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ISN'T TIME FOR GOODBYES
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.

I want to express my most heartfelt thanks to Kate CMT for her endless kindness and for betaing this story for me, helping me with her advices to make it better.

NOTE: This is NOT a death story

 

Captain Dobey sat silently in a hard and uncomfortable plastic chair by his detective’s hospital bed. The only noises around him were the beep of the heart monitor attached through a few electrodes to Starsky’s chest and the sound of laboured breath coming from under his oxygen mask.

A short while earlier, as Hutch had left the hospital to desperately keep looking for the antidote that could save his best friend’s life, Starsky had been wheeled to a quiet ICU private room. He had been left there, as all the hospital staff thought, to die.

Everything had begun when Starsky had been injected with a lethal and unknown compound by a masked man who had broken into his apartment while the dark-haired detective was soundly asleep. And no matter how hard Doctor Franklin and his team had tried to save him. Twenty-two hours later, Starsky remained in danger, his life hanging by a thread. The grim truth was that nothing more could be done for the young man.

Dobey knew his detective was running out of time. Both Starsky and Hutch had fruitlessly searched for the antidote, the poison slowly and painfully draining Starsky’s life with each passing second. The twenty-four hours deadline was about to expire. Any moment, if an unexpected miracle couldn’t prevent it, David Michael Starsky would exhale his last breath.

As he kept his vigil by Starsky’s side, Dobey was too astounded by the harsh reality of the moment to think clearly…he was just there to accompany his detective in his last hours, maybe minutes in this world. Dobey wasn’t wiling to let the kind, decent and brave man he cared so much for, cross alone to the other sideIf Hutch couldn’t be back in time, he was going to make sure Starsky would leave in peace, surrounded by as much love as he could offer.

For some minutes nothing disturbed the almost total quietness in the room, when a hoarse whisper, barely audible over the beep of the heart monitor reached Dobey’s ears.

“Le-letter…Cap…Can…can you wri…write a letter for me…and gi…give it to...to Hutch…Please?” Starsky asked Dobey with which seemed to be his last remaining strength. The dying detective had taken the oxygen mask off his face to ask his superior officer and friend to write a last letter to Hutch. A letter he was too weak to write on his own.

“Dave. . . Son, don’t take the mask off your face. It’ll help you to breathe more easily,” the portly captain advised gently. Getting to his feet, he tried to reposition the mask over Starsky’s mouth and nose.

“No…no, cap…le….letter… please.” Starsky pleaded, weakly flailing a hand to prevent the Captain from settling the mask onto his face, as a wince contorted his pinched features. Features that Dobey thought had the unmistakable imprint of death all over them. At that moment, unexpectedly, a memory from his childhood filled the Captain’s mind and he remembered his grandmother telling him when he was just a little kid, a lifetime ago, about how people’s features change, becoming somehow more angular and unsettling when the black bird of death flutters over their heads.

Then, almost instinctively, Dobey cast a quick look upward as if expecting to see the bird that in his childhood he had always pictured as a giant, sinister raven, when a weak tug to his sleeve brought him back to the here and now

“Wri…write, Cap…Ple…please.” Starsky urged in a whisper, his stamina quickly fading.

“Sure, Dave. What do you want me to write?” Dobey conceded, fearing that his detective was making use of the last of his lucidity before the end. The Captain sat back onto the chair, producing the notepad and pen he always carried in his jacket pocket.

“Hutch…My dearest friend.” Slowly and hardly able to whisper his words to Dobey, Starsky began dictating as the Captain, fighting back tears wrote all his words without missing a single comma.

I know how soppy this way to start a letter can seem. However, let me call you my dearest friend, 'cause this way is like I feel it; as much as you feel it. You don't need to tell me. I’m just sure about it.

I’ll never be able to say how grateful I am to you for all that you’ve been giving me since the very first day we meet each other. I just can’t put into words how blessed I feel for having your friendship, and also for all the wonderful and happy years we’ve shared together. But now I must leave. It’s not my choice, Hutch; you know how much I love life. Anyway, it looks like finally the show is over for me. I can’t help, I’d like, but that’s beyond me…Beyond us, actually. It’s time to say goodbye…But don’t worry. We’ll don’t be apart forever, just for some time. Time in which, hopefully you’ll go on with your life, eventually, making the best of it.

I don’t want you to feel guilty, Hutch. Neither for my death, nor for not being here, now that my moment is coming…I know that you have done; that right know you’re still doing your best to help me. As you have done many other times... The only difference is that this time, the bad guys won.

Now, let me add something regarding those guilty trips you're so fond of. YOU AREN'T responsible  for what I did on the roof of Bellamy's place. If we could turn back the clock I'd do it all over again. I'd put my life on the line for you over and over, as you'd do for me if the tables were turned.

My life has been good, Blondie. Despite the death of some people that I have loved dearly ... despite my time in Nam, and all those other times I have spent in a hospital both, healing from any injury or being there for you. And it has been good, mostly because you’ve been a very important part of it. You are the best friend a man can wish for. The best partner I could have been partnered up with. I just hope I’ve been worthy of all the good things I got from you…Hopefully very soon I’ll be in a place where I’ll be with my pop and where, along with him, we’ll be able to keep watching your back...

Don’t break down Hutch, please. Do it for me. You must go on with your life and your work. Ask Dobey for another partner. Take care of him and try to be his friend, as you’ve been mine. He may surprise you and drive you crazy with his eating habits, just like I’ve been doing all these years. 

Don’t leave the streets, buddy. I want you to keep doing the work you love, and you do so well. I’d also like for you to remember me with happiness. If my memory hurts you, then I just want you to forget that we ever met each other. And please, help my mom... This is going to be real hard for her.

I am exhausted, partner. I just can’t keep struggling any longer…I’d like to wait for you, if just to see your ugly mug once more and say goodbye to you, but I just feel like I haven’t strength enough to do so. Sorry, Hutch…It’s time for me to leave.

Know something? Along the last hours, and though I’ve done my best to keep my fears at bay, the only truth is that I’ve been terrified. Anyway, I am not scared anymore. And I don’t feel alone... Our old grumpy Cap is here, with me, but also I’ve gotten a huge amount of love. Your love. And it’s going to help me in my last journey. I just know it.

Your best friend

Starsk

Soon, a love-filled message was written on a few sheets of Dobey’s notepad. A long letter that Starsky had been able to dictate only pushed by the strongest willpower and that had drained most of the fading strength from his body, but had also filled his heart with a new kind of serenity.

Dobey, who finally had been unable to hold back his tears any longer, finished scribbling the last words before blindly, looking in his pants pocket for his handkerchief to wipe his eyes. Meanwhile, Starsky, feeling contented for having the chance to tell Hutch, if just through a letter all that he wasn’t going to be able to voice, began to feel as if somehow his soul was leaving his hurting and weakened body behind.

The sight of the aseptic hospital room was soon replaced by a soothing fog as background noises faded into nothingness.

For Starsky, it was the end of the pain, the fear, the suffering…

Two days later.

“How is Starsky doing, Hutch?” Dobey asked Hutch as the blond headed out of the room to meet his superior officer.

“He’s still asleep most of time, Cap.” Hutch answered, tiredly rubbing the back of his neck. “Anyway, Franklin told me that things are going as expected. Starsky’s finally out of the woods and this morning they have started lowering the dose of pain meds. Hopefully, as the day goes by, he’ll be able to stay awake longer.”

“Listen, Hutch…” Dobey began to say, scratching his head; looking clearly uncomfortable. “Starsky…he…Well, while you were out looking for the antidote, he asked me to write you a letter…A goodbye letter.” The Captain said while digging in his jacket pocket, producing an envelope and holding it out for Hutch “I think you should have it.”

“Thanks Cap.” Hutch took the white envelope, looking briefly at it, though not opening it.

“I’ll let you alone to read it, son.” Dobey said starting to retreat discretely.

“It's not needed, Sir.” The blond detective said, tearing the envelope into small pieces before tossing it in a near metallic wastepaper basket.

“But…What are you doing, Hutch?” Dobey inquired; the puzzlement he felt, visibly showing in his dark eyes. “Don’t you want to know what Starsky had to tell you?”

“Don’t get me wrong, Cap. There’s nothing I want more than to hear all that Starsky can tell me from the very first moment he’ll wake up... Everything. From his ideas regarding a case to the silliest trivia facts he can remember. But I just can’t read his goodbyes, Sir. That’s all.” Hutch explained lowering his head to stare intently at his feet. “I don’t wanna know any of that, because for us, it isn’t time for goodbyes yet.”

“Know something, Hutch?” Captain Dobey asked, fondly squeezing Hutch’s shoulder as a corner of his mouth curled in a smile. “You’re right. Darn right! This isn’t time for goodbyes.” Parting, he turned on his heel, walking with firm steps towards the elevators

Soon, Dobey was out of the hospital, heading towards his car. Outside a pleasant, clear morning and a warm breeze welcomed him, making him stop briefly and raise his head while contentedly taking in a deep lungful of air.

In tilting his head back, he saw it; an enormous black bird rising from the hospital roof, flying higher until it grew smaller, eventually swallowed by the vastness of the city sky…

“That’s right…Go away” Dobey say to the disappearing bird “This isn’t time for goodbyes.”

THE END

 

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