A/N: Thank you for your kind reviews. I am glad you enjoyed the story and do thank you for your encouragement.
It's an old story of mine which was one of the last S&H stories I wrote before getting discouraged with it all. I'm not sure why I decided to repost but I don't regret it. The story may seem to finish quickly and this is because I had always planned a Changes III. It was always going to be a trilogy and to me it made sense to end the stories where I did. The third story is going to continue immediately on with their return to LA. To date, this third story has not been finished but it is planned for the future!
For Macartney who asked about the cult plot, I have written a series of stories about Simon Marcus which covers this aspect. For this particular story I decided not to go that way, for I wanted to keep it quite different to the Marcus stories I had written. I used the issue to simply cause our boys more angst! Anyway, I do plan on reposting most of my old S&H stories and I'm sure the Marcus stories will appear!
CHAPTER 24 (Final)
I helped Starsky out to our rented car. I'd hoped this was a good idea, but I knew we could take our time. My wound was still a little painful but I wanted to do this, I knew it was the best thing for both of us. Time together--uninterrupted--was what we needed. Time to fight Starsky's demons and try to sort him out again. The doctors had given strict instructions for him to take it easy and to beware of more headaches, but I figured we could take it slow and rest, and it would give us time that we both needed to start communicating again. We still had a lot to talk about, and I liked the idea of a leisurely drive back to LA. Huggy had flown back a day earlier, so we were on our own. I was still struggling with recent events, and was only glad to see that my Starsky was back. A battered and tired Starsky, but the light was back in his eyes. A light that I now realized had been missing for months. Hospital regulations insisted that he leave the hospital in a wheelchair, and he was complaining bitterly as we made our way out of the building. The nurse and I were laughing at one of his complaints about the hospital food, when something caught my eye and I looked up to see Louise standing at the door. Starsky looked at me and whispered to the nurse. They both left me alone with my fiancée, ex-fiancée, whatever.
"Ken! How could you do this to me? We were to be married next week!"
"Louise, it would never work. Don't blame Starsky for it, it isn't his fault. I don't like being manipulated or cornered and you've been trying to do both. I'm my own man and I choose my friends." As I spoke I realized that any feelings I'd had for her were quite gone and I felt relief.
I tried to explain. "Maybe this was my fault, too. I shouldn't have become involved with you, not at this time. Another friend said it right, 'we were never in sync'. I don't think we were either. I was shattered by almost losing Starsky and you were there. I'm sorry, Louise. I never meant to hurt you, or to use you."
"You did hurt me, Ken Hutchinson. I've never loved anyone as much as I loved you. I still think we could have made a go of it without your partner. But you'll always choose him over me, so what can I do? No woman can come between you two."
"It was never a competition. I had room in my heart for both of you, but you've forced me to make a choice. I am truly sorry for that because I've spent my life rebelling against my family's wishes and desires for me. I had a miserable marriage with Vanessa who thought she could control me, too. Starsky loves and accepts me for who I am and doesn't try to change me. I do believe that we'll both marry and have families one day--for a woman who truly loves one of us, will accept the other. I know it's odd and we're closer than most friends, but you see, Louise, we've known women like that. Gillian, my girlfriend who was killed, Terry, who was Starsky's lady and was killed, and another brave and beautiful woman who I won't name. So don't try to spread your ill wishes and tell me that we won't find someone. We will and I believe that. If we don't, well there's the me and thee family and that's helped us through plenty of crap." I found myself working up into a rage. As she stood there, I saw not Louise, but a mixture of my parents and Vanessa. It was time to go home.
"Goodbye, Louise. Keep the ring." I walked out toward the car where my partner was waiting for me.