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Open Season

Chapter Text

"Damn it!" Hutch exclaimed, grabbing his hand as he hurried toward the sink.    

"What?  What happened?" Starsky asked, running into the kitchen from an adjoining room.         

"Oh, I cut myself!" Hutch admitted, struggling to keep the blood from dripping on the floor.     

Starsky rushed to intervene, turning on the tap water as he reached for Hutch's wrist.

"Here, let me help you," Starsky insisted, guiding his partner's hand to the running water.   

Reluctantly, Hutch allowed Starsky to take control, watching in morbid fascination as the rivulets of blood began to pool on the bottom of the sink.  For a brief moment, he almost forgot it was his until the cut began to sting and he tried to pull away.  If Starsky had not had such a firm grip on his wrist, he might have been successful.    

"Sorry," Starsky offered.  "I'm afraid this is gonna smart.  Hang on, will ya?  I'm almost done."

Hutch scrunched his eyelids together and focussed on standing still.  After shutting off the faucet, Starsky grabbed a handful of paper towels and wrapped them tightly around the end of Hutch's injured finger.

"Well, do you want to see a doctor?"Starsky asked.  "At a minimum, this looks like a job for a strong butterfly bandage."

"No, no," Hutch argued, reclaiming his hand.  "I don't need a doctor, Starsk.  Just help me wrap it up and it'll be fine."

Anticipating Hutch's response, Starsky pulled a dinette chair away from the table and motioned for him to sit down.  "In that case, have a seat before you bleed all over yourself and everything else."

Starsky next grabbed a kitchen towel and laid it on the table.  After briefly disappearing down the hall, he reappeared a minute later with an assortment of first aid supplies in his hands.    

"And how did you manage to do this again?" Starsky asked as he dumped the stuff on the table.  "I thought you were just packing the drinks."

"I was," Hutch admitted, feeling instantly guilty. "I spotted a couple of apples at the back of the 'fridge and decided to slice them up for us to eat on the road.  I should have stuck to the drinks."

"Yes, you should have," Starsky agreed.  "But since you've taken the time to hurt yourself, we need to deal with it."

After helping Hutch position his hand, Starsky applied a generous amount of antibiotic ointment to the cut before pulling it together with a double butterfly dressing.  Once he was satisfied with his handiwork, Starsky carefully added a finger guard he'd found in the bathroom cabinet.  Securing the protective tip with several strips of white adhesive tape, Starsky took a step back to examine the final result.  

"There!  All done," Starsky announced proudly.  "Except we'll need to grab some extra bandaids on our way out of town."

Hutch lifted his finger for a better look at the new bandage.  "Thanks, Starsk."  Unsure what else to say, he started toward the bloody mess he'd abandoned on the kitchen counter. 

"Nope, go on out to the car," Starsky directed, stepping in front of Hutch.  "Our gear's already loaded.  I'll finish cleaning up and packing."


Ten minutes later...  

"Is everything still ok out here?" Starsky asked, grinning as he slid behind the steering wheel. 

"Funny," Hutch replied, presenting his best sarcastic smile from the passenger side of the Torino.

Starsky shrugged, chuckling as he reached for the ignition.  "Well, it pays to ask, Hutch.  After all, you were out here alone for a few minutes."

From his side of the Torino, Hutch thought of several choice responses but somehow refrained from using any of them.  He was more irritated with himself for doing something so careless with a simple kitchen knife. 

"Ah, cheer up Hutch," Starsky added.  "It's nothing you should worry about - just a little bump in the road is all.  I'm sorry you hurt yourself.  I really am, but we're still gonna have a great time."

Not waiting for the counterargument, Starsky started the Torino and prepared to drive away.  "Maps, check - compass, check," Starsky continued.  "We've got a cooler full of food, enough basics to last at least a week, and nothing but time on our hands for a change.  And for just a little while, Hutch, no one - not even Dobey - is gonna be able to find us.  Sounds like a little slice of Heaven to me."

Starsky glanced at his partner, hoping his words had at least been helpful.  Once the embarrassment of cutting himself began to dull, Starsky was confident that Hutch would be back in sync with their plans and eager for some time away from the city.  All he needed was a reminder of better things to come.  

"I'm glad you talked me into this," Starsky added.  

"Oh yeah?  You're completely sure about that, are you?" Hutch asked.  "We didn't make it out of the house before I had problems." 

"Absolutely, I'm sure!  I know it's not the same brand of fun as Vegas, but I changed my mind about vacationing in Sin City this year, remember?  Since my last date with Cindy went as well as it did, I'm not interested in hanging out in a casino just to watch the pretty ladies walk by.  In fact, I don't much care if I see anyone else for at least a week."

Well, I tried to warn ya, buddy, Hutch thought privately.  "But I forgot to pack my heels and pearls," he said out loud instead.  "I'm afraid you're destined to be disappointed."

"Nah," Starsky replied, ignoring the obvious attempt at satire.  "After my last experience, I don't really give a damn about the whole dating scene right now."

Coming from you, Starsk, that's a potentially dangerous statement. 

Hutch decided it was better if he didn't share the whole naked truth - or at least the truth as he saw it - about Starsky's most recent, albeit short-lived, romance. 

"Cindy didn't like me because she knew I was suspicious of her motives," Hutch offered instead.  Pausing to glance at Starsky, Hutch wondered if even that had been too much to share. 

"You're right," Starsky admitted, apparently unruffled by Hutch's unsolicited insight.  "She was lookin' for excitement - or somethin'," Starsky added.  "I guess the idea of dating a cop must have fit that description, at least for a while."  

"Or something," Hutch agreed, looking directly at Starsky.  The smile he offered was genuine this time.  

"Hey, there's the store," Starsky said, changing the subject altogether.  "Not only do we need to grab more bandaids, but it's our last chance to buy anything before we leave civilization behind."