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Starsky was in shock. Was it something I did? Because I called Meredith my partner? The news left him reeling.

It was bad enough when he’d walked into Kira’s house to find Hutch there, casually tucking in his shirt, and looking as guilty as a kid caught stealing from the cookie jar. He’d been overcome with raw emotion; he seethed with hurt and anger. At that moment, he had wanted to tear Hutch apart, and only Kira throwing them out of her house had prevented their brawl from escalating further.

It was Hutch’s latest deliberate act to push him away. Why did you sleep with her after I told you I loved her? But had Hutch really believed him?

And then the final nail in the coffin: From now on, Kira would not just be Hutch’s lover, but his partner as well.

Why Hutch? But Starsky knew why. It was because he loved Hutch in a way that Hutch did not want to be loved, touched him in a way he did not want to be touched.

It would be best, Hutch said, if we went our separate ways. Best for whom? Starsky had asked. Hutch turned and walked away.