Buck had been through a lot lately.
He was struggling to be strong, to fight for his well-being and a balanced life, but the universe was punching him in the stomach and tripping him over new obstacles placed along his path.
Maddie was gone, leaving Buck wondering if she could cope with her postpartum depression on her own.
He trusted her, of course he did, but she was his sister and he felt he had to protect her even though she had assured him she just needed to be alone for a while.
Keeping their secrets hadn't been easy and he had never been good at keeping his mouth shut so, eventually, everything had come to light and Chimney had punched him.
His eye throbbed with pain and he kept an ice pack over it but the worst pain was into his heart, because he feared that his friend would never speak to him again or that their friendship would never be the same.
As if that wasn’t enough, Taylor had broken up with him a few weeks earlier and Buck was still mulling over their breakup.
He knew it was the right choice but an annoying, petulant voice in his head repeated to him daily that there was something wrong with him.
Buck believed that voice.
Everyone left, everyone had always left him behind.
Abby, Ali, Taylor.
All of his relationships had failed and the common denominator among them all was him so, maybe, that obnoxious voice was right.
Buck did not deserve to have someone who loved him, he was not meant to have a long-lasting relationship, to have the kind of love he had always wanted.
Everyone left, everyone had always left him behind… even his parents, because he wasn’t perfect enough to save his brother. Because, to be honest, they didn’t want another child, they just wanted to save Daniel.
They hadn’t enough love to give Buck.
Besides, as painful as it was to admit it, Maddie was gone too.
Although she promised not to leave him alone, not to leave him behind again, she did.
It hurt so much and Buck was really, really tired of his painfully empty and silent loft.
He was drinking a beer on his balcony, looking at the life going by in the streets, among the cars stopped in the traffic.
A life he had paused for a while, sinking into his negative thoughts, into his self-deprecating mind.
His balcony was quiet, almost peaceful and he was enjoying his time out there but then his phone buzzed, signaling a new message and ripping him roughly from his bubble.
“Hey, let me in. I’m outside with your favorite pizza.”
Buck’s heart fluttered into his chest, a smile finding its way across his lips as he rushed towards the door, letting Eddie in.
“Eds.” He murmured, his voice a little hoarse, his eyes still glistening from his breakdown, which had caused him to cry hugging a pillow. “What are you doing here?”
Eddie smiled slightly but the smile faded as soon as he noticed Buck’s black eye, concern taking over his features. “What happened? Who did it to you?” He asked, nodding at his face as he balanced the pizza on one hand so he could use the other to cradle Buck’s cheek.
He slipped his thumb under Buck’s eye, gently as if he was touching a rose and he leaned in to check the status of the bruises.
“I’m fine.” Buck dismissed, shrugging and ducking his gaze on the floor.
“You’re not fine.” Eddie insisted, his hand still on Buck’s cheek. “You have a damn black eye, Evan. Tell me who did this to you and…”
“And what, Eddie?”
“I don’t know but I hate that… I hate that someone has hurt you.”
“Chimney.” Buck whispered, realizing that he had no chances to quit that conversation because Eddie wouldn’t give up easily. “Chim punched me but I’m fine. I deserved it anyway.”
“What?” Eddie blanched, shaking his head. “Bullshit, I don’t know what happened but you didn’t deserve a punch. No way. Stop blaming yourself for everything.”
There was an odd softness in Eddie’s voice and if he wasn’t holding the pizza box, Buck would’ve collapsed into his arms right then and there.
"You brought pizza." Buck changed the topic, grabbing the box from Eddie's arms, closing the door with his foot.
“I brought pizza." Eddie confirmed, winking at Buck. He craved to continue their previous conversation but he knew Buck wasn't ready to talk about what happened so he didn't push. "I brought pizza and myself, I know I'm not your favorite person but Chris is at a sleepover so you have to settle for me.”
You’re better than pizza , Buck thought but he swallowed it down. “Thank you” he said instead. “I was drinking a beer on the balcony, we can eat outside if you…"
"It sounds perfect to me." Eddie interrupted him, smiling widely.
He headed to the kitchen while Buck sat outside; he moved around as if it was his place, he knew exactly where everything was and that stirred something into his chest. "Would you like another beer, Buck?" He shouted, rummaging in the drawers to find a bottle opener.
"No, I'm fine. Can you just bring me another ice-pack? This one is almost melted."
Eddie frowned and he really wanted to text Chimney something like how dared you to punch my Bucky? but he swallowed his anger, shaking his head nervously.
He grabbed the ice and then joined Buck outside, smiling at him. "Here you are, hold it so the bruise will fade away more quickly."
"Thank you Eds." Buck murmured, grabbing a slice of pizza. He closed his eyes, savoring it, almost moaning because it really was his favorite pizza. "I should marry you." He blurted out, biting his damn tongue as soon as he realized what he had just said.
Eddie laughed, blushing a little, so Buck released a sigh of relief, giggling.
"You probably should. I mean, your favorite pizzeria is so far from my place and when I got there, there was a hell of a line."
"But you love me so you waited and you showed at my door, holding this heavenly pizza." He teased, winking at his best friend.
His best friend, who was staring at him, biting his bottom lip, a smirk on his unfairly handsome face.
His best friend, for whom he had feelings for.
His super straight best friend, who could never, ever, reciprocate his feelings.
"So… what happened?" Eddie asked, sipping his beer absently, his attention all towards the man before him.
"Eds, I'm fine. Really. You don't have to…"
"I don't have to... what, Evan? I don't have to worry about you? Well, it's too late. I am worried because Chim has punched you and I don't even know why."
There was something, in Eddie's voice, which made Buck falter so he caved, ducking his gaze on the beer bottle. "Maddie told me something about Jee but she made me promise not to tell Chim and then…" he drifted off, shaking his head. "I didn't want to hurt him, I just wanted to keep my promise because she's my sister… but I hurt him anyway so I deserved the punch, it's not a big deal. My eye will heal."
Eddie reached for Buck's hand, squeezing it gently. "I'm sorry, Buck. I really am. He shouldn't have hit you, stop saying you deserved it."
"The black eye is the least of my problems," Buck whispered but Eddie was right in front of him so he managed to hear his words.
"What do you mean?" He asked worriedly, tilting his head as he took in something he hadn't noticed yet. Buck's eyes were a little red-rimmed and there was something unclear across his features. "Talk to me, Buck."
"We were supposed to eat pizza and chill."
Eddie frowned, hating that Buck still felt like a burden to others sometimes. "Buck I came over because you have barely spoken during our shift and you usually aren't like that… I'm your best friend, I know you and I can tell when something is wrong so yeah, we can eat pizza and chill but you can also tell me what's going on."
Buck tried to smile, because Eddie was so comforting and loving and he was so deeply in love with him.
He shrugged, fidgeting with the worn label of the beer bottle. He was at a loss for words.
"Everyone leaves and I'm so tired."
Buck blurted out. His brain surrendered to the feelings hovering between his heart's walls, forgetting how to put a filter between his thoughts and his mouth.
"Maddie has left me behind, I broke up with Taylor, Chimney hates me and I'm so damn tired Eds… it's so exhausting to be me." He wiped a stray tear from his cheek, shaking his head. "Therapy is helping me, a lot actually, but I promised to Dr. Copeland that I won't hide my feelings anymore so I'm just saying what I feel right now. Today has been a bad day, that's all."
Eddie thumbed Buck's knuckles gently, tracing comforting circles as he looked at him, a soft look into his eyes.
"I'm here, Evan." He promised. "I'm here and I'm not going anywhere."
"I know." Buck replied because he did.
He knew that he had Eddie and Christopher, he knew that Eddie was always one call away but, sometimes, he was so damn afraid to lose the most important people in his life, to lose his family and the man he loved.
"I know Maddie's gonna be okay, I'm not mad at her and I can fully understand why she left… but I miss her." Buck admitted, squeezing Eddie's hand, warmth cradling his heart because they didn't usually hold hands and Buck was realizing how good it was to feel Eddie's palm against his skin. "You know, she promised I would never be left behind. She promised… and then she broke her promise because here I am, my sister is somewhere out there, all alone, again… and I'm still here, wondering what I can do."
Buck's voice cracked and Eddie stood, moving towards him quickly, finding his space between his legs.
He curled his arm around Buck's shoulders, tugging him closer, and Buck found himself with his head pressed against Eddie's chest, his arms loosely gripped around Eddie's waist.
"You're allowed to feel like this, Buck. She's your sister, you love her and of course you miss her." Eddie murmured, moving his hand up and down Buck's back. "You… you like to fix things, I know you understand her choice but I also know you would've liked to help her, to stay close to her because it's what you do… you love to help the ones you love, you are a caretaker. It's okay if you are a little sad but you're not alone, Buck. She loves you as much as you love her and she will be back soon." He stepped back slightly, touching the bruise under Buck's eye. His hand slowly slipped down, caressing his cheek.
"Thank you Eds. I needed to hear this. You know me so well." He mumbled, frowning slightly as he looked up to meet Eddie's gaze. "You think he's gonna forgive me?"
"No" Eddie grimaced but his will to joke faded as soon as he met Buck's terrified face. "Kidding. I'm kidding." He chuckled, squeezing Buck's shoulder. "I'm sure Chimney will forgive you. How could he be mad with a golden retriever forever?"
Buck smiled at that, propping his forehead on Eddie's sternum. "You idiot." He laughed slightly, the sound muffled by Eddie's shirt.
"But I make you laugh."
"Always." Buck murmured as he felt his cheeks on fire, luckily he was pressed against Eddie so he couldn't see how madly in love he was. "You always make me laugh… even when I want to cry, even when I'm mad or sad or just overwhelmed."
Eddie stayed silent for a while, doing nothing but holding Buck tight until he felt the odd desire to cross a line, because Buck's closeness was too much to bear.
So he leaned down, pressing his lips into Buck's curls, burying his nose into their softness and he felt Buck tighten his grip around his waist.
They were sharing something new, something more intimate than usual but Eddie couldn't step back.
He felt the urge to be closer to Buck, to prove to him that he wasn't going anywhere without him.
Because he was sure, like hundred percent sure, that his life would be empty and boring and useless without Evan Buckley and his blinding smiles, his awful lines, his - sometimes unbearable but so unmistakable - talkativeness, his kindness and his affection.
Buck, who clearly couldn't enjoy the silence for too long, pulled back, smiling softly at Eddie, his eyes crinkled at the corners.
"Please, stay." He whispered, blushing a little. "The pizza is cold now but I have a lot of beer in the fridge and Netflix has added plenty of movies recently." He almost pleaded, clueless that Eddie didn't need anything but Buck's presence to stay.
"Of course I'm staying." Eddie mirrored Buck's smile, sitting back on his chair.
He grimaced playfully, then he scolded his best friend, nodding at the table. "Ice goes on the eye, bud."
"What? Are you kidding me, Edmundo Diaz?" Buck asked, shocked and astonished, pointing the remote in Eddie's direction.
"Uhm… no, I'm not kidding. I've never seen this movie but…"
"Jesus, how is it possible? Love and other drugs is one of the best movies of all time, it's outrageous that you haven't seen it!" Buck exclaimed, grimacing and exaggerating his reaction on purpose, making Eddie laugh. "Don't you dare to laugh, I'm serious."
"Oh, I know you are." Eddie smirked. "I wasn't into romance movies when I was a teenager and then I had to switch to Disney movies so…"
"Are you blaming Chris for your awful film culture? Shame on you!" Buck tried to stay serious but he burst into laughter, shaking his head vigorously. "Well, okay… let's see this movie now. You have no choice."
Eddie smiled, nodding as he got comfortable on Buck's couch.
They had ended up there after their second beer and Buck was scrolling through his netflix account when he had noticed Love and other drugs in the catalogue.
He had brightened, his eyes went as wide as his smile. Eddie had smiled softly and then he had asked if that movie was good.
Buck had shot him a dirty look, widening his eyes in surprise when he got that Eddie hadn't seen that amazing movie… that was how their playful bickering had started and Eddie was so amused that he couldn't stop chuckling because Buck was still bewildered and it was so funny.
"Let's see this movie." Eddie confirmed, nudging Buck's shoulder.
Silence wrapped them, the only sounds coming from the tv and the streets in the distance. The only lights were coming from the screen and the street lamps, an almost perfect quiet surrounded the whole loft.
Buck stretched his legs on the coffee table, massaging circles onto his bad leg, grimacing as he felt a jolt from hip to toe.
"Everything okay?" Eddie whispered, shifting closer until their shoulders almost touched.
"Yeah, it's just… I need to move every now and then or my leg bothers me." He glanced at Eddie, a slight smile on his face. "Do you like it?" He asked, nodding at the tv.
"Yeah, it seems nice so far. Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway are great actors, I didn't know they had worked together."
Buck huffed, grimacing dramatically.
"Jeez, Diaz. You're the worst. I'm not a cinema enthusiast but you're really, really terrible."
Eddie laughed, pinching Buck's side cheerfully. "Shut up and let me enjoy the movie." He scolded him, giggling as Buck pouted, rolling his eyes.
"Yeah, of course. Enjoy the movie, I'll enjoy Jake." He joked, earning a questioning look from his best friend. "What? He is one of my celebrity crushes… I mean, look at him, he's really handsome."
Eddie wasn't completely sure of what was happening into his brain but he couldn't help but blurt. "He is. But look at me, dude." He smirked slyly pointing at himself, thankful for the darkness so Buck wouldn't see his blush on his cheeks. "He's an eight but I'm at least an eight point five or even a nine."
Buck was sure he was as red as a tomato, he almost choked on his saliva. "You're definitely a ten." He blurted out because, well, two could play the game and if Eddie wanted to play, Buck was ready.
His readiness almost faded.
Eddie didn't reply, at least not verbally, but he extended his arm onto the back of the couch and he sighed slightly, feigning indifference, as Buck's stomach clenched because there was something domestic between them and he wasn't sure to be able to hide his strong feelings for Eddie.
Buck met his hazel eyes, lighted by the moonlight mixed with the tv-lights, then he glanced down at his shoulder before glancing back up carefully into his irises again, studying them patiently.
He didn't have to wait that long, Eddie nodded gently and Buck moved in slow motion, resting his head on Eddie's shoulder, relishing their closeness.
He winced imperceptibly as soon as Eddie rubbed his fingertips up and down his arm, his touch soothing and gentle.
He didn’t know what was going on between them, he just knew it was amazing to be wrapped into Eddie’s arms.
“Am I a good human pillow?” Eddie teased, chuckling as Buck accidentally tickled him, brushing his nose against his neck.
“The best.” Buck confirmed, a little sleepy. “You’ve passed the test.”
“Good to know.” Eddie joked, poking Buck’s hip.
The gesture made Buck jolt and somehow he slid onto Eddie’s body, finding himself with his head and half of his back pressed against Eddie’s chest, his strong arms surrounding him like soft armor.
“Are you comfortable, Evan?” He laughed, resting his chin on his head.
“A lot.” He smirked, anchoring his hands on Eddie’s arm, shifting impossibly closer to him as he started tracing casual patterns on his tanned skin, squinting as Eddie placed a kiss into his hair, again.
Buck was sure he was going to explode like a Supernova.
“Eds.” He murmured, unsure about what he wanted to say. He just needed to fill the silence because Eddie was definitely cuddling him and his heart was thundering into his ribcage so hard it could break his bones. “Eds, I…”
“Shhh, Buck.” He scolded jokingly, his fingertips still grazing Buck’s forearm . “I’m following the movie.”
Eddie’s mind was a blank slate, he just knew he wanted to touch Buck like that, to nuzzle the fragrance of his shampoo, to feel his body pressed against his own.
He just wanted to live the moment, to listen to his heart.
“Am I making you uncomfortable, Buck?” he asked worriedly some minutes later, stopping the pattern he was idly drawing on Buck’s chest.
Buck shook his head, clearing his throat. “No, not at all.” He whispered, tilting his head until he was able to meet his eyes. “I’m very comfortable, actually. It’s… it’s kind of scary how comfortable I am here with you, on my couch.”
Eddie’s smile was so bright it lightened the room. “Buck, I know we should talk about… about this” he said gesturing between them, “but I’m not good with words and honestly I don’t know what’s happening. I just know that, whatever this is, it makes me happy.” He leaned down to brush his lips against Buck’s forehead. “You make me happy and I… I want to stay here with you.”
Buck melted against Eddie’s body, closing his eyes as he curled up onto Eddie’s lap.
Everything felt so natural between them, they had never spent an evening like that but it was like they had done it plenty of times before.
Eddie’s hand fit perfectly with Buck’s cheek, Buck’s head seemed made to fit into the crook of Eddie’s neck, their bodies matched perfectly one against the other.
“Stay, Eds.” He murmured, Eddie’s fingers tangled into his curls drifting him to sleep.
Buck stirred, taking a moment to adapt his senses to his surroundings before clicking his eyes open, catching Eddie red-handed with his fingertips tracing his features gently.
He stopped right on the curve of his nose, a slight hesitation before he continued his path down to his lips and then his chin.
"Hey, sleeping beauty." He teased, ruffling his hair mockingly. "You left me alone with this incredibly emotional movie, I hate you. I almost cried."
"It's over?" Buck asked, realizing only at that moment the tv was off. "Uh, I knew you would like it. It's amazing, isn't it?"
"It ended ten minutes ago." He replied, laughing softly. "Anyway yeah, I loved the ending. God, what a great love story."
His lips curved into a smile as he noticed the slight blush on Buck's face.
"Why didn't you wake me up?"
"You were too cute." He murmured as Buck rolled over on his back to look at him. "You snore, by the way."
"Liar!" he whined, sticking his tongue out. "I don't snore!"
"Yes, you do." He insisted, giggling at his offended expression. "But you're too cute even if you snore."
"Stop saying I'm cute or I kiss you right here and now." Buck whispered, reaching for Eddie's cheek, rubbing his thumb on the cheekbone.
Eddie's skin was warm and soft under his fingertips.
"It's a menace?" Eddie smirked, grabbing Buck's wrist, his thumb grazing the pattern of his veins.
"Sort of." Buck replied smugly, touching Eddie's lips, wondering how they tasted, how tender they would be against his own.
"Evan." He murmured, drowning into his ocean eyes as he could only think that he would love to kiss Buck, to savour his lips and to breathe his same oxygen. "Should we… Should we talk? I don't… I don't want to mess things up between us."
"We are in this together, Eds." Buck reassured, giving Eddie the smile he reserved for him and for him only.
The blinding and disarming and charming smile he fell in love with months, or even years, earlier. The smile he craved to kiss.
"We can talk, if you want but I think, and correct me if I'm wrong, that we have already talked… just not with words."
Eddie nodded, cradling Buck's cheek as he rubbed his thumb across his lips, glancing at him from above. "Come here, cariño." He pleaded, helping Buck up.
Their eyes made love as they glanced at each other like there was a hurricane of words and feelings winding between them.
They knew they were crossing a line, maybe a line they should've cross sooner, but neither of them was scared, it just felt natural, like they were naturally supposed to ended up like that, eyes into eyes on Buck's couch, hands tangled and foreheads pressed together, Los Angeles noises just a background outside the window.
"How have you called me?" Buck breathed a few inches away from Eddie's lips.
"Cariño." He repeated, brushing his nose against Buck's. "It means honey. It means that I'm… that you…" Eddie drifted off, Buck's lips so painfully tempting.
He closed the small distance between them, kissing Buck softly and slowly, taking his time to feel and live the moment, to memorize the mesmerising touch of his lips against his own, the delicious arrogance of his tongue teasing the seal of his mouth, the warmth of Buck's hands on his cheek and behind his neck, the feeling of doing the right thing.
"Cariño means that I may… I may have fallen in love with you, Evan." He managed to say when he pulled back gasping for air, his breath mixing up with Buck's. "Cariño means that I would love to be the one who is allowed to see you fast asleep on his thighs, the one who is allowed to brush your stray strands away from your forehead, the one who is allowed to kiss you and hug you and…"
Buck collided their lips together, cutting him off as he threw a leg above Eddie's lap, moving until he was straddling him. He pinned him against the back of the couch, one hand right above his heart and the other tangled into his hair, Eddie's arms curled around his back, holding him close as their lips chased each other fighting for supremacy in a sweet war with no winners.
"Eds." Buck pulled back, grazing soft kisses along the curve of Eddie's jaw. "Words can't describe my feelings for you. I know, we should talk and figure things out but right now, I just want to curl up on my bed with you and show you how clingy I am when I'm in love with someone."
Buck's mouth brushed against Eddie's skin as he spoke and Eddie felt goosebumps all over his body. He smiled, nodding slightly as he placed a kiss on Buck's birthmark.
"I can't wait to see how clingy you are."
Buck was a heavy sleeper.
He didn't normally wake up in the middle of the night so it was really odd, to him, clicking his eyes open at 3am.
He huffed, trying to get used to the darkness around him, realizing that the reason for his unexpected awakening was the dryness of his throat.
He was thirsty and hot and also… wrapped in a pair of strong arms.
He almost startled, then his brain started to cooperate and he released a breath, sensing Eddie's steady heartbeat under his ear and the warmth of his skin under his hand, gripped onto Eddie's hipbone.
He blushed, relishing into the soft bubble for a minute before untangling from Eddie's grip, reaching for the bottle of water on his nightstand.
"Mmh, where are you going?" Eddie grunted, holding Buck closer to keep him from moving, his voice hoarse and sleepy and so damn cute. "You already want to get rid of me?"
Buck laughed softly, kissing Eddie's shoulder, nuzzling his nose on his collarbone. His skin was hot, really hot, and Buck realized he was practically sleeping beside a furnace.
"I'm not going anywhere, I just want to drink a sip of water." He murmured, yawning. "Jesus, you're a radiator Eds."
"Well, you know, guys from El Paso are… calientes." He teased smugly, ruffling Buck's hair before loosening his grip around him.
"And modest," Buck offered, giggling.
He was barely able to drink some water before Eddie tugged him closer to him again, capturing his lips in a tender kiss.
"God, I love you." Buck blurted out against his will.
He had promised to himself to not say those three words out loud because he wanted to wait, to give Eddie some space, some time to figure things out.
But he couldn't wait any longer, not when everything was so perfect, so natural.
Not when Eddie was looking at him like no one else had ever done before, not when Eddie was filling every tiny part of his heart. Not when he was feeling like he had never felt in his whole life.
Eddie didn't reply but he kissed him again, then he maneuvered him gently until Buck lay on his side.
He spooned him, tracing soft kisses on his neck and shoulder, his hand resting on his stomach for a while, until it made its way up to stop right in the middle of his chest, his palm splayed over there as if it wanted to cradle Buck's heart.
Buck melted against Eddie's chest, covering his hand with his own, lacing their fingers together as he closed his eyes again, savouring the indescribable sensation of being into Eddie's arms.
Eddie's breath brushed against his neck, his hair tickled his shoulder, his warmth wrapped him like the softest of blankets and there was nowhere else on earth he'd rather be.
He didn't need to hear those words from Eddie, he knew that Eddie loved him.
He could feel it, loud and clear.
Eddie kissed a flap of skin right under his ear and squeezed his hand gently but firmly, tightening the grip around his body. I love you too.