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The Night You Tap Danced Your Way Right Into My Heart

Type: Slash
Summary: An extremely boring night and an improvised dancing lesson turns into something neither of the partners expected.

Starsky yawned widely and turned off the TV with the remote.  The game had been so boring he'd barely been able to keep his eyes open throughout the last few minutes, despite the all-too-pleasant warmth of the body sprawled beside him.  Out of the corner of his eyes, he had noticed Hutch's stifled yawns every now and then.

"What now?" he said in a slurred voice, making no effort to get up.

"Unghmphff, dunno," Hutch slurred back.

"Are you planning to take root on my couch?" Starsky asked a few minutes later, when neither of them had made the slightest attempt at moving a muscle.

"Nothing better to do.  'Sides, your couch feels very comfortable right now."

"Wanna crash here tonight?"  The question was out of his lips before Starsky could shut his big mouth.

"Yeah, thanks.  I couldn't get up, anyway," Hutch mumbled.

"All you need is a good reason," Starsky commented, philosophically.

"Right now, I can't think of any," Hutch replied with a lazy shrug.

Starsky smiled, thinking of a couple things that would make Hutch not only jump out of the couch, but out of his life as well.

"Gimme a few hours and I'll think of one," he said instead, forcing himself to stand up.  His muscles complained after such a long period of inactivity, and he grunted.  "I'll get your blanket and one'a my spare pillows for ya."

"Okay.  I'll go to the john and wash up."  With an exaggerated moan, Hutch rose to his feet and after stretching his long body like an arrow, he headed for the bathroom.

Starsky watched him go with the sadness that had settled in his heart since he'd finally acknowledged the real depth of his feelings for his partner.  With uncharacteristic stoicism he had accepted both his love for Hutch and the certainty that sooner or later, he would give himself away somehow and Hutch would leave him, either in disgust or in compassion.  In the meantime, he was making the most of the months they were still together.

Shaking his head in resignation, he headed for his bedroom and got Hutch's blanket from his closet and a pillow from his bed.  Once back in the living room, his ears perked up at the sound of the soft music coming from the radio.  He had turned down the volume when they had started watching the game, but he had forgotten to turn it off afterwards.  Recognizing the song that was being played, he turned the volume up and began humming softly, as he arranged the couch and turned it into a makeshift bed-- fluffing the pillow and spreading the light blanket over the cushions, thinking once again about the weeks he and Hutch had shared his bed after his leaving the hospital.  Days full of love and pain, frustration and overwhelming patience and understanding.  Days that had convinced him beyond any doubt of whom the true love of his life really was.

"Dream a little dream of me?" Hutch asked from behind where he stood, startling him.

Starsky turned about and saw his partner toweling the back of his neck.  He looked gorgeous in jeans and the turquoise Lacoste t-shirt he had given him on his birthday a couple months ago.  Now that Hutch had finally shaved off his moustache, he looked several years younger than a few months ago.  Whatever phase Hutch had undergone the last year, he seemed to be reborn now.  He had started jogging and watching his diet again, and he was on the verge of being as fit as he had been on his Academy days.  Fitter even.  How Hutch could grow more and more beautiful with each passing day was beyond Starsky's comprehension.

It took a while for Hutch's rhetorical question to sink in, but when it did, it was all Starsky could do to prevent his lips from answering "every single day" out loud.  He bit his lower lip and shrugged nonchalantly.

The song faded out gradually and ABBA's "Voulez-Vous" filled the room.

Despite his moody state of mind, Starsky couldn't help but start moving his hips, following the rhythm of the song.  A soft snicker made him turn his head.  Hutch was watching him with a mocking expression on his lovely face.

"What are ya laughing at?" he asked with a frown.

"Nothing, Starsk.  I was wonderin' if you're performing a salsa-samba or something in between."  Hutch bit the inside of his mouth to control his mirth.

Getting into the banter headfirst, Starsky pretended to be offended.

"This is disco music, dummy, not salsa, or samba for that matter."

"You call shaking your hips like a salt shaker disco dancin'?"

"Excuse me, Fred Astaire.  You've got the rhythm of a phone pole."

"The fact that I can't dance doesn't mean I can't tell when someone's doing it wrong."

"You're admitting you're a lousy dancer?" Starsky challenged.

"I don't have to admit it, mushbrain.  It's plain to see."

The feeling of failure and the sadness in the sweet voice and face broke Starsky's heart.  Hutch was well aware of his limitations, and dancing wasn't precisely his forte.  Starsky had tried to teach him a few lessons over the years, and although Hutch always managed to get the hang of the moves, whenever he tried to put those lessons into practice in a disco, he always ended up dancing as if he was tied up to a backboard.  He had seen him dance smoothly with very few women over the years.  He had come to the conclusion that Hutch's dancing had everything to do with his state of mind, more than with his dancing partner.  When he just relaxed and let go, and followed the rhythm of the music, he flowed like a golden river.  That long body started swaying, completely oblivious to his surroundings, and he was a sight to see.  He shone with grace and sensuality.  Unfortunately, that only happened once in a blue moon.

He met Hutch's defeated eyes, and with a shake of his head he made up his mind.  Hutch would go to sleep dancing like...  well, maybe not like Fred Astaire, but at least like someone whose dancing partners' toes shouldn't fear.

Starsky reached out and snatched the towel from his friend's hands.

"Wha...?"  Hutch stammered, surprised by the gesture.

Starsky pushed the couch out of the way with his legs, making room.

"C'mere, buddy.  You're gonna learn to dance tonight, or I'm not Dave Starsky."

Hutch looked at him as if he had grown another head.

"You lost it, didn't you?" he simply said.

Once there was enough room for them to move safely, Starsky reached for his partner.  Surprisingly, Hutch moved back as if burned.

"C'mon, Starsk.  How c-can you expect me to learn anything at this ungodly hour?  I'm so stiff it'll be like dancing with a broomstick!"

"I'll take my chances," Starsky answered.  "Or rather, my toes will," he amended his words and made a face.  "Come on, blintz, listen to the music."  He grabbed his partner's arms and shook them, trying to relieve the tension and compel the big body to relax.  "Close your eyes and feel the rhythm."

With a long-suffering sigh, seeing there was no escape, Hutch relented and closed his eyes.

"That's right," Starsky said, smiling softly.  "It's just you and me, so you don't have to impress anyone.  Only my toes," he cracked, knowing the joke would help to soothe the remaining tension.

It worked.  Hutch smiled and relaxed almost completely.

Perfectly attuned to his partner's frame of mind as he was, Starsky only had to hint a slight movement to his left, and Hutch followed him blindly.

"Good," Starsky approved.  "Listen to the music and follow me.  Just let go, okay?"

Hutch nodded almost imperceptibly.

"Relax your legs.  Don't use them just for support.  Don't be afraid of bending them and moving them.  You won't fall, trust me.  Now, bend your knees and move them in circles.  Slowly."

Hutch tried it and Starsky had to stifle his laughter.

"Don't be so stiff.  You have joints, so don't move like C-3PO."

Hutch giggled and a soft flush covered his cheeks.

"Smoothly...  smoothly..." Starsky instructed.  "Imagine you're in the water.  It's easier there.  While you're moving your hips in circles, you have to stand on tiptoe to keep your balance.  C'mon.  You know how to do it.  Don't open your eyes, just follow my voice...  OUCH!"

"I'm sorry, Starsk!  I'm sorry!"  Hutch opened his eyes when he noticed he had stepped on Starsky's toes.  He shook his head in defeat.  "Look, this isn't the time for this.  It's almost eleven and we've had a rough day.  We're tired and..."

"No-no-no-no!  I got it!  Stay where you are!"  Starsky headed for the wall and turned off the overhead lamp.  A soft glow enveloped them, coming from the remaining smaller lamps.  He quickly returned beside his partner and kicked off his Adidas.  "Shoes off," he instructed.

"What?!" Hutch's eyebrows skyrocketed.

"C┤mon, Blondie, bear with me, will ya?"

Throwing up his hands, Hutch flopped down on the couch and untied his shoelaces.

"I swear it, Starsk.  When you get so pig-headed about something you're worse than a five year old."

"But you love me anyway," Starsky waved his partner's comment aside with his hand, acknowledging their age old bickering.  "C'mere, now."

Hutch stood up with a groan and faced Starsky.

"Okay, no dancing partner now.  You're on your own.  Imagine you're alone in your room.  Listen to the music and move.  Close your eyes and let go.  When you're doing it wrong, I'll let ya know.  Go ahead, take your time.  Take some deep breaths and start whenever you're ready."

Hutch obeyed and tried to follow his friend's instructions.  He let the music envelope him and sweep him away, taking him to that special place within his mind.  He had nothing to fear there.  There he was loved by the person he loved more than his own life.  Everything was possible there.  He could dance smoothly and impress that very special someone.  The One, as he privately called him.  They wrapped their arms around each other and swayed to the music, lost in each other's embrace, in each other's eyes.  Ahhh, so sweet and beautiful there...

"Good, good..." he heard Starsky's soft voice from afar.

The sound of that voice distracted him and he lost his bearings for a moment.  A heartbeat later, he felt strong warm hands on his hips touching him slightly, almost like a dream, guiding him back on the right track.  It took him a moment to follow the rhythm again, but he succeeded...  mostly.

"Don't jerk your hips, sway them.  Sway to the music...  Feel it...  That's right...  Perfect..." the voice was incredibly soft, almost hypnotic.

A sudden feeling of unreality came over him.  The darkness, the music and the soft voice whispering into his ear made him feel as if he was floating.  He felt strangely disconnected from the real world.  He was tired, it had been a long day, but he was elsewhere now.  Somewhere safe and warm.  The voice was taking care of him.  And the music...  That sensual music that felt like an invitation to take the plunge and make his dreams come true...  if only...

Voulez-vous?

Take it now or leave it

Now is all we get...

His hips, his whole body, seemed to have a life of their own.  They were flowing separately from his conscious mind.  And those hands on his hips, the warmth of that compact body behind him, guiding him so gently...  It was intoxicating, inebriating.  He had never felt so light, so free.

Voulez-vous?
Ain't no big decision
You know what to do
La question c'est, voulez-vous?

The song started fading out, but the presence beside him remained.  He could feel he was doing it right now.  He was dancing smoothly, as he had only danced on extremely rare occasions.  Subtle touches on his hips, his lower back and his shoulders were guiding him.  The soft voice in his ear encouraged him, full of pride.  He trusted that voice implicitly, and he followed it as the most natural thing in the world.

Starsky couldn't believe his eyes.  The sight of Hutch dancing before him blew him away.  In the dim light, his long blue and golden body was moving as if he had been born knowing how to dance.  He had become one with the music, and he was flowing with it, executing the most sensual, graceful dance his popping eyes had ever seen.  And they were his hands that were guiding his partner through the melody.

Once he was certain Hutch wasn't going to get distracted again, he slowly circled the swaying body until he was face to face with Hutch.  He watched him dancing, totally enraptured.  This was the real Hutch before him.  Uninhibited, free, sensual.  Just enjoying himself and being comfortable with his own body for a change.  Starsky knew he had convinced himself long ago of the fact that he was clumsy, and had resigned himself to live with that assumption.  Ahhh, if only he could see himself through Starsky's eyes...

Right then, Hutch's eyes opened wide and settled on his partner's.  Starsky gulped, completely taken off guard.  He looked down to try and hide the feelings he was certain had to be written all over his face.

But Hutch didn't seem to notice.  His face glowed with joy.  He knew this was one night in a million.  He was dancing right for once, and he didn't want to be by himself, he wanted to share this dance with his best friend.  Reaching out with both arms, he held Starsky's waist and exerted a small pressure, inviting him to dance with him.  At least the few seconds that still remained of the song.

Willing to try anything that covered his momentary slip, Starsky began dancing instinctively, moving his hips suggestively, his left hand automatically reaching for Hutch's right hip.

Magically attuned bodies found a matching rhythm, their hips moving in circles around each other, their hands reaching for one another's sides, anchoring themselves to their unlikely dancing partner.

Hutch's scent filled Starsky's nostrils and the man felt almost immediately dizzy.  He knew right then and there he had made a fatal error.  There was no way his eyes wouldn't betray him now.  He had miscalculated his self-control, and the time he had feared so much was falling on him all of a sudden.

And yet, he couldn't move away.  This body and above all, the soul inhabiting it, had completely enraptured him.  It was as if he was standing on a bridge that was crumbling under his feet.  All he had to do was take a small step to safety, and still, his feet seemed to be glued to the ground.  Salvation was one step too far away. 

He had no strength left to fight.  Not tonight.  Any other time, he would have been able to step away and try to fool his partner, but not now.  Something inside him had given up the struggle for a few moments.  And those moments would cost him all his happiness.

Neither of them seemed to notice that the song had ended.  They still could hear the faint echo of the melody, and they just followed the fading momentum of their movements.

Hutch shivered inside when he heard the first notes of "Moonriver."  There was something about that song that spoke of untold poignancy and melancholy.  He ached every time he heard it.  It brought out something from deep inside him that too often moved him to tears.  He had been feeling this way for too long, and the song only brought those feelings to the surface, with a fierceness that was impossible to control.  He shuddered from head to foot, and his first instinct was to move away.  When his eyes met Starsky's, his heart skipped a beat.  His partner had never looked at him that way before.  The intensity, the warmth and the...  the passion in those eyes burned a path down his heart and into his very soul.

Hutch blinked, trying to return to the real world.  His ears started buzzing and he suddenly felt as if he was miles away from his own body.  The only thing holding him in place was Starsky's eyes.  Those huge, piercing eyes he couldn't escape from.  He was mesmerized by the look in those beautiful eyes.  There was fear there, and vulnerability.  And something bigger than his very life.

Hutch's heart started beating at top speed.  His breathing became ragged.  He didn't know what was suddenly happening between them.  What were those eyes telling him?  Why couldn't he tear his eyes away from them?

Strangely, the only thing penetrating the fog of heightened feelings and sensations was the song.  "Moonriver" was the only thing that made sense from that seemingly altered dimension of reality they'd apparently crossed.

Moonriver, wider than a mile
I'm crossing you in style some day.
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker
Wherever you're going, I'm going your way.

The warmth around them was almost suffocating.  The ache in his chest was unbearable.  Only Starsky could stop that pain.  His hands held on to Starsky's waist compulsively, like a drowning man to a lifesaver.

Starsky swallowed hard.  His heart was beating wildly and his head was pounding with the steady, relentless tempo of the feelings he could no longer keep at bay.  They had completely broken through his defenses and they had chosen this moment to give themselves away. He was teetering on the verge of an abyss that was about to put an end to the situation he had been running away from for more time than he dared to remember.

Only Hutch's eyes could put him out of his misery, and what he was seeing in them both confused and scared him.  Hutch's eyes were suddenly swimming with unshed tears.  They looked haunted, fearful and vulnerable beyond belief.  With a start, he realized Hutch's eyes were a mirror of what lay in his own heart. 

And that song!  That damn song seemed to hold the key to this mystery he felt they were about to uncover.  His head was spinning, and he clung to Hutch's hips, afraid of letting go of the only thing in the world that kept him safe and sane.

It was like a free fall.  He was falling into Hutch's recoiling eyes, just like Hutch was falling into his own shrinking soul.  This was the moment of truth, for better or worse.

Even in the midst of all the frenzy of fear, foreboding and vulnerability, truth surged up.  Unstoppable, shining, pure.  And "Moonriver" only seemed to emphasize it with its slow, bittersweet notes and lyrics.

Two drifters off to see the world
There's such a lot of world to see

The final barrier melted down in their hearts.  They had no will left to fight.  They drew each other closer, suddenly terrified of losing one another.  Their bodies were still swaying infinitesimally, as if they couldn't give up their joint motion, as if the world would stop spinning should they ever stop moving.

Hutch's hands moved up Starsky's sides in an unexpected, loving caress that made the compact body shudder.  Helpless, Starsky copied his friend's caress, wrapping his arms around the slender waist and interlacing his fingers behind Hutch's back, effectively trapping the tall man in the small circle of his arms.

Hutch trembled and closed his eyes in heartfelt surrender, and when he opened them again, Starsky saw the most incredible feeling beating out of the baby blue eyes.  The thin sheen of tears made them twinkle in the low light, making them look as if they were made of warm living crystal.  An unearthly beauty that reached out and encompassed him whole.  He was swimming in those depths, struggling to stay afloat and not drown in the immensity of the feeling Hutch was bestowing on him.

Just then, the truth struck Starsky like a freight train.  Hutch was...  Hutch did...  Hutch!

Starsky's soul jumped inside him with more joy than any person could experience in one lifetime.  His entire body flushed and seemed to burst in an explosion of euphoria.  His hands quivered on the warm body, and he pressed Hutch even closer to him, encouraging him to see for himself what he couldn't verbalize just now.  He couldn't help but wonder how his blond drifter still hadn't seen the truth in his eyes, when he had been broadcasting it for quite some time now.

Hutch's misty eyes finally seemed to read what Starsky wasn't bothering to hide anymore.  His big body froze for a moment and stopped breathing.  It was as if he was divided between running away and plunging ahead.  Terrified of Starsky finding the truth, and seeing something in his partner's eyes that was too irresistible to look away.  In the end, the blond's desperate need to know won out.

The awesome eyes popped open and the whole frame stiffened.  The hands that were clinging to Starsky's sides twitched.  Hutch's entire being was conveying the same feeling of disbelief Starsky had been feeling a heartbeat before.  And as it had always been between them, Hutch quickly caught up with his curly-haired partner.  Disbelief gave way to astonishment, and astonishment swiftly gave way to wondrous, disbelieving happiness.

Starsky's only response to the sight of his beloved's features lighting up could only be an equally rapturous smile.  The entire room, the whole damn city wasn't big enough to contain the overwhelming avalanche of happiness that engulfed the two men's hearts.

They stood in the middle of the room, staring into each other's eyes, realizing they had finally come home.  After a lifetime of searching, they had finally opened themselves to the truth.

We're after the same rainbow's end

Starsky reached up and wiped away the single tear streaming down Hutch's cheek.  He had never gazed upon such a gorgeous beauty.  Even tears made Hutch look more beautiful.  And those eyes...  God, those naked eyes were worshipping him!  He pressed his palm to the soft cheek and cradled it, wondering if it was possible to die of love.

Hutch took a deep, shaky breath and swallowed hard, summoning up his courage, and copied the adoring gesture.  He cupped the handsome face in his hand, his whole being competing in brightness with the Sun itself.

Waiting 'round the bend
My huckleberry friend

"Starsk..." the soft, low, choked voice sounded more beautiful to Starsky's ears than all the love songs ever written.  His soul soared.

"Hutch..." he didn't know where his voice came from.  All he knew was that tonight, his most cherished dream had come true.

And apparently, Hutch's had also.

His heart beat painfully in his chest at the realization.  But he blessed that pain, knowing it would accompany him for the rest of his life.  Both their lives.  How Hutch could return his love was beyond him, but all he had to do was look into those eyes, to have all his doubts dispelled.

One big thumb moved lovingly below his lower eyelid, and Starsky realized Hutch was wiping a tear away.  He bit his lower lip, completely devastated, and hissed through his teeth.

Hutch's thumb moved up and traced Starsky's eyebrow.  Then, it drew a loving path down his softly closed eye, down his temple, and the perfectly trimmed thumbnail caressed the side of his face until it reached his chin.  Once there, it came to a slow halt and Starsky felt the long forefinger under his chin, holding his face up.  The beautiful face edged closer.

Feeling his heart beating wildly up his throat, Starsky wrapped his left hand around the back of Hutch's neck, trembling at the sensation of the silky blond hair tickling his palm.

They felt each other's breath blowing on their faces.  Ragged, unsteady, warm.  The breath of life.  It was as if they had enveloped each other in a cozy bubble that kept them apart from the outside world.  There was nothing else on earth but them.  Their senses had heightened to the point they were certain the other had to hear their hearts thumping savagely in their chests.

Starsky's eyes settled on the full, pink lips that inched closer and closer, and he felt his own lips tingling in expectation.  They were going to kiss!  Dear God, but when had the world turned upside down?  When had he lost all contact with reality?  Whenever it had been, he prayed that he would never return to that world again.  Never a world without Hutch's musky scent closing in.  Never one day without those long arms wrapped around his body and those big hands cradling his face.  Never one night without sleeping in each other's arms.

"Never," Hutch suddenly whispered, as if he had read his mind.

"Never," Starsky whispered back, sealing their promise.

They closed their eyes one heartbeat before their trembling lips touched for the first time.  They shuddered as if lightning had struck them.  They let out a whimpering moan and opened their lips wider, encompassing each other's mouths, welding their lips together.

They kissed until they had no choice but to let go, if only to breathe a little.  They gasped for a while, leaning on one another's foreheads.  The roaming hand all over their backs brought a contented smile to their faces and they looked at each other, almost giggling with bubbling joy.  An overwhelming blending of feelings they couldn't hold back made tears well up in their eyes.  The warmth, the scent, the taste, the burning closeness and the love that permeated every pore of their bodies threatened their emotional control.  But it didn't matter.  They were there to take care of each other, to protect each other, as they had always done.  They were safe in the arms of the one person who treasured them above everything and everyone.

They nuzzled their faces like children in desperate need of pampering, and in a twin flash of inspiration they kissed the tip of the other's nose, one right after the other.  They laughed softly, their hands never stopping their almost frantic caresses.

"How long?" Starsky asked breathlessly, his lips drawing circles all around the pink cheek.

"More than I can remember," was Hutch's answer, as he pressed the strong body against him.  "And you?" the deep voice sounded surprisingly shy now.

"Forever, Hutch.  Just forever," Starsky murmured against the lovely ear, kissing the lobe.

"Oh, babe!"  Hutch moaned, holding Starsky in a crushing hug.  "That's how I want it to be between us."

"And that's how it will be, baby.  What's time to us, anyway?" he asked, almost cryptically.  But somehow, Hutch understood exactly what he meant.  Smiling, he buried his face in the soft, thick curls, feeling safe, truly safe for the very first time in his life.

"Take me home, Starsk," he begged, his lips barely brushing the side of Starsky's neck.

Starsky looked up for a moment, aching with love.  He prayed to have everything Hutch needed, to be everything Hutch desired.

"We're home, partner."  He squeezed the beloved body for all he was worth.  "This is home, where we belong."

With a heartbreaking sigh, Hutch nodded and sniffed at the fragrant skin whose scent had haunted him even in his dreams.  He reveled in the body that filled his arms and his soul as nothing had ever filled him before.  He felt Starsky's arms returning the pressure tenfold, and he knew tonight they had found everything they were meant to be.  Time had stood still and watched them fulfill their destiny at last.  He had never felt anything as deeply and strongly as he felt this truth.  Their Truth.

Gradually, Time seemed to return to normal, and they found themselves swaying slowly to the music they had been moving to for an eternity, now.  They smiled against each other's neck, dropping a reverent kiss on it.  Forever had just begun.

Moonriver and me...

THE END.

Voulez Vous. Music by Benny Andersson, Lyrics by Bj÷rn UlvŠus.

Moonriver. Music and Lyrics by Henry Mancini.


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