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The man's hair shines like gold in the sunlight, the more intense the sun, the more intense the gold. He should be used to it by now. They have been working together for four and a half years. Four and a half years of sunlight glinting off blond hair, four and a half years of repressed thoughts and repressed emotions, four and a half years of knowing that he can never have the one thing he wants the most.

A gunshot rings out, clear as a bell, and then another and another.

Starsky tucks his head and rolls, best to go while they're distracted. The golden glow acts as a beacon, but when he gets there his partner's face is twisted in pain and he's clutching his shoulder.

He tears off his shirt, gently bats Hutch's hand out of the way and bears down on the wound. Backup is coming, help will be arriving soon and he should tell Hutch this.

So why, when he leans over and presses his mouth to Hutch's ear, does he find himself whispering, "I love you."

And why, during the lull in the gunfire, does Hutch, his voice rendered hoarse with the effort of speaking, whisper back, "Love you too."