This is based on a true event from the series, 'Amazing Videos'. Enjoy!
Hutch watched in morbid fascination as Starsky brought the overstuffed burrito to his mouth and bit off nearly a quarter of the dripping mess. Hutch's eyes moved downward, following the steady drip of orange grease and the occasional plop of a black bean.
"You are so disgusting."
"Fanks," Starsky mumbled around his mouthful of cheap Mexican food.
Starsky raised an inadequate white paper napkin to his mouth and Hutch turned away. As Starsky ate, Hutch feigned interest in the scenery outside the window. They had flipped for it, of course, but Lady Luck was decidedly not pulling any favors for Hutch today. Starsky beamed after slapping the quarter onto the back of his hand, revealing the smirking face of George Washington. After Hutch had checked to make sure the coin was not double-sided, he sat brooding against the leather of the Torino's passenger door as Starsky drove them to his favorite Mexican restaurant.
Now, he huffed quietly and tried to ignore the bubble of stomach acid gurgling inside him. He knew he must look like a spoiled child who had not gotten his way, but right now, he didn't really care.
"You want some?" Starsky chirped, holding out the burrito for a moment before bringing it back to catch a glob of refried beans with his fingers.
Hutch tried to maintain his dignity. "No," he replied, casting Starsky another disgusted look. After a moment, he added, "Thanks." because he was fairly certain that Starsky truly was as oblivious as he looked.
"Attention all units, please respond to a Code 44 at the corner of Sunset and Vine. Suspect is armed and dangerous. Proceed with caution."
Hutch snatched the mike, grateful for the turn of events. "This is Zebra Three responding, our ETA is five minutes."
Starsky balled up the wrapper and threw it back in the bag beside him. "Make it three," he said, turning the key and gunning the engine before the car lurched forward.
Hutch rolled his eyes, reaching out to grab the dashboard with one hand as he tossed the mike down with the other. "That is, assuming we make it there at all."
Just as he was reaching down to grab the mars light, Starsky braked and took a sharp left, throwing Hutch downwards and against the door. He grunted at the impact and glared at the burnet.
Starsky was smiling.
Four minutes later, the Torino screeched to a tire-burning halt amidst four other marked police cars. Red and blue lights were swirling silently as the uniformed officers crouched behind the open doors of their respective cars. Starsky pulled his own weapon and opened the door, aware of Hutch exiting the other side as well. With the engine still purring, Starsky rounded the Torino's nose and joined Hutch as he moved to join the other officers.
"What do we got?" Hutch asked, staying low as he stopped beside the nearest officer.
Starsky came to a stop beside his partner as the officer spoke. "Aggravated kidnapping. Suspect is a white male, mid-thirties. Victim is a fourteen year old girl. So far, she's uninjured. He's demanding ransom and won't let anyone closer than thirty feet."
Starsky surveyed the scene. Sitting with his back to the brick wall of the building behind him, the suspect was holding a terrified young girl against him tightly. In his other hand, he was pressing a gun barrel to her skull. The mid-day sun was bright and hot, and perspiration trickled down the suspect's face. His eyes were wide and searching. The girl was crying.
Feeling a surge of protectiveness well within him, Starsky looked around for anything that could be used to their advantage. He blinked. There, crouched not ten feet from the suspect and the victim, kneeled a couple of TV camera men.
What the heck?
He pointed. "Who are those guys?"
The officer squinted a little then rolled his eyes. "They're with the news. Amazing huh? Seems the suspect is somewhat of a wax poetic. He's telling them his entire sob story."
"You're kidding." Starsky rubbed his eyes.
Hutch shifted his weight and Starsky noticed the irritation in the gesture. "He's sitting there with a girl at gunpoint and getting intimate media coverage for it? Unbelievable."
"Do we have a negotiator yet?" Starsky asked, eyeing the small crowd gathering across the street.
"Yeah, ETA of twenty minutes."
"That's twenty minute too long," Hutch snapped, raising up a little.
A car door slammed behind them seconds before Captain Dobey's voice bellowed, "Starsky! Hutch! What's going on here?"
Even as Starsky relayed the situation to the captain, he could feel Hutch winding himself tighter and tighter. Something was cooking inside that blond head.
"-we are just waiting on the…" Starsky trailed off as Hutch suddenly moved away.
"Where're you going?" Starsky called after him.
"Where's he going?" Dobey echoed, looking from Hutch's back to Starsky's face.
"What's going on?" the officer next to Starsky asked.
Starsky watched as his partner pocketed his gun and quickly jogged across the street. Conflict warred within him; half of him wanting to follow, half of him wanting to stay and cover his partner. After all, Hutch would have said something if he need Starsky, right? So he remained rooted to the pavement, standing between Dobey and Officer Brent.
"Starsky, what's he up to?"
"I don't know, Cap'n," Starsky muttered, blinking against the bright sunlight.
Hutch had melted into the crowd and was lost. What was he thinking? Why hadn't he let Starsky in on his plan? What was his plan? Starsky shifted his weight impatiently and searched for his partner.
Finally, Hutch emerged from the crowd, sans his jacket and weapon. He was on the far end of the crowd now, looking suspiciously innocent. But it wasn't what Hutch had lost that was troubling, it was what he had gained.
In his hands, he carried a bulky video camera.
One very much like the news journalists had.
Understanding fell upon on Starsky like a ton of bricks.
"What's he doing?" Dobey asked impatiently, squinting to see.
Officer Brent raised up a little. "What's he got?"
Starsky willed his heart to resume it's rhythm. "He's uh… he's got a camera."
"What?" Dobey snapped. "Why?"
Starsky watched as Hutch shifted the camera to roll up his sleeves. Ever so steadily, he was approaching the suspect.
Then Starsky could almost hear the click as Dobey understood. "Starsky, what kind of fool-brained stunt is he trying to pull here?"
"He's playing the hero," Starsky ground out, partly in defense of Hutch's valiant effort and partly in pain that he wasn't included in his partner's plan. Then he added quietly, "Saving the day but not himself."
Dobey merely glanced at Starsky as Hutch drew closer to the suspect. Where the hell was the negotiator?
Starsky felt a chill run through him, sharp enough that he could have sworn he could see his breath. Hutch joined the other camera men, coming to a kneel with the camera propped on his shoulder. He leaned forward and projected the illusion of awed fascination at the events transpiring before him.
Starsky shook his head.
The other officers leaned forward, tense with anticipation.
Hutch had no idea what he was doing.
He was too aware of what he couldn't do, and that was sit safely behind a barricade, waiting for some power-tripping hostage negotiator to make his appearance while a young girl's life was at stake a mere thirty feet away.
Wasn't that why he had become a cop, to be able to do something in situations like these?
So, with a seedling of an idea rooted firmly in his head, Hutch had made his way into the rubber-necked throng of bystanders and 'became' a civilian. All it took was a flash of the badge and he had acquired an official news channel video camera. After concealing his gun in his jacket and ditching them safely out of sight, he emerged from the crowd with a new persona.
Adrenaline flooded his veins and Hutch wiped his hands on his jeans as he approached the suspect. Looking into the face of such a disturbed man, never mind one with a gun pointed at a teenager, Hutch felt his confidence waver. He fought the reflex to look at Starsky. There was no doubt that the burnet was watching his every move, probably upset that Hutch had walked off like he had.
He knew Starsky too well.
Plastering a nervous, innocent smile on his face, he hit his knees on the glittering sidewalk. The camera man next to him didn't even flinch.
"- and then the bitch just up and leaves! I woke up and found a note on the pillow, saying she couldn't live like this anymore. I gave her everything!" He shook the girl in his grip as he spoke, and her tears fell like diamonds to the sidewalk.
As the gunman grew more emotional, his gun pressed harder against the sobbing girl's temple. Her dark brown hair was plastered to her face in sweat-soaked ringlets. Large brown bovine-like eyes begged him for help. Hutch swallowed.
"Hey, you," the gunman said, looking at Hutch as his voice cracked. "Come closer. I want Stacey to hear every word of this."
Hutch glanced to the other camera men before moving closer awkwardly, balancing the heavy machine as he crawled on his knees.
Did he even remember to turn the camera on?
Hutch mentally shrugged off that small detail. This was his opening.
Starsky tensed, yearning against his invisible restraint like a leash-bound hound on the trail of a fox. He leaned forward, his body in conflict as Hutch approached the armed kidnapper. Hutch shouldn't be out there alone; he shouldn't have hesitated the moment Hutch walked away. Now it was too late. Moving in would jeopardize his partner and that was something Starsky could never do.
Feeling completely helpless amongst a growing number of law enforcement officials, Starsky watched the proceedings intently.
'Easy Hutch. Keep your cool.'
"Starsky, what's going on now?"
"I don't know. They're talking."
Hutch moved closer- impossibly closer for a man who had previously drawn such a wide circle around himself. Starsky's hands were sweating, slicking the butt of his gun.
Hutch was now a mere two feet from the gunman, leaning forward precariously with the large camera atop his shoulder. The gunman was talking animatedly, jerking the young girl in his arms every so often. The gun waved in the air as emotions ran high. What was this guy's deal? Why was he so concerned about getting on the news? Why didn't he make his demands to the police? Starsky swallowed, but his mouth had long since turned dry.
Then he saw it.
Hutch tensed. He froze in place, his mannerism so very predatory that Starsky wasn't sure how everyone else didn't see it. It was that deadly calm of a fanged, hungry animal one second before it pounced.
Starsky barely got the words out of his mouth before Hutch dropped the camera and lunged forward, pinning the gunman's wrist to the unforgiving brick behind him.
"Go people, move move!"
Dobey's shouted orders met Starsky's back. He was already in a run, racing towards the scene as people scattered. Hutch remained frozen, obviously using all his strength to keep the kidnapper pinned to the wall like a butterfly to a board. Everything was happening too fast- the girl had just wriggled free as Starsky skidded to a stop next to his straining partner.
He grabbed the struggling man, securing him as Hutch finally moved.
"Let go of me!" the kidnapper wailed. "I didn't do anything! It's all her fault!"
Starsky had just clicked his handcuffs around one wrist as Hutch lowered the man's gun to the ground. The other officers stomped to a halt around them, anxiously moving in and apprehending the suspect.
Panting, Starsky stepped back. Hutch was still sitting on the ground, his temples glistening. He was panting slightly as he looked up at Starsky, raising a hand to shield his eyes from the sun.
Despite the flurry of activity around them, Starsky heard every rapid breath.
"You idiot," he growled, stepping closer and pulling Hutch to his feet none too gently. "What was going through your algae-soaked brain back there?"
Hutch looked hurt as something dark flickered over his features. "I couldn't sit there, not doing anything," he started, but Dobey approached and cut him off.
"What the hell were you thinking?" the captain bellowed, coming to a stop before Starsky and Hutch. "I don't see a ten-gallon on your head. I don't see any horses or spurs. What makes you think you get to play cowboy?"
Whatever pride Hutch had was quickly deteriorating. His shoulders began to slump and his head began to bow. "I know, sir, I just-"
A new man entered their space and glanced around quickly. "Hi, I'm Mathews, the hostage negotiator. You guys need me?"
Dobey's eyes grew very large and Starsky winced in a Skinnerian response. He had learned long ago that the size of the captain's eyes was a good indicator of the size of his anger.
Starsky reached out and placed a hand on Hutch's shoulder, turning them away from the unpleasant reprimand that was about to take place.
Once they were a distance away, Starsky stopped and faced his partner. "You okay?"
A small nod. "Yeah."
Starsky hesitated, still a little on edge from the adrenaline. "I was scared, you know? Watching you get in that guy's face and not being able to be there, to back you up."
Hutch remained solemn. "You're right, I'm sorry. I should have told you. You're my partner."
Starsky started to agree when Hutch added, "A partner who eats absolute junk and drives too fast, but my partner nonetheless."
Starsky's eyes closed for a moment. When he opened them again, he said, "What's that? You are gonna take care of the paperwork for this little show of yours? Why Hutch, that's so kind of you!"
The bystanders were scattering now that the excitement had been loaded into the back of a precinct-bound squad car. Several brushed by them before a small voice spoke up.
"Mister? I just wanted to thank you for saving my life."
The girl's voice ended in a tight-throated squeak as she blinked back bright tears. Starsky smiled gently then looked to Hutch, watching his partner's expression melt into something more rare.
The girl moved forward then, wrapping her arms around Hutch in a worshiping embrace that could never have been broken.
Not that anyone would.
Hutch remained awe-struck for a moment before bringing his arms around the girl, returning the hug. A round of cheers rose from the remaining audience.
Starsky was filled with that proud, warm feeling one gets when watching a baby take it's first step or when your freshly waxed car garners the envy of everyone around, shining brilliantly on a summer afternoon…
Oh crap, the engine was still running!
Starsky searched out the Torino amongst the other police cars and was about to take his first step when he looked back to Hutch.
The girl had moved away and into the tight embrace of her parents, and now the news reporters were swarming his defenseless partner. Hutch looked cornered and trapped as questions began hailing down upon him.
This was one situation where Starsky could help. He changed his course and headed for Hutch.
"Alright people, back up. Give the hero some room…"