The World Keeps on Turning

Title: The World Keeps on Turning
Series: A Whole New and Bright World
Ratings: Teen And Up Audience
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Fandom(s): 9-1-1
Category: M/M
Relationships: Evan “Buck” Buckley/Eddie Diaz
Characters: Evan “Buck” Buckley, Maddie Buckley, Eddie Diaz, Christopher Diaz
Tags: Pre-Slash, Canon Divergence, Maddie’s A+ Sistering, What the hell Maddie?!, Light Angst, Moving On
Summary: Buck’s moving on with his life, adjusting to the new reality that he lives in while learning how to live around his sister again.
Word Count: 10,448
Year: 2018 (Season 2)
Spoilers: Everything Currently Aired
Notes: None
Alpha: V.Mures
Beta: ScarsLikeVelvet

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Buck fiddled with the wrapped silverware at the table. The Christmas music playing reminded Buck of being at home and Maddie being super excited about Christmas. She always made it a huge deal, and it made Buck look forward to the holiday even though his parents were not as enthused. Buck had only looked forward to Halloween more as his parents were more than happy to turn him loose, especially after Maddie went to college. They stayed and handed out candy like they were good parents, and Buck did whatever he wanted. Buck had to wonder what Daniel’s favorite holiday was. It couldn’t be Halloween as his parents weren’t assholes to him around that one like they were Christmas.

Everything to do with his childhood was now being looked at through a new focal lens. He was pretty sure he had worked through the anger stage of everything and could now focus on acceptance, only it wasn’t accepting the death of Daniel; it was accepting that Maddie thought she was doing the right thing trying to please their parents, but she was human, and therefore she made a mistake.

Daily talking to her over texts had helped a great deal with Buck. He had his distance, and he could think things through or talk over them with his therapist before responding. Buck had a notebook of things that he wanted to talk to his therapist about. There were answers to some things and then new questions after it. Buck called it his ‘How To Adult’ journal.

Maddie came in with a look of hope on her face. She looked around the place, looking for anyone else that she knew. Her smile got brighter as she approached the table.

“You came alone,” Maddie said.

“The anger is gone, so I’m not worried about yelling at you anymore and making a scene.” Buck hated it when people made scenes in public. He had been at a register check out too many times with fighting couples.

The look on Maddie’s face nearly broke Buck’s heart, but he owed it to himself and to Maddie to keep things with boundaries. He could have seen himself accepting how Maddie just came back into his life. He could have just let her think that it was okay to do that kind of thing, but he had learned how to stand up for himself. He had been a little more open with Eddie backing him up when some of the 118 made comments about him that hurt him.

“Sergeant Grant called me to come in to see her today; she told me to bring someone that could drive me back or something like that.”

“I am not working today. I’ll text Eddie that I don’t need to be picked up. He drove me just in case I was too emotional to drive on the way back.”

“Why?”

“Why what?” Buck asked.

“Why are you willing to go with me?”

“Maddie, I told you that standing between you and anyone who wants to hurt you is where I want to be. That hasn’t changed. You are my sister, and it was always supposed to be us against our parents. On this, you chose to side with them, and that is the way I see it.”

“Evan,” Maddie said.

“Buck. I like to be called Buck. I don’t care about Mom and Dad’s hatred of calling people by nicknames. They will respect my choice on the matter, or I won’t talk to them.”

“They won’t like that.”

“I don’t care. When I turned eighteen, they stopped being able to control my life. I lived in their shadow for too long. Letting go and getting away was the gift you gave me. I made the most of my life outside of Hershey, and I haven’t resented a single moment of it. I learned who I was without them and without you.”

Maddie flinched, and Buck regretted his choice of words for a few seconds if only for the way it made her feel.

“I deserved that.”

“I understand where you were coming from, Maddie. You were afraid of Doug doing something to me, but the thing is that you have to understand that me not knowing what was going on with Doug put me at risk. Especially since you were planning on just leaving here again. Doug could have come here, and if I did not know, he could just show up looking for you, and then I would have given him stuff. If he becomes unhinged, he could hurt me. Or someone else around me to get to you. It’s why we wanted that picture of him. Everyone should know.”

“I know,” Maddie said.

The waitress came to get their breakfast order, and Maddie got tea while Buck stuck with coffee. He tapped the table with a finger as Maddie worked on getting her tea brewing in the cup after the waitress returned with the water, cup, and basket of tea.

“Doctor Copeland had me see a doctor to talk about a few things that she’s noticed in sessions with her. Given how I was as a child, she’s pretty sure that I had ADHD from childhood and up, but it was never diagnosed. It was part of why I had trouble in school, and especially college. I learned while out and about in the world what works for me and what doesn’t. I’ve learned to adapt.”

“And?”

“The other doctor I saw agrees, and right now, we are managing with coffee,” Buck raised up his cup. “And thought exercises. It seems to be working though many ADHD things I’ve already learned coping mechanisms for. Eddie brought up a point the other day when we were talking about this, and I talked to Doctor Copeland about it.”

“Okay,” Maddie said.

There were many things that Buck wanted to talk to her about, and he had a list, not just on paper but in his head.

“You were drinking wine, left your clothes in the bedroom, and left the bathroom door open. Why were you pissed at me thinking it was my girlfriend?”

“You just barged into the bathroom.”

“Yup, I did. In my own place where my girlfriend had a fantasy about something like that where I just go in there and hold her. I just don’t understand how you have the right to be pissed that I invaded your privacy by accident when you did it on purpose.”

“I guess I just never thought that you would not live alone.”

“You went to my place before, and my old roommates gave you my new address. I had lived with people on and off all the time from when I left Hershey, and you knew this. All of my postcards talked about it. Why did you assume that I was alone there?”

“I don’t know. I was just happy to feel safe.”

“You must have felt really safe since you got naked and drank wine.”

Maddie looked affronted, but after a few seconds, she nodded her head. “I wasn’t thinking. I really wasn’t. It was obvious that the place wasn’t just yours. There were women’s things on the counter in the bathroom. I saw the signs but refused to listen to my brain about what they meant.” Maddie started to mess with the tea again, stirring the spoon in the cup and watching the water move around.

“If I had a roommate, he could have walked in on the exact same thing. There is a reason why you don’t just go into someone’s place like you own it if they aren’t expecting you, Maddie. If I had been asleep, I could have attacked you. If Abby had been home, she could have called the cops on you.”

“Yeah, I understand that now. I’m sorry.”

Buck wasn’t sure if she actually meant what she said, but he would go with trusting her for now.

“I know you didn’t mean anything by it, but I wasn’t in a good headspace then and for a while after. Dealing with everything that I was dealing with, I really couldn’t just throw you in there.”

“No, I get that.”

“Have you found a therapist?”

“No,” Maddie said. She recoiled back from him, almost like he slapped her.

“Why?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

Buck nodded his head. He didn’t understand, but he didn’t want to fight right now. He looked to see their food coming, so he cleared some space by moving the coffee and hot water carafes out of the way. He noticed that his coffee was low, so he added more to the cup and then a little cream. The coffee wasn’t horrible, so he just needed cream for this one.

“Here you go. Need anything else?” the waitress asked.

“Not for me,” Buck said.

“No, thank you,” Maddie said.

“How are you on money?” Buck asked.

“What?” Maddie asked.

“You ran away from Doug, Maddie. You left with pretty much the clothes on your back and had to replace your wardrobe. Do you need anything else that you can’t afford?”

“Oh, no. Doug never touched the money that I got from work. He paid for everything and didn’t really pay attention to the money I got from working. I’m good, I promise. I didn’t have a lot to spend it on, so I just kept it as a nest egg. I’m gonna take half of it and see about growing it. One of the guys at work has a good person for that, not a scam but a real financial advisor. It’s through the city of sorts, but like it used to be? I can’t remember what he said. I will meet with him next week.”

Buck nodded, and he started to eat. It was silent as they ate their meals; the breakfast rush was in full swing. Buck texted Eddie that he was going to go with Maddie to do something. Eddie sent back that he would head home. Buck smiled at that. He liked having a home where someone was waiting on him. He had missed some of his roommates over the years. The ones he had in LA were not the best of the bunch, but they weren’t the worst either. He just missed living in a place where he was wanted by those he was with.

Honestly, staying with Eddie and Chris was the best thing that Buck had ever done. He was happier with them than he had ever been in his life.

“I’ve never known you to be so quiet,” Maddie said.

“I’ve grown up, Maddie. You’ve not seen me in years, and I changed a lot over that.”

Maddie nodded her head. She started to push part of her food around on the plate before eating again. Buck worked on getting his food gone as he sipped at the coffee. He wasn’t sure what Athena needed Maddie at the station for, but he would go with her.

Eddie heard the front door open, and he had the beer ready. It was just now lunch, and he had food ready after Buck asked him to order pizza for their lunch.

Buck came into the kitchen and looked at Eddie with a look on his face that Eddie had never seen. Hell, Eddie wasn’t sure he had ever seen it on anyone’s face before. He wanted to ask what was wrong, but the look also told Eddie that the question wouldn’t be welcome at all. So Eddie just set down the beer and opened up the pizza box. Buck grabbed a slice of pizza from the box and started to eat it, not even going for a plate.

“Doug’s in jail,” Buck said.

“What did he do?” Eddie wasn’t sure what he thought about that. He knew the danger that Doug could be, but he also knew that if Doug was in jail, he wouldn’t be a danger for at least a little while.

“He showed up at Maddie’s work after following her. He then attacked one of her co-workers when they refused to tell him where she was. That attack has him in jail, and he will probably stay there since he attacked a 9-1-1 operator. The DA doesn’t think he will get out on bail. I really hope he doesn’t. Hopefully, the judge feels the same way.”

“That’s why Maddie wanted you to go with her.” It didn’t take much for Eddie to put two and two together.

“Yeah, she didn’t feel safe going alone to give a statement to Athena about it. We talked a little in person where I could see her responses. I don’t know if I can even think about being in the same room as our parents ever again.”

“They hurt you both, and their wants damaged your relationship with your sister.” Eddie stepped closer to Buck and laid a hand on his shoulder. Buck turned to look at him, and he just shook his head before stepping out of Eddie’s hold. Eddie went back to his place on the other side of the counter, picked up beer, and took a sip.

Eddie had only gone out and bought a single six-pack. Even if he had only one of them and Buck drank the rest, Buck would be fine. Buck had body mass on his side when it came to it, and pizza was good to soak it all up and make sure he didn’t get drunk just from not having food on his stomach.

“I picked some movies for us to watch until we pick up Chris from school and go to the zoo.”

“I don’t feel like it today,” Buck said.

“Buck, we are going to the zoo. I’m not gonna let you stay here with your head. We promised Chris a day out since it’s Friday, and he’s done really well at school this week. Then tonight, we are going to see Santa.”

Buck glared at Eddie, but at least there wasn’t a lot of heat behind that glare. Eddie knew that Buck wasn’t upset; he was just used to people letting him wallow. He just wanted to lick his wounds in peace, and Eddie wasn’t going to let him. Being at the zoo with Chris was his favorite thing to do. He would do that any day of the weekend and love it. He just needed out of his head. Which he wasn’t going to do if he was home alone.

“You know I am a grown man,” Buck said.

Eddie looked Buck up and down. “Yes, I can see you are a grown man. A very nice specimen of a man as well.”

“Eds,” Buck said. He blushed, which made him even prettier to Eddie.

“What?”

“You are making me blush.”

“Well, you are the one that hasn’t gone out in a while. I have.”

“I know. I was watching Chris while you did.”

“You could have come out to the club again.”

“No one looks at me when we go out. They all keep on looking at you.”

Eddie didn’t say a thing to that. He knew exactly why no one approached them when they were at the club together. While Buck might be straight, he paid too much attention to Eddie when they were there, and everyone thought they were on a date. Eddie was okay with not getting a whole bunch of numbers while he was out. He liked dancing with people, but he didn’t like it going further than that. He was still having issues with thinking of himself as divorced. Shannon was out of his life, and he ached for what that meant for Chris, but he wasn’t going to endure in the past.

There were many reasons to move on, but most of them were for Chris, who hadn’t accepted that his mother was out of the picture. He asked about her all the time. Chris knew that they were divorced and that Shannon had not been happy during the single court date they had for it the month before. Bringing home a woman on a date was a huge no for Eddie right now as Chris would lose his mind on it.

“I doubt they are looking just at me. I bet some of them are scared to approach you for your number,” Eddie said. It was about as diplomatic as he could get. He knew he was developing feelings for Buck. He knew it, but he wasn’t able to stop himself. Honestly, he didn’t want to stop himself. Buck would be safe to fall in love with. It would never go anywhere since Buck was straight. Eddie’s heart would be safe. Buck would never rip it out like Shannon had done.

Buck would never treat him like Shannon had. Buck would never leave him. Which was the only part that made Eddie feel a little bit wrong for liking Buck. Buck was safe because he would never be the one to leave someone first. He would hang on until the bitter end, much like he had done with Abby. Eddie was pretty sure that their friendship would survive Buck finding out that Eddie had feelings for him, but right now, when he was dealing with so much in his personal life, Eddie wasn’t going to burden him with that.

“You got the pizza I like,” Buck said. He flipped the box up on the second pizza and found it was Eddie’s favorite, just minus the one topping that Buck didn’t like.

“Well, I wasn’t sure how much you ate for breakfast, so I wanted to be sure that you had enough to eat, and I’m getting used to eating my pizza like this since Chris doesn’t like black olives on a pizza either. So I will live with all of your pizza without my olives.”

“Well, I have an idea on that. They make baking stones that are big enough for a little pizza each. We can buy a set of them and make our own pizzas on them. We could have a fun night with it.”

“We can pick some up tonight when we get dinner. Chris will be all for it, and we can do it for lunch tomorrow?”

“I can head to the store and get stuff for it after breakfast when I do the normal shopping, and I can pick up the stones then. The kitchen shop next to where I normally shop has them. No need for a special trip anywhere.”

“That’s fine. So picking up Chris, heading to the zoo to see the new babies that were born, and then we will see Santa once it’s night. Chris is very specific on wanting to see Santa when it’s dark out.”

“Well, that’s because he and I talked about how Santa works when it’s dark out, so he wants to only ‘bother’ him when he’s supposed to be working, but he also understands that some kids are not as old as him and can’t stay up at late so they should have the daytime stuff.” Buck laughed after he said the last word.

“God, I love my kid,” Eddie said. He picked up a slice of pizza and started to eat on it.

Buck picked up his third slice and took a drink of his beer with his other hand. Eddie was glad that it was only half gone. That meant that Buck didn’t really feel like drinking but wanted the drink since it was a comfort. Eddie had made some tea, and it was in the fridge, and he would get himself a glass after he finished his beer, hoping that Buck went after that next as well. It would make things a lot easier if Eddie didn’t have to deal with Buck when he had some alcohol in him. He was even more touchy when he was like that. As it was, Eddie was going to end up with Buck half on him on the couch when they were watching the movie.

Eddie was all for touching Buck, though, since the man needed it after years of not having it. Eddie and his family were all very touchy. Abuela had taken to hugging Buck until he stopped trying to pull out of it when they stopped by to pick up Chris when he was having a day with her. Both Abuela and Pepa knew that Buck didn’t have the best childhood despite no one telling them. Eddie had made sure they knew that he wasn’t physically abused. Still didn’t mean there wasn’t abuse, but there was nothing that they needed to worry about when touching him.

“Let’s go sit and watch something while eating. Is there tea?” Buck asked.

“Yeah. You take the pizza in there, and I’ll get the tea.”

Buck nodded before he drained his beer and put the bottle near the sink to be rinsed out later and put in recycle. He headed to the living room with the pizza right after. His body language was better than it had been. He seemed a lot less tense, which was always the best thing.

Buck shifted in his seat as he looked out of the Jeep and where Maddie was talking to someone who had stopped her outside of the courthouse. He had promised to pick her up and take her to the meeting she had with the DA. It wasn’t going to take long. It was just getting her ready since she was on the witness list for the trial for Doug.

Maddie nodded and then looked at Buck with a look on her face. Buck unbuckled and pulled the keys from the ignition, making sure to grab his phone as well. He jogged across the street as soon as he thought it was safe. He stopped jogging when he was close to Maddie.

“This is my brother, Buck; he’s here to pick me up,” Maddie said.

“You should just come home to Hershey and stop this.”

“I didn’t do this,” Maddie said. She looked the man up and down. “He attacked a 9-1-1 Operator and put him in the hospital. He did it on camera. The DA is not giving him the option not to press charges.”

“You put that man up to that.”

“I put that man up to waiting outside just in case Doug showed up?” Maddie asked.

“Oh, I remember you from the wedding,” Buck said. He did now that he saw the man sneered. The man’s wife hadn’t come to the wedding because of being sick. Buck wondered if this asshole was abusive as well. He certainly seemed like it.

“I don’t remember you.”

“No, I was a kid back then. Now I’m a firefighter here in LA. My sister and I are leaving. If you don’t stay away from her, I will have a restraining order put on you.”

“You can’t do shit,” the man said.

“Oh, but I can. Buckaroo, you okay?” Athena asked.

The man turned around to look at Athena, who was dressed for work.

“Yeah, we were just leaving.”

“Well, Bobby is expecting you at my place for that day out with Harry and Chris after school. You don’t want to keep those kids waiting.”

“I’d never keep Cap waiting,” Buck said. He didn’t have plans like that, but he would head to Athena’s place to see what was going on there that Athena wanted him to be there. He would be happy if Chris and Eddie were there. It would make things a lot better as no one could follow Maddie home right away.

“Want to go, Maddie?” Buck asked.

“Sure. I’d love it.” Maddie looked freaked out, and Buck wanted to just hold her close and never let her go. He hated that his sister was stuck in all of this.

Buck ushered Maddie to the Jeep and started the drive over to Athena’s.

“What’s going on?” Maddie asked.

“I am not sure. I’m going to do what Athena tells me to, though. She scares me enough that I never want to be on the bad side of her.”

Maddie laughed, but she was stressed, and Buck knew it. He didn’t want to stress her out more, but he had no idea how to help her. He pulled into Athena’s driveway to see that Eddie was there as well as Michael. Buck swallowed and cut off the engine.

“Who is here?”

“Athena’s ex-husband, Michael, don’t worry, he’s a good guy. He finally accepted he was gay, and that’s why they got divorced. He’s still good friends with Athena. He and Bobby get along well, also. Then there is Eddie. Other than that, I can’t tell you.” Buck eyed the unknown car that was there.

Buck got out of the Jeep and headed toward the door, waiting for Maddie to come around the Jeep and join him. He knocked on the door, and it was Eddie who opened it up. Behind Eddie was a gentleman that Buck didn’t know.

“Who are you?” Buck asked as he stepped to stop Maddie from getting close.

“I’m one of the ADAs from Hershey, Mister Buckley. My name is Greg Smith. We were contacted by the local police after Mister Kendall was arrested for getting case files on him to see if he was just as dangerous. I came to get consent to start a file for spousal abuse against him. California is willing to allow us to have him after they finish their trial for a court case, then the sentences will be served consecutively if your sister is willing.”

Maddie gripped Buck’s arm tightly.

“Also, we have recorded conversations from Mister Kendall to Mister Harper, a man that I have heard from Sergeant Grant who was trying to scare your sister away from the court case. Kendall called him on Harper’s work phone, so the company handed over those as soon as they listened to them.”

“I have a name,” Maddie said.

“Yes, Ma’am, you do, but you’ve not given me permission to call you by your given name, and I am unsure if calling you by your married name is something you want, or you want to be called Miss Buckley. I was trying not to trigger you.”

“Oh, um, Maddie is just fine. I haven’t decided if I want to go back to Buckley when I get a divorce or not.”

“Well, we would gladly help you in all of that, be it there or here in California. Since he’s here now, we can figure that kind of thing out later, though. The main thing is that you are in danger. Kendall is in jail, but he’s pissed off, and it seems he has friends. Harper is not the only one as Harper was told to tell the others.”

“To that end, let’s go inside so that everyone isn’t just standing around,” Eddie said.

“Sure,” Smith said. He stepped back to leave Eddie, Buck, and Maddie there.

“Athena, Michael, and Bobby want you to move in here. Until everything is over. The lease on Abby’s place will be easy to break, and then when it’s all said and done, and you feel safe, we can find you someplace else, or you can keep Abby’s.”

“I like it there. I feel safe there. I’d rather just keep on paying it and go back there. But why here?” Maddie asked.

“It’s going to be safer. Athena has two kids who can also be around more. More people are better. They are going to be installing one of those doorbell cams that will activate anytime someone gets close. This street has pretty low traffic. Outside of Bobby’s crew, there are not many people who don’t live here who come around. It’s better to control than even my place.”

“I’m sorry for all of this.”

“It’s fine,” Buck said. He ushered Maddie over to the couch and sat her down in the corner before sitting down beside her. Eddie sat down beside him, and then the ADA sat in a folding chair. Michael and Bobby were on the love seat.

For two hours, they talked about everything, and they cleared out before Harry got home from school. Eddie left to pick up Chris and bring him back, leaving Buck with Maddie.

“So, what we are going to do,” Michael said as he scooted to the edge of the seat. “Is head over to your place, get the food, clothes, and anything else you want right now out of it, and bring that back here. You and Buck will stay here, and then when Eddie gets back, you five will go to the zoo. Harry’s not been in a while, and he would love that.”

“Sure. Chris would go every day, especially with me.” Buck was proud of the fact that Chris loved him so much.

Maddie laughed at that. She looked around.

“Oh, I’ll show you the guest room you’ll be staying in. It locks, and the windows are very, very secure. Don’t worry about someone getting in that way without someone hearing.”

“Thank you. I know you don’t have to do this.”

“Oh, shush up, honey. We do our fair share in this household to help people. You are family because you are Buck’s family. That means we do what we can to make sure you are safe and taken care of.”

“Thank you.”

Buck stayed where he was, and he looked at Bobby. “Thank you.”

“You are welcome. It’s nothing, though. We can get her car later. We figured that while you are all out with the kids, we can get things set up, and if she wants us to drive the car here, we can, or she can go later and get it before her shift at work.”

Buck slumped back into the couch.

“While we have a moment and no one else is really around, how are you doing on Daniel?”

“I’m…coping. I never knew him. Not really. I have something with him, I’m sure, but those memories are long gone to the ravages of time on a baby’s mind. Well, that and just not being able to understand what was going on. I’m sure that I missed him for a while. How do you miss someone that you never knew?”

“He was still part of your family, and you knew that something was going on. You are smart, Buck. You didn’t have enough pieces to put it together. If you had known any of it, I’m sure you would have put it together.”

Buck nodded his head. The door opened, so Buck got up to see who it was. He smiled and held out his arms when Harry cried out his name. Buck stood up with the boy in his arms, and he walked over to drop down onto the couch, making Harry laugh.

“What are we doing?” Harry asked.

“Well, we are going to the zoo with Christopher. How does that sound?” Buck asked.

“Yeah, please?” Harry looked at Michael as he crawled off Buck’s lap and settled down beside him.

“Of course,” Bobby said.

“Can we go now?” Harry asked.

“Go get ready to leave. Eddie is still not back from getting Chris. When he gets back, be ready to go.”

Buck laughed as Harry ran to get to his bedroom. Maddie came back a few minutes later with Michael and looked like she wasn’t holding on very well. Michael seemed a little on edge as well.

The door opened again, and this time it was Eddie with Chris in his arms. Chris was smiling big, and he waved at everyone until he saw Maddie. His face fell a little, and he laid his head on his father’s shoulder.

“Hi, Christopher,” Maddie said.

“Hi.”

“Is it okay if I go to the zoo with you and Harry?” Maddie asked.

“If Dad says it’s okay,” Chris said.

“Well, I invited her along, so I hope I’m okay.”

Chris leaned in and said something into Eddie’s ear, and Eddie looked right at Buck before waving him close.

Buck got up and walked over to the pair of them.

“What?” Buck asked, keeping his voice low.

“Chris wants to make sure you are okay since she makes you sad.”

“Ah, buddy,” Buck said. He put out his hands, and Chris moved easily to Buck’s arms and wrapped his legs and arms around him as much as he could. “Of course it is. Maddie loves the zoo. Her favorite animal is the elephants, and since it’s been a while since we’ve visited them, I thought maybe we could go there.”

“There’s a new baby elephant,” Chris said.

“There is?” Maddie asked.

“Yeah, it’s all small and stuff. Buck tried to tell me it wasn’t too small and that I used to be the same size, well, the same size but like a human.”

“Don’t you trust me?” Buck asked.

“Not with things like this,” Chris said.

Eddie laughed and reached out to ruffle Chris’ hair. Chris huffed at him and let go of Buck to straighten his hair. He glared at his father as he did it. Buck found him so adorable when he was like that.

“Okay, so we are going to the zoo, we are going to eat dinner at the zoo. Thankfully it’s Friday, so things will be better. There is a Christmas lights thing there as well, and we will stay for it. We’ve already got tickets, so we get to stay at the zoo past closing.”

“Oh, cool,” Harry said.

“I want panda pancakes,” Chris said.

“Buck makes those,” Eddie said.

“I know I want them for breakfast, and I want Harry to stay over,” Chris said.

“Oh, Dad, can I?” Harry asked.

“Eddie?” Michael asked.

“Sure. I’ve got Chris and Buck already; what’s one more hyper person who won’t sit down.”

“Funny, Eds,” Buck said. He reached out and shoved at Eddie’s shoulder, and the asshole just laughed. He was looking forward to the night. He’d end up with Chris in his arms after a little while, and he knew it. He was okay with that. He would be happy with just any time he could spend with Maddie, but the pressure would not be there to force him to keep mending the fences.

Eddie grabbed a beer from the fridge as he heard the door open, and Buck and Chris came inside. Buck had taken Chris shopping for Eddie’s Christmas present. Eddie had taken him just a few days ago after school to get Buck’s present. Eddie had tried not to spend too much on his gift to Buck, but he wasn’t sure he had succeeded in it.

The whole trying not to show Buck how he was feeling only worked if Buck wasn’t looking and the way that Eddie wanted to buy presents for him, Buck would start to look.

“You guys hungry?” Eddie asked.

“What did you make?” Buck asked. He inhaled and then exhaled before he made an intrigued sound. “It smells really good.”

“Huevos con chorizo and some rice. I even made dessert,” Eddie said.

“Dad makes good eggs,” Chris said as he headed to the kitchen.

Buck followed behind, setting the bags down on the floor near the hallway to the back of the house. Eddie wasn’t even tempted to look and see what was in there. He knew that Buck probably gave Chris more money than he had to buy the gift, but Eddie had done that kind of thing with Chris before Shannon had left as well.

“Well, I look forward to this,” Buck said. He got into the fridge and got out drinks for him and Chris, more than just a beer.

Eddie liked that Buck would drink beer with dinner so that Eddie didn’t feel left out. It was something he had done after he had gotten home the last time. It was an indulgence, and Chris didn’t seem to care. Eddie didn’t crave the beer; he just liked it. He was also glad he had found his favorite beer from El Paso in the area as well. He wasn’t sure if he had just missed it in the area before or it was new, but he had found it at his favorite place to stop and get alcohol. He had picked up Buck’s favorite rum for drinks and had browsed around, which had ended up being a good thing.

Christopher had been introduced to virgin drinks, and he had been in love with them since. Buck was damned good at making drinks, even virgin ones that Chris loved that weren’t too sweet and didn’t get him worked up at night.

“Can we have peach something to drink with dessert?” Chris asked.

“I think I have something. It’ll be just a little bit since we have a real dessert,” Buck said.

Eddie stayed back and let Chris and Buck get their food while Buck talked about something they talked about before coming home. Eddie followed behind and grabbed a huge amount of the spicy chorizo from the pan. He had made just enough of Chris’ not as spicy chorizo. He had Pepa buy him a good bit when she went to Texas to visit. Chris hadn’t liked the kind that was around here. So a bunch was bought, and Eddie froze it in small bits. This was one of Chris’ favorite meals, so Eddie liked to make it a lot.

Buck nodded his head as he set Chris’ plate down on the table and then went back to get the drinks from the counter. He set Chris up before going back for the pico to stick on his rice.

Eddie was just sitting down when Buck’s phone rang. Eddie gave the living room a look as the intro to Tubthumping started up.

“Who is that?”

“Chim. I’ll go and see what he wants.”

Eddie nodded his head, and he started to eat. Christopher looked at him and then started to regale him with the story of what happened at recess. Eddie listened to every word, but he also focused on what was going on in the living room, but Buck returned after two minutes.

“What’s up?” Eddie asked when Chris paused as Buck sat down.

“Nothing. Chim just wanted to see if I was down for a guys’ night, but he’s not sure he wants it at his place. I said that we could do it here as long as we could find someone to watch Chris. You said last time you didn’t mind doing it here.”

“Yeah, that would be great. Karen will probably watch Chris, and if not, Athena or Michael might. Hell, whoever does might end up with all three boys,” Eddie said. He remembered Hen making the comment that it was almost time for a guys’ night. He had been a little shocked. What that meant was everyone close on the team, no matter how they presented. He was glad of it. It seemed when it came to things like that guy and dude were pretty much interchangeable on the team, people just like guy better for guys’ night instead of dudes’ night, which was understandable.

“Cool. We will check schedules on that.” Buck started to text, and when he was done, he laid his phone down. It vibrated a few seconds later, but he didn’t move to check it.

“So, Chris, what are you most excited for Santa to bring you?” Buck asked.

“Well, a Switch. I really wanna play the Zelda game on there.”

“Oh, that will be fun,” Buck said.

“Yeah, I can get your help on the hard stuff and just have a lot of fun playing,” Chris said.

Eddie shook his head. Buck knew that Eddie had a Switch for him. Buck had talked about buying a few games to play more than the Mario game that came with the bundle Eddie got him. Chris had a list of games he wanted, but the Zelda game wasn’t on there. Eddie didn’t like to play games like that, so it wasn’t something that Eddie thought about buying for Chris unless he asked for it. Buck had spent a lot of time playing the various Zelda games while traveling around the country. It was easy to carry his DS with him. Eddie had heard him talking to Harry and May about it at the last get-together. Eddie could see Buck sitting with what little time he had on some of his jobs, playing video games. Buying devices like that were common, it seemed for Buck’s parents. It allowed them to seem like good parents but used them to keep Buck out of their hair.

The more he learned about the Buckley parents, the more Eddie hated them. He would never regret asking Buck to live with him. He had done it out of wanting to help him, but after everything that had come out about Buck’s growing up and the secrets kept from him, Eddie was glad he wasn’t alone for it.

Dinner went faster than Eddie would have liked, and then it was bedtime, leaving them alone on the couch as the sounds of Chris’ snoring from allergies acting up came down the hall when there were no other sounds in the room. Eddie was on one end of the couch while Buck was on the other, their feet on the coffee table. Buck looked like he was having deep thoughts.

“So are you ready for Christmas and having a very, very active seven-year-old jumping on you?” Eddie asked.

“Honestly? I can’t wait.”

Eddie shoved at Buck’s foot with his own, and Buck responded by doing it back. Eddie had never played footsie with someone before, and he couldn’t wait until he could do it again with Buck. He had never felt so carefree in his life, and he just wanted to keep the feelings inside forever. Buck was laughing so hard that he ended up falling off the couch when Eddie’s shove with his foot on his hip surprised him.

“You okay?” Eddie asked as he leaned over the side of the couch to look at Buck.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Hand me my beer,” Buck said.

Eddie leaned over to snag it from the end table and handed it down to Buck. Buck drained it and then set it on the coffee table before he hauled himself up.

“I don’t know how to feel about what Doug did. I feel happy, but then I think I’m not right in the head.”

“Explain that,” Eddie said.

Buck sat down on the couch the correct way, and he snagged Eddie’s legs and drew them over his lap before picking at a bit of string sticking out of the hem of Eddie’s jeans.

“He attacked someone, and they are okay, but I feel bad for being happy that it wasn’t Maddie. That has to make me a monster, doesn’t it?”

“Look at it like this; no one should ever have their house catch fire, but who is better, a mother of five or a firefighter?”

“Well, firefighters, as they can do more to stop it before it goes further.”

“The person that Doug attacked got a beating, but he gave a beating back. He incapacitated Doug long enough for the cops to show up. Doug got a blitz attack on the guy, but after that, they were holding their own. Doug wasn’t made to take a beating, so he gave in like the weakling he is. No one wanted what happened to happen, and you didn’t wish it into being. No one needed the trauma, but at least he went after someone who could handle themselves.”

Buck nodded his head, but he still looked a little upset.

“You’ll get your head around it soon, I promise. Talk to Doctor Copeland about it.”

“I will. It just hit me while he was playing around there.”

“Come here. You need a hug.”

Buck looked at Eddie, but he moved when Eddie dropped his legs off Buck’s lap. Eddie opened his arms, and Buck dropped into them. Eddie held him close and rocked them back and forth for a few seconds. Buck didn’t seem to want to move out of Eddie’s arms either, so Eddie just leaned back and let Buck rest on his chest. He grabbed the remote and hit play on the movie they had going in the background for noise. Buck just slumped down into him.

It was moments like this that made Eddie think about Buck and his sex addiction. He had heard the rumors, and he had even heard the comments made about Buck having sex with his therapist. There was so much wrong on all of those counts that Eddie had nearly wanted to punch a guy from C-Shift who had made a comment about it. Eddie hadn’t, though, as he had learned how to control his anger in the wake of making sure he wasn’t going to fuck up Chris. The punching bag got a lot of his anger, but he hadn’t raised his fists to someone in anger since he had been fighting for his life overseas.

The anger for Shannon had been something that he had been scared of, so he had sought out therapy through the VA in El Paso. He hadn’t liked taking time away from his time with Chris, but even after only six months of visits, he had felt happier, and it was part of what had him looking for a new place to live. With his parents around, he wasn’t going to be able to give Chris the attention he needed. His parents were supportive of him but only on their terms. Abuela and Pepa were more than happy to help when they could, and they had a lot when Eddie had been getting himself settled into life here. There weren’t a lot of good things that could be said about how his parents had felt about it all. Yet, Eddie knew that his parents loved him; when it came down to it, if he was injured and needed their help, they would do it. He never thought for a moment that they didn’t love him, and it seemed for Buck he had never thought that his parents did love him.

“Don’t go to sleep,” Eddie said.

“Too late.” Buck rubbed his cheek over Eddie’s shirt and slumped down into Eddie even more, even though Eddie hadn’t thought that was possible.

“Then we go to bed,” Eddie said. He rolled his shoulder, making Buck’s head bob up and down.

“Ugh, fine.” Buck still didn’t move for a moment or two like he didn’t want to leave the safety of Eddie’s arms.

When they got to the door of Buck’s room. Eddie tugged him toward his own room. Buck made a face, but he went along with him. Eddie had shorts that Buck could sleep in for the night, and with both of them in bed, a shirt wasn’t needed as they would feed warmth off each other.

Buck changed as fast as he could and dropped onto the bed, getting the blankets wrapped around him to where Eddie had to fight him for enough to cover his own body. So when Eddie was under there, he just wrapped himself around Buck on that side. Buck didn’t even say a damned thing.

Eddie knew that his heart was reading things like this wrong, but he wouldn’t give it up for anything.

Buck wasn’t sure where he was when he woke up. He remembered going to bed, but he had been so drunk Eddie had to pour him into bed. The 118 family had gone out drinking, and Maddie had been the one to watch the kids at Athena’s place. Maddie had taken to living with them with ease, and May enjoyed having someone else besides her mother to talk to.

Buck moved his leg, feeling that it was pretty much dead, but he stopped when he realized that he wasn’t alone in bed. His leg was dead from another pressed to it.

Forcing his eyes open, Buck saw the arm over his chest and relaxed. It was Eddie’s arm around him.

“Afraid I was going to puke?” Buck asked.

“No, you said you refused to sleep alone on Christmas Eve, even if not being alone just meant sleeping with me. You were pouting, and I couldn’t fight against that.”

Buck laughed, and he let himself sink into Eddie’s warmth. He wanted to get just a little more sleep. His head wasn’t pounding, so he must have drunk enough water and eaten enough food.

“DAD!” Chris yelled, and the door opened, slamming into the other wall.

Buck was really glad he wasn’t hungover, just tired. Given it was Christmas, everyone had picked up their kids on the way home from the bar. Chim had gotten a cab since he had ridden in with Eddie and Buck. Everyone had a DD of some kind, even if it was just a cab if they didn’t have a child to pick up.

“BUCK!” Chris yelled as he climbed up onto the bed and fell on top of both of them. “It’s the best Christmas ever.”

“Why?” Eddie asked.

“Cause Buck lives with us, and Santa ate all of the cookies and drank the milk. There are also soooo many presents under the tree.”

Buck worried about his presents, but he remembered that Eddie had made him add the stack to the ones Eddie would set out when they got home. He was safe in making sure that Chris knew that his presents were under there.

“I guess that means it’s breakfast time,” Eddie said.

“No! Presents!”

“Stocking,” Eddie countered.

Buck was enjoying this. He didn’t remember ever being excited about Christmas like Chris was. Yeah, Buck loved the presents, but the family slept, and when everyone was up, presents were opened. There were no pictures taken to show off smiling faces in the future. There were, in fact, very few pictures of Buck over the years. It is like his parents had stopped caring about pictures when he was born, which he hadn’t understood why until recently.

“Fine,” Chris said.

Eddie let go of Buck and rolled onto his back so he could cuddle Chris close. Buch rolled to his back as well, missing the warmth of Eddie’s body around his. Buck had never bought into the touch starvation thing before this. Being around Eddie made Buck realize just how touch-starved he was.

“Buck and I will work on breakfast while you open your stocking. If you are good while we are cooking breakfast, you can open up one small present before we eat.”

“Okay, Dad,” Chris said. He pushed up and then slumped over on Buck. “Carry me.”

“Since it’s Christmas, Buck said.

“You spoil him,” Eddie said, but there was no heat to the words.

“He’s worth spoiling, and it’s not like he lets us do it all that often.” Buck had been shocked at how much Chris liked to do things for himself, but hearing Eddie talking with his sisters about a few things, Buck had learned that Eddie’s parents didn’t let Chris do anything.

Buck sat up, allowing Chris to get himself settled into his lap with his arms around his neck before he got up off the bed. Eddie followed behind him as they made their way into the living room to settle Chris down on the couch. His crutches were already sitting there like he had chosen to leave them there and walk to get them.

Eddie grabbed the stocking that hadn’t been there the night before. Buck saw there were two others there as well, one with his name and the other with Eddie’s. Buck couldn’t look away from it. It was the first time he had never had a stocking with his name on it. The Buckley’s didn’t do them, and Maddie had never really picked it up even after she had gone away.

Buck walked over to the stocking, and he ran his finger over the letters of his name.

“Is this okay?” Eddie asked.

“Yeah. It is. I have never had one before.”

“Maddie didn’t get you one?”

“She never had any either. I don’t know if it was a Daniel thing that even she didn’t dare break or that the family never had them before. I never thought about just buying myself one. It seemed like I agreed that no one would ever give me one.”

“Chris wanted it to be a surprise. Our stockings are all older, as you know. So it was pretty easy to find one that matched the same theme that ours had.”

“Yeah, I saw the penguins on them. I like mine,” Buck said.

“Did you want to open it now?”

“What’s in yours?”

“I don’t know. My sisters sent me a care package. I set it out for Chris to stuff everything in there when I get it, and then I put it up and don’t look at it until I open it while Chris is playing with his toys after opening them.”

“Then I’ll wait until you open yours. I wanna see what you have in there.”

“Sure. Then let’s work on breakfast. The stocking has enough stuff to keep Chris busy.”

Buck looked to the side to see Chris pulling a book out of there. So even if he got bored with the toys, there was a new book to read. Buck loved books, but he usually read on a Kindle, given how he moved around the country for years. He hated asking for money for the Kindle. He would have to see about setting up a Kindle Wish List so that people could buy him books when they wanted.

Breakfast was a happy affair with Chris playing with a few small toys at the table that had been in his stocking. Eddie usually had a no toys at the table rule, but it was lax on Christmas morning. It felt the exact same as every other morning but also different.

When the dishes were cleared away, and Chris’ energy had Eddie smiling like he was having the best time, Buck sat down in front of the three to pass gifts out. He had already told Eddie that he was doing it. He had never got to do it before, and he wanted to. Chris had the lion’s share of gifts, which was what it should be. He was excited about his Switch, which thankfully Eddie had unboxed, charged up, and put the stickers on and the screen protector. It had been quite fun to see him open it.

“Dad?” Chris asked as he was handed a box that was very, very light.

Buck knew what it was, and he was looking forward to this.

“What, mijo?” Eddie asked, trying to keep the smirk off his face.

“I know that parents joke about giving their kids coal and boxes of just air but really?” Chris asked. He shook the box, and there was no noise. Still, he snagged an edge of the paper and ripped it off. The look on his face for the few seconds where he forgot the box was empty, but his mind was just seeing the Switch and Nintendo logo was good. Then it fell, and Buck couldn’t help but let his laughter out. He reached under the tree for the carrying case that the Switch was inside of, hidden under a sweater that wasn’t wrapped.

“What’s wrong?” Eddie asked.

“You are not funny. How did you even get a box?” Chris asked.

“Hey, Superman,” Buck said.

Chris turned to look at Buck with a look of pure vehemence on his face. Then he saw what was in Buck’s hand. He carefully took the case from Buck, looking like he expected it to have nothing inside of it. “Rocks?”

“Ah, would I do that to you?” Buck asked.

“Well, no. You aren’t mean like Dad,” Chris said. He glared at his father as he opened the zip on the case and the glare on his face went away to a smile. His eyes moved over the games that were already in the case. There were a few that Eddie knew he would play a lot that were direct downloads, but the other games were ones that he and Harry and Denny might want to swap around as the other boys didn’t have them.

“You can play after the rest of the presents are opened up. The cases for the games are in a box in my room, and we can add them to your shelf later. When you go back to school, the same rules apply; the Switch stays here.”

“Sure.”

Buck knew that Chris wasn’t going to fight on that as he didn’t like to take things to school that he cared about. He would rather not play them at lunch than have them be broken.

“What about Buck’s presents?” Chris asked.

“I’ll open them up, buddy. I just wanted to see you open that.”

“You knew he was going to play a trick on me?”

“Who do you think gave him the idea?” Buck asked.

“You are both so mean,” Chris said. He laid the case to the side and picked up the next present that was laid out for him.

A lot of Buck’s presents were from Chris, but a few said they were from Eddie. Buck touched the book that he unwrapped. It was one that he had been eyeing but hadn’t allowed himself to buy since it was so expensive. It was a coffee table book on fire science with a whole bunch of images. Buck’s inner geek loved it, but it wasn’t something he would just leave sitting on Eddie’s coffee table. Which was part of why he hadn’t bought it. He would enjoy the hell out of the book as well. He really couldn’t wait to start to read it.

Other presents were practical ones, just like some of the ones that Buck got for Eddie were.

“So, what are the plans now?”

“Well, we will just mess around until it’s time to head to Abuela’s for a meal. She’ll expect us at two so a small lunch wouldn’t be out of place. We can worry about that when we start to get hungry, or it hits noon. One of those two.”

“So we can just lounge around?” Buck asked.

“Sure. Abuela’s place is going to be insane with the family that is in town. We can just relax now.”

“Abuela goes crazy, but it’s fun. She’s not like mean,” Chris said.

“That’s good. I hate chaotic Christmas days where you can’t enjoy family.” Buck looked at Eddie. “You are sure she’s okay with me coming over, right?”

“Buck, she is the one that invited you. It’s fine. I promise.”

Buck nodded. He had to be sure that it was all wanted. Maddie was just staying at her place; there was a lot to unpack on her years with Doug, and Christmas, it seemed, was a pretty big trigger. It was okay because Buck would rather have her happy than force family time on her when she didn’t want it.

Doug’s sentencing was set, and Buck wasn’t sure what he felt about it. The case with the 9-1-1 operator had been rolled into the man he had attacked in jail as well. The only difference was that he had killed him. Buck still wasn’t sure what had gone on with that, but he had seen the attack when he had been in court with Maddie. Doug had gone off the rails and attacked the man for something he said. The cameras didn’t catch that as they were too far away.

“Can I play in my room?” Chris asked.

“Sure. I set the cradle up for the Switch in there. I’ll get the other set up in here.”

“Cool.”

Buck settled down into the couch more, and he looked at the book that was still in his lap. He smiled and rubbed his hand over the cover.

“So, how was Christmas for you?” Eddie asked.

“It’s not even over yet. A little early to ask, isn’t it?”

“Eh, you looked like you were having a lot of fun, so I just wanted to be sure. I don’t want you forcing yourself. The first Christmas after Shannon was pretty shitty. Chris and I fought more than anything. I almost didn’t have Christmas last year because of it, other than letting Chris open presents but being around the family up here was a lot better. I think getting him away from his grandparents was the best thing in the world.”

“He’s a good kid, and despite everything, you are doing good with him.”

“That’s what I keep being told, but I’m afraid of fucking him up too much.”

“Eddie, as long as you don’t do what your parents did and don’t have some deep secret like my parents, I think you’ll do just fine.”

Eddie nodded his head, and he dropped down onto the couch beside Buck, closer than he had sat down last time. Buck soaked up the warmth of Eddie’s arm pressed to his. He was looking forward to Christmas dinner at Abuela’s place. He hadn’t been big on the holiday since he had left home. He sent Maddie presents every single year, but he sent them to her work. He knew what Doug would have done with them if he had seen them. Usually, it was some kind of snack box and then a day at a spa for a little pampering. Buck’s old friends usually helped him get the spa day stuff, which was good. They were the kind of friends that would go years without talking but be there if each other needed. It wasn’t like Buck talked to them every single day.

“So Christmas at the Buckley-Diaz house is a go for next year?” Eddie asked.

“Buckley-Diaz?” Buck asked.

“You live here, so it’s our house.”

Buck nodded his head as he wasn’t sure he would be able to say anything else on that. He laid his head on Eddie’s shoulder and thought about what he wanted to do to show Eddie how much he appreciated being welcomed into the house and how Eddie accepted him as he was. He would have to have some plans laid out for it. It couldn’t be slacking in any way. He had to show Eddie how much he mattered to him.

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!

2 thoughts on “The World Keeps on Turning

  1. That was a lovely chapter/episode. I’m all choked up. Buck never had a stocking? That breaks my heart.
    I love seeing Buck get the love and support he needs and deserves.
    Doug in prison is a thing of beauty.
    Thank you for continuing this storyline.

    Like

    1. Thanks! 💜

      Doug in prison is a thing of beauty. I wish it was one we would have seen in the show. Death is all well and good but sometimes knowing the fucker is in prison for life is better.

      Like

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