CHAIN REACTION

By: ANNIE

DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Didn't make any profit. No copyright infringement intended. Yeah, yeah, I'll put them away when I've finished playing with them.

RATING: NC-17; m/m sex

Thankyou to Lyn for the beta and constant encouragement. What would I do without you, sis?

Feedback to: Annie

 

Hutch poked his head around the corner of the dumpster. In front of him he could see Malone, one beefy hand wrapped around the throat of the woman he was holding hostage, the other holding a pistol pointed at her head. The woman, a bank employee, Hutch surmised from her uniform, struggled ineffectually against the bank robber, and Hutch heard him growl something menacingly at her.

Hutch looked around for his partner. Starsky had gone the other way around the dumpster. Now he was nowhere to be seen. He was probably trying to circle round behind Malone and take him out. Malone's men had headed to the getaway car, parked round the corner in the alley, before the partners had arrived at the scene and Hutch knew it was only a matter of minutes before they came back. He knew he had to get the woman away from Malone before that happened. If these men took her with them, Hutch knew they'd have no qualms about killing her as soon as they were free and clear. The alarm from the bank would have police swarming all over the place in a few minutes, but no one would dare rush the bank or the hostage taker until they had sharpshooters and a negotiator on the scene. He grimaced as he saw Malone grind the gun hard into the woman's temple and saw a trickle of blood begin to trail down her white face. The girl was barely standing under her own power. Terror had made her helpless, her legs almost limp, the only thing keeping her upright was the arm around her neck.

*Dammit, Starsk! Where are you?* The minute he thought the words, Hutch caught a glimpse of Starsky's dark head as his partner took up a position behind and just to the left of Malone. The wall of the bank hid him almost completely from view and Hutch could see he had a good shot at the back of Malone's head. If the girl only stayed still...

Hutch groaned as he heard the getaway car start up. The girl was beginning to struggle again and Malone's finger whitened around the trigger. Coming to a quick decision, Hutch put his weapon down and moved out into the open, arms held away from his side, calling out as he did so. "Malone, let the girl go! I'm coming out! I'm not armed. You can exchange me for the girl. A cop's a more valuable hostage than she is. Let her go!"

He only had to keep Malone from pressing the trigger, keep his attention focused in front of him, just long enough for Starsky to take his shot. Malone moved the gun away from the girl and aimed it at Hutch. As he did, there was a single shot and Hutch saw the back of the man's head explode, the body falling forward and the weapon clattering free of the lax fingers. The girl shrieked, sinking to the ground, her hands clawing at the blood and tissue that had sprayed over her face and neck.

Starsky came running, one hand out to check the pulse at Malone's neck, a gesture born of habit, made moot by the huge wound at the back of the robber's head, and the other reaching to pull the hysterical woman into his side, eager to get her up and away from the carload of Malone's goons that were careening down the street towards them.

"Hutch!'" Starsky yelled. "Move!" He pulled the girl with him as he scrabbled for the safety of the curb, looking up to see Hutch turn and throw himself sideways in a low dive. *Too slow,*, his mind screamed as he saw the fender of the speeding car catch his partner high on his legs, spinning him around and up, the momentum carrying him up onto the hood, then bouncing him off the side to the pavement, clear of the speeding wheels. Starsky heard the approaching sirens as the car raced past him and then, heart in his mouth, he ran to kneel beside Hutch's body, leaving the girl sobbing on the sidewalk.

In the periphery of his vision, he saw several squads pull up to the scene; uniformed cops jumping out to take care of the girl and check the robber's body. He figured roadblocks would stop the fleeing accomplices, but right now, he didn't care about any of that. His world had spiraled down to one point of existence... the blond body slumped face-up on the ground at his feet.

Hutch moaned and twisted his head away from Starsky's questing hand."Easy, babe. Just stay still. The medics are on their way. Don't move, okay?" Starsky said soothingly.

Hutch's eyes slid open and his gaze swept lazily over his partner's face, then his eyelids closed again, his head falling to one side.There was a large graze down Hutch's cheek and a bruise on his forehead. But the worst injuries Starsky could see were to his arms. Both were obviously broken, and Starsky could see bone protruding through the slashed and bloodied right sleeve of his shirt. The left hand lay bent at an unnatural angle over Hutch's abdomen. Knowing there was little he could do except keep Hutch from slipping into shock, Starsky pulled off his jacket and placed it over Hutch's chest. Not daring to touch his partner's arms, Starsky brushed his hand across the blond head, petting absently, murmuring soothingly.

By the time the ambulance arrived, Hutch was still unconscious and Starsky moved aside to let the attendants work. He watched as his partner's arms were splinted, the movement eliciting a pained moan from Hutch, although he didn't wake up. Starsky followed the gurney to the ambulance and climbed aboard, taking up a seat behind his friend's head. "How's he doing?" he asked the medic, one hand renewing its comforting stroke across the silken hair.

"I think he'll be okay, sir. He's got a compound fracture of the right radius and ulna, so he'll need surgery to reduce that, and his left wrist is broken, too. He must have landed with all his weight on his arms, then when he rolled over onto his back that probably caused the bones in his right arm to break through the skin."

Starsky shuddered, immensely grateful that Hutch wasn't awake to hear what they were saying.

"There may be internal injuries, but his vitals are stable so I don't think so. I couldn't see any other obvious injuries apart from the graze and bruise on his face but he might have a concussion if he was knocked out when he was hit," the attendant continued.

"I'm not sure," Starsky answered, his eyes never leaving Hutch's face. "He was conscious when I got to him, but he passed out a few seconds after."

" I'm sure he'll be all right. Mind you, he's gonna need someone to help him out for the next few weeks. It's pretty hard to do much for yourself with both arms in plaster." The medic smiled ruefully.

"That's okay. He's got someone," Starsky replied.

~oOo~

"Hey, Starsky, how's your partner doing?"

Starsky jumped as he felt a hand on his shoulder and recognized his captain's voice. "They took him up to the OR to stabilize the fractures and close the wound in his arm. He's got a concussion as well as some grazes and bruises, but he's gonna be okay. How's the girl from the bank?"

"Shocked, shaken... you know. She'll be all right too. Husband picked her up and took her home. He said to say thanks to you and Hutch," Dobey replied, easing his bulk down in the chair opposite his detective.

"Listen, Captain, the doc said Hutch can go home in a few days, once they're sure there's no infection or anything. He's not gonna be able to manage on his own for a while, not with both his arms in plaster. I got some leave owed me, so I thought, if it's okay with you..." Starsky stopped as Dobey put up a hand, cutting him off.

"Consider it done, Starsky. How long do you think he'll need?" the Captain asked.

"Not sure, at least a few weeks. Let me take 3 weeks and we'll see how he's doin' after that. How's that sound, sir?"

"Sounds fine. Now how about you get home and get some rest. Once Hutch goes home, you're going to need it," Dobey smiled sympathetically at Starsky. He knew how much Hutch hated being dependent on anyone. He had the distinct feeling that Starsky was going to have his hands full in the weeks to come.

"Yeah, I'll do that, sir. The doc said he won't wake up till tomorrow anyway. Thanks, Captain." Starsky unfolded his stiff body from the hard waiting room chair. He stretched, trying to unknot muscles that had been wound way too tight with the tension of the past few hours. He would have preferred to wait till Hutch was out of surgery, but he accepted the wisdom of Dobey's words. If he was going to help his friend, he had to be rested himself. With a last look in the direction Hutch had been wheeled off, Starsky headed for the parking lot.

~oOo~

FIVE DAYS LATER

"Take it slow, Hutch. Let me get the door for you." Starsky stepped around his partner and unlocked the door to Hutch's apartment. His eyes tracked over the pale face, noting the black circles of weariness smudged under the blue eyes, the pain lines at the side of the mouth.

"I'm fine, Starsky. I'm not a complete invalid. I can open a door, ya know," Hutch snapped out.

"Well, you may not be an invalid but you are sorta hampered by those big white lumps of plaster on your arms just now," Starsky retorted. He ushered Hutch over to the couch, waiting to make sure the blond detective was settled comfortably then asking, "So, do you want a drink... tea, coffee, water? Don't think there's any soda in the refrigerator but I could go get some. Or maybe I could get you something to eat? Are you hungry, pal?"

"Jeez, Starsk, slow down, will ya? I'm fine. Bit tired that's all. I only had breakfast two hours ago." Hutch sighed as he looked up at his friend. Starsky looked like he was almost bouncing in place. He softened his voice, regretting his earlier impatience. "Some tea would be nice, Starsk, thanks."

At least, he figured, making tea would keep Starsky occupied, keep him from concentrating his nursemaid instincts too closely on the injured half of the partnership.

"You got it, pal. You need any pain meds?" Starsky asked with concern.

Hutch smiled, despite himself. "No, mom, I'm okay. Just the tea is fine."

"Okay, coming right up." Starsky headed for the kitchen, whistling tunelessly as he went. By the time he'd made the tea and brought it back to the living room, Hutch was asleep, feet still on the floor, his upper body awkwardly canted against the arm of the couch. Starsky grabbed a blanket and a pillow from Hutch's bedroom and tried to make his partner more comfortable. Hutch barely stirred during his ministrations, a few muffled words the only sign that he even sensed Starsky's presence.

Starsky lowered himself into the armchair across from Hutch. Leaning his head back, he closed his own eyes. Despite his intention to rest while Hutch was in hospital, he'd found himself unable to sleep much. When he did doze off, it was only to wake in a panic as his dreaming brain kept replaying the image of his partner being picked up and tossed through the air by the speeding car. Starsky felt exhausted. Within minutes, he was asleep.

~oOo~

"Starsky? Hey, Starsky, you awake?"

Starsky groaned, trying to shut out the voice calling him. He tried rolling over but came up against the arm of the chair and jumped up dazedly. "Wha'?" he mumbled. All of a sudden, his brain kicked into gear and he focused his bleary eyes on Hutch, who sat across from him, an embarrassed smile on his face.

"Sorry, Starsky. Man, you must have been as wiped as I was. I could hear you snoring when I woke up. Thought it was an earthquake," Hutch said.

"Yeah, must have nodded off. Sorry, pal, didn't sleep much while you were in the hospital," Starsky replied apologetically. "What do you need?"

Hutch flushed. "Um, I need to go to the bathroom. I can sorta manage but I need some help with my jeans, you know?"

Starsky tried not to laugh. The blush on Hutch's face had spread up to his ears and his eyes were fixed on his feet. "Okay, partner, let's do it, then." He moved to pull Hutch up from the couch and steered him to the bathroom, standing him in front of the toilet. Hoping his shaking fingers didn't betray him, he gradually inched Hutch's zipper down, then stopped, looking up at Hutch, not sure how much help his partner actually wanted. "Uh, Blintz, you want I should... I mean, I don't want to get punched out here but..."

"Oh, for crying out loud, Starsky. I can't bend my arms. Just take it out and point it in the right direction, will ya?" Hutch's voice was full of frustration and embarrassment.

"Yeah, right. Sorry, pal. Just making sure, you know?" Starsky said quietly, one hand going up to massage his friend's tight shoulder. Gently he reached in and pulled Hutch's penis free of his clothing, waiting till Hutch could move his own left hand down to take over for himself. "You right from here, buddy?" he asked.

"Yeah, I'm okay. I'll call you when I'm ready," Hutch replied, his eyes firmly fixed on the wall above Starsky's bent head.

Starsky moved outside the bathroom door, but left it ajar so he'd hear Hutch call when he was finished. He propped himself against the wall and closed his eyes, trying to take calming breaths and push away the sensation of his own groin tightening when he'd held Hutch's cock in his hand. He sighed. It was going to be a long three weeks.

~oOo~

ONE WEEK LATER

The first week had telescoped seamlessly into the next. Starsky had tried to organize a routine for meals, meds, snacks, baths and bathroom stops, plusthe regular rest breaks he tried to enforce with limited success on his partner. Unfortunately, while the routine seemed to work reasonably well, the control Hutch had been forced to relinquish over his own personal space and body made for a singularly grumpy patient. Starsky bit his lip more times than he could count as Hutch's peevishness became more and more pronounced. At the rate they were going Starsky would end up being the poster boy for Masochism 'r' Us.

He watched Hutch sleeping peacefully from his position on the floor next to the bed. He'd taken to sneaking in once he knew his partner was down for the count. Still heavily medicated at night, Hutch tended to fall into a deep, almost unrouseable sleep an hour or so after taking his post- dinner pain pills. Starsky would help him to bed, then go and clean up, waiting a while before going in to sit on the floor, simply watching and thinking.

Occasionally, Hutch would half wake, seemingly in the throes of a nightmare or from the pain of his injuries and Starsky would run his hand through the blond hair, just as he had done when Hutch was first hurt. Hutch always calmed at his touch but Starsky knew the caress stilled him as much as it did Hutch.

Tonight Hutch slept peacefully. The pain was decreasing at last and he was needing to take less medication during the day.Still, Starsky found himself drawn to the bedroom, needing to be close. He knew why. He was just unsure why the feelings he'd had for as long as he'd known Hutch had surged to the surface right now. He'd kept them sublimated so long, that even when he and Hutch touched or hugged he was able to keep any desire out of it. He had to.

He felt as if Hutch was the other half of him. He knew Hutch felt the same way, but that was the friendship, the brotherhood, the partnership. No, Hutch had no idea that Starsky loved him... not just as a partner, a friend, a surrogate brother. But as a soul mate. Starsky had pondered on ways to tell him, but Hutch had seen how upset he'd been at finding out that John Blaine was gay. Starsky had never told him that most of his reaction was because he was petrified that his own bisexuality would be discovered someday and turned against him or worse still, against Hutch.

Besides, Starsky had reasoned, Hutch had never given any indication that he was interested in Starsky 'that way'. Sure, they hugged, and nobody was better at comfort than Hutch when Starsky was hurt, but somehow, he just couldn't see himself going up to his partner and saying, " So, Hutch, that was some great gun battle we just finished up. Oh, by the way, I love you and I've been lusting after your body since we met."

Starsky pulled himself up stiffly from the floor and headed for the couch. He was bone tired and tomorrow was another day.

~oOo~

"Hey, Hutch, up and at 'em. Breakfast is ready. I thought afterwards, we could take a walk along the beach or something. What do ya say, pal? You up for it?" Starsky grasped Hutch's shoulder and shook it firmly, laughing as his partner tried ineffectually to burrow deeper into his pillow.

"God, Starsk, do you always have to be so damn cheerful first thing in the morning?" Hutch grouched, rolling over and letting his eyes open a little.

"Sorry, buddy. Just my natural good humor, I guess. You ready? Let's get you up and out of here," Starsky said brightly. Truth to tell, he felt like death warmed over himself. He'd tossed and turned almost all night. When he'd got up this morning, he'd decided that he and Hutch both needed to get out of the apartment and breathe in some fresh air and sunshine. Hutch loved the beach. Starsky hoped a walk might chase away some of the impatience Hutch had to be feeling at being cooped up for so long.

"Okay, okay, I'm up," Hutch grunted, levering himself up off the bed, accepting Starsky's helping hand with ill hidden bad grace.

Starsky helped him through the morning routine and then packed a bag for the beach and hustled Hutch out to the car.

By the time they arrived the boardwalk was humming with people on skates and bikes or jogging. Others simply sauntered along, enjoying the sunshine. Surfers and bathers bobbed in the sea, families were enjoying picnics on the sand. Starsky glanced sidelong at Hutch as he helped him from the car. His partner was still pale, but the pain lines were gone and there were no dark circles shadowing his eyes.

Hutch noticed the scrutiny and smiled across at him. "Thanks, Starsk. I think I needed this."

"No problem. I think we both did," Starsky said, smiling back, feeling his heart lighten in his chest. He'd do anything to see Hutch smile like that. It made all the aggravation and impatient words of the past week worthwhile.

They took a slow and easy path down the boardwalk towards the pier, neither saying much, content in companionship.

"Starsk, I just wanted to say thanks for looking after me. I know I haven't been the easiest person to get along with the past couple of weeks... I'm sorry. It meant a lot to me that you gave up your time to be here for me," Hutch said quietly.

"Forget it, pal. You've done the same for me," Starsky replied, slinging an arm around Hutch's shoulder.

"Maybe. But I don't think you were ever quite as ungrateful a patient as I've been lately," Hutch said apologetically.

"It's okay, Blintz. That's what partners are for, right?"

"Yeah, guess so. Starsk?" Hutch stopped, pulling Starsky to a halt next to him. He looked into Starsky's eyes.

"What, Hutch?"

"Nah, nothing, forget it. Just... thanks, you know?" Hutch said, his face flushing. "Hey, you wanna go get us some hot dogs?"

"You? Eat hot dogs? Who the hell are you and what have you done with the real Ken Hutchinson?" Starsky asked with a wide grin.

"Just get the dogs, Gordo," Hutch said with a laugh. "I'll wait here for you."

Starsky headed for the hot dog stand and placed the order. While he waited, he turned to keep an eye on Hutch. This had been a good idea. Hutch was calmer than he'd been in weeks. Starsky could feel the tension beginning to leach out of his own muscles, the warm sun replacing it with a kind of relaxed lethargy. It felt good. He turned back to the vendor as he heard his order number called.

"Hey, watch it!" Hutch's voice resounded in Starsky's ears. He spun back around, in time to see his partner, plastered arms swinging wide, get sideswiped by a kid on a skateboard.

"Hutch!" he shouted, breaking into a run, knowing he'd never get there in time.

Hutch seemed to do a tumble in midair, somehow managing to land on his back, both arms held out from his body. Starsky winced at the jolt with which he'd landed and skidded to a halt next to his partner's body, his knees weak as he crouched down.

"Hutch! You okay? Don't move, babe." Starsky's words stuttered out, his hands reaching tremblingly toward his friend.

"Starsk, I'm okay. Take it easy. I'm just a bit winded. Think I twisted my back too. Give me a hand up, will ya?" Hutch smiled up reassuringly into Starsky's pallid face. "Jeez, Starsk, you look worse than I feel. You all right, buddy?"

"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine. Sorry... just took me back, ya know, babe." Starsky reached a hand down and helped Hutch up. His hands were still shaking, his pulse still thundered in his ears.

"Hey, let's forget the hot dogs and just go home, all right, Starsk? My back's killing me. I think I need to climb into a hot bath."

"Sure, Hutch. You positive you don't need to go to the hospital?" Starsky gave his partner a searching look. The casts were intact and Hutch seemed little the worse for wear despite the mishap. Starsky helped him back to the car, then climbed behind the wheel, schooling his jittering heartbeat to calmness, banishing the picture of Hutch flying through the air for the second time in as many weeks, from his head. He took a healing breath then headed back to the apartment.

~oOo~

By the time Starsky helped Hutch out of a hot bath and into the bedroom, his heart had finally slowed to a more normal rate. "How you doin', partner?" he asked, pulling the blankets up to Hutch's chest.

"I keep telling you I'm fine, Starsk. My back's a bit sore, that's all. You could give me a massage, if you want. That'd probably help as much as anything."

Starsky swallowed the lump that had suddenly taken up residence in his throat. "Sure," he husked out, "If you think it'll help. I'll just get some baby oil and towels from the bathroom."

*Shit! Shit! Shit!* Starsky berated himself. *Now what are you gonna do, Einstein? Hope Hutch won't notice when you start sportin' a woody the size of a redwood the minute you touch him? Shit!*

He'd managed to calm himself by the time he got back to the bedroom. He pulled the blankets down to the foot of the bed then helped Hutch turn onto his stomach and began to knead his partner's shoulders and neck.

Hutch moaned appreciatively as Starsky made his way down his spine, his fingers finding knotted muscles and soothing the spasms away.Starsky kept his distance as much as he could. His fingers moved in an unconscious rhythm, fingertips sliding smoothly over the silky skin, as he tried desperately to ignore the growing evidence of his need.His hands moved down over Hutch's thighs and calves to his feet. He gave a few strokes to the underside of Hutch's feet then stopped, frozen, unsure of what to do.

Hutch lay still beneath his hands for a long moment then suddenly flopped over onto his back, his left arm going up to shield his eyes. Starsky gazed down the length of the body in front of him, swallowing convulsively as he saw that Hutch was aroused. He shook himself mentally and moved his hands to Hutch's chest, mirroring the strokes he'd used on his back.

Starsky's breath caught in his throat as his hands trailed down to Hutch's abdomen. He used firm strokes to calm the tense muscles beneath his fingers, then, carefully avoiding the erection that seemed to be begging for his touch, moved down to Hutch's legs.

By the time Starsky finished massaging Hutch's feet, he felt as if he'd been riding a knife edge of arousal. His heart thumped as if it would break through his chest and his cock ached with unresolved passion. Glancing up through his lashes, he saw that Hutch's erection had not diminished either, though Hutch still lay with his arm covering his eyes.

"Hutch?" he whispered, hearing his voice crack. He tried again, forcing the words past a mouth dry with nervousness, "Hutch? Look at me, babe."The arm stayed in place and there was no sign that Hutch had even heard him."Hutch, do you want me to help you with this?" Starsky allowed his hand to creep up to lightly clasp his partner's erection.

Hutch didn't respond, but he didn't move away either. Starsky felt it was a relatively promising sign that his partner hadn't jumped up from the bed and taken his head off yet. Encouraged, he spoke again, keeping his hand where it lay quiescent on Hutch's cock. "Hutch, babe, listen to me. I want to do this for you... for us. But I won't do it unless you tell me it's what you want. And I won't do it unless you look at me and tell me it's what you want."

The plaster clad arm slowly moved away from Hutch's face.

"Hutch?" Starsky whispered.

The blue eyes gazed steadily into his."It's what I want, Starsk," Hutch murmured. "It's what I've always wanted."

"God, Hutch." Starsky climbed onto the bed, blanketing Hutch's body with his. Mindful of the broken arms, he balanced himself on his hands and bent his head to take Hutch's mouth. They kissed for long moments then Starsky pulled back and lovingly traced a finger along his partner's lips. "Tell me this isn't just one of my dreams, Hutch."

"No dream, babe," Hutch said. "Sorry, I can't do much, though."

"We'll manage." Starsky grinned down at him, then he pressed the length of his body against Hutch and gently pressed their cocks together, the action eliciting a groan from both of them. Lifting himself away again, he placed a finger over Hutch's mouth. "Talk later, hey?"

Hutch nodded.

Starsky sat up, straddling his partner's thighs and moved his fingers down Hutch's chest, bending to suck a nipple, his other hand moving down over the firm abdomen, scratching softly through Hutch's pubic hair. He pushed himself to lie between Hutch's outstretched legs, one hand taking possession of the hard cock again, then bending his head he licked up and down the shaft, before taking as much of it into his mouth as he could, alternately sucking and stroking with his tongue.

Hutch moaned at the sensation, his head twisting back and forth on the pillow. He began to buck up into the moist cavern of his lover's mouth, feeling Starsky's hands come up to hold his hips. "Starsk," he gasped, "Stop! Want to come with you!" He groaned as Starsky's mouth released his aching erection, and his partner moved to lie pressed against him again.

Starsky's eyes were almost black with desire. He grasped Hutch's shoulders firmly and began to move up and down against him.Their cocks rubbed together, sliding against each other as precum leaked between their bodies. Their movements became more frantic as they fought to reach completion.

Starsky felt his orgasm curling up from within him, melting through him. He groaned into Hutch's mouth, feeling his lover's body climaxing beneath his own as he came.They rolled over, Hutch still wrapped in his lover's arms.

"You didn't tell me," Hutch whispered.

"Tell you what?"

"How you felt."

"No," Starsky replied quietly. "You didn't tell me either."

"No."

"So, what happens now?" Hutch asked.

"Now? Now, we get you better and then we work out what's best for both of us."

"Together?"

"Always, babe." Starsky placed a gentle kiss on his lover's shoulder. "It'll be okay, Hutch. Might not be easy but we can do it. Me and thee, remember?"

"Starsk, I love you, you know that, don't you?"

"I know, Hutch. I love you too. Try to sleep. We'll be all right. Trust me on this."

Hutch closed his eyes and sank bonelessly into Starsky's embrace. Starsky reached a hand to comb through Hutch's hair, then buried his head in his lover's shoulder and let sleep overtake him.

The End

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