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Completely Clueless

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"Oh that is just too cute." Hen whispered to Chim, who quickly opened Snapchat. 

"I'm sending a photo to Maddie right now. But then I'm gonna push them off."

It was late afternoon and Hen and Chimney had just arrived back from a medical call to find Buck and Eddie asleep on the couch upstairs. Eddie was lying on the edge of the couch, head propped up on the armrest and turned to the side as though he was watching the tv, with his legs spread along the length of the couch. Meanwhile, Buck was on his side, wedged between the Eddie and the backrest with his arms around Eddie's waist and head on his chest. Eddie had one arm around Buck's shoulder and the other hanging loosely off the side of the couch. Their boots were kicked off on the floor and their legs were tangled together.

It looks as though they had fallen asleep watching TV, empty coffee cups on the table and HGTV playing quietly in the background. Both of them looked more peaceful than they had in days, the space between Eddie's eyebrows had smoothed over and the tension from Buck's shoulders had dissipated.

Today's shift had been slow, but yesterday there had been a large-scale bus accident that involved hours of climbing through the wreckage bringing victims out and Eddie and Buck had done most of the (literal) heavy lifting. It hadn't helped that a few passengers had been trapped under the bus. No one had said it but they were all keenly reminded of the night of the truck bombing.

Both Buck and Eddie had been flagging all shift and Hen and Chim weren't surprised they'd fallen asleep during the lull of the afternoon. Their nap, however, didn't look intentional, as they both usually preferred the privacy and quiet of the bunkroom. They also couldn't be comfortable for long as neither man was particularly small and it was likely only Buck's iron-grip that was preventing Eddie falling off.

Just as Hen and Chimney were debating the benefits of leaving their friends to get some well earned rest (Hen) versus shoving them to the floor in revenge for Buck eating the last of the bacon this morning (Chim), Bobby appeared at the top of the stairs.

"I thought I heard you two bickering from my office," Bobby said with a grin, "what is it this time?"

Hen gestured over her shoulder towards the couch, "Chim want's to wake them as revenge on Buck for eating the last of the bacon this morning."

"I know Eddie is an innocent party here," Chimney began, "but Buck committed the most heinous crime and I gotta say I think I deserve some revenge."

Bobby shook his head, "Maybe save the revenge for another day, I don't think either of them slept well after yesterday - I know I didn't."

The mood took a serious shift, and Chim conceded as the three of them sat at the table.  Memories of the truck bombing were at the forefront of all their minds. They were quiet for a few moments as Bobby poured them all a fresh cup of coffee.

Hen took another look at the two men on the couch and shook her head, "How do they somehow manage to look cuter and more like a couple than any of us who are in actual relationships?"

Chim laughed, and Bobby pulled a fake-offended expression, "I'll have you know that Athena and I are very cute."

"I suppose you two do have date-night down to an art, but you've got to admit that those two are probably the most affectionate bros I've ever seen. If I didn't know how hopeless they both were at keeping secrets, I'd think they were secretly dating."

"I thought for sure moving in together would either make or break their relationship,” Chim added, “but literally nothing has changed except that I’m pretty sure Buck is accidentally wearing Eddie’s pants, because they’re very tight today.”

Hen covered her mouth to try and stifle her surprised laughter, while Bobby just shook his head in amusement. Their quiet conversation soon changed topic and eventually the two men sleeping on the couch were all but forgotten. 

Hen and Bobby were passionately discussing the merits of a instapot versus a crockpot when suddenly the conversation halted and all eyes were draw back over to the couch.

Buck had let out a cry, muffled by Eddie’s shoulder, and from where they were seated at the table the three could see Buck’s face scrunched in pain. He was pale, with a light sheen of sweat across his forehead and he was gripping Eddie’s shirt like a lifeline.

Buck continued to mumble, his words difficult to make out but clearly sounds of pain, while he twisted where he lay. The three looked back at each other, all familiar with the signs of a night terror, of a flashback.

But just as Bobby rose from his seat, Eddie suddenly jerked awake, and seemed to instantly recognise what was going on. Aside from a brief glance in the direction of the three at the table, his attention was solely fixed on Buck. He sat up, and had one hand gripping Buck’s tightly, and the other gently resting on his cheek as he started a continual stream of verbal reassurances.

“Buck, you’re okay. You’re at the station, you’re safe. I’m right here. You need to wake up.”

Buck’s cries had stoped but he still had a pained expression on his face, and appeared to be wrestling with the edge of consciousness as Eddie’s words broke through his nightmarish haze.

“Buck. Evan. Open your eyes for me. You’re okay, you’re safe.”

It seemed to take an eternity, but soon Buck’s eyes flew open and seemed to dart around the room, unable to focus on anything in particular. Taking no notice of the audience behind him, Buck’s eyes eventually locked onto Eddie’s own, and the relief appeared instantaneous.

Buck was sitting up now, breaths beginning to slow as he gripped the back of Eddie’s shirt and pressed their foreheads together.

The three at the table turned away slightly to give the two the illusion of privacy as Eddie’s reassuring words became a quiet murmur, for only Buck’s ears to hear.

Hen made questioning eye contact with Chim and nodded towards the stairs, but neither of them moved from the table, not wanting to draw attention to their presence.

Suddenly, the quiet was broken by a surprised chuckle from Buck, followed by an exasperated (but relieved) huff from Eddie. Buck wiped the dampness from under his eyes, and squeezed Eddie’s hand, before ducking down the stairs and into the locker room.

Silence filled the loft, until Eddie stood from his place on the couch, stretched, and picked up the forgotten coffee cups from the table. He discarded them in sink, before shooting Bobby a reassuring smile and taking a seat at the table.

“The bus crash brought back some not-so-pleasant memories for Buck,” Eddie explained, “combined with the physical toll of yesterday, neither of us slept well. He woke up like that three times last night.”

Chim exhaled the breath he was holding, “That’s rough. Anything we can do to help?” He glanced at Hen, who was clearly thinking the same thing - how did Eddie know Buck woke three times last night?

Eddie smiled, “He’ll be alright, he doesn’t mind you guys knowing, but it’s probably best not to bring it up. He’s got an appointment with Frank tomorrow, and he, Chris and I are going camping for the weekend. Getting away will do us all some good.”

They all nodded and hummed in agreement, but unbeknownst to Eddie, Chim had kicked Hen under the table, and both were attempting to stifle their incredulous laughter. Clueless. Those boys are clueless.

“Anyway,” Eddie continued, oblivious to the silent conversation happening next to him, “he’s getting his residual restlessness out in the gym, I better make sure he doesn’t overdo it.”

Eddie slipped from his chair and followed Buck’s path down the stairs and into the gym and silence returned to the loft.

“Don’t.” Bobby said sternly, once Eddie was out of earshot.

“Come on, Bobby!” Chim said with a grin, “They’re going camping together, and are helping each other through nightmares.”

“And are still in denial about their feelings!” Hen added.

“We’re not locking anyone in a storage room, and we’re letting those two work it out on their own.” Bobby said, as he began to pull ingredients from the cupboard, “Even if they could hurry up and get together before the end of the month, I’ve got $50 riding on this.”