by Charlotte Frost

(c) March 2013



Starsky sighed as he turned onto Ocean. 

It was tough enough to see a fellow cop killed in the line of duty.  But to have one suffer three bullet wounds to the chest, in his own apartment living room, with no sign of forced entry, no sign of a struggle....

It was difficult not to be in the midst of the investigation.  The murder of Daniel Talbrot, a late thirties detective that had transferred to their precinct less than a year ago, had been assigned to Simmons and Babcock.  They were two good detectives, and had helped Starsky try to lure Hutch in, by setting up a fake robbery, when Hutch had been infected with botulism.   All the other cops that had dropped by yesterday evening to observe the murder scene of Talbrot had been shooed away.

Starsky and Hutch had gotten a hamburger together, muttering their mutual puzzlement about the murder, and then parted ways for the evening.

Now, the sun was shining bright and innocent as Starsky pulled in front of Venice Place.  He and Hutch were going to have to do their best to focus on their cases, and leave the murder of Daniel Talbrot to those who had been assigned to it.

Starsky honked his horn, and then picked up his newspaper, in case Hutch was going to be a few minutes. 

Starsky got so involved in reading an article on female police offers, that he hardly noticed when the passenger door opened, and Hutch slid into the seat beside him.

"Good morning," Hutch said pointedly.

"Mornin'," Starsky replied, still involved in the article.  Then, while finally shoving the paper aside and slipping the Torino into gear, he asked, "Did you know that they estimate that, within a decade, some ten percent of police officers will be female?"

Hutch grunted.

As Starsky focused on driving, he realized that the subject of female police officers probably wasn't a good one with which to start off the morning.

So close he and Hutch had become, just a few weeks ago, to having a major rift in their partnership, thanks to detective Kira Andrews. 

Starsky changed the subject.  "You get any sleep last night?"  He glanced over at Hutch.  And blinked.  It took him a moment to realize what was different.

Hutch ran a hand over his bare face.  "Some.  Still so hard to believe."

Starsky was no longer thinking about Talbrot as he gazed at Hutch, now that the Torino was stopped at a light.  "You shaved your mustache!"



The light turned green and Starsky accelerated, glancing at Hutch.

Hutch shrugged.  "Just felt like it."   His feet shifted against the floorboard.  "I didn't grow it for any particular reason, and I didn't shave it for any particular reason."

Starsky wondered at the truth of the explanation.  He preferred to think that maybe Hutch's bare upper lip was a dedication to some kind of fresh start.  A fresh start that meant he and Hutch were no longer going to one-up each other -- even playfully -- when it came to women, because they'd found out how unsatisfying any kind of "victory" could be -- especially when the woman in question wasn't willing to be won.

After they drove in silence for a few moments, Hutch asked quietly, "You didn't sleep?"

"Off and on.  Kept wondering about it.  It couldn't have been a robbery or something like that, with three slugs to the chest.  Had to be personal."

"Yeah," Hutch muttered.


No sooner had they entered the squadroom, when Dobey appeared in his office doorway, looking grim.  "Hutch, my office."

Starsky looked over at Hutch, whose expression reflected Starsky's own puzzlement. 

"What about me?" Starsky demanded.  When had Dobey ever wanted to see just one of them?

"Hutchinson," Dobey stressed, turning back to his office.

Hutch's mouth was open as he continued to look at Starsky, while moving to Dobey's office.

Right before the door was closed behind Hutch, Starsky could see some suits in the office, but couldn't see their faces.

Mechanically, Starsky poured himself coffee, sat down, and began looking through files.  None of their contents registered.

Nearly an hour later, Dobey's door opened, and Hutch emerged, eyes wide.

"Starsky," Dobey said, just as firm as before.  "In here."

Starsky rose from his chair, and tried to catch Hutch's eye to understand what was going on, but Hutch reached for his coffee cup and seemed to avoid his gaze.

You're no help, Starsky silently grumbled, as he moved into Dobey's office.

Dobey shut the door behind them.  Starsky recognized the suits.  Leonard Patterson and Doug Fenton from Internal Affairs. 

"What's going on?" Starsky asked, crossing his arms.

"Sit down," Dobey said, while moving behind his own desk.

Starsky did.

Patterson was unusually tall, with short, sandy hair.  "Where were you Tuesday night?"

Starsky blinked.  That was two nights ago.  "Uh, at Hutch's.  Having a beer."  Talking about the situation with Kira.  "Why?"

"For how long?" Fenton prompted.  He had dark hair, down to the base of his neck, and a mustache that looked too big for his face.

"Uh, well, we picked up some Chinese after shift.  I guess we got to his place at seven.  Watched the ballgame until it was over around ten."   Mostly talked about Kira.   Starsky shrugged, wondering if Hutch was in some kind of trouble.  "We shot the breeze for a while.  I know I was there long enough for the sports to come on the news.  I guess it was around eleven-thirty when I left."

The tension in the room eased.

More casually, Patterson asked, "When did you next see or speak with Hutchinson?"

"The next morning.  I picked him up, because we were going to see a snitch before coming in.  Why?"

Fenton asked, "How did he seem to you?"

Starsky looked at Dobey, whose face was impassive.  "What do you mean, how did he seem?  What's going on?"

Patterson said, "Just answer the question, Detective."

Starsky didn't understand what kind of answer they wanted.  "He seemed... like Hutch.  Ridiculously cheerful, like he is sometimes in the mornings.   Rambling on about some coupon he cut out of the paper for new plants he was going to buy, so he wanted to make sure we stopped by that particular plant store during the day."

Fenton asked, "Did he tell you why he shaved his mustache?"

"Huh?" Starsky felt like he was on another planet.  "He said for no particular reason.  Why?"

Patterson said.  "That'll be all."

Starsky looked at Dobey again.  "What's going on, Cap'n?"

"I'll fill you in later."  Hesitantly, Dobey added, "Or Hutch can."  He nodded at the door.  "Go on."

Relieved that the brief interrogation was over, Starsky leapt from his chair and charged out the door, slamming it behind him.

Hutch was seated at his desk, and looked up questioningly.

Starsky leaned down to him.  "What's going on?"

"They didn't tell you?"

"No, they just asked where I was Tuesday night.  How come?"

"You won't believe it," Hutch muttered.  He started to rise, and nodded toward the door.  "Come on.  We need to drop by Huggy's about Les Turner, anyway."

That was a suspect for a murder case they were working.

Starsky followed Hutch out the door, realizing that Hutch wanted privacy for them.  As they moved down the hall, he spotted Kira near the water fountain.  Her eye caught his, and she gave him a gentle smile.  Starsky noted it subconsciously, but he was listening to what Hutch was saying about Turner's last known whereabouts.

Also subconsciously, he realized that Kira had started to frown, for they were passing her, without Starsky having acknowledged her smile.

He hadn't meant to ignore her like that.  He didn't exactly have warm feelings for her, but he also didn't have bad feelings.  But Hutch was talking, and with the puzzlement of IA wanting to interview them, his attention was focused on that.

They made their way to the parking lot, and were silent when they got into the Torino.   Starsky drove just a few blocks, before turning into a large parking lot behind a warehouse.  He put the Torino in park and turned off the motor.

He over looked at Hutch, waiting.

Hutch rubbed at his bare lip, while gazing out the windshield.  "You won't believe what they found in Talbrot's apartment."


Hutch shifted with discomfort.  "He kept a diary."

That seemed an odd thing for a man to do.  "And?"

Hutch shook his head in disbelief.  "I'm in it."

Starsky was having trouble comprehending.  "In his diary?"

"Yes," Hutch nodded emphatically, flexing his jaw.

"How come?"  Starsky tried to remember if there had ever been any personal time spent between Hutch and Talbrot.  He couldn't think of any.

Hutch scoffed, "I guess he was gay.  Or bisexual.  Or... something."  Hutch shifted again.

"Gay?" Starsky was trying to put two and two together, and the sum was making his heart pound.  "What's that got to do with you being in his diary?"

Hutch waved his hand, as his voiced raised.  "He was writing about me!  I mean," his voice softened, "like, fantasies or something."

"You mean he was making stuff up?"

Hutch sputtered, "I mean that he was like... mooning over me, I guess.  From afar."  He looked over at Starsky.  "It's not like I ever knew about it.  I just always thought he seemed... intense, the few times I ever had reason to talk to him."

Starsky hadn't talked to Talbrot much, either.  "Yeah, I guess he was kind of intense.  Quiet, more than anything."  Starsky thought of Patterson and Fenton.  "Oh, God, IA knows about the diary?" 

"Yes!  Simmons and Babcock probably turned it in to them."

Starsky wanted to be mad, but they were just doing their jobs.  "So, IA wants to know if you're gay?"

Hutch sputtered again.  "For starters!" he practically yelled at Starsky.  "I think they think I might have murdered him, for some reason."

Oh.  Starsky felt silly that he hadn't made that connection.

More quietly, Hutch asked, "You corroborated that I was with you Tuesday night, right?"

"Of course."

"Good.  Hopefully, this is all that will come of it."

Starsky furrowed his brow.  "They asked me what the reason you'd given for shaving your mustache.  Why would they be asking that?"

Hutch scoffed, "Talbrot was getting all poetic about my mustache."

"Really?"  Starsky couldn't imagine that.

"Yeah.  And so the IA guys were wanting to know why I shaved it off -- like they think that somehow had something to do with the murder."

"Man.  That seems crazy."

"No shit."

Feeling hesitant, Starsky asked, "So, Talbrot was writing about how much he... liked you?"  He felt himself bristle at the thought.

"Yeah."  Hutch shook his head.  "All this lovey-dovey stuff about my golden hair and long thighs and...."

Starsky felt his stomach churn.  Talbrot had no right to be thinking about Hutch like that.

Thoughtfully, Hutch said, "You know, everything points to the murderer being somebody he knew."

"But you hardly knew him," Starsky protested.

"Right.  And I told IA that."

"Did they believe you?"

"Think so," Hutch replied in a quiet voice.  Then he snorted.  "It's not like they can pin anything on me.  There's nothing that can possibly connect me to him.  Hell, I'm not responsible for his fantasies about me."

"Yeah."  Carefully, now that Hutch was calmer, Starsky asked, "Do you think IA is satisfied that you're not gay?"

Hutch shrugged.  "I can't be sure.  Besides, they're more interested in whether or not I killed him.  The gay angle would speak more to motive, I guess."

Starsky reasoned, "Besides, if they thought you were gay, they'd surely have to think it would be with me, since we spend so much time together."

Hutch looked over at Starsky, the hint of a smile lighting his mouth corner.  "That's awfully presumptuous of you, buddy.  Have you looked in the mirror lately?"

Starsky grimaced at the cut-down, as was expected.  At least, Hutch was feeling some humor now.  "Well, in any case, it's not like you spent any time with him.  No one can give IA reason to be suspicious.  Besides," he realized, "you know damn well I'm way more sexy than he was.  Why would you choose him?"

Hutch didn't rise to the bait.  Instead, he was thoughtful.  "I'm not sure that the not-gay angle helps clear me.  I mean, they could be thinking that maybe Talbrot made a pass at me -- or maybe I somehow saw what he'd written in his diary -- and I felt threatened by his fantasies, and killed him for that reason."

"That theory doesn't even fly," Starsky said confidently.  "I, for one, can vouch that you're pretty calm about the idea of some people bein' gay.  You took the whole Johnny Blaine thing a lot better than I did."

With compassion, Hutch said, "He was your childhood hero, buddy.   A father figure.  Of course, you were rattled about finding that he was something that was a complete surprise to you."

Starsky felt soothed by the words.  He turned the key to start the Torino.  "Well, we'll have to see what happens."  He reached over and squeezed Hutch's thigh.  Golden hair, long thighs....  "I don't think you have anything to worry about, pal."

Hutch sighed.  "I hope not."


That were back at the station within a couple of hours.  This time, Dobey summoned them both into his office.

No one else was there, and they both sat down after the door was closed.

Starsky spoke first.  "IA can't seriously think Hutch has anything to do with Talbrot's murder."

"I don't think they do," Dobey replied.  "They're just doing their jobs, covering all the bases."  He shifted with discomfort.  "They're interviewing other cops, too, including Kira Andrews."

Starsky's heart beat faster.  "Kira?  Why?"

Hutch rubbed at his face, muttering, "Oh, God."

Dobey's gaze seemed to be just over Hutch's head.  "There's rumors about trouble between you three.  I'm sure they're going to ask her about what she knows about your personal life, Hutchinson."

With exasperation, Hutch said, "At least, she can assure them that I'm not gay!"

Starsky wasn't sure that was true, considering that Johnny Blaine had done his proper husbandly duty to his wife.  It's wasn't like sex with girls, or even marriage, was some kind of acid test about homosexual inclinations.

Hutch then demanded, "Just with how many other cops does IA intend to share the contents of that diary?"

"As few as possible, I'm sure." Dobey appeared sympathetic.  "You've got to hang tough.  This will all blow over."

Starsky said, "Surely, there's other angles to consider than just that Talbrot had the hots for Hutch."  Inwardly, Starsky bristled.  It really bothered him to say that.

Dobey grunted.  "There are.  And that's why I called you two in here."

They looked at each other.

"What do you mean?" Hutch prompted.

"One of the theories Simmons and Babcock are pursuing is that maybe a former or current lover of Talbrot -- male or female -- knew how he felt about you, Hutchinson, and perhaps killed Talbrot out of a jealous rage.  If that ends up being the situation, the killer could come after you next."

Starsky looked worriedly at Hutch, and then asked, "Do Simmons and Babcock have anything to go on?"

"They're trying to interview anyone they can find that Talbrot might have socialized with.  That'll probably take a few days.  In the meantime," Dobey looked sternly at Hutch, "I want you to be extra vigilant."


It was nearly seven when they decided to call it quits for the day on the murder case they were investigating.

As they were gathering their jackets, Starsky asked, "So, what do you want to do tonight?"

Hutch glanced at him in surprise.  "Go home, and have some leftover meat loaf and rosemary potatoes, and maybe do some reading, and then go to bed.  Why?"

Starsky shrugged.  "I want to come with you.  There might be somebody out there who's trying to kill you."  They headed for the door.

"That's highly speculative, at this point.  I'm armed, you know."

"Come on, Hutch.  I don't want to find you tomorrow with three bullet holes in your chest."

As they moved down the hall, Hutch dripped syrup with a long, "Ahhhh."

Though Starsky couldn't restrain a smile, he protested, "Would have to break in a new partner, and all that."

The door to the ladies' room opened, and Kira emerged.  She was directly in their path, so they all had to acknowledge each other. 

She said, "That's really something about Daniel, isn't it?"

Inwardly, Starsky furrowed his brow at her using Talbrot's first name.

Hutch was more straightforward.  "So, you got interviewed by IA?"

She presented an amused smile.  "Yes.  Don't worry.  I assured them that I had no reason whatsoever to think you were gay, or otherwise involved with Sergeant Talbrot."

Starsky inwardly grated at the reminder of her and Hutch's relations.

She then turned her gaze to Starsky and gave him a warm smile.   "Have a nice evening."  She moved on.

In some ways, Kira was one of he warmest people Starsky had ever known.  And also one of the most clueless.

Hutch seemed to think likewise, as they continued on.  He muttered, "She doesn't exactly rank high in tact, does she?"

After a long silence, Starsky said, "Let's not get distracted talking about her, Hutch."  Besides, they had done plenty of that already.


Starsky lay on Hutch's sofa, his shoes off, leafing through magazines, while Hutch was in the kitchen, warming up leftovers.

Starsky couldn't contain his curiosity any longer.  "So, Hutch, what did Talbrot's diary say, exactly?"

Hutch glanced at him, while closing the oven door.  "What do you mean?"

"You know, what did he actually say about you?"

Hutch chuckled bashfully.  "Why do you want those silly details?"

Starsky shrugged.  "Humor me."  More firmly, he said, "Fill me in."

Hutch considered, and then sat in a kitchen chair, facing Starsky.  "He wrote that, you know, he'd like to run his hands through my 'golden hair', feel my 'long thighs' against his legs -- geez, buddy," Hutch suddenly shook his head, blushing.  "I'm not going to tell you what he wrote."

"Why not?"

"Because I feel like an idiot!"  Then Hutch countered, "How would you like it if it were you?"

Starsky had an idea, to make Hutch tell.  Hutch wouldn't be able to resist correcting him.  "Okay, I'll guess.  He likes to gaze into your gorgeous blue eyes, when you're not aware that he's doing it. He likes your full, plush lips." 

Hutch suddenly frowned.  "That's enough."  He went to the stove.

Starsky rose to his feet.  Hutch seemed genuinely upset.  "Sorry", he said as he approached.

Hutch's voice was softer, while he stirred a pan of green beans.  "What do you think he wanted me to do with my lips?  My mouth?"

"Okay, okay," Starsky said, fully understanding how Hutch wasn't interested in providing Talbrot's imagined details about Hutch sucking his cock.  He placed his hand on the small of Hutch's back, as he asked with sympathy, "The IA guys read the diary to you?"

"No," Hutch muttered.  "They had various pages bookmarked for me to read.  Even they were too embarrassed to read that crap out loud."

"Man," Starsky realized, "it's pretty daunting to think that Talbrot was murdered because of his feelings for you."

Hutch shrugged.  "It's also possible that it has nothing to do with that."  He pulled another pan from the cupboard.  "Hopefully, Simmons and Babcock will find out something pretty soon, in terms of what the likely motivation is."  He gave Starsky a rye smile.  "I'm really not wanting you to babysit me, night after night."

"What are you making?" Starsky asked, while another part of his mind considered motivations for Talbrot's murder. 

Hutch was measuring out water.  "Gravy."

"Ah," Starsky said with approval.  The scents coming from the oven were appealing. 

"You know," Hutch said, "when we were talking to Kira, she mentioned Talbrot by his first name."

Starsky sighed.  "I noticed that, too.  Wonder if she and he might have had a thing going, if he swung both ways."

Hutch was pouring a packet of gravy into the pan.  "Well, if so, surely she told IA anything that could be helpful."

"I doubt she would have been that forthright, with rules against fraternizing and all that."

"Nobody follows those rules, and IA knows it."

Starsky watched Hutch in silence, leaning back against the counter, and eventually a puzzle piece fell into place.  He crossed his arms.  "You know, something's been bugging me, since Dobey mentioned that you might be a target."

Hutch stirred the gravy.  "What's that?"

Starsky scratched the back of his head.  "Well, Dobey said the killer might have killed Talbrot out of jealousy about his feelings for you."

"Yeah?"  Hutch turned off the burners.

"Well... if this guy or gal was in love with Talbrot, why would they kill him?  Seems like they would have killed you to get rid of you, and then had Talbrot to themselves."

Hutch shrugged.  "Like I said, it might have nothing to do with me."  He grabbed two potholders and opened the oven.

Starsky watched him place a pan of a partially-eaten meat loaf on a cold burner, and then reach in for a casserole dish with rosemary potatoes.  "Hutch."

Hutch tossed the potholders aside and gave Starsky his full attention.  "What?"

"What if Talbrot was killed, because he was the rival?"

Hutch stirred the green beans.  "What do you mean?"

"What if you have a secret admirer, who found out about Talbrot's feelings for you, and they killed him, so they could have you to themselves, so to speak?"

Hutch shook his head, while reaching to an overhead cabinet.  "Buddy, I don't have anybody interested in me right now."

"Not that you know of."

Hutch slowly removed plates from the cabinet.  "That seems rather far-fetched.  I mean, the person would have to know us both.  Would have had to have an opportunity to see Talbrot's diary.  That suggests somebody close to him."  He handed Starsky a plate.  "Help yourself."

"Maybe," Starsky said, turning to the stove.   "Though it could also be somebody, like a cleaning lady.  Plus," Starsky considered, while serving himself a healthy portion of all courses, "that person wouldn't necessarily had to have seen the diary.  Maybe Talbrot is close enough to someone that he would have told them about his feelings for you."

Hutch began to fill his own plate.  "But, again, it would have to be someone who knows us both.  That pretty much narrows things down to fellow cops."

Starsky snorted at the thought that came to mind.  "Wonder if IA asked Kira where she was Tuesday night."

Hutch blinked.  And blinked again.

"Weird, how much what we've been talking about fits her."  Starsky took his plate to the table and sat down.  "I'll take a soda."

"I'm out.  How about iced tea?"

Starsky shrugged.  "I'll live."

Hutch put his own plate on the table, and then turned to the refrigerator.  A few moments later, he sat down with a glass of iced tea for each of them.  He said, "Except it doesn't fit, because she's not after me."

Starsky was silent a long moment.  He tasted the meat loaf, smothered in gravy, and his taste buds approved wholeheartedly.  Still, his stomach was twisting with the idea that the Kira situation was coming up again, after he and Hutch had already talked it all through.

Hutch prompted, "What's your scenario?  That she was way more interested in me than she ever let on, even while she was seeing you even more often than me?  And then she was also doing Talbrot on the side?  And then, when she happened to snoop in his diary, or for some strange reason he confided in her about his feelings for me, that she killed him?"

Starsky shrugged.  It all did sound rather ridiculous.  And besides, he certainly didn't want to think that Kira had anything to do with Talbrot's death.

Hutch snorted.  "I mean, buddy, if she was going kill somebody to get them out of the way, so she had a clearer path to me, she would have killed you.  You know?"

Starsky fiddled with his fork, as it penetrated his green beans.  He hedged, "Not necessarily."

"You're my partner.  You're the one I spend almost all my time with."  Hutch suddenly chided, "Come on, buddy, we know it's not Kira.  She might be a lot of things that we don't approve of, as well as a lot that we do, but she's no murderer.  Especially not for reasons of lusting after me, when she seems to lust after every man she can get her hands on."

Starsky ate slowly, while his mind continued to work the situation.  "If the rest of our speculations might be true, I wonder who else it could be."  He sipped his tea while eyeing Hutch.  "Sure you haven't noticed anybody's interest of late?  At work?"  He decided to be bold and added, "Male or female?"

Hutch was thoughtful, then shook his head.  "No."  He ate a few bites and then said, "We're getting way ahead of ourselves.  We need to see what Simmons and Babcock come up with."

Starsky ate for a while, too, wondering what they could talk about instead.  Finally, he looked up with a grin.  "So, what did the diary say about your mustache?"

Hutch scoffed.  "Poetic crap.  I don't even remember the words, they were so ridiculous."

"IA asked me if I knew why you'd shaved it.  Like, they thought you shaving it had something to do with your murdering Talbrot, after seeing what he wrote about it."

Hutch shrugged.  "Hopefully, they've crossed me off their list of suspects."

"Yeah.  Just figure it's got to be somebody Talbrot trusted.  His holster wasn't very far away.  From what I saw before they shooed us away, it didn't look like he even tried to go for it.  And yet, somebody had time to give him three shots to the chest.  You know, almost like he just stood there and let them shoot him."

Softly, Hutch said, "Yeah.  You know, it can be pretty shocking to have someone pull a gun on you, when you least expect it."

"Yeah, but a trained veteran cop like that...."

Hutch gazed at Starsky for a long moment.

Starsky swallowed the last bite from his plate.  "What?"

Hutch mused, "If there is somebody lusting after me, and they killed Talbrot because they considered him a rival, then you would be a next obvious target."

Starsky shrugged, as he let that sink in.  "Like you said, we're making a lot of assumptions.  We need to wait and see what Simmons and Babcock turn up."

"Still," Hutch said, with a subdued smile, "I think it's me who's actually babysitting you, at least until there's some progress on a motivation."  He winked at Starsky.

Starsky couldn't help but smile.  And feel warm inside.


When they arrived in the squadroom the next morning, they saw Babcock on the phone, while Simmons was rapidly going through a file.  Both men appeared haggard and unshaven.

"How's it going?" Hutch asked Simmons as they passed him.

"Think we're making progress.  Dobey wants to see you."

Starsky and Hutch draped their jackets across the back of their chairs, and then moved into their superior's office.

Dobey looked up.  "Close the door."

Hutch did, and then he and Starsky sat down. 

"So, what's the word?" Starsky prompted.

"'There's a neighbor that saw someone leave Talbrot's apartment the night he was murdered.  They weren't sure if it was male or female, because they were wearing a long, dark coat, and it was dark out.  They can't be sure what time it was.  They just say that it was between eight and nine.  The coroner estimates that Talbrot was killed between nine and eleven.  So, that's a grey area.  Whoever the person is, they're the best suspect at the moment, because the neighbor didn't notice any unusual activity after that person."

"Did they hear gunshots?" Hutch asked.

"No.  The shooter probably had a silencer."

Starsky said, "So, that leaves Hutch off the hook.  He was with me, between eight and eleven."

Dobey nodded.  "They aren't looking at Hutchinson as a suspect."

Hutch released a breath.  "What about motive, Captain?  Do Simmons and Babcock have any ideas on that?"

Dobey shook his head.  "They keyed in on the diary, because it was sitting on an end table in the living room, where Talbrot was shot.  Who knows if the killer was aware of the diary, or not."

Starsky shifted in his chair.  "Well, Hutch and I got to thinking, if the murder does have something to do with Talbrot's feeling for Hutch, it could be that the killer also has feelings for Hutch, rather than for Talbrot, and they were getting Talbrot out of the way."

Dobey looked sharply from Starsky to Hutch.  "Who would that be?"

Hutch shrugged.  "I don't know.  I can't think of anybody -- male or female -- who has given me that kind of vibe of late.  We figure it would have to be somebody in the Department, to know Talbrot and me both."

"Yeah," Starsky said.  "If the murder has anything to do with romantic feelings, the only people who know both Hutch and Talbrot are people in the Department."

Dobey was thoughtful, and Hutch brought up the important point that Starsky had left out.  "If, per chance, somebody does have some kind of twisted obsession with me, you got to figure that they've got Starsky on their list to take out next.  I mean, with all the time we spend together...."

Dobey lowered his gaze.  "I suppose," he muttered.  "But if it's somebody in the Department, they surely know you two are just partners."  He presented a twisted smile, still not looking at them.

Hutch had heard the barest hint of a question at the end of Dobey's statement.

Starsky quickly said, "Or the first theory is right, and somebody wanted Talbrot, and was angry at his feelings for Hutch, and so now Hutch is the next target."

Hutch asked, "Has Simmons and Babcock been able to talk to anybody close to Talbrot?"

"He had a lady friend," Dobey replied.  "She accompanied him for family gatherings, and a few other social functions, as his girlfriend.  She knew about his homosexuality, of course, but says they never talked about it.  Anyway, she teaches dance classes on Tuesday nights, so she's been cleared.  She did give Simmons and Babcock a list of a few other friends of acquaintances of Talbrot's.  That's what they're checking out today, but I'll have to send them home soon, to get some sleep."

Hutch exchanged a glance with Starsky, feeling his partner chomp at the bit, as eagerly as he was.

Starsky asked, "So, can't we take over part of the investigation, while they're out?  I mean, now that Hutch has been cleared...."

Dobey gazed at them a moment, and then nodded.  "Call them in here."


 Babcock and Simmons both were resistant to the idea of being sent home, when they were investigating the murder of a fellow cop, but Dobey didn't leave them much choice, and they filled in Starsky and Hutch on where they were at, and the list of people Talbrot knew, per his "lady friend", that needed to be checked out as quickly as possible.

After the relieved partnership had left the squadroom, Hutch grabbed his jacket and gestured to the door.  "I've got to go down the hall."

Starsky nodded while finishing his coffee.  Then he put on his own jacket, made sure he had his notepad, and moved to the door. 

He saw Hutch entering the men's room, and turned toward the bulletin board in the hallway.

Kira was standing there, reading the notices.

Starsky recalled his and Hutch's musings from last night.

She stuck her hands in the pockets of her petite leather jacket, and then turned.

They were facing each other. 

"Hey," she greeted quietly.


"I guess I may as well tell you:  I've put in for a transfer to the 86th Precinct."

Oh.  Good.  But... why?  "The 86th, huh?  Usually, cops come here from there.  They've got cockroaches all over the building, I hear."

She shrugged.  "Why would I be afraid of a few cockroaches?"

Starsky was puzzled by the emphasis.  Maybe she meant it as a joke.  He shifted with discomfort.  "Hey, uh...."  He looked around, and then nodded toward the doors that led to the back staircase.  "Can I talk to you alone a moment?"

She appeared perplexed, but said, "Sure."

They moved to the doors, and then exited onto the cement landing.

She stepped close to him.  "What is it?"

She really was beautiful.  There was something about her kind, caring nature, mixed with a capable police detective, that turned him to mush.

Starsky made a point of stepping back.  "Look, uh, I want to ask you something."  His voice firmed.  "No bullshit.  Don't try to spare my feelings.  Just know that I have my reasons for asking."

She considered a moment, and then said, "Only if I can ask you something, too."

He had no idea what that would be.  Feeling that he was playing with fire, he answered,  "Okay."

"You first."

Starsky couldn't see asking her directly about Daniel Talbrot.  He didn't have to put on much of an act, to come off like the wounded reject.  "Did you, you know, want Hutch more than me?  I mean... a whole lot more?"

Her expression was caught between amusement and exasperation.  "I love you both, each in your own way."

"Then how come you spent more time with me?"  He felt he'd gotten off the subject. 

She studied him a long moment.  And then softened.  "I spent more time with you, because I wanted to spend more time with you.  You're a very loving man, David."  She looked away, growing thoughtful.  "With Hutch, he was just... easy.  So easy and fun to seduce.  He talks a good line, about being old-fashioned and all that.  But you light up one of his buttons, and they're all lit up."  She clicked her fingers.  "Instantly."  She shrugged.  "Maybe it wasn't my most shining moments, in retrospect, but I liked playing with him, because he was so easy to play with."

Starsky looked away, his masculine feelings of triumph quickly turning to anger.  How dare she play with Hutch.  Especially when he was most vulnerable.

"My turn."

Starsky drew a quiet breath, not looking at her.  "Okay."

"You know I was questioned by IA."


"I told them, of course, that I'd never been witness to any homosexual inclinations in Hutchinson, or Talbrot."

That last word answered one of his questions.

"But," she said, "I've wondered about Hutch.  Does he play both sides?"

Starsky was confused.  "Why would you ask something like that?"

"Not fair.  You're answering a question with a question."

"No, he doesn't play both sides."

"Not even with you?  When you're both feeling a little lonely?"

"No.  We don't swing that way."  It wasn't until he'd spoken, that Starsky realized he should have refused to answer a second question... unless she'd agreed to answer another, too.

She shrugged.  "Okay.  Just wondered."

"Why?" he demanded. 

Kira was amused.  "You sound upset.  You're the one who wanted a private chat."

"You got two questions," he said firmly.  "I'm allowed another one."

She sighed.

He pressed, "Why have you wondered?"

She held up a finger.  "Don't get mad.  You asked."

Starsky quickly nodded, his stomach tightening in dread.

She now seemed to relish the moment, her teeth biting her lower lip.  Then she said, seductively, "Mr. Old-Fashioned...." Her mouth moved to his ear and whispered, "likes doing it naughty."

Naughty?  Starsky felt his groin respond.

She kissed his cheek, giggled, and then opened the door and made her exit.


Did that mean ass fuck?

Starsky straightened.  Why would that mean....?  After all, he liked to ass fuck, too, when he had the chance.  Some women were okay with it, though he and Kira had never gotten around to the deed.  She's been too busy keeping his head pushed down between her legs.

Just because he sometimes ass fucked certainly didn't mean he had homosexual inclinations.

Did it? 

Starsky shook his head to clear it, and then exited the stairwell.

He moved back toward the squadroom, just as Hutch emerged.

"Where the hell you been?" Hutch demanded, leading the way toward the stairs with his long strides.

"Well, I, uh...."  Starsky trailed off, since Hutch didn't seem to be interested in his answer.

They trotted down the stairs and to the outdoor parking lot, where Hutch's LTD was parked, since they'd brought his car in. 

Hutch muttered, "Lilly Green is the closest, so let's check her out first."

She was a woman who cleaned Talbrot's apartment, and sometimes did other errands.

"Yeah," Starsky agreed. 

As they drove, Starsky kept thinking about how good it had felt, he and Hutch discussing the case last night.  Back on track after the uproar of the situation with Kira.  He wanted to maintain that spirit, which meant that he needed to be honest.

Best to start with a neutral statement.  "Hey, uh, Kira's transferring."

Hutch looked over at him.  "Really?"

"Yeah.  To the 86th."

Hutch grunted.  "'That's sure interesting timing, right after Talbrot was murdered."

"She didn't have anything to do with it, Hutch."

"How come you're so sure this morning, compared to last night?"

"Because I had a chance to talk to her a little bit.  She mentioned that she'd told IA that she wasn't aware of you or Talbrot having any gay tendencies."

Hutch shrugged.  "Not that I think she's involved, but she could say one thing and think another."

"Hutch, no.  Come on, trust me.  She wasn't interested enough in Talbrot to kill him because of his feelings for you, and she wasn't interested enough in you to be jealous, even if she had been aware of his feelings."

Hutch frowned.  "She told you that?"

"In so many words."  Starsky could imagine that Hutch's ego was stinging right now.

Hutch seemed to decide to let that go.  "Was she seeing Talbrot at all?"

"I don't know.  But if she was, she certainly didn't come across like it was anything serious."

Hutch drew a quiet breath.  "Okay.  I guess that's good to know."


Lilly Green was petite, with dyed dark red hair, while her wrinkles gave away her age.

They sat on the sofa in her apartment, and she was in an easy chair. 

"I don't pay much attention to my clients' personal affairs," she said.  "My responsibility is to clean their apartments, not snoop into their private matters."

"All we're asking," Starsky said, "is if there's anything you might haven noticed in Daniel Talbrot's apartment, that in any way reflected on his personal relationships."

"It's important," Hutch pressed.  Then he reminded, "The man is dead, so there's nothing you can say to violate his privacy now.  We have reason to think that he was murdered by someone he knew."

"Anything you can remember," Starsky insisted.  "Even the smallest detail, that might seem like nothing."

She gazed past them.  "Well, I guess, perhaps, you mean the poop stains."

Hutch wasn't sure he heard that right.

Starsky said, "Poop stains?  You mean, as in fecal matter?"

"Yes."  She still wouldn't look at them.  "I'd often see them on the sheets when I did the wash."  She shrugged.  "I'm not sure if that would have anything to do with his personal relations...."

"It might," Hutch said, anal intercourse coming to mind.  But that wouldn't necessarily mean it was with a man.

She was silent, and Starsky encouraged, "Anything else you can think of, that might tell us something about his personal relationships?  Like, coming across a diary that he left out, or personal letters, or...."

She shook her head, and Hutch tried a different track.  "Mrs. Green, did anyone ever come to the apartment when you were there?"

She shook her head.  "No.  Not anyone who wanted to come in."

Starsky said, "What about people who didn't come in?"

Her gaze turned to him.  "Well, you know, there might be the postman with a package too big to leave in Mr. Talbrot's mailbox.  Or somebody trying to sell something, and I always closed the door on them.  The plant guy came once or twice, to drop off an order."

"Plant guy?" Hutch asked.

"Yes, a young man.  Twenty-five perhaps, with dark hair.  He wore glasses.  He'd ring the bell and hand me a sack or two with plant supplies that Mr. Talbrot had ordered.  He liked his plants, you know."

Starsky said, "No, we didn't know that."

Hutch didn't remember noticing plants, the short time he and Starsky had been inside Talbrot's apartment. But then, they had been focused on the body with three bullet wounds to the chest.  He said, "I like plants, too.  In fact, I have a greenhouse at my place.  But I've never had a plant store offer to deliver my order."

She shrugged.  "Well, they probably deliver because he gives them so much business."

Starsky asked, "So, did this delivery man seem particularly friendly, as though he and Mr. Talbrot knew each other, beyond his business at the plant store?"

She shifted with discomfort.  "I see what you're getting out.  I have no reason to think that Mr. Talbrot was anything other than an upstanding gentleman."

Hutch didn't bother pointing out that homosexuals could be "upstanding".  Instead, he asked, "Would you happen to know the name of the plant store?"

She appeared thoughtful.  "I'm afraid I don't.  There could be some of the sacks in his apartment, which might have a name on them."

They again prompted Lilly for anything she could remember that could be helpful, and she didn't have anything further to offer.  They left their number and made their exit.


As they emerged from the apartment building, Starsky said, "I think it might be easiest if we check out his credit card statements."

"Yeah, they're supposed to be overnighted by the credit card company, so we should have them tomorrow."  That was with the intent to trace where Talbrot had gone in his final days.  "In the meantime, we can check into the plant stores nearest his apartment."

"Hmm.  'Poop' stains.  Sounds like he did indeed like to bed the boys."

They had reached the Torino and both got in.   Hutch countered, "It's not like it's just homos who do it up the back end."

Starsky looked over at him, thinking about what Kira had said.  "Of course not.  But I doubt many men and women do it very often.  She talked like the stains were frequent."

Hutch grunted.

Starsky had inserted his key into the ignition, but then paused.  He looked over at Hutch.  "I'm just curious."

"About what?"

Starsky shrugged, hoping he wasn't going to get Hutch riled.  "When Talbrot wrote about you, who was on top?"

Hutch rubbed at his bare upper lip.  Then he huffed, "Come on, buddy."

"Just askin'."  Starsky really wished Hutch wasn't so touchy about the diary.  "Who knows.  Maybe him preferring to top or bottom might turn out to be an important detail in the investigation." 

Hutch huffed again, demanding, "You really want to know what he said?"


"All right," Hutch said loudly.  "You asked.  He wrote some crap about sticking his 'steel hard cock' between my 'pale ass cheeks'.  Happy now?"

Okay, maybe he really hadn't wanted to hear this.

Hutch went on, "And about how I'd try to say I didn't want it, but he knew that I was loving having that huge thing of his up my ass."

Starsky felt himself blush.  "'m sorry," he said, his gaze on the steering wheel, as he turned the ignition. 

Hutch took a calming breath.

Starsky hesitated a moment, and then offered, "Is there anything else you want to tell me, to get it off your chest?"

"I didn't want to tell you that!"

"Yeah, but I think you feel better, knowing that I know.  IA should have given the diary back to Simmons and Babcock, since IA closed their portion of the investigation."

Thoughtfully, Hutch said, "I wonder if he might have had some entries about the plant delivery boy."

"You mean, maybe he was just writing about fantasies in general, and they weren't all about you?"

Hutch shrugged.  "Could be."  Then, as Starsky pulled away from the curb, he muttered, "He sure as hell didn't get shit stains on his bed sheets from sticking his cock up my ass."

"Poop stains?" Starsky offered, with humor.

"Yeah, poop stains."


Starsky felt that he really shouldn't have asked Hutch about more details in the diary.  Now, as they approached the closest plant store to Talbrot's neighborhood, Starsky was thinking about Talbrot -- a man he hardly knew -- fantasizing about driving his hard cock between Hutch's pale ass cheeks.

Talbrot had had no right to think about Hutch like that.

Just like Kira hadn't had a right to sleep with Hutch because he was "easy".

Everyone thinks they can get their hands on him.  Like he's a walking piece of meat.  Hell, I'm the one who's stood by him all these years.  If he was going to give it up for anybody, it should be me.

Starsky paused on the sidewalk.

What had he just thought?

No, he hadn't really had that thought.

Had he?

A few strides ahead, Hutch paused and glanced back.  "What's wrong?"

He's the most gorgeous thing on this earth, and I'm the one who gets to be with him.  When it gets down to it, even after our recent spat surrounding Kira, he's the person who loves me most.  And I love him.  So much.

Hutch stopped, his hands resting on the back pockets of his jeans.  "What are you thinking so hard about?"

Starsky walked faster to catch up.  He feigned a glance toward the other side of the street, grinning.  "Saw somethin' beautiful."

With compassion, Hutch said, "You ready to get back in action again, huh?"

Now that Starsky drew even with Hutch, Hutch rested his hand on his back. 

Starsky said, "You sound like you approve."

"Sure.  Why not?  The best cure for a broken heart is to start going out with other people."

My heart's not broken, Hutch.  My ego got a pretty good bruising, but my heart is right where it wants to be.

Starsky squeezed Hutch's side, just because he felt like it.


They struck out at the three plant stores they visited.  None of them claimed to have had a Daniel Talbrot as a customer. 

That night, as Starsky lay in the dark on Hutch's sofa, he ran through is mind again, the words Hutch relayed that Talbrot had written in his diary.

Talbrot had had no right to have those fantasies about Hutch.

Starsky snorted out loud.

He needed to get over this.  The words were written down -- were official evidence -- and there was no pretending that they'd never existed.  Besides, it's not like a person's fantasies, in and of themselves, caused anyone harm.

He'd fantasied himself about plenty of girls in his life, some of whom might have been pretty upset, if they knew they were one his masturbation images.

Starsky realized that he was fondling himself, inside his underwear. 

There was Babette, with her huge breasts, hanging freely inside a tight t-shirt. 

.... and Talbrot had Hutch face-down on the bed, and was thrusting into him....


Starsky took his hand away from his shrinking erection.


Those images were going to haunt him forever.  They just plain pissed him off.

Besides, Talbrot hadn't even known Hutch well enough to understand that Hutch liked being on top, considering what Kira had said.

Of course, the guy was always on top, when it was between a man and a woman.  Unless the woman used a dildo on the man, or something like that.

Kira hadn't specifically said that Hutch had been on top.  Or even that they'd ass fucked.  She'd just said that Hutch "likes it naughty."

Maybe Hutch had liked having Kira do things to him.

Starsky released a heavy sigh.  Buddy, I'm thinking way too much about your sex life.  He lightly gripped his soft groin.  I'd rather think about my own. 

What sex life?  Another part of him wondered forlornly.

Starsky glanced toward the front door.

He was here, as extra protection for Hutch, in case whoever had murdered Talbrot was also after Hutch.

He was also staying here, they'd decided, as extra protection for himself, in case whoever had murdered Talbrot was also intending to get Starsky out of the way, to clear a path to having Hutch as his (or her) own.

Hard to imagine being afraid of some swishy plant store guy. 

If only this case would prove to be that simple.  Some plant store guy falls in love with Talbrot, somehow finds out about Talbrot's obsession with Hutch, and then murders Talbrot in a rage.  He wouldn't have the balls to murder Hutch, too, unless he had the rage to give him the courage, or temporary insanity, to pull it off.

Hopefully, he would try to pull it off, so they could catch him, and put him away.

Then Starsky would have Hutch all to himself. 

Just like old times.


Simmons and Babcock were back on the case, the next morning.  Since Starsky and Hutch were waiting for a witness to return from out of town for their own murder case, Dobey allowed them to stay in the office to review Talbrot's credit card statements, which had arrived mid morning.

"Seems that he goes to the grocery store every Saturday," Starsky said, studying the statement from two months ago.  "And shopping at department stores the first weekend of every month.  He appears to be a creature of habit."

He looked up.  Hutch was studying the statements for a different credit card, his brow furrowed.

"What is it?" Starsky asked.

Hutch said, "I've found out what plant store he uses."


"The Greenery Hut.  That's the same place I usually go.  Seems rather out of his neighborhood, when there's other shops closer."

Starsky blinked.  "If he is a creature of habit, maybe he used to live closer to there, and didn't want to change stores."  His heart began to beat with excitement.  "This could be the connection between you and Talbrot."

Hutch was thoughtful, and shook his head.  "But that store doesn't deliver, that I'm aware of."

"Maybe you've never needed them to, because you live so close.  Anyway, I say we check it out."

Hutch nodded, reaching for the phone.  "Let me tell Feline Four what we're up to." 

That was Simmons' and Babcock's code name.  Starsky watched Hutch punch in the extension for Dispatch.

He was eager to meet the delivery boy at The Greenery Hut.  If he had something to do with Talbrot's murder, then he may have the hots for Hutch.

Another rival, Starsky thought.


As they left the Torino and walked toward The Greenery Hut, Hutch said, "I don't think you've ever been in here with me."

"I don't think so, either."

"If it turns out that the killer is lusting after me, then this could be the first time he sees you.  Maybe he doesn't know you're in his way."  Hutch glanced at Starsky to see his rye smile.

"Then I'm going to behave all lovey-dovey toward you, to make it clear that I'm his rival.  Maybe that'll prompt him to make a move soon, to get me out of the way."

They entered the store, which didn't have any other customers present.

Hutch spotted him immediately and made the connection.  A young man behind the counter, moving boxes around, with his back mostly turned.  He had dark thick hair, down to his ears, with his bangs falling into his eyes, as though he was way overdue for a haircut.  He wore dark-framed glasses.  Hutch was sure he had seen him before.  He just hadn't associated him with being a delivery man.  He was just another employee who worked at the plant shop.

Now, the man turned to face the counter, his focus was still on the boxes, as he carefully stayed to one side of the middle-aged woman at the cash register.  Hutch realized that he had assumed the man was probably a homosexual, because of his mannerisms.  It was just a passing thing that one notices, and not anything that had reached his conscious mind as something he needed to comment upon, even just silently to himself.

The man looked up and their eyes met.  His mouth fell open.

His gaze switched to Starsky.  He frowned.

Hutch then felt Starsky's arm slip around his waist.  Not in a particularly overt way, but making it clear that he and Starsky were comfortable with being in a close physical proximity.

The woman behind the counter smiled.  "Hi, Ken.  What can I help you with today?"  She nodded at Starsky.

"Tammy, my partner and I are actually here on police business."

She looked at Starsky again.  "Your partner?"

Starsky held out his hand.  "David Starsky."

She shook it, and then turned her attention back to Hutch.  "I didn't know you were a cop."

Hutch felt bashful.  "It never came up, I guess.  Anyway, I'm here to check to see if a murdered police officer was a client of yours."

"Oh, my."  She put a hand to her mouth, and nodded toward the man a few steps away.  "We heard about that.  God, I'm so sorry.  What happened?"

"That's what we're trying to find out.  We're retracing his activities the few days before his death."

Starsky asked, "Did your shop sometimes make deliveries to his apartment?"

"Yes.  He would sometimes make a big order at once, and we didn't always have everything he needed in stock.  So, it would take a few days to get everything in from our suppliers.  Since he worked such odd hours, and was such a good customer, we offered to deliver the backordered supplies when they came in."  She nodded at the man watching them.  "Jeff would usually do the deliveries."

Though Hutch already knew the answer, he asked amiably, while looking at Jeff, "To his doorstep?"

Jeff nodded warily.

Tammy said, "Daniel said that he was fine with us leaving the order outside his apartment door, if nobody was there to answer.  He knew most of the people in his apartment building, so didn't worry about anyone stealing the sack or box from outside his door.  There were never any problems."

Starsky asked, "When was the last delivery to his apartment?"

"I'll have to check my files.  It might take a few minutes."

"That'll be fine," Hutch said gently.  "We don't mind waiting."

After she turned away to go through a back door, Hutch nodded at Jeff.  "Do you mind if we ask you a few questions?"  He was trying to gauge if the man was giving any kind of vibe of being interested in him sexually.  He didn't feel anything of that nature. 

Jeff shrugged with discomfort, but stepped closer to the counter.

Starsky asked, "How well did you know Daniel Talbrot?"

Another shrug.  "I made deliveries."

Quietly, Hutch said, "Look, Jeff, we need to ask some really personal questions.  It could help us find Daniel's killer."

He stared at them, in a socially awkward way.

In a calm, reassuring voice, Starsky asked, "Did he ever invite you inside?"

"He was usually never there."

"But when he was there, he sometimes asked you inside?"

"Yeah.  You know, like for a glass of water, if it was a hot day outside."

Using the same quiet tone, Hutch asked, "Did he sometimes offer something besides water?"

Jeff slowly shook his head, looking like a deer about to bolt.

Starsky voice was almost a whisper.  "It's nothing to be ashamed of.  You didn't do anything wrong.  We know he liked to sleep with men.  We're just asking if you were one of those men."

Hutch knew what was mostly likely to make Jeff feel comfortable with them.  He reached to place his hand on top of Starsky's.  "We know what it's like, to have to keep the secret."  He felt Starsky's fingers curl around his hand.  "If you really cared about Daniel, we know you'll want to help us find his killer.  We need to know anything you can tell us, starting with who he saw socially."

As Jeff stood there with his mouth open, Starsky prompted, "Did he see other men, besides you?"

"Um, um, he talked about others.  Sometimes.  I don't know if he actually saw them, or only wished that he did."

"Was he only interested in men?" Hutch asked.  "Or, did he see women, too?"

"I saw a woman there once.  He seemed embarrassed that she was there.  But I don't know if he slept with her."

Starsky prompted, "What did she look like?"

Jeff looked away.  "Real pretty.  Blonde.  Sort of seemed sophisticated, like she had a good job.  Not like a waitress or anything."

Hutch wished he had a picture of Kira to show him.  Instead, he asked, "How did that make you feel?  Jealous?"

Jeff hesitated.

Starsky gently said, "It's perfectly understandable to feel jealous, if the person you love is seeing somebody else.  Or fantasizing about someone else."

Jeff's face suddenly broke.  "I wish he wasn't dead!"  He wiped at his eyes.

They heard noises from the back.

Starsky took out a card.  "Look, Jeff, here's our card.  If you want somebody to talk to about Daniel, and about anything you know about him,  or other people who knew him, give us a call.  We'll give you our full attention, because we're very interested."

"Very," Hutch stressed.

Just as Tammy came from the back, Jeff turned away, muttering, "I'm going on my lunch break."

Tammy looked at his retreating back.  "All right then," she said with puzzlement.

After a back door closed, Hutch said, "He's pretty upset about Daniel Talbrot's death.  Do you know if he saw Daniel outside of business hours, so to speak?"

She quickly waved hand.  "I don't ask personal questions of my employees.  I don't need to be involved."

Starsky asked, "Have you perhaps heard something... accidentally?"

She was thoughtful.  "Well, just a week or so ago, I came back here at night to do some paperwork in the office.  We'd been closed about an hour, and Jeff was here, talking on the phone.  He doesn't have a phone at his place, so I'd told him it was all right to use the phone here, outside of business hours, as long as the calls were local.  He sounded all lovey-dovey, but I don't know who he was talking to.  And I didn't hear anything specific that was said."  She held out a notepaper in her hand.  "The last delivery made to Daniel Talbrot's address was last Tuesday."

That was the day Talbrot had been murdered.  Hutch asked, "Jeff would have made the delivery?"


"What time would that have been?" Starsky asked.

"There wasn't any set time for deliveries.  It's just whenever Jeff had time to get out and about.  Sometimes, he did it on the way home, when his ride picked him up."

Hutch asked, "When would he have left for home last Tuesday?"

"It would have been five-thirty that we closed.  Sometimes he leaves a little earlier, if we aren't busy."

Starsky noted, "Talbrot's neighborhood isn't exactly close by.  Does Jeff drive his own car?"

She shook her head.  "A friend always comes and picks him up.   He's never come in, so I don't know who he is.  If Jeff needs to go out during the day, then I let him use my car.  He has a driver's license."

Hutch asked, "The friend that picks him up after work -- do you know if he's a roommate, or something like that?"

She shrugged.  "I don't even know if it's a he.  I've just always assumed so, because... you know."

"Can you give us Jeff's address?"

She sighed.  "Sure.  I just hope he isn't in any sort of trouble, or anything.  I mean, surely you don't think he could have possibly pulled off something like a murder."

Starsky smiled kindly.  "We have to check out all possibilities, so we can eliminate people from consideration."


After they were back in the Torino, Hutch said, "If he killed Talbrot, it had to be an act of passion, because he seemed sincere that he's sorry that he's gone. People who kill for that reason are unlikely to do it again."

"Yeah.  At least, it makes it all the more likely we'll be able to get a confession from him, if he's pressed hard enough."

"Now we've got the roommate angle to consider.  If Jeff is in a relationship with another guy, and was humping Talbrot on the side....  If the roommate found out, he could have killed Talbrot in a jealous rage."

"Yep.  I say we go to see the roommate.  Maybe we'll be lucky and he'll be home."

"Yeah."  Then Hutch mused, "Interesting that Jeff saw a woman matching Kira's general description in Talbrot's apartment."

"Yep.  But if so, all it means is what we already know:  she likes seducing men.  I suppose a homo like Talbrot would be quite a challenge."

Hutch snorted.


Jeff's apartment was on the bottom floor of a two-story apartment building.  Nobody answered the door.

The window was partially open, and Hutch shielded his eyes from the sun and peaked in.  "Looks like nobody's home."

"We'll have to try another time."

Hutch saw something on the living room floor.  "Hey, Starsk, do you still have the binoculars in the trunk?"

"Yeah.  Why?"

"Get them."

While Starsky left to obey, a woman in the next apartment opened her door, her purse in hand.  She gave Hutch a wary look.

Hutch smiled.  "Hi."  He took out his badge.  "Police."

"Oh."  She relaxed.  "You want something with the men there?"

"Yes, we'd just like to talk to them.  How many men live here?"

"Two that I've seen.  I've never really talked to them."

"Do you know if they're just roommates, or if it's more serious than that?"

She snorted.  "I heard them get in an argument once.  I remember thinking that it sounded like a lover's quarrel.  Then the door slammed and things went quiet."

"When was that?"

"A week or so ago.  I don't remember when, exactly."

Starsky appeared with the binoculars, nodding at the woman.

Hutch asked, "How long have they both lived here?"

"I don't know.  I just moved in two months ago, and they were here then."

Hutch nodded again.  "Thanks very much.  We appreciate your help."

She turned away.

Starsky handed Hutch the binoculars.  "What do you see?"

Hutch put them to his eyes, and looked into the window, at a sharp angle.  "'There's a box on the floor.  It looks like there might be an invoice sticking up from it.  If the sunlight can hit it just right...."  Hutch leaned as hard as he could against the window.  He focused on what he'd hoped to see.  "Bingo."

Starsky stepped closer.  "What?"

"The box is plant supplies.  It's got an invoice sticking out that says The Greenery Hut on the top.  I can just barely make out the name on the invoice, and it says Daniel Talbrot."  Hutch played with the focus.  "What's more, I can see that the date says May 23rd."

"The day Talbrot was killed," Starsky said excitedly, while Hutch lowered the binoculars and stepped away from the window.  "So, Jeff never made the delivery."

"If he's guilty, that means it was premeditated."

Starsky was thoughtful.  "Hard to imagine it, especially since he was sorry Talbrot is dead."

Hutch nodded.  "Which means it's more likely it's the roommate.  The neighbor said she heard them fighting a week or so ago.  She couldn't pin down the date."

"Let's get back and see what Simmons and Babcock have found out."


The leading pair of the investigation were still on their way in, when Starsky and Hutch arrived back at the station.  

While Starsky returned a call concerning their own murder case, Hutch went down the hall to get peanut butter crackers from the vending machine.  As he bent to pull the lever, he heard a female voice say from around the corner, where the restrooms were, "Yeah, you never know about these men.  If he was doing a guy, I would have thought it would be Starsky."

A second female voice said with amusement, "I know they've both bedded plenty of women, but who knows what a man really wants.  Men all seem so over-sexed sometimes, that it would make sense that other men are the only ones that can satisfy their appetites."

The first voice said, "You know, I read somewhere that a whole lot of men have had some kind of sexual relations with another man.  You know, like when they're young and super horny, and don't know how to approach girls.  It doesn't necessarily mean that they're homos."

"Yeah, but I guess once they get used to how easy it can be, getting it from each other, some keep wanting to go back to it, even though they really like women."

Hutch spotted Simmons and Babcock coming down the hall.

The other woman chuckled.  "Or maybe Hutchinson is a closet homosexual.  You never know."

"Hey, I'd better get back to work."

Hutch quickly moved back toward the squadroom.


Hutch was trying to put the overheard conversation out his mind, while he and Starsky were with Simmons and Babcock in a small conference room.

Babcock stood at the dry erase board with a marker.  "Okay, let's review what we've got, in terms of possible scenarios."  He drew a large numeral.  "One.  Jeff at the plant store is in love with Hutch, whom he sees periodically in the plant store.  Jeff delivers supplies to Talbrot, and has relations with him, and finds out about Talbrot's feelings for Hutch.  So, even though Jeff is banging Talbrot, it's really Hutch that he wants.  So, he kills Talbrot, because Talbrot is also eyeing Hutch."  Babcock paused a moment to write.  Then he said, "A problem with this scenario is that Hutch has never gotten any indication of interest from Jeff."

Hutch shifted with discomfort at the way he was being talked about as an object.

Simmons piped up.  "But it could be one of those situations where Jeff just wants to love from afar.  But he still can't deal with the idea of someone else also loving Hutch from afar, so he still has to murder to get his 'rival' out of the way."

Starsky frowned.  "But that would be a crime of passion.  It looks like a decision was made not to deliver the plant supplies the day of the murder, so it seems more likely that it was premeditated.  And for Jeff to think, 'My fantasy lover is for me and me alone, and I'm going to kill somebody I'm humping, because his fantasy lover is also my fantasy lover...'  that just doesn't make sense."

Babcock moved to the middle of the board and wrote a large 2.  "Okay, next scenario.  Jeff is madly in love with Talbrot, whom he met at the plant store.  When he finds out that Talbrot is fantasizing about someone else, he gets so jealous that he kills Talbrot.  The problem is that this means that the fact that Jeff also knows Hutch, via the plant store, is pure coincidence."

Starsky said, "Plus, once again, it brings up a temporary insanity situation, versus one of premeditated murder.  Was there anything in the diary that indicated that Talbrot's feelings toward Hutch had escalated before the murder?"

Simmons shook his head.

Hutch felt compelled to say, "Even if this is the situation, it doesn't have to be because of Talbrot's fantasies of me.  We know Jeff came to Talbrot's apartment at least once when there was a woman present.  If he murdered Talbrot, because of Talbrot's interest in someone else, it could be someone who actually visited Talbrot that Jeff was jealous of."

Simmons said, "But we only know that she's a blonde woman.  Our interviews with witnesses haven't turned up an identity."

Hutch exchanged a glance with Starsky, and nodded.

Starsky said, "'There's a possibility it could be Sergeant Kira Andrews."

Now, Babcock and Simmons exchanged a glance.

Hutch said, "We can't be sure, but Kira mentioned Talbrot by his first name.  You know, like they were friendly with each other."

Starsky said, "Plus, she sort of hinted that, when she was interviewed by IA, that she didn't have any reason to think Talbrot was gay."  He settled back in his chair and lowered his gaze.  "You know, reading between the lines...."

Babcock was thoughtful.  "Well, since IA interviewed her, they must have cleared her."

Hutch said, "But she could have still been the motive for Jeff being jealous enough to kill, if it was her at Talbrot's apartment."

Babcock turned back to the board.  "In either case, whomever Jeff thought Talbrot was showing interest in, he might have murdered him for that reason."

Starsky said, "But then there's the roommate."

Babcock wrote on the board.  "Scenario number three.  Jeff and a roommate are living together in a supposedly exclusive relationship.  The roommate finds out that Jeff is having sex with Talbrot, and he kills Talbrot out of jealous rage.  The problem is," he turned around to face the others, "that would mean that Hutchinson knowing both Jeff and Talbrot is purely coincidental.  And that's quite a stretch."

Starsky asked, "Did the diary mention fantasies Talbrot was having of anybody else, besides Hutch?"

"Nope," Simmons replied. 

Hutch snorted.  "And to think I never knew about it," he grumbled sarcastically.

Babcock presented an amused grin.  "Maybe you're just dense, Hutch.  We know Talbrot had a strong interest in you, and maybe Jeff at the plant store does, too.  Maybe you ought to start paying more attention."

"To other men?" Hutch demanded in a raised voice.

Starsky spread his hands in a soothing gesture.  "Take it easy."

"Easy for you to say!"  Hutch snapped.  "Hell, everybody in the whole damned building is talking about it!  Those jackasses in IA were sure sloppy with questioning, since it sure as hell didn't take long for the rumors to spread around about all the shit that Talbrot wrote!"

Starsky reached to squeeze Hutch's knee.  "Come on."

Simmons said, "We're on your side in this, Hutch.  It could have been any of us."

Babcock said gently, "I was just ribbing you.  Sorry."

Hutch rubbed at the bridge of his nose, his head bowed.   He made a point of softening his voice, as he waved his hand.  "It's okay.  I guess I've gotten touchy about it."  He pulled his hand away.  "You know, it's weird hearing something like that, and having never known about it.  And then, if it turns out he got murdered because of it...."

Starsky sat back in his chair, looking up at Babcock.  "Is there a fourth scenario?  Like maybe somebody we haven't considered yet?"

Babcock shook his head.  "Not that we're aware of.  Talbrot didn't socialize much.  He couldn't risk being seen at a gay bar.  We haven't been able to find anyone who saw Talbrot leave with anyone specific at a night club, or something along that line." 

"What's our next move then?" Starsky asked.

"We need to get a search warrant for Jeff's apartment, and see if we can get both him and his roommate to come in for questioning."


Starsky and Hutch weren't allowed to assist further in the case, per Dobey, because the witness for their own murder case had returned from being out of town.

As Starsky drove the Torino to the witness's home, he reached over and squeezed Hutch's leg.  "You sure you're okay?"

"Do I have a choice?" Hutch huffed.

"Have you overheard something specific?"

Hutch shrugged.  "Just two women talking about how I might be gay."

Starsky grinned.  "Then sleep with one of them."

Hutch shook his head elaborately.  "I don't think it would matter.  They were talking about how male sex drives can only be handled by other males, and how most men have had some kind of sexual experiences with other men... shit like that."

Starsky began to speak, and Hutch quickly said, "Oh, and one thought that she would have suspected me of doing it with you, rather than with Talbrot."

Starsky grinned.  "Well, that makes sense, at least."

Hutch snorted harshly.  "Yeah, right.  You want people thinking that about us?"

Starsky looked over at him.  "I'd rather them think that about us, than think it about you and somebody else.  Or any other partnership."

Hutch's expression was one of exasperation, which Starsky enjoyed very much.

Hutch demanded, "Are you saying if there was some-some sort of survey done, and everyone we work with was asked which partnership was most likely to be humping each other, you'd want us to... win?"

Starsky's grin widened.  "Yep.  We're the best partnership, Hutch."

Hutch shouted, "Being the best doesn't have to include sleeping together!"

Starsky feigned thoughtfulness.  "No, it doesn't hafta.  But it could, I guess."

Hutch sputtered so forcefully that saliva sprayed all over dashboard.

"Sheesh," Starsky protested, flinging his arm. 

"If you like the idea of us sleeping together, you'd better get damn used to us sharing spit."

Starsky wondered what to say.

More calmly, Hutch said, "Cripes, buddy, you sound like Talbrot was a rival, or something."

"Well... I certainly don't like the idea of him fantasizing about you like that."

"You and me both."

Starsky ventured, "He didn't have any right."


Hutch looked over at him, his brow furrowed.  "Are you jealous of what he was thinking about me?"

"Jealous?"  Starsky was genuinely offended.  "No, not jealous.  I just didn't like him thinking about you that way.  Not one damn bit.  I mean, I'm the one who has to put up with your grumpiness in the mornings.  Or  your over-cheerfulness.  And deal with all that health crap that you used to try to shove down my throat.  And put up with all your lecturing about the right way to think about things.  And all your pranks.  Sheesh.  If any guy gets to bang you, it ought to be me."


Starsky kept his eye carefully on the road, as he wondered if he'd said too much.

Hutch whispered, "'Gets to'?"

Starsky realized that they had reached the neighborhood where their witness resided.  "What's the fucking address?"

Hutch stared out the windshield.  He blinked.

Starsky looked fully at him.  "Come on.  You brought it, right?"

Hutch vaguely gestured.  "Pull over."

It felt dangerous to do so.

But Starsky did.  He put the car in park.

Hutch turned in his seat to face Starsky, his face softened by puzzlement.  "Are-Are-Are you saying... you know... that you want... you and I....?"

Starsky wasn't sure if he was ready to answer that question.  He muttered, "Don't know."

"What do you mean, you don't know?"

Starsky shrugged, carefully keeping his gaze on the windshield.  "I haven't quite been able to carry the thought out that far."  He fiddled with the zipper of his jacket.  "I just know that I hate that Talbrot had those thoughts about you.  And that Kira was toying with you, just like she did me." Starsky turned to look at Hutch's shocked expression.  "You're mine."

Hutch's eyes darted back and forth.  "Yours?" he whispered.

Starsky lowered his gaze, wondering if he was causing their partnership to change forever... and not in a good way.  "I don't like anyone else having rights to you, Hutch. You can mess around with all the women you want.  Just as long as you're always going to return to my side the next morning."

Still puzzled, Hutch asked, "Just not men?"

"Yeah.  That's too threatening, I guess.  If you're going to put out, that way, I'm the one who deserves to have it from you."

Hutch sputtered, "But I've never done anything like that!"

"Then everything's fine then."

"It is?"

Starsky grinned at Hutch's perplexity.  "Come on, what's the address?"

Hutch unfolded a piece of paper.  "Uh, 4342 Pinnacle Street."'

Starsky put the Torino in gear.


As they crossed the street to the house labeled 4342, Hutch felt he was in a twilight zone.

Only, this wasn't darkness and foreboding shadows.  It was a zone of warm, bathing light, crossing from one dimension into the next.

There was a lightness to his step, as though he was walking on air.  His shoulders were relieved of the tension they'd been feeling all afternoon.

As though there's something wonderful about becoming those very names that so many have wondered about me lately.

They stepped up to the patio, and Starsky reached to press the doorbell.

Is that what's happening, buddy?  Is that where we're headed?

Hutch glanced up at the sky.  If so, then why does everything feel so bright and good?

Or am I misreading what you meant?

His heart swelled with love.  You're such an amazing goofball, Starsky.  So excitable and playful and... with the strangest ideas.  So hard to decipher sometimes.

A woman opened the door.


As they left the house, Starsky said, "So, now we need to see if we can find this Fixel guy."  The man was their next hot lead, based on the information the woman had given them.

"Yeah.  Maybe we need to work on that, first thing in the morning."

It was late in the afternoon.  "Yep.  Fine by me."

They didn't speak further as they got in the Torino. 

Starsky wondered what Hutch was thinking, after their earlier conversation.  He found it more comfortable to react to the things that Hutch said, than to being the aggressor when talking to Hutch. 

As Starsky started the motor, Hutch appeared thoughtful.

Finally, Starsky prompted, "I can hear the hamster wheel in your head squeaking from here."

Hutch gave a quiet, amused snort, which Starsky found reassuring.

Starsky pulled away from the curb.

Hutch shifted with discomfort. "Hey, uh, it's really looking like we have no reason to fear for our lives, because of this Talbrot situation.  If it's the roommate, then that doesn't have anything to do with us.  And if it was a crime of passion, that would be just a one-time thing."

"Right," Starsky agreed in a neutral tone.

"So, why don't you drop me off at my place?"

Starsky considered that.  Hutch didn't want him to spend the night again.

Was Hutch needing time to think things through?  Or was he just plain not wanting Starsky around?

For that matter, maybe Starsky should take some quiet time of his own to think about things.  "Okay."

He pulled up in front of Venice Place twenty minutes later.  Hutch seemed to hesitate a moment, so Starsky asked, "You sure you don't want me to come up?"  He wasn't sure what might happen, if they did.  What they might talk about, what they might do.

Hutch shook his head and didn't look at him.  "No.  Not right now."  He got out of the car.

Starsky felt assured that Hutch simply meant not tonight.  "Okay.  I'll see you in the morning."

Hutch still had his door open and leaned down.  "I'll take my car in tomorrow.  I need to make some errands on the way in."


After Hutch closed the door, Starsky eased away from the curb.


Hutch realized he had thoroughly cleaned the counters, when he came out of his thoughts long enough to recognize his surroundings.

He'd eaten dinner and drank a beer mechanically.

"You're mine."  Starsky had told him.

Okay, he liked that.  He just plain did.  Starsky felt possessive of him.

I want to be possessed.

Even by a man.  Perhaps especially by man as richly masculine as Starsky.

Hutch stood in the kitchen, slowly wiping his hands with a towel. 

The fact that he would want me, that way....

Except, what if Starsky hadn't really meant it that way?  He had sounded unsure of himself when Hutch had tried to pin him down on just exactly what he was saying.

The phone rang.

Hutch eagerly moved to it.  Is he going to insist that we get together tonight?  He felt butterflies his stomach as he picked up the receiver.  "Hello?"

A vaguely familiar voice said, "Hutch, this is Roy Simmons.  I'm in your neighborhood.  I was wondering if I could maybe come up and talk to you, off the record."

Puzzlement won out over disappointment.  Off the record?  "Uh, sure."

"I'm just down the street."

"If you want a beer, you need to bring some.  I'm out."

"Good enough."

Hutch hung up, his brow furrowed.  What was this all about?  The case concerning Talbrot's death, surely.

Though Hutch had nothing to hide, he did feel comforted by the idea of them meeting off the record.

It was fifteen minutes later that there was a knock at the door.  Simmons stood there with a six-pack.  "Brought some cold ones," he said as Hutch stepped back to let him enter.


Roy Simmons was an outstanding undercover officer, because he was very ordinary looking.  He had short brown hair, parted on one side, was of medium height and build, without any remarkable features.

Hutch gestured to the sofa.  "Sit down.  Take a beer, and I'll put the rest in the frig."

Hutch took a can for himself, and then put the rest away.  He sat in the easy chair and took a sip.  "I assume you're here about the Talbrot case."

Simmons drew a slow breath.  "Yeah.  I just got some things nagging at me, and I thought they would be easier to discuss away from the station."  He rubbed at his face.  "The way this case has seemed to draw so much attention at the Department...."

"Yeah," Hutch said levelly.  Then, "What's been bothering you specifically?"

Simmons took another careful breath.  "Well, it was interesting that you and Starsky brought up Detective Andrews earlier today, and suggested that she might have been socializing with Talbrot."

Hutch felt relieved that they were going to talk about Kira, rather than about him.  "It's just a possibility.  You know, her referring to him by his first name, and Jeff at the plant store seeing an attractive blonde lady at Talbrot's apartment.  Then the fact that she's transferring, though there can be lots of other reasons for that."  For sure.

Simmons tilted his head.  "Yeah.  As far as I know, IA only interviewed her to find out if she knew anything about you or Talbrot having any gay tendencies, since she's a rare female detective, and since there were rumors, you know, about some stuff going on between you two and Starsky with that dance hall murder case."

"Uh-huh," Hutch said warily.

Simmons shifted with discomfort.  "But I don't think anyone has outright asked her where she was the night Talbrot was killed."

When Simmons fell silent, Hutch offered, "If you're asking me if I have my suspicions, I don't.  I can't fathom that Kira would have any reason to murder Talbrot.  She likes to play.  She likes to have power over men, until she's done playing with them.  But one thing she's not is the possessive type."

Simmons was gazing at the floor and rubbing the back of his neck.

Hutch noted, "You don't seem comfortable talking about Kira."

Simmons looked up with a brief snort.  "That obvious, huh?"  He finally settled back into the sofa.  "I'm a happily married man.  But one night, after a case we were both on...."

With sympathy, Hutch said, "I get the picture."

"It's like, I don't know what got into me."

"She tends to have that effect."

"Yeah, well, if anyone questions her, it needs to be Babcock."

"Does he know about you and she?"

Simmons shook his head.  "No.  I didn't see any reason to tell him.  I felt lousy enough, as it was.  I suppose I'll have to say something to him now, about why it needs to be him that talks to her."

"Unless she's done him, too."

Simmons paused, and then slowly shook his head.   "With her track record, I suppose it's possible."

They were silent a moment.  Then Simmons sounded troubled when he said, "It's like she doesn't have a conscience."

Hutch furrowed his brow.  "That's not really the impression I have.  We live in a more modernized society, Roy.  If women are equal, then they're going to be out conquering men, just like we men have been seducing women for centuries."

Simmons was thoughtful, and then muttered, "Yeah, I guess I just don't want to take responsibility for letting her get to me like that.  I'd prefer to believe it was all her doing, and I was a helpless pawn."

"I know that feeling."

Simmons looked over at him.  "I don't know what's all true about the rumors, and what isn't.  I don't need to know.  But are you and Starsky okay?"

"Sure," Hutch responded, feeling warm inside.  "We had a little tiff concerning her, but it blew over pretty quickly.  It's all been worked out."  And he feels like he owns me, and I love that he does.  And he even wants us to go to bed together... I think.

Simmons smiled.  "That's good to hear.  I'd hate to think of the Department's greatest partnership having a falling out over a woman who'll go after any man that she can get her talons into."

Yes, the greatest partnership.  If there was a contest about that, Starsk would want us to win.  If there was a contest about which partnership was most likely sleeping together, he would want us to win that, too.

Maybe I would, too.

Hutch abruptly sipped his beer.

After they were silent a while, both drinking their beers, Simmons said, "I was surprised that IA closed their investigation of the case as quickly as they did."

"I suppose all they wanted to know was if a fellow cop had murdered Talbrot.  Once they were certain that wasn't the situation, there wasn't any reason for them to be further involved."

"I'm surprised they weren't wanting to use the opportunity to ferret out any cops that might be gay."

"'That's a touchy subject politically.  There would have been quite a backlash, if they'd started firing people, based upon suspicions that they're gay.  It's hard to come up with any real evidence for something like that.  And if they're going after cops who are fraternizing with other cops, then they've got to go after the heterosexual liaisons, as well.  And then they would have had to fire practically everyone in the place."

"Yeah," Simmons muttered.

"That's a can of worms they aren't about to open."  Thankfully.

Simmons put his beer can on the table.  "Thanks for letting me come over.  You've put my mind at ease that Sergeant Andrews isn't somebody we should be taking a good, hard look at.  But we do need to go though the formality of making sure she has an alibi for where she was the night Talbrot was killed.  And then we can eliminate her."  He rose.

Hutch also stood.  "No problem.  Do you guys know when you're going to be able to bring in Jeff and his roommate for questioning?"

"We haven't tracked them down yet."  Simmons moved toward the door.  "Jeff has had days off from the plant store."

"You might check with their next door neighbor, to the right of their apartment.  I think she'd be helpful."  Hutch opened the door.  "Have a good night, Roy.  Oh, do you want your beer from the frig?"

Simmons waved a hand.  "Na.  Keep it."

"Great, thanks."

Hutch closed the door behind him.


The next morning, Starsky and Hutch drove around in the Torino, interviewing people in order to find Thomas Fixel, who didn't have a permanent address. 

They weren't having any luck, and Starsky pulled into a sandwich shop before noon, and asked a brooding Hutch what he wanted.

There were any number of reasons that Hutch could be brooding.  There was nothing quite like eating in the car, to force a confrontation.  So, Starsky made a point of humming happily, when he returned to the Torino with their order.

They spent a moment sorting their food, and then a few more moments of eating ravenously.

Starsky sipped from his cola, and then asked, "So, how was your evening?"

Hutch swallowed.  "Last night?"

Hutch was evading, which meant Starsky was on the right track.  "Of course, last night.  I'd been with you the few nights prior to that, dummy."

Hutch chewed a fry.  "Roy Simmons came by."

That was surprising.  "Huh?  Why?"  Starsky inwardly bristled at the idea that Simmons got to spend time with Hutch.

"Just wanted to talk about the case, outside the station.  Nothing heavy.  He was worried that maybe they should be looking closer at Kira.  I told him I didn't think so, and he seemed relieved.  Still, as far as we know, nobody has asked her if she has an alibi for the night Talbrot was murdered, so he wants Babcock to do that."

Starsky paused while chewing.  "Why Babcock?"

Hutch turned to look at him.  "Simmons slept with Kira once.  Didn't mean to."

"He's married."

"No shit."

Starsky released a heavy sigh, finding it all the harder to believe that he'd ever felt serious about Kira.  "Hell, she's probably banged the whole damned department."

Hutch shrugged, while taking a healthy bite of sandwich.   Then he said, "She told me that she was going to be the most faithful woman on Earth when she decided to get married.  But she sure doesn't seem to have any qualms about risking ruining somebody else's marriage."

Starsky hesitated before taking another bite.  "Did his wife find out?"

"He didn't say.  I doubt it.  He said Babcock doesn't even know."

Starsky snorted.  "Maybe she's done him, too."

"That's what I said."

Starsky continued to eat, wanting to get his mind away from Kira.  To think he and Hutch had fought over her, because Starsky had wanted to claim her as his very own.

Hell, he just wanted Hutch.

Trying not to sound jealous, he asked, "So, you guys had a night of heavy talking?"

"Not really.  He just stayed long enough to finish a beer."

Good.  "So, what else did you do?"

Hutch was picking up a tomato from the paper wrapping.  "Cleaned the kitchen counters."


"Yeah.  Without remembering doing it."

Starsky stomach tightened.  "Heavy thoughts, huh?"

Hutch dropped his remaining sandwich to his lap.  He frowned at Starsky.  "Are we really going to do this?  Dance around each other?"

Starsky shifted and started to open his mouth.

"And don't tell me that you don't know what I mean.  You know damn well what I mean.  You were the one doing all the talking yesterday."

Starsky quickly countered, "And you're the one who wanted to be alone last night.  I figured you needed some space to think things through."

"I did."  Hutch softened.  "The wall I keep bumping into is that you never came out and said exactly what you want."

Starsky reasoned, "Your feelings matter, too."

Hutch was looking at the sandwich in his lap.  "So do yours."

Starsky scratched an imaginary itch at his knee.  "Well, okay, I'll lay it out."  He turned to look at Hutch.  "It really, really bothered me to know that Talbrot was having fantasies about you.  And it bothered me that Kira was playing with you, just as much as she was me.  And it bothers me to think that that Jeff creep at the plant store might have a thing for you."

Hutch shrugged, staring at the dashboard.  "All that stuff bothers me, too."

It was as though Hutch was saying that Starsky's declarations didn't change anything.

But something had indeed changed.  Starsky tried to find the words.  "Having all this stuff come to a head... it's just made me feel like I want to be the one who gets to have you.  You know?"

Hutch looked over at him.  "You mean for us to sleep together?"

Starsky sputtered, "I guess!  I don't know.  I mean, I want something more to happen with us.  So, I guess I'm talking sex, right?"

Hutch's mouth corner twitched.  "I've never known you to be so unsure of yourself."

Starsky rapidly admitted, "This is new territory for me.  I don't know what all is supposed to go on.  But I do know I don't just want to hump you, and us go on our merry way.  I want...," he suddenly deflated, as he realized how he sounded.  "I want you to be mine."

Hutch visibly swallowed and looked out his side window.

Starsky continued, wondering if Hutch needed to be flaunted over.  "I want to know that no future Talbrots or Jeffs are able to get their hands on you, no matter badly they might want to."

Hutch turned to look at him, demanding, "What about future Kiras?  Yesterday, you said I could fuck all the girls I wanted, as long as I was with you the next morning.  That doesn't sound like someone who wants me to be theirs."

Was Hutch saying he wanted Starsky to deny him girls, as well?

Starsky's heart beat faster.  Anything you want, Blondie.  "Well, okay, I guess I hadn't thought the girl thing through.  No, I don't want you to have any girls, either."

"Just you," Hutch clarified amiably.  "Except, you aren't sure if you want us to sleep together."  He picked up his sandwich and took a bite, chewing casually.

Starsky watched him.  Hutch was chewing politely, with his mouth closed.  Then he swallowed, his long, elegant neck accepting the food that had come its way.

He'd swallow like that, after I ejaculated in his mouth.  I'd be feeling his throat with my hand, when he swallowed.  And then later, my hands would be running along his long, lean thighs.  Rubbing into his golden hair.  Eventually, I'd shove my fat, throbbing cock between his pale ass cheeks.

Hutch looked over at him, as though to ask Well?

Starsky drew a breath.  "I want us to sleep together.  I do."  He thought he should ask, "You want that, too, right?"

Hutch shrugged, looking out his side window.  "I don't object."

Inwardly, Starsky grinned to himself.  This was familiar territory.  You're going to make me work for it, aren't you, Blondie?  Kira thought you were easy, but I know your complexities.  You want to be wined and dined, in a manner of speaking.  You want to be flattered.  Well, guess what, buddy boy?  I'm going to make you forget all about putting yourself up Kira's ass, or whatever it was you two were doing.  And you're going to forget all about the fantasies of people who aren't worthy of you.  You're going to figure out real soon here that the greatest pleasure you've ever known in your life is going to come from one David Michael Starsky.  And you aren't ever going to want anyone else.

Starsky turned in his seat, leaning back against the door, to watch Hutch finish off the sandwich.

Hutch glanced over at him.  "What are you looking at?"

"My next conquest."

Hutch raised his head slightly, and Starsky could swear that he saw a shudder go through him.

Plus, Hutch was blushing, as he gathered up the remains of their meal.

"So," Starsky said with exaggerated casualness, "we're going to go back to my place tonight.  And I'm going to assume you're on board with everything I want to do, unless you say No."

Hutch licked the tips of his fingers, which Starsky watched with fascination, and then crumbled them around a napkin.  "I say we need to agree that we don't ever talk about this during working hours, even when we're alone together."

Starsky turned in his seat to start the motor.  He adjusted the front his jeans, wondering how tortuously long the afternoon was going to be.  "Yep, I agree."


When they got back to the station, late that afternoon, they saw Babcock heading toward an interrogation room with a file folder.  He looked up as Starsky and Hutch approached.  "Hey, guys, we picked up Jeff Lewis when he left the plant store for lunch."

Hutch asked, "Are you getting anywhere with him?"

"I think we may be close, but he's scared.  He's all bruised up.  Says it's because him and his roommate were play fighting, and the roommate accidentally hit him too hard.  I'm thinking it's domestic abuse."

"Where's the roommate?" Starsky asked.

"We haven't been able to find him.  According to Jeff, he has some kind of job doing deliveries, if you know what I mean.  We've got an ABP out on him."

Hutch drew a breath and stepped closer to Babcock.  "Look, when we talked to him at the plant store, we acted like we were an item, and we understood his situation.  So, if you can't get him to talk...."

Babcock quickly nodded.  "I'll call you in, if we need you."  He moved into the room.

We acted like we were an item, Hutch repeated in his head.   We will no longer need to act the part, after tonight?

They entered the squadroom, and Starsky went to the coffee machine, while Hutch sat at their desk.  They'd found where Fixel often stayed, but the man hadn't been seen for a few days, according to a neighbor, who promised to call if she saw him.

Hutch sighed.  They really had nothing else to do today, except to get started on a few less serious cases that weren't looking very hopeful of finding suspects.  He'd really prefer to get a fresh start on those in the morning.

He and Starsky could kick off for the day, go to Starsky's apartment....

Hutch inwardly sighed.  They needed to stick around while Jeff was being interrogated, in case they were called in to play the "good cops" role.

Starsky sat down, stirring a cup of coffee.  Without looking up, he muttered, "Guess we ought to see what we can make happen with some of these other cases."

Hutch grabbed a file folder from the stack at one side.  "Yeah," he said unhappily.

Night had fallen.  Hutch tried to shrug off the increasing frustration he was feeling, that they hadn't heard anything about how the interrogation was going.  To say nothing of how Starsky didn't seem to want to look at or talk to him much, as though to combat his own frustration.

Dobey emerged from his office, settling his coat about hit shoulders.

A haggard-looking Simmons entered the squadroom. 

Starsky and Hutch looked up.

"Well?" Dobey asked.

Simmons said, "He broke.  Says his roommate killed Talbrot, when he found out about their affair.  Babcock is helping him write out his statement now.  We'll arrest him for obstruction of justice and hold him until we can locate the roommate, Marcus Garcia."

Dobey said, "That charge will never stick."

"I know.  But we're holding him as much for his own protection, as trying to keep him from tipping off Garcia.  Garcia could harm him, if he knows he confessed to us."

Hutch asked, "Where does the diary fit in?"

Simmons sighed while pouring himself a cup of coffee.  "He says that Talbrot had told him about his feelings for you, and that he even started going to your plant store, hoping to run into you there.  You know, outside the PD.  In fact, Jeff finally admitted that he suspected the only reason Talbrot was sleeping with him, was as an indirect connection to you, since you patronize the plant store he worked at.  Once Garcia found out about the affair, he exploded, and Jeff tried to defuse it by pointing out that it was you Talbrot was obsessed with -- he had even sneaked a peak at Talbrot's diary -- and Talbrot didn't have any real feelings for him."

Starsky asked, "This all happened the same night Talbrot was murdered?"

"No.  The day before.  The next day at work, Garcia picked Jeff up when his shift ended at the plant store, and Jeff said he had the box of supplies to deliver to Talbrot.  Garcia went quiet and drove them straight home.  He wouldn't let him make the delivery.  Then he got a gun and left the apartment, all dressed up in black clothing.  Jeff said he wasn't sure what Garcia was going to do, but he hoped Talbrot could defend himself, if Garcia tried to hurt him.  When Garcia came back, he simply said, 'You won't be seeing him anymore, or making anymore deliveries.'  Jeff was too scared to ask questions."

Dobey rubbed his hand at his face.   "All we've got to do now is bring in Garcia.  Good work, Simmons."  His glance took in Starsky and Hutch.  "You all need to be getting home."

Starsky said, "So, maybe it was Garcia who made a point of leaving the diary out, so the cops would think it had something to do with Hutch?"

"Could be," Simmons said. 

Hutch wasn't sure how to feel.  Talbrot had been murdered, because of a jealous boyfriend.  He himself was still indirectly a motive, because Talbrot wouldn't have been sleeping with Jeff, if Hutch hadn't frequented the plant store Jeff worked at.

How could Talbrot have been that obsessed with me, and I never knew?

He felt a hand on his back and looked up.

Starsky gave him a reassuring smile.

Hutch's heart beat more softly in his chest, as he made himself look over at Simmons.  "I wonder why it looked like Talbrot didn't fight back?  He wouldn't have known Garcia, right?"

"He surely opened the door for Garcia, since he was expecting Jeff to make the plant delivery.  After that, who knows?  Maybe we'll be able to get answers from Garcia, once we find him."

Starsky had slipped into his jacket, and he patted Hutch's back again.  "Come on, Hutch, let's call it a night."

Hutch nodded and picked up his own jacket.

As he pushed his arms through the sleeves, he wondered if he and Starsky were going to do tonight what Talbrot had wanted so very much for himself and Hutch to do.

We can't have this thing with Talbrot interfering with whatever might happen with Starsk and me. 

This is what I want... isn't it?

How could he not want to sleep with Starsky?  The man who was everything to him?

They both were quiet and contemplative as they made their way out of the squadroom, and then down the stairs to the parking garage. 

Sharp heels were heard against the concrete.

Hutch looked up.

A woman, dressed like a hooker, was approaching the entrance to the building.

"Kira?" Starsky greeted.

She smiled as she came near them.  "Hi, fellas.  Yep, I'm a working girl tonight, for Vice.  My transfer got approved.  Next Friday is my last day here."

They both nodded and started to turn away.

As she reached for the door, she said, "Hey, is there any movement on Daniel's death?"

"Uh, yeah," Hutch replied restlessly.

"Simmons and Babcock can fill you in," Starsky offered.

She looked from one to the other.  "Where's the fire?"

Starsky glanced at his watch.  "Uh, we have an appointment we need to get to."

"I won't keep you, then."

Hutch thought this might be their only chance to ask her about something.  "Hey, uh, Kira?"

She paused.

"Not that it really matters, but since Talbrot is dead and you're transferring... are you the blonde lady that the plant delivery boy mentioned seeing at Talbrot's apartment?"

She presented a wry smile.  "Babcock already asked me about all of that."

They waited, not having any grounds to push for an explanation.

She rolled her eyes, still smiling.  "We slept together once.  There weren't any fireworks."

Hutch felt ridiculously pleased about that -- that there was one man in the Department, at least, that hadn't found her to be a desirable bed partner.

Starsky frowned.  "But didn't you tell IA that you didn't have any reason to think Talbrot was gay?"

She shrugged.  "Yes.  I didn't know being gay was the reason it wasn't good between us."  She looked from Starsky to Hutch.  "Just like I didn't know if you or Hutch might be, just because you guys are 'tight'."  She smiled broadly, as though having scored a point, and turned to enter the building.

As he and Starsky continued to the Torino, Hutch again felt the irony that they were becoming what so many others had long suspected.

How come others knew, but not us?

They got in the car, and Hutch looked out his side window as Starsky turned the motor. 

Or have you always wanted it, and known where we were headed, buddy?  Have you been keeping this to yourself for a while?

It hadn't seemed like it.  Starsky had had an uncharacteristically difficult time spitting out the words.

They drove out of the lot.

What's going to happen tonight?

Hutch wondered if Starsky might decide they were too distracted with the case, or that it was too late... some excuse so that they would part ways for the evening.

But he hadn't said anything.  Nothing at all.

After stopping at a second light, Starsky reached over and placed his hand on Hutch's knee.

Hutch swallowed.  He placed his hand on top of Starsky's, wanting to show his agreement.

The light turned green, and the Torino darted forward, Starsky's fingers gently entwining with Hutch's.

Hutch bowed his head and closed his eyes.  Is this a beginning for us?  Something we're going to look back at, and wonder why we've never done it before?  After all these years together, could it really be him that I've wanted?

Whatever happened, specifically, it was going to feel good.  He had no doubt of that.


Nothing was said during the drive.

When the Torino pulled up in front of Starsky's apartment, he abruptly shut off the motor and got out of the car.

Hutch waited, wondering what he was supposed to do next.  When Starsky started up the staircase, Hutch followed.  Okay, he decided, I guess I shouldn't expect to be treated like things are any different.

Maybe they aren't any different?

As Hutch climbed the staircase, Starsky was unlocking the door.

When Hutch reached the landing, he saw that Starsky hadn't turned on any lights.  Are we going straight to bed?

He shivered.

He entered the apartment, and glanced around as he closed the door behind him, but he didn't see Starsky.

He stood there, listening to his own breathing.

Abruptly, Hutch's arms were grabbed from one side, and he was pushed back against the wall.

He squelched the instinct to defend himself, and then a hot breath was against his face, and lips sought his, while a so-familiar body pressed against him.

Hutch's heart raced, and he whimpered.  Hot masculine breath breathed into his mouth.  There was the burn of whiskers against his soft skin, as strong arms held him against the wall.


He was floating, floating... floating away.

Then separation happened.  His mouth was no longer claimed.

Starsky's open mouth was against his neck, panting heavily.  His hand rubbed across Hutch's chest.

Sorry, buddy.  No tits for you to squeeze.

Starsky's hand went lower.  It stopped to rub along Hutch's belly.  Then it moved lower still.

Hutch gasped when the hand pressed against his crotch.  He arched against it, desperate for more.

Starsky heavy breath crooned, "Yeah, I think you're lovin' this.  Maybe as much as I am."


Starsky's fingers spread to form a V, Hutch's cock in between them.

"God," Hutched gasped helplessly. 

Suddenly, demanding lips were on his once again.  The paired fingers pressed tortuously.

Desire took over.  Hutch grabbed Starsky's arms, and flung him back against the door, while claiming his hot mouth.

He felt a surge of triumphant dominance.

His hands came up and grasped Starsky's face, and he was aware of the rough feel of stubble....

Starsky turned his head, forcing them apart.

Hutch's forehead collapsed against Starsky's, as they gasped for air.

Starsky muttered, "Bed.  Sixty-nine."

Hutch felt himself flare.

Starsky clasped his hand, and yanked Hutch toward the bedroom.

Wants me.

His hand was released in the darkness. 

Hutch stood there, aching, and realized he could see the silhouette of Starsky undressing.

He did likewise.

The only sound was of cloth being yanked away, zippers being lowered.

Normally, before a sexual encounter, especially at the end of a day, Hutch would prefer a hot shower.  That wasn't going to happen here.

Starsky was getting in bed, on top of the covers.

Naked, Hutch faced him, uncertain of what to do.

Starsky said, "Come on over here, you big blondie.  I'm going to make you feel really good."

Hutch stepped closer.  A hand clasped his forearm, as Starsky beckoned, "Down you go."

He landed awkwardly on top of Starsky's legs.

Starsky was grasping Hutch's legs.  "Sixty-nine," he reminded.

Hutch shifted, and taut flesh bumped his chin, leaving moisture.

His own flesh was taken in a moist cavern.

Dear God.

Hutch rested his head against Starsky's hipbone.  He could smell the day's sweat and other odors at Starsky's groin.  He found it stimulating.

Hutch groaned, as he felt suction at his own center.

He hoisted himself on his elbows and took turgid flesh in one hand, refusing to allow himself to think.

He lowered his mouth over it.

There was a distant taste of urine, giving the sensation of raw earthiness.

Hutch sucked, and then reached down and felt a sweaty, sparsely-furred scrotum.

Starsky made a noise of approval.

Hutch felt a hand squeeze his ass cheek.  And then his balls were grasped.

For a long time, there was only the sound of sucking. 

They groaned at the same time.

Hutch pulled off, as the sensation at his groin was too distracting.  "I'm close," he whispered.

Starsky released him.  "Then let me just do you, and then you can do me."  He started moving Hutch's legs.

Eventually, Hutch was on his back, with Starsky between his limbs.

Starsky's head lowered over his phallus.

I can't believe this is happening, Hutch marveled as he was enclosed.

He gently grasped the sides of Starsky's head.

Starsky was aware that he was coming to full consciousness in the dark.  He was lying beneath the covers, his head on a pillow. Hutch's head rested against the side of Starsky's chest.  Starsky could feel eyelashes flutter against him.

Starsky lay there a while, listening to the stillness.  He felt a slight motion.

He swallowed, and rubbed his hand along Hutch's bare back.  "I can hear the hamster wheel from here, inside the college-educated brain of yours."

The only answer he received was Hutch moving a hand along the hair of Starsky's chest.

"I'm going to get the light," Starsky warned.  He shifted away from Hutch to reach to the lamp beside the bed.  Upon feeling the knob, he turned it once, so it was on the lowest setting.  He squinted his eyes.

Hutch moved closer against him.

"Felt good," Starsky said.  When silence followed, he added, "At least, it did to me."  He had no doubt it had for Hutch, as well, considering how loudly he'd cried out when he came.

Softly, Hutch said, "I just never expected anything like this."

"You're here," Starsky noted.

"That, I am."  Hutch drew a deep breath, and then raised up, moving away.  He sat on the side of the bed opposite Starsky, elbows resting on his knees.

Starsky was determined to not take it as a rejection.  "Do you really need to think that hard about this?"

After a long moment, Hutch said, "I love you.  Don't ever think that I don't."

Starsky turned to face Hutch's back, his head propped in his hand.  "I've never questioned that."  When there was more silence, he said, "We've held each other lots of times, trying to ease one another's pain.  I don't see why we should shy away from the idea of holding each other to give pleasure."

"Everything is always so simple and straightforward with you."  Hutch sounded envious. 

"Well," Starsky said, deliberately cheerful, "I figure the first time is usually the worst time.  And I really like what happened tonight.  So, it's pretty exciting to think it can only get better from here."   He felt a genuine sense of insecurity, as Hutch staggered to his feet.  "I hope you aren't thinking about leaving."

"Got to take a leak."

Starsky rested back against the pillows, and resettled the covers over himself.

When Hutch emerged from the bathroom, Starsky held the covers open.

Hutch got in next to Starsky, by the lamp.

Starsky was relieved that Hutch seemed more relaxed.

Hutch rested his cheek against Starsky's head.  "It doesn't bother you that this is all happening, because of a diary?"

Starsky tilted his head back, so he could look into Hutch's eyes.  "Maybe the diary was a surrogate of sorts."

"What do you mean?"

"Maybe it represented my own feelings, in a way.  Not so much that I wanted to hump you -- because I really hadn't ever seriously considered that -- but the idea that somebody else might have you, when I felt I was the one with rights to you.  So maybe the diary was an expression of my feelings -- feelings that I didn't realize, until I knew that somebody else had them, too."

Hutch gazed back at him.  "What about when the fantasy runs its course?"

That sounded like genuine fear.  Starsky smiled.  "We've been together a lot of years, pal.  Spend more time together than most husbands and wives.  As much as you get on my nerves at times, I know who I want to be with, day in and day out.  That hasn't changed."

Starsky then reached up and pulled Hutch's head down.

They kissed.  Slowly.   Gently.

When Starsky pulled back, he breathed deeply and said, "Hard to believe we've never done that before, it's so nice."

Hutch settled more onto the mattress.  He circled his arm around Starsky, murmuring, "I think I'm getting warmed up for round two."

Starsky felt himself respond to that idea.

They kissed some more.


They didn't have to be into work until two the next afternoon.  In the morning, Starsky drove Hutch to his place, so they could each take care of personal errands.

During the drive, Hutch contemplated how he had loved what had happened last night, though he still felt an inclination to explain to himself why it was all right.  He should feel funny about taking another man's cock into his mouth, and sucking avidly.

But it hadn't been "another man".  It had been Starsky.  The center of everything that mattered.

He could be the one that provided Starsky's pleasure.  Always. 

They turned onto Ocean.  Hutch looked over at Starsky.  "I don't suppose you intend things to stay on an oral level?"

Starsky pulled up at the curb in front of Venice Place.  "Do you always converse so formally with your lovers?"  A smile tugged at his mouth corner.

Hutch lowered his gaze, and softly said, "The word 'lover' sounds temporary."  He felt pathetic, bringing up insecurities.

"Ah,  Hutch." Starsky's hand rested on his knee.  "Don't start doubting us before we've had a chance to get anything going."

Hutch snorted self-consciously, but was afraid to look up.  "Sorry."

"To answer your question, I don't intend to, you know, keep things so simple."  Then, hesitantly, "You ever have anyone...?"

"Do it to me?" Hutch asked incredulously.  "No."

"I mean, like, with objects or something?"

Hutch drew a breath, realizing he'd started this somewhat clinical conversation.  "I've had a finger.  That's all."

Starsky gazed at the steering wheel a long moment.  Then he said, "I've done it with girls a few times.  But they were always experienced."  He looked over at Hutch.  "You'll be my first virgin."

Hutch wondered why it was assumed he would bottom.  Was it because of the diary?  Were they letting a dead man dictate their sexual activities?

And yet, he didn't object to bottoming for Starsky, at all.  Not one bit.

It would be so intimate.  Starsky's arms around him.  While a part of him was inside of Hutch.

Starsky said softly, "See you later, huh?"

It was a dismissal, if only temporary.  Hutch nodded.  "Yeah."

He got out of the car.


So, Starsky considered as he pulled away from Hutch's apartment building, Kira had never entertained Hutch with objects, or some such. 

Starsky would be his first, and he liked that idea very much.  I'm really sorry you were murdered, Talbrot, but you weren't ever going to get your hands on Hutch.  He's mine.

Surely, when Kira said that Hutch "likes it naughty", she'd meant that he liked to ass fuck.  Which, of course, meant he was on top.

Starsky furrowed his brow. 

Maybe he should bottom for Hutch first.

He felt uncomfortable at the thought.  Some primitive, masculine part of him wanted to claim what was rightfully his.

Besides, it wasn't like Hutch had objected to the idea of bottoming, when they'd talked about it a few minutes ago.

Starsky felt all warm and fuzzy at that idea, that Hutch was so willing.

You're so damn gorgeous.  And strong.  And smart.  And sexy.  And you're all mine.

Starsky didn't object to the idea of being fucked by Hutch.  He just didn't want things to go like that, starting out.  When we get to that point, I'll make you forget all about ass fucking Kira, buddy boy.  It's my ass your cock will want to be up.


Some five hours later, they had met up at Huggy's, who had news of where Fixel was holed up. 

Starsky drove them in the Torino, to a rundown neighborhood.  They parked a block away from the house in question, since Fixel had reason to think the police were looking for him.  They both hand their hands inside their jackets, releasing the safety on their weapons, as they approached the front door.

Starsky watched Hutch ring the doorbell, all senses heightened at the prospective danger.

Starsky listened closer, when he thought he heard movement from inside the house.

Hutch said, "I'll go around back.  Give me thirty seconds."  He stepped off the patio and moved toward the side of the house.

Starsky nodded, the back of his mind beginning to count off seconds, before he'd get more aggressive at the front door.

Hutch was just starting to round the corner, when Starsky saw the end of a rifle appear through a tear in a window screen.

It was aimed at Hutch.

Starsky pulled his weapon, calling, "HUTCH!"  As he fired repeatedly at the window, he blessed everything he and Hutch had been together, as he saw Hutch's tall form automatically dive to the ground, a different gunshot noise sounding from the window, and hitting a car parked across the street.

Then all was quiet.

Hutch rolled onto his back, his gun drawn toward the window.

Starsky rushed to the window, his own gun drawn, and looked in, where the curtain was pulled back.  He saw a man on the floor, his gun lying beside him at an awkward ankle.  "He's not moving.  Let's call an ambulance."

Starsky moved to Hutch and, feeling great relief, helped him to his feet.


The ambulance had ended up being canceled, in deference to a coroner's wagon.  Fixel was dead.

They spent a couple of hours going through the house, and had found evidence that Fixel was, indeed, the man responsible for the murder they'd been investigating the past few weeks.

As they typed up their reports in the squadroom, Starsky was aware of the adrenaline that was still surging through his system.

As with so many times before, Hutch had escaped serious injury, or death, by a split second of time.  His absolute trust in Starsky's warning, causing an instant reaction, had saved him.


Starsky tried to push it out of his mind, but the thought was still there.

If Hutch had been killed, not only would there be the absolute grief and unbearable emptiness, but the gaping awareness of what they had been so close to sharing, but hadn't.

Some part of Starsky wanted to declare that it wasn't that important.  That what he and Hutch had been together was already so special, that a physical joining of the most intimate kind couldn't possible add that much more to all that they were.

But that seemed an excuse to put off what he really wanted.

"You okay?"

Starsky glanced up from the typewriter, and found himself looking at Hutch's soft expression of concern.

Starsky managed a smile.  "I will be."

Hutch regarded him a long moment.

Starsky's eyes darted to the wall clock, which showed they still had another 90 minutes or so before end of shift.  Then they moved back to Hutch.

Hutch's face sobered as understanding dawned.

At least we're on the same page, Starsky thought warmly, as he continued to peck at the keys.  Where do you want to me to pop your cherry, Hutch?  Your place or mine?


Hutch lay on his mattress in the lamp light, and felt sweat cooling his body, as his loins relaxed into afterglow.

Hands moved warmly along his thighs.  "You taste good, Hutchinson."

Hutch had to admit, when it came to sucking cock, nobody could do it better than another guy.  Starsky had nursed him to a rush of sensation, a lubricated finger inside him, stretching him out, while Hutch was focused on the pleasure.  The finger had been removed at some point, afterward.

Hutch swallowed, still tasting Starsky from earlier in the activities.  Starsky had wanted to be brought to climax first, so he could spend the rest of the evening focusing on Hutch, and take his time.

At the moment, Hutch didn't care what happened next, just as long as he could relish these moments of waning pleasure.  But he felt he should say something.  "You're good, buddy," he muttered through barely-open eyes.

Starsky smiled.  "Nobody can do your cock like I'm gonna learn how to do your cock." 

Hutch summoned the energy to smile back.

Starsky stretched out beside him, draping his arm around Hutch's waist.  "Enjoy your afterglow as long as you want."

Hutch closed his eyes.  "Mmm."

Starsky snuggled up against his side.

Hutch smelled the masculine scents.  Starsky's presence almost always represented reassurance to him.  Safety.  Trust.  Unconditional acceptance, irrelevant bitching aside.


Starsky's hand circled around Hutch's head and brought it against his chest.

Hutch rubbed his cheek against the wayward hair.

Starsky's voice was whisper soft.  "Love you, Hutch.  Love you so much."

Hutch couldn't resist the comeback that came to mind.  He moved his head back to tilt his face up.  "You damn well better love me, considering what you have in mind."

Starsky responded with a grin.  But he quickly sobered, as his hand continued stroking back through Hutch's hair.  "I want to do it, because I love you.  We've always meant so much to each other.  To share this kind of special intimacy, that no one else has ever had with you, or with me."

Surely, Starsky really didn't think he needed to convince Hutch of anything.  Hutch quipped, "As long as you'll still respect me in the morning."  He shifted into a partial sitting position.  "How do you want me?"

"No hurry," Starsky whispered, also shifting.  "Just relax, while I take my time stretching you out.  'Sides, it's going to take me a while to re-energize."

Eventually, Hutch was on his stomach, the covers pushed away.  Starsky was to one side of him, moving a lubed finger in and out, circling it around in wider and wider circles.

Hutch realized that he was enjoying the attention back there. 

"Scared?" Starsky asked, after he carefully inserted two fingers.

"No."  Hutch had to arch his hips at the additional stretching.  Then he said, "I know it's going to hurt, buddy, but I'm not afraid of it."

Starsky widened the fingers that were inside Hutch, while pushing in and out.  "I want to keep the pain to a minimum."  His voice softened.  "Last thing I want to do is deliberately hurt my Hutch."

Hutch wondered at himself, at how he was enjoying Starsky's determination to "own" him.  That seemed to be how this whole thing had started, why he was now face-down on the mattress with his male partner preparing to penetrate him.  He remembered how, months ago, after the Detective Slate fiasco, Starsky had told an IA representative that he kept Hutch "on a tight leash".  Hutch had responded with indignation, as he was expected.  But, later that night, he had masturbated to the idea of being owned, if not necessarily by Starsky.

He was Starsky's partner.  Which meant Starsky was his.

Hutch closed his eyes a moment, relishing that thought.

Starsky reached for a towel and wiped off his fingers.

A moment later, Hutch felt hands on his ass cheeks.  They gently rubbed and massaged.  Starsky whispered, "Stay real relaxed, buddy boy.  We're not going for fireworks this first time.  Just want to get the mechanics worked out."

Fingers kneaded into his flesh, which felt wonderful.  Starsky continued, "My cock's really loving what my hands are doing.  You've got a nice, fleshy butt, Hutchinson."

The hands now spread out to his sides and moved up to his rib cage.  "I want so much for you to enjoy this."

The vulnerability in Starsky's tone demanded a response.  Hutch assured, "Like you said, let's just worry about the mechanics this time."

"Okay," Starsky said decisively, shifting.  "I think we need to get you a little on your side, and I'm going to lie behind you.  Our rule is always going to be, if you say stop, I stop and take it out."

Hutch tilted onto his side, and moved more to the center of the mattress, to give Starsky room.  He knew that a Starsky who was unsure of himself needed to chatter a lot.

Starsky pushed at Hutch's thigh, prompting him to move his upper leg forward.  "Real close now," he whispered, settling behind Hutch.

Hutch felt turgid flesh poke at his ass cheeks.  Then a hand grabbed his upper ass cheek and pulled it aside.

Hardness was at his opening.  It pressed... and pressed.

Hutch gasped as it pushed past his sphincter, unprepared for how much wider he was stretched than by Starsky's fingers.

Starsky's arm gripped his chest.  "Easy, easy," he said tightly.  "Easy, Hutch."  Starsky buried his sweaty face against Hutch's neck.

Still, the hardness pushed.

Hutch released a deep breath, when he knew that he was going to live through this, though the sensation of being stretched so wide was very uncomfortable.

"Ah, Hutch."  Starsky now relaxed against him, his arm tightening around Hutch's torso.  "Ah, man."

Hutch lay still, breathing heavily, adjusting to the thickness that was now a part of him.

"Mmmm," Starsky said, nuzzling against Hutch's skin.

They lay still for a long moment.

Then Starsky murmured, "Can't believe we're sharing the same space.  Finally."

Yes, they were doing that.

"I can last a long time," Starsky said, a question in his voice.

Hutch reached up with both hands and clasped Starsky's arm.  "Stay."  Physically, it was now feeling more natural, what they were sharing.  Emotionally, it was.... 

Hutch found Starsky's hand and intertwined their fingers.  Then he brought up their combined fist and kissed Starsky's knuckles.

"Ah, Hutch."

Starsky undulated slightly.  Voice gruffer, he said, "I love loving you like this."  He undulated again.

"Mm," Hutch agreed.  He was feeling a pleasant sensation along his lower tract.

Starsky thrust more purposely, his breath heavy against Hutch's neck and shoulder.

Hutch instinctively shifted his hips, trying to direct the motion to where it felt best.

Starsky gasped, "What do you need, baby?"

Hutch tried to find the words.  "Rock forward, against me."

Starsky gripped his shoulders, thrusting more forcefully.

Hutch could sense his lack of understanding.  He directed, "Fuck my balls."

Starsky shifted yet again, and he drove his cock against Hutch's inner, lower tract , pressing hardest behind his scrotum.

Hutch nodded, and felt a quiver go through him.  "Yes, yes."

Starsky pumped in earnest.

Hutch let himself go limp.  He was too sated to be ready for another orgasm, but he rode the waves of pleasure that went through him.  "Oh, dear God."

Starsky pumped harder, gasping for breath.

A moment later, Starsky cried out, his fingers digging into Hutch's flesh.

Then he collapsed partially on top of Hutch.

They both eventually grew quiet, Hutch drifting into a doze.

"Easy, easy," Starsky warned, his hand on Hutch's hip.

He pulled out, and Hutch felt empty.

Hutch rolled over, his arms around Starsky's waist as he snuggled against him.

After a time, Starsky's arm draped across Hutch's shoulders.   With satisfaction, he said, "I think he liked that."

Hutch's fingers stroked along Starsky's torso.  He settled his head on Starsky's shoulder.  "He liked it."

Hutch knew he needed to get to the john, but he wanted to prolong this closeness as much as possible.

With a hint of amusement, Starsky said, "I still respect you, Hutch."

Hutch grunted.  "It's not morning yet."

Starsky's fingers furrowed through Hutch's hair.  "I bet I still do in the morning, too."


Starsky couldn't remember the last time he had felt this good.

Hutch was in a great mood today, because he had enjoyed Starsky fucking him last night.

I can make him feel good, and it'll only get better with time.  He won't go looking anywhere else.

They had made their rounds that morning, visiting some snitches, in hopes of finding information for a case that had gone cold the past year.

After lunch, they went back to Parker Center.  As they were approaching the entrance, Kira emerged, carrying a box of various desk items.

They both nodded at her, and Starsky asked, "What's this?"

She said, "I just thought I'd move most of my things out, and just keep the bare essentials for my final days."

"Good luck to you," Hutch said, and started to move past, grabbing the door that she had exited from.

"Yeah," Starsky said, "have fun at your new digs."  And fucking everybody you can get your claws into.

She shook her head with a snort.  "You guys always seem in such a hurry these days."

"Yeah, well....," Starsky shrugged, not feeling a need to come with an explanation as to why they didn't have any reason to spend time with her. 

She started to turn away, but then said, "Oh, hey.  Talbrot's murderer has been caught."

Starsky quickly sobered.  "Garcia?"  He looked at Hutch, who was still in the doorway.

"Yeah.  Simmons and Babcock have him in interrogation."

"Great.  Thanks."  Starsky and Hutch hurried up the stairs.


They had to wait nearly two hours until Simmons and Babcock emerged, and Starsky and Hutch were invited to their debriefing with Dobey.

"He has no remorse," Babcock informed them.  "His boyfriend, Jeff, was humping Talbrot, so as far as Garcia was concerned, that was grounds to murder Talbrot. Since Jeff had told him that it was actually Hutchinson that Talbrot was obsessed with, and he'd even seen some of Talbrot's diary, Garcia found the diary and left it out, so the police would think that Hutchinson was somehow involved, and no one would be able to trace it back to Garcia."

Starsky rubbed his hands about his face.  "Man, what a tangled web....."

"Yeah," Simmons agreed.

Hutch asked, "But what about the three slugs to the chest?  It looked like Talbrot just stood there and let himself get shot."

Babcock shrugged.  "Garcia said that when he knocked on the door, Talbrot called out that it was open, since he was expecting Jeff to be by with a plant store delivery.  Garcia walked in, just as Talbrot walked out of his bedroom.  He said that Talbrot's eyes widened in surprise, but he otherwise didn't try to defend himself."

Starsky shook his head, unable to fathom that.  "An experienced cop isn't going to do a 'deer in the headlights' thing."

Simmons released a breath.  "Well, for all we know, maybe he was depressed about his life, because of having to be in the closet.  We can only speculate, but maybe he saw death as a relief.  It's hard to know with those quiet types."

Dobey grunted, appearing thoughtful.  "Maybe he felt that the person he was most in love with, was someone he could never have."  His eyes darted briefly to Hutch.

Starsky felt himself bristle.  "He wasn't in love," he said firmly.  "He was in lust.  Maybe he thought it was love, but he hardly even knew Hutch.  They maybe said ten words to each other the whole time Talbrot was here."

"Yeah," Hutch said.  "How can you be in love with somebody you don't even know?"  He shook his head.  "I sure as hell hope he didn't accept the idea of his own death for that reason.  That's something a messed up sixteen-year-old high school kid might do, but not a seasoned cop."

Simmons quietly said, "Well, maybe it was simply the fact that he was gay, and he was lonely and miserable from having to hide it so much."

"He did have to hide it," Starsky put in.  "Whatever departmental policy might be on the surface, everyone here knows that it's suicide to let others know you're gay."

The room felt silent.

Abruptly, Dobey said to Simmons and Babcock, "Good work, you two."  Then, apologetically at Hutch, "I'm glad this is all over with.  I'll give IA a copy of Garcia's confession, so their side of the case will have a nice, neat bow tied on it."

Hutch said, "Hopefully, the rumor mill will die down."

They all stood and started to leave, and Starsky placed his hand on Hutch's back.  Lonely and miserable is something we're never gonna be.

As they exited through the office door, Hutch glanced back at Starsky with a smile.




Thanks to Keri T. for finding typos.

Comments to or post here

Background on This Story


Main Menu Starsky & Hutch Menu Story Menu