Journey Into Hell

Warning: This story might be considered a dark one and contains some graphic scenes and foul language that may be offensive to some readers.

This story is fondly dedicated to Brook. Thank you for your constant encouragement, for keeping me motivated, and for your wonderful ideas. You truly enrich my life.


Chapter 1

"I want him to hurt... hurt real bad. So bad, that his life is a livin' hell and he'd wish he was never born." He ran the comb through his thin, oily hair; attempting to coat the black colored grease evenly throughout his straggly strands, his left eye squinting, as he thought of his old nemesis in pain. "He thinks he's better than me, calls me a vermin... a scum... who the hell does he think he is... huh?"

He turned to look at his cellmate who lay on the lower bunk, arms behind his head, lips pursed in thought. The old man would often lie there and listen to Artie rant and rave about the tall blonde cop who was the scapegoat for all the injustices Artie believed he suffered. Artie sneered, his left eye twitching spasmodically, "That's what got me through these four years of livin' in this stinkin' hell-hole. I used to live in a hotel for Christ's sake, and now I'm reduced to livin' in a dump like this, watchin' my ass every minute of the day."

"Please Arthur, that's quite enough profanity... you're getting out today... what more do you want? You should just learn to forget about whatever he did to you. For four years, I've had to listen to you complain on and on about Detective Hutchinson and the names he called you. I truly don't understand why you've let such a little thing as name-calling fill you with such bitterness. It's not as though you've suffered a loss because of those little put-downs. I'm beginning to think that he just might be right about you, Arthur."

Artie Solkin eyed his cellmate in the cracked mirror of his cell, glancing at the once dignified, gray haired man that was on his back; quietly pondering some thought that flickered behind his watery blue eyes, from the thin mattress on which he lay. He watched as the old gentleman turned his gaze to the faded and torn picture he had taped to the wall next to his bunk. Artie didn't need to see the picture; he had seen it more than he cared to remember, in the four years they had been forced to bunk together in the cramped confines of their cell. A plain, mousy brown haired woman with thick spectacles smiled absently back from the photograph. Artie watched as the old man fondly traced the features of the woman in the photo.

Solkin snorted softly to himself, as he realized that he'd been calling his cellmate, 'Old Man' for years. In reality, the man lying on the bunk was about the same age as Artie, himself. For four years they had bunked together in Cabrillo's State Penitentiary, barely tolerating each other. The old goat was an enigma to Artie's simple mind, and if the truth was known, his cellmate's brilliant intellectuality, often times confused and intimidated Artie. In fact, Solkin had the distinct impression that his cellmate held only disdain for him and secretly ridiculed him behind his back. It surprised Artie that Jennings would even condescend to speak with him now. They very rarely communicated verbally to each other, although the older man was always well mannered when they did. He tended to keep to himself, and the other inmates seemed to respect and adhere to the dignified distance that he kept.

"Yeah... well what do you know about it?" Solkin sneered, lips curling in disdain. "You're another one who's too big for his britches." Artie snorted, "A big wig professor like yourself, locked up like an animal. Who's the scum now, huh?"

The gray haired professor looked up into the sneering face of his grease-dripping cellmate and sighed wearily, "Yes Arthur, perhaps you're right. We're probably both considered to be scum by our detective friends and probably by society as well. The old man got up slowly and sat at the edge of his bunk, dragging his fingers through his sparsely graying hair. "All I'm saying to you Arthur, is that you have an opportunity for a new start... a new beginning, where you can put all of this behind you."

"Don't talk so high and mighty to me Jennings," Artie snarled, throwing the greasy comb into the stained basin. "As if you can be so forgiving. I know all about you. Everyone talks around here, and even though they might not talk to you, they certainly talk about you! I heard all about your drug addict kid and how those cops helped him, to blow himself away. Wasn't it Hutchinson's gun that did it? If I was a father, I would never forgive anyone for hurtin' my boy like that... it just goes to show you professor, you're more scum than I, especially if you can forgive those two punk pigs for killin' your one and only son. Look at you, all prim and proper like some prissy assed Christian!"

"Jerry..." the old man's eyes watered, long buried grief and rage quickly surfacing to the top as he clenched his fists tightly against his lap. He had tried to bury the pain he felt whenever he thought of his son. Jerry was his pride and joy... would have been his greatest accomplishment, had his young life not been snuffed out by two over eager detectives. Jennings sighed heavily, he had tried to let go of all of those negative feelings as Pastor Wayne, the prison chaplain, had counseled. Following the advice of his daughter, Cheryl, he had attended the prison ministry to learn to let go of the displaced emotions of anger and resentment he had for the two he held responsible for his son's death; feelings he thought he had put to rest after his five year incarceration at Cabrillo. It surprised the former professor to find those emotions still there, hot smoldering embers from a raging inferno, he had thought he quenched years before.

"Hah! You bible thumping geek," Solkin jeered, laughing loudly in the dim, stillness of the cell, "You still hate them, just as much as me. You don't see me tryin' to fool myself. You put on your holier than thou act, and you walk around like you've repented your sinful ways by being forgiving of others. Ha! What a bunch of crock!" Artie took one last look at himself in the mirror, then turned and sneered at the older man hunched over on his bunk, "At least I can be honest with myself. I hate Hutchinson, I hate that blonde snob, and if I can hurt 'im, I will. Haven't figured out what I'm gonna do once I leave this stinkin' joint, but I will get him, if that's the last thing I do."

Jennings raised watery eyes to Solkin as he passed by the seated man to stand at the barred doorway to their cell, waiting impatiently for the guard to release him. Artie stared straight into Jennings eyes that were filled with repressed burning anger finally unleashed, making his blue eyes glisten with the fiery heat of revenge. "If you want to hurt him like you say you do... you've got to get to him where it'll do the most damage," the professor whispered quietly.

"Yeah... like what?" Artie said, left eye narrowing as it twitched, the professor's quiet statement piquing his interest, "Whadda you know about hurtin' people, it's not like you can whip up some poison filled hypo in this joint." Solkin mockingly laughed out loud at his own cleverness, wanting to be one up on his intelligent cellmate.

"His partner, Detective David Starsky," Jennings said quietly, ignoring the jibe, "That's who you need to go after." The former professor closed his eyes, remembering the almost pleading look on the tall blonde's face when he barged into his home on that fateful night so long ago. 'I'm asking you to save my partner's life!' He could almost hear the sad, desperate voice of the tall blonde detective whispering in his ear.

Jennings opened his eyes and stared at his greasy haired bunkmate, "To wear down a castle to mere rubble, Arthur, one must first start at the foundation." At Artie's blank look, the professor rose and walked over to the barred doorway, "If you really want to hurt Hutchinson, then my advice to you, would be to go after his partner. Ironically, those two together are strong and resilient, and yet, hurt one, and the other will crumble. If you want to seek a fitting revenge on your blonde adversary and see him writhing in agonizing pain, then it's Starsky you want. Hurt him and inevitably, you will hurt Hutchinson.

Solkin's eyes gleamed with understanding and a sudden smirk skewered his features. "Yeah... I think you got something there old man... tell me more... tell me more.

Chapter 2

"Look Hutch, I'm tellin' ya this is legit... and ya need to come with me buddy!" Starsky pleaded as he bounced alongside his blonde counterpart. The curly haired detective grabbed onto the sleeve of his partner's leather jacket and turned wide blue eyes up to his friend's Nordic features, silently imploring his partner to listen. "Two weeks, all expenses paid... a trip for two to Hawaii! Oh my god Hutch, can ya jus' picture it... blue skies, palm trees swayin' in the cool tropical trade winds, long walks on a moonlit beach, beautiful long haired hula dancers rhythmically swinging their rounded hips as their graceful fingers call to ya, their bedroom eyes inviting ya, sayin'... 'Hutch... come to me... come to me... you big, blonde handsome hunk!'"

Hutch snorted, then laughed out loud, as he watched his curly haired partner bat his long dark lashes coquettishly, dark blue eyes suggestive and wanting, as he waved his fingers from side to side while he rocked his lean hips back and forth, "Oh, c'mon Starsk," Hutch chuckled, "Knock it off, people are looking at you." The tall blonde looked self-consciously over his shoulder as they neared the entrance to the BCIT radio station, where his partner was supposedly going to pick up his winning tickets. Hutch looked at the brunet who talked non-stop, springing along, using his hands to animatedly describe the full roundness of the polished coconut shells that would cover the bosoms of the native beauties.

The tall blonde smiled fondly at his partner who looked healthy and whole, the brunet radiated vitality and liveliness and it filled Hutch's soft, gentle heart with joy. It was hard to believe that just a year ago, his energetic, bouncing partner lay still and pale in a hospital bed; four bullets from an automatic raking across his abdomen and chest; nearly stealing the life from this vibrant man. For a brief moment, the image of Starsky lying on his side next to the Torino, his life's blood pooling in an ever-widening circle beneath him, filled the blonde's mind and caused him to falter in mid-stride.

He felt the strong, supportive hand of his partner grab the back of his jacket to steady him, "Hey... you okay Blondie?" Cobalt eyes locked onto pale blue ones, and Hutch could see the concern etched on his partner's face. He grinned to ease the worry he found there, and the brunet rewarded the blonde with his own, patented lopsided grin that lit up his whole face. "Does this mean that you're 'fallin' for my suggestion of taking two weeks off to visit sunny Hawaii... hmm?"

Hutch stared into the hopeful expression of his rambunctious partner as he watched dark brows wag up and down over ocean blue orbs that sparkled with mischief. He rolled his own eyes, as the brunet, once again, pulled out the confirmation letter from his back pocket that stated he was the winner of that, "Name that Tune" contest the radio station had recently sponsored.

"It says that my name was pulled from the pool of winners that participated in the contest, and that I should come by today to pick up my winning tickets for a trip for two to Hawaii... wait... let me clarify, an all expense paid trip for two to Hawaii, and Hutch, I'm invitin' ya to come with me buddy." Starsky smugly said, as he snapped the paper against his palm and raised expectant eyes up to his tall partner.

Hutch exhaled slowly and stopped to face his over excited friend. "Starsk, it's a gimmick they use, so people like you listen to their radio station. You participate in their silly games and after you win, they ask you for your name, address and number which they will give out to different solicitors for sponsoring their station. Soon, your apartment will be flooded with unwanted mail, ads, telephone calls for surveys, bargain flyers... you name it... and you're gonna wonder what the hell happened?"

Hutch snorted softly as he watched the disgruntled look that settled over his partner's face, a pouty lip was soon seen, sticking out dejectedly. "Ya know Hutch," the brunet sighed sadly, "You sure know how to cheer a guy up."

Hutch almost regretted his self-righteous spiel when he saw the look of disappointment that filled his partner's deep blue eyes. He kicked himself mentally, as he reached out to lay a large hand on his partner's shoulder. "Hey buddy," the tall blonde said, voice soft and gentle, "I'm here, ain't I? And yes, if you win, I wouldn't be anywhere else, except in Hawaii with you, strumming my guitar under a swaying palm tree, while a beautiful native maiden gracefully dances her hula for me as she places her sweet smelling garland of flowers around my neck." Hutch snorted and gently squeezed the muscled shoulder beneath his hand, and watched as sparkling sapphire gems twinkled up at him, blue orbs filled with joyful abandon. Mission accomplished.

Hutch smiled affectionately at his curly haired friend. It didn't take much to lift his partner's spirits, and the tall blonde found to his delight, that seeing the brunet happy was more important to him than being right.

It had been agonizing for Hutch to watch Starsky struggle through the painful process of recuperation and rehabilitation from Gunther's attack. The blonde had found new respect and admiration for his determined partner, as he grew stronger and more agile as each day went by. Although his lung had sustained some damage, Starsky had beat all odds, and though most people had doubted that he would, the brunet had even returned to the streets to work with Hutch. Now, almost a year to the day 'it' happened, Starsky was as fit as he would ever be. A walking miracle! Hutch thought with a smile.

"Hey... what're you grinning at hmmm? You tryin' to make a pass at me or somethin'?" The brunet's lopsided grin, appeared once again, and Hutch could suddenly see why his partner was so appealing to the ladies. His partner had a certain charismatic charm; his easy going personality and his sexy swagger were a magnet to females, allowing him to get a date almost every night if he wanted to.

"Dummy!" Hutch said chuckling; catching himself blushing, "Whoever would make a pass at you would need to get their eyes examined!" he finished lamely.

Starsky chuckled as he held the door open for his partner. They stepped into the air-conditioned hallway of the radio station and were met by a pretty young woman who walked up to the two detectives. "Gentlemen, my name is Amy... how can I be of service to you?" she smiled warmly; her charcoal gray eyes sparkled with amusement as she saw the sudden flustering of both men.

"Um... m-my partner here has won tickets for that 'Name that Tune' game your station sponsored recently on the air and... um, ah... he's h-here to pick them up." Hutch finished lamely, pointing his finger at his partner who stood there with his mouth hanging open, wide blue eyes staring in awe at the lovely dark haired beauty in front of him.

"That's great," she smiled brightly, "May I have your name and see the confirmation letter please?" She turned her gaze on the smaller man who stared in rapt fixation on her beautiful countenance, the luminescent glow in her eyes mesmerizing the brunet, transforming him into a dumbfounded mute.

The sharp jab in his ribs broke the spell the brunet was under and he raised his eyes to the blonde who continued to smile politely at the woman as she led them down the deserted hallway. "Here it is," the curly haired man smiled warmly as he fished the paper out of his back pocket and handed her the confirmation letter.

"David Starsky... yes, you're the winner for a trip for two to Hawaii. Oh my god, how lucky you are! I've always wanted to go to the islands," Amy looked up at the brunet and smiled, "Do you already have someone in mind that you'll be taking with you?"

Starsky swallowed, and looked to the blonde, who was looking around as they continued to walk through the long corridor. "It's pretty deserted around here today huh?" Hutch asked, "I would think it would take more people to run a place like this."

"Well, it is Sunday, and we usually have only a few people working here on the weekends." Amy said as she led them to an elevator and waited until both men stepped inside. She pushed the button for the basement, and smiled warmly up at the two men. "It's usually less hectic, like today, and that's why we have the people who win our contests, come into the station on the weekends to pick up their prizes." The elevator doors opened and she led them down a dim corridor to an unmarked door. "Mr. Henderson will be right with you, he's the station's events coordinator and the person you'll need to see to claim your prize."

Hutch followed behind his partner as the attractive young lady opened the door into the room and ushered them into the dimly lit office. "Oh gosh, I'm so sorry," Amy said apologetically, clicking the light-switch several times as she stood by the doorway, "We've been having electrical problems off and on here at the station," she said, apparently embarrassed, as a becoming blush bloomed in her cheeks, "Would you gentlemen mind taking a seat in here, we can leave this door open and I'll get Mr. Henderson right away. He'll probably take you into the conference room down the hall... Oh, I'm so sorry that this had to happen while you're here."

"Not a problem," Starsky said, smiling broadly and winking at the young beautiful lady as he entered the darkened room. He turned and walked towards one of the chairs positioned in front of a large desk and Hutch followed suit, albeit more slowly than the brunet.

For some reason, the blonde felt disquieted and unsettled the minute they stepped into the elevator and headed down to the basement. He walked passed the open door unable to place what it was that was bothering him. It felt wrong somehow, like they were walking into a trap. "Starsk," he said, sensing trouble, as the edge of the door slammed into his back, exploding pain flared red hot, knocking him off balance. He heard a soft, muted swoosh, and felt a sharp sting in his neck, as he vaguely saw his partner reach for his gun from the corner of his eye. He quickly pulled the dart from his neck, feeling disoriented, unable to shout out a warning, as he saw his partner struck from the back by a looming shadow that emerged from behind the desk. "S-Starsk," the blonde called out feebly, as he crumpled to the floor.

Chapter 3

Hazy images filled his mind as the blonde slowly rolled over, his limbs trembling with the effort it took, stomach clenching as sour bile rushed up to his throat. Hutch groaned softly, holding back the nausea that threatened to spew out. Starsky. He forced himself to his hands and knees, struggling to make sense of his surroundings, searching for his partner, and finding him sprawled, face down, in the corner of the cell they were in.

"Starsk," Hutch whispered, as he crawled over to where his curly haired friend lay motionless. He sat heavily next to the inert form and waited until the dizzy spell slowly dissipated. "Starsky," the blonde whispered again, voice soft and soothing, gingerly feeling the back of his partner's head, finding the fist-sized lump embedded in the soft, brown curls. "C'mon buddy," the blonde gently said, carefully rolling his partner onto his back, holding his head on his lap, "Wake up buddy... we've got ourselves into some kind of trouble here."

"H-Hutch?" the brunet mumbled; dark lashes lifting to reveal dazed, blue orbs that rolled up as his eyes closed again.

"Hey buddy," Hutch murmured, shaking his partner gently, "How you feeling huh?" He stroked the dark, unruly curls back from his partner's forehead and watched as the brunet valiantly attempted to raise his heavy lids.

"Like sh-shit boiled over," Starsky stammered, snorting softly, his lips curling in a slight grin. "Are w-we in Hawaii yet?" the brunet groaned softly, lifting his left hand to cup the back of his head.

Hutch snorted, at least his partner still had his sense of humor. "Well, unless the natives welcome their guest by bashing them on their heads and throwing them in a jail cell, I think we can rule Hawaii out."

"Where are we... what the hell happened?" the brunet groused, slowly lifting himself into a seated position with the help of his friend.

"Take it easy buddy... you got a nasty lump on the back of your head." Hutch cautioned, rubbing small circles into the tense muscles in his partner's back.

"Yeah? Whatta you got?" the brunet asked, raising pain filled eyes to the blonde, a concerned look etched on his face as he gave his partner the once over.

"Oh, just a jab in the neck from a dart filled with something to knock an elephant out. At least the dizziness is fading." Hutch said; slowing standing, eyes taking in the details of the prison they were in. A bunk bed in one corner, a wooden chair and table, a dirty stained basin and toilet were in another corner and a light bulb that swung to and fro, casting shadows intermittently in the small cell. "Somebody better fire the interior decorator..." Hutch joked darkly.

Starsky snorted softly, "Yeah... help me up huh?" Starsky raised his hand and felt the firm clasp of Hutch's large hand over his. He couldn't help the soft groan that escaped from his lips as Hutch helped him stand on wobbly legs.

"You okay?" Hutch asked softly, still holding the brunet's upper arm with two hands to steady him. He knew Starsky was still feeling groggy, concern making the crease between the blonde's brows deepen.

"Yeah," Starsky said, looking around the small enclosure. "Where are we huh?"

"Don't know," Hutch said, slowly letting go of his partner's arm, staying close in case he needed support again. "But, wherever we are, someone went through a lot of trouble to get us here." Hutch walked over to the bars and tested their strength by pulling on them.

"Yeah," Starsky said wearily, "Well, whoever this someone is, we'll find out soon enough." The brunet checked for his gun and wasn't surprised to find it gone. "Well, my piece is missing," he said, and he watched as Hutch checked for his, too. Nothing. The brunet walked over to the lower bunk and sat on its edge. He leaned over, forearms on his knees, tilting his head to look at the blonde, "Sorry buddy, for getting us into this mess." Starsky snorted softly and sighed, "Remind me next time to not participate in anymore radio station contests..."

Hutch walked over and sat next to the brunet, "Hey buddy," the blonde gently smiled, "The good news is that you won't be getting unwanted ads or flyers in the mail."

Starsky snorted softly, but stood abruptly as they heard approaching footsteps. Hutch quickly steadied the brunet as he wobbled, noting how his partner quickly grabbed onto the frame of the bunk. "You okay?" the blonde whispered, knowing his friend hated to show any form of weakness when others were around.

"Well, well... isn't that just too sweet..." Artie sneered, indicating Hutch's hold on his partner's arm, "Always thought you two were on the queer side." He laughed at what he perceived was a brilliant comment on his part, then looked directly into the pale eyes of the tall blonde, "Remember me... vermin and scum in two-tone shoes?" His left eye squinted and twitched in his excitement of finally claiming his sweet retribution.

Hutch walked slowly over to the iron bars, one hand clasping the cold steel, "Artie? Artie Solkin?" He sensed his partner coming from behind him, "When did you get out?" the blonde demanded.

The greasy haired man glowered at the blonde through the bars, and then took a step back as the brunet came from behind. Starsky always had the ability to somehow make Artie nervous. The brunet had an air about him... a quiet wildness, a predator like calmness that Artie knew could erupt at anytime... it unnerved the older man and angered him at the same time. He glared at the curly haired detective and sneered, "Heard about the hit that went down... t-too bad they missed."

"Oh, they didn't miss," Starsky drawled casually, "But they still failed." The brunet eyed the older man; his keen blue eyes didn't miss the trembling hands or the slight stammering of his words, "Why don't you let us go Artie." Starsky suggested softly.

"Shut up... don't tell me what to do! I've waited four stinkin' years for this day." Artie shifted his glare to the tall blonde; "You did me a favor by sending me to the can... I made some powerful friends in there... friends who'll help me because they hate you too, Hutchinson. You, with your blonde good looks... you think you're better than everyone else don'cha? I'll never forget what you said to me that day... that my rancid grease and two-tone shoes make you sick... You don't know what sick is, but you will after I get through with you... you'll be so sick... you're gonna wish you were dead!"

Artie took out a gun from his jacket pocket and nodded to the four goons who stood just outside the corridor. They came in holding handguns that they aimed at both detectives. "Lock your hands behind your heads," Artie directed. "You, get back to the bunk and sit down," he said to the tall blonde, "And you," he sneered at the brunet, "You sit down on this chair." Artie smiled as both detectives slowly complied with his demands, eyes never leaving the guns that were aimed at their heads. Artie nodded to the four hired men, silently directing them into the cell, feeling powerful and in control. Feeling empowered was a rush that Artie had never experienced before and he relished what was to come. "Tie 'em up!"

They bound Hutch's hands to the frame of the bunk, backhanding the blonde when he struggled. Artie watched as the brunet quickly rose to his feet with a snarl after witnessing the blow his friend took, but he quickly stopped when a gun was placed at Hutch's temple. "Take off your jacket and sit down Starsky," Artie grinned, watching as the brunet did what he was told to do, dark blue eyes locked onto the pale blue eyes of his partner's. Starsky draped his jacket over the back of the wooden chair and slowly sat down. Artie nodded imperceptibly at the two goons who quickly tied the brunet's legs to the chair and his hands behind his back.

The detectives watched as one brawny thug took out a small black container and started to open it at the table. Hutch's eyes widened as a piece of rubber tubing fell out. "I have a message for you, Hutchinson," Artie grinned, loving the fear that crossed the blonde's perfect features as recognition and understanding set in, "Ben Forrest sends his regards, says he wished he could be here... even had his beautiful niece, Amy, help us out."

Hutch trembled; eyes darting to his partner's calm blue ones. It killed Starsky to see the fear creep into his partner's eyes, the same fear he saw every time they went to the hospital and Hutch saw a needle. The brunet knew that Hutch still had nightmares of his forced addiction to heroin, courtesy of Forrest and his goons. Seeing the familiar paraphernalia was making the blonde physically sick and Starsky ached to comfort his friend. The brunet struggled against his bonds and was immediately backhanded for his efforts. He continued to struggle and was rewarded with a blow to the abdomen that took his breath away.

"Starsk," Hutch shouted, attempting to stand, sliding his bound wrists up the side frame of the bunk, until he was shoved back down, the gun once again placed at his temple. The tall blonde's attention was unwillingly drawn back to the table; eyes locked on the manipulations of the man standing there. His pale blue eyes narrowed as the brawny thug liquefied the loathsome drug, a flame from his lighter scorching the bottom of the spoon he held. He watched, breathing heavily, as a syringe was filled with the hot, burning liquid. Hutch raised his eyes to his partner's, seeking comfort and reassurance, surprised to see that the dark blue orbs had never left his face.

"Afraid Hutchinson? Ready for another ride?" the greasy man gloated. Seeing the horror and fear in the blonde's face was too good... to perfect... this very moment in time, made the four years he spent in hell worth it, and if Jennings was right, it would get even better. "Mr. Forrest told me all about your ride on the big 'white horse', and the crash you must have taken when you kicked it, must have been something to see... huh Starsky? Now, all I see is fear in your eyes Hutchinson, or maybe it's desire huh?"

"Shut the fuck up Artie" Starsky snapped, sickened by the look on his friend's face, knowing the anguish and fear that clenched the gentle blonde's heart. The brunet felt angry and frustrated because he could do nothing to stop this nightmare from happening, unable to hold and comfort his best friend in the whole world. The curly haired detective struggled against his bonds again, wanting to be close to the tall blonde, needing to be near Hutch.

This is just too good! Artie thought joyfully, not only did he get to see his blonde nemesis suffering, but the agitation it caused in the brunet, was just an added bonus.

"Oh don't worry Hutchinson... this is nothing compared to what I have in store for you," Artie chuckled; knowing the blonde probably thought the 'horse' was for him.

The greasy man slowly nodded to the two beefy thugs who immediately grabbed onto Starsky.

Hutch watched in abject horror as the brawny man by the table walked over to his partner with the syringe. Pale blue eyes widened as understanding dawned, sickened by the atrocity he would be witnessing, "Oh god, no..." the blonde whispered, "No..." he shouted, struggling to get to his feet, his cry echoing in the stillness of the cell. The tall blonde was immediately pushed down and held there by the thug standing next to him.

He watched as his partner struggled against the two beefy hired hands, wooden chair rocking precariously, as the two men labored to keep their prisoner still.

The soft 'snick' of the gun against the side of the blonde's skull made the brunet instantly stop his thrashing. Pale blue eyes, widened by fear and revulsion, connected to smoldering, stormy blue orbs. Hutch could see the barely masked terror that flickered in his partner's cobalt eyes, apprehension and abhorrence turning the brunet's body rigid with anxiety.

"A-Artie, listen t-to me..." the blonde stammered, unable to shift his gaze from his partner's, feeling the gun digging into his temple, sweat running down his back, chilling him, his limbs trembling uncontrollably as he watched the rubber tubing being roughly tied to the area just above the elbow of his partner's left arm. Although the brunet remained still, Hutch knew it took tremendous effort on his part. The dark, blue eyes of his partner remained locked on his, seeking silent comfort in the sky blue depths of the blonde.

"No! You listen to me Hutchinson... you're gonna hurt like you've never hurt before! You high society snob... so quick to put down and ridicule others... think this makes you sick huh?" Artie tapped the top of his head, indicating the thick grease that coated it, "You don't know anything about feeling sick... you think coming down from heroin was painful? Wait 'til you see your buddy over there, hurting and puking his guts out... blaming you for all the suffering he's going through." Artie laughed loudly at this. "I'm sorry Starsky," Artie sneered at the brunet, "But you're just a tool in all of this... a tool I'm gonna use to make your buddy hurt... so listen carefully pig, if you don't want to see blondie have his brains blown out, you'll do as I say. Tony's gonna remove the ropes and one struggle from you... Larry over there is gonna pull the trigger... then, BAM! Oops... you'll be cleanin' up your partner's brains up off the floor! You see Starsky; Hutchinson, like you, is gonna die... the only question we don't know... is when!"

Conflicting thoughts raced across the brunet's mind. The suppressed anger, frustration and fear, boiled it's way to the top, adrenalin pumping to the rapid beat of his heart, making the detective want to fight and pummel his way out of his restraints. And yet, the fear of losing Hutch held him back. He stared at his friend, seeing the point of the gun dig into the side of the blonde's temple, knowing the horror and fear his friend felt at the thought of reliving his worst nightmare. Starsky knew without a doubt, that Artie wouldn't hesitate to give the order to blow Hutch away... if he could endure what was to come, perhaps it would buy them some time and maybe, God willing, they could somehow escape. The streetwise cop knew it would take more than just one dose to get him hooked. He saw too many of his friends fall under the drug's deadly hold in the streets of New York, he knew the devastating pain of withdrawal... kicking it cold turkey, hell, he lived through the anguish and nightmare of seeing Hutch suffering through detox. Starsky hated the thought of having Hutch see him go through this whole ordeal and he vowed to make it as painless as possible for his blonde counterpart.

Hutch saw the resignation in his partner's eyes, as Tony worked on the knots that bound the brunet's wrists. He watched his friend grimace and softly gasp, as the thug roughly twisted his partner's right arm behind the back of the chair; the other man clutched Starsky left bicep firmly under his own thick armpit, as he held out the brunet's arm, the rubber tubing still tightly tied in place. Though the brunet appeared calm, Hutch could see the rise and fall of his partner's chest, his shallow, rapid breaths the only indication of the anxiety Starsky felt.

"Oh God, please... no," Hutch pleaded, turning horror filled eyes to Solkin, "Please Artie... don't do this..."

"Hutch," Starsky called softly, seeing his partner's pale gaze lock onto his. He silently willed his tall partner to be strong; the thought of his noble, gentle hearted friend begging that greasy bag of shit sickened the brunet. Starsky knew that Solkin was loving every minute of this... soaking it for all it's worth... wanting to hear Hutch crawl and beg, and the brunet would not have his partner debase himself over this. He could hear the heavy pants of his blonde partner from across the room, could see the trembling in his clasped, bound fingers and he silently demanded his partner to stay resilient and unbending, to not beg these cowardly worms for nothing.

Hutch lowered his eyes and nodded imperceptibly, understanding immediately what his partner wanted of him. It made him physically ill to know that Starsky would have to experience first hand, the horrible effects of heroin. He knew Artie wouldn't stop at one dose and that his intention was for him to see Starsky fully addicted to that debilitating drug.

"Give him the juice!" Artie's snarled, his voice ringing out in the stillness of the cell.

Hutch glanced up at Artie's sneering face as the greasy man nodded again to the thug holding the syringe. The blonde quickly looked again into the calm blue ocean of his partner's eyes. He watched as a lopsided grin slowly appeared on his partner's face and saw his partner bravely wink at him, knowing the brunet was trying to calm him, soothe him and in his own way, protect him from the horror to come. They held their connection from across the room; terrified sky blue eyes to stormy cobalt.

The tall blonde trembled as he saw the man with the syringe roughly grab his partner's arm. Only then, did Starsky break his visual connection with his blonde partner; turning away, his face hidden behind the men who held him; unable to share this desecration and violation with his friend, unwilling to add to his partner's fright.

Hutch could hear the hard flicking of fingers against skin, and knew they were enticing a vein to appear. The blonde trembled as he saw the brunet wince as the needle was jabbed into his arm. Frantic sky blue eyes turned to ice as he heard the soft gasp that came from his partner's lips; raging anger replacing the afflicting fear that had consumed him just moments ago.

Starsky closed his eyes, wincing, as he felt the needle stab into his arm. He gasped as the syringe was compressed and the sharp point was pulled out; a feeling of burning warmth spread throughout his veins. He felt a yank on his arm as the rubber tubing was removed; feeling the sudden surge in his body, a 'rush' of light-headed heaviness as a warm flush spread over his skin. His head began to reel and a feeling of euphoria filled his being. He vaguely registered that someone was talking, but he couldn't concentrate on what was being said as the opiate invaded his mind and body.

"Look at that!" Artie laughed, "Took to the smack like a duck to water! Mr. Forrest said it takes only 7 to 8 seconds for the junk to hit ya if done through the veins, but then again you already know that don'cha Hutchinson?" Artie laughed again as he eyed the brunet, "Let 'em go, he ain't going anywhere... drag 'im over to the bunk."

Hutch struggled against his bonds, not caring about the gun pressed against his temple, only knowing he had to get to his partner. He watched as the two burly men dragged his partner's body towards the bunk, the brunet's head fell back, his body going limp as the drug coursed through his veins. He could hear Artie laughing, but his eyes were fixed to his partner, knowing what Starsky was feeling, reliving the 'high' he felt at the hands of Forrest and his goons and the craving need to feel it over and over again. They dumped Starsky on the bunk, next to the tall blonde who twisted his wrists in an attempt to reach his dark haired partner.

"Please..." Hutch said to Tony, indicating the ropes that bound him, "J-Just let me take care of him."

"Well, well, well..." Artie laughed, "How's that boys? The mighty Hutchinson begging me... scummy Artie Solkin! This is too good! What do you want huh? You want me to cut those ropes off, so you can get all touchy feely with your pal huh?

The blonde refused to answer, knowing the older man was goading him; wanting him to demoralize and humiliate himself and yet, the need to be with his partner, to touch him, to comfort him, was stronger than his need for self-respect and dignity. Hutch raised ice-blue eyes at the greasy haired man, "Please Artie... just cut me loose... I promise I won't try anything..."

Artie burst out laughing, "You see that?" he said to his four brawny helpers, "He's begging me! Big, bad detective wanting my help! Ha! Cut 'im loose... you can be with him for now Hutchinson, but he's long gone."

Hutch paid no attention to the men walking out of the cell; iron gate clanging loudly as it was closed, his focus was only for the dazed brunet who lay motionless on the dirty mattress. "S-Starsky... oh god..." the blonde whispered, cupping the side of his partner's face. The brunet's lids were at half-mast, but Hutch could see the pinpoint pupils in his partner's blue eyes, a sure sign of the drug's influence over the brunet's body.

Hutch rubbed his thumb over Starsky's inner arm, noting the small, red mark at the puncture site, "It's okay buddy..." the blonde softly said, trembling in the aftermath of what he witnessed, knowing it wouldn't be okay, but needing to comfort and reassure his senseless partner.

"Hutsh," Starsky slurred, feeling unnaturally drowsy and lethargic; the exciting rush, that high euphoric feeling of mindless pleasure slowly dwindled away leaving the brunet feeling relaxed and content, his body floating and serene, the throbbing pain in the back of his head, gone.

"Shh... I'm right here buddy, right here..." Hutch knew Starsky was "on the nod," that period of intense tranquility in which he would alternate between bouts of wakefulness and drowsiness, where he would be dozing off and on for an hour or so. It frightened the blonde that he could remember so well, those feelings of pleasure. Seeing Starsky high, almost made the blonde start to crave that feeling again. It sickened him that he could be thinking thoughts like these when his partner lay so vulnerable and still. Hutch dragged his hand through his golden hair, not knowing what to do.

"Hey... Hush," the brunet mumbled, long, dark lashes closed, hiding the strangeness of his eyes, one hand flailing in the air... searching, "'M tired," he sighed softly, his speech garbled and unclear.

Hutch caught and held onto his partner's hand, stroking his thumb on the inside of his partner's palm, "Want me to hold you buddy... huh?" Not waiting for a reply, the tall blond climbed onto the bunk and pulled his partner's limp body into his arms, needing to hold and to comfort the violated man the only way he knew how... with touch.

Starsky moaned softly at the jostling, eyes still closed. He could hear the soft, mellow voice of the blonde, but couldn't comprehend anything except the peaceful tide on which he floated. Hutch. He could feel the warm brush of his partner's hand against his face, the gentle kneading of his arms and shoulders, the firmness of the chest beneath his cheek, comforting him, adding to the calm lull that beckoned to him; yet the frantic beating of the blonde's heart summoned him back. Somewhere in the encompassing cloud on which he floated, he knew his partner needed him, needed him to be aware, to wake, to speak and understand, but the heaviness in his limbs, the dryness in his mouth, the dream-like wave that wanted to carry him away took precedence and dragged down into its dark watery depths, beyond needing, beyond comprehension, beyond Hutch.

The tall blonde lowered his head to rest his chin upon his partner's soft curls. He knew his partner had 'nodded' out, knowing he would wake in a short period of time, knowing that feeling of unnatural serenity that washed over the brunet's mind and body as the hated drug bathed his partner's brain. Hutch could feel himself trembling in the quiet, stillness of the cell. His mind flashbacked to the days of his own captivity, days of wakeful anguish and euphoric mindlessness, as Forrest and his goons worked him over, stealing his mind, his body, his soul, feeling the sting of the needle and hearing Monk's voice, 'There you go cop... first mile on a long, long trip.' Hutch shuddered, as those unwanted memories came unbidden to his distraught mind and he unconsciously hugged his sleeping partner tighter against him, protectively trying to shield him from the horror he knew was coming. "Oh Starsk," he whispered brokenly, stroking back the dark, unruly curls with trembling fingers.

The blonde took a deep quaking breath, forcing his mind to think, knowing his partner would be depending on him to get them out of this mess. There was no one who knew where they were... hell; they didn't even know where they were themselves. The bleak, hopeless feeling of despair filled the blonde's heart, as he gently rocked the brunet to and fro, like a mother would do to her injured child. Hutch closed his eyes; blonde lashes almost invisible against his pale complexion. The warmth from his partner's limp body, bled into him, soothing the anguish and terrible fear that inhabited the blonde's heart. He could feel his aching body relax as he listened to the soft, gentle breathing of his partner, the sound comforting him somehow, lulling him into a bone-weary, but agitated sleep.

Chapter 4

She waited patiently, hands folded on her side of the table, staring through the window that separated her from her father. She smiled fondly at the old man as she picked up the phone on her side of the glass to speak with him. She watched as her father slowly picked up his handset and placed it against his ear.

"Hello Daddy," Cheryl said softly, "How are you?" Her dad had aged since that horrible night in his home, five years ago, when she found out that her father was responsible for the attempted murder of Detective Sergeant David Starsky. He had been a respected and accomplished professor at the University during that time, and it still astounded the young woman that the brilliant mind of her father could be reduced to masterminding such a diabolical and heinous crime as a means of seeking revenge. To mix a compound as he had, with such exact preciseness, to know the devastating effects the serum would have as it relentlessly ate away at the central nervous system, the pain and suffering it would cause... it was frightening to think how close Starsky had come to losing his life.

The old man smiled gently at his daughter. She came every week to visit with him, to encourage him, to help ease the burden of loss that had fractured his heart and mind. Jennings always knew that Cheryl was aware that she was not his favored child. The gawky, inhibited young girl always stood beneath the shadow of her vibrantly, extraverted and well-liked sibling. Jerry was everything that Cheryl was not. In retrospect, Jennings realized his daughter was very much like himself, a bookworm of sorts, shy and unassuming, but bright and so very capable. Jerry on the other hand, was the former professor's brightest star, everything he was not; popular, athletic, socially accepted and sought after. His son had filled his heart with a sense of pride and accomplishment, and when he died, he took with him the dreams of an old man.

"Cheryl my dear," Jennings spoke into the phone he held, "Thank you for always making it a point to come and visit with an old man like me. I am fine as you can see... existing really, waiting for the day to be released from this... place." The professor smiled and pressed his hand to the glass, "And how are you?"

"Just fine daddy, just fine," Cheryl said smiling, as she in turn, raised her hand to the partition, feeling the faint warmth of her father's hand through the glass. It broke her heart to see her old, failing father locked away like this, in close proximity and rubbing shoulders with despicable men who held such disregard for life. The thought of him socializing with people like that frightened the young women at first, but she had learned through communicating with her father, that he was quite the loner in there. Choosing to remain virtually by himself, unless you counted his forced cohabitation with his cellmate, and his weekly attendance at the prison ministry. She smiled when she thought of Pastor Wayne. In many ways, he was the man responsible for rebuilding the fragile bridge between father and daughter and for that, Cheryl felt eternally grateful to him. "Are they treating you right in there? Have you gone to church this week daddy?"

The old man felt a prick at the back of his conscience. It had been a week since Artie had left the penitentiary and Jennings had heard through the prison grapevine that he had succeeded in capturing the two detectives; keeping them locked away in one of the old abandoned warehouse office buildings of the former 'Forrest Enterprises.' Just this morning, at breakfast in the prison cafeteria, Ben Forrest had whispered his thanks to the old professor for sending Solkin his way. Though he was an inmate, Forrest was still a powerful man, able to make connections and pull strings while remaining virtually unseen and safe behind the sturdy walls of the prison. Jennings knew that drugs... heroin to be exact, would be part of the retribution against the detectives, a payback of sorts against Hutchinson who was hated by both Solkin and Forrest.

Now that the raging anger and pain had time to cool, Jennings could once again feel remorse for his involvement in all of this. He regretted his suggestion to Artie about hurting Detective Starsky; after all, hadn't he caused enough pain to this young man himself?

Cheryl watched the as conflicting emotions flitted through her father's watery blue eyes. A tingling at the back of her neck warned her that her father was about to divulge something that she would rather not hear. "Dad?" she softly questioned, "What is it?"

The old man sighed and ran his fingers through his graying locks, "Ah... Cheryl... I fear I've done something I'm rather not proud of..."

Chapter 5

A door slamming down the long corridor outside their prison cell startled the blonde from his fitful sleep. Hutch jolted awake, body aching from the cramp position he was in, still holding his sleeping partner who moaned softly at the sudden shifting, his prone body jostling with the blonde's movements.

Hutch looked down at his partner who struggled to open his eyes. How long had he been asleep? He silently berated himself for losing control like that, resting when he should be awake, alert, figuring something out. It couldn't have been more than an hour or so... apparently his partner had still been out, but Hutch quickly lost his train of thought as he watched his friend begin to wake. The blonde softly smiled down at the curly haired man nestled in his arms, as the familiar blue peeked out from beneath heavy, dark lashes.

"Hey buddy," the blonde said, purposely gentling his voice to soothe his friend, "You waking up for me huh?" Hutch could see that his partner's pupils were still mere pinpoints; the loathsome drug still working it's way through the brunet's body. Hutch stroked the side of his friend's neck, wishing he could do more than that, but he smiled as Starsky drowsily snuggled deeper into his embrace.

"Hi," the sleepy brunet murmured, a slow lopsided grin appearing as he struggled to focus his eyes on the blonde hovering above him, everything was fuzzy and the room was spinning pleasantly around him like a carnival ride, "We at Disneyland or somethin'?" the brunet softly asked, confusion swimming in a sea of blue.

Hutch snorted softly, then smiled broadly, happy to see his partner even though he was only partially awake. It unnerved the blonde to see the brunet's dark pupils, just tiny pin points, making the familiar eyes seem almost foreign. "Hi yourself, buddy... and no, we're still in the same mess we were in before you nodded off." The blonde quickly lifted his head as he heard footsteps approaching, tightening his hold on Starsky, who lay pressed against his chest.

"Ain't that too sweet?" Artie chuckled as he glared at the detectives between the bars of the cage. Solkin smiled, yellow, coffee stained teeth glimmered feral-like from the dim overhead bulb. "Here they are just like I said." Artie turned to the beautiful woman standing next to him, a woman with large, gray eyes and long dark hair.

"You can tell your Uncle Ben that we got 'em, and we're using the stuff he gave us just like how he said to... see?" Solkin nodded in the direction of the bunk. Hutch's pale blue eyes turned ice cold as he recognized the woman who helped set them up at the radio station. It was Amy. She stood next to Solkin, eyes bright and luminous. She raised a slender hand and clutched the cold steel of the bar, her eyes never leaving Starsky's inert form.

"You're just in time girl," Solkin grinned, "It's feeding time for the animals." Solkin burst out laughing and turned to the two detectives, "Rise and shine Starsky, time for some more medicine. Tell your Uncle Benny we'll probably be needing more dope. Don't wanna disappoint Starsky when his favorite candy all runs out!"

Hutch felt his body tense with the appearance of the greasy haired man, but at Solkin's last statement, all the anger, frustration and guilt he had been repressing became unleashed. "You listen hear Solkin," Hutch snarled, voice soft with unspoken menace, "You think yo..."

"No! The time for listening to you is over!" Artie growled, cutting off the blond with his own tirade, his eye twitching in irritation, "I don't know if you're up on current events Hutchinson, but I make the rules now. You're stuck in there and I'm out here. I'm the boss now and you don't scare me no longer!" Artie turned to look over his shoulder, "Our friend here, is ready for another fix... give it to him." Solkin said, sliding the heavy iron door back, as the four beefy thugs entered to do his bidding, one of them holding the syringe partially filled with the dreaded liquid.

Hutch launched himself from the bunk, hearing the soft grunt from his partner as his head dropped onto the mattress. "You sniveling bastard," the blond said, his voice growing cold with disdain, contempt for the older man clearly evident in the blonde's icy stare, "He's still flying from the last dose you gave, you can't give him anoth..."

"You deaf or somethin', Hutchinson?" Artie gloated, "I said I make the rules now. So your buddy is still high, ask me if I care? If he O.D.'s... oh well, my fun will be cut in half." Solkin chuckled loudly, seeing the blonde worrying over his partner was just too good! If he ever saw Jennings, he would thank him personally for giving him the idea in the first place.

Hutch catapulted across the room, his long arm reaching through the bars to grab Artie around his greasy neck. He saw the young woman take several steps back into the hallway from the corner of his eye. The blonde glared through a haze of red, squeezing with all his might until a crippling blow on the back of his head, made the tall detective release his prey, as he dropped to his knees in agony.

Solkin sputtered, coughing as he held his neck, "Why you... friggin' bastard," he gasped, struggling to draw in a breath, "I'll... get you... good." He watched as two beefy thugs grabbed the blonde and slammed him up against the bars. "Hit 'im." Artie snapped, hand still wrapped around his bruising neck, and he watched as Tony nailed the tall detective in the abdomen, doubling him over, and then backhanded him across the face. Hutch sagged against the two burly men who still held him by his arms.

Artie panted, red hot anger boiling over him, "You hurt me pig... I hurt him," the old man nodded in the direction of the bunk, "Give Starsky more than what's in there," Artie nodded towards the semi-filled hypo, watching as Larry reached for the small black box in his jacket.

Hutch struggled to get free as he watched the man liquefy more heroin, adding more of the burning fluid into the syringe. "No..." he said brokenly as the man approached the bunk, syringe in one hand, rubber tubing in another. The blonde struggled desperately against the men holding him, unable to take his eyes off of the needle, as Larry sat on the edge of the bunk. "Come help me," he said gruffly to Tony, who ambled over to the bunk.

Starsky struggled to roll over, vaguely knowing something was going down, the room spun crazily, he felt fuzzy and unclear, but he knew that Hutch needed him. "Hutch," he weakly called out, as he reached up, gasping, hand flailing as he felt the mattress dip down next to him. He tried to focus on the looming bulk that hovered over him and softly groaned, disoriented, as hands dragged him up into a slumped sitting position. Breathing hard, the brunet lifted his weary head and blearily saw the two thugs holding Hutch up against the bars. "Hutch?" the smaller man gasped.

"Starsk," Hutch cried out, once more struggling against the burly arms that held him pinned against the cold, iron bars. It killed Hutch to see his vulnerable partner slumped over on the bunk, knowing he was unable to protect himself, counting on his partner to watch his back. He stared in horror as his partner's left arm was brutally yanked forward and the rubber tubing was tied tightly to the crook above his elbow. He saw Starsky trying to fight them off, his actions were slow and feeble, much to the amusement of the two that held him, their chuckles and taunts fueling the rage that burned in the blonde's heart.

"Leave him alone," the blonde cried out, turning his icy gaze to the greasy haired man who stood outside of the cage, his squinting eyes filled with glee. "Artie... p-please... you can't g-give him any more, he hasn't come d-down from the first one yet," Hutch desperately tried to explain, hating himself for stammering, hearing the desperation in his voice as he watched Larry flick his thick fingers against his partner's exposed arm."

"There she is," Larry laughed mockingly, indicating the raised vein, "Standin' at attention... just waitin' for more of this hot juice. Hold 'em!" Larry snapped at Tony, as Starsky struggled once more against their grip. "We got us a good one, Artie, just waitin' for the word," Tony said smiling.

"Starsk," Hutch gasped, turning his head to focus on the old man; knowing Solkin was the key to stopping this abomination. "P-Please Artie... I beg you... h-he needs more time!" Tony and Larry looked over to the greasy man standing safely beyond the bars, waiting for the signal to inject more of the smack, the needle was readied, positioned over Starsky's exposed vein, as the brunet weakly struggled against the two stronger men.

"Please Artie," Hutch whispered, his quiet plea almost deafening in the ensuing silence and the heavy stillness that permeated the cell. With the exception of the brunet, all eyes turned to Solkin, who gloated in this rare opportunity to stand in the limelight. Artie turned to look at the panting blonde, this moment forever etched in his mind as he grinned, a malevolent glare in his squinty eyes, "Juice 'im!" he said softly, turning his heel to walk away, not even bothering to see if his orders were carried out.

Hutch felt as if someone had knocked the air out of his lungs. He struggled and strained against the arms holding him, desperately trying to get to his partner's side, feeling tears of frustration and anguish fill his eyes, as he watched Larry lay the sharp needle almost flat against the brunet's vein, jabbing it forcefully in as he compressed the syringe. The tall blonde could feel his legs start to crumple as he saw his partner jerk, head thrown back in agony, hearing the rapid shallow breaths of his partner, as the warm liquid burst through his friend's vein. Hutch watched transfixed, as Larry pulled the needle out and roughly removed the rubber strap. The two burly men abruptly let go of the brunet who sank backwards onto the mattress with a soft gasp. Hutch sank to the floor as he was released, vaguely hearing the men leave and the clanging of the iron door closing, his eyes locked on his gasping, straining partner, laying defenseless on the dirty mattress, crushed, hurting, defiled. Hutch leaned his head back against the bars and looked up at the ceiling, long legs stretched out before him; hot, burning tears flowing silently out of pale, blue eyes.

Chapter 6

She stood pressed against the wall, as the four burly men walked out, the excitement and rush of hurting the detectives made their adrenalin race, and they laughed boisterously as they filed out of the cel1, slamming the iron door shut in their wake. Her heart beating rapidly, Amy silently crept back to the cell, unable to stop the tremors that raced through her body after seeing the brunet so brutally violated. Seeing the dark haired one lying so helpless and weak on the stained and filthy mattress softened her heart. She remembered his sparkling blue eyes and the wink he playfully gave to her at the station. Seeing him hurt, broken and abused like this, made her eyes glisten with angry tears. She never knew it would come to this when she promised her uncle to help. Her uncle had told her that the blonde cop was the one they were after and they were just going to teach him some manners. Oh, she was bright enough to know that the blonde would probably be taken somewhere to get his lights punched out, but never did she expect to see this, this demoralizing, defilement of another's soul. Her uncle never said anything about drug use, he had just wanted her to come and check things out so that she could inform him of the happenings here on her next visit to the penitentiary. It angered Amy to realize that her Uncle was using her, like he used everyone else. Her heart ached for the blonde who sat on the floor, tears streaming down his face, unaware that he was being watched. It was evident that these two men, so opposite in looks, cared deeply for each other. She watched as the blonde quickly collected himself, angrily rubbing the back of his sleeve across his eyes.

He took a deep breath and crawled over to the bunk to where his partner lay. He slowly climbed onto the bunk, dragging the brunet into his arms again as he held him close. God, how much did they give him? the blonde worried silently. Hutch knew that heroin was a depressant and a lethal dose could shut down a person's lungs and heart. Starsky already had a compromised lung due to the damage he sustained from Gunther's attack. He shut his eyes, knowing all of this was his fault. Solkin was using Starsky, hurting his best friend, to get to him. He lowered his face into the riotous curls on his friend's head; the familiar scent of sandalwood filled his nostrils and soothed the blonde like a calming balm.

"H-Hutch?" the soft whisper drew the blonde from his silent anguish, like a moth to a flame, and he leaned over, raising watery light blue eyes to gaze fondly into his partner's.

"H-Hey..." the brunet stammered, voice threadbare and slurring, a slow grin appearing. The euphoric rush that filled his being was slowly fading, as tingles raced along his spine and throughout his limbs. He was floating, drifting now, vaguely aware that somehow, this time, it was different, stronger. The need to sleep, to ease the lethargic heaviness in his body, pulled at him, and yet, the brunet could feel his partner's worry and grief. "You... okay?" he asked, his breathing shallow and rapid.

"Haven't you got that backwards? I should be asking you that buddy," the blonde whispered, his large hand rubbing his partner's left arm, seeing another red track in the crook of his friend's elbow sickened the blonde. Hutch knew his partner was struggling to stay conscious, knowing the brunet was worried about him and it tore the blonde's heart to shreds.

"Shhh, it's okay buddy," Hutch whispered soothingly, his thumb stroking the area where the needle had entered, his partner's skin already starting to bruise. He watched as his partner fought against the "nod". Hutch knew, first hand, how hard it was to resist the pull of just 'fading out', riding the peaceful wave that led into tranquil nothingness. He knew his partner needed to hear that he was fine, but things were not fine. Hutch felt agitated and worried, not only about how they would escape from this living nightmare, but also about the amount of dope they had just injected into Starsky. He knew the drug was slowing down his partner's body functions.

If Starsky was over dosed, he could experience respiratory arrest, which could then lead to heart failure. Hutch knew he had to keep his partner awake somehow, make sure he didn't nod off into an unconsciousness that he would never wake from. He sent up a silent prayer that his partner would make it through this. "I'm fine buddy, just fine..." Hutch said, the bald-faced lie sticking in his throat, "But you have to do me a favor okay? You need to stay with me I know you want to sleep buddy, but you have to stay awake... alright?" Hutch watched as the dark, heavy lashes of his partner lowered to brush against his cheeks, "Hey buddy," Hutch gently shook the brunet, "You still with me... huh?" the blonde asked gently.

"Uungh..." the brunet softly groaned, his weary body jostling gently in the blonde's arms, "Need... to sleep... so... tired," Starsky mumbled, eyes still closed.

"Is he okay?" Hutch whipped his head up, seeing the young woman standing outside of the bars of their cage. Red-hot rage bubbled up to the surface as icy blue eyes locked onto the woman's beautiful face. "You..." the disgust and loathing the blonde felt for the woman was evident in that one word, "You set us up, didn't you?" Hutch looked back down at his partner who groaned softly in his arms, knowing his angry hard tone was upsetting the brunet, he immediately softened his voice, "Shhh, it's okay buddy... just need you stay awake okay?" He gently rubbed the side of his partner's neck and looked up when Amy spoke.

"I'm so sorry..." Amy said softly, tears brimming in her large, gray eyes, "I didn't know they were going to do this... he just told me to lead you to the basement office, that's all I was supposed to do. I didn't know they would hurt him like that, he said this was about getting even with you, not David."

Hutch let out a heavy sigh, his chin ensconced in his partner's soft curls, "Yeah... yeah, this is about me," the blonde said softly, the mantle of guilt laying heavily upon his shoulders, "Their doing this to him, addicting him to this filth, to hurt me." The blonde closed his eyes, as the hold on his partner tightened.

Amy could feel her heart soften as she stared at the troubled blonde. She stepped closer to the iron bars, slender fingers of both hands wrapped around its coldness, "How is he?" she asked softly, eyes drifting to the still dark haired man.

"I don't know..." Hutch said softly, "They just gave him another dose of heroin... a larger one this time... it might be too much... he still hasn't come down from the first fix."

The brunet groaned softly, eyes still closed. Amy watched as the blonde quickly focused his attention back to the man he cradled in his arms. She saw the blonde gently stroke back the dark curls from the brunet's forehead and heard him crooning softly to his dazed and befuddled friend. "Hey buddy, let me see your eyes huh? Need you to stay with me, okay Starsk?" she heard him softly whisper to his curly haired partner. She could feel herself gently smiling when she saw the blonde's sky blue eyes grow soft, as the dark lashes of his partner finally lifted. Amy watched as the brunet broke out in a slow grin, as bewildered as he was, the curly haired detective knew who was holding him, knew he was safe in his partner's arms, and knew that his blonde counterpart was worried.

"Hey..." the brunet whispered, "Not g-goin anywhere..." His rapid, shallow breathing alarmed the blonde and he gently shook the brunet as his lashes began to lower again. Starsky groaned softly, although his eyes were still closed, Hutch knew the brunet was struggling to stay cognizant, fighting the pull of the dark slumber that wanted to claim him, "'M still here..."

It touched Amy to see the way the two men related to each other, it was evident that they cared deeply for one another and she felt moved by the compassion and love that she was privy to witness. She felt almost uncomfortable watching them, like she was intruding on a private moment. Making up her mind, she hesitantly said, "I want to help... tell me what I can do?"

Hutch looked up, his eyes shifted to the corridor, and then flashed back to the young woman standing in front of him. "You want to help us? What about your Uncle? I can just see you setting us up again." The blonde's voice hardened at that last statement, shards of flaming blue ice stabbed into the young woman, her heart breaking at the cold, callous comment from the blonde.

"I can understand... you must hate me after what I've done, but I didn't know it would be like this. My Uncle Ben, when I was little, he took care of me after my parents died... I thought I was helping him... I owed him, but I didn't know..." Amy took a step towards the bars, gray eyes almost luminescent in the dim light, "I haven't changed my mind, I want to help... just tell me what you want me to do. I promise I won't let you down."

Hutch weighed her words in his mind, feeling the promising rush of hope fill his heart. Although he didn't trust the young woman, he had no other options and he needed to get Starsky out. "Okay," he said hesitantly, eyeing the young woman who stepped even closer to the bars, "I need you to get yourself safely out of here. Tell them you're going to tell your Uncle about what's happening here and that you'll try to get more dope. Once you're out, I need you to see a friend of ours; he goes by the name of Huggy Bear and he runs a place called, 'The Pits.' Tell him everything... a-about Starsky too, tell him to call Dobey, our Captain. Amy, you have to hurry, we gotta get Starsky out... now!"

Amy nodded, eyes growing dark with determination as she nodded, "I can do it... Huggy Bear you said... I'll let him know." Her gaze drifted down to the curly haired man lying in the blonde's arms, her gray eyes softening, "Just take care of him," she said. Amy gave an encouraging smile to the blonde and quickly headed out into the corridor.

Hutch watched Amy leave, the brief thrill of hope that rose in his heart, dissipated, and was abruptly replaced by worry and fear when he heard the soft groan from his partner. "S-Starsk," he whispered soothingly, gently stroking the side of partner's neck, "C'mon buddy, stay with me huh? Just stay with me..."

Chapter 7

Huggy put down the barstools, glancing at his wristwatch. The tall, lanky man yawned and scratched his head, knowing he still had a few minutes before opening the doors to his establishment. He mentally reminded himself to start the brewing of the coffee as he gathered the heavy bucket of water and the damp mop into his hands. The sudden, frantic pounding on the door stopped the lean, black man in mid-stride, dirty water splashing out of the bucket's rim as the man jolted to a halt.

Damn! Now who the hell could be pounding like that, and at this ungodly hour the proprietor of "The Pits" thought sourly, never minding that it was already late afternoon, "Man, hol' your horses!" he shouted as he hurried to the door.

The beautiful young woman quickly entered into the dimly lit room, as the black man closed and locked the door behind her. "Mm-mm-mmm!" the black man ogled, "Either I'm still fast asleep in my bed having the best dream of my life, or my luck has suddenly changed!" He grinned hugely, coffee brown eyes twinkling, as he sauntered over to the lady who stood quietly, hands twisting uneasily before her.

"And what brings a pretty, young thing like you to my door?" the skinny black queried.

"A-Are you Huggy Bear?" the dark haired woman pointedly asked.

"Depends on who's askin'" the Bear replied cautiously, his street-wise senses immediately kicking in as he gave the lady a once over. He glanced at her twisting hands and her large frightened eyes and decided that the lady was in some kind of trouble. "Yeah," he drawled slowly, "If it's something you fear, the Bear is here!"

The woman took a deep breath, then raised gray frightened eyes to the tall black man, "My name is Amy... I have a message for you from your friend... it's about David Starsky..."

Hutch held his partner tightly in his embrace. It had been difficult to keep his partner awake and aware as the dope coursed through his veins. Hutch knew first hand, the pleasure of this enticing drug, the euphoric rush that made addicts come back for more. He knew his partner struggled to stay cognizant, fighting the encompassing pull of unencumbered sleep, but in the end, there was nothing the blonde could do to keep his partner from its tranquil clutches. The fear of an over dosing had passed though, the blonde knowing that his partner would not fall prey to that this time. Hutch sighed, dragging his aching fingers through his hair, his limbs stiff from holding his friend's dead weight against him.

It had been hours since Amy left, and Hutch could only hope that plans were being made in an attempt to rescue them. He briefly worried over the fact that they would find Starsky stoned and obviously under the influence of the loathsome drug. He closed his eyes, remembering his mad dash in the alley as he tried to escape from Forrest' men, dizzy and disoriented, falling in the dirt, as pain wracked his body. He could still hear the repugnance and disgust in Bernie's voice as Starsky rolled up his dirty sleeve, 'My god, he's a junkie!' Angry tears of humiliation and shame squeezed through his tightly clenched eyes. He would do anything to keep Starsky from going through that degradation, of feeling demoralized on top of the pain and violation he had already experienced.

Hutch soothed the brunet as he restlessly tossed and turned, perspiration glistening on his face and neck. It had been hours since Starsky's last fix and Hutch knew it was only a matter of time before his partner would awaken with a craving need for the debilitating drug. He listened as the brunet quietly moaned, his breathing heavy and erratic. "Shh buddy, I'm here," Hutch said softly, trying not to think of what his partner would have to endure.

Starsky could hear the soft voice of his partner, felt the gentle strokes and soothing touches. And yet, instead of comforting him, it grated on his nerves, he felt wired and uncomfortable, muscles aching and sore. He opened his eyes to see Hutch hovering over him, worried and tense.

"Hey buddy," the blonde smiled, unable to mask the wary concern that flickered in his pale, blue eyes as he gazed down at the brunet. The familiar dark blue eyes were slightly dilated and Hutch knew Starsky's body was starting the process of withdrawal. "You want to try and sit up?" the blonde asked hesitantly, immediately helping to lift the brunet, after seeing Starsky's curt nod. Hutch could feel his partner trembling as he clutched tightly to the blonde's strong arms.

Starsky could feel the tremors that wracked his body, his muscles screaming as Hutch helped him up. He couldn't prevent the soft groan that escaped his lips and tried to grin at his partner who eyed him worriedly. "Hey..." the brunet joked lamely, "H-How do I look huh?"

Hutch snorted softly, knowing his partner was hurting. He ruffled the dark curls on his friend's head, aware that Starsky was using that old familiar joke to shield him from seeing the pain he was in, using humor to alleviate the anxiety and apprehension that filled the blonde's heart.

"You look terrible," Hutch smiled, gently leaning his partner's back to the wall. Both men simultaneously looked up as footsteps approached. Anger flared up in the blonde and he quickly stood in front of the bunk in an attempt protect his weak and hurting friend.

"Well, will you look at that?" Artie's laughed, addressing the men behind him, "Look who's Starsky's champion. Think you can guard him from us pig?" the greasy man taunted, "We got a surprise for you Hutchinson, remember when I told you, that you don't know the meaning of being sick? Well, it's time for you to find out."

Hutch could feel the icy fingers of fear creep into his heart. He braced himself as the four large men entered the cell, sensing his partner moving on the bunk behind him. A part of him wanted to turn around to help Starsky, but he kept his focus on the men before him, wondering what demented idea Artie had in store for his partner and himself.

"Move to the side Hutchinson," Artie snarled as he stood outside of the cage, "Let's take a look at Curly over there, he's probably ready for another ride."

Hutch could hear Starsky's heavy breathing from behind him and knew his partner was struggling to get up from the bunk, "Starsk?" Hutch whispered, eyes never leaving the thugs who chuckled and surrounded him.

"One last chance Hutchinson, move out of the way," Artie warned, a leering grin plastered on his face, squinting eyes glowing with excitement, "Wouldn't want to knock you out, after all, your participation in this is of utmost importance." At this, Artie burst out laughing and the thugs snidely chuckled, obviously made privy to Solkin's plans.

"Uuungh, H-Hutch" the blonde heard his partner softly groan behind him, calling out to him. Knowing Starsky needed him and being unable to render aid was agonizing, it tore at the gentle heartstrings of the tall blonde. Hutch watched as Larry went to the table and opened the small black box, taking out the paraphernalia to make another dose of the lethal drug.

"No!" Hutch shouted, sudden anger clouding his judgment, his only thought to rid his partner of the prolonged pain and suffering another dose would give him. Hutch knew the brunet's body was slowly building up a tolerance for the smack, the more dope injected into Starsky, the more his body would crave it. They were stringing him up so that they could hang him out to dry. Hutch knew the pain of withdrawal, the devastating effects of the lingering drug that stripped you of any moral thoughts and values you might believe you held dear. Hutch would have sold is soul for another fix, remembering the agonizing twenty-four hours spent in Huggy's extra room upstairs. He wouldn't allow them to do this to his partner, not if he could help it.

With a snarl he launched himself towards Larry, intent upon destroying the tiny white bag of powder that he took from the box. Larry quickly turned, shielding the expensive heroin from the angry blonde, who was immediately grabbed by Tony and another thug. They rained blows down on the fallen blonde, kicking him, spitting on him as they laughed and jeered. "Can't have you damaging the goods Hutchinson," the blonde vaguely heard Artie saying, "We're already running short."

Starsky dragged himself over the edge of the bunk, his trembling limbs unable to support his weight as spasms of gut wrenching pain flared in his mid-section. He ignored the pain, willing himself to get to his feet, knowing Hutch was outnumbered. He staggered over to where Hutch was on the ground, pushing Tony out of the way, as he fell next to the blonde, pulling his hurt and bleeding friend into his quaking arms. "Hutch?" Starsky gasped, wiping the blood from the corner of the blonde's mouth. He watched as pale blonde lashes lifted, to reveal dazed, sky blue eyes.

"Starsk?" Hutch slowly sat up, feeling his partner's body trembling beneath him, his own body aching from the blows he had received. He quickly turned and held his curly haired friend when he suddenly gasped and clutched his abdomen, his stomach muscles cramping involuntarily.

Artie mockingly laughed out loud, watching the brunet suffering silently. "Aw, the poor baby needs a sip from his bottle," Solkin taunted, turning his attention to the blonde who glared at him through the bars, "And you're gonna give it to him." Solkin sneered gleefully, seeing the color leech from the blonde's face. "Get 'em up boys," Artie demanded, as two of the men roughly grabbed Hutch, while Tony dragged the hurting brunet to the chair.

Cautiously, Artie walked into the cell, once he was sure that the detectives were secured. This was too good to miss; he wanted a ringside seat to see the anguish that he knew the blonde would be experiencing. He walked over to Starsky who was doubled over on the chair gasping, as hot burning pain flared throughout his body. Solkin grabbed a handful of the damp, curly locks, roughly dragging the brunet's head back, as he took out his gun. Artie placed the metal barrel against the brunet's temple, his squinty eyes never leaving the pale features of the horrified blonde.

"Okay Hutchinson, here's the way it's gonna be." Solkin said amiably, his manner of speech was likened to that of a used car dealer, "Either you give Starsky here his fix, or I blow his brains out. You see, I just can't stand to see him suffering any longer." Artie laughed at his own joke, giving the blonde time to ponder over his decision.

Hutch grew cold, his long legs trembling at the thought of adding more pain to his already hurting partner. Was Solkin bluffing? He watched as Larry drew the syringe back, filling the hypo with more of the burning liquid. "It's all ready, Artie." Larry said, stepping to the other side of the brunet whose head hung down after Solkin released him.

"Well Hutchinson, time's up..." Artie snorted, "You gonna pump him full of stuff, or do I waste him right now before your eyes."

Hutch felt the sweat dripping down his back, sending cold shivers racing throughout his over heated body. He trembled, feeling nauseous at the thought of what he had to do. "Starsk," he whispered brokenly, heart rending in two as he saw his partner lift his weary head, dark blue eyes filled with merciless pain as his soft gasps filled the silence. The soft "snick" from the gun broke the gaze the two men shared from across the room; and Hutch turned his attention to the grinning older man who once again, dug the point of the gun into his partner's head.

"I-I don't k-know how t-to do it," Hutch said lamely, hoping the choice would be removed, that the burden of responsibility would be taken from his shoulders. The two burly men dragged the limp, defeated blonde towards the chair in which his partner was seated.

"Take this and tie it tightly above his elbow," Larry directed, placing the rubber tubing into the blonde's trembling hand. Hutch, unable to look into his partner's eyes, swallowed hard and gently placed the rubber tubing around his partner's elbow, his hand shaking, listening to his partner's shallow rapid breathing. He pulled the ends tight, securing it, wincing as the brunet jerked.

Artie firmly pushed down on Starsky's shoulder as he feebly began to struggle. "Hold still you idiot," Solkin snarled, "Wouldn't want your friend to collapse your vein." He chuckled darkly, watching intently as pain crossed the blonde's face when the hypo was placed into his hand. It killed him to see his partner struggling against the older man, seeing him hurt, wondering if Starsky understood what was happening. "Stop pressing him down like that," Hutch snapped, "He's hurting..."

"Well buddy-boy, you know what to do... give 'im his fix and send 'im to La-La land." Solkin laughed out loud, though he lessened the pressure on Starsky's shoulder. "Tell 'im what to do Larry..." Artie ordered.

"The hypo's filled with the junk, just lay the needle flat against the vein when you stick it in, so you don't rupture it, as soon as the needle's in, draw the plunger back a little and if blood enters the tube, then you know you've hit the vein, after that, just push it down and dump the smack right in." Larry said, as he flicked his fingers against Starsky's bruised skin. "There she is," he said smugly, indicating the raised vein that appeared.

"How much stuff is in there?" Hutch coldly asked; indicating the syringe, trying to stall for time as his mind quickly ran through options he didn't have.

"Not enough to kill 'im," Artie said, "Just enough to make him feel good."

"Hutch?" Starsky gasped, pain and confusion filled the dilated blue eyes. He shuddered as a spasm of pain raced through him, his stomach muscles contracting, making him feel nauseous and weak, hurting and sweating, as he tried to look the blonde in the eye. "Hutch?" he whispered again, breathing through the pain to get a handle on it.

"I'm here buddy..." the blond answered quietly, sickened by what he was being forced to do, knowing Solkin would pull the trigger if he didn't, hating that he had an audience; knowing that they hung on every spoken word shared between the two detectives. "Look," Hutch said to Artie, pale blue eyes glaring at the old man, "I gotta tell him what I'm about to do... so that he doesn't struggle okay?"

"Whatever..." Artie sneered, "If you like, we can hold 'im down for you." Solkin and the others laughed, "Or if you change your mind, I can always just end his misery for ya." Artie said, digging the gun hard into Starsky's temple.

The brunet flinched, his breathing rapid and shallow, but his blue eyes never left his friend's face. He looked up at Hutch the whole time he spoke to Artie, seeing the pale blue eyes flashing angrily. Starsky knew that his partner was worried, could feel the burden of pain and guilt that he carried. The pain in his own body was becoming almost unbearable now; tremors wracked his being, as his muscles continued to spasm painfully. He knew he was going through withdrawal, his body screaming out for a fix, knowing it would take away the pain immediately, the sweet rush of euphoric mindlessness would fill his being allowing him to drift away from the worry and hurt, away from here... away from Hutch. Starsky shook his head to clear away his muddled thoughts. Hutch needed him now, needed him to be alert, to understand, and he wouldn't allow himself to let his partner down. "Hutch," he said again, gasping, as the pain grew intense, staring into the sky blue eyes of his partner, which softened as they stared back at him.

"Starsk... I-I gotta do this buddy... gonna give you another shot... it'll make you feel better okay?" It killed Hutch to say that, knowing his partner would trust him beyond doubt, consciously aware that the dope wouldn't be making him feel better as it numbed his brain and momentarily took away the pain that wracked the brunet's body, sickened by the fact that it would just make Starsky crave it more in the end. "I-I need you to stay as still as possible for me okay pal?

"'Kay," the brunet whispered, dilated eyes never leaving his partner's pale watery ones, breathing shallow and rapid, body trembling in pain as another bout of nausea buffeted his mid-section. The brunet swallowed it down and struggled to keep his focus on his partner as the blonde leaned over his left arm. He could feel Hutch trembling as he rubbed his thumb over the exposed vein. He tried not to jerk as the needle pierced his bruised and reddened flesh, seeing his blood entering the syringe barrel as Hutch drew back the plunger and then feeling the warm burn as the blonde compressed the syringe, the smack entering his body and flooding his being.

Hutch wanted to throw-up when he saw his partner flinch as the needle was inserted. His hands shook and he willfully steadied it as the sharp needle found its mark, unwilling to cause his friend more damage by breaking through the fragile vein. He could hear his partner breathing heavily as the drug was introduced into his system once more and heard him gasp as he pulled the needle out. The brunet's head fell limply back as the "rush" took over, gasping shallowly, eyes closed in ecstasy. Hutch threw the hypodermic against the wall, and gathered his partner close, lifting and carrying his limp form back to the bunk, laying the brunet on the dirty, stained mattress. "Get out!" the blonde shouted angrily over his shoulder, listening to the hateful chuckles, as they slowly filed towards the door, cracking jokes and making lewd comments about the detectives, hearing the clanging of the iron gate slamming shut, listening to their retreating footsteps as they walked down the corridor still chuckling over what they had witnessed.

Hutch shook, his body wracked with tremors, hot tears flooding his eyes, horrified and sickened by what he had just done, hearing Artie's hateful, taunting voice saying over and over in his head, "You don't know what sick is, but you will after I get through with you... you'll be so sick... you're gonna wish you were dead!"

Hutch lowered his head and closed his eyes, knowing Artie was right. He did. He wished he were dead, knowing he had injected more junk into his partner was tearing away at his soul. Consciously knowing he was causing his partner more pain, and choosing to do it anyway. What kind of friend would do that? Oh, he knew he really had no choice... they would have blown Starsk away, but would Starsky have made the same choice that he did? Would Starsky have injected more dope into his best friend, knowing the damage it would do?

Hutch thought back to those horrible twenty four hours in Huggy's room, his body craving the drug, hurting, needing, begging, "G-give me something... you want to help me? Help me! Do something! You know where the stuff is..." He had suffered the whole time kicking it cold turkey, and his best friend had suffered right alongside him, probably hurting even more because he was aware and alert during the whole ordeal. Maybe Starsky would have chosen differently. They were stuck, alone, unable to escape and they were both gonna be killed anyway, Artie said so himself. Knowing this, Starsky wouldn't have prolonged the agony for the both of them, would he? He wouldn't have made his friend suffer through the degradation and shame once more, after already living through that nightmare? Would he? Horrible, guilty thoughts flashed despairingly through the blonde's mind, as he silently berated himself over his decision, mentally pummeling himself over and over; clutching his partner's body closer to his own, dragging the back of palm over his wet and burning eyes. His only hope was Amy, and yet, could he trust her? Would she actually do what she said she would and help them? Hanging on to that dream was becoming increasingly harder to do, his well of optimism nearly dry after the atrocity he was forced to participate in.

"Hey." A whisper, so soft and muted that Hutch briefly thought he was imagining it. The blonde looked down at his partner, who lifted long dark lashes to gaze up at him, eyes at half-mast, pinpoint pupils lost in a sea of blue, "You... 'kay Hutch?"

Hutch felt his heart melt with tenderness and love for the wounded, violated man he held tightly in his arms. Always putting me first the blonde thought fondly, affection softening the pale blue eyes. "Hey buddy, thought you were sleeping?" the blonde's voice was mellow and gentle, stroking his partner's dark ringlets that curled possessively around his fingers.

Starsky snorted softly, floating once again, the pain that wracked his body just moments ago, lost in a haze of pleasure. He wanted to sleep, would be sleeping too, if not for his friend. The brunet could sense the unrest and anguish that the blonde tried to suppress, could 'feel' it intrude upon his peaceful journey into nothingness. A part of him wanted to ignore it, wanted not to care; but this was Hutch, his best friend in the whole world, and his loyalty to this man far surpassed the unnatural serenity that beckoned wantonly to him.

"Whadda... we do... now huh?" Starsky slurred drowsily, attempting to force his detective's mind into gear... knowing Hutch needed him.

Hutch snorted softly, a sad smile flitted across his lips, "You let me take care of that huh?" he said gently, guilt made him look away from his partner's eyes, "Starsk... I-I'm sorry..."

"Don't," Starsky softly interjected, closing his eyes as the room began to spin, feeling himself beginning to drift away, fighting for control over his lost senses, knowing his partner needed to be absolved from the guilt that was eating away at his sensitive soul, "You did... what I would'a done... buddy." His exhausted mind blanked out, hearing his partner's soft voice, but unable to comprehend what the blonde was saying. Though he tried to resist the pull, he felt himself floating away as he began to "nod" in and out.

Hutch watched his partner as he valiantly fought against the pull of the mindless tranquility that wanted to drag the brunet into its awaiting embrace. His partner's words meant so much to the blonde, helping to ease the suffocating burden of guilt that weighed Hutch down to the depths of despair. The blonde gently rubbed his thumb against his dark haired friend's cheek, "It's okay buddy... just sleep, I'll be right here." Hutch looked down at the slumbering man he held in his arms, sending out a silent prayer; hoping that help would be coming soon.

Chapter 8

"I know Captain Dobey," Cheryl said softly, "But my father said they were in some kind of abandoned warehouse or something that previously belonged to Ben Forrest. His former corporation had warehouses and old office buildings down by the docks."

Dobey stared at the young chemist, the dark brows over his bloodshot eyes creased with worry. He let out a heavy sigh and scratched his fingers through his short scrubby hair.

"Well, if what your father said is true, if there's drugs involved, then it's a whole different ball game. If one, or both of them have been hooked, they're gonna need somewhere to kick it. I can't have anyone on the force knowing about this, it'll ruin their records and might jeopardize their jobs as well."

"If they've been forced to take heroin Captain, they're going to need medical attention. Withdrawal from heroin addiction is can be very dangerous. Depending on how much was given, it could even be fatal."

"You mean over dosing..." the Captain said, resting his head in his hands, elbows on his desk. He tried to concentrate on what the young woman was telling him, but the sudden ringing of his desk phone drew his attention away.

"Heroin is an opiate, a depressant, Captain. It depresses the central nervous system much in the same way that a tranquilizer or a sleeping tablet would do. Someone who over doses or takes more of a depressant drug than their body can cope with, will lose consciousness, drift off and may even stop breathing."

The large police captain acknowledged the information given with a curt nod of his head and angrily picked up the phone, "Dobey," he gruffed into the handset he held next to his ear, "Yeah, patch him through..." He lifted dark brown eyes to the young woman sitting across from him and covered the mouthpiece, "It's Huggy, a friend of Starsky and Hutch, he might know something."

Cheryl waited patiently, listening to Dobey's end of the conversation, as he talked gruffly into the phone. Her mind drifted as she thought back to her father. It bothered Cheryl that her father could be so swayed by another to want to hurt the detectives again, and yet, she was also pleased that he had decided to tell her everything. She could see the regret in his eyes as he told her about Ben Forrest and Artie Solkin's plans of retribution towards the blond. She loved her father and knew there was hope for him yet.

Dobey hung up the phone and stared at the young chemist. Huggy had told the Captain everything Amy had told him and it bothered him greatly. "I have to go," Dobey said shortly, "Need to meet with Huggy at his place."

"I'd like to come with you," Cheryl said immediately, her voice becoming harder as she saw the frown appear on Dobey's face, "Captain, you might need me, especially if the guys are strung out or are going through the withdrawal stage. I think I can be of help... and I'd like to help, especially because of my father's involvement in all of this."

Dobey thought about it. They just might need someone who had some medical knowledge... God only knew what they find. Dobey was hesitant to get a civilian involved in all of this... they were walking into this mess virtually blind. Huggy and Amy were waiting at "The Pits" where they could hopefully strategize and come up with some kind of plan of action to rescue 'his boys.' The big man took in a deep breath and lifted bloodshot eyes to the woman. "It might be dangerous, especially if we can't involve the department."

"I am aware of that Captain," Cheryl said solemnly, eyes direct and determined, "And if that's the case, you will need all the help you can get!"

Dobey sat in the dark sedan, his car inconspicuously hidden behind a bush, but parked in such a way, to allow him full view of the darkened office buildings near the warehouses. Amy had directed them to this place and had informed the Captain that his detectives were kept locked up in a cage in the back of the warehouse area. Just the thought of that made the big man's blood boil. To think that Ben Forrest was once again involved in Hutch's life burned the black man up.

It took both Huggy and Cheryl to convince the beautiful young lady to help them with the rescue. Amy was afraid of her Uncle and knew he would not forgive her when he found out she helped the detectives get away, but with the promise of charges being dropped and the possibility of having her records expunged, Amy agreed. They had wired her up and Dobey listened intently to the earpiece as the bust went down.

Dobey signaled to his men who waited in several unmarked cars. They stealthily entered the darkened building. The commotion and chaos that ensued was almost comical. The small bag of heroin was taken from Artie's hands, and he and four of his men were cuffed, as Amy showed the money that was given to her.

The look of outrage on Solkin's face was priceless and Dobey gave a quick smirk to Huggy who had instigated the 'sting'. Although it went against Dobey's innate sense of the law and justice, Huggy helped him to see that they would need to do something drastic if they were to rescue the detectives without anyone knowing of the ordeal they endured, while at the same time ensuring that they kept their jobs intact.

Huggy discreetly sidled up to Solkin who stood cuffed to the side, as the other men were being frisked. "If I were you Artie," Huggy whispered conspiratorially, "I'd keep my big mouth shut 'bout what went down here, it could lessen your stay in the can... dig it?" Artie stared at the lanky black man, knowing that what he said was true. If anyone found out that they had abducted two police officers as well as did bodily injury to them... well, Artie was many things, but stupid was not one of them.

Dobey directed his men to take the prisoners away, despite the protests of Artie Solkin. No one listened to his denials of money being exchanged, just like Huggy predicted. The Captain sent his uniforms back to the station and told them he would wrap things up here and be back at the station to do the report.

As soon as all of the unmarked cars cleared out, Amy quietly led Huggy, Cheryl and Captain Dobey to the back of the warehouse where the detectives were imprisoned.

Hutch heard footsteps approaching and tensed, bracing himself for yet another session of physical torment and mental anguish. To see the wonderful, familiar face of his tall, black, lanky friend, peeping around the corner brought such a wide smile to the blonde's face.

"Oh my god," Hutch whispered, silently sending up a prayer of gratitude for the unlikely rescue party that entered the room. Amy handed Dobey the key that she took from the peg in the corridor and the Captain opened the cell.

"How is he?" Dobey asked gruffly, stooping his massive girth to get a closer look at Starsky who was still sleeping in Hutch's arms.

"The man is flyin'" Huggy said, as he knelt next to the bunk, "When was his last fix?" his dark, streetwise eyes looked knowingly at the blonde.

"A little over an hour ago..." Hutch murmured, unable to look Huggy in the eye, "He's been out since then." Hutch gently stroked his partner's neck and pulled him closer to his chest.

"How much times did they juice him?" Huggy asked, staring at Hutch intently, knowing enough of the blonde to know that something terrible went down besides them just stringing Starsky out.

"T-They shot him up three times already," Hutch said, raising troubled eyes to his Captain's. "Is anyone else outside?"

Dobey knew what lay behind Hutch's subtle question, and he quickly explained, wanting to ease the worry from the traumatized blonde, "No one's outside, we arrested Solkin and the others on some made-up chump card Huggy had up his sleeve. Nobody knows about Starsky except us and we're gonna keep it that way."

Hutch felt some of the tension leave his body as he quietly held his partner. "He's gonna start to feel it in a few hours... we need to get him somewhere safe, where he can kick the habit..." Just thinking about what Starsky would have to go through, made the blonde cringe, memories of his own withdrawal rose unbidden in the blonde's mind.

"You can use my place," Cheryl offered gently, watching Hutch's expression soften as he looked down at the brunet.

"No... he'd want to be home, he'd probably feel safer there in a place that's familiar to him." Hutch said softly, gently rubbing his partner's bruised arm where the needle made its marks.

"Well," Dobey said, "Let's get him out of here... I got a lot of explaining to do."

Chapter 9

Hutch gently rubbed the back of the heaving brunet, as he leaned over the toilet, spewing out what little he had in his gut. "It's okay buddy," he soothed, voice soft and velvety, "Just get it out Starsk..." The blonde cringed as he heard the painful gasps coming from his partner as he retched again, knowing his partner was reacting to the heroin that was leaving his system. He could feel Starsky jerk in his arms, as stomach muscles cramped once again, punishing the weary brunet. Hutch, sickened by his friend's suffering, continued to rub his partner's back, helplessly listening to the soft gasps from the brunet, watching as his fingers dug in and clenched the side of the porcelain bowl as pain ripped through his abdomen once again.

"Uungh... Hutch" the brunet groaned, unable to stop the wretched heaving as the muscles in his stomach continued to contract involuntarily, his body trying to rid itself of the poison that had spread insidiously throughout his system. He shuddered, gasping, as one hand reached down to wrap itself around his heaving mid-section.

"I know buddy, I know... I'm here Starsk, right here..." the blonde whispered, empathizing with the pain his partner was going through, knowing first hand, how horrible the process of withdrawal was. Hutch gently dragged his partner over to the wall so that the brunet could lean against its' cool surface.

Starsky gasped again, his arm clenched against his stomach as a painful spasm doubled him over, "Uungh" he softly groaned, eyes scrunched, sweat dripping down the side of his face from his temple. He gritted his teeth and held his breath, trying to ride out the crippling contractions that pummeled his abdomen. His body and joints ached, his whole being screaming out for more heroin, another fix, knowing it would immediately release him from this excruciating journey into hell.

The tall blonde rose and took out the handkerchief he carried in his back pocket. He dampened the white cloth with cool water from the basin and hurried back to his hurting friend. Hutch gently wiped the perspiration from his partner's glistening face, the cool, gentle softness helping to soothe the suffering the brunet was undergoing.

Starsky, trembling, grabbed onto his partner's hand, remembering that last fix he had. His weary mind brutally battled itself, one part determined to weather this out and stay strong, to purge himself of this hellish filth that defiled his body, remembering his vow to make this nightmare easier on Hutch, knowing the blonde was suffering along with him. And yet, the other part of his brain deviously flashed a picture in his mind of Hutch leaning over his arm, giving him the help he needed, that sweet rush of euphoric bliss, releasing him from this bondage of never-ending pain. Maybe if he just asked Hutch...

"Let's get you back into bed buddy," Hutch said gently, partially lifting his partner as they stumbled back into the brunet's bedroom. Hutch pushed aside the rumpled beddings and settled his trembling friend into its warmth.

"Hutch," Starsky gasped eyes scrunched tightly, struggling to ride out the painful spasms that buffeted his quivering form. "I-I feel sick... n-need..." he abruptly stopped himself, willing himself not break down, refusing to make Hutch hurt more by begging for something he knew Hutch would never give him. Shivering with cold, he opened his dilated, watering eyes and made contact with his partner's pain filled sky blue depths.

Hutch could see the agony, the debilitating pain that ate away at the brunet's soul, the silent need that begged through his familiar cobalt eyes before he turned his face away, closing deep blue eyes that spoke volumes, as he gritted his teeth and clamped down on the weakness that momentarily possessed him. "Shh, it's okay buddy, I'm here," Hutch soothed, climbing into the bed to hold his shivering partner once again. He wrapped the blankets around the brunet who lay huddled in his arms, knees drawn up to his mid-section, tightly curled in a fetal position, as the blonde rubbed his arms to take the chill away.

"Man he's hurtin' real bad," Huggy said coming into the bedroom with a tray, sympathizing with the suffering brunet, noting the large goose bumps that rose on Starsky's limbs. The tall, lanky black man nodded at the bumps, "That's why they call it 'cold turkey' on the streets. Soon he'll be kicking his legs out uncontrollably and that's where we get the term 'kickin' the habit.'" Huggy put down the coffee he brewed on the brunet's nightstand. "Hutch, maybe we should let that chick with the glasses help. She's sittin' out there waitin' to do somehthin', said she might have some drugs to help with his pain" the black man nodded to the gasping brunet.

It killed Hutch to see Starsky suffering like this. He looked down at the brunet who lay shivering in his arms, gasping as another muscle spasm tore away at him, shredding him from the inside out. "Go find out what she has," Hutch told Huggy, clutching his partner tighter as the brunet arched in pain. "It's okay buddy, you're doing good Starsk, shhh... I'm right here babe."

He watched as Huggy quickly left to do his bidding. He didn't want Cheryl to come in here, for he instinctively knew that Starsky wouldn't want anyone to see him in this vulnerable state. He had gently explained the situation to her as they drove Starsky home and had kindly asked Cheryl to leave, but she had told him she would stay in case he needed assistance.

"How is he?" Cheryl's soft voice came from the doorway. "Would you like me to get something to help with the pain?"

"Cheryl," Hutch said, "What do you have that can help him?" He pulled his shivering partner closer to his chest, trying to share his body warmth with Starsky, hanging on tightly as the brunet pitifully groaned, painful dry heaves wracking his tightly curled body once more. Hutch rubbed his partner's back, feeling helpless and frustrated, hurting along with his partner, wondering if this was how Starsky felt, those many years ago in Huggy's room upstairs.

"I can get some Methadone," Cheryl said softly, concern for the brunet making her brows draw together, "It comes in a pill form so he can take it orally. It'll take the edge off his pain Hutch, and it can hopefully lessen his craving for more heroin."

"Side effects..." Hutch questioned softly, focused on comforting his hurting partner, hearing the soft gasps as Starsky clenched his fist and pushed down against his abdomen. Hutch wiped the sweat that dripped down his partner's face, his own back aching with fatigue from his cramped position on the bed.

"Well, as with any drug, there are some risks involved," Cheryl said hesitantly, "Methadone is also an opiate, but it'll help him..."

"What risks?" Hutch questioned, raising weary, pale blue eyes to the young woman. He could feel his partner trembling weakly in his arms and the gentle blonde ached for his partner, remembering the agonizing pain of his own withdrawal from the loathsome drug.

Cheryl shrugged, "Well, like I said, Methadone is an opiate and sometimes a person might develop a need f..."

"You mean he might become addicted to it?" Hutch cut her off, angrily interrupting, "You want to dry him out, only to have him become addicted to something else? What are you, crazy Cheryl?" Hutch snapped, eyes flashing angrily. He gently rubbed his partner's back, knowing that his tone was upsetting the hurting man he held in his arms.

"They use it now in all the detox/rehabilitation centers Hutch. He'll be under my supervision and I'll monitor his doses so that he doesn..."

"No!" the soft voice, though barely audible was heard by everyone. Hutch looked down at the brunet who raised weary eyes up at him. "No... Hutch..." the dark haired man gasped, shuddering as another spasm of pain lanced through his aching body, "Don't..."

"It's okay pal, I've got your back..." The blonde said gently, watching as a slow grin spread over the brunet's sweat drenched face. He took his still damp handkerchief and dabbed at the perspiration, then looked up at Cheryl, "You heard the man..."

Cheryl sighed, then nodded, "Okay Hutch... but if you change your mind, don't hesitate to call. I guess I'll head on home then... he's one tough guy..." she said, softly smiling as she turned to leave.

"Yeah... he's definitely that." Hutch snorted to himself, pulling the blankets over his partner's trembling shoulders and tucking it under his chin. He gently stroked his partner's skin, noting the goose bumps on his arms, as the brunet continued to tremble uncontrollably. He could hear the soft murmurings in the living room and the front door gently closing as Cheryl left.

"Hutch you out'cha your mind?" Huggy stood at the doorway a minute later, his fists on his lean hip, a dishrag over one shoulder, "Why won't you let her help?"

"It's not my decision," Hutch said softly, gently pushing the damp curls back from his partner's face, his pale, blue eyes soft with admiration as he stared down at his tenacious partner. It amazed the blonde how stubborn his partner could be sometimes, holding onto his convictions despite the raging pain that pummeled his body, knowing how it easy it was to give in to the enticing call of the drug.

Hutch glanced at the digital clock on the nightstand. "It's been eighteen hours since his last fix. The one I gave him Hutch thought darkly, guilt washing over anew, as he remembered how Starsky's body jerked as he inserted the needle into his bruised arm.

"You don't know anything about feeling sick... you think coming down from heroin was painful? Wait 'til you see your buddy over there, hurting and puking his guts out, blaming you for all the suffering he's going through." Hutch dragged his hand wearily through is fine, golden hair; hearing the grating voice of Artie Solkin screaming in his head.

Hutch knew Starsky didn't blame him at all, but a small part of him wondered if that might have changed, after all, they had talked about it before the full barrage of his withdrawal had hit, before he felt the full agonizing, punishment as the lingering dope fought to keep its wicked hold on its hurting prey. Aw buddy, Hutch thought sadly, seeing his partner's quiet suffering, hearing his rapid, shallow breathing as he gasped through the pain, his rigid body twitching, trembling like a leaf in a storm. "I got'cha Starsk..." Hutch said softly, gently, consoling his partner with his quiet words and soothing touches, knowing their journey into hell was far from over.

Chapter 10

Hutch listened to the shower running as he whipped up a quick breakfast of scrambled eggs, dry toast and coffee. His partner was irritable, snapping at little things, then feeling bad about it, unable to stop his anxious pacing, trying to provoke his blonde counterpart into an argument one minute, then needing gentle encouragement and soothing strokes the next. Hutch sighed deeply; knowing the worst was over, knowing the hellish journey was almost at an end. He had talked Starsky into taking a shower, hoping the hot water could help alleviate the aches and pains that still ravaged the brunet's joints. The ringing of the phone drew the blonde away from his thoughts, and he hurriedly went over to answer it after turning the stove off.

"Yeah?" Hutch said wearily, thinking it might be Huggy, but a slow grin broke out on his face when he heard the gruff voice of his Captain.

"Well... how's our patient?" Dobey said, "He still grouching at everyone?"

"Yeah..." Hutch said softly, feeling the need to defend his partner, "But he can't help it Cap, it goes along with the territory." The blonde smiled as he heard the soft chuckle from his Captain. "How's everything on your end?"

"Okay," the Captain hedged, "Solkin and the others were booked and are awaiting trial. Amy will testify to the drug bust that went down and we're going to drop the charges with her involvement in this matter since she's assisting us. I'm amazed Artie hasn't said anything about the two of you. Probably knows he'll just get a longer sentence if that comes out."

"Yeah..." Hutch agreed softly, silently glad that Starsky's reputation would remain clean and untarnished. "Look Cap," Hutch said suddenly, hearing the water from the shower shut off, "I gotta go now, I'll keep in touch okay? Oh, and Cap... thanks!" Hutch smiled as he hung the phone up; hearing his Captain clearing his throat uncomfortably, knowing he was pleased as he said, "Just take care of that partner of yours."

The bathroom door opened and hot steam rolled out into the cool living room. Starsky padded quietly out of the bathroom, a thick towel wrapped around his lean waist. Hutch could still see the faint scarring from the bullets that ravaged his partner's hair covered chest and abdomen, bullets that would have stolen his life, had Gunther had his way.

"What?" the dark haired man queried, as he vigorously toweled the dampness from his curls, one brow raised over sparkling cobalt eyes, "Was that the phone I heard?"

"Yeah," Hutch said, a soft grin appearing as he followed his partner to his bedroom and stood by the doorway, watching as his partner rummaged through his drawers, "That was Dobey, he was wondering if you were still grouchy."

Starsky looked up at that, noting the silly grin that was plastered over his partner's face, "Yeah?" he said, a lopsided grin lighting up his own face as he returned his gaze to the drawer, "Did ya tell him that you had no idea what he was talkin' about?"

The big blonde snorted softly, pleased with the gentle bantering they shared with one another, knowing his partner was well on his way to recovery, that they had made it through hell; that somehow they had survived the nightmare, their friendship as strong as ever. Even though I shot him up with junk, Hutch thought darkly, the memory still plaguing his thoughts, still causing pain and guilt to eat away at his conscience.

Starsky threw on a red pullover and squeezed into another one of his crummy old jeans, eyeing the conflicting expressions that flitted across the tired blonde's handsome face. The brunet sat on the edge of his bed as he zipped and buttoned his fly. Raising his eyes to his partner, Starsky smiled and tapped the bed beside him, "C'mere Hutch," he said softly, eyes twinkling, a playful smile on his lips.

"What?" Hutch said suspiciously, noting the impish gleam in his partner's eyes, seeing that lopsided grin he knew so well. Hutch ambled over the side of the bed and sat down, glad to see his partner looking so good... so clean... so whole.

"Okay Hutch... spill it," Starsky said fondly, knowing something was on the blonde's mind. His gentle partner could never hide things from the perceptive brunet, though God knows he tried. Starsky knew his partner like the back of his hand, knew something was eating away at his partner, saw 'the look' every now and then that flitted across his guilty face... it was time the blonde got rid of the 'cancer' before it spread."

"W-What?" Hutch stammered, knowing his partner sensed something was up. He could never lie to Starsky, somehow the brunet always knew everything... like the way his mother knew stuff when he was little. The blonde guilty lowered his eyes, as his friend's knowing gaze raked across his features.

"I'm waitin' Hutchinson," Starsky drawled, yawning and stretching his arms wide, grimacing slightly as his aching muscles protested. The brunet startled as his partner's large, warm hands began to knead his tired muscles in his shoulders and back. His partner's touch was soothing, comforting, and Starsky closed his eyes, relishing the feeling of the gentle massage.

Hutch knew his partner was still aching, muscle pain in the joints were one of the lingering symptoms of heroin withdrawal and Hutch wanted to help Starsky in any way that he could. It also gave him a chance to think about what he wanted to say to the perceptive brunet without having to look him in the eye. He could feel Starsky relaxing into the firm, but gentle kneading, the massage somehow also comforting the blonde. This gentle giving and taking created an almost intimate ambiance; that allowed Hutch to drop his defenses. He could feel his partner patiently waiting, not pushing, allowing the blonde to start when he was ready, no judgment or condemnation, radiating only warm support and love.

"I-I guess I've been kinda feeling bad... a-about what happened." Hutch began slowly, stammering uncomfortably. He waited for a reaction and when none came forth, he bravely continued. "I don't know how much you remember Starsk... you were pretty out of it at times, but I had to... had to..."

"I remember..." the brunet said softly, as the blonde stopped his ministrations momentarily, "You did what you had to do Hutch, I thought I told you that..." the brunet said gently.

"Yeah... I just..." Hutch closed his eyes, seeing the needle entering his partner's arm, adding another red mark to the already bruised flesh. It sickened him to remember. He gently removed his hands and clasped them together as they trembled.

Starsky turned to stare at his downcast friend, knowing the burden of guilt that lay heavily in his gentle heart. "Hutch," Starsky said slowly, "I would've done the same thing you did. You had no choice buddy. If I remember right, it was either stick me, or they'd put a bullet in my brain right?" the deep blue eyes connected with sad pale ones.

"Yeah," Hutch said softly, looking away again, "I don't know Starsk, and every time I close my eyes I see it... over and over again..."

"So don't close your eyes," the brunet shrugged playfully, tilting his curly head so that he could look into his partner's lowered eyes again. At the blonde's continued silence the brunet sighed, "Listen to me buddy," he began, "Whatever happened is over. I'm better now. We made it. Look Hutch, I know you feel bad about what the bad guys made you do, but if the truth were known, I wouldn'ta made it without you buddy. What I went through is nothing compared to what you went through with Forrest five years ago."

"Yeah right," Hutch said bitterly, still unable to look his partner in the eye, "I wasn't used as a pawn for some psycho's revenge against my partner, I didn't have to watch my buddy string me up, didn't have to listen to my best friend in the whole world lie directly to my face; telling me he was making me feel better while juicing me up at the same time..."

"Yeah," Starsky abruptly interjected, voice angry and hard, "You didn't even have your partner there to watch your back as Monk and the others beat the livin' crap outta ya, ya didn't have your best friend there to comfort ya or hold ya the whole time you were hurting, ya didn't have anyone who gave a rip about ya as the fuckin' drug ate away at you from the inside out... Hutch, you had no one with you that whole time they were hookin' ya... you were alone, defenseless, scared, wondering when and how I would find ya... and the sad part is, I didn't even find ya... you found me!" The brunet stared at the blonde, willing him to look up.

The silence that ensued was almost palpable as the two men squared off, breathing hard, emotions stretched as memories of that horrible time raced across their minds. Finally the blonde looked up to see those familiar cobalt eyes, locked onto his. "Hutch, don't cha get it? I had you with me the whole time... whether they strung me up or killed me, it wouldn'ta made a difference because you were there and we were walking through hell together... and after you brought me back here, you never let me go, you stayed with me and led me back home... you never let me down buddy... it was always me and thee.

Hutch felt his eyes burn with unshed tears, his partner's heartfelt words washing away the pain and the guilt he had carried in his soul, after he was forced to violate and defile his friend. Starsky gently reached over and pulled the tall blonde into an embrace, stroking and massaging the back of Hutch's neck, soothing away the grief, "Let it out boy," he whispered as the blonde shed quiet, cleansing tears, healing the open wound on his heart.

Starsky slowly released his friend as he felt Hutch pull away slightly, the blonde scrubbed at his eyes, took a deep breath and smiled sheepishly at the brunet. "You always gotta have the last say, don't you Starsk," the blonde sniffed jokingly, a slow grin appearing on his face.

Starsky snorted softly, glad the see his partner bouncing back, knowing the blonde was feeling a little embarrassed by the red tinge that spread from his neck on up. "There you go again Hutch, imitating a stop sign." The brunet yawned once more, feeling suddenly tired after that display of emotion and he looked drowsily up at his partner, "Whaddah we got to eat around here... hmm?"

"Well buddy," Hutch said softly smiling, as they walked into the kitchen, "Maybe... just maybe, I'll get you some pineapples from Hawaii."

~ finis ~