I gotta recommend this fic. I read it yesterday, and it’s definitely gone into my top 5 Buddie fics ever (along with “Don’t Take the Money”, “Waves”/”Burned on the Pyre” and “Buy back the Secrets”).
I don’t even wanna say too much about it so I don’t take too much away, but this was/had
extremely well-written. Easy to read and still beautifully worded. Just really, really well crafted.
very good characterisation. They all felt very much in character
a super intriguing plot
ALL THE FUCKING FEELS!!!!!!!!! I was literally - literally! - crying and sobbing through large parts of it. It’s angsty af (not over-dramatic!), but hopeful (and has a happy ending), heart-wrenching but also heart-warming, and occasionally super hilarious.
Lastly, I’m usually not a big fan of merging supernatural elements into realistic scenarios (ha, “Don’t Take the Money” is an exception to that rule, too), but I didn’t mind them here in the slightest. It just all worked out so well, I can’t even put it into words.
Anyway. If you need a good cry and something stunningly beautiful to read, go read this!
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Hi! I’ve been reading through your Buckeride fics and I know this isn’t on your prompt list but I can’t get the idea of long-distance Kelly and 118!Buck where Buck sends him postcards like he used to do with Maddie. Like imagine a post card with a pic of Buck and the first baby he delivers, or Buck mastering a complex Bobby recipe or screenshots of a daring rescue. And Kelly peppering his locker with all of these.
So this is definitely not what you requested, but it's where my weird little brain took me. 1200 words, Buck x Kelly. Buck copes with losing Kelly by hiking across the country. Kelly copes with losing Buck by reading his postcards and sending replies in the form of books. Fair warning, I haven't read all of the books mentioned in this but I'll get around to them eventually.
The first time Buck drops a postcard in the mail to Chicago is a generic shot of the desert, picked up for 60 cents in a tourist trap not far from the head of the trail. Buck prints the address of Firehouse 51 carefully onto the back of the card and spends the rest of the night agonizing over what to write on the rest. In the end he scrawls a messy 2,653 miles to go, wish me luck, and drops it into the mailbox outside of his motel without a return address - he doesn’t have one.
The second is a black-and-white reproduction of Ansel Adams’ Monolith, the Face of Half Dome tucked inside the front cover of the artist’s biography and shipped together in a package from the same post office where Kidd mailed his latest resupply. Yosemite was too fucking crowded. Ansel Adams Wilderness was beautiful though. Did you know he did a whole series on Manzanar, the Japanese internment camp? He was an interesting dude. Hang onto this book for me if you can, please.
His next care package contains a book - Only What We Could Carry: The Japanese American Internment Experience - and even though he hasn’t factored an extra book into his pack weight, he tucks it into his bag along with everything else. When he cracks it open in the fading light of a high altitude sunset he nearly chokes on a mouthful of trail mix. There, on the inside cover, is a note in Kelly’s neat-but-cramped handwriting, just like in every other book he’s ever gifted to Buck. Why do you always pick the most fucking depressing topics to take an interest in? Tell Kidd where I should ship the other 3 books about internment camps when you get off the trail, I’m never going to reread them.
Buck closes his eyes and tips his head up to the sky, staring at the wash of red and orange the sunset paints behind his eyelids until the sting that threatens tears fades away. By then it’s nearly dark - too dark to read, but not too dark to thumb through the pages to find the ones that are dog eared, the passages with stars next to them, the notes in the margins careful never to overlap with the text or images. He doesn’t open it again for almost a week, spends another few days reading it slowly, savoring the notes in the margins and writing his own in return. It’s the continuation of a silent conversation they’ve been having since the first time Kelly picked up one of Buck’s dog-eared, highlighted, scribbled-in books off of the nightstand and returned it to him with three questions and an opinion Buck absolutely had to argue with scrawled inside the back cover.
Except this time...this time Buck can’t read his commentary aloud to Kelly at the end of the day, or ask him to expand on one of the thoughts jotted down at the bottom corner of a page. This time he can’t talk to Kelly at all.
Instead he takes a selfie with the PCT mid point sign and then backtracks to hitchhike into town. He celebrates with a motel room, a shower, and a night in an honest to god bed. Pancakes at the local diner taste like heaven in the morning, he calls Kidd from a curbside bench with a beautiful view of the mountains, and he’s in too good a mood to question it when his feet lead him down the street and into a shop advertising printing.
He has two copies of his selfie printed. One goes into an envelope addressed to 51, alongside a postcard of Mt. Lassen thanking Cindy for the cookies and Mouch for the hockey themed wool socks in his latest resupply. The second he addresses to his old Kelly’s apartment. Thanks for the book. I think I’m going to visit Manzanar after I finish the trail - it’s only a few hours from LA. Maybe I’ll climb Whitney while I’m out there. Hey, did you know Lassen and Shasta are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire? The volcanic landscapes out here are awesome.
Buck almost doesn’t put the second envelope in the mail. He almost puts the book in a box and sends it to Stella instead. But in the end he mails the card, tucks the book deep into his bag where it will sit undisturbed but impossibly heavy with emotion for most of the next two months, and hitchhikes back to the trailhead.
By the time he makes his first stop in Oregon there’s another package: food, socks, a newspaper clipping of Truck 81 saving a little girl and her dog from an overturned car, and a book. Surviving the Stone Wind, clearly purchased used, the cover fraying at the corners and the spine cracked. Inside, beneath a faded note indicating it was once a gift for someone else, Kelly has written Don’t get killed by a volcano. That would be a stupid ass way for a firefighter to go out.
Buck sends a picture of himself from central Oregon tucked inside the cover of the book when he returns it, his handwriting a barely legible scribble beneath Kelly’s sharp letters. At least if I die in an eruption it’ll be quick. I’ve been thinking - there’s a lot of time to think out here - about how we would survive if the Yellowstone Supervolcano ever erupts. The answer is that we probably won’t, but if we did, living through the endless winter afterwards sounds pretty nasty. You know how I hate to be cold.
I bought more hand warmers for the emergency kit, Kelly replies, weeks later, from between the pages of a book about Yellowstone. But I think you’re right. I’d rather go in the explosion.
Buck has another hiker take a picture of him on the Bridge of the Gods, smack in the center of the Columbia river, and scrawls on the back of two copies before sending them off in the mail. The Columbia used to have the largest Salmon run on Earth. I never realized how much we’ve fucked up the environment before spending all this time out in the middle of nowhere. Not that the trail is even the middle of nowhere - thousands of people walk every part of it every year. I wonder what it all looked like before we colonized the West.
The Organic Machine: The Remaking of the Columbia River gets to Buck when he’s a couple of hundred miles into Washington. He flips the cover open eagerly, touches his fingers to the only form of communication he’s had with the love of his life in months. Seems like people have been changing the environment out there since long before white colonizers showed up. They just made it a lot worse. This isn’t going to be one of your “if I had a time machine” obsessions again, is it?
If I had a time machine I’d only go back 10 months, Buck writes inside of the cover. He shoves the book deep inside of his pack, beside the first, and mails back a generic postcard of the Cascades instead.
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