Summary: Missing scene Survival. Just before and after Starsky arrives at Hutch's side.

Thank you, Amy, not always so easy to 'find a way'. It's wonderful to know their are friends out there willing and happy to help!

By: Karen B.

Find A Way

When hope is lost.
And you've run out of words to pray.
Clouds of disaster, invade, dark, dim and gray.
When it has come down to sink or swim.
And you are caught out on a limb.
Take a breath and trust in him.

If you cannot stand tall.
Upon your belly you must crawl.
If every path leads you to locked doors.
Drop to your knees, dig at the floors.
Take a breath, and never sway.
Never give up.
Find a way!

At regular intervals Hutch took in a breath. He could still feel his heart pumping, and couldn't help but think, each beat was doing more damage, splitting and cracking ribs. He itched, everywhere, as ants and bloodthirsty sand fleas took turns biting him. Sometimes the itching would turn to burning. He wasn't sure which was worse. One thing was for certain, his pinned leg was bloody. He could feel the moisture, feel where the leg was scratched, where it was torn. If someone didn't take the pressure off soon, it might just dry up and crumble into dust.

He recalled people being capable of great feats. Could do incredible things while under a lot of stress or adrenalin highs. Like the crazy story his partner once told him about a grandmother who lifted a car off her trapped granddaughter. Hutch tried to laugh, wondering what Starsky would do right now? Would he call the rescue squad or a 90-year old woman in a printed floral housecoat, to help him out of his current location. In any case, for Hutch, the theory had proven little more than an urban legend. He couldn't budge his car, and all he got for his efforts were scratched and bloody palms.

Hutch let his head fall back to the soil. It was hard, and scattered rocks dug into his scalp. He worried about snakes. The poisonous kind. These canyons were loaded with them. Probably the least of his worries. He swallowed. Thirsty. In the early morning the dew was heavy and he could take in a few drops, but it wasn't enough. And without water he would die before any snake could cross his path. He swallowed again, needing relief from the draught that relentlessly ravaged his throat; none came. His neck felt as though the hangman's noose cut into it, and the act of swallowing only brought him more pain. By day he was sweaty, hot. An unpleasant odor wafted from his sweat drenched shirt, offending himself. His face felt a flame, stinging, and burnt by the sun. By night he'd be stricken with tremors, oddly cold. What he wouldn't give for a blanket. A pillow. A freak summer storm. All unbelievably simple things his aching body and tried muscles had to go without.

If he could just get his leg out from under his car he could maybe find a way to save his own life. Maybe try to walk, climb, grope, fight his way back up to the road. But deep down Hutch knew he was too badly wounded to do any of those things. He figured if he got desperate enough he could try to cut his leg off with a few shards of broken glass. That crude thought made him feel dizzy and sick. What made him feel worse was thinking of what an undignified death this could turn out to be. Wandering off alone to pick up a tip from a two bit con, and ending up dead in the dust. A distant cawing brought back an image. Something he had seen on his grandfathers farm as a young kid. The dead decaying carcass of a cow, caught under a tree that must have fallen during a storm. Ravens, dozens of them, pecking and digging their black beaks into the rotting flesh. Hutch's despair deepened.

Two days ago, or was it three? He was braver, stronger, hopeful. He had clutched and clawed at the dirt, trying to dig his way out. He fumbled and fiddled, trying to fix the radio, his spine straining to keep him in a sitting position. Although the road above was not known to house rush-hour traffic, he yelled and yelled, until his voice was spent. And he had begged, and pleaded, for the company of a lonely old singing man. Then reduced to hollering at the sweet old guy to get help, before he died. But now, now, he was utterly alone, and completely exhausted. His intelligence, his humor, his initiative, and endurance, all blended and mixed up, sapped by the heavy strain of metal crushing his leg to earth.

Things were slipping from him. Before, he was aware. Could hear the breeze through the underbrush; could hear the shifting of dirt and stone, the sound of birds, but now everything was muted. He felt himself loosing consciousness more and more often. When he did seem alert enough to search the area, everything was blurred, and ghostly looking. It made him dizzy and nauseous to keep trying, so instead, he just lay very still. Only once in awhile he watched a cloud go by. Finally he broke, letting himself be locked away in blackness, giving up on doing anything at all. Yet, deep down inside, Hutch knew he would squeeze every last ounce of strength he had to hold on. Hold on, for him, his partner.

As if on cue, a light brush came to the sides of his cheeks. Hands, fingers soft like silk, tenderly taking away the cruel pain. Hutch fluttered around the edge of his thoughts, listening to a muffled voice.

"Hutch. Hutch."

Hutch wasn't sure why, but he pressed closer to the sound, the words, the touch. His leg felt more and more like a burning torch. "We made it, partner."

He couldn't take it. Suddenly something shot painfully through his leg and he cried out.

"Wh--wh--where?" Confused and disoriented.

"Easy, Hutch," The voice went on speaking under its breath.

"Don't," Hutch uttered, thrashing his head weakly. "Can't leave me like-like this. Don't leave me like th-this."

"Come on, partner," Starsky encouraged, getting no coherent reply. "I'll buy you a beer if you can open those eyes and look at me," he bargained.

"Thirsty." Hutch knew he recognized that voice, his eyes flickering open once then shut again.

"Here. Look right here, buddy," Starsky said, holding firmer to Hutch's face. "I'll get you something soon, but you've got to keep up your end of the bargain. "Open your eyes. Look at me."

Hutch felt his head raised higher and someone's breath brush across his lashes, and he surprised himself that he had enough strength to look. He stared up at the half crazed blue eyes gazing down at him. Hutch wrinkled his forehead, then his eyes faltered, vanishing upward, and he turned his head to the side.

"No, Hutch, don't turn your head away. Look at me. Right at me." Starsky grasped a little firmer to Hutch's cheeks turning his head back. "It's me, partner. Starsky. "We're okay, Hutch." He brushed some dirt off his friend's cheek. "We're okay, buddy. You understand?" Starsky gave a small nod, wincing at the rundown condition of his friend.

Hutch took a moment to compare the name with the face. This was the face, the man he had waited so long for, who he held out for. The person who would give him comfort, relieve his pain, save his life. It was bitter sweet, being dragged out of the numbing darkness to see that smiling face.

Every muscle in Hutch's body tensed. "Starsky," he muttered in recognition. He raised a shaking hand to grip Starsky's forearm, and his eyes cast down toward his leg. Seeing it still pinned under his car made him remember more, and he flinched violently. "My leg. Starsk. My leg," he gasped, the effort sucking the air right out of him.

Hutch could feel his heart drumming harder against his chest, his throat tightening up again against the never-ending pain. "Easy. Easy, Hutch. Don't be afraid. Gonna get you out of this real soon." Starsky glanced up just now hearing the sirens of the emergency vehicles rushing to the scene. "Rescue team's almost here."

"It's bad. Hurts bad," Hutch garbled, bracing his free foot against the dirt, and shutting his eyes.

"Calm down. Listen. Listen to me, buddy." Starsky held Hutch as best he could, taking hold of a hand, desperate, and panicked to the degree of his friend's pain.

"I am." Hutch gritted his teeth, he felt chilled and then hot, a full fledged fever raging through him. For a moment there was silence. "Well, say--" Hutch panted, struggled in Starsky's arms, then relaxed. "Say something."

"Something," Starsky gave a small laugh.

"Funny." Hutch took a breath and held it a moment before letting it out.

"How you feelin'?"

No response. Starsky squeezed Hutch's hand a little to encourage him to answer.

"Like an overdone piece of fish," Hutch admitted. "How do-do I look?"

"Drop-dead gorgeous, blue eyes." Starsky gave a sexy wink. Hearing voices and footsteps stomping down the dirt path, Starsky looked up. A patrol of rescue workers rushed down the canyon toward them, heavy with equipment that jingle and jangled loudly. "Don't worry, pal, we got help."

The hand covered with dirt and scratches that Starsky held gave a feeble squeeze. "How--how did you-did you find me?

"Did you forget, Hutchinson? I walk on water." Starsky laughed lightly.

Hutch barely smiled at his partner's attempt at humor, feeling dazed and drained. "Forgot."

There was a temporary silence as the workers inspected the situation. They had to be careful. Anything they did at this point could send the officer readily into shock. As it was, he was border line.

Then they scrambled. Each to his own task. They knew from the call they'd gotten, that this police officer had been pinned under his car for three days. There was no way of telling how badly injured the trapped leg was under all that metal. The limb could be badly crushed. Maybe even need to be amputated. Or worse, relieving the pressure could cause him to bleed, possibly to death. It was critical to get him out fast, stabilize him, and transport him to the hospital as quickly as possible.

"I need every hand over here now! We've got to get him out of there, before we can treat him." The Captain of the rescue team turned to Starsky. "I just want you to keep him as still and quiet as possible." Starsky nodded turning his attention back to Hutch.

Hutch was tired, so tired, and his world swayed. He watched the crew move about all keyed up and ready for action. He felt somewhat invaded by the sudden presence of so many people. When his partner called for backup he called it on a national scale. Starsky seemed pretty interested in what they were doing and Hutch felt like an outsider at a large club. He listened to the racket and strange voices fading in and out all around him. Watched as Starsky was handed a blanket. Hutch cuddled closer when his partner covered him, his attention torn between Starsky, and the men with machines struggling to raise his mangled car.

"How long?" Hutch asked.

"Not long, partner."

Hutch took heart in that knowledge. "Don't feel so good. Head hurts," he uttered, biting on his lower lip, his eyes dull.

"I know, partner. Hold on." Starsky gave an apologetic smile. "Need you to be strong. Not much more."

Starsky scanned Hutch with his eyes. The man was in pain. Deprived of food, water, shelter, human contact. His pulse was fast and weak, eyes sunken. His face burnt and leathery from sun exposure. He seemed confused. Weak. Starsky noted Hutch's skin to be dry and warmer than normal. Not only was the trapped man, dirty, bruised, battered, and obviously suffering from a serious leg injury, he was also dehydrated. Starsky was no doctor, but he knew from his time in the military, that dehydration was a real life threatening medical emergency. His friend had gone three days without water. He could see perspiration stains on Hutch's clothing. A telltale sign of a loss of body fluid. Yet, looking at him now he no longer was sweating. That was not a good sign. It lead Starsky to realize the dehydration was sever enough to be of as much concern as what was certain to be a badly mangled leg.

Starsky shifted, glass crunching beneath his movement, probably cutting into his jeans, yet he set that thought aside. He finally took notice of Hutch's car. The windows were rolled down, and the Ford was turned over on its hood, looking more like a piece of weird art than a car. The sight of it was painful. Damn thing always did look a wreck, if you asked him. Like it'd been through a half dozen smash up derby's. But this? It was worthless now. Scrap-metal. Hutch's car must have rolled over a number of times before it thumped to a halt. Starsky winced, imagining the mass crash landing on his partner's leg. It was too awful for words. It was smashed. Completely destroyed. And to an extent, Starsky almost couldn't believe how lucky his partner was to have survived such an impact. He smiled when he saw the radio. It barely held together. Yet, Hutch had rewired it. Gotten a message out. He must have worked on it for hours, rerouting its circuits, trying to repair it.

"So." Starsky looked back to Hutch, marveling at his tenaciousness. "This how you always park your car, Blondie?" he tried to joke, knowing it would fall flat.

"Don't recommend it," Hutch said, holding his tearful voice in check, after all, how macho was it to be lying flat on your back bawling like a baby. "Wasn't planning on ending up this way." Hutch's expression vulnerable. "Hey." An afterthought. "What about my-my car," Hutch barely could ask, the pain digging at him, desperate for relief. He felt dizzy and faint, and it was getting harder to keep from letting himself once again be removed far from reality.

Starsky could sense Hutch's desperateness. "That old heap?" He mentally pushed his friend, trying to relight the fire that was nearly out. Did Hutch really expect to be driving his car again next week? Starsky realized how he would feel if it were his car. He'd have to do something about that. Maybe buy Hutch a brand new shiny car. "The thing's been clinging to life support for years, babe. No wonder our arrest record dropped four points last month. I tell you--"

"Starsky," Hutch's voice sounded a bit stronger, and Starsky smiled at his friends renewed spark, seeing the lines of pain fade some. "At least it doesn't shine like a spotlight."

"Hutch, try to put yourself in my shoes, huh? Having to ride around all day in that piece of recycled steel. What would you say if you were me, huh?" Starsky stoked the fire.

"I'd tell me to go to hell, Starsky. That neon red--" Hutch stopped talking as he felt the car raise slightly then just as quickly roll back. The air went out of Hutch's lungs, and he let out a hoarse cry. "Ahhhhhhhh!"

"Stop! Stop!" One of the rescue workers had shouted.

It was all Starsky could do to stay beside Hutch. Wanting nothing more than to jump up and take charge of whatever was or wasn't going on around the vehicle. "Easy. Easy, Hutch."

"Water," Hutch requested, breathing rapid and deep, trying to control his pain. "Thirsty."

Starsky knew water by mouth wouldn't do his friend any good. He'd needed emergency attention, fluids given intravenously, to rehydrate the shriveling body.

"Come on. Come on now, buddy. You'll be fine. Don't give up now," Starsky said in a calming voice, when all he really wanted to do was to scream at the crewman. What were they doing? Did they even know? Instead he tried to distract his partner from the pain, and thirst, only briefly looking up to watch a crewman peering under the car then redirecting the rescue effort. "Let's talk about something, else, Hutch."

"Talk?" Hutch looked confused, white-faced, frazzled by the pain. His unsteady hand clutched tighter to Starsky's forearm.

"Yeah, buddy, talk. You're going to have to stay with me just a little bit longer, here."

Hutch didn't know if he could. He was in so much pain and so tired. He was sure he couldn't talk much more, let alone stay clear enough to listen.

"So," Starsky began half watching Hutch, half watching the rescue efforts. "Did I ever tell you 'bout my Uncle Larry?"

"No." Hutch swallowed on thick saliva choking it down.

"He was a daredevil."

"Wha' he dare to do?" Hutch turned his head to the side to cough, trying to keep his heart in the game, but really not up for the challenge. "Don't tell me, Starsk. He could break bricks with his forehead ." Hutch slowly turned back, his eyes flashing with a small amount of humor.

Starsky smiled seeing the effort. "Better. He stacked 'em. Helped build the Empire State building. " Starsky smiled with false pride. He could have told Hutch his uncle robbed Brinks armored trucks for a living, or mud wrestled eight foot woman in the jungles of Bora Bora, and Hutch would certainly believe him. " You believe me don't you?"

"I don't." Starsky frowned deeply. "But go-go on." Hutch 's voice was weakening.

"I'm telling you, Hutch, those guys were daredevils. Working 102 stories up." Starsky waited for Hutch to say something, call his bluff, but all his friend could do was shiver, barely holding the pain back. It worried Starsky. Usually Hutch could see right through him. As if he stood behind a large glass wall. But he could tell Hutch was fighting that train that kept trying to speed him back into darkness. "The building has 6,500 windows, Hutch," he continued. "73 elevators. 1,860 steps, and--"

"Starsky, I--I--" Hutch couldn't take it any longer and his body went stiff, his back muscles going into spasm.

Knowing right away what was coming, Starsky turned Hutch's head to one side with both hands as his partner violently dry heaved. The little bit that came up was bitter and unpleasant, making Hutch feel even more miserable. He felt cold, and clammy, yet he shivered, burnt by wind and sun.

'Better?' Starsky vocalized without words.

Hutch gave a small nod, flexing his fingers against his friends hand that now held onto his.

"Want to hear more about my uncle?" Starsky asked sadly, knowing damn well the distraction was of little help.

"Not just now." Hutch breathed heavily, running his dry tongue over his lips trying to concentrate, and cursing when he felt the pressure lift off his leg.

Suddenly Hutch was the center of attention. Hands seemed to grip him everywhere. The movement stirred-up dust, causing him to choke. He felt himself rolled to one side and a board being slipped under him, as he was rolled back, strapped down, and dragged out from the ruins. After that, things got splotchy.

With halfhearted awareness, Hutch remembered seeing his leg. Blood coagulated in clots around sharp jagged flesh and bone, a fresh thin trickle of red leaking out the side. He was conscious of being in motion. Of a crowd of people jabbering, a certain one of the voices shouting out orders. He opened his eyes to find himself being hauled up toward the canyon's rim. It was a hell of a ride. Bumpy and bouncy. Starsky was there. Holding a bottle of clear liquid in the air while keeping eye contact, and a hand on his shoulder. A real daredevil in his own right, Hutch recalled thinking. The going was rough, and Hutch wondered if belly crawling up the hill would have hurt less, as he was jostled a little to much and he whimpered.

"Take it easy with him!" Starsky broke eye contact only for a moment to bellow at some poor soul.

"You're the one." Hutch paused, gulping as if he were coming up out of deep water for air. "Sh-should take it easy, Stars." He grimaced

Closing his eyes, Hutch wilted back into a place of shadows. Trying to make the pain go beyond his grasp. Trying to find that place where only colorful dots swarmed, reminding him of butterflies. But his leg hurt. He could feel the crushed bone, like an axe in his leg. Muscles in his shoulder blades felt torn. His belly hurt, and he wondered a moment if it were from hunger or sickness. He felt hot as blazes. Then cold as ice wind. His throat was still dry and he began to dream of a stream. He watched the ripples on the water, then felt the rain pelting down. A bolt of lightning suddenly splitting a tree jolted his body, but he kept his eyes closed.

"Shhh." Hutch cocked a brow to the cooing sound. "See you soon, partner."

Hutch sensed more than he knew what was coming next. He was about to be separated from his partner. He flicked his fingers and they were instantly taken into a familiar hand. Opening his eyes he saw he was about to be transferred into the waiting ambulance. Starsky stood over him trying to look composed, but Hutch knew better.

He shook his head. "No," Hutch whispered. "Don't leave."

"It's going to be okay, buddy. I got you covered. This is where we part ways for now. But don't worry. I'll be right behind you." Starsky assured, a serious expression on his face. Bending down close to his friend he added, "you're no quitter, Blondie."

"Neither are you," Hutch said weakly, closing his eyes. Starsky took half a step backward. "Hey. Hey." He stopped, seeing Hutch lift a finger beckoning him back. "Com'er," Hutch called, almost gruffly.

Starsky took the half-step back, getting close beside Hutch and leaning forward over him. "What is it, partner?" Starsky's eyes, dark clouds of worry.

"What about--" Hutch licked his parched lips. "What about that beer?"

Starsky smiled. "We'll see, buddy. We'll see."

The end.