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CELEBRATING LIFE

Many thanks to my wonderful beta-reader and friend Tricia for being always there, willing to help me

This story was written purely for entertainment and is not for profit, and is not meant to trespass in any way on the holders of the rights to Starsky and Hutch.

 

“Know somethin’, partner?” Hutch asked Starsky pensively with a slightly slurred voice.

“Humm?” Starsky answered, more focused in trying to figure out why his living room wouldn’t stop spinning to utter a more elaborate question.

“I. Am. Totally. Plastered…And so are you.” The blond one stated slowly and matter of factly, his body sinking further into Starsky’s couch.

“Hey pal! Speak for yourself. For the record, I am totally sober…Yep I´m fine, just…Fine.” stated Starsky in mocked irritation, sitting by Hutch’s side. Reclining his head against the headrest, he stared at a small spot on the ceiling.

“Yeah Starsky... You´re fine.” Hutch agreed, becoming suddenly serious and turning his head to look for a few seconds at his dark-haired friend.

“Whasamatter, huh? What are ya looking at?” Starsky inquired, noticing Hutch’s eyes piercing at him.

“Nothing, Starsk, it’s just that…well, that you do look really good tonight, that’s all.” Hutch said soberly, all the drunken slurriness surprisingly gone from his voice.

Maybe for anybody else, that statement would have sounded weird, plain silly, or even it could have been misinterpreted. Despite his drunken state, or maybe because of it, seeing how fit and joyful Starsky looked at that moment; the healthy colour of his friend’s cheeks, slightly flushed because of all the alcohol that they had imbibed in the last hours, and the sparkle of life shining in his warm indigo eyes, Hutch knew very well what he meant to say. His mind travelled back to the dreadful memories of the sweaty, pain-filled face of Starsky, cradled in his arms as his body was racked by waves of excruciating pain and his life being quickly engulfed by the poison that Vic Bellamy had injected into him with in his own bedroom in the middle of the night.

“I do look really good tonight, huh?” Starsky asked raising an eyebrow and looking quizzically back at Hutch while scratching his jaw. “Oh, well, thanks sweetheart, though I’m very sorry. I don’t wanna hurt your feelings, Hutch, but I’m not going to ask you out.” The brunet mocked, doing his best to put on a stern face

“Moron!” Hutch exclaimed tossing a cushion against Starsky’s face, as the curly-haired man, in his attempt to dodge it fell off the couch, landing in a giggling heap in the floor.

“Hey, you okay down there?” Hutch asked among laughs, bending onto the armrest of the couch and stretching out a hand to help Starsky to his feet. But instead of taking the offered hand, the brunet, on his hands and knees crawled a short distance, until struggling to his feet with a grunt, heading unsteadily towards the kitchen.

“I´m hungry, Blondie. Wanna sandwich?” Starsky asked holding a can of beer out for Hutch as the blond one entered in the kitchen after him.

“Hungry?…So beer isn’t which I’d call food, if you ask me.” Hutch replied leaning tiredly against the sink.

“Oh, come on, partner! What’s a meatloaf sandwich without a cold beer to wash it down, huh?” Starsky asked, slightly wavering on his feet, though not loosening his grip on the can of beer in his hand.

“I think I´m drunk enough, Starsk…” Hutch answered, holding out his hand to take the drink.

“Yeah, yeah, I know it. You told me so back on the couch. Remember?” Starsky asked nonchalantly “And according what you think, I am too,” he added as the can of beer that he had gotten for himself from the fridge slipped from his hands, falling to the floor and rolling under the kitchen table.

“Oops!” Starsky exclaimed drunkenly, dropping to his knees and grabbing onto Hutch‘s forearm for support, but instead, managing to drag his equally unstable friend to the floor along with him, making the blond one to drop his own can, as both men dissolved into laughter while getting under the kitchen table on all fours to retrieve Starsky’s beer.

“Aha! Gotcha! Ya wanna flee, huh?” Starsky asked picking up the can and staring intently at it, as if the inanimate item was an escaping felon.

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law…” Hutch began reciting as gravely as he could the Miranda rights to the can of beer until Starsky exploded in a burst of guffaws, letting himself fall backwards onto the kitchen floor; apparently forgetting his plan of fixing some sandwiches.

“Geez Hutch! You’re telling the Miranda thing to a can of beer!...Guess what, Detective Hutchinson? You’re drunk!” Starsky said sitting up among chuckles, as if realizing the fact for first time, while Hutch opened the elusive can and an explosion of white foam burst out, splashing both men’s faces and clothing which made them break into more alcohol-induced laughs until their sides ached.

Their little, unplanned party that had begun a few hours earlier at The Pits with a couple of burgers, the first beers of the night, some dancing with a couple of beautiful ladies, a few pool games, more beers plus a few shots of tequila and a ride home in a cab courtesy of Huggy had continued for a little longer, as both partners, arriving back in Starsky’s place enjoyed themselves, sharing silly jokes, more beers, food and laughs until their alcohol-filled bodies began to give in to exhaustion, and they lay gracelessly on the kitchen´s floor.

Apparently there wasn’t any special reason for such a celebration, except to both partners, there was a big, huge one. Just a few weeks earlier, Starsky, against all the odds and thanks to Hutch, who had been unwilling to give up on him, had cheated death almost in the last minute. That ordeal had a happy end, and at that moment, days after of which could have otherwise ended in tragedy, the blond detective, simply couldn’t put into words how thankful and elated was for being there, celebrating life with Starsky, or rather, as he kept in mind all night long, celebrating Starsky’s life.

The days that had followed Starsky’s attempted murder by Bellamy while he was still recovering in the hospital hadn’t been easy, for him nor for Hutch. The brunet had to endure the aftereffects of the venom still lingering in his system, giving him unexpected bouts of high fever, painful stomach cramps and breathing troubles that only began to ease off three days after the moment in which doctors had given him the antidote.

Meanwhile, Hutch, almost physically sharing all those symptoms had to fight his own battle against his inner ghosts; against a fear so strong that he was almost able to see it around him. Fear of leaving Starsky alone in his hospital room, even for a little while, fear of the possibility that the toxin could have done any permanent damage to his body, and above all, fear of all those hidden enemies that, like Professor Jennings and Vic Bellamy had done, could strike again any moment, jeopardizing once more the life of his best friend.

That night, they were there in Starsky´s apartment, happily drunk, together and safe, but even so, and despite how badly Hutch needed to forget all of that, the haunting memories of those desperate hours when Starsky was helplessly succumbing to the devastating effects of the poison kept haunting his restless mind. Somehow, the last remains of panic were still there, lingering in the deepest of his soul. The distressing dread of losing for good his brave, buoyant, and kind best friend, most likely the only person who was plainly essential in Hutch’s life was unwilling to go away.

Shutting his eyes tight and pinching the bridge of his nose for a moment, to banish those dark thoughts off his mind, the blond one made an effort to come back to the here and now, as his stiffen back reminded him that he was still lying on the floor in Starsky’s kitchen, with his partner by his side, curled in a fetal position, pillowing his head in his arms and soundly asleep despite the coldness and hardness of the floor.

After staying still for a moment to ride out a sudden wave of dizziness caused by the movement, Hutch slowly rose to his knees, stretching out an arm to shake Starsky’s shoulder gently.

“Hey Starsk…wake up, partner. Let’s go to bed.” He said softly as Starsky mumbled something unintelligible under his breath.

“Come on Starsk, let’s get you to bed.” Hutch tried again.

“Hush?” Starsky said more clearly this time

“Yeah buddy, come on, help me here to get you up, will ya?” Hutch coaxed trying to help Starsky to a sitting position.

“Lemme alone…wanna sleep” Starsky grunted still not moving an inch.

“Sure buddy. I want to sleep too, but in a better place that the floor of your kitchen.” Hutch said, finally managing to make his uncooperative friend to sit up. “Really Starsk, you should watch your weight…You’re heavier than a ton of bricks.” The blond one complained, placing himself by Starsky’s side and surrounding his shoulders with his arm to prevent him from lying down again.

“Nahh…Forget it, Blondie. I’m not going to start any dumb diet. I’m in perfect shape…And besides, all the ladies happen to fall for this t’rrific body o’mine.” Starsky slurred, trying to pat his own flat belly, but missing the aim and patting Hutch’s instead. “By the way…Did I get Mary Lou’s phone number, Hutch?” The brunet asked looking groggily at Hutch

“What?” The blond detective asked in a momentary lost.

“Mary Lou…That chick from The Pits…Oh man, she’s something, isn’t she?” Starsky asked flashing a brief, crooked smile.

“Sure Starsk, she’s something.” Hutch answered as the memory of the beautiful girls that they had meet that evening in The Pits came back into place. “Though her name isn’t Mary Lou, actually, but Patty …Mary Lou is the name of her turtle. She told us so, remember?”

“Oh, yeah, yeah, whatever” Starsky waved tiredly his hand “And also, she’s got a cat named Arthur.” He kept recalling as Hutch smiled fondly at him, thinking what pair of fools they would both look like if anybody else was able to see them there, sitting down on the kitchen floor, totally drunk, and chatting nonsensically about girls, cats and turtles at two a.m. No doubt, Hutch was pretty drunk, but Starsky was much more than he was. Actually the curly-haired man was almost out for the count.

Not without a big deal of effort, and after a few failed tries, eventually Hutch managed to get Starsky to his feet and on his way to the bedroom, where he eased his limp friend onto the bed, taking off his blue sneakers and covering him with a blanket before crashing exhaustedly on the vacant side of the bed, too tired even to make his way back to the couch. The brunet was asleep before his body hit the mattress and Hutch felt his own fatigue claiming his toll on him, his eyelids growing heavier by the moment. Before turning off the nightstand lamp, he turned his head to soak in the reassuring presence of Starsky just a few inches away from him. The brunet looked relaxed and peaceful, and even in his sleep a contented smile curled the corners of his mouth as his chest raised and fell in a steady breathing cadence. With that soothing image lulling him to sleep, Hutch turned off the light, rolling onto his side and closing his eyes. The last sensations that he felt before drifting off to sleep were the soft crack of the mattress´ springs as Starsky shifted his body into a more comfortable position, and then, the soft pressure of his friend’s head resting against his back, between his shoulder´s blades.

“G´nigh, buddy. Sleep well...” Hutch mumbled in a drowsy voice.

He knew for sure that in a few hours both of them would wake up to a huge hangover, and that most likely he would feel like hell, but he couldn't care the less, because in the morning, and if they kept being lucky enough in the years to come too, he would keep having Starsky by his side, healthy and plenty of his usual zest for life, as he was meant to be.

As far as Hutch was concerned, it was a very good reason to be happy. To keep on celebrating life.

 

THE END

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