Driving Me Wild

~ Originally published in the zine "Timeless"

Starsky was late. Not 'going to be late no matter how fast you drove' but already, in fact, late. At this very moment the captain would be standing in the doorway of his office, bellowing out at the squadroom.

He grabbed a shirt off the back of the closet door. Quick check of the rest of himself -- jeans, shoes, present and accounted for. A slap to his ass confirmed his wallet was there. His holstered gun was lying on top of his jacket; he grabbed them both and felt the jacket's fabric. His hand closed on something wallet-sized, wallet-shaped. Badge. Excellent.

He hurried towards the front door and figured if he'd left anything on which was gonna burn the place down, then he'd just move into a new apartment and pay the higher damage deposit.

Running down the stairs, he steeled himself for the lecture he was gonna get. Not the one from the captain -- he'd heard enough of those they didn't bother him anymore. He wasn't sure they'd ever bothered him, once he'd got out of his beat uniform and into plain clothes and realized that he was good enough at his job that the LAPD wouldn't really fire him for the little stuff.

Probably.

It was the other lecture he could have done without. He made it to street level and saw Hutch had already opened the car door for him; he leapt in and fumbled his jacket onto the floorboards.

"Well, don't just sit there. Let's get going!" Starsky told him. He wished he could tell Hutch to use the siren, which would allow them to climb up to the emergency lanes a hundred yards above street level. But if he tried, Hutch would tell him how being late was no excuse for abusing dedicated airspace.

Starsky said nothing as they drove away, staying firmly on the street.

"Starsk--"

"I know! I know," he interrupted, knowing it wouldn't do any good but he couldn't just sit there quietly and say 'yes, you're right, I'll never do it again'. He'd tried that once and Hutch had given him even more grief all the next day, when he'd been late. Again.

"You're late," Hutch said, as though Starsky didn't know.

"I woke up late! My alarm didn't go off." It was his usual excuse, and as usual not entirely true. He had a dim memory of it going off, but he also had a dim memory of reaching over and slapping it off and rolling back over in bed.

At least Hutch didn't bother buying him new alarm clocks anymore.

"Hutch, we'd get there a lot faster if you used the siren."

There was no reply, as Starsky had figured there wouldn't be. Still, he'd had to try. He struggled into his shirt, missing the buttons occasionally as Hutch took his turns a bit tighter than those days they weren't running late. It was the only concession he ever made towards trying to get to work faster.

"When did you go to bed last night?" Hutch asked with a tone that said he already knew and was just going through the motions until he could get to the fun part, where he scolded.

"Around midnight," Starsky insisted as he leaned forward to finish tucking his shirt in. He was grateful Hutch wasn't nagging him to sit back and use his seat belt so he wouldn't fly through the windshield.

"Give or take an hour?"

Starsky grumbled something under his breath which he knew Hutch could hear perfectly well. "Just drive," he snapped.

"Starsk--"

"I know! All right? You haven't yet come up with a new lecture in months, so why not just spare me this once?"

"If I thought you'd be on time without it, I would," Hutch returned, his tone equally as short. He wasn't really irritated, Starsky knew -- when he was really irritated he didn't speak at all.

"Yeah, well...." Starsky couldn't think of any clever replies. He needed coffee, and was hoping there would still be some in the pot -- even though the squadroom coffee was generally slightly disgusting. Even better would be stopping at Romano's and getting fresh, hot bagels and a cup of really superb coffee.

He knew better than to suggest stopping on the way in.

Starsky managed to get his holster on, and his jacket, and then started running his fingers through his hair. One nice thing about having uncontrollable curls was that no one would really know if he hadn't combed it that morning. Well, no one but Hutch and he wouldn't tell.

"You look gorgeous," Hutch finally said, after Starsky had sat there silently finger-combing his hair for a couple minutes. "Too much and no one will recognize you."

"Very funny."

Hutch didn't reply as they finally pulled up to the station. Hutch expertly slid into their designated parking spot -- not nearly close enough to the building's front doors, in Starsky's opinion. He could just imagine the look on the Captain's face if he mentioned wanting a better spot.

Starsky climbed out of the car, giving his holster a tug. He glanced back, hesitated, then said as sincerely as he could, "You're really great, Hutch."

"I know. But I'm still not running down to Romano's for you."

The squadcar's door swung closed, and Starsky stood there for a moment. Then he glared, and threatened, "See if I take you with me to Brazil this weekend."

"Who else would drive you?" Hutch countered.

"I could rent a car!"

"With your record?"

With nothing left to say that wouldn't be downright embarrassing, Starsky spun around and walked away. He could hear the car's electronic laughter following him. One of these days he was going to make good on his threat to reprogram Hutch.

He really, really was.