SONG OF LIFE

By: Karen B.

Summary: Episode: The Plague. Just a few short missing scenes.. In both Hutch and Starsky pov

Note: I was going to just do a 100 - word drabble, but I got this small piece instead. Snippet? Mini snippet? Junior snippet? Shrug.. Hope you enjoy.

Starsky pov:::::

I kept my gaze locked on Hutch, and he kept his locked on me.

His face was ashen.

It'd been hours since he had gotten the serum from Calendar. Everyone else who had received the antidote was responding favorably. Everyone but Hutch -- he looked real bad.

"Could he still die from this?" I'd asked.

"Wait and see." That was my answer.

At least I could be with him now, comfort him the best I could. Some consolation prize that was.

I counted the seconds between Hutch's gasping breaths. He was working overtime just to breathe.

"Hutch, you can beat this. Breathe, buddy."

"Starsk," he rasped beneath the oxygen tent, and closed his eyes.

I urgently reached inside, took his hand and held tight "The medicine will work, Hutch. Hang in there."

"F-f-feel -- aw-awful," he labored, as he held tight to my hand in return.

"You look great."

Hutch opened his eyes and gave me a skeptical look.

"I want to try something. Can you work with me here, huh, pal?" I asked with raised brows.

"Yes, he whispered."

"Breathe deep and slow, Hutch. Deep and slow. Think of it as a song, buddy. Come on, now."

Hutch tried to do what I asked, but instead made a strangled sound that caused my stomach to tighten up with fear. "Easy," I stroked the side of his neck. "You and me, partner. We can do this. Deep and slow. Deep and slow," I repeated over and over. "Deep and slow."

My song for life went on and on, as I sat next to him on the bed holding his hand and trying to think of things to say. But, all I could do was repeat the mantra, 'deep and slow.' Hutch seemed only one footstep removed from death, and it was frightening how blue the area surrounding his lips was.

"Hang in there. Deep and slow, buddy."

I glanced at the clock. It'd been almost four hours since he'd gotten the serum. How long would it be until the medicine --

Hutch's gasping breaths suddenly stopped, instead he made a dry choking sound.

I glanced down just in time to see him draw his neck far back, his eyes wide, his mouth working like a guppy out of water to take in air. His attempts at getting oxygen to his lungs were futile, and I fumbled frantically for the call button and pressed it repeatedly.

"Hutch! Don't you dare!" The blue tinge that had surrounded his lips had spread over his entire face. "Hutch!"

I squeezed his hand, but it had gone limp. He made a few more grating sounds and his eyes rolled, just as Judith and a few other nurses rushed into the room, quickly tearing down the oxygen tent to get to him.

Help him. Help him.

My song had changed, as I was shoved out of the way.

Hutch pov::

I hurt all over, and was trying to breathe deep and slow, just like my partner had asked of me. At first the breathing technique seemed to help, but at some point it became difficult to swallow. I began to feel like I'd been dancing around a punching bag for days -- I could barely get any air. I titled my head back thinking that might help. When it didn't, I began to scratch at my neck silently begging for air. Starsky was there one minute then gone the next. Things were happening too fast or were they too slow? Suddenly, the room became frantic and noisy. Judith now hovered above me, shoved a plastic mask over my mouth and nose and began to force air into my lungs.

"We need to intubate him now!" she barked. "Come on, Hutch," she said as she looked into my eyes.

I felt a familiar yet shaky hand on my shoulder just before I tipped backward and fell into a huge black hole.

After that, disembodied voices floated around me. Where was I? What was happening to me? Why wouldn't anyone help me?

I couldn't piece much together, and no one would tell me anything. I wanted to wake up, but I couldn't open my eyes. Couldn't move. Couldn't talk. I could hear far away noises. I could hear people talking, but didn't quite know what they were saying. One of those people I knew to be my partner. His voice sounded scared. I wanted to tell him I was okay. I was alive, but I stayed in my half-asleep state no matter what I tried.

I kept listening to the voices, still not completely understanding them. Surprisingly, I came to one conclusion; I had an exotic plague -- certain I was dying -- could feel myself being pulled further and further away.

I heard words like: possible allergies, low o2 states, poor lung sounds, and unresponsive. Nothing that sounded good to me. Once in awhile I felt a hand in mine, or fingers stroking my hair or cheek. Something so simple made me feel so much better, but the voices floating around were becoming less and less.

Starsky pov:::

Hutch was comatose, held captive by a machine just to keep breathing.

He looked so different beneath that machine.

Pale.

Thin.

Limp.

The doctors had started another dose of the serum. Why wasn't he responding? What was happening here?

All I could do was sit next to him. Hold his hand. Stroke his hair or the side of his neck, waiting and studying him for the slightest change. When would all this medication kick start my buddy? Was he fading right before my eyes? What would I do without him? I'd never seen him look worse. Because of the vent his breathing was eased as he didn't have to do the work, but his color was just as bad as before. I brushed my thumb whisper light down the side of his cheek for the thousandth time. My eyes going from the drip, drip, drip of the IV bag, to the beep, beep, beep of the heart monitor -- drip--drip -- beep -- beep. I hated that song. It wasn't a song of life. It was a song of maybes and what ifs. Maybe he'd live. Hard to tell. I don't knows, and what if he didn't.

I tried to ignore the song in my head. Pretend Hutch was just sleeping, but there was no doing that with all the equipment attached to him.

I felt lost, helpless, agitated, just couldn't sit another minute. I stood and leaned over the bedrail.

"Hutch, damn it!" Frustrated, I took his hand in mine and squeezed it tight. If I could have squeezed that sucker out of him -- I would have. If I could squeeze my life into his -- if I could have taken that thing inside him into my own chest -- If I could beat this thing for him -- "Don't you leave me here holding the bag., Hutch! Do you hear me?"

Realizing how hard I was squeezing his hand I eased up on my grip, and sighed. "Don't die on me, partner," I choked back my tears. "It's about time you woke up, you know. I'm here with you, fighting -- right by your side."

I lay his hand down, sat back in the chair and just rambled not really caring what I talked about. "You know Hutch, your plants need you. You're the one with the green thumb, mines black. We have paperwork to finish and you know you promised to help me fix that leaky faucet in my bathroom." I moved my fingers into his hair. "This isn't working for me, Hutch. I'm doing a solo here and I'm about to crash land."

I was exhausted; I lowered the bedrail, sat back down, and laid my head next to Hutch.

Hutch pov::

I couldn't think. All I knew was I was in a very dark room, and everything hurt. If I could remember how to talk, I would have called out for help. There was something in my mouth and in my throat that made me want to gag. Someone was holding my arms down, but I couldn't see who it was. Whatever was in my mouth was pulled out, and an involuntary shiver passed through my body. It hurt like hell but I couldn't even scream. I kept seeing little flashes of light through the darkness. My chest hurt -- felt like someone had reached inside me with a nightstick and went to town. I was swimming in syrup -- then there was nothing again. I knew there was a world around me; I just couldn't get back to it. I would have even taken back the pain. At least that was something. I was in a silent void, stillness all around. Maybe I was dead.

No air.

No sound.

No feeling.

Nothing.

I don't know how long I went on like that, until I latched onto a memory. Big letters scrawled in lipstick red upon a glass window. It didn't make sense. Nothing made sense. I tried to wrap my head around what those letters meant. They comforted, and reassured me. I wanted to get up and go to the window, write my own message but my muscle strength was gone.

Okay, the vision wasn't much, but it was something. I started to swim toward the red letters, but the water was black and the waves were angry. Both of which were trying to drag me further into the dark cold abyss. I couldn't breathe normally, and all I felt was fear, and exhaustion.

Stay alive. Breathe deep. Breathe slow. I will make it. The words came to me in a flood, but I couldn't swim any farther. All I could do was tread water. Just as I thought I was going to sink deeper into the blackness, my hand touched something. The sensation was strong, causing the black sea to became no more than a tiny ripple. I stopped swimming -- yet didn't sink. It was still dark, but even with my eyes shut I felt a warmth and gentleness in that one slight touch. I was close to something so familiar, so trusting and so loving it overtook me, and I knew --

I had to drown to make it back.

I relaxed and gave in as I sank into the darkness.

Starsky pov::

I didn't know how long I was out, but something touched my hand and I jolted awake. For a second I stared at Hutch's face. He lay as still as ever, the vent was gone, and I swore his skin tone had taken on a pink color.

I felt something touch my hand again and I looked down. Hutch was moving his fingers. Little spasms making them twitch beneath my hand.

"Buddy! You waking up?" I excitedly leaned forward. For a moment I held my breath waiting for more movement. "Move, Hutch, come on, wake up, " I coaxed.

When there was nothing more, I panicked and pressed the nurses call button.

Judith came in. "He moved his fingers," I said, unable to retain my excitement.

She quickly took out a penlight, lifted his left eye open and shined it in, flicking the light back and forth. Frowning, Judith took a pin from her pocket and pricked the tip of Hutch's thumb with it.

The movement was small, but I swore Hutch's thumb twitched in response. She did it again this time poking a little harder and Hutch's thumb drew back.

"He's responding to pain," she said.

I stood closer staking out my partner, and taking his hand squeezing harder than ever before. "Hutch -- do it again -- move for me."

Hutch moaned and his hand jerked in mine.

"He isn't awake yet." Judith placed her stethoscope against Hutch's chest and listened. She smiled up at me. "Sounds better," she said. "Keep talking to him. Let him know you're here. I'll come back later," she said, stepping out of the room.

Hutch let out a small gasp, and for a second he just barely opened his eyes.

"Shhh, it's me buddy."

I never let go of his hand or took my gaze off him. Something was going on inside that blond head of his. I caught my breath, when I saw that crease between his brow he always gets when he frowns.

"Hutch, partner are you with me?" I smoothed my fingers over his crinkled brow. "Take it slow."

His eyes moved behind closed lids as if he were trying to answer my question.

I eased up on my grip, but didn't let go of his hand as I continued to search his face.

Hutch pov…

Beyond the endless gray fog, I knew there was a place full of color and I struggled to get there.

"Hutch."

I didn't recognize the voice that called to me, but I concentrated on it.

Something pressed against my brow. "Not that slow, Hutch, come on. I need to know you're in there."

My eyes fluttered open, but they felt heavy and the effort didn't seem worth it, so I pressed them shut.

"Good. Good boy!" The excited voice continued. "Can you do that again?"

I started thinking about the voice.

"No going back to sleep Hutch," it said and I felt a hand squeeze my shoulder. "Wake up."

My eyes slowly opened, and I stared up into a face.

"Hutch?"

I kept my gaze on the worried eyes above me for a long time, before I broke away from them and looked around the room. Everything looked hazy, and felt slow.

'Deep and slow.' My partner's words floated back to me.

"Hutch?"

My eyes shifted back to those worried eyes. 'Starsk.' I mouthed.

I reached a hand up to my throat, it burned and I wondered why no words would come.

"You were on a ventilator for awhile. Try not to talk it will get better," Starsky said.

I closed my eyes, as everything seemed to pick up speed and rush at me too fast.

"Hey," Starsky breathlessly whispered. "Stay with me, partner."

"With you," I croaked and opened my eyes again. Starsky looked scared. "Where?" I asked in confusion.

"Gym locker," Starsky laughed.

"Huh?"

"Hospital, dummy. Remember? Calendar? Captain Marvel? The plague-- you almost di --" Starsky choked on the last word.

"Died?" I nodded, as the lyrics all came back to me.

"Yes," Starsky said with regret.

"Didn't," I reminded. "Sang your song."

The never ending story…..