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Three Times the Sun Rose (when once it almost didn't)

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Dusty bits of sunlight drifted through the blinds. It was morning and Hutch was still alive, albeit just barely. His head swam and every muscle ached as though he’d battled a thousand demons all night long. They’d clawed at his skin and set his insides on fire. He’d wondered - when coherent thought had been possible - if he’d live to see another day. For a while he hadn’t cared. He’d actually invited Death to end his torment. But Starsky hadn’t let that happen. He’d helped him fight his demons all through the night, then held him close until sunrise.

Starsky slept on Hutch’s couch, curled into his pillows and breathing in his scent. His partner hadn’t come home all night. He’d stayed at Kira’s doing who knows what. Starsky trusted him with his life – just not with his girlfriend. Competitiveness and jealousy had lodged their destructive power deep in the minefield that lay between them. One wrong step and they’d both shatter. Up until now they’d avoided the danger zone, but knew one day they’d have to cross it. They just weren’t ready. A sound at the door roused Starsky from his half sleep. It was Hutch and sunrise.

Dobey and Huggy had left hours ago, taking with them the empty dishes and bottle of champagne. But Hutch couldn’t bring himself to leave Starsky’s bed. It seemed he hadn’t slept in days. But how could he sleep wondering if he’d wake up in the morning to find himself alone? Hutch brushed back the dark curls that tickled his ear. He thanked God for the thousandth time for allowing them another chance to get it right. Rubber soled shoes stopped just outside the door, but still Hutch didn’t move. He intended to hold Starsky tight in his arms until sunrise.