#eddie pointing out how buck fixes things
the balcony scene is extreme foreshadowing of whatever scene they give us for buddie going canon no one can change my mind
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Don’t mind me, just jumping on this 5x07 speculation train so I can direct my absolutely unhinged energy somewhere.
Eddie knows how to disarm someone. He knows how to put an assailant on the ground. He knows how to defend himself. To survive.
He knows how to respond when someone points a gun at him. He knows how to assess the window between when it’s still possible to react and when the safest path is to stay calm and cooperate.
He doesn’t even see the man’s face at first because his eyes fix on the gun. And everything he knows, every piece of training, every scrap of advice that he’s collected over the years flies out of his head as he freezes.
Not again. Not again, not again, not again.
I was supposed to be safe.
His mind is caught in a loop, his ears full of white noise. He’s vaguely aware that the man is talking, equally vaguely aware of his own mouth moving, but he doesn’t know what’s being said.
The hand holding the gun shakes. Eddie flinches.
Suddenly, the man closes the distance and yanks him in, spinning him around. Cold steel presses against his neck as Eddie’s eyes land on—
Buck, equally frozen in shock and horror, his eyes wide. And Eddie is catapulted back to a street in broad daylight, the scenes melding together.
Buck’s face is clean one moment and splashed with blood the next. When Eddie blinks, his face is clean again.
But the look in his eyes is the same.
“Here’s what’s going to happen,” the man says, talking to Buck. “I’m going to stay here with your friend, and you’re going to leave and make sure I get everything I want. And nobody has to get hurt.”
“Take me,” Buck replies, his voice cracking. “You don’t—let him go. Please. I’ll stay with you. You won’t even have to threaten me. Just—”
“But why would I do that when I already have him?”
Buck’s eyes find Eddie’s again. The gun presses harder against Eddie’s skin—his breath catches.
Buck’s not wearing white this time. If he was splashed with blood again, it would disappear into the dark navy of his uniform shirt.
Eddie doesn’t know why he notices that.
“It’s okay,” he manages. “Go.”
I need you to be safe, Eddie thinks.
“Buck, please.” His own voice cracks. “You have to. One of us has to.”
The look in Buck’s eyes goes from horror to agony.
“You can’t ask me to—”
“Can we hurry this along,” the man demands. Buck closes his eyes as his hands come up to fist in his hair.
“Fine,” he spits finally. “Fine. Whatever you want. I’ll do it.”
Later, much later, Eddie’s legs give out from under him as he’s walking away from SWAT, and Buck is right there to catch him.
“Fuck you,” Buck swears quietly, even as his hands grip Eddie tight enough to bruise. He’s shaking, they’re both shaking, and Eddie’s pretty sure that the way Buck is holding him and the familiar scent of him where Eddie’s face is pressed against his neck are the only things keeping him from shattering into a million pieces.
“Don’t ever ask me to—”
“It’s okay,” Eddie says as he curls stiff fingers into the back of Buck’s shirt. “I’m okay.”
He shudders hard as he thinks about cold steel pressed to his skin, as he thinks about bleeding out on asphalt, as he thinks about Buck in a white shirt stained red and reaching with the last bit of his strength—
“I’m okay,” he repeats, nearly choking on it. “I’m okay.”
“No, you’re not,” Buck says, and Eddie closes his eyes and sinks into Buck’s warmth, trying to chase away the ice that’s lodged itself under his skin.
It takes a long moment to get his voice back. And an even longer one before he manages to say, in a whisper so quiet that he’s shocked Buck hears it—
“No, I’m not.”
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mmmm something about. “sorry about the mess but i guess it’s yours now, right?”
something about how ana clearly knew she was causing the panic attacks but didn’t bring it up until she felt threatened in their relationship.
something about how she clearly knew it was coming and must’ve for a while but never made any moves to end their relationship OR address their issues and fix the relationship. something about how eddie should’ve said something sooner but if ana picked up on it she could’ve said something too.
something about eddie in the hospital bed saying he doesn’t panic and turning to ana begging her to confirm that everything was great even though they both knew things were Far From Great. something about how she was ready to play along until christopher chimed in.
something about ana as an outsider looking in, never getting close enough to eddie. something about how she never rocked the boat (because how could she if she wasn’t close enough to eddie to do so?)
something about how. the second buck points out what eddie’s doing to ana (and how that compares to what abby did to buck) eddie ends their relationship. something about how buck pushed until he got eddie to open up. something about how eddie knew the second dr. salazar asked him how he was doing in the hospital that buck wouldn’t let it go. something about how buck doesn’t care how much he pushes eddie.
something about how eddie and buck respect each other’s boundaries but also have no problems pushing and wheedling their way into each other’s business when they need to because there’s a level of trust between them that just…never existed between eddie and ana.
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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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Yes it was about married buddie and thank you you’re saving my life 💖💖💖
No one told you how strange it was, to get ready to go back to work, to go back to your normal life, after living in a wedding bubble for so long, Buck decided. Or maybe they did warn you – and he hadn’t listened. Either way, he felt like he had a stone in the pit of his stomach and he really, really didn’t want to go to work.
It wasn’t because he didn’t love his job. Evan Buckley would love being a firefighter until the day he died – he could say that with the utmost certainty. He was looking forward to getting back into the swing of things, and doing rescues, and fighting fires, but that didn’t change the fact that Buck really didn’t want to go to work today.
For the last six months, since Eddie had gotten down on one knee and proposed to Buck and made him ugly sob in public (thanks for proposing on a hike, Edmundo, he thought), he’d been wrapped up in a bubble of wedding planning (because even when you’re having a small wedding, there was an enormous amount of planning to do, Buck had quickly realised) and honeymoon planning (because Buck was going to make the most out of ten days’ worth of international travel alone, with Eddie, in various fancy hotels, thank you very much) and now – now life was just normal.
“You look like Christopher does, the morning he has to go back to school every summer,” Eddie murmured, pressing a kiss to the top of Buck’s head. He was probably right, Buck realised. However much Christopher loved school, every August, on the first day back, he would sit at the kitchen table with an epic pout fixed in place on his face, as it dawned on him summer was over, and it was time to go back to school. He would be fine again, by the end of the day, excited to be back – but the morning was always the worst.
“That’s how I feel,” Buck grumbled.
“Hey, love,” Eddie tugged on his chin. “What’s wrong? Talk to me.”
Buck shrugged. “I just – these last six months have been so exciting,” he paused. “And it’s not like I’m sad, we’re married now – I love being married to you. I just… Life is going to be so normal now,” he sighed, it all sounding silly, now he voiced it out-loud. “I guess it’s just a comedown.”
Eddie’s expression was soft, as he settled himself in Buck’s lap – comfortable with affection, now they were in a relationship, in a way that still overwhelmed Buck. Gently, he ran his fingers through the hair at the back of Buck’s neck, the few strands that hadn’t been tamed down with gel for work purposes. “I get it,” he reassured. “Our whole lives have been building up to getting married for months, now – and now it’s done,” he pointed out. “And that’s a good thing, of course, but it does mean the thing we’ve been looking forward to for so long is over.”
Buck leaned his cheek against Eddie’s chest, enjoying the steady thrum of his husband’s heartbeat, for a second, before he spoke again. “Yeah.”
“I can’t promise you that every single day of our lives is going to be as exciting as the last six months have been,” Eddie hummed. “But I can promise you that we’ll find things to be excited by. Okay? These next few weeks are going to feel weird, because as much as we’d like to think otherwise, being married does sort of change your whole life,” he waggled his left hand at Buck, the gold band Buck had carefully placed there (after dropping it, mid-ceremony, of course) glinting in the early afternoon sun.
“Good change, though,” Buck mumbled, wrapping his arms around Eddie’s waist, smiling to himself as his right hand caught the edge of his own wedding ring. He’d never been much of a jewellery guy – Buck rarely wore a watch outside of work, for crying out loud – so getting used to wearing a ring everyday had been odd. Good, but odd.
“The best change,” Eddie agreed. “Today is probably going to suck – at least a little,” he admitted. “Because we’ve got to get back to normality and that’s very hard after spending ten days island hopping in Greece with your very sexy husband.”
“Are you referring to me, or you as the sexy husband in this case?”
Eddie’s grin was audible. “Both of us,” he reassured. “But we’ll get through this shift, and we’ll collect Christopher from school, tomorrow, and we’ll do something nice. Yeah? We can take him for lunch.”
“That sounds nice.”
“We’ll just have to make a bit more effort to make our own excitement, now,” Eddie said, thoughtful. “But we’ll get used to it.”
Buck knew his husband – and God, was that going to take some getting used to – was right. He just still didn’t want to go to work. “Do you think they’re going to have a really stupid cake to welcome us back?
Eddie laughed, the sound reverberating throughout his body. “Yeah, I think they will, babe.”
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Buddie 405 meta
This ep was The Buckley Siblings Begin tied in to being Buck Begins and I very much love it. That’s about as much as I can say about Buck and/or the sibling relationship, because like last week, there are things that hit too close to home and I’ve been crying way too much since the ep aired. But even as an older sister, I had to say I loved this! And I loved that where Buck’s parents couldn’t see beyond their pain and looked right through him, Maddie kept every postcard and image of Buck on his journey to find himself. She saw it all and she retained it all and it all mattered. Excuse me, I am a puddle of feels.
* * *
Overall, I think out of all of the ‘Begins’ eps, Buck’s resembled Eddie’s the most in terms of structure. Both eps start with something that the protagonist needs to learn tied in to his present story by and large, then we have a crisis during a call, and eventually the way that the call is resolved ties in with the protagonist coming to embrace a resolution that will help him grow and move on from the past that was just fleshed out to us. I won’t bore you with an analysis of the other ‘Begins’ eps, but each of them is missing at least one crucial component of this structure. And I like that this means the parallels you can draw between 315 and 405 are almost endless. I like that in this, the show highlights how much these two men have in common, having been mistreated by their own parents, going through a crisis, almost giving up, but then finding exactly what they needed to move towards their own new families that they invested themselves in out of choice (Eddie finding the realization he has built a new family with the 118, and with Buck and Chris; Buck finding that Maddie was there for him even when he thought she wasn’t and, if he was unsure during the LS crossover whether his friends would come for him, learning that they would, always).
* * *
We didn’t get a lot of Buck with the firefam scenes, if you think about it. And when we did, they were short. However! In each one of those scenes, Eddie was emphasized. From the moment Buck starts voicing his pain through the humorous tone, Eddie is the first face the camera cuts to, capturing his reaction, with a zoom in, twice in a row. That Eddie was first was already telling, but for a more neutral tone, I would have expected the camera to do the second zoom in on another of Buck’s teammates, to allow them to deliver the second line that lets us know how much pain Buck is actually in. But nope, we get Eddie again. Then the camera turns to Bobby and Hen together. Yes, it will then also zoom in on the rest individually, but the pattern established of Eddie being highlighted will continue. The building explodes with Buck inside? Eddie gets a lot of zoom in shots, while Chim and Hen are mostly shown together. The team makes it inside to save Buck? Eddie will be the first to appear, the first to grab the rope which signals Buck’s rescue, and the only one zoomed in on. Buck has a scene with the firefam after he’s out and Eddie’s not there? Eddie will be the first one to greet him when Buck returns from his medical check up and they will share this scene all by themselves while Bobby just walks away like it’s obvious they need time for themselves. Hen wasn’t focused on like this while Chim was inside with the bomber. Chim wasn’t zoomed in on like this when Hen was trapped underground. If Buddie isn’t endgame, why are they so constantly emphasized in relation to each other, Buck during the well collapsing in 315 and Eddie during Buck’s internal and external turmoil in 405?
* * *
Speaking of that turmoil. We have all noticed that Buck is trying to play his pain off as a joke, right? At first Eddie reacts in kind, but then he realizes that it’s way more serious than Buck initially let on (and in this, Eddie sets the tone for the rest of the firefam in that scene, too). I wanted to point out that this made me think we keep seeing them rubbing off on each other. Just like we saw Eddie in 403 sharing weird trivia he clearly knew thanks to Buck’s passion (which is even hinted at in the dialogue), we see here that Buck has learned from Eddie’s tendency to use humor when trying to deflect pain. This is so married couple behavior, I’m astounded.
* * *
In that bar in Peru, Buck was also using his passion for trivia in order to try and connect with the guy he was serving. He drops it when the guy checks out a girl passing by, sort of laughing it off knowingly, even though they continue talking. It’s subtle and more open to interpretation, but the fact that he drops it when the guy shows his sexual interests lie elsewhere makes it seem like maybe Buck was interested, but realized the guy’s a no go. Yes, we have another bi!Buck hint IMO. Then consider how with Eddie, Buck is successful in connecting using this tactic and I’m… at a loss for words, really.
* * *
Ooof, when Eddie welcomes Buck upon his return from his medical check up, that scene is so coupley, I can’t even… First, that he was waiting for Buck to return, like a good spouse. Then, he brings back their coupley banter and Eddie looks so happy to be doing that! Next, we see Buck explaining himself, not to his Captain (who has had issues with Buck's recklessness in the past) but to Eddie, he’s the one that counts and is expected to be upset. But Eddie isn’t, doesn’t even roll his eyes (like he did, for example, at Buck’s passion for rope rescues in 316). No, he’s soft and fond and familiar, knowing that this is what Buck had to do and clearly finding something very comforting in that: in that Buck is still the guy he is even during rough times; in that Eddie gets how he is and in that Eddie values him for it. Again with the parallels to 315, think of how Eddie himself had to cut the rope, so he gets why Buck had to try and save the guy despite the risk. But then also consider the parallel with Ali in 218. She watched Buck and who he is, but couldn’t take it. Eddie not only takes it, he loves the way his husband ticks. And yes, I said husband, there is no other word for them at this point. Especially because then we get Eddie telling Buck about his parents, which suggests that he had been spending time with them, probably sharing with them the stories about how amazing Buck is. How is that not spouse behavior? Tim Minear, explain!
Thank you so much to the incredible @bicepsie for making these wonderful gifs for my meta post! xoxox Also, if you like my takes on Buddie, you can find more of my meta and fics for them here and you can find my kind of fix it fic for Buck Begins, Reflections of You, here.
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do i know you? — bucky barnes x fem!reader (au)
SUMMARY: Y/N just wanted to have a nice evening out alone. And she was until an insufferable man comes up to her and keeps hitting on her. But when Bucky Barnes spots her in immediate need of help, he takes his chances and hopes she plays along with.
WORD COUNT: 2,289
WARNINGS: language, mentions of harassment, alcohol, um and i guess like fluff!
AUTHOR’S NOTE: just something that came to me while i was at work after well.... a week. lol enjoy!
“I just want to have a nice night all by myself!”
Y/N fell back onto her queen-sized bed with a groan. She had had a week. The guy she had been seeing suddenly ghosted her and then announced he had a girlfriend on Instagram. Not to mention that all the duties from work had also fallen onto her shoulders, with no one even offering to take some load off.
She was stressed, to say the least. She just wanted alone time, maybe head out to a bar, have a drink, and come back home. Nothing crazy. She just wanted to go out and be able to breathe even if just for a moment.
“You’re crazy! Have you not heard of all the women who have gone missing around town?”
Y/N rolled her eyes; Darcy could be a bit dramatic sometimes. “First off, that wasn’t even close to here. Second, I will be sharing my location with you the entire night. Third, I’m going to be home by 10 PM. I’m a grown woman. I don’t need you to worry about me, Darcy.”
“I’m your best friend!” She cried on the other end of the line. “I worry because I care. You gotta promise me you’re going to be safe.”
“Trust me. I’m just going out for a drink to clear my mind. That’s it. And then I’m coming straight home.”
Darcy stuttered as she tried to find a way to stop Y/N from going out alone, but Y/N had already made up her mind. Friday after work, she was coming home to freshen up then head to the bar a couple of blocks away from her apartment complex. She would have two drinks and head home to end the night with a sappy rom-com and probably cry herself to sleep. Sometimes all you needed to end the day was a good cry.
Friday came around and Y/N counted down the hours until she was free from work. The second the clock struck 5 she ran out and headed home. She freshened up like she had planned and ate a small meal before heading out to the bar.
Lucky for her, it wasn’t packed—yet. She spotted an empty stool at the bar and quickly rushed over to take a seat. She adjusted her bag across her body so it sat in her lap. Leaning against the bar, she caught the attention of the bartender quickly.
He was young, maybe younger than her. She searched for his name tag but found nothing. Her eyes met his brown ones and smiled.
“Hi, I’m Peter and I’ll be your bartender for” —he brought up his left wrist to look at the time— “the next hour. What can I get for ya?” He smiled cheerfully.
She smiled back, feeling comfortable in his presence immediately. Y/N ordered a Moscow mule and watched Peter prepare it for her.
After adorning it with a fresh slice of lime, he slid it over to her and nodded towards her drink to encourage her to take a sip. “If it’s not good, let me know and I’ll fix it up for ya. Free of charge.”
Y/N sputtered a laugh after she sipped. “Peter! This is the best Moscow mule I’ve had in town.”
He smiled, adding a wink before letting her know he was at her service until the end of the shift. She thanked him once again before he disappeared to help other customers.
Y/N sat in comfortable silence as she watched the TV above her. It was a baseball game; she wasn’t sure what teams were playing, but the ones in brown and yellow were currently winning by quite a lot.
“You come here often?” A voice on her left asked.
Y/N was unsure if they were talking to her so she kept her eyes glued to the game, ignoring the question.
A minute later, the same person cleared their throat and repeated the question. This time Y/N turned to see who was annoying her rather peaceful time out on the town.
A man much taller than her smiled down at her. It wasn’t creepy, it was actually quite a charming one, but she did feel uncomfortable that he was trying to hit on when she obviously paid no attention to him the first time he spoke. Maybe she should have listened to Darcy and stayed home.
“Uh... no...” Y/N answered before mentally face-palming herself for even humoring him with a conversation.
“Me either,” he replied. “I’m Eddie.”
“Y/N,” she flatly replied before taking a sip of her drink.
“What are you drinking?”
Her eyes widened slightly, eyebrows jumping up before replying. She was cursed with being too polite to people who didn’t deserve it. And now she was going to pay for it because like all creepy men she had encountered, he now thought she was interested.
On the other side of the bar, a group of men arrived after a long game of softball. They were dirty and sweaty, still in their uniforms that consisted of a white tee-shirt with a blue “CAPTAINS” logo on the front, their last name and number on the back, red shorts with long accompanied with white socks and dirty tennis shoes.
The team that had walked in lost to the other team but still took it in stride. Besides, what was a softball game if you didn’t go to the bar after the game; win or lose?
“First round is on me!” One of the men shouted, flipping his plain navy blue baseball cap backward on his head.
As he walked to the bar, he spotted a woman in an obvious predicament. Now he wasn’t a body language expert but he could tell that she was more than uncomfortable. She seemed to curl up into herself to get farther away from the man talking to her.
He thought of his sisters, hoping that if any good man saw what he was seeing live, that they would also do what he was about to do. The beers and his friends could wait.
“Hey!” He shouted a couple of steps away from her, his hand going up in the air to wave.
Both the man and woman looked over at him with confused looks. Okay, so maybe they thought he was crazy and they might be right, but this was the right thing to do. He would feel terrible if he didn’t intervene.
“Do I know you?” The woman looked at the man who had now inserted himself into the dreadful conversation. She could not handle another one this evening.
“Yeah!” He nodded enthusiastically, his blue eyes shining brighter than the stars in the sky. “We went to school together. We were in the same biology class. We even did some projects together.”
Y/N scanned her memories as fast as she could trying to match his face, but she got nothing. When she locked eyes with him again, she saw his eyes widen ever so slightly and his brows jump up a bit.
He was helping her.
“Oh my, God! Yes! It’s coming back to me now!” Y/N lied. “It’s been so long! Um... Ale-“
“Bucky! It’s Bucky.” He quickly interrupted, adding a grin.
“Right, right! Bucky,” she nodded, adding a face-palm for added effect.
“Are you here with” —he peered over Y/N’s shoulder to look at the man scowling at him— “someone?”
Her eyes widened, taking the opportunity to run away with Bucky. “No! I’m here alone, actually.”
“Perfect! Why don’t you come and sit with me and my friends?” His thumb pointed back towards a table of 2 other men.
They looked like good guys. A bit dirty, but that was fine with Y/N. Anything to get away from the serial dater next to her.
“Really?” Her eyes thanked him as she tried not to smile as big as she wanted to.
“Yeah! I’m sure uh... he won’t mind.”
“Oh, no. Of course not.” Y/N turned to look at the pestering man and sent him a sarcastic smile. “Sorry.”
Eddie rolled his eyes as Y/N hopped off the barstool. She followed Bucky back to his table on the other side of the bar and met his two friends Sam and Steve.
“I didn’t order the beers, but I’ll be back.” Bucky nodded before walking away again.
“Sorry for intruding.” Y/N apologized. “I just—your friend, Bucky, he saved me from that annoying guy at the bar and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get up and leave. I’m too nice to do it all my own, I guess.” She grimaced.
“No worries!” Sam waved her off. “We love to make new friends.”
She smiled at him before finishing her drink. She silently cursed herself for not getting another one before she got up.
“Three beers and a Moscow mule!” Bucky slid the pints over to Steve and Sam before gently placing the Moscow mule in front of Y/N.
She looked up at him from her seat and her mouth fell open slightly. It was almost as if he read her mind because he answered right away.
“I saw you were basically finished when I went up to you” —he slid into the booth seat next to Sam and across from Y/N— “And I didn’t want you to get up and go to the bar and bump into your friend over there.”
She let out a laugh, thanking him for the drink and also for saving her. “You’re great.”
“He is,” Steve agreed. “The best, actually. Buck’s got a big heart. He’s always helping everyone.”
Sam nodded enthusiastically across from Steve while Bucky blushed and looked down at the dark wooden table. Y/N had to agree even if she had only known him for 5 minutes. Only those with a good heart would do what Bucky did. How many people saw that she was in a dilemma and still decided to walk by and ignore it?
“So what brings you here?” Sam asked as he leaned back into his seat, arms stretching out in front of him to rest on the table.
“Shitty week.” Y/N shrugged. “I didn’t want to stay home and drink by myself. That’s kinda weird and depressing. I also wanted my own peace of mind without a friend talking my ear off so I thought about coming to this bar. I only live a couple of blocks away. I didn’t think I would get harassed.” Her eyes widened at the last statement.
Steve frowned. “I’m sorry. For all of it.”
The other two men nodded and she forced a smile onto her face as she sighed. Sam immediately changed the subject, asking her what she did for a living. She tried to keep her answer short, not wanting to bore them all with her job description. But she couldn’t have been more wrong about the three men surrounding her. They listened intently and asked more questions about her life. They were absolute gentlemen. The three of them had a heart of gold.
“You should come to one of our softball games!” Sam offered, nudging Bucky’s side.
“Yeah!” Steve agreed. “We have one next Saturday morning, actually. Are you free?”
Bucky watched Y/N, biting down on his lip. He hoped she would say yes. He was interested in her that’s for sure. But he didn’t want to hit on her after the situation with Eddie.
“Sure!” Y/N replied with a big smile. “I’d love to!”
“Cool!” Sam cheered before looking over at Bucky. “Hey, Buck. My phone is dead. Maybe you could get her number and then send it to me.”
“Mine too. Sorry, pal.” Steve shrugged.
Bucky glared at his best friend, knowing that he and Sam were up to no good but he did as told. With shaky hands, he typed in her name and number into his phone and sent a smiling emoji via text for her to save his number into her phone.
Y/N sighed, reaching into her purse to grab money to pay for the drinks. It was the least she could do to repay them all for taking her in even if just for an hour. But the men stopped her, telling her that she did not have to pay for anything.
“It’s on Bucky today.”
“Are you sure? At least let me pay for the first drink I ordered when I got here.”
“Y/N,” Bucky said sternly, “It’s okay. I got it.”
“Can I buy next time I see you guys?” She offered.
“Sure,” Steve replied with a nod.
“Okay,” Y/N smiled. “Next time, then. It’s on me.”
“No take-backs!” Sam added and Y/N laughed before holding up her pinky. He reached across the table and locked his own pinky with hers and they shook on it.
“Thank you,” Y/N said, locking eyes with Bucky as she readied herself to go home. “I’ll see you soon.”
She left Bucky speechless as she said goodbye to Sam and Steve and then walked out, disappearing in a matter of seconds. He sighed as he leaned back against the booth seat, tipping the rest of his beer back and sliding it across the table in front of him.
“Someone’s got it bad,” Sam sang annoyingly.
“You’ll see her soon, Buck.” Steve comforted his love-struck friend. He knew Bucky all too well. And when Bucky fell, he fell hard.
“I won’t judge if you keep a countdown of the days,” Sam teased, earning a punch to the shoulder from Bucky. “Ow!”
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Alright, here it is: The meta post about Eddie Diaz and mother figures and how it all leads to Buddie (I think). Thanks to @yramesoruniverse for your help with this, and @kitkatpancakestack and @evanbucklies for inspiring it! I really have been thinking about this nonstop and had to get it all down. This got quite long, so I'll include a cut in order to spare everyone who doesn't want to continue reading!
We first get an idea of Eddie's complicated thoughts surrounding mother figures throughout his whole storyline with Shannon in season 2 when he romantically reconnects with her for Christopher's benefit. I do want to keep the focus here trained on Eddie in season 4, but I want to point out a season 2 line that is pretty fitting. As much as I don't want to use a Shannon quote as a starting point for a meta, I think this one is actually pretty useful: "...Eddie always knows what's best for everyone...God forbid you stop for a second and actually ask them what they need." While it's harsh and spoken out of spite, Shannon does make a point here which becomes relevant at the end of season 4.
We don't know a whole lot about season 4 Eddie (thanks writers) aside from the fact that he's working on being a single father (he tells Marjan in the crossover that he's "doing the whole single dad thing") and being a support system for Buck and the rest of the 118. Eddie's "arc" this season is moving on from Shannon and beginning to date again (a very small and limited arc, which hopefully season 5 will remedy). Of course, because it's Eddie, the core of this arc is him wanting what is best for Christopher. And it seems pretty clear that what Eddie thinks Chris needs is a complete family with a mother figure (note how he asks Bobby if he's "happy now, with Athena and the kids" and just assumes that Bobby is talking about Ana Flores), but the universe pushes against this idea throughout the whole season. There are a lot of examples in season 4 of unreliable mother figures (for example, the alcoholic mother who causes the wreck in Blindsided), but in order to save some space here, I'll list and discuss those in another post. The main thing I want to point out is that we've seen that mother figures aren't always perfect, and they aren't the end all be all that Eddie thinks. And canonically, the show suggests several times throughout the season that the partner that Eddie needs/wants and who is best for Chris is actually Buck.
In Breaking Point, while Eddie is on his date, it's Buck who is at home taking care of Christopher and getting him through his nighttime routine (which establishes that he knows the routine and has gotten Chris ready for bed before, hence the reference to his "cautionary tale"). On the date, when Ana says that no one has been in his life since Shannon passed away, Eddie noticeably looks uncomfortable (the will reveal makes this scene and that particular comment and Eddie's subsequent reaction so rich. Eddie knows that what Ana is saying is completely untrue, because the person he trusts most with his son is with him at that exact moment). Later, when Eddie tells Christopher about his new 'friend', he says "it's a woman." And...to be honest, what the hell was that? He could have said, "I'm dating someone" or "I have a girlfriend." But he says it like this? And it's weird...right? Christopher is the one who has to say "girlfriend." Also his tone of voice when he says it...it's suspicious to me. Anyways...Eddie talks with Ana about Christopher's reaction and her first instinct is to take a break and wait for Christopher to warm up to the idea so as to not cause him more pain. Meanwhile, Chris is out the door, in an Uber, and on his way to Buck, the person who actually gets Chris to talk about his feelings and who fixes the whole mess. So while Eddie is talking with Ana, Buck is playing a parental role AND promising Chris he isn't going anywhere, completely juxtaposing everything Ana has said and done in this episode (throwback to Fools, anyone?). Just like we see in 4x14, the perfect partner that Eddie is looking for is already putting in the work, no questions asked (and this is all before Buck knows about the will!). Yet Eddie is still trying to force it with Ana.
We see this again very briefly in Parenthood. Eddie and Buck are seen agreeing on parenting ideals on a call, similar to how we saw them work together in Future Tense to talk Chris out of playing video games. At the end of the episode however, when Chris asks to join the movie, Ana just jumps ahead and lets him in, not consulting with Eddie. Of course, this isn't a serious issue and Eddie is happy to have Chris join them, but it still carries on with juxtaposing Ana with Buck. It's also a bit interesting that Chris sits between them, parallel to the video game scene from season 3. But again, it's a very brief scene, so I don't know how much value it has overall.
We see all of this come to a head in 4x13 when Eddie becomes invested in the single mother and her son from the balcony call. Interestingly, this call happens after Eddie's conversation with Carla ("make sure you're following your heart"). On the call, Eddie flirts with the mom. This is interesting because we've seen many times in the past that Eddie...doesn't like flirting, especially on the job. Eddie openly flirting with the mom here may be his way of fighting against what his instincts are telling him Carla's comment was about (him liking Buck/a man). Eddie quickly becomes invested in Charlie (the son) and takes a liking to his mother because he relates to her. You can kind of see the gears working in Eddie's head when he's at their apartment...he's admiring her and perhaps maybe fantasizing about having a partner who gets it. And he sees a mother taking care of her son...reinforcing his love for the mother figure. But of course, we all learn by the end of the episode that this mother figure is extremely warped and not at all what her child needs.
The best part about this plot is the way it plays into the shooting scene at the end of the episode. Just before he gets shot, we see Eddie in an interesting framing choice (I am genuinely serious when I say that I want to sit down with Brenna Malloy and ask her about her directing choices for this whole scene):
The mother and son are placed into separate ambulances, and Eddie stands between the two vehicles. Visually, Eddie is literally placed between the mother figure and the son, and Buck is standing in front of him (at a slight distance). As (thank you to @kitkatpancakestack for pointing this out!) the ambulance with the mother drives away, Eddie says "shoulda gotten here sooner" to Buck (who replies, "That kid is just lucky he met you." He knows how to reassure Eddie and recognizes what is good for the child). Then of course, Eddie gets shot. But let's focus instead on why this framing before the shooting is important: the universe does scream, and it sure as hell was screaming at Eddie this whole episode. Carla calls him out for not following his heart, he idolizes this mother only for her to end up being horrid, then he gets shot with his partner standing right in front of him (you know, the same person who takes care of his son for the entirety of the next episode).
This can be read so plainly: Eddie has been fighting hard for what he thinks is best for his son, and he's stuck in this relationship with Ana because he thinks she is what will make Christopher happy. Meanwhile, Buck is in front of him and has been there the entire time putting in the work with Chris and making him feel heard, loved, and important. This ties right back to that Shannon line: if Eddie had simply asked Christopher what he needs/wants, it's very possible that his answer would be "Buck." Eddie doesn't need to be stuck in the middle of this relationship he doesn't care about because Chris' happiness is not dependent on having a mother figure.
Of course, we didn't see very much of Eddie in 4x14 so we don't really know what is going through his head regarding the shooting or Carla's comment just yet, but I'm hoping we see a lot of him working through all of the events that took place in 4x13/14 throughout next season. Because of the way the mother/son storyline ended up and the way they framed Eddie in the shooting scene, I'm willing to bet that he's going to be reevaluating just what Christopher needs and what he already has (with his Buck).
(Also side note--the welcome home party scene...when Buck is watching Eddie greet Christopher, notice the framing there too. The photo of Chris and Shannon is on the right side of the frame, Eddie and Chris in the middle, and Buck to the left. You already know what I'm going to say, so I'll leave it at that...)
Anyways. Edmundo Diaz is confused about what he and Christopher need, and it's actually a brilliant way to dive into a storyline about his sexuality and his feelings for Buck. Remember that post-finale interview with Tim where he said Eddie is always concerned with what's best for Christopher? That there will be a lot to explore with Eddie? I take everything Tim says with a grain of salt, but looking at all of this, there's quite a bit here pointing in the direction of pining Eddie. It's not wishful thinking, it's in the text.
I'm literally just applying basic film analysis to these scenes...and everything is adding up to a larger picture. I'm really excited to see what Eddie's arc in season 5 will be because there's so much set in place for it to be really great.
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You Should’ve Told Me (e.b.)
Summary: you and Buck go separate ways but before you found out were pregnant.
AN: evan buckley is literally the most wholesome person ever and i love him
Buck was supposed to be your constant. That’s what the two of you had promised each other when you started dating. You were both at the age where dating casually wasn’t the goal anymore. It was to settle down snd start a family and a life together.
But real life got in the way. Your schedule never matched up with his, he somehow didn’t understand that you were a surgical resident at Hollywood General and that meant working long hours.
There was no time to spend together and it took a toll on the both of you. So he decided that it was better for you two to break up. You wanted to work it out and you offered to talk to your chief resident about switching up your schedule. But he didn’t want you to have to sacrifice your career for him.
So, you reluctantly agreed. Even though it was the opposite of what you wanted.
That was four months ago and you hadn’t seen him since. Soon after you and Buck broke up you found out you were a month pregnant. But you were holding such a grudge against him for breaking up with you, you hadn’t wanted to tell him.
There was no good time to tell your ex boyfriend you were having his baby. Especially when you were still actively working. And working at a hospital while five and a half months pregnant was not ideal.
But he had friends at the hospital. The entire 118 had friends at the hospital. Somehow the word got around that you were expecting and you received a call from Hen.
“Hello?” You answered. “You’re pregnant?” She questioned. “How did you-” You started. “Dr. Williams told me. Said Buck must be ecstatic to be a dad. But he doesn’t know does he?” Hen explained.
You were quiet for a moment, squeezing your eyes shut. “No. He doesn’t know. I guess a part of me is still angry that he left. I don’t want to talk to him but I know I need to.” You said. “Y/N, he deserves to know.” She said. “I know, Hen. I’m just trying to find a right time.” You told her.
“Look, I gotta get to a surgery on a premature baby. Pretty ironic.” You added with a dry laugh. “You call me if you need anything, okay? Surgery while five months pregnant is risky.” Hen said. You told her you would and then hung up the call.
Hen put her phone back in her pocket before she glanced over at Buck who was sitting next to Eddie. Buck needed to know the truth. She knew you’d be furious if she told Buck before you were ready.
But it was the right thing to do. For both of you, it could potentially fix things between you and him.
“Hey, Buck. I just heard some news from Dr. Williams over at Hollywood General.” Hen started. “What’s that? Is Y/N okay?” Buck asked. “Well, she was going to tell you when she was ready but you deserve to know.” Hen said. “What’s going on, Hen?” He questioned.
“Y/N’s, pregnant. Williams said she’s about five maybe six months along.” Hen confessed. All eyes landed on Buck as he quickly stood up, ready to leave the station and head to the hospital. “Buck, she’s in surgery.” Hen stopped him. “She’s five months pregnant and they’re still letting her operate?” He questioned.
He shook his head with a scoff before he stormed out of the station.
You had just gotten out of surgery, your back and neck sore due to the hours of standing you just endured. As you worked the kinks out of your neck, you turned the corner and saw Buck leaning against a hallway doorframe.
You came to a slow stop when you noticed him standing there. “Buck? Wh-What are you doing here?” You questioned. “You look good. For being five months along.” He said.
“Buck,” You started with a sigh. “You should’ve told me, Y/N.” Buck cut you off. “I was going too. I-I just wasn’t ready to see you again.” You said. “I had a right to know.” He said. “You had a right to know because you are the father, not because it was going to magically change things between us.” You slightly snapped.
“Y/N, I did it for the both of us. You didn’t need to sacrifice your job for me.” He told you. “No, what I needed was you. I needed you, Buck and you decided you didn’t want to fight for us anymore.” You sneered.
Soon after you finished talking, you scrunched up your face at some mild discomfort. “What? What is it? Are you okay?” Buck frantically questioned, quickly coming to your aid.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. She’s just really kicking. Probably due to the four hour surgery I was just in.” You answered. Buck looked at you with wide eyes and a ghost of a smile on his face. “Did you say she?” He asked.
“Yeah. It’s a girl.” You confirmed. You could see the look on his face and how overcome with pride and joy he was at the fact he was going to be having a daughter.
You knew then that you couldn’t deny him of getting a chance to be apart of the rest of your pregnancy and his child’s life. “I actually have an ultrasound scheduled. I get one every month to make sure everything’s okay. Do you want to be there?” You asked.
“Yes. Yes, absolutely I want to be there.” Buck answered. You smiled up at him as his hand fell into yours. “And then when you get off, you are coming back home. I know she’s not going to fix everything but we can at least start before she gets here. I want her to have two parents that love each other.” He added.
“I would like that.” You replied with a smile. Buck helped you to the OBGYN exam room and also helped you lay down.
Your OB was a good friend of yours, having been in multiple surgeries together since you started your residency. She came in, greeted you and then noticed Buck in the room.
“You finally told him?” She asked. “Not exactly. His coworker told him because Williams can’t keep her mouth shut.” You answered. “Okay, then. Well, welcome dad. Ready to see your baby?” The doctor asked him.
You thought Buck was going to pass out right then so you took his hand and squeezed it gently.
The doctor placed the wand on your belly, moving it around until you saw the baby on the screen. “There’s Baby Buckley. She’s looking great, about the size of a sweet potato. Everything looks good for both baby and mom. But at this point in the pregnancy, iron levels tend to get a little low so make sure you’re eating well so you don’t become anemic.” The doctor advised you.
You looked up at Buck and saw the tears in his eyes and smiled softly at the sight. “Can he hear the heartbeat?” You asked. The doctor smiled back at you as she turned the sound on the machine, a loud beating sound coming through the small speakers.
“Nice and healthy.” The doctor commented. “That’s our baby.” Buck said. “Yeah, it is. We’ve been calling her Baby Buckley because I can’t think of a name. I thought it was going to be a boy.” You told him. “You had a name for a boy?” Buck asked. “Yeah. I was thinking Evan.” You said, looking up at him.
Buck leaned down and kissed the top of your head. “I know you may not be ready to hear it but I love you.” He whispered.
“I’ll leave you two alone.” The OB said, exiting the room. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner. I was just too scared to face you after we broke up but that wasn’t fair to you.” You whispered.
“I’m not mad at you for not telling me, I’m mad at myself for leaving you alone. Having to go through this by yourself up until now.” Buck said. “Promise me you won’t leave.” You said.
“I promise. I’m not going anywhere.”
You knew labor was a painful experience. You’ve seen it first hand many times in medical school but you didn’t know how painful it really was.
It was long, your body was getting torn apart and you were mentally and physically exhausted. But Buck was there at your side through it all. Even when you screamed at him and told him you were in pain because it was all his fault.
He knew not to take it seriously. Even with the epidural he knew you were in pain. After 15 hours of labor, Buck’s daughter was finally in his arms. You were asleep, which was well deserved and Buck was holding the baby.
You stirred slightly and opened your eyes slowly and looked over at Buck in a hospital rocking chair. Looking at the little baby as if it were an $800 million lottery ticket.
“Gimme. I want to hold her.” You said tiredly, holding your hands out for your child. “Mommy is really greedy apparently.” Buck teased as he stood up. He placed the baby gently in your arms as he sat on the edge of your hospital bed.
“We still haven’t come up with a name.” He said. “You know how people say you won’t know your baby’s name until you see them?” You questioned, looking at her wrapped in her little pink blanket. “Yeah, why?” Buck asked. “Delilah. That’s her name.” You said.
Buck smiled warmly at the two most important people in his life. “It’s perfect.” He told you. “Just like her mom.” Buck added. “She has her dad’s eyes though. Beautiful blue eyes.” You spoke.
Buck looked at both you and your baby and saw the rest of his life right in front of him. But he wasn’t satisfied with coparenting, he wanted to be with you. Wake up to you in the morning and you being the first thing to greet him when he got home. You and your daughter.
“Marry me.” He said quietly. “What did you say?” You questioned. “I said, marry me. I want to be with you every day, even on the bad days when you’ve been up since four in the morning. I’ve wanted that with you since I met you and Inwas dumb to leave you before. So I’m not going anywhere.” Buck explained.
You smiled up at him before leaning forward to kiss him deeply. “Took you long enough, Buckley.” You whispered.
The seemingly perfect moment between you and Buck was ruined when the door to your hospital room opened.
“Can we see the baby?” Hen carefully asked as she poked her head in. “Of course you can.” You answered. Hen entered the room followed by the rest of the 118 and Maddie to see the newest addition of the family.
Everyone stood around and stared in awe at the baby. Buck’s baby, something they didn’t think would happen in a million years.
“What’s her name?” Maddie asked. “Delilah Buckley.” Buck answered. “She looks just like you, Y/N.” Hen commented. “Well, that’s a relief.” Buck said. “I’m so proud of you, Evan.” Maddie said hugging her brother.
“She really is beautiful.” Bobby added. “Welcome to the club, Buck.” Eddie said, patting him on the back. “I love all of you but Y/N needs to rest and so does Delilah.” Buck announced. “Already getting protective.” Chimney said.
You bid your goodbyes to your friends before Buck took Delilah out of your arms. You began to protest but Buck shook his head. “Nope. You need to rest. Especially if we want to go home tomorrow.” He said.
You smiled as he sat down in the chair, making faces at Delilah, who was gripping his finger with her hand. You had your perfect little family and you were very grateful things worked out for the better.
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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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i tear myself down (to be built back up again)
1.3k. i’m just in my feelings about buck in the last ep so. here u go.
Buck breaks things. He doesn't mean to—he's always tried so hard not to—but somehow, eventually, things always end up in pieces.
And it was happening again, with Chimney, and Maddie, and his team; it felt like his whole life was shattering like glass, and he'd caused the first crack.
You break everything you touch.
His mother's voice echoed in his head. She'd said it one day when he was young, after he'd snapped the stem off a wine glass when being a bit too heavy handed in washing the dishes. He didn't think she was trying to be mean, there was no venom behind the words, it was just a statement of a fact. She'd even smiled a bit when she took the cloth from him and told him to go amuse himself somewhere else. One of those rare moments when she'd even seemed a bit fond of him.
But the words had stuck with him for his whole life. You break everything you touch. They were always there in the back of his mind, like a taunt, like that was just the way of things. There was a point after he'd left home that he decided to be different, to fix instead of break, but it always seemed to catch up to him. It didn't matter how hard he tried to do the right thing, to make the right decision, to help; he inevitably wound up at the end holding the remains of what he'd tried to keep together.
He didn't know how to help Maddie. He'd screwed everything up with Chimney. And his team was... different. Off-kilter without Chim.
He knew, on some level, that this wasn't all on him (not everything is about you), his team had told him as much when he'd brought it up. They didn't blame him, but it was hard to not blame himself anyway. Especially when it felt like everything he loved was slipping away from him.
He leaned on the railing of his balcony, looked out over the city he'd made his home, and let out a breath. His shift had ended hours ago, but the empty feeling in his chest lingered. He let himself wonder, for a moment, if he'd ever stop feeling this way.
Then Buck heard footsteps behind him, and he glanced up to find Eddie watching him from the doorway.
"Hey," Eddie said. Buck wasn't surprised he'd shown up; Eddie had a way of knowing when he was letting himself wallow in self-pity for too long.
"Hey," Buck replied. "What are you doing here?" As in, why aren't you at home sleeping or relaxing or hanging out with your kid? As in, why would you choose to be here, with all of my broken pieces, instead of someplace brighter?
"I just... wanted to see you, I guess. To make sure you were okay." He didn't elaborate, but he didn't need to. Everything Buck had said at the table last night was still fresh in his mind. Eddie took a couple steps out onto the balcony where Buck was standing, but stopped before he was truly close. The space left between them felt wrong, somehow. "Are you okay?"
Buck looked back out towards the city. "I'm sorry about that," he said, avoiding the question. "About—about what I said. The whole dramatic spiel about leaving. It was stupid."
"You didn't answer my question."
For a moment, Buck thought about telling him the truth. About opening himself up and spilling every bit of his fear and loneliness and self-hatred on the ground at Eddie's feet, and begging him to find something worthwhile underneath all the shards of himself. But it was easier to pretend sometimes, and he wasn't sure he could even put it into words.
"I'm fine," Buck said finally. It didn't even sound convincing to him.
Eddie didn't say anything at first, just took those last few steps across the balcony and leaned back against the railing beside Buck. Close now, but there was still a space between them; a small gap that felt miles wide. Buck didn't close it.
"Did you mean it?" Eddie asked after a minute. "About the transfer?"
"I don't know. Yeah. Probably," Buck said truthfully. In that moment he had meant it. He didn't want to leave, but if that was the price of his friends’ happiness, he would have paid it. He figured if all he was good for was tearing things apart, the least he could do was separate them from his mess.
"Did you really think we would have just let you go?"
And... Buck honestly didn't know how to respond to that. The simple answer was yes, he did; he'd gotten it into his head that he'd caused all this tension, and they wouldn't want him around anymore. That they'd take the out and let him walk away. The more complicated answer was... he didn't know. He knew that they cared about him, they'd proved that over and over, but once his mind fell into that endless loop of this is your fault, this is your fault, this is your fault, it was hard to pull back. It wasn't rational, but emotions that big rarely are.
Buck just looked at Eddie, and hoped he'd understand. Eddie held his gaze for a second, then nodded.
"You know we don't blame you for anything that's happened, right? I don't blame you."
Buck turned away again. "Yeah, I know."
"Then what's really going on?"
You break everything you touch.
"It just feels like something broke when Chim left, and I'm the one who broke it."
"Come on, that's not on you."
"Isn't it? He won't even speak to me anymore, that's how badly I fucked things up between us. It doesn't matter how many times I call him or text him— I-I don't even think he checks them anymore. And I haven't heard from Maddie since—"
"Chimney is dealing with a lot right now," Eddie interrupted before Buck could spiral further. "You're family, he'll come around. Maybe you just need to give him some space."
"He's probably states away, how much space does he need?" Buck muttered bitterly, which earned him a snort from Eddie, but Buck knew he was right.
"And Maddie will call," he continued. "You said yourself that she needs time."
Buck hummed. "I did say that, didn't I?"
"You did," Eddie said. "And until they come home, you've still got us. You've still got me. That's gotta count for something, right?"
"Yeah, I guess," Buck said with a small smile.
"Oh, 'you guess'?" Eddie teased, jostling him a bit, and Buck laughed. Sometimes just being around Eddie made his heart feel lighter.
"It'll be okay," Eddie said in a more serious tone. "I know you always want to fix things for people, and you feel like you've failed if you can't, but sometimes they're not for you to fix. You don't need to shoulder all that responsibility."
You're the guy who likes to fix things.
Buck didn't understand it, but somehow Eddie could take one look at him and see through every layer of hurt and worry, and every way his mind had twisted situations into something uglier than they were, and really see him. He always knew exactly what to say to ease the weight on Buck's shoulders, and he was grateful for it. He loved him for it.
"And Buck?" Eddie waited until Buck looked at him again. "Ravi is great, but he's not you. You're not just... replaceable like that. I know sometimes you don't believe that, but I really don't know what I'd do without you."
You’re stuck with us.
Buck slid over those last few inches until their arms were pressed against each other, and he felt grounded. "Well, doesn't look like I'm going anywhere anytime soon. So I guess you're stuck with me too."
Eddie smiled. "Wouldn't have it any other way."
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Those Four Words
So yeah I JUST finished Desperate Measures and I literally had to get this out before I could sleep.
5.03 Coda | 1.6k | Summary: How I would love to see them get their shit together. Title from the episode, referring to Eddie saying “We need to talk” because YES YOU FUCKING DO. *puts on clown nose*
Buck finds Eddie sulking on the bench in the locker room. Because this was becoming a pretty common occurrence as of late, he takes it on himself to do the best friend thing he always does, and walks in to sit beside him.
The fact that Eddie doesn’t automatically look up at him with annoyance--like he has most of the time Buck has done this in the past few weeks, when they both know what the conversation is going to sound like--is unsettling but not off-putting.
“Hey,” is his opener. Quiet and courteous of Eddie’s obvious pain. Buck’s good at this best friend thing. Had a lot of practice lately.
He gets nothing in reply for long, long moments. He waits it out. Eddie’s a closed-off guy at the best of times, but when he’s hurting, it’s like a steel wall is up between him and the world. Buck’s taken a sledgehammer to that wall a few times and it hasn’t ended pretty. Lately he’s been just simply knocking at it, hoping the man on the other side can hear that he’s not alone. That’s all he can do.
Then, “I broke up with Ana. Like. Officially.”
Buck is quiet for a moment. “Was there an...unofficial breakup before that?”
“I don’t know. Probably when I panicked twice in front of her at the mere mention of us as a family. Think that set off a few warning bells in her.”
Buck very carefully remains silent.
“Well, actually. I don’t know if it did because...she was pretty devastated when I told her it wasn’t going to work. Like she didn’t see it coming after all.”
“What did you tell her? At the official breakup, I mean.” Buck doesn’t move, doesn’t speak above a low tone that barely breaches the two-foot divide between them.
“Not the truth, that’s for damn sure. But. Something maybe close to it.” Eddie still hasn’t looked at him. His hand is half-over his eyes, fingers pressing at his temples like he’s trying to stave off a migraine. Buck’s presence is sometimes migraine inducing, he knows, but he doesn’t think he’s ever done it to Eddie.
“What’s...something like the truth?” he asks.
“Basically that I thought I could grow to love her eventually. I tried hard to do that, but...it’s never going to happen. I know it’s not.”
Buck remains silent, waiting.
“She...she’s not stupid. She figured out that what was sending me into...whatever was happening to me--”
Buck very pointedly does not point out that what was happening were full blown panic attacks, Eddie--
“--was triggered by the thought of a future with her. It’s not even that she’s a bad prospect. She’s perfect, actually. In every way except that she’s not... Nevermind.”
“So, she was good with Christopher, right? I mean, you said she was--” Buck’s concern is hard to hide. If she did anything to hurt Christopher or make him feel...any type of way, Buck will be livid. But he doesn't think that’s the case. He even likes Ana. She’s nice, friendly, caring. She’s just...
“She’s just not for me.”
Buck can clearly see this is distressing Eddie to the nth degree, but he doesn’t know how to fix it. He’s never had to save a relationship before. And is that what he should be doing? Sure, he’s great at this best friend thing and he wants his friend to be happy--more than anything in the world--but he’s at a loss as to what the actual problem is here.
“But Eddie, you said yourself she’d make a great mother for Chr--”
“He doesn’t need another mother! He had one, and she’s gone. He doesn’t need another.” The raised voice makes Buck pause for a moment. It’s the loudest either of them have spoken the entire time, and he’s sure it has a lot to do with the Shannon of it all, but...it doesn’t seem like that’s the whole thing.
“I don’t know why I tried to force it. I knew it wasn’t going to work from day one. But she’s just...she was the best alternative.”
“Alternative to what? Eddie, what--”
“I’m in love with someone else! Okay? And I know I should have told her that, but I couldn’t. I can’t even...” he cuts himself off with a huff, but for the first time, he looks up to meet Buck’s gaze. His eyes are shining, but he’s not sad. He’s frustrated. Buck’s learned to tell the difference over the years.
Best friend and all.
He weighs his options, because this is brand new information to him, which is saying something, and he’s not quite sure where to go from here.
Sure, he absolutely knows where he wants this to go, but. He’s also learned over the years that that’s just...not in the cards. Not for Buck, anyway.
Finally, he opens his mouth again. “I...didn’t know you were seeing anyone else besides Ana. Thought you two were, like, a serious thing.” Understatement of the year. How on earth was Eddie seeing someone that Buck didn’t know about? They practically lived out of each other’s pockets half the time.
Eddie huffs out a small, horrible laugh. “I’m not. Seeing anyone. In that sense, anyway. Though we do see a lot of each other. A disgusting amount, if I’m being honest.” The laugh he lets out here is not horrible. It’s almost...fond.
“O...kay.” Somewhere inside, Buck’s heart falters. “So, what’s the problem? Do they...not feel the same way?”
Another huff of a laugh. “Dunno. I never asked.” Eddie’s back to rubbing his temples again, almost hiding his face on purpose.
“Alright, well, that should probably be step one.” Buck can’t keep the hint of scolding out of his tone, but he can see that it makes Eddie smile. “I can help you, if you want?”
This makes Eddie smile even wider, but it turns sad in an instant. “I know you would. But you can’t.”
Buck takes a moment--or several--to consider himself. To weigh all his options and arrive at a logical and sensible conclusion.
Who is he kidding? Buck opens his mouth on impulse, praying to every deity he’s ever heard of that he’s not wrong and he’s not about to ruin everything.
“I can try.” Another small laugh from Eddie in response, a hopeless, resigned one. “Eddie.” When he gets no reaction, he tries again. He really needs eye contact for this, no matter how much he knows Eddie hates it during emotional conversations. “Eddie.”
Slowly, Eddie’s eyes meet his. Buck goes for broke.
“Step one. Ask.”
Eddie stares at him for a moment, no discernible change in his features. Buck’s eyes plead with him. And then, it’s like Buck can watch the switch flip behind his eyes. When he catches up to what’s being said here.
Buck holds his breath for what feels like ages and feels his skin grow cold with shame because he was wrong, he was wrong, he was so so wrong--
“Are--” Eddie begins, strained. Buck’s heart stops. “Are we--” Buck’s sure his heart can’t actually stop twice, but it definitely does at this addition.
His eyes are glued to Eddie’s, though. Like magnets. Pulling in the only direction they can ever go. The way the universe wills them.
Eddie seems to come back to himself for a moment, flicking his eyes to the glass. Buck’s eyes tear themselves away to look at what’s caught his attention. The entire B shift and some of the A are still milling around outside.
“Are we really going to do this here?” is the question Eddie actually poses to him. But, when Buck’s eyes snap back to their target, he sees something that kickstarts his heart again, and he lets out the breath he’d been deliberately holding for the last 45 seconds, give or take. Eddie’s tiny, timid smile seals the deal.
“We could go to my place?” Buck offers. Tries desperately not to think about what could happen. What he wants to happen.
“I need to get home to Christopher.” Eddie’s standing, grabbing his duffel. Buck’s nodding, because yeah, that’s true. He scrubs his mind of the...thoughts that were just playing through it.
“And so do you,” is what’s tacked onto the end, just thrown out there, like it’s the most normal, logical thing in the world. Eddie’s face is still a little timid when Buck looks up, but his own face must give away his heart because Eddie’s smile after that is radiant. He hands Buck his own bag, also giving him a hand up off the bench.
Yeah, his legs are a little wobbly. Good best friend actions, Eddie. Thanks.
Though. Buck doesn’t know if that term still applies. Are they friends? Are they more now? But they haven’t talked about anything so, like, they’re not anything yet, right? But Eddie said he was in love with--
His thoughts halt when Eddie lands a small kiss to his lips, there and gone again in a nanosecond and wow, that had no right to be as earth-shattering as it was, it was just a peck, for Christ’s sake, and--
“Buck. Get your shit and lets go, yeah?”
“Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.” Smooth.
But Eddie’s smiling. For real this time. Buck will take that.
lbr, the show wouldn’t acknowledge Taylor during this conversation. It’d be wrapped up the next episode and she would storm out and never be heard from again. Definitely NOT how I’d want that to go, but. We all know it would. *honks clown nose*
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Actually, Truly, 14k - Buck/Eddie, Helena POV, post-s4 (AO3)
Isabel calls to tell them Eddie's been shot on a Thursday afternoon and by lunch on Friday Helena and Ramon are landing at LAX. When they land, they learn Eddie's already home recovering and has been for two weeks.
Or, Helena (and Ramon) tries to find a way back into Eddie's life and doesn't know what to make of finding Buck around every corner she turns.
Isabel calls on a Thursday afternoon and by lunch on Friday Helena and Ramon are landing at LAX. Their son’s been shot, again, in the line of duty. But this time, instead of being thousands of miles away and out of reach, he’s just a short plane ride away.
Isabel insists they come to her house before going to the hospital but she doesn’t blame COVID protocols for keeping them away from the hospital, so they spend the car ride over imagining the worst.
A complication with surgery.
The news they receive is that Eddie’s fine, and he’s been home and recuperating for two weeks already.
Helena retreats to the living room while Ramon and his mother fight in the kitchen. They’re yelling in Spanish and for once she wishes she’d never learned.
“Escúchame, Ramon,” Isabel tries to interrupt. Listen to me.
The yelling continues because Ramon doesn’t listen. It’s not his strong suit. Nor is it Helena’s.
Helena paces the length of the living room and holds her phone in her hands, thumb over Eddie’s name in FaceTime, not pressing down.
Eddie’s been home for two weeks.
Isabel hadn’t told them for two weeks.
But Eddie hadn’t either.
They hadn’t seen him in person in nearly two years, and he hadn’t called them since their last fight over a month ago.
Still, Eddie was shot in the streets by a sniper and he didn’t call them.
The last time they spoke, it was a phone call, not a video chat, maybe because at that point just the sight of each others’ faces was enough to set them all off. In that phone call, Eddie spoke of a friend whose family was somehow worse off than their own, but who, miraculously, were finally making the effort to fix the broken ties between them in therapy.
“Mom, listen… I spent a long time being angry with Shannon instead of trying to reach out to her and now Christopher is never going to have her in his life again. I don’t want that with you,” Eddie said, his voice brusque but calm, measured. “I don’t want to grin and bear it when you call or when we visit. I want to be glad to pick up the phone, I want to be excited to see you all at Christmas, I want you to be part of our lives. But I can’t do that without you meeting me halfway.” He was resolute, but he was pleading too. “I don’t want to spend the next ten years of our lives like this.”
But the idea of therapy was anathema to the Diaz family and it took only Ramon’s dismissive scoff to reinforce her own distaste of the idea. They called Eddie back to say they had no intention of paying a stranger to tell them everything was their fault and he was blameless.
They didn’t get another call after that.
“— my son!” Ramon yells at Isabel in the kitchen.
“Because, mijo, when you come here, you don’t see your son! You don’t see him living here, growing, Christopher thriving! You don’t see how when you come up here you bring sadness and misery when you should bring joy and comfort.” The words are too close to what Eddie said for them not to have spoken about it together. “By the time I knew he was hurt, he was already out of surgery and doing well. If he wasn’t, I would have called immediately.”
“Oh bueno, so you’ll tell me my son is dying but not that he’s okay?”
“Ramon! Escúchame.” It’s not often that Helena gets to bear witness to the steel in Isabel’s voice, the one she passed down to both her kids. It’s in fine form today. “He was doing well, and had all the help he needed. As soon as things stabilized, I called you. Keep acting like a fool and see if I call you at all next time.”
“If you call? Are you —”
“Ramon!” Helena snaps, surprising them all.
“Ramon,” she repeats, more calmly this time. “Listen to her.”
The shock on Isabel’s face almost makes her smile, but her heart is too heavy to commit to it.
“Helena, two weeks she —”
“Our son was shot, and he didn’t tell us.” Helena says, her voice trembling. “Our son was shot, he could have died, and the last thing we would have told him is we weren’t willing to fight for him and Christopher. Weren’t willing to — what? — put our egos aside? Our pride? For one fucking minute to listen to him. To listen to what he needed.”
Ramon’s eyes widen and he hangs his head with a sigh.
Helena faces Isabel, her phone tucked in her palm against her stomach.
“What can we do? We’re listening.”
Ramon walks it off and Helena helps Isabel in the kitchen in exchange for a promise they’ll go over to Eddie’s for supper. She’s been making care packages for Eddie and Christopher since the shooting, and she’s working on a pasta sauce while Helena starts on her famous banana brown sugar bread — Eddie’s favourite.
“How is he, really?” she asks once her dish is tucked into the oven.
“As well as can be expected,” Isabel replies, throwing spices into the pot with an ease Helena never grew into. “He was tired for the first few days, but now it’s like a broken arm. Uncomfortable but not so painful.”
“How long is it supposed to take to heal?”
Isabel casts a suspicious eye her way as if she can anticipate the date of Helena’s return flight adjusting already, but answers, “they say 6 to 8 weeks. It’s for the bone to heal, mostly, in his back. The rest should be sooner.”
Helena broke her wrist years ago, when the kids were nearly teenagers, and it was three months of hell trying to manage a household one handed while Ramon spent most of that time travelling across Texas.
Who’s helping him? Is Carla back in the picture? Is she working overtime? How can he afford that on sick leave? Is Pepa or one of the cousins going over? Is his girlfriend there? Who’s helping with Christopher? How is he managing?
The questions — all genuine and well-meaning, all a shade too accusatory — are on her tongue, pressed to the back of her teeth to keep from escaping. She’s entitled to answers, even if she doesn’t like them. She knows she has the right to at least know how her son is caring for himself and her grandson while he’s injured. If he’d told them when it happened Helena could have been here in a heartbeat to help, but no, Eddie’s just as stubborn as they are, just as prideful. He’d rather suffer alone than accept their help. Fine. But she’s still his mother, and Christopher’s grandmother. She raised them both. She has a right to—
Helena takes a deep breath in, anchors herself in the mixed scents of the rich sauce and the sweet bread cooking, and breathes out. Isabel sends her another look but says nothing.
Helena cries when she sees Eddie, and cries a bit harder when she sees the apprehension in his eyes. Her baby boy looks a bit pale, but he’s standing on his own two feet and answering the door himself.
“Oh, sweetheart,” she murmurs, wrapping him gently into her arms, mindful not to press into the sling or his back.
“Hi, mom,” he says quietly, like he’s trying to gentle the stiffness in his voice.
She releases him, but not before pressing three kisses into his temple, always three. One for each of her kids.
Ramon steps into the space she leaves when she continues into the house and from the corner of her eye, she sees him cup the back of Eddie’s head and take a good look at him. For Ramon, it’s the equivalent of collapsing to the floor in tears.
Helena quickly toes off her boots and makes room at the entrance for the others behind her, which also puts her first in line to catch a sight that nearly knocks her down.
“Who is this young man I see?” she cries, throwing her hands wide to gesture at her grandson. “Last I saw you, you were just a little tyke. Now look at you, you must have grown three feet!”
Christopher giggles and Helena smiles in return as she folds him into her arms, but it’s forced. She’s not lying — he’s grown so much more than she expected. She hasn’t seen him in person since Eddie’s graduation and while video chats are priceless, they didn’t capture this growth spurt.
She can’t believe she let this happen. That she went from spending most of everyday with this little boy and now she’s missed out on two years of his life. Can’t believe Eddie kept him fro—
Supper goes well enough. Eddie never truly shakes loose the tension in his shoulders; he trades many looks with Isabel, seemingly spooked by his parents’ behaviour. He talks a lot more than he usually does, probably out of nervousness. But overall, they let Christopher take the reigns; they’re all more comfortable with that. It’s been too long since they’ve last spoken and Christopher is full of stories about his school and his friends.
“Buck says we can go to the Griffin soon. It was closed because of COVID. But before, I went with my class and they made a comet right in front of us!”
Buck. It’s the third time his name has been dropped at the table since they sat down.
She first met him, briefly, at Eddie’s graduation, but didn’t really register him as someone in her son’s life until Eddie and his crew stopped off in El Paso for dinner on their way home from fighting Texas wildfires. Buck had been cropping up in Christopher’s and Eddie’s stories for months by then and she was curious to properly meet him in person. He had seemed...young, she remembers.
“The Griffith Observatory,” Eddie corrects fondly. With Christopher, at least, it’s impossible for him not to soften.
Eddie’s only eaten half the pasta on his plate but Isabel seems satisfied. Helena bites down on the impulse to encourage him to eat more. To remind him he needs his strength to heal quickly for his little boy. She does lift the basket of garlic bread in his direction, because she can’t help herself. He eyes the basket warily as though he expects her to do more, but when she doesn’t, he shakes his head with a small smile of thanks.
“Yeah,” Christopher agrees, “it was cool but we didn’t get to stay long enough to see everything. And if we go later, Buck says we can see real meteors in the sky.”
“Christopher is on an astronomy kick,” Eddie adds redundantly.
“Wait, I gotta show you —” Christopher is sliding out of his seat before anyone can stop him and racing down the hall to his bedroom.
“Oh, honey —” Helena grips the arms of her chair out of reflex to jump up and help him — he doesn’t have his crutches, he’s only using the wall for support and he’s wearing socks — but Eddie looks over when her chair creaks.
He can’t really expect her to just sit here while Christopher—
They can hear Christopher make it to his bedroom without injury, so Helena slowly settles back in her chair and Ramon clears his throat. “He seems...okay. More okay than I would have expected.”
Eddie keeps his eyes on his father for a beat too long, assessing the comment for any hidden messages.
“He’s a resilient kid. Buck stayed here with him while I was in the hospital, so his routine wouldn’t get messed up. I think that helped a lot.”
Fifth ment— wait.
“Buck stayed with him?” The words — the tone — are out of her mouth before Helena can stop them.
On the shortlist of people she expected to hear stayed with her grandson to watch him and care for him, alone, while his father was in the hospital — Isabel, Pepa, Carla, or even Ana — Buck’s isn’t a name she expected to hear. A coworker — an unrelated man with no children of his own, over Christopher’s family? Over Christopher’s own aide? Over a schoolteacher?
Eddie’s jaw squares up and he sits up in his chair. Like light gray rain clouds suddenly turning dark, weighty with an incoming storm, a heavy tension builds in the air between them.
“Look!” Christopher exclaims as he rounds the corner, nearly throwing a thin, blue hardcover book on the table. Eddie catches it before it can slam into Christopher’s leftover pasta and sets it down on the table for him. “It shows all the things we can see in the sky over the whole year!”
Christopher climbs back into his chair and opens the book up to a random page, describing everything he seems to have nearly memorized already. By the time he reaches the upcoming meteor shower, the tension at the table has dissipated enough for Helena to excuse herself to the bathroom and not have it come off like a passive aggressive storm-off.
She washes her hands with soap pumped out of a fish-shaped dispenser that wasn’t here the last time she visited and trains her eyes on the basket of gauze, scissors and tape tucked away on the shelf above the toilet. That wasn’t there last time either.
Her baby boy was shot by a sniper. In LA.
A bullet tore through the body she created and almost took her son from her forever.
But only after she’d almost pushed him so far away he might never come back.
The tears well up again and she sniffs through them, blinking up at the ceiling until she’s back under control.
As she pivots to turn the light off, she spies a purple toothbrush resting on the ledge just above the sink. The other two toothbrushes are electric — one adult-, one child-sized — and stand on the counter.
Helena and Ramon meet the infamous Ana by accident.
When they leave Eddie’s house on Friday, Helena sends a text message to say what she couldn’t manage to say to his face — that they’re here for him, in whatever capacity he needs, that they’ll take their cues from him, even if that means giving him some space.
To that, she receives a, Thank you.
When she asks for the contact information of the therapist he had scoped out for them, she gets a phone call.
“Not to look a gift horse in the mouth,” her son says, “but are you just doing this because I got shot?”
“Honestly? Yeah,” she laughs mirthlessly. “I’m sorry to say it took our baby boy nearly dying to get our heads out of our ass.”
Eddie huffs a laugh on his end. “Well, I’ll take that silver lining.”
After that, Eddie invites them to a restaurant for brunch on Sunday, but when they reach his doorstep, they find it already occupied by a woman who’s just rung the doorbell, holding a casserole dish in her hands.
When the door opens, Eddie takes in the three of them, his eyes wide and apprehensive.
“Ana, I wasn’t expecting you,” he says, his eyes darting over her shoulder to his parents. He’s smiling, though there’s a clear strain in the corners of his eyes and mouth. They’ve been critical about Shannon for so long — and with good reason, nothing will change Helena’s mind on that — no doubt he’s expecting them to hate this new woman on sight.
“You’re Ana!” Helena exclaims with a wide smile, imbuing her voice with as much welcome as she’s capable. “Hi! It’s so good to finally meet you!”
When Eddie releases the breath he was holding, she knows she was on the mark. Ramon follows her lead and invites Ana to brunch with them on the spot and won’t hear her protests about intruding.
Eddie, of course, doesn’t protest at all but invites them in so Ana can store the casserole in the fridge — it takes both Ana and Helena’s organizational skills to find a spot for it among Isabel’s and Eddie’s tupperwares already invading all available space — and he can finish getting ready. He was already dressed in a nice polo and jeans but when he comes back from his bedroom it’s in a smart button-down he must have struggled with out of sheer stubbornness. Both his parents and his girlfriend are in the house and still he didn’t ask for help.
Eddie and Christopher decide to hop into Ana’s car and Helena asks loudly for directions to keep Ramon from insisting they should all ride together.
“So how long have you kids been seeing each other now?” Ramon asks when they’ve been seated at the restaurant.
“Nearly 7 months now, I think, isn’t it?” Ana replies, looking at Eddie with a dazzling smile — she truly is gorgeous. Eddie was still talking to them when he started dating her so they know she’s a schoolteacher turned vice principal but to meet her in person blows all their other expectations out of the water. She’s lively and sweet, patient and understanding, Latina — a big plus in Ramon’s books ironically. Eddie picked well this time.
Eddie hesitates a moment and nods. “Yeah, that sounds right.”
Every now and again, he squirms in his chair, like he can’t quite settle in and Helena wonders when his last painkiller was taken. But when he catches her face, she smoothes her worry out into a cheeky smile that says I like this one. He smiles back and there’s nothing she can pinpoint exactly but something about it makes her uneasy.
Eddie’s too quiet as they wait for their food, his face pinched, and just when Helena’s about to break, Ana does her the favour of asking gently, “Are you feeling okay? Do you need to take anything for your arm?”
But Eddie shrugs off her concern. “No, thank you. Next one isn’t until noon.” He taps his phone twice and she smiles.
“Sorry, I forgot. He’s got them all on timers with a special ringtone. He’s so organized,” she tells Helena and Ramon with a sunny smile, rubbing her hand down his good arm. “I have one multivitamin and I forget to take it half the time.”
“Buck set it up,” Eddie defers, and Helena schools her face not to react; even at brunch Buck is with them in spirit.
Ramon either takes no issue with the mention or doesn’t register it. He takes the opportunity to share how his new pharmacy pre-packages his heart and arthritis medications into AM and PM slots and Ana listens attentively. Eddie’s fingertip taps absently against the phone case until their food arrives.
Christopher ordered a waffle, and with Eddie indisposed, Helena is already moving to help him when Ana beats her to the punch again. Helena tucks a smile away as Ana leans over and starts cutting the waffle up into smaller pieces.
“He can do that,” Eddie says when he notices Christopher sitting back in his chair, realizing only when Ana startles that his tone is sharp. His voice is softer when he follows up with, “Right, buddy?”
“Yeah,” Chris agrees, picking up his own cutlery with enthusiasm despite his hands being nearly too small for them.
Eddie throws an apologetic grin Ana’s way and brunch continues peacefully, though the stiff line of Eddie’s shoulder never does quite soften.
Their first therapy session takes place in Isabel’s kitchen at Eddie’s request. Isabel thinks it’s so he has the option of leaving when he needs to (in other words, when he gets fed up and runs) but Helena hasn’t missed how Eddie has been careful to keep them away from his home since the first day they saw him.
They’ve seen Eddie and Chris numerous times in the week and change they’ve been in LA — more than they’ve seen them since they left El Paso — but always outside of the house. Sometimes they pick Chris up from school, sometimes Eddie and Chris come to Isabel’s for supper, sometimes they go out to restaurants or other outings, but they haven’t been invited back to his home again. She wanted to believe it was because he was hiding the news that Ana had moved in but that’s been shot out of the water both by her ringing the doorbell and an errant comment at the end of brunch about how she hadn’t seen him since the welcome home party.
So it’s out of pettiness, then. Stubbornness. Out of pig-headed inability to accept that he needs help and willingness to believe that they’re making an effort to meet him on his own terms.
She tries not to let it rankle her, tries to find some of that resolute commitment to letting things be and not push. But the next thing she knows, she’s yelling about it to a stranger at Isabel’s island counter.
To be fair, the session with Dr. Jamieson wasn’t going great to begin with. It’s awkward as hell, the three of them balancing on stools, squished in next to each other to try to fit into the screen, but also trying to keep the laptop close enough to still hear her and not have to shout. It’s happening while Chris is at school so they don’t have to worry about keeping him distracted but they can’t exactly ask Isabel to go wait in the LA sun for an hour so she doesn’t overhear, so it’s basically a given that she’s the fourth person on this virtual couch from the next room over.
And beyond that, Helena has kept her mouth shut for over a week which is frankly more time than anyone would have bet on, including herself, and given the opportunity to express herself freely...well…
“You want space? We’ve given you nothing but space since we got here. How much more can we give you, Eddie? You’re hundreds of miles away from us already. Forgive us for feeling the need to check in on our only son who almost died last week,” she yells, her hand nearly colliding with her coffee mug as she gestures.
“Last week?” Ramon echoes with a bark of dark laughter.
“Oh, no, that’s right,” Helena picks up. “I’m sorry! Not a week ago! Nearly a month ago! Because apparently we don’t warrant even a text when our only son almost dies, but that’s not enough space?”
Eddie rakes his fingers aggressively through his hair, his lips pursed.
“We have to move to Mexico,” Ramon continues blithely. “Is that enough space? No, better yet! Sweden! Your family still lives out there, no? We can live on their farm. Completely different timezone, we won’t even be reachable.”
“Yeah,” Eddie bites back, a sour grin blooming on his face, “that’s what I want. I ask you to give me some breathing room — to respect me, my life — and you translate that into living in a fucking commune in Sweden. And you wonder why we’re in therapy. I can’t talk to you, you don’t listen!”
“Listen to what, Eddie?” Helena yells, getting out of her seat to pace. “Listen to the months of silence you’ve sent our way? Because we either get on board and blindly cheer on every mess you get yourself into or we don’t get to know you anymore? Don’t get to know our grandson?”
“I never kept him from you — you have our number, the phone didn’t ring. That’s not on me.”
“Because you would have picked up?” Ramon exclaims, pushing away from the island to better look back at their son. “Easy to claim when it’s after the fact in front of the doctor.”
“So now I’m a liar! You raised a liar?”
“I think we’ve gotten off-track,” Dr. Jamieson’s tinny voice interjects from the laptop.
In the bottom right hand corner of the screen, only Eddie remains in the frame.
Firehouse 118 was a lively crowd at Eddie’s graduation but it’s nothing compared to the party thrown at the Grant-Nash house in honour of a new probationary firefighter.
Dr. Jamieson pointed out the self-fulfilling prophecy that Eddie protecting himself from criticism and pressure by withholding details about his life in LA was leading to his parents’ growing insecurity over not knowing anything about their son and feeling the need to intervene more and more.
The solution? Let them in on his life and trust that they could hold themselves in check.
For that, even Ramon was in agreement that maybe therapy wasn’t a load of shit after all.
So here they find themselves welcomed into this beautiful and loud home nearly three weeks into their stay in LA. They were allowed to pick Eddie and Chris up so they arrive together but Christopher peels off immediately to find kids his own age.
It’s impossible not to feel the warmth of family radiating from every inch of the home so when Eddie’s shoulders seem to loosen a little as they walk in, Helena can’t find it in herself to begrudge him.
“Well aren’t you a sight for sore eyes,” a woman around Helena’s age drawls, crowding into Eddie’s space for a delicate hug he doesn’t hesitate to return. “Though I could have done without seeing another one of these for a few hundred more years,” she says, gesturing to the sling. “How much longer?”
“Another month if everything checks out,” Eddie says, releasing a sigh.
“It better,” she warns with a twinkle in her eye that says if she learns he’s been aggravating his injury there will be hell to pay.
The woman, they find out, is Athena Grant-Nash, wife of the 118’s captain and consummate host. While Eddie splits off “for a minute”, she leads them to the main area for drinks and introductions before leaving them to mingle. Captain Nash — Bobby — meets them with appetizers and introduces them to the Lees, the de-facto parental figures of the young man who just joined the team.
From the spot she claims at the edge of the dining room, Helena keeps an eye trained on Eddie outside. She feels an itch under her skin knowing it’s been nearly twenty minutes and Eddie hasn’t checked on Christopher, but she knows she shouldn’t go herself. Eddie can do everything on his own, right? He can look after his own kid at a party.
She can, however, go to the washroom and take a peek at what Christopher’s up to while she’s wandering, and that’s exactly what she intends to do.
But for now, she watches as Eddie criss-crosses through the crowds of the patio, prompting a localized burst of cheers at each stop as he reunites himself with teammates he hasn’t seen since the shooting. She recognizes the woman who was on the trip to Texas but the rest conjure only the vaguest memories of Eddie’s graduation and the occasional picture on Instagram — before he stopped posting that is. Just one more way they’ve been iced out.
But he seems happy, almost carefree in a way she realizes she hasn’t seen with her own eyes in...longer than this trip, actually.
Probably years, if she’s honest.
And it occurs to her, slowly, creepingly, that her son is outside, smiling freely and easily, surrounded by people he’s made his new family, while Helena stands inside watching his life through a glass window in a stranger’s house.
She swallows past the lump in her throat and sighs. Ramon’s arm comes around her waist and without looking at him, she knows he’s had a similar revelation.
Their next therapy session is in a few days, and they’re not going to fuck it up again.
There’s a late arrival to the party, one of the only people in Eddie’s life she can recognize — Buck. He’s as tall as she remembered but he looks a shade less young now maybe. He greets everyone with a hug or kiss on the cheek as he moves through the party, and bestows a cheer and an enthusiastic hug on Albert, the guest of honour.
When he moves on to the patio and approaches Eddie’s circle, however, the cheerful, long-awaited reunion of best friends she expects doesn’t happen. They catch each other’s eyes for a few beats and share a welcoming smile, then the conversation resumes as if nothing of consequence has happened. Buck doesn’t even linger long, heading back into the house after a few minutes.
When the cake starts being doled out, Eddie returns to meet them at the table and accepts the plate Helena offers him. Helena is scouting the yard for a chair he can sit on to eat when Buck reappears.
“He couldn’t be pulled away?” Eddie asks in surprise.
“Nope,” Buck replies with a grin before turning to them. “Hi, Mr. and Mrs. Diaz. Good to see you again!” Before they can return more than a smile, Buck continues, “he’s cheating at Unicorn Temple with Harry. Not even cake can pull him away.”
Eddie rolls his eyes and smiles. “My son is not a cheater.” To them, he says, “Buck thinks that whenever he’s losing at a video game, it’s because his opponent is cheating.”
“Not always! Just when they are,” he replies with exaggerated emphasis before scooping a piece of cake onto a plate. “I’m gonna go hide this in the fridge for him for later before it’s all gone.”
Eddie ducks his head and smiles down at his plate, and the questions are building up behind Helena’s teeth again.
Christopher’s been playing video games all this time? Is it an age-appropriate game? Why is Buck checking on your son? Why is Buck saving him cake when nobody asked him to? Why—
But Eddie looks up with an uncertain expression and says, “there’s a table out there if you guys want to join me.”
So Helena stows her questions and says, “that’d be great.”
They eat the overly-sweet cake in peaceful silence until Ramon casts an eye around and says, “you must be glad about the new firefighter. You won’t be the baby on the team anymore.”
Eddie snorts. “I’m 33 and my kid is nearly a teenager — and that’s totally not freaking me out at all,” he adds wryly. “Besides, I was never the baby of the team. Buck is younger than me and forever a kid at heart so I was never in any danger of it.”
“Oh god, don’t remind me that Christopher’s growing up,” Helena only half-jokes. “I can still barely believe he’s old enough to hold his own head up.”
Eddie huffs a laugh and Helena banks it as a win.
“Do any of your coworkers have teenagers?” Ramon asks. “Might have some words of wisdom to share.” Since you won’t ask us, is unspoken and politely ignored by all.
“Athena’s daughter May is just leaving the teen years now, but after her, Christopher’s the oldest. Harry, Athena’s son is 9 and Denny, Hen and Karen’s son just turned 8. It’s great for play dates but not for getting advice on what’s coming up unfortunately.”
“Karen,” Ramon echoes.
Eddie’s fork pauses on its way to scoop some excess icing off his cake and his back straightens.
“Hen’s wife,” he says curtly, daring.
Helena wants to roll her eyes at the posturing. It’s 2021, who cares who anybody loves. She knows Ramon doesn’t, not really, not anymore. It’s a 50-year-long reflex to make a comment, one they’ve been working, if only to have some semblance of a civil conversation with Sophia while she works through a degree in women and gender studies.
But she knows that excuse isn’t going to fly with Eddie.
It hasn’t flown since Eddie was 20 years old and realizing he’d lost a good friend to his father’s caustic words. And Helena can’t ever go back and examine the hurt in Eddie’s expression with fresh eyes. Shemanages to forget about it most of the time until something happens to dig it out of the cold, hard ground and shove it in her arms.
But she’s come to LA because she wants to be in her son’s life, in her grandson’s life and she can’t be a coward now.
“They’re a gorgeous couple,” she says, almost too loudly in her enthusiasm. “Are they thinking of having more kids?”
Eddie turns his assessing eyes to her and is mollified by her effort. “Yeah, they’re foster parents now. They’ve fostered three kids so far.”
“That’s great,” she says sincerely. Then, accidentally on purpose and only in part to bring Ramon back to a safe topic, she asks, “Does Ana want a large family?”
Eddie sees through her attempt, but nods. “Yeah, she loves kids.”
Helena doesn’t miss Ramon’s approving nod, or the dark look that passes over Eddie’s eyes when he catches it.
“Was Ana not able to come tonight?” Ramon asks.
“I didn’t ask her,” he answers, his voice a shade too casual. “This is more of a team thing.” As if they hadn’t just been discussing the other families all around them.
“That Ana—” Ramon begins but is interrupted by the arrival of Christopher with a hint of blue icing on his nose and Buck following behind him with two paper plates filled with cake.
Christopher sits backwards on the picnic table bench and uses his arms to lift his legs over while Eddie watches but doesn’t offer to help, and when Christopher is set, Buck places one of the plates in front of him with a plastic fork stuck in the top like a flag.
“Buck was finally able to pull you away, mijo?” Eddie asks as Christopher digs in.
“No, May took her room back so we can’t play on her tv anymore. Harry’s gonna ask his mom if we can play in her room.”
“Yeah...” Buck draws out, sharing a dubious expression with Eddie over Christopher’s head, “I wouldn’t hold out for that, bud.”
“Maybe you can teach the others how to play Scrabble!” Eddie suggests.
Christopher’s nose wrinkles, “Scrabble is boring.”
“Hey!” Buck protests and takes a forkful of Christopher’s cake in retaliation, which prompts Christopher to yell and attack Buck’s cake back, taking much more than a forkful.
The commotion draws attention to their table and Helena’s gearing up to tell Christopher to settle down when she catches Eddie’s eyes on her, waiting.
Helena looks back out to the backyard to say, People are staring.
Eddie looks back impassively as if to say, Let them.
Helena swallows her impatience, her anxiety, her embarrassment.
“Hey,” Buck calls, his mouth half full of icing, “did you take your 6?”
Eddie hesitates and that’s enough for Buck to swallow and look put out, already turning and lifting a leg out of the confines of the picnic table.
“Did you turn off your alarm again?”
“I didn’t turn it off the first time, I don’t know what happened.”
“What happened is it woke you up at 6am and you turned it off because sleepy Eddie makes bad life choices.”
Eddie rolls his eyes. “You don’t have —”
“Right pocket?” Buck interjects, already walking away.
“Yeah,” Eddie sighs.
Christopher looks at him and shakes his head with exaggerated disappointment.
“Don’t you start,” Eddie warns, scooping a fingertip of icing and dabbing it on his son’s nose too quickly for him to duck.
Christopher shrieks and reaches for his cake fingers-first.
“Oh no, no,” Eddie laughs, catching Christopher’s fingers with one hand. “Truce, truce.”
Christopher doesn’t look interested in a truce and Eddie’s other arm is in a sling, so Ramon quickly pulls the cake out of Christopher’s reach, and then Buck’s abandoned piece and Helena does the same with Eddie’s.
“Not fair!” Christopher cries, still reaching.
“Your dad’s hurt, mijo, you can’t attack him with icing while he’s healing,” Ramon says reasonably. “Wait till he’s all better.”
“He’s fine!” Christopher declares with the confidence of a trauma surgeon as he tries to climb up on the bench.
Eddie’s not in a position to pull him back down and Helena doesn’t know how far they can take their non-interference but she’s not about to let her grandson hop over a table to fall into three plates of cake. She’s half-decided she’s going to pick up the cake and walk it back inside when Buck returns, depositing a glass of water on the table and a small white pill into Eddie’s palm before swooping in and tickling Christopher’s sides.
He shrieks loudly, gaining looks from all around the backyard, but it gets his butt back down on the bench and Buck sits back down next to him, boxing him in between himself and Eddie.
“What happened to our cake? How’d it get all the way over there?” The plates are very easily within Buck’s reach; it’s a question for Christopher’s benefit.
“Dad got me like you did!” Christopher cries indignantly, pointing to his nose. “I’m getting him back!”
“Oh man,” Buck nods seriously before his finger darts forward, swipes the icing from his nose and brings it to his mouth. “Mmm, this is better than the one I got you with. You sure you don’t just wanna eat it?”
Christopher looks unconvinced.
“How about this?” Buck ducks down to whisper loudly. “You call a truce with your dad, and then I’ll steal all his icing and we’ll eat it.”
The icing on Eddie’s cake is mostly piled in a corner of his paper plate. He’s never been able to stomach the pure sugary sweetness of store bought icing.
“Okay,” Christopher nods back, reaching out again for his plate but without making grabby hands.
Ramon assesses him for a moment before taking the chance to push the plates back within reach.
“Hey, Eddie,” Buck calls deliberately. “You should take your medication now.”
“Thanks, Buck,” Eddie replies with a smile that conveys an eyeroll. “I’ll do that now.”
While Eddie pops the pill and takes a very long drink of water, Buck “sneakily” pulls his plate towards them and scoops all the piled icing onto his own plate before pushing the cake back to Eddie’s side of the table.
Christopher laughs and pushes Eddie’s plate an extra few inches away out of spite.
Eddie plays the disappointed victim passably well with a half-hearted gasp and a shake of his head. “You little thieves.”
As promised, Buck doles out some of Eddie’s icing to Christopher who immediately protests at the amount left on Buck’s plate.
“Hey, when you’re a big guy like me, you get more icing. Keep eating your proteins and you’ll get there in no time.”
Christopher accepts that easily enough. “I’m gonna be tall like dad.”
Buck scoffs, “Aim higher, kid. Literally.”
“I am barely two inches shorter than you,” Eddie laments, not for the first time, it sounds like.
“It’s practically three. Are you really going to lie in front of your parents?”
Wouldn’t be the first time, is on Helena’s tongue because it’s been hours since she could speak her mind, but she holds it in.
“How was the trip from Texas?” Buck asks them suddenly, bringing them back into the fold of a scene they'd never left but somehow stopped being a part of. “Flights have new restrictions on them now, don’t they?”
When the party is winding down and they walk outside to the driveway, Eddie surprises them by offering them both a hug.
“Thank you for coming,” he says sincerely, though Helena hears the underlying “and behaving” and can’t help but bristle.
“Thank you for inviting us, mijo,” Ramon says; his turn to save Helena from herself.
And when Eddie lets them know he and Chris will be getting their ride back from Buck, Ramon takes Helena’s hand and they smile almost sincerely as they say their goodnights.
The next week happens to be Isabel’s 80th birthday and Helena and Ramon keep themselves busy by helping to throw a party that will reunite every vaccinated member of the family in the area (they’re not about to take a chance on Isabel’s health).
Things have been getting better with Eddie. They had a second therapy session, again at Isabel’s island counter, where they lasted a good 25 minutes before devolving into yelling. The next day, Eddie asked Ramon for a ride to physical therapy, and easily accepted his father’s offer of lunch after the appointment.
Then, when Helena asked if she could pick up some groceries for him and Christopher, she was refused — in no small part, she thinks, because he still won’t let them in his house — but instead of going off on him, she channeled that anger and resentment into nearly buying out Costco for Isabel’s party. It felt like progress Dr. Jamieson would be proud of.
That’s why, despite the party officially kicking off around 11am, they’re just past supper time and all tables and counters are still nearly buckling under the weight of the food. They’ll have to send everyone home with leftovers if the flow of people stops. Isabel’s front door has been a turnstile since this morning and Helena knows from experience it’ll likely stay that way until the late hours of the night. Most recently, Helena’s daughters made their appearance, and it’s not at all the reason Helena is back in the kitchen.
Despite coming from opposite ends with different travel distances, Adriana and Sophia arrived within a half hour of each other, a move Helena saw through instantly. The idea that her children coordinated to arrive together instead of risking the possibility of facing their parents alone sets a fire raging in her heart, and she realizes suddenly that she isn’t prepared to be hypervigilant of her every word with all three of her kids here now to push her buttons.
So, she retreats to the kitchen.
She doesn’t expect one of them to follow her in.
“I heard you guys were doing therapy,” Adriana volleys as she approaches.
Helena cracks open the tray of chocolate chip cookies and starts plating them, her face angled down so any kneejerk expression of distaste isn’t as visible. “Apparently, that’s what the cool kids do nowadays.”
“It is,” Adriana agrees, the bangles on her wrists clinking on the countertop as she reaches for the box of oatmeal cookies to plate. She’s a year into her Master’s in communication. What she intends to do with that is a mystery to them. So much of their kids’ lives are a mystery now. Helena closes the lid of the cookie tray hard and relishes in the snap of the plastic groove into the tongue.
“Paying a stranger to tell us when and how to talk to each other is cool,” she bites. It’s not posed as a question, just a bitter acknowledgement.
Adriana is quiet and Helena starts plating mini quiches onto the cookie platter just to stay occupied while her daughter walks away. Sophia is a yeller, she stands her ground and gives as good as she gets. Adriana, however, is a runner, just like Eddie.
But Adriana doesn’t leave in a huff. She turns to the counter and grabs a second platter, moving the mini quiches onto that one.
“It’s cool that you’re open to trying,” she says. “I think that, in any family where there’s love, there’s going to be hurt. And the longer we stay stuck in that hurt, the harder it becomes to talk about it without causing more. We get stuck in patterns that we can’t break out of, and people on the outside can be the best ones to point out those patterns and help you break out of them to get to what you actually, truly want to say.”
Helena knows what she actually, truly wants to say. That’s not the problem. The problem is that none of her kids want to hear it.
“I see a therapist,” Adriana continues. Helena stills and looks at her daughter, calmly arranging the mini quiches into concentric circles. “Since my last year of undergrad. When things got really hard and I couldn’t understand why. They helped me. A lot. Helped me figure out what was wrong and how to get myself through it.”
“You didn’t tell us,” Helena says, her voice thick.
“I know,” her daughter replies simply. “I didn’t know how. I’m telling you now because what I actually, truly want to say is that I’m proud of you and dad for doing this. And maybe if you don’t hate it...maybe we could try a session later too.”
There’s an offer in her daughter’s words, an open hand reaching out. But in that hand, Helena sees her failures as a parent, the judgement of the world for failing her kids, and she doesn’t want to reach her own hand out.
Helena looks at her eldest daughter, almost a stranger to her, with an entire life Helena is only starting to realize she has no part in. It hurts — it always hurts when the kids pull away but to realize she didn’t even know the extent of it...she wants to hurt back.
But she’s trying so hard to break those patterns Adriana speaks of. So instead, Helena thinks of the therapist’s advice leading them into a piece of Eddie’s life they wouldn’t have otherwise gotten to see and swallows past the indignation in her throat to reach down and find the words she actually, truly wants to say.
“You say when, and I’ll be there.”
The sun is setting when Helena finally agrees to get off her feet and just enjoy the party outside while the cousins take over the serving and cleaning. There are four generations of Diazes gathered around but for the first time ever, most of the cousins are young adults, not teenagers, and it’s nice to be able to pass on the hosting responsibilities to them for a bit.
The sky is clear, the sunset resplendent from Isabel’s backyard, and the conversation is flowing easily. It’s a beautiful evening, warm with a gentle breeze cool enough to let her lean back against Ramon in his lounge chair, one of his arms wrapped loosely around her hip.
For the first time since getting Isabel’s text, Helena feels something like peace wash over her and she almost feels bad for the thrum of vindication in her stomach when she spots Eddie slumped comfortably in an armchair, his legs propped up on another chair.
He’s at home here.
Yes, he was at ease at his captain’s house but this is family, this is where he can really sink into the love and comfort and rest. With his aunts and uncles, cousins and sisters around to take care of him. And Christopher, who spent the afternoon running around and chomping down on all the sugar he could get his hands on, slumped against him, nearly asleep. This is family.
She knows he could find that peace back in El Paso, they both could. Eddie had friends there, and his parents, who knew his son better than he did for most of his life. And there are fires in El Paso same as there are in LA, but less smog, less general insanity.
But Eddie’s a lot like his parents, too much like them maybe, and once he’s decided on a course of action he can’t be swayed. So Helena has made peace with it. Rather, she’s made peace with pretending to be okay with it while she waits for him to come to the realization that he should move back.
And in the meantime, if they can mend this thorniness between them, then maybe she and Ramon can make more of these impromptu trips. Maybe even convince Eddie to come home for Christmas this year. At the very least, go back to regular video chats.
But all that ruminating feels far away right now. She’s moving gently with the rise and fall of Ramon’s chest, and she’s so close to slipping away to the feeling of contentment when a new arrival makes her open eyes she didn’t realize she’d closed.
“Feliz cumpleanos,” she hears someone say in half-decent Spanish from the front door on the other side of the side yard fence.
She doesn’t recognize the voice as yet another cousin or uncle, but Eddie shakes Christopher’s shoulder gently, and says, “hey, guess who’s here.”
It takes a moment, but the words penetrate Christopher’s sleepiness. His eyes pop open and he shimmies out of Eddie’s lap and into his crutches to power walk over to the gate just in time for it to open, admitting Isabel, holding a beautiful bouquet of flowers, and a sheepish looking Buck behind her.
“Buck!” Christopher yells.
Buck’s smile widens and he immediately opens his arms. “Hey, superman!”
Buck crouches down and Christopher throws his arms around his neck, crutches and all. When it’s time to break apart, Christopher’s still hanging on and Helena feels a stab of dark vindication at what’s about to happen, and the look Ramon sends her way tells her she’s not alone. Because Christopher is now officially in the double digits, and while he’s always been an independent kid, becoming 10 years old was a big deal for him and his perceived level of maturity, and apparently the year he decided no one was allowed to carry him anymore.
And now Christopher’s tired and in the grip of a powerful sugar crash. He’s not going to suffer any indignities, and Helena knows she should feel bad about not trying to stop Buck. About just watching this play out to see him be rejected. But she wasn’t expecting to see him here, in this safe haven of Isabel’s backyard, in this space for family and loved ones, and it rankles her. It feels like everywhere she turns in LA, she finds him there. And his being here is just another nail in the coffin of Eddie stubbornly refusing to let his parents back into his home. That he would call his friend to this party just to avoid letting them give him a ride…
So she’s a little bitter, a little resentful of the persistent, low-key rejection. Sue her. Eddie has made it clear he doesn’t want them interfering anyway so this is on him.
“Christopher,” Eddie calls, a warning to not make a scene.
Buck looks over Christopher’s shoulder and smiles. “He’s fine,” he says.
Then he’s heaving Christopher’s body up into his arms and onto his hip and Christopher…
...Christopher slumps down over Buck’s shoulder like a baby koala. No sound of protest leaves his lips. His face, if it shows any displeasure, is hidden behind Buck’s neck.
And when Eddie gets up, it’s not to intercede, it’s only to grab the errant crutches before they hit something, and to pull his own armless chair out for Buck to sit on because apparently Buck is staying, and apparently Christopher is staying with him.
“He’s a bit old to be carried around, no?” Ramon says with a bite, because he can’t help himself.
Eddie, who’s been watching his son fondly, barely bats an eye. “He gets cuddly when he’s tired, and Buck’s nearly the only one left who’s big enough to carry him.”
“Ah, that’s why you spend so much time developing these,” Pepa says with a sly smile as she pinches at Buck’s bicep. The same familiar pinch she gave her own grandkids’ cheeks.
“Gracias a Dios,” Isabel adds meaningfully.
“That was adrenaline,” Eddie dismisses with a teasing grin.
“That was 100 squats and 50 pushups a day,” Buck returns blithely. “...and maybe a little adrenaline.”
“What’s this?” Ramon asks before she can.
Instead of prompting more teasing, the mood falls slightly and everyone looks to each other.
Finally, Eddie sighs. “When I got shot, Buck army crawled under a ladder truck to get me out and lifted me into the truck to get to the hospital.”
It strikes Helena suddenly, shamefully, that in the shock of finding out they’d missed the event itself, the hospital stay, and two entire weeks of healing, that they’d never circled back around for details on what actually went down the day it happened.
She never thought to wonder how he got off that street. How he got to the hospital. Who might have saved his life.
And she wishes she were a better person then. Wishes that learning Buck saved her son’s life overpowered her irritation at having him sitting here in Isabel’s backyard like he belonged here when Helena herself barely felt like she did herself. It does help, though.
“They released the street footage of the shooting,” Pepa continues quietly. “It’s on YouTube. Before I even knew it happened, Marguerita from church just sent me a link saying ‘they said it’s a Diaz, do you know him?’ and I saw.”
The idea of her son’s shooting being passed around like a cat video makes Helena sick, but Pepa lamenting how she hadn’t known when she learned about it in a matter of hours and sat on it for weeks…
“I wouldn’t recommend it,” Pepa says decisively. “But they have an angle where you can see our Buck here go and get Eddie, pick him up like he doesn’t weigh a thing and get him into the truck to get to the hospital. Probably why he’s alive today. So gracias a Dios for those squats.”
Eddie and Buck are both looking away, both looking safely at Christopher while the table digests the news.
“If you were looking for a story of something really dumb, I can point you in the direction of another video of Buck,” Eddie says, his tone jovial but his eyes strained.
“You need to let that go,” Buck says in a definite whine.
“Do I?” Eddie asks. “Abuela did you see the video of the firefighter who went up the crane all alone?”
“Dios mío, Buck,” Pepa laments.
“Did you send it to me?” Abuela asks her, pulling out her phone and her glasses to check.
“No, mamá, it was an idiot firefighter but I didn’t realize it was the one we knew.”
“In the middle of an all-out declaration of war on firefighters,” Eddie begins, quietly for Christopher’s sake, but impassioned, sitting up in his chair, “this idiota and his squat count climbed up a crane ladder, completely exposed and defenseless—”
Buck looks pained. “I was wearing a bulletproof vest and a helmet. And that’s the job sometimes—”
“The paramedics’ job, actually, which you aren’t. So, no, that wasn’t the job.” Eddie’s tone edges into something darker without his meaning to. He takes a drink of his lemonade looking for all the world like he wished it was a beer. “And you know that or I wouldn’t have found out about it from Chim a month after the fact.”
Helena clenches her jaw tight and squeezes Ramon’s hand even tighter so neither of them can say, So you have a problem being left in the dark too?
“Buck,” Isabel sighs with disappointment.
Buck winces. “It was before— ” He cuts himself off, his wide eyes darting towards Helena and Ramon of all people.
“Hmm,” Isabel answers noncommittally, as if to end the conversation.
Just then, Sophia brings out a platter of bite-sized desserts, making the rounds of the whole circle for people to pick at before leaving it on the table. The opportunity to move on is there. That doesn’t mean they’re interested in taking it.
“Before what?” Ramon asks, his tone is forcibly casual.
The silence that greets Ramon’s question is heavy. Guilty. When Helena casts her eyes around, she’s greeted by stiff shoulders and a mix of apprehension shared between her son, her mother- and sister-in-law, and Buck.
“Before what?” Helena repeats, her voice uncompromising.
The fight they have in Isabel’s guest bedroom is a Hall of Famer. It’s a screaming match, no doubt about it. The doors from the bedroom to the yard are all closed but there’s no question every member of the family — and Buck — can hear every word.
“Do you really hate us that much?” Helena demands. She’s crying but she doesn’t know if it’s heartbreak or fury, she just wishes it’d stop so she could lean into her anger. “Genuinely, honestly, Eddie.”
“I don’t hate you,” he protests, keeping his own voice down, making it seem like they’re irrational for their anger.
“Bullshit,” she spits.
“You must!” Ramon adds. “You hate us so much that you have to hate your sisters too? Your cousins? You would rather leave your only son to a stranger, some gringo coworker, than with family? That’s how much you hate us? Hate our name?”
“Our name?” Eddie shoots back incredulously. “What are you talking about, our name? We’re not royalty, papi, and Chris’ name would never change.”
“You would leave him to your coworker,” Helena stresses, disgust dripping from her tongue.
“To my best friend,” Eddie retorts, “who Christopher adores, if you haven’t noticed. And who adores Christopher right back.”
“That’s not normal, mijo,” Ramon warns.
“Jesus christ,” Eddie seethes. “Please do not star—”
“What kind of single adult man bonds with another man’s child like that?”
“You’re describing a tío, you understand that right? What, you think it’s weird that Pepa loves me like her own? You think Sophia should stay away from Chris too?”
“That’s family,” Helena argues.
“And they’re women!”
“Ramon, shut up,” Helena snaps.
“Buck is our family, and he’s a man, and he’s got the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met. If anything happened to me, Christopher would be taken care of like if I was still here.”
“Buck, the one who nearly got him killed in the tsunami? That’s the same guy right?” Ramon throws out, his eyes a little wild as he paces.
“The one who saved his life in that tsunami, despite being injured and then some. And the one who’s saved my life more times than I can count, including from being gunned down on the street. We’d both probably be dead if not f— ”
“Isn’t he the one who’s family is worse off than ours?” Helena recalls. “So he has no family, no support, no girlfriend even! So a worse position than you’re in now. That’s what you want to leave him with.”
“He doesn’t need a girlfriend to raise Christopher right, I don’t! And he has a great sister, he has the 118, he has Carla, and he has our family. You think Abuela and Pepa would shut the door on him? He’d be here every Sunday, with Christopher, just like I am.”
“And what does your girlfriend think of this?” Ramon presses. “The vice principal, she thinks this is normal?”
“Ana doesn’t have anything to do with this,” Eddie says, frowning.
Helena balks. “You think the woman you’ve been seeing seriously for nearly a year has nothing to do with long-term decisions about your son? You think maybe she wouldn’t want the option of taking Christopher in if something happened to you?”
“That’s not happening, he’s going to Buck and that’s final.”
“What’s going on with you and this gringo?” Ramon asks suspiciously. “Are you even going out with Ana or was that another lie?”
“Ramon, don’t go there,” Helena sighs, her heart clenching. That’s all they need in this clusterfuck, that layer of pain.
“No, let’s go there because you know what?” Eddie asks darkly. “There is no one on this planet I trust with my son more than Buck and yeah, if we need to lay it all out there, that includes the two of you. I know you love Christopher, just like I know Shannon loved him, but that’s not always going to be enough. Buck isn’t going to fill my son’s head with ideas about the wrong kind of way to love someone. He’s not going to tell him he’s not good enough for his family to love him or support him. Buck’s going to make sure Christopher grows up to follow his heart and find whatever makes him happiest in the world, no matter what that looks like.”
“How could you think—”
“What if he grows up to be gay?” Eddie asks pointedly, staring his father down. “You’re telling me you’re going to be the one to help him pick out a suit to go to prom with his boyfriend?”
Ramon purses his lips but tries, “it’s a different world now,” as if he hadn’t just tried to make crass insinuations just to hurt his son.
“Okay,” Eddie says, not believing him for a moment, “what if he’s trans? Tells you at 15 that he’s a girl and he wants to transition. You’re going to get him on hormone therapy?”
“Eddie that’s not—”
“What if he’s 20 and he tells you he got a girl pregnant by accident and he doesn’t know her enough to love her, and he’s not ready to be a father let alone a husband?”
Helena tries to speak but her throat is suddenly too tight for words to get out.
“You gonna tell him he’s not a man if he doesn’t marry her anyway?”
Ramon says nothing.
“Christopher is going to Buck, and that’s final.”
Helena and Ramon don’t show up for the third therapy session.
Their plane tickets were only for three weeks, originally, and as the days run out, they don’t talk about extensions.
Helena is sitting out in Isabel’s backyard, trying to conjure up that feeling of serenity she got to bask in for all of two minutes the night of the birthday party.
It’s not working.
They’re going back to El Paso tomorrow, leaving their relationship with Eddie in worse straits than when they arrived.
There’s always been a tension between them and Eddie, but there’s also always been love and respect, and that love and respect formed a polite barrier around the things they couldn’t talk about. It kept their relationship safe. Kept them from getting too close to real honesty where things hurt in ways that couldn’t be walked back.
It feels now like that barrier has fallen. That Eddie’s finally reached the limit of what he could hold back and now there’s nothing to help them pretend everything is okay. Nothing to help Helena believe this is all something that could blow over.
That’s to say nothing of Christopher, who’s never felt as far away as he does now, even while they linger in the same city, only a couple dozen blocks away.
Helena scrolls listlessly through her phone’s camera roll for the last few weeks. There are pictures of Christopher mostly, but Eddie and the rest of the family are there too. It hurts to notice how Eddie is markedly happier in the shots where he’s looking away from the camera. Away from her.
Helena opens up Instagram and lets herself forget for a moment that anything is wrong. On Instagram, there is only joy and fun. And Buck.
Eddie hasn’t posted anything to his account in months but starting from the end and working backwards, Buck features heavily. He’s in at least a third of the pictures, usually with Christopher. One of the posts includes a short video that she watches. It’s of the day they unveiled the adapted skateboard, and it nourishes her soul. There’s no sadness here, or tension, only pure radiating happiness and excitement. It’s magical.
And it’s meaningful.
Helena is out of her chair and pocketing Isabel’s car keys before she can talk herself out of it. The drive to Eddie’s house is made with a carefully blank mind. She knows if she lets herself think about what she’s going to say, she’s going to spiral and get to a place where all this fear and sadness turn dark and ugly, and she can’t afford to risk it.
Finally, she’s knocking gently on a front door she’s only seen three times in the weeks she’s been here.
Buck answers the door.
The house is quiet when Helena steps in.
She doesn’t bother taking her shoes off this time, she’s not sure how long she’ll be allowed to stay. But she notices that the space where her shoes would have gone is taken up by a pair of large boots she imagines fit perfectly on Buck’s feet.
Buck disappears into the living room and she follows quietly after him. The lights are off but the muted tv glows brightly enough for her to see Eddie reclined on his back on the couch, sleeping, and Buck sitting down on the edge of the coffee table to shake his arm.
Eddie’s always been a light sleeper, especially after the army and Christopher. He doesn’t wake easily now.
He’s wearing the sling, but it’s the only indication that anything is amiss with him. There’s no sign of pain or worry on his face, no tension in his shoulders. He’s practically melted into the recesses of the couch. He’s a picture of comfort. And why shouldn’t he be? He’s in his home, away from family, from expectations, and judgements. Just him and Christopher. And Buck.
Eddie finally takes a deep breath that shows his body is coming around but his eyes stay closed. Buck is murmuring something but she only catches, “ — mom — here.”
Then, at last, Eddie’s eyelids part, and the deep laxness of his body disappears almost in the blink of an eye.
“What?” he croaks, already trying to sit up.
Buck’s hands are already moving to support his back.
“ — says she wants to apologize.”
Eddie scoffs and sits upright, feet firmly planted on the floor as he blinks himself awake.
“I’m here,” she says, stepping closer into the light of the tv.
Buck catches Eddie’s eye and they have an entire conversation in five silent seconds that ends with Buck nodding and getting up from the table, watching Helena warily as she approaches further.
“Watch your eyes,” Buck says quietly to Eddie before flipping the wall switch and illuminating the room. He lingers for a moment, clearly undecided about leaving, before saying, “I’ll be in the kitchen.”
Finally, Helena is alone with her son in his home. The quiet is almost peaceful, she doesn’t want to break it. Eddie does instead.
“Buck said you wanted to apologize, so I’m assuming he misheard,” Eddie says wryly.
There are pillow creases on the side of his face and Helena can’t remember the last time she saw him look so disheveled, so at home. It makes her heart ache for the days when she’d have to force him out of bed at noon on weekends, drive him to wrestling practice early in the morning, watch over him as he slept sometimes, just to make sure he was okay.
“Shockingly, no,” she smiles sadly.
Eddie blinks up at her for a moment before shifting down on the couch, leaving her some room to sit. She takes the invitation, but once she’s sitting down with Eddie’s full attention on her, she realizes not preparing what she wanted to say might have been a mistake. She has no idea where to begin. What scab to pick at that won’t cause more bleeding.
Then she remembers Adriana’s words.
What is it, under all the posturing, all the hurt feelings, all the history and baggage...what is it she actually, truly wants to say?
“I’m sorry I missed therapy.”
Eddie huffs a surprised laugh. “Of all the things…”
“I know, I know,” she rolls her eyes. “But I am. I…” She forces herself to slow down and consider her words. “I realize that therapy was an olive branch for you. One we took way too late and I’m...I’m just so fucking grateful we were able to take it at all, in the end.”
The tears are coming and there’s nothing she can do to stop them. They gather in the corner of her eyes and she tries to blink them away but has to settle for wiping away the ones that fall anyway.
“You were right,” she says. “You said — and your sister said, and the therapist said — that there’s a lot of hurt, and it’s become too hard to...to connect with each other because of it. And therapy is probably the only bridge through that. So even though I was pissed at you, I should have showed up.”
She hazards a look up at Eddie to find his brown eyes wide and cautiously wondering.
“Therapy is what’s going to help us and the only way to fail at it is to not show up.” It’s what the therapist had said in their first session. It had sounded like an easy thing to do then. “And that’s not okay. I’m not going to do that again.”
Eddie nods and looks away. His fingernails are flicking nervously against each other — a habit he picked up from her. “Is dad on the same page as you?”
Helena takes a deep breath, and blows out, “No, your dad is looking for a match to light the page on fire.”
Eddie rolls his eyes but there’s heavy hurt behind the indifference.
“I hid all of them,” Helena offers, “and left Abuela with the fire extinguisher.”
That gets a small smile.
“I really expected you to be more pissed about it than him,” Eddie says, he reclines against the arm of the sofa but no part of him looks comfortable with this conversation.
“Oh, I am—” The rage swells up in her. The outrage and indignation. But again, Adriana’s voice comes to her. “I...am...really, truly hurt, Eddie. I feel...I feel like you told me I’m not good enough to love Christopher how he needs.”
Eddie’s face collapses with disbelief. “You mean the way you’ve been making me feel since he was born? Are you kidding me?”
“Since the moment Shannon got pregnant, you’ve both been hammering it in on us that we’d never be enough, we’d never be good enough for him. Why do you think I joined the army? Why do you think Shannon ran?”
The accusation makes her breathless, it makes that familiar rage bubble up closer to the surface. “Shannon made her own choices, you’re not going to pin that on us. And so did you.”
“No, I can’t pin that on you. She did choose to leave,” he concedes, his voice hardening. “But you spent five years telling her over and over that nothing she ever did was good enough, and when I got back you did the same to me! ‘Don’t drag him down with you.’ Does that ring any bells?”
“I spent five years helping her, being a second parent to Christopher when she was in over her head. She needed help. She wasn’t cut out—”
“No, she wasn’t,” Eddie agrees. “Neither of us were. We were stupid fucking kids who barely knew each other. She was supposed to get back on a plane to California when the semester was done and instead we got married in the backyard because you told us that’s what we had to do.”
“Jesus Christ, Eddie. You want to blame me for Christopher being born? For raising him in a family with two parents?”
“You’re not listening,” Eddie spits.
“I’m listening to you say over and over how I ruined your life because I didn’t let Shannon get an abortion. And that’s somehow the reason to keep us out of Christopher’s life now?”
“No, you’re not—” Eddie closes his eyes and clenches his jaw. “I love Christopher with everything I am. If I had the chance to go back and do everything differently, I wouldn’t. I would never. Being his father is the most important thing I’ve ever done.”
“Then what are you saying?”
“I’m saying, I was a kid in over my head and my parents didn’t know what was best for me. Didn’t know how to help me. And I figured that out on my own, I grew up and became the man I am now on my own.” She wants to argue but he’s on a roll. “And that’s fine, no parent is perfect. I know I’m going to make mistakes and I hope to god Christopher can forgive me, so I need to forgive you yours. But I need you to see me, now. I need you to look at me and realize I’m not that kid you put in a suit in the backyard. I’m not the kid that signed up to get shot at instead of facing his life. I’m not that kid anymore, mom. I’m not.”
“I see that, Eddie.”
“No, you don’t. Because if you did, you wouldn’t constantly be telling me I need to move back to El Paso to take proper care of Christopher. You’d see that our lives are here now. I have a job I love and pays what we need. Christopher loves his school, his friends. He’s a popular, genius kid. He’s happy. I’m happy. And we’re doing good. But you don’t see that. You see that dumbass, scared kid making his next mistakes. And I’m sorry but I’m not going to let you drag me back into that spiral. If you need to be the parent to that kid, I can’t be the kid you’re parenting. I’ve grown up, mom.”
“So,” Helena clears her throat, hoping the waver in it will clear too. “That’s what the guardianship is? We...lost sight of you growing up. We didn’t give you what you needed. So you’re punishing us?”
Eddie sighs as if she didn’t understand.
“No, you know what? No, I’m sorry,” she switches tracks, her voice hard, “how are we supposed to see this new person you’ve become, Eddie? You left El Paso, left us behind, you won’t come home for holidays, you even stopped posting on Instagram, and when we come here to see you’re alive you won’t even let us into your home. So how? How are we supposed to see this magical transformation when you won’t let us in?”
Eddie watches her for a moment, weighing his words. “You show up for therapy.”
And that takes the wind out of her sails.
That’s what she came here for.
Not keep yelling.
Helena takes two deep breaths and crooks a smile. “Yeah.”
“You yell a lot.”
Christopher’s voice startles them both, pulling a short grunt of pain from Eddie as his shoulder jerks back. Christopher is leaning against the wall into the living room, wearing the disgruntled pout of someone who was woken up for no good reason.
“Christopher…” Eddie begins, trying to leverage himself off the couch.
Helena pushes him back down, and turns to Christopher, opening her arms.
“I do,” Helena admits softly, as Christopher comes over and leans into her side. “I do yell a lot. I’m...trying to yell less.”
“Dad never yells.”
Eddie smiles tiredly.
“Hmm,” Helena agrees, “I think there’s a lot of things I need to learn from your daddy.”
Christopher nods, his eyes drooping. “He’s the best,” he says, snuggling into her shoulder. She’s getting on a plane tomorrow so she takes the opportunity to relish in this hug, and press a long kiss on his curls.
“Ah, I thought I heard an escape artist on the prowl,” Buck says as he turns the corner.
“We woke him up,” Eddie says redundantly. “We’ll keep it quiet now, buddy.”
“K,” Christopher mumbles.
“Okay, buddy, let’s get you back to bed” Buck says quietly as he leans over to carefully scoop him into his arms. Christopher’s arms loop around his neck like he’s done it a million times, and his head falls to Buck’s shoulder.
“Buck’s the best too,” Christopher mumbles.
Buck’s ducks his face away.
“That’s what I hear,” Helena allows in a tone she hopes is gracious.
As they leave, they can hear Christopher say, “they stole your bed.”
Buck responds but it’s too quiet for them to follow the rest of the conversation.
Eddie ducks his head and sighs.
“That’s why you were keeping us away?” Helena asks, her voice more gentle than she thought she could muster at this point. “Because Buck’s crashing on your couch?”
Now that she’s looking, she spots the folded duvet stacked on the chair in the corner, the pillows tucked neatly below. It only makes her more aware that she found Eddie sleeping soundly on the very same couch.
“I didn’t — I didn’t want questions. I didn’t want dad’s look, the same look he has every time Buck comes up. The same look—” Eddie sighs harshly. “I didn’t feel like fielding questions. He was here for Christopher when I was in the hospital and when I came home… He helps. A lot.”
Helena nods pensively, and surprises herself by finding a kernel of gratitude towards Buck burgeoning in her chest.
“So, speaking of fucking up as parents,” she begins with a crooked smile that fades by the end of the phrase. She doesn’t know how to finish that sentence so she starts a new one. “The...hurt that piles up, that makes it hard to talk through...does some of it come from Matty?”
She can see an instinct flare up in her son to shake his head and dismiss the topic, but he doesn’t let it take hold. It’s time to face this.
“It didn’t help,” he admits.
Eddie and Matty met in sixth grade and became best friends almost instantly. They spent weekends in sleepovers, fought off other classmates to be each others’ group project partners, and spent every summer going to the same camps. Matty was an honorary Diaz before they even hit their teens.
Five years later, Matty came out to his family, and then to theirs. His parents took it well, Eddie’s parents didn’t.
The sleepovers stopped, the summer camps stopped, and if Ramon could have sent Eddie to another class he would have.
The day he came out to them was the last day he stepped foot in the Diaz home, a natural consequence of Ramon having run him out with caustic, angry words.
“We…” Helena licks her lips and looks away to gather her thoughts. “There’s a lot of reasons we reacted the way we did. Ignorance, more than anything. It really was a different world back then. But...the world has kept turning, things have kept changing and we can’t pretend to be ignorant anymore.” She looks Eddie in the eye to say, “we were wrong. We were wrong to chase him away. And if the day comes that Christopher is gay or trans or any of the other words we haven’t learned yet, we’re going to love him just as much as we do now.”
Eddie keeps her gaze for a moment before nodding. “I’m glad to hear it.” The way his shoulders gather near his ears says he doesn’t believe her though he’s trying.
Because when Eddie and Matty stood shoulder to shoulder to tell Ramon and Helena the news, Matty wasn’t the only one crushed. And they know, somewhere deep down, that their reaction was as extreme as it was because they were never fully sure if the hurt in Eddie’s eyes was on behalf of his best friend, or if they exploded before more news could be told.
And it still scares Helena to this day, to this very moment sitting on her son’s couch. It’s why they welcomed Shannon at first, the first girl Eddie really brought home, even though they didn’t approve of her overall.
But she knows now that there’s nothing anymore, not her pride, not her ignorance, that will stop her from trying to bridge the gap between them. So she continues deliberately, “and if this new, grown up version of you comes with any of those words, we’re not going to love you any less either.”
His eyes widen and for a moment she’s looking at her 17 year old son in the living room, eyes wide as Matty runs out of the house. She wishes this moment could replace that one, stamp out that mistake forever. But it can’t, so she has to make this one count even more.
“I’ll still be here, and I’m listening. I...I see you,” she says. “You and Christopher. I see you settled in so well here, even now with your injury.”
Eddie remains quiet, but apprehension creeps across his face and his eyes dart behind her where Buck and Christopher disappeared.
“I see the boots at the entrance,” she continues, her voice pitched low, “the extra toothbrush you forgot to hide away. The tupperwares full of food Isabel and Ana didn’t make. But more than anything, I see Buck. Everywhere.” A smile creeps up her lips. “The only place I didn’t see him was at brunch with Ana and call me crazy but I feel like you would have preferred he was there too.”
Eddie’s lip is being chewed to within an inch of its life, and his eyes are trained on the couch cushion.
“Hey,” she taps his knee. “You...grew up to be a good man, and a good father.” The words are so many years too late but she’s grateful to see them land as Eddie’s eyes begin to shimmer. “And you deserve everything you want for Christopher. Happiness, whatever that looks like.”
Eddie swallows thickly and clears his throat. “And dad?”
“Dad...has his head too far up his own ass to see or hear anything,” Helena admits. “But he’s due for a colonoscopy soon so I’ll work on it.”
Eddie chokes on a laugh that catches him off-guard and suddenly they’re both laughing, quietly so they don’t wake Christopher up again.
When they recover, Eddie invites her to the kitchen for a drink, where Buck is packing Christopher’s lunch for school tomorrow.
When she leaves, her stomach is in knots she imagines won’t smooth out for a few weeks yet, but a weight’s been lifted off her chest and her heart is full in a way it hasn’t been in years.
When she lands in El Paso, her phone pings with a message from Eddie: Hope you had a good flight. Free Friday for a call?
When Friday comes, after catching up with Christopher, Eddie tells them he broke it off with Ana.
Helena digs her nails into Ramon’s knee instinctively, but she prepared him well and despite his continued reservations, all he says is, “That’s too bad, mijo.”
Two months of virtual therapy and video chats later, Eddie tells them he’s bisexual. They react the way they should have all those years ago, and Helena tries to be grateful they got to have this moment at all instead of mourn for the years Eddie lost because of them.
There’s no mention of Buck, but Eddie’s eyes flit fondly over the laptop screen every once in a while at Christopher and someone else off-screen.
The call takes place at 8am LA time, and the sling has been gone for nearly three weeks.
At Christmas, Eddie and Christopher are waiting for them with smiles on their faces at LAX’s baggage claim. When they get home, Buck is there opening the door and helping them with their luggage.
Isabel isn’t there to mediate but supper that evening goes smoothly. The tension that lurks is anticipatory on all sides, a feeling of this being too good to last. But by dessert, everyone is sitting back in their chairs and smiling. And when Buck rounds the table to start the clean up, he places a hand on Eddie’s shoulder, his thumb brushing the back of Eddie’s neck, and Helena watches as the last bit of strain melts out of his body.
The basket of gauze is nowhere to be found in the bathroom, nor is the purple toothbrush. Instead, there’s a third electric toothbrush standing in line with the rest.
Helena’s been keeping an eye out for opportunities to follow Adriana’s advice. To find the words she actually, truly means, and say them before she runs out of time. So before turning in, she takes Eddie aside and tells him, “I’m really happy you found your home here in LA. I’m really proud of the family you’ve made.”
And when she closes her arms around him, she can feel him fold into her like he used to as a kid, no polite distance or anxiety. Just comfort.
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buck, eddie and halloween eps: some meta
I’ve been thinking a lot about how 911 follows patterns in its episodes. For instance, the 01 is always a regular episode which introduces a time-skip, lets us reacquaint with the characters after a break, then leads into the 02/03 major disaster episode. (e.g earthquake, tsunami, mudslide, blackout). Generally there is a Halloween ep around 06/07, and Christmas ep around 10.
So, with the approach of 506 (with set pics indicating a Halloween/spooky theme) and 507 with the hostage situation, I decided to look back at past seasons as a hint for what we might expect in Buck and Eddie’s arcs in mid s5.
Admittedly, s1 and s4 are a bit tricky to work into this theory because they were both much shorter seasons, and s1 was a pilot season which skews the planned arc quite a bit - they were still finding their footing. S4 didn’t have a Halloween ep, but it did have the sort of fun, silly episode which usually appears around this time of the season (e.g 206 Dosed) in the form of 406 (Jinx), and I’m gonna go ahead and group 407 (There Goes the Neighbourhood) in too as being somewhat analogous to the other 06/07 episodes.
What struck me about the 06/07 episodes was the theme of transition and entering new phases of relationships. This applied broadly to many characters throughout these episodes, but most prominently to Buck and Eddie.
107 (Full Moon - Creepy AF): Buck reaches a new phase of his r.ship with Abby when he is physically intimate with her for the first time.
207 (Haunted) : Buck decides to let go of Abby and move out of her place, Shannon reappears in Eddie’s life.
306 (Monsters): Buck and Eddie make up, Buck and Bobby make up, and Buck is folded back into the 118.
406 (Jinx) + 407 (There Goes the Neighbourhood): Buck enters his ‘Buck 3.0′ phase. Ana reappears, then Taylor reappears.
So, what does this mean? Well, it feels like there’s a lot of tension floating around over the next few episodes. You’ve got the whole crew adjusting to new partners and seemingly hating it in 505, the possibility of Eddie and Taylor arguing in 506 (I’ll believe it until I see proof otherwise) whatever hijinx they get up to in this Halloween ep, and the simmering slow-burn of allll the things Buck and Eddie haven’t talked about.
Eddie has not resolved his trauma from the shooting. He broke up with Ana and probably thinks that should magically fix everything, but he and Buck continue to not talk about the shooting or the guardianship and what it means for them. Add that to all this other tension and I’m definitely on board with those who have said we are headed for a huge emotional blow-out between these two. Will it happen just before the hostage situation in 507? Maybe.
The question of Buck, Taylor and whatever is going on in their relationship comes in here too. @extasiswings theorised they will also use 505 to highlight tensions/incompatibility which could lead into further arguments in 506 if Taylor and Eddie argue and Buck gets involved. I think this is very, very possible. The idea of Buck and Eddie being at odds just before the hostage situation sounds absolutely delicious and will only add to the emotional impact.
So, with the idea of the 06/07 episodes as markers of transition and new phases, my question is....where does this leave Buck and Eddie post 507?
Buck, single again?
Eddie, aware of his feelings for Buck?
Both of them having driven home exactly how important they are to one another?
I don’t know, but whatever it is I feel like it’s going to be a huge turning point.
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prompts 8 + 9 for Buck omgggg 🥲🥲🥲
Can’t Lose Him
Evan Buckley x Reader
Warnings: fem!reader, mentions of hospitals and injuries, minimal swearing, mentions of pregnancy and Chim’s accident, big brother!Chim
Prompts: #8: “you promised me you wouldn't be reckless! You promised me!” #9: “Does he know about the baby?”
Category: mix of angst and fluff
Word Count: 2.4k
Author’s Note: I loved writing this so thank you for requesting! :)
Pacing the room, Hen reached out for your hand. “C’mon, your feet must hurt. Sit down” you sighed, once again you were in a hospital waiting room in the middle of the night with the team and Maddie because Buck’s idiotic self got himself hurt again.
“I’m okay Hen, thank you” you gave her a slight smile. Bobby was talking to the doctors because you couldn't bring yourself to hear what he’s done this time. Bobby returned, Athena by his side now. “Oh honey,” she pulled you into a hug, you could feel yourself melting into her arms, she sat with you and her arm wrapped around your shoulder. Bobby sat to the other side of you.
“The doctor said that the pressure of the block cracked a rib, which then punctured a lung. He also has a mild concussion but they say it shouldn't be too bad”
“Is he out of surgery ?”
“He is, but he’s in recovery now. It might be a little bit before we get to see him” Bobby gives your shoulder a squeeze, you nodded.
Taking a look around the waiting room, Chim held Maddie as she slept with her head on his shoulder. Eddie sat to the other side of them, on the phone with Carla and Christopher. Hen was now talking to Bobby about something.
This wasn't an unusual scene but a familiar one. Regardless of what was going on or who it was, the 118 always shows for their own.
A rather tall man came into the waiting room. “Buckley ?” he called out, everyone stood, the doctor seemed surprised to see so many people at 4 in the morning. Your hand was resting on your stomach, you could feel eyes burning into your side. Looking to the left, Chim’s eyes were fixed on your hand, you nodded in his direction with your brows furrowed. He shook his head, you didn’t think much of it.
“We can take one person in if someone would like to go in now? He’s still asleep but he’s stable as of now” your heart sunk at the term “as of now”, shaking the feeling, you look over at Maddie.
“Do you want to go in first ?”
“You go ahead, I'll walk with you and then I'll see him after. I might take a lap, my back is killing me” she gave your hand a squeeze, the two of you followed the doctor to a room down the hall.
She came in for a moment to kiss her brother’s head and then left you alone in the room with him. You sat at his bedside, your hand held onto his. His hand was cold, the monitor was still going and you could hear his heart beating through the deafening silence but it felt strange.
Every time you found yourself back here, it felt odd.
Buck was a warrior in every sense of the word, he pulled through, always.
“Oh baby, what did you get yourself into” sighing and leaning back into the chair. Once again, your hand comes down to rest on your stomach, the other hand still holding Buck’s. His hand twitched slightly, he was starting to wake up. “Don’t move hun,” your hand rested on his chest softly, Buck’s brows furrowed.
“Wh-who are you?” his head tilted slightly, your heart dropped. The panic started to set in but you knew better than to let him see it.
He’ll come around, he’s just woozy from surgery.
“Why are you here?” he asked once again, “I'm-” you started but was cut off by a little chuckle from Buck. “You ass!” you let out a breath, “god, you scared me”
“Sorry baby, I didn't mean to scare you”
“Yeah? So why am I sitting in a hospital room while you’re all banged up”
“We could bang if you wanted” he gave you one of his stupid wicked smiles
“Evan Buckley!” you scolded him, “now is not the time” your hand held onto his arm, your finger tracing over the tattoo on his bicep. “You really scared me, the whole punctured lung this isn't a cute look Buck”
“Really ? And here I was thinking that I was pulling it off”
Something flipped in you, you went from relief to anger in .2 of a second. “How could you?” hitting his shoulder, you stood up. “Ow! What did I do ? I'm just laying here” Buck whined, you know you didn't actually hurt him, he's just being dramatic.
“I know it’s your job to run into burning buildings but would it kill you to be safe? You can't fucking save anyone if you’re dead Evan!”
“Woah, calm down first of all, and why are you calling me Evan ?”
“Is that not your frigging name ?!”
You were starting to lose your patience. You loved Buck, any and everyone knew that but you couldn't deal with how stupid he could be sometimes. He’d run straight into danger to help others but not once would he stop to think of what could possibly happen to him.
“Where is this coming from ?” he asked you, looking at you. He reached for your hand but you pulled away. You find yourself pacing again, trying to calm yourself before you strangle him with his IV line. “What do you mean ‘where is this coming from?’ you had a giant block of concrete on your chest Buck! If Eddie didn't find you, you'd be dead, you were on the verge of death as it is.”
“I don't know that ? I know you’re dumb enough to run into a collapsing building, especially after Bobby told you not to go back inside” you gave him a look, your back up against the wall. Buck’s face went pale, he looked as if he saw a ghost.
“What? You thought Eddie wouldn't tell me about your little stunt ? You should know better than that.”
“Y/n, baby, I didn’t think anything would happen to me”
“You never think Buck, that's the problem! You promised me you wouldn't be reckless! You promised me! but you never listen, you never do. One of these days, you're going to walk in and not walk back out.” storming out of the room, Buck sat on the bed, his mouth hung open and confused as to what brought on the fit of rage you just had.
Maddie walks into the room, “where’s y/n?” she sits beside him. Buck rubs his forehead, “um- she just went for some air”
It was around 5:30 in the morning, you sat outside on the hood of Buck’s jeep. You had dropped him off at work and taken the jeep for the day, hence why you had it right now.
That’s how you’d describe your surroundings. There was no one in the parking lot, you laid back on the hood as your hand came down to your stomach once again, staring aimlessly up into the sky. It wasn't dark but the sun hadn't fully come up yet. It was right before dawn, the world felt like it paused, not completely, but just enough for you to take in these few moments of peace.
The weight shifted on the jeep, you opened your eyes to see Chim climbing up to sit beside you. “Hey, everyone’s looking for you” he says, laying back onto the hood beside you. “Yeah, I just needed some air” lying through your teeth, you give him as best of a smile that you could muster up. Chim’s eyes fixated on your hand once again, you watched him, practically hearing the turning in his head.
“What's going on in there? The rebar taking its effect now?” you joke, he rolls his eyes.
“Does he know about the baby?” he asks, you sit up and turn towards him. You hadn't told a soul.
“Maddie does it to- the hand on the belly thing. She's been doing it since before there was a bump. Just a motherly reflex I suppose”
You stared off into space, Chim sat beside you quietly. “Does he know?” he asks once again, you shake your head. “I know it’s not my place,” he rests his hand on your shoulder, “but I think you should tell him. It might keep him from running into buildings without thinking.”
“Did that work for you ?”
“What do you mean ?”
“When Maddie told you that she was pregnant, did you think twice before running into a burning building ?”
“Honestly, at first it didn't. It didn't seem real until I saw the bump and heard the heartbeat. Then it all made sense ya know ? I couldn't risk getting hurt because I had something to live for, they were waiting for me to come home”
“That's the thing, I don't want to lose him, Chim. I can’t lose him. I love him and I need him here, the baby needs him. There’s no way I can do this by myself”
“You can, I know you would be able to do it by yourself but you shouldn’t have too. Buck’s an idiot but he loves you.”
Chim sat with you for a few more minutes, you considered everything he told you. How Buck might not change right away nor did you expect him too but if there was even a chance of him changing, you’d want him too. “Ready to go back in?” Chim slides off the hood, holding his hand out to you. You hold his hand and he helps you off the hood.
“We have a stop to make first” you walk in the opposite direction of Buck’s room. Chim follows you down to the gift shop, which was closed as it doesn’t open until 7.“Are you kidding me?” you groan, leaning back against the door. “We’ll figure something out,” Chim looks around. Eddie comes around the corner, “what are you guys doing here?” he walks over.
“I needed something for Buck”
“What did you need? Can’t it wait until they open?”
“Eddie, I'm pregnant” you just blurt out, Eddie’s jaw drops, literally.
“Congratulations!” he pulls you into a hug, “wait, you’re happy about it right?” he checks, you nod.
“I need one of those stupid “world’s best dad” shirts for Buck but it's closed”
Eddie looks at Chim and then looks around. “Are we gonna?” Chim points towards the door, looking at Eddie. “Yup” Eddie looks around once more, “lean your head towards me y/n” your face screws into a weird expression but abides anyways. Eddie pulls a bobby pin out of your hair, turning to the door and jams into the lock. He wiggles the pin around until the lock clicks open.
“Voila” he smiles as pushes the door open. The 3 of you walk in, Eddie stays by the door to make sure no one was coming. “Chim, find a pen and paper for me please ?” you walk away to find the shirt you were looking for. Picking up 4, you shove them into a bag form behind the counter. You toss $30 onto the counter and scribble a little note for the person that opens that read:
Had an emergency, needed a few shirts. Hope this cash covers it. Thanks! :)
Eddie relocked the door before heading to Buck’s room. Everyone was now in the room, scattered in different places. Bobby was leaned up against a wall, Athena stood beside him, leaning into his side. Hen sat on the little counter by the window and Maddie was still in the chair beside his bed. Eddie went over and joined Hen by the window, Chim stood behind Maddie, his hand coming up to her shoulder.
“Y/n..” Buck whispers as you walk in, you take a seat on the end of the bed by his hips. “I’m sorry” he says, his hand reaching out for yours.
“You’re an idiot but, I guess, I forgive you” you say and Buck smiles at you. “What’s in the bag ?” he asks, you rest the bag on your lap. “Something for you boys” The guys exchange looks, Eddie and Chim knew you needed something for Buck but what did you get for them?
Pulling out the shirts, you handed one to Buck first. It was a plain blue t-shirt with big white bold letters that read “world’s best dad”. Buck looked down at the shirt and then back at you, he repeated that process a few times and after a couple minutes he finally asked you.
“Are you ?” he whispers, the room is silent.
“Am I?” you ask.
“Pregnant ?” he finishes the question and you smile.
“Yeah, I am” your hand rests on his, he pulls you into his side for a hug. You hug him, trying not to squish him and hurt him even more.
“Okay,” you sit up and toss another shirt that said the same thing to Eddie. He caught it and smiled, “because Christopher couldn't have a better dad than you” Eddie gives you a smile and whispers a thank you.
The next shirt gets tossed to Chim, he laughs. “You got one for me too?” he asks, pulling the shirt on over his sweater. “Yeah because baby girl Buckley is gonna be one lucky baby, despite your not-so-funny dad jokes” Maddie laughs at the comment, Chim does too.
The last shirt goes over to Bobby. He gives you a look, “what’s this for ?” he asks, “Because not only have you been amazing with May and Harry but you’ve got a fire station full of ‘children’ that rely on you. Just a thanks for bringing them home in one piece, well for the most part” you pat Buck’s side.
The room is filled with happiness and love, the 118 was together once again, not just as firefighters but as a family.
taglist: @ssa-volturi @advicefromnixxxx @dralexreid @keenmarvellover
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Hi there....first things first. I LOVEEEEEE your buddie analysis, they give life. The writers should stop after an episode and read your stuff. I'm sure a lot of it they would just go, damn someone read through our thought process...lol
But I'm also writing because in last nights episode on the now dubbed "balcony scene" when Eddie was saying "...you fix things" even clueless me saw his faraway look from focusing away from Buck's face with heart eyes. Thinking about how his Ana relationship was fixed? Thinking about their own relationship fixing after the lawsuit? I mean those are just two examples, we know there's more obviously. That faraway look read as - I'm so fucking in love with you, if you asked me for babies I'm already halfway up the loft stairs to get started...
I love them ❤
Omg @mulgoremisgivings thank you so much!!!!! That is one hell of a compliment so thank you!!! Don't mind me, I'll just be sobbing over here for a good ten minutes.
You are so incredibly kind, thank you!!!! IKR???? I LOVED that balcony scene, I feel like it revealed so much to us!!!!
Like this shot of Buck:
And the funny thing is, he's been watching Eddie a lot this season so far, when Eddie is completely unaware.
From when Eddie walks away in this scene (and Buck is watching him until the nurse shows up) to:
And then of course the shot from 5x04 above. The way they're shooting these scenes, the way they're blocking them, and the fact that we haven't seen into Buck and Taylor's relationship yet (while Eddie's was given priority) and we haven't seen too much into Buck's own head this season, makes me think something is up. We've now seen Buck in two hoodies in Eddie's presence when in civilian clothing. All the other times, he's been in uniform or turnout gear. And in 5x02 during this scene & this scene, he's holding a clipboard out in front of him. In this 5x01 scene, he has his back to Eddie and only when Eddie walks away (who doesn't take his gloves off) does Buck take his gloves off and throws them away. And in the pool table scene, Buck keeps his pool stick in front of him the entire time, stays on the other side, and only moves to sit on the side once Eddie does. Buck is hiding something. He's keeping something very close to the vest that we haven't seen yet. Only once Taylor enters the picture I think will we start to see hints of what that could be (though after 5x04, I think we all have an inkling what that could be, especially if he's realized his feelings).
And the thing is, I think the more we see Eddie's feelings coming out like you mentioned, the more obvious Eddie is, the more Buck is going to see. There's no way he's not seeing what we are. I mean:
So I completely agree with you. That look Eddie was giving him on the balcony was definitely full of love and longing and that whole "I'm so fucking in love with you, if you asked me for babies I'm already halfway up the loft stairs to get started" that you mentioned LOL.
I'm right there with you. I am obsessed with these two. The way their story is being written, their characters, Oliver's and Ryan's performances, the whole Buckley Diaz family unit, and all of it is just freaking phenomenal. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the 911 writers don't get enough credit imho. They really have interwoven Buck and Eddie's stories to the point that nothing else makes sense except for Buddie going canon, and based on what we've seen so far this season, the writers seem to agree and we're already well on our way towards that plot point. I am so excited for this!!!! It's been one hell of a ride. =D
Thank you so much again for your kind words, you are so sweet!!!! I hope you have a wonderful night!!!! <3
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"Tell Me" for Buddie? Doesn't have to be a love confession, whatever strikes your inspiration!
So, this is a follow-up to this fill for @from-nova because I promised I would fix it! See, just trust me.
Buck might be a bit of a masochist. That seems like the only explanation for how he gets himself into these situations—the entirely avoidable and predictable ones that are virtually guaranteed to end in tears.
The thing is...Buck’s pretty sure he should have figured out that he’s in love with Eddie a long time ago. Because when he looks back, there’s been something from the beginning. Only, at first he was still—desperately, pathetically—pretending that Abby was coming back, and then he found out that Eddie was married and promptly buried any non-platonic thoughts about his best friend so deep that he really did forget for awhile that they were there at all.
He should have started putting it together after the ladder truck, after the tsunami, after the lawsuit—there was a space that Shannon left behind and he slipped into it easily, without even thinking, just because he wanted it. He wanted to matter, wanted to be wanted, to be needed, to make himself useful, and he never deluded himself into thinking he could act like a parent to Christopher, but...he was family. Eddie was his best friend and Buck felt like he was part of their family, folded seamlessly into the unit. They wanted him, Eddie trusted him. He fit. So...he stayed. He stopped looking for anything else.
He hadn’t needed anything else.
So...yeah. Maybe he should have gotten a clue a lot sooner. But instead, Eddie started dating Ana and Buck felt sick about it without knowing why. And then one day, Eddie told him he was going to bring Carla over to have dinner with Ana and Christopher and Buck—
It hit him like a brick.
He’s been working a lot on his abandonment issues in therapy. So it caught him by surprise a bit—the panic, the jealousy, the thread of possessiveness. At least, until he sat with his feelings and realized—
He wasn’t afraid of being replaced in Christopher’s life, or even of being replaced fully in the family unit the three of them have—he’s gotten to a place where he’s secure enough that he doesn’t think he would just be pushed out. But in Eddie’s life—
They’re best friends, sure, but they’re more than that. They’re partners.
And he realized in an instant that was what the jealousy was about. Being replaced in that role. The idea that someone else would be there for Eddie in the late nights and early mornings, that someone else would be the recipient of Eddie’s soft looks and hushed confessions and casual touches, that someone else would be in his home, in his bed—
You want him, his mind whispered. You love him. And everything he’d been forcing himself not to think about or feel for years made his heart race.
An instant. To turn his whole world upside down. And Buck hadn’t been sure whether he was going to laugh or throw up when he opened his mouth to give Eddie a response, but blessedly it was neither.
“Great,” he forced out. “That’s great.”
Eddie and Ana broke up after that dinner.
But Buck hasn’t been able to stop thinking about it. About being in love with his best friend and the fact that sooner or later Eddie will find someone who will stick and there’s nothing Buck can do about it.
Well. He could tell Eddie how he feels. But that’s—
Stuck, that’s what he is. Between a rock and a hard place.
Tell him, and risk losing everything, including his friendship. Or don’t tell him, and keep the friendship but lose the rest of him down the line.
What Buck needs is space. Away from Eddie, away from—not Christopher necessarily, but the collective that is the Diaz boys. Mental space at least. Emotional space, if not physical. Just enough to get his head on straight and figure out what the hell he’s doing.
Except...Eddie is suddenly everywhere. With his soft glances and touches that Buck wants to mean more than they do. Eddie’s there bringing Buck his favorite coffee for no apparent reason and trying to make him laugh and asking him to the beach and the zoo and the planetarium—
Buck feels slightly hysterical when he realizes it’s because Eddie is worried about him. And then abruptly horrified when Eddie asks if the reason Buck’s been off is because he did something wrong.
Fuck. He’s fucked everything up, hasn’t he?
They go to the planetarium. And then they go back to Eddie’s house and have dinner and play board games and put Christopher to bed and Buck knows it’s too much, that he shouldn’t stay, shouldn’t fall back into the routine like nothing has changed, but—
But he’s a little bit of a masochist.
He’s debating whether to leave yet again when Eddie drops down next to him on the couch, pressing close against his side. It’s too much, too quickly—want flares in his blood and he can’t breathe, so he shifts a little to create some distance—
“See, it’s that,” Eddie says as he withdraws as well, brow furrowing. “You’ve been doing things like that for weeks—why don’t you want me to touch you?”
Buck freezes. Swallows hard. He opens his mouth, but nothing comes out.
He can’t come up with a believable lie.
He’s not sure he wants to tell one anyway.
The silence stretches between them.
“I know you said that whatever’s going on is something you need to figure out yourself, and I respect that,” Eddie says quietly. “But you also said it wasn’t about me. Only, I’m pretty damn sure it’s at least a little bit about me, so—”
He sighs and scrubs his hands over his face.
“Would you just talk to me? Please, Buck. Whatever it is, you can tell me, I—”
“I love you.” Buck blames the fact that Eddie looks agonized at the idea that he’s hurt him in some way for the fact that it slips out.
Eddie goes very still, his eyes widening. The words hang in the air.
Panic threatens to overwhelm him, but Buck pushes himself up off the sofa and clears his throat.
“I love you,” he repeats, because, well, he can’t make it worse at this point. “And I didn’t know whether I should tell you because historically I don’t have the greatest track record with getting the things I want and I didn’t want to lose you, but—”
He blows out a breath. “I said you didn’t do anything wrong because you didn’t. Because this is all just me and my feelings and it’s not your fault that I’m—”
“Buck,” Eddie interrupts, and Buck stops.
“Sorry,” he replies. “I’ll go, I just—”
Eddie reaches out and gently wraps his fingers around Buck’s wrist.
“Would you sit back down and give me a minute?” He says. “Because it seems like you’re making an awful lot of assumptions and I would really like a minute to process here.”
Buck nearly chokes. “I—okay. Yeah, sure, I can...do that.”
He settles back down on the couch and Eddie stares down at the coffee table, although the look in his eyes is distant.
He doesn’t let go of Buck’s wrist.
After what seems like an eternity, Eddie looks up again.
“Right,” he says quietly, and Buck isn’t sure whether that’s to him or to himself. But Eddie’s gaze turns thoughtful and then he’s leaning in and—
Buck shivers when Eddie kisses him, Eddie’s free hand coming up to curve around the back of his neck. It’s gentle and soft and sweet and Buck’s pretty sure he makes a noise that is downright embarrassing when he twists his fingers into Eddie’s shirt and reciprocates.
“Okay,” Eddie breathes when he pulls back.
“O—okay?” Buck asks.
Eddie smiles. “Yeah. Okay.”
And he kisses Buck again.
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and eat it too
buck x eddie, 1.3k, fluff
for @eddiediaz the love of my life
“Red velvet with cream cheese frosting,” Hen says, a faraway look on her face, chin tilted up. Eddie feels the same way as he thinks about his own childhood birthdays and the cakes his mom would make, always chocolate, always with some type of filling that makes Eddie cringe now—he’s pretty sure that he insisted on Pop Rocks one year. “Everything else she tried to make was a disaster.”
“Unless it’s chocolate on chocolate, it’s wrong,” Chim says, and curls in on himself when Buck hits him with a throw pillow.
“The bakery my mom always ordered from made a really good carrot cake,” Buck says, and Eddie can practically hear the conversation screech to a halt.
“Yeah, it was a bakery,” Chim says, looking over at Buck. “Of course it was good. But you’ve got to have some kind of birthday cake horror story, everyone does.”
The smile on Buck’s face becomes a little fixed, too rigid. “She wasn’t the homemade cake kinda mom,” he says, shrugging. “What does it matter? The cake was good.”
Eddie can’t pinpoint exactly why it matters to him that Buck’s never had a homemade birthday cake, only that it does. But Buck’s birthday is only three months away, and Eddie can definitely remedy that.
Boxed cake mix can’t be so hard, can it?
He does a trial run a month out. Chocolate cake mix, canned frosting—the expensive kind from Whole Foods, natural sugar and all that shit that Buck blathers on about occasionally when he gets deep into tracking his macros. He follows the directions on the back with fidelity, watches a damn YouTube video just to be sure, lets it cool before spreading the frosting and cutting a slice for Chris.
Chris looks at him suspiciously before taking a bite. “Did you do something wrong? Max’s dad gives him candy when he does something wrong.”
“Buck’s birthday is next month,” Eddie says, giving Chris a look. He’ll stick with apologies over bribes when he fucks up, thank you very much. “I thought we could make him a cake.”
Chris’ brow furrows. “Why don’t you ask abuela? Buck likes her cake.”
Eddie stops. “I just thought it’d be nice,” he says, frowning. Asking abuela hadn’t actually crossed his mind, but maybe it should have. It feels like cheating, even though he knows abuela made plenty of his birthday cakes. “We can ask her to make him one, too,” he says after a moment. “You know Buck’s sweet tooth.”
Chris takes another bite and shrugs. “It’s okay,” he says finally. “But abuela’s is better. I think she puts vanilla in it. Did you do that?”
He hadn’t—the box hadn’t called for it. “It’s chocolate cake,” he says, “why would you need vanilla?”
Chris rolls his eyes.
Despite his coworkers teasing him, Eddie is not afraid of technology, he just doesn’t like how it tracks his every move and stores a lifetime of information about him, which is a perfectly reasonable thing to dislike. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t use it—it’s the first thing he turns to after Chris is unenthusiastic about the cake (although he had no problem finishing off half of it himself over several days).
Eddie’s not fooling himself—he’ll settle for good, which is frankly just a step above okay. He’s well aware of his abilities, and they don’t include baking anything that anyone will clamor for, but he can live with that when he saves lives on a regular basis.
“Why are you doing this?” Chris asks, eyes roaming over the ingredients on the counter. “You never made me a birthday cake.”
“You want me to make yours this year instead of abuela?” he asks. He will, but he doubts that’s the point. His kid is getting—too old, too interested in Eddie’s life, too presumptuous—
“Sure, but only if abuela still makes one,” Chris says, and Eddie snorts.
Chris shrugs like it was worth a shot and eyes the counter again. “Call me when it’s done,” he says, and then, over his shoulder, “just tell Buck you love him.”
Like it’s no big deal.
Eddie doesn’t bother denying it.
The second attempt goes better. The third goes horribly—it tastes good, but Eddie can rarely leave well enough alone and decides his ambition is taking him to new heights in baking and that a two-layered cake is what Buck would really like. By the time he’s gotten both layers level, there’s hardly any cake left—and three days before Buck’s birthday he sets a slice of cake in front of Chris and prays.
Chris, simply to torture him, eats every bite—incredibly slowly—before nodding. “This is really good, Dad,” he says, giving Eddie a crooked grin. “Can I take some to school tomorrow for Maria?”
“Just tell her you love her,” Eddie says, and Chris’ mouth drops open before he starts to laugh.
He follows every step the same way the morning of Buck’s birthday. He spends extra time making sure he didn’t drop any eggshells in the batter, gets the espresso shot from the better coffee shop a few miles away, and uses the organic, full-fat milk in place of the water in the recipe. He keeps the canned frosting as a back-up and spends too long looking for the old handheld beaters he inherited from abuela so that he can try making the buttercream on his own—and then eats at least a quarter of it straight out of the bowl when he’s done before he manages to stop himself.
They celebrated the day before at the station, when all of them were on shift, with a carrot cake that Maddie had gotten from a bakery, but Buck is supposed to come over later—the family celebration, he’d called it, and Eddie had to pretend his heart didn’t give out at the words.
The cake is as far as Eddie will go, though—abuela’s providing the rest of the food, though he’s pretty sure it’s just because Chris had let his baking experiments slip and she wants to see how big of a disaster it’ll be.
Eddie’s looking forward, just a little, to showing off.
Dinner goes well, sitting in the backyard at twilight; Buck is gracious as he opens gifts, exclaiming happily over each one. He tears up when Chris hands him a robotics team sweatshirt with a beaming grin and tells him the team is a go—his school had finally approved the activity and Buck had offered to help out at the meetings and competitions. Eddie’s gift of an emergency kit for his car—he still can’t believe Buck doesn’t have one—is boring and practical, but Buck will find the gift certificates for mini-golf when he finally gets around to opening it up and Eddie finds a strange joy in knowing that he’ll be surprised later on.
When it’s time for cake, he’s surprised to realize he’s nervous. Chris—well, Chris hadn’t been joking when he told Eddie just to tell Buck he loved him, but—that’s kind of what Eddie’s trying to do. He’s just not sure that Buck will understand.
“Dad made it himself,” Chris blurts out as soon as their done singing happy birthday, and Buck turns a blinding smile his way.
“Thanks, Eddie,” he says, and it’s soft enough that Eddie thinks he might know.
“Make a wish,” Eddie says, wishing he didn’t sound so hoarse, so breathless, and Buck closes his eyes as he blows out the candles.
Buck’s warm against him, thumb rubbing against Eddie’s knuckles as they sit on the patio steps, half-empty beer bottles at their feet as the sounds of Los Angeles at night float past them. “What’d you wish for?” Eddie asks, finally breaking the quiet.
“Same thing I wished for the last five years,” Buck says, looking over at him with a small smile. “This. You and Chris.”
“You got us,” he says, and leans in to kiss Buck again, new and exhilarating and so achingly familiar, all at once.
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i’m incapable of shutting up abt buck SO i’m rewatching season 2 ep 1 where eddie is introduced and eddie’s just offered to help chimney take his photos for the fireman’s calendar and buck says his issue is eddie and he says “my issue is you. your comfort level. you’re not supposed to just walk in here like you’ve been here for years. it’s meant to be a getting to know you period, you’re supposed to respect your elders”
when i first watched that ep it struck me that buck was feeling left out, and with the addition of eddie to the team he realized that he could be replaced by this cooler more fun guy that everyone already immediately liked, but last nights episode REALLY cemented that. we talk abt buck and his insecurities a lot but he really is SO insecure abt his place in the 118 from the very beginning like. the amt of annoyed side eyes that the team gave him in season 1 and the (sometimes well deserved) teasing abt who buck was as a person REALLY got to him to the point that he feels jealous that the team so readily accepts and likes eddie, because he feels like he had to fight for the affection they give him. and in a sense he kind of did.
in season 1, chim is telling bobby that buck is a liability and he should be out of chances (heavily paraphrasing), and he was RIGHT like buck was so obviously out of his mind in the wrong stealing firetrucks for hookups and goofing off like he did, but THAT’S the kind of comment that sticks with buck and makes him come up with the idea of “buck 2.0” which everyone once again readily teases him about (like when he says he’s a changed person with abby and that string of women show up at the firehouse saying that he was ghosting them, nobody REALLY believes him, etcetcetc). so he had to really struggle to felt like he fit in.
and the thing with neurodivergency in regards to adhd+rsd/autism and one of the things that they can have in common is kind of this like. difficulty in easily taking jokes like that? (it’s something i rlly struggle with sometimes and other friends of mine with adhd all do too) so i can see buck being teased about this stuff and him taking that to heart instead of letting it roll off his back as good natured joking to the point that he REALLY feels like he doesn’t belong. so for eddie to walk in and just IMMEDIATELY be likable to everyone? that’s a threat! and then eddie is offering to HELP chim? also a threat bc buck is the one who fixes things for people.
and that’s the difference with ravi. ravi isn’t a threat to buck because ravi is just like buck was and that’s what buck wants in this episode. he needs someone young and easily distracted and clearly excited to just be doing the job, except he needs someone who ALSO fits in so much easier than buck did. they’re going to sit at the table and bobby is complimenting him on what bucks been teaching him and buck sees that and thinks “see, this is an easier fit for them. they get along with ravi, he’s a likable guy that’s learning quicker than i did on how to do the job. they all like him, it’ll be easy for them to move on without me” and that’s so like. that’s SO gut wrenching? to think about buck walking in on that scene and thinking that he’s STILL so unloveable, that he’ll be forgotten. but it’s okay bc he handpicked and trained his new replacement to fit in his shoes so even if he’s not with them, they’ll still have a piece of him and with someone who is better than he is. and eddie? eddie has the capability to be the new chimney, the new heart of the firehouse bc he’s got so much of it that buck can see. so they’ll be fine at the end of the day, they’ll get over the shock of it, and have ravi, and buck will stop being a thorn in their side.
it’s like someone said in their post yesterday that seeing bucks mental state in this episode is absolutely devastating, esp if you know what you’re looking for. if you’ve been on the other side of that table, his side of that table, staring down your friends who are all having fun around you while you sit there feeling like you’re on the outside of the joke, trying to figure out if your presence has any meaning to them, and deciding that it doesn’t because they would be fine without you. and it’s WRONG but it’s not a feeling that you can let go of easily, because suddenly you’re hyperfixating on the idea that all of this is going to crumble around you, and it’s better to get ahead of it while you can and so that’s what he does. or tries anyway, but ultimately fails bc the 118 is right there for him, stopping him in his tracks, reminding him that he’s not expendable, replaceable, unwelcome, unloved. that HE is the one stuck with THEM, not the other way around.
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when the walls close in
Anyone that knows me knows I don’t write speculation fics but s5 is bringing it all out in us so here we are: this is trash and unedited but 🤷♀️
Word Count: 2480 words
The first thing he notices is the walls are closing in.
Eddie’s pretty sure they’re not supposed to do that. Walls are meant to be sturdy, to be protective, to stay...far away and keep them safe.
Walls might’ve saved him from all this, if he’d been standing in the building and not in the middle of the fucking street. He thinks he might trust them to keep him safe in more ways than if they weren’t there, knows that he throws — counts on — metaphysical walls around him to keep his heart safe.
Instead, they’re closing in on him.
He sucks in a breath and tries to focus, tries not to shift at the scratchy blazer on top of his shirt. The urge to unbutton his shirt and rip it off his skin swells until Eddie thinks he can taste it, and there’s nothing but the black haze dimming his vision and the ringing in his ears.
He’s not sure how he got here.
One minute, he’s shopping for a suit, because he’s got to attend court and the old blazer he has ripped at a seam that can’t be fixed without it being glaringly obvious that it was fixed, and the next, he’s staring blankly at the guy who’s helping him try all this shit on.
He makes it five more minutes before the glint in the opposite window catches his attention again and suddenly, he’s not even in the store anymore.
Searing pain bursts out through his shoulder and streaks down his arm and chest until it’s radiating throughout his body. Blood begins to seep through his clothes, sticking them to his skin in the worst texture imaginable. Eddie’s head spins, and there’s a blurry figure in front of him that’s probably Buck. Chaos whirls around him, the noise overwhelming every other sense Eddie has.
The pain, the loss of breath, the ringing — they take Eddie out at the knees and suddenly he’s falling. He falls into a pool of blood, and gravel crunches underneath his fingers as he rests on his side. The buttons of his shirt dig uncomfortably into him and his chest gets uncomfortably tight, and it’s too hot—
“Can’t...breathe,” he manages to choke out, though he doesn’t know if anyone can hear him. He scrambles at his shirt, tugs at the flat buttons underneath his fingers, right where his heart is pounding faster than it ever has. The constriction around his throat loosens just a little bit but it’s not enough, he needs—
He doesn’t know what he needs.
Where’s Buck? Is Charlie okay? 133 Captain...Mehta, Eddie thinks...where is he?
“Sir? Sir?!” A faint voice pierces through the panic whirling through his system, and the formal word surprises him enough for him to realize that it’s not gravel under him, it’s smooth linoleum, or something fancy Buck would know the name of.
And Buck isn’t here, and this isn’t Charlie’s building, and the 133 isn’t here, either.
“Sir? Can you hear me?”
Eddie closed his eyes at some point, and he opens them now, still not being able to suck in a full breath. He stares back blankly into a face he can’t really work the features out of, but the man’s saying something and Eddie’s just not following.
He starts following a little when he sees a familiar uniform surround him, one that he throws on every day and goes out there to try to save someone from either the worst moment of their life or the most embarrassing ones.
Something tight wraps around his arm, and Eddie hears a whooshing sound that he realizes is his own lungs, trying to suck thin air into them. His heart pounds faster at the realization.
“He’s...attack...hospital.” Only a few words filter through, but enough for Eddie to put together that he’s having a heart attack.
He’s only 34. How is he having a heart attack ?
He’s got a kid at home, no history of hypertension, nothing that justifies having a fucking heart attack in the middle of this store.
The threat of that only serves to overwhelm him even more, and before Eddie can fight it, the darkness lurking at the edges of his vision closes over him, and everything fades away.
He’s getting real sick of waking up to beeping noises.
There’s a steady rhythm to it, at the very least, so when Eddie opens groggy eyes, he knows he’s not in the middle of a heart attack.
His gaze lands on a nurse in the corner of the room, rifling through drawers for something.
“Hi,” he croaks out to get her attention.
She turns around and breaks into a grin. “Hey there, you were out for a bit. How are you feeling now?”
He assesses himself. Aside from the emotionally off-kilter day, he feels...fine. There’s a numbness to his mind right now that he knows wasn’t there this morning, which probably plays a big part in that. Hell, he’s not even in a hospital gown — there’s only a pulse oximeter on his finger.
He feels small though, back in this hospital bed. There’s still a weight on his chest of all the what-if and why and he’s exhausted, as if he’s been working back to back 24-hour shifts. His bones feel heavy, and his skin doesn’t quite fit right around him.
He absently cracks his knuckles as his last few memories come flooding back in. The store, the suit shopping...the salesman Eddie probably scared half to death.
“Uh, why am I here?”
“I can answer that one,” a doctor steps in, smiling kindly at the nurse, who takes her cue and leaves. “You had a panic attack.”
Eddie stares at her as he remembers the few words he’d picked up from the paramedics. They'd mentioned something about an attack.
“It wasn’t a heart attack?” If he wasn’t lying in a hospital bed, he would’ve collapsed with sheer relief.
Dr. Eve shakes her head. “Not at all. Your heart is perfectly fine. Panic attacks often seem like heart attacks, because they have similar symptoms, but you’re not showing any symptoms of cardiovascular disease and from what I have on file, no history of it, either.”
“No, no history,” he murmurs quietly as he thinks. “But I passed out?”
Her expression shifts as she sits on a rolling chair, opening a folder that’s presumably his. “I am concerned that you passed out, because that means you were stressed about something to a very large extent. Also, you panicked when you were brought into the ER. We had to sedate you before you could hurt someone with your thrashing.”
All of this is news to Eddie, because he doesn’t remember—
The flare in the window.
He closes his eyes and curses under his breath.
It’s not a trigger he thought he’d have. In the six months since the shooting, he’s figured out a few things that ramp his anxiety off — large, open spaces, the scent of the gum Chimney was chewing that day, blistering heat, and sometimes, the scratch of his uniform.
Flashing lights have never been a problem. He wouldn’t have been able to go back to work otherwise, he wouldn’t have wanted to go to work knowing that he was one wrong light away from freezing. In this line of work, one second means the difference between life and death.
“It seems you already know what happened,” Dr. Eve observes, not unkindly. “Would you like me to recommend a therapist or a counselor?”
“No, no that’s alright.” He clears his throat. “I’m uh...I’m already seeing one.”
She simply nods once, not pushing for any answers but before she can get out of her chair, the door bursts open, revealing a frantic Buck.
Too many expressions roll over his face, too fast for Eddie to catch all of them with his slightly foggy mind. The few that he does catch are panic, relief, and something that looks a little too fragile for Eddie to try and dissect. He attempts a small smile in his direction that probably looks more like a grimace. “What are you doing here?”
“Emergency contact,” is all he offers in response, apparently too busy making sure everything is to his satisfaction to notice the woman standing behind him with no-nonsense brows raised to her hairline.
He knows what Buck’s doing, because they’ve had enough scares over the past few months to be paranoid of everything, so he doesn't protest, just lets him look his fill and realize that Eddie's fine.
Eddie smiles faintly when she looks at him, shrugging.
Buck’s hawk-like gaze catches the movement and he looks back at the doctor, smiling sheepishly before moving to Eddie’s side. “Sorry, Doc. How’s he doing?”
“All good to go home, now that you’re here.” She sounds more amused than anything, but Eddie takes the minute that they're distracted to slump a little, exhaling silently before her words catch up to him.
“Wait, you wouldn’t have let me out of here without him? I thought I was okay.”
“Hospital procedure, Mr. Diaz, even for panic attacks. I’ll get the nurse to pull up your discharge papers and instructions, and you can go home. Just take it easy for the evening, okay?”
Eddie nods, and turns his attention back to Buck, who’s busy picking at his fingernails as he stares intently at Eddie. He doesn’t know what to say, so he offers a greeting. “Hi, Buck.”
“A panic attack,” he says softly, ignoring Eddie. “I didn’t know you were having those.”
That’s because Eddie didn’t tell him. Granted, they’d never been this bad before, but he’s woken up on more than one occasion in the middle of that LA street, or sometimes in the middle of an Afghanistan desert, wishing that death wouldn’t touch him. Sometimes, he still feels cold, slimy fingers on his skin long after the panic fades.
“I...It wasn’t that bad,” he says feebly, knowing he can’t lie about this. Not after all this, and not to Buck.
Buck’s expression darkens, his jaw tightening and suddenly, Eddie feels weaker than before. Whatever fragile look was in his eyes only grows until Eddie thinks Buck might splinter apart.
The nurse comes back before any of them can say anything, and Eddie signs them feeling every inch of his years. Hell, he feels double his age right now, tired and exhausted of never getting a reprieve. He just doesn’t know how to deal with anything, and now he’s pissed his best friend off, too.
“Buck,” he reaches out, touches his partner’s sleeve. “I didn’t tell you because we’ve been through enough the past few weeks. I was handling it, I just...probably not as well as I thought.”
“We’re supposed to have each other’s backs,” Buck says quietly. “I want you to trust me to have yours.”
“I do,” he says immediately. “And you have. You’ve been doing everything for me since I...since then. I just didn’t want to worry you.”
Buck nods once, curling a balancing hand around Eddie’s elbow as they walk out of the room. “Let’s just get you home, okay? It just...scared me to have you back here. That's all.”
They drive in complete silence. None of Buck’s usual commentary, not even the fucking radio. It’s a little unnerving and Eddie fiddles anxiously with the papers in his lap, eyes darting everywhere.
“Hey,” Buck’s hand hovers over his thigh for a minute before Eddie nods. He places his palm and spreads his fingers, taking most of Eddie's attention and pushing the anxiety back a little. “You okay?”
He’s about to give his standard, automatic answer, but thinks better of it. “No,” he admits. “I thought I was doing better, but I went to that suit shop Bobby told me about today and there was a glint of something in the window and I...I don’t know what happened.”
He thinks about what could’ve caused him to pass out, though. He knows that it’s rare to lose consciousness during panic attacks, but he thinks back to the turmoil of the last few days and realizes that he’s been anxious virtually every day this week.
There was the chaos of the blackout, and the helicopter rescue that nearly ended with Eddie’s body falling straight down to the pavement. He’d fallen out of the helicopter, yanking the arm he’d been shot in the last time he was dangling precariously out of one.
He’d been on edge since that rescue, every little thing serving to irk him a little more. Sleep was far and few in between before Eddie would wake up in a pool of his own sweat, breathing harshly in the too-still bedroom.
Maybe that’s it.
He’s so fucking sick of trying to make sense of everything — so sick of trying to straighten his world back to the organized routine it was before the shooting.
Eddie sighs and tips his head back against the seat. “I just want to be better again. I don’t...I hate looking over my shoulder like this all the time.”
Buck’s grip gets tighter and Eddie, on a whim, drops a hand on top, fitting his fingers into the spaces between Buck’s. “Are you still seeing Frank?”
“Yeah,” he admits. “He was really helping, and he doesn’t push me too far.”
Buck flips his palm so they’re actually holding hands and squeezes once. “That’s good. You know we’re here if you need anything, right? You don't have to be okay all the time. It's okay to not be okay, if you need to.”
Grasping the hand that worked tirelessly to save him many, many times during and after the shooting serves as lifeline enough.
He thinks of all the ways everyone’s gone out of their way to support Eddie after the shooting — and yet, no one treats him like anything fragile. There was one moment where Bobby asked him if he was ready to be back, but that was it. No more questions, no ‘you should have stayed home,’ no walking around eggshells — simple trust in Eddie’s judgment.
Eddie idly taps his thumb against the back of his hand and nods. He's still anxious, still feels tears pushing the back of his eyes, and somehow feels unbelievably tired, but this was a speed-bump, but he’s not going to let it set back all the progress he has made. “Yeah. Yeah I do know.”
“Good,” Buck says decisively. “Then you also know I’m coming home with you tonight. Just in case. Doctor's orders.”
Eddie laughs softly, focusing on the familiar roads as they enter his neighborhood. No doctor asked for him to be supervised, but he's not going to be the one to protest. “Wouldn’t expect any less.”
Buck grins at him, soft and fond, and that’s that.
He stays, and the walls stand strong again.
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