The way 5A is shaping up, I’m gonna need 5x11 (aka the first episode of 5B) to be just like. Absolutely goofy. Like Ocean’s 9-1-1 x Jinx x Treasure Hunt turned up to eleven. I need it to be happy and shenanigans and I need the stakes to be like. Whoever loses whatever competition it is owes the winners dinner or something. Not a single ounce of seriousness. Not. One. Ounce.
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askldjfhaskldhlk I am so glad someone actually saw those tags because I am feeling very 👀👀👀👀 about it xD I read 'defend in place' and was like, thaaaat definitely sounds like it has meaning, that sounds like something official™ and so I googled it and it definitely means SOMETHING
"Since grade school, we have all been taught to evacuate a building in a timely fashion during a fire drill, or in the case of a real fire. Many of us have continued this practice in the buildings we work in today, and will continue throughout our lives. However, if evacuation is not an option, how do we protect those that must stay inside? There are two strategies that are used to help protect the occupants of a building: Staged evacuation and defend in place.
Defend in place is a strategy that is used mainly in healthcare for those occupants that are physically unable to leave the facility. Many of these occupants are connected to life-supporting equipment, and could be in even more danger if they are moved or removed from the facility. This strategy allows healthcare staff to keep these patients in the facility, while also continue receiving any necessary treatment."
(link in the notes)
this certainly has me feeling a certain type of way, because????? is it a literal thing and they are doing a big dramatic call/fire in ep9 (and potentially extending to ep10) where someone has to stay/is forced to stay or is it more metaphorical? in what way could it be metaphorical? things you can't run from/escape but have to face head-on and fight with whatever you got to survive? THE POTENTIAL please talk to me about this!!
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Snippet of the 5x09 title! We got "Defend in Plac..." which probably means "Defend in Place"!
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Thinking about Buck this morning and the way that the only times he’s shown a desire to be in charge or really run with that (and yes, these are often portrayed as comic relief but not exclusively) are periods of major transition/instability where a lot of his options have been taken away from him and he’s clawing back control however he can. I just think it’s interesting.
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partially inspired by this fic by @capseycartwright. special thanks to my love @zeethebooknerd ❤
buck/eddie, 1108 words, fluff.
the first time they kiss is when chris and eddie have had a fight, and eddie’s in the kitchen upset and spiralling and doubting himself, and buck reassures him and comforts him and promises that he’s not going anywhere. it’s small, it’s quick, barely noticeable among buck’s words and the way he has their foreheads pressed together, but it warms eddie to his core.
they don’t talk about it.
maybe it’s for the best — maybe they’re not ready, but it’s okay because christopher comes out and he and eddie apologise to each other and eddie still has his family. he still has his son in his arms, and he still has buck, with fond glances and soft touches and seamless partnership and his friendship.
(if his gaze lingers sometimes, if every time he touches buck he wants to grab on and never let go, well. he’ll tell buck one day.
he’s just not ready yet.)
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So we know Eddie is a sweet little technophobe right? And my tiktok feed keep showing me videos about smart appliances for home, and apparently there are even smart pans that shows what’s the temperature and how you should grill your steak m and so on, and I just can see Buck being curious about it and wanting to try and Eddie being like: no smart pans on our houses Buck lmao
so this, uh, how you say, got away from me a tiny bit. idk man i'm not in control of my life. (once again rip to my job)
it starts, like—well, like almost nothing ever does—with the late-night shopping channel.
look, it's not that buck makes a habit of watching it—it's just that it's the middle of the night, and he's the only one on shift who is apparently incapable of sleeping, and there's nothing else on tv, and he's far too comfortable in his nest on the couch to get up and start fiddling with any of the gaming systems.
and, okay, maybe he kind of finds the ridiculous cadence of the salespeople soothing.
and, okay, maybe he's a little bit fascinated by the sheer variety of things on sale. gadgets he's never even considered might exist, but which he is now increasingly convinced he needs.
his phone is in his hand before he fully knows what he's doing, and he's pulling up the website listed in the corner of the tv screen. when the site asks for delivery address, he puts in eddie's house without thinking about it.
it just makes sense. he does most of his cooking at eddie's house, anyway. it just doesn't seem worth it cooking for one when he's alone at his loft.
it's not because he's in love with eddie. really, it's not. it just makes his life easier when he doesn't have to try and adjust recipe ratios so he doesn't make too much for just himself and end up with leftovers slowly mouldering in his fridge.
the alarm goes off just as he hits confirm, and in the only mostly controlled chaos of the apartment fire they're sent to, he forgets all about his spur-of-the-moment purchase.
until he's on eddie's couch watching a movie with christopher and the doorbell rings, and eddie comes back from opening the door holding a package and looking confused.
"it's—for you," eddie says, looking at buck. "why are you getting mail sent to my house?"
"i'm not—oh!" he says, practically leaping off the couch. "i forgot!" he grabs the package from eddie and heads into the kitchen.
"forgot about what?" eddie asks, trailing behind him.
"i was watching the shopping channel the other day—"
"i'm pretty sure nothing good has ever come of the sentence i was watching the shopping channel," eddie interrupts.
"then you're clearly not talking to the right people," buck says, working to get the box open. "anyway, so i was watching the shopping channel, and—" he pulls out the contents of the package and brandishes it at eddie. "see?"
"what am i seeing, exactly?"
"it's a singing pasta timer!" buck exclaims. "look, you put it in with the pasta, and then it starts singing when the pasta is done."
eddie takes the box buck is holding out and inspects it. "he looks creepy."
it's... not an inaccurate assessment. the timer is made of white plastic, and shaped like a rotund man in a chef's hat with uncomfortably pursed lips.
"i don't think you're really supposed to look at him," buck says. "i mean, you know what they say about watched pots and boiling."
eddie huffs. "still creepy, though. and putting a humanoid thing in boiling water also seems creepy."
"he's plastic," buck points out. "i don't think he's exactly bothered by the heat."
"i don't want to teach my child—"
he's interrupted by a laugh from the doorway, where christopher is leaning on his crutches. "he's not real, dad."
"there you go," buck says. "chris knows that he's plastic. why are you so opposed to letting the little pasta man help you stop overcooking your pasta?"
"i'm not—" eddie starts, and buck raises his eyebrows.
"fine," eddie sighs. "i just don't—how does he know?"
buck blinks at eddie for a second before he realises what eddie means, and then he's laughing before he can stop himself, so hard he has to grip the kitchen counter for support.
"eddie," he says when he can breathe again, trying hard to keep his tone as neutral as possible. "are you afraid of the little plastic pasta man?"
"no!" eddie says, and it would be a lot more convincing if he wasn't still holding the timer and eyeing it warily. "i just don't like it when things know things."
"it's hardly hildy," buck says, still trying to hold back laughter. "it's just a thermometer and a timer, look, it just senses when the water starts to boil and counts time from there. i promise you it doesn't have any kind of unnatural knowledge of pasta."
he gets a glare for that, but it melts into a sheepish grin soon enough. "well, in that case," eddie says, sounding like he's acquiescing to something much more harrowing than a plastic pasta timer. "i suppose he can stay."
they try him out that very night, and eddie almost jumps out of his skin when the timer starts singing. buck only laughs at him a little.
later, once they've put christopher to bed and get started on cleaning the kitchen, eddie tries to hand the now-clean timer to buck. buck stares at him, uncomprehending.
"don't you want to take it home?" eddie asks. "it had your name on the package, i assume you bought it for yourself."
"good thing, too," buck says. "i'm not convinced you wouldn't have tried to exorcise it if you'd opened it without me around."
"no comment," eddie says, and buck laughs.
"i was gonna just leave it here, though," buck says. "assuming you're not going to try and cleanse it with holy fire in the middle of the night?"
"i make no promises," eddie says. "why? don't you want it after all?"
"it's not that," buck says. "i just—don't really cook so much at the loft. not when it's just for me."
"oh," eddie says. "well, i'm happy to share custody. full visitation rights."
"we already co-parent an entire child, what's one unnecessarily humanoid kitchen appliance on top of that?"
buck freezes with a glass in his hand, suspended halfway to the cabinet he was returning it to. they haven't talked about christopher, about any of it, not since eddie was released from the hospital. they certainly haven't talked about co-parenting. "eddie—"
slowly, buck turns to face eddie. he doesn't know what he's expecting—regret, maybe, or that fish-out-of-the-water face eddie sometimes makes when he says the wrong thing without thinking—but all he finds on eddie's face is fond amusement.
"you can't tell me you're that surprised," eddie says.
"no, i just—we haven't really—you've never said," buck says.
"only because i didn't think i needed to," eddie says, barely holding back an eye roll. but unlike when other people roll their eyes at him, it doesn't make buck feel small. just warm.
"i'm saying it now, okay?" eddie continues.
two weeks later buck is watching the late-night shopping channel again when eddie emerges from the bunk room and settles on the sofa next to him.
"what are you—no," eddie cuts himself off when the words smart pan flash across the screen. he snatches buck's phone out of his hand and hides it in his pocket.
"eddie," buck whines. "i was just going to—"
"no, you're not," eddie says. "i can accept the pasta man, but you are not bringing a smart pan into our kitchen. i am drawing a line. the line is drawn. no artificial intelligence that also controls temperature, not in our house."
and eddie's staring him down like he's expecting buck to argue, but buck's brain is stuck on one thing. one specific word, to be exact.
eddie gives him the same look he sometimes does on a call when buck doesn't immediately get moving. the one that means catch the fuck up, buckley.
"we share custody of a child and an upsettingly realistic pasta man," eddie says. "how is this news to you?"
"you keep not telling me things!" buck says. "what else are you not telling me? are you secretly royalty or something?"
"no, but i am in love with you," eddie says.
buck stares at him. "if you're just trying to distract me from the smart pan, that's a dick move."
"just trying to—jesus christ," eddie mutters. "okay, do you believe me now?" and then his lips are on buck's and, okay, maybe it wasn't just a distraction. because buck's kissed a lot of people in his life, but very few of them have kissed him like this. like he matters.
eddie pulls back just enough to look buck in the eye. "okay?"
"okay," buck says, and leans in to kiss eddie again.
some time later, eddie pulls away again, and this time he's frowning at buck. "you better be trying to feel me up right now," he says. "you better not be trying to get your phone to order that unholy frying pan."
buck grins. "i can multi-task."
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So we let our shadows fall away like dust. (x)
[Image Description: 3 coloured gifs from 9-1-1 featuring Evan Buckley overlaid with lyrics from Sleeping At Last’s ‘You are Enough’.
Gif 1: A coloured gif from Season 4 Episode 5. A shot of Buck visibly upset after asking his parents to love him anyway. The text reads, ‘You’re enough, you’re enough, you are enough.”
Gif 2: A coloured gif from Season 4 Episode 14. A shot of Buck looking at Eddie with tears in his eyes after Eddie told him that Christopher would be taken care by him in the event of his death. The text reads, ‘These little words, somehow they’re changing us.”
Gif 3: A coloured gif from season 4 episode 5. A shot of Buck in his turnout gear, visibly upset and breathing heavily after saving the last victim in the factory fire. The text reads, ‘Let it go, let it go, you are enough.”
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i feel the water washing all over me.
everything i’ve known slipped through my hands.
the sea has wrecked our home with harbour waves.
tsunami, tsunami. i feel the water, i feel the water.
- tsunami by fløre
inspired by - x & x
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I'm feeling extremely soft today so: redamancy <3
redamancy: a love returned in full; the act of loving the one who loves you
Eddie’s self aware enough to admit that he was a little slow on the uptake.
But also, in his defense, Buck was very quiet about it, quieter than Eddie was, making his own seamless transition from one state of mind to the other without telling another soul.
It started with small things, grains of sand in the vast landscape of Eddie’s life that he barely ever gave a second thought. Coffee with a splash of milk and three sugars, ready every morning they’re on shift. A shelf at the loft dedicated to whatever books and video games Chris was obsessed with at the moment. Reminders in Buck’s calendar for Abuela’s and Pepa’s birthdays. Sand that piled up after a while, growing and growing as Buck weaved his way in deeper, still quiet, still somehow slipping past what Eddie used to think was his sharp awareness.
And the thing is, Eddie didn’t notice because none of it was ever intrusive. Nothing Buck did ever felt like it was to compensate for something Eddie lacked, none of it was to swoop in and save the day, to pick up the slack that Eddie knows he’s dropped and will probably continue to drop from time to time. He was there to support, to see Eddie start to slip and ask what do you need and accept that sometimes the answer was nothing, I’ve got it and not question Eddie’s judgement. Whether with actions or just by existing in the same space, Buck supported Eddie and Chris, wholeheartedly and expecting nothing in return.
In the end, it was a little thing, a single grain of sand, that finally switched the lightbulb on for Eddie.
They’re in the kitchen, Eddie washing the last dishes from dinner and Buck rearranging the fridge to find space for leftovers. The washing machine beeps from the laundry room, and Buck’s head shoots up over the fridge door, brow furrowed.
“It’s Tuesday,” he says. “Laundry day is on Thursdays.”
“I know,” Eddie says as he dries his hands on a dish towel, “but Chris has—”
“—his choir concert Thursday night, right.”
“Yeah, and with shifts in between I wasn’t sure—”
He freezes, and if he had still been holding a dish he would have definitely dropped it, because Buck knows him. That’s not news, but it had happened so organically, so effortlessly, it feels like it’s been true forever, so Eddie just...didn’t really notice.
But it is true. Buck knows laundry day is Thursday for no other reason than that’s how Eddie’s been doing it since Shannon left. He knows Chris’ after school schedule, both the things he can come to and the things he can’t. He also knows that Eddie always forgets to put paper towels on the grocery list and picks some up on his way over every once in a while.
He knows when Eddie saying I don’t want to talk about it actually means he does, and he knows when to drop it and just be with him, until the tension finally leeches from his shoulders.
Buck knows him. He knows him and he sees him and—
“You love me,” he says — not asks, says — and it doesn’t feel like a misstep or arrogant or presumptive. It just feels like the truth, tastes sweet like warm honey and the promise of something great.
Buck closes the fridge and looks at him with a bewildered smile. “Of course I do.”
“No,” Eddie says, placing his hands on Buck’s shoulders. “You love me.”
Buck’s hands circle his wrists, squeezing lightly, tethering him to the earth. His eyes are full of a gentle conviction that Eddie’s seen before, but never blazing quite this bright. They’re suspended, frozen in the moment before the fall over the precipice of whatever they are, whatever they’ve been moving towards, and Eddie knows without a doubt that the landing will be soft, because it was so rough and spirit breaking to get here in the first place.
But they are here, finally, arriving at different times but here all the same.
“Of course I do,” he says again, and Eddie didn’t know free falling like this could make him feel so alive.
Their kiss feels like a first and a millionth, butterflies fluttering slowly because they already know their way around. It’s warm and joyful and everything Eddie dreamed it would be, and he can’t believe it took him so long to get here.
They break apart and he shoves Buck shoulders, just a little. “You knew this whole time, and you didn’t think to clue me in?”
Buck laughs, catching Eddie’s hands. “I didn’t wanna pressure you about anything, whether you felt the same way or not. I know you hate when people do that to you.”
And Eddie’s floored — that Buck has been sitting on this, that he thinks he’s just people and not the center of Eddie’s world, right next to Chris — but he also feels soft and safe and loved in a way that he never has before.
Words don’t feel like enough to cover everything, so for now he just kisses Buck again, and he knows — knows — he’s understood.
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Buck + Eddie flirting at work - Jinx 4x06
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Wanted to add, if anyone’s curious: Critical Role is starting its third campaign tomorrow (Thursday, October 21)! If you’ve been looking for a jumping-on point for the show that doesn’t involve watching hundreds and hundreds of hours of content to catch up, this is it. Each campaign takes place in the same overall world as the previous ones, but at enough of a remove (different continent, set some time later) that the impact of prior campaigns is usually reduced to the odd NPC cameo and no knowledge of those plots is needed to enjoy the story.
I know D&D actual-plays are much more mainstream than they were back when campaign two was first getting started, but in case that hasn’t been your thing: it’s literally just listening in on someone else’s game of Dungeons and Dragons. They’ve got great production value and an absolutely absurd new set for the new campaign (projections????), but the game itself is totally unedited, which means you get the full experience of table talk, flubs, and occasionally having to take an early break because everyone has the giggles. The players are all experienced actors and longtime friends, though, so they’re very good at sharing the spotlight, building each other up, and occasionally messing with each other for maximum humorous effect.
Matt Mercer, the DM, is clearly living his Dungeons & Dragons dreams - he’s mentioned that this set is something he’s daydreamed about since he was DMing in high school, and on top of creating the world, he has control over the visual effects during the game and builds the battle maps himself. The seven players (plus occasional guest players!) buy in to their characters in a huge way; it really does feel like reading a book or watching a show where every single character has a writer who’s always in their corner. They’ve got a great crew (including, now that they’re pre-recording, subtitles for every episode as it airs) and the show’s getting more and more polished without losing the fun side of the chaos of it all.
The episodes are free-to-watch and air every Thursday (except, starting in November, for the last week of each month when a one-shot will air instead) at 7 PM Pacific Time on Twitch, typically running for around 4 hours. That’s long as heck, so if you’re not super into watching something for that long in one sitting or if the time zone’s not in your favor, you’re in luck: they rebroadcast on Twitch at midnight Pacific Time and 9 AM Pacific Time on Fridays, then post to YouTube the following Monday. You can also subscribe on Twitch to be able to watch the VOD immediately after (and even during) airing - if you have an Amazon Prime account, you get one free subscription.
They also post episodes in audio-only form to a podcast feed a week after airing - you may have to poke around a bit because the earlier episodes were on a different feed due to the changeover to CR becoming its own company.
Anyway, I do really love this show - I think it’s an incredibly fun example of creativity and communal storytelling, and the throughline always hews back to found family and deep friendships. It feels like watching a fantasy epic that’s somehow had the goofy cast shenanigans integrated right into it, with the added intensity of a really good sports game - after all, everything is unscripted and the nature of D&D means that a character can permanently die at any time.
It’s great fun all around, and even if you do fall behind on it and only poke your head back in occasionally down the line, jumping in at the start of a new campaign is a pretty wild experience all around.
If you’re interested, the Twitch channel is here and the YouTube channel is here. Watch live at 7 PM Pacific on Thursday, October 21st!
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In the continuing category of “I guess it’s Thinking About Buck Hours” I’m looking back to 2x8 and honestly…I feel like Buck heard “you don’t find it, son, you make it” and it felt like this huge revelation of something he’d never considered before about his approach to love and he proceeded to do the thing where you learn something new and you’re super excited to put it into practice/want to jump right in only to realize that you’ve… totally missed the mark.
Like he went right from that into his relationship with Ali which, great! Awesome! Was a good step towards seeking out the kind of adult relationship he wanted, but also…they sort of left it at that. Beyond that first step we never really got a sense that he was putting in the work to really build something meaningful with her. Yes, they were cute and sweet but it’s canon that she was frequently absent and their relationship simply lacked substance (for example, obviously the ladder truck incident was a big wake up call and probably would have been regardless but one would think if you’ve been dating someone for somewhere around six months and it’s meaningful, you might have talked about or at least considered the realities of them being a first responder).
And we’re seeing something very similar with Taylor. A certain amount of distance between them that he’s aware of but has let go instead of addressing it. A lack of effort to really build a foundation or connect on a deeper level. There’s distance even when she is physically in his space, in his bed, and the thing is, he’s not treating her with any greater level of trust or vulnerability than he displayed in Breaking Point or back in S2 (I mentioned after the episode that it’s a recurring theme for him to infodump his problems/feelings on the closest person when he’s in crisis and feels like he can’t connect with the people he actually wants to talk to/be vulnerable with, but it’s not some great display of trust).
Basically…I think he heard the message in 2x8 but he’s so used to having internalized his notions of what he thinks love looks like that up to now he’s been blocked from actualizing that with intent (see, e.g, “your life is nothing but meaningful relationships”/“it doesn’t feel like the same thing”). And the only satisfying resolution of his arc at this point, his seasons-long journey of self-discovery and growth and healing (which has been wrapped up in his love life far more than anyone else’s character arc) is to have him be able to finally open his eyes and see what exactly he’s done, what he has built, and the fact that what he’s built can be (is) romantic even if he didn’t plan it that way.
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i think getting to see buck and eddie openly and romantically love each other would fix me actually
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*whispers* what does it mean
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5x7 spec because why not?
Eddie is numb. He barely breathes, can hardly think—it’s as though ice has been injected directly into his veins, flooding through him, freezing everything—he knows he’s moving but only because he can’t seem to fight the hands pulling at him.
He’s trapped in a scene. All he knows, all he sees, is Buck darting forward, Buck being hit over the head with the edge of a gun, Buck falling to the ground, blood trickling from his hairline—
Eddie’s throat is raw from the force of Buck’s name tearing out of it. And his ears are still ringing from the raw, panicked scream of his own that Buck returned.
When he had his panic attack, it started in his chest. This time—
There’s no pain. No stabbing needles in his lungs. He can’t even feel his chest.
He thinks maybe his heart is still in the other room.
He’s shoved down—
“I’m a good person, you know,” the warden says as he pulls Eddie’s arms around the back of a chair and starts wrapping Eddie’s wrists in rope. Eddie almost wants to laugh—might have if not for the ice crowding his lungs, squeezing out the air.
“You’ll have to forgive me if I have some doubts about that,” Eddie replies. His voice is foreign to his own ears.
—blood trickling down Buck’s face—
“Your friend should be fine. He was just in the way.”
“Don’t.” It snaps out of him, the warning crack of a frozen lake—danger, retreat—the final notice before you plunge into water. “Don’t talk about him.”
The warden snorts and rolls his eyes as he pulls the knot tight on Eddie’s wrists.
“Whatever,” he mutters. A moment later, he hisses and staggers on his feet, catching himself on the edge of the chair.
Eddie twists around over his shoulder to look the best he can manage. There’s a dark red stain spreading slowly across the tan fabric of the man’s uniform shirt just above his lower back. They had missed it earlier, too busy looking at the slashes on his arms that they now know were self-inflicted, at the blood from those that stained much of the rest of his uniform.
“So you weren’t just faking,” Eddie says.
“You—” Eddie stops, something dark and vicious and bitter stopping his throat. Does he really have an obligation here? To help a man who preys upon the helpless and abuses his authority? A man who could have killed Buck? A man who took him hostage at gunpoint?
The blood, that area—if he was stabbed, it could have hit a kidney. Or something could have broken off inside his body, not causing any problems until it shifted. He could bleed out. He could die.
Eddie could let him.
That dark, vicious piece of him wants to let him.
He’s a better fucking person than that.
“Were you stabbed in the riot earlier?” He asks. “You’re bleeding.”
The warden tries to twist to look and hisses again. The stain spreads wider.
“I’m fine,” he says. “Stop trying to trick me. I’m not going to untie you.”
Eddie’s jaw clenches. So much for trying to be a good person.
The warden gets worse as the hours slip by. As he negotiates with SWAT. His skin pales, sweat beading across his brow, and he starts shaking—
Eddie blows out a frustrated breath.
“You’re going to die, you know,” he says finally. “You don’t have to—you could let me go. I could help you. We could walk out of this building and get you real medical attention—”
“They’ll arrest me,” the warden spits. “I’ll go to jail.”
“What, are you afraid of karma?” Eddie shoots back. “Don’t be a fucking idiot.”
The gun cocks and Eddie freezes.
“Shut up. Just shut up. I’m getting out of here. Whether you are too depends on you.”
“You kill me, that’s it,” Eddie points out, trying to keep his voice steady even as he feels like there’s a scream trapped behind his teeth. “You have no more leverage. You’ll be dead the minute you walk out that door even if you don’t bleed out in here first. Or you can let me help you and at least you’ll have a chance.”
Their eyes lock and hold. Eddie refuses to blink first. If he’s going to die tied to a chair, he’s damn well going to keep his head up.
The warden blinks. He pushes himself up off the floor and slowly makes his way across the room.
Eddie swallows when the gun presses against the back of his skull. But then—
The ropes around his wrists fall away.
“Okay,” the warden says. “Save me.”
Eddie nods once. “Give me the phone. I’ll tell them we’re coming out.”
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…oops? Have some more 5x7 spec.
Buck’s hands are shaking.
His throat is raw from screaming and his mind is—
He can’t stop replaying it, over and over. The radio bursting with static. Turning around to pick it up. Buck, Warden Trent, he’s—
His ears filled with white noise as he turned back around to see Eddie with a gun to his temple. He hadn’t even noticed when the radio slipped from his fingers. But he saw Eddie’s lips move.
He didn’t hear his answer so much as he felt it, Eddie’s name ripped from his throat.
No, no, no, no please, no please, not again, not again, not again, please—
He couldn’t do anything.
He couldn’t stop it. He couldn’t stop Eddie being dragged away. He couldn’t will their places swapped. He couldn’t—
There was a gun. And Eddie wasn’t bleeding, but all Buck can see is red. He can taste it in his mouth, he can feel it on his skin. If Eddie gets shot again—
His hands won’t stop shaking.
“What’s happening?” He asks the SWAT agent who has been assigned to babysit him. He wants to climb out of his skin, claw at the walls, break down the door. He feels trapped, a caged animal pacing the length of the room, desperate to get out, to go, to do anything that would bring Eddie back to him.
“I don’t have any updates,” the woman explains for the umpteenth time.
“Look, just—” Buck wants to scream. “Let me out. Let me talk to your captain, I can help, I was—we were with the warden most of the day before this happened, I can tell him—”
“Firefighter Buckley, we’ve got everything we need,” she interrupts. “Just sit tight. We’ll update you when we have something to report.”
“You don’t understand,” he snaps. Blood in his mouth and shaking hands and a gun and Christopher—Christopher is at home and he can’t—he’s can’t— “This is Eddie we’re talking about. That’s my partner—you can’t ask me to just—”
Buck whirls around and freezes. Taylor’s in the doorway, a strange look on her face. He blinks once, twice—
What—? What is—?
“They didn’t tell me it was you,” she sighs, raking a hand through her hair. And it’s then that his eyes drop to her neck, that he notices the lanyard with her press credentials attached.
“No,” he says before she can say anything else. He is far beyond frayed, unraveling rapidly, and he can’t—this is not something he is capable of dealing with right now.
“I was assigned—”
“No,” he repeats, ice cracking, cracking, cracking, he can’t breathe, he can’t think, because his heart, his life, his soul is being held hostage in the building across the street and he doesn’t know how he’s supposed to survive if—
“You were the only witness,” she says apologetically. “Look, I won’t—you could just tell me what happened, it doesn’t even have to be on camera—I’ll keep your name out of it—”
“It’s Eddie, Taylor!” It’s no longer just his hands, Buck feels like his whole body is shaking. “It’s Eddie—again. And all I could do was stand there and watch—again. And again I might have to go home tonight and tell Christopher that I couldn’t protect his dad, but hey, Eddie picked me to replace him so if he wants a poor fucking substitute, at least he’ll have me!”
“Buck…” Taylor takes a few steps and reaches out to gently cup his face. Buck flinches away.
Her hands aren’t the ones he wants right now.
“Don’t,” he chokes out. “Please don’t, just—just go. Just go do your job, away from me. It’s where you want to be anyway.”
He knows it’s not fair even as he says it. Taylor sucks in a breath like she’s been slapped, but quickly rearranges her features, her face smoothing over, back straightening.
“Fine,” she says quietly. “I’ll go.”
Buck collapses into a chair the second the door clicks shut behind her.
His hands are still shaking.
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Thinking Thoughts and having Feelings about Eddie “Tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone” Diaz telling Chim to go after Maddie because it was “the right thing to do.” Thinking about how Shannon walked out and Eddie defended her for years but simultaneously let his own guilt and shame and insecurities prevent him from reaching out or going after her or trying to fix anything. Thinking about how she was gone for so long and what a big deal it was for him to admit that he missed her. Thinking about how maybe they could have had a chance if they hadn’t let nearly three years go by and the fact that he moved to LA where he knew she would be, and the way he must wonder sometimes what if, must wonder if they could have fixed what was broken, while also knowing that he will never know because he can’t change the past.
“I told him it was the right thing to do,” because Eddie is intimately familiar with this type of loss and also knows exactly how it feels to not have tried, to have to live with that sense of failure, the gnawing ache of not knowing if you could have changed everything. God…
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