Set after "the fix"

Hutch was lost.

He didn't even know who this 'Hutch' was anymore.

He was just lost somewhere between all the meanings.

Lost somewhere between here and there.

Between nothing and everything.

Between realty and fake. Between lies and truth.

He was struggling.

With his life, with his future, with his feelings, with his pains.

Where exactly?

Hutch didn't know.

Okay, well, right now he was standing in the living room of his house, the withered plants in front of the windows, where the sunlight flickered through jealousies, reminding him of the past.

A past, where he'd belonged to something.

A past with future, with hope, with something to lean on.

A past with love and friendship.

Love? Friendship?

He didn't even really understand the meanings of these words anymore. But still he knew there was something… or someone.

The pain had gotten worse lately.

Hutch had believed he had healed nicely, was getting back on the road to normal, even back to normal.

But the pain wouldn't go away really. Sometimes it was numb, then it came back with all his strength and power. And it was stronger than he was. He was sure of it.

But there was something, he knew, something or someone to help. A person. More than a person, more than anybody. A friend, a brother, a partner.

Starsky?

Yeah, Starsky.

Starsky meant help, love, friendship, tears, laughter, hope. It meant something like 'it's going to be alright' or 'we'll handle it...together'.

Hutch remembered him hearing say that he should call him, whenever he needed him. No matter what daytime it was, no matter where he was or what he just did. "Just call."

The blond blinked and his gaze, which had remained on the flowers all the time, wandered over to the telephone. Help was near. But so far away at the same time. The way to there seemed so short, so easy, but Hutch felt so drained. He didn't know if he had the strength left to do it.

Starsky.

Starsky was going to help and if he didn't call Starsky would be disappointed, sad. Hutch remembered his friend looking very sad. They, yes they, that sounded right, they had gotten through much lately. Starsky had helped him before. Why not now?

Hutch glanced over to the phone and instinctively stretched out his arm. He didn't reach it, no wonder, it was on the other side of the room. So far away.

For Starsky. He had to do it for Starsky.

Hutch made a quick movement, wanting to take a step forward, but before he actually did, he stopped, hesitating.

Come on, for Starsky.

The blond closed his eyes and immediately felt the need to just lie down and let the pain overwhelm him, till it would bring him into darkness or till it got so powerful that it would get him out of his apartment on the streets, to it. To the stuff his body wanted so much.

Hutch sniffed through his nose.

His eyes were caught now by another thing.

On in the middle of the room sat a little bottle. Pain pills, Hutch knew. He had bought them months ago, before all that. Needed them for headache sometimes or when he was hurt somewhat in the line of the job. That hadn't happened too often before, before all that. The bottle was almost full.

Hutch tried to tear his eyes away from it, but he couldn't, he just couldn't manage.

Slowly, very, very slowly he crept forward, his feet making low noise but for Hutch it was like a thunder every time one of them hit the floor.

Now or never.

Now it was going to be chosen.

The urge just to swallow down those pills, to end the pain, to end his life was great. Almost too great for Hutch to handle.

But there was something that let him hesitating even when he grabbed the bottle firmly with his weak hands. It was so cool. So cool, unbearable cool.

Hutch stared at the bottle.

He just needed to swallow ten pills or so. Then it would end, everything. Yeah, sounded like a good deal.

But…

What about Starsky?

Hutch choked when he realized he'd a couple of moments completely forgotten about his partner. But on the other hand, he told himself, was Starsky very much better off without him. Starsky needed a life, he deserved a life. And not a life of taking care of him.

So it was only for Starsky's good.

Yeah, Starsky would understand.

'Oh would he?' a voice in Hutch's mind asked. 'You think that?'

"Yeah!" Hutch burst out and flinched instantly.

'Oh I can imagine. And if your roles were reserved… of course, you would understand.'

Hutch gulped down a mouthful of air, his throat suddenly feeling tight. This stabbing sarcasm in the voice was familiar to him.

'Hutchinson. Do you have any idea how much pain you will cause if you take those pills?'

"It's for his best, for his very best," Hutch said in a whisper, not aware someone had slipped into his apartment behind him, closing the door softly, watching his inner conversation with himself.

'Oh yeah. Then take them and you'll see you didn't destroy only one life with that move. Go on and kill your friend, too.' the voice said.

Hutch didn't know he had been crying until he tasted salt on his lip and felt the wetness all over his face. Still the person behind him did nothing to be noticed. Just stood there and watched, hoped.

"No," the blond sobbed. "It'll be the best for him. For everybody."

Hutch bit by bit opened the bottle and emptied it on his hand. A time what seemed like an eternity long he watched the white pills rolling in his palm, then he closed his eyes.

He would let Forrest win if went on now. He would let them all win. And Starsky… who had tried to help him so desperate, the whole time, without resting. He had been awake through so many nights, just to sit beside him, to comfort him, to help. He had never complained when Hutch called him in the middle of the night.

If he went on now, this all would be for nothing.

Starsky…

Starsky would be alone.

Starsky would be alone on the streets, alone, without somebody watching his back.

What if he did something stupid?

Damn you, Forrest.

Rage built itself up in Hutch. If Starsky did something stupid it would be Forrest fault. He couldn't let someone like him win. He just couldn't.

Hutch took all his strength, all his fight what was left in him and tossed the bottle against the wall where it burst into thousand pieces and let the pain pills roll from his hand to the floor where they went everywhere.

It was all over, for now.

"Glad you decided this way. Gettin' home, ya know…"

Hutch thought he missed a few heartbeats. Startled to death he whirled around and found himself staring at his partner himself.

Hutch held his gaze briefly, then dropped in shame. "Sorry, so sorry" he mumbled.

"Hey," he heard Starsky say. "Look at me."

Hutch didn't obey. Why would Starsky want to look at him? He was worthless. A couple of moments ago he had considered to kill himself. He was so weak.

"Look at me." Starsky touched his chin softly and guided it upwards to his concern filled eyes.

"Oh, Starsk," Hutch sobbed, again tears welling in his own eyes. "I'm so sorry."

"It's okay. You won. We won," Starsky whispered, pulled his friend into a warm embrace and Hutch could feel him tremble from the overwhelming relief.

"I-I almost, I almost," Hutch choked out. "I-I… I'm sorry. Wouldn't want to hurt you. I-I… sorry. I'm sorry. So sorry."

"Sh…" Starsky soothed. "I'm here now. You won. We won."

"But-"

"No 'buts'. It's going to be okay, I promise. It's almost over. We'll do the rest together. We'll handle it. Me and thee, okay?"

"Okay," Hutch breathed against Starsky's shoulder.

"But I want you to promise me something," his friend asked and pushed him back a little to look worriedly in his eyes. "Call me next time! Huh?"

"Yeah, you got it. I-I promise," Hutch whispered. "And… thanks."

"No problem." Starsky shrugged casually. "I love you, remember?"

Hutch chuckled slightly. "Yeah, I remember."

Starsky nodded visibly satisfied with the reply and shoved Hutch gently over to the couch where they sat down and fell silent.

"Starsk?" Hutch asked after a while.

"Mh?"

"How did you know I-I was in trouble here?"

The curly haired didn't answer instantly.

"Buddy… how?"

"You're my best friend," Starsky said finally. "You're like a brother to me." And as lame answer as it was, it was understood right.

THE END