The shock of seeing the woman he loved in the arms of his best friend was too much for the blond to take as he dropped the metal crutch from his right hand.

The sound echoed across the room as it clattered to the floor causing Starsky and Alexa to jump at the noise.

They both simultaneously looked over at the front door.

Both were shocked to see the blond standing there, his legs shaking uncontrollably until they finally gave out from underneath him and he landed in wheelchair with a thud.

"Oh my god!" Starsky cried out as he jumped quickly from the sofa.

"Ken!" Alexa cried out as well as she mimicked Starsky's movements.

As Huggy looked on he was equally flabbergasted.

Hutch just sat there still trying to comprehend the whole situation, the look of hurt on his face was undeniable.

"Get me outta here Hug!" the blond pleaded to his friend.

Huggy hesitated still trying to take it all in.

"Hutch…wait a second!" Starsky pleaded as he ran towards his friend.

"Now Huggy please!" Hutch cried out as he started to wheel himself backwards.

Alexa, on the verge of tears, could only stand there shaking her head no.

"Dammit Hutch..will you wait please!" Starsky begged his friend as he grabbed the arms of Hutch's wheelchair forcing him to stop.

Hutch glared at his best friend.

"It's not what ya' think buddy….Alexa was upset and I….!" Starsky started to explain.

"And you what buddy…..you were trying to console her by jamming your tongue down her throat!" Hutch exclaimed angrily as he shot a cold hard stare in Alexa's direction.

"That's not what happened!" Alexa declared as she rushed forward, equally upset.

"Oh really lady….it sure as hell looked that way to me!" the blond hissed.

"Huggy!" Hutch said as he motioned for him to push him back to the car.

"Yeah Hutch!" Huggy replied as he took hold of the chair and spun it around.

"Wait Huggy...Hutch….will ya' please just give us a chance to explain before….!" Starsky pleaded.

"Back off Starsk!" Huggy exclaimed as he turned and put the palm of his hand flat against Starsky's chest.

Starsky stared at the black man with remorse.

Huggy turned his attention back to the blond as he assisted him out of the wheelchair and back into the front seat.

Huggy closed the passenger side door and quickly ran to the driver's side.

Starsky placed his hands on the car doors opened window.

"Don't do this Hutch…..don't go away like this!" Starsky begged his friend with tears in his eyes.

Hutch gave Starsky a forlorn look as he replied "Look at it this way partner…..now were even"

Huggy started the engine and drove off.

Starsky knew the blond was referring to the nasty mess the two of them got mixed up in involving Kira several months back and he was taken aback.

He had totally forgiven Hutch for what happened with Kira, he thought he was in love with the woman but it turned out she was only playing him.

Somehow Hutch knew that and through his own weird kind of way, he tried to show Starsky what she really truly was.

Now Starsky could only hope Hutch would be able to forgive him as well.

Just then Alexa came running down the walk and to her car.

As she opened her car door Starsky took hold of her shoulders.

"Alexa wait" Starsky cried out.

"No David….I have to go after him….I have to explain to him what happened!" Alexa said tearfully.

"He's not ready to listen yet…..give him time!" Starsky replied as he shook her shoulders gently.

Alexa knew the dark haired man was right, Hutch was to upset right now to reason with.

She slumped down into the front seat of her car as the tears rolled down her cheeks.

After a moments silence she spoke.

"How could we be so stupid David?" she said mournfully.

Starsky said nothing as he leaned against her car.

"After all he's been through…..all the pain and the hurt….then we just tear out his heart and stomp on it!" she added shamefully.

Too emotional to speak, Starsky remained silent.

"He was going to surprise us….he was going to walk….." she was too upset to finish.

After she composed herself she finished.

"While we were sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves, Ken was learning to walk again….without us….without our support!" Alexa cried out.

Starsky was ashamed for the both of them.

Even though Hutch was the one who pushed them away Starsky should have fought his bull-headed friend.

He knew Hutch wasn't thinking straight then and he was praying to God that his friend's thinking was still a little foggy and that he would come to realize that this whole tangled up mess was hard on all of them.

Huggy, knowing Hutch would not be able to get up the stairs at Venice place or up the stairs to his own apartment asked the blond "So where would you like to go now Hutch?"

Hutch still visibly shaken paused for a moment then replied. "Take me to the Hotel Del vista!"

Realizing he sounded very demanding Hutch added solemnly "Please Hug…my parents are staying there."

Huggy's first thought was that his friend was desperate, wanting to see his father was usually the last thing on the blond's list but he knew he had nowhere else to go.

He helped Hutch out of the car and into his wheelchair.

They entered the hotel and Huggy pushed the blond to the front desk.

The female clerk smiled politely at the two men.

"Can I help you gentlemen?" she asked.

"Doctor and Mrs. Richard Hutchinson…..what room are they in please…this is their son." Huggy replied as he referred to the blond.

She checked her registry then answered "Room 419"

"Thank you" Huggy said politely as he pushed Hutch to the elevator.

He pushed Hutch inside and started to push the floor button.

"Ahhhh…Hug….if you don't mind…I'd rather go up alone…please" the blond exclaimed.

"Oh…sure Hutch…no problem" Huggy replied as he halted.

"You call me if you need anything okay?" Huggy stated.

Hutch nodded his head and made an attempt at a smile.

"Thanks Hug…..it's nice to know I still have someone to rely on!" Hutch said scornfully.

Huggy didn't quite know how to reply so he just squeezed Hutch's shoulder, smiled and stepped out of the elevator.

As the elevator rose Hutch suddenly felt totally and utterly alone.

"Boy the old man is gonna' love this!" Hutch said to himself shaking his head.

"Look at yourself Hutchinson…..running to your daddy like some scared little chicken shit!" he added angrily.

The elevator door opened and Hutch wheeled himself out.

He looked at the door numbers then turned left and rolled down the hall.

He eventually came to his parent's room and paused outside the hallway.

He cursed himself as he raised his hand and rapped lightly on the door.

The door opened a few seconds later.

Hutch's father was surprised to see his son sitting in the hallway alone.

"Kenneth!" the elder Hutchinson said as he looked up and down the hall.

"What are you doing here?" he asked concerned.

"I…I…..can I come in?" Hutch asked, his heart pounding furiously.

"Of course son!" his father replied still in shock.

He opened the door further and pushed his son inside.

"Kenneth!" Hutch mother exclaimed.

She waited for Starsky to enter as well.

When she realized Hutch was by himself she too grew concerned.

"Wh..What are you doing here dear?" she asked as she kissed his cheek.

Hutch thought long and hard before he replied.

"I….I've been th..thinking about what you said…..about me coming home with you to Duluth…..and if that offer still stands…I…I'd like to" he stammered.

The older Hutchinson looked at his wife in disbelief and she at him.

After a few seconds of silence Hutch's father replied "Well of course you can Kenneth….you know you're always welcome to come home and visit anytime!"

"I…I…I'm not talking about coming for a visit father…..I want to come home…..for good!" Hutch continued to stammer as he bowed his head shamefully.

Hutch's mother looked at her husband, uncertain of her son's words.

She was about to ask her son what had happened to change his mind when her husband gently pushed her aside and exclaimed excitedly "that's wonderful Ken…..you're going to make your mother so happy to have you back home with us!"

Mrs. Hutchinson wished she could speak for herself as she could see her beloved son was clearly upset but as usually she held her tongue.

"Absolutely dear….if you're really sure about this" she replied as she eyed the blond suspiciously.

"Yes mother…..I'm sure…..how soon can we leave!" Hutch added anxiously refusing to look her in the eye.

"Well we'll need to back up your things and have them shipped home and tie up any loose ends you may have here before we….." Hutch's father started to say.

"I have no loose ends!" Hutch interrupted.

"The sooner we can leave the better!" he added adamantly.

"Very well Kenneth….we'll leave the day after tomorrow then!" Hutch's father said jovially.

"Now first things first….you look utterly exhausted…let's get you your own room for the night so you can get some rest!" the elder Hutchinson exclaimed as he dialed the front desk.

Hutch spent a restless night at the hotel thinking about the earlier events of the day.

He kept seeing the image of his best friend and Alexa together and the more he thought about it the more enraged he became.

As morning arrived and he lay in bed there was a knock on the door.

"Ken… it's your father son!" the elder Hutchinson yelled out from the other of the door.

"Come in father!" Hutch answered loudly.

Hutch's father unlooked the door and stepped inside.

Doctor Hutchinson could tell immediately his son had a sleepless night as he went to his bedside.

"Your mother and I would like you to join us for breakfast if you're feeling up to Kenneth" the elder Hutchinson stated as he helped his son sit up.

"I don't really have much of an appetite father" Hutch replied, even though he had had nothing to eat since yesterday morning.

His father eyed him with a growing concern.

"Very well….perhaps you'd like us to bring you something back then" his father added.

"I said I wasn't hungry father!" Hutch spat out.

Hutch's father was taken aback by his son's tone of voice.

He walked over to the door and opened it to leave then stopped suddenly and turned to look at his son.

Hutch was laying there with his arm across his face.

His father walked over to the chair beside the window and pushed it over along the bed by his son's side.

He watched the blond for several minutes before speaking.

"Listen son….I haven't pried into what happened to change your mind about going home with us, nor do I plan to but I want you to know that if you decide you want to talk about it please know that I'm here for you" Hutch's father said softly as he gently took hold of his son's arm and pulled it away from his face.

Hutch looked into his father's eyes and for the first time in a long time he saw genuine concern.

"Thank you father" Hutch replied swallowing the lump in his throat.

His father smiled, stood up and pushed the chair back to its original position.

He walked back over to the door, opened the door and turned his gaze back to Hutch.

"I love you son…don't ever forget that" the elder Hutchinson added as the tears formed in his eyes.

Hutch smiled back and replied "I love you too"

Hutch's father hired a packing crew to load up all of Hutch's things from Venice place and the beach house and paid to have the moving truck deliver it back home to Duluth.

Hutch and his mother were finishing the packing at the beach house when Mrs. Hutchinson came upon a photo album.

She stopped and sat down to leaf through the photos as Hutch watched her from across the room.

He noticed her tearing up as she paused on each and every page, pages filled with pictures of her son and Starsky.

There were some from the time they spent in Hawaii working a case, some of them camping and some of them having fun at the beach.

Hutch must have used a timer for most of them because almost all of them were of the two of them together.

After she finished looking at the album she got up and walked over to one of the boxes and was about to place it inside.

"Don't bother packing that mother….just leave it!" Hutch said somberly.

"But Ken….these are pictures of you and Dav…." His mother started to say.

"I know what they are mother!" Hutch bellowed as he wheeled his chair over to his mother and yanked the album out of her hand and threw it against the wall.

It fell to the floor torn in pieces with pictures flying everywhere.

Hutch's mother stood there with her mouth gaping.

Hutch looked at her nervously before tearing off out the front door.

He wheeled himself down the walk and over to the nearby pier.

As he was gazing out into the ocean his mother came up behind him and placed her hands on his shoulders.

As she massaged his neck and shoulders she asked softly "Sweetheart…..what happened between you and David?"

"I can't talk about it mother" he replied, his voice almost a whisper.

She sighed.

"You two have been through too much to throw it all away Ken….. David and you have something so unique it defies explanation" she added as she squeezed his shoulders.

She leaned down and whispered in his ear "Nothing is too broken that it can't be mended….but I don't think it's broken dear….I think it's maybe just a little bent"

She kissed him on the top of his head and walked back to the beach house.

Hutch sat there for over a good half hour staring out into the rolling waves thinking about his mother's words and his thoughts soon drifted to his curly haired partner.

That afternoon Doctor Hutchinson accompanied Hutch to the precinct so the blond could inform Captain Dobey about his plans for leaving the force and going back home to Duluth with his parents.

Dobey was seated at his desk in his office with his door slightly ajar.

Hutch rapped on it lightly and poked his head inside.

"Captain" Hutch called out quietly as he looked at his soon to be former superior.

"Hutch!" Dobey called out with surprise.

Dobey quickly stood up and beckoned the blond to come inside the room.

"It's really good to see you son…..how are you feeling?" Dobey asked in a sincere tone.

"Every day gets a little easier captain" Hutch replied with a fake smile as he wheeled himself into the room.

"I stopped by the hospital yesterday and they told me you had checked out…..why didn't you say anything?" Dobey asked, his voice full of concern.

"I guess I've been kinda' busy with things Captain" Hutch answered, trying to sound upbeat.

"What kind of things Hutch?" his superior inquired as he sat back down in his chair.

"I take it you haven't talked to Starsky within the last day or so?" Hutch questioned Dobey.

"No….he called in sick a couple of days ago….said he had the flu or something so I gave him a couple of days off….why?" Dobey asked the blond nervously.

Hutch wrestled with his emotions and replied "Captain….I've decide to leave the force and return home to Duluth with my parents!" he blurted out, trying to get his words out as quickly as possible.

"You're doing what?" Dobey asked completely surprised.

"I've thought it over long and hard Captain…..and I've decided it's the best thing for everyone involved sir!" Hutch replied, his voice extremely shaky.

"Everyone involved!" Dobey exclaimed.

"What does your partner think about all this?" Dobey asked growing more upset by the minute.

Hutch looked down into his lap, avoiding his captain's stare.

"I..I haven't told him" Hutch answered, his voice barely a whisper.

"You haven't told him yet…Hutch I don't understand…you two tell each other everything!" Dobey said excitedly.

Hutch said nothing as he continued to divert his eyes from his superior.

After a few seconds of silence Dobey asked the blond "How soon are you leaving son?"

"We are leaving tomorrow morning sir!" Hutch said point blank.

"Tomorrow morning!" Dobey replied, shocked by the blonds words.

"Yes Sir! Hutch answered his voice trembling uncontrollably.

"Son….I really wish you would rethink your decision…I told you before your job would always be here waiting for you when you're ready to come back….that offer still stands…always will!" Dobey exclaimed.

"No Sir….I stand firm in my decision…it's time for me to move on" Hutch replied somberly.

"I…I want to thank you Captain….for everything you've ever done for me Sir….I greatly appreciate it" Hutch said sincerely as he reached out his hand to Dobey.

Dobey grasped it firmly as he placed his other hand over top their clasped hands.

"It's been a real honor Hutch to have you under my command….this will be a huge loss to this precinct and to the department!" Dobey exclaimed, his voice ready to crack.

"Thank you Sir" Hutch said as the tears pooled in his eyes.

Hutch nodded then wheeled himself towards the door.

"Hutch….one more thing…..don't leave without saying goodbye to him…..you'll never forgive yourself for doing it" Dobey stated.

Hutch faked another smile before exiting the room.

Dobey sat back in his chair and drew a heavy sigh as he shook his head.

Hutch met his father in the hallway.

"How did it go son?" his father inquired.

"Pretty much like I thought" the blond replied, his emotions overwhelming him as he wheeled himself out the main entrance, his father hurrying to catch up.

Hutch wanted to make one final stop before heading back to the hotel for the evening.

Hutch's father wheeled his son into the bar and to a nearby table.

He quickly pulled a chair away from the table to make room for Hutch and his wheelchair.

Huggy spotted them from across the room and wasted no time coming over to their table.

"Hutch and Doctor Hutch….how are you gentlemen this evening?" Huggy asked the two men trying to sound upbeat.

"Mr. Brown….it's a pleasure!" the elder Hutchinson replied as he looked around the bar.

"My son has spoken of this establishment many a times!" Hutch's father added.

"Well welcome to my humble establishment Doctor!" Huggy exclaimed.

"What can I get you gentlemen?" Huggy inquired.

"We'll each have a beer Hug!" Hutch replied, smiling at his friend.

"Ahhh Ken….you really shouldn't be drinking alcohol with your medication" Hutch father stated.

"We'll each have a beer Huggy!" Hutch repeated ignoring his father's last statement.

Hutch's father looked slightly irritated.

"Relax father…it's only one beer!" Hutch exclaimed.

"And besides….I'm not driving!" he added as slapped the arms of his wheelchair.

"Very well Kenneth!" the elder Hutchinson gave in.

Huggy went to the bar and drew two mugs of beer from the tap and returned to their table.

"Hug….can I talk to you for a few minutes?" Hutch asked as he pulled a chair out for his friend.

Huggy sat down immediately.

"What's on your mind blondie?" Huggy asked affectionately.

Hutch pondered his next words.

"Huggy….this isn't real easy for me to tell ya'" the blond started.

Huggy began to feel uneasy as he listened to his friend.

Hutch paused.

"Hell…I'm just gonna' come right out and say it!" Hutch added.

"Hug…..I've decided to go back home with mother and father!" he stated as he stared at the foam on his beer.

Huggy was speechless.

He looked at the blond then at the blonds father.

"I see!" Huggy replied knowing the words were coming.

"Have you talked to Starsky about this?" he asked his friend point blank.

Both Huggy and Hutch's father looked at the blond waiting for a reply.

"No Hug….I haven't…..you and I both know he's been so preoccupied lately!" Hutch responded with distain in his voice.

Hutch's father looked unknowingly at the black man.

"I really think you should Hutch!" Huggy added looking intensely at the blond.

"We have nothing more to say to each other Hug and besides I didn't come here tonight to talk about him….I came to say goodbye to my dear friend!" Hutch exclaimed as he gently patted Huggy on the shoulder and allowed his hand to rest there.

"When are you leaving Hutch?" Huggy asked as he placed his hand on Hutch shoulder as well.

"Tomorrow morning!" Hutch replied as he took his hand away to take a swallow of his beer.

"Jesus Hutch!" Huggy exclaimed as he withdrew his hand and rubbed it across his forehead.

"Why wait…why not tonight.…the sooner you get out of here the better right….why you sittin' around here talkin' to me!" Huggy started rattling on, clearly upset.

"Hey..hey Hug….come on…I thought for sure you of all people would understand" Hutch said softly as he gently took hold of Huggy's arm.

Huggy calmed down a bit.

"I'm sorry Hutch…..it's just you and I…we go back further than Lewis and Clark man and to find out all of a sudden you wanna' up and leave….well it just stinks man!" Huggy exclaimed as he grabbed his beer glass and stood up.

Both Hutch and his father looked at each other before looking up at Huggy.

"Have a nice life man….the drinks are on the house!" he choked as he walked away.

"So you're just gonna leave without talking to him!" Starsky said to Alexa as she was packing her suitcase.

"You know fully well David he wouldn't see me anyhow!" She replied, avoided eye contact with the dark haired man.

Starsky threw his hands up in the air, a sign of surrender.

"It's hopeless David…with me and him anyhow…we butted heads from day one….you and him…you have a history!" she exclaimed, felling almost jealous.

"Yeah…so does World War one and two" Starsky replied as he tried to make light of the situation.

His comment elicited a slight chuckle from the blonde.

"He loves you!" Starsky proclaimed.

"And I love him!" she proclaimed as well as she zipped up her suitcase.

"There…I'm all packed!" Alexa stated as she looked around her hotel room.

"I just have a couple of things to pick up from Venice Place that I left there when…." She stopped short as she started to sob.

"Hey…come here" Starsky said softly as he pulled her into his arms.

Alexa cried softly, her tears soaking in to the fabric of Starsky's jacket.

After a few minutes her sobbing subsided and she gently pulled away.

"Thank you David….you've been a wonderful friend…I'm really going to miss you!" she said sincerely.

"And I you Doc" he replied softly as he brushed away the remainder of her tears.

"Hey…I have a great idea….what do you say we have a final farewell drink down at The Pits!" Starsky asked trying to ease an already tense situation.

"Oh I don't know Daivid.." she said as she started to make up an excuse.

"Come on…..I'm not takin' no for an answer!" Starsky stated trying to sound upbeat.

She looked at him and smiled.

"Okay…one drink….then I have to leave!" Alexa declared.

"It's a deal!" Starsky said as he helped her with her luggage.

As Huggy walked to the store room in the back of the building Hutch quickly pulled his chair out from under the table and went after his friend.

When he got to the back Huggy was slumped over a stack of wooden cases filled with liquor, he was staring into space.

Hutch rolled his chair up to him silently.

"Hey Hug" he whispered softly placing his hand on Huggy's knee.

"I..I'm sorry pal" Hutch said soothingly.

"This is messed up man….this is really flippin' messed up!" Huggy exclaimed as he shook his head back and forth.

"I mean…you two….you guys are the dynamic duo….the best of the besties….I just didn't see it going down this way bro!" Huggy added, his emotions getting the best of him.

Hutch hung his head low.

"I..I don't know what to do Hug…I don't know how to make it right" he said silently, his voice almost inaudible.

"Just talk to him Hutch…maybe what we saw wasn't what we saw….after all the shit the two of you have been through together….you owe him that….and yourself too" Huggy replied solemnly.

"And besides…who else in their right mind would want to be partners with that curly headed Casanova Jewish boy from the Bronx anyways….other than a blond hot headed Norwegian farm boy from Minnesota!" Huggy said jokingly.

This caused Hutch to laugh.

"Ohhh..Hug…..How'd you get to be the brains of this partnership anyhow?" Hutch asked while still chuckling.

"Hey somebody has to keep you two on the straight and narrow!" Huggy replied laughing as well.

After their laughter died down Huggy clasped his hand around Hutch neck.

"Seriously Hutch…go talk to him!" Huggy said looking directly into Hutch's eyes.

"I will Hug!" Hutch stated as he squeezed Huggy's knee and sat up straight in his chair.

"Thanks Hug….for everything!" Hutch added affectionately.

"You got it bro!" Huggy said as he got up and pushed the blond back out into the bar and to his father.

"Hutch's father finished his beer and stood up looking at his watch.

He pulled a twenty from his wallet and laid it on the table.

"No Sir…the drinks are on me!" Huggy exclaimed as he handed the bill back to Hutch's father.

"Thank you Mr. Brown…for everything you've done for my son….you're a true friend!" The elder Hutchinson stated as he shook Huggy's hand.

"No problem Sir….and it's Huggy…Mr. Brown is my father!" Huggy said with a smile as he winked at Hutch.

"Well son….are we ready to head back to the hotel….you should really get some rest before we…." Hutch's father began.

"Ahhh…actually father I have one more stop to make!" Hutch said sounding very nervous.

He paused before continuing on.

"I'd like to stop off a Starsky's!" the blond declared as he looked at his father then at Huggy.

Huggy gave him a nod of approval.

"Well ahhhh…certainly son!" Hutch father stumbled with his words, rather surprised at the turn of events.

Just then Hutch heard the sound of familiar laughter coming from the entrance of the bar room.

The blond turned just in time to see his best friend and Alexa walking in arm and arm laughing over another one of Starsky's corny jokes.

They stopped abruptly as they saw the blond across the room staring at them.

They quickly separated and stood there completely dumbfounded.

Hutch slowly wheeled his chair over to the two of them, hurt clearly showing in his eyes.

"Well now….how are you two lovebirds doing this evening…it appears you're new found love is budding and growing as we speak!" Hutch said sarcastically.

Starsky and Alexa didn't know what to say as they noticed the deep sadness in Hutch's blue eyes.

Hutch turned back and looked at Huggy.

"The best of the besties…huh Hug….it's funny..I don't see that!" He stated before turning to his father.

"Father…change in plans….I'm ready to go back to the hotel after all!" Hutch exclaimed as he pushed himself between Starsky and the woman.

The two of them just lef him pass without saying a word.

Doctor Hutchinson quickly followed his son out but not before directing a menacing comment towards the dark haired man.

"I wasn't sure what was going on with the two of you!" He hissed.

"But it's pretty god damn clear now!" Hutch's father added viciously.

"You….stay away from my son!" he growled under his breath as he stabbed Starsky in the chest with his finger.

He quickly glanced at Alexa with a look of distain before storming out.

Starsky stood there, the veins bulging in his neck, his heart pounding in his chest.

Alexa glared at Starsky before running out the door as well.

Starsky turned and watched her leave.

Huggy just stood there shaking his head.

Outside Hutch's father was helping his son into a cab as Alexa came storming out of The Pits in tears.

Hutch watched her race by, stopping at the Torino to retrieve her luggage.

He then watched her hail a cab, climb into the back seat and drive off.

His thoughts immediately drifted back to the suitcases she had in her possession.

He wondered to himself "Where was she going, why would she be leaving if things were going so well with her and Starsky now?"

That thought perplexed him as he and his father drove off.

"Don't look at me like that Hug!" Starsky exclaimed as he sat down wearily at the bar.

"It was perfectly innocent and you know it!" he added as he looked at his friend.

Huggy said nothing as he wiped down the bar.

"Well how the hell was I supposed to know he was gonna' be in here anyhow!" Starsky continued.

Huggy just looked at him.

"Don't look at me like that…there is nothing going on between me and the Doc!" he bellowed.

Huggy threw the towel down on the bar as he looked Starsky squarely in the eye.

"I know that…you know that….the only problem is….that big, blond, cantankerous, willful, pigheaded partner of yours doesn't know it!" Huggy shouted out.

Starsky hesitated for a moment before springing to action.

"Where was he heading Hug…what hotel?" Starsky asked excitedly.

"Hotel Del Vista!" Huggy informed his curly haired friend.

He quickly grabbed his arm to stop him.

"But Starsk….he's leavin' with Mr. and Mrs. H in the morning….back to Duluth…so whatever you tell him…make it stick!" Huggy exclaimed.

Starsky was surprised by Huggy words.

"Back to Duluth!" Starsky said loudly.

"Not if I can help it Hug!" Starsky proclaimed as he ran out the front door.

"Man…I should have been a marriage counselor..not a freakin' bartender!" Huggy said to himself as he continued to wipe down the bar.

Back at the hotel Hutch had just settled in for the evening.

Completely exhausted by the day's events, he refused his mother and father's offer to join them for dinner down in the hotel's restaurant.

He turned on the television to try and keep his mind occupied but it was of no help so he quickly turned it off.

His thoughts kept drifting back to the scene at Huggy's and of Alexa taking off in the cab.

He rubbed his throbbing temples trying to reduce the pain of an oncoming migraine.

"Christ Starsk….how could we let it come to this again!" he cursed to himself referring not only to Alexa but Kira as well.

"Whatever happened to Me and Thee….lately it's been Me and Thee and Her!" the blond said softly to himself.

Hutch placed his arm across his eyes to drown out the light as his head pounded violently.

Downstairs Starsky came running into the hotel and to the front desk.

"Hutchinson…Ken Hutchinson….what room is he in?" Starsky demanded.

The woman at the front desk look at her registry.

"I'm sorry Sir…we don't have a guest by that name…we have a Doctor and Mrs. Richard Hutchinson and the doctor has a separate room registered under his name as well but there is no Ken…" she started to informed the dark haired man before being cut off.

"The separate room…what's the number?" he asked excitedly.

She eyed him suspiciously.

Starsky whipped out his badge and showed it to the woman.

"421 Sir!" she replied quickly as he raced to the elevator.

Back inside the room Hutch was just about to doze off when he heard a knock on the door.

Thinking it was his father he said loudly "I told you…I'm not hungry!"

The door opened and Starsky stepped inside.

The blond still had his arm over his face.

When the presence didn't respond Hutch moved his arm and looked up.

He was shocked to see his partner standing over the bed looking down at him.

Hutch quickly pulled himself up with a look of astonishment on his face.

"Starsk!" Hutch whispered to his friend.

"Hutch" Starsky replied quietly.

Part of Hutch wanted to embrace his best friend, craving the contact that had been missing from his life the last several days and part of him wanted to kick the man out of the room and out of his life forever.

Unfortunately the latter part of him won out.

"What the hell are you doing here!" the blond demanded angrily.

"Hutch we need to talk!" Starsky said as he pulled the chair over to the bed.

"We have nothing left to say to each other Starsk!" Hutch replied looking directly at Starsky.

"Yeah well that's where you're wrong partner….we have a hell of a lot to say to each other and if you don't wanna talk fine but you're sure as hell gonna lay there and listen to what I have to say!" Starsky proclaimed.

The blond didn't budge.

"Okay…now first things first….what you saw between me and the Doc wasn't what you thought you saw…I mean yeah we kissed but it was nothing…we were just..…" Starsky started to ramble on.

"I know that Starsk" Hutch said calmly.

"…caught in the moment and we weren't thinking strait and…" Starsky stopped.

Starsky eyed his friend cautiously.

"What did you say?" Starsky asked, suddenly very confused.

"I said I know that…now!" Hutch added.

"You know that?" Starsky repeated the blond's words.

"Yes!" Hutch proclaimed.

"Wait a second…if you know that then what the hell is going on here!" Starsky demanded.

Hutch tried to find the right words before continuing on.

"I guess it never really was about you and Alexa and me" Hutch said softly.

"Huh?" Starsky said as he tried to wrap his brain around it all.

"I guess I just needed an excuse" Hutch added solemnly.

"An excuse…and excuse for what?" Starsky asked still trying to comprehend what his friend was saying.

"An excuse to make it easier Starsk" Hutch replied as he swallowed the lump in his throat.

"To make what easier buddy?" Starsky asked, suddenly feeling very nervous.

Hutch paused as he looked deep into his friend's eyes.

"To make it easier to say goodbye!" Hutch replied as the tears welled in his eyes.

Starsky thought his heart was going to leap out of his chest, to emotional to speak he just stared back into his partners equally blue eyes.

Finally finding the strength to go on Starsky whispered "I don't understand Hutch"

"Starsk…I have a long, long way to go on my road to recovery…even you can't deny that…and I know most of that road is all uphill" Hutch started to say.

"And it's going to be one hell of a climb….and hell who knows…maybe I won't even get there" the blond added.

Starsy shook his head no and was just about to comment when Hutch stopped him "Just let me finish Starsk…please!"

Starsky let his friend continue.

"You know there's gonna' be good days and bad days and you know I'm not the easiest one to be around on my bad days!" the blond exclaimed with a chuckle.

Starsky smiled slightly.

Hutch took Starsky's hand in his relishing in the touch, the contact he'd been missing for days.

Starsky grasped the blond's hand firmly felling the same exact feelings.

"I just don't want you to resent me for it babe" Hutch stated, attempting to hold back the tears that were not far off.

"I could never resent you for that Hutch…never!" Starsky proclaimed.

"It's easy to say that now pal….it's still early in the game!" Hutch added still holding on to his lifeline.

"I promise you Hutch that won't happen….we'll get through this together…just the two of us…Me and Thee!" Starsky started to ramble on again.

"I'll quit the force…I'll do whatever it takes to…." Starsky continued to express himself.

Hutch interrupted him.

"You see Starsk…that's exactly what I'm talking about….you're ready to give up a life you love for my sake…that's a responsibility I'm not willing to accept!" Hutch said angrily as he released Starsky's hand, the contact broken once again.

"Well what the hell am I supposed to do Hutch…..without you!" Starsky exclaimed as he jumped up out of his chair and turned away to look out the window at the city lights down below.

Hutch's gaze followed his best friend.

Starsky stood there, shoulders slumped forward, looking out into the city, the city that they both came to love so well.

"The same thing I'm gonna do Buddy….carry on!" Hutch proclaimed, his emotions reeling.

The silence in the room was deafening.

"Tell me how to do it Hutch…tell me how to say goodbye" Starsky said softly the tears running uncontrollably down his face.

Hutch could not respond.

Starsky did not speak another word, he just simply turned back to the blond, squeezed his hand and walked out.

Hutch could only look on as he watched his lifeline slip through his hand and out the door.

"I think ya' just did Starsk…..Goodbye" Hutch whispered softly into the thin air as his whole world came crashing down.

The knock on Hutch door came early that morning but it didn't matter he was already up, dressed, packed and ready to go.

"Come in!" the blond called out.

"Good morning dear!" Hutch's mother announced as she walked into the room, placing a light kiss on her son's forehead.

"Good morning mother" he said as he mustered up a smile.

"Your father is downstairs waiting for the taxi with the luggage, are you ready sweetheart?" She asked him affectionately.

"As ready as I'll ever be I guess!" he replied somberly.

"You know dear….it's still not too late to change your mind!" Hutch's mother said as she brushed back the soft blond hair from his face.

"No mother…..it's really for the best….shall we go!" Hutch replied trying to sound upbeat as they headed out of the room and to the elevator.

They found the elder Hutchinson in the lobby and they quickly went out into the street to the waiting cab.

Hutch looked up and down and all around the street.

"Looking for something son?" Hutch's father asked the blond as he helped him into the cab.

"No….I guess not father!" Hutch replied downhearted as he took a window seat inside the cab.

He continued to look up and down the street hoping to spot a glimpse of a certain curly haired individual to no avail.

They pulled out into the traffic and headed to the airport.

Hutch's mother was seated beside him and she reached over and patted his hand.

He smiled down at her then returned his gaze towards the window again.

Hutch's heart never felt so heavy and it sank when he saw the billboard that stated "Thank you for visiting Bay City, we hope you enjoyed your stay"

They were almost to the airport when they heard the whaling of a siren coming up from behind them.

"There must be an accident up ahead!" Hutch's father exclaimed as he tried to stretch his head to look up ahead in front of them.

Hutch did the same.

The siren was coming closer as they veered off onto the exit to the airport.

The siren seemed to be closer yet and Hutch turned around to get a good look out the back window.

He could hear car horns blaring and he noticed vehicles pulling off to the side of the road.

Hutch assumed they were pulling off to allow an ambulance through.

As he watched the swirling light coming closer his heart almost leaped out of his chest.

Hutch quickly realized it wasn't an ambulance after all, it was a fiery, candy apple red Torino and it was forcing it way through the six lanes of busy traffic traveling at an unsafe speed.

"What in the world is he doing?" Hutch's father exclaimed as he spotted the car.

Starsky was right behind them now, pounding feverously on his horn.

He quickly dodged another speeding vehicle to get alongside Hutch's cab.

"What the fuck are you doing!" Hutch yelled out the window.

"Are you trying to get yourself killed you lunatic!" the blond added angrily.

"Pull over!" Starsky motioned to Hutch as he tried to keep the Torino in his lane narrowly side swiping the car in the next lane.

"Are you crazy?" Hutch shouted back.

Starsky motioned for him to pull over again.

Hutch was convinced his partner had snapped.

"Go home Starsk…..while you're still in one piece!" Hutch yelled out the window.

Starsky ignored the blond as he sped up and pulled out in front of the taxi the Hutchinson's were in.

The taxi driver laid on his horn as he slowed down.

Starsky swirved back into the other lane and slowed down till he was level with Hutch again on the road.

"Pull over!" Starsky shouted again.

Hutch glared at the dark haired man.

"You'd better do what he says driver before he gets himself killed or he kills someone else!" Hutch instructed the driver.

The taxi driver slowed down, signaling to move into the right lane.

Starsky slowed down to allow the cab to pull out in front of him.

The cab driver put his right turn signal on again as he passed into the next lane with Starsky right behind them and then once again for the final turn.

After they were stopped and safely off the busy highway Starsky leapt out of the Torino and over to the waiting cab.

"Just what is the meaning of this?" Doctor Hutchinson asked angrily as he got out of the cab, directing his anger towards Starsky.

"Sir…with all due respect….just get back in the cab and shut up!" Starsky barked his order to Hutch's father.

Hutch's father's jaw dropped.

Both Hutch and his mother looked on trying to stifle their a smirk.

"How dare you!" Hutch's father said defiantly.

"Sir….I'm trying really hard to be nice here….now I'm asking you very nicely….please…get in the cab and shut up….or I'm gonna' have to pop you in the mouth!" Starsky bellowed.

Hutch's father backed down quickly and climbed back inside the taxi.

"Well I Never!" Hutch's father started to exclaim.

"Well maybe that's the problem dear!" Hutch's mother stated to her husband feeling very confident.

Hutch smiled at his mother the turned his attention back to the curly headed deranged lunatic that was waiting outside their cab.

Hutch yelled out to his partner "What were you trying to do out there…you could have gotten yourself killed…or at the least badly maimed and take it from be Buddy it ain't no picnic!"

Starsky ignored his partner as he ordered the cabby to pop the trunk.

When the trunk opened Starsky reached inside and pulled out Hutch's wheelchair.

He then proceeded to pull out his luggage as well.

Hutch shouted out as he opened the door to his side of the taxi.

"What the hell are you doing?" Hutch exclaimed as he slowly rose up from the cab's backseat.

Hutch's father and mother gasped in amazement.

Starsky looked at his partner and smiled.

Hutch had to cling to the side of the cab to keep himself upright.

"Put those things back in there right now!" the blond ordered.

Starsky continued to ignored him.

"You've lost it haven't you Starsk….you've cracked!" Hutch exclaimed as he watched Starsky put the luggage into the trunk of the Torino.

"This is ridiculous…..your certifiable you know that!" Hutch rambled on.

"You're not even listening to a word I'm saying are you?" Hutch continued his legs shaking uncontrollably.

Starsky pushed the wheelchair in front of Hutch.

"Sit down!" he ordered the blond.

The blond defied him and remained standing.

"Sit down before you fall down!" Starsky bellowed his order again.

This time Hutch obeyed.

"Alright!" Hutch screamed.

"But not because you said so!" Hutch said as he flopped down in the chair.

Starsky smirked at his best friend.

"Now…you listen to me Hutchinson!" Starsky roared.

"I'm tired of you tellin' me how things are gonna go down between us…from now on…I'm calling the shots!" Starsky said as he placed both hands on each side of Hutch's chair and looked him squarely in the face.

"All that crap you said at the hotel…..that was bullshit!" Starsky added.

Starsky's face was so close to Hutch's that his hair blew when Starsky talked.

"This is ludacris…I don't have to sit here and listen to this….we settled this last night!" Hutch snarled as he tried to move his chair back.

"Dammit Hutch…you know what…you're just as pigheaded as your father…..how would you like it if I popped you in the mouth too!" Starsky threatened the blond.

"You wouldn't dare!" Hutch hissed.

"Don't tempt me Buddy!" Starsky hissed back.

"Now where was I?" Starsky tried to remember where he left off.

"You were saying how his talk at the hotel was bullshit dear!" Mrs. Hutchinson said as she stuck her head out of the cab and called out.

Both Hutch and his father looked at the woman with shock and awe.

"Yes…thank you Mrs. H.!" Starsky waved to the woman inside the cab.

"You're welcome dear!" she answered back.

"Mother please….you're not helping the situation!" Hutch exclaimed as he addressed the woman inside the taxi.

"Anyway….that stuff back at the hotel…when you said about me growing to hate you and all that…that was a load of crap too Blintz….cause that ain't ever gonna happen!" Starsky said as he waived his hand in the air.

"And even if it did…if I had to choose between a life without you in it….or a lifetime of your constant bitchin' and complaining….I'd choose the bitchin' and complaining…hell that's what I put up with from you ninety eight percent of the time on a daily basis anyhow!" Starsky continued on before Hutch had time to protest.

"Bottom line partner….I choose us….end of story!" Starsky exclaimed shooting Hutch a stern look.

By now several cars had stopped along the highway watching the scene play out before them.

Starsky took a deep breath before adding his last line.

"Now….are you gonna get in my car and come back home with me or am I gonna have to pick you up and throw you in the front seat" Starsky said calmly.

With his last comment the crowd started hooting and hollering.

Hutch looked over at the crowd and rolled his eyes.

"You know what this is Starsk?" Hutch said as he waived his hands in front of him, encompassing the crowd.

"This is Lunatic Central and you are their king!" Hutch proclaimed trying to push himself back again.

"That's it!" Starsky shouted as he gently tugged on Hutch's arms.

He raised Hutch up from the wheelchair and flung him over his shoulder.

"What the hell are you doing?" Hutch shouted as he clung to his partner.

Using the fireman's carry he hoisted the blond up and proceeded to carry him to the car.

"Starsky….put me down right now….do you hear me!" Hutch demanded.

"Boy Hutchinson….feels like you put on a little weight sittin' in that chair!" Starsky exclaimed as he goaded the blond, slapping his backside.

He actually thought that it felt like his friend had lost some weight but he just had to rib his partner.

Starsky opened the car door and gently placed the blond inside and shut the door.

He went back and retrieved the wheelchair, placing it in the trunk and slamming it shut.

He then walked over to the cab and peeked his head inside.

"You folks can go now…Hutch won't be going back with you…he's decided to stay!" Starsky declared.

"Goodbye Mrs. H….Mr. H…always a pleasure!" Starsky said as he blew a kiss to Hutch's mother and nodded to Hutch's father before walking back to the car.

"Goodbye Dear…tell Kenneth we'll call him when we arrive home!" Mrs. Hutchinson called out as she stuck her head outside the window.

Starsky smiled and waved to the woman before climbing inside the Torino.

Hutch kept his gaze straight ahead as Starsky fired up the engine.

Before pulling out into the traffic he stopped and looked over at his friend.

He slapped the blond on the knee.

"Thanks for seeing it my way partner!" Starsky exclaimed with a smile.

Hutch just turned and looked at him then turned back straight ahead as they drove off.

That long uphill climb Hutch had feared so much turned out to be only a small obstacle in their path.

Hutch did struggle at first and he lost his temper a few times when his progress wasn't running as smoothly and as quickly as he would have liked but things steadily improved.

As the days and weeks progressed Hutch became stronger and stronger.

His walking became more fluent and he was down to using only a cane to aid him.

He managed to get his apartment back at Venice place before anyone else had rented it and his parents had all his belonging shipped back to Bay City the same day it arrived in Duluth.

The movers thought the Hutchinson's were crazy but they didn't care they were getting paid no matter what.

With Starsky's insistence Hutch called Alexa and after several hours spent on the telephone they finally reconciled and she was back in Bay City once again.

Hutch had asked Alexa to move in with him and she eagerly accepted his offer.

Things were really looking up for everyone involved and Hutch could not have been happier.

He returned to the force, it was strictly a desk job for the time being but it was a start.

Starsky was assigned a temporary partner, his third one in two weeks, until Hutch could be reinstated back to full time street work.

Hutch was seated at his desk when Starsky's new partner, Steve Davis came storming in.

"Honest to God Ken….I don't know how you've managed to work with that maniac partner of yours for all these years!" Davis exclaimed.

"I've had it up to here with him!" he added as he raised his hand level to his chin.

Hutch just simply chuckled.

"He expects me to know what he's thinking just by looking at him…how can anyone operate that way?" Davis stated.

"On a bust I'm use to going in low…he expects me to go in high then things get so confusing…I can't take it anymore…I'm telling Dobey I want a transfer!" Davis said shaking his head.

"And have you ever seen anyone eat the way he does and the stuff he eats…it's simply disgusting!" Davis complained as he knocked on Dobey's office door.

He waited for a reply and walked in and closed the door behind him.

Hutch continued to chuckle as his curly headed friend walked in carrying a tray of assorted foods.

The food consisted of three chilli dogs, two bags of chips, a chocolate bar and an orange soda.

He too was upset.

"I'm tellin' you Hutch…if you don't soon get the okay for active duty I'm gonna lose it!" Starsky exclaimed.

"That Davis is a real nut job!" Starsky continued.

"He won't listen…he can't understand a simple command and to top it off…his eating habits are even weirder than yours!" the dark haired man said as he placed his food on his desk and took a seat.

He offered the blond one of his chilli dogs but the blond declined.

"Well Starsk…something tells me you won't have to worry about Steve anymore!" Hutch declared as they both listened to the raised voices in Dobey's office.

As Starsky sat there feasting on the meal before him Dobey's office door flung open wide.

Davis exited and glared at his former short term partner and then stormed out.

Starsky was about about to start on his second hot dog when Dobey roared "Starsky….get in my office...now!"

Starsky looked down longingly at his food before standing and walking over to his superior's door.

"Keep an eye on my lunch will ya' buddy?" Starsky asked the blond.

"Oh sure Starsk…no problem!" Hutch replied.

"Thanks partner!" Starsky said before walking inside Dobey's office and slamming the door.

Hutch could hear Dobey bellowing to his partner about slamming the door as he got up and limped over to Starsky's tray of food lying unappealing on his desk.

He quickly gathered up the greasy mess and dumped it in the nearby garbage can.

"Believe me pal you'll thank me later!" Hutch said to himself as he returned to his desk.

After several minutes behind closed doors the two men exited the office.

Starsky looked around for his tray of food.

"Where's my lunch Hutch?" he asked surveying the room.

"Oh ya'…about that Buddy…funny thing…I turned my back for one second and it was gone!" Hutch said to his friend trying to sound remorseful.

"I bet it was Babcock!" Starsky exclaimed as he stormed out the door and down the hall in search of his missing chilli dogs.

Dobey instantly spotted the food in the garbage can and snickered.

"Hutchinson…it's good to have you back!" Dobey chuckled.

Hutch just smiled.

"I have some good new Hutch…we're giving you a trial period…starting tomorrow…we're gonna' put you back out on the street…if everything goes okay…by the end of next week we'll put you back on permanently.

Hutch was ecstatic.

"That's great Captain!" Hutch said unable to contain himself.

"Just promise me you'll take it easy and don't do anything crazy!" Dobey exclaimed.

"Sure Captain…you got it!" Hutch replied with a smile.

Starsky came back into the squad room looking very perplexed.

"Babcock says he didn't take it!" Starsky stated as he flopped down in his chair.

"Starsky..I have some good news for you!" Dobey said.

"We have a new partner lined up for you tomorrow!" Dobey informed the dark haired detective.

Hutch stood up from his desk picked up his cane and walked over to his friend.

"Ahhh come on Cap'n…why can't I just hit the streets on my own until Hutch is able to…." Starsky started to whine.

"Pick me up at seven…partner!" Hutch said with a huge grin on his face before walking out.

Starsky's jaw dropped wide open as he looked at his superior.

Dobey smiled and nodded his head.

Starsky jumped up and started to race towards the door.

On his way out he happened to notice his missing lunch lying inside the garbage can by the door.

"That son of a…." Starsky exclaimed as he ran out the door and down the hall after the blond.

Starsky dropped Hutch off at his place and headed home, he had a date and was running late.

Hutch climbed the steps to his apartment and unlocked the door.

The aroma of the night's dinner filled the room as Hutch stepped inside.

"MmmmMmmm!" Hutch exclaimed as he took off his jacket and hung it on the closet door.

Alexa was just removing a pan of Lasagna from the oven as the blond walked in to the kitchen.

He smiled appreciatively at her backside as she was bent over.

She placed the pan on the counter and removed the oven mitts from her hands closing the oven door.

Hutch walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her.

"Is that the oven or is it you pretty lady that's heating things up in here" Hutch whispered in her ear as he kissed her neck.

His kiss sent shivers down her spine.

She turned and faced him.

"Dinners almost ready…I just need to toss the salad" Alexa said as she kissed him tenderly.

"How was your day?" she asked the blond as she place the dinner plates on the table while he washed his hands in the sink.

"Same old boring routine…paper work...after paper work… after paper work!" Hutch stated.

"But as of tomorrow that's all going to change sweet heart!" he proclaimed.

"Oh really!" Alexa replied sounding intrigued.

"Dobey's letting me back on the streets!" Hutch declared as he looked at the blonde and smiled, pecking her cheek as he dried his hands.

"I see!" Alexa replied solemnly.

Hutch observed her as her upbeat attitude quickly changed to a more reserved one.

"What's wrong honey….I thought you'd be happy for me!" Hutch said as he took the knife from her hand and laid it on the counter, taking her hands in his.

"I am happy for you Ken…it was just easier knowing that when you were behind the desk at work I at least knew you were safe and out of harm's way!" she said uneasy.

"Sweetie we've talked about this about a million times and you knew this was going to happen eventually!" Hutch said soothingly as he kissed her forehead.

"Your right…I'm sorry…I'm just being silly!" She said as she smiled at the blond.

"Let's eat…I'm starving!" Alexa declared.

"Sounds good to me darlin'" Hutch replied as he sat down at the table.

As the weeks then months went by Hutch health continued to improve steadily to the point he no longer needed the cane.

He still walked with a slight limp and had the occasional ache or pain but otherwise he was back to his old self again.

His feelings for Alexa continued to grow in leaps and bounds and she had fallen madly in love with him.

They began making plans for their future together.

It was early one morning at the precinct that Starsky became aware of these plans.

Starsky was seated at his desk typing up their daily reports when Hutch passed by and nonchalantly placed a small black box on top of his paperwork before taking a seat at his desk.

Starsky eyed the box suspiciously then his partner.

"Go ahead…open it!" Hutch said coyly.

Starsky picked up the box and opened it.

Inside was a sparkling diamond engagement ring.

Starsky's mouth dropped open as he looked back at his partner.

"Well…what do you think?" Hutch asked anxiously.

Starsky thought a little ribbing was in order as he replied "Awww…you know I love ya' and everything partner but I'm not quite ready for such a huge step in our relationship!"

"Oh you're a real riot Mushbrain" Hutch exclaimed as he got up and walked back over to his partner.

Hutch sat on the corner of Starsky's desk and took back the small box.

As he opened it he repeated his question to his friend "Seriously Starsk…..do you think she'll like it?"

Starsky looked up at his friend and smiled "Are you kidding me….she'll love it…it's beautiful!" Starsky replied as he slapped his friend's knee.

Hutch smiled as he continued to stare at the ring.

"It's a pretty big step buddy…..you sure you're ready?" Starsky asked the blond.

Hutched paused before giving his reply.

"I love her Starsk!" Hutch said positively.

"I haven't felt this way about another woman since…." the blond choked.

"Since Gillian?" Starsky asked as he finished his friend's sentence.

Hutch suddenly got very misty eyed as he remember the other woman.

"Yeah" Hutch replied in a whisper.

Starsky knew his partner would never truly get over the loss of Gillian and it saddened him.

He also knew if anyone could make his partner happy it would be Alexa.

"I'm happy for ya' Babe" Starsky said lovingly as he squeezed Hutch's knee.

Hutch smiled back at his partner as he placed the box back in his jacket.

"Thanks Starsk but she hasn't said yes yet!" Hutch exclaimed.

"Are you serious….the woman is crazy about you….she'll say yes! Starsky replied.

"I sure hope so Starsk!" the blond responded back.

"So when are you gonna' ask her?" Starsky inquired.

"Tonight….were going out for a nice quiet dinner….then a nice romantic walk in the park" Hutch said, smiling as he envisioned the night ahead.

"Sounds perfect Buddy!" Starsky said affectionately.

The dark haired man looked at his watch and added "Speaking of which….it's quittin' time pal….go home to your lady!"

"I've got a date myself tonight so stop by Huggy's if you get the chance and let me know how you made out will ya' Blintz!" Starsky stated.

"Don't worry Starsk….you'll be the first to know!" Hutch said as he stood up, pulled his jacket from the back of his chair and walked out smiling back at his friend.

Alexa hurried up the steps to her and Hutch's apartment grabbing the mail out of the box as she unlocked the door.

As she opened the door she quickly leafed through the envelopes.

All were addressed to Hutch except one.

Her heart skipped a beat when she noticed the return address.

She placed the other envelops on the coffee table for Hutch to open later then sat down on the sofa and opened her mail.

"Oh my God!" she exclaimed out loud to herself.

"I don't believe it!" she added as she continued to read.

When she finished the letter she just sat there stunned.

She pondered the contents of the letter a few minutes longer then looked at her watch.

"Oh my heavens….Ken's going to home any minute and I'm not even close to being ready!" She said to herself as she jumped up, stuffed the letter in her purse and headed to the bedroom.

Just then Hutch entered the apartment.

He hung his jacket in the closet and yelled out "Honey I'm home!" as he looked around the room smiling.

"I'm in here Ken!" Alexa yelled back from the bedroom.

"Hello beautiful!" Hutch said as he walked into the bedroom.

Alexa was changing out of her clothes and putting on her bathrobe.

Hutch was enjoying the view as he walked up behind her and placed a kiss on her bare back sending shivers down her spine.

She leaned into him as she wrapped the robe around her then cinched the belt.

She turned and kissed him tenderly as he pulled her close.

"Have I ever told you how lucky I am" he whispered as he nuzzled her neck.

She melted into his arms, lost in the sensation.

She quickly regained her senses and gently pushed away.

"As much as I would love to continue this sweetie….I gotta' get in the shower or we are going to be late!" she exclaimed as she gave him a quick peck on the cheek then dashed out of the room.

He watched her scurry out of the bedroom and into the bathroom.

The blond looked down at the dress she had picked out for the evening and smiled.

He picked it up by the hanger and let out a wolf whistle as he held it up.

"MmmmMmmm!" he exclaimed to himself as he felt the satiny material.

"Can't wait to see you in this number Babe!" he said out loud to himself.

As he visualized the blonde in the dress his mind began to wander and he smiled sheepishly.

He quickly undressed and made his way to the bathroom.

He opened the door and the steam poured out of the room.

He tiptoed over to the tub, pulled back the shower curtain and proceeded to climb in with the blonde.

"What are you up to Kenneth Hutchinson!" she asked only slightly shocked by his actions.

"Well…you said we were running late so…I thought maybe we could kill two birds with one stone" he smirked as he picked up a bar of soap and proceeded to lather her back.

Alexa laughed as his gently touch tickled her skin.

Hutch placed soft kisses across her shoulders and she could no longer resist.

She turned to face the man she loved, placed a soapy hand on his chest and purred "you are sooooo bad and we are going to be sooooo late!"

Hutch hoisted her up and she wrapped he long slender legs around his waist.

He turned and pressed her up against the shower wall and whispered in her ear "I promise I'll make it worth your while!"

Meanwhile at The Pits, Starsky sat at the bar waiting for his date to arrive while talking to the proprietor.

"You're not gonna' believe it Hug!" Starsky exclaimed.

"Oh yeah…what am I not gonna' believe brother!" Huggy asked his friend as he poured him another beer.

"Well it looks like ole Blondie is gonna' get himself hitched!" Starsky informed his friend.

Huggy looked at the dark haired man with surprise.

"You mean to tell me one of Bay Cities most sought after bachelors is taking himself off the market?" Huggy asked.

"You got it Hug!" Starsky nodded as he took a swig of his beer.

"That's sure gonna' break a lot of hearts in this town!" Huggy added.

Starsky just rolled his eyes and smirked at the black man's comment.

"So when is the big event?" Huggy asked.

"Don't know….he hasn't asked her yet….he's gonna pop the question tonight!" Starsky exclaimed.

"Well as tight as those two are I'm sure it's a done deal!" Huggy stated.

"Yeah….that's kinda' what I figured to Hug!" Starsky added.

"She'll be good for him Starsk…don't you worry about that!" Huggy said as poured himself a beer.

"Oh I'm not worried Hug…she's exactly what the big lummox needs…she wonderful!" Starsky said with a smile as he thought of Hutch and Alexa together.

"Well then…Here's to Hutch and the Doc!" Huggy exclaimed as he raised his glass in the air.

"I'll second that Hug!" Starsky said jovially as he raised his glass and clanged it against Huggy's.

"Hi Dave… sorry I'm late but I got hung up at the hospital…one of the other girls on my watch called off and I had to stay a little longer!" Starsky's date exclaimed as she took a seat beside him.

"Oh that's ok Maria" Starsky said as he eyed the woman appreciatively.

Maria was one of the nurses who took care of both himself and Hutch at the hospital when they shared the same room.

"Hug this is Maria Hernandez…Maria…this is my friend and owner of this fine establishment…Huggy Bear!" Starsky said as he introduced the two.

"Huggy Bear…..that is so adorable….is that your real name?" Starsky's date inquired.

"Please Maria…don't get him started!" Starsky exclaimed as he took the girls hand and led her over to a table.

"So my dear what would you like to do this evening?" Starsky asked the woman as he admired her beauty.

She was a tall petite woman with dark raven hair, dark brown eyes and dark skin.

"Well….are you a good dancer?" she asked the dark haired man.

"Am I a good dancer….sweetheart I make Fred Astaire look like a stumbling fool!" Starsky declared as he smiled at the woman.

"Oh really!" she exclaimed with delight.

"Well that's wonderful Dave because I'm in the mood for a little Samba tonight" she said seductively as she leaned over for a kiss.

Hoping that that wasn't all she was in the mood for Starsky responded passionately to her kiss.

"Then what are we waiting for…..let's go trip the light fantastic!" Starsky replied as he wiggled his eyebrows.

He stood and took the woman's right hand, clutched her tiny waist then held out his left hand.

She placed her left hand in his and they spun around and tangoed out the door as Huggy looked on shaking his head at the two of them.

Hutch and Alexa arrived for their dinner reservation forty five minutes late looking flushed and content.

Hutch had picked a wonderful expensive French restaurant across town that was getting the best reviews.

The host and owner of the restaurant escorted the couple to their table and pulled out a chair for Alexa.

She thanked him and sat down.

As he admired the beautiful woman he winked in approval at Hutch for his exceptional taste in women.

Hutch smiled proudly.

Hutch too was admiring the woman seated beside him.

As he predicted, Alexa looked breathtaking in her green satin cocktail dress that clung to her slender frame in all the right places.

Hutch looked around the restaurant and noticed that several of the male patrons were eyeing her as well.

"Oh I'm starving Ken!" Alexa exclaimed as she picked up her menu and started to read the choices.

"What are you having love!" she asked the blond.

Hutch looked at her lovingly as he picked up her hand and kissed her fingers softly.

"The best night of my life baby" Hutch whispered to her as he secretly checked his jacket pocket for the little black box hidden inside.

Alexa looked at the blond longingly and she began to wander how to broach the subject of the letter she received earlier.

Hutch and Alexa had placed their orders and as they waited they both enjoyed a glass of red wine.

Hutch was starting to feel a bit nervous when he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out the black velvet box.

He kept it hidden on his lap as he started to speak.

"Alexa I….." Hutch began.

"Hutch I…." Alexa began at the same exact time.

"Hutch stopped.

"I'm sorry Honey…go ahead" Hutch said affectionately.

She smiled nervously.

"Ken…these last few months with you have been the most amazing months I've ever spent with anyone in my entire life!" Alexa began as Hutch smiled at her.

"When I think of the future and what lies ahead…I think only of you…a quaint little house in the country somewhere filled with love and laughter…and eventually the pitter patter of tiny little feet running up and down the halls!" she continued as Hutch squeezed her hand, his heart pounding in his chest.

He thought to himself as she was speaking "My god…this woman is inside my head…repeating my very own words!"

"I love you more than I have ever loved any man…you are without a doubt the man I want to grow old with!" Alexa proclaimed as the tears pooled in her eyes.

Hutch smiled as he reached over and kissed each of her eyelids.

This made her choke up even more.

"I only pray to God that you feel the same for me!" she added, her emotions tying her up in knots.

Hutch opened her hand and kissed her palm as he continued to hold the hidden box tightly in his other hand.

"Alexa…it's as if you are reading my very thoughts" Hutch replied.

"All those things you dream of are my dreams too…I am so hopelessly head over heels in love with you and you are the woman I have been waiting my entire life for…I love you Alexa Chandler!" the blond proclaimed as the tears welled up in his eyes as well.

Alexa smiled and brushed his cheek fondly.

"Ken I can't tell you how happy that makes me feel!" she stated as she reached into her purse and pulled out the letter.

"Is our love strong enough for you uproot your life here in Bay City?" she asked, her emotions overwhelming her.

Hutch's smile quickly faded, in it's place was a look of apprehension.

He let her words sink in.

"Wh…What are you saying Alexa?" He asked the woman, totally shocked by the sudden turn in the topic of conversation.

She unfolded the letter and started to explain.

"I received this letter this afternoon…It's from a colleague of mine…Doctor Sophia Aldenberg….she is the Surgeon-in-Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at University Medical Center Freiburg in Freiburg Germany" Alexa stated.

Hutch listened intently.

"It's one of the largest and most reputable hospitals in the world due to its advances in research and its extensive clinical capabilities!" she informed the blond as he listened closely.

Alexa went on "My two year internship following medical school was under her guidance…she was my mentor"

"So what does all this have to do with you Alexa….with us?" Hutch asked with a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach.

Alexa bowed her hand as she looked down at the letter.

"Sophia will be retiring in six months….." Alexa said nervously.

Hutch thought to himself "Here it comes!"

"She's asked me to be her replacement Ken"

She dropped the bomb.

Hutch took a swallow of his drink as his hand shook uncontrollable.

"I see!" Hutch said.

"And what are you going to tell her?" he asked as he swallow the lump in his throat.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me Ken…it's something I've always dreamed of!" Alexa exclaimed.

"I understand that Alexa but…." Hutch started to say.

"I'm asking you to come with me Ken….please say you will!" she said placing her hand atop Hutch's.

"Alexa I don't know what to say…I…" Hutch stammered.

"Say that you will Ken…if you truly love me!" the blonde started to sob.

"Sweetheart…I do love you but….." Hutch replied.

"But not enough to move halfway around the world with me" she said sadly.

Hutch didn't know what to say.

He tried to choose his next words carefully but he knew whatever he said would not be able to spare her heartache.

"Alexa….my life is here….my work is here…." Hutch began.

"And David is here!" she finished his sentence looking him directly in eye.

Hutch paused then added "Yes…David is here"

"And he is more important than anything or anyone else in your life!" she exclaimed.

Hutch did not answer her.

She continued to sob as she folded up the letter and placed it back in her purse.

Alexa quickly stood up, pushing her chair away from the table.

"I'd like to go now Ken if you don't mind" she wept softly.

Hutch took her hand and tried to get her to sit down again.

"Sweetheart please…." Hutch said as he tried to coax her back into her chair.

"No really Ken…I would like to leave…please!" she whimpered as she pulled out of his grasp.

Hutch quickly stood up and followed her to the entrance.

He paused at the host's station, apologized and handed the man several large bills before exiting the building.

Alexa was already at the car waiting.

Hutch walked over opened the car door and helped her in before going around to the driver's side.

He climbed in behind the wheel, shut the door and sighed heavily as he looked over at the blonde.

He started to say something when she interrupted him.

"Please Ken don't….just drive!" she cried out.

Hutch obeyed.

As he drove down the freeway headed for home he continued to glance over at her as she sobbed.

His heart was breaking in two as well.

He brushed his hand softly across her wet cheek.

This action only made her sob harder.

When they pulled up in front of Venice Place Hutch had barely put the car in park before she hopped out and fled up the stairs.

Hutch just simply sat there in the car, in the dark for several minutes before finally making his way up the steps and into the apartment.

He looked around the apartment.

Not seeing her immediately he walked over to the bedroom door, turned the knob and opened the door slowly.

Alexa was staring out the bedroom window, the streetlights illuminating her tear stained face.

Hutch quickly walked across the room and stood behind her.

He did not hesitate as he reached out and pulled her to his chest.

He nuzzled his chin in the crook of her neck and held her tight.

"Your heart is not the only one breaking baby…I need you to know that" he whispered in her ear.

His words elicited heavier sobs.

Her body shook as she turned to face the blond, burying her head into the warmth of his chest.

After taking his date home for the evening Starsky returned to The Pits and commenced to waiting for the blond to show.

When several hours had passed Starsky began to grow increasing worried.

He knew even if Hutch had decided to continue his celebration at home with his lady he would have at least called but instead he heard nothing from his friend.

Starsky looked at Huggy as he took another sip of his beer.

"Are you thinking what I'm thinking Hug?" Starsky said somberly.

"I don't get it Starsk…why would she turn him down?" Huggy said as he shook his head.

"I don't know Hug but I'm sure as hell gonna' find out" Starsky exclaimed as he chugged his beer and got up and left the bar, saying goodnight to his friend.

Huggy continued to shake his head as he prepared to close down the bar.

Starsky pulled up in front of Hutch's apartment building, noticing no light coming from the window above.

With a heavy heart he started up the steps leading to Hutch's apartment.

He paused before he knocked.

"It's opened Starsk!" He heard his partner's voice from inside the room.

Starsky opened the door to a pitch black room.

As his eyes adjusted to the darkness he was able to make out the figure of his friend sitting quietly on the sofa.

Without turning on any lights he walked over to the blond, squeezed his broad shoulder, walked around to the front where Hutch was seated, stepped over the long legs stretching across the coffee table and sat down beside his friend.

Even in the dark Starsky could see several empty beer bottles scattered across the table.

They both sat in silence for several minutes before Starsky eventually spoke.

"What happened?" he asked softly.

Hutch did not respond.

"Is she here?" Starsky asked as he looked around the apartment.

"No" Hutch replied as he took another swallow from his bottle.

"She's gone Starsk!" Hutch slurred his words.

Starsky wrapped his arm around his drunken partner and pulled him close, resting the blond's head on his shoulder.

"Tell me about it babe!" Starsky whispered to his friend in the darkness.

Epilogue

Starsky looked on as he watched his friend make his way to the gravesite.

He watched as the blond placed a bouquet of yellow roses on the ground in front of the stone.

Hutch knelt down in front of headstone tracing the letters of the name on the stone with his fingers.

"Hi sweetie…sorry I haven't been by to see you until now but things have been kinda crazy lately and I wasn't…..I wasn't really sure if you even wanted to see me" Hutch spoke softly.

"I'm truly sorry Jenny…for the way things turned out….I should have done more to help you!" Hutch said softly with his head lowered, his tears beginning to run down across his nose dropping onto the ground below.

"I hope someday you'll forgive me darlin'" Hutch exclaimed as he looked up into the blue sky.

"I just betcha your daddy was glad to see you again sweetheart….you're probably riding around up there on his shoulders right at this very moment aren't sweetie?" Hutch asked with a smile as he gazed towards the heavens.

"Yeah…your daddy has his little angel back with him once again!" Hutch smiled as he wiped the tears from his eyes.

Starsky looked at his friend lovingly and smiled as well.

"I gotta go now darlin' but I'd like to come back from time to time if you don't mind…just to say hello…maybe talk for a bit every now and then" Hutch added.

He rose up from the ground, placed his fingertips to his lips then placed his fingers on the name engraved across the stone.

"Goodbye sweetheart" Hutch said softly then proceeded to walk away.

As he started to walk back to his partner he heard the faint laughter of a small female child behind him.

Hutch quickly turned around expecting to see a child close by.

There was no one.

Then suddenly a soft warm breeze swirled around the blond, wrapping him in and overwhelming powerful warmth, then as quickly as it came, it was gone.

Hutch looked over at his partner who was smiling back at him and for the first time in several months he immediately felt at peace with himself and the world.