A LITTLE CHRISTMAS TALE
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.
All my gratitude goes to Wuemsel for all her help in correcting and making better this story.
The sweet memories of their last Christmas did make Hutch’s heart to ache…
They seemed so far in time…So happy.
He and Starsky going to the pediatric floor in Memorial hospital to give presents and goodies to the little patients. Starsky making his best Santa Claus performance, enjoying surrounded by the kids and showing his beautiful soul of big child. That pure soul that always was Hutch´s support when he got too tired of the evilness of the world. That soul that still did believe in the goodness of people despite the lot of awful things they were forced to face day after day in the streets
Later, they’d go to Dobey’s to have dinner, and to share with that man who cared over them like a father would do and his family , happiness, love, good food. All those things supposedly Christmas is made of. All that did make Hutch to love a little more that season that along years he used to hate.
Though that did happen long time ago
Despite all his complains about Christmas season, Hutch loved it. He began to love Christmas since the first day he’d meet Starsky in the academy.
Last Christmas was a wonderful time. Hutch had to admit that. Even Dobey gave them a whole week off, to spend New Year’s Eve in Rachel’s place. There, Hutch would feel loved and welcomed as one more of the Starsky’s. That noisy and warm family so alike to his partner that maybe didn’t know what luxuries and richness were, but had love enough as to warm up their home and Hutch’s heart.
Along those days both detectives, spoiled by Starsky’s mom, enjoyed, got some rest and were happy, getting themselves ready to face all the new year to come could bring to their lives.
First, Christmas was over, later winter did come to its end, and finally, spring came to the city.
A month that they would want to delete from the calendar, but that they wouldn’t forget in all his life
Because May did come bloodstained by Starsky’s blood, as his life fled and his body did lay, broken and shattered over the cold ground of the precinct parking lot.
Along the next weeks, Starsky fought bravely by his life and against all the odds, he won.
Along that time Hutch did cry
He’d lost all the hope only to recover it back
And as months went by, which that morning in May seemed impossible, became true
Starsky, fighting almost wildly won his struggle against death and pain, and began to get better. Not completely. That was still something far and uncertain, but enough how to leave that hospital, where in some way he died and would born again.
Starsky came back home. To his life. And with him, Hutch, always by his side
The challenges and daily obstacles their new life would bring to both men were at times almost unbearable. Starsky would spend most of time in pain, dozed under the effect of the pain pills, dependent of Hutch’s unconditional help to do even the easiest things, and enraged against the fate that throwed over him so much misfortune.
Yes. He was alive. He managed to go through something that for most men would mean nothing but a certain death. However, the road to recover would be still very long and painful.
And he felt tired.
In mid December, and after some days in which his health were doing nothing but getting worse, Starsky was rushed again to the hospital. Which began being just a bad cold, soon, and despite Hutch’s care became a bronchitis that would affect especially his injured lung, and it came along with a dangerously high fever and painful cough fits, that seemed to tore his entrails.
Weakened, sick and exhausted, apparently, Starsky would spend Christmas Day in the hospital
Hutch did feel desolated by that new setback; the most scaring thing though, was that seemingly, his partner didn’t care.
Along those days, Starsky almost wasn’t talking or eating. He looked pale and drained. He was just a sad shadow of himself who spent all his time, both sleeping, or staring with moody expression in the ceiling of his room, despite all Hutch’s efforts to encourage him, telling him about his Christmas present --A wonderful remote controlled train even with rails, station and human figures included, for which he would pay a little fortune— and despite of Dobey’s and Huggy tries to help him.
“Come on, Starsk! Doc told us that surely you’ll be able to come back home for Christmas.” Hutch tried once more.
Nothing. No answer. Just a tired sigh and a brief glance before Starsky turned back his eyes to the ceiling.
“Starsk...I’m so sorry, partner. I know how much you dislike this place. And I know how you were looking forward to have a real Christmas celebration.” As it happened quite often along those days, again, Hutch found himself out of words to drag Starsky out from the dark hole of sadness he was falling into.
“Never mind, Hutch. It’s not your fault. I guess Christmas is a moment as good as any other to feel like crap.” Again Starsky took his eyes away from Hutch’s, when the doctor’s arrival did interrupt the gloomy thoughts of both men.
“I have good news David. As you know, the antibiotic treatment we gave you worked out, so I guess you’ll don't need to stay here much longer” The gentle doctor said, placing his hand over Starsky’s shoulder.
“You mean that I’ll be able to come back home…Soon?” Starsky asked, showing for first time in days a little sparkle of emotion in his eyes.
“Sure David. You’ll spend Christmas day at home. In bed, of course, getting rest and trying to eat a little more of which you would eat here, but at home. I guess it will be more agreeable than to be in the hospital. I Hope I can be sure that you’ll take your pills…”
“Of course doc, you can be sure of that.” Hutch cut off the doctor’s words, going into his usual mother-hen routine.
“Well, David, Tomorrow morning, we’ll get the paperwork ready, and then, you’ll go back home.”
“Thanks doc.” Starsky answered curtly despite how much he was looking forward to go back home.
“You´re welcome, son. Anytime.” Patting gently Starsky’s arm, the doctor leaved the room.
As the doctor said, next day Starsky came back home. Due to the heavy antibiotic therapy, he did feel still too weak and tired to have a real Christmas celebration. That should wait. On the other hand, his mother wouldn’t travel there, since Starsky had asked Hutch to don’t tell her about his last stay in the hospital. However, looking into Starsky’s eyes, Hutch could see perfectly how his friend was wishing to be back in the comfortable surrounding of his home, far from nurses and doctors, pushing his aching body once and again.
Along all the way to Starsky’s apartment, Hutch and he could see, almost to smell the Christmas spirit filling every corner of the city. Streets and shops decorated, people going up and down carrying coloured parcels in their arms. Little kids walking with their mothers and looking with their eyes wide open to one fat Santa Claus, who from a toyshop entrance waved a small bell saying “¡Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas!” giving goodies to his little viewers
“Hey Starsk, look at that guy!”
“Blondie! Mind showing a little more respect? He’s not a guy, but Santa!” Hutch looked at Starsky with a smile in his lips and in his heart. In that moment, he almost could swear that Starsky did believe seriously that the man standing in the street, wearing his red disguise and white beard, wasn’t some forgotten actor or something like that, but the real Santa Claus.
“Know something, Hutch?” Starsky added. “When I was a child, and in Christmas eve, mom forced me to go to bed, I always managed to slip off of my bedroom. I waited, and once my parents and Nicky were sleeping, I went back to the living room to wait for his arrival.”
“His arrival?” Hutch asked, getting a little lost in his friend’s childhood remembrances.
“Santa Claus’ arrival, of course. Who else could a kid be waiting for, in Christmas night?”
“Oh. Sure. And tell me. You managed to see him? “Hutch asked in mocked seriousness.
Starsky shook his head “No. I always fell asleep before he came. Next morning, the only traces of Santa in my place were the presents under the Christmas tree. I tried it all the years…But I never saw him.” Hutch noticed a slight disappointment in Starsky’s voice.
“Who knows partner! Maybe some day you’ll be able to see him.” He said as they came to Starsky’s apartment “Come on Starsk. We’re at home.”
With Hutch’s help, Starsky climbed up the stairs to his place, and once inside, the child who still lived into his heart, looked open-mouthed his living room shinning with lots of tiny and multi-coloured bulbs, tinsel and a Christmas tree that Huggy would decorate, with Christmas balls, golden balloons and even some Easter eggs, according his usual style, psychedelic and lurid.
“Hey, Hutch! That’s beautiful” Starsky said stepping towards the tree and brushing carefully one of the branches with his hand.
“Beautiful, huh?” Hutch joked, looking at the enormous golden star that from the top threatened to knock over the Christmas tree under its overweight. “Well. I guess, I haven’t a better way to say it either. It was a Huggy handiwork, by the way. You know. I’d be unable to make…well. Something so original.”
“I like it a lot Blondie. I mean it!...thanks” The choked words of Starsky were sincere. The unshed tears shinning in his eyes in holding Hutch into a tight embrace, too.
Hutch helped Starsky to put into his pyjamas and get into bed. Later, he fixed a chicken soup for his partner, though he managed just to eat half of the bowl contents, before to fall asleep. Hutch was wrapping the covers around Starsky’s neck, when, a sudden idea came to his mind.
Once he was sure that Starsky was asleep, Hutch headed to the phone, dialling The Pits’ number.
“I need you Hug. Could you come over Starsky’s to spend a while here? I need to go away for a while to do something that can't wait.”
“Sure bro, the Bear will be there in twenty minutes.”
Twenty minutes later, Huggy came to Starsky´s apartment.
“I´ll be back here asap Huggy, but if I’m not here in half an hour, Starsk has to take his pills. Give him a glass of warm milk or chocolate, and try to make him to eat some cookies. If he asks, tell him that Dobey called me and I had to go to the precinct.”
“No sweat, Blondie. Huggy will take perfect care of Curly. But, tell me…Where’s the fire? ¿Where the hell are you going, if I can know it?”
“No Huggy. You can’t know it.” Hutch answered with a spark of mischief shinning in his eyes, before to grab his jacket and go downstairs, to come back about an hour later, without telling Huggy the reason of his leave.
Later, as the first shadows of the Christmas´ Eve covered the city, Huggy went back to The Pits.
That night, Hutch fixed turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes with gravy and a cake he had gotten a while earlier in a nearby supermarket, even knowing that Starsky would be unable to eat more than some bites, but wanting to offer a real Christmas’ Eve dinner to his friend.
As his doctor allowed him to do, that night, Starsky could get out of bed to have dinner in the table, and while from the stereo, the soft sound of some carols filled the apartment, both men did share their meal, enjoying the little miracle that night was. That Christmas Eve was very different from which they’d wish. Starsky did feel still sicker and weaker than he was willing to admit, and Hutch was deeply worried by his friend. However, that was Christmas night, and after some nightmarish months, the only fact of being there, did turn that quiet dinner into a moment magic, beautiful and special.
After dinner and once he’d take his night pills, Starsky went back to bed, falling asleep in matter of minutes, as Hutch, after to clear up the table, headed back to the living room, laying on the sofa, changing distractedly the channels in the TV, without to pay attention to anything special and looking every few minutes his wristwatch, until near midnight, a soft knock in the front door, did make him to raise and stride towards there, feeling an emotion that maybe he didn´t feel even when he was a kid.
There, he was. As they’d agree some hours earlier. Looking great, magic, like coming from a Christmas tale. Carrying his huge sack, exchanging some whispered words with Hutch, who handed him a big package, and walking on tiptoes silently to Starsky´s bedroom, where he was soundly asleep, though the pain traces were etched in his face even in the shelter of the sleep.
First, in feeling that somebody was touching his shoulder, Starsky thought that he was dreaming, and rolling over his side, he buried himself deeper into the covers. But when a voice husky, yet soft called out his name, he hadn’t other choice but waking up.
“¿Davey?...Davey, son, wake up.”
“Come on, kiddo. Open your eyes for me. I brought you your present. Don't you wanna see it?” Starsky opened his eyes, to see him standing in his bedside, smiling gently, caressing his curls, and helping him carefully to sit up, before to dig into his sack, from where he produced a huge parcel wrapped in a shinning golden paper with a big red bow on the top.
That’s not real. Starsky thought. It must be just some funny effect of the damn lot of pills I´m gulping down every day.
There, by his side and reaching out a present for him, was …SANTA CLAUS!
“Hutch?” Starsky looked at his partner as if trying to be sure that he wasn’t dreaming.
“What’s the matter Starsk? You told me that you’d try to see him every Christmas night when you were a kid. So it looks like this year you got it, partner.” Hutch answered smiling at Starsky, from the other side of the bed.
“Ho, Ho, Ho!” Santa Claus bursted noisily into laughs, as his belly shook following his guffaws. “So, you tried too to keep awake all night long to see me, son? And let me guess. You never got it, huh?" He laughed again.
Jeez! The guy is doing the performance of his life. He could get an Oscar for this! Hutch thought in amusement.
“This…this is a joke, Hutch?” Davey, boy, get a grip! Of course IT´S a joke. Starsky thought, though in that moment of his life, so empty of joy and illusions, he wished fervently to be a kid again, just to be able to believe that the guy that was in there, standing by his side and holding a present out for him, was the true Santa Claus.
“Come on Davey. Open your present and say me if you like it.” The man said. “I got still a lot of work to do tonight.”
Starsky, too sleepy to think clearly, but feeling excited like he didn’t feel in the last months, tore off the wrapping paper and took out from its box the most beautiful locomotive and coaches he had seen never before.
“Th-this is…T’rrific.” Starsky murmured, unable to take his eyes out of the little train.
“Do you like it, huh?” Santa Claus asked. “Great! Old Santa hates to pick the wrong present” Starsky was dumbfounded, as his look went to Santa Claus, back to his present and then to Santa Claus again.
“Okay Davey. Now I must go. You know. A lot of kids are waiting for their presents. Take care, son. And don't lose your illusions. They will be your better help.” Tousling Starsky’s curls in the same way he would do with a little kid, the pretended Santa Claus went out, first from Starsky’s bedroom, and a moment later, from the apartment.
“Thanks Blondie. For the train…And for Santa. That was neat!" Starsky said. Hutch could see a little of his partner’s old enthusiasm shinning in his eyes.
“Don't mention buddy. I´m glad you liked it.”
“I guess I didn´t deserve it, though. I couldn’t even to get a present for you.” A shadow of sadness tinged Starsky’s voice.
“Hey Starsk! I got my present…You are here. At home, with me, getting better. That’s the best present for me.” Starsky looked at Hutch, who kept sitting down in the edge of his bed. Both men were doing their best to keep their emotions at bay, until, in the warmth of each other arms they allowed their silent tears to roll freely down their faces.
They were still trying to survive to the darkest time of their lives, but both knew that together they could do it. They could go through those hard months with their friendship stronger and solider than before. Invincible. And they knew as well that soon, life would be kind and generous with them again. They just should hold together, keeping alive their illusions as the man playing Santa Claus for Starsky had say just some minutes earlier.
After that embrace, Hutch helped his partner to lie back in bed, wrapping him with the covers, as Starsky, exhausted began to close his eyes.
Placing carefully the little train on the nightstand, and after a last glance to his half-asleep friend, Hutch turned off the bedroom light, when Starsky’s slurred voice came from under the covers
“You´re the best…Ya know?”
“Of course I know it. I’m just wondering why you took so long to notice it.” The blond one joked, fondly squeezing Starsky’s shoulder. “G’night, Starsk.”
“Night” Smiling silently, Hutch headed to the couch, where soon, he did fall in a deep sleep, thinking pleasantly in the minutes of joy that for just some dollars, that old and unknown actor had helped him to give to the most important person in his life.
Early, next morning, the doorbell rang, awakening Hutch, who hurried to open the door, before the noise could disturb Starsky’s sleep.
There, in the entrance, the old actor was standing, looking ashamed, and reaching some bills out for Hutch.
“I´m so sorry sir. I´m here to return you your money.” Maybe was the sleep, still lingering in his eyes, the morning light, or simply, the fact that the man wasn’t wearing his Santa’s clothes, but for Hutch, he looked strangely different. Duller, sadder, without the magical glow that last night had surrounded him.
“Sorry?...I don't understand.” Without allowing Hutch to ask any further question, the man kept speaking.
“You don’t know how sorry I am sir. I know how much meant for you…For your friend that I was coming here last night.” The man swallowed dryly before speaking again. “I don't wanna even picture which you’d think of me in seeing that I wasn’t coming. But I´m an honest guy sir. You can be sure of that. I didn't mean to cheat you…Martha, my wife suffered a heart attack last night. Because of that I couldn't come here. I'm sorry. I just wanted to give you your money back…Now I must go back to the hospital. Happy Christmas, sir…And my apologies again.”
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