TK/Carlos: Fire Drills, Flirting, and First Dates
Apparently TK can't wait a few hours for his and Carlos' first date, since it's the 126 pulling up to supervise the school fire drill.
This is the second part of the Found Forever on a Field Trip 9-1-1 Lone Star AU verse, where Carlo is a preschool teacher and TK is a firefighter, and they first met when Carlos brought his students on a fire safety field trip to where TK volunteers.
I would definitely recommend reading the first part of the series (which you can find here ) before this one for some background.
This story takes place just a few days after their first meeting, way before the time jump in the first story.
CW for mention of TK's canon storyline of addiction and his overdose towards the end of the story.
You can also read this on Ao3 here! And if you have any stories you would like to see in this verse, please let me know, I would love to keep writing for it!
Carlos had one child on his hip, crying into his shirt ever since the fire alarm had rung out its ear-piercing trill. Another child was clutching his free hand, sniffing back tears. "It's all okay, I promise," Carlos assured them gently as he led them and their classmates into a straight line against the fence. "Remember, we talked about how this is a drill? It's practice just in case we ever need to get out of the school quickly. But there's no real fire right now."
"Just real firefighters," a familar voice called out from Carlos' right, and he turned, unable to stop himself from grinning as TK strode towards them from the fire truck, a grin also dancing across his lips. When he saw the two crying children though, he quickly crouched in front of them, Carlos gently lowering the other child to stand in front of TK.
"Firefighter Strand!" Both children yelled excitedly, tears drying up as they cheered, drawing the attention of their classmates, who immediately started rushing over.
"Back in line please friends!" Carlos called out, quickly walking alone the line of students. "I know we're all very excited to see Firefighter Strand, but we have to stay in our safe spot."
"Hmm, does that mean you're excited to see me too?" TK's voice was low in Carlos' ear, the blush spreading across Carlos' cheeks as TK flashed him a playful smirk before making his way down the line of children, stopping to say hi to every single one.
"Couldn't wait until after work, huh?" Carlos teased back as he passed behind TK, highly pleased to see red spreading up the back of the firefighter's neck.
"We're doing community outreach here, I don't know what else you could possibly be referring to," TK grinned, leaning back against the fence, the nearest child finding a way to wrap around TK's leg without moving from their space in line.
"You aren't fooling anyone, Strand!" Marjan called out as she came around the back of the truck to the cheers of "Firefighter Marwani!". Squeezing Carlos' shoulder as she passed, she leaned in to whisper just loud enough for TK to hear her too, "It's all he's been talking about since shift started. He even made us help him choose his outfit-he seriously brought every option to the station."
"Traitor!" TK mouthed at Marjan, ducking his head and smiling shyly, cheeks now flushing pink. "I just don't want to be late for our first date, or show up looking like this." He gestured up and down his firefighter uniform.
"You can feel free to show up in that anytime," Carlos murmured in TK's ear, right before he reached a hand out to bat away a stick one child had just thrown at another. "Zoe, we don't throw sticks, okay friend?" The little girl nodded.
"Eyes in the back of your head," TK murmured appreciatively, as Marjan made her way to the last of the very excited children. Noticing the students were still occupied, TK leaned in, his voice so low only Carlos could hear. "Can't wait to see what else you can do with those hands."
Laughing, TK made his way back to the truck, leaving a sputtering bright red Carlos behind him. "Bye kids!" TK called out. "Bye Mr. Reyes!" WIth a wink, TK climbed inside the truck, Marjan shaking her head as she followed behind him.
Carlos was five minutes early to the cafe, but TK had somehow beat him there, and was sitting on the edge of a chair near the front door, fingers drumming against the table. When he saw Carlos, his face lit up, and he stood up from the chair, meeting him at the door for a quick hug and a kiss on the cheek.
"You picked a very nice outfit," Carlos confirmed, gaze sweeping appreciatively up and down TK's short sleeved patterned button down and dark wash jeans. "Remind me to thank your team."
"It was worth all the teasing from them, then," TK grinned, sliding his pinky under the edge of the sleeve of Carlos' dark green polo, giving the fabric a gentle tug. "There's no way your students helped you pick this out or it would be sequined and covered in superheroes."
"Very accurate," Carlos laughed, nodding his head. "No, my co worker Grace helped me out. She has a good fashion sense."
"She really does," TK agreed, eyes twinkling. "Definitely thank her for me." They turned towards the table, and Carlos reached for TK's chair, pulling it out enough for him to sit down before carefully pushing it back in.
"Wow, thank you," TK said softly, and Carlos could easily pick up on the awe tinging his voice. "No one's ever done that for me before."
"Well, I also hold open doors, so get ready for that," Carlos teased gently, settling into his chair. His gaze fell on the large mug in front of him, the smell of expresso and cinammon wafting into the air. "You remembered my coffee order?"
"Large coffee, extra shot of expresso, add cinammon," TK recited, a shy smile crossing his lips. "It's what you had when we first met."
"And you have the same?" Carlos grinned, pointing to TK's cup.
"I figured teachers must be experts with all the coffee you guys must consume," TK laughed, taking a sip. "And I was right, because this is delicious."
"How was the rest of your shift?" Carlos asked, cradling the warm mug in his hands and inhaling the steam before taking his own sip.
"Seeing you was definitely the highlight," TK answered with a smile, "and not just because the rest of the shift entailed a microwave fire where someone had been trying to reheat fish, and three separate cats needing to be rescued from three separate trees."
"Oof," Carlos pretended to shudder, drawing a laugh from TK. "I'll see you your reheated fish fire and cats, and raise you a child sticking play dough up their nose and an entire bottle of glitter spilling all over the rug."
"That explains this then," TK reached out with his hand, gently wiping away a piece of glitter on Carlos' chin. Carlos found himself leaning into the touch, and TK let his finger linger longer than was necessary. Taking a deep breath in, TK moved his hand away, showing Carlos the sparkle on his fingertip. "And here I thought you went to a disco without me."
"More like a rave," Carlos teased. "Do people still even go to raves anymore? Glow sticks and lots of party drugs?" But the smile quickly fell from his face as he saw the light dim from TK's eyes. "Did I say something wrong? I'm so sorry-"
"Carlos, it's okay," TK said softly, reaching out and laying his hand on Carlos' arm.
"First date and I've already managed to hurt you somehow," Carlos mumbled, his gaze on a small scratch in the corner of their table.
"You didn't, I promise," TK insisted, running his thumb along Carlos' wrist until he raised his eyes from the table to meet TK's warm gaze. "Do you want to go for a walk?"
"Sure," Carlos responded, voice still quiet as he walked to the front of the shop and retrieved two to-go cups with lids. Handing one to TK, he quickly transferred his coffee, then moved to hold the door for TK.
"Thanks," TK smiled at Carlos as he exited the cafe, but Carlos didn't smile back. Instead, Carlos stopped on the sidewalk outside the entrance, his fingers rubbing nervously on the side of his pants leg. "Carlos," TK said warmly, reaching over and taking Carlos' hand in his free one. "I meant what I said. We're okay."
This time it was TK who suddenly couldn't meet Carlos' eyes. "At least I hope we are," TK voiced softly, looking up hopefully when Carlos squeezed his hand. "I come with...baggage."
"You aren't the only one, I promise," Carlos affirmed gently, swinging their interlaced hands slightly as they began to walk. "Clearly I do too, considering I was so ready to believe you were already breaking up with me before we finished our first date."
"You definitely don't need to worry about that," TK assured him, squeezing Carlos' hand reassuringly, before dropping his eyes to the sidewalk and the volume of his voice to just above a whisper. "So no one here knows this yet, except for my dad, but I really like you, and you deserve to know all the facts before you decide if you want this to go any further."
"TK, I really like you too," Carlos vowed, placing his coffee cup on the ground, cupping TK's cheek with his now-free hand. "You're safe with me, I promise."
Leaning into Carlos' touch, TK sighed, shutting his eyes. "I'm an addict," he confessed, words whispered into the palm of Carlos' hand. "Oxycontin. I OD'd back in New York, if my dad hadn't found me, I wouldn't be here. I haven't taken since then, I go to meetings, I have coping strategies, but I'm always going to be an addict."
TK squeezed his eyes shut even tighter, as if bracing for a hard-hitting emotional blow, but instead he felt the soft brush of Carlos' lips against his cheek. "Thank you for being so open with me," Carlos murmured against TK's skin, wrapping him up in a tight hug. TK sunk into the embrace with a grateful sigh, nestling his head into the crook of Carlos' shoulder. "I'm not going anywhere, okay?"
"Good," TK breathed out, relief and hope tinging every word. "Because I want you to stay."
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