#and now it's taylor and eddie's turn
yeah you're his girlfriend but he's with me drinking beer and talking about his feelings while i take care of him and put ice on his bruise. we are not the same, sweetie.
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Buddie 501 meta
Welcome season 5, what a great kick off we got with ep 501!
Now, the first personal scene we have ends with Chim telling Maddie, “it’s gonna get better,” and her agreeing, but it makes it clear things at present aren’t good. We know this, that’s where we left Madney off last season. But then this scene transitions into Eddie being teased by the 118 about this step forward he’s taking with Anna. He looks very uncomfortable, just like we last saw him with her in 413. So even the way that it works, this transition between the introductory personal scenes for the season, tells us where Eddie is right now isn’t good, but it will get better.
And the 118 teasing Eddie scene is such Buddie fodder! First, we have Buck looking jealous and not the least bit happy for his best friend, like he should be when said friend seems to have found a love good enough to commit to. Then Eddie is SO highly uncomfortable (it’s even reflected in his physical expressions and tone) and very insistent this step he’s taking with Anna doesn’t mean anything. On top of all that, this type of scene is very common. Someone’s getting serious with a partner and gets teased by friends who are genuinely happy about this turn of events. The person brushes the teasing off, but secretly is really pleased and happy, as is revealed by hardly contained smiles and later scenes. That’s not the case here, and comparing this scene with how it would usually play out if this relationship was one Eddie and Buck are both content with is what highlights their reactions and just how unhappy both men are with Eddie becoming more committed to Anna. Almost like they’re secretly in love with each other? At the very least this suggests they both know Anna and Eddie are not the right fit. To make that really obvious, the scene mentions Shannon’s funeral when it didn’t have to in order to explain why Chris is getting a new suit, but it serves as a subtle reminder for the void that Eddie is trying to fill for his son by staying with Anna.
Okay, this is small, but I love it so much: Buck and Eddie work together underwater, which means they have to communicate wordlessly in how they operate to get the trapped vic out. I wrote a very similar scene in my Buddie AU, Blue Against Blue, because I felt it reflected a part of who Buddie are, which is essential to why we love them so much: they complement each other naturally. They get and sense each other even underwater, when they have no words and their senses are overloaded. And they can still work together so well, that they manage to save a life. These battlefield boyfriends ride again and I missed that hardcore!
That unhappiness we saw in Buck when Eddie talks about Anna, I find it interesting that we witness that before we’re shown his intimate scene with Taylor. The scene appears to present them really happy and fulfilled spending their night together, but because of the scene order, we already know that in the background, there’s what looks like Buck’s jealous reaction to Eddie and Anna. So are things as good with Buck and Taylor as they seem? The scene starts with Taylor more focused on a possible news story (not even a sure one, Buck makes that clear) than on him and it ends with her cutting off the whole make-out session for the sake of the same maybe-story. She doesn’t have to, there’s no emergency even if there is a story. Nothing wrong with that, she’s passionate about her work, but in a scene that is supposed to be about passion in the bedroom, it shows what gets her going more. (On a side note, she also taps into his private phone without asking for permission first, which is something that probably bothers me more because the show has a tendency to have women overstep boundaries with Buck, like the therapist in ep 102 or Abby getting Buck’s phone number from the incident report, and then not acknowledge that. This phone thing is obviously not as big, but I just really wish the show would address this repeated pattern at some point). It’s a small crack that we see through this scene. Taylor obviously cares about Buck. But her job does come first, even over Buck, which suggests that despite appearances, just like with Eddie and Anna, these two are together, but it’s partly because there are matters they’re not addressing. What’s interesting is that this brings us back to a theme from earlier seasons, of Buck and Eddie’s dating life paralleling each other. Not only does the theme continue, in a sense, this episode’s similarities of their love life make it run even deeper.
I have to give a small shout out to the scene with Bathena, Henren and Mavid. I love that these three couples, straight, gay and lesbian, are all treated equally and as a part of one extended family. Beautiful! And I think that in an ep co-written by the show-runner, it’s also a part of why we have faith that 911 can be courageous enough to give us Buddie as well, eventually.
The dressing room scene at the store truly vibrates with awkwardness. Everything about it is off, even the way Eddie reacts to Anna suggestively flirting with him, at best he’s humoring her (down to his “sure” at her wanting to add in a tie) and not very pleased about it. As we know, they’re there with Chris (why is she talking dirty when Eddie’s son there? So weird, especially as she’s an educator), the whole dynamic of these three together, I can’t help comparing it to Buddifer since we’ve seen that trio together more than once. Buddifer are so good together, happy, domestic, Buddie are co-parents effortlessly, Chris is beaming and enjoying himself, it’s all such a screaming contrast to how uncomfortable Eddie looks throughout the scene with Anna at the store, and how even Chris is highly unhappy. Anna isn’t directly interacting with Chris either (seriously, Buck is more Eddie’s co-parent than his own gf) nor is she that comfortable in this situation, since the second the shop worker calls her mom, she looks uneasy and denies both being Chris’ mom and even that she’s Eddie’s gf, calling herself “a friend” instead. Seriously, how have Anna and Eddie lasted together as long as they have?
Then we get the panic attack. Let’s take a second to appreciate that in 413, Carla told Eddie to ‘follow his heart’. Eddie the dumb denial boy still chose to stay with Anna, then lo and behold, he thinks he’s having a heart attack... But what stands out to me about this scene? Well, most (not all, but most) panic attacks don’t result in people physically falling down. The fact that Eddie did makes it visually similar to his fall after he was shot. But is his panic attack just about being shot? What triggers it is Anna being referred to as Christopher’s mom, not anything remotely similar to the shot, and as Anna comes closer to Eddie to check up on him, we actually hear his heartbeat going further up, not starting to slow down. Anna is the main issue. And how hilarious is that, given how quickly Eddie let Buck into Christopher’s life, made him a co-parent and even made sure Buck had a legal standing in Chris’ life? But then, this is even further emphasized by the specific way the panic attack echoes Eddie’s fall during the shooting. Being shot can be a contributing factor, of course, but there’s also the fact that when Eddie was shot, Buck was there, a steadying presence, maintaining eye contact with Eddie, watching him the entire time until Buck could save him. Once again, this is a choice. Because Eddie realizing he shouldn’t be with Anna could have unfolded in so many different ways, but the show chose one where it’s really emphasized how things are with Anna compared to what they’re like between Buddie…
The scene at the doctor’s is even more awkward than the one in the store, which has to be some kind of a new world record. “Any new stressors?” the doc asks and the camera shows us Anna. In addition to Eddie being highly in denial (even ending the scene with “I don’t panic”), we also get him saying “it’s been great,” to the doc. But he doesn’t stop there, he then asks Anna for reassurance, “Right?” while sounding like the least convincing human on earth. Interestingly, she looks back at him, also awkwardly, and doesn’t reply. Coupled with her earlier denying being his gf, this makes me think she’s not as in the dark about things not being right between them as she might have seemed at the end of s4.
I just have to stan Chris being a tiny, precious king, calling his dad out. “You got shot!” You go baby, show your dad what you’ve learned from your Bucky (as demonstrated later in the ep) about not taking any of Eddie’s BS…
I was sure the air traffic control scene would reflect Eddie’s panic attack back to him and it did. What I did not anticipate was Eddie, when noticing the second controller going into a panic attack, touching Buck’s shoulder on his way over. We have a long list of unnecessary touches and almost touches between these two on the job, the likes of which I can’t remember between any two other members of the team. HOW am I expected to think that this is all purely platonic? Please, they need each other’s presence and comfort on a physical level. The stuff of fanfic legend.
Of course Buck would notice that something’s off with Eddie. He always does, they both do, they’re so in tune with each other, always have been!
And of course he next gets the truth out of Eddie (which is significant, remember that at the end of the doc scene, Eddie was still in denial, but at the sight of Buck worrying so much about him, he has to admit the truth, that he didn’t have a heart attack), which is such life partners material right there. But what I love even more is Buck’s surprise that there could be something going on with Eddie that he’s not informed of. Literally, his indignant face screams, “Love of my life, you’ve been keeping stuff from me, your husband?” And then of course he proceeds to call Eddie out on his BS, demonstrating where Chris got this ability from (check out the gorgeous gifset that the amazingly talented @judsonryder made for this “like father, like son” take).
More than that, after the store scene proved how much better Buck is at being Christopher’s other parent, at the hospital he’s also acting like more of Eddie’s romantic partner than Eddie’s own gf did, even though she was actually present when the panic attack happened and Buck wasn’t. I’m done, I can’t with all of this obviousness! I swear to God, if Buddie never get together romantically, they will still canonically be the most married couple ever on 911. And that’s despite the fact that they have some serious competition from every other established couple on the show!
~~~ Thank you so much to the incredible sweetheart that is @evaneddie for the meta gifs! If you like my perspective on Buddie, you can find more of my meta and fics here. Thank you for reading and for any like, comment and of course reblog! These posts are never a sure thing and it makes me so happy whenever I see people enjoy them. xoxox
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well you still make sense to me, your mess is mine
or, a 5x03 coda about cleaning kitchens
Buck has just closed his eyes when his phone buzzes.
He turns it over on his chest, expecting it to be the front door asking him to buzz Taylor in – she’s done it before, after all, been on his screen and then shown up at his door – but it’s not. It’s a text from Eddie. And unlike the text suggests, Buck is not sleeping, and he’s not hanging out with Taylor, and there’s a certain finality in the way Eddie writes out “Ana’s gone” that makes him want to ask questions, and he doesn’t actually process what he’s doing until he’s sitting in the driver’s seat of the Jeep with his keys in the ignition.
He hesitates for just a moment, and then decides no, he really doesn’t want to sit alone in his apartment.
He lets himself into Eddie’s house when he gets there and is instantly greeted by Christopher, which, after everything with Harry, just warms his heart.
“Buck!” Christopher says, wrapping him in a hug.
“Hey buddy,” Buck replies, squeezing him tightly for a second and kissing the top of his head.
“Dad’s in the kitchen,” Christopher informs him and then returns to playing video games on the couch, now that he can for the first time in however many days it’s been. They’ve all blurred together in Buck’s head.
Buck ruffles Chris’s curls one last time and ducks into the kitchen only to freeze.
There’s disaster everywhere.
The cabinet doors are open or partially shut and mostly empty because almost every dish Eddie owns is scattered across the counters and the kitchen table and the dishwasher is already running, but it doesn’t seem to have any effect because there are still dirty dishes…all over the place. And that’s before the half-filled muffin tins and the empty boxes of muffin mix and the mixing bowls and the half finished containers of milk and eggs that must have gone into all the muffins but which are definitely no longer fit for human consumption if they’ve been out on a counter in LA during this weather for longer than ten seconds.
And then there’s Eddie with his back to the door, washing dishes with—
“Are those frog-shaped dish gloves?” Buck asks.
There’s no way Eddie hadn’t known he was there, but he still startles like Buck’s caught him mid deep-thought.
“Uh,” Eddie says, looking down at his hands, which are definitely clad in bright green gloves to match his soap holder, and then doesn’t confirm or deny. “Sorry for the mess.”
“Hey, I don’t mind,” Buck says. “Besides, it’s not like you made it, right?”
“It’s still my fault,” Eddie points out, which…
Buck shrugs and when the dishwasher beeps a second later, he opens it, dodges the cloud of steam, and starts putting the stuff away. They don’t talk for a while, just cleaning in companionable silence, while Buck loads the dishes Eddie hands him into the dishwasher.
When all that’s left is foodstuffs rather than dishes, Buck grabs one of the muffins and unpeels it as Eddie puts the rest into a Tupperware. Buck stuffs the thing whole into his mouth and instantly regrets it when it goes claggy and gluey, with just a hint of bad aftertaste like maybe the milk had already kind of been off by the time it went into the batter.
“Huh,” Buck says.
“What?” Eddie asks, trying to stuff a few more of the things into the Tupperware.
“I didn’t know you could fuck up muffins from a box that badly,” Buck says. He considers just spitting it out, but perseveres and immediately washes it down with about a gallon of water.
Eddie watches him with a frown and picks up one of the muffins himself.
“I wouldn’t,” Buck warns, but Eddie ignores him. Unlike Buck, he takes a sensible bite of it, but he still makes a face of instant regret.
“These should just—” he starts, and Buck grabs the garbage from under the sink while Eddie tips the awful muffins into it.
And then they clean out the fridge, which they probably should’ve done first because anything that was in it and truly perishable had not survived the week and Buck’s honestly a little shocked that Ana hadn’t thrown all of it out already, but, well, maybe there’s something in there about clinging to things you know aren’t working. Or, maybe it’s just gross and she didn’t want to deal with it, which Buck gets but also does not get at all.
“You know, they say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” Buck says when they’ve gotten all of the dead food out of the house. “I’m a little concerned about her roadmap.”
Eddie snorts and then searches Buck’s face for a second. They’ve been cleaning long enough that it’s afternoon now, and the beers Buck had brought have been in the fridge long enough to be cold, and Eddie hands him one while they lean against the counters in the delightfully fresh-smelling and clean kitchen.
“I thought you were on Ana’s side,” Eddie says quietly.
Buck recoils. “Dude, no? I’m on your side, always. Even if sometimes that means telling you to pull your head out of your ass. I mean, yeah, I empathise with her, because I’ve been there and it—”
He’s been there, he’s been the person in a relationship holding onto it as tightly as he can when it’s been about as effectual as a lapdog pulling on its owner’s sock to try and keep them from going to work in the morning. He’s been there, he was there with Abby, and he’s…
There’s a reason he’s at Eddie’s house instead of at home.
Eddie’s foot taps against his and startles Buck out of his unpleasant realisations. “Buck?”
“I’m good,” Buck says. “But I’m on your side, you know that, right?”
Eddie’s smile is a little slow and almost a little shy, but it warms Buck from the inside out, which is nice. It’s also the first time Eddie’s smiled since Buck’s come over.
“Yeah, I know,” Eddie says.
“Good,” Buck says, using some of the beer to swallow down the lump in his throat, and then reaching for the fridge. “Okay, let’s figure out what survived and see if we can’t cobble together something that looks like a late lunch.”
Eddie nods and squeezes his arm, and Eddie’s hand is warm and strong and grounding all at once. “Sounds like a plan.”
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i woke up just in time. now i wake up by your side.
(id under cut.)
[Image Description: 2 large gifs from 9-1-1, of Evan Buckley and Eddie Diaz, overlayed with lyrics from the bridge of Taylor Swift's 'Dress'. Each gif has a silver border.
Gif 1: Two gifs, one coming after the other with a cross fade effect. The first gif is two scenes blended together from season 4, episode 5, in black and white. On the left, Buck speaks to the team with a sarcastic look on his face. On the right, Buck speaks to Eddie with a vulnerable expression. The second gif is in color, and is a scene from season 4, episode 14. Buck sits at Eddie's bedside in the hospital, speaking to him with a remorseful look on his face. The text reads, "Even in my worst lies,"
Gif 2: Two gifs, one coming after the other with a cross fade effect. The first gif is two scenes blended together from season 4, episode 5, in black and white. On the left, Eddie speaks to Buck with a soft smile on his face as he nods. On the right, Eddie responds to Buck, a troubled smile on his face. The second gif is in color, and is a scene from season 4, episode 14. Lying in his hospital bed, Eddie slowly turns his head to look at Buck, a troubled expression on his face at his words. The text reads, "You saw the truth in me."
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...oops? Have some more 5x7 spec.
Buck’s hands are shaking.
His throat is raw from screaming and his mind is—
He can’t stop replaying it, over and over. The radio bursting with static. Turning around to pick it up. Buck, Warden Trent, he’s—
His ears filled with white noise as he turned back around to see Eddie with a gun to his temple. He hadn’t even noticed when the radio slipped from his fingers. But he saw Eddie’s lips move.
He didn’t hear his answer so much as he felt it, Eddie’s name ripped from his throat.
No, no, no, no please, no please, not again, not again, not again, please—
He couldn’t do anything.
He couldn’t stop it. He couldn’t stop Eddie being dragged away. He couldn’t will their places swapped. He couldn’t—
There was a gun. And Eddie wasn’t bleeding, but all Buck can see is red. He can taste it in his mouth, he can feel it on his skin. If Eddie gets shot again—
His hands won’t stop shaking.
“What’s happening?” He asks the SWAT agent who has been assigned to babysit him. He wants to climb out of his skin, claw at the walls, break down the door. He feels trapped, a caged animal pacing the length of the room, desperate to get out, to go, to do anything that would bring Eddie back to him.
“I don’t have any updates,” the woman explains for the umpteenth time.
“Look, just—” Buck wants to scream. “Let me out. Let me talk to your captain, I can help, I was—we were with the warden most of the day before this happened, I can tell him—”
“Firefighter Buckley, we’ve got everything we need,” she interrupts. “Just sit tight. We’ll update you when we have something to report.”
“You don’t understand,” he snaps. Blood in his mouth and shaking hands and a gun and Christopher—Christopher is at home and he can’t—he’s can’t— “This is Eddie we’re talking about. That’s my partner—you can’t ask me to just—”
Buck whirls around and freezes. Taylor’s in the doorway, a strange look on her face. He blinks once, twice—
What—? What is—?
“They didn’t tell me it was you,” she sighs, raking a hand through her hair. And it’s then that his eyes drop to her neck, that he notices the lanyard with her press credentials attached.
“No,” he says before she can say anything else. He is far beyond frayed, unraveling rapidly, and he can’t—this is not something he is capable of dealing with right now.
“I was assigned—”
“No,” he repeats, ice cracking, cracking, cracking, he can’t breathe, he can’t think, because his heart, his life, his soul is being held hostage in the building across the street and he doesn’t know how he’s supposed to survive if—
“You were the only witness,” she says apologetically. “Look, I won’t—you could just tell me what happened, it doesn’t even have to be on camera—I’ll keep your name out of it—”
“It’s Eddie, Taylor!” It’s no longer just his hands, Buck feels like his whole body is shaking. “It’s Eddie—again. And all I could do was stand there and watch—again. And again I might have to go home tonight and tell Christopher that I couldn’t protect his dad, but hey, Eddie picked me to replace him so if he wants a poor fucking substitute, at least he’ll have me!”
“Buck…” Taylor takes a few steps and reaches out to gently cup his face. Buck flinches away.
Her hands aren’t the ones he wants right now.
“Don’t,” he chokes out. “Please don’t, just—just go. Just go do your job, away from me. It’s where you want to be anyway.”
He knows it’s not fair even as he says it. Taylor sucks in a breath like she’s been slapped, but quickly rearranges her features, her face smoothing over, back straightening.
“Fine,” she says quietly. “I’ll go.”
Buck collapses into a chair the second the door clicks shut behind her.
His hands are still shaking.
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Something about Buck spending days worrying over Eddie and his physical, and then emotional health re: the panic attacks vs. Ana caring up until the point she realized they were about her, at which point she turned them into a type of ammunition against him when she was feeling hurt and vulnerable.
Something about Eddie telling Buck he was dating Ana for Christopher's sake because he loves her and Buck's response being "is that enough?" vs. Eddie telling Ana (in so many words) that he's dating her because Chris loves her and her response being, "you're an amazing father."
Something about how that parallels 4x14 with Eddie telling Buck he's not expendable, vs. Taylor pursuing Buck after he's risked his life again. Something about those toxic mindsets being reinforced by their current partners, only to be deconstructed by each other that makes you wonder who their real partner actually is.
Something about Ana consistently being shown on the outside of the Diaz family unit (Carla coming over, suit shopping, firehouse) VS. Buck’s imprint being seen everywhere you look (the Diazes only knowing Carla because of him, Buck and Christopher having a bond that exists independent of Eddie).
Something about the fact that being a partner means stepping into your partner’s life instead of trying to save them from it, and something about Ana saying here, this is your mess, good luck with it and fuck you, and something about Buck meeting Eddie, looking around and calling up Carla and saying, hey, this is our mess now. It’s a lot but we can fix it.
Something about the firehouse scene in 5x02 and the way Ana and Buck didn’t look at each other at all, despite the fact that they must have talked and, in some ways, gotten to know each other when Eddie was in the hospital and over the course of his recovery.
Something about two people knowing they’re in love with the same person.
Just a whole lot of something.
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On White Privilege and Disability:
I'm turning 27 next month (and I feel it), and I've been doing this whole disability advocacy thing for about a decade now (and I feel it). The problem is, when I first started advocating, it was from a very narrow-minded perspective of a white disabled teenager who had grown up in a conservative household/town, knew virtually no perspectives outside my immediate family, and was used to being the only disabled voice in the room. I say this, not as an excuse, but to provide context. I didn't know terms, let alone concepts, like 'white privilege, 'intersectionality', 'microaggression', etc. In my ignorance and immaturity, I said things that I obviously now regret. Moreover, I know that there are other white disabled people who were, or are, in the same position. I have spent years trying to unlearn my biases through an amalgamation of sources (while recognizing that it is a lengthy process that will never fully be complete and recognizing that my privilege extends beyond attitudinal shifts). So, I figured I would share some of the sources for anyone who may need them.
First of all, watch this TED talk by Kimberlé Crenshaw, who coined the term "intersectionality" and explains its urgency:
Next, check out Dr. Eddie Moore Jr.'s 21 Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge (which can/should extend beyond 21 days):
I personally recommend starting with these two articles:
Article 1 & Article 2
on how white privilege exists even when white people have had hard lives due to the other intersecting oppressions that they experience.
Then, check out Sins Invalid's Principles of Disability Justice:
Now, go through THIS article (linked) of influential black disabled people who you can follow.
Other notable nonwhite disabled people include:
1.) Alice Wong of Disability Visibility | 2.) Sonya Renee Taylor (video warning), of The Body Is Not An Apology | 3.) Vilissa Thompson, founder of Ramp Your Voice (who coined the hashtag #DisabilityTooWhite) | 4.) Lisa J. Ellwood (+ Website) | 5.) Mike Jung of We Need Diverse Books | 6.) Morénike Giwa Onaiwu (+ Website) | 7.) Imani Barbarin of Crutches & Spice.
Imani's latest article hits hard:
Now, take a moment to watch this video on white guilt:
and recognize that ONLY feeling bad about your privilege or the things you said/did because of your internalized biases isn't helpful. Learn and recognize these concepts but don't just wallow in guilt. Do something. Donate/boost these different organizations/charities:
Native American Disability Law Center | Latin American Disabled People's Project | Black Disability Collective | Autistic People of Color Fund | Emergency Release Fund | Here's a list.
And, of course, Black Lives Matter.
Finally, for the love of god, watch Crip Camp!
Learn. Reflect. Grow. Change. LISTEN. Know when to speak and when to pass the microphone. Be better. Keep moving forward.
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Just want to talk about this scene for a second (off the top of my head upon first watch):
Firstly, let's look at how Eddie is dressed. He looks good here, like real good. That's definitely on purpose. (this man is so obviously in love)
Secondly, for all of the naysayers out there that are losing their shit because Buddie is being hinted at even more now while Ana also went bye bye last week (their last chance to be a self-insert in a hetero ship with Eddie in their fantasies, I guess), this is yet another scene where Eddie is providing emotional support to Buck, not just as his friend, but also as something Taylor should be doing. It should be Taylor Buck is talking to about this. Am I saying this conversation is exclusive to a significant other? No, I'm not. But the fact is we still have yet to see any building of Buck and Taylor's romantic relationship aka emotional connection. Instead, we see an episode that starts out with Eddie and Buck on the same scene but not working together or even interacting. Instead we get Eddie and Hen working together (which they had some very nice moments in the hospital before the shit hit the fan). Because the partnerships are yet again being paralleled. Chim is spiraling out due to Maddie's leaving and while Buck isn't, like Eddie said he's the guy "who likes to fix things" and thinks keeping it from Chim that he talked to Maddie while checking on Chim was the best thing for all involved. Hen knows Chim and knows what he was going to choose to do, just like Eddie knows Buck. They purposely went out of their way this episode to show us this parallel, right down to having Hen and Eddie working in the hospital and doing things that no firefighter paramedic would be doing, especially when the show has stressed previously that their jobs end at the doors (which if you think about it, the show keeps displaying that this is not happening this season, first time it was due to the chaos and they were lending a helping hand, now a mass casualty situation has happened and they're again lending a helping hand, they're showing this for a reason). In this episode, they wanted to show us Eddie and Hen while also relating them to the theme of the episode which is who you think you see/know may not really be who you think you see/know. The only time we see someone actually seeing/knowing who is in front of them is Eddie and Buck, Hen and Eddie, Chim and Buck, Hen and Chim, Bobby and Athena, Michael and Athena, May and Claudette, and May and Harry (which I absolutely loved that scene btw!!! We need MORE scenes with them!!!). Josh doesn't know Claudette (or is more being willingly blind I think), it's hinted Buck doesn't know Maddie (or who she is right now) or that Chim doesn't know Maddie, etc. And of course, we have Cassie and Makayla and that whole situation. So besides the obvious convo of the scene, this was definitely an emotional connection scene that paralleled to Hen and Chim's. But it also contrasts with it just as strongly.
For one, you don't have Hen or Chim looking at each other like this:
Instead, you have Hen and Chim telling each other that their significant others are lucky to have them. Purposeful. Dialogue. Because in the Buck and Eddie scene, yes, they discuss Maddie and what happened with Chim but we know Eddie just broke up with Ana and Buck is still dating Taylor but she's nowhere around this episode, nor is Christopher. They are trying to show us the difference, the contrast. Hen is married to Karen and they're together. Hen offers to drive with Chimney but he turns her down with the guise of 'would your wife be okay with that?' Chim leaves to go find Maddie who he loves and wants to bring back home. THE PARALLELS ARE RIGHT THERE. Sometimes, I want to force the naysayers into a lecture room and buckle them into their seats while taping their eyes open and ask them "WHAT FREAKING SHOW ARE YOU WATCHING??? IT'S ALL RIGHT THERE, DUH!!!!" But...I digress.
The point is it's an emotional connection scene (along with vulnerability) that's not just supposed to be friends, brothers, partners, neighbors or whatever other term antis will try to throw into the mix.
Thirdly, this is an intentional callback to this scene:
While there was no "sexual tension" in the 5x04 scene, we have the beers yet again. We have one handing a beer to the other, yet again. We have one reassuring the other emotionally. We also have a conversation about Maddie that turns into a conversation about one or the other. We have Eddie entering the scene first while being the first to talk and bringing something in Buck's direction (aka bringing something to Buck, to the dynamic). We have someone wanting to take a swing at Buck (but vs 3x09, Chim actually did). But this time, it's not night, Christopher isn't there (that we can see anyway though I thought I saw Gavin's name in the credits but I could be wrong), and it's in broad daylight on the balcony. And why? Because the show is literally letting us see now what's been right in front of us all along. Because Eddie (and Buck) are that much closer to where they've been steering this part of the story for two seasons now. They even had Buck and Eddie dressed similarly to that scene (Buck's hoodie is just a lighter color). The only difference is Eddie doesn't have an undershirt on (that we can see) but Buck suddenly does. (which again, I think it's because Eddie is aware of how he feels and while all of his cards may not be on the table right now, he knows; Buck on the other hand I don't think knows, or not that we've seen anyway; whereas in 3x09 Eddie had layers on because he was still sorting through things and wasn't being 100% honest while Buck was so no layers for him; this show makes choices I'm telling you)
It's all right there.
Fourthly, the constant beer sipping. I will admit, this action drove me nuts. The action was just so unnecessary but because it annoyed me so much, it garnered my attention to look at it more closely. Because Ryan is NOT a bad actor, and the show wouldn't have kept that in if it wasn't for a reason. Not only do we get the callback to the 3x09 scene (mentioned above) but Eddie is a lot softer in this scene, even in the way Ryan performs the dialogue. When he says "And you love Chimney", that is all kinds of soft (along with his expressions and snuck-in-there heart eyes). He's reassuring Buck but he's also letting his affection for Buck come through. Eddie is nervous here, but it's subtle, it doesn't come across that way. He is confident all throughout the scene until Buck asks him if he thinks Chim will forgive him. While he quickly reassures Buck (like always, 3x16 callback anyone?), his reaction afterwards and then the whole "Ice goes on the eye, bud" line with the constant sipping showcases his nervousness.
They're literally not even trying to hide it at this point. Like at all. I said Eddie's season 3 arc was peeking its head up and I knew it but damn I will admit I did not expect specific callbacks like this one. They're really out there circling back to stop at all of the Buddie pit stops along the way before finally sailing us home. Wow.
Fifthly, the line here: "When you see your sister, you think of the person you've always looked up to, the woman who's taken care of you." - I know we've all talked about the distinction Eddie keeps making with the word "woman" when it came to Ana, but holy hell this wasn't just another time he made this weird separation, he's literally saying it during this scene where he's giving some serious heart eyes and softness to Buck. He already used the word "person" to describe Maddie which is exactly what would have made sense. There was no reason to add "woman" in there. "When you see your sister, you think of the person you've always looked up to, who's taken care of you." -> that's literally how it could have gone but instead they had Ryan say the line with "woman" in it after using "person". Like I said, they're not even trying to hide it at this point.
Sixthly, there's something with Eddie's expression here and after a rewatch I'll be able to tune into exactly what it is a bit more but something is up here with the line "She's your sister" following Buck's "What was I supposed to do? She begged me not to tell him that we talked":
Plus, I think it's interesting that Eddie later says the line "Or you don't know her the way he does" (when in conjunction with this whole scene):
And last but certainly not least, *drumroll please*...
"This time, maybe she's the one who needs taking care of."
He's fucking telling Buck here 'You took care of me last time in season 3 when I needed it, I'm going to take care of you this time'. And they do the fucking slowest of slow zoom ins to both Eddie and Buck to see if Buck understands how this goddamn callback has now reversed their dynamic, if Buck gets what Eddie was telling him. I WAS FUCKING SCREAMING!!!!!!!!!! Eddie is literally out there putting himself on the line but doing it as close to safe as possible. HE'S TELLING BUCK 'IT'S MY TURN NOW TO BE THERE FOR YOU LIKE YOU WERE FOR ME WHEN I NEEDED YOU'!!!!!!!! (and sadly, Buck didn't get it, or if he did we didn't see it)
And then right after "You think he's gonna forgive me?" (ON THE CALLBACK SCENE TO 3x09 WHERE BUCK APOLOGIZED TO EDDIE, DON'T MIND ME I'M JUST DYING OVER HERE) "No." *then he sees Buck's literal wounded puppy face* "I'm kidding. I'm kidding. Maybe." (aka "Not that you didn't deserve it but I wouldn't do that...you're on blood thinners.") And then the whole "Ice goes on the eye, bud." (because Buck had stopped icing his eye, because Eddie cares but has to be careful right now about how he shows it) Because Buck has a black eye due to Chim taking a swing at him (aka Eddie wanting to take a swing at Buck because he deserved but he would never do that). The show literally chose for this conversation to happen revolving around Buck getting a black eye from a punch that Chimney gave him.
And ladies, gentlmen, and gentletheys, you have your contrast on the relationships between Eddie and Buck, and Buck and Chim.
Buck and Chim are brothers. They have been for a while and we've seen it displayed time and time again. They also have a friendship. Chimney didn't hold back from taking a swing at Buck because Buck deserved it (sorry, I get why Buck did what he did but still, that doesn't make it right).
Buck and Eddie are friends. And according to the naysayers and their bullshit, they're also brothers. When Buck deserved a punch for what happened back in season 3 (the lawsuit arc, again I get why Buck did what he did but I also couldn't blame Eddie and Bobby for being angry), Eddie didn't give it to him though he wanted to (aka Eddie beating up the guy over the parking space). And when Eddie started to lose his temper at Buck (before they were interrupted by the fight over the parking space ironically), he knew then that Lena was right, he needed an outlet for his anger, and went to the underground fights instead while the 118 and Buck went to the rage room. THE CONTRAST IS RIGHT THERE. He didn't want to hurt Buck even though he felt Buck "deserved it". And considering how we've seen the difference in temperaments between Eddie and Chim, Chim would have been the last person to take a swing. But because Chim was affected by Buck's decision to keep things quiet about Maddie (just like Eddie was affected by Buck's decision to cease all contact with the lawsuit back in season 3), he reacted and took the swing.
Literally, these characters' season 3 arcs are coming back and I fucking love it. From Eddie to Athena to Bobby to now Buck (plus Taylor as Abby, and Ana aka Shannon 2.0 being gone now) -- they literally are sailing us into the home stretch.
And we all remember how season 3 ended:
We're literally in the fucking home stretch. We may not get full on Buddie by the end of the season (though I think there's a good chance we might) but Eddie's feelings are definitely coming out this season and we are getting more Buckley Diaz family at some point. IT. IS. COMING.
Eddie is coming for that family, and he is coming hard. And I'm going to enjoy every second of it.
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OK SO I THINK MY POST GOT EATEN so here's a slightly more coherent version. buck and eddie are together right before the blackout, buck is asking eddie abt his relationship with Ana bc he hasn't talked abt it in a while. eddie is obviously resistant bc then he'd have to explain that he broke up with Ana bc he's head over ass in love with buck. so buck's needling bc he wants to know and then the power goes out. eddie is relieved bc it'll distract buck. (I literally do not care where they are trapped as long as it's just the two of them) and now they're trying to get out of this room and buck is back to asking abt ana and eddies not saying anything and bucks like "c'mon it can't be that bad!! did you say I love you? did you ask her to move in? did you PROPOSE????" and eddie obviously cannot let THAT idea stand and goes "no we broke up" and bucks like "oh I'm sorry that sucks" thinking eddie is broken up abt it and eddie goes "actually I broke up with her" before he can stop himself. bucks like "oh" and then moves on for a bit and eventually they decide they've exhausted all their options and there's no way out, so now they're sitting on the floor, in the dark, shoulders touching and buck asks again. and again. and again and do eddie finally breaks and turns his head to buck, leaning it against the wall, even if he can't see him and goes "she wasn't want I wanted. who I want." and bucks like "well who do you want?" in a soft voice and right as eddie opens his mouth to respond, on the verge of spilling everything, the lights kick back on, and buck and eddie are staring at each other, eyes wide and eddie closed his mouth. hesitates. and then says "I don't know" shakily. hours later, back at the station locker room, right as buck's abt to leave buck turns and says "taylor and I broke up" and eddie goes "oh?" kinda hopefully and buck goes "yeah. she wasn't who I wanted either" looking right into eddie's eyes and then breaks contact by looking at the floor and then leaves. eddie finishes getting dressed and goes to his car, leans his head against the wheel and let's out a breathe and drives back home
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okay i promise i am truly not on this website to start discourse. but. after weeks of not seeing the Bad Takes people were talking about, this week i finally saw some Bad Takes along the usual lines of how much better buck deserves from the team, et cetera, et cetera.
and i just. i can't. are we watching the same show?
i don't understand how you can look at this episode and say that the team somehow did fundamentally wrong by buck. i really don't. i've seen rhetoric that like...accuses them of not reassuring him, because don't they know him by now? they should have made sure that he didn't feel guilty about chim's departure before he did something as drastic as try to leave the team.
except what i don't understand is why you'd assume that he would tell anyone about his feelings, because i'm pretty damn sure he didn't. don't we know buck - "i hide my true feelings from others" buck - by now? we saw him venting to taylor with the air of someone who's been keeping things inside and turning them over in his mind again and again to the point of overthinking. he thinks everyone at work is "avoiding the subject" of chimney, when what they're doing is just giving their friend time and space to do what he needs to do. for them, the matter is settled. meanwhile, buck is drowning in guilt because he thinks he made chim leave. he is fundamentally misunderstanding the situation. if "hen is being weird, eddie's being weird, everything's just off"; "you think they blame me for him leaving town?", he's not just going to walk up to any of them and ask why they're behaving the way they are, because that risks having his worst fears confirmed. he has already come to the wrong conclusion.
but wait, you might say. didn't him and eddie have a conversation about the chimney situation an episode ago? yeah. and eddie, who's something of a buck expert these days, did a great job with reiterating that this wasn't something buck could fix, but the fact that he couldn't wasn't his fault. we all saw buck take in what eddie said and take it seriously. but that was before he saw what the team was like without chim: not with him off work but still in LA, but him gone for an indeterminate amount of time, right after having a serious fight with buck.
still, it's undeniable that he has the closest, most intimate emotional connection with eddie, out of everyone. so could he have gone to eddie with his concerns anyway? of course. did he? highly doubt it. we see him being hard on ravi over the course of what is probably at least a few shifts, during which all his time at work is focused on literally preparing his replacement in his own family, which must be a very dark place to be in mentally. add to that: "everything" being "off"; the fact that him and eddie aren't paired up on calls, so eddie probably feels a little farther away than usual in an emotional sense; the fact that buck thinking chim was gone for good ("eddie is replacing chimney") also means him probably thinking that he'd never be eddie's partner again; and above all how terrifying it would be to ask eddie, his best friend, his person, if he blames buck, and be answered in the affirmative. balcony buck probably could have been more open about his feelings. mid-spiral, 5x05 buck is too far gone for that.
and still - despite the fact that he doesn't let any of this on - we are shown that the team understands a lot about him. hen understood exactly why he was treating ravi the way he was; if hen gets it, eddie certainly does, and the fact that bobby doesn't intervene even when buck's being harsh suggests some degree of understanding on his part too. they just didn't get to the core of his motivations because, realistically speaking, it's both a misunderstanding and a serious overreaction to the situation (and hopefully it's clear enough that this is not me saying buck was wrong for feeling the way he did. it's perfectly understandable and i have nothing but sympathy for him, as do they).
could they have predicted that he'd spiral that far? i don't know, maybe?? but buck displayed a great degree of emotional growth in season 4. he was in therapy, which was something the entire team came to know at the time. he trusted them with everything he learned about daniel pretty much as soon as he learned it. they have a much deeper, much more intimate understanding of where he's coming from most of the time, but buck's trauma and the way it affects him is incredibly complex, and this conclusion that seems perfectly reasonable to him just. isn't. to them. especially because, just to reiterate this again, it never occured to them to put any blame on buck in the first place, because they each had a separate conversation in which they encouraged chim's choice.
anyway, so once we get to the dinner scene. i might be missing something, but i don't really see how they could have handled it better. not for a second does anyone dismiss his feelings, because him voluntarily trying to leave the 118 very clearly communicates the gravity of the situation. they also reassure him in multiple ways:
first, each one of them explains that they played a part in chimney leaving. buck says "everything is broken now, and it's my fault, i'm the reason he's gone", and they instantly absolve him of that guilt, the very second they realize it's there. second, hen, who is chim's best friend and would probably have the best insight into how he's doing and what he's feeling, explicitly says that chimney's coming back, this providing reassurance that, even if everything is "off" and "broken" right now - as it would be with the heart of the 118 gone - it's not forever. and third, they reaffirm that he, buck - not just any guy who can technically do buck's job - belongs with the team: "you're gonna be right here where you belong"; "you're stuck with us". they know that he needs to hear not just that chim leaving isn't his fault; he needs to be reassured that they actively don't want him to leave, so that's exactly what they do.
of course the fact that buck got to that place mentally at all is heartbreaking, but i find this to be a genuinely beautiful scene, and i think it actually highlights the incredible amount of love they all have for buck and their growing understanding of who he is as a person and what his motivations are. i saw people trying to draw comparisons with other instances of the team ~not being there for him~, like the catfishing and the aftermath of the pulmonary embolism, and honestly? thinking about the missteps made there literally only serves to lift this particular scene up. they absolutely, unequivocally, did not let him down. buck didn't communicate his feelings as they were developing; the ony thing they didn't do is read buck's mind, and as soon as they understood what he was feeling, they supported him in the ways he needed in that particular moment.
so like, i don't know. maybe watch the episode again.
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Ok but like....listen.
I just think it's so profound
So GUT WRENCHING
That the ONLY person that entire episode to physically console/comfort Buck, after watching his boyfriend bestfriend get shot which is clearly causing him unspeakable amounts of guilt and pain, is Chris.
Bobby, his father figure, never hugged him.
Maddie, his sister, never hugged him.
Carla, the queen herself, never hugged him.
Athena, his mother figure, never hugged him.
Taylor, his LI, tried to touch him outside the hospital, but it was brief and there was no comforting hug involved. And then when she did touch him for longer than 3 seconds, it was to KISS him rather than comfort him.
The ONLY person who physically comforts Buck and gives him the hug he so desperately needed after what he saw, was Chris.
Not "Christopher Diaz, the son of his coworker, just like he is to everyone else"
But "Christopher Diaz, HIS son. The one who he will be the legal guardian of if anything happens to his blood related father. The one who looks at him as a second father."
This just shows us how strong of a bond the Buckley-Diaz household is. They are most definitely a family unit of their own and honestly they have the best dynamic.
When Athena broke down, Bobby, her husband, was there to comfort her with open arms.
When Hen and Karen struggled with IVF and losing Nia, they comforted each other and even took a vacation to recenter themselves.
When Maddie admitted she needed help and broke down to Chim, he was there to hold her hand and promise to get her the help she needed.
And now we have Buck, who is devastated after watching Eddie, his partner, be shot in front of him. His entire world has been turned upside down. Nothing makes sense to him at the moment. The one person he counts on to keep him grounded isn't there and he's losing it.
But Chris, his unofficial son, is the one to console him and tell him it's going to be ok. Because that's what families do. In a way, it's an extension of Eddie letting him know it's going to be alright.
That's. What. Families. Do.
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Thoughts on Taylor and Buck (and Eddie) in 4x14
For people worrying about bucktaylor.....I just want you to think about the moment Taylor first shows up in this episode. This is coming off half of season’s worth of episodes of Taylor and Buck building up a friendship. A close one too.
When Buck is reeling, panting like he's on the verge of a panic attack, still blinking back tears (and failing) like he's gonna break down sobbing at any moment. It's the most vulnerable moment of his life and he steps out of the hospital and spots Taylor near other press trying to get in.
And he doesn’t think "this is Taylor my friend, my safe space, who I go to when I'm vulnerable and need someone who loves me". He took one look at her and saw the moment she stabbed him in the back and was going to turn Bobby's worst moment into a news story. He looked at her and his face fell and his voice shook and he turned around to leave and he said "no comment".
I was surprised by this because we've seen Taylor become a close friend to him this season and for him to be pushing her away so hard in this scene, like he couldn’t allow himself to have this breakdown in front of her because she could potentially use it against him. It proves to me that although they are becoming friends, Taylor has not yet earned his entire trust back from her season 2 betrayals (and from her season 4 rejections). (Remind us of anyone else we know? *cough* Eddie and Shannon)
Taylor wanted to drive him to Chris and he refused. She had to push him, had to tell him he couldn't see Chris like this, bloodied and shaken, for him to agree. And even still when he’s in the presence of Christopher, one half of Buck’s ultimate safe space, he fucking loses it. I have more thoughts on Buck and the significance of him crying with Christopher later.
More under the cut:
Taylor is worrying about him the whole episode, but after this first moment he addresses her really nonchalantly. She's pissed at him for being reckless, she obviously is showing him she cares, and Buck is flirting. He's smiling and teasing Taylor and she's like??? I'm mad at you?? For endangering yourself?? Buck, who has been on the brink of collapse all episode, is putting on a brave face and pretending he's alright, even in front of Taylor.
And yeah it ends in a kiss but when it comes to the choice of chasing after Taylor (who’s essentially just shown that she does have feelings for Buck) or going to Eddie, Buck makes the choice to go to Eddie.
The very next scene we see Buck opening up to Eddie. Telling him that he broke down in front of Christopher, that he's sorry he failed Eddie and Chris like that, and that he wishes he had been shot instead of Eddie. Buck cracks open his heart and shows Eddie his insecurities, his darkest thoughts, his failures, his regrets. And how does Eddie respond?
He gives Buck the ultimate gift. But more on that later.
The next scene with Buck and Taylor involves Taylor coming back after she left after refusing to talk to Buck about her feelings for him.
Buck says "You came back. Wasn't sure that was going to happen." And that's because everyone who Buck has had a romantic relationship with thus far has left him, and he didn't think Taylor would be the one to break the cycle. Already she's fallen in line with everyone else having left the first time.
(Speculation: This is why I think Buck will be the one to end their relationship next season, or it will be implied that’s he the one who ended it.)
And again, how does Buck conduct himself in this scene? His face is light, he's laughing. And although he admits that "he spent a long time feeling like he wasn't enough" and although he attempts to be vulnerable here, this scene is still all about whether TAYLOR wants him. Whether she chooses to be with him. And even though Taylor says she does....she hasn't (yet) done anything to prove it. And I doubt in Buck's heart of hearts that he truly believes her.
Now, we get to Buck and Eddie's last and most powerful scene together. Because Eddie doesn't just say it. He proves it with his actions. Actions he made a whole ass year ago. And he decides to tell Buck now when he didn’t tell Buck then, because he saw this whole episode how Buck was consistently devaluing himself and his life. Buck thinks he’s expendable, thinks he’s a burden, thinks he doesn’t matter, thinks no one wants him (even AFTER the bucktaylor moment, mind you). And Eddie tells him to his face: “YOU’RE WRONG.”
By making Buck Christopher’s legal guardian should anything happen to Eddie, Eddie has not only proven how much he trusts Buck, but he has told him you’re essential, you matter, you’re a gift, and we want you in our lives no matter what.
Eddie has seen Buck at his worst. He’s seen Buck being petulant and childish and territorial, he’s seen Buck being reckless and diving into danger head first, he’s seen Buck being kinda dumb sometimes, he’s seen Buck after (to Buck) he lost Eddie’s son in a tsunami, seen Buck furious at his parents, and seen Buck feeling like all he was good for is “spare parts”. Eddie loved and trusted him through nearly losing Christopher, through the lawsuit, through the street-fighting, through nearly dying underground, through nearly dying on the street after getting shot. And Eddie still chose Buck through all of it. Each and every time. Still said, you are who I want for my son (and as it’s heavily implied: for himself).
And you can see it in Buck’s face in that last frame. When Eddie says it, Buck believes it.
So although the two bucktaylor kisses may feel like a loss to some, I think the whole of bucktaylor’s scenes in this episode just show such a stark contrast to the strength that is Buck’s relationship with Eddie. And I think that next season if Bucktaylor becomes a full on relationship, it will not last, and I still think we’re headed towards Buddie endgame.
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ahh that's amazing! thank you in advance. I got this idea into my head: what if there is this one time they're all on a call, and maybe it's something that hits a little too close to home for Buck, maybe it's playing on his fears and insecurities, but the moment Buck sees what they're dealing with he gets SCARED, and freezes, and subconsciously grabs Eddie's hand, because Eddie makes him feel safe. He is his best friend (who he's in love with, ofc) after all. Eddie is well. Surprised. Very much.
Anon! Thank you so much for your patience with this one! I know it's been ages since you sent it in. I hope it's worth the wait and that I did justice to your prompt! (CW: drowning)
Eddie feels Buck tense up beside him as soon as Bobby tells them where they're going: Splash Zone Water Park. They have calls to pools fairly often, and Buck always gets a little bit tense going into it, no matter how long it’s been since the tsunami. Eddie presses his knee against Buck’s in the truck, offering a silent comfort to his friend. Buck seems to push down his fears by the time they pull up to the scene, forcing himself to shift into Firefighter Buckley mode as they make their way through the park. Eddie lets himself be relieved, until they arrive in front of the wave pool.
Of course it’s the goddamn wave pool. Even worse, there’s a nine year old boy laid out on the stone patio next to the pool, dripping wet, brown hair plastered to his forehead. He’s unconscious, bleeding from the side of his head, and his chest isn't rising and falling like it should be. Buck freezes immediately at the sight, reaching out for Eddie with his right hand, and wrapping his fingers around Eddie’s left wrist. It takes Eddie a moment to realize that Buck is feeling for his pulse, grounding himself.
Eddie does his best to steady his breathing and heart rate once he realizes what Buck is doing. The sight in front of them is upsetting to him, of course it is, but he knows it’s worse for Buck. He’s not the one who walked around for hours not knowing if Christopher was dead or alive. He’s not the one who almost died himself (at least, not that day.) “It’s okay,” he murmurs quietly, so only Buck can hear. “I’m here, I’m alive. That’s not Christopher.” It’s purely a medical call at this point, so he makes no attempt to move away from Buck as Hen and Chimney begin administering CPR to the boy. His mother is crying, wailing, begging them to save him. His lips are turning blue. Buck’s grip on Eddie’s wrist is like a vice.
“We got a pulse!” Hen finally calls out.
Buck’s grip doesn’t loosen, but Eddie does hear him let out of a heavy breath. He twists his hand out of Buck’s grip just enough that he can slide his arm up, so Buck is no longer holding his wrist, but is holding his hand. He gives Buck’s hand a firm squeeze and finally hazards a glance up at the man in question. Buck is staring at their intertwined hands now, confused. At least, Eddie decides, he’s distracted from the drowning boy. He runs his thumb along the back of Buck’s hand, in what he hopes is a comforting gesture.
He knows they’re crossing some kind of line here, that hand holding in the middle of an emergency scene (even one where their presence turned out not to be strictly necessary) is not something that he’ll be able to brush off as strictly platonic. It doesn’t scare him like it used to, though. Maybe it’s because he watched Buck date Taylor, so he knows how much worse it would be to not have Buck, or maybe it’s all the therapy he’s been in since the shooting. Either way, Eddie’s not afraid anymore. He and Buck have been on the edge of something--or maybe everything--for months, so if holding Buck’s hand will help ground him, keep his mind from thrusting him back in time, then it’s a risk Eddie is willing to take.
Hen and Chimney are loading the boy into the ambulance--he is breathing again, still unconscious and probably severely concussed, but alive--when Bobby finally makes his way over to them. He takes in the haunted look in Buck’s eyes, and the fact that their hands are still tightly clasped together, and frowns.
“You boys alright?” He asks, but he’s looking at Buck.
Buck nods slowly. “I--Yeah. Just...Brought up some bad memories.”
“This was a rough one,” Bobby agrees. “I’m gonna take us off rotation for a while when we get back to the station.”
“Thanks, Cap,” Eddie says. Buck doesn’t say anything.
Bobby smiles in that warm, fatherly way of his, looking between them. “Take care of each other.”
As if there’s any universe where they wouldn’t.
Eddie doesn’t let go of Buck’s hand until they get back to the station, and only because he needs two hands to cook.
“I’m not hungry,” Buck says, still hovering in Eddie’s space.
“You were about to eat before the call came in,” Eddie insists gently. “You need to eat.”
“And you’re gonna cook for me?” Buck shakes his head. “I think I’ll take my chances with starvation.”
Eddie rolls his eyes, pulling out a griddle and a clean spatula. “I think I can handle grilled cheese, Buck.”
Buck’s mouth opens and closes in surprise. “Grilled cheese?”
“Maddie may have mentioned making it for you a lot growing up.” Eddie flushes slightly at having to admit he’s talked to Maddie about Buck. “I thought it would be comforting.”
Buck stares at him, eyes wide and mouth turning up into a tentative smile. “Yeah, it is.”
“Good,” Eddie smiles back. “Now, go sit down.”
Eddie bustles about the kitchen, pulling out the good buttermilk bread that Chimney always buys instead of the whole wheat bread that Bobby puts on the list, the pre-sliced cheddar cheese, and the butter. “After we eat, how about we video call Christopher?” It’s late in the afternoon, he’ll be home from school by now.
Buck lets out a long exhale. “Yes, please.”
Eddie flips the bread slices on the griddle and places the cheese slices on the toasted side. “Great.”
“I--” Buck starts. “I didn’t know how to ask.”
Eddie looks up from the sandwiches. “How to ask for what?”
“To talk to Christopher,” Buck draws patterns on the tabletop with his index finger. “I know I’m not--He’s not mine.”
Eddie doesn’t say anything at first, just plates up the sandwiches, brings them over to the table, and sits down next to Buck, who takes a small, tentative bite.
“I don’t think that’s true.”
“You said Christopher isn’t yours,” Eddie picks up his sandwich, but doesn’t bite into it. “I don’t think that’s true.”
Buck is staring at him again, confused.
“Look, I don’t know what we are anymore, Buck,” Eddie admits. “Things are different between us now, and I don’t know what I’m doing, but I know that you love Christopher, and that he loves you just as much. If that doesn’t give you a right to call him, to reassure yourself that he’s okay, then I don’t know what does.”
“I…” Buck’s eyes fill with tears.
"It's okay, Buck." Eddie reaches over to wipe Buck's tears with his thumb. “Just eat your grilled cheese."
Buck does as he’s told, making it halfway through the sandwich in three bites. “You know, there’s no law that says we have to wait until we finish eating to call Christopher.”
Eddie raises a skeptical eyebrow, looking up from his own half-eaten lunch. “Will you actually finish eating if we call now?”
“Absolutely.” Buck takes a big bite to prove his point. “See?” He says, through a mouthful of food. Something so childish shouldn’t be so endearing, and yet, somehow it is.
Helpless, Eddie pulls out his phone. Carla answers on the second ring. “You better have a good reason for interrupting math homework.”
“I do.” Eddie assures her. “Can you put Chris on?”
Carla gives him a look, but does as he asks. Christopher is grinning--probably excited to have his math homework interrupted “Hi, Dad!”
“Hey, kid.” Eddie can’t help but return his son’s smile. “How’s the math homework going?”
Christopher’s smile falters slightly. “Oh, it’s good.”
Somehow Eddie doesn’t totally believe that, but it’s not important now. “Listen, I’ve got somebody here who wants to say ‘hi’, is that okay?”
The boy’s smile comes back even wider than before. “Is it Buck?”
“Yeah,” Buck says, loud enough that the phone can catch it. “It’s me.”
“Hand the phone to Buck, Dad!” Christopher is bouncing with excitement. “Hand the phone to Buck!”
He does, scooching his chair closer so he can still see the screen himself, and before Buck can even greet Christopher, the kid is launching into a monologue.
“Buck! Dr. Lassiter assigned us a big, semester-long project for science class, can you pleeeaaase help me with it? I want to build a model of the solar system, but it has to be totally accurate.”
The tension Buck's body has been holding onto since the phrase “water park” fell from Bobby’s lips is finally starting to fade.
“Absolutely. Do we want it to move?”
Christopher’s eyes widen on screen. “Yes!”
Buck laughs. “Well then, we’ve got our work cut out for us.”
Eddie smiles softly, as Buck and Christopher begin planning their project. He knows he must look like a lovesick fool, but to be fair, that’s what he is. He rests one hand over the crook of Buck’s elbow, and doesn’t miss the pink that appears across his cheeks.
“Alright, you three,” that’s Carla’s voice, “Somebody still has math homework to finish, and I’m sure you boys will have to get back to work soon.”
Eddie sighs. Carla is right, unfortunately. But Buck looks lighter than he has all day. “We better do what Carla says.”
“Will you come over after work?” Christopher asks. They won't get off until after Christopher will already be at school, so Buck will probably go to his loft after work. But Eddie doesn’t doubt now that Christopher has asked, Buck will manage to make it over to their house by the time Christopher is home from school. He wonders if it's too soon to ask Buck to sleep in his bed, instead of going to his loft at all. It's yet another line to cross, but at this point Eddie's lost track of all the lines they've crossed.
“You bet,” is Buck’s answer. “Now get back to your math!”
“Okay, dad,” Christopher says, rolling his eyes, voice dripping with sarcasm. It’s meant to be a joke at Buck’s expense, but Eddie can see the breath catching in Buck’s throat all the same, so he pulls the phone from his hand and takes over.
“Good-bye, Christopher! We love you!”
“Bye Dad! Bye Buck! I love you guys, too.”
Buck finds his voice again. “Bye Superman!”
“So,” Eddie says, putting the phone down. “Do you feel better now?”
“Eddie…” Buck hesitates, dropping his hand down so it rests over Eddie’s. His skin is warm and rough and unlike earlier Eddie can actually enjoy the feeling. “Thank you.” He’s thanking Eddie for more than just the grilled cheese and the phone call, and Eddie knows it.
His answer is simple. He turns his hand over, and interlocks their fingers. “Always, Buck.”
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nobody wants to hear you sing about tragedy
read on ao3
Eddie’s fine. Really. He’s got a fresh scar on his right shoulder, a twin to his other one, and a couple more medical bills to pay off, but other than that, everything is good.
Why shouldn’t it be? Things could be worse — he could’ve lost his arm, could’ve been shot in the spine instead, could’ve not survived the trip to the hospital. But he did — he’s healed, he’s still breathing, and he’s ready to get back to work on Monday, to stop staring at the inside of his house and get back to the life he’d finally started to feel settled in. There’s a twinge in his chest every time he thinks about actually being back out in the field, but it’s just nerves, a small worry at getting back into the swing of things. He knows the team and how well they work together, so he’s sure one rope rescue with Buck is all it’ll take to feel normal again.
He’s fine. Or almost fine. Really, he is. He doesn’t let the tremble in his hands or the ice in his gut tell him otherwise.
It doesn’t really register, the first time it happens. There’s a glint of light in his periphery, and for a second, his arms go numb. It’s just a second, though — he sees the flash again, sunlight shining off an axe Ravi is packing onto the truck, and he moves on, doesn’t think about it again.
The next time, the wind whips by his ear a little too fast after a call at the pier, and he turns around so quickly he cracks his neck, the thought of bulletbulletbullet ricocheting in his head. It gets him a concerned look from Bobby and reminds him that he never called that therapist his doctor mentioned at his last visit, but he elects to deal with it later and moves on.
Things keep happening, but they’re all small, insignificant — someone laughing too loudly at dinner, the feel of hot asphalt under his hands as he reaches under the ambulance for a runaway bandage roll, a phantom jolt of pain in his shoulder when someone accidentally jostles him running to the truck.
Tiny things, meaningless, not even worth remembering.
He’ll get used to them, eventually. He’s been healing, isolated from the real world for months now, it’s going to be a bit of a shock to his system and his senses.
He doesn’t call the therapist.
Buck’s happy. Genuinely happy, in an open, honest way that Eddie doesn’t think he’s ever seen. His laughs are still loud but they’re freer, unrestrained, and his smile is bright enough to light whatever room he’s in. It makes something sing in Eddie’s chest, especially when all that wattage gets directed at him. If he’s honest, the music’s been there for a while, it just took lying in his own blood, reaching toward the only thing that felt like safety, for him to finally put a name on the song that’s been playing.
Talk about shitty timing.
Because Buck’s with Taylor now, and as much as he still doesn’t care for her, she’s helping with Buck’s new attitude too. He sees the soft smiles that linger after a text from her, and he only gives himself a minute to wish it were for him instead before reminding himself how much of a miracle those smiles are at all.
If he had watched Buck get shot, been splattered with his blood, been soaked with it as he tried to stop it from leaking out of his chest, he’s not sure he would’ve had any kind of happiness to spare.
So he adds this feeling, this particularly green beast twisting in his chest, to the list of things that he’s just going to have to get used to, and moves on. Buck is still in his and Chris’ life, still at their house more than his own, still the center of both of their worlds, and that’s enough.
It has to be.
“Wow, Eddie, you look like shit.”
He glares at Chimney as best he can, but he’s too tired for it to hold any heat. “Good morning to you too, Chim.”
Hen sits next to him at the table where he’s nursing his second mug of coffee of the day, downing the first one before driving Chris to school. She presses the back of her hand to his forehead, and he tries not to melt into the touch too much.
“You don’t feel warm,” she says, “but you look like you’ve been hit by a truck.”
He shrugs, staring down at his coffee. “Just haven’t been sleeping well.”
That may be an understatement. Not sleeping well implies sleeping at all, which Eddie’s not sure he’s been able to do in the past few days. It was easy enough when he first got home, still on pain meds that made his eyelids constantly heavy. And when Chris crawled into his bed the night after his sling came off, quiet but sniffling and burrowing into his side, it was a relief to gather him up close, a hand stroking through his hair as they both drifted off, clinging to each other. It was good for both of them, necessary to remind them both that Eddie is still here, but Chris went to his own room on Monday night instead of Eddie’s, and Eddie refused to take that choice away from him.
So he’s been alone, in a too dark room with a too big bed and a too loud brain that only shows him flashes of light and blood and fear whenever he does try to close his eyes.
Just another thing he has to get used to.
He sees Chim and Hen exchange a look and hopes to God they don’t press it. He’s beyond frayed, his state of exhaustion warring with his almost constant state of hypervigilance, and he’s not sure if he’d snap or cry or both if they try to ask him any more questions. Either way, that’s not how he wants them or anyone else to see him, especially not at work. At work, he’s Mr. Cool, always level headed, always in the game, always on top of it. Despite the jumpiness, despite the sense of dread that seems to be a permanent fixture under his skin, he’s been able to keep that attitude going, even getting lost in it sometimes, feeling like the Eddie of four months ago again. If that starts to unravel, who knows what other parts of him will fall apart with it?
Luckily, they seem to get the hint, a pat on the back and a squeeze on the shoulder as they leave the loft to restock the ambulance. But even once they’re gone and he’s alone in the quiet of the loft again, Eddie feels exposed. Fragile. Vulnerable. Teetering on the edge of an abyss he can’t afford to fall into. And he hates it, because this isn’t him. He’s the protector, the provider, the guy who’s survived getting shot twice now, and as much as he encourages Chris to be open and emotional, it still feels wrong to him, like something too close to failure. He knows, rationally, that talking about the mess in his head would probably help, but it would also feel like a loss. Like this one-sided war he’s been fighting was all for nothing.
He hears Buck before he sees him, his unmistakable bounding up the stairs echoing through the whole loft. Just that sound, just the knowledge that Buck is about to be in his vicinity, is enough to yank Eddie back from the edge. He’s not settled or calm or better, but he’s not worse. These days, that’s all he can really ask for.
Buck takes Hen’s vacant seat, stealing a sip of coffee and chattering about a traveling art exhibit he thinks they should take Chris to. Eddie feels the vice on his ribs loosen, letting Buck’s voice and enthusiasm wash over him, pushing him back to center. He doesn’t quite make it, not when Buck stops talking mid-sentence, brow furrowed and looking so intensely at Eddie he can probably see right through him
“You look tired,” Buck says.
Tired isn’t a strong enough word. But he smirks half heartedly instead, willing a little bit of his confidence back to get the subject changed sooner. “And here I thought I looked good today.”
“No, you always—“ Buck clears his throat and shakes his head, “You just look like you could use a nap. Are you okay?”
And for the first time since he woke up in the hospital with a new hole in his body and extra demons in his head, Eddie doesn’t want to say he’s fine. In the face of earnest blue eyes and worry lines, he doesn’t want to lie, and that’s exactly what an I’m fine would be, no matter how much he’s been trying to ignore it. He doesn’t want to downplay and pretend that it’s nothing, because it’s Buck. Buck who has seen him lower than he’s ever let anyone see, who slept on his couch so he was never too far away from him or Chris, who knows when Eddie needs to be pulled or pushed or pressed or none of the above.
He doesn’t want to just say he’s fine, because he’s not.
The courage to say so finally fills him, just in time for Buck’s phone to light up, Taylor’s name flashing across the screen on two messages. Buck doesn’t even glance at his phone before flipping it face down and pushing it to the side, but it’s too late — Eddie feels his walls going back up, any bravery leaving to make room for the reminder that Buck is in a good place and Eddie will do anything to keep him there. He’ll take another bullet, he’ll keep every emotion under lock and key, he’ll carve his own damn heart out of his chest if he has to. He cannot — will not — be the reason that smile that’s become so natural on Buck’s face dims by even a watt.
The crease in between Buck’s brow has only gotten deeper the longer Eddie hasn’t answered, so he musters up the most genuine smile he can. “I’m okay, Buck. I promise.” The lie cuts through his throat like broken glass.
Buck squints at him, scooting forward until his knees are digging into Eddie’s thigh. “You’d tell me if you weren’t, right?”
“Of course,” he says, another lie, more salt in the wounds he’s already given himself. Buck’s quiet for a few long moments, studying Eddie’s face, and Eddie prays that he doesn’t crack, that Buck doesn’t keep pressing. By some miracle, he doesn’t, just rests a hand on Eddie’s knee and squeezes before heading to the pantry for a snack.
The vice is back as soon as he’s out of sight, and Eddie’s list of things he has to learn to live with is starting to feel a little too long.
Healing isn’t linear. It’s something he’s heard from every doctor he’s seen, every therapist he’s been assigned to, something he’s experienced first hand, physically and emotionally. So when he wakes up one morning feeling rested, energetic, and normal, he’s wary. He doesn’t want to focus on it, afraid he’ll scare this fragile feeling away, but he also wants to soak in it as much as he can. Wants to remember the easy laughs with the team and the night of board games with Chris and Buck when he’s inevitably surrounded by darkness again tomorrow.
He falls asleep and he doesn’t dream and he wakes up and feels...normal. Again. Same thing the morning after, and the morning after that. For a whole week, he doesn’t wake up with the taste of blood in his mouth or a soreness in his shoulder. He hears birds and sees the sun peaking in and feels something dangerously close to good. The wariness is still there, but every day it gets pushed a little farther back in his mind, making it a little easier to believe that while this feeling might not last, maybe it won’t be as dark when the clouds roll back in.
The restlessness comes back with a vengeance — a thrumming in his blood that won’t let him sleep, that amplifies every sound to sharp snaps that remind him too much of the gunfire he’s been trying to forget, putting him constantly on edge again. There’s a heaviness too, making it hard to breathe, hard to move, even though staying in one place for too long feels like putting a target on his back for the monsters that have made a home in his head.
He tries to keep his cool, tries to keep the facade up, but it’s hard to keep your balance on a frayed tightrope.
Bobby notices the shift right away.
It doesn’t help that even the quiet thump of the oven closing makes Eddie flinch where he’s sitting at the kitchen counter. He had hoped that watching Bobby make breakfast would calm him, remind him of the countless hours he’s spent in Abuela’s kitchen doing the very same thing, but it doesn’t. He’s still jittery, worse than he can remember being, and everything just feels like too much.
Bobby sets a to-go container down in front of him, and Eddie flinches (and curses himself) again. He looks up, confused, and is met with Bobby’s I’m about to tell you to do something and you are not allowed to say no look. Usually it’s Buck on the receiving end of that one.
He tries for a deflection. “Are we going somewhere, Cap?”
The look stays in place. “We are not. You are. There’s enough in there for you and Chris, take it home and don’t let me see you here for the next 48 hours.”
“There’s still three hours left of shift.”
Bobby pushes the container closer. “Go home, Diaz. Be with your kid. We’ll talk when you get back. And if you won’t talk to me, we’ll find someone you will talk to.”
Normally, he’d fight back. Raise his hackles, insist he doesn’t need any special treatment or intervention. But he feels like his insides have been scooped out and replaced with lead and cement and he’s tired. He barely has enough left in him to keep himself upright.
He slowly picks up the container and gets up to leave. Bobby calls his name as he gets to the top of the stairs.
“We’re here for you,” he says. “You’ve been through too much to be handling this on your own. Just let us know how we can help.”
I would if I could, but I don’t even know where to start.
He just nods, hopes his face looks some degree of reassuring, and heads to the locker room.
The way Chris’ face lights up when he sees Eddie waiting for him in the front office is enough to thaw the ice in his chest for a minute. He can hear the exact octave his mother’s voice would reach if she heard about him pulling Chris out of school for “no good reason”, but he also could not give less of a shit.
He feels a little bit more like a person with Chris in the backseat. That’s a good enough reason for him.
They set up camp in the park near their house, Bobby’s food and extra snacks Eddie picked up spread out between them, and Chris fills Eddie in on all the things he missed while he was working. He tries to focus on everything — Chris’ excitement about his upcoming science fair, the Sour Patch Watermelon sugar stuck to the tip of his nose, the way his hands move with his words. Eddie feels better, more settled, just getting to bask in the sun and in Chris like this, but he still feels heavy, like every move he makes has him fighting against gravity, threatening to pull him into the dirt.
There’s a crack from the playground in front of them, and Eddie’s blood turns to ice. He’s halfway to standing before he sees it’s just some kids snapping sticks in half to build some kind of log cabin. He lets out a slow breath as he sits back down and wills his heartbeat back to normal.
Chris is staring at him, eyes intense and brow furrowed, very similar to someone else they know.
As soon as he’s settled, Chris moves to sit in the criss-cross of his legs. He’s a little too on the lanky side for this anymore, but Eddie’s absolutely not going to complain. Chris twists until he’s looking Eddie in the eye. Eddie does his best not to look away.
Chris rests a hand on his cheek. “It’s okay if you’re feeling bad,” he says. “You can talk to me about it, if you want.”
The crack comes from Eddie’s own heart this time. His kid has been through so much in 10 short years, and it’s only made him wiser than he should be, compassionate and understanding and open, ready to be there for anyone without a second thought. He’s good in every sense of the word, and Eddie’s in awe of the fact that he, somehow, has something to do with that. And the last thing he wants to do is lie to his son, but he just...can’t. Talk about it. Not now. Not yet. Not in a way that will keep Chris this good.
He has no way of articulating all that, so he just wraps his arms around Chris’ middle and squeezes him close.
“I know, buddy. Thank you. I’ll be okay, and we’ll talk soon.”
It’s not a lie, but it’s not everything.
It seems to be enough for Chris, though. He nods and pats Eddie’s face before reaching into his backpack and pulling out a library book. “Well, I’m gonna read to you until you feel better, just like you do for me.”
It’s the first real smile Eddie’s cracked in months. He kisses the top of Chris’ head, settling his chin there as Chris leans back into his chest.
“Sounds like a good plan to me.”
They sit there for a while longer, Chris reads to him about Percy and Annabeth and Grover, and Eddie, inexplicably, feels a little bit lighter.
Buck’s Jeep is parked outside when they get home, and Chris practically breaks down the door to greet him. It looks like he’s gone all out, too — Chinese food on the table, the promise of cookies and cream ice cream in the fridge, and a list of movies that Chris ecstatically agrees with as Buck lists them off. Chris hurries off to change and clean up for dinner, and Eddie moves to start opening plastic lids and cardboard containers.
“You didn’t have to go to all this trouble,” he says. He leaves out just having you with us is enough.
Buck waves him off. “Anything for you two.”
He could leave it at that, keep up the comfortable silence as they move around the kitchen in tandem, but there’s a nagging memory that he has to ask about or he’ll never stop thinking about it.
“Didn’t you have a date with Taylor tonight?”
Buck tenses ever so slightly, a container of dumplings shifting in his hand. “Cancelled,” he says with a shrug.
Eddie knows there’s more, but Chris comes back before he can ask, and it doesn’t feel like a conversation they can have in front of a 10 year old. So they eat, and fall into the familiar banter between the three of them, and for half an hour, Eddie can be present. He can forget the last six months and the weight still hanging off of him and live in this moment, with the two most important people in his life, and pretend that this is all there is. Just these two and their joy and warmth that wraps around him tight enough to make him feel alive again, if only for a little while.
Two bowls of ice cream and one and a half movies later, Chris is dead to the world. Buck carries him to bed and Eddie tries to ignore the new ache that’s sprung up of the course of the evening, the one that wants and pulls towards Buck like a magnet. The one that almost purrs when Buck settles back on the couch so close they’re touching from ankle to (good) shoulder, contentedness washing over the living room as they find a rerun of The Shawshank Redemption playing on cable. It’s not perfect, there’s still a roiling in his blood that won’t seem to leave him alone, but he feels better than he has in God knows when.
Buck shifts closer to Eddie, eyes glowing in the light of the TV, and Eddie never wants him to leave. “Thanks for coming tonight. I— Chris and I both really needed this, I think.”
“I told you, anything for you two. Always.”
He ignores the way his stomach flips and tries to focus on the movie. He gets about five minutes of peace before another thought comes back, still nagging him, mixing with his anxiety enough to actually force him to say something.
He aims for cool and casual. “So, you and Taylor...everything okay?”
Buck gives him a very long, almost challenging look before turning off the TV. Seems he missed that casual mark. “I should be asking you the same thing.”
“I’m not trying to be. I’m really worried about you, Eds.”
“This isn’t my first time getting shot, I know how to handle it.” He doesn’t mean for it to come out as bitter as it does, but he can’t bring himself to care, either. He doesn’t have the energy to keep a filter up anymore.
“Eddie, I’m serious.”
“I’m fine, Buck,” he says sharply, and he’s surprised his teeth haven’t fallen out of his head yet with how hard he’s lying through them. He hates that he’s lying to Buck at all, but those smiles he’s gotten used to have been fewer and farther between recently, and he knows it’s his fault. He might feel like his own seams are coming apart, but he’ll be damned if he rips Buck open too, even if it means pushing him away from his mess. “You’ve got a life and a girlfriend to worry about, I’ll figure everything out on my own.”
“I don’t have a girlfriend. We broke up.”
Eddie pauses, curses the faint hope that sparks in his chest. “Why?”
“Because I’ve been a little distracted by someone else for the past few months. It didn’t feel fair to her to keep it going.”
He gives him another long look, and Eddie might be a little dense when it comes to things like this, but that look breaks through loud and clear. This is it. This is real. This is everything he’s wanted for the past six months — and probably longer than that — but now that it’s happening, it doesn’t feel right. Buck was happy, free, finally settled into his own skin, and it’s all gone now because of Eddie and his stupid, broken everything. He knows he won’t be able to give Buck everything he needs, at least right now, but Buck needs to know that too. “Buck—”
“Nope,” he says with a firm shake of his head. “I know you’re gonna try and blame yourself for this somehow, but…don’t. It was bound to happen anyway. Because you’re right, I do have a life, but it’s you two. You and Chris. That’s all I need it to be. That’s all I want it to be. And I hate that it took so long for me to figure out, that it took you getting shot, but we’re here now.” His eyes shutter a bit as he looks down at his hands. “At least, I hope we are.”
And there it is. So simple, so easy, for Buck to admit this huge thing that Eddie thought he was dancing around on his own. The ease reminds Eddie, through his fog of sadness and anger and every other bleak feeling that’s been controlling him, that that’s what makes them work so well together. Honesty. Being able to show all their ugly, mismatched inside parts to each other and still find the beauty, the ways to help, the ways to hold each other together when they need it the most.
And Eddie doesn’t think he’s ever needed to be held together more than he does right now.
“Ask me,” he whispers, the sound seeming to echo around the room.
“Ask you what?”
“Ask me if I’m okay.”
Buck shuffles on the couch until they’re facing each other, takes both of Eddie’s hands in his.
“Eddie,” he says softly, “are you okay?”
The world blurs as the tears he’s been fighting finally break free, but he feels strong. Brave. Like he can do anything now that Buck’s holding his hand.
“No,” he says, a crack in his voice but the conviction behind it still firm. “No, I’m not okay.”
The floodgates open, and he lets everything wash over him, all the things he’s been holding back, forcing away in the hopes that they’d just disappear one day. He’s floating and sinking and lost in the waves of it all, but strong arms wrap around him and pull him close, and there’s relief. Not a lot, not enough, but it’s there, for the first time since he woke up in the hospital. He feels safe here, with Buck wiping away his tears and pressing kisses along his hairline. He honestly forgot what safety felt like, was sure he’d never feel anything like it again. But he knew it that day he was bleeding out on the street, and he knows it now — it feels like Buck’s sweatshirt and smells like his aftershave and sounds like whispers of it’s okay and I’ve got you.
It all subsides, eventually, but Buck still holds him close, presses their foreheads together so there’s nothing else Eddie can focus on. His eyes are piercing, bright like Eddie only usually sees when Buck has a plan that refuses to be derailed.
“Let me help, Eddie,” he says, punctuated with a kiss on Eddie’s cheek. “I know you think you can do this yourself, but you don’t have to. I don’t want you to. Let me help you carry it.”
His voice left with the rush of everything, so all Eddie can do is nod before sinking back into Buck, into relief. Even that simple motion, the silent acknowledgement that he’s not alone anymore, is enough to let small seeds of hope sink into him and take root. They’re still weak, still unfamiliar, but they’re here, waiting to grow.
And Eddie knows, with a certainty that he forgot he was capable of, that Buck will be here to help tend to them, no matter how long it takes for them to blossom.
When Eddie wakes up the next morning, he still feels weighed down. There’s still an edge, an unease low in his gut, anxiety still crawling through his veins.
He’s not okay. But he looks over and sees Buck — breathing even, arm thrown over Eddie’s stomach, keeping him close — and the ever-present darkness fades from an angry black to melancholy grey. Not perfect, not even close, but better.
He’s not okay. He hasn’t been for a while. But now, finally, he feels like he will be.
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Hey! So I have this silly little prompt, pls feel free to ignore it if you don’t like it. There is a thread on Reddit “married people what was the moment when you realize “this is the person I’ll spend my life with”. So, what if Buck or Eddie will come across such thread and see a story that starts with “well we’re not married yet, not even dating YET but there is this guy who is also my best friend...” and it’s something that’s so similar to what had happened in their life, e.g.building a skateboard? And they realize feelings?
So! You sent me this prompt Two Months Ago Today! This is not an adequate response considering the time lapse, and I apologise, but I do hope you enjoy it nonetheless.
“Thanks for helping out, man,” Eddie says, handing Buck another dish for the dishwasher. It’s Eddie’s own dishwasher, but Eddie loads it badly.
Well, okay, Buck supposes he doesn’t load it badly because all the dishes come out clean, but he loads it wrong and when Buck is present and helping him clean up from Chris’s party, then, yeah, Buck is gonna be the one who loads the dishwasher.
“Of course,” Buck says, accepting the latest stack of plates to slot into place. “You don’t have to thank me for hanging out with Chris.”
Eddie smiles. It’s not really at Buck, necessarily, but it’s because of him and Buck loves making Eddie smile.
And things have been different, lately. Ever since Eddie broke up with Ana and whatever it was starting between Buck and Taylor stopped – ever since Eddie told him about the will – things have felt…different.
And Buck doesn’t know if he’s going crazy or if there’s actually layers in the little things – like Eddie inviting him to help chaperone Chris’s pizza party or the way Eddie’s hand sometimes lingers on his shoulder when he claps him on it, or the smiles. It’s not like he can just ask Eddie “hey am I reading too much into this or are you flirting with me?” and it’s not like he can ask their friends. He can’t even begin to imagine the insufferably smug look on Hen’s or Chimney’s or Maddie’s faces. And asking Bobby would probably be some breach of HR protocols and then the union would have to get involved and – and Eddie’s probably not flirting with him, no matter how much Buck might want him to be.
When he gets home for the night, Buck turns to the one source of information that’s never let him down: the internet.
He gets as far as opening his laptop and pulling up a web browser, and then he stalls. His homepage, for years now, has been Wikipedia. He doesn’t know how exactly he’s supposed to wiki-search “Is my best friend into me.” It’s not like he really does social media, either. Ever since he bailed on dating apps, he’s sort of tried to avoid other people online. He likes people in real spaces so much more.
But where does one go for relationship advice from complete strangers online?
Which is how, ten minutes later, he finds himself on Reddit with a shiny new account and username.
It takes him a while after that to craft his question for r/Relationships, but he thinks he’s got it pretty accurately conveyed before he hits post.
Hi, I’ve never made a Reddit post before and I’m not 100% sure what I’m doing but I need advice and can’t ask anyone in my real life. So, I [30M] have this best friend [34M]…
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“I felt it shelter to speak to you.” for Buddie
This was...not supposed to be this long but all the recent promo content has been...inspiring. Anyway...on ao3 here.
The first attack happens on a Saturday afternoon.
There’s nothing special about the day, nothing strange. Christopher is at a friend’s birthday party, Buck is off somewhere with Taylor, and Eddie is grocery shopping before he’s meant to meet Ana for an early dinner.
His shoulder aches a little—that’s what he notices first—but that’s not too unusual. It happens sometimes. Even as physical therapy has helped him regain strength and mobility in his arm and shoulder, a high caliber sniper round ripping through his upper chest is no minor injury. Plus, while he’s hardly ancient, he’s not even as young as he was when he was shot the first time, and those bullets left behind their own patches of scar tissue and occasional twinges.
So. His shoulder aches. It’s fine. He ignores it and moves on. Goes through the store, checks out, put his bags in the backseat—
There’s a glare off a window in the apartment building across the street.
Eddie reaches for the handle of his door.
Suddenly, his fingers start tingling, uncomfortable pricks of icy numbness traveling up his hands like they’ve fallen asleep, but shaking them out doesn’t help. And then, without warning, pain lances through his chest, sharp and acute, and he can’t breathe properly, as if his torso has been trapped in a vise that’s slowly tightening more and more.
His vision swims. He sways on his feet, grasping at the door handle with clumsy, numb fingers to keep himself upright.
He feels like—he feels—
He feels like he’s dying. It strikes him with sudden clarity. He’s dying. Dying in a random parking lot—he always assumed he was too young to have a heart attack but the symptoms fit and he’s just—
He can’t. He can’t die. Not when he’s survived everything else. This can’t be—
“Sir?” There’s a woman with a station wagon parked in the space next to his truck and she’s looking at him with no small amount of concern. “Are you okay?”
Eddie’s mouth is so dry and his breathing so irregular that it takes him a moment to respond.
“I—I think I need to go to the hospital,” he grits out as another wave of dizziness threatens to send him to his knees.
She calls 911. Eddie spares a moment to be grateful that the paramedics who show up a few minutes later aren’t from the 118.
As it turns out, he’s not dying. And he didn’t have a heart attack.
“A panic attack?” Eddie’s voice is distant to his own ears as he stares at the ER doctor in disbelief, his stomach flipping with a new kind of dread. “Are you sure?”
“Your symptoms resolved on their own and your EKG is normal, Mr. Diaz,” she replies as she flicks through the screens of his chart on her tablet. “And nothing in your prior history or other recent tests indicates that there’s anything physically wrong with you—you were healthy before you were shot and your recovery has progressed smoothly up to this point.”
She pauses and looks back at him. “Have you...spoken to a therapist? I noticed that your treating physician made a referral for counseling when you were originally discharged, but…”
Eddie clears his throat roughly. “Yeah, no, I, uh...with the PT schedule and everything else going on, I never followed up with that. But I’ve been fine. It never seemed necessary.”
“With all due respect, Mr. Diaz,” the doctor says, “you’re in the emergency room because of an acute stress response in which your brain tricked your body into believing you were in danger to such an extent that you thought you were dying. I’m not sure you’re as fine as you think.”
There’s probably some truth to that. Eddie can admit that much. But that doesn’t mean he needs—he’s been shot before. He’s been in a warzone. He didn’t need therapy to move forward from it then and he shouldn’t now. He can—he can handle this. He can make himself get over it.
He’s already spent months leaning heavily on everyone around him. The thought of not being okay, of asking for more help when he’s finally easing back into working, when things are finally getting back to normal, when they all have their own issues to focus on—
God, it makes him want to throw up.
So...no. He’s okay. Because not being okay isn’t an option.
He’s fine. The panic attack was...a fluke.
“I appreciate the advice,” Eddie says finally. “I’ll think about it.”
He can tell the doctor doesn’t believe him when her lips thin.
“You know, more likely than not, the panic attacks will keep happening if you do nothing,” she points out. “Ignoring this won’t make it go away.”
“I understand,” Eddie replies. “If that’s all, does that mean I can get out of here?”
The doctor sighs. “Sure.”
Eddie’s phone rings while he’s in an Uber on the way back to his truck. It’s Ana.
He swears under his breath as he sees the time—he hadn’t called anyone, hadn’t wanted the hospital to call anyone either, but that means he’s now late for a date that he doesn’t really want to keep after everything and further doesn’t leave him with any good excuses for his absence except the truth which...he doesn’t really want to admit.
Before the shooting, Carla told him to make sure he was following his heart. And he’s been too exhausted and focused on his recovery to really think too hard about that. But now—
For a moment, Eddie considers it. Telling Ana the truth. Showing her some of the dark, messy, ugly pieces of himself. Being vulnerable.
The very idea makes him recoil. Not because he thinks she would run away necessarily, but because he just...can’t.
He can’t. Not with her.
And if he’s that uncomfortable with the idea of letting in someone he’s been dating for over half a year, if he can’t imagine himself ever actually being comfortable with that...then what the hell is he doing?
He calls her back when he gets to his truck.
“Hey—I’m so sorry, I had a little emergency—yeah, everything’s fine now, but I’m not sure I’m up for going out. Can I meet you at your place? ...okay, great. See you soon.”
He may know even less about ending a relationship than he does about dating in general, but he figures he at least owes it to her to end things in person.
Eddie goes to work on Monday feeling fine. Great, even. He sleeps well the night before, he gets Christopher off to school on time, traffic is light enough that he gets to the station early—
Everything is fine. By all accounts it should be a good day.
At least, that’s what he thinks right up until all of them get different emergency alerts sent to their phones and they find out the city’s systems have been hacked. From that point forward, everything is chaos. Damage control. Twenty-car pile-ups because stoplights are being messed with, an outbreak of animals from the zoo when the electric locks on their enclosures released—
Eddie’s fine though. He’s fine. It’s nothing he can’t handle—in fact, he’s usually great with chaos. He’s focused and sure and capable. Nothing else matters but the work, certainly not himself. When he’s busy, he has no time to think about anything else.
The gradually worsening tension in his shoulders can be ignored. The way he has to clench his hands into fists to keep them from shaking in a way he hasn’t had to do since his earliest days in Afghanistan can be brushed off. He doesn’t have time to think about anything but the jobs in front of him, which means he doesn’t have time to think about his own state.
Brush it off, pick yourself up, keep moving forward. That’s what he knows, that’s what he can do.
Except, then they end up at the hospital and—
A medevac helicopter falls off the roof. Bobby nearly joins it. Buck and Eddie barely manage to get him back.
A cold sweat breaks out on Eddie’s brow as Bobby leans heavily against the wall next to the roof access door to catch his breath. His stomach roils. He doesn’t feel fully connected to his own body, caught somehow between present and past, a rooftop in Los Angeles and a desert in Afghanistan.
He breathes in. He tamps down on the rising panic.
Bobby is fine. The helicopter pilots and their patient are fine.
He’s fine. He’s fine.
“Are you okay?”
Eddie jumps at the question, his head whipping around to find the source. Buck’s brow furrows as he holds up his hands.
“Sorry,” Buck says quietly. “Didn’t mean to startle you.”
Eddie swallows hard and shakes his head. “You’re fine, don’t worry about it.”
He glances toward the door. “You know, I think I’m going to head back down,” he says, hoping Buck won’t notice the fact that he hasn’t answered the original question. “I want to make sure the pilots are holding up alright.”
“I can come—” Buck starts to offer, only for Eddie to cut him off.
“Someone should stay with Bobby,” he replies. He forces a smile as Buck’s eyes search his face. “I’ll be fine.”
Buck glances at Bobby, then back to Eddie before he finally nods.
“Okay,” he says. “But here, take the radio. If anything happens—”
“I’ll let you know.”
Eddie makes it down one flight of stairs before he decides to take the elevator the rest of the way down. The numbers on the top of the doors tick down, down, down—
And then, abruptly, the elevator lurches to a halt, throwing Eddie off balance and into the wall as the lights go out, plunging him into total darkness.
His ears ring from the impact.
He’s trapped. Trapped in a metal box in the dark. A box that could easily become a coffin if the emergency stop failed and sent it careening down to crash at the bottom of the elevator shaft.
Eddie’s breathing speeds up against his will. His chest starts to hurt.
Not again, he thinks vaguely. Not here, not now, not again.
But. He can’t move. He can’t breathe. Some distant part of his mind recognizes that what he’s feeling isn’t real, that he just needs to calm down, but he can’t—
He’s going to die. He’s going to—
The radio crackles in his belt.
“Eddie? Eddie! Can you hear me?”
Eddie’s mind latches onto the sound of Buck’s voice like a lifeline in an ocean of distress. It takes him a moment to make his trembling hands work through their numbness, to remind his fingers how to work the buttons, but eventually, he lifts the radio to his mouth.
“I’m here,” he says. His voice shakes. “I’m in the elevator. It’s—I don’t know which floor. Or if I’m between floors. I don’t—”
He shudders. His eyes close, not that it really matters given how dark the space is already.
“It’s okay,” Buck replies. “It’s okay, Eddie, we’ll find you. We’ll get you out, don’t worry.”
“I don’t want to die here.” It slips out of him before he can pull it back. Buck takes a sharp breath on the other end of the line.
“That’s not going to happen,” Buck says firmly, although his own voice seems less steady than usual. “I would never let that happen. I’ve got your back, remember? Always.”
A shudder rips down Eddie’s spine and he slides against the wall to sit on the floor. The walls still feel too restricting, like they’re closing in on him more each moment that he looks away.
The radio crackles again.
“Eddie. What can I do? What do you need?” Buck asks.
I don’t know. I don’t—I can’t—
“Eddie.” The fear and desperation in Buck’s voice cuts through the fog in Eddie’s mind.
He never wants Buck to sound like that.
“Keep talking?” Eddie replies. “I—just keep talking to me. Please?”
Don’t go, is what he really means. Stay with me.
He’s never allowed himself to say those things though. Not during the early days of the pandemic when they were sharing a bed in Buck’s loft. Not after he moved back home with Christopher and the other side of his bed felt too empty for sleep to come easily. And certainly not after he started dating Ana.
During his recovery, he never had to ask Buck for anything really. Buck was always just...there. Even though he was with Taylor, he was still there with Eddie and with Christopher whenever Eddie needed him. Like he knew somehow. Or maybe as if he needed to be there as much as Eddie needed him there.
Eddie hasn’t looked too closely at any of that. He’s not ready to. It’s too much, too complicated, too—too—
“What do you want to talk about?”
Eddie swallows hard as his head rests against the wall. As he allows the sound of Buck’s voice to wrap around him like armor. Like home. Insulating him against the panic and isolation.
“Anything,” he says quietly. “Just keep talking.”
And Buck does. He talks about everything and nothing, random facts and stories from his past that Eddie hasn’t heard before, he talks and talks and talks until his voice grows hoarse in Eddie’s ear and the pressure on Eddie’s lungs eases.
Eddie exhales shakily and takes a few deep breaths as he continues to listen, as his body shifts from hyper-awareness and panic to wrung out exhaustion. When Buck finally cuts off, it’s because there’s an ugly screech of metal as the elevator doors are pried open, as light filters back in.
Eddie’s legs are unsteady as he gets to his feet. He trips on the edge of the elevator door when he exits—
Buck catches him before he can fall. Because of course he does.
“Thank you,” Eddie breathes into Buck’s shoulder as he finds his balance.
Buck shakes his head. “I promised we’d get you out, didn’t I? Besides, I—I shouldn’t have let you go alone.”
“I shouldn’t have let you,” Buck repeats, low but insistent. His eyes meet Eddie’s and Eddie swallows hard.
“You weren’t okay. Were you?” Buck asks. And Eddie—
He wants to lie. Part of him does at least.
But he can’t lie to Buck.
Not to Buck.
“No,” he confesses. It’s half a whisper. “No, I wasn’t.”
Buck bites his lip and nods once.
“Okay,” he says. “We’ll figure it out.”
And somehow, Eddie believes him.
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this was based on a conversation i had w @diazalex a while ago, and while im not really a buddie shipper im pretty proud of it cuz i banged it out in like 10 minutes so im posting it
Eddie's fingers flex around the edge of the counter, gripping and releasing in a single breath. He's resting against it, elbows bent to steady himself, and to anyone else he looks relaxed.
Buck isn’t anyone else.
He waits Eddie out, lets the weight of their conversation, of their confession hang in the air. There's more that Eddie wants to say, Buck knows there's more that Eddie wants to say - but if he pushes now, Eddie will just bottle it up and shove it down.
So instead, he focuses on drying his dishes, content in the silence.
"Can I just -" Eddie cuts himself off, and when Buck places down the dishrag and turns to face him, Eddie is no longer resting on the counter. He's closer, no more than a hairsbreadth away, and even after all this time - it still makes Buck's breath catch in his throat.
"Just once," Eddie says, with no explanation, but Buck doesn't need one, not about this. His tongue sticks out involuntarily, and he watches as Eddie follows his tongue with his eyes.
"I know you're with Taylor, and I'm happy with Ana," Eddie's voice is hoarse, like the words are straining to get out, "But just once."
Buck doesn't trust himself to speak, so he just nods.
It doesn't take more than a step for Eddie to cover the distance between them, and absurdly - it occurs to Buck just how much taller he is than Eddie. Peripherally, he's always known he's the tallest member of the 118, but now that Eddie's here - close enough that Buck can count each individual lash - he's realizing that he'll actually have to duck his head.
"Just once," Bucky whispers back, and he bends down just as Eddie tilts up, fixing a hand onto the back of Buck's head and slotting into his chest as Buck's fingers find the grooves of his hips.
It's chaste at first, tentative and cautious, but then Eddie swipes his tongue on Buck's bottom lip and that's all she wrote. Buck walks him backwards until he hits the counter-top with a dull thud, his grip on Eddie's hip tightening enough to bruise as Eddie fists his fingers into Buck's hair and pulls.
It's everything that Buck thought it would be and nothing like that at all. His hands move up Eddie's sides to cup his cheeks, and he presses down until there's scarcely enough space between them.
In response, Eddie juts his hips up and tilts his head to the side, pulling back ever so slightly to sink his teeth into Buck's bottom lip before slotting their mouths together again.
They pull apart with a wet pop, and Buck rests his forehead on Eddie's, eyes closed. He doesn't need to open them to see the flush on Eddie's cheeks, or the redness of his lips.
"Just once," Eddie whispers again, "I just needed to know what it would feel like."
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like it means something
buddie (2.8k) (read it on ao3)
Evan. His own name won’t stop rattling around in his head. Evan.
He brings Eddie home from the hospital and everything’s - not okay, Eddie still got hurt and Buck still had to watch it and Bobby’s still hurt too, but - they’re getting there. No one died, and that’s a hell of a lot better than it could’ve been. No one died.
Eddie kisses Chris’s forehead and Buck grins wide, because yeah, of course he would take care of him if the worst happened, but this is what Christopher deserves. His family, alive and whole and well.
Taylor’s there. Of course she is, Buck’s mind supplies, you asked her to be. She’s your friend. More than a friend? Buck doesn’t know. There’s a lot to unpack there, and with everything else that’s happened, they haven’t had the time. It’s a conversation for another day.
Abuela, Pepa and Carla each take their turn fussing over Eddie and then, to Buck’s surprise, him too. He doesn’t understand why. Eddie got shot, not him. Eddie’s the one who hasn’t been home in a week, not him. Eddie -
Buck’s at a loss. It’s a party of sorts, but Eddie’s exhausted and so is he. Buck feels completely wrung out, and he can see the tension in Eddie’s expression that says he does too. He wants to tell everyone else to leave, but it isn’t his place. Still, though, Taylor seems to get the hint first. She pulls him aside with a gentle hand to his shoulder.
“I’m going to head out. Is there anything you need?” she asks.
Buck shakes his head mutely.
“Just... get some rest, okay? I know you want to take care of him, but you’re not the only one who can.” She presses a soft kiss to the corner of his mouth, then heads over to where Eddie and Ana are seated at the dining room table to make her excuses.
Taylor is half right and half wrong. There are other people that can take care of Eddie, but Buck won’t be able to rest unless he’s nearby.
Abuela and Pepa leave next, citing the sinking sun and the growing weariness in Eddie’s movements. They each kiss him on the cheek and go with the promise to return in the morning. Abuela’s left behind enough food to feed an army for a week, stacked in the fridge in carefully labeled Tupperware.
Then Carla goes and it’s just Eddie, Ana, Buck and Chris.
Buck should probably go, he knows, but he can’t quite bring himself to. He knows Eddie’s okay, has the living proof sitting right in front of him, but the second he looks away all the tension of the week returns, the fear and anxiety mixing sickeningly in his stomach.
Christopher has fallen asleep in Eddie’s lap, head tucked into his good shoulder. Eddie himself is fighting yawns. It’s been a long day.
Finally, it’s Ana who breaks the silence, standing and pressing a kiss to Eddie’s forehead. “Get some rest,” she says. “And text me if you need anything.”
It’s virtually the same thing Taylor said to him, and it strikes Buck as odd. They’ve been together, what, six months now? She should be saying more. Maybe she’s not because he’s here. Buck still can’t bring himself to leave.
Neither of them has moved in the minutes since Ana left, but Eddie’s eyes are starting to drift and Buck knows he needs to sleep.
“Let me take Chris,” he says softly.
The grateful nod Eddie gives him is a testament to just how tired he really is.
Buck picks him up carefully and carries him to bed. He tucks him in and presses a kiss into his forehead. Once upon a time, he might’ve wondered if that was his place. Not now, though, not after everything Eddie said. He loves this kid like his own; he’s not going to pretend it’s anything less.
He flicks the light out and makes sure Chris’s night light is on before gently shutting the door. Wordlessly, he returns to Eddie’s side.
There’s a grimace of pain on Eddie’s face that hadn’t been there before, and a quick glance at the clock tells Buck that he’s way past due for another round of medication. He grabs the pills and a bottle of water from the kitchen.
“The doctor said I can give you ibuprofen, too, if this isn’t enough.”
Eddie shakes his head minutely. “No, this is okay.” He swallows the pills Buck offers him dry, then washes them down with a swig of water.
“You need to sleep,” Buck says. “I should-“
“Stay, please?” Eddie interrupts him.
And how could Buck say no to that?
Buck’s barely asleep when he hears Eddie cry out. He’s on his feet in a second and by Eddie’s side in less.
Eddie’s asleep still, but his face is scrunched and he’s curled in on himself like he’s trying to make himself smaller. Buck places a hand on his leg and shakes him gently.
Eddie shoots up, hissing in pain and clutching his shoulder. His eyes dart wildly around the room, unseeing.
“Hey, hey, just a dream, you’re okay,” Buck says.
Eddie’s eyes are wide with fear as they meet Buck’s. He sucks in a ragged, shuddering breath, then sags.
“I- you. You were- fuck,” Eddie stutters, scrubbing a hand across his face.
“It’s okay, you’re okay,” Buck repeats. He pulls Eddie to his chest. “You’re okay.”
Buck rocks them back and forth gently as his shirt slowly grows wet with Eddie’s tears.
“Sorry, I’m sorry,” Eddie gasps against him. Buck just holds him tighter.
“Don’t be,” he murmurs, “I’ve got you.”
Eventually, Eddie pulls back, wiping his eyes with his good hand.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Buck asks after a moment.
Eddie shakes his head but begins to speak anyway. “It was- I saw you, covered in blood and I couldn’t... couldn’t move, or, or help you. And- and then you were coughing up blood, just like at the party, and I tried, Buck I tried but it was like I was stuck in quicksand and I couldn’t-“ Eddie’s breathing has gone ragged again, so Buck grabs his hand.
“Me?” he can’t help but ask.
“Evan,” Eddie says, so tenderly it hurts.
They fall asleep curled together, Eddie’s hand resting over Buck’s heart. It’s the first decent sleep Buck’s had since the shooting.
They don’t talk about it the next day, mostly because Buck doesn’t know what to say. He suspects Eddie doesn’t either.
Instead, much to Christopher’s delight, Buck makes pancakes. The three of them eat together on the couch, watching some cartoon that Chris seems interested in and Buck’s never seen before. It’s so painfully normal. Buck was terrified he’d never get to have this again, and now that he does he can’t shake the feeling that the other shoe is going to drop.
That night, Eddie wordlessly pulls Buck into his bedroom. They lay facing each other in the dark. Buck wants nothing more than to bridge the gap between them, but it might as well be the Grand Canyon.
There’s not much light in the room, just the ambient glow of the city filtering in through the cracks in the blinds. It’s enough to see Eddie’s face by, but it doesn’t help Buck read his inscrutable expression. He eventually gives up trying and closes his eyes.
He’s stiff, and sleep evades him. If Eddie’s shifting is any indication, he’s still awake too. Finally, Eddie heaves a sigh and, to Buck’s surprise, wraps a hand around Buck’s wrist and pulls. Buck opens his eyes and sees the silent question in Eddie’s.
Is this okay?
Buck presses himself into Eddie’s space without hesitation.
Eddie has a doctor’s appointment the next day, and Buck’s agreed to meet Taylor for coffee after dropping him off. Carla’s with Chris for the day, to help him with school, leaving Buck with a free hour on his hands for the first time in over a week.
His stomach has been in knots all morning. He’s not sure if it’s the prospect of letting Eddie out of his sight for the first time since he’s been home, or the conversation he knows he’s about to have with Taylor.
Because he’s thought about it, and the idea of being with Taylor… he’s kidding himself. Before, maybe. But now, after, with the mess of feelings he has twisting in his chest - he’s not in a place to start something new. He’s not even sure he wants it - her - anymore. Taylor’s great, but she could never fill the hole that was punched in his chest by the same bullet that tore through Eddie’s shoulder.
He’s starting to wonder if he’ll spend the rest of his life dividing things into before and after.
Taylor’s already seated when he arrives, fingers wrapped around a cardboard coffee cup that’s still steaming. Buck almost expected to change his mind when he saw her, to suddenly remember why he was interested in the first place, but mostly he’s just anxious to get back to Eddie. He doesn’t even really feel the old curl of attraction he’s used to. He sits in front of her, suppressing a sigh.
Taylor looks up at him, wearing an expression he can’t quite decipher. “Buck,” she says.
“You don’t want coffee?” She asks, inclining her cup towards him.
Buck shakes his head. “Had some this morning,” he shrugs. “Don’t want to get jittery.”
Taylor frowns slightly, but doesn’t say anything.
They sit in awkward silence for what feels like an eternity before Buck finally breaks it.
“Look, Taylor,” he sighs. “There’s a lot going on right now, and I just… whatever this thing is between us, I’m not sure I have the space to figure it out. You deserve someone who’s all in, and I just can’t be right now.”
Taylor blows out a breath. “Oh thank god,” she says.
And that’s… unexpected. Buck raises a brow.
“You’re my friend, and I care so much about you, but I- I was scared, and I didn’t know what to do with it, so I told myself it was something else.” Taylor doesn’t look him in the eye. “All this earnestness is making me nauseous,” she jokes weakly.
Buck huffs out a short laugh. The tightly wound anxiety in his gut loosens, just a bit. “Friends, then?”
Taylor finally looks at him and smiles. “Friends,” she agrees.
“How was coffee?” Eddie asks. He’s looked vaguely constipated since Buck picked him up, but insists that his appointment went fine.
“Good,” Buck replies honestly. “We’re on the same page.” He’s driving, but out of the corner of his eye, he sees Eddie’s face do something complicated.
“Good,” he says. “That’s good.” There’s a beat of silence. “So you’re… together, then?”
Buck glances at Eddie, whose eyes are fixed on the road ahead of them. His expression is carefully neutral, but tight around the edges. Buck huffs a soft breath. “Nah,” he says. “End of the day it wasn’t what either of us wanted.”
Some of the tension bleeds out of Eddie’s posture. “Oh. I, uh- are you okay with that?”
Buck chuckles lightly at that. “Yeah, Eds. Pretty sure I’ve got everything I need right now.”
Sleeping in the same bed at night becomes something of a habit, just like not talking about it does. It’s not that Buck doesn’t want to. He’s just… not sure how. What do you say when you’ve got so many feelings that you can’t even begin to decipher them, and the only thing you know for sure is that the thought of letting your best friend out of sight for more than a few minutes sends you careening towards a panic attack? There’s not exactly a greeting card for that.
This song and dance, though, it’s familiar. Comforting, in its own way. They’ve always flirted with the line between friendship and more, daring to put a toe over it, but never to take an actual step. Buck can’t help but wonder if this is a step, and they’re both just too chickenshit to admit it.
“Where’s Ana?” Buck asks one morning, apropos of nothing. “I would’ve expected to see her around more often.”
Eddie stiffens. “We, uh, we broke up.”
Buck whirls around, nearly flinging egg against the backsplash. “When?”
“After the party.” Eddie shrugs uncomfortably.
Buck’s eyebrows raise. “I’ve been with you 24/7 since then,” he says. The question is obvious.
Eddie rubs a hand through his hair and frowns sheepishly. “I… texted her?”
Buck’s jaw drops. “You ended a 6-month relationship, a week after you got shot, over text?”
“In my defense, I was on a lot of painkillers. It seemed like a good idea at the time.”
Buck can’t help but laugh, throwing his head back. After a moment, Eddie joins in.
“That,” Buck says between giggles, “was not cool, man!”
“Nope,” Eddie agrees.
It’s the best either of them has felt in weeks.
The night after Buck’s first shift back at the station, Eddie has the worst nightmare he’s had since that first night. It takes Buck three tries to wake him, and the glassy look in his eyes remains far longer than he’d like.
“Please be careful,” Eddie says finally. “You have to- I can’t-“
“I promise,” Buck says, holding him tight to his chest.
It’s Buck’s own nightmare that brings things to a head.
He’s been sleeping surprisingly peacefully since Eddie’s return home, but when the nightmares do return, they’re the worst he’s had.
He dreams he’s stuck beneath the firetruck, white-hot pain radiating up his leg, watching helplessly as Eddie bleeds out in front of him. Eddie tries to drag himself to Buck, but each pull makes the wound gush even more blood. Buck tries to yell for him to stop, but he can’t make his jaw work.
He finally wrenches it open, only to find himself sitting bolt upright in bed. His throat feels raw, like he’s been screaming, and Eddie’s hand is clutching his forearm. He knows where he is, but the panic from his dream isn’t receding. It grows louder and louder, until finally, Eddie’s voice cuts through.
“Evan!” He says sharply. “You’re okay, you’re fine. You’re in my room, with me. We’re both okay.”
Buck sags and falls back against the pillow, willing his breathing to slow. “You keep saying that,” he whispers in the dark.
“My name. Like it means something.”
“It does,” Eddie says. “Every single piece of you matters.”
And Buck… Buck almost believes him.
The elephant in the room grows larger every day, but still, they don’t talk about it. For all intents and purposes, Buck lives at Eddie’s. It’s been months. Eddie doesn’t physically need his help anymore, but neither is willing to let the other go. With Eddie’s return date drawing nearer, though, it’s getting harder to ignore.
Buck doesn’t want to ask, but he has to. He’s been waiting for the other shoe to drop since practically the first night, and he can’t take it anymore. He decides to soften the blow with pancakes.
“I should probably go back to my apartment,” he says, as casually as he can manage, as if the words don’t feel like ripping his still-beating heart out of his chest. Buck tries not to examine that feeling too closely.
“You need something?” Eddie asks, like it hasn’t even occurred to him that Buck might not come back.
“Oh,” Eddie says. His expression goes carefully blank.
“I just-“ Buck tries to explain.
Eddie holds up a hand forestalling him. “I get it,” he says. “It’s fine.”
Buck swallows, ignoring the voice in his head that says definitively that it’s not.
Buck’s out the door, duffle in hand, when Eddie stops him.
“Buck, wait,” he says, “Evan!”
Buck drops his bag in surprise and turns, only to find Eddie much closer than he expected.
“Don’t go,” Eddie says in a rush. “Stay, please. I need you here. With me.”
Buck gapes at him, as slowly the knot of emotions in his chest begins to unravel. The string that encircles the edges, that one he knows well: fear. The one beneath it: anger, at the sniper and the universe for hurting Eddie all over again. Hope and devastation intermingle, while grief lay coiled off to the side.
And the string that runs through the middle, holding it all together… that’s love.
Buck gets it now.
He takes a step forward, closing the minuscule gap between him and Eddie. “I don’t want to go,” he whispers.
Buck kisses him, soft and sweet. A promise, one which Eddie returns in kind.
There’re still a million things to talk about, but for once in his life, Evan Buckley is pretty sure he has all the words he needs.
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Ok ok ok wait why are you so sure the bt breakup will happen in the Christmas episode? Is there evidence/did we get hints or are we just manifesting lol? Because oh my god I would LOVE that. He breaks up with Taylor and then shows up at the Diaz' door and Eddie opens and you can see the Christmas tree in the background and the lighting is all warm and romantic and Buck is like "I'm sorry, I didn't know where to go" and Eddie is like "Yes, you did" and steps aside to let him in? Yessss
I'm not "so sure" the breakup happens in the Christmas episode, if there is one, but I'm also not currently seeing how the relationship goes beyond 5A.
Before this season began, I anticipated that BT would not breakup nearly as quickly as EddieAna. We ended season four with them just getting started. TayKay supposedly wanted to be with Buck for real this time. He was happy. He brought her to Eddie's welcome home party and the stans were celebrating because "Eddie must actually like her now! She's part of the family!"
I figured Tim would open season five with BT in the "honeymoon stage", a time when they would have been so caught up in the thrill of a new relationship, the thrill of being able to act on their mutual attraction once again, that they were oblivious to (or deliberately ignoring) their incompatibility as lifelong partners.
Instead, Oliver gave us the heads up that BT are only "somewhat official" before the premiere. Hint number one that the relationship isn't going in the direction I and many others expected.
Then, the minute and fifteen seconds of BT in the bedroom concludes with TayKay declining sex so she try to figure out what "caused the navigation app to malfunction", which she doesn't believe is the real story.
The next time we see TayKay, she's on Maddie's television relaying information about the ransomware attack. That's the end of her for week one.
Episode two did not include TayKay, even though there was a clip of a male reporter's voice describing the heatwave. Buck does not mention her once. When he is not working, his focus is on Eddie's health.
This past Monday had most of Buddie fandom nervous af for what TayKay "popping in" without being on the cast list could possibly mean.
Buck comes home to his apartment. He walks up the stairs to the bedroom. It is empty. After flopping down onto the bed, he turns on the TV and is met with his girlfriend's face. "Hi, honey. I'm home." (And you're not.) That was an EASY opportunity to have TayKay waiting for Buck. But what we got was additional confirmation that her career is coming between them, and will continue to as the season progresses.
There's all of that, and then there's details like TayKay allegedly not being needed for 5x04 and 5x05, but coming back a week before Eddie and Buck will find themselves in a dangerous situation yet again.
It's almost as if 5x06 + 5x07 will lead to a turning point for Buck, the moment when he has to be honest with himself about how he wants his future to play out, and who he wants by his side as it does. 🤔
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I love all these prompts so much. May I request 26. kissing the top of their head, maybe with some whump/recovery?
26. Kissing the top of their head with some whump/recovery you got it!
Someone put something in his drink. Someone put something in his fucking drink.
The breath that Eddie pushed out through his nose might as well have been steam. His blood was boiling as he stormed through the winding halls of the hospital with one singular focus in mind: get to Buck.
Get to Buck because someone had put something in his fucking drink and now he was in the hospital.
The fury that started the moment he hung up the phone and grabbed his keys had festered with every second Buck wasn't in his sights but Eddie knew he needed to rein it in. Even if he was so pissed off he could scream, Eddie knew he had to pull it together because the way Taylor described it on the phone... He needed to save it. It wouldn't help Buck. It wouldn't help anyone.
They'd met up for a drink, Buck and Taylor, and it was good for Buck to have a friend that wasn't necessarily a part of the team. Someone he could talk to that didn't always have to be the neutral party. Eddie got it. He was happy for Buck. Happy that he was opening up to someone else that wasn't wrapped up in their world. Eddie knew, from personal experience, how hard it was for Buck to make friends. Eddie just wasn't so sure on Taylor at first.
Buck and Eddie were still trying to figure what a them meant. It was slow going but they were going on their own time. While not many people knew-- and Eddie didn't think Taylor did-- she still knew enough to call Eddie while Buck was out of his mind on whatever it was that he'd been slipped. She still knew that of all the people Buck would want, it would be Eddie.
Taylor might not be his favorite person but she had called him and for that he couldn't be more grateful if he tried.
Eddie forced himself to unclench and turned the corner where Buck's room was. He spotted Taylor's gleaming red hair as she did a pace in a room to check out the door. He knew the moment she spotted him. Relief washed over the tension in her face and she said something over her shoulder.
"Hey," Taylor said, sounding awkward and stretched thin as Eddie approached. "He's starting to sober up."
Eddie appreciated the update, he did, but he needed to see Buck. He gave her one clipped nod and turned into the room where Buck had been admitted.
He stopped and felt almost all his resolve slip to the floor at the sight.
Buck looked... so small on the bed. Small and too big at the same time with his legs curled up to his chest and his arms wrapped tight around his knees. The first bruise he saw was the handprint around his wrist and then another on his jaw where he'd landed face first on the bar top before he fell. Buck's blue eyes were red rimmed with heavy shadows beneath where they were sunken into his skull. His hair was wild and curled as if he'd run his fingers through the strands over and over again like he did when he was stressed out.
The cut that disappeared into his hairline from when he hit the floor was still weeping blood but had been pinched together by three butterfly closures.
Buck flinched at the sound of Eddie's footsteps and it ricocheted right into Eddie's heart.
"Buck," Eddie breathed out.
Buck's gaze jerked up at Eddie and his expression, animated through the drugs still in his system, was like a flip book of emotions. Shock, relief, fear, and then sorrow. So much sorrow.
"Eddie..." Buck croaked as his face shuddered into a cry. "Eddie, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I-I-I..."
Eddie crossed the room in two steps, mindful of the IV that was in his hand flushing Buck's system, and took Buck into his arms before he could even finish that sentence. Eddie pressed his lips into the crown of Buck's head and kissed him through all of Buck's trembling, stuttered apologies.
"You have nothing to be sorry about, Buck. It's okay. I'm here."
He held Buck through the worst of his comedown, through all the sobbing nonsensical sentences, and kept pressing kiss after kiss into the crown of his head until he'd calmed down.
"You're here. How are you here?" Buck asked, his voice pitchy in his confusion as he clung onto Eddie.
"I called him, Buck. Remember?" Taylor said, sounding like it wasn't the first time she'd repeated herself that night.
"Oh," Buck said, small and quiet. "You okay?"
That part was directed at Taylor and Eddie swung his gaze to take her in because she hadn't said anything about being hurt. Taylor's smile was small too but wiry and just on the edge of bitter that she was desperately trying to swallow back.
"I'm fine." Taylor rolled her eyes, playing off like Eddie couldn't see just how shaken she was too. "The guy that did this thought he could get away with the whole 'I'm his date. Back off' thing and pushed me when I wouldn't let him pick Buck up off the floor."
Eddie felt the rage in his chest flare up again and did everything he could to stamp it down. He'd seen Buck in a lot of close calls. Hell, he'd been with Buck during a lot of those close calls.
But nothing felt as close as this.
"Thank you," Eddie said and meant it.
Something fierce crossed Taylor's expression like a spark of flint being struck with a stone.
"Any time," she promised and Eddie knew that she meant it too.
Eddie felt more tears dampen his skin and he pressed another kiss against Buck's head to remind him that he was still there. Buck sighed at the kiss and melted against Eddie.
"Eddie," Buck mumbled. "I-I don't feel good."
"I know, Buck. I know."
"Thanks for coming," Buck whispered and Eddie nuzzled into his hair as he held him tighter.
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