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The Light at the End

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This fic is a gift for the wonderful and amazing missmeagan666.

She also helped write it so some of the credit goes her way ♥

 

Eddie couldn’t stop glaring at Han, like hell he was going to call the asshole “Chimney,” only friends used nicknames and Han wasn’t his friend, not since he punched Buck.

Han had come back with Maddie five weeks after he had left and they were now at a welcome back party at the Grant-Nash house and not once had Han even made a move to apologize to Buck.

Buck who flinched whenever Han got too close to him.

Buck who, if Eddie read him right and he was certain that he did, looked scared to be in the same vicinity as Han.

Buck who would never hurt a fly and preferred peaceful solutions to aggressive ones.

Buck who would rather run away than fight.

Buck who Eddie was so very much in love with.

Eddie had done his best to place himself between Buck and Han and sometimes even Maddie. The woman who had the power to destroy Buck completely. The woman Eddie disliked more then Han and that’s saying something.

According to Eddie, Maddie was an entitled bitch with a need to be the center of attention. She always acted like she knew better than Buck even though Buck had a PhD in Fire-Science and a masters in Sport and Exercise Nutrition, which was why Buck looked as good and healthy as he does, and no Eddie wasn’t biased…

It was also the way Maddie acted that pissed Eddie off. The first time seeing her brother who she hadn't had contact with for more than three years; she broke into his (well technically Abby’s apartment) and asked Buck why HE didn’t knock! “Seriously what the fuck?!” 

After that it was telling Buck that firefighting was too dangerous for him after the ladder truck was bombed, landing on his leg, never mind that her own boyfriend was a firefighter/paramedic also. And then she invited the Buckley parents to LA, not telling Buck about it and guilt tripping him into agreeing to meet and have dinner with them.

Ugh, Eddie knew that he greatly disliked his best friends, hopefully boyfriend in the future, sister. Eddie's therapist, and yes Eddie was seeing a therapist, had started after the panic attacks and breaking up with Ana, had mentioned some concerns after Eddie had ranted about his best friend's sister.

According to his therapist, from what the man could gather from Eddie's rants, it sounded like Maddie had NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder). When Eddie brought up that Maddie had been in an abusive marriage his therapist had said that that didn’t mean that she couldn’t have NPD; but that they couldn’t say for sure or give a diagnosis to someone they had never met.

And honestly? Eddie wouldn’t be surprised if Maddie did indeed have NPD, it sort of fit really.

And then you add Captain Nash and Han to the mix and you have a group that mocks and brings Buck down. The way they act and treat Buck truly pisses Eddie off and if he's honest with himself, which he tries to be, it has pissed him off since he started working at the 118.

Though it did help him understand why Buck was so hostile when Eddie first got there. If Eddie had been treated, mocked and demeaned by his co-workers/family the way Buck had been and then they bring in someone they all praise like they were the second coming or something Eddie would also be scared about being replaced and act out because of that.

“So, why haven't you stopped glaring at Chim?” Athena asked as she stepped up beside him.

“You remember that black eye Buck had that just healed?” Eddie looked at her.

Sure, he had promised not to tell anyone about what had happened but that didn’t mean he couldn’t give vague clues and let Athena figure it out herself.

“Yeah but what's that…” Athena started to ask but it was like a light went off in her head as she figured it out. “Chimney punched my baby?”

Eddie nodded slightly before sighing. “I promised Buck I wouldn’t say anything so just so you know you figured it all out on your own.”

“Of course,” Athena nodded as she glared at Han. “I was starting to wonder why Buck acted like a skittish animal every time Chimney got close to him.”

“If I can be honest I think it’s been going on for years,” Eddie admitted in a whisper. “Not the hitting but the bullying and verbal abuse. And not just from Chimney.”

“What are you talking about?” Athena demanded to know, eyes eagle sharp and calculating.

“The crew, A-shift, treats Buck like he's less than them, like he's stupid and doesn’t know anything, like he can't do his job, like he's incompetent,” Eddie pinched the bridge of his nose. 

“They all make these stupid comments about his intelligence and while Buck smiles and laughs along I can see it in his eyes how much it hurts him and how much he believes them. That along with always being reprimanded for things the rest of us get praised for, it’s slowly killing him and I don’t know what to do.”

“Why haven't I heard anything about this before?” Athena muttered as she looked over to where Buck was playing with Christopher, Denny and Harry.

“Who would have told you?” Eddie turned to her with a raised eyebrow. “Your husband who jokes about it too? Did you know that Buck mentioned having slept with his therapist and everyone acted like that was just Buck being Buck?”

“When did this happen?” Athena looked pissed.

“The mention or the sleeping with the therapist?” Eddie asked.

“Both,” Athena almost snarled and Eddie was so glad that she wasn’t angry with him.

“The sex with the therapist happened after Buck lost his first person on call-out,” Eddie knew all about that after Buck had gotten drunk and told him. “The mention happened a few weeks after the lawsuit.”

“One of my babies was…” Athena took a shuddering breath. “Raped? Why didn’t he say anything?”

“Even if Buck felt weird and dirty afterwards he would still not see it as rape or assault,” Eddie sighed having had a similar conversation with Buck a few weeks ago. “He thinks it was his fault and that it was consensual.”

“What was the therapist’s name?” Athena demanded to know. “I will bury them so deep that if they are ever found again people will think it’s a very well preserved body from several 1000 years ago!”

“I don’t know,” Eddie said with sadness before they both moved towards the table as Bobby called out that the food was ready. 

“No one ever told me.”

***

Buck had a headache stemming from his neck where all his muscles were tense and ready for anything. 

He felt stupid for being ready for Chim to hit him again but at the same time he couldn’t stop, he was running on instinct.

He knew that Eddie was doing his best to keep Chim away from him and Buck appreciated it so much. Being in love with your straight best friend wasn’t easy but could you blame Buck? Eddie was one of the nicest, sweetest and most amazing men Buck had ever met, falling in love with him was the easiest thing Buck had ever done.

Buck spent most of his time with Christopher, Denny and Harry, ignoring the looks he could feel coming from his sister and the muttered sneers he heard from Chim. 

He preferred the kids' company from Chim, Maddie, Bobby and Hen’s anyway. The kids didn’t make him feel stupid or like he was just a dumb kid, they looked up to him and asked him questions because they knew he most likely knew the answer.

When Bobby called out to say the food was ready, Buck picked up the closest kid, who just so happened to be Christopher, and carried him under his arm to the table. The kids laughing the whole way, Denny and Harry running at his side as he carried Christopher like a handbag.

“You know, if I was a few years younger and wasn’t in love with David I would definitely ask you out,” Michael chuckled as he walked up to the table.

Buck looked at him with wide eyes and he could feel the blush on his face, “What?”

“I totally agree,” David said as he walked up to his boyfriend and Buck.

“I now understand why women say that seeing a man good with kids is a turn-on,” Michael smiled as he sat down at the table.

“Stop messing with him,” Athena mock scolded as she and Eddie joined them at the table.

“But he’s so pretty when he blushes,” Karen tacked on with a smirk. “And I don’t even swing that way.”

Buck did his best to hide his flaming face as everybody sat down. As everybody ate Buck let the happy chatter wash over him, grounding him in the knowledge that he wasn’t alone.

Even if Maddie had left him again when she promised she wouldn’t. Even though he was just waiting for Chim to hit him again, he could still feel the phantom pain of the first hit. Even if most people at this table thought him incompetent and stupid…

He still had Eddie by his side. And with Eddie came Christopher, Isabel and Pepa even if they weren’t at the table right now.

He still had Athena, the only mother he had ever really known. Margaret wasn’t his mother, she was the incubator and Philip was the sperm donor.

“Hey Buck, we’re talking about fire in chemistry class right now,” Harry said happily. “Can you tell me something cool about fire?”

“Well-“ Buck was about to tell him that Earth is the only known planet where fire can burn because everywhere else there’s not enough oxygen but he was interrupted by a snort from Chim.

“If you want to know about fire you should ask someone who actually knows,” Chim leaned back with a smirk.

“But… Buck is a firefighter,” Denny said with confusion.

“Yeah but he's mostly there to carry things,” Chim chuckled. “He's the brawn. Dumb but useful.”

Buck had sunk down in his chair as far as he could, feeling humiliated as Bobby and Maddie chuckled and Hen smiled. Maybe Margaret and Philip were right, maybe he was useless and couldn’t do anything right.

“I was just…” Buck mumbled out quietly with a defeated air.

“Oh come on Buck,” Bobby chuckled. “It was just a joke.”

Chim laughed, “Maybe we need to explain jokes to him now so it gets through his thick skull.”

“Yeah a joke,” Buck felt a burning in his eyes but he refused to cry in front of them.

The pain in Buck's chest was nothing new but it had never felt like such a stabbing, twisting, debilitating pain before. God, he really was pathetic and a waste of space.

***

“Shut up, stupid!” Christopher screamed and Eddie usually didn’t like that sort of language from his son but this time it was completely justified.

Eddie felt anger like no other flow like lava through his veins. He hadn't even felt this angry during the Lawsuit and street fighting.

“Christopher, that's no way to speak to someone,” Maddie tutted disapprovingly.

“You're not my mom,” Christopher actually glared at her. “You can't tell me what to do.”

“Listen here, you will show Maddie some respect!” Han declared angrily.

“Or what?” Eddie asked dangerously. “You’ll hit him?”

“Eddie I-“ Han began but Eddie wasn’t having it.

“Shut up! Neither of you are allowed to tell Christopher off, he's my son and if I feel like he’d done something wrong then I will reprimand him,” Eddie growled.

“But you didn’t,” Bobby joined the argument.

“Because I don’t think he did anything wrong,” Eddie sent him a dark look.

“He told Chim to shut up and called him stupid,” Bobby looked like a disapproving parent.

“Yeah and if Chris hadn't done it I would probably have said something that really isn’t meant for young ears,” Eddie huffed. “And how come you all jump to his defense when Chris calls him stupid but when Han calls Buck stupid and mocks him you all just laugh like it’s the funniest thing.”

“Come on!” Han threw his hands up. “It was a joke.”

“I'm not laughing,” Eddie sneered at him and from the corner of his eye he saw Buck wipe a tear that escaped before he stood up and walked away. “You don’t joke, you bully. At least when it comes to Buck.”

“Oh calm down,” Maddie huffed. “Evan is just being dramatic, like he always is when he wants attention.”

Suddenly there was a loud smacking sound and everything went quiet. Athena stood in front of Maddie who had a hand on her smarting cheek and a shocked look on her face.

“You will keep your mouth shut and you will sit the fuck down!” Athena didn’t scream but that just made her anger so much scarier.

“Dad I want to go home,” Christopher spoke up with tears in his eyes.

“Okay we’ll go home bud,” Eddie agreed quickly. “We’ll just have to convince Buck to go with us, okay?”

“I’ll do that,” Christopher nodded and hurried towards where Buck had disappeared. “We’ll wait by the car for you.”

Eddie turned back towards the others and let all his anger shine through his eyes. Then he focused on Han, Bobby, Maddie and Hen, “If you don’t plan on giving Buck a groveling apology by next shift, you better not expect anything but a perfect professional attitude from the both of us.”

“Go take care of our Buckaroo,” Athena told him softly. “I’ll handle things here.”

“Thank you,” Eddie smiled before jogging towards his car.

“Dad Bucky’s gone and his jeep isn’t here anymore,” Christopher met him at the door.

A feeling of dread made its home in Eddie’s chest and he somehow knew he needed to get to Buck and get to him fast.

“Buddy, I think Buck might be really, really sad and he wouldn’t want you to see him like that so is it okay if I drop you off with Abuela?” Eddie asked gently. “And then tomorrow we can have a day filled with junk food, movies and cuddles with Buck?”

Christopher looked down before nodding slowly. “Okay but you have to make sure that Bucky is okay.”

“Absolutely,” Eddie agreed and quickly got them both into the car.

After dropping Christopher off at Abuela’s with a quick explanation, Eddie pulled into Buck's apartment parking lot. He was relieved to see that Buck's jeep was in its usual spot but the feeling of dread didn’t lessen, if anything it grew worse.

He took the stairs two at a time, something telling him that he needed to get to Buck. He didn’t even bother knocking and just used his key to get into Buck's apartment as fast as he could.

“Buck?” Eddie called out into the dark and silent apartment. “Buck?!”

When Eddie didn’t find him in the kitchen or in the living room he ran up to the loft. When he saw the light coming from the bathroom he pushed the door open and the sight that met him would haunt him for years.

Buck was sitting with his back against the wall, legs out in front of him and a razor in his right hand. There was blood everywhere and Buck's eyes were closed and it almost looked like he was sleeping peacefully.

“Buck!” Eddie ran forward, quickly taking the razor and throwing it in the sink before he took a towel and put pressure on the cuts on Buck's arm. “Come on Buck, wake up!”

With what felt like herculean effort Buck straightened a little and opened his eyes, “Eds…?”

“Yeah yeah, hey Buck,” Eddie felt relieved when Buck started talking.

“Was’ goin’ on?” Buck mumbled as his head lolled a little.

“Hey, stay awake for me, okay?” Eddie pleaded as he pulled out his phone. “I'm gonna call 9-1-1. You just hold on and stay awake.”

“Din’ mean t’ cut so deep,” Buck whispered slowly as he did his best to blink and stay focused. “Jus’ wan’ed the pain t’ stop.”

Eddie knew he meant the emotional pain and not something physical.

9-1-1 what's your emergency?

“May?” Eddie asked as the 9-1-1 operator answered the phone.

Eddie?” May sounded shocked but quickly turned serious and professional. “What is your emergency?

“I need you to send an ambulance to Buck's place,” Eddie ordered quickly. “Buck is bleeding pretty badly, I've managed to put pressure on his wounds but I don’t know how long it will hold or how much blood he had already lost when I got here.”

The ambulance is on its way,” May assured calmly and Eddie had no idea how she stayed so calm when Buck was bleeding out but that’s what made her good at her job he guessed. “How long has Buck been bleeding?

“I don’t know,” Eddie said before turning to Buck to ask but saw that his eyes were closed. “Hey Buck, stay awake for me, okay? And if you can't do it for me, do it for Christopher.”

Buck blinked slowly, “’m tired.”

“I know cariño but I need you awake,” Eddie didn’t care that the endearment slipped out as long as Buck stayed awake.

“Eds… ‘m sorry,” Buck mumbled as he tried to focus his eyes on Eddie.

“You don’t have to apologize as long as you stay awake,” Eddie told him and he could feel the tears burn tracks down his face.

“Don’ cry,” Buck whispered. “Fell… love… smile…”

“Hey, hey, hey no, keep those pretty blues open and on me, baby,” Eddie patted Buck's cheek with the hand that wasn’t putting pressure on Buck's wrist. “I need you. Please don’t leave me.”

“You… fine… out me…” Buck's speech was getting more slurred.

“No, I won't be fine without you!” Eddie denied on a sob. “You are mi luz, mi vida, mi alma, without you the world is grey.”

Buck smiled slightly as best he could, “… asking… me… dinner?”

“Yes,” Eddie nodded quickly. “As soon as you get out of the hospital we can have dinner at that Thai restaurant you like, okay? I’ll come pick you up and give you flowers, a real classic date but you have to stay awake and keep fighting. Promise me that you'll stay with me.”

“Promise… fight…” Buck's head lolled to the side like it was taking too much to keep it up. “Come… back… you…”

“Buck? Come on Buck, stay awake!” Eddie sobbed desperately as Buck's whole body tilted to the side. “Please Evan!”

The ambulance is one minute out!” May called out from the phone which was still connected to 9-1-1. “Do you want me to call mom and Bobby?

“No!” Eddie snarled before calming down slightly. “I'm sorry for snapping but no, I’ll call your mother later but I would appreciate it if you didn’t tell anyone about this.”

“Of course,” May agreed quickly. “I won't tell anyone, I promise.”

“Thank you,” Eddie sniffled quietly.

“But can I come visit after my shift or tomorrow?” May asked hesitantly.

“You are more than welcome to come visit but I’ll text you when I know more,” Eddie said and looked up as he heard the knock on the door before the EMS called out. “Up here!”

I’ll hang up now,” May said kindly. “But remember to text me.

“I’ll remember,” Eddie assured. “And thank you.”

“Sir, can you move to the side a little?” One of the EMS asked kindly.

Eddie moved as he looked at the two EMS. Rockwell and Jones from the 122 if Eddie remembered correctly. Jones was a pretty, androgenous, dark skinned man that had very kind looking eyes while Rockwell had golden colored skin and was tall, even taller than Buck, with broad shoulders and biceps the size of Eddie's head but he was also quiet and had a very soft, kind voice.

“Can you tell us what happened?” Jones asked as he took Buck's wrists.

“He got hurt pretty badly emotionally earlier this evening and left,” Eddie started to explain, knowing that the more information he could give the better they could help Buck. “I felt something was wrong so I dropped my son off at my Abuela’s and drove here. I found him here and he apologized, said he didn’t mean to cut so deep and that he just wanted the pain to stop.”

“So he didn’t actively try to kill himself,” Rockwell murmured softly. “That’s good.”

“I managed to keep him awake until a minute before you got here,” Eddie told them, doing his best to stay close to Buck while also staying out of Rockwell and Jones’s way.

“We are good to move him,” Jones said as he finished securing the bandage on Buck's wrist before he turned to Eddie. “Are you riding with him?”

“Yeah,” Eddie nodded quickly. “I’ll just pack a bag real quick and meet you at the ambulance.”

“If you aren’t there when we are ready to go we’ll have to leave without you,” Rockwell informed him gently.

“I know I’ll be there,” Eddie quickly got up and grabbed a bag.

He packed two pairs of sweats and two shirts, because he didn’t know how long Buck would be in the hospital and he would want to be able to change, before grabbing Buck's charger, his phone and some fluffy socks. When Eddie had found out that Buck detested having cold feet and would go so far as to sleep in fluffy socks to prevent it he didn't know if he should laugh or coo at the man.

Locking up, jumping into the ambulance, the ride to the hospital, it was all a blur but he knew he answered all the questions Jones, who sat in the back of the ambulance with Buck and Eddie, asked.

The next absolute clear memory he had was sitting in one of the uncomfortable plastic chairs after handing in the papers he had filled in that pertained to Buck. He is about to lie and tell them Buck's his husband to get information but before he can they ask if he's Edmundo Diaz, turns out he's Buck's POA and emergency contact so he’ll get the information without lying which is a relief.

“Sir, excuse me sir,” a nurse walked up to him with a kind smile. “Would you like to come with me so you can clean that off?”

Eddie frowned in confusion before he looked down at himself and saw the blood. His hands and parts of his arms were covered in it, his shirt was splattered and his pants were soaked. “Oh, Dios mío!”

“Come on, sweetie,” the nurse helped him up. “Let's get you cleaned up.”

Eddie followed the nurse silently. He was feeling untethered, unmoored, adrift in a sea of fear and hopelessness. Without Buck the only thing keeping him anchored to the world was Chris and Eddie knew that if they truly lost Buck neither him nor Chris would be the same ever again.

***

Waking up was accompanied by a feeling of sluggishness. Opening his eyes almost felt impossible but after a few moments Buck managed to force his eyes open only to slam them shut with a whimper.

“Oh mierda,” he heard what he thought was Eddie’s voice curse before there was movement and then a hand on his cheek. “You can open your eyes now, cariño, I've turned down the lights.”

“Why do they insist on painting everything white in a hospital and then put up lights that stab you in the brain every time you open your eyes?” Buck grumbled but trusted Eddie and slowly opened his eyes again.

Eddie chuckled softly before smiling brightly as he made eye contact with Buck, “Hey, there’s the pretty blues.”

Buck blushed at the blatant love shining so brightly in Eddie's eyes.

“Well, there was this drop-dead gorgeous man promising me a date if I fought so I just had to wake up, didn’t I?” Buck awkwardly flirted back.

As Buck 1.0 flirting had come easy, it was basically second nature, but now? Flirting with Eddie, someone he was completely head over heels in love with? He felt like a 12 year old with their first crush and flirting felt awkward because he was worried about saying the wrong thing.

“Karen was right,” Eddie murmured and stroked a thumb over Buck's cheek. “You're so pretty when you blush.”

“Shut up,” Buck mumbled as he looked down and his blush grew darker.

“Never,” Eddie chuckled with a smirk.

“Well, I would say ‘I’ll come back later’ but sadly I can't do that,” someone chuckled from the entrance to the room. “Hello Mr. Buckley, I'm Doctor Kito Heath.”

“You can just call me Buck,” Buck offered slowly.

“Thank you, Buck,” Dr. Heath smiled warmly. “Is it okay if I talk to you for a while? Your partner can wait in the hall?”

“Can he stay?” Buck grabbed Eddie's hand as he felt his anxiety rise.

“Of course he can as long as you are comfortable with it,” Dr. Heath assured.

“Then I would really like it if you stayed,” Buck turned to look at Eddie.

“As long as you want,” Eddie smiled and then turned to Dr. Heath. “I'm Eddie by the way, Eddie Diaz.”

“Nice to meet you Mr. Diaz,” Dr. Heath shook Eddie's hand.

“Just Eddie. Please Doctor,” Eddie chuckled a little.

“Eddie it is,” Dr. Heath nodded before turning to Buck. “I'm the psychiatrist on call and I was hoping you could tell me what happened that resulted in you being brought in with several cuts on your arm?”

“Oh,” Buck shifted a bit on the bed with a sigh. “I really didn’t mean to cut so deep, Doc, I wasn’t trying to kill myself.”

“That was made clear by your partner and the way the cuts were made,” Dr. Heath smiled kindly. “What I want to know is why you felt the need to hurt yourself.”

Buck took a deep breath and felt Eddie squeeze his hand, “It just got too much.”

“What got too much?” Dr. Heath asked softly.

“The pain,” Buck whispered. “It was so much hurt and I couldn’t think, everything was chaos, so I did the only thing I knew would quiet the noise and chaos.”

“So cutting is about control for you,” Dr. Heath nodded like it made perfect sense.

“I don’t understand,” Eddie looked confused but he hadn't let go of Buck's hand so he counted it as a win.

“Some people hurt themselves because it feels like the only thing in their lives that they can control,” Dr. Heath explained kindly. “Some people deny themselves food, some work out until their muscles burn and some cut or physically hurt themselves just to get control of something in all the chaos and pain.”

“It’s like… after the cut there is this sharp pain and then everything is quiet and calm for a while,” Buck admitted slowly, not meeting Eddie's or Dr. Heath’s eyes.

“But for every time you cut, the period of time gets less and less right?” Dr. Heath didn’t sound accusing, more like he really knew what he was talking about. “And not only that it’s also like an addiction and even years after you’ve stopped hurting yourself you still get tempted every now and then and the urge rears its ugly head when you least expect it.”

“Before tonight I hadn't cut myself for four almost five years,” Buck whispered, feeling ashamed.

They talked for a while longer and Buck gave Dr. Heath permission to talk to Dr. Copeland who Buck promised to start seeing again. After Dr. Heath had left with a promise that Buck could go home the next day.

“I am so proud of you cariño,” Eddie whispered softly as he stroked a hand through Buck's hair.

“For what?” Buck asked tiredly.

“For being so brave and so strong,” Eddie smiled lovingly.

“Yeah, I'm so strong that as soon as it gets a little much I start cutting again,” Buck scoffed and looked away. “I really am pathetic.”

“Evan Oliver Buckley!” Eddie said strongly, making Buck look at him with wide eyes. “You are the strongest, most amazing person I have ever met and I am so in love with you that it’s ridiculous. You are NOT pathetic and if you speak badly about the love of my life again I’ll- I’ll- I’ll- I don’t know what I’ll do but you won't like it!”

Buck couldn’t help it, he started to giggle quietly with tears running down his face. He had no idea how long he giggled/cried but he knew that Eddie was there and whispering; to him the whole time, reassuring Buck that he was there and wouldn’t go anywhere.

“I love you,” Buck murmured as he was about to fall asleep. “So much.”

“I love you too cariño,” Eddie placed a gentle, loving kiss on Buck's forehead. “Now sleep, mi amor, I’ll be here when you wake up.”

***

“Bucky!” Christopher called out happily as Buck and Eddie walked into Eddie's house an hour after Buck had been discharged from the hospital.

“Superman!” Buck called back, feeling happiness fill him as Christopher hugged him.

“Are you okay?” Christopher asked as he pulled back. “Daddy said that you were sad and got hurt.”

Buck smiled slightly, Christopher only called Eddie ‘daddy’ when he was worried or sad. “I'm okay now, dad fixed me right up and took me to see a Doctor so I could feel better.”

“And it helped?” Christopher wanted to know.

“It helped but do you want to know what really helped me feel better?” Buck asked softly like it was a secret and when Christopher nodded he continued. “Dad telling me that you have made it so we can have a day filled with movies and cuddles and junk food.”

“I've set up lots of blankets and pillows in the living room,” Christopher beamed up at him. “And I've picked out all the best movies for us to watch.”

“I'm looking forward to it,” Buck smiled back, feeling the sadness and hurt become a little more bearable in the light of Christopher’s happiness.

“But dad has to change first,” Christopher declared with a decisive nod.

“I do?” Eddie spoke up for the first time since they had gotten home.

“Yeah, we can't have a cozy day if you don’t wear cozy clothes and jeans aren’t cozy dad,” Christopher sent such a look of ‘duh’ at Eddie that Buck had to bite his tongue not to laugh. “I’ll wait in the living room. Hurry up!”

Eddie had been home to change earlier that morning while Buck had another meeting with Dr. Heath. He had showered and changed out of Buck's clothes, which he had borrowed yesterday because his own had been bloody, and then had had breakfast with Christopher as they planned the cozy day they were going to have with Buck.

“Yes, how could I ever forget,” Eddie grumbled sarcastically.

“And you wonder where Chris gets his sass from?” Buck chuckled.

Eddie just turned to Buck with a raised eyebrow, “I know where he gets it from, I just don’t like it when he uses it against me.”

“Oh Eds, that’s the best part,” Buck laughed brightly.

“Come on,” Eddie chuckled. “You can join Chris in the living room while I change.”

***

Chris was so happy. He had his dad on his right side and his Buck on his left, both of them cuddled up under blankets and close to him as they watched the third movie of the day; Onwards.

Onwards was Bucky’s favorite movie and Chris had heard Bucky tell dad that he loved that it was all about friendship and brotherly love instead of romantic love whatever that meant.

They had started with watching dad’s favorite movie; Coco and they had all cried, dad and Bucky more than Chris. And after that they watched Finding Dory, a movie that Chris loved but it wasn’t his favorite.

“I love that movie,” Bucky sniffled as the movie came to an end.

“I know, that’s why I chose it,” Chris smiled brightly at him before looking down at his stomach which had growled. “Your tummy is talking.”

“Well…” Bucky blushed and looked a little embarrassed. “I might be hungry.”

“Might?” Dad asked with a laugh.

“Can we have Chinese food from that place that we went last time?” Chris looked at dad with pleading eyes. 

“They don’t deliver, mijo,” Dad told him with a sad smile.

“Oh,” Chris felt a little disappointed but offered up another suggestion. “What about pizza?”

“Pizza works for me,” Dad agreed before looking at Bucky.

“Homemade or ordered?” Bucky asked happily.

“Homemade!” Chris declared brightly, Bucky’s homemade pizza was always the best. “I think we have all the ingredients here already,” Bucky nodded and stood up. Bucky had a bandage on his left arm that covered everything from elbow to wrist and Chris hoped he wasn’t hurt too much. 

Dad had said that Bucky would be okay as long as he and Chris took care of him and made sure to make Bucky smile and Chris was determined to make his Bucky smile.

Twenty minutes later they were all gathered in the kitchen and even dad had helped to make the pizza. Sure, Dad was only allowed to cut things and carry bowls and stuff but he was helping, he was a part of the making of the food and that mattered.

Chris was just about to hand dad a bowl of homemade tomato paste so he could spread it on the dough when his legs didn’t obey his mind and he tripped, throwing the bowl right at his dad.

At first everything was quiet and Chris felt tears burn in his eyes. What if dad was really mad? He looked up at dad and saw the wide eyed look of shock and surprise on dad’s face and then Bucky started laughing and Chris couldn’t help but join in. Dad looked ridiculous covered in tomato sauce.

“Oh, you think this is funny?” Dad asked but he couldn’t stop the laughter either.

“I'm sorry dad, I didn’t mean to throw it on you,” Chris apologized while giggling.

“Accidents happen,” Dad shrugged with a smile. “Why don’t you and Buck order some pizza while I take a shower?”

“Sounds good to me,” Bucky agreed while looking at dad with a happy smile.

Was it actually happening? Were Buck and his dad boyfriends? Christopher had been wishing for it for several months and had started to wonder if no one was hearing his wishes but maybe someone had. Chris and Bucky called for the pizza before they started to clean the kitchen. Bucky chuckled before pointing to the ceiling where Chris could see some tomato paste splatter and Chris laughed in delight when Buck had to stand on his tippy toes to reach.

Almost everything was cleaned up when there was a knock on the door and Bucky went to open it with Chris following. Chris glared as he saw that it was Chimney on the other side of the door but he didn’t say anything… yet.

“What are you doing here?” Buck sounded as shocked as he looked.

“I went by your place but you weren’t there,” Chim sounded odd when he spoke. “So the most logical conclusion was that you were here.” Buck tilted his head to the side and was about to speak when Chim pinned him to the wall, his arm against his throat. Chris, getting scared, could see that Buck was being choked. 

He watched on in shock as Chim punched Buck in the face. Needing to do something to help his Bucky, Chris hurried down the hallway as fast as he could without his crutches to his dad. His daddy could help.

Flinging himself at the bathroom door, scaring the shit out of Eddie who was just getting out of the shower and putting on his comfortable pyjama bottoms and T-shirt. “Daddy, you have to come quick. Bucky...” Chris said, crying.

“Mijo?” Eddie asked worriedly. What the hell was going on out there, to upset Chris like this. “C-chimney is here. He's hurting my Bucky. Punching him and…”

Eddie was confused by what Chris was trying to say at first. When it finally clicked he rushed past Chris as gently as he could. Following at a slower pace Chris got to the front door just in time to see Eddie grab Chim by the scruff of his neck and throw him off Buck with as much strength as he could.

“Get the fuck out of my house!” Eddie roared at Chim and Chris had never heard Dad so angry before. “Before I call the Cops!”

“That fucking imbecile is the reason I was fucking suspended!” Chim screeched but Chris ignored them both and made his way to Buck who was sitting with his legs drawn up, hiding his face as he trembled in fear.

“Oh no! You don’t get to come into my house, scaring the shit out of my son in the process and blame Buck for this,” Eddie said, shaking in anger. “This is all on you, you piece of shit. You are the reason you got suspended, no one else!” Eddie growled and Chris knew that as long as his dad was there no one would hurt him or Buck. 

“Now, get out the fuck out, before I throw you out!”

Chris placed a gentle hand on Buck’s arm. His mom had told him to always be gentle with people that were sad or hurt, and to be soft and kind if they were scared. 

Back in Texas when dad had just gotten home, before mom and dad started fighting Chris had seen how dad sometimes woke up really, really scared and how his mom would help calm him down.

Thinking of everything he had seen his mom do for his dad, Chris started whispering to his Buck, telling him about the project he would be starting next week. How he was supposed to pick a planet and make a small scale replica of it and research it so he could make a presentation to his class.

Buck’s breathing started to calm down the more Chris talked and Chris was happy he could help. Chris kept on talking as his dad hurled Chim up by his arm and shoved him out the door before slamming it in his face.

“Will you help me pick which planet to make Bucky?” Chris asked slowly as Dad knelt in front of them. “If you really want me too,” Buck’s voice was scratchy and weak and Chris looked at Dad in alarm.

“Buck, mi amor, can I see you?” Dad asked gently.

“Chris…” Buck tried to say but his voice broke.

“Chris won't care if you are hurt, he just wants you to be okay,” Dad assured.

“Yeah, I just want you to be okay,” Chris agreed softly. “And if you are hurt I want Daddy to look you over so he can help.”

Buck slowly lowered his arms and looked up. Chris felt tears gather in his eyes as he saw the bruise on the left side of Buck’s face, the blood leaking out from a cut in his lip and a dark bruise around his throat.

“Shit Evan, that doesn’t look good,” Eddie looked sad as he looked at Buck’s neck.

“No hospital,” Bucky croaked out.

Dad looked like he wanted to argue but sighed, “Fine but if it looks worse tomorrow I’ll drive you to the ER myself even if I have to carry you to the car and have Chris sit on you to make you stay put.”

“Deal,” Buck chuckled a little before wincing.

“Are you sure you're okay Bucky?” Chris asked.

Buck opened his mouth to answer but Dad put a hand over his mouth.

“No talking,” Dad ordered with a smirk.

“I'm okay,” Bucky mouthed before hugging Chris. “Thank you for helping me.”

“Anytime kid,” Chris smiled brightly. 

A few minutes later the pizza arrived and they cuddled up on the couch again as they watched Encanto, this time Buck was in the middle and Chris smiled secretly as he saw his dad kissing Buck when he thought Chris wasn’t looking.

They later found out that the reason Chim had been suspended had been because Athena had figured out that he had hit Buck before he left to find Maddie and had reported it, along with all the mean and spiteful comments, to the Fire Chief who had not been happy about it at all.

***

That movie day was one of many. 

Every time Buck and Eddie had a weekend off they spent Saturday outside, either going to the zoo, the museum, the park, the aquarium or something like it, and Sundays they reserved for cuddles, movies and junk food.

Howard Han was arrested after Eddie and Christopher had convinced Buck to go to Athena about the assault ending in Chim getting fired and charged to a two week prison stay. He also had to pay Buck $15,000 in indemnity.

Maddie had been furious. 

Not with what Chim had done, oh no she was furious with Buck. 

Her boyfriend had lost his job all because her brother couldn’t keep his mouth shut. She thought that Chim had a right to hit her brother. Buck did get him suspended, this was his payback. And no it wasn’t abuse! What Chim did to Evan was justified because he had made her beloved Chim lose his job unlike Doug who hit Maddie for things that she had no control over.

She knew her brother was not the smartest, no matter what he said. The way he had given up and run away when things got too hard for him proved to her and their parents that time and time again.

She blamed him completely for this mess. 

She lashed out at Buck for being self-centered and “not everything is about you Evan. You are doing this just because you are jealous that I am happy for the first time in years (since I killed Doug really) I can’t help it if I want to spend more time with my boyfriend, rather than spending time with my very needy, emotional brother who doesn't have anyone special in his life to go home to. You want to ruin my chances of happiness with Chim.” 

Eddie had taken the phone and coldly told Maddie that if she didn’t have anything nice to say she should stop calling and then blocked her number on both of their phones. If she wanted to apologize she could send an email.

The atmosphere at work had gone stilted and awkward. 

Bobby punishing Buck for Chim being fired, making him do all the chores. The more demeaning the better, Bobby felt justified in the punishment, Buck deserved this and more for what he had done to Chim and his sister. 

That all ended when Eddie and Buck went to the Chief and asked for a transfer. Several firehouses started making offers as soon as they heard the news wanting them to work at just their stations.

If Eddie was honest he was sure that they mostly just wanted Buck and knew that Buck wouldn’t go anywhere without Eddie. And if Eddie felt smug about that? Well that was no one’s business but his.

Seven months after that first movie day Eddie proposed on a Sunday movie day, Christopher jumping in his seat in excitement as Buck cried happy tears while Eddie put the engagement ring on his finger.

Two days later Athena told them that Bobby had been fired after an investigation and that she had forced him into therapy. Turns out the man had never dealt with any of his traumas and that was not a good thing.

Three and a half months after they got engaged they got married on a beach in Hawaii. They had gone on a vacation with Christopher and had gone to lunch at a shrimp truck only for a tall man to walk up to them and pull Buck into a tight hug before berating him for not keeping in touch. Turns out that Lieutenant Commander Steve McGarrett had a soft spot for one Evan Buckley.

In the end Steve had taken over the wedding planning, and with the help of his partner Danny, managed to fix it so Eddie's family along with Athena, May, Harry, David, Michael, Carla and her husband could come.

As Buck looked deep into Eddie’s eyes and said ‘I do’ he knew that the future could only get better from there. And if there were whispered talks about moving to Hawaii? Well, only the future could tell…