HEART AND SOUL

By: Karen B.

Summary: Fix MS

Hutch's pulse was so elevated that I worried he may have a heart attack if not treated. His arm was black and blue from the injection sites, and his pupils were very large.

"No! No you creep!" Hutch fought me hard. I tried to get him to drink some coffee, but he knocked the cup from my hand. "Keep away from me!" he cried, every muscle was tight with agitation, and all I could do was watch the cup shatter upon the floor.

"Come on, boy." I held my partner closer hoping he wouldn't hurt himself.

Hutch's eyes darted around a second before he stopped his struggle. "Starsk?"

"It's me, buddy."

I offered what I could, smiling for all I was worth, but deep down it wasn't good enough. Had I done the right thing -- keeping him out of the hospital. What if Hutch died of an overdose in my arms. I couldn't be sure how much of that junk they'd given him.

"Sick. I'm sick," he hacked and coughed.

"Hang in there with me." I shifted Hutch higher on my chest and rubbed up and down his cold-prickled arms. "How's that?" I asked taking note of his snagged and ripped clothing.

"Better." Hutch looked at me a moment, then without a second thought went back to the business of fighting and spasmodically jerking in my grasp. "Give -- give me some. I n-n-need it -- now! Pl-pleassssssse!"

"Relax. Try to relax," my voice cracked. To my surprise, Hutch leaned his head against my shoulder and I felt his muscles loosen. "Good, that's real g--" The moment was gone that fast, Hutch couldn't relax. Not with that crap flowing through his bloodstream.

"It hurts. It hurts."

"I know," I whispered, and wrapped my arms fiercely around him.

Here I was in a place I never dreamed I'd be. Slingshot into a nightmare. In a small room above Huggy's bar with my best friend in the whole world. Sprawled on the edge of a bed, smelling the sweat and the mud and the muck of the junk they had pumped into him. His body kidnapped and his soul sold without his consent.

"Uuuuuughhhhh," Hutch gasped and gagged.

I could tell his throat was raw and burned badly as the vomit came up spewing all over the linen. I nearly puked myself, when I noted there was a tinge of blood in the hot liquid. I examined Hutch closer. He was full of pretty good gashes and cuts. His skin cold and cloudy-white.

"That's it!" I concluded. "I've got to get you to a hospital."

"No. No. I can make it," Hutch protested. "I can beat this." He scratched and clawed for a hold of my shirt. "Can't. No hospital -- Stars. Uuuughhhh…do-do-don't."

I didn't have a clue what to do. How could I let Hutch suffer like this?

"He's right, Starsky." Huggy, who had been standing by keeping his peace now stepped in. "You can't do that to him." Huggy took the soiled blanket, rolled it up and tossed it in a corner. "You know he'll lose his badge. Give him time," he said retrieving a clean blanket and draping it over both of us. "Coffee and candy," Huggy stated firmly. "Lot's of it." I glanced down at Hutch, then heard the click of the door.

"Coffee and candy, hell!"

I sat in silence and envisioned a moment of revenge. My fuse burning at both ends. I wanted to kill the bastards that did this to my best friend. I knew deep down I couldn't take my partner to the hospital -- why'd I even suggest it. Reality was reality. Odds were, Hutch would lose his badge over this. Hell, I knew I could too. When it came to being a cop, I was a damn good one and proud of it. But when it came to being Hutch's partner and best friend -- I was there one hundred and ten percent beyond any cops duty. I'd do whatever I had to for him.

"Uggggnnn," Hutch moaned

I leaned forward and brushed a sweaty strand of hair off his forehead softly whispering, "Sorry. I'm sorry, buddy."

"It's uh…it's uh --" Hutch changed positions in my arms. "It's okay. Jus' get me some stuff." His hand rose up and tightly clutched at my shirt. "I want it," he begged like a sugar deprived kid darting in and out the aisles of a candy story.

"Sorry," I said again taking in a deep breath. "You know I can't do that." I swallowed hard. "It's all up to you now, buddy."

A look of panic washed over Hutch's face. "Stars, I--I can't."

I rested my fingers on the side of his neck and lightly rubbed. "Yes, you can."

With all that I have seen out on the streets you'd think I'd be an expert in dealing with the pain and the suffering. There were plenty of times I'd seen junkies huddled in corners -- merely surviving, crying for that midnight needle like a baby crying for a bottle.

But I was no expert -- I had to settle in the knowledge that Hutch was the one who had to get through this. Not a damn thing I did would help him, if he folded on me. His will was all that he really had to beat the drug that ravaged his body. I was powerless. All I could do was hold him down and try to keep him from bolting from this room.

"Give me some!" Hutch pushed me away, but I held on.

"I'm not going to do that."

Hutch looked confused and shocked. "Starsky, you're…you're my friend." He quieted down.

"Yes I am," I said firmly. "Blonde, I'll save you a seat next to the candy machine, pump you full of coffee and never leave your side, but I'm not going to feed your arm any of that junk."

"I'm in this alone." Hutch frowned, a trickle of sweat running down the side of his temple, over his cheek and dripping off his chin.

"You're not alone. You got me." I lowered my forehead to his.

"Take a hike, Mr. Sunshine!" Hutch growled. "You don't care."

"Like hell -- I don't care!" My head shot up, the words were a vicious bite, taking a chunk out of my heart. "What were you thinking anyway, Hutch!"

I was angrier than I ever had been. My partner had gone off without even bothering to tell me where he was going. What he was doing. Who he was doing it with, and look at the mess he got himself in. My heart skipped a beat. What if I hadn't found him. What if he hadn't gotten away from those creeps. I felt a headache coming on and thinking I might throw up as well.

"Stupid!" I hugged my partner tighter to my chest.

"Leave me alone." Hutch struggled, but he was too weak to get away and his body went limp in my arms. "Starsk," he cried.

My heart bled when I heard him call to me in such a pathetic way.

"I know you're hurting, pal," I softened, mentally kicking myself for losing my cool. I rested my cheek against his.

"Stuff it!"

"Hutch. Why did you go off like that without telling me? Why?"

"Ahhh… need some help." Hutch slung his arm over the side of the bed fingers feebly scrabbling at the blanket for purchase, as he wildly glanced around the room. "Huggy?"

"Huggy won't get the junk for you either."

As if on cue, Huggy opened the door and walked into the room carrying a fresh pot of coffee. "You rang?"

"Need more medicine," Hutch pleaded. "Help me. No one will help me."

"Man cannot live on tonic alone." Huggy set the coffeepot down on the dresser along with a handful of candy bars. "I'll help you, my man," he said pouring a cup. "We are in this together."

"See there, Hutch? Huggy will help."

Wide-eyed and breathing heavy Hutch stared up at me -- his face pale and boyish.

"Yeah?" he breathed.

I winced at the hopeful look in my partner's eyes. I could read every thought rolling around in his drug-laden mind. Hutch thought the kind of help Hug and I were offering was the kind that came by heated spoon and needle.

"Man," Huggy said, glancing over and shaking his head. "This is going to be a baptism by fire. He's going through the worst kind of hell anyone can take."

"But he'll take it. Right, Hutch?"

We looked into each other's eyes.

"I can take it," Hutch said, and for a moment I thought I had my partner back with me.

"Right on." Huggy handed me a fresh cup full of coffee. "We are in this together."

"I'm- I'm just in -- in a little de-deeper," Hutch muttered.

"Come on. Try again, buddy." I held the rim of the cup against Hutch's lips.

Hutch took a small sip of coffee fighting back a big chill.

"The stuff!" Hutch's face suddenly contorted and his eyes flashed black with anger. "Uhhhhh!" The pain hit him with devastating force and he curled his knees to his chest. "Get it!" Hutch erupted like a raging volcano, sending the cup once again shattering to the floor. "You know where it is!" He wrestled with me.

"Aw, Hutch." I tried to keep a stiff upper lip, but was on the verge of tears.

The desire to help Hutch out of the pain was strong. My partner was right about one thing. I knew where to get the stuff. All I had to do was go get it.

"What are you doing to me? What?" Hutch clawed at my arm. "No. No."

I knew Hutch was my friend that he loved me like a brother, but all that was coming through him right now was disgust. Disgust for me. If I didn't know better you'd think I was the one who'd pierced his vein.

"You enjoying this?" Hutch lashed out.

The words shoved my heart into the pit of my stomach, yet I tried to stay calm. I leaned back against the wall and stared at the ceiling. My friend didn't know what he was saying -- blaming me for his pain. I had never heard Hutch talk like this before. Never seen him so miserable and hurting so badly. I loved Hutch. Hated seeing him like this. My world was crumbling right along with his. There was a part of me that wanted to get him the stuff. To ease his pain.

"You don't understand," he groaned

"You're right, Hutch. I don't understand. But I love you and I'm not going to let you crawl into a coffin and pull the lid shut on yourself!" It was eating me alive to see him like this. "I know it hurts and you feel like your falling down a bottomless hole. But I won't let you go. I won't!" My partner desperately fought me. "This was done to you. You didn't do it to yourself." I willed myself to stay calm as I held him. "I'm going to help you. Do you hear me, Hutch? You stick with me… okay?"

"Wh-where's my partner? Get, Starsky." His eyes rolled.

"Oh, God, buddy." I flinched. "W-wha' the hell did they do to you?" Hutch's words had nearly taken my breath away. "I'm -- I'm right here." I sat forward, and bent low over him. "It's me. It's, Starsky." I lifted Hutch's chin and forced him to look at me.

Hutch tossed and turned in my grasp. Lost inside himself, lost inside the throws of the drug. I watched as he kicked his legs, and flailed his arms -- maybe he was running, or maybe he was flying. All I knew was he was trying to get away. Whether it was from me, the pain, or from the memory of those creeps that had him tied up -- I couldn't be sure. He tried to push me off the bed, and somehow my right shoe slipped off my foot and thudded to the floor.

Hutch's left hand clutched at my shirt, the other was fisted, as if he were clutching something in it.

"No!" he gagged, barely taking in any air as he struggled, spittle leaked out the side of his mouth and streamed down his chin.

"Hutch." Dread filled me to the core, as I frantically tried to restrict his movements. "Hutch, look at me." He wouldn't, and I could feel the shiver of cold chills running up and down his spine.

"Huggy!" I panicked when Hutch nearly fell to the glass covered floor. "Help me hold him!"

It was unpleasant, but between Huggy and I we had Hutch pinned to the bed.

"Arrrgghhh," Hutch breathed heavily.

"Easy. Easy."

"Sweat and pain," Huggy moaned from his sitting position at the bottom of the bed his hands wrapped around Hutch's calves and pressing him with all his strength to the mattress.

I could feel Hutch's eyes open every now and again, pleading with me to give him what I couldn't. I dodged his gaze, held my breath and kept telling myself this would pass. Kept telling myself this was the right thing to do. Letting him sweat it out cold turkey. I knew I'd never forget this feeling as long as I lived. The utter helplessness of watching my partner suffer and unable to do anything else but restrain him and let him ride it out. Thoughts of taking him to the hospital ran through my mind again.

I glanced at Huggy and he gave me a weird look. "Don't cop out on him now," he said.

"Not a chance," I shot back, knowing Huggy never was blind, he saw right through my fear.

Forced to listen to my partner's ragged breathing and frantic thrashing, I banged the back of my head against the wall and swallowed the sickness in my throat.

I all but fell off the bed when the struggling stopped, and Hutch went limp.

"Hutch?"

"He's okay. He's okay, for now." Huggy gave Hutch's leg a pat, stood and walked across the room on shaky legs.

It was odd -- but the fit was over before I knew it. Hutch shuddered. He looked at me and I looked at him. His clothes were sweaty, his face red, and his hair was wet, like he'd just stepped out of a hot shower

"Hey, buddy, I was wondering where you were?"

'Hey' His lips moved but there came no voice. Hutch took a deep breath and tried again. "Hey," he said in a scratchy tone and frowned. "Stars?" Within the sliver of pale blue, I could almost see all the knowledge of the past few hours rush to Hutch, as he unclenched his fist and held up a hand.

"It's me," I said in a very soft voice, interlocking my fingers with his. "Don't worry."

"Not worried." Hutch took a weak hold of my hand, as a dark shadow seemed to spread over his face. "Starsk," he barely could talk. "Don't let me -- no matter what I say -- don't."

"I won't." I nodded slightly. "I won't let you."

Hutch made a small effort to smile. "Close your eyes," I told him.

Hutch shook his head, 'no'. "Don't feel like it."

"Don't argue, dummy."

"I smell." He sniffed and crinkled his nose.

I laughed quietly at that.

"It's my personal mission to make sure you get a shower first thing in the morning, but for now just close your eyes."

Hutch let his hand limply fall from mine to rest on his chest. "Okay," he said his voice still scratchy.

Obeying me, his eyes slowly closed.

I tugged at the covers that had tangled around his thighs and tucked them in around him. Hutch was out and obviously completely exhausted, the drug wouldn't let him stay that way for long. My legs were cramped, my butt was numb, and the bottom of my one shoeless foot itched, but I didn't dare make a move.

"How?" I huffed and raised my eyes. "How am I going to do this?" I asked searching the ceiling for answers.

Footsteps and light rustling brought my attention across the room. I had forgotten all about Huggy.

"With your heart --" Huggy took several steps toward the door. "And Blond's soul --" he reached out, twisted the doorknob and pushed it open. "That's how," Huggy said with watery eyes, quietly snicking the door shut.

"I couldn't have said it better myself." I smiled down at my partner.

The end.