Title: Wayward Son


Author: Elizabeth Helena


Series: Starsky & Hutch


Rating: R for Restricted or M for Mature, because I’m a cold-hearted B.


Gen or Slash: Didn’t even cross my mind while writing it, and looking it over, I think it could easily be either. Love is love, babe.


Pond Scum Potential: High


Warning: DEATH FIC and no, I’m not talking about Bay City PD uniformed cop #396. This story is about a major, opening credit character being sent to Valhalla. Also, violence, dark thoughts and more than a modicum of self-pity lurk within.


Spoilers: For “Starsky’s Lady,” “Gillian,” “The Plague” and “Sweet Revenge.” Yup, all the feel-good episodes.


Disclaimer: Since I don’t own these characters, I can’t be punished for doing really cruel things to them. Right? Ah well, it wasn’t like I was going to have fun in Purgatory anyway.


Summary: Hutch breaks his promise to Starsky.


Beta: I asked Adrienne because she’s ruthless, and Rebelcat because she’s not. While I’ve given up on achieving enlightenment in this lifetime, I’m still striving for balance.


Dedicated to: Nik Ditty, with apologies for choosing such a violent story to thank her for being such a wonderful beta during previous and current projects. Um, enjoy?


Further Thanks to: Let’s see, this nasty little fic was inspired by some recent discussions on Me & Thee. Also, Ginalin’s story “The List” and CAR’s vid “Wayward Son” both acted as major catalysts, but trust me, both of them were much nicer to the Wubbie than I was. Finally, thanks to Kimberly FDR for letting me know I needed to put flowers in my hair (oh damn, I just gave away how old I am, didn’t I?).


Feedback/Critique: Hey, can't be any worse than my doctor's reaction of prescribing me anti-psychotics after hearing about the plot of this charming tale. I can be reached wondering what he's trying to tell me at elizabeth loves her thesaurus @ hotmail.com (no spaces) or on whatever list this story was posted on (no MDs).


Archiving: Thanks to Elisa Valero and Rebelcat, I now have a home for my Starsky & Hutch fanfic! No longer will readers have to wade through my hot-man-on-alien-sex stories in order to find my S & H gen: http://rebelcat4.tripod.com



“Carry on my wayward son

There'll be peace when you are done

Lay your weary head to rest

Don't you cry no more”

Kansas, “Carry On Wayward Son



Wayward Son



He’d always been a compulsive list maker, whether in his head or on any available scrap of paper. Starsky loved to tease him about that.


The light changed, and Hutch crammed the list back into the glove compartment. There was almost no traffic at one in the morning in this neighbourhood, but he obeyed all of the traffic laws regardless. Two blocks later, he glanced at the open map on the seat beside him before signalling a left turn. Hutch checked the rear view mirror as he rounded the corner, and confirmed that he wasn’t being followed.


Not yet, anyway.


Another turn, and he slowed to ten mph so he could read the numbers on the houses. When he found the address, Hutch pulled the rental car over, and applied the parking brake with more force than necessary. He then checked that he’d reloaded his Magnum, and that he still had extra speedloaders in his jacket's pockets. Satisfied, he climbed out of the car, leaving the keys in the ignition. 


The single story home was dark, lit only by a porch light and the surrounding street lamps. Hutch was accustomed to the slow response times of bureaucracies, both legal and criminal. Nonetheless, he only counted on a short window of opportunity, and approached the front entrance with caution.


Hutch kicked in the door, and automatically took cover before entering. This time, the habit saved his life. The explosion of gunfire didn’t surprise Hutch, he’d counted on the bad guys mobilizing faster than the cops.


Nothing new there.


He listened to determine the gunmen’s positions, then closed his eyes, and took out the porch light with a single shot. In the sudden darkness, Hutch slipped inside and fired twice to his left as he ducked behind a piece of furniture.


A single gun returned fire, and Hutch hoped this was because he’d put the other one out of commission. He kept low, and only discharged his weapon twice, encouraging the remaining gunman to empty his first. When he heard the sound of reloading, Hutch stood, crossed the room and shot the man at point blank range.


Hutch fumbled for a lamp, and switched it on. Squinting, he scanned his surroundings, noting the two bodies on the living room floor in passing. As his eyes adjusted to the light, he reloaded. He then searched the premises, checking each room in turn. 


He found what he was looking for in the back bedroom. Bates, still in his housecoat, was clutching a gun he clearly didn’t know how to use. Hutch ignored it.


“You’re number six,” he said in an even voice, and emptied his Magnum into the man.


Hutch jogged back to the car, aware that lights were now on in most of the neighbouring houses. He didn’t worry about these potential witnesses; San Francisco’s PD knew who he was by now. Nonetheless, he didn’t waste anytime returning to the car and leaving the scene. The last thing he wanted was the police to catch up with him first, and for his blood to end up on a brother cop’s hands.


So much blood. Pouring through the brown leather jacket, through my hands and onto the concrete below.


Hutch jerked his head, banishing the memory. Both hands gripping the steering wheel, he concentrated on eluding the local authorities. Fifteen minutes and several miles later, he parked beside an abandoned building, far from any street lamps.


He released the wheel, and rubbed his cramped hands against his cords. He then reached over and flipped open the glove compartment, and retrieved the computer printouts stuffed inside. By the compartment’s small light bulb, Hutch found a pen and crossed the lawyer’s name off the list of James Gunther’s key associates.


Accomplices in evil. 


He read the next name on the list, and tried to locate the address on his map of San Francisco, but the street names kept blurring. Unable to force his eyes to focus, Hutch allowed them to close.


The sounds of the night closed in on him. He could hear sirens in the distance, an animal digging through a nearby metal trash can, and the creak of leather beside him.


“Aw babe, you promised you wouldn’t do this.”


Hutch grimaced. He had promised.




“We’re not talking about this!” Starsky yelled over his shoulder, reaching the Torino first.


Hutch caught up with him. “We have to, Starsk.”


“No, we don’t!” Starsky climbed into the car and slammed the door before his partner could say another word.


With a sigh, Hutch walked around the Torino to the passenger’s side. He didn’t want to discuss this either. However, his recent brush with the plague had caused him to pull out his will last night, and start making a list of things he needed to do, just in case. Talking to his partner was the first item.


Hutch climbed into the Torino. “Starsky --.”


“What are you tryin’ to do, jinx us?”


This superstitious response made Hutch smile. I should have guessed.


“Seriously Hutch, it’s bad luck to talk about this kind of crap.” Starsky went to start the car, but Hutch grabbed his hand before he could turn the key in the ignition.


“Bad luck is exactly what I’m talking about. How many near misses have we had, how many times has one of us almost been killed? Statistically speaking --.”


“Oh jeez.” Starsky pulled his arm back, breaking Hutch’s hold on him.


“Statistically speaking,” Hutch insisted, “our luck won’t hold forever. It could be a stray bullet during a bust, our cover being blown, a shootout where one of us doesn’t move fast enough . . .” He broke off, the memory of freezing up on his partner when he’d needed cover was still painful.


“Or a bad burrito will get me, or maybe you’ll choke on some desiccated liver and butterfly bones, huh?”


“Fine,” Hutch snapped. “Don’t talk about it.”


“Thank you.” Starsky started the Torino, and checked the rear view mirror.


“Not planning on outliving you anyway.” Hutch muttered under his breath.


The engine cut out. “What the fuck did you just say?”




“Don’t you dare, Hutchinson, you hear me?”


“You didn’t want to talk about it.” Hutch turned his back on him, ignoring how uncomfortable this position was. “So fine, we’re not.”


Starsky yanked him around by his suede jacket, and invaded his space. “You damn well better go on living, or I’ll kick your ass from beyond the grave.”


Hutch tried to pull back from the fury in his partner’s eyes, but there was nowhere for him to retreat.


“Starsk, I --.”

“Don’t you Starsk me! How would you like it if I’d made that kind of decision when Terry died, huh?” Starsky gave him a hard shake for emphasis. “Do you have any idea what it would have done to me if you’d decided to pack it in after Gillian?”


“Starsk, I --.” Memories of Starsky’s relentless babysitting after Gillian’s murder silenced him. He’d been depressed, Hutch recalled, but had his partner feared that he’d been suicidal?


I wasn’t that bad, was I? 


Starsky released him, and hunched over the steering wheel. “My Mom never remarried.” His voice was calmer than before, but just as forceful. “In all these years, she’s never even dated, that’s how much she loved my Dad.”


His intense gaze returned to Hutch. “She taught me that just because death takes someone you love, you don’t turn your back on everyone else who loves you too.” 


But no one else loves me, Hutch thought, and immediately felt ashamed. He knew that Dobey and his family loved him, and Starsky’s mother, as well. Even his parents and sister did, in their own ineffectual way.


But it’s not the same, not even close.


“Promise me, Hutch, that if I happen to go first, you’re not going to -- run off half-cocked and get yourself killed, or nothing stupid like that.” 


Hutch tried to look away, but couldn’t.


“Promise me, Hutch, I mean it.”


He ran a hand through his hair, and surrendered to the inevitable. “I promise, okay?”


Starsky took a deep breath. “Okay then.” He tugged down on his brown leather jacket before adding, “You’re being an idiot, anyway.”


Hutch bristled. “Excuse me?” 


“Fact is, pal of mine, if we don’t die of old age fighting over where to go for lunch, it’ll be side by side, in a blaze of glory. So, as usual, you’re worried for no good reason. Now, let’s get some food, and forget about it, okay?”


Unable to resist, Hutch nodded.


Starsky started up the Torino, and flashed him a grin that dissipated all of the remaining tension. “There’s a great new burrito place I’ve been dying to introduce you to.” He winked to let his partner know that the pun had been intentional.


Hutch rolled his eyes. “Fine, if it’s not enough for you that we risk our lives while on duty, let’s do it going to lunch.”


Starsky gave him an affectionate smack on the arm before pulling the Torino out of the police parking lot.




Hutch stirred, rubbed his eyes, and discovered that his face was wet.


Yes, he was breaking his promise, Hutch argued with his partner’s ghost, but they’d both been wrong. They hadn’t gone out in a blaze of glory like heroes in a western, nor had it been random bad luck that had taken Starsky first. They’d been deliberately targeted by a vindictive old man, ambushed where they should have been safe.


And you left me behind, Starsk. 


Hutch knew he wasn’t being fair, that Starsky hadn’t abandoned him on purpose. Despite massive damage to his internal organs, his partner had hung on for days, before his heart had finally stopped.


He remembered arriving too late by only minutes, seeing the truth in Dobey and Huggy’s expressions before hearing it confirmed by the supervising doctor. The man had seemed genuinely remorseful as he assured them that Starsky had felt nothing by the end.


Well, neither do I, not anymore.


Just over twenty-four hours later, Hutch had entered James Gunther’s office after hours and gunned him down. He knew his partner would have wanted him to arrest the bastard, but he couldn’t face the possibility of Gunther and his cronies getting away with murder again.


I’m sorry, Starsk, but I couldn’t take that risk. Not without you at my side. 


Hutch wiped his face, and reproached himself for giving into exhaustion and overwrought emotions. He couldn’t afford to rest, not yet. Number seven on the list now awaited him, no doubt with more fire power than number six had mustered. He consulted the map, reloaded his Magnum, and slid more speedloaders into his jacket’s pockets.


It wasn’t going out in a blaze of glory, Hutch thought as he started the car. Still, he’d remove as many names as possible from the list of those responsible for his partner’s death, until they took him down.


And then he’d rest. No longer alone.


- end -