Time

Title: Time
Fandom(s): 9-1-1
Relationships: Eddie Diaz/Evan Buckley
Tags: Angst, Canon Divergence, Pre-Slash
Warnings: Not Ana Flores Friendly, Not Chim Friend, Not Maddie Friendly, Abusive Relationship,
Summary: Buck had been told time healed all wounds; he kind of laughed as some felt just as bad as the day he got them.
Word Count: 3,738
Year: Future
Spoilers: Up Through Season 5
Notes: One-Shot for Family Fire Conflagration Challenge. No more will be written for this.
Beta: Grammarly

Time healed all wounds, but there were ones that never went away.

Buck rolled over in bed and grabbed the blankets that were bunched up. He pulled them close. He gasped as he tried to control his breathing. He rubbed at his leg, and he looked at the time on the clock. It was just about time to get up and start his day. Today was a day where Carla had Chris since it was the weekend and Eddie was working, so Buck would call to talk to Chris.

There was enough time to lay there for a little while. He hated nightmares, especially ones that revolved around why he wasn’t in Eddie’s life anymore, even if he was allowed in Chris’, but it was all managed like he was Eddie’s ex-husband that couldn’t stand him instead of a best friend.

Ana had ruined that, and in the end, Buck could deal with working with Chim, who had never really apologized or seemed like he regretted punching Buck. Eddie had not broken up with Ana at the end of the blackout but forced himself to push himself into accepting her in his life. Buck hadn’t done a thing to make anyone think he was trying to end the relationship; he had just gone off what Eddie had told him.

Then Eddie came to him one day and explained that Ana said he had to choose. He had to choose between Ana and Buck because she wouldn’t stay as long as Eddie was still hanging out with Buck. Everything had been laid out nice and easy on what they were going to do when it came to Chris because while Eddie didn’t need Buck anymore because he had Ana, Eddie would never hurt Chris and cut him off from Buck.

Chris had been upset and sullen for weeks, and Buck had done his best to make the boy happy. Now it was kind of like it had never happened. Except Buck didn’t have Eddie in his life.

Knowing he couldn’t laze around in bed all day, Buck got up out of it and went through his morning routine. He got ready to go and headed to work. Unlike the other time, when Buck said he wanted out of the 118, Bobby had been more than willing to let him go. Buck had done that for himself. He wouldn’t be able to be just co-workers with Eddie, no matter his love for the man. He had taken a job with a new station, one of the few that the 118 had never worked with before. He didn’t want to cross on calls if he could help it. He still hung out with nearly everyone from the 118 at some points, but he never went to events where Eddie was going to be.

No, Buck had taken his spot as the ex-spouse with ease and tried not to burden anyone in his life with anything. Maddie and Chim were happy together, Eddie was to be married to Ana soon, and Chris loved his stepmother. Buck was the one who needed to figure out his life again. He was the one who was on the outside looking in again.

“Hey, Buckley, there is someone here to see you,” Edwards called out halfway through the shift.

Buck looked up from where he was going over the list of items that needed to be replaced just based on use. He had started to keep up that kind of thing as at least it gave him something to do when he didn’t want to think about things.

“Be right down,” Buck called out. He laid the list down and set his pen down just right where he knew where he had left off. He stood up and took only a step before he stopped. He wasn’t sure who the woman was, but she looked like he should know her. She was too young to be anyone he had known years ago in LA, and she was too old to be someone from Chris’ school.

“You don’t know me, Buck,” the woman said.

“No?”

“No. My name is Alejandra and Eddie es mi tío. He’s too proud to come down here and talk to you, but I’m not too proud to tell you he needs you.”

Alejandra was Eddie’s oldest niece. Adriana’s oldest. That part of who had moved out of the area not long after Eddie had started at the 118. Buck hadn’t really seen her since Shannon’s funeral.

“I’m sorry, I think that you have me confused with someone else. I haven’t talked to Eddie in two years.” Buck could tell her the days, hours, and minutes but as Doctor Copeland said, it wasn’t healthy, so Buck never told anyone that.

“No, I have the right person down. Just think about it? Si? Just think and just go and visit him.”

Buck didn’t know what to do when she stepped up and laid down a sheet of paper with an address on it. Buck hadn’t known where Eddie lived before this. Ana hadn’t wanted him to know when they moved into a new place together. Chris was always careful, and Buck always picked Chris up from Carla or Abuela’s house.

There was no way Buck would just show up outside Eddie’s place. He would never hurt the man had Buck had promised to never reach out. He would stick with that.

“You aren’t going to do something stupid, are you?” Maddie asked.

“About what?”

Maddie pursed her lips and glared at him like he knew what she was talking about. “Don’t be dense.”

“Maddie, I have no idea what you are talking about.”

“I’m talking about that woman who came to see you and told you to go and see Eddie.”

“How did you know about that?”

“Howie told me. I guess one of the guys who works with you is part of that group he goes out to play basketball with.”

“I see. So you are still taking the words of others over my own.”

“Evan, it’s not like that.”

“No, it is. It’s been four weeks, Maddie. If I would have done it would have been then. I’ve seen Chris five times since then. Chris is fine, so Eddie is fine. I’ve asked you to stay out of my life like that since you don’t want me in on any part of your life.” Buck got up from where Jee-Yun had been playing with him before she had been put down for her nap. He had meant to leave not long after that, but he had stayed.

It always bit him on the ass when he stayed longer than Jee was awake. Buck had been so happy when Maddie had come from Boston, having gone through therapy and gotten her hormones under control. Until he had finally told her about Chim hitting him. Maddie had blown it off and kept telling Buck that Chim was upset and that he couldn’t be held liable for it.

Buck had been on the watch for anything that showed that Chim’s anger would make him lash out against Maddie or Jee. He would step in then. He didn’t care about being hit, but he would never stand for Maddie or Jee to ever feel that kind of anger against them.

“Where are you going?”

“I need to get home and work on a few things. I’ve left some of my cleanings to do today, and I need to do it while I have the gumption or it won’t ever get done. I love you.” Buck pressed a kiss to Maddie’s forehead, and he left before she could say anything.

Buck checked his pockets once outside the door to ensure he had his phone and keys, just as his phone started to vibrate. He had turned it to vibrate when Jee had gone down for her nap. It was Chris.

“Hey, Chris, what’s up?”

“Bucky? Can you come and get me? I don’t want to be home right now. I don’t care that Ana doesn’t want you here. I can’t take the fighting. I’m sitting on my neighbor’s porch, and she’s sitting with me.”

“I’ll be there as soon as I can. I know where you live, Chris.”

“Hurry, Buck.”

Buck closed out of the calling app, and he brought up his contacts and tapped over to load the address in his maps. It was a part of LA he wasn’t the most up-to-date on. He didn’t work the area and didn’t have a reason to go to it much. The house was kind of fancy, it was one floor like Eddie’s old place, but it just screamed that it was higher class than Eddie was. It reminded Buck of his home growing up, not in a good way.

Chris was already moving toward him when Buck got out of his Jeep. Chris’ crutches weren’t attached to his arms, and a quick glance didn’t show them behind him with the neighbor. Chris had left the house without them.

“I’ll make sure that Eddie knows where Chris is,” the neighbor said as she came up. “Ella.”

“Um, Buck.”

“I know. Chris talks about you all the time.”

“He’s mentioned you a time or two. You are teaching him all about gardening.”

“I’m trying. He’s a good learner, but plants take a lot of love, and sometimes people just don’t have the knack for it.”

Buck looked at the house and then back down at Chris, who was clutched to him despite being a teenager. It was never good. Chris always liked to show how much he was growing up. He didn’t like to be babied as he saw it.

“How about we blow this popsicle stand and get something to eat?”

“Yeah, I want that place you used to take me, please.”

Buck knew the place Chris talked about, and he had hoped to never set foot in there again. It was his and Eddie’s favorite post-work breakfast spot. There was no way for Buck to be there and not think about Eddie. Still, he would do anything for Chris.

Buck wasn’t shocked when he saw his phone light up with Eddie’s name once he and Chris were home for a while.

“Tell me you have him?” Eddie asked as soon as the call connected, not giving Buck time to say a thing.

“I do. He wanted out of there, and I always promised him I would come and get him, so he didn’t take a random Uber again.”

“Thank you. I just…” Eddie exhaled loudly, and it sounded a little watery.

“What’s up, Eddie?” Buck wasn’t sure he wanted to go down this road, but he needed to. He needed to know.

“I don’t know. Everything is just…wrong.”

“You know where I live, Eddie. You were never not welcome here. Just come home,” Buck said. He flinched over the word once he realized what he had said.

“I don’t know.”

There was another sound over the phone.

“Sorry, I have to go.”

Buck hung up when Eddie did, looking at Chris, who was still playing Tears of the Kingdom on Buck’s Switch. Chris wasn’t allowed to play it at home, and Ana disliked video games. It was a secret between Buck and Chris, even if Buck was sure Eddie knew.

“Chris, when you can, will you save down and come over here?”

“Sure.”

Buck didn’t want to talk in the living room. He settled down at the island and waited for Chris. He reached out and touched the stack of napkins left there from dinner. He smiled as he thought about how much things had changed but never the worst. Everything was good and not at the worst at what it could be. Buck missed Eddie like a limb, but Eddie was alive, and things were going well.

There were still adjustments to everything. Buck’s depression was under control but as always, time with Chris always made it feel a little better.

“How are you feeling, Bucky?” Chris asked.

“Better. Doctor Copeland thinks that I’ll be able to take a step down again on the meds soon again.”

“That’s good. What do you need to talk to me about?” Chris asked.

Buck got up and grabbed a bottle of water each. He set Chris’ down in front of him and then looked the teen in the eye.

“How is your father doing?”

“You already asked that. He’s fine,” Chris said.

“Chris. I know we’ve not been talking about your father or Ana for the last two years. You love your stepmother.”

“I like Ana, but I don’t love her,” Chris said.

“What?”

“Dad really liked her, and he was happy with her. I liked her because I thought she made Daddy happy. Then they started to fight. I didn’t know that Dad married her because I liked her.”

Buck nodded his head. He felt horrible, never telling Chris why his father had done what he did. He felt like if he had, this never would have happened. He thought like Eddie that Chris loved Ana.

There was nothing to be done but support Eddie and Chris through what was coming. Whatever it was. The wedding hadn’t happened yet, and given the fight that had driven Chris from his home, Buck wasn’t sure the wedding would happen. This was good, considering it was harder to get divorced and split things up than to just break up. There was the wedding stuff, but that was going to be painful.

“Will Dad hate me?”

“Chris, your father could never hate you. You are cut from the same cloth as him, so he should be better at reading you and seeing that you were just doing it to make him happy. You didn’t notice it, but you were and still are a kid. Don’t hate him for not seeing it; he won’t hate you for not seeing it. You two love each other so much.”

“Just as much as you love us,” Chris said.

Buck scooted closer, pressing a kiss to Chris’ forehead. He did love them so much.

“Why don’t you go and swap over to Animal Crossing so you can wind down a little bit before bed? Then we can see about reading a book.”

“Did you pick up the new one?”

“Yes. I picked it up, and you can read it while winding down for bed. I’ll get the bed out of the couch when you are getting ready for bed. I have clothes here, and I’ll drop you off at your Abuela’s in the morning.”

“Okay, are you sure, Bucky?”

“Yes. I’m sure. Don’t worry. You’ll not be in trouble. I’ll make sure of it.”

Chris nodded, but he looked unsure, which Buck understood. Chris wasn’t used to being in trouble. He wasn’t a mean child even as his hormones started to give him issues. He loved his family, and he liked to get along with them. Buck wasn’t used to it, but then his childhood had been so horrible on that front.

Buck’s teenage years were a mess. He wasn’t prepared for Chris’ teenage years so far. It had been too easy, making Buck scared of what was to come.

The sound of a key in the door pulled Buck from the book he was reading. He laid it aside and grabbed his shirt, and put it on. There were few that had keys to his place. Maddie only used hers when she wanted to snoop, so buck was never home when she let herself in. She was always was there when he got home, though.

Maddie hadn’t been able to let go of the boy he was.

“Hi,” Eddie said as soon as Buck started down the stairs.

“Hey, what are you doing here?”

“You told me to come home, and it took a little while, but I got it. I understand it now, Buck. I just…I always thought I was a little smarter than that.”

“Let’s go upstairs where we will have a less chance of waking up Chris.”

“Okay. I’m…Chris and I are homeless. Ana’s upset, and she’s threatening to change the locks and not let me get my things in an effort to force me back to her. I’m gonna call the LAPD in the morning and get their help. The house is in Ana’s name, but I have been paying half of the rent and utilities. I have proof of all of that. She can’t just say I’m doing nothing to support my son and myself.”

“Well, you can live here. Is it really over?” Buck asked.

“It should have been over a long time ago. I wasn’t happy and should have also realized that Chris wasn’t happy. I feel like shit, Buck.”

Buck stepped up, and he held out his arms. Eddie stepped into them, and he started to cry. Buck had no clue what to do with a crying Eddie.

“I’ve missed you so much, Buck, and I let Ana’s fears push you aside. She was so afraid. Even after she point blank told me that you loved me, I knew you would never do anything. You wanted me happy, and that meant supporting me through everything. You would have stood beside me as Ana walked down the aisle to me. You would have watched Chris as I went off on my honeymoon. You never would have done a thing. You stepped back and took the cutting off Ana talked me into doing. You were the reason Ana was so scared, and I should have seen it.”

“I don’t understand.”

“She was afraid I would realize I loved you,” Eddie said.

“No, you don’t love me. not like that you…” Buck pulled out of the hug and looked Eddie in the face. “No.”

“Yes. I wasn’t able to see it at the time. She’s been digging more and more that you are turning Chris against her, and I told her that it was about how she’s trying to control him more and more. She also tried to get me to take away the Mario Party game. It’s making him too competitive.” Eddie waved for Buck to head up the stairs.

“He’s only competitive when he’s playing the game, and he gets that from me.”

“So, you are done with her?”

“Yes, I can’t…it was like this weight was lifted off me when I told her it was done. She wanted to make sure I had no one but her and Chris. It was isolating in a way. Looking back, even after only thinking about it on the drive here, I figured it out. I never saw it. I didn’t want to see it. I thought it was all because I didn’t love her; it was why I was always upset with her.”

“Eddie.”

“I know. Don’t say it, Buck. I know. You told me all about how I didn’t love her. How it all was going to be for the wrong reasons. I can’t even think about it right now.”

“I wasn’t going to. I was going to say that I’m sorry about all of this. I was doing what you wanted, and maybe I should have fought harder.”

“Hindsight is 20/20 Buck; we all know that. Don’t be too upset. Just let me crash here, and I’ll go through the courts to make sure she doesn’t do anything to my stuff.”

“Athena’s on a night shift right now. I would make sure that she knows not to mess up your stuff.”

Eddie nodded his head. He sat down on the edge of Buck’s bed and looked up at him. “I’ll text her or something. I just don’t know. I had it all planned out. Ana wanted another kid, and I just wanted to settle in and be happy. I couldn’t even get it up the last time she wanted sex. She thought it was just the impending wedding stress making me unwanting of sex. But I knew it wasn’t that. I wasn’t able to just have sex with her. I hadn’t even thought about her at all when I was jerking off that morning. She wasn’t sexy to me. She was comfortable, like someone I knew was never going to leave. She loved me and wanted to be with a firefighter who was respected. She wasn’t going to let me go without a fight.”

“You think she’s going to fight you?”

“Yes. I have texts, though. Where I’ve talked to her about going back to therapy as I feel like I need it. She keeps telling me that she is all the therapy I need.”

“Well, that’s not going to help her in court if she tries to brand that shit on you.”

“I doubt she will. It’ll look bad, and as soon as the union gets involved if I need a lawyer, things will go downhill for her severely.”

“I don’t know what to do. I just knew I needed to get here. I knew I needed to be someplace safe. You were always safe for me.”

“Well, I’m glad I am, but we aren’t…we aren’t ready for this to go further. There is room in bed with Chris for you to sleep. I can’t just…you are getting out of a nearly three-year relationship, and I’ve been on the outside of it all, and I lost my family. I’m not ready for a relationship myself. I’m not ready.”

“I know. We gotta spend a lot of time working on ourselves, but I do love you. I’ve missed you so much, Evan. I don’t want to ever think of not having you in my life while I figure this out. I need you.”

“I can do that just no…sharing a bed or trying to kiss me. We can hug and do all that stuff we used to do, but I just can’t do more.”

Eddie nodded, and he looked like he needed another hug, so Buck opened his arms again, and Eddie came in close for that hug. Buck held on like he was afraid of losing him. He wasn’t sure Eddie wasn’t going to go running, but he trusted him that Eddie thought he wasn’t going to.

Time was all Buck needed to get used to this new life again. Maybe this time, the wounds would heal.

The End

7 thoughts on “Time

  1. This was so painful, but hopeful. Both men made miserable, but Buck getting pushed to the side by everything… ouch. Thank you for sharing! I’m so glad Eddie figured it out before it was way too late! xxx

    Like

  2. I’m glad Eddie realized things with Anna weren’t good. And even gladder that Buck was clear with his boundaries there at the end. Very nicely done. ❤ ❤ ❤

    Like

  3. Wow there is a whole lot to unpack in here… I have to admit I’ve never been an Ana fan so there’s that. It may be a long haul but I like feel like that in the end it’s all gonna be where it should be for these two guys.

    Like

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