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Love Hurts

Love Hurts

Disclaimer: This is done strictly for fun and not for profit, although tips are greatly appreciated.

Author’s Note: Thanks to my friends in the fandom, especially my muse Brook, and my writing sisters Janet, and Shawne, it is only a matter of time before our family begins to grow. Love you guys! This one is for you, and by the way, special thanks to Janet for letting me write this one and naming it for me.

Chapter One

Starsky woke feeling her hot breath against the skin on his back. Blinking the drowsiness away, he carefully rolled back, feeling her body beneath him, and shifting his hips over, trying to avoid squishing her. She stirred as she unconsciously moved away from his invading body. Looking at her, her eyes still closed, her pouting lips relaxed and comfortably sealed as she raised her hand to her face, brushing her light colored hair out of her face. Starsky smiled, he had not felt this content in a very long time, he rolled to his side, facing her as her head let itself get lost in the pillow it rested on.

Propping himself up on his elbow, he watched as she slept, wondering what she was dreaming of, and if she was happy, as happy as he was this morning, waking up to a woman he cared about deeply, sleeping beside him, sharing his life, his body, his bed.

Rubbing his bottom lip with his thumb, he thought about his next move, reaching over with his right hand, he gently pushed her hair away from her cheek as he pondered bigger things.

He felt a familiar ache start in his groin, as the blood started to flow. Everything about this woman excited him, her mind, her soul, her body. Using the back of his fingers he caressed her cheek, purposely pressing hard enough to try and elicit a response from her. He looked at the clock, 6 AM, he needed to pick Hutch up by 7:30, he knew the clock was ticking.

Her head lobbed to the side as she let out a sexy moan, her back arching slightly as she stretched, her arms extending upward beside her face and then above her head. Starsky pulled back, watching her waking form.

First her eyes blinked slowly, fluttering, trying to bring herself back to consciousness, her head falling to the right, facing the handsome dark haired man lying next to her, smiling a crooked smile as he felt his face flush. Something deep inside of him was stirring, waking up as he felt his organ begin to react.

She looked into his eyes, a smiling washing across her face as his came into focus. Starsky leaned forward slowly, gently touching his lips against hers, welcoming her back to the here and now, back to reality, back to his touch, his love.

Keeping his face next to hers he whispered, “Mornin’ beautiful.” And she was, light golden hair, and large crystal blue eyes.

“Morning,” she whispered back as she lifted her head to gently kiss his lips.

Starsky’s face pressed harder against hers, forcing her back against the pillow, his mouth claiming hers as his tongue demanded entrance into her hot, wet mouth. Both tongues fought for control as the brunet’s right hand caressed her bare shoulder.

They broke their kiss as Starsky pulled himself away, wanting to drink in her vision.

“Wanna play a game?” she asked coyly.

“What kind of game you got in mind?” Starsky retorted playfully.

“Truth or dare.” She blurted out. “You first, pick one, Truth or dare.”

Starsky’s eyes opened wide as he felt her hand move bellow the sheets and grab his swelling member. He pondered the dare portion of the question and at this second it worried him in a humorous manner.

He met Alexandra four months ago, they dated a few times in the first couple of months, but they had become increasingly close over the past 8 weeks, the majority of the time she stayed at his place, or he had crashed at hers. They had both taken the liberty of leaving a few things at each others place just for convenience. Neither of them were ready to move in together, but they both were rarely apart.

Starsky felt her hand moving slowly up and down his shaft, it’s full length as he felt it respond rapidly standing at full attention. He dipped his head, his mouth claiming hers hungrily, their tongues fighting for control, he pulled back, breathing heavily as his husky voice gasped.

“Truth,” he whispered kissing her tenderly on the tip of her nose.

She let go of his shaft, allowing her fingers to taunting and teasingly make their way up his chest, feeling his skin flutter and react to her touch until both of her hands were on his chest. She pushed him back gently, rolling him to his back as she rose up on her elbow, hovering over him. Smiling, she took the tip of her finger, drawing imaginary circles around both of his nipples in a figure eight, her eyes batting their dark long lashes at him coyly as she bit he bottom lip.

“Truth it is,” she giggled, dipping her head and placing small seductive kisses on his neck, her tongue teasing the skins surface before nipping gently with her teeth.

Starsky sucked in air through his teeth as he felt every part of his body responding to her ministrations.

“You keep ‘dat up and I gotta warn ya’, I may not give you a chance to ask your question.” He panted, swallowing hard, trying to control his purely animalistic urges to push her back on the bed and take her quickly.

She pulled away, looking deeply into his eyes, her smile lighting up her face as she stared at him, “I wanna know what is the worst thing you’ve ever done?.” She asked, watching his face light up.

“Me? What’s the worst thing I’ve ever done?” He echoed her words.

“I mean, in your career as a cop, I wanna know what is the one thing you are least proud of, or the one thing you think you shoulda done different?” Alex teased the brunet.

“That’s two questions.” Starsky retorted quickly.

“Okay, okay…let me rephrase that, what is the one thing that you have done in your career, that you think is the worst?” She laid her head on his chest, her face nestling against his skin, the wiry hairs of his chest tickling her chin.

Starsky paused briefly, thinking back, sighing heavily as he pondered his answer. A part of him thought twice about what he was about to say, but before his brain had a chance to stop the words from flowing, he was already in mid-sentence.

“About a year ago, Hutch was kidnapped by this sicko, Ben Forrest.” Alex could hear how heavy Starsky’s emotions were in his tone of voice, she played with the hairs on his chest with her fingers and he spoke, never stopping or interrupting him as he relived his turmoil. “By the time I got to him, he was so hooked on horse, all I could do was lock him in a room and watch him fight as the cravings for that shit nearly ate him alive. If I’d a let him, he woulda left that room and hit the streets, lookin’ for more.” Starsky’s left arm was wrapped around Alex, not even realizing as he pulled her closer to him, his right hand reached for his face, his thumb resting against his temple, “…but I didn’t let him, I sat there with him for damn near two days while he shook, and puked his brains out.”

“What’s so bad about that?” Alex’s voice was soft and melodic.

“Aside from Dobey, I never told no one,” Starsky said quietly. “Never told anyone else in the Department neither. I left I out of my report, and made Dobey swear not to say nuttin. He coulda lost his job helpin’ me cover it up. ”

“Why’d you do that?” Alex scooted her body closer to her lovers, her long leg draping his legs.

“Hutch was goin’ through so much crap, and I knew that only I could help him, if the department found out he was an addict, they woulda suspended him, made him go through rehab an’ counselin’, I knew he couldn’t handle all that right then, that just woulda pushed ‘im over the edge. No one knows Hutch like I do, and he and I battled that shit together, just like we do everythin’.” Starsky concluded, his heart heavy yet relieved at the same time.

“Everything?” Alex teased her man as she started to kiss on his neck again, her hand traveling down his chest, over his stomach, grabbing the prize that waited for her between his legs.

“Well not everything.” The charismatic brunet answered as he wrapped his arms around her slim form.

Starsky inhaled deeply at her touch as she moved herself up, straddling him, kissing him intensely while her hand continued to play with his throbbing organ. Starsky lost himself in her touch, her scent, her body as the two danced to music that only they could hear.

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Alex pulled her tight powder blue top over her head, shoving her arms through the sleeves and pulling it down over her torso as she wiggled her body to fit it. Her jeans were on but unfastened, hanging loosely at her hips.

Starsky came out of the bathroom, a tan towel wrapped snugly around his hips, and another matching one that he held in his hands, occasionally scrubbing his riotous but wet curls atop his head. He stopped in his tracks, drinking in the vision that was her, as he watched her dress, tucking in her shirt and fastening up her dark blue jeans,

Alex turned and sat on the bed, bending over and grabbing her tan leather boots with tall spiked heels, pulling them onto her feet and tucking her jeans inside them, zipping them up. Starsky never thought that the mere vision of a woman getting dressed would excite him as much as one that is getting undressed. There was something about this woman he couldn’t explain, her every movement, her smile, her laugh, even her shoes enticed him. He got that feeling deep in the pit of his stomach, the tickling way down inside causing a smile to spread across his face as he slowly walked towards her his heart beating faster, just in anticipation of touching her again.

She sat on the bed, looking up at him, watching as he bent down and kissed her tenderly.

As soon as he pulled back, Alex continued putting on her other boot, then sitting up, flipping her hair back out of her face.

“So what about lunch, want to get together?” She asked her boyfriend, fully expecting him to jump at the offer.

“Can’t today schweetheart. Hutch and I are meeting someone at Huggy’s for lunch. Hopefully we’re gonna get the break we need to crack our case wide open.”

“You can’t even find 30 minutes for me today?” She pouted jokingly.

“Ah babe…” Starsky took off his towel, standing there naked as he pulled on his overly tight blue jeans, hopping as he pulled them up and over his round ass, “You know I’d love nothing more then to spend lunch with cha, but Hutch an’ me really need this lead.” He explained, pulling out a royal blue mid sleeve T-shirt and tugging it over his head and over his torso. He saw the woman that he cared deeply about, sitting on his bed, looking at him pouting.

Immediately he advanced towards her, cupping her cheek in his hand and gently pulling on her, standing her up and taking her into his arms, and into a strong embrace.

“Besides, if I met you for lunch,” he leaned in, kissing the tip of her nose, “I’d never go back ta’ work.”

Alex stood on her tip toes, kissing his mouth with hers, Starsky lost himself in the feel and the taste of her lips. Slowly she pulled back and looked at him. “An’ what would be so bad about that?” She teased him, flashing him a broad smile as she batted her dark eyelashes at him playfully.

“Never said it would be bad, just stating the obvious,” Starsky let out a snort of laughter as he turned with her and walked her out of the room, to the living room.

There was a knock at the door as it opened and Starsky’s tall blond partner passed through the doorway and into the modest apartment. He was getting used to finding Alex there, and actually, he began looking forward to her presence, it made his partner happy to have her near him. Hutch smiled at Alex, walking past her and into the kitchen.

“You still hanging around with this loser?” Hutch joked as he opened the refrigerator door, bent at his waist and peeked inside, looking for juice, but instead finding to bottles of pop, and a six pack of beer. His partner’s eating and diet habits never ceased to amaze the Nordic.

“He hasn’t been able to get rid of me yet,” Alex joked with her lover’s partner. “But then again, he hasn’t tried very hard.”

“Well it’s good to see you, you sure are a lot better looking then he is.” Hutch concluded, closing the door to the fridge, and looked at Starsky who was sitting at the dining room table, pulling on his worn blue Adidas shoes and tying the laces quickly. “You almost ready, I don’t want to be late, last thing I want is to start the day with Dobey breathing down our necks.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah…m’ready.” Starsky mumbled, jumping up and darting over to the couch where Alex sat, perched on the arm. He leaned slightly and kissed heron the cheek, “you can let y’self out, I gotta run, I’ll call ya tonight.” Starsky spoke softly and with a certain air in his tone, showing deep affection.

“Sure, I can see myself out, I know where the key is.” Alex answered, standing and placing her hand on the brunet’s chest, “You sure you can’t spare 30 minutes for lunch?” She teased him, swaying her shoulders back and forth, batting her eyes as she looked up at him.

Starsky sucked in a deep breath through his teeth, sighing heavily, “Don’t do that to me babe, you know I’d rather be with you then Blondie over there…”

Alex rose up on her tip toes, planting a deep and passionate kiss on her boyfriend’s lips, Starsky leaning into her, kissing her back with everything he had until she finally pulled away.

“Well, while your having your lunch meeting, make sure you’re thinkin’ ‘bout me.” She taunted him as she walked away and disappeared into the bedroom.

Starsky watched her until she disappeared, tantalized by her every move, he then looked up at his partner, noticing the smile that was broad across his partner’s face.

“What’s so funny?” Starsky asked as he grabbed his jacket off of the coat stand by the door and jerked the portal open, holding it for his partner as he waved his hand in the air. “After you.” He offered politely as Hutch snickered and walked past his partner out the door, not saying a word, his curly haired partner taking one last look towards his bedroom and then followed him outside.

Chapter Two

Starsky and Hutch met with Dobey and briefed him on the latest findings on the case they had been working. In the past two months, there had been a string of women murdered, most in the port district, and all of them were know prostitutes that seemed to frequent specific areas of Bay City. Starsky and Hutch knew that this all had something, if not everything to do with their pimp, Big Red.

Big Red was known in the area as one of the toughest pimps to work for, he expected a lot of his lady friends, but the pay off to women that made him large profits were huge. Unfortunately, the consequences for those that didn’t fair so well, or wound up costing him money were equally severe.

Huggy had gotten the detectives a private meet and greet with one of the prostitutes room mates, Sunshine. The tall thin black man promised to speak with them “off the record”. Although Sunshine and one of the murdered girls shared a small apartment, they did not share occupations. Sunshine was a stripper in a fairly seedy joint, but at least she earned her money standing on her feet instead of lying flat on her back like her now deceased friend Candy had done.

Sunshine had tried many times to talk her friend out of her way of life, but Candy had a troubled life, and a sad life that haunted the girl every waking moment, and even some sleeping moments as well.

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Starsky and hutch sauntered into the crowded bar, which even for a Friday afternoon, was even more busy then usual. Huggy greeted them immediately by the door and ushered them towards the back of his establishment, leaning into the dark haired detective.

“You know Sunny’s been waiting over half an hour for you,” Huggy spat.

“Yeah? Well s’not our fault she was early,” Starsky retorted quickly.

“Would it of killed ya’ to have at least shown up on time?” Huggy bit back.

“We’re 10 minutes late Hug, gimme a break.” The brunet looked at his watch.

Starsky heard his partner snort in laughter behind him as the followed the thin black man to a booth at in the back just adjacent to the kitchen.

They were escorted to the table, as Hutch practically dove for the unoccupied bench, nearly forcing Starsky to sit next to the woman they were about to interview. With a start the buxom blond looked up, locking eyes with the dark haired man, causing him to blush instantly.

Her emerald green eyes nearly pierced his soul as he inhaled sharply, her striking features catching him off guard. She was deeply tanned, very slim, and had a body that men were known to die for, her bulging breasts nearly falling out of her skin tight white silk shirt as she flashed a beautiful smile at the man taking the seat next to hers.

Starsky looked up, catching his partner’s gaze, giving him a more then irritated stare.

“You must be Sunny,” Starsky began, wanting to start the conversation immediately, trying to rid them of the awkward silence.

The beautiful blond leaned into Starsky hissing seductively, “My friends call me Sunshine, cause I light up their world,” he felt her body press lightly against his arm.

Starsky cleared his throat nervously as he shifted in his seat, “M’detective Starsky, and this here is my partner, detective Hutchinson.”

The woman glanced quickly at Hutch who tipped his head in recognition only to have her attention to be given right back to his friend.

“Excuse me Sunshine was it?” Hutch tried to draw her attention seeing the frustration in Starsky’s gaze, the deer in the headlights look he was giving him, “Huggy tells us that you might have some information for us…” She continued to stare at Starsky, biting her bottom lip as the brunet tried his best to avoid her obvious advances, shifting his gaze from her to his partner and then back again. “…miss…” Hutch finally got her to break her focus and she looked over at him.

“M’sorry, did you say something?” she giggled as Hutch looked irritated at Starsky. “Yeah, yeah…you wanna talk about Candy…sorry, I forgot why you boys were here in the first place…so what’d ya’ wanna know?”

“How about starting with who Candy was with and what she was doing the night she was killed?” Hutch started the conversation.

“I already told the cops all this,” Sunny stated as Starsky felt her hand on his upper leg, brushing against it lightly at first, cause him to flinch away.

“Just humor my partner would you,” Starsky interjected, “and by the way, you sure don’t seem to be to broken up about your friend’s death…” the brunet noted, as Sunny stared him in the eyes, grabbing his knee firmly in her hand, beneath the table and away from Hutch’s view.

“Is there a crime against lacking remorse?” she asked, squeezing his leg firmly.

“No, not at all, just peeks our curiosity, that’s all.” Hutch noted.

Sunny straightened slightly pulling her shoulders back but keeping her hand on the brunet’s fleshy part of his upper thigh. “Look, I only lived with Candy for about a couple of month, and in that time, I saw her come home with a black eye and two fat lips, all courtesy of Big Red h’mself. I told her, that one of these days, he was gonna kill her, but she wouldn’t listen.”

“So are you sayin’ that you think that Big Red killed her?” Hutch leaned in, resting his elbows on the table, wanting to protect their conversations from the lurking ears that surrounded them.

“Hey there Starsky honey! How they hangin’?” Both detectives looked up to see Ellen, Huggy’s newest waitress, standing over them holding a small notepad in one hand and a pen in the other.

Hutch sighed in frustration over having their discussion interrupted as he looked up at the average looking barmaid, faking a smile but getting no response from her at all.

“What can I get Bay City’s finest to drink?” Ellen asked, barely taking her eyes off of the brunet.

Suddenly Starsky felt boxed in, with too much attention being focused him, feeling his face flush much to his blond partner’s pleasure.

“I’ll take a beer Ellen, make that two,” Starsky took the liberty to answer for Hutch, he turned politely to Sunny, “can we get you something?”

An irritated hiss escaped Ellen lips before she could stop it.

“Sure sugar, I’ll take bourbon on the rocks,” she ordered tightening her grip on Starsky’s leg, causing him to jerk involuntarily.

Starsky tried desperately to scoot away from the aggressive woman, without offending her and thereby losing their lead. He smiled shyly at her as he allowed her advances.

“And a bourbon on the rocks for the lady here,” Starsky ordered.

“You’re lucky I like you Dave, otherwise, I don’t think I’d be wanting to serve her kind in here,” Ellen said in a huff, turning on her heels and stomping off.

“What the hell is up with Ellen,” Starsky looked at Hutch inquisitively.

“I think she’s got a thing for you Gordo,” Hutch answered with a snort of laughter, loving his partner’s misgivings, even relishing in them at times.

“T’rrific!” Starsky protested and then turned back to Sunny, “So tell us what happened the night Candy was killed, was she supposed to be meeting with Big Red?”

“Well let’s just say that Candy told me, that Red was pissed off at her about her earnings over the past week, and she was scared.” Sunny related to the two men sitting with her at the table.

“And why is it that you are sharing this info with us, and not with the officers when you were originally questioned?” Hutch asked.

“Cause Huggy told me I could trust you two, an’ you two only. If Red finds out that I squealed on him, he wouldn’t think twice about comin’ after me. Huggy assured me, that you would protect me,” She said softly as she leaned her body into the brunet’s sitting next to her, leaning her head on his shoulder.

“Well I am sure that Detective Starsky here will be able to provide you with ample protection if necessary.” Hutch threw in, just to rile his partner.

His partner’s head snapped up, eyes locking with his partner, and Hutch instantly knew that he would be paying for that comment later. But he knew it was worth it, just to torment his partner, in a playful way.

“I know I’ll sure feel a lot safer, knowin’ I got his protection and all.” She looked at him batting his eyes. Starsky felt her hand move higher up his thigh, he just wanted the answers they needed and to get the heck out of there.

The brunet couldn’t even look at her, every time he did, his gaze always traveled to her proudly displayed cleavage, he would force his eyes to stare her in the face, but inevitably, found himself focusing on her assets.

Clearing his throat nervously Starsky continued his part of the questioning. “Now you said that Red was with your roommate the night she was found?”

Sunny looked at Starsky, catching his gaze before answering, “Well, they got into a really big fight, an’ I mean really big…she called me from the club wanting me to pick her up, and when I got there…well…” her voice trailed off.

Her hand moved higher, closer to his groin, Starsky coughed, getting Hutch’s attention. The blond smiled, seeing the panic in his partner’s face.

“Um Sunshine, can you tell me what happened when you got there?” Hutch took over the questioning.

“Well, she was gone, she wasn’t there no more. I looked around for her, but no one claimed to have seen her, so I came back home. The next morning the cops were knocking at my door, they told me they had found her body…It didn’t surprise me none, I had a feeling something bad had happened.”

“Tell me Sunny, do you think that Red had something to do with it?” Hutch asked, his brow furrowing.

“Of course I do, don’t you guys?” She retorted, her hand reaching up and grabbing Starsky’s crotch, squeezing his privates firmly through his thick denim jeans.

The brunet jumped with a start, his knee hitting the underside of the table, causing an empty beer bottle to fall on its side. He jumped up and out of the booth quickly, his face flushed, much to Hutch’s amusement. The blond let out a snort of laughter as Starsky looked over at the woman, his eyes opened wide.

He raised his hand, finger pointed in warning as he started to speak to Sunny, “Now look here lady…” he began, then stopped himself before angering the woman, possibly loosing one of their few leads.

Sunny looked up at him pouting, twirling her hair in her fingers as she bit her bottom lip seductively, wanting to get a reaction out of the dark haired man.

Starsky thought briefly before continuing, pausing as he bit off the words he was about to say, looking angrily at his partner who was smirking at his friends misfortunes.

“You were saying officer?” Sunny asked coyly as she stared at the handsome detective.

“Just fuggidaboudit,” Starsky grumbled as he waived off the girl and turned abruptly to walk away, bumping right into a smaller framed female.

He reached out his hands, quickly grabbing the woman before she stumbled to the ground. Looking down at her, he quickly recognized her face, “Alex? What are you doing here?”

“I got a better question Dave, what the hell are you doing here?” His girlfriend asked, shooting an angry glare at the buxom blond that was sitting at the table.

Chapter Three

Starsky looked down at Alex; his face flushed in anger as he took her by the elbow and jerked her back.

“I thought I told you I was busy today?” He hissed in her ear.

“I can see that, you just never said ‘how’ busy you would be or with who.”

The dark haired brunet leaned over his girlfriend, sternly speaking into her ear. “Listen Alex, I don’t have time for this.”

“You mean for me, don’t you?” She retorted sharply.

His voice rose slightly as he allowed his anger to grow, Looking up through his eyebrows, he watched as the bar maid Ellen walked by tilting her head towards their conversation,

“Listen Alex, if you know what’s good for ya’, you’ll get the hell out of here, I’ll see you tonight!” Starsky growled, his lips pursed together as he stared at her intently, feeling his heart begin to beat rapidly, his face becoming red and warm.

Huggy walked up, noticed his barmaid clinging to every word of his friend’s conversation and quickly diverted her attention. “Look Ellen, the customers at table 3 have been waiting for their refreshments, what say you hustle them over there pronto like? Ya’ dig?”

Ellen took one quick glance back at Starsky before heading off to tend her tables. Huggy looked at the blue eyed man, giving him a tip of his head, acknowledging his privacy before moving on.

“Look here Alex, I need you to go, now!” He ordered as Alex looked around the crowded bar, then over at the table, Hutch’s piercing blue eyes, boring into hers.

Slowly she looked back at the man that held her arm tightly in his hand, “You’ll be sorry Dave, I don’t let anyone treat me like that. I am so sick and tired of coming in second or third in your life, right behind Hutch and your job! I’ll be at your place, clearing my shit out.” She jerked her arm away from the brunet as she stormed off, Starsky holding up both hands in frustration.

“Alex, don’t you do this,” Escaped his mouth coming out louder then he expected it to. He looked up to see several people looking at him, an uncomfortable blanket of tension covering the establishment as he cleared his throat and returned to the table with Hutch and Sunny.

“Everything in paradise okay there sugar?” Sunny hissed, secretly happy about the scene that just unfolded before her eyes.

Starsky huffed at the stripper as he looked at his partner, his eyes pleading him for understanding.

“Hutch?” Starsky pled with silent communication.

The tall Nordic read his partner perfectly and returned his focus back on the blonde sitting across from him.

“Listen Miss Sunny, is there anything else you can remember that my help us?” Hutch asked, dipping his head, furrowing his brow.

“Not right off, but who knows when something might jar my memory again.” She answered, exchanging glances between both officers.

Starsky caught on immediately and dug deep into his tight jeans pocket, pulling out a wad of bills, and peeling off the first to, holding it between his two fingers and holding it out for the woman. She took it quickly and Starsky looked at Hutch, giving his head sa slight flip, indicating that it was time to go.

Hutch reached into his jacket, pulling out a tiny note pad and a small pencil, jotting done a note quickly and ripping it off, handing it to the woman.

“If you think of anything else, you can reach us by calling that number.” He informed the woman and then scooted out of the table bench, standing and smoothing his pant legs, before looking at his friend.

“Thanks again Sunny for the information,” Starsky said as both men wandered to the bar.

Ellen approached them quickly, leaning into Starsky, making an offer, “Can I get you two boys anything else?” She asked, batting her eyes at the brunet, “Looks like you had a rough time with your girl Starsky, why don’t you let me buy you a drink, it’s on me.”

“Nah, m’fine, but thanks anyways, we’ll just take the check if you don’t mind.”

“Well, like I said, yours was on the house,” she pinted at Hutch, “his was 75 cents.”

Starsky handed her two dollar bills and both men headed out of the crowded smoky bar.

“So you wanna tell me what happened back there buddy?” Hutch asked as the made their way to the Torino.

Starsky gave a momentary pause, flicking his thumb over his lips, pondering the question, “S’nothing really. Alex is just feeling a bit overwhelmed right now, she hasn’t quite gotten down this whole dating a cop thing. Don’t worry, it’ll work out, m’sure of it. One way or another, things will work out.”

“You think she’ll be able to handle it?” Hutch asked, looking over the roof of the car, resting his long arms on its warm surface.

“Dunno, she said she’s leaving, but I’, not sure if that was a threat or a promise.” Starsky replied sullenly.

“Don’t you think you should go talk to her and find out?” The blond asked, tilting his head in disbelief that Starsky was still hanging out with him.

“Yeah, guess I better, not sure if I wanna know…” His voice trailed off, as Hutch felt the pain in his words.

“Look buddy, drop me off at the station and go after her, talk to her. I know you care about her, maybe you two can work this out.” Hutch offered, giving Starsky a moment to think about it before prodding him further, “Well?”

“You’re right, I need to talk to her, I need to know if this is even worth it,” the curly haired detective looked up at his friend, “I like her Hutch, I really do.”

“I know you do Gordo…I know. Let’s get the hell out of here.”

Both men jumped into the car, closing their doors almost simultaneously as the monstrous engine roared to life.

OOOOO

Starsky did just as he had planned, he took his partner to the station, dropped him off there and headed back to his place, fully intending on going back for his friend.

He headed straight for his place, not sure if he would find his girlfriend there or not, but hoping he was not too late to stop her. Pulling up outside, he was relieved to see her car parked outside.

He hoped out of his car and bounded up the stairs briefly regretting the fact that he didn’t stop for flowers on his way there. Although he felt that she should have never compromised his job in that fashion, he also realized that it was up to him to make up for making her feel second or third in his life, and that would somehow help her to accept the times he was unable to give her the attention that most relationships required to survive.

Opening the door, he was disheartened to see a box on the sofa, packed with her belongings, and he heard her rummaging through his room, complete with the occasional drawer or cabinet slamming. Fingering his keys between his two hands, he looked at them, inhaled deeply and then headed straight for his bedroom calling out to her,

“Look Alex honey, m’sorry, I didn’t mean to get so angry with you at the Pits,” He orated as he crossed the threshold into his room, his reflexes on high alert as he ducked just in time to avoid the flying pillow.

Angry? Angry? Try humiliating me in front of all your friends! Did you think that was really necessary Dave? After all, I was just trying to surprise you, and I show up there, planning on keeping my distance, only to find this tramp, groping MY boyfriend under the table…” She walked directly up to him, standing toe to toe, nearly causing him to flinch, “…so tell me Dave, did you get everything you needed from her?”

“That’s not fair Alex, I couldn’t help that, and I got away as quick as I could. You know you shouldn’t have been there in the first place, what if Hutch and I were undercover, you could have endangered both of our lives by pulling a stunt like that.” Starsky chastised her as gently as he could.

“Endangered both of you as much as Hutch’s tendency towards addictions endangers you on a daily basis? That doesn’t seem to bother you in the slightest. I mean you cant have it both ways Dave, if the department would have thought that Hutch could be a danger to you, but you ignore that, and want to reprimand me for doing something fairly innocent? I mean, what do you think they would do to you at headquarters if they found out you with held this kind of information to them, obviously it is important to your job…” Alex allowed her voice to trail off quickly.

“Is that a threat?” he asked as she turned to walk away, Starsky felt the anger he was experiencing earlier returning, he tried to stay calm and compassionate for how she felt in this complex relationship, he wasn’t exactly sure what her previous statement meant.

“No Dave, it is not a threat, I am just trying to tell you, be careful who you tell what to, certain things shouldn’t get in the wrong hands,” Alex turned to face him, “Don’t you think I care about your safety too? Do you think it is best having Hutch watching your back, not knowing for sure if he is going to fall off the wagon at any given moment? A part of me thinks the department has a right to know this, for your own good.”

Starsky took a step back, looking at a woman he cared about, or at least thought he did. She now seemed to be a different woman, someone her hardly recognized. His eyes darkened with anger as he stared at her, “Look Alex, I don’t know what in the hell you’re tryin’ to get at, but you just need to leave Hutch outta this.” He threatened.

“Dave, don’t get your panties in a bunch, all I am doing is giving you an example of what could happen,” she walked over to him, standing next to him, her hand coming up and playing with the buttons of his shirt, looking up at him, batting her eyes.

“I think its best if you leave Alex,” Starsky stated curtly as he turned sharply, walking away from her.

“You don’t really want me to go do you Dave? I mean, I didn’t mean to upset you, but you need to know that the things you do, day in and day out, hurt me deeply. I mean how would you feel if I constantly found reasons not to spend time with you, or if I always put my friends at work or my job ahead of you?” Alex asked, raising her voice slightly.

The curly haired detective, turned to look at her, his brow furrowed together in frustration, he knew she was right, but there was nothing he could do about it, nothing would ever change that fact that, it was a part of who he was, what he was.

“Alex, that is not fair an’ you know it,” Starsky shouted back, raising his arm, pointing towards the door, for no particular reason, at least consciously. “You knew who I was goin’ into this, and I am the same person I was when you met me!”

“Maybe I’m still waiting for you to change!” The woman retorted sharply.

“I cant do this, I want you to leave,” he responded, walking towards the door and jerking it open for her, looking down at the floor in front of him, avoiding eye contact.

“You sure about that?”

“Yes!” he answered without pausing for a second. “Get your shit and get out!”

“Be careful what you wish for Dave, it may come back to bite you in the ass.” Alex snapped, walking over to the couch and picking up her packed box, “Especially when it comes to your closest friends.”

Just as she passed him, walking through the door way, Starsky leaned forward growling out her, “Don’t you even think about draggin’ Hutch into this, or so help me God…” His voice trailed off as he looked up to see his neighbor standing there, at the bottom of the stairs, just getting out of their car.

“Or what Dave, what are you gonna do about it?” Alex asked, trying to prod him further into argument. “Don’t you dare threaten me, you turn your back on me now, and trust me, you’ll regret it.” She vowed as she turned sharply, and walked away, her heels echoing on the wooden staircase as he slammed the door behind her.

Chapter Four

Starsky stood behind the closed door, breathing heavily, his heart racing. He walked over to the kitchen bar counter, his own footsteps pounding in his temples, as his anger and frustration grew, he felt guilty for throwing Alex out, and mad that she chose to bring Hutch into the middle of their disagreement. Without thinking her reached out, pounding his fist onto the counter top once, hearing the silverware in the drawer below it, clank together. His ire was interrupted by the shrill sound of his phone ringing and without pausing; he reached for the receiver, growling into the mouth piece.

“Yeah, what?” he snapped sharply.

“Whoa there buddy, everything okay?” Hutch’s calm and soothing voice caused the brunet to pause, sucking in a deep breath and letting it out slowly.

“Yeah, fine, everythin’s fine. What’s up? Starsky answered, trying to stop his voice from shaking.

“Nothin’, you just left in such a hurry, I thought I’d call and see if everything is alright?” Hutch responded, pausing briefly, sensing his partner’s turmoil. “You want me to come over? I could bring a six pack, we could catch the late, late, late show?” he joked.

“Nah,” Starsky answered, wiping his thumb across his upper lip while he cupped the receiver of the phone in his other hand, “M’fine, just need to work a few things out.” How about I just meet you at the station in the morning?”

“You sure you’re okay buddy?” Hutch asked again, needing his own reassurance.

“What, now you want to be my mother?” Starsky tried to joke back, meeting silence at first from his partner. “Look Blondie, I’m kiddin’, I just got some stuff to do, I’ll meet you tomorrow, okay?”

“Okay, if that’s the way you want it, see you in the morning.” Hutch ended the conversation.

“Later.” Starsky responded, hanging up abruptly, sighing heavily feeling the weight of all the days events weighing on his shoulders.

The brunet walked slowly to the refrigerator, taking out the first of his six beers he had sitting on the top shelf, relieved in knowing that if he really felt like it, there would be 5 more beers waiting for him. Taking a bottle opener out of his top drawer, he relished the crisp sound it made as he popped off the top of his frosty drink. Dropping both the bottle top and the opener on the counter he raised the glass to his lips, taking a long swig from the amber colored bottle, feeling the liquid flow down his throat, slightly burning from it’s bitter sharpness. Turning, he walked towards his bedroom, looking forward to a nice hot shower and the chance to wash some of his stress away, either in the bathroom, or by the use of the beer in the fridge.

He walked into the dimly lit room, setting his beer on the dresser he reached down and began to undo his belt, pulling the leather through the metal bracket, and unbuttoning them. Kicking off his blue Adidas, he unzipped his faded pants, and shuffled out of them, standing there in his underwear, reaching for the beer once again and taking another long drink, nearly finishing it.

He walked into the bedroom, turning on his shower and adjusting the temperature, before stripping off the last of his clothes. He pulled back the curtain and stepped into the tub, placing both hands against the wall and feeling the pulsing water beating against his tense muscles. The water cascaded over his shoulders and down his chest and on his face, it felt good. He closed his eyes, thinking of what had happened tonight with Alex and what she had said about Hutch, and just last evening he was making love to her, never having any idea this would turn out this way.

He grabbed the soap, lathering himself up, spreading the foam over his chest and arms, the soothing smell of sandalwood filling his senses, his body finally relenting to the idea of relaxation that he had been craving. After showering he turned off the water and grabbed the white terry cloth towel and wrapped it around his waist. He heard the voice ringing from the other room, not wanting to answer it, unsure if it was Alex or Hutch, either way, he didn’t feel like talking about it any more tonight.

He made his way to his bedroom, pulling a pair of flannel pajamas from his top drawer and dropping his towel, the incessant ringing of the phone finally ceased. He hopped on one leg, and then the other, pulling on the thin pants up and over his round backside and drawing closed the drawstring waist, tying them snuggly. Bare-chested, he walked through his living room, and straight into the kitchen, grabbing another bottle of beer and shirking off the top. Making his way back into the living room, he turned on the TV and plopped himself down on the couch. A part of him just wanted to lie down and go to sleep, the other part needed the noise and distraction. He took a swig of his beer and set it on the table, lying back on the couch, resting the back of his forearm across his forehead, trying to concentrate on the dialog coming from his set.

Slowly, his blinking changed, his eyes stayed closed longer and longer, getting heavier and heavier, until he finally drifted off to a peaceful and restful sleep, sheltering him from his troubles and most of all, his fears of what might happen.

OOOOO

His slumber was shattered by the shrill sound of the phone ringing, demanding his presence back to reality, as he came to with a start. Sitting up quickly, he gasped out loud, thankful that no one was around to see his behavior.

Without even thinking about it, he got up and stumbled to the phone, picking it up and placing the receiver to his ear, “…’ello?” he growled, his voice still rough and hoarse.

“Dave, its me…” Alex’s voice resonated through the phone as everything came rushing back to him, and what seemed like a bad dream, was now real and a substantial event still unfolding.

Instinctively, he raised his hand to his forehead, pinching the bridge of his nose and clenching his eyes shut tight. “Look Alex, M’really not in the mood right now for…”

“Dave, I’m sorry. I know I upset you yesterday, and I wanted to get together for dinner and maybe talk about it, you know, try an’ work it out?” She proposed.

Her proposal was met by a long uncomfortable silence, … “Dave…? You still there?” she asked as he sighed heavily.

“Yeah, m’here, but I gotta go, I’m gonna be late for work, I really cant talk about this now, I’ll call you later,” he hung up the phone quickly, his stomach lurching at the sound of the click of the receiver, hoping that she wasn’t going to do anything rash.

Starsky got dressed and ready for work, rushing out the door, knowing full well that he was going to be late and Hutch would be waiting for him. He pulled in the garage and instantly spotted Hutch’s car, causing him to check his watch and curse the time. He knew he didn’t really have an excuse to be late other then a stiff neck and a sore back from sleeping in an awkward position on his couch.

Starsky got out of the Torino and slammed the door shut, as he quickly walked up the stairs. He pushed through the swinging doors of the squad room, seeing Hutch sitting at his desk, thumbing through a folder. Starsky was pretty sure that Hutch was reviewing the currant case they had been working on.

The blond looked up at his partner and could instantly tell that his partner was not in the best of moods, just by his appearance. One thing that both detectives could do better then any other team on the force, was read each other without speaking a word.

Hutch rose from his desk, “Hey Buddy, you look like you could use some coffee, how about it?” he offered as he approached the pot that was placed right behind the brunet’s shoulder.

“I could use a couple of ‘em,” Starsky snorted as he swung around his chair and straddled the back of his chair, reaching up and accepting the cup that Hutch was offering him, resting his chin on the back of it.

“What’s up? Did something happen with Alex? You two ever get a chance to talk?” Hutch asked, knowing that Starsky would only tell the blond, what he wanted to when he wanted to.

“I really don’t need the 20 questions right now Hutch,” Starsky grumbled as he took a swig of his coffee, his partner taking note and dropping the conversation altogether.

“Listen, I was thinking about the case, and thought we should question Big Red for ourselves, just see what he has to say…whatya think?” Hutch changed the subject quickly, crossing the floor and sitting back down at his desk.

“I’m thinking we should get moving before I fall asleep right her at m’ desk,” the brunet agreed as the shrill sound of the ringing phone pierced his ear.

“Hutchinson,” the tall Nordic picked up the receiver answering quickly. There was a short pause before Hutch looked up, his eyes locking with Starsky’s, “Oh hey Alex, how you doing?” He asked as a mere pleasantry, searching his friends face for direction as Starsky stood up, his eyes wide, shaking his head back and forth and raising his hand to his neck and waving it sideways.

“Um Starsky? No…he’s uh…he’s in with Dobey right now. You want me to have him call you?” Hutch quickly spat out, hating to lie, but willing to do anything his friend asked of him. “…sure, will do…ok…bye.” He finished before returning the phone to it’s cradle.

Hutch was taken off guard by Starsky’s reaction, he looked up at his friend, “um, Alex wants you to call her when you get a chance,” he said softly.

“Yeah, I figured that, thanks for covering for me,” Hutch was disturbed by the tone in Starsky’s voice, “Did she seem pissed?”

“No, not really,” he answered, waiting to see if Starsky would continue offering information.

“You know sumthin’, I just don’t get it…I mean…I finally find a great girl, smart, funny…great body, fabulous sex life…I mean, the whole package,” he sat back down at his desk, leaning in for privacy, “…and it all doesn’t goes to pot, no matter what I do, I just cant seem to be happy with someone…you know…sometimes, I think it might be me!” He concluded sharply as he downed the rest of the coffee in his cup, slamming the mug back down on the desk in front of him.

Hutch looked at Starsky, feeling the pain for whatever was going on between the two. “Starsk, come on…you guys had a fight, it happens in the best of relationships. Aren’t you even gonna try to fix it?”

The curly haired detective looked down at his partner, pausing for a moment before answering, “I can’t shake this feeling Hutch, I feel like everything is closing in on me, I turn around and she’s right there, I just need a little room, a little space. That is what I told her today, and she freaked! She has called me several times, wanting to get together and talk about it, I feel like she is suffocating me.

Hutch stood up and they both started walking out of the squad room, the blond holding the swinging door open for his partner, secretly hoping that today would go well for them, giving them a break in the case, and maybe taking some of the stress and pressure off of the normally laid back buddy of his. After today, they both had 2 days off in a row, and Hutch planned on taking Starsky out tonight for a couple of beers and a few games of pool, just to distract him from his currant situation.

They made it Starsky’s car, opening both doors simultaneously as Hutch looked over the roof of the car at his friend, “Tonight, you an’ me…Huggy’s and some beer and pool, my treat.” Hutch announced.

“You always know what to say.” Starsky joked as he climbed in the car, followed quickly by Hutch, starting the engine and driving away quickly, tires squealing against the hot asphalt.

Chapter Five

They pulled up in front of the nightclub, the parking lot was crowded, and the place was obviously jumping. Climbing out of the car both detectives made their way inside, being met by large burly bouncers at the front door, trying to stop them. Hutch looked over at his partner who dug deep into his back pocket and pulled out his badge, flashing it at the large black man who stood before him, arms barely crossing over his huge chest.

Hutch proceeded to move towards them, the man blocking them, not making a move. “You wanna get outta mine and my partner’s way, before we haul you in?” The blond sounded as confident as he could, looking back at Starsky and realizing they were out weighed by about 300 pounds not to mentioned out numbered by the other bouncer walking up behind him.

The first man finally stepped to the side, much to the relief of both officers, letting them by as they made their way through the crowd, heading straight for the office, looking for Red. Starsky turned slightly, looking behind them, seeing that they were being followed by the tow extremely large men from the front door. After giving it a second thought, Starsky decided NOT to kick the door in, but knocked instead. Shortly after he knocked, the door was opened by another large man, and they detectives were led into the vast office, decorated in red velvet.

Starsky and Hutch immediately saw the man, sitting behind his desk, dressed in a beautiful navy blue pinned stripe suit, with a with silk dress shirt, and matching navy tie. A white linen handkerchief poked perfectly out of the breast pocket as the pudgy faced Samoan looked up at the duo, his eyes widening in surprise. Approaching the desk that Red sat behind, Hutch pulled an 8 x 10 glossy photo out of the man’s hands, looking at it, sighing heavily and passing it to his partner in disgust; they were provocative photos of young women, some appearing to be underage, apparently auditioning to join his establishment.

Red looked at both men, his nervous glance changing from one to the other as the sweat started to bead up on his forehead.

“So what do I owe the pleasure of this visit from my two favorite detectives?” Red ask, trying to hide the shaking of his voice.

The brunet looked at the picture in his hand, “So Hutch, how old do you think this kid is here, 15? 16?” the brunet threw the picture of the teenager on the desk in front of him, leaned over and grabbed Red with both hands, by the shirt, nearly pulling him out of the chair, brining him face to face with the angry brunet. “You know what Red, Hutch an’ me will be here everyday, an’ if we ever find an underage girl here, or out on the streets working for you, you’re gonna wish you was never born!” His lips pursed together in anger “Just one slip up, just one, and we’re haulin’ your ass in! You got me?”

Starsky released the man who was considerably bigger then he was with a sudden shove. Standing up straight, he looked back at the two guards that were in the room with them, knowing that Hutch was watching them closely, giving them a glare, daring them to make a move.

Red straightened his shirt and his jacket, adjusting the kerchief in his pocket, then running one hand through his hair, “I wanna see your warrant,” Red spoke, trying desperately to hold back his anger, “you can’t just come bustin’ in here and start throwin’ accusations around, I got rights you know?” he spewed, staring into Starsky’s darkened eyes.

“The hell we can’t!” Starsky retorted sharply.

“You better start cleaning this place up Red, and if I were you, I’d start workin’ on it pretty fast,” Hutch interjected his own warning.

“An’ if I were you, I’d listen to my partner, it’d be a shame to lose all this…” the brunet detective said smugly, waving his right hand around at all the belongings in the room.

Red stood up, puffing out his chest as Starsky and Hutch both turned and started walking to the door, “Oh yeah? You better be able to back that up officer!” He grumbled as they ignored him and continued towards the exit, “An’ if I were you, I’d watch my back! No one walks into my place and starts threatening me, you hear me?”

Both detectives paused in their tracks as Starsky turned to face the irate Neanderthal sized man, “Is that a threat? Cause it sounds like a threat to me,” he looked back at his blond partner, “Did that sound like a threat to you Hutch?”

“Sounded like a threat to me Starsk!” Hutch responded, snorting in laughter, knowing that Starsky was just trying to anger the man, catching him off guard.

“Well, I’m not sure, but I think it’s a crime to threaten an officer of the law,” Starsky mumbled as they continued on their way, “Remind me to ask Dobey about that one, would ya partner?” He laughed as they left, shutting the door firmly behind them, leaving Red to stew in his own anger.

OOOOO

They climbed back into the Torino as the blond looked over at his partner, “You know something, Starsk? You’re kinda sexy when you get all mad like that. I saw the way the guards were eyeing you. Even I was worried. ” Hutch joked.

“Shuddup!” Starsky quipped back as Hutch let out a roar of laughter.

Mildred’s voice came over the airwaves.

Zebra 3 this is dispatch, come in Zebra 3.”

Hutch reached for the mic, raising it to his mouth, pushing the button and speaking directly into it, all with the smirk still present on his face. “Go ahead Mildred, this is Zebra 3”

Zebra 3, you have a message from Huggy Bear, he wants you to meet him at the Pit’s as soon as possible, said it’s urgent.”

“10-4 Mildred, do me a favor, call him back at 555-4654 and let him know we are on our way, we should be there in 15 minutes.”

10-4 Zebra 3.”

Hutch returned the mic to the holder and looked at Starsky, who was already eyeing him. “Wonder what’s so urgent?” The blond stated.

“”It s’not like Huggy to put out an SOS without good cause. Why don’t you hit the light Blondie,” Starsky instructed as he drooped the car into low and accelerated quickly.

Hutch placed the Mars light on the roof of the car, as they sped through the busy streets, making their way to Huggy’s establishment, cutting out the lights and sirens a couple blocks before arrival as not to alarm anyone, as they were unsure what they were about to walk into.

Hutch was out of his car and at the entrance first with Starsky right on his heels. They entered the bar, noting that it was calm inside, a welcome relief as sometimes the place was so busy, it was hard to spot their tall thin friend in the crowd.

Huggy approached them quickly, ushering them to the back of the bar, into a private corner, “Listen dudes, thanks for comin’ so fast.” He began.

“Starsky and Hutch could see the panic in their friend’s face, “What is it Huggy, what’s goin’ on?” Hutch asked as Starsky looked around spotting Ellen and smiling politely.

“Its Sunny, she called me today, and let me tell you, she is one freaked out mama!” Huggy explained.

“Why, what is it?” Starsky asked.

“Dig this, she said that the word is Red knows she had a meet and greet with you two, and she’s scared to death that he’s after her.”

Ellen walked up next to Starsky with her serving tray tucked under her arm, “Can I get you something sugar?” She offered, not even looking at Hutch.

“Um thanks,” Starsky blushed, “but not right now, m’fine…maybe later.” He tried to excuse her quickly as she walked away, looking coyly over her shoulder at him as she sauntered away, putting a little extra wiggle in her walk intentionally.

“Where’s she at Huggy? We need to get to her before Red does.” Hutch emphasized, concern evident in his voice.

Huggy motioned for them to walk towards the back of the bar, Starsky took a seat on the very end while Hutch stood next to hi, looking at their friend, waiting for an answer.

“Well you gonna tell us Huggy, or are we supposed to read your mind?” Hutch snapped, the concern and worry he felt cause the crease between his brows to deepen.

“Ok, here’s the deal,” the thin black man started, his eyes darting around his establishment, “she’s really scared, man…she’s on her way here,” he leaned in closer to the pair, not wanting what he was saying to be overheard, “said she thinks one of Red’s men were following her, but she thinks she ditched him, don’t know how, but she managed to. I told her to just get herself here, and you guys would take care of her.” He concluded.

“Hug, what time was that?” Starsky asked, lifting his wrist and checking his watch.

“About an hour an’ a half ago,” Huggy answered, looking around for his barmaid, raising his hand, catching her eye and snapping for her to come over.

Starsk and I were at Red’s place, checking things out earlier, an’ we’re close Hug, real close.” Hutch informed him.

“Well close or not, you guys better help this chick out, she trusted you two.”

“Don’t worry, we will.” Starsky answered as Ellen approached.

“Ellen, get my friend’s here 2 specials an’ two ice cold brews, on the house.” Huggy commanded his employee.

“Um, how would you like it cooked, Dave,” Ellen asked coyly as she batted her eyes at the handsome brunet.

Starsky looked uncomfortably at his blond partner, noting the smirk on his face before answering, “Well done, and lotsa fries with extra ketchup,” he answered noting how Ellen didn’t even attempt to ask Hutch his preferences, now causing the brunet to smirk in retribution.

“Go on girl! Get these boys some food, don’t just stand there all day!” Huggy snapped as Ellen hopped to, turning on her heels and bouncing away.

Hutch looked over at his partner, faking a hurt expression, “She didn’t even ask me about how I wanted my burger cooked.” He quipped as Starsky just reached for a handful of peanuts out of the bowl sitting on the counter in front of him and shoving them in his mouth quickly.

It wasn’t long before their food had arrived at their table, Ellen doing everything for Starsky but laying his napkin on his lap, although Hutch was sure, she wanted too. They were about three bites into their burgers when Huggy rushed up to them, telling them she was out back, afraid to come inside. Both Starsky and Hutch dropped their meals, wiping their mouths and rushed to the back of the bar, and through the kitchen.

She sat just inside the back door, dressed in short white shorts, and a midriff red halter top; wearing red fringed knee high boots, with spiked 4 inch heels. She was shaking, clutching a small white purse, close to her body, her head down, and staring at her feet. Starsky and Hutch paused briefly, looking at each other, and then proceeded towards her.

Slowly, she lifted her head, both detectives’ eyes widening in concern for what they saw. She had a severely swollen and deep purple bruise completely engulfing her right eye and the left side of her mouth was split and swollen with dried cracked blood caked around the edges.

They both rushed to her side, Hutch kneeing next to her, one hand on her back, the other on her trembling hand in her lap, “What happened, who did this, was it Red?”

Starsky rushed off to the freezer for ice, grabbing a towel of the kitchen counter and wrapping the ice inside, making his way to her.

She started sobbing softly, nodding her head, sniffling.

“Red?” Starsky asked again as he handed her the modified ice bag, covering her hand and guiding it to her swollen lip first. She winced and pulled back, in haling sharply. “Shhhh, I know it smarts, but you gotta put it on your lip and your eye, it’ll help in the long run, trust us.”

Sunny, was it Red? Did he do this?” Hutch asked softly, trying to calm her fears.

“I…I…I think so. M’not sure.” Her voice was cracking and trembling.

“Whatya mean, not sure?” Starsky asked.

“I was sleeping, and when I woke up, was…was being hit, they put something over my head, I couldn’t see.” She recounted her ordeal, her shaking and trembling increasing. “They said that if they found out it was me that went to the cops, they were gonna come back an’ finish the job.” She broke down, crying hysterically.

Hutch stood, frustrated, and angry he moved towards his partner, leaning and whispering in his ear. “Starsk, we shoulda stayed with her, she needed us, we let her down.” He spat in the heat of the moment.

“You’re right Blondie, we never should let her leave here without protection.” Starsky moved over to her side, kneeling down. She raised her face, looked into his eyes, and reached out, hooking both arms around his neck and pulling him in, hugging him tightly, needing to feel protected and safe, Starsky hugged her back.

“You little fucking tramp!” Alex’s voice shouted out from behind them, as Starsky and Hutch both turned around startled to see her standing there, her hands on her hips, lips pursed together, face flushed in anger.

Chapter Six

“Alex, what are you doing here?” Starsky asked, his face strained with surprise and anger all wrapped up together in a neat package.

“Didn’t expect to see me here, did you Dave?” Alex retorted quickly, walking by a group of employees in the kitchen, brushing rudely against one woman, nearly knocking her over. “Is this why you couldn’t meet me for dinner? This slut?!?” She exclaimed as Hutch took Sunny by the elbow, ushering her away from the scene and back towards the door, stopping just short of the threshold.

“Calm down Alex, you have no idea what you’re talking about.” Starsky moved towards his ex-lover, his hands raised in front of him, trying to quiet her down. “I think you should go home, I’ll call you later!”

“Don’t you dare tell me what to do!” She shouted back, her face flushing in anger, “I’m not the one having an affair with a tramp!”

Starsky’s brow furrowed, his patience worn out completely, he took another giant step towards her, his eyes rose briefly, darting around him, noting that just about everyone in the general proximity was staring at the couple. There were the two cooks in the kitchen, Huggy, Ellen the barmaid, one other waitress standing there, mouths agape in surprise at the situation that was playing gout in front of them. Starsky felt his temperature rise in embarrassment as he tried desperately to get Alex to leave quietly.

“I’m not having an affair Alex, I think you need to leave before…” his words were cut off abruptly.

“Before what?!?” She screamed, drawing the attention of others that were sitting in the bar, causing them to look at the couple through the doorway. “Tell me Dave, before what? What are you gonna do if I don’t leave? Arrest me? Hit me? What!?!?”

Starsky knew that this was not going to end quietly. He walked right up to her, taking her upper arm firmly in his strong hand, squeezing hard, and pulling her to the back of the place, out of the general population. She struggled slightly, trying to jerk her arm from his hold, causing him to increase the pressure of his grip.

“Stop it Alex,” he spouted as they reached the back door. “I’m gonna tell you this one more time! I am working a case here, an important one, and one that you are interfering with. Now the way I see it, you either leave here quietly, or you’ll be very sorry, you read me?” He stated, in a no nonsense tone, his voice unwavering and firm, his head tipped down as he looked up at her through his brow.

The hurt on Alex’s face was apparent, this was what she feared most, if given an ultimatum, her boyfriend would chose Hutch over her, how badly she wanted to be first in his life, for him to chose her first. Was that really so much to ask from a man that claimed he loved you?

“You wont sacrifice a damn thing for me, but you will lie and cover up for your junkie partner!?!” She shouted loudly as an unbearable silence blanketed the room.

Starsky looked up, scanning the room, locking eyes with his partner, the blonde’s eyes filled with pain and hurt that Starsky could feel deep inside his own soul. Hutch took Sunny, and halfway pushing her out the door, left the bar.

Out of nowhere, and totally catching him off guard, Starsky felt the burning sting of Alex’s hand, connecting with the side of his face, snapping his head to the side. He looked back at her, her eyes filled with tears of pain and sorrow as she raised her hand, cocking it back and springing it forward to slap him again. Just before her hand connected, Starsky caught her wrist in his strong hand, squeezing it tightly, causing her to gasp in pain as he forced her hand down to her side.

“Don’t you ever hit me again, or so help me God, I’ll take you in! You hear me?” Starsky threatened.

“Let go of me, you’re hurting my wrist.” Alex demanded.

Starsky looked over at the right side of the kitchen, seeing Ellen standing there staring at the couple. The brunet looked at Alex, “You promise not to hit me again, and leave quietly?” Starsky asked.

“Yes!” Alex answered sharply and Starsky released his grip, as she took her other hand and rubbed her wrist gingerly.

Alex took the strap of her purse that had fallen down to her forearm and lifted it over her shoulder. Straitening her shirt, she headed back towards the bar, prepared to make her exist, turning around, and looking over her shoulder, “Remember what I asked you Dave, about what people would think about you covering up for your partner? Guess we’re about to find out.” She spat as she turned quickly and continued out the door and through the bar, to the parking lot.

Starsky looked at her, then back at the direction where Hutch had left from the back, deciding to follow Hutch and let him know that he needed to go talk to Alex and try and stop her from doing anything stupid. His stomach was in knots, knowing that what had just transpired must of disappointed his friend greatly. He was almost apprehensive about approaching him, worried to see the look of hurt and pain that his mistake would cause the blond.

It was like he was nine again, and he was about to face his cross father, to accept a punishment he knew he deserved, it really didn’t make it any easier, knowing he deserved it and that he had let someone he loved down in the worst way possible.

He saw Hutch standing by the back door in the alley, walking up to him, his heart beginning to race as he neared his friend.

“Look Hutch…um…I need to go…I need to talk to Alex,” Starsky started, his eyes searching his partner’s for some sympathy, some understanding, something.

Hutch’s sky blue eyes, looked up, piercing Starsky’s heart, the pain and hurt stabbing him like a sharp knife in the back..

“Sure, Buddy,” Hutch put a sarcastic emphasis on his words that stung the brunet the second they were spoken, “but before you go, is there anything else you told Alex that I should know about?” He asked curtly.

“Hutch, m’sorry,” Starsky’s eyes pled with the man that meant more to him, then his own brother, “I didn’t mean to hurt you, it just sorta slipped out…” There was nothing but silence from both sides before Starsky spoke again, “you gotta believe me, I didn’t mean to hurt you, I made a mistake, and m’sorry.”

“Yeah well, whatcha gonna do about it huh?” Hutch asked rhetorically as he pushed away from the building and started to walk back inside.

“I can make sure she ain’t gonna tell no one else about it, that’s what I’m gonna do,” Starsky vowed to his partner.

“Yeah, and how you gonna do that partner, huh?” Hutch snapped back.

“M’ just gonna talk to her, reason with her, you’ll see. She’ll calm down, I know she will.” The brunet explained as Hutch looked over his shoulder at him.

“Yeah, well I sure in the hell hope so! You know as well as I do, if that gets out there, both you and I are up a creek without a paddle!” He growled as he disappeared through the doorway, Starsky standing there, watching as the door slowly came to a close, his best friend on the other side of a barrier that he himself had caused.

Starsky’s gut wrenched in a knot the size of Texas as he huffed angrily and then stormed off, jumping behind the wheel of his Torino, and speeding away, the tries squealing on a mission to stop someone from hurting the very person he had just devastated.

Hutch went inside and took Huggy aside, “Listen Hug, Starsky needed to take off and I need a car to get Sunny back to the station and myself home, think you can help me out with that?”

“Say no more, my brother from another mother, your wish is my command!” Huggy said slyly as he made his way behind the counter and collected a set of keys, tossing them at the tall Nordic who in turn, caught them, “White Caddy, parked on the side, just bring her back with a full tank.” The thin black man instructed as the Hutch walked over to Sunny who was sitting at the table.

The words that came from Alex’s mouth played over and over again in Hutch’s mind.

Junkie partner

He heard those words over and over again, resonating through his soul.

“Let’s go Sunny; I need to get you to a safe place.” Hutch instructed her, holding out his hand to help her up, trying to push back the hurt he was feeling.

Her face lit up as she stood next to him, Hutch cold see it, even through her black eye and split lip, she moved closer to him, snuggling in closer and closer, nearly lying her head against his chest, her hand coming up, her finger dancing across his torso, “What ever you say officer, your place or mine?”

Hutch reached down and took her hand in his, “Nothing like that Sunny, I don’t think the department would consider that ‘official business’”, he explained, watching the disappointment wash over her face, “I’m gonna take you to the station, and put you in protective custody.”

Why would Starsky tell her something like this, how could he have done this to him, to them.

Junkie Partner

“Well?” Sunny’s voice called him back to the here and now.

“Well what?” Hutch asked, not sure if he had missed part of the conversation.

“We gonna go, or are you just gonna stand here?” She asked, her hand once again reaching up to touch his chest feeling his heart beat, “You sure I can’t just go home with you?”

“Hate to break this to you, but its not going to happen sweetheart,” Hutch answered softly, raising his hand, taking her chin between his thumb and forefinger, turning her face to the side, examining her injuries, making sure she didn’t need any medical attention.

“What about your partner? Where’d he run off to?” She asked looking around the bar, “You know, you two play your cards right, and I may just be willing to give you a little something on the house.” She teased.

Satisfied that she was going to be fine, he let go over her chin, snorted in laughter, amazed that after what she had been through, she was still willing to do her ‘job’. He wondered how such a young and once pretty young woman, fell into this horrible lifestyle and if he was going to be able to ever save her from herself, as well as from Red.

“Let’s go,” Hutch quickly cut her off, taking her by the hand and leading her out of the building to the white Cadillac on the side of the establishment, opening the door and allowing her to get in the vehicle, and closing the door after her. All of her talking was giving the Detective a raging headache, and he couldn’t wait to get her to safety and enjoy some alone time after tonight’s turn of events.

00000

Starsky was thinking only of Hutch, he didn’t even notice where he was, he lost track after he couldn’t find Alex. He had no idea where she would go, everywhere he check turned up empty. He went by her house, and then just drove around, check out one of her friends’ places, after that he just drove around aimlessly, his mind focusing on the pain and anger he caused his friend and partner. He kept remembering that look in Hutch’s eyes, when Alex laid the bombshell on every patron at the Pitts.

Looking at his watch, his tired and burning eyes made out the hands, it was past 1 am. He decided to head back to his place, hoping that she would have called, left a message on his machine, something to tell him where to find her. Hell, maybe she would even be there waiting for him to show up. He drove the dark, damp and nearly vacant streets through Bay City, back to his place, a light mist covering his car, causing the paint to light up every time he passed under a streetlamp, the condensation of smoke coming from his exhaust in the chilly night’s air.

The expression of the hurt on Hutch’s face when Alex opened her mouth played again in Starsky’s mind. His anger building again as he slammed his fist painfully against the steering wheel cursing out as if someone was listening, “Fuck!”

How could he be so careless, sharing a secret that was meant to stay between him and his partner until the day they died, even Bernie, the cop in the ally that originally found Hutch, swore to secrecy, and here, the last person on earth that the tall blond would have expect too, betrayed him.. He was so disappointed in himself, if he could only turn back time; he would in a New York minute. Anything to get that look of hurt, pulled from being burned in his mind forever.

He pulled up to his place, immediately noting that her car was nowhere around. Alex wasn’t there waiting for him. He got out of his car, slamming the door and running up the stair to his place, seeing absolutely nothing different from when he left it earlier. Throwing his keys on the counter, he went straight into the kitchen, opened one cupboard and found a glass, in the next, found a bottle of dark amber liquid, and then popped open the fridge and grabbed an ice cold beer. Juggling all three in both arms, he made his way to the couch, setting everything down in front of him on the table.

Opening the bottle, he poured himself a shout of bourbon, slamming it quickly, enjoying the burn as the liquid made its way down his throat. He popped open the beer and took a swig before allowing the full taste of the strong liquor to engulf him.

He looked up at the phone, wanting to call Hutch, just to hear his voice, but then fearing what he might hear. He couldn’t face that, couldn’t face Hutch, until he fixed this, and he didn’t expect Hutch to be calling him anytime soon. Not after this major mess up.

He looked at his clock, nearly 2:30 “Where in the hell are you Alex?” he whispered in the dimly lit room.

Refilling the small glass and taking another shot of bourbon, he chased it with another swig of beer. Slowly, in the silence, he started to relax, allowing his body to be pulled into a light slumber, one he hoped he would wake from and realize this was all a bad dream.

Chapter Seven

The knock at the door roused the brunet detective from his peaceful slumber, causing him to lift up with a start. He sat bolt upright as he heard the sound of a key being put in his front door lock, and the handle turning.

The door slowly creaked open and his tall blond partner slowly walked through the threshold, peeking around the corner, his eyes lighting up when he saw his friend. For a brief moment, Starsky had forgotten about what had happened the night before, but then reality set back in, and his shoulders slumped forward.

“Hey, what are you doin’ here?” Starsky grumbled, his hand rubbing down the entire length of his face, trying desperately to rub away the sleep.

“Um, well…I thought I would check in on you, see how you’re holdin’ up?” Hutch said softly, his voice nearly a whisper as he closed the door to the apartment and walked into the living room.

“T’rrific,” Starsky muttered as he sighed heavily, knowing that the two needed to talk about last nights events.

Hutch scanned the empty beer bottle and half bottle of Bourbon on the coffee table, then looked back up at his partner, “Looks like you’re handling things just fine.” He quipped, then stopped his sarcastic tone, as if he was trying to convince himself not to be angry with his friend.

“Look Starsk, wanna tell me what happened last night?” Hutch asked as he picked up the empty beer can and the bottle of whiskey and headed to the kitchen with them.

“Whatya mean, what happened? You were there.” Starsky answered.

“No, I mean after you left, what happened?” Hutch came back into the living room, his movements reminding the brunet of a cat hunting its prey.

“Nuttin, I lost her. She wasn’t at her place, her friends place, nowhere. I finally gave up and came back here.” Starsky recounted what had happened as he stood and stretched, arching his back, trying to limber up his aching back muscles.

Hutch made his way over to his partner’s side, his brow furrowing, his heart heavy. “Listen Starsk, we need to talk…” he began.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know we do Hutch, I fucked up, fucked up big time, an’ I’m sorry.” Starsky spouted off, his eyes seeing his friend’s tired and drawn face, noting that this was no longer anger that Hutch was feeling but something more.

“That’s not what I want to talk about Buddy,” Hutch stopped his friend.

“What is it?”

“Better sit down Starsk…” Hutch encouraged, as he took a seat in the arm chair next to the couch, wringing his hands in front of him, searching his mind, trying to find the right words.

Starsky could tell by the tone in his friend’s voice and the look on his face that something bad had happened. He took a seat on the couch, his face now flooding with concern as he sat, his gaze fixed on Hutch’s face.

Finally, the blonde’s sky blue orbs lifted, locking with the brunet’s indigo ones.

“It’s Alex…um, they found Alex last night…” Hutch struggled through the words, stumbling.

“What do you mean, found her?”

“Starsk…she’s dead, they found her body in the alleyway by Huggy’s early this morning.” Hutch said solemnly.

“What? How can that be Hutch?” Starsky’s mind fought the haze that threatened to consume him, “What the hell happened?”

“Geez, I’m sorry buddy,” Hutch reached across and grabbed his partner’s forearm, squeezing it firmly for support.

“Who did this Hutch?”

“They don’t know yet Starsk, but I promise we’ll get to the bottom of this, I swear. We will.”

“How’d, I mean…what…you know…killed her?” Starsky swallowed the lemon size lump in his throat that was growing rapidly.

“Well, from what Dobey told me when he called, she had multiple contusions, on her torso and legs…um…” Hutch became more agitated, wiping his hand across his mouth and then locking eyes with the brunet, “and her throat Starsk, her throat was slashed…”

Starsky inhaled deeply, his stomach contents beginning to rise as he stood and started pacing the room, “I don’t get it, I mean, this just doesn’t make sense, who woulda done something like this?” Starsky started firing off the questions.

His mind was racing, the last thoughts he had was who and why. She hadn’t harmed anyone, briefly he mind wandered to Red, flashing back to a time in his life when someone he loved, was killed by a man who was merely angry with him. A bullet to the head, had taken her life, and ripped her from Starsky’s. It had been a long time before he was allowed to let his guard down and let another woman into his heart and now this was happening again, he felt cursed, responsible for bringing this type of devastation on anyone he chose to care about. It was only a matter of time before he lost Hutch too.

“Hutch,” Starsky spat, “I gotta see her, I wanna go to the morgue, just one last time Hutch, I wanna tell her I’m sorry and say goodbye.”

“You sure you wanna do that Starsk?”

“I have to Hutch, I really do.” The blond saw the pain in his partner’s eyes and could tell he was barely holding it together. With that, Starsky turned on his heals and headed to his bathroom, closing the door behind him.

Hutch let out a heavy sigh, his head pounded due to stress and lack of sleep. He had barely gotten to sleep when he received the call from Dobey, informing him about Alex.

Hutch sat there, waiting for Starsky to get out of the bathroom, ideas, thoughts and synopsis’s running through his mind. It didn’t make any sense, none of it did.

Starsky and she had been dating for several months. Then there was Red, how did he fit into all of this and why her? If Red was involved, then why Alex? Why not Sunny?

Then the one question he had been avoiding, the fight between her and Starsky last night at Huggy’s, there were many witnesses, he knew this would come out in the investigation. He didn’t want to worry Starsky, but he knew this was not going to be easy on him.

The curly haired detective walked out of his bedroom, dressed, buttoning up his shirt ready to leave.

“Ready Hutch, lets go.” Starsky said determined as he walked towards his front door, jacket in hand.

“Hey Starsk, can I ask you a question?” Hutch requested.

Starsky read his friend and responded quickly, “I know what you’re gonna ask me, and I was alone all night, I never saw Alex after Huggy’s and I have no one to prove it or corroborate my story.”

“Well, I just thought it would be easier if you had an alibi.” Hutch answered.

“Hutch, I got nuttin to hide, now can we just go please?” Starsky pled and Hutch nodded in agreement as the headed to the door.

“You bet, I was just trying to help, who knows, by the time we are done, maybe Dobey will have come up with something.

The blond held the door opened for his friend, waiting for him to exit, locking the handle and pulling it closed behind him. Hutch knew his friend was worried, there was a lot said at Huggy’s, a lot of hurt and anger that was displayed. He knew his friend better then anyone else, and he knew that Starsky felt bad for the way things ended, and that he didn’t have a chance to make things up, or make peace with Alex. He knew that Starsky hated that things ended this way, and he was sure that the brunet would do everything in his power to find whoever was responsible for he murder. Hutch just hoped it had nothing to do with the case they were working on, Starsky had already lost one woman he loved due to the job he did, he wasn’t sure he would survive losing another one, and going through the process of blaming himself for it.

00000

It was never easy, no matter how many bodies they saw and had to identify, but this time, it was even more personal. Nothing would ever wash away or change the feeling they felt when they walked into the cold sterile morgue. The walls were white and tiled; the cold concrete floors echoed each footstep, the long corridor seemed even longer as Starsky felt his heart beating, his pulse pounding in his temples. He pushed through the stainless steal swinging doors, into the Coroner’s office.

The man sitting behind the cheap metal desk was small, his horn rimmed glasses, pushed up high on his nose. He looked up to greet the detectives, holding what appeared to be a chart in his hand.

“Hey Charlie, how’s it going?” Hutch asked, as they exchanged hellos, and Starsky said nothing, but silently made his way over to the table in the center of the room. A white sheet covered an obviously female body, her light colored hair peeking out from the top of the sheet. Starsky knew this was Alex; he looked down the length of her body, his stomach knotting as he saw the toe tag attached to her foot.

Hutch quickly moved to Starsky’s side, wanting to be there for his friend. The brunet took a deep breath and pulled back the sheet, exposing Alex’s face, the gray/blue color of her skin, her eyes closed, almost peaceful. He looked downward, seeing the slit across her neck. He quickly let the sheet fall back across her face as he turned on his heels and stepped away, his hand coming up to his face, scrubbing the entire length of it.

Starsky’s mind quickly wandered over the past few months, the good times he shared with Alex, and the bad times.

Hutch joined him, tipping his head down, trying to read his partner’s expression, “You okay there buddy?” He asked his voice soft and soothing.

“Um, yeah, yeah…m’fine,” Starsky responded, almost like he had just been brought back to reality.

“C’mon, let’s get outta here pal.” Hutch coaxed the curly haired detective as they both made their way towards the door.

Hutch reached up, pulling open the swinging door, looking back at the man sitting at the desk, “Thanks Charlie,” He said cordially as he heard his partner gasp.

Turning to look in front of them to see what his friend was reacting to, he found himself sucking in a lung full of air as he saw a tall curly haired fair skinned IA investigator standing in front of the, smiling smugly.

“Simonetti.” Hutch said with the sound of pure disdain and disgust, “What the hell are you doing here?” he asked.

“Well, you’re a college boy Hutchinson, why don’t you try to figure this one out on your own!” The man hissed as he made his way past both officers and into the morgue, turning back to look at the duo, “After all, your partner had a huge fight with his girlfriend causing a public scene, and hours later she winds up dead? You don’t think this is a case that IA should concern themselves with?”

“You son of a bitch,” Hutch spat as he took a step towards the nauseating man, “what are you tryin’ to say? You think Starsky had something to do with this?”

Hutch felt a firm hand grasp his forearm, applying pressure, stopping him from advancing forward.

“Now I didn’t say that did I Detective?” Simonetti said sarcastically. “But now that you mention it,” the tall lanky man moved towards the brunet, “care to tell be about that nasty fight you had at the Pits?”

“Go fuck yourself Simonetti,” Starsky growled, giving him a sideways glare, before looking back at his partner.

“You know as well as I do, you wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for the fact that you have it in for Starsky and me,” the angry Nordic added, his sky blue eyes angrily staring down the IA man. “If it were any other cop on the force, you wouldn’t be so quick to jump, now would ya?”

“Well, I guess your both just lucky!” The man said through his smile, his mouth barely moving as he spoke through his teeth. “So tell me Starsky, just how mad at her were you?”

“I don’t haveta tell you a damn thing Simonetti, and you know it,” Starsky said, his voice low and tired, the stress of the events wearing heavily on the brunet’s shoulders. He looked back at his partner, “C’mon Hutch, lets get the hell outta here.”

“Okay buddy, I hear ya,” Hutch agreed as they both started to walk back towards the door.

Detective Starsky,” Simonetti called out to him causing the brunet to look back over her shoulder, “Just make sure you make yourself available to me and my men for questioning, should we see fit, do I make myself clear?”

“Crystal!” Starsky snapped as he looked back at Hutch, his eyes begging his partner to let it go, seeing how bad Hutch wanted to say something in retaliation.

Hutch again opened the door and both officers disappeared through them, and down the hallway, walking fast, wanting to get out of there quickly and get working on the case themselves, trying to figure out who would have done this to her, and wanting to bring them to justice. Both partners had one common goal, clear Starsky’s name and find her killer.

Chapter Eight

The red Torino sped through the streets of Bay City, the radio crackling to life.

Zebra three this is dispatch…come in Zebra three.” Mildred’s voice squeaked over the airwaves.

Hutch reached for the mic, pulling it to his mouth, “Go ahead dispatch, this is Zebra three.”

Zebra Three, please hold…patching you through to Captain Dobey…”

“10-4, dispatch.” Hutch answered.

Both Starsky and Hutch looked out of the corner of their eyes at each other, knowing that it was only a matter of time before their superior called them in. Fact of the matter was, they were on their way there.

Before long, Dobey’s booming voice came across the radio, “Is this Hutchinson, or Starsky?”

“It’s me Cap’n, Hutch.” The blond responded.

Where’s your partner?”

“Right here Cap.”

Well I suggest you both get your butts in here pronto! We need to have a little chat.”

“We’re already on our way.” Hutch informed him, looking over at the brunet, Starsky tipping his head slightly in agreement.

Make it fast.” Dobey snapped.

“Yes sir,” Hutch said as he placed the receiver back on the hook as Starsky hit the accelerator and the car jumped into action.

Starsky looked straight ahead, knowing the sound of his Captain’s voice, he knew that Dobey had already heard about Alex’s murder, and he was sure that is what he would want to talk to them about. Everything was racing through his mind, everything was so messed up. How did it get like this?

He thought back to when he met Alex for the first time, he felt like a teenager again, his heart fluttering when getting ready for a date with her, his stomach knotting in anticipation. In the beginning, she was never jealous of his and Hutch’s relationship, at least not until the last week or so. There were subtle signs, but things he never picked up on until now.

That is when he decided he couldn’t see her anymore; it was time to move on, the woman he settled down with and stayed with would have to accept Hutch as well. In a sense, she would be dating them both.

The drive to the station was a silent one, the brunet thought about the fight the night before and what he said to her. All of his life he had gotten into trouble with his mouth, and this situation would be no exception. He was screwed.

“Hey Hutch, you never told me what happened with Sunny last night.” Starsky asked his partner, looking over at him, knowing that he was also trying to figure this out himself.

“I brought her down to the station last night, Millie took her in and booked her into protective custody, last I heard, she was headed to lock up. Safest place she could be right now, solitary confinement, until we nail Red’s ass to the wall.” Hutch explained.

They pulled into the garage, Starsky parking his car in the first open stall, throwing the vehicle into park and turning off the engine. Hutch reached for the passenger door, throwing it on, and threading his long leg out, placing it on the asphalt. He felt an arm on his shoulder stopping him, causing him to look back over his shoulder and into his partner’s indigo eyes.

“We need to talk about what I did Hutch, I mean telling Alex about….well you know…” Starsky found it difficult for him to bring himself to admit what he had done, the trust he had betrayed.

“Forget about it Starsk, its over.” Hutch stated shortly.

“I can’t forget about it, I let you down an’ I know it.” Starsky tapped his hand on his steering wheel, looking vacantly out the windshield, “I’m not even sure how I let it slip, or why, but I know I fucked up…an’….an’ I don’t know how to tell you m’sorry.” He finished, his hand coming up to his face, wiping his nose, trying to desperately to hide his emotions.

“You’re right,” Hutch agreed, “You fucked up big time, no lets get inside before Dobey rips us both a new one” he finished, letting out a huff as he climbed out of the car, bending in half and looking in the car at his partner, “but we’ll get through this, we’ve been through worse.” He concluded and then closed the door and waited patiently for Starsky to collect himself and get out of the car too.

Both detectives headed inside the station, and straight up to the third floor, making their way into the squad room. Dobey was in the center of the room. All eyes looked up at the duo as the entered, Johnson Sergeant Third Class, was the first to approach the brunet, extending his hand out, “Starsk, I’m so sorry to hear about Alex, my wife and I send our condolences to you an’ her family.” He spoke in a very monotone voice.

For a brief moment, Starsky felt the wind being knocked out of him, as reality crashed down on the brunet, another Detective walked up behind Johnson, patting Starsky on the shoulder, “Me too buddy, I was shocked to hear about it, be sure to let us know if we can do anything,” he said as he was passing by.

Hutch immediately saw how uncomfortable his partner was becoming; attention was never something Starsky craved, especially in under these circumstances.

“Yeah thanks Smithers,” Starsky mumbled as more well wishers approached him.

“Starsky, Hutchinson, in my office now!” Dobey commanded, trying to get both men out of the situation as well as wanting to speak with them privately before anyone else had a chance to question.

The partners quickly made their way to their superior’s office, feeling the eyes of the room boring holes into their backs. Entering the small room, Hutch closed the door behind them, Dobey making his way around his modest desk, tossing a folder on its top, looking up at the pair, pulling up his pants by the belt and sighing heavily.

“Listen Starsk, I share the other officer’s sentiments, and want to extend my deepest sympathy to you in regards to losing Alex,” he started, keeping a very professional tone in his voice.

“Thanks Cap,” Starsky answered, plopping his weary body into one of the yellow vinyl chairs.

“As you probably know by now, Simonetti from IA is all over this one,” The rotund man explained.

“Yeah Cap, we already know, had a run in with him at the morgue,” Hutch responded.

“Sorry about that, but you know I can’t do anything about it, it’s out of my hands.” He explained. “Seems there was some talk about you two being on the outs and some fight at Huggy’s, well you both know Simonetti has been just itchin’ to nail both of your asses to the wall, and he jumped on this one faster then a fence trying to off hot merchandise!”

Starsky and Hutch both smiled and nodded, knowing that their Captain could do little if not nothing about the IA officer who had it in for the duo since their first encounter when he was sure that Hutch had killed his ex-wife. Simonetti had been proven wrong then, embarrassed in the department, and had been just waiting and looking for anything to get these two detective on, any technicality, any policy infringement, anything at all. Dobey was convinced that Simonetti had devoted the rest of his career to follow Starsky and Hutch around, and try to bring either one, or both of them to their knees, and he was afraid that one of these days, he just may do it.

“Cap, do you know anything, I mean….as far as Alex’s death…what do you now about it?” Hutch asked as he leaned forward in his chair, his brow furrowing, searching his Captain’s face for answers.

“All I know is that I got the call about 3 am. Once they had identified her body and the department found out she was tied to one of our officers, they of course contacted me. One of the waitresses at Huggy’s was taking out trash to the dumpster and found her body in the alley. As you know she suffered multiple contusions and someone slit her throat. They estimated her time of death to be somewhere around midnight.” Dobey reported, looking over at Starsky, watching as he wiped his hand down his face.

Hutch looked over at his partner’s form, sitting in the chair, slouched and seemingly defeated. He looked weary and stressed, his eyes blinking as he fought back his emotions.

“Look son,” Dobey’s voice caught Hutch’s attention as their superior talked to the brunet, “I know this isn’t easy for you, but I need you to tell me everything.”

Starsky looked up at his Captain. “Whatya wanna know Cap?” he mumbled.

“There were several witnesses at the bar last night, said you and Alex got into it,” The large black man begun, “said it was a pretty nasty fight.”

“Yeah, and?” Starsky’s gaze shifted between his partner and Dobey.

“And, I think you know where I am headed with this,” Dobey snapped back, “I need to know where you were last night, every minute of it, and if anyone can corroborate your story.”

The curly haired detective sighed noisily, allowing his head to fall back slightly before popping back forward to face the man behind the desk, “After Alex took off outta the Pitt’s I took off after her. I drove around for about an hour and a half, couldn’t find her, checked her place, she wasn’t there either. So finally I went back to my place and was there until Hutch showed up this morning.”

“What time did you and Starsky leave Huggys’s Hutchinson?” Dobey asked.

“Well Starsk left about 9 and I left about 15 minutes later, brought Sunny here to the station, was here till about 1030 and then I went home.” Hutch answered the questions directly and straight forward.

Dobey looked back at Starsky, “That’s it, nothing else?” Dobey asked, just trying to confirm, knowing that Simonetti was going to be much harder on the brunet then he was being.

“That’s it! Nuttin’ else!” Starsky shouted angrily, “So what? I guess now I’m a suspect now? Is that what you’re tryin’ to tell me Cap?” he snapped as Hutch stood and moved behind his partner, grabbing his shoulder in his strong hand and squeezing firmly, showing support.

“Looky here Starsky!” Dobey yelled, his pudgy hand raising, pointing his index finger at his officer, “I’m not your enemy here, I am trying to help, so you just better calm down and get your temper in control before Simonetti decides to question you.”

“Fuck Simonetti Cap!” Starsky snapped back.

“Dammit Starsky, that is exactly what I’m talking about. You two get outta here and go on home, I’ll deal with IA.” Dobey ordered them both.

Starsky and Hutch both popped up from their chairs, wanting to get out of their quickly as Starsky was the first to get to the door. He reached out with his hand, jerking it open, his eyes growing wide as he saw Simonetti’s profile, the tall man standing there, obviously his ear pressed up against the door before it had been opened.

“What the hell?” Hutch gasped as Simonetti turned to face them, his skin flushing in embarrassment.

“Whatsa matter Simonetti,” Starsky began as Dobey rose and moved to stand beside his detective, not sure if the hot tempered brunet was going to wind up swinging at his nemesis, “havin’ ta resort to eavesdroppin’ is low, even by IA’s standards, wouldn’t you agree Hutch?” Starsky’s voice was calm and even.

“I’d say so buddy.” Hutch answered, impressed with how Starsky handled it, fully expecting his friend to throw at least one punch.

“Yeah? Well if I was you Starsky, I’d save my smartass remarks for the boys in the pen, you just never know when it may come in handy with some con wanting to make you his next bitch.” Simonetti retorted as Hutch took one step closer to the tall IA officer, causing him to flinch.

“Let it go Hutch, he ain’t worth it.” Starsky stopped his partner, raising his hand and putting an arm on his friends shoulder, pulling him back.

“And just where do you think you are going detective? Me and my partner have a few questions to ask you...”Simonetti hissed as a second man entered the room, both men looking Starsky up and down.

Chapter Nine

“Yeah, well whatya wanna know?” Starsky asked defiantly as he stood. arched back, head tipped up and looking down his nose at Simonetti.

“How about starting with your whereabouts last night,” Simonetti hissed.

“What time?” The brunet decided he was not going to make this easy for the IA detective and was going to make him work for every answer he got.

“Let’s say around midnight, around the time your girlfriend drew her last breath. Is that specific enough for you Detective?” Simonetti asked the hot tempered officer.

“You sayin’ Starsk here is a suspect?” Hutch asked, his eyes narrowing in anger.

“Should he be?” Simonetti’s partner spoke up, drawing the attention off of the tall lanky IA man.

“Look here, why don’t we all just calm down here, and let go of the pissing match?” Dobey’s voice bellowed. “Nothing is gonna get settled if we all lose our tempers.”

“Why don’t you just answer my question detective?” Simonetti repeated.

“I was home….alone!” Starsky snapped as he pushed past the man, heading for the door.

“Alone, as in no witnesses?”

“You’re smarter then you look Simonetti!” Starsky quipped.

Hutch followed Starsky to the threshold of the door as the brunet looked back, “now if you have no other questions, I have work to do, planning a funeral.” He spat as he turned and stormed out of Dobey’s office and down the hall, Hutch right on his heels.

Both Starsky and Hutch made their way to the garage, into his car and headed for the Pit’s, Hutch afraid to strike up any conversation, not wanting to set his friend off on a tirade. He knew Starsky was under a tremendous amount of pressure and if he wasn’t careful the brunet would crack!

They made the trip through Bay City mostly in silence, with only an occasional sigh or simple mundane and idle chat. Starsky pulled his Torino around back, parking in the alley. As the both got out of the car and headed towards the back door, stopping dead in his tracks as he looked over at the dumpster. Hutch immediately noticed his partner’s hesitation and moved towards his side.

“Hey Buddy, you okay?” Hutch asked in his soft and calm voice, instantly filling his partner with some sort of comfort and consolation.

“They found her right over there hutch.” Starsky stated in a very matter of fact type tone.

“I know Starsk, I know, come on, lets get inside,” Hutch stated put his arm on his friends shoulder and guided him away from the vicinity and towards Huggy’s place of business, opening the back door and allowing Starsky to enter first.

They entered the back door of the bar, passing through the kitchen to make their way to the main room.

Huggy spotted them and moved to greet them quickly.

“Hey, hey, hey there compadres…how’s it all hangin’?” Huggy spouted off before turning somber and looking at the brunet. “Man Starsk, I am so sorry about Alex, I just don’t know what to say, when it comes to women, there is definitely a dark cloud following you around my friend.”

“Tell me about it Hug,,,” Starsky answered, looking around the bar, in search of someone.

The curly haired detective looked across the smoke filled room, seeing Ellen waiting on a table, serving a tray full of drinks. He looked over at his partner, “I’ll be right back, just gimme a minute.” He asked as he walked away.

Making his way across the room, he finally made it to Ellen who was already almost behind the bar by the time he reached her.

“Hey there Ellen,” his voice nearly cracked with that one sentence. “How are you doing tonight?” he asked, simply trying to strike up a semi-normal conversation.

“Starsk, m’ good, how you holding up?” She asked, her doe like eyes boring into his, “I was really worried about you, it’s good to see you here tonight honey.”

He leaned against the bar, his elbows propped him up as her hand gently reached across and touched his, squeezing it gently.

“M’ okay Ellen, really….I’m fine….” He said, swallowing hard, knowing he was lying, he wasn’t really fine, not yet at least. “Listen, I wanted to talk to you about last night…”

“Tryin’ to get your stories straight Detective?” The hissing sound of Simonetti’s voice resonated in the brunet’s ear causing him to turn around quickly and face the tall curly haired blond.

“What the hell are you doin’ here?” Starsky asked angrily.

“I was about to ask you the same question, you know it’s a crime to interfere with an ongoing investigation.” The IA man retorted sharply with a half smile, knowing he was getting to the Homicide detective.

“Yeah? Well so is stalking, but that hasn’t stopped you. Whatsa matter? You get off seeing me around every corner?” Starsky responded quickly, not missing a beat.

“You plannin’ on taking another swing at me Starsky?” Simonetti asked, standing straight, arching his back slightly.

“If I was you, I wouldn’t be askin’ for it.” The cocky brunet answered right before his blond partner stepped in between the two men.

“Alright, alright…how about you two just takin’ it easy…no need for this to come to blows.” Hutch tried to reason.

“Speak for yourself,” Starsky snapped at his friend, “Simonetti here seems to like ridin’ my ass, thought I’d make him pay for the ride.” He fumed as he took a step towards the IA man.

“Look Starsk, just let it go, he isn’t worth it,” Hutch tried to convince the hot tempered partner of his, pushing him back.

“Like I said, speak for yourself, m’sure it’ll make me feel a helluva lot better.”

Hutch looked back at Simonetti, watching him smirk, enjoying the rise he was getting out of Starsky.

“If I were you Simonetti, I’d back off, I won’t be able to control my partner for long, you hear me?” Hutch warned, his brow furrowing at the tall Investigator, “and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t stand a chance against him.”

“Pretty sure?” Starsky interjected quickly, mocking his own partner.

Hutch looked at his friend, smiled and looked back at Simonetti, “Make that very sure!”

“At’s better.” Starsky stated smugly.

Starsky looked back at Ellen who was watching this all unfold in front of her, she smiled coyly at the brunet who winked back.

“I’ll catch ya later schweetheart,” Starsky said with his best bogie impression before turning on his heels and walking away, with Hutch right behind him.

Simonetti turned back to Ellen, grinning widely, “So, wanna tell me about last night?” he hissed.

00000

Starsky dropped Hutch off at his place and drove straight home, ready to have a beer, relax and call it a day. He climbed the stairs to his apartment, made his way inside and shucked off his jacket, tossing it over the back of the couch. He let his keys drop on the end table near the couch as he quickly un-tucked his shirt from the waistband of his jeans and begun rolling up his sleeves, all the while walking towards the kitchen.

Jerking open the fridge, he reached in and grabbed a can of Coors beer, popping it open simultaneously. He made his way back to the living room, dropping himself heavily on the couch just as his telephone began to ring. He nearly hopped up to answer it, but thought twice about it and decided to let it ring, he was wiped out and whatever it was could wait until tomorrow. Sighing heavily he finished his beer and then made his way to the bathroom for a long hot shower.

In the shower, he heard the phone ringing vaguely in the distance, but decided to enjoy how the hot pulsing water felt, pounding against his back, finishing and then making his way to his bedroom, dressing and relaxing back on his bed. Next thing he knew he was drifting off into a restful sleep.

00000

The shrill sound of the phone sliced cruelly through the brunet’s slumber, causing him to wake with a start, sitting up in bed. Inhaling deeply, he reached over onto his nightstand and grabbing the phone and placing the receiver to his ear.

“M’ello?” He grumbled, his voice raspy.

Pausing briefly as he listened to the voice on the other end, his eyes lit up, his brow furrowed.

“Whoa, whoa…just calm down Ellen, where are you?” He asked, waiting for her answer.

“When did this happen?” He continued.

She responded.

“Ok, ok….just stay where you are, I’ll be there in about 15 minutes….yeah, yeah…don’t worry, I’ll come alone, just wait for me, ya hear?” The brunet finished and hung up the phone forcefully, swinging his legs off the bed, and hitting the ground running.

He immediately found his jeans and t-shirt, changing quickly, grabbing his keys and rushing out the door.

00000

The tall blonde’s phone, jerked him right out of his warm and fuzzy dream. Hutch reached over clumsily and retrieved the phone, eyes still closed he groaned.

“Hello?” he spoke with a definite air of irritability in his tone.

Hutchinson, s’that you?” The urgency in Dobey’s voice caught the blond off guard.

“S’me Cap, what’s goin’ on? What’s wrong?” Hutch asked, his heart race increasing already, merely by the sound of his superiors voice.

I need to know where your partner is, I tried to call his place and he isn’t answering. Is he there with you?”

“No Cap, not here, I tried to call him earlier, but there was no answer, I assumed maybe he took a drive, went to clear his head…” Hutch thought about it and a got a hallow feeling in the pit of his stomach, “Whatsa matter Cap, why you wantin’ to know where Starsk is?”

Just answer the question Hutch, when was the last time you saw him?”

“Ok wait, you’re scaring me cap…dammit tell me what is goin’ down.”

Simonetti was attacked tonight, he’s in the hospital….of course, he claims your partner had something to do with it.” Dobey finally answered, getting silence from the other end.

“You’ve got to be kidding me? You know he had nothing to do with this.” Hutch protested, his heart racing even faster now, sitting up in his bed. “I’m heading over to his place right now Cap, I’ll call you when I get there.” Hutch snapped as he hung up and jumped out of his bed, getting dressed in record time, and heading for his partner’s apartment.

00000

Starsky knocked on Ellen’s front door, pausing for a brief moment before ringing the doorbell…still no answer. He jiggled the door handle, surprised to find it unlocked as he turned the knob and opened the door slowly.

Peeking his head inside, he immediately noticed an over turned table and a lamp smashed on the ground. He quickly drew his weapon, looked around the room and cautiously entered her cozy apartment.

“Ellen?” He called out for her, getting nothing in return.

He moved further into the apartment, holding his Beretta in both hands, for support.

“Ellen!!!” He shouted again, waving his gun around in all directions, prepared for any kind of attack that may be awaiting him.

His brow furrowed his heart rate increasing as he could feel the sweat start to bead up on his forehead.

“Dammit!” He growled as he made his way through her place and towards the bedroom, the thoughts of Alex’s body, her sliced throat, replaying over and over again in his mind.

He noted the condition of her bedroom, the comforter and pillow pulled off the bed, haphazardly strewn across the floor.

Carefully he entered the room, his eyes darting every which way, his stomach knotting. Just as he moved to the other side of the bed, he saw a large blood stain on the carpet. Swallowing hard, he bent down, touching it, still barely moist, and sticky. It wasn’t real recent, it had been there for several hours, and he had just talked to her minutes earlier on the phone.

Standing quickly, he reached for the phone on the nightstand, quickly jamming the receiver to his ear, his finger began frantically dialing a number as he felt a blinding blow to the back of his head, followed by a flash of light, his knees giving out beneath him as he crashed to the floor, his whole world plunged into complete and utter darkness.

Chapter Ten

Hutch used his own key and unlocked the door to Starsky’s apartment. Entering cautiously, he scanned the living room, nothing was out of place. The brunet was a neat freak and rarely had Hutch ever seen one item askew in his abode.

“Starsk, you here?” Hutch shouted out as he entered and closed the door behind him.

There was no answer.

He continued to make his way to his friend’s bedroom, seeing his unmade bed, and kwne immediately that his partner left in a hurry, for one reason or another, he left is such a hurry that he didn’t even take the time to pull up his covers, which was out character for him.

He checked the bathroom, finding nothing, turned on his heels and headed back to the living room, meeting up with Simonetti’s partner, Detective Anderson and two uniformed officers entering the residence..

“What the hell are you doing here?” Hutch snapped angrily.

“Where’s your partner?” Anderson retorted sharply

“Answer my question, what the hell are you doing here?” Hutch repeated.

“Look Hutchinson, I don’t know if you are aware of this or not, but I don’t have to answer to you. I have a warrant to bring Detective Starsky in for questioning, and I intend to do just that.”

“Questioning for what?”

“The attack of an IA officer.” Anderson answered, shoving a piece of paper in the tall blonde’s hands.

“You mean Simonetti? You gotta be kidding me!” Hutch quipped, his face flushing in anger.

“That’s exactly what I mean! Now if you have any idea where your partner is, I suggest you start talking.” Anderson growled.

“Even if I did know where he was, I sure in the hell wouldn’t tell you guys! This is just ridiculous!” Hutch spouted as he pushed his way towards the door. He looked back over his shoulder right before exiting the premises, “You guys want him, you’re gonna have to find him yourselves.” He stated curtly as he swung around and raced outside, down the steps and to his car.

Anderson watched Hutch as his vehicle peeled away from the curb, an unmarked vehicle promptly following him.

00000

Starsky’s head throbbed, pulsing in time with his heartbeat, the pain making him nauseous. He opened his eyes, closing them quickly as the room swam in and out of focus causing him to nearly lose any stomach contents he had left over from lunch the day before.

He pulled desperately at his arms, they would only move so far before feeling resistance. He tugged harder, just to feel pain around both wrists. He tried the same thing with his legs, meeting the same fate.

His heart began to race faster, just increasing the pain in his head; he felt a slight panic setting in as he tugged again on his legs and arms. The foundation beneath him was soft and comfortable, he heard the clanking of metal when he tugged against his arms, and felt the familiar feeling of cuffs encircling his wrists as both arms were drawn up together at a point above his head. His legs were fastened in the same way, only not by cuffs, he could tell that ropes bound his ankles as he struggled and fought against his restraints.

He attempted to open his eyes again, blinking rapidly, then opening wide, trying to stop the movement of his surroundings, all while fighting the urge to vomit. The bright lights that flooded the room nearly blinded him as he fought to shield his eyes the only way he could, tilting his head awkwardly.

Starsky closed his eyes again, thinking back, trying to retrieve the last thing he remembered, it finally hit him, he remembered Ellen’s frantic call, and then entering her apartment. Instantly, his fear for his own safety subsided and he was now worried about Ellen instead. Was she okay? Where was she? What was so important that she had to see him immediately?

He looked around the room, pulling against his restraints, trying to loosen them but feeling the cuffs tighten around his wrists instead, the metal cutting into his flesh uncomfortably.

A strange crackling noise floated through the room, muffled noises, something that he could make out as being replayed on tape. The sounds of struggling, whimpering, sobbing, slapping and more crying filled the room. A distorted voice, an intentionally distorted voice wafted through the air. Starsky struggled to lift his head; he saw the tape recorder sitting on a night stand near the door.

Please…why are you d…doing this…t…too me…?”

Starsky’s heart leapt into his throat, he immediately recognized Alex’s voice on the recording. A deep robotic voice, that was obviously being spoken through a some type of modify was a little difficult to make out as he strained to listen, a part of him, wanting to tape to stop.

You little bitch, you never cared about Dave, you were never good enough for him, and now…m’gonna make you pay for hurting him.”

The attacker threatened.

The sounds of struggle and more hitting and flesh on flesh contact resonated through the room as Starsky swallowed hard, he heard Alex scream, gasping to catch her breath as she was being battered.

There was a silence that made Starsky uneasy, he heard steps on the tape, he heard Alex sobbing although the sound was somewhat muffled.

I want you to tell Dave you’re sorry…” The warbled voice demanded.

“What am….I sorry….for? Please just tell me, I’ll do what ever you say!”

Another squeal as a hand contacted with some part of Alex’s body.

You never should have been with him, you hurt him, and tried to hurt his best friend, and I for one am going to make you pay for that.’

“Please…please…don’t hurt me anymore…I am sorry…I am sorry I hurt him, and I hurt Ken…” Alex gasped.

You fucking bitch, you almost cost him his job, you almost cost him his friendship. You deserve to die for what you have done to him.”

“No….no….no…oh my God no…I would never have done what I threatened to do, I loved Dave, I just wanted him to love me as much as I loved him, that’s all, I swear…please let me go.”

Like you were willing to let Dave go? Now tell him you’re sorry. He’s listening, I want him to hear you beg for your life.”

“Dave…p…please forgive me…m’so sorry. Y…you didn’t deserve what I d…did to you, I was wrong, and…I wish I could make things right.” Alex’s trembling voice stuttered.

You may not be able to make things right, but I can…”

The voice stated as Starsky heard a blood curdling scream, followed by the sound of Alex struggling, a gurgling sound, Starsky knew that her throat had been slit and she was now choking on her own blood.

“Oh God…Oh God…Oh God….” Starsky chanted, his stomach cramping in knots as he realized he had just heard his ex-girlfriend, a woman he cared a great deal about at one time, just take her last breaths, listened as her heart stopped beating. He knew he was dealing with someone so sick to actually tape the murder and play it for him, for what, revenge?

Immediately his mind wandered to Big Red, thinking that he and his men would have everything they needed to carry this out, opportunity and motive. His anger grew as he pulled harder against his restraints, screaming out at no one he could see. The room was empty, but he knew that he was being watched.

“You son of a bitch! Come out and face me like a man you sick fuck!” He shouted, his body writhing and twisting on the mattress. “You’re real brave against a woman, lets see what kind of balls you really have, untie me and lets go.”

Silence, not a sound, he paused briefly before releasing his ire again.

“COME ON!!!!! I fucking dare you, take me on, I’ll even let you take the first shot you mother fucker!”

Still silence.

“Show yourself!!!” Starsky screamed, exerting the last of his energy, his face red with anger and raw emotion.

He knew that whoever had kidnapped him had just played a tape, a tape of his recent girlfriend’s death. He heard Alex plead for her life, all of her pleas falling on deaf ears as the person responsible for her demise, cruelly killed her, actually recording every moment of the end of her life.

The curly haired brunet knew that he was dealing with an extremely sick individual who would stop at nothing to get what they wanted, someone that had a definite grudge against him, and even possibly Hutch. His mind raced as several people crossed entered his thoughts. He attempted to recall all present and past people that he and Hutch had caused to have a personal vendetta against them. The list was endless.

His thoughts were interrupted as he heard the knob of the door being turned and the door slowly creak open.

Craning his head around, straining to try and see who was entering the room; his heart started beating faster as he tried to prepare himself for the unexpected. The pain in his head made it nearly impossible to focus. He inhaled and exhaled deeply as he saw the back of his captor’s frame. They were wearing blue jeans and a large oversized jacket complete with a hood that was pulled up and over their head.

“Why’d you haveta kill her?” He growled, “she di’nt do nuttin to ya’.”

His question was answered with silence as the small framed person made their way into the adjacent bathroom. Starsky could hear as the anonymous person ran the water in the sink.

“Whata ya’ want with me?” the brunet continued to try and get answers. “Answer me dammit!” His anger was beginning to take over, his fear subsiding as he allowed himself to try his hardest to get any type of reaction from his visitor.

The running water stopped as Starsky’s eyes widened as he heard the person’s footsteps coming closer. His heart nearly stopped as he saw the woman appear in the doorway.

Ellen’s silhouette appeared, the light from the bathroom malevolently illuminating behind her.

“What the…” Starsky’s words were cut off as she started walking towards him, a damp white terry cloth wash rag in her hand.

“What’s the matter, aren’t you happy to see me sweetie?” She hissed as she neared the restrained detective.

“Ellen…I…I don’t understand…” he stammered.

The thin woman sat beside him on the bed, lifting the was rag and wiping his forehead gently.

“Shhhhh, its okay Dave, m’here now. No one’s gonna hurt you ever again…” The waitress from The Pit’s spoke quietly and melodically.

“But…but…” He protested.

“No buts Dave, m’ here for you,” she continued to gently wipe his face with the cool rag, soothing his headache, “and the best part is, I took care of anyone that was getting in our way…all of them, except of course, that partner of yours.”

“Hutch?” Starsky gasped.

“Yes Hutch….but don’t you worry lover, he’s next.” She vowed.

“L…Listen Ellen, I don’t know what’s goin’ on here, but I swear, if you hurt Hutch, m’ gonna.”

Ellen cocked her hand back and let it fly forward, connecting with the brunet’s cheek, snapping his head to the side, the slap stinging and leaving an instant handprint.

Immediately, she laid her head on his chest, one hand stroking his taught stomach muscles, “I’m sorry honey, I didn’t want to hurt you. You just need to learn…I don’t wanna hurt you, please don’t make me, you know I love you. I just want to be with you, and I don’t want anyone to come between us anymore.”

She sat up looking into Starsky’s indigo eyes, “Guess what I did honey!!” She stated with all the enthusiasm of a five year old on Christmas morning. “I took care of that cop that was asking everyone questions about you.”

Simonetti?” Starsky snapped, the shocked look washing across his face. “What’d you do to him Ellen?”

“I just taught him a lesson, that’s all, I don’t think he’ll be bothering you again,” she stated smiling.

“Ellen, did you kill Simonetti?” He asked, swallowing hard.

“Well, I guess that’s possible, but I don’t think I hit him that hard…but who knows, if I hit him just right, I guess he could be dead…wouldn’t that be great?” She squealed.

“Look honey…untie me.” Starsky requested, “Just untie me and we can talk about this.”

Ellen burst out laughing, building into near hysteria as Starsky’s brow furrowed, realizing just how unstable and dangerous she was. At any second she could snap and decide to kill him too. He needed to try and gain her trust, talk her into believing that he loved her, making her want to release him.

“Dave, do you really think I’m that stupid, I finally have you, and I’m never gonna let you go….ever…” She hissed, laying her head in his lap as her fingers played with the hair on his chest, moving up, caressing his neck.

Chapter Eleven

Hutch rushed into the station and right into Dobey’s office, not even bothering to knock. Hey threw the door opened, stopping in his tracks as he saw Simonetti sitting to the right of his Captain’s desk, holding an ice pack to the back of his head.

“Well, well, well…if it isn’t Detective Hutchinson,” Simonetti hissed, squinting his eyes trying to get his head to cease its incessant pounding, “don’t suppose you’re ready to tell your Captain and I where your partner is, are you?”

Hutch’s brow furrowed as he walked the rest of the way into the room, turning and closing the door behind him. He definitely did not want the other officers and Starsky’s colleagues to hear their conversation.

“Well it just so happens Simonetti that I have no idea where my partner is, I was hoping that I would have a chance to speak to our Captain, privately!” Hutch retorted sharply and impatiently.

“Well anything you have to tell your Captain about your partner, I think I have privy to hear.” The IA detective announced.

“Cap?” Hutch’s blue eyes looked at his superior, begging for an explanation.

“Seems that Simonetti here is convinced that Starsky was responsible for his attack last night, and has asked the Commissioner for permission to bring him in for informal questioning, and the Commissioner has granted his request, so I suggest that if you have nay info regarding your partner’s whereabouts, I suggest you share it with all of us Hutchinson.” Dobey orated reluctantly.

“You know that can’t be true Cap!” Hutch protested.

“What I know, and what my orders are, are two different things m’afraid.” The rotund black man responded.

“Tell me Simonetti, what makes you think Starsky attacked you last night? What makes you so sure…I mean you must of seen him, right?” The tall Nordic questioned him.

“Now are you really that stupid Hutchinson? Don’t you think that if I actually saw him, I would have more then an informal request for questioning?” He snapped back.

“He didn’t do it!” Hutch stated emphatically.

“Well, I don’t think that is your call anymore, now is it?” Simonetti responded, only adding to Hutch’s anger.

“What is it you wanted to see me about Hutch?” Dobey tried to run interference.

The blond detective took a couple of steps towards his Captain’s desk, “I went by Starsky’s place, he wasn’t there, he isn’t answering his radio…I got a bad feeling about this Cap, something’s wrong, I just know it is.” The expression on his face pleading with Dobey’s for help.

“Well if you call assaulting an officer and then disappearing wrong, I would have to agree with you Hutchinson.” Simonetti answered sharply.

“Shut the fuck up Simonetti,” Hutch snapped back, his face flushing in anger. “Until you can prove my partner guilty of anything, I suggest you back the hell up!”

Hutch’s angry glare bore deeply into Simonetti’s eyes as his tenacity began to make the IA investigator nervous and uncomfortable.

00000

Starsky lay on the bed, trying his best to relax. Ellen had made her way back into the bathroom, the sound of running water again prevalent in the room. He heard her footsteps coming nearer as he looked over at her. She was carrying a bowl, suds nearly overflowing as the water sloshed over the side. Setting it on the nightstand, she reached over and begun unbuttoning his shirt, baring his chest completely. She retrieved a soapy, damp washcloth from the bowl and began washing him down, gently, caressing his torso as she bathed him.

She left the washcloth perched atop his chest as she freed her hands and began working on unbuckling he belt, then the top button of his jeans. Every once in a while, her fingers drug across his abdomen with feather light precision, tickling his taught muscles, causing his skin to jerk uncontrollably.

She giggled slightly as she unzipped the jeans; her hands brushing against his manhood, feeling him react to her touch.

“Listen honey, I don’t know about you, but I think I’m gonna pass on the hospital sponge bath for now if you don’t mind.” Starsky stammered, the beads of sweat building up on his forehead.

“Ah Dave, you don’t wanna take away all my fun do you?” She whispered, dipping her head down, planting soft kisses followed by warm breath across his stomach.

“Um, now that you mention it…yeah…I think I do.” He quipped back, relieved when she stood up.

“That’s okay darling, there is plenty of time for that later, I need to get ready for work, don’t want to be late. Besides, I’m hoping Hutch comes by to see me, maybe I will get the chance to take care of him sooner then I had planned.” She stated coldly as she turned on her heels and headed out of the room.

“Ellen, m’warning you, you better not touch him, I swear, you do and I’ll…” That was all he got to say before he heard the growling of a vicious animal drawing nearer.

Ellen returned to the room accompanied by a huge Doberman Pincher, connected to a leash. The dog was drooling and growling, almost as if it was prepared to go to battle. She walked the dog to the foot of the bed, commanding it to Sit and Stay, which the dog obeyed immediately, and Starsky’s eyes widened in fear as he watched the hungry look in the animal’s eyes.

“Diablo, NOW!” She shouted as the dog stood, ears perking up, eyes trained on the tied up captive.

Ellen again returned to Starsky’s bedside. “Make no mistake, this is one of the best trained dogs money could buy, you make one wrong move, and your puppy chow, you understand me lover?” She murmured as she watched Starskys anxiety level rise, seemingly satisfied with the added effect the dog had on the officer.

She turned again, a smile evident on her face and walked out of the room, the door was slammed shut and he heard the lock being engaged. His ears strained as he listened, following her footsteps as they disappeared down the hallway.

00000

Hutch made his way into the smoke filled bar, spotting Huggy immediately and tipping his head at him, signaling him over. Grabbing a seat at the first empty booth he found, he patiently waited for Huggy to come over.

Ellen approached the tall blond first, drink tray in hand, “Hey there handsome, you all alone today?”

“Looks that way,” Hutch answered solemnly.

“You want me to get you a beer?”

“Sure, that’d be great.”

“Just one, or you expecting that darling partner of yours?” She asked, cocking her head to the side.

Hutch held up his finger, “Just one for now.” He answered as the waitress sauntered of disappointedly.

Huggy made his way to the table, slide into the bench opposite Hutch, leaning forward, propping himself up on both elbows.

“You hear anything Hug?” Hutch asked, his voice low and monotone.

“Nada, nothing, zip, zilch, zero….” Huggy rambled on.

“Okay, okay…I get it,” Hutch cut him off, “Listen, it’s been hours since anyone has heard from Starsky, and somethin’ just ain’t right here, this just isn’t like him, and I’ve got a really bad feeling here Hug. First Alex, now Starsk…somehow Red has to be involved in all of this, I mean, it’s just too much of a coincidence.”

“I hear ya’, trust me Hutch, I got my ear to the ground on this one, got every stoolie I know running the streets, lookin’ to pick up any piece of info, trust me, we’ll turn up somethin’, I know we will…we have to.” Huggy tried desperately to reassure the tall blond of something even he wasn’t sure of.

“You got that right Hug…we have to…he’s counting on us, and we can’t afford to let him down.” Hutch resigned himself, sighing heavily as Ellen brought him his mug of beer, setting it on the table, looking at the two of them, and then turning and walking away.

Hutch took his first drink of his frosty beer, twisting his face at its bitterness. One of those days it sounded better then it actually tasted. He shoved the drink aside and returned his attention to Huggy.

“So tell me, what’s the latest?” The blond Nordic asked, looking up through his brows at his friend.

“Well things on the street got real quite after you and Starsk confronted Red…I mean real quiet, if you catch my drift. Haven’t heard a peep out of them, nor his ladies. They are getting very little action on the street, word has it, they’re afraid of getting busted and hauled in…Red has even been reported as being somewhat nice to his ladies…an’ even if he ain’t bein’ nice, no one’s talking about it.” Huggy reported.

“Think he’s just tryin’ to keep his nose clean?” Hutch asked quietly. “I mean, if he does have something to do with Alex’s death, he sure wouldn’t want to draw attention to himself.”

“Makes perfect sense to me.,” Hutch surmised, “we sure don’t have much to go on, and maybe I need to pay him another visit.”

“Alone?” Huggy asked with concern.

“Well unless my partner shows up in the next few minutes, then yeah….alone.” Hutch answered.

Hutch pushed his way out of the booth, standing up and digging his right hand deep in his pocket, pulling out a couple of dollar bills, looking up as Huggy was waving him off.

“This ones on the house, besides, you didn’t even drink it…can’t have a good beer go to waste,” the black man stated as he picked up the mug and took a long drink off of the drink.

“Thanks Hug, I’ll be in touch.” Hutch stated as he headed out the door, not even bothering to look back to see Ellen’s gaze following him out the door.

Hutch made his way to his car, started up the sputtering engine and pulled away from the curb. Although his car lacked the power and visual appeal that his partner’s car had, it got him from point A to point B, most of the time, and that was all that Hutch cared about.

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Starsky lied there, slightly moving his wrists, trying to wiggle his way out of the cuffs. His skin became raw and reddened with each pull and tug. Out of the corner of his eye, he kept an eye on the vicious dog that sat there drooling and growling at him. He carefully moved his legs, trying to loosen his ropes, the dog stood at attention, watching his every movement.

“Easy there Devil Pup, just take it easy boy…” Starsky whispered, swallowing hard, trying to keep the growing fear in check.

The dog licked its mouth, its eyes glaring at the detective like a meat bone. Starsky wiggled his leg again, trying to carefully ease the tension in his binds. Starsky heard the deep throaty growl from the dog as he slowly lifted his right leg slightly, just off the bed and twisting it to the left. The large black dog took a step towards the man, his growl deepening, his brow actually furrowing as the dogs gazed shifted between Starsky’s face and his occasionally twitching leg.

The curly haired man relaxed for a moment, watching the dog’s reactions, sweat pouring off of his brow, his heart racing and his breathing increase.

“Come on boy, just take it easy there,” he tried to relax the dogs stance, as it appeared to start to work, the dog sat back down, “ ‘at’s a boy, good boy…” Starsky eased the animal into submission.

Starsky tensed up again, trying to pull at his leg, his right foot slipping off the foot board of the bed causing him to move more then he had desired, his right side jerking substantially. He screamed in agony as he saw the animal lunge and then felt the dog’s teeth sink into his upper leg, biting down hard, catching the meatiest part of his thigh, growling and holding firm.

Chapter Twelve

“Son of a bitch!” Starsky bit off quickly, as under his breath as he could muster while panting hard, not wanting to startle the dog anymore then it already was.

Starsky panicked at first, instinct taking over as he tried to pull away from the pain, and then realized the dog was not going to let him go that easily. Gasping hard through the pain, he tried desperately to slow down his breathing, mentally trying to talk himself calm. He was a bit relieved to find the dog was not attacking and mauling him, it sunk its teeth in deep and holding on.

“Fuck!” he mumbled as the dog’s teeth moved position under his flesh and in the muscle oh his upper leg.

Slowly he relaxed his body, causing the dog to let up on some of the pressure in his thigh.

“Shhhhhhh, shhhhhhhh…” he panted, “Good boy Diablo….good boy…”

He felt the animal start to release his grasp on the man’s leg, slightly relaxing his jaw muscles, much to Starsky’s relief. Swallowing hard, Starsky tried to relax as much as possible with the dog’s teeth still embedded in his leg, staring straight up at the ceiling, trying desperately not to move. He felt his warm blood slowly start to drip out of the wound, being soaked up in his jeans. He wanted to look at his leg, wanting desperately to see the damage and he could feel it starting to throb, but he feared any movement at all would cause the dog to attack him further, so he lay there, as still as he could, hoping someone would arrive soon to save him and call the dog off. He knew that Hutch must be wondering by now where his partner had gone off to, and prayed that he would be looking for him, and that trail would somehow lead him to Ellen. His mind raced, he had no idea how Hutch would be able to piece this puzzle together, knowing what had transpired, and knowing that there was absolutely no link between Alex’s death and Ellen’s guilt. He silently prayed for Hutch to somehow put this all together.

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Ellen approach Huggy, throwing her slightly damp hand towel over her shoulder, noting the thin black man as he dipped his hand in the cash register, inserting one bill and taking out two more, making change for the patron that was sitting at the bar, just to the right of the register and handing it to him with a smile.

“Hey Hug…I need to ask you a favor…” Ellen stated.

“Yeah sugar, what is it?” He responded.

“I wanted to know if I could leave a little early today, I had some family come into town and I wanted to take them out and show them the town…”

“How early you talkin’?” The business owner inquired.

“Well, I was thinkin’ like now, if that’s okay…I mean we seem a little slow tonight, and I am sure that Diane could use the extra tips…you know what I’m sayin’?” The attractive waitress batted her eyes at her boss, flipping her head in the direction of his other employee.

Huggy looked over his shoulder at Diane, knowing that she was a single mom, and could always use the extra hours, or extra tips, he then scanned the bar. It was an unusually slow night, but par was the course for a Tuesday.

“Sure, sure…I think she can handle it…just let her know you’re leavin’, and go on an’ have a good time with your family.” Huggy stated, bringing a smile to Ellen’s face as she giggled, knowing that she was going to see Starsky sooner then she had expected, and giggling like a teenager.

“Thanks Hug, you’re the best,” she squealed as she leaned towards him and kissed him on the cheek.

Huggy took a step back, the room spinning briefly as he blinked rapidly, “Hey you okay Hug?” Ellen asked, knowing full well that he had drank the beer that intended for Starsky’s partner, and wanting to get out of the bar before its contents took full effect.

”Yeah, yeah…m’fine honey, now you get on outta here and have fun.” Huggy waived her off as she turned and bounced away.

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Hutch pulled up in front of Red’s place, throwing his beaten up car in park and climbing out of the car. Straightening his tan jacket, he threw the keys in the pocket and headed towards the front door.

He looked around the front, making sure the area was clear, and then knocked on the front door. He heard heavy footsteps coming closer as he prepared himself for a possible confrontation. The look of surprise on the large Samoan’s face caught the blond off guard.

“Detective Hutchinson,” Red greeted him, looking outside, craning his neck and scanning the area, “I take it Detective Starsky is around here somewhere….” He assumed.

“M’afraid that my partner couldn’t join us, you see…something else of a more urgent matter came up.” Hutch responded, not wanting to let on the reason for his visit just yet.

“To what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?”

The large man blocked the entrance, making it obvious that he was not going to be invited in voluntarily.

“Well, I just had a couple questions for you if you don’t mind…” Hutch answered, pulling out his small note pad and a pencil from his jacket pocket, “…it shouldn’t take long at all.”

“Go ‘head, I don’t have anything to hide.”

“Seems another woman’s body has been found, and…well…we are just not quiet sure, but this may just be all tied together if you catch my drift?” Hutch looked up at the man.

“You mean Starsky’s old lady?” Red retorted quickly.

Hutch looked up in surprise, not expecting Red to be forewarned about the situation.

“Care to tell me how you knew about this?” The Nordic asked, his heart beat increasing slighty.

“For a cop, you sure aren’t very right…I mean don’t you even watch the news? It was the headlines tonight!” Red smirked.

Hutch inhaled deeply, taking a second to regain his composure before continuing on, “I’d like to know where you were last night Red.”

“Took a drive to San Diego, was there all night, came back mid morning.” Red answered, not even skipping a beat.

“You got any witnesses? Any proof to corroborate that story?” The blond looked up at the man through his brow, his sky blue eyes piercing Red’s almost black orbs.

“Sure do…wait right here.” He answered, turning on his heels and clomping away, disappearing down the hallway.

Hutch leaned in, looking around the room, seeing a man sitting in a large overstuffed white leather couch in the living room, just to the right of the door. He was slightly nervous about loosing site of the man, knowing he could come back brandishing a weapon, but his gut instinct was telling him, this was a non-confrontational visit.

Red reappeared carrying a few small white papers in his hand, and holding him out for the officer. Hutch took the, scanning them.

They were receipts, several of them, from various stores, restaurants and venues in the San Diego area, in his name, using his credit card, proving he was somewhere in the vicinity at the time of Alex’s death. Hutch looked up at the large man, holding them up, offering them back to the man.

“How can I be sure, someone wasn’t using you name, and your card?” Hutch asked.

“Well, I guess you can’t…but do you think the courts will accept them as proof?” Red bellowed his brow furrowing.

Hutch knew that Red was probably right, they would be admissible in court, and most likely be accepted as a viable alibi.

“Well, my partner and I aren’t through with you yet, so just make sure you stick around, in the area this time.” Hutch instructed him as he turned and headed out the door, looking back at the last moment. “And if you do plan a road trip, you might want to let me or Detective Starsky know, wouldn’t want anything to happen to your alibis.”

Hutch waked out of the house and towards his car, just before he reached it, his instincts kicked in as he looked up, scanning the area, turning if full circle. Back behind the building in the distance he saw a white car, obviously an unmarked vehicle, and inside, he recognized two IA detectives. Shaking his head, he reached down, opened his door and climbed behind the wheel of his vehicle. He should of known they would be tailing him, trying to get him to lead them to Starsky, as usual, taking the easy way out and expecting the “real” detectives to do all the work, while they tried to take all the credit for it.

Staring his car and throwing it into drive, he headed away from Red’s, waving at the IA officers as he passed by them, smiling at as he exposed them in their attempt of being inconspicuous.

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Ellen walked through the front door of her place, dropping her key on the table by the door, leafing through the stack of mail in her hand. She finished and tossed the whole pile on the table next to the keys.

Taking her purse off of her shoulder she moved towards the couch, draping the leather patchwork bag over the corner. Raising her head, she could faintly hear the growling of her dog. Her eyes widened in anger as she headed towards the basement door.

He pace increased, her body tilted forward as she knew by the sound of her dog, that something had happened while she was away.

She dug a spare key deep out of her jacket pocket and shoved it into the key hole, turning it quickly, and throwing the door open.

She headed down the steep staircase, her head clearing the rafter as she peeked under it, seeing Diablo, his jaw attached firmly to Starsky’s upper thigh. She jumped down the last few stairs and landed on the floor.

“Diablo! DOWN!” She shouted as the dog immediately obeyed, taking a moment to remove the fangs embedded deeply into the thick muscle of the man’s leg.

Starsky let out a grown as the dog released, the wound that had been numb, now began to throb and sting.

“Son of Bitch!” He growled as his eyes rolled to the back of his head and he bit his bottom lip to try and ride out the wave of pain.

“What did you do? You had to have done something; Diablo would have never attacked unless you made him!” She scolded the detective, bending down and looking at his torn pants that were beginning to become soaked with blood.

“Yeah, I moved!” Starsky retorted back, earning him an angry glare from his captor.

Ellen grabbed the dog by its blue collar, pulling it back and forcing it into a sitting position. She looked down at the man strapped to her bed, looking into his eyes first. Starsky swore he saw a glimmer of compassion and feeling as he stared back at her. She broke the gaze, looking down at his leg, his blood soaked jeans clinging to his upper thigh.

She raised her right hand over his leg, her fingers hovering just above the wound. Softly she allowed her hand to drop down on his body, a surge of energy rushing through her body.

Starsky noted the extreme care that she took in touching him, almost afraid to connect with him, but drinking in every second of their tender moment.

“I need to clean this out so it doesn’t get infected,” Ellen surmised, her voice gentle and quiet. “We need to get your pants off.” She concluded as she went into the bathroom and returned with large silver handled scissors,

Starsky’s eyes widened as Ellen walked towards him, the light shimmering off the blade as she slowly walked over to the bed, her eyes filled with excitement and enticement as she bent over him, taking the scissors and cutting away at the thick denim around his upper leg.

Starskys body tense as he felt the cold steel against his flesh.

 

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