Hutch walked into Metro, his mind thinking back on the call he’d gotten in the wee morning hours. It was all he could think about since replacing the receiver back on its cradle, after his partner had hung up. Although Hutch had tried to calm his nerves, he finally gave up trying to sleep, plagued by nightmares of chrome and blood, the thundering growls of motorcycles, and the sad desperate voice of his friend screaming in agony, making him bolt upright in bed, his heart beating rapidly, listening to himself gasping as he tried to get it together, telling himself it was only a bad dream . . . only a bad dream that kept him from his much needed rest.
The blond detective had finally dragged his butt out of bed as the sun kissed the morning, dressing everything in its golden light. He had made himself some tea to calm his frayed nerves and still the worry in his heart. Starsky sounded so desolate, so ridden with guilt and pain. Hutch could still hear the sad voice of his partner echoing in his mind …
“Jus’ . . . jus’ gimme ‘til Thursday, Hutch . . . and then . . . and then . . . I think I’m gonna need your help . . . I ah . . . I’ve done somethin’ that I ain’t too proud of and . . . I . . . I . . .”
Hutch walked towards the squad room, not really registering anyone or anything, his feet taking him where he wanted to go automatically without any prodding from his preoccupied brain. He was so worried about his partner, his “Starsky sense” on red alert, screaming out a warning of impending doom for his curly haired friend. He intuitively knew his partner was hurt, he could hear it, sense it, and it tore him up inside. Without a doubt, Hutch knew now, that Huggy was probably right about the coke addiction. He knew Starsky was spiraling down and he needed to be pulled out . . . now! Forget about waiting until Thursday’s big bust . . . the Feds could go fuck themselves! Nothing was more important than getting Starsky out safely and cleaned up before anyone found out about all of this.
‘Hang on, buddy . . . just hang on!’ Hutch thought silently, sending out that encouragement, hoping that somehow Starsky would be able to sense or hear him.
He walked into the squad room, his eyes drawn to his partner’s desk. It had been so long since he’d seen his friend sitting there, talking about idiotic and annoying trivia as he tackled the paperwork piled up on the tabletop, his dark brows drawn together in concentration, his tongue touching his upper lip, pencil behind one ear, as he slowly typed out the report with one finger, only to curse softly under his breath as he attempted to erase the mistake he’d just made.
The thought of his partner brought a soft, wistful smile to the blond’s lips. God, he missed Starsky so much, feeling like a major part of him was gone, his heart beating out methodically, but without a purpose or passion. Starsky brought so much life and joy into his being and he was as vital to Hutch’s survival as breathing in life-giving oxygen.
‘If anything happened to Starsky, I would die too . . .’
“Hutch? Get in here!” Dobey’s gruff voice came from his office, startling the blond from his morose thoughts.
Hutch tore his eyes from his Starsky’s desk, and turned to walk into his Captain’s office, his pale blue eyes turning to ice as he glared at the two Federal Agents who lounged in the chairs facing Dobey’s desk, steaming Styrofoam coffee cups held in their hands.
“Just the . . . just the person we wanted to see,” Hillyard stammered, standing, as Hutch came slowly into the room, his glacial stare almost freezing the greeting on the agent’s tongue. “Um . . . we were just ah . . . just discussing with your Captain our concerns regarding Detective Starsky.” The DEA agent took a quick sip of hot coffee from his cup, his gaze darting away, feeling uncomfortable from the blond’s frozen glare.
“Yeah . . . I bet!” Hutch said sarcastically, as he eyed the agents with mistrust and disdain, “Just what kind of concerns are we talking about?” The blond detective turned his attention to the other man who remained seated as he spoke.
Ted Slate turned his lofty gaze up at the tall blond, unable to keep a sneer from turning his lips as he spoke with authority. “Well it appears that your partner might be withholding information from us and I . . .”
“Wait a minute . . . just . . . just wait a minute,” Hutch said softly, closing his eyes in irritation, pale lashes hiding the sudden anger that flared within, as he raised a large hand to stop Slate from spewing his mouth off. The tall blond took a deep breath, pushing the down the hostility he felt towards the two Federal agents who sat in his Captain’s office discussing his partner like he was some kind of an object, a pawn to be used in this whole sordid operation.
Who were they to talk about his partner when they could be sitting safely in an office sipping coffee, while Starsky was on the frontline with cutthroat bikers, many of them hooked on drugs, having to make split second decisions that could cost him the operation, or worse, his life. No one saw how torn and confused Starsky had been when he had come to Venice place a few nights ago, no one had heard the quiet hurt and desperation in his partner’s voice last night as he sat in a phone booth in the middle of nowhere, cloaked in the dark of night, recklessly reaching out again for some semblance of sanity to hold him together until Thursday. The thought of his friend sitting alone in the dark brought a lump to the blond’s throat and he opened his eyes and turned his angry glare upon the gray haired agent named Slate.
Hutch’s voice, though soft, was menacing, his eyes flashing silver, burning the agent under its molten heat. “Just what the fuck are you accusing my partner of?” The blond detective saw with satisfaction that the older man seemed to shrivel a little in his seat.
“Hutchinson! Take it easy,” Dobey chimed in. “No one is accusing Starsky of anything!”
“Take it easy, detective,” Hillyard said calmly, “We were just telling your Captain here that we were concerned because we weren’t getting more tape recordings of the conversations going on in Starsky’s cover apartment. For some reason, he’s been neglecting to turn on the ‘bug’ we planted in there and since we know he’s had some of the bikers over on a regular basis, as well as Diesel, the Minion’s president, well . . . we can only assume that Starsky is either avoiding us, or he just hasn’t had the chance to turn the mechanism on, which we know can’t be the case all of the time.” Steve Hillyard cleared his throat uncomfortably, pulling at the collar of his shirt, slightly loosening the tie, as the blond turned his frigid glare on him.
“Hutch,” Dobey said soothingly, “These men are just concerned like you . . . if nothing has changed, the bust will go down two days from now. Did Starsky tell you if there were any changes to th . . .”
“That’s another thing,” Slate interjected. “Detective Starsky was foolish to risk the operation and seek you out . . . he could have blown the whole damn thing sky high when we’re so close to putting a lid on all of this. What the hell was he thinking?”
Hutch turned to glare at the gray haired agent, who calmly took a sip from his foam cup, his eyes haughtily locked on the angry countenance of the blond. “Maybe if your men had been doing their jobs correctly,” the blond detective said icily, “Starsky wouldn’t have had to seek me out! If your men were watching over him, like they are paid to do,” the blond’s tone reeked with contempt, “Then they would have seen the bikers bringing Brody in. They could have assembled a task force and prevented that brawl in the first place. Where were your men, Slate?”
Hutch could feel his anger fueling as the older man looked away, suddenly interested in something floating in his coffee. The flaxen haired detective snorted with disdain. “Oh wait . . . let me guess . . . they were sleeping on the job like usual . . . meanwhile, my partner is out there, under and alone on Sunday night, surrounded by outlaw bikers with no one to watch his back, and all of this shit goes down on one of the few days that I wasn’t there for him. Fuck!” The irate blond snapped, his large hand whipping out to knock the coffee cup from Slate’s hand, spilling it hot contents all over the man’s dark suit.
“Hutchinson!” Dobey growled, as Slate quickly stood, flicking the spilled coffee from his expensive suit, Hillyard quickly reached for the box of Kleenex on Dobey’s desk, handing a few tissues over to the other agent.
“Really, Detective Hutchinson,” Hillyard said quickly. “There’s no need for that kind behavior. I like to look at the positive side of things, and perhaps, this was Starsky’s way of getting more information to us. We’ve started searching for this Brody character and for this place called the Abyss, but as of yet we have gleaned no information regarding both subjects.”
“Well then, perhaps instead of sitting here sipping coffee,” Hutch sneered sarcastically, “Might I suggest you move your fat, lazy asses off of those seats, get back out on the streets, and do your fuckin’ jobs. It’s always easier to accuse someone who’s not here to defend himself!”
“That’s enough, Hutchinson.” Dobey warned, his gruff voice barking out at the three men who crowded his office. “This is not the time, or the place, to be bickering like school kids. I have a man out there whose life is on the line right now as we speak, and I damn well better get Starsky back in one piece after all is said and done!” The dark man’s bellows snuffed out the heated feelings that permeated the room, focusing everyone’s attention back to the subject at hand.
“All right,” Slate said, “I’m sorry if you felt we were accusing your partner, but that was not the case. We know since Monday, Diesel has been seen at your partner’s apartment at least twice and yet, we couldn’t hear what was going on inside. We’ve spent a lot of time and money to properly equip that unit so that we could monitor what was going on in there, especially in case there was some kind of emergency, where Starsky might need us to move in and assist him in anyway. It is imperative that Starsky remember to turn on the mechanism so that we can tape any conversations that might help us incriminate these outlaw bikers.”
Hutch sighed and dry washed the length of his face. It disturbed him to know that Starsky had been with Diesel several times since he’d last seen his partner at his place. ‘And just why didn’t he turn on the bug? Was Starsky purposely trying to avoid being taped? Was that when he was getting his fix?’
The tall blond pushed those dark thoughts from his mind, suddenly angry with himself for thinking of them in the first place. Here he was, ready to go off on these two suits for denouncing his partner, and now, not even five minutes later, he was silently accusing and slandering Starksy himself. ‘What the hell kind of friend am I?’
Hutch hung his head in shame, his pale blue eyes lowered to the floor as thoughts of his partner ran rampant in his mind. He could sense that his partner was fracturing; torn between his job and the relationships he had built to worm his way into the suspicious, and often paranoid society of the club. Starsky needed a lifeline thrown in, he needed to be drawn back, even if it were only for a day to get grounded again, to get him mentally ready for Thursday’s big bust, Hutch intuitively knew that this would be a difficult time for his partner, seeing all of his biker friends, men he’d ridden with for the past six months being cuffed and hauled out.
The tall blond knew he would be going against regulations if he contacted Starsky in anyway. He didn’t even know if Starsky’s phone was bugged. It would jeopardize everything if they were caught, but when did he and Starsky ever follow rules and regulations? They walked to the beat of their own drum, to the beat of their own hearts, and right now Hutch’s heart was telling him to call his partner.
“Am I done here?” Hutch asked impatiently. “I’ve got work to do”. Having made a quick decision to risk a call to his partner after his shift ended, the tall blond wanted to be out of there, hating the federal agents even more as they sat quietly and looked at him, sipping their coffee like they had all the time in the world.
Dobey sighed. “Yeah, you can go Hutch, but be ready for Thursday.” The three older men watched as the young blond cop stormed out of the room, the slamming of the door reverberating in the still aftermath of his departure.