"Dispatch, please repeat-"
The explosion brutally cut off Chimney mid-sentence, and the entire group in the second rig didn't stand a chance as the force of the bomb sent the engine careening across the street. Chimney, Hen and Eddie all watched in horror as the other engine slid sideways, throwing several of their people onto the concrete.
Eddie nearly lost it then and there.
Hen slammed the engine to a stop as Chimney held onto the radio that Bobby was still frantically speaking into.
"Chimney, what happened? Is everyone okay?"
They had no idea.
Eddie was the first out of the engine, ignoring Hen and Chimney's pleas for him to stop. A bomb had caused this and while he couldn't be sure, he didn't think there was a secondary device in the wreckage. He saw the three who had been thrown from the blast; they were all stirring and breathing but none of them were Buck. Where was he? Eddie steeled himself to crawl into the burning remnants of the rig, until he saw Buck sprawled out next to it. Relief washed over him and he jogged to Buck.
"Buck? You okay?" He finally reached his friend and dropped to his knees beside him. "Hey, can you hear me?"
Buck stirred weakly and Eddie reached down to help him up.
Then he saw it.
Buck's leg was pinned beneath the engine. And there was no way to move it without some serious machinery.
"Dios mio…" Shaking his head, he leaned down closer to Buck. "Buck, I'm here. I've got you. We're gonna get you out."
The sound of glass crunching under boots diverted his attention from Buck. Praying help had arrived, Eddie looked up to see a young man, no more than seventeen or eighteen, standing before them and wearing a curious expression. Eddie's gaze lowered and what he saw made his heart sink.
The kid was wearing a home made bomb, and in his hand was a deadman switch.
"You're new," the boy said calmly, sounding almost disappointed.
Swallowing roughly, Eddie leaned over Buck, shielding him as much as he could. "Y-Yeah," he started cautiously. "I'm Eddie."
"I don't care," the boy clipped, his thumb almost stroking the deadman switch. His eyes were hot, full of rage and contempt that belied his calm tone.
"I get it. But my friend needs help. Please. His leg is pinned and-"
The boy turned on his heel and stalked away, Eddie's words falling on deaf ears.
"Fuck." Looking down again, it registered with him how pale Buck had become in the last few minutes. This was bad. This was really bad. Shrugging off his jacket, he quickly covered his friend with it.
Buck stirred weakly under the jacket. "E-Eddie…"
"Buck? I'm here." Eddie leaned closer to his friend, gently holding him in place when Buck tried to move.
"I-I can't see you…"
Shooting a glance over his shoulder, Eddie realized the bomber had his back to them. Moving cautiously, he shifted until he was on Buck's other side and in his line of vision. "Better?" He kept one comforting hand on Buck as he glanced in the teen's direction again.
"Y-Yeah." Buck's eyes were glassy and blood ran freely from a laceration at his temple. He probably had a concussion, at the very least. Eddie couldn't even think about his leg and the injuries they would inevitably discover.
He heard Chimney call out to the boy. His name was Freddie. The conversation became too quiet to hear, but Eddie didn't care. Precious seconds were ticking by, putting Buck in a more and more precarious condition.
"Shh." Eddie ran a hand lightly over Buck's sandy hair. "I'm right here."
"You…You need to go…" The words were an effort for Buck, who looked mere moments from passing out. "G-Get out of here…"
"No way." Eddie looked up again, and this time he saw Bobby approaching Freddie, his arms up in a placating manner. "I'm not going anywhere without you."
"Hey." Eddie tried to get closer to Buck without causing him more pain. "Do you think Chris would ever forgive me if I left you here? Not happening."
"He…he can't lose…lose you…" Buck's voice was becoming softer and his eyelashes fluttered.
"He's not gonna lose me, or you." He thought about his sweet boy, who had just lost his mother a few weeks before. He wasn't gonna let Chris lose Buck, too. The kid had been through enough.
And so had Eddie.
"No." He reached down and fumbled until he found Buck's hand. Then he grabbed it and gave it a reassuring squeeze. "You just keep breathing, okay? Stay alive and I swear I'll get you out of this."
Somehow Buck managed a weak squeeze in return. "Have…have to tell you…"
"No. You're not telling me anything." Eddie looked up again and relief washed over him as he watched Freddie be disarmed and taken into police custody. Then Hen and Chimney were running over, gear in hand.
"How is he?" Hen demanded, dropping to her knees beside them. She pulled out a c-collar and began stabilizing Buck's neck.
"He's kind of alert and talking," Eddie responded, wiping his eyes on his sleeve. He still hadn't let go of Buck's hand, and Buck wasn't letting go either. "We have to get him the hell out of here."
"Working on it," Chimney assured him before speaking frantically into his radio. Another medic stepped in to help Hen, giving Eddie the ability to keep holding Buck's hand.
"He's fading. Eddie, keep him talking," Hen demanded as she checked Buck's pupilary responses.
"Buck?" Eddie squeezed his hand again. "Hey, help's here. We're getting you out, okay? But you can't close your eyes. Not now."
"I know. But you can sleep later. Right now you gotta stay with me. Hen's running the IV and we're stabilizing you for transport." The hand that wasn't holding Buck's moved, traveling back into his soft hair. "We're getting you out."
Suddenly dozens of people surrounded them, and for an insane moment Eddie nearly threw himself over Buck to shield him. Then he realized they were going to lift the truck. His eyes met Hen's and Hen nodded urgently.
"They're gonna lift and we're gonna pull him out. You got it?" she barked over the din.
"I got it." He stroked Buck's temple lightly. "Hear that, Buck? They're gonna lift the engine and we're going to pull you out."
Buck nodded weakly, his eyes closing again.
"On three!" Bobby shouted, taking a spot near Buck and Eddie. "One, two, three!"
The entire group pushed at the engine, and Eddie's eyes widened as it slowly lifted. The moment Buck's leg was free, he and Hen grabbed Buck and slid him free, trying to ignore Buck's anguished cries.
Once he was clear of the truck, the group cheered and everyone went into overdrive. Buck was moved carefully onto a backboard, then a gurney. Eddie took his hand again as the group rushed Buck's gurney to the waiting engine. Once they were all onboard and the doors closed, Eddie returned to his place at Buck's side. Hen and Chimney got to work, reassuring Buck that they were only a few minutes from the hospital and he was going to be fine.
Eddie's shoulders suddenly slumped as the engine began to race down the street. Buck's hand was still encased in his and he leaned closer to his friend's face battered and bloodied.
"You're okay, Buck. You're safe."