Starsky and Hutch walked out of Huggy's with their arms around each other, proving to Kira that they had chosen each other over her.

It felt right, but it hadn't felt right there in the Pits, when they'd tried to talk through Huggy rather than talk to each other.

Outside, they let their arms fall, then they just stood and looked at each other for a long moment before getting into their respective cars.

Hutch pulled out first, and it seemed understood that Starsky would follow him. No words were needed, which was a good thing, since words hadn't seemed to work very well for them lately.

In Hutch's apartment, they again just stood and looked for a few moments. Finally Hutch spoke.

"So, now what?"

"We talk?" Starsky suggested.

Hutch sighed. "We've tried that before."

"So we'll try it again. We have to work this out, Hutch — we have to. I don't want to lose you as my partner, or as my friend."

The blond man threw up his hands. "I don't know what to say."

"Tell me why," Starsky asked, his eyes pleading.

"Why what?"

"Why did you do it? Why did you sleep with Kira when I'd just told you how I loved her, and how she loved me?"

"Because she told me she loved me, too," Hutch responded. "If she hadn't said it.... I don't think I'd have done it if she hadn't said that."

"I don't get it. A woman says she loves you, and you have to sleep with her? And you had to rub it in my face come waltzing out of the bedroom fastening your pants right when I walk in the door?" Starsky was close to tears. He still could not believe what his partner, his closest friend, had done to him.

Hutch wanted to put his arms around his partner so badly, but he knew this wasn't the time. They never used to have a problem touching each other, holding each other, comforting each other, but now that had changed. It had changed because of Kira. "I had to prove it to you," he said quietly.

"Prove what?" Starsky demanded. "Prove fucking what?"

"That she wasn't good enough for you! That she didn't deserve you!"

"You proved that by sleeping with her? I don't get it."

"The right person for you wouldn't have done that to you. The right person for you would love only you. They wouldn't go and screw your partner behind your back — or right in front of you, as the case may be."

"Who made you the judge of what's right for me? Why do you get to decide on who I get to be with?" Starsky asked.

"Because I love you," Hutch answered.

"That's supposed to make it all right? You love me, so it's okay to stab me in the back?"

"I love you more than she does," Hutch said. "If you told me you loved me, I would never betray you the way she did."

"I don't understand. You're saying that you betrayed me because I've never told you that I love you?"

"No!" Hutch moaned. "I'm saying that I love you the same way she does, except I would never cheat on you, never go to someone else behind your back, the way she did. If you said you loved me, you would be the only person for me. You, and only you. Not Kira, not anyone else just you. But you're not going to say that, are you? You never have." He had told his partner before that he loved him, though he'd never let on that he loved him in more than a brotherly way. But Starsky had never said those words, not in any way, even once.

"Do I have to say it, Hutch? After all this time, do I really have to say it? Haven't I shown you how much I love you? I know that you've told me before, and I guess I never listened to what you were really saying, because if I'd known.... Well, if I'd known, Kira wouldn't have happened." The tears were coming now, and Starsky didn't try to stop them. "Words aren't my thing, not like they're your thing. But if you want to hear them.... I love you, Hutch. I love you more than I ever loved Kira. She's nothing to me, compared to you."

At hearing the words he'd thought he would never hear, Hutch crossed the distance that separated them and finally did take his partner in his arms. He had tears in his eyes, too. The two men held each other and tried to kiss away each other's tears.

After quite a while of simply kissing and holding Hutch, Starsky finally spoke. "So, Hutch, I asked you earlier if you sleep with a woman just because she says she loves you...."

"What about it?" Hutch asked, worried that they were going to go over Kira again.

"You said you didn't, but I was wondering what happens when I say I love you."

"Starsky, when you say you love me, I am quite willing to do anything you want me to do."

Starsky smiled and headed for the bedroom. "Then, Hutch, I love you and I want you to join me in here, now."