Author: Rebelcat


Gen or Slash: Slash.  I know, it shocked me too.


Rating: PG – ish.

Category: Humor, Parody, and Hutch thinks it’s Angst.


Disclaimer: They ain’t mine.


Notes: This was written for the 2005 Secret Santa exchange on the Me & Thee list.  The criteria were “slash” (check!), “Hutch” (check!), “older guys” (sorry…), “committed relationship” (sorta kinda…), humor (check!), and tiny angst okay (the angst is indeed tiny).  There could not be any death, torture, or severe unhappiness, and therefore there is no death, no torture and you’ll have to ask Hutch whether he considers the unhappiness severe.  I personally think the story ends on a very upbeat note for him.  The three words I had to use were “Mistletoe”, “Pookie”, and “River”, and they’re all in there!


Beta:  Big thanks go to Nik Ditty for beta-ing this one for me, despite many other Very Important claims on her time.  EH read it over too, because she reads over everything I write, and had some useful and pertinent suggestions as well.  Thanks, guys!


It’s a Twilight Christmas Tale


For Lisa (leeesa22)



THE RAIN spilling from the over-stuffed clouds and running in gravy-brown rivers down the street, Starsky thought, would have been more than enough excuse to stay home on most days.  Add to that the fact that it was Christmas Eve, and the end result was city streets so utterly deserted he couldn’t help but wonder if everyone had disappeared off the face of the planet overnight.


Which would pretty much put him and Hutch out of a job, if that were the case, because there wouldn’t be much call for policing in a depopulated universe.  Vaguely disturbed at that thought, Starsky pulled up in front of Venice Place.


He dashed up the stairs and paused briefly at the top landing to shake the rainwater out of his hair.  Then he banged on his partner’s door.  “C’mon, Hutch!  We got bad guys to catch, and wrongs to right, and fair damsels to molest!”


There was no answer.


Starsky bounced anxiously from one foot to the other.  Unbidden, his subconscious pointed out (in a not particularly subconscious kind of way) that he hadn’t actually seen another living soul since he’d tumbled out of bed that morning.


Swearing fervently that he’d never again let himself fall asleep watching late-night reruns of the Twilight Zone, Starsky knocked harder.  There was no answer.  Frowning – it wasn’t like Hutch to oversleep, after all – he felt along the ledge above the door and retrieved the key.  He let himself into the darkened apartment.


“Hutch?” he called, cautiously.


A voice answered him from the bedroom, the words muffled and indistinct.


Well, at least I’m not alone in the universe…  And he’s conscious!  Definitely a good sign.  Starsky paused at the entrance to the room.  There was a large pile of blankets in the middle of the bed, underneath of which was, presumably, Hutch.  Carefully, Starsky walked across the room and sat down on the edge of the bed.


The pile shuffled to one side, courteously allowing him more room.


“Are you sick?”


One end of the pile shifted in a clear negative.  No.






“Embarrassing rash?”


Emphatic no.


Starsky grimaced, thinking hard.  “Okay buddy, you got to help me out here, because I’m drawing a blank.  What’s wrong?”


One blue eye appeared from beneath the blankets.  “I can’t do it anymore.”


“Do what?” asked Starsky.


“I can’t go out there!”


Oh great, he’s finally cracked.  “It’s okay, I understand,” said Starsky in his most soothing voice.  “I mean we all have bad days and the holiday season is especially stressful for lots of people…”


“Stop that!”  Hutch erupted from beneath the blankets, his blond hair standing on end.  He glared at Starsky.




“I’m not crazy!”


Starsky was doubtful.  Some of this must have shown in his expression, because Hutch abruptly lunged forward and grabbed him by the collar of his jacket.  Starsky flinched as Hutch used his other hand to pat the bandage on Starsky’s neck.  “Tell me how you got this!”


Now he’s got amnesia?  Starsky was beginning to get scared.  “Don’t you remember?  I got snagged on a rusty nail in the warehouse yesterday!”  His rear end still felt bruised from the tetanus shot, given less than lovingly by a nurse with the face and build of a bulldog.


Releasing his grip on the collar, Hutch seized Starsky’s hand and held it up.  He pushed the arm of Starsky’s jacket back to his elbow, exposing the neat line of stitches on the underside of his wrist.  “And this?”


“The nutcase with the knife.”


Hutch pulled up the edge of his own t-shirt, revealing a white bandage attached with surgical tape.  “Want to tell me what this is?”


“You got shot, Hutch. But you’re almost better!”


“Uh huh, and how’s your ankle?”


“It’s a little sore, but I put the tension bandage on it today, so…”


“Why did we stop keeping all our old casts as souvenirs?”


“Because we had too many,” said Starsky, bewildered.


“And why did the nurses put our names on the door of room 114 at Memorial?”


“I guess because we keep coming back?”


“Every week, Starsk.  Every week!” Hutch snapped.  “We’ve spent so much time in the hospital, my mailman won’t deliver to my house anymore.  He says it’s more convenient to just drop it off at Memorial’s admitting desk.”  He patted Starsky’s leg.  “Do you know how many bones you’ve broken?”


Starsky opened his mouth to answer, and then paused.  Now that he thought about it, he realized that he wasn’t sure.  “Um…”


“How many times have you been shot?”


Wasn’t this the sort of thing a person should know?  Starsky looked at his fingers and tried to count back.


Hutch wasn’t prepared to wait for him to come up with an estimate.  “Do you know what’s going to happen to us, if we go out there today?”


Starsky was beginning to get an idea of where Hutch was going with this, but he still shook his head.


Hutch leaned forward, his gaze intense.  “One of us is going to get hurt.  Badly.  And the other one, assuming he doesn’t get hurt too, will have to rescue him.  Someone’s going to almost, but not quite, die.  And once again, for the umpteenth time, you and I will realize how incredibly important we are to each other.  There’ll be lots of comfort, and lots of hugging, and maybe we’ll even discover our secret love for each other.”


“Well, I do like the hugging--”  Starsky stopped.  “Whoa!  Our secret love?  We don’t have a secret love!”


“That’s because almost every time it happens, it’s the first time.  It just hasn’t happened yet today.”


“Huh.”  Starsky was nonplussed.  If Hutch says so, then it must be true…


“And that’s why I’m staying in bed today!”  Hutch tossed the blankets back over his head, turning once more into an anonymous pile of bedclothes.


Starsky thought he felt a slight rumble.  Probably it was just his stomach…  Anyway, he had bigger issues to consider.  “Hutch, are you saying that every time we have sex, it’s the first time we’ve ever had sex?  With each other, I mean?”


Hutch’s voice was muffled, but clear.  “Isn’t that what I just said?”


“Well, geez!  That sucks!” exclaimed Starsky.




Starsky paused, almost derailed by the comment.  “I mean, first times are always crummy.  You fumble and you don’t know what the other person likes and sometimes…  Well, sometimes things just don’t last as long as you want them to.”


“…says the man with the refractory period of a sex-starved jackrabbit…”


Before Starsky could decide whether or not he even wanted to protest that characterization of his sexual prowess, another rumble shook the bed, stronger this time.  He glanced at the water glass by the side of the bed and saw ripples form.


“Uh… Hutch?”




“You know how you’ve been saying that whenever we go out we get hurt?”


An indistinct sound of acknowledgement came from under the pile.


“Well, what about all the times we’ve got ourselves hurt right here?  I’m not talking about people breaking in and hurting us, although that…does…happen.”  Starsky glanced warily at the window, then shook his head and continued.  “No, I mean all the other stuff.  Like when you sliced your wrist open on that can, or when I fell in your shower and gave myself a concussion, or when you broke your ankle falling off the step ladder last Christmas…”


“Nothing’s happened to me in my bed yet!”


“Except for that time you were raped by Satanists.”


Starsky thought he heard a whimper, and he patted the heap of blankets sympathetically.  He was aiming for Hutch’s shoulder, but it occurred to him that he couldn’t really tell at the moment.  Well, any other part of the man’s body would likely do just as well.


“Aw, c’mon buddy,” said Starsky, jumping to his feet.  “You know you’re no safer in bed than you are anywhere else, so you might as well get up and face the day like a man.”


Hutch pushed himself up from under the blankets with a groan.  “Do I have to?” he asked, as he swung his legs over the edge of the bed.


Starsky snapped his fingers, encouragingly.  “C’mon!  Let’s go take a shower, and… and… I know!  We can count our scars.  I’ll do yours, if you do mine.”


A panicked expression crossed Hutch’s face. Starsky dropped onto his heels and grabbed Hutch’s knees before he could dive back under the blankets again.  “I’m kidding!”  He tilted his head back, grinning, and met Hutch’s suspicious gaze.  “Although, you know, someday we might want to try skipping all the hurt and cut straight to the comfort.”


A low rumble started somewhere deep in the ground beneath them, quickly intensifying to a full blown earthquake.  The floor began to buckle, and the windows cracked.  As a large chunk of plaster fell from the ceiling in the corner of the room, Hutch said sadly, “I think I’m going to have to take a rain check on that one, buddy.”




The feeling of consciousness reluctantly returning was a familiar sensation.  How many times have I done this, wondered Starsky, as he groped his way back into the waking world.


That thought was not a good one.  It brought with it memories of pain and blood, anguish, shots fired, officer down…


“Stop that!”


Starsky’s eyes flew open.  Hutch’s face was about three inches away, and he didn’t look happy.  Actually, considering that he was lit from beneath by the flashlight in his hand, he looked downright terrifying.  “Eep,” said Starsky.


“No flashbacks!” said Hutch, sternly.  “Not today.  I can’t cope!”


Fright was instantly replaced with hurt and outrage.  “But, Hutch!” whined Starsky.  “I can’t stop a flashback just because you told me to!”


“You just did.”  Hutch’s flashlight flickered and he smacked the bottom of it with the palm of his hand.  The light steadied.


Starsky stopped in mid protest.  His jaw snapped shut and he stared at Hutch, astonished.  Then he looked around himself, taking in their surroundings for the first time.  The ceiling had come down on one side, trapping them in a corner of Hutch’s bedroom.  There were a number of heavy beams over their heads, and as Starsky stared they groaned ominously and dust trickled down in a thin stream.  Somewhere above, he could hear the rain continuing to pour down from the sky.


It was obvious that any attempt to dig themselves out would bring the whole unsteady structure crashing down on their heads.


Trapped in an earthquake.  Trapped in an earthquake in the rain and…I didn’t have a flashback.


Starsky abruptly pushed himself upright, ignoring the unsteady way the world spun around him.  “Hutch!  I didn’t have a flashback!”  He blinked, and rubbed the back of his head.  “Do you know what this means?”


It was hard to tell in the unsteady light of the flashlight, but Starsky thought he saw comprehension in Hutch’s face.  He pushed ahead.  “You were saying that every time we go out, we get hurt.  And I think maybe you’re right...”  Starsky paused.  Either that or they were both insane.  He gave a quick mental shrug, dismissed the notion as irrelevant, and continued.   “Before we never noticed, but now we have.  And that means we might be able to change the way this story goes.”


“Step off the path…” said Hutch, thoughtfully.


“And shoot that wolf dead before he even gets to grandma’s house in the first place!”


There was a pause.  “You’re really weird,” said Hutch, finally.


“Yeah, and you should move out from under that beam before it falls on your head.”


Hutch looked up.  “What beam?”


Starsky grabbed the front of Hutch’s t-shirt.  He threw himself backward, dragging Hutch with him, just as the beam in question came crashing down in a roar of fractured drywall and rubble.


When the dust finally settled, Starsky discovered himself on his back with Hutch lying on his chest.  Hutch had his face buried in Starsky’s shoulder and was coughing helplessly.  Starsky started to rub his back and then felt something damp trickle down his neck.  “Hutch!  You’re drooling on me, get off!”  He pushed ineffectively at the 185 pounds of partner pinning him to the floor.


He heard a muffled apology, and the head shifted off his shoulder as Hutch continued to cough up the dust in his lungs.  Eventually Hutch’s back stopped shaking and they lay there together for a little while, simply breathing and appreciating the fact that they were still alive.


Together.  Alive.


Appreciating the aliveness of it all.


Really, really appreciating.


Starsky cleared his throat, pointedly.


Hutch froze.  “Sorry…” his voice cracked a register.  “Um, sorry about that.”


“It’s not that it wouldn’t be fun,” said Starsky, kindly.  “But we really need to stay focused right now, and I can’t do that if you’re going to try and hump me.”


Hutch rolled off of him.  Starsky heard him moving, no doubt trying to find a comfortable place to lie on the broken ground, and then he lay still in the dark, breathing deeply.  Starsky could almost hear Hutch counting to himself - in, hold-two-three, out, let your diaphragm expand, repeat.


After several minutes, Starsky asked, “Better?”


He heard a non-committal sound.  It was followed a moment later by something that might have been a sob.  “I wish I was a kid again.  Nothing too bad ever happens to kids,” said Hutch, miserably.


“Or dogs,” said Starsky.


“Right.”  Hutch’s hand landed on Starsky’s stomach, reaching out for comfort in the dark.


“Kids and dogs…”  Starsky patted his hand.


“And little old ladies,” added Hutch.


“Unless, they’re evil.”  Starsky paused a moment, deeply disturbed by the thought of evil little old ladies.  “Girlfriends are pretty much toast, though.”


“Maybe that’s why we always end up with each other?”  Hutch’s hand slipped lower.


“I said, stop that!” snapped Starsky.


The hand was withdrawn immediately.  “Sorry.”


Starsky cleared his throat and shifted position.  Because the rocks under his back were uncomfortable.  Certainly not for any other reason.


His hip bumped up against something cylindrical and he reached down to feel the cool smooth metal of the flashlight.  Picking it up, he tried the button.  Nothing.  He gave it a shake and heard the batteries rattle.  Tightening the head, he was rewarded with a flicker of startlingly bright light.  The cover was broken, but the bulb was still intact.


“Let’s talk about goals,” said Starsky.  “What’s our number one goal?”


It took Hutch a moment to answer.  He said, “To get out of here.”


“Think bigger.”


“Get out of here without seriously injuring ourselves.  Because I don’t want to spend another Christmas in the hospital.”


Starsky chuckled, and watched the beam of the flashlight play across the top of their cave.  “The nurses will be disappointed.  I hear they’ve specially decorated our room.  Shoot, the cafeteria’s probably already heating up the Christmas goose for us.”


“Just what I need,” said Hutch, sourly.  “Food poisoning.  Again.”


“So, our goal is to get out of here and make a whole lot of nurses very unhappy by standing them up for Christmas.”


“How’s your head?”


“Hard as a rock.”  Starsky batted Hutch’s hand away from his temple.  “Let’s look at what we know.  We’re trapped in our house…”


My house.”


“Right.  Your house.  And there’s been an earthquake.  And it’s raining.”  Starsky pursed his lips thoughtfully.  “Could be worse.”




“Well, first off, there’s no one trying to kill us…at the moment.”


“That we know of,” said Hutch, gloom weighing down his voice.


Starsky made a dismissive noise.  What was the point of worrying about things that haven’t happened yet?  “All we have to do is sit tight, and eventually we’ll get rescued.  Hutch, you’re the guy who seems to have all this mapped out.  What comes after the rescue?” 


There was a long silence.  Finally, Hutch said, “The sex.”


“You wish!”  Starsky had grown bored with examining the ceiling.  He sat up and began moving the beam of the flashlight across the floor.  Rubble, rubble, broken board, rubble…  “Maybe this isn’t that kind of story.  Maybe this is the kind without any sex, just hugging.  Because, you know, I do like the hugging…”


“Pookie!” exclaimed Hutch.




“Not you, dummy!”  Hutch scrambled forward a couple feet in the cramped space.  “Shine that light over here.”


Starsky obliged and a moment later Hutch gave an exclamation of triumph.  He held up something that looked very much like a handful of mud.  “Pookie!”


“What’s that?”


“This is Pookie.  She’s an African violet.  I can’t believe she survived…”


“I can’t believe you call that survival.”


“Her pot was smashed.  Here, give me that flashlight.  Maybe we can find something else to put her in…”


“Hutch, we’re not moving in down here!” protested Starsky, as he handed over the light.


Hutch sat back on his heels, and regarded him seriously.  “It might be safer.  No guns, no knives, no medieval instruments of torture…”


“Nah, eventually it’d all cave in.”  As if in illustration, another beam shifted, and dust cascaded down the side of their enclosure.  In the distance, over the hiss and shush of the rain, Starsky thought he could hear sirens.


“And kill us.  Again,” said Hutch.


“What?”  Starsky wasn’t following.


“Nothing.  Never mind.  Look, are you going to help me find something to put this plant in, or not?”


Obediently, Starsky started to search, but a scrap of crumpled paper derailed him almost immediately.  He eased it carefully out from under a brick.  “Hutch, gimme that flashlight back.”  As soon as he had the light in hand, he held up the torn scrap, confirming his earlier suspicion.  Without thinking, he exclaimed, “Hey, it’s my letter to Santa!  How did it get here?”


Starsky knew the moment he spoke that he’d made a serious mistake.


“Why would you write a letter to Santa?” asked Hutch, sounding incredulous.  “It’s not like anyone believes in him.”


Starsky didn’t answer immediately.  He considered his options, and finally decided the hell with it.  “Actually,” he said, with as much dignity as he could muster.  “I do.”


“Do what?”


“I do believe in Santa Claus.”  Starsky was glad it was dark.  He kept the beam of the flashlight focused on the far corner, just as if he might still be looking for a pot for “Pookie”.


He heard a funny sort of choke from Hutch.  “No one over nine believes in Santa Claus.  You’re putting me on.”


Starsky didn’t answer.


Hutch started laughing.  “So…what?  Did you go down to the mall and sit on Santa’s knee?  Tell him you’d been a good boy this year, and ask him for a present?”


The man names a plant “Pookie,” and he’s laughing at me?  Sulkily, Starsky said, “You mean a present like that train you never bought for me?”


“You got me an ant-farm!” protested Hutch, outrage in his voice.




“So, you have any idea how many times I’ve had to make up for giving you a tree – a very nice tree, I might add – and you have never, once, apologized for buying me an ant farm?”  Hutch was shouting now.


“Ant farms are cool!” snapped Starsky.  He meant it.  He’d spent many a Christmas Eve hoping to find one under his own tree in the morning.


Hutch’s voice dropped abruptly and he bit off each syllable, as he said, “They escaped.”


“Yeah well, that wasn’t my fault.”


“Actually, it was.”


Starsky paused as a vague memory tugged at the back of his mind.  “Oh, yeah…”


Before Hutch could press his advantage in their argument, there was another alarming shift in the beams, and rainwater began to run down the remaining wall of Hutch’s apartment.  A familiar, deep, voice called out, “Starsky!  Hutchinson!  Are you in there?”


Starsky laughed. “Hey, it’s Dobey!”  He threw his head back and bellowed as loudly as he could, “Cap!  In here!”


Dobey’s voice drifted back.  “Who’s hurt, and how badly?”


“No one’s hurt!  We’re fine!”  Starsky choked on the last words, and had to cough a few times to clear his throat.  “Damn dust.”


“Really?”  Oddly, Dobey sounded doubtful.  “Any flashbacks?”




“How’s your claustrophobia?”


Starsky felt a queasy sensation start up in his stomach, but he squelched it firmly.  “No worries at all!  Hutch is planting us a garden in here!”


“Yeah, how about Hutchinson?  Any crippling anxiety attacks?  Unfounded guilt issues?”


Hutch answered this one himself.  “No, sir.”


There was a long pause, and then Dobey’s voice seemed to hush slightly as if he didn’t want to be overheard.  “Ah… do you two need a moment to get your pants back on?”


This time they answered in chorus.  “NO!”




Starsky adjusted the position of the last pot.  Outside the rain continued to fall, and inside the patter of water into various kitchen containers provided a counterpoint of sound.  His apartment at 2000 Ridgeway had survived the quake mostly unscathed, but the roof was no longer watertight.


It was a small thing.  Dobey, out of consideration for the fact that they had (once again) almost been killed, had given them the rest of Christmas Eve and all of Christmas Day off.  Crossing the room, Starsky joined Hutch on the couch and leaned back to admire the unlit tree.  There was no star this year, because they had stopped decorating halfway up.  No one was going to fall off a stepladder or chair this year.  He leaned forward and retrieved his cup of lukewarm (non-scalding) cocoa.


Pookie was sitting in a new pot on the coffee table, looking very much the worse for wear.  Starsky wondered if African violets could survive on only two and a half leaves.


Well, if it was even remotely possible, Hutch would manage it somehow.


Starsky surveyed all this and then heaved a deep sigh of contentment.  “We did it.”


Immediately, Hutch clapped his hand over Starsky’s mouth.  “Sssh!  They’ll hear you!”


Starsky shook him off, grinning.  “Nah, it’s okay.  We’re safe.  At least until midnight tomorrow…  And maybe even the day after that, if Santa believes in Boxing Day.”


“What’s Boxing Day?”  Hutch shook his head.  “No wait, never mind that.  What does Santa have to do with all this?”


Starsky put his cup back down on the table next to Pookie.  Turning, he retrieved his jacket from the arm of the couch.  A little dust puffed up into the air, as he pulled a piece of paper from the pocket.  “Just keep in mind that I was thinking about all the Christmases we’ve been having lately.  How, you know, if one of us isn’t being shot or tortured, then we’re electrocuting ourselves hanging lights, or stabbing ourselves with mistletoe.”


Hutch nodded.


Starsky carefully unfolded the paper, and cleared his throat.  He read aloud, “Dear Santa, This year, could you make it so that Hutch and me can have a nice quiet Christmas at my place together?  And no one gets hurt?  Love, Dave.”  He looked up expectantly at Hutch, but found only incomprehension in his friend’s face.


“Don’t you see?” asked Starsky.  “He delivered!”


“Starsky, my apartment was destroyed in an earthquake!”


Starsky refolded the letter.  “I’m still wondering what you did to deserve that much coal in your stocking.”  Tossing the letter onto the coffee table, he added, “But I wouldn’t worry too much.  I have a feeling everything will be back to normal by tomorrow.”


“Normal.”  Hutch’s expression was a study in tragedy.


“We’ll think it’s normal, anyway.”


Starsky wouldn’t have thought it was possible, but somehow Hutch managed to look even sadder than before.


“Aw, c’mere you big beautiful blond, you!”  Starsky grabbed Hutch and pulled him into an embrace.  “So what if Santa didn’t bring you anything?  I’ve got a present for you, and you haven’t even tried to unwrap it yet!”


“It’s wrapped?”  Confused, Hutch pulled away and looked around the living room, clearly expecting to see a present sitting somewhere.


Starsky leaned back on the arm of the couch and gave him a slow smile.  “Does denim count?”  As Hutch turned towards him with a look of dawning wonder, he added, “You’ll forgive me if I forgot the bow.”


Just before their lips met, Hutch said, “We’ll tie it on you after.”