49. spinning your lover into a kiss on the dance floor
only because eddie said he’s an excellent dancer and i need him to put his money where his mouth is <3
Buck loved weddings. He’d always loved weddings – he loved the excitement, of the day, the way everyone woke up with the sole purpose of spending their day celebrating with friends, and family, celebrating the love a couple shared. He’d been to his fair share of weddings over the years – weddings on the beach, when he’d been travelling, weddings of friends and exes, and firehouse weddings. He liked the firehouse weddings – it was tradition, that whoever was getting married would invite their entire shift, and they’d all share a table, and they’d drink, and talk, and laugh. Spending time with the crew outside of the firehouse, outside of their usual badge and ladder joint, was always nice, and today was no exception.
Daniel, from their shift, had gotten married, and it was the first wedding in the firehouse in a long time. They’d done their duty and teased the living hell out of Dan, his entire last shift before getting married, making the guy wear a light-up bowtie the entire day, leaving him to explain at every scene that this was firehouse tradition, and he was getting married. They were the kind of shenanigans that Bobby didn’t formally approve of, but they’d all caught their captain smiling to himself enough times that he knew it wasn’t something he’d put a stop to. Daniel was the first person on their shift to get married, in years, and they were excited.
Buck really did love weddings. He didn’t know Daniel’s fiancé, not really – she seemed nice. They were college sweethearts, apparently, and they’d waited to get married until she’d finished law school. She was wearing a beautiful white dress, and Daniel had a smart suit on, and they’d both cried, during their vows (which meant Buck had cried too, because he was an emotional train-wreck, Eddie subtly passing him a tissue - or three - so Buck could mop away his tears before anyone noticed. Buck loved love, okay, and he always attended weddings and just wondered how it might feel one day if he ever got to experience one of them as the groom.
Maybe he just wasn’t built for marriage, Buck decided, maudlin as he took a swig of his beer. His relationships had never even gotten close to being marriage material – so maybe he was destined to be alone forever, bouncing from relationship to relationship, never quite –
“Hey,” Eddie greeted. He was wearing a dark purple suit, so dark the colour was almost black, the purple catching the light every so often. He looked damn good – Buck had told him that much, when he’d picked the other man up that afternoon. He rarely ever saw Eddie in a suit; and this new one was a treat.
“Hey,” Buck hummed in reply. “Having fun?”
Eddie’s cheeks were flushed, from dancing, having spun Hen around the dancefloor for the last three songs in a row. That was the rule, when they were invited to a wedding as a shift – they all went stag, and Eddie had been a willing stand-in for Karen. Eddie loved to dance – it was one of his less well-kept secrets. It was a secret he’d kept closely guarded, for a long time, but the more he’d gotten to know the 118, the more open he’d been about it. He and Shannon had loved to dance, Eddie had admitted once – they’d go line-dancing, or salsa-dancing, Eddie had explained, a fond expression on his face. It was one of the things they had always been good at, dancing.
“Yeah,” Eddie nodded, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. “You’ve not danced, yet.”
“I don’t dance,” Buck shook his head. Of all the things he was capable of doing – dancing wasn’t one of those things. He was an objectively terrible dancer – and he didn’t fancy making a holy show of himself at a wedding full of strangers. “I’m a terrible dancer,” he emphasised.
“Lucky for you, I’m an excellent dancer,” Eddie grinned, taking Buck’s hand in his own and tugging him out toward the dancefloor. Buck mumbled a protest, but he let Eddie pull him out onto the dancefloor, the song playing a slow one. Buck didn’t recognise it – but it was a slow one, the singer crooning about love, and life, and happily ever after.
“Don’t look so terrified,” Eddie teased, manoeuvring Buck so that he had one hand on Eddie’s shoulder, taking Buck’s hand in his own, Eddie’s other on Buck’s hip. He guided them, gently, explaining to Buck where he should put his feet, giving Buck an encouraging smile.
“I’m a terrible dancer,” Buck sighed, stumbling as Eddie tried to speed it up. “I have no rhythm.”
“Just, relax,” Eddie encouraged, guiding Buck around the dancefloor. “Relax and let me lead. Okay?”
Buck swallowed his nerves, and nodded, letting Eddie guide him. They were definitely dancing slower than some of the other couples on the floor, Eddie patient as he led them both. Eddie was a natural, when it came to dancing, the movements fluid and – and beautiful, actually, Eddie’s hand pressed to Buck’s lower back, their bodies pressed closely together as Eddie spun them around the dancefloor.
“See?” Eddie’s smile was soft, and fond. “All you needed to do was relax.”
“I’m still terrible,” Buck huffed, trying not to think too hard about where to put his feet, trying to let Eddie lead him where they needed to go.
“I’ve got you,” Eddie reassured, and the words felt heavy, laced with so much more meaning than just dancing – Eddie always had him, Buck realised, in every aspect of his life. Eddie was this incredible, unwavering presence in Buck’s life, and he was certainty, amongst the chaos of everything else in Buck’s life.
Buck nodded. “I know you do,” and his words were dripping with more meaning than just dancing – Buck was sure of a few things, in his life, and Eddie’s presence in his life was the thing he was the most sure of, the thing he would always be sure of. That was love, he supposed – real love. Whether he got to love Eddie the way he wanted, or he got to love him like this, as a friend, Buck would be happy.
Eddie grinned, and he tugged on Buck’s waist, spinning Buck gently away from him. He was beautiful, like this, under the soft lights of the dancefloor, his eyes bright and the material of his suit glinting purple under the golden lights. Buck couldn’t help but laugh, as he stumbled, slightly, Eddie’s grip on his hand firm as he pulled Buck back in, spinning him so that Buck’s back was pressed to Eddie’s chest, the two of them swaying gently.
“See?” Eddie hummed, his voice low. “Dancing is easy.”
Buck let Eddie spin him out again, his heart thundering in his chest as Eddie pulled him back in, wrapping his arms around Buck’s waist. “Only with you,” he said, the words out of his mouth before he could stop them, slinging his arms around Eddie’s shoulders, keeping the other man close.
Eddie’s smile was soft, and secretive, and he tilted his chin, slightly. “I only ever want to dance with you,” he replied, and his mouth was on Buck’s, before Buck could say anything else, and suddenly he was kissing his best friend, and the music in the background was soft, and romantic, and he was sure that he could hear someone cheering, but –
All Buck could focus on was the way Eddie was kissing him, the two of them swaying out of time to the music as they kissed, as they finally did something about the tension that had lingered between them for so many months, now.
Buck’s chest was heaving, as they pulled apart. “I only ever want to dance with you, too.”
send me a kissing prompt
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the sort of late hour that might be called early (ghost stories after dark)
happy halloweek day 2: ghosts! fun fact I initially had this tagged as "5x06 spec if you squint" but yesterday Fox decided not to let me live so! ha ha anyway
2.7k of the gang sharing ghost stories!
Also on AO3
“I just think it’d be cool to have a real encounter with a ghost,” Buck says, pulling the rag off his shoulder and going back to shining the bumper of the engine.
“What, that one call a few years ago wasn’t enough for you?” Hen asks, leaning against the engine beside him.
“Oh, not this again,” Bobby says. “Back on the ‘a ghost called 9-1-1’ thing?”
“Well how do you explain it?” Buck asks. “Maddie said it sounded exactly the same!”
“Ghost calling 9-1-1?” Eddie asks, wandering past them distracted, eyes on his phone.
“Yeah,” Buck says. “What’s up?”
Eddie hums in question and then looks up from his phone. “Oh, Chris was just texting me costume ideas.”
“Is ghost one of them?” Hen asks. “Because then Buck could have a real encounter.”
“Ha, ha,” Buck says, and doesn’t quite pout when he goes back to polishing but it’s a near thing.
They drop the subject when the bell goes, and Buck thinks it’s well and truly dropped until much later that night when one by one they all find themselves sitting around in the loft.
“No one could sleep, huh?” Bobby asks when Buck and Eddie and Hen and Ravi have all grabbed comfortable spots and accepted the cups of coffee Bobby’s offered them.
One by one, they shake their heads and no one offers an explanation. Sometimes, the station is just like that – it takes on its own energy, expends it on all of them, puts them all in sync more than they otherwise would be.
Buck sips his coffee and tries to keep his booted feet off the couch, even though what he really wants to do is extend his legs across the length of the couch, drop his feet in Eddie’s lap, or maybe snuggle up. But they’re at work and they’re not… they aren’t, no matter how comfortable they got with each other while Eddie was recovering.
“Can I ask a question?” Ravi asks a few minutes into their communal quiet.
“Besides that one?” Buck asks and gets the back of Eddie’s hand lightly to his thigh for his trouble. Buck pouts at him and Eddie shakes his head like he’s indulging some foolish whim of Buck’s. Eddie indulges him a lot, to be fair.
“You were mentioning earlier some call where you thought a ghost called 9-1-1?” Ravi says, used to Buck’s sass by now. “What was that about?”
“A couple years ago, we responded to a call from a hiker who’d fallen over a cliff in an area that was supposed to be closed off,” Bobby says.
“But the cell phone we found was by a set of bones that had been lost there for seven years,” Eddie says. Like he can feel Buck’s eyes on him, he sighs and adds, “And when we found the hiker who’d gone over, he insisted he hadn’t called us.”
“But,” Buck continues. “My sister worked dispatch and she’s the one who took the call, and when we identified the bones, she managed to pull up the call placed by that guy seven years ago, and it was the exact same call.”
“No, it wasn’t,” Hen protests.
“Yes, it was!” Buck says.
“No, it wasn’t, because when they played back the recording of the call that Maddie took that day a couple years ago, it was just static,” Hen says. “The wires got crossed somewhere, and the old recording just played on her feed.”
“And it was just a coincidence that it was the same day that guy fell off a cliff in the exact same place?” Buck demands.
Hen flounders for an answer for a second and eventually throws her hands up with an eyeroll and an, “I don’t know.”
“Cool,” Ravi says. He even sounds like he means it, which Buck doesn’t know what to do with. “What about you, Cap? Do you believe in ghosts?”
Bobby considers for a second, seemingly very aware of everyone’s eyes on him. “Well,” he says finally. “I am Catholic.”
“So?” Buck asks.
Bobby’s mouth twitches like he’s trying not to laugh. “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost?”
Buck flushes and covers by prodding Eddie in the calf with his boot. “Shouldn’t that mean you believe in ghosts, too?”
Hen snorts when Eddie looks trapped, and when he says, “I’ve claimed to be a lot of things in my life, Buck, but a good Catholic has never been one of them,” she full on laughs.
“Oh, come on, someone here must’ve seen something like a ghost for real,” Buck says. “Besides the 9-1-1 call.”
Hen’s laughter, which had been picked up by Ravi and then Eddie and Bobby, fades out slowly.
“I don’t know if it counts as a ghost,” Hen says slowly. “But when I was in the hospital when I was sixteen, my mom had to work so I was there all by myself overnight, you know? And my grandma had died a few years earlier, and she’d had this phrase she’d use, ‘well, that’s close enough to Hollywood’ for whenever something worked out well enough to call it a day. And I’d never heard anyone else ever say that, but I was there alone in the hospital overnight, lonely, still scared and shaken, recovering from this surgery, and I wanted my mom or my grandma, just someone to be there with me, you know? And the night nurse came to check on my dressings and make sure everything looked okay, and she looked over at me and nodded and said, ‘well, that’s close enough to Hollywood.’ It felt like my grandma was right there in the room with me for the rest of the night.”
“Did you ask the nurse about it?” Ravi asks.
Hen shakes her head. “Never saw her again.”
“Maybe it was your grandma,” Buck says.
Hen’s answering smile is indulgent when she says, “Maybe.”
“You know,” Bobby says a moment later. “I don’t know if this was just our parents messing with us, but when I was a kid, we lived in this old apartment building, and my brother and I were out playing on the fire escape and climbing up from our level up to the next unit and the old guy who lived up there gave us the worst earful about how don’t you know it’s dangerous to be out there, not to mention we were bothering senior citizens, just really going on and on about it. And so we spooked and ran back home and told our parents about it, and apparently, the guy who’d lived upstairs had died the week before.”
“Then who were you talking to?” Buck asks.
Bobby shrugs. “No idea. Maybe it was the landlord or the guy’s brother or who knows, but my brother and I were always convinced it was our neighbour’s ghost.”
“That sounds like your parents making fun of you guys, Cap,” Hen says.
Bobby laughs. “Yeah, I know it does, but come on. It’s almost Halloween.”
“I had a ghost encounter once,” Ravi offers.
“You did?” Buck asks.
Ravi nods, seemingly unimpressed by his own happenstance. “When I was, like, I dunno, thirteen, I was over at my friend’s house and he lived in this old Victorian house, with these weird old windowpanes in the guest bedroom doorway, and anyway, we were home by ourselves and we heard someone walking up the stairs, these really heavy footsteps, and then walking down the hall, and then we heard the guest bedroom door open – because the weird windowpanes made this awful rattling noise they always made when you opened that door, right – and then heard the door close and the footsteps stop.”
“So someone broke into the house?” Eddie asks.
“No, we were looking right at the guest room door,” Ravi says. He shrugs. “It didn’t move.”
It takes them a few minutes to move past Ravi’s story, while Hen and Eddie try to poke holes in it and Ravi proves it to be as un-porous as possible.
“Alright, Eddie, your turn,” Hen says.
“I don’t have a story,” Eddie says.
Buck pokes him in the calf with the toe of his boot again and Eddie shrugs.
“I don’t!” he insists.
“You sure? Not even one?” Bobby asks. “Isn’t Texas pretty haunted?”
“I have never seen or heard or talked to a ghost,” Eddie says. Buck pokes him again and Eddie huffs. “I haven’t! I…”
He trails off, looking into the middle distance.
For a second, he looks like he might say something, might have a story, might tell it, and then he shakes his head and takes a sip of his coffee instead.
“No, no, I saw that look,” Hen scolds while Buck pokes him again.
“I—look, okay, I don’t know what I saw, but it wasn’t a ghost,” Eddie says. There’s a faint hint of pink rising along the side of his neck and up to his ears and Buck leans closer across the couch to inspect this development, pressing the backs of his fingers to the flushed skin of Eddie’s neck. Eddie bats his hand away and Buck grins.
“You’re blushing,” Buck says. “You saw something.”
“It was a high stress situation,” Eddie says. “People see all kinds of things in high stress situations like that, there’s a demonstrated history of people seeing the exact same thing I did, it’s not—”
“Wait, was this in Afghanistan?” Buck asks, because Eddie never talks about Afghanistan. Buck’s heard the story of how he got his silver star, and his honourable discharge, and his Purple Heart, but he’s never heard anything about the people he served with or the time Eddie spent there apart from the moment that ended his deployment.
“Uh, yeah,” Eddie says. He chews on his lip for a second and Buck feels like holding his breath. “It’s – we were on a medevac run, and a new round of fire opened up, and so I took cover with my patients, but there were some folks pinned down who couldn’t get to us or the extraction point, and I was going to try and get to them, but this…person…told me to stay down and next thing I knew, she’d come back with a the last two people we needed to get out, and I patched them up and went to help her, but she’d disappeared. But she wasn’t a ghost.”
Buck stares at him, as do Bobby, Hen, and Ravi, but before they can ask questions, the bell goes.
He doesn’t mean to, but Buck spends the drive to the call looking up Eddie’s battlefield not-ghost. And Eddie’s right, there are many accounts from basically every war, that sound almost exactly like his, going back to…well, Buck doesn’t find the end of the line. The accounts disappear around the start of recorded history, what with having no further back to go.
“Your battlefield ghost is famous,” Buck tells him when they’ve finished the call and everyone heads back to the bunks and get some real sleep this time.
“I know,” Eddie says. “I told you I knew it was a common story.”
“Why isn’t this cool to you? Hen talked to her grandma, Bobby saw his upstairs neighbour, who knows what Ravi heard, why don’t you…” He trails off, not entirely sure how to finish his question. He’s scolded Eddie about this before, mostly as a joke while they were trapped in the engine under an electrical pole. It’s like the universe is screaming at you and you refuse to listen. Eddie had given him an answer then, after all. The universe does not scream.
And it feels stupid and childish to finish the question the way he means – why don’t you believe in magic?
But even that isn’t really it, is it? Buck doesn’t believe in magic, he’s a grown-ass adult, who’s lived through a few too many horrible things to actually believe in things like that anymore. So it’s more of a…
“Why don’t you want to believe in magic?”
Eddie pauses, his hand on the door to the bunks. Everyone else has already disappeared, trying to get just a little bit of shut eye. So they’re alone in the app bay and that’s not new, but it’s late at night, somewhere after three and approaching four, getting on the sort of late hour that might be called early, and for whatever reason that feels like dawn and new beginnings.
“It’s just ghost stories, Buck,” Eddie says softly.
“No, it’s not,” Buck says, getting between Eddie and the door. “It’s – you didn’t think we were jinxed and you said the universe doesn’t scream and now it’s you don’t believe in your own ghost story and—and why are you such a sceptic?”
“Why do you believe so easily?” Eddie asks.
Buck just stares at him, waiting for some explanation, but Eddie’s dodging eye contact now, and Buck is horrified to note that there’s a sheen to his eyes like Eddie’s trying not to cry.
“Because I can’t,” Eddie says after a second. “Because – because if the universe really does scream then I am a really, really bad listener.”
Buck blinks. “Maybe you’re not a bad listener?” he suggests. “Maybe it’s just telling you something you don’t want to hear.”
“You want to know what the universe is screaming at me?” Eddie asks with a scoff in his voice. “Or at least what I’m hearing?”
“Yes,” Buck says without hesitation, and then somehow, unbelievably, Eddie has grabbed him by the face and is kissing him.
Buck doesn’t even have time to kiss back, to grab him – to hold him, and hold him close like he’s been wanting to for so long – because Eddie lets go and steps back, rubbing at his eyes.
“That’s what your magic universe keeps screaming at me, which is obviously—”
Buck doesn’t let Eddie finish the comment that it has to be nonsense, has to be stupid, can’t be real, and cuts him off with another kiss. Eddie inhales sharply and after a second of Buck kissing him, he wraps his arms around Buck’s shoulders and pulls him closer.
For his part, Buck is pretty sure there’s no such thing as being close enough to Eddie and only registers he’s been moving them in the act of pressing them closer when they bump into the side of the engine.
The impact jars them apart but Buck stays where he is, forehead pressed to Eddie’s, as well as his shoulders and chest and stomach and hips and legs and frankly if they could be stuck together with superglue he’d be grateful. Eddie dips his fingers under the collar of Buck’s uniform shirt, like he needs to be touching his skin, and Buck is definitely not going to be protesting that move.
“If that’s what the universe has been screaming at you, you should’ve listened to it sooner,” Buck mumbles, pressing his lips quickly against Eddie’s cheekbone and the freckle under his eye and then going back to resting his forehead against him.
“I, um,” Eddie says, and then Eddie Diaz giggles and that might be the best sound Buck’s ever heard in his life.
“What?” Buck asks.
Eddie shakes his head, his forehead rocking against Buck’s, and then kisses him quickly again. “I’ve never kissed anyone taller than me before.”
Buck laughs as well, and leans down to kiss Eddie again. He’s never kissed anyone taller than him either, and now he’ll never have the opportunity. Because this is his last first kiss, that he’s sure of.
They stay there, pressed against the engine, making out like they’re teenagers rather than on the other side of thirty, for much longer than they should.
“You know,” Buck says eventually when his lips are a little numb from continuous pressure. “If the universe was shouting at you about this, and it was so obviously right—”
Eddie groans and Buck laughs.
“—maybe you could give it the benefit of the doubt about the other stuff too,” Buck finishes.
“I love you, but I am not believing in ghosts for you,” Eddie says and Buck’s heart skips more than a few beats in shock. “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
“I love you too,” Buck says, “but you have seen it, you’re just stubborn.”
“I’m not stubborn,” Eddie protests.
Buck scoffs back.
They’re still bickering about it by the time the bell rings for the next call.
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