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A Life in Your Shape

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Buck sits on the bench in the locker room long after the end of his shift. He’s never been great at being by himself, but tonight, with the sting of Red’s death (and Red’s lonely life) still fresh, the prospect of an evening alone in his apartment has gone from unpleasant to unbearable.

He looks at his phone, considers calling Maddie and asking if he can come over. She would never say no to him, but Chim has the night off too and he doesn’t want to bother them. Anyways, she’s not the person he really wants to call. He pulls up his Favorites, hovers his thumb over Eddie’s name, then thinks better of it. Eddie is probably driving. And Buck doesn’t want to bother him either. Getting Eddie and Christopher back in his life is one of the only things keeping him going right now, and he doesn’t want to push his luck. He’s constantly afraid that he’s going to ask for more than they can give. Ask for what he really wants.

He clicks his phone off, and is just considering whether or not he could get away with spending the night in one of the bunk rooms without anyone noticing – just to be around people, to hear the sound of the firehouse instead of the silence of his apartment and his own deafening loneliness – when a voice interrupts his thoughts.

“Hey.”

When Buck looks up, Eddie is standing in the doorway. Just the sight of him, leaning one shoulder against the doorframe, sends relief and love and happiness flooding into Buck’s chest, clashing painfully with the fear and loneliness that have taken root there.

“Hey,” he croaks. “What are you still doing here? Thought you would have gone home by now.”

“I was worried about you,” Eddie says. He shoves his hands in his pockets, shoulders rising a little self-consciously. “You seemed extra broody today.”

Buck can tell that he’s keeping his tone light on purpose, and for some reason it makes him feel even sadder and more vulnerable than if Eddie had just come right out and asked what was wrong with him.

“Don’t worry about me, man,” he says, forcing a bright smile. He’s gotten pretty good at faking that smile over the years, even knows how to make it look like it’s reaching his eyes, but Eddie looks utterly unconvinced. “Seriously. You know me. I’m just being a drama queen.” You’re exhausting.

“No you’re not.” Eddie frowns. His gaze on Buck is a solid thing, heavy and penetrating. Buck looks away.

He hears Eddie cross to the bench, sitting next to him so that they are shoulder to shoulder.

“You’re not alone, you know that right?” Eddie says, like he knows exactly what Buck was thinking. “You got a family. You got us.”

“Yeah, I know, I know,” Buck sighs. He stares at his hands, not even looking up when Eddie bumps his shoulder affectionately.

“I know I got the team, and we’re like a family now, but what about ten years from now? Or fifteen, or twenty-five?”

“I’m not talking about the team,” Eddie says, and his voice sounds oddly quiet. “I’m talking about me and Chris. We’re your family.”

Buck’s heart sticks in his throat. Those words, coming from Eddie, are all he’s ever wanted to hear. But he can’t let himself get carried away believing them.

“I appreciate you saying that, man,” Buck says, hoping the platonic term of endearment masks the fact that he’s hovering on the verge of tears. “But you don’t mean it… not the way I want you to.”

It’s the closest he’s ever come to admitting his feelings out loud. Red’s death must have really gotten to him – that and almost losing Eddie to the mud last week. He tries so hard to keep that shit on lock, especially around Eddie. The last thing he wants is to jeopardize the best friendship he’s ever had, just because he had to go the extra mile and fall in love with the guy. To lose his family-adjacent status because he wants so badly to be actual family.

“How do you know?” Eddie asks softly.

“Because.” Buck looks up, and Eddie’s warm brown eyes are so close, practically inviting him to get lost in them, the way they do every time Eddie gives him his undivided attention. It’s more than Buck can handle. He’s tired and lonely and weak and he has to get himself out of the magnetic pull of Eddie’s orbit, the space close to him where everything from his eyes to his voice to his earthy, masculine smell makes Buck want to crash into him.

He stands up and paces away, hoping a little distance will get Eddie out of his head, but somehow it has the opposite effect and suddenly the words are tumbling out of him.

“Because you mean it like I’m your best friend and I’m Chris’s favorite babysitter. And I love being those things, but I want more. I – I wanna be an actual family.”

Buck’s heart hammers against his chest. He forces himself to turn around and look at Eddie, and he knows that the truth of it is written all over his face.

“Okay,” Eddie says slowly. “Okay, let’s be an actual family.”

“I – “ Buck begins, a half-formed apology dying on the tip of his tongue. “What?”

“Let’s be an actual family,” Eddie repeats. He smiles suddenly, wide and helpless, and Buck’s heart starts beating even faster. “Can we do that, please?”

“Are you serious?” Buck gasps. Tears have been building behind his eyes for the past few minutes, and a few finally make their escape, rolling down his cheeks.

“’Course I’m serious,” Eddie laughs. He reaches up to wipe at his eyes and Buck realizes that he’s tearing up, too. “Yeah, you’re Christopher’s favorite babysitter, but that’s because I’m pretty sure you’re his favorite person on earth, myself included. And you’re my best friend, but you’re more than that, too. You’re my partner. You’ve got my back. And not just at work. You take care of me and my kid, and make sure we both eat vegetables even though you probably never would yourself if it was just you, and you help me build contraptions so he can skateboard, and talk to him about his nightmares, and I know you love him like a son and I love that about you.” Eddie is looking up him with those molten brown eyes, and Buck’s heart is beating like he just escaped a four alarm fire. “You’re the center of my fuckin’ universe, man. You and Chris.”

Buck finds himself standing in front of Eddie again, drawn in by his gravitational pull without even realizing it. There’s warmth blooming in his chest, radiating outward, making his fingertips tingle and his lips spread wide in a genuine smile. He reaches down and takes hold of the front of Eddie’s uniform, pulling him up so they are face to face.

“I can’t believe you just said the most romantic thing that’s ever been said to me in my whole life, and then called me ‘man’ at the end of it.”

Eddie shrugs. “Old habits die hard.” He steps closer, wrapping his arms around Buck’s waist as he angles his face up. “Let’s form some new ones, yeah?”

Buck is still a little stunned by this turn of events, so Eddie is the one who pulls him down and kisses him. It’s gentle, his hands warm on the small of Buck’s back as he nudges Buck’s nose with his own, fits their mouths together, wets Buck’s chapped lips with the tip of his tongue.

It’s the feeling of Eddie’s tongue, tentative at the seam of his lips, that snaps Buck into action. He moans, opening his mouth and sliding a hand into Eddie’s hair while the other grasps at a muscled bicep. Eddie grins against his lips, moving his hands around to Buck’s hips and muscling him backwards until Buck’s back hits the lockers behind him, and Eddie can get his hands underneath Buck’s t-shirt while he kisses his neck.

"Holy shit,” Buck gasps, when they finally pull apart for air. His hands are on Eddie’s waist and his blue eyes are bright with intensity. “We are gonna have so much fun.”

“It won’t all be pizza and video games and making out in the locker room,” Eddie laughs. “Parenting ain’t easy. Although you already got our kid through a tsunami so I think you can handle it.”

Buck is lucky he’s leaning against the lockers, because his knees practically give out. His tears, banished briefly by Eddie’s kisses, return with a vengeance.

“You really want him to be our kid?”

Eddie just shrugs, a casual gesture that belies the emotion welling in his dark eyes.

"I think he already is.”

Buck grabs the back of his neck and kisses him fiercely, tasting tears. Finally, he has a place to pour all of the love and adoration that’s been building up inside his chest for the past year – he pushes it through his fingertips, his lips, his tongue, branding it into Eddie’s skin, and finding that no matter how much he expends he still has more to give.

He pulls back, sliding his hands to Eddie’s shoulders.

“I am gonna take such good care of both of you. I swear.”

“I know you will, cariño,” Eddie murmurs affectionately. “You already do.” He presses his face into Buck’s neck and breathes deeply. His exhale dances over Buck’s skin, making him shiver.

“Let’s go home,” he says softly, into Buck’s ear. He pulls back, and retrieves his gym bag from the floor, tossing Buck a teasing smile over his shoulder. “That kale you forced me to buy last week isn’t going to cook itself.”

Buck’s heart swells again, beating out home, home, home against his chest. He grabs his own bag from his locker and jogs after him.

“I can’t believe you still haven’t eaten that kale,” he says, catching up with Eddie at the firehouse entrance and slinging his arm around the other man’s shoulders. “What would you do without me?”

“Probably just order Chinese,” Eddie muses, feigning nonchalance.

They reach Eddie’s truck and Buck boxes him against the side of it, crowding up into his space.

“Nah,” he says, pressing his grin against Eddie’s lips. “You’d be lost without me.”

Eddie looks up at him and traces the side of his face with one hand, thumbing over the birthmark above his eye and cupping his jaw.

“Yeah. I was.”

Buck remembers the bruises, the guilty looks, the forced excuses. Just maybe, you were throwing your punches at the wrong guy.

He doesn’t know what to say, so he just says, “I love you.”

Eddie grins, wide and surprised, and it’s so dazzling it forces all of the tension and sadness right out of Buck’s chest. “Yeah, I love you, too… man,” he adds playfully.

Buck gives an obligatory eyeroll, but then he has to kiss him because Eddie just said he loves him, and he said they’re gonna be an actual family, and he’s here, warm and solid in Buck’s arms, and it feels like all of Buck’s dreams are coming true at the same time.

Buck kisses him until they are both breathless, until Eddie is clutching at Buck’s back and pressing his hips forward while Buck kisses the chiseled line of his jaw.

He nips just below Eddie’s ear and murmurs, “I think I liked cariño better.”

“Yeah?” Eddie laughs breathlessly. “You even know what it means?

“No,” Buck mumbles into Eddie’s neck. “ But I’ve heard you say it to Christopher before.” He pulls back enough to look at him. “What does it mean?”

Eddie flushes a little. He traces Buck’s lower lip with his thumb. “Sweetheart.”

Buck’s heart does a little flip-flop in his chest. He leans forward and kisses Eddie again, sweet and slow. Then he pulls back and digs in his pocket for his keys, jangling them as he steps away from Eddie and toward his own car.

“See you at home, sweetheart.”

 

*

 

Buck gets to Eddie’s first. He may have been speeding a little bit – his head is too full of Eddie to notice or care. He can still feel Eddie’s lips on his, hear Eddie’s voice telling him he loves him, a thousand times better than his sappiest, most romantic fantasies – and there have been plenty – because it was actually real. (A thousand times hotter than his dirtiest fantasies, too – and there have been plenty of those as well. At this rate, actually getting into bed with Eddie is going to cause him to spontaneously combust.)  

He parks his Jeep in Eddie’s driveway next to Carla’s sedan, and leans against the bumper to wait for Eddie. He bounces his knee compulsively, his whole body jittery with excitement and nerves. Eddie arrives a few minutes later, and he grins at Buck through the windshield when he sees him waiting in the driveway.

Eddie climbs out of his truck, eyes locked on Buck as he walks up to him. He doesn’t say a word, just keeps walking until he has Buck pinned against the back of the Jeep, and then kisses him. Buck grins against his lips.

“I missed you, too.”

Eddie kisses him again, softer this time, before pulling away and reaching up to scratch the back of his neck.

“So on the drive over here I was thinking,” he begins.

“Uh-oh.” Buck means to make it sound like a joke, but a little bit of worry slips through. If Eddie had changed his mind – if that was just a goodbye kiss…

Of course, Eddie picks up on his fear immediately.

“It’s nothing bad,” he says quickly. He catches one of Buck’s hands in his and laces their fingers together. His hand is big and warm and a little calloused, and definitely something Buck could get used to. “I was just thinking maybe we should wait – to tell Christopher.”

“Oh.” Buck tries not to sound a disappointed, even though his heart has just plummeted a few inches. Eddie is Christopher’s realdad, after all. He knows best. “Okay.”

“Just until tomorrow!” Eddie laughs, squeezing his hand. “Geez, quit looking at me like I just kicked your puppy!”

Buck gives a sigh of relief, and Eddie shakes his head, grinning. “I just think you and I should have a conversation first – you know about what we’re gonna tell him, make sure we’re ready for his questions. That sorta thing.”

“Sure,” Buck says immediately, too relieved to argue. “Whatever you think is best.... Although,” he adds, reaching for Eddie’s hips and pulling him back in by his belt loops, “you’re gonna have to keep your hands off me for a few hours. Think you can do that, caveman?”

“Oh I know I can,” Eddie boasts, with a signature confident shrug – all masculine bravado like they’re back in Buck’s kitchen talking about video games.

“Oh yeah?” Buck challenges. “Then how come you are feeling up my abs right now?”

“We’re not inside yet,” Eddie replies, gaze smoldering as he drags Buck down into another open-mouthed kiss. He uses the hand in question to pinch Buck’s stomach, making him yelp, while Eddie scampers off, laughing.

“Get a move on, Buckley!” he calls over his shoulder as he walks to the front door. “You got a kid to feed!”

Buck dashes after him, and they’re both still grinning and red-faced as they jostle one another into the foyer, where Eddie calls out, “Carla? We’re home!”

Buck barely has time to swoon over how effortlessly ‘we’re home’ came out of Eddie’s mouth, before Carla appears around the corner, purse in hand. She stops, sizing them up with an inscrutable gaze.

“You two look awfully tousled,” she says coolly, gesturing between them. Buck squirms like he’s been caught misbehaving by the teacher. “Were you getting up to something naughty out there?”

“No,” Eddie says, at the same time that Buck says, “Yes.”

“Buck!” Eddie groans, dropping his face into his hands.

“What?” Buck cries. He raises his hands defensively. “We said we weren’t going to tell Chris, not her!”

“I knew it!” Carla grins victoriously. “I knew you boys had finally moved past that ‘just friends’ nonsense!”

“Actually, we just did,” Buck replies, feeling his cheeks flush. “Like, half an hour ago.”

“Well damn. What took you so long?”

“If we unpack that right now you’ll be here all night,” Eddie interjects. “And you already stayed late.”

“Alright…” Carla gives them another knowing smile. “Well, you boys have a good, good night then.” She winks at Buck on her way out.

Buck grins sheepishly at Eddie as the door closes behind her. Eddie just shakes his head, smiling as he grabs Buck’s hand and raises it to his lips.

“You ready for this?” he asks. He kisses Buck’s knuckles and Buck feels absurdly tender, like he could almost faint from being so in love. “Partner?”

Buck’s heart flutters like a goddamn Disney princess. “Hell yeah,” he says.

“Good.” Eddie drops his hand as the sound of Christopher’s crutches echoes down the hall. His eyes sparkle. “’Cause you don’t have a choice.”

“Buck!” Christopher yells as he turns the corner. A second later, four feet and three inches of nine-year-old crashes into Buck’s legs.

“Hey, buddy!” Buck responds, scooping Christopher into his arms. He settles the boy onto his hip, noticing that his crutches dangle almost to the ground. “Hey, you’re not getting too big for this, are you?”

“No!” Christopher replies immediately, curling his arms around Buck’s neck.

Buck glances at Eddie, and the raw, undisguised love on his face as he watches the two of them together almost knocks Buck right off of his feet. He starts off down the hall to the kitchen, if only to put some space between himself and Eddie so he doesn’t end up kissing him before he can stop himself.

As much as Buck loves Christopher – and he loves him so, somuch – he is kind of hoping he will have homework or something, so that Buck and Eddie don’t have to pretend like nothing between them has changed. But of course Chris, who is so much smarter than either one of them, has already finished all his homework, and insists on sitting on the counter and telling Buck about his day while Buck cooks. Which is amazing in its own way. He loves hearing Chris ramble on about his classes, his friends, the books he’s reading. In terms of restoring Buck’s energy and soothing his spirit, seeing that kid smile is better than any yoga class he’s ever taken. But Eddie is right there, all warm, dark eyes and soft, private smiles, and Buck could swear the heat radiating off of him is so strong he can feel it all the way across the room.

Buck manages to throw together cheesy kale pasta and a side salad, and between Chris’ nonstop anecdotes and Eddie’s heated gaze he thinks that’s pretty damn miraculous.

Christopher pokes suspiciously at the leafy greens dotting his pasta and Eddie urges, “Just try it, mijo.”

Chris skewers a piece of pasta and a chunk of kale and takes a reluctant bite. His eyes widen in surprise and he gives a happy little hum, reaching immediately for another mouthful.

The look Eddie gives Buck is downright filthy.

 

*

 

An hour later, Buck is standing at the kitchen sink scrubbing cheese sauce off of Eddie’s one good pot when Eddie comes up behind him and takes him in his arms. Buck can’t help it – he melts into him immediately, letting his head fall back as Eddie nuzzles at the corner of his jaw.

“Christopher get down okay?” he murmurs.

“Mmhmm,” Eddie hums against his skin. He tightens his arms, nose pressed into Buck’s neck as he inhales deeply. He feels so good against Buck’s back – warm and solid and smelling like beer and bubble bath – that Buck could almost cry.

“We gonna talk now?” Buck asks, because Eddie has one hand under his t-shirt, his thumb rubbing slow circles over Buck’s hip, and if he keeps going like that Buck isn’t sure they’re going to get much talking done.

“Mmhmm,” Eddie repeats, but his fingers continue lower, dipping beneath the waistband of Buck’s jeans. Buck’s breathing shallows.

“Eddie,” Buck asks carefully. “What do you want here?”

It isn’t exactly the conversation they were supposed to be having, but with the way Eddie’s been looking at him all night – and the way he’s currently kissing Buck’s neck – it’s the one that seems the most immediately important. Buck has never told Eddie about his history with men, but he at least is in familiar territory here. He can’t know for certain, but he’s pretty sure Eddie isn’t.

He can feel Eddie smile against his skin.

“Well, at some point, when we’re not both bone tired and our kid isn’t asleep down the hall, I’d like to fuck you.”

Buck bites down on his own lip so hard he almost draws blood.

“But right now,” Eddie continues. “I just wanna touch you.” The hand on Buck’s hip slides up his stomach, fingers splaying out across his abdomen. “I wanna kiss you.” He kisses the side of Buck’s neck, the scratch of his stubble making Buck shiver. “I wanna wake up next to you tomorrow morning. Does that sound okay to you?”

“God, yes!” Buck moans, turning in Eddie’s arms so he can crash their lips together. He doesn’t hold back. He wraps one hand around the back of Eddie’s neck and pushes his tongue inside Eddie’s mouth and Eddie groans and presses his hands under Buck’s shirt and up his back, grasping at skin and muscle. They grapple with each other for a minute, a push-pull of lips and tongues and hands that feels so natural and so goddamn good.

But Buck has other plans. He gets Eddie pressed up against the kitchen counter and starts kissing his neck. He drags his lips down Eddie’s throat, then continues down the front of his chest, pressing open mouthed kisses through the thin cotton of his t-shirt, and drops to his knees on the kitchen floor.

 “Fuck,” Eddie groans, staring down at him. His cheeks are flushed, lips kissed-pink, and there’s a wild look in his dark eyes that Buck has never seen before. It sends a shiver of desire through him and he grins, getting to work on Eddie’s belt.

“Am I going too fast?” he asks, as he pulls the leather through the buckle. He’s teasing – he can see from the way Eddie is looking at him, like he’s a full on churro ice cream sundae, that Eddie is definitely into this – but he also means it. Eddie – this family – is too precious to mess this up.

“Probably,” Eddie laughs.

Buck stills his hands and looks up at him. “Do you want me to stop?”

Eddie gulps. He drops one hand to Buck’s face, thumbing at the corner of his jaw. “Fuck no.”

Buck grins again. He turns his face to kiss Eddie’s palm, before getting back to work. He undoes the button of Eddie’s jeans and tugs them down. He’s trying to act cool, but his heart is beating a mile a minute, especially when he’s met with the sight of Eddie’s skin-tight black briefs, and the unmistakable outline of his hard cock.

He glances up at Eddie to see how he’s doing, and the sight of Eddie’s face – open and needy and panting with desire – gives him the courage he needs to pull down his briefs and take Eddie into his mouth.

Eddie gasps above him, scrambling for a handhold on the countertop as Buck mouths along his length. He backs off for a second, letting Eddie catch his breath as he regards Eddie’s cock. It’s magnificent, obviously, thick and heavy in his hand as he gives it an experimental stroke. Eddie shudders. Buck leans in and kisses his hip, uses his free hand to push up the bottom of his t-shirt so he can kiss his stomach. Buck looks up him again, his heart stuttering at the sight of how absolutely wrecked Eddie looks.

“How are you doing?” he asks, as nonchalantly as he is physically capable of. Which isn’t very, when he’s on his knees in front of the man he loves, and his gorgeous cock.

Eddie manages a weak laugh. “I’m good. Keep going… If you want.” he adds, as if that might be a question.

Buck grins. “Oh I want.”

He leans in and doubles down his efforts. It’s been a minute since Buck has done this – years, actually – but muscle memory starts to take over. That and the fact that he’s been fantasizing about it for the better part of a year. He teases, taking Eddie as far back as he can and then easing off, making Eddie chase him with his hips. The third time he does it, Eddie growls and grabs a handful of Buck’s hair, thrusting into his mouth. Buck moans in satisfaction.

“You like that, huh?” Eddie rasps. Buck looks up at him through his lashes, his mouth still around Eddie’s cock, and moans again. Eddie’s head falls back. “Jesus Christ, you are gonna be the death of me, you know that?” He curls his fingers into Buck’s hair and thrusts harder.

Another minute has him gasping, pushing at Buck’s shoulders until he pulls away. “Buck…fuck, baby, I’m gonna come.”

Buck looks up at him, taking in the glorious sight of Eddie Diaz, undone.

 “It’s okay,” he urges. He gives Eddie’s cock a deliberate stroke, watching his whole body shiver. “I want it.”

“You sure?” Eddie gasps.

Buck nods his head firmly. “Yeah. Please, yes!”

He’s vaguely aware that he sounds a little desperate. He certainly feels it, as Eddie just groans and thrusts his cock forward again. Buck takes him down eagerly, reverently, like it’s an act of worship, swallowing as Eddie shakes apart above him.

Eddie’s hips still, and his hand in Buck’s hair goes limp, falling to his side. He blinks down at Buck.

“You have definitely done that before.”

“Maybe.” Buck gives him a coy smile. “Maybe I’ve just been thinking about sucking your cock every night for the last six months.”

“Jesus.” Eddie reaches down for him, pulling him back to his feet and kissing him thoroughly. He presses his forehead against Buck’s, panting. “You’re a fucking menace, you know that?”

“Mmm, but I’m your menace,” Buck grins back.

Eddie rolls his eyes. “And you’re a fucking cliché, too. C’mere.”

He kisses Buck hard, grasping at his hips, then reaches between them and starts to undo his belt.

“You don’t have to,” Buck gasps, even though Eddie flicking open his fly with one hand while he palms Buck’s ass with the other is basically the hottest thing that has ever happened to him.

“Don’t worry about me,” Eddie murmurs, with a tender kiss to Buck’s temple. He slides his hand beneath the waistband of Buck’s briefs. “I’m exactly where I wanna be.”

Then he wraps his hand around Buck’s cock and Buck sees stars.

“Eddie!” he moans aloud, bracing his hands on the counter on either side of Eddie’s hips as his head falls forward against Eddie’s shoulder.

“Shhh,” Eddie murmurs, his lips in Buck’s hair. He pulls his hand away and spits into his palm with a deliberate smile. “Don’t wanna wake up our son.”

Buck presses his face into Eddie’s shoulder to muffle his responding whine.

Eddie returns his hand to Buck’s cock, jerking lazily, while he runs his free hand up Buck’s bicep and across his shoulder, following the hard lines of muscle.

“Fuck, you are so fucking hot,” he mutters, like he can’t quite believe he’s saying it out loud.

Buck lifts his head, grinning. “You think I’m hot?”

“You know you’re hot, dumbass.”

“Yeah, but I didn’t know you thought so.”

Eddie gives him a seriously? I’ve got my hand down your pants look and Buck laughs.

“Okay, well I didn’t before but still, you know, it’s nice to hear.”

“Buck. Shut up.”

“Make me.”

Eddie twists his wrist and Buck’s head falls forward again, his knuckles going white as he grips the edge of the counter. “Fuck, Eddie!”

“That’s more like it,” Eddie says smugly.

He mimics the movement again, picking up the pace as Buck gasps into his shoulder, his hips rocking forward of their own volition. He’s so turned on – and it’s been so long since he’s had a hand on him that wasn’t his own – that it doesn’t take long for Eddie to have him falling to pieces.

“Come on, baby,” Eddie murmurs into his ear. He uses his free hand to cup Buck’s jaw, guiding him so they are forehead to forehead. “Come for me.”

Buck has to sink his teeth into Eddie’s shoulder to keep from crying out as his climax tears through him. Eddie strokes him through it, until Buck slumps boneless against him, then caresses his back idly while Buck slowly comes to.

“You called me baby,” he mutters, grinning into Eddie’s neck. “Twice.”

“Did I?” Eddie asks innocently

Buck lifts his head and gives Eddie a dopey smile. “Just something to add to the list.”

Eddie rolls his eyes and kisses him, briefly. “Come on, let’s get you something to change into.”

He starts down the hall toward his bedroom, pants hanging undone around his hips, and Buck follows obediently.

“We were supposed to talk about Chris,” he points out once the door to Eddie’s room is closed.

“We still are,” Eddie replies. He smiles, chagrined. “I just figured we needed to get that out of our systems first.”

“Speak for yourself.” Buck steps out of his jeans and underwear while Eddie digs in a drawer. “I’m a model of self-control.”

 Eddie barks a laugh. “This from the guy who couldn’t wait to make it to the bedroom before going down on me.”

“I waited two years!” Buck retorts. “I’m a fuckin’ saint!”

A pair of Eddie’s sweatpants hits him square in the chest.

 

*

 

“So, Christopher…” Buck ventures. They are both dressed for bed, teeth brushed, and have been making out lazily on Eddie’s bed for the better part of five minutes.

“Right,” Eddie mutters, dropping his forehead to Buck’s chest. He rolls off of Buck and sits up against the headboard, scrubbing a hand through his hair. “You’re really distracting, you know that?”

I’m distracting?” Buck protests. He pushes up on his elbows. “You’re the one who practically threw me down on the bed as soon as we got back in here.”

“Yeah, well…” Eddie flushes, and Buck doesn’t think he’ll ever stop finding that charming. “You were walking around my house, in my sweatpants, looking like that…” he gestures vaguely at Buck’s shirtless chest and Buck flexes his pecs for good measure. Eddie rolls his eyes. “What was I supposed to do, not kiss you?”

“Alright, alright,” Buck grumbles, practically glowing from the praise. He shifts onto his side, propping his head up in one hand. “So what are we gonna say to Chris?”

Eddie sighs, tipping his head back against the headboard. “I’ve been thinking we should take things slow with him,” he says. “He adores you, so I don’t think he’s gonna have a problem with it, but he’s never seen me with anyone but his mom and I think he’s still kinda processing her death, you know?”

Buck nods, putting a comforting hand on Eddie’s knee. “I get it.”

 He really does. As much as he wants to shout from the nearest rooftop that this is his family, he knows it can’t be that simple. That it will take some time for their lives to catch up with their hearts.

 “I think tomorrow we should just tell him that we’re together, give him a bit of time to process that you’re my boyfriend now…” Eddie frowns in thought. “You are my boyfriend, right?”

“I sure hope so!” Buck gives Eddie his most wicked grin. “I don’t go around sucking just anyone’s dick! Buck 1.0, on the other hand…”

“I knew it!” Eddie cries triumphantly, shoving him in the shoulder. “I knew you were way too good at that!”

“I’m a recovered sex addict!” Buck retorts. “You really think I would discriminate based on a little thing like gender?”

Eddie rolls his eyes. “Self-diagnosed,” he says, sounding like Cap. “Besides, I didn’t know you back then.”

“Thank god for that,” Buck replies. He traces his finger mindlessly over Eddie’s knee. “What about you? You haven’t, right?”

“Been with another guy?” Eddie asks. Buck nods. “No. Can’t say I never thought about it, but you were the first guy that ever made me want to act on it. Kinda took me by surprise.”

“Good,” Buck says firmly. Eddie raises a confused eyebrow and Buck grins. “I never liked sharing.”

“That’s because you’re a child,” Eddie teases. “Anyway, that wasn’t my point. It was the word boyfriend. Is that what we wanna use?... For now?” he adds. Buck’s heart flip-flops at the unspoken possibility in that for now.

“Boyfriend works,” he says. He spells it out on Eddie’s thigh with his index finger, idly. “Although I kinda liked it when you called me your partner earlier.”

 Eddie nods. “I think partner is good for grown-ups, but it might be a little confusing for Christopher.”

“Okay,” Buck agrees. He curls his fingers around Eddie’s knee and lifts his face toward him, and Eddie leans down, kissing him softly. Buck’s eyelids slip closed, and he realizes suddenly that he’s exhausted.

“C’mere,” Buck mumbles against Eddie’s lips. He reaches for Eddie and pulls him down until they’re laying next to each other on the mattress.

“I should warn you,” he yawns, as Eddie reaches over him to turn out the light. “I’ve been told I’m an aggressive cuddler.”

Eddie moves closer in the darkness, draping one arm over Buck’s chest and pressing his face into Buck’s neck. Curled around him like this, his head fits perfectly underneath Buck’s chin. “Well that’s good,” he murmurs. “Because sometimes I get nightmares about combat, and it helps to hold onto something.”

 

*

 

Buck wakes to soft sunshine. He’s never been a morning person – still, in his late 20s, he has to set multiple alarms every morning, and drags his ass out of bed at 6 am feeling like a zombie – and he can’t remember the last time he woke up feeling this refreshed. He can see from the clock on Eddie’s nightstand that it’s not even 7 and already he feels like he could take on the world. Maybe this is what happens when you’re so emotionally drained and blissed out that you fall asleep before 10pm. Or maybe it’s the fact that Eddie is everywhere. His chest is plastered to Buck’s back, his breath warm on the nape of his neck, and he’s got one arm thrown over Buck’s chest and one leg wedged between his. Buck sighs, trying to stretch as imperceptibly as possible so as not to disturb or dislodge his sleeping boyfriend. He feels Eddie stir in response.

“Morning, hermoso,” he murmurs into Buck’s shoulder.

Hermoso,” Buck repeats, grinning. If Eddie keeps this up he’s going to have to start an actual list.

“Sorry,” Eddie yawns. His arm tightens around Buck’s chest. “My Spanish always comes out before I’ve had my coffee.”

“I’m not complaining.”

He must sound a little too eager, because he can hear the smile in Eddie’s voice as he drags his foot up the inside of Buck’s calf and murmurs, “Te gusto cuando te hablo Español, amorcito?

Buck doesn’t catch every word, but he knows enough Spanish to respond, “Me gusta,” while he presses back against Eddie’s unmistakable hardness. Eddie moans softly and grips Buck’s hip.

“What time does Christopher get up?” Buck rasps.

“Not for another half an hour,” Eddie whispers. His fingers flex over Buck’s flank as he rolls his hips forward lazily.

“Good,” Buck sighs, as Eddie slides his other hand into the back of Buck’s hair and guides his head to the side so he can kiss his neck. He arcs his back, relishing the feeling of Eddie’s cock pressed up against his ass, anticipation coiling in his stomach as he imagines how incredible it will feel to have Eddie inside him, filling him up, making him whole. One day, promises the insistent roll of Eddie’s hips. Soon.

Eddie’s hand wanders, sliding from Buck’s hip beneath the waistband of his borrowed sweatpants, wrapping around his cock. Buck moans, and feels Eddie’s teeth on the sensitive skin of his neck, hard enough to leave a mark. Eddie rocks into him, keeping up the same pace with his hips against Buck’s ass and his hand around Buck’s cock.

Buck comes first, turning his face to moan into the pillow. Eddie swears softly in Spanish, and his hips start to move faster. Buck grinds back against him, and urges, “That’s it, baby, fuck me, please,” and Eddie comes with a strangled groan.

They lay in each other’s arms for another minute, panting and coming back down to earth. Then Buck rolls over, plants a kiss on Eddie’s lips, and announces, “I’m making pancakes!”

 

*

 

Buck is standing over the stove, watching the edges of the pancakes bubble, when he feels strong arms slide around his waist and pull him back against a broad chest.

“Déjà vu,” he murmurs. Eddie laughs and kisses his neck. Buck can smell the mint toothpaste on his breathe. He closes his eyes, savoring the moment for a few seconds, and then reaches for the spatula.

“If you keep trying to seduce me while I’m doing housework, I’m going to start to feel like a kept man,” he jokes.

Eddie laughs, releasing him and leaning back against the counter. He folds his arms across his chest and Buck gets caught up watching his biceps strain against his t-shirt, and almost lets the pancakes burn. He remembers at the last second, tearing his gaze away from Eddie and flipping frantically.

“You are,” Eddie replies, grinning. “I’m keeping you.”

Buck rolls his eyes. “Ugh, no, please, it’s too early for dad jokes.”

“Never too early for dad jokes when you’re a dad,” Eddie says, with a solemn shake of the head. He leans closer and drops a kiss to Buck’s shoulder. “You better get used to it, cariño.

Buck’s heart gives a predictable thump, and he turns his head to catch Eddie’s gaze. He watches as it flickers down to his lips, tracks the exact second his pulse lurches into a higher tempo. He wonders if it will ever stop feeling like this – like Eddie could light him on fire with a single touch. He watches Eddie’s tongue dart out to wet his lips and he doesn’t think it will – and it’s a thought that’s at once terrifying and exhilarating, the idea of burning like this forever. He leans closer, caught in Eddie’s magnetic field, and their lips are just a hair’s breadth apart when Christopher’s excited voice rings through the kitchen.

“Buck!”

Buck jumps away from Eddie, putting on a bright smile.

“Hey, kiddo!” he greets, as Christopher wrangles his way into his customary chair at the kitchen table. “Good morning!”

“What are you doing here?” Christopher asks. “Did you sleep over?”

“Uh…” Buck glances at Eddie, an are we doing this now? look. Eddie smiles at him helplessly and shrugs, which Buck knows means What the hell.

“Yeah,” he tells Christopher. He grabs a glass from the cabinet next to the stove – deliberately brushing against Eddie’s side as he reaches over him – and a carton of orange juice from the fridge and pours Christopher a glass. “Yeah, I did.”

“Cool.” Christopher takes a swig of orange juice, apparently unphased by this piece of information.

“Hey Chris.” Eddie approaches the table carrying a plate of Buck’s pancakes, and Buck feels his free hand drop briefly to the small of his back, before Eddie settles into one of the chairs opposite his son. He forks a few pancakes onto Christopher’s waiting plate. “Buck and I actually have something to tell you.”

“Okay,” Christopher replies, absorbed in pouring syrup over his pancakes.

Eddie gives Buck an I’m out of my depth here look and Buck sits down next to him. Underneath the table, he puts his hand on Eddie’s knee and squeezes.

“So, you know how Hen and Karen are Denny’s parents?” Eddie begins, as Christopher begins to painstakingly cut up his pancakes, small brow furrowed in concentration. “And how Harper from school has two dads?”

“I know what gay people are, Dad,” Christopher says patiently, like Eddie is being incredibly dense. He shovels some pancake into his mouth and speaks around it as he chews. “I also know about bisexual and pansexual and transgender and gender non-conforming.”

Buck bursts out laughing, while Eddie gapes.

“Geez, that is a good school,” he says. “don’t even know what pansexual is.”

“That’s me, babe,” Buck mutters, bumping his shoulder affectionately.

“Pansexual is when you’re attracted to all kinds of people and you don’t care what their gender is,” Christopher explains matter-of-factly. “Emily R. is pansexual.”

“Emily R. is ten!”

“Okay, I think we’re getting a little off topic here,” Buck interjects, squeezing Eddie’s knee again.

“Right, right…” Eddie mutters, shaking his head. “The point is, kid, that…” he glances at the ceiling like he’s asking God for strength, and Buck feels his hand cover Buck’s underneath the table, squeezing back. “Buck and I… we’re a couple, now.”

When Christopher looks up from his pancakes, his smile is incandescent. Buck’s heart soars.

“Really?”

“Yeah,” Eddie laughs, and Buck can practically feel the stress rolling off of him as his shoulders slump in relief. “You okay with that?”

“Duh, Buck is the best!” Christopher says, and Buck feels a stupid-happy grin tugging at the corners of his lips. He would walk through fire for this kid. Not that that’s anything new.

“Good, that’s great,” Eddie sighs. He releases Buck’s hand under the table, puts it on his shoulder instead, where Chris can see. “It’s really important to us that you feel okay about all this, so if you have any questions –“

 “Does this mean you’re gonna come live with us?” Chris interrupts excitedly.

“Uh…” Buck doesn’t know what to say. He really, really hopes so, but they haven’t gotten a chance to talk about it yet, and he doesn’t want to assume. He can already feel the old anxieties creeping back in, but then Eddie squeezes his shoulder and answers for him.

“I hope so, kid.” He gives Buck a soft smile that makes his insides melt. “If we’re lucky.”

 

*

 

It’s almost a month later that Buck comes into work to find the picture taped to his locker. He can tell at a glance that it’s a Christopher Diaz original – he has at least five of them on the fridge in his apartment and although more and more of his stuff has migrated into the Diaz household over the past few weeks, he’s not taking those down until the very last boxes are out – but it’s not until he’s right in front of it that he can make out the subject. Three unmistakable figures smile their crayon smiles out at him. Two in black and yellow striped firefighter’s uniforms – Eddie, brown-haired and brown-eyed, and a yellow-haired, blue-eyed Buck, with a pink smudge above one eyebrow. Between them stands Christopher, with red squares for glasses and gray crutches sticking out from his arms. A yellow sun shines above them in a blue sky, and underneath, in Christopher’s messy but familiar handwriting is written, “My Family.”