It's early Monday morning, the start of another busy workweek for the guys. Starsky turns downs Ocean Street and heads for Hutch's.

Hutch is coming out of the bedroom when he hears the rev of the engine down on the street below. He walks over to the front door and unlocks the lock.

Starsky hops out of the car and walks over to Hutch's apartment building and opens the door. He bounds up the series of steps leading to Hutch's apartment above.

Normally he would give a quick tap on the door then just walk in, however, he knew his friend had spent the weekend entertaining a certain tall, curvy, blonde stewardess and he was pretty sure she was still inside. The woman was crazy for his blonde counterpart. Starsky shakes his head "There's just no accounting for some women's taste!" he says jokingly to himself.

Starsky wants to give the couple ample warning so he tries making as much noise as possible. "Don't wanna catch the two of you in any kind of compromising position now do I!" Starsky says to himself and chuckles.

Meanwhile, inside the apartment, Hutch's female companion is sitting atop the kitchen counter munching on a piece of toast. She watches a shirtless Hutch as he prepares his morning breakfast shake and is very much enjoying the view he is providing.

As she watches him add the various ingredients into the blender she tries to read the labels on the containers. "Wheat germ, desiccated liver, goat's milk, blahhh!" "Do you really drink that concoction every morning love?" she asks with her nose crinkled up slightly.

"Oh you betcha, can't start my day off without it" he replies as he pushes the liquify button on the blender. Hutch walks over to the blonde and places his hands on her bare thighs and begins to caress her soft skin. She parts her legs instinctively. Wrapping her long legs around his lean waist she pulls him in close for a long, passionate kiss. "Mmmmm" Hutch moans softly.

With their lips still locked together, he stretches over to his left trying to feel his way to the blender. He locates the power button and switches it off.

With her long, slender legs still wrapped around his waist he pours himself a glass of the mixture and offers her a taste. She immediately shakes her head no.

"You see Molly dear!" he begins to tell her, "This drink helps keep me in my top, peak, physical condition!" he adds as he wiggles his eyebrows. He takes a sip of the mixture and smacks his lips smiling at her provocatively. "I mean after all, a man's gotta be in peak, physical condition to spend any amount of time with the likes of you darlin'" he says to her in a deep husky voice. "You damn near wore me out this weekend!" he adds as he cups his right hand under her chin and pulls her towards him for another long kiss. A kiss that curls her toes and leaves her breathless!

"Well lover, whatever you do, DON"T ever stop drinking that crazy concoction!" "I can honestly say, I've never had a man "PEAK" for me five times in one night before, so whatever's in there certainly is working!" she says playfully as she pushes the drink back up to his lips. "Maybe I should make an extra batch then!" he says seductively as he pulls her in for another kiss.

Just then they hear a loud rap on the door. "This is the police, open up!" a voice from the other side of the door demands. "We've received numerous complaints from the neighbors about the overabundance of loud moaning and screaming coming from this residence over the last two days!" The voice yells from the other side of the door. The couple burst out laughing.

"Come on in Starsk, its opened!" Hutch answers back. "Are you two decent?" Starsky yells out jokingly. "Yeah, Mushbrain, we're decent!" Hutch replies as he smiles at the woman.

As Starsky slowly enters the room his eyes are immediately drawn to the couple in the kitchen. The couple still have their arms and legs entwined around one another as Starsky walks over shaking his head. "I thought you said you were decent!" he says to the twosome as he rolls his eyes. "Oh I don't know Starsk, Molly looks pretty decent to me don't you think?" Hutch says smiling in her direction. "Mmmmm, she certainly does at that!" Starsky adds in a sexual undertone.

His eyes are instantly riveted to the half-dressed leggy blonde clinging to his friend. Molly blushes and replies "Well gentlemen, I'd love to sit here and chat with you all day but my plane leaves in less than two hours and I must finish getting dressed." Starsky adds jokingly "Well now, don't do anything too hasty there Molly!" as he wiggles his eyebrows up and down at her. This produces a slight chuckle from Hutch. "What are you snickering about Ken?" she asks as she squeezes him tighter. "Oh I gotta agree with Starsk on that one sweetheart!" Hutch says as he reaches in for another kiss.

She runs her hand down his smooth, naked chest and an idea instantly forms in her head. "Be a doll Ken and help me down from here will you?" she purrs "Mmmm, my pleasure" he replies as he lifts her up off the counter. She tightens her legs around his waist as he carries her towards the bedroom. "Ahhhh, I'll be right back Starsk, I just need to help Molly in here with something" Hutch yells back to his partner just before slamming the door shut behind them.

"Yeah, well you'd better hurry it up Hutchinson or we're gonna be late for work you know!" Starsky says as he looks at his watch. "I mean after all, if we're gonna get out there and hit the streets to catch the bad guys, we should be doing it now during "peak" hours you know!" With that last comment Starsky suddenly hears a roar of laughter coming from the bedroom. "What did I say that's so funny?" he asks himself. He shrugs his shoulders and slumps down onto the sofa to await his partners return.

Hutch and Starsky are heading into the station when a call comes through over the police radio "Zebra Three, Zebra Three, come in please" Hutch picks up the mike and replies "This is Zebra Three, go ahead Mildred"

The female dispatcher comes back "We have a 187 at the alley of Third and Marshall, please respond! "10-4 Mildred, we are responding" Hutch replies and hangs up the mike. "Hell of a way to start the morning huh Starsk!" Hutch says as he looks out the passenger's side window while putting out the lights and siren. "Yeah, really!" Starsky replies as he pushes his foot down on the gas and speeds off down the street and towards the crime scene.

The coroner and crime lab team are already on the scene when Starsky and Hutch arrive. As they climb out of the Torino they see a body off to the side covered in a white sheet. They look at each other and sigh.

The two detectives work their way over to a middle-aged, gray-haired man standing above the body taking notes. "Whatcha got Smitty?" Starsky asks slightly distressed. The coroner replies just as Hutch bends down and pulls the sheet away.

."It's not very pretty guys" he says half disgusted. Hutch looks at the battered body and quickly turns away, he's not quite prepared for what he sees.

He immediately stands upright and staggers over to the building on his right. He falls to his knees and proceeds to empty the contents of his stomach on the ground.

Starsky is at his friend's side in an instant, placing a comforting hand around the blonde's neck. After Hutch's stomach ceases to heave Starsky helps his friend to his feet.

He gives Hutch time to compose himself as he glances over at the crowd of onlookers staring in their direction. He rubs his friends back and asks quietly "You alright?" Hutch wipes his mouth but doesn't answer.

He turns towards the building behind them and places his head against the brickwork, hoping the coolness of the brick will provide him with some bit of comfort. Starsky pats him on the back and gives his arm an affectionate squeeze.

He walks back over to Smitty. Still keeping a watchful eye on his partner, Starsky asks "What was it you were saying Smitty?"

The coroner replies "We've got a young female, approximately twelve to fourteen years of age, beaten and strangled!" Smitty states in a matter of fact tone. Starsky cringes after given the facts and starts to feel sick himself.

Hutch turns his head away trying to drown out the coroner's words. "Looks like the body's been lying here for a few days now!" Smitty continues. "By the way she's dressed I'd say she's probably a prostitute!" he adds. "There are a lot of sickos out there that like 'um young you know!"

Starsky frowns as he continues to watch his partner with concern. "I doubt if there's even a missing persons report out on her!" Smitty adds. "Hell, her family probably doesn't even know or care if she's missing."

Just then Hutch comes storming over to the coroner and grabs his arm roughly. He gets right in his face and says loudly "The girl has a name Smitty, her name is Jenny!"

Starsky is suddenly shocked by his partner's words and actions. "Hutch!" Starsky says loudly. He now knows why his partner is so upset as he looks down at the body. "You're treating her like she's a piece of meat, like she's nothing!" Hutch adds angrily. "She's a human being for Christ sake so why don't you start treating her like one!" Hutch bellows.

Starsky immediately rushes to his partner's side and manages to release the firm grip Hutch has on the coroner's arm "Hey, hey, hey, come on Hutch that's enough now, we're on the same side here!" Starsky says pulling his partner forcefully over to the side, away from his partner's verbal target and away from the stares of the growing crowd.

"Come on buddy, take it easy will ya!" Starsky says softly "Now you know Smitty's just doing his job, he doesn't like to see this anymore than we do, ok?" Starsky says quietly trying to console his distraught friend.

"It's Jenny, Starsk it's Jenny!" Hutch sobs as he collapses against the building. Starsky glances over to the body lying on the ground. "Ok, ok" Starsky says soothingly, gripping his friends elbow. "But ya 'gotta pull yourself together right now alright?" Starsky says softly while holding his arm and squeezing his neck.

He glances back at the crowd. "Now, why don't you go have a seat in the car and I'll see if I can maybe get a statement or two from the crowd here, ok?" Starsky says reassuringly as he places his hand atop Hutch's shoulder. Hutch just nods in agreement and walks over to the car and climbs inside.

Starsky breathes a sigh of relief and walks over to the group of onlookers. After he finishes taking statements he joins Hutch in the car.

He notices immediately the mournful look on Hutch's face and sighs. "Well, naturally nobody saw anything!" Starsky says sounding irritated as he looks over at his partner.

After a few minutes of silence Hutch says to his friend "Why Starsk, why Jenny?" Starsky stretches his arm across the back of the seat. "I don't know buddy!" he answers softly as he squeezes the back of Hutch's neck. Hutch looks at Starsky with tear filled eyes and says "You know, even after all these years it doesn't get any easier does it Starsk?" He wipes a hand across face. "No it doesn't buddy!" Starsky replies.

"Maybe that's a blessing in disguise… if the day ever comes when we stop feeling, then I'd say that's the day we should hang it up pal!" Starsky says as he slaps Hutch's knee affectionately.

Starsky turns the key in the ignition and is about to pull away when Smitty walks over to Starsky's side of the car and says "Hey Starsky, this may be something, I don't know!" He gives Starsky a worn matchbook.

Starsky looks at the cover then opens it. Scribbled on the inside is the name Lewis Horner along with a phone number. "Thanks Smitty, we'll check it out, hopefully it'll give us something!" Starsky replies.

Smitty then turns his attention to Hutch and says "Hey Hutch, back there" as he points over to the body "I'm sorry I sounded so cold, it's just that after doing this job for so long you see so much it just makes you numb inside, you know what I mean?"

Hutch just stares at him for several seconds then turns to his partner and replies "What was it you were just saying about that Starsk?" Starsky looks at his friend then looks back at Smitty. "See ya Smitty" he says as they drive off

. Hutch picks up the mike to the police radio and calls into the station "Mildred, this is Hutch" he says as he waits for a reply.

"Go ahead Hutch" she responds. Hutch holds out his hand as Starsky hands him the matchbook. He opens it and replies back "Mildred, I need a current address on a…. Lewis Horner, phone number 555-634-1912 please!"

A few minutes pass before the female dispatcher comes back on the line "Hutch, the last known address for Horner is The Hotel Claremont at 143 Berkley." "Thanks Mildred!" Hutch answers then hangs up the mike.

"The Hotel Claremont, boy that place is a dump!" Starsky exclaims as they turn around and head in the opposite direction. "Well what did you expect Starsk, we're not exactly dealing with high class clientele here now are we!" Hutch proclaims as they speed off.

The desk clerk is seated at the switchboard taking a call when Starsky and Hutch walk in. He patches the call through to one of his guest and hangs up. "What do you two want!" he asks loudly. Hutch immediately fires back "Horner, Lewis Horner, he's one of your tenants Barney, what room is he in and don't give us any song and dance 'cause we know he's here!"

Having dealt with Starsky and Hutch before the clerk knows enough not to mess with the two detectives and wastes no time checking his registry. "Room 312, up three flights and it's down the end of the hall on the right!" he replies.

Starsky and Hutch take the stairs three at a time and are up on the third floor and at Horner's door in a matter of minutes. Starsky knocks on the door and they wait. They get no reply so Starsky pounds on the door with his fist. There is still no reply.

Hutch is becoming increasingly agitated as he pounds on the door even harder. "Horner, this is the police, open up!" he demands. Just then they hear the lock open from the inside and the door is opened slightly. A short, greasy-haired, heavyset man peers out at them.

"What do you want?" he asks. "Are you Lewis Horner?" Hutch asks angrily. The man does not say anything. Starsky interjects as he holds out his badge for the man to see and asks "Could we come inside please, we'd like to ask you a few questions!"

"What kind of questions?" Horner asks nervously. "Please, inside if you don't mind" Starsky adds. He opens the door further and allows them to step inside.

The detectives are immediately appalled at the man's living conditions. The place is a mess. It's filled with garbage, empty beer cans and whiskey bottles, not to mention a horrible stench. Hutch's stomach immediately starts churning again.

Hutch gets right to the point "Jennifer Peterson, how do you know her?" he demands "Never heard of her!" Horner replies.

Hutch tries to keep his anger in check. Through clenched teeth he holds out the matchbook and says loudly "Then maybe you can tell me why she had your name and number on her person!" Horner is quiet.

"My partner asked you a question, if I were you I'd answer him!" Starsky says while pointing at his partner.

Hutch leans in just inches from the man's face as he waits for an answer. Horner starts to tremble and blurts out "Hey listen, I..I..I… don't know anything about no dead girl ok!" Hutch looks over at Starsky and then back at Horner and replies angrily "Who said anything about her being dead!"

Horner immediately recognizes his mistake and tries to cover it up. "Well, I..I.. just assumed the way you were talking that she was dead!"

By now Hutch is ready to snap. Starsky can see his friend is right on the edge.

"Well then, if that's the case then, you don't mind if we search this dump do you?" Hutch says as he begins to look around.

"Hey, you just can't come in here and push your weight around cop, I have my rights!" "You need a warrant!" Horner blurts out.

"What about the rights of that young girl we found lying face down in the alley, what about her rights Horner!" Hutch says fuming.

Horner who continues to dig the hole he's in even deeper adds "She was probably just some cheap two-bit hooker who…."

He never gets the opportunity to finish his sentence. Hutch grabs ahold of the man's shirt collar, pushes him backwards and slams him up against the wall as he slaps him across the face.

The pictures from the wall come crashing to the floor, shattering glass everywhere.

Starsky immediately leaps into action as he grabs hold of his partner trying to pull him off the defenseless man. Hutch pushes his friend away and continues his attack on Horner.

Hutch yells angrily as he shakes the man. "Listen you piece of scum…" "Hutch, come on!" Starsky shouts as he tries to intervene again, grabbing Hutch's right arm.

Hutch, ignoring Starsky continues his verbal and physical assault "I know you had something to do with that girls death and I'm gonna find out just what your involvement is and when I do, I'm coming back without my partner here to hold me back and so help me God, you're gonna regret the day you ever set eyes on me!" Hutch proclaims furiously.

"Dammit Hutch, cool it!" Starsky pleads. Hutch gives Horner one final shove before storming out of the room.

Horner is shaking uncontrollably as he yells out "You'd better keep that partner of yours away from me you hear!" He then adds "I'm a law abiding citizen, he has no right to come in here and attack me like that, you're gonna hear from me!" "I'm 'gonna file a complaint, he was way 'outta line!"

Starsky just glares at the man then turns around and walks out the door.

Horner walks to the window and looks down to the street below. He sees the blonde sitting in the Torino and hisses. Still visibly shaken he walks over to the kitchen table and pours himself a stiff drink. With an unsteady hand half the liquid ends up on the counter. He takes a swallow and touches his bruised cheek "You're gonna pay for that blondie!" he says angrily as he wipes his mouth on his dirty sleeve. "Nobody treats me like that, do you hear me, NOBODY!" he roars.

He walks back to the window and looks down at the Torino again "Yeah, you're gonna pay real bad cop!" he exclaims to himself out loud. An evil smile forms on his lips as he begins to plot his revenge.

Starsky heads downstairs and out to the car below to deal with his hot-headed partner. Hutch braces himself for the lecture he knows is about to come.

Starsky gets in behind the wheel and glares over at his partner. Hutch refuses to make eye contact with him. Without saying a word Starsky starts the engine and drives off.

He only goes about a block before pulling into a deserted alley. He shuts off the engine and turns to his partner and asks loudly "What the fuck was that all about Hutch?"Hutch doesn't reply.

"Have you lost fuckin' mind?" "That man that you just flung around back there is more than likely going to press charges against you, you know that don't you?" Hutch is silent.

"You could get suspended!" Starsky adds angrily "Do you hear what I'm saying?" Hutch just turns his head away and looks out the window.

"Do you even care?" Starsky goes on. "Dammit Hutch answer me!" Starsky demands. Hutch still says nothing.

Starsky throws his hands up in the air. He looks out the driver side window and says calmly "Look buddy, I know your upset about the girl but that still doesn't give you the right to….."

Hutch interrupts "Starsky, that man knows something about Jenny's death, I know it and YOU know it!" he says as he points his finger in Starsky's face.

Starsky, feeling his temper starting to flare up again adds "Maybe he does and maybe he doesn't, that still does not give you the right to go off half-cocked like that, it's inexcusable!"

Hutch glares at him and asks loudly "Why are defending that scum Starsky, he's involved in this all the way up to his greasy little eyeballs! "Starsky fires back "I am not defending him Hutch, what I AM trying to do is follow proper police procedure here, you know, innocent until proven guilty and all that crap…."

Hutch interrupts again "Ok, ok, you made your point Starsk now can we get the hell out of here!" Starsky looks at him and heaves a heavy sigh. "This conversation is not over Hutch, not by a long shot, do you hear me?" as he jabs his finger into Hutch's chest. "Yeah whatever!" Hutch's replies half -heartedly before placing his head back against the seat and closing his eyes.

Back at the precinct Hutch gets chewed out royally by his superior. "Hutchinson, when are you going to learn to control that temper of yours?" Dobey bellows at Hutch while Starsky looks on.

Dobey leans back in his chair and sighs "I've managed to keep Horner from pressing charges so…" Hutch jumps up from his chair "That's because he's involved in this all the way up to his greasy little ears Captain!" he exclaims. "Eyeballs!" Starsky says as he tries to interject some humor into the already stressful situation.

"What?" Dobey asks as he glances at the dark-haired detective. "Nothing cap'n, it's a little inside joke!" he smiles as he looks at his partner hoping to elicit a smile from the blonde but of course gets nothing.

"I'm gonna prove that short, grimy little creep is involved in this Captain we're going back there and….." "YOU are not going to do anything Hutchinson!" "I'm taking you off this case!" Dobey declares.

"What!" Hutch fumes "Captain you can't do that, I….." Dobey interrupts "You heard me, you're too hot and that's only going to lead to more trouble for you" as he's points. "For your partner!" he points to Starsky. He then points to himself "For me and for the entire department!"

"Now, I want you to take the rest of the day off and go home and cool off!" Dobey orders the blonde. "NO!" Hutch shouts. Starsky cringes at Hutch's defiance.

He knows what's coming next. Dobey rises up from behind his desk and looks Hutch square in the face and growls "What did you just say?" Hutch growls back "I said NO!" Dobey doesn't back down "Just who in the hell do you think you're talking to Hutchinson?" Dobey fumes.

"I was not asking you, I was ordering you!" Dobey shouts. "Cap'n, Hutch…" Starsky tries to interject but is interrupted by his superior.

He points a finger at Starsky and says "Can It Starsky!" He then turns his attention back to the blonde and states forcefully. "This discussion is over Hutchinson, now GO HOME!"

Hutch just glares at his superior then looks over at his partner. Starsky gives Hutch a nod that seems to say "Just do it, buddy ok!" Hutch throws his hands up in the air, turns and storms out the door, slamming it behind him.

"Well, that went rather well, don't ya think Cap'n?" Starsky says as he takes a seat.

There is a brief period of silence between the two men before Dobey speaks. "Tell me what set him off Starsky!" Dobey asks

. Starsky sits up in his chair and says "You remember Jenny Peterson?" Starsky asks "You know, the young girl from a couple of years ago?"

Dobey pounders Starsky's question then replies "The young girl from the bust you and Hutch assisted Vice with a while back?"

"Yeah, that's her, well she was the victim they found in the alley this morning!" Starsky says sadly.

"My God!" Dobey exclaims. "Yeah, Hutch is taking it pretty hard Cap'n" Starsky adds. "Well, anyway, the crime team found Horner's name and number scribbled on a matchbook that she had on her!" Starsky says.

"Well, then what are you doing sitting for?" Dobey asks loudly. "Get back out there on the streets and start asking around about this Horner character!" Dobey shout.

"Try to find out what his involvement is in all this!" Dobey orders.

Starsky replies somewhat surprised "I thought you were taking us off this case!"

Dobey adds "I only said that for Hutchinson's sake, once he has time to cool off and think about his actions I'll put him back on!"

Starsky smiles at his superior and says "Cap'n, I don't care what Hutch says about you, deep down inside you're just an old softy." Dobey rolls his eyes and replies "You just keep your partner on a tight leash until this whole thing is all over, I DO NOT want a repeat of today's incident, do I make myself clear!" "Yes Sir, very clear Sir" Starsky says

. "Well, get going then!" Dobey waves his hand towards the door as he dismisses the dark-haired detective.

He then adds "Make sure you stop off and check on that stubborn partner of yours after work tonight too!" "You know I will Cap'n, see ya! Starsky replies as he walks out the door closing it quietly behind him.

Starsky's first stop is Huggy's. He's hoping that maybe, with any amount of luck at all, his friend can provide him with some information on Horner.

Huggy is behind the bar polishing glassware when Starsky walks in.

"Hey brother, what's shakin!' Huggy asks as he holds out the palm of his hand for a slap. "Hi Huggy, get me a beer will ya!" Starsky says as he takes a seat at the bar.

Huggy looks at his watch "Hey, its three o'clock in the afternoon, where's you're beach blonde better half at?" Huggy asks.

"Let's just say, he's been a very bad boy and he's taking a time out per Dobey's orders!" Starsky replies. "Uhh-huh, I get what you're saying 'bro!" Huggy adds.

Starsky takes a sip of his beer then asks "What can you tell me about a Lewis Horner, lives over at the Claremont Hotel?"

"Lewis Horner?" Huggy pauses a moment and thinks. "Oh, yeah, Lewis Horner!" "A short, fat, creepy looking dude." Huggy adds. "Sounds like our man Hug." Starsky replies.

"Well now, I can tell you one thing, you're dealing with the lowest possible scum there is with that guy!" Huggy states. "Hell, he's lower than scum!" he then adds "Visualize the lowliest kind of scum you can think of and this Horner character, well he would be what you'd scrape off the bottom of that lowliest scums shoe!"

Huggy continues "That man would sell his own mother for twenty bucks if he had the chance!" "Ok, Hug!" Starsky interrupts him "I get your point, he's pretty low!"

"Sorry, I was just trying to make it clear what you're dealing with!" Huggy replies.

He then adds "Word is he's somehow involved with Harpo Jackson, you know, the big time, hard-ass pimp that operates out of the east side.

"Harpo Jackson!" Starsky exclaims. "He's back on the street?" Starsky asks somewhat surprised. "What in the hell would a low life like Horner be doing mixed up with a higher class scum like Jackson?" Starsky asks.

Huggy shrugs his shoulders and replies "I'm not sure but then again you're the detective not me!" Starsky finishes his beer and throws a couple of bills on the counter. "Thanks for the info, Hug!" Starsky says as he goes to leave.

"Hey, tell Hutchie I got a cold brew waitin' for him when he's ready for socializing again!" Huggy adds as his curly-haired friend walks out the door. "You got it! Starsky replies as he waves back at his friend.

The first thing Hutch does when he gets to his place is takes a long, hot shower, hoping it will wash away the pain and frustration of today's events.

It doesn't help much.

Wrapping a towel around his waist he walks out of the bathroom and over to the fridge. He pulls out a beer and presses the ice cold bottle to his forehead and sighs.

He then walks over to the sofa and drops down wearily. "What a day!" he says to himself as his thoughts drift back to earlier in the day.

He keeps seeing the image of the dead girl "God, what a waste!" he says to himself out loud "Why Jenny, what the hell happened?" He asks mournfully as he looks up at the ceiling.

His thoughts flash back to an even earlier place and time.

It was about two years. Him and Starsky had assisted Vice in busting open a wide spread prostitution ring that had been operating heavily just outside of San Diego. The ring involved some well-known state and government officials, political figures, judges and even a few big name celebrities.

Unfortunately it also involved young girls, most of them between the ages of nine and sixteen.

These young girls were forced into a life of unthinkable horror. They were taken from loving homes, snatched out of school playgrounds, shopping malls, movie theaters, even churches.

They were torn away from their loved ones and the lives they knew.

A small number of them were runaways but most of them were not. None the less, they were all forced into a life of pure hell, forced into selling their bodies to all those fine, upstanding perverted citizens that helped run the town, protected the streets, passed down the laws.

"What a joke!" Hutch says to himself. Just thinking about it makes his skin crawl. He takes another swallow of beer and thinks back to the first time he saw Jenny.

They had just hauled in a group of young girls from the bust and they were all seated in the squad room. There must have been thirty or more. Every precinct in town was filled up with either the victims or the accused from the huge bust and their precinct certainly had their share of both.

Some of the girls were screaming and demanding to be let go. With many of them wanting to get back out on the streets again, eager to earn their living the only way they knew how.

These girls were in so deep for so long they no longer had a home life on the outside. Prostitution was the only life they knew.

Hutch scans the massive crowd and shakes his head in disbelief. "They're just babies!" he says to himself as he looks around the room.

Just then his eyes connect with one of the victims. A young girl with the most mournful blue eyes, so mournful they seemed to reach out and grab his very soul pulling him in.

Their eyes remain locked for what sees like an eternity to Hutch and then she smiles at him. A smile so sweet and innocent he thinks to himself she couldn't possibly be one of the girls involved in this horrible mess.

She's just a child, a baby, she doesn't belong here and he hangs his head low as tears well up in his eyes.

Hutch glances over at Starsky who is busy taking a statement from one of the more vocal girls involved.

He cast his eyes back to the young girl and is surprised to see her still staring back at him.

She's a pretty girl with dark hair, even with the bruises on her right cheek and upper lip.

He smiles at her and she returns the smile

. He slowly gets up and walks over to the young girl. As he crouches down beside her he notices she is shaking.

He gets the attention of one of the female officers and says to her "Can I get a blanket for her please!"

The woman returns with the blanket and hands it to Hutch. He wraps it snuggly around the girl and speaks to her softly. "There you go honey is that better?" He asks softly. The girl nods.

"Can I get you anything else, something warm to drink?" he asks. She just shakes her head no.

"My name is Ken but my friends call me Hutch, what's your name sweetie?" he asks softly. The young girl stares at Hutch's kind face and knows instantly this is a man she can trust.

"Jenny" she says shyly.

"Jenny, what a pretty name he replies.

"It's short for Jennifer but my daddy always called me….." just then she stops as tears fill her eyes.

Hutch instantly melts as he looks into those eyes that are filled with so much sorrow. "When was the last time you saw your father sweetheart?" Hutch asks soothingly.

She doesn't speak at first then replies "It's been a long time, close to two years" she says as she wrings her hands nervously.

Hutch places his hand on hers and says "I'd like to contact your father Jenny if you could tell me where to find him, I'm sure he's really worried about you"

At first the young girl smiles as she thinks of her father then the smile quickly fades "He won't want to see me!" she cries softly.

"Oh Jenny, why would you say that, I'm sure he's missing you terribly." He says trying to reassure her.

"My daddy would hate me for the things I've done, he wouldn't love me anymore!" she replies sadly.

Hutch lowers his head and sighs. He can feel the tears welling up in his eyes again as he tries to pull himself together.

He raises his head and continues "Jenny, what happened to you wasn't your fault, those men…..!"

"Yes it is" she interrupts "I'm a bad person, that's why those men punished me!" she cries.

Hutch squeezes her hand gently and says "Those men that took you, that forced you into doing all those horrible things, they are the bad people Jenny, not you!"

Starsky has since finished taking the statement of the other girl and motions for one of the female officers standing by to take care of her.

He glances over at his partner and is immediately drawn in by what he sees transpiring between his friend and the young girl. He notices the mournful look on his partners face and sighs "Careful Hutch, don't get too close buddy!" Starsky says to himself as he sits back and observes their conversation.

"I must have been bad for them to make me do all those bad things!" the girl sobs.

Hutch shakes his head as he squeezes her hand again trying to console her. "No darlin', you had no choice but to do those things they made you do, they would have hurt you more if you hadn't listen them, surely you understand that sweetie?" Hutch says quietly.

"I guess so" she sobs as she nods her head in agreement and sniffles.

"How old are you sweetheart?" Hutch asks her softly. "I just turned ten almost three weeks ago!" she exclaims proudly.

Hutch turns his head away so the girl does not see the look of utter shock on his face.

"My God!" Hutch says to himself, he thought she looked much older. Maybe it was the way those creeps had her made up or maybe it was the hard life she had to endure in the hands of her abductors for almost two years.

Hutch shakes his head and sighs heavily.

She was an unwilling victim robbed of her childhood and her innocence and it made him physically sick.

"Christ, she was just a baby when she was first abducted and forced into that god forsaken life!" Hutch thinks to himself.

Starsky continues to observe his partner and the young girl. He looks at his partners weary face then glances back at the young girl and says to himself "I can only imagine the horror stories she's relaying to you pal!" He had heard a few today himself that made him want to lose his lunch.

Starsky could clearly see his friend was becoming increasingly more upset by the minute and he was not at all happy about it!

Hutch wanting to change the topic of conversation to make the girl feel more at ease asks her. "What about brothers and sisters sweetheart, do you have any?" The girl lowers her chin, looks down at her lap and replies "No"

Hutch frowns then adds "Tell me about your mother Jenny, I bet she's beautiful just like you" he says smiling.

Jenny just sits there as a tear slides down her cheek. Hutch reaches into his pocket for a clean tissue and wipes the tear away.

He cups her chin and tilts her head up so she is looking directly into his eyes as he waits for her reply.

After a few seconds she finally says "She was beautiful! The most beautiful lady in the whole world but I didn't know her for very long."

As another tear falls down her cheek Hutch brushes it away.

"She died in the hospital when my baby brother was born….. he died too" she replies sadly.

"My God!" Hutch says to himself as he looks up to the heavens. "How much heartache do you need to dump on this poor child?" He asks silently to the powers that be.

His thoughts are instantly brought back down to earth as she adds "It was Christmas day when they died. Daddy and momma hadn't yet picked out a name for my brother, so I asked daddy if we could call him Christopher" she sobs.

"Daddy told me that was perfect!" she beams.

Hutch smiles sweetly at the girl "That's really nice Jenny, I bet you would have been a wonderful sister to Christopher" he says softly as he touches her cheek.

"I would have been!" she says with excitement in her voice. "I would have been the best sister ever!" she adds "We would have done everything together and I would have kept him safe and I wouldn't have let anybody hurt him like …." The young girl stops in mid-sentence and lowers her head.

Hutch turns his head away and glances over at his partner. Hutch is unaware that Starsky has been watching the two of them for some time now.

Starsky looks at his partner, he can see a deep sadness in Hutch's eyes and feels an overwhelming need to walk over and comfort his friend.

"Dammit Hutch, why do you always gotta let your heart get so involved!" Starsky says to himself.

He knows the answer to his own question. It's how the big lug is. He has a genuine soft spot for children, always has, always will.

"You're gonna make one hell of a father someday partner!" he says to himself softly.

That's one of the things he loves most about his friend, his kind, nurturing soul and yet sadly he know it can also be his friend's downfall as well.

Starsky nods to his partner and gives him a look that says he knows exactly what he's going through. Hutch nods back and smiles.

He turns his attention back to the girl.

"Jenny, I'd like to call your father and let him know that we found you and you're ok, could you please tell me your father's name and where you're from?" Hutch pleads softly

. At first the girl is reluctant to answer. "Please honey, your father's name?" Hutch asks softly as he brushes her tear stained cheek

. She relishes Hutch's soft, warm touch. She can't remember the last time a man touched her so caringly. That showed her that kind of love and kindness.

Her thoughts drift back to her father and she smiles. He was a very affectionate man. She knew he loved her so much and would always show it with a kiss or a hug. They were inseparable.

Wherever the two of them went, he would always carry her atop his shoulders. She missed those broad shoulders and wondered if she would be too big to ride on his shoulders now.

If she could just see him again to tell him just how much she loved him she knew he would understand and accept what had happened to her. She wanted to feel that love once again, the feeling of being safe and warm in his arms.

"Benjamin, Benjamin Peterson she answers quietly as she looks at Hutch.

Hutch smiles at the girl and says softly "That's terrific honey, now could you tell me where you're from?" The girl recites her old address as Hutch scribbles it down.

"That's wonderful sweetheart!" he says affectionately as he squeezes her hand.

Hutch stands up and quickly walks across the room and hands the scrap of paper to one of the officers standing there.

"Phil, could you run this through R&I and verify the name and address on that for me please!" Hutch asks the other officer.

"Sure Hutch, it'll just take a few minutes!" the man replies. "Thanks Phil, I appreciate it!" he says as he pats him on the shoulder

. He returns to the girl and crouches down. He takes her hand in his and tells the girl "Don't worry sweetie, will have you back with your father before you know it" he reassures her softly.

He waves a hand to one of the female officers standing by and she walks over.

"Jenny, this is Mary, she's going to take you someplace where you can get cleaned up and get something to eat while we wait for the information on your father, Ok?" Hutch says softly as he brushes the hair from her face.

"Ok" she says as she returns the smile. "Good girl!" he says as he helps the girl to her feet.

"Here we go Jenny, this way" the female officer says as she places a hand on the girls shoulder and leads her towards the door.

They are just about out the door when the young girl turns back to Hutch and says "You said all your friends call you Hutch!" Hutch smiles and says "Yes, they do sweetheart" She then adds shyly "Would it be ok if I called you Hutch too?"

Hutch thought his heart would burst right then and there. His eyes fill with tears as he replies "Jenny, I would be honored to have you as friend!" Jenny smiles a great big smile and Hutch's heart just melts.

"Do you think you could come with me when I go to see my father?" she asks hopefully. "I wouldn't miss it for the world darlin'" he replies with a wink. She flashes another huge smile then turns and walks out the door with Mary.

Starsky is smiling too as he walks over to his friend and squeezes his shoulder.

"That's class right there Starsk!" Hutch says to his friend as he points to the young girl walking down the hall. Starsky nods in agreement.

"That young lady is going to break a lot of hearts when she grows up!" Starsky says.

"She already has Starsk, she already has!" Hutch adds as he rubs his eyes then slaps Starsky knee.

While they are waiting for Jenny to return Hutch fills Starsky in on all the information he has on the girl.

"Wow, she's had some tough breaks huh?" Starsky says to his friend. "Yeah, she has but you know what, that's all going to change for her now as soon as we reunite her with her father!"

"She's going to start living like a kid again!" Hutch says to his partner with a smile.

Just then Phil returns with the information on the girl's father

. "So Phil, what did you come up with for an address on our girl's father?" Hutch asks jovially.

Phil is silent at first. "I'm afraid you're not going to like this Hutch!" he replies.

"Why what you mean?" he asks.

"Well it seems her father committed suicide about four months ago!" Phil tells him.

Hutch reaches for the corner of his desk. He suddenly feels very dizzy as his legs fall out from under him.

Starsky instantly reaches for his friend to steady him and helps him down into his chair.

"Easy partner, I got ya!" Starsky says to his friend softly.

Just then Dobey comes out of his office and walks over to the two detectives. He cast an unknowing look at Starsky

. "I'll explain later cap'n" he says "Would you get Hutch some water please!"

Dobey retrieve a cup of water from the water cooler and hands it to Starsky.

"Here you go buddy, drink this!" Starsky says soothingly to his friend as he holds out the water.

"I don't want it!" Hutch mumbles as he places his hands across his face.

Several minutes go by before Hutch can find the strength to speak then he asks "How did it happen Phil, how did he kill himself?"

Starsky interrupts Phil before he has a chance to speak "That's not really important right now buddy, you need to….." "

How did it happen!" Hutch demands loudly.

Phil replies as he looks down at the report "Self- inflicted gunshot wound to the head."

"According to the report, friends said he became increasingly despondent after his daughter went missing." He adds "He started drinking heavily and things spiraled downward from there."

Starsky jumps in "Thanks Phil, that's enough for right now!" as he directs him away.

Hutch begins to sob. "Jesus Starsk, how the hell am I gonna tell Jenny about this?" "How much more can that poor girl take?" Hutch says as he looks at Starsky with tear filled eyes.

Starsky places his hand on Hutch's back and rubs it softly. "She'll be ok Hutch, she's strong, she'll get through it…"

Hutch throws him an icy stare and says loudly "What the fuck do you know about any of this!

Starsky is immediately taken back "Hey, come on Hutch, I just meant…."

Hutch interrupts him as he continues to lash out. "You have no fuckin' idea how strong she is!"

"Hutchinson!" Dobey yells "That enough!"

Hutch quiets down then looks at his partner with remorse.

As he places his hand on Starsky's cheek he replies softly "God, I'm sorry Starsk!"

Starsky places his hand over Hutch's and squeezes. "Hey, it's ok buddy, I understand" he answers quietly.

He places his forehead against the blonde's, not caring about anyone else in the room or what they may think.

The only people that existed in that room at that very moment were him and Hutch. With those few brief seconds of physical contact they were sharing, they are able to block out the rest of the cruel, horrible world even if it was only for a short time.

Starsky is the first to break the spell as he says to his friend softly "Buddy, let me be the one to tell the girl about her father, ok?"

Hutch looks at his partner and frowns. "Thanks Starsk, I appreciate that but I think I should be the one to tell her" "I mean after all, I'm the one who promised her the moon, didn't I?" he sighs.

Starsky sighs heavily as well. He know Hutch will continue to beat himself up over this and it saddens him knowing there's nothing he can do or say that will help ease his partners pain.

Just then they hear the young girl's laughter as she reenters the squad room and Hutch stiffens.

Starsky bends down and whispers reassuringly in his ear "I'm right her partner if you need me, don't forget that ok" Hutch heaves a heavy sigh and nods as Starsky squeezes his knee.

The young girl immediately makes her way over to Hutch and Starsky.

"Well Hutch, how do I look?" she asks as she taps him on the shoulder.

He slowly turns to look at the girl and is stunned by what he sees.

With her face cleaned and free of makeup and her hair combed and pulled back in a ponytail, she looks like a child again, so angelic and it takes Hutch's breath away.

He looks at Mary with surprise.

"Some of took up a little donation and we ran out and bought her a new dress for her special occasion tonight!" Mary says as she places her hand on the girl's shoulder.

Hutch smiles a half-hearted smile and says "That's very sweet of you Mary"

"Isn't it beautiful Hutch!" the young girl giggles excitedly as she twirls around for him to see.

"Yes Jenny, you look very beautiful" he says trying to sound upbeat.

"Can we go now Hutch?" she asks as she tries to pull him to his feet.

"Jenny….." He pauses trying to gather enough nerve. "Sweetheart, can you have a seat here for me please" He says softly as he pats the chair.

The young girl takes a seat as she smiles at the detective.

"Jenny, I..I..I..I need t..t..t..tell you something honey" He stammers. "Sweetie, we won't be going to see your father tonight" Hutch tries to explain.

"You mean I have to wait to tomorrow?" she asks sobbing lightly.

Hutch looks up at Starsky for strength. Starsky gives him a reassuring nod and he continues.

"No honey, that's not what I mean" as he takes her tiny hand in his. "Jenny, your father had an accident a couple of months ago" he tells her softly.

"Did my daddy get hurt Hutch?" she cries softly.

"Yes, sweetheart h..h..he did, he was hurt very badly!" he says to her soothingly.

"Then we should go now Hutch so I can help fix him and make him feel better!" she says sobbing.

Hutch gazes up at Starsky again and notices the tears pooling in his friends eyes. He turns his attention back to the girl and continues.

"No Jenny, sweetie you can't fix him…. you see honey… he was hurt so badly that he… can't be fixed" Hutch says he tries to make the girl understand.

"Did my daddy die Hutch?" the girl cries softly. Hutch closes his eyes and bows his head as he squeezes the girls hand tighter.

When he looks up there are tears running freely down his face. "Yes sweetheart, yes your daddy di….."

Before he can finish the young girl places her hand across his mouth to stop him. She jumps out of her chair and into Hutch's arms sobbing heavily.

She cries and cries, then Hutch joins in.

Her small frame shaking with each and every sob and Hutch holds her tight. He needs the comfort of holding her as much as she needs him to comfort her.

"It's going to be ok sweetheart, everything is going to be ok!" Hutch whispers to her softly.

There is not a single dry eye in the room when it's all over.

After what seems like an eternity, the girl cries herself to sleep in Hutch's arms. He continues to hold her tightly. Starsky bends down and whispers to Hutch "Hey buddy, let me take her, give your back a rest for a while" Hutch quickly replies "No, I'm fine!" as he grips her tighter

. Dobey then offers "Hutch, why don't you put her in on the sofa in my office, she'll be more comfortable in there" he says quietly. He looks down at the sleeping girl and realizes she probably would be more comfortable lying down. He picks her up in his arms and carries her into the office.

Starsky and Dobey follow close behind with Starsky carrying the blanket the girl had used earlier that day.

As Hutch lays her on the sofa and tucks her in under the warm blanket she moans softly in her sleep to Hutch "'night daddy"

Hutch glances over to Starsky and Dobey, they both smile. Hutch looks back down at the sleeping girl and does what only seems natural. He bends down and kisses the girl on the forehead and whispers "goodnight sweetheart, sweet dreams"

The three men quietly exit the room as Hutch turns out the light leaving the door slightly ajar just in case.

"Well, what's happens now?" Hutch sighs heavily as he asks his superior

. Before Dobey has a chance to speak a woman walks into the squad room and says loudly "I'm looking for a Detective Hutchinson!"

Hutch walks over to the woman and says "I'm Detective Hutchinson"

"Hello detective, I'm Mrs. Margaret Hawthorne. I'm the head of Children and Youth Services." "They told me I should speak to you in regards to a young girl that was brought in here earlier" the woman says brashly.

"The girls name is…." She says as she opens her folder. "Peterson, Jennifer Peterson!"

Hutch glances back into Dobey's office and notices the girl is still sound asleep. "Yes Mrs. Hawthorne, what about the girl?" Hutch inquires.

"I'm here to transport the girl to the Santa Monica Juvenile Detention Center!" she states abruptly.

Hutch had known this moment was coming and he was dreading it.

He looks at his partner and Dobey then back to the woman and replies "It's kind of late, I thought maybe she could stay at my place tonight and tomorrow we…."

The woman interrupts "That is not possible Officer Hutchinson!" she exclaims"That is totally against policy officer!" she answers curtly.

"Well surely you can make an exception for just one night!" he pleads.

"I'm sorry detective, I have my orders to follow and I must adhere to them!" she replies.

"There must be other relatives of the girl that would be willing to take her in!" Hutch says hopefully.

"The only other known relative is an aunt and she has made it very clear that she wants nothing to do with the girl, now if you will excuse me, would you please tell me where I can find the girl!" she demands.

All three men remain silent.

"Gentlemen, must I involve your superior officer in this matter?" she exclaims loudly.

They don't budge.

"Very well then, have it your way!" she says "You will be hearing from me!" she replies loudly as she turns to leave.

"Just a moment Mrs. Hawthorne!" Dobey replies. "I'm Captain Dobey, Hutchinson's superior!" he adds slightly irritated.

"The girl is in my office!" Dobey proclaims as he points the way while looking at Hutch.

Hutch shoots Dobey a look of betrayal "Captain….." Hutch begins to say as the woman shoves past him towards the sleeping child.

"Just a minute, you can't just barge in there and yank her outta here, especially after all she's been through" Hutch exclaims loudly.

"I'm truly sorry detective but the sooner we get this over with the better!" she states.

Hutch goes to grab the woman's arm but Starsky holds him back. "No Hutch!" Starsky pleads as he looks his friend in the eye. Hutch stares back at him.

"Ok but I'd like to talk to the girl for a moment before you take her!" Hutch demands.

The woman replies "Officer, my time is very valuable, I must….."

"Lady Please!" Starsky growls "Give him a minute to talk to the girl!" as he shoots an angry look in her direction.

The woman, feeling very intimidated, eventually agrees. "Very well but please hurry officer, we really must be going!" she adds as she steps slightly further away from Starsky.

Hutch quickly walks into the office and turns on the light. The girl remains sleeping. Hutch stands above the girl briefly as she sleeps peacefully.

"What an angel you are Jenny….. an angel that's been through hell and back!" Hutch says to himself and sighs heavily.

He sits down beside the young girl. He shakes her shoulder gently as he whispers "Jenny…Jenny…, sweetheart wake up for me honey please"

She remains still.

"Honey, it's Hutch, can you wake up for me now please" he says a little less softly.

The girl opens her eyes and is startled for a moment as she glances around at the unfamiliar surroundings. As soon as she notices Hutch she relaxes.

"Hi honey" Hutch says softly. "Hutch" she replies still have asleep. "Yes sweetheart it's Hutch" he says as he brushes the hair from her eyes.

"Jenny, I need to talk to you for a second, can you sit up for me please?" He asks quietly.

The girl obeys and Hutch moves further onto the sofa beside her. He places his arm around the child and glances out into the other room.

He notices the woman eyeing her watch and he instantly becomes agitated.

"What is it Hutch?" the girl asks with a yawn. Hutch's attention is quickly drawn back to the girl.

"Sweetie, there is a woman out there by the name of Mrs. Hawthorne, she's from a place called Children And Youth Services." he adds. "She helps take care of young ladies just like you!" he says with a smile as he pats her knee.

The girl stretches her head past Hutch to get a look at the woman in the other room. "Is she a nice lady Hutch?" the girl asks softly. Hutch is instantly put on the spot.

He pinches his forehead with his fingers as he looks away from the girl.

He thinks to himself "Hutchinson, you're gonna go to hell for lying to this sweet innocent child but here goes!"

"Oh sweetie, she seems to be a very nice lady!" he lies. "She's going to find you a nice, warm place to stay for awhile!" He adds. "A place where there are a lot of other nice young ladies just like you to play with!" he smiles as he taps the tip of her nose.

Jenny glances back out at the woman and says "She looks kind of mean Hutch!" Hutch chuckles in spite of the serious situation and tries to reassure her "Oh no sweetie, she's a very nice lady!" he adds.

"LIAR, LIAR, LIAR" he says to himself.

"Why can't I stay with you Hutch?" the girl cries softly.

"Sweetheart, I would love to have you come stay with me but they won't allow it" he replies sweetly cupping her chin.

"Will you come see me?" she sobs.

"Everyday sweetheart!" he replies with a smile.

They set there for several seconds more not saying a word then Hutch rises from the sofa and says "So what do you say, shall we go see the nice lady?" Hutch asks of her as he holds out his hand.

The girl reaches out her hand as Hutch helps her to her feet. They exit the office and walk out to where the others are waiting.

"Mrs. Hawthorne, this is Jenny" "Jenny, this is that nice lady I was telling you about" he says with a fake smile.

The little girl politely holds out her hand to say hello. The woman instantly grasps her wrist and pulls her towards the door. "We have no time for this!" "We are way behind schedule as it is!" the woman says abruptly. "Good day officers as she drags the girl out the door!"

Hutch jumps towards the door instantly but Starsky intervenes, pulling him back. "Let her go Hutch, there's nothing you can do babe!" he says as he whispers in his ear.

The young girl looks back at Hutch with a look on her face of utter betrayal then she's gone.

Flash forward to the present.

Hutch is still sitting on the sofa nursing his beer. "Oh God Jenny!" he cries softly as he looks up at the ceiling. "I'm so sorry I let you down sweetheart!" he whispers. "I should have done more!" and he weeps for the girl.

Just then there is a soft tap on the door. "Hutch, its Starsky!" Starsky says from the other side of the door.

Hutch glances over, contemplating whether or not to answer.

"Come on blondie, I know you're in there, I can here you breathing!" he adds.

Hutch sighs heavily as he gets up and walks over and opens the door. Starsky looks at Hutch still wrapped in the towel and says jokingly "You didn't have to get all dressed up on my account pal!"

Hutch doesn't reply as he turns and walks to the bedroom. Starsky lets himself in and walks to the fridge. He helps himself to a cold beer and sits down on the sofa.

Hutch reenters the room now wearing blue jeans and a tee shirt. Starsky notices his partners hunched shoulders and the haggard look on his face.

He walks passed Starsky and into the kitchen for another beer. He leans against the counter as he guzzles it down.

Starsky gets up and walks into the kitchen and stands beside his friend. "Have you eaten anything else today since this morning?" Starsky asks his friend in a concerned voice

. "Nope!" Hutch replies as he continues to down his beer.

"Wanna talk?" Starsky asks.

"Nope!" Hutch repeats as he polishes off the bottle

. He turns and opens the fridge and takes out another bottle.

"You know you gotta work in the morning, maybe you should slow down a bit!" Starsky says as he reaches for the bottle.

Hutch jerks the bottle back angrily and walks into the living room and sits down on the sofa. Starsky follows him in and sits down beside him.

"Listen buddy…" Starsky starts to say. "I don't want to talk about it Starsk!" Hutch says abruptly.

"You can't keep this bottled up inside Hutch!" Starsky says. "It's only gonna make things worse, you wanna have another episode like we had with Horner this afternoon!" Starsky adds.

"Oh, so that's what this is all about!" Hutch says angrily. "You're afraid I'm gonna lose it again, maybe embarrass you and the department!" Hutch fumes.

"That's not what I'm talkin' about and you know it!" Starsky replies back loudly as he stares intently at Hutch.

Hutch looks into his partners eyes and backs down.

The blonde leans back on the sofa and sighs heavily.

After a few seconds of silence Hutch speaks "I let her down Starsk!" he says softly.

"What are you talkin' about Hutch, you were there for her when no one else was!" Starsky replies.

"I should have done more, I could have done more!" Hutch exclaims as he pounds his fist on the arm of the sofa.

"We can't save them all buddy, no matter how much we try pal!" Starsky says softly as he places his hand on his friends shoulder. Hutch remains quiet.

"Hey, why don't we head down to Huggy's, grab a couple of burgers and….." Starsky begins to say.

"No, I'm beat Starsk, I'm gonna call it a night" he says wearily as he rises from the sofa. "You're welcome to stay, help yourself to something to eat, watch tv, whatever."

He drags himself towards the bedroom and says "See ya in the morning!" as he closes the door behind.

He falls down onto the bed exhausted, both physically and mentally. It's several minutes before he hears his partner get up and leave. As he lays there in the dark his thoughts once again drift back to the young girl.

The day after Jenny had been taken away by the horrid woman from Children and Youth Services Hutch decides to pay the girl a visit to see how she is getting along in her new surroundings. He has Starsky stop off at one of the local candy shops on the way. He buys the biggest box of chocolate in the shop. The clerk wraps the box in a pretty pink ribbon and they head off on their way to see the girl.

They arrive at their destination and walk inside. The men stop at the front desk to inquire about the girl.

Seated by the desk is a very attractive dark haired woman and Starsky suddenly becomes very interested. "Helloooo!" Starsky says flashing a brilliant smile. She returns the smile and blushes. "Hello Sir, how may I help you?" she inquires, instantly mesmerized by Starsky's charm and good looks.

Hutch flashes his badge and proceeds to inquire about the girl. She checks her paperwork "Yes, Jennifer Ann Peterson, one moment please" she replies as she dials a number on the phone.

"Yes, this is Miss Newton, I have two gentlemen at the front desk, they are requesting to see Jennifer Peterson, the young girl that was brought in last night, would you have someone bring the girl down please, thank you" she says politely.

"She'll be down in just a moment officers" she replies with a smile as her attention once again is drawn towards the curly headed detective.

"So, its MISS Newton is it?" he asks as he wiggles his eyebrows, placing his elbows on her desk . He begins to strike up a conversation with the woman as Hutch turns to view the surroundings.

"It doesn't seem too bad of a place!" he says softly trying toconvince himself.

Just then a woman comes up to the front desk and says something quietly into the other woman ear. The woman behind the desk appears slightly upset as she replies "I'm sorry Officer Hutchinson but the girl….she…refuses to see you!"

Hutch is immediately taken back as he looks at Starsky.

Starsky is dumbfounded. "I..I.. don't understand, why would she….. Starsky begins to ask, before being interrupted.

"WHY, you want to know why!" Hutch shouts out. "Because I deserted her that's why!" Hutch looks around at all the children playing near and lowers his voice. "Because I'm a cold-hearted bastard, that's why!" he adds extremely upset.

The woman then replies "If you need to see her officer I can have them bring the girl down" Hutch instantly replies "No!" "I don't want to upset her!" he adds.

He glances over at his partner and sighs. He then turns back to the young woman and says "Would you please give this to Jenny for me Miss" as he hands her the box of chocolate.

"Yes officer, I'll see that she gets it" she replies feeling sorry for the blonde. Hutch then turns and walks out the door.

Starsky thanks the young woman then walks out the door as well.

Hutch and Starsky try to see the girl several times after that but each and every time the girl refuses.

Hutch decides to give it one more try, the girl refuses yet again.

Starsky senses this will be the last attempt Hutch will make to try to see the girl and it saddens him.

Hutch is visibly upset as he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a black and white photo of himself. He asks the woman for a pen and proceeds to write on the back of the photo "Jenny, thank you for letting me in, even though it was only for a brief moment in time, I shall cherish that time forever. Be true to yourself. Your friend for life, Hutch"

He hands the photo to the woman and says "Would you please see that she gets this" then he simply turns and walks away with Starsky close behind.

Starsky catches up with Hutch as they walk to the car. He places his hand on Hutch's shoulder and says reassuringly "She's gonna be ok Hutch!"

"Yeah" Hutch's replies with sadness in his voice as he takes one last look back unaware of the sad little girl looking down at them from a second floor window waving goodbye.

The two men drive away in silence never to speak of the young girl again.

Flash forward once again.

In a sleazy bar downtown two men are seated in a darkened booth. Horner has called Harpo Jackson, the big-time pimp from the east side to meet him to discuss the incident involving the two cops earlier that morning.

These two have formed an unlikely working relationship. Horner helps supply the pimp with a fresh constant supply of girls for his "operation" as well as the drugs to keep them strung out and manageable.

When they become pass their prime, so to speak or unruly Horner eliminates them. It's the perfect partnership in Jackson's eyes.

Horner whispers quietly to Jackson "I'm tellin' ya man, Starsky and Hutch are getting too close!" "They are gonna ruin everything again just like they did before!" he says very agitated.

Jackson is visibly upset as well and replies angrily "Those stinking cops WILL NOT destroy what we've manage to rebuild these past two years!" "Business is the best it's ever been and we have some of the best girls we ever had!" he says quietly as he taps the table top.

Jackson points his finger at Horner "This is all because you got sloppy man when you killed that bitch and left your calling card in her pocket!" he says loudly

. "Hey, listen man, I told you I don't know why she had my name and number on her!" Horner replies sharply.

The bar patrons sitting nearby begin looking their way and they quiet down.

"Well, there's only one thing left to do then my short, fat little friend!" Jackson says softly. "We need to eliminate those two cops before they get any closer!" he whispers. Horner smiles, he likes what he's hearing.

"When?" "Where?" he asks excitedly.

"You leave that up to me man, I'll take care of our friendly neighborhood cops!" Jackson says with a sneaky smile.

"The blonde one, I want something extra special to happen to that pig!" Horner demands.

"HAH, HAH!" Jackson replies "I think we can arrange something very nice for your nosey cop friend Lewis, don't you worry!" Jackson laughs as Horner joins in.

Hutch is awakened in the middle of the night by the ringing of the phone.

He answers it still half asleep "Hello" he says groggily.

"Is this the cop they call Hutch?" a female voice asks on the other end.

"Who is this?" he asks.

The voice on the other end is quiet for a few seconds then replies "This is a friend of….. Jenny's!" she replies nervously.

Hutch's interest is suddenly peaked as he sets up in bed. "Jenny?" he says surprised.

"Yes, I..I..I think I know something about why she was killed!" she replies in a shaky voice.

"Tell me!" Hutch demands. "Not over the phone!" she says "I'll meet you somewhere!" she adds.

"Where!" Hutch asks. "Lincoln Park, by the fountain, twenty minutes!" she replies before hanging up the phone abruptly.

Hutch, still dressed in his jeans and tee shirt throws on his sneakers, grabs his jacket and heads out the door.

He arrives at the park shortly after and notices a lone, female figure sitting by the fountain. He slowly walks towards the figure.

As he gets closer he notices it's a young girl, around fifteen years old, pretty face. He can tell by the way she's dressed what her profession is and he is suddenly reminded of Jenny.

"Hutch?" the young girl asks. "Yes, I'm Hutch!" he says cautiously as he eyes the girl.

She suddenly smiles and says "You look just like your picture!"

The girl's comment does not register right away. "My picture?" he asks.

"Yes!" she replies as she holds out her hand and gives him a photo. Hutch's heart skips a beat when he sees the picture of himself in the girl's hand.

It's the same picture he left for Jenny at juvie a few years back. " did you get this? He asks softly.

"Jenny had it with her things, she's had it a long time from what I can remember!" she states.

The picture was well worn and creased. "Jenny carried that with her wherever she went!" the girl tells him. "She said she always felt safe whenever she had it with her!" the girl adds. "She really loved you Hutch!" the girl says with a smile.

Hutch suddenly feels very dizzy. " kept this picture all that time?" he asks the girl flabbergasted.

"Yes!" she replied. "That last time you stop at juvie, Jenny almost came down to see you!" "She watched you from the window in our room as you pulled away!" the girl says.

"She cried a lot when you left" she says sadly. "I think she knew deep down inside she was never gonna see you again" the girl says with tears in her eyes.

Hutch doesn't know what to say, he just lowers his head as the tears begin to flow.

"She was headed to see you the night she was killed!" she states.

Hutch raises his head in surprise "What did you say?" he asks the girl not certain if he heard her correctly.

"She was on her way to see you!" she replies. "She knew some stuff about what was going on, you know, like before when you and your partner busted those creeps!" she exclaims. "Only they knew she knew and got to her first!" she sobs.

Hutch takes a seat beside the girl clutching her hand trying to console her. He then quietly asks "Who got to her?"

She shakes her head "I don't know, she wouldn't tell me!" she replies sadly. "I guess she didn't want me mixed up in any of it" she cries softly.

"Was she…. involved with…those men again, before?" he asks the girl, not wanting to know the truth.

"NO!" the girl replies. "She ran away from juvie because she hated it there but she managed to stay clear of those creep!" she exclaims.

"But she was… working the streets?" Hutch asks the girl somberly.

"What was she supposed to do, it was the only life she knew!" the girl cries in her friends defence.

"Yeah" Hutch whispers as he pictures the young girl back in that hellish situation again.

"Hey, listen, I gotta go. I got people to see and …well you know!" she says as she stands, trying to sound funny.

"Don't!" Hutch begs the girl as he stands and takes hold of her arm trying to stop her.

"Don't what!" the girl asks suddenly feeling more nervous than ever.

"Don't go back there to…..that!" he pleads with her.

"That's the only life I know too Hutch!" she replies with sadness in her voice.

"I can help you if you let me!" he exclaims.

The girl simply smiles as she stands up on her toes and gives him a peck on the cheek. "I can see why she loved you Hutch, you're an ok guy! she says as she turns to leave.

Hutch quickly realizes he never got the girls name and he blurts out "What's your name?"

She turns back and replies "Dedra but my friends call me DeDe!" "I'll see you around, Hutch!" she adds, then quickly walks away into the night.

It's 6:15 in the morning as Hutch heads out for his daily morning jog. Twice around the block is enough today.

He looks at his watch. Starsky would be showing up at his place shortly to give him a ride into work. He is eager to tell Starsky about the new lead DeDe gave him last night regarding Jenny's death and he's certain he can convince Dobey to put him back on the case.

As he rounds the corner to home he sees Starsky getting out of the Torino and heading towards his apartment building. Starsky sees Hutch coming and he waves.

Just before Hutch is about to cross the street they both notice a black four door sedan coming around the corner at a high rate of speed. The car flies up the street towards them. Starsky is about to yell to the driver to slow down when to his horror and Hutch's surprise, the car jumps the curb and goes barreling full force into Hutch.

Hutch is thrown up over the roof of the car. His body lands with a sickening thud in the middle of the street as the car goes speeding off.

Starsky pulls out his Beretta and fires at the speeding car to no avail.

He doesn't miss a beat as he races to his friend who lies broken in the street. He drops to his knees beside him.

Hutch is bleeding profusely from a gash on his forehead and another from his left cheek. He looks down at the rest of him and is shocked to see blood flowing heavily from his left leg.

He glances up to the surrounding crowd of onlookers and yells "Somebody get an ambulance!"

He then refocuses his attention back to his partner as he places a shaking hand on his neck and is relieved to feel a pulse, weak but a pulse none the less.

"Hutch, can you hear me buddy?" Starsky pleads softly as he touches his cheek. "Oh God, please Hutch, please open your eyes for me pal!" he begs.

He takes off his jacket, bundles it up and places it under Hutch's head. He touches his friends cheek again and cries out "Come on Hutch, please open your eyes babe! Hutch remains silent and motionless.

He turns his attention to the bloody leg. He takes a pocket knife from his jeans and proceeds to cut apart the leg of Hutch's jogging pants. He's shocked to see the condition of the leg. It's a shattered and mangled mess, bleeding uncontrollably.

Starsky unbuckles the belt from his jeans and pulls it through the loops. He carefully wraps it around Hutch thigh and pulls it tight.

Just then a woman comes running into the street carrying a blanket. "The ambulance is it's the way!" she tells him as she covers Hutch in the blanket. Starsky just nods.

He attempts to revive Hutch again. "Hutch, I need you to talk to me pal, please!" he begs. Suddenly to Starsky surprise Hutch moans softly. Starsky feels like his heart is about to jump out of his chest. "Come on Babe, I'm right here, talk to me!" Hutch moans again and slowly opens his eyes.

Starsky is ecstatic to see the baby blue eyes of his partner, though dazed and confused, staring back at him.

"Sta..r..s..k" his voice strains to say his partners name. "I'm right here buddy!" Starsky sobs as he places his forehead to Hutch's. "You're gonna be ok partner, you hear me, you're gonna be alright!" he says softly trying to comfort his friend.

"What….happ…ened?" he asks almost inaudible. "You were hit by a car, remember?" Starsky replies shakily. "A….car?" Hutch asks incoherently.

Just then they hear the wail of the ambulance's siren in the distance. "You hear that pal, the ambulance is on the way!" Starsky whispers to him softly.

"St..a..r..s..k!" Hutch sighs painfully. "Yeah buddy!" Starsky replies trying to smile an encouraging smile. "My..legs…I…cant….feel…my legs!" Hutch cries out.

The smile on Starsky's face instantly disappears as he looks down at his friends legs now covered up with the blanket. "Why….cant…I…feel…my…legs Starsk?" he cries out.

"Shhhh, take it easy babe, your just in shock right now!" Starsky replies soothingly, trying to convince both Hutch and himself that's all it is.

The ambulance pulls up and parks in the middle of the street, followed by two black and white police cruisers. Two emergency personnel exit the vehicle. They gather their equipment from the back and race to Hutch's aid.

"What do we have here?" A female EMT demands of Starsky.

"He..he..he was run over by a car, it threw him over the roof, he….!"

Starsky's voice cracks unable to finish. She notices the gun strapped to Starsky's shoulder. "Are you a police officer?" she asks quickly while opening up her equipment. "Yes!" he replies not taking his eyes off of his friend.

"Have you gotten anything from him yet, his name maybe?" she asks as she takes Hutch's blood pressure

"He's my partner!" Starsky says trying to hold it together. His name is Ken Hutchinson!" Starsky answers.

The EMT flashes a light in Hutch's eyes and makes note that his pupils are dilated. "Ken, can you hear me?" She asks him loudly. There is a brief period of silence then Hutch answers painfully. "Yes"

"Can you tell me where you have pain?" she asks him.

"He…says…he has no….his legs!" Starsky interjects.

She gazes down to Hutch's lower half with concern.

"My….head and …my….back!" Hutch replies in obvious pain. "Yeah, you got a pretty nasty cut on your head there!" she says trying to sound upbeat as her assistant wraps Hutch's head tenderly. He then assists her in placing a brace around his neck as well.

She then turns her attention to Hutch's lower half. She pulls back the blanket and assesses the tourniquet Starsky has placed around the severely damaged leg.

"Is this your work she asks?" directing her question to Starsky. He simples nods his head yes. "Good job!" she replies.

As she tears away more of the left leg of Hutch jogging pants she exposes more of the injured leg. Both Starsky and the woman are shocked by the amount of damaged the leg has suffered. The leg is almost severed.

"Oh my God!" Starsky replies sharply as he quickly shuts his eyes and turns away.

Starsky had seen a lot of this type injury in Vietnam but this time it was his best friend lying there all torn apart and it was just too much to handle. He quickly gets up and runs over to the side of the curb and vomits. One of the officers from the police cruiser stands by his side with a bottle of water waiting for him to finish.

Both the medical attendees bandaged the nearly severed leg as best they can. Starsky straightens up and takes a swallow of water. He thanks the officer.

He watches the female EMT as she rechecks Hutch's pulse. "Seventy over forty!" she exclaims "His blood pressure is dropping rapidly, we need to get him outta here NOW!" she yells loudly.

Starsky upon hearing those words, rushes back to his friend's side. The other attendee runs to the ambulance and returns with a backboard. "Can you help us move him onto the board?" she asks of Starsky.

"What do you want me to do?" he's quick to reply.

"I need you to stabilize his head and neck while we lift him up and over.

"Sure!" Starsky says eager to help as he places his hands on his friend's shoulders.

"St..arsk!" Hutch cries out. "Yeah buddy, I'm right here!" Starsky says to his friend soothingly. He bends his head down and whispers "Hutch, we're gonna lift you up a second, ok pal!"

"No, don't….move…me, please Starsk!" he begs. "Shhh, it will be real quick babe, I promise!" he reassures him softly.

"Ok, on three!" the female attendee says. "One..two..three!" as all three lift Hutch onto the board simultaneously then lower him onto the stretcher. They secure the straps then move him quickly to the back of the ambulance.

"Starsk!" Hutch cries out. "Don't…leave…me!" he sobs. Starsky gives a pleading look to the female EMT and he gets a nod of approval.

"I'm not going anywhere babe!" he replies as he strokes Hutch's cheek.

With Hutch now in the ambulance Starsky wastes no time hopping up in. The female attendee hops in as well. The doors are closed and the other EMT climbs into the driver's seat and speeds off.

Once they reach the hospital and Hutch is wheeled into the ER, Starsky places a call to Captain Dobey to informs him about Hutch.

"Captain Dobey's office!" Dobey says as he answers the phone.

"Cap'n, it's Starsky!" Starsky replies under duress.

"Starsky, where in the hell are you and that partner of yours!" Dobey bellows.

"Cap'n….It's Hutch…he's been…. there was a car….they hit him… he's….. Starsky never finishes as he breaks down sobbing into the phone.

Dobey's is shaken by Starsky's words. "Starsky, where are you?" he asks quickly.

"Memorial!" is all Starsky can say before hanging up the phone. He stumbles over to a sofa in the waiting room and drops down on the hard cushion holding his head in his hands.

Dobey arrives shortly after. He notices the dark-haired detective in the waiting area and quickly walks over.

Starsky is sitting on the sofa with his head resting on the back cushion and with his eyes closed. Dobey sits down beside him.

Starsky feels the movement beside him and he opens instantly. He looks over to his right and sees Dobey.

"Any word yet Dave?" Dobey asks softly. "No" Starsky replies as he rubs his face with his hands.

"Can you tell me what happened?" Dobey asks with concern in his voice. Starsky relays everything to his superior, stopping every now and again to regain his composure.

"It's bad cap'n!" Starsky says sadly. "His leg… it's all tore up!" Starsky says all choked up.

He rises up from the sofa and walks to the window and stares out into space. Dobey knows nothing he says can ease the pain the detective is feeling but he says it anyway.

"Hutch is tough, he's a fighter, you know that better than anyone!" Dobey says as he tries to console Starsky.

"Yeah" is all Starsky says as he continues to stare out the window.

Several minutes go by before he is able to speak.

"Cap'n, that car didn't hit Hutch by accident!" Starsky states.

"What are you saying?" Dobey asks as he rises from the sofa and walks over to the detective.

"That car sped up and purposely swirved into Hutch!" Starsky exclaims.

Dobey is shocked by the last statement.

Their conversation is interrupted by the sound of footsteps coming down the hall and into the waiting area.

"Starsky, Captain, man I just heard about Hutch, how is he?" Huggy asks his friend as he places a hand on his shoulder.

"Hey Hug!" Starsky says wearily. "We haven't heard anything yet" he adds as he plops back down onto the sofa.

"He's gonna be ok!" Huggy says to his curly headed friend as he places a comforting hand on his friend's shoulder.

Starsky tries to force a smile.

The three men anxiously sit and wait for several hours, watching the doctors and nurses coming and going, hoping one of them will eventually stop and give them some kind of news of Hutch's condition.

Finally after waiting for four long agonizing hours the doctor walks into the waiting room. He glances over at the three men and walks over.

"Detective Starsky?" he asks as he looks in Starsky's direction.

"Yes, I'm Detective Starsky!" Starsky says rising to his feet, trying to keep his heart from jumping out of his chest. "How's my partner?" he asks as his voice cracks.

"We've finally managed to stabilize him." The doctor informs them.

"He's in an induced coma. We feel, due to the extent of his injuries, that's really the best thing for him at this time."

"Your friend detective is in critical condition!" the doctor explains. "His body has suffered massive damage" the doctor continues as he removes his glasses and pinches the bridge of his nose.

"He has a concussion, his left wrist is fractured and he has several broken ribs" the doctor informs them.

"There is considerable swelling around his spinal column" the doctor tells the men.

"He said he couldn't feel his legs!" Starsky interjects.

"Yes the swelling is putting extreme pressure on the spinal cord, blocking off all sensation to his lower extremities" the doctor adds.

"But it's only temporary right Doc?" Starsky asks sounding hopeful. "I mean once the swelling goes down he'll have feeling again right?" he asks trying to convince himself.

"Yes, that may very well be the case!" the doctor states. "However, our major concern at this point, as I'm sure you are aware, is the injury to his left leg" the doctor informs them.

Both Dobey and Huggy glance over at Starsky as the doctor continues.

"Forgive me for being blunt gentlemen." "The leg was nearly severed, resulting in massive damage to the surrounding tissue."

Starsky suddenly feels light-headed. "We've managed to reattach the leg, however…." the doctor pauses as Starsky hangs on his every word.

"It's most probable we will not be able to save the leg!" he tells them point blank.

All three men are in total shock but none more than Starsky.

His legs suddenly give out from under him and he collapses onto the sofa.

Huggy sits down beside him and places a reassuring hand on his shoulder.

The doctor briefs through the paperwork he is holding and says "I see here Detective Starsky that you are the medical power of attorney for your friend, is that correct?" he asks.

"Yes" Starsky replies not liking where this is going.

"The reason I ask Detective Starsky is this, due to serious nature of your friend's condition and his inability to make proper decisions concerning his own welfare you may need to make the decision for him" he states.

"Just what is that decision doctor?" Dobey asks.

The doctor looks at all three men then directs his statement to Starsky. "I'll come right to the point!" "I'm almost certain it will come down to this…..his leg or his life!" he replies. "It's a decision you yourself may have to make Detective Starsky." the doctor tells him.

Starsky feels like someone has just punched him in the gut, he cannot breath. He buries his face in his hands as Huggy pats him on the shoulder.

After a brief period of silence Starsky speaks. "Can I see him?" Starsky asks softly, his voice almost a whisper.

"Certainly!" the doctor replies as he waves down one of the nurses at the desk. She walks over to the men.

"Nurse Bennett, would you please show Detective Starsky here to ICU, he'd like to see his friend" the doctor says. "Yes doctor" the nurse replies as she starts to lead him away.

Starsky glances back at Dobey and Huggy with a forlorn look then heads down the hall.

"Do you think he can do it Cap'n, do you think he can make that decision?" Huggy asks Dobey with much sadness in his voice.

"His leg or his life, what do you think he'll do!" Dobey replies more as a statement than a question.

Either way, they both know if it comes down to it, it will be one of the toughest decisions Starsky will ever have to make in his lifetime!

-To be continued-