A Very Starsky Christmas

"Starsk? Starsky!"

"Huh?" Starsky said as he came out of his daze. "What?" He looked around. He was in the passenger seat of his partner's car heading down the main drag of the seediest part of town.

"I'm talking to you."

"Oh, sorry," Starsky replied but didn't ask what it was about. There was a loud sigh from beside him. He turned and looked over at Hutch. He knew his friend was annoyed with him but he just didn't feel like getting into it with him right now. In fact, he wasn't even sure what was bothering him lately.

"Have you booked your flight home to New York yet?" Hutch asked, just trying to make conversation at this point.

It was Starsky's turn to sigh. "Yeah."

"Aren't you excited?" Hutch asked, amazed since Starsky always loved Christmas and was a kid at heart.

"Meh."

"Meh?"

"Yeah, that's what I said."

Hutch stopped at a red light and looked over at his best friend. Starsky was staring out the passenger-side window but Hutch could tell he wasn't really seeing what he was looking at. "Starsk, what's wrong?"

Starsky gave a sideways glance at Hutch but turned back toward the window. "Nuthin'." There was a moment of silence between them then Starsky blew out his breath loudly. He turned toward Hutch as the light turned green. "I'm sorry, Hutch. I know I'm being a big downer lately."

Hutch pulled the Firebird into a parking lot and put the car in park. He turned in his seat to face Starsky more easily. "Do you want to talk about it?"

Starsky now stared out the front window of the car. After a moment, he shook his head. "No."

"Starsk, please."

"Look Hutch, I'm just in a funk. Forget about it."

"This seems to have started…"

"Don't. Don't say it – it aint' true!"

"Can you deny it, though?"

"Hutch, if I admitted that this started when you got together with Alice, what would that say about me? That's a crumby friend who gets depressed when his best friend's life is going well." Starsky bit his lip. The word was out there and he wished he could take it back.

"I think you should see someone," Hutch said softly.

"Oh great. What, a shrink? No way!"

"Not necessarily a psychiatrist. Your MD could probably prescribe…"

"NO! I mean it Hutch, just drop it. Forget I ever said anything." Starsky could not meet his partner's gaze and turned away. He heard Hutch turn back to face the steering wheel. "Hutch?"

"Yeah, Starsk?"

Starsky looked over at his friend. "Don't let this – whatever it is – affect you. I love that you are happy. I've said that before."

"I know you do, Buddy. I just feel bad." Hutch saw Starsky's brow furrow. "Hey, don't worry. I'm not going to stop being happy just for you. Don't you fret your pretty brown-haired head about that," Hutch joked.

Starsky snorted softly and gave his partner a less-bright version of his famous grin. "You know, I'd kinda like to stay here this Christmas."

"Really? Your mother would have a fit."

"Yeah, I know," Starsky said and Hutch could see that he was seriously entertaining the thought.

"You do already have your ticket," Hutch said.

"Yeah."

After both men stared at their hands for a minute, Hutch looked over and smiled. "You'd really want to stay here with us?"

Starsky's lop-sided grin was a little more real this time and he blushed on top of it.

Hutch laughed and reached over to rub his best friend's shoulder. "I love you too." He laughed even harder when Starsky did the best 'aw shucks' expression he'd ever seen another person muster. Putting the car in gear, he pulled back out onto the street.

Starsky relaxed a bit as he looked around watching store owners putting up Christmas lights and decorations.

"Have you two thought about when you will get married?"

"We've bounced a few ideas around, yeah."

Starsky fidgeted. "Who do you think you'll have as your best man?"

"I already asked Huggy. He's thrilled," Hutch lied.

Starsky shot him an indignant look and then laughed.

"Goes without saying, my friend, you know that."

"Yep," Starsky said simply.

"I'll let you know to block your calendar as soon as I know."

"I can't wait 'til you two get hitched."

"Oh yeah, why's that?"

"I've always wanted a sister-in-law."

Hutch opened his mouth and then clapped it shut again. He was glad Starsky wasn't looking at him just then. He and Starsky were so close they both occasionally forgot they weren't actually brothers. "And then Jamie would be your niece," he said, continuing with Starsky's thought.

"Uncle Dave," Starsky said with a grin.

Hutch laughed. "I think you will always be 'Uncle Stars'."

Starsky turned to face him, smiling. "I like the sound of that."

"Me too, Buddy."

~ S&H ~

Hutch pulled into the driveway and they both got out of the car. Starsky looked up at Hutch and Alice's house.

"Is she still away?" Starsky asked and Hutch nodded. "When is she getting back? I don't remember giving her the go ahead with this trip to see her sister." Starsky smiled when Hutch laughed loudly at his comment. "I mean it. This was kind of sudden. And why didn't you go?"

"It was sudden. We just decided to do it this way and since Dobey agreed I could save my vacation over for the honeymoon next year, I'll wait until Pam comes to visit us in the spring."

"Oh, makes sense."

"You just miss, Jamie," Hutch teased.

"Damn right I do! She's my little buddy. She's probably grown a foot since I saw her."

"Well…I don't know about a foot. But they do grow fast." Hutch relaxed as he saw a bit of the old Starsky shining through. "Whatya say we call for pizza – delivered."

"Oo, from Mario's?"

Hutch laughed, "Sure, from Mario's. Just be ready with CPR after I ingest all that grease."

"I'm here for ya, Buddy.

~ S&H ~

"James!" Starsky called out as Jamie bounded down the stairs towards him.

"Hi, Stars!" Jamie exclaimed, jumping into her third favorite person's arms.

"Oo, I missed you so much, Squirt." Starsky lifted the little girl's shirt and blew on her belly making her twist and giggle. "Oh, been eatin' beans, huh? Got some gas, do ya?" Jamie continued to giggle and wriggle. Starsky put her back down, accidentally bumping her into the coffee table. "I'm sorry honey," Starsky said, kissing the top of her head.

"Fuggedaboudit," Jamie said with a wave of her hand, heading into the kitchen.

"What did she say?"

"Huh?" Hutch said turning to follow Jamie.

"I swear she just said 'fuggedaboudit'."

"Starsk, she's barely three. Who knows what she says half the time."

"Yeah, I guess. Mmm, what smells so good in there, Alice? Did I tell you I missed you too?"

"Missed my cooking, you mean," Alice teased.

"Well, that too," Starsky said dipping the tip of his pinky finger in the sauce for a taste.

Alice swatted at him with a dish towel. Hutch had sat down at the kitchen table and Jamie climbed up on his lap. Alice went over and kissed the top of Hutch's head and ran her hand down Jamie's cheek. Hutch was watching Starsky who took the opportunity to grab another taste but Hutch saw the dark cloud pass over his friend's face. He hoped seeing his own family would lift Starsky's spirits despite the fact that he didn't seem to be looking forward to it.

~ S&H ~

"Do you have your ticket?" Hutch asked as he pulled Starsky's suitcase from his trunk.

"Yeah, I have my ticket, geesh," Starsky complained as he took a shopping bag full of presents from the back seat of the Firebird.

"Don't give me that. You know you…"

"Once! I forgot my ticket once!"

Hutch handed the suitcase over to Starsky. "Well, have a good trip, Buddy."

"Thanks," Starsky said, unenthused.

"Aw, come on. You will have fun. Don't be like this."

"I just don't want to miss Christmas with Jamie. They are only that fun age for a little while."

"Hey, the tree will still be up when you get back and we will have our very own Christmas with you then. I promise it will be wonderful."

Starsky forced a smile. "Yeah, okay. I'll see you when I get back. Give those pretty ladies a kiss from me."

"I will," Hutch said as he gave Starsky a quick hug. "Now move it. You have our gift for your Mom, in there, right?"

"Yep. She'll love it. I'll call when I get there. Bye, Hutch."

Hutch waved and jumped in his car to head home. A smile broke out on his face.

~ S&H ~

"Hey, Nicky!" Starsky waved to his brother.

"Dave!" Nick ran up and hugged Starsky. "Right on time. Come on, I'm parked outside."

"How've ya been, little brother? Staying out of trouble?" Starsky feigned a serious look.

"Yeah, yeah. You know it, Davey. I've been working at the club now for over a year. I'm the assistant manager now, you know."

"Assistant manager?" Starsky exclaimed. "That's t'rrific. You'll be running that place soon."

"I sure hope so. You'll have to stop by while you're here."

"I wouldn't miss it." Starsky moved to pick up his suitcase just as Nick did the same thing and their heads collided. "Oh, sorry."

"Fuggedaboudit," Nicky replied.

"So, how's Ma?" Starsky asked.

"She's been cooking for three days. You know she gets," Nick laughed.

"Mm, I can smell the pierogi from here!" Starsky threw his arm around his brother's shoulder and they walked out of the terminal side by side.

Three hours later, Starsky leaned back in his chair and rubbed his full belly. "Ma, that was fantastic, as always."

"Thank you, David," his mother said, giving his cheek a pinch as she took his plate with her other hand.

"Let me, Ma," Starsky said trying to take the dish from her.

"Nonsense, you sit and visit with Nicholas."

After their mother disappeared through the kitchen door, Starsky looked over at Nick. "What's up with Ma?"

"Whatya mean?"

"I don't know, she's kinda quiet. She hasn't said one thing about me finding a nice girl, yada yada. When has Martyna Starsky ever missed the opportunity to harass her sons about never giving her grandchildren?"

Nicky shrugged and downed his beer. "Be thankful, Davey. Hey, I gotta run."

"What? I just got here."

"Yeah, I know, I'm sorry but I need to run some errands before the club opens. Hey, you coming tonight?"

"Nah, how about tomorrow? I'm beat from the trip."

"Okay, sure. That sounds good. You should look up Antonio and Little Mikey. They were just asking about you."

"Yeah, I'll give them a call. Oo, that reminds me, I need to call Hutch. I'll see ya later, Nick."

"See ya, Dave. Say hello to Hutch for me," Nicky said as he grabbed a jacket near the door and headed into the kitchen to say goodbye to their mother.

Starsky made the call to Hutch and Alice and even was able to say goodnight to Jamie due to the time difference. He spent a quiet evening with his mother and fell asleep in front of the television.

The next day, he was rummaging around the desk in the parlor. His mother came in the room and saw him.

"What are you doing, David?"

"I'm looking for Antonio Malafronte's phone number. It was in your little phonebook. Ah, here it is."

Mrs. Starsky snatched the book from her son's hands. "No. You won't call him."

"What? Ma! Why not?"

"I never liked that boy."

"Never liked…what? You play bingo with his mother every Saturday night!"

"No," Mrs. Starsky said simply and put the small flowery phonebook back in the drawer. She shut the drawer and took a cloth from the pocket of her apron and began to dust.

Starsky stood dumbfounded. "What about Little Mikey? Michael Santamaria. Can I play with him?" Starsky tipped his head to the side and looked pleadingly at his mother.

Mrs. Starsky smirked at her son and tucked the cloth back into her apron. She took Starsky's face in her hands. "My little Davey. Why do you want to go and leave me alone so quickly? Let me enjoy having you here with me. Look at you. You remind me so much of your father. I love to see you here in our house."

Starsky grinned at his mother and took her hands in his. He took them away from his face and kissed her on the cheek. "Okay, Ma."

"You can visit with your friends after Christmas."

"Okay, okay. I am not staying very long but I will wait until after Christmas to call them. There, does that make you happy?"

Mrs. Starsky gave her son another pinch on his cheek. "You are a good boy, David."

"Thanks, Ma," Starsky said as he rubbed his face. "I'll be bruised when I go back home and Hutch will think I got in a neighborhood fight."

Mrs. Starsky 'tut-tutted' at his remark and went back to her cleaning.

~ S&H ~

Starsky came into the kitchen a few hours later. "Ma, what are you doing? Are we having lunch soon, I'm starvin'. What the heck is all this food for? Have you invited your bridge ladies over or somethin'? Where is Nicky? Is he still sleeping, the lazy bum?"

"So many questions! Lunch will be ready soon. Go, you are in my way."

Mrs. Starsky pushed her son into the parlor. The kitchen door swung shut behind him. Starsky let out a 'hmph' sound and plopped down on the sofa. He picked up a magazine and thumbed through it but then promptly tossed it aside. "I'm gonna go stir crazy. Ma, I'm going out. I need to get some fresh air."

The kitchen door swung open so fast, Starsky's hair blew in the breeze from it. "You stay right there, David. I said lunch was going to be ready soon."

"Come on, Ma. I've been stuck here…" seeing the disapproving look on his mother's face, Starsky backpedaled. "I've been in the house since I arrived yesterday. I'm getting cabin fever."

"You are feverish?" She came toward him.

Starsky put up his hands. "No, Ma. I'm not feverish. I'm just tired of sitting around." The sound of a car door outside caught their attention.

"Ah, it's Nicholas."

"Nicky? I thought he was upstairs asleep."

Mrs. Starsky smirked knowingly at her eldest son. "Answer the door, David."

"Answer...? Nicky has a key."

With a heavy sigh, Mrs. Starsky pulled Starsky up off the couch. "Go."

"Geez, Ma, you're getting kinda pushy in your old…I mean…never mind."

Starsky slowly trotted to the door and swung it open expecting to see his brother standing there.

"Hiya, Starsky."

"Hutch? Alice? Jamie?"

"Stars!"

"What the hell…I mean, what are you doing here?"

"Surprise!" Alice chirped out.

Nicky came up the steps behind them. "Don't just stand there letting the cold in, Dave. Let us by."

Starsky stumbled aside and looked on in amazement as Hutch stepped inside and was greeted by his mother with a big hug and kiss. He even got a cheek pinch. Alice came in next. "Hello, Martyna. So nice to see you again."

Starsky's brow furrowed in complete confusion. "Again? Again? But…" he felt Hutch's arm around his shoulders.

"Come on, Buddy. Let's sit down.

Starsky allowed himself to be led over to the sofa and flopped down onto it. "What's going on? Why are you here?"

"Aren't you happy to see us?" Alice asked, winking over at Hutch.

"Well, of course I'm happy to see you. I just don't understand."

"Well, Starsk, I'll tell you. Us being here is your Christmas present. Well, part of it, anyway." Hutch said beaming. "I have to tell you, I just about had a heart attack when you said you wanted to stay in California."

Starsky glanced nervously at his mother. "Uh, Hutch, ixnay on that, would ya?"

"It's okay, Starsky," Alice explained, rubbing Starsky's leg affectionately. Martyna knows."

"Knows? Well, I'm glad someone knows what's going on here cause I sure as hell-heck don't," Starsky exclaimed but smiled over at little Jamie who was sitting on his mother's lap.

Hutch smiled at his best friend's confusion. "Okay, Starsky, let me explain. A few weeks ago when Alice was with her sister, remember?"

"Yeah."

"Well, she was with Pam but they were here, not in Chicago. They were here making plans."

"Plans?"

"Well, that's the other part of your Christmas present. Alice and I are getting married. Here."

Starsky's eyes widened and his mouth dropped open. "Here?"

"Tomorrow."

"Tomorrow? " Starsky repeated. "Tomorrow is Christmas Eve."

"That's right," Alice said leaning in toward Hutch.

"Hey, Buddy, you said you'd be my best man. Are you still in?"

Starsky's mind was whirling. "Of course, Blondie. But, I need a tux!"

Nicky stepped to the closet near the front door and opened it. "Here you go," he announced. He unzipped the black bag hanging on the inside of the door and pulled it open. "Your tuxedo, brother."

"For real?" Starsky said, his once gaping mouth now grinning widely.

"For real, Starsk."

"My dress is upstairs in your mother's closet," Alice added.

"Oh man," Starsky said. "Oh man, this is frigging amazing."

"Watch your mouth, David," Mrs. Starsky said as she covered Jamie's ears with her hands.

"Sorry, Ma. Sorry, James."

"Fuggedaboudit," Jamie replied.

"I knew that's what she said before!" Starsky laughed. "Now it's starting to make sense." He jumped up from his seat. "So where are you getting married?"

"Church of the Resurrection," Nicky answered. "Ma, I stopped by there on my way to the airport. Everything is all set."

Starsky twirled from Nicky to his mother to Hutch and Alice. "The reception?"

"Relax, Starsky," Hutch said as he grabbed Starsky's wrist and tried to get him to sit back down. He had to admit, though, he loved seeing Starsky excited about something.

"The reception is at my club," Nicky said. "It's gonna be beautiful." Nicky bent down and kissed Alice's cheek.

Starsky looked around the room again and dropped down back onto the sofa. He held his head in his hands.

"Starsk, you okay?" Hutch asked, glancing worriedly over at Alice.

Starsky looked up again, his face lit with happiness. "Oh man, I'm just so overwhelmed. This is the best thing I ever could have asked for. My whole family – all my family – right here, together."

"Oh, Starsky. I'm glad you like this idea." Alice said, her eyes gleaming with tears.

"Like it? I love it!" Starsky threw his arms around his soon to be sister-in-law. He then hugged Hutch, Nicky and then his mother and Jamie together. "Thank you. Thank you all." He laughed then. "You are getting married but I'm thanking you like you are doing it for me."

Hutch let go of Alice's hand and stood up to face his best friend. "We are doing it for you, Starsky. Yeah, it is our wedding but we wanted – we all wanted to do something for you."

Starsky swallowed the lump forming in his throat. "Thank you, Hutch. This means the world to me."

"Merry Christmas, Starsky."

"Merry Christmas, Hutch. Merry Christmas."

~ S&H ~

The rest of the night was spent eating, drinking and being merry. Starsky suddenly remembered he had left his gifts for Hutch, Alice and Jamie behind in Bay City but soon forgot about that since he knew the best thing about the holiday was being together and that was what they got to do. Hutch loved to see the old bubbly child-like Starsky telling tales and laughing. He told Starsky they weren't able to bring everything with them so only Jamie would be visited by Santa on Christmas morning. That made Starsky even happier knowing they would get to have another Christmas when they returned.

Not long after Hutch and Alice arrived, the doorbell rang. Starsky ran to answer it. Huggy and Captain Dobey stood on the porch. Huggy laughed as Starsky threw his arms around them while Captain Dobey seemed a little uncomfortable with the gesture. Alice's sister, Pam, and her husband were next to arrive followed by Hutch's parents. The little Brooklyn home was bursting at the seams but no one cared. Starsky took up residence on the floor along with Jamie. He pulled out his old train set and set it up to run around the base of the small Christmas tree.

Hutch had been truthful about his fiancé's past and was relieved to see his folks wrap Alice and Jamie in hugs. "She's beautiful, Ken," his father whispered into his ear after all the introductions were made.

Hutch nodded, "She sure is, Dad." It wasn't long before his mother and Alice were deep in talk about the upcoming wedding and Alice's ideas for her own business.

Mrs. Starsky was in her glory feeding the masses and making sure everyone had enough to drink. Nicky had gotten the night off from the club. By the end of the evening, Starsky exclaimed his face hurt from all the laughing and smiling.

The next day was Christmas Eve and the day of the wedding. The house erupted into happy chaos. Pam arrived early with make-up and hair styling equipment and promptly shooed Hutch and Starsky out the door with their tuxes. Nick drove them over to the hotel where Dobey and Huggy were staying so they could dress and get ready for the wedding.

Starsky leaned cross-armed in the doorway of the bathroom and watched Hutch trying to tie his bow tie. "Nervous?" he asked with a smirk.

"A bit."

"Don't be. This is the best thing in the world," Starsky said as he stepped closer to help Hutch with the tie.

"I know. I'm so happy, Starsk."

"Me too, Pal. Me too." Starsky looked up from the bow tie after giving it a final tug and looked into his best friend's eyes. "Thank you again."

Hutch blushed and lowered his gaze. "Well, thanks for being my best man. Oh! The rings." He reached into his pocket, pulled out the wedding rings and handed them to Starsky. "Hang onto these for us, would ya?"

Starsky took the rings and studied them. They were simple bands of gold with a smaller ring of silver around each one. He tucked them into his pocket and patted it with a smile.

"What time is it? Are we ready? Do we have everything?" Hutch babbled.

"Take it easy, Partner," Starsky said, patting his friend on the back. "Are you ready?"

Hutch took a deep breath and grinned. "I sure am."

"Well then let's do this. Nicky, let's get this show on the road."

Dobey stepped up and extended his hand to Hutch. "Congratulation, Ken. I'm very happy for you."

"Thanks, Captain. It really means a lot to us that you and Huggy could come out here for this." Hutch put his left arm around Huggy as he shook Dobey's hand.

"Wouldn't miss this for the world, my man," Huggy said.

"I have to say, I've never seen you look so dapper, Huggy," Starsky said taking in the black tux Huggy was wearing.

Huggy looked down at himself. "Ah, wait, I forgot the finishing touch." From his pants pocket, he pulled out a bright, multi-colored silk scarf and tucked it into his breast pocket. "There."

Everyone laughed. "That is more you, Hug," Hutch said.

~ S&H ~

At the church, Hutch stood at the altar with Starsky by his side as the maid of honor, Pam, came down the aisle followed by Jamie, the flower girl. There was a chorus of 'Aw's' from the small group of people in the church. Hutch couldn't remember when he felt happier. He looked back at Starsky who smiled and winked. The music stopped and then a single piano began to play. The priest motioned for everyone to stand.

"What is this?" Starsky whispered. "This isn't 'Here Comes the Bride.'"

"I know. It's Pachelbel Cannon in D" Hutch whispered back nervously. "She didn't want to have a song about being dressed in white. I haven't seen her dress. I hope…" Hutch's words were cut off as the doors at the back of the church opened and he saw his bride. He gasped as Alice began her walk down the aisle on the arm of Huggy Bear. She was stunning. Her gown was full length in a shimmering, very pale pink. It had long sleeves, a slight v-neck and a short train. Her golden hair was upswept with a veil that covered her face but not enough to hide the radiant smile she wore.

"Oh, Hutch." Starsky said a bit too loudly but Hutch didn't hear him. The blood was rushing in his ears and his vision was blurred at the edges making Alice look even more ethereal. Huggy and Alice stopped before the altar. He pulled her veil up and kissed Alice on the cheek.

Alice reached up and Hutch took her hand as she took the two steps up to the altar. Suddenly the rushing sound in his ears stopped and he heard her whisper, "Hi, Handsome Hutch."

Hutch's eyes brimmed with tears. "Hiya, beautiful."

The ceremony went perfectly despite there not having been a rehearsal. Before he knew it, Starsky was handing the priest the rings and then he heard the words, "I now pronounce you husband and wife." Hutch leaned in and kissed his glowing bride.

"I gotcha," Alice whispered with a devilish grin.

"Yes, you did," Hutch whispered back. Sniffling sounds came from behind him and Hutch turned to see Starsky red-eyed and grinning like a fool. Both he and Alice reached out at the same time and pulled Starsky into a hug. The crowd erupted into applause just then.

The reception was also perfect and the entire group left exhausted and happy. Starsky had booked the honeymoon suite at the Brooklyn Sheraton as a last minute wedding gift. "Hey, it's not the Ritz."

"Oh, that is so sweet of you Starsky," Alice gushed as she took the key from him. "Thank you."

Starsky blushed and shrugged in that way that made women melt and Hutch laughed as Alice fussed over his gift. "Thanks, Buddy," Hutch said as he reached out to shake his friend's hand.

Starsky took the hand but pulled Hutch into a hug at the same time. "Congratulations," Starsky choked out.

"Aw, you're not going to start that again," Hutch feigned annoyance but inside his heart was bursting with happiness seeing the emotion in his friend's face.

"I just can't help it. I'm so happy for you two," Starsky said still holding onto Hutch's hand even after breaking the hug. "Jamie's going with me so you two have fun." Starsky poked Hutch in the ribs with his elbow.

"Okay, but we will be at your mom's house at 6 AM. Be ready."

The happy couple climbed into the back of a taxi and with a wave, disappeared into the night.

~ S&H ~

"Good morning," Alice said quietly as she gave Starsky a Christmas kiss the next morning. Hutch followed her in, yawning.

"Is she up yet?" Hutch asked.

"Not yet," Starsky replied, stifling a yawn of his own. Let's go make coffee.

By the time the threesome had finished their coffee, they heard footsteps on the stairs. Mrs. Starsky was coming down holding Jamie's hand.

"Go see if Santa Claus came, little one," the older woman said sweetly. Nick came down the stairs after them.

Jamie reached the bottom of the stairs and peaked into the parlor. She saw the presents spread around the tree and her eyes were as big as saucers.

"Santa?"

"Yes, Sweetie. Santa came last night. He left you some presents," Alice said. "Go see what is there."

Starsky turned on the train and reached over it for a gift. "This one has your name on it."

Hutch and Alice sat on the sofa after Mrs. Starsky got comfortable in her favorite chair. Nick sat on one of the dining room chairs that he pulled into the room.

Jamie enjoyed handing out presents to others just as much as she liked unwrapping her own gifts. After everything was unwrapped, the room grew quiet.

"That peace after a Christmas morning is always so amazing, isn't it?" Alice asked and Hutch pulled her closer to him.

"Yes it is, Love."

Alice leaned down to Jamie and whispered in her ear. Jamie nodded and smiled shyly. "Jamie has a present for you, Hutch."

"She does?" Hutch asked, surprised. Jamie stepped toward him and looked up at him and then looked nervously over at her mother.

"It's all right, Honey. Go ahead."

Hutch looked around at everyone who seemed equally confused but they all had the same smile. Jamie took another step closer to Hutch so that her hands were resting on his knees.

"Merry Chrissmas, Daddy."

Hutch's eyes instantly filled with tears and his mouth dropped open. Alice put her hand to her lips as her eyes also glistened.

"Oh, Jamie. Oh, Merry Christmas to you, too." Hutch scooped his soon-to-be daughter into his arms and buried his face in her hair. "Merry Christmas," he whispered again.

There were sniffles from Mrs. Starsky as she reached and took Alice's hand and squeezed it. Nick looked on with a warm grin. Hutch looked over at Starsky, still sitting at the tree. Tears rolled unabated down his cheeks and his smile shone brighter than Hutch had ever seen it. Hutch reached over and squeezed his best friend's shoulder. Starsky just nodded and continued to grin, unable to say anything. It seemed there were no words for what everyone was feeling.

"God bless us all," Martyna Starsky said softly.

Hutch's own tears spilled over onto his cheeks just then.

"He has, Mrs. Starsky. Oh, He has."

The End