Holier Than Thou

By:  Creedo (Formerly Starskysgal) and Jan in VA


Feedback: Of course we want it, we need it, we crave it…


Author’s Notes: This one is a collaboration between Jan in VA and myself, hope you all enjoy this one, it is a little dark at times, but I think the ride will be worth it.


Dedication: To Jan in VA for being so patient with me as I work with Brook on other projects.


 Chapter One


This day started like any other, a stop by the taco shop for Starsky’s breakfast, a burrito with heavy onions, then a drive through the neighbor hood streets, looking for wanted criminals. Hutch had already had his breakfast, one wheat germ, kelp and goat’s milk shake. They both embraced each other’s differences as much as their similarities. One calm and light, the other hot tempered and dark, one a Methodist, the other Jewish, they were the ying and yang, polar opposites that fit together like two pieces of a puzzle.


They were currently working on a tip provided by their good friend and extremely reliable source, Huggy Bear, about a new drug cartel from the east coast, trying to set up shop on their side of the country. Their activities ranged from drug running to weapons dealing, all up and down the west coast, but the base of their operations was stationed right in the heart of Bay City. Both Starsky and Hutch had planned on making sure they didn’t visit for long. Along with putting the word out on the street that they were planning on shutting down their operations, they also made sure to harass their potential customers into submission.


Anthony Rogers, or ‘Big Tony’, as he liked to be called, was well known for his bullying tactics and terrified most of the small time dealers and runners in the city. The local riff raff was torn between a one-way ticket to jail, compliments of the dynamic duo, or certain pain and/or death, compliments of ‘Big Tony’. They found themselves in quite a pickle to say the least. Several of them actually went into hiding until the war between good and evil was over, not to mention the fact that Big Tony was putting their previous employers out of business. Word was spreading across the city quickly, everyone knew that there was a fight brewing, and no one was laying any bets.


The scuttlebutt was that Big Tony was getting angry that Starsky and Hutch seemed to be everywhere he was trying to set up shop, they seemed to be one short step ahead of the gangster. The small seeds of sin that Tony was able to plant, were quickly uprooted by the two detectives.


The call came over the radio, “Zebra 3, this is dispatch, come in Zebra 3…” Mildred’s familiar voice resonated over the airwaves.


Hutch reached for the hand piece, looking over at his partner, “Dispatch, this is Zebra 3, go ahead.”


“Zebra 3, please hold for Captain Dobey.”


There was a distinct click over the radio, and then Dobey’s bellowing voice spoke, “Hutchinson, Starsky?”


“It’s Hutch here Cap, what’s up?”


“We got a call about five minutes ago, asking for you two in particular. They said they have info about Tony Rogers, but the caller wouldn’t identify himself. Wants you two to meet him at the docks, Pier 5…”


Hutch looked again, locking eyes with Starsky. “When?” He asked, speaking into the radio.


“Twenty minutes…I don’t like it, but it’s your call. How do you two want to handle this?”


“Whatya think?” Hutch asked the brunet on his left.


“I say we meet. Can’t hurt…But tell Dobey to have back up ready, just in case. I don’t want them far away.” Starsky answered.


Speaking back into the mic, Hutch continued, “Cap’n, Starsk an’ I are gonna take this one, but do us a favor, have back up ready in case we need it, hold them back a few blocks, we don’t want to scare this guy off, in case he’s on the level.”


“Will do, Hutch. You and that partner of yours had better be careful, stay alert, watch each others backs. Call in immediately at any sign of trouble, you read me?” Dobey ordered.


Starsky took the radio from the blonds’ hand and smiled as he spoke into you. “We will Dad, we promise…over.” He said as he returned the hand piece to its cradle on his dashboard. He looked over to see his friends’ smiling face.


“Speak for yourself,” Hutch joked. “Let’s roll,” he said as he slapped the Mars light on top of the roof. The docks were clear across town and would take at least thirty minutes, traffic permitting. The lights and sirens definitely expedited this journey, making it possible to make the trip in fifteen. Starsky threw the car into low and hit the gas as the monstrous engine roared at the command.


Once they arrived at the docks, they slowly rolled the car down the narrow street, both being extra cautious, extra alert. Looking around for any signs of trouble or set up. They made their way to Pier 5 as warmth of the day cast over the red Torino.


“Anything?” Starsky posed.


“Nothin’.” Hutch replied.


The brunet looked at his watch, “We’re five minutes early.” He noted.


“Think this snitch can tell time?” Hutch asked.


“You had better hope so.”


“Maybe your watch is slow.” Hutch said, knowing that his comment would get a reaction.


“I’ll have you know that this watch is…”


“Yeah, yeah, yeah I know, accurate to some millisecond, with some depth perception, yada yada yada.” Hutch cut him off expecting this response from a man that was clearly obsessed with watches and time. If Starsky’s watch was slow, then that would mean that NASA’s space clocks were also slow. That somehow, time around the world was off by that five minutes. Hutch laughed knowing that it was nearly impossible for Starsky’s watch to be slow. Starsky just shook his head in disgust.


They pulled up into an empty parking stall at Pier 5, that pier was abandoned; there was no activity, with the exception of a private charter docked on the opposite side. Starsky threw the car into park and killed the engine after revving the motor one final time.


“Well now what?” He asked as he stretched back in the seat trying to get more comfortable.


“We wait.” Hutch answered.


They didn’t have to wait long before a man crept out from behind the dumpster on the far side of the pier, looking nervously from side to side.


“That must be him,” Starsky noted as he pulled his door handle, and swung the heavy metal outward with his foot.


“I’ll watch, you talk.” Hutch stated, which meant Starsky was to make contact with t he informant, while Hutch lay back keeping a close eye on his partner’s back.


Starsky slowly made his way to the skittish man, as the brunet detective dug in his jacket pocket, retrieving a stick of double mint gum. He looked to his left and to his right, also trying to watch his own back as best he could. He removed the foil wrapper from the gum and shoved the whole stick in his mouth, crumbling up the remains and tossing it aside.


Hutch stood outside of the car, leaning against the right front fender, staying ever vigilant and alert, both arms folded across his chest.


Starsky looked up at the frail shell of a man in front of him, and help one hand out, pointing to the wall behind the fink. “Back up, up against the wall.” He instructed the man in a no nonsense tone, keeping plenty of distance between them.


“Y…y…yes s...sir.” He stuttered more due to nerves than a speech impediment.


“You lookin’ for us?” Starsky asked him as he hooked his thumb in Hutch’s direction, then back at himself.


“Are you the cops after Big Tony?” The man asked as he placed his back firmly against the wall.


“What if we were?”


“Then I guess, I’d be lookin’ for ya.” He answered in a manner that made Starsky’s previous comment seem fairly unintelligent.


“Whatya got for us?” Starsky got right to the point.


“I heard you an’ your partner tend to pay for information, is that true?” The man was a good three inches shorter than Starsky and at least seventy pounds lighter. His thin black hair weighed heavily on his head with the residue of dirt and grime. He smelt of booze, but not just his breath, it literally flowed through his pores. His five o’clock shadow appeared to have a two to three day build up.


“Guess that ‘pends on whatcha got to tell us.” Starsky answered him. “I mean what if it’s somethin’ we already knew? That wouldn’t be worth much, now would it?”


“Guess not.”


“Spill it.” Starsky said leaving no room for argument.


“Well, word has it that Big Tony’s really got it out for you an’ your partner. He plans on making an’ example of you two.”


“Yeah, how’s that?” Starsky continued to move his eyes around the area, making sure there were no sudden movements and checking to make sure Hutch was still standing watch.


“Don’t ‘xactly know. They aren’t the type that are runnin’ a front page ad ya’ know.” The weasel quipped.


Just then a shot rang out from somewhere behind Starsky, he ducked as he saw the informant grab at his chest and fall forward to the ground. He snagged his weapon from its holster as he dove behind the dumpster. Breathing heavily, he planted his back firmly against the cold steel of the trash receptacle.


He stayed there for a moment with his Beretta held firmly in both hands, pointed straight for the sky. The perspiration quickly beading up on his face, he let out a few fast puffs of air through his cheeks. He heard the pop of several more rounds going off. The brunet attempted to lean over and look past the dumpster to see if he could get a fix on his partner and the shooter. Just as his head rounded the corner, a bullet hit the edge of his metal shelter, sending sparks flying near the detectives face. He retreated immediately, keeping his body behind the rust colored bin.


“Hutch?” He yelled out between shots, checking to see if his partner was still among the breathing, non-bleeding population.


Starsky breathed a heavy sigh of relief as he heard his partners’ response, “Here! I’m here. You okay?” Hutch shouted from his position behind the driver side of the Torino.


Two shots were fired and the sound of breaking glass followed. “Fine!” Starsky answered. “Tell me that wasn’t the sound of my car getting’ hit?” He prayed.


The front windshield had shattered in millions of pieces. “ ‘Fraid so Buddy.” Hutch winced as he stayed well hidden.


Starsky rolled his eyes, thinking about the cost of repairing the damage he had just incurred. He then looked down at the informants’ lifeless body lying on the cold ground. He needed to try to pull him to safety, if he wasn’t already dead, then it was his job to try and save him.


“Cover me!” Starsky shouted as he waited for Hutch’s response.


“On three,” The tall blond replied as they both took a deep breath and prepared themselves for the battle. “One…Two…”


Starsky leaned forward, ready to lunge at the lifeless form on the ground.




Hutch rose from behind the car directing his fire toward roof of the warehouse, where the previous shots were fired from. He fired three rounds into the general vicinity before dropping back down behind the Torino.


Starsky had reached the injured man and grabbed him by the arms, dragging him back to safety, behind the dumpster. Hutch rose, firing two more round…He received no return fire.


The blond dropped behind the car again, quickly digging into his jacket pocket and retrieving more ammunition. Loading his Magnum, he called out to his friend.


“You okay?” Hutch patiently waited for a response. Nothing. “Starsk? You alright?” Silence.


Hutch rolled his eyes upward taking in a deep breath, vivid thoughts of his partner lying on the docks with a bullet wound to his chest or head, his warm blood flowing out over the ground, raced through Hutch’s mind. He closed his eyes tightly, trying to shove those images the dark corners of his psyche.


“Damn it Starsk, answer me!” Hutch cursed as he closed his eyes tightly, praying for some response.




Hutch carefully rose up over the hood of the Torino, his eyes darting back and forth, waiting for someone to take a shot at his bright blond head. He looked over towards the dumpster he last saw the brunet at and was shocked to see the informant, now up on his knees hovering over his partners’ unconscious body, holding a gun at the brunets’ temple, staring at the light haired detective.


“Unless you want to see what his brains look like, I suggest you drop your gun, Detective.” The slime ball hissed.


Hutch wasted no time pointing his Magnum at the perp, “You drop it...”


“Looks like we have a predicament…see you shoot me I shoot him, you don’t drop your weapon, I shoot him…You drop your weapon, I let him live, for now…”


Hutch contemplated his choices, he had none. “What the hell did you do to him?” Hutch asked, his brow furrowing.


The evil man that had his friend on the ground, held up an electrical charged gun and said, “That is what a modified stun gun can do to a person. He’ll live, but he’ll be out for at least an hour.” The dark haired man smiled at Hutch as he pressed the barrel of his gun harder into Starsky’s temple, “Now drop it, asshole!” The man demanded as he pulled back and hit Starsky in the side of his head with the butt of his weapon.


“Okay, okay. I’m putting it down.” Hutch said as he slowly lowered his weapon. “Just don’t hurt him, please, don’t hurt him.”


“Zebra 3, come in, Zebra 3…” The call came over the radio.


Hutch placed his gun on the warm hood of the Torino as he raised both of his hands up to show his compliance.


“That’s a boy…” His captor commented.


“Zebra 3, Captain Dobey request emergency patch through, come in Zebra 3.”


“You know, there gonna send someone looking for us, if I don’t answer that.” Hutch tried to convince the sinister man into letting him take the radio call. He saw a streak of blood trickling down from Starsky’s temple.


“I wouldn’t worry about that,” he spat, “we’ll be long gone before they can get here.”


Suddenly Hutch felt a sharp pain to the back of his head as his knees buckled and the world faded from his vision. He fell over the bright red hood of his partners’ car.


Chapter Two


Hutch felt his head pounding, every thump in unison with his heart beat. His head felt like it could literally fall off and roll to the ground. In a way, he wished it would. He opened his eyes slowly, just to squeeze them shut again. For a brief moment, he thought his eyes were going to leap out of their sockets. He tried to lift his head, just to have it lop backwards. His arms were stretched around something behind him, something sharp digging into his wrists. He swallowed hard trying to fight the nausea rising in his throat, burning a path upwards to his mouth. It burned just as much as he pushed the bile back into his stomach, trying to keep it at bay.


“Glad you could join us, Detective.” He heard a voice say from behind the chair he was sitting in.


The blond man blinked quickly, trying to focus on the world around him.


“Who are you? What do you want?” Hutch whispered. His throat was dry, it was difficult to swallow, his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth.


“You will soon find out.” The mysterious voice spoke.


Hutch finally was able to hold his eyes open without them trying leap from his skull. Raising his head and looking around, he held his breath as things began to come into focus. He scanned the walls of his small room; he felt the ground swaying beneath him. The walls of the room were papered with pictures, hundreds, thousands. Each one telling a story, each one either of Detective Dave Starsky, or Detective Ken Hutchinson. Some of the pictures of the guys solo, some of them together. Leaving their apartments, coming home, at the Pits, entering the station, at dinner, at breakfast, both of them going to Hutch’s church on Easter Sunday, both of them entering Starsky’s synagogue for a special service. They were being watched, and from the look of things, they were being watched for quite some time. A chill ran through Hutch’s body, they were cops, yet they didn’t even suspect or detect that they themselves were under surveillance.


“Where’s my partner?” Hutch asked. “What have you done with him?”


“He’s safe for now, but it will be up to you to keep him that way.” The voice from behind Hutch spoke. Hutch tried to turn his head to see who was speaking, but the man managed to stay out of his line of vision. “All you have to do is answer a few questions; it’s as simple as that, then neither one of you gets hurt.”


Hutch felt a handful of his hair being grabbed roughly as his head was snapped back, straining his neck. He clenched his teeth to refrain from shouting out.


“Your buddy is right down the hall, and he’ll stay there until we finish with you.”


The narrow door to his room opened and a large man entered, he had to turn sideways to fit through the porthole. Hutch immediately recognized the man, Anthony Rogers, aka ‘Big Tony’, the malevolent felon that they had been tracking and trying to gather enough evidence on to shut down his west coast operations permanently, and throw him behind bars for at least a decade or two.


“Big Tony…” Hutch hissed, his mouth feeling more like sandpaper, then soft tissue.


“Detective Hutchinson, glad to have you aboard…” Big Tony greeted the officer with a devastating punch to the left side of his jaw, causing the deep black abyss of unconsciousness to envelop him once again.


“Go wake his partner.” Tony ordered two of his men, as the hurried out of the room and down the small corridor.




Starsky was already awake and sitting on the floor, with his back up against the wall. His left hand was nursing the flesh burn under his arm on his side, caused by the stun gun. The right hand held his temple that had connected with the butt of the ‘informants’ gun. He was still trying to piece together the events that occurred in his mind. He would get to the part of Hutch covering him as he went to check on the injured man, and from there his mind went blank. He wasn’t sure what happened, how he got here or who brought him. The door to his room opened as Starskys’ body immediately tensed with the entrance of his dummy snitch that they met at the docks, and another larger man. The brunets’ fists clenched.


“Where’s Detective Hutchinson?” Starsky demanded an immediate response.


“Isn’t that sweet? That is the same question he asked about you.” The small fink seethed.


“Well? Where is he? Is he okay?” Starsky stammered quickly as he rose to his knees, preparing to find the answers himself if necessary.


The larger man pulled the stun gun from his pocket and held it out towards the defiant brunet. “Sit back down, or we will sit you down.” He ordered as he moved towards Starsky brandishing the electric weapon as if he held a powerful pistol.


Starsky complied, leaning back on his heels, dropping back onto his rear. “Reese, take this.” The bigger assailant handed the small man the stun gun as he retrieved a set of handcuffs from his back pocket. Smiling he moved towards Starsky. “Put your hands behind you, asshole.”


“Fuck you, where’s Hutch?” Starsky spat out before thinking about the position he was in and that it was probably not a good idea to antagonize a huge Neanderthal type man, whose friend had a modified stun gun, and enjoyed using it.


Both men approached the temperamental brunet, one each side. Reese, the smaller of the two tormentors, turned the dial on the stun gun down. He didn’t want to shock the detective into unconsciousness, just into submission. He placed the metal probes against Starskys’ forearm as he smiled into the man’s indigo eyes. Starsky’s left hand reached for the weapon as he pulled the trigger.


Starsky’s body jerked violently as he shouted out in agony, slamming his back against the wall behind him.


“Son of a bitch!” Starsky spat.


“Put your hands behind your back Detective.” The large man commanded once again.


Starsky reluctantly laid on his stomach on the floor as he place both arms behind him. The big aggressor quickly secured the cuffs tightly around his wrists as Starsky winced in pain when the steel pinched into his wrists.


Reese walked up and knelt at the dark haired mans face bringing the weapon in his hand up and placing it against Starskys’ right cheek, pressing it hard against his sweaty skin.


“Please, don’t.” Starsky pled, his eyes shut tight in preparation for the surge of voltage to shoot through his entire body.


“Stop!” Reese looked up to see Big Tony standing in the doorway. “We don’t want to kill him yet.”


Reese pulled the weapon away from Starskys’ face as he failed to hide his disappointment. “We’ll play later.” He whispered to the brunet.


“Lookin’ forward to it.” Starsky retorted.


They sat the curly haired detective up, his back against the wall, “Where is my partner?” Starsky demanded an answer.


“He’s just down the hall, Detective,” Big Tony answered. “And if he plays his cards right neither he, nor his Jew friend here, will have to suffer too much.” Tony directed his answer more toward Reese. He walked towards Starsky as he smiled down on him, “I just wanted to take this opportunity to welcome you aboard my little boat, and let you know, that if you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask.” He let out a laugh as he drew back his right leg, launching it forward into the brunets’ side.


Starsky lurched forward, heaving and gasping as saliva strung from his mouth, hitting the floor. He spat the remnants out from between his lips as he straightened back up, letting his head fall back against the wall as he tried to control his breathing.


“Come on Valdez, let’s go question the blond, see if we can get him to break.” Tony instructed the large man in the room, as he moved past Starsky.


Just as Tony Rogers stepped over the detectives legs, heading for the door, Starsky raised his leg slightly, catching the tip of Big Tonys’ foot, causing him to stumble. “Asshole,” Starsky coughed and mumbled it under his breath.


Rogers tripped, then caught his footing as he looked back at the defiant prisoner. His eyes wide with anger as he looked at Reese, who still had the stun gun in his possession. One simple nod of the head brought a wide grin to Reese’s face as he clenched the weapon tightly in his hand and approached his target. Tony and Valdez left the room, closing the door behind them. They were a mere few yards down the corridor when they heard they strong man scream out in agony. Tony smiled with a deep sense of disturbing satisfaction.




There was a flurry of activity on the docks. Dobey had the entrance completely sealed off and there were at least a half a dozen vehicles roaming the area. Dobey was looking through the Torino, he saw the shattered front window, along with a few scattered bullet holes in the front end of the car. Over by the dumpster, the crime team found some evidence of fresh blood on the ground. They busied themselves taking samples and collecting evidence.


Dobey knew that they had been taken, but where. He sealed off the area the moment he had any sign that they may be in trouble. He moved all of his men in quickly, surrounding pier 5. The large Captain had a sickening feeling washing over him, he knew his boys were in danger, and he knew it was his job to protect them. He let them down, his heart was heavy with guilt and worry.


One of the junior detectives made his way to the Captain and began giving his oral report on the situation.


“This is what we got, Cap’n, Several rounds from at least three to four different types of weapons have been fired, no immediate casualties have been found. Coast Guard is dragging the nearby waters for possible bodies. There was blood found over by the dumpster, some of it is smeared, and there are some streak marks from the soles of tennis shoes, that indicate that some one was dragged away from the immediate area. The evidence then disappears. It seems that whoever the injured party was either walked away, or some person, or persons carried him away.”


Dobey waived the young detective away as he finished his report. He took a white handkerchief from his breast pocket and wiped the sweat from his brow and the back of his neck. He had a bad feeling about this, and at this moment, he wished he had listened to his instincts and never let Starsky and Hutch take this call. Truth was, he cared for those two boys like they were his own sons, more so than any other team in his department, and right now, he felt like he failed them, he let them down. He sighed as a fist grabbed and squeezed his heart. They were gone…




Hutch opened his eyes, his head pounding again, the bright sunlight filtering into the room, causing his vision to blur. He looked around the room, trying to focus on the wide array of photos taped to the walls surrounding him. There were so many of them, that Hutch couldn’t recall where all of them had taken place, they were familiar yet he didn’t recognize some of them.


He realized that these men probably had more information on the two detectives than he would want to admit. There was no telling how long this surveillance had been going on, or how much information they were willing to extract through their own investigations, but one thing was for sure, this was not a good sign.


The door to his room opened and Hutch was soon aware that he would be confronted with a man, or several of them, that really wanted him and his partner dead. He held his head up, trying to support it and the heavy rocks that it felt like someone had deposited there.


“You’re awake.” Tony noted.


“You must be the brains of this operation, wanna know how I can tell?” Hutch taunted. “Your keen sense to details.”


Hutch closed his eyes as the back of Tony’s hand struck him across the face.


“You’re about as bright as your partner. But wanna know something…? He screams louder.” The corners of Tony’s lips curled up into a wicked smile as Hutch felt a hole in the pit of his stomach.


“What did you do to him?” Hutch asked his icy blue eyes locking with Rogers’, testing his boundaries, realizing that he was securely tied to a wooden chair, his arms stretched behind him. He wanted nothing more than to free himself and reach the abusive man in front of him.


“Nothing he didn’t ask for.” Tony replied as he reached up, grabbing a handful of his blond locks and once again snapped his head back. “Now, let’s go over the rules of this game…”


Chapter Three


“Get up on your feet, it’s time.” One of the three men left to guard the detective said as they pulled him to his feet.


“Time for what, scum?” Starsky questioned.


The man backhanded him knocking Starsky back to the floor again.


“Tough guy, huh? We’ll see how tough you are at your trial. If your friend refuses to talk to Big Tony, you had better be prepared to bleed.”


“He’ll never talk.” Starsky retorted, pursing his lips. He felt a knee to his side when he protested too adamantly. They stood the defiant brunet up as the walked him out of the cabin.


Once up on deck, Starsky squinted trying to block out the bright sun. He moved his head around, the only thing in sight was water, the deep blue sea. There was no telling where they were, what direction they had headed out from on the dock, how far they had gone. Starsky was led over to one of the large masts in the center of the deck, his cuffs unlocked, his arms wrapped around the pole and refastened quickly.


“Where’s my partner?” Starsky asked he felt the cold steel of the post on his back. “So help me God, if you hurt him…”


“Relax, we haven’t touched him.” Big Tony interrupted the curly haired hostage.


Starsky heard the familiar voice of his partner coming from the corridor to his right. Hutch was protesting vehemently as he was carried, chair and all, to the deck.


“Don’t do this, you can’t do this. I swear, I’ll take each and everyone of you down.” Hutch spat out quickly, his body twisting and turning in the chair, trying to break free.


The two goons on either side of him, carried him to the center of the deck and set the chair down. Hutch looked up and saw his friend staring at him, he appeared to be alright, despite the nasty lump on the side of his head from the butt of the informants’ gun on the docks.


“You okay?” Hutch asked his counterpart.


“Yeah, except for this splitting headache, I feel t’riffic.” He smiled at the blond who winked in return. “You?”


“Been better.” He answered.


Big Tony walked to the center of the deck carrying a cat o’ nine tails, with wire barbs on the ends, in one hand. The leather whip fit perfectly in his hand and the two feet of splayed tails extended from the handle. He walked proudly, swinging the weapon harshly across the air, causing it to whistle as it sliced across his path.


He walked up to Hutch, “I sure hope you’re gonna answer some questions for us, ‘cause you see, killing one more pig won’t bother me a bit.” Hutch swallowed hard.


“Don’t touch him!” Starsky shouted out as Tony snorted in laughter, then returned his attention to the blond strapped to the chair.


“Who told you about our little operation?” Tony bent down staring Hutch in the face as he asked him.


Hutch stared straight ahead, into his partners eyes, knowing that Starsky didn’t expect him to respond to any the questions being asked. They could never give up an informant, especially Huggy.


“How much about us do you know?” Tony hissed.


Hutch remained quiet.


“How many of your pig friends know about us?” Tony asked as he stood straight up again.


Again Hutch said nothing.


“Fine, if that’s the way you want to play this.” Tony said as he turned and walked towards Starsky. “See, I figured you’d be stupid enough to keep your mouth shut when it came to your own ass, but let’s just see how willing you are to keep quiet when your buddy here is screaming, begging for you to talk.”


Starskys’ handcuffs were opened and his arms were moved around to the front of him. The brunet saw his opening and went for it, shoving one of the large captors into another, watching them fall like dominos. He laid out another man with a vicious left hook to the jaw. In seconds three more men were on the brunet detective.


“STOP!” Tony shouted as they group of men looked back to see their leader holding a gun to the blonde’s head, pulling back the hammer. “Move, and I blow his fucking head off!”


Starsky looked at his friend, blinking quickly, then letting go of the scrawny slime ball in his grip, giving him one final shove to the wooden floor of the boat. Several men rushed the dark haired man, cuffing his hands once again in front of him and threading a thick rope between his hands. They shoved Starsky back to the mast as one of the men climbed the net ladder to the top. Tony released Hutch and walked towards Starsky, grabbing the rope from his subordinate. He tossed the rope up to the man at the top of the pole.


“String him up.” He ordered as he turned and walked back to the helpless blond in the chair. “Do you read the bible, Hutchinson?” Tony whispered in his ear.


Hutch furrowed his brow, looking at the sick felon standing before him.


“See I do, I read the Bible, and I just find it so ironic that your Jewish partner is about to pay for your sins. Don’t you find that ironic?”


“Don’t do this.” Hutch pled, his icy blue eyes searching for some scrap of decency in the large evil man.


“You gonna answer my questions?” Tony asked loudly.


“I can’t.” Hutch said, his heart seizing in fear for his friend.


He looked around Tony to see what they were doing to him, and to his horror, they we’re using the rope like a pulley, hoisting Starsky up the mast, like a flag on a flag pole. There must have been at least 15 men on the deck of the boat, all carrying out Tony’s commands and wishes. Hutch squeezed his eyes shut tight as Tony back handed him.


“This is your only warning, one of the rules is, you must watch what happens to your friend, if, at any time, you look away, his punishment increases.” Tony was actually smiling as he explained the rules.


“Don’t tell him shit!” Starsky shouted as his arms were stretched over his head, his shoulders straining as he was lifted off his feet.


“Now,” Tony started as he moved towards Starsky, swinging the cat o’ nine tails in the air as all that were near him flinched. “If I recall correctly, I asked you three questions…all of which you refused to answer.” He looked at Starsky, the sweat beading up on the brunet’s face. “That means, you get three lashes.”


Starsky swallowed hard, shoving his fear down deep inside his soul.


“Fuck you!” Starsky said defiantly as the first strike slashed across his mid section, ripping into his blue shirt, biting into the flesh beneath. It sent unbelievably searing pain through his entire body.


His shoes were barely touching the top of the deck, as his body swayed back and forth. The red stains immediately rose to the surface as the blood began to seep through the shredded shirt from the slicing wounds. Tony didn’t give the detective a chance to catch his breath before delivering the next strike across his side as his body twisted and turned in mid air.


Each of the wire barbs dug deeply into his skin and ripped holes causing those areas to bleed, slowly tearing the shirt and the helpless man underneath to shreds.


“God Dammit!” Starsky cursed as Tony laughed out loud.


“Stop it! For God’s sake, stop it!” Hutch pled, watching Starsky bite his bottom lip, grunting to keep from screaming out.


Tony looked at Hutch sneering, enjoying the pain he was causing both of his nemeses. Starskys’ body swayed back, facing Tony as the large man drew back the whip, raising it high over his head and bringing it down harshly across his stomach, causing more damage to the original wounds. Starsky breathed heavily, puffing the oxygen in and out of his lungs quickly to avoid passing out. A single tear dislodge from his eye and ran down his cheek. He didn’t scream…


Tony rushed to Hutch’s side, “How’d you like that pig? Pretty cool, huh? Now let’s try this again…”


“Please…” Hutch said, but his voice trailed off. He watched as Starsky’s tense body stopped moving back and forth. The wounds were deep, they were bleeding, his eyes were closed as he willed the pain away. He was tough, there was no doubt about that, he’d have to be…


“I want names and locations of who told you about my extra curricular activities.” Tony demanded of the blond who simply lowered his head.


“When and where do your pig friends plan on takin’ down my boys?” Tony bent to look Hutch in the eyes.


“Don’t do it Blintz.” Starsky instructed his friend when he saw how he was struggling.


Hutch never looked up, he now knew that his silence was costing his friend dearly, and there was nothing he could do about it.


“How can we call them off?” Tony spat at Hutch’s feet.


“You can’t.” Hutch whispered.


“Wrong answer.” He rose and moved back to the bleeding form on the mast.


Starsky stared at the man as he walked toward him. “Looks like your friend couldn’t give a shit about you, Curly.” Tony taunted.


“At least I got a friend…” Starsky stammered as he tried his best to prepare himself for the onslaught of pain that was about to surround him.


Tony wasted no time in raising the crop, bringing it down across the top of his shoulder and over his upper chest. “Nooooooo!” Slipped out of his mouth as he clenched his teeth, grimacing as the wave of pain shot through him. “Son of a bitch! You mother fucker!” The brunet knew that nothing he said was going to hurt or help his situation, so why not let the profanity fly. Hutch started to close his eyes until he remembered Tony’s warning about him watching. His heart was slowly being torn from his chest as he watched his best friend, the man he cared for like a brother, being tortured, because of him.


Big Tony motioned to one of his men with a flip of his head. “Turn him around.”


The man quickly ran over to the prisoner and easily flipped him over so that his bleeding chest and stomach were against the pole.


“While you’re at it, pull off those rags he has on, I want his so called friend to see what he is doing to his partner without any distractions.” Tony directed.


Soon Starsky was hanging there clad only in his boxers that were stained from his own blood.


He again pulled back the medieval weapon in his left hand, up over his right shoulder. With one fluid movement he backhanded the cat o’ nine tails across Starskys’ back and then followed through immediately with another strike from the other direction. Starskys’ body jerked violently as he groaned and grunted, but he didn’t speak, he didn’t scream out. Hutch couldn’t tell if his friend was still conscious.


“Jesus, I’m sorry.” Hutch said to himself.


Tony practically skipped back to Hutch. “Next question.”


“No.” Hutch protested on deaf ears.


“When was the first time you heard about me and my…shall we say, business?” Tony was back at Hutch’s side.




Tony held up one finger…


“Okay, I wanna know if anyone from my side of the organization was helping you two boys out?” Tony posed.




His second finger was held high in the air.


“How long you been watchin’ me?”


“Long enough.” Was all Hutch could answer.


Third finger, Tony’s smile widened.


“Please don’t do this to him, beat me instead. He didn’t do anything.” Hutch begged.


“Don’t…listen…to him…I’m fine…come on…asshole…” Starsky barely had the strength to say.


Tony smiled and turned to face the man strung to the pole. “You’re tough, I’ll give you that.” He said as he headed over to him.


The blood from his wounds was beginning to leave a trail from his torso, down over his boxers, and down his legs.


“He’s had enough.” Hutch protested.


Tony looked back at the blond sitting in the chair, begging for his friend’s life, “We’ve only begun our little game here Detective Hutchinson.” His eyes narrowed and darkened.


Big Tony approached the subject’s splayed body. He could see the strain on Starsky’s back, his ribs stretched, his muscles taught. Carefully, he mapped his target as he drew his arm back, throwing it forward again, slicing into the brunets’ flesh. Starskys’ body jerked violently as the strong man let out a pathetic whimper. It was almost a cry, but he managed to hold it back.


The archaic weapon whipped sharply through the air as it whistled before coming into contact with the back of Starsky’s upper legs. The dark haired detective threw his head back in agony as he pulled feverishly against his cuffs, the cold steel cutting into the flesh of his wrists.


Hutch looked on as he watched his friend writhe in pain, attempting to free himself and being helpless to assist him in any way. He prayed for unconsciousness to consume Starsky, taking him away from the suffering his body was being forced to endure. Hutch swallowed hard as he fought his own tears, his own demons.


The final lash struck him hard across the upper left shoulder. He threw his head forward again, panting heavily, knowing that he would have a few minutes to recover. That was the final strike in this series and Starsky was keeping score. He watched as the saliva strung from his lips. He spat to remove the built up fluid inside his mouth. The fluid was pink and he became aware that he had bit his tongue at some point during the beating.


Tony returned to Hutch’s side…


“Okay asshole,” Tony addressed the blond. “Question number ten…”


Hutch looked up to lock eyes with Big Tony, viewing him with pure hatred.


“Fuck you.” Hutch spat as Starsky turned his head to look at his friend, allowing the corner of his lip to curl up in appreciation for Hutch’s defiance.


Hutch’s head snapped to the side as Tony backhanded him across the right cheek for his insubordination.


“Next time, I hit him.” Tony informed Hutch as he pointed towards Starsky.


“Touch him…again…an’ ya’ better…kill me, asshole…” Starsky stuttered, the pain taking its toll on the detective.


“That can be arranged.” Big Tony retorted.


Hutch’s heart pained to see his buddy still trying to protect him in the condition he was in. The compromising position that he was being forced to accept.


“Now, question ten…” Tony continued. “Where can we find all the evidence you have on us, an’ how can we get rid of it?”


“You can’t.” Hutch lowered his head.


“Who all in the department, besides your Captain, knows about our dealings and business?” Tony wasted now time getting to the last two questions.


“Tell me Hutchinson, how much pain do you think you can stand before you lose your mind?” Tony asked as Starsky’s head rose. He trained his ears on Tony, the mere question alone led him to believe that his partner was in imminent danger of being physically harmed. He strained to hear Hutch’s response.


“As much as you think you’re able to give.” Hutch said sarcastically, staring the large criminal in the eyes, daring him to look away. The determination on Hutch’s face was unwavering. He thought he may actually be able to take some of this pain away from his partner, and that is what he intended to do.


“Number thirteen, how much pain do you think your partner over there can take before he dies?”


Tony’s words caused a chill to run up Hutch’s spine as the man ran to Starsky’s strained form and delivered four continuous strikes across the brunets back, one right after another, giving him no time to even breathe in between.


“Hutch…” Starsky cried out seconds before losing consciousness and allowing the dark world to take him into its protective custody.


Chapter Four


Hutch watched in horror as they untied Starskys’ motionless body from the mast, allowing it to fall limply onto the deck of the boat. A seemingly involuntary moan escaped his partners’ lips as two of Tony’s goons lifted him. One took a hold of him under his arms, and the other by his legs. They both grimaced at the sight of the beaten man as the roughly carried him below.


The blond detective let his chin drop to his chest in silent prayer for his friend as Tony approached him.


“Now we’re gonna take a little break, but I want you to think about what your friend is goin’ through right now, and tell me if it is worth it. All you have to do is answer a few questions and you can make his pain go away.”


“Hurtin’ him isn’t gonna do you any good.” Hutch looked up at Tony. “Don’t you get it, I can’t talk, even if I wanted to…I can’t.”


Two of Tony’s larger men took Hutch, one on each side, and carried him downstairs, below deck. They made their way carefully through the narrow corridors and into a small room. Placing him in the center of the room, they removed the thick ropes that bound him to the chair.


“Where’s my partner?” Hutch asked as a third man entered the room, placing a water jug and bread on the nearby table.


“He’s recovering.” The man carrying the food answered.


“Where?” Hutch asked again.


“Don’t you worry ‘bout him none, we’ll make sure he’s ready for the next session.”


Those words caused Hutch to shudder, they weren’t finished with them and he worried for his friend’s well-being. For a brief moment, he contemplated telling Big Tony everything he wanted to know, answering every questioned asked of him, to spare his partner the torture he was going to experience.


All three men quickly left the tiny room leaving Hutch, unbound, in the confines that surrounded him. He heard a heavy metal bar being lowered and secured on the other side of the door; he could make out the sounds of chains and a lock being secured. There was a small porthole on the left hand wall that was far too small for him to fit through. He stood and stretched his legs, walking around the room. The only furniture in the space was the chair he was just freed from, the table that held his water and bread, and a small cot against the right side wall. There was the door in front of him that his captors just exited through, and a door on the opposite wall, that he was pretty sure led to another room. He moved to the second door, jiggling the handle, not surprised to find it locked too.


His thoughts wandered back to moments earlier, seeing Starsky, hung from the mast, his body badly beaten, as he stayed strong. Hutch’s stomach contents began the long journey, rising up to his throat as he fought to push it back down. There was a painful hollow feeling in the pit of his stomach as he recalled the final lashings, and heard Starsky calling out for him. His eyes looked upward, searching for some type of divine guidance or reassurance, but only finding the cabins’ ceiling.


He neared the table, reaching out and grabbing the black porcelain water jug, taking a small sip. He quickly noticed what he thought was water turned out to be red wine, and a cheep brand at that. He grimaced as he swallowed the bitter tasting fluid. Hutch’s eyes widened as the realization struck. He recalled Big Tony asking him if he read the Bible, referring to Starsky as his ‘Jewish friend paying for his sins’. ‘The bread of his body, the wine of his blood,’ Hutch thought recalling his somewhat religious upbringing. They were symbolizing Starskys’ flesh and blood with the offerings they made to Hutch. The tall blond became nauseous.


Big Tony and his men were sick, there was no doubt about that, he had to figure out a way to get him and his partner off the boat and to safety. He heard the handle of the door to the back of the room jiggle slightly. There was a thud against the metal door as he listened to what sounded like something hitting the floor just on the other side.


Hutch rushed to the door, placing his ear gently against it, listening carefully. He heard a deep groan and soft whimper. “Help me.”


“Starsk, is that you?” Hutch raised his voice as he bent down towards the bottom part of the door, placing his right hand flat on its surface.




A smile washed over the blonds’ face as his eyes filled with tears, He turned to sit on his rear with his back against the wall, “Yeah, it’s me Buddy.” He sighed in relief.


“Oh God Hutch, it hurts…”


Hutch closed his eyes tightly as he fought back the tears, “I know it does, I’m sorry. What can I do?”


“Stay here…”


“I will, I’m not goin’ nowhere.”


Hutch looked down on the floor and saw a bloody finger appear under the narrow crack of the door. He reached down and gently stroked his friends’ skin with his thumb. “I’m here.”


He heard a loud exhale from beyond the door as he felt his partner trying to breathe through a wave of pain.




“Yeah partner?” Hutch turned to face the door.


“Remind me to thank Dobey…for this…assignment…would ya’?”


“Sure thing Buddy.” Hutch smiled at the sign of a sense of humor coming from Starsky as he rested his forehead against the doorway, trying to will his way into the other room. “I’ll do that.”






“You did the right thing out there…”


“I wish I felt the same way.”


“Don’t do this Hutch, you know…you couldn’t say nothin’…stop second guessing…yourself…if it was me…I’d do the same…”


Hutch couldn’t hide his pain, “You sure about that?”


“I need to sleep, you gonna be okay?”


“I’ll be fine you big lug,” Hutch snorted, “you get some rest, ‘kay? I’ll be here when you wake up.”




Hutch knew that Starsky was slipping off into unconsciousness once again as the blond turned back around, placing his back up against the wall, sighing heavily. His breathing was uneven as his tears began to flow. He puffed through his cheeks trying to regain his composure, blinking rapidly and pinching the bridge of his nose.




Dobey was scanning the docks; there was a flurry of activity. At least a dozen vehicles, ranging from crime labs, to police cruisers, to unmarked vehicles jammed the area. Yellow crime scene taped outlined the vicinity. The red Torino was being inspected by several men and women. There were boats in the harbor, dragging the waters for bodies as helicopters flew over head. Dobey stood in the middle of the organized chaos, pulling a white handkerchief from his pocket and wiping his brow.


One of the investigators ran up to the large Captain, anxious to report his findings.


“Whatya got?” Dobey commanded answers.


“We have several shots apparently fired from the roof of that warehouse over there,” The young red head pointed to the top of a building in plain view of Pier 5, “based on the entrance angle into Detective Starsky’s car. The small amount of blood found on the hood of his vehicle and over there by the dumpster, are not indicative of gun shot wounds. It’s my guess that neither one of them were hit by gunfire.”


“Then where the hell are they?” Dobeys’ decreasing patience was getting the better of him.


“Near as we can tell, they didn’t leave the area the same way they came in.” The young man continued.


“Well they couldn’t have vanished into thin air.” Dobey snapped.


“I think they were taken out by boat, Captain. I suggest we contact the coast guard for their assistance.”


“Well, don’t just stand there Johnson, make yourself useful and make that call!” The large man yelled as the younger, thin man fled the area.


As Dobey stood there by himself, he remembered his last words to Starsky and Hutch, how he had a bad feeling about the call and was uneasy about his two best detectives handling this one on their own. He should know by now to trust his gut, after all that was what he had been trained to do. He swore never to let this happen again, EVER.




Tony and his men sat around a large table eating and drinking. Everyone was surprisingly relaxed given the gravity of their situation. They had two police officers below deck; the punishment for kidnapping and killing a law enforcement officer, was the death penalty, yet everyone around seemed to be celebrating triumphantly.


“Did you see the look on the blonds’ face when we stripped his friends’ clothes off?” One of the men laughed loudly.


“Yeah, I thought for sure, he’d shit his pants right there.” Another chimed in.


“I think that boy is gonna break before the next session, there’s no way he’s gonna wanna go through that again, either one of them.” The first man reiterated.


“Don’t be so sure ‘bout that.” Tony added as everyone fell quiet, listening to every word he spoke. “These guys aren’t your typical pigs. I read their files, an’ they don’t go down easy. I just want all of you to be prepared to go the distance. There’s gonna only be one way to stop this, and I wanna make sure that all of you are going to follow through to the end, got that?”


All of his men either nodded their heads or agreed verbally to Tony’s request. “Let’s get prepared for the next session.” He instructed as the men finished eating and took their drinks upstairs to prepare the deck.




A couple of hours had passed before Hutch could hear Starsky starting to moan on the other side of the door. “…utch, you still there?” He asked weakly.

Hutch bent down, placing his mouth against the door. “Yeah Buddy, I’m here. You doin’ okay?”


“Couldn’t be better…” He said before being consumed with a fit of coughing.


Hutch winced in pain for his partner as he heard Starsky groan, trying to ride the wave of pain until it flowed back out and away from his body.


“Jesus Starsk, what can I do?” Hutch asked, feeling the need to do something to ease his friends suffering.


“Promise me something…”




“Don’t tell them shit!”


Hutch rested his forehead on the door before, closing his eyes briefly. Truthfully, Hutch wasn’t sure if he could hold out from telling them, not if they were going to continue to do this to his best friend.


“Promise me.”


“I’ll do my best…” Was the only answer he could give.


“Then so will I.” Starsky took in a deep breath as Hutch could hear him moving around, probably trying to get more comfortable.


They door opened swiftly as Hutch’s head swung around to face Big Tony’s men. Both Reese and Valdez entered the room smiling.


“Time for round two, Detective.” Reese seethed. “I sure hope you answer more of the questions correctly this time, for your friends’ sake.”


“In the chair!” Valdez ordered pointing the gun in his hand at Hutch’s temple.


The tall detective reluctantly sat in the chair as they both secured his restraints once again, even tighter this time.


Hutch held his breath as he heard someone entering Starskys’ room, he could hear his partner yell in protest, use a few choice words, then fall quite.


Chapter Five


Hutch once again found himself in the middle of the large boat’s deck. He looked at the large mast in front of him, knowing or dreading what was surely about to come. Starsky’s blood had been cleaned up off the pole and the deck. Hutch looked around as several people ran around, obviously on a mission of great importance. His stomach knotted as he saw two men threading the rope through the eyelet of the tallest mast on the boat. He knew they were preparing for his partner.


Big Tony came up the stairs and approached the blond who was, once again, strapped helplessly to the chair.


“You ready for round two?” He asked grimly.


“Don’t do this.” Hutch said, “You won’t get away with this. And when my friends find you, they will show you the same mercy that you are showing us, mark my words. I’ll see to it that you pay, and pay dearly for what you are doing.”


Hutch turned his head towards the stairwell as he heard a commotion coming from the porthole. He heard a familiar voice arguing and struggling.


“You sons of bitches, I swear I’ll kill all of you!” Starsky shouted out as two men pushed and pulled the brunet onto the deck.


Hutch gasped as he caught site of his friend. His body was covered with slices, dried blood, and bruises. A few of the wounds were still oozing fluid as he passed in front of Hutch. The blond pulled against his restraints, struggling to free himself, to get to his partner, to ease his pain. “Don’t do this! Please…Take me instead…For God’s sake, leave him alone!” Hutch yelled out.


Big Tony smiled at the pain he was causing the blond, the agony he was going through without physically touching this man. He realized that Hutch’s pain was probably more severe than what the brunet was going through. The mental anguish was weighing heavily on Hutch’s face.


“You can stop his pain.” Tony told Hutch. “You can make this all go away.”


“No he can’t!” Starsky stated, pursing his lips together.


Tony turned away from Hutch and walked towards Starsky as his cohorts secured his arms behind the pole. “You’re a real tough guy, aren’t you?” Tony questioned.


“Fuck you!” Starsky said sternly.


“We’ll see how tough you are when I’m done with you!”


Tony’s fellow captor, Valdez, walked up to him, handing him the cat o’ nine tails that he had used earlier.


“We’ll also see how your friend over there feels knowing that he might as well have beaten you himself…I want you and him to visualize him striking you, giving you every lash, that has torn into your body…The scars you will carry for the rest of your life from this, are the scars that he has given you, not me.” Tony orated.


Starsky stared into Tony’s dark brown eyes, never blinking. “Don’t listen to him Hutch, none of this your fault!” He never took his eyes off the evil man. “You hear me Hutch, none of this!”


The man standing in front of the defiant brunet and raised his left arm over his right shoulder, bringing his hand back across Starsky’s cheek, the large ring that he wore, immediately slicing his face. Starskys’ head flew to his right, but then he snapped back, once again glaring into Tony’s eyes.


Hutch briefly closed his eyes bowing his head, just to have a handful of his golden locks grabbed, snapping his head upright. He looked into Reese’s eyes. “Did you forget the rules, Blondie?” He seethed, his face so close to Hutch’s that the detective could smell his decaying teeth and diseased gums. Hutch’s stomach turned as he tried to pull his face away from his. “You watch, or he gets it even worse…” He let go of the blonds’ hair and held a gun to Hutch’s temple, looking back at Tony.


Hutch returned his gaze to his partner. Tony nodded to the two men standing on either side of the curly haired detective. Both them sprang into action as they understood Tony’s unspoken instructions.


They released Starsky’s hands from around the back of the pole, quickly moving them to the front and re-cuffing them. Starsky thought briefly of fighting back, but could see the gun at his partner’s head out of the corner of his eyes. He knew this would be as hard on Hutch, as it was going to be on him, if not harder.


“Remember your promise, Hutch!” Starsky shouted at him while still staring down Big Tony.


Hutch took in a deep breath, he promised his friend he would do his best to keep from giving these criminals any information, anything they wanted, no matter what the cost. He only hoped he could pay the price that was being asked of him.


The rope was threaded through the cuffs once again as Starsky was hoisted up the mast. His shoulders once again strained against the weight of his body being hung from its wrists. His feet were bare this time, as the tips of his toes scraped against the decks’ surface. He took in several deep breaths as the older wounds were stretched causing some of them to begin bleeding once again.


Tony approached Hutch swinging the whip across the air causing it to whistle threateningly.


“Now, let’s try this again, Detective.” Tony began. “Who ratted me out?”


Hutch locked eyes with his partner, they spoke in silent communication. Starsky begged for Hutch’s silence and Hutch begged Starsky’s forgiveness. Tony looked back and forth between the two, then back at the man in the chair.


“How much do your boys know about me?” Tony asked slowly, bending over, talking into Hutch’s ear, while the blonds’ eyes remained focused on his partner.


“Who else in the department knows?” He whispered. “Where can I find the motherfucker that told you about my operations?”


“Go to hell…” Hutch spoke gravely as he swallowed hard.


Tony stood and looked at Starsky, then back at Hutch, pointing to the man hanging on the mast. “Him first.” He said as he walked towards Starsky.


He raised the whip high into the air, using his entire body to swing it at the man in front of him. Tony’s first strike caught the dark haired detective high across the right side of his neck, the barbs digging in deeply to, ripping out chunks of skin. The slash extended down his chest to his breast bone. Starsky finally broke eye contact with Hutch as he squeezed his eyes shut tightly, clenching his jaw to keep from screaming. He didn’t want to make this any harder on Hutch that it already was. He kept talking to himself as the pain shot through him, telling himself to stay quiet for Blondies’ sake, Don’t let him hear you scream. Don’t let him see you cry…Do it for him…Come on, Starsky…you can do it for him…


The second lash struck him horizontally across his abdomen. His body jerked violently. Silently, he screamed out in his own mind… Noooooo! Stay quiet, breathe, dammit…come on, two more…you can do this, Don’t look at him…stay quiet…Breathe…


He blinked back the moisture that threatened to free itself, panting heavily. The next one hitting him across the left chest, one barb embedding itself deeply, then literally, being ripped from his skin, causing a significant amount of blood to flow from the round wound.


“Fuck!” He shouted out, regretting his outburst immediately. He looked at Hutch, whose eyes were filled with pain, the deep crease in his forehead growing even deeper.


I’m sorry…Hutch mouthed to Starsky as the brunet’s body swayed from side to side.


The fourth and final strike in the series caught Starsky around the upper thighs, hitting both legs at once. Fortunately, the barbs missed his flesh, causing this strike to be less painful then the first few. Starsky bit his bottom lip, but was able to keep from calling out.


Tony seemed disappointed in his last hit, but turned and walked away from Starsky as he approached Hutch once again.


“Now then, what other actions, are you aware of, that the police are taking against me and my boys?” Tony asked, standing in front of the blond, blocking his view of his partner, locking eyes with the detective.


“Please, stop this. You’re gonna kill him.” Hutch pled with the cartel leader.


Tony simply smiled and continued his questioning. “What can I do to stop the police?”


Hutch lowered his head, looking at his lap. Tony started to walk slowly back to Starsky, looking back at Hutch. The defeated blond looked back up at his friend, hanging there, the life slowly being drained from his body. He prayed silently.


“Are any of the men that you see before you today, responsible for the information that was given to your department?”


“Starsk, I can’t let them do this.” Hutch spoke loud enough for his partner to hear him.


“Dammit Hutch, yes you can!” Starsky cursed.


Sensing that the blond was beginning to crack, Tony went in for the kill, “How long have you been watching me?” Tony shouted at Hutch.


Hutch’s eyes remained locked with his partner, drawing on his strength, his loyalty, his courage. He said nothing…


Tony took two large steps towards Starsky as he reached out for him, grabbing his arm, pulling him forward away from the pole and flipping him, exposing his back.


“I just don’t understand why you continue to make me do this.” He hissed as he delivered his first strike across Starsky’s left shoulder blade.


The brunet’s head fell backwards as he looked to the sky, fighting the urge to scream. He drew in three deep, raspy breaths as he allowed his head to fall forward again. He groaned loudly as he fought back his own tears. I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay…hang in there Hutch, we can do this, together, we can do this…Starsky’s own mind kept racing.


The next lash was placed opposite from the last. Hutch could see the fresh strikes forming several perfect ‘Xs’ over his back. “You both must really enjoy pain…” Tony seethed, breathing heavily as his physical actions were tiring him.


Starskys’ boxers were covered in dried, caked on blood. Tony struck him across the thin fabric, as Hutch immediately saw the brighter red fluid begin to stain them. They became moist, clinging to his skin as Tony gave the final blow to the back of his legs. Starsky’s head remained bowed forward as he moaned loudly. Hutch was pretty sure that his friend had either lost consciousness, or was about to.


Tony grabbed a fistful of dark curls, snapping his head backwards; Starsky’s eyes were rolled upwards, not responding to Tony’s presence.


“Let’s wait a few minutes, give him a chance to rest.” Tony said to Valdez as he grinned evilly. “I want him fully awake for the rest of this session.”


Hutch felt his heart stop beating momentarily as he fought back the nausea flowing over him.


The two men let up on the rope that was holding him hoisted to the mast allowing him to lie at the foot of the pole. Hutch watched his crumpled body lie there, twitching slightly, like it was still enduring Tony’s lashings.




About fifteen minutes had passed and most of the ships’ crew were bustling about the deck, or had joined Big Tony below for more drinks. Hutch sat there staring at his partner’s tortured body as the brunet lay there. He heard low deep moans coming from the injured man. His mind wandered back to just hours before, how Hutch had given Starsky such a hard time about his breakfast burrito, what that kind of damage that type food would eventually do to his body, his arteries. How he really needed to take better care of himself.


Hutch sighed as he thought about how he himself was neglecting his partner, he wasn’t giving Tony the answers he wanted, and it was costing Starsky his life. He realized how he was causing his best friend’s body far more damage then that damn burrito. That’s it! He decided that he was going to tell Tony what he wanted to know, he was going to stop this. He wasn’t going to let Starsky endure one more strike of the whip because of him.


“Pssst. You okay, Buddy?” He heard Starsky’s voice speaking to him.


Up until then, he hadn’t even noticed that he was crying, visibly sobbing out loud, this whole ordeal taking its toll on the strong blond. Hutch looked up searching for Starsky’s indigo eyes, locking on them the second he made that contact.


“Starsk?” Hutch said weakly. “I’m sorry…I can’t do this…look at you…” Hutch cried.


“Listen to me, you’re doin’ t’riffic…” Starsky paused, closing his eyes and biting his bottom lip as the pain ebbed. “You can’t let ‘em win…”


“I can’t let you die!” Hutch snapped.


“Don’t do this for yourself…” Starsky pled as he raised his head to be able to see Hutch more clearly. “Do it for me…we’ve never given in…don’t start now…”


“Oh God,” Hutch looked to the sky, then back to the man on lying on the deck, his life in the blonds’ hands. “Don’t ask me to do this.”


“I’m not askin’…” Starsky inhaled sharply as he fought to stay conscious. “I’m tellin’ you, you have to hang in there…for me. No matter…what happens…do it for me…Promise…me…” He whispered as he let his head fall back against the deck in exhaustion. “Promise?” He gasped.


“I’ll try…” Hutch vowed as Big Tony appeared once again from the stairwell.


“Let’s continue, shall we!” Tony commanded as the deck burst into a flurry of activity, and Starsky’s body was raised up the mast once again.


Chapter Six


Hutch couldn’t believe what was happening, right before his eyes! They were going to continue with this!


‘I’ve got to do something!’ Thought Hutch.


Looking at the men that were guarding him, Hutch screamed, “You know you are all going to go down for this! All of you! I’ll see to it if no one else does. Your leader here is signing your death warrants, if my partner dies. For God’s sake…he is dying, can’t you see that?”


“My men are loyal to me, detective,” Big Tony stated calmly as Starskys’ involuntary grunt sounded as others of Tony’s gang of thugs secured him into place. “They knew what they were getting into when they joined my little group.” Tony said as he moved towards Hutch with the cat o’ 9 tails moving through his fingers. “I wonder if your partner over there knew what he was getting into when he made the mistake of being partnered with you.”


Hutch held his breath as he watched his partner’s badly ravaged body be hung by the cuffs on his wrists.


“Make sure he’s awake.” Tony instructed one of his men.


The man then walked to the side of the boat pulling on a rope. As he continued pulling hand over hand, a second man joined him, reaching over and retrieving the object that they were striving to obtain. A large heavy bucket appeared, as both of them carried it toward Starsky. Swinging the container back, then forward again, the salt water that filled it flew through the air, hitting the brunet as he yelled out. Every inch of his body stung as the ocean water seeped into each of his exposed wounds, a significant amount hitting him in the face, burning his eyes, as he blinked rapidly.


“Now where were we, Hutchinson?” Big Tony asked smiling. “Let’s see…” he said as he replayed the questions in his mind. He bent over bringing his face close enough for Hutch to smell the stale alcohol that radiated from the evil man. “That’s right, question number ten.”


“I can’t do this…” Hutch whispered to Starsky as he stared into Tony’s eyes, fighting his own demons.


He broke his gaze momentarily to look at Starsky. The brunet’s sunken, tired eyes pled with his.


You CAN do this Blintz…Starsky spoke in silent communication with his other half.


“Where can we find all the evidence you and you friends have against me?” Tony asked as Hutch continued to lock his eyes with Starsky’s.


“Besides you and your dying friend over there, who else knows about my business?” The barbaric man continued with his questioning.


Hutch’s eyes pled with his partners’, this was tearing him apart from the inside out just as surely as Starsky was being torn apart from the outside in. At that moment Starsky realized, that no matter how much pain he was in, no matter how much he bled, this was far easier on him that it was on Hutch. If they survived this, the physical scars and agony would heal, he wasn’t so sure about the scars that Hutch would carry with him. He knew that he couldn’t leave Hutch behind to live with this for the rest of his life. He had to fight to survive, not for himself, but for Hutch.


Tony continued questioning, “How many times can you watch me strike your friend, before you lose your mind?” He asked as he stood and headed towards the curly haired detective.


Hutch swallowed hard, the moisture in his eyes welling up once again, “No…” He mouthed.


Starsky didn’t break his gaze from Hutch…The brunets’ eyes trying to reassure his partner, that no matter what, he would be okay, this had nothing to do with him anymore, this was purely the actions of one human being against another. Nothing Hutch could’ve said or done would’ve prevented this. Starsky was sure about that, but he knew Hutch had his doubts.


“How much more pain can your best friend take, before he dies…? Because of YOU!” Tony asked, not giving Hutch a chance to answer before raising the whip against Starskys’ hung form.


Tony violently struck Starskys’ helpless body. One, grunting with the force of the blow. Two, without even pausing to catch his own breath. Three, Starskys’ eyes rolled into the back of his head as Hutch began to panic. Four, the brunets’ body began to shake uncontrollably.


Tony dropped the weapon at Starskys’ feet as he walked over to the blond detective, panting and exhausted from the amount of strength it took to deliver those strikes with such force. Hutch watched as the brunets’ body continued to convulse. A large pool of blood was beginning to form on the deck below Starsky.


“Help him! Can’t you see, he’s dying!” Hutch screamed out as the veins in his neck bulged. “Let me go! I need to help him! Let me go!” Hutch pulled against the restraints as he fought to free himself. He felt the chair tip to the side as he over compensated, trying to keep upright, but crashing, onto his side, against the deck. “Jesus, Starsk! I’m here, can you hear me, I’m here Buddy!”


“Cut him down!” Tony commanded as Reese cut the rope and Starsky fell roughly to the wooden floor. His body continued to twitch and writhe as Hutch watched in horror.


“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry…” Hutch cried as he sobbed uncontrollably. “It’s all my fault, I’m sorry Starsk, forgive me…”


The blond let his temple rest against the deck as he stopped struggling. He felt himself being grabbed by the elbow and lifted up. Someone grabbed his other arm, lifting both him, and the chair off the boats’ deck.


“Take him below!” Tony ordered as Hutch gasped. Reese and Valdez quickly did as they were ordered.


Hutch began to struggle anew, “No! I need to be with him, let me stay with him, please!”


Hutch fought as best he could against the two men that were carrying him below deck, twisting and turning his body, trying to wrench free. It felt like the chair had now become a part of him. A couple of times his actions caused the men to lose their grip on the wooden seat, almost dropping it to the deck.


As Hutch cursed and spewed his rage on the two, he looked over his shoulder, watching Starsky’s squirming form move helplessly against the boat’s deck. Several men stood over him laughing as they watched the life flowing from the brunet’s tattered body.


“Please, help him. Let me stay with him, he needs me.” Hutch pled. “You don’t understand, he can’t die alone…”


His begging fell on deaf ears as the two men continued their path. Soon Hutch could no longer see his partner; he said his own goodbyes in his heart, knowing that he would probably never see him alive again.


Hutch’s heart ached like it had never ached before. His head fell back as he watched the overhead lights on the ceiling pass one by one. He fell into a fog, his mind clouded; the only thing he could focus on was Starsky’s agonizing screams of pain. He was angry with himself for listening to the stubborn brunet, keeping his mouth shut. How could he of let Starsky talk him into this? Tony was right, this was his fault, he caused every lash his partner endured. He had the power to stop it and he did nothing…nothing to save his partners’ life. Hutch knew that Starsky forgave him, but he wasn’t sure if he would ever be able to forgive himself.


Tears streamed down the blonds’ dirty face as he tried to blink his eyes to clear his vision. His mind was racing, struggling to shut out the visions he had just witnessed. He was taken back into his room, the chair being placed in the middle of the floor. Valdez held a gun, Starsky’s gun, at Hutch’s head from across the room as Reese untied the defeated blond. Hutch’s anger and anguish exploded as the last rope hit the floor as he hurled Reese across the cabin.


“I’m going to my partner right now, and not you or anyone else is gonna stop me!” Hutch cried out. At that moment he felt like he could take on Big Tony and his whole gang. He had to get to Starsky NOW! A shot suddenly embedded itself in the wall beside Hutch’s head.


“You know Hutchinson, it’s a good thing that bullets only go where I want them to go, and Tony still wants you alive and well,” Valdez said with chilling calmness in his tone. “…but I wouldn’t try that particular display again if I were you.”


With that Valdez told him to eat heartily as he and Reese backed out of the room.


Hutch rubbed his aching wrists, trying to improve the circulation before dropping his head in the palms of his hands.


“Oh God, Starsk…What have I done…” He sobbed quietly as he dropped to is knees.


After collecting his thoughts, he stood and turned around. On the table in front of him was a meal, no not a meal, a feast. Hutch was confused at the sight before him. A lavish meal set out just for the blond to feed on. How could they even imagine he would want to eat with his partner dying on the deck above him?




Back up on deck, Valdez rushed to Tony’s side. “I think he’s cracking, Boss.” He informed his leader, thinking this would please him. “He’s gonna tell us anything we ask, just you wait and see.”


“Well, it’s a little too late for that, don’t you think?” Tony grumbled, his mind already set to finish this off as soon as possible. “Where’s the crossbeam?”


Valdez seemed to get a little nervous at the question posed to him. “Reese was supposed…to…bring it.” He stuttered.


“I didn’t ask who brought it, dummy. I asked where it was.” Big Tony snapped, obviously irritated with Valdez’ answer.


“Well Tony, word has it, that he forgot it on the dock. It never got loaded.” Valdez cringed as he informed his boss of Reese’s mistake, knowing what he was capable of.


Tony’s body began to shake, “Bring him to me.” Tony commanded as Valdez ran off.


The big man paced the boats’ deck, back and forth in anger, cursing the inept man. He walked over to Starsky’s form, still huddled on the wooden surface of the floor. Although his body had stopped convulsing, it still held an occasional twitch, as he moaned in pain, or just in fear. Big Tony knelt beside the semi-conscious man, reaching down grabbing a handful of the brunets’ hair, snapping his head back.


“Looks like we’ll just have to figure out something else, now wont we detective?” He hissed evilly.


“…utch…” Starsky moaned weakly.


He released Starsky’s head, throwing it roughly against the boat’s floor as he heard footsteps coming up from behind him. As he rose, he took the gun from the back of his waistband, turning and cocking it in the same motion. Reese barely had time to show the fear on his face before Tony fired, striking him in the chest and sending his body tumbling over the rail, into the ocean.


“Now,” Tony announced loudly, “is there anything else that anyone has forgotten to do?” An eerie silence fell over the ship, no one moved, no one spoke. The only sound was the oceans waves hitting the boat, causing it to sway back and forth and a wayward seagull flying over head. “Good! That’s what I thought!” Tony shouted angrily as he replaced the weapon back into his waistband.


The sinister man looked back to Valdez, “Go see if his friend is finished his meal. I wouldn’t want him to miss this.” Tony smiled.


Valdez snapped to attention, nodded in understanding, pointed two other men, signaling them to follow him, and ran off, below deck.




Hutch heard the locks on his door being released, his heart racing in anticipation of what was coming. The door flew open as the three men rushed the room, Valdez holding his gun out in front of him, quickly training it on the blond.


He looked at the untouched food on the table. “What’s a matter? Not hungry?” He laughed at his blond prisoner.


“What happened?” Hutch asked, pleading for answers. “I heard shots…”


“Don’t you worry about that, just a little disciplinary action needed to be taken.” Valdez informed the detective before him. “You know, you really shoulda eaten something, never know, that coulda been your last supper.” The gun toting man roared with laughter as the other two roughly shoved him back into the chair, securing his hands and wrists even tighter than before.


“Where’s my partner?”


“He’s upstairs.”


Hutch swallowed hard, “Is he still alive?” he asked, choking in his own words.


“For now.” Was the only answer he would receive before the chair was lifted and carried out of the room.


“Let Tony know I’ll tell him anything he wants to know, just don’t hurt him anymore.” Hutch begged.


“I think it’s a little late for that Detective.” Valdez said as Hutch was taken upstairs.


Once on deck, Hutch’s chair was placed in the exact same place as it had been the previous two times. The blond looked over to see his partner lying at the foot of the mast. His battered body bruised and bloody as everyone walked past him, seemingly ignorant to his suffering.


A vice squeezed Hutch’s heart causing it to tighten in sadness, skipping several beats. He heard Starskys’ low throaty groan as the brunet attempted to roll to his side. Hutch saw his partners’ eyes open, but glazed over. He heard Starsky’s whisper… ‘…elp…’


“Oh, dear God, Starsk…” Hutch whined as Valdez stepped over the injured mass, kicking his legs aside.


“Can’t we get rid of the trash on this boat?” Valdez spouted.


Tony approached the restrained blond. Hutch’s eyes were wide with fear. “I’ll tell you anything, anything you ask, just leave him alone. Get him some help…Please?” Hutch pled, his eyes filling with tears just waiting to be released.


“You’re a little too late for that Detective.” Tony sneered as he looked over to the men standing around Starsky, nodding in silent command to them.


They bent down and grabbed the man as Starsky let out several uncontrollable grunts.


“W…what…what are you doing? I said I’ll tell you anything…leave him alone. Dear God, leave him alone!” Hutch cried out, his voice becoming hoarse as he wept uncontrollably. “Starsk, I’m here…I’m here Starsk, hang on…”


The men roughly drug the man to a semi-standing position as the brunet lifted his head, ever so slightly, to look at his blond partner.


“I’m…sorry…Blintz…” Starsky gasped as his head fell forward again.


“Crucify him!” Tony shouted as Starsky’s cuffs were removed and he was prepared to be raised up the mast one final time…


Chapter 7


What had Tony said? Hutch thought to himself. Crucify him? No, he couldn’t have meant that…Hutch’s eyes grew wide in terror. His mind raced…


“I told you, I’d tell you anything you wanted to know! You can’t punish him anymore, he can’t take it. I can’t let him die because of me!” Hutch spewed quickly, ranting as his heart seized like an iron vice. “He didn’t do anything, this is all my fault!” He shouted, then lowered his voice to a mere whisper. “It’s all my fault!”


Big Tony turned towards Hutch as he heard the blonds’ confession, “You’re right Officer Hutchinson, this is your fault. Because of your inability to answer a few simple questions, your friend here has to die! He is going to pay the ultimate price for your sins.” Tony smiled in irony. “This is just so biblical, don’t you think?” He growled a throaty laugh as he turned away from the blond tied to the chair.


Hutch tried to call out to his partner, “Starsk,” but the brunet gave no indication that he heard him. His motionless body was being held up by Tony’s men as the cuffs he wore from the beginning, were removed, his shoulders slumped forward, his chin against his chest. The raw, bloodied stripes from the cruel whip were painfully evident over his entire body, the eye contact that had sustained the two was gone, Starsky’s eyes were closed, he didn’t have the strength to open them. His head bobbed ever so slightly as he tried to talk, his mouth moving but no sound was made.


“Starsk, I’m so sorry…” Hutch sobbed as his stomach knotted and the lump in his throat choked him.


“…s’okay…utch…” Starsky mumbled in a mere whisper that Hutch could barely make out.


Tony moved closer to the strong willed brunet, tilting his head. “What’s that hot shot? Did you say something? Couldn’t hear you, you might need to speak up…” Tony taunted.


Starsky took in a deep slow breath, with all his strength he muttered, “…uck you…”


Tony grabbed a handful of Starsky’s hair, snapping his head back. His eyes opened briefly, before rolling into the back of his head.


“Stop this! Please! I’ll do anything, give you anything I got, please just stop this!” Hutch’s eyes grew even wider, as he stuttered in panic. “Oh G…God Starsk, th…they’re gonna kill you, because of what I did…” Hutch closed his eyes tightly as the vivid images of earlier passed through his mind.


Tony released his hold of the curly locks as he let Starsky’s head bounce forward. Looking at Valdez Tony ordered the man, “Take his shit off him, he won’t be needing it where he’s going. Give it to me, I want his watch, the necklace, and those stupid pinky rings of his!”


Valdez hurried to carry out his instructions, as Tony moved back to the shaking blond detective. The short goon of Tony’s ripped the brunets’ roped, I-ching necklace from around his throat, while another man retrieved the watch. The rings were going to prove to be a little more difficult, Valdez tugged firmly on them, but because the beaten man had been hanging from his wrists, both hands were swollen, making it nearly impossible to remove the rings. He looked back at his leader and shrugged in defeat as he continued to try to persuade the objects loose. It was as if the stubborn man was trying to hold on to them.


“Cut off his finger!” Tony said coldly, just as the pinky chose to release the metal objects and Valdez was able to get them passed his swollen knuckle.


“Please, let him keep the rings…one was a gift from his father when he was just a kid, the other belonged to his old man…don’t take them away from him…” Hutch pled.


Tony took the belongings from Valdez’ hands, then stopped the man, holding all four items in his palms. “Pick one.” He offered to his right hand man.


Valdez smiled at his leader for the gesture as he reached up and took the watch. He then moved in front of Starsky’s form and announced to the crew. “This necklace will go to the highest bidder,” then he looked directly at the miserable blond man as he clasped his hand around the rings, “but the rings,” he smiled, “they’re mine!” He exclaimed as he shoved them on the pinky of his right hand. One of the bands was silver; his father had given him that one when he was just a child. The other one was light gold, which belonged to his father. His father wore it in his pinky every day until the day he died. Starsky’s mother had given that to him and the brunet rarely removed it.


Hutch’s mouth drew down as the man’s blue eyes released the tears freely, “Why are you doing this? I told you I would tell you anything, please let him live…”


“You remember question number 12, Detective? How much is it gonna take before you lose your freakin’ mind, huh? You almost there yet?” Tony seethed.


Hutch didn’t speak, he only nodded to the psychotic man before him.


“Yeah, well what about question 13? Remember that one? How long do you think it is gonna take your partner here to die after he’s been crucified? See, the Romans used this as a form of punishment, the worst, most humiliating, and most painful way to die…Now my original idea was the crossbeam technique, but you see, Reese made a terrible, lethal mistake.” Hutch looked around and realized that the large man was nowhere in sight. “So now I’ve had to modify the crucifixion, now we are going to use the strappado form. Not my first choice, but effective nonetheless. Let me just explain what your partner over there can expect...”


Hutch watched Tony as the man paced back and forth in front of him like he was giving a speech on a stage. Behind him, Starsky’s cuffs were being removed as his tattered body was laid back on the deck of the boat. Ropes were fastened to his ankles and wrists.


“…Once he is in place, his ribcage won’t expand easily, making breathing difficult, and taking a certain amount of work to accomplish, he’s tired, I don’t know how long he’ll be able to pull his whole body weight up just to take a breath, maybe his last breath. Then, weights will be attached to his ankles, most likely causing both his shoulders and possibly his hips to dislocate…If that doesn’t do him in, then we are sure his dehydration, and exhaustion will finish him off in no time at all…after all, I don’t torture him because I want to, I do it because, you have forced me to with your lies, your sins…so if I were you, I would stop praying for him to live, and start praying to GOD that he dies! If you care about him and what he is feeling at all, that is exactly what you should do. Soon he won’t even know that you are here for him, suffering for him. He won’t know anything except the pain he is feeling, the pain you inflicted on him, then he’ll die.”


Hutch stared straight ahead at them working on his partner, his mind was jumbled, he couldn’t think, he stopped crying. His body was numb, he couldn’t think about any one thing in particular. He couldn’t speak, the words he was thinking wouldn’t release themselves from his mouth. This was all a dream, a terrible nightmare that his alarm clock would save him from at any second, none of this was real, it couldn’t be. He remembered the happy, fun times that him and this brunet in front of him shared, a smile washed over his face. Tony watched Hutch, pleased with what he had accomplished; he managed to break the Mighty White Knight.


“Your partner there was definitely a worthy adversary, I’ll give him that. Not many men could have lived through what he has.” Tony praised the condemned man.


Hutch watched as Valdez took a long piece of fresh rope and bound Starsky’s wrists together. The brunet mumbled incoherently under his breath as his head wagged from side to side slowly. Tony continued to explain his idealistic views to the blond, whether he was listening or not…


“You two will be my prime examples, my masterpieces. Once my competitors, and the citizens of Bay City, not to mention your precious BCPD, sees what I have done to you, what I am capable of, no one will dare cross me or my organization ever again! Me and my men will be leaving you both soon enough. Once we have finished with the vertical crucifixion, we will go into hiding for a time, but not before notifying KBCC television about you and your dead friend…I think I am going to enjoy watching the coverage myself…” Tony clicked his tongue against his teeth. “Gotta love the media, this horrific scene will be splash across every station just in time for the evening edition…Think we can get his Mom a copy of her very own? If you want I can call her myself and give her the news…”


Hutch closed his eyes as he thought about Mrs. Starsky and what this was going to do to her. She was a strong woman, but Hutch doubted that she would be strong enough for this. He had always promised her that he would do everything in his power to watch over her son, now he might as well of killed him himself.


Tony continued, “By the time they find you, your partner over there will be dead, and from the looks of it, you will be about as worthless as a three dollar bill. I want you to know that I am making sacrifices too, Detective…this isn’t easy on me either…I am going to miss this boat, but it is for the greater good. I just think you need to pray to God to take your partner quickly…he’s about to experience a pain he hasn’t so far…”


Tony straddled Hutch’s legs, bending down, pulling the blonds’ chin up to meet his. Looking him straight in his eyes Tony gave Hutch his final instructions… “I want you to remember everything that has happened here, every lash that struck your so called friend, every scream he couldn’t hold back, every drop of blood that hit the wood deck. ALL because of you! When he dies, I want that moment to haunt you the rest of your disgusting life!”


Hutch nodded obediently, trying to shut the mans’ words out as he was lost in his own mind. The blond felt himself being swept away, body and soul into a long downward spiral as he came to terms with their fates. There was nothing he could do now, it was too late, he had his chance to save his partner’s life and he blew it. Starsky was going to die, and Hutch was going to watch it. He would help his friend take his final journey, then Hutch could rest, once and for all, they could both rest at last…


Valdez finished securing Starskys’ wrists, as another man bound his ankles. The brunet was then raised up, two men grabbing him under the arms and lifting him. His legs were weak, as they stayed bent against the deck as he was drug towards the mast. A third man threw the end of the rope to a man at the top of the pole. It was quickly threaded threw the eyelet, the slack being drawn out of it. Starskys arms were once again raised above his head as his back was placed against the cold steel pole. They let the semi conscious man fall to his knees, as his arms extended upward. His head lobbed forward as he groaned.


Hutch looked at his partner and one single tear broke free from his left eye and rolled slowly at first, picking up speed, down his cheek. “I’m gonna miss you Buddy!” He sobbed quietly as the brunets body began being drawn back up the mast like a flag on a flagpole, with two men pulling the rope from behind drawing the brunet into a fully erect position. As his body was fully stretched, he threw his head back; his eyes squeezed shut tightly...


“…UUUTCH…” He called out to his other half.


Chapter Eight


The brunet was raised up the mast until his feet were about five feet from the boats’ deck. He inhaled and exhaled quickly trying to slow his breathing as his body adjusted to the excruciating pain. Once in position, Valdez approached the detective holding two heavy sandbags, tied together with a rope. Another man helped Valdez as they wrapped the sandbags around Starskys’ ankles.


Hutch watched helplessly, as he looked to his friends’ face, seeking a sense of peace and acceptance, but finding a wretched expression on pain and agony. He closed his eyes again as he silently prayed for a swift end for his partners’ suffering.


As Valdez finished tying the heavy weights around Starsky’s legs, the other man held up the bags for Valdez to take. Smiling, he took the objects from the man, then looked back at Big Tony for approval. With a subtle nod of Tony’s head, Valdez turned back to the hung form on the mast and threw both of the weights up in the air slightly, letting them snap cruelly down, jerking his body taught. The scream that escaped the brave man’s throat was something that Hutch had never heard before. It was an inexplicable howl of pain and terror. Starsky immediately felt his right shoulder dislocate, as the strain on his other shoulder and hips intensified beyond comprehension.


His breathing became shallow as he fought to inhale and exhale, his body trying to pull itself up on the mast, just to expand his lungs.


Two men grabbed Hutch’s chair, moving it closer to his dying partner. Tony approached the defeated blond as Hutch kept his head bowed in misery. He had never felt such a deep sense of loss and emptiness as he felt now, he had lost all hope, even his faith was disappearing quickly.


“Looks like the time has come my friend, I am afraid I am going to have to leave you now…but never fear, I won’t be far away. I will be ever present in your mind, every time you think about the loss of your partner, you’ll see me…my face…” Tony orated as several men prepared a smaller motorboat for their departure. “You’ll never be rid of me, I’ll always be lurking in the back of your mind, and may God have mercy on your soul for what you have done to your friend…”Tony leaned forward, his face right in front of his prisoner… “May you never be able to forgive yourself…” He smiled broadly at Hutch as the exhausted, tormented mans’ eyes stared back, eerily empty of any expression.


“Let’s move out!” He shouted to the other men that were boarding the escape vessel. Tony moved towards the small boat, then turned back to take one final look at Hutch. He wanted to remember this moment for the rest of his life. His chest puffed out in pride, pleased with what he was able to accomplish here on this boat. Tony held up his right pinky finger adorned with Starskys’ prized rings, “Don’t you worry none, I’ll take good care of them.” He laughed as he boarded the motor boat.


Valdez and the rest of the men wasted no time passing around a bottle of whisky, patting each other on the back, congratulatory for a job well done. They whooped and hollered as Hutch heard the small boats’ motor sputter as it left the area.


Then a sudden, gravely silence fell over the boat, Hutch heard a raspy wheezing noise, methodically paced. He looked beside him to see Starskys’ crucified form, struggling with each breath. His torso rising and falling in sequence with the wheeze, he blinked to clear his eyes. Briefly, he heard a low throaty moan come from his partner. He looked up as the afternoon sun beat down against his face. He thought about a happier time that he and his partner shared… “Remember that time, Starsk?”


The day they both graduated from the academy, they both had illusions of grandeur to be the best officers the force had ever seen. To their surprise they were both kept relatively close in their duty assignments, and one day they were actually partnered together as detectives for the BCPD… “Remember that day Buddy? You went out and bought that stupid car to celebrate…you had no idea how you were gonna make the payments, but that didn’t matter, did it? That car meant everything to you…I still remember the look on your face when they handed you the keys…I’ll never forget it…”


Starsky groaned again…


“What about the time I thought I had lost you for good, when Vic Bellemy poisoned you, just to get back at both of us…you couldn’t fight then either, you were willing to give your life to save mine, and now here we are, and I didn’t do shit to help you…”


Hutch looked up at the sky, closing his eyes he pled to God to end his pain, both his and Starskys’.


“Pop…?” Starsky mumbled as Hutchs’ eyes snapped, locking on his friend.


“What’d you say, Starsk?” Hutch asked, the crease in his forehead deepening, as he gasped to breathe.


Starsky mumbled incoherently again as Hutch strained to make out the words…


“…elp, Pop…” He gasped. “No…not…now…about…utch…”


The blond could only make out about every other word as he listened intently; his heart realizing that this was his friend was nearing the end…


“Hey Starsk, what about the time I was trapped under my car in the canyon…? You remember that? Do you have any idea how many times I wanted to give up…? I thought you’d never find me…but you did…”


“Terry…please…don’t go…” Starsky whimpered, his chin against his chest.


Hutch knew Starskys’ loved ones were coming for him, they were there to help him, take him on his last trip…


“It’s okay Buddy, go ahead and go…I’ll be okay…” Hutch lowered his head in prayer, begging for God’s compassion in taking his friend quickly. ‘His work here is done Lord, have mercy on him, take him now, end his suffering…’ Hutch said silently in his mind.


The methodical wheezing of Starskys’ breathing continued…as Hutch waited for it to stop…




Dobey and his team were still busy collecting all the evidence on the dock, as Starsky’s car was towed back to the station for further analysis. The Coast Guard was now conducting a search and rescue mission out at sea. They had both the use of a helicopter as well as three speed boats that were out scouring the areas. The boats were stopping any and all vehicles that were out on the waters. Requesting to come aboard and search the vessels.


Dobey’s radio cracked as he heard Mildred’s familiar voice requesting his audience.


“Captain Dobey, this is dispatch, come in…Come in, Captain Dobey.”


The pudgy black man reached in his front seat retrieving the hand piece, speaking slow and deliberate into it.


“This is Dobey, go ahead dispatch…”


“Captain, we have just gotten a call from KBCC television station, stating that they have received an anonymous tip about two of our officers. They are off shore about five miles, southeast…”


“Notify the Coast Guard immediately, Mildred…” Dobey bellowed, knowing full well that this may be a hoax, but he had hope.


“Yes Sir…Captain?”


“What is it Mildred…?” Dobey listened intently for further information.


“The caller said that one of the officers is already…”


“Already what? Come on, spit it out…” Dobey yelled.


“Already dead, Sir…” The anguish in the faceless woman’s voice was very apparent. The static crackled across the radio as silence took over…All the officers that were near their radios heard the announcement, they were not on a secure frequency…Dobey had to shove the thought to the back of his mind, he had a job to do, and by God, he was going to do just that.


“Get me an air ambulance in route and notify the Coast Guard of their potential whereabouts…” Dobey commanded as he took his handkerchief and mopped his brow.


“Yes Sir!” Mildred’s voice trembled.


Dobey waited on the docks for word…any word…one way or the other…




“Hey Buddy, what about that time you were under cover, an’ we were supposed to be fighting, remember Knight and Williams, the vigilante cops…” Hutch snorted “You sure have a wicked left hook, that’s for sure…”


“You still here Buddy…? Come on, let me hear your voice…just one more time…” Hutch pled as he looked over at the lifeless form hanging from the mast.


Starsky’s injuries were massive, his body literally ripped to shreds. The coloring of his skin was a disturbing grayish-blue. The only movement was the slight rise and fall of the brunets’ scarred chest. He wasn’t struggling anymore, he wasn’t fighting to breathe…Hutch knew that just a few more minutes remained for his friend, he desperately needed one last contact, a voice, a touch, anything…


“Starsk? I’m here, don’t be afraid…I’m here…” Hutch sobbed violently as he tried to say goodbye. “Please forgive me…I’m so sorry…I let you down this time…I didn’t have your back…you died because…of me…God forgive me…I don’t want you to go without me…I’m gonna miss you, Buddy…”


Hutch dropped his chin to his chest as he cried, letting the tears fall freely from his face. He could hear Starskys’ breathing becoming more labored and slower…He could hear the ‘death rattle’ begin as Starskys’ body began to twist and turn on the mast, convulsing again. Hutch knew that his partner was crossing to the other side, passing from life to death, as he struggled to stay alive.


Hutch looked up as he heard the sputtering of a motorboat, for a split second he thought they were coming back, coming back to finish him and Starsky off, then he heard the distinct sound of a helicopter, closing in, getting closer. He heard a bellowing voice over the loud speaker of the chopper…


“You down there, stand down and prepared to be boarded!” He looked up to see a man leaning out of the door of the whirlybird, with an automatic rifle trained on the deck of the boat.


Several armed men appeared as they climbed over the railing, positioning themselves to prepare for an attack.


Three armed men rushed below deck as four more rushed to Starsky’s aide, grabbing his legs and lifting him up quickly, trying to relieve the strain. Another man moved swiftly to Hutch’s side.


“Are you okay? Have you been hurt?” He asked the tired blond in front of him.


Hutch just looked dazed and confused, he mumbled as the man continued to ask if he was alright. “I killed him, I killed my best friend…he’s dead…I killed him…”


“Sir, are you injured?” The young Coast Guard officer repeated his question.


“He’s gone…Dear God…what did I do…?” Hutch rambled, his eyes haunted by something only he could see.


Starsky’s body was cut loose from the mast and gently laid on the deck, his seizing calming. A second helicopter appeared, hovering over the boat, a rectangular basket being lowered to the deck. Two more men boarded the boat from the side, each carrying tackle boxes filled with medical supplies. They rushed to Starsky’s side as Hutch was freed from the chair that bound him, his blond hair whipping from the wind being created by the helicopters. He stood weakly as he moved towards his partners’ side, still muttering, wrapping his arms around his chest, hugging himself…


“I’m sorry…Buddy…I’m sorry…”


The two medics that arrived started calling out big words and numbers that made no sense to the traumatized blond.


“60 over 40…weak and thready…non responsive…respiratory arrest…”


After those last two words, the men threw it into high gear. One grabbing an ambu bag and placing the plastic mask over Starsky’s mouth creating an effective seal, tilting his forehead back to clear the air way, then gently squeezing the bulbous end, forcing air into the brunets’ lungs.


The second man grabbed a laryngoscope and an endotracheal tube, preparing the patient for intubation. The first medic remove the bag, taking the medical supplies from his partner, he tilted Starsky’s head back farther as he forced his jaw open, placing the silver laryngoscope in his mouth, holding his tongue down, leaving him a clear path. His partner handed him the endotracheal tube as he carefully threaded into Starsky’s mouth and down his throat. Once in place the bulbous part of the ambu bag was attached to the small hose as he continued to squeeze it rhythmically. The other medic started an IV in Starsky’s left arm, and started immediately introducing fluids to the dehydrated man.


Hutch tried to get closer to his partner, just to be held back by two officers. “Let me say goodbye, he’s my best friend…please…” Hutch pled.


“You need to let them do their job…” One of the officers holding him back explained. “Just what the hell happened here?”


“I killed him, can’t you see that?” Hutch answered, his face expressionless, his eyes vacant.


Chapter Nine


Captain Dobey waited patiently on the docks as he saw the Coast Guards’ boat heading into port. He paced back and forth as the officers unloaded two stretchers, heading towards awaiting ambulances. The first stretcher that was rushed by him carried a small framed man, appearing to have a gun shot wound to his shoulder. Dobey would later find out that the man was Reese and he had been involved in the events, which he had already suspected. His face was covered with an oxygen mask as another man ran along side the gurney, holding the IV bottle high in the air.


The second stretcher held a familiar face; the tall Nordic detective was being carried to a second waiting ambulance. The large black Captain rushed to his side to check on him. His eyes remained fixed on the sky above him, he was mumbling something incoherently as Dobey reached him.


Hutchinson, you alright?” Dobey asked, gravely concerned. He had already been informed that Starsky had been taken to Memorial Hospital by Air Ambulance, and that his condition was very critical. Hutch didn’t seem to hear his Captain’s words. “Answer me Hutchinson, are you okay?”


Hutch’s gaze stayed fixed as he stammered, “I killed him, Cap’, he’s gone an’ it’s my fault.”


Dobey looked up at the medic, the concern written all over his worried face. “What the hell happened to him out there?” He asked the man at the head of his detective’s gurney.


“I wish we knew, sir. He seems to be suffering from some type of shock. There are no visible physical injuries except the superficial marks, bruising on his wrists and a bump on his head. We’re going to take him to Memorial, just to have him checked out, as a precaution.” The young man relayed his findings.


“I’ll be right behind you.” Dobey vowed as he headed to his car.




Once at the hospital, Dobey took his vigil to a small waiting room just off to the side of the emergency room. It was a more private room, for more critical patients, and right now Starsky fell into that category. He had been brought in by helicopter several minutes earlier. From what the large black man understood, they had taken him straight to the OR after a brief time in triage. He had a dislocated shoulder that was going to require an open reduction surgery to repair the injury. They were also concerned about possible ligament or nerve damage due to the severity of the dislocation.


The brunets’ body was also covered in multiple lash type wound requiring numerous stitches and possible staples in some areas after debridement of the surrounding tissues. He suffered from severe blood loss and dehydration, which he of course, was also receiving treatment for. The only thing left for the Captain to do, was to sit and wait for word, and then the hard part, start making the appropriate calls to the immediate family members.


He knew that Hutch had been taken into an examination room in the central part of the Emergency Room.


It didn’t take long for word to spread through out the department about both detectives. Soon Dobey had a steady flow of concerned officers flowing through the private room, offering prayers and support on behalf of their injured comrades. As Dobey thanked each of his fellow officers he was shocked to see that he was acting more like Starsky and Hutch’s family than their Captain. He realized that he had become more than the injured officer’s superior, he was their friend, indeed a part of their family, and they were a part of his. His wife Edith had shown up carrying home cooked food for her husband. She knew from experience that he wasn’t going to leave until he knew both of his men would be alright.


Within a couple of hours he had gotten word on Hutch. No apparent physical injuries, but he was still in distress. The doctor in charge of his care had explained to the Captain that he believed Hutch was suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder. Whatever had happened on that boat had affected the blond man with as much of an impact as Starsky’s physical injuries. It was his suggestion that Detective Hutchinson be transferred to Cabrillo State Mental Hospital for a full psychological evaluation. At first Dobey protested the recommendations, insisting on seeing the man for himself.


Dobey slowly opened the door to the dimly lit room, the hinges creaking as the door reached its limits. Doctor Stevenson had accompanied the captain, to explain the progress and the care that his officer was receiving. As Dobey approached the blonds’ bedside, he was surprised to see that Hutch’s wrists had been restrained to the guard rails of the bed.


Lifting a shaky finger he questioned, “Is that really necessary?”


“I’m afraid so…we had to sedate him. He became quite combative with my staff…It’s for his safety as well as ours.” The Doctor explained.


Even though he was sedated, Captain Dobey could see the strained look on his detectives face. Although he was resting, the experience that he and his partner went through was haunting him, his face contorting on and off in a silent torment that only he was feeling.


After sitting with his officer for nearly an hour, watching him struggle, inside and out, and listening to him occasionally mumble something about him being responsible for his partner’s death, Dobey reluctantly agreed to Doctor Stevenson’s recommendations to send the blond to Cabrillo for a full evaluation. Maybe their staff could help the blond come to terms with whatever it was that happened out a sea, something that Dobey felt he may never be able to understand or comprehend.


By the time the weary Captain made it back to the private waiting room, several officers were there, most of them with their families. He was a little surprised to see Huggy among the visitors as he hadn’t made the dreaded calls to family and friends yet. Huggy immediately approached the man as he entered.


“Cap, how’s Hutch doin’?” The tall thin man asked, his eyes filled with both pain and guilt.


“Physically he’s fine, Huggy.” Dobey answered tiredly.


“An’ Starsky?” Huggy asked afraid of the possible answers that he may receive. He swallowed hard as he waited…


“He’s in surgery Huggy, I haven’t heard nothin’ ‘cept he lost a lot of blood and is in critical condition.” Dobey placed his hand on Huggy’s shoulder as he saw the man’s head drop to look at the floor. Edith joined her husband, standing beside him, reaching out and taking one of Huggy’s hands in hers.


“I heard ‘bout it on the news…I knew it was them…Cap?” Huggy’s eyes locked with Dobey’s, “it was Big Tony, wasn’t it?”


This time it was Dobey’s gaze that dropped to the floor, “I’m afraid so Hug.”


“Man this is all my fault…if only…”


Dobey cut him off quickly, “Look! This isn’t your fault, it’s not Hutch’s fault, it’s not my fault, for letting them take that damn call alone! Dammit, it is Anthony Rogers’ fault. He’s the animal that did this to them, and he’s the one that is gonna pay! You got that? Now I don’t want to hear one more person take responsibility for this unless it is Big Tony himself, you hear me?”


Truth was that the Captain was also just trying to fight off his own demons of guilt. He puffed a large amount of air from his lungs, reluctantly resigning himself to the inevitable, “I had better go make that call to Mrs. Starsky, there’s a good chance this story may go national, an’ I’d just hate for her to hear about it on the evening news…”


Edith gave a supportive squeeze to her husbands arm as he left the room to call the brunets’ mother.


Huggy took a seat by the door and settled in for the long haul. Mrs. Dobey played hostess to all the visitors, making sure everyone had something to eat and plenty of warm coffee to drink.


Starsky’s surgery took about a total of five and a half hours to complete. The doctor tending him, Doctor Taylor, went into the entire details of the detectives treatment.


“The damage to the ligaments and tendons in his shoulder required some extra attention. After the debridement of the badly damaged tissues around his multiple lash wounds across his entire body, a plastic surgeon was called in to consult with the suturing and restorative process to try to achieve minimal scaring. In all, Detective Starsky received over 1,000 stitches, and nearly 30 staples. He required a complete blood transfusion due to the massive blood loss and shock on his system causing the red cell producing mechanisms to fail. He is still in critical condition, but was responding well to our method of treatment.”


“Thank you Doctor.” Dobey reached out his chubby hand squeezing the doctor’s hand firmly. “I appreciate everything you and your staff have done for my men.” He said with exhausted exasperation.




Over the next five days, Starsky remained in the ICU, his body fighting to regain the strength that had been beaten from it. The doctors kept him in a drug induced coma to try to prevent him from moving and tearing any of the massive sutures that covered his body, as well as to keep him as comfortable as possible.


Hutch had been seen, evaluated and released from Cabrillo, being treated on an out-patient basis. His therapist was treating him officially, for post-traumatic stress disorder, and had him on a mixture of anti-anxiety medications and sedatives to help him sleep at night. Even with the meds, he was continuously plagued with what can only be described as ‘night terrors’, his mind cruelly forcing him to relive the ten horrible hours that they were held captive on the boat.


He had been up to the hospital only once to see his partner, but never managed to get up enough nerve to enter his ICU room. When he saw Starsky lying there, in the bed, tubes and machines attached to him, he couldn’t help but feel that it was him that put him there, causing the onset of a terrible panic attack that made it difficult to breathe or even function. He left the hospital quickly, rushing home, taking his medication and climbing back into his bed until the feeling passed.


Captain Dobey always made sure that someone was with the brunet, either himself, Edith, Huggy or another officer.


Mrs. Starsky had planned on flying out to be with her son, but the day before she had left, she had taken a fall injuring her hip, and her doctor had advised her against making the trip. And of course, she had no idea where her other son, Nicky, was or how to get in touch with him.


On the sixth day the doctors took Starsky off of all the sedatives, and slowly began to bring him out of his coma. Dobey made sure that he had cleared his schedule and made plans to be there for the entire day. He called Hutch to see if he would come to wait with him, but the blond couldn’t bring himself to the hospital, and that worried Dobey, more than Starsky’s current condition. He knew the brunet was strong and would physically fight his way back; he wasn’t so sure about the blonds’ ability to fight his own demons that were haunting his every move.


Both Dobey and Huggy were in his room, he had just been moved from the ICU to the seventh floor. They sat at a corner table by the window playing a game of cards, when the brunet moaned, and began to stir.


“…utch…” He groaned as his head rolled from one side to the other.


Dobey to his position on the left hand side of the bed, while Huggy took the right…Starskys’ head again rolled to the side as he inhaled sharply, “Stop…utch…” He moaned.


Dobey put a hand on the curly haired detectives shoulder as Huggy looked on wide-eyed. “Dave it’s me, Harold.” Dobey said softly.


Starskys’ eyes opened briefly and then closed quickly again.


“Hey Starsk? You with us?” Huggy encouraged the man to join them in the world of the conscious.


“Hutch?” He said, his dry mouth causing his lips to stick to his teeth like sandpaper. “S’that you Hutch?” His eyes opened, blinking hard, as his eyes rolled up and then back down trying to focus on the figures before him. He made out the pudgy face of his superior, “Cap? Where’s Hutch?”


Dobey looked up at Huggy who was shaking his head, then back down to his detective, “He couldn’t be here, son.” They both knew that the brunet needed the blond, probably more than he needed the doctors at this point.


“S’he okay? They didn’t…” He took in a slow breath, “hurt ‘im did they?” Starsky fought through a wave of pain that flowed across his chest.


“No, he’s not hurt, at least physically, he’s fine.” Dobey explained.


“Whatya…mean at least… physically?” Starsky moaned as he blinked, trying to keep the man in focus.


“I’m afraid he’s taking a leave of absence…he’s under the care of the department psychologist…” Dobey started to explain.


“It messed him up man! That’s what it did, he just ain’t been the same…” Huggy interrupted, finding it best to just throw everything out there on the table like a Thanksgiving dinner.


“Huggy…you need…you need to…go get…him, bring him here to me…’kay? I need to…see him.” Starsky pled with the tall thin man.


“We’ve tried to get him here, he won’t do it.” Huggy answered.


“He can’t do it, you mean.” Dobey corrected him.


Starsky immediately knew that if Hutch wasn’t there, with him, in the hospital, then something was terribly wrong, something he wasn’t sure he could fix, but he was damn sure gonna try.


Starsky raised his left index finger, motioning Huggy closer to him. The black man leaned over the brunets’ bed as he Starsky whispered in his ear. “Tell him…it’s for me, Hug…I need him…” Starsky’s hand fell back down at his side as he withdrew back into the silent, painless slumber he had awoken from.


Chapter Ten


Starsky woke in his dimly lit hospital room, his eyes taking their time to adjust fully to his surroundings. He quickly scanned his small room and saw a figure’s silhouette sitting in the chair by the window. The persons’ shoulders were hunched forward and he could tell from a distance that they carried the weight of the world, alone on his two shoulders.


“Hey…how you doin’?” Starsky whispered weakly as he recognized his partner.


Hutch looked up startled at first, his eyes wide. “You’re awake…” He stated the obvious as he rose and walked towards Starsky’s bedside. His friends’ right arm was wrapped tightly to his chest as the bandages wove their way in a figure eight fashion around his right arm and shoulder. Some lash marks were visible on his neck, the rest were hidden by bandages and his thin hospital gown that was draped over his left shoulder.


The brunet noticed Hutch’s pale complexion and the deep, dark bags under the blonds’ eyes as he neared him. “You look like shit!” Starsky too stated the obvious, thinking that he hadn’t seen Hutch in this bad of shape since the time he was hooked on heroin and Starsky had to lock him in a room to help him kick it. Even though that was tough, the patient lying in the bed figured that Hutch’s road to recovery was going to be even rougher this time. He saw it in the blond’s vacant expression.


“Yeah? Well you don’t look so good yourself…” Hutch snorted in fake laughter.


An uneasy silence fell over the room as Hutch looked at the floor, fidgeting and shoving his hands deep inside his pockets.


“What did ya’ expect?” Starsky joked as he inhaled sharply through his teeth riding a small cresting wave of pain, then releasing the air by blowing through his cheeks. “Huggy an’ Dobey tell me you’re not doin’ so well.” He blurted out.


“Well what do they know? I think they just need to mind their own business, an’ stop tryin’ to help me, that’s what I think.” Hutch retorted sharply as he quickly walked over to the window staring out into the night’s sky.


“Talk to me Hutch, what’s really botherin’ you?” Starsky pressed.


“Nothin’, now drop it. Huggy said you needed to see me, why?” Hutch asked trying to change the subject.


“ ‘Cause you weren’t here. Why?”


“Why what?” Hutch asked furrowing his brow.


“Why weren’t you here? That’s not like you. Something is up, and don’t tell me nothing!” Starsky demanded, raising his voice enough to cause a faint pounding in his head.


“What the hell do you think is up? Huh, Buddy? I almost got you killed …actually for several days, I thought that I did get you killed. I let you down, I hurt you!” Hutch started to shout. “Honestly, I don’t want to be anywhere near you! I want nothing to do with you. I can’t go through it again!”


“You won’t have to!” Starsky shouted back, the pounding in his head and the pain through out his body increasing.


“Yeah, well how do you know that? It could happen. I won’t do it!” Hutch began to pace back and forth nervously, then he turned and stared at Starsky with the most pain filled eyes the brunet had ever seen, his voice cracking as he spoke. “Do you know that at one point, I prayed to God that you would die out there? What kind of friend am I? Tell me that would you, Buddy?”


“Hutch, you did what I asked you to do…” Starsky tried to explain but was cut off.


“Yeah, well this time, you asked too much.” With that Hutch stormed out of the room and down the hall.


“Hutch!” Starsky yelled after him as the door slowly closed. He closed his eyes as the excruciating pain that flashed through him took over, he hit the call button for the nurse, but she was already on her way in hearing the commotion coming from his room. “Jesus, help me…it hurts…” He said right before passing out.




Hutch barreled down the hallway, pushing the button frantically for the elevator. He looked back to see the nurse and doctor enter his partner’s room, ‘See Gordo, I hurt you again, I think it’s best if I just stay away…’ He thought to himself as he again pushed the button, feeling like the more he pushed it, the faster it would arrive.


The chime of the bell sounded, indicating the arrival of the elevator car. As the doors opened, Hutch was a little surprised to see two uniformed officers escorting a patient on a gurney out of the elevator. He moved back out of their way to allow them to exit, looking at the man on the bed, then at the officer, he quickly snapped his head back to the man laying down.


“You son of a bitch!” Hutch spat as he recognized the man as Reese. One of Big Tony’s right hand men, the one he figured for dead when he heard Tony talk about Reese’s ‘lethal mistake’ and found him nowhere on the boat. Hutch approached the criminal grabbing his hospital gown by the collar with both of his hands and jerking the man forward. “I thought Tony had killed you.”


“Hey, get him off me, you gotta protect me, that’s your job, ain’t it?” Reese scrambled his eyes wide in fear as the blond detective glared at the bed bound criminal.


“Let him go, you’re gonna rip his sutures!” One of the orderlies shouted at Hutch as the blond was pulled off him, and Reese rested back against his pillow.


Hutch had little to no recollection of the boat ride to shore. Part of what the doctor’s explained as one of the side effects from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is what they had ‘officially’ diagnosed Hutch as suffering from. His memories of the events were splotchy at best.


“What the hell is he doing here?” Hutch asked one of the officers accompanying him as the blond flashed his badge.


“We’re transferring him to his new room.” Officer Smith answered Hutch.


“Not on this floor your not!” Hutch demanded as the other officers and the orderlies looked at him with puzzled expressions.


“I’m sorry Detective, I don’t understand…we will have him under tight security.” Officer Smith asked him.


“My partner, the man that he tried to kill, is in a room right down the hall…If you think I’m gonna let this asshole anywhere near him, you’re all crazy!” Hutch spewed, his anger rising as his face flushed. “If I were you,” he spoke to the small framed orderly in front of him, looking down at him, “I would get on the phone and contact his doctor, you find another room, on another floor! Better yet, another hospital would do nicely, unless, of course, you want to be looking for your own personal physician.” The blond threatened.


The second officer flipped his head at the orderlies, motioning them back into the elevator. Hutch stared at the group of men as the doors closed; making sure that his last eye contact was with Reese himself. Once the doors had sealed, Hutch gasped, his breathing rapid pants. He reached in his jacket pocket, pulled out a prescription bottle and opened it, popping two pills in his mouth and swallowed hard. He placed his back up against the wall as he placed his hands on his knees, slightly bent over, trying to slow his breathing like his doctor had taught him to.


Once he gained control, he headed back down the hallway towards Starsky’s room. He waited outside briefly trying to build up his nerve. He paced back and forth in front of the doorway just before reaching for the handle. An orderly that was just exiting Starsky’s room was just coming out. The red haired hospital employee lifted his hand to Hutch’s chest, stopping him from entering the room.


“He okay?” Hutch whispered.


“He is now, but I think you need to wait outside.” He informed the confused blond.


Just as Hutch was about to protest the orderlies instructions, Doctor Taylor appeared, glaring at the detective.


“He’s fine. He pulled out his IV, trying to get up out of bed, we needed to sedate him and give him something for the pain, but he’s fine. His road to recovery is going to take some time, we just can’t have him getting all worked up like that…you do understand, don’t you? I don’t want to have to have you banned from visiting him, especially since he asked for you personally.”


“Yes sir, I’m sorry. Can I just sit with him for awhile?” Hutch pled.


The doctor and orderly exchanged glances. “Sure, but keep in mind, he’s gonna be out for quite awhile. He won’t be able to talk with you until later.” Doctor Taylor explained.


“That’s fine, he doesn’t need to talk, I do.” Hutch said as he walked past the doctor, through the door, to his bedside, and pulled up the plastic chair, moving it from by the window, over to the left side of Starsky’s bed.


He turned it around, straddling it as he rested his arms on the back of it. Looking back at the doctor and nurse he said, “You can go now, I’ll call you if he wakes up.”


They both looked at each other as the nurse shook her head and left the room, following the orderly. Doctor Taylor looked back at Hutch, “Remember what I said, Detective. We need to make sure he stays calm, one way or the other.” He said looking over the rim of his black framed glasses. He quickly turned on his heels and left, allowing the door to slowly close behind him.


The room was still dimly lit causing a calming effect to blanket the space. The overhead light above Starsky’s bed was on. Hutch stared at his partner sleeping peacefully and smiled.


“I tried Starsk, I tried to leave…I tried not to care what happens to you…I didn’t even make it off this floor…I couldn’t do it…I can’t help it…” Hutch reached over taking Starsky’s heavy hand in his, squeezing it firmly. “See, like it or not, you are a part of me…protecting you comes second nature…I don’t think I can ever stop doing that, as much as I want to.” The blond rested his heavy head on his forearm across the bed. “I think that is why it is killing me thinking about what I did to you…What I let someone else do to you…something I could have tried to stop…and I’m mad…mad as hell…I’m angry at you for making me do this…” A tear broke free and rolled down his cheek. “Why’d you do this to me…? I don’t think I’m ever gonna get over this Buddy, an’ it scares the shit outta me!”


Hutch rose from the chair, released Starsky’s hand and paced the room, “You know, I go to sleep at night with the help of Doctor Sigmund Freud’s sleeping aides, and I still wake up shaking, sweating seeing it all over again in my mind. It follows me everywhere, awake, asleep, it doesn’t matter. Sometimes, in my dreams…I actually see myself beating the crap out of you…the other night I woke up after that dream, an’ I had actually thrown up in my sleep…thrown up, can you believe that? The dreams…the dreams Starsk, they’re so real…” Tears began to flow freely down his face. “How the hell am I supposed to help anyone? I’m a cop damn it! Look at me! Do you really want me watching your back?” He pulled the pill bottle out of his jacket and shook them at the sleeping brunet, “I can’t make it half a day without popping a few of these beauties…How the hell am I gonna ever make it, make it back on the streets? What’s gonna happen to me the next time you need me? Or the next time someone else needs me?”


He sat down in the yellow vinyl padded chair on the far wall of the room, resting his head on the back, staring up at the ceiling. “Jesus Starsk…I’m fucked up, all because of what I let them do to you. What I did to you! How can I fix this?” Hutch said softly.


“You’re gonna let me help you…” Starsky’s quiet voice spoke in a mere hiss.


Chapter Eleven


Starsky had remained in the hospital for nearly a month. Big Tony and his gang had pretty much dropped off the face of the earth. No one had spotted or seen him in weeks. Word on the streets was that the police were looking for, and had actually placed, a reward for information leading to the arrest of the notorious man. Unfortunately, nothing had turned up.


Hutch’s recovery was moving along slowly, much slower than Starsky’s. Physically, the brunet was healing faster than the blond was mentally. But they were both healing, together, with each others help. Hutch’s therapist had even gone as far as to hold some of his sessions in the hospital room with Starsky. They seemed to feed off of each other’s strengths as well as weaknesses. Hutch was just beginning to believe that what had happened to Starsky on that fateful day wasn’t his fault, at least not entirely. And Starsky never blamed him, nor held him responsible in any way. Hutch just needed to come to terms with the fact that this was entirely Big Tony’s doing.


Hutch drove Starsky home, to his place. He helped him get upstairs and settled in his own comfortable bed. He made sure his partner had fresh water and juice on his nightstand. It felt good to be helping him, helping him heal.


“You gonna be okay for an hour or so?” Hutch asked as he stood at the foot of his partner’s bed.


“Sure I will. What’s up, you got a hot date or somethin’?” Starsky joked as he grabbed his right arm that was still in a sling to keep him from over using it, and pulled it across him.


“Yeah, that’s it, a hot date with the pharmacist, getting your prescriptions filled.” Hutch smiled as he headed for the door. He looked back at Starsky, “I’ll be back as soon as I can, ‘kay?”


“Don’t worry, I’ll be here, ain’t goin’ nowhere.” Starsky winked as he laid his head back and closed his eyes. He still got very tired, very quickly. The doctor’s expected it to take a while for him to gain his strength back. The brunet hated having to rely on someone else to take care of him. He was very independent, and despised having to give that up, even temporarily.


Hutch left and headed straight for the drug store, wanting to get back as soon as possible. One of the things that Hutch was trying to deal with, was being able to leave Starsky’s side without feeling like something was going to happen to him, like he would be hurt if he was out of Hutch’s sight.


Hutch jumped behind the wheel of his LTD and headed for the drug store down the street. Starsky was still taking some milder pain medications and an occasional sleeping pill when necessary. When he got there, he gave the prescriptions to the pharmacist and was informed that it would take about an hour to get them filled. He thought about going back to Starsky’s place and waiting there, then coming back to pick them up. Making two trips didn’t appeal to him, so he decided to go to the grocery store next door, and do some shopping. They were going to need to eat, and by the looks of Starsky’s empty fridge, it would take him at least and hour to shop for all the groceries they would need. He also picked up a first aide kit and other items to assist him in tending to his injured partner.




Starsky tossed and turned as the returning nightmare continued to haunt him. He saw Tony standing before him, the cat o’ nine tails in his hand as he paced back and forth in front on the brunet. Instead of being hung by his wrists, in his nightmare, the brunet was literally crucified on a cross as Tony spoke about God and Faith. Speaking like a Priest giving a Sunday sermon. Occasionally the evil man would turn, bringing the whip across Starsky’s stomach, causing him to arch his back. In his dream, he never really felt the pain, but the agony was real. He couldn’t explain it, he just knew how real it seemed, and how unreal it felt. He tossed his head from side to side as he called out for Hutch, frantically at first, then quieting to a mere whisper as his breathing increased.


His eyes opened wide as he shot up in bed, “Hutch!” He found himself screaming out, panting heavily. The sweat was pouring of his face. His shirt was drenched with perspiration. He shook his head gently trying to free himself from the images that haunted his sleep.


He felt like a child, afraid of sleeping, afraid of being awake, alone. He looked around the room. Slowly he lay across the bed and picked up his phone, dialing before even putting the receiver up to his ear. A woman’s voice responded on the other end.




Starsky froze, unable to speak.


“Hello? Who is this?”


“Mom, it’s me…” He said as he took a deep breath.


“Davey? What’s wrong”


“Nothin’. Can’t a boy call his Mother without her thinkin’ something is wrong?” He rolled his eyes staring at the ceiling of his room.


“I can hear it in your voice, what’s the matter? You had another dream, didn’t you?” She said, more as a matter of fact than a question.


“They won’t go away, they feel so real.” He said, looking for her words to comfort him.


He placed his head back on his pillow as he rested his forearm across his forehead.


“Son, these dreams will pass in time, I remember when your father died, I had dreams for months…they became less frequent…until finally they almost stopped completely.”


“Almost?” Starsky had to ask.


“I still get them every once in a while. Listen, I’m comin’ out next week, you think you’ll be okay until then? If not, I’ll come out sooner.” She offered.


“Nah, I’m fine. I’ll see you next week…and Ma’…I love you, thanks for everything.” He said as he blew her a kiss into the mouthpiece on the phone and then hung it up.


Starsky flung back the corner of his comforter as he swung his legs around and sat up in bed. He sighed heavily as an uneasy feeling washed over him. Supporting his weight with both his hands, he slowly stood up, pushing himself off the bed.


He headed for his living room, planning on going to the kitchen to get a glass of Ovaltine, something to coat his stomach and make the sick feeling subside.


Just as he was about half way to the kitchen he stop, dead in his tracks. He looked up to see both Big Tony, and Valdez sitting calmly at his dining room table each enjoying a beer, several of them, by the looks of the empties littering the table.


Tony stood up, his beer in his right hand, as he turned and faced the shocked detective. “So how’s Mom doing?” He asked as he watched the color drain from the brunet’s face.


Starsky backed up slowly, a half a step at a time. He felt his knees buckle as he struggled to stay upright.


“What the hell…?” Starsky stammered.


Tony grabbed a photo in a frame, off the table as he walked towards the shocked man. “This your old man, David?” He asked as he took a swig from his beer. Starsky saw the light glimmering off the rings on Tony’s pinky. “You know, you look a lot like him…”


Starsky stopped moving, unable to back up any further, frozen in his present position, as Tony approached him, smiling…




Hutch walked back to his car carrying a bag of groceries in one hand and a white bag holding Starsky’s prescriptions in the other. He opened the car door as he bent over placing the larger brown bag in the middle of the front seat. The car radio beeped as it summoned the detective.


‘Zebra Three, this is dispatch, come in Zebra Three…’


Hutch reached for the radio, and brought the hand piece to his mouth. “This is Zebra Three, go ahead.”


‘Hutch, we have a personal call requesting to be patched through, from Mrs. Starsky.’


“Patch it through Mildred.” Hutch insisted as he furrowed his brow, wondering why she would be calling him, requesting a patch through. This was definitely not like her, his heart skipped a beat. “Mrs. Starsky, this is Ken.”


‘I’m so sorry to bother you Ken.’ She started.


“It’s no bother, what can I do for you?” He insisted.


‘I just got a call from Davey.”


“Is something wrong?” Hutch asked, his heart rate increasing.


‘Not that he was willing to say, but I just have a feeling…a mother’s instinct if you will. Something’s wrong with him Ken, will you go check on him for me?’


“I just left him, but I am on my way back there now. I should be there in about 10 minutes. I’ll call you from there.” Hutch assured her.


‘Thanks Ken…I’m sorry to be such a worry wart, but you know, until I get out there and see him for myself, I am just not gonna feel right about this.’


“I know, it’s okay, I’m on my way.”


Hutch returned the mic to the hook on the dash as he started his car. He pulled out of the parking lot and headed back towards Starsky’s apartment. Something was gnawing at him, something he couldn’t quite place. He felt the panic inside him starting to grow. Reaching in his pocket he pulled out his own prescription bottle. Stopping at a traffic light, his thumb ran across the front of the small white container. He had taken so many of these pills since coming off of that damn boat, he had lost count. Sighing he shoved the bottle roughly back into his pocket, refusing to give into the need for artificial calmness.


He picked up his radio again, “Dispatch, this is Zebra Three, patch me through to Detective Starsky’s home number.”


‘10-4 Zebra-Three.’


Hutch listened as he heard the pulse tone of the numbers being dialed. There was a brief pause before the ringing of the phone claimed the radio airwave…










With each passing ring, Hutch felt his chest tighten and his stomach jump higher in his throat…






‘Zebra Three, Detective Starsky isn’t answering.’ Mildred painfully stated the obvious. ‘Is everything okay, Hutch?’


“Yeah…I hope so…” Hutch threw down the mic and hit the gas as his car sped towards his partners place.


He didn’t immediately panic, he knew that if Starsky was in the bathroom there was no way he could get to the phone in time to answer, not with how slow he was moving. Also, if his partner was sleeping soundly, there was a chance that he didn’t even acknowledge the fact the telephone was ringing off the hook. Both of these were perfectly reasonable explanations for why Starsky didn’t answer, Hutch thought as he tried to keep himself from thinking the worst. He again contemplated the bottle of pills that were tucked deeply in his jacket pocket, then pushing the idea out of his mind.




Starsky’s mind was scrambling for solutions. He looked over at the front door, knowing that he would never make it there before they did. His eyes shifted nervously behind him, looking to his bedroom. There was a slight chance that he could make it there, close the door and lock it before he or Valdez reached him, but that was very slight, in his current condition. He had taken the sling off his arm, but still kept it bent and close to his stomach. It hurt to move it, and he knew he couldn’t fight them fist to fist. Not if he wanted to win. He swallowed hard as he looked at the lamp to his left, thinking about hurdling at the evil man, then running towards his room, that could by him an extra second or two.


“I wouldn’t do that if I were you!” Tony stated, reading his mind.


Starsky looked back up at the evil man, the terror washing over him as his face paled. Valdez rose from his seat, grabbed the chair and headed towards the curly haired brunet, a sinister laugh escaping from both of his captors.


“You had better sit down, before you fall down, Detective.” Valdez directed the terrified man before him, offering him the chair. “Did you miss us?” He asked.


Starsky didn’t remember the man himself, but he found something distinctly familiar in his voice. The chair was placed behind him as he fell back onto it. Valdez walked behind him as he pulled out a piece of nylon rope from his jacket. Reaching around the front of him, Valdez roughly grabbed Starsky’s right forearm, bending it back around the chair. Starsky hissed in pain when his right shoulder was stretched beyond its range and his left arm was brought back to join his right, the rope being tied and wrapped securely around both wrists. His mind traveled back to the day on the boat, the original time they had trussed him up. He opened his mouth to speak, but could form no words, a slight gasp escaped as he again swallowed hard.


“To say that I am shocked to see you still alive would be an understatement Detective. I truly thought I had seen the last of you, and your partner!” Big Tony reached in his back pocket and pulled out a folded newspaper as he threw it onto Starsky’s lap. “Imagine my surprise to read about your miraculous recovery.” Starsky looked down at the paper and saw a picture of he and Hutch leaving the hospital, staring back at him.


Under the photo in large, bold letters, it read:


Local Detective Heads Home After Long Hospital Stay


Complete with a full page story of Hutch and his ordeal and the announcement of his homecoming.


“What’s the matter David? You were so talkative, so cocky back on the boat. Cat’s got you tongue?” Tony taunted the man.


Starsky looked back up at him and weakly asked, “What do you want from me?”


Tony pulled back his hand and launched it forward again, slapping Starsky sharply across the left cheek, snapping his head to the side.


“I want you to die!” He answered as he lifted the revolver in his right hand and pointed it at Starsky’s head.


The front door opened and Hutch entered the room. “What the hell is going on here?” Hutch fumed as he reached for his gun only to be stopped by Valdez.


Chapter Twelve


Hutch slowly brought both of his hands up into the air in front of him as he studied his partners’ face. He could see the fear and terror in Starsky’s eyes as they looked at each other, blue locked on blue. Valdez reached in and retrieved Hutch’s Magnum from its holster as he took it and placed it in his own waistband.


“You okay?” Hutch asked in a surprisingly calm voice.


Starsky shrugged, Tony’s gun still pointed at his temple as the evil man stood at his side.


“It s’okay, Starsk. Just try and relax. I’m not goin’ anywhere this time.” Hutch assured his partner. Hutch felt his voice crack once, but only once, as he struggled to remain in control of his own fears.


“Forgive me for not jumpin’ for joy,” Starsky quipped.


Tony reached over and grabbed the brunet’s hair, snapping his head back as Starsky winced in pain, clenching his teeth and swallowing hard.


“Glad to see you could join us, I would hate for you to have missed all the fun.” Tony sneered as he looked at Hutch. “See, I am the type that finishes what he starts.” Tony said as he released Starsky’s hair, tossing his head forward.


Hutch’s eyes widened as Tony began to undo his belt, pulling the leather through the metal buckle and pulling it from his belt loops and off of his waist. The leather strap hung in front of Starsky as Tony cracked it across the air making it snap wickedly.


Starsky’s eyes welled with tears up as he straightened in the chair. He was frightened, his mind wandering back to a month ago on that God forsaken boat.


Valdez laughed watching Starsky’s reaction, “You remember that sound, dontcha? Did you miss it? Do you remember what it felt like?” He taunted.


“Don’t do this to him.” Hutch spoke for his partner who seemed speechless.


“What?” Tony questioned. “And waste the whole purpose of my trip? To finish what I started…”


Hutch watched Starsky’s demeanor change, his body stiffened, his face stayed focused straight ahead, never moving. He found a spot on the wall to concentrate on, and he didn’t waiver from that spot. It broke Hutch’s heart to watch his partner prepare himself to be tortured all over again.


“If you think you’re so tough Tony, why don’t you untie him an’ see how tough you are then?” Hutch said as Valdez was roughly shoving Hutch towards the kitchen. “You’re Nothing!” Hutch spat as he slammed up against the kitchen counter.


Tony used both of his hands and ripped open Starsky’s pajama shirt, sending the buttons flying. Starsky closed his eyes slowly as Tony examined his chest.


“Gotta hand it to them docs, they did a fine job puttin’ you back together…too bad it was a waste of time!” He fumed as he raised the belt high in the air.


“I wouldn’t do that if I were you!” Hutch shot quickly, “Not if you know what’s good for you!”


Hutch stared intently at the sick man as Tony stopped in mid swing, Hutch grabbing his attention. Tony turned and started walking towards the blond.


“You lay one hand on him, and so help me God, there won’t be a shrink left in Bay City that will stop me from killing you!” Hutch threatened, pursing his lips together as he spewed at Tony. “I mean it, let him go Tony. I’ve got half of BCPD on their way here now. It’s over.” Hutch coaxed the deranged man.


“Now why would you have done that, you had no idea we were here.” Tony chuckled at the fact that Hutch was trying to trick him with such a stupid, moronic attempt.


“That’s where you are wrong, see I got a call from Mrs. Starsky.” Hutch locked eyes once again with his brunet partner. “She said that she had just spoken to her son here, and something seemed to be wrong. She didn’t know what it was, I think she called it mother’s intuition, or something like that.”


“You’re making this up.” Valdez spewed.


“Am I? See I learned a long time ago, never to mess with a gut feeling, especially a mother’s gut feeling.” Hutch added, still looking at Starsky.


The curly headed Detective tried hard to read his partner’s face, he couldn’t tell if Hutch really was making this up, or if he actually had back up on the way.


“So I immediately called here and got no answer, then I contacted our Captain, told him to have back up meet me here, just in case. See, I too had a gut feeling. Call it ‘partner’s intuition’.”


Valdez began to fidget nervously as his eyes darted to Tony and then back to the blond detective. Tony smiled at Hutch, calling his bluff, he hoped. “So tell me Hutchinson, where is this so called ‘back-up’? I have a hard time believing that you would enter this apartment, alone, if you truly believed that your partner here was in trouble.” Tony responded.


Valdez felt a little bit stronger, smiling in agreement.


“Well see, I think there is one thing you didn’t count on with us, you may have torn him apart physically, nearly destroyed me mentally, but the one thing you completely failed at was to rip us apart from each other!” Hutch said, laying a heavy emphasis on the last word as he nodded at Starsky in silent communication. “Now!” He shouted.


Starsky read him perfectly as he leaned forward, chair and all, and threw himself into Tony’s back, knocking him off balance and onto the floor. Valdez was shocked as Hutch reached out with a right hook across the kidnapper’s jaw, sending him hurdling to the ground in a heavy lump.


Starsky was lying on the ground, still tied to the chair as Tony tried to regain his momentum, bringing his gun in front of him and pointing it at the brunet. Starsky closed his eyes as he heard the loud bang of gunfire and he waited for the familiar burn, indicating he’d been hit. It never came.


He opened his right eye first, afraid of what he would see, but was pleasantly surprised to see Hutch, on his stomach, a smoking gun wrapped tightly in both hands as it was pointed at the evil leader. Starsky found the courage to open both eyes, looking over at ‘Big Tony’ Rogers, as the man writhed in pain, cursing the blond detective with every word in his pathetic vocabulary. Starsky could see the blood pooling around Tony’s back as the villain laid on his back and stared at the ceiling.


He heard the man moan slightly as Tony struggled to move. Starsky looked over at Hutch as the blond was handcuffing and securing Valdez, who was still unconscious.


“Help me…” Tony begged as Hutch looked to Starsky.


“You okay, Buddy?” Hutch asked as he rushed to his partner’s side.


“I am now, thanks to you.” Starsky acknowledged Hutch’s bravery with a crooked smile as the blond detective started to untie his partner.


“I…I…I need help.” Tony whined.


“Yeah? Well, I guess you’ll just have to wait your turn.” Hutch answered as he finished untying Starsky and checked him over to make sure there were no new wounds that needed his immediate attention.


“One question…” Starsky said as he sat up slowly.


“What’s that?” Hutch helped prop him up against the couch.


“Where’d you get the other gun?”


“The glove box of my car, I tucked it in my pant leg before coming up here, I thought we might need help.” Hutch patted him on the shoulder, then moved towards Tony.


“Did you really call for backup?” Starsky asked as his head rested against the back of his sofa, sighing heavily.


“What do you think?” Hutch smiled as he knelt next to Tony.


“I…I…I can’t move my legs…” Tony said in a weak, frightened voice.


Hutch looked at his partner, shook his head, and then rose off the ground to call for an ambulance.


Once Hutch had called for an ambulance and called Dobey to inform him of the situation, he returned to Big Tony’s side. Tony’s hand was flailing about, looking for something to hold.


“Oh God, help me, I can’t feel my legs…” He said in a purely panicked voice.


Hutch reached out and took Tony’s hand squeezing firmly…


“Really? You don’t say…” He said seemingly sympathetic. “Just try and stay still.”


He then turned Tony’s hand over in his, grasping the two rings that were on his pinky, his twisted and pulled roughly until they were freed from his pudgy finger.


“I believe these,” he said holding them up so Tony could see what he was losing, “belong to my friend over there.” He said flipping his head towards Starsky.


Hutch dropped Tony’s hand, letting it slap hard against the ground, as he crawled over to Starsky, who was still breathing heavily. He held out his fist, palm up, and offered it to Starsky. “I think I have something that belongs to you.” He said as he opened his hand, showing both rings, one lying on top of the other.


Starsky smiled, a tear forming in his eye, as he reached for them, reclaiming them and so much more. “They belong to us…” Starsky said as he looked into his partner’s eyes. “They belong to us.” He repeated as Hutch smiled, snorting a laugh, reaching out and grabbing Starsky behind the neck, pulling him forward so their foreheads touched.


“To both of us.” He agreed.


Starsky replaced his father’s ring to his pinky as he held the one his father had given him out to Hutch. “I want you to have this one.” Starsky said.


“I couldn’t Starsk, your Dad gave that to you when you were just a kid.”


“I know that, and I want you to have it…take it Hutch.” He insisted as he locked eyes with the blond. “For me…for us…”


Hutch’s eyes filled with moisture as he reached out and took the silver band from his friend. It signified a unity between them, a bond that no one would ever break, no matter how hard they tried. They were partners, friends, family. Hutch felt the healing start, the pain began to ease. He felt strong again, for the first time in a month, he felt like he could help.


“Now don’t you go getting any ideas,” Starsky joked. “You still have to sleep on the couch.” They both broke out into a fit of laughter realizing what this would look like to an outsider.


Hutch placed the ring on his pinky as he then raised his hand to his partners shoulder, squeezing it in support.


“We’re gonna be okay, Buddy…” He almost choked on his words. “You and me, Me and Thee…we’re gonna make it.” He said as their foreheads touched again and they sighed in relief, feeling that they were finally one their way.




After taking Starsky back to the hospital for quick examination, just to make sure that nothing had been pulled or ripped out, and giving their statements to the police, they returned to Hutch’s apartment. Dobey had informed Hutch that Big Tony had come out of surgery, he was alive, however he would remain paralyzed due to the injury to his spinal cord. The blond felt a brief moment of sadness as he was given the news, but then felt content; he felt it was a suitable punishment for the heinous crime the man had been accused of. He couldn’t help but feel a little vindicated, even though he felt guilty for that emotion.


Once the mob leader recovered enough, he would surely stand trial for the crimes he had committed against them. Starsky felt the same way, he held a lot of anger for what Big Tony had put him and his partner through, he couldn’t find the strength in his heart to let his pain go. They would both need some help with this one.


Chapter Thirteen


The next couple of months proved to be the hardest months in these two detectives’ lives. Starsky had to once again, heal and prove himself physically, which he had done so many times before, he was just waiting for the one time his body protested adamantly and just stopped. Stopped healing, stopped walking, stopped functioning. One of these days his body would definitely turn against him if he continued to abuse it the way he had been. He was just grateful that this wasn’t the time, at least not yet. He recovered from Gunther’s bullets, and now he found the recovery from these most recent wounds taking a lot more time than normal to heal. In its own way, his body was protesting, it was slowing down, fighting the healing process that he had come to know so well. He’d be patient with his body, give it the time it needed, and nurture it slowly back from its ravaged condition. He was just glad that it was coming back, no matter how slowly.


Hutch’s recovery was another story; he had spent weeks talking with the department psychologists, trying to rid himself of the guilt he felt as he watched his partner try to recover. This time from wounds, he felt he had inflicted, or at least had a part in. He had been placed on anti-depressant medications and anti-anxiety drugs to help him cope with his everyday demons. Sometimes they would visit him during the light of day, other times in the dark shadows of night. He never knew when they would attempt to sneak back into his mind, just that they would try again. He was in counseling for months, sometimes one on one, and sometimes Starsky would go with him, depending on the particular evil they were fighting at that particular moment. The medication he took frequently at first, but lately had been tapering off; he wasn’t able to rid himself completely of them; not yet. In his dreams he would see his partner crucified, hanging on the mast, only thing was, in his dreams, many times, he never survived. Coming to terms with the horrors that he witnessed, that were lodged in the dark recesses of his mind, and would usually return to him at the most inopportune moments, was one of the things he had the hardest time recuperating from. Sometimes he would just go over to Starsky’s and sit and stare at him for hours, watching the brunet do everyday simple tasks, letting his mind see, and his soul know that his friend was still alive.


Starsky knew that in this situation, he truly was the one that had gotten off easy. His body would heal eventually; God had graced him with the blessing of almost total amnesia of the events that happened on that boat. He remembered the first couple of strikes that Tony had inflicted on him, but from then on, nothing…at one point there was a doubt that Hutch’s mind ever would recover sufficiently to re-qualify as a police detective. He was making progress though and as long as they were moving forward, he had hope, they had hope.


They both struggled mercilessly with their feelings of hatred and anger towards Big Tony and his men. Every time they watched the other one have a tough day physically or mentally, they felt the anger start to bubble and rise with in them until it became a full boar boiling emotion. If Tony wasn’t safely behind bars, there was a good chance he never would have made it to trial. Not with the anger and pure, unadulterated hatred those two men felt towards him. Strange thing was, neither of them was as angry with what had happened to them themselves, but what had happened to the other.


After Hutch had made sufficient progress in therapy, his Doctor had recommended visiting the object of his anger, fear, nightmares. As for Tony Rogers, he remained as defiant and self righteous as ever, even so, part of Hutch’s recovery was to go face the man responsible for causing the damage to himself as well as his partner. His doctor recommended this course of action to hopefully go and place blame where it deserved to be placed, and then to forgive himself and come to terms with the fact that he didn’t inflict the wounds on his partner, anymore than Starsky had inflicted them on himself. As was expected, Starsky was there, right by his partner’s side for the visitation.


The prison itself was cold and gray. The concrete floors, gray walls and metal bars all blending together in a huge dismal mass. The ambiance sure didn’t do much for a persons’ mood, but Starsky and Hutch were both sure it wasn’t supposed to. People here were supposed to regret their actions, and reflect on their own remorse and guilt. The guard led them into one large conference room. They had requested a meeting with Big Tony Rogers, and their request was granted. Hutch shoved his hand inside his pocket, feeling for the pill bottle of anti-anxiety drugs, just to make sure they were near. He fought the urge to take a couple as he left the bottle in his pocket and withdrew his hand. He felt like a child learning to ride a bike, as long as the training wheels were there, they’d do fine, once you removed them, you’d fall down. He shook his head as he pushed memories that were trying to flood their way back into his mind, away.


Tony was almost to the conference room when Hutch began to lose it.


“I…I…can’t…” Hutch spat as he lunged for the door, jerking it open and rushed down the hallway and out of the prison. Starsky was right on his heels.


Tony was within eyesight as he watched the blond run, his puppy dog of a partner, making chase. Even from the confines of his wheelchair, it gave him reason to smile satisfactorily. He felt like he had accomplished at least half of his goal. The guard turned him around sharply, escorting him back to his cell.


By the time they got to the Torino, Hutch was nearly out of breath, taking the bottle of pills, dumping three into the palm of his shaking hand, popping them into his mouth and swallowing them dry. He replaced the cap and put the bottle back in his jacket pocket, keeping his hand over it, his thumb stroking the smooth surface, waiting for its calming effect to take place.


“Let’s get you outta here.” Starsky said quickly as they both climbed into the car and pulled away from the ominous prison, its cold fences lined with barbed wire sending a chill up Hutch’s spine as he closed his eyes and tried to allow himself to be lulled by the gentle motion and humming of the car.




Hutch was jerked awake suddenly by the sound of Starsky’s door closing. He blinked rapidly trying to adjust to his surroundings; he recognized the distinct sounds of seagulls cawing and the salt air hit him in the face with a sudden swiftness. His eyes focused slowly on Starsky’s stretching form in front of the car, arms reaching for the sky as he arched his back, working out the kinks, once he brought his arms down in front of him, the brunet cupped his right shoulder with his left hand and moved his arm in circular motions. Hutch knew he was stiff and sore, from the drive and his still healing injuries. The blond opened the passenger door and stepped out of the car slowly, joining his partner.


“Where are we?” Hutch asked, his throat felt dry and in desperate need of cool fluids his eyes blinked involuntarily trying to shield themselves from the bright sunlight. He looked out over a cliff to the ocean ahead of him, the white foaming waves crashing forcefully against the craggy rocks below.


Malibu Shores.” Starsky replied as his tired body drank in the gorgeous view before him. “It’s something else, ain’t it?”


“What are we doing here?” Hutch asked as he nodded in agreement.


“Well, once you feel asleep, I didn’t have the heart to wake you, and I knew if I stopped the car, you’d wake up, so I just kept driving.” He waved his hand out in front of him, “This, my friend, is where we wound up.” He took in a deep breath, slapping his chest as it expanded.


Hutch sat against the hood of the car, “Oh, I see…”


“Look…” Something in the sound of Starsky’s voice gave Hutch comfort; he looked up, locking eyes with his partner as the brunet continued, “we need to get you past this, I need to know how I can help.”


Hutch looked away quickly, “I wish I knew…every time I think about…I mean…when I…” Hutch paused as Starsky reached out and placed his hand on the blonde’s shoulder, squeezing it supportively. “…you have no idea…what goes through my mind.” He swallowed hard, choking on his own emotions.


“Tell me…” Starsky prompted Hutch to talk about it.


“I can’t…I don’t want to…” Hutch looked back at his friend, “you have no idea how lucky you are that you don’t remember it.”


“Is that what you want, for me to remember, so I would know what you went through?” Starsky asked sharply.


“Oh God, no…I wouldn’t want that. Jeez Starsk…” He drug his hand down the entire length of his weary face. “It was horrible…I don’t ever want you to remember it.”


Hutch’s sky blues eyes pled with Starsky’s soul, he wanted, needed to get past this, he just wasn’t sure how. “I need help…”


“I know…” Starsky pulled his friend into a tight embrace, slapping him on the back hard, “I know, Buddy…”




Several more weeks went by before Hutch again felt strong enough to attempt to face Big Tony, to fight his inner demons, to face his fears. Starsky and Hutch pulled up, once again in front of the prison as the brunet instantly sensed the tension in his partner increase, Hutch’s right hand instantly digging into his jacket, feeling for his safety net, the pills.


Starsky killed the engine, giving the motor one final roar, as he looked over at Hutch, “You okay?”


Hutch sighed heavily, closing his eyes tightly, trying to clear his mind. He nodded. “I just need a minute.” He answered as he slowed his breathing; bring it to a methodical pace, using some of the meditation techniques that his doctor had taught to use in this situation.


“Take all the time you need…” Starsky said soothingly.


It took the blond about five minutes to calm himself enough to enter the cold building. After signing in at the front desk, showing their badges and checking their weapons in with the clerk, they were escorted back to the same, small conference room.


Hutch paced nervously as they waited for Tony to be brought to them…


“Breathe, Blondie, breathe…” Starsky coaxed his friend as he saw his anxiety level rising to a dangerous level. “You can do this, you’re stronger than this Hutch, just try would ya?”


Hutch whipped around taking his tension out on his partner, “What in the hell do you think I’m trying to do here, now just get off my back would ya?” Hutch snapped, immediately regretting his words.


Starsky backed off immediately knowing that Hutch needed his space, he needed to conquer this his own way; the brunet wasn’t going to be able to do it for him.


“Look, I’m sorry…” Hutch said, his shoulders dropping in disappointment in himself. “But I am trying…”


“I know you are…I know you are.” Starsky said softly as he approached his partner and reached out grabbing his forearm. “Just hang in there, okay? We need to get you through this…”


“I know, but I don’t think I can do this.” Hutch’s pained eyes searched the brunet’s.


“Look, Tony Rogers’ trial starts in less than a week, we’ve put this off as long as we can, if you can’t face him here, now, how in the hell do you expect to face him in the court room?” Starsky furrowed his brow at the blond trying desperately to get his message across, firmly yet compassionately. “His lawyer is going to tear your testimony apart, and if you can’t hold it together, then there is a good chance he’s gonna walk! Is that what you want?”


“You know that’s not what I want, I can’t let him get away with what he did to you…”


“To us!” Starsky cut him off. “Then dammit, you have to do this, you don’t have a choice anymore, there’ll be no running this time, you hear me?” Starsky spat as Hutch resigned himself to the fact that this was going to happen, one way or the other.


“Just don’t go anywhere, ‘kay?” His eyes showed a sense of pleading and fear at the same time.


“I’m here, Buddy, I’m here.” Starsky responded, placing his hand on the blonds’ shoulder, squeezing it.


They both swung around as they heard the door slowly creak open and Big Tony was wheeled into the small confines of the room.

Chapter Fourteen


Starsky heard a gasp escape his partner, unexpectedly as he felt Hutch’s whole body tense up. “Easy, Blintz.” Starsky whispered soothingly to Hutch.


He heard Hutch inhale a deep breath, letting it exhale slowly as Tony spewed arrogantly.


“Well look who we have here. To what do I owe this honor? You two miss me?” He said repulsively as he looked up from the confines of his wheelchair.


Hutch felt the bile in his throat rise to a nauseating level. He swallowed hard, trying to push it back down.


“Yeah, that’s it, we missed you alright.” Starsky spoke first in a strong, steady voice. “Both me and my partner here wanted to look into the face of the man responsible for inflicting both of us with pain and misery.” Starsky looked at Hutch as the two guards backed out of the room. “Ain’t that right Hutch?”


“Y…y…yeah, that’s right.” He responded, his voice trembling slightly.


“See, we now realize that everything that we have been through, all the suffering we’ve endured over the last few months, was because of you…and now…” Starsky’s thought was cut off by Hutch’s voice.


“Now, I know that I didn’t hurt my partner, you did.” The blond moved closer to the man in the wheelchair, bending slightly to look in his eyes, as Starsky’s gaze followed him. “You and your men, tore him apart…not because of what I did or didn’t do, but because you animals had something to prove. Something that had nothing to do with me,” Hutch’s lips pursed together tighter. “And now, I am here to let you know that you lost, you failed to destroy either of us. We survived your torture, and are even stronger because of it.”


Tony looked up at the angry blond, “You sure about that Hutchinson? You sure you’re stronger now than you were?” He spewed viciously. “ ‘Cause if you ask me, I don’t think you’re strong at all…See, I can still see the fear in your eyes, the doubt in your mind…every time you get a call, you’re gonna wonder if either one of you is coming back from that call…you may have put me in this chair, but you haven’t put me in the ground, and mark my words…one of these days, I’ll be back to finish what I have started, what was planned for both of you, only next time, I won’t show any mercy like I did this time.” He smiled.


Hutch’s body shook as he fought the urge to grab the evil man by his throat and choke the life right out of him, he could see himself look into the man’s eyes as his life escaped him. He raised his hands in front of Tony only to be stopped by a reassuring grip on his right forearm. He looked up into Starsky’s eyes.


“That’s not why we came here, ‘member?” Starsky dipped his head slightly at his friend. “Do what you gotta do, an’ let’s get the hell outta here, ‘kay?”


Hutch closed his eyes briefly, sighing heavily; he opened them again slowly as he looked at Tony with a new outlook, with pity instead of hatred. “I know you will probably try again, but I just want you to know, that I will be ready for you this time, if you ever do get out of prison, and I am not yet in a nursing home, mark my words, I’ll be ready…” Hutch said as he stood back up straight, his voice became eerily calm and soothing, “and just so you know, I don’t hate you, I’m letting go of that feeling here and now, what I feel now for you, is pity. You’re a sorry excuse for a human being Mr. Rogers, and so help me God, I forgive you for everything you have done…so help me God!” Hutch spat as Starsky headed towards the locked door of the room to call the guards to escort the prisoner back to his cell.


“Guards!” Starsky yelled through the thick door as he heard the keys jingling on the other side.


Tony’s face flushed in anger as he fought back his own emotions, “Just what in the hell makes you think you’re so holier than thou? That I need or want your pity or your forgiveness? Huh? What the fuck makes you any better than I am?” Tony shouted at the blond as the guards entered the room.


“Get him outta here!” Starsky ordered as one of the men started pulling his wheelchair out of the small conference room, and the brunet returned to his partner’s side, where he belonged.


Tony continued to yell as he was taken away, “I’ll be there Detective, in your dreams, your nightmares…you’ll never be rid of me…” He was almost out of Hutch’s sight, spewing his venom down the hallway, “you hear me? Never!!!”


Starsky looked at his partner as Hutch watched the man be wheeled all the way down the hallway, hearing the clanking of metal bars being secured behind the prisoner. He could still hear Tony yelling something, but couldn’t make out the words; he felt a hand on his chest, bringing him back to reality.


“You okay?” Starsky concerned voice filled the room.


“I am now.” Hutch stared out the door, unable to break his gaze. “…I am now…”


Starsky put his arm around Hutch’s shoulder and led him out of the small room and down the hall. Hutch reached in his pocket and retrieved the small bottle of pills, tossing them in a metal trash can as they passed by.


Starsky gave his partner a congratulatory slap on the back as they headed to Huggy’s for a celebratory drink. It was time for the duo to get on with the trial and persecution of Big Tony Rogers, and for them to get on with their lives…






The trial came sooner than either of them had expected. It had been six months since they were both forced to endure their own tortures at the hands of Big Tony. It was the day that both detectives feared and embraced at the same time. It had been a rough road for the two, but one they both survived.


As they prepared to head to the courthouse on that Monday morning, Starsky had gone to Hutch’s apartment to pick him up. The brunet knew that this was going to be extremely hard on his friend, harder on him than even Hutch himself wanted to admit. Starsky was determined to stay close to Hutch’s side; he would be a fixture in and out of the courtroom. He was almost thankful that his memory hadn’t returned, this way the prosecution had decided not to put the curly haired detective on the stand. He couldn’t testify to something he couldn’t remember and the doctors would be there to corroborate Hutch’s testimony as to Starsky’s injuries. It would be up to Hutch to convince the jury just how he received those wounds and the tall blond knew that his partner was counting on him to see this through and bring Big Tony to justice, once and for all.


Hutch had gotten past the feeling of being responsible for the horrors that his friend had gone through for those ten excruciating hours on the boat, but now he couldn’t help but feel the weight of the world on his shoulders once again, to see to it that the man that was responsible paid for his actions.


As they strolled down the long corridor of the courthouse, Hutch was relieved to see his Captain walking towards him, accompanied by District Attorney Dowtry. Right now, he needed the assurance that those two were there to offer.


“You ready for this Ken?” Dowtry asked as he placed a reassuring hand on the blonde’s shoulder.


“You tell me.” Hutch remarked with a certain doubt hidden in the tone of his voice.


“You’re gonna do fine, you’ve been over this a hundred times.” Starsky locked eyes with his partner knowing that a lot was riding on Hutch’s testimony today.


“I hope you’re right.” The blond said staring deeply into the brunet’s gaze, speaking volumes without saying anything. Don’t you dare go anywhere, I need you today Gordo, more than I’ve ever needed you before.


“Don’t worry, I’ll be in the front row…” Starsky answered causing Dobey to sigh, as he watched them communicate as only they could do.


“Let’s go on inside, shall we?” Dobey urged, opening the large swinging door, and holding it for the other three.


They all took their seats, DA Dowtry, at the table on the right hand side of the room, and the other three sitting behind the waist high barricade, in the benches reserved for spectators as they prepared for the trial to begin. Starsky felt a stab of guilt as he watched Hutch’s body stiffen under the stress and weight of what was being asked of him. Once again, Hutch felt like he would either win or lose this case for the prosecution and he would be responsible for the outcome of this case.


The opening statements were made yesterday, and today the testimony would begin. Both lawyers arguing for their sides in a valiant effort to persuade the jury in their favor, Dowtry had stuck to facts and information, stating that the evidence would clearly show beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Anthony Rogers, aka Big Tony, had kidnapped, tortured and attempted to kill Detective Starsky, while forcing his partner to watch, causing malicious mental distress to the blond man. The prosecution was asking for life in prison without parole as a justified punishment for the evil defendant. They were unable to seek the death penalty, because thankfully, both men survived, but just barely.


The defense attorney, in his opening statement, had alluded to the fact that both Detective Hutchinson, and Detective Starsky had been harassing the poor man to such a degree that he snapped and decided to confront the two on his own grounds, the boat out at sea, and that kidnapping and assault was never the intent. He had also made mention that due to Hutch’s psychological state over the past six months; his testimony should not even be considered by the jury. He also stated that when his client, Anthony Rogers had left the boat, both of the detectives were fine, and it was Tony Rogers himself that had notified the police as to their whereabouts. Lastly, he had also emphasized strongly that his client was now crippled for life because of Hutch’s insane fixation on making him pay for something he had never done, and that Hutch had intentionally shot his client with the sole purpose of maiming him for life, adding to the question of the blonde’s mental stability. The defense was going for the sympathy factor with the jury and was going to milk it for everything it was worth.


The door nearest the Judge’s bench opened and Starsky watched Hutch pale as two armed guards escorted Big Tony Rogers into the courtroom, flanking his wheelchair on either side. The brunet detective placed his hand on Hutch’s knee squeezing gently, to remind him that he was still here for him, by his side, today and always. Hutch covered Starsky’s hand with his.


Tony’s dark eyes locked with Hutch’s as he neared the defense table and maneuvered his chair, getting into position, smiling slightly at Hutch as he broke his gaze to turn and face the front of the courtroom. Hutch inhaled sharply as Starsky leaned over to whisper in his ear.


“Easy babe, remember why you’re here. Don’t let him get inside of you.” Starsky said reassuringly.


The bailiff approached the bench, announcing sharply to the packed courtroom.


“All rise, the Honorable Milford P. Davis presiding.”


A large black man wearing a thigh length black robe, and holding a certain aura of respect and authority, entered the room, climbing the couple stairs to his Judge’s bench. He took his seat in the high back, burgundy leather chair as he shuffled several papers on his desk in front of him and pushing his black rimmed glasses up to the bridge of his nose.


“Please be seated,” the bailiff continued as he handed the judge a file. “Your Honor, this is case number 2450348, the People versus Anthony Rogers.” He turned to face the spectators. “Court in now in session.”


Chapter Fifteen


The first couple of witnesses that were called to the stand for the prosecution were the medics on the boat that initially treated Starsky. They testified to his condition when they found him, and the immediate treatment he required, plus the state that Hutch was in. Once the prosecution rested, the defense attorney, Mr. Lockley, avoided cross examination that rehashed Starsky’s injuries, but he made sure to emphasize the condition Hutch was in, dazed and confused.


The doctor that treated the brunet detective at the hospital also testified for the prosecution, he spoke of the officer’s critical injuries and what kind of treatment and therapy was rendered. The defense attorney declined the opportunity of cross examination, knowing that it wouldn’t serve his purpose to remind they jury of the injuries Starsky had suffered.


Before long the lunch recess was called and the courtroom emptied, leaving Starsky, Hutch, Dobey and Mr. Dowtry. The prosecutor looked at the blond, “Okay Hutch, this is it; you’re up right after lunch, you ready?”


“He’ll be just fine.” Starsky spoke for his friend, watching the color drain from Hutch’s face. “What say I treat you to lunch, buddy?” The brunet offered as he slapped Hutch on the back.


“You offerin’ to pay for lunch? How can I pass that up?” Hutch answered, knowing that the main reason for lunch was so that the two of them could to spend some time together, alone, before the testimony began. Hutch was going to be forced to play back all the horrid details of that day’s events in his mind, it wasn’t going to be easy for him, it wasn’t something he wanted to do. He never wanted to go back there, not in a million years, but today he had to. Just one more time, but this time it wasn’t for therapy or because his doctor was insisting that he face it, this time it was for Starsky, to bring to justice the man responsible for nearly ruining both of their lives.


“Let’s get outta here.” Starsky said as he guided his partner out of the courtroom leaving Dobey with Mr. Dowtry to go over any loose aspects of the case the state had against Anthony Rogers.




The two detectives decided to grab a bite to eat at the courthouse cafeteria so they would be near by if needed. Sitting at the table of the busy lunch room, Starsky ate heartily as he shoveled bites of his burger and fries into his mouth, following each one with a sip of soda through the straw from his white Styrofoam cup. Hutch sat sullenly picking at his salad, not able to eat much of anything.


“Don’t worry, you’re gonna be fine.” Starsky said with a mouthful of food.


“And what if I’m not?” Hutch asked his partner. “What if I blow it, what if I can’t handle reliving this again? What then?”


“You’re not gonna haveta relive it, Buddy.” Starsky set down his food and concentrated on his partner’s plea for help. “All you have to do is retell it…think of it as a story…you’re just tellin’ a story…don’t let yourself go back there.”


“And what if I do?” Hutch’s blue eyes begged for assurance from the man he trusted most in this world. “What if I get lost, back there.”


“Then look for me, I’ll be there. I’ll help you come back.” Starsky reached across the table and grabbed Hutch’s hand firmly in his, squeezing tightly. Hutch literally felt the strength pass from Starsky to him in an instant, he drew on Starsky’s confidence and held tight, inhaling deeply. “You’re okay, Blintz, you hear me?”


Hutch smiled and broke his gaze with the brunet, feeling his eyes begin to tear up. “What would I do with out you?” He snorted as he started to eat his food, causing a smile to cross the curly haired detective’s face as well.




Back in the courtroom, the trial resumed.


“The Prosecution calls Detective Kenneth Hutchinson.” Mr. Dowtry announced as Hutch rose from the spectators.


He paused for a moment and looked down at Starsky who was sitting beside him. Starsky blinked slowly at the blond and tipped his head slightly, assuring his friend.


Hutch proceeded to the witness stand, pausing briefly to be sworn in before taking a seat.


“Please state your name and occupation for the court.” Dowtry urged the Nordic man on the stand.


“My name is Kenneth Hutchinson, I am a homicide Detective for the Bay City Police Department.” Hutch’s voice was calm and steady.


“And how long have you held your current position?” Dowtry continued.


“I’ve been an officer for nearly twelve years, but a Detective for nine.”


“Tell the court, how long have you and Detective David Starsky been partners?”


Hutch avoided looking in Tony Rogers’ direction; he looked up and locked eyes with his partner. “Detective Starsky has been my only partner, since I made Detective nine years ago.”


“Nine years? That’s a long time. Would you say that you two are close?” Dowtry inquired.


“You could say that,” Hutch smiled. “Starsky and I are more than just partners, we’re best friends. Matter of fact, I don’t think I’d be here today, if it weren’t for him.” The blond gave a grateful nod to Starsky from the witness stand. “We’ve been through more than our share together, that’s for sure.”


Defense Attorney Lockley watched as the partners’ communicated to each other from across the room. He saw how Hutch gained confidence when he locked eyes with his friend. He saw the look, the intense stare that Starsky returned to Hutch when he needed it most. It was almost as if the lawyer could hear them talk and comfort each other, without speaking a word. He knew instantly what he had to do when his turn for cross examination came.


Dobey watched on as Starsky smiled and dropped his gaze to his lap, knowing that these two boys had truly been through more than they should have had to go through. It made them stronger; it strengthened their bond as friends and as partners.


As the questioning continued, Hutch recounted the events that unfolded that night, a little over six months ago, from the kidnapping on the docks, to the horrific scenes of torture inflicted on his partner on the boat, even retelling the entire crucifixion in eerily accurate details. By the time Hutch was finished with his testimony there was hardly a dry eye in the courtroom. Starsky’s chest puffed in pride at the job the blond had done, he winked at him from behind the prosecution table. Hutch looked into Starsky’s eyes several times through-out the questioning, just so he could see for himself, that his partner was fine, and no harm would come to him by Hutch simply retelling the story. The blond drew on his partner’s physical as well as emotional strength to help him get through today, and get through it, he did.


“No further questions Your Honor.” Mr. Dowtry announced to the court.


Judge Davis spoke loudly. “Your witness, Mr. Lockley.”


The defense attorney rose from his table as Hutch braced himself for anything. Dobey sensed Starsky tense up beside him as he tried to put a reassuring hand on the brunet’s arm.


“Just take it easy, son.” Dobey whispered in Starsky’s ear.


“Detective Hutchinson, you just gave the court a recap of the events that you and your partner were a party to, to the best of your recollection, is that correct?” Mr. Lockley began to pace in front of the Judge’s bench theatrically, stopping in just the right spot to block Hutch’s view of Starsky.


“Yes sir, it is.” Hutch replied firmly as he locked eyes with the red headed lawyer.


Starsky attempted to look around the attorney’s back to catch Hutch’s attention. Mr. Lockley watched Hutch’s movements and countered every time that the blond witness had Starsky in his sight, moving just enough to block him once again.


“And we heard the doctors earlier testify to your partner’s injuries, and tell us the reason why he wouldn’t be testifying. Because unlike you, he has almost complete memory loss due to severe trauma, isn’t that right, Detective?”


“Well yes…it is…” Hutch’s brow furrowed as he wondered where the defense lawyer was heading with his questioning.


Starsky got up and completely moved positions, assuring him a clear view…until Lockley moved once more. The brunet returned to his seat beside Dobey.


He’s doin’ this on purpose Cap’.” Starsky said as he leaned toward his superior.


“I know he is, an’ there ain’t nothin’ you’re goin’ to do about it, so I suggest you sit still before Judge Davis throws your ass outta here.” Dobey answered.


“And isn’t it also true that you were under the care of a psychologist for several months following the severe trauma you had to endure?” Lockley continued.


Hutch’s face paled as the beads of sweat started to form on his upper lip. “Um…


Yes…that’s correct…” His voice cracked as he stuttered, his eyes growing wide, searching for Starsky’s indigo set to calm him down. “But…”


“Just answer the question Detective.” Lockley chastised Hutch as Starsky shifted uneasily in his seat. “You want the fine jury here to believe that you yourself, are sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, as to the chain of events you are attempting to recall, that happened so long ago, and yet you are able to recall them with precision and accuracy as to how and when they happened? Are you sure about that Detective?”


“Objection!” Dowtry shouted out, rising from the table. “Detective Hutchinson’s mental health is not on trial here your Honor.”


“No, but his ability to remember accurately, what happened out there is relevant to this case.” Lockley retorted loudly.


“Objection overruled,” The judge announced as Lockley smiled.


“Tell the court if you would Detective, just how long after this alleged attack, were you on medication to assist your mental healing process?” Lockley forged on.


“I was on medication for approximately a month and a half.” Hutch’s voice lowered as if he was ashamed of it.


Starsky’s breathing increased as his anger was simmering.


“I’m sorry Mr. Hutchinson, could you repeat that, I’m not sure the jury heard your answer.” The lawyer continued to shove Hutch closer and closer to a proverbial edge of the cliff, just waiting for him to jump off and basically commit testimonial suicide. If he snapped on the stand, all of his admissions in court would be clearly scrutinized.


“I said, I was on the drugs for a month and a half.” Hutch spoke loudly.


“And was that the first time you have had trouble kicking a drug habit?” The slick attorney threw out for the jury to hear, knowing that Dowtry was surely going to object.


“Objection!” Dowtry shouted right on cue. “Detective Hutchinson’s history or past has no bearing on this case.”


“Jesus Captain, they’re gonna rip him to shreds.” Starsky spoke loud enough to get Lockley’s attention.


“Just cool it.” Dobey warned his officer.


“Sustained.” The judge agreed with the prosecutor. “I’m warning you Mr. Lockley, I will not have this courtroom turned into a circus, I am ordering you to stick to the facts of this case, and nothing further. Is that perfectly clear?”


Crystal.” Lockley said smugly, knowing that he had accomplished his goal, he was able to put a hint of Hutch’s past drug addiction out there for the jury to hear, and he was sure that they would remember that reference. “I am sure that what you went through out there on that boat, was extremely traumatizing for you, what you claim my client did to both you and your partner.” Lockley again looked back at Starsky making sure that he was unable to connect with the witness. “What kind of an effect did it have on your mental state Detective?”


“The atrocities that that man put us through are incomprehensible. Having to watch my partner, my best friend, get tortured and then crucified, caused me to snap. I needed to seek professional help to cope with what Tony Rogers had done to both of us.”


“You said you snapped.” Lockley grinned warmly at the blond on the stand. “Tell me officer, did you snap before or after you thought you saw Mr. Rogers hurt your partner?”


Hutch just stared blankly at the attorney, his stomach clenching and cramping in fear.


“Isn’t is possible that you aren’t sure when it is that you ‘snapped’, that it is remotely possible that it wasn’t even Tony Rogers that had hurt your friend at all, I mean it isn’t like you were exactly of a sound mind, now is it?”


“Objection your Honor!” Dowtry exclaimed.


“Your Honor, I think the jury has every right to know what Detective Hutchinson’s state of mind was at the time of the events to which he is testifying.”


“Overruled. Please answer the question Detective.” Judge Davis advised.


Hutch’s eyes filled in fright as the moisture in them grew, he could hear his own heartbeat in his head, as his body trembled. He looked at the members of the jury who were staring at him, some showing pity; others seemed to be judging him. He looked at the judge who stared sternly at the officer. He tried to look around the defense lawyer that was blocking his view to his sanity.


“Starsk?” He whimpered.


Starsky bolted out of his seat, “Just what in the hell are you trying to do to him? He’s not the monster here, that motherfucker over there is the evil one.” Starsky pointed to Big Tony.


“Order!” The judge demanded as he slammed his gavel against his bench.


“How in the hell can you sit there and tear him apart like this, you’re as guilty as he is!” Starsky shouted at Lockley as Dobey tried to pull the brunet back into his seat.


“I said order in the court!” The judge fumed as he glared at the irate man.


“Screw your order, I can’t believe you’re allowing this line of questioning to continue!” Starsky yelled at the judge.


“That’s it, bailiff remove him from the courtroom!” Davis commanded.


Dobey pulled at his hot tempered detective trying to remove him himself from the room. The last thing he needed was for the curly haired man to take a swing at a public official.


“You can do this Hutch, hang in there, I’m with ya’ Buddy!” Starsky yelled as he was being forcibly removed.


Chapter Sixteen


Hutch lowered his head, playing with the pinky ring on his finger, reminding him of a bond and commitment he made to that out of control man that was just escorted out of the courtroom. He inhaled deeply, calming himself. Starsky did exactly what Hutch had needed, he caused a distraction and allowed the blond a moment to regroup, calm himself down and prepare for further questioning.


“Continue with your questioning Mr. Lockley.” The judge instructed.


“Thank you, your Honor. I’ll repeat the question Detective. Isn’t it possible that your compromised mental condition occurred before what you have claimed happened to your partner at the hands of Mr. Rogers?”


“According to my doctor, no, my mental condition was a direct result of what happened before my partner was crucified by that man over there.” Hutch insisted with an air of certainty as he pointed to Tony Rogers, locking eyes with him for the first time.


“Isn’t it true that the doctors really can’t say for sure when the onset of your ‘mental illness’ was?” Lockley asked.


“Yes, that’s true, but I can.” Hutch blurted out before Lockley had a chance to stop him, just wanting the jury to hear it.


“I object your Honor.” Lockley protested. “Would you please remind the witness to stick to simply answering the questions?”


Hutch smiled as Judge Davis frowned at him. “Detective, I don’t want to have to remind you again.” He chastised the blond on the stand. “I also order the court to strike the last part of Detective Hutchinson’s answer from the record…That’s enough for today…Court is in recess until tomorrow 9 am.” He announced with a bang of his gavel against his bench.


The spectators and jury rose as the judge left the courtroom and Tony Rogers was escorted back to his cold cell. Hutch joined Mr. Dowtry at the prosecution’s table. He looked up to see Starsky coming back through the paneled doors.


“What happened? S’everything okay?” He asked as he approached the table.


“It’s fine, everything is just fine, thanks to you.” Hutch said giving his friend a pat on the back.


“That was a pretty dumb stunt you pulled there Starsky,” Dobey admonished his officer, “getting yourself thrown outta court like that.”


Starsky hung his head briefly as Dowtry showered him with praise. “Actually, it was probably one of the smartest things I’ve ever seen.” He disagreed with the Captain. “You did exactly what I needed you to do, you bought my witness time, brilliant, simply brilliant.”


 “Yeah, but you think he’s gonna let me back in here tomorrow, to be here for the rest of the questioning?” Starsky asked wondering if what he had done was really in Hutch’s best interest.


“I think there’s a good chance, I’m sure he’ll reprimand you for your behavior and make you promise not to do that again, but he’ll let you stay.” Mr. Dowtry informed the brunet.


“Well in that case, this calls for a celebration! Let’s head to Huggy’s drinks are on me!” Dobey smiled widely at his detectives. The four men headed out of the courtroom and on to a more relaxed setting.




The next morning came around and once again Starsky rushed to pick up his partner so they could ride to the court house together.


The bailiff called the court to order in the same fashion that he had done so the day before. The judge entered the room and approached his bench, instantly seeing Starsky standing there as a spectator.


He sat down, allowing the rest of the people to take their seats.


“Before we begin this morning, Detective Starsky, would you please stand.” The Judge asked the brunet.


Starsky looked at Dobey, swallowed hard and stood, giving his best guilty face at his Honor. “Y…yes Sir?” He stuttered.


“The court understands your outburst yesterday. I know this is an emotional case for you, but I cannot and will not allow such fits to be thrown in my courtroom. If you feel you will be unable to control your emotions during this trial then I will ask you to leave now, and not return for the duration, is that understood?” He said sternly.


“Yes sir, I would like to apologize for my uncontrolled outburst yesterday Your Honor, I can assure you that it won’t happen again.” He smiled with child like charm, knowing full well that if Hutch needed him to do it again, he would in a heartbeat.


“See to it that it doesn’t,” responded Judge Davis. “You may continue with your cross examination Mr. Lockley,” he turned to his bailiff, “Please call in Detective Hutchinson.” He instructed him.


Hutch entered the courtroom and approached the witness stand for the second day in a row, only this time Starsky saw that he stood straighter and he seemed to have more confidence. He was more sure of himself than he had been yesterday. Maybe Starsky wouldn’t need to create another diversion today, because he knew that if he did, he would be banned from the courtroom for the rest of the trial.


“Detective Hutchinson, I believe we left off yesterday, discussing the mental state you were in at the time you partner was suffering at the hands of the man, or men, that were responsible for your partner’s injuries. Now isn’t it true that your doctors diagnosed you with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?” Mr. Lockley asked for confirmation, even though it was in previous testimony. He again positioned himself between Hutch and Starsky, once again taking away their view of each other.


“Yes sir, it is.” Hutch kept his answer short and to the point.


“And isn’t one of the side effects of that disorder, confusion, and jumbled or inaccurate memories?” Lockley questioned.


“Yes, I believe it is.” Hutch answered, not offering any more information.


“So then that would mean that it is possible that your recollection of the events on the boat are completely inaccurate, isn’t that correct?” Lockley spat, then added quickly, “No further questions your Honor.” Giving the jury exactly what he wanted to give them as their last impression of the Detective, giving them reasonable doubt.


Judge Davis addressed Mr. Dowtry, “Anything further Mr. Dowtry?”


“No thank you, your Honor,” The prosecutor announced, knowing that if he delved any further into Hutch’s past drug addiction, or recent mental instability, he would open the door for Mr. Lockley to petition the court to have Hutch’s testimony thrown out, and he didn’t want to run that risk.


Hutch looked over at the judge, waiting for direction. “You may step down, detective.” Judge Davis instructed the blond.


Hutch stood quickly and hopped off the stand as he looked up, searching for Starsky’s face. His eyes locked with his partner’s darker blue ones. One corner of the brunet’s mouth was turned up in a slight smile, happy to see Hutch finally out of harm’s way.


The judge spoke loudly, “Call your next witness Mr. Dowtry.”


“The state calls Reese Sturgeon to the stand your Honor.” He responded as he watched the defendant.


Tony Rogers’ eyes grew wide as his face paled, as his former partner was led into the courtroom, his hands and ankles shackled together. Big Tony leaned towards his attorney, speaking harshly as Starsky watched him squirm.


“Objection, your Honor!” Mr. Lockley stood in protest. “The defense was not informed about this witness.”


“Counseler, you received the same witness list as I did, and Mr. Lockley, I believe that this witness is on both of our lists. It is not my fault if you missed him. Objection, overruled.”


Mr. Lockley sat as Big Tony glared at his lawyer. “Perhaps I should ask the Judge for a new lawyer.” He hissed as he leaned towards his attorney.


“Perhaps you should,” Mr. Lockley responded knowing that his defense was all but gone now. Mr. Dowtry questioned Reese about the events that unfolded from the day on the docks, to later on the boat. The witness told the jury that Tony had set the whole plan up, and put it into motion, wanting to make an example out of the two detectives.


In return for his testimony against Big Tony, the District Attorney’s office had agreed to a plea bargain for Reese’s testimony, dropping his charges from attempted murder and kidnapping, to aiding and abetting in a criminal act with malicious intent. With his guilty plea, he received an eight year sentence, which was much better then the life without the possibility of parole he would have been facing. Also he had the opportunity of serving his time in a federal prison; away from Big Tony.


When the testimony had gotten to the unbearable beating of the curly haired detective, Reese explained about how Tony had personally picked out the barbaric object of torture that he would use, the cat o’ nine tails, by trying it out on some of his loyal followers, figuring out which would do the most damage and inflict the most pain.


Mr. Dowtry theatrically addressed the jury, “Your Honor, I would like to submit into evidence, people’s exhibit A26, the actual weapon used against Detective David Michael Starsky.” He announced as he held up a plastic bag, showing the members of the jury the dark, stained cat o’ nine tails. Silence blanketed the room as the sound of the plastic bag opening, seemed to echo across the paneled jury’s box.


Starsky felt the sweat start to bead up on the side of his face as Mr. Dowtry reached in and pulled out the leather tool. Hutch watched his partner’s reaction as the brunet’s breathing increased.


The prosecutor held the handle of the whip in his right hand as he slowly moved it in front of the jury, giving every individual a chance to absorb the archaic essence that exuded from the instrument and all of its barbed straps. The odor of dried blood and slightly rotted flesh rose from the item as a few of the jurors turned their heads.


Starsky’s eyes grew wider. Up until now, he had handled the trial much better than Hutch had. He was strong and there to support his partner in any way he could. Now, it was the blonde’s turn to support his friend as he leaned towards him, “Hey Buddy, you okay?” He whispered in Starsky’s ear.


Nothing, no answer. Hutch hadn’t expected this reaction from his partner, he knew it must have been the cat o’ nine tails that triggered the fear and terror. For a brief moment, Hutch was pissed at himself for not thinking about this scenario, for not preparing Starsky for the moment that item would be introduced as evidence. He couldn’t foresee the damage that it would cause.


“Hey Starsk? It’s me…you okay?” He reached over and grabbed the brunet’s forearm squeezing it firmly. He realized that Starsky had spent the last six months healing physically and helping Hutch heal mentally. He thought about whether or not Starsky had allowed enough time for himself, to heal inside and out.


Mr. Dowtry continued with his questioning of Reese. “So Mr. Sturgeon, are you saying, that this is the weapon that the defendant used to strike and torture the officer?”


“Yes sir, that’s it. He used that and made the blond one watch…” Reese went on to describe how Starsky had barely screamed out, how he tried so hard to stay strong, and how horrible it was to watch the two be torn to shreds, one literally and one figuratively.


Dramatically, Dowtry crossed in front of the Judges bench, whip in hand, and he raised it high into the air, bringing it down sharply as it cracked loudly in response.


Hutch felt Starsky’s whole body jump as his complexion paled. The brunet swallowed hard as Hutch placed his hand on his partner’s shoulder, “Easy buddy…” He soothed.


“…utch…I’m gonna be sick.” He stammered as he jumped up and bolted out of the courtroom with his blond counterpart right on is heals.


Tony looked over his shoulder as he smiled evilly; still pleased with the effect he had on the two detectives.


Chapter Seventeen


Hutch stood outside the bathroom stall in the cold tiled room as he heard his partner retch, causing him to breathe slowly to keep from losing his own lunch.


“You okay in there, Starsk?” He asked.


“Yeah…yeah…” Starsky gasped, “Just give me a sec, would ya?” He pled as he heaved one more time.


The brunet rocked back on his heels, his rear coming in contact with the floor below him, he leaned back against the stall wall as he closed his eyes, breathing heavily. He heard the squeak of the hinges on the door as he opened his eyes to see the tall blond towering over him.


“You plan on staying down there all day?” Hutch asked with a crooked smile as he knelt next to his partner.


“If I need to, yeah.” Starsky snorted as he closed his eyes again. “I remember Hutch, I don’t wanna, but I do…” He lifted his head and locked eyes with the blond.


“I know Buddy, I know…I don’t wanna remember either, but if we let it eat us up inside, then Tony wins, doesn’t he?” Hutch said caringly. “How long have you remembered, I mean, did it just come back to you like that?” He said as he snapped his fingers.


“I’ve been getting bits and pieces, here and there, for about a month now.”


“Why didn’t you tell me?” Hutch furrowed his brow at his partner, a little angry for being deceived.


“You weren’t exactly ready for me to fall apart on ya’. I had a hard enough time tryin’ to keep it together in front of you. You didn’t need be worryin’ about me, an’ you know that’s exactly what you woulda done.” Starsky explained, washing any anger that Hutch might of felt away, instantly.


“Jeez Starsk, I’m sorry. I was so consumed with my own mental issues, that I didn’t even see the effect it was having on you. I shoulda seen this, I shoulda noticed that you were recalling everything.” Hutch tried to apologize.


“Not everything, at least not until I saw that whip in court just now. Shit Hutch! If I had my gun right now, I walk right up to Tony Rogers and put a bullet right between his eyes!” Starsky said looking intently at his friend.


“No you wouldn’t. You’re not capable of doing that Besides, I think Big Tony got exactly what he deserved, he’s confined to that wheelchair for the rest of his pathetic life. He’ll never walk again. He can’t hurt us anymore.” Hutch said, standing up.


“You don’t know that, what if he gets off, what if they let him go?” Starsky’s indigo eyes followed the blond.


“Is that what you’re worried about? That he’ll get out; that he’ll come after us? Is that what’s been bothering you?” Hutch said sympathetically.


“Aren’t you?”


“No. I’m not gonna let that happen, to you or to me. It won’t happen, trust me.” Hutch said as he offered his hand to his friend who was still sitting on the ground. “It’s me and thee, from here on out.” He said as he raised his eyebrows at the curly haired man sitting on the floor of the bathroom, suddenly looking very vulnerable.


Starsky sighed heavily, leaning forward, grasping his partner’s hand and pulling himself up, trying to get back to his feet as he spoke, “I guess you’re right, but I just don’t know if I can go back in there, knowing what he did to me…to us.” Starsky grunted as Hutch helped him up. “How can someone do something like this, I mean, look at him…” The anger in the brunet’s voice began to increase, “he’s sitting there like nothing happened, like he ain’t responsible for shit!”


“Easy there Gordo,” Hutch tried to calm Starsky. “He’ll get what’s comin’ to him, mark my words, one way or another, he’ll get his.” Hutch patted Starsky on the back as he guided him out of the narrow stall.


“Look at us, ain’t we a pair?” The brunet snorted as they both walked out of the bathroom, and back to the courtroom, side by side.


They entered the courtroom as Mr. Dowtry was finishing his questioning of Reese. Tony smiled as the two entered, knowing full well that he had gotten to them. It was now Mr. Lockley’s turn for cross examination.


The Defense Attorney stood and walked in front of the witness stand.


“Tell me Mr. Sturgeon, exactly what kind of a deal did the DA’s office promise you in return for your testimony?” He asked as Mr. Dowrty stood to object. “Did they promise to spare your life in return for you turning on your former employer?” He spat out before Dowtry had a chance to counter.


“Objection, your Honor!” The prosecutor shouted out.


“Sustained!” Judge Davis yelled, slamming his gavel down on the bench. “I warn you Mr. Lockley, you had better stick to the facts of this case and leave the theatrics and tricks to someone else!” He admonished the lawyer.


“Yes sir, no further questions.” Lockley wrapped up quickly. He wanted to leave the jurors with the slightest doubt about the witness’s testimony and his motives for turning state’s evidence against his client, and he succeeded. ‘


The remaining portion of the trial spanned over the next week, definitely taking its toll on both Starsky and Hutch. The state had wrapped up its case and had turned the proceedings over to the defense. Mr. Lockley led their case by insinuating that Hutch was crazy at the time of the incidents he testified to, and Reese was saving his own ass. Trying desperately to plant the seed of doubt in the jury’s mind, even the slightest shadow would grant him an acquittal.


Closing arguments lasted several hours, but seemed to span many days. Before they knew it, the jury was dismissed to begin deliberations, and the long waiting period began. After court was in recess, Starsky, Hutch, Dobey and Dowtry decided to head to Huggy’s for an early lunch.





The tall skinny black man had a hard of a time coming to terms with what had happened to his two friends that fateful night on the boat a little over six months ago. He too, had a deep feeling of sadness and guilt as he watched both detectives go through the uphill battles of recuperating from Big Tony’s atrocities. If they hadn’t been trying to protect him, they never would have experienced the horrors they did. Huggy even had a difficult time going to court to watch the trial. He tried, but he couldn’t even make it through the opening arguments.


He couldn’t help but feel like this was largely his fault. He just couldn’t let go, let go of that guilt that tried to eat him alive. All Hutch had to do was to tell Big Tony that it was Huggy that had ratted him out, and there was a good chance that the experiences that he and Starsky endured,  would likely have never have happened.


It hit Huggy hard when he saw the four walk through his door, how selfish he had been, the trial was now over, and Huggy had avoided it all. He really hadn’t been there for his two friends over the past six months, and he had planned on changing that tonight. It was time to put their pain and his guilt behind them, today was a new day and a new beginning for the trio.


He broke out a bottle of his best wine as his waitress escorted them to their table. Approaching the table with a white towel draped neatly over his left forearm, he formally offered his gift.


“Looks like a celebration is in order here,” he held out the bottle in front of him. “May I interest you in a bottle of one of my finest Chardonnay’s?” He asked humbly,  “On the house, of course.” He added.


Starsky and Hutch smiled at their friend gratefully, they both knew this wasn’t easy for him either. They all had their demons that they needed to battle, each in their own way.


“That’s just t’riffic, Hug.” Starsky smiled approvingly, “I will gladly accept on behalf of these losers here at the table with me.” He joked as Dobey shot him an icy stare.


“Who you callin’ a loser, Loser?” Hutch snapped back, feeding off of Starsky’s prodding.


“You can say that again!” Dobey chimed in as Mr. Dowtry enjoyed the banter being slung back and forth.


Huggy popped the cork on the wine and poured each of his guests at the table a generous portion. They had all ordered Huggy’s Specials, as the waitress took their requests and scurried off to the kitchen.


“How’d it go today?” Huggy asked, still mad at himself for not being present.


“As well as can be expected,” Hutch said, giving Starsky a quick look through his brow, before returning his attention to the owner of the establishment as Huggy sat at the only vacant seat at the table.


“You think he’s goin’ down?” Huggy asked, afraid of the answer.


“I sure hope so, if not for attempted murder, then at least for kidnapping a public official.” Starsky said as he focused on his glass of wine in front of him.


“Oh he’s definitely gonna do some hard time. Just how much? That’s in the hands of the jury.” Mr. Dowtry threw in, knowing the fear that everyone at the table was feeling.


“Well I just hope that the members of the jury are smart enough to see through Tony’s lawyer’s smoke screen. I wanna see that scum get exactly what he deserves!” Dobey’s voice bellowed. “As far as I’m concerned, that man should never see the light of day again, not after what he’s put you two through.” Dobey immediately corrected himself, “Make that the three of you!” Huggy nodded in agreement, and appreciation.


Diana approached the table carrying several plates and passing them out to the customers.


“Any chance he’ll get the death penalty?” Huggy asked, hoping.


“Doubtful,” Dowtry spoke up. “Problem is, Detective Starsky didn’t die…”


“Thanks a lot!” Starsky shot back as he took a bite out of his burger.


“What I mean is, the death penalty is reserved for murderers, especially of an officer. But you’re alive,” Dowtry looked at the brunet, then at Huggy, “There is no way to tie him with any of the murders that the state suspects him of committing, and they don’t usually enforce the death penalty for attempted murders…I’m afraid the best we can hope for is life.”


The five of them sat there and did their best to enjoy what was left of their meal. They tried to keep the conversation away from Big Tony, and focused on their everyday lives. Plans for tomorrow, next week, next month.


Before leaving the restaurant, Starsky excused himself to use the men’s room, causing Dobey to take Hutch aside.


“What the hell happened to him the other day?” Dobey asked, referring to his quick exit at the courthouse during testimony. “Is he okay? Is there something I should know?” Dobey asked more as a father then a Captain.


“He’s fine, Cap’.” Hutch thought about leaving it at that, but he couldn’t shut Dobey out, he deserved the truth. “He remembered Cap. He remembers what happened on the boat.”


Dobey’s eyes widened, “Sweet mother of Jesus. He remembered everything?” Dobey asked, praying that the worst of the torture still eluded the curly haired man, for his sake. The human mind could only take so much, and he knew that both of his detectives were being pushed to the breaking point.


“I’m not sure yet. I know he remembers a lot of it,” Hutch informed his superior, “do me a favor, don’t let him know that you know. I wanta handle this one on my own.” Hutch’s eyes pled with Dobey’s.


“Excuse me, Cap’n, there’s a call for you. You can take it back there.” Huggy said, pointing to a phone hanging on the wall behind the bar.


Starsky returned from the bathroom as they were getting ready to leave. They had all come in one car and still needed to go back to the court house to drop off Dowtry before heading to the station.


“What say we catch a movie tonight?” Starsky asked Hutch, his eyes wide with childlike enthusiasm.


“What ever you want.” Hutch answered, “Wanna join us?” The tall blond aasked Huggy who smiled broadly.


“Well that sounds superb my friend.” He accepted quickly.


Dobey walked up, his face long with worry, Dowtry following him.


“What is it Cap?” Hutch asked immediately.


“We need to get back to the courthouse, the jury has reached a verdict.” Dobey announced solemnly.


“But it’s only been a couple of hours?” Starsky said, his eyes darting between Dobey and the prosecutor.  “What does that mean?”


“I don’t know for sure, but in my experience, when a jury comes back with a verdict that fast, it usually isn’t good.” Dowtry informed the men before him.


Chapter Eighteen


They stood ceremoniously in the courtroom, as the jurors and the judge filed in. The bailiff announced all to be seated as Judge Davis thumbed through some papers on the desk in front of him.


“The court has been informed that you have reached a unanimous decision in the case before us, is that true?” Judge Davis asked the jury foreman as the designated person stood to respond.


“Yes it is your Honor.” He replied.


Both Starsky and Hutch sighed heavily in unison, looking at each other in silent communication. They both knew that regardless of the verdict, they were both going to be okay, they were alive and healing, and they still had each other. That was all that mattered to them. Dobey flanked Starsky on the right as Huggy sat to the left of Hutch, he wanted to make sure he was here for this; it was the least he could do.


“Please pass your findings to the bailiff.” The judge instructed the juror, who handed a sealed envelope to the officer of the court.


The silence that blanketed the proceedings gave Starsky and Hutch an uneasy feeling. The clicks of the bailiff’s shoes echoed throughout the room as it was packed to standing room only capacity.


The judge opened the envelope that the officer had handed him, he peered over his black rimmed glasses and he wrinkled his nose at the paper. He quickly folded it back up and handed it back to the bailiff, who returned it to the jury foreman.


“Please read the verdict for the court.” Judge Davis instructed the middle aged man.



Both Starsky and Hutch looked at each other, inhaling in nervous anticipation. Big Tony turned in his chair, looking over his shoulder giving the two detectives a menacing stare.


“Would the defendant please rise.” The presiding official quickly noted his mistake, he cleared his throat. “Please accept the court’s apologies, you may remain sitting.” He said as he returned his attention to the foreman. “Please continue Mr. Foreman.”


Starsky couldn’t help but allow a smile to wash across his face at the judge’s mistake. He hated the ill feelings he harbored for this despicable human being, and briefly felt guilty until he looked up and saw Hutch hiding his laughter behind his left hand.


The graying man’s voice shook slightly and his hand trembled as he read from the paper, “We the people in the above entitled case, the People versus Mr. Anthony Rogers, case number 2450348, do herby find the defendant guilty of all charges.”


Instantly, Starsky and Hutch’s hands searched for each other’s grasping together firmly in solidarity. A joyous outburst flowed through the courtroom as several reporters fled the scene, each wanting to be the first to break the news. Many of the spectators gave congratulatory slaps on the back and exchanged handshakes as they stood triumphantly.


“This is bullshit!” Big Tony shouted from his wheelchair, his attorney trying to calm him. “Get the fuck away from me you asshole! This is all your fault, if you had done you job, none of this would ever have happened!” Tony chastised his counselor, turning slightly to give both detectives an evil glare. “I demand a new trial!” He yelled turning back to the judge.


His Honor, polled the jury individually, as was the normal procedure in a guilty verdict. He received twelve affirmative votes in favor of guilt for the defendant bringing to an end this session of court.


Judge Davis slammed his gavel against his bench. “Order, order in the court.” He announced, once again gaining everyone’s attention. “You’ll get your chance for an appeal Mr. Rogers…I have tentatively scheduled sentencing for two weeks from today, Monday February 19th…” And with one final bang of his wooden club court was adjourned.


Two guards approached Tony Rogers as they shackled his hands together. “Is this really necessary?” He asked them in complete and utter disdain, “I’m a fucking cripple for God’s sake, what the hell do you think I’m gonna do? Run you over with my wheelchair?”


“It’s standard procedure Mr. Rogers, please just cooperate.” The larger of the two guards instructed the prisoner as the other guard secured his wrists together.


Starsky and Hutch watched as they wheeled him out of court and the door slowly closed behind them, putting an end to this chapter in their lives. All five men stood around the prosecution table smiling and sharing in the relief that they had more than earned.


“I don’t know about you guys, but I thought for sure they were gonna let him off.” Huggy announced with a certain amount of sorrow and guilt weighing heavily in his voice.


“Well, I know one thing, I was holding my breath as they read the verdict, that’s for sure.” Dobey confirmed as Mr. Dowtry was loading his paperwork back in his briefcase.


“Not me, I was positive they would find him guilty.” He announced as he closed and locked the lid of his leather carrier.


Both Starsky and Hutch looked at the prosecutor inquisitively. “But I thought you were the one that said if they came back with a verdict that fast, it was a bad thing?” Starsky asked, raising his index finger at the man.


“Who me? Did I say that?” He joked as the rest of them broke out in laughter.


“What’s say we get the hell out of here? I think the Captain here, still owes us a couple drinks, don’t you partner?” Hutch put his arm around his partner’s shoulder, pulling him closer.


“Couldn’t of said it better myself!” Starsky concurred and the five of them left the courtroom for a destination filled with laughter, drinks and good times.






“All rise, the Honorable Milford P. Davis presiding.” The bailiff announced to the court that was waiting to hear the sentencing of the now infamous Tony Rogers. “Your Honor, this is the sentencing phase of case number 2450348, the People versus Anthony Rogers,” he turned to face the spectators, “You may be seated.” He stated as he moved to the side of the Judge’s bench.


Tony Rogers had already been wheeled into court, his wrists still bound by shackles as he was led to the defense table and pivoted into position. Both Starsky and Hutch knew that this was going to be one of the last times they would have to see this man, the man that nearly broke them both, nearly crushing their spirits and their minds.


Judge Davis began his speech for the convicted criminal, the victims and spectators as well.


“I have reviewed this case thoroughly and I believe that I have come to understand the intricacies as well as the atrocities that Detective Hutchinson and Detective Starsky were forced to endure at the hands of you, Mr. Rogers. Furthermore, you have shown an incredible lack of remorse for your actions that has caused this court some concerns and has been taken into consideration in your sentencing phase.”


Both Starsky and Hutch looked at each other, both feeling comforted by the words being spoken by the judge. It appeared that he understood the pain and anguish that the two had experienced and was going to pass a judgment, granting them some restitution for their suffering. He continued…


“Although I find the actions of your crimes completely appalling and your behavior in this court inexcusable, I can’t help but take pity on your current condition. You have already been sentenced to a lifetime of confinement, never being able to walk again, and I honestly find your threat to society to be minimal. But the real question here is whether or not those personal feelings should be allowed to be a factor in my judgment.”


Huggy looked over at Starsky as the brunet swallowed hard. Both detectives’ heart rates increasing ten fold as they listened intently to the judge’s words. 


“If I allow my feelings for what the two officers experienced at your hands, then likewise, I must take into consideration the feelings that I have that you have been given a sentence much harsher that I would be allowed to inflict on you due to the restrictions placed on me by this court.”


Hutch leaned forward, over the low wood paneled partition, separating the spectators from the proceedings, as Dowtry leaned back to meet him.


“What the hell is going on here?” He whispered, the tension in his voice causing it to crack slightly.


“I wish I knew.” He responded and then sat back up, facing the presiding judge.


“Your possible range of sentencing for the charges levied against you, range from ten to thirty years in prison. It is my job to determine what sentence fits the crime you have committed…And although I find the barbarism of your actions to warrant the toughest sentence this court has to offer, I also find that the amount of suffering you will be forced to endure, everyday for the rest of your life, earns you a certain amount of leniency.”


Hutch sighed heavily as he sat back and rolled his eyes. “I don’t believe this.” He commented as Starsky sat, staring straight ahead, almost emotionless.


“So with that being said, I herby order you to serve the minimal amount of time in prison, for the charges you have been found guilty of. Mr. Anthony Rogers, this court sentences you to ten years in the State Penitentiary, giving you credit for the time already served. That is the order of this court.” He commanded with a loud slam of the gavel against his bench.


“All rise.” The bailiff instructed the court, as a wave of whispers and gasps filled the small room.


Hutch and Huggy looked around the room wide-eyed as the majority of the people stood as instructed and watched the judge leave. Dobey looked at the prisoner as Tony was looking directly at Starsky smiling, their eyes were locked.


“I told you you’d never be rid of me!” He shouted at the detective, gloating.


“W…what the hell happened?” Hutch stood as he questioned the prosecutor.


“Easy there Hutchinson, it isn’t his fault.” Dobey tried to keep his officer calm.


“I’m sorry Ken, but unfortunately this is the American justice system at work. It’s not always fair, and a lot of the time, I don’t agree with it, but for now, there really isn’t any better way.” Mr. Dowtry said as he collected his belongings obviously discouraged by the sentencing.


Hutch was suddenly aware of the fact that Starsky had been completely quiet, no reaction, no words of protest, something that was completely out of character for the hot headed brunet.  He heard Tony shouting some nonsense as he was preparing to be escorted back to the jail.


“When I get out, I’m comin’ after your friend.” Tony taunted Starsky as Hutch saw him blowing his partner a kiss and winking at him.


Without warning and without a sound, Starsky stood up, and walked through the swinging door partitions, and right up to Tony, quickly grabbing his collar in both hands and jerking his face closer to the brunet detective’s.


He pursed his lips together as he spoke in nothing more than a growl, “If you ever, ever, come near him or me again, there ain’t gonna be a court on this earth that’s gonna save your sorry ass! You got that?” He said as he shook him harshly, giving him a final shove for emphasis as Hutch pulled the brunet off of the convicted man.


“Starsky!” Dobey yelled in warning.


Hutch placed his strong arm on Starsky’s upper arm, firmly squeezing it to get his attention. “Come on buddy, he ain’t worth it.” Hutch tried to convince his partner.


“Get him outta here!” Dobey ordered Hutch to take his partner home.


“He ain’t goin’ nowhere, I want his ass arrested!” Tony protested as he struggled to sit up.


“For what?” The bailiff knelt next to Tony. “I didn’t see anything!” He said and then winked and blew a kiss at the angry man.


Dobey and Huggy followed Starsky and Hutch out of the courthouse, taking the two detectives back to Starsky’s place. Tonight was not a night for celebrations; the drinks would be on no one this evening.






One week later…


Both Starsky and Hutch were enjoying some well deserved time off. They had taken a two week vacation and had chosen to spend it in the Catalina Islands, the hot sun beating down on them as they bathed on the beach. It took Starsky months before he felt comfortable enough to go shirtless in public, his scars were more visible to himself then to others, and he was tired of trying to explain them. He had finally gotten to the point that he didn’t care about them and when someone asked him what happened, he would graciously tell them, that it was a long story, and if they were pretty and of the opposite sex, he would offer to explain it over a nice romantic dinner. Yes, everything was finally returning to normal.


They both lay back in fabric lounge chairs, a colorful pina colada in their hands garnished beautifully with pineapples and colorful tiny umbrellas.


“So you okay with the outcome of trial?” Hutch asked his partner who gave him a brief one word answer.


“No.” Starsky replied as he took a long drink off of his refreshment. “You?”


“Not even close.” He responded as he too took a long drink.


“So what are we gonna do about it?” Starsky questioned as he rested his head against the back of his chair, turning his face towards the sun, drinking in its warmth.


“Not much we can do, ‘cept let it go.”


“Think you can do that?” The brunet looked at his friend.


Hutch looked upward, “No.” He answered as he sighed. “You?”


“Not even close.” Starsky retorted amused with the way their conversation was working out.


“Well, the way I see it is; Tony Rogers will someday get what is coming to him, one way or another. These things have a way of working themselves out.” Hutch commented.


“You really believe that, Blintz?”


“Yeah, I do…I have faith that someday, God will make him pay for what he did to you…I mean us.” He corrected himself quickly as he sensed Starsky’s eyes on him.


They both rested, closing their eyes and enjoying the warm blanket of sun that covered them.




Ironically, at the same time that the two detectives were enjoying the warmth of the sun, Tony Rogers was getting acquainted with the State Penn facilities. All the arrangements had been made for the convicted criminal’s transfer. He would share a cell with only one other inmate, far less crowded than the other cells that commonly held three or four.


He was wheeled into the cell; they made sure that he received a bottom bunk on the right side of the cold gray room.


As he was left alone in the small cubicle, he heard footsteps approaching from behind.


“I have been waiting for you Mr. Rogers,” The man spoke, “I am very disappointed in your work.”


Tony turned around, his face becoming void of all color as he was face to face with an older gentleman with thinning white hair, and a charming smile. Tony’s eyes grew wide as his cell door was closed with a heavy Clank.


“I gave you one simple job, destroy Starsky and Hutch. And you failed, you couldn’t even kill one of them…” The man hissed evilly. “And now it is time to pay for you inadequacies.” He continued as a shadow of a figure walked up from behind the far side of the cell, his hands slowly threading through the bars. “You see there is but one punishment for failure…”


“Mr. Gunther, w…w…wait, you gotta believe me…” Tony stuttered knowing that he was about to pay the ultimate price.


James Gunther stood before the helpless man, enjoying watching the fear and smelling the pure animalistic panic exude from his former employee.


“I truly expected more from you, you came so highly recommended. Too bad it must end.” He hissed as he flipped his head slightly.


Tony tried to turn around to see what Gunther was looking at as a thin wire hooked itself around the paralyzed man’s neck, pulling tighter and tighter. The ability to inhale being stripped from him as his hands came up defensively. He eyes bulged in both fear and having the life squeezed out of him.


His arms began to flail about recklessly in desperation as Gunther smiled and turned to leave. One of the guards approached the cell and unlocked it, pulling the cage door open.


“That was my quickest roommate to date.” He said as he passed the guard.


“Yes it was Mr. Gunther.” He agreed as the powerful inmate continued on his way down the corridor.


The guard looked back in time to see Tony’s last futile attempt to pull the wire from his neck as his head lobbed forward, his eyes remaining open in a lifelong stare.




Hutch could tell from behind his closed eyes that his path to the warm sun had been blocked, a shadow forming before him. He slowly opened his eyes, blinking rapidly as he adjusted to the bright daylight. He could make out the silhouette of a woman standing before him.


“Excuse me,” the female spoke. “but my friend and I couldn’t help but notice that you and your friend here appear to be alone. We were wondering if you wouldn’t mind if we joined you.” She said, cocking her head to the side.


Hutch sat up, slightly flustered as he worked hard to focus. She was beautiful, her copper skin radiating and glowing in the shadow. She had dark silky hair that flowed over both her shoulders. Hutch cleared his throat and looked over at this sleeping partner, hitting him on the shoulder.


“Hey Starsk, wake up!” Hutch spewed quickly.


Startled, Starsky jumped out of his slumber and into reality. “Huh…what? Why’d you do that?” Starsky asked as he rubbed his eyes.


Hutch flipped his head towards the beautiful woman standing before him as he spoke. “She and her friend would like to join us.”


Starsky sat upright, clearing his vision and his throat as he flashed a wide smile at her. “Please, be our guest,” He offered as he waved his hand in front of them, offering to share their blankets that lay on the sand.


The female visitor giggled as she turned and bounced off to get her friend. Starsky and Hutch both watched as she pranced away, both of them appreciating her assets.


“Well, my friend, looks like this vacation is finally looking up,” Hutch noted,


“Hey! Whatya mean, you ain’t been enjoyin’ my company?” Starsky retorted, faking a tone of hurt and sadness in his voice.


“Well of course I have, dummy! It’s just that there are some things that were meant to be enjoyed even more.” Hutch stated as he winked at his partner “If you know what I mean.” He smiled.


“I sure do, I sure do!” He agreed as they both prepared themselves to be joined by two of the most beautiful women they had seen in a long time.


It was time for the healing to be completed, for their lives to return to normal, and for them to share and experience some of the finer things that life had to offer.


After all, they had earned it!