L.A. Lovers

Type: Slash
Summary: During the NBA finals, Starsky and Hutch make the most wondrous discovery.

Hutch turned his head and his face softened into a warm smile.  Starsky had fallen asleep on the couch.

They had made big plans for this final game.  Tonight would decide who would win the NBA Championship - the 76ers or the Lakers.  Starsky had sided with Los Angeles from the playoff, so there was no question about Hutch siding with whatever team that made it to the finals.  If Philadelphia ended up winning this game, there would be a 3-3 tie, but somehow, and despite the fact that the Lakers wouldn't have the home-court advantage, there was no question in both their minds about which team would be the winner, or, as Starsky put it with a wink, 'emerge victorious', to Hutch's knowing, heartfelt laughter.

"Johnson's an ace, Hutch.  The 76ers don't have a chance." Starsky had been chirping time and again for the last couple days.

"He certainly is, Starsk, but the Lakers are gonna play without Jabbar this time, and lemme tell you..."

"Bullshit, Hutch.  Johnson doesn't need Kareem to walk away with the game.  He'd do it blindfolded."

"Johnson's just a rookie, buddy.  He could fall apart under the pressure."

"He won't.  The kid's gonna be a legend at this game, I'm telling ya," Starsky proclaimed emphatically.

Hutch shook his head with a smile and let it be.

They bought all kinds of snacks and drinks they could think of.  They had been switching apartments with every game and tonight, it was Hutch's turn.

They had started quite formally, as usual.  Both of them sitting cross-legged on the floor at the living-room table and munching and drinking all the refreshments.  But by the second quarter, they were sprawled on the couch, Starsky lying down on it, eating popcorn from a bowl, his feet on Hutch's lap.  Hutch was in a mainly sitting position, his long legs on the table in front of him and his left arm resting comfortably across Starsky's thighs, gobbling up a slice of pizza.

Life couldn't be better.  This was what living was about, as far as the two men was concerned.

Starsky ordered a second pizza during the break and Hutch decided to make some coffee, because he could see they'd be unable to stay awake for the rest of the game. 

It had been an exhausting week.  This afternoon they had finished a seven hour stakeout, that Simmons and Babcock crowned with four important arrests barely ten minutes after relieving them.  After typing their uneventful reports and having a relaxing shower at Starsky's place, they napped for a couple hours to stand a chance to remain sharp during tonight's game.  They bought all the refreshments on the way to Venice and here they were now.

As it got dark outside, it became increasingly warm and humid in the apartment.  Hutch took off his robe, remaining in just his pajama bottoms and a light green T-shirt.  Starsky took off his socks and his T-shirt.

Hutch padded barefoot from the kitchen to the living-room and offered Starsky a lukewarm cup of coffee.  Starsky slowly sipped at it and made room for his friend beside him, planting his legs on Hutch's thighs again.

When the second half began, they had already made a start on the second pizza.  But despite their valiant attempts at staying awake, Starsky's eyes were closing helplessly at the beginning of the fourth quarter.  Hutch managed to hang on a little bit longer, and when his eyelids were already dropping, Starsky's foot moved, touching him on his lower belly, right on his bladder.  Hutch's eyes popped open at the sudden need to pee.  He straightened up and looked beside him.  Starsky was turning onto his left side, his right arm coming up and hugging to his face the small cushion he had been using as a pillow, quite asleep.

Unable to help himself, a broad, affectionate smile lit up the blond's features.  Starsky looked so much like a little boy while he slept...  A warm and gentle throb spread all over him.  With a sigh, Hutch held Starsky's ankles gently and moved them aside, making room to stand up, and then put them down softly back on the couch.  Starsky didn't even make a sound.

Hutch watched his sleeping partner for a few moments, as the feeling inside grew and grew until it almost choked him.  Reaching out, he stroked the soft curls tenderly a few times.  A small, dreamy smile appeared on Starsky's lips, and he cuddled up his face against the cushion, sniffing at it.

Swallowing the sudden lump in his throat, Hutch made it to the bathroom, where he quickly relieved himself and washed his hands.

When he returned to the living room, his eyes immediately sought the sleeping man on his couch.  Slowing down his steps, he walked around his slumbering friend, studying him as his perspective gradually changed as he moved.  The mop of curly hair gave way to the long nose, and then the lips that looked fuller now, pursed in sleep.  The strong, muscled arm embraced the cushion to the handsome face, that was mostly hidden in the fluffed form.

Hutch stood still, watching the man he had known for a decade now.  He never got tired of looking at Starsky.  He had been doing it almost nonstop for the past year, in desperate need of constant reassurance.  The fear had eased off as time passed, but there still was this sudden, unwelcome flash of panic inside every now and then, that made him take another look at his partner, just to make sure Starsky was right there beside him, alive and healthy.  At first, he had been afraid of this terrible feeling lasting forever, but as time went by, it lessened considerably.  Yet sometimes, it still hit him hard, as just now.

Hutch squatted down beside the couch and looked his fill of Starsky.  The innocence his dearest friend exuded, brought unexpected tears to his eyes.  His eyes roamed the fit body, taking in the slow rise and fall of the ribcage, the beat of life on the proud neck.

'Please, breathe forever.  Beat forever,' he prayed, closing his eyes against the image that was overwhelming him fast.

Starsky turned a little bit more then, making Hutch open his eyes at the movement.  His partner was on his stomach now.

Hutch's eyes were instinctively drawn toward the healed entry wounds on the muscular back.  His hand reached out of its own volition and settled on its center.  The powerful heartbeat resounding on his palm soothed his shaky state of mind more than he thought possible.

'Please, live forever,' he wished for all he was worth.

His fingertips felt the soft, delicate surface of the scars.  They were so silky he hated them for feeling so good when they had almost taken that precious being away from him forever.

He had long accepted the fact that if Starsky hadn't made it, he wouldn't have survived either.  And he found a strange comfort in that thought.  He had never been the suicidal type, but he knew he didn't have to resort to such a drastic, expeditive method.  If Starsky wasn't beside him today, he'd have been six feet under for months now.  He'd simply have stopped living.  As simple as that.

Tears streamed unheeded down his cheeks.  He was smiling softly now, remembering Starsky's easiness around him.  His partner was still wary of undressing in the precinct's changing room or whenever they spent a few hours on the beach.  It always took him several minutes to pluck up his courage and take off his shirt, sweater or whatever he was wearing.  That never happened when they were alone.  It had been awkward at first, but after a few days of having Hutch tending his wounds, Starsky felt as at ease around him as he had felt as a child when he came home with a scraped knee for his mother to tend.  He didn't have to worry about how his scarred body looked around Hutch.  He was free to be himself, as they had always been around each other.

Hutch's hand lovingly caressed the broad back, and then it quietly ventured onto the strong shoulder.  He squeezed it gently and continued up the neck, touching the vein that pulsed under his thumb.

Feelings he had never felt before surged up like a rising tide.  He couldn't control them, they were taking him over, crushing him with their burning intensity.  He felt as if a hot breeze had closed in on him and was suffocating him.  There was nothing he could do.  The experience of almost losing Starsky had scarred him more deeply than the wounds on his friend's body.  He had forced himself to be strong all the time.  Strong and supportive during his partner's recovery and rehab process; always strong, firm, unwavering.

And he couldn't stand it anymore.  His psyche had said this was it and chosen this moment to let out all the anguish, fear and emotional pain he had been bottling up for months.  Only now that Starsky was safe at last, his mind finally allowed itself this release, whether Hutch wanted it or not.

The big hand reached the nape of Starsky's neck.  He cupped it for a moment and then, he entangled his fingers in the lush curls that closed on them, welcoming him home.  He buried his hand in the dark hair, softly massaging the scalp with his fingertips.  The tears flowed like rivulets down his face.  Crying had never felt so good.

Hutch couldn't stop stroking his friend.  It calmed him, it comforted him.  He needed this so badly it was terrifying.

Starsky's scent enveloped him like a warm, familiar blanket, and he wished to lose himself in that scent and hold it to his heart for the rest of his life.

Eventually, his hand reached Starsky's forehead and he caressed it with his thumbpad, feeling every little crease and wrinkle.  He would stay like this forever.  Just feeling, loving.  This was where he was meant to be, his very reason to be.

Hutch curled his hand and stroked the side of Starsky's face with the backs of his fingers.  He smiled when he saw the ear that emerged like a small island in an ocean of wavy hair.

Starsky stirred a little beneath his hand, but Hutch never noticed.  He was totally enraptured, swept away by the growing feelings inside him.  His fingers traced the smooth cheek, the cheekbone.  The sudden touch of the long eyelashes felt like an electric discharge and he stopped.  With a quivering breath, he went on, even more slowly, savoring and clinging to this purity like a dying man to his final living moments.

"Live forever," he entreated again out loud in a breathless whisper, his forefinger touching the mole below Starsky's right eye.

Just then, Starsky's eyes opened, focusing on his partner sleepily.  When the image of his crying friend reached his brain, he gave a start, his head immediately rising from the small cushion.

"Hutch!  Wha-...?  Why...?" He mumbled in sluggish confusion, very alarmed at the sight of the tears falling down his partner's cheeks, his reddened eyes and flushed face.

Hutch hushed his worried partner.  He didn't want to talk or discuss anything right now.  He only wanted to drown in this glorious feeling and wrap it around him until the day he died.  "Shhhh," he quieted.  "It's all right.  Everything's just fine, Starsk.  Really.  Shhhhh," he was smiling now, his face lighting up with so much joy and happiness he thought he would explode.

"But..."  His partner was crying and Starsky couldn't let it be.

The long forefinger pressed against his lips.

"Don't, please.  Just let me...  Let me..."  Hutch's eyes worshipped the man in front of him, the feeling overpowering him with its fierceness at last.  "Oh, Starsky," he moaned, bending forward and kissing his friend's cheek passionately.  Something broke inside him then, and he desperately kissed the face all over.  "Starsk, Starsk," he sighed between kisses, his arms coming up and holding the compact body to him for all he was worth.

Still confused and bewildered by Hutch's behavior, Starsky returned the hug tenfold.  He didn't know what was wrong with his partner, but he could feel the need in him, and he set out to fulfill it.  Hutch's desperate kisses on his face moved him down to his very core, and he began stroking the broad back, wanting to calm his shaken friend.

Hutch's hands caressed his back all over, but they ended up lingering on his entry wounds, fingering them with such reverence that Starsky finally figured it out.  He smiled tenderly and brought one hand up, cradling the blond head in his palm.  "It's okay, Hutch.  You can stop being strong now.  I'm here.  I'll always be here, baby.  Shhhhh..."  He began a soft rocking motion that Hutch followed instinctively.  Starsky relaxed completely in their all-encompassing embrace, suddenly realizing he needed this as much as Hutch.  Just as much.

"Live forever, Starsk.  Please, live forever," Hutch chanted time and again, as if he had been waiting all his life to say these words.

Starsky cuddled his head against Hutch's, rubbing his cheek with his partner's like two needy cubs.  "I will.  Oh, I will!" He promised, meaning it.  "When I'm with you, I feel like I could live forever.  You make everything possible, Hutch.  I won't die as long as we're together, I know that now."

"Yes!"  Hutch nodded.  "Yes, Starsk!  I'll be with you forever, every single day of my life, if you'll have me.  Please, babe!"  He implored, amazed at the words that were leaving his mouth.  But he couldn't stop them.  "Please, let me be with you forever!"

The dark body halted its rocking movements at once.  A moment later, Hutch felt Starsky moving back.  The stunningly beautiful blue eyes searched his face.

"What are you saying, Hutch?"  Starsky asked softly, his eyes warm and tender as the blond man had never seen.

Suddenly confused, Hutch looked down, struggling to find the words for the feelings that were running rampant in his breast.  "I j-just...  I just wanna be with you, Starsk.  I'm only happy when we're together.  You make everything good and special and full of light.  I hate to leave your place at night and I hate it when you leave here.  I-I belong with you.  I always knew, but now...  I need you, babe.  I need you with everything I am.  I just..." His voice faded away, not knowing what else to say, feeling he was talking in circles.  "I need more," he managed at last.

Starsky's face softened even more, if that was possible.  He put up one hand and framed the pale cheek.  "More?"  He asked with infinite tenderness.

Hutch returned the intense stare, feverishly looking for that elusive piece of knowledge that was one step beyond his grasp.  "Yes, more.  I...  I-I love you so much, Starsk.  I c-can't live without you.  I don't wanna live without you.  Please, let me be with you.  I promise I won't bother ya.  I won't interfere with your life.  Everything feels so right when I'm beside you.  I love to touch you, I love to love you.  I...  I don't know, I just don't..."

Starsky placed a finger on the verbose mouth, effectively stopping the endearing mumbling.  "Shhhh, don't rack your brains any more, babe.  I think I know what you mean."

"You do?"  The blond eyebrows arched expressively.

Starsky nodded.  "Please, correct me if I'm wrong."

And with that, Starsky held the smooth face in his palms, and brought the sweet head closer, closing his eyes as he crossed the remaining distance and met his partner's lips halfway.

Their half-opened lips blended together as if they had been designed to fit each other to perfection.  They felt a surge of warmth all the way up their bodies, making them tingle from head to foot.  They shuddered at the maddening intensity such a chaste and loving kiss elicited in them.  Each other's scent became so overwhelming they felt light-headed, and each other's taste was so delicious it filled their eyes with tears.  No kiss they had ever given and received before felt like this.  All of them paled in comparison with this wondrous little miracle. 

Losing all track of time and space, the two men separated.  Blinking, they looked at each other as if seeing one another for the first time.

"Am I wrong?" Starsky managed to ask, past the lump in his throat.  The tears in his eyes made a blur of his blond friend.

Hutch's eyes were open wide, his ragged breathing resounding in the room like a wild sea.  He blinked a few times to clear his sight, and the falling tears were promptly wiped away by the soft thumbs caressing his cheeks.  He swallowed, wincing in pain at the lump that almost choked him.  "No, Starsk.  You're not wrong.  It's exactly what I meant and I couldn't find the words."

Starsky blushed and looked down.  "You couldn't find the words?  You?"  It seemed impossible to him that his educated partner could be rendered speechless by his own feelings.  His feelings for him!

A strong and unbelievably gentle hand cupped his chin and raised his head, sweetly coaxing him into meeting the eyes he had seen himself reflected in a million times.  What he saw at that moment made him want to cry.  Recognition and total, absolute reciprocation of his feelings.

"When faced with such beauty and the truth of his existence, how can a man not be rendered speechless?"  Hutch's silky voice felt like drops of liquid love falling on Starsky.

The fact that the two of them were once again in empathic, almost telepathic, communication was never lost on the curly-haired man.  It never had, and it wasn't about to start at the turning point in their lives.  Starsky's blush deepened, but it didn't prevent him from asking.  "Are you sure, Hutch?  Are you sure about it?  Aren't you upset?  Aren't you...?

"Judge for yourself," was the incredibly serene and sensual answer, before he was brought closer to the shining face.

When Starsky saw the baby blue eyes closing slowly and the full lips half-opening and getting closer again, he shut his own eyes in complete abandon.

Their second kiss made their heads spin.  They swayed for an instant, their ears buzzing and their senses soaring in a glory of feelings and sensations they had never experienced before.  The heat inside and outside them became unbearable, as their mouths explored each other with the innocence and curiosity of a couple teenagers kissing and being kissed for the very first time.

Starsky lost his weaponless battle with tears.  They streamed down his cheeks when the mounting feelings overflowed his capacity to handle.  He understood then what it was like to find one's soulmate.  The sheer perfection of it, of the two of them, together; the incomparable feeling of rightness and fulfillment, as if he was the center of the world, as if he and Hutch held all the beauties and mysteries of the universe.  They were each other's answer, each other's beginning and each other's end.

The feel of Hutch's mouth moving all over his own, the tip of his tongue coming shyly out of his lips and brushing his own made him feel as if someone had connected him to a live wire.  His mouth smiled helplessly, swept away in the most insanely delightful feeling of euphoria he had ever known.

And Hutch's lips, clamped to his own almost in a vise, smiled too.  Always with him.  Every step of the way.  Their way.

As one, they burst out giggling, unable to contain the happiness that was pouring out of them almost obscenely.  They clung to each other's shoulders, in a wildly joyful embrace that seemed to encompass everything they had been, they were and they would ever be.  They embraced their common past, present and future, binding them all together in the most sacred commitment they would ever make.

"Oh, Hutch!  What took us so long?" Starsky asked, quite rhetorically.

But Hutch answered nonetheless.  "I don't know.  We had to be ripe for the harvest first, I suppose."

They burst out laughing again, burying their faces in each other's necks, covering them with kisses immediately.

When the feeling of excitement passed, they remained hugging, rocking each other and inhaling the other's scent deeply.  They never wanted to let go.  This was home.  This was heaven.

But then, a soft tremor that started in the pit of their stomachs spread slowly outward, becoming the most irresistible tingle, that had them shivering softly in each other's arms one heartbeat later.  They knew the feeling.  They had experienced it a thousand times before.  But tonight, it felt as new and overwhelming as the first.  It felt as if they had never kissed, never touched, never had anyone before each other.

They squeezed one another tight one last time, before moving back and seeing everything they needed to know in their blue pools of warm love.

Hutch stood up and reached out his left hand.  Starsky looked at it one short moment and took it unhesitatingly as he looked up into Hutch's eyes, that enveloped him whole with their shining light and their compelling promise of never-ending devotion.

As he followed Hutch, a soft noise coming from his right made him turn his head.  On the screen, several men dressed in shorts and numbered tops were hugging each other, jumping and laughing in a raucous display of boyish joy.  The happy human pile seemed a reflection of what he was feeling in his full to bursting heart, and it seemed to him there was some significance in what was happening there, but for the life of him, he couldn't remember what it was.

All of a sudden, it dawned on him.  The game!  They had been watching the game!  The NBA finals!

He stopped in his tracks for a second, looking at the screen, still not fully understanding what he was seeing.

Hutch tugged at the arm attached to the body that wasn't following him anymore, and stared at his dazed partner with a sweet, patient smile.

Sensing Hutch's eyes on him, Starsky raised his gaze to his blond love in sheer confusion.  "Who won?" he asked.

Hutch's tender, infinitely loving smile made him weak at the knees and for a minute, he thought he would collapse.  One big hand cradled his cheek and brought him to the full lips that took his breath away.

"We did, buddy.  We won," Hutch answered, his lips brushing against Starsky's and fanning them with his own life-giving breath.

They lost themselves in their safe cocoon of love, shutting out everything but the all-consuming warmth of their fathomless need for each other.  They surrendered to the other's hunger and they gave themselves over to one another in heart, body and soul.

The immensity of the gift they had bestowed on each other brought new, fresh tears to their eyes, and they sought the comfort of each other's arms when the intensity of it all became too much to bear.

Starsky rested his head on Hutch's shoulder and wrapped one arm around the thin waist.  Hutch completed the circle, wrapping his own arm around Starsky's waist, and rested his cheek on the soft mop of curly hair.

Wrapped in a cozy one-armed hug, the two men slowly walked to the blond's bed, where the beginning of the rest of their lives would start.