“What can I say?” Starsky shot back.  “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.”  He reached into the sack and took out a gooey sweet roll.  “Want a bite?”


“I’ll pass.”  Hutch turned toward the squad room.


Starsky put his hand on the small of Hutch’s back and prompted him in another direction.   He lowered his voice.  “Hey, how did it go?”


Hutch pushed open the door to the fire escape, which led to the back stairwell.  They both sat on the concrete steps, and Starsky took a bite of his roll.


Hutch considered how best to answer.  Then he said, “Seaton wants me to see him some more, but the next appointment isn’t for another couple of weeks.”


“Did it help to talk to him?”


Hutch shrugged.  “Not really.  What’s he supposed to help with?”  More softly, he said, “I told him that my partner was fully supportive.  I mean,” he looked at Starsky, “I was trying to make it clear that I had a good support system, and it’s not like I was trying to pretend it didn’t happen or whatever.  It’s not like I’m not fully functional in some way, because it happened.”  In fact, he was quite functional, especially where it really counted, which his partner could attest to.


“Did you ask him straight out why you need to keep seeing him?”


Hutch snorted.  “He said to sort out my feelings so I’m not confused.  How can I not be confused when nobody has any idea why this happened, you know?  I’m not going to stop being confused until we know the reason why this was done to me and Morrison and whoever else.”  He tilted his head to one side.  “Seaton can’t help with that.”


“Well, he probably just needs to justify his paycheck, and that means police officers who require his services.”


Hutch reached to tear off an end of the sweet roll.  He inserted it into his mouth and enjoyed his partner’s exasperation.  He muttered around the roll, “He should be focusing on officers who can benefit from his help.” 


Starsky deadpanned, “Anyone ever tell you not to talk with your mouth full?”





They had Thursday and Friday off since they were scheduled to work the weekend.  It was Thursday afternoon that Dobey called when they were at Hutch’s apartment.


“Hutch, Sheriff Williams called.  Rory Sanchez turned himself in, and he’s working a deal with the FBI.”


“FBI?” Hutch said, as Starsky slid closer to listen in.


“Yes.  This has gone across state lines.  Williams says you’re welcome to listen to the recording of the initial interrogation of Sanchez.”


“Thanks, Captain.  We’re heading down there.”





When they arrived, Williams said, “The Feds have already taken Sanchez into protective custody.  The case is now out of our hands.  The interrogation we did with him lasts close to three hours.”


He had a deputy set Starsky and Hutch up in an interrogation room with a tape recorder.


The first hour was mainly background details.  Sanchez described himself as a man who liked to make money as simply as possible.  He detested complications.  He’d been approached a couple of years ago by “suits” willing to pay him to abduct healthy young men, and hold them for a few days until the suits took them away.


“For what purpose did the suits want the men?” Williams asked.


“I don’t know!  I just know it’s in my best interest to not question the people who are paying me.”


“You must have some idea,” Williams prodded.  “A theory, at least.”


“Look, they wanted healthy young men.  They said not ugly ones.  What does that tell you?”


“It was up to you to find the men?”


“Yes.  I found ways to get in touch with a target, and told them to meet me at a certain place – it was an old, closed up restaurant on highway 63 for that last six – because I had some business or information or whatever, depending on their occupation, for them.  I paid an assistant, Bruno, to help me take them down with chloroform and take them to the farmhouse.  By the way, good luck finding Bruno.  I’ve already tipped him off that I was turning myself in and spilling everything.”


“And once they were at the farmhouse?”


“The guy was tied up.  Securely.  The suits showed me how to do it so that they were secure, but they didn’t get their circulation cut off.”


“What about their clothes?”


“We stripped them after we chloroformed them, so we could get pictures to give to the suits.  They always wanted to see what the guys looked like – all over – before they were willing to pick them up a few days later.  It was too much hassle to dress them back in their clothes when they were unconscious, so we just kept them naked.”


“Then what would happen?”


“I was supposed to keep the guys alive and healthy for a couple of days.  It gave the go-between suit – his name was Lenny – enough time to get the pictures back to the head honcho, I guess, and approve of him.  And then, after a couple of days or so, three guys would come and pick up the man, and I’d get paid, and that would be the end of it, until they told me what to pick up the next time.”


“What do you mean, what to pick up?  You said you chose the man to abduct.”


“They gave me an occupation.  That was all.  Sounds weird, huh?  For some reason, they wanted guys from all these different occupations.”


“Tell us about when you picked up the blond police detective.”


“I thought it was a longshot, but I just called the police in the closest, largest city – didn’t want to risk taking anyone local – and said I knew something about a murder, and the guy that answered didn’t question me or anything.  He readily agreed to meet me at the old restaurant on 63.”


Hutch inwardly cringed upon hearing this.  He should have been much more vigilant.


“So Bruno and I did our thing, got the picture, took the cop to the farmhouse, and waited.”


“How would the suits know that the man was actually a cop?”


“We took a picture when his badge beside him.  That’s what we did with all of them.  Like, if it was a carpenter, we had his hammer or some other tools in the picture.”


“Go ahead.”


“Bruno and I took the cop to the farmhouse.  A couple of days later, I was expecting the suits to show up, and they didn’t.  When I called – I always called collect from a pay phone – I was told that they had engine trouble with their plane.”


“Their plane?”


“Yeah, I think they live in Nevada or something.  I call a long distance number collect.  I think they always fly out to an airport nearby to pick the guy up.  Anyway, I’d overheard someone in a coffee shop talking about a story in the newspaper about a missing cop.  I was getting really nervous.  I’d had the cop four days, and it was scaring the hell out of me.  I mean, it’s not like the police would just give up after a while and stop looking for him.  So, I decided to ditch him.  I got Bruno, and we chloroformed the guy and dumped him on the side of the road, and figured somebody would stop to help him.  The suits were mad as hell when I told them, but I reminded them that I liked things simple, and keeping a guy tied up like that for four days was going beyond simple.  Then they told me they wanted me to get a photographer.”


“Tom Morrison.”


“I guess.  I never paid much attention to their names.  So, I found him in the phone directory.  He had a picture of himself next to his ad, and he looked young and healthy.  I called and said I wanted before and after pictures of a broken down restaurant I’d just bought.  He came right out, and Bruno and I did our thing.  He was supposed to be picked up that night after you guys found the farmhouse.”


“How did Janet Black get involved?”


There was a loud swallow on the tape.  “I feel awful about that.”  Sanchez sounded genuinely sorry.  “She’s a nice kid.  I mean, an adult, but she’s mentally retarded.  But she can follow simple commands, especially when they’re repetitive.  I wanted my involvement in all this stuff as minimal as possible.  I hated dealing with the captives and all their screaming and yelling.”


“Why didn’t you gag them?”


“I did at first, when I was taking care of them.  But once I showed Janet how to give them something to drink, it would have been too much hassle to have her remove their gag, and then put it back on.  With her being deaf, she wouldn’t be bothered by all their screaming and yelling.  And since she’s mute, she couldn’t tell them anything.”


“What about the sexual assault?”


“What?”  Sanchez sounded genuinely surprised.


“She sexually assaulted the last two captives, at least.  She fondled their penises, repeatedly.”


“What!  She was just cleaning up their piss.  I showed her how to do that. That’s not sexual assault!” 


“Technically, it is.  Unwanted contact of the genitals is sexual assault.  There was more involved than just cleaning up where they’d urinated on themselves.”


Sanchez was heard groaning.  Then, “She couldn’t have meant anything by it!  She’s mentally retarded.  Come on, Sheriff, you can’t hold that against her.  She didn’t know what she was doing.”


“You didn’t tell her to do it?”


“God, no!  I just showed her how to give them water or juice.  I usually prepared juice each morning and evening, because I figured it was more nutritious than water.  I mean, I wasn’t feeding these guys, because that was too complicated.  We would have had to untie them to sit them up to keep them from choking… way too complicated.”


“So you drove her to the park, on the other side of the woods from the farmhouse?”


“Yes, each morning and night.  She would make the trip through the woods, like I showed her, and ‘take care of the animals’.  That’s how I explained it to her, because she likes animals.  She never seemed to bat an eye at the fact that they were actually people.”


“What did you do that night she was arrested?”


“I got scared as hell, waiting for her in the park, when she didn’t come back.  Finally, I went through the woods myself, and after being sure no one was around, I went to the farmhouse.  Freaked me out to see no sign of Janet, and that the photographer was gone.  I didn’t know if he’d somehow gotten loose and taken her, or what.  I didn’t know what I was going to say to my cousin Sarah, her guardian.  So, I just hightailed it out of there to get my head together.  I did call Lenny and told him something had gone wrong.  He wasn’t happy.  In fact, that’s one of the reasons I decided to turn myself in.  I figured between me letting the cop go, and the photographer somehow getting away, they probably wouldn’t be interested in using me anymore.  And maybe they’d blow me away as extra insurance that I couldn’t ever tell anybody.”


As the conversation continued, it focused on the background of the case.  Sanchez said he’d frequently moved around to different parts of the state, and sometimes in Nevada, so he never abducted more than a few men in the same area.  He’d watched the farmhouse a while to make sure no one was ever around, before he’d used it to hold his captives.


While he couldn’t know for a fact, he was under the impression that the “suits” had a large operation that probably extended to other parts of the country.


Williams pressed, “And you have no idea what the operation is about – why the suits want young, healthy men?”


Sounding tired, Sanchez muttered, “I just assumed it was some kind of bizarre male sex slave operation.  Something along that line. You know, maybe perverted rich people buy them or something.  I have no way of knowing.”


After a moment Williams said, “At the farmhouse, it looked like there were two rooms to hold captives.”


“Yeah.  I figured, more guys, more money.  But they were only telling me who to abduct, one at a time.”


“By who, you mean their occupation.”




“What about the tarp on the windows.  What was the purpose of that?”


“I didn’t put those on.  They were already on the windows.  I found some trays and old bottles of chemicals – like the basement had been used as some kind of darkroom by the prior owners.”


“Were the suits giving you any kind of instructions to put the captured men through sensory deprivation?”


“Huh?  What the fuck is that?  Sensory what?”


“The first known victim – the cop – felt he’d been subjected to sensory deprivation.  Where his senses weren’t allowed to perceive anything.  He was in complete darkness.  He could hear, but there was nothing to hear.  He could talk, but nobody ever responded.  He wasn’t touched at all, except on his penis.  He wasn’t allowed to move whatsoever.  Sensory deprivation is sometimes used as a form of torture.”


“Torture?  Hey, look, I just needed to keep these guys long enough for the suits to come take them away.  I didn’t want to make their stay miserable.  I certainly had no interest in torturing them.  I was just trying to do what I needed to do to earn my pay, you know?  Besides, I let the cop go.  You can’t say I’m not a compassionate man.”


“Because you were scared that the cops would come looking,” Williams reminded firmly.


“Yes” Sanchez quickly defended, “but also because I was worried about his health, being tied up like that for so long.”


Williams scoffed, “You’re a regular icon of virtue.”





Starsky and Hutch were silent as they left Townsville.


Hutch’s mind was a jumble.  Male sex slave.  How close he’d come….


He knew it was only a matter of time before Starsky asked him what he was thinking.  So, after they’d been driving in silence for ten minutes, he muttered, “I feel more violated than ever.  And it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with Janet Black fondling my cock.”


“No shit,” Starsky grimaced.


“I just…  I-I have to believe that, if the suits had come for me, I would have somehow gotten away.  No way would I have….”


Starsky reached over and squeezed Hutch behind his knee.


“Damn it,” Hutch shifted his legs restlessly against the floorboard, “How much you want to bet, if these guys are ever brought to justice, that it’s going to take years to breach an operation like that?”


Starsky released a heavy sigh.  “I’d like to think that maybe it’s possible the suits are willing to use Sanchez again, and the FBI can set up a sting.  Even if the suits are only willing because they want to off Sanchez, if they and Sanchez agree to meet somewhere – say, Sanchez claims to have abducted another cop to square things away – and the suits show up, maybe the FBI can arrest them then, and eventually get to the top guy.”


“That’s a lot of ifs.”


“Yep.  But I have to believe these guys are going to be caught.”  He shook his head.  “Sex slaves.  You would think something like that couldn’t happen in our society.”


Hutch snorted.  “I was chosen because I was a cop, and I was let go because I was a cop.”




“Dammit,” Hutch went on, “I really let my guard down that day.  Some guy calls me from an hour away, says he has information on a murder, and I fell for it, hook, line and sinker.  Didn’t ask a single question, except where to meet him.”


“Come on, Hutch, we were working a fresh murder.  We have to grab onto any information we can get.  No one answering that phone that morning could have had any idea that they were walking into a trap.”


“Say what you want, but it was still sloppy on my part.  Almost cost me my life.”  Hutch said, much more softly, “Or my sanity, at least.”


Starsky firmly noted, “I never would have given up looking for you.”


Hutch released a heavy breath.  “I know.”


“But there’s no point in hashing this.  You’re here now.  You’re okay.  You went through a rough few days, but you know that Janet Black didn’t mean anything by her actions.”


Hutch snorted.  “She knew it was wrong, though, on some level.  When Williams tried to get her to admit to fondling me and Morrison, she never would say she’d done it.”


Starsky looked over at him.  “It’s always possible that she never understood exactly what they were asking.  For that matter, she never seemed to recognize you as one of the ‘animals’.  You know, she reacted to you no different than anyone else, after we’d arrested her.”


“It was really dark in that basement.  And I was blindfolded.  So, even with the flashlight, I probably don’t look the same to her now as I did in the basement.”


“Yeah, probably not.  Anyway, it’s not like anyone’s going to try to prosecute her.”


“Dammit,” Hutch growled after a moment, without meaning to.  He wasn’t even sure who was most mad at.


Starsky looked over at him again.  Gently, he asked, “You want me stop somewhere?”


“Why?  So I can hit something?”  The thought felt good, but, “I don’t know what that’s supposed to accomplish.”  Then, Hutch said softly, “Let’s just get home.”







They drove the remaining distance, mostly in silence.


Hutch was becoming aware that Starsky was growing more intense, even while quiet.  Hutch could almost feel the anger building within his partner.  It was the way the balance always worked.  During the drive, Hutch tried to reach some sense of peace with what had happened – and almost happened – while Starsky got increasingly angry from similar fantasies.


Hutch wanted love, not anger, from Starsky.


Like early this morning, when they’d taken each other into their mouths.  They had done that a few times – so tentative at first.  They were both gradually becoming bolder and more confident in their skill at pleasuring each other.


The best part about making love with Starsky was that the love was still so strong after their lovemaking was over.  As the afterglow waned, and lassitude took over, Hutch still very much wanted Starsky near.  He never questioned that Starsky wanted him near, too.





They arrived at Starsky’s place in mid afternoon.  Upon entering the apartment, Hutch said, “I need to take a shower.  I feel filthy.”  He had already showered that morning, and he knew the need was entirely psychological, but he felt compelled to indulge the urge.


He was surprised that Starsky didn’t join him. 


When he emerged from the shower, his hair towel dry, and dressed in the extra robe Starsky kept on hand, Hutch found his partner sitting on the edge of the bed, also wearing a robe.  The intense expression was still present, though Hutch didn’t think that anger was still the prevalent emotion.


Hutch sat beside him.


He waited.


Starsky stared at the floor a long moment.  Then, without turning his head, he said, “I want to fuck you, Hutch.”


Hutch had known they would reach this point, eventually.  “Okay.”


Another long wait.  Then Starsky said, “I want to be gentle, but I don’t know if I can be that right now.”


Yes, it seemed that his partner was too wound up for patience.  “Okay.”  It was so instinctive to give Starsky whatever he needed.


Starsky seemed to soften a bit, though his gaze still remained on the floor.  “I guess it shouldn’t be much different than doing it with a woman.”  He paused, and then a touch of humor, “At least, for the one on top.”


Quietly, Hutch said, “We’ve always worked it out, up to this point.”




Hutch stood just enough to remove his robe.  He let it drop to the floor, emphasizing his willingness.


After an extended moment, Starsky did the same.


They sat side by side on the mattress, naked.


Hutch waited.


“I want you to be mine,” Starsky said.  “All mine.  Mine alone.”


Very soft, Hutch said, “I want that, too.”  Then, to enforce the words, “We have exclusive rights to each other.”


Starsky growled as he finally turned to Hutch, pushing him back.


Hutch let himself be manipulated farther onto the mattress, and welcomed the lips that crashed down onto his.


This kiss was like no other they had shared before.  Possessive.  Demanding.


Hutch quivered and spread his legs, so Starsky could settle between them.  He had some 170 pounds of sexual energy on top of him, and it thrilled him.


Starsky’s steel hardness poked at his groin.


Then Starsky pulled back and moved down Hutch’s neck and chest, nipping as he went.


He tongued each nipple, and then growled again.


Hutch felt hands on his hips, and then heard the command, “Turn over.”


He obeyed, quivering from the feeling of exposure. 


“Like this,” Starsky muttered, grabbing a couple of pillows.


Hutch arched his hips up, allowing the pillows to be placed beneath his flanks, leaving him in a position that felt peculiar.


Hands pushed his thighs apart.


A thumb brushed along his anus, but only for a moment.


All contact went away.


Hutch’s eyes were closed as he listened to a drawer being opened, and the fumbling of supplies there.


Then Starsky was behind him again.


After a short time, Starsky lay alongside him, while feeling along Hutch’s buttocks with his fingers.  Then a moist fingertip was inserted between them.


Hutch raised his head at the rude intrusion.


“Easy,” Starsky soothed in a heavy whisper.  His cheek was resting against Hutch’s arm.  Then, pleading, he said, “Please try to relax.”


Hutch wasn’t sure he could do that, with knowing what was coming.  Instead, he tried to cooperate, opening to welcome the digit, while also raising his hips slightly.


Starsky kissed Hutch’s arm and pushed the finger in farther.


The digit felt so harshly defiant, the way it was going against the natural flow of movement.


Hutch continued to writhe around it.  After a time, it began to feel as though it belonged.


“Mmm,” Starsky approved.


“Try another,” Hutch suggested.


Starsky shifted, removing the finger, and then resting his cheek against Hutch’s buttock.  Eventually, Hutch felt more moist flesh probing at him.  He was stretched to what felt like an impossible degree, and he grunted.


“Sorry,” Starsky whispered. 


But the fingers still persisted, forcing their way in, parting tender flesh.    


Starsky twisted them around, and Hutch felt a bolt of electricity shoot up his spine.  “Oh, man,” he gasped.


Starsky kissed Hutch’s butt.  Then he muttered, “Another day, I’ll spend a lot of time doing that.  But right now,” he maneuvered to his knees, “I want to fuck.”


Starsky pressed against Hutch’s buttock with his free hand, and said, “Easy.”  Slowly, he removed the fingers.


Hutch swallowed and waited, closing his eyes.


A hand was on his buttock again, this time with a steadying pressure.  The buttock was pulled to one side.


He heard Starsky’s harsh breath.


Blunt flesh was placed against him. 


Hutch let himself go slack.


The bluntness pushed, and Hutch’s eyes watered at the impossible stretching.  He couldn’t restrain a gasp.  He grit his teeth.


“Damn,” Starsky huffed, as though also in pain. 


But the pressure continued, and Hutch released a whimper of protest.


Starsky was breathing heavily.  He grasped Hutch’s side.


Hutch released a heavy breath, realizing that the motion had stopped.  He groaned, unsure of what he was trying to communicate.


Starsky’s voice was soft.  “Hang in there, baby.”


The steadying hand was now on Hutch’s back. 


The pressure pushed more.  Hutch relaxed, realizing that the additional depth wasn’t increasing the width any farther.


Both hands were on Hutch’s shoulders now, and Starsky gripped them as he pressed more still.


Hutch felt the tickle of wiry hair against his ass.


Starsky’s weight settled on top of him.  “You’re too good to me,” he muttered tightly.


Hutch realized that Starsky wasn’t trying to move.  Instead, his love had found his hands, and clasped them within his own.


Starsky’s cheek was against Hutch’s shoulder.  “Want this to last forever.” Then, “Can’t believe it, me inside of you.”


Hutch wanted to participate in the conversation.  “I love you.”  His eyes watered again, this time not from pain.


“Ah, Hutch.”  Starsky’s voice was suddenly firm.  “No one else can have you.”


Hutch found a soft chuckle.  “You’re going to make me cry.”


“I hope not from sadness.”




Starsky was silent a moment, then undulated slightly. “How you doing?’  He tried to feel beneath Hutch, but his weight had Hutch pressed too heavily against the pillows.


Hutch admitted, “Can’t help you from this position.”  He didn’t know how he could add to Starsky’s pleasure.


Starsky began to pump.  “Just wanna fuck.”  As though Hutch shouldn’t worry about it.


It was a different kind of feeling now, the flesh moving in and out.  It felt sore at the opening, but Hutch was aware of a tingling behind his balls.  He couldn’t move in any way to enhance the sensation.


Starsky slammed harder against him.  “God.  God.  God.  Dear God.”  Then, suddenly desperate, “Oh, Jesus God.”  His fingers dug into Hutch’s shoulders.


Hutch listened to the prolonged guttural growl as Starsky suddenly went still.  He waited, and then was disappointed that he couldn’t feel anything happening within his bowels.


Starsky went slack, breathing harshly, and his weight grew heavier.


Hutch relished the sensations for a moment longer.  Then, just as he started to protest his partner’s heaviness, Starsky shifted so that he elbows could take part of his weight.  Then he reached back and placed a hand on Hutch’s rear.


Starsky started to shift backwards.  “Easy, babe.  Real easy.”


Even with the flesh somewhat deflated, Hutch felt its contours as it moved backwards, and then slipped free.  Ouch.


Starsky’s weight was now off him completely.  Hutch felt his buttocks parted, and then the gentle skimming of fingers.


“There’s some blood,” Starsky informed him.  Then he squeezed Hutch’s buttock, and tenderly said.  “Wait here.”  He left the bed.


Hutch was content to lie where he was, and was trying to absorb the sensations of having been fucked by his partner.  After all the many, many times he’d made love in his life, he couldn’t shake the feeling that what had just taken place was the joining that he’d most wanted to happen.


And knowing that Starsky would be real upset if he ever loved anybody else… what a delicious feeling of entrapment that was.


There were sounds from the bathroom, and then Starsky emerged with cloths and other supplies.


Hutch closed his eyes and let himself drift as the bed rocked with Starsky’s weight.  He felt a warm, wet washcloth at his asshole.  Gentle dabbing.  Then something soft and dry.  More parting of his flesh, but with a very tender motion.


Starsky said, “I’m going to put Vaseline on it, so it’s not so raw and sore.”




A moment later, Hutch felt the thick gel.


When Starsky was finished, he placed his hand on Hutch’s lower back.  “You okay, Hutch?”


“I’m wonderful.”  With that, Hutch finally started to shift, and Starsky tossed the pillows aside.


A few moments later, they were curled together under the covers, Hutch content to lie in Starsky’s arms.


Starsky said, “When you’re ready, I want you to do it to me.”


Hutch’s kissed Starsky’s chest.  “Might be a while.”  One thing he knew for sure was that he was going to be exceedingly gentle.  He was angry about finding out what had happened to him – and most especially the purpose – but none of that anger was directed at Starsky.


Starsky tilted his chin up, and then showered Hutch’s face and lips with very gentle kisses, almost as though he’d known what he was thinking.


Sometimes, it seemed to Hutch that their post-loving behavior was the best part.





Many hours later, Starsky came partially awake in the darkness.  He smiled at the memory of the sensation that had been his loins.  He’d actually shared space with Hutch.  He wondered what it was going to feel like when he was the recipient of Hutch thick maleness.


Sighing happily, and remembering that they had another day off tomorrow, Starsky rolled over on the mattress, facing his partner.  He could sense enough to tell that Hutch was lying flat on his back, completely still.


“You awake?” Starsky whispered.


Hutch looked over at him, and briefly squeezed his arm.


“What’s the matter?”


Quietly, Hutch replied, “Just can’t stop thinking about it.  What all those men – however many there are – must be going through, if they actually got sold into some sort of slavery.”


“Ah, Hutch.”


Hutch swallowed audibly.  “I took your cock inside my body earlier today, because that closeness with you is what I wanted more than anything.  But I can’t imagine what it must be like, for someone who doesn’t want it….”


It was on the tip of Starsky’s tongue to point at that they couldn’t be sure exactly what had happened to the men that Sanchez and Bruno, and other hired help like them, had kidnapped.  But it would be a weak argument.  Whatever the eventual fate of the victims, it couldn’t be anything good.  Instead, Starsky put his arms around Hutch, prompting his partner to turn and snuggle against him.


As Hutch’s head rested against Starsky’s shoulder, he said, “I guess it’s a good thing that I have to keep seeing Dr. Seaton, huh?”


Starsky kissed the blond head.  “Whatever helps.”  He wished so much that he could make this whole thing more palatable for his partner.  He admitted, “I just wanted to focus on the fact that you’re mine now.  And I’m yours.”  More gently he said, “I’m looking forward to having that second part consummated.”


“I don’t think I could get it up right now.”


Starsky gently scolded, “I didn’t mean right now.”  Then he pressed Hutch even closer.  “Just want to try to help you relax and maybe you can get some sleep.”  He stroked along Hutch’s lower back.


Hutch closed his eyes and rubbed his cheek against Starsky’s shoulder.





Three months later, Starsky was sitting at his desk, trying to focus on the file of a recent murder victim, and kept looking nervously toward Captain Dobey’s closed door.  A short time ago, their superior had summoned Hutch into his office.  It was highly unusual that Dobey would want to speak to just one of them.


Starsky distracted himself with pondering whether or not he would feel any different about it, had he had Hutch not added lovemaking to their partnership.  Every time he wondered about such things, he reached the same conclusion:  Nothing in their partnership had changed.  Nothing in how they worked together had changed.  What had changed was that when they went home after a long day – whoever’s apartment they decided to go to for the night – it had a stable, calming effect on them both to know that, if they chose, loving pleasure was available.  If they weren’t in the mood, then loving warmth was available – which really wasn’t any different than how it had been before.


That felt comforting – that their lovemaking had only added a positive element, and not detracted from all that they had been together.


Dobey’s office door opened and Hutch emerged, looking none the worse for the meeting.


Starsky’s eyes met his partner’s as Hutch made his way to his desk and sat down.


Hutch said, “I don’t have to see the psychologist anymore.  He cleared me after our last meeting.  Funny that he didn’t say anything to me directly.”


“Maybe he had to think about it a while,” Starsky suggested.  “Anyway, that’s good news.”




The phone rang and Starsky picked it up.  “Dave Starsky speaking.”


A formal male voice asked, “Is Detective Kenneth Hutchinson available?”


“Yes.  Who’s calling?”


“It’s Agent Speitzer, with the FBI.”


Starsky shrugged as he said to Hutch, “Line two.  An Agent from the FBI.”  He decided to stay on the line.


Hutch hesitated a moment, revealing his puzzlement, and then picked up the receiver and pressed line two on the telephone.  “This is Detective Hutchinson.”


“Agent Speitzer with the FBI.  I’m part of the team handling the case concerning the male sex slave ring, of which you were the first known potential victim.”


Starsky’s heartbeat quickened.  They had never heard anything from the FBI, since the case had been turned over to the Feds.


“Yes?” Hutch asked warily, meeting Starsky’s eye.


“An undercover operation has been a success, and we have the kingpin in custody in Nevada.  You’ll be expected to testify when the case goes trial.  You’ll be hearing from the U.S. Attorney General’s office in the near future, to review your original statement.”


“I’ll gladly testify,” Hutch said, then bowed his head.  He hesitated before asking, “So, what about the other victims?  I mean, what’s happened to them?”


“There’s close to two dozen known victims that were sold into sexual slavery, throughout the world.  We’ve been able to recover some, but the man behind it is denying everything and refusing to cooperate.  It’ll be a long process, trying to track down the other victims.  But we’re doing everything we can.”


Starsky and Hutch exchanged a glance.


“Thanks for the update,” Hutch said dryly.  “I assume we’re talking months before there’s actually a trial.”


“Yes, at least.  But we do want to carefully review your original statement and give you an opportunity to add anything to it.  That’ll happen within the next few weeks.”


“Just let me know when I’m needed.”


“Will do, Detective.  Have a good afternoon.”


As soon as they hung up their phones, Starsky said, “That must have been some good undercover work, for them to have gotten to the top guy this quickly.”


Hutch nodded while releasing a heavy breath.  “I guess the perps never expected Sanchez to go to the police.  Otherwise, they would have treaded carefully for a while, if they were worried that the police might be on to them.”


“They might have thought they were diversified enough in various states, that nothing could be strung together to create a coherent picture.”




Starsky smiled warmly at his partner.  “At least you can rest easier, Hutch.  There won’t be any more victims.”


Hutch glanced away.  “Yeah.  I just hope they can track the others down.”  He looked back at Starsky.  “Can’t imagine what those guys have been through, or how they might be able to put their lives back together.”


Starsky’s smile broadened, as his heart warmed even more.


“What?” Hutch asked.


“You know, if you ever decide to get out of police work, you might be the right person for some kind of victim’s advocacy group.  Especially a male-oriented one.”


Hutch shrugged.  “What’s the point of even doing police work, if not for the sake of the victims?”


Starsky mused, “A lot of us can get pretty calloused over the years, even toward the victims.  I think you’ve just gotten softer.”


Hutch snorted, and then ducked his head bashfully.


Starsky finally tore his eyes away from the love of his life, and focused on the file before him.








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