It's in the shower that the best words come to him, the ones that paint the picture he can see in his mind. He takes no issue with walking naked across his apartment, tossing droplets on the sofa as he passes it and leaving wet footprints on the carpet in front of the piano where he damply scribbles out his inspiration with a broken pencil on a fresh sheet of paper.
Lately the words have been describing a very different tune, but still he writes them down, sometimes humming and jotting possible chords and notes to go with them. They speak of a new love, fresh and vibrant, but shy.
It's in his bed in the middle of the night when the chorus arrives, chanting itself over and over inside his brain instead of allowing him to sleep. Images come to him of touching and holding, colors and sounds melding to paint a vivid picture of the nameless someone who isn't really in his bed with him.
He turns over, pulls the empty pillow close, and pretends.
In the morning, he pulls his last blank canvas from behind the stack of paintings he's never been quite satisfied with, sets it up with precision on the easel, and touches a tiny dab of dark blue paint just to the left and up of center. He puts down the brush, smiles, and when he hears the horn honking downstairs, he gulps his coffee and grabs his gun.
It's in the Torino that a rhythm slides through his arm to his fingertips, drumming on the door below the window until his partner makes an annoyed noise accompanied by an affectionate glance.
He grins, ducks his head, and moves the beat to scratch against the texture of his cords, fingers splaying across invisible strings, plucking silent notes.
Later that night, he dreams of silent notes written with a desperate hand on dusty pavement, the last communication of a man drowning in his own blood.
He wakes with a gasp and a promise that it will never happen.
The sun through the window shines on the canvas and the blue dot calls to him. He sketches in a nose, a chin, tilts his head, and considers.
No work today, so he pulls up a stool, toys with the brush, and thinks about just who it is he's hoping to paint.
When the phone rings, he knows, and smiles. The sound of Starsky's voice through the distance of a phone line brings an image of Starsky's face into sharp relief, and Hutch seizes the opportunity to paint.
It's in the shower again when the tune returns, the beat of the water drumming on his head, lyrics forming in a rush like the soapy lather on his skin. He hums them out, tries them on for size, and wishes he'd brought pencil and paper into the bathroom even as he scrubs blue paint from his hands.
He then wishes he hadn't set up a date and wishes instead that he could sit and write, play his music and paint his pictures, but honor wins out and he leaves to pick up Tracey for dinner and dancing, but not before he adds a touch of golden light on the chocolate curls.
After a quick fuck in her bed and a quicker kiss goodbye, he leaves Tracey and comes home, fingers anxious to pick out the tune on string and key and lay paint with a brush on that canvas.
He stays up all night with coffee for blood, circling the room from canvas to piano to guitar and canvas again.
By morning's light the painting is nearly finished, and the song even more so, and just when he thinks it's time to collapse into bed, a knock on the door changes his mind.
The subject of the painting bounces inside with donuts, the Sunday paper and a smile bright as daylight. Brilliant blue eyes dart to the easel beyond Hutch, and the smile fades into surprise.
Hutch can feel the blush rising from his chest and blusters about, trying to move the canvas to his bedroom, but Starsky stops him with a touch and says, pleading, "Let me look."
Nervous and choking, Hutch grabs his guitar and sits on the couch, unwilling to watch his partner examine his own body sprawled nude across a bed, painted sunset rays rendering his skin gold.
Hutch's fingers pick out notes and before he realizes, he's playing the song he's written. Starsky comes to kneel before him, intense gaze searching for answers without anger and his hands resting on Hutch's knees. At the caring touch, Hutch's fingers falter on the strings.
"Keep playing," Starsky whispers. "Are there words?"
Hutch swallows, once, twice. He nods uncertainly.
"Sing them? Please?"
Hutch rolls his shoulders, takes a deep breath, and finds he can't deny his partner this.
His voice is shaky, soft and wavering, until the chorus comes in. It's a strong, sweet song and Hutch strengthens his tone, buoyed and lifted by Starsky's soft gaze and protected by his hands.
I am in love with nothing less.
Teardrop of joy runs off my face,
I will rise for someone that's afraid to love.
If you knew what I feel, then you couldn't be so sure.
I'll be right here, lying in the hands of God.
When the music is finished and the last note vibrates down into stillness, Starsky leans close.
"Why didn't you ever tell me?"
Hutch leans in, too, and bravely presses his lips to Starsky's.
"Because I never realized until now."
His kiss is returned, as gentle as rain, and when Starsky pulls back, his eyes seem to glow, and Hutch's desire fires and glows, too.
Together they rise, touch and kiss more, and soon they move to the messy bed in the alcove, where Hutch paints Starsky's body all over again, making him sing.