Chapter 1: Dobey
We find our heroes in an unforgiving, dogmatic, alternative universe.
People are born with secondary genders which dictate their status, social and work options and life choices.
Alphas are the ruling class, through their aggressive nature and fertility drive. Biology has determined that they are the head of a pack and no one challenges that. Omegas are seen as being created solely for childbirth, and as such, aren’t allowed to participate in many parts of public life. They’re greatly desired by Alphas to breed a pack, and society seems content that they can get their status from finding good mates. Betas are the worker bees of society, living mundane lives. If there weren’t recently hard-earned civil rights in place, they wouldn’t be allowed to work most professions. As it is, Alphas must tolerate Betas in the civil rights era of the 1970s, but Omegas don’t have such freedoms.
The glass ceiling is practically still in place for Betas and completely impossible for Omegas. Even Alphas have expectations put upon them that restrict their lives if they’re honest.
What happens when two men defy the dogmas of the world they live in? If they try, they must pay a price.
Hutch smelled Dobey’s livid mood before his captain bellowed his name through the open door into the squad room. He grabbed his jacket, knowing he was about to be sent out, for whatever hell had broken loose now. That was right up his alley today, a hunt, a chase, a bad guy to take down.
“Hutchinson, close the damned door!” Dobey was furious, a thunder cloud across his face, and Hutch obeyed with a grin. He wouldn’t have his captain any other way. If an Alpha couldn’t express himself during his wife’s time of heat, then the world had gone nuts. Hutch could pick up the cycle of his Captain’s wife days before it was due. Fortunately, in the Department, it was all Alphas, and everyone was very quick on the uptake, when a colleague’s partner had gone into heat. Allowances were made, and Hutch rather enjoyed some righteous ruckus blustering through the Station, every now and then.
Hutch noticed the lack of Starsky by his side stung right then. He wanted to share the moment of silent acknowledgement with his partner. They’d share their stories about their own antics over the weekend in a few days over a beer at Huggy’s.
In the presence of Dobey’s vociferous fumes, Hutch stood to await whatever it was that needed the privacy of his captain’s office. Without his conspicuously absent partner, Hutch didn’t feel like taking the time to sit down. This was going to be blissfully short, as there were no running cases, and Starsky wasn’t due back for a few more days from his private time off. Hutch didn’t know where Starsky had gone off to, and he didn’t like it. You couldn’t press people in Starsky’s position too much, without being seen as too controlling, so Hutch had backed off on asking, but he did want to low-down after he had his partner back.
Dobey launched himself into his chair and sighed as if he needed to gather himself and take it slow, the ‘things are not good, and he doesn’t know how to say it neutrally’ move Hutch knew so well from his superior, who was also his friend.
“What going on, Cap?” Hutch used a calm tone of voice. Yes, he was an Alpha, but his position and slightly too attractive looks had driven other Alphas to the most unexpected confrontations with him. He preferred Starsky’s comforting Beta presence by his side. His partner’s presence neutralized most Alphas around Hutch, and he had gotten decidedly used to it. He enjoyed their dynamic, even on the worst of days.
Let’s face it, he already missed Starsky, even though he’d seen him yesterday. Starsky’d be back in no time at all. Just a few days. A few boring, lonely, uninteresting days. Starsky’s break couldn’t be over fast enough where Hutch was concerned.
“I don’t know where Starsky is,” Dobey looked up with piercing, dark eyes. There was something else behind the words. Hutch could feel it. He could smell anxiety in the pheromones pouring off Dobey.
“He’s probably out with some Omega chick,” Hutch offered. “You know how he’s been since Blaine died.”
Dobey dropped a hand on the desk. It rattled under the unexpected abuse. “Blaine, yes.”
There was something else going on here. “Out with it,” he commanded, before reining in his own need for dominance. “Cap, just tell me.”
Dobey started to fidget with both hands on the desk. Hutch rounded the chair and took possession of it, leveling the playing field. Both seated, no one had to look up. It was a dominance game Hutch played with Alphas when needed. Now was not the time for powerplay.
“Starsky’s fine, Cap. It’s just taken a while for him to adjust.”
“Your partner is fine, because he’s been spending time with me and my family,” Dobey spoke softly. Under any other circumstances claiming Hutch’s partner was in his pack would be a challenge to another Alpha. It could easily be taken as a putdown that Hutch didn’t have an Omega and no pups, and without a pack, he couldn’t add a Beta like Starsky. It was highly unusual he even stayed partners with a Beta, something the squad never let him forget. Hutch has had to face that for years already and it grated on him. He’d gotten particularly good at ignoring any reference to his choice of partner.
Hutch decided not to follow his baser instincts for the moment. He was more concerned about why Dobey brought Starsky up as if there was a problem he wasn’t aware of. Surely Dobey didn’t know more about Starsky than Hutch did.
“If there’s something going on with Starsky, he’ll tell me,” Hutch stated, clenching his teeth hard with the innate confidence he had in the fierceness of their friendship.
He wanted to tear the information out of Dobey, whatever it was, but he kept himself from hardhanded action. Starsky’s trust was more important to him. His partner walked a tightrope just being in the Force and Hutch had vowed secretly to protect him. Starsky’s place in the Department was precarious as a Beta among so many Alphas. Starsky had entrusted himself to Hutch, or at least that was Hutch’s point of view. He had backed Starsky at every turn. They’d made it work, because Hutch didn’t want to partner with anyone else, not ever. Not for a million Alphas would he trade in the ‘mediocre’ Beta that Starsky was. There was nothing mediocre about Starsky, and Hutch knew that Dobey recognized it too.
They both respected Starsky and between the two of them, Hutch had been able to keep his partner this far, against all expectations. So if Starsky wanted to spend time with the Dobeys, to get over the loss of John Blaine, fine. Hutch would roll with that.
“He has been with me,” Dobey’s voice went low, so as not to carry through walls to ears who didn’t deserve to know the truth. “Not my family, not my pack. He’s not been recovering from Blaine’s death. He’s come to me for help.”
Hutch’s mind went back quickly to just after Blaine had died. Starsky had been distraught that the man hadn’t confided in him. Blaine was the Alpha who’d practically been an uncle to Starsky. After his death, Blaine’s backing of male Omega Peter Whitelaw’s shocking political campaign had come to light. Letting himself in with an Omega equal rights advocate was a smack in the face of every decent Omega spouse, and not in the least, of Blaine’s lovely, socially acceptable Omega wife, who hadn’t known anything until he and Starsky came to tell her. Then they found out Blaine had preferred Whitelaw and other Omega males to his wife. It had been unthinkable and completely unexpected, but Hutch had refused to cast judgement over the man’s life. He wasn’t going to cast the first stone, except on the infidelity towards Blaine’s wife. Starsky, though, had been much closer to Blaine, and had taken it hard.
The unsavory scandal was felt throughout the Department, condemning a respectable Alpha for cheating on his wife. His childless marriage had been the subject of underground gossip, but Hutch and especially Starsky had always ignored it. Starsky’s love for this man ran too deep to seek any dirt behind the unfortunate situation that Blaine’s wife had no pups. But to find out he was spending his Alpha seed on the side with male Omegas was the final straw and Starsky palpably suffered in a way that Hutch could only stand by and do nothing but hold his partner’s hand in comfort. Proverbially speaking, of course. Such hollow comfort. Half the department didn’t want any part of dealing with Blaine being killed in a seedy hotel room, shaming his wife and their legacy.
What legacy? No pups, no pack. That added up to a wasted Alpha life. Even Hutch had suppressed a culturally taught surge of disgust, but it was none of his business whom anyone chose for a mate. Even if they went out for one-night knotting.
Hutch would never pass judgement on anyone’s sexual behavior or their family planning. After Gillian, he couldn’t stomach the idea of ever starting a pack with any other woman, Alpha, Beta or Omega. He just made sure no one knew that, not even Starsky. Especially not his Beta partner.
Hutch and Dobey were some of the few Alphas who were quite indifferent to who other Alphas decide to knot. They had that in common, but they both felt Blaine had played his wife for a fool. They sympathized with her.
Starsky had a completely different reaction. He had been Blaine’s confided Beta friend, a relation, almost, because he’d been for all intents and purposes a part of Blaine’s pack. Starsky’d felt personally betrayed by John. His emotions ran deep, disturbing him even now, many months later. If Starsky had even confided in Dobey, there could be more to it that Hutch wasn’t privy to.
It rubbed Hutch the wrong way to think there was something Dobey knew and he didn’t. Hutch tried to ignore his gut-reaction misgivings for Starsky’s sake, for the moment. “Okay, so Starsk needs to have some one-on-one time with a strong Alpha like Blaine. I can see how you fit the bill better than I do.”
It made a lot of sense to Hutch, now that he considered it from Starsky’s perspective. He’d never had to think about it before. What Betas did and why was unclear and unfathomable to most Alphas and Omegas. But Starsky’s welfare was Hutch primary concern. It stood to reason that Starsky would need the protection of a powerful Alpha now that his longtime pack-Alpha was no longer there.
Dobey gently shook his head. “Hutch. He’s been with me. He was with Blaine before, and now he’s with me.”
Hutch could see Dobey as an uncle figure to Starsky like Blaine. Hutch never wanted to be that to his partner. He wanted equality. He wanted more than the status quo. What he wanted he wasn’t going to get. If Hutch had an Omega wife, like Blaine and Dobey, and a proper pack to as an unattached Beta to join, things would be different. Hutch had long since accepted reality, and right this minute, reality sucked big time. But he’d face it head-on. “Starsky is now part of your pack, is that what this is about?”
“No.” Dobey met his gaze strongly, with no excuses or attempted lies.
Dobey paid him the compliment of not putting into words what was starting to dawn on Hutch. The truth was on the table, one that Hutch hadn’t ever suspected.
Starsky had been going to spend weekends and short holidays with Blaine ever since Hutch could remember. Being part of a pack meant staying in the pheromones of the Alpha of the pack, so proximity was key.
The change came after Terry. Starsky gradually spent more time in Blaine’s pack, as if it gave him comfort and a nest, making up for the potential home he had lost when she died. Hutch had never questioned it, but he missed Starsky sorely every time he spent time with Blaine. Hutch felt like choking when he had to endure the days of Blaine’s pheromones that clung to Starsky’s skin and clothes after each visit, until they wore off. Starsky had had issues to work through after he lost Terry, and Hutch could only support him up to a point in that. He’d wished more than ever that he could form a pack for Starsky, with Starsky.
Damnit. Betas were so inconvenient! No wonder no one wanted to have them around. Starsky seemed to buck the trend of the traditionally ‘ignored’ Beta, though. Everyone seemed to want Starsky, not just Hutch. This wasn’t the first time he’d noticed that, but he had no reason to suspect anything sleazy was going on.
Now Starsky was part of Dobey’s pack. No, it was worse than that. Starsk was not just another Beta pack-mate, he was in fact Dobey’s sordid plaything.
Hutch felt a tempting surge of jealousy wanting to overtake him. He got to his feet, knowing his own hostile pheromones would already be bleeding into the room. They effects were bound to hit Dobey faster than Hutch could retreat. Neither Alpha was fooled by the other for a second. But they were trained officers of the law. Hutch knew how to handle himself. No matter what ever went down between them, Dobey’d always remain his friend, even in an Alpha stand-off. He was going to cool it somewhere else, far away from this room.
Time to get the hell out of there.
“Hutch, there’s more.” Dobey flawlessly controlled the art of stopping any man in his tracks with just the tone of his voice. No shouting necessary, he was that good at it.
Hutch halted with his hand on the doorknob, unwilling to turn back around to face his Captain. “What?!” he barked. All his instincts told him to possess Starsky, to claim him for his own pack. His instincts didn’t care that he didn’t have one, or that Starsky was only a Beta. Yes, he knew how messed up that was, but he craved it more now than ever.
“Starsky isn’t what you think. He’s been taking pills, so you don’t find out.”
“Stop beating around the bush,” Hutch was struggling to keep his temper at bay, purely for the years they’d known each other and the unquestioned respect he had for his Captain, his friend. At this point, rank was out the window. Only friendship was left. This was Alpha against Alpha, a more primal mode of society, ruled by the strict biology they couldn’t ever escape. They’d both been trained to deal with this all their lives, and Hutch kept himself in check.
Hutch held on to the love he had for this formidable man and all the years he’d happily, willingly served under Dobey. He was proud to be in Dobey’s unit.
But this - stealing his Beta, his partner - that was going too far. “You fucked Starsky, Captain. That’s what you’re saying, right? You knotted my partner and,” he had to reach deeply into himself not to give into blind fury, “and Starsky let you do it.”
It hurt beyond anything that Starsky hadn’t come to Hutch for whatever it was a Beta needed when he’d lost his pack. Hutch hadn’t been taught much about Betas when he was growing up. They weren’t supposed to figure into his life one way or another. One can’t acquire social status by hanging out with Betas.
He had been expected to take his place in society as an elite Alpha. That meant the whole package: an Omega wife, or an Omega husband, if need be. A female Beta’d be tolerated in a pinch, but pups were expected from Hutch, one way or another. Offspring was what an Alpha’s life was about. Especially one placed decidedly up the social rankings, as the Hutchinsons were. Hutch felt he was meant to be more of a breeding stallion than a person. He had always known he didn’t want to spend his life that way.
When he had the perfect opportunity, Hutch had walked away from all that to make a difference in the world. No one in his family had understood his decision. His mating with the highly sought-after Omega Vanessa had proved unsuccessful in the long run. As a divorced Alpha with no pups, he was considered spoiled goods. Even another mating with the right type of Omega wouldn’t win back the favor of his family. The only son of the Hutchinson line in Duluth had failed. A childless union was the kiss of death in his social circles.
At least now they let him be. They wouldn’t even ask whose defect it was. After the divorce, they’d stopped expecting things from Hutch, and he realized he was free. He had said goodbye to that life he had never wanted. In a way, Vanessa had done him a favor. What she’d gotten out of it, he’d never know, nor did he care.
At the academy, he met Starsky, a beta male. Rare in the Police Department, but not unheard of. There was some controversy over allowing him to rise the rank of Detective Sergeant, but Starsky weathered it well. He’d earned Hutch’s respect and then some. During it all, Hutch found out Blaine, a Police Lieutenant at Metro had taken Starsky under his wing. Some family connection or another. Hutch didn’t ask. He was glad of it, because that meant he wouldn’t be the only one protecting Starsky’s position. Their partnership had a chance.
Hutch found himself wishing every single day that Starsky was an Alpha, so they could rocket their careers together. Yes, that was what he’d been telling himself. He had only lost his honor by leaving his family, his pack, but nothing could take his Alpha ambition away from him. He could see himself with Starsky at his side, two bright stars in the Department’s firmament, bringing peace and brotherhood to Bay City. It was a beautiful dream he’d made himself believe. But it covered up a lie.
Now he was confronted head-on with the sexual favors Dobey was giving to Starsky. He realized what he really wanted from Starsky, what he’d wanted all along, even though Starsky was only a Beta. Hutch should be totally disinterested in Betas, but this was Starsky. Hutch knew it was the man himself he wanted, needed, regardless how demeaning it was to admit desiring a Beta, and worse, falling in love with one. With Starsky all that didn’t seem to matter for Hutch, but the thought of bedding Starsky had never been possible. They were partners, that was all. He had never even considered crossing that line.
It galled him that Dobey was receiving what he so craved. Starsky had been giving it away, to Blaine, to Dobey, to everyone but him. Why? Why not him?
“You’re just gonna sit there and tell me this has been going on under my very nose. I trusted both of you.”
The world was turning upside down with possibilities with his revelation. His self-esteem was reeling with the blow. Had he been oblivious to this going on? Had his cop’s instincts completely failed to smell this out? Both Blaine and Dobey had been keeping this from him. He must have been blind as a bat where Starsky was concerned.
Yes, he always had been. He couldn’t afford to inspect Starsky’s life too closely. It had been self-preservation for Hutch, making sure he’d never think of Starsky’s love life, sex life, pack life.
He gritted his teeth and refused to face Dobey as he fantasized on. “So, the aftermath of heat I’m smelling, that’s you knotting Starsky? When? Last night? You like a piece of young flesh, do you? You like them defenseless? Or do you just want a Beta because he’s safe?” He couldn’t stop himself from biting out the words at Dobey.
His Captain now stood up. That effectively shut him up. He’d have to resign if he went on, unless Dobey fired him first. Dobey’d be in his rights to do so, according to any Alpha. Alphas ruled the police department. Hutch knew he was on thin ice, and he almost didn’t care.
Dobey didn’t make a move for him. That wasn’t the kind of man he was, even though he took no bull from anyone, including Hutch. “I’m gonna overlook you accusing your superior officer of raping your partner, Hutchinson. I don’t need to tell you about the unforgiving laws protecting Betas from Alpha harassment.” Dobey turned to a softer tone again.
Hutch wished he could stop listening and walk out, but he needed to know it all. Not to save his job, but because of Starsky. He knew that as of now, everything had changed between them as partners.
“Starsky came to me,” Dobey fidgeted a moment before clasping the desk behind him. He spoke in a subdued voice, “He used to have Blaine to come to, to help him out when the pills couldn’t hold it off any longer. Now that Blaine is dead, Starsky couldn’t let the truth come out. He doesn’t want you to know because he won’t burden you with his truth. He’s living a lie every day, so he can be partners with you, Hutch.”
Pills, Hutch’s detective brain told him. Focus on the pills. He took one step towards his captain. “What would a Beta need pills for? That makes no sense.”
“A Beta doesn’t,” Dobey sighed, drawing his hand through his short-cropped hair. “A Beta doesn’t have Heats. Starsky is using hormone suppressors.”
“Only Omegas use suppressors,” Hutch stated the obvious.
Suppressors were illegal in any part of civil service. If Starsky needed them, that meant Dobey was liable, Blaine was liable. They’d all been covering for Starsky. But Betas don’t need suppressors.
Dobey nodded, head slightly bowing in deep regret. “Starsky’s an Omega.”
Dobey reached out a hand to Hutch, then dropped it and leaned back onto his desk. “Why?”
Hutch’s head was spinning. “I’d’ve known.”
“Your partner’s the best, you’ve said so yourself. Ruthless when undercover.”
“Not this. This is more. I’d know. I’ve seen him naked, many times.”
Dobey exhaled before asking, “Have you really?”
“Back at the academy,” Hutch started. But no, he hadn’t really inspected Starsky naked. The outward differences between a Beta and an Omega were subtle and a hand or towel spread just loosely over the right spot could do it. In fact, Hutch had made sure he never looked, because of his own attraction to Starsky. He had made sure he was always looking somewhere else whenever Starsky was in the showers, or when they went on their double dates.
“But all the women, all the Omegas, the one-night stands. Cap?”
“That’s the same for a male Omega as a Beta,” Dobey shrugged. “If the woman doesn’t mind, there’s no one the wiser.”
Hutch didn’t know what his brain needed to correct the world on first. “Did Terry know? And what about his mother?” Come to think of it, Hutch realized Starsky had never talked his Presentation, only his bar mitzvah. Even that wasn’t ever discussed in any great detail. To Starsky’s mom, a bar mitzvah was possibly more important than how Starsky had presented.
To Hutch’s WASP family, when he presented as Alpha, they had reacted like he had done right by the family, as a good son was expected to. He knew presenting as an Omega would’ve gotten him married off to a sleazy magnate’s son as soon as possible, maybe even as a second spouse. Needless to say, he was always grateful for his Alpha status. It had protected him from a life he couldn’t see himself leading, and he truly felt being an Alpha was right for him.
He'd always felt being an Alpha would’ve been better for Starsky, but he had secretly adored Starsky’s Beta life. It was so much part of him. It was how Hutch had always seen him, thought about him, and silently pined after him. And now it was all a lie.
His fury was softening into sorrow. Soon it would crash into something he didn’t yet know he’d be able to handle.
“Why didn’t he tell me?” He heard his voice croak, as he pushed the words out. “I thought we trusted each other, with everything.” Alphas don’t cry. At least not in front of their Captains or other Alphas. Damnit, he felt the burning in his eyes and pressed his mouth as he searched Dobey’s face. Dobey held no answers, but his expression was teeming with sympathy. “I guess that’s why you haven’t fired me yet, Sir?” Hutch said, adding the respect in, on purpose.
“Sit down,” Dobey nudged him back to the chair, while continuing to lean on his desk, towering over Hutch.
Hutch let it be. Alphas didn’t only spar, they also helped each other. At least he liked to believe he lived in a world where people helped each other.
“Starsky confided in Blaine, and between the two of them, Starsky got as far as he did in the department, passing for Beta. Even as a Beta, Starsky knew most Alpha’s wouldn’t accept him for a partner. He told me he wanted to stay with you for as long as possible. With you both coming through the academy together, he didn’t seem to stand out too much. He’s far more dependent on you than you thought, Hutch. We were only figuring on you riding with a Beta. But an Omega, he’s gonna be out on his ass the moment they find out. And that’d be the best scenario.”
Hutch shook his head. Surely, this wasn’t his fault. “And then what? He’d be found out sooner or later.” Though Hutch wondered because he’d never questioned Starsky either. And he’d been up close and personal with Starsky for all these years. Being played for a fool, it turned out.
“I guess Starsky was willing to bargain on later,” Dobey shrugged. “I don’t like it either. I wish he’d never told me. I wish I didn’t need to tell you.”
But then Blaine died and later had become right now, Hutch realized. “He could’ve confided in me. He could’ve trusted me. How am I the bad guy here?”
“Hutch, what do you think would’ve happened if he’d told you about what he really is?”
Images of Hutch taking Starsky and knotting him flashed in his mind and his body started to respond. He had to get the hell out of there. “Where is Starsky?”
“That’s just it, Hutch.” Dobey’s voice regained its usual depth, signally they were back to business and everything that had been discussed was not going to be repeated, even behind closed doors. “He was supposed to, ah, be with me last night. I arrived at his place at ten and there was no one there.”
Hutch stopped thinking about himself for one goddamned minute and realized Starsky’s absence was more important. “And you’re telling me this now, Cap? That’s over 12 hours ago. Hug?”
“Called already, last night. He hadn’t seen Starsky, and he’s not made contact since.”
Hutch knew Huggy’d immediately let them know if he knew anything. So, no news was bad news. But this was different. This time Starsky didn’t want to be found.
“Why wouldn’t he show up? If he knew you were safe, and this wasn’t the first time,” he paused to look at Dobey, now detective sergeant to his captain. Dobey’s look said enough. “Right. So what’s changed?”
“The timing’s off.” Dobey shook his head.
Omegas had cycles. Hutch knew all about it. Vanessa’s cycle was basically the calendar that his world had been set to for the years of his marriage. He shouldn’t miss that, but he did. He just didn’t miss her. Starsky had a cycle. Just the thought of living with the headiness of Starsky’s cycle made him giddy.
He had to get to Starsky as soon as possible. If an Omega doesn’t get serviced properly, great suffering was the cost. It wasn’t anything an Alpha was going to let happen to their Omega if it was within their power.
But Starsky wasn’t his! He had to remind himself of that fact and shake himself out of a mindset that he was finding out was all too easy to slip into.
“Sweet Alice,” Hutch announced, while he grabbed Dobey’s phone and started dialing. “Be home,” he mumbled as the rotary mechanics of dialing took too damn long.
“Hutch?” Sweet Alice’s voice had her usual singsong, but she sounded self-assured, showing she’d been waiting for his call.
“Is he there?” Hutch asked. No need for anything more.
“He doesn’t wanna see you, honey.”
“I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.”
She probably knew he wasn’t going to take no for an answer. “You’ll have to break his door down.”
Hutch took that as information, rather than caution. “I will if you believe it’s that important.”
“I do, sweet Hutch. Break that door down. He needs ya.”
“I’m on my way.”
Fuck him if he’d ever let a door come between himself and Starsky’s welfare.
Chapter 2: Sweet Alice
The outside door was ajar. Sweet Alice’d probably seen his car pull around the corner. He’d parked at the back, where his car was out of sight, and noticed the Torino was tucked in the most covered nook in the crappy little courtyard.
“Damnit, Starsky,” he mumbled as he walked through the door. He could smell Omega pheromones wafting around the building.
This was Sweet Alice’s domain. As an alpha, he’d never been inside before. Omega social services took care of such places. Alphas couldn’t be trusted, not even when they worked for the police.
There was no way of telling if any of the Omega pheromones were Starsky’s or not, but just the thought of Starsky’s hormones creating this type of tingling, desirous feeling in him made his senses swim.
In the seconds it took for him to compose himself against the onslaught, Sweet Alice appeared from the interior hallway. She was a vision. Any Alpha would want to ravage her, no matter who they were, but Hutch had always resisted successfully. He couldn’t function as a cop if he’d give himself over to his instincts. Discipline was part of a self-respecting Alpha’s life.
Sweet Alice in turn had been able to trust him, and he and Starsky’d sent many a wayward Omega girl to this very house.
He’d never thought he’d be here for his partner. How had the world just completely turned around on him today? Proverbial doors were suddenly closing on him. He couldn’t even think about any possibility of windows opening later on. He’d most certainly already lost his partnership with the man he’d expected to spend his working life with.
First things first. He needed to secure his partner. Just as long as Starsky was alright, everything else was negotiable as far as Hutch was concerned. There were only a few possible roads from here, and most of them didn’t involve any hope of them spending much of anything together.
Sweet Alice was a vision of beauty as always. Given a choice, she’d be the only one he’d trust with a problem of this magnitude, next to Huggy. No Alpha’d ever be able to understand what Starsky’d been going through all these years. Hutch didn’t even want to envision what his partner must have been going through last night.
“Did you-? Is he-?” Hutch couldn’t even form the words, through a sea of worry.
“I did. And he is alright. Now.” Sweet Alice must have had endless Omegas in her parlor with hormone problems, Alpha problems, and downright horrific life problems. Domestic abuse, sexual predators and unwanted pregnancies weren’t reported widely in the news, but Hutch wasn’t a naïve citizen. Lord knew, Starsky’d most certainly had his fair share of problems now that Hutch knew his real situation.
Life had been so simple yesterday.
It had only been an hour since Hutch had found out that Starsky was an Omega. Since then, all the scenarios had painted pictures in his mind. Growing up, Hutch could imagine Starsky presenting as an Omega, as the eldest son. That wouldn’t have gone over well in any traditional family. Hutch could only guess, but in his family that wouldn’t have been pretty. A Beta would have been acceptable in a pinch, but Omega? Maybe that’s why Starsky’d been shipped off to California? He only knew the Hutchinson family condemnation on the futility of Omega males. Hutch didn’t wish that on anyone.
Truth was, he didn’t know much about Starsky other than the years they’d spent together. They both didn’t talk about back home terribly much. Starsky being closer to his mom than Hutch was never struck Hutch as a sign of anything. Hutch had always enjoyed the genuine warmth he noticed when Starsky talked about his mother.
One thing was unshakable in Hutch’s mind, Starsky was the best undercover cop he’d ever known. Fooling Hutch for this long, his own partner. That was one hell of an undercover job.
Now he was ready to meet the real Starsky. In fact, he couldn’t wait.
“Can I see him?”
Sweet Alice, in a floaty dress, as if it were just any other typical day, shook her head. “He doesn’t wanna, but I think you oughta.”
He walked up to her, and she grabbed his sleeve, which felt like she was played with him. He found Alice seductive even when she was sitting still and said nothing, so he was no judge to go by. “Starsk’s had a rough night. I took care of it. I have friends, as you know. People here are real friendly. All Omegas in dire straits get to taken care of here.”
Hutch knew she meant Starsky. He couldn’t recall ever bringing a male Omega to her. They were so rare that they hadn’t had a case involving one who needed shelter. He realized that it wouldn’t have been the first thing he’d thought of for anyone else but Starsky. And even for Starsky, it felt weird to be here.
Sweet Alice pushed Hutch’s arm towards one of the doors down the hall, turning the opposite direction herself. She was not intending to go in with him and he was indebted to her that she allowed him in this far without a chaperone. He owed her big time. Massive.
“We all need love, sweet Hutch.”
He kissed her cheek. “We sure do. Thank you. You’re the best.”
“I know. Just not good enough for you, ain’t I?” She beamed that resigned, happy, intoxicated smile at him that he’d seen many times before. The one that could entice any man, but Hutch couldn’t give in for so many reasons before. Today he knew more than ever, he needed Sweet Alice as his friend. He’d never play around with her, not even as a flirty game. He owed her that.
“You’re too good for me, Sweet Alice. I could never live up to your standards.” He had always flattered her, trying to deflect her advances. It had been 99% true; she was glorious. But things’d never be the same again now that he knew about Starsky. He wasn’t going to lead her on. “I just hope I’m good enough for Starsky,” he whispered, looking down. It was only right that she knew the truth. He should leave it at that, but, “I hope he’ll accept me.” It had escaped his lips, in an unguarded moment.
Sweet Alice captured his eyes for a long moment. He thought for a split second that she was going to kiss him when she floated into him ever so slightly. “Only Starsky can tell you what he wants. Not even you or I can know it before then. But Hutch,” she pushed his chin up and he fully appreciated a sage-like wisdom in her that he hadn’t noted before. “You gotta be true to you as well as him. He’s given up a lot. How much are you gonna ask him to give up?”
He took her point, though he had no answer. Any answer he’d find would be for Starsky’s ears, not hers. He felt guilty for all the times he’d kept her at a distance but used her for information. This time, he felt grateful. She’d earned her place in Hutch’s hall of fame.
“Whatever happens, you can always count on me.” He swore it, in his deepest soul. He owed her. What she’d done, what she was risking for them was beyond her Omega status, her work as a prostitute, her place as a refuge in Omega society. This was about trust. She was firmly in his inner circle as of this moment.
Sweet Alice floated away from the hallway, onto things in her own life. It was a world Hutch knew nothing about, and probably never would. That was the reality for Alphas. Nothing mattered except their own or who could serve them.
He’d already pushed all the limits of what the small, privileged life allowed him. He’d defied societal expectations by working for a living, instead of basking in the status he had, with the Omega wife he’d given up. No, that hadn’t been the life for him, even if Vanessa had been happy with his unusual life choices. Nothing so mundane and self-centered could ever satisfy him. He’d always chosen the road less traveled.
His unorthodox life had allowed him to associate with the likes of Huggy Bear, a much-respected Beta male. Although Starsky had been the connecting factor, both men had accepted him, and shown him parts of the world that had been hidden until then.
And now he was in debt to Sweet Alice, an unreachable Omega beauty who had given Starsky sanctuary when he’d needed it most. He didn’t know how he could possibly be more fortunate in his life’s choices, than at this moment, standing in a hallway-house for wayward Omegas. The best example of a place where his intended upstanding life would never have allowed him to be. Hutch shuddered to think how his family would condemn him for it. They had their resources. Hutch had no doubt that, no matter how hard he tried to keep something under wraps, they’d find out. He worried for Starsky and Sweet Alice if they unleashed their power on them.
For himself, Hutch hadn’t cared what they thought since the day he walked away from Vanessa. Becoming a cop was the best decision he’d ever made.
He’d walked into the intoxicating presence of a mere Beta police officer, who stole his heart. He wouldn’t trade any status, money, or a litter of pups for what he had in his life today. His working life with his partner was everything to him. He’d always know his desires were too much and highly inappropriate. Even through the years of believing Starsky was a Beta, Hutch had never been able to keep himself from wanting to possess him.
His life was sweet as it was, though. It may have looked messed up on the surface, living without any status whatsoever. All of society’d call him an outcast, given how far he’d fallen. He was a catastrophic distance from where he could’ve been if he’d only cooperated.
The world was built for his kind, but he was exactly where he wanted to be. No-one understood why he’d chose to live among the outcast, the downtrodden, the lower classes. No-one but the friends he’d surrounded himself by. Huggy, Dobey, Sweet Alice, bless them all. And Starsky.
He’d stand by Starsky, do whatever he could. He wasn’t prepared for any of this, but he was willing, eager, ready to help.
Here, in the Omega house hallway, he had to admit that he honestly had no clue what Starsky needed. The world hadn’t required of him to be a good Alpha, just to take what was rightfully his. The world sucked as he’d always suspected. It was skewed to advantage some and disadvantage others. The inequalities of society weren’t news to him, but how could he be part of the solution? He had to make it up as he went from here.
The first step was up to Hutch.
He stepped up to the inner door and knocked gently. He didn’t know what to expect, but it wasn’t Starsky, opening the door, and staring at him looking bone tired and fragile. He knew then, none of what he’d been thinking, planning or hoping before was going to happen. Starsky held all the cards.
“Can I come in?” Hutch asked gently, ignoring the strong pheromones that clung in the air, assaulting his senses. This time it was easy to remember this wasn’t about him. One look at his shattered partner was enough to settle his Alpha nature down and launch him into protection mode.
“Seems like you must.” Starsky walked slowly back into the small boudoir. It looked like one of the rooms Sweet Alice’s friends must use to entertain. It was colorful, friendly, inviting, and the bed was luxurious, both in size and accoutrements, with cute knickknacks dotted everywhere, giving it a homey feel. Starsky looked disinterested in his surroundings and sat down tenderly on the bed. The only other place to sit was a fluffy, pink swivel chair in the far corner, which was holding some of Starsky’s clothes. His partner was wrapped in a moss green robe with a white t-shirt showing under it.
Hutch didn’t even want to think about why he could see Starsky’s jeans on the chair and bare legs peeking out from under the robe. “I can go. I needed to see if you’re okay.”
Starsky looked at him without much emotion. “I’m okay.”
It was obvious to Hutch how drained Starsky was. “Funny, you don’t sound okay.” Was it more than just a physical weariness? Would Hutch’ve been able to hold up as well as his partner was, given what he must have gone through last night?
“Dobey told you,” Starsky assessed quietly, as flat as Hutch had ever seen him.
Why was Hutch surprised? Had he expected a big scene where he’d rescue Starsky from a brute, who was trying to take advantage of his vulnerable Omega partner in heat? Was he expecting Starsky suddenly to have turned into a whimpering weakling, like a caricature Omega, all Alpha males joke about? All utter bullshit. Hutch was going to have to be better than that to live up to his own standards of decency.
Starsky had been one of the toughest guys at the academy in both fighting as well as debating. When they were battling the system, trying to do the right thing for the downtrodden, he had always counted on Starsky, no questions asked. If Starsky had to find a way to overcome the biggest Alpha mugger they could throw at him, Starsky’d been up to the task, every damn time.
Hutch’d never doubted Starsky’s emotional and physical strength, no matter how many times they made him take more tests than the Alphas in the Department. As a Beta, Starsky had always been respected for his resoluteness. No one would consider him less-than, because he’d been asked to prove himself, over and over again. Hutch was damn proud of his boy every single time.
But now everything’d be different.
Omegas had no place in the Detective squad. A Beta was bad enough, but an Omega was impossible. Omegas had no rights to a career in this world. The words rung in his head and he wanted to throw up.
Hutch knew he’d always lied to himself. He’d thought about Starsky as less-than from the very beginning. He’d spent nights with his disappointment that Starsky wasn’t an Alpha. An Alpha as partner meant a career. A Beta as a partner meant they were both a charity case, battling for civil rights. An Omega cop was unthinkable.
Now that he had to revise his entire view of Starsky, he saw the reality of his partner’s strength. Weak and limited was the opposite of what Starsky was, and Hutch wasn’t going to treat him like that ever again. Starsky deserved respect if nothing else, and respect began with honesty.
“Dobey had to tell me, Starsk. I forced it out. You disappeared and I didn’t even ask where you were.”
Starsky looked down. Hutch could see small signs of discomfort in his body language. He’d known Starsky long enough to tell volumes from his every little wince and readjustment. Hutch could tell his friend didn’t want to talk from the tilt of his head, where his eyes darted to and where they didn’t.
He knew Starsky inside and out, or so he’d always thought. He’d been kidding himself for years, and he shook his head at the folly of it all. Some detective! He should turn in his badge.
“The Cap had no choice, Starsk. Don’t make him the enemy.”
“He’s not,” Starsky sighed. He looked defeated.
Hutch longed to touch him, to hold him and ward off the big bad world. He needed to be careful not to spook Starsky, though. Alphas could be overwhelming to Omegas in close quarters. In that, switching Starsky from Beta to Omega wasn’t too difficult for Hutch, but it did make him realize he couldn’t help but see his partner totally differently from now on. It was as unsettling as if Starsk was revealed to him as being a woman. Hutch hadn’t ever known how deeply seated his world views were. Everything he’d been taught about Omegas all his life, this position in live, and his own as an Alpha – all of that: it felt so wrong now. Who had decided that everyone should be classified by their secondary genders? Who had determined that their lives had been limited by society’s concepts of what an Omega could and couldn’t do?
Hutch knew that he, Dobey and all other Alphas with a good heart and thoughtful conduct were busy most of the time with keeping their own hormonal drives in check. So busy in fact, that they had been completely caught off guard when Betas had started claiming civil rights in the sixties. Now that they had them, nobody had given a second thought to the plight of the Omegas. Life was going to go on, with a Beta or two riding along with Alpha cops, when they made the cut, and put through daily ridicule and rigorous training, like Starsky.
But not like Starsky. Hutch realized that Starsky had been even stronger than that. His partner had pushed through with the strength of a lion, now that Hutch knew the true conditions under which he’d been working, living and the strain on his own body. Without the help of Blaine and now Dobey, Starsky must’ve been completely lost.
Hutch’s heart went out to his partner for everything he’d missed in the past 8 years. He wished even more that Starsky had turned to him.
He stepped closer slowly, tracking his partner’s responses for acceptance of his approach.
“What happened, Starsk? Dobey said he waited for you, but you didn’t show.” Hutch hated it to confront an Omega with such delicate matters, but it was the reality of Starsky’s life. Dobey had been willing to help him, to keep his secret, and to get him through another cycle.
“He’s good people,” Starsky said, “but my heat hit early. I guess I got to the end of the line.”
Deep blue eyes looked up at him, and he had to keep himself firmly from reaching out to his friend’s beautiful, sad face.
Starsky sighed. “It’s been hard, managing. And now that you know, you’ll need to get another partner. It’s over.”
“Another partner? Never.” Hutch didn’t realize the words were spoken out loud until he heard them come out of his mouth. “No way, Starsk. You broke me in. I’d suck with another partner.”
Levity brought a tiny smile to Starsky’s face, and Hutch was glad.
“Are you kidding?” His voice was flat, but oh so very Starsky. “You’d rock, no matter who you’re partnered with.”
Hutch took another small step closer and Starsky let him. Alluring pheromones were still emanating from his partner. They were strong and he tried to keep his own response system from kicking in. Protect, possess. All the things an Alpha should do.
He was all too aware that Starsky had been with Sweet Alice’s ‘friend’ overnight, so the immediate need of his Omega partner had been taken care of by someone else. He hated the thought of anyone else satisfying Starsky, but he had no claim on his partner. In fact, society’d say he was the victim here, Omega rights or no Omega rights. Starsky had posed as a Beta, for years, deceiving him and misleading the Police Department. It wasn’t quite illegal, but it was outside of any respectable behavior.
Hutch couldn’t see it that way. He couldn’t help but take Starsky’s side in this. Everyone deserved to have an equal chance in life. Hutch honestly believed that. This was the closest he’d ever been confronted with what that could really mean for someone on the other side of the fence.
Life wasn’t nearly as cut and dry, looking at it from Starsky’s point of view. What would Hutch have done if he’d presented as an Omega himself? He couldn’t even begin to imagine what his life really would’ve been like, and to what lengths he’d have gone to own his own life, to be somebody. Not to settle for being married off and bred for a prestigious pack, which his parents would’ve insisted on. In fact, he knew exactly what life his sister was leading, and he’d considered her and Sweet Alice both emancipated Omega women. But were they really? Was prestige and success in their fields really a victory if they were banned from most fields out there? Wife or prostitute? What kind of options were those? At least they were ‘respected’ within their narrow worlds, Hutch’s upbringing told him, but the world didn’t provide any decent options at all for the Omega men, a much rarer type.
It was dawning on Hutch that he’d been in a similar boat as Sweet Alice. He’d given up the status of heading a pack when he’d left his prestigious Omega wife. Everyone’d called him a fool, but there was no law preventing him from going against the grain.
In Starsky’s case, he’s had to break the law, conventions and forced his own body to live a lie, in order to have the life he wanted. Starsky must’ve known he couldn’t keep it up forever.
Hutch wasn’t going to be the reason for Starsky’s defeat. He’d back his partner to the very end, whatever that looked like. “Okay, so you’re not a Beta.” He tried to think of options to save his friend and their partnership. “So now I know. No one else has to know. Only Dobey knows.”
“Hug knows,” Starsky informed him with a half-smile. Hutch could read an apology all over his face. “And now Sweet Alice and some others.” Starsky looked away when he mentioned the ‘others.’
Everyone had known except for him. Hutch’d have to fire himself from the Force for being thickheaded. Sweet Alice and Dobey hadn’t been the only refuge for Starsky. He’d surrounded himself with confidants and Hutch was an outsider out of necessity. It was reasonable that Starsky had felt Hutch couldn’t be trusted. He didn’t blame Starsky for it. He just wished he’d been able to give Starsky more reason to confide in him. This was so big he was having trouble comprehending it all.
“Sorry,” Starsky added. Starsky knew him too well.
He waved a hand through the air. “Don’t worry about it. It’s done.” He could do that, he told himself. He could move forward. Just the question was, to where? “What do you want to do, Starsk? Anything you want. I’ll make it happen.”
Starsky smiled, but this one time there was a bit of a gleam in Starsky’s eyes. “Still trying to save me, are you? You have from the day dot. My white knight. My Alpha all buffed up in shining armor.”
A shiver of joy ran through Hutch at the sound of Starsky calling him ‘his Alpha.’
Starsky raised his eyes to meet Hutch with his sincere face on. “I wish you could fix it, but I’m through. Terry. That was hard, and then Blaine. I got no more rope left.”
There was a desperation behind the words. Hutch thought he’d heard Starsky’s voice become horse at the end, as if his throat were closing and choking him.
It was this whole damn situation that was choking Starsky. His life, the life that society handed an Omega man. Because Omega males were relatively rare, they had as good as no advocacy.
Most of public life was run by Alphas, one way or another, supported by Betas. No one expected an Omega to work. Pups were the domain of Omegas, so they’d be fully occupied with litters. All they needed was a good match and Alphas were standing in line for a top-of-the-line Omega wife.
Male Omegas weren’t always fertile, and they didn’t get a lot of attention. Most of society tended to forget about them or even deny their existence. It was one of the toughest positions to be in, even with the best of circumstances. Starsky’s were far from the best. His situation downright sucked. The best an Omega male could do for himself is to be the second mate of an openminded middle class couple. That’s all Hutch had ever heard about through the grapevine of his social network.
Meeting Blaine’s Omega friend Whitelaw had been a bit of an eye opener, but he’d taken it all in stride. He really didn’t mind what people needed to get through the day and had always supported causes that he didn’t understand readily. He believed he didn’t need to feel or be the same as someone else to defend their rights to be who they were. His upbringing had made sure he hadn’t been exposed to an Omega male before joining the Force. The whole setup of the Police Department was now starting to look dubious to Hutch. How many more Omega males were leading lives as Betas in order to have any sort of life at all? Whitelaw’s political equal rights advocacy made more sense now that he was hip deep in Omega issues himself.
The most he’d ever properly discussed the position of Omega males before today was with Huggy after the whole outrage over Blaine supporting Whitelaw’s political platform had come to light. In retrospect, those conversations had happened at times when Starsky hadn’t been there. At the time, Hutch had assumed that as a Beta who had been under the protection of Blaine, Starsky had been rattled by the scandal. Now Hutch could piece two and two together.
Huggy had either been preparing him or given him an opening to ask questions. Or maybe he’d been looking out for Starsky, to alert him if Hutch started to get suspicious. It was clear that Starsky believed that his career and their partnership were automatically over now that Hutch knew. He must’ve been terrified about being found out. Hutch was going to thank Huggy next for his amazing silence, his poker face, and his staunch loyalty to Starsky, which – as far as Hutch was concerned – rated Huggy as one of the top good guys in his book. He couldn’t care one iota that Huggy had lied to him since forever. He’d done it to protect Starsky, that was all that mattered. Hell, Hutch would’ve done the same.
“Why would you put yourself through all this, Starsk?” he couldn’t help but ask.
Starsky remained unusually quiet, as there was too much to say.
At BCPD, Starsky had purposefully placed himself in the bastion of Alpha Territory. He had not just played his cards with a deck stacked against him, but he had succeeded. A herculean feat, which would inevitably cost him everything. It was clear to Hutch that this was as far as Starsky could take himself. Hutch started to see why Starsky couldn’t have let him in, even though he felt he could’ve helped Starsky.
His partner, the man he’d trusted every single day for 8 years was sitting on this sleazy bed, in a glorified brothel, crushed by his own biology and stretched to the bone by the society they lived in.
Hutch hated everything about this. “What happened? Wasn’t Dobey’s pack giving you the protection you needed? Is that why it’s all overwhelming you now?” He couldn’t imagine the type of endurance it took to live that life. He had no way of ever feeling what Starsky felt, but he was going to be as helpful as he possibly could be.
Starsky just shook his head slightly, as if all parts of him were hurting from overuse and downright having fought too long. “I can’t be in Dobey’s pack, Hutch. I barely held it together in John’s pack. Looking back now, knowing about Whitelaw and stuff, I think maybe he loved me a little. Maybe a little more than he wanted. Certainly, more than he ever let on. It was all about protecting me as far as he ever told me. Never tried anything, like untoward, ever. He was really good to me and I miss him.” Starsky sighed and his eyes darted across the room to the floor, the walls, the bedside table. Anything that wasn’t Hutch. “Dobey is just helping me out. You know, dispassionately. Blaine was different. I felt accepted. Then Terry triggered my cycles. The nesting drive kicked in overriding the pills. Everything started to fall apart. I can’t let myself be in anyone’s pack now, ’cause I’ll be bonded. This life, the hormone suppressors, this has to stop, Hutch.”
Hutch’s heart was shattering in slow-motion while Starsky painted a picture of what his life was really like. These were real problems, physical Omega worries. There was nothing superficial or easy about Starsky’s lot. Hutch felt privileged to be taken into his confidence. This wasn’t the same as hearing some knocked-up, wayward Omega in trouble, that they could hand over to Sweet Alice, or some hard-luck case of an Omega being shut out from a pack.
There was no walking away from this Omega’s trouble. This was Starsky’s real, goddamn, fucking life, a life that Hutch’d known nothing about and for good reasons. He couldn’t even pretend to have thought about any of these issues on the way over. He’d considered how he could fit Starsky into his own easy and exciting life. Having a Beta partner had always slowed him down, and he’d accepted that because of wanting to work with Starsky. Because giving his partner up just wasn’t an option, and he had never been asked to question his own motivations for that.
He felt like a total self-interested Alpha bastard, the kind that he despised when they encountered them on the streets or during an investigation, using Omegas and treating them like trash. He’d thought of those short-sighted Alpha as losers. How could they not see that there were others who needed help? Others had real problems.
Omegas lives were made difficult by both nature and society, and he was supposed to be the one to fight for equality and justice for all. That was what he’d sworn to do: to make this world a better place. Starsky and he’d been doing all that and more. Fight the Man. Hutch realized for the first time that he’d totally failed with the most important person in his life.
Starsky needed him. He was going to step up to the plate and be there for him. Come what may, even if it cost him everything too.
His focus was now sharp, even with the pheromones of Starsky’s heat clinging at his nose. He needed to put a stop to everything that was hurting this precious man. Then they could talk about the future. He hated hormone suppressors, always had. They reminded him too much of being forced on drugs that had altered his life forever. He didn’t wish that kind of change on anyone.
“Those pills, they’re not you. Never use them again, Starsk. You can’t be you taking that shit. I’ll help get you whatever you need.” He swore it to himself and to Starsky, even though he had no idea what was involved to make good on his oath. “Sweet Alice can help, or Hug. I don’t know much, but I have pull and I’ll use it.”
“Babe,” Starsky interrupted him, stopping him with a mere whisper. Deep blue eyes looked up at him, burning internally. “End of the line for me and you know it.”
His partner had been torn apart for years, and yet he was taking time and energy out of his stretched supply for Hutch.
Hutch felt like he was being assessed. For what?
Loyalty? You got it, buddy.
Sincerity? He’d do anything for Starsky.
Acceptance? Always, anything. Just ask.
Starsky was his life.
The world stopped for him as Starsky was setting him free. They’d be expected to go their different ways if Hutch let the conventions of their society rule their lives. He was supposed to be glad to be rid of this deceit, this burden that Starsky should be to him. It’d be the best for everyone, that’s what he’d been taught. That’s how the world worked. Omegas had their place in the world, and the only Omega Hutch could have close ties with was his mate.
He should walk away right now.
More in a bit. This isn't finished by a long shot!
Chapter 4: Starsky
Hutch was choking at the throat at the thought of facing the world without this man in his personal space.
“I can’t be a cop without you,” he admitted, in a moment of unguarded vulnerability.
It wasn’t just the work, the job, that would change without Starsky by his side. Their partnership had been what he’d woken up to every morning, what he went to work for, and what he took to bed, every night for six years. Knowing that Starsky was going to be there, every day, was what made life worth living.
The reality was that he now had an Omega partner that he’d been aware of only for a few hours. A surge of something deeper than hormones or pheromones ran through him. Pride? Lust?
No. It was gratitude. Nothing so crude as a base impulse. This was deeper than all that. This was his Starsk, his love, his partner.
“I’m not walking out that door, buddy.” He stated his truth, his intention, his decision.
“They’ll kick me off the Force,” Starsky said.
“Let them try,” Hutch said, combatively.
“Oh, they’re gonna try,” Starsky said. “And they’ll succeed. No Omega has ever been a Detective in the whole state, so forget about the conservative Bay City PD letting me slip on in. And posing as a Beta ain’t gonna me much credibility.”
“We’ll deal with it. Somewhere, some Omega must’ve made it,” Hutch tried, filling up with hope. This was a start of a plan. He was good at action. Hell, together they were awesome at doing the impossible. That’s what made them a great team.
He’d never paid Omega rights much mind until Blaine and Whitelaw, much less even the difficult fate of male Omegas. He was ashamed to admit he didn’t know a whole lot about it. He was in favor of equal rights, of course. He prided himself on being a modern man, a progressive and sensitive Alpha. He had signed plenty of petitions when asked to do so. He made sure he voted pro-Omega rights in each election, but as a member of the police force, he’d tried to stay out of political campaigns. He’d never taken a stand on anything so contentious as Omega emancipation inside the Force.
It’s easy advocating rights of those who aren’t in your life, to only interact with the downtrodden as a do-gooder, a bringer of all answers and solutions. Hutch knew it was just another ego trip. It was easy being a white knight, when real problems touched his own life as little as a daily headline in a newspaper. It had still been possible to not get personally involved with cases that he could conveniently and socially acceptably bring to the Omegas in a brothel like the one he was sitting in.
Things felt a whole lot different now that he was here with his partner, who turned out to be one of these Omegas, and who needed his help far more than he’d ever imagined. He’d held his own in heated debates with his cop colleagues about continuing to partner with Starsky, who was a grudgingly accepted Beta after ten hard years of civil rights campaigns. With Starsky’s perceived lesser status, they had banded together and had tried to break the glass ceiling up the ranks by refusing to split up and the expected junctures.
He couldn’t imagine what it would’ve been like if they’d known Starsky’s real designation. Just how ugly would it get from here on in?
“Sit, Hutch,” Starsky broke into his highspeed thought process. “You gotta listen.”
He sat, gratefully. Hutch found himself transfixed by his partner’s calm voice. It was unusual to see the solemn look on a man whom he knew as so joyful, so open and extrovert in normal life. This was still the man he’d shared his car, his days and his nights with, as close as two people could get without being mated. He couldn’t imagine himself wanting to be with anyone else, ever. He’d never felt so vulnerable as now, seeing his friend was exposed, frail and suffering.
He moved close to Starsky and their thighs touched. So familiar, so normal, yet so alien now that everything was different. The world had changed, because Starsky had in his mind changed.
He was reeling a bit from it all. “I haven’t listened, have I?” he asked, knowing that now.
“No, not one bit,” Starsky cracked a small smile at that. “But I haven’t talked either. I didn’t give you a fair shake. I realized that when Dobey got involved, seeing how he reacted and offered me a solution. Like he didn’t have to, you know? Not his responsibility. I felt like a heel accepting that from him and Edith. It wasn’t a burden you’d ever imagine you’d have to lay on your Cap. Without Blaine, I was in this untenable situation and he saw that. I was gonna resign, but Dobey came through for me, for us. He loves the stuffing out of you, sunshine.” Starsky’s smile intensified and a frown started to crown his eyes. “He’s the best, willing to do things for me that I can’t imagine a happily married Alpha’d ever want to do. I’d never ask anyone to do that, but I had run out of options. Blaine was my way into remaining your partner. I couldn’t go to you for this, or anyone. I’d put you in danger. I thought I could go on with the stopgap of Dobey and suppressors, but the heats are coming faster and faster since Terry. Almost bonding with her was the breaking point for my, well my hormones, I guess. It’s not easy to explain.” Starsky adjusted his robe. The bed slushed in response and rocked them gently.
He hadn’t clocked that they were sitting on a waterbed until he felt the slow waves. Hutch concentrated on that, because he didn’t want to imagine what Dobey had been doing to Starsky, or Blaine or anyone. Even Terry, dead and buried, had him jealous.
Instead, he listened more intently. He had a lot to learn and quickly too. He’d be playing catch up for a while, until he was able to gather more facts about Omega men and what their lives were like. Right now, his job was to take in all Starsky could tell him.
One thing Hutch understood totally, without effort. “I get why you couldn’t ask me. I wouldn’t have either in your position, but man, I wish you had. I’d do anything to keep you safe.” He swallowed his Alpha instinct to take Starsky purely for himself.
“I know you would. I couldn’t put that on you. Look at how fast Dobey offered,” Starsky lifted his hand to Hutch’s shoulder and ran it down his arm.
Hutch shivered. This was too much to deal with, and he was only an outsider. He wasn’t the one who’d been living this misery. He had to bite down on himself, his teeth, his limbs, anything he could clamp, he did. Whatever it took, he’d keep it together for Starsky.
“You’d want to save me. I know you, Hutch. I didn’t intend to stay on the job this long. Suppressing Omega hormones only allows for a limited shelf-life until it goes ding. As time went on, I kept stretching it way past ding. I didn’t wanna leave. I was gonna quit by thirty, that was my plan. But I didn’t count on you happening to me.”
“Me?” Hutch mentally scrambled for footing at that last bit. Whatever it was that Starsky was saying or not saying, he was sure he’d missed an important point. “What did I do?”
“You were you, doofus,” Starsky’s grin came back a bit more, and the little gleam in his eyes felt like home. That intimate familiarity, like when they were in the Torino on stakeout, joking around the whole night. Something they both enjoyed because of the amount of quiet time they got together. Their days were busy and whirlwind, just like Hutch liked, and the shared nights were sweet, as chaste as they were. He enjoyed being with Starsky for a disturbingly boring stakeout as much as he did their double dates with Omegas. He’d never date an Alpha in Starsky’s presence, so the dates were vanilla, as far as Hutch was concerned.
He’d never actively sought to bed an Omega male, but he had fancied Beta males, and had dabbled with an Alpha male or two at the academy. He hadn’t been bound by many rules when he was newly divorced, so no one’d asked questions. The locker rooms were good for many a lost hour, and there was a series of stalls in the back, hidden away from accidental onlookers. Alphas all understood how high the need could get when your rut came on and you had no partner. You’d fuck just about anything and anyone present. It was a gentlemen’s agreement that no one asked, no one mentioned it. No one the wiser. Alpha’s prerogative. Alpha culture.
Starsky was aware of all his exploits. It’d never occurred to him to hide his sex life from his partner. Hutch, in turn, knew for a fact that Starsky’d never, under any circumstances spent time alone with Alphas outside of a work situation.
Alphas would be liable for statutory rape of a Beta underling if it came down to it. There was that, but that didn’t secure Starsky’s safety. Hutch had made sure to be Starsky’s partner in as much of the physical areas of the training they went through as he could. There were laws protecting Betas from Alpha aggression since the Beta civil rights act and Bay City PD was hot on observing them. He’d been teamed up with Starsky, and he’d made some clandestine deals with the coach when he was assigned to another team to pair up with Starsky.
No one was going to touch Starsky under his watch, not even now.
He had to shake himself back to the present. Starsky’s Omega pheromones were hitting him hard as they filled this stuffy room. It was going to be much more difficult being around Starsky without the suppressors.
“What did you mean by ‘I was me’?”
Starsky sighed, and just crossed his arms over his chest. His beautiful breathing chest. “You were different from the rest of them. Certainly not what I expected going into a bastion of Alphas. You were in my corner from the get-go. After we made it to Detectives, I didn’t want to leave. I had a plan and I didn’t stick to it. Late twenties is about the cut-off for any tested suppressors to work properly. After that, it’s a mess. The mating drive is too strong to counter with hormones. That’s for females, and with Omega males, well,” he just trailed off.
“It’s problematic,” Hutch finished for him.
“In a nutshell. Not enough research data, because male Omega studies don’t get funding.”
Hutch let that land, before he backtracked. “So, what was the plan?”
“I don’t know. I never got that far. Because you were there, every bloody day, by my side, picking me up, letting me drive in my car you claim to hate,” Starsky looked pointedly, his irrepressible spirit shining through, despite everything resting on his shoulders. “I treated the upholstery with some pheromone cancelling gunk that Huggy got me off the back of a dodgy truck. I think it made things easier for both of us, so your rut wouldn’t trigger my heat. That was pretty much all I could do. I just had to see how far I could go, how long I could keep it up. I was living one day at a time, hoping I’d beat the odds. With John’s help, I was doin’ alright for a long time, even after the big three-oh. But Terry took me by surprise. She didn’t mind what I was. She knew,” Starsky swallowed hard. “She knew everything, and she accepted me. My choices. You. Blaine. It was amazing. I don’t even wanna think what would’ve happened if I hadn’t stayed a cop. I might never have met her, Hutch. I stayed because of you, and I found her. I was gonna settle down with her and give up the job, but-” Starsky’s softly rattled flow of words ground to a halt.
Hutch’s brain was restructuring everything that had happened with Terry, a lovely Omega herself. No pups, he realized now, at least not Starsky’s. As far as he could think back to his anatomy classes, two Omegas couldn’t mate in that way.
They could make love, of course, and their love had been undeniable. Theirs had been sweet and gentle and it had felt right. A type of love he and Starsky didn’t have. An Alpha only showered sweet gentleness on his Omega mate and Hutch had refused to consider mating with another Omega after Gillian.
For years it didn’t seem possible when the man he’d wanted was a Beta, but today things had changed dramatically.
Hutch needed to ask what were probably insensitive questions. “You lost Terry, because of being a cop. Doesn’t that make you angry?” He didn’t mean to dredge misery up for Starsky, but he needed to understand.
“I hate her pointless death. That a soul that gentle had to die. I can’t deal with it. You know all about that.”
Yes, Hutch knew.
“Seems my body ticked over into nesting mode and decided to go ding. Pup time. Even though-” Starsky stopped again, swallowed audibly and looked down at his arms folded at his chest.
Hutch nodded, feeling Starsky’s anguish keenly, because he understood it. Anyone would, no matter their gender. “You may not be able to have children and you couldn’t give her any.”
Hutch wanted to smash something.
Being an Omega male sucked. Starsky was thoroughly screwed.
Hutch pushed down the urge to jump up and yell and rant and badger the world into making it better for his partner. If he could’ve killed and cheated and cajoled anything or anyone to bring Terry back to life again for Starsky, he would’ve done it, then and now.
He wanted a safe world for his partner to work in, and he wanted male Omegas to have dedicated healthcare that could provide effective heat control for their cycles. The issues with conception and childbirth needed proper research. He wanted the universe to make male Omegas reliably fertile, so they didn’t have to feel like a pariah in society, tucked away, not talked about, forced to go underground. He knew that sex trafficking was a real danger for Omega males because they were often cast out by their families at an early age, left to fend for themselves in a society that would rather just pretend they didn’t exist.
A deeply hidden of him also wanted society to change so that a person’s worth wasn’t lodged in how well they could produce offspring.
Pride filled his entire being sitting with this brave, strong partner. The man he loved more than his career, more than his status, more than anything he could think of right now.
“You’re still you,” he assured Starsky, trying to clarify that Hutch was all in with their partnership now that he knew the truth. “All the other shit doesn’t matter to me.”
As a Beta, Starsky had been off-limits to the likes of Hutch. He already had many strikes against him, like his divorce, his job and his unwillingness to get mated again as Alpha custom demanded. Top that off with the power dynamics between an Alpha and a Beta would immediately have Starsky dropped by the Department and any other serious occupation. If they got found out, both their badges would be on the chopping block and they’d end up as fodder for the gossip press.
Hutch knew Starsky’d never been considered a full partner by their peers. Hutch’d remained his protector to this day, though they’d never wasted any words on it. Hutch’d refused to address that presumption at every turn with everyone, including Dobey and Blaine. Dobey’d been so kind to raise the subject only once, at the very beginning. Hutch’s complete indifference to any perceived issue or sacrifice on his end had been readily understood and respected by their Captain ever since. Dobey was also a modern Alpha with his heart in the right place. Hutch had left it at that.
But a relationship with his Beta partner would’ve gotten Starsky fired and Hutch up on charges of statutory rape.
Hutch could finally admit to himself that he’d had these scenarios in the back of his mind since day one. He’d opted for the only way he could be with Starsky, every day, which was the job. Working partners. Forever.
He refused to let Starsky go now, unless Starsky genuinely wanted to leave him. “Let me make it simple, Starsk. If you’re out, I’m out.”
“Bad choice, Hutch.” Starsky shook his head slowly, as if he’d run all scenarios in his own head and come up empty.
Hutch had made up his mind before he’d even formulated a whimper of a plan. “Listen, that Whitelaw guy, right? He’s trying to get elected to office as a out and proud Omega male. That’s a start. I say we join him. We can work on the equal right campaign. Omega rights. Make a fucking difference in this world. God knows they need it.” Hutch caught his own mistake but didn’t correct it. Starsky needed it, so Hutch needed it. But that didn’t negate that the whole world sucked and someone had to stand up for the downtrodden. It couldn’t just be the Omegas fighting this one on their own. They would need Alphas like him to back their cause or they never stood a snowball’s chance in hell.
Starsky’s arms dropped and one landed on Hutch’s thigh, sending tingly shivers up and down his body. “Blaine backed him, and he got ostracized by the whole PD for it.”
“Exactly. That’s why we should join his cause.” The whole idea got Hutch fired up again. They could fight Blaine’s fight, and they could do it together. “We can do more good changing the system, than we can out on the streets dredging one abused Omega out of the gutter at a time.”
Starsky exhaled slowly. “Hutch, you wanna go on a crusade, that’s great. But when I said I’m out, I meant for serious. I can’t be around you anymore now that the suppressors stopped working reliably.”
“First of all, you’re dumping that shit,” Hutch insisted, “and second, yes, you can be around me.”
Starsky shook his head again, curls bobbing as gently as the waves in the waterbed rocked them. “My cycle’s gonna trigger your rut. We’re gonna need to get away from each other all the time. And what if you meet someone to settle down with? A mated Alpha spending his days with an unmated Omega is messy in the absolute best case. It’s no good, Hutch.”
“I have met someone, in fact.” Hutch felt a grin overtake his mouth as puzzle pieces of his life were falling in place. “I’ve always wanted this person, but I let society tell me it was inappropriate, even wrong. I really believed that, until just now, in fact. So much so that I ignored my attraction as much as I could.”
Starsky tilted his head slightly and took a solemn moment before responding. “After everything you’ve been through, babe, you should grab it when you have a chance. I’ve had to dance to society’s tunes my whole life, so I know how it is. I say you’d better act on that feeling sooner rather than later. We’ve both been through the wringer. Love might slip through your fingers like that.”
Starsky’s gentle reference to Gillian made his heart more certain than it already was. “Oh, I won’t let it slip through my fingers this time.”
“I’m happy for you, Hutch. You better stay in the Department then. No need to jump into a cause on my account. Your mate won’t like you spending that much time with me or Whitelaw anyway. Omega males are gonna be pretty much out of bounds once you’re mated.”
“Except my mate if he’s that Omega male.” Hutch grinned even wider.
Starsky blinked and cracked half a smile. “Sorry, my bad.”
He’d shared all his sexual history with Starsky. After Nancy, Vanessa and Gillian, his partner had probably decided that Hutch’d wanted a female for a mate. Most Alphas did, assuring a litter of pups and a family line.
Starsky brushed Hutch’s sleeve for no reason other than the open affection they’d always displayed and communicated with. “Then I get why you’d be interested in supporting Whitelaw. You’re gonna have to deal with some backlash in the Department.”
“Mating with a male Omega isn’t illegal, Starsk.”
Starsky nodded, jaw setting hard. “But nobody’s first choice, that’s for sure.”
“It is mine. This man is my first choice. I wish I’d seen it sooner. I would’ve asked him years ago if I’d been brave enough. You’ve helped me realize the stupidity of our whole system, more than I’d already been aware of. I’m afraid that I really haven’t been nearly as progressive as I thought I was.”
Starsky’s smile broadened. “Until you suggested working with Whitelaw, I would’ve agreed with you. But I gotta be honest, I never considered joining the Omega equal rights movement in that way either. Quitting the Force can make that possible.”
“So will you come with me?” Hutch asked, slipping off the bed, with one knee on the floor in front of Starsky.
“You’re my choice, babe. My first and only. You’re the one I’ve needed by my side for the last seven years. I don’t care if you’re a Beta or an Omega. I’ve felt it every day we’ve worked together. I kept my desires to myself because it would’ve been unfair to you. I couldn’t act on my feelings, so I buried them deep. I figured it was just my Alpha drive to possess or fight everyone around me. My biology gets in the way of thinking clearly, of knowing if my desire is truly a desire and not just hormones running rampant. I don’t want to be ruled like that, by my own body or by society. Now I know what I feel is real. You’re it for me.”
Starsky stared at him, eyes wide, mouth freezing in the o-position of another ‘what?’
Hutch took the hand that had so deliciously drawn shivers from him with every touch, all the way back to the times they’d sparred at the academy or had fallen into a happy drunken heap after training.
He was certain. “I’ve wanted you, Starsky. I’ve dreamed of you. I didn’t much like myself for lusting after my Beta partner. It was inappropriate and I refused to take advantage of you or put you in a position where you’d feel you needed to change partners. I never told anyone, but I didn’t want to give you up.” There had been no one to tell. Alphas were his competition and Betas like Huggy didn’t deserve to be bothered with his Alpha problems. And other than brief, chaperoned moments with Sweet Alice and the occasional one-night stand, he didn’t socialize with Omegas.
Starsky just kept staring at him with that patience that he could switch on when it was warranted. He was giving Hutch time to get his thoughts in order.
Hutch didn’t need any more time. He knew exactly what he wanted and could finally ask for it. He could now say it out loud and hope for a positive answer. “Please be my mate. Move in with me. Resign with me. Let’s talk to Dobey and join Whitelaw’s campaign with me. Never stop being my real-life partner on and off the job.”
He stopped. There was so much more to say and promise, but he’d put his cards on the table and had made his offer. Now it was up to his partner.
Brightness sparkled in Starsky’s eyes. “Hutch, you always protected me from day one. Don’t you see? I want to mate for love, not for protection. I appreciate the offer, but it’s your hormones doing the talking. This room’s filled with my pheromones. Today’s been a bit of a bitch to say the least. For you too.”
Hutch could say a hundred things to that, but he wasn’t sure any words would convince Starsky today. “You think I’m being rash? I’ll give you rash.” He moved in closer and hit the brakes right before his lips could touch Starsky’s. “Tell me if you don’t want this,” he breathed, whispering low as he noted that Starsky wasn’t pulling back. “I’ll stop when you ask me to. Until then…”
He closed the gap between their lips languidly, deliciously teasing his final inch there until he could feel Starsky’s breath growing rapid and shallow. He knew then that his desire was reciprocated and pressed his lips gently against his partner’s sultry, soft mouth.
Starsky moaned deeply and hands circled around his back, urging Hutch closer. Hutch opened his mouth and let his tongue touch Starsky. He was greeted with a needy enthusiasm that juxtaposed the stillness that his partner had exhibited up till now.
He let himself be pulled near and let Starsky dictate the speed and actions for the moment. He hadn’t known what to expect exactly and hadn’t even taken into consideration that Starsky’s heat had only broken a short while ago. He knew from living with Vanessa’s cycle that it wasn’t an on and off switch every time. Sometimes it lingered and she’d be all over him as soon as he came home from work.
He pulled back a bit, holding himself away from Starsky by a few inches, until Starsky stopped devouring his mouth. “I need to check if you’re okay with this, or if it’s your hormones that are doing all the talking.” The echo of Starsky’s words awarded him a grin from Starsky. “I don’t want to take advantage of you.”
An Alpha’s pheromones could be an unfair enticement for an Omega in heat. The last thing Hutch wanted was for his intentions to be misunderstood for a quick lay with a lusty Omega in the throes of their heat. He considered that rape, even if the courts still didn’t.
Starsky visibly struggled to resume the conversation, which told Hutch his partner was still dealing with the demands of his heat. But Starsky soldiered on as Hutch had always seen him do. “Damn, Hutch. I ain’t no little girl on her first crush.”
“All that doesn’t mean a thing if you’re in the grips of the aftershocks of your heat,” Hutch countered and pulled back a bit.
“Yeah, okay, there’s that.” Starsky admitted and gripped Hutch more tightly. “If I hadn’t wished for you saying exactly what you just did for the past seven years, I’d worry too. But I don’t need to second-guess my hormones. I know what I want, Hutch. It wasn’t gonna be flowers or sunsets for me. This cat house and you smelling like you do, that’s about how I always thought it was gonna go down. I just didn’t think I’d be this lucky.” Starsky yanked Hutch down hard and the overly slushy waterbed rocked them both. Starsky managed to steal a quick kiss. “If you’re serious then take me home and finish what we’ve started here. Cause if you don’t, I’m likely to start ripping off your clothes right here.”
“Oh, I’m serious.” Hutch moved in and pulled Starsky onto the bed, where he lay down on top of his beloved. “What do your hormones say to that?” The waterbed swayed gently under them, and he appreciated the warmth supporting his friend under him.
“They’re saying, take me if you mean it.” Starsky looked good enough to bite into.
Hutch was tempted to let go and ravish his strong independent man, but he wanted to give his partner something better than a quick knotting in a refuge. His mate deserved to be treated better than that. Besides, there was no way he’d claim Starsky in the same bed that some unknown mercy-Alpha had ‘helped’ Starsky out last night. Hutch wasn’t going to ignore his need to be the only one to possess his partner, his Omega. This wasn’t where he would take Starsky if he had anything to say about it. And he did.
He grabbed the tail end of the trailing bathrobe and covered Starsky’s exposed legs with it. “Let’s do this right. If we stay here much longer, I can’t promise I won’t just let you tear my clothes off and blast those flowers and sunsets out of our future, if you know what I mean.”
Starsky nodded and let out a reluctant laugh. The truth was, Starsky’d had a hell of a night. From experience, Hutch knew if he wanted to get him home, he’d better get that done sooner rather than later. Starsky’s energy levels were low from exhaustion, but their need for each other was growing by the minute now that the stopgaps had been unplugged between them. Starsky’s enticing pheromones were demanding action from him, and his body was gearing up to deliver. He’d have to keep it together before he’d lose his grip on his need to possess his partner.
He rolled off Starsky. “Does Sweet Alice have a phone in here?” He planted a kiss on Starsky’s chest because he couldn’t help himself, before pushing up from the bed and the beckoning personal space of his chosen mate.
“Nah, just an intercom. For help, you know?”
Hutch could vividly imagine what kind of help it was for. He rounded the bed quickly and grabbed Starsky’s clothes off the frilly chair in the same movement. He tossed them on the bed and Starsky started reaching for them. Hutch didn’t need to give instructions.
He spotted the intercom at the side of the bed and pressed the button, while Starsky dressed gingerly. “Can I use a phone?” he kept it simple, in case someone was listening in.
Sweet Alice’s warm words floated back. “My office is last door down the hall. No one’ll disturb you, honey.”
He made sure he caught Starsky’s gaze. “Give me a minute.”
Starsky nodded. “I’ll give you two, ’cause I like your face.”
“Come get me if I’m gone for that long. Or if you’re dressed. Whichever is first.”
He wasn’t kidding. As far as Hutch was concerned, they needed to get out of here as soon as possible.
The hallway doors opened silently as he moved through them, and he left the office door ajar slightly, not wanting to risk shutting himself in or Starsky out. He started punching numbers on the phone.
“The Pits establishment. The proprietor speaking. What can I do you for?”
“He’s safe,” he said, glad it was Huggy picking up. “Can’t talk now, but I wanted to thank you for having his back when I couldn’t.”
Huggy was exhaling audibly. “No sweat, man. Good to know. What’s the plan?”
“My place. More later, okay? I owe ya, Hug. Big.” Hutch waited a few seconds to make sure the beats told him that Huggy had put two and two together.
“Be good to him, Hutch.”
Hutch squeezed his eyes shut against the burning behind them. “Come beat me up if I’m not.”
“You know it,” was Huggy’s promise before putting down the phone.
It was a pact between them. Now Hutch was in the loop, he felt closer to Huggy and Dobey and Blaine than ever. Huggy’d always been Starsky’s people. Betas together. Hutch had assumed they understood each other. There’d always been a kindred spirit that Hutch didn’t share, but it had felt very natural. Hutch had never once suspected the two men had had this huge secret to protect between them.
He could feel a wave of stimulating pheromones hitting him before he even looked up.
Starsky was leaning in the open doorway, no shoes but otherwise completely dressed.
He pointed at the bare feet. “You forgot something.”
Starsky swallowed and swayed. “You were gone too long.”
He checked the time. It had been less than two minutes when Starsky came to get him, even though he wasn’t done getting dressed. That was a sure sign of his Omega partner still being in heat. He could see Starsky trying to get control over his biological impulses. His heat was emanating from him and it willed him to respond.
It wasn’t just that Hutch was an unmated Alpha within reach who’s rut was being evoked by the events of the day. Now that they had touched each other and made half-voiced, fully sincere promises, Starsky’s whole body was gearing up to answer the call to mate. He could see his partner losing the fight, holding onto the door, visibly aching for Hutch.
Between the two of them, Hutch was the only one who could get them home. He was fighting the pressing inevitability of dragging Starsky to his lair. Hutch hated his own primitive drives, but he knew they couldn’t stay here. He had to get Starsky to his place as soon as possible. Even so, he wasn’t going to treat Starsky like some child-like, will-less creature, like the stereotypical concept of Omegas. He knew better than that.
Hutch moved close and pushed his thigh against Starsky’s to make the reassuring contact they’d been used to over the years. He grabbed Starsky’s hand, resisting taking him into his arms. “I feel it too.” His arousal was undeniable, but he wasn’t lost in embers of his rut. He could still think, he could still drive. He’d get Starsky what he needed and try to avoid triggering his rut in the process.
“I hear ya, okay?” Hutch stroked his partner’s sweat off his face, feeling the burn and clamping down on all temptation. “So it’s up to you. Whatever you need, I’ll make it happen.” He willed his mouth to keep talking, instead of kissing, devouring. “Now, here? Or home?”
Starsky leaned into him heavily, looking up, smoldering. “Home. But don’t leave me again.”
Hutch heard ‘please’ even though Starsky didn’t say it. He’d been stupid assuming Starsky’s heat would run the same as Vanessa’s. He had no idea how Omega males’ cycles ran, and Starsky had just come off suppressors. Hutch recalled how his partner was saying his mating drive was becoming uncontrollable, after Terry.
He couldn’t afford to assume anything or base his actions on any previous experiences or inadequate knowledge of Omega physiology. He couldn’t blame Whitelaw for wanting to run for office. Change had to come from the top down to get these people some proper healthcare.
Starsky wanted to go home. Good, he could do that. “I’m gonna a stay right at your side, I promise. I’ll get you home. But not barefoot on Bay City streets.” He clasped Starsky’s hand tightly as they moved swiftly through the small hallway to get Starsky’s shoes. The question of socks didn’t come up. He just needed to get Starsky into his car without worrying about him stepping in glass.
He’d have to thank Sweet Alice later, as there was no time to run past her. He held Starsky’s arm for guidance and support as they climbed down the stairs to the parking lot. One look at Starsky gave him the answer, and Starsky held up his keys a bit sheepishly. It wasn’t often that Starsky admitted to not being able to drive.
Hutch opened the passenger door to the Torino. He decided to get in first and shove over the stick to the driver’s side, never letting go of Starsky’s hand, as his partner climbed in after him.
Doors closed and revving up, Hutch grabbed the Dispatch radio, pressing a few buttons, while Starsky’s hand moved over to Hutch’s thigh. Contact was no longer optional, and Hutch was thankful for the many years of training himself to restrain his sex drive in nearly all situations. In the meantime, he couldn’t get home fast enough.
He dropped the CB mic in his lap while he backed out of the small space, and onto the road, into the mid-morning lull in traffic. When he was on the grid system, he grabbed the mic with his free hand.
“Mildred, get me Dobey. Secure channel.”
Dispatch didn’t ask any questions. It wasn’t unusual for Detectives to confer with their Captain privately.
He was gliding down North Gaffey Street at several notches above maximum speed when Dobey squawked back. “You got him?”
“Can we talk?”
“As good as. Closed door and closed channel. Still, best not tell me where you’ve been or where you’re going. Is he okay?”
Hutch spared Starsky a glance. His partner was scrunched up in the passenger seat, breathing shallowly and sweating, left hand squeezing Hutch’s thigh rhythmically.
“Not over the hill yet, but he got through the night okay. Turns out he’s got friends everywhere taking care of him.” Hutch could barely get the words out, as he hadn’t been in the trusted inner circle. However grateful he was for everyone involved, he hadn’t helped Starsky and it was eating him up inside. “He’s ah, running a temperature.”
“Not surprised. Tell him to hang on. It’ll get better.” There was mirth of relief in Dobey’s voice.
Hutch looked over again, and Starsky rolled his eyes. “He’s not impressed, Cap, but thanks.”
“None of us chose this,” Dobey said, voice now low and serious. “Hutch has your back.” That was directly to Starsky. Eyes on the road, Hutch didn’t dare to check his partners reaction to that.
He’d failed at having Starsky’s back so badly, he could barely stand to think about it. But there were pressing matters, so no time to dwell on his own selfish druthers.
“We got a plan, Cap. We gotta make some big changes, but I gotta take care of him first. Not out of the woods yet.”
“I’ll log you guys in with the flu.” Dobey scraped his throat roughly and bellowed, “I don’t want either of you coming in and sneezing all over my officers, you hear. Grab some vitamin C and maybe Edith’ll come by with a proper, homecooked dinner for you two. I’ll deal with things down here.”
“That’s ten-four on the flu. Thank the Mrs. for us. We’ll be famished by dinner time.”
He looked over at Starsky and saw a wicked smile lurking beneath the strained and urgent discomfort. Food was the furthest from either of their minds.
Chapter 5: Hutch
In this universe Venice Place has a back entrance.
Compared with the other ‘tweaks’ in this AU,
adding a back door seems a minor suspension of disbelief.
Hutch parked up the Torino around back instead of in front in his normal spot. He worried that they’d be too much of a spectacle, as Starsky’s attempts to slither up to him got more frequent and more insistent.
“Hold on for just a little bit longer, babe,” as he pushed his partner back and opened the passenger door for him. He body blocked Starsky into backing out of the car and crawled out behind him. Only as he was turning the Torino key did he even consider that this was his home, not Starsky’s. His Alpha abode. It’d be the first time that Starsky would be in his pad without hormone suppressors. He wasn’t sure what it would do to either of them. Was it even what his partner wanted? He hadn’t gotten around to ask.
“You okay here? Or you want to go to your place?” They were stupid questions at an even stupider time. He hadn’t even stopped to realize he was dragging his potential mate to his lair.
Starsky was wobbly on his feet, eyelids heavy, but undeniably not sleepy. “I need that. Your pad has… that.” Starsky fiddled with Hutch’s shirt buttons.
Hutch assumed the ‘that’ was his scent, his Alpha essence. Still, he was putting Starsky at a disadvantage. “I should’ve taken you to your place. This isn’t fair to you. I didn’t think.”
Starsky grabbed his hand and started to pull him to the back door of Venice Place. “I know you didn’t think. Tells me you want me more than you know.”
Hutch laughed as Starsky rested his back against the wall of the building, waiting for Hutch to open it, and making restless attempts at pulling Hutch to him. The self-satisfied smile on his face was only fanning Hutch’s fire.
“Much more than I knew, Starsk. It wasn’t an option before, but now I know, it’s rushing me. And you gotta stop that, until we’re inside, babe.” Hutch’s temperature was rising, now he was no longer in charge of driving safely to get them home. All distractions gone, his new reality was inviting his rut into making a move to overwhelm him. “Keep it together until we’re up the stairs,” he pleaded, as if Starsky was the only one on the precipice of losing control here.
He fiddled with more keys and guided his partner quickly up the stairs. He missed when Starsky impatiently snatched the key from over the door.
“I was tempted so many times, you got no idea,” Starsky mumbled, getting them inside as quickly as possible. “’S how I knew my heat was gonna come through. Frustrated the hell out of me having a gorgeous, unmated Alpha partner. And then you turned out to be like nice and everything too. No fair.”
Hutch grabbed the key off the floor where Starsky dropped it in favor of trying to undress Hutch again. Hutch was far more coordinated than his drained partner. He locked the door from the inside, just in case.
Starsky’s hands curled around his middle before he could turn back, and his partner started to undo his pants. “No more waiting, right Hutch? Tell me this is real.”
“This is real. It’s me. It’s you. We’re doing this.”
Hutch kept steering Starsky to towards the bed, hoping they’d make it before his partner succeeded in dropping Hutch’s pants and ending in a heap on the floor.
Heat was radiating off Starsky, sweat pouring off him, along with the intoxicating pheromones that Hutch had never been subjected to this strongly from his best friend. He pulled Starsky the last few feet over to the bed and clutched him tight as they fell together on Hutch’s bog-standard mattress. No waves, no warm surface. Real, honest-to-God blankets and a sturdy bedframe. At least, so far, it had been sturdy enough.
Hutch had to remind himself that this was real, this was happening. This could be his life with Starsky. Omega Starsky could be his. The insistent hands were claiming him, but not without cost to his partner. Hutch was protected by his gender, by society, by the set-up of the world that had said yes to him even when he fucked things up. It wasn’t his life that was in danger, it was Starsky’s.
He willed himself to slow down their frenzy for each other. “Starsky. I gotta give you one more chance to say no. I know what I want. I want this. Us. But can we be sure of your choice here? How far do we go?” It was the question that was always behind every romp in the hay as an Alpha. Whether to take that bite or not? He had to know the limits Starsky was needing to set. “You want me today? Or you want me for serious?”
Starsky’s skin was sizzling where their bodies touched in a disheveled state of undress. He knew it took the willpower of someone trained in combat, interrogation, undercover performance to handle himself as well as Starsky was doing right now.
No, he had to shake himself out of this outdated mind-set. It wasn’t police training that made Starsky magnificent, and far superior to most people in power that Hutch had ever known. It was his determination that had taken Starsky from being an unwanted, unloved and undervalued Omega male to one of the respected police detectives in the Bay City Police Department. Not merely an Omega. Not just a Beta. Starsky was respected by more than a few Alphas in the same job, including Dobey and Blaine. Hutch counted himself amongst those who treasured Starsky’s capabilities and sheer greatness of character.
It was time the world started to think in terms of people, not types. Individual merits, instead of classifications. Whole individuals, instead of mere gender classifications. Could he do that? And how could he expect anyone else to do that if he couldn’t manage it? He was a modern man, right? He had signed all the Civil Rights petitions for Betas. Had he just done that for Starsky? Or could he walk the walk, not just talk the talk? Could he actively fight for equal rights for Omegas in this Alpha’s world?
How could he not? Now more than ever. With his partner’s natural body overwhelming him freely, for the first time. Hutch was coming home. This is what he’d been waiting for, even though he’d never expected Starsky to be his. As a Beta partner, Hutch wouldn’t make a move on Starsky, but an Omega who wanted him was an entirely different story. And Starsky clearly wanted him.
He pulled Starsky close, a hot, trembling mess of hormones starting to exchange between them through the air, seeping between them where they touched. His rut might take Hutch over completely before Starsky’s heat was over, so Hutch pushed out another request for consent before it was too late.
“I want you, Starsk. I’m serious. Now. Forever. Or for however long you’ll have me.” He was stating what he knew to be true. He could only speak for himself. “Tell me what you want, what you need. How far do you want to take this today?”
Starsky’s breathing had grown more ragged as the seconds ticked on, eyes smoldering with internal, but controlled need. The musk of his partner’s sweat was coloring everything he was thinking, seeing, feeling.
“I don’t think you know what you’re getting yourself into,” Starsky rasped, as if speaking was becoming an intricate chore in Hutch’s arms. “But too much has gone down to give you time to wrap your meticulous brain around it. If it helps, I’ve wanted you for years. I stayed for you, dummy. It’s always been you. No other choices.” Starsky’s words trailed off as if he’d finally run out of steam.
Hutch closed the gap between them, not being able to take the words in. Kissing was the only option. His body told him that, and despite rampant hormones, it also bought him some time to process. Could he really believe that? Was he free to claim Starsky?
The earlier conversation floated back to him. Had Starsky really said Hutch had been the wild factor in his life’s plan? What did it mean?
The kiss was eagerly intensified by Starsky, and groping, tugging and pushing was going on. Groping for his lapels, his buttons, his zipper. Tugging to move onto the bed. And pushing his tongue into Hutch’s mouth urgently, like there was not time to lose.
Hutch swung them both to the bed, closing the final distance, just to have it over with. He was ready to ravish his partner. He wanted his partner to be his lover now, not in two minutes, not in ten seconds. No time to waste.
“I don’t care what comes next, Starsk. Just as long as it’s us. You and me. Me and thee. I’m useless for anyone else, I don’t want anyone else. I want you. It’s not a whim.”
Starsky pulled back for a second at that to give him a questioning look. “You’ve known the truth for all of 3 hours, Hutch,” his voice no more than a whisper. “You get to need to think about it. Weigh the options. This is your life. If you bite me, you could end up feeling it was a mistake.”
Hutch’s head was spinning, his vision started turning dark and red and smoldering. He had silently sworn to himself never to bite again. There just wasn’t anyone out there for him that was worth taking that leap with anymore. But the moment Starsky said it, even hinted at it, he felt the surge of need in him rise, stronger than ever before. Gillian had overwhelmed him that way as well, but Starsky got to him on a much more immediate level. This was his partner. He knew Starsky through and through. Good times, bad times, the deepest shit and the highest ecstasies. They’d been through it all.
Starsky was more real to him than anyone or anything, even without knowing his true gender. It was hitting him that nothing had changed with his partner being an Omega. Everything was possible and Starsky was still the same to him. Hutch was sure now that he’d always wanted Starsky. He’d set up his entire life around his partner, without ever expecting anything more than what they had. He’d secretly savored the security blanket of the imperfect status quo. He’d held on to the near certainty that his ‘Beta’ partner would never need to leave him. Even if he could never truly claim him, he’d always have Starsky in his life.
Starsky, an Omega, not a Beta, had given his career and Hutch his all. His whole life on a platter. In this rigid world that was all Starsky could aspire to, and time had just run out on him. On them both. Hutch was in this so deep, he couldn’t even see the sky anymore. Starsky was his sky.
“Do you want me to take this all the way, Starsk?” He managed to ask, fighting instincts that urged him to overpower the most precious person in this world to him.
Starsky was solid, strong, but the Omega part of him was also vulnerable. Omegas had to be protected from any threat by all means possible. Even if that threat was Hutch himself. Especially himself. He’d never fucking forgive himself if he claimed Starsky against his will.
“I need to know,” he ground out, as he pushed Starsky toward the bed, grinding his hips against his partner’s.
Starsky didn’t resist. Instead, his insistent hands and even a leg around him made them both topple onto the bed with a thud. Hutch pinned Starsky out of instinct, reveling in the solid warmth that radiated everywhere they were touching. There wasn’t much between him and total abandon now. He couldn’t afford to bite, even if Starsky asked for it. He clung onto that because he knew the rest was a lost battle. He’d give in. He would rip off Starsky’s clothes, if Starsky wasn’t wriggling out of his jeans already, getting stuck at the shoes.
Reality wasn’t cooperating, so Hutch ripped the buttons off Starsky’s shirt. In the back of his overheated brain, he knew this was it. Any more negotiation had to wait until they had two brain cells to rub together between the both of them.
“Fucking take me, babe,” Starsky was pulling at Hutch’s pants, sweat pouring off him, soaking his freshly washed chest. Hutch needed more of him, damp and clingy and full of want. The soft fragrance of shampoo of Starsky’s hair was intoxicating. Hutch had stripped Starsky of nearly all his clothes, grudgingly taking the time to yank the offending sneakers away. His own shoes had to wait. He didn’t care if he had to have his pants around his calves, because Starsky was purring under Hutch’s hands and there was nothing more immediate in the world than that.
Starsky had successfully unbuckled, and unzipped Hutch’s corduroy pants, and his straining cock was peeking out of his briefs, begging for release. It was going to be easy enough to pull himself out fully and flip Starsky over and take him.
His hand was stopped at the elastic rim. His heart pounding in his head, he realized Starsky was trying to communicate with his hand. It rested on Hutch’s attempt to free his own Alpha cock. It worked as an electricity interrupt to shock him out of his instinctual state, because it made no sense. Unless…
“You changed your mind?” he asked, mentally reigning himself in, in case he’d misjudged his partner’s wishes. If so, he might need to remove himself from the premises quickly. His brain was already plotting an Omega-safe exit. He’d have to get to a phone to alert Sweet Alice for another mercy-Alpha, and Huggy’s pad would be his first choice to shelter himself away, to ride out his own rut, if it came to that. Starsky’s place, totally not an option.
Hutch had been trained for this his whole life. He was not one of those Alphas who’d claim they’d been Omega-baited and were overcome by their biology. He’d sworn to himself he’d never be one of those assholes, even though his biology was damn hard to deny.
He tried to lift up and away from Starsky, but his partner’s hand on his was strong and kept him in place.
He couldn’t look at Starsky. “What? Just tell me what?” Hutch couldn’t stay on this precipice of potential danger to his beloved, the man whom he now knew he wanted as his mate, and no one else, ever. Forward or backward, those were the only two options.
But Starsky kept him there, breathing heavily, chest shuddering at every exhale, protracting this impossible impasse.
He had to look.
Starsky’s desire was palpable and raw. Eyes bright and deep, a level of moisture that could turn into tears, but the small whimpers that came from him signaled a deep craving, a want, a need not ever met before.
“What?” Hutch whispered, now that he knew this impasse was more important than his needs, than a sexual act, than the stilling of an Omega’s heat.
“Please, off.” Starsky tugged at Hutch’s shirt, his loose corduroy pants zipper. “No barriers.”
Words came hard to his Omega. Hutch had seen it before. A decent Alpha takes care of his Omega, and he nodded. “Hold on.”
He let go of Starsky, noting with relief that his own need was secondary to Starsky’s. Yes, he recognized his need to rape Starsky, to take him, to bite him, but that was nothing new. His acts were what showed what type of man he really was. A smile of such contentment and deep love spread across his own face as he listened to Starsky’s labored breaths, while he took off his shirt, his t-shirt, and started on his pants. He grinned even, when the inconvenient shoes were being obstinate and he had to reach down to pull the laces before kicking them off.
“Socks too?” he asked, vaguely wondering if he should take Starsky’s off too.
His partner still had his shirt on and pants down his legs.
He kept moving, not waiting for an answer, and Starsky moaned out in between need and pleasure, as far as Hutch could tell, when Hutch ripped off Starsky’s socks. They both struggled to get Starsky out of his clingy, sweat soaked jeans, and then they fell into a heap on the bed, stark naked.
“Better?” he asked, running a hand over Starsky’s cheek, resisting the urge to wrap his fingers in the curls and grabbing them tightly. His brain flashed on pushing Starsky down, pulling his legs up and ramming into him, but he didn’t move. He didn’t know how he did it, but he didn’t move. It was Starsky’s call. It’d have to be, or this partnership was over before they could get to the next level. And Hutch wanted that next level like he’d never wanted anything in his life.
Joy filled Starsky’s eyes, a sloppy smile was forming. Hutch knew the tells that Starsky had like the back of his hand. Better, even. There had been fear, and it was alleviated.
Maybe male Omegas were afraid of being raped. Maybe they functioned differently than female Omegas. Hutch had to tread carefully and his basic instincts being triggered by a heat wasn’t making that any easier. Most of the pulp novels were full of rampant heats that the Alpha could plunge into like every Omega was waiting for them, but Hutch had seen more than most, as a police officer in a so-so neighborhood. He didn’t buy it.
Vanessa had been exceptionally aggressive. She’d let him know when he wanted it and how she was going to get it. And Hutch had reveled in the amazing sex, literally pounding into her hard and long and with abandon. Knotting her was the best thing about their short-lived marriage. He’d never had any other Omega who loved to be fucked like that. So Hutch had never assumed. Gillian had been almost the polar opposite. Sex with her had been sweet, tender and he’d stayed vigilant throughout. He knew he could do it, whatever Starsky needed.
“I’m here,” Hutch whispered to the only one who mattered in the world.
Chapter 6: Fuck
“You ditched the socks.”
They both laughed at the weird non-sequitur.
“Was gonna tell ya, the socks weren’t like essential.” Starsky’s grin was shining through the rest of his body.
“I figured I’d go for broke.” Hutch still didn’t know what the clothing thing was about, but if it ticked Starsky’s box, then he needed to get it done and ask no question.
“No one’s ever done that for me,” Starsky sighed, eyes closing on a strained exhale. His entire frame started to tremble against Hutch’s nude body.
Hutch didn’t quite know what to say to that. “Skin? You mean, having sex naked?” Could that even be a thing?
“No Alpha.” Starsky’s rolled his face into Hutch’s neck, burying himself closer.
Hutch’s first instinct was to cradle his friend, and he saw no indication to resist that urge. Starsky sighed contentedly as Hutch’s arms went around the strong, beautiful torso.
His brain wasn’t coping on a level he could identify as rational. He was understanding on a far deeper level. Starsky couldn’t be taken by an Alpha without the risk of being claimed.
“So Terry, but not-” Hutch didn’t have to finish his sentences.
Starsky didn’t answer. They didn’t need anyone else in bed with them right now. This was complicated enough with just the two of them.
“Now, you fuck me,” Starsky said.
Words Hutch never thought he’d hear from his partner. He’d longed for them, so this must be a dream.
“For real?” Hutch asked, wincing at the stupidity of what was coming out of his mouth. He could do better. “Tell me how you want it.”
This was new to Hutch too. It was Starsky’s party. His rules, his needs.
Hutch had never considered asking exact instructions. He’d always been too busy keeping himself in check, making sure he didn’t overstep any boundaries of anyone he slept with. Wife, lover or stranger.
Starsky was none of those, and all of those. This man was his partner, his friend, and from their naked erections twitching against each other, soon to be his lover. He couldn’t bring himself to ask for more than what seemed to be given to him on the tin.
He dared not hope for the one step beyond all others. The one thing that had dangled in front of Alphas and Omegas alike from the day they presented their secondary gender was that perfect union. Hutch had presented at the standard age of fourteen, when most boys presented. Because he’d married young, dumb and ignorant of the world, he’d since been disillusioned in the fairy tale of that so called perfect union. It had all been a sham. He’d ripped off the rose-colored glasses that had nothing to do with real life. The nitty gritty of raw human needs and yearnings weren’t pretty enough to sell on TV or write books and movies about. Parents don’t want to sell reality to their kids. They want the perfect fantasy, that no doubt they’d never been able to score themselves.
Hutch had gone the opposite direction. He intimately sought out and loved the imperfections of every single person, which made them more glorious, more divine than all those flat, pasty faces he was asked to emulate when he was growing up.
Starsky, an imperfectly perfect man felt so undeniably right in his arms, his subconscious was screaming at him to believe again. He knew that fairy tale life was possible now. He just couldn’t assume today was the day. He’d chose to accept that day might never come. He’d rather have a limited and imperfect union with Starsky, than ask for more than his best friend would want to give. He’d rather have this beautiful man lie to him the rest of his life, than miss another day with him. He’d take a solid rejection right in his own home, in his own bed, just so he could continue to be Starsky’s partner.
That all defining bite wasn’t part of the deal today. Hutch acknowledged that to himself. It was okay. Taking care of Starsky was the aim. He hoped he could keep it together and not lose himself in the allure of bedding an unmated Omega whom he loved. Because he did. He had all this time. Things had finally made sense now he knew that.
Hutch was all the way in. “Whatever you want, partner, it’s yours.” He was David Starsky’s partner, in every way. It was that simple and that complex.
Starsky’s breathing had slowed against his collarbone. Starsky pulled his head back up, stopping to kiss Hutch unreservedly and insistently, at his own leisure.
“What I want,” his friend pushed through in between kisses. “Is for you to fuck me. Now. Hard. And I wanna see you doing it.” At that, Starsky pulled back, locked eyes with him, and beamed his thoughts to Hutch, as he’d done, so many times before.
Hutch got the message, loud and clear. “You got it.”
He pulled himself up, pushing Starsky’s leg onto his shoulder as he did, and rolled his lover over to his back. His rut was threatening to break through, but he was in far more control than he’d ever been at this stage of sex. He marveled why, and then lost that train of thought as he wrapped his hand around Starsky’s erection, bending heavily over Starsky’s stomach. Hutch started to squeeze it slowly. Starsky’s moan was accompanied by a rush of pheromones which hit Hutch like a sun shower.
He could smell the faint allure of slick grow stronger, which he’d been ignoring until this point. This wasn’t any Omega’s slick, it was Starsky’s and it filled his lungs, his mouth, his cells. Deep fires stirred up within him, as the indistinct scent grabbed him. He couldn’t help but let go of his friend’s cock in reaction. He mindlessly moved his fingers to slide down Starsky’s perineum and ran into his partner’s own natural lube.
Omega slick was the ambrosia of sex to every Alpha. Hutch had to resist the urge to bend down to lick his fingers. Starsky’s moans of pleasure had intensified throughout, until now.
His lover slapped Hutch’s supporting arm.
“Sorry,” he pulled his hand away from Starsky’s center.
“No, dufus.” Starsky slapped him again. “I want more, not less. But I wanna see you see me.”
Hutch assumed Starsky referred to needing to meet his Alpha’s gaze, so as not to get lost in his own experience. He’d do anything Starsky asked of him at this point. “Yeah, alright. Just slap me again when I forget.” Because he knew he’d forget again. There was no way he could keep from getting distracted, given that he was now certain Starsky was his Omega.
He was ready to claim Starsky, which was inappropriate at best. Worst case, it could be disastrous. Either way, this had to happen at Starsky’s speed, not Hutch’s. He had to hold on to sanity as best he could.
Hutch heard Starsky grinning, without looking down to his lover’s mouth. It was hard to miss that specific Starsky sound, his intake of breath, that he’d known for over seven years.
“Hutch,” Starsky’s voice was commanding, guiding Hutch to meet his partner’s eyes. “Look at me when you go on.”
Hutch was still frozen and took a steadying breath. “You want me to continue?” He had to know.
Starsky bit his lower lip, and Hutch noted the tiny beads of sweat on his face and his neck. There was a palpable tremor running through the body he was holding so intimately. Maybe Starsky was having trouble controlling himself as well. Of course, Hutch had gotten so distracted keeping himself in check, he must’ve missed that Starsky’s heat was ramping up. Before he could think of what to say or do first, Starsky blew out a breath he’d been holding.
“Hutch, if you don’t, I’m gonna take what I need. Your choice.”
The rush of his own rut coming on swept over him, hearing his Omega say he wanted to be claimed now. “I’m up for anything, babe. This is for you. All your choice.”
Starsky pulled himself up by grabbing Hutch’s shoulders, and flopped them over on the bed, Starsky landing on top. Neither Vanessa’s aggressive sex bouts, nor Gillian’s gentle love making could ever match up to his true Omega taking charge. He had no doubts left where his own affections lay. He couldn’t believe he’d fooled himself all this time, that what he’d felt was protection towards Starsky. A mere Beta. How could he have missed it? This man was a potent Omega and Hutch was about to be taken for a whole new adventure.
“I’m gonna climb you, Hutch, and you’re gonna watch me.” Starsky was already doing what he was saying and Hutch lost the ability to think.
Starsky lifted himself up and grabbed Hutch’s cock with a full fist. One pump, two. Not that it needed hardening. Hutch looked up and kept eye contact, as Starsky had asked, but it was very trying, as all he wanted to do was look at how Starsky was fisting him, how tempting Starsky’s ass was enticing him.
Hutch’s mind went blissfully blank as his partner lowered himself on Hutch’s straining erection, purposefully directed upward by Starsky’s own hand.
His Omega’s free arm landed hard on Hutch’s chest as Starsky found support, never once breaking eye contact. It seemed so vitally important to Starsky. Hutch hadn’t experienced that before with any of his lovers. He’d pretty much worked through every position in the book with Van, so it hadn’t occurred to him that someone might have a specific one that hit the spot just right.
As Starsky lowered himself and Hutch’s cock was pushed with desire and need deeply into his partner, he just didn’t care about the past any longer. Starsky wanted to lock eyes, he’d lock eyes. Starsky wanted the moon? Hutch would lasso it down for him if it got him to where he was right now. Every night for the rest of his life. Please.
“Starsk,” he panted. “I gotta move. Is it. Okay? Please.” That was all he could manage.
In response, sparkles seemed to ignite across his partner’s face, and a smile emerged. Hutch felt like he hadn’t seen his partner smile in a long time. Days? Months? Since Terry? Not a contented, playful grin like this.
Starsky held him down, and started to push himself up and down, his knees at Hutch’s side, and both hands now gaining purchase on Hutch’s shoulders. Van used to do it this way and ride him like an upside-down horse. Starsky was stronger, firmer and his musk was so himself that old lovers and mistakes faded in the distance. Hutch reveled in this unexpected sexual abandonment with his best friend.
He had a full-on view of everything Starsky was doing, and Starsky was devouring him with both his hands and his gaze. The powerful thrusts shot heat through his body and pleasure through his loins, threatening to take away his sanity as his base Alpha instincts tried to break through his well-trained defenses.
Maybe that’s why Starsky wanted this position. Starsky had more control this way and this made it easier on Hutch to remind himself that this was Starsky’s party, not his. But he got to enjoy the ride and was he ever.
“Knot,” he managed. “You.” The thrusts choked off any sentence his brain managed to make.
Starsky threw his head back, as if the thought of Hutch knotting him was too much to bear.
“I can prevent,” he gasped. He didn’t expect to knot a lover first time out. That was never in the cards. “Don’t worry.”
Starsky kept riding him, making coherent discussion impossible. Hutch was sure Starsky understood he’d keep his lover safe. He may be an Alpha but he wasn’t an animal. He’d lived his life by that code.
“Won’t bite. Won’t knot.” He promised it to Starsky and vowed it to himself.
Starsky thrust down hard on Hutch and pulled in close, holding still for the first time since he’d started fucking Hutch. “Need your knot. Yes. Knot.”
Hutch gulped and stared into the intense, determined face of the one man he knew best in all the world. He nodded his understanding.
Starsky just looked back at him, smoldering, which sometimes meant yes to Hutch. Hutch never knew how he could tell the difference between Starsky’s unspoken yes and unspoken no, but he always could.
Starsky lay down on Hutch and curled his knees up, grinding him deeply inside his lover. Hutch undulated his hips to get friction going in the slick-lubed ass of his partner. Starsky’s moans were deep and sounded so satisfying. Like he’d been waiting for this for days.
He moved his arms over his partner and lodged them under Starsky’s hips, pulling up his own knees and getting purchase on the bed with his legs. Then he pumped upwards and pushed Starsky down. Deep groans were his reward. He pushed Starsky’s hips upwards and did it again, eliciting even louder grunts of pleasure. His rut was fighting to take him over, especially with the gratifying feedback from Starsky, his Omega. He opened that dangerous door to his mate a fraction to let his own biological need take over and set up a rhythm that was designed to drive them both mad with passion.
Starsky started shaking, but never stopped clutching onto Hutch, holding close and pressing down hard time and time again each time Hutch lunged deeply into him. They were closer than he’d ever felt with anyone and inside, he was growling with desire, purpose, satisfaction.
There was pleasure and Starsky. Starsky and pleasure. Until he felt his knot threatening. He almost pulled away out of sheer training and reaction but remembered in a split second that Starsky wanted his knot. His lover wanted all of Hutch. He managed a guttural warning of some kind before he came hard into Starsky. He relished the harsh pleasure that ripped through him as he thrust through his orgasm, until his knot popped into place, and locked them both in.
He had no idea if Starsky had come while he rode out hard waves.
“I’m here, I’m here,” he murmured without knowing why. He stroked Starsky’s back, as he shuddered with the last aftershocks of the orgasm that had taken his reason.
Starsky felt like a dead weight on his chest, all his strong muscles having gone completely slack. The cock that had been rock hard in between them all this time felt pliable and squishy, though not yet fully deflated.
“You came?” he whispered. “If not, I’ll make sure you get to come, get to feel good. God, this is so good,” he could barely keep himself on track, with his knot locked in his Omega’s ass, just like in a wet dream.
Starsky mumbled something about him being a dufus.
“Slap me if you want me to get you off, babe,” Hutch offered again, though his arms didn’t seem to want to cooperate to any other commands than hold Starsky, hold Starsky.
Starsky chuckled briefly, out of breath. “I don’t have it in me to go twice in a row right now. But tempting offer. I’ll slap you later.”
Starsky burrowed his head over Hutch’s shoulder, sliding a bit upwards, possibly to shift Hutch’s knot to a more comfortable angle inside his ass. The problem was, this exposed Starsky’s shoulder to Hutch’s mouth. He kissed it in reflex. Then nibbled happily. His teeth were there on the skin. All he had to do was push them in harder and make Starsky his.
He jarred himself out of it, hard. He pushed Starsky to the side, flipping them awkwardly with Starsky’s knee trapped under Hutch’s ribs. The whole action pushed Starsky inadvertently off him and revealed copious amounts of come slathered over both their abdomens, confirming Starsky’s blissfully fulfilled state.
In fact, Starsky didn’t even mind that much what Hutch was doing, but murmured some dissatisfaction to the shifting around.
“Wanna get cleaned up?” Hutch asked helpfully, not revealing he’d narrowly escaped claiming Starsky as his mate without his consent.
“All right.” Starsky lay back languidly. Hutch reached over to where he knew he’d stashed the tissues. They were locked together and he’d not been prepared this time. He’d built up a good routine with Van and other lovers for knotting, but today everything had been like discovering it all for the first time. Amateur hour, really. But Starsky kept looking at him with those deep blue eyes, like Hutch was the sun and the moon. The one he’d just lassoed down for his lover.
He cleaned them both up and pushed Starsky’s leg under him so that they could both lie there comfortably, for what would likely take the next hour. They couldn’t hug in this position, but they could devour each other with their eyes.
“How long?” Starsky asked.
Omegas always asked that question. It wasn’t something Hutch talked about unless he was with a trusted Omega. So Hutch had expected it to come up at some point.
“Forty-five minutes to an hour is my guess. It varies.”
Starsky’s already relaxed body seemed to melt into the mattress. He grabbed an errand pillow and stuffed it under his head to get comfortable. “Sounds nice.”
Some Omegas had felt his deflation time was too long to spend the time with him. Certainly Van had never had the patience for it. Abby had enjoyed it well enough, but Gillian had actively disliked it.
Hutch felt like his knot wasn’t what his lovers had wanted. Still, here Starsky was just settling in for the ride.
“I don’t have control over how long,” he said in the silence that descended on them.
“’S okay,” Starsky murmured, eyes fluttering open with a bit of effort.
“There are some exercises I can try,” he offered half-heartedly, when the next round of silence threatened to oppress him. The exercises were mostly old wives’ tales and nothing had ever worked for him when it came down to it.
“Hey.” Starsky’s hand fell on his chest.
Hutch looked up when nothing more happened into the blue depths of his partner’s eyes.
“Easy,” Starsky whispered, transfixing Hutch. “Don’t rush. Be here with me.”
His lover’s eyes were accepting him. The words were asking him to accept Starsky.
Hutch felt something land inside himself. “I hear ya,” he said. He wished he could envelop Starsky right now, this minute. Their legs and his locked knot were making that impossible. He grinned despite himself. “Too bad we didn’t aim for a more comfortable final position, huh?”
Starsky grinned, fell back to his boneless position on this side, and the warm hand that he treasured slid off Hutch’s chest.
The peaceful relaxation his lover exuded started to infect Hutch. His knot was firm and buried deeply inside his Omega. His lover. His Starsky. Fulfilment was almost complete.
His blinked as his eyes wanted to slide closed. He tried to make a mental snapshot of his partner in his bed, soft cock curling up towards his belly button, blissing out, locked on Hutch’s knot. Their breathing evened out.
The moment was sealed in his memories forever.
Chapter 7: Peter
Hutch checked his lover's temperature as the afternoon sun was breaking through the window.
He knew it was only an excuse to touch his Omega's neck, the one place off limits to him. His yearning for it, his need to mate was trying to overwhelm him.
Starsky was cool to his careful touch. This wasn't news, just another confirmation that things were right with the world. His lover's heat had dissipated fully. Hutch rolled his eyes at the old-fashioned healing Alpha-knot bullshit, but damn, it had felt so good. Starsky seemed much the better for having been knotted by at least a friendly Alpha.
If he couldn't have his partner commit to him as his mate for life, Hutch had at least had this. Maybe there’d be more of this in the cards, but the future wasn't up to him.
They’d fallen asleep, locked in so intimately that it had ticked all Hutch's instinctual Alpha boxes. He’d sign his bachelor status away in a heartbeat if Starsky consented, but that was one thing he couldn't ask of a man who had suffered so much right under Hutch's nose.
Starsky had completely, expertly kept Hutch in the dark, like the undercover cop he was. Hutch knew how much that took out of a person - anyone at all - so he fully understood now how much his freedom meant to Starsky. He wouldn’t push Starsky into a life he didn't want.
Hutch carefully extracted himself, his knot long since deflated. He gently covered his beloved with a sheet, as he pushed himself off the bed. He was keenly aware that Starsky could wake up from overheating, doing him no good recovering from his heat.
Hutch couldn't deny himself a final kiss on Starsky's sex-tousled mop of hair. He granted himself a moment to bask in the intoxicating perfume of honest sweat and traces of Starsky's herbal shampoo.
He tore himself away, knowing he'd only ache more, as his rut was in danger of being triggered full force by his Omega’s proximity. His Omega who wasn’t his yet.
He grabbed his running outfit, socks and jock strap, barely aware of dressing. His mind was racing through the plans he intended to set in motion. He scooped up the phone up on his way to the hallway. The cord would stretch just far enough for him to pace outside his front door, where he could minimize the chances of waking up Starsky.
Dialing was automatic.
“Close, but no.”
It was Anita. Huggy was out on an errand. But she could find the number that Hutch needed.
He didn't have his notes, his rolodex or his pocket-sized address book at hand. He sure as hell couldn't call Dispatch or Minnie to get him the number without alerting everyone to what he was doing. All of that could potentially put Starsky in danger. Hutch was now more incapable of that than ever before.
He had the phone guide in Venice Place, but it was in a cupboard near the bed where Starsky was sleeping, so he kept that as a last resort.
In all fairness, Hutch knew no phone calls would happen if he walked past Starsky now, naked, sexed out and contented in Hutch's bed. He had a hard enough time controlling himself with a semi-closed door between them.
Anita found the phone number readily enough and said something kind about Starsky feeling better before hanging up. Hutch didn't know that she knew, but Huggy tended to be open with her now that she was a partner in the Pits.
“Thanks, you're the best.”
Hutch dialed before he could think any more about it. He'd never, ever knowingly approached an Omega man before in his life unescorted. Except Starsky this morning, and he was reeling from that harder than he'd like to admit.
“Omega equal rights advocate Whitelaw for City Council.” The young voice was peppy and full of idealistic zeal. “How may I help you?”
“Yeah, I'm looking to speak to Whitelaw personally.” He totally forgot all his manners. For all he knew he was talking to a working Omega right now and he was going against every moral fiber that had been sewn into his upbringing and police training. Omegas didn’t belong in the workplace, was the mantra. He heard his father say it in his head as he forced the next word out. "Please." He hoped he’d sound less intimidating.
"Sorry, sir. Mr. Whitelaw is a busy man. Would you like to give your name and make an appointment?"
They didn't even ask what it was about, so it was clear to Hutch that Whitelaw wasn't busy. This was just gate keeping. Fair enough.
"Please tell him that detective Sergeant Kenneth Hutchinson wants to talk to him. And I do mean him." There he was, throwing his weight around again. The great Alpha steps in. Had Starsky every responded to that attitude? Hell no. "I'm here to ask what I can do for him. Please tell him that, if you'd be so kind."
It was messy, but it was more polite and a better starting position than his first attempt.
The line went dead for a long minute and Hutch was contemplating hanging up when a decisive, male and no-nonsense voice came on the other end of the line. "Detective, there's no need to intimidate my interns. You scared the crap out of her."
"I'm sorry. That was totally inappropriate. I would've come by in person, but I currently have a domestic situation."
Whitelaw changed his tone a bit. "Your Omega's cycle?"
Hutch couldn’t answer. There was no right answer to give.
"She needs you. Here at my office, we use plain language about our mating cycles. To demystify and get Omegas accepted into the rest of society."
Hutch nodded to himself, grateful for the unexpected sincerity of a man who might consider Hutch his enemy. "I appreciate that. Thank you for extending me that courtesy, but it's not my omega. And he's not a she." His undeniable need for his partner, combined with telling his private affairs to a stranger, all pushed Hutch's blood pressure higher. Adrenaline was being pumped into his system. Talking to an unexpectedly sympathetic omega male, made all of this embarrassing, weird, and his current best option.
"I'm listening," was Whitelaw’s only response.
"I hope you consider me a reasonable man. If I didn't treat you well, I'll understand if you don't want much to do with me."
"You were professional in your dealings with me," Whitelaw responded, like a true politician. "The problems we face in society aren't your doing, Detective, but you’re also not being a part of the solution."
Hutch nodded, leaning his burning forehead against his own door. He could hear his heartbeat pounding in his chest. Starsky was inside and Hutch was being summoned to his lover's side.
It was just his biology trying to dictate his life. Hutch had always been better than that. He wasn't going to give in. He certainly wasn't going to bring his problems to Starsky.
In fact, this was all about Starsky. Away with vague political talk. This was personal.
"Peter, I need to be part to the solution. For my Omega, if he'll have me, and even if he won't. I'm offering my position at the Police Department and my modest influence as an Alpha to your Omega equal rights movement. It's not as much as you’d think. With my messy divorce, I’m clearly not the most upstanding of Alphas out there. I don’t wield much power when it comes down to it. No-one’ll stand by me but my Beta friends."
He was hoping for Dobey's support, but that was up to Dobey and his family to say, not him.
"I gotta be straight with you. I'm just offering me, but I'm serious about this. Whatever you need. I want to come in and find ways to help give Omegas proper access to participating in society. I want to help Omega males in whatever way I can." He wanted to say his partner’s name but managed to keep it generic.
He wasn’t doing it for the greater good. He wanted to help Starsky. He wanted Starsky. He needed Starsky. He was lost.
The silence on the other end was deafening. Hutch's patience was stretching thin, being away from his lover, thinking only of him. He pushed himself away from the door, leaving a damp spot where his forehead had rested, ready to hang up.
"Ken, I can only guess, but the Omega you're taking care of, is it your partner?"
Hutch froze. How had Whitelaw pegged Starsky for an Omega so quickly? As far as Hutch was aware only the people Starsky had confided in knew. But this Omega man had put his finger on the secret Starsky had kept so expertly. They’d had only one brief encounter when they were unravelling Blaine's underground activities.
"Let’s pretend I didn't ask that," the Omega politician didn't wait for Hutch's answer. "But say you are with a male Omega who has already functioned in an Alpha field. I understand you both are highly decorated officers. For someone like him to come out as Omega, that’d be an eye opener to many fence-sitters. We can use that kind of publicity. And-"
Hutch's fists were clenching, one tightening over the horn and the other trying to crush the doorknob, which was beckoning him to go inside to satisfy his growing need.
"And if you and he were to reveal yourself as a couple, that’d be extremely helpful. My team would support you with all we've got. Our publicity experts would help you every step of the way."
Hutch's world was upside down. Everything he'd ever known as simple, clean truths now felt murky, complex, but most of all dangerous.
"How can I protect him?" he choked out. He clamped down on his insistent need to hold Starsky, shield him from the whole world which was now threatening his other half.
“You protect each other.” Whitelaw lowered his voice to a soothing hum that seemed to have a calming effect on Hutch. “You do this together. My mate is my rock. And I am his.”
Hutch imagined an Alpha who could be happily bonded to an Omega male and feel supported by him. It was about as outlandish as suggesting snow in July. But was it really?
He had already lived a life where he felt supported by Starsky. For all the years that he thought Starsky was a Beta, every single time he needed him, Starsky had been there. Most Alphas wouldn’t even believe that, yet he had never given the situation a second thought. He’d just assumed Starsky was special.
But Huggy’d been there for him too, though Betas owed him nothing. They’d fought hard for their civil rights and Hutch knew to step out of their way, especially with a renowned Beta partner in the squad room.
He hadn’t asked their help. He wasn’t supposed to. He was the Alpha and needed to bear the load for Betas and Omegas in his life. Yet, he found himself surrounded and held up by the unlikeliest of pillars of support. Even Sweet Alice had given selflessly of herself for Starsky, but also for him. What made Hutch so lucky?
How could anyone deny the strength of Omegas and Betas as being every little bit as powerful as any Alpha considered themselves to be in this world? They were all stronger than he’d ever been.
The load of protecting Starsky in a world that was designed to keep him barefoot and pregnant, and then discard him because he happened to have the wrong secondary gender was crushing Hutch right now. Here in this hallway. He slid down the wall, landing hard on one knee. He was sweating in fear, heart pounding against this throat. What would become of his beloved, if Starsky rejected him? And what did Hutch even have to offer Starsky?
There were no answers. He was full of questions and his head was spinning.
“Hutchinson. Ken,” Whitelaw asked, voice even lighter, possibly with some concern.
A male Omega? Concerned for his welfare?
“How can you even talk to me, like this?” he breathed into the hard, plastic phone. “My kind. We’ve oppressed you. I’m part of the system. I’ve done nothing to improve life for-” For Starsky. “For men in your position. I’ve always hated the oppression of Omegas, but I haven’t even given you the time of day to your cause. Dispassionate lip service. That’s all I gave you. I thought I was enlightened by saying I don’t care what your platform is to campaign on. I thought that was helping. But now,” he wiped at his stinging eyes as he rambled on, “now I’m ready to take your side, to stand for something. I became a cop to make a difference.”
“And we’ll be fortunate to have you,” Whitelaw’s voice seemed to smile. Hutch imagined a smug one, which he deserved wholeheartedly. “Please come to dinner with me and my mate. Make an appointment with my secretary when you guys are ready. Take care of your Omega’s cycle first.”
“Thank you,” Hutch couldn’t think anymore. This was too big. His defenses were down. “He seems to be through it.”
A beat, and his heart was pounding loudly through it.
“Then take care of yourself, Ken,” Whitelaw said pointedly. “I think you have a ways to go.”
“I’ll be fine,” Hutch mumbled, his eyes closing against the largeness of the world and the throbbing in his head, as he let gravity slide the horn to the floor.
“Ken.” A light, friendly voice. Not Starsky.
Omega pheromones. Gentle, not oppressive, but not Starsky, so the wrong one.
“Starsk,” Hutch managed.
A cool hand against his cheek, fingers curling into his hairline.
“Your rut has started,” she stated. “You didn’t think it would?”
His mouth would only form his Omega’s name again, so he kept quiet.
The phone, solid, clear, purposeful, was sliding away from him and an annoying beep was squelched when the receiver was placed back in its cradle.
“Ken, get up, please.”
He looked around and determined vaguely that he was blocking his own front door, like a fugitive who was slumped in front of the getaway exit. He recognized Mrs. Dobey’s voice.
“You shouldn’t see me like this.” He forced himself back under control as he straightened to his feet. He couldn’t face her. The door was all he could manage. “It isn’t proper. Better leave.”
“You should go inside,” she said, tormenting him with the voice of mature authority. “Come on now, son.”
He reached for the door, noting his hand was shaking.
“Please go,” he begged. It was bad enough that he had to pull himself together before Starsky was awake, but not his Captain’s Omega wife.
When he was brave enough to face her, she was smiling with trained patience. “You boys really think I’ve never seen an Alpha rutting before? Or an Omega in heat? Now get inside.”
“I’d never suggest-” Hutch started, but she physically nudged him to follow through on opening the door and they walked both in.
His lover’s scent overwhelmed him. His apartment was filled with it. Starsky’s heat was over, so there shouldn’t be any more disasters.
“I’m not in rut,” Hutch protested, as he zeroed in on the source of the pheromones. It was wafting at him from the kitchen area, where Starsky was leisurely propped up on the counter, drinking from Hutch’s jug of juice as if he were sunning himself at the beach. His hair was all over the place. He wore his briefs to Hutch’s relief, but the towel around him was half falling off his thigh.
The smile on his lover’s face dazzled Hutch into a frozen state, all his senses on edge.
“I’m sorry to say I was wrong,” he admitted to Edith, barely able to look at her as she rounded him to get to Starsky and check him out. His cheeks were burning, his ears aglow. “I believe I’m rutting.” Hard, he wanted to say, but it felt so wrong with her here. He needed Starsky. Hard.
“I know, dear,” she said. “It’s to be expected after the day you’ve had.”
Hutch watched as she touched his Omega in places he could never have even imagined that he or she would ever have thought to touch one another. Other than in porn movies, Hutch had never seen two Omega’s touch each other intimately in real life. So really. What the hell did he know about what Omegas did together? Nothing but old wives tales and derogatory locker room talk. He’d never been taught anything useful about Omega life. His respect for his fellow human beings had outweighed his upbringing. But he had so much to learn. And if he did, so did the rest of the world.
Hutch’s rut-enhanced hearing caught every word of Edith’s whispering, as she checked with Starsky about his temperature, his comfort level, his slick.
Hutch’s ears were burning and his hands were trembling now. His heart was pounding into much lower regions than before.
This was totally fascinating, but he wished Edith would leave. At the same time, he was grateful for her presence right now. Being alone with Starsky could bring out the worst of his rut aggression, his primal sexual need. Before it came to that, he had to find his reason and warn them.
“Best take Starsky home, if you’d be so kind.” There was no other way. “I need to be alone to get this out of my system.”
Get away from Starsky.
His lover’s eyes laser-focused on him, while allowing Edith to finish what she was doing. “I ain’t going anywhere. Not with you like this.”
Hutch moved back, but there wasn’t any safe space to go. He knew he’d block the door if he got near it again, to cage his Omega. The bed was like a Starsky smellovision repeat of the mind-blowing sex they’d just had there. He only had the greenhouse to retreat into, and he took his chances with that. Like a wolf, he pawed backwards, pretending they wouldn’t notice. “I can’t protect you, so you have to go. This is coming on faster than I’ve had before, and I know how rough it can get.”
Edith moved towards him.
Yes, Omega. Still wrong one. He figured that he’d probably not attack her, but he wished she’d stay put.
“I have a tranquilizer with me, so don’t worry about hurting me,” she said, calmly. “You won’t. You want Davy, not me. Your body craves him. Correct?”
Hutch silently begged Starsky for help.
His partner was calm, solid, and far too tempting. “Edith is an Omega gynecologist. She’s helped me out since Blaine.”
Hutch couldn’t deal with any more weird shit today. “You treat male Omegas?” He was forever playing catchup. Edith, from all outward appearances, a conforming and friendly housewife was in fact a specialist in the field he needed for his partner?
“Not exactly. I specialized in Omega anatomy, but there isn’t much research on male Omegas. Yet. I’m part of a movement to change that. The same underground equal rights work that John was doing with Whitelaw.” She stroked Starsky’s face affectionately.
Hutch clocked the touch as more familiar than a concerned relative. If she hadn’t saved Starsky when he needed it, Hutch would’ve let his jealous fury surface and physically rip her away from his partner.
Edith seemed satisfied that Starsky was okay. “John introduced Dave to me when the suppressors started to fail to control the mating drive.”
He noted how his partner moved his head slightly to inspect the carpet, the side cabinet and up the far wall. The hidden pain, that only Hutch could see from the lack of changes in Starsky’s face, cut through Hutch’s heart.
He needed to hold and comfort his beloved. It had been like this ever since Terry died. He’d never understood his urge to protect his partner as running so deep. He’d actively dismissed it as a natural inclination to bring relief to the less fortunate around him. That was what an Alpha is supposed to do for Betas and Omegas in distress. Of course, his emotional involvement was much higher for his own partner, that went without saying. But it never stopped for Hutch. It was with him night and day. Every time Starsky winced, or didn’t wince, or inspected a wall and became very still.
Not only had Starsky lost the love of his life, but the consequences had been farther reaching, life altering. It had been the beginning of the end for Starsky’s professional life. John had known it, seen it. Changes in Starsky’s cycle and increasing need for John’s mercy would have alerted him. Blaine had made the decision to get Edith involved.
This fucking world had screwed up Starsky so many times over, that Hutch was reeling with it. He needed to hurt someone, tear the world apart, burn it if he had to, to create a safe space for his partner. More than that, he needed everyone to stop touching Starsky and let him take over. He recognized his Alpha hubris.
The only one who could allow him to do anything for his partner was Starsky himself, and his partner was silent.
Hutch felt more than his hands trembling. He knew all the signs, tremors of yearning, waves of anger, surges of arousal that threatened to take his sanity. He’d been through this many times, but his rut had never come on this fast. It had been what? Ten hours since he’d been aware of Starsky’s true identity?
He was expected to say something, but all he could think of was, “Dobey knows?” He was asking multiple questions at once.
Edith nodded. “He’s always stood behind my work, and helped me keep it secret,” she said, then smirked perceptively. “But you mean about David, of course. No. Not until John was killed. Davy needed someone safe, and I was out of options without John. Whitelaw has connections, but you are cops. Even his network has problems keeping that quiet. John had been clear about that. Cluing anyone else in was too dangerous, so I brought in Hal.”
Starsky now looked directly at Hutch. The conversation was internal, as they’d always done. There was a sad admittance there. No one had liked the situation, but they’d all gone into it with their eyes open to make the best of a very bad situation.
Hutch wanted to scream he could save Starsky. He could give him what he needed.
But the truth was, he needed Starsky now. Maybe even more. Was what he wanted to offer any better than the deal Starsky had made with Blaine, and then Dobey and Edith?
The two people watching him right now radiated their suffering and their courage in equal measure. Edith and the Captain were a victim of their inhumane society, as well. No-one escaped the rotten system of the world they lived in. Even jailers live in the same jail.
Being an Alpha had always been a thoughtless reality to Hutch, but he’d made sacrifices to be himself, to make his own choices, to walk away from the grand opportunities that were offered him. The price had seemed too high, and he’d chosen the road less travelled by staying single after Van. He’d considered himself lucky to be able to make his own choices and had accepted the costs that came with them.
But he hadn’t been allowed to know Starsky as his true self. He hadn’t had the opportunity to spend all these years with him, mated and bonded as he felt sure they could’ve been. Maybe would’ve been in a freer society. That was the true cost in his life.
Fuck his marriage to a prime Omega. Fuck the messy divorce and the estrangement from his upper-class Alpha family. He could’ve had a life with Starsky and they’d robbed them both of that.
As an Alpha, his griefs today were nothing compared with what Starsky had gone through his whole life. Fuck everything and everyone who ever hurt this man.
His man. His Omega.
Hutch balled his fists, stomach muscles tightening, jaw clenching. He had no time to process just how livid, overcome and beholden he was at this moment.
“I gave Dobey hell this morning. The Cap’s done so much for Starsky, and you too. My not knowing is no excuse. I get that I couldn’t trusted. You deserved better from me, no matter what’s going down. I want you to know I’m going to help make a difference. Whitelaw can use me. Whatever it takes, you know? I mean it. For Omegas. For Starsky. To end all this senseless suffering and oppression.” He stopped rambling. He refocused on what was important, what needed to be said to Edith, before his biology overrode his rational thought process. “I’m grateful to you and the Captain. I can only imagine what it took for you to take Starsky into your home, your marriage.”
Edith nodded in acceptance of his apology and turned back to Starsky and stroked his hair lovingly. It allowed Hutch a small glimpse of a friendship he’d never realized was there. Before today, he’d assumed since he was only vaguely acquainted with Dobey’s wife, Starsky’d be even less so. Betas weren’t generally invited over to established Alpha-Omega households, except as domestic help. That was how the world worked in Hutch’s experience, so it hadn’t even occurred to him to ask about or suspect this deep, intimate connection.
There was far more between Heaven and Earth than he’d ever been privy to. This unsuspected friendship had been conducted behind his back, purposefully, to protect everyone involved.
That ended now. Hutch was determined to be part of reality, not the Alpha-centric, sanitized version that he’d been fed his entire life.
He took a step towards his partner, back towards the kitchen. “Babe. Will I do? Whatever you need. It’s yours.” He swallowed, consciously unclenching his fists and jaws. “I’m yours.”
Starsky cocked his head, slid off the counter and let the towel fall away. “No, you won’t do at all. Not this way.”
Hutch’s knees started to tremble, the air became thick and hard to breathe.
He’d ride his rut out alone. It wouldn’t be the first time, though this promised to be worse than normal. Starsky’s immediate rejection of him was crashing over him. His whole system protested against it, but he’d been expecting this since the beginning. If Starsky’d really wanted him, surely he would’ve revealed his true gender to Hutch a long time ago?
His eyes slid closed, only for a moment in resignation of his fate. He knew Sweet Alice’d be able to help him, but he didn’t want her. He didn’t want anyone but Starsky. He’d knot his own hand over and over again if he needed to, knowing it wouldn’t give him the relief he needed. He’d get himself through this without an Omega that wasn’t his. He couldn’t bear to get near one that wasn’t Starsky right now.
“I’ll put in for a transfer,” he offered in a whisper, vowing he would do anything he needed to. “I’ll throw my badge in the ocean, let it drift away with the tide. I swear it.” He mouthed the final words, not able to sound them out with disillusionment and carnal need rushing him at the same time.
“I don’t want you giving everything up that we worked for,” Starsky’s throaty murmur startled him at close range.
Hutch opened his eyes and stared straight into the deep pools of his lover’s.
“I ain’t having you mercy-fuck me again. With you, it’s gotta be real, or nothing.” Starsky leaned in so close that Hutch could feel his body heat from his breath down to his toes. “Just lemme return the favor.”
Hutch could barely breathe with his Omega close enough to touch, to take, to fuck. The air had pretty much gone liquid at this point. “Starsk,” he begged.
The fire in his partner’s eyes was different now. Starsky wasn’t defeated like this morning. Not by a long shot. All the weakness from a heat gone wrong had fallen off his magnificently animated partner. Hutch could hear Starsky’s heartbeat pounding at his tempting throat.
“I want you to fucking want me, Hutch. Me. Not an easy lay, or some Omega rescue or another notch on your belt.”
He didn’t know where Edith was, where the rest of the world was. He just knew where Starsky was and that he belonged here. He didn’t know how he kept himself from ravaging his partner this instant. Need was rising in his brain, his cock. The world narrowed as only Starsky existed.
“Whatever you are or were to me, never a rescue, not even once.” He swore it. “I’ll do anything you need from me. Like real need and I won’t apologize for that. Ever. That’s not a charity. It’s never been that way. Beta or Omega.” He grabbed Starsky’s shoulders, reveling in the solid, cool muscles, the reality of being allowed to touch Starsky. “I’ve always wanted you. I just didn’t know I could have you.”
Starsky slid his arms around Hutch, frowning striking painful worry across his face. “Then why the hell didn’t you bite me, Hutch?”
The throbbing into his loins and cock urged him forwards with each word out of Starsky. He was losing the battle, but he’d fight on until the very end. “Can’t bite an Omega in Heat. I’m no rapist, or Alpha bully. I don’t mate anyone to me who doesn’t ask in their right might.” As his own right might was retreating and his instinctual drives were overriding. “I wanted to. I want you. I need it. I can’t-” He had to stop, to breathe. That air was still so thick he thought he’d suffocate. His normal cycle didn’t involve nearly this much physical distress and here he was with Starsky. “I’ve fucking always wanted you,” he blurted out. “Couldn’t stand the double dates. You with some Beta girl. Or Omega. Just the thought of you and Blaine, Dobey. Fuck. So many Alphas have had you and never me. That guy last night. You know I’ll kill him if you tell me who. Never tell me.” He trailed off, because Starsky’s frown had lifted, his eyes gleaming as only his partner could, and the last inch was closed between their lips gently.
Starsky may have had the time to make gentle Beta love, but Hutch was on a hair trigger. He thrust is pelvis against Starsky’s solid belly, seeking contact, friction, resistance.
Starsky ticked one hand under Hutch's sweatshirt, dipping the other into the erratic holding up his jogging pants. "If you want this, you gotta take these off." Starsky dropped his hand between them and rubbed against Hutch's hard shaft.
The pounding in Hutch's chest was louder than the roar of a plane taking off at LAX. He was surprised he could make out his lover's throaty whispers.
"Once this starts, I can't stop," he warned. "Your heat's over. You're supposed to rest up. Recover."
Starsky grinned. "I ain’t the Beta partner you felt all that need to protect."
Hutch stilled Starsky's hands by covering them with one of his. "I don't take advantage of Omegas. Ever." Especially this one.
"Don't you get it Hutch? We’re not fragile. Omegas are born to give birth to triples without blinking. We have one up on Alphas, for starters." Starsky pulled away for a moment. “Maybe I can’t do the triplets thing, but I have stamina like you won’t believe.”
Hutch could barely follow any of this as the proximity and passion of his Omega was overwhelming him.
Starsky pulled Hutch’s shirt up. "Now are you gonna stick with your traditional world view or are you gonna fuck me?"
Hutch grabbed his lover by the shoulders and rammed into him with a kiss that probably drew blood. He had no time to check for that. He needed Starsky. He had lost the fight against his sex drive which had been telling him to possess Starsky since he’d understood it was possible.
Since this morning.
Since he'd met Starsky.
So many years of repressed jealousy and resignation to the knowledge that this man was off-limits to him. Time coalesced into this moment, making it impossible to think beyond his absolute and undeniable need to finally have him.
He found himself on the floor, pinning Starsky down and pulling Starsky's briefs away, revealing this Omega's beautiful ass.
"Last chance," he ground out in a moment of tenuous clarity.
"Take me," Starsky growled, like he would have, had he still been in heat. "All the way. You don't bite me now, I'll never forgive you."
Hutch couldn’t believe the threat he heard, but what he did believe was that Starsky meant it. He would leave Hutch if he didn't take him the way Starsky wanted. He couldn't let that happen.
"You're mine." Hutch took his cock out to line up with the glistening entrance to Starsky's ass.
Slick fumes wafted into his nostrils, ripping his reason further from him. He pushed himself into his partner, eliciting guttural groans that he took as pleasure, gratification and relief.
Sliding into Starsky was easy, tight, hot. He held himself still once he was deeply buried into his partner, to lower himself and lie down across the entire length of Starsky. He grabbed Starsky's forearms and spread them above his lover's head, gaining purchase to fuck him hard.
"You're not leaving me, ever." He started to fuck the immobilized man under him. He had no idea how he was able to thrust slowly, calculatingly, when his whole system was screaming at him to possess and take his Omega. Part of him wanted it to last forever. Part of him needed to brand his lover. Part of him couldn’t keep from ramming into Starsky and forget about everything else.
He speeded up his thrusts, spurred on by Starsky's grunts of pleasure every time he drove into him. His Omega was panting throughout, trying to catch his breath with Hutch's weight on top of him. Hutch couldn't deny himself anymore, even to alleviate his partner's comfort.
His hands slipped off Starsky's arms through sweat coming from both of them, interrupting his rhythm.
"You a sissy Alpha our something?" Starsky taunted, grabbing the moment to ground out something, between wild gulps of air. "I always wore my leather jacket to prevent any of the mercy-Alphas from biting me. From claiming me.”
The thought enraged Hutch, but he had no words in between his gasps and trying to get a solid purchase back on Starsky’s slippery arms.
“They wanted me.” Starsky panted, teasing Hutch’s failure to bite him. “Do you, huh? Do you really? You had me naked and face to face, and you didn't claim me. What's an Omega to think? You don't want me. That's what I think!"
Hutch couldn't see all of Starsky's face on the floor under him. He got on his knees, grabbed his lover's shoulders and yanked Starsky bodily off the floor. His lover got his knees and leaned back against Hutch, winded, full of life and muscle power.
Starsky could've broken free of this hold at any time, but hadn’t and now didn't. Hutch strengthened his hold on Starsky, taking what was not yet his.
Starsky laughed provocatively. "You call this mating? Knot me if you're serious, or I'm out of here."
Hutch didn't let a moment pass to think about it. He thrust into Starsky hard, making his partner arch his back.
Now Starsky's neck was exposed to Hutch's mouth, his teeth. He delved into it, taking in this Omega's scent, uniting with his partner in the way he'd always yearned for.
No, it wasn't Starsky being an Omega that made him want to bite this man. He'd wanted to own Starsky from day one. Everything else had just confused the issue. This was his reality and always had been.
"Claim me, Hutch," Starsky muttered breathlessly, throwing his head back into Hutch's. “There’s no going back.”
Now it wasn't a threat. It was just the truth for both of them.
Hutch started thrusting. He built a rhythm that Starsky moved naturally with. Both panting and moaning. They fit together like the world had been designed for them. Everything clicked. His grip on reality gone, he only knew burying himself deeply inside Starsky was his purpose in life. Pleasure in every stroke. Perfection up for grabs. No fucking had come close to this. No one else was Starsky.
Never breaking his rhythm, extracting pleasure from his Omega, Hutch licked his neck, then his shoulder, looking for a place that would feel right and would be covered up by a normal shirt. Even in this state, Hutch would never mark his Omega in the neckline, visible to all the world, no matter how tempting it was to know everyone would see at a glance that this Omega was taken. This Omega was his.
He thrust in hard, making Starsky gasp, then held him tight as he pressed his teeth against the top of Starsky's shoulder blade.
Moans from his Omega spurred him on, and he bit down decisively, drawing blood. The need that he’d fought every day of his life was finally being met. He was united with his Omega.
Now the moans were his and he restarted the rhythm, thrusting into Starsky, holding up the both of them as Starsky rode Hutch's passion in abandon.
Hutch was aware of things he’d never experienced before. Starsky’s labored breathing harmonized with his. Their heart beats pounded through the both of them, not clear where one started and the other ended. The taste of distinct metal was filling his mouth, though he knew he’d only drawn a few drops of it. The smell of rust was in his nostrils, affirming that his lover was his mate was his Omega, was his.
He licked one last time and pulled Starsky on top of him. Starsky clutched backwards, arching his head heavily over Hutch’s shoulder, as if to offer himself up for everything Hutch could give him. The stream of gasps and mutterings amounted to one thing in Hutch’s mind. More.
“I’m gonna give you more, babe. Gonna give you all I’ve got.”
He propped his lover up and with all his Alpha force, thrust upwards into Starsky’s deliciously slicked ass. Appreciative moans came from his mate, as he urged the lunges faster, driving them into a frenzy. Pleasure was Starsky. Pleasure was his.
He felt the orgasm draw closer and noted he’d not given one moment’s thought to Starsky’s needs. Hutch needed him more and always had. He drove in harder. They clutched together, never letting go an inch. He was seeking the rest of his life in Starsky’s depths. The metal aftertaste affirmed that Starsky was his.
He lunged up into his Omega. He cried out the pleasure that ripped through him. Nothing and everything was there at the same time. Nothing hurt. Everything hit its peak and he tried to hold on for every single wave of it, until the final one popped his knot in place, locking them together exactly right.
Silence overtook him for a moment before he fell back on his ankles. He slipped with Starsky’s slick dripping down their hips. He lost his balance, taking Starsky down on top of him as they landed gasping in a heap on his living room floor.
Not done yet. ;-)
Chapter 9: Starsky
Peace flooded him. The solid mass of Starsky, his Omega, heaving contentedly on top of him. Neither of them seemed at all bothered to change position. This was perfect.
Hutch had always admired how comfortable Starsky was in his own skin. Far more than he ever felt. Life seemed so complicated before Starsky.
He felt none of that at this moment. What he felt was harmony. The absence of conflict and strife, or any of the internal fight for control that was his constant companion. He could let go completely if it weren’t for the fact that he was holding his Omega in his arms, making sure his love didn’t slide off. Hutch was buried deeply inside him.
Van had never behaved like Starsky and Hutch had never been this way with anyone else before. Was this what all romance novels wrote about? He wasn’t a fan of euphoric romanticism because he’d never experienced it. He didn’t believe it was real. Maybe this was it. Hutch just didn’t worry right now. For the first time, he didn’t need to restrain his emotions, his actions. He was free.
“You okay?” he asked, voice coming out no more than a whisper.
Starsky shook, which turned out to be a luscious giggle. “Turned on as all hell. Otherwise, just fine.”
Hutch lifted his head, catching a view all the way down both their bodies on the living room floor. It was the kitchen floor, really, if anyone kept track. Not the dreamiest of places to claim your mate.
But Starsky looked so happy. His eyes half closed, lashes fluttering and his smile was lobsided and lazy. The amount of relaxation that was exuding from his Omega surpassed what Hutch had ever reached during his longest efforts at mediation. Was this what a fully satisfied Omega felt? Or was this just his Starsky, who was unique and special and all his.
From the straining cock kicking back up off Starsky’s belly, he could tell for certain, it wasn’t the most relaxed that his partner could get.
“You want me to help you with that?” Hutch asked, sliding one arm around his partner.
“This is amazing, you know?” Starsky mumbled. “Never let myself get so turned on. Never let it show. Couldn’t.”
Hutch’s cock, buried deeply inside his Omega, was knotted more solidly than he could ever remember. How long it would take to deflate was anyone’s guess. With all of that, and balancing his mate on himself, Hutch was stunned that he was thinking as clearly as he was. The heat of the situation was just there. It was gratifying him completely. He could live here forever. Inside Starsky on his kitchen floor.
“Sounds like there’s room for improvement, huh?” Hutch whispered into Starsky’s ear, and Starsky curled his head back over Hutch’s shoulder, groaning out his unspoken need. “I’ll repeat my offer.”
He pushed his knees up, between Starsky’s legs. They fell sideways and the guttural sounds out of his Omega dissolved into enticing sighs. Was Starsky longing for his touch? Hutch found himself listening for each response out of Starsky, his attention trained on every undulation. His heightened senses only knew his mate at this moment. That was the peace, the homecoming he was feeling. His Omega was everything.
Hutch wanted to touch Starsky, bring him pleasure, satisfy him. He could see himself taking his Omega’s cock in his mouth. He’d suck him slowly to completion if he could, but being knotted left him few ways to pleasure his partner. His hands would be enough. He’d make them work magic on Starsky.
“Let me satisfy you, babe,” he whispered, the husk in his voice loud and clear to even himself. He was as turned on as his Omega. Hutch would fuck him again, right now, if he could. His hips started to pump upwards into Starsky. “I want you so much.” His mouth could be so much better serving his Omega than words, but right now, fingers and words was all he had.
Starsky grabbed Hutch’s hand, still sneaking down his belly. “Tease. You make good on that promise, ’kay?”
Hutch grinned into Starsky’s neck. He licked the top of the shoulder that he’d bitten, lingering over the warm bite marks. He could control himself not to bite again, but the fact that he’d been there, Starsky had wanted him to, overtook him for long moments.
“Hey,” Starsky slapped Hutch’s thigh, jarring him out of his meandering train of thought. “You’re forgetting all about me.”
“Sorry.” Hutch had to let go of the enticing shoulder blade. He concentrated on taking Starsky’s straining erection in his one hand, while pushing his hips upward a little.
Starsky shifted on top of him, inhaling sharply at the contact.
“Also sorry I didn’t get you off before I popped inside you. Very inconsiderate of me.”
Starsky’s languid giggle returned. “I told you I’d slap you if you’re going too slowly.”
A warm glow travelled down Hutch’s chest. “You didn’t slap me until just now.”
“You were going at the right speed before.”
“Let me pick up the pace a bit then,” he offered, and squeezed Starsky’s hard cock before running his fist down it.
Everything was still lightly lubricated from Starsky’s slick and their wild fucking. Now, Starsky’s precome was weeping gently. Hutch picked it up with his palm and circled the head of his Omega’s shaft unhurriedly. Starsky moaned and arched upwards, throwing his head back onto Hutch’s shoulder.
Hutch started to pump into Starsky, knowing he couldn’t get any more orgasmic waves out of it, but the freedom to stay inside his beloved and pleasure him, was a new type of sexual satisfaction. It was completing him with every push.
He began fisting Starsky, moving up the shaft as he tilted his hips downward, and pushing Starsky’s cock through his tight fist as he thrust his pelvis upwards. His feet were firmly planted to give him maximum control and leverage. Starsky was gasping at all the right moments, moaning in the rhythm Hutch set for his Omega’s pleasure.
Hutch could do this forever. He wanted to stay in this moment forever, satisfying his mate. His world was Starsky and it was truly right. If this was the first day of the rest of his life, he couldn’t believe how lucky he was. This was worth waiting for. No time was wasted, even though so much time had passed. He couldn’t regret a second of it all now, because it had all led to this.
“I’m here,” he mumbled, needing to fill his mouth with his Omega. He kissed his ear, his check, his curls. “I won’t ever let you go. Slap me any time. I want to know what you want. I’ll always give it to you.”
He knew he was mumbling nonsense. He meant it all, and it didn’t need to be said. Hutch didn’t care whether it did.
Starsky was riding Hutch like a sexual joyride. The ecstasy was in the air, from Starsky’s sweat of pure sexual abandon. This wasn’t a heat-filled need or an Omega pheromone bomb.
This was a man loving how Hutch made love to him. A man who wanted to ride his knot. The one person in the whole world who had asked him to bite and seal their union in the most intimate way possible for an Alpha and an Omega.
Starsky started to randomly rub Hutch’s sides and thighs. Anywhere he could reach. Was this a call for going faster? No slapping was involved, just urgent stroking and clenching.
Hutch found himself in awe as Starsky groaned more deeply. He knew what to do, and he wanted Starsky to enjoy all of it, so he could stretch out his lover’s pleasure. He treasured seeing the abandon that his Omega was capable of and wanted Starsky to teach him. Later.
Now, he’d bring his mate to completion.
Big gasps came from his lover, as Hutch quickened the pace slightly and squeezed just that much harder on each downward stroke. Incrementally more pressure on every turn. His lover’s breathing became erratic, his guttural noises intensified.
Hutch relished where this was taking his mate.
Starsky clutched Hutch’s sides hard as he roared out his pleasure, squirting upwards into his bellybutton, surrounded by copious friendly curls across his chest. Hutch loosened his grip slightly but kept pumping slowly, drawing each wave of pleasure out of his Omega, reveling in the shaking, the grunts and the whimpers that followed.
Eventually, Starsky lost all tension and lay back on Hutch’s chest. His head rested against Hutch’s, almost cheek to cheek, as his Omega bonelessly gasped for air.
Hutch found himself winded from this completely new experience. He’d had a lot of exciting sex in his life, but today touched him on a different level. None of it had been spectacular or complex. It had been haphazardly needy, excessively desired and satisfyingly mutual.
Making gentle unselfish love with to Starsky was real. It gave him purpose and direction. It wasn’t about him and it completed him. Was this what it meant to be truly mated?
Chapter 10: Hutch
Hutch’s body started to ache where the floor supported him unforgivingly. He’d started to dose after he’d felt Starsky sinking into an exhausted, satisfied sleep. He’d kept his feet firmly lodged in place, so his charge couldn’t slip sideways. His hands had held Starsky’s upper arms in place, locking around his mate’s shoulders. It was the closest he could keep his Omega to him.
A cold draft along the floor stirred aches in his elbows and his shoulder blades as they pressed into the carpet clad wooden flatness under him. His lower back was okay, but he suspected he’d feel it tomorrow. He tried to flex his hips a bit and dislodged himself from Starsky accidentally.
His mate moaned at the loss, rousing. “No fair,” Starsky mumbled. “More later?”
Hutch lifted his head and kissed wild curls. “As soon as I can get it up again.” He’d never had a lover be so enthusiastic, but then, he’d never made love with an Omega male before.
No, he’d already decided this wasn’t an Omega thing. He’d had plenty of Omegas. This was special because it was Starsky. He didn’t need to classify what they were feeling into all the absolute boxes he’d been taught to think in all his life.
Gender separation was nothing more than bullshit rhetoric to keep the masses in place. Hutch’s sense of justice had been completely turned around by his discoveries today.
It was dark outside and cold air was wafting over them from the still-open window. Starsky was completely naked and his lover’s skin was cold to the touch.
“Let’s get you under some covers,” Hutch nudged.
“Spoil sport,” Starsky grumbled, but started to move off Hutch.
He felt the absence immediately like a twinge alerting him at a discrepancy in the world. It was the moment of separating from his Omega that was tilting off its axis the peace he’d been cherishing. Nothing to worry about. They’d crawl into bed together.
“I’d had to say this,” Starsky grumbled, “but I’m starving,” He got to his knees, looking sheepishly at Hutch.
He couldn’t even remember the last time they’d last eaten. Better start with some juice to get something in them. Then he’d can figure out a meal of some sort. He scrambled to his feet, changing the juice into a nutritious smoothie in his head, as he counted off the nutritious ingredients he had at the ready.
“I got some high protein nuts and yoghurt,” he mumbled, scrambling for the kitchen.
“You gonna make me something that tastes like puke?”
Hutch glared back at his mate, like they were the same partners that he’d gotten used to being over the past seven years. “I’ll heap it up with banana and lemon for you, but don’t expect a daquiri. Your marbles have been scrambled enough for one day.”
Starsky made a pouting noise as he got up, and raided Hutch’s chest of drawers for a pair of jogging pants and an oversized sweater that looked nice and trim on Starsky.
Hutch stopped moving as he saw his sex-tousled partner coming towards him and realized just how momentous their day had been. Arousal was hanging thick in the air, after three rounds with this incredible man. No open window could remedy that. Hutch was rushed by renewed desire to grab his Omega and ravage him all over again.
“You gonna stare at me or feed me?” Starsky pushed in close and planted a kiss on Hutch’s lips on his way to the fridge.
Hutch grabbed his Omega and pushed him against the fridge door before he could catch himself. Starsky let his Alpha rub against his groin and lay claim to his mouth, thrusting his tongue deeply inside, as if Hutch were searching for much needed air from his lover.
“I see your rut isn’t quite over,” Starsky smirked, looking unashamedly self-satisfied. “Or am I just that hot?”
“Smoking,” Hutch admitted, letting go reluctantly. They really needed food more than anything. And there was so much else they needed to get through, he didn’t even know where to start.
He pushed Starsky aside, or he’d couldn’t be responsible for his own actions. He stared into the fridge, pretending it was more interesting than pinning Starsky down and impaling himself into his Omega. How he concentrated on the contents of the fridge, he’d never know. His brain never registered what was in there, that was certain, so he kept looking, hoping Starsky would wander off again, so his brain could function.
“Good choice,” Starsky murmured as he moved out of the way, much to Hutch’s relief.
Hutch intended to launch into his swift, well-trained actions involving his health drink making routine. They were both used to Starsky sitting on his counter while he danced all the bits together and slammed the blender shut to mix it all.
This gave him some time in which to put his mental ducks in a row. He had to let Starsky know what the plans were. They needed to come to some sort of conclusion of where their lives were going to go together.
Being bonded mates was a very new concept between them. This wasn’t just a police partnership anymore. Maybe he and Starsky hadn’t changed, but everything else had.
“So I called up Whitelaw,” Hutch blurted out, when he switched off the overly enthusiastic, noisy blender. He poured two mugs full, ignoring the fact that he’d thoughtlessly put some extra sugar in for no other reason other than he knew that’s what his Omega wanted. Starsky was going to be the death of him yet. He was already giving up on his principles just to please the man. He shook his head at himself as he took a sip.
The sweeter yoghurt was a very tasty, he had to admit. And his body screamed at him for more, now it was being presented with food. It fought for dominance in his warring instincts. Starsky was still close, but Hutch had himself under control where ravaging this mate was concerned, for the moment. He took another gulp as he watched Starsky drink down half his glass in one go.
“We’re cordially invited to dine with Whitelaw and his Alpha, as soon as we’re ready,” he continued, not knowing where to start. Might as well start in the middle.
“Cordially?” Starsky took only a moment out in between sips. “To be a fly on the wall for that phone call.”
“Mrs. Dobey might have caught some of it. I’m not sure.” Hutch’s memory of the hallway was jarred and jumbled up. He looked around and located the phone next to the front door on the floor. Edith must have brought it in with her. He honestly couldn’t remember.
“She keeps secrets like the grave.” Starsky finished off his glass and handed it to Hutch with a ‘some more?’ eyebrow raised.
Hutch went to pour another half glass for his mate. “Here’s the thing, Starsk,” he said, hoping it would land okay. “I don’t think we should do the secrets thing.”
Starsky moved noticeably closer, shifting his butt off the counter. “We’d both be fired.”
Hutch ignored the proximity issues now that Starsky’s mouth was level with him again. “What if we are?”
“What about the Alphas in the Department? What about I.A. and Dobey?” Starsky accepted the second helping but crossed his arms across the unruly curls over his chest.
“Whitelaw says he has people. Spin doctors, publicists. Not sure what else. He wants to talk to you especially about coming out as an Omega male after working as a cop.” Hutch couldn’t sugarcoat this, nor would he. This was dangerous, and he wasn’t primary the target. It simply wasn’t his call.
Starsky stared at him, unmoving, until Hutch needed to inhale sharply.
“I’ll go with whatever you want to do, Starsk. It’s not my ass on the line.”
“It will be,” Starsky mused as if Hutch were a child. “Like, where would we live?” Starsky put the glass down and just looked at Hutch for answers.
He hadn’t considered it at all.
“What would we do when they come for us in the middle of the night? Who will protect us then?”
“I’ll always protect you,” he vowed immediately. “We don’t have to do this.” It was a bad idea. “I’m being selfish,” he admitted finally. This had all come about from his own need to do something. He’d not considered any repercussions on those around him, those he loved best. “We could just move back east, or south. North. I don’t care. We can live in a country that does accept male Omegas in society.” He didn’t know much about how other countries did things, but he knew some were less regimented than the society he’d lived in all his life. “I just don’t see us hiding this. I don’t think I can. Would I continue to work, maybe from inside the system, working on equal rights?”
“I don’t want to move,” Starsky said. “Bay City’s my home. You’re my home.” His gaze fluttered downward, and Hutch’s heart started pounding. “You had no time to think about this. I did.”
“All I know is, I’m not leaving you.” These were the facts. “Ever. For whatever reason.” He couldn’t escape it anymore. He realized he’d been fighting this simple truth for seven years now. He was done fighting it. He’d tasted freedom, and he wanted nothing less for his mate.
Starsky absently brought his fingers up to rub the bite mark on this shoulder, and Hutch nearly lost his stranglehold on self-control.
“No regrets?” Hutch asked carefully, taking a defensive step backwards, hoping he hadn’t made a mistake.
Starsky shook his head gently, still contemplating the carpet. “No. Just didn’t expect you to go all equal rights activist on me. Well, maybe not right off the bat anyway.”
Hutch could see how his reaction might be overwhelming to his mate and probably the rest of the world. If it was hard to convince Starsky he was serious and would follow this through, how would it be convincing Whitelaw’s team, the press, and eventually government?
“I guess I’m more serious than I ever thought I’d be,” he acknowledged. “I’ve been a poor excuse for an enlightened ‘ally.’ My life’s been easy compared with you, Sweet Alice, Whitelaw.”
Starsky just made eye contact and that was all Hutch needed to shut up and listen. “Yes, us poor Omegas. That’s the clear part. But what about Blaine, who wasn’t excepted for who he loved? He protected me. And what about his wife? Or Dobey? They all got caught in a web of lies, just because there’s this prejudice that Omegas have no right to be in the workplace. That all they’re good for is breeding, and if they’re not, they don’t have a right to be at all.”
Hutch knew that Starsky was preaching to the coir, and that his mate knew it. He let Starsky act out all the frustration he needed to get out of his system. Hutch was there for it, every step of the way. He certainly wasn’t going to tell Starsky he was wrong. The whole fucking world was wrong. Not his Starsky.
“Say that to the rags, when they come,” Hutch beamed. “You’ll eat them alive.” He would be his mate’s cheerleader like he’d always been. It was still them against the world. Together.
“And you?” Starsky stated, voice cold, flat. “Now we’re mated, you expect to make all the decisions as my Alpha? Is that how this is gonna play out? Your Omega mate’s gonna have to fall in line with whatever you want?”
Taken off guard, Hutch realized that this whole conversation wasn’t far removed from losing Starsky forever. He’d better say or do the right thing, or his mate would be out that door and never come back. Hutch knew the independent nature of his partner well enough to be certain of that.
“We’re partners. Always have been, always will be. Nothing’s coming in between that, none of this. Ever.” He couldn’t give Starsky all he might be asking for. He wouldn’t lie to keep Starsky. He couldn’t do that again in his second match. He knew how that turned out and he’d rather die a lonely man than go back to that farce. “I can only tell you about me, not about you. I can’t make you or anyone believe I’m serious about making changes if I just continue with the same old lip-service I’ve dished out for all the years you’ve known me. Putting money in a collection box and voting for the Omega candidate just ain’t gonna cut it. I need to act. This is bigger than me, than even you and me. I owe you for seven years of being blind as a bat. You know I hate complacency, Starsk. I can’t unsee this or what you went through to hide yourself from me, from everyone. And for what, exactly? Who made these rules up that one gender can do more in life than another?”
Hutch averted his gaze, while he thought back to all the asinine things he’d done and said, all under the pretext of being an open-minded, modern Alpha. He’d placated himself, his Alpha background and peers, and he’d not helped Betas, let alone Omegas, anywhere as much as he could’ve if he’d put his mind to it. What he had done had amounted to less than he could stand to think about and it’d end now, one way or another.
“How you must’ve hated me for signing petitions to let Omegas in the secretarial pool, while you were working at my side, knowing you were every bit the police detective I was. I failed you. I don’t know how you can stand to look at me.”
The carpet was the most interesting item in the room now. He could appreciate how Starsky had studied it when faced with difficult truths. Hutch closed his eyes. He didn’t want to see Starsky start moving, gather his clothes and walk out of his life.
He was acutely aware of the fate of Alphas after a botched mating. He’d gone through the divorce with Van, an excruciating experience he’d never forget. She’d never allowed him to mark her, claim her, which had been a blessing afterwards, all things considering. He fully expected a separation from Starsky to be far worse. In effect, their relationship had built up years longer and more intimately than his time with Vanessa. So much less sex, regretfully, but intimate, none the less. Their deep friendship and fierce loyalty seemed to have made up for the traditional marital parts missing so far.
Hutch had been bonded to Starsky years before today and he hadn’t been aware of it. The ache when Starsky was away, the waking up to his day with his partner, the heartache when he detected another Alpha’s scent on his Omega’s skin. All the Heats he’d missed.
His head was spinning and he labored through every breath. He opened his eyes to steady himself on the empty room, but there was Starsky, closer than before, wearing Hutch’s own jogging pants, smelling like his home.
Starsky’s arms and face were open and present as one hand gently snaked onto Hutch’s abdomen.
“You’re still here?” he whispered, wanting to hold his mate more than he wanted to breathe. “Why?”
Starsky wrapped his arm around Hutch’s shoulders, pressing him close. A gentle sigh went through his mate, and Hutch finally inhaled, riding on the coattails of his mate’s balance.
“Those are the right reasons. I’m staying,” Starsky said. “And I’m in.”
Hutch had to let it land. “Does that mean-?”
“That means I’m taking a shower,” Starsky continued. “I’m stinking up the place,” he grinned, pulling away from Hutch. A final slap on his arm, as if they were just buddies and not a newly mated couple. Starsky’s hand lingered on the touch a second too long for ‘just friends,’ like it always had.
Starsky sauntered off to the bathroom, dropping clothes as he went.
Hutch blinked, as he watched his Omega, his Starsky go. It was like holding onto a tiger’s tail. Being Starsky’s partner had always been like that.
No, Starsky hadn’t changed, but Hutch had.
Chapter 11: Regarding Starsky
The sizzle of the shower shook Hutch out of his state of paralysis. He walked over to the window and breathed in the night air. Darkness hid in corners where the streetlight couldn’t reach, but the rest of the city was showing itself through anything from neon lights all the way down to the mood lighting of a corner café. The unmistakable aromas of the pizza take-out downstairs reached him, and the enticing sting of baked garlic alerted his stomach. It was good to have a few minutes to collect himself.
He made his way to the kitchen again, this time for some more solid food. The fridge confessed a large pot he hadn’t noticed before. Mrs. Dobey must’ve brought it. He didn’t even recall whether she’d been carrying anything when she was here earlier. It looked like a one pot meal and revealed itself to be a thick chili.
Hutch blessed the Dobeys’ hearts for taking pity on their dumb asses. This was ten times better than a couple of pizzas from downstairs. Hutch had some bread in the freezer he could throw in the oven, while he heated up the hearty food for Starsky.
Not just Starsky, his stomach complained.
He switched on the stove and the oven and grabbed the bread out of his little freezer. It was whole wheat, Starsky would complain, but it’d have to do.
Again, with the Starsky-thoughts! Hutch wondered if this was what made all mated Alphas seem so pussywhipped.
He grinned at his own silly ideas, noticing his mental clarity had improved with the fresh air and his mate very safely beyond temptation’s reach.
He knew it wouldn’t last, not in the short term anyway. So he had to start putting deeds to words. Starsky had given the okay, so Hutch grabbed the phone and dialed, checking the clock as he did, and wincing at the late hour.
“Yeah!” Dobey bellowed. “Better be Hutch.”
“It is. Sorry, Cap.”
The bluster was reeled in. “Nah, I was half-expecting your call. Edith filled me in.” Dobey gave it a beat and Hutch didn’t know what piece of info to start with first. “So, I hear you’re making plans,” his Captain prompted. Dobey wouldn’t broach a touchy subject with another Alpha unless the other initiated it. And Alphas never did. Couldn’t be seen to be thought of as soft.
Like an Omega? A Beta? When had either of them ever led soft lives? From Hutch’s perspective now, Omegas and Betas were some of the toughest and strongest badasses around, because they’ve had to be. Alphas had just created a world in which no one would notice everyone was fully functional and contributed to society.
“Yeah, we’re working on how to proceed. Starsky agreed to going public with our partnership.” He bit his lip, smashed the kitchen counter and tried again. “We’re together. Mated.”
Opening up to another Alpha wasn’t anything he’d ever seen modeled, and he needed more practice before he could have a routine down. On top of that, this was his Captain and his friend. If nothing else, Hutch owed him respect and clear facts.
“Edith supposed as much,” Dobey dropped his voice. “She also suspected your plans, but we couldn’t be sure.”
“I understand. We’re ready to come in and accept our dismissal. We won’t resign. When we get dismissed, we can take it to Whitelaw and his people. He’s got spin doctors.” Hutch ran into a brick wall. He didn’t know more than that. Whitelaw had given him an opening, but no real information on who, how, when, and what the cost would be to them. The only thing he didn’t worry about was finances. He had enough to float them both for a few years if it all went up the creek. But he wouldn’t have clear answers until he – they – had the sit-down with Whitelaw.
“Listen, Cap. I don’t have a plan worked out, so I’m gonna have to owe you on the details. I just didn’t want you to be taken by surprise, or your wife either. Starsky can’t go back on suppressors, like ever, so hiding it any longer isn’t an option. This is going down and it’ll happen fast. When it does, it’ll bring the whole department into question. Blaine had it rough, but-”
Starsky’s hand slammed on the phone connector out of nowhere, cutting Hutch off. “What the fuck are you doing?!” Hair dripping, towel hanging over one shoulder, his mate was fuming at him. “Dragging Dobey into this?”
Hutch turned the oven and stovetop down and dropped the receiver in place. “He’s in it, Starsk. I didn’t put him there. I wanted to warn him.”
Starsky stared at the phone, then at him. “You don’t get it, Hutch. I owe them! They bent over backwards for me. They’re some of the most selfless people I know. I can’t bring this down on them.”
Hutch didn’t know what else to do. “Look, I don’t have it all figured out, either, but Dobey’s gotta know every step of the way. We can’t have him be caught unawares.”
“He has plausible deniability!”
“It’s not gonna fly, you know that. Not if you’re going to talk about Blaine in the press.”
Starsky pinned Hutch down with a glare. “Well, I ain’t. Never. No one’s gonna know about John.”
“Starsky, everyone already knows about Blaine. Putting you and him together is going to be child’s play by the paparazzi.”
Hutch was pretty sure his mate hadn’t been about to hit him. Not hard anyway.
Starsky pulled up short. “Fuck.”
Hutch let out a slow breath. He reached for the stove and put everything back on a moderate heat. They’d eat if he had to force it down their gullets.
“This is humiliating,” Starsky whispered. “Like my whole sex life is on the chopping block. Like I owe the world anything.”
Hutch wanted to pull his lover to him, protect him from the big bad out there. He’d lock both of them up and live their lives out without interacting with anyone ever again if he’d have his druthers, but it wasn’t an option.
“I’ll be right beside you,” he promised, “every damn step of the way.”
Starsky moved closer, and leaned against Hutch’s side, body touching completely from shoulder all the way down to his feet. “You don’t even know everything that went down, Hutch. Don’t you want to hear it from me first?”
Hutch rammed down his flash of jealousy where Starsky couldn’t see it. It was the best he could do. He preferred not to hear any of it, ever, quite frankly. At the same time, he needed to know what to hate Blaine for, the other man in Starsky’s life. Which acts he had performed on Starsky? And to be fair, he wanted to know about the care the man had taken in the years Blaine had kept Starsky safe, because he was grateful someone had.
“I want to hear it, when you’re ready to tell me.”
“That’ll be never,” Starsky quipped, with a halfhearted laugh.
Hutch smiled. “Never is okay too. You set the pace.”
“About Dobey,” Starsky started reluctantly. “You’ll want to know about him too.”
That was stretching it for Hutch. Dobey was his friend. Blaine had been his colleague and he’d always assumed Blaine and his wife had kind of adopted Starsky, as Hutch had been going on the premise of his partner being an unattached Beta. The whole thing had made some sort of sense, and he’d kept out of it as much as he’d been able to.
“Starsk, I’m not sure I’m ready for anything you can tell me about Dobey that I don’t already know.” And he wished he could scrub those details from his mind too. “But whatever you need me to know,” he stirred the chili intently, “I’ll listen.”
Starsky smelled like clean skin, shampooed hair and Hutch’s bar soap. The thick wall of pheromones and after-coital sweat and slick had also faded from the room. Hutch noticed he’d been capable of complex problem-solving ever since Starsky had gotten out of the shower. “Thanks for the shower,” he grinned.
Starsky winked at him, knowingly. “You’d passed the test, so I cut you a break. And myself,” he added, with an exaggerated sniff.
“Believe me, I know a little something about triggering ruts in Alphas who think they can ‘handle’ it.”
Hutch was sure that the line that Starsky had walked in the world of Alphas had been a fine tripwire, full of snares and pitfalls. He stirred the steaming beef and beans. “How did you test me?”
“Every which way.” Starsky grabbed the ladle in Hutch’s hand and aimed it at his mouth to taste the chili. He hummed happily. “Remember I asked for food when you had just barely come off round one of your rut?”
“So?” Hutch popped down to check on the bread, which was pretty much done.
“Food was the last thing on your agenda,” Starsky gave him a once over, “Still is, I’m pretty sure. But you made me that banana blend thingy.”
Hutch grinned. It had truly been the last thing he’d wanted to concentrate on, but it had been easy enough to set is mind to when it came down to taking care of his mate. “Well, you’re standing up, aren’t you? I just didn’t want you to fall over from oversexed hunger.”
“Exactly my point,” Starsky said, grabbing bowls and holding them at the ready. “You’re standing here cooking me some real food instead of pinning me down and fucking me senseless like you want to.”
Hutch did want to, there was no denying that, but there was no need to admit it. “Heating up somebody else’s cooking’s hardly a culinary feat,” he pointed out defensively. Hutch ladled big scoops into the bows, while both their stomachs growled.
“Same dif.” Starsky leaned in closer if that were possible. “In case you didn’t notice, I was in your face, blocking the fridge when you were trying to make that smoothie. You couldn’t miss me.”
Hutch hadn’t missed that. It had taken all he had to stay on course. His cock ached to complain about it even now.
Starsky seemed to have no mercy as he continued, “You coulda taken me right there. I was dripping in sex smells and you didn’t take advantage of me.”
Hutch almost dropped the ladle. It was a good thing Starsky was manning the bowls. “I’m not an animal,” he whispered finally.
“To an Omega, that’s the ten-million-dollar question with you Alphas.” Starsky handed him his bowl and grabbed a spoon to start digging in. “I needed to check if you were gonna turn all old-school on me after biting me. You wouldn’t be the first sweet-talking Alpha to change their tune after claiming a mate.”
Hutch let it sink in. There was no recourse under the law after a mate was claimed. Starsky had a right to be cautious and suspicious, even of him. Even after seven years of partnership. How would Starsky know until after the fact what his fate would be with Hutch?
Hutch watched as Starsky flopped down at the kitchen table and ripped a chunk off the sizzling bread to dip into the chili.
Hutch didn’t think his throat would open up enough to even contemplate eating this gorgeously smelling food right now. “Starsk, you let me claim you, not knowing for sure if I wouldn’t subjugate you?”
His mate looked up at him, a deadness covering his features that Hutch had seen this morning at Sweet Alice’s. The light from his scattered lamps reflected into his mate’s eyes, while neither of them ate for a long minute. “I kept my fingers crossed,” Starsky’s resolve seemed to falter.
Hutch rushed to his mate, grabbed the other kitchen chair to sit as close as he could. “I would never. They’re just stupid instincts,” he explained. “I’m not my instincts. I’ll never give in to them.”
He’d seen lives ruined over the old Alpha claim that mating instincts were uncontrollable. He’d vowed to himself he was better than that. Now it was a pledge to his mate.
Hutch watched Starsky’s painful deadness soften into something gentler and more vulnerable.
“I’d’ve let ya,” Starsky admitted. “From day one. If you’d asked.”
Hutch knew he’d happily die of hunger to hear these words. His mate’s willingness to commit to him fully filled his Alpha soul with confidence. Another thing he’d never admit to, but it lifted his soul. “Thank you for waiting for me,” he said, not sure it was coming out right. “For trusting me.”
“Fat lot of trust. I lied to your face every day we were together.”
“I don’t know if I could’ve been what you needed from me then, but I know I can now.”
Before Starsky could answer, the phone rang. Hutch had to tear himself away to grab it off the kitchen counter and throw the wire back into the living room. He plonked down at the table, wedging the cradle in between the two heaping bowls of chili, and picked up the receiver. “Yeah?”
“Hutch, it’s Edith,” a warm, gentle voice greeted him.
“Oh, Mrs. Dobey,” he nodded towards Starsky. This was bound to be a talk for Omega ears only. “I’ll hand you over to Starsky.”
“No, let me talk to you both.”
Hutch balanced the phone between them on his shoulder, their temples touching over the earpiece. The simple touch filled him more than food could.
“I’m here.” Starsky’s voice was lighter too. Nothing to prove.
Hutch hadn’t known of Edith’s role in Starsky’s life until today, and he valued her so much more now.
“Hutch did the thing,” Starsky’s smile was unguarded. “And I’m not shackled to the bed, butt naked. So that’s something.”
Hutch refrained from mentioning that despite the carelessly draped towel, Starsky was indeed butt naked.
“Yeah, some of them aren’t so bad, are they?” she chuckled.
“First of all, Hal let me know that he’s not going to fire you.”
Hutch held his breath.
“The pressure on the Department to keep Omegas out will get ramped up from above, but he’s got your backs.”
Hutch was unsure how to react to police business from his Captain’s wife. It was a new world, and he’d better learn to swim in it. “We value his support.”
Starsky’s head dipped in confidence. “If you had anything to do with that, then I admire our work.”
Edith’s small laugh was Starsky’s reward. “I didn’t, but we do work as a team in our marriage.”
Hutch had never heard any Omega say that before. He imagined his mother putting herself on the same level as his father, and Hutch just couldn’t. Time for change. “I hear you, Edith,” he said, daring to use the familiar with another Alpha’s Omega.
Starsky darted his eyes to Hutch’s mouth, then searched his face.
Hutch made it a promise. “Partners,” he whispered. “Nothing’s changed.”
Tension left his Omega’s frame, as Starsky sagged a little closer and moved in more intimately.
This was the Starsky Hutch wanted, not some sex-ready house slave. He reached around Starsky’s back, letting his Omega deal with keeping the phone up to their ears. He needed his mate in his arms, and Starsky’s sigh of contentment when they settled together, told him he was wanted. Hutch couldn’t conceive of anything more satisfying than that.
“Boys, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time for me to come out of hiding. I will stand by you both when you come out to the world. Please keep me in the loop how things unfold, because I’ll reveal my work in Omega medicine when you go to the press.”
Hutch didn’t ask what Dobey thought of that. He didn’t warn Edith it was too dangerous. He knew he couldn’t do his duty as an Alpha, but that left him uneasy. He looked at his partner, his life mate, and in the blue depths that stared back at him, he realized that his duty as a human being was to help Edith, not to tell her what to do.
Starsky nodded slowly.
“We hear you, Edith,” Hutch said. “We’ll be honored to support you in any way we can.”
“Thank you,” Starsky whispered.
She continued, with an invigorated cadence. “I’ll talk to the Omega network, and Whitelaw. We can coordinate.”
Starsky tensed up again, but differently than before. “That’s it. Listen, we need to talk to every Omega we know who is working in whatever way in society. All of us come out together. Show ourselves in a large reveal.”
Hutch grabbed Starsky’s spoon filled hand and kissed the fingers. “That’s right. There’s power in numbers. They can stop one of us, they can try to stop Whitelaw, but they can’t stop a movement. That’s how the Beta Civil Rights were won. We need to get everyone to stand with us. Omega males, working Omegas, employers, spouses, all walks of life. All their Beta and Alpha friends and family might stand with us. Once we have some of those, this could ripple to all walks of life.”
“We can make a difference,” Starsky breathed, as if it had been a useless pipedream of Hutch’s until just now. Edith’s offer seemed to have carried him over the line.
“We can. I swear it,” Hutch swore to his mate. He’d move heaven and earth for Starsky. He would have to do just that. “And we get to stay in Bay City as ourselves.”
“Edith,” Starsky croaked through a strangled, happy voice voice. “Sweet Alice. Right? And I know some others in the Department. The Cap knows them,” he tilted his head, “well, he probably does. I’ll talk to them.”
“Hal says you guys need a plan, so get yourselves sorted out first. Then we’ll talk to Whitelaw’s campaign manager.”
Hutch was quick to add, “We have an invite to his home. Maybe he has something like this in mind too.”
A joyful silence fell for long seconds, while Hutch noticed a light on the horizon that hadn’t been there before. It wasn’t dawn yet. It was a dawn of a new age.
“Thank you, Edith, we won’t keep you up any longer.” Starsky just smiled at Hutch as they let the receiver fall back on the hook.
“Can you see it?” Hutch asked, starting to kiss Starsky’s mouth, cheek, eyes, nose. “We can make a difference.”
“I don’t know how to feel,” Starsky was trembling slightly.
Hutch pulled him in closer, though he knew the shivers weren’t a sign his mate was cold.
“Did I waste all this time, Hutch? I could’ve been doing something important. Some days it was just so hard to put one foot in front of the other, between the job and suppressors and looking over my shoulder and keeping the truth from you.”
He had to push away the same feelings, but they weren’t true. They couldn’t be. “We couldn’t have done this seven, even three, two years ago. We didn’t have the resources, and we weren’t solidly united. It’s now because all this is coming together through the network we’ve built up around us. Mostly you, babe. Even Whitelaw because of Blaine and you. It all adds up. So it’s us, now, because we can do this, now. And if we don’t make it, then there will be someone who’ll have seen us try, and the next generation will make it.”
“It’s a lot to take on.” Starsky stopped shivering in Hutch’s arms. He was still and firm.
“It’s a big job, babe, but I’ll happily take it on with you, even if we fail. We do what we can to chip away at the system, just like we’ve always done.”
Starsky pulled Hutch up from the table and dragged him toward the bed. “Bring the bowls. I intend to eat after you’ve worked some more of that cock inside me.”
“Revolutions make me horny, what can I say?”
“And revolutionaries turn me on,” Hutch countered, balancing two bows, the bread and the spoons while being pulled to their happy nest by his strongminded Omega mate.
The future proved to be an adventure. Their lives had never been boring. Hutch knew he was the luckiest Alpha in the world.
το τέλος (the end)