He sat back and wondered why he even bothered. One day, he'd be free of this place forever — yeah, right! It wasn't that he wasn't grateful to all the doctors and nurses and physios who'd put him back together again, but it just seemed that once they'd got their hooks into his body, they wouldn't let go.

So here he was again, in room 6042, a slice of Starsky waiting to be prodded, poked and stuck with needles, just so that they could see that he was well. Aren't hospitals supposed to be for sick people? Aren't there enough sick folks out there to fill their beds? Starsky was feeling thoroughly sorry for himself as he sat waiting for God knew what.

That morning he'd said goodbye to Hutch at LAX, as he was going home for a couple of days to see his family.

'You sure you're gonna be OK Starsk? I can stay if ya like. I know how you just love Memorial'

'I'll be fine, Blintz. Just get on your plane and go an' see your folks. They're only doin' a check up on me — just to make sure my hearts Ok. I can deal with that — I'm a big boy now' Starsky grinned at his blond haired partner. He knew how difficult it was for Hutch to go away and leave him in hospital. He knew Hutch wouldn't relax and would beat himself up at every opportunity about leaving him to go through the procedures on his own, but he also knew he couldn't keep relying on Hutch for every little thing. Besides, a little space might do them some good. He needed to prove to himself that he could manage on his own.

And so, once he'd stayed to watch the Duluth plane take off, Starsky had headed back to his beloved Torino and driven back to his apartment. The letter from the hospital had said to pack an overnight bag, that he would probably be there for two days and not to eat anything from midnight the previous night. Consequently, his stomach was rumbling, and he looked longingly at the half eaten pizza left over from the night before. Reluctantly turning his back on it, he picked up the bag and headed for the door.


Swinging the Torino into the parking lot of the hospital, Starsky put the big car into park, turned off the engine and with a fatalistic shrug, got out, picked up his bag and made his way into the main building. Once there, he made his way up to the sixth floor and reported to the nurse's station there, Directed to his room, he was asked to change into a pair of white scrubs lying ready on the bed, and to make himself comfortable.

Starsky went into the small bathroom and pulled his red tee shirt over his head. He stared into the bathroom mirror at the body that the hospital had repaired twelve months ago. As a tribute to the surgeon's skill nothing too much remained of the terrible injuries he had survived. Fortunately, the dark hairs that spread across his chest and formed a line down the centre of his abdomen hid the majority of the scarring from the three bullet wounds and the surgical incisions used to repair his lungs, ribs, heart and gut. Unless someone looked closely, they probably would only notice the vertical scar from navel to diaphragm and the horizontal scar bisecting the other, just below the navel. It had taken seven months of gruelling, painful physical therapy to get his body back into a condition considered good enough to be out on the streets again, and another four for his muscle definition to approach his pre operative state. It had taken all that time for his confidence to return.

At first, he was embarrassed to admit how hesitant he was out on the streets, how he would flinch at an unexpected noise, or a car accelerating unnecessarily. He often wondered if Hutch felt compromised at all by his lack of confidence; however the blond just seemed genuinely happy to have his dark haired partner at his side again, and never made comment about the sometimes pained (dare he even admit, scared) looks in his partner's eyes. Starsky rubbed his face ridding himself of his dark thoughts — friggin' hospitals. Just get in, do the tests and get out. Get on with your life.

Starsky removed the rest of his street clothes and put on the white scrubs. The short sleeved top contrasted sharply with his tanned, naturally darker skin, and as he checked in the mirror, he noticed that only the uppermost scar showed above the vee of the scrubs neck. He padded back into the bedroom on bare feet and perched on the edge of the bed. It was psychological — being in a hospital bed meant being sick. He wasn't sick, so he damn well wasn't going to get into the bed until he had to. He decided to try one of the meditations Hutch had taught him. Bringing both legs up onto the bed, he crossed them under him. Not quite in lotus position — the object was to be comfortable but not too comfortable. He placed his hands on his thighs, palms up and closed his eyes. Breathing deeply four times, he focused his attention on the hara, the space just behind his belly button, to centre himself, concentrating on the feeling of his breathing. Just as his mind begin to relax, he jumped slightly as the door opened and a familiar blond head poked around. 'Well, if it isn't my favourite patient, looking all well and gorgeous. How's it doin' there stud?'

Suddenly, Starsky's day started to look just a little better. He smiled a broad smile at the nurse. 'I didn't know if you'd still be here, Helen, it's been a while'. Starsky looked almost shyly at the girl. After all, she had seen him at his most vulnerable, when he'd been plugged into god knows what machinery. Hell, he couldn't even breathe for himself to begin with. And this wonderful girl had been his named nurse. She's been with him through the pain, the nausea, the fevers, the embarrassment and the hell of his long recovery. In the end she had become much more than his nurse. She was even able, on occasions to take the place of Hutch, when Starsky needed a hand to hold through the worst of it, but Hutch was hell bent on tracking down Gunther and bringing him to trial. She had sat by his bedside and held his hand. She'd wiped his forehead with cool cloths, brought him the longed for morphine and she'd talked soothingly to him, to take his mind from the almost constant pain.

As he started to regain his strength, their relationship had moved to a new level. Although still very much nurse/patient, there had been banter there, certainly flirting on both their parts and a deep respect. She for the way he withstood the pain, the procedures and the sheer boredom of his long recuperation, and he for the way she could make him feel special just by entering his room.

By the time he was due to be discharged, they had progressed to kisses and long conversations. Bodies rubbed surreptitiously against each other as they passed in a corridor, a hand lingering longer than strictly necessary on his body as she straightened his sheets. But Helen had remained steadfastly professional and refused to take the next step. Although both were very obviously attracted to each other, she had been a nurse long enough to understand that relationships formed from this type of encounter were never successful once they hit the real world outside the hospital.

'And where else do you think I'd go?' she asked as she moved into his room, 'although there have been one or two changes. I'm a nurse practitioner now, so I'll be looking after your procedures for the next couple of days. So, no nonsense from you David Michael', she added with mock severity as she smiled and came to sit down beside him. 'How've you been?' She asked, softly.

'Is this from a professional point of view, nurse?' he asked.

'You know what I mean, Dave. Course I have to know about how you're progressing after the shooting, but, we had something good going there for a while. How are you now?'

He sighed 'I'm good. I'm back working with Hutch on the streets. Nothing too physical at the moment, but I'm gettin' there. I'm back at the gym every day. I run 5 miles every other day and I can bench press 100 lbs. I've got all the use back in my left hand, and the up side is because I had to get used to usin' my right hand, I can fire the Beretta with either hand now'.

Gently, she reached up to his chin and pulled it around to face her. 'You know that isn't what I mean'.

A long pause. 'There hasn't been anyone since I got sprung from here, no. With all the scars, I think I'd probably scare 'em off', he smiled a little and looked into her beautiful blue eyes.

'Just shows what you know about women then, Mr. It just so happens we women find scars very sexy!'

There was a long silence, before Helen hurried on 'Now, to work. You have a stress test booked for 2.30, and then at 6.00 you'll be going down to theatre for the heart cath. After that, you can rest tonight, and then go home tomorrow. That quick enough for you? I know how you love to be here'

'Sure, whatever. And what do I do till 2.30?' he asked, wiggling his eyebrows.

Helen pushed him back onto the bed, and planted a kiss on his lips. 'Conserve your energy, you're gonna need it later', and with that, she left Starsky to wonder. Did she mean for the tests, or for something a little less medical?


During the wait for the first of the tests, Starsky had several visitors. The first was one of the damned blood suckers come to take another armful of blood. He smiled and looked away as three tubes of the red stuff were drawn, and was absently fingering the white dressing on his arm when another familiar head popped round his door.

'How ya doin'?' asked Mike, one of the other guys from homicide.

'Hey, what you doin' here?' asked the dark haired detective, relieved to have someone other than medical personnel to talk to.

'Remember the flake we took for the Spedding murder last week? Well, he's finally out of ICU and we have the dubious honour of hospital watch till he's well enough to be transferred to Bay City Jail before his trial. Boring as hell, but someone's got to do it. What you here for? I thought you were back on active duty now'.

Starsky nodded. 'Yeh, been out there for ten weeks now. Just seems they can't get enough of me in here. Got some tests, then I'm outa here, believe me'. So what's up with your guy?'.

'Didn't take kindly to us interruptin' his last job. He'd been paid to waste Spedding's daughter — ya know, the big drugs cartel over on the docks side? We'd been watching Adams for weeks. We got into position early and sat tight. He came along with his goons and was just about to take the girl into one of the warehouses when we surprised him. The girl got caught in the crossfire, but nothing major. She's home and doin' well. But Adams here took two in the chest. Was touch and go for a while, but he's pullin' through now. Should be fine just in time for his trial. Turns out, he's got warrants in Britain, Germany and Thailand. Been a busy little boy. He won't be seein' the light of day for quite a few years'.

There was an uncomfortable silence before

'Well, better go now. I only came away to get some coffee. I'll see ya later?'

Starsky nodded a brief farewell, just as an orderly appeared with a wheelchair.

'Your chariot awaits', he said. Starsky gave it a filthy look, before sitting down and allowing himself to be transported to the cardiology department.


'Good afternoon, Mr Starsky. Have you ever had this sort of test before?' dimpled the young technician, as Starsky arrived at the cardiology department. Starsky smiled grimly. 'Honey, you name the test, I've had it' he replied wearily.

The technician smiled, unsure. The man seemed quite healthy. Not the usual sort of patient she had to deal with. 'Please remove your top and I'll put these electrodes on your chest'.

He removed the scrubs top and turned back towards her. She took a sharp breath as she saw the extensive scarring on his back, chest and abdomen. 'My, we have been in the wars, haven't we?' she said in a patronising way.

Fed up with the attitude already, Starsky retorted 'Getting shot'll do that to you honey. Can we do the test, or are you goin' to admire the merchandise a little more?'

The technician blushed and set about sanding small areas across Starsky's chest, cleaning them with surgical spirit and attaching the electrode pads. Next, she fastened a black webbing belt around his waist, to hold the power pack in place. After attaching electrodes across the chest and under the left arm, she stepped back.

'I'd like you to step up onto the treadmill now. I'll start at a walking pace on the flat, then increase both speed and incline. I need to increase your pulse rate to about three times its resting rate, which is........' she paused and, taking hold of his right wrist, counted of the beats for 15 seconds. Quickly multiplying by four, she arrived at....'Hm 58. Are you on any drugs Mr Starsky? Your resting rate is quite low. Something I'd usually see in an athlete'.

'No. No drugs, just lots of time at the gym. Shall we get going?'

Over the next 45 minutes, Starsky jogged, then ran, on the flat and uphill, until he was gasping for breath and the sweat ran in rivulets down his face. Finally satisfied, the technician told him she would be slowing and stopping the treadmill. As it came to a stop and Starsky hung over the rail to catch his breath, the technician took final readings and asked Starsky if he had any pain. He didn't tell her about the stabbing tightness in his chest. He knew damn well it was his lungs that hurt, not his heart, and he wanted nothing more than to have a shower and get out of the department.

The orderly came back with the wheelchair and Starsky looked at him unbelieving. 'Ya mean to tell me I can run myself ragged on that machine, until I can hardly breath, but you don't think I can make it back to my room? Fuck you!' and setting off at a slow trot, he found his way around the corridors and back to 6042.

As he returned from the shower in his room, towelling his dark curly hair, Helen was waiting for him. 'Making yourself quite popular, aren't we?' she said, with a smile on her face. 'Angie, the cardiologist was first impressed at your stamina, then more than a little worried when you wouldn't accept a lift back to your room'.

Starsky stopped the towelling and sat down on the bed, a towel wrapped round his waist. 'I'm sorry Helen. It's just I'm sick of people treating me like a piece of meat, or some sort of medical marvel. I got back to work and even started to feel normal again. But this place just makes me feel like an invalid all over again. I guess I just lost it when she started being patronising'.

'Its OK Dave. I explained and she's cool with it. Just try to remember that we are here to help, no matter what you think'.

Quickly placing an arm around her, he pulled her to him and nuzzled the side of her neck. 'I'll try and remember you're helping. And as for my stamina -'.

'Enough, Mr Starsky' she said with mock sternness. 'Please put on the scrubs pants and come and lie down on the bed'.

Starsky padded into the bathroom, and emerged a moment later properly clad. He came over to the bed and lay down on his back, arm behind his head. Helen couldn't help but notice the flat plain of his muscled abdomen and the slight strut in his walk. She couldn't help feeling pleased that he was back to being a man in the prime of fitness and also a very desirable guy on a personal level. She quickly pushed such unprofessional thoughts to the back of her mind — there'd be time for that later.

'OK Dave. I'm going to put this cannula in the back of your hand, then in a few minutes you'll be going to theatre. Do you know what the heart cath involves?'

'Not really', he replied. 'I know I had one when I was in before, but I was pretty looped on all the pain killers, so I don't remember too much about it'.

'Well', she explained, 'First you'll be asked to lie down on the operating table. The surgeon will position an x-ray machine over your heart, He'll put a local anaesthetic in the top of your leg, near your groin. He'll feed a catheter through the femoral artery there, and up towards your heart Then, he'll inject a dye into the catheter and observe its passage through your heart. Next he'll stimulate your heart and watch for signs of distress. Depending on the results, he may give you a general anaesthetic and continue, or call it a day and you'll be back here before you know it'.

Starsky winced. 'Terrific. Sounds a real bundle of laughs' he said

Helen continued 'This test will help the doctor to evaluate your cardiac condition related to how well the heart muscle and valves are working and the extent of damage to the heart after the heart attack you suffered. If all goes well, you'll be back with your partner the day after tomorrow'.

'And if all doesn't go well?' Starsky looked into her eyes. 'I don't want to be an invalid anymore. I've had it with needles, knives, stitches, catheters and respirators. I can't do this any more'. The last came out almost in a sob, and Helen moved towards him, realizing just how much it had cost the detective to admit how much he was hurting at the prospect of the procedure and its results. She put her arms around him and drew him to her, trying to ignore the vulnerability in his face.

'It's going to be fine. I know it is. You're Ok now, and I'm here. I know Hutch couldn't be with you, but you still have me'.

Starsky clung to her a moment, savouring the contact, then pulled back with a shaky sigh. Offering her his right hand, he said simply 'OK, do your worst'.

Without too much fuss, Helen inserted the cannula into the vein on the back of Starsky's hand, and taped it down. 'OK now, soldier, are we ready?' she asked. He smiled and followed her as she made to leave the room.

'What, no wheelchair?' he asked.

'I think you've made your feelings on wheelchairs quite obvious' she said 'so we'll take the scenic route to theatre'.

He walked along at the side of her, glancing sideways occasionally. He couldn't help feeling the attraction and was glad the scrubs pants were loose enough fitting to hide the evidence. He pulled the robe tightly about his chest. Oh, you're one sick son of a bitch David Starsky. Here you are going into an operating theatre and all you can think about is sex!


Starsky's heart rate started to spike the minute he changed into one of those infernal gowns and he walked through the operating room doors and saw the doctors, anaesthetist and nurses gowned and masked. Damn, he couldn't even tell if they were smiling or not. He heard someone tell him to lie down, so he did as he was told and immediately felt the chill of the metal table. And then the faceless people descended on him, hooking the pads still on his chest up to electrodes and machinery.

Within moments someone was sticking a needle into his groin, way too close to the family jewels for his liking. He felt something cold infiltrate his skin, then a numbness spread around the site.

A doctor (he assumed it was a doctor) looked down on him. 'Very good David. We've numbed the entry site. We're going to be inserting the catheter now. You shouldn't feel too much discomfort — a burning sensation maybe. I'd like you to lie very still

As if I have a choice here. Starsky waiting for..........he didn't really know what he waited for. Just waited and hoped everything would be OK. Suddenly there was a hand holding his and he opened his eyes and looked to his right to see another surgical mask, but this time with Helen's bright blue eyes above it. Feeling a little better, he closed his eyes again and continued the waiting.

'Very good, David, we have the catheter positioned now and we're going to introduce the dye and photograph it as it travels through your heart chambers. You're doing really well, just try to keep still'.

Starsky felt a burning sensation in his groin, which seemed to ignite a fiery trail up through his body to his chest. Not a pain, exactly, but not too comfortable either. After a few moments, it passed and he became aware he had been squeezing Helen's hand. He relaxed.

'Excellent, David. We're going to go on to the next part of the procedure now. This may prove a little uncomfortable. I'm going to stimulate your heart to see what reaction we get. Depending on the results, we'll take it one step further'.

Again he waited. Suddenly his heart felt as though it was leaping out of his chest and doing somersaults. He felt breathless and dizzy and screwed his eyes up against the sensations. He knew he was sweating.

'How are you doing there David? I know that was uncomfortable, but you did really well. Would you like a rest before the next part?'

Starsky considered. He really just wanted to get it all over with, so eventually asked 'Just exactly what is the next part?'

'We need to over stimulate your heart to map its recovery time. I won't pretend it will be pleasant, and we can do it under a general anaesthetic if you prefer'.

A pause, as he licked his dry lips. A GA would mean a longer stay in hospital and he definitely didn't want that.

'Just do it, Doc. OK?'

'Very well. There may be some pain, but we'll make this as quick as possible. I'm starting now'.

Suddenly Starsky's world exploded into a red haze. His knew his body was bucking on the table, but he was powerless to stop it as wave after wave of excruciating, crushing pain wrapped itself around his chest. He couldn't breath. He felt as though all the oxygen had been sucked out of the room and his eyesight started to blacken at the edges. As darkness claimed him, he had two thoughts. The first was that he should have had the GA. The second thought was that when he came round he'd kill that bastard of a doctor.


The light woke him. He felt warm and relaxed, and for a moment he couldn't really remember where he was. But there was an annoying sound in the background. Some kind of beeping. Starsky just wanted it to shut off so that he could go back to sleep, but he couldn't reach it. Slowly he opened his eyes to see Helen standing over him.

'Well, if it isn't Rip Van Winkle come back to the land of the living' she said, reaching up to gently move a curl from his forehead.

Starsky licked dry lips then asked 'What the hell happened? One minute everything was fine, the next I felt like the whole world was sitting on my chest'.

Helen smiled reassuringly 'Believe it or not, you passed the test with flying colours, although I did warn you that you might have wanted the general. You put on quite a display down there. One of the orderlies has a wonderful black eye now. That'll stop him getting too close in future'.

'Ya mean my tickers OK. No more tests, no more surgeries?' Starsky felt like he could jump over the moon, the relief was so great.

'One hundred percent fine. The doctor couldn't believe it; after all you've been through. He's asked we keep the leads on your chest hooked to the monitor for a while just for his own peace of mind. He asked me to tell you he's sorry it hurt so much and that he isn't a 'Son of a bitch mother fucking bastard' - I think that was the term you used'.

It brought a smile to the curly haired mans face 'I actually managed to get all that out before I passed out. Wow, I'm so proud. So, what now?'

'Well, you stay here over night, with the monitor on, and if all's well tomorrow, you go home once and for all' Helen raised the head of the bed, so that Starsky was sat up, pillows framing his handsome face. 'I'm working the late shift tonight, so I'll be back in a little while to keep you entertained', and with that, she turned and left the room.

Starsky settled back against the pillows. His chest hurt like he'd been kicked by a mule, but nothing seemed to matter now that he knew he'd fully recovered. It was almost the last hurdle he'd had to overcome, and he couldn't wait to tell Hutch.


True to her word, Helen finally appeared back at the door of Starsky's room. He'd been dozing, the strain of the cardiac catheterisation taking its toll, but he opened his eyes as she entered. Strangely, she closed the curtain across the small window in the door and pulled the bolt across.

As she walked across the room to him, she smiled. 'I have you all to myself now. One of the perks of being nurse practitioner. I get to examine my patients very carefully, all by myself'. She moved over to the heart monitor and disconnected the feed to the nurse's station, but kept the leads in place. 'Now we won't be disturbed at all'.

She looked at the dark haired man in the bed. He still wore the white scrub pants, but his upper body was naked, the leads from the heart monitor still attached making it impossible for him to get out of bed. His chest, carrying the scars that she had helped to care for was covered once again by dark curly hair and she could see the clearly defined pectoral and abdominal muscles rippling under his tanned skin as he breathed and moved to watch her approach. His handsome face had filled out again. He had lost so much weight during his recuperation that he had begun to look gaunt. But now he was healthy and vital. His indigo eyes, the first thing she had ever noticed about him, were watching her, twinkling and inquisitive.

'Is this covered in my blue cross insurance nurse?' He asked. 'Exactly what sort of examination did you have in mind?'

'Oh, a very thorough one. First, I have to check the site of the femoral stab, just to make sure it isn't still bleeding', her hands pulling at the drawstring of his scrubs and sending sparks of desire through his body.

'I suppose you'll have to take those off?' he asked huskily. He moved his body and she expertly moved the pants down his legs. Carefully, she examined the dressing on the inside of his groin, pulling it away a little to peer underneath. 'That's fine' she said 'no more bleeding'. Her hand strayed sideways a little and gently stroked Starsky's already swelling cock. He sighed and leaned his head back against the pillow, closing his eyes to savour the moment. 'I thought you wanted to keep this on a purely professional level?' he gasped.

'Ah yes, but you're well now. You aren't my patient anymore after tonight. And I don't do this for everyone, just the very special ones'.

Helen's hand continued to work at his member, stroking gently along it's length, then moving round to cup his balls, squeezing carefully and eliciting a small hiss from the man. He had longed for this ever since his recovery. He hadn't purposely avoided relationships in the past twelve months. He had however, admitted to himself that he was scared to find out whether his body would respond as it should, or whether the injuries he had sustained might have somehow emasculated him. Now his fears were being laid to rest, by the one woman who knew his body almost as well as he did.

She moved forward to the head of the bed and kissed him fully on the lips, her tongue gently forcing its way between his teeth and searching his mouth. Starsky put his arms around her and pulled her towards him,

'I've never had an examination quite like this before, nurse' he gasped 'is this a new form of therapy. Coz if it is, I'm already a fan'.

'It's a new approach' she whispered 'got to get the circulation going, whilst not disturbing the patient too much'.

'Oh believe me, I want to be disturbed' he groaned as Helen's hand once more wandered southwards. 'Oh God, that's so good'. He grabbed for her hand, but she was quicker. Moving away slightly, she flicked up the cot sides and produced two tourniquets from her white coat pocket.

Starsky watched intently as she secured his left, then right wrist to the metal bars of the cot. His eyes dark with desire 'And what procedure did you have in mind now, Nurse?'

Helen knelt down on the bed and bent her head to his throbbing erection. Running her tongue down the length, she wetted the whole length, then smiled at his groan as she blew gently on the swollen tip. Starsky let out a shaky breath. 'God, Helen that feels so good. It's been a while. It's been too long'. Helen continued her ministrations until Starsky started pulling desperately against the bonds round his wrists. The heart monitor was beeping far more rapidly and a fine sheen of sweat had appeared on his torso. He wanted release, but he also wanted the sensations to continue forever and fought for control. Helen knelt up and straddled her 'patients' body, lowering herself slowly and deliberately onto Starsky's waiting cock, all the while looking into his eyes and dotting light kisses on his lips and chest. The dark haired man went wild, thrusting upwards as far as his bonds would allow. Helen rode his body, thrusting her hips in time with his, matching him thrust for thrust, their breath coming in ragged gasps as finally she felt Starsky shoot his load, and her body responded with an earth shattering orgasm.

Slowly, both came back to earth. Helen undid the tourniquets and Starsky wrapped his arms around the blond, pulling her towards him, nestling her to his chest, as their breathing eased.

'Well, your stamina test has proved satisfactory' she finally said, 'and your motor responses are definitely fine. Now we just need to go over the co-ordination, to make absolutely sure'. She guided his hand to her blouse and he deftly unbuttoned it one handed.

'How's that. Or do I have to prove it further?' he growled

Helen sighed as his hands found her breasts and started to rub gently, feeling her nipple harden at his touch. She bit her bottom lip as he took hold and squeezed, sending little bolts of lightening down her body. She squirmed round, so that she could look up into his face.

'I think we can get rid of these', she said, unhooking the electrodes from the pads and reaching over to switch off the monitor. Once all the small clips were disconnected, she started to peel away the sticky pads from his chest.

'Ow, that hurts' he said, jerking her hand away. 'Did anyone ever tell you that you're a sadist?'

She stared at him, laughter in her eyes. 'You mean to tell me, you can get shot, have four surgeries, over two hundred stitches, needles in your hands and arms, a tube down your throat, and an epidural needle in your back without any complaint that I heard, but you can't cope with me taking these pads off?' she started to laugh.

Looking hurt he replied 'That's different. These are stuck pretty well, and your friend in cardiology didn't do a very good job of getting rid of the hairs. I'm gonna be plucked!'

'I bet your Mum used to have to give you a candy when she took your sticking plasters off, didn't she?'

'My Mum wasn't always around for that, so I took 'em off all on my own, a tiny bit at a time'. He looked up at her. 'Be gentle with me'.

The remaining six pads were removed to the accompaniment of Starsky's whimpers, until the final one, which was, indeed stuck fast. Helen looked the brunette full in the eyes as she gripped the edge of the pad and with one movement, ripped it away.

'Jesus.......you're gonna have to pay for that one' he growled as he took hold of her to pull her towards him. Their lips were just about to touch when all hell broke loose in the corridor outside the room.


Starsky pushed Helen off the bed and dove on top of her, shielding her body with his as shots rang out accompanied by the sound of breaking glass and shouting.

'What the hell's going on' stammered Helen, the breath having been knocked from her body by the fall.

'I don't know, but I'm gonna find out' he said, as he pushed himself up off the floor. Shouldering his way into the scrub top, he gently pried open the bolt on the door and cracked it open. Although he didn't have a good view, he could see Mike slumped against the far wall of the corridor, blood seeping through the sleeve of his shirt. He was unconscious. He saw shadows of a figure moving, reflected he thought from the interior of the room at the end of the hall, but didn't have a clear view. And he heard a loud voice telling everyone to stay in their rooms and they wouldn't get hurt.

Closing the door again, Starsky leaned his back against the wall, and closed his eyes, thinking. 'There's a police officer down in the corridor. He's wounded and unconscious. He was here on hospital watch on a flake called Adams. Either Adams has made a miraculous recovery, or one of his friends has come to break him out'.

Helen looked scared. 'I've never known anything like this happen. Its just so bizarre'.

Starsky looked back at her, smiling grimly and cocking his head on one side 'For me, not so much' he replied. 'I need to get out of this room and round to the back of the nurses' station, so that I can get to the door there and out into the corridor where Adams' room is. I need a distraction'.

Helen looked around her, searching for anything to help. Her eyes fell on the heart monitor. 'If I can re-connect the feed to the nurses' station and switch it back on, it'll look like you've arrested. That'll get the crash team here and during the pandemonium you can sneak out. I'll let the team know to keep working as if you're in arrest until I get a signal from you'.

The dark haired detective was pensive. 'I don't want anyone putting themselves at risk. If there's any crossfire, you all stay put until it all settles. If Adams or his friend makes a break for it an' I can't stop 'em, just let 'em go, OK? We need to wait for the right moment'. He cracked the door open again and took another look. The shadows were still moving in the room, and Mike was still out cold.

'I haven't got my gun. If I can't get to Mike's, I'll need something to distract or disable'.

'Behind the nurses' station' said Helen, passing him some keys. 'On the wall is the controlled drugs cabinet. Look for the Nembutal — it'll be in a small glass bottle near the front of the cabinet. Under the nurses desk there are syringes and needles. Connect one of each and draw up at least 10cc Nembutal. If you get close enough you can inject them with it. 10cc is enough to knock a horse out'.

Starsky nodded. OK, well, if we're ready, you should connect the machinery back up. Helen re-connected the feed, and looking to the detective for confirmation, her hand moved towards the on/off switch. He gave a brief acknowledgement, and just as she was about to throw the switch she added 'For God's sake, don't stick yourself with the needle, otherwise ...........'

He gave her a lopsided grin, and she threw the switch.

A moment later, an alarm sounded and a team of four people came running down the corridor. As they got level with Adams' room, they were stopped by a tall, well built man, waving a gun.

One of the doctors looked him up and down and told him, fearlessly, to let them past, there was a cardiac arrest in one of the rooms. For a moment, the man looked undecided, but, after checking that no one else was in the corridor, he waved the crash team past.

As they approached 6042, Starsky threw the door open to admit them, then ducked outside, checking that their trolley hid him from view. Silently on bare feet, he crouched and ran towards the nurses' station, and ducked down behind the desk. Pausing a moment to check he hadn't been seen, he looked inside the cupboard beneath the desk. Sure enough, inside, he found a plastic box of syringe barrels and another containing different coloured needles. He paused, weighing up what the difference was, and decided the colour denoted the bore of the needle. Selecting what appeared to be the biggest, he smiled to himself. I've had enough of 'em stuck in me. Now it's your turn, punk — the bigger the better!.


Starsky paused a moment to regain his composure before chancing a look above the desk. He needed to find out just how many he needed to take on, and prayed that, without Hutch here to watch his back, there wasn't a whole bunch of them.

Quickly, he stuck his head above the level of the desk and glanced towards Adams' room. He managed to catch site of Adams himself, still in the bed and hooked up to various monitors and one other man — the same who had held up the crash team. He could only assume that any other members of the team were positioned outside the area, waiting to help with the get away. He ducked down again, then carefully reached up with the keys, making sure they didn't jingle, to open the drugs cabinet.

Once open, he made a rapid search before locating the Nebutal. Reaching up, he snagged the bottle and ducked back down again. Rapidly, he plunged the needle into the rubber cap of the bottle and drew back the plunger, allowing 10cc of the colourless liquid to flow into the syringe. Placing the bottle into the cupboard under the desk, he readied himself, then made a run for the door on his left-hand side. Praying it wasn't locked he tried the handle. It turned and he opened the door slightly and looked down the corridor towards Adams' room.

Oh well there's a slight problem Davey he thought, as he contemplated the broken glass on the floor and his bare feet. He could see now that Adam's room was indeed only occupied by the sick man and one other. The tall guy was busy unhooking the various machines and looping the drip feed around the head of the bed.

Starsky ducked back from the door and paused to consider his next move. He could either take them by surprise and hope he could get the drug into the tall man before he did any damage, or brazen it out and walk into the room. He decided on the latter as he was dressed in scrubs and would probably pass as a nurse or orderly at first glance. If only he could get past the broken glass.

Gathering himself, the curly haired detective rose, opened the door and stepped out onto the corridor. He could hear the noises from the other rooms as hospital staff tried to calm patients and keep them out of harms way. He could also hear the crash team calling numbers as they worked on the phoney cardiac arrest in 6042.

Mindful that he didn't have a lot of time to get to Adams' room, Starsky tried as hard as he could to avoid the glass on the floor. Unfortunately, whilst the larger pieces were clearly visible, the smaller ones couldn't be avoided and he felt them cutting into the soles of his feet. Ignoring the pain, he made his way up the corridor, leaving increasingly bloody footprints as he progressed.

The tall guy in Adams' room hadn't noticed his approach until Starsky stood in the doorway. He looked up from one of the machines and started to draw his gun. Starsky feigned surprise,

'Hey man, what's goin' on? I just gotta give Mr Adams his penicillin shot. Don't want him to get any nasty infections' he prattled as he made his way into the room.

The tall man looked surprised and his gun wavered in his hand as Starsky pressed home the slight advantage. He advanced a little further and brought up the syringe into full sight, squirting a little of the fluid into the air for good measure.

He thought he had got away with it until the man looked down and saw Starsky's bare bloody feet. By this time, the detective was a matter of feet away and as the man brought up his gun to fire, Starsky lunged forward, grabbing for the gun hand with both of his. The man was knocked off balance and both men crashed to the floor. Still grappling with the gun, Starsky tried to manoeuvre the syringe, to shoot the contents home, but couldn't get a clear path. The two men rolled on the floor, before Starsky managed to get in a vicious left hook to the taller man's chin. Poleaxed, his eyes rolled up into his head, and his body went limp.

Gasping for breath, the detective was just about to push himself off the body, and stand, when he felt someone grab a handful of his curly hair and snap his head back. He hissed in surprise and pain and swore under his breath as he stared up into the face of Peter Adams. The sick man had managed to get himself off the bed and was propped against the side of his hospital bed, a gun grinding into Starsky's right temple.

'Well now, young man, it seems we have a bit of a hero here. The thing is, I don't like hospitals and I want to go home' Adams said, reasonably. 'Now, not many nurses I know can fight like that, so I'm willing to bet you aren't a real bona fide nurse, are you?'

'Fuck you' ground out Starsky as he tried desperately to get a hold of the syringe. It had slipped from his grasp as he grappled with the other man, and was now lying on the floor between his knees, hidden by the legs of his pants.

The gun dug in a little deeper and Adams retorted 'Dumb move, so I'm probably going to go with police officer. Only a cop would be so bloody stupid as to walk into a situation unarmed. Am I right?'

Starsky listened to the man. His brain was working overtime trying to calculate possibilities when suddenly and almost imperceptibly, the grip on his hair loosened. At first he thought he's imagined it, but as Starsky stole a look at Adams' face, he could see that the sick man was sweating and beginning to sway. Hoping against hope that his instincts were right, Starsky suddenly jerked his head forward, bringing Adams completely off balance. Using his body as a fulcrum, the detective pulled Adams over his shoulder to land on the floor, but not before the gun discharged and Starsky felt a burning pain in his left leg. Ignoring it, and acting swiftly, he fumbled for the syringe and plunged the length of the needle into Adams' hip, depressing the plunger all the way.

Adams eyes opened wide in surprise as his body crashed to the floor and he felt the cold of the metal sink into his flesh. His hands loosened their grip on the chocolate curls, and his arm slid bonelessly to his side as his eyes stared sightlessly ahead.

Panting with the exertion and shaking a little from the adrenaline surge, Starsky slumped to the floor and rested his head in his hands. Cautiously, a medic peered around the open door and seeing the two bodies on the floor, rushed to check them over.

The dark haired detective raised his head as the medic put his hand to Adams' neck to feel for the carotid pulse. Pausing a moment, he shook his head, and with the same hand, gently closed the lids over the lifeless eyes, the dosage of drug having been too much for Adams' already weakened condition. The second, taller man was beginning to stir and moan. Starsky wearily got to his feet and limped over to Mike, who was being tended to by another of the doctors. Asking for his cuffs, he plodded back to the hospital room and snicked them over the tall mans wrists, before swaying and falling heavily against the bed.


The voices seemed to be coming nearer. What were they saying? He couldn't make out the sounds to begin with, they just seemed to flow one into the next. Slowly, he began to discern separate words, and finally he opened his eyes to see Helen looking down at him, with two police officers at her back.. For a moment, Starsky thought he had dreamed it all, and he was just back from the heart cath in theatre.

However, once he tried to sit up, he realised the whole thing had been real. Looking down is body, he saw a neat white dressing on the outside of his left leg. Further down, he realised a doctor was still tending to his feet. The left had been wrapped in white bandages and the medic was bent over the right with forceps, picking out the last of the pieces of glass.

He looked over to Helen, smiled and said softly 'We have to stop meeting like this'.

'Well, if you will play with broken glass, this is what you get' she shot back, with a gentle smile. 'You were wonderful out there Dave'. She looked down at the wounds on his leg and feet. 'I managed to get to the phone and call 911, so the police have it all under control now. Dobey knows what's happened and he's on his way over here. I'm going to give you a sedative and pain killing shot. You need to rest and those wounds are going to get painful pretty quickly, although there nothing major'. She moved away and came back with the hypo and gently injected the contents into Starsky's right arm. 'Why does it always happen to you?'

He rested his head back against the pillow, wincing a little as the doctor extracted the last of the glass and started to put a couple of stitches into the sole of his foot. 'Just lucky I guess'.

There was a pause as she gently stroked his forehead. She went on to explain that there had been two other men on Adams' team, who had been waiting in the garage below. Once Helen had telephoned the police, the black and whites turned up with sirens full on. The two men in the garage had got spooked and made a run for it, but were taken down as they left.

'There's just one thing' she said. 'Hutch isn't back until the day after tomorrow, and you can't walk for a couple of days, so, I wondered, would you like me to come over and look after you?'

The drugs were beginning to claim him and for once he didn't mind the spacey feeling. He pried his heavy eyes open and gave her a lazy lopsided grin, 'Suddenly, my day just keeps on getting better an' better' he managed before drifting off into a peaceful sleep.