Bobby was always very close with his firefighters. He prided himself on knowing all the little details about their lives. It was his job as their captain to understand them, how they worked, and how they lived. He knew most things about everyone who worked under him. However, Bobby had never known one of his firefighters as well as he knew Evan Buckley.
He knew the second that Buck walked into the 118 that he wasn’t going to be like any other firefighter Bobby had ever met. But, that wasn’t the whole story. Perhaps there was a child sized hole in Bobby’s heart that hadn’t been filled yet when he met Buck. Or maybe it was because there was a gaping parent sized hole in Buck’s heart since he was born. All of this together caused Bobby to take Buck in as his own. Well, emotionally. He was still Buck’s boss after all.
Buck needed a family, and he found that in the 118. They were all that for each other, but none of them needed it the way Buck and Bobby did. They both knew who they were to each other without the other having to say it. Bobby was Buck’s dad, and they both knew it. Everyone knew it.
Needless to say, Bobby knew a lot more about Buck than he did his other firefighters. For example, he knew Chimney’s favorite dinner and Hen’s preferred medical bag, but he knew that all Evan Buckley wanted was to have a family, a partner, and children. Honestly, he wouldn’t be surprised if other people knew that too. While other people knew, Bobby, as both Buck’s boss and dad, was the only one who wanted to and could do something about it. He used his paternal desire to meddle, and his bossly ability to hire someone who could fill all of Buck’s needs.
Bobby could lie and say that he hired Eddie to make Buck stop acting like a self-sacrificing hot head and to help a veteran who had lost his way. Sure, both of those could be true, maybe even were true, but they weren’t Bobby’s motives, not really.
He knew that his plan wouldn’t be set into motion for quite some time. He figured that Buck would struggle with sharing his family with anyone new, and after meeting Eddie, he realized that the poor guy was not ready to put his heart into a new relationship any time soon.
And, he almost thought that his plan was going to absolutely fail when Buck came into his office on Eddie’s first day. He collapsed into a chair and just sat there for a minute.
“Do you need something, Buckley?” Bobby questioned, using his captain voice because honestly, Buck was kind of pissing him off. Couldn’t the guy be a little more professional?
“Why him?” Buck finally asked.
Bobby nodded. “Eddie?”
“Yeah, why Eddie? Why is he so special? Why couldn’t you just move someone from a different shift onto ours?”
“Why are you questioning my judgement?” Bobby asked him, causing the younger man’s face to fall. “Have I been a bad captain? Have I done something to make you think I can’t make the right decision for this house?”
Buck hung his head. “No, you haven’t. I’m sorry. But, have we done something wrong? Did I do something that made you think you needed to hire someone else?”
“No, Buck, you didn’t do anything. Just trust me, will you? Eddie will be good for this team. He’ll be good for all of us.”
Buck nodded. “Okay, Bobby. I trust you.”
“Good, now get the hell out of my office,” Bobby told him. Buck got up to leave. “Oh, and Buck, if you ever come in here and question my authority again, you will be benched.”
“Got it. Sorry, sir,” Buck responded, shaken by the threat. Bobby smiled to himself. His smile got even wider when he saw Buck leave the office and nod when he passed Eddie in the hallway.
That gave Bobby a little more faith in the plan. He had even more faith in the whole plan after he watched Buck volunteer to take a bomb out of a human being with a new recruit. And, he had no doubt the plan would work when the two got out of the ambulance and began flirting horribly with each other. He knew by the blush on Buck’s face and the smirk that took over Eddie’s mouth that this was all going to work out. In fact, he was already planning the speech he was going to give at their wedding someday.
After the first day, there were hundreds of little moments that made Bobby realize that he made the right decision when he hired Eddie. None of the moments even paled in comparison to when Buck met Christopher.
Buck walked into the 118 the day after he met Christopher with the biggest smile on his face. Buck was a happy guy, but nobody had seen him that happy in a long time.
“What’s got the puppy smiling so much?” Hen whispered to Bobby.
Bobby just shrugged. “Beats me. Why don’t you ask him?”
“Ask who what?” Chimney questioned when he joined them. He looked over at Buck who was just prancing around like he was in a goddamn musical. “What’s going on with Fred Astaire over there?”
“I can hear you people!” Buck singsonged. “Can’t a guy be happy?”
“Not that happy,” Chimney told him, looking him up and down. “Are you having a stroke?”
Buck rolled his eyes. “Shut up.”
“What are we talking about?” Eddie asked as he entered the kitchen and grabbed a banana. He was sporting the same goofy grin that Buck had on.
“Somethings got Buck all happy on this fine morning,” Bobby explained, knowing that Eddie would know what it was, but neither one of them would ever admit it.
“Is that right?” Eddie asked, smirking at Buck who ducked his head. “Oh, hey, Buck. That reminds me. Chris wants you to come over on your next day off so you guys can hang out.”
“I would love to! I already miss that little guy,” Buck told him, and the two of them began a conversation about the boy. They were smiling and laughing the whole time. Both of them looked filled with so much happiness…and love.
“Are we sure that Chris is the only one who’s dying to hang out with Buck?” Chimney whispered to Bobby who just shrugged, acting like he didn’t know a thing despite knowing everything.
It only took meeting Christopher once for him to fall in love with Buck. All he ever talked about was Buck this and Buck that. The only thing that Eddie could think to do to make Christopher happy was to make sure Buck was around as much as he could be.
“What are you doing Saturday after shift?” Eddie asked Buck when they got back from a call one day.
“No plans yet. Why? You need a babysitter?” Buck joked.
Eddie shoved him lightly. “No, man. I was wondering if you wanted to hang out. With me and Chris.”
“Of course!” Buck said a little too excited. “I mean, I would really like that. Do you want me to bring anything?”
“Just bring yourself and some of your interesting little facts to amuse Chris with. He thinks you’re the smartest person ever.”
Buck laughed. “That’s because I am.”
“Watch yourself, or this will be the first and last time we hang out.”
It wasn’t the last time they hung out. That’s for sure. That Saturday went better than either one of them could have imagined. They ordered pizza and watched movies. They stayed up so late watching movies that Eddie invited Buck to stay the night. The next morning he woke up to find Buck in the kitchen making breakfast.
“What’s all this?” Eddie asked, yawning.
“Breakfast!” Buck said, flipping a pancake. “It’s the least I can do.”
Buck shrugged. “Last night was fun, and it was your idea. This is my repayment.”
“It was fun,” Eddie confirmed. “Maybe you should repay me by doing it again. Maybe we could make it a weekly thing.”
“Yeah,” Eddie told him.
Buck grinned. “I’d like that. I’d like that a lot.”
And that was how the tradition of the Saturday Movie Night began.
As Bobby suspected, most of what happened with Buck and Eddie happened when he wasn’t around. This wasn’t something he could see every second of, but Bobby always had his ways of finding things out, especially about Buck. However, the whole thing was more of a waiting game than anything.
Bobby would just wait and see how the two acted at shifts. He would assume that they hung out after based on how close they were, but he never got any confirmation. That was until one night when he and Buck were cooking dinner.
“Hey, I was wondering if you could show me how you made that soup a few weeks ago,” Buck said as he was cutting some vegetables.
“Of course,” Bobby replied, smiling to himself. “Is there a particular reason?”
“Yeah, um, actually, I wanted to make it for Eddie and Chris,” Buck explained, slightly embarrassed. “I’ve been hanging around their house a lot recently, and Eddie isn’t much of a cook. I’m basically just the breakfast guy to them, but Chris was sick last week, and I really want to be able to make him soup.”
“So you want me to teach you how to make soup for Eddie’s son instead of me teaching Eddie how to do it?” Bobby questioned, laughing internally.
“Well, I, uh, I didn’t think about that,” Buck told him. “Be-because you and I cook together. It’s like our thing. And-and I cook for Chris because Eddie isn’t good at it.”
“No need to explain yourself, Buck. Not to me,” Bobby reminded him, putting a hand on his shoulder. “I was just teasing you.”
“So, you’ll teach me how to make it?” Buck asked, grinning.
“Of course,” Bobby said. “Come over on Saturday. We can watch the game and make it. And I’ll make enough for you to freeze in case Chris is sick when you’re not around.”
“Thanks, Bobby. You’re the best.” The best what? Captain? Father figure? Dad? It didn’t matter. Bobby didn’t need a title as long as he had Buck talking to him about these things and wanting to hang out.
Eddie had had bosses he liked before. He had bosses he admired, but he never had a boss like Bobby Nash. He never had someone who genuinely cared about him, not just his job and how well he did it.
Eddie knew that he didn’t know Bobby as well as the rest of the team, and he already loved him. So, he wasn’t at all surprised that Buck and Bobby were so close. He could tell from the first time he saw the two of them interact that they had more than a work relationship. Bobby was Buck’s dad, and that was very plain to see.
Sure, Eddie would never be as close to Bobby as Buck was, but they were pretty close. They were close enough that Eddie could tell him things that he wouldn’t tell other people. They were close enough that he could speak his mind without worrying about Bobby judging him.
“I hate Taylor Kelly,” Eddie said when it was just him and Bobby in the gym. Taylor was across the floor talking to Buck at a table.
Bobby was taken aback by his bluntness, but he understood the sentiment. “Me too, kid.”
“I don’t mean to be disrespectful. I’m not that kind of guy,” Eddie groaned. “But, I really hate her.”
“Again, I get it,” Bobby told him.
Eddie shook his head. Bobby could feel the heat coming off of the other man. “You know who doesn’t hate her?”
Bobby looked over to see Buck blushing at whatever Taylor had said. “I don’t think that’s anything to worry about.”
“Why?” Eddie asked curiously, causing Bobby to smile.
“Between you and me, I don’t think Buck would keep anyone around if we didn’t like them,” Bobby told him. “I think he cares too much about my approval and keeping you and Chris in his life.”
Eddie blushed slightly. “I don’t know. I’m sure you’re right about you, but I don’t think he cares all that much about my opinion.”
Bobby shook his head. “I wouldn’t be so sure about that.”
Much to Eddie’s surprise and Bobby’s conjecture, Taylor Kelly didn’t spend too much time around Buck or the 118 after that.
Buck had always hoped that Bobby saw their relationship the same way he did. He wasn’t really ashamed of the fact that he thought of Bobby as his dad anymore. He had accepted that fact, along with the fact that Bobby might not see him in the same way. At least, he didn’t feel it to the same extent that Buck did.
Even if Bobby didn’t see Buck as his actual son, they still had a good relationship. Buck knew that he could go to Bobby with anything.
“Hey, Bobby, can I talk to you about something?” Buck asked one day a few weeks after Christmas.
“Sure, Buck,” Bobby replied, not knowing what the younger man had on his mind.
“It’s about Chris and Eddie.” Bobby shouldn’t have been surprised. “Well, maybe it’s more about Shannon. I don’t know.”
“Alright, go ahead. What’s on your mind?”
Buck took a minute to think about it. “I like her, and I’m really happy that Chris has his mom again.”
“But,” Bobby supplied.
“But,” Buck continued, “I’m worried. I’m worried that she’s gonna up and leave them again. I know what it’s like to be left behind, and I don’t want that to happen to either of them. I don’t even know which one I want to protect more. Neither one of them deserve any more pain.”
“Why do you feel responsible for protecting them?” Bobby asked, no particular tone in his voice. He was just curious.
“I-I don’t. It’s just general friendly worry. I would be the same amount of nervous if it was Hen and Denny.”
“No, you wouldn’t,” Bobby said, smirking internally and maybe a little externally.
“Bobby,” Buck groaned.
“Listen, kid, there’s no use worrying. All you can do is be there for them and hope that everything works out, and if it doesn’t, then you’ll be there for them then too.”
“It’s that simple?”
Bobby nodded. “It’s that simple, bud.”
Bobby thought he knew Buck well, but Eddie was proving himself to be a close second. Maybe he was even beating him. And, Buck knew Eddie just as well.
It was common for firefighters to use nonverbal cues in the field. It was even common to be able to read your partner and know their next move without them doing anything. However, Bobby had never seen anyone work together as well as Buck and Eddie.
“Already on it, Cap,” Buck said when they arrived at a call one day. “Eddie–”
“Got it, Buck,” Eddie replied, handing Buck the Jaws of Life. “I get the door–”
“And I get the passenger out.”
“Then I’ll get the driver.”
Bobby stopped listening to them after a while. This is how they were on every single call. Finishing each other’s sentences. Anticipating the other’s next move. It was honestly ridiculous. The only reason Bobby put up with it was because he had never seen better work then when the two of them acted together.
“Good work today, Buck and Eddie,” Bobby said for what felt like the millionth time. “You work very well together. And to think there was a time when Buck was furious that I hired you.”
“Can we not?” Buck practically begged when they got into the rig.
“You were so mad, Buck,” Eddie told him, laughing slightly. “It’s almost funny now.”
“It is so not funny.”
Bobby smiled. “Sure, it is. Who would’ve thought that you two would make the best partners in the LAFD on that first day?”
“I’m so telling Chim and Hen that,” Buck told him.
“Go ahead, Buckley. See if they believe you.”
“Eddie’s a witness too.”
Eddie put his hands in the air in surrender. “No way. I’ll side with Cap.”
“Betrayal,” Buck gasped. “I want a new partner.”
“No way in hell,” Bobby and Eddie said at the same time.
“Jesus, there’s two of you now,” Buck muttered, and they both hoped to God that Buck didn’t see them in the same way.
Bobby knew there would be kinks in the plan. He knew that Eddie was married, and Buck and Eddie were both ridiculously stubborn men. He knew these things would cause issues. What he did not know was that there were going to be countless near death experiences and heartbreaks stopping the two men from getting together. The first of these events was Shannon dying.
Bobby knew that Eddie and Shannon had been going through a lot, and he didn’t know if they were going to be able to patch things up. He didn’t know that Shannon would die before they even got the chance. He’d been there. Bobby knew better than anyone what it was like to get in a fight with someone you love and never being able to fix it. He wanted to be there for Eddie, and he was going to be.
However, Buck also did not foresee Buck almost dying. He did not expect to be targeted by a serial bomber, and he certainly did not expect that bomber to blow up Buck’s rig and cause him to get crushed under it.
Bobby was a professional. He wasn’t upset because it was Buck. He would’ve been just as upset if it was any of his firefighters who got hurt. He loved them all the same in that aspect. However, he was wrecked after seeing Buck hurt, and he knew that everyone else was too. So, once he got back to work, he spoke to all of them about it to make sure they were okay. Then, he had to talk to Eddie about two tragedies: losing his wife, and almost losing his best friend.
“Hey, Eddie, why don’t you sit down?” Bobby asked when Eddie entered his office. Eddie, ever the obedient soldier, did as he was told. “I just wanted to check in on you. It’s been a rough couple of days.”
“Yeah,” Eddie said quietly. “We don’t need to talk about it, Cap.”
“Eddie, it’s my job to make sure that all my firefighters are of sound mind and body when they come into work. I have full faith that the things that happened to you don’t hinder your ability to work, but I just want to make sure that you’re okay.”
Eddie nodded. “I’m managing. I’m more worried about Chris, honestly.”
“How’s he holding up?” Bobby asked, worrying about the boy.
“It’s pretty hard for him. First he lost his mom, and now seeing that Buck was hurt too scared him a lot. He was worried he was gonna lose Buck too. We sat him down and explained that he was gonna be fine, but it’s still a lot for him. I just wish I could take all that pain away from him. I wish I could put that weight on my shoulders instead of his.”
“That’s a part of being a parent,” Bobby told him. “You never want to see your kids in pain, physically or mentally.”
“How are you doing, Bobby? Has anyone asked you yet?”
Bobby smiled. “No, not yet, but I’m the Captain. It’s my job to ask questions.” Bobby knew that wasn’t good enough for Eddie. “I’m alright. I’m worried about Buck like everyone else is. I wish he didn’t have to be alone. All he knows is this team, and, although not working is what’s right physically, it probably doesn’t feel like it’s right to him.”
“I was thinking of sending Chris over there this weekend,” Eddie told him. “I think it’ll be good for him. Both of them. Chris needs some more quality time with his Buck, and Buck needs to feel needed.”
Bobby grinned. “I think that’s a really good idea. Good work, Eddie.”
“Thanks, Cap,” he said. His face grew serious. “Really though, I am okay. You don’t need to worry about me.”
“I’m not worried at all,” Bobby replied truthfully. He wasn’t. He knew that everything was going to work out. His plan was working once again.
Bobby was wrong once again. In his defense, who saw a tsunami coming? Not him and certainly not Eddie when he dropped Christopher off in the morning and most certainly not Buck when he decided to take Christopher to the goddamn pier.
Bobby could only imagine the emotionally and physically taxing day Christopher and Buck had. He only got there at the tailend of it, and it seemed like the worst thing a human could ever experience.
He watched as Buck thought Christopher was dead, told Eddie, learned that Christopher was alive and well, and was left behind in the dust. Eddie held his son in his arms, and there was nobody to hold Buck. That was Bobby’s cue.
Bobby got there just in time for Buck to collapse into his arms. Buck was limp there for a moment before he got the strength to hug Bobby with his full force. Bobby hugged him right back. “I got you now, Buck. You’re alright.”
“No, I’m not,” Buck whispered, and Bobby knew there was more to that. He took Buck aside and began checking him out while Buck talked. “I’m not okay. I lost him. I lost Christopher. He could’ve died. He almost died.”
“I know, Buck. And I know that telling you that he’s okay now isn’t going to help you. You’re still in shock, and you’re going to feel guilty for a long time,” Bobby told him. “You’re going to either stay at my house, Maddie’s house, or Eddie’s house tonight because you’re not going anywhere alone. You’re going to calm down and let the people who love you take care of you for a minute. You’ll be okay, Buck. I promise.”
“What if next time he’s not okay?” Buck asked, and Bobby’s heart broke. “It doesn’t even need to be my fault. It doesn’t matter. I just can’t lose him. I won’t. He means so much to me. I…I love him.”
“I know,” Bobby said. “What happened today was extremely scary, and it will stick with you forever. This fear isn’t going to go away. Not only because of the traumatic event, but because Christopher has become someone you love. He’s a very big part of your life. And he’s a kid. You always worry about bad things happening to kids, trust me. They’re too good, and they have too much potential. It’s terrifying to think of anything bad happening to them.”
“Do you think I can stay at your house tonight?” Buck asked, tears falling from his eyes. “I don’t want to bother Eddie, and Maddie is supposed to be working the night shift. I don’t want to bother you and Thena–”
“Don’t even finish that sentence. You don’t need to ask. Let me just finish up here, and we’ll go home.”
Maybe Bobby should’ve listened to his own advice. He knew that Buck needed to get back to work, and he told Buck that you always worry about kids even when they’re okay. But, Bobby did truly believe that it was best to bench Buck. He thought it was the best thing to do. He didn’t think that it would blow up in his face like this.
He and Buck hadn’t fought in years. They had grown too much for that. They understood each other. They didn’t fight, and maybe that was still true because after all this wasn’t really a fight. This was a lawsuit.
Bobby and Buck always communicated. They were both notorious for being horrible communicators, but for whatever reason, they had no problems doing it with each other. Now, it was illegal for them to talk to each other. Needless to say, Bobby was not dealing with that very well. He was struggling with this whole situation, and he wasn’t the only one.
Eddie had been a holy disaster ever since the lawsuit began. Bobby could tell that he was hiding something from him, but Bobby didn’t have the emotional capability to pry. Not right now. That didn’t mean that he couldn’t discuss the situation with him.
“Hey, Eddie, how are you doing?” Bobby asked when Eddie came into work one day. Eddie poured himself coffee and nodded.
“Not good,” he replied shortly. He rubbed his head. “Chris can’t sleep which means I can’t sleep.”
“What’s going on with him?”
Eddie took another sip of his coffee. “What isn’t?” He took another sip. “It’s Buck though. He just wants to hang out with Buck. I should’ve known introducing them would make me fall down Chris’s list. I’m not good enough for him anymore.”
“He really cares about Buck that much?”
“He’s his world,” Eddie said simply. “He already looked up to Buck but then with the tsunami it completely changed. Buck is his hero, and not being able to see him is really affecting him. I wish Buck could see that. He would never let this lawsuit go on if he knew what it was doing to Chris. The last thing he wants is that kid to get hurt.”
“Chris means a lot to Buck,” Bobby confirmed. “Promise me something, Eddie.”
“No matter what happens with the lawsuit, make sure Buck and Chris can still see each other after. Don’t take your anger for Buck out on both of them.”
Eddie smiled. “Don’t worry, Cap. I couldn’t keep them apart if I tried.”
After the lawsuit, a long time after the lawsuit, things began to fall back into place. The second Eddie forgave Buck, and they put it all behind them, Saturday Movie Nights were reinstated. Everything felt right in the world.
Just like every other Saturday, Eddie and Christopher both fell asleep before the movie was over. Buck smiled to himself before picking Chris up and moving him to his room. When he got back, Eddie was still asleep on the couch.
“Eds,” Buck whispered. “Eds.”
“Shhh. Sleeping,” Eddie whispered back.
Buck laughed. “Do you want me to move you to your bed too?”
“No. Wanna sleep here.”
“No you don’t,” Buck told him. “Your neck is gonna hurt in the morning. Plus, if you sleep here, where am I supposed to sleep?”
“We can both fit,” Eddie said simply. He pulled Buck down without opening his eyes. Buck was now lying behind Eddie on a couch that was definitely not big enough for two people. He draped his arm around Eddie’s waist to fit more comfortably. “I missed you.”
“I missed you too, Eds.”
“Don’t do that again. Missed you too much,” Eddie confessed. “Never want to be without you.”
“I’m not going anywhere. I promise.”
“Good,” Eddie said, and he began snoring again.
“Eddie?” Buck questioned. When he got no response, he knew Eddie was knocked out. “I love you, Eddie. So much.”
And with that whispered confession, Buck fell asleep too. It was the first restful night’s sleep he had in months.
Things were finally back to normal after everything. It felt like everyone could finally breathe after months of holding it all in. Bobby and Buck were back to themselves, and Buck, Eddie, and Chris were as thick as thieves.
Everything was perfect. Everyone was happy. It was all Bobby could ask for. It was all he ever wanted. And, he could tell that everyone else was just as happy as he was.
During one shift, they were all sitting at the table eating dinner. Bobby was at the head with Chimney and Hen at his sides, and Buck and Eddie were at the other end of the table living in their own little world.
“All is right in the world now, huh?” Hen asked, gesturing to the two men.
Chimney nodded, shoving food into his mouth. “I was kind of scared there for a second.”
“I wasn’t,” Bobby said simply, causing both of them to look at him. “What?”
“Care to elaborate on that, Cap?” Hen questioned.
He shook his head. “No.” Chimney and Hen exchanged a look. “Again, what?”
“Nothing,” Chimney told him. He smirked. “But, let me ask you this: how long have me and Maddie been together?”
“I don’t know, Chim. I don’t tend to keep tabs on the relationships around here unless you guys tell me.”
Hen nodded. “Right, right. And how long have me and Karen had permanent custody of Denny?”
“Again, Hen, I know most things about you guys, but I don’t know all the fine details.”
“That’s perfectly acceptable,” Chimney replied. “But, what did Buck and Eddie do last Saturday?”
Bobby raised his eyebrows. “Saturdays when they don’t have shifts are movie nights. Everybody knows that.”
“Yeah, of course,” Hen said with a nod. “Everyone knows the little details of the Buckley-Diaz household without having to be told.”
“Are you implying something, Wilson?” Bobby questioned.
Hen’s hands shot up in the air. “No, sir.”
Bobby knew that was a lie, but he didn’t have the energy to care. Years ago, he might’ve cared if people saw his unprofessional relationship with Buck. But, these days, Bobby was too happy and proud of his son to even begin to care what anyone else thought.
As Bobby had previously learned, happy times must come to an end. This time, happy times came to an end in the form of Eddie nearly being buried alive and Buck nearly dying because of it.
Bobby had seen a lot of heartbreaking things before, but sitting pretty close to the top of the list was Buck digging at the ground trying to save Eddie with his bare hands. When Buck collapsed on him unable to take it anymore, Bobby’s heart shattered into a million pieces. He thought he was going to have to have yet another conversation about losing the person you love the most.
When Eddie resurfaced and they all knew he was okay, Bobby realized that he was still going to have to have a conversation, just not the one he expected.
“I’m in love,” Buck said, bursting into Bobby’s office one day.
“I’m in love, Bobby. Like deep, passionate, excruciating love.”
Bobby nodded. “Okay? Why are you telling me this?”
“Because you’re Bobby,” Buck said easily, and that was enough for Bobby.
“So, do I get to know more about this person? Is there a reason you’re telling me all of this?” Bobby questioned.
“Yes and no,” Buck replied. “I’m not going to tell you who it is, but I will tell you more. I’ll tell you everything. Just not today. One day.”
“Is there something you want to tell me today?”
Buck thought about it for a moment. “I almost lost them. Multiple times. I need to tell them how I feel because I’m scared that if I don’t, I won’t get another shot. But, it’s complicated. It’s so, so complicated, and I don’t know if they feel the same way. I don’t know if they’re looking for a relationship. I don’t know if they’re ready.”
“Can I ask you something?”
Bobby looked him in the eyes. “Why wouldn’t they be ready?”
“They were married once, but um…they lost their spouse. I don’t know if they would ever want to get married again.”
“Take it from me, Buck. Losing the person you love only makes you more open to love in the future. You learn how horrible it is to lose that love, and you’ll do everything in your power to make sure you never miss an opportunity to love again. Maybe they won’t want to get married. But they will want love. Are you willing to give that to them in any form?”
“I’d be whatever they wanted me to be to them. Husband. Best friend. Whatever. As long as I got to love them in some way, it wouldn’t matter to me.”
“I think you’ve got your answer then.”
Eddie came back to work a few days later. After the conversation Bobby had with Buck, he knew he needed to talk to Eddie too. So, there he was almost a year later, calling Eddie back into his office once again.
“You wanted to see me?” Eddie asked on his first day back at work after the incident.
Bobby nodded. “Yes, there’s something we need to discuss.”
“Have I done something wrong?” Eddie questioned, getting worried.
“Not necessarily,” Bobby told him. “Not on the job at least. This is about Buck.”
“What about him?”
Bobby took a moment to figure out how he was going to word it. “When you were buried, Buck didn’t take it very well. And, I’m not talking regular Buck not taking something well. He was in physical pain. His body went limp. He gave up once he knew there was nothing he could do to save you.”
“Okay, do you want me to talk to him?” Eddie asked.
“Yes, I do,” Bobby replied simply. “If there’s something you need to tell him, I think you should do it now.”
Eddie blushed and stammered. “I’m sorry. I don’t think I know what you’re talking about.” Bobby fixed him with a stern look. “How did you know?”
“I know a lot more than you think,” Bobby said with a small smile. “I also know what it’s like to lose someone before you can tell them how you feel. You understand that too. So, I’m telling you as your friend, not your boss, to have a very important conversation with Buck. It’s what’s best for everyone.”
Eddie nodded. “Actually, I was thinking about something recently, and I was going to run it by you first.”
“I want to make Buck Christopher’s guardian if something were to happen to me,” Eddie confessed. “I was going to do it and not tell him about it or well…I wasn’t going to tell him anything.”
Eddie smiled slightly. “I think I’ll tell him.”
“Good job, son,” Bobby said, grinning from ear to ear. Eddie took that as his cue to leave. “I hope this is our last conversation like this, Eddie.”
“Me too, Cap. Me too.”
When Eddie went back after the incident, he was on B shift, so when he was at work, Buck stayed home with Christopher. The hours apart allowed Eddie to prepare himself for what he was going to say when he went home to Buck. When he walked into the house and heard Buck reading a bedtime story to Chris, all those hours of preparation vanished.
“Buck, read another please,” Eddie heard Christopher beg. He leaned against the wall outside of his son’s room and listened in.
“Sorry, no can do, Superman. You know the rules. One story a night or else we’ll both be up until sunrise.”
Christopher groaned, and Eddie had to fight back a laugh. “Some rules are meant to be broken. You said that to dad once.”
“Huh, you got me there,” Buck said, and Eddie knew he was planning the next thing he was going to say. “Since it’s your dad’s rule, I don’t have the authority to break it. If it was my rule, we could break it.”
“That makes sense,” Christopher replied seriously, but then he laughed. “But you don’t have any rules, Buck. Dad makes all the rules.”
“Come on, that’s not true. I made up the rule about dad not being able to cook when I’m here. That’s a good rule. It’s what keeps us alive.”
Christopher laughed. “Goodnight, Buck. I love you.”
“I love you too, little man,” Buck said, planting a big kiss on Christopher’s forehead like he did every time he saw him. The “I love you”s weren’t new. Christopher said it for the first time on the second Saturday Movie Night, and Buck almost cried. Thinking back on that memory made Eddie fall in love with Buck all over again.
He couldn’t quite remember when he fell in love with Buck. If he was being honest with himself, it was probably the first day they met. He didn’t realize it until after the tsunami. The lawsuit and all that time apart made it even more evident. He never wanted to spend a minute without Buck. He was the love of his life.
That was something that probably should’ve scared Eddie. Something that should have been terrifying to someone who thought they were straight for the majority of his life. It should’ve been as scary as walking into a burning building, but it wasn’t. It was the simplest thing Eddie ever thought. He actually felt stupid that he hadn’t realized it before.
Eddie also wasn’t scared because he knew how Buck felt about him. He didn’t need to be told. Buck wore his emotions on his sleeve, and his feelings for Eddie were no different. Eddie knew, but he didn’t think Buck knew about his feelings. Buck, God love him, was nowhere near as observant as Eddie. He was honestly kind of an oblivious idiot even though he was one of the smartest people Eddie ever met, and that was one of the things Eddie loved so much about him.
“What are you doing standing out here, creeper?” Buck asked, leaving Christopher’s room and taking Eddie out of his thoughts.
“You can’t be a creeper in your own house, Buck,” Eddie reminded him, and they both walked toward the living room.
“You got something on your mind?” Buck questioned. He might not be observant about the deep feelings that Eddie had, but he knew how to pick up on the little things Eddie did.
“Yeah, actually I do. There’s something I want to talk to you about,” Eddie told him, sitting down on the couch and facing the other side where he wanted Buck to sit. Buck sat down nervously. “It’s not bad. I promise.”
“Okay. Go ahead then.”
Eddie smiled at the man sitting across from him. “You’re really good with Chris.”
“That’s what you want to talk about?”
“It’s part of it,” Eddie explained. He laughed nervously. “I don’t really know how to start. This is hard to say. Not because I’m nervous about your reaction or anything. It’s just a lot, and I don’t know where to begin.”
“Just rip off the band-aid, right?” Buck suggested, raising an eyebrow.
“Right, okay, yeah,” Eddie said, nodding. “I made you Chris’s legal guardian in case I die.”
“Wait! The band-aid isn’t off yet,” Eddie told him, shutting him up. “So, I made you his legal guardian in case I die, but that’s not what I want. I want you to raise him when I’m alive. I want you to raise him with me. As my…as my, well I think it’s probably too fast for a proposal. But, that would be the endgame here, I guess. I’m getting ahead of myself. I told you; it’s a lot. Let’s recap.”
Eddie nodded. “Yeah, recap. You seem lost. Basically, what I’m saying is that I want you. In every aspect. For the long run. I want you to live here. I want you to parent Chris. I want to wake up next to you every moring and kiss your stupidly gorgeous face because I love you. Shit! I should’ve led with that. Should I start over?”
“No!” Buck blurted out, eyes wide. He laughed wetly, tears in his eyes. “I got it. I understand what you’re saying.”
“Good because I couldn’t start from the beginning again,” Eddie said, letting out a breath. “You want that too, right?”
“That’s all I’ve ever wanted,” Buck whispered. “I love you so much. And, I love Chris too. You know that.”
“Of course, I do.”
Buck met his eyes. “You didn’t even question how I felt. You knew. Here I was agonizing over whether or not you felt the same way, and you knew the whole time.”
“I’m sorry, baby. You should never question how much I love you. Because I love you more than I have ever loved anyone, Evan Buckley. Well, besides Chris.”
Buck blushed. “When did you become such a sap?”
“The moment I met you,” Eddie said softly.
“Would you just shut up and kiss me?”
It had been a few weeks since Bobby and Eddie spoke, and they hadn’t spoken about the topic since. Honestly, that wasn’t even that surprising. Bobby had grown to learn that Eddie didn’t share his feelings all too often, so him not telling his boss about his relationship was not a huge shock.
What Bobby was surprised about was the fact that he had yet to hear from Buck. All Buck ever did was talk to Bobby about his feelings. Bobby expected to hear from Buck the second he and Eddie got together. He was off by a few weeks, though.
“Morning, Cap,” Buck said, pouring himself coffee one morning.
“Morning, Buck,” Bobby responded. Buck let out a sigh. “Something on your mind?”
“Yeah…” Buck replied. “So…uh, remember that person I told you about?”
“Of course,” Bobby said happily. “Did everything work out?”
“Yeah, we’ve been seeing each other for a few weeks. for a few weeks. And it’s going really great, and it’s, uh, it’s pretty serious. But, we haven’t told anyone yet, obviously because this is the first time you’re hearing about it. The reason that we haven’t told anyone yet is because they have a kid from that first marriage I told you about.”
“Oh,” Bobby interrupted.
“Yeah, so we don’t want to tell anyone until we tell their kid. And that wasn’t just their decision; I wanted that too,” Buck explained. “The thing is…I’ve known both of them for a pretty long time, and I have a real connection with the kid. He means the entire world to me. All I’ve ever wanted was to be a bigger part of his life, but I’m worried that if he finds out about the relationship, it’ll ruin everything.”
“Why would it ruin anything?”
Buck took a moment. “What if he’s not happy with the choice his…parent made? What if he doesn’t want me to be his stepdad or whatever I’ll be to him one day?”
“You said this kid likes you?” Bobby questioned, causing Buck to nod. “Then, I’m sure that he’d be thrilled with you being around more often. You’d be surprised how fast good kids come around to their parents' significant others. You remember how great May and Harry were with me.”
“You’re right,” Buck replied. “I’m just worried.”
“You wouldn’t be you if you weren’t worried.”
Buck smiled. “Yeah, that’s me. But you don’t think I have anything to worry about, do you?”
“Buck, I am positive that you have absolutely nothing to worry about,” Bobby promised. “Anyone would be lucky to have you in their family, and I know that that kid knows that.”
“Thanks, Bobby,” Buck said as Eddie walked into the kitchen. “Hey, Eds.”
“Buck, Bobby,” Eddie greeted them both with the same tone. “Morning.”
Just then, the alarm went off, and Bobby had never been more grateful for a call. He couldn’t take one more second of Buck playing him like a fool. He was so offended that Buck could possibly think that he didn’t know who he was talking about. How many parents was Buck friends with? How many kids was Buck close with? Yeah, that’s what Bobby thought. Either way, Bobby was damn proud of Buck. He was also pretty proud of himself because after years in the making, his plan had finally worked.
“What were you and Bobby talking about this morning?” Eddie asked Buck in the locker room at the end of their shift.
Buck was silent for a moment before blurting, “I want to tell Chris.”
“I am. Are you?”
Eddie smiled. “I’ve been ready since the first night, Buck. I told you. But, I knew that it was a big deal, and I wanted to make sure you were ready.”
“I’m ready. I’m more than ready,” Buck assured him. “We need a plan right. Divide and conquer? United front? Good cop, bad cop?”
“You’re such a dork,” Eddie said with a laugh, kissing him on the cheek. “You have nothing to worry about. You were born to be a dad.”
“Yeah,” Eddie repeated, kissing him again. “And, I kind of already came up with a plan to tell him. I am a pretty good dad myself.”
It turned out, Eddie had come up with a pretty genius plan. First, Eddie would tell Christopher that he was dating again. Obviously, Christopher would have feelings about that that he didn’t want to tell his dad. So, he would want to go to Buck with everything he was feeling.
Eddie decided that to combat the possibility of Christopher running away to Buck’s, he would just tell Christopher that he was going to go to Buck’s for a little while. While the two of them were hanging out, surely Christopher would confess all his feelings. Buck would take over and handle all those feelings without telling Christopher the truth.
Then Eddie would show up at Buck’s, and they would discuss how it went. Depending on Christopher’s feelings and how well Buck handled it, they would make their next move.
So, step one: talk to Christopher.
“Good morning, Chris,” Eddie said, walking into Christopher’s room the day after he and Buck talked. They both had the day off, so it was perfect timing. “You excited to spend the day with your Buck?”
“Duh!” Christopher exclaimed, moving to get out of bed. Eddie put a hand out to keep him in.
“I want to talk to you about something before you get ready to go,” Eddie told him. “It’s something kind of grown up, but I think you can handle it.”
Eddie smiled. “Yeah, grown up. Don’t be nervous though. It’s a good thing. A very, very good thing. I think you’ll be really happy about it.”
“That’s awesome, dad. What is it?”
“I’m dating someone,” Eddie said simply. “They’re really great. The best person either of us have ever met. You’ve met them, Chris. You actually know them really well, and you love them a lot. It’s going to take some time to get used to because you’ve known this person outside of our relationship, and they’re not…they’re not…”
“They’re not mom,” Christopher finished for him. Eddie was always so surprised by how smart Christopher was.
“That’s right, buddy. They’re not your mom. And, they’re not trying to replace her. In fact, it would be kind of impossible for them to be your new mom,” Eddie said, laughing to himself a little. “I really love this person, and I’m almost positive that you’re going to love us together just as much as we do. I want you to talk to me about it, though. Whatever you’re feeling, I want you to tell me.”
“I’m happy for you, dad,” Christopher told him, but Eddie could tell that wasn’t all. “Can I get ready to go to Buck’s now?”
And, wow, did Eddie know his kid’s every move. That was just a part of being a dad he supposed. He knew another dad who knew every little thing about his kid, too. Speaking of that kid, they were on the way to his apartment for step two: Christopher tells Buck.
“Buck!” Christopher exclaimed the second they got to Buck’s apartment. Buck was standing there right inside the doorway, waiting to catch Christopher in a hug.
“Hey, buddy!” Buck replied in the same excited tone. They were already talking animatedly, fully ignoring Eddie.
“Well, clearly, you two don’t need me. I guess I should get going,” Eddie told them both. He kissed Christopher on the head. “I’ll be back in a few hours. I love you.”
“I love you too. Have fun with your errands,” Christopher said, hugging his dad.
“Yeah, Eds, have fun with your errands. I’ve got it all under control here,” Buck stated, winking at Eddie. With that, Eddie left, and the ball was in Buck’s court. “So, Mario Kart tournament?”
Buck and Christopher played video games for a long time before either of them really said anything. Buck knew that Christopher was dying to talk about everything, but he figured that he didn’t know how to start. So, he started for him.
“Is there something on your mind, kiddo?” Buck asked, pausing the game after what felt like the 50th race. Christopher nodded, but he was still silent. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“Dad’s dating someone,” Christopher stated. Buck nodded.
“Yeah, and apparently I know them, and I really like them. But, they’re not my mom, so how could I love them? How could I be happy for them?”
Buck’s heart sank. “Do you not want your dad to get remarried?”
“No, I do. I think I do. But, I’ve never loved someone like I loved my mom. How is dad so sure that I’ll like this person?” Christopher asked, and these were all valid points.
“Chris, do you trust your dad?”
“Of course, I do,” Christopher gasped. “He’s my dad.”
Buck smiled. “Then you’ve got to trust him when he says that this person he’s with is good for both of you. If your dad is with someone and he thinks it’s serious enough to tell you, then they’re the right person. And, if your dad loves them, then it’s safe to say that they love you too. Your dad would never waste his time with someone who doesn’t adore you, Chris.”
“Really?” Christopher questioned. Buck grinned.
“Of course, bud. This person is just as crazy about you as they are about your dad. They might even love you a little more,” Buck joked.
Christopher’s eyes went wide. “Do you know who it is?”
“Uh, well, uh…”
“Boys, I’m back!” Eddie yelled from the doorway, and Buck thanked his lucky stars. “What are we up to?”
“Christopher just asked me who you’re dating,” Buck replied, keeping eye contact with Eddie.
Eddie’s lips formed a tight line and he nodded. “Did you tell him?”
“No, but I think he’s ready to know,” Buck told him. “He thinks this is a good thing, right, Chris?”
“Yeah,” Chris said, nodding enthusiastically. “Buck told me that this person really loves you and me. And he said that you wouldn’t waste your time on someone who didn’t love me. So, clearly this is a good person.”
“Is that right?” Eddie asked, standing behind where Buck was sitting against the arm of the couch.
“That’s what Buck said.”
Buck looked up at Eddie. “That is what I said. I mean, it’s true. I personally really like the person you’re dating.”
“I like them too,” Eddie said with a smile. He looked at Chris. “Are you sure you’re ready to know who it is? Once you do there’s no going back.”
“Yes, I want to know.”
“Okay,” Eddie responded, sharing a look with Buck. “Chris, I would like you to meet my boyfriend.”
“Hi, Chris, it’s very nice to meet you,” Buck joked, extending his hand to Chris.
Christopher looked between the two men with wide eyes and a gaping mouth. “Are you serious? It was Buck the whole time?”
“Yes, it was Buck the whole time.”
“Why didn’t you just tell me that?” Christopher asked, launching himself into Buck’s arms. “I always wanted you guys to get together. I always wanted you to be my dad.”
“You did?” Buck asked, eyes filling with tears as he hugged Christopher back.
Buck laughed. “Right, duh.”
“So, I take it you’ll be okay with Buck moving in,” Eddie said.
“What?” Christopher and Buck asked at the same time. They both looked at him with wide eyes.
“Yep. We’re gonna pack Buck’s stuff up tonight and move him in,” Eddie said, pointing to the kitchen where he had put bins and boxes. “That’s where I was all day. Getting everything ready for Buck to move in.”
“Don’t be offended, Chris. He didn’t tell me that either,” Buck whispered in his ear. “Your dad is out of his mind.”
“Are you saying you don’t want to move in with us?”
“No, never!” Buck said, moving Christopher, so they could both get up. “Come on, Diazes. It looks like we have a lot of work to do we’re moving in together tonight.”
Christopher ran to the kitchen and grabbed a box to start putting random things in. Obviously, they would have to repack that box, but for now they were happy just watching him. Eddie put his arm around Buck’s waist, and Buck kissed his cheek.
“I never thought I’d get this,” Buck whispered. “This is all I’ve ever wanted.”
“Me too, Buck. Come on. Let’s go help our son.”
Buck took a breath and smiled. “Yeah. Our son.”
Bobby heard the two men whispering outside his office before he saw them. They were a few feet away from his door, and he knew that they were trying to keep their voices down, but they were doing a horrible job.
“Baby, why are you so nervous? It’s just Bobby,” Eddie reminded him. “We both know he knows already. This is just about telling our boss so that we can do this the right way now.”
“He’s not just my boss though. He’s your boss. He’s my…” Buck trailed off.
“Yes, and as your…” Eddie said, and Bobby could hear the smile in his voice, “he’s going to be happy for you. He loves you, and he wants the best for you.”
“You’re right. You’re right,” Buck replied. “Let’s do this. I’m ready.”
There was a knock on Bobby’s door, and he put a stoic look on his face, getting rid of the smile that was there from listening to the two men. “Come in.”
“Hey, Cap. We wanted to talk to you about something,” Buck said, both of them sitting down in front of Bobby’s desk.
“I’ve heard that from you two several times,” Bobby joked, but his face remained emotionless. He could tell that Buck was shitting his pants, and he was kind of enjoying it.
“I’m sure it doesn’t come to as surprise as to you,” Eddie began, and Bobby wasn’t surprised that Eddie was the one in charge of talking, “but Buck and I have been seeing each other for a few weeks. We told Christopher and moved in together last night. Things are getting pretty serious, and we wanted to do right by you.”
“There will be paperwork,” Bobby said simply. Both men nodded. “And it won’t be easy. I will expect nothing less than professionalism from both of you. If I see even one inappropriate interaction, you will be moved to a different shift at best and a different station at worst.”
“Yes, sir,” they both said at the same time.
Bobby gave them both a once over. “I’d like to talk to each of you privately. Eddie, if you’d please excuse us.”
“Yes, of course,” Eddie said, getting up and sharing a look with a terrified Buck.
Bobby kept his professional and borderline angry face until Eddie was safely out of the room. Then, his face split into a grin. He almost started laughing.
“You enjoy messing with me, don’t you?” Buck asked, putting his head in his hands.
“It’s my job.”
Buck picked his head up. “I didn’t know that was a Captain’s duty.”
“Not a captain duty,” Bobby supplied simply. He smiled again. “Did you seriously think I didn’t know?”
“No, I knew you knew but telling you was different. A lot of our relationship is just understood. We don’t tell each other everything. We just know,” Buck explained, and Bobby knew what he meant.
“Well, I’m happy for you. I’ve been happy for you two for a long time. I always knew we’d end up here.”
Buck smiled. “Thank you. It means a lot. It means the world coming from you.”
“Do me a favor, when you leave the room, pretend this went bad,” Bobby instructed.
“You wanna mess with him too?” Buck asked, laughing.
Bobby shook his head. “No. I need to make sure he knows his place. It’s my job.”
“Yeah, yeah. Just don’t be too hard on him,” Buck reminded him. “Oh, hey, can I start bringing him and Christopher to Sunday dinners at your place?”
“Of course, Buck. He’s part of the family now,” Bobby said. “But, don’t tell him I agreed that easily.”
Buck rolled his eyes and left the room with a solemn look. Eddie was pacing outside the door, and he rushed over to Buck the second he left the office.
“Why do you look like that? It didn’t go well?” Eddie asked, reaching out for Buck. Buck shook his head.
“He wants to see you now.”
Eddie nodded. “Right. Okay. Right. Yeah. I’m going.” Eddie shook off the nerves and walked into the office. “Cap.”
“Eddie. Sit,” Bobby demanded. Eddie did as he was told. “I’m only going to say this once. So you better hear me. Got it?”
“Yes sir,” Eddie gulped.
“I like you, Eddie. I pulled for you to get hired here, and I truly believe that you made this place better,” Bobby confessed, but Eddie knew there was more. “However, I will not hesitate to get you transferred if you even think about hurting that boy. Hell, I might even get you transferred out of state, send you back to Texas. I don’t care.
“And that’s only if you think about hurting him. If you actually hurt him, you won’t be as lucky,” Bobby explained. “My wife is a very good cop, but even she won’t be able to figure out what happened to you. Are we understood?”
Bobby nodded. “I don’t think you’re going to hurt Buck, but I needed to make myself clear.”
“I understand, sir. I hope you know how much Buck means to me.I’d rather hurt myself than hurt him,” Eddie assured him.
Bobby smiled. “I know, Eddie. I’m positive that Buck is in the right hands.” He stood up to shake Eddie’s hand. “Congratulations.”
“Thanks, Cap,” Eddie said, as Bobby pulled him into a hug.
“You better be careful,” Bobby said into Eddie’s ear. “That’s my son.”
It had been a year since that conversation, and Eddie found himself pacing around Bobby’s front door. A similar situation to last year, but very different. Eddie and Bobby had had many a deep conversation in Bobby’s office, but this felt like something that needed to happen at home rather than work. This…this was something that Eddie needed to do with Bobby and not Captain Nash.
He steadied himself and knocked on the front door. He was kind of hoping that someone else would answer the door, but he knew that only Bobby was home.
“Eddie? What can I do for you?” Bobby greeted when he opened the door.
“Can I come in?”
Bobby was taken aback by how nervous Eddie seemed. “Of course. Is everything okay?”
“Everything is more than okay. That’s what I wanted to talk to you about,” Eddie explained. “Let’s sit down.”
“I’m normally the one who says that,” Bobby joked, sitting down at the kitchen table with Eddie. “So, things are more than okay?”
“I’ve never been happier in my life,” Eddie told him. “And, I want to continue to be this happy. So, I want to ask Buck to marry me, but I can’t do that without your blessing.”
“That’s very sweet of you, but I don’t know if it’s necessary.”
Eddie scoffed. “Of course, it’s necessary. You’re his father. I already talked to Maddie, and she gave me the all clear, but I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t talk to you too.”
“I appreciate that,” Bobby told him. “I appreciate you. Seriously. I could not be more grateful for you. You’ve made Buck happier than I’ve ever seen him. So, if it’s my blessing you’re after, then it’s all yours. I want nothing more than for you to marry my son.”
“It’s not just your blessing I’m after actually,” Eddie confessed. He let out a breath. “I wanted to thank you. For everything. You hiring me changed my life, and you’ve made my life better every day since. You’re a great dad to Buck, but I’m really happy that I’ll one day have you as a father-in-law. I’m grateful that you let me into your house and your family. So, thank you, Bobby.”
Bobby stood up and hugged Eddie. “Bringing you into the 118 was the best decision I ever made. Don’t you ever forget that.”
Hours later, across town, Buck was picking Christopher up from school. That wasn’t exactly uncommon. He and Eddie switched off most days. However, this was different. He had something very important to discuss with Christopher.
“Bucky!” Christopher yelled, running to him as he left the school building. He launched himself into Buck’s arms, and Buck caught him.
“Hey, buddy. I have a surprise for you,” Buck told him softly. He put him back on the ground. “We’re going for ice cream.”
“Ice cream? Before dinner? Dad’s gonna be so mad,” Christopher giggled.
“What dad doesn’t know what hurt him,” Buck whispered. “So, ice cream?”
They went to the ice cream place that was close to the school. They only ever went there on special occasions, and this was definitely a special occasion. They had come up with a rule for getting ice cream after school. It was one of Buck’s first rules. If it was before dinner, you could only get the smallest size and no toppings. So, they both got their little cups and sat down at a picnic table.
“So, buddy, I have to talk to you about something,” Buck explained as Christopher devoured his ice cream. “It’s kind of serious. It’s a grown up talk.”
“Are you breaking up with dad?”
Buck choked on his ice cream. “What? No, of course not. I would never break up with your dad. Not ever.”
“I promise,” Buck swore. “In fact, that’s what I want to talk to you about. I love your dad so much, and I never want to be without him. So, I want to marry him. Would that be okay with you?”
“That would make us a real family, right?” Christopher asked.
Buck smiled and shook his head slightly. “We’ve always been a real family. This would just make it a little more official.”
“Did you ask him yet?”
“Not yet. I wanted to talk to you first,” Buck told him. He wanted Christopher’s blessing, but he didn’t quite know how to explain that to him.
“Well, you should ask him. You should do it the minute we get home,” Christopher said excitedly.
Buck laughed. “You want to help me?”
“No, I think you should do it alone. Make it romantic,” Christopher instructed, causing Buck to laugh. “I’ll stay in my room.”
“You’re the best kid in the world. You know that?” Buck asked, kissing him on the head. “Let’s go home. I have a proposal to plan.”
As promised, Christopher practically ran to his room the second dinner was over. Buck laughed to himself as he put the dishes in the dishwasher. Eddie looked at him from where he was scrubbing a pot.
“What are you laughing about?” he questioned. Buck just shook his head and began drying dishes. “What’s up with you, Buckley?”
“Diaz,” Buck corrected. Eddie squinted and laughed.
Buck shrugged. “Evan Diaz. Doesn’t that sound better? Or maybe Buckley-Diaz. I like the sound of the Buckley-Diazes.”
“Are you trying to say something here?” Eddie asked, getting excited.
Buck smirked. “Yes. I have a ring. It’s in my underwear drawer.”
“Mine’s under the bed,” Eddie told him, causing Buck’s eyes to go wide. “You thought you were the only one who was planning something?”
“You can never let me have anything, can you?” Buck asked, shaking his head.
“I’ll let you ask,” Eddie offered.
Buck rolled his eyes but grinned all the same. “Edmundo Diaz, will you do me the honor of becoming my husband?”
“I want nothing more,” Eddie replied softly, taking his soapy hands out of the sink and framing Buck’s face with them. “I love you so much, Evan.”
“Is you getting soap all over my face payback for not being able to propose?”
Eddie smirked. “Yes.” He leaned in to kiss his fiance. It only lasted a second before he heard crutches in the hallway. “Here he comes.”
“Did you do it, Buck?” he asked, excitedly. Buck smiled at him.
“I did, buddy,” Buck responded, immediately feeling bad that Eddie didn’t have the chance to talk about it with his son. “Hey, I know it’s my night to read to you, but I want to call Maddie to tell her the news. Do you think it would be alright if your dad read to you tonight?”
Eddie smiled at Buck gratefully. Buck was such a perfect fit for them. It was almost like it was fate. It was like something brought them together. Little did he know that that something was Bobby Nash.
Christopher happily accepted Eddie instead of Buck that night. Sure, he loved Buck, but he loved his dad just as much.
“Ready for bed, Superman?” Eddie asked, pulling the blankets up around his son.
“No,” he replied simply, which made Eddie snort with laughter.
“I know. It was an exciting night. A lot happened,” Eddie told him. “I bet you have a lot of feelings about it. Anything you want to talk about?”
“I’m really happy for you, dad,” Christopher said with a grin. Then, his face fell. “There’s one thing I have a question about though.”
“Go ahead, mijo. What’s on your mind?”
Christopher tilted his head. “What am I supposed to call Buck?”
“What?” Eddie questioned, smiling at his son. “That’s all you’re worried about.”
“Well, yeah. Buck’s gonna be my dad now, but I call you dad. It doesn’t make sense to call you both the same thing.”
“You can keep calling him Buck. He doesn’t need a special title to know how you feel about him,” Eddie explained. He sensed that wasn’t good enough by the look on Christopher’s face. “But, I don’t think that’s the answer you want to hear.”
“I have to call him something, dad. I have to,” Christopher insisted.
“Okay, okay. Let’s think,” Eddie said, calming him down. He was hit with a flood of memories of Buck and Bobby from over the years.
“Don’t lie to me, pops. We both know your favorite movie is Up.”
“Oh, pops over there. He’s the heart of this team.”
“Come on, pops. You know you love me.”
“Pops,” Eddie said after a moment. Christopher’s head perked up. “I think Buck would like it a lot if you called him pops.”
Eddie smiled. “Well, that’s what he calls his dad.”
“I thought Buck wasn’t close with his dad. That’s what you told me.”
Eddie nodded. “Buck’s like you, mijo. He has a dad who wasn’t always his dad. Buck’s dad is our boss Bobby.”
“So Bobby’s gonna be my new grandpa like Maddie is gonna be my new aunt?” Christopher asked, and Eddie laughed a little. He loved the sound of that, and he knew Buck, Bobby, and Maddie would too.
“That’s exactly right, bud,” Eddie confirmed. He smiled at his son. “I’m really happy that you’re so excited about me marrying Buck. It means a lot to me. I want us to be a happy family.”
Christopher grinned. “We already are.”
Just like with the blessing, Eddie and Buck thought it was best to tell Bobby the news at home rather than at work. This was about telling Buck’s dad about their engagement not their boss. So, they decided to tell Bobby and Athena at Sunday dinner.
“That delicious as always, Bobby,” Eddie said once they finished eating. He wasn’t sucking up at all. It was genuinely delicious.
“Thank you, Eddie,” Bobby replied with a grin. He looked over at the youngest Diaz. “What did you think, Chris?”
“It’s very good, Grandpa Bobby,” Christopher told him. Buck and Eddie’s heads both whipped toward the boy while Bobby sat there not knowing how to respond. “What? I thought you said that Bobby was going to be my grandpa now.”
“He is,” Eddie confirmed. “We just haven’t had the chance to tell him that.”
“Oh, well, Bobby, my dads are getting married,” Christopher stated easily. Bobby grinned at the boy.
“Is that right?” he asked. He looked back at Buck and Eddie who were both smiling. “Well, then I believe congratulations are in order.”
Why don’t we clean up and get to dessert so we can properly celebrate? I made chocolate cake,” Athena said, getting out of her seat but hugging both men first. “I’m so happy for you boys.”
“Thank you, Thena,” Buck replied, kissing her on the cheek. “You’re gonna be Grandma Thena too, you know.”
“If you even think about calling me a grandmother, I’ll smack you into next week,” she warned him, causing Eddie to snort.
Buck nodded. “Got it, ma’am.”
“I’ll still be your mother-in-law though, Eddie,” she assured him. “Why don’t you come help me find the china? This is a special occasion.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he replied, getting up. “Chris, why don’t you and Harry go play? We’ll call you back in for cake.”
The two boys ran to go play, and Athena and Eddie headed out of the kitchen to look for the china that was definitely still in the kitchen. Bobby and Buck both knew what was happening. They just stared at each other for a moment.
“He asked me for my blessing, you know,” Bobby confessed. Buck shook his head, smiling. “He’s a good guy. I couldn’t be happier for you.”
“Will you walk me down the aisle?” Buck blurted. Bobby’s eyes went wide. “Actually, no. Not just walk me down the aisle. Will you tie my tie and give me a speech and do fatherly things? Will you be my dad on the wedding day and every other day too? I know there’s this unspoken thing between us, but I want it to be spoken. I want you to be my dad, and I want us to both be able to say it out loud. No pressure or anything.”
“Yes,” Bobby said simply. “I would love to, son.”
They both stood up at the same time and went to hug the other. Buck buried his face in Bobby’s shoulder. He never thought he’d get to have this happy moment with a father. Bobby held Buck with everything he had. He never thought he’d get the opportunity to talk his child down the aisle.
“I love you, Buck.”
“I love you too, pops.”
Once wedding preparation began, that was the only thing Buck and Eddie thought about. Well, other than their son and their jobs. It was one of the only things they thought about. Everything was wedding this and wedding that.
They decided early on that they wanted something simple. Something for just their families, which to them also meant their friends. They wouldn’t have a wedding party. Bobby was going to walk Eddie down the aisle, and Christopher was going to walk Eddie.
It was decided that the wedding would be in their backyard after they looked at every venue in the city and never found one they liked. They always felt the happiest at home anyway.
They got married on a Saturday when B shift was on. It was the easiest option, and neither Buck nor Eddie was very picky about the date. They both just wanted to be married as soon as possible.
Eddie was ever the traditionalist so he made Buck sleep at Bobby and Athena’s the night before the wedding. That meant that Bobby and Athena were kept up most of the night and woken up early in the morning by Buck’s excitement.
“You’re lucky we didn’t raise that boy from birth because if I had to deal with this every day,” Athena grumbled into her coffee that morning. Bobby just laughed and rested his forehead on her shoulder out of pure exhaustion.
They were able to calm him down for a little while until it was time for them to get ready. Buck and Eddie decided on simple suits instead of tuxedos. There’s no reason to be that fancy in the backyard, Buck, Eddie had told him. If it was up to me I’d marry you in my birthday suit, Buck shot back.
“I remember the first time I did this for you,” Bobby said as he tied Buck’s tie. Buck’s first date with Abby. That felt like a lifetime ago. “You were a completely different person back then.”
“Bet you didn’t think I’d end up here,” Buck joked.
Bobby shook his head. “No, I knew you would. I knew from the very beginning.”
When they arrived at the Diaz residence, everything looked perfect. It was exactly what Buck dreamed it would be. Now, all he needed to do was marry the love of his life.
Buck went down the aisle first, arm in Bobby’s. He held Bobby tight in fear of passing out from pure excitement. Bobby smiled, kissed him on the cheek, and left him at the end of the aisle. He wiped a tear from his eyes.
Next, it was Eddie’s turn. He really walked Christopher more than Christopher walked him, but it was the thought that counted. When they reached the end of the aisle, Buck and Eddie both kissed him on the head.
“I love you, dad,” Christopher said as Eddie kissed him.
“I love you too, mijo.”
Buck leaned down for his kiss. “I love you, Superman.”
“I love you too, pops,” Christopher echoed, and Buck’s heart melted. He still hadn’t gotten used to that.
Bobby came over to bring Christopher to his seat, shaking Eddie’s hand first. “Take care of him for me.”
“Of course,” Eddie promised.
The ceremony was performed by a justice of the peace. Their family members fought for one of them to marry them, but they couldn’t pick just one. So, here they were with a justice of the peace.
It was a regular ceremony with the exception of their vows. They wanted to say their own vows. That was the one thing they both needed out of the wedding. They needed to stand in front of their family and talk about how in love with each other they were.
“Buck, you asked to say your vows first,” the justice of the peace said.
“Right, I knew Eddie would outshine me, so I wanted to go first,” Buck clarified, taking a piece of paper out of his pocket. “I’m gonna be honest. There’s nothing written on this. I tried to write something, but I couldn’t. So, I decided I would wing it. I’m pretty good at an unplanned emotional speech. So, here goes nothing.”
He laughed to himself. “Growing up, I never had a relationship to aspire to have one day. My parents weren’t exactly loving toward each other. I didn’t know what a happy, healthy, romantic relationship was like. I didn’t even know what to look for, in a relationship or partner.
“People tell you that when you find it, you find it. When you know, you know. I figured they were right about that, but I never found it. I’d been in relationships, but I still didn’t know what those people were talking about. I honestly thought those people were crazy” Buck explained, laughing. “But, then I met Eddie.”
He squeezed Eddie’s hands. “The second I met Eddie everything fell into place. I knew what I wanted in a person, and I knew what a good relationship looked like. Hell, I was even in that relationship. I just didn’t know it yet. I always knew that what I had with Eddie was special, but I didn’t know it was love, real love, for a long time because I didn’t know what real love was.
“Eddie had given me his heart, and I hadn’t even known it because I had never seen such a thing in my life,” Buck continued. “Eddie is the perfect partner. He is everything I didn’t know I needed. Everything I didn’t know I was looking for. He is everything. He’s my best friend. He’s my partner. He’s my soulmate. He’s the reason why I can stand here today and tell you all what a happy, healthy, romantic relationship looks like.
“It’s waking up in the morning and finding him sleeping completely sideways because he’s a lunatic. It’s making breakfast with him rubbing my shoulders the whole time. It’s teasing him with our son. It’s him teasing us right back. It’s laughing while washing the dishes. It’s making the bed together every day. It’s going to sleep holding him in my arms and hoping to be able to live it all again every day for the rest of our lives. That’s what I’d been looking for. That’s what I’d been searching for. And that’s what I fight so hard to come to every day.”
They were both crying now, and Buck knew it was time to wrap it up. “I love you, Eds, and I am so grateful that you taught me what true love was.”
“Oh, wow,” Eddie said, wiping the tears from his eyes. “I love you so much.”
“I love you too,” Buck replied, and they both just stared at each other for a moment.
“Eddie, it’s your turn,” the justice of the peace reminded him.
He laughed wetly and pulled his vows out of his jacket pocket. “There is something written on my paper, but I didn’t write it. I asked Christopher for help with my vows, and he ripped a piece of paper and wrote three things on it. He said ‘dad, these are the three most important things about Buck, and this is what you need to say to him.’”
He smiled at his son before continuing. “Number one: his brain. Buck is the smartest person me and Chris have ever met, and he made that very clear from the beginning. He has the most beautiful brain known to man. The amount of times I’ve wished to get a look inside that brain of his. It’s like a different world in there, and I’m so grateful every time he let’s us into it.
“Number two: his heart. Like Buck’s brain, he has a heart like no other. I have never met someone who loves as hard as Evan Buckley. He feels so much, and that’s something that used to scare me. I thought that if I felt as much as Buck, I wouldn’t survive. Loving so hard means that you’ll hurt just as hard. It scared me so much to even think about it.”
Eddie took a breath. “But, uh, once Buck started giving that love to me, it wasn’t so scary. Once I got a look inside his heart, I wasn’t afraid anymore. I learned that loving that hard is a gift. Every day I thank God that I get to be loved by the biggest heart in the world. And, in the process, I think my heart grew just a little bit too,” Eddie stated. He couldn’t look at Buck because if he did, he would sob.
“Number three is a big one. It says ‘safe’. Now, that might not make sense, but I knew what Christopher meant,” Eddie explained. “Me and Chris moved here alone, and that was scary for both of us. We didn’t know anyone or anything. But, it was never a problem because the moment Buck walked into our lives, we were safe. He made us feel safe.
“This relative stranger who we had just met made us feel protected. He grew into a way bigger part of our lives, and that safety never went away,” Eddie continued. “He saved us. In so many ways. He saved Chris’s life, and he saved mine more times than I can count. But the big things aren’t what really matters.”
Eddie smiled down at the paper. “What matters is that I never have to doubt if my son is being taken care of when he’s with Buck. What matters is that Buck can hold me in his arms after a long day and make all the pain go away. All it takes is one hug from Buck, and me and Chris will both feel like we’re in a freakin bomb shelter. The safest place in a storm. Buck is our safe haven. He’s our safety. He’s our home. He’s our Buck.”
Eddie finally dared to look at Buck. When he did, he saw that Buck was practically sobbing. Eddie rushed forward to wipe away his tears.
“I told you you were gonna outshine me,” he whispered.
Eddie turned to the justice of the peace. “Can we please kiss now?”
“Hell yes!” they exclaimed. They cleared their throat. “Sorry. I mean, by the power vested in me and the state of California, I now pronounce you husbands. You may now kiss your groom.”
Eddie lounged forward and kissed his crying husband, and it was the happiest either of them had ever been.
After the ceremony, there was dancing and food and everything you could want in a wedding reception. The food was cooked by Bobby and Buck, which meant it was delicious. There were four special dances: Buck and Eddie, Buck and Christopher, Eddie and Christopher, and Buck and Maddie. Then, there were the speeches. Chim, Hen, and Athena all got short ones, but the biggest one was Bobby’s.
“Hi, everybody. Buck and Eddie asked me to say a few words, but I don’t know if they wanted Captain Nash or Buck’s dad. I guess it can be a little bit of both,” Bobby began. Buck prepared himself for whatever kind of disaster this was going to be. “As Captain Nash, I would like to say that I have never met more talented partners than Buck and Eddie. Hen and Chim, I’m sorry, but it’s the truth. I would also like to say that I’ve never seen two more professional boyfriends at work. I didn’t even need to yell at them once. I’m sure that was Eddie’s doing as he was a little scared of Buck’s dad.”
Everyone laughed at that, and Eddie’s face turned red. “I hate to admit this, but there isn’t really much separation between Captain Nash and Buck’s dad. They’re pretty much the same person. No matter what I did, I always loved that kid like a son. So, I would like to formally thank Eddie for taking care of my son. And, after years of keeping this secret, I think it’s time that I confess something to both of them. When I first met Buck, he was just an idiot kid who needed a home. A family. He found siblings and parents, but that wasn’t enough for our little Buck. He needed more.”
Bobby laughed to himself. “As his father, I wanted him to have more. As his boss, it was well within my power and rights to make that happen for him. So, I did what I had to do. I hired a single dad. I secretly hoped that they would fall in love and raise the kid together. That was just my wish of course.”
“Oh my god,” Bobby heard Buck mutter. “You fucking baby trapped me.”
“Excuse me?” Bobby questioned. “What are you talking about? I’m giving a speech here.”
“Don’t change the subject. You baby trapped me.” He was standing now, pointing a finger at Bobby.
“Baby, calm down,” Eddie told him, standing up as well.
Buck gasped. “You baby trapped me too. Don’t defend him.” He looked back at Bobby. “I can’t believe you.” He crossed the yard to get to Bobby.
Buck caught his dad in a bone crushing hug. “Thank you, pops.”
“Yeah, uh, of course,” Bobby said, hugging him back.
“You knew that this is what I needed. You gave this to me. I can’t thank you enough,” Buck continued. He looked over to see Christopher and Eddie walked over to them.
“Thank you, Bobby,” Eddie said, reaching out to shake his hand. Eddie lifted Christopher into his arms and wrapped his other arm around Buck’s waist.
Bobby knew a lot of things. He knew Evan Buckley; that was for sure. However, if he was being honest, he never really knew if his plan would work. He never really knew if he would get this ending. He hoped and prayed that it would work, but seeing this, that little family happy and together, was the first time he truly allowed himself to acknowledge that the plan truly worked. He did the right thing by hiring Eddie Diaz. That was just one more thing he knew.
“I guess I did baby trap you, Buck,” Bobby said with a laugh, looking into his son’s eyes and seeing nothing but love and warmth and happiness. “And I’d do it again.”