Author:  Rebelcat


Gen or Slash:  Gen

Rating: PG
Category: Ordinary Day, Hutch Angst, post-series
Disclaimer: They ain't mine.
Note:  This little snippet was inspired by Nik Ditty's wonderful story, A Slice of Life.


Another Slice of Life
True love is like a pair of socks:  you gotta have two and they've gotta match. ~Anonymous

Some people say Hutch is a saint.


Ever since that tire iron dented his head, Starsky has stopped creating chaos in the kitchen.  The milk carton must be taken from the refrigerator and placed on the counter.  A glass must be placed next to the milk.  Then he picks up the milk carton again and carefully pours it into the glass.


Starsky is a very tidy roommate.  He never, ever leaves the milk out.


Sometimes Hutch feels warm pride as he watches Starsky proceed methodically through the steps of getting a drink of milk.  This is his buddy.  The miracle man.  They said he’d never come out of the coma, and then they said he’d never talk again.  Walk again.  Feed himself.  Brush his own hair.  Wipe his own ass.


Merciful God in Heaven, Hutch is grateful for that last achievement.


But sometimes...


Sometimes Hutch wishes he could have his old Starsky back.  Messy Starsky.  Bouncy Starsky.  Noisy Starsky.  The one who understood and cared about him.


“Put your socks on,” says Hutch.


Starsky can pour a glass of milk, all by himself.  He takes the socks from Hutch and stares at them, a puzzled frown creasing his face.


The kettle is whistling in the kitchen.  Before he leaves, Hutch says, “Put your socks on.  Make me proud.”


Starsky is sitting on the edge of the bed when Hutch comes back.  The socks are still in his hands and there’s panic in his eyes as he looks up at Hutch.  “I don’t know what to do.”


Starsky can pour a glass of milk.  Hell, he can even tie his own shoes.  But socks continue to defeat him.


If Hutch was really a saint, he’d feel sympathetic right now.


Instead he’s irritated.  “They’re socks, Starsk.  They go on your feet.”


“My feet?”  Starsky leans over and stares at his toes.  Sudden enlightenment brightens his features.  “My sneakers go on my feet.”  He drops the socks.  “Where’s my sneakers?”


If Hutch was really a saint, he wouldn’t now be fighting a sudden urge to burn the damn sneakers.  He has a vision of them going up in flames, right in front of Starsky’s horrified gaze, and it feels good.


Hutch closes his eyes for a moment and counts to ten.  Who needs socks anyway?


He hands Starsky his sneakers and waits while Starsky painstakingly laces them up.


“My feet don’t feel right,” says Starsky, frowning down at his sneakers.


“That’s because you don’t have your socks on,” says Hutch, gritting his teeth.


“Really?” asks Starsky, surprised.  “Why not?”


A saint wouldn’t want to beat his head on the nearest wall, either.


It’s past two by the time they make it down to the Pits for lunch, but Starsky is finally wearing socks.  By current standards, that makes this day a success.


Starsky asks for a beer, but it’s contraindicated for the drugs he’s on.  Hutch tells Huggy to get him a root beer instead.


Starsky scowls.  “I want a beer.”


“Root beer,” says Hutch.  “You love root beer.”


“I hate root beer.”


As Huggy pours their drinks he says to Hutch, “Starsky thinks you exist for no other reason but to torment him.”


“That’s fair,” says Hutch.  “Because I know he exists to torment me.”


He thinks that might just be the truest thing he’s ever said, and for a moment the loneliness is crushing.


But then Starsky’s arm settles over his shoulders.  “I love root beer.”


Startled, Hutch looks up.  Starsky’s grinning, his eyes creased and sparkling with good humor.  He’s raised his mug in a toast.


Once more, Hutch remembers why he’s chosen this life.


And it’s not because he’s a saint.