Twin

Title: Twin
Fandom(s): 9-1-1
Relationships: Eddie Diaz/Evan Buckley
Tags: Getting Together
Warnings: Not Chim Friendly,
Summary: The man could be Buck’s twin, and Eddie’s not sure what to think about that.
Word Count: 3,583
Year: 2021
Spoilers: Up Through Season 5
Notes: One-Shot for Family Fire Conflagration Challenge. No more will be written for this.
Beta: Grammarly

Not many times in his life could Eddie say he was truly shocked by something that wasn’t a natural event. Yet Eddie was shocked when sitting here in a weird bar Josh had told him about. He set down the beer he had been about to take a drink of to pull out his phone. It was a kind of open mic night, which was not Eddie’s thing, but he had already been dropped off by the Uber when he realized it and didn’t feel like figuring out where else to go.

Up on the stage was Buck’s twin. It was a little dark, so Eddie couldn’t get a good look at one side of the man’s face, so he just zoomed in and snapped the picture.

The man was just starting to pluck at the guitar. He was good, the melody was only a little familiar but a little changed, so Eddie didn’t know it. The intro was a little long; the man seemed to be building up the will to sing the song. Unlike the other acts, the man hadn’t said a thing before he started.

“Incompatible, it don’t matter though ’cause someone’s bound to hear my cry,” the man sang.

Eddie hadn’t heard that song in a long time. He had been big on it at one point. The song had spoken to him, and then he had to just stop because he had figured out that while he might not be able to have the man he wanted, he had that man in his life, which was good enough.

When the song was nearly done, the man turned his head, and Eddie actually dropped the beer in his hand that time. It only had a little in it, so none of it sloshed out.

It wasn’t Buck’s twin; it was Buck. Eddie didn’t know he could play guitar. He had seen the case in Buck’s loft a few times but never asked about it because it was always hidden away, and despite what most thought, he could stay out of things that he knew were not talked about for a reason. Buck didn’t hide things unless they were painful.

Eddie knew him better than anyone else, but that didn’t mean he had a right to push into parts of Buck’s life he didn’t share with anyone. Still, this was something so very personal. If it wasn’t for the fact Eddie knew for a fact Buck would never come back here if he knew Josh came here, Eddie would have thought this was a setup.

Picking up his bottle, Eddie headed to the bar. He drained the bottle as he walked. The bartender was dealing with a group, so Eddie turned back to the stage as Buck moved on to another song. His voice was good. Eddie wouldn’t mind listening to him sing more.

“What can I get for you?”

“Two of the same. But draft.”

“Sure.”

Eddie laid down the money needed, and he turned around again to listen as Buck moved on to his third song.

“Can you let Buck know that Eddie is here,” Eddie said.

The bartender looked at him, but he shrugged and nodded.

Eddie returned to the table and enjoyed the next song Buck sang. After the fourth, BUck finally put up the guitar and left the stage. Eddie clapped at the same time as the rest of the bar and settled in to wait for Buck to either come or not.

About ten minutes later, the chair pulled across him, and Buck dropped into the seat.

“Eds,” Buck said.

“Buck. You were good.”

Buck ducked his head and started to blush a little. “It’s something I picked up while on the road. I don’t write my own songs or really want to do anything with it, but sometimes I just want to get out and sing with someone listening. Did you follow me?”

“No, I was actually just out and about. Josh told me about this bar and how friendly it was. I just came to not be in my head at home with Chris at that sleepover at Casey’s house. I wasn’t expecting this.”

“Nor was I.”

Eddie scooted the glass over to Buck. The frosted outside was pretty much gone, but at least the beer would still be pretty cold. Buck took a long draught of it, and then he looked Eddie in the eye.

“So you aren’t…going to tell anyone, are you?”

“No, Buck, I’m not. Why would you think that?”

“I don’t know. Everyone at work would love to make fun of me for this kind of thing.”

“It’s me.”

Buck shrugged. He picked at the beer in his hand. There must be a defect in the glass he was trying to pick off or something.

“I guess I’m just used to being the butt of jokes at work. I’m not taken that seriously even now.”

Eddie had been in the process of lifting his beer up when Buck finished speaking.

“You are not,” Eddie said.

“No, I really am. Look at how everyone took me wanting to leave the 118 after all that mess with my sister and Chim.”

“You were just-” Eddie stopped himself from speaking as he knew that everyone had kind of glossed over everything. Buck had been lost, and while it wasn’t all of their jobs to make him feel a little more grounded, everyone forgot that it was Buck’s sister who was gone, not just Chim’s girlfriend. That the man who was out there looking for Maddie had hit Buck.

There was so much shit going on in everyone’s lives that things got forgotten about Buck.

“And everything is just so weird right now. You are gone. Chim’s still gone and hasn’t contacted me since he got to Boston. Hen’s been keeping his confidence, which I understand, but I’m worried about him.”

Eddie wondered if Buck had ever really talked to anyone about that punch. Eddie hadn’t thought much about it in the aftermath of it. He had been more than happy to settle Buck about the hit, but he had looked at it through his eyes. Not Buck. Buck, who had never gone to war like Eddie had, who hadn’t picked up a sport that was all about beating the shit out of someone.

“Hey, nothing that happened is your fault,” Eddie said. He reached out to touch Buck, but Buck picked up his beer again and took a drink. If it wasn’t for the way that Buck’s eyes wouldn’t meet his, Eddie would have thought it was just a simple motion of Buck just taking a drink. He knew better. “Buck.”

“I need to get home. I don’t want to drink too much.” Buck finished off the beer in his hand and finally met Eddie’s eyes.

There was a storm of emotion in Buck’s eyes.

“Well, I took an Uber here. I can get us one home.”

“I drove, so I’ll leave you to this.”

Eddie didn’t like it. He knew if he let Buck leave now, things would never become what they needed to talk about. Buck wouldn’t let it be brought up again. He would probably move somewhere else to sing.

“Buck, I want to talk.” Eddie felt like maybe he had been ignoring Buck a little bit. Buck was around, but something seemed missing in his and Chris’ lives. Eddie felt bad for not realizing it before this.

Buck let out a little huff, and it was one Eddie knew well.

“I mean it. Chris isn’t home. Take me back to the house, and we can talk there. Just let Taylor know you won’t be home.”

“She and I have been over for a little while.”

“How come I didn’t know this?”

“I brought her up the day it happened, and you said you didn’t want to hear about Taylor. So I just kept it to myself.” Buck shrugged like it was no big deal.

“Okay, so I’ve been shitty to you over the last while. I was too focused on me.”

“You’ve got a crisis going on, Eddie. It’s okay.”

“No, it’s not. I’ve been good for a little while. Not the best, but good. I just assumed you were doing better than me. I thought no news was good news. I didn’t want to ever be that way. Not with you.”

“Eds,” Buck said. He looked at Eddie and looked freaked out a little bit. He looked a little scared.

“Come on. Let’s get going. Where is your guitar?”

“In the Jeep already. I was just going to leave. I knew you were in here, but I also didn’t want you to show up at the loft.”

“Well, we can go to mine, and then you can leave when you want. Please.”

Buck nodded.

The drive to Eddie’s house was quiet. Buck was silent, and how quiet he was a strange feeling. Buck was always filling Eddie’s silences in the best ways.

Once at Eddie’s house, Buck went right to the kitchen and came out a few minutes later with two beers. He sat down on the couch and just looked at Eddie.

“I’m sorry,” Eddie said.

“You’ve been going through it. It’s okay. Doctor Copeland has been trying to get me to open up a little about things, but I’m just not sure what I need to open up about. I feel like I might break if I even let go of one thing.”

“And breaking is something you don’t want to do?”

“I’m afraid of what it will mean if it happens. You are gone; Chim is gone. Hen’s not accepting someone else in Chim’s place. I just don’t know what to do, Eddie. I need to take care of myself, but I’ve already been told that what I want for me isn’t going to happen.”

Eddie felt bad for his part in that. He took Buck’s beer from his hand and set down both of them on the coffee table. He caught Buck’s eye and made Buck keep eye contact with him. It took just a few seconds for Buck to deflate a little, and he slumped back on the couch.

“I don’t know what to do.”

“Well, let’s talk, and we will figure it out.”

Buck nodded. He looked at Eddie with hope in his eyes.

Eddie snagged his phone, and he checked the time. There was another half an hour before he needed to wake up Buck for them to go and pick up Chris. Eddie hoped that Chris would be happy that Buck would invade their breakfast out. He was afraid that any snub from Chris would break Chris.

There was a text from Bobby, and it showed that Bobby had been worried about Buck as well. It was something that at least they could see eye to eye. However, Eddie was pretty sure he needed more help than he was getting at the moment, and maybe Buck’s idea that therapy would work was the best, but Eddie needed to find someone else as Frank just wasn’t helping as much as Eddie thought he would. He wanted to be better. He wanted to treat Buck better. He would have Buck ask Doctor Copeland for a recommendation. Hopefully, someone in her practice so that if Eddie and Buck needed therapy between them.

Looking down at Buck, who was in bed with Eddie because Eddie had been a little worried about Buck just slipping away in the night if he slept on the couch. It hadn’t been too hard to convince Buck to get into bed with him. Buck was an octopus when he was half asleep. Eddie had learned that during COVID. Eddie rubbed his hand up and down Buck’s back a little, and Buck settled down into him a little more, a smile on his face. Eddie kissed his forehead next.

“Eddie?” Buck asked.

“You can sleep longer. I’m just talking with Bobby about a few things.”

“‘Kay,” Buck said, and he settled down to sleep again.

Buck was trying to find his place in the 118 again, and Eddie was worried that when it came time, he might not fit into the 118 again.

Bobby: Are you sure he’s that adrift?

Eddie: Yes. He is. He’s hurting a lot, and I think that no one has seen it.

Bobby: Could you ask Taylor what is going on?

Eddie: He and she broke up. I have no clue when, but he didn’t tell me or anyone else.

Bobby: That is troubling on its own. He’s not been going out with the team, and he says he has plans, but our assumption was that it was Taylor.

Bobby: I’ll talk to Hen.

Eddie frowned at that, and he wasn’t sure what to do about that, but he left his texts with Bobby and went to Hen.

Eddie: Did Buck ever tell you where he got the black eye?

Hen: Every time I tried to bring it up, he went off on things about bruises and bones and how there was a lot that looked worse than they were. Why?

Eddie: What did Chim tell you when he left? About Buck, that is.

Hen: Nothing other than he was too involved in you and Chris and wasn’t paying Maddie the attention she needed.

Eddie frowned. He looked down at Buck and carefully wiggled out from under him. He covered Buck back up before heading to the kitchen. It was the best room for this conversation. He would be able to see Buck coming at him.

“The silence worried me, and then I saw the call. What’s going on, Eddie?”

“I really don’t want to break Buck’s trust in me too much, but he’s a little lost right now. He’s pushed all of his thoughts into taking care of Chris and me with everything and all of his issues to the side. I don’t want to hurt him, but he’s not doing the best. So Maddie and Chim hiding what was wrong from Buck meant that Buck had no idea how bad off she was.”

“I never thought of it like that. Buck’s so worried about everyone that without good reason, he would be a little worried about Maddie, more if he knew everything.”

“I know that Maddie has a right to her own privacy, but that’s like telling a victim that since they didn’t, everyone who went into a shop would get robbed but then blaming them for going into the shop.”

“Victim?”

“Hen, think about it. Buck only defects when the truth will hurt someone. So who do you think it would hurt for us to know how he got the black eye?”

“You can’t be seriously thinking that Chim hit do you?”

“Well, I don’t think it, Hen. I know it. Buck told me about it the next day but asked me not to tell anyone. So I didn’t, but now I’m worried that it did the same kind of thing that hiding Maddie’s PPD did to Buck. So, yes, I’m willing to break Buck’s confidence a little because he should get help, and he can’t if he’s lying to everyone.”

“So Chim hit Buck and then went on a trip to go and get Maddie?”

“Yes.”

“Buck needs to tell her, Eddie. I love Chim like he’s my brother, but that’s not something to keep from her, and if she’s getting help like we all think, it’s best for her to find out while she’s there where someone can help her manage the fallout.”

“I’ll work on that, but mostly, Hen, I want you to help Buck realize that his family does love him. I don’t mean words and things but just proving it. Buck’s so damned happy acting all the time, but then he learned that best at the hands of his parents, right? How can a kid who is happy be in an abusive house?”

“I’ll talk to Karen a little, and we will figure something out. Karen’s better at that. Where is he?”

“Asleep in my bed. I think he needed a body beside him last night.”

“And that couldn’t be Taylor?”

“Why would he go to his ex-girlfriend?”

“Ex? Damn that boy. Okay. Yeah. I get it. You work on him, and I’ll get the 118 under my thumb. Eddie, how violent was it?”

“He was pretty jumpy even the next day. I never put much thought into it, but he didn’t react like I thought I would. Buck’s not used to violence like I got used to in the Army and then the whole street fighting. He’s softer than all of us.”

“I am not sure what I would feel like if I came to work with a man who hit me. He was spiraling, but that’s…everything I can think of in my head sounds like victim blaming, and I feel like shit for saying it.” Hen sighed, and then there was a few other sounds that sounded like someone moving around. “I’m gonna talk to Karen about this where I know little ears can’t hear. You take care of him.”

“I will. We are going to pick up Chris from a sleepover and get breakfast. Chris wanted to do breakfast out because while he loves where he is sleeping, they don’t eat breakfast other than cereal and milk. He doesn’t mind, but he didn’t want that last night. It might have changed, but I haven’t got a call to come and get him later.”

“See you soon, Eddie. I’ll think of what to do. Have you told Bobby?”

“No, that was going a step too far in my mind. Buck should be the one to tell Bobby, either as the man he sees as his father or as Buck and Bobby’s boss.”

“Agreed,” Hen said.

“It still hurts, and you want to save him from having to do it on his own, but Bobby will understand. Bobby knows something is up with him, but that’s it.”

“I’ll keep that in mind and make sure Karen doesn’t talk to anyone about this.”

Eddie said his goodbyes and hung up the phone, looking around the kitchen. He could make a small pot, enough for the two of them to take with them. The smell would wake Buck up the rest of the way. There was a lot to be done to untangle this web of shit in a way that helped everyone involved and didn’t just demonize them. It was why Eddie was tasking Hen with the Chim side of things. She would be the fairest in all things.

Eddie checked his shirt before he stepped out of the bedroom. He laughed as he heard the hushed voices in the kitchen.

“Can I come out now?”

“Yes!” Chris yelled.

Eddie shook his head as he headed into the dining room. Chris and Buck were in the kitchen putting the final touches on the meal to set Eddie up for his first day back at work. He was glad to have the chance to go back to the 118. Everything had been massive once the lid of all the secrets had come out.

Maddie was still in Boston with Jee-Yun, and Chim returned to LA and was in mandated therapy until he had his issues, especially his anger issues, under control when he was stressed. That Chim was so calm at work and then like that in high stress wasn’t the best. Eddie had stayed out of what Bobby and Hen did when it came to Chim. His only focus was Buck.

Chim had been the one to bite himself on the ass, blurting it out to a call with HR. The Union had stepped in, but given that once it was all said and done, Buck had gone to the Union as well, it was handled internally there.

Things were hesitant between Eddie and Buck, they were together, and Buck stayed over more than he went to the loft to sleep. Eddie was okay with that. He snagged an apple from the table and made to bite into it as he went into the kitchen.

“DAD!” Chris yelled.

Eddie grinned as he lowered the apple to take in the look of pure horror on Chris’ face at Eddie. “What? I’m hungry.”

“Food is nearly done, Eds. You can wait until it’s done.”

“But I’m hungry now,” Eddie said with a pout on his lips.

Buck dusted his hands off before rinsing them in the sink. He grabbed the towel from over his shoulder and dried them off. Eddie was wary of what that meant, but Chris was at the stove with his body leaning on one of his crutches as he used the other to mix whatever was in the pan.

“How about I give you a little sugar to tide you over?”

Eddie looked around until he realized that Buck wasn’t being literal about sugar but talking about a kiss. Eddie rolled his eyes, but he puckered his lips. Buck laughed and pulled Eddie in for that kiss.

Slow and steady were the best for both of them. Eddie was happy that Buck was all in on affection when they were home. Eddie wasn’t big on PDA but in his own home? He loved it.

They were building something great, so Eddie was glad he had spotted Buck in that bar, even if he did think it was Buck’s twin.

The End

8 thoughts on “Twin

  1. This was intense and lovely, especially the ending. That little bit of sugar was all about everything nice with some sugar and a little spice ❤
    Thank you for sharing.

    Like

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