When Eddie’s elbow knocks the shampoo off the ledge it sits on, he knows it’s only a matter of time before Buck comes barging in. He stares at it forlornly on the floor of the shower, letting the water run over his face and not bothering to move his hand.
“Eddie?” Buck calls through the door, muffled under the noise of the water and the panel of wood that separates them.
“I’m fine,” Eddie calls back, and tips his head back so he doesn’t drown when he says it. “I dropped the shampoo, it’s fine.”
“I’m coming in,” Buck says, and Eddie sighs as the door creaks open. He can see Buck’s shadow cross the tiny bathroom, and then the curtain rustles as Buck pulls it back. Eddie stares over at him, hot with embarrassment, as Buck freezes.
“Oh,” Buck says, eyes glued to where Eddie’s hand still rests between his legs. Eddie shifts it slightly to cover himself, but he knows it doesn’t hide what he was doing. He takes a deep breath, chest tight, and licks his lips to try and get some feeling back in them.
“The angle’s wrong,” he whispers, guilty, and can’t meet Buck’s eyes.
Buck hums neutrally. They’re quiet for a moment, and Eddie’s embarrassment rises.
“I could help,” Buck murmurs.
Eddie twitches, not sure he heard him over the roar of the shower. He feels too hot, the water beating down against his front and the muggy air around him sticky behind his ears and under his arms. His right hand is pressed over his heart to alleviate the pressure on his injury without the sling, and his left is cupped protectively over his half-hard cock. He stares into the corner where Chris’ shampoo sits, a bottle shaped like a watermelon, pink and green and grinning up at him mockingly.
“Eddie,” Buck says. Eddie lets a breath out through his nose, hard.
“Buck,” he replies, willing him to drop it. Buck’s half in the shower, still fully clothed but damp around his hair and face.
“It doesn’t have to be weird.”
“It is weird.”
“Only because you’re being weird.”
Eddie finally turns to face him, raising his eyebrows incredulously. “I’m being weird?”
“Yes,” Buck says, and lets the shower curtain fall shut. He opens it again a moment later, his sleeves rolled up as far as they can go. “You’ve never jerked off with a friend?”
Eddie splutters. “Jerking off next to someone is not the same as letting someone jerk you off, Evan.”
Buck rolls his eyes. “Look, I won’t do it if you don’t want me to, but it kinda seems like a little help is exactly what you need here.”
“I—“ Eddie blinks at him. His erection hasn’t waned at all during this conversation, and it’s getting harder to focus on protesting when all he really wants is to make it go away. Buck watches him, doesn’t let his eyes stray from Eddie’s face as he waits for the verdict. Eddie’s heart is pounding under his hand. “If you tell anyone I let you do this—“
“Who am I gonna tell, Eddie?” Buck asks, and his voice is gentle rather than combative. Eddie takes a deep breath, closes his eyes and lets his hand fall away from his cock. He takes a shuffling step forward so he’s in Buck’s wingspan, and waits.
His eyes fly open at the first tentative touch to his cock, Buck’s face closer to his than he was expecting. His eyes are so blue under the harsh fluorescent lighting in Eddie’s bathroom, and his cheeks are slightly flushed from the heat of the shower. Eddie feels his own blush grow, down his neck and chest as Buck gets a firmer grip around him.
He doesn’t take his eyes off Buck’s as he begins to move his hand, though Buck casts his eyes down to watch what he’s doing. His hand is larger than Eddie’s, a little wider, and it’s slick with the water traveling down Eddie’s body. He braces his uninjured arm against the wall to hold himself up, can’t help the way his legs shift apart to give Buck more room to work. Buck keeps a steady pace as Eddie grows to full hardness in his grasp, and Eddie lets out a soft whine as his fingers graze the head. Buck glances up at him through his lashes.
“Yea?” He sounds breathless, and his mouth is so so red. Eddie nods, shuddering as Buck does it again.
“Yea,” he says, on the tail end of a moan he can’t keep down.
Buck smiles a little, picks up the pace and starts pulling over the head of Eddie’s cock on the up stroke. Eddie’s breath is coming fast and shallow, his thighs trembling and hips flexing as he tries not to thrust into Buck’s hand.
Then Buck gives him a strong pull, bringing his fist over the head as he has been, and presses the tip of his thumb against Eddie’s slit. Eddie shouts, his hand coming off the wall to grab the back of Buck’s neck for balance as his whole body rocks forward into the sensation. He digs his fingers into the short hairs at the nape of Buck’s neck, barely hears the harsh breath Buck takes when he does because he’s suddenly teetering the edge.
“I’m close,” he mumbles, his voice rough and breathless. He tilts his head back to look at the ceiling, his whole body tense and trying hard to keep itself upright.
Buck continues jerking him, occasionally pressing against the slit of his cock with his thumb. His other hand sneaks under Eddie, cradles his balls and rolls them in time with the strokes on his cock, and Eddie trembles. He lets his head fall forward again, can’t keep his eyes open or his hips still as he thrusts into Buck’s hands. His forehead knocks against Buck’s, Buck’s breath ghosting over his face and the damp skin of his neck, sending shivers down Eddie’s spine.
“Come on, Eddie,” Buck murmurs, and Eddie cracks his eyes open to look at Buck’s face. He goes a bit cross-eyed trying to bring him into focus, feels a bit wild as his orgasm overtakes him and he spills into Buck’s hands. Buck keeps going until Eddie starts shaking, then he brings his hands up to Eddie’s waist to push him back into the shower.
Eddie goes easily, feels a bit drunk as he lets Buck wash the come off his stomach and Buck’s hands. Buck steadies him as he turns off the water and helps Eddie out of the shower, grabbing Eddie’s towel off the rack and patting Eddie dry. He wraps the towel around Eddie’s waist when he’s done, and looks at him with an impish grin, his cheeks pink to match his mouth.
“See? Not weird.”
“I’m sorry, you what?” Maddie pulls her coffee cup away from her face to ask shrilly. Jee-yun is, for now, asleep in the crib behind her. Buck shifts uncomfortably in the armchair next to her.
“His arm is immobilized, what was I supposed to do?”
Maddie just stares at him, arm frozen halfway between her face and the coffee table where she was aiming to set her mug. Buck doesn’t say anything else, knows his face is bright red.
Maddie finally heaves a sigh, allowing her body to continue its motion to set her cup down. She shifts to face him, her hands clasped in her lap and an uncharacteristically stern look on her face. Buck feels a nervous sweat prickle the back of his neck.
“Evan Buckley,” she says, and the nervous sweat migrates under Buck’s arms at her tone, “I know you are not telling me you jerked off your invalid, male best friend out of obligation.”
“Not obligation,” Buck answers, and wrings his hands together in his lap, “more like—collaboration.”
“Yea,” Buck says, and sits up straighter, “he couldn’t do it himself, so we worked together to find a solution.”
Maddie stares at him again, her eyes narrowed and incredulous. “Are you stupid?”
“Maddie!” Buck yelps, offended.
“I’m just trying to understand how you can look me in the eye and say that, after everything the two of you have been through together.”
Buck blinks. “What are you talking about?”
“Did you or did you not tell me barely a month ago that Eddie had made you Christopher’s guardian in his will?”
Buck flushes. “That’s not—”
“Did you or did you not,” Maddie interrupts, “move into his house to take care of his child without knowing this information, simply because it was the right thing for him?”
“Did you or did you not,” she plows on, ignoring him entirely, “break up with your girlfriend so you could focus on looking after Eddie during his recovery?”
Buck, already flushed and a little sweaty, feels his face burn hotter at this. “Okay, that’s really not—”
“Buck,” Maddie says, staring him down in a way that has never failed to make him feel small, “how much longer are you going to pretend you’re not in love with him?”
Buck’s breath freezes in his chest. His face, which had previously been making a valiant attempt to match his birthmark, pales completely. He fish-mouths for a moment, at a loss for words. Maddie waits him out, eyes unwavering from his face.
Buck lets all the breath out of his lungs, places his palms firmly onto his thighs, and says, “Eddie is my best friend.”
“Buck,” Maddie looks sympathetic all of a sudden, and Buck doesn’t know what to do with it, “Chimney is mine.”
Buck just stares at her, heart pounding, open-mouthed. Behind her, Jee-yun makes a tiny little whimper, and Maddie sighs. She shoots Buck a smile when she stands, and reaches over to cup his face as Jee continues to warble herself awake.
“I love you,” she says, “stop making your life harder on purpose.”
She leaves Buck sitting on his chair, completely at a loss for words, and picks up her baby.
Buck is sitting on the couch when Eddie gets home, face pale and hair disheveled, like he’s been running his hands through it repeatedly. Eddie raises an eyebrow at him, turns to look at Carla who’s nudging Chris in the door behind him. She raises her own brow, gestures at Buck aggressively, and then herds Chris into the kitchen without another word. Eddie makes his way over, stands in front of Buck wordlessly until Buck looks up at him. He looks wounded, something scared behind his eyes, and Eddie sighs, reaching his good hand down to haul Buck off the couch.
“Let’s go to my room,” he says quietly, and Buck follows him with a small nod.
The door has barely closed behind him when Buck blurts, “am I in love with you?”
Eddie freezes, hand still on the handle, and feels his chest go tight and hot. He turns to face Buck, who looks like he didn’t mean to open with that. “Uh—“
“I mean,” Buck continues, “god, I’m—this is such a mess, I’m sorry, I—“
“Buck,” Eddie says, and lifts his hand to stop the incoherent stream of consciousness threatening to bury them both, “I need more context.”
Buck takes a deep breath and blows it out through his mouth, lifting a hand to run it through his hair. Eddie wonders if this is what a heart attack feels like.
“I was talking to Maddie,” Buck starts, and he sounds calmer, “and I know you didn’t want me to tell anyone, Eddie, and I’m so sorry, but I was going crazy trying to work out if I’d made it weird.”
Eddie stares at him, says nothing, waits for Buck to continue. He starts pacing, working himself up again as he talks.
“And she just kept saying things, and I’d never really thought about them in that context but god—she’s right? Right? I mean I’ve never had a best friend before but when you put everything we are and everything we do for each other in context it doesn’t sound like best friends it sounds like—“
“Buck,” Eddie says desperately. His heart is pounding in his ears and he can’t let Buck finish that sentence.
Buck stares at him, and his cheeks are rosy and his eyes are glassy and he looks insane, frankly, with his hair reaching for the ceiling and his hands shaking at his sides and his chest rising and falling faster than Eddie’s but Eddie—
And then Buck’s mouth is on his, and Eddie truly can’t breathe. He barely has a chance to press into it before Buck’s pulling back again, eyes wild, hair wild, heart wild—and maybe Eddie loves him too. He reaches up his good hand to grasp the front of Buck’s t shirt and pulls him back in without a second thought.
He doesn’t know how long they stand there, mouths pressing chastely, but when Buck finally pulls away again, Eddie’s heart has settled. His fingers are tingling the same as his mouth, but he feels calmer than he has since he saw Buck on the couch. Buck doesn’t go far, presses his forehead against Eddie’s and breathes, deep and resonant, and Eddie can feel his calm too.
“Kinda feels like you are,” Eddie murmurs, and his voice is slightly rougher than he expected. He feels more than sees Buck’s lips twitch up at the corners.
“Kinda feels like,” Buck says, “maybe you are, too.”
Eddie smiles. “Yea, I think I am.”