you could be the one that i love
4.9k, rated G, complete.
read it on ao3
buddie christmas fluff with pining!eddie because i have no self-control. that's the fic <3
Evan Buckley is smart, funny –and most importantly– fiercely protective of those he loves. And somehow, Eddie made it to the top of that list.
They didn't start with the best of introductions, but it didn't take too long for Buck to warm up to Eddie. Well, it took them defusing a bomb in the back of an ambulance, but Eddie can't be bitter about it. Buck is one of his favorite people now, along with Christopher. Five years after their catastrophic first meeting, and they're best friends.
Eddie is also hopelessly in love with him. Which kinda sucks because if things didn't work out he would be losing one of the best relationships he ever had. Not that Buck knows anyway. Just Eddie's luck to fall for the most oblivious person in the world.
And Eddie's been trying to tell Buck how he feels for so long now, three years and a half, actually, if we want to get specific. And every time he finds an excuse not to do it –"Buck is straight" which was proven wrong when the blonde got drunk one night and told him he hooked up with a lot of guys during college. "I need to think about Christopher," which of all his excuses is the weakest one because the kid basically idolizes Buck.
Eddie is scared, so every time he makes an excuse not to tell Buck, he remains silent. And he pines. A lot. It's all very sad and pathetic, really.
This time is gonna be different, though. He tells himself this time is gonna be different because Eddie is tired of being a repressed pining idiot. So he makes a plan. Is it a fool-proof plan? Not really. Is he panicking about it? Yes, absolutely. Did he pick probably the worst time ever to execute said plan? Also yes. It's the holidays, after all. If Buck rejects him it's gonna make Christmas dinner a very uncomfortable affair. Not to mention that the holiday will forever be ruined for Eddie. But he's going through with it anyway. Go big or go home, right?
"I thought you already bought Christopher's presents for this year." Buck's voice comes crackly through the speaker phone, “Why do you need me to go with you to buy more?”
"It's not for Christopher, okay? It's… it's for someone special." It's for you, idiot. I've been in love with you for years and I want you to give you a gift to tell you that, it's what Eddie wants to yell.
"Oh? Who? I didn't even know you were dating." Buck's voice sounds weird now and Eddie can't put his finger on exactly why, so he decides to ignore it. He already started phase one of his plan and he can't back down now.
"I'm not. I'm, uh, I'm in love with this person and I want to give them a great gift, you know? And I need your help because you're better at this than me." Eddie explains nervously.
He's telling the truth, though. He's really bad at giving gifts. Shannon always hated every gift Eddie ever gave her because he never could get it right, he always missed the mark by at least a hundred points. That made the holidays something that Eddie dreaded, more than anything. And he didn't want to see the look of forced joy in Buck's face. He wants to blow Buck's mind… and other things, but that's not important right now.
And he can't impress Buck when Eddie is the worst at choosing gifts.
The only reason Christopher is happy with his presents it's because he makes sure Eddie knows exactly what he wants and he makes the most detailed lists for Santa.
So, Eddie figures, what better way to give Buck an amazing gift and tell him that Eddie is in love with him than to make Buck pick the gift himself? It's not the best plan, admittedly, but it's the best that Eddie could come up with. Don't judge him, okay? He didn't have help and he had to think of something on his own.
The line it's silent for seconds that feel like an eternity and it's strange. They're never silent on the phone, Buck is always happy to talk and tell Eddie random obscure facts or they're joking about whatever.
Eddie is about to check if Buck hang up on him when his friend finally speaks.
"Oh, okay. Yeah, uh, I can– I can help you, I guess."
Eddie frowns at this response.
"Well, don't sound so enthusiastic, geez."
Buck grumbles something rendered unintelligible through the phone, and Eddie questions his plan for the hundredth time that day. God, maybe this is a mistake and he's about to ruin the best friendship he ever had.
"Sorry, I'm just, uh, cleaning. I'll help you. Tomorrow, right? We both have the day off."
"Yeah. Abuela is hanging out with Chris and they'll bake cookies, so we can take our time Christmas shopping." Eddie smiles, his mouth already watering just thinking about Abuela's Christmas cookies.
"Okay, then I'll see you then, man." And with that, their conversation ends. Buck hangs up the phone before Eddie can answer.
"It'll be okay. We'll be okay." Eddie mumbles to himself. Buck was just in a mood, that's probably it.
Or maybe, maybe he was jealous. A small hopeful voice whispers in his mind. Eddie can't help but to feel giddy at the thought.
"Maybe we could go check the jewelry shop?" Buck asks, already veering towards the jewellery section. "It's romantic and women always love that stuff."
"Yeah." Eddie says, uncommitting. He winces and then sighs. Here it goes. "We're not really shopping for a woman." Eddie mumbles, avoiding Buck's eyes. "It's a man. We're shopping for a man."
Eddie keeps walking but a few seconds later he realizes Buck wasn't following him. He finally finds the courage to look back and Buck is on the same spot as before, looking at Eddie with wide eyes and mouth gaping as if he wants to say something but isn't sure of what.
"Buck? Are you okay?" Eddie asks, insecure. He knows Buck is not homophobic. That would be ridiculous.
A small part of him still fears.
"No, yeah. I'm great! You just, you never told me you were into men." Buck makes that thing where he tilts his head slightly and squints and he looks like a confused puppy. It's adorable and Eddie is so gone for this man it's not even funny.
There's also a look of hurt in those big blue eyes and Eddie feels guilty. He swallows and walks back to Buck, so the rest of the people walking by don't listen to their conversation.
"I guess it never came up. It's not something I was actively trying to hide from you." He shrugs, hiding his hands on the pockets of his jacket so Buck doesn't see them shake. It's funny how Eddie can remain calm in the most high stakes situations but he's a blushing babbling mess in front of his best friend. It's like he's back in high school trying ( and failing ) to flirt with the captain of the basketball team.
"Oh, right. And do I know this guy? Who even is he? You don't have any friends!"
Eddie raises his eyebrows and he doesn't pout, he swears. He doesn't pout.
"Ok, first of all, rude." He takes one of his hands out of his pockets so he can point a finger at Buck, his eyebrows scrunching together. "Second of all, I do! I have tons of friends, thank you very much."
"Name one. And you can't say me, Chimney, Hen, Bobby or Christopher." Buck is now with his hands at his waist and it's looking at Eddie expectantly. "The team's significant others also don't count."
Eddie takes a few seconds to think about his answer and fuck. He just talked himself into a corner.
"That's not the point!" He yells finally, a little too loudly since some people that are walking by turn to look at them. He winces and sighs, "This person, I'm not gonna say who he is for now, it's… he's the best person I know, okay? And I'm pretty sure he likes me back. Okay, no, I'm 90% sure that he likes me back."
Buck is still looking at him and Eddie is feeling more and more anxious by the second.
"Well, now that I'm really thinking about it, I'm like 75% sure he likes me back." Eddie concedes, tilting his head side to side. "And that's why I need your help to get them a gift so thoughtful and amazing that it will woo the hell out of him."
"Fine. How about a watch? Guys like watches." Buck suggests hesitantly, his eyes are closed off and he looks tense. Eddie doesn't know what the hell is going through his head.
Eddie's gaze quickly flicks to Buck's wrist where's a watch that Maddie got for her brother not even a month ago. It's brand new and Buck hasn't taken the thing out since Maddie gave it to him.
"He already has a watch, Buck. And either way, a watch doesn't exactly scream romance, you know. It's not even a charming gift, not for someone you want to… you know." Eddie gives Buck the most unimpressed look he can muster.
“Everyone needs a watch,” Buck shrugs, ignoring most of what Eddie just said. If Eddie weren't so in love with the idiot, he would probably punch him to knock some sense into him. "It's practical! Everyone loves someone who can be practical."
"Well, I don't need practicality right now. I need… passion, a big gesture. Whatever!" Eddie moves his hand in the air and then stops to think. And then, hesitantly, adds– "If you were the guy I was in love with, hypothetically of course," Eddie rushes to clarify. "What would you want me to give you? Hypothetically."
Buck tightens his lips and looks off to the side, to all the people shopping last minute for Christmas and to the Santa who is sweating through his costume with all the kids waiting in line to get on his lap, shoulders taut and jaw set. Eddie watches him attentively. Eddie can feel that there's something wrong, the tension is radiating off him, but he doesn’t dare to hope. He doesn't dare to confess his love right there. He has a plan, he tells himself.
When Buck doesn’t respond, he rolls his eyes and huffs. "Come on, Buckley. I need help here."
"I don't know what you want from me, Eds. If I were the guy you were in love with, I wouldn't need a stupid gift to woo me or whatever." Buck shrugs helplessly and then looks at him, wide blue eyes staring right into his soul. "I would just need you. I would only want you." Buck whispers the last part and Eddie isn't sure he heard him right. Buck's tone is soft and it makes Eddie's heart ache.
It takes the air out of him, it leaves him off-center. It's stupid how this man has so much power over him that with only a few words it makes Eddie's knees weak.
"Right, that, uh… "Eddie, oh so intelligently, answers. "That's sweet, thanks." He tries to relax his face, hoping Buck doesn't see how pathetically hopelessly irrevocably in love Eddie is with him. He's not sure if he succeeds but the blonde seems as oblivious as always.
"Anyway, that's just me. Come on, let's get this mystery man of yours a gift before the mall closes." Buck claps his hands, breaking the trance they fell into and saves Eddie from making an even bigger fool of himself.
Buck starts walking and Eddie follows him dumbly.
They walk through every shop twice. Buck gets more and more annoyed by the minute but he's not great help and Eddie needs to get this right. And it would be easier if he wasn't dealing with a grumpy Buck.
"We've already been to this jewelry shop, Eds. And we've been in the books section and in the clothes section and in every fucking store in this mall. Just pick something, dude."
"Well I asked for your help but all you've done is pout like a kid throwing a tantrum."
"Fine. Just… Ugh, okay, why don't you give them a necklace? Like the St. Christopher necklace you have but maybe with your initials or his. That's romantic, right?" Buck shrugs but his shoulders are tense and he looks like he just swallowed a bitter pill.
Eddie thinks about the suggestion and it's not really a bad one. The first helpful advice from Buck in the day, actually.
"You really think that's romantic?"
"Well, Karen gave Hen a necklace like that, remember? With the 'K' engraved?"
"Yeah, I remember." Eddie nods, already looking through the necklaces and chains. It's sweet, really. Eddie remembers when Hen told them the story.
"It's not a possessive thing, guys. It's just… Karen, you know? She's my person, she knows me like no one else does. That's what her initial 'round my neck means. She's with me, always." Hen had said with a soft fond smile on her face. 'That's what true love looks like' Eddie had thought, listening to her but with his gaze settled on Buck.
And if isn't that what Eddie feels about Buck. Besides, once Buck opens his gift on Christmas, he'll have no doubt. He'll know.
"Yeah. That's a great idea, actually. Thanks." Eddie's eyes scan the options, the sales assistant patiently waiting for him to make a decision.
He ends up deciding on a simple silver chain, nothing too flashy, pretty similar to the one he has with his St. Christopher medal. And he makes a request to have the 'E' engraved in the little silver pendant necklace.
The assistant tells him it's gonna take at least a couple hours, not too long, since the request is simple enough. Eddie doesn't mind, he smiles and pays for everything in the moment.
Good thing he's been taking on extra shifts for this reason, because it costs him more than he has anticipated. It's okay, though, Buck is worth it.
Once they leave the jewelry section, it's past lunch and the mall is at its full capacity. Everyone is making last minute Christmas shopping or begging for a photo with Santa. The Christmas lights hanging from the ceiling make the atmosphere seem warm and festive and since phase two of his plan it's done, Eddie is feeling calmer.
“You really like this mystery guy of yours, huh?” Buck whispers next to him, a little sadly. Eddie turns around and considers him carefully. Is he jealous? Is Eddie unintentionally hurting Buck in the process of confessing his love for the man?
Well, he already started the plan, and doing the confession part in a crowded mall with Santa screaming ho! ho! ho! and a few impatient parents it's not the place he wants to do it. Eddie never half assed anything in his life ( except maybe his marriage with Shannon, but we're not unpacking that today ) and he's not gonna start now.
So, he just shrugs. "I love him. He's really special, even if he can't see it himself." And because he can't help himself, "You would really like him." Eddie adds with a little smirk that Buck doesn't notice because he's too busy frowning at the floor.
"Well, if he makes you happy, Eds, that's enough for me."
"He does, Buck. He really does."
Eddie might have gone to Target and bought out their entire holiday section. And okay, Chris and Buck definitely made fun of him for it but Christmas is important and he just wants to make it special for his son. And if he enjoys decorating the house and beating all of his neighbors as the best house in the block, well, that's between him and God.
Rainbow lights twinkle along his roof ( he and Buck hang them the first day of December when they both got a day off ), a red and gold wreath brightens the door, garlands spiral down the banister and new holiday themed pillows adorn his couch.
Jingle Bells sings out from the record player, the air is scented with freshly cut pine, tiny lights glow from the Christmas tree, which is decorated with brand new ornaments and some hand made from Christopher too.
It's warm and homey and Eddie is proud of himself. Chris is next to him, begging to open the presents already. "Tomorrow it's Christmas. Tomorrow you'll open your gifts." Buck says for what it feels like the millionth time.
"You and Buck both will be here, right? You promised this year that you'd both spend Christmas with me." Chris reminds him, again, for what it feels like the billionth time. Eddie rolls his eyes affectionately but nods all the same.
"I know. We will."
In that moment, Buck chooses to come up to them, bringing a tray out of the kitchen, setting it on the coffee table in front of them and then gracelessly falling on his seat beside Eddie.
On the tray are three mugs, each one in different colors with festive patterns. One it's blue with snowflakes, the one in the middle it's red with little Christmas trees scattered around and the last one is white and in the shape of a snowman.
"Hot cocoa with candy canes for my boys." Boys announce with a beaming smile and Eddie's heart flutters at "my boys". He likes the sound of that. Maybe a little too much.
Thankfully, and weirdly, the hot L.A weather has dropped quite a bit so the hot cocoa is a welcome thing.
"Yeah, thanks, Buck."
“I also baked sugar cookies, but they’re still cooling.”
"I helped!" Chris yells, almost dropping his cup all over the couch and Eddie is quick to help him stabilize it, not being able to contain his laugh.
"I know you did, Chris. I was there, remember? You two kicked me out of the kitchen."
"Well, Eddie, you kicked yourself out of the kitchen with those cooking skills. So, it's not really our fault." Buck teases him and reaches an arm high-five Chris, who's giggling behind him.
Eddie puts his hand over his heart as if wounded, then slowly shakes his head. “You guys are cruel. So mean.”
In response, Buck bumps him playfully with his elbow. "Shut up, you love us."
Eddie laughs but it's a little forced, then sends an amused look towards his best friend and son, “You guys better be good or Santa won’t bring us presents.”
Chris tries to be serious but bursts out laughing, along with Buck and then Eddie is joining. God, he hopes that once he gives Buck his present, he'll get to have this forever. This kind of domesticity, that makes him feel settled and at peace.
"Buck?" Chris asks a few minutes later, once they've settled down and Buck's gone to bring the cookies. The three are snuggled on the couch, deciding what movie they'll watch but they're having a hard time deciding.
"Do you have any Christmas traditions? Like, from when you were a kid?"
Eddie immediately tenses up. He imagines the Buckley parents weren't the warmest people, not even on holidays. And he doesn't want Buck's move to go down, thinking about them.
Buck blows out a long rush of air, “Wow, that's a good question, bud. I mean, as a kid I was always excited about new toys. My parents weren't the most… festive people, though. They would usually go out to a fancy dinner with their friends and they would leave Maddie and me alone. At least for as long as I can remember." Buck shrugs and when he sees Chris frowning and a little pout forming on his lips, he shakes his head. Forcing a smile that doesn't reach his eyes. Eddie can tell..
"But Maddie, oh, she always made Christmas the best day ever. She would put the music at the highest volume and we would dance barefoot in the living room, something our parents never let us do when they were home. And she would buy some gifts for me with some saved money, nothing too extravagant but the gesture was what mattered."
This time, Buck's smile is more honest and more soft around the edges. His eyes far away as if reminiscing about those Christmas mornings with his sister. Eddie smiles at that, silently thanking Maddie for taking care of Buck and making him the man he is today.
And maybe, deep down, Eddie is cursing the Buckley parents for being so stupid and awful to their children.
"I think, looking back, the best part of the day was spending it with Maddie. Spending it with someone I loved. Like I’m doing now.” He punctuates his point with a kiss to Chris’ hair, who's now between him and Eddie.
Chris beams at him and Eddie melts at the sight of his boys loving each other so much.
God, please please let this plan work.
They decide on a movie soon after. Or, as Chris puts it, they finally decide to put on the greatest Christmas movie ever made: The Nightmare Before Christmas. For the life of him, Eddie doesn't understand Christopher's obsession with the movie, and in all honesty, he finds the movie a little creepy. But Buck and Chris put it on every Halloween and every Christmas, and Eddie just leans back and watches his boys sing alone. Buck gets a little too excited, singing 'This is Halloween' and it makes Eddie feel all warm inside. He's so gone for the dork, it's pathetic.
By the end of the movie, Christopher is more asleep than awake. So Eddie takes it on himself to carry him to his bedroom and tuck him in while Buck cleans up a little bit.
When Eddie gets back, Buck is already preparing the couch to sleep in. He takes a deep breath, sweaty hands clenching at his sides.
"Buck? Do you mind if we exchange our gifts now? I'd like to give you mine when Chris is not around." Eddie asks, his voice trembling and his heart is beating a little too fast inside his chest. But it's better to do it now. The last thing Eddie needs is to be rejected in front of his son, that would be another level of awkwardness that he so doesn't want to experience. And in the remote case he isn't rejected and somehow Buck loves him too… well, it wouldn't be appropriate to have his son witness Eddie jumping Buck's bones.
"Uh, sure?" Buck responds, turning around with his signature confused puppy look. "Let's do it."
They both go to look for their respective presents and set them on the coffee table.
Eddie sits on the couch, next to Buck, and doesn't move. He stares down at his hands in his lap, biting the inside of his lip, already regretting this whole stupid plan. A few too many beats go by. Next to him, Buck shifts impatiently so that his knees are bumping into Eddie’s thigh and sighs.
"Why don't you open mine first?" Buck pushes a small and light gift into Eddie’s lap.
Eddie nods, barely containing a sigh of relief at not having to give Buck's his present just yet. He sends his best friend a small soft smile, already knowing he’ll appreciate the present before learning what it is, because it’s from Buck.
Gently, he removes the tape and unfolds the paper at the edges to reveal a kind of document. Eddie reads it quickly and he can't help but to feel touched.
"Paid dancing classes for me and Chris?" He looks up at Buck, who's looking nervous but also really proud of himself.
"Yeah. I read that dancing it's really helpful for kids with CP. It helps them with their motor function. And I know you like to dance, so I thought this could be something you do with Chris. You know? Your own thing with him." Buck explains, shrugging like it's not a big deal. Like he hasn't just made Eddie fall more in love with him if that's even possible.
Is even more touching that Buck is always thinking of Chris and ways to make him happier and his life easier. Eddie doesn't know what he did in a past life to deserve a man so thoughtful and sweet that loves his son like his own, but God, he hopes he can have this forever.
"Thanks, Buck. I love this so much and I know Chris will love it too."
Buck looks giddy when he says, “Merry Christmas!” And then, "Can I open my gift now?"
“Okay,” Eddie says, and braces himself for what he’s about to do. He drops the small box into Buck’s hand, “Here you go.”
Buck it's like a little kid, having no patience at all and tearing away the wrapping paper, to reveal the logo of the Jewelry they went to a couple of days ago. He sends a bewildered look in Eddie's direction but doesn't say anything, he slides open the box and just… freezes.
Eddie starts to panic. He just messed everything up. And now Buck is probably trying to think of a way to let him down gently. And Eddie is going to cry.
Eddie swallows around the lump in his throat, watching how the blonde twirls the necklace between his fingers. And then stops to read the inscription that Eddie went back to the jewelry to request. "You can have my back, forever and always."
"Buck? Say something."
"I don't… I don't understand. Eddie?" Buck is now looking at him, with teary eyes. His gaze is scared, but hopeful. Eddie forces himself to explain.
Eddie's chest feels like it could burst open at any moment. His heart is beating so hard that Eddie is sure Buck can hear it.
"You're my mystery guy. It's you, It's always been you and It's always gonna be you as long as I breath." Eddie's tongue darts out to wet his lips nervously and maybe he's imagining it, maybe it's wishful thinking, but he swears he sees Buck's gaze drop to his lips. "And I realize that's intense and maybe I'm moving too fast or maybe I'm messing up the best friendship I ever had, but It's how I feel. And I'm done hiding it."
Buck is blinking at him in shock, mouth slightly agape, like he's too stunned to form a proper sentence. Eddie doesn't dare to look away from him.
"I don't want to be just best friends anymore. So if you'll have me…" Eddie chuckles nervously, all the speeches he's rehearsed, all the countless words he thought of saying, fly out the window. His hands are shaky and he can't seem to be able to continue.
"So you… you made me believe you were in love with somebody else? You lied to me." Buck seems to finally find the words. "No offense, Eds, but that's kind of an asshole move."
"Well I thought I was being romantic! And I suck at gifts so I figured I'd go to the source itself. Besides, you had to know, Buck. You had to know it was you. How could you not know?"
Buck's eyes flick down to his lips and, in that moment, Eddie is sure he isn't imagining it. Buck's eyes linger a little too long for his imagination to play that on him.
He moves forward, closing the distance between them.
"I didn't know, Eddie. If I had, I would've done this way sooner." Buck whispers, his hand flying to the back of Eddie's neck and pulling him in until their lips are touching.
And kissing Buck, it's more than Eddie ever imagined. Kissing Buck it's everything at once, it's fire in his veins, it's coming home after a long shift, it's eating cookies on the couch at midnight without having to talk because words aren't necessary, each other's company is enough. Kissing Buck it's knowing what true happiness tastes like.
Buck's lips are soft and warm against Eddie's. His fingers brush against the side of Eddie's jaw as he cradles his face.
Eddie's heart feels like it's breaking and putting itself together all at once. It feels like he's gonna die if he doesn't pour his whole soul into the kiss.
I'm in love with you. I want you. All of you.
When they pull back because of the lack of oxygen, Buck has a dopey smile adorning his face and Eddie wants to kiss him all over again.
Eddie smiles at him like Buck just hang the moon, the stars and the sun in the sky. God, that kiss had him on fire but at the same time managed to soothe every inch of insecurity or pain in his body.
Eddie swallows thickly as his eyes flicker down to Buck's lips. So soft and pink. Eddie wants to spend the rest of his life kissing those lips.
"So this means you liked my Christmas present, right?"
Buck lets out a breathless laugh. "Yeah, you dumbass. I loved it." His gaze softens. "I love you."
“Merry Christmas,” Eddie whispers like a lovesick fool, against Buck's lips.
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