If I may, 9. “You really thought I was dead?”
so i had this thought about bunk beds and then i spiraled about it a little bit and here we are
at 7:45am on a tuesday buck and eddie walk into the firehouse, and they're trying to be subtle but eddie is pretty sure it's immediately obvious to everyone who sees them that something is different. it's in the way their shoulders knock together and their fingers brush, and the way he physically can't seem to stop himself from shooting little glances at buck every seven seconds and grinning when he finds buck already looking at him.
at 7:47am that tuesday, bobby walks out of his office holding a manila folder and something that looks like a laminated sheet of paper.
"what's this?" buck asks when bobby stops in front of them.
"hr forms," bobby says, handing over the folder. "they're already filled, i just need you to sign and date them."
buck opens the folder. eddie sees the words RELATIONSHIP DISCLOSURE at the top of the page, and fights the urge to hide his face in buck's shoulder, or maybe run and hide his entire body somewhere.
but he takes a deep breath, stands his ground and leans in closer to skim over the document. it seems straightforward enough, but one clause stands out. probably because bobby has highlighted it in neon yellow.
employees will not engage in public displays of affection or otherwise inappropriate conduct in the workplace or at work functions.
eddie coughs. "we wouldn't—you don't think that we'd—"
"oh, buck 1.0 absolutely would have," buck says, and eddie doesn't understand how he can be so chipper while essentially discussing their sex life with their captain. "buck whatever-the-fuck-i'm-at—well, i'm not saying i would, but i've definitely thought about it."
"buck!" eddie hisses, digging his elbow into buck's side.
"what? i said i wouldn't do it!"
bobby sighs. "will you just sign the form?"
eddie signs the form, then uses the pen to gesture at the laminated sheet still in bobby's hand. "what's that?"
"this? this is a sign i'm going to go put up in the bunk room." bobby turns the sheet around to show them.
ONLY ONE FIREFIGHTER PER BUNK.
eddie feels a flush spreading across his face, but buck just tilts his head. "if one person isn't on shift do they still count as a firefighter? and isn't eddie mostly a medic at this point anyway?"
bobby fixes buck with his patented dad stare, then pulls a sharpie out of his pocket. as they watch, he crosses out firefighter and writes in person.
"okay, okay," buck says. "we'll behave. promise."
and for a while they do behave—or, if they don't, no one can ever prove it. and for a while the bunk room rule doesn't matter, because they really only go in there to crash for an hour or two when they're so tired they can't take another call without collapsing mid-emergency.
(the first time they go in, that first shift, bobby follows. eddie collapses into a bottom bunk and resolutely does not look at bobby, but buck just sighs.
"we're not half as co-dependent as you think," he says, and makes a show of getting into the bunk above eddie's. "one person per bunk, see?"
"it better stay that way!" bobby calls, already halfway out the door.
it's been a long shift and it's not over yet, but before sleep can fully pull him under eddie kicks at buck's mattress. "hey," he says, slipping his feet between the slats. "love you. in a, you know, non-codependent way."
somewhere across the room, there is a groan that sounds unmistakably like chimney. "is it gonna be like this all the time now?"
"shut up, chimney, we've all heard the way you talk to my sister," buck says, and eddie only feels a little bit bad about the loud laugh he lets out.
there's a smile in buck's voice when he says "love you too," quiet so only eddie can hear.)
for a while they behave, but eventually the rules start chafing at the edges.
they have a bad call, and all eddie wants to do is spend fifteen minutes in the dark quiet of the bunk room with buck's limbs wrapped around him. or wrapped around buck, he's not picky. all he wants is the warmth and vitality of buck's skin against his, the feel of buck's steady heartbeat reassuring him that just because they see death every day doesn't mean it has to follow them home.
but he can't, because there are rules. and he understands why there are rules, and he's broadly of the opinion that the rules are probably good, but right now in this very moment in time he hates the rules.
buck is already stretched out in a bottom bunk when eddie walks in, on his back and staring at nothing. one glance tells eddie that buck needs it just as much as he does, the simple human contact that can be enough to pull you back from the brink.
so he goes to the bed next to buck's and starts tugging, pulling the heavy metal frame across until there's only a couple of inches between the beds. the space is narrow enough that when he gets into his own bunk, he can reach across and take buck's hand.
"not technically breaking the rules," he whispers, and buck gives him a soft smile and squeezes his hand.
sometimes the rules chafe so much they end up breaking them by accident, tripping headfirst into a violation in an effort to avoid it. sometimes they stay out in the loft long after they should be trying to get some sleep, huddled close but not too close on the sofa, savouring the way that out here, at least, they're allowed to touch.
sometimes they end up falling asleep out there and wake up considerably closer together than they had been, with bobby frowning down on them or chimney making gagging noises.
"it's not technically a bunk," buck mumbles, still half-asleep, the first time it happens, and bobby turns on his heel and mutters something about spirits and letters.
the day the rules go bad, eddie isn't even technically trying to break them. well. he's not even thinking of them, not really, because he's not trying to sleep, just on his way to wake up buck.
buck is sprawled across a top bunk, head pillowed on his forearm and his legs sticking every which way. his forehead is pulled into the tiniest hint of a frown, like maybe he's confused about whatever he's dreaming about.
it's cute. eddie knows chimney would give him shit for it, if he was here—hen, too, though she tends to be more forgiving of the behaviour chimney refers to as gross (eddie prefers to think of it as adorable)—but he can't resist the urge to step on the bottom bunk, making up the few inches he's lacking in height so he can kiss buck on the forehead.
gravity, however, has other plans. eddie grabs the rail of the upper bunk to pull himself up, then realises his mistake just in time to watch as the entire bunk bed tips over towards him in what feels like slow motion.
he ducks half on instinct, bracing against the bed on his other side and hoping against all hope that he hasn't just set off a domino reaction. luckily, the bed seems content to clang against the next bunk and stay there, leaning at an angle that probably isn't good news in the long run.
but eddie doesn't care about the long run, because when the bed fell, so did buck. and eddie was awake and able to protect himself, but buck—
buck is on the floor between the two beds, and he's not moving.
eddie's by his side in an instant, but his heart is in his throat and his hands are shaking so much he can't focus enough to check buck's pulse. buck still isn't moving, and he's twisted at an angle so eddie can't tell if his chest is rising, and it's barely even a fall but he could have landed on his neck weirdly or hit it on the way down—
eddie's trying to keep his panic at bay, but he's been on too many calls with too many people who didn't even fall that far and he can't keep the worst-case scenarios from climbing up his throat and cutting off his air supply, from rooting him in place when he should be doing something—anything—to check on buck.
there's a sound by the door and eddie looks up to see chimney skidding in. "i heard a crash, what's—buck?"
chimney's on the ground beside buck in an instant, checking over buck with hands that are much steadier than eddie's own.
"he's not—he's not moving," eddie manages to whisper. "he hasn't moved." it can't have been more than a handful of moments since the bed fell over, but every heartbeat stretches out like a lifetime. "is he—"
chimney removes his fingers from buck's neck. "he's not dead, man."
"oh, thank—buck?" eddie cuts himself off as buck's eyes flutter open.
"what?" buck mumbles. "why are we on the floor?"
he starts to move like he's getting up, but chimney stops him with a hand to the shoulder. "wait, buckaroo, gotta clear your c-spine first."
"c-spine?" bobby asks from the doorway. "what's going on?"
buck twists his head to look at bobby and then back, moving side to side. "no pain. see? my c-spine is fine. can i get up now?"
"just let chim check out your head first," eddie says, tone just this side of pleading.
"you should be able to check out his head," chimney says. "just like you should have been able to tell he wasn't dead."
"you really thought i was dead?" buck asks, turning back to look at eddie.
"you weren't moving!" eddie says. "you fell out of bed, and you weren't moving."
"i wasn't moving because i was still asleep," buck says. "i didn't wake up until chimney started poking at me."
"you—asleep?" eddie repeats. "you fell out of the top bunk and you didn't wake up?"
buck sits up and shrugs. "i'm good at sleeping," he says, and leans in to kiss eddie, quick and reassuring. "i'm fine, promise. nothing hurts."
"how did he fall out of bed, anyway?" chimney asks, but bobby holds up his hands with a defeated sigh.
"it was another one of your not technically breaking the rules, wasn't it?" he asks, then continues before eddie can say anything. "no, don't tell me, i don't want to know the details."
so eddie just nods, because bobby is technically not wrong. he wouldn't have to be climbing the bed like a jungle gym just to kiss his boyfriend if they were allowed to sleep next to each other.
"fine," bobby says, with a long-suffering sigh that would be more at home accompanying a felony confession. "the entire shift can sleep in one bunk for all i care. just—bottom bunk only, okay?"
"don't have to tell me twice," eddie says.
"and no funny business!" bobby adds.
and eddie agrees, but—funny business is an awfully vague term, really. it's open to a whole lot of interpretation.
he can work with that.
send me a prompt from this list!
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