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THE MEETING

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David Starsky was walking down the hallway at the academy after his last class. His head pounded with all the information that had been thrown at him during the day, and this was just the first day. He hoped that his decision to try and become a cop wasn't going to be the biggest mistake of his life.

As he rounded the corner, he bumped into one of his fellow classmates, Ken Hutchinson. He looked up into eyes the color of a cloudless, summer sky and hair the color of summer wheat. He felt something spread through his body that reminded him of the warmth of the summer sun. Ken Hutchinson, or Hutch to his friends, looked into eyes the color of a starless, midnight sky and dark curly hair. He felt something stirring inside, something he had never felt before.

The two of them soon became friends and then partners. Over the years, they became so close that there were times that they didn't need words, just a look or a touch to say "I'm here." "I found you." "You're safe."

Then came that fateful day in May that left Starsky fighting for his life and Hutch fighting to keep his emotions under control long enough to investigate the crime and arrest the person responsible for shooting his partner.

Three months later, Hutch walked into the hospital with a huge smile on his face. He was there to take Starsky home. He helped the nurse get Starsky settled in his car and drove to the house he had bought during Starsky's recovery.

The house was a single level ranch near the beach. The outside was white with blue trim. The front porch ran the length of the house. The front door opened to the living room. To the left of the living room was the dining room. Beyond the dining room was a kitchen complete with a breakfast nook. To the right of the living room was a hallway. Off this hallway were two bedrooms and a bathroom. One of the bedrooms had a connecting bathroom.

When they got to the house, Hutch helped Starsky inside the house and over to the couch. After getting him settled, Hutch went into the kitchen and fixed the two of them an early supper. After supper, he sat down on the opposite end of the couch. He said, "While you were in the hospital, I realized several things. First, although I don't know exactly when it happened, my feelings for you have grown way beyond friendship. I will admit, I've been afraid to tell you how I felt because your friendship is so important to me. But I also realized that you have to tell the one person that is the most important to you, just how important they are to you today because you may not get a chance to say it tomorrow." He paused and took a deep breath then continued, "David Michael Starsky, I love you." He closed his eyes and let his head drop to his chest.

Starsky placed his finger under Hutch's chin and lifted his head. He said, "Hutch, open your eyes." Hutch opened his eyes to see tears streaming down Starsky's cheeks. He said, "Kenneth Richard Hutchinson, I love you. I've been in love with you since I almost lost you to that plague last year. I didn't say anything because I was afraid of losing your friendship as well."

The two men sat and held each other for the next several hours. Finally, Hutch realized that Starsky must be feeling very stiff and sore. He slowly released Starsky and said, "Let's get you into bed." He went into the bedroom with the connecting bathroom, which he had figured would make things a little easier for Starsky, and got his bedtime medication and a glass of water. After Starsky took the medication, he took the glass back to the bathroom, filled it with cold water, and set it on the table beside the bed where Starsky could reach it easily from the bed if he needed it during the night.

Hutch then returned to the living room and walked over to the couch. He helped Starsky to his feet. The two men slowly made their way down the hall until they came to the bedroom Hutch had prepared for Starsky. Hutch helped Starsky get settled for the night and then turned to leave the room. He stopped when he heard Starsky call his name. He walked back to the bed and asked, "What do you need, Starsky?". Starsky grinned up at him and said, "You."

Hutch smiled down at him, turned, and walked around to the other side of the bed. Stripping down to his shorts, he he folded back the covers, and climbed into the bed. He gently pulled Starsky into his arms and the two men snuggled down for the night. As Hutch closed his eyes, he realized that what he had felt stirring all those years ago had grown into love for the man he held in his arms. Starsky, also closing his eyes, realized that his decision to try and become a cop was the best decision he had ever made.