You hit me like a hurricane
One year, five months, fifteen days, twelve hours and thirteen minutes.
That’s how long it’s been since Buck last saw, held and kissed his partner Eddie in person. Eddie had been deployed to Afghanistan for the last time. His partner planned to retire after this last tour.
Buck and Eddie have been together for over eight years now. Their love story was like a fairytale. Buck came into their lives when Eddie was struggling taking care of his son Christopher, who has Cerebral palsy, after being stuck in the birth canal. His ex-girlfriend and Christopher’s mother Shannon sadly didn’t survive the birth, due to complications. She only saw him for five minutes before she passed out and sadly passed away.
Eddie was struggling taking care of Christopher alone and his job as an army medic. He didn’t have anyone in Georgia. His family lives in Texas, his abuela and his tía in Los Angeles. Sure he had his four best friends since basic training and they helped when the could, but they all had lives of their own.
After he fell asleep on his son while feeding him, he realized he needed help. Luke got him a name of a home health care aid. That’s were Evan Buckley came in. Buck was specialized on patients with Cerebral palsy and took to Christopher like a duck took to water. They instantly clicked. From then on they were inseparable. Buck helped Eddie getting Christopher the help he needed, from physical therapy, to the right doctors, surgeons for a couple of surgeries he needed. And of course taking care of Christopher when Eddie had to work.
As a single parent Eddie hadn’t been deployed as much as he used to, but there were still times he had to go on training missions and was gone for days or weeks. During that time Buck had been his rock. Sure he had other patients, but Buck was with Christopher the most. He loved that kid dearly. Christopher was and still is a happy kid. Always smiling and brightening everyone’s day whoever he met, nothing gets that kid down. His Cerebral palsy didn’t slow him down in the slightest.
And slowly over time Eddie and Buck fell in love. Deeply. Like soulmate-can’t-live-without-you deeply. Buck can count on one hand the number of times they were fighting. But they never stayed mad at each other for long, what with Buck’s puppy eyes and pouty lips and Eddie’s fond look.
The first time they made love was like nothing they’ve ever experienced. When Buck slipped into Eddie, after prepping and worshiping his body for what felt like hours, it was like finally coming home. They both had the most intensive orgasms of their lives. And every time the made love it was like the first time.
Shortly after they came together Buck officially moved into the Diaz household. Eddie was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, and slowly working up the career ladder.
Right before Christopher’s fourth birthday, Buck and Eddie were together for two years, Eddie became his orders for deployment to Afghanistan. Knowing this day could come, they’d already taken precaution, that Buck could make decisions for Christopher.
The evening before Eddie’s deployment Buck gave him a picture of himself and Christopher. It was taken by Eddie’s tía Peppa a couple of month before from her visit to Fort Benning. Buck and Christopher were laughing at someone off camera. Their faces were bright and joyful and so full of love for the person who stood behind Peppa.
Eddie took the picture, eyes tearing up rapidly.
“It’s for your helmet,” Buck whispered. “Or your bunk. I just wanted you to have something of us. So you don’t forget that you have something waiting for you at home. So you don’t take stupid risks. I want you home in one piece, soldier, with all your limbs and brain intact.”
Eddie nodded, tears rolling down his cheeks.
“I promise. I’m coming home to you,” Eddie leaned forward and kissed Buck softly. “I love you, Cariño.“
“I love you, too.”
They made love the whole night. Trying to memorize everything about the other person. Whispering confessions of love and devotion in hopes it stayed on them until Eddie returned safe and sound.
He was gone for six months, five days and eight hours.
They face timed when they could but it was never enough. Christopher understood that his daddy had an important job to do, but it didn’t mean he missed him any less.
Eddie had the picture of Buck and his son in his helmet. In their downtime he had the picture in his breast pocket. The others would give him shit for it, but all in good nature. They knew how much Eddie loved and missed his boys.
The next time Eddie got deployed was after Christopher’s fifth birthday. That deployment lasted three months, twenty-five days and ten hours. And like last time his good luck picture of Buck and Christopher was Eddie’s constant companion.
Before his deployment Buck gave him two new pictures. This time it was a picture taken at Eddie’s sister’s wedding. Both Buck and Eddie were in a three-piece suit, jackets were long abandoned, sleeves rolled up to their elbows. They were slow dancing and kissing. Pressed close together, one arm around each other and Eddie holding Buck’s other hand close to his heart. The other picture was of Buck, Eddie and Christopher taken by Buck’s best friend, colleague and hobby photographer Carla, from a couple of weeks before Eddie’s deployment orders came in.
After Eddie came back from deployment, they talked about what they wanted to do after Eddie’s time with the Army was up. They just moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina after Eddie was stationed there for the duration of this enlistment period. They knew he would be deployed again sometime in the future.
“I don’t want to move to Texas,” Eddie said. They were lying in bed. Both were on their sides, hands clutched between their bodies.
“We could move to Los Angeles,” Buck said. “You know Carla just moved there. It would be nice to be near her again. And you know Maddie is there, too. She started working at the 911 dispatch center.”
Maddie’s abusive husband died in a car accident a couple of months ago. Doug wrapped his car around a tree, after driving drunk and slipping on black ice on a rural road in Pennsylvania right before Christmas. She sold everything, packed her stuff and moved to LA.
“She met someone,” Buck smiled as he said that. “His name is Chimney,” Eddie gave him a disbelieving look. “Yeah, I know. His name is actually Howie, she doesn’t know yet, why they call him Chimney. He’s a firefighter with the LA Fire Department.”
That piqued Eddie’s interest. Ever since the end of his enlistment was on the horizon, he had been thinking about what he wanted to do. He needed a good job to take care of his son and partner. Since moving to Fort Bragg Buck had solely been taking care of Christopher. He wanted to use his medical training after his Army days, but didn’t want to go to college to become a doctor or a surgeon. EMT seemed like a good fit for him.
“Yeah, I knew that would pique your interest.” Buck smirked.
“My army training would definitely come in handy. But you know you could do it too,” Eddie said. Buck scoffed. “No seriously, babe. You love helping people in need. You’re good with people in general. And it would be good for Christopher, too. Being near family. You know that abuela and Peppa live in LA. Maddie lives there now too. Besides the warmer climate would be good for Chris.”
Eddie knew he had Buck. Mentioning his abuela, Peppa and Maddie had sealed the deal.
Sealing the deal on Buck becoming a firefighter had taken a little longer. Right before Eddie’s last and longest deployment, they were first on the scene on a car accident. Eddie, Buck and Chris were on their way back to Fort Bragg, after spending their day with Luke and his husband, driving through the woods near the base, when they spotted a car who drove against a tree. Smoke was coming out of the hood of the car.
Eddie gave Christopher his cell phone, while Buck jumped out of the truck and ran towards the car.
“Chris call 911. Tell them there is a car wrapped around a tree with smoke coming out of the hood. And tell them to use the GPS location from the phone. Can you do that, buddy?” Eddie asked and Chris nodded.
“Yes, daddy. I got it.”
“And please stay in the car. Don’t move.”
Eddie didn’t wait for Chris’s reply. He jumped out of the truck to help Buck. There were two passengers in the car. Buck had already one passenger out of the car and out of harm’s way.
“911. What is your emergency?” A pleasant voice asked.
“My name is Christopher Diaz. We’re in the woods near the Base and we saw a car wrapped around a tree, with smoke coming out of the hood,” Chris said as calmly as he could.
“Hi, Christopher, my name is Abby. Can you tell me who is “we”?”
“My daddy and his boyfriend Buck,” Christopher answered.
“Okay, Christopher. Can you tell me where exactly you are?” Abby asked, already dispatching Police, EMS and fire department.
“No, but my daddy said to use the GPS on his phone. Can you see it?” Christopher asked. Abby smiled at that. He sounded like such a sweet kid. She triangulated the call and got his location.
“Yes, I can see it. Great job, Christopher. You would make a good 911 operator” Abby praised him, at which Chris’ preened. “Can you tell me what you see?”
“Buck got the woman out of the passenger seat and daddy is helping her. Cleaning her head. And Buck is trying to get the driver out. It looks like he is stuck. Daddy is helping him now and there are flames coming out of the hood.” Chris is starting to panic.
Eddie was checking the woman out. She had a gash on here forehead from the broken windshield. She complained about dizziness, nausea, headache, blurred vision and her leg hurt. Possible a concussion and a fractured leg. He cleaned the wound thoroughly with the first aid kid out of his truck and sealed it. He found two tree branches thick enough for a temporary splint and wrapped it around the woman’s leg with bandages.
“Eddie, I need your help. The driver is stuck beneath the steering wheel and the hood is on fire,” Buck called frantically. Eddie could hear the distant sound of sirens.
He ran to Buck and together they tried to lift the steering wheel high enough so they could get the unconscious driver out. But it wouldn’t budge. The fire came dangerously close.
“Christopher, stay calm. You’re doing so good. The police and fire department are on their way. Can you hear the sirens?” Abby asked, trying to calm the little boy down. There was silence for a moment.
“Yes, I can hear the sirens” Abby could hear the relief flooding Christopher’s voice.
“Excellent. Help is on the way, Christopher. Not long now and they take over for your daddy and Buck. You did a great job. They couldn’t have done this without you” Abby reassured the little boy.
“Thank you, Abby.”
“You’re very welcome, Christopher. I’m going to stay on the line until your daddy and your Buck is with you again, okay?”
Police, EMS and fire department arrived on the scene and promptly took over.
Buck and Eddie stood back and watched as the EMT’s and firefighters did their thing.
Christopher saw a policeman coming over and at the same time his daddy and Buck came back to him.
“A policeman is coming over and my daddy and Buck are back too,” Christopher said to Abby.
“That’s great. Can I talk to your daddy, Christopher?” Abby asked. She heard a rustling on the phone.
“Mr. Diaz? My name is Abby, I’m the 911 operator who took your son’s call.” Abby replied.
“Please call me Eddie. Nice to meet you Abby. Thank you for staying on the phone with Christopher,” Eddie said.
“It was my pleasure, Eddie. I just wanted to say that you have a brave little boy. He did really good. Stayed calm and got me all the right information really quick.” Abby praised Christopher.
Eddie thought his heart would explode out of his chest at Abby’s praise for his son.
“Thank you so much, Abby.”
They wrapped up the phone call really quick. Buck had opened Chris’s side of the truck, so he could hug him tight. He and Christopher were talking to the officer giving him their statement. Eddie saw a firefighter coming over to them. He looked really official. Probably the captain.
“I heard we have a hero among us. Just wanted to say thank you real quick and shake his hand,” the Captain spoke with a kind smile.
“My daddy is an army medic and my Buck is my superhero,” Christopher said proudly, clearly not getting what the Captain was saying.
“Really?” The Captain smiled and bend down to be on eye level with the boy. “Well even though they are heroes in their own right, they’re not the one I was talking about. I wanted to thank you.”
Chris’s eyes were impossibly large. “Me?” He squeaked.
“Of course. You called 911 and got our dispatcher all the right information, so we could do our job really well. Because of you these two passengers are going to be okay.”
Eddie smiled proudly at his son, who’s eyes gotten if it were possible even larger. He looked over to his boyfriend and saw the same proud look and a suspicious shine in his eyes.
The Captain shook Chris’s hand, righted himself and turned to Buck and Eddie. He as well shook their hands and thanked them for their help.
“You know, you two would make a pair of excellent first responders.”
Eddie nodded his head and thanked him as well, while Buck stood there like he had an epiphany.
So that’s how Buck found himself a couple of months later at the fire academy, while his partner was on deployment for the last time. When he was not at the academy or taking care of Christopher, Buck volunteered at the fire station who responded to the accident.
Captain Miller took Buck under his wing and taught him everything he needed to know. How a fire station worked and operated. He went on calls, but only as an observer, helped cleaning the trucks and equipment.
It was a good distraction from missing Eddie too much. And boy did he miss him. Buck felt like a part of his heart and soul was missing. He didn’t notice it much during the day, but at night, when the house was quiet and Christopher asleep, he noticed it. He would get the occasional email or text message, but Buck knew Eddie hat to give one hundred and ten percent overseas. He couldn’t be distracted by his phone. The massive time difference didn’t help either.
Eight months after Eddie had been deployed, Buck’s phone rang just after midnight. He was instantly awake and grabbed it.
“Eddie? Are you okay, babe?” Buck asked, his heart pounding in his chest.
“Yes, I’m fine, mi amor. I just wanted to hear your voice.” Eddie sounded tired. Like deeply exhausted.
“What happened?” Buck asked tentatively. There was a brief silence.
“My team was ambushed. We were on patrol. We just went around a sharp turn and were hit by an IED-“ Before Eddie could finish that sentence Buck asked “Oh my god are you guys okay?”
“No,” Eddie answered quietly. “I lost one. Three injured, one of them lost his leg, the other one his arm.”
“What about you?” Buck almost didn’t want to know.
“Couple of broken ribs, left wrist broken and a busted forehead. Maybe even a concussion.” Eddie answered truthfully and Buck let out a sob. “Shh, baby, I’m fine. Nothing I can’t heal from.”
“Who did you lose?”
There was silence over the phone. Buck looked at his phone to see if the connection broke, but he could hear Eddie breathing.
“Eddie? Who died?”
“Luke.” Eddie answered after a minute and more tears fell down Buck’s cheeks. Luke was Eddie’s best friend since basic training.
“Oh, baby, I’m so sorry. Who was injured?”, Buck asked, almost dreading the answer.
“Tyler lost his right leg and Dylan his right arm. Alastair was hit by shrapnel.” Buck closed his eyes. All three were Eddie’s closest friends.
“But you saved them, Eddie. They’re alive because of you.” Buck tried to reassure his grieving partner.
“But Luke isn’t. I couldn’t save him,” Eddie’s voice broke over the phone. “There was so much blood. He was screaming in pain. And there was nothing I could do, to make it better. All I could do was to hold him until he passed.”
Buck’s heart broke.
“I’m sorry, honey. I wish I could be there for you,” Buck said quietly.
“You are, mi amor. Talking to you, hearing your voice helps a little. I can’t wait to be home. How are you? How’s our son?”
Buck smiled at that and told Eddie about his day, his training at the academy, the fire station. He told him about Christopher’s day, the latest doctor’s appointments and his physical therapy, his latest school project. It had been a while since they talked, what with Eddie and Buck being busy the last couple of months.
“We miss you.”
“I miss you guys, too. So much. I’m already halfway done. Only eight months to go.” Eddie said. He was sad that he would miss his sons ninth birthday by a couple of weeks and Buck’s graduation from the academy, who happened to be on the same day.
“Have you called Sage?” Buck asked. Sage was Luke’s husband.
“Yeah, I called him after he was notified. It was awful,” Eddie sighed. Buck’s heart went out to him. He can’t even begin to imagine what Eddie was going through.
Buck could hear voices in the background and Eddie talking to someone.
“Evan, I have to go. The therapist is here.” Eddie said when he came back to the phone.
“Okay. You’re going to take care of yourself and your boys, you hear me? You’re going to get better and talk to the therapist. And please listen to your doctors. Don’t worry about us. I’m going to look after Sage. I love you, Edmundo.” Buck put all his conviction in these last words, in hope Eddie could hear the love Buck has for him.
“I will, I promise. Te amo, Cariño.”
After Luke’s death Buck’s live became even more hectic. He looked after Sage, included him more in their lives as much as he could. As much as Sage was able. He was heartbroken and Buck hoped, that he never had to experience that kind of loss. He couldn’t imagine his live without Eddie.
Luke was buried with full military honors. Sadly, his platoon couldn’t attend due to their deployment.
The months that followed they tried going on with their lives. Christopher took the news of his uncle Luke’s death hard and had nightmares about Eddie dying, almost every night. It got so bad that Buck took him to a grieve counselor. The same Sage was seeing.
Christopher smiled more each passing month. He face timed with Eddie as often as possible, at least every couple of days, and that helped a lot.
Buck was busy with studying for his finals at the academy, job hunting in LA and looking for a house. So Sage looked after Christopher and they slowly healed each other.
Maddie was helping him on their move to LA. She looked at houses for him and even set up an interview with her boyfriend’s Captain via video chat. Apparently Captain Miller and Captain Nash go way back. The LA Captain told him, that Captain Miller only had words of praise for him and he had the job if he wanted. He also said that if Eddie decided to become a firefighter he would be welcome at the station. Eddie was over the moon at the news that he already had a job lining up after his enlistment was over.
Two months before Eddie’s deployment was over Maddie found them a house in LA.
Buck finally felt like things were looking up. They had a house, jobs, Christopher was accepted at a private school. Sage started to smile more and was thinking about moving to California.
Tyler, Dylan and Alastair were back in the states and in Rehab. They were medically discharged and also decided to move to California and continue their rehab in San Diego.
Eddie was overjoyed with how things turned out. He was grateful that his remaining friends decided to move to California with them. Eddie was accepted at the fire academy in Los Angeles and already found a therapist, who was also a therapist for the LAFD. Because he needed therapy, badly. His mental health took a serious blow after the IED-Attack and Luke’s death.
He wanted to be healthy for his partner and their son, just like he promised Buck. Eddie looked at the photo’s in his helmet and caressed their faces. He talked to his superior about his return to the states. He told him about his son’s birthday and his partner’s graduation. After what Eddie had been through his superiors decided to send him home early, so he could surprise his family.
When Eddie got back stateside he called Sage and asked him to be picked from the airport. He was on a mission.
Before Luke died he told Eddie to return home, buy a ring and ask Buck to marry his stupid ass. Luke also made Eddie promise to give his husband the letter he had stashed in his bunk. Everyone in their circle had a letter written to their loved ones, in case they didn’t return home. In that envelope was Luke’s dog tags and wedding ring. Eddie didn’t trust the official channels so he gave Sage the envelope when he returned.
He took it with shaking hands and a watery smile. He wondered what happened to his husbands wedding ring and dog tags. Sage stashed the envelope in the clove compartment and drove Eddie straight to the jewelers. They were on a time clock. His boy’s big day was coming up tomorrow and he needed a ring.
Buck and Christopher had no idea that Eddie would surprise them at Buck’s graduation.
Eddie found the perfect engagement ring and after he paid for it, they drove to Sage’s house. Eddie sat with his best friends’ husband while he read the letter. Sage cried in his arms for hours after that. He gave Eddie Luke’s dog tags. They both went to bed exhausted, both for different reasons.
On the next day Eddie was a bundle of nervous energy as he dressed himself in his combat uniform. He pocketed the little box with Buck’s ring and drove to the fire academy where the graduation was held. Sage already left so he could drive with Buck and Christopher to the academy.
The ceremony would begin shortly and Eddie greeted his best friends in front of the academy with tight hugs. They made their way inside and kept to the back, so Buck and Christopher wouldn’t see them. The ceremony began and Eddie made his way backstage. He called the commander of the academy beforehand and asked him if he could give Buck his diploma. Buck graduated top of his class and therefore would receive his diploma last.
The commander, who called each graduate individually on stage, announced at the end, “And now last but not least we have a graduate who is not only top of his class, but also has a job with the biggest fire department in the United States. Evan Buckely would you please come on stage? And bring Christopher with you.”
Buck was confused. Since when were kids allowed on stage? All the other graduate’s didn’t bring their kid’s with them. Buck didn’t want to hold up the ceremony, so he turned to the audience and looked for Chris. Sage helped him out of the aisle they were in. The boy made his way to the front on his crutches as fast as he could. He had the biggest smile on his face.
Together they walked to the front and Buck helped him up the steps. They made their way across the stage as the commander took the microphone back up.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a special guest who will present Mr. Buckley with his diploma. Please welcome Edmundo Diaz, United States Army.”
At that Eddie made his way on stage and saw as Buck’s and Christopher’s eyes found him. Both their eyes went impossibly large, their mouths hanging open, immediate tears springing to their eyes.
Eddie saw Bucks face crumbling and his knees gave out. Christopher chanted “Daddy, daddy, daddy” over and over again. Eddie went down to them and embrace them in a tight hug. He could hear applause and the clicking of camera’s all around them but he didn’t pay them any mind. He had his boys back, his family. Buck and Christopher each sobbed on his shoulder.
Buck was the first to draw back and look into Eddie’s eyes.
“You’re really here,” Buck said reverently. “But…how? You weren’t supposed to be back for two more weeks.”
“Spoke to my superiors, they agreed to let me come home early.”
Buck’s eyes filled with tears again and he leaned forward to kiss Eddie deeply. Eddie drew back when he felt a tuck at his uniform. He looked down at his son, who had the biggest smile on his face…and the biggest snot under his nose. Eddie laughed.
“Happy birthday, buddy.” He hugged his son and partner again.
Out of the corner of their eye they could see that their friends made their way up the stage.
Buck stood up and hugged each and every one of them. Then he punched each and every one of them, because they knew that Eddie was back and they didn’t tell him.
When he turned around he could see that Eddie was on one knee but this time he had a little black box in his hand and was staring adoringly at Buck. Buck wondered if Christopher’s cheeks were frozen on the spot. That boy didn’t stop smiling.
They could hear the “Aww”’s and “Ohhh”’s from the crowd, but none of them paid them any mind. Normally Buck hated being the center of attention, but he hadn’t seen his partner in one year, five months, fifteen days, eleven hours and fifty-five minutes.
“Evan-“ Buck didn’t let him finish, he went down on one knee and just yelled “YES!!”
“That was all I had to say?” Eddie asked and Buck nodded frantically.
He kissed Eddie, while both of them laughed and cried at the same time.
Sage, Tyler, Dylan, Alastair and Christopher, that little traitor, groaned at the same time and said at the exact same time “Worst proposal ever!”, like they tried out for the synchronized swimming Olympics.
Three months later
Someone, who doesn’t want to be named, namely Sage and a friend of his, made a video of Eddie surprising Buck at his graduation and his awful proposal (in his friend’s opinion), and put it online. It became a viral hit across the US. Their emails, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook were overflowing with messages, likes and comments, good and bad. But mostly good. God knows how they found it…again thanks to Sage.
Buck had his first shift with the 118. He already met everyone in the last two weeks since they moved to LA.
The whole station helped them move into their new house and they bonded over sore thumbs, aching backs and viral posts. Buck loved them already.
The last three months have been crazy. Organizing the move across the country, Eddie retiring from the army. Helping their crazy friends organizing their move across the country. It has been nothing but stressfull.
Christopher started his new school soon after arriving in LA and loved it. He already made a ton of new friends.
Eddie started with Frank, his new therapist, shortly after arriving in LA. He would begin his education at the fire academy on the same day as Buck’s first day at the station. And like Buck he would volunteer at the 118 to learn everything there is.
On their last weekend before they started their new jobs, Buck and Eddie got married on the beach in San Diego. Maddie and Sage were their best men respectively and the only ones in attending were Tyler, Dylan, Alastair, the minister and of course Christopher as their ring bearer. It was a beautiful little ceremony just like they wanted. Buck and Eddie didn’t want to wait any longer. They waited eight years for this moment.
On Monday, the day after his magical wedding to Eddie, Buck made his way into the station to start his shift. He went to the common area and saw the whole team at the table.
They looked up when they heard him approach and started to smile.
“Evan Diaz, reporting for duty.”