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The house is suspiciously quiet when Eddie gets home.

It’s just after nine, and he’s successfully dropped Chris off at school and stopped by Buck’s favorite ridiculously overpriced bakery. He’s holding a paper bag of fresh croissants in his teeth because the front door is sticking and needs two hands to open, so it takes him a minute to realize that, beyond the crinkling filling his ears, it’s silent.

He’s pretty sure Buck is up, and if he’s up, he should have music on just this side of too loud, singing along ridiculously while he showers or makes breakfast or talks to the demonic smart coffee maker.

But – and Eddie stops breathing for a second just to make sure – there’s nothing.

Everything’s fine. Eddie knows everything’s fine. Still, against his better judgment, he feels a whisper of panic wrap around the base of his throat.

He grabs the bag to free his mouth.

“Buck?” he calls, and his own voice echoes back off the ceiling of their suspiciously quiet house, what the fuck is—

“Oh, you’re back already?” Buck’s voice comes from the kitchen, clear and happy and in absolutely no danger. Eddie exhales. “I must have lost track of time.”

Eddie expects to see him in the kitchen doorway – Buck delights in welcoming other people home, for some reason, and he thinks Eddie hasn’t noticed – but everything, yet again, is still. Less panicked and more intrigued, he makes his way around the dining table and into the kitchen.

What he finds there is his boyfriend standing next to the sink, his hair fluffy and backlit by the sun that peeks in through the window, looking like a fucking Disney prince even from the back. Eddie feels instantly dizzy at the sight of him.

“There you are,” he says, and sets the croissants on the counter so he can sneak up and wrap his arms around Buck’s waist. He wiggles his hands under the hem of Buck’s hoodie, finding endless warm skin, and rests his forehead gently against the little bump at the top of Buck’s spine. “It’s so quiet. I thought you were asleep.”

Buck’s fingers interlace with his, and a chuckle rumbles through his back.

“You thought someone broke in and kidnapped me.”

Eddie groans. “Shut up, no I didn’t.”

“Mhm,” Buck hums, holding on to one of Eddie’s hands as he turns and presses his back into the counter, all of him, suddenly, in Eddie’s view. “You were worried about me. You loooove me.”

Eddie can’t really resist stretching up for a kiss. Buck eagerly meets him halfway, gentle and tasting of toothpaste, his hands big and solid on Eddie’s waist.

“Shit,” Eddie says when he pulls away, and knows he’s smiling ridiculously, “that was supposed to be a secret.”

But he feels a thrill run through him anyway, a fizzy little surge from head to toe that makes him shiver. Because there was a time, and it wasn’t that long ago at all, when Buck would have said those words with disbelief. When he would look at Eddie and ask if he was sure, as if Eddie doesn’t want to stop and live entire lifetimes in the time between one of Buck’s blinks and the next.

Here, today, Buck grins at him so wide his eyes nearly disappear, and presses a kiss into Eddie’s hair, to his forehead, his ear, his cheek, the underside of his jaw. Eddie laughs, even as he feels held down to the very core of his soul.

“I missed you,” Buck says, just this side of whiny, into Eddie’s neck. He kisses Eddie’s collarbone, then bites it just a little, like he could hold Eddie close with just his teeth.

“I was literally gone for an hour,” Eddie says, as if he has a leg to stand on. As if he cares about anything other than closer and deeper and more right now.

Buck kisses the center of Eddie’s chest where his shirt is unbuttoned, dips lower to nip at the skin over his heart, makes his way back up the column of Eddie’s neck open-mouthed, breathing in and in.

And when Eddie turns his head for a real kiss, Buck ducks him.

“Missed you while we were asleep,” he says, running his fingers over Eddie’s jaw, the ridge of his eyebrow, and then gives him a kiss on the cheek so sweet it makes Eddie’s chest feel all warm and wobbly.

“You sleep on top of me,” Eddie points out, and wraps his arms tight around Buck’s waist, so that the next time he tries to kiss him, Buck will have nowhere to pretend to go. He’s blazing hot and solid underneath Eddie’s hands, the steadiest thing he’s ever known.

Buck runs a hand through Eddie’s hair, and fixes him with a look that Eddie has to avoid for a second, just to look at the tile under his feet and try to come to terms with someone feeling—that, for him.

“It doesn’t count if I’m not conscious,” Buck replies, all golden and burnished with his lips a brilliant, brilliant pink, and Eddie’s out of patience.

He grabs Buck by the collar of his hoodie, his fingers tangling in the strings, and pulls until they’re crashing together, until Buck’s laughing as their teeth clack for the second before they remember to stop smiling. The way Buck kisses is a constant, but a surprise every single time: he’s hungry for everything, anything he can get, but even at his roughest there’s a gentleness to him that makes Eddie feel like something precious and worthy and loved.

Buck turns them around, and Eddie lets him reverse their positions with a content rumble that makes its way out of his chest without permission. He’s never said as much out loud, but now that he’s allowed himself to have it he loves this; Buck’s muscles pulling taut under his hands, the barest hint of morning stubble where it scrapes over the ticklish spot under Eddie’s jaw and leaves the skin there raw, the knowledge that Buck can move him and lift him and pin him down, that he knows exactly where to push to make Eddie accept how much he cares. And he loves that Buck trusts him with all of that strength, all of his power and heart and his formidable soul, that he’ll yield under Eddie’s hands until it feels like Eddie’s creating something brand new with every touch.

He grins when Buck’s hands sneak to the underside of his thighs. Wraps his arms around Buck’s shoulders in anticipation of a familiar movement, because Buck’s obsessed with lifting him on the goddamn counter like they’re a pair of teenagers—

But then Buck is lifting him, and something is clattering, and the intoxicating heat of him is ripped away.

“Oh shit,” Buck says, kiss-drunk, quiet, “my kefir.”

Eddie blinks. “Your what?”

He hops back down to the ground and turns to look. There, next to the sink, Buck has set out an empty bowl and a strainer and giant jar of something white and suspiciously thick.

“My kefir,” Buck repeats, pressing an apologetic kiss to Eddie’s lips and sidestepping him. “Marianne gave it to me.”

Eddie’s suddenly cold, and a little annoyed. He had a handful of Buck’s hoodie thirty seconds ago, was just about ready to pull it off and get his mouth on whatever part of Buck was closest, and now he’s been passed over for—

“And who’s Marianne?”

Buck suppresses a giggle. “My incredibly rich mistress, obviously. Have I not told you about her?”

Edde—growls, yeah, okay, he growls. Before he knows what he’s doing, he’s pressed against Buck from the back, plastered to him chest to thigh, and he bites the back of Buck’s neck like he’s some kind of deranged animal, and he’d be embarrassed about it if it wasn’t for the way Buck gasps and pushes back into him and grips the edge of the counter until his whole hands go white.

“That’s not funny,” Eddie murmurs into what little space remains between them, and Buck shivers against him.

“It kind of is,” he replies, and attempts a laugh, but it comes out all high and breathless. Eddie nudges his nose into the little warm space where Buck’s ear joins his jaw and breathes him in. “And stop distracting me. Marianne’s literally our neighbor.”

Eddie digs his chin into Buck’s shoulder. He has to stand on tiptoe to do it, but it’s worth it for the way Buck’s entire body rearranges itself to fit back against him.

“And she’s in the habit of giving you gifts?”

“Eddie,” Buck sighs out, grinning, turning his head so he can look at Eddie out of the corner of his eye, “she’s like—a card carrying lesbian. Like, extremely not into men. And twice my age.”

Eddie bites down on something extremely petty and Abby-shaped. He’s never spoken that woman’s name in their house, and he’s not about to start now.

“Also, it’s not really a gift. She said they’re multiplying like crazy and she needed to get rid of them.”

“They’re—what now?”

Buck doesn’t say anything as Eddie steps away. He’s still smiling, but a little dimmer, as he unscrews the lid and peers into the liquid. Against his better judgment, Eddie steps closer, leaning into Buck’s side as he watches the shiny surface of it and waits for something to happen.

“It’s not alive, right?” he asks, debating whether he should try touching it. He has a hand half-stretched towards the jar before he even realizes, but Buck wraps gentle fingers around his wrist to intercept the movement.

“In a manner of speaking,” he says, setting the strainer in the bowl. “They’re like—mushrooms, I guess. Technically.”

Eddie waits for further explanation, because every unfamiliar thing that enters his home normally comes with an extended lecture from Buck, Chris or, more and more lately, both of them. They have the exact same insatiable curiosity about the world around them, and Eddie sometimes just sits there and listens to them and marvels at this life that’s somehow happened to him.

Excep this one time, apparently, Buck doesn’t want to volunteer any further information. He carefully tips the jar over the strainer, letting the liquid spill out in a steady stream, and as it drains, it reveals—something. Something that looks like cauliflower florets, or maybe some tragically misshapen type of pasta.

“Those are mushrooms?” he asks, half curious, half trying to prod Buck along just a little.

“Marianne calls them grains,” Buck says, swirling the things inside the strainer with a slotted spoon. “But I looked it up and they also call it the Tibetan mushroom. They’re cultures, and you put them in milk and they make kefir, which is like—thicker, more acidic milk? Or really runny yogurt, I guess,” he says, watching as the liquid slowly drains off and the fluffy grains stay behind. “You’ve had it before, Chim brought it one time and you liked it. And Chris probably won’t drink it, but I thought he’d like doing this part? They just keep reproducing, so as long as you do this you can keep making kefir forever, and it just lives on your counter and does its thing. And I found this lady on YouTube who has a tutorial on how to make cheese out of it, and when you make the cheese you get like a whey byproduct thing that can be made into probiotic lemonade, and I thought—“

And then he stops, as if someone cut him off, and looks back down.

“Anyway. They’re cool, I guess.”

Eddie waits. Watches the hypnotic motion of Buck’s big, gorgeous hands gently lifting the grains up and ladling them into a clean jar. What’s probably a full minute passes in silence, broken up only by the dull sound of plastic on glass.

“What else?” Eddie asks, finally, one elbow on the counter, his entire body turned toward Buck.

Buck frowns. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, you didn’t just look up what it’s called and what it does. You definitely didn’t just watch the one video. So what else?”

Buck blinks at him, a beam of bright morning sunlight cutting straight across his face, lighting up his eyelashes. Eddie reaches out and pushes a stray curl off his forehead, waiting.

“Um,” Buck says, looking at Eddie and then down at his hands, which are wrapped around the jar just this side of tight. “There was another lady who said it like—I think she called it a right-turning bacteria? And apparently that means it stays alive once it’s inside you and fights the bacteria that’s not good for you. It grows a colony,” he grins a little, and reaches over to the window for a jug of milk Eddie hadn’t even noticed sitting there. “She said centenarians in the Caucasus used to claim they lived so long because they drank kefir every day.”

Eddie watches him drown the grains in milk. He’s careful about it, pouring slowly despite the jar having a wide mouth.

“So we’re all going to live to be a hundred?” Eddie asks, a little amazed at the way Buck doing mundane things, just existing, here, like this, takes his breath away.

“That’s the plan,” Buck replies, now actually smiling as he screws the lid on. “And actually—“

He stops again, and bites his lip. Eddie finally catches up.

“Okay,” he says, boosting himself up onto the counter right next to the jar, which brings him to just above Buck’s eye level, “who said what to you?”

Buck blinks, a little startled. “Nobody,” he says, transparently lying. “Nothing. It’s nothing.”

“Uh-huh,” says Eddie, and reaches out a hand to grab Buck’s face when he goes to turn away. With his other hand, he pushes the jar to the side and back, into a free space right next to the pepper mill: a good place to keep it, if you ask him, but he’d let Buck literally frame it and put it up on the wall if it would make him happy. “Let’s try that again. Who said what.”

Buck huffs, but doesn’t move away. He leans his cheek into Eddie’s touch, and Eddie runs a thumb over his cheekbone.

“It’s literally fine,” is what he chooses to go with, looking down with his bottom lip between his teeth, and if Eddie didn’t need to figure this out, he’d just lean forward and kiss him silly. “It’s nothing. I’m okay. I’m just being—“

“Oh no you don’t,” Eddie cuts him off, fighting not to frown, because he doesn’t want to be all stormy at Buck when he’s not mad at him. “The only thing you’re being is self-deprecating, and you know full well that won’t fly in this house. You’re literally the one who instated that rule.”

Buck heaves a huge sigh, meeting Eddie’s eyes for a brief moment then choosing to watch the street outside the window. His foot taps gently against the bottom of the cabinet.

Eddie waits him out, and while he waits, he takes the opportunity to reacquaint himself with the parts of Buck he maybe hasn’t touched in a few hours: the side of his nose, the divot in his chin, his hairline where new hair that isn’t quite hair yet curls as it grows in. Buck softens under his touch, swaying forward, until Eddie’s opening his legs wider and letting him slot in between them.

Finally: “It was Hen.”

Eddie sucks in a surprised breath.

“She was completely in the right,” Buck rushes to reassure him, his hands unconsciously coming to rest on Eddie’s thighs. “I promise. She was in a mood and she’d already asked me to stop once and I didn’t, so. Yeah. It’s fine. Please don’t text her anything stupid.”

Eddie, who had been surreptitiously reaching for his phone in his back pocket, stills.

“I was just talking her ear off about giant jellyfish,” Buck rolls his eyes at himself, and Eddie kind of wants to smack him on the nose with a newspaper like a dog. “And she said she’ll watch this documentary with me. Next time you and Karen want to have a wine night.”

Eddie sputters. “We don’t have wine nights,” he says, as if his contact name in Karen’s phone isn’t literally Wine Wife <3. “We have evenings of distinguished conversation about adult topics. Over a glass of wine sometimes.”

“Yeah,” Buck grins, “including a scheduled break for when Karen has to call Hen and you have to call me just to wax poetic about how much you love us.”

“That was one time,” Eddie mumbles, pinching the bridge of his nose.

Buck pulls his hand away and kisses the spot. “It was very flattering,” he says, with laughter in his voice. “Can’t say anyone else has ever compared my eyes to sea glass.”

Eddie’s chest is full of something warm and alive and jittery.

“Okay, fuck you,” he laughs, reaching out to hide his hands in the kangaroo pocket of Buck’s hoodie. “Just for that, I won’t let you embarrass me about it.”

Buck sticks his bottom lip out in the mother of all pouts.

“And besides,” says Eddie, running his thumb over the shiny pink of Buck’s lip and marveling at the way his mouth opens just so, “I like that I love you. It’s the best thing about me, I think.”

Because Eddie’s—done. He has been done, for a long time, with letting other people interfere in his happiness, but it still hits him on the harder days, and the happiest ones. It hits him now: the things he could have missed out on.

Buck, bathed in morning light in their kitchen, wearing a hoodie and shorts because he claims his lower half doesn’t get cold, straining some kind of alien mushroom.

Buck, looking over at him through a wall of flame, nodding the agreement that they’re both getting out of this one unharmed.

Buck, winding his warm arms around Eddie’s shoulders like he’s something precious, pressing a reassuring kiss under his ear when Eddie’s feeling wrong-footed, grabbing Eddie’s hand as they walk into parent-teacher night.

Buck, complex and radiant and so infinitely good.

Buck, his.

Almost instantly, Buck’s eyes are wide and shiny and earnest.


“You’re changing the subject,” Eddie smiles, pulling Buck towards him, finally tasting that pout. “You’re not literally fine if you’re second-guessing what you’re saying.”

Buck huffs, a little puff of warm air that breaks over Eddie’s top lip. He tries to lick his way into Eddie’s mouth as a distraction, but Eddie leans back and back until Buck can’t reach him anymore.

For a second, they look at each other, Buck straining so far forward he has to stand on tiptoe, Eddie leaned so far back he’s crowded against the wall.

Buck gives in first.

“It’s not that I’m worried I’m annoying people,” he says, settling back on his feet. Eddie immediately leans in and grabs his hands, intertwines their fingers, because he’s all about positive reinforcement. “But I just—I don’t always have to talk, you know? Maybe that’s something to work on. Because right now, it’s completely fine that not everyone wants to listen to me all the time. I talk a lot. It’s probably not fun to sit through for something you’ll just instantly forget.”

Eddie tilts his head. “Who’s forgetting?”

“Uh,” Buck blinks, taken aback. “Everyone? Even I don’t remember all of the stuff I find. Like—it’s the most important thing ever in the moment, you know? But I don’t always remember all of the specifics. I was an expert on radiation poisoning for five minutes when I thought Bobby was exposed to it, and I still kind of know the symptoms, but the rest of it—“

“It can cause aplastic anemia,” Eddie smiles. “It’s what killed Marie Curie. Really smart lady. First woman to win the Nobel Prize, only woman who won it twice. She discovered polonium and named it after Poland because that’s where she was from.”

Buck freezes with his mouth halfway open.

“I don’t know who’s forgetting, Buck,” Eddie says, running a finger down the slope of Buck’s nose, “but I’m not.”

Buck twists a hand in the hem of Eddie’s shirt, suddenly hunched. He ducks Eddie’s gaze again and again and again, and when Eddie tries to grab him by the chin, he intercepts Eddie’s hand.

“Eddie,” he says, very quietly, and Eddie fights the bizarre urge to pull him down to the ground so he can—unfurl him, make him take up all the space he deserves and more. Buck shouldn’t ever be this small; his heart won’t fit. “Come on. I know you’re—you’re so patient with me, and I know you make an effort to listen to every dumb thing I say. You’re so good to me, I know that, and I love you,” he frames Eddie’s face with his hands, runs fingers through his hair, “but you don’t remember everything, and you shouldn’t—pressure yourself to do it. I know you love me for who I am. I’d know even if you forgot all of it as soon as it comes out of my mouth.”

Eddie twists his fingers into the short hair on the nape of Buck’s neck, and returns that shimmery cheek kiss from earlier with one of his own. He can—hear Buck’s eyes close under his touch.

“I don’t think you get what I’m saying,” he says. “I don’t have to make an effort. I actually feel bad sometimes about how many things I drag out of you.”

Buck tilts his head. “What do you mean?”

“I used to get straight As back in the day, you know,” Eddie says, leaning back on his hands. Buck runs a distracted finger down the outer seam of his jeans, drawing goosebumps. “I’d go to the library with my sisters and check out like five books a week, every week, for years. Chris must have inherited that giant brain from someone,” he grimaces, “and I don’t know if it was me, but I’ve always been curious about things. It’s just that I was—I don’t know, too tired. Too bogged down with life to keep the curiosity alive. And then you just gave it to me, Buck, and you have the audacity to act as if it’s some kind of hardship. I look forward to it,” he says, and kisses Buck on the mouth, breathes him, drinks him in. “Every time I’m away from you, I know that the next time I see you, you and Chris are going to start firing off space facts over dinner, or you’ll be taking out the trash and remember what you read about the real truth behind female praying mantises eating the males, or—I don’t know, you’ll open the freezer and see ice cream in it and then you’re texting me that podcast that reenacts the founding of Ben & Jerry’s.”

Buck has tears in his eyes. Buck has tears in his eyes, which would normally be setting off a million warning bells, but Eddie suspects these are the good kind.

“Buck, you—God, I don’t even know. I don’t know how to make you understand. Something about you surprises me every single day. It’s like—I’m alive, but you make me actually feel it. Don’t ever think that’s a hardship, baby,” he reaches out, and wipes away the tears that have made their way down Buck’s cheek, the sharp angle of his nose. “It’s a gift.”

Buck sniffles, and looks at the ground, and something inside him is still clearly coiled tight and ready to spring, but he also smiles, and the gloom parts to make space for the brilliance of it.

“You really remember, huh?” is what he says, his voice rough.

Eddie raises an eyebrow. “The Eiffel Tower’s taller during the summer because the metal expands,” he raises a finger, ticking things off as he goes. “Dolphins are actually sex fiends, and we are never letting Christopher near one. Um, firehouses originally got spiral staircases so horses couldn’t come up them, because if they came up the stairs they couldn’t get down. Eight percent of LGBT Americans didn’t know they were LGBT until they were in their thirties. You think Herman Melville’s a hypocrite because he deserted and then wrote a whole novel about how great whaling is. FEMA spent hundreds of millions of dollars retrofitting every school in the LA Unified School District,” he grins. “And, let’s see, I don’t know. Red pandas have thumbs?”

Buck’s crying, but he stills, and the hand still tangled in Eddie’s shirt squeezes tight.

“Wait,” he says, blinking moisture out of his eyes. “Red pandas, isn’t that what I—“

“Told Christopher about when you were driving us home after the earthquake,” Eddie smiles, and hopes that at least some of the warmth burning inside him is spilling out of his fingertips; that it’s winding around Buck’s bones this sweetly, too. “I told you I remember.”

“Eddie,” Buck breathes, and his bottom lip trembles on the exhale.

Eddie pulls him in by the shoulders, catching him when he falls forward, laying careful hands on the space between his shoulder blades. He wraps his legs around Buck’s waist, and Buck hides his face in Eddie’s neck, pushes into him until the muscles in Eddie’s stomach hurt from holding them both up, and he’s sniffling and fisting his hands in the back of Eddie’s shirt and pulling and pushing and laughing a little. Like he wants to crawl inside, somehow, closer. Eddie thinks he’d let him, if he could. Would have Buck under his skin in every way.

“I love you,” he says into Buck’s hair, and kisses the feverishly hot skin of his neck. “Okay?”

Buck laughs in earnest at that, finally letting up on the pressure but disentangling slowly.

“Yeah,” he says, wiping his face with the sleeves of his hoodie. “Yeah, I—Eddie.”

And he’s suddenly serious. Nervous again, somehow, but he must have been listening, so what—

“Eddie,” he says again, rubbing his face, which is a little red in a way that makes Eddie want to never stop touching it. His hands are shaking, and as he stands there and says nothing the tremble becomes more pronounced.

“Buck,” Eddie returns, hooking both of his pinkies with Buck’s lax ones. Buck looks at them and takes a loud, heavy breath, then lets it out through his nose.

And then he looks up on the most brilliant smile, the corner of his bright pink lip caught under a sharp tooth.

“Eddie,” he says, for the third time. “God, this isn’t—I didn’t plan it like this, it’s not how I meant for it to go, I had a whole—but—“

He surges forward, as if on a string, one hand on Eddie’s waist, the other on the side of his face. He doesn’t look small anymore.

“Eds,” he says, his voice thick but gentle, reaching out to Eddie like a touch. “Please, would you—marry me? Please. Marry me, okay?”

Eddie sits in the silence that follows, his heart on his tongue and drumming in his ears. The sun slanting in through the window burns in his back, and lights up the specks of dust that are dancing in the space between them. He doesn’t know if time has frozen, or if they’re both just so perfectly still, but in the stillness he sees what he’s never deserved, what he’d thought he’d never have: he sees his son growing up happy and whole, and a family he stumbled into by the happiest of accidents, and a man who loves him so right, so sweet, that it’s a perpetual ache; he sees this kitchen, changing color, changing shape, accruing accidental sauce splashes on the walls and dints on the furniture, this kitchen with its mismatched bowl sets and Buck’s favorite frog soap holder and the smiley face sponges and the dinosaur ladle and Buck’s ridiculously large kefir jar.

And then Eddie breathes, and the next thing that comes out of his mouth is more of a sob than he’d like to admit.

“Okay,” he laughs, and throws himself forward, and kisses into Buck’s mouth like all the world’s oxygen is in there, like he’ll choke if they separate. Buck catches him, laughs, literally lifts him and holds him up until Eddie’s wrapped his legs around Buck’s waist and they’re both crying and spinning in the middle of their kitchen like they’re in a goddamn movie. Eddie snatches the moment to himself, breathless and perfect to remember for as long as he lives, and thinks, yeah.

We deserve this, after everything.

“Okay,” he says again, once he thinks he might survive being away from Buck’s lips. His hands are still on his—his fiancé’s face, wiping at where they’ve cried all over each other, at where Eddie, and no one else, will get to press kisses for the rest of their lives. “Jesus, of course. Always. Anytime. Right now, if you want.”

Buck laughs. His eyes are a color Eddie has never seen, but he knows everything else about them; could pick them out in the dark, if he had to.

“Maybe not right now,” Buck says, and reluctantly sets Eddie down. The ground feels wobbly under his feet. “But soon? We have to do the research first.”

“Oh, I see how it is,” Eddie says, and thinks he might never stop smiling, “you propose to me, and now we are doing the research?”

“Got it in one,” Buck leans in, biting Eddie’s bottom lip. “I see how you were a straight-A student. So smart.”

“I can tell you’re making fun of me, you know,” says Eddie, as he intertwines all twenty of their fingers.

“I would never,” Buck says, and winks.


“Ah,” Buck replies, raising his eyebrows as if to object, blindly backing up out of the kitchen and down the hallway, “not for long.”

The want that surges in Eddie’s stomach at the thought of Buck with his name should really be embarrassing, but. He knows he’s possessive. He’s learned to live with it, and as he looks at Buck he doesn’t think a single damn person could blame him.

“Where are we going?” he asks, when Buck pushes him up against the wall next to the bathroom just to nose at his neck, just to kiss him soft and gentle.

“Well,” Buck says, peeling off Eddie and moving, pretending he’s not pulling them into the bedroom, “I actually read something this morning about how the average married couple has sex sixty-eight and a half times a year.”

“Oh, take that back,” Eddie grimaces. “I hate that statistic.”

“Which is why I brought us here,” Buck continues undeterred as his back finally hits the bedroom door. It takes him a ridiculously long time to turn the doorknob with one hand reaching blindly behind his back, but it’s not Eddie’s fault that it feels like they physically can’t take their eyes off each other.

He beams when he finally gets it, falling in, pulling Eddie after him in a bout of helpless laughter.

“You know what they say, Eds,” he grins, pulling his hoodie off and leaving his hair a mess. “Be the change you want to see in the world.”