AN: Inspired by Sherry Lou's The Sentinel fic, 'A Grave Situation', which was in turn inspired by Nash Bridges.
This is for Margeret S. (phantomgiggler) and her son. Get well soon!
Hutch shifted uncomfortably under the weight of his partner and held back an agitated sigh.
He was flat on his back with his hands cuffed in front of him, trapped between his body and Starskys' in a very embarrassing location. Hutch huffed and tried to spit out the curly hair that had found it's way into his mouth. His head was pounding, and to top it all off, his stomach had been rumbling loudly since he woke up.
Of all the mornings for him to strictly adhere to his diet and not share Starsky's breakfast…
Hutch tried once more to shift his weight, to no avail. With 165 pounds of unconscious, New York-bred detective on top of him, Hutch found he couldn't really move (or breathe) at all. He sighed aloud this time, the hot and stagnant air stirring the curly hair on his face before it settled once more.
A flash of worry raked it's nails across Hutch's mind. Starsky should be awake by now. Hutch had awoken from his concussion-induced slumber in time to hear the last heavy thumps of shoveled dirt rain down upon the casket. Their casket.
Starsky moaned softly and tried to move- only serving to further lodge his elbow in Hutch's ribs. The blond yelped, helpless to move away from the pain, and tried to ignore the tickle in his lungs.
"Well, sleeping beauty awakes," Hutch grumbled brokenly. "Please remove your elbow from in between my third and forth rib."
"I can't- I'm handcuffed!" Starsky's breathing grew panicked as he squirmed, each movement crushing Hutch a little further.
"Starsk… calm down…" Hutch grimaced as Starsky's knee bruised his femur.
"Where are we? What happened? I can't see anything! Am I blind?"
"You're not blind… would you stop moving!" Hutch hissed as the heel of Starsky's hand dug into the soft spot on the inside of his hip. Oh well, he didn't need that kidney anyway.
Finally, Starsky stilled. "Last thing I remember is sneaking up on McGinty and his gang." He paused. "My head hurts. Where are we?"
"Six feet under."
Hutch winced as Starsky's already traumatized head cracked against the coffin's lid. "They jumped us. Just take it easy Starsky…"
Starsky's struggles began anew, effectively squishing Hutch in the same manner as one would tenderize meat. "What're we going to do? How're we going to get out of here? What about air?"
The handcuffs jingled and clanked together as Starsky fought their entrapment like a bird beating itself against a window pane. "Starsky, calm down," Hutch soothed again, in between gasps for air. "Dobey knows we're here, he's bound to put two and two together. Just breathe normally, okay?"
Hutch could feel each muscle of his partner's body slowly grow lax and Hutch shivered despite the humid air.
"So there's nothing we can do?"
"You can reach down there and unhook my handcuffs from your belt buckle."
"Aww, and I thought you liked me."
Starsky chuckled and squirmed to the side, once more digging an elbow into Hutch's already bruised ribs. Hutch closed his eyes against the pain as Starsky's fingers made contact with his wrists, which were precariously close to their groins. Hutch tensed up and stopped breathing. "Be careful down there," he growled.
"Relax, I'm not one of your dates."
"I want it to be clear that whatever happens in this coffin, stays in this coffin, got it?"
"Got it." Starsky's voice was strained, and a moment later, the handcuffs pulled free. The force of the effort landed squarely in Hutch's empty stomach.
"Sorry," Starsky mumbled as Hutch fought for breath.
A tear spilled from the corner of Hutch's eye and he gave a silent prayer that they were in complete darkness.
"Hey, is that a pistol in your pocket of are you happy to see me?"
Hutch rolled his eyes and groaned.
"I always wanted to say that. But seriously, there's something in your pocket. You don't think they were stupid enough to leave us the keys, do you?"
"They only needed us to be restrained long enough to bury us," Hutch reasoned. He would have shrugged, but there was nowhere for his shoulders to go.
"I'm going in," Starsky murmured, then Hutch felt two fingers snake their way into the front pocket of his jeans.
Unprepared for the sensation, Hutch threw himself backwards- all two inches- slamming himself against the wall of the casket. "What the hell are you doing?"
"I'm getting the key to the cuffs, dummy," Starsky replied. "Come back here."
"Jesus, no wonder you can't keep a girl."
"Hey, at least I can get one in the first place."
Hutch gritted his teeth and tried not to flinch. "Hurry up."
"I can't…" Starsky grunted, bringing a knee up in sharp contact with Hutch's thigh again. "Almost…"
Starsky's maneuvering found Hutch with a mouthful of hair again. His stomach gurgled incessantly, completely oblivious to the predicament it's owner was in. The gnawing burn of acid spread, and Hutch wished once more that he had just eaten the stupid doughnut.
"Ow- shit. I'm stuck. Hutch, I'm really stuck!"
Starsky writhed vigorously and Hutch winced as he acquired a new collection of bruises. "Stop moving! What do you mean you're stuck?"
"I'm stuck! I can't move my shoulder! It's wedged."
"So un-wedge it," Hutch retorted and tried shifting his hips backwards.
"How 'bout you suck it up."
"I am sucking," Hutch snapped. "Maybe you shouldn't eat all that junk food!"
"I'm in the same condition I've always been in. It must be you."
With a final effort from both partners, Starsky freed himself and his hand slid from Hutch's pocket. "Give me your hands," Starsky demanded, groping around for Hutch's wrists.
Hutch rammed his connected fists into Starsky a little more forcefully than intended, but damn it, he was starving and extremely irritable right now. Within seconds, the cuffs fell away and the small metal key was pressed into his fingers.
"Now do me."
Hutch winced, this time at his partner's poor choice of words. Once he had unlocked Starsky's handcuffs, the two simply lay still, catching their breaths. The air was very warm and phobia-inducing, and it didn't help that Starsky's breath was blowing right in his face.
"Your knee is in my bladder."
"Your bony hip is in my liver."
"Starsky, that's impossible. Your liver is too high-"
"Well it's poking something!"
Hutch's rumbling stomach filled the silence. "Don't suppose you've got something to eat."
There was a too-loud hesitation before Starsky said, "Nope."
"You do so," Hutch replied with narrowed eyes.
"Starsky! You're holding out!"
"Fine," he grumbled, shifting his weight heavily and ramming his elbow into Hutch's stomach. "Here."
Something hard bounced off Hutch's forehead and he picked up the item.
"A Tootsie Roll?"
Hutch chuckled. "I thought you bought these for Captain Dobey's kids."
"Couldn't help yourself?"
"I like them."
Hutch bit one end of the wrapped and managed to raise one hand to his mouth, pulling the other end of the paper and unwrapping the candy. "Split it with you."
Starsky sighed. "Fine."
The small piece of candy was split in half and a comfortable silence filled the coffin.
"Don't suppose you have any more," Hutch ventured when his stomach bile absorbed the food immediately.
"No. And I'm serious."
"How much longer, do you think?"
"It can't be much longer," Hutch lied for his partner's sake. "Someone will go to the cemetery looking for us, find that striped tomato of yours, look around and see a fresh grave site when there was no funeral scheduled, then dig us up. No problem."
"That could take time."
"Well you better stop wasting our air then."
"What should we do?"
"Yeah, you know that thing you do when you close your eyes and don't move or speak."
"Are you going to sleep too?"
Hutch rolled his eyes. "Yes."
He felt Starsky relax against him. "Wake me up when we're rescued?"
"I think you'll hear the shovel scraping against the lid," Hutch muttered through yawn.
Starsky echoed the yawn, then asked, "What?"
"Nothing. Go to sleep."
Within minutes, Starsky's soft snoring filled the darkness. Hutch found himself relaxing with each long, steady breath his partner drew. He closed his own eyes and prayed for a speedy rescue. The matter truly was out of their hands now. Hutch melted a little more against his friend with each inhalation of the hot, Starsky-scented air.
As long as Starsky was alive and well by his side, Hutch thought he might be able to sleep anywhere.