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AN ANGEL IN MY HELL

By: Karen B.

Summary: Episode related: Starsky vs. Hutch. JGetting Dizzy drunk -- seems to help Starsky see things a little more clearly. Angst.

Author's note: This is just a little snippet that bugged me until it was written. It is not beta read..It started off just as an exercise in dialouge and turned into this..thank you for reading!

I sat at Huggy's bar trying to get rid of the cold-hard rock that had settled in the pit of my stomach, and feeling like I'd just lost my best friend in the whole world. Maybe I had. Five empty bottles of beer lined the counter. Huggy must have run out of beer, for I now stared at the half-full bottle of whiskey in front of me. So Kira didn't love me -- Hutch neither -- but this bottle of Tennessee Sour Mash sure loved me.

Slam bam -- I hit the bottle hard.

The room was a buzz with the sound of endlessly looping conversations and full of cloudy smoke. I wasn't a smoker but it didn't matter -- tonight I was and I didn't even have to light up.

"You're drunk." An irritated voice came from behind me.

I glanced over my shoulder to see Hutch standing there with an angry look on his face.

"Maybe." I raised my glass to him.

"Come on," Hutch said in annoyance. "I'll drive you home."

"No," I said, fumbling with my shot glass until it found my mouth. I downed it in one gulp. Slam. "Not going home." Bam.

"Hey." Hutch leaned against the counter.

I swiveled on my barstool to face him and narrowed my eyes. Why was he here anyway?

"You been following me?" I slurred.

Hutch sat on the stool next to me. "Maybe," he said with a smirk.

"Well -- you found me." I blinked as I gave Hutch my best sexy eyes look. No way, I was going to give him the satisfaction of knowing how bad I was hurting.

"Yeah, I found you all right." Hutch gave me the once over and sighed.

I turned away from him going back to my drink. The movement made my head feel like it would spin off and I groaned.

"Starsk, we gotta talk." The words came straight from his gut.

"Talk? I thought we did that. I told you how I felt about her and you slept with her anyway." I started laughing. It wasn't funny, but I couldn't stop. Somehow, I slipped off the barstool -- felt like I landed at the bottom of my glass. Luckily, I found it actually was the floor that broke my fall. I was flat on my back -- but still laughing.

"Come on -- get up." Hutch reached down, took me by the arm and tugged.

"Why?" I pulled my arm away from him. "It's nice down here. Care to join me?" I snickered.

Hutch used some basic swear words then said something else, but I didn't understand. I just stared up at him and tried not to laugh.

"Starsk, we need to talk." His words finally got through to me.

A few moments painfully crawled by before something made me stop laughing.

"So talk."

"I can't talk to you when you're lying on the floor -- drunk."

"I can talk to you," I said.

As the world turned -- I shut my eyes. Who was he to be demanding anything of me?

"Starsky."

I opened my eyes.

"Ken."

"Call me Ken again -- and I'll --"

"What?"

The ceiling spun and I felt a squishiness invade my stomach.

"Please, Starsk."

Above me, Hutch looked like a giant hawk about to swoop down on its prey.

"Hutch." I was drunk but not drunk enough to try and push the 'Ken' word again. "Just leave me here to die."

"Can't -- won't do that, buddy."

The spinning room was approaching the speed of light, but I managed to catch the look in Hutch's eyes. Something deep inside me shattered and it lodged in my throat -- I think it was my heart, as the cold-hard rock inside of me melted just a little.

"Okay." I raised my hand.

He took hold and yanked me up.

"Think I drank too much."

The ceiling swapped places with the floor.

"I think you're right." Hutch gave a small chuckle.

Suddenly, my head felt heavy and my chin dropped to my chest.

"I think --" I ralphed down the front of my shirt.

"Hey, buddy." A hand clamped onto my shoulder and squeezed.

"I puked," I stated the obvious, as I tried to wipe the vomit off with the back of my hand.

"Yeah, you sure did."

I glanced up at Hutch. He didn't look grossed out in the least. He didn't look mad. He had a sort of innocent pathetic look about him.

"You're an ass hole," I said, swaying off my feet.

"Starsky, let's go outside."

I didn't want to have this talk. It wasn't going to be good. Not having a say in the matter, Hutch wraped his arm around my waist, and marched me through the kitchen. I stumbled out the backdoor into the alley, and he sat me on top of a beer keg. The air was cool. It felt good. I could still hear the loud music back in the bar.

"Here, partner." Like I was some kid, Hutch started to wipe off the front of my shirt with a damp towel he must have grabbed on our rush through the kitchen.

"I'm sorry," he said.

"Don't you dare!" I yelled as I shot off the keg and shoved him hard in the chest, he staggered backward and hit the wall.

Hutch started to straighten himself back up, but before he could -- I was there. I shoved him against the wall again, lost my balance, and fell to the ground. Deciding that getting back up was too much effort -- I just sat there. Drunk, sporting a bruised butt, smelling of vomit, and glaring at my best friend in the whole world.

"What happened, Hutch?" I half growled, half slurred.

He slumped down on the grimy alley ground next to me, but said nothing.

"What?" I repeated the question.

He shrugged.

"You wanted to talk -- talk."

Silence.

"I need to go home."

I started to stand but a hand held me in place.

"She played me, Stars." My silent partner finally spoke up. "I should have seen that. I should have--"

My heart raced.

"I think I've lost something," he said.

"What?"

My head pounded.

"Something more important to me than breathing."

My stomach flopped and flipped.

"You." Hutch answered my question before I asked it.

I shuddered.

"Did I lose you, Starsk?"

I didn't answer.

Hutch bit his lip.

I still didn't answer.

He looked away.

We just sat there.

Still as death.

I didn't know what to say.

The world wasn't perfect. Hell, we weren't perfect. Part of me -- okay a whole huge part of me wanted to knock his block off. Walk away from the partnership and never look back. But I'd never been so lucky -- to have a friend like Hutch. For some reason I started to feel like I was the one letting him down. What if I died tomorrow? What if he did? We'd never see each other again. Tell each other what we felt. I thought about it harder and it made me shiver. What if we had never met? I couldn't do it. I didn't want to think about it. It was too scary. I swallowed the lump that had worked its way up into my throat. I thought about all the times we had together. Good and bad. He was always there for me. I thought about all the nights he consoled me when I finally broke down and told him about my father -- about 'Nam. All the times he'd nursed me back to health when I had the flu, a bullet wound -- a broken heart. I thought about all the scars we shared. The pain we felt. The sorrow, the joy -- life.

I suddenly realized Hutch was better than chocolate falling into my peanut butter. He was an angel -- that had fallen into my hell.

Ten minutes of silence had gone by.

Some of my anger slipped away and somehow Kira didn't seem so important anymore.

"Hutch."

He looked at me and frowned.

"I know a friend of yours that needs a ride home," I said.

Hutch continued to stare -- confused.

"So, who's this friend?" he asked.

"Me, dummy."

Hutch's eyes brightened and his frown faded to a smile.

"You sure?"

"Yeah," I whispered.

"There's a lot of things --" Hutch paused.

"We'll figure it out," I said.

I felt like shit. My head hurt and I groaned as I put my hands to it.

"Help me up."

A hand slid behind my back, but before Hutch could help me -- I gagged.

"Starsky, you're not going to --"

I leaned over and puked.

"Pretty sure I just did." I wiped my mouth.

"Aw, buddy."

"I'm okay," I coughed and sat back up.

Hutch's face was real close to mine, but I wasn't seeing him. I was trying real hard not to see anything at all.

"Think you can make it to my car?"

Hutch waited for me to respond.

I was shaking and kept swallowing down hard, but finally I was able to answer.

"I hope so," I said in a hoarse voice.

"C'mon, partner," Hutch said, taking my arm and easing me to my feet.

"Where we going?" I asked as we walked.

I felt dizzy.

"My place."

I groaned.

"If it makes you feel any better, we'll stop for coffee."

"That'll cheer me up," I garbled.

My knees dipped, and my legs tangled.

I clung tighter to Hutch's jacket, as he guided my feet. It took all I had not to end up back on the ground.

"How you doing?"

"Pretty bad -- so far."

I could feel my eyes closing.

"Want to stop?"

"Just keep going."

There was a loud party going on in my head and I did my best to ignore it.

"Here we are, buddy." Hutch leaned me against his car that was parked right next to mine. "How are you?"

"Not much worse," I mumbled. "Want me to drive?" I tried to stand straight but Hutch's hand pressed to my chest and kept me in place.

"No thanks, buddy. That would be the one thing that could make this mess much worse."

"Okay, but we take my car."

Hutch's hands were suddenly all over me, patting me down like I was a suspect.

"What are you groping for?" I waggled my eyebrows.

"Keys," Hutch said with an edge of irritation.

"What are you cats looking for?" The bartender dude standing behind Hutch asked.

"Keys," Hutch said again with that same edge of irritation.

"Why don't you try looking up Kira's skirt?" The bartender said jangling a set of keys.

"Haaaaaahhhhh," I laughed.

Hutch pointed a finger at me, then spared the bartender a look. "Huggy, you're not helping."

"Huggy," I snorted, suddenly remembering the guy's name.

Hutch rolled his eyes.

"Thanks," Hutch said as he snatched the keys from Huggy's hand, and quickly opened the car door.

My body seemed to be put on lockdown, as I ping-ponged from side to side. I hunched forward, and gagged, but nothing came out.

"Starsk? Everything okay?" Hutch drug me upward.

"I got a headache," I admitted.

"I got aspirin."

"Stuff it!" I spat angrily.

I squared my shoulders and met Hutch's eyes. I was on an emotional wave -- exhausted.

"Come on you, oaf."

Hutch pulled my limp body away from the car and I sank against his, my head falling to his shoulder and my arms dangling limp at my sides.

"Need some help?" Huggy asked.

"I-I've got him," Hutch grunted as he struggled with me.

I felt my feet disappear out from under me and my butt landed hard in the passenger seat. I knew I had fingers and toes, but what happened to my arms and legs?

"Whoee!" I shouted.

" I should do my duty as a good citizen and have you both arrested," Huggy said.

"F-for what?" Hutch ground out as he lifted my legs and stuffed them into the car.

"Assault," Huggy deadpanned.

"Damn. Hutch, he caught us," I laughed.

My lungs and throat burned. I took in a few quick breaths, felt like a broken straw that you sucked on -- but got no results.

"You going to make it, Starsky?" Huggy asked.

It was only one word but it don't come easy. "Absolutely," I gasped.

"You going to be sick anymore, buddy?"

"No guarantee," I snorted as I slouched in my seat.

Hutch rolled down my window just in case, then shut the door.

I closed my eyes again.

"You in the clear?" I heard Huggy ask my partner.

"We're talking."

"I'm down with that," Huggy said.

The next thing I heard was the Torino's engine fire up, shift into gear and then jerk forward.

"Ohhhh."

I slowly peeked open one eye, and gave the driver a withering glare.

"Sorry," Hutch said, as he pulled out of the parking lot.

"Hutch," I sighed. "Let's just both live long enough for you to make it up to me."

I managed to open my other eye and caught a glimpse of myself in the rearview mirror. I was pale as death and real shaky.

"I'm sick," I muttered.

"You're drunk," Hutch corrected.

"Can you prove that?"

"The evidence is all over your shirt. You smell like week old parmesan cheese."

I looked myself over. The vomit on my shirt was almost dry, and it smelled real bad.

"Ohhhh," I sighed. "Hutch, what I said about the aspirin --"

"Yeah?"

"I was just kidding."

"Never mind that, pal. It'll be okay, buddy. I promise."

Hutch pulled me close and I leaned heavily against my best friend, as he fell back into my life.

The end