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No Regrets

By Shawnetildawn

Action / Drama

Chapter 13

He could hear himself gasping, his breathing rapid and shallow as he tossed and turned on the thin mattress, his pillow damp with his perspiration as he laid upon it, trying to surf through the constant pain that dug into his left side with each breath that he took in.

He was aching, his broken body protesting every movement, feeling heavy, lethargic, and uncomfortable, the sweet rush of the drug having left his body hours ago, only to leave him desperately craving for more. God, it felt like a bus had hit him; his heavy body dragging him wearily down, making him not want to move at all. He felt like shit boiled over . . .

‘Probably look worse than shit,’ the brunet thought, the small lopsided grin that feebly tweaked the corners of his mouth immediately vanished and was replaced by a grimace as he slowly turned his body towards the wooden box beside his bed, blinking the sweat from his dark blue eyes. He groggily tried to focus on the numbers of the small travel clock that sat next to the phone.

5:45 pm.

Damn! He’d been sleeping for over ten hours and his traitorous body still wanted to drag him down into the possessive arms of Morpheus, the Greek mythological god of dreams, who filled his sleeping hours with nightmares of Hutch being blown away in the police garage by burly men riding on Harleys. His eyes slowly drifted to the small container next to the clock . . .

“Oh shit,” Starsky gasped softly, spying the small bottle of cocaine and the paraphernalia that Diesel had left for him to use. Closing his eyes in agony, the outline of the small bottle burned in his mind’s eye, making him ache to reach over and grab it, knowing it would instantly take away the overwhelming feeling of weariness that bombarded him and ease the stabbing jolt of pain that burned in his side.

Starsky drew in a ragged breath, setting off another round of coughs that had been plaguing him for a while now. “Uungh,” the brunet groaned softly, clutching his side to support his ribs from the coughing spasms that shook his body, violently jostling his mending ribcage. Gasping, the dark haired cop scrunched his eyes closed, feeling the fluttering of his heart palpitating irregularly, as he rode out the pain that tore through his aching head and bruised ribs. The brunet wearily opened his eyes once more, trying to catch his breath, perspiration dripping down the side of his face, as his gaze locked painfully on the bottle . . . just an arm’s reach away, enticing and seductive . . .

All this time undercover, Starsky had taken the drug under the watchful eyes of the bikers. If he took it now, there would be one to blame but himself, no one was forcing his hand this time; Diesel wasn’t here offering it to him. There was no pretense anymore . . . the drug was calling, beckoning, and he could feel himself succumbing to her soft alluring whispers . . .

“No one will know . . . no one is here . . .”

“It’s okay . . . just one more time . . . just a little to ease the pain . . .”

“It’ll make you feel so much better . . . you want me . . . just reach over and take me . . .”

The brunet groaned softly again, closing his eyes from the temptation at hand, his body angrily protesting his resistance as a sharp pain stabbed once again into his side. Gasping, Starsky clutched his ribs, as the need for the drug pounded him mercilessly, and though he tried to fight it, he could feel himself weakening.

“It’s okay . . . no one will know . . . Hutch will never know . . . it’ll help get you through ‘til Thursday . . . no one is here to see . . .”

The dark haired cop tried to think, but his mind and body were screaming out for the tempting powder that lay at his fingertips. He painfully turned on his good side to look once more at the little bottle that stood innocently on the box. ‘If I don’t take anything, I’ll never make it through tomorrow, much less Thursday.’ Starsky could hear his mind rationalizing, ‘Diesel will wonder why I didn’t take what he left. It would just make him suspicious.’

The brunet blinked the sweat from eyes which were feverishly bright for want of the drug, knowing a few lines would send him into heaven once again, where pain and guilt and shame could not touch him anymore. The suffering cop reached out a trembling hand for the tiny bottle, his fingers shaking with need . . .

The sudden ringing of the phone startled the dark haired man from his trancelike state, and he quickly drew back his hand as if it were burned. For a second he stared at the phone, his mind still stuck on the temptation that sat within reach. Breathing heavily, the brunet closed his eyes and shook his head, trying to still the alluring call that whispered wantonly to him. Starsky reached out again, but this time, his hand grabbed the phone, lifting the receiver to his ear.

“Y-Yeah?” Starsky queried softly, surprised at the unsteadiness of his voice. What happened just now shook the dark haired detective to the core; he hadn’t realized how dependent on the drug he’d become and it filled him with anger and despair.

‘If Hutch could see me now . . .’

The brunet shuddered with that thought. Disgusted with himself he held the receiver closer to his lips, “H’lo?” he said in stronger, harsher voice.

“Hey . . . that you, buddy?” A soft familiar voice whispered on the other end, causing the brunet to close his eyes again in anguish, his long, dark lashes hiding the shame he felt, as color and heat bloomed in his cheeks and neck.

Hutch could hear the quickening of his partner’s breathing and he held the receiver tighter against his own ear, his heart suddenly racing as he sensed something wrong. The tall blond detective took a cleansing breath in, calming himself down to gentle the worry in his voice, “You okay, pal? Can you talk?”

Like a little boy who was caught with his fingers in the cookie jar, Starsky found himself nodding remorsefully. His partner’s silence on the other end of the line made the brunet remember that he needed to speak and he cleared his throat uncomfortably, swallowing down the lump that rose in his throat. “Yeah . . . no one’s here, Hutch . . . jus’ me.”

The fair-haired detective could hear the almost sad desperation in his partner’s voice and he struggled to “hear” what was not being spoken. “You didn’t answer the first question Starsk . . . are you okay?” Hutch gently pushed, closing his eyes as he waited for his friend’s answer. The tall blond found himself smiling when he heard his partner’s soft snort on the other end.

Starsky smiled softly, shaking his head. “Can’t slip anythin’ by you, huh partner?”

The brunet winced and gritted his teeth as he moved himself into a sitting position on the bed, his back pressed against the concrete wall of his dingy room. “How come you callin’ here, Hutch? Ya ain’t playin’ by the rules, ya know? You’re a bad boy, Hutchinson, and Dobey always labels me as the instigator!”

Hutch snorted, knowing his partner was shying away from the subject at hand, trying to move the conversation away from himself. “Look Starsk,” the blond said softly, his gentle smile fading away as the furrow between his brows deepened., “I need to see you tonight.”

Starsky gritted his teeth and bit back the groan that wanted to slip out, holding onto his side as he sat up straighter, his senses on alert. “You okay, Hutch? What’s wrong?”

‘Always putting me first . . .’ the blond thought sadly. It killed Hutch to hear the sudden concern in his partner’s voice, knowing Starsky would worry more about him than himself. “I-I just need to see you and I thought . . . I thought maybe I could come over there, or meet you somewhere . . .”

“Wha’? You can’t, Hutch . . . not here . . .” the brunet whispered softly, wiping the sweat that dripped from his brow, trying to breath through the sharp pain that lanced his side. “Too dangerous . . . we might be seen . . .”

“Starsk? You okay?” The blond reiterated, hearing the long pauses and the way his partner took a breath between words. “You don’t sound too good . . .” Hutch felt a shudder rip through him as he heard Huggy’s voice whispering in his head again . . .

“Yeah . . .’specially if he’s hooked on snow.”

“Jus’ tired ‘s all,” Starsky said, his voice whisper thin. “I jus’ kinda woke up . . .” The wounded brunet looked once more to the small bottle that sat next near the base of the phone, his mind slipping away from the conversation as the aching need took over, the want for the drug stronger than the ache in his side, hearing the drone of his partner’s gentle voice, but not comprehending a word that was being said. All he could hear was the soft call of the tempter inside of his head, “No one will know . . . no one is here . . .”

“H’lo? You there?”

“Huh?” Starsky mumbled, shaking is head to clear his mind, “What?”

“Starsk . . .you okay? I asked you a question . . .”

“Yeah . . . ‘m sorry, Hutch . . . shit . . . w-what the fuck was the question, man?” Starsky stammered, his voice growing hard as it took on Snake’s persona, feeling frustrated and irritable as he closed his eyes to keep from seeing the bottle that stood within arms reach, focusing his whole attention on the voice that came through the line, the familiar voice that had the power to keep him from his demons.

Hutch frowned hearing his partner reverting back to his crude biker’s lingo. “I asked if maybe you could come over here instead. You could spend the night and all of Wednesday here at my place, then leave on Thursday and get back there before the bust goes down. What do you think? I really have some things I need to talk to you about at my place.”

Starsky could feel his heart speed up with trepidation. A few hours was one thing, but there was no way he could hide his addiction from Hutch for that long. Right now, not having the drug in his system was killing him . . . his mind and body pushing him for more; and having the drug within reach was driving him insane, spiking up the craving need that tore through him because it was so attainable.

“No one will know . . . no one is here . . .”

“It’ll make you feel so much better . . . you want me . . . just reach over and take me . . .”

The brunet struggled to catch his breath, his heart palpitating wildly, shaking his head to clear his mind. “Yeah? What kinda things, Hutch? Why don’t ya just tell me now?”

“Look, buddy, it wouldn’t be wise to do that over the phone. Come over tonight. It’ll only take 40 minutes or so to get here.” Hutch cajoled, his soft voice was a soothing balm to Starsky, calming the anxiety and frustration that raced throughout the brunet’s being.

“I-I don’ know, Hutch . . . not feelin’ too good right now . . . don’ know if I should get on that bike . . .”

“Starsk? What’s wrong?” Hutch frowned, worry and concern flooding his soul, “Okay then, I’m coming over right now to pick you up . . .” Hutch said, when his partner refused to reply right away.

“No!” Starsky winced, clutching his side as he moved himself to the edge of the bed. “You can’t come here . . . too dangerous. The outlaws come over . . . whenever they feel like it. If they see you, Hutch . . . it’s all over . . . can’t risk that . . . the suits won’t be happy if they found out . . . found out you came here . . .”

Hutch could hear his partner’s heavy breathing on the other end of the line and the concern he felt for his partner’s welfare increased ten fold. “That’s the reason I need to see you tonight, buddy, those clowns were in Dobey’s office this morning when I got there . . .”

Starsky closed his eyes, struggling to control his shortness of breath and the irregular fluttering of his heart. The sharp pain impaling his side prevented him from rising to his feet like he wanted to, and so he just sat there, feeling winded and sore as he tried to concentrate on what Hutch was telling him. “Yeah? What did they want?”

“Not here, buddy . . . not on the phone,” Hutch warned. “Get ready. I’ll come over and pick you up and . . .”

“No . . . I’ll come over there.” Starsky said quickly. “Safer . . .” His body ached with fatigue and his left lung burned as it labored to draw in oxygen, making the detective have to suppress the cough that wanted to spasm out. “Anyway, Diesel gave me the day off tomorrow . . . just gotta be there for Thursday’s shipment . . . I’ll come over . . .”

Hutch frowned. “But you just said that you don’t feel good, Starsk . . . that you can’t ride. I’m not about to let you jump on that Harley and risk you getting hurt, buddy . . .”

“I said I’ll be there!” Starsky snapped, a hard edge suddenly creeping into his voice, as he gripped the receiver tightly in his hand. The brunet wiped the perspiration from his flushed face with the back of his other hand, and he took in a shallow breath to calm the sudden flare in his temper. “Jus’ . . . jus’ trust me, Hutch . . . been riding for six months now, sometimes as drunk as a skunk! If I say I’ll be there, then I’ll be there . . .”

Starsky snorted softly at the silence on the other end, knowing his partner was probably pissed about the fact that he’d been riding drunk. If Hutch only knew that sometimes he’d ridden that roaring black monster flying higher than a kite, stoned out of his head on cocaine . . . he would have pulled him off this case a long time ago.

Hutch sputtered, feeling the hot anger flare up inside at his partner’s reckless stupidity; “Did you . . . d-d id you say you rode that bike drunk? Starsky . . . that’s plain stupid and you know it . . . how many times do I ha . . .”

“Take it easy, Blintz. I don’t do it all the time . . .’sides I’m here talkin’ with ya, ain’t I?” The brunet smiled, “Look . . . gonna pack up and get outta here . . .”

Hutch paused, the feeling of concern still hovering over him like a dark cloud. “Okay Starsk, but if you aren’t here in 45 minutes, then I’m coming to look for you . . . you got that?”

The dark haired detective grinned and saluted sarcastically in the stillness of his empty room. “Yes ma! I’ll be there in 50 minutes . . . I need some time to pack, dummy.”

Hutch snorted, imagining his partner flipping him off on the other side. The tall blond grinned. “Hurry up and get your ass over here, pal . . . I miss ya!”

“Yeah?” Starsky drawled, feeling his near depleted heart suddenly filling up again with excitement and joy at being able to see his partner once more. “Well this ‘ass’ has missed ya too, you big lummox.” The brunet grinned lopsidedly as he heard his partner chuckle into the receiver that he pressed against his ear, the familiar sound spreading sudden warmth to his cold extremities. For a few seconds there was silence as both partners basked in each other’s company, until Starsky finally sighed, a small smile still gracing his lips. “Well . . . I’ll see ya . . .”

“Yeah,” Hutch said warmly, his eyes softening with the fondness he felt for his partner. “I’ll be here, buddy . . . waiting.” The tall blond smiled and gently hung up the phone. Though he could feel his heart beating with joy, the niggling fear and anxiety he felt all day was still there, and Hutch could only hope that somehow he’d be able to help his partner through whatever challenges lay ahead.

Starsky dropped his dark head as he heard the “click” on the other end of the line. Sighing heavily he gently lowered the receiver onto its cradle, feeling the heavy mantle of guilt and despair settling upon his shoulders once more. How the hell was he going to make it to Bay City when all he really wanted to do was to curl up and sleep, sinking into the darkness and fatigue that dragged his body down once more.

‘Shit!’ Starsky swore silently, his bright blue gaze once more returning to the magnetic pull of the white powder, it’s alluring voice still whispering in his ear . . .

“It’s okay . . . no one will know . . . Hutch will never know . . . it’ll help get you through ‘til Thursday . . . no one is here to see . . .”

The brunet clenched his eyes shut, hiding the desperate need that flared within a sea of anguishing blue. Groaning softly, the dark haired cop supported his ribs and managed to stand, his breathing labored and heavy. A sudden coughing jag left him winded and aching and Starsky looked once more to the small inconspicuous bottle that stood innocently beside the phone.

Holding out a trembling hand, the brunet reached for the little glass container, clenching on to it tightly, like how a drowning man would clench onto a life preserver. Making up his troubled mind, Starsky knew what he had to do. The defeated biker slowly unscrewed the cover of the bottle . . .

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