Sweet Revenge: Missing Scene
The screech of metal against metal is what got Hutch's attention first. He looked toward the sound, and saw the squad scraping another squad, but the two uniformed officers inside never slowed. And their eyes were riveted on him and Starsky.
A cold bolt of terror shot through Hutch, and he screamed, "Starsky, get down!" He threw himself to the ground just a breath before he heard automatic gunfire and the windows of the Torino shattered, scattering bits of broken glass all around him. As the sound of the engine told him the squad was roaring away, Hutch scrambled to his feet, pulling his gun, and fired at the retreating car. But it was moving too fast, and his hands were shaking too much. He missed. And he wasn't hearing his partner's Beretta...
"Starsky!" he yelled again, panic in his voice. He looked over his shoulder. No Starsky. No sign of him. He ran around the car, and froze.
Starsky was lying on his side on the ground, ashen-faced, blood staining the front of his shirt. Absolutely still.
Hutch's heart stood still in his chest. He couldn't move. Couldn't react. Couldn't even think. Except for one word.
The commotion had brought other officers outside, running, guns in hand, to help.
"Get an ambulance!" Hutch screamed at the nearest one, finding his voice at last. The officer, with a glance at the unmoving form on the ground, turned and ran. And Hutch, still holding his gun without realizing it, took two long steps and sank to his knees next to his partner. He reached out a shaking hand, saw his gun still in it, and dropped the gun. He was afraid to touch Starsky. He wanted to gather him up in his arms, to take the pain and the injury into his own body...God, I'll do anything, just don't let him die!
But he was afraid to. What if movement would make a bullet shift position? What if he made things worse?
He laid a hand alongside Starsky's neck and felt the pulse still beating there. It was slow and fluttering, but it still beat. Starsky breathed erratically, a harsh, rattling sound Hutch knew too well.
Oh, God. No, God, no! Please....
Blood soaked the whole front of Starsky's shirt. Too much blood. And Hutch couldn't see how much damage there might be because of it. He leaned over and looked at Starsky's back. Three bullet holes. Across his back. His heart, his lungs?
Hutch carefully stroked Starsky's hair and felt how cold his face was. "Easy, buddy, easy. I'm right here. Help's coming," he whispered, his voice shaking.
Other officers stood around, silent. A siren wailed in the distance.
Hurry. Hurry up and get here. Save him, take care of him. I don't know what to do!
He picked up Starsky's limp hand and held it, still stroking the curly hair with his other hand. He had to touch him. He had to comfort him. He had to keep talking, keep Starsky there.
"Buddy, please. Stay with me. I need you, Starsk. Stick with me. Help's coming. It's gonna be okay."
Finally, the ambulance squealed to a halt and the EMTs piled out of it and took over, gently pushing Hutch away. He stood, helplessly, and watched while they sopped up some of the blood, took vital signs, intubated Starsky....
The staccato but controlled urgency of their movements confirmed for Hutch what his heart had already told him: Starsky was dying.
The attendants loaded him onto a stretcher, strapped him down, and lifted him into the ambulance.
"Can I ride with him?" Hutch asked, his voice unsteady.
The attendant nodded, gave Hutch a hand up into the back, and said, "Stay out of the way."
Hutch sat down next to Starsky's head and picked up that limp, cold hand again, smoothed the blanket over his partner with his free hand and prayed all the way to the hospital, hardly even hearing the wailing siren or seeing that the EMT was never still, constantly checking heartbeat and respiration, pulling the blanket back to check the bleeding...
At the hospital, Hutch was again pushed aside while the gurney was rolled into emergency surgery. Alone, he sank onto a yellow plastic couch, with nothing to do but wait while his best friend, his partner, fought for his life behind a double swinging door....
He barely noticed Dobey's arrival. His whole soul was focused on that door, waiting for a doctor to emerge, waiting to hear.
And when a doctor finally came in, much, much later, he was weary and pale.
"It's not good," he said in answer to Hutch's pleading look. "There was a lot of damage. One bullet was that close,"he held up two fingers, barely a space between them, "to his heart. He's in ICU. I wish I could give you better news."
Dobey laid a comforting hand on Hutch's shoulder. Neither of them could speak.
"ICU's on five," the doctor said.
Numbly, Hutch turned and headed for the elevator to begin a lonely and hopeless vigil. He'd stand by Starsky to the end. He wouldn't let his partner...die...alone.