GUTTERS AND ALLEYS

By: Karen B.

Summary: Starsky is sick , and both men have to work the nightshift. A short series of events depicting their lives as cops.

Thank you, Laura for helping me keep my ball out of the gutter. You are the sweetest!

And…

Thank you, Strut for setting the pins and keeping score. You're wonderful support and help are so much appreciated!

Any mistakes are my own.

Disclaim: Non-profit dreaming. I do not make any money nor do I own the rights to Starsky and Hutch. Written for fun/hobby/entertainment. I hope you enjoy thank you always and always for your time.

Sunshine even in rain,

Karen B.

10-103 Disturbance

Night shift stinks...

Slouching down further in the passenger seat of Hutch's hunk of junk, I glanced over at my brooding partner. The earlier 10-103 must have gotten to him too. He'd been real quiet ever since, and his complexion looked like it had turned as pale as his hair. I wanted to say something smart alecky, but decided right now, silence was golden.

I'd just barely gotten over the worst flu/ear infection I'd had since I was ten years old. Three days off, and still I wasn't one hundred percent. Yet, I had to suck up the discomfort and return to work. It was only my second day back on duty, and I'd found myself running down one of the filthiest alleys I'd ever set foot in.

I rubbed the back of my neck and yawned, trying hard not to think about the disturbance call. I hated disturbance calls, they could turn out to be anything from someone refusing to pay for their cup of coffee to a royal rumble. You never knew what you were in for, and tonight was no different.Guess I wasn't trying hard enough not to think as the call was all I could think of.

We approached the restaurant on Prospect with caution. Hutch took the front, while I had gone around to the back of the café. I tried to blend into the shadows as the alleyway leading to the back was brightly lit. I stopped inches away from the screen door, drew my gun, my badge extended for proper identification, and counted off thirty seconds. Just as I was about to enter the building, some flake came barreling out the door, plowing into me. The sudden jolt sent a nauseating feeling shooting through my gut. I twisted around and stumbled two steps backward, feeling breathless and slightly disoriented, just barely staying on my feet.

I tried to gather my wits but the scumbag got the drop on me. From behind, gloved fingers gripped my neck. His body pushed against my back, and he shoved my face up along side a large metal dumpster. I felt the man's hot breath real close to my face, almost gagging as it smelled like bad tuna. I choked, recognizing the sound of a switchblade opening with expertise and pressing into my rib cage.

"Drop the gun, pig!" Bad Tuna hissed in my ear.

"Drop the knife, scum," I hissed back, holding firm to my weapon, unwilling to give in.

"I'll stick you… right here!"

"Drop...the...knife," I repeated through gritted teeth, listening for Hutch to arrive and find us.

I felt the point of cold steel start to slowly push inward.

"I don't advise you do that," I said, feeling shaky. It was a huge effort but I kept my composure and shook the shadowy haze from my head. "My partner doesn't play nice with others. The last guy who tried to mess around in our sandbox --" I swallowed, still trying to gather my senses. "It wasn't pretty," I said with as much confidence as I could muster while trying to worm my way out of a bad situation.

"Your large intestine hanging out your side will be even less pretty," Bad Tuna snarled.

No way I was dropping my gun, I took a breath and steeled myself for what could come next when the assailant suddenly froze.

"Police!" Hutch's voice boomed from behind, as I heard the delayed sound of the screen door slam shut.

I could tell by the way the suspect stiffened that my partner probably had the barrel of his .357 shoved against the guy's back.

"Drop the knife, pal," Hutch whispered in a low and aggressive tone.

The knife against my side clattered to the alleyway. "Your partner decided to show," Tuna snarled with disappointment.

"Sure as hell isn't my Aunt Gertrude," I spat, spinning around and quickly holstering my gun in exchange for my cuffs -- something I could do in my sleep.

Fighting not to faint into dreamland, I handcuffed Tuna, marched him out the alley, and stuffed him in the back seat of Hutch's car.

As we headed toward Metro to book him, I tried to shake the recent event from my pounding head -- it was hard to stay awake. I stifled a moan, and nonchalantly rubbed my side. I could almost feel the tip of the knife that was there only a short time ago, certain I had inquired a small nick.

"What?" The blond boy wonder noticed and glanced over at me.

"Nothin', Hutch," I grumbled. This was going to be one hell of a night.

"Cheer up, Starsky." Hutch crawled into my mind like he always does when I don't want him to. "Could have been worse. We got the guy… didn't we?" Hutch reminded.

"You didn't get shit, cop!" Bad Tuna kicked a booted foot into the back of my seat.

"Umph," I grunted and turned to say something, but Hutch beat me to it.

"Hey!" Hutch yelled. "Cool it!"

"I guess," I said, glaring at Tuna. He wouldn't look me the eye. Coward, I thought as I turned to face front once more.

"What's up with you?" Hutch asked.

"Nothing."

"Something." Hutch poked a finger into my rib cage. "You sure he didn't hurt you?" Hutch gave Tuna the death stare via the rearview mirror.

"Ouch!" I shoved my partner's annoying hand away. Hell if I was going to look weak in front of our prisoner. "Will you stop it!" I yelled in irritation. "I won't be fine if you keep trying to punch a hole in my side with that steel finger of yours. Hutch! Look. I'm-"

"Good?" Hutch raised a brow.

"Better," I softened.

"Okay, okay. Sorry, Starsk."

"You're my hero, Hutchinson. Is that what you want to hear?" I asked, as I tried to hide my embarrassment of the situation. I didn't want to talk about this with Tuna in the back seat listening in on every word.

"C'mon." Hutch dropped a hand to my shoulder. "Was just me, buddy, doing my job. Backing up my partner."

"Yeah, sure," I whispered.

"Starsk, I'll tell you what. Next time you can be the hero. Deal?"

It wasn't about me wanting to be a hero.

"Deal, Starsk?"

It was about this old badge not shining like it used to and my stiff shoulder holster now worn and butter soft, like an old ball glove a kid had outgrown and had stored in a damp cardboard box, in a dark corner of some musty basement. It was about me maybe losing my edge. It was about how clumsy I had gotten. What if it was Hutch about to be ripped open by a blade and I had been two steps too slow? I was nobody's hero. What was being a hero, anyway? It's a prideful thing. My Dad always taught me not to pat myself on the back too hard -- I might break my hand. A true hero never thinks of himself as a hero.

Hutch was the true hero in this partnership. Honest. Faithful. Moral.

I shook my head, and leaned back against the seat, trying to escape my fevered reverie. I decided instead to take advantage of our current lull and rest my eyes. I couldn't get comfortable, and still couldn't stop thinking about how the filth in this city could chew you up and eat you alive.

"Starsky, is it a deal?" Hutch's soft mother-hen voice was grating on my nerves, what he really was asking was if I was okay.

I wiggled in my seat, and glanced at the dashboard clock. I needed to distract Hutch from his questioning, he was driving me insane. Four in the morning? Raising my wrist and studying my wristwatch under the halo of streetlights that passed by the hands read eleven forty p.m. I eyed Hutch suspiciously; he was doing his best not to smile. When was he going to fix his car clock? I think he hates time. He hates numbers so that would make sense. I'm thinking my partner doesn't fix the thing on purpose. He knows how to drive me nuts.

"What's the matter, cop? I knick you with my blade?" Tuna chuckled. "I got a better deal for you, 'next time' hero. I still owe you one, and when I get out of the slammer I'm going to give it to you."

I opened my mouth to say something, but before I could even take a breath Hutch slammed on the brakes, whipped around violently, and poked that steel finger of his in Bad Tuna's Adam's apple.

"Errrrrrrrrr!" Tuna squealed like a damsel in distress as my white knight partner sent his point home.

"I'll make a deal with you, scum," Hutch gritted between his teeth. "You keep your mouth shut with talk like that…or I'll file this finger down to its finest possible edge and slice --"

"Go easy, Hutch," I whispered.

"You get me, scum?" Hutch said in the purest icy voice I'd ever heard come from him.

"Yeah. Yeah. Okay. I get you." Tuna gulped for air like the hooked fish he was, and settled back in his seat.

"Deal, partner?" Gentle blue eyes looked my way -- all I could do was nod my agreement.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

11-10 Take a report

After we dragged the suspect to jail, booked him and did the paperwork, I dragged my tired body back to Hutch's car -- felt like an eternity. I sat quietly in the passenger seat while this nasty cold continued to take over my body. I felt like a puppet on a string. I couldn't move fast enough when that creep ran into me. It made my head spin and I'd lost my edge. If it weren't for Hutch, I'd have a nice knife hole in me right now.

I cleared my throat, feeling like the lining was peeling away, and my leaking nose was doing a marathon run.

"You going to survive that cold, partner?"

"Yes, Aunt Gertrude." I grabbed a tissue out of my pocket and blew my nose.

"You know, Starsk, if you tried some of my good health drink you might not feel so --"

"No! Not the health drink thing again, Hutch. Anything but the health drink thing."

"Starsky, if we took responsibility for what we put in our mouths, half the department wouldn't be down."

"Okay, Mr. All Natural."

"Starsk, believe me my health drink works. Why won't you take my advice?"

"It's my Constitutional right not to," I plainly said, as I stuffed the dirty tissue back in my pocket and we both fell silent.

No amount of health drink was going to help. I felt awful, but still had to be at work. Last night every time I lifted my head off the pillow, the pain in my head felt like a double-barreled shotgun going off. It hurt so much and I felt like I was going to be sick -- okay I threw up once. I couldn't eat anything and everything I drank just came back up. All I could do was sleep, which did little good as I kept having these terrible fever-related nightmares.

Nightshift wasn't doing me any good either. I still couldn't breathe very well, my head was clogged, my throat hurt, and I had to listen to Hutch's definitive guide to curing the common cold and whatever else allied you, on and off for the last few hours.

"How you holding up?" Hutch asked.

"Fine," I lied, as I downed another round of cold medicine.

"You didn't act fine back there in that alley when that guy got the better of you and had a knife to your --"

"Hutch, he didn't get the better of me. I ran into him on his way out. I'm fine," I grumbled.

"Fine!" Hutch snapped.

I was grumpy and I hated stupid questions. Sometimes shit happens. There was no reason. I didn't peel myself out of bed this morning and say, 'Hey, I am going to try to screw up today.' I still felt crappy, even with downing dose after dose of cold medicine. Besides, the stuff didn't taste like medicine; it tasted like candy. Hutch said if it doesn't taste bad, it won't work. Well, the cold syrup sure beat the hell out of Hutch's herbal remedies.

So, I had caught the stomach flu along with the rest of the department. So, I had a little blunder back there in that alley. So, I still had a scratchy throat and a low-grade fever. Not enough to keep me from going out and mixing it up.

So, with half the department out, Dobey had called in every man, no matter how pale and with any smidgeon of energy to help patrol the street.

So, my blond partner never got sick.

I glanced over and made eye contact with Hutch.

He smiled.

I frowned.

"So, Hutch, what's in this therapeutic blend of yours anyway?"

"Just your usual," he said. "Organic herbs, raw apple cider vinegar, and licorice root."

"Eewww!" I gagged. "You're lucky the FDA doesn't shove you in a cardboard maze with twenty other mutant lab rats, watch you push buzzers, force feed you cheese, and write up a report about it." I rolled my eyes.

"Roll your eyes all you want, partner. But I'm not the one who's sick"

Sighing, I looked out my window. Didn't Hutch know a bottle of organic salad dressing wouldn't keep away the flu?

TBC