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you leave me breathless

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Eddie didn't care much about Valentine’s day. Hadn't since he was a young boy and his sisters teased him about all the perfume scented letters that he got from his classmates. They always made him all flushed and uncomfortable because he'd never been an expressive guy and inevitably, someone always ended up hurt.

It was a lot of pressure to put on a kid for a stupid fake holiday.

He'd tried for Shannon when they first started dating, because she liked it and enjoyed bragging about Eddie's thoughtful gestures to her friends and he liked the reward it got him, even if that same reward ended up giving them Christopher. Though he was long past regretting his past choices by now, couldn't imagine not having his son in his life.

The point was, Eddie wasn't into Valentine’s day at all. The fact that he'd gotten the day off was just a scheduling coincidence because he certainly hadn't requested it himself. Not that it stopped anyone from teasing him about his nonexistent ‘big plans’ for the evening, including Buck, his shit stirrer of a boyfriend who knew damn well they both agreed that they weren't going to do anything to celebrate it.

If anyone disliked Valentine’s day more than Eddie, it had to be Buck who had a lot of heated opinions about the whole tradition.

"I just think it's sad that there has to be a specific day of the year for partners to show their love to one another," he'd said. "Not to mention the whole origin of the day in the first place. Did you know that-"

They'd all heard the rendition of it multiple times leading up to the day, each one more gruesome than the others and while Eddie appreciated Buck's passion for researching random facts, he couldn't help but think about this being a perfect opportunity to get some time alone together.

Since Hen had to work and Buck only worked the morning shift, Karen sent Eddie a message offering to take Christopher for a sleepover that night, followed by a very suggestive string of emojis.

A part of Eddie wanted to say no just for the principle of it, but the other, bigger part of him wanted a free night with his boyfriend, goddamnit. Privacy was hard to come by when you had a kid and a job with long, sometimes unpredictable hours. It had been weeks since they had any quality time together that didn't involve going into burning buildings or watching Disney movies on repeat with Christopher.

So, Eddie said yes, knowing full well that he'd never be able to live it down but it was all worth the grin on Buck's face when Eddie told him the good news. Maybe he didn't believe in Valentine’s day or had any urge to celebrate, but he definitely saw the appeal in treating his boyfriend with a nice homemade dinner after a long day at work before he dragged him to the bedroom and completely ravished him.

It was much easier said than done, though, since Eddie wasn’t much of a cook and the last thing they needed was food poisoning. Thankfully, Bobby took pity of him and offered to teach him a simple pasta sauce recipe that even he’d have a hard time messing up while Buck had the day off.

“Eddie, listen to me carefully. I cannot stress this enough,” Bobby said, hands firm on Eddie’s shoulders and looking him straight in the eyes. “Don’t add extra seasoning or ingredients. I don’t care if you have something in your cupboard nearing the expiration date, I don’t care if it looks or smells interesting, I don’t care if you’re curious. Follow. The. Recipe.”

Eddie would have been offended, but Bobby had seen him in the kitchen before and he wasn’t exactly wrong with his assumptions. But as long as Eddie stuck with the recipe and didn’t try to improvise like he usually did, Bobby promised that it should all turn out perfectly. Or so he hoped.

While the sauce was simmering away on the stove, Eddie changed clothes into something a little more date night appropriate rather than sweatpants and an old shirt he didn’t mind getting splattered by the sauce. Then, he went about setting the table. He put out the nice napkins and pulled out a bottle of red wine that he knew Buck loved but he drew the line on using any candles. He’d seen the result of romantic dinners gone awry due to candles and he wasn’t willing to risk it.

He checked his phone, grinning at Buck’s text that he’d be here soon. It meant that he hadn’t managed to hurt himself in any way while Eddie wasn’t there to have his back. He’d been tempted to wrap him in bubble wrap just to make sure nothing happened to him to ruin the plans for the night. From what he'd heard, Buck didn't have the best luck when it came to Valentine's day.

He’d just finished tossing the salad – with homemade vinaigrette dressing he’d found online and that didn’t turn out half bad, if he said so himself – when he heard the familiar sound of Buck’s jeep pulling into his driveway.

He fought the urge to rush to the door to give Buck a proper greeting and checked his hair one last time in the mirror. He was already worried that he’d done too much and crossed some sort of line by making this dinner in the first place. He didn’t need to act like a housewife welcoming her husband back from the war on top of it. They just saw each other last night and they’ve been texting all throughout the day. It couldn’t be normal to miss each other this much, could it?

Buck let himself inside and that was about as far as Eddie’s patience stretched. He met Buck at the entrance of the kitchen for a kiss hello like they haven’t seen each other in weeks instead of hours.

“Hey,” Buck murmured against his lips, holding him close and Eddie melted into the familiar touch. “I missed you.”

“I missed you, too,” Eddie responded because they were both ridiculous so he might as well embrace it.

“Is Chris at his sleepover already?” Buck asked, already knowing the answer and tugging Eddie in the direction of his bedroom. Eddie nearly let him before he remembered the food.

“He is,” Eddie said, holding steady and tugging Buck into the kitchen instead. “But food first.” Buck pouted, about to protest no doubt and Eddie shut him up with another kiss. “I want to take my time with you tonight. There’s no rush.”

Buck sighed, but didn’t argue further. He peered over Eddie’s shoulder and raised an eyebrow. “Did you make this?”

“I did,” Eddie said with a roll of his eyes. “You don’t have to look so shocked.”

Buck gave him a look. “You somehow managed to burn water once, Eddie. Excuse me for having some doubts.”

Eddie grimaced at the reminder. “Yeah, fair enough. But this is good, I promise. Bobby helped guide me and we practiced it at the station when you had the day off.”

"You know that I was just joking, right?” Buck said, looking both worried and guilty at the same time. “I didn't actually expect you to do anything for me today.”

Eddie pulled out a chair for him and gestured for Buck to sit down. “I know. And this isn’t Valentine’s day dinner or anything like that. I definitely didn’t get you a gift.”

“Are you sure? Because this is dinner and it’s also Valentine’s day, so…”

“That’s just a coincidence,” Eddie insisted, focusing on plating their food in hopes it would stop him from blushing too much. “Maybe I just wanted to take the opportunity of a shared night off to treat my boyfriend because he deserves it.”

Buck didn’t say anything for a long moment and Eddie looked up to find him smiling that soft smile of his that Eddie knew only came out for him.

“Thank you, Eddie. This looks amazing,” he finally said, reaching out to squeeze Eddie’s hand across the table before he pulled back and grabbed his cutlery. He took a first bite and let out an exaggerated moan that made Eddie both blush and roll his eyes.

“Drama queen,” Eddie muttered and Buck smirked at him, licking away the sauce straining his bottom lip in a very suggestive way. It shouldn’t be seductive at all, but apparently Eddie was just that easy. “It’s just a simple pasta sauce. The tomatoes came from a can.”

“Yes, but it was made with love,” Buck countered, taking another giant bite. “That’s what makes it even better,” he mumbled through the half chewed food in his mouth and Eddie kicked his leg under the table to get him to knock it off.

“Just try not to choke. Again.”

“That was one time, Eddie,” Buck said, indignant.

“One time that nearly killed you so I’d say that’s more than enough.”

“Just shut up and eat.” Eddie did, biting back a smirk as Buck gently kicked him back, doing a horrible job of concealing his own amusement.

“You know,” Buck said a few moments later, breaking the comfortable silence that settled over the table. “No one’s ever made me dinner before.”

“Well don’t get used to it,” Eddie told him, squirming under the heated look Buck gave him. “This is for special occasions only.”

“So you admit that this is a special occasion then, huh? What happened to this not being in any way related to Valentine’s day?”

Eddie sighed, lips twitching with a repressed smile. “Be nice. Or you won’t get your dessert afterwards.”

“We can’t have that,” Buck agreed, digging into his meal with renewed enthusiasm, throwing compliments left and right as they ate that made Eddie flush and roll his eyes in equal measure.

By the time they were halfway through their meals, Buck was practically vibrating in his seat and Eddie wasn’t doing much better either. They’ve both been anticipating this night for the past week and now that it was finally here they couldn’t wait to finally put this newfound privacy to good use.  

Eddie suddenly dropped his cutlery and stood up, startling Buck.  

“We can just reheat that once we’re done,” he said, and Buck grinned, following his lead.  

“I like the way you think.”

Getting into the bedroom was a bit of a struggle, as they could barely keep their hands to themselves long enough to actually move, only taking brief pauses to shed some clothes and avoid getting slammed around the doorways and tripping over Christopher’s shoes that he constantly left around no matter how many times Eddie told him to put them away. But whatever, parenting could wait.

Right now, his focus was on Buck and Buck alone.

He helped Buck out of his shirt and pushed him down onto the bed, Buck staring up at him with unconcealed lust. His face was flushed and the redness continued all the way down to his chest in a way that Eddie had never seen before. Damn, Buck must have been really worked up, huh?

Wasting no time, Eddie braced himself over Buck on his elbows and kissed him with everything he had until Buck pulled away with a gasp far sooner than Eddie expected. That didn’t stop him, though, he just continued to kiss down the hot skin of his neck and down his chest until Buck tugged harshly at his hair. It was only then that he noticed that Buck hadn’t stopped gasping and he was decidedly not the sexy kind of breathless.

In fact, he was barely breathing at all.

“Buck?” Eddie asked, immediately checking his pulse that was going haywire. “What is it? Are you okay?”

“Eddie-“ Buck gasped as Eddie checked him over, falling into the easy routine of his training. The redness on Buck’s chest and face that he thought was just arousal definitely looked more like hives upon closer inspection and his lips were swollen from more than just their frantic kisses.

“Buck, listen to me. Are you allergic to something?”

Eddie didn’t think so, because surely Buck would have mentioned it by now, but it was his first guess according to the symptoms and he needed to know for sure.

To his surprise, Buck gave a sharp nod. “M-“ he tried but couldn’t quite get the word out and Eddie scrambled off the bed and dug out the phone from the pocket of his discarded jeans.

“Mus-“ Buck tried again and Eddie thought back to the meal he’d prepared and that was when it hit him.

“Mustard?” he asked and Buck gave another sharp nod. Eddie cursed under his breath. The one time he tried to be innovative in the kitchen and look at what happened.

“Stay here and don’t move.”

He dialed 911 as he rifled through his nightstand, looking for an EpiPen he had stashed there for a case of emergency such as this one. Finally, his paranoia was coming in handy.

“911, what is your emergency?” the dispatcher asked and Eddie was immediately grateful that it wasn’t Maddie because she really didn’t need the extra stress this late into her pregnancy.

Eddie rattled off his address first as he injected Buck with the pen and told the operator what was going on, how his boyfriend was going into anaphylactic shock and how he’d administered him with a dose of epinephrine.

“Help is on the way, sir,” the operator assured him and asked Eddie to stay on the line until they got there. Eddie put the phone on speaker and set it to the side as he checked how Buck was doing and elevated his feet, covering him with a blanket as well.

It wasn’t long until he heard the familiar sound of the firetruck approaching and he allowed himself to slightly relax. Help was here and Buck was going to be just fine. He had to be.

*

By some miracle, it was not the 118 that responded to the call. If they were, Buck managed to say on the way to the hospital, they’d never let him live it down. Even though Buck protested, Eddie called Maddie to let her know about what happened and assured her that she didn’t need to come to the hospital. She had quite a few choice words to say about Buck and him not being careful enough about his allergy but in the end, Eddie convinced her that it was not his fault and that he had it handled from here.

“Maddie was the one who saved my life when it happened the first time,” Buck explained as he lay on the hospital bed and the swelling in his throat and face was finally starting to go down. “She called 911 and they talked her through helping me and I think that might have been the reason she became a nurse. She was a natural, they said.”

Eddie didn’t doubt that for a second. The trait ran in the family for sure. At least in Buck and Maddie, if what he heard about their family was true.

They spent the majority of the night in the hospital, Buck under observation to make sure that he wouldn’t get another attack. When he didn’t and the swelling and the redness was mostly gone, they discharged him with orders to get some rest and to take some antihistamines in the next few days to prevent another attack from occurring.

They also chastised him for not having his EpiPen on him at all times with such a dangerous allergy and Buck had the decency to blush as he admitted that a lot of the time, he just left it at home, claiming his allergy was easy to avoid now that he was older and he knew exactly what to look for. Spoken like a true dumbass.

“How was I supposed to know that you’d put stupid mustard seeds into the salad?” he’d said, incredulous. “How did you even know to make a vinaigrette in the first place? Bobby doesn’t make them with mustard at the station because of this exact reason.”

“I think this was exactly the doctor’s point, actually,” Eddie said as he bundled Buck into his bed back at home. “You can’t always know for sure. Promise me you’ll start carrying it always from now on, alright?”

Buck’s indignation softened and he nodded. “Why do you have one anyway? I don’t remember you mentioning having an allergy. You’re like a human garbage disposal.”

Eddie ignored the comment and shook his head. “It’s for Chris. As far as we know, he’s not allergic to anything but Shannon was and these things can get passed down from family. I figured it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

“Aw,” Buck cooed. “You’re such a dad.”

Eddie just gave him a sharp look. “Yes, I am. You should be grateful for it too, because it might have just saved your life.” He sighed. “I still can’t believe that you didn’t tell me you were deathly allergic to mustard.”

Buck shrugged. “It’s not like I was keeping it from you. It’s just never come up.”

Yeah, Eddie could understand that. Buck preferred making his own food and was very selective when ordering out. Eddie just assumed he was a picky eater or very health conscious, but apparently that wasn’t the only reason behind his careful consideration of anything going into his body.

Seeing as the sun was going to come up soon and neither one of them got any sleep, Eddie shut his blinds and crawled into bed with Buck who looked more exhausted than he’d seen him be in a long, long time. He was scratching at his neck still, where the faint redness still lingered and he looked like he was seconds away from passing out.

“How are you feeling?” Eddie asked, curling up by his side and Buck sighed.

“Like shit. Itchy and gross and tired and my head hurts.”

“Any nausea?”

“A little bit,” Buck admitted.

“I’ll be the big spoon then.” If Buck had to puke, Eddie would appreciate not being puked on, thank you very much.

They curled up together, Eddie making sure not to squeeze Buck too hard to make him uncomfortable. He doubted he’d be able to get any decent sleep, too on edge from yet another one of Buck’s near death experiences. He was reluctant to leave his side for a moment, in case another reaction happened while he was sleeping and unaware.

“I’m sorry,” Buck whispered a moment later, startling Eddie who thought he was already asleep.

“What for?” Eddie asked, confused.

He felt Buck sigh against him. “For ruining our night.”

“Buck, it’s not your fault for having an allergic reaction to something that was out of your control. If anything, I’m sorry for causing it in the first place.”

“It’s not your fault either,” Buck said, turning in his arms to face him. “You didn’t know.”

“Let’s just agree that it’s neither of our faults then and that we’re both apparently shit out of luck and get some sleep.”

Buck pouted at him. “This sucks. I wanted to do so many things to you, you have no idea.”

“I think I have a pretty good idea. But you’re forgetting one important thing.” Buck raised his eyebrows in question and Eddie smirked. “Christopher isn’t coming back until later this afternoon. We have a whole day ahead of us and if you feel better, we can still make the best of them when we wake up.”

Buck hummed, clearly pleased as he settled in to sleep, not turning away from Eddie and Eddie didn’t have the heart to get him to turn back around when he looked so cozy nestled against his chest. If he got puked on, so be it.

“Good. I can’t wait to blow your mind.”

“Me too.”

Unfortunately, no minds were blown that day. Buck was exhausted and completely worn out and his medication kept him sleepy and bound to the bed for the majority of their time together but Eddie couldn’t bring himself to mind it all that much. He got to cuddle Buck in bed all day in the privacy of his bedroom with some surprisingly entertaining baking show playing in the background as they shared whispered confessions and the stories from their pasts.

All in all, if he didn’t count Buck nearly dying – again – it was a pretty great Valentines’ day after all.