I don't own the guys,
just like spending time with them.
Some possessions that we have are replaceable and some are not.
The Precious Possessions.
"Come on Hutch, tell me," Starsky paced back and forth around Hutch's back as they walked down the hall.
Hutch has been tight lipped all day and all he knew was that it was his birthday and Hutch had a surprise for him. It was just this morning Hutch had told him they were going someplace. Starsky had been at him all day, trying to get him to open up and tell him where they were going to, but Hutch was a steady clam and held tight.
"No Starsky. I'm not going to tell you. It's a surprise." Hutch kept up his pace to Captain Dobey's office. Jeez, he can be such a kid and a pain in my ass sometimes, but I love him anyway.
"Hutch, you know I would tell you if we were going someplace."
"Yes you do, but I'm still not going to tell you."
"Dobey knows, doesn't he?"
"Would it really matter if he did?"
"No, I guess not. It's someplace here in town, right?" the energetic detective continued to probe.
"OK …so we're going out of town. We're going to Dobey's cabin at Pine Lake again, right?" Starsky wasn't thrilled about the idea, but it could be a possibility.
"OK…we're going to the new disco club just east of town, 'The Hip Huggers' right?" Starsky snapped his fingers as he asked, while throwing in some hip action towards his partner.
Hutch stopped in mid stride and turned to confront his overly excited partner. "No! Look Starsky…I'm not going to tell you. So would you please just calm down," he raised an eyebrow at his partner, turned back around towards his destination, and picked up the pace again.
Starsky sighed. The slight bounce vanished, and he walked in stride with his long legged partner. He knew that he wasn't going to get any answer from him at that moment. The two detectives continued their way down the corridor to Dobey's office.
Starsky opened the door for Hutch, giving him a scowl look as the tall blond moved past him and through the open door. Hutch just rolled his eyes and shook his head. Such a kid.
"Captain, here's that file you wanted," Hutch tossed the file down on the large black man's desk. Starsky stepped around Hutch, nudging him out of the way to get to the captain's desk.
"Captn', so we're taking the next couple of days off," Starsky placed his hands on the desk, and leaned over towards the captain.
"Yes I know. I gave you the weekend off." Dobey said as he reached for the file, not really paying attention to his officer.
"So, you know we're leaving town, right?" Starsky probed for any information that might escape the burly man.
The captain looked up at his detective and saw the determination on his face. Hutch and he had planned this weekend getaway for their friend for the last couple of weeks. He wasn't about to spoil the surprise.
"Starsky, what the two of you do during your spare time is up to you. I'm not your event planner." He lied. "Now, get out of my office! And you two better be back on the job bright-eyed and bushytailed early Monday morning," Dobey barked at him.
Hutch, who was standing slightly behind Starsky, gave his superior officer a small nod and smile.
"Come on Capt'n, it's my birthday. At least tell me what direction we're going," Starsky kept asking, sensing the captain knew something.
"Starsky…if your not out of my office in one second, I'm going to cancel those days off, and assign the two of you to night shift for the next couple of nights," the captain warned him and threw a fist holding a pencil in it at his officer.
Starsky stood up straight with a look of frustration on his face, and worked his mouth around while thinking twice about a nasty reply.
"We're going Captain," Hutch grabbed his partner's arm, whirled him around and hastily tried to walk him towards the door. Hutch, with his natural clumsiness, tripped over the leg of the chair behind him.
"When did you learn to walk, last night?" Starsky asked, looking Hutch up and down, as Hutch straightened himself.
"Nope, it was the night before."
"If you two clowns are done playing, get out of my office."
"On our way Capt'n." Starsky grabbed the elbow of his partner and helped him out the door.
The captain sat back in his leather chair and smiled to himself. He enjoyed being able to get under Starsky's skin every now and then. Payback for all the times he was on the receiving end from his detective. He loved both of his detectives. They were his best officers and good friends.
You enjoy your weekend son. The captain got up from his chair, turned and looked out at the late sunny day that canopied the city. The late March days were finally trying to warm up, winter giving way to the start of spring, although the night's temperatures still dipped too low for comfort.
"They're off the roster for the next couple of days. Seems like they're going to have a quiet weekend. How am I supposed to know that? If they are, neither of them has said anything to anyone around here. I know it's his birthday. No. Hutchinson hasn't said anything about a party for him. That's your problem. Hey I'm doing what I can. I'll let you know if I hear anything."
The two detectives went out to the parking garage. Hutch went to the passenger side of the Torino and was waiting for Starsky to unlock the car door. Starsky stood and glared over the roof of the car at his partner. He fumbled with the keys in his hand. Just where is that blond headed partner of mine taking us? It must be someplace special for him to stay clamed-up like this for this long. Kenneth Hutchinson, have you been thinking too much again?
When it came to Starsky, Hutch was always thinking of his friend's happiness before his own. He was always putting Starsky in front of himself. For Hutch, Starsky was his world, on the job and off. Starsky filled a void deep within himself.
Yes there had been a few women in Hutch's life and a couple of them came close to being the next Mrs. Hutchinson, but his failed marriage seemed to sour the idea. His marriage to Vanessa ended when she decided, that being married to a cop was too low down the social and monetary ladder. This failure and her harsh words closed off and darkened the deep parts of his heart.
Hutch had lingered with a huge hole in his heart and soul. Until one day at the academy, a dark, curly haired man named David Michael Starsky rounded a corner and literally ran him over, the two of them crashing to the floor, an entanglement of arms and legs between books and papers. It was the instant start of what became a bond of two hearts and souls. Their two lives were now one entity.
Starsky now filled that need to love someone and to be loved, the need to want someone and to be wanted, but most importantly, to trust. To trust ones' self and another person, and to trust that person with the very essence that makes your life. For him it meant to willingly hand over his heart and soul to someone, and know that that person would hand over his in return. To have such a bond to another person as he had with Starsky, it takes his breath away from him at times. It was so strong, so deep, and so unparalleled to anything else. The trust of the others' soul was a precious possession that neither took lightly.
The love they held for the other was unconditional. They were always there for the other, caring for each other with no boundaries, through the good and the bad. They were utterly dependent of each other for their emotional stability, knowing that the other was always there to rebound them back out of the depths of despair that came with their lives. That love would soar during the high points in their lives and even higher during the lowest, when being in need of that love. The partners love each other on a plain that stretched far and wide and no others would share the privilege of that unique love.
"The longer you take to get this thing on the road, the longer it's going to take for you to find out where we're going," Hutch told him over the roof of the red car, tapping his finger on the top.
Starsky glared over his aviator glasses at his partner, opened his door, slid into the driver seat and reached over and unlocked the passenger door. Hutch dropped down into the seat, turned and looked at his partner. A devious smile crossed his face.
"Well, ya gonna to tell me where we're going or ya just gonna sit there like a Chesit cat?" Starsky asked sharply, looking at his partner.
"Cheshire cat," the blond corrected.
"Chesit, Cheshire…we're not headed down into a hole to find Alice at a tea party are we?" a bit of frustration inched its way up.
"We stop at my place first to pick up an overnight bag. Then we stop at yours on our way out of town." Hutch kept up the smile, his voice level.
Hutch loved the idea of keeping his friend in the dark it made the surprise even better. But he knew, sooner or later Starsky would start to pout like a kid who didn't get his way. He could sense that Starsky was getting to that point. He could feel a certain amount of frustration starting to creep over his friend.
"So we're headed up the coast?"
"Starsky, just get this hunk of junk of yours on the road."
Starsky shot a look back at his mischievous partner, turned the key and got the powerful car roaring and headed towards Ocean Boulevard.
What's up the coast that he would think I would be interested in and for us to stay over night? I don't think that he would take us all the way up to Las Vegas, too far. The airport is south, if we were going to fly somewhere. Just where are we headed?
Starsky drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. He drove on as he chewed on his lower lip. His mind was still working out the entire possible destination.
Starsky drove them to Venice Place, and wheeled the car behind Hutch's battered and weather-worn car. The roar from the muscle car announced his presence to the neighbors. They had gotten use to it. A little bit like living near an airport or the train tracks. They didn't complain. Some liked the feeling of security that came with having a cop living in the neighborhood.
"I'll just be a couple of minutes," Hutch announced as he opened the car door and stepped out.
"Hey, see if I left my watch laying around up there. Not sure where I laid it down." Starsky asked him across the seats. He was notorious for wearing a watch, but yet always asking Hutch for the time.
"Starsk…you and your watches," Hutch sighed heavily. It was just one of those little quirks that made up his partner. He smiled at the thought.
Hutch's long legs sprang him up the stairs to his apartment. His mind set on his mission to give his friend and partner a nice birthday trip. He smiled to himself as he reached over the door for the apartment key, and opened the door. He then placed the key back in its resting place. He stepped in leaving the door open it was just going to be for a minute.
The apartment was bright and aglow from the afternoon sun coming in through the greenhouse. He went over to the window blinds and pulled them close. As he closed off the outside world, the apartment softened into grays and pale oranges. A small amount of light tried to escape in around the edges of the blinds.
He reached under the far side of the bed to pull out the duffel bag that he had already packed and stashed away out of his partner's eyesight. He didn't want his inquisitive partner to start asking questions too soon. He had planned to spring the surprise weekend to him that morning. If he would have told him of his plan too earlier, there would have been no living with him. Starsky was relentless when it came to surprises. He was such a kid at heart. The excitement of surprises seeped from his pores, especially on holidays.
Hutch loved his friend and partner on a level that was beyond description. The two had grown closer than most people's comfort zone allowed, and there were plenty of rumors, but they didn't care. They had a bond that was ineffable. Their care and love for each other was unbreakable. The curly haired man was his partner, friend, and sole mate. He loved every side of him, even the little boy that emerged every now and then. He would do anything for this man, even if it meant to die for him. Simply put, pure love.
He walked over to the desk drawer, reaching in and he had to feel around to find the envelope containing the tickets. Found, he closed the drawer. He then glanced around the small apartment. He tried to locate the mentioned missing watch. But it was nowhere he could see.
Let's see… bag, tickets, plants fed and watered. The kitchen cleaned, lights out, and blinds drawn. Alright…I'm ready.
He placed the envelope in his shirt pocket. Unconsciously, his hand brushed over the Magnum that hung under his left arm, and then over the extra bullets in his pocket as well. Then his brain engaged on them.
We're going out of town for a fun weekend. I won't need this. He told himself.
He started to unhook the holster, and then stopped. For the past eight years, it had been a possession that he had rarely, if ever, left home without. These three pounds of steel were an extension of him. Something in the back of his brain told him to let it be. Take it. He agreed with himself and left it in place.
He straightened his jacket, picked up his bag, one last glance around and he stepped out of the door, locking it behind himself.
He proceeded down the staircase. He hesitated halfway down. Closed his eyes, he recapitulated everything, his senses on alert. Something seemed out of place? No…everything looked just as I left it. I locked the door. No…I guess it's nothing.
He continued his way down the stairs. He opened the car door, pulled the front seats back forward and tossed his bag into the back of the car. He then turned and looked back up at his apartment. Was there something that he missed, something that he forgot? Something was out of place?
Maybe I should go back. Something is just not quite right. The thought itched at him.
"Come on Hutch. What're ya waiting on?" Starsky impatiently asked interrupting Hutch's puzzled thoughts momentarily.
Hutch turned back to the car and sat down. With the door still open and his right foot still on the curb, he glanced back up to the building.
"Something wrong?" Starsky asked as he noticed the hesitation and odd expression on his friend's face.
He had seen this look before. It started to creep over his face when something had his partner concerned and puzzled. In their partnership he had learned early how to read Hutch's body language and facial expressions. Clinching his strong jaw when he was about to explode while contemplating your fate. The crease between his eyes getting deeper when puzzled, the little boy look when he was sick or in pain, the softness of a smile when he was at ease.
Along with the exterior cues, they had developed a silent communication. It was on a subconscious level, a connection that grew into an invincible force that only they shared. It had saved their lives on many occasions and at times drove those around them crazy. They were able to hold a silent conversation, while those next to them, just stared. They had fun with it.
"Not sure. Just got this feeling." Hutch brushed his lip with his finger. The crease deepened as his eyes narrowed.
"You want to go back up and check it out?" he asked, now with a concerned tone. His hand was on the doorknob ready to exit the car if needed.
"No. I already went through the place. Let's just go. I'm sure everything is alright." Pulling in his leg he closed the door and he tried to convince himself everything was fine.
Starsky turned the key while still looking at his partner. The roar under the car was now announcing to the neighbors that he was leaving. The red car was maneuvered around Hutch's dilapidated vehicle and headed north on Ocean Boulevard.
Across the hall from Hutch's apartment, the door to the neighbor's apartment was opened wider. The figure that has been standing inside the darkened doorway, watching the tall blond, slid through the opening and slowly closed the door behind itself. Then it slowly exited the building. Watching the taillights of the red car in the distance, it turned and went in the opposite direction.
Starsky glanced over at his partner. Hutch still had that concerned look and was rubbing his chin with his thumb, the strong jaw slightly clenched.
"You want to go back and look?" glancing from road to his partner, he lifted his foot off the gas peddle just slightly.
"Starsky…it's fine. Just get to your place and get this trip started," he said with a small hint of a smile. He reached over to his friend's thigh, patted it a couple times, and then placed his hand on his friend's shoulder, a small reassuring touch.
The touches came early in their friendship, taking Hutch by surprise. For him, he grew up in an environment that was virtually void of the physical signs of affections. His father considered it to be a sign of weakness. Though his mother did reach out on occasion and provided a hug and kiss on the forehead when the need arose.
With Starsky's childhood, it was filled with the outer expressions. Hugs and kisses were abundant. These tokens of love, hugs, and affection were given freely in his childhood, not a single day did he go without some form of affection.
Hutch first didn't know what to think about it the first time that Starsky unconsciously reached out and gave him a reassuring squeeze on the shoulder. It was after a rough day, the academy instructors had decided it was Hutch's turn to be emotionally driven down, trying to see if he would break and quit. He didn't.
Those awkward days long gone, the two men soon started to crave for these touches. And they didn't care who noticed. They would consciously and unconsciously fill the need that they knew the other one had. It was their unique way to reconnect, and reassure each other.
"So how's the car running?" Hutch asked lightly.
Starsky slammed on the brakes and the car came to a screeching halt. Shocked, he looked over at his partner. The car behind them blew the horn and maneuvered around the Torino, the driver throwing a furious look and explicit hand gesture at Starsky.
"Hutchinson…you sure you're alright?" Cause the last thing ya ever cared about, is the condition of my car. And just for the record, tuned up and serviced just last week. Purrs like a kitten," he proudly said as he caressed his hand across the dash.
"That's good," and Hutch's smile widened, and again a bit devious.
Starsky took a couple more hard looks at the blond sitting next to him. He's up to something. He got the car rolling again.
A short time later, Starsky pulled the car up to his apartment. Both men exited and made their way up the steps to the wooden deck.
"So…just what kind of weather should I pack for? Should I bring something for a nice dinner out? What kind of clothes are we talking about?" Starsky was walking, talking and gesturing.
"Starsk… just bring something to stay warm in. Outdoor stuff."
"Aw Hutch… you're not taking us to some health resort? You know…where all they eat is butterfly bones and twigs and sit around outside looking at the trees and stars? Ya know I'm not the nature nut here. That's you," he pouted at his friend as he opened the door.
"Starsky, just throw a pair of your crummy jeans and long sleeve shirts into your bag. Get your jacket and lets go. We have an hour or so drive and I don't want you to miss anything."
Now Starsky was a little intrigued. Something outdoors, and a couple hours away. Hmmm. Starsky worked quickly and threw some clothes into his duffel bag.
While waiting, Hutch had walked over to the kitchen window sill, picked up the small plant that sat there. A clipping off one of his own that he repotted and given to him. He watered it and set it back. He had taken up the chore of not only looking after his own small forest, but Starsky's as well. Making sure they were watered and fertilized regularly. He didn't mind. They shared every aspect of their lives even the smallest thing like taking care of each others' plants.
"OK, lets go," Starsky yelled over to him from the front door.
Hutch went to the door, hesitated as he stepped out onto the deck and looked down to the gleaming red car. It was Starsky's pride and joy. The one possession that he knew Starsky would never part with, not if there was a choice.
"Come on Hutch…ya gotta give me some kind of clue here," Starsky pleaded with him as he walked up behind him.
Hutch thought it over. Hmmm…let's see. What can I tell him to pacify him enough, but still not give anything away? OK, I've got it.
"Alright, a clue."
This perked Starsky's curiosity up a bit. The Starsky charm is working on him. He thought to himself. That famous crooked Starsky smile emerged.
The two men made their way down to the car. Starsky's slight bounce was back as he walked around the car to the driver's side. His mind was now on the small victory that he achieved. Hutch was cracking, not much, but it was a start.
At the passenger side Hutch leaned over at the roof, arms stretched out, fingers laced, his mind working.
"Well, ya gonna tell me or just stand there?" Starsky asked.
Hutch pinched his lower lip with his finger and thumb, and then pointed a long finger at him, "OK. It's something that you do about fifty percent of your time."
"What kind of clue is that?" Starsky questioned the vague information that he just received.
"Well buddy…it's all you're going to get," the Hutchinson smile beamed. He swung open the passenger door and sat down in the car before Starsky could start his barrage of questions.
"OK …fine," Starsky threw his bag into the back of the car to join Hutch's, then slid into the driver's seat and got the car running.
"Alright Blondie, just where do we go from here?" glaring over to his scheming partner.
"Well, for starters, run through town to the interstate."
Starsky maneuvered the car into town. The ride through town to the interstate was quiet. Each man had his mind in different directions, Starsky, with his brooding over the clue that his partner gave him. It wasn't much, but it kept him occupied. Hutch had his mind on his apartment. He kept rerunning the whole stopover in his head. Trying to figure out what it was that just didn't seem right. He just couldn't put his finger on it. Just something was odd.
"OK…we're coming up to the interstate. Where do we go now?"
"OK. Head north out of town."
Starsky pointed the car to the north and accelerated onto the crowded road. Seems everyone was heading out of town for the weekend. A black Javelin pulled onto the highway, undetected by the pair. The driver of the black car immediately recognized the unmistakable red and white car and settled a couple cars back. There was no need to get closer. The destination was already known to him.
The traveling had been slow, but as the city eased behind them, the traffic thinned, and they picked up speed. Both cars reached the speed limit. At this moment only the occupant of one car was aware of the other.
The evening sun was dipping into the edge of the ocean to their left. The darkness of the nights still falling early in the evenings, though the days would soon start to lengthen as spring continued to grow.
With the sight of Mother Nature's evening light show, Hutch dismissed the puzzle that plagued his mind. He sat slightly turned in the seat, his back against the door. His left leg tucked slightly underneath him, his knee bumping up against his friend's thigh, his right stretched out as much as the car would allow his long legs. He was watching the sun set behind his partner's profile. The glow from the setting sun lit the soft, black curls and outlining Starsky's face.
Hutch looked at his partner and knew why the girls always were attracted to him. He was a handsome man. The dark curls were soft as velvet and played wonderfully off the slightly olive tone of his skin. And those indigo eyes along with his smile…a smile that could melt any hardened heart. It was such a sweet and honest smile, always full of life. It accentuated the powerful heart that pounded in his well built and strong chest. It's a heart and soul being so passionate about life. They emanated an energy that was addictive.
Hutch smiled tenderly, he was just thankful for having such a extraordinary man as his friend, partner, and soul mate.
Starsky glanced over at his partner and saw a content look on his partner's face. "What?" Starsky returned the smile with a question. "And by the way, remind me why we're taking my car? Whenever you want us to go out of town, we take your car." Starsky stated his realization. He remembered that Hutch had mentioned that morning he would prefer Starsky to drive that day.
"Because this is your weekend and I know the relationship between you and my car isn't exactly a love affair. I want you to have a good time. Besides, your car is running better than mine at the moment."
"Alright, I'll accept that. So just what kind of good time are we talking about? Are we meeting up with a couple of girls some place?" Which at this time, dating didn't appeal much to him.
Since the death of his beloved girlfriend Terry, Starsky just couldn't let his heart go. The whole dating game just seemed to have a stale taste to it. It seems that every attempt ended up in a disaster shortly after it started. The girls reaching the conclusion they were also in a relationship with the big blond, if they liked it or not.
Only being around Hutch did he feel comfortable and at ease. Hutch was the only one that really understood him, and allowed him to be who he really was. Hutch was his best friend, he loved him dearly. More then life it's self. Right now he just needed and wanted, a quiet time alone with him.
"No Starsk. It's just you and me buddy. A fun weekend together, alone, with no distraction from work."
"So Dobey does know? I knew it." Starsky concluded.
"OK…yes he does. I had to also promise him that you wouldn't bring the weekend back to work with us."
"And just what is that suppose to mean?" Starsky throwing a sharp look over at his scheming partner.
"You'll understand when we get there." Hutch smiled his broad and beautiful smile. Starsky loved to see it, but right now it has a devilish side to it.
"Hutchinson…you just don't want me for a friend. All this secrecy. Come on, tell me,"
Starsky was feeling exasperated from it all.
"Starsk…you know I love ya. I promise that you'll have a great time." Hutch reached down and again patted the thigh of the dark curly haired man.
"OK, fine. How much further? We ran out of town over twenty minutes ago."
"Patients my dear man. You're coming up to the exit."
The city lights were now gone and nothing but a distant glow on the horizon behind them. A blanket of darkness lay across the desert in front of them. The stars pitted the black canopy above them. The waning crescent moon left the earth darker then usual.
Starsky looked in his rear-view mirror. Then he glanced at his driver's side mirror. "You know we've had a car following us since town?"
"Really? Where?" Hutch's cop instincts clicked on. He turned in his seat and looked back.
"Yeah. Two cars back. I picked up on it as we left the city."
"Well Starsk…a lot of people do use this highway to leave town."
"Yeah, I guess that you're right." He took one last glance back at the car.
Hutch noticed the exit that they needed to take. "Get off at the next exit, then east."
Starsky did as he was told. He guided the car off the highway, onto the exit ramp, stopped at the stop sign, then turned to the right that took them east. The Javelin followed behind at some distance.
Starsky watched it in the rear mirror. "They're still with us," he told Hutch as he looked over at him.
"It may just be a coincidence Starsk." Hutch told him, in a concerned tone.
A couple miles down, the bright stadium lights appeared on the horizon, and the glow grew larger.
Starsky saw the large sign coming up on the side of the road. It read, "West Coast Wheel's Drag Strip. 2 miles."
"Hutch…are you serious? You're taking me to see the drag races?" Starsky just about jumped up and down in his seat. The excitement was bursting out of him. All thoughts about the car trailing behind them disappeared.
"Well…there's more to it buddy. I've got you entered to run this thing down the track. That is if you want to."
"Hutch…I can't believe that you did this," Starsky's smile beamed on his face. Hutch was happy to see that crooked smile of his partners'. He loved to see it.
Starsky reached over, took hold of Hutch's hand and gave it a squeeze, just a soft tender moment to help ease the adrenalin that hit his system.
As they approached the gate, Hutch pulled out the tickets that would allow them to enter the drag strip, passing them to Starsky for the guard at the gate. He placed the envelope back into his pocket. The tickets, it had to do with the tickets. But what was it? Hutch's mind back tracked to the apartment momentarily.
As they entered the gate and drove down the road, a slight breeze blowing in the open windows, bringing with it the smell of burnt rubber, asphalt, oil, and racing fuels. Smoke hung heavy in the cold night air, and the lights played off it as it rose from the track. The roar from the track thundered towards them. This was a place were man and machine came and melded together. Here the need for the adrenalin rush was satisfied, where the older men schooled the younger generation in the fine art of living on the edge of triumph or disaster.
Starsky drove around the parking lot through the never ending rows of cars. Cars were parked alongside the trailers that they had been transported in. As they drove around the parking lot, the sound of the engines being prepared for the race vibrated through the air and bounced off the Torino.
Hutch could see the excitement emanating from his partner. Starsky's eyes widened as he drove past the wide array of cars. There were classic street rods, modified, trucks, rails, all types and models. There were a few, 'Hutch look at that one,' and a few, 'Hutch, now that's a car,' as they slowly drove by.
Starsky found an empty space towards the end of a long row of vehicles and parked. They got out of the car and walked towards the entrance to check Starsky in for his race class. Neither took notice of the Javelin that parked one row down from them. The driver also walked up to the check-in building.
Starsky was assigned to the Super Street class. He received his car pass and number. The class included six cars total. A small class, but he didn't care. He was just too excited to finally compare his driving skills with others. He took top honors in the academy, and was well known around town to out maneuver anyone on the run. This was the first time that he was going to test his abilities against those seriously involved about their cars and racing.
They had some time before his class was to start. "Hey, lets go watch a couple passes," Starsky stated as they walked along the safety fencing that surrounded the stadium seating.
"Sure. This is your weekend. Whatever you want to do," Hutch smiled and reached around to give his friend a small rub on his back.
They found two seats on the front row and sat to watch the next run. The two men unconsciously sitting so close that there was no space between them. It was second nature for them to share the same space, even virtually sitting in each others lap, and at times even that. Yes, there were always second glances and puzzled looks from folks around them, but those people were always ignored by both detectives.
The large man slowly walked down the same row, observing the men, he walked up and sat down at Starsky's left. He glanced over at the two men seated to his right and smiled to himself. Could they get any closer to each other?
A couple of rail cars were warming up and getting ready for their run, with both drivers doing a quick burn-out to heat up the tires. They then proceeded to the start line. The cars ready to go.
Hutch felt Starsky sitting with tense muscles, ready to explode. His crooked smile was tight.
The starting lights glowed red, then quick yellows, then green and in a flash the cars were instantly gone. The roar from the two cars and the crowd was deafening. Starsky's muscles exploded as he jumped from his seat. The large man sitting to the left side of him jumped up also. Both men were clapping and yelling.
"Hutch...did you see that? Man those cars were quick off the line," Starsky stated as he looked down the track to where the cars had crossed the finish line. In his excitement he almost toppled over Hutch's long legs.
"Yeah, they are fast…I'll give them that." Hutch had to admit, as he held out his hand to help stabilize his staggering friend.
"Wow! They're fast aren't they?" the man to Starsky's left stated as the two men sat back down.
"They sure are." Starsky said turning to the man sitting next to him.
"Phil Hansen," the man announced as he offered a hand.
Starsky took the man's hand and shook it. "Dave Starsky and this is Ken Hutchinson," he said as he introduced his friend. Hutch extended his hand across Starsky.
"You two here to watch or participate?" Phil asked nonchalantly, even though he already knew the answer.
"A little of both you could say. I'm going to run in the Super Street class."
"Well I guess I'll see you at the starting line," Phil announced as he stood and offered his hand once again.
Stunned, Starsky took the man's hand as he also stood. "You're racing as well?" he asked. Hutch stood and shook Phil's hand again.
"Seems our Captains decided to a match. Detective Phil Hansen, L.A. West Side Division," he informed them.
"Detective? Hutch…did you know about this?" Starsky turned to his partner, still stunned.
"Dobey and Captain Walker from L.A. decided to see which precinct has the better driver. Guess that your reputation for your driving skills has gotten around Starsk. He mentioned it to me a couple weeks ago. So we arranged this little "meeting of motors" at the race track." Hutch gave Starsky's arm a slight squeeze and smiled at him. Phil observed the sign of affection being exchanged between the tall blond to the brunet.
"When I found out that the track was opened for this season, Dobey, Captain Walker, and I made some calls to find out what class your cars would run in and we arranged the two of you to run against each other."
"I can't believe that you've done this for me. Hutch, this is great." Starsky looked deep into sea blue eyes for the duration of a heart beat. He saw the love Hutch held for him. His heart sighed.
The three men turned and walked out of the sitting area and headed back to the parking lot.
"So how did you know who we were?" Starsky asked the L.A. detective with a smile.
"I was told a couple weeks ago, when they planned this, that I was going to run against a Gran Torino and it wouldn't be hard to miss, a bright red one with a white stripe. So when I reached the Interstate, I happened to come up behind you. I knew that it had to be the car I was going to race against. Got to say it's the only one I've ever seen. When you took the same exit, I knew for sure that you were the one."
"Well that's some good detective work. May I ask what I'm running against?" Starsky asked curiously as they reached his car.
"I'm driving a 1974 Javelin. Not as big as yours, but it's quick. The Alabama highway patrol uses them. This one ran a year out there, then the officer was transferred to California and decided to sell it. I love the look and speed of it."
Phil walked around the red car examining it, then walked to the front as Starsky popped open the hood and raised it to take a look at the engine.
Phil looked at the engine with him. "I see you have the 460 Lima V-8. Big monster. Heard these are fast. I can see why our captains paired us up." His knowledge of cars was being revealed.
"What'dya got under that hood of yours?" Starsky questioned.
"I've got what they call the "go package", a 401 ci. 6.6 liter V8. Running 335 horse power."
"I can see why they use them for the highway patrol. Kind of hard to get away from that power." Starsky said, impressed by the car he was going to compete against. He lowered the hood down and closed it.
"Let's go take a look at what you've got," Starsky stated and the three men walked down the row of cars.
They stopped briefly to glance at a 1955 Chrysler 300 that was being prepared. "Now that's a fast car! I hear they can reach 130 mph." Phil stated. Parked next to that car was a 1957 Rambler Rebel. The driver bent over into the engine compartment doing some last minute adjustments.
They walked to the next row of cars and stepped next to the black car with the white hood stripe. Starsky was immediately impressed by the look.
"This is sumthin'. Now Hutch…can't you see yourself in a car like this?" He questioned his partner as they glanced at the car. He tugged at Hutch's jacket sleeve as he gestured with the other.
"Starsk...you know that our taste in cars isn't exactly the same. I'm perfectly happy with the one I have."
"Geez Hutch…I need a Tetanus shot for just looking at that heap of yours. Maybe while you're here, you'll take a look at some real cars. There's got to be something in this sea of automobiles that will tickle your fancy." Starsky gestured out to the array of cars parked around them.
"Starsky, we're here for you, not here to car shop for me."
Phil popped open the hood of the Javelin and raised it to let them take a better look. Starsky was immediately impressed. He walked around to the driver's side and bent down to take a look inside. The Javelin was equipped with a police scanner and Mars light, just like the Torino.
"I see that you also use it for work," Starsky said as he walked back to the front of the car.
"My partner and I use it on occasion. Mainly we use his old '63 Ford Galaxie. He's got it running great, has the 427 in it. He bought it from someone who used to race with it. It's roomier then this thing, more comfortable for those long stake outs. Plus it doesn't stick out of a crowd like this one does."
"See Starsk…not everyone runs around in a souped-up parade float all the time." Hutch snorted as he nudged his partner in the side. Starsky shoot him a look.
Phil closed the hood of the car. "Well I guess I'll see you at the starting line," he stated as he offered his hand again. Starsky took the offered hand and shook it.
"Good luck. I'll be waiting for you at the finish line." Starsky smiled at the L.A. detective.
He received a smile in return.
The two men turned and walked back towards the Torino. They slowly glanced at some of the cars as they walked along.
"Hutch…I still can't believe that you helped set this up. This going to be the best birthday I've had in a long time," he reached around Hutch's waist as they walked, tugging him in close for a slight embrace. Hutch reached around the shorter man's shoulder and squeezed back.
The slight show of affection did not go unnoticed by a couple of men standing out of eyeshot in a darkened area of the parking lot. They kept their eyes on the two friends as the pair walked back to the red car.
"That's them. Look at them, acting like a couple of fairies. I can see why he dislikes him so much," the mustached man said as he glared at the two friends.
"We were told that they're close. We wait until Cole and Michaels get here. We've got a little time. Besides, looks like it's going to take all four of us to pull this off," said the leather clad man with biker looks as he rubbed his hands together.
Starsky opened the hood to the car again. "Hey Hutch, would you get in and start 'er up? Want to make sure she's ready for this," Starsky asked as he was bent under the hood of the car.
Hutch sat down on the edge of the driver's seat and turned the key. The car's powerful engine roared to life. He got up and walked to the front of the car. Starsky was leaning over the engine, listening intently to the purr that rose from the large engine.
Hutch stood back, watched, and smiled. This wasn't his cup of tea. He knew little about tuning and tweaking engines. He could change the oil and spark plugs if needed, but that was the total extent of his mechanical abilities. The condition his car was in, a testament to that lack of abilities and desire. He was blessed to have a partner that had more knowledge, passion, and contacts and that, if needed, would take care of things for him.
Hutch noticed that Phil had pulled his car over to the row that they were parked in and glanced at his watch. He waved to Phil as he slowly passed them in his gleaming black Javelin.
"Hey it's close to your start time. You need to get your striped tomato to the start entrance," he yelled over to his partner. The noise from the car added to the thick, low throated noise that rose up from some of the cars surrounding them. Starsky stood up straight and walked over to the driver's side, reached for the key and turned it. The car instantly went quiet.
"Well I guess this is it. Time to see how this baby handles a race track." Starsky walked to the front and closed the hood.
Hutch walked to the passenger side and sat. Starsky got behind the wheel and glanced over at his partner. A silent 'thank you' went from sapphire eyes to sea blue ones. Hutch reached over and gave him a pat on the shoulder. Smiles beamed from both men.
Starsky turned the ignition, slowly pulled out and drove towards the entrance of the track. He maneuvered the red car around a man and his son, who were walking towards the stands, the boy waved. Both men smiled and waved back.
Starsky pulled up next to the Javelin and killed the engine. They then got out of the car and walked over to where Phil and several other men were standing. They were joined by the track director, who was making sure all drivers were aware of the track rules and regulations. They were told who would be running against whom. As arranged, the two detectives would be running against each other. They were the last to run in their class.
Up first to run was a purple '70 Plymouth 'Cuda and a Hemi orange '71 Dodge Challenger, both approached the staging area. Both cars were well matched. Each car equipped with a 426 Hemi V8. The drivers both were seasoned and familiar with the track. Both did a short burn-out to warm up the slicks, than approached the line. The starting tree went through the start sequence, hit green, and in an instant both cars were gone.
Starsky and Hutch stood and watched as the two cars roared down the track. The reaction from the 'Cuda's crew told them, even before the time board, that the Plymouth beat the Dodge, by only a half car length. But in racing, that's miles.
Up next was a grudge match between a '69 Chevrolet Nova SS, and a '75 Pontiac Firebird Formula. The Nova was impressive to look at, inside and out. Starsky and Hutch had stopped by it earlier on their walk back to the car. Every possible part of the car and engine had been chromed. Starsky's eyes had lit up. 'Hutch, see that? Now that's a fine looking car. It's definitely shiny,' Starsky had nudged at his partner. The young driver and owner had smiled at Starsky as he overheard the comment.
The Firebird on the other hand, had a nice paint job and was clean inside and out, but the money went to the mechanics of the car. The performance of the car was more important than the look. The older, quiet driver had stood off to the side of the small crowd and watched the track. Stooping down every now and then, as he studied the asphalt and how the previous cars that had ran handled the surface.
These two cars had run against each other a few times in the past, and each time the Firebird had won. The Nova's young driver insisting that his 396 big block could outrun the Pontiac 455. Each time coming close to victory, but still coming up short and taking second.
The announcement came, the two drivers, as in the past, shook hands and proceeded to their cars. The black and white Nova approached the staging area, the white Formula at its side. With smoke rising from under the car tires, the Chevy performing an impressive burn-out. The driver of the Pontiac did a brief warm-up and approached the starting line.
The two cars were lined up. The tree set at red, the yellows quickly followed, then green lit up.
The front end of the Pontiac went slightly up as the torque from the engine and transmission engaged. Both cars thundered down the track. Again the Firebird Formula crossed the finish line first. The victory claimed by experience again.
"Yes! See Starsk… pretty doesn't always win the race." Hutch beamed a big smile at his partner, along with a small jab in the side of the brunet. Starsky smiled back at him, getting the hidden message.
Phil Hansen walked up to the two men. "Well I guess this is it, our turn. Good luck," he said, offering a handshake again. "Just a quick note. Not sure if you're familiar with racing, but since we both have street tires on the cars and not slicks, no burn-out."
"Yep, I know, but thanks anyways. Good luck to you too," the dark haired detective said to his competitor. The men walked to their cars that sat waiting for them. Starsky opened the car door and slipped in.
"I'll see you back here after the race," Hutch told him as he stood close to the driver's door. "You be careful! Remember this isn't the streets of Bay City," Hutch told him as Starsky turned the ignition. He knew that his partner was an excellent driver, but this was a totally different game. The streets were one thing, a racing track was another. He had heard of men losing their lives running races. He reached in through the car window and gave a hard squeeze on the brunets' shoulder. He was reassuring himself more than his friend.
"Hutch, it's a straight run." Starsky said when he saw the look of concern in the blonds' eyes.
"I know, I will be," Starsky told him inhaling deeply. He smiled up at his friend and looked deep into sea blue eyes, I'll be careful, I love you Hutch. The silent message sent.
Love you too buddy. Hutch silently replied.
Starsky pressed his lips shut tight, then inhaled deeply again and took a firm grip on the steering wheel. Hutch stepped aside and allowed his friend to maneuver the car to the starting line.
"Where are they?" Cole asked as he and a large blond bodybuilder approached the two men standing in the shadows.
"They're at the staging area. The car is ready to run. Should we take him now?" the biker asked.
"Not yet. Timing is crucial. Let him move away from the crowd some more. He may put up a fight. Remember, he is a cop, but I do know his weakness. Michaels, you know what to do." The body builder nodded and walked away. Cole and the two men walked closer to where they could get a better view of the tall blond, and waited.
Starsky maneuvered the Torino to the right of the Javelin, directly in front of the lane he had been assigned to. Both drivers maneuvered their cars around the burn-out area and proceeded to the starting line. Both Starsky and Phil started revving the powerful engines that they sat behind. The powerful engines were vibrating in the cars. Starsky sat concentrating on the starting lights. Muscles tense. He just wished to have had more time to prepare mentally. For him the seconds ticked away like hours
Red. Yellow. Then green. Starsky stepped on the accelerator and the red car shot off. He gripped the steering wheel tighter, keeping the car headed straight on the track.
Phil had a better start, the lighter car had a slight advantage at take off. But Starsky was able to catch up at the midway point. The bigger Ford engine powered ahead. The car roaring to life as it traveled further down the track. They were bumper to bumper, but Starsky demanded more from the car and it responded with the last push to claim victory.
Hutch had stepped back to the right side of the staging area to get a better view down the track. He saw the time board light up as the cars crossed the finish line. Starsky had won the race by about an eighth of a second. A close race and the crowd was on their feet cheering. Hutch jabbed at the air and smiled.
"Yes…I knew you could win!" The excitement for his friend got the better of him. He wasn't much into the whole racing thing, but to have his best friend win a race, was as exciting for him as it would be for his friend.
Cole and his two goons walked up behind the tall blond that was engrossed in the race. The two men stood close behind as Cole went around to the front. All men had their guns drawn but held them out of sight from the people around them. Cole suddenly turned around and faced the blond cop. Hutch saw the gun, tensed instinctively and went for his own gun. He immediately stopped when he felt two gun barrels stick him in the back. The steel pressed deeper into his spine, as he took in a deep breath.
"No sudden moves and don't even think about pulling your gun." Cole sneered.
Hutch slowly moved his hand away from the handle of his weapon and deliberately moved his arms slowly out to the side of himself. Cole carefully reached inside Hutch's jacket and removed the Magnum that hung under his armpit. He stuck it into his own waist band and under his shirt.
"If you value his life," motioning with his head towards the track, "You'll walk without drawing any attention. Now turn around very slowly and walk out of here quietly." Cole jabbed his gun into the side of the detective.
Hutch looked in the direction of his partner. The jaw of the detective now clenched, it's muscles bunching in anger. He then peered down at the man that now had him at a disadvantage. The cold deadly glare from Hutch to the man was conveying the message that he just made a deadly mistake.
Hutch slowly turned around, now standing eye to eye with the two men who had stood behind him. He knew that he was out numbered, and without his gun, he would have to do what he was told. His mind went to the safety of his partner. He slowly started to walk towards the parking lot. His mind considering different possibilities of how to handle the situation, but the safety and well being of his partner overrode everything.
STARSKY I NEED YOUR HELP! GET YOUR ASS BACK HERE…NOW! The silent S.O.S sent out.
Starsky slowed down the car as he approached the end of the track. Looking over at his opponent's car he saw Phil salute. Starsky saluted back. It felt great to have won the race, but that feeling was all of a sudden replaced by panic.
At the end of the track he slowed and turned onto the return road that would take him to the backside of the staging area. A sense of urgency and panic flooded him.
He turned the car onto the return pavement and gunned it. Phil followed close behind. Starsky reached the backside of the staging area, stopped the car and got out. Phil parked near by and walked towards the dark haired detective.
"Nice driving. I first thought that I had you there. Congratulations." Phil again offered his hand. Starsky looked down and shook it merely at a second thought.
"Thanks. Hey…you didn't happen to notice my partner standing around somewhere?" Starsky asked while looking around behind them. Phil noticed the apprehension in Starsky's voice.
"No. He could have gone to the John or to get something to eat," Phil said as he too looked over searching the crowd.
"No. He said that he would meet me back here. Hutch isn't one to say one thing and then to go off and do something else. Got this feeling that something is wrong. I think that he's in trouble." Starsky started to pace as he continued to glance over the crowd.
Hutch would be fairly easy to spot, being six foot one with a head of wheat blond hair. But with only the stadium lights, there were too many dark areas that made it hard to recognize individuals.
Phil Hansen and his partner were close and he knew many partners that have a close relationship, but he knew from the first meeting with these two detectives, that there was something different about them. Now seeing the concern on Starsky's face and hearing it in his voice, reconfirmed that these two were tight.
"Let's park the cars off to the side over there," Phil suggested pointing over to the left side of the parking lot, "I'll help you search for him."
Starsky walked back to his car, while looking around for his missing partner. Phil got to his car, maneuvered around the Torino, found a couple empty parking spots and parked. Starsky followed him.
"If you'll search to the left side of the parking lot, I'll take the right side. Thanks again for helping," Starsky told the L.A. detective as he got out of his car.
"Hey…I'm sure that he's around somewhere. Probably looking at cars."
"No…Hutch isn't the car enthusiast. Only because of me he's here at the track," Starsky noted. His heart sank a bit; to think that if something may have happened to Hutch because of himself. Hutch was only here to give him a weekend full of fun.
The two men went in opposite directions. Phil walked to the far left side of the parking lot and started cautiously weaving up and down the rows of cars. Starsky walked down the right. He turned around every now and then to scan the track area, his eyes searching for any hint of platinum blond hair.
Starsky was almost at the end of the first row of cars when he caught a glance of a tall blond in a shadow far to his side. He picked up his pace towards the man. His was heart beating faster in his chest.
"Hutch!" He yelled out over the cars around him, getting closer to where the man had been. He looked around and found no-one. He turned around in frustration. "Hutch! Come on buddy, where are you?" he said out loud.
Again he caught a glimpse of blond hair. Again he was off in that direction, again no-one. The blond head seemed to disappear into thin air.
"Damn it Hutch," his frustration and worry growing by the minute. Was he just imagining it? Seeing someone that his heart hoped to be his friend? He walked between the parked cars towards the center of the parking lot. The same area the person with the blond head may have gone to.
With only the artificial lights above, it was difficult to see anyone clearly. Starsky turned and for the third time he saw a tall blond in the distance, still only the back of the head. He went back to the right.
As he ran he saw his unmistakable red car speeding down the parking lot out towards the exit. His heart pounded faster. "My car…what the hell is happening here!" He yelled out in frustration. He turned around and saw Phil coming towards him.
Phil had walked down a couple of rows of cars. He had stopped repeatedly asking a few drivers if they had seen the tall blond detective. No-one had, but all of them were too engrossed in their own business with their cars to really pay attention to others around them.
Phil glanced over to his right and saw Starsky running back to the last row of cars. Maybe he spotted him. He started his way back to the cars. From the corner of his eye, he spotted the red car racing out towards the exit gate. He looked back towards the dark haired detective. He saw him throw his hands up in the air as he pointed at the red car.
"My car. Someone just stole my car!" Starsky yelled out over the constant thunder of cars around him, pointing to the exit.
"I saw it. I'm on my way. I'll do what I can to get it back." Phil yelled as he ran back to his own car, leaving Starsky to continue his search for his missing partner.
Hutch found himself on the cold steel floor of a van. His hands and feet securely tied. He felt a trickle of blood running down the side of his face. The pounding in his head told him that he had been hit and hard. He looked around and found that he was alone. He wasn't sure how long he was out, but it couldn't have been for too long. There was still the noise from the cars being tuned around him. He was sure that he was still at the track.
In what seemed a far distance, he thought he could hear his partner yelling his name. He tried to move, but that was useless, with the way he was hog-tied and his head revolted against any sudden movements. His surrounding was twirling around him. His stomach was also protesting of any sudden moves.
Starsk I really need you to find me. I need you right now. Hutch tried to connect with his partner. Please hurry buddy.
Hutch heard the back door to the van being opened and the van dipped to the side as someone heavy got into the van. He then felt that person press a rag to his mouth before he could say a word. He struggled, but the fight quickly fleeing, replaced by nothingness. The sweet smelling toxin invaded his body with every panic breath he took in. His body went limp.
"Night, night, pretty boy. We sure are going to have fun with you." Michaels told the unconscious man. He stood up in the van and delivered a hard quick kick to the left side of Hutch's chest. The impact from the cowboy boot broke a rib and sending the sharp edge of bone into the soft tissue of Hutch's lung. Michaels laughed as he exited the van.
The feeling of a sudden void in his chest made Starsky's heart race, it hammered against his ribcage. His breath quickened as the panic and the adrenalin levels rose even higher.
Again Starsky ran in the direction of the blond haired head. This time it took him to a dark, secluded area of the parking lot. His was mind running at a frantic pace. First his partner went missing, now his car was stolen. And he was chasing a blond ghost. He just wanted Hutch back, safe and sound with him. He slowed his pace as he reached an outbuilding that looked to be boarded up.
As he rounded the building, he wished that he had taken his gun with him. He had left it behind, thinking they were going out of town to have some fun. Fun usually didn't involve weapons. Hindsight is always twenty-twenty, though he knew that Hutch would have his gun with him.
Since the kidnapping of his partner by Forrest and his goons a few years earlier, Hutch was wary about leaving home without his gun. He only left the three pounds of steel behind on his morning runs.
Hutch had confided it to him late one night. They comforted each other after a brutal day out in the streets and he said he just couldn't trust anyone anymore. Having the steel under his arm helped to ease the tension, but only with Starsky he could put his mind totally at ease. Only to his best friend did he entrust his life. Starsky had held the big Midwesterner during that night as his friend broke under the pressure of the ugliness in the world they worked in.
Hutch wasn't one to allow his insecurities to surface and to be seen by others. Hutch would only allow his partner to see his fragility. Nobody else was allowed to see that side of him. His vulnerabilities were something that he guarded. His upbringing didn't allow him to show any weakness and up to this day he was very cautious on allowing what to show. Only Starsky was allowed to see his human side. His partner was never judging him in his times of emotional weakness.
The majority saw Hutch as the pretty, quiet type, a bit aloof and analytic at times. And at times, he was moody as hell when he was tired. But he was also a hard nosed cop when injustice occurred. To get him riled meant one of two things, he'd get quiet while calculating your fate, or he was in your face and you wishing that whatever it was you did, you hadn't done. He is also overprotective of his partner, and he'd let anyone around know that fact.
Starsky loved the big blond for the tough, brilliant cop he was and the big hearted, sensitive man that would do anything for him.
"Hutch! Come on buddy, let me know where you are," Starsky's voice cut through the cold night air. He approached a white van that was parked at the back of the building.
Starsky slowly approached the vehicle. His gut telling him that his partner was close. The bond that they shared, was guiding him closer. Suddenly he was confronted with three heavily armed men. He recognized one of the guns, a .357 Magnum, his partner's weapon. Hutch wouldn't have given it up easily. Aw man, Hutch. His heart instantly searched and found Hutch's was still beating along with his. An internal sigh went through him.
Cole and mustached man came at him from the front, while the tall bodybuilder Michaels, approached and bumped him from behind.
OK…here we go. Let's get this over with. Hutch…I know you're close by. I'm coming buddy.
"Well I seemed to have found tonight's party. You boys haven't seen a tall blond running around here, have ya?" Starsky smiled as he glanced behind him to size up all his opponents. He glanced up. The blond I've been chasing.
Knowing that he was out numbered, out gunned, and his partner in trouble, Starsky did his best to find a way to change his current situation and alter it to his advantage. But at this point he couldn't think of one. At the same time, he wasn't one to go down without a fight. He braced himself for that fight that was about to erupt.
"Maybe, maybe not. But we found a blond faggot standing around looking pretty. He's already joined the party." Cole calmly told the dark haired man.
Starsky's anger erupted because of the insinuation thrown at his friend. His instincts controlled his moves as he lunged forward at the man insulting his partner. But Michaels grabbed him from behind before he was able reach the target of his wrath.
"You son-of-a-bitch!" Starsky tried his best to break the hold of the man that held him from behind. His struggles were fruitless against the big man.
"We also found a pretty red car to play with. Seems that we're going to have a good time tonight," Michaels said from behind. In a quick move, the big man landed a blow on the back of the cop's neck.
Starsky suddenly found himself on his hands and knees, his head pounding from the blow. The body builder bent over him, "it could be worse, but you're not to be hurt…much," he snickered down at Starsky who turned his head to look up at the man, realizing what had been said. His blue eyes were now dark with anger and narrow.
"If we're going to play, than we need to play fair." Starsky said as he rubbed the back of his neck. He glared up at Michaels.
"I don't play fair," Michaels informed him as he landed a blow on Starsky's left cheek. Starsky landed flat on the ground. He could taste the blood as he spat out the copper tasting fluid.
"That's enough. We're not to hurt him, remember. Only the blond." Cole stepped over to the dark haired man who now tried to get to his feet. Cole grabbed a hand full of curls and arm and yanked him up from the cool ground.
Starsky quickly turned out of Cole's grip and landed a left hook into Cole's right cheek before Michaels snagged him again. Controlling his anger, Cole carefully wiped his mouth with a handkerchief and tossed it aside. He took a step closer to the now captive man.
"That will cost him some more pain." Cole coldly told him nodding in the direction of the van.
Starsky knew immediately who he was referring to.
"Put him in the van with the other and then take care of him in the way I told you. You know where to meet." Cole barked out orders at the two men.
The mustached man and Michaels obediently did as they had been told. Each man grabbed the detective under an arm and walked him to the back of the van.
After his hands had been tied, Starsky was forcibly thrown into the back of the van. A flood of relief went through him as he saw Hutch was there with him, but that was quickly replaced by a sense of panic, when he noticed no movement from his partner.
"Hutch! Hutch, you alright? Come on buddy talk to me," he nudged closer to his friend. He still received no answer and there was nothing but silence. The overhead light from the inside of the van showed blood running down the blonds' face.
"You bastards! What did you do to him?"
"Oh he's not dead…yet," Michaels told him. "But he'll soon wish he was," he snarled at Starsky.
"You hurt him and I swear that it will be the last thing you ever do," Starsky coldly made his promise.
"Oh, but this isn't all about him. It's about you, too. You'll soon learn what it's all about. But I sure will have some fun playing with him," Michaels coldly told him as he suddenly placed a rag with chloroform over his mouth. The last thing Starsky saw was his friend's face.
Detective Phil Hansen jumped into his car and gunned it in the direction of the exit. He passed the detective as Starsky was headed towards a building.
He knew the Torino wasn't too far ahead, but once it reached the interstate it was going to be hard to find. He pushed the Javelin. He was a little torn about leaving the detective alone to search for his missing partner, but also knew that the stolen car was a possible connection.
He reached for the police radio that was mounted in the car and switched it on. He then tuned it to the used frequency. He heard a call going out and knew that he had found the right channel.
"C.H.P., Officer Hansen L.A.P.D." He informed the dispatcher as he quickly maneuvered around a truck leaving the track.
"Go ahead L.A.P.D." The voice on the other end said.
"I'm in pursuit of stolen vehicle. 1975 Gran Torino. Red with a white stripe. California Plate number 537 ONN. Stolen from West Coast Wheel's Drag Strip. I also need officers at the drag strip. Possible kidnapping of an officer from Bay City P.D."
"You said an officer has been kidnapped?" The voice reconfirmed.
"Yes! And I need you to patch me through to Bay City Police Headquarters," Phil kept his voice as steady as possible.
"Bay City Police," the dispatcher Mildred announced.
"I need to talk to Captain Dobey, this is an emergency!" Phil's mind fixed on how to inform the captain that one of his men was in trouble.
The captain was reaching for the office door to go home when the phone rang. "This is Captain Dobey," a burly voice informed him in a huff.
"Captain Dobey, this Detective Hansen from L.A.P.D. it's about your men out here at the drag races." Hansen swallowed hard.
"What about my men," the roar intensified.
"Sir, it seems that we have a problem."
"You better get to the point," Dobey's voice roared at him over the radio.
"Sir, we may have a kidnapping. I do know for sure is that Starsky's car has been stolen. I'm in pursuit of it now. And we can not find Detective Hutchinson. Detective Starsky said he feels that he's in trouble. I already have C.H.P. on their way to the drag strip and I have reported the car."
"You mean to tell me that one of my men has disappeared?"
"Yes Sir, at this time we can't locate Hutchinson."
"I want you to turn back to help find my man. You tell Starsky that I'm on my way." Dobey barked. He slammed the phone down and went out of his office slamming the door close behind him. Damn! Starsky what did you two get into now?
Phil was about half a mile from the interstate, he could see the red tail lights from the Torino. Even in the dark the red car stood out like a beacon. The tail lights went north onto the interstate. He did what he was told and stepped onto the brake and swung the Javelin around. The car coming to a sudden screeching halt and now pointed back in the direction of the crime scene.
"C.H.P. this is Detective Hansen from L.A.P.D." he called out as he gunned the car back up to speed.
"The stolen red Gran Torino is now heading north. The car is owned by Officer Starsky from Bay City P.D. They have been informed of the situation. Captain Dobey from Bay City P.D. is on his way. I'd advice to getting a superior officer over here to meet him. I'm on my way back to the West Coast Drag strip."
"Ten Four. Red Torino north bound. We have patrols south and north bound heading into your direction. And there is a Captain Davis already on his way." The patrols were now on high alert. When a cop disappeared it affected everyone on the force.
"Ten Four C.H.P." Phil pushed his car. It was going to be a long four miles back to the strip. He pushed the car harder, the rpm's needle hitting top-end of the red zone.
He passed a truck hauling a racecar it was the same one he went around after starting his pursuit. He also passed a white van driving slowly behind the truck. Phil made a mental note of the two vehicles. Black truck/ green racer, white cargo/black stripe.
"Hey, just heard an A.P.B. over the radio. Seems someone just stole his car. Came from C.H.P. Yeah somewhere to the north. An hour or two out. Seems someone got to them before you. I'll keep you posted. I don't know. My shift just ended. I told you I would keep you posted."
Hutch's senses were violently brought back to consciousness as the icy water was hurled at him. He tried to get his senses working, but his mind was still foggy. He found his hands were bound above himself to a medal ring protruding out from the wall. The air around him was cold and thick with the smell of dirt and aged old wood. The wall behind him was bare rock. He was in a cave.
His head pounded mercilessly as it kept up with the rhythm of his heart. The left side of his chest burning as the cold air entered in his lungs. His stomach revolted from the chloroform and tried to get rid of the last contents that it held. His mind willed it to stay down. And he became aware of the fact, which he was also stripped down to his bare skin. What the hell is this all about?
He blinked a couple times. His eyes tried to focus, but he was surrounded by a veil of black. He could only see within the confines of the small glow. The illumination came from a small bulb dangling directly above him. It had turned yellow and dulled due to it's old age, but bright enough to shield him from the black. There was nothing outside the ring of light encircling him. His eyes were unable to break through the black curtain in front of him. There was a humming sound reaching him from a distance, possibly the power source for the light.
"Starsky?" his voice searched for strength but came out weak.
Without a warning or a sound, he received a powerful blow to his right leg, the corner of a 2x4 board hitting him square in the thigh, splitting apart the strong muscle under the skin. The force of the blow sent his body against the rocks behind him. His buttocks hitting raw rock, causing a few cuts as his skin made contact. A scream being wrenched from his mouth as the pain erupted through his leg.
"Wrong, pretty boy," an invisible voice snickered.
Hutch tried to catch his breath. The blow left him light headed. The blackness that surrounded him started to swirl out of control. The pain from his leg was pulsating throughout his body.
"Who are you?" he choked out while inhaling sharply.
Again, there was another blow from the unseen assailant in the dark, this time to his right hip. Another scream of agonizing pain filled the air.
"Someone who doesn't like your kind," the voice hissed at him.
Hutch's mind slowly regained control and his fighting instincts kicked in.
He struggled franticly to free his hands to escape the hell that he was in, but he only caused himself more pain. At six foot one and weighing at 183 pounds, the weight of the big blond now pulled at his wrists as his right leg had gave out, due to the beating it received. The skin of his wrists painfully chafed open from the abrasive rope that bound him as he continued his struggle to get free. Blood began to trickle down his arms from the open wounds. His struggles futile, all he could do was hang there. There was no way to ease the weight off his wrists. His mind started racing and searching for a reason.
"Why?" another question fell from him. He tensed as he waited for another blow to land.
This time it was a solid fist to his face. A large ring worn on the hand went tearing across the blonds' powerful jaw. The assailant stayed in the dark abyss hiding him from view.
"You're not wanted around him, you faggot."
Hutch felt warm fluid run down his left cheek. He could also taste blood in his mouth. His mind trying to register what the voice just told him. He tried to regain his senses, to get his mind working.
Hutch's mind went to his partner. Where was Starsky and was he alright? Did they nab him as well and did he receive the same beating? He searched his heart. Starsky was still there, so he was OK. As long as he could feel his friend's presence in his heart, there was nothing they could do to him to take that away from him. Starsky's soul was the only possession that he kept safely in his own heart. He would guard it with everything he was.
"Starsk…" the big blond said, it came out soft and weak, but it was enough to be heard.
He felt a blade entering his left side just above his hip bone. The movement was slow and deliberate, assuring that the tall man suffered from the slow, painful assault. The assailant's face momentarily came into view, but quickly retreated back into the black again.
Hutch had seen the man's face briefly as if in slow motion, a white face breaking through the veil of darkness. The cop's subconscious mind took in a picture and filed it away in his memory if needed later.
The sharp, hot piercing pain took his breath away. He gritted his teeth, but let out another agonizing cry as his body remembered to breath. Blood slowly streamed down his hip and long leg as the blade was deliberately pulled from his flesh.
"You just don't get it do you? You just need to erase him from your mind."
"Screw you," he said as he tried to catch his breath. There was no way he would ever be able to erase the other half of his soul.
"Then you just don't care about him. The longer you're around him, the more pain is inflicted on him," the invisible voice moved back and forth around him in the dark.
Hurting him? Who's hurting him? Please Starsk …you've got to be alright.
"You're out of his life. Now stay out!" The blade was slowly cutting across his chest. Two more cuts made, emphasizing the point.
Hutch's mind tried to close him off, trying to escape the torture that he was receiving, but again the ice cold water brought him back to this hell.
"Oh no you don't, I'm not done with you yet, you fairy. We're going to have a lot more fun," the voice from the dark taking pleasure from informing him about it.
Starsky…please…please be safe. Hutch turned his mind on his partner and friend. The pain would then hopefully disappear into the background. His only thoughts now focused on the dark haired man that had been at his side for the last eight years. His mind went reaching out to the Starsky that was always present in his head. That crocked smile, that smooth swagger in his stride. And the ever steady reassurance that only those sapphire eyes could give.
Starsky was his angel. He believed in him. Starsky picked him up whenever he was down. Whenever he was weary from the job, or just down and wounded by life itself. He was always there. Always there to unbind him from his personal hell that he always seemed to put himself in when his self loathing overtook him.
His mind set on his partner help to cope with the physical beating that he was receiving, but for which reason he still was unsure. He wrapped the thoughts of his partner protectively around him. They couldn't beat him out of his heart and soul.
Why don't they want me around you? Who? Why are they doing this? Starsk, I don't understand. Please help me. Please find me. But what if they're after you too? Stay away. Stay safe. They can't hurt you. I love you Starsky. Stay safe. His need for Starsky to help and his wish for him to stay safe clashed.
Starsky slowly regained consciousness. He too found himself bound, his hands tied behind him. He was sitting on a dirt floor, propped up against a wall. Without warning, the nausea from the chloroform contracted his stomach muscles and he went through a bout of dry heaves. He fell over to the side retching but only a small amount of bile came up. At the same time his head throbbed with the beat of his heart.
As the spasms subsided, he sat up and looked around at his surroundings. There was a small table and chair centered in the middle of what looked like a tiny cave. A single light suspended above the table gave out a small amount of light. There were old wooden barrels and crates stacked haphazardly around, some covered with old burlap tarps. He could see nothing but dark shadows outside the circle of light. He wasn't alone. A shadowed figure that had been off to the far side suddenly moved towards the table, the light revealing one of the men from the track.
Suddenly he heard the scream from someone in pain. He knew it was Hutch. Even though the painful wail was distorted from the walls of the cave, he recognized his friend's voice. The years together had tuned his ears to his partner's voice. No matter how desperate the circumstance they were in was, he knew his friend's tone. This time the voice was full of agony and pain. Oh-god Hutch. What are they doing to you?
"Hutch!" the dark haired man tried to yell out, but his voice barely filled the room he was in.
"Oh don't even try, he won't hear you." Cole turned the chair and seated himself on it, facing his captive.
"You son-of-a-bitch. I swear, when I'm through with you, you'll wish you were dead." Starsky promised.
"No, I think you got that wrong. See detective, it's when we are done with him. Oh…he may or may not be dead, but either way, he'll wish he was. And there's nothing you can do about it. You see, he's of no concern for you anymore. See you've lost your way, and our friend wants you to get back on the right track." Cole casually sat at the table. His elbow propped up on the table, his right leg crossed over the left at the knee. He looked like a man with no worries in his life. A man who has all he needs in life. And all that was happening around him was for his own amusement.
Cole stood and moved the chair closer to Starsky, then sat back down. "You see, you have acquired too many things in your life, and you need to be reminded that these things you have, can easily be taken from you. Think of me as the collection man and I've come to collect. You've also forgotten where you came from, and the most important reason is you've lost your way. That you've been misguided by that blond, fag partner of yours."
"Damn you! You don't even know what you're talking about!" Starsky's anger caused the adrenalin to run high again. It helped to clear the fog that clouded his head.
"Oh…we've been watching you for a while now. You see…seems that my friend wasn't too happy the last time he came out to visit you. Seems that you spent too much of your time with your job and that partner of yours and that you forget the important people in your life. So we decided we would guide you back to where you should be. Think of it as a present. See we're a tight little group, kind of like you cops. We told our friend we would see what we could do to fix the relationship between him and you." Cole leaned forward, placing his elbows on his knees, clasping his hands together, looking down at the detective who sat on the dirt floor staring up at him.
Starsky noticed the watch on the man's wrist, it looked like his own. The one he thought he had misplaced, or was stolen at some point.
"This friend of yours, does he have a name? At least I'd like to know who to thank for the redirection of my life." Starsky's voice low and mean. His mind was spinning trying to find out who was behind this trip to hell that they were on. He tried to keep the conversation going as he worked to loosen the ropes.
Another agonized wail pierced through the darkness. Starsky's closed his eyes, his stomach tensed at the thought that his best friend was being tortured because of him.
Oh-god Hutch…please hang on buddy. I'm here. I'm trying to get to you. You've just got to hang on, do it for me. Please Hutch. Set your mind on me. Feel me Hutch. You know that I'm here. Starsky sent his heart and soul out to his friend.
His hands worked faster at the ropes that held him tight. With the help from a small edge of a rock protruding from the wall behind him, he sliced away at the old frail twine. He felt the rope falling apart as he worked it.
His mind worked overtime as he thought about his partner. He was raged from the thought that someone could be so jealous of the relationship that he had with his partner, to go as far as to destroy the man that he loved more then life it's self. Hutch was closer to him then his own brother. Nicky was connected by blood. But Hutch was connected to him by an unforeseen force that neither of them could explain, nor did they even try to. It was a force built of companionship, trust, loyalty, and love. He simply loved the man…the other half of his heart and soul.
"If this friend of yours is so upset…why doesn't he confront me personally?" Starsky tried to solve the puzzle.
"He doesn't want to get his hands dirty," Cole leaned over closer; he smugly smiled down at the detective, "him being family and all." He waited for the answer to register. He took pleasure in the whole cruel affair.
"Bull Shit! Family doesn't do this to family." Starsky's mind was railing at the thought that his own brother could be behind this whole affair. Nicky wouldn't do this.
"Oh no? Well he was so upset that we decided to fix the issue. You know the old saying, blood is thicker then water. That homo out there has poisoned your mind with his way of thinking, and you seem to have forgotten who is more important"
"Stop calling him that, you asshole! You know nothing about him or me for that matter."
Starsky's rage took over. With the ropes now in shreds, he stumbled to his feet and he plowed head first into the man sitting in front of him. The two men and the chair flew back towards the table.
The second man, who had been standing off in the shadows, rushed in and grabbed the dark haired man from behind. Starsky could feel a large gun in the man's waist band against his back. An opportunity to get hold of a weapon, but he had to wait for the right moment.
Cole picked himself up off the ground and dusted himself off. He pulled a fist back and planted it with extra force into the gut of the man being held.
Starsky, robbed of all air in his lungs momentarily forgot to breathe. He doubled over. Agonizing seconds went by, then nature took over again and he inhaled deeply, his lungs sucking in much need air. Now was the right moment.
Starsky straightened and swiftly turned to the man behind him, he grabbed the Magnum from the man's waistband and quickly in one swift move, and he hit the ground and rolled. He leveled the gun at the man. Mustache man pulled another gun from his pocket and made the mistake of pointing it at the street savvy cop. Starsky was quicker and pulled the trigger. Hutch's gun roared as it was fired. The echo of the shot went vibrating through the shafts of the cave. The roar reverberated through the thick cold air as moved through it.
The man flew backwards as the bullet entered his body. Starsky instantly turned the gun to Cole.
"Now you take me to my partner. Now! Or join your friend." Starsky commanded with a cold, deadly voice. He got to his feet, the gun leveled and waiting.
Cole looked down at the man on the ground, devastated. "Brother," he corrected the detective.
"Your brother? Well we're about to make a family funeral right here. Now you better take me to my partner. Now!" Starsky ordered again.
Cole bent over the body of his brother, at the same time he moved his hand to retrieve the gun that lay next to his body. He straightened and turned to the detective with the gun pointed, but Starsky was ready for the attempt. He delivered on his promise. The impact from the .357 Colt landed Cole's body next to his brothers' on the dirt floor.
Starsky hesitated, leaned down to make sure that he wouldn't have to deal with the two men now lying on the dirt floor. There was no pulse. His mind immediately went to his partner.
Starsky steadied himself against the rock wall and slowly made his way into the dark cavern.
Michaels delivered a couple powerful punches to the midriff of the man that was suspended like a piece of meat at a meat packing plant. The use of the 2x4 board, his fists, and knife, did substantial damage to the man that was hanging defenseless in front of him. Blood covered his body and dripped into the dirt at his feet.
He continued to throw water on Hutch whenever he started to show signs of drifting into unconsciousness. He wanted to make sure that the blond knew exactly what was being done to him.
Hutch's mind tried to escape the torture that his body was receiving, but each time he was dragged back to the horror. The thoughts of his partner were starting to fade into the background. He fought to keep Starsky at the forefront but the pain invading his head was vicious and relentless.
Starsk…I can't hang on any longer. I need you to find me. Please Starsky please…. But you have to stay safe. You have to stay away. Please don't let them get you. Still, he was torn between needing his friend and partner and needing him to stay away and safe.
"You need to learn were your place is in this world, you fag. And that's in Hell. And I'm going to take you there." Michaels now stood in the light only inches away from Hutch's face. He was holding the blade to the level of his eyes, so that he got a good look at what was about to enter his body again. He was about to deliver another slash to the battered man, when the roar of the gun shots echoed to him. He turned and left his victim.
Starsky worked his way along the rock wall of the shaft as it turned a bend, there was a soft glow emanating from around another bend a short distance away. He knew that Hutch had to be there. It had been a while since he heard anything from his friend. The cries of pain had become softened and now stopped. His heart pounded rapidly and ached for him. But he had also readied himself for the third man he had to contend with.
A soft noise alerting him that someone was approaching. He flattened himself against the wall. He was ready for whoever was between him and his partner. That person had to be the big blond from the track. He knew that he may have trouble bringing the huge bodybuilder down.
Michaels' pace was quick, but stealthy.
Starsky crouched into the dark crevice when Michaels walked by. At the right moment he sprang. He knocked the large man off balance. He then leveled the Magnum at the man in the dark that he could barely see.
"Hold it right there! Don't even move," Starsky only knew that the large figure in front of him came from the direction of his partner. And he would have to get pass him before he could get to his friend.
"Your boyfriend sure was a fun toy to play with," Michaels taunted, "Bled him like the fag pig that he is."
Starsky's left finger put pressure on the trigger. His heart wanted to pull it and the scum dead. His cop mind, thought different. Probable cause. He kept his poise. His heart was screaming for revenge.
"Well it's now you and me and I don't always play by the rules." He had the gun aimed dead center at the tall dark figure. He caught a glimpse of a knife that Michaels tossed back and forth between his hands. The blade's slight shimmer caught what little light there was in the dark. "See you brought the wrong toy for this fight."
"I don't play with guns. I like other toys."
Starsky could virtually hear the smile from the man in front of him.
With a swift move, Michaels took advantage of the darkness, he and hit the ground, rolled, and came up along side Starsky, the blade cutting into the curly haired man's right arm. He then disappeared back into the black abyss.
Starsky was slightly taken aback by the sudden move. He grabbed his arm. His leather jacket took most the damage, but the attack still left a long deep cut in his right arm.
His mind instantly switched back to his time in Vietnam, with the enemy moving in the shadows of the night, moving in for the kill with stealth. He tuned his senses into the blackness surrounding him. His training from the Special Forces, while in the army, helped. He tuned his ears to the slightest noise and his eyes to any disturbance in that bulk of black enclosing him. He crouched down once more, took in a deep breath and waited. Michaels didn't disappoint him.
The tall bodybuilder moved up behind him, knife ready for another assault.
The slight movement of the air around him instantly perceived by the fine tuned senses of the well trained detective. Starsky quickly turned in one swift move, aimed, and fired. Michaels dropped to the ground next to him. Probable cause satisfied. Promise kept.
Starsky reached over, hearing the last breath escape the body, to check for a pulse. There was none. He stood and turned his mind back to his partner.
Detective Phil Hansen slowed down the Javelin as he approached the entrance gate. He pulled his badge and informed the man that there were going to be a lot of police cars heading his way. He told him to expect C.H.P. and Bay City cops. He then continued to the track's parking lot. He slowly cruised between the rows of cars, looking for the curly haired detective he had left earlier. He started to get a bad feeling as he circled around the lot.
"Man, don't let this get as bad as it seems," he softly told himself. He parked the black and white car and walked to the stadium seating, hoping that he would find the two detectives there. He scanned the rows of people, but without luck. His heart started to pace quicker. He turned and left for the parking lot again. His mind on how was he going to explain that two cops had disappeared.
He rushed back to his car. He put in a call for the highway patrol to look out for the truck hauling the race car and the cargo van he had passed on his way back to the drag strip. He gave descriptions of both, tossed the mic back down and waited. Lord please look over those two. They need you right now. A desperate prayer escaped him as he continued to scan the track for the two men.
Captain Dobey pushed his car as fast as he dared. His mind was on how the hell his two detectives and friends could leave for a fun weekend out of town, and end up in this mess that they're in now. But where Starsky and Hutch were concerned trouble seemed to follow them wherever they went. It wasn't their fault; they just seemed to attract it.
He was in constant radio contact with Captain Davis from C.H.P. Davis kept Dobey up to date of the current situation. And that was his men were arriving at the track. Dobey informed him that he was still about forty minutes out.
The radios cracked with activity. The police band was busy, with everyone on high alert.
"Baker 4 to dispatch," a voice come over the air.
"Go ahead Baker 4."
"APB on the Black Ford truck hauling a green race car. I've got them pulled over now. South bond. Six miles south of the track. Everything checks out to be OK. No sign of anything suspicious."
"Ten four on that APB. Still have APB on white cargo van with black stripe."
"We will keep looking for it. Baker 4 out."
"This is Tango 8, I have one red and white Gran Torino heading north. Mile marker 341.
I'm in pursuit. Speed of 115 and picking up," Detective Jacobs from the highway patrol announced over the radio.
"Tango 12 to Tango 8. Jacobs, we're heading your way south bound, marker 373," Miller in Tango 12, told the cop in pursuit.
Dobey cut in on the radio, "that Gran Torino you're chasing is slightly modified. May be hard to catch. Just don't lose it. I want that car and the driver," his voice demanded.
"Ten four. Hold on, we are just coming up on a convoy of trucks. May slow him down," Jacobs told them. He set the radio to open mic and tossed it on the seat between him and his partner.
"Jake…watch it! He's hitting the brakes," Jacobs' partner yelled at him. "Easy! Easy now! Man this guy is crazy."
"You two catch him, but don't get yourselves killed doing it!" Davis' voice came over the radio.
"He's going around the rigs! He's driving north bound in the south bound lane! Stay with him Jake, the trucks are moving over for you to pass. Miller be careful! He is in your lane and headed right towards you! " Jacobs' partner, Shepherd, held on tight as Jacobs passed the trucks on their right. Their speed picking up as the red car accelerated in the oncoming traffic.
The chase weaved through south and north bound traffic. The late night produced just a few cars in both directions, but raised panic in those traveling on the road that night.
The overnight truckers were slowing down speed to allow the patrol car to pass and catch up with the crazy driver in the red car. The Torino was kicking up dust as it swerved around south bound cars. The truckers were passing information of the chase over the C.B. radios. They let anyone know driving late that night there was trouble on the road.
The red car bounced off the south bound shoulder then back on the road several times as it passed stunned drivers.
"Watch it! Watch it! He's coming back over!" Shepherd warned. The risk of the chase escalated. The road in front of them was empty and the red car again pushed the speeds to well over 100 mph.
"Tango 8, back off if you think it's too dangerous," their captain voiced his concern. His patrolmen were top officers, but he too was concerned about their safety, just as Captain Dobey was about his own men.
"We're alright." There was a slight pause over the air. "Hold on," another pause in the chaos of the chase.
"He's slowing down!"
The lights of the Torino came to a sudden halt in front of them. There was smoke as the brakes grabbed hold and the tires squealed along on the pavement.
"He's stopping right in the middle of the highway!" Jacobs pulled over to the right side of the road and slammed on the brakes. He was a slight distance behind the red car.
"The driver is out of the car. He's got a gun! We're under fire! Tango 8, shots fired! Shots fired!"
There was the sound of gun fire ringing over the police radio. For those listening, it was a tense situation, to hear what was going on and not be able to help their fellow officers. Miller, in Tango 12, stepped on the accelerator harder and pushed his cruiser harder.
Jacobs and Shepherd had exited the car and took cover behind the cruiser's right fender and opened passenger door. The leather clad man came at them firing shot after shot. The bullets were hitting the front of the cruiser, one taking out the passenger side window, spraying shards of glass at the two officers.
Both officers fired over the open door. A misplaced shot hit the rear window of the Torino, shattering it.
"Cover me!" Jacobs yelled, as he ran and hit the road. He came up firing. His mark went down in the pool of lights from the cruiser.
Jacobs hesitated, then rose to his feet and walked over to the fallen man. He kicked the gun away and bent over the man. His partner's gun pointed at the fugitive and ready if needed.
The man was lying on the cold pavement looking up at the black, moonless sky above him. Jacobs stooped down to the man. In the cruiser's headlights he could see that his aim had been deadly, blood soaking the man's chest. He knew that if he was to get any information from him, he'd better be quick.
"Did you have anything to do with the kidnapping of a cop at the race track tonight?"
Jacobs, in a demanding voice, asked the suspect lying on the ground.
"Screw you cop," the man coughed. "You'll never find them."
"Them? You mean to tell me there is more then one officer involved? Man, don't let this be last thing you ever do. Just tell me where we can find them."
"To Hell with you, and them. There are a lot of holes in California. You'll never find them!"
There was a cruel laugh from the dying man as he let out his last breath of air.
"Tango 8 come back!" Davis demanded. There was no answer.
"Tango 8 report! Jacobs answer the call!" A long pause occurred before there was an answer back to the captain.
Jacobs ran back to the cruiser and grabbed the radio mic. "Tango 8, We're alright. We need a meat wagon and tow truck. Mile marker 368. Captain Davis come back," Jacobs' voice demanded.
"Go ahead." Davis answered.
"Captain.. We have a problem. Seems that we may have more then one cop missing."
"This is Captain Dobey. You better explain this!" The gruff voice of Dobey broke in.
"The suspect said 'them', that we wouldn't be able to find 'them' ."
"You sure you heard him right?" Dobey's voice was loader and now heavier with more concerned.
"Yes Sir, 'them' ."
"Ten four on that coroner and tow. Mile marker 368. It'll take some time Tango 8, but they're on their way," dispatch told them.
"Jacobs, I want to make sure I heard right. We now have more then one missing cop?" Davis' voice rang out.
"Jacobs, you two clean up there, when you're done meet us out at the race track," Davis ordered.
"Ten four Captain." Jacobs tossed the mic down and walked back to his partner who stood over the body that lay in the middle of the highway.
"Coroner is on it's way. Grab the cover from the trunk and get him covered. No need to let the whole world see this." Shepherd turned and walked to the back of the cruiser. Jacobs walked to the Torino and turned the key to switch off the still running motor.
Tango 12 arrived at the scene just as the two officers were about to cover the body. Miller parked the cruiser blocking the road; the south bound traffic would have to use the shoulder. The cruiser protected the Torino from getting hit. The top lights from both patrol cars lit up the night.
Jacobs and his partner covered the body, then joined the new officers and laid out safety lights to make sure that both direction of traffic slowed around them. The line of truckers approached and slowed the rigs down to a crawl as they slowly moved off the road and onto the shoulder to get around the cruiser. Curious gazes came from the drivers. The C.B. radios were going to be alive about this night for awhile.
Captain Davis and two more patrol cars arrived at the drag strip, the gatekeeper waving all official looking cars through.
Detective Hansen was standing at his car when he saw the approaching cars with the mars lights flashing. He took in a deep breath and flagged down the drivers.
At this time there was less and less noise from the cars that were attending the races. With two Highway patrol cars already at the track and more arriving, the people that were there for the racing started to notice that there was some kind of trouble.
Captain Davis noticed the man flagging him down and maneuvered his car to the side. The other cars parked next to each other. The men exited their cars and gathered around the L.A. detective.
Dobey arrived at the track's gate a short time later; he didn't bother with the gatekeeper, his mars light on the dash announcing that he had official business to attend.
He pulled the large car next to the patrol cars when he arrived at the parking lot. He got out and quickly walked over to the group of men. There were uniformed and plain clothed officers, a mix of C.H.P., County Sheriff and State Patrol. All had the look of concern on their faces. It didn't matter what district the missing cops were from. They were cops and therefore everyone was concerned. The only ones missing were the FBI, but they were informed and at the time not at the scene.
Captain Davis stepped forward as Dobey approached. He offered a hand to the large black man that had a look of concern and anger on his face. Dobey reached out and shook the other captain's hand.
"Captain Davis, C.H.P.," he introduced himself.
"Captain Dobey, Bay City P.D."
"Captain, this is Detective Phil Hansen from L.A.P.D.," Davis pointed out. "He was about to inform us about what happened tonight."
"Captain Dobey," Phil said as he shook the large black hand extended to him.
Hansen proceeded to inform the group about what had occurred that evening. From the last point they last saw Detective Hutchinson at the beginning of the run down the track between himself and Detective Starsky and the short time that it took them to get back to the assembly area after the run. He told them that Starsky and himself had searched the whole the parking lot, and then saw the Torino being stolen. He told them that Starsky waved him after the car and he left, leaving him to look for his missing partner.
"Do you recall in which direction he was walking when you left him?" Dobey asked as he scanned the parking lot.
"He was headed to the right side again," pointing towards the large outbuilding in the distance.
"Alright. Men I don't have to tell you how urgent this is. Two of our own are missing and we need to find all the clues we can. You men work the upper area near the stands," Davis pointed to four men on his right. "And you four take the lower area towards the last rows of cars. Hansen, you go with Captain Dobey and I, we will go down in this direction," he said as he pointed in the direction that Hansen told them he last saw the detective. The men dispersed as commanded.
Starsky took a deep breath. His mind had tunnel vision, and that was of Hutch. He had to find him and quick. Something inside told him that he didn't have a lot of time left. The connection that he shared with Hutch started to weaken. He placed Hutch's gun in the back of his waistband. He stepped over the big body on the ground in front of him and went after his partner.
He was drawn towards the small, gloomy glow reaching him from the distance in the cave, his heart started to pound faster. He turned around the bend and saw him. Shock stopped him dead in his tracks. His breath exploded out of him, his heart skipped a few beats. The sight in front of him instantly and permanently etched into his memory, and filed directly into the horror files. His heart rhythm was trying to catch itself and then tried to jump out of his chest as it started to beat frantically. His lungs, protesting the lack of air, sucked in a deep breath.
There in front of him, amongst piles of boxes and crates, hung Hutch. His naked body streaked red from his own blood, covering him literally from head to toe. Even in the murky dimness of the light, he could see that Hutch's flesh was bloodless, the paleness of his body close to the white of death. His long golden hair flattened against his face, wet with streaks of red fused in it. His head had fallen forward, his chin resting on his chest. His knees slightly bent. His arms taut from the weight of his body as gravity pulled him downwards. Panic flooded the soul of the brunet.
"Noooo!…Huutch!" he raced to him as his body remembered how to move. He was at his partner's side within a half a heart beat.
"Ohgod…Hutch! Please...for God's sake Hutch...please don't do this to me." He reached up and gently cupped the bloody face in his hands. He lifted the blonds' chin slightly and carefully. He looked for any sign to tell him that his partner was still with him, the blue eyes of the blond hidden from him. He softly caressed the bloody cheek with his left thumb. A shuddering breath of anticipation escaped him, as a low moan joined a strained and weak breath from Hutch. He tried to raise his head, but the strength had gone out of him.
"Ss..Sstarsss…?" his voice barely audible, not even close to a whisper. His mind confused, he flinched ever so slightly, waiting for another blow to descend down on him. But there would be no more. There was only the tender and warm caress of someone holding his face. A caress that he now recognized being from his partner. It was familiar and time old.
"I'm here Hutch. I'm here. Come on buddy let me see those baby blues of yours." The golden lashes stayed close.
Starsky reached up to the rope suspending his friend from the medal ring above him. He was unable to free him. Frustrated, he held his friend's face once again. With one hand still connected to the face he knew just as well as his own, he stepped back to see what that deranged man had done to his friend.
The dim light from above reveled that there was three short gashes across his chest, along with a large, red/black bruise on the left side of his chest. Further the knife wound in his left hip caught his attention. A small but steady stream of blood was flowing down his long leg. The large swelling lumps on his right leg and hip catching his eyes.
With his hand still holding onto Hutch's face, a connection he dared not to separate, he stepped to the side to see if there was anything more on his back.
The crazed man had sliced a long cut across the right butt cheek of the tall blond. Blood was escaping from the deep cut. There were also some small cuts all over his backside and shoulder blades, minimal bleeding from them.
"That son-of-a-bitch," he softly let out his frustration and anger. He closed his eyes tightly, hoping that what he was seeing wasn't real. His memory suddenly brought up flashes from the past. He had witnessed this before, during the war. The enemy would torture the prisoners by inflicting damage to the four points of pressure of the body, front, left and right side and the back. It was so that if the person did survive the assault, they would not be able to stand, sit, or lay down without suffering from excruciating pain. One of his buddies, who had been captured along with himself and three others, had to endure the cruel torture. After three days of suffering, his body gave up. His body was then tossed aside to remind the other prisoners what would await them. Starsky took a deep, halting breath, blinking to get his mind back to the present.
He stepped back in front of his partner. He reached up, again trying to free his friend. He frantically worked at the ropes. Again he was unable to do so. He then ever so gently and lovingly brushed aside a few strands of wet, blood streaked hair from his friend's eyes. His heart aching, he had to swallow hard as he tried to withhold the burning of the tears that threatened to break free.
"Hutch…listen to me buddy. I've got to leave ya for a second, I'll be right back. OK? I promise…I'll be right back." There was no response. With his heart ripping apart, he pulled away the connection, turned and went back into the black abyss. He rushed back to the body of the man lying dead in the black tunnel.
Hutch felt the warmth and love of the touch disappear from his face. Starsky?…please, please don't leave me. Please come back, I need you. A tear found its way down the big man's cheek.
In the dark Starsky searched frantically for the knife around the body. His heart pounding as he couldn't find it. He was on his hands and knees in the dark searching for the blade that would free his partner and yet it kept hidden.
"You son-of-a-bitch! What the hell did you do with it?" Starsky yelled, cursing the dead body.
"Damn it! Where the hell is it?" He moved further, sweeping the dirt for the metal blade. Finally he hit the handle. He grabbed it, rose to his feet and rushed back.
He carefully held Hutch around his chest with his right arm, still bleeding from the knife wound he received, but he ignored it. He did his best not to hurt his friend anymore than what he already had endured. Starsky, supporting Hutch the best he could, reached up and cut the rope. The full weight of the big Midwesterner fell into his arms and they both crumbled to the dirt floor.
There was a load cry of anguish from Hutch echoing into the cave as a spike of hot, searing pain went through him. His full weight had momentarily been on his damaged right leg and hip.
Starsky, now on his knees, had maneuvered himself behind Hutch. His left hand putting pressure on the puncture wound.
"Arrgggnnn…" more agony cut through the cold air. Hutch's breathing had quickened and was shallow as the pain surged through him.
"I know buddy. Please hold on Hutch. I have to stop the bleeding." He quickly removed his jacket, then his long sleeve shirt. He quickly folded the shirt and placed it over the knife wound in the left side that continued to bleed out. Then he wrapped the jacket around the tall blonds' waist as good as he could and tied the sleeves on top as a makeshift tourniquet. He hoped it would stop the steady flow of the life fluids from escaping his partner.
He slowly and gingerly sat Hutch up and settled down on the dirt floor behind him. Starsky straightened his legs to both sides of the man; he held him gently around the chest and eased back towards the wall, supporting Hutch against his chest and lap. His arms were wrapped around his partner, holding on for dear life.
"It's OK. I've got you now. You're safe. I've got you babe. It's over." Starsky soothed, trying to ease his partner's pain as well as his own pain surging through his heart. He pushed aside all thoughts of how they ended up in this mess and concentrated solely on his beloved friend.
The cold air provoked waves of shivers to overtake the big man. Starsky could feel the muscles contracting as Hutch's body tried to warm it's self. His skin was clammy and cold to the touch. He leaned forward and slowly rubbed his arms, being careful to avoid the open rope burns on his wrists. There was not an inch of Hutch's body that didn't have some kind of injury.
"S…tarss…?" Hutch's voice so weak, Starsky barely heard it.
"I'm right here. You're going to be alright. You're safe. I'm with you," his cheek laid against the wet head of his partner as he softly spoke into his ear.
'You're not wanted around him, you faggot.' The invisible voice went bouncing around in the blonds' head.
"W…hy?" the cold cracked Hutch's voice.
Starsky's heart plummeted into a deep cavern. He leaned his head back against the cave wall. Ohgod Hutch, please don't ask me. Not now Buddy. I can't deal with that right now. You're all that matters to me. Nick! How could you do this to him? A tear of torment ran down his cheek.
He leaned forward, his mouth now softly caressing against Hutch's ear, "Sshhhhh. Later. Right now it's just you and me babe. That's all that matters right now. I love you Hutch, please remember that. Me and Thee," his tone was soft, his heart breaking.
At this moment he just needed to hold his friend. He needed this connection to soothe the anxiety that filled his heart. He held him as tight as he dared. His soul mate cradled between his legs and held lovingly against his chest. He gently rested his cheek on top of the wet, blond head, closed his eyes and slowly, lovingly rocked him ever so slightly from side to side. Like a mother would do for a sick child. Right now you're all that matters in my life. Just you Hutch, just you.
The shivering running through Hutch got fiercer and now carried over into Starsky. Every tremor ricocheted from the naked man to the other. Hutch needed to get warmed up to prevent him from going into shock, his body temperature dropping fast in the cold air.
With a sudden realization, Starsky opened his eyes and looked around. To his right, on top of some old crates there was a canvas cover tucked under some boxes. He reached up. He reached to the full length of his arm and fingers, but he was barely able to touch the edge of the cover. Carefully, with his partner's comfort still in mind, he leaned to the right, trying his best not to hurt Hutch. He pinched at the edge of the stiff material with two fingers and with much effort he pulled slightly. It gave slightly. Then he was able to get a better grip and with one swift tug, a part of the stack came tumbling down with it, the boxes narrowly missing them.
He grabbed the cover, unfolded it and tossed it over the both of them. The canvas fell stiffly, but it would do its job to trap some body heat to help keep Hutch warm. It was the best he could do.
"Well Blondie…seems we found Wonderland and the tee party. Though looks like Alice skipped the party. It's just you and me now Hutch," he whispered to him. There was a low, weak moan from Hutch as he drew him closer.
The curly haired man sat with the big blond in his lap. At that moment there would be nothing else that mattered. He had the other half of his soul with him and the rest of the world was extinguished into the background.
Detective Phil Hansen was next to the outbuilding, crouched down to look at a discarded bottle when Captain Dobey walked over to him.
"What do you have there?" Dobey questioned the young detective.
"I think I found some evidence. An empty bottle, label on it says 'Chloroform'. I also found a rag that may have been used," he stood and held the bottle out at the end of a pencil for the big man to see.
"Lets bag everything you come across. I don't want you to miss anything. All evidence has to be passed over to Captain Davis. I want this thing done by the book," the sharpness of the captain's voice cut to the point.
"Yes Sir," the junior officer told him. His mind was still trying to figure out how a good night out of town could turn tragic in such a short time and a couple of highly street savvy cops getting entangled in it. He looked down at the bottle in his hands. This could have been the only way that they could take them. God help them and hope they're together.
Officers Jacobs and Shepherd finished cleaning up the scene from the shooting and the Torino had been loaded onto a flatbed hauler for its way to County Headquarters as evidence. With the lights flashing, they and Tango 12 rushed over to the race track to help with the investigation.
Both squad cars pulled into the parking lot at the track a short time later. Jacobs and his partner along with Miller and his quickly spotted the two captains and walked towards them.
"Captain Dobey, these are Detectives Jacobs and Shepherd and officers Miller and Fillmore, " Captain Davis introduced his men to the Bay City captain.
"Men, this is Captain Dobey from Bay City, It's his Detectives who are involved. Jacobs…I need you to tell us exactly what that man told you."
"Yes Sir. I asked him if he had anything to do with the kidnapping here at the track. He said 'Screw you cop. You'll never find them.' I asked if he was talking about both officers. He said 'To Hell with you and them. There's a lot of holes in California. You'll never find them.' Then he laughed and died."
"Damn! That means they could be anywhere." Dobey's voice was abrupt and yet guarded. He had to set aside his personal feeling for his two friends and work as their commanding officer, dealing with the kidnapping of two homicide detectives.
"We're going to need maps of the area to locate the nearest mines. Get in touch with D.N.R., see if they can get someone out here tonight." Captain Davis barked out orders to Jacobs and Shepherd. "Miller, I want you and Fillmore to hit the Highway and look for that van. Check the side roads. Make sure they didn't ditch it somewhere." The men turned to do what they had been ordered.
"Sir," an officer approached, "This young man here may have seen one of the assailants," the officer stepped aside and allowed the boy to take a step forward.
Captain Davis and Dobey both turned their attention to the young man. He couldn't have been more than eight years old. His father stood off to the side.
"I saw a tall blond man running around all the trailers. It was like he was playing hide and seek with the curly haired man. He kept ducking down and running."
"Could you describe the man a little better?" Dobey probed.
"Yeah. He looked like a wrestler or an army man. Real tall and big shoulders." The boy said holding out his arms. He then kicked at the dirt.
"Could you tell us what he was wearing?"
"Yeah. Looked like a green army jacket, jeans and cowboy boots. I remember, because I liked his jacket. Like the kind that they had in the war," he glanced over to his father. His dad smiled back at him.
"I then saw that cool looking red car flying down the road and the curly head man looked really mad and then I didn't see the man no more. I went to go and watch the races some more."
"Thank you, you really did well." Davis shook the boy's hand and glanced over to the father. "If you can think of anything more, please come and look for one of us." He shook the man's hand as well.
"Are they in trouble? The two men? The ones that were in the red car? His car was real fast. Told my dad that I liked it, even won the race." the boy saw the concern in the faces of the cops that stood around listening to him.
"These two men are cops too. And yes they could be in some trouble. But with your help I think we can find them." Dobey's tone level. Being a father himself, he knew how to talk to kids, to be honest with them, because kids were smarter then most people gave them credit to be.
An hour had passed and three officers from the Department Of Natural Resources and two from the Bureau of Land Management arrived with maps and for reinforcement. At two am. in the morning there was a conglomerate of officers from a wide range of departments. With the news running through the departments, available officers were giving up their free weekend to help, especially those who had 4x4 trucks. They needed to do some off- road driving to reach some of the mines.
Captains Davis and Dobey had set up the headquarters in the track restaurant. The captains agreeing on letting the races continue as long as they wouldn't hinder the investigation. The search had slowed the pace of getting the races run, but everyone at the track was thankful to be to able to still continue. Most of the drivers were allowed to leave the area after a long and thorough search of their cars and trailers. There was no resistance from anyone; in fact all they're thoughts went out to the two missing officers.
Detective Phil Hansen had gone back to his car to put in a call to his own captain. Waking up the man at that kind of hour in the morning only meant that there was real trouble. He explained what had conspired that evening and that his return to L.A. would be postponed until both detectives had been found. Captain Walker arranged to have his shift covered and then send out the L.A. Rescue Team and MedEvac helicopter. The rescue helicopter would be available at the track in the case of an emergency.
For all those involved in the search, it was going to be a long weekend. Hopes were high they would be able find them quickly. They all know, the longer it took to find a victim of a kidnapping, it meant the chance to finding them alive dwindled.
The highway and roads for a hundred miles in every direction swarmed with police cruisers. The news media only heard of the shooting at the highway, involving a crazy driver in a red car. Their details were still sketchy. The kidnapping of two Bay City detectives from the race track, still withheld from them.
Time lost all meaning for Starsky as he sat with his partner in his lap. Hutch constantly drifted in and out of consciousness. Each time Hutch surrendered to the world of emptiness pushed Starsky's heart to the edge. Starsky allowed his tears to flow unhindered during those moments. The uncertainty of the blonds' return weighed heavily on him, because each time it took Hutch longer to drift back to him. He held tighter, hoping that Hutch would feel his love for him and would return to him quickly.
"Please don't leave me alone buddy. I need you in my life. You hold my heart Hutch, and if you go where I can't follow you, I'm lost. I can't go on without you pal. So please come back to me. Please…Hutch, come back to me." He softly whispered into Hutch's ear during a time that Hutch had quieted too much, that Starsky thought that he may have lost him.
Hutch drifted back to his partner once again, only because it was him asking. If it wasn't for his dark haired counterpart, he would have given up the fight. Each time the fight was getting harder, but his love for his friend gave him the strength to continue to fight.
During his time of consciousness, Hutch experienced excruciating pain. Starsky carefully was rolling him from to one side to the other when his pain erupted and got unbearable, trying to ease some of the pressure off those areas being exposed to most of the big man's weight. But there would be no relief.
Hutch was shocky. His skin was cold and clammy, his breathing irregular. Starsky sat with his arms across Hutch's chest, feeling the shallow rise and fall of his chest. As long he continued to breath, the heart within still beating. He could do nothing but hold him and try to relay the love that he had for him through his voice and tender touches.
He knew that Hutch needed medical attention, but at the same time, he had to stay. He knew that Phil Hansen would contact Dobey when he realized that they were both missing and start searching for them. With help on the way, his heart told him to stay. He didn't dare to leave Hutch alone. Hutch possessed his heart and he couldn't let him die alone in this dark hole. He wasn't about to leave his dying partner.
Starsky sat and held him, thinking about the last eight years and how their relationship came to be. How the big Midwesterner became to be the most important person in his life. Hutch was his best friend in the world. A friend that no-one ever would have expected him to have.
The leggy Nordic came from a family of prestige and wealth. He was the son of the infamous Dr. Richard Hutchinson from Duluth, Minnesota. He was well known throughout the medical field. Mrs. Hutchinson was the proper doctor's wife and involved in the community of the high society. His sister was following in their mother's footsteps and marrying into the same life style.
The pressure of being the first born son, weighed heavily on Hutch. His childhood was that of living up to his father strict expectations. He excelled academically, but emotionally he faltered, his self esteem low, his father's rigidness towards him, constantly whittling it away.
The clumsiness and the slight stammer that emerged during emotional distress, grated at his father's nerves, causing a growing distance. The clumsiness, stammer, and self loathing still affected him to this day and Starsky had to deal with dragging him out of the dark holes that Hutch would put himself through.
Hutch had, due to his father's insistence, entered medical school. But he felt he was living his father's dream. Two years into medical school, Hutch finally said 'enough'. He dropped out and enrolled himself into the academy. It was a decision that he would never regret. Though he choose to be a cop to help people, his father saw it otherwise, more like his son had to also take a life if needed and that drove the distance between them further. Hutch wanted and needed his father's acceptance and him to be proud of him, but in the back of his mind he knew it wasn't going to happen, at least not anytime soon.
Hutch became a street savvy and intelligent cop. Moving up in the ranks quickly, he excelled and passed some veterans who had been on the force for many years more. With Starsky at his side, the two men became a pair to be reckoned with. The two soon made it to Detective Sergeants First Class in the Homicide Division. Only together they have been able to accomplish what they had in eight years. And Captain Dobey wouldn't want to have it any other way. Each of his men, street savvy in their own way, but together, an unbreakable force.
The light above them started to dim slightly. As Starsky became aware of it, he turned his ears to the distant hum. It started to die. He knew that they would soon be plunged into darkness.
He pulled Hutch as close as he could without hurting him. Holding onto him as a child would hold its teddy bear in the middle of the night, when the monsters would appear and invade their world. The hum in the distance stopped and light above instantly blackened. He gathered Hutch closer, keeping him and his heart safe from whatever monster would dare come close. The Magnum was laid on the ground next to him, ready to hold off whatever was brave enough to come close.
The deafening emptiness in the pitch black mine pounded in his ears. He could hear the weak rasping intake of air from Hutch. He concentrated on it. As long as he could hear him and feel him, he knew that Hutch was still alive. He closed his eyes and with the stiff tarp covering them, he sat cocooned with the man he treasured.
Friday night turned into Saturday morning. The sun breaking over the distant mountain range threw long shadows out across the desert. The cold night air was still hanging heavy over the earth.
The morning found a scurry of activity still going on at the race track. The night races had ended and the participants either exited the track or camped out in their trailers for the next night's races. All those having chosen to stay, stayed out of the officer's way and tended to their own business, though their thoughts were still with the two missing men.
The two captains and an official from the F.B.I., which finally showed up, sat hunched over maps. The evidence bagged and laid out on the table in front of them, was sorted through and examined carefully. As news from the officers out looking for the missing men reached them via the radios, the maps lying across the tables soon became blotched with dots, the dots indicating caves and mines that had already been searched but without evidence of the men. At this time, they had searched nine mines, all within a seventy miles radius.
Detective Phil Hansen had combed the area around the outbuilding for more evidence. The building and surrounding area was now taped off. He now stood away from the table watching the superior officers work over every bit of information. Wanting to do more, he walked up to the table to see if there would be anything he could do. He glanced down at the map.
"Sir, do you mind?" he asked Captain Dobey. "I would like to go and check a couple of mines. I think that there is some east of us," he pointed to the map and drew an invisible line across the page.
"I can run Route 125 to Mountain Range Road. I'll feel better out there looking."
"You take one of the other men with you. No-one goes searching on his own," Captain Dobey and Davis exchanged a look of agreement with each other, and then back to the detective.
"Take Jacobs and Shepherd," Davis pointed over at the two men sitting at a small table drinking their share of caffeine, "Jake, Shep, I want you two to go out with Hansen to check out a couple mines east of here. He knows their location."
The two officers stood and the three men went to their cars. Phil started the Javelin and Tango 8 pulled up next to him.
"Channel three on the radio," Shepherd told him through the open passenger window. Hansen gave him thumbs up.
The two cars rolled out of the track entrance and went for the interstate. Phil led the way. "God, let them be there," he softly said aloud gunning the engine as they hit the ramp to the interstate.
They headed north for two miles then took a side road exit onto Route 125. The road would take them east. The morning sun was shinning through the windshield as they continued east.
After thirty minutes they came to a small dirt road weaving through the desert. Mountain Range Road was an old service road that had been used when the mines had still been open. Now the road had been reclaimed by Mother Nature. The desert life was growing over the edges and down the middle. At times it was hard to distinguish which was road and which was desert.
The two cars bumped on their way down the gravel and dirt path, the undercarriage of the Javelin taking a few stones every now and then. The police cruiser behind him followed at a distant, as the car in front of them was kicking up rocks and dust.
As they continued east, the shadows from the mountain blocked out the glare from the morning sun. Phil was able to maneuver better now that the sun wasn't blinding him. The hills soon came into reach.
They suddenly came up to a fork in the road. In the center there was an old weather worn sign stating 'Calter Mine' with an arrow pointing to the left, and 'Steller Mine' with an arrow pointing right.
Phil stopped the car and reached for the mic, the police scanner on channel three. "Jacobs…what do you think? Right or left?"
"Let's take the right. The trail looks a little better."
"I was noticing that myself." Phil hung the mic back in its place and steered the car to the right.
The trail moved around small hills and slowly made its way up to the base of the mountain range. After thirty minutes Phil came to a sudden stop. The last blind turn to the left, got him at the end of the trail and to the entrance to Steller Mine. The police cruiser behind him maneuvered to the side of him and stopped.
The two drivers turn their vehicles off and the three men got out of their cars.
"Let's hope this is it." Phil told the two other detectives. With flashlights in hand, the three men cautiously ventured inside.
The mouth of the mine was open and dark. The entrance was littered with boards, old wooden barrels and rusted metal piping had been tossed around at random. From the opening of the mountain came a whiff of uninviting air, air that was old and stale.
Phil took a few steps inside, and then he stopped. His eyes widened.
The light from the flashlight bounced of red tail lights that were hidden in the mouth of the mine.
"There's a vehicle in here," he said over his shoulder as he walked closer. "Looks like the van we've been looking for. They've got to be here. Just be prepared, anything may happen. We don't know how many they are." With guns now drawn, they continued.
They walked further into the dark cave. They passed a generator with wires running from it and snaking off into the dark abyss.
With the beams of light pointing in front of them, they came to a large room having been carved out of the rock. There were three passages running in different direction.
"All right, which way?" Jacobs questioned while pointing the beam of light at each opening.
"Lets start with the one on the far right, then we work our way to the left. Be ready. It's too quiet in here. Something doesn't feel right." Phil answered and warned. The three men now turned their attention to the tunnel on the right.
After a couple minutes walking at a slow, intense pace, the shaft opened to a wider section that veered off to the right hand side, a small room connected to it. Jacobs and Shepherd both sucked in a quick breath when the lights from the flashlights revealed two bodies that were lying on the dirt floor. It wasn't what they expected.
Detective Hansen walked over to the bodies and checked them for a pulse. There was none. He stood up straight, the beam of light showed a single bullet shoot in the chests of each of the dead men. He turned back to the other two men.
"Whoever did this was a good shot. Dead center. Let's continue." Phil told them as he brushed by.
They walked back out to the main shaft and turned right. A couple of bends afterwards they stumbled across another body. Again Phil took the lead and examined the body. The result was the same.
"It's like a war zone in here. What the hell happened here?" Shepherd questioned.
Detective Hansen had a good idea. Dobey had described his two detectives to Captain Davis and himself. The two detectives were the best team that his department had seen in years. How each of them was a brilliant cop in his own rights. Starsky was street savvy, but a bit boisterous. Jump first, ask questions later. Hutch was quieter, book smart, thinking logically and quick in drawing the right conclusions. They were able to bounce ideas between each other like no other pair he had seen in years. Both men were also extremely devoted to each other. If you crossed one, you pissed the off the other.
Phil knew that Starsky would have been the one to let loose on the three men that now laid dead. Starsky known to be the hot headed one, especially with his partner in trouble.
Phil took in a deep breath, turned his light down the tunnel and started to walk again. The other two men following him close behind.
For Captain Dobey, it had been a long twenty six hours. Having been at work since Friday at seven a.m. and it now being Saturday morning nine a.m. he had been running on coffee and sodas since he arrived at the track late Friday evening. His stomach was now demanding something solid and nourishing for a change.
The track restaurant's cook had come in early, to prepare whatever the officers, who had taken over his establishment, needed. Dobey went to the counter and glanced at the menu. There wasn't anything displayed that appealed to him. He grabbed a d\Danish and more coffee, walked over to a corner booth and sat down.
As he sat there he tried to ease the pain in his heart for his two men. Starsky and Hutch were not only his officers, but close to him and his family, his own kids regarding them as their uncles. He had put in a call to his wife on his way to the track to inform her of the situation. Edith voiced her concerns and said a prayer for their safe return. She too, had a soft spot for the two detectives
Dobey sat sipping the black caffeine laced drink. He pushed the untouched Danish to the side, sat back and closed his eyes for a couple minutes.
Detective Phil Hansen took another small turn, the flashlights pointing the way. They came to another chamber and as they spanned the room with the lights, it hit upon the pile of debris on the floor. Then the lights fell onto a man that was huddled against the cave wall.
"Dear-god, we found them!" Phil rushed forward.
"Starsky…?" Phil knelt down next to the dark haired man. A canvas cover pulled up to his chin. Hutch was completely covered by it, with the exception of his face, so he would be able to breath.
Starsky had just opened his eyes, squinting at the light braking through the dark. He barely recognized the man standing in front of him. His hand moved sluggishly to the Magnum resting on the ground next to him.
"Hansen?" his voice rasped from breathing cold musky air.
"Yeah, it's me." His attention was now on Hutch. "How is he?"
"He needs help. He's dying. Please…get him help, please hurry," his voice cracking slightly from emotions unexpectedly trying to take him over.
Phil had turned to give orders to the men behind him, but Jacobs had already rushed out for the car knowing what needed to be done. Shepherd also rushed back to the car to grab whatever medical supplies they had, blankets and a first aid kit. It wasn't much, but it had to do until the medical rescue team arrived.
Phil slowly and carefully pulled back the canvass off of them. He took in a shocked breath as his eyes got a look at the man beneath it.
The beam of light slowly moved over Hutch's body. The naked man was covered in his own blood. He passed his light over to the left hip and the tourniquet Starsky had applied. He gently laid his palm on the shirt. It was moist, his hand came up bloody.
"My god. What did they do to him?" he asked in a devastated whisper, merely to himself, but Starsky heard it.
"They tortured him to get to me. They did this because of his love for me," Starsky said weakly as he tenderly caressed Hutch's face with his thumb. He looked up to Hansen and gave a slight smile full of distress. He swallowed hard, trying his best not to loose his composure in front of the other man. His emotions right now raw and fragile and they threatened to crush him to the ground. He held it together as best as he could.
Hansen knew right there what kind of bond the two men shared. How Starsky was holding his partner and why there were three dead bodies out there in the mine. To have someone who cares and loves you so much, they would do anything for you. To take a life or give their life for the other one, it was pure devotion and love. He envied it.
He pulled the cover back over the two men and looked at the man sitting on the dirt floor.
"It's OK Starsky, help is on their way. He's going to be alright," Phil placed his hand on Starsky's arm and gave a reassuring squeeze.
Starsky looked up again and gave him a glance to convey his thanks, afraid that if he spoke at that time, his voice would break down. His heart was breaking more every second with each weakening breath Hutch took. God let them get here in time.
Dobey was still sitting in the corner booth when the call came through.
"Tango 8 to control." Jacobs called over the radio.
"Go ahead Tango 8."
"Sir we found them! Steller mine. Off Mountain Range Road. We need the MedEvac helicopter out here immediately. We're also going to need a recovery vehicle for bodies."
Dobey was on his feet and at the radio.
"Tango 8, my men? Are they alright?"
"Conditions are uncertain at this moment. One man looks to be fine, the second is uncertain at this time. He needs immediate medical attention, "this was the kind of call that pulled at every officer's heart, to call in "officer down".
"You keep us posted. Rescue team is on their way." Dobey told him.
"Ten-four. Will advice." Jacobs threw the mic down and rushed back into the dark abyss.
Dobey ordered the L.A. evacuation helicopter into the air. It had arrived at the track at about three a.m. Captain Walker from LA had sent it over if the need for it arose. Dobey told the pilot that his men were to be flown to Memorial Hospital in Bay City. The staff there was already familiar with the two officers, the two having visited the hospital on numerous occasions, either as a patient or sitting with the other.
Captain Davis sent Captain Dobey on his way. He knew it was a long drive before the captain would reach the hospital and to his men. Davis himself would finish the operation at the track and mine.
The MedEvac helicopter slowly came to life as it prepared for lift off. The blades slowly started to churn the cold morning air. All life saving equipment was on board.
Word went out across the radio that the missing officers have been found. The spirits of the officers at the other end of the radios soared. Cheers erupted throughout the track as word spread.
Orders were sent to a few handpicked men to make their way over to the Steller Mine. Captain Davis himself, Captain Davis' CSI team and a few high ranked detectives were called. In total about a dozen vehicles were racing across the desert to the mountain.
Jacobs and Shepherd were back at the side of the men with what they could gather to help. Phil squatted next to the two men on the dirt floor. The two officers stood back with their flashlights pointing at the men on the ground.
Detective Hansen slowly pulled the canvas cover down so that he would be able to tend to Hutch. Phil reached over to check Hutch's pulse, but his hand stopped as he saw the wounds around his wrists. He then gently laid two fingers on his neck instead. The pulse he found was far to slow. The cuts across his chest caught his attention. He turned around and gestured for the first-aid kit. Shepherd stepped forward and handed it to him.
Phil preceded to cover the three cuts on the blonds' chest with bandages and gently taped them down. He then wrapped gauze around his rope burned wrists that continued to ooze fluids. He left Starsky's tourniquet in place, afraid that if he loosened it, that Hutch would bleed even more.
"His backside," Starsky quietly mentioned looking up mindfully at the detective tending to his friend. He gently and ever so carefully rolled Hutch slightly to the left side. There was a painful moan from the big man.
"Shhh, it's alright Hutch." Starsky carefully levered him up so that his right buttocks was visible. Jacobs pointed his light down to help Phil see. Instantly there was a shocked intake of air by all three men. Phil couldn't believe his eyes; he looked up at Starsky in disbelief. The torture the blond detective had endured was indescribable. He had never seen anything like this before. Starsky understood the look of shock on the man's face. He nodded at him to carry on. Phil nodded back then proceeded to cut a long strip of gauze to cover the long knife wound that crossed the backside of the blond detective. He carefully taped it in place. He looked up to the curly haired man. Starsky slowly turned Hutch to his back again.
Detective Jacobs moved around to the other side and opened the blanket he brought from the car. It would be better then the old canvas. He then went back to his partner.
Jacobs and Shepherd stood off to the side. The sight of the two partners and their obvious closeness made them think of their own partnership and thankful for what they shared.
Detective Hansen picked up the large gun that lay next to Starsky.
"It's Hutch's" Starsky croaked, his voice full of distress, meeting eyes with the other detective. Hansen placed it in his own waistband for safe keeping.
"I'll make sure he gets it back." He quietly told him.
Phil pulled a crate that was lying on the floor towards him and sat down on it next to the two men. There wasn't anything more they could do to help Hutch at this time. He put a hand around Starsky's right arm and tugged slightly. He had seen the knife wound Starsky had received and wanted to bandage it up. Starsky allowed Phil to wrap gauze around it, his left hand never leaving its place over Hutch's heart.
Jacobs left his flashlight with Hansen. Shepherd and himself went out to the entrance of the mine to wait for the helicopter. There was going to be a flurry of activity soon.
The MedEvac helicopter, kicked up dirt as it landed on a small ridge behind the parked cars. It was as close as they could get. The medics rushed to the front of the mine where the two officers were waiting. The four men entered the black hole. The beams of light were cutting through the pitch black and leading the way.
The medics slowed as they passed the dead man in the middle of the tunnel. Jacobs told them he was deceased, as one of the medics checked for a pulse anyways.
The lights of the flashlights alerted Hansen that help had finally arrived. "Starsky…they're here," he quietly told him. The curly haired man didn't react.
Phil moved out of the way so the medics could treat the two men. They tried to get access to Hutch as best as they could, but Starsky was reluctant to release his partner. The medics saw the blond needed immediate attention.
Phil stepped forward next to the brunet and softly spoke to him. "Starsky, they need to take him. He'll be alright." Starsky was torn between his need to hold onto his friend and needing to let them take him from his arms for the help he so desperately needed.
Starsky looked up to the detective, acknowledged it and allowed his partner to be removed from him.
With only the light from flashlights they placed the seemingly lifeless body of the blond on the gurney. The two officers and the two medics immediately rushed him to the entrance.
In the daylight they were able to take a better look at him. They removed Starsky's makeshift tourniquet and applied a proper one. They started an IV-line for fluids and gave him oxygen.
Starsky had followed behind at a slower pace with the help of Detective Hansen. At the entrance Phil looked down at Starsky. There was a spot of dark red blood on his chest, soaked into the white T-shirt, and his left pant leg now a dark maroon from blood.
"Are you alright?" he asked Starsky who looked down at himself.
"It's Hutch's," he said with a faltering voice as he slowly ran his left hand over the blood stain over his heart. It's your blood and my heart Hutch. He looked up at Phil, again a slight smile full of distress. Phil walked next to him, ready to lend a hand if needed, as they made their way to the chopper.
The two detectives were loaded into the chopper and after taking off, they were pointed towards Bay City.
Detectives Hansen, Jacobs, and Shepherd, watched as the helicopter lifted up and flew away. They then turned and looked back at the mine. "It could have been their grave site," Jacobs sadly said.
"They're going to make it. They're together. That's all that counts for now. Hutch is strong and with Starsky by his side, he'll pull through this," Phil told the two men as he tried to reassure them and himself.
They walked back to the mine and waited for the rest of the team to get there. There was going to be a lot of work ahead of them.
On the flight to Memorial, Starsky sat gently caressing Hutch's left shoulder with his right hand. The medics were keeping a close eye on him, too, because the brunet showed slight signs of shock himself. His slightly olive skin was now pale, with beads of sweat across his forehead. The bandage around his right arm was soaked with blood.
The medic sitting to his right reached out and gently pulled at his arm to access the damage to it. As Starsky allowed his hand to be removed from Hutch, the heart monitor that had been attached to Hutch suddenly alarmed. The medics swiftly moved Starsky out of their way as they both worked to stabilize Hutch.
The monitor displaying an erratic rhythm, it was changing from a flat line to fighting to hold it and stabilize. One medic sat ready with defibrillator paddles in hand, hoping not having to use them, the other with syringe in hand, injecting life saving medications into the IV-line that ran into Hutch's arm.
Starsky now sat on the bench at the foot of the stretcher that his beloved friend lay on. He reached under the cover with his left hand and gently laid his hand on Hutch's ankle. He gave a small squeeze and held onto the cool flesh. He hung his head and closed his eyes.
Don't you dare leave me Hutch. Oh god…don't you dare leave me. I need you buddy. I need you to fight. Fight and come back to me. Don't you give up. If you go, I will follow you. Please…feel me. I'm here buddy. Now fight, damn it! Fight! You come back to me, you hear me! I love you Hutch. A tear full of fear fell onto the steel floor of the chopper.
Starsk, know you are here. I know you are by my side, like you've always been. You're always there for me when I need you. I'm trying to hold on, but it's so damn hard. Please hold me. Don't let me go. I'll hold on as best as I can. Only for you Starsk. As long as you're with me buddy. Hold me in your heart. You own my heart and soul. I love you too.
The beeping of the monitor got steadier and the rhythm smoothed out. The medics took in relieved breaths and sat back. He was coming back. They looked over to the other man sitting the bench. Detective Starsky was quiet; sitting bent forward, his face relaxed, eyes closed. With his right fist over his own heart and his left hand holding onto his partner, he looked like he was praying or having a silent heart to heart conversation with the man on the stretcher. The medic sitting next to him reached over and laid his hand on Starsky's shoulder. Starsky looked at him.
"He's back Detective. His heart beat is stronger now."
Starsky just nodded once at him. With his left thumb still softly caressing the flesh under his hand, he dared not to break the connection.
The medic next to him again took hold of his right arm; the left hand still had the lifeline connection to Hutch. He removed the old bandage, applied a clean one over the knife wound and fixed it with tape around his arm. While he had access to Starsky's arm, he also checked his pulse, it was a bit fast. But he didn't think it warranted any attention at this time. He gave the detective his arm back, sat back and watched him and the man on the stretcher. There was definitely an unseen and unique bond between these two men, a connection that kept each other alive.
The MedEvac helicopter and its precious cargo landed at Memorial Hospital. Starsky never have breaking the connection to his partner. The two men were rushed to the emergency room. There, the connection was violently interrupted as Starsky was forcibly moved out of the way and urged out the double doors.
The doctors worked on Hutch as Starsky was aggressively pushed into the next room, protesting the whole way.
"I need to stay with him. You don't understand! He needs me!" He tried his best to return to his partner. "You don't understand. I have to stay with him!"
"Detective Starsky. We know how much you want to be with him. But he's in good hands and right now you also need to be treated," the large male intern and nurse tried to reassure him as they directed him to the examining table in the room.
"But you don't understand!" His protesting heard down the hallway.
"Detective Starsky, we do understand. We go through this every time that one of you shows up here. But you still don't understand that you need to be treated as well. You'll be of no help to him if you're passed out on the floor yourself." The nurse tried to reason with the frantic detective.
With his adrenalin and stress levels shooting to the sky, taking his mind and heart for a roller-coaster ride and feeling like his legs were starting to give out on him, he gave up and allowed himself to be guided to the table and laid down. Vitals were taken and documented by the nurse, while the large intern stood off to the side in case their patient tried to leave.
Doctor Greene came in and proceeded to examine the dark haired detective. He started an IV on him to counter the dehydration and pain meds being pushed through it. He also ordered antibiotics, because the arm wound was encrusted with dirt. It was then cleaned of the dirt and sutured. A fresh wrapping was then applied.
They had rushed Hutch up to the operating room from the emergency room, when his vitals again plummeted after Starsky's connection to him had been cut off. The doctors had to work to stabilize him enough for the trip to the O.R on the third floor. They were pushing fluids and blood into him as fast as they could. The big blond's condition was on the edge between life and death.
An hour and eighteen stitches later, a medicated and rehydrated Starsky was sitting in a wheelchair outside the O.R. room that Hutch was in. He was only allowed to wait there as long as he quietly sat in his wheelchair.
He had been admitted and taken to his room but he had thrown such a tantrum needing to get back to his partner, the nurse wanted to sedate him. Doctor Greene only allowed him to wait at the OR as long as a nurse was close by to keep an eye on him and with the expressed directions to sedate him if he became agitated again.
For Hutch's sake, Starsky did as he was told and sat quietly. He closed his eyes and tried to connect to Hutch.
Hutch I know that you're hurting. I know that it would be easier for you to just let go, but please don't. You have to stay with me. You know that I wouldn't make it out there without you. I need you by my side buddy. I watch your back, you watch mine. What kind of life would it be without you by my side? You know that you're my best friend. Hold on Hutch. Hold on for me. I'm here. Can you feel me? Feel the love I have for you? You're tough Hutch and I know that you're going to make it. My heart and soul is yours Hutch. So wherever you go, I will go too.
Captain Dobey had rushed from the track as fast as his big car could. The mars light sitting on the dash letting everyone in front of him know that they best get out of his way and as quick as possible.
The captain hit the interstate and headed south to Bay City. It was going to take him at least an hour to get to the city limits and another thirty five minutes to reach the hospital.
He still had not heard an update about his men and this worried him even more. The last he heard was they were in the helicopter and headed to Memorial. And that Hutch had taken a turn for the worst. He stepped on the gas even harder.
An hour and half later, Captain Dobey arrived at Memorial and was directed to the third floor. The elevator door opened and the big black man walked to the OR's waiting area. He was told his officer would be there.
Turning the corner and he found Starsky sitting quietly, dressed in a hospital gown with a blanket lying across his lap. His right hand tucked under his left armpit, fresh bandage wrapped around his arm, and his left hand holding his head. He seemed to be asleep, sitting in the chair, but his eyes were rooted to a spot on the floor as if it was going to move. Dobey walked over to his detective and placed a hand on his shoulder.
"Starsky…" he calmly said with a level voice.
Starsky looked up at his superior officer, then back to the spot on the floor.
"Capt'n." his voice was thin. The pain mediation running through him left him pain free but tired.
"Son, are you alright? What about Hutch?" The captain sat down in the hard plastic chair next to him. He glanced over to the nurse who sat a couple seats away. She gave him a small smile.
"Don't know yet. He's been in there a long time. He almost died in the chopper on our way here. Capt'n…" his voice caught. His eyes damp with sorrow. He couldn't look over at Dobey. He had to try and be strong, for Hutch's sake.
The captain knew how he was feeling. He knew how close his two men were to each other. And he knew, if he was to lose one, it was certain that he would lose the other too. And this lay heavy on his heart. He deeply cared for his two friends.
Doctor Holaster entered the waiting room and found the other half of the detective team sitting quietly, along with a large black man, he assumed was his commanding officer. He glanced at the nurse sitting in a plastic chair a few feet away, who was keeping an eye on her charge. She gave the doctor a small nod.
"Detective Starsky?" he asked.
"Yes, how is he?" Starsky tried to get up from his wheelchair, but the doctor and Dobey gently pushed him back down.
"It was touch and go for a while. The puncture wound was deep and caused a massive blood loss, and his heart was put under a lot of strain from that loss. We were able to get the bleeding under control and replaced the lost amount. The right leg and hip don't have any fractures but the muscles have been deeply bruised. The right thigh muscle itself has been split by the blow he received, but with therapy it'll heal. He also has a broken rib that had punctured his left lung. The cuts at his chest along with the abrasions on his back have been cleaned and sutured. The large knife wound to his backside was deep. We've cleaned it out, but there was a tremendous amount of dirt in it. We need to keep an eye on that injury, to make sure that it's going to heal properly. He also has a slight concussion. He's in recovery now and then we'll move him to a private room. We need to place him in a special bed to constantly switch his position. The pain medications are going to be strong due to the injuries. He's going to be in and out of it for a while."
"Doc, is he going to be OK?" Starsky asked with hope in his voice.
"Yes, but the next few days are going to tough for him. The person, who did this to him, knew what he was doing and how to inflict the most possible pain. His recovery is going to be slow. Let's hope no infections or pneumonia develops. He's on strong antibiotics to prevent that. But yes, he's out of the woods and should make a full recovery. We are now getting him washed up. I haven't seen someone in his condition since the war. I don't know what exactly he mentally went through, but from the injuries that he has, it must have been hell. He's very lucky to have survived. He had a guardian angel watching over him. "
"I need to be with him. When can I see him?" Starsky said in a tone that was to the point and leaving no room for discussion.
The doctor knew right away, the man in the recovery room needed to heal mentally and emotionally and the man in front of him would see to it. "It'll be about an hour. He'll be in room 312. I'll inform the nurses and your doctor, that you'll be roomed with him." He extended a hand to both men, then turned and walked back through the double doors to the OR.
"Come on son let's get you back to your room. You've got an hour to rest before he'll be in his room" Dobey told him as he walked to the back of the chair. The nurse stood and walked to her patient.
"I just want to get my things and get back up here to Hutch," the curly haired man said to him, leaving no room to argue.
"I know you do son, but you have to take care of yourself. You're not going to be any good to him if you don't," but the captain knew after looking at his detective's face, it was pointless to argue with him. Starsky had set his mind and that was to be with his partner.
Dobey walked beside him as the nurse pushed him towards the elevators. Starsky's room was one floor down.
Hutch had been taken to room 312 and placed into the bed that he would be occupying for the next few days.
Dobey got Starsky settled into the chair the staff had brought into room 312 a short time later. He stood and looked down at his blond detective now lying unconscious in the bed next to him. He took in a deep breath and sighed. How many times has he been in this situation with these two officers, watching one fight for his life while the other was left behind waiting for the other to fight his way back to him?
"I'll stop by tonight to check on you two. I need to go home and take a short nap, then I'll be at the office. Starsky…he'll be OK. The doc said it's just going to take some time," he had turned to the man reclined in the chair next to the bed. He lay a hand on his detective's shoulder.
"Thanks Capt'n," Starsky looked up to him.
"You need your rest too. Captains orders," Dobey told him.
"I'll put in a call to Huggy to have him bring you some clothes. Now you get some rest."
"Yes Sir," his voice faltering.
The captain turned and walked to the door. He reached to switch off the overhead light. As the room darkened, shadows invaded the room. The only light now, was the late afternoon sun seeping in around the curtains on the window, and the small light above on the wall, where a bed normally would have been. That bed had been replaced with the special one they needed for Hutch.
The captain looked back at his men and closed the door, shutting off the rest of the world from the two men who, right now, needed to be alone and to heal, physically and emotionally.
"No. They found them this morning. Yeah, some cop from L.A.P.D. Yes your work. Not sure who it was. Does it really matter? Naw, from what I heard, he's not hurt that bad. He should be at Memorial a couple days I think. No, the last I got, was they don't think that he's going to make it. Yeah, I'll let you know if I hear anything. No-one around here seems to know much and if they do, they ain't talking. Think of it as someone else doing the job for you and you didn't have to lift a finger. Someone else takes the rap. Yeah, I'm sure you would have loved to have seen the look on his face. Got to go."
Starsky sat in the recliner hospital chair/bed that the orderly had brought into their room. The nursing staff was trying their best to make him as comfortable as possible. The room wasn't equipped for two beds. But the smaller reclining chair, that allowed patients to rest somewhere else then on their beds, fit just right.
He had asked the orderly to move the chair as close as he could to Hutch without getting in the way. All the wires and lines that were still attached to Hutch were on Hutch's left, so Starsky sat to his right.
His left hand unconsciously found its way over to Hutch's bed and under the sheet. He sat holding onto his right hand. His thumb slowly caressed the soft flesh on the back of the blonds' hand. His thought running in circles around that hand he now tenderly held.
A hand that held the power and strength to save his life and at the same time it held the tenderness of a caress to ward off the evils and despair. How many times had that hand pulled the trigger to save his life? How many times had that hand strummed a guitar and brightened the world with beautiful music? He moved his hand down and laced his fingers around the long and slender ones of his friend.
He sat looking up at the odd bed Hutch was lying in. He wasn't to sure what to make of it. The nurse had told him it was a CircOlectric bed. He didn't care about the name, for all he knew it looked a little scary. Two huge metal rings and the extra attachments reminded him of a ride in the house of horrors at the amusement park.
They told him that it was made to turn the patients over without harming them. It was designed for trauma patients with various injuries. Hutch's position needed to be changed, so that he wouldn't develop pneumonia or pressure ulcers on his wounds. And without this special bed it would be a painful procedure. They would be turning him every few hours for a couple days, allowing time for the wounds on his chest and backside to start to heal without any complications or delay.
Starsky sat and allowed his eyes to drift close. His hand never releasing its connection to his friend. The only sound in the room was from the heart monitor that was connected to Hutch's chest. Hutch's heartbeat beeped across the screen, a slow and steady rhythm. The soft hiss of the oxygen also in the background, along with the obscured light in their room, and the pain medication running through him, all lulled him to the edge of slumber. He didn't drift too far away from his partner. His subconscious was always on 'Hutch alert'.
An hour later, a slight pressure on his fingers alerted him. Hutch! His eyes flung open.
He slowly sat up the chair and looked over at his friend. He stood and bent over the bed.
"Come on buddy. That's it. Squeeze my hand again," his voice was tender but full of excitement and love.
"Come on Hutch. Open those beautiful blue eyes of yours." He waited. He received a weak squeeze on his hand, but still no blue from underneath the golden eyelashes. The monitor's beeping picking up a slightly quicker beat at first, but then it went back to its slow rhythm.
With his right hand now holding onto Hutch's his left thumb slowly caressed the blonds' right cheek. He bent over, his forehead carefully laid against golden strands of hair. "It's OK Blondie. Take your time if that's what ya need. I'm right here, waiting. I'll wait however long you need. You just come back to me," he voice low and reserved. The tone he shared only with him.
The monitor showed a quicker beat again. Starsky looked over at it. He then felt a firmer hold onto his hand. It was still weak but this time he didn't release it. Starsky's heart started to race.
"That's it buddy. I can feel you. I know you can do it," his voice encouraging.
Hutch slowly moved towards the familiar voice. This voice would guide him out of the dark fog he was in.
With a lot of effort he raised his heavy eyelids. Their weight made it difficult to keep them open. He tried to focus on the face above him and his surroundings. There was something wrong with the picture he was looking at. His mind confused about where he was.
"There you are. I knew you could do it," Starsky's face and smile was full of relief.
Hutch closed his eyes again. It was just to hard to keep them open. He decided to try his voice.
"S. ..stars…?" that too, was to much effort.
"Yeah buddy it's me. You're going to be alright."
Exactly at this moment a nurse and a large orderly came into the room. Starsky looked up at them, and then back down at his partner.
"It's time for us to turn him over." The nurse stepped next to Starsky as the young and very large man went to the far side of the bed.
"He's awake. He opened his eyes and spoke to me," Starsky enthusiastically told the nurse.
"That's good." She told him, pushing herself between the standing patient and the one on the bed. Starsky had no choice but to surrender his place at Hutch's side. His hand had to let go and end the connection.
The heart monitor's beeping picked up speed. Hutch slowly opened his eyes and tried to focus. He didn't recognize the person that now loomed over him nor the strange thing surrounding him. The beeping continued to get faster.
He caught a glimpse of the tall orderly who stood back in a shadow. The man had picked up something large and was coming towards him. The sight of the big man sent his heart racing even more.
No! No more! Stay away! Starsky...please help. Don't let him hurt me anymore.
The small amount of adrenaline that found its way in his system, let him clumsily raise his arm in protest. His mind still trapped in the cave, he tried to fight them off. He tried to fight the voice in the shadows. His effort was futile.
"Mr. Hutchinson, you're only going to hurt yourself more. You have to lay still," the nurse and orderly catching his arm, abruptly restraining him. A small yelp escaped the big blond.
Starsky instantly was back at the bed, pushing the nurse aside. "Stop! Hold on for just a minute! You don't know what he has been put through! Just give me a minute. Please. Can't you see he's scared?" He glared up at the large orderly, then to the nurse.
He didn't leave them any room to argue. The determination on the cop's face told them he would do anything for his injured friend in the bed. The two stepped back to allow him to get to his partner.
"Hutch, it's OK. I'm right here. Look at me buddy," he cupped the blonds' face in his hands. "They need to turn you over. OK? I'm right here. I'm not leaving you. You know I won't let them hurt you. You know that buddy. I'm going to be right here. Ain't goin' nowhere. I promise, I'm right here with you. "He gently brushed the blonds' forehead, moving a few stray strands of gold hair from his eyes. He could see a storm of panic in his sea blue eyes. He tried to calm him down, but the storm continued to rage.
Ohgod Starsky…please don't let him hurt me anymore. No more…please no more.
Reluctantly Starsky slowly stepped back. His heart wanted to grab him and run. He wanted to carry him far away from the pain and fear that his friend had to endure. To protect him from anyone who would inflict more pain upon his battered body. This just wasn't fair. Why would anyone want to hurt such a gentle and compassionate person? Hutch had such a warm and caring heart and soul. He held such a tender part; it was beyond his comprehension that someone would deliberately try to break his spirit. His heart was bleeding for his friend.
He had to remind himself to breathe, because he could do nothing but stand back and watch. The orderly and nurse went back to the bed, placed the thin mattress on top of him and proceeded to strap it down over him and onto the bed. His head was also being strapped to the bed. His face now the only visible thing through the hole built into the mattress. The heart monitor raced, each heart beat trying to catch the one before it.
Ohgod! Starsky. I don't understand. What's happening? Why is he doing this to me? Please help me. Starsky please...he's hurting me. Stop him! Starsky…
"Nooo!" Hutch tried to yell, but his voice came out thin and frail. All he knew was that he was being restrained again, unable to free himself. The mattress on top of him was pulled tight against him. He felt as if the air was being pressed out of his body. A frantic rhythm raced faster across the screen.
Starsky was instantly at the head of the bed.
"It's OK Hutch. I'm right here. Listen to me buddy. Listen to my voice. You're going to be alright. It's just going to take a minute, and then it'll be over. I promise. It's going to be like a ride at the amusement park. I need you to calm down. OK? Hutch please… it'll be OK. Trust me," his own uncertainty showing in his voice. He wasn't sure what was about to happen, but all he knew was his friend was scared to death and he couldn't ease that anxiety or his beloved friend's mind.
Starsky looked at the nurse. His heart was racing, trying to keep up with the one beeping on the monitor. He looked for reassurance from the nurse. She recognized the panic in both of them.
"It's going to be alright Mr. Hutchinson," she told him leaning over so that he could see her. It didn't help. The monitor continued to race.
She stepped back. With a nod from the young man, they carefully but deliberately began to roll the bed upwards. During the whole procedure Hutch went through a vertical position, but as the bed continued to turn, he was finally faced down.
Please nooo...I'M FALLING! STARSKYYY? NOOOO...
Starsky watched with a mixture of curiosity and concern. He had never seen anything like this. Hutch went from being on his back to now on his stomach all in one smooth turn.
The nurse and orderly then proceeded to unstrap him and remove the mattress that had been under him, but now on his back. They covered him with a warming blanket and then the orderly left the room.
"It's all over with. See, that didn't hurt, did it?" the nurse tried to sound upbeat, but Hutch, was left confused and scared. The heart beats on the screen, still playing 'catch-up'.
A painful moan found its way out from under the bed.
"Come on Mr. Hutchinson, try to calm down for me," the nurse said with a concerned voice as she took his vitals, then she injected a cocktail of medication from a hypodermic syringe into the line connected to the back of Hutch's left hand.
"It's alright Hutch. It's over. You're OK. I'm still here," Starsky told him while trying to figure out how to position himself so Hutch could see him. He looked over at the chair. He snatched the sheet from it and threw it onto the floor underneath the bed. He then sat on the floor and lay down on the sheet. Now Hutch could see him through the hole in the mattress. He saw a scared expression on the face above him.
"Aww Hutch. It's OK buddy, I'm here," he then turned and looked up at the nurse who was looking down at him with a surprised look on her face.
"Umm…Mr. Starsky, I really don't appreciate you being on the floor. This is a hospital not a slumber party. We don't like our patients being on the floor." She told him with her hands on her hips.
"Well this is where I'm staying until he's turned again. So if you are concerned I might catch a cold from this cold floor, why don't you bring me another blanket and pillow. Because I'm camping down here." Again there was no room for an argument.
Having dealt with the two detectives on a previous visit, the nurse knew she wouldn't gain an inch. Defeated, the nurse walked over to the small closet in the room and pulled out another set of sheets, blanket and pillow. She walked back to the man on the floor and without a word, handed the linens down to him.
She looked over at the monitor, made a note about the rhythm, checked the air and fluid lines and went to leave the room. She looked back at the man on the floor, shook her head and closed the door.
"Look Hutch, I'm right here. I'm not going anywhere. They're gone now buddy. It's just you and me," he said as he got himself settled on the floor, his head under the bed so that Hutch could see his face.
Facing his soul-mate, he saw the look of terror still lingered in his eyes. A drop of moisture came falling onto his face. Then gravity delivered a couple more tears from Hutch.
Please Starsk…please help me. I can't do this anymore. Why…why? Hutch's confused mind was racing.
"Awww babe. Please…don't cry. You're going to turn this shiny bed of yours into rust," another tear hit him. "I know you're scared, but you're going to be alright. I promise. I'm going to be right here with ya. I'm not going anywhere," he told him again as he reached up and gently wiped more tears away. He allowed a couple of his own to escape. The anxiety level of both men was high. And there was nothing left to do but allow the quiet moment to end on its own.
During this time the beeping on the monitor ever so slowly eased the race it was in.
With the adrenalin now wearing off and the medication cocktail taking over possession of him again, Hutch closed his eyes. But he instantly opened them again. He was afraid that if he closed them, Starsky would evaporate into thin air. But the heaviness of the medication running through him, was winning the fight.
Starsky lay there on the floor, looking up at his partner. He could see that Hutch was fighting to keep his eyes open. The stress from the whole turning procedure had left him exhausted.
"It's OK Hutch, I'm right here. You just rest and when you open your eyes, I'll still be here. Unlike that Cheshire cat that Alice played with, I'm not going to disappear. I'm going to be right here."
Hutch allowed himself to drift off, but again panic rocked him. He flung his eyes open.
"See Blondie, I'm still here. So you just let them stay closed and take a nap. I'm going to lay right here and take a nap myself. A slumber party with just you and me." He reached up and caressed his cheek tenderly as Hutch allowed the medication to win this round.
Saturday afternoon turned to evening and with it came another very intense episode of turning for Hutch. Starsky tried to reassure him, but the monitor told him that Hutch still had his difficulties with the bed and the large orderly assigned to help. After the nurse left, the tears came over the blond again. Starsky knew it was going to take his emotional drained friend some time to adjust. With the strong medications still possessing his body and mind, it was going to be some long couple of days.
Starsky was reclined in the chair and Hutch lay on his back when there was a soft rap on the door.
He recognized the rail-thin black man in the flamboyant outfit. The purple silk scarf mismatched with the red and yellow suit. Huggy Bear quietly strode across the room. He carried a small bundle under his arm.
"Hey curls. Was told that you two had taken up residence here again. How's your other half doing?" he questioned while carefully stepping to the bed. His eyes and head were moving in a big circle as they followed the line of the rails.
"Man, Dobey told me they had him in some kind of crazy contraption, but this is really far out there man."
"Shhhh. He's had a pretty bad afternoon. I think this damn thing scars the hell out of him."
"Man, it would scare me too. How are you doing? You don't look too great. You're as white as that sheet. But then again, all you white folks are. I went by Blondie's place to pick up some clothes for you two. Dobey told me that you were in need of some clean threads."
The two detectives had clothes and personal things at each others' apartment. They shared every aspect of their live, even some of their clothes. With the exception of Starsky's ragged, tight assed jeans, they were too short for Hutch's long legs anyways.
"Thanks Hug." Starsky took the package and placed it on the small table next to him.
"Got wind of what happened. Seems that someone was out to put an end to our friend here. Any idea about who? I can ask around if you need help."
"Thanks Huggy, but I already know who was behind it. In one way or the other," he hesitatingly said. His heart sinking as he thought of his brother.
"Well you let me know if you two need anything. You just get yourselves fixed up. Got to split. Ran into a nurse that needs mouth to mouth. If you catch my drift."
"Sure Huggy. I'll let you know if we need anything." He gave the tall man a small smile as he exited the room.
He mind went to who was behind the horror that they had to live through. His mind replayed the conversation he had with Cole. "Being family and all." He shut his eyes hoping that he could erase it from his brain. It didn't work. He knew he first had to confront Nick personally. He also needed to inform Dobey about it, but most of all, Hutch had to know. He could never withhold anything from him. He never had and he wasn't about to start now. He deserved to know the truth.
Starsky reached for the room phone that was placed on the small table next to him and picked up the receiver. His fingers dialed the number without having to recall it.
"Hello," the quiet voice had a strong accent.
"Well hello my Dear. How are you? And happy birthday Son," his mom's voice light.
"Thank you Mom," his voice edged with sadness.
"What is it Davey? Something is wrong," she could hear the distress. "Are you hurt? It's Kenneth isn't it?"
His mother knew him too well. Over the years she became a comforter he called whenever he needed reassurance whenever either of them was sick or hurt. Hutch had spoken to her over the phone on numerous occasions. She had met Hutch in person a couple years earlier when they flew east for a visit. The two had instantly taken a liking to each other. Both had one thing in common, their love for Starsky.
"He's hurt pretty bad Ma," telling her without revealing the whole horrid story. "He's in the hospital. I…I almost lost him," the emotions trying to take him over.
Hearing the catch in his voice, she knew it had to be serious. "He's going to be alright Dave. He is strong. I know that he will be OK."
"The doc says it's going to take some time. Mom, is Nick there I need to talk to him?" Hoping that changing the subject would help to ease his emotions.
"No Dear. Nick left town sometime this morning. Not sure what's going on with him. He's been a bit distant lately. Your little brother seems to be preoccupied with something."
"Son, Kenneth will be alright. With time and you by his side, he'll be just fine. He knows you love him and will be there for him. Now you get your rest too. And try not to worry. It will all work out fine. I love you David."
"I love you too Ma." He set the receiver back on the cradle. He took in a heavy breath and looked over to the man in the bed. I'm here Hutch. By your side as I will always be.
Eight pm. and Dobey stepped through the door to room 312. The large nurse at the nursing station had informed him that visiting hours were over. But a swift flip of his badge, and a gruff look from the tired captain got him a few minutes.
The captain wasn't prepared for what he saw when he walked into the room. One of his men was lying on his stomach, while the other was laid out on the floor halfway under the strange bed.
"Starsky?" The big black man questioned perplexed.
The curly haired man glanced up from his makeshift bed on the floor.
"Capt'n," he softly responded.
"You want to tell me just what's going on in here?" his demanding voice raised a bit.
"Shhhh. I just got him back to sleep." Starsky rolled out from under the bed and pulled himself up. He sat clumsily back in the chair, still weak and tired himself.
"Capt'n, it's the only way I'm able to calm him down. This damn bed and that orderly they have assigned to him really have him messed up right now. They've got him so doped-up that he's thinking he's back in that damn hole."
"What do the doctors have to say about all this?" pointing down at the mess in front of him.
"Don't know Capt'n. Ain't seen 'm yet. 'Nurse Cratchit' out there said he'll be doing his rounds in the morning. Until then, I have to deal with her. And that relationship is, she doesn't get in my way, I don't get in hers."
"Remember, you're in a hospital, so play by the rules. At least try to, for me?"
"Captain, Hutch is my only concern right now. If I have to bend some rules for him to get better, then bent they are."
"Starsky, I don't want to be sent up here to haul your ass out, understood?" the captain making his point.
"Yes Sir." A sigh of defeat left him.
"Now, back to business, I talked with Captain Davis at the track. They just got things cleaned up out there. They've got Ids of the three men from the mine and the one that stole your car."
"It's going to be hauled back here as soon as Davis is done with it. It needs a new rear window from what I understood."
"Merl can take care of it."
"Alright, I'll send it over there. Now, the four men that were involved in this whole damn thing, they were all ex military. One man, Michaels, was Special Forces. He went rogue in Nam after he had been captured, but he escaped. Disappeared after the war. The two brothers were dealers from New York. And the one that stole your car had been in and out of jail for dealing and auto theft. We're still trying to put the pieces together. We're trying to find the connection to Hutch and you. Right now everything is kept under covers. No-one knows you two are here, with the exception of the medical team and a few officers. We're keeping this under wraps 'till we know who else may be involved. "
Starsky sighed. He didn't want to do this right now. He just wanted to be alone with Hutch. But he knows the sooner the better. With a heavy heart, he took in a deep breath and sighed heavily.
"Capt'n, I already know who may be involved. I just don't know to what extent, but I'm going to find out. Cap I just need a couple of days. Please?"
"Starsky, if you know who's behind this, I need to know it too. They just about put you and your partner in a box." Dobey's voice rising as he pointed to the man in the bed.
"Capt'n, please. I just need a little time. I promise I'll let you know."
The captain saw that there was no need to argue with his detective at this point. Then there was a moan that came from the direction of the bed. The monitor showed a quicker rhythm.
Starsky was out of the chair in a second. He gently laid his hand on the back of Hutch's head. He bent down closer to Hutch's ear.
"It's OK buddy, I'm here." He whispered, then looked back at his captain, his face full of concern and some distress.
"Alright I'll give you forty-eight hours. Then I better get a name from you," his voice softened.
Six am. Sunday morning came with Starsky dozing deeply and Hutch on his back again. The night had been rough for both men. The pain meds for Starsky's arm had worn off hours ago and left it throbbing. The ordeal of the mine still had a tight grip on Hutch's mind and emotions. There had been no real rest for Starsky throughout the night because he had tried to keep Hutch calm and reassuring him that they were safe.
Doctors Greene and Holaster walked into the room together accompanied by a nurse. The overhead light was switched on. The room was flooded with light and it invaded Starsky's eyes. He slowly sat up in the chair and let go of his partner's arm.
Each doctor went to their respective patient. Dr. Greene looked at Starsky. The dark circles around his puffy eyes told him he hadn't gotten a lot of rest. He pulled the bandage off the arm and inspected the wound.
"A lot of pain?" he asked his patient.
"Some Doc. Feels tight too."
"You've got some tendon and muscle damage. You're scheduled for physical therapy this afternoon. They're going to show you some exercises you need to do to avoid any limitation of movement. I'll let the nurse know to give you some more pain medication too. I think it's going to be alright." He patted the detective on the shoulder after wrapping a clean bandage on the arm. He then walked out the room.
Starsky got up from the chair and stood at the head of Hutch's bed. Dr. Holaster and the nurse had uncovered Hutch to check the wounds. Starsky got a better look at what had been done to his partner.
The bright light above showed Hutch was covered with contusions from head to toe. The red, blue, black and yellowish green hues of the bruises, painted his body down to his knees. Starsky suddenly felt sick. The blood rushed out of from his head and left his ears ringing. He took an unsteady step back.
Ohmygod, Hutch. Babe, I'm so sorry. Please, will you ever forgive me? Damn you Nick. He felt a sense of guilt and rage as the sight of his injured friend stabbed him in his heart.
"He's doing well. I know it doesn't look like it, but he is starting to heal. Most of the small bruising should be about gone by the end of the week or so. The deeper ones on his thigh and hip will take longer. The knife wounds will be slow to heal as well."
"Doc, how much longer in this thing?' Starsky asked about the bed.
"Unfortunately at this point he still needs turning. I'll take a look at him again tomorrow night. If the lung stays clear and the wound on his buttock looks better, maybe we'll put him in a regular bed on Tuesday. I know it's a little unorthodox, but it's the best we can do for him right now."
"Doc, it scares the hell out of him."
"I know. Most patients having to stay in it have a hard time adjusting to it. But I was hoping the pain medication would help to ease the anxiety of it a little."
"It takes me a few minutes to calm him down enough to rest. His mind is still in that damn dark hole."
"It's only been a day. It's going to take him a lot of time to heal physically, mentally and emotionally. But I know for sure the two of you will get through this just fine. The nursing staff told me how he'll calm down for you, but not for them. Whatever the two of you share, it works. I know he'll pull through this with your help." The doctor covered his patient, reached out to squeeze Starsky on the shoulder and walked out of the room.
The nurse left the room with the doctor. A short time later she reappeared with pain medications for both men. Starsky's in a cup. Hutch's in a syringe.
Two pm. came and two nurses and the large orderly walked into the room. Starsky knew it meant turning for Hutch and he had an appointment for his own therapy. They turned Hutch to his stomach. His nurse and orderly left, while Starsky's nurse stood back allowing Starsky to get him calmed down and asleep.
The love and compassion he showed towards his partner, left her with the hope there were still nice men out there. And with some luck, one day she would find one that was just as passionate as the man standing in front of her, a man who could show love and affection through his tender words and touches. She envied the connection these two men had. The concern the brunet showed for the blond evident in his tone of voice and his touches. She presumed the curly headed man didn't care who knew or saw these signs of tenderness. His heart so full of love for the man lying in the bed that everything else was unimportant. She smiled at the thought that maybe someday she may be just as lucky as the man lying in the bed to find a devoted partner.
The brunet knew he had to leave for his therapy, but his heart was reluctant to go. The nurse was noticing the hesitation.
"He's asleep. He'll be okay. You won't be gone too long," she assured him.
"I know. Just don't want to leave him right now," his voice full of concern for the blond who lay face down in front of him.
"It's alright," she tugged at his arm and walked him to the door. She switched the overhead light off and silently closed the door. The room now back to it's quiet darkness.
Forty five minutes later, the door to 312 swung open. A figure walked in carrying a bunch of flowers and balloons.
"Happy birthday Davey. Looks who's here to see you." The flowers were moved out of the man's face and there was a surprised gasp as the man saw what was in front of him. He reached over to turn on the main light.
Nick Starsky walked across the room. He placed the flowers and balloons on the small table next to a chair and walked over to the bed. He glanced down at the figure that was lying face down. The blond hair told him it wasn't his brother who was laying there. He stood there for a moment, and then bent over to see the face of the man who occupied the bed.
"Hutchinson," his voice was full of resentment.
There was no reply or acknowledgment from the bed. Nick stood there looking down at the figure. His mind was trying to figure out what had happened.
When he had gotten word from one of his buddies from the track that Friday night, everything had gone down as planned; therefore he caught the next flight out from New York.
He hadn't expected to find Hutchinson in the same room assigned to his brother. But then he thought about it. Where else would your bloody ass be?
"Damn you Hutchinson."
He slowly walked around the bed. Running his hand along the rails, Nick pulled up the blanket and took a glance at the big man's back; he then placed it back down. He made his way over to the head of the bed.
With his hands on his knees, he bent down to make sure Hutch would hear him.
"Hutchinson. Why is it, that every time I'm out here to visit Davey, your ass is always around? But look at you now. You're not so tough now, are ya? Got yourself messed up there. Well maybe this time you'll get the hint," he sneered down at the prone figure.
"Maybe you should start to reconsider some things. For starters, about the way you carry on around my brother. How you're always pawing at him. Or about the way the two of you are constantly touching each other, or call each other pet names."
"Maybe you wouldn't be in this mess now, if you just left him alone. You know if it wasn't for your fairy ass, he'd be back home in New York, where he belongs and not out here with your sorry ass," Nick's voice cold and venomous.
"I don't get it Hutchinson. What is it about you that he would choose you over family?"
"How about love, devotion, and respect," the voice behind him was low and reserved.
Nick turned with surprise written over his face. The older Starsky was now standing in the doorway.
"Davey. Happy birthday brother," Nick tried to cover his surprise. He swallowed hard. He wasn't sure how much he had heard.
"What are you doing here Nick?" Starsky asked as he walked further into the room.
He sidestepped his younger brother and walked over to the bed. He looked at the monitor. The heartbeats were raised. He reached down tenderly threading his fingers through the golden blond strands on the back of Hutch's head.
"It's alright babe, I'm here," he gently said, not even trying to hide anything from his brother. In fact, he made a point to make sure that Nick heard him and saw the signs of affection he gave to his partner.
"Davey aren't you happy to see me. I came out here to visit you for your birthday." He sounded hurt and a little rejected.
Starsky turned to his brother. He kept his rage in check, because he had to make sure that what he just heard and what was said back in that dark hellhole was correct. He needed to hear it from his brother.
"How did you know I'm here Nick?" His voice low and demanding, the one he reserves for those who work on the wrong side of the law.
"I called your apartment and didn't get an answer, so I tried to reach you at your work and the front desk told me you were here," his attempt of back-paddling wasn't doing him any good.
"That's funny, 'cause Dobey told me that no-one knows we're here except a few people. And those who do know are under strict orders not to tell anyone. So try again." He closed the gap to his brother, invading his personal space. Nick took a step back with a nervous smile.
"Hey, does it matter? I'm here now. So let's go and celebrate your birthday." He sidestepped his brother and walked across the room. He needed air.
"No." Starsky shortened the distance to him again, now standing an arm's length away.
"Come on Davey. It'll be fun, a few beers and a couple cute girls. The Starsky brothers out on the town." Nick tried to sound innocent.
"No. You just don't get it, do you? I'm not leaving my partner." Another half step was towards his brother. "Right now, Hutch is my only concern."
"Why are you treating me this way? I thought that you'd like to spend time with your family. Can't you ever go out without him? It would be nice to come out here to see my brother without him always next to you. Jeez Davey, I'm your brother, remember? Every time it's always Hutch tagging along. You can't even make a trip home to Ma without him." He took in a breath.
"He even got Ma talking about him. Every time she talks about you, Hutch is always mentioned. It's always David and Kenny did this or Davey and Hutch did that. Damn, I'm so sick of hearing about you and him," his distaste for Hutch now glaring in the open.
That was the last straw. Starsky closed the gap between them in the blink of an eye. He now had Nick by the collar.
"You did this to him, didn't you? DIDN'T YOU?" The tone of his voice hardened. His eyes were now steel-blue and cold.
Nick fought back, grabbing Starsky by the right arm, trying to twist his way out of the hold that his older brother had on him. Starsky held fast. He twisted Nick's arm around his back, pinning him face to the wall.
"I don't know what you're talking about. I didn't do anything to him," Nick told him over his shoulder.
"You opened your mouth to those guys, knowing exactly what they were going to do. You knew they would come out here and do this! You let that maniac running loose on him!" His grip on Nick's arm tightened. There was a small grunt of pain that escaped from the younger Starsky.
"Alright. I might have mentioned something to them. But I didn't tell them to hurt him. Now let me go."
"No. You see, your friend Cole opened his mouth before he got stupid and tried to put a bullet through me. You knew about this from the beginning. How could you do this?"
"Starsky! That's enough!" The deep voice of the black man standing in the doorway stated, interrupting the informal interrogation.
Starsky let go of his brother and turned towards his superior officer. Nick took a step back and straightened out his collar. Dobey coming over towards the younger Starsky, took hold of his arm.
"Hey!" Nick exclaimed, looking up with surprise on his face.
"I heard enough from you to book you." His voice rose.
"I didn't do anything!"
"You did enough." Dobey turned towards the door, where a uniformed officer who, had walked up with the captain, was standing in the background.
"Kelly. Take this gentleman down, read him his rights and then book him." Dobey manhandled Nick over to the officer who took hold of the stunned younger Starsky. He cuffed him and briskly walked him away.
Dobey turned back to the room. Starsky just stood there looking at him. He took a deep breath and exhaled loudly.
"Capt'n. I don't know what…"
"Starsky…I'm not looking for an explanation from you. I heard enough from him." the captain looked at Starsky's arm.
"Starsky, you're bleeding."
Starsky looked down, a crimson spot spreading on the white bandage. But his mind instantly changed direction. HUTCH!
He looked over to the bed and the heart monitor, it was racing. He was instantly at Hutch's side. He threw his bundle of linens onto the floor and dropped down on it. Dobey stood and watched. He was slightly taken aback, but he knew it was how it would always be. One was always looking after the other and everything else around them being oblivious to them.
Dobey walked out the room to the nurse's station, informing them that Starsky was in need of medical attention. He then walked down to his car and drove to the precinct. His thoughts were with his two detectives and the brother of one, whom he now had to press charges against.
Sunday afternoon soon turned into Tuesday morning, when Dr. Holaster cleared Hutch for a regular bed and the heart monitor was gone. Starsky had officially been released but remained devoted at Hutch's side.
The nurses worked around the brunet. It was easier having him there, because Starsky took over some of the daily care. He insisted on giving Hutch his sponge baths. All modesty between them had gone out the window years ago. He also had the patients to get him to eat. The medications running through him, upset his stomach, keeping food down was hard. Starsky was there to clean him up after bouts of nausea.
Starsky also had the hard task of making the call to his mother. It went how he expected it to be. Her voice making it obvious, she was disappointed and shocked that Nick would do something to harm either one of them. Her low tone and the hesitation in her voice told him everything he needed to know, she was hurt.
He told her that Hutch was recovering well and should be released from the hospital by the end of the week. She gave her love to both of them and hung up. Starsky sat back in the chair. Nick had not only hurt Hutch, but their mother too. Even as she tried to sound strong, Nick's actions had left her hurt and disappointed. Damn you Nick. Always thinking of yourself.
He had already contacted a lawyer for Nick over the phone. It was all that he could stomach at the time. The whole sorted affair still too fresh in his mind. His own heart was still recovering from the pain that Hutch was in. Nick was the last person he wanted to see at this point. The lawyer would see to it Nick was cared for and see about having him transferred back to New York to serve his time there. It would be best for everyone.
Later that afternoon Detective Phil Hansen walked down the hospital corridor to room 312. He knocked on the door, and then he opened the door quietly. The room was softly lit. The curtains pulled closed. Only the small light over the bed glowed.
Starsky lay reclined in the chair next to Hutch's bed. His left hand reaching through the side rails of the bed and lay on top of Hutch's arm. He glanced over at the LA detective. Starsky sat the chair to its upright position and went to get up.
"Hey, that's OK, you stay put," Hansen quietly told him as he walked over to him.
"Just stopped by to see how both of you are. How are you doing? You look better then the last time I saw you." He extended his hand. Starsky took the man's hand and shook it.
"I'm feeling a lot better."
"And how is he doing?" Phil softly asked as he looked over to the big blond lying asleep in the bed. The evidence of the beating was still very evident.
"It's going to take time, but he'll be alright. If it wasn't for you, he wouldn't be here with me now. I don't know how to thank you."
"No need for that. Just get better. Maybe, when you're both up and around again, we could get together. Talk about cars. Speaking of which, heard your car took a bullet."
"Yeah, it's not the first time. I've got someone who takes care of those things for me. Fixes her up for me."
"Sorry that your birthday weekend didn't go as planned."
"The race was great. But the best present I got, was getting him back." He glanced over to his partner. Hutch moaned and turned slightly in his sleep.
"Well I'll let you two get your rest. I just stopped by on my way to see your captain about the follow up reports. And to drop Hutch's gun and some personal things we found in the mine after a through search."
"Thanks. We'll pick that up when he's up and around."
Starsky got out of his chair. He walked to the door with the man who had saved their lives.
"I want to thank you again, for all that you did. You gave me my partner back," a look of sincere gratitude written on his face.
"You're welcome. You just take care of him." Phil looked back at the man in the bed. He smiled at Starsky. He knew the curly haired man would do everything in his power to care for the blond.
Over the next few days, Starsky sat glued to his partner's side. His loyalty and devotion to him was unbreakable. The only time he was separated from him, was Wednesday afternoon. Captain Dobey insisted that Starsky come in and give his statement. Huggy came by the hospital and picked him up. He then dropped him off at Hutch's apartment to collect some clothes and Hutch's battered Ford. Starsky did a quick check of the green and leafy babies of Hutchs', deciding they would be OK for a few more days. He then rushed to the precinct for the report and finally back to his partner.
Hutch's physical therapy started on Thursday. Starsky accompanied him while the therapist worked to mobilize his leg. It left him exhausted and his leg pulsating with shear red hot pain. Only after the therapist left, did Hutch allow for the tears to fall. Starsky sat on the bed with him and held him close, reassuring him, he would be out there running again and soon.
The medications for Hutch were slowly decreased, giving his body time to adjust being without the more potent pain killers, morphine in particular. They didn't want him to suffer from withdrawals. By Friday he was on a low enough doses that took the edge off the pain, and only had minimal side effects, though he still had some bouts of nausea. They were told, with time, these would pass, too.
But with the removal of the morphine, some of the fog in his head lifted to allow his mind to remember the noxious things he had been told.
'You're not wanted around him, you faggot.' The voice returned attacking him from the dark. The memory of the name calling mixed with the beatings came back, forcing him to cringe unexpectedly every now and then. He tried his best to push them back, but they were too profound.
'Erase him from your mind.' He tried to wipe his mind blank, but found it too difficult.
'The longer you're around him, the more pain is inflicted on him.' the voice bounced around in his head. His heart started to break.
Was the voice telling the truth? Was he to blame for what happened to them? Was the love he had for his partner and friend actually harming him?
'Maybe you wouldn't be in this mess now, if you just left him alone. You know if it wasn't for you fairy ass, he'd be back home in New York, where he belongs and not out here with your sorry ass.' Nick's voice was cutting through the foggy haze in his head.
Ohgod Starsk…what have I done to you?
Saturday afternoon Starsky was allowed to take Hutch home with strict instructions, that if there was even one set back, no matter how small, he had to have Hutch back immediately. Starsky promised Dr. Holaster that if he coughed or the temperature was raised just one degree over normal, he would bring him back.
Starsky got Hutch settled in his own run down car. He went to the driver's side and sat down. He glanced over to his friend. Hutch sat turned slightly against the door. His back turned at Starsky. He looked so fragile. That little boy look Hutch had, whenever he was sick or hurt, was back.
Starsky reached over and gently patted him on the shoulder. "I'll have you home in just a bit."
There was no response from the man sitting next to him. Hutch just sat quietly, only a hint of a glance out of the corner of his eye towards Starsky. Then his eyes went back, looking out the side window.
Starsky took in a deep, worried breath. Maybe I'm taking him home too soon.
As Starsky maneuvered through afternoon traffic, there was no conversation between the two partners. It was a silent ride, with the exception of the car, creaking and rattling on it's way down the road.
Starsky got them to Venice Place, Huggy was there waiting for them. He had asked the man to let some fresh air into the apartment since it had been closed up all week and to help him to get Hutch up the stairs to the apartment.
But even with Huggy's help, it took them quit some time to get him up the staircase and in the apartment.
They settled him on the couch. Extra pillows were placed around him for comfort. It was very evident that he was in pain from the exertion of just getting up the stairs. He sat trying to catch his breath, his strength gone.
Starsky fumbled through the bag of medication being prescribed. He found what was needed and handed the pills, along with a glass of water to Hutch. Hutch just looked down at them. They made his head feel foggy. But the pain in his leg and backside overruled his urge to refuse them and he swallowed the pills.
Huggy watched as Starsky stood observing his partner. He knew that they were going to be OK.
"You let me know if you gents need anything," and with a smile the lanky man headed for the door.
"Thanks Hug. I will." Starsky walked Huggy Bear to the door and quietly closed it behind him.
Starsky slowly turned back around and looked at Hutch. He was propped up on the couch. His right leg with a pillow under it for comfort. He was turned as if trying to vanish in the pillows on the back of the couch.
"You need anything? You want me to fix you something to eat? Huggy went to the store for ya. I'm sure I can find something to go with those tasty pills that you just downed," he stated as he walked over to him. He sat down on the coffee table and looked over at his friend.
"No," the answer came out soft and carried a touch of sadness in it.
"OK, maybe in a little bit I'll cook a grill cheese sandwich for you. You need to put food in your stomach for your pills." Starsky didn't get a response. He only received just a quick glance again from the corner of the blue eyes.
"They were discharged this afternoon. Probably Hutchinson's place. I still don't know. No-one around here is talking. Yeah, Starsky's brother. No, they took him out of here yesterday. I don't know that either. Does it matter? Hey listen, I'm doing the best I can. No-one around in this shit-hole is talking. Yeah, I'll keep you posted. Hey, I said I would let you know!"
Eight pm. and Hutch was beyond tired. He had sat quietly looking at nothing in particular. The old western that Starsky was watching held no interest for him. His mind was back to the abusive voice in the mine and to Nick Starsky.
The pain medications were playing havoc with his thoughts. It made thinking almost impossible. His head and heart sending mixed signals. He loved his friend and partner dearly and didn't want to hurt him anymore. And if that meant he had to sacrifice his soul for Starsky's sake, then he would. Starsky needed to be with his family.
Starsky had taken notice, that as the evening lingered, his friend was going down hill quickly. The strong pain pills were whisking away all the strength that he had.
"Come on Blondie, lets tuck you into bed," he walked over from the chair he was in and helped Hutch to sit up, gently holding onto Hutch's upper arms to carefully lift him up to a sitting position. Hutch swayed slightly.
"Yeah, 'm tired," his voice was pain-ridden and soft.
"I…I'm sorry David." The stammer and use of his given name told Starsky the obvious; his friend was falling fast into that emotional turmoil the big man would sometimes throw himself into.
"Sorry for what?"
"For you having t..to care f..for me," said with a quick glance up to the indigo eyes of the man standing in front of him. To the man who would sacrifice his own life to care for him. He couldn't allow that to happen. Starsky had too much life to live. He didn't want Starsky to throw away the rest of his life just to care for his sorry ass.
He dropped his head. His forearms on his thighs, his hands clasped together.
"Since when does me helping ya, upsets you? Did you ever consider that my mission in life is to care for you and look after your big ass? You'd do the same for me." He reached out to help Hutch to his feet, but Hutch just sat slouched over.
"I…I don't want to be a bother. I'm a b..burden for you." The self loathing had set in.
"Hutch where is this coming from?" He reached out to lay a hand on Hutch's face and run his thumb across his cheek. For the first time since their relationship began so many years ago, Hutch consciously shied away from the sign of affection, leaving Starsky's hand suspended midair. The foundation of their relationship was partly based on that physical aspect. Shock tore through him as if Hutch had stabbed him with a red, hot sword.
"Hutch? What's wrong? Please talk to me." He stood there, his heart suddenly racing. He knew there was a problem. He had been aware of it, for the last couple days Hutch had been reluctant to reach out for him, to touch him and to hold up the physical bond that they shared. For Starsky this was a sign that Hutch was shutting down emotionally.
His overly sensitive friend was hurting and when that occurred Starsky knew he had to put up a fight to drag the big blond out of the dark emotional abyss that he fell into.
"M…maybe it would be b..better for you t..to leave and let me be." Hutch stumbled under his breath while looking at the floor. The stammer was evident that Hutch was emotionally spent.
"I don't think so buddy boy. You think that I'm going to stand up and leave you sitting here on your own? Look at yourself. Ya can't even sit up without help. And you think I'm going to just leave you here alone, just like that?"
"D...David, it would be b…better that maybe I...I wasn't around you anymore." His hands were fidgeting nervously and his eyes never leaving the spot on the floor. His heart was breaking. His mind reliving what had been told over and over again back in the mine. You're not wanted around him.
"BULLSHIT! That's a bunch of crap, Kenneth Hutchinson!" He was now getting angry.
"Look what happened t…to us. All because of me," Hutch's self dejection sat deep.
"Now you listen to me Hutch," he reached over and lifted Hutch's chin so the blond had to look at him, blue eyes to blue eyes. "You think this whole thing was because of you? No! Have you ever thought about that it had been because of me? Huh? Did you ever think that maybe I want to be around you? That maybe I chose to have you for my friend?"
"But you have a family that needs you. I'm just standing in your way. Your needed back East. Y...you'd be better off without m...me. I…I've made a mess of us this time." Hot tears were fighting him as they tried to come to the surface. Emotional pain wasn't something he could ever get under control of in front of his friend.
"So this is what you want, to sit here alone, to try to convince yourself that this is for our best. You're going to let some maniac and my sorry excuse for a brother tell you what is the best for me?" Starsky's emotions rapidly started to run havoc. Please Hutch…lets not do this.
"But if you stay, what will happen the next time? The next time someone else sees us close together? I've already caused heartache between you and your brother. How much more pain will I cause y…you?" The tormenting tears threatening to spill from him.
Starsky stepped back, "You're not the only one in this relationship. You ever thought that maybe I need you? What about my feelings? I don't want to leave. I want to stay with you. That's my choice. I don't give a damn what other people say about us. Ain't ever have and not gonna start now. So just get that out of your thick skull," he snapped at him.
A hurt look crept across Hutch's face. The realization, that Starsky was right, hitting him in his heart. He was hurting them both with his insecurities.
The stunned look on Hutch's face told Starsky he had hurt him. That was last thing he ever wanted to do. That was it, Starsky's emotions were on the loose. A week of trying to stay emotionally strong for Hutch, crumbled his composure.
He dropped to the floor in front of the man who had been by his side for so many years and sobbed. His head fell into his right hand while the left held himself upright from the floor.
"Ohgod Hutch…please don't make me leave. Please…" He looked up with hot tears streaming down his face.
He reached over and laid his hand on Hutch's knee. "Please don't do this to me. I love you Hutch." The three little words they hardly ever said to each other directly were full of emotion.
That was all it took for Hutch's heart to kick down the walls that his head was trying to erect. He reached out for him. The tears were taking him over too.
"I love you too," softly said between sobs.
Starsky got up from the floor and sat next to Hutch. Starsky reached over and carefully embraced him. The two men cried into each other. The emotional turmoil between them now was running unhindered.
After a couple minutes Starsky sat back holding onto Hutch's shoulders, looking into those beautiful blue eyes of Hutch's, they were now of a darker blue and full of emotions.
"Are we alright now?" he asked sniffling.
"Yeah. I'm sorry for all this Starsk. It's just his voice is echoing around in my head. All the nasty things that he told me. I'm sorry." He dropped his forehead to Starsky's chest.
Starsky placed his hand on the back of his head and threaded his fingers through the satin strains of gold hair and caressing the back of his neck.
"Aww buddy. It's going to be alright. You just have to remember that what we have, can never be taken from us. Me and Thee. Remember?"
Hutch looked up and took in the face he knew so well. "Yes."
"Now, you ready to be tucked into bed?"
"Alright." He shifted his weight to the edge of the couch. Starsky stood, handing him one of the crutches he was going to have for a while. He reached around, under the other arm and Hutch slowly pulled himself up. The room twisted slightly as he stood. With his equilibrium slightly messed up from the pain medication, they slowly made their way to the bedroom.
Hutch sat heavily down on the edge of the bed, physically and emotionally exhausted. Starsky carefully turned him and laid him down. A soft moan of pain escaped the big blond.
"You alright?" Starsky asked as he carefully placed extra pillows along Hutch's back and chest.
He looked up to him with that boyish look of need in his eyes. The unspoken question asked. They had shared the same bed on too many occasions to count, whenever one was hurt, sick, or just needing the comfort from the other after the ugliness of the job overwhelmed them from time to time.
"Had already planned on it buddy. Be right back"
Starsky walked around the apartment and locked it and switched the lights off for the night. He walked to the far side of the bed, climbed in and scooted over, next to his partner. He moved the pillow between them out of the way. Starsky laid his arm around the big blond and drew him in closer.
Hutch laid his head on the brunet's chest. He could hear the strong beat emanating through him. The heart he needed in his life more then life it's self, a precious possession he would hold dearly next to his own.
TO BE CONTINUED…