florence + the machine - choreomania
it is very late but I had a thought and you’re my favorite person to share brain rot with so. with all the ink that Buck has, who would be the first in the station to notice when he gets “Eddie” tattooed above his heart?
excuse me i am LOSING IT???
No one would notice for a long time, because it’s small, and even though they change in front of each other all the time, they do it without a second thought; they don’t actively look at Buck or his body (aside from Eddie, of course).
What ends up actually giving it away is Eddie. Any time he and Buck embrace, any time they get close, any time they gravitate into each other’s space, he rests his hand against the same spot on Buck’s chest, right over his heart. Every single time, without fail, Eddie seeks out that spot with gentle fingers.
It’s sweet, Hen thinks, once she catches on. Something about it is comforting to her, the fact that Eddie loves Buck so much that he always wants to be close to his heart.
And then, one day in the locker room, she does look. Eddie rests a hand on Buck’s chest, giving him a quick peck on the lips before leaving the room, and as Buck slips out of his shirt with a fond smile lighting up his face, Hen looks.
There, right over Buck’s heart, is Eddie’s name in neat, beautiful cursive.
Hen doesn’t say anything — it’s not really her business, after all — but her own heart squeezes in her chest, impossibly endeared by her friends and the love they’ve found in each other.
And every time after, when she sees Eddie put his hand over Buck’s heart, Hen smiles to herself.
I am obsessed with Dance Fever and I cannot lie (WIP inspired by @emmenjaan ) @florenceandthemachine @florence
Bina..... hear me out................. and give lance’s uniform a tiddy window
keith made lance two uniforms one for missions and one for SPECIAL missions if you know what i mean 👀
the meaning of the words you see by florenceandthemachine (@florenceandthemachine)
Buddie | 8k | Explicit
unknown sender: Hi!
unknown sender: Just wanted to say thanks for letting me buy you a drink, and for your number. Sorry I had to run.
unknown sender: I’m Eddie by the way.
sent: hey um
sent: i don’t want 2 be this guy but
sent: i think u mayb put the wrong # in ur phone
Jenny would dance with her ghosts
My Jenny of Oldstones cosplay
The whole dress is designed by me and hand sewed by me
I hope you like my ideas of Jenny
If you want you can follow my Instagram for more content @lady_of_barians
my sweet darling - how about an armed forces 911 AU? Maybe Eddie meets Navy Seal Buckley overseas? Maybe they meet back stateside at the VA?
You, my darling, always send me such fun and interesting prompts. I promise I didn’t forget.
Ooh, okay. Let’s see...
Prompt Me with AUs
Delta X-Ray (I am Sinking)
Read on Ao3
Eddie first sees him as he’s getting off the plane in Washington. He’s going to receive a medal. Apparently his work in Bagram made him a hero and not a broken, shell of a man. Who knew. And really, it’s just a glance because he has other things to worry about besides a Navy man getting dressed down by his captain. He doesn’t need to hear what’s being said to know that’s exactly what’s happening. He’s seen that look too many times, felt the hot breath of his superior as they spat harsh words meant to ‘toughen him up’.
As he passes the sailor, he hears something to the effect of “if it happens again, you will be dismissed.” And Eddie wonders how many times this particular man has received this exact lecture. It doesn’t really matter, anyways. He just wants to get his medal, shake a few hands of politicians who think they had anything to do with his ‘accomplishment’ and go home to his wife and child – ex-wife, he reminds himself. Shannon had the papers shipped to Afghanistan. Couldn’t get away fast enough, his mind bitterly supplied. All he would have at the end of the day was his son, and a medal to replace the wedding band he’d worn since he was 19.
Before he knows it, he’s standing on a small stage, a million lights flashing in his eyes as cameras and stage lights practically blind him. His shoulder aches – out of the sling for the afternoon so he can at least look more put together than he feels – and he’s dizzy from the attention. That’s his excuse for why he doesn’t recognize the man standing beside him.
“Seaman Petty Officer First Class Evan Buckley.” A blond man steps forward and Eddie catches himself staring at the dress whites and stone expression for longer than is strictly necessary. He seems a far cry from the officer being scolded less than an hour ago, but it is definitely him. And he was standing on stage beside Eddie, about to receive a medal of his own.
“For distinguishing oneself by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy of the United States, Petty Officer Buckley is awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal.”
As he watches the stripes being pined on the officer’s lapel, he lets himself wonder what crime the man could have committed to be dressed down and rewarded in the same afternoon.
He’s so curious, in fact, that he nearly misses his own name amongst the titles thrown around.
“Staff Sergeant Edmundo Diaz.” He steps forward, holding his breath until the entire ordeal is finally finished. “For gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States, Staff Sergeant Diaz is awarded the Silver Star.” The medal is heavier than he anticipated, but he supposes that makes sense. It is quite a burden he’ll be carrying around, and now he has a gold star to go with it – he wants to chuckle at the irony of his ‘Silver Star’ actually presenting as a golden one.
It seems everything about his life is a life.
There were a lot of reasons Eddie hated attending events like this: The politics, the bravado, the crowds of people ‘thanking him for his service’. Mostly, though: he never knows anyone. Sure, he can charm a senator or two for a few minutes, swap stories with other officers from other divisions about where they were and what they saw. But those are fleeting relationships, meant to get him through the day. He’ll go back to his hotel room at the end of the night with no more friends than when he’d stepped off the plane in this awful, awful town. Eddie is tired of ‘schmoozing’. With any luck, today will be the last time he has to tell the governor’s wife how lovely she looks in her dress.
That’s when he spots the man sitting at the edge of the bar like he’s trying to hide from the world, and he decides to make his way over.
“Do you mind if I join you?” He asks, even as he sits down.
The other man’s eyes light with recognition – and damn, are they as blue as the sea. “Not at all. Diaz, right?”
“Eddie.” He supplies, raising a finger to the bartender to snag his attention. If he is going to make it to the end of the evening, he’s going to need one, good drink. “And you’re Buckley.”
“Actually, it’s Evan but you can call me ‘Buck’.” His amusement must be evident because his new drinking buddy supplies the answer. “There are a surprising amount of ‘Evan’s in the Navy.”
It had never occurred to him to check how many ‘Eddie’s were in his squadron. Maybe he should ask his CO if that’s why he always called him by his full first name.
“Congratulations, by the way.” Buck looks somewhat nervous even as the words leave his mouth. “On your medal. Good job.”
“Oh.” Is all Eddie can bring himself to say as he stares into the bottom of his glass. “Thanks.”
“You don’t look too happy about it.”
He really isn’t doing a good job of hiding his emotions if this relative stranger ca read him so easily. “No, I-” he takes a deep breath to recalibrate his thoughts and paste his best fake smile. “It is a great honour.”
“Bullshit.” Buck laughs in his face but for some reason, Eddie doesn’t bristle nearly as hard as he expected. It almost feels playful. The rest of Buck’s response is cut off by his buzzing phone on the counter. The man quickly grabs it long enough to check his notifications, returning it to its place at the bar with a disappointed look.
“Are we keeping you from something?”
“Uh, no.” It’s Buck’s turn to look caught out and in need of recalibration. His expression changes much slower. “I’m just waiting for a call from my sister. I sent her an invitation to this thing but she never responded.”
Eddie has experience with family not coming to big social events like this one. Of course, in his case, he never invited them in the first place.
“Family ain’t easy.” He shrugs as he takes a long sip of whatever burning liquid he’d ordered – it really doesn’t matter so long as he can stay sitting here and not mingling with the crowds of vultures.
“It’s more than that.” Buck looks worried, and the way he bites his lip is… Eddie shouldn’t be focusing on that. “It’s just…” The man shakes his head, dismissing whatever feelings were eating at his gut. “I don’t want to bore you.”
“Please.” Eddie leans into his space with a playful smile. “It can’t be any more boring than this event. Please try to bore me to tears, if you dare.”
When Buck smiles, Eddie’s heart flutters out of his chest and sits beside him as they listen to Buck begin to speak. He tells Eddie about his sister, how she cared for him growing up, how she went away with her asshole of a boyfriend – now her deceased asshole of a husband – leaving him to fend for himself. He talks about travelling the country, trying every odd job he could get his hands on, until a buddy of his suggested he join the Navy. And he loves the work, he really does, but he hasn’t seen his sister in over a year. Their last conversation ended in a fight about some family secret that Buck is reluctant to talk about. Even Eddie can tell that the man just misses his sister. No matter what the argument was about.
Eddie finds himself talking – in less detail – about Shannon and the divorce and his son at home. At Buck’s prompting, he shows off his favourite photos of Christopher (avoiding the one burning a whole in his shirt pocket, torn and bloody, which never leaves him). The man’s face positively lights up when he sees the kid, offering an appropriate amount of sympathy for his divorce without pushing him for more emotions.
It’s easy talking to Buck, he realizes after a few hours. Because suddenly, the venue rental is nearly up and he’s still sitting at the corner of the bar, talking to Buck. Sure, a few people have passed by and shaken their hands, thanking them for their service – Eddie cringes every time and Buck has to hide his laughter once he realizes – but for the most part, it’s just the two of them, sitting and talking.
“The flag signalling we use now was established in 1855.” Buck explains as he leans further into Eddie’s space. “And while Robert Morse invented Morse Code in the 1830s, the International Morse Code that we use didn’t come out until the 1850s.”
“How do you know all of that?” Eddie was fairly certain he hadn’t had to study the history of communication when he was in training. But he’d also been very focused on his medical textbook.
Buck was incredibly cute when he blushed, Eddie decides – though he opts to keep that opinion to himself for now. “I get bored and I read.” The man shrugs nonchalantly, as though he hasn’t been entertaining Eddie with stories of Naval history and his own dumb-ass mistakes all evening. Honestly, Eddie wants to sit here all night and listen to Buck tell him stories of the world. It seems like he’s lived a lifetime already. And what has Eddie done? Gotten a girl pregnant, joined the army, gotten shot, and now he doesn’t even have a wife to go home to.
“Can I ask you something?” Eddie realizes too late that Buck looks nervous. He thinks he probably wouldn’t have said yes if he’d noticed. “How did you get your medal?”
Now he knows he doesn’t have to answer – and his initial instinct is to close out his tab and see if he can run to El Paso on his still-injured leg. But he also realizes that he hasn’t told anyone since it happened. Not the full story. Even now, he might not have the words. But he tries.
“Our helicopter got shot down while transporting wounded. I could still move so I got everyone out. Or I tried to get them out.” The echo of gunfire is not as distant as the others told him it would be. He can still smell it. “Support finally arrived and they decided to give me a medal for holding down the fort.”
Buck places a gentle hand over his and Eddie gasps, reminded that it has been a very long time since anyone has touched him. God, how he misses it.
“You saved wounded soldiers in the middle of the desert while being fired on. And you think you were just doing your job?”
“I’m an army medic.” He reasons with the bottom of his glass. “It’s my job to save people.”
“Maybe. But I don’t think that’s why you do it.” Without elaborating, Buck smiles at him and Eddie forgets the question.
“What about you?” He asks instead. “What’s yours for?”
Unlike the enthusiastic, bubbly personality he’s been talking to for the last few hours, Buck melts into the face he saw up on that stage. The stoic, professional.
“We were on our way back from an escort mission when we encountered some rough seas. I happened to be on deck with the chief mate when he had a stroke. I tried to tend to him but the storm was getting worse and no one could find the captain, so I just took over navigation. It was rough, I had no idea what I was doing, but we all made it out safely and the chief mate was okay.” As Buck shrugs, memories of an overheard conversation come flooding back to Eddie’s mind.
“Wait, were you on the USS Angelo?”
Eddie can’t believe it. He has to laugh. “You were the cadet who sailed out of Hurricane Ida?”
“I am a petty officer first class, I’ll have you know.”
“Buck, you navigated a 2,000 ton ship out of a hurricane and all they gave you was a lousy medal?”
“I should get that printed on a t-shirt, or something.”
“That was incredibly reckless but also incredibly brave. Buck, you’re a hero.”
“I was just doing my job.” The smirk tells Eddie he knows exactly what he’s doing but it still hits him that he’s throwing Eddie’s words back in his face. Cute and cheeky.
He doesn’t know why he asks – well, he does, but it’s incredibly stupid and impulsive, and he definitely can’t blame it on the alcohol but he sure would like to.
“How long are you in town?”
Buck looks pleasantly surprised by his question but answers with regret in his eyes. “I head out with the Fifth Fleet in the morning.”
Wow. “You just got a medal, and you’re headed out to earn another one?”
“Something like that.” Buck laughs and Eddie wishes he was braver than he felt. “But I won’t be gone forever. And I’m really good at telegraphy if you wanted to send anyone a message.”
He’s so grateful that Buck has the good sense to be everything he needs right now. Because asking the next question is easier with someone standing next to him. “I suppose I’ll need a way to get in touch with you, then.”
Buck winks and Eddie has never been gladder that the concept of ‘standing’ was only metaphorical. The man should not be so irresistible after only a few hours, but Eddie can’t help but watch him push off his barstool and walk around the side of the bar.
“Hey, Diaz!” The spell is broken long enough for him to look across the room at where his name is being called. He waves at old friends – well, Senior Airman Han and Space Force First Sergeant Wilson are the closest things he has to old friends but in actuality, he’s not sure he knows their first names. “We’re going to the afterparty, want to join?”
On a normal night, Eddie would decline on the basis that he doesn’t want to go, and would rather lay in bed and watch reruns of ‘Murder She Wrote’. Tonight, Eddie wants to decline on the basis that he doesn’t want to go, and would rather stay up all night talking to someone who makes me feel curious about the future.
“Not tonight.” He shouts back across the room. “I’ll catch you at the next ceremony.”
They wave him off because they know it’s the same excuse he makes every single time but the only thing that matters is getting back to Buck.
“So.” He turns to the bar only to find it empty. The seat beside him is also unoccupied, as is any of the space surrounding him.
Had he dreamed up Buck? Had he been imagining this person who made him feel like divorce wasn’t his last chance at happiness? Was he truly so desperate and lonely?
“Hey.” Eddie looks up with too much hope in his eyes to only come face-to-face with the bartender. “He left this for you.” The man – who is not Buck, no matter how much Eddie hopes to see those eyes again – slides a napkin across the counter and walks away before Eddie can ask anymore questions.
He picks up the napkin and reads the blue ink-stained note written in messy scrawl.
--... .---- --... ..... ..... ..... -.... --... ----. .----
The dots and dashes he recognizes as a series of numbers – a phone number, he hopes – but the word above? He tries to recall his academy days.
Kilo. Short for Kilogram. Used in the International Code of Symbols to represent the letter ‘K’. In Maritime Signal Flags, it indicates: I wish to communicate with you.
He’s pretty sure the bartender hates him for how late he stayed and how loudly he laughed at Buck’s note, but he can’t bring himself to care. Instead, he spends his energy memorizing the napkin’s contents long after he’s input the number. It’s more than just a piece of paper: it’s hope.
~ Current Book Rotation #1 ~
Useless Magic- Florence Welch
- I am actually obsessed with every page of this book. It is such an eclectic blend of art, poetry, and lyrics. It's chaotic, it's aesthetically pleasing, and it's real. What I love about Welch's art and writing is how she takes the worst parts of self—the destruction, the anxiety, the grief– and chooses to create something out of it. It takes a lot to be aware of such a wide variety of emotions and yet still put her energy into something worthwhile. I love it.
- "And we tried to nurse each other in the way that drowning men drag their rescuers down with them" (this quote makes me absolutely feral oh my god).
- "How Awful. To make human sacrifices. A late night conversation. A private thought. All placed upon the alter"
- "How many have to die so that you can feel loved"
- "We walked past the hotel where we nearly died, a kind of passive double suicide"
👹🖤 Holy water cannot help you now A thousand armies couldn't keep me out I don't want your money I don't want your crown See I have to burn your kingdom down🔥 . . #posesforpictures #pose #shein #model #photooftheday #black #mexicana #devil #girl #night #florenceandthemachine #me #likesforlike #fotografia #elegant #cdmx #bailarina #ballerina #vogue #love #lifestyle #styleinspiration #style (en Mexico City, Mexico) https://www.instagram.com/p/CSiyIBTsF2E/?utm_medium=tumblr
i bloom just for you
for @florenceandthemachine - happy birthday to my ride or die, my absolute favorite ✨
read on ao3
“What do you miss the most about Texas?”
The question takes Eddie by surprise; he and Buck have been staring at his TV screen in silence for the better part of an hour now. They just got off a 24-hour shift, and they’re both dead to the world, but Eddie had mentioned that Chris was sleeping over at a friend’s and he was dreading going home to an empty house, and Buck had followed him home, simple as that.
“Is it the food? I bet the barbecue’s amazing,” Buck muses, pulling a laugh out of Eddie.
“The barbecue is incredible,” Eddie confirms with a nod. “Honestly, though?”
Buck raises an eyebrow, humming to encourage Eddie to go on.
“Yeah? They’re the state flower, right?” Buck asks, and honestly, the fact that he knows that doesn’t surprise Eddie in the slightest.
“Yeah. It’s dorky as hell, but every Texan has a family picture in a field of bluebonnets. It’s, like, a staple,” Eddie says, a fond smile taking over his face at the mere thought.
Buck perks up at that immediately. “Does that mean there’s Diaz family bluebonnet pictures?” he asks, sounding entirely too excited at the prospect.
Eddie considers denying it, but he knows Buck will get it out of him eventually, and he’s too tired to put up a fight.
He heaves a dramatic sigh, then asks, “Promise you won’t laugh?”
“Pinky promise,” Buck agrees, holding his pinky out to Eddie seriously.
Eddie hooks their pinkies together, swallowing the overwhelming wave of affection he feels for Buck at the gesture, and then pulls himself off the couch. He goes over to the bookshelf, grabs his favorite photo album, and sets it in Buck’s lap before sitting back down next to him.
Because he doesn’t just have a few bluebonnet pictures; he has an entire album full of them.
There’s a page for every year Eddie lived at home. It had been a family tradition; every single year, without fail, they packed up the car and made a day of it. They’d go and take their pictures, have a picnic for lunch, and stop for ice cream and a movie on the way home.
They’re mostly shots of him and his sisters, or of all five of them, but there’s a few of just Eddie and his parents after Sophia and Adriana had moved out. He doesn’t remember a lot of his childhood, but he can recall each of these days with perfect clarity, and so much fondness.
Buck’s flipping through the pages slowly, with a smile so soft it makes Eddie’s cheeks flush.
“You guys are adorable. You look so happy,” he says.
“We weren’t always,” Eddie admits. He points to a picture and tells him, “I snuck out of the house that weekend to go to some party. My parents were furious at me, and I was pissed because they grounded me for a month.”
He turns a few more pages, then adds, “Mom and Dad got in a huge fight a couple days before this. They weren’t even speaking to each other.”
“Really? That didn’t ruin the memories for you?” Buck asks without looking up from the album.
Eddie’s first instinct is to get defensive, but Buck doesn’t sound like he’s judging or assuming; just curious.
“Nah, not really,” Eddie answers, shaking his head. “Sophia used to hate it. She thought it was all fake, like we were just pretending to be the perfect family, but I never thought of it that way. For me, it was...comforting. Reassuring. Like, no matter what happened, no matter how bad things got, we always showed up for each other, you know?”
“Yeah, I get that,” Buck says. “It’s something you’ve always been able to hold on to, right? To remind you to have hope?”
It’s staggering sometimes, honestly, how effortlessly Buck understands him. Eddie knows for a fact Buck can’t relate in the slightest when it comes to his own parents, and yet a mere few sentences is all it takes for him to grasp something Eddie’s been trying to explain to his sisters for years.
Eddie nods in confirmation. “My relationship with my parents has been complicated for a long time now, but I’ve never doubted how much they love me. It sounds stupid, but even when things were at their worst — when they wanted to take Chris from me — I thought of the bluebonnets, and I knew. I knew they’d respect my decision and stand by me once they saw past what they thought was right.”
“And they did,” Buck says, reaching over to rest a gentle hand on Eddie’s knee.
Every part of Eddie aches to reach out and touch in return, to cover Buck’s hand with his own and stroke his fingers, to kiss his knuckles tenderly. But he’s never had the courage to do any of that even on his best days, let alone in the middle of a conversation that’s leaving him much more vulnerable than he’s comfortable being.
So instead, he hums in agreement and offers Buck a shaky smile. “They did.”
Buck turns another page and there’s pictures of Eddie with a pregnant Shannon. They both look so young, naive and completely carefree, and it makes Eddie’s stomach turn to see it now, after everything. God, they had no idea.
Buck’s grin grows impossibly wider as soon as Chris starts making an appearance in the photos. They have some of him for every year, too; Eddie hates that he’s missing from some of them, but he loves Shannon for doing it even when he was gone.
“I love that you guys kept up the tradition with him,” Buck says, brushing his fingers across a three-year-old Christopher’s smiling face.
“Yeah, I wanted to share it with him. I want him to have that same comfort to fall back on when he needs it.”
“Eddie,” Buck says, voice soft and reverent. “He doesn’t need it like you did.”
“What do you mean?” Eddie asks, eyebrows furrowed.
Before Eddie even realizes it’s happening, Buck’s hand is on his cheek, turning his head so he can look him in the eye. It’s unbelievably intimate, and even though Eddie’s first instinct is too much and terrifying and run, he melts into it instead, because it’s Buck.
“I mean, I’ve got nothing but respect for your parents. Honestly. It was a different time, and a different culture, and they did everything they could and raised the best person I’ve ever known. But like you said, it’s always been complicated,” Buck tells him sincerely, never breaking their eye contact. “There’s nothing complicated about you and Chris. It’s so simple and unconditional and transparent, the way you love him. He doesn’t need special occasions or distant memories to remind him of that, because he feels it every single day. You make sure of it.”
Eddie feels like all the air’s been sucked out of the room. He doesn’t know how Buck does it, how he always says exactly what Eddie doesn’t even realize he needs to hear. He feels a tear run down his cheek, and Buck wipes it away with his thumb, offering him an easy smile that makes Eddie’s heart squeeze in his chest.
It’s all so much, so overwhelming, and for the life of him, Eddie can’t find any words that do justice to what he’s feeling. So he opts for a hug instead, wrapping his arms around Buck’s waist and channeling all his love and affection and gratitude into it.
Buck doesn’t seem to mind the silence; he wraps an arm around Eddie’s shoulders and pulls him into his side with a sigh of contentment. They stay that way while they finish looking at the photo album, and through the rest of the movie they’d paused earlier, and when they inevitably fall asleep, curled up together on the couch.
Eddie could swear he feels a kiss pressed into his hair when Buck nudges him awake a few hours later, but he can’t find the courage to ask.
Eddie’s never been the biggest fan of his birthday. He doesn’t like being the center of attention, or the pressure of putting on a happy face all day, or people spending money on him when they have far more important things going on. He doesn’t dislike getting older, necessarily, but he’d rather do it in peace.
Buck knows all of this, which is why that morning at the station he gives Eddie an impossibly cozy hug and murmurs “happy birthday” into his ear so no one else can hear, and then doesn’t bring it up again for the rest of the day, even though Eddie can see he’s dying to.
Still, Eddie can’t say he’s surprised when later that night, after he’s had dinner and cake with Chris and tucked him into bed, Buck shows up at his door.
“Hey, Buck,” he greets him, and he tries to feign exasperation, but the lovesick smile that spreads across his face against his will is a dead giveaway.
“Hey, birthday boy,” Buck says, matching his grin. “Can I come in?”
Eddie steps to the side and holds the door open, and as Buck steps inside, he notices he’s holding his hands behind his back in a very suspicious manner.
“Buck…” he warns.
“I know,” Buck interrupts. “I know you don’t like presents, but this is, like, so small. It’s nothing, really, so stop being so grumpy and just take it, okay?”
With that, Buck reaches out and hands him a simple but beautiful bouquet of silk bluebonnets.
“Sorry they’re not real,” he says sheepishly. “But Chris helped me scour the internet for the prettiest fake ones we could find. Did you know they only grow for like, three weeks a year, and there’s this big myth that it’s illegal to pick them to keep people from doing it?”
Eddie does know; it’s drilled into every Texan kid’s head as soon as they start kindergarten, but Buck’s so damn cute when he’s excitedly reciting random trivia that Eddie wouldn’t dream of telling him that.
“I...this isn’t nothing, Buck.”
“I really wanted to get you the real thing, but I didn’t realize they were so exclusive,” Buck tells him in a defeated tone. Because leave it to Buck to feel like he didn’t do enough, like he failed, when it’s literally the most thoughtful gift Eddie’s ever been given.
“They’re perfect,” Eddie tells him with complete sincerity. “Thank you.”
He’s so distracted by Buck’s blinding smile that he almost misses the card tucked in with the flowers. As he reaches for it, though, Buck catches his hand with his own.
“Oh, uh, you don’t have to...you can read it later,” he stammers, a blush creeping its way onto his cheeks.
Eddie, for his part, just shakes free of Buck’s hand and shoots him a confused look. “I wanna read it now, weirdo.”
He continues as he was, unfolding the card carefully, and he’s totally blindsided by what he finds.
Happy birthday to the man that always shows up for me no matter what happens, that gives me something to hold on to and reminds me to have hope.
You’re my bluebonnets, Eddie.
Eddie’s mouth goes dry, eyes darting back and forth as he reads it once, twice, three times, to make sure it’s real and he’s not just imagining it.
He’s always painstakingly careful when it comes to the things Buck says and does. Eddie’s head over heels for him, he’s long since come to terms with that, but he never wants to make the mistake of reading too much into things and fabricating feelings from Buck that aren’t actually there. It’s excruciating, constantly reminding himself he can’t have what he wants, but it’s safe. He’d take his own misery and an intact relationship with Buck any day over telling the truth and having everything blow up in his face.
But this, though…
There’s no way Eddie’s misinterpreting this, right? He racks his brain, desperately trying to think of any explanation other than the one he so badly wants it to be, but he comes up with nothing.
He must stay silent for a beat too long, though, because the next thing he knows, Buck’s spiraling.
“Shit, it was too much, wasn’t it? I’m really sorry, Eddie, I swear I didn’t mean to—”
And Eddie can’t listen to him apologize for this. Even if he’s reading it all wrong and he gets his heart broken, Buck needs to know that it’s not too much, that he wants everything Buck’s willing to give him and then some.
“Buck, I’m in love with you,” he blurts out in a rush, before he loses his nerve.
Buck’s stunned to silence for a minute, eyes wide, until he manages to ask “Wait, really? Are you sure?”
Eddie huffs out a laugh, though it’s not funny at all, really, the way so many people throughout Buck’s life have convinced this perfect, beautiful man that he’s not enough. If he thinks about it for too long, he gets so angry he sees red.
However, he doesn’t dwell on that now, because their collective loss is Eddie’s entire world, as it turns out.
“Completely,” he confirms, a dorky smile plastered on his face that he couldn’t get rid of if he tried. “Can I please kiss you now?”
Buck finally gets with the program at that, breaking out in his own grin that could give Eddie a run for his money. “Yeah, I’d like that.”
Kissing Evan Buckley is...a revelation. It’s a million different things, and it’s absolutely intoxicating.
It’s sweet and simple that first time, in the foyer, over the bouquet of bluebonnets that finally got them there.
It’s adorably shy when Buck leans in over the kitchen sink while they’re doing the dishes together, hesitating like he’s not sure he’s actually allowed to.
It’s giddy when Eddie abandons the dishes in favor of encouraging Buck, both of them smiling into it until it’s barely even a kiss at all anymore.
It’s passionate and all-consuming when Buck lifts him up like he weighs nothing and sets him on the kitchen counter, Eddie’s legs wrapping around his waist as Buck licks into his mouth and proceeds to make him forget his own name.
It’s lazy when they’re laying in Eddie’s bed tangled up in each other, completely comfortable and carefree, like they have all the time in the world.
It’s soft and familiar the next morning when they tell Christopher the news over pancakes.
It melts Eddie’s heart completely when Chris gives each of them a kiss on the cheek in return and vocalizes what they’ve all known for a long time now: that the three of them are a family.
It’s funny, the way bluebonnets take on a whole new meaning for Eddie after that. The way the special place they hold in his heart grows impossibly larger and more sacred when it becomes a symbol for his relationship with Buck. Buck fits into it effortlessly, just like he’s fit into all the little holes and spaces in Eddie’s life he feared would always be empty. He shares Eddie’s love for bluebonnets wholeheartedly, despite the fact that he’s never even seen them for himself.
Before Eddie even gets a chance to rectify that situation, though, Buck beats him to it.
He invites Eddie and Chris over to the loft on a sunny Saturday afternoon; his face lights up as soon as he opens the door and sees them, which is nothing new, but it never fails to make Eddie’s heart skip a beat.
“Hey, Diaz boys,” he greets them, pausing to give Eddie a chaste kiss and then lean down to kiss the top of Christopher’s head. “I’ve got a surprise for you guys.”
Eddie and Chris share a look of curiosity before Buck takes them both by the hand and leads them out to the balcony.
Eddie doesn’t know what he’s expecting, but it most certainly isn’t to walk outside and see a planter full of real, live bluebonnets right here in L.A.
“Bluebonnets!” Chris cheers instantly, grinning as bright as the sun.
Eddie, on the other hand, is overwhelmed beyond belief, and he’s struggling to find words.
“Buck, I — when did you — how did you…”
“It wasn’t easy,” Buck admits with a sheepish smile. “I ordered the seeds the night you showed me the photo album, and I’ve never gardened before, but I did a ton of research and I checked on them constantly and I wasn’t even sure they were actually going to bloom, honestly, but then they did.”
“But the photo album...that was months ago, Buck,” Eddie says, mind still reeling.
Buck just shrugs. “I mean, yeah, it took some time. But you love them, and I love you,” he tells him, like it’s that simple, and honest to god, Eddie never knew it was possible to feel this much for one person.
It really is that simple, though, isn’t it? It’s just like what Buck told him about his relationship with Chris; it’s simple and unconditional and transparent, the way Buck loves him. And Eddie loves him back just as easily, just as completely. They’ve been taking things slow since they got together to make sure they’re doing it right and not jeopardizing their friendship, but it’s clearer than ever to Eddie in this moment that he doesn’t know what the hell they’re waiting for.
“I love you. Move in with us,” Eddie says, because now that he knows how much he wants to say it, he can’t keep it in for another second. “We can grow bluebonnets in the backyard — well, you can, we both know I’d probably kill them — and you can come home to us every day, and we can be together as a family. Always.”
“Yeah? Are you sure?” Buck asks. He makes a point to turn to Chris and ask him directly, “Are you okay with that, bud?”
“Obviously,” Chris answers, with a smile and an eye-roll that Eddie can’t help but chuckle fondly at. “Besides, Dad’s always complaining about how much he misses you when you’re not around. If you live with us, I won’t have to listen to it anymore.”
Buck snorts at that, ruffling Christopher’s hair playfully.
“Well, in that case, I think that sounds like a plan,” he tells them, and Eddie’s so happy he can’t even find it in himself to be embarrassed that Chris ratted him out.
They have a little photoshoot huddled around the bluebonnets together, and even though it’s not a field in Texas, Eddie happily adds the pictures to the photo album all the same.
Eddie feels like he’s going to be sick.
It’s bluebonnet season, and he told the boys he wanted to take Buck to Texas to see them. He figured they could fly into Austin or maybe Dallas, do some tourist stuff, and avoid the Diaz clan entirely. But then Chris asked if they were going to visit his grandparents, and Buck gently encouraged the idea, telling Eddie he thinks it’d be good for him to finally see them again, and now what Eddie thought was going to be a light, fun trip for just the three of them has turned into something so much more messy and complicated.
It’s not that Eddie doesn’t want to see his parents. In fact, it’s the opposite. The drama between them regarding Christopher’s care is over and done now; they apologized for the things they said, told Eddie they see now that he is what’s best for Chris, that they’re proud of him and they’re happy they’ve made a home for themselves in California. Eddie knows they meant it, and though his relationship with them is far from sunshine and rainbows, he misses them. He really does.
He just wishes the first time he’s seeing them since they doubted and questioned his life choices didn’t provide such a glaring opportunity for them to doubt and question his life choices all over again. Namely, the fact that he’s in love with a man.
Eddie wanted to warn them before the fact. He must have called them ten times with the intention of telling them he has a boyfriend, and it’s serious, and he wants them to meet him, but every time, he couldn’t find the courage to actually make the words come out.
And now he’s on a plane to El Paso with Buck sitting next to him, their fingers laced together, and his parents have no idea, and Eddie feels like he’s going to be sick.
“You know, we don’t have to tell them anything,” Buck tells him gently after glancing over at Chris to make sure he’s still distracted by the music playing in his headphones. “I’m happy to just be your best friend, or cool Uncle Buck, or whatever you need me to be. Really, Eddie, I don’t mind at all. I don’t want you to feel like you have to rush into this if you’re not ready.”
Eddie appreciates the sentiment, and he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t tempted to take the out. But he’s thought about it, and although coming out to them absolutely terrifies him, the thought of them finding out from someone other than him feels so much worse.
“No, I want them to know,” he says firmly, trying to reassure himself just as much as Buck. “You’re not going anywhere, so whether they like it or not, they’re gonna have to get used to it.”
“Okay,” Buck says with a smile. “Think of the bluebonnets and you’ll know, right?”
“Right,” Eddie agrees, nodding.
“It’s gonna be okay, Eds,” Buck promises, stroking Eddie’s hand softly with his thumb. “Even if it goes terribly, they’ll come around eventually. And in the meantime, you and me and Chris are gonna go see the bluebonnets together, and then we’re gonna go home, to the house that we’ve filled with love and safety and acceptance. No matter what happens today, they can’t take that away from you.”
Honestly, Eddie doesn’t think he could be any more in love with Buck if he tried.
He tells him as much, raising their joined hands to his lips to kiss Buck’s fingers, and revels in the way Buck blushes as he echoes the sentiment.
In the end, it all turns out much better than Eddie expected.
His parents share a look of surprise when he introduces Buck as his boyfriend, but from then on they don’t miss a beat, smiling at Buck and shaking his hand and telling him they’re so happy to meet him in a way that, as far as Eddie can tell, is completely genuine.
When he asks them point-blank if they’re okay with it — because if he’s wrong and their behavior is all just a charade or some inauthentic attempt to be polite, he’d rather just know — they tell him that they’ve made the mistake of not believing in him before, and they won’t do it again. That they’re sorry it’s taken them this long to get there, but they trust him to decide what’s best for Christopher as well as for himself. That they just want him to be happy, and it’s easy to see that he is with Buck.
After Eddie’s given them both a hug and wiped away a few tears, Buck asks if he can speak to them privately, and when they come back, the three of them are the best of friends, getting along like they’ve known each other for years. Eddie’s not surprised, necessarily — it’s impossible not to like Buck, after all — but he’s blown away by how easy the whole thing is.
All his life, with everything he’s ever done and every choice he’s ever made, he’s had to fight his parents tooth and nail. He’s had to defend himself at every turn and justify every decision, and it’s been exhausting. And now, finally, they’re giving him exactly what he’s always wanted.
Eddie feels lighter than he has in a long time a few hours later, when he’s standing in a field with Buck and Chris, surrounded by bluebonnets. It’s the same field he used to come to with his parents and his sisters, and it feels like coming full circle, somehow. Like after a lifetime of desperately gasping for air, he can finally just breathe.
“They really are beautiful,” Buck murmurs from beside him.
“Yeah,” Eddie agrees. “So are you.”
“You’re such a sap,” Buck teases, but he’s grinning.
“Whatever, you like it,” Eddie counters, nudging Buck with his elbow. “So, are you gonna tell me what you said to my parents earlier?”
“Oh, I was just asking for their blessing.”
Buck says it so casually, so nonchalantly, that it takes Eddie a minute to actually process the words.
“I…you what?” Eddie chokes out helplessly.
He turns to look at Buck and suddenly he’s down on one knee, holding a ring box, with Christopher standing next to him, smiling like he knows exactly what’s going on.
“I told them it meant a lot to me that they were so accepting of me, and I know they did it for you, not for me, but if there’s one thing in this world I can promise, it’s that they can count on me. You and Chris are everything to me, and I’d go to the ends of the earth to make you guys happy and keep you safe,” Buck says, smiling that soft, fond, just-for-Eddie smile that makes his heart soar every time. “I’ve never really felt like I belonged anywhere, and I thought I never would, but their son and their grandson proved me wrong. They gave me a family, and a home, and made sure I’ve never doubted my place in it.
“I know it may seem fast to them, but I’ve felt this way for years now — since the day I met you, honestly — and I know without a shadow of a doubt that you guys are it for me. I told them it’d be the honor of my life to take the Diaz name and officially be a part of this family, and that I’d ask you either way, but I’d love to have their support. And they said I should go for it, so here we are.”
Eddie’s speechless for a few long moments, immeasurably endeared by Buck and the fierce, unapologetic way he loves him and Chris. He hadn’t seen this coming at all, though he thinks maybe he should have; Buck’s just as sappy and sentimental as he is, and there couldn’t be a more perfect proposal spot for them.
“You went from offering to keep our relationship a secret from my parents to asking them for my hand in marriage over the span of 24 hours?” Eddie asks, eyebrows raised in amusement. It’s such a Buck thing to do; he can’t help but tease him about it just a little.
“Gotta be prepared for anything, right?” Buck says with a shrug, eyes twinkling. “So what do you say, Eds? Marry me?”
“Obviously, yes,” Eddie answers, grinning.
Buck gives Christopher a high five before he stands up and slips the ring onto Eddie’s finger, and then Chris is cheering and taking candid pictures of them as Buck kisses him, cupping Eddie’s face like he’s holding his entire world in his hands.
It’s Eddie’s favorite bluebonnet trip by far.
Before they fly back to California, Buck and Eddie get matching bluebonnet tattoos over their hearts to commemorate the occasion.
| | | Dance Fever Tour starts today | | |
🌸FLORENCE + THE MACHINE🌸
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Cruella, playlist :
#cruella #disneyplus #emmastone #florenceandthemachine
a belated soft bitch hours ask / prompt: after a year, something finally clicks in Eddie's brain, and he flat out asks Buck "wait, are you flirting with me?"
Soft Bitch Hours was sooooo long ago, lmao. But I have finally finished. So, I present to you:
Whatever The Hell This Is
I Meant Every Word
Read on ao3
I talk to him, I make a joke, he smiles, we both laugh.
The sun was shining, the birds were singing, some dumbass had locked himself in his bathroom after getting a vegetable stuck somewhere it shouldn’t be.
Buck rolled his eyes as he listened to the man on the other side of the door insist that he couldn’t open the door for the pain he was in, but that they should leave him alone because he was obviously fine.
“Sir, if you don’t open this door, we can’t assist you.” Bobby called from his position in front of the barrier. “I’m sure that squash can’t be comfortable and we’d like to help make you comfortable. Can you help us do that?”
The young firefighter adjusted his grip on the spreader, prepared to open the door on his captain’s command should the need arise. He willingly acknowledged that the only reason he was asked to attend the call was because the others knew how much he enjoyed smashing things, and a small amount of brute force might be involved when it came time for extraction.
“Which end do you think is up there?” Chimney’s voice carried from behind and unfortunately, Buck was the only one to release a snort – though definitely not the only one to agree with Chimney’s question. Of course, they wouldn’t know the answer until the man finally let them through.
As the thought passed through his mind, they heard the click of the lock turning, and a weary voice called out: “All right. You can come in.”
Admittedly, he was a little disappointed that he’d come all this way and didn’t get to break anything, but his first priority was to get inside and assess the situation.
Heal first. Sulk later.
Later, as they were loading their very grumpy – and very embarrassed – patient onto the gurney and wheeling him towards the elevator, Buck allowed himself to spare a mournful look at the door in its pristine condition. Of course, he was glad that the man was safe (and he was perpetually surprised at what the human body was capable of enduring when asked to stretch in unnatural ways), but he couldn’t help it: he wanted to break something.
He felt the commiserating hand clap his back before he heard Eddie’s voice. “Sorry you didn’t get to break anything.” There was a lightness in his friend’s voice that almost made him forget his troubles. There were other things that were almost as certain as an Angelino putting something inappropriate up their behind.
The sun was shining, the birds were singing, Buck was in love with Eddie.
Not a hopeless, mournful secret-type of love. It was more a love that settled his beating heart and made him feel safe. He was certain in his love for Eddie, and it didn’t matter if or when the other man returned his affections.
All right, that was a lie. He’d been holding his heart in his hands for months before he realized that the feeling keeping him up at night was called ‘love’ and he had it bad. Giving it a name had made him feel better – more certain – but he was not, in fact, content to feel this way forever.
Eddie made him happy and, damn it, he deserved to be happy after everything he’d been through. So, he set a plan into motion.
“I really wanted to bang something. Do you have any suggestions?”
It wasn’t the best plan he’d ever come up with. And he was definitely out of practice when it came to flirting – good god, did lines like that actually work? – but it did the trick.
His partner rolled his eyes, a smile showing through his twitching lips. Eddie looked at him… fondly was the only word that came to mind. Fond wasn’t bad. It was a far cry from ‘want to go back to my place and check each other for ticks’ but it wasn’t a rejection.
“Now that you mention it, there’s a shelf in the storage room that is minutes away from death. If you’re looking for something to do when we get back, I’m sure Cap would appreciate it.”
Another clap on his back, and Eddie was joining the others forced to take the stairs as there was currently a gurney in the elevator car. As if nothing had happened between them (and, really, nothing had). Buck followed close behind, successfully hiding his groan of frustration as a huff of exertion as he jogged to catch up with his friend.
It definitely wasn’t his best pickup line, and it definitely wasn’t the response he was hoping for, but as long as Eddie kept looking at him with that fondness, he would be okay.
And perhaps fixing the shelf in the storage room would be a productive way to smash things and stay on Bobby’s good side after he broke one of the casserole dishes last week.
He would just have to try and flirt with Eddie again later.
Our shoulders touch, there’s a moment.
All right, so, bad pickup lines were not the way to get the man’s attention. He knew it likely wouldn’t be that way but he had to try – maybe Eddie would surprise him and find his antics incredibly charming.
Eddie surprised him all the time.
Someone he thought was meant to be a co-worker and partner, became his best friend and confident. The feeling was mutual there, Buck knew that for sure. They shared things with one another that were reluctantly shared with others (or accidentally revealed when Buck forgot that there were others in the room).
The point was: Eddie trusted him and Buck had a habit of letting his mouth run away from him, so if he wanted to see if there was a possibility of their relationship status changing, he’d have to find another way.
Today, Eddie needed him. Nothing else mattered.
To say the call had gone badly would be an understatement, one Buck was reluctant to make in the wake of their situation. When they responded to a call of a potential anaphylactic shock behind a locked door, they hadn’t expected to burst into a war zone.
From Buck’s hazy memory, everything seemed to happen all at once. Someone was injured, someone was crying, Bobby punched a man who refused to press charges as he was currently under arrest, and a child stopped breathing under Eddie’s steady pressure.
None of the 118 had known the former soldier to cry while on scene. And as far as they knew, he still hadn’t. Buck knew better. He saw the effort it took for the man pull away from his rigorous work. Long after the child’s heart gave out, Eddie continued to pump a practiced beat until Chimney laid a hand on his shoulder. Everything stopped, then.
Silently, they went about their work, giving their statements to the police (thankfully not Athena who would hear all about it by the end of the day), awaiting the coroner’s office, and loading their equipment back into the truck.
Buck found Eddie sitting inside the engine, cell phone in hand, a smile plastered on his face. There were two people in the world who might be able to read the sadness and anger in his eyes, and they were with him in that moment.
“Bye, buddy. I promise, I’ll help you with your science project when I get home.” Eddie turned the camera without prompting. “Say hi to Buck.”
Seeing the boy’s grin eased his heart in a way he never knew was possible. Hope. Family. Things Buck only shared with one person before joining the 118.
“Hey Christopher!” He waved at the child, who bounced in his chair at seeing his second favourite firefighter. “Did you have a good day at school?” Talking to one child didn’t ease the pain of losing another but it did help. Five minutes of listening to the younger Diaz describe how he nearly won the weekly spelling bee, but he forgot the ‘o’ in ‘cousin’ (despite being so excited to see Leo and Adrian next month) brought a warmth into his chest that he’d been missing for the past hour.
As though Christopher was a switch – the literal light of his life – the moment the call ended, Eddie’s energy drained from his body. It seeped into the ground and followed the black van all the way to its destination. Buck felt it, too, the pull towards all the things that went wrong. All the things they could have done better.
He had been in Eddie’s position. He’d been the person who struggled to accept the fact that their victim was gone. He’d been the person who struggled to accept that there had been no hope to begin with. No words could erase the visions Eddie would add to his pile of nightmares. There was no comfort to be found.
Silence might have been preferable to the bustle of life outside the safety of the truck. The honk of traffic, the chatter of news crews, the clank of equipment – it echoed through the empty engine. The world still spun and there was still work to be done.
His hand fell of its own volition. Buck’s eyes were trained solely on the floor around his boots (dirty and scuffed), but his hand drifted to Eddie’s knee and stayed. It stayed and it held and it became a weight all its own. It anchored them both while their minds melted away.
Somewhere between a moment and a lifetime passed before Buck felt Eddie’s palm warm against the back of his hand. Long fingers gathered between his knuckles and squeezed. Buck squeezed back, running his thumb along the tender edge of his partner’s palm.
And he held.
There were still no words to bring them comfort, but the collective breath they claimed from the silent room was a promise that the feeling wouldn’t last forever.
That night, Christopher barely acknowledged Buck’s presence in his home (more focused on the pizza dripping grease into the firefighter’s hand) for the sheer normalcy of having him there. As the three busied themselves with plates and chatter, letting the noise of the world become its normal state of being, Eddie met his eye.
Something passed between them: Grateful understanding – a soft smile. A thank you for being beside me that never needed to be said.
Buck lightly kicked his partner under the table in acknowledgement and Eddie’s smile grew fonder. They would be all right.
I lean in a little closer and he doesn’t resist.
Eddie Diaz was an observant man. If he possessed any consistent semblance of pride (which, according to his grandmother, he always had too much or not enough), he would pride himself on his ability to see the world around him. He could see that Shannon liked him before she ever got up the courage to ask him out. He kept his wits about him in the heat of battle. He knew when his son was keeping secrets, even if he couldn’t draw those secrets out every time. He saw his (future) best friend’s insecurities from a mile away.
How had he never noticed how closely he liked to sit beside Buck? Christ, he was practically sitting in the man’s lap while they watched whatever movie was playing on late-night TV. There was plenty of space on the station’s couch, why could he feel the heat of his friend’s steady breath against his side.
If they sat any closer, he might be able to count his teeth.
You could count his teeth with your tongue, if you asked nicely.
Eddie shifted his shoulders away from his thoughts as his skinned warmed. He was an observant man, he knew that Buck was attractive – and so was he, if it wasn’t too vain to admit to himself. His hair looked soft, begging to have fingers run through them, seeking to hold. His features were simultaneously soft and firm (soft enough to bring home to meet the family but hard enough to curl teasing fingers under the table during dinner). And there was no getting away from the man’s size – broad and tall and all-consuming in his embrace.
But there was a difference between appreciation and desire.
The simple fact of the matter, was that it had been a long time since he’d been involved with another person.
“It’s okay that you haven’t been with anyone since Shannon,” Buck tipped the last of his drink over his lips. “I haven’t been with anyone since Ali. It’s amazing what you can get done when you’re not spending so much time in bed.”
It had been one of their semi-serious conversations where Eddie confessed his disinterest with dating. Was he doing it because he thought he had to? Was he ready? Did he miss having a person in his bed or did he miss having the right person?
Buck, the ever-attentive friend, assured him that he never had to do anything he wasn’t ready for and until he was ready to get out there (or if he never was), Buck would happily spend his nights drinking on the couch discussing any and everything.
Like a best friend. Like a partner.
If he was honest, Eddie looked forward to the time he spent with Buck quite a lot. There was an energy the man brought to his house that Eddie missed when his partner was gone. Most of their conversations came easily, and, especially as the two of them were working towards their own peace with the past, truth seemed second-nature.
With others – even others he considered to be family – he never felt so at ease as when he was with Buck. Of course, the person to whom he felt closest would invite a level of physical intimacy that wasn’t there with others. He was intentionally tactile with Christopher in an effort to show his son the affection he missed in his youth. Why not extend the same to his best friend and partner (someone he trusted with his life on a daily basis)?
And Buck was…comfortable. His skin was warm, sometimes too warm but in this moment, it was soothing. His presence was familiar and all-consuming. If Eddie leaned over just a little bit more, he could fall asleep knowing that he was safe. That sort of feeling didn’t come from nowhere, and it wasn’t born simply out of loneliness. The two of them shared a bond – like brothers almost, but the word didn’t sit right on his tongue.
Eddie caught Buck’s eye in a moment of distraction from whatever late-night atrocity was keeping them awake. How had he never noticed the circle of grey around his iris? It reminded Eddie of the skies in Texas when a storm was on the horizon. The only warning before something came and spun his life out of control.
Those same eyes frowned in a question, one Eddie could read in an instant, and he offered a smile in return. Without words, he could tell his partner that he was all right and not to worry. And without words, his partner would smile in return and turn back towards the television, trusting his answer.
Did he truly spend so much of his time with Buck? Of course, it was natural to have moments of questioning when two people spent so much time together. But what exactly was he questioning? How he felt? Or what took him so long to put it into words?
And if he continued to think about it long after the movie ended and the pair stayed glued together, that was his own business.
Eddie didn’t drink often. That was untrue. Eddie drank quite often (one beer at Buck’s after a hard day at work, a glass of wine at Athena’s because – according to Hen – it was classier to hold a stem than a mug). Eddie never got drunk.
Sure, he’d gone out and done stupid things when he was a teenager, and he’d done even stupider things in the army when there was nothing to do but sit around drinking cheap whiskey and telling stories of what awaited them back home.
But since coming home – since meeting his son – he hadn’t gotten drunk because frankly, he was too old for the hangover.
It wasn’t intentional, in all honesty. When they all gathered around Athena’s for pre-Thanksgiving dinner, Buck had greeted him with a glass of mead – which was really just honey beer – because, quote ‘mead is more festive’. And it had been really good.
Then the kids had all gone home with Hen and Karen for a sleepover (with the promise that Eddie would host next time, or at least pay for their much-deserved vacation). Then, he’d gotten caught up in talking to Jackson and his current obsession with Bake-Off, which required another glass.
Then his eye had gotten caught on Buck across the room, standing under the mistletoe, and his mind had wandered away from the conversation. It contemplated what it would feel like to kiss his best friend. Were his lips as soft as they looked? Would Buck kiss him back? What if there was no mistletoe to hide his intentions – what were his intentions? Would he still have the courage to walk across the room? That might have required more than one drink.
Soon enough, the clock had struck midnight and Athena was lovingly kicking people out of her house. Eddie absolutely understood. He loved all of the members of the 118 – loved them like a family – but eventually, exhaustion outweighed love. Sometimes. The problem was: he was absolutely not sober enough to drive. He could call an Uber (though he’d deleted the app after he heard some sketchy things about their drivers accepting unaccompanied minors), or he could beg Athena to let him sit in her kitchen with a pot of coffee until he was well enough to drive. Before he could contemplate which was the lesser of two evils, his arm was being dragged towards the front door with barely enough time to slip on his jacket.
“Come on, hot stuff, I’m driving you home.”
With a quick wave and a muttered thank you to their gracious hosts, Buck dragged Eddie into the cold night air. Contrary to popular belief, the sudden shock of wind in his face was not enough to sober his thoughts. In fact, the late hour only served to unsteady his feet, sending him tumbling into the arms of his late-night ire.
From his new location, Eddie could see the marks on Buck’s face like a roadmap of his past. Every accident, every scar, every bruise that had led him to this moment was on display for him and him alone. And his eyes. There was a softness he recognized from himself in the mirror, but the teasing smile was something new.
“You know, they always ask what to do with a drunken sailor but they never tell you what to do with a drunken army medic.”
“I’m not drunk, Buck.” Eddie assured him – or, at least, he assumed that was what he’d said. He was still quite distracted by the feeling of Buck’s arms around his shoulders and waist, holding him upright against the strain of the world.
“I know.” His voice matched his eyes: gentle and deep. “I’d still feel better if I drove.”
As if Eddie could deny Buck such a simple request, the man let himself be led towards the jeep, his movements surer with each step. By the time he had been safely buckled into the passenger seat, Eddie felt the exhaustion of alcohol melt into something heavier. He was tired – had been tired for a long time. Since Shannon’s death, since joining the 118, since his wife left him the first time, since coming home from the army with a pat on the back for his failures, since Shannon told him she was pregnant and his parents called Father Alvarez to book the chapel, since his father suggested he start working for the family business instead of going off to college.
Eddie was tired. He was tired of feeling tired. If only he could close his eyes for just one moment.
A combination of senses startled him awake: a cool breeze and the sounds of Los Angeles spinning past him through the half-open window, a tiny spittle of drool drying his cheek to the window, and the intoxicating smell of warm French fries. Few things could coax Eddie from his slumber faster than French fries.
“I thought that might do the trick.” Buck barely acknowledged Eddie’s groggy state as he passed the container across the arm rest. “I don’t know about you but I haven’t eaten in minutes. Figured some grease might fill me up.”
Of course, it was incredibly plausible that Buck was still hungry after Athena’s amazing spread but the twinkle in his eyes confirmed Eddie’s suspicions that their late-night stop had less to do with this stomach, and more to do with his friendship.
Buck really was such a good friend.
Everyone at the 118 was a good friend (it was part of the job description to be a kind and caring individual and these people were the definition of ‘familial bond’). It was never hard to find someone to cover his shift at the last minute, or to take someone’s shift because he needed the overtime. Gatherings like Thanksgiving dinner were practically a monthly occurrence, and it was no longer a question of who could take care of the kids, but whether or not he’d get his son back at the end of a playdate.
Especially Buck, who had no reason to be a part of the ‘babysitter’s club’ (DiMarco’s words), he was a good friend to Eddie. His best friend, if he was being completely honest. Of course, certain romantic feelings would develop after spending so much time with a man he trusted so well, but that couldn’t justify making things uncomfortable between them.
Except, the more Eddie willed himself to change his feelings, the stronger they became. He watched the way Buck’s hair tried to move beneath the layer of gel, twitching and dancing with the breeze. He watched those steady hands turn the wheel with practiced ease and incredible strength. He watched the movement of his Adam’s apple as he hummed along to whatever tune was playing on the radio.
What would a relationship with Buck be like? Would that change between them be for the better, or would it ruin the delicate balance of their dynamic? A vision formed in his still-clouded mind, of a future where he didn’t wake up alone. Where early-morning kisses turned into a wrestling match and one of them ended up on the floor in a fit of laughter. Where children – not just his but his whole, extended family’s – filled the house with joy and cries in equal measure. Where he went to bed an old man with a feeling of contentment in his heart and an arm around his waist. Where a fight over something small became a fight about everything wrong in their relationship. Where his bed was left empty again. Where his partner was forced to transfer. Where he was left alone – where his son was left alone – because of a silly hypothetical romance that could just as easily end in disaster.
Eddie would get over his infatuation and the two of them would continue being the best relationship he’d ever had. (in and out of the bedroom, if he was being honest). No amount of sudden curiosity about the taste of Buck’s morning coffee on his tongue could get in the way of that.
As they rounded the corner onto his street, his partner looked at him with a familiar teasing eye.
“Are you ready to tell me what’s on your mind?”
“Nothing’s on my mind.” His show of innocence was lost on Buck – as it always was.
“Well, I knew your head was empty.” He pulled the car to the front of the house like he’d done a million times before. “But if you need someone to talk to: I’m here.”
Eddie stared at his partner, eyes searching for a hint of insincerity or concern. The urge to kiss him returned in full force upon finding nothing but kindness. It would be so simple to lean over and press his lips to Buck’s. He would finally have the answer to his recent questions – plus an end to his internal turmoil.
Instead, he placed a comfortable hand on Buck’s shoulder and squeezed it affectionately.
“You’re a good friend, Buck.” He informed the firefighter, struggling to maintain his resolve. “Thanks for the ride.”
“Any time.” Eddie looked back at Buck as he climbed out of the jeep. With a certainty he barely possessed in his himself, Eddie knew that his partner meant every word: no matter what he needed, Buck would be there for him.
So, what did Eddie want?
Safety? Or Happiness?
Two compliments later…
You’re a good friend, Buck.
You’re a good friend, Buck.
He caught himself as he nearly tumbled out of bed, legs tangled in the sheets after one too many restless turns. Eddie’s words played in his mind again.
You’re a good friend, Buck.
He certainly tried to be. He cared about his friends and tried to show them that he was there for them. But was he just being selfish? He certainly enjoyed the feeling he got when someone thanked him, and sometimes, he felt like he was taking more than he gave. For Eddie to tell him with such certainty that he was a good friend, had to mean something.
You’re a good friend, Buck.
That was assuming he wanted to be friends with Eddie. Of course, he did. Of course. Eddie was his best friend. He’d never had a best friend before but Eddie felt like one of the good ones. So maybe he thought about what it would be like to turn over and find someone on the other side of the bed instead of an empty space. So what if sometimes he’d think about making Eddie happy and his heart would beat out of his chest. So what?
Wanting more when he already had an amazing relationship was selfish. What he had with Eddie was special. It meant something, and Buck was wrong to want to throw that all away because he wanted to bring his best friend flowers and make him breakfast in bed. No, he would get over his little crush on his friend with time. He had to. This was more important.
You’re a good friend, Buck.
He should tell him. People deserved to feel that they were loved – whether as friends or something romantically. If it was Buck, he would want to know. He threw his hand out to unlock his phone.
That was ridiculous. It was the middle of the night and Eddie was probably asleep since they had work in the morning. He should be asleep himself. He cringed as his phone hit the ground, scrambling after it and catching himself a second time.
But if he lost his nerve, he may never tell him and Eddie deserved to be told the truth. His finger hovered over the call button before he could second guess himself.
This was a mistake. Buck was destined to embarrass himself further if he didn’t at least think about what he wanted to say first.
“Buck?” Eddie’s groggy voice broke through the fog of Buck’s indecision. “What’s wrong?”
What a good friend he was to worry for his friend even when he stupidly called in the middle of the night.
“Uh sorry, butt dial.” He should hang up before Eddie could ask any questions.
“Really? Your butt unlocked your phone, found my contact, and pressed ‘call’?” Questions like that. “You really are a smart ass.”
Where he would have humored his friend with a genuine laugh, Buck barely mustered the energy to chuckle. “You know it. Sorry again.”
Eddie called out “Wait!” and Buck as always, listened. “What’s up?”
“Buck.” The man’s sigh was well-rehearsed, years of friendship invoking a familiar emotion. “You called me in the middle of the night and now you’re pretending you didn’t. What’s up?”
He let the line fall silent as he tapped the phone against his head. What was he supposed to say? He knew what he wanted to say – he knew what he should say – but nothing seemed right. But he couldn’t say nothing, Eddie would see right through that (Eddie always saw right through him).
“You still there?”
“Yeah! Yeah.” He trailed off, gathering his courage with one last deep breath. “I just- I want to say…” What the hell did he want to say?
Speak from the heart.
“You’re a good man, Eddie.”
The words tumbled out of his mouth as though he’d known them since the first day they met.
“You’re a good man. You fight for what you think is right and you don’t give up on people. You are one of the strongest men I’ve ever met but I’ve never seen anyone melt the way you do when you talk about your son.” Buck choked back the memory of his own familial failures. “You’re an amazing dad – Christopher is so lucky to have you. I’m lucky to have you. I don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t met you. You are my best friend, Eddie, and it has been a privilege to know you.”
It seemed to be Eddie’s turn for silence, justifiably so, but with every passing moment Buck lost all sound but the pounding in his ears. Why had he said all that? Of course, he meant it, but why had he just bared his soul like that? Why had he called Eddie in the first place? His over-stimulated heart was so loud, he nearly missed his friend’s strained words.
“It has been?”
Eddie cleared his throat but his voice was still weak. “You said it’s been a privilege to know me.” His pause sounded intentional. “You’re not going anywhere, are you Buck?”
The warning bells rang louder than his heart.
“No! No, I’m- god! No, I’m not- I’m not going anywhere, Eddie.” It was as though he could feel the sigh of relief from across the city. “I just wanted to tell you how much you mean to me.” Then he added. “Because you deserve it.”
“Oh.” The voice on the other end grew quiet for a softer reason. “Thank you.” And then he added. “I feel the same way, you know. I’m grateful to have you in my life, Buck.”
Eddie’s words settled him against his pillow, allowing the contentment in his voice to surround him. It wasn’t what he was expecting when he fumbled for the phone, but it was still reassuring to have his friend say it out loud.
“Even when I wake you up in the middle of the night?”
His smile could be heard through the screen. “Only when you bring me coffee in the morning.”
“Deal.” As if Buck could deny Eddie such a simple request.
“You sure you’re okay?”
What a question to answer in his current mental state. When he’d tossed and turned, contemplating Eddie’s words, he’d been berating himself for daring to even think the word ‘love’. After all: what he felt for Eddie had to be friendship.
But in all honesty?
What he felt for the man on the other end of the line – the one who could read him and comfort him even in the middle of the night – went beyond romance. Love was merely the closest word.
“Not really. But I’ll be okay. Promise.”
We end up in bed together.
Eddie barely slept – of course he didn’t. After being awoken in the middle of the night to the sound of his best friend telling him he was a good man and then hanging up, there was no way he would be able to sleep. But Buck deserved his sleep (clearly something was going on and rest was more important than assuaging his fears about his current situation). However, that meant he was more desperate for coffee than he was the night before. While he might normally be willing to wait for Buck and his promised venti dark roast with ‘too much sugar, Eddie, how can you stomach this thing?’, he resigned himself to a pre-Buck cup of coffee to settle his nerves.
The trouble was: lack of sleep meant he had arrived at the station far too early. He dropped off Christopher and came straight to work, despite having more than an hour before his shift began. All he could do was sit in the silence of the B-Team restocking and cleaning up after their shift, going over his phone call with Buck. As though he hadn’t been over it a hundred times since the other man hung up.
“No matter how long you stare at the bottom of that mug, it will not magically fill itself.” He perked up at the sound of Bobby’s voice teasing him from across the room. “Trust me, I’ve tried.”
Eddie prayed his voice sounded more casual than he felt but from the look of his captain, it didn’t.
What an understatement.
“Trouble sleeping.” He brushed it away as quickly as he did any other conversation directed at his emotions (except when it came to Buck, his traitorous heart whispered). “Has Buck seemed off to you, lately?”
As though he’d been listening in to their conversation, the object of his daydreams hopped up the stairs, one hand carefully balancing a tray of three white paper cups.
“I thought I saw your truck in the parking lot.” Buck greeted him with an easy smile – as though less than 6 hours ago, he hadn’t been quiet and brooding and pouring his heart out. “As promised, I brought coffee.”
It was so natural to reach out and grab the to-go cup from his partner’s hands, that he didn’t recognize the spark of electricity that passed between them until it was over. Had that always happened?
“Did you remember the extra sweetener?” He asked, knowing the answer from the roll of the man’s storm-blue eyes.
“I don’t understand how you can drink so much sugar and still look like that but yes, I did add extra sweetener.” Before Eddie could fully process his statement, Buck turned to their captain with the second cup. “And for you: Americano with Caramel.” At the pair of amused looks, Bobby snatched the paper cup from his hands.
“Chimney got me hooked on the caramel.” He grumbled behind his long slurp of coffee.
As Eddie laughed at his captain, Buck slapped the last cup onto the counter. “Right, I’ll just get changed and then I’ll be ready to help.” He was gone with the same frenetic energy he’d entered, leaving Eddie more than a bit dizzy.
That wasn’t new, though. Buck had always had a way about him. It was a bit chaotic, certainly, but when he was in the room, Eddie was always drawn to him. Even now, he watched the other man jog down the stairs, following his path long after he left his line of sight. The invisible trail of Buck brought his eyes across the kitchen floor and straight to the eyes of Bobby, who watched him with the caution of a lion tamer.
“He seems all right to me.” The captain prodded with his words, needling at Eddie’s mask of insecurities, as though, if he stared hard enough, he might be able to read Eddie’s mind. But, much like the refillable coffee mug, Eddie would not be subdued so easily. “Did something happen between you two?”
Or perhaps, he would crumble like a house of cards and turn to his friend for advice.
“Buck called me last night and he sounded…off.” He’d sounded sad, resigned, like he was lost or had lost something. It had clearly had a lingering effect. “But it’s not just that. He’s been acting strange for a while, now.”
Bobby’s shoulders rolled back as he leaned against the counter, his protective instinct clearly engaged at the thought of something wrong with one of his people.
I’m so glad Buck has someone like Bobby looking out for him.
“He’s been really tactile.” Though he’d never admit the thrill he received when he realized it was only Eddie.
“And hovering.” Not that he’d ever complain about having Buck around more often.
“He’s been looking after me on and off the clock like it’s his job.” Having someone to hold his hand while he processed the death of child was not a prerequisite for their friendship, but he was so happy he had it.
“He tells these really stupid jokes just to make me laugh.” If he didn’t know any better, he’d say they were cheesy pickup lines. But he did know better. Right?
“And sometimes…” His voice trailed off as images of kissing Buck and holding Buck and loving Buck filled his chest with longing. But those were just for him. His captain didn’t need to know that he was a pining idiot.
Nevertheless, Bobby prompted him. “Sometimes?”
“Nothing.” He shook the thoughts to the back of his mind to peruse at a later time – for example: not in front of his superior. “You haven’t noticed?”
He expected a look of contemplation, or even to have his concerns dismissed. Instead, a sly grin formed on the man’s mouth. A mischievous smile that sent him back to his youth, when he would ask his mother a question and she would respond with: ‘I’ll tell you when you’re older’.
“Oh, I’d noticed.” Bobby brought the cup to his lips to mask his smile but it was too late. “I just didn’t think there was anything wrong with him.”
How could Bobby not be concerned about Buck’s behavior? He stared at his captain incredulously, but Bobby’s expression never wavered. If anything, his eyebrows raised higher and his chin dipped lower, as if trying to guide Eddie to the answer.
What could the answer possibly be?
So, Buck started paying more attention to him.
And showing more affection.
And seeking him out more often.
“All right, Cap, I’m ready to help with breakfast.” Buck called as he bounded up the stairs with his familiar energy. Bobby had been right. There was nothing wrong with him. He was the same eager, sincere, devoted man he’d always been.
But Buck had definitely been more tactile, lately.
And he took such amazing care of him at Thanksgiving dinner at Athena and Bobby’s.
And though he’s sounded so defeated over the phone, he’d also sounded incredibly sincere.
Like he was resigned to something.
You are my best friend, Eddie.
Oh my god.
“Oh my god.”
Eddie turned towards Buck with such velocity, much of his coffee spilt over his hand, painting the flesh red.
“Eddie, are yo-”
“Have you been flirting with me?”
The rainbow of emotions painted across his partner’s face was comical upon reflection, but deadly when they were staring each other down in one, long, wordless conversation. Buck seemed to move through the various stages of decision making (fear, sadness, hope, embarrassment, resolution), until he finally presented Eddie with a lopsided smile and a shrug.
It was then Eddie’s turn to process what Buck meant. What his accusation was meant to accomplish. Why his skin felt hot at the thought that yes, his best friend had been flirting with him lately.
“Did you mean it?”
There was less hesitation in his voice when Buck answered him, hope growing behind his eyes. “Yeah, I-uh.” Had he always looked so cute in the way he blinked and stuttered while gathering his thoughts? “I wasn’t sure how to show you I was interested and gauge whether you were interested so I-”
“I’m interested.” Eddie’s laughed at his own enthusiasm, which pulled a smile from the other man like soft taffy. Slow and easy. “I’m,” He cleared his throat, willing his mouth to slow before it ran away from him completely. “I’m interested.”
When their eyes met and stayed, Eddie say a future laid out before him he hadn’t thought to ask for. He felt light, hopeful, certain. Not of everything, but of the next minute – maybe the next two. They would be spent knowing his feelings weren’t crazy, knowing he wasn’t wrong. They would be spent knowing he would be okay.
Buck, on the other hand, seemed on the verge of running for the exit; almost as though he hadn’t expected his feelings to be reciprocated. It was like he was waiting for the other shoe to drop. And Eddie couldn’t have that.
“Do you want to have dinner with me tonight? Just the two of us?”
Finally, his partner seemed to join him in contentment and released a steady breath that gave way to a bright smile Eddie would spend a lifetime trying to pull from him again.
“I’d love that.”
Eddie couldn’t have moved for the world (perhaps Christopher or a very persistent alarm could get him to shift) but, it seemed, neither could Buck. For the first time in a long time, he felt on even footing with his partner. How could he not let the excitement of stepping forward together seep into his bones. If he stayed focused on Buck’s bright, smiling eyes, he could stay in this moment forever.
“Now that you’ve sorted out your dinner plans, how about helping me with breakfast?”
It took a lot to rattle two trained firefighters, but Bobby Nash with his deadpan voice and impatient but amused expression could absolutely send them both flying into the rafters.
The pair blushed as they made eye contact again, accompanied this time but Bobby’s paternal chuckle.
“You can make it up to me by washing and chopping the vegetables.” He informed Buck before turning to Eddie and instructing him: “And you can pull the eggs from the fridge and start whisking.” The former medic had pushed his coffee cup aside and was headed towards the refrigerator before Bobby had finished speaking. “We can talk about your relationship status change once we’ve all eaten – if there’s time.”
Eddie froze with the carton in his hands, saved from disaster by Buck’s reflexes. He hadn’t even thought of what it would mean for them to work together. Would they be allowed to work and date and stay at the same station on the same shift?
“Is Buck and I dating a conflict of interest?”
“It’s not against department policy but it is generally frowned upon.” Bobby informed him. “But like I said: that’s a conversation for later. Right now, I need you to not break my eggs. Otherwise, you’re going to have eight very angry firefighters on your hands.”
Buck chuckled as he guided Eddie and the eggs to the rest on the counter. “Not to mention a very pissed off… Buck.” He ended with a twitch of his lips that covered his insecurity with anticipation and optimism.
So, there were definitely some things that needed to be sorted. There were unanswered questions and more than likely a few obstacles. But all Eddie could feel was hope, as he began to wash his hands, eyes drifting frequently to his partner in all things who smiled back at him. Hope that while he may not be certain of what the future held, he wouldn’t have to handle it alone
hi hello the episode just ended for me and I’m going to fucking commit arson what the FUCK is going ON
allow me to scream:
WHAT THE FUCKING SHIT FUCK FUCK WAS THAT