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He's getting too old for all night stakeouts and it's not helped by the fact that Hutch seems to be coming down with a cold. Although the constant snuffling has at least kept him awake.

"Have you taken anything?" Around dawn he prods Hutch awake long enough to ask the question. Hutch just looks at him with red- rimmed eyes and doesn't answer.

"I should take you home."

That does prompt a response from Hutch. "Can't. On stakeout."

"You don't say." Starsky isn't about to let his partner change his mind. "You need to be in bed."

"With you?"

Starsky feels himself freeze, he doesn't think Hutch means it. He's pretty sure that's the fever talking.

"I'm going to take you home, tuck you in. Maybe I'll even make you some soup."

A fit of coughing stops Hutch from answering but eventually he croaks, "Anything but that, Starsk?"

"Anything?" Now who's being suggestive, but he can't seem to stop himself. Besides it's nothing out of the ordinary, they do this all the time. He thinks Hutch has fallen asleep again but when he twists round to check he finds a pair of blue eyes regarding him with a look that goes straight to his groin.


The effect he thinks Hutch is going for is somewhat ruined when the man sneezes.

"That does it." He calls Dispatch and, with a background of sneezes and coughs, requests that he and Hutch be relieved. The next ten minutes seem to crawl by although Hutch does appear to have fallen asleep again.

Eventually a car drives up and Starsky climbs out of the Torino long enough to make sure that his and Hutch's replacements know exactly what they're doing.

"Okay, Blondie." He gets back in and turns round to make sure Hutch is okay. The man sneezes in his face.

"It's a good job I love you," Starsky mutters as he searches for a handkerchief to wipe his face off. He gave the last one to Hutch so he settles for a corner of his shirt.

"That's disgusting, Starsk."

"No kidding." He starts the car and drives to Venice Place.

"Want me to carry you up the stairs?"

"I can walk, you know." Hutch's voice is hoarse from the coughing.

"Okay then." Fatigue is getting to him because he doesn't argue, just yanks the passenger side door open and watches as Hutch slithers out of the car and collapses outside the building.

"You can walk, huh?" He pulls Hutch up and for a moment stares into Hutch's rheumy eyes. His mind is occupied with making a list of the things he'll need if he's going to dose Hutch up properly. He might have to improvise with some of the ingredients, but rather that then leave Hutch alone while he tries to find a store that will be open this early in the morning.

Those thoughts are why the kiss takes him by surprise. As first kisses go it's not great. Starsky is too surprised to reciprocate and Hutch, he decides, is too ill to really make his point. Of course Starsky being Starsky he wonders if Hutch really meant to kiss him at all.

He decides to focus on practicalities instead. "Let's get you upstairs."

Somehow they make it, he's not really sure how, but he props Hutch up against the wall while he gets the door open and then guides the man over to the couch.

"Thought we were going to bed." Is Hutch leering at him?

Starsky shakes his head. "First off the world famous Starsky cold cure." He bustles around finding all the things he will need. He is actually impressed when he manages to find everything and he sets to work mixing and shaking and making a mess that he decides he'll clear up in the morning.

"Here." It's a big glass and he stands over Hutch while the man drinks. "You should finish it all."

"Starsk, it's disgusting." But he does drink it all.

Empty glass on the table and he drags Hutch back up into his arms. If he's being completely honest he could fall asleep on the floor and not even notice, although his back might come the morning, but Hutch needs a good night's sleep, even though it's practically daytime, so Starsky ignores the fact that the world is starting to grey at the edges and tugs Hutch towards the bedroom.

Hutch tugs at his shirt. "Bathroom first."

He has to help Hutch out of his clothes. The blond haired man lies sprawled on his bed while Starsky tugs off sweater, shirt and pants. This isn't the first time that he has been so close to a naked Hutch or the first time that he has admired Hutch's body, but it is the first time he's felt guilty about it. He touches Hutch as little as possible. Hutch is sick and Starsky believes that is the reason for the come-on, for the kiss.

He yawns. "Just got to get you up one last time." Hutch is naked in his arms and Starsky pulls back the bed cover as fast as possible with one hand so he can put the man down again. Hutch rolls over, snoring already.

As Starsky is preparing to turn out the light Hutch emits a particularly loud snore and opens one bleary eye. "Sleep here."

"I'll be on the couch, okay?" After everything, Starsky doesn't feel he should sleep in the same bed as Hutch, not today, not ever.

"Sleep here," the voice is more insistent, the eye more focused. "Sleep better... with you."

"Why not?" Starsky says in a whisper. He strips his outer clothes off as quickly as he can and climbs under the bedclothes. It is like being in bed with a radiator, a radiator that is making some very odd noises. Ordinarily that would be enough to keep him awake, even if it weren't for the naked man lying next to him, but he is so tired. He falls asleep while trying to calculate how many hours he has been awake for.

He is awakened by an arm slipping around his waist, a body moving closer. The fever is gone and Hutch is breathing more easily now. Relief makes Starsky relax back against his partner.

He can feel gentle lips pressed against the back of his neck, a hand sliding downward. He should get up, so why isn't he moving? The hand has reached his groin, it slips inside the briefs he is wearing and he gasps as Hutch curls his fingers around his cock.

He is shaking with the thrill of it all. He groans and begs and Hutch obliges. Starsky is swept away by sensation and his orgasm sends a shuddering wave through him that leaves him gasping.

And now Hutch is in front of him, blue eyes shining, as though last night's cold was nothing but an illusion. This time when Hutch kisses him Starsky has the presence of mind to kiss him back.

"Worth waiting for?" Hutch asks and Starsky nods.

Then a tickle in his nose makes him back abruptly away and he sneezes. Hutch grins.

"Looks like we both should spend the day tucked up in bed together."

Starsky doesn't disagree.