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Come Rain Or Come Shine

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Buck found himself alone in his apartment at the end of a 24h shift. Again. While it had been a few months since he had dropped the lawsuit and been reinstated, he couldn’t help but feel like things weren’t quite as they used to be before the truck bombing and everything that followed. Buck maybe wasn’t the brightest, but he wasn’t stupid. He knew well enough he had brought this upon himself.

It’s your fault, you know. You’ve got no one else to blame but yourself, the nagging voice in his head reminded him. These days, the voice sounded a lot like Eddie’s. It was yet another reminder of something he desperately wished for but knew very well he could never have. He had known for a while that his feelings for his best friend were no longer platonic. Who was he kidding, he was head-over-heels in love with Eddie, but he how could he risk the best thing that ever happened to him by confessing to Eddie? No, he would never risk lose him and Christopher, especially not that way.

You’re probably already losing them anyway. You could never get anyone to stick around, now could you? the voice chimed in again, a harsh reminder of the near-constant loneliness he felt. It was true, Buck realised. He had only seen Christopher twice in the last month and a half, life seemingly finding ways to mess up the carefully constructed balance and routine he had managed to build around the Diaz boys. It had been barely two months since the well incident which had left him emotionally wrecked. In the aftermath, though, he had put his energy into helping Eddie get back on his feet, compartmentalizing his own feelings and leaving them to be revisited later. Or, as Buck would prefer, never. A mere two weeks later, he was once again confronted with death as he met and subsequently lost Red. The late firefighter had forced Buck to confront his own life and future, and despite confiding in Maddie about his fear and loneliness, not much had changed in that department. Not much of a surprise there, he knew he was but one person with issues, he should be more than capable of handling them himself. He had no business bothering others when they had their own lives to manage. The final nail in the coffin of his latest bout of depression had been Abby’s sudden reappearance in his life. Happily engaged, and with a family. Buck was happy for her, he really was, but even after their talk, he couldn’t help but feel like he had never truly been enough for her. He realized now that he what they had meant a lot more to him than it did to her. While it had changed him – he hoped for the better – it was now clear to him that he was a convenience to have around, not someone to get seriously invested or build a life with. Revelations like this left Buck wondering how many more of his current relations were similar. With whom else did he build their relationship to more than it was? With his friends, his team, his family? As the events of the last few weeks had shown him, it was most likely that he did. It was especially hard for him to convince himself otherwise when he got back to his cold and lifeless apartment after another one of his suggestions to hang out had been turned down by the rest of the team.

Instead, he tossed his work bag near the door, grabbing a beer from the fridge before flopping down on his couch. He mindlessly flipped through the channels for something to watch, settling on some home renovation show. He should probably eat something, Buck thought, stomach grumbling in a sharp reminder that his last meal had been a hastily eaten sandwich before jumping on a call hours earlier. He knew the fridge was empty, and the cupboards were also pretty bare. He would have to go shopping on his day off tomorrow. In the meantime, he scrolled through his phone for takeout, but none of the options called out to him. He didn’t have much of an appetite.

Not like you’ve earned it anyway. You were useless today, not good enough, the voice in his head said judgingly, taking him back to his teenage years when food had been one of the rare things over which he had had some control. Exiting the delivery app, he closed his eyes with a sigh, rubbing a hand over his face. He was exhausted, he realized, and even his bed suddenly seemed too far away for him to drag his sorry ass up the stairs. Sighing again, Buck gathered what was left of his energy and slowly got up, turning the TV, and opting to trek upstairs to his bed. He knew his back and leg would make him regret spending the night on the couch. He silently thanked himself he at least had that much self-preservation left, stripping to his boxers, and falling into bed. Exhaustion had the one advantage of letting him fall asleep quickly, Buck thought as he felt his eyelids grow heavy, sleep coming over him moments later.

***

As he would find out, opting to sleep in the comfort of his bed was a double-edged sword. Come morning, Buck couldn’t seem to muster the energy to get up. Whether it was the comfortable cocoon of sheets and pillows, or the lack of anything worth getting up for, he felt forcing himself to get out of bed was too much of an effort for him to even try. Buck drifted in and out of sleep for most of the day, his phone remaining stubbornly silent on the nightstand, a harsh reminder that everyone else had better things to do than worry about him.

By the time mid-afternoon came around, Buck’s stomach was cramping painfully from hunger. He finally dragged himself out of bed and into the shower. Staring at his reflection, taking in the bags under his eyes and how his skin looks pastier than he’d like. He knew he had to eat something, lest someone noticed how pale he looks, or worse he passed out on shift the next day. However, grocery shopping definitely felt like too much of a feat for him to get done today so he opted instead to order a pizza. Munching half-heartedly on a slice, he couldn’t help but regret his choice of meal, even if he knew it was better than not eating at all. He’d have to squeeze in an extra workout had the station tomorrow, making a mental note to come in earlier and hit the gym. He had to be at his absolute best. There was now way he could give Bobby the slightest reason to bench him again. Even if things could never go back to the way they used to be – your fault – and even if he often felt like he meant less to his teammates than they meant to him, his job was the one place he felt he could do some good and he’d be damned if he let it be taken away from him again. If only he hadn't gone and fucked it all up with this stupid lawsuit...

***