Time to post and well, I forgot about the fact I need to say something to lead in to this story.

-o- Over a year writing and re-working this fic. And well, I could go on an on—make a long statement about what I was attempting to do with this story and try and make it poetic and insightful…But I realized I just wanted to say, I put a lot of work into this sequel to Sonora. That I think people are complicated, that our past can chase after us into our present & our future. And most importantly that I couldn't have done this without the love, care and support of people who gave me their time, and their listening ears, and their talents to make this story happen. I'm forever indebted and grateful to this lovely bunch of friends who have helped me produce this thing. -o-

Robbin Laffoon, the master of content & detail, my first S&H buddy, for always challenging me, who read, researched, and weighed every word in an effort to keep me honest—that's dedication & love, y'all. Thanks for hanging in there and for all the hours you gave me. Now write something, will ya!

The beautifully-minded, Sarah, my English lass, who has been an amazing find as a 'beta" and friend and so darn smart and invested. And who lets me run with scissors in my hands!!

Friend & writer extraordinare, Wuemsel, wide-eyed and full of whimsy, for all the fun we have analyzing the heck outta everything—making me think some deep s...,

Sweet Karen, who knows how to bring all the joy and sorrow to the surface in word or vid, for helping me to smooth out the edges and for always supporting me, thanks friend.

Kate (CMT) –for helping me grow and for giving birth to such an amazing bunch of S&H fanfic for me to re-read over and over again--miss you here. Hope you're having a blast.

And thanks to great writer Debbie, whose discipline I do envy, and who, to the misfortune of S&H fic fans, has picked up stakes and moved onto new adventures in a another fandom somewhere out there…

I guess there could be a 3rd story at some point. We'll see.

Disclaimer: I think I got this—I don't own Hutch, (sigh) or Starsky, not even Dobey, or Huggy, or Rosie or Edith…well… just… I get it.

I can say though, I do own – the spoiled and pathetically messed up Sonora, and Monster(dear Frank), and August, and that mad scientist guy.

While most of this 150+ pager is written, I'm still tinkering with it. Hope you'll stay with me.

One final note; please excuse any content issues between this story and Sonora. There may be few minor glitches.

On to the story...

The point-- Grief can impact our lives and the lives of those we interact with—causing them – Grief.

A vicious circle.

-osOOso-

Circle of Grief:

Sonora's Return

Starsky ran up the steps and opening the front door with a sweeping arm gesture and a bow, directed Hutch inside. "Home sweet home, buddy."

"You dummy," Hutch said, giving his partner a big smile as he entered the Venice Place apartment — his apartment.

Once inside the bungalow, the grin on the taller man's face gradually faded as he turned to survey the living room. He slow-walked his way through it, peeking into the bedroom, greenhouse, and bathroom.

"So?" The dark-haired man tried to hide his impatience. He'd enlisted a small army to help maintain Hutch's apartment while his friend had been missing and was eager to see his partner's reaction to the place that had been his home.

Hutch's gaze settled on his shoes and he shook his head.

They had both hoped Hutch would remember it. When his slight head movement confirmed the opposite, they stood in silent contemplation, minds racing over what the missing recollection said about Hutch's recovery.

The absence of memory of the Venice Place residence was immediately replaced with the presence of Sonora Latrielle. The woman gangster had tortured Hutch, then employed an experimental drug and brainwashing to orchestrate a wedding between them. In the process, she'd made him believe they were blissfully happy, cruelly stealing much of his past from him.

Both cops knew the other was thinking of her. How she had harmed them. What she had taken.

Starsky roughly cleared his throat. He reached down to drag in a duffel bag full of a hodgepodge of items from the log cabin they had just left three days before.

He gave Hutch a touch almost invisible to the naked eye as he moved by him to dump the bag in a corner. "Don't mean it's not your home. Hey-- this place ain't too hard to figure out." He waved a hand around. "Living room, dining room--great place for the parties you've had here. Umm, bedroom…" he pointed out to Hutch, "—course I only know so much about what went on in there."

The comment made Hutch's eyes twinkle. And he relaxed a little bit and replied, "Well, I guess it's a nice place all and all."

"Yeah—kitchen's a good size," Starsky continued.

Hutch moved toward the folk guitar resting against a living room wall. He looked the instrument up and down, hesitant to pick it up. A long finger traced some of the length of the instrument's neck. "Hmmm," he said in an almost imperceptible sigh.

"You're pretty good," Starsky told him. "Hafta admit though, I'm more partial to your singing."

Hutch shook his head as if he was halting any musical requests from his friend.

"Don't worry, pal. Not gonna ask for any serenades. Not on our first night back home, anyway."

They exchanged smiles and Hutch made a mental note. His partner had a way of imparting wisdom while masking it in silly comic delivery. If he had forgotten that, he didn't want to forget it ever again.

The point Starsky was making—Sure, there were going to be some problems. They knew that. But they'd make it all work. Recovering lost memories really was a 'one day at a time' thing. The unvarnished truth being, even if Hutch couldn't feel it—he was home.

He wandered out into the greenhouse. "So, I guess I like plants, huh?"

Starsky did some fast stepping into the sun-filled space. "Yeah. Ahh-- you're a real hortacolorist…"

"A what?" Hutch said. Then smiling as he corrected him, "Starsky—you mean-- horticulturist?"

The mirthful banter between them made the taller man feel good. Some things were exactly as they always had been. Him and his partner—playing word games. Just one of the constants that made Hutch feel like he was at home. Home wasn't just about all the furniture, pictures, four walls—

"A who?" Starsky continued jovially.

"A—H - O - R - T- I - cul- tur-ist. Horticulturist." Hutch hid his grin by looking down as he played his part in the exchange.

Starsky said, "A hore--- ahh--a hora ….Whatever! You got a green thumb—two green thumbs."

That did cause the smirk on Hutch's face to grow, and he raised his head, confronting his partner with his compliance in their game.

Recognizing the in-on-the-joke look, Starsky came to stand next to him, poking him playfully. "Okay?"

Starsky's question was more of a statement that everything was going to be just that -- OK. "Hey—you need another tour?" he asked.

"Nah," Hutch said. "I'm good."

"How'd you do it—keep my apartment? It must have been…rough. How'd you afford it?

"Well, Hutch, your landlord Peter's a real gem. He knew you loved it here."

Starsky explained how the owner of the restaurant downstairs was well aware how much his police officer tenant enjoyed living there and didn't have the heart to rent out the property—not under the circumstances. Hutch's landlord moved some numbers around in his books and figured he could go without. The man wanted Hutch to have a home to come back to.

"That was nice of 'im," Ken Hutchinson said. "Wish I could repay the favor and remember why I liked the place so much."

Later in the day Starsky gave a thorough tour of the greenhouse. Introducing each plant he could remember the name of and the instructions of care Hutch had given to him in the past, when Starsky had baby sat them during Hutch's extended trips out of town.

"How come you know all this?" Hutch had asked him

"Cuz, it's important to ya." Starsky answered without sounding the

least bit self-conscious. "See here, this little one, Theresa—she's your favorite--cuz she dried up over some long weekend you took. Man, you thought she was finished for sure—but you kept working on her…"

While he spoke, he gave Hutch a meaningful gaze-- one that acknowledged Starsky wasn't just talking about the plant. "She's a fighter, ya know? It wasn't that long before you was showing me some green leaf here and there—then later some little orange flower…"

Hutch grunted a humph. "Starsk-- so you waiting for me to grow some leaves. That it, partner?"

"No partner," Starsky laughed. Getting serious, he told Hutch, "Just want you to know, you got the green inside ya—that's all."

Hutch sighed. Smiling again, he relaxed a bit more as Starsky tipped water into the favored plant's pot.

-osOOso-

Edith hugged Hutch tightly. A small group of family and friends stood around them. Dobey watched the hug squeeze up tears of emotion into his detective's and everyone else's eyes. Taking charge of the situation before it turned into a crying fest, he wrestled his wife off the man who had been missed by so many. "Let him breathe, honey," he sweetly told her.

They all laughed out loud. Hutch made a ghost of a swipe at the tears threatening to slip down his face. Then there was Cal, who gave him an uncharacteristically-from-a-teenage-boy warm welcome and followed it with a similar ghost swipe of his own.

It was the little girl that Hutch couldn't remember. The attempt to dig through his damaged memory banks for who she was showed on his face and brought a hurt pout to hers.

'Daddy," she said, "he didn't 'member me." She buried her face in her father's pant leg and he picked her up.

"Now, ahh Rosie, didn't you say you were having a tea party today? Don't you want to put out your tea set?" Harold tried to distract his daughter from her hurt feelings.

Still looking dejected, the child's large eyes inspected Ken Hutchinson who dug hands into his pants pockets— looking guilty as charged.

Dobey placed her feet on the floor and the little girl in a flounce of plaid and lace -- a floppy rag doll under tow, peered once more at Hutch before she took off for the miniature play table out on the side patio.

The next half hour was abuzz with the arrival of cops, neighbors and friends attending the informal barbecue the Dobeys had put together for people to come and see the prodigal son up close. Everyone had strict instructions on how to approach the newly returned detective. No one was to ask Ken Hutchinson questions or make off-handed jokes about his memory…and Dobey had given orders to all police personnel to keep their comments regarding 'payback' and the Latrielle crime family to themselves.

Some folks Hutch remembered…some he didn't.

Mostly, Hutch was terribly preoccupied as people took turns approaching him before making their way out to the backyard party-- sharing the prayers they had made for his safe keeping. The very present ache in the blond detective's heart was for little Rosie Dobey. He kept watch over her as the little child tended to her garden tea party and the array of stuffed bears and dolls she contemplatively arranged in just the right petite chair.

Hutch wasn't the only one watching…the Dobeys and Starsky were well aware of the unfinished business between the old friends…The detective sergeant and seven year old girl, who was sad because she had been forgotten.

The mood of the celebration became more festive and the smoke from the busy grill bigger…. Someone turning the music up shifted the attention off the blond-haired officer. It was then that Hutch made his move.

He stood at the glass sliders for a minute listening and attentive to the girl playing hostess, chatting with her silent guests and pouring invisible liquid tea into the plastic china tea cups.

"Got room for one more?" he asked.

She whirled around, blinking large browns of wonder at him, and nodded an invitation for him to join the party.

Hutch sat down on a metal storage chest just nearby, giving Rosie a warm smile. "Come here, sweetie," he beckoned to her.

There was only a moment of hesitation before she crawled up into his lap and threw an arm around his neck. "You didn't 'member me," she said sadly as she rested her head of thick curls on his shoulder.

Fully attentive to each other, neither would see the married couple cuddled in the kitchen watching the man who was like family attempt to smooth over the hurt feelings of their youngest child. And the blond cop and kid also wouldn't see the partner who cut off a conversation with someone-- claiming to need a beer while he tried to be inconspicuous as he viewed the heart-warming scene.

"I'm sorry I didn't remember you, honey," he told her. Hutch laid out a large hand and her tiny one slipped into it.

"Daddy said you got sick and had to go away to get better. Are you better now?"

"Yes. I am."

"So why didn't you 'member me?" she asked again.

"I'm sorry, sweetheart, I can't answer your question. But I do know that you're much too special a little girl for any guy to forget."

"But you 'member'd Cal and mommy." Her pout returned.

Hutch sighed at her insight. "I can't explain why my being sick made me forget you. Baby, I wouldn't want to hurt your feelings for the whole world."

Hutch could tell she was thinking about what he said so he asked, "Do you think you can give me another chance? Hmm?" He ducked his head some to look into her face. "What do you think –can you forgive me?"

Her beautiful large eyes widened to give him a deciding look over. Suddenly, as if coming to the solution to their problem, she sat up. Her long brown curls bounced. Animatedly clapping together her hands, she asked, "Do you still want to be my friend?"

"Rosie, I want to be your friend –more than anything," he assured. "You're the cutest thing, you know that?"

She giggled and hugged him.

The married couple and partner nearby, confident their loved ones were in good hands, returned to entertaining the house full of company.

"Ooh no!" Rosie announced as she wiggled out of his arms, "I forgot. Tea's ready."

"Well we better have some, huh?" Hutch agreed.

Her eyes twinkled back her amusement of his playing along. She raised a palm and tiptoed to whisper in his ear, "The cookies are real. Don't tell mommy, okay?"

He winked at her. "It's our secret," he promised.

(tbc)