Summer Days

Starsky sat down in the soft green grass, looking around him at the clear blue sky. "It's a beautiful day," he told Hutch. "Just gorgeous." Hutch didn't answer. Starsky just sighed, and enjoyed the day for awhile. Then he leaned forward and began casually babbling about his day.

"I can't believe I ate that stuff for breakfast- I don't think humans were meant to eat bran. No way. I can't believe you made me start eating it..." Starsky's face screwed up in an expression of disgust, but he was still smiling. "What I wouldn't give for one little donut. Maybe two. Heck I'd be happy with three donuts and a cup of that horrendous squad room coffee."

Starsky laughed, remembering the swill that had passed for coffee back then. As cops they had only needed their coffee to be strong, flavour was incidental. "Good thing Marsh is in charge of the coffee at the academy. I don't know what I'd do with real, ground roasted coffee beans... Hey! Did I tell you I got a raise? Been teaching for five years, and the Cap'n figured I'd behaved myself for enough of the time. Got a merit raise, almost a thousand a year. Well, ok some of it was the regular raise for being there so long. About three hundred for the merit."

Starsky toyed with a blade of grass. "I'm glad you talked me into going to school. I'd never have gotten this job without my bachelor's. 'Course, I'd have never gotten my degree if it hadn't been for you, makin' me go to class, helpin' me study..." Starsky swallowed, and forced the next words out in a whisper. "I wish you coulda been there, at graduation. You'd have loved it. You'da been real proud."

He held a hand to his face, as he began to cry. It happened everytime he came, he'd talk for only a very short while before the grief slammed into him again. He wished with all his being for Hutch to sit down beside him, drape his arm over Starsky's shoulders, pull him close. It had been so long since they had been together. Much too long. Starsky didn't bother asking why Hutch had left him- he knew he would never get an answer.

He tried not to see that image, of Hutch, that last day- his face full of pain as he said goodbye, the relief smoothing the lines on his face as he finally went. Instead Starsk tried to recall that sight of his smile when something delighted him, the sound of his laughter; and he tried to remember the soft touch of his lover's hands, and the taste of his lips... His body shook in a silent scream of fear that he might someday forget. As much as it hurt to remember, he knew he could not bear to forget.

Squeezing his eyes closed, he tried to conjure up the memory of Hutch, telling himself that it *was* his arm resting gently on his back, holding him close, whispering tenderly in his ear... What he wouldn't give to have him back at his side.

"David?"

Startled, Starsky stared at the man who'd sat down beside him. He smiled gratefully, despite his tears. "Thanks for coming." His whisper was edged with the fear he'd felt, that once again he'd be left here alone.

His smile was returned, full of love and sympathy. "Where else would I be?"

"I didn't think you'd want to come." Starsky looked away, guiltily.

There was no answer, beyond a tightening of the grasp on his shoulder. "I love you."

Starsky smiled. "I love you too, Andy. And... thanks."

Andy leaned over and placed a kiss on David's temple, saying nothing. He understood, all too well. He had graves of his own to remember.