Type: Gen
Summary: It's going to be a long night for Hutch.

Hutch turned off the TV set with the remote. Beside him, Starsky jumped so high that he gave the blond a start as well.

"You okay?" Hutch asked.

"Sure, fine. Terrific," Starsky replied, shrugging nonchalantly.

"Was it as scary as you remembered?"

Starsky made a face. "Well, it was different, that's for sure. It's been 20 years and I grew up since then."

"Not enough," Hutch teased, quite intentionally.

As expected, Starsky nudged him with his elbow. "Watch it, Blondie."

"I think it's a great movie. One of the best horror movies I've ever seen."

"Creepy," Starsky commented, holding back a shudder.

"That, too," Hutch agreed.

"What a motive to kill people. Turning them into wax sculptures!"

"The guy had a twisted artistic sensitivity," Hutch joked.

"Disgusting, more like!" Starsky exclaimed.

"There's a little nit-pick to make about the film, though," Hutch scratched his nose.

"Yeah? What?"

"Since Jarrod killed people and then covered them with wax, didn't they... let's just say, smell, after a few days?"

"Bleech!" Starsky slapped his partner's shoulder.

Hutch laughed.

"I'm more freaked out about the wax thing, you know?"

"The wax thing?" Hutch arched his eyebrows.

"Yeah, there's something creepy and disgusting about wax."

"Oh, c'mon, Starsk. You're just saying that because of the movie."

"No, I'm not. I thought so before watching it for the first time. I dunno. There's something about the texture of it, the coldness... It gives me the creeps!"

"I don't believe this. You use it to polish your car," Hutch pointed out.

"Yeah, but I always use several layers of cloth. Jeez, even the smell of it..." Starsky shuddered again.

"Don't suffer. I'll buy a few cans of perfumed wax for your birthday," Hutch bugged, with a mischievous smile.

"Stuff it," Starsky smiled back accordingly.

"No, thanks, I'm stuffed already," Hutch rejoined, patting his full stomach. "Okay. Let's clear this up," Hutch said, getting to his feet and picking up the empty bowls of popcorn.

Starsky hurried to follow him, picking up the empty plates, full of pizza crumbs.

They placed everything in the sink and Hutch opened the faucet, filling the empty receptacles with water. "I'll wash this up tomorrow morning," he decided, taking off his green t-shirt. "I'm gonna brush my teeth and call it a day. What are you gonna do?"

Starsky shifted on his feet, looking at the door with something akin to dread. Hutch smiled to himself, getting it immediately.

"Erm... I don't feel like drivin' tonight. Mind if I stay over?"

"Not at all. I'll get your blanket and pillow."

"Okay, thanks. Ahh, you mind if I use the john first?" Starsky asked, a bit too anxiously.

"Be my guest," Hutch invited with a polite gesture.

Starsky all but dashed for the bathroom.

Shaking his head and biting his lips to hold back his laughter, Hutch opened the closet and took out the pillow and blanket he reserved for his partner and put them on the couch, turning it into a makeshift bed. When Starsky emerged from the bathroom, down to his T-shirt and shorts and with his other clothes in hand, Hutch grabbed the Reader's Digest and leafed idly through the pages, making a show of taking his time before making up his mind about entering the john, magazine in hand.

It actually took him only ten minutes to finish his chores and when he exited the bathroom, Starsky was already 'in bed', tucked up to his shoulders.

"Well, good night, Starsk," he said, on his way to bed.

"'Night, Hutch."

"Sweet dreams," the blond said, deliberately. Then, as if it had just occurred to him, "Oh, by the way, I'm gonna read for a while before going to sleep. Do you mind if I turn my bedside light on?"

"That's great!" The words were out of his mouth before Starsky could stop them. "I mean," he immediately said, more slowly, "no problem. Take all the time you want."

"Don't worry, I'll make sure you're sleeping before turning it off. Don't be afraid of the dark, buddy. Your big partner's here and I won't let Vincent Price get you; at least, in make-up," Hutch just couldn't resist it.

"What's that supposed to mean? Who's afraid of anything here?!"

The outrage in the strangely high-pitched voice made Hutch sputter. "No one in this room, Starsky. What would I be thinking about? Go to sleep."

"'Night," replied a gruffy voice as the curly-haired man turned onto his left side abruptly.

Smiling, Hutch turned off the overhead lamp, got into his bed, turned on his bedside lamp and grabbed the book he was reading; he placed a pillow behind his back and propped himself against the headboard. Making himself comfortable, he got down to reading, paying attention every now and then to the pattern of his partner's breathing. Half an hour later, he smiled when a soft snoring coming from the living-room confirmed to him that Starsky was dead to the world. He yawned and that was the sign for him to put down the book. He placed it on his bedside table and turned the light off. Sliding down in the bed, he hugged his pillow to his face and closed his eyes.

Someone loomed above him. A dark presence was pressing itself up against him. In his sleep, Hutch told himself he was dreaming about someone sliding into his bed. But he was currently romantically free, so no one could possibly be getting into his bed. He tensed a bit, but when he felt an unpleasant coldness against the back of his neck, Hutch woke up instantly, his hand automatically reaching for his bedside lamp and turning it on. He looked behind him and jumped. "Shit, Starsky! What the hell are you doing in my bed, pressing up your cold nose to the back of my neck?" he asked, rubbing his nape instinctively, trying to relieve the creepy sensation on his skin there.

"Well, you see," Starsky began, looking contrite and much like a child caught with his fingers in the cookie jar, "I woke up a little while ago and... I decided to keep you company, in case you felt lonely." He gained confidence as he talked, and he finished his explanation actually feeling very pleased with himself, as if he was doing his partner a favor.

"I hate to break this to you, but I don't need any company. I like sleeping alone," Hutch said, squinting at the light, and doing his best to not wake up completely.

"C'mon, Hutch. No one likes sleeping alone," Starsky argued.

Hutch half-closed his eyes and studied his partner closely. "Is that the same excuse you gave your Mom when you slipped into her bed and woke her up in the middle of the night 20 years ago?"

"How do you know...?" Starsky pressed his lips shut and looked away, his eyes flickering everywhere but at Hutch's face.

"I wasn't born yesterday, buddy. Why don't you just admit that the movie freaked you out?"

"It didn't!" Starsky's outraged voice reached a new pitch. "What do you think I am? A chicken?"

"I don't think you're a liar," Hutch replied, kindly.

"I'm not a li-" Starsky looked up and his shoulders sagged. He shook his head and threw his hands up. "Okay, okay. I'm scared. Satisfied?" His voice softened, as he remembered his manners. "Now, can I sleep here?"

Hutch pretended to think about it. "If you promise to be quiet and not move around, I have no objection."

Starsky's face lit up. "Gee, Hutch, thanks! You're a pal!"

"I'm a saint," Hutch said, turning the light off. "Now, go to sleep!"

"You got it!" Starsky lay down so abruptly that he practically bounced.


"Sorry. I'll be good."

Hutch sighed out loud. He had a bad feeling about this. He grabbed his pillow and buried his face in it. He was very sleepy, so he'd have no problem... falling... asleep... again... Zzzzzzz...


Hutch's eyelids seemed to weigh a ton and he could only open them a tiny slit. "Grrmmppfft... wha...?"

"I can't sleep like this."

"Whaddayamean, like this?" the blond grumbled.

"I always sleep on the other side of the bed."

"That's not my problem, Starsky."

"Yes, it is. 'Cause if I can't sleep, I'll start twistin' an' turnin' in the bed and I won't let you sleep, either."

Hutch ground his teeth. "All right. All... right. Let's exchange sides." Hutch gave up, opening the bedcovers.

"Shouldn't you turn on the light? You could hit something," Starsky advised.

"Starsky, this is my place. I can find my way perfectly in the dark, especially since we only have to walk around the bed. Besides, I don't wanna wak- ouch, my toes!" He exclaimed when his naked left foot hit the footboard. "Oh, fuckinshit!!"

"I told you," Starsky said, simply sliding over to Hutch's side of the bed. "Wanna take a look at your foot?"

"No! It's gettin' better already. Now, shut up and sleep!" Hutch ordered, stopping his soothing massage on his toes.

"Right away," Starsky assured him.

Finally reaching the other side, Hutch got into bed and tucked himself in. He took several deep breaths, trying to calm down. It wasn't that easy this time. The footboard incident had shaken him and it was difficult to concentrate again on sleeping. At long last, after several minutes, it seemed as if he was getting... there... Zz-

"Hey, Hutch."

Hutch buried his face in his right hand, that had been grabbing the edge of his pillow.

"Hutch, you won't tell anybody in the precinct about this, will ya? I mean, you wouldn't do that to me..."

"Starsky, I'll pin it on the bulletin-board, I'll have it published in the LA Times and I'll write a letter to Mr. Price, asking him to stop scaring my partner, if you don't shut up and go to sleep this minute!"

"Okay, man, okay. I just wanted to make sure..."


"Okie dokie."

Silence filled the apartment, but it didn't fool Hutch for a moment. It would happen again sooner or later. After all, misfortune always comes in threes...

More minutes passed, and there were no further interruptions. He could almost believe that...

"Ermm... Hutch?"

Kenneth Hutchinson bit his fist, sticking it halfway in his mouth, trying to hold back a blood-curdling scream.

"I'm really sorry, Blondie, but I can't fall asleep now."

"You'd better start counting sheep, Starsky," replied an ominous voice, "because I swear that if I hear another word from you, tomorrow morning I'll do target shooting at your curls with a Kalashnikov!"

Hutch heard his partner swallowing hard and he smiled evily, trusting that this time, Starsky had gotten the hint. He took a deep breath and relaxed on the bed, finding his favorite position to fall asleep. He took hold of the edge of his pillow and cuddled his face up to its softness...

...and felt a finger tapping him on the back of his shoulder.

Pounding the cushion so hard that he almost bored a hole in it, Hutch opened the sheets, sat up on the bed, reached over his partner and turned on the bedside lamp. Next, he got up, walked up to the bedside table, opened a drawer and took out a small notebook and a pen. Returning to his side of the bed, he slipped back in and started writing down. He seemed completely calm now, as if what he was doing was the most normal thing in the world.

"What are you doing?" Starsky asked, flabbergasted.

"I'm writing my shopping list," Hutch replied, unflappable.

"Are you nuts? Writing your shopping list at two in the mornin'?"

"I wanna write it down now, before I forget," Hutch muttered, never looking up from his notebook. "Sea kelp, half a dozen eggs," he nodded to himself, "desiccated liver, spinach, fifty pounds of wax..."