Starsky sat on the terrace's low wall with his camera on his lap, watching the setting sun. Hutch wasn't back home yet and Starsky used the quiet time to think about the last few hours he spent in Jerry's studio.
When Starsky was first back on duty after being shot all he could do was work behind a desk. Dobey, seeing his sergeant's anguish, assigned him to work with the police photographers. Sorting through the mug shots and crime scene photos was not a very interesting activity for someone like Starsky, but he decided to take advantage of this opportunity to catch up with the novelties on the photography market.
Starsky worked with Jerry Jackson for a few weeks and knew that his weekend job was at a photography studio; something like what Starsky used to do when he was in the high school. He even considered doing it for a living, but after he was drafted his future led him to the police academy. Starsky never regretted that decision, but sometimes he missed the power his photography gave him. He could stop the time, he could expose the hidden beauty of people who were having photo sessions with him, and he could let them be whoever they wanted to be.
Starsky never gave up his hobby completely and that's why he listened to Jerry's suggestion to participate in a photograph competition. The participant fee was high, but still affordable, and Starsky wanted to send something what would have a chance to win. That's why he spent the last three weekends at Jerry's studio learning and working.
"Hey, I'm home," Hutch called out as he entered the apartment.
Starsky came into the living room and saw Hutch setting aside his baseball gear. He was helping Kiko's Little League team and tried to attend as often as he could.
"How was the practice?" asked Starsky, noticing that Hutch's hair were still a little wet after his shower.
Hutch smiled and shook his head. "Miracles happen, buddy," he stated with conviction.
Starsky mirrored his partner's grin. Hutch had claimed that with every practice, Kiko's team was getting better. Starsky reached for Hutch's hand, after he noticed him massaging it as if it hurt.
"How was your day?" Hutch asked, letting Starsky deal with his sore hand.
"Kathy called this morning. She was in town and I asked her to drop by the photo agency." Starsky smiled at him mischievously. "I gave her a free photo session."
"Free?" Hutch raised an eyebrow.
"Yeah, the studio was free."
Hutch laughed and pointed at the camera. "Did you develop the shots already?"
"Yeah, we did." Starsky nodded. "She took them with her."
"No copies for me to see?" Hutch teased.
"Nope." Starsky shook his head before relenting. "Well, maybe one or two."
"I didn't know you were such a decent man," Hutch praised him mockingly.
"Hey, I don't ask my models to take their clothes off." Starsky let go of his hand and slapped him lightly on the shoulder.
"I've heard," Hutch admitted. "You think she could be your model for the competition?"
Starsky frowned, but nodded. "I thought of that."
"And?" asked Hutch when nothing more came.
"No." Starsky looked at him seriously.
"If you're too choosy, you're gonna miss the chance to go to the Paris next year," Hutch warned.
Starsky smiled and asked, "Would you like to join me? If I - we win, that is."
Hutch blinked, surprised. "Me?"
Hutch shook his head. "Starsky, you know I don't do well in front of a camera."
But Starsky shook his head and answered softly, "There's a difference this time. I'm gonna be on the other side."
Hutch frowned, considering. "Yeah, and you can charm birds form the trees."
Starsky grinned. "Yes, I can. See?" He reached into his pocket and pulled out a picture of Kathy.
Hutch took the picture and traced the silhouette of the girl with his fingers.
"You know she's in love with you, right?" he asked suddenly.
Starsky looked at him, not really surprised. "Yes, I know," he admitted.
"And?" Hutch raised his eyebrows.
"First I need to figure out what I feel right now and that has nothing to do with her," Starsky sighed. "I don't want to use her as a... I mean, it was never just about sex with her, but now it's... more complicated. But on the other hand more... exciting? I feel... well I've known her for years and she knows me. She was never possessive. And she likes you."
"I don't go to bed with women that don't like me," Hutch countered.
Starsky smiled at him, deciding to change the subject. "You think you could be my model?"
Hutch sighed, "You want me to go with you to the studio?"
"No." Starsky shook his head and fingered the camera. "I want you here, at home, being yourself. I'll just snap some shots as we're going through our daily routine. You won't even notice it after a day or so."
Hutch laughed nervously. "Says you."
Starsky reached and touched his chin, turning his head so Hutch had to face him. "Trust me."
"I do," Hutch answered without missing a beat, covering his palm and holding to it tightly.
Starsky smiled reassuringly. "So?"
"I said I trusted you, Starsk," Hutch admitted. He silently pondered for a while before deciding, a smile crossing his face. "If you think I can win us that trip to the France, then this perfect body belongs to you."
Starsky laughed and took the cover off the lens.
"I didn't realize my partner had a Narcissus complex," he said incredulously.
"That's no complex." Hutch looked at him with mocked patronizing. "That's reality. Why else would you have chosen me over Kathy?"
If Hutch expected another flippant comment, he got something completely different.
"Because you're in a whole other class."
Hutch blushed and Starsky lifted the camera to take the picture.
"That's how you're doing it? Charming and flirting?" Hutch asked.
Starsky grinned at him. "Just with you. At the studio I have stuffed toys. The ladies love it!" He stood up and went towards the door. "I've got something else special for you. Come to the dark room."
No sooner he went through the door, he heard Hutch whisper, "I think I should brush up my French."