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Starsky & Hutch Fanfic Site by Cristina Pereira
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Time to come back home.

NOTE  This story was written purely for entertainment and is not for profit, and is not meant to trespass in any way on the holders of the rights to Starsky and Hutch.

(*) All my gratitude to Giannella DePietro for her help and translation and to my beta reader Donna Engle

  

Starsky had been discharged from the hospital twenty days before, after two months and a half  spended there, fighting to come back from  deaths doors, after the Gunter shooting. In spite of the pain pills, he was still  in severe pain most of the time. Of course, I get a leave of absence from Dobey for an indefinite time, and I was spending all the time with him, because  Starsk couldn´t do anything by himself. I was trying to help and encourage him as much as possible, but the almost constant pain in his body, his frustration for being unable to do even the easiest things, and the uncertainty of his total recovery were conquering his till then indomitable spirit, and the abyss of a depression was stalking him. Starsky had never been an easy convalescent and,  more than once, I had to use all my  reserves of patience with my best friend. Although in nights so awful as the last one, I understood how my partner was feeling, and the only thing that I could feel towards him was love and pity.

 

One hot, humid, late  summer night, dark storm clouds were covering the city´s sky, and the first drops of rain began to fall down on the warmed streets and the roofs of the houses. The heat was unbearable but Starsk was trembling because he was cold and in pain. He scarcely was eating at all recently, and his medications were making him sick to his stomach. In fact, that night, he could not even hold down one bowl of soup, and his evening pain pill seemed absolutely useless this time.

 

"Starsk, partner. Im  afraid that we should go to the hospital."

 

"No... No, Hutch, please. I dont  want to stay one more day in that damned hospital...I, I´m just cold, and my stomach hurts, but I cant go back to the hospital again."

 

I understood that he did not want to return to the hospital. There had been too many weeks of confinement, doctors and nurses pushing his aching body night and day, with treatments, injections, blood tests, and dressing changes. So occupied in saving his life,  they often forgot that who was lying in that bed was a scared man in pain. The hospital staff had done  a really good job, but what Starsky needed now, more than any other thing, was to recover some control on his life...And lots of love.

 

And about me. Well. I was totally exhausted. Any another way to describe my condition would not be exact. Exhausted, and bad-tempered. My head had been beating painfully for some days because of the lack of sleep and rest. Sometimes, my sight was unfocused and the walls were turning, and I could not concentrate even on doing the grocery list. Luckily, I did not have to go back to work for the moment. The most probable thing is that I wouldve shot my own foot at any moment. But, thankfully, Starsky had not noticed it. I am sure that this would have made feel him guilty and worried.

 

This seemed incredible, but Starsky´s body was cold, so cold that night, though fortunately his temperature was pretty normal, that he could  not stop trembling. I covered him with another blanket, gave him a cup of tea  and another pain pill. Later, sitting down on the edge of his bed, I surrounded him with my arms, while I was gently rubbing gently the scars on his chest and abdomen, in an attempt to ease his pain, in order that he could obtain a bit of much needed rest, but he couldnt seem to sleep.

 

"Hutch..."

 

"Yeah?"

 

"This shouldnt  be happening. I mean. You shouldnt  be here...Leaving your life behind to take care of me. Look at you, Hutch...Look what I´m doing to you. You are exhausted...And dont tell me that its not true, because my eyes and my brain are still working."

 

"Starsk...Like I said before, I am where I want to be. Listen to me, partner. Though  you do not believe it now, some day, soon,  things will return to  normal, as before. You will be healthy, recovered, and free from this damned pain. I promise." Then, he said something which broke my heart to pieces.

 

"Hutch...Terry lied to me."

 

"What?"

 

"Before dying, she said  that she would never leave me. If some day, I  felt scared, sad, or in pain, I wouldve had to close my eyes, to think about her, and she wouldve been with me...But shes  not here, Hutch. Shes  not with me anymore...And I feel more tired, sick, and depressed every day. And I know that I will not be the man who I was anymore. I would be better dead. And you would be better if I died." I was trying to stop the tears that wanted to escape from my eyes. I looked at him, and when I could swallow the lump in my throat, I answered.

 

"Starsk...Don´t say that. Listen to me. Don´t ever say it again. I´m grateful to God every day because you are alive...And about Terry, she asked me to take care of you. Do you remember? And it is just what I intend to do. In some way, she is here...And now, why don´t you try to sleep a bit? " I continued holding him in my arms while, little by little, his pain and trembling diminished, until finally his soft breathing indicated that he fell asleep.  I headed to the sofa to sleep a few hours in a light sleep, like usual in the last few months.

 

Next morning, I was preparing  breakfast with Starsky  still asleep.  Someone rang the door. There was a smiling young woman with long and curled reddish hair and big green eyes dressed in an unmistakable hippy look .

 

"Hutch?...Hutch. Dont you remember me?...It´s me, Brenda....Brenda Grey..."

 

"Brenda, but...What the hell are you doing here?"

 

"Wow! I am glad to see you, too, Hutch...Can I come in?" While talking, she was already into the apartment.

 

"Oh! I´m sorry, Brenda. Of course, come in, please," I said sarcastically. Then I closed the door.

 

"We thought that you moved far from here."

 

"And I did. But I have returned to stay here indefinitely...By the way, where is Dave? I would like to see him."

 

"Brenda, have you ever thought, that after all these years, maybe he doesnt want to see you?"

 

"Listen to me, Hutch. I have not come back here to argue with you, I would just like to see Dave... And if he doesnt want to see me,  he only has to say it to me...But him, not you. Or maybe,  youre his manager now?" Brenda's eyes were shining with defiance.

 

"Okay, okay, Brenda. I don´t wanna argue with you, either, but we have to talk."  I sat down on the sofa, inviting the girl to sit down, too, with a gesture of my hand. I rubbed my eyes wearily and began to speak.

 

"Starsky is here, but he is still sleeping...So, please, we should talk in a low voice. I don´t wanna wake him up. He needs lots of rest...Brenda, Starsk has just returned home  three weeks ago, after spending two and an half months  in the hospital. Somebody shot him, and he was near  death."

 

"No! Hutch...Its  not possible...How is he?"

 

"He is recovering little by little. But this recovery is very hard, and we do not know if it will be total. Starsky hardly eats, has lost lots of weight, he needs large doses of pain pills, but in spite of it, he still has severe pain sometimes."

 

"God! I..I did not know that."

 

"Let me guess. You were too busy, trying to find any reason for your life...Trying to find the best way to continue fleeing from the problems, like you did when you were with Starsky?" My voice was low and full of hate.

 

"You are not being fair with me, Hutch...I left Dave because our relationship was not working. Besides, we did not want the same things in our lives. I needed to get away from this city, to do all those things in which I believed, but Id always knew that his life was here. He loved his work, your friendship, and I could not ask him to follow me...But I loved him very much. And I know that he loved me, too, and I still feel a great fondness for Dave. If I had known what happened to him, I wouldve come from any place in the world to be with him. You can be sure of it, Hutch." Brenda took my hand softly and continued speaking. "Hutch...Why do we have to argue?...Why cant we be friends, or at least try it?"

 

"Shit!...Because I do not trust you, Brenda! Just for that."

 

"Yes. I know, Hutch. But people change...I have changed. Besides, we are on the same team, right? We both love Dave and we both want the best for him."

 

"But you have a strange way of demonstrating it, Brenda. Leaving him, to go God knows where."

 

"And you do not know how many times I regretted it." I looked at her surprised.

 

"Yeah, Hutch. Dont look at me that way. I wanted to go away. To do what I did, to live all those experiences that I lived, to learn, but the truth is that I realized quickly that I left the best man that I could have found...I could not forgive myself if he...!" The girl remained silent a few seconds , while she tried to get her tears under control.

 

"I wanted to know the world, well, a little part of the world at least...But, now, after five years being up and down, I know that I should have remained here, with Dave, and I just bought me a map," she joked sadly.

 

"What do you want now, Brenda? Why are you here?"

 

"I want Dave´s pardon, I want him to trust me again. I would like to regain his friendship, and, maybe, if it´s still possible, his love...Is it a crime?"

 

"No, if you are sincere, but maybe now, in Starsky´s life, theres another woman...You havent thought about this possibility, Brenda? For all you know about him, he might be married, right now."

 

"Look, Hutch, I don't know if Dave is married, or if there is some woman in his life. I only know that if I still have  some chance now, I must fight for it... You know? Between Dave and me there was...fire, passion. And not just in bed, but in our whole relationship. It was so intense that it hurt. It was scary...maybe it was one of the reasons why I went away. But I will not do it again, if he gives me just a small chance." At that, I could not help but blush a bit.

 

"Brenda, maybe this is not the best moment to see him again, after five years. Now, he is not the healthy and athletic man that you remember. In fact, he looks like  death warmed over."

 

"Hutch...I have many faults, but I am not a coward. I'm sure that seeing him this way will hurt me, but the only important thing is that he is alive...Well. Now, Ill go." We both got up from the sofa, and she headed towards the door.

 

"I know Dave, he is a very proud man, and I know he will not like that Ill see him out of the blue, if he is not fine. Please, tell him that I came, and I will return later. And if he does not want to see me, I just want him to say it to me, and I will not bother him anymore. Okay?" I nodded and, pointing my forefinger at her face closely, I told her "Just one more thing, Brenda. If you do something that upsets Starsky, just a wrong look, an inopportune word or any other thing that makes him feel worse that he already feels, I personally will send you away, as far as possible. In one way or another, I swear to you that I will do it. Do you understand me?"

 

"Sure, Hutch. Loud and clear...You know? Maybe you don´t believe me, but I´m happy because Dave has a friend as good as you. He is a very special man, and deserves only love, but in a way you are wrong, I´m not the enemy...See you later, Hutch."

 

Brenda left, and after a few seconds, I began  preparing some breakfast again with a glass of orange juice and the pain pills for Starsky while I was thinking the right way to tell him who had come back. Brenda's visit had scarcely lasted fifteen minutes, but that little time had been enough to give me a new reason for being worried.

 

For a moment, I thought about not saying anything to Starsky. Probably after knowing his condition , she would not return, but I rejected that idea...I could not do that to my friend...And, after all, maybe, only maybe, this girl had changed.

 

Brenda and Starsky met each other by chance seven years ago, one autumn day, when both were running along the beach. Then, he was twenty-nine years old and she twenty-five. Soon, something happened between them, and they started dating.

 

Their relationship was full of ups and downs. They loved each other, but they were too similar. Independent, passionate, temperamental, and proud, and though they never lost  respect for each other, some of their arguments were terrible. When Starsk and I began to work together as partners, they were living a crisis, and nine months later Brenda finally left Starsky. Suddenly, without saying anything   to him-  simply with one letter stating that the city and their relationship were suffocating her. Few weeks later, she moved from Bay City to live her life, without looking back.

 

Starsky loved her, and her abandonment hurt him more than he ever said, but, finally,  time did its work, and he managed to forget her. Three years later, Terry came into Starsky´s life...And, well, that is another story.

 

While I remained lost in my own thoughts, Starsky came out of his bedroom and, walking slowly, he sat down at the kitchen table, with his hand over his chest, and a pained expression on his face.

 

"Morning, Starsk...How are you doing?"

 

"Better... I think."

 

"I dont  think that, partner. Why dont you go to bed again?  Ill give you some breakfast, and the pain pills. "

 

"I'm tired of being in bed, Hutch...And I do not have a fever! " Starsky said bad-tempered when I approached  him and touched his forehead, to verify if he had a fever.

 

"Sorry, Hutch...I shouldnt have  shouted at you."

 

"I know, Starsk, I know. It doesnt matter. I know that youre  very tired of all of this, but now I think you should go back to bed for a bit. Come on." I took him to his room, and I helped him to get into  bed. He was too weak and tired to argue. I covered him with the covers, and headed to the kitchen, to get him his breakfast.  He only drank a warm glass of milk. 

 

"Starsk, please, try to eat a little more."

 

"No, Hutch. I´m sorry, but I can´t eat...Maybe later, but now, I can´t."

 

"Okay. Later." Then, I sat down in a chair next to his bed.

 

"Starsk?"

 

"Yeah."

 

"Someone came to see you, a while ago."

 

"Someone?...Who?"

 

"Brenda. Brenda Grey."

 

"Brenda? But isnt she supposed to be lost walking around the country, trying to find herself or something like this?" Starsky said with a little bitterness in his voice.

 

"No. Not yet. She is in town to stay, and she wants to see you...Starsky. She wants to ask for your pardon." Starsky closed his eyes, and sighed deeply.

 

"Brenda said she would return later, but if you dont  want to see her, she will understand  and wont bother you any more."

 

"She knows...Knows what has happened to me? "

 

" Yes, Starsk, I told her. And she seemed to be very upset. Look, partner, you know that I dont like her too much , but her concern for you seemed to be really sincere. What do you say? If she returns, do you wanna see her? " After a few seconds, Starsky finally answered.

 

"Yes...Of course. Why not? In fact, what happened between us does not matter anymore. You know that I have never been spiteful, and I am not going to start being so now."

 

Of course, I knew it. Starsky had never been spiteful, and would never be. His great and generous heart would not allow him to be.

 

Later, Brenda came. Starsky  was not feeling fine enough to leave the bed that day, but in spite of it, he wanted to see iher.

 

Before allowing Brenda to enter  his room, I said to her, "Don´t forget what I  said to you earlier, Brenda." Without answering me, she knocked on the door and entered. I remained in the lounge, to allow them to be alone.

 

"Hi, Dave." For a few seconds, the blood froze in  Brenda´s body when she saw  the pale shade of the strong and attractive man that she remembered.

 

"Hi, Bren.. Excuse me for  being in  bed. Lately, I havent felt too well."

 

"Doesnt matter, I understand." The girl sat down in a chair next to Starsky´s bed and  a moment of embarassed silence filled the room.

 

"What a surprise, huh? I bet that you  pictured me in the jungle, fighting with crocodiles, or in a monastery in Tibet searching my soul...and not back in Bay City."

 

"You couldve remained in that jungle for all I care." She bit her lip, and fixed her sight on the floor. "I´m sorry, Bren. I didn´t want to be rude with you. It´s just that..."

 

"No. Please. Don´t apologize. I was not expecting anything ." A few silent seconds more, till Starsky spoke.

 

"Well, Bren. Tell me about yourself. Apparently,  life has treated you well all these years. You look beautiful."

 

" Thanks, Dave... I... Hutch has told me... What happened to you...The shooting. I´m sorry, Dave. I´m so sorry." Brenda wanted to take  Starsky´s hand, but he pushed back from her touch.

 

"If I had known it, Id had come to be with you."

 

"Really?...Why? "

 

"Why? I don´t understand you, Dave."

 

"It is a simple question. I can repeat it if you want...Why?" Starsky asked defiantly of the girl.

 

"Well, you know... "

 

"No, Brenda. I don't know. In fact, I don´t know anything right now."

 

" Oh! I can't believe it, Dave!... Do you want to argue with me?... "

 

" No, believe me. I do not want to argue, I´m  much too exhausted for this. I want just to understand you. To know why you have returned. "

 

"Dave...I don´t know the right way  to say it. I know that maybe it will seem strange to you, but I need to be honest for once in my life. I left you, because I was  truly stupid, and I have returned, because...because I miss you very much...And I felt really guilty for what I did to you."

 

"I can´t believe it! Brenda Grey felt guilty! And about me? Where you have learned something like that? I mean, on the feeling of culpability. Who has taught you, finally, that some of our acts can do damage to others?" Every one of the Starsky´s words said slowly in low voice was like a poison arrow.

 

" I´m sorry, Dave.. I´m sorry because its my fault you still have so much anger in your heart. And, now I see, that I do not know you any more. You were not this way before...So...spiteful, cold."

 

"ME!...I´m spiteful...Cold?...Tell me something, Bren. Who left who?...Suddenly. Without no word. Just a fucking letter, after  almost TWO YEARS IN A RELATIONSHIP!"

 

"You have reason, Dave. After all, maybe it is too late for me to rectify my mistakes. I think that I should not have come here... Maybe the best is that I go away." Brenda rose from the chair when a wave of pain  washed on Starsky´s face and he put his hand over his aching abdomen, curling up in the bed. The girl, scared, bent towards him, caressing his arm. "Dave!...Whats happening to you? How I can help you?...Shhht. Easy, David. Calm down...Try to relax."

 

"Go away, Brenda, please...I don´t need your pity. I need Hutch...I don´t want you to see me this way. Hurts me!... Please go away." Brenda went out of  Starsky´s bedroom, to get Hutch.  In a second, he was close to his friend, holding him, gently rubbing  his back, and whispering words of comfort to him.  Neither man seemed to notice that she was still there, and the young woman left the apartment silently.

 

Some time later, after his pain was diminished a little with the pain pills help, Starsky finally fell sleep, and I went out to the porch entrance to get a bit of fresh air.  Brenda was there. Sitting down on the entrance steps  with a sad face.

 

Something in her eyes left a strange sensation in me...Could it be that Brenda loved Starsky that much that seeing him in such pain really upset her deeply?...Brenda smiled at me and got up. She sighed deeply and told me that she would try to talk with Dave again. Seeing him again had confirmed her feelings for him.

 

"I still love him, Hutch..." and with that said,  she left.

 

I stayed on the stairs thinking  how Starsky was going to react to this and how I could help. But one thing was sure, I didnt trust her at all.

 

The nights were still humid and hot. Brenda arrived at the nice condominium where she lived now and took a shower. When she got out, Nick Starsky was there already watching a game on TV.

 

"Hey, honey...did you get what we have a deal for? Hows my brother? What I read in the papers doesnt seem very good.

 

"Of course, I got it...dont you know me, Nick? Dave´s the same. He has a very fascinating personality, that´s for sure. But he doesnt look good. I feel sorry for him."

 

"Well, you dont have to...soon you´ll be a queen and then youll have a real Starsky." Nick embraced her and held her tight against his body.

 

She smiled and sighed near his ear. "Are you going to show me what a real Starsky is capable of doing...? Your brother got through all the tests while we were together, but you, the lovely little brother"

 

Nick held her even tighter and kissed her with passión. "The packet? Where is it?" he asked without letting her go.

 

Brenda grined and sighed in his ears again, "...In the stairs, near the door. Your brother felt a lot of pain and Hutch went to help him.  I took advantage of the situation and finished the job. I stayed there crying a little over poor Dave." She smiled sarcastically. Nick let go of her and she sat down on the bed drying her hair and her body covered with a towel. "I waited so Hutch saw me and then I went on with my role...Hmmm, fools! "

 

"Very good. That way it´ll be safe. They don´t know me and wont be able to link my name with my brother and his house. When our contact arrives, you´ll give him the merchandise and then we will leave, and you, my princess, will choose where to go. What do you think?"

 

"Thats all I want, to get away from this city with no future and live a real life."

 

"You´ll have all that being with me. With my brother, you´d have a house and kids to take care of. My brother always had such simple dreams. I´m not like him. I don´t wanna live the life my father gave my mother and me. Look what it gave Dave- the dream of saving the world following Dad´s footsteps. We could live in any part of the world!..." Nick laid on the bed covering Brenda´s body with his own and they started "playing" in a hot and humid night in Bay City.

 

                                   ***********

 

Another difficult night for Starsky. And today, it seemed worst, besides the pain and being uncomfortable, he seemed to be thinking a lot. I felt that maybe Brendas visit brought alive old ghosts from the past, but for now, I wouldnt try to talk about it. I know my partner and with  time, he´d talk to me. His dinner was left untouched.

 

"I´m sorry, Hutch...I feel sicker tonight. Maybe too much medication," he said with a sad smile. "I promise I´ll drink my juice, ok?"

 

"Ok, buddy, as you want. Do you want to listen to some music or watch TV?"

 

"Thanks, Hutch. I´m gonna lay down a while. Why don´t you do the same? You need to rest, too. Do you think I havent realized that you havent slept well since I´ve been home?...Well. In fact, since that day..."

 

After some minutes of silence, Starsky said, "Would you help me to the bathroom? I have some things to do before going to sleep." With his head down, I almost couldn´t hear what he said: "Sorry about that too, Hutch.

 

"Starsky...stop apologizing, ok? You know everything I do is cause I want to and I like to take care of you. Soon all this will be in the past." I told him that as sweet as possible. "Lets go then. You have to take care of your teeth. The ladies are waiting for your irresistible smile, buddy!!!"

 

It´s incredible how you can find good books in Starskys apartment. If you listened to him, you would never think that head liked to read modern and classic writers. Every time I´m more convinced that his childish behavior and simple chat are just  to keep the child we all have, or should have, inside alive. David Michael Starsky is a very profound person with a very complex personality. A kid and a man in the same body. How I miss his silly jokes, his readings of news with no importance, how I want his teasings, his smile. How I miss our day-to-day as cops. I even miss the Torino! That my partner cant ever know! I hate Gunther for all this.

 

The phone startled me and brought me out of my reverie. I answered quickly as Starsky seemed finally to have fallen asleep, drawn by all the night medicines.

 

 

"Hutch...its Huggy. How was the day for our curly brother?"

 

"As always, Huggy. Pain, medication, pain, medication. It wasn´t a great day."

 

"Sorry, bro...Need some help? Anything, just say it."

 

"No, thanks, Huggy. Its always good to know we can count on our good friends."

 

"Anytime, my man...anytime...Uhhh, Hutch...maybe it means nothing...but I´ve heard that Nick Starsky is in town. Dont know if he is in something wrong, but I wanted you to know, just in case. I don´t think it would be  any good for Starsky to meet his brother now, if you know what I mean. It always seems that Nick means a problem in our friend´s life."

 

"Thanks, Huggy. If you find out anything else...We didn´t have any news about Nick for a long time so its weird that he shows in Bay City at this moment."

 

"You´re right, Hutch. I´ll have my eyes and ears open. Tell Starsky I called and that I´ll visit him as soon my customers allow me to do it. Night, Hutch!"

 

"Good night, Huggy, and thanks again."                                            

 

                                          *************

 

The sun entered through the window and lit the bedroom. Starsky opened his eyes still heavy from the medication. According to the noises on the street, it must be very late. Birds, lots of them, kids on their happy way to school, some cars, some smells from the houses and the street.

 

What months of total inactivity can do to a person. Now you can notice things that David Starsky didn´t know  existed. You even think out loud Starsky´s says to himself with a sad smile.  Moving in bed has become a difficult task lately. No stretching as you like, no sleeping in strange positions as you like. Everything has to be as you body asks and needs. And what the body asks and needs is a life of caring and pain. Till when!...Till when!!To wash your teeth and to shave yourself are such difficult tasks to do. To put on your clothes, you get so tired that the only thing you want to do next is sleep and sleep, and sleep...Then, why that much medication? They don´t help.  I´m going to sleep for the rest of my life? And Hutch, poor buddy. What a life you´re living, partner? Sleeping on the couch, taking care of the house, being my nurse. Till when?? One day you´ll have to go back to your life and your work, buddy!!! And then? What about me? Whats gonna happen to me?

 

Brenda. The image of the pretty girl with green eyes is the image becoming more steady in his thoughts since the moment he saw her again. Why did you come back, Brenda? Now that I´m an invalid.

 

Hutch heard  his movements and appeared at   the door. Smiling sweetly at him, he greeted his partner, "Good morning, Starsk." He approached him and sat on the end of the bed. "What do you think about a delicious orange juice and some toast? Are you hungry? You didnt eat anything last night, you must be hungry!"

 

"Maybe...I dont know...lately I´m not sure of many things about me and my life..."

 

The sadness in his friend´s eyes when hed talk  about his new reality is like a knife in his heart. But Hutch insisted. "Im sure you´ll be hungry when you smell the toast, joked Hutch.

 

"Do you listen to the noises people make, the streets...?"

 

"What?"

 

"I hear all these things a lot more. Funny, isnt it? It must be not having anything else to do."

 

"Starsk, why dont we go to the beach? It´s a beautiful day outside. We could sit down on a bench and watch the sea. Itll be good for you, buddy! I promise I´ll take careful driving the Torino as I know  you can´t move too  much without pain....What do you think?"

 

"Beach...?" The image of people looking at him immediately came to his mind. People looking at a ghost, somebody weak that can´t even walk alone. "No, Hutch, no. I...I dont feel well enough to go out. Thanks for worrying, but I think that maybe there should be some old film to watch on TV.

 

"Starsk...Whats going on, buddy? Why dont you wanna go out? There´s no problem. The doctor didn´t say you couldn´t go out. If you´re feeling better, no more fever for some days now,  you can do something different from being at home and you can do it little by little. You just have to be careful with your movements."

 

"I know...It´s just that I dont wanna go out!!!...Sorry, Hutch, I dont mean to talk like this, it´s that I´m not the handsome guy from Bay City any more." He smiled teasing Hutch.

 

"Starsky...you´ll be alright!. But you have to start eating a little more and then you´ll see- youll gain weight and your strength and then youll begin with your physical therapy. Thats what the doctor planned to do. You know it, right?"

 

"Yeah, I know. But its not that easy, Hutch. I feel so sick all the time that I can´t eat, and the pain..." Suddenly, a question came to his mind. "Hutch, what do you think of Brenda? She said she wanted my forgiveness. She missed me and she feels guilty for what she did. Do you believe it?"

 

"Honestly, I don´t. But maybe I still have a bad feeling due to what she put you through. Thats why you´ve been so silent and deep in thought since yesterday. That damn visit. Brenda.

 

"Yeah...I dont believe her, either.

 

Would that be possible, buddy? Could it be that you dont trust her? You´re so alone, so insecure. Everything is fear and uncertainty in your life, your future.

 

The silence in the bedroom said more things than any answer. Hutch could see there were questions in his mind. In a barely audible voice, Starsky started to open up his heart. He sighed deeply and everything started coming out.

 

"After Brenda´s visit, lots of memories came to my mind, Hutch. Its been a long time since I thought seriously about a girl. After Kira and before the shooting, I hadn´t been with anybody for a long time, and then all the time in the hospital, and now here...Do you think Ill be the same man as before?...The doctors didn´t say a word about that, they just say that I´ll get my energy back and my body will respond to the therapy as time goes by, but they aren´t sure of anything, Hutch. After seeing Brenda again, for the first time, I thought about that. If some day I could be with a girl...And the scars...How they´re going to look at me?...Oh, God. I know I shouldnt think that way. I should be been grateful for being alive, but I dont like to watch my reflection in a mirror...I think girls." Starsky felt embarrassed and kept his head low, but he needed to talk about it and Hutch was the only one who could understand it.

 

"Starsk...I understand it, buddy, and don´t think that it´s not normal to think and feel like that. You´re a man and our sexual activity is important. Its completely natural that you think about it again. It´s good to know you think about it. That means you´re coming to life, buddy, he grinned happily. "And about your appearance, you dont have to worry that much. You know the doctors said that with time the scars will disappear or, at least, they´ll be less noticeable. But you know that thats something you´ll have to get used to living with, right? At this moment, theres not much you can do about them, but as time goes by, if you follow the doctors orders, youll get better. Hutch grinned and winked his eye.

 

"And then...my irresistible charm with the girls is crucial any way, isn´t it?" he teased Hutch and grinned really happily for the first time in months!!!

 

Hutch then helped him in the bathroom, shaving, getting dressed and, for the first time since he got out of the hospital, Starsky drank his juice and ate all the toast Hutch had made for him. He took the medications and watched some things on TV. As Hutch was making the list for the grocery store, he looked at his friend and thought: Oh, God. Its been that long since I saw you smiling and with this sparkle in your eyes. I just hope that if you fall for a girl, it wont  be this girl. There´s something weird with her, buddy. And I hope she wont hurt you more than what she did in the past. And Nick...What does your brother want in town? Hes been out of your life for so long. Why come back when youre so weak emotionally and physically?

 

                                    ************

 

 

 

"Brenda, I received the call we´ve been waiting for. Its time to go back to my brother´s home. Find a way  to leave this package with the other one. In 2 or 3 days, well get rid of the merchandise and well go any where you want...Paris? Do you like Paris?"

 

"Any where is better than this city, isn´t it? But Paris is a good place to start a new life, she smiled, pleased with the idea. "Seems your brothers gonna have a visit."

 

Starsky was dozing off on the couch and Hutch  was quietly trying to phone Huggy and ask him for help for the supermarket when the door bell rang. When he opened the door, he saw Brenda with her arms full of bags.

 

"Hi, Hutch...could you help me? As you said Dave wasn´t that hungry, I thought that maybe he would like my food. Hutch stood there, watching Brenda suspiciously , but amiably  helped her and invited her to come in. He indicated  the couch and for her to be quiet. Brenda followed his instructions and  stayed in the kitchen, apparently busy with the things she brought.

 

Hutch sat down on the couch and soothingly  tried to wake up Starsky. He awaked confused and asked whats the matter. Hutch made a gesture to look to the kitchen and then Starsky saw Brenda there. He then asked his friend to help him to sit straight.

 

"Hi, Brenda.

 

"Hi, Dave!" she said amiably. "Look what I have for you! Brenda´s Special!! Do you remember? I´m sure you´ll eat all of it. You have to get your weight back, right, Hutch?"

 

"Yeah, right, he responded flatly.

 

"Brenda´s Special, Starsky smiled thoughtfully and sad at something that he remembered. "Its not necessary to bother, Brenda.

 

"No bother at all...its a pleasure! I promise I won´t stay long. Just enough to have a nice lunch. I know you have to rest.

 

"Ah, Hutch...maybe its a good time for you to go home. Your jungle may need water, eh? Brenda will keep me company, buddy. You have to take care of your house and your things, too.

 

Realizing that Starsky needed some privacy, Hutch stood up and grinned. "OK. I´ll be at my place. But I´ll be back soon, Brenda. Starsky really needs to rest, he stated in a menacing tone that only Starsky noticed. He took the car keys and left quickly.

 

Brenda got near  the couch and sat right beside Starsky. He could smell her fragance and lots of things and memories came to his mind. Brenda, at the same time, smelled his after shave and couldnt avoid  remembering some moments they spent together.

 

Of course, this man is special. Dave, I was thinking a lot about our conversation the other day. I understand your coolness. I know I wasn´t right with you. But I want you to know that since that day, I cant get your face out of my mind. You´re the most important man in my life...I´ve never known anyone like you.

 

"But you didn´t love me enough to stay with me, Brenda...Why?" he asked seriously.

 

"Ah...Dave...I was confused...but now...you cant imagine how much I regret all the time I lost, she said sweetly.

 

Starsky began to feel uncomfortable with the situation. He looked her in the eyes and felt the need to kiss her. Then he decided to change the subject. You can´t encourage your dreams as a man. Suddenly, his mind got clear.

 

Realizing the situation, Brenda stood and returned to the kitchen with a smile on her lips as she noticed the influence she was having over Dave. And she thought... if you were ok, I wouldnt miss this opportunity of being with a man like you, David Starsky! What a pity that you´re not healthy.

 

"Dave, I´ll bring your meal to the couch, don´t worry. It´s ready and hot." She served a plate and took it to him.  She served another for herself and she sat beside him on the couch. They ate silently. Starsky appreciated the food and tried to eat a little. It really tasted good and he felt a real pleasure in eating and being with a girl doing something "normal" after so long. As she washed the dishes and arranged things in the kitchen, Brenda told him about her trips she made during the years they were apart. Then they sit in silence for a while and, finally,  she took the lead and kissed Starsky. At first, he didnt react but, after seconds, he got lost in her lips. Time was passing by and Brenda needed to do what she had arranged with Nick, but she noticed that the effort with the kiss had left Starsky breathless. She had to do something to get him to sleep so she kissed him again and, this time, Starskys responce was immediate. But, in seconds, he realized that he was too weak and that only  a kiss had him so tired that his body began to hurt again. Embarrassed, he asked Brenda to bring his medication from the kitchen and she helped him. Brenda  rested his head on her lap and  started talking about her life, about their past together till he fell asleep. She then quickly took the second package out of her bag and  silently  hurried from the apartment leaving the parcel with the other one, hidden in between two steps in the stairs. With her mission done, she left.

 

                                        *************

 

Hutch arrived and knocked on the door. Not getting an answer and seeing the door ajar, he entered and saw Starsky alone. No sign of Brenda. Very upset about Brenda leaving his friend alone, Hutch asked Starsky about her and he responded, "She wasn´t here when I woke up. I was waiting for you to help me up of this damn couch!!!"

 

"You took your medication? Are you hurting now?"

 

"A little..."

 

"Just a little..." Hutch said frowning. "Why dont you tell the truth?"

 

"Why should I?...You always seem to know how I feel, Starsky said grinning like a kid.

 

"OK...Bed it is then!"

 

Starsky dozed off and Hutch took the opportunity to call Huggy. And this time, Huggy did have news.

 

"Hutch, I was thinking of coming to talk to you. I found out something you wont like at all, but we have to be ready for.

 

"Spit it out now, Huggy. Dont wanna talk about it here. Starsky doesn´t know about Nick.

 

"OK...it seems that Nick is in the drugs market...and hes not alone. He has a girl with him. But what hes about to do, will be in a few days.

 

Hutch felt a cold sensation up his spine and decided he better  tell Huggy about Brendas unexpected return. "Huggy, do you remember Brenda Grey?"

 

"That chick with green eyes...the one that broke the heart of our curly brother...?"

 

"Yeah..."

 

"Hmmm...how could I forget...What´s with her?"

 

"She came back a few days ago. Shes been here talking with Starsky. She said she regretted what shed done and wanted him to forgive her. She was here today with a special lunch for Starsky...I dont like any of this. I dont trust her. And worst of all is that Starsky seemed very upset when he first saw her, but now, he has his emotions mixed up, you got it? And I´m feeling Brenda´s appearance isn´t any good for him. Huggy, could you try to get some information about her?"

 

"I´ll do my best. Too much a coincidence that she suddenly showed up and that she changed that much after the way she treated Starsky. If I find out something about her, Ill call you...Ehhh, Hutch, tell Starsky that tomorrow Ill come see him, ok?"

 

"OK, Huggy. Hell be real pleased with that...and thanks for everything, my friend.

 

Near dinner time, Starsky wasn´t feeling good. He seemed to have a fever again. Maybe too many emotions for one day. Hutch tried to make him eat some soup, but Starsky´s stomach couldn´t stand anything. Hutch was in the living room reading when he heard Starsky calling him with his voice filled with pain and agony.

 

"Hutch!... Hutch!"

 

"Yeah, buddy!!" In seconds, Hutch ran to the bedroom and saw Starsky who didnt look too good and  seemed very sick.

 

"Hutch...I´m not feeling well..sick...I have to go to the bathroom or youll have to clean over here.

 

"OK...take it easy. Lets go to the bathroom. Easy...easy. There´s no problem with the bedroom. Most important of all is you walk slowly so you wont be in pain later, ok?"

 

"OK..." Starsky was sweating hard and was very pale.

 

After a while,  feeling better and getting rid of lunch, Hutch helped Starsky  back to bed and cleaned the bathroom. Starsky was cold and shaking hard. Hutch hugged him and covered him with another blanket and they stayed that way for a long time. Hutch felt a sob coming from Starsky and he held him tighter so he could only feel love and no more pain or sickness.

 

With his eyes wet with tears, Starsky looked up at Hutch and said, "I wont make it, Hutch...I cant go on like this any more. I wanna be my old self again...I can´t even kiss a girl, he said resting his head on Hutch´s chest as a child needing to be comforted. Hutchs eyes filled with tears, too, but he knew he had to be strong for his friend. Then thats it, buddy, Brenda´s visit left you this way, Starsk...

 

"Starsk...Look, buddy...look at me, please?"

 

Unhappy with himself for showing his weakness, Starsky lifted his eyes to Hutch.

 

"Starsky...you´re the strongest person I´ve even known. All that you´ve been through from your childhood till now. You´re the best cop, the best partner, the best friend, the best son. You´ve got a big heart, so many feelings for people and a strength that, believe me, I wouldn´t have to get through half what you´ve been through. Im really here, fighting against the system and everything just because you´re with me. How many times lately I´ve been mad, feeling frustrated with the job and everything, but you´ve been by my side, and you´ve been with me even when what I wanted wasn´t what you wanted to do, uhh? You made miracles, buddy, how could you give up now?...Theres nobody in this world that deserves to live and be happy more than you do. And I´ll be right here beside you till you achieve your goal of being the person you were. And if  that cant be possible, I´ll be by your side, too, and together well find a new life and you´ll be happy nevertheless. I swear!!"

 

After a while, it seemed the words had reached Starskys heart and with a sigh he said, "OK....Im tired. Ill try to get some sleep.

 

"Good...all you need is to rest and get back your strength. If you need anything, Ill be in the living room.

 

The night wasn´t that bad. Actually, Starsky was more relaxed and his stomach cooperated, too. Early in the morning, while Hutch was in the kitchen preparing coffee, Huggy arrived.

 

"Hey, shouldnt you  be sleeping, Huggy? The night wasn´t good at The Pits?, teased Hutch.

 

"It seems my finest clients have some banking problems...night was quiet and we had to close early. So I could rest as much as I needed. How´s our curly friend doing? Bad night? he asked looking at the bedroom that was still  silent.

 

"Not really. It was one of the most quiet nights since we came home from the hospital. I even could get some real sleep, too. I feel better, too. I don´t want Starsky to know it, but I´ve been feeling tired lately, Huggy.

 

"You dont have to say anything, Blondie, my friend...You look awful. And I dont think that could be ignored by Starsky."

 

"Thanks, Huggy, very nice of you..." teased Hutch.

 

"Truth hurts...but its necessary... Huggy grinned back.

 

"You didn´t come just to talk about my beauty, Huggy...Whats up?"

 

"What Nick and his girl friend have planned will be today. And I don´t need to be a detective to know that its a very profitable job. The streets are boiling, and Hutch...The chick is Brenda. She  just arrived from New York, and she has the best friends in Bay City. Actually, shes the one with the contacts and Nick is just her partner. They lived together in New York but why these visits to Starsky now, I dont understand."

 

"She´s the prime contact- three visits- very, very short, Hutch thought out loud. "Huggy, they´re taking advantage of Starsky, but I dont get  how or why. Why visit him and all that talk about wanting his pardon?"

 

"Are you planning on talking to her about your doubts? Does Starsky know about Nick yet?"

 

At that precise moment, Starsky appeared at the door looking still sleepy,  with a sad expressión but, at the same time, a defiant one. They were sure he heard everything they said.

 

"Whats the secret now? What are you hiding from me, friends?, The last word emphasized with bitterness and anger. "Nick and Brenda? What are you talking about?"

 

For a few seconds, Hutch and Huggy didnt know what to do and they looked at each other.  Hutch then realized that the best thing to do was to tell the truth in order not to make Starsky feel worse that what he already felt about the control of his life. "Starsky, why dont you sit down and then we can talk calmy about all this.

 

"I´m alright and calm, he said dryly. "Now whats going on here? What are you hiding from me?"

 

"We aren´t keeping anything from you, buddy. Now I´m just confirming what I´ve suspected. I didn´t want to say anything without being sure that my suspicions were true.

 

"What are you suspicious about?"

 

"Since Brenda came back, you know I didn´t trust her, didnt you?" Starsky just nodded. "Then I asked Huggy to help me and he found out that Brenda was in the city with a guy that we now know is Nick and they´re involved in something big- drugs."

 

Starsky walked to the couch and sat defeated...not only for his body but for the news.

 

"Im sorry, Starsk...,  Hutch said soothingly and with sincerity in his voice.

 

"Nick was quiet for a long time, wasnt he? I should´ve known that something really wrong was going to happen, but with all that happened to me, the shooting, the hospital, now here, I forgot about Nick. Ma hasnt known about him for a long time now, either. At least, thats what she told me when I was at the hospital. Now we know why he disappeared. " He laid his head over the back of the couch and closed his eyes. "Oh, God, I´ll never be able to take care of Nick, he´ll always be in trouble."

 

"Starsky, Hutch couldnt believe what he heard and he looked at Huggy who was watching Starsky, too, with a sad expression. Starsky blamed himself for Nicks actions. "What are you saying, buddy?" Hutch couldnt hide his feelings for Nick. "Where was your brother when you were at the hospital? Not even a visit, a letter, a phone call!!! And you think you could change something in Nick´s life? Your brother doesn´t want your help or anybody´s help!!! You´re not responsible for all the stupidity that´s in your brothers mind. Dont you see that he does everything he wants, how and when he wants to, not worrying about you or your mother?"

 

"Its not that easy, Hutch. You know everything was too difficult for Nick. Dad´s death, Mom´s difficulties to take care of us. No money for Ma to live, my coming here to LA. Nick always felt alone.  He was a child when everything happened."

 

"What about you? Was it easy for you??...Was it that easy for a kid to lose his father the way you lost him and then coming to live with your aunt and uncle and growing up being apart from what you loved??...Who was the one who lost the most, Starsk...Who? I know you´ve become a real man, followed your father´s steps, became a well- known and respected cop, a loving son. Why couldnt Nick do the same? Why is it so difficult for him and not for you?"

 

"Hutch, I dont want and I dont have the strength now to discuss  it with you, buddy. You know how I feel and I know how you feel about my brother. Now what is important is to try to help Nick to avoid doing some big crime. Huggy, dont you know anything else besides that he´s with Brenda and that he´s associated with drugs?"

 

"No, Curly, my man, just that.

 

"Hutch, will you forget your differences with Nick for now and help me, partner?" His eyes looked sad and filled with mixed emotions.

 

Hutch went to the couch and sat besides his friend. "Of course, I will, Stark. You know I´ll do anything I can. It´s just that I dont like to see you hurting for something thats not your fault. You understand me, dont you?" he asked and grinned sweetly to his friend.

 

"Sure, Blondie, Starsky responded and smiled, too.

 

Starsky remained quiet for a while looking at the wall. "I dont know how to get in touch with Brenda. She didn´t give me an address or telephone number, probably because she didn´t want me to reach her, he grinned sadly. "The only way to talk to her is if she calls again. We need to know where´s Nick. I have to talk with my brother.

 

Hutch passed his hand over his face and hair. He tried to imagine a way to find Brenda and bring Nick to talk with his brother.

 

"Starsky, Hutch began pondering. "I supposed, that the first time Brenda was here, she already knew about the shooting, but when I told her about it, she reacted as if she didn´t know anything and acted  very upset and sad." Hutch watched Starsky with his eyes bright as the pieces of the puzzle were beginning to fall into place. "She already knew from Nick, right?"

 

Starsky just nodded.

 

"Then, she came here because she was interested in coming to your house. Otherwise, there wasn´t a reason for her to see you again. She could stay in the city without anyone knowing she was here, till the time for the delivery or purchase of the merchandise, right?" He looked at Huggy who now was beside them on the couch, too. "But on the contrary, she came here three times. She didn´t stay long and, even the third time, she left leaving you alone, no matter my advice that you couldnt be alone and that I´d be back soon, remember?"

 

Starsky nodded again.

 

Hutch got nervous and started pacing the room pondering all the possibilities. He placed his hand on his forehead as if he suddenly had a headache. Huggy followed his every move and felt a little grateful watching his two friends acting again as cops for the first time in a long time, and not just being "nurse" and "patient.

 

"Brenda always said that the true life was in Paris, or London, or some similar place. We could check the flights from LA to any place in Europe for today or tomorrow. There won´t be too many flights with that destination. This way we could figure out when they´d be planning to go. Minnie could help us with that. What do you think, Hutch? I trust Minnie about knowing that Nick´s involved in something wrong. Besides, everybody will know about it if he goes to jail. " He sighed deeply and bitterly. "They must be using a rented car. We could check that, too. Maybe they didnt say the right date to give back the car, maybe theyll leave it at the airport, uhh?"

 

"Yeah, after all these years, we can anticipate some movements from the bad guys," Hutch said, regretting it immediately when he realized the way he referred to Nick, and the last thing he wanted to do now was to hurt his best friend any more.

 

"Sorry, Starsk,I."

 

"Its ok, no problem."

 

"Brenda was alone only for a few moments, and from what I remember, Hutch paced the living room trying to remember where Brenda had been, "she was alone just a few minutes when she came out of your room after talking to you.

 

"And in the kitchen when she was fixing her Brenda´s Special, remembered Starsky.

 

"And she was alone in the stairs, beside the door. I found her sitting there before leaving the second time."

 

"Wait a moment. I´m not a cop, so could anybody explain what´s going on here? What are you planning to do?" asked Huggy.

 

Hutch watched Starsky and no words were necessary to make a plan. Starsky picked up the phone and called the precinct asking for Minnie. He asked her to check the flights with destination to any place in Europe that were due in the next few hours or next day and to verify if there were any reservations for Brenda Grey or Nick Starsky. Minnie didnt make any comments as she noticed how sad and embarrassed Starsky sounded.

 

Meanwhile, Hutch began checking the kitchen. He opened all the cupboards and cabinets till he had no other place to look. He asked Huggy to look over the living room and, after finishing with the kitchen, he went to help Huggy. Starsky felt useless, but he couldnt do anything. He remained in his seat but he followed every move of his friends with his eyes. After they finished with the living room, Hutch opened the door and started looking carefully in the stairway, inch by inch. Suddenly, he noticed a piece of wood loose in the second step and realized that any one could, without difficulty,  open it.  When he searched in that space, he found two packages. He took one and carried it inside.

 

"Cocaine? asked Starsky completely defeated as it confirmed what his brother was involved in.

 

"Seems so, or heroin, Hutch looked at him sadly.

 

"Oh, man! What do we do now? asked Huggy.

 

The phone rang and the three of them jumped, startled by the sound.

 

"Starsky. Yeah, Minnie, he looked at Hutch and Huggy. After some minutes of silence, Starsky thanked Minnie in a kind way. He looked at his friends and said dryly, "Theres an United flight , late today, departing from LA- destiny, Paris with a Brenda Grey and Nicholas Starsky as passengers." He closed his eyes, tired with the emotions and everything thats still gonna happen.

 

                                ************

 

Near noon, in a rented Chevy, Nick Starsky parked a block away from his brothers place. "Are you sure my brother is asleep?"

 

"I am. I studied his medication schedule on the fridge´s door and, after lunch, Hutch gives him a very strong one that makes him sleep. Hutch might be reading or sleeping, too, in the meantime. AllI have to do is reach beside the door and, without any noise, pick out the packages. Piece of cake, honey. I´ve done more difficult things already, she said thoughtfully.

 

"Ok. I´ll be waiting for you here and well go straight to the airport. Our flight to our new life is waiting for us. Mr. Fox is waiting for us to make the delivery there. The money will go with us in our carry-on bag. Brenda got out of the car and went  directly to the apartment.

 

In Starskys apartment, everything was ready. They asked for a black and white  back up parked on the corner, blocking the road just in case Brenda and Nick tried to escape.

 

Starsky thought it was better for Huggy to leave in order to avoid unnecessary risks. Hutch was ready, quiet beside the window. So when Brenda got to the stairs, Hutch opened the door suddenly- scaring the hell out of her and she let the packages fall. Hutch reached her before she tried to run away and said, "Brenda, I´m sorry but you wont be on time for your flight to Paris. This time you wont have the life of your dreams. He read her the Miranda rights while cuffing her hands. Brenda began to cry, not resisting her arrest. Hutch went down the stairs with her and make a sign to the police car. Nick watched Hutch with Brenda and he started the car trying to run away. The police car got in his way not allowing Nick to escape, crashing violently against the front of Nick´s car. Defeated, Nick got out  of the car with his hands in the air.  Both officers pushed him against the car to arrest him. Starsky was leaning against the door of his apartment  watching everything.

 

"Dave, she called his name.

 

Hutch stood by his friend. "Its all over, buddy."

 

"Dave, you know I love you, dont you? I never wanted to hurt you. I only wanted a better life. You trust me, Dave, don´t you? asked Brenda, crying hard.

 

"Brenda Grey loves just one person in this world...And that person is Brenda Grey. And that is not the kind of love I want or need, he said firmly but with sad eyes.

 

Hutch started leading Brenda to the police car, but Starsky stopped him and asked, "Hutch, I have to talk to my brother but, here, not in the street. He looked Hutch in the eyes firmly, pleading with his friend to help him at this moment.

 

"Sure, you have the right to do it.

 

Hutch led Brenda to the officers and asked them to wait in the car for a while. He told them Detective Starsky needed to ask the prisoner some questions and, in respect to the best detectives in Bay City, and becoming a legend after the shooting, they only said, "Yes, sir.

 

Nick, though already under arrest, looked with arrogance at Hutch. When they reached the door, Hutch stared at him with the coldest gaze he could. "I´ll be right here and, in case you say or do anything to hurt your brother, you´ll have to confront me, you got it?" Nick didnt say a word.

 

Hutch stayed right outside but with the door ajar. Starsky stayed standing in the middle of the living room. He looked intently at his brother. Nick stayed beside the door and looked at him just as intently. The silence was more deafening than any noise could be.

 

"So this is what you chose for a life! At last, you´ve got it. You´ve got any idea about what our mothers gonna feel when she finds out?"

 

"She wont bother. She never cared at all."

 

"What are you talking about, Nick? After Dad´s death, all her life was devoted to her sons.

 

"It seems you´ve already got what you wanted in your life, he said, sarcasm in his voice. Starsky didnt understand at first, but then.

 

"Now, you´re not only the hero in the family.The cop that could follow his father´s steps, you´re the hero of the whole city. Then he went on with total aggressiveness in his voice. "What for? What kind of hero are you, uhh? What did you get being the perfect son, the perfect cop?...Now you´re nothing. You´re not even a man...You´re a useless hero!!!"

 

"Shut up, Nick, Starsky said firmly and aggressively. "You don´t know what youre talking about!"

 

"You don´t like the truth? You´re so brave."

 

"Truth is you´ve had all the chances to live a decent life in order to make your family proud of you but, instead, you preferred to live a life in shadows. Maybe I´m not anybody now, but I´m sure that everything I´ve done in my life was important to many people and I could live the dream of being a cop just like Dad. I dont regret anything I did, but you? Can you say the same? What did you do that was good for you and for other people?...You know something, Nick, you are nobody. And I´m tired of trying to save you, little brother, he said sarcastically. "Its time for you to live your own life and confront the situations you cause. You wont have my help for anything else. Not ever!!!"

 

Realizing his brother was serious about it and that he wouldnt have his help, Nick pleaded with him, "You cant let them  take me to jail. You have to help me.You´ve always helped me before, Dave."

 

"Maybe that was my worst mistake.

 

Nick realized that he didnt have a chance with his brother, so he went back to hurting him with words. "Then you´ve finally decided to leave your little brother without any help. You wanna know something? I dont need  help and you stay with your baby-sitter, he said gesturing to the door where Hutch was. Nicks eyes were full with tears of fear and pain for what he told his brother. Starsky watched him and, for some minutes, he remembered his childhood with his liittle brother always around him, scared after what had happened to their dad and being by his side like a shadow. He remembered their naughty games, the happy moments and, for a moment, he almost took his hand.

 

"Get out of here, Nick, he said and turned his back to him.

 

Hutch, who had listened to everything, opened the door, grabbed Nick, and took him out to the police car. "One day youll regret all you told your brother. If you´re not regretting it now." Nick didnt say a word as he just lowered his head. When they get to the car, Hutch told the officers that they could take the prisoners and the merchandise. He told them that, in about an hour, he´ll be at the station to question them and for the paperwork.

 

Going back to the apartment, he saw Starsky siting on the couch, panting from the discussion.  His whole body was shaking. Hutch sat beside him and hugged him tight. Starsky lifted his gaze and his eyes were full of tears.

 

"Everything´s over, Starsk."

 

"Thanks, Hutch, he said and rested his head on his friends shoulder. And he cried in the silence of the apartment for his brother, Brenda, and for himself.

 

                                 **********

 

Some weeks had passed since Nick and Brenda´s apprehension. Starsky continued to be a little depressed, but then his incredible inner strength seemed to be back. He started eating better and he was resting better at night, too. Now, that the pain allowed it, in a fewmore weeks, hed start with the physical therapy. Life, at last, seemed to go on.

 

Hutch stayed at the door, busy with his job when he heard from inside, "For Gods sake, you have a hurting man in this apartment, don´t you???," said Starsky, trying to look upset. "I need to sleep. Whats all that noise you´re making?"

 

"Morning to you too, Starsk!!!" Hutch looked at him with a mischievious face. "I´m playing a concert with these stairs. This step cant go on like this. The wood is loose and its dangerous, somebody could fall. And you cant do this kind of effort either, buddy. So..."

 

"Good idea," answered a sleepy Starsky with his curls ruffled from his night of sleep.

 

"OK," said Hutch, straightening, looking proud of his finished job.

 

Starsky sat on the stairs with Hutch joining him "Starsk, its a little cold here. Why don´t we go inside? Besides, your images gonna scare the people passing by," teased Hutch.

 

"Everybody knows me, and they find me handsome when I wake up," Starsky teased back.

 

"You know, Hutch, since I came home from the hospital, this is the first time I feel alright in my house." Starsky looked thankful at Hutch. "Thanks, Hutch, for everything. For giving back my life. There wont be enough words ever to thank you, buddy."

 

"Starsk, you don´t know how grateful I am, buddy. Before all this happened, I was lost. I didnt understand the meaning of my career. I´ve lost the meaning in my life. When I´ve watched  you through the glass at the hospital, praying for you to come back, I realized how important it was to have you with me, our work on the streets. I was lost and I couldnt find myself. And  you went through so much pain. And before that, I know I wasnt the best partner. I was always in a bad mood, but you never gave up on me. Thats why I´m very thankful to you, too. I think that we both got our lives back in one way or another."

 

"I´m hungry," said Strasky with a naughty face. But it was obvious he wanted to put an end to this conversation that was getting too mushy.

 

"Hungry??? We definitely are getting back to our lives!!!" Hutch stood up and with his arms opened he said, "Welcome back, Starsky!"

 

                                     THE END

 

Since this is my first fanfic story, I´d like to read your comments. Nice comments, I hope. You can send me an email to: cristina.pereira@intelig.net.br Thanks!

 

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