It's Christmas and Starsky and Hutch search for the ideal gifts to give one another. What they find surprises both of them.
A first time story.
Written: November 2000 Word count: 6,188
This story originally appeared in Deck The Halls which was published by Hannie in 2003.
Hutch was alone in his apartment frantically decorating both it and a huge Christmas tree that seemed to dominate the relatively small room. He added silver tinsel, lights and red and white decorations to the tree - not forgetting the chocolate Santas his partner would love. He switched the white and red lights on and smiled as the fresh scent of pine drifted out into the room.
Satisfied with the color scheme he turned to the greenery and popped holly, taking care not to stab himself on the vicious points, behind pictures; finally, he hung some mistletoe between the living area and the kitchen. Why bother, Hutchinson, who exactly are you planning to kiss under it? He ignored the thought and hung the green leaves with their delicate white balls anyway. All the time he worked, he thought hard. It had been the first time in months that he had been alone, and it felt strange; it was as if a limb or necessary organ was missing. Ever since the shooting Starsky and he had been completely inseparable. No longer together a mere seventy-five percent of the time - they were now together one hundred percent of the time.
He moved into the kitchen area and grabbed a beer from the fridge before returning to settle on the apple-green couch. As he let the cool, tangy liquid slip down his throat lubricating his tonsils and making his teeth tingle, he turned his mind as always to thought of Starsky and the Zebra-Three partnership.
Ever since Starsky had come out of hospital after Gunther's bullets had nearly taken him from Hutch for good, Hutch had not let his partner out of his sight. If the clinging bothered Starsky, he never mentioned it. In fact he didn't seem concerned at all, quite the opposite - he appeared to be perfectly content with Hutch's company. They never had needed other people; never had really shared each other with others. Yes, they loaned one another out from time to time - long enough to get their hearts broken - but they always returned to me and thee.
"That's all we do, isn't it, babe? Loan one another out and play the game expected of us by society, family, and friends, and perhaps even by ourselves." He sighed, ran his hand through his now thinning blond hair and took another sip of the beer.
Everything had changed with Gunther's bullets neither of them had dated since that day, and Hutch knew that he did not miss it. He and Starsky never discussed it, it just did not happen; there was no need anymore. At first he had moved in with Starsky in order to take care of him; he became Starsky's mother, nursemaid, and comforter. It was he who held Starsky, babied him even (although neither man would ever admit to that) cuddled him, and generally just loved him.
"Do you realize, Starsk, that I get as much comfort, more even, out of all the things I do for you? Does it ever bother you?" He addressed his remarks to a picture of the two of Starsky and himself their arms around each other's shoulders as they stood on the roof of the Torino. It was framed in ebony colored wood and hung in the center of the far wall. Red holly berries had partially obscured Starsky's head, but he could still make out the huge grin, his grin, the smile that Starsky reserved only for his partner. He loved that picture, they looked so happy, so young, so peaceful, and he often talked to it, feeling nearer to the man he cared for above all others. Sometimes he even imagined that Starsky answered him.
He propped his feet up on the pine coffee table and returned to his musings. When Starsky had tired of his own four walls they had moved to Venice Place. They hadn't talked about it, or discussed whether Hutch should move back alone, instead they had simply loaded the Torino with Starsky's stuff, and all that Hutch had accumulated in the time he'd been at Starsky's, and had driven to Hutch's. They had been there ever since. Starsky did not seem to get as bored and tired at Hutch's, and he had never once talked of moving back to his own apartment. On the contrary, more and more of his junk found its way to Hutch's home.
They had still spent the odd night at Starsky's, if they had been working late and were nearer to his place and inevitably, when they left, Starsky would have found a few more things: records, sweaters (most of which were Hutch's anyway), his pet rock, and a myriad of other useless things that he couldn't be without. Everything was loaded into the almost-good-as-new Torino, or the newest old LTD to be transported to Venice Place. They had started using Hutch's latest LTD, (Belle having long since been re-consigned to a used car lot) more these days, and even when they didn't use it Hutch found himself driving the Torino more than he'd ever done before the shooting. Starsky had struggled but with Hutch's help had made it back to the streets - but he was not the man he once was. Hutch knew it and Starsky knew it. Hutch wanted to suggest that Starsky or rather both of them - quit. They could move sideways; move into teaching, even a desk job, anything that would get them off the streets. However, Hutch knew that it had to come from Starsky himself - and he knew that his partner was not ready to take that final step just yet.
Glancing again at the picture, drinking in his partner's smile he stroked his chin and spoke again. "I sometimes think we should consider moving into a house together not another one of your fixer-uppers, a proper one or at least a larger apartment. Much as I love you, Starsk, two fully-grown males is one too many for this place." He shivered as he thought about mentioning it to his partner, rather than his picture, and felt a throb of anxiety charge through his veins. Part of him feared that if he voiced his thoughts, Starsky would take it as a hint that he should go home, and then part of him was afraid that Starsky would say yes. Hutch did not know which he feared most.
Starsky's moving back would mean that Hutch's bed would be empty - and he did not want that. The shivering turned to tingling and his legs and arms twitched; he couldn't sit still any longer. Downing the remainder of his beer in a long, continuous swallow he sprang to his feet and began to prowl around the room. Pausing to adjust this sprig of holly, that bauble, rearranging the tinsel until it looked as though it had been draped over the tree, not carefully placed.
Finally, unable to fiddle with anything else, he forced his mind to address the question of their sleeping arrangements. For a long time before the shooting they had found it more convenient to share a bed when they stayed over at the other's apartment. It had started the night Terry had died when, simply too drunk to make up the couch, they had both fallen into Starsky's bed and fallen asleep - Hutch holding Starsky. From then on they had not discussed it, they just didn't bother to make up the couch.
"I sleep better with you next to me, babe. How do you sleep?" Once again the picture refused to answer. His thoughts turned to the night Starsky had been released from hospital.
Hutch, having left Starsky brushing his teeth, started to make up the couch, he heard a faint noise behind him and felt his Starsky-tuning click in. Turning, he wasn't surprised to find Starsky standing behind him. The cobalt-blue eyes wide and slightly glazed from the drugs and Starsky looked like a vulnerable little boy who had had his favorite teddy bear taken from him, or who had been promised a treat and then hadn't got it. As he stared at his partner he felt a warmth envelope him and knew that security and comfort were this man. Hutch smiled at Starsky and was concerned and surprised when the grin was not returned, instead he thought he saw the sensual bottom lip wobble infinitesimally. In two huge strides he crossed the room and took Starsky in his arms, holding him closely, yet gently, as he petted his back and murmured into his curls, trying to ease the hurt.
Starsky broke the hold first and without words took Hutch's hand and led him into the bedroom where, without releasing Hutch's hand, he stared at him and then the bed.
Hutch tried to object, "I don't want to hurt you, babe." His meaning of was that he didn't want to jolt him or knock him.
Whether Starsky knew Hutch's meaning and deliberately choose to mis-understand him, or whether he was too doped on drugs and the strain of not being in hospital, Hutch didn't know. Starsky simply looked up at him, with his bare feet and his shoulders slightly bowed, he was some four inches shorter than Hutch who had been wearing boots, and said softly, "Come to bed with me then." Hutch knew that he couldn't refuse and more importantly, he didn't want to.
He helped Starsky out of his robe and into bed, before stripping himself and climbing in beside his partner; he didn't fail to notice that Starsky watched him the entire time he undressed. Once Hutch was in bed and settled, Starsky moved towards him, making it clear that he wanted to be held - held and petted. Hutch obliged. As he took Starsky into his arms he became aware of just how much weight his partner had lost. Under his hands he could feel Starsky's ribs brushing against him, as they moved closer Hutch felt one of Starsky's pelvic bones push against his own. He touched Starsky's skin feeling its elastic quality and realized that it almost bagged in places a sign of too much weight lost too quickly.
Starsky's scent too little the man he knew and too much clinical, antiseptic aroma tickled his nose as he buried it in the deep-mahogany curls; flatter than usual, they felt harsh and unloved. Starsky was clean, he had been showering when Hutch arrived to take him home, but it wasn't the clean, salty, jasmine, musk scent that Hutch associated with him, it was a dry, pallid, ailing smell.
Sometime during the holding, the caressing, the petting, Starsky turned his face up toward Hutch's own, and without thinking Hutch lowered his mouth down to the slightly parted lips and kissed his partner. The kiss was gentle, intense, chaste and loving; it was the most beautiful kiss Hutch had ever shared with anyone - it seemed to last forever. When they finally parted, Starsky looked deep into Hutch's eyes, so deep that Hutch had felt the look go into his soul - searching for what?
"What were you looking for Starsk? And have you found it?" Hutch pulled himself back to reality and glanced at the twinkling Christmas tree. It seemed to be guarding the room, prepared to repel invaders, yet willing to welcome invited guests. Hutch moved to the tree and touched some of the branches, marveling in the way they prickled and yet felt smooth. He had grown up with trees such as this for Christmas, although the ones in his parents' house had been much larger and considerably more expensively and orderly dressed
He thought again about that kiss and how he'd both welcomed it and feared it. It was something else they never discussed. Since that evening they had kissed again, but not on the lips. A light brushing of lips against a cheek, curls, a nose even, seemed to happen increasingly, until Hutch realized it was a daily happening. They touched more too; once alone in Hutch's apartment their hands were barely off each other - a hand on an arm, on a leg, an arm around a shoulder, around a waist. Starsky's favorite resting positions were: either with his head in Hutch's lap or on Hutch's shoulder - and he never tired of touching Hutch's hair. Even at work, on the street, or at Huggy's they touched more. Hutch was aware that they were making love on a daily basis, making love without the sex. Their looks had grown, if possible, more intense and more frequent - almost as though they could not bear not looking at each other. When they weren't touching, they were looking, sharing glances that screamed, I love you', words that, strangely enough they had not voiced since the night Starsky came out of hospital.
"Why have we stopped saying it?" Hutch turned on his heel, put his hands on his hips, frowned and considered the picture and his question. "What is it we fear?"
It wasn't physical closeness, how could it be when on most nights they settled for sleep in one another's arms? Nothing seemed to be a taboo not even masturbation. Hutch recalled the night they had crossed that line.
His arousal ached; he had the tingly, warm feeling in his stomach that he always got prior to needing release. His scent had altered, his nose picking up the salty must that spoke of arousal and his briefs were damp. He tried to think of mundane things, but he finally gave up, knowing that until he jerked off he'd not be able to settle, and decided to get up, go to the bathroom, and relieve his frustration.
As he moved to climb out of bed, Starsky's voice said gently, "Why don't you just do it here? It's much more comfortable."
Hutch, by now on the edge of the bed, spun round quickly, straining his neck as he did so and stared open-mouthed into the guileless cobalt jewels, too taken aback to think of a lie. As he heat in his groin rose, he knew that his cheeks had also become enflamed. He started to stutter. "Sttta . . . I . . . I . . . how . . ." he trailed off, beaten and annoyed with his mouth for refusing to co-operate to his brain.
Starsky switch the light on, rolled on his side and took Hutch's face in his hands. "Look, babe, there's not much we haven't done in front of - or with - each other; in fact jerking off is just about it. Oh, that and actually having sex together."
Before Hutch could splutter a response, Starsky began to catalogue the things they had done for and in front of each other. "Hutch, I've seen or felt every other bodily fluid from you - like you have with me. I've lost track of the number of times I've touched your cock, either to help you pee, get clean, or just while wrestling. I've cleaned you, cleaned up after you, and had you throw up on me. And you've done it all for me - god knows especially lately - and I've never been embarrassed. So what makes you think I'm going to get embarrassed by my partner pleasing himself?"
Hutch's cheeks were burning and he could feel their flush bounce off his chest. For the first time in memory he couldn't meet his partner's eyes. Instead he stared down at the cream sheets, one of which he had unconsciously been twisting and knotting. His entire body was damp with perspiration and over the scent of his aroma he could taste the clean sweat as it coursed over his skin, wetting it and heating it. He opened his mouth to speak; failed to decide what he could possibley say and closed it again, the clunk as his teeth hit one another audible in the suddenly over-quiet room.
Starsky touched his shoulder and Hutch leaped several inches off the bed and gasped as the cool hand burned his flaming skin. His partner spoke in his loving, kind tone. "Look, babe, do you get embarrassed about peeing in front of me - or me peeing in front of you, or all the other stuff?"
"Of course not." Hutch answered automatically, without thinking. Then he stopped to consider just what Starsky had asked him and added more ruefully, "No, Starsk. No I don't get embarrassed."
"Well then," Starsky said simply, before he turned off the light, dropped a chaste kiss on Hutch's head and moved slightly away from his partner, settling down with his back to him.
By that time, however, Hutch realized that his erection had subsided and his desire had gone. The choked up feeling of relief, thanks and appreciation he felt for Starsky threatened to over-whelm him, so climbing somewhat clumsily back into bed, he moved behind Starsky and wrapped his arms around him, spooning against him. Starsky sighed in appreciation and they both fell asleep.
The following night the desire flowed back and this time, wary of what Starsky might say if he did otherwise, Hutch moved his hand down beneath the covers, and took his own erection in his hand. Tentatively at first, almost warily after all he'd never masturbated in someone else's presence before he began to rub his hand along the hot shaft, quickly obtaining the rhythm that suited him best. As the need and want overtook him his movements became quicker and more determined, until with a gasp he felt the liquid flood out of him. It had been many months since he'd had an orgasm, and as hard as he tried, he could not catch all the liquid in his hand, settling for letting it run between his legs soaking the sheets. For some reason the thought of that had aroused him instantly, and he found himself bringing himself off a second time with barely a pause for thought.
He hadn't totally recovered from the successive orgasms when he found one of Starsky's arms creep round his shoulders, pulling him close, and the other hand wander down to his thighs which was also coated with his semen. Inquisitive fingers swirled around in the sticky liquid for a few moments, making patterns, and then a voice said in his ear, "So now I know what your last bodily function feels like. Nice." Before Hutch could speak, the voice added, almost teasingly, "Better now?" Hutch did not bother to reply, instead he caught the wandering hand, clasped it in his own and they fell asleep, hand in hand, bound by Hutch's stickiness.
"You knew just what to say and do, didn't you, Starsk? But then you always did." Hutch found to his chagrin that he was half-hard, the pressure of his arousal pressed against the zip of his pants, uncomfortable and yet reassuring. He adjusted himself slightly and moved again to the kitchen, this time for a glass of water.
Since that night, he had masturbated several times and knew Starsky had too - more than once they had done it simultaneously and for Hutch those times had been the most exotic, arousing, sexually charged experience he had ever encountered.
They never spoke of it.
So here he was: Christmas Eve, alone in his decorated apartment, still trying desperately to think of the perfect gift for Starsky. Oh, he had presents for him - presents galore. A caboose for his train set, two sweaters, a deep blue shirt, a new watch, a handful of 'fun' presents. Candy bars, a bottle of good whiskey, a couple of books, a subscription to one of Starsky's favorite monthly magazines, a big teddy bear and a new leather jacket.
The last present was close to being perfect. It was soft leather - the sort of feel that usually only comes after being worn often - and a deep, dark brown, which would match the color of Starsky's curls perfectly. Hutch knew that Starsky would love any, and all, of the presents; knew that his partner would find each and every one of them perfect in their own way - mainly because Hutch had brought them for him - but Hutch wanted more.
He knew too that Starsky had been generous to a fault with presents for him as days before Starsky had decided he needed to go home via his own apartment, and had hunted through the cupboards until he found the small tree he put up every year. This, he'd insisted on bringing back to Venice Place, and putting up immediately and then, unable to keep them hidden any longer, had piled Hutch's presents underneath it.
It had been at that moment that Hutch had decided that he would surprise his partner this year and make it a real Christmas - not just with presents, but also with a tree and the works. He was actually quite relieved when, at about 10:00 a.m., Starsky had declared that he was going out - alone - and would not be back until after 7:00 p.m. Hutch did not quiz him, although he had to fight back the instinct to ask where he was going. Instead he had concentrated on turning his apartment into an approximation of Winter Wonderland. The tree had been the biggest challenge - or rather getting his car to start, in order that he could go and get the tree had been! Finally, it was up and decorated, as was the apartment, and he still had three hours before Starsky was due home.
Three hours in which to find the perfect present - three hours! Hutch shook his head and ran his hand through his hair. He'd already had three months to think about it, and nothing came to mind. What made him think that something was going to miraculously materialize? He groaned gently and glanced around the apartment once more.
"Help me!" he demanded of the picture." Silence was his answer.
In desperation he strode towards the bedroom, prepared to grab his jacket and car keys and go out into the late afternoon in, what he knew would be, a vain attempt to find it. A knock on the door made him freeze in his tracks. He whirled around and hurried to the door; flinging it open he found a deliveryman standing there.
"Special delivery for Kenneth Hutchinson." He said and handed Hutch a small packet. "Merry Christmas, sir," he added, and before Hutch had time to grope in his pockets for change, the man had clattered down the stairs. Belatedly, Hutch called the greeting after him, before pushing the door shut with his back and wandering back into his apartment.
As he did, he examined the package. It hadn't got a Duluth postmark on it, and anyway his parents had sent the customary package a good two weeks earlier, accompanied with the usual offer for him to go home - but this year with the unusual addition of inviting Starsky. Hutch had declined, with thanks from both of them, claiming that they had to work. It wasn't true; they had the time off this year, but Hutch simply did not want to share Starsky. Sitting down on the couch, he opened the letter and two envelopes fell out.
One was formally addressed to, 'Detective Sergeant Kenneth Hutchinson', with the addition of the word, scrawled in block, underlined capitals: NOT TO BE OPENED UNTIL AFTER READING THE CONTENTS OF THE OTHER ENVELOPE.
Hutch was puzzled, and not a little wary. The other envelope was simply addressed: HUTCH. Instantly he recognized Starsky's handwriting. For a long moment he held the letter, almost not wanting to open it. Finally, he slit it and several sheets of paper, covered with Starsky's barely legible scrawl, fell out.
He began to read:
Hell, even that isn't good enough; doesn't begin to say what I want to say. How about, 'My dearest Hutch'? Nah - I like the 'my' bit, but dearest somehow is something you'd get from your favorite Aunt. 'Babe'? No. Could be anyone. 'Dear Ken'? Now, when did I ever call you Ken? In spite of me trying for months at the academy. No, it'll have to be 'Dear Hutch'.
Hutch paused and shook his head; only his partner could make a letter sound like a conversation. He continued to read.
Dear Hutch, (the letter began again),
Well, here we are, finally. Before I go any further, let me remind you, I've never been too great with words - I leave that to you, college boy. However, all you need to know is that my words are from the heart (and this from the guy who hates soapy scenes).
For weeks now - months even - I've been thinking and trying to decide on the perfect Christmas gift for you. But what do you give to someone who has saved your life, not once, not twice, but more times than you care to remember? What do you give someone who puts you first in everything? Who will give you the last money in his pocket, simply because you want it? Who'll put up with you eating junk food all day, and watch monster movies with you all night - both of which he hates - simply because you want to?
What do you give to the man who holds you close all night? Who keeps the bogeyman away and the nightmares at bay? What do you give to someone who loves you more than he loves his own family? The person who'd die for you? Who would die too, if you died?
What do you give to someone who has done every disgusting, personal thing for you in the book - and then some - things only your mother has done in the past?
What do you give to someone who will let you curl up in his lap, and will pet you all night long, not worrying about his own comfort level? To the person whose arms are the safest, most loving, most secure, in the world?
What do you buy for the person who has done this for ten years, and still keeps doing it? To the person who has been best friend, partner, pal, buddy, lover.
Lover??? - Hutch's mind snapped up a gear.
Yeah, Hutch, that pulled you up didn't it? But that's what we've become, sex or not, we're lovers. We've been lovers for a long time, without even realizing it. Because being lovers isn't about sex, it's about love, and we've had a whole lot of that between us - especially in the last year. What do you buy that person?
Tell me, Hutch, what do I buy you?
Well, babe, you got me stumped. Yeah, I've bought you presents, a whole lot of them - things you'll like, I know it. But not that really special something, the something that only I could buy you.
Believe me, I thought and thought. A new car even went through my mind, but then I decided that it'd be for me, not you. And do you know, Hutch? I've kind of got used to your car now, and you in anything else - well it wouldn't be you. See what love does for you?
So I thought, on and on. Even talked to Huggy. But no - I couldn't seem to find that perfect present. Then I started to think more, and think what did you really want, what would make you happy? Because whatever it was, I'd buy it for you. It was then it hit me. Like a thunderbolt. I knew what it was you wanted, knew without any question what would make you happy. And it was something money couldn't buy. It was peace of mind.
Money couldn't buy it, babe, but I could give it to you. I've known for months - ever since we got back on the streets - that you've been wanting to suggest we got out, but you wouldn't because you knew what getting back meant to me. I knew that you never had a moment's peace while I was out there. So I thought some more. What had I left to prove? I'd proved that I could do it, I - no WE, we babe, because I couldn't have done it without you - beat them, we beat them all. I made it back, and now? Well, now it didn't seem to matter so much. So I talked to the Captain, inquired about our options. Told him why I was doing it, what I wanted, and do you know? He's one hundred percent behind us, babe - in the end that was simple.
So today, I did it. I handed him our resignations, and in return, he gave me two new jobs, we're going to teach, babe. So there you are, we're safe, we're off the streets, but I'll still be able to fire guns and drive cars, and you'll be able to do all the fancy stuff with words. I know I've maybe gone a bit too far, and as far as you're concerned, it's reversible. Dobey won't file your resignation until the day after Boxing Day. Your copy of your resignation and details of your new job - Lieutenant Hutchinson (well you took the damned examination - might as well use it) - are in the enclosed envelope.
So, there we are, babe, my perfect present to you. To the man I love, the only person I've ever truly, honestly loved. The person I want to spend the rest of my life with - and now we'll have that chance, Hutch. IA can't touch us now - we're not on the streets. So maybe, Hutch, babe - maybe it's time we talked. Talked about a few things we've not talked about over the last few months.
So all that's left is to end this letter. So Merry Christmas, Hutch, my own, big, beautiful, blond. Merry Christmas, babe - and many of them. I love you.
With all my love,
PS How's that for soapy??
Hutch put the letter down, and found that there were tears in his eyes, they both burned and soothed. He sat in silence for a long moment, and then re-read the letter - pure Starsky, from beginning to end. Finally, he put the letter down, picked up the other envelope and gently opened it. Inside was a copy of the resignation Starsky had written for him, and another envelope. This time addressed to LIEUTENANT HUTCHINSON. He read the contents and found it harder and harder to believe.
Finally, he picked up Starsky's letter again, and re-read two parts of it: the paragraph about them being lovers in every sense of the word except for sex, and the bit about IA and talking. It was then he knew what the perfect present was that he could give his partner. He quickly glanced at his pocket watch and moved to his desk. Once there, he took out a piece of paper and penned a few lines. Then he sealed it in an envelope, and looked around the highly decorated apartment for somewhere that Starsky would be sure to see it. He found some red ribbon, made a gaudy bow, and tied it to the tree. Then he reached up, took down the mistletoe, picked up some candles and moved to the bedroom.
Starsky climbed the stairs, slowly, not whistling to himself in his usual way. His scars hurt more than usual, ached and throbbed but that was because he had been tense all day. Hutch would have had his letter by now, would have read it and would have reacted. Starsky hated to admit it, but he didn't know for certain how his partner would react to it.
After hovering on the landing for a couple of minutes in an attempt to get his breathing under control and his palms dry, he let himself in.
"Hutch?" he called out, in a tone that was both wary and questioning. Silence greeted him and his scalp tingled and sweat popped out over his body, contrasting with his mouth that had become like sandpaper. He had anticipated many things, but not that Hutch would flee. Swallowing hard, telling himself he was being foolish, he switched the lights on. As the room became illuminated he couldn't stop himself from gasping aloud. Hutch had linked the tree lights to the main lights, and as he flicked the switch, the tree and a couple of table lights lit up, but the main light stayed off. To Starsky's eyes the room suddenly appeared to have a romantic glow, he sniffed tasting the fresh pine scent and smiled at the glittering lights.
He looked around the room, open mouthed, like a child who had just discovered that Santa really does exist. He had not expected anything like this either. Moving slowly around the room he touched the holly, noticing that the piece hanging over their' picture was askew; he straightened it and moved onto the tree, all thoughts and fears for the moment had vanished.
Then he saw the presents under the tree their gaudy paper shimmering and dancing at the lights caught the shiny paper; the number he had put there had been easily equaled by the number Hutch had placed there - far better and more elegantly wrapped (of course). Then, as he stared at the tree, he saw it: the white envelope with his name neatly printed on the front hanging from the red ribbon and swaying gently in the invisible breeze. With a gulp he pulled it down, paused and glanced around the room, listening and still hearing nothing except for the pounding of his heart. Finally, summoning all his bravado he tore it open; he stood frozen, for a moment scared to take out the single sheet of paper. Then with a boldness that he had displayed many times on the streets, a daring that fooled anyone and everyone - except Hutch - he pulled out the sheet.
It was short and eloquent - typical Hutch.
Dear Starsk - yes you're right, it doesn't say enough but . . .
What can I say? You claim that I'm the one with all the words. Well let me tell you, partner, for once I have none - or very few. Thank you is trivial. How can you thank the man who has put me first - something that no-one, NO-ONE, Starsk, has ever done?
How can you thank the man who has given so much over the years? Given himself, his love, his devotion, his time, his honesty, his purity, and his innocence? You can't - at least not in words. So I'm not going to try.
Your present is priceless - I believe is the term - and somehow I'll spend my life thanking you. And before I say anything else, I accept.
Like you, babe, I spent time trying to find the perfect gift for you - the perfect gift for the perfect partner. Does that sound trite and unbelievably sickening? Probably, and yet it is true.
I'm not going to catalogue what you are to me, what you've done for me - because you did it in your letter. If I say, ditto, it would sound as though I was making fun, and yet somehow, I know that you'll understand.
Again, like you, I couldn't find the perfect gift to buy. And then when I received your letter it all became clear. I knew then what I could give to you. Not something that money could buy, rather something that I hope will make you as happy as giving it makes me. Something I hope you'll accept and treasure for life.
What is it? Well, Starsk, my curly-haired lover, put down the letter, lock the door and come into the bedroom - then you'll receive your present. I love you.
With love always,
Starsky read the letter again and he swallowed hard, his palms were damp again, his skin felt as though it had been thoroughly and lovingly rubbed until it glowed and his pulse was doing crazy thing. He carefully re-folded the letter and replaced it in the pristine envelope, then pulled out his wallet and with reverence tucked the letter inside. Crossing to the front door, he checked the lock and then he moved softly and somewhat slowly towards the bedroom. There he found several lit candles, a spring of mistletoe hanging over the bed and on the bed - Hutch.
A totally naked Hutch.
As Starsky halted in the doorway drinking in the sight of the most beautiful person - in his eyes - in the world, Hutch opened his arms. With that simple movement he gave his heart, utterly and totally to Starsky.
Naked now himself, Starsky moved to the bed and moved into his lovers arms. Sheer perfection. Peace of mind and each other. Together for life. Partners forever in every sense of the word.
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