More Than Asked For

Title: More Than Asked For
Ratings: Explicit
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Fandom(s): 9-1-1
Category: M/M
Relationships: Evan “Buck” Buckley/Eddie Diaz
Characters: Evan “Buck” Buckley, Christopher Diaz, Eddie Diaz
Tags: Alternate Universe, First Time, Coronavirus, SEAL!Buck
Summary: Evan “Buck” Buckley is at loose ends after leaving the SEALs. He’s looking for a place to call home and then Christopher Diaz enters his life during the tsunami.
Word Count: 29,178
Year: 2019 (Season 3)
Spoilers: Everything Aired
Notes: None
Alpha: V.Mures
Beta: ScarsLikeVelvet

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Evan “Buck” Buckley wasn’t sure what to do with himself. He looked around the pier and thought again about what he wanted to do. He needed to be away from the SEALs, but he was young enough that it wasn’t the end of everything. He rolled his shoulder. He had full range of motion back; nothing was stopping him from being whatever he wanted to be except his head.

A laughing kid drew his attention, so he looked to the side and saw a boy who was standing on a bench. The young man with him was looking at his phone. The way the boy was moving, and the crutches that Buck saw beside the pair made Buck think the boy had some kind of illness. The young man wasn’t even paying attention to the boy. There were no facial features in common between the pair, but Buck was sure they weren’t related even with that. He assumed it was a babysitter of some kind. He really hoped it wasn’t a caregiver trained in making sure that kids like that weren’t left to fall into the water.

Thinking of the water made Buck turn around, and he felt his heart start to speed up as he took in the lack of water. He looked to the horizon.

“RUN!” Buck yelled. He jumped to his feet and tried to understand why the alarms hadn’t gone off. He didn’t know much about the area since he had only settled there a few months before, but he knew there should be alarms for this kind of shit.

“TSUNAMI!” Buck yelled again when not everyone had started to run.

“HELP!” a voice called out, and Buck turned to see that the boy was alone. He looked around and saw the young man with him was running in the crowd.

Buck ran over, and he snagged the two crutches before he picked up the boy. There weren’t many places they could make it, and the crutches were probably going to be long gone, but he was going to try to keep them in his possession. He saw that the boy’s glasses were on strings around his head, and Buck hoped those made it through. There was a large game enclosure close, but Buck was sure that he could make it to one of the others. He pushed himself, just as hard as he had before; he and the kid needed to make it. He heard the wave getting closer, and while he had training, he knew that he needed to focus on himself and the kid. Once the wave had stopped, then he could see if there were others to help.

Jumping over, Buck made it into the fourth game area, and he got himself and the kid as secure as possible.

“Hold on, kid, and whatever you do, don’t let go.” Buck settled the kid into his arms, and he got his hands through the loops on the crutches. He hoped that he could keep them.

“I won’t,” the kid said.

Before Buck could say anything else, the wave was on them.

There was silence when the wave was done. Nothing but silence and the smell of the sea. Buck unlocked his arms and looked at the kid. They were both a little worse for the wear, but it seemed like the kid was good.

“Okay, I’m going to let you go as soon as I find something for us to settle on.”

“Fire engine!”

Buck looked where the kid was looking, and he saw there was indeed a fire engine. It was well above the water and would be pretty secure. The weight alone made it a good place to go. Buck had been lucky that he had been able to get them into an alcove in a building when the wave had gotten them as high as it was going to. He had ridden it all out there, so now he was just treading water.

“Hold on. I promise I won’t let you go,” Buck said.

The kid nodded his head and clung a little tighter. Buck figured that the kid was tired as hell, but he seemed to be in good spirits, despite what just happened. He knew a few kids that would already be freaking out and demanding stuff. His phone was gone, and he knew it. Thankfully he had taken the bus to get here, and he knew that he could easily get a new key to his apartment. His wallet was drenched, but it wouldn’t be hard to dry everything out later.

Buck had no clue what most of the things on the fire truck did, but he got them up on top of it. The crutches were long gone, he had given up keeping them when one got stuck, and the other kept tugging him away. He would just have to be the legs for the kid when they got far enough inland that they could walk again.

Settling the kid onto a section at the top, Buck looked at him. “Okay. Kid look, I know you have a disability. I can guess what it is, but it doesn’t matter, in all honesty. I need you to move your limbs and make sure that nothing is really hurting. I don’t want to move your body in a way it doesn’t like.”

“Okay.” The kid did as Buck asked him. He frowned when he moved his leg a little, and Buck looked to see a cut there. It wasn’t deep, but he was pretty sure that the kid would need some antibiotic ointment on all of the cuts. Buck was sure he was covered in them as well. He checked his body a little to make sure nothing was too strained. His arms were killing him, but he knew that was from holding onto the kid like he had.

“How are you?” Buck asked.

“I’m good. My elbow hurts but just like when I bang it onto a wall.”

“Can I see?”

“What’s your name?” the kid asked as he held out his arm for Buck to check it.

Buck pressed around on the elbow and touched everything. The kid hissed a little bit, but he didn’t jerk away in pain. “I think it’s a very deep bruise. I have a few of them on me as well. My name is Buck.”

“Just Buck?”

“Well, it’s Evan Buckley, but my team called me Buck, and it became the name I like best. What’s your name?”

“Chris, well, Christopher, but I like Chris better.”

“Okay, well, Chris. That man you were with? Who was he?”

“A new babysitter that Dad sometimes uses when the normal people can’t watch me.”

“Who normally watches you?”

“Well, there is this woman that Dad ran into who is trying to get me set up with stuff. Her name is Carla, but she had to work her other job. I really like her, and I hope that she can help Dad get stuff settled to where she can be my new person. Dad’s been having a lot of trouble since we got here.”

“Okay, well, as soon as we can figure something out, we need to call your dad. Do you have his work number?”

“Well, yes, but I don’t think that he’ll answer.”

“Why?”

“He works at the 118. He’s a firefighter. I’m sure he’ll be out working this. We can find someone he works with like Athena and have her get through the official channels.”

Buck nodded his head at that. Yeah, whatever base number was there, it wasn’t going to be answered, and Buck wasn’t going to call 9-1-1 to get a hold of the guy.

“What’s his name?”

“Edmundo Diaz, but everyone calls him Eddie. What do you do?”

“Well, I am actually not working right now. I’m trying to figure out what I want to do.”

Buck heard something, and he started to look around. He saw people swimming toward them. Buck looked at Chris. He really didn’t want to leave him, but he could help a few of them.

“Go. I’m good.”

Buck nodded his head.

Time passed only by the tracking of the sun in the sky. Buck saved anyone he could in their little area until the water started to recede. He saw the bodies coming toward them, and he debated.

“Chris, this spot right here is the best spot for you.”

“Okay.” Chris looked like he was confused.

“Well, there is…” Buck had no clue what to say. He looked around to see a lot of the parents blocking the faces of the kids. There was shouting, and Buck saw people crying out for help among the bodies. He needed to save them, but he needed to protect Chris as well. “You are about to see something that is going to be horrible.”

“Bodies?”

“Yes, Chris. I need to help those still alive, but debris and other things are coming as well, as the water retreats. I don’t want to move you because if something hits the truck, you could fall. If you don’t think you can do it, I’ll stay here. These people aren’t more important than you to me.”

“I can do it. I’ll stay right here.”

Buck looked at him. He looked tired, but he looked like he could do it. Buck found the next adult and told them what was coming to ensure that all kids were secure. He got off the truck, and he could feel the tiredness starting to creep in. He had sat for too long. He had work to do, and he needed to be at the top of his game.

When there were no more people in the water that he could see or hear, Buck went back up onto the truck. It wasn’t long until there was a group of searchers coming toward them. Buck had no clue what direction to go, so he had kept everyone there. With everything set up, there could be a hub for central things just a few streets over, and he would never know. So he kept them all here until he knew. There were also a few injured who couldn’t be moved by him. They were safer in numbers.

Buck was pretty sure that looting wouldn’t happen, but he itched to have a gun on him just in case.

“Hey, man, do you want them to call your father?” Buck asked as he wrapped his arm around Chris when a group of people was headed toward them. It was full-on dark, and they were all mostly dry by this point.

“I don’t know.” Chris leaned forward, and he looked to be squinting. His glasses had stayed on his person by sheer luck. He lunged forward all of a sudden, and Buck almost didn’t catch him when his hand slipped. Buck snagged the back of Chris’ shirt and held him up. “DAD!”

Buck looked up, and there was a man who was now stopped in the group of people. Then that man was running at them. Buck scooped up Chris and then slowly made his way down to where the man was there to take Chris out of his arms as soon as he was on the ground.

“Chris?” The man hugged Chris tightly, and then he set him down and started to check him over. He touched the cheek that was still smeared with blood.

“Dad! Buck saved me!” Chris said, and his head was tipped back to look at Buck.

“Evan Buckley,” Buck said as he held out his hand. He looked at Diaz as he stood up. He and the people behind him looked worse for the wear.

“Eddie Diaz. I didn’t even know where Chris was.”

“Robbie bailed on me. As soon as Buck yelled out for everyone to run, he looked at me and then took off. Buck came over, and he scooped me up, and he ran fast. He ran faster than you do when you have me in your arms, dad. He saved me.”

“Bobby Nash, Captain of the 118,” another man said as he came up to Buck. He held out his hand, and then when Buck dropped it, he looked up at the top of the truck. “There are a lot of people.”

“Yeah. I saved everyone that I could. There are a few up there that can’t walk, and I didn’t want to send anyone off alone or trust that there were looters or other bad people out there.”

“Thank you, Evan,” Eddie said.

“Buck. It’s Buck. Only my parents call me Evan, and that’s not a group of people you want to be lumped with. Your guy here is pretty brave. He held onto me, and he didn’t let go when the water hit, and he’s been a trooper since.”

It was chaos after that, and Buck was roped into helping get people off the fire truck and down to where they could be helped. He lost track of Eddie and Chris, and he really wished he hadn’t.

Buck wasn’t sure what he was doing. He rubbed at the back of his head as he looked at the fire station in front of him. He watched as the truck was cleaned. No one was paying attention to him. He saw the same faces who had arrived with Eddie that night to help them all. So far, Buck’s name hadn’t made it into a paper or news source, but he knew that he was being talked about. The people he helped were talking about him and wanting to be able to thank him in person. He didn’t do it for the thanks. They needed help, and he could do it.

“LUNCH!” someone yelled from inside the station.

Buck was about to push off the wall and leave; he didn’t want to interrupt their lunch when the Captain, Bobby, came out the door and looked right at Buck. The look told Buck he was invited to lunch. It seemed that someone had indeed noticed him. Buck pushed off the wall, and he looked both ways before he crossed the street.

“Buck, it’s good to see you. We have a few people here who would like to talk to you, just us, no reporters.”

“Sure,” Buck said.

“Are you hungry?” Bobby asked.

“I have not eaten lunch, but I don’t always feel hungry,” Buck said.

“Well, I won’t be offended if you don’t eat a lot. You don’t look like you starve yourself.”

“No, sir, I do not.” Buck followed Bobby into the station and then up a set of stairs that put him where everyone was. People were talking that ignored him, but Eddie looked up and nearly knocked over his chair getting up.

“Eddie, after lunch,” Bobby said.

Eddie nodded his head, and he waved for Buck to take the seat next to him.

“You guys always do this?”

“When calls allow, yes. This station is a family, and that means eating as many meals together that we can,” Bobby answered. He put his hand on Buck’s shoulder and guided him to the seat between the head of the table and Eddie.

“Did you find Robbie?” Buck asked. He hadn’t known enough to be able to keep an eye on the dead list. Many might never be recovered if the bodies made it to sea.

“He was one of the ones found. Chris liked him, and even he understands blind panic.” Eddie’s voice was very low.

Buck nodded. He knew that meant Robbie was dead. Buck wasn’t shocked. There weren’t a lot of people that would have made it out alive at the pier.

“Chris said you were pretty calm,” Bobby said.

“Trained to stay calm even when the world is ending, sir,” Buck said. He looked at where the rest of the team was passing around food. The food looked and smelled good. He heard his stomach growl.

“Well, that’s a good sign and no sir, just Bobby,” Bobby said.

Buck nodded his head and reached for the bowl of peas as they were handed to him. It looked like it was baked chicken of some kind.

“Any allergies?” Bobby asked.

“No,” Buck said.

“So trained to stay calm?” one of the guys on the other side of the table asked.

Buck looked up at him. He cocked an eyebrow.

“Howard Han, but everyone here calls me Chimney or Chim; I suggest you do the same.”

“Of course, Chim,” Buck said.

“What Chim is asking is what branch of service?” the woman beside Chim asked.

“We have a friendly bet going on,” Eddie said.

“Ah, I see. I’d love to hear what everyone’s guesses were before I reveal that.”

“Marine was the biggest,” Chim said.

“Yeah, the most insane was Eddie here,” the woman said.

Buck raised his eyebrow at her.

“My name is Hen, and unlike Chim, I’m not giving you the name I don’t like to be called.”

“To be fair, my name is Evan Buckley. I was called Buck from boot camp on, and I like who I became as Buck, so I like it. My parents refuse to call people anything close to a nickname. They even named my sister Maddie because of it.” Buck laughed as a few of the people around the table laughed. Chris had talked about a few people who worked with his father, but he knew that names meant nothing when matching them with people. Chris never talked about race or gender, which was a good thing. Chris liked them for who they were. “So why was Eddie’s thought insane?”

“He had SEALs written down,” Chim said, and he laughed.

“He was the only one?” Buck asked.

“Yes, he was,” Hen said.

“Then give the man his money. I will not tell you much beyond; yes, I was in the SEALs and was medically discharged at the beginning of the year. I reacted without thought that day. Chris was alone, and I knew there was no way he would make it without me. I picked him up without a second thought and got us as far from the pier as possible but still had time to bunker down somewhere. It wasn’t hard to protect him. He did what I asked as much as he could. How was he?”

“Bruised and battered, but his doctor was shocked how good he was in all honesty.”

Buck nodded his head, and he began to dig into the food now that all of the dishes had been passed around. He found that he liked the food.

The conversation moved away from Buck, and he listened in as most of them picked up old ones from some other point in the day. He missed this family that you wanted to be around. A family that one bled for. He wasn’t sure what the hell he was going to do for work before now, but this was what he was looking for, and this was what he was going to get.

“No issues with the cuts and infection?”

“No, I got them all cleaned up. He wants to see you again to thank you. You are all he talks about. He used to just talk about me with stars in his eyes, but now there is you right there alongside me.”

“Sorry,” Buck said.

“There is no need to be sorry. He’s had a rough time. His mom died a few months ago, and another firefighter in the station died shortly after that. Chris wasn’t close to him, but it freaked him out about me. He said you didn’t have a job.”

“No, trying to find something I want to do. I debated trying to become a cop, but I don’t think I want that.”

“Have you thought about this?” Eddie asked.

“You think all former soldiers will do good in this?” Buck asked.

Eddie raised his eyebrows.

“Like knows like. What kicked you out?”

“Nothing physical.”

“Yeah, I had a little of column A and a little of column B. There was the chance my injuries wouldn’t stop me from being a SEAL. But what happened that gave those to me? That’s where my biggest issues were.” Buck knew that Eddie would get it. He could see the same look in Eddie’s eyes that had been in his own every time he looked in the mirror.

“Why don’t I give you my number, and you can text me. We can see about setting up something where we can meet in public with Chris if that’s something you want.”

“I think it is,” Buck said. He had been thinking of the little boy. He had always loved kids. He had hoped to be an uncle someday, but that wish set sail to the undying lands many, many years ago.

“Good. Here.” Eddie pulled a pen out of a pocket and wrote down his number on a napkin.

Buck took that chance to look around. No one was paying him any undue attention. He was glad of that. Hen was looking at him, and Chim glanced at him once, but it was more like a check on everyone.

“So, Buck, I heard you say that the police was a no-go for you.”

“Yeah, I’m not cut out to be an officer of the law. I need a little less rigidity, and I know what that sounds like coming from a SEAL.”

“It is a little strange.”

“I was nearly kicked out a few times, but in the end, I stuck through it. My commanding officer learned how to use me to the best of his ability; he learned when to force rigid lines and when not to. I learned a lot about myself and how to read people being a SEAL.”

“Sounds like you made a good choice on what you were doing with your life. I bet it was hard to have to leave.”

Buck nodded. He had been in the military until his mental issues and shoulder issues put him out. He had accepted leaving long before he had been let go. He had used every single bit of psychological services he could while still in the military, and he had kept that up outside of it as well. He had been made fun of a little bit for using those services as much as he had, but he had learned the hard way in boot camp that it was needed. He had too many issues to not, and he hadn’t even known all of them.

“It was hard to leave. My team was my family, the first family to ever love me just for me. To accept me the way that I was. I don’t know any of you enough to explain more, but the SEALs saved my life.”

“I’m glad. You seem like a great man.”

Buck nodded his head. He looked at Eddie, who was handing him the paper. Buck slipped it into the front pocket on the light jacket he was wearing. He jumped when his cellphone rang. He pulled it free and frowned at it. He told Bobby sorry and got up. He looked to see a living room-like area off to the side of where he was; he moved over there.

“Diaz, what’s shaking?” Buck asked. He turned to look at where Eddie was to see him looking in shock. Buck just smiled at him.

“So, here we were just watching some footage of the tsunami that hit LA. Guess who we saw?”

“Someone got footage of me?” Buck asked.

“Nothing that most would recognize. I know how you swim when you are carrying someone. Just wanted to check in. Did you rescue the kid?”

“Yes, I did. I’m actually eating lunch with his father right now. Well, his father and the rest of his team. He’s actually a Diaz but like blood instead of like you where you have your step-dad’s name.”

“Fuck you, Buckley, fuck you.”

“Look, I’m fine. You guys can come down the next time you have a few days you can get away. I’ve got a huge house with enough room for everyone as long as people don’t mind doubling up. Which no one ever has.”

“Nope. I didn’t think you were going to go with the big place; what changed your mind?”

“The team. I never cut you guys off. I’m further away than you would like, but I want this place to be somewhere you can go when you need it. Like if Rivera is laid up for three months again, he can come up here. I’ll watch over his ass and take him places.”

“I’m sure Agnew would kick your ass for that, but I’ll pass on the word. So have you picked a job?”

“I think so. I just need to sign up and get through their version of boot camp. I won’t have any issues with that, I promise. I’ll let you know as soon as I land where I need to be.” Buck missed his team like he was missing a limb, but he needed the distance.

“You need anything, brother, and we will do it.”

“Well, get everyone together, including whoever replaced me, and get them down here. I haven’t had a housewarming party yet.”

“You got it. Stay safe; I’ll spread the word all around that you are safe.”

Buck hung up and slipped his phone into his pocket.

“So, Diaz?” Eddie asked as he leaned against the railing and looked at Buck.

“Yeah, Daniel Diaz. His step-father’s name but his father was a piece of shit, and the man adopted him. His mother’s maiden name was Delgado, so he’s Mexican, but we all like to joke he’s not a Diaz even though we call him that.”

“So, you have your phone. Put my number in.”

Buck looked at Eddie, trying to figure out what the man wanted, and when he saw the way his eyes darted down his body. Buck had played both sides of the field for a long time. He had chosen to push those thoughts away to stay in the SEALs until he had found out what it was really like between Alana, Agnew, and Rivera. Alana and Rivera were married, happily so, but Agnew was part of a weird little triad with them. Buck had learned how to act like them to ensure that no one found out enough to get him in trouble. While being openly gay was allowed, some still didn’t like it, which meant that things could be hard. The team knew. They all knew about everyone on the team that was of a different leaning than straight. None of them would ever give each other up, but they also made sure to protect them if anyone came to them.

“Sure.” Buck pulled his phone out again and then the napkin. He plugged in Eddie’s number under Diaz #3. Diaz #1 was always going to be his Diaz, and he would save the other spot for Chris’ contact information. He doubted the boy had a phone, but he might have an email address that Buck could use. He closed out and slipped the phone into his pocket with a grin.

“No text back?” Eddie asked.

“No, not at all.” Buck was grinning. It had been so long since he felt like smiling like that. It was the first time that Buck did it without freaking out about being happy when the world was shit. He was safe, and he was good. He could flirt and be free while also being himself.

“I see. Why not?”

“You’ll have to see just what I text you first. I gotta think about it. It’s the first text. It’s gotta be epic.”

Eddie laughed and turned when someone yelled for him. Buck watched how Bobby was looking at them, then seconds later, the alarms went off.

“Sorry, gotta go,” Eddie said. He rushed over to the pole and actually slid down it, smiling at Buck as he did so.

Bucked laughed as he looked at Alana. She held her daughter in her arms and regaled Buck with Agnew’s stories and dealing with the young baby.

“Here,” Alana said as she stood up.

Buck easily took the little girl and moved her to where she was on his chest. He had learned that it was the position that she loved to be held in best. Alana slipped off to go to the bathroom; she gave him the signal she usually gave Rivera. Buck had learned what it was early on.

Just as the food was being set down, Buck’s phone rang. He looked down to see it was Diaz #3. He smiled and picked up the phone with his free hand.

“Hey, my third favorite Diaz,” Buck said as a greeting.

“Buck, I need a big favor,” Eddie said.

Buck raised his eyes at that. Eddie sounded like he was stressed out.

“What’s up?”

“Chris is at school, and normally one of my family watches him, but they are sick. They’ve caught some stomach bug, and Chris doesn’t do well at all with those. Carla is out of town for the next few days. I can’t get off work.”

“Okay, you need me to pick him up?” Buck asked.

So far, Eddie had taken Chris to parks to spend time with Buck. The man was cautious with Buck when it came to his son, and it made Buck like him all the better. The light flirting hadn’t really come up too much, and Buck was pretty sure that Eddie didn’t really notice that he was doing it.

“Yes, and it’s going to be a thing because I don’t get off until tomorrow morning.”

“I know the shift. It’s fine. I do have a guest staying with me. Alana Rivera, she’s the wife of one of my team. She’s here with her three-month-old daughter. She is staying with me for the next week. The team’s out on a mission, and she was bored as hell. So she drove up to visit.”

“That will be fine. Chris loves babies. I’ll call the school. They are a little more concerned about Chris since we got him into this school. They will probably not let you inside other than to go to the office where they will take Chris to you.”

“I get it. A fancy and good school means security. I’ll make sure to take my ID and won’t carry any weapons.”

“You have weapons?” Eddie asked.

“Yeah, under lock and key. The ammo and the guns are not stored in the same space. Both are locked up. There is no way for Chris to get to them.”

“I’ve never heard you talk about them, but given what you did for a living, I can understand why you would want to have them. You seem so carefree that sometimes it’s easy to forget.”

“I try,” Buck said.

“Yeah. I’ll text you the address. Thank you so much. I know it’s a Friday night, and you probably have other plans.”

“I was just going out to dinner with Alana. It’s going to be fine. I’m sure Chris will love where we go to eat. I mean, we are taking a baby.”

“Let me know how much you spend.”

“Eddie, I am not going to make you pay for Chris’ dinner when I am the one taking him out to eat. Just text me the address and stop worrying. I’ll text you pictures of us. You’ll not even worry a bit.” Buck looked up to see Alana walking toward him with a frown on her face. He gave her a smile, and she relaxed a little. She sat down and looked at her food before looking at Buck.

“Thank you. I don’t think I can ever repay you,” Eddie said.

“There is no need. Friends help friends. You’ll get to meet Alana. Look, is there anything I need to get for my house? Do we need to go to your place and grab anything?”

“No, Chris took all of that to school with him today. He was going to stay with my family. They don’t have everything at their place all the time, especially anything that expires. He’ll walk you through it all. I’ll be worried until I know that he’s safe there. It’s nothing on you, and just me worried about him. Make sure he has clear walking paths everywhere. He’ll tell you if there isn’t a good space on things. Chris is not worried about suffering in silence. I’ve made sure that he never just takes things when he doesn’t have to.”

“I get that. Call anytime, I mean it. You go to work. Text me what time I need to pick him up by, and I’ll be twenty minutes before that to fill out anything that’s needed. I won’t leave you hanging.”

“Thank you,” Eddie said before he hung up.

“What’s up?”

“Well, you get to meet the little man that you were looking at the pictures of last night.”

“Chris?” Alana asked.

“Yes, him. His father’s in a pinch, and he trusts me enough to come and pick up Chris from school when the people who normally do are sick.”

“That’s the boy from the pictures, right? The footage of you swimming?” Alana asked.

“I knew Agnew told everyone after Diaz called me.”

“He was worried. Nicky always worries about you. Greg is stronger, but he didn’t like you coming down here. So how long until we have to go and pick up…what did you call him?”

“Superman,” Buck said.

“Yes, how long?”

Buck looked at his phone. There were still three hours until they had to leave to pick up Chris.

“Three hours.”

“Good. That’s enough time to go to the store and pick out some sheets for him for the one guest room right beside yours. He’ll feel better with some kid’s stuff around. Now give me my baby, and then you can eat. I’ve gotten good at eating one-handed.”

Buck handed the baby over and smiled as Alana gave her baby a fond look. He dug into the taco salad he had picked out to eat.

“So, we are picking up Christopher and taking him back to your place?”

“Yes. He’s gonna stay overnight. His father will pick him up in the morning.”

“Nicky and Greg will be upset that I get to meet the famous Eddie and Chris first. I’ll just laugh at them,” Alana said.

“We will have to post pictures online so that they can see it. I know that Rivera stalks me on Insta.”

Buck walked back to his truck at the school; he left Alana at the house to get a room set up for Chris. They had moved a few things out of the room so that Chris had room to move around how he wanted. He would be safe in there but also able to move around without his crutches.

The office staff had been kind and had only looked at him slightly with fear in their eyes and worry. After being pulled a little early out of his class, Chris was going and getting his things now to make sure he was fine going with Buck. Chris had easily told them that Buck was the one that had saved him during the tsunami.

Chris came out a few minutes later; he was smiling as he walked toward Buck. Buck waited for him to get close before he opened the truck door. He let Chris take his arms out of his crutches before picking him up and settling him into the seat there. The extended cab had a seat in the back that would help stabilize Chris back there.

“This is just like what dad has for me,” Chris said as he climbed into the back.

“Yeah, I asked him what he had. I’m not gonna get pulled over by Sergeant Grant for having you in a seat that wasn’t safe.”

“Okay. I get that.”

Buck laughed as he got up in the seat to buckle Chris in. He got out and shut the door before running around to get in on the other side. He looked at Chris in the rearview mirror and smiled at him.

“So Chris, I have a friend staying with me right now. Her name is Alana. She is married to one of the guys I worked with before. She brought their three-month-old baby up to see me.”

“Oh, cool. I’ve never held a baby that young before. What is their name?”

“Miracle. She was their little miracle, so that’s why they named her that. She was told she would never be able to have kids.”

“I can’t wait to meet her,” Chris said.

Buck listened as Chris chattered on about his classes for the whole trip. Buck loved listening to him talk, and he filled in things where he could. He had a lot of things he learned over the years. He would read anything, really. He had used all of his money over the years to get books to read during his downtime. During boot camp, it had been his saving grace, reading. Buck had never been good in school, but he loved to learn; he just had issues with learning to love to learn for himself.

Alana was waiting outside for them, and Chris was hyper and wanted out. Buck grabbed Chris’ two bags and slung them over his shoulder before shoving them to the back.

“Chris, your homework will be done before you get to spend any time with the baby. If you are nice, Alana might sit in the living room with you.”

“You are no fun,” Chris said, but he was laughing as he said it. He held out his hands, and Buck couldn’t help but pick him up and carry him inside. He settled Chris down in the chair in the living room that was at the desk. It was something that Buck liked to use for some of his research spirals, and he didn’t want to go into the office he did have. It was more of a library, but it was pretty empty at the moment. Most of his stuff was online. He did have his money invested wisely.

There was little he spent money on when he was in the SEALs. He had mostly lived on base because there was no one else for him to want to live off base for. If he was tired of that, he would stay at someone else’s place. He figured that he would think about moving off base then if he ever found someone to be with.

The blood money he had, he just kind of kept it and let it grow. He invested it and sometimes used some of it. He used it to buy the house, knowing that it would piss Doug off if he ever found out. He really hoped the man did. Buck’s lawyer kept an eye on that man. Buck had sued Doug to the ends of the earth after he killed Maddie. Buck had used all of his guilt that he hadn’t been there for Maddie to fuel his suing of Doug even after the man had been convicted of Maddie’s murder. The life insurance that had gone to Buck was more than enough for Buck to live off of. Doug had wanted Maddie to have the policy even though she bought it and paid for it. Doug hadn’t thought that Maddie would name anyone else. Even if Doug never would have got a red cent of it given that he had been charged with her murder.

Then Buck’s money from Doug had gone half into Buck’s banks and half into women’s shelters and domestic violence support groups in Pennsylvania. Buck had kept half of the money only to ensure that he would have enough money to live off of if he was injured. He knew that the military didn’t always pay enough to make sure that its people were taken care of, it was all down on insurance, and there was no one really in Buck’s life to protect him. His sister was dead, his parents hadn’t spoken to him since he signed up to join the military.

Buck could be the hard one with Chris. He knew that he needed to do a good job ensuring that Eddie let him see Chris again. Buck had never gotten as attached to someone as he had Chris in such a short time, but as Buck’s therapist had told him, they had bonded under fire, just not literal fire.

“Your place is huge!” Chris said.

“Yeah, it’s bigger than I really need, but I’ve got to have room for my family.”

“Once you are done with your homework, Chris. I’ll tell you stories about Buck and I’s family,” Alana said.

“Your family?”

“Well, bud, you know how Eddie’s close family right now is the 118?” Buck asked.

Chris nodded his head with a grin on his face.

“Well, my team in the Navy is my family.”

Chris’ mouth dropped open, and he started to dig around in his backpack. He pulled out his stuff for homework very quickly.

“He seems like a good kid,” Alana said.

“Yeah, he does. He lost his mother, another firefighter in his father’s team died, and then was caught up in the tsunami all in the same year. He’s had a rough time. Eddie told me that he had nightmares for a while, but they worked through them. For everything in his life, Chris is way better off than I would have been if that was me, and that’s not taking into account the whole CP.”

Alana nodded. She looked at Chris and then at Buck. “Go make us a snack. Maybe the cracker pizza bites? Dinner’s a while away, and I’m sure he needs brain food.”

“I’ll check with Eddie that he can eat them or likes them at all. I’ll make some of the lemonade that Diaz taught me to make; there isn’t a lot of sugar in that.”

“Oh, that will be lovely. Go.” Alana kissed Buck on the cheek before pushing him toward the kitchen.

Buck’s kitchen was state of the art, the only thing he had updated in the house when he bought it. Buck had never learned how to cook at home. His parents didn’t have the time or the want to teach him, and Maddie had her own studies to do, then she was gone. So when the team found out, Buck had been taught by all of them. Buck wasn’t a chef by any stretch, but he made good food.

The text response from Eddie came through a few minutes later, and Chris was allowed to have pizza, and nothing in Buck’s pizza bites was something he couldn’t have. Next did come the list of things that Chris needed to eat in moderation or couldn’t eat at all. It was a link to a digital document. Buck laughed as he saw the name of who had created it, and he found that it wasn’t Eddie. There was a tab that had a list of the things Chris really loved and what he hated. Buck made a copy of that to print out. He could easily work with that.

“What’s on your mind?” Alana asked as she stepped into the kitchen. Miracle was making a few noises, and it was her hungry cries.

“I like Eddie,” Buck said.

“Ah, and you adore that kid out there. It’s a ready-made family with a spot just big enough for you.”

“Something like that. I just really like both of them.”

Alana pressed a kiss to his cheek again before she set about getting a bottle ready for Miracle.

“BUCK! HELP! MATH!” Chris yelled.

“Oh, I hate math. You go help him.”

Buck laughed, and he debated it and then just flipped her off. Alana laughed and threw a wadded-up paper towel at him as he scooted out of the kitchen. Chris had only a small issue that was easy to help with before Buck was back and making them a snack. It seemed like Chris didn’t have much homework, so that was good. It looked like it was just stuff that he hadn’t finished in class. It was the weekend, so Buck was glad that Chris didn’t have much to do.

Chris was done with his homework in under an hour, which was good as it meant that Buck had time to get dinner started and the snack done. He grabbed those and the lemonade and carried them into the living room. Chris was on the couch with Miracle in his lap. She was kicking her legs and giggling as Chris told her a story.

“Bucky, she likes me!” Chris said.

“I’m glad.” Buck glared at Alana. She waggled her phone at him in answer. He raised an eyebrow.

“What’s that?” Chris asked as he looked at the tray of food in Buck’s hand.

“Cracker pizza. I didn’t have any pizza sauce, so I had to make some real quick to make these.”

“You make pizza sauce?” Chris asked.

“Yup, I make most of my sauces. There are times I use stuff from the store but not a lot. So I was given a list of stuff you like, and I see you like tacos. It just says tacos. So you like hard or soft shells?”

“Either. Not picky. Dad can make tacos; he usually uses his own spices. Pizza is something else he makes. Everything else he cooks takes too long.”

“He’s never had someone teach him. I can work on that.”

Chris laughed, and he reached out for a cracker when Buck held the tray out to him. Chris eyed what he picked up and frowned a little at it. “It looks weird.”

“Well, most pizza is warm? This isn’t. It’s not cooked at all. Well, the parts are cooked, but it’s not all cooked together. So I just slice and then cut up the cheese, and there is a little bit of sauce between the cheese and the pepperoni, so the cracker doesn’t get wet.”

“That’s cool,” Chris said. He put the whole cracker in his mouth and chomped down. He nodded his head very fast after he swallowed.

Buck grabbed a small plate that Alana handed him and settled a few crackers on there for Chris before setting it on the couch.

“So, Chris, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

“I wanna work at NASA,” Chris said.

“Oh, that would be fun,” Alana said.

Chris nodded his head. He looked down at Miracle again and then at Buck. “Do you think I can?”

“You can do anything you put your mind to, Superman. Your dad can figure out what you need to do to be able to work there.”

Chris was smiling, but he focused on Miracle again, who was still very happy to be just laying there in Chris’ lap. Alana wasn’t worried at all. It seemed about her falling out of Chris’ lap or him hurting her at all.

“I asked Dad for a baby sibling once.”

“Yeah, what happened?”

“Well, he told me that he needed a partner for that. Then Mom came back, and I hoped they would give me a little sibling, but then they didn’t. Then she died.”

Alana looked at Buck with wide eyes. He shook his head. He really didn’t want to get too worked up on that one. Chris seemed to settle down as he played with Miracle a little bit. Alana wandered in and out of the kitchen a few times, leaving Chris alone with the baby while Buck was cooking the main part of dinner.

Buck was doing his cool-down routine in the front yard when Eddie pulled up in his truck. He looked a little worse for the wear but also quite happy to be there.

“So we have a small problem,” Buck said.

“What?” Eddie asked.

“Alana was talking about a few things, and then they got into a friendly chat, and that has ended with Alana taking Chris to the zoo today, with or without us,” Buck said.

Eddie raised his eyebrows. “Really?”

“Yeah. Chris has all but adopted Miracle as his little sibling. Alana’s already given over her number to Chris so that he can call her to check on the baby.”

Eddie’s eyes were huge, and he looked a lot freaked out.

“How long is she in town?”

“At least another week. The team’s deployed, and she’s bored, and I think she wants help with the baby. I figure that she’ll be up a lot. It’s only about two hours in the car, three if traffic is horrible. She’s made a list of things for me to buy to make it easier for her to stay here.”

“You said that she’s married?”

“Yeah, Gregory Rivera is her husband, and they both live with Nicholas Agnew. Those two roomed together, and then she came into the picture and has never left.”

“Are they?”

“Active military? Sure are. Is it technically safe to say shit like that? Yes. Does it actually mean anything to some other people they work with? No.”

Eddie nodded his head.

“I chose to hide who I was from some people, but my team never made me doubt that they knew they could trust me. Who I loved, who I fucked never mattered to them.”

“That’s good. So I’m being kidnapped if I want to spend any time with my son today?”

“Well, yes. You have enough time to take a nap, though, if you want one. I have more than enough beds.”

Eddie reached into his truck and grabbed a bag, and hauled it out. “I keep a bag in the truck for emergencies and such. Chris said you were making breakfast for us.”

“Yup, Chris is still asleep. He stayed up late to help with Miracle because he wanted to. I hoped that would mean you could get a nap after they chose to go to the zoo. Alana’s in the kitchen, probably still feeding Miracle; she does breastfeed in the morning, so if that freaks you out, don’t go in there. She won’t mind if you go in. She’s used to the team in and out of her house, and all of them have seen her feeding the baby, I am sure.”

Eddie looked a little freaked out, but he went into the house. Buck was nearly done with his routine, and he would follow behind and see what Eddie did. Buck needed a shower, but he had more than enough time for that. They needed to leave at around nine to get to the zoo in time to get everything done that they wanted to do. A list had been made and approved between Alana and Chris. Chris was honest about how much he could walk around before he got too tired and would need to be carried. Buck had already planned on carrying him for parts of it.

Buck grabbed the towel he left beside the door and wiped off his face as he walked into the kitchen. Eddie was drinking some orange juice and talking to Alana. The way he was sitting, Buck could tell he was trying not to look down.

“So, don’t need a nap?”

“No, we didn’t have a call out all night long. It was good. So let’s see these plans for the zoo.”

“I’m going to shower. Alana, be nice.”

“I have been very nice. He’s not even looked down once after getting a look at Miracle,” Alana said.

Buck rushed through his shower to spend a bit more time with Eddie before Chris got up. The man was pretty as hell, and Buck wanted to do many things to him, but he also knew that he was still a stranger to Eddie. Someone that Eddie trusted to take care of his son, but after everything that Buck knew he had been through, from the bits he got from Chris and Eddie, Eddie’s heart was pretty guarded.

Eddie and Alana were still in the kitchen, and Eddie had a cup of coffee in front of him. Buck looked at the pot to see that the next pot was brewing. He walked over and checked the carafe beside the pot to see there was none.

“Microwave,” Eddie said.

Buck turned to look at him with a raised eyebrow.

“Alana walked me through making it. I stuck it in there to keep it somewhat warm.”

Buck grabbed it out of the microwave. He was used to drinking tepid coffee. He was used to drinking hot as fucking hell coffee as well. He had his preferred drinking temperature, and he had liked to have a touch of sugar and some cream in there, but he could drink it black if there was nothing else around.

“There is something in this,” Eddie said as he raised up his hand with the mug in it.

“Chicory,” Alana and Buck said at the same time.

“Nicky’s mom grew up in New Orleans, and it’s what she drinks. He infected everyone on the team with it. Though everyone had little things they all infected each other with.” Alana glared at Buck.

“What?”

“Be careful, Eddie; he will make you hate commercial chocolate.”

“Wait, I thought you were from Hershey?” Eddie asked.

“I am, but that doesn’t mean I have to worship at the foot of them. I like my chocolate to have some taste. There are a lot of other chocolates in the world.”

“He hates Hershey’s chocolate,” Alana said.

“Don’t let Chris hear you say that.” Eddie was laughing as he said it.

“Oh, no, he’s already started to infect your son. Chris was allowed a few pieces after dinner last night.”

“Yeah,” Buck said. He started to rub the back of his neck. Chris had fucking loved the tacos the night before.

“She’s already told me that Chris really loved the tacos you made last night. She ratted you out as soon as you went into the shower.”

“He’s easy to please. He made a comment that you overcook a lot of things or under-season them. I get the under-seasoning with some of the things on the spreadsheet.”

“Carla made that and shared it with me. It’s easy to edit.”

“Yeah, I added the recipe I use for the chicken tacos.”

“You got him to eat chicken tacos? He never eats anything but ground beef; I blame his mother for that.”

“Eh, he didn’t say a thing to me about the chicken.”

Eddie nodded his head and pulled out his phone. Buck left him alone and walked around to stand behind Alana. Miracle looked like she was nearly asleep, but she was sucking just a little every few seconds.

“Nearly done?” Buck asked.

“If you want to take her, please do. At this point, it’s just a comfort thing for her, I think.”

Buck drank nearly all of his coffee before setting down the mug and picking up Miracle. Alana worked on putting herself back to rights as Buck began to burp Miracle. He looked at Eddie as he looked at the recipe. He was so intent on it that he didn’t hear Chris and his crutches coming close.

“DAD!” Chris exclaimed and aimed for his father.

Eddie dropped his phone onto the counter and turned in the chair to hug Chris when he got close. “Ah, mijo, I’m glad you had fun.”

“I had a lot of fun. Miracle even napped on me while we were watching a movie. Buck said he took a lot of pictures and was going to send them to you this morning. Has he?”

“No, but he just got out of the shower after running. You look like you slept well.”

“My bedroom has a bathroom! I didn’t even have to use my crutches to go in there. Buck’s house is fun.”

“It sounds like. So we are going to the zoo?”

“You don’t have to come if you are too tired. Alana’s never been to the zoo here, and she wants to be outside today. I think it’ll be fun.”

“It will be fun.”

“Alana has this wrap thing to carry Miracle around in so she can do things with her hands, and we don’t have to have a stroller for her at all. She said that even Buck uses it.”

“Really?” Eddie asked as he looked at Buck. Buck just shrugged his shoulders. “I guess maybe I’ll have to see about that. It sounds like something that would have been great to use for you when you were a baby.”

“I’m alone a lot, and the wraps help me hold her when she wants to be held but also be able to do things. It’s saved my sanity.” Alana looked at Buck when she was done talking. “So we can eat here, or we can all get ready and eat somewhere closer to the zoo if you all want.”

“Chris?” Eddie asked.

“Yes, please,” Chris answered.

“Okay, then I’m going to go and get dressed,” Eddie said.

“I am as well, Buck; you are on kid duty,” Alana said.

“As always,” Buck said.

Chris was dead asleep on Buck, and he kind of loved it. The zoo was about to close, and they were headed to the truck. Alana had a sleeping Miracle in the wrap on her chest while Eddie was carrying the backpack with Chris’ crutches hanging from it. In his arms was the pair of stuffed lions. Chris had wanted one and demanded that Miracle wanted one as well. It was crazy and stupid, but Alana had bought it. It would go well with the rest of the stuffed animals in the baby’s room at home.

Halfway through the day, Agnew had called and was properly upset that Alana’s attention had been stolen by Chris. They stayed in one spot and talked to Agnew and then Rivera for half an hour. Eddie got to meet them and was stuck holding Miracle as Chris crawled into Buck’s lap to talk to them.

If Eddie had been hot before, it was nothing like what he looked like holding the baby. Buck wanted to climb him like a tree. Buck had never liked someone as quickly as he did Eddie. Chris didn’t count; only someone who had no heart would not love Chris when they met him. He was a national treasure, and nothing that anyone else could say would change his mind.

Buck had hoped for a family one day, not just the team but a wife or a husband, someone to come home to, but after the way he had grown up, he had never thought that he would be able to get that. He had been fucked up by his childhood, and he had sought therapy in many ways, but there was still that fear that others would find him not worth their time. That anyone he got together with would

“I saw you earlier,” Eddie said as he bumped his shoulder into Buck’s as they got close to the truck.

“What do you mean?”

“When Chris asked if you had any brothers or sisters. You dodged the question well enough. I can make sure he doesn’t ask.”

“I’ll talk to you about it later, just me and you, and you can tell him what you think you want him to know.”

“That bad?” Eddie asked.

“It could be triggering,” Buck said. He wouldn’t ever tell a kid like Chris about everything to do with how Buck had siblings, but now he didn’t. He was the only one left, and his parents hated it.

Buck didn’t care. He really didn’t. He just wanted to forget that he had parents, but it was hard. He would rather move on, but his past was thrown in his face all the time. He sent them a Christmas card, never with a return address that told them he was alive, and that was it.

“You will tell me later,” Eddie said.

Buck just nodded. It was better to air all of the dirty laundries if he wanted to start something with Eddie. He wanted that like he needed air. It was part of his life, part of his everything. Chris had been important to him from the moment he scooped him up and ran with him. Eddie had come along after, but he was no less important.

Those two were the family that Buck wanted to keep around forever.

“Dinner?” Buck asked.

“Pizza at someone’s place, please,” Eddie said.

“Sure. Did you need to stop and grab anything for him?” Buck asked.

“No, I have everything we need for him in the bag. I always send more than a day’s worth with him, just in case I get hurt. That way, Pepa or Abuela don’t have to go to my place to pick anything up.”

“Cool. Then if you want to crash here tonight, you can. Unless you need to pick up things at home?”

“I have everything I need in my go-bag. Are you sure it’s okay?” Eddie asked.

“Dude, your kid is out of it. You are dead tired. Just crash in one of my bedrooms.”

“Why do you have so many?”

“So the whole team can stay over if they want,” Alana said.

Eddie looked at Buck with a raised eyebrow.

“My team is my family, and that means I need to have room for them all.” Buck shrugged. “I also have the money to be able to do that.”

Buck knew that Eddie wasn’t going to let the whole sibling thing go. He knew that he would spill it all because Eddie was honestly too good at giving Buck a face and him caving. Buck had learned that while they were in the zoo. He didn’t do it to be an asshole, though.

“So, siblings,” Eddie said as he came out on the deck with a bottle of beer in each hand.

“Where is Alana?” Buck asked.

“Don’t dodge the question.” Eddie handed over a beer to Buck. It was one of the ones that Buck really liked, so there was a fair bit in the fridge.

“I’m not. Before I answer this, I want to know where she is.”

“She is expressing, and then she is going to lay down. She’s in her bedroom, and she told me you have a mini-fridge in there for her milk?”

“Well, yes. She’s been producing a lot and wakes up in the night and needs to do it if Miracle isn’t hungry. Or she wants to do it first thing if Miracle is still asleep. When I found out they were on their way down, I bought the fridge, so she didn’t have to leave her room and shit.”

“I see. Well, I don’t think that we need to worry about her coming out here.”

“Good. She really hates my family. Well, the two she’s met. No, she really hates Maddie as well. Okay, I’m telling this wrong. You don’t need to go in for anything to do with Chris?”

“No. He’s asleep.”

“Then I’m going to grab a few more beers, and then we can talk out there.” Buck pointed at the gazebo that was at the back of the property. It was the one place that Buck really loved.

“We need that much, huh?”

“Well, if I thought it was a good idea, I’d grab the bottle of scotch that Agnew sent down as an early housewarming present. But if I break into that, Alana will pout all morning because I’m drinking hard alcohol and talking about my family.”

“I see.” Eddie had a strange look on his face.

Buck walked into the house, draining his beer as he did. He grabbed four more from the fridge and grabbed the bottle opener. He headed toward where Eddie was now sitting in the gazebo.

“I send my parents a Christmas card every year. I don’t have a return address on it, and it just tells them I’m alive.”

“Jesus,” Eddie said. He wiped his hands over his face before he looked at the beer beside him. He drained it down before waving for another.

Buck popped the lid on two, tossing the cap into the trash can. He handed over one, sipped at another, and took a seat.

“I had two siblings, Maddie and Daniel. Both were older than me.”

Buck paused when it looked like Eddie was going to speak, only he just mouthed the world ‘were’ before sipping at the beer.

“Yeah, things were strange when I was growing up. I didn’t understand why my mother was the way she was. She would be pissed at me for getting hurt. Like I tripped on the stairs, and it was my fault. It never made sense to me. Maddie ran away as soon as she could. Met this guy named Doug, and when he went to medical school in Boston, she followed him. They moved back after he got his degree. She went to nursing school and graduated top of her class. Maddie was my mother more than she was my sister. I see that now.”

“How much older was she?” Eddie asked.

“About nine years. Daniel was two years younger than her. They were best friends.”

“So he was like a dad to you?” Eddie asked.

“I’m sure he would have been. About a year after I was born, he died, and we moved away. Packed up everything, moved to Hershey, and he was never spoken about again. I never knew I had an older brother. I was born to hopefully fix him. No one was a match, so I was made to be a match, only it didn’t take.”

“Juvenile Leukemia?”

Buck pointed his finger. He took a sip of the beer and looked up at the sky. “So high school was rocky, I didn’t have Maddie around, and I did stupid shit, but then this part of the way through my freshman year, the J-ROTC head talked to my parents and talked them into letting me take part in J-ROTC for the Navy. I did well enough in it, and then as soon as I turned eighteen, I put in my bid to be a Navy SEAL. It was all that I wanted. My parents assumed that they forced me into ROTC, but they allowed themselves to be deluded. The guy talked them into it to give me discipline, but he talked to me first. I wanted it. He lured me in with the promise of family. I did damned good, and I went into the Navy with the idea I would be the best there was. I was pretty much top of my class at ROTC.”

“What happened?”

“Well, the medical records that I signed to be released when I joined threw up a red flag. The doctor asked me about Daniel and the Leukemia that he had. I was shocked. The doctor knew it too. He knew that I was shocked as hell. So I called Maddie to ask about this brother I had that was dead almost two decades. She cried like crazy. I didn’t get a damned word out of her. So when I had a weekend that I could leave, I went home. I found out it was why my mother treated me like I was a burden. She couldn’t connect with me because she was afraid of losing me like she did Daniel. She told me that me being me made it impossible for them to love me. I was too much, too everything but what they wanted, a child that faded into the background that they didn’t have to do a damned thing with. Acting out was the only time I got anything from them.”

“I can see why you acted out. What kind of trouble?”

“Only ever me. I didn’t do illegal stuff, just high-risk things like ramping my bike. Climbing trees. Sometimes it was my mother’s overreaction to seeing me doing things that caused me to mess up. She acted like it was the worst thing in the world that I was active. I just wanted their attention, so I got it. Well, I got Maddie’s and my father’s. The only time I got my mother’s attention was when I was healing up or when she was yelling at me.”

“Any attention is better than none.”

Buck nodded his head at Eddie’s statement. He picked at the label on the bottle before he tipped it up to take a long drink. He looked at Eddie, who looked pretty upset.

“So, I learned that I wasn’t wanted. I was born to fix my brother, and I assume they wanted me to always be around to fix him later if it was needed. They left where we were before the rumors painted them the way they should be. They told me that I wasn’t treated like I was because they didn’t want me. Yet, it’s all I can think.”

“What happened with all of that?”

“Well, my commanding officer in boot camp talked me into keeping them as my emergency contacts. Then I was injured and in the infirmary. He called them, and my mother burst into tears and screamed that she couldn’t do it. She hung up. He called back a few minutes later and got my father, and well, he was more worried about comforting my mother and told him thanks for calling, but they couldn’t deal at the moment. So yeah, I then started to have whoever my CO was as my emergency contact. Then when I got on the team, I just kept it as my CO from BUD/S. Now it’s Alana.”

“What about Maddie?” Eddie asked. He picked up the last beer for him and popped the cap before looking at Buck’s and doing the same for the last for him.

Buck drained the beer, and he turned to the side. This was the only part of the story he got emotional over.

“She wanted hell and gone from our parents. So she attached herself to Doug. I knew something was wrong just before I shipped out, but Maddie wouldn’t come with me to Michigan and live there. She didn’t go with me. I wrote to her at her job when I could during training and everything. Then when I was in BUD/S, I got a call. She was in the hospital, and her husband was being charged with assault and battery, attempted murder, and a slew of other charges. Doug denied it all, of course, and during the trial, Maddie died from her injuries. I got her life insurance, and I sued Doug’s ass for the assets he had left. I was a pretty good witness there talking about how he isolated her, had her check-in all the time when she was out with me when I was a teenager. How she was like my mother growing up, and Doug took her from me twice. I got it all, and it’s what I used to move here. I had stuffed it all into a trust that was handled very well. I make a hell of a lot of money a year on safe investments and such; I leave that to the hands of the guy who runs it.”

“Damn,” Eddie said. He looked like he wanted to say more, but he didn’t.

“It is what it is. I got to say goodbye, she wasn’t awake, but I had forgiven her by that point. We talked sometimes, but mostly I wrote her letters. Her co-workers found them all and gave them to me at the funeral. Maddie left the life insurance, and I put it all into the trust. It was what she called my rainy day fund, just in case I was injured badly in the service. The money I got from suing Doug for all he was worth, well, that went half into a few funds back home for violence victims. I take about one-fourth of what I get in earnings off the trust each year and put that into those funds as well. I dropped a good bit into a fund for the tsunami this year as well.”

“And your parents haven’t tried to fix things?” Eddie asked.

“They have tried, but I’ve not let them. I don’t need them in my life. I don’t want them in my life.” Buck braced for what he was sure was coming. Eddie was a family man. He put his family first.

“My parents wanted to keep Christopher. I was working three jobs and barely saw Chris because of working to make ends meet. The thing is that I knew with them, he would never be as much as he could be. They gave into ableism under the guise of trying to protect him. He hated it. He never got to do things for himself. They never helped him to be able to do things on his own. He was drowning after Shannon left us. I couldn’t let them take him, and I wasn’t going to give him to them. So I came here. I had Abuela and Pepa here. It was close to where I knew Shannon was but more that it was with family that I could trust with Chris.”

Buck nodded. He understood what Eddie was saying there. Eddie wasn’t going to judge him for doing what he needed to stay sane. Eddie had left nearly his entire family behind.

“So that was an emotional bloodletting,” Buck said.

“I agree. Thank you for telling me. I’ll think about it, and we can talk about what to tell Chris about all of it. It’s heady stuff. I assume that Alana would rather kill your parents than ever look at them again?”

“When I was injured, and I went to stay with her and the guys, I don’t know what was going on, but they found me. I still have no clue. Probably some sob story. I let my CO handle it from an internal point of view. I lived on base, and that’s why I went to stay with Alana. Anyway, they showed up, and Alana nearly punched my mother. They had been told when I was brought home on my orders. My mother cried again and hung up. Then they just showed up. My mother was spouting about how hard it was to see her kid in the hospital. It was then that I realized that she had never gotten help at all. Now, I could almost call what was wrong with her a mental disease.”

‘Daniel was never talked about. She never processed her grief. She never got better.”

Buck nodded his head at that. It was a pretty good rundown of how it was.

“I have two sisters, Adriana and Sophia. We aren’t as close as I would like, but they don’t understand the choices I make for Chris.”

“Chris is gonna be anything he wants to be.” Buck knew it. Chris’ outlook on life was going to make sure that he went far. He loved learning; he loved doing things that he could.

“He wants to learn how to skateboard, and I’m not sure how. I’m doing all kinds of research on it.”

“Hmm, I have a few ideas. I’ll go to the hardware store and talk to the guys.”

Eddie’s eyebrows raised up.

“Dude, we have engineers and a few medics on the team. I’m sure we can figure something out that’s pretty cool and easy to break down and store when he doesn’t want to use it.”

“Why?”

“Cause no kid shouldn’t be able to skateboard if they want to.”

“You know you don’t have to, right?” Eddie asked.

“Dude, Chris and I bonded in war. I would think you understood what that was like. I don’t do it cause I feel like I have to. I do it because I like him. And you.”

“Okay, I can take that answer.”

“Besides, he’s my favorite Diaz.” Buck laughed at the affronted look on Eddie’s face. There was something in his eyes, though. And for the first time, Buck had real hope about him and Eddie becoming something.

It wasn’t his first time in the 118; it wasn’t even his first time here that week. He had taken Chris in to see his father on Monday since he was a full-on graduate from the fire academy. Given that he had been outed as someone who had saved many people in the wake of the tsunami and he was a former SEAL, he was blindly taken by the 118. It was where Buck had wanted to go, and even with the forms filled out about the connection between him and Eddie, he was still going to be allowed there.

Not that he and Eddie were anything yet.

“Hey, Buck,” Hen said as Buck came into the main area of the station house.

“What smells so good?”

“Bobby made oven chicken today.”

Buck looked up at where Eddie was on top of the rig and looked down at him.

“What are you doing here?” Eddie asked.

“I can’t just come and hang out?” Buck asked.

“You’ve been secretive with my son all week. You’ve bribed him with something that is so great he won’t even tell me what he’s secretive about, which is scary since that boy hasn’t been able to keep a secret from me ever.” Eddie was glaring at Buck, which had Buck just shrugging.

“You are just in time for lunch,” Bobby said as he walked to the edge of the upper area.

“Good. I’m hungry.”

“I thought we were expecting our new probie?” Hen asked.

“We are, but I was told that he might be late due to a few things.”

Buck kept his eyes on Bobby, who was looking at him like he wanted Buck to confess here and now. Buck just raised an eyebrow at him and grinned. He had his bag and such in the Jeep. He had chosen to pull it out at the start of the fire academy and get it fixed up. He had kept it mostly in good condition over the years, but he had let it get a little run down. It was Maddie’s Jeep, one that she had given him when he had finished boot camp, despite Doug not being happy about it. Of course, things had gone to hell around then as well. It was the only thing he had left of Maddie that he could touch, and he was happy about that. Doug had destroyed most of her things after he beat her so badly that she ended up with brain damage.

Shoving those thoughts away, Buck headed up to where Bobby was alone in the kitchen now.

“How did you know?” Buck asked as he helped Bobby put some of the food together. He had been by enough to know what to do to help. He slipped in and worked on the food on the stove while Bobby worked on plating up other parts.

“I asked around, but it was all hush-hush, but one of the other captains let it slip that it was someone who wanted to be kept quiet given some publicity and a former job. Then you come strolling in here. So I assumed that it was you.”

“It is. I wanted to maybe get through lunch. Obviously, if a call comes in, I’ll stay behind, work on getting my stuff set up. Did they give you the other reason?”

“I got wind that the man was smitten on another firefighter within the city, but given it’s you, Buck, I’d say you are smitten with a firefighter in this house.”

“Well, that’s not hard to spot, really.”

“No, it’s not. What are you going to do if he says no?”

“Then I’ll still be his best friend. My feelings are my own, and I can get over them. If he has issues, I’ll move houses. He’s been here longer.”

“I was told that you had a good head on your shoulders. I won’t lie to them for long.”

“No, sir, I don’t want you to. My stuff is in my Jeep. I can run down and grab it easily. I can put that stuff away as a way to show them.”

“You can tell them while we eat lunch. Someone is going to ask if I know where the new probie is,” Bobby said.

Buck nodded his head. He worked on helping Bobby as the rest of the team filed in. He was nervous as hell. These guys would never replace his other family, but he hoped in time he could call them family as well.

“Guys,” Bobby yelled.

Everyone who was on duty headed to grab something to take to the table for them to eat. Buck watched them move like a well-oiled machine. He was now worried that they wouldn’t like how he joined the team. He fucked up shit. His other family didn’t like him at first, but they grew to love him. Buck gripped the counter, and he lowered his head to get his emotions under control.

“Come on,” Eddie said as he laid his hand over Buck’s.

“I need a moment.”

“Buck, come sit with me,” Eddie said.

What Eddie wanted, Eddie got. Buck allowed Eddie to pull him to the table and push him down to sit beside him. When it was handed to him, Buck dished out some of the food, but he kept his mind focused on not fucking up.

“His times were great. I’m looking forward to working with him,” Hen said.

Buck looked up. He finally listened in as the team all talked about what Bobby had shared about the new hire. He heard them all talking about the scores he made, the tests he did. He listened as they all sounded really excited about him.

“It’s not the first time that blind hires have happened,” Eddie said.

“No, and it usually only happens when there is a chance of bias,” Bobby said.

“Also so that the person who is applying can’t be pulled into a house based on bribes or various things,” Chim said.

“That’s happened?” Buck asked.

“There was an issue once, yes. It was handled. We have the blind option, making it hard for someone to know that they are being valued for what they can do, not who they are. So it’s a good way to do things.” Bobby looked around the table. Everyone he looked at nodded. The topic, it seemed, was dropped.

“You said he would be late,” Eddie said.

“Yes, it’s fine. He’s dealing with something. We are having a good day here, so us in a good mood will be great for when he gets here.”

Buck listened as the talk turned again. He felt Eddie drop his hand onto his thigh and leave it there while they were eating. It was moves like that which had Buck wondering what was going through the head of Eddie. The touches like that were getting more and more familiar with. Buck’s waist when they were cooking, his shoulder when Eddie passed him at any point in time. It was confusing, but also, Buck liked it. He was used to being touched by his team, and he had missed it over the last while. Alana had picked up the slack by ensuring that she touched him a lot when she was around.

“So Buck, have you figured out what you are doing with your life?” Hen asked.

It was the perfect segue into what he was doing, and it worked so well.

“I did, actually. I just got hired.” Buck looked at Eddie out of the corner of his eye, and the man didn’t react at all. The squeeze on Buck’s thigh had him smiling. “I just hope that I like who I work with. I mean, I’m going onto a team that’s been together for a little while. It’s kind of scary.”

“When do you start?” Hen asked.

“I started about half an hour ago.” Buck enjoyed watching the faces that clued into the words he said.

“You are the new probie?” Chim asked.

“Yes. This was the only place I wanted to go, but I didn’t want it being me as the only reason Bobby wanted me. I wanted my skills to be the reason.”

“Well, they were, but also I need someone that Eddie can trust and the way that everyone who trained you talked about you, I knew that you could be. Then you come in, and I just knew it was you. Eddie’s gonna trust you to have his back when he’s doing the kinds of things that only two of you can. The skills you bring to this team are bigger than anything that I think you might take away.”

“Take away?” Hen asked.

“That’s up to Buck to talk about, but it’s not going to happen today. Buck, make sure that you stay holding to the promise you made me.”

The alarm went off. Buck shoved to his feet and stripped off the overshirt he had on to show the 118 undershirts they all wore in the station when they didn’t need to be in the official dress shirts. He had made sure that his things were ready to go when he had walked in.

“Eddie made sure your stuff was ready. Get kitted out, and let’s go. You might just be on the back, but we’ve already got someone staying behind due to personal issues.”

“You got it, Cap,” Buck said. He shoved the last bite into his mouth and then rushed to follow, where Eddie ran to get ready.

Buck was ready for this part of his life, no matter what happened with him and Eddie.

Buck looked up as there was a knock on his door. He frowned at the time of night it was. He wasn’t in bed yet since he was on a first of four days off stretch. Eddie and Chris were supposed to come over tomorrow to spend the day with him. They were all staying pretty much in their circles, and Eddie was stressed out about Chris dealing with doing school online and his in-person social interactions just being Eddie, Buck, Pepa, and Abuela.

Grabbing his phone, he looked, and there were no messages. He frowned and debated grabbing his gun from the safe before going to answer the door. No one really ever dropped by without asking first. He looked out the curtain, and all he saw was a baby carrier and a huge bag that he knew was Agnew’s. He saw the rip that had made it to where he couldn’t use it anymore, so he had kept it at home for use.

“Alana?” Buck asked as he opened the door.

“I have a negative test. I got one after I was quarantined for two weeks. Nicky got it, and they isolated, but I kept a check on myself and Miracle. A few of the guys wanted space to just not go home unless they were sure, and our house is the biggest. I didn’t realize until like half an hour ago that I didn’t call you like I was supposed to. So how do you feel about the baby and me staying with you through most of this?” Alana asked.

“Of course. You are both negative. Eddie and Chris are coming over for a visit tomorrow. You might just be what we need.”

“Why?” Alana asked.

Buck snagged the handle of the carrier, and he pulled it inside, smiling down at the sleeping Miracle inside of there. “We can talk after I get the rest of her stuff.”

“It’s mostly in here, but I have a few toys that she likes in the truck. I haven’t talked or seen anyone on the way down here. I filled up at that place that is now full service, hiring in people to go inside and shop for items for people and filling up the gas so that people don’t even have to get out of the car there. A lot of people have been using it. I gave them cash and told them to keep the change, so I didn’t touch anything they had. I know you are mostly bubbled with the team, so I didn’t want you to worry about Chris.”

“I know you wouldn’t do that. Is Agnew okay?”

“Yeah, he’s pretty lucky that he just had a massive headache, really. He was confined to base but with all of us used to being apart, it’s just easier if the guys bubble together and talk with their families over the computer, or we have a small thing planned where the families will come up and stand on opposite ends of the yard. Are you sure it’s okay? I really thought I had called you, and then when I checked the texts, there was nothing, and I realized that I had not called.”

“Hey, it’s okay. My bubble is pretty small, just the team and Chris. I was thinking of trying to talk Eddie into coming to stay here. We can close down his house and make sure his bills aren’t too high. That’s what I think you’ll be a help on. Carla can’t be in the bubble with us based on her other clients, so she had to shed those who didn’t need her direct care. Our job is also a factor. Abuela and Pepa can’t do the times that we need all the time, so if you wouldn’t mind being a Chris minder and helping him with school, I think that I can talk Eddie into living here.”

“Oh, that would be good. I wouldn’t be alone, and I would be able to trust Chris with Miracle while I do adult things since you boys will be gone for entire days.”

Buck lifted the bag off Alana’s shoulder, and he carried it up to the bedroom she used before. He plugged in the mini-fridge because even though she was no longer breastfeeding, there was a fair bit of food Miracle was eating that she might prefer to keep in there for various reasons or her own stuff.

Heading back down, Buck frowned as his doorbell rang. He looked at Alana and raised an eyebrow. She just shrugged at him.

Buck walked to the door and opened it up. He frowned at the pair on the steps. “Shouldn’t he be in bed?”

“Yup, he should. And that would be good if I hadn’t a pipe burst in the bathroom. He was up, I was up, the water to the pipe was shut off. I got a hold of the landlord. We packed up, and I realized that when I got here, I hadn’t called you.”

“It’s the day for that. Eddie, you arrived just in time. You and I can get everything out of Alana’s truck, Chris can make sure the baby doesn’t wander off, Alana can get her, and the baby’s rooms are set up. There are toys in the truck.”

Eddie nodded his head, looking like he was unsure of coming over now that he knew someone else was there.

“Hey, it’s not even going to be a full house. Tomorrow Alana can watch Chris while you and I get your shit from the house, and you can stay here for as long as you want, stay until everything is out of lockdown if you want. How does that sound?”

“Buck,” Eddie said, warning in his tone.

“Eddie, you are worried about Chris; Pepa and Abuela can come around here to see him. Alana isn’t going to care. She’s been in contact with no one since she was tested and came up negative. There is more that has her coming here with the baby, but you and I can talk about that later. Let’s get everything into the house, and we can all eat a snack, drink a drink, and then get some sleep.”

Eddie nodded and looked at where Chris was already talking to Miracle. “Everything okay?”

“Agnew caught it. He’s good, and everything is fine. She’s done with quarantine, and they are both safe. The team is going to bunk at their house, and she would rather come down here. She’s got a little family down here, and they can do the yard stuff to see and talk to each other. It’ll be good for all of us.”

Eddie looked at Buck for a second before he looked at Chris again. The slump of Eddie’s shoulders told Buck that he won. He was happy about it. He knew that Eddie was worried about Chris, and this was honesty, something good. Abuela and Pepa were always more than welcome here; Buck had them over for dinner with Eddie and Chris a few times. The pandemic was making it hard for Buck to woo Eddie into something with him.

The relationship had been at a standstill ever since Buck had joined the 118 because they were trying to figure out how to work together. Nothing had been said between them about it, but the touches from Eddie had cooled down. They weren’t gone, just cooled. Over the last two weeks at work, though, things had changed. There was a new normal at work with the pandemic, and things were going pretty well. The team was adjusting, and Buck more so than anyone. He didn’t have many friends outside of the 118, but he did have a few that he could not see in person.

“Let’s get outside and get this done.”

“Be prepared,” Buck said.

“For what?” Eddie turned to look at Buck as he walked back down the walkway to the driveway where Alana had Rivera’s truck parked. It was a beast, and it was one of the things that would make it easier for Alana if she were in an accident, especially with Miracle on board.

“That.” Buck pointed at the stash of toys in the extended cab area and in the passenger seat. It looked like all of Miracle’s toys were here.

“Damn,” Eddie said.

“Look, if there is one thing this family does, it’s spoil kids. Half of these toys are hand-me-downs from others who had older kids. Alana will keep Miracle’s toys and clothes and pass them down to whoever has a kid next. Now when they are older, and it’s school time, yeah, no. Clothes are passed around, but if someone outgrows a bike, it’s passed to another. Which is how Johnny ended up the coolest kid on the hot pink bike. He wanted it, and he got it.”

Eddie laughed and grabbed a few things before he looked at Buck. “This is going to take several trips. Each.”

“Yeah. It’s okay. We are nice, strong people. We can do it.”

It took a few trips each to get things in since more than a few were unable to be carried in more than one at a time in each hand. Buck started a pile in the living room in the corner, and he would figure the rest out later. He would ensure that Miracle could get her toys when she wanted them and ensure that the baby was safe.

“She’s walking, have I told you that?”

“No. Damn,” Eddie said. There was the sound of giggling, and Eddie turned to where it was coming from. “We need gates.”

“Yeah, I’ve got them already. They are in the guest room down the hall. Enough for all doorways in the house and the stairs at the top and the bottom. You’ll help me install a few, right?”

“Install?”

“The ones for the rooms down here that Chris would use the most are ones that attach on one side and swing open. He should be able to open it up and let it swing before going inside. The ones in the living room will mainly be to keep her in, so they can be open if she’s not in there. Same with the kitchen since it leads directly from the living room.”

Eddie dropped the last toy into the pile before he walked over to where Chris was playing with Miracle. Miracle held up her hands to him, so Eddie picked her up. She tucked herself right into him like she was going to go to sleep. Eddie gave Buck a scared look.

“Her bed is upstairs; just take her up there. Alana will get her settled down.”

Eddie looked betrayed that Buck wasn’t offering to take the baby from him.

“You picked it up. You get to deal with it.”

Eddie subtly flipped off Buck before he headed up.

“You ready for bed, Superman?”

“Yeah.” Chris held up his arms.

Buck carefully picked him up. He knew that Chris being tired was something that made moving very hard for him. Buck and Eddie would rather carry him up the stairs than have him trip because he was tired. Buck made a mental note to ensure that he got the crutches and anything else Chris needed from downstairs. Over the next few days, Buck would work on getting the downstairs bedroom empty to set up for Chris if he would be staying there. If Eddie and Chris wanted him down there. Eddie might not. Buck had good security, and Alana could easily defend them. Chris usually took naps during the day, right after he got home from school.

It took no time at all to get Chris out of his shoes and into bed. He was still in his pajamas. He was asleep almost before Buck got him all the way into the bed. Buck looked to the side to see Eddie standing there looking at the pair of them. That look was in Eddie’s eyes again like he was seconds away from kissing Buck. Buck wished he would, but he also knew that Eddie was dealing with something he had trouble processing.

Eddie jerked his head toward the stairs that led down to the ground floor. Buck got up and followed the man down the stairs, down into the kitchen. Alana was in the living room with Miracle, looking like she was rocking her to sleep. The drive and stuff had to be messing with the baby’s sleep schedule.

Grabbing two bottles of beer, Eddie turned to look at Buck. Alana popped her head in.

“I’m gonna go lay her down. I’m exhausted, so I’m going to go right to sleep. I’ll work on breakfast if I wake up first; if not, I’ll enjoy watching you cook it in your underwear. I demand underwear.” Alana looked Eddie up and down. “Either one of you.”

“I’ll get right on that,” Eddie said as he popped the caps off the two beers. He was smiling as he said it.

Alana waved good night to the two of them. Buck waited to hear her at the top of the stairs before he walked over to Eddie to take the beer. He didn’t step away nearly as far as he should have once he got it. He waited to see what Eddie was going to do.

“My kid is never going to want to leave here,” Eddie said.

“And I see no issue with that. You can pay rent, whatever you are paying now. Pick up half of the groceries each week. We can make sure to kit this place out for Chris to go wherever he wants to in the house. I can make the bedroom down here his.”

“Why?”

“Because I like being around my friends. My family. We’ve been family since you started to bring me home and make me cook under the guise of me not being alone. We are all going to be lonely as fuck for a while as we deal with this pandemic. If we move in together, we won’t be alone. I know that Alana dropping into our lap is making things a lot easier. Sheltering in place is going to suck less with someone here. I wanted this house filled with my family, but my other family can’t come for a while. They are going to be locked down harder than anyone else. I want you around Eddie because I don’t think I can do this alone and I’ll do anything, even use your son against you to get it.”

“You would do anything for my son. You have since you picked him up and slung him over your shoulder to run away from a huge wall of water. You made sure that my son came home to me, Evan. You’ve helped me with his nightmares after that. You’ve helped me to make sure that he gets what he wants out of life. You’ve made sure that I can be there for him as much as possible. Hell, you got Carla to like you when she had hated everyone else outside of the few people at the 118 who have met her, Pepa, and Abuela. I dated a little before you came into our life before Shannon did, and Carla hated all of them, but you have slipped into our lives, carving yourself out this space that I don’t know what to do with.”

“I’m gonna stay in it too,” Buck said.

“I know. You’ve proven that. I need time,” Eddie said.

“I know.”

“And you still don’t mind my son and me moving in with you?”

“No, I don’t. I don’t mind at all. Alana’s gonna be here for months. My house is gonna be full, and it’s gonna be good. I know that it will take time, so we can easily move just a little at a time. With the pipe broken, who knows what is going to happen with that. I’m used to living with people and you moving in here helps you as much as it helps me.”

“You’ve been going nuts, haven’t you?”

“Yes.”

Eddie laughed and took a drink of his beer. He drank about half of his beer before he set it down. Buck did the same, and he was glad when he was pulled into a hug. It lasted longer than most of their hugs had over the last while. Buck took the comfort of the hug for what it was.

“You drive a hard bargain. Let’s get some sleep as you know that Chris is going to wake up to spend all of the time with Miracle.”

Buck laughed and let go of Eddie. The look in Eddie’s eyes said soon, and Buck was going to hold him to that.

Buck grabbed the bottle of shampoo and groaned as he rubbed at his head. He stopped when he felt the pain. “CHIM!”

Chim came running as Buck sat down on the floor of the shower. He wasn’t worried about covering himself up.

“Buck?”

“I have a head wound.”

“Shit, how did you miss that?” Chim asked. He came over and crouched behind Buck and started to look around. “I’m gonna rinse this.” Chim walked away before coming back with a cup to pour water over Buck’s head.

“I have no clue. I didn’t notice until the soap got into it.”

“Hen’s gonna check you for a concussion while I go and get the kit to give you stitches. You ripped that good. You clot quickly. Head wound tends to bleed more than this.”

“I’d check my helmet.”

“I’ll have Cap do that. How are you feeling? Why don’t we get you rinsed and out in a pair of boxers?”

“I’m gonna finish my shower. I’m not dizzy, but you can stay in here and watch me. I’ll try not to get my head wet any more than I have to. I got my hair washed well enough.”

“I’m gonna call Eddie in while I get all of the stuff ready to take care of you and have Hen join me.”

Buck waved his hand, and he got up again. He wasn’t dizzy, which would have told him he had a head injury. He wasn’t sure how to tell everyone what happened that made it to where he didn’t feel that. It was documented that he had no feeling in that region on his head in his intake forms, and while it wasn’t a big issue, Buck hadn’t expected it not to bleed enough to let him know he had a wound. He groaned as the water was cooler than he liked it to be. He rushed through his shower. He felt Eddie’s eyes on him when he was nearly done.

“Took your time,” Buck said.

“I trusted that if you trusted yourself alone in here, things were fine. You will be explaining how the hell you didn’t know you had a head injury.”

“I had a headache before the call, and yeah, it got a little worse while we were there. I assumed it was the smell of the overturned truck leaking that shit before we arrived and stopped it. I really didn’t expect it to be a head injury that made me have an even worse headache. I’m not even sure what caused it.”

“I think it was when you crawled into the one car, and you had to take off your helmet to do so because you couldn’t even fit your shoulders all the way in.”

Buck thought about it for a few seconds and agreed it was the most likely point. It was the only time he was without a helmet and around anything that could cut him while in the field. It made the most sense overall. He nodded his head and regretted that. It made his headache worse.

“I jerked in there when the car down the road finally blew up. I felt the top of my head hit the roof. The back must have cut across something.”

“Well, you are submitting to the exam, and Chim will take care of things if Hen says you don’t have a concussion. If she even thinks you do, you are getting checked out.”

Buck turned off the water and grabbed his towel, wrapping it around his waist before he turned around and gave Eddie a mock salute. He wasn’t that worried about drying off all the way. He would dry off enough to get underwear on but then sit with the towel over his shoulder to catch anything that dripped while Chim took care of his wound. He was pushed down onto the bench as soon as he went into the main area, where people got dressed. He wasn’t sure what was going on, but then Eddie was there with a pair of basketball shorts, and he got Buck’s legs into them.

“I can do that on my own, you know.”

“Let me take care of you.”

Buck kept his mouth shut. He would gladly let Eddie take care of him. He hoped it wasn’t just misplaced guilt on not knowing that Buck was injured. Eddie helped him stand up, and he did sway a little when that happened, but it was mostly from Eddie’s hands on his naked skin.

“Buck?” Bobby asked.

“I’m good, Cap. I’ve got a head wound in the dead nerves area. I didn’t even think about hitting my head on the car. Hen’s gonna do a check while Chim stitches me up. Eddie’s already promised if Hen doesn’t clear me, he’s taking me to see the doctor.”

“Good. Keep me informed.”

“Dead nerves?” Chim asked.

“Yeah, you won’t need to use anything on my skin. I don’t feel anything here. It’s why I didn’t feel the cut, not until the soap got into the wound. It was a place I was injured on a mission years ago. I kind of forgot to have people do a check anytime I’m in the field, and the helmet comes off. The guys used to do it for me.”

Eddie stayed beside Buck on the bench as Hen assessed him and said he had no sign of concussion. Chim was given the green light to stitch him up. Buck felt his skin moving, but there was pain.

“Holy shit,” Chim said.

“I’ve seen that before, usually limbs,” Eddie said.

“Yeah, it was part of the thing that put me out of the SEALs; there is just too much damage to a few parts of my body that makes it risky for me to be out. Here it’s easier to manage. If I can’t do something because of an injury to the area during a big rescue, it’s not hard to swap me out with someone else. It’s impossible with the SEALs. We are all we have most of the time.”

“It’s strange to not see you flinch at all.”

“I have another spot, and you better believe the guys made fun of me for it. Right below the belt, I have another. I check it all the time when we are out and working. It’s easy to check. I kind of forget about my head since most of the time, it’s protected when we are in danger.”

“Well, I’ll be the one to check that.”

“Eddie, you know what to do?”

“Sic Chris on him and make sure he lets me check his stitches to make sure he hasn’t pulled them? Sure.”

“Asshole,” Buck said. There was no heat behind the words, and he bumped his shoulder into Eddie’s sternum.

“You like it when I’m an asshole.”

“And we are back to the weird flirting; I’m out of here,” Hen said as she finished closing up the medical bag and stood up. She glared at Buck before smiling at him. She patted his shoulder before heading out.

“You good to get him dressed?” Chim asked.

“Sure. I’ll drive home too.”

“He lets you drive the Jeep?” Chim asked.

“Of course, I do. He would never do anything to harm the Jeep,” Buck said.

Eddie laughed, and he sounded like an asshole as he did it. Chim just huffed and left the room. “Okay, I’m going to help you get your shirt on. I don’t want the hem to pull on a stitch.”

Eddie grabbed Buck’s shirt from his locker and came back over. He handed Buck the shirt and allowed Buck to get his arms through. He only then helped by making sure the back part of the hem didn’t touch his head. Eddie laid his hands on Buck’s shoulders. “You are still not going to play around with Chris or Miracle.”

“No, I won’t. I don’t want to rip the stitches anymore. I’m just glad I was able to shower. I’m hungry.”

“Chris is expecting breakfast. You talked him into brunch today, remember. Saturday brunch with fake mimosas.”

“Yeah, I was looking forward to real ones. I guess, though, that I’ll do the fake stuff with Chris. You and Alana can still do the other kind.”

“Nah, we can do the juice ones. We will stop by that shop that has people do the shopping for us and pick up more sparkling grape juice. I might even call ahead since we will have to stick it all in the fridge anyway. We were able to get a good amount of sleep, so I don’t think we will need a nap before we make breakfast.”

“Nah, I do need something for my head, though,” Buck said.

“I’ve got that. It’s not gonna thin your blood. I talked to the doctor and gave him everything. Eddie, you know what to look for in him and take him to the ER if you think anything is wrong.”

“Will do. What are you giving him?”

“Just something for the pain, swelling, and maybe a little muscle relaxer as well as making sure there is nothing to thin your blood. It’s just enough for today and tomorrow, and then it’s OTC meds.”

“I can do that. I’ll need something strong to sleep tonight,” Buck said.

“And this should help you,” Hen said. She tossed the bottle at Eddie.

Eddie slipped the bottle into the bag that Buck would be taking home. He grabbed it as well as his own. The C-Team was already in the main areas talking since their shift had started long before Buck had made it into the shower.

“Let’s get home and get my kid out of Alana’s hair,” Eddie said.

Buck laughed and let Eddie prod him out to the Jeep. The streets were still mostly empty, so it wasn’t hard to get home. People were out and about, but there was no going to work traffic like there used to be. Buck was pretty sure that Eddie loved it, but it would mean he would be more pissed off when it started to come back. Eddie had really just started to get used to the drive around the town when he needed things. It was one of the other things that Eddie missed from El Paso.

“You never did tell me how the conversation with your parents went on the whole moving in with me.”

“I was hoping you would forget, but I shouldn’t be shocked about that.” Eddie jerked on the seat belt and got it on him. He started the Jeep and took his time getting them into traffic.

“I don’t know why you would think I would forget something like that. So?”

“Ugh, you are the literal worst. My mother is not happy. She thinks that if I’m living with you, I won’t find a mother for Chris. They have never liked anyone I have dated. I think most of the time, the main reason I dated Shannon was because they hated her. Then we had Chris, and I tried my hardest to make them happy. I thought it was best that I wasn’t around. I thought that things would be better for her if I made the most money possible. I gave her everything. I wanted more out of everything, yes, but I gave her everything I could, and she knew it. She asked for help when I wasn’t home, but I tried to do everything she wanted when I got home. I might not have given her all that she wanted. We never should have married, and I know that. I had my faults; I had my issues. She had her faults and her issues, but we assumed that we could make it work. I thought I loved her.”

“But?” Buck asked.

“Something has changed my thoughts on if I was ever in love with her at all or I thought I was supposed to be.”

Buck nodded his head.

“I’m glad that whole pandemic thing is going on. It means that my parents can’t just come here when they want. It means that whatever is going on with me, they can’t butt in.”

“Yeah, you’ve gotten good at just leaving Chris to talk to them alone. I’m not sure they like it, but Chris doesn’t realize what you are doing. Not yet.”

“I stay close enough to keep an eye. Besides, the day where Miracle was napping on him was the best. They kept on trying to get him to give her up, and he’s already claiming her as a little niece. Father really doesn’t like that. He doesn’t think that Chris should claim anyone as family who isn’t family.”

“I’m glad they have never wanted to meet me.” Buck really was. He didn’t want to meet them, but he knew he would if what he thought Eddie was talking about was right.

“You are going to sit down with Chris on the couch and relax after you take that pill when we get home. Brunch can be an hour late.”

“Yes, Sir,” Buck said.

The rest of the drive was pretty much quiet. He settled down into the seat and watched the world pass by. He laughed a little as he took in Chris sitting on the porch when they pulled up. Thankfully they had been taking only a single car to and from work for a while. Usually, the Jeep as the truck was used when they all went out somewhere as it was easier for Chris to get in and out of and Alana and the baby fit back in the back with him.

“Looks like your son wants something,” Buck said. He reached back and grabbed the bag to get his pill out. He took it, swallowing it down with half a bottle of water that was in his bag as well. Once he was done making sure it had gone down, he drank the other half.

“My son wants candy for breakfast.” Eddie sighed and shut the Jeep off. He got out and grabbed the bags.

“Grandma has called the house four times. Alana keeps on ignoring it, and the answering machine messages are not something I should listen to,” Chris said.

“Go inside and go to your room. I’ll handle it,” Eddie said.

“Grandma called Buck a name that Alana said she wanted to rip her apart for and that I was never to even think that name for anyone who was gay and male. I don’t even remember the word. I came outside because I think that Alana is cursing in a language I don’t understand. Well, maybe ranting as well. It’s safer out here.”

“Who was she talking to?” Buck asked.

“She didn’t say.”

Buck walked over and opened up the door and then closed it. “Polish. Fucking hell, she’s pissed off. She usually bitches in French. Sorry, Chris.”

“It’s okay. I know not to say words like that. At least until I’m eighteen.”

Eddie laughed and ruffled Chris’ hair. He looked at Buck and then at the door.

“She’ll stop as soon as we get inside. She’s not on the phone with anyone now. No one else knows Polish. Her grandmother taught it to her as a secret language of sorts.” Buck entered the house just as Alana was turning to face him.

“I will go into the backyard with Chris. He is not going to listen to those messages left by that woman.”

“Buck, go too. I’ll listen to them and deal with them on my own,” Eddie said.

“Sure thing.”

Fifteen minutes later, Buck came back into the house, and he found Eddie sitting at the laptop waiting for the connection between him and his mother. Buck had two choices, go back out with Chris and Alana or stay. Eddie might get pissed at him for staying, but he was going to stay. He stayed back where no one could see him on the camera.

Eddie started to speak Spanish fast, but Buck could keep up enough that he wasn’t shocked when Eddie told his mother that she was never to call again and leave a message like that where Christopher could hear them. The woman looked affronted beyond all measure.

“Edmundo, you will not tell me how I will talk to my child.”

“I am your child but mother; you do know that I have been teaching Chris Spanish, right? He understood a great deal of what you said. You boxed my ears when Chris was six months old, and I said the word shit. So, no, I will not allow you to leave messages. Alana was here with Chris since I was still at work. He heard all of them since Alana doesn’t answer the phone here at Buck’s house when it’s just her here. There is an answering machine for a reason.”

“Quit yelling at your mother.”

“No, you know what, you have put mom’s feelings before me for a very long time. I don’t care what you think about how I am living. Christopher has been having fewer nightmares, and he’s talking to me more. The root of a lot of his nightmares was that his mother’s death and the tsunami had been blended in his head, and the comments you made at the funeral about how he shouldn’t really miss her made it to where he didn’t talk to me about it.”

“I assume he did that to that-”

Buck strode forward as Eddie’s mother called him a very horrible slur for gay men.

“Mrs. Diaz, don’t call the house again, and no, you are not welcome here, not if you are going to call me that,” Buck said as he sat down right beside Eddie on the couch, too close for what normal people would do.

“I am talking to my son.”

“Well, you left those messages on my house answering machine. I have a rental agreement contract with your son, and while he lives here, this is still my house.”

Mrs. Diaz sputtered, and Mr. Diaz looked like he was about to burst a blood vessel.

“I’m a pretty easy-going man. I don’t find a lot of people that piss me off. Abusers do. I lost my sister because her husband beat her to death. I’ve killed many terrorists and other people who think that their way of life is the only way of life. I was caught up in a gay bashing four weeks ago. In the middle of a pandemic, three grown adult males went after a teenage girl who was wearing a Pride flag on her shirt. I won’t repeat what they said, but I was the only one who stepped up. I let them hit me and only disabled them without causing lasting damage. You might not like me, sir, ma’am, but you obviously don’t have respect for your son. You raised him to be the man he is. If you don’t like that, think about what you should have done better.” Buck reached out and shut the laptop. He didn’t care if Eddie got mad at him. He really didn’t.

Buck jumped up before Eddie could say a thing, and he marched toward the basement. He needed to let off steam. The pill was starting to affect him. He grabbed the boxing gloves and put them on to beat the shit out of the heavy bag that was his preferred method of letting off steam. He heard Eddie come down after him; the creaking of the stairs was not hard to catch even over the sounds Buck was making as he connected with the bag.

Eddie let Buck run out some steam before he came up behind him and grabbed his shoulders. He didn’t make Buck stop, but he still stopped. Eddie stepped in closer, touching his head to Buck’s. “I don’t like what she said. I don’t like that she used it a few times with you. I never thought they were homophobic.”

“I think they are one of the kinds of families that it’s okay to have a gay, bi, lesbian, or whatever the nature of the leaning is, as long as it’s not their child. I have no real clue how my parents would take what I am.”

“And I hope you never have to find out. I really do hope that, Buck.”

“I doubt they will ever come into my life. A few of my team got really pissy once when they called me from a number I didn’t have blocked. It was kind of fun. I try not to think about them, really.”

“It’s probably best, but I can understand why sometimes you can’t. So our next four days off are over a weekend, he wants to go camping. You said you knew a place we could go that we won’t run into anyone, and it had small bathroom hutches or something.”

“Yeah, yeah. Diaz took me once, not you, of course, but the other one.”

“Yeah, you don’t call me Diaz. Unless you are telling me that Chris is your favorite Diaz.”

“Well, to be honest, he is,” Buck said. He was feeling a lot better. He moved over to the side of the room to slip off the gloves. He looked at a few bruises that were forming despite the gloves. He moved to grab the bruise cream but stopped when he felt Eddie’s hand on his hand. He looked to the side and smiled at him.

“You didn’t overstep. I’m sure you are worried about that. I needed someone at my back to handle that. I don’t do well talking to them, but I’m glad that someone was around to make sure that I didn’t devolve.”

“Eh, I know how to deal with shitty parents.”

“They might actually try and take me to court for custody of Chris, but he’s old enough that he’s going to be able to talk to the judge. He was scared the whole trip here to LA that they would steal him because they didn’t think I should be raising him. I want to make it to where if I ever get injured, you are the one making the decisions for me, and then if I were to die, you get Chris. Buck, don’t fight me on this. It’s not been that long, really, but you protected my son when no one else could.”

“Eddie,” Buck said.

“No, Buck, please. Pepa would take him in, and I know it. She would do her best, but you are the best. Pepa’s already been talking about you and how Chris loves you so much. She likes that you invited us here. That I’m happy again.”

“Happy?” Buck asked.

“For the first time in a very long time, yes, and it’s you. You look at my son as if the sun and moon set because he’s breathing. You would burn the world down if it was going to hurt him. Why would I want anyone else taking him in if I was gone?”

Buck tried to jerk back from Eddie, but Eddie kept a good hold on his hand. Buck finally looked into Eddie’s eyes. He saw a lot of emotions all over his face and in his eyes.

“Can I?” Eddie asked.

Buck could only nod. He was afraid that if he spoke, the moment would be ruined. He closed his eyes as soon as Eddie leaned in. The kiss was a simple press of lips together, and Buck was the one to break it. He got his hand free, and he just wrapped his arms around Eddie and held on tight. He needed this right now. He was raw as hell and just wanted to be happy for a few moments. He wanted the kiss, but he needed the comfort more than anything else.

“Let’s get working on brunch,” Eddie said.

“Sure. That sounds like something I could do.”

Buck rotated his shoulder, and he looked at Eddie, who was asleep on the bunk next to him. Everyone else was asleep, and Buck just couldn’t. It could also be the nap he had taken while in the truck on the scene after being pushed into the truck. Everyone on the team hated him for how he could sleep whenever he had a moment. Buck hadn’t been able to get rid of that training. Hen and Chim especially hated how he could sleep in his full turnout gear. Eddie could fall asleep anywhere, but he couldn’t in full gear. He had to take off a couple things.

“You okay?” Bobby asked as he walked toward where Buck was sitting on the bed instead of lying down.

“Yeah. I’m just not tired. I think it was the nap I took.”

“I had one of the guys from the other crew casting shade on you for that, and then as soon as the noise picked up and I yelled, you were the first to make it to the scene. That shut them up pretty quickly. I’m not tired either. Want to go into the kitchen and talk about it?”

“Sure,” Buck said.

They were quiet until they made it into the kitchen. Bobby grabbed them a soda each from the fridge and gave Buck his choice. He snagged the grape stuff since almost no one else drank it.

“So, you and Eddie still going strong?” Bobby asked.

“We are feeling our way around something. It’s been good so far.”

“There are some rules and regulations, but you both seem to have a good head on your shoulders and don’t do too much stupid stuff, at least no more than anyone else on this damned team. I’ve put off letting those above me know as long as I can, so I’ll do that on our next shift. So how are you fitting in here?”

“Pretty well, I think. I scare a few people I don’t interact with all that much, especially the other teams. I can’t help that, though, and they are getting better.”

“Eddie’s the only other former military that we have on the team in recent memory from what I am to understand. You challenge what they think a military person is like, especially a SEAL. You laugh more than anyone else here. You don’t act like a lot of other people who are former military.”

“I allowed myself to change some, but I kept my core personality the same. It was a fight through, sure, but it made me a better soldier. I was allowed to stick with it. My commander at first didn’t like it, but when it was time to head out into the world and have to talk with people, well, I was the one that put squirrely people at ease. I talked down more than one suicide bomber that could have blown us all up. I was a good person, and most of them knew it.”

“I can see that. I can see people trusting you. It’s why I wanted you, based on the anecdotes that were given about you.”

“Yeah, I got to read most of them. I was blushing by the end.”

“Hey,” Eddie said.

Buck turned to look at Eddie. He looked to be still half asleep and in need of something. Buck laughed a little and scooted back at the table. Eddie came over and sat in his lap. Buck wrapped an arm around Eddie and allowed him to cuddle into him. Bobby was smiling as he looked at the pair of them. Eddie dropped his head down to rest on Buck’s shoulder, his face turned toward Buck’s neck.

“You were gone.”

“Sorry, couldn’t sleep, and I figured coming out here with Bobby was better than chancing to wake you guys up.” Buck started to rub his hand up and down Eddie’s back.

“Hmm,” Eddie said.

“Is he falling asleep?” Bobby asked.

“Oh, this isn’t even the weirdest way he’s fallen asleep.”

Eddie laughed and pinched Buck’s side.

“I think you two will be good together,” Bobby said.

“That’s what Chris thinks as well. He’s quite happy with everything overall. How about you?” Buck asked as he poked Eddie in the side.

“I like it. Like you.”

Bobby laughed. Eddie was still half asleep, so Buck knew that Eddie would be of looser lips than normal.

“How do you feel, Buck?” Bobby asked.

Buck knew that Bobby was leaving that open for Buck to talk about him and Eddie, but really he was asking after falling through a building. The drama had been real as he listened to his team yelling at him but could not say anything else to them. It was after Eddie had been calmed down enough to help with the blaze after the gunfire. Two sets of gangs fighting had ended up setting a building ablaze. Buck had fallen through three floors, but thankfully landing had set off the floor below breaking; it was his weight on it combined with the fire. Still, his radio had been damaged, and while he could hear, he couldn’t respond.

“I’m good. My back is killing me, and I hope that I can take a nap later today. We will be picking up Chris later from Pepa, and I figure that I can talk him into an afternoon nap with me.”

“You get him to nap with you?”

“Sometimes I do. If we have an active day, he wants one anyway. I have plans for us today that will hopefully Chris want a nap.”

“What do you have planned?” Bobby asked. His eyes were still looking at where Eddie was in Buck’s lap.

“There is a museum that Chris wants to go to. Science-minded and the like. So he’ll get tired from walking. We break them up into three visits. We have already figured out where we wanted to go the first time, but last weekend we had off, well one of the staff had COVID, so they closed it to clean. It opened back up, and there are still rules in place. We should be pretty safe on everything. Chris is damned good at not touching his face at all. Which he really doesn’t anyway.”

“That’s good. So you guys are going to have fun then?”

“I think so.”

“Not before I look at your back.”

“I was cleared by Hen and Chimney, Edmundo. I don’t hide injuries; that’s stupid and hurtful to the team.”

“I just want to see it,” Eddie said.

Buck wrapped his other arm around Eddie’s body and held on tight. That part he could get. He was defensive when it came to injuries, mainly because of the one that had put him out of the SEALs. He didn’t like being treated like he was more liable to get hurt. It had been that way at the academy; all of the injuries were treated as more.

Hen at least trusted him when he said something. He knew what pain was; he knew when things were wrong. Buck knew his body. He knew what it was like to need medical attention but not being in a place to get it. He would always get it when he needed it. It was the way of making sure that he lived for a long time. He liked living, and he liked living in a way that allowed him to do what he wanted.

“Okay, then you can check me over before we leave; that way, Chris doesn’t see it. I’ll tell him I’m hurt, but that is it.”

“I’m gonna go get breakfast started. Buck, join me when you can get a moment. Eddie, don’t touch the stove.”

“Sure thing, Cap.” Eddie pressed a kiss where his lips were on Buck’s skin.

“Hey,” Buck said.

“That’s all I was going to do,” Eddie said. He pushed himself back and reached out to touch Buck’s split lip from getting punched in the face for not saving someone in time in a building a few days before. It didn’t hurt, but it was still healing. Eddie was still pissed that he wasn’t there at the time. The guy who had done it was in jail at the moment, not getting out on bail at all so far. It had been a wild few days for them, and Buck was ready to have four off. He would have been the man behind for at least those four days away with his back aching like it was. He would gladly stay behind over being the asshole who hid something and then was the reason why someone on the team got hurt.

“I don’t mind it. I promise. I just didn’t want you trying for more, really. We can do that once we get into the truck. I mean it, when I get dressed in civvies again is the only time you are going to freak out over my back. After getting punched, I don’t want Chris to be too worried about me. I want him to have fun today since we are going to the museum.”

“Okay, but I don’t want you doing anything stupid.”

“Oh, I want this to heal up fast. I don’t want to be the one behind for long, Eds.” Buck looked around to see that Bobby was with his back to them. He brushed his lips over Eddie’s in a silent promise. Eddie laughed and leaned back more. His eyes were pretty alert now, and they would have to disengage before others came out.

Eddie slipped off Buck’s lap like he was thinking the same thing. He dropped into the chair next to Buck. “Go cook.”

Buck knocked their knees together before he slipped over to where Bobby was cooking.

“How are you feeling, really?”

“Good, really. I’m a little sore, and my back looks like shit, but I’m good.”

Buck rolled his shoulders and grabbed a T-shirt to slip on before he headed out into the living room to see what Eddie was up to.

“So I have this stuff,” Eddie said.

Buck spun around, his shirt in his hands still. Eddie was wearing a pair of shorts and a T-shirt. He had a tub of something in his hand. It looked like it was homemade.

“One of Pepa’s cousins on the other side of the family makes this. I want to use it on you.”

“Does it smell like shit?” Buck asked.

“No, she uses some stuff to make it smell at least a little better. Roses, I think, are the most prominent smell.”

“Oh, I like that smell. Um. Sure. I should leave this off, right?” Buck asked. He tossed it toward the chair he usually laid his clothes on that he would wear again.

“Yes,” Eddie said.

Buck nodded and dropped down to the bed before he got himself comfortable. While he was moving around, he was sure he heard the door lock. He didn’t ask. Slow and steady meant that when the time came for them to move to the next step, Buck was sure that they were in a good spot to do it.

“Shorts too,” Eddie said.

“Ah, you want to get a hand on my ass again,” Buck said. He looked at Eddie and used one arm to wiggle to get his shorts off. He tossed them at Eddie and kind of regretted how he had to move his arm to do so. He moved his arms up to where they were under the pillow his head was on. He closed his eyes, and he waited for Eddie to get on the bed.

Eddie didn’t take long at all to get onto the bed, straddling Buck’s legs. He rubbed his hands over Buck’s back and down his legs. Buck was glad that his eyes were closed. He enjoyed the feel of Eddie’s hand on him even if he skipped over Buck’s ass.

The jar was set down on the bed right about shoulder height on Buck. The lid was off of it, and Buck could smell the roses and a few other things inside of it that gave it a savory smell under the rose. It didn’t smell horrible. It actually was one of the better-smelling things Buck had been around in a while. He felt the first smear of it on his lower back, right where the bruising was the worst, and Eddie was gentle as he smoothed it into the skin. He was heavy-handed with it, which Buck was glad of. Sometimes that stuff worked better when put on with a lot of it there. Sparingly sometimes meant not good healing.

“This okay?” Eddie asked.

“You aren’t hurting me,” Buck said. There was the twinge of pain, but even his own shirt brushing over his skin was hurting him. This was nothing, and it was Eddie’s hands on him. That made it all better. He groaned as Eddie found a muscle knot and worked on it with the palm of his hand. He tried not to moan, but the feel of hands on him after so long was enough that he was pretty excited. He was half-hard before Eddie had the cream all over his back.

“I’m glad I’m not hurting you,” Eddie said as he worked on just rubbing the cream in. He was gentle, and it was all going to Buck’s head.

“If you don’t want me to be hard, I’d stop now,” Buck said a few minutes later. He was pretty much there already, but he thought that warning him would be a good idea if Eddie didn’t want it to go that far.

“I locked the door, Evan,” Eddie said. He braced his arms on either side of Buck’s head and leaned down. “Don’t move.”

“Eddie?” Buck asked.

“You showered a little while ago. How clean did you get yourself?”

“Always clean myself well. I planned on using a toy later, so I made sure I was pretty clean.”

“Good.” Eddie kissed Buck on the shoulder, and then he moved down the bed. He spread Buck’s ass cheeks and licked up them.

Buck clenched his hands on the pillow and turned his face to smother the moan. Eddie didn’t give Buck a chance at all to get ready for this. Buck ended up biting the pillow on Eddie’s next pass with his tongue. It felt really good. Buck hadn’t allowed anyone to do this to him before. He had read about it. He’d seen it happen in porn and even once when a couple wanted to be watched. He had jerked off to them but hadn’t touched them.

He arched into the next lick and spread his legs as far as he could get them. He wanted to get to his knees and put his ass up, but Eddie was holding him down by the small of his back. He enjoyed the way he felt right now. He hadn’t thought this would feel as good as it did. He was kicking his past self for not realizing how good this was going to be. He groaned and rocked up into Eddie’s mouth again and felt his cock fill out the rest of the way. He was hard, and he wanted to rock his cock into the bed, but he also didn’t. He wanted to know what Eddie had planned for him.

“Can I have you?” Eddie asked. He rocked up, pressing his jean-covered groin into Buck’s ass.

“Yes, fucking hell yes,” Buck said into the pillow.

“What was that? I couldn’t hear you.” Eddie’s voice was like liquid sin in Buck’s ear. He pressed down into Buck again, rocking Buck into the bed and rubbing his cock there.

“Yes,” Buck said.

“Good.”

“You’ve turned quite the corner on getting a hold of your attraction to me,” Buck said.

“Well, I want you, so I need to make sure that I can have you. Enough erotic dreams can change anyone’s mind on how they are feeling about it all.”

“Well, that’s a good way of looking at it. I’m glad about that. I’ve seen a lot of people tear themselves up about it.”

Eddie laid down on Buck, keeping his front mostly off Buck’s back. “I want to see your face.”

“Go wash your mouth out, and I will agree to that.”

“Sure.”

Buck waited until Eddie was off the bed before he rolled over. He watched Eddie stride into the bathroom, and there were sounds of him washing up. A few minutes later, Eddie came out naked. He was drying his hands off on the bathroom towel and grinning.

“I wanna kiss you,” Buck said.

“I want to do that too.” Eddie dropped the towel at the bedside and crawled onto the bed. “I saw you last week when you were getting that stuff that had that chemical off you. Even with how everything was going down on that spill, I felt so much seeing you naked. I’ve spent a week figuring out what I wanted to do. There are a lot of things that I want to do, but this is something that I feel like I want to do first.”

“Which is?”

“Make love to you.”

“Make love?”

“Yes. If you want that.”

“I do. I want that.”

“Good.” Eddie leaned down and kissed Buck. Making out had been something that had been added to their relationship over the last while, and it was something that Buck loved. He drew Eddie in and didn’t allow him to leave. Eddie covered his body and pushed him into the bed, rocking their cocks together.

“I don’t have condoms,” Buck said.

“I was tested and just got the results, and I know you are clean. If you don’t want that level of intimacy at first, we can just do hand jobs or things like that for now.”

“No, no, that level is fine. I just wasn’t expecting this, so I hadn’t got condoms.”

“Well, part of me likes that.” Eddie was grinning as he said, and he leaned down to kiss Buck again. He moved to get his arm under Buck’s head, deepening the kiss as he did it.

The pressure on Buck’s back wasn’t too much, thankfully, even though he was sure that he would feel having sex later. He didn’t care, really. He was all for having fun. Touching Eddie’s side, Buck tried not to scratch even though he wanted to.

“You might like that about no condoms, but really nothing is as intimate as what you just did. I’ve never felt so connected to anyone, and that’s something since I love having my cock sucked,” Buck said.

“Well, I didn’t think it would be as intimate as it felt, so I’m glad I’m not alone on that.” Eddie popped the cap on Buck’s lube and slicked up his fingers before he had Buck tilt his hips up to where Eddie could get to him better.

Getting Buck slicked up and loose was like torture to Buck. He groaned as he felt his body give way to fingers. It had never felt like this when he had fingered himself. He pressed his head down into the pillow and groaned when Eddie pulled the three fingers free.

“Ready?” Eddie asked.

“Was hours ago,” Buck said.

“Look at you being all bratty.”

“Always,” Buck said. He grabbed Eddie by the back of his neck and pulled him down to kiss him as Eddie breached him. It felt good. Fuck he loved the feel of his body making way for Eddie’s cock inside of him. He loved it and wanted to keep on feeling it. When he felt Eddie was all the way inside of him, he wanted to cry a little. He felt much different than Buck’s toys, in a good way.

“Yeah?” Eddie asked after a few seconds of him pausing after being all the way inside.

Buck nodded his head. He wasn’t going to be able to speak. He was struck dumb by the feel of Eddie in him. He sought out Eddie’s mouth again and kept them kissing as Eddie started to move. Buck loved sex. He loved the feel of a body pressed to his own, but no sex had ever felt like this.

When they broke their kisses, Buck licked and sucked on whatever bit of skin he could find on Eddie. He didn’t want to not be touching him with his lips. Eddie seemed to feel the same as he kissed all over and even bit down on Buck’s shoulder at one point as he began to move faster.

Buck lost track of time as he got his legs around Eddie and kept his lover right where he wanted him. There was nothing else as they rocked together, kissing what skin they could touch when they needed to catch their breath, kissing when they didn’t. When Buck couldn’t hold back on his orgasm anymore, he dug his fingers into Eddie’s side as he came.

Eddie only lasted another few thrusts before he spilled himself inside of Buck. His body was shaking as he tried not to drop down onto Buck all the way. When he could control it, he settled on Buck’s side, his ear over Buck’s heart.

“So, how was that?” Eddie asked.

“It was good.”

“Just good?” Eddie asked. He pushed himself up to look down at Buck.

Buck was smiling as he drew Eddie in for another kiss.

“Yeah, just good. I don’t want to give you a swollen head nor make the next time feel like less because it didn’t live up to this.”

Eddie laughed, and he shook his head. He pressed a kiss to the underside of Buck’s jaw and settled down again. “I’ll get up in a few minutes to clean us up. Then I’m gonna give you another massage.”

“That’s just gonna make me hard again,” Buck said.

“Well, it’s not like I can’t roll you onto your back and jerk you off.” Eddie had a wicked grin on his face as he said that.

“You are going to kill me with sex and being sexy.”

“I’m glad you find me sexy. I was thinking of washing the truck shirtless this weekend,” Eddie said.

“Yup. You are going to kill me. I’ll be forced to play with your kid instead.”

Eddie laughed and leaned up to kiss Buck. Buck knew that there were few things that Eddie loved more than watching Buck with his kid, and Buck knew it. He had his own things to do to make Eddie lose his mind.

“BUCK!” Chim yelled.

Buck groaned, and he shoved himself up out of the chair he was in. He was tired as hell. They all were. They had been out on calls all night. Four of them had lasted until just a little while ago. None of them felt like sleeping was a good idea. Hell, Buck already had the Uber coming to pick up him and Eddie. They would come back and pick up Eddie’s truck later. Neither of them was good to drive, and Buck didn’t want their friends not getting to bed as soon as they could to take them home.

Stopping at the stairs, Buck looked at the two people who were standing with Chim. Buck stared at them, trying to figure out who they were and when that hit him, he tried to figure out why the hell they were there.

“Buck?” Hen asked as she stepped up beside him.

“I really don’t want to deal with them today. Or at all, really but not right now while I have no sleep.”

“Evan,” Buck’s mother said as she smiled at him.

“Fuck,” Eddie said as he laid his hand on Buck’s shoulder.

“Should I get rid of them?” Hen asked.

“No, I’ll just talk to them over here.” Buck waved toward the couch, and he turned his head to look at Eddie.

“I’ll escort them up.”

Buck nodded. He went to the kitchen to get him and Eddie a cup of coffee each. He took his time to ensure that his parents were settled in at the couch before he walked over with two cups.

“Nothing to offer us?” Buck’s father asked.

“No, I don’t offer things to people who aren’t guests. I’m at work, and one shouldn’t really show up here.”

“Well, we tried to call the number you gave us years ago, but it wasn’t working anymore. We didn’t even know where you lived until there was a news article about you back home,” Buck’s mother said.

“Wow, I made the news back in Hershey?” Buck asked. He really didn’t care too much, but it was kind of nice to get recognition somewhere other than LA.

“Yes, there was a huge news article about the tsunami that hit here as well as a few other rescues you did. There was nothing about your years in the military as they couldn’t get anything from it.”

Buck shrugged at that. He didn’t figure that anything he did as a SEAL would ever be released while he was alive, much less while his parents were alive.

“And you thought that you should come here to get publicity for having such a good son?”

Buck heard the sound of the talking below stop. He knew that his team would listen in, and he didn’t care. He didn’t care who listened in, really. He had nothing to hide. He didn’t like his past talked about more because he tried not to focus on it. He had been pushed through all of the therapy his commanding officer thought that he needed. He did it, and it helped him settle into his life in the military. He had thought that he would go all the way through until he hit retirement age, but he couldn’t be behind a desk, and he didn’t really see himself doing well at any other part of the Navy as an active soldier. It wouldn’t be enough for him.

Therapy for reshaping his life had been harder, but in the end, it had been good for him. He jumped into his life as a firefighter with both feet first, just like when he had jumped into being a SEAL.

“We weren’t even sure you were alive.”

“Oh, don’t worry, if I had died while in the military, my CO would have come to tell you. I wasn’t going to let you wonder if you had any children left,” Buck said.

Buck felt Eddie’s hand on his shoulder, and he looked at him. Eddie looked a little worried about Buck, but Buck just smiled at him and reached over to lay his hand over Eddie’s knee. He squeezed it and turned back to his parents.

“The battalion chief was going to make sure that someone was told to tell you in Hershey if I die here as well.”

“And that’s all we deserve?” Buck’s father asked.

“You tried to make it look like you had loved me my whole life but that it was too hard to show it since I made it so hard for you to love me. You should have loved me anyway. You cannot change the life I lived. I don’t remember much from before about seven, but after that, I know it all. Maddie stayed with Doug so that she didn’t prove you wrong. You are the reason my sister is dead. I cannot forgive you for that or for never telling me about Daniel.”

“Don’t say his name!” Bucks’ mother yelled.

Bobby opened his mouth, but Buck shook his head.

“It’s okay, Bobby. She’ll start crying in a moment and make it all about her and her pain. I didn’t have a right to that pain as a child because I could never understand.”

“You can’t understand what it’s like to lose a child,” Buck’s father said.

“I can’t? I have a son. He’s been my son pretty much since I saved his life in the tsunami. Thankfully, his father was all right with me staying in their life. He even came to love me as much as I love him. Though I love our son more.”

“And he doesn’t care that you have killed people?” Buck’s mother asked.

“Former army,” Eddie said with a grin on his lips. It really didn’t make him look sane.

“You?” Buck’s father asked.

“Yes. Me.”

“BUCKLEY!” someone yelled from down below.

Buck laughed and stood up, missing Eddie’s touch on him, but he walked over to the railing to look down. It was the arrival of C Shift. He waved at them.

“You owe me eighteen!” a package was tossed up.

Buck caught it, and he laughed.

“Sure thing. I’ll get the cash out before I leave. Thanks.”

“What’s that?” Eddie asked when Buck sat down.

“Present for Chris. One that I know you are going to not want anything to do with.” Buck opened up the package. He pulled out three shirts. He held up the smaller one that had “My dads are badass” on it. Then the second shirt had “Badass #1” and the third “Badass #2” on them.

“You said you were going to get shirts. I really didn’t believe you.”

Buck turned the shirt around to where Eddie could see the back of it. “Buckley-Diaz Family” was written on it.

“Ah, that’s why he had the shirts. His wife still does screen printing, doesn’t she?”

“Yup. She keeps it up and really enjoys doing it as a hobby. Anyway, so we can wear these this weekend when we go to that fair,” Buck said.

“You think I’m going to let you dress our son in that to go out in public?”

“As soon as we both give you the doe eyes, you will,” Buck said.

Eddie laughed and pulled Buck into a simple kiss.

“You…” Buck’s mother trailed off, and she huffed before standing up.

Buck wasn’t shocked when his father moved to follow her without a word.

“Buck?” Bobby asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine, I promise. I need to get that money. I made my peace with them years ago, well in my head. I haven’t seen them for a long time. I’m exhausted, though.”

“It’s good you are almost off, huh?” Hen asked.

“Yeah. I’m happy about that.”

“They look so normal,” Chim said.

“Yeah, they are good people, just shitty parents,” Buck said. He grabbed his phone and brought up a picture. “This is Maddie and me just before she left to go to college. It was her and me against the world until Doug came into the picture. I see the signs now, but I was too young to understand why my parents hated Doug until he started to isolate her. This is the last picture I have of her.”

Buck swiped over to the last picture. She was smiling, and there were bags under her eyes, but she was smiling, and it went to her eyes. Behind her was a huge tree and Buck liked to think that it was where she was. At their home in Hershey in the treehouse that they had made in that tree. Not stuck in a nightmare of abuse at the hands of Doug.

“Why did they try and find you now?” Chim asked. He was looking at the picture of Maddie like he was enthralled.

“Who knows. Probably so they could get a little fame for their famous son. They didn’t support me when I joined the SEALs, and they didn’t care about me at all. It’s all about them. I have done something they feel like they can be proud of, so they feel like they need to try to make me think that they finally learned how to love me, but how can they love me without knowing me?”

“Breakfast,” Bobby said.

Buck turned to look at the kitchen to see that there was nothing there, and then a moment later, a man came up the stairs with a few bags in his hands. It was from the diner just down the street. They didn’t do deliveries this early unless it was to first responders since the city was opening up again, which meant rush hour traffic at this time of day.

“Oh, thank God,” Hen said.

“None of us are up to cooking. I got C Shift food as well. The boxes should be labeled.” Bobby grabbed a bag and handed it over to Eddie, who was right here with him.

Buck didn’t even want to get up. The team started to dig through the food, and Eddie got into it to get theirs. Or at least Buck hoped he was. He didn’t think he wanted to move again until it was time to go. They were off rotation for the morning, but if there was a walk-in or something like that, they needed to stay until the next shift was on.

“Here,” Eddie said as he handed over a box.

Buck opened it and groaned in happiness. There was one big reason that Buck loved the diner. Mess on a Plate. It was hash browns with onions, peppers, bacon, and tomatoes cooked into them, and then scrambled eggs were added on top with cheese on all of that. It was a carb-heavy breakfast, but there were days that Buck needed that, and this was the cure to almost all of his woes.

“I also got drinks,” Bobby said as a few of the baristas from the shop down the street came off the stairs.

“I hope it’s herbal tea,” Eddie said.

“Yes,” Bobby said.

Buck didn’t care what he was going to be drinking. He had some coffee in him, but the coffee had mainly been about not giving any to his parents. He looked at his coffee cup and sighed. He didn’t need it. He needed sleep.

“Dig in and eat so we can get the hell out of here,” Eddie said.

Buck raised his fork full of food up and grinned at Eddie as he chewed the bite in his mouth. He was ready to go home as well.

Buck rubbed his face on the pillow in bed. He didn’t want to get up, but he knew he had to. He rolled to his side and looked back at Eddie, who was dead asleep. Buck listened to the house and smiled as he heard the gentle cooing of the baby. Little Roger was usually content to just stay in his crib most of the morning after a change. Alana must have got up and changed him. She was in town with Roger and Miracle for a few weeks after the team deployed for their six months overseas.

“Nope,” Eddie said and grabbed Buck around the waist and hauled him back down into the bed.

Buck didn’t fight him even though there was a split second where he wanted to. Those reactions were fewer and fewer, but he was still having them, which was a good thing, really. But around Eddie and Chris, there was almost none.

“We are staying in bed.”

“But Chris,” Buck said.

“Alana is here.”

“She’s not the nanny, Edmundo,” Buck said. He knew he would stay in bed with Eddie, but he liked to put up a token protest.

“No, but she already offered. I mean, we watched little Roger while she and Miracle went out to that tea party thing yesterday. I thought I was done with teething children. She’s evil for not warning us.”

Buck laughed as he had known it but forgot to tell Eddie. The pictures on Alana’s Instagram were more than enough for him to know that Roger was teething.

“You don’t want to adopt a baby?” Buck asked.

“Baby? Probably not. Not that Chris wouldn’t love a baby. I was thinking about older kids. Not teenagers as Chris is getting close enough to that for me but kids who are angry at the world for not wanting them.”

Buck hummed. He knew that Eddie would take whoever they were given since they had signed up to be foster parents. It hadn’t been hard given their jobs, Buck’s history, and Chris’ CP. They were registered to take the harder cases with Carla and Eddie’s family more than willing to step in as needed if they got someone who needed medical care. Even Alana had offered to come and cover for them if they needed emergency coverage for sickness and the like.

Their lives were as intertwined as they could get them. Buck raised up his hand and looked at the tattooed ring that was on there. After a few seconds, Eddie linked their hands together, showing off both tattoos. The wedding had been quick and painless; neither of them wanted a big to do.

After the wedding, Buck had mailed out a few things about the wedding to his parents, with no return address listed. He was petty like that. There was the chance they would just show up here, and he knew it, but he didn’t care. They were on the list of not to come into the station, and they had been informed about that. Bobby had taken care of it before Buck could even think about doing it. It wasn’t quite a restraining order, but it was enough that they could be charged with harassment. There was also something that Bobby’s wife Athena had done to make sure that no one could get anything from the cops about him either.

“Well, how do you feel about surrogacy?” Buck asked.

“What? You want a kid from each of us?”

“Well, we have Chris already. We don’t have to use your DNA. I have more than enough money to pay for that kind of thing. Alana’s offered.”

Eddie’s arm tightened around Buck, and his free hand teased at Buck’s face to turn him around to face him. Buck rolled over and tangled their legs together as he laid his head back on his pillow. Eddie looked a little concerned.

“Is that something you want?”

“A gaggle of kids running around at our feet? Hell yes. Alana and the guys are moving here soon. The guys are worn out and ready to retire. Being a SEAL can really take it out of you. Alana wanted two kids, and there was no way Rivera or Diaz would ever tell her no. She’s got her two, one of each, and she’s happy, but she’s got a little life left in her, as she said.”

“What are you thinking? One each, my DNA and yours?”

“Sure. Alana’s already offered up her eggs, so we don’t even need to do anything about that. We can talk to her when she’s around the guys if you want.”

“It’s not like I think she’s going to agree to that without them. I mean, that means no sex for her after implantation and various other things. I can’t see her doing that without their permission. What would they do down here?”

“Well, they would stay in the Navy but take desk jobs. I don’t know. I was told I didn’t need to know. Which means that I’m going to laugh at them. They probably are taking over ROTC for the Navy somewhere here.”

Eddie laughed at that and pulled Buck in for a kiss.

“So, yes to babies?” Buck asked.

“Yes. I still want to take in a foster kid or two over time but not for like the first six months we have a baby.”

Buck nodded his agreement to that. Buck’s house was more than big enough to slip a few kids into it. They already were working on fitting two of the bedrooms for older kids; it wouldn’t take much at all to get a nursery set up.

“So are Alana and the kids going to stay here while the guys finish out their terms when it’s time for them to, you know, leave the Navy?”

“She hopes so. She doesn’t want to find a place without them, and I said they could stay as long as they wanted. You’d said that kind of thing before, and it wasn’t until after that I realized I never asked.”

“You’d never tell Abuela or Pepa they can’t stay; I won’t do the same with your family, Evan.”

Buck tried not to flinch at the name. Eddie liked to call him it sometimes, and Buck understood. A nickname wasn’t as intimate as his first name. He called Eddie Edmundo when he was trying to get his full attention. Evan just wasn’t who he was. He had been Buck for so long, but he was okay with becoming Evan for Eddie. Only for Eddie and Chris, though.

“I’ll bring it up to Alana,” Eddie said.

“The living here or the babies?”

“Both. I don’t want her thinking that I don’t want her here. Chris is going to be over the moon over babies. Yours first. I know you would love any kid I had, but I already have one, and if things change and we can’t have a second with your genes.”

“Eds, I really don’t care about that.”

“I do. I want a little Buckley-Diaz with your smile or your nose or even your hair.”

Buck groaned and buried his face into the pillow. Growing out his hair during the height of COVID had meant that his natural curl had shown up, and Eddie loved it. Buck wasn’t too upset about it. He loved the feel of Eddie running his fingers through it, and it was most of the reason why he had kept it longer than he had in years.

Chris liked that their hair matched, at least in curl, even if it was nowhere near the same length. Buck was not growing his hair out that long. He would cut his own hair rather than get it that long. Buck was the one in charge of trimming up Eddie’s hair and cutting Chris’. There were times when cleaner haircuts were needed in the field, so Buck had learned how to do it well enough to pass.

“DAD!” Chris yelled before he banged on the door.

“Come in,” Eddie yelled back.

The door opened, and behind him was Alana with Roger in her arms. Buck looked at the baby monitor to see that it was still on, which meant she had turned it off in the room.

“Roger wants to cuddle too,” Chris said. He got onto the bed, letting his crutches fall down to the ground before getting into the middle between Eddie and Buck. He was smiling as Alana laid Roger down.

“I’m going to start breakfast. Miracle is playing in her room.”

“Go get your breakfast on. We’ve got Roger,” Eddie said. He picked up Roger and laid down again with the baby on his chest. Chris laid back as well and stared at Roger.

“Dad, can we have a baby?” Chris asked.

“Well, it’s not like the stork drops them off,” Eddie said.

Buck started to laugh, hiding the laugh in the pillow, but it didn’t stop the shaking of the bed.

“I know how babies are made, Dad,” Chris said.

“Oh, really? How do you know that?” Eddie asked.

“Buck told me,” Chris said.

“Oh, is that right?”

Buck laughed at the look Eddie was giving him. He wasn’t sure what he saw there on Eddie’s face. He looked happy about it all but also very, very curious. There was something else there as well, and Buck couldn’t place it.

“What? It came up during Alana’s pregnancy. So we both learned way too much about it. I learned too much about a woman’s body that I didn’t need to know. Chris learned that he always wants to carry tampons and pads to school when they get to the age where the girls are all starting to get on their periods.”

Eddie looked at Chris with a look.

“What?” Chris asked.

Eddie looked at Buck next. “Why?”

“Cause it’s a way to be nice,” Buck said.

“I never even thought about doing that for my sisters. Why would you want to do that for someone you don’t know?”

“Cause I want to be nice. Buck said it’s nice. He said he did it in high school.”

“We had a girl who started, and up until then, she was regular. Like down to the hour regular until she wasn’t. She didn’t have anything with her that day. I went to the store to get some on lunch break and let her wear a pair of gym shorts that I hadn’t worn yet. She was my friend for the rest of the year, and we kept in touch for a while. Guys at boot camp thought she was my girlfriend. I just let them think that then she got married, and I couldn’t do that anymore. Still, she sends me Christmas cards every single year.”

“You started to carry pads after that?” Eddie asked.

“Why not? I didn’t have any good education on that. Maddie was nearly a decade older than me. I didn’t know anything that went on with her life when it came to that. So I learned how to be a good guy from that. I had a small circle of friends, and I carried stuff around their periods that they liked to snack on. It made me friends, and I was never without a date to things. It worked for me.”

“And so you want to turn Chris into that?” Eddie asked.

Buck nodded. He scooted closer to press into Chris as he laid his hand on Roger’s back, rubbing up and down. Roger giggled and started to wiggle on Eddie’s chest.

“So we both want one,” Buck said.

“We all three do. We will talk to Alana about it, Buck. I know it’s gonna be a little while before she wants to get pregnant again.”

“I’m getting a baby?” Chris asked. He rolled quickly as a snake and wrapped his arm around Eddie’s throat since he couldn’t hug him anywhere else.

Buck saw the happiness in Eddie’s eyes. It was bone-deep.

Buck was happy that he had put that look there on his face.

Eddie looked at Roger, who was cooing as he wiggled on Eddie’s chest.

“Yeah, Chris, I think sometime over the next two years, we are going to get a baby,” Eddie said.

Chris screeched, and it made Roger jump. Buck pulled Chris toward him and stood up with him in his arms. Chris wasn’t so big that Buck couldn’t still carry him anywhere.

“Let’s go and leave your dad to cuddle with Roger and get used to the idea of a baby,” Buck said.

“You promised I could stay in my pajamas today,” Chris said.

“I know, and I meant it. You just need a pair of socks, so we don’t have to go back upstairs and get you a pair later.”

Buck looked at Eddie one last time as he carried Chris out of the room. Eddie was looking at Roger like he was a little afraid. Which was okay because it was scary to have a baby, even if one was just talking about it.

After his childhood, he had promised that if he had kids, they would never think that he didn’t love them and want to be in every aspect of their lives. He had done pretty good with Chris so far.

The best thing was that Eddie wanted Buck to put Christopher first. They came second to each other, and that was the way it was supposed to be. Buck had never felt that before. To his father, his mother came first and her grief. His mother only cared about herself. It wasn’t the best childhood, but Buck had Maddie until she left him as well.

Pushing those through away, Buck turned his mind to the future, full of laughter and love. Something he hadn’t seen when he had left the Navy. It was more than he could have asked for.

The End

I write fanfiction for fun. It’s a hobby and a stress relief. I refuse to stress over my writing. What you see is what you get. Errors, plot holes, and all. Thank you for reading my story!

Join me on Discord in one of the two main servers I am part of. Just Write is a working server for those who write. We have sprinting channels and a whole bunch of other channels to make it the one-stop-shop for writers. Crossroads is a multi-fandom social server. Come and check them out if you are over the age of 18. They are adult-only servers!

4 thoughts on “More Than Asked For

  1. I love it. SEALfam and firefam and Badass Buckley-Diaz’s, oh my. Being blindsided by the Daniel thing by way of his military physical was intense. That would be awful. You made my disdain for his parents reach astronomical levels.
    Love how Buck and Chris met and hooked in. The way things happened from there was very organic. Babies on the horizon. Yay!

    Like

  2. More than asked for…it’s the title, but sure is the way I feel about this fic.
    It’s more than anyone could have asked for.
    It’s lovely, sweet, adorable, real, drama, romance and healthy relationships.
    And so much more.
    Thank you for writing and sharing.

    Like

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