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Buried With You

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Buck was more than relieved when Bobby gave him the go ahead to harness up and lower himself down the well to Eddie. Because even though he knew he could rely on and trust that Chimney would get Eddie and the kid out quickly and safely, Buck knew that he could too. He desperately wanted to, needed to go down there himself and see that Eddie was okay with his own eyes. Buck needed to be the one to bring his best friend to safety for his own sanity.

And no, he wouldn’t cut his rope, because Eddie’s life and the life of an innocent child were at risk. He wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize that. Even though he had done risky and somewhat selfish and self-risking things before while on the job, he did them because he thought that they were necessary, so it hurt a little when Hen said that he’d just end up cutting his rope too. And her words irked something in the back of his mind because Eddie wouldn’t have cut his line unless he absolutely needed to, and clearly, he had.

This all probably could’ve been avoided if Bobby had just listened to Buck and waited just a little bit longer to pull Eddie up like he had suggested, but now here they were with one cut line, the kid still trapped, but now with Eddie, an incoming storm that was just about on them, and another firefighter at risk, all because Bobby didn’t listen to him. And maybe that’s why Bobby agreed to let Buck go down the well, because he knew he had made a mistake and it was Buck who pointed it out. Case or not, Buck was just relieved Bobby had listened to his pleads this time around.

“Okay,” Chimney yelled in order to be heard over the rain and thunder. “We’re going to lower you down so you can make sure that the two of them are doing okay and then you’ll grab Hayden and hook him up to your line, and then after we’ve pulled him up, we’ll quickly get you and Eddie up next one at a time.”

Buck was tightening his harness and throwing on a helmet and a pair of goggles as Chimney was talking. Why didn’t they just send him down to hook Eddie and the kid up, send them up, and then have himself pulled up after them? It sounded like an extra step that wasn’t needed, nor one they had time for. Buck voiced his concerns aloud, hooking the final clasp before standing in position, readying himself into position to repel down.

“All the additional rain on top of our previous drilling has caused the hole to shift,” Bobby supplied for Buck. “We can only fit one person at a time now with how much it’s narrowed, so we have to be quick about this. With the severity of the storm, we don’t have much time before the whole thing collapses.”

“Okay,” Buck said, nodding and contemplating everything Bobby had just said.

Buck was already worried about this whole thing before Eddie had cut his line, but now, knowing the only exit of the well was slowly collapsing in on itself, Buck was about ten times more anxious about it. He’d have to be fast about this. Buck hoped the crane and rope system would be able to pull them up fast enough, because all he really had to do was make sure he got Hayden, Eddie, and himself hooked up in the shortest amount of time as possible in order to give them all enough time to be pulled up and out of the well. He could do that. Totally. And if on the off chance that he couldn’t, well, Buck was going to send Eddie up before himself anyways, so he wasn’t too worried about it. The only thing that did worry him was the possibility of Eddie refusing to go up before he did. That would certainly complicate things, but Buck wasn’t going to worry about that right now, he had other matters to attend to first.

“Alright, Buck. Ready when you are,” Chimney said, patting him on his back.

“Don’t do anything stupid.” Hen spoke sternly, looking him straight in the eye.

“Rodger that,” Buck saluted before turning back to Chim and Bobby, rain wetting his face. “Ready when you guys are.”

And with one last look to his teams concerned faces and one to the menacing sky harboring dark clouds above, Buck stepped over the edge and into the even darker tunnel in hopes of reaching Eddie on time.


Bobby was right. The rain had narrowed the tunnel significantly.

Buck had watched Eddie go down, and the man’s shoulders had barely touched the outer muddy edges of the tunnel, but now, even though Buck’s shoulders were slightly wider than Eddies, there was a noticeable difference in the diameter of the hole to when it was first drilled in comparison to how it was currently. And if Buck was being honest, he was starting to feel a bit claustrophobic. The rain still falling from above definitely wasn’t helping in the slightest, as it felt like with every drop the earth was closing in on him slowly, and it most certainly was.

Bobby, Hen, and Chim had been keeping in contact with him since he started his decent, so their voices helped with the worry and claustrophobia he was experiencing. However, about twenty-five feet down, his radio cut out and only white noise could be heard. Buck figured the storm had gotten even closer, approaching at a much quicker rate than any of them had hoped for.

That wasn’t good.

What also wasn’t good was the feeling of being lowered without knowing when the bottom was nearing. The minute-by-minute updates had kept Buck out of his head, for the most part. And now that they weren’t happening, Buck was beginning to feel his heart rate rise.

Realistically, Buck knew he was going to reach the bottom eventually, but it was the not knowing that was killing him. The not knowing if Eddie was actually okay. The not knowing if they were going to be able to get out of this mess in time…the not knowing if he was ever going to be able to tell Eddie how he felt, and the not knowing if Eddie felt the same.

He shouldn’t be thinking like that now. Buck didn’t want to jinx anything, but those two final thoughts had constantly been in the back of his mind for the past few months.

Buck had always liked Eddie. From the moment he was introduced to him, Buck felt this connection. At first, he wasn’t sure what exactly it was that drew him to Eddie. Which was why he wasn’t exactly the nicest to Eddie when they first met. Buck was confused about his feelings and Eddie wasn’t making it any easier for him, but then the whole grenade thing had happened, and Buck felt bonded to the man. They had each other’s backs after all.

So, little-by-little, Buck’s friendship and fondness for Eddie had continued to grow until it felt like it had grown a little bit past what Buck considered to be the best friend stage and was inching more into the beginning of what felt like a romantic attraction and relationship area.

The only problem was, Buck didn’t know if Eddie felt the same. And logically, Buck knew the only way to confirm what Eddie was feeling was to ask him or tell him his own feelings, but every time Buck tried to approach the subject, he’d get all flustered and nervous and start jumbling his words before making an excuse to leave the conversation. So, now Buck was just living with the constant and ever-growing love for Eddie and no solid way to tell him about it. It was agonizing and Buck was starting to feel like a masochist.

And week after week, on every call where there was a higher risk of either him or Eddie being hurt, or worse, Buck couldn’t help but think that he should confess everything to Eddie, because Buck didn’t want to miss the opportunity to do so, but he guessed having waited this long already, he had missed enough to wait for the right moment, and that moment felt like it was creeping up closer and closer the further Buck went down the tunnel.

So, maybe…no, not maybe. Definitely. Buck would definitely tell Eddie he loved him once they got out of this god forsaken well alive. And Buck would just hope that Eddie felt the same way. Otherwise, Buck thinks he might just throw himself back down the tunnel to escape the embarrassment of it all.


“Eddie!” Buck called out, hoping he was close enough by now for his voice to reach Eddie’s ears. “Hayden!”

What had probably only been minutes, given that he hadn’t been buried alive yet, felt like hours as he was still slowly making his descent to where Eddie had fallen. Buck had been calling out Eddie’s name every so often, not yet getting a reply. A while ago, Buck figured he had been too far up for Eddie to hear him. Especially since the sound of thunder from the storm could still be heard. Maybe that was silencing Eddie’s or his own voice. Either way, it was worrying to say the least when at thirty-five feet he still hadn’t heard anything.

“Eddie!”

Still nothing.

“Eds!” he called louder, his own voice reverberating in his ears. “You alive down there?”

“-ck!”

Wait. Did he just hear…

“Buck!”

Yes, he did! That was Eddie’s voice! He was getting closer. Probably a less than fifteen feet by now. It was too dark to tell exactly, plus he couldn’t very well look down for Eddie’s headlight as an indicator because everything was too narrow, but by the sound of it, he was getting closer.

“Eddie! I’m almost there!”

And within a minute, he was.

Once Buck made sure he was standing on steady ground, he took a look at his surroundings, spotting Eddie a few feet away from him, huddled in the corner of the cavern with Hayden in his arms. Buck couldn’t have been more relieved at the sight of the two of them living and breathing.

“Eddie,” Buck let out a relieved sigh and quickly crossed the short distanced over to him to check on him. “Thank God. Are you two, okay?”

Eddie nodded, clearly relieved at the sight of Buck. “Yeah, yeah. We’re good.”

Buck nodded back and pulled out a fire blanket, giving it to Eddie to wrap around the shivering boy.

“They sent you down here?” Eddie chuckled as he took the blanket from Buck, a light smile on his face that looked beyond thankful.

“Of course, they did,” Buck laughed along, taking a long look at Eddie and Hayden, and checking for any obvious injuries. “That and I offered in a way that didn’t give Bobby much of a choice. Besides, I have the most experience doing this kind of thing. You should be glad it’s me.”

“Most experience? At what?” Eddie raised an eyebrow. “Risking your life?”

“Oh, ha-ha. A real jokester this one. Let’s just get you two out of here.” Buck replied smiling, doing one last quick glance over the two of them before squatting down to take a hold of the kid in Eddie’s arms. “I got you, buddy.”

Buck moved back towards the drill site and set the kid back on his feet.

“Okay, Hayden. Here’s what we’re going to do,” he said, unclipping the extra harness from his belt loop and bending back down to get on eye level with the kid. “I’m going to hook you up to this and my friends are going to pull you back up to your mom and sister. I’d send Eddie here with you, but the tunnel is too small for two people to fit in together. I promise you that we’ll be up there in no time. My friends are pretty good at their job.”

The boy looked nervous at the idea, shifting his feet in the wet mud, and wrapping the blanket around himself tighter.

“Hey,” Eddie quickly came around to kneel next to Buck, placing one of his hands on the boy’s shoulder. “You’re going to be okay. We’ll be right up behind you. There’s nothing to worry about.”

Hayden must’ve taken a liking to Eddie, or maybe he just needed a little bit more encouragement, because he quickly nodded his head in agreement and began stepping into the harness with Buck’s help.

“Alright! Let’s get you hooked up,” Buck gave him a reassuring smile, one that he’s often given Chris. Especially since the tsunami happened. “You’re really brave, you know that?”

The boy said nothing but gave Buck a shy smile in return for the complement and timidly started working with Buck to get strapped into the harness.

“Okay, Hayden. Are you ready?” Buck asked, unhooking himself from the line and clipping it onto Hayden.

Another nod as confirmation and a tug on the line to indicate one of them was ready to be lifted out of there was all it took before Hayden was making his ascent up, leaving Buck and Eddie alone together at the bottom.

When Buck was unable to see Hayden’s figure anymore, he moved his eyes to Eddie, who was looking down at his Saint Christopher necklace that was being held in his hands, his skin a little too pale for Buck’s liking.

“Hey,” Buck nudged his shoulder. “How are you really holding up, Eds?”

Eddie sighed and clenched a fist around his necklace before sliding it into one of his pockets for safe keeping.

“I’ll be a hell of a lot better when we get out of here,” he said, sending a smile Buck’s way.

Buck laughed. “I feel you.”

It was silent for a few moments, dripping water and their soft breathing all that could be heard.

“You know, cutting the line was the smart move.”

“Why?” Eddie huffed out a light chuckle. “Because it was something you’d do?”

“No,” Buck turned to him seriously. “Because otherwise you wouldn’t have saved Hayden.”

“And yet here we are.”

“Yeah, Hayden safe and a line coming down for the both of us soon,” Buck reassured him. “You did good, Eds. Like always.”

“Yeah,” Eddie paused, voice growing more distant. “…Like always.”

Buck eyed him curiously. Why did he say it like that?

“Ed-” Buck was about to voice his concerns when the noise of the line dropping from above their heads sounded.

Making a grab for the line, Buck didn’t move to clip it on his belt, instead he turned to Eddie and said, “okay, let’s get you hooked up and out of here first.”

“Buck. No.” Eddie said shoving his hands and the line back to Buck. “You’re going first.”

This is exactly what Buck had hoped would not happen. Of course, it would be his luck that it did.

“Eddie-” Buck started but got cut off.

“Buck, we don’t have time to argue about this,” Eddie told him and swiftly snatched the line from his hands, took it in his own, and clipped the latch to Buck’s harness before giving the line a good tug. “I’ll meet you up there. I promise.”

Buck was just gaping at him. Everything had happened so quickly and now he was being lifted off the ground. “Wait. Eddie!”

“It’s fine, Buck!” Eddie sent him a wink he barely saw. “Just don’t cut the line!”

Logically, Buck knew this was a possible outcome, and even though he was prepared for it, he really, really didn’t like it. He should’ve known Eddie would boss him around for his best interest and get his way. It’s what usually happened. And okay, usually (more often than usually), it worked out fine because Eddie was looking out for him, but something about this would thing felt wrong. Like even if Eddie had gone up first, everything would still be wrong.

The wrongness was itching in the back of his mind, and at about thirty-five feet still underground, Buck felt his stomach drop.

At first, he thought it was his anxiety about leaving Eddie, but then he realized he was falling, the line having gone taut. Looking up, the distant light that had been growing brighter had completely disappeared and left him in darkness, slabs of wet mud falling and hitting his face and helmet.

Fuck!

The line had just fucking snapped! And Buck was falling fast.

It was dark, completely so, so it wasn’t clear at first, but when Buck went to somehow slow his descent, for his sake and probably Eddie’s if the man was still standing directly beneath him, his hands couldn’t find purchase and slid right across the tremoring, muddy walls.

Shit. Shit. Shit!

He was probably fifteen feet from the bottom of the well, and he wasn’t slowing down. Fifteen feet was a lot better than thirty or forty, but it was still a pretty far fall.

So, when he subconsciously felt the floor of the well rush up to him, Buck braced for impact in what little ways he could. This was definitely going to hurt.

And hurt it did.

Buck collided with the bottom of the well none too gently. And with the well clearly collapsing around them, some of the earth had been shifted, causing Buck to land and roll across uneven boughs of rock and displaced metal rods, his bad leg and several of his ribs taking the brunt of the fall.

“Ugh. Shit,” he groaned as he came to stop on the wet ground.

Buck was laying on his back, eyes dizzily trying to focus on the celling of the well, his headlight flickering in broken distress. Even with the helmet, he must have hit his head at some point, because the world was still spinning, but the tremors had stopped. Buck just hopped he wasn’t bleeding because that was the last thing he needed.

What the hell had just happened? Everything was going fine! Buck most certainly hadn’t cut the…line.

Cut…the line?

Oh, God! Eddie! Where was Eddie?

With his mind still reeling, Buck moved to sit up. His actions caused the world to spin even more and fiery pain to run painfully hot across his entire chest. He could even feel his knee twinging in injury as he bent it slightly.

Steadying himself, Buck threw a hand on either side of his legs, each one creating a splash of water that he ignored in turn for looking for Eddie.

The well wasn’t very big, so he shouldn’t have too much trouble finding him, even if his vision wasn’t the clearest. Unless Eddie had been buried under metal and mud…

No. He wasn’t going to think like that. Buck shook his head, stopping when it sent a shock through his skull and cringed in pain.

Looking around the small, distressed cavern of the well, Buck flicked at his headlight in an effort to keep it illuminated for more than five seconds at a time. The flickering on and off was making his dizziness worse.

Buck was about to say screw it and toss the broken thing away, because it was really starting to annoy him and he felt like vomiting, when he saw a flash of red from the corner of his eye.

Quickly, but carefully, since he was pretty sure a few of his ribs were broken and his knee still hurt in a way he wasn’t sure was good, Buck crawled over to the other side of the well where he saw what he thought was Eddie’s booted leg.

As Buck neared him, he could clearly make out the rest of Eddie’s form. He was half covered in mud and a metal beam was arching over him, just a foot from away from crushing him. Eddie’s eyes were blinking sluggishly. Maybe something had hit his head and he was just coming too? That didn’t really matter right now though because Buck was just thankful Eddie wasn’t unconscious. That would make finding a way to get out of here that much harder.

“Eddie?” Buck asked, cupping Eddie’s face in his hands.

“Buck?” Eddie murmured back; voice only slightly slurred. “What happened?”

“The well, it collapsed.”

“What?” Eddie questioned concerned and moved to sit up. “Why are you still down here?”

“Hey. Slowly,” he said, helping Eddie from under the beam and into a sitting position. “The line snaped during the collapse. I never made it all the way back up.”

Eddie’s hands started running over him in an effort to check for any injuries Buck sustained as a result of the fall.

“Are you okay?!”

“I’m—ahh!” Buck curled in on himself as one of Eddie’s hands went across one of his ribs. “I’m fine.”

“You’re—you are not fine! What was that?” Eddie went straight back to prodding at Buck.

Buck pushed his hands away. “It’s fine.”

Eddie looked at him unbelievingly.

“Okay,” he said giving in. “I have a few broken ribs, but that’s not much of an issue right now. Us having just been buried alive is a far bigger concern, don’t you think?”

As if the universe didn’t hate Buck enough, before he could hear Eddie’s reply, another tremor shook through the tunnel and triggered one of the walls to give away, water rapidly rushing into the small space.

“Shit!” he heard Eddie cry. Buck himself too busy coughing up a lung full of water he just inhaled to make any similar exclaim.

They both hurriedly helped one another into standing positions as the water was already just about to their knees.

“Eddie?!”

Buck was panicking now. It was hard to breath and his broken ribs weren’t helping. He had been too busy falling, recounting his injuries, and finding Eddie to even face the reality of what them being buried alive meant, but now the damn space was filling up with water and Buck couldn’t hear anything besides the pooling current. His and Eddie’s movements didn’t help his anxiety, but rather just made it worse as the splashing noise rang in his ears and deafened him more. The cool wetness of the water itself was also causing Buck’s heart rate to spike.

He had though he was over this. His fear of water. He should be over it, but clearly, he wasn’t.

Buck grabbed onto Eddie’s arm tightly in order to ground himself. That fucking tsunami was going to haunt him forever, wasn’t it?

“Buck!”

He turned his head in Eddie’s direction, just hardly hearing Eddie’s voice above his resurfaced trauma.

“Evan,” Eddie said, his own voice shaky and his eyes somewhat shadowed over in a glossy daydreaming kind of way. “Look at me.”

And Buck did. For himself and for Eddie. Because right now Eddie looked a little bit like he too was somewhere else, so if Buck could pull him back by doing what Eddie said, he would listen. Plus, looking at Eddie always seemed to relax Buck.

“We’re okay. We’re going to get out of here.”

And as reassuring as that should’ve been coming from Eddie, it wasn’t, because Eddie didn’t sound too sure about that fact himself, but Buck just nodded along.

“Okay. Yeah.”

The water was at their chests by this point and both of them were trying hard not to think about how fast it was rising.

“I have this oxygen mask,” Eddie said, pulling one out from where it was clipped to is hip. “We can share—oh, damn it!”

Buck wasn’t sure why Eddie was so upset until he looked at said mask and noticed that the oxygen levels had hit the red. It was empty.

“Eddie. What are we going to do?” Buck’s voice and body were shaking, not only due to his fear, but also because the water was continually lowering his body temperature. He was feeling the cold now.

“Umm…” Eddie said trailing off, eyes looking over Buck’s shoulder at something that wasn’t there. “The feeder pipes! The drainage tunnels!”

Buck knew where Eddie was going with this.

“What that Official said. We can swim our way out of here.”

And even though Buck knew that was their only option, even if it wasn’t a guaranteed one, he already hated the idea.

“How…there’s no way to know if we’ll be swimming in the right direction. How will we even get out? We’re fifty feet underground with no oxygen, and I’m pretty sure my ribs are broken, and my knee is definitely injured.”

Eddie cupped his face. “Buck. It’s the only way. We’ll make it.”

“Eds, I—I can’t,” Buck cried, thoughts of drowning filling his mind.

The water was at their shoulders. Buck knew he was wasting time with his freak out, but he couldn’t help it. How was Eddie so calm? Guess that’s why he had a Silver Star. The man was good under pressure at all times.

“Buck, calm down.”

When Buck did the exact opposite of that, his breathing only hitching and becoming quicker, Eddie grabbed his face a little tighter and pull him in closer, so their lips met.

Buck didn’t even have time to think about what this meant for him and Eddie, and frankly, he didn’t want to think about it, at least not right now because he might start freaking out for a whole new reason.

So, if this was Eddie’s way of calming him down…well, it was working. The kiss didn’t last long (a good thing for both of their sakes), but it was enough to slow Buck’s breathing and get his attention to focus on Eddie.

“I’ll be with you the whole time. You don’t have to worry about it. We’ll make it together because we have each other’s backs, don’t we, Buck.”

Buck nodded. “Okay, yeah. We do.”

And that calmed him down further because Eddie was right. They could do this if they did it together.

“Alright. Good,” Eddie said, the water now at their chins. “Now take a deep breath, okay?”

Another nod and a deep breath in before Buck expelled the air from his lungs and abruptly confessed, “I love you!”

And a second later the water was above their heads, Buck not getting a reply from Eddie and just barely finding the time to taking in another breath before the two of them were submerged completely.

Taking in his surroundings was a little difficult, as the lenses on one side of his goggles was heavily scratched, but Eddie immediately took a hold of Buck’s arms and began pulling him in the direction of what Buck assumed would be their exit.

It was slow going, and Buck wasn’t sure if they were even swimming in the right direction, but he put his faith in Eddie to lead them the right way. Buck wasn’t even sure how long they had been under water for, but he guessed it was getting to be too long if the way his lungs were screaming at him were any indication. Eddie’s movements had also started to slow down, and Buck wasn’t sure if that was because Buck was holding him back with his injuries, ribs and knee making it difficult to keep up with Eddie at times, or if that last breath that they each took was finally starting to not be enough.

And it seemed more like the latter when Eddie’s body stilled and then went limp.

Shit! Eddie!

Buck quickly swam closer to him and too him in his arms best he could and started swimming forwards. He would get Eddie out of here.

They had to be close to the surface by now. They had probably been swimming for nearly four minutes, and Buck wasn’t sure if he could keep going for much longer than that. Even if he desperately wanted to. His body just wouldn’t let him.

So, when Buck looked upwards and noticed a sheen glossing through the water, he knew they were close. The surface was right there, and Buck ignored his ribs, knee, and lungs for a moment longer and swam with the rest of his lasting strength, Eddie in his arms still limp, and pushed through the last foot of water before breaking the surface.

Buck inhaled deeply, taking in all the air he could, and beside him he heard Eddie let out a cough and breath in deeply much like he had.

Holy shit. They had made it. They fucking made it.

Buck let out a laugh, “We made it, Eds.”

Eddie chuckled along with him, throwing an arm around Buck’s shoulders, and leaning on him as the they both made their way onto solid ground.

In the distance the lights and sounds of firetrucks, ambulances, and news vans could be heard. It was all the motivation they need to keep on trudging on. Especially when Hen, Bobby, and Chim turned their way, eyes wide and full of panic and relief, and started running towards him and Eddie.

At that, Buck knew he was in good hands. He and Eddie had made it out of that god forsaken well, and back with their family. So, totally spent, Buck fell to his knees, wincing slightly and vision spotting, with the full intent of passing out and waking to bright hospital lights later.

But just before his body decided to give out completely in exhaustion, he felt Eddie crouch down next to him and shift Buck’s weight into his lap, so that his head was resting on Eddie’s legs, holding him, and gently brushing away wet strands of hair.

“I love you too, Buck.”