December 6th- Roots to Grow by Muckel1470

You can see Hutcherie’s artwork for this story here.

And special thanks to my beta, provencepuss!

Part One


He stared out of the window and observed the snowflakes slowly growing thicker and thicker. It had become colder; frost flowers had formed on the window panes and now sketched an attractive picture against the snow mounting higher and higher outside. Actually, a perfect day, if not, yeah if not…

It had been a terrible last week; only one day longer, and it would have been even worse than it was already. He had run away…as fast as he could…

Like always.

That’s why he had driven more than 2000 miles in two days to find some peace. Some peace in his grandpas’ old hunting lodge in the middle of nowhere. The first half year of his training was over, this was his vacation. Vacation, spare time, Christmas Eve. Time for family, friends, time for memories.

Time to run away… he had run away, away from the annoyance, the constant pressure, disputes, away from the bustle… away from Christmas and his painful memories, like every year.

‘Dear God…you’re 24 years old and you’re still afraid of celebrating Christmas…’

Besides, this year had begun so well. A new start, a new job, to the displeasure of his family. But he knew that he had found the right way for himself.

It was what he wanted to do and nobody would dissuade him from it again. He would struggle through…but, maybe it wasn’t necessary after what had happened two days ago…

‘Why you have to mess up with everybody? Maybe the guy’s even not worth it at all and you risked your job, your future… ‘

‘Because you are who you are and because you can’t be someone else. I expect nothing else from you…’  The small voice in his head answered.

‘Oh yes, of course! Getting myself into the biggest trouble possible, I’m very good at this game, you don’t have to tell me. After all something to be proud of, even…’

‘Isn’t it enough that I’m proud of you? You acted like your instinct told you, as well as I have taught you to do and it was correct.’

‘My instinct… better call it my stubbornness! In two weeks I’ll know if I still have a job and whether you can be proud of me or not.’

‘He’ll realize that he made a mistake. He played with the man’s life and you interfered and you know it was right. Maybe that man would be dead if you hadn’t helped him. He won’t forget this.’

‘Oh please stop talking… I would have saved him and me an amount of trouble, it’s enough… leave me now I’m tired and my hand still hurts so much… please, just leave me alone for a while, okay?’

‘We don’t need to talk anymore… you will see, everything’s fine. You won’t be alone anymore…’

‘But I want to be alone now, so leave me, NOW!’

Tiredly he tripped to his bed, laid down, rolled on his side and pressed his aching hand against chest.

‘I only want to be alone.’

“Hutchinson…what do you think you’re doing there?” The sharp sound of his instructor’s voice made him wince, but he didn’t stop.

“Stop that, at once or I’ll…”

“This man will die unless something is done quickly. So let me do my work and back off, okay?”

Two sky blue eyes stared at the man in the blue tracksuit, full of anger and incomprehension, while he picked up a rope from the ground and draped it over his shoulder.

“The boy there is scared to death, he can’t even make a move. So let me help him and then you can do what ever you want. But first I’ll tell the administrator what happened here…”

“You won’t tell him a thing…or I’ll…” Sergeant Jenkins glared at the blond cadet, but the other man simply stared back evenly with more determination in those sky-blue eyes than Jenkins had ever seen.

“You’ll what? Throw me out of the academy? Do it if you want, it doesn’t matter. I’ll be happy if I’m not part of all this crap here any longer. So is somebody here going to secure me with this rope, or not?”

His glance went around but he didn’t have to wait long before a group of other cadets stepped forward and one of them took the end of the rope. “I’ll secure you Hutchinson, but you are sure you know what you’re doing? Maybe we should wait for the rescue-team…?”

“No time for that Donovan…and yes I know what I’m doing…not the first time I’ve climbed down a rock, believe me. Just make sure you guys hold me tight, okay? And make sure that you don’t slip over the edge, I can’t fly…!”

“We know you’re blonde, Hutchinson so you don’t have to act like a bimbo, okay. You owe us a beer tonight…”

“You got it, promise.” The man smiled, went on his knees and step by step climbed over the ledge.

“Okay…”He shouted down to the form that desperately clung at the rock face. “Don’t move…I’m coming…It’ll take a while so don’t run out of patience.”

The small figure moved slowly its head and tried to look up at him.

“I said don’t move…don’t look up!” Hutchinson growled and looked for a foothold.

“J-Just wanna know who the c-crazy guy is. I’m dead meat…You’ll fall down…don’t come after me…” Came back was the whispered reply.

“No, I won’t fall…take it easy…it’ll be over soon.”

“Easier said t-than done, Blondie…I’ve seen better days…”

“Shut up, will ya’? And don’t you ever call me Blondie, Curlyhead, or I’ll forget all my good intentions and climb up again…Hey…you up there…I need more rope, I’m almost there.” Carefully and one step after the other the cadet climbed down to the scared man. All the time he talked to him, tried to calm him with his voice and encourage him to hold still although he himself was scared down into his bone too.

All this because of a year-end test and false pride.

But today their instructor had irritated them up to their eyeballs, especially the dark-haired Starsky.

Jenkins hated David Starsky, hated the way he did things and how he behaved. Without fail, Starsky said what he thought and didn’t live by the rules of the academy and that pushed Jenkins into a rage. The worst thing was that he was the best in the class in every practical field. Hutchinson didn’t know why, but for some reason he was in awe of him, maybe because he had his own differences with Jenkins too and he didn’t like how Jenkins punished Starsky. Jenkins tried to push Starsky at every possible opportunity and then, when he had found out where his weakness was, he pitilessly used this to his advantage.

And Starsky’s only weakness was heights.

So it happened that their last test before the winter vacations began was to run the barricade course including climbing up a nearly fifty yard high rock.

And Jenkins decided to push the cadets even more by having them do this without wearing a safety rope.

‘That’s why I’m hanging forty yards above the ground. Only because this stubborn mule was too proud to accept his weakness. He would rather fall down the rock and break his neck, than ask anybody for help.’

‘And you’re as stubborn as he is, Hutch.’

‘Yeah…I know Grandpa…oh boy…I’m still talking to a man who’s been dead for over ten years now…’

Hutchinson shook his head to clear his thoughts. A few small stones separated from the rock face and fell down when his feet searched for a new place to brace himself, and his rope dangerously swung back and forth.

‘Concentrate Hutchinson, you will be no good for the boy down there if you fall down now.’

“Hey… you up there…you’re still with me? I’m kind of lonesome here!”

He heard the quiet voice of the man hanging under him. He couldn’t see his face, but he knew from the way Starsky was talking that he was more than only frightened: he was terrified like a little boy and he still wasn’t ready to accept that fact.

“Yeah…got some problems here, but I’m on my way. So tell me…what are you doing here? Couldn’t you find a better place for a picnic?”

The blonde cadet started his comforting chatter to calm down the panicked Starsky and himself.

He heard a soft giggle. “Well, what shall I say…I was looking for a very quiet place. Think I found it…”

“Sure you did…but next time find a place with better room service, okay? You should complain about the service here.”

“Will do…when I have steady ground under my feet again…promise.”

Carefully the dark-haired cadet looked up and met Hutchinson’s eyes. “You’re crazier than I thought…but I can’t tell you how happy I am that you’re so crazy…” A small smile spread across his face, and his dark blue eyes lost their fear for a second. “Think we can make it?”

“Of course…don’t want to pick up your sorry ass from the ground down there and what’s more important…I don’t want to fail in that last audit, you know…so I decided to collect some more points to get an A+…”


“Don’t bite the hand that feeds you…”

“Touché…So…what took you so long?”

“Another Jerk named Jenkins…”

“Oh, Mister Perfect himself…how do we look then?”

“You don’t wanna know…” Hutchinson lifted his head to the top of the rock. “Hey Donovan… I’m with him now. I need some time to secure him with the safety-belt. Hold the rope as still as you can, and when I say up, you lift us up, understand?”

“Yeah, but hurry…it’s not much fun up here!” Donovan shouted back.

“It’s no fun for us down here either.” Hutchinson murmured under his breath and began to wrap the belt around Starsky’s hip. “Okay Starsky…I need some space between you and the rock to get the belt around your body. You’re sticking to the wall like a fly…hey don’t move so much…you’re ticklish or what?”

“N-No… don’t wanna move…don’t wanna fall down…”

Suddenly Starsky clung even harder to the rock wall, incapable of moving even an inch. He pressed his face against the wall and started to tremble uncontrollably. “S-Sorry…can’t…”

“Sssh…Dave…it’s okay…relax, I’m with you now. Let me do all the work, just relax. Everything’s fine.” The blond soothed and put his hand on one of Starsky’s trembling shoulders, meaning to comfort.

However, Starsky winced with the touch, startled, and tried to turn away.

He lost his hold and slipped off.


It was just a whisper, a quiet cry, but it echoed in Hutchinson’s head like a kettledrum.

Later he couldn’t remember exactly what happened after Starsky slid off the wall; all he knew was that suddenly he was holding Starsky’s heavy body in his arms. He dangled on the rope, saw the rock wall coming nearer and nearer and heard the shouts above him.

Both slipped some yards into the depth.

Starsky struggled in his clasp as if he wanted to free himself. Hutchinson tightened his grip around Starsky’s chest; he thought his shoulders would rip out of their sockets. Because of the unexpected movements, he crashed into the wall and let out a shout of pain when his back was smashed into the sharp stones.

Starsky struggled again.

“No…NOOO…don’t wanna fall…DON’T!” He cried out in panic.

“Starsky! Stop fighting me! I won’t let you fall, you hear me? I’m still with you! Just hold still, will ya’?” He whispered. “Dave…please, stop that…”

It took all of his willpower to calm down the man in his grip. He could feel Starsky digging his fingernails into his upper arms, but after a while he somewhat relaxed and stopped struggling.

“That’s better Dave…you’re doing good, it won’t be long until we’re back on the ground, promise. Just keep still, okay?”

Starsky didn’t say a word, but Hutchinson heard his violent breath along with some suppressed moans, and it was obvious that Starsky was still fighting with his demons.

It seemed to Hutchinson as if their rescue lasted hours, but it took only a few minutes before someone pulled him with a jerk over the ledge. Completely exhausted, he remained lying on his back and gasped for air, his eyes closed. He felt someone trying to lift the heavy load from his chest, but his arms and hands were so tense, they had to pry them open by force to relieve him of his burden.

Someone bent over him and slapped his face.

“Hey Hutchinson…you okay? Man, that was the craziest thing I ever saw…You hurt somewhere?”

It was Donovan who talked to him, and it took Hutchinson some time to clear his vision. With a groan he rolled onto his side and leant on one forearm. He saw Starsky lying on the ground beside him, breathing heavily, his eyes wide open, but Hutchinson wasn’t sure if he could see him or not.

“No…no…some bruises on my back…but I think I’m okay…you’ll help me up so I can check on him?”

With clear lack of understanding in his expression, Donovan helped him to his feet, but Hutchinson took a dive to the ground. His legs felt like jelly and trembled so violently, he immediately fell on his knees and a feeling of sickness welled up in him.

“Whoa, whoa… what do you think you’re doing here? We better call an ambulance to check you both out…”

“Don’t need an ambulance…” Hutchinson growled out. “Just wanna see if the guy is alright…” With the help of Donovan he stumbled back to the still motionless Starsky and gathered his head into his lap.

“Starsky…hey Dave…you’re safe now…we made it, you hear me, we made it.” He mumbled and waited for Starsky to react in some way.

A weak smile rushed over the dark-haired man’s face when he finally came around.

“D-Doing…doing fine…what…what took you so long?”

“Let’s wait how he’s doing after I’m done with him. What do you think you were doing, disobeying my orders?”

An angry voice shouted behind Hutchinson and Donovan was pushed aside. Now Jenkins stood beside him, his arms crossed over his chest, his face flushed red with fury and sweat pearls covering his forehead. He looked as if he was ready to explode. He grabbed Hutchinson by his collar, jerked him on his feet again and shook him to and fro.

“I told you to wait but you have to play the hero. What if you had both fallen down, huh? You’re under my command here and you have to do what I tell you to do and nothing more. Have you understood that for once and for all, Cadet Hutchinson? After that stunt I could expel you from the academy…”

Jenkins was a strong man, and he was made even stronger by fury, but he hadn’t calculated on the sudden counter weight of his victim. With a quick body rotation, Hutchinson escaped from Jenkins’ clutch on him; he swung, and his powerful right hook crashed into Jenkins precisely on his chin. Everybody heard the crunching noise when Hutchinson’s fist hit Jenkins’ jawbone.

As if he was stuck by lighting the Sergeant fell to ground and remained lying there without moving. Blood ran down from his mouth and dripped onto the ground. Hutchinson stood in front of him swaying dangerously, he wheezing as if he just had run a marathon. A sharp pain shot through his arm and into his right wrist. He clutched the injured limb against his chest and bit down his pain.

“My grandfather taught me I have to obey the orders of my superiors. But he said nothing about obeying senseless orders. Your order could have killed a man… I… I … thought once I could be proud of being a police officer…but not this way. This is not my way…” He gasped out in a husky voice.

Stunned and unable to do anything, Starsky watched as Hutchinson ran away as if the devil himself were after him, not looking back even once. The other cadets stood there, not knowing what to do next until one of them sprinted back to the academy and called for help. Starsky was still too weak to move a muscle and so he fell back to the ground and stared into the blue sky.

‘Someone has to look after this guy, and that someone’s gotta be me, I guess.’ 

Fir TreePart Two


He didn’t know what woke him up in the first place. Maybe it was the constant throbbing in his hand or maybe the coldness in the lodge or a noise, a noise from somewhere else intruding on his subconscious. But it didn’t matter. His deep dreamless sleep was over, and he curled up in a ball to push back the coldness in the lodge.

‘Should have stocked the fire before falling asleep…it’s cold like a fridge in here.’

He had to have slept longer than he had thought, because it was getting dark, and the burnt down fire in the stove donated only meager light.

Suddenly he heard the strange noise again and it took him some time to work out where it came from.

Someone was at his front door.

With a blanket firmly tied around his shaking body, he got up and shuffled to the door, not sure what to do.

“Someone out there?!”

“Of course! It’s Santa Claus! Open the damn door, I’m freezing!”

“What the hell…” He opened the door and was immediately pushed aside by a colossal big fir tree followed by a frozen and snowy David Starsky.

“Yes, what the hell are you doing here in this wilderness, Hutch? It’s easier to find a needle in a haystack than you!”

Starsky stamped his feet to get the cold out of his limbs and rubbed his hands. “Heaven it’s cold in here! Have you forgotten to pay the electricity bill or what?”

Hutchinson stared at Starsky as if he was a visitor from Mars.

Starsky seemed as if he didn’t expect or even noticed the winter weather. He only wore a leather jacket, jeans and his now totally soaked blue sneakers.

“What… where…why…?” He stammered, over and over again staring first at Starsky and then at the fir tree.

“Your comprehensive vocabulary tells me that you watch Sesame Street regularly!” Starsky grinned broadly. “What about: It’s so nice you are here, please take a seat? Can I offer you some hot tea…”

“Damn it! Shut your mouth!” It slipped out of Hutchinson. “How did you get here? How the heck did you find me? What are you doing here?”

“First: By car. Second: I would like to become a detective sometime, remember? Third: My mother raised me well; she would be disappointed in me if I forgot all my good manners. And before you ask further: I thought it was a good idea!”

Without waiting he pressed the fir tree into Hutchinson’s hand and took off his wet jacket. Then he knelt beside the fireplace, added some of the split wood to the glow, and waited until the weakly glowing embers became a powerful fire again. While he warmed his fingers he looked up and couldn’t keep back from laughing any longer.

“You look good as a Christmas tree holder! Want to hold onto the tree forever? You can let him go. It has a stand!”

Hutchinson rolled his eyes and on command let go of the tree. A thousand thoughts went round in his head, but he suppressed the growing wish to rush towards Starsky and shake him, until he told him why he was there. It didn’t seem to disturb him that Hutchinson still stared at him completely confused, and when he finally noted that it didn’t matter one whit to Starsky, he furiously stamped back to his bed without saying another word and sat down.

Starsky was still crouching before the fireplace and warmed up his stiffly frozen fingers, without letting him out of sight for a moment.

In the end, he got up, went over to the window and looked out.

“Oh boy Hutch, a storm is brewing outside. I’d better fetch the rest of my stuff from the car before it’s snowed in completely. Will you come along and help me?”

Hutchinson lifted his hands in defense.

“Hey stop, wait a moment. What…what the hell are you doing? You drive 2,000 miles straight through America, okay, I don’t know why, but, that was your decision. Now you are here and…and…” Helpless he fumbled for words.

“Correct! And now I want to fetch my stuff from the car! Got a problem with it?!”

“Oh yes! I have a problem with you suddenly standing in front of my door with a fir tree and thinking you can move in with me! I didn’t invite you, so what are you doing here? And please explain it to me so that I can understand it. I’m not in the mood for your crazy jokes, do I make myself clear? And why do you constantly call me ‘Hutch’? That’s not my name! Curlyhead!” Hutchinson ranted; now his voice was so full of anger that even Starsky winced involuntarily.

“What should I call you then?” Starsky barked back, all on edge now.

“What about my first name?!”


“Yes, David Michael Starsky! ‘Kenneth’ or ‘Ken’ if you want. This is my name! Not ‘Blondie’ or ‘Hutch’!” Hutchinson exclaimed triumphantly. “Why don’t you call me Ken?!”

Red faced Starsky stared at him. Now it was his turn to fumble for words. “Because I don’t like to call you something so…” He whispered to himself.


“It’s just…,” he stuttered. “I thought…” His voice failed, and he cleared his throat to give his voice a steady tone again.

“Ah, I thought it would be a good idea to thank the man who risked his life for me.” Starsky whispered and looked firmly in Hutchinson’s eyes. “And I wanted to ask the man why he did such a crazy thing and then disappeared then without a trace. I thought you would do something stupid…”

Hutchinson raised his eyebrows in surprise. “And that would be what? Getting a job in the mountain rescue service?!”

“I give up! Leaving the academy for example…or worse…”

The blond man let out a hoarse laugh. “I don’t think you have to leave. Attacking his instructor is one of the stupidest things a cadet can do and, it doesn’t exactly contribute to the cadet finishing his training successfully! But that isn’t the reason why you drove through half the country, or am I wrong?”

“Uhh…well, I…”

A loud knocking at the door startled both of them.

Questioningly Hutchinson looked at Starsky and got up once more. “Who else have you invited to this party, Starsky? Jenkins maybe?!” He snorted furiously and opened the door, but this time, only a crack. In the darkness he saw a bright red face surrounded by hair that was bathed in sweat.

“Oh thank God… when I saw the car and the light I hoped somebody was here…please open the door, this is an emergency!”

“My quota of emergencies is covered…”

“Please, sir…my wife…she’s out there, please we have to help her.”

Hutchinson quizzically glanced over to Starsky and for some reason–and Starsky didn’t know why–he could understand his silent question.

‘What do you think?!’ He seemed to ask.

Starsky looked through the window. Then he reached instinctively for a frying pan sitting on the range. He hid it behind his back then he stepped beside Hutchinson and nodded silently. ‘Whatever he wants, I’ll watch your back.’

Hutchinson slowly opened the door and the man hurried in. He was as tall as Starsky and was also close to his age. He wore jeans, an absolutely soaked sweatshirt and boots. He shivered with cold although beads of sweat ran in streams down his face, and his fingers were frozen blue.

“I…I…please, my wife urgently needs help…she’s outside…” The man stammered; there was no doubt about it: he was in shock. “Please, you must help me…” He grabbed Hutchinson by his upper arms and tried to pull him with him outdoors.

“Hey man, calm down first!” Reassuringly Starsky laid a hand on the anxious man’s shoulder. “You’re completely frozen, come in first and get warm. What’s your name?” With gentle power he loosened the grip around Hutchinson’s arms, simultaneously throwing a warning look at him.

‘Something is wrong with the guy…’

Almost indiscernibly Hutchinson shook his head.

‘I’ll go with him…’

Starsky’s eyes narrowed to slits. ‘You’re not going anywhere with him…’

‘Then I guess you’ll have to come with me!’

The man had watched their silent dialog; desperately he looked at Starsky and Hutchinson.

“Please, my name is Warren, Jack Warren. Our car broke down a few miles away and we continued on foot, then the weather got worse… Please believe me, please!”

“Okay Jack, calm down, everything’s fine. This is Dave Starsky and I’m Ken Hutchinson, we’re coming with you.” Hutchinson tried to calm down the agitated man again while he reached for his coat. “Starsky, there in the cupboard are flashlights. And get a blanket, I think we’ll need it.” And with a look that brooked no contradiction he added in silence.

‘No discussions now, we talk later.’

Cursing silently Starsky looked for the flashlights and the blanket; he didn’t like the scenario. Something disturbed him, but he couldn’t put a finger on it.

‘Someday your charity will break your neck, but this time I won’t watch idly. You don’t play the hero again!’  

The storm had increased in intensity and the temperatures had fallen below freezing. Three men trudged through the deep snow and scanned the area in the light of the flashlight.

“How long will it take? Where exactly did you leave your wife?” Hutchinson asked and wiped the snow out of his eyes.

“There was a fallen tree…” Jack murmured under his breath. “Wait, yes, there…over there, there it is, it has to be!” He tore the lamp out of Hutchinson’s hand and ran off.

“I hope you’re not yanking our chains, Jack!” Starsky growled quietly and rushed after the man. “The snow will be the last of your problems if we don’t find your wife there…”

Jack had already arrive at the fallen tree and knelt down in the snow. In the light of the flashlight Starsky could make out a doubled up form lying on the ground.

“Mara? Oh thank God we found you! Mara… I found you some help, now we get you out of here! Can you hear me?” Jack raised the head of the woman and shook her gently. “Mara…Honey… please open your eyes…”

The young woman let out a loud groan and murmured something incomprehensible words; her eyes remained closed.

“Jack…” Now Hutchinson too knelt beside him on the ground and felt for the pulse, his expression one of concern for a barely conscious woman. The woman was covered with a coat, but her ice-cold skin and ashen face disturbed him. The fact that her pulse was very weak and very slow alarmed him even more. “Starsky, give me the blanket!” he said in a hurry. “Jack, how long has she been lying here?”

“I…I don’t know…”

“She’s almost frozen to death.” He noticed in shock and wrapped the blanket around the woman.

“Oh God…The baby!”

“What?!” exclaimed Hutchinson and Starsky at the same time.

“She…she’s pregnant!!!”

Horrified, both men glanced at each other and both could read the thoughts of the other.

“Starsky…run! We need water and all blankets you can find. Take Jack with you; he should help you!”

“And you?!”

“I’ll look after Mara…now run!” Hutchinson put the woman’s arm around his shoulder and raised her up.

Starsky nodded wildly and pulled Jack with him back to the cabin.

Their sprint back seemed to last forever and they had almost reached the cottage when Hutchinson suddenly tripped and fell into the snow. Starsky heard a suppressed cry of pain behind him and stopped immediately.

“Damn it!”

“Hutch? Hutch, what’s wrong?” In a split second Starsky was at his side.

“I…I…slipped…can’t hold her anymore! You have to take her!”

“What?! Wait…I…I got her…” Starsky took over carrying the limp body, but had to fight himself not to drop her while Hutchinson fell to his knees in front of him. Groaning he pressed his right arm against his body.

“Go, Starsky, go, I’m okay.” He pressed out with a pain-consumed face.

“Of course you’re okay…Jack, something’s wrong with him, you have to help him, come on now, we have to hurry!”  Starsky urged.

Hutchinson furiously glared at him, but the piercing ache in his hand almost knocked him out and finally he gave up. He nodded in agreement. “Okay …but hurry up.”

Jack grabbed him under his armpits and together they made the last yards to the cabin.

Jack pushed the door open to let Starsky in and followed on his heels, immediately looking for blankets and towels. Carefully Starsky laid the woman down on the bed and Hutchinson started to pull off her shoes and socks. Starsky noticed that he could only use his left hand while he cradled his apparently injured right against his chest. Obviously he was still in pain because he didn’t manage to suppress a soft groan. But instinctively Starsky knew that now was not the right time to talk with him about it.

“Starsk…I need the blankets and what about the water?” Hutchinson asked impatiently.

“Everything’s here…but, the water isn’t hot yet!”

“We don’t need hot water now…Have a look at her hands and feet.” He pointed to the slightly bluish colored extremities. “We have to warm up her hands and feet very carefully, but first with only tepid water to restore the blood circulation. By no means with hot water, that would burn the skin. Jack, take her feet and start to massage them carefully and you Starsky control the water so it doesn’t become too hot. And give me the blankets.”

Carefully he wrapped the blankets around the woman. That was when he saw her extremely rounded belly and let out an audible moan. “Jezz…Jack how far along is she?” he asked hardly audible.

Jack helplessly twitched his shoulders.

“I…I don’t know…she said it wouldn’t be much longer…” Nervously he looked at Hutchinson. “But she won’t have the child now, or?” Desperately he grabbed at Hutchinson’s right forearm.

Hutchinson suppressed a yell. He cradled the limb against his chest, his face suddenly snow-white, and he hit the hand aside, swearing quietly.

“Man, don’t ask me, but I’m afraid your forced march wasn’t the best idea…Starsky help me…we have to warm her up…” He grunted out, still holding his right arm protectively against his chest. Starsky had noticed the little incident.

“Okay, Hutch, that’s enough, I’ve got eyes…It’s obvious that you’re hurt and need a break. So sit down and let me have a look at your arm.” He said in a decisively tone.

Hutchinson looked up. “It’s not that bad, think I sprained it when I slipped in the snow, okay? We’ve got more important things to do right now…so are you gonna help me here or what?”

“I have to…since you’re a little handicapped…”

“Then stop joking and listen to me…”

He explained briefly to Starsky what had to be done, and Starsky was more than a little surprised at Hutchinson knowing exactly what to do. And the concerned look and deep furrows on his friend’s forehead showed him how dangerous the situation was. After what seems like hours of constantly changing the water’s temperature, wrapping towels around Mara’s hands and feet and massaging the cold limbs Hutchinson was satisfied with Mara’s condition although she was still unconscious.

Exhausted he stood up and stumbled to the kitchen corner. With a glance he asked Starsky to join him.

“Okay Starsk… for now she’s fine, but I don’t know how the baby’s doing.” He ascertained with relief and pinched the bridge of his nose. “But my biggest worry is that her water will break and the baby will come right here. When she wakes up, we have to calm her down. Any excitement could be a problem for her or the baby. We should have something ready for her to drink when she wakes up. You can do that? I’ll check and see if I can find a few warm clothes for her.”

“Sure…” Starsky nodded.

‘But we two are not ready yet, Hutchinson…’

The blond man rummaged through the closet while Starsky prepared some hot coffee.

“Hey Dave, Ken…I think she’s coming around!” Jack’s nervous voice caused both men to look up.

“What’s the matter Jack?” Hutchinson sat beside the bed and took Mara’s still cold hand into his.

The woman groaned quietly and started to stir. She turned her head in his direction, opened her eyes and looked at him in confusion. “J-Jack?!”

Hutchinson softly glided his fingers over her face and his tense features changed into a reassuring smile. “No, Mara, I’m Ken, you’re safe now, everything’s fine. How do you feel?” He asked with a soft voice.

“‘M…c-cold…Where am I? My hands hurt a-and my feet…where’s Jack? Where are the others?” She trembled in spite of the blankets and her teeth clattered violently. Searching, she looked around.

“I’m here darling…I’m fine!” Jack bent down to her. “Just relax, you’re safe now!”

“The other men…where are they?”

Starsky and Hutchinson looked at each other, both concerned by Mara’s talking but unsure how to stop her.

“There’re no other men; you must have been dreaming…”

“But Jack…I ran…the baby…the baby, is it all right?”

“Sssh Mara, it’s okay, you don’t have to worry.” Hutchinson said soothingly, and Starsky was fascinated by how quickly Hutchinson managed to calm the excited woman down by using only his gentle voice.

“The baby’s doing fine; you’re the one we’re all worried about. You’re in pain?”

“No-no I don’t think so…just cold…Sorry…tired…” She mumbled and closed her eyes.

“No, no, no Mara, you have to stay awake. “Hutchinson urged and shook her gently. “I know you’re tired, but you have to stay awake for me, here…talk to Jack.” He took Jack by his sleeve and pushed him to Mara’s side. “Talk about your baby, okay and I’ll get you something to drink. But stay awake for me, please.”

“But I’m tired…and urgh…” Suddenly Mara pressed her hands over her belly. “Oh God…the baby…the baby…I…”

“What Mara? What is it?” Hutchinson asked worriedly.

“I…I think…my water….it broke…” Mara gasped out, her eyes full of tears. “Please, no…I don’t want to have the baby now! Don’t, please not now…”

“Let me see, Mara…” Hutchinson soothed. He pushed the covers aside and after some minutes he nodded his head.

“Yes…you’re right your water broke…but that’s not that bad Mara, as long as you’re not in labor we still have 24 hours…

“And then?” Jack asked in a nervous tone.

“We worry about that when we have to!”

“But you’ve got a car outside. Why we don’t drive her to a hospital?”

“You remember the snow storm? No chance, it’s too dangerous. We could get stuck in the snow.”

“But we have to do something! There’re…”

“There’re what?” Starsky asked, suddenly remembering what Mara said when she woke up. “What didn’t you tell us?”

“Can we discuss this later?” Hutchinson hissed quietly and angrily glared at Starsky. “Mara is still too cold. We have to warm her and make her as comfortable as possible. Jack you lift her up and Starsky…we have to change the sheets and her clothes.”

After that was done, Starsky didn’t wait any longer. He stood up and gave Jack a sign to come with him. He saw that Hutchinson also stood up to go to the table to get himself some coffee. But before he could reach the table he swayed dangerously and would have fallen face down to the ground if Starsky wasn’t there to keep him from falling. He doubled over in obvious pain and clutched his right arm into his lap.

“Shit…Starsky…” He grunted out. “Help me up…”

“Hut…ah Ken…what’s wrong with you?” Starsky asked concerned and–counter to what Hutch had asked–used all his strength to keep him down.

“‘S nothing…just my hand…”

“Let me see.” Starsky ordered and tried to grab the hand in question but Hutchinson pulled it away.

“Leave it alone…I told you it’s just sprained.” His voice was muffled. “Just used it too much…”

“When it’s only sprained then it wouldn’t hurt too much to check it out, so let me see. We can do this the easy way or the hard way, so which way do you choose, Hutchinson?” Starsky’s unyielding glance allowed no resistance and with a deep sigh Hutchinson finally gave up and allowed Starsky to get a better look at his injured hand.

“Damn it Hutch…” Starsky barked out when he took the hand into his own and saw the abnormal swelling and the black and blue bruises around the wrist. He immediately remembered the dreadful noise when Hutchinson’s fist had hit Jenkins’ jaw.

Hutchinson glared at him and pulled back his hand. “I told you not to…”

“I don’t care what you told me…you’ve got a broken wrist, that’s what I care about! And you didn’t hurt it when you slipped in the snow, did you? It happened when you hit Jenkins, and that was three days ago! Why didn’t you go to a hospital?”

“Oh back off! Since when you are a doctor, Curlyhead?” Hutchinson hissed out between gritted teeth. “It’s only sprained…”

“Yeah, and reindeers fly…it’s broken and you know it. At sunrise we get you and Mara to a doctor, end of discussion! But till then, you need a splint for that arm…”

“I don’t need a splint, all I need is…”

“No…now you back off! Don’t try to be as pigheaded as I am! I always win this game!” Angrily Starsky looked at Hutchinson, but then his features softened and he crouched down beside him, softening his voice. “So, how about I get us a cold beer?”

Puzzled Hutchinson looked up. “Sorry, what?!”

“I’ve got some canned beer in my car. Hopefully they’re not frozen…”

“I don’t think I can handle a beer now…”

“Sure you can…And then I’ll take care of that hand of yours.” Warningly he raised a hand to bar Hutchinson from saying anything against the plan. “Nope, no discussion about that Hutch. Then you’re gonna tell me about your short guest performance as a doctor, understand?”

Too tired to answer Hutchinson nodded his head yes.

Satisfied Starsky stood up and headed for the door when Hutchinson called him back.


The dark-haired man glanced over his shoulder.



“For what?”

“Uh…for the fir tree! For hanging around with me, you dummy!”

‘Oho…that was not so easy for him…’

“Oh…told you that my mother raised me well!” He glanced at Hutchinson and an amused smile spread over his face. “But tell me…since when did I agree to let you to call me ‘Starsk’? I only allow my friends to call me that!”

The blonde man raised a brow. “Well I think since I allowed you to call me ‘Hutch’!” Ken ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson said in quite tone, glancing back at David Starsky. His eyes sparkled with joy.

Fir TreePart Three


“Be back in a minute!” Starsky laughed, opened the door and stepped into the dark night. The storm intensified and the door shut back in the jamb with a crashing sound.

Tiredly Hutch closed his eyes and leaned his head against the wall. He was still sitting there on the ground, totally drained and too weak to even raise a finger.

But his brain worked overtime. Too much had happened in the last four hours and he had to admit that he was more than a little glad that this curly-haired nut case had suddenly appeared in front of his door.

He couldn’t even begin to explain it, but for some reason ever since Starsky had arrived, he’d enjoyed every minute. He had even begun to like his stupid jokes and was getting used to his mother-henning. It just felt good not to be alone anymore.

He looked at Mara and Jack; it seemed as if Mara finally had fallen asleep; her husband was holding her hand and mumbling soothing words into her ear.

Hutch smiled; maybe he did something right…

With a loud noise, the door slammed open once more and Starsky stepped in, but this time not alone. Three men were following him, and one of them had wrapping an arm around his neck and aiming a gun at Starsky’s head.

“Sorry Hutch.” He pressed out, never letting Hutch out of sight. “Guess I have some company…”

“Shut the fuck up, Curly.” The man barked out and tightened the grip around Starsky’s neck. “Just one word and you’ll eat this bullet! Got that?”

“Got it…” Starsky croaked out and gasped for air.

And before Hutch could react, one of the other men was at his side and holding him at gunpoint, telling him in no uncertain terms not to move even a muscle.

“So, gentlemen… what do we have here?” The man holding Starsky glanced over to the bed noticing Jack and Mara. “The Lady and her Knight! Jack, Jack, Jack…!” Disappointed the man shook his head. “You really found her! Not the best idea you ever had! If you hadn’t found her, she would be safe now. So, any explanations from you about why you ran away? You would have saved yourself a whole heap of trouble if you hadn’t, my friend!”

“I’m not your friend, Steward Mayers. And I would never abandon Mara! What do you want?” Jack asked with an angry voice.

The man who was called Mayers giggled. “You ask me what I want?! You know what I want. Where are the rest of the diamonds?”

“I told you before; I don’t have more diamonds, Mayers. I gave you all I got!”


“I’m not a liar, I told you the truth, Jerry gave me everything he had; ask him if you don’t believe me!”

“Well, I asked him, but unfortunately he also didn’t tell me the truth and I had to punish him…”

“You did what? You mean you killed him?” Jack gasped out in horror.

“Well, he’s dead now…it was an accident…” Mayers shrugged his shoulders. “So I think you don’t want to have an accident too…or maybe Mara!” His smile was as cold as ice. “So, you want to tell me anything, Jack?”

“I can’t tell you something I don’t know…”

“Okay…sorry for interrupting you…”

Mayer turned round at the sound of Hutch’s voice. “Who allowed you to talk? Shut up or we’ll have another accident here!” Mayers threatened Hutch with his gun.

“What if he told you the truth?” Hutch asked in a hurry, clearly aware of the danger they all were in. “As far as I understand, you hired Jack to bring you some diamonds, but some were missing, right?”

Mayers shook his head yes.

“What if Jack told you the truth and Jerry didn’t give him all the diamonds? What if he kept the remaining ones himself?”

Only with effort could Starsky suppress a grin as he understood what Hutch was planning. He tried to make eye contact with him.

‘Damn it Hutch, what you’re planning is dangerous, but go on… You nearly got him.’

Mayers tossed Starsky to the ground and gave the red-haired man beside him a sign to watch him. Mayers rushed over to Hutch and crouched down in front of him, playing with his gun all the time.

“What makes you so sure that Jerry betrayed me, huh?” He glanced at Hutch, his face as hard if it was carved in stone.

“The greed for more?”

Mayers smiled thinly, bent down closer to Hutch and whispered in his ear. “You son of a bitch… He was my brother…”

He jammed his fist into Hutch’s stomach and roared: “Ritchie! Bring me the woman!”

“NOOO!” Starsky cried out. He whirled around, slammed both fists into his guard’s face and rushed towards Jack and Mara. But before he could reach them, the red-haired man recovered from the attack and threw himself on Starsky and started to punch his chest and head.

“Starsky! Don’t!” Hutch cried out under his breath when he saw Starsky go down. He struggled to fight against his captor, but Mayers gave him no chance. Helplessly he had to watch the red-haired man and Ritchie beat the shit out of Starsky. He heard him crying out in pain and saw blood trickling out of his mouth and nose, with more blood running down his left cheek. He fought with all his power, but the blows hit him hard and he doubled over in pain unable to catch his breath. But the worst thing was that all the time Starsky held his gaze, his dark blue eyes fixed on him like a silent prayer not to move.

And that was too much for him.

With all the strength he could muster, he bucked with his whole weight against Mayers, flung him against the wall and rushed towards the other men. He whipped Ritchie around by the collar and kneed him in the gut. Then, like a wild animal he threw himself at the redhead and hammered his fist into his ribs. That was when he heard the sound of a shot.

He looked into Starsky’s shocked face, saw the left side of his shirt was covered in blood. Without even feeling it, he took a couple of steps forward to catch Starsky’s fall, but a murderous blow on the back of his head floored him and before he even had a chance to get back on his feet again, someone from behind grasped his right arm and twisted it up against his back.

The pain was excruciating.

Hutch screamed out in pain, felt bones crushing and he curled up into a ball. As if he was looking through a fog that was becoming thicker and thicker, he saw Starsky lying on the ground in his own blood, his eyes still open. Starsky opened his mouth and with his last attempt before he blacked out Starsky mouthed only one word.


Something exploded in Hutch’s head; he went down like a rag doll and fell into a deep blackness. He didn’t hear the shocked shouts, didn’t notice how Starsky and he were hauled out of the cabin like pieces of meat and thrown into the small tool hut nearby the cabin.

Fir TreePart Four


He felt nothing but coldness. No, scratch that, he felt a constant knocking pain in his head as if a drummer was performing a new, experimental rhythm. He found it hard to open his eyes and was terrified when he noticed that, once he did, he couldn’t see a thing.

‘Okay, calm down, Hutchinson…might be a blackout…no wait, there’s no electricity in the cottage, and you forgot to stock up the fire. That’s the reason why it’s dark.’

Slowly he turned around and noticed that he was not lying in his bed but on the cold ground.

Damn…what the hell…’

He moved to sit up, but the constant knocking in his head morphed into an immense pain, and he nearly blacked out again. With a moan he fell back on the ground trying to remember how he ended up on the ground with the worst headache he ever had.

Like flashbacks, his foggy brain began to remember.

Starsky with a fir tree, the strange man at the door, finding the woman in the snow.


The memory of the curly-haired man immediately made him disregard all the pain in his head.

“Starsk…you’re here? Hey can you hear me?” He croaked out. “Come on…tell me you’re okay…”

He remembered the fight with the three goons. Then a shot and Starsky falling down to the ground, lying in a puddle of blood.

“STARSKY!” He yelled out in panic and started to fumble around on the ground to find him.

His eyes soon got used to the darkness and he saw a body lying on the ground a few feet away from him. Forgetting all his pain he started to crawl over to the unmoving form. That was when he noticed that he was unable to move his right arm that now dangled uselessly at his side.

Don’t have time for this now…Have to help Starsky.

“Starsk…come on, don’t do this to me…I’ll kick your sorry ass all the way back to Los Angeles if you do something stupid now.”

Somehow Hutch managed to crawl over to him and carefully turned him on his back. He winced when he saw Starsky’s whole face was coated in blood. He noticed an ugly laceration on the right side of his temple and ran his fingertips over Starsky’s face, finding an obvious broken left cheek bone.

He went on with his examination, concerned when he found Starsky’s upper body covered with bruises. Running his fingers over his friend’s ribcage, he noticed that at least three ribs were badly bruised if not broken. He found the still bleeding gunshot wound on Starsky’s left side but was relieved that it was only a flesh wound and that the bullet didn’t cause any internal damage. It would hurt like hell and he had to stop the bleeding, but after all that had happened Starsky was alive and that was what mattered most.

Hutch searched for a cloth to stop the bleeding from Starsky’s side. In the dark he couldn’t see much and with his own injuries slowing him down, was a long time before he managed to treat all the wounds. His right arm was still numb and right now Hutch was glad about that fact.

Starsky was still out like a light, not moving a muscle, and even though he was sure that Starsky couldn’t hear him, Hutch talked to him in a low voice constantly while he bandaged his head wound with a bandanna he had found in his hip pocket. He was concerned about Starsky’s cold and ashen face and the coldness in the hut, and as Starsky was wearing nothing more than his sweat shirt, he had to warm him up somehow. And so he dragged the floppy body single handedly to the wall. He slumped down, leant his back against the wall, spread out his legs in a V and gathered Starsky’s body against his chest, wrapping his good arm around the other man’s waist.

“Sorry…Might be not the best idea to move you around like this, but I have no other choice…” Hutch slurred, out of breath. He laid his chin atop Starsky’s head, feeling the slow heartbeat against his own chest. “This is a fine mess we got ourselves into, huh? Not the best idea to run after me! Should have stayed in L.A. you dummy!”

He hugged Starsky even closer. He didn’t know how long he sat there, but after a while he noticed that the man in his arms started to stir; Starsky’s head lolled from side to side and Hutch heard him mumbling incomprehensible words.

Hutch bent over him and looked into the bruised face.

“Hey Curlyhead…time to wake up…come on now, I’d actually really like to hear your awful jokes again…” He encouraged him, gently slapping his uninjured cheek. “I’m kind of lonely here, so wake up and tell me that you’re okay, please!”

Starsky half opened his eyes, his vision still blurry and unfocused. All of a sudden he struggled out of Hutch’s grip and tried to move away from his captor. But before he could climb to his feet, a wave of pain washed over him and he fell down back into Hutch’s lap, crying out in pain.

“Whoa…Starsk…don’t do this…it’s me, Hutch! Don’t move around, you’ve got some nice bumps that don’t need any more trouble. Just lay still and breathe!” He soothed the upset man and held him tight.

Starsky turned his head and stared bewilderedly at Hutch. “Hu-Hutch?” He asked in a husky voice. “W-What…urgh…hell, it hurts!”

“Sure it hurts…”

“Why…why does it hurt?”

“First tell me: what do you remember?”

“Not much…do I have to?”

“Have to know if there’s at least a little part of working brain in that thick skull of yours… You took some awful punches to your head.”


Hutch listened to Starsky’s ragged breaths. “Starsk? You still with me?” he asked concerned.

“Huh?” Starsky’s voice sounded weak and drained.

“No, no, no don’t fall asleep now, you hear me…”

“Asked me if I remember anything…well, I’m still thinking…”

“Can you do it a little bit louder then?”

“If I have to…” Starsky said tiredly and moved around to sit up.

“I should have checked out your ears too…I said don’t move! You’re really beaten up!” Hutch was at the end of his tether.

“I’ve been worse…”

“If you keep moving around you will, right…”

Starsky glared at him and smiled weakly.

“This time you won the ‘stubbornness of the day’ game…So, how do we look?”

“We’re a mess, that’s how we look.”

“Terrific…So what happened?”

Hutch sighed. “You tried to play superman and had a fight with three goons attacking our Christmas Guests!”

“Christmas Guests? Oh…Jack and Mara…so, did I win?”

“You won some broken ribs, a crushed cheek bone and probably a nice concussion. That enough?”

“Sounds like the jackpot to me…these goons still with Jack and Mara?”

“Think so…how do you feel?”

“Like I ran into three goons, shit…” Starsky suppressed a yelp when a burning pain exploded in his left side. A coughing fit caught him by surprise, and he pressed his arms against his aching chest. He grabbed Hutch by his sleeve and groaned out loud. “God…that really hurts…”

“It’s okay Starsk…” Hutch clutched him closer to his chest as if he could ease his pain. “I know it hurts, but the bullet only scratched the skin; it’s only a flesh wound.”

“A bullet? You forget to tell me that small detail…” Starsky spit out through gritted teeth waiting for the pain to pass away. “If it’s only a scratch, then why does it hurt so much?”

“Well, I told you not to move…”

“If you say so…” He felt silent, just lay there in Hutch’s lap and tried to regain some of his strength. He could feel Hutch’s touch and focused on it to help his arching body relaxed. For a minute or two he closed his eyes.

‘Don’t know why, but this guy is good at what he’s doing.’

After a while he turned around to Hutch. “So what do you think, what’s our plan?”

Hutch rolled his eyes. “Surviving this night would be a good plan…”

Starsky looked up at him, not sure if he was joking or not. “You know the goons are still with Jack and Mara?”

“Yeah…” Hutch replied quietly. “But we both are in no shape to perform another stunt right now. Need some time to rest…”

“But we have to help them!” Starsky said emphatically. “I thought you trusted Jack’s part of the story! We don’t have time to waste!”

“We will…Starsk…I just…” For some reason Hutch’s voice trailed off and a weariness greater than he’d ever known crept over him like a wave. He felt the adrenaline rush was over; he began to tremble and suddenly broke out in sweat. He groaned as he felt the coldness climbing up in his bones. And then the numbness in his injured arm was gone and a piercing pain shot through his shoulder and arm.

Starsky noticed the trembling in Hutch’s voice and heard him gasp out in pain.

“Hutch? You okay?”

“I…I…” Hutch slowly slipped to the side and let out a cry. “Starsk…”


Forgetting the pain he was in, Starsky crawled to Hutch’s side as fast as he could, and held the trembling body in his lap. And all of a sudden he remembered Hutch fighting with one of the criminals after he himself was knocked to the ground. And he remembered Hutch’s bloodcurdling scream when Mayers twisted his arm behind his back.

His injured arm.

He noticed Hutch had cradled his arm against his chest and clutched it with his left hand, trying to ride out every new pain wave.

“Easy Hutch, easy…let me see.” He said softly. “I’ll try not to hurt you, just stay with me, okay?”

Feebly Hutch nodded his head and then twitched when Starsky slowly and carefully loosened the grip around his limb with shaking fingers.

“Oh shit Hutch…” It slipped out of his mouth when he finally held the damaged arm in his hand. Gently he ran his fingers over Hutch’s forearm and felt bumps where there shouldn’t be any, the bones moving under his touch. Hutch moaned deeply, tears streaming down his face when he couldn’t hold back his pain any longer.

“Sorry…don’t want to be so wimpy…”

“It’s okay, Hutch…relax…I know it hurts…”

Starsky’s soothing words engulfed him like a warming blanket, and for the first time in years he allowed himself to be weak. His exhausted body slumped against Starsky’s, and he had to close his eyes when a sudden nausea crawled up his throat. He found it hard to think, and he called out for Starsky as if he was his last hope; the lighthouse in the dark.


“I’m here Hutch…” He heard the soft voice again and looked into two dark blue eyes full of grief. “This will hurt…Hutch….but I have to do it. Cry if you need…”

“Do…do what?”

“Have to splint that arm.”

Hutch eyed his arm. “Is it as bad as it feels?”

“Yeah…” Starsky had to swallow when he looked at the deformed arm. “It’s bad. It will hurt like hell, but I’ve got to splint it somehow.  Remember, we talked about it some time ago…”

“T-thought you didn’t remember a thing…” Hutch whispered wearily.

“Only the important things…and that was one of them…so tell me, you got some branches or shelves in this shelter?”

Hutch’s arm waved to the side, and Starsky stumbled to his feet. After a few minutes he found some shelves and an old shirt. He went back to Hutch, knelt beside him and started to shred the shirt into makeshift bandages.

“Looks like you get to play the doctor now…” Hutch said ironically and eyed Starsky with little amusement when he knotted the last piece of cloth into a sling.

“Good point…” Starsky retorted. “How is it that you played the doctor so perfectly not so long ago?”

Hutch let out an exasperated laugh. “You never give up, huh?”

“Yep…one of my best qualities…So, I’m all ears…”

Hutch rolled his eyes again and let out a deep breath.

“Went to medical school for three years, but decided to put an end to it before things became worse…”

“Worse?” Starsky raised his brows. “What’s so bad about being a ‘well-paid’ doctor?”

He held the shelves around Hutch’s arm and began to wrap the bandages around it. Hutch suppressed a cry and turned his head to the side so Starsky couldn’t see some tears streaming down his cheeks.

‘Have to distract you somehow, keep you talking Hutch.’

And as if the man could read Starsky’s thoughts he began to talk in a low voice, first in harsh words, but then he talked his head off, as if someone had pulled a plug out of an overfull sea.

“Seeing all the people you couldn’t help no matter how hard you tried, that was worse. I worked in a social hospital, not the best place in Duluth. A lot of homeless people, criminals. They came into the ER, bloodied, with shattered bones, bullets in their bodies…crying for help and you did everything you could and they died in front of your eyes. I did what I could but it was never enough, I failed more than I won. My father was a doctor in the army. He told me that I wasn’t good enough in what I was doing; I had to work harder and stop being a softy.”

‘I always have to make a conscious decision, but you, you always want to help all people. Help everyone. Then you have to learn to make a choice… Some are not worth helping.’

Argh…Starsk…stop that! God!” Hutch stopped for a minute, holding his breath when the pain in his arm spiked again.

“Almost done…sorry…just…just a second.” Starsky pressed out, fighting with the bandages holding the shelves in place. “So your dad wanted you to be a tough guy?”

“Yeah…Think that was the reason why he forced me to go with him to Vietnam with his unit. To learn to be hard and to save people who are worth it.  But…but I couldn’t do that, I saw so much blood and I… it almost broke my heart that I couldn’t already help the few people in the ER. How should I do it in a country where war ruled? What about the victims, the Vietnamese people?

My father called me a loser. I never could do anything right to him. He said that I was too weak, that I need to be strong, that my Country needs me and I have to learn to get my feelings under control and so on. He was more than mad, but I stayed at home in the hospital.”

He stopped for a while as if the memories were too strong.

‘Oh Blondie, your heart is bigger than the Rocky Mountains. And you’re so damn right with Vietnam…be glad that you were not there! Wonder what your father would tell you when he heard about you caring about a total stranger! You even risked your life to do justice to the demands of your father. But your father called you a Softy, a Loser… And nobody ever told you that you did the right thing and that you’re so damn good in what you’re doing.’

“But you can’t save everyone, Hutch!”

“But I wanted it…”

Hutch sighed deeply and continued.

“But things got worse…I…an addict attacked the ER, wanted some drugs. He had a gun and was shooting around erratically. I was standing beside a nurse; she made a move in my direction and she got hit in the belly. I…I really did everything I could…but she bled to death in my arms…I never forgot the look in her eyes. They were so full of hope; she trusted me, but I couldn’t help her. I had the chance but I failed again, as usual…” Hutch hissed out in pain when Starsky put the now splinted arm into a sling. “Jezz…Starsky that hurts…stop that, please!” He begged, feebly pushing him aside.

“Almost done…just a second…” Hurriedly Starsky adjusted the sling around Hutch’s neck. “What…what happened then, Hutch, huh? Tell me…”

It took Hutch some minutes to catch his breath, but eventually the pain abated and he went on with a husky voice.

“I stopped medical school and took a year of absence. Did some backpacking in Canada, went to Mexico, and saw some wonderful places, but…but all the time I felt…useless. I went back to Duluth, and my father tried to force me to go back to medical school but I couldn’t do it again, I told him that I wanted to leave Duluth and wanted to go to California to do something different. Something where I could help people in a better way…”

“And that was to become a cop?” Starsky asked in amusement. “Let me guess…he was anything but inspired?”

“He threw me out of the house.” Hutch said shortly. “I haven’t spoken to him since that day.”

“Oh…” Starsky kept silent for a moment. “So…why do you want to be a cop? Helping dealers, addicts, hookers before they end up in the morgue?”

“Maybe help them not to end up there in the first place…” Hutch met his eyes. “My father told me the same… ‘You won’t be able to save them! They are losers; they’re not worth helping. You’re too sensitive, and when it becomes difficult you always run away!’ he said, and he was right…I always run away…”

“But before you ran away you played superman and risked your life! You didn’t run away when I needed your help…” Starsky said quietly glancing at him, his deep blue eyes full of understanding. “And you didn’t run away when Jack or Mara needed your help… You did everything you could, you were always there… I saw you fighting with Mayers…without you three people would be dead, it’s that simple!”

“No, it’s not that simple…My father said caring for someone distracts you from your work. Makes it so you can’t focus anymore.”

“So what’s wrong about showing feelings?”

“You’re vulnerable when you do it, and you never know if the people you’re caring about will kick you in the ass some time later.” He whispered.

“Well I don’t know if my useless life is worth enough that you saved it, but it was definitely good that you showed your feelings when you hit Jenkins! And I wouldn’t have kicked your ass unless you had fallen down that rock…And what you performed on Mara…well I guess that wasn’t that bad. So forget the crap about being a Loser and too weak!”

“Well, I broke my wrist when I hit Jenkins, but that was worst of the trouble!” Hutch smiled shyly. “Has anybody told you that you’re a damn good listener?”

Starsky blushed. “Uh no…ah…so how do you feel…what about your arm?” he asked him, trying to change the subject.

“Feels broken, and as you said, hurts like hell…” Hutch looked down at his splinted arm. “You did a good job. Maybe you should become a doctor!”

Starsky shook his head vehemently. “Oh no, thank you, that would be your department! So, what shall we do now? Leave Jack and Mara alone? You were the one who trusted Jack first!”

Starsky climbed to his feet and limped over to the door to find it locked. So he walked over to the small window and looked out.

“And I still think he told Mayers the truth! But now we don’t have to react rashly. There are three goons, well-armed and we’re both hurt. So how do you think we should attack them? Perhaps we can convince them to let us all go…”

“You better come up with something better and very fast.” Starsky cut him of sharply. “We got company. You have got any weapons?” And without waiting for an answer he searched through a rack and found a bolt cutter. He rushed back to Hutch, pressed him to the ground and threw himself beside him.

“Don’t do anything stupid, Starsk…” Hutch murmured.

“Do I ever?!”

“During the last thirty minutes…no.”

“Then it’s time now. We’ve got surprise on our side; just play your part, okay?”

Hutch looked at him in disbelief.

“What part?”

“‘Sleeping Beauty’, dummy.” Starsky explained impatiently. “Now keep quiet, will ya’?”

Fir TreePart Five


The two men heard the door opening; cold wind and snow blew into the shelter, and a shadow fell on them.

“Oh, that’s boring; both sleeping like little babies…okay, no risk no fun. I won’t make it so easy for you!” They heard the red haired man say. “So, it’s time to wake up, Curly!”

He went over to Starsky and started to kick him in his side. He expected a yelp or a groan, but what he didn’t expect was Starsky spinning around, snatching one foot with both hands and twisting it around. With a yelp, Redhead fell to the ground and in a second Starsky jumped to his feet and jammed the bolt cutter over Redhead’s head. The man led out a soft groan and lay without moving.

Breathing heavily Starsky dropped down to his knees, pressing his hand against his left side, his face consumed with pain. “I told you, nobody calls me Curly! I hope we haven’t bored you too much…”

Hutch got up slowly with a groan and looked first at Starsky and then at the unconscious man. “That was the craziest thing I have ever seen… Somehow I’m getting used to your surprises…”

“Then this must have been one of my better days…Let’s see if there’s something useful in his pockets.”

Together they turned the man onto his back and searched his pockets.

“Well look… a gun and a flashlight, everything we need!” Starsky exclaimed enthusiastically. “Come help me, we have to tie him up.”

With the help of the flashlight they tied up the man near a shelf with the rest of the shirt. Hutch stared at the gun in Starsky’s hand.

“Think he wanted to kill us…You have to let off two shots before we go.”

“Yeah, good point. So, any other ideas?”

“We only have a gun. I’ve got a busted arm, and you’ve got a hole in your side and more bumps and bruises than I can count. We’re both in no shape to fight with two kidnappers, right?”

“Told you… we have surprise on our side.” Starsky argued. “And we’ve got us…”

“Oh…Better me than nobody, huh? Glad that I’m your first choice! Sounds like we’re a team for now…”

Starsky’s eyes beamed with joy. “The best choice I’ve ever had. Only me and thee.”

Hutch looked at him puzzled.

“Me and thee, huh? Well that doesn’t sound so bad!” He held out Starsky his hand. “Help me up; I don’t like the idea that Jenkins’s favorite pupil will take all the credit.”

“I bet you don’t. So let’s get out of here!” He wrapped Hutch’s good arm around his shoulder and guided him to the door. Before they left, Starsky fired off two shots and shut the door behind them.

It was still snowing heavily, and the wind blew like a hurricane.

“We have to hurry… If their buddy won’t come back in time they’ll look for him.” Starsky quivered with cold.

Hutch nodded in understanding, and they snuck around the shelter until they stood in front of the cottage.

Starsky went to the corner and carefully looked through the window. After a few seconds he came back.

“Now what?” Hutch whispered. “Storm into the hut, yelling ‘Freeze! Police Cadets!’?”

“Hey, that’s not so bad! Okay, there’s one behind the door and one on the left side.”

“And what about Jack and Mara?”

“They’re alive, but they don’t look so happy. We have to hurry, I’ll will kick the door open, then I go in first. You go high and I’ll go low!”

“Just that simple?”

“Any better ideas? Remember, we have the element of surprise!”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah… I’m curious what Jenkins would think about that type of tactic!”

“He would like it! Okay Hutch…You ready?”

“As ready as I can be… But only use the gun when it’s absolutely necessary. You could hit Jack or Mara. And Starsk…”


“Be careful!”

Hutch’s sky blue eyes looked at him, bright even in the dark, and Starsky could read so much in them, everything he couldn’t put into words. He squeezed Hutch’s shoulder and nodded.

‘Me and thee…’

“On three…one, two…”

THREE!” They both yelled; Starsky kicked the door open, stormed in and threw himself on one of the criminals. They both fell to the ground and began to fight. Hutch saw Mayers whirling around to help his buddy. Knowing that he was in no shape to fight with him, Hutch frantically scanned the room for something to keep him back. He found a wooden stool in the corner, grabbed it and threw it at Mayers.

The stool hit him square on the head and he staggered back.

Hutch knew that this was his only chance. With two long steps, he reached Mayers and threw his whole weight on top of him. The pain that shot through his right arm when they both tumbled to the ground nearly knocked him out. Somehow he managed to stay conscious and tried to pin Mayers to the ground. Again he threw himself on Mayer’s body, but the man was faster and floored Hutch with two hard punches.

Mayers jumped on him, pinned him with one knee to the ground and began to strangle him with his hands. “I told you not to interrupt me, Blondie!” he whispered into Hutch’s ear.

Hutch gasped for air; his vision became blurred and foggy as Mayers pressed harder and harder.

‘Starsk…I need one of your surprises here!’

That was when he heard the sound of two shots.

Starsky’s surprise attack was short lived. Rickie, his combatant, was a few inches taller and much heavier than he was and even his attempt to compensate for it with speed failed. Because the man knew exactly how to hit him effectively, some hard punches to Starsky’s midsection and injured side caused him to buckle to his knees. The gun fell out of his hand and skidded across the ground.

The dark-haired man lay on the ground and lifted his arms protectively over his head to ward off more blows. In a last, desperate attempt, he rammed both feet into the man’s body. But the man only briefly went to ground and was back on his feet seconds later, and all of a sudden he had a gun in his hand. He aimed the gun but instead of one shot, two rang out; Starsky felt a bullet graze his left ear and heard a muffled cry. Rickie abruptly stopped in the middle of his movement. Total astonishment was written in his face. Slowly he turned sideways, grabbing his chest with his hands. Blood gushed out between his fingers, and without a single sound he fell on his knees and then on his side. Completely confused Starsky looked up and saw Jack standing directly in front of him, a gun in his hand.

He swayed dangerously.

“You’ll never hurt anybody again…” He mumbled. He looked at Starsky, his face white as a sheet.

Starsky jumped to his feet, his legs soft like jelly. He took the gun out of Jake’s hand, and then he grabbed him by his shoulders and shook him fiercely. “Jack, Jack, it’s over…hey, can you hear me, you’re okay?”

Jack nodded weakly. “Take care of Mara, okay? I have to look after Hutch…”

He stumbled around the bed and watched in horror as Mayers nearly strangled Hutch to death. At once he aimed his gun, but lowered it again immediately. No, one mindless movement and Hutch suddenly would be the target. Wildly he looked around and found the frying pan still sitting on the range. Without thinking he seized it, ran to the two fighting men and slammed the pan on Mayers’ head as hard as he could.

Later Starsky couldn’t remember how many times he hit the man, but it seemed to be half an eternity before Mayers loosened his grip around Hutch’s throat. He slumped and broke down over Hutch.

Starsky used the last of his strength to shove Mayers aside; panting heavily he slumped down beside Hutch and gathered the slack body in his lap. Anxiously he took Hutch’s head into his hands, staring at the man’s deathly pale face. In panic, he shook Hutch fiercely, hoping to get a reaction.

“Hutch, damn it! Wake up; don’t do this now…You have to wake up! Hutch!” He gasped out in shock. There was no response and Starsky let out a cry of despair.

‘Come on, Davy, think straight…the pulse, search for a pulse and then the breathing, what about his breathing…’

Long forgotten First Aid Knowledge kicked in and his trembling fingers actually found a soft but steady pulse. Hutch’s breathing was present if slow. Starsky sent a quiet prayer heavenward and calmed down a bit. Carefully he patted Hutch’s cheeks and shook him gently.

“Hey Hutch…it’s over. You let me do all the work, now it’s time to wake up. Come on… Hey, I remember you didn’t want me to get all the credit, so open your eyes! Now!”

A shiver ran over Hutch’s body and he started to cough violently. He tried to push Starsky’s hand away but he was too weak, and his hand fell back on his chest. His eyes fluttered open, his gaze wandering unfocused through the room.

“Hey Hutch! Hey look at me!” Starsky led out a deep sigh of relief and glided his hand gently over his face. “You scared me to death! Now relax and breathe, just breathe! Everything is fine!”

Again a coughing fit took Hutch’s breath and Starsky helped him to sit up. After a few minutes Hutch was able to catch his breath and looked into Starsky’s eyes. A small smile appeared on his face. “W-what took you s-so long?”

Starsky led out a laugh. “Hey, that’s my line! Nice of you decided to join me again! How do you feel?”

“Don’t know…you tell me…”

“Oh, you look terrific!”

“So we got t-the bad g-guys?”

“Yeah…we got them. How’s the arm doing?”

“You don’t wanna know…” Hutch moaned quietly; he felt for his hurting arm and closed his eyes for a brief moment. Starsky could see that Hutch was riding out the pain. “S-so you’re okay? I-I heard a shot…”

“Well, I’m glad that you trusted Jack…”

Hutch wrinkled his brows. “Huh?”

“Without him I would be dead meat…”

He gestured with his head to the man lying beside the bed. “He wanted to kill me…”

“Oh…well I’m also glad that I didn’t throw you out. Uninvited guests are sometimes the best thing that can happen to you!”

“Tell me something…Hey, what do you think you’re doing? Lay still!”

Hutch struggled to get up. “Please…need to check on Mara…”

“She’s doing fine…lay still and relax, you’re pretty banged up. I’ll…”

A piercing cry interrupted Starsky.

“Dave…Ken…there’s something wrong.” Jack shouted out worriedly.

“Oh no…please no.” Hutch whispered worriedly. “Help me up Starsk…It’s not over…”

Both men struggled to their feet and staggered to the bed. Hutch sat down beside Mara and one look at her eyes told him that Jack was right; something was wrong.

“I…” In pain, Mara doubled over and pressed both hands onto her belly. “It hurts…it hurts!” she cried out.

Hutch changed concerned looks with Starsky. He pulled the blankets aside, saw the small amount of blood on the sheets and placed a hand on her belly. He swallowed hard then pulled himself together and bent over Mara with a weak smile. “Okay, Mara I hoped we would make it to the hospital, but your baby doesn’t want to wait any longer. It’s coming and we’ll all help you. But you have to help us too. You have any idea if the baby’s coming head first?”

Mara nodded.

“That’s very good…So Jack, you sit behind her and hold her. Mara, bend your knees so I can help you. Starsky…I need your help here!”

“You don’t want me to get you hot water and towels…”

Hutch looked at him irritated. “What? No, not hot water, but I need a knife and a cord to cut the umbilical cord and yes, some towels would be good.”

“You…you don’t want her to have the baby here…” Starsky stuttered nervously and bent down next to him. “You’re no doctor, you can’t do that!”

“But we have no other choice…Remember, I’ve had some practice…”

“Some practice?! You’re kidding?!”

“Do I look like I’m kidding? We don’t have time to discuss it now!”

“But…but I can’t do that…I…”

“You can and you will, Starsk.” Hutch whispered, grabbing his hand. “I know you’re afraid, I’m afraid too. But listen to me and listen very carefully…you can do this… don’t allow the fear to control you. I need you, I need you to be at my side! So please… don’t leave me alone…this…this Me and Thee thing again, okay?” Hutch implored; his sky-blue eyes so full of pleading and determination that a shudder went down Starsky’s back.

‘Please, you have to trust me, as well as I have trusted you. I really need you here.’

Starsky swallowed back an argument and slowly nodded his head. As if he was in a trance, he got up, searched in the kitchen cupboard for a knife, towels and a cord and gave Hutch everything.

“Me and Thee…we’ll get through this, okay?” he said, hardly audible.

Hutch thanked him with a wordless nod and turned back to Mara to give her his full attention.

“It won’t be easy, but I know you’ll make it. It won’t last long, so if you think you have to push then you have to do it even if it hurts. Cry if you need, but don’t forget to breathe okay?”

For the next one and a half hours Starsky thought he was in the ‘Dr. Marcus Welby’ show, and he was sure he would never forget Mara’s terrible screams. It was as if he observed everything through a deep fog; his body was there but his mind was somewhere else. He needed all his willpower not to run away from the scene and was astonished by Hutch’s strength and coolness. Somehow he managed to calm down the excited Mara only by mumbling encouraging words to her, holding her hand and wiping away her tears and sweat.

‘How could your father think you’re a Loser?’

Then all of a sudden Hutch grabbed Starsky’s hands and laid them on Mara’s belly.

“You have to help her now, Starsk…she’s too weak to push, so push now Starsk…push!” He yelled out.

Mara screamed out one more time and then, exhausted, she fell back on the bed and breathed heavily.

“Starsk…need some help here.” Hutch whispered toneless. He didn’t need to say anything more, in a second Starsky was at his side. With wide eyes he stared at the small bloody body that Hutch was holding in his good arm.

“What shall I do?”

“Just hold it….” Hutch laid the baby into his arms, then opened the tiny mouth with his pinky and cleaned it with a corner of a towel, afterward cleaning the baby’s eyes and nose. Then he shook it gently. “Come on now…come on…”

First Starsky heard a small wail and then a strong cry.

He heard Hutch letting out a loud sigh of relief; looking up, and Starsky saw tears swimming in his eyes.

“It’s a boy, Starsk…he’s alive! Mara, Jack, you have a beautiful little boy!” He laughed and cried at the same time. With Starsky’s help he cut the cord, wrapped the baby in a towel and laid the squirming bundle into Mara’s arms. Hutch bent over Mara and ran his fingers over her cheeks wiping away some tears.

“You were wonderful Mara…and you too Jack! You can relax now; your son is fine, just keep him warm, okay?” He said with a quivering voice. “You have a name for the young man?”

Mara and Jack exchanged a look and then Jack said in a quavering voice, “Matthew…I think we’ll call him Matthew…”

Starsky saw Hutch wince, then he stared at Jack and slightly shook his head in obvious surprise. Then he glanced over to Starsky.

“That’s a wonderful name, Jack…” A broad smile flittered across his face. “You know…that was my grandpa’s name…” He croaked out, and tears began to stream freely down his face.

Starsky needed no more words to understand him. And for the first time since he’d met Hutch, he saw him happy.

He saw the little baby in Mara’s arms and all of a sudden he was overwhelmed by his feelings. He needed some time to be alone, wanted to escape and get his feeling under control.

Moaning slightly Starsky stood up and walked to the door. But the sudden movement made him dizzy, and the sharp pain in his side made him wince in pain. He leaned one hand against the nearest wall and, exhausted, laid his head in the crook of his arm. He began to shiver, and Hutch was surprised to hear him sob.

Not sure whether he was in pain or simply wanted some privacy but unable to see him so exhausted and do nothing, Hutch also jumped to his feet and walked over to Starsky.

“Hey Starsk…” He whispered in a comforting tone. He placed a hand on his shoulder and squeezed it tightly. “How are you doing, buddy? You look like you better sit down…”

“I…I’m okay Hutch…just a bit dizzy.” Starsky croaked out, still shivering.

Hutch saw the bloodstain on Starsky’s shirt had become a little bit bigger. “You’re bleeding again, sit down. I have to look at this.”

“It’s nothing…it’s just…”

“You better sit down before you fall down.” Gently Hutch pushed the trembling man to the ground and knelt next to him.

“But you said it’s only a flesh wound! It doesn’t even hurt any more…”

“Yeah, I can see that. But I don’t want you to bleed all over me, so let me do my work!” In a hurry he examined Starsky’s wound, then he pressed another cloth against the wound. “I need your belt to fix the cloth in place. The pressure will stop the bleeding immediately.”

Starsky unbuckled his belt and tied it around his hip. “Satisfied?”

“I’ll be satisfied if you don’t get an infection, but for now…yes.”

Hutch saw the deep furrows on Starsky’s forehead and the tears still streaming down his ghost white face.

Oh boy…don’t play the tough guy here.’

Hutch dropped down beside him and wrapped his good arm around Starsky’s shoulder. His friend closed his eyes and his head lolled to the side. “Relax Starsk…it’s over.” He soothed. “Just let it out…just let it out…”

It was like redemption for Starsky’s soul; he started to cry.

Hutch held him even closer and whispered comforting words into his ear. Calmed and comforted him like a frightened child.

After a while the crying ebbed away and Starsky wiped away some tears.

“Oh boy…That was…that was…I never…” Starsky suppressed a sob, and a small smile spread over his face. “I still can’t believe what we did!”

“Yeah… Thanks to you I did something right…” Hutch mumbled wearily and looked at Starsky. “You were great!”

“Yes…but you did it Hutch! You…”

“No, Starsk, we did it!” Hutch interrupted with force.

Starsky grinned. “Okay, we made it, and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything! Do you think I also have the talent to become a doctor?”

“Oh please!”

“Hey, you said….”

“Yeah, yeah, so what about that beer you offered me a few hours ago? I really could take one now!”

Starsky looked at him with indignation.

“You don’t want me to go out in that blizzard, do you? So what about some coffee?”

“Anything you want Starsk…And one for our newly-wed Christmas Family! I think they can use one too. Hey, wait…” He held onto Starsky’s sleeve.


Hutch stared at him without saying a word; his eyes seemed to scan every inch of his face.

‘Oh Blondie…stop that, will you…’


“So what? What do you want?? You said ‘wait’!”

“Uh…nothing…” He smiled sheepishly. “Ah…I want my coffee black, no sugar…”

A few minutes later Hutch sipped a cup of hot steaming coffee and enjoyed the pleasant warmth spreading throughout his body. Starsky watched him closely, didn’t like his still pale face. So he grabbed another blanket and wrapped it around him. He was worried when Hutch tiredly closed his eyes.

“Hutch? You okay, are you in pain?”

“Yes…I’m okay and well, my arm is killing me.”

“So?” Starsky worriedly raised a brow.

“Just thinking about…”

“About what?”

“What day is it?”

“Uh…Christmas day! Why?”

Hutch chuckled. “I always hated Christmas, never liked the arranged friendliness and solemn ceremony, peace on earth for all and everything…but this was the first Christmas in years that could change my mind.”

“Uh…we were beaten up, we were almost killed, you have a broken arm, I have a shot gun wound in my side, correct me please if I missed something important…”

“We saved the life of two, correction three people. We put three criminals out of action…”

“Oh excuse me, I didn’t mention that…”

“And I learned and found something I never had before…” Hutch’s voice was barely audible now and he was silent for while.

“What Hutch…what did you find?” Starsky asked softly.

“Trust…I learned to trust me and I found trust…I found you, Starsk…”

“Hutch…”Starsky felt a big knot rising in his throat. “I…uh…”

“It’s okay…take it as it is, okay? I can’t explain it, but that’s something I never experienced before. It’s as if I’ve known you my whole life. Sometimes I feel like I know what you’re thinking even when you don’t say anything and strangely enough it doesn’t frighten me.”

Starsky nodded his head in understanding.

“I know what you mean…when I was stuck to that rock wall and nearly fell…I knew that you would never let me fall down Hutch. And that’s why I went after you because I could feel that you needed help…not because of your arm… I saw it in your eyes when you ran away. Fear…” He looked directly into Hutch’s eyes. “Why do you hate Christmas Hutch?”

“My Grandpa died on Christmas Eve… when he died I lost the only one who understood me. Did I tell you he always called me ‘Hutch’ too?

“That’s why you didn’t want me to call you ‘Hutch’?”

Hutch shrugged his shoulders. “Think so…I was so shocked when I heard that name…and it hurts…Well, when Grandpa died my parents removed the decorated Christmas tree, the presents were locked away, and since that day Christmas wasn’t celebrated in my family. It was as if the day was erased from the calendar. I lost Christmas…”

“And now you found it?”

With a knowing smile he pointed with his head in the direction of the bed where Jack and Mara marveled at their newborn son, enjoying their luck in silence.

“I got the best Christmas gift in the world, and I’ll never forget it.”

“Then I don’t wanna know how you celebrate New Year’s Eve…”

Hutch burst out laughing.

“As long as I’m not alone…”

“I was worried about that! But first we have to take Mara and you to a hospital. I don’t like the idea of spending another night here in this cottage.”

“Well, I don’t think we can use one of our cars…”

“Any neighbors?”

“Some miles away, yes…”

“Terrific…Sounds like a long hike…”

“I’m afraid so.”

“Then let’s wait until dawn, and to be honest, I’m a little tired and could use some sleep.”

Hutch grinned broadly. “Too many surprises for one day for you, city boy?”

“Too many Christmas surprises for me I guess, and by the way I’m Jewish! And little Jewish boys need their sleep and sick boys too! So no more surprises for today, promise?”


Hutch snuggled up under his cover and suppressed a yawn. “Hope you don’t snore…And Starsk…”


“Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas Hutch.”

Fir TreePart Six


 The next morning a good friend of Ken Hutchinson’s grandfather, Bob Fuller and his son Daniel were checking their traps and passed Matthew Hutchinson’s hunting lodge. They were more than astonished when they discovered the footprints in the snow. They tried the door, found it unlocked and entered. Their breath faltered when they found two bloodied men lying beside the bed. But what shocked them even more were the woman and the man sleeping on the bed with a newborn child lying between them. Two obviously injured young men also sleeping or unconscious crouched on the ground and one of whom was well known to them.

Daniel immediately ran back to their horses, rode back to their house and called for an ambulances and police while his father took care of the two men and the couple with their baby.

Two hours later all victims were in the care of the hospital. Their body temperature was too low and they were exhausted, but nothing that a good hot meal, a warm bed and some rest couldn’t fix. Mother and child were fine, and the father was beyond proud of his little family. Starsky and Hutch were taken into surgery to stitch up their wounds and set their broken bones, but the doctors were certain that all their injuries would heal without complication. The next day a police officer came and took their statements and told them that Mayers and the red haired man were alive and in custody.

Two days later both were discharged from the hospital; Starsky still limping slightly, a big band aid over his right eyebrow, and Hutch with his right arm in a bulky white cast and resting in a sling. A patrol car drove them back to the station where the men’s cars were waiting. When they got out of the car and walked over to the parking lot, Hutch suddenly stopped. With great astonishment he stared at the car that was parked beside his old brown LTD.

“What on earth is that…please don’t tell me that’s your car…”

“Why? What’s wrong with the car?” Starsky asked surprised.

“It’s red…

“Sure it’s red! It’s a red Torino. What’s your problem?”

“And it has a white stripe…”

“Yep! It’s cool, right?”

“I can’t drive the whole way back to L.A. in that car!”

“Why not?”

“Oh Starsk please…you can’t do that…”

“I can and so can you! Since you can’t drive with that cast on your arm we have to take my car, because I won’t drive that heap you call a vehicle! And since I gave the doctor my word that I’d take care of you the next few days, there’s nothing else you can do about it. Of course you could spend a few more days in the hospital if you like…”

“Shut up, will you? And it’s not a heap…it’s got character…” Hutch grumbled and with obvious dislike he opened the passenger side of the bright red Torino and got in.

“And mine’s a flash for every eye!” Starsky beamed and slid behind the steering wheel.

“Yeah…and I need sunglasses…” Hutch replied dryly. “And before you start thinking about even more ways to torture me…drive me back to L.A. and then you’re free to go, okay?”

“No…not okay! I told you, I gave the doctor my word, and I’m trained to hold my word, so you’re stuck with me, partner!”

“Partner?! Since when are we…”

“Since you were the only one who has the courage to tell me that you don’t like my car and because you’re the only one who will laugh at my bad jokes.” Starsky ascertained soberly.

“That’s all?”

“No…” He turned around and eyed him seriously. “Because I don’t have to hide my feelings in front of you. I can cry if I want, and I’m allowed to be afraid if I want and you don’t make fun of me.  You stay cool when I need to freak out. You tell me what to do. You said ‘Don’t let fear control you’. And I didn’t. I know that I can trust you.”

“It was my Grandpa…” Hutch mumbled.


“That sentence…my Grandpa told it to me when I was a little boy and at first I didn’t understand it. But when I started medical school, every time I thought I couldn’t do it I heard him saying it…and well, it helped me sometimes not to run away!”

“So, then I’ll tell it to you again: ‘Don’t run away!’ When I’m done with my training I want to have you as my partner. So don’t you dare give up your training now. Jenkins won’t dare to suspend you. We’ll make our graduation, together, whether Jenkins likes it or not. Me and Thee?”

For some minutes Hutch only stared at Starsky and tried to get his feelings under control.

Because he knew that Starsky was right.

Me and Thee…

Even if he couldn’t understand it yet, this curly-haired man with the dark blue eyes beside him was a match. They fit like pieces in a puzzle. He never had a friend, a best friend he could tell all his worries and hopes and after only three days this man knew more of him and his life than anyone else in Duluth.

And besides, he felt good about it. Because he knew that he could trust him too.

Me and Thee…

“Hutch…you still there?”

“Yeah…where else would I be?”

“Then you agree?”

“How long do I have to wear this damn cast?”

“Uh…the doctor said something about four or five weeks, why?”

“Well, since I’m right-handed and can’t prepare myself a sandwich or a decent meal and because I don’t want to starve and you’re the reason why I broke my arm, it should be for you a self-evident fact that you have to look after me.”

“I’m the reason? I’m the reason that you’re right-handed? This is the reason why we left-handed are so blessed!”

“Can lefties cook?”


“I asked if you’re blessed enough to cook?”

“You like pizza?”

“Uh…what about some vegetables?”

“Oh veggie pizza is also available!”

“That’s what I’m afraid of…”

“Hey take it easy, buddy; I bet you’ve got a lot of cook books to test, haven’t you? So I’ll take that as a yes!”

A wide grin spread over Hutch’s face. “Well, because I’m very curious and you already knew everything about me, you have to tell me everything about yourself. There’s no way I can work together with a man I know nothing more about other than that he’s a left-hander and Jewish. So we have 2,000 miles to uncover the mystery. All right?”

“2,000 miles is one hell of a damn long way… so be prepared for a damn boring trip!”

“Since I know you I’m prepared for everything but boredom! And don’t forget, New Year’s Eve is in three days. I would prefer not to spend that day somewhere between Duluth and L.A. but comfortably at home with a good meal and a bottle of red wine. So, have you lost your car key or what? ”

“A New Year’s Eve without surprises? I think I have to find myself a new partner…”




And Starsky gunned the engine and a few minutes later the red-striped Torino disappeared in a cloud of dust.

The End…

…or to be continued?

12 thoughts on “December 6th- Roots to Grow by Muckel1470

  1. Thank you so much for this heartfelt journey of a story. I love glimpses into their evolution and their hearts and minds–which you provided so beautifully, and with such touching emotional undercurrent. Your writing is sharp and bright–and the entire story was a lovely and welcome gift. Thank you!

  2. That was great! I needed a Hurt Hutch low self esteem Hutch, savior Starsky, Hurt Starsky, savior Hutch story for Christmas! Thank you!!!

  3. Lovely. Thank you for a wonderful Christmas hurt/comfort/baby joy story. Love the young guys. :-))

  4. Muckel, I’ve copied your story and am looking forward to reading it this weekend. Thank you for your gift!

  5. Hey, what a neat pre-Christmas gift. A nice twist on the usual first time meeting themes. Thanks for sharing it through our advent calendar

  6. “Storm into the hut, yelling ‘Freeze! Police Cadets!’?
    Hee! Love it! Fun, warming story. Thanks for sharing!

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