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impetuous idiot (affectionate)

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It will never cease to amaze Eddie that even here, in the middle of the goddamn desert, he gets a good Wi-Fi signal.

Not that he particularly needs it for much.

Other than making sure he stays one level ahead of Carla on Candy Crush – because god forbid he she ever overtakes him again. He didn’t hear the end of that for months.

Oh, and getting to facetime his family regularly is a plus, too. Of course.

It’s another one of those nights tonight; reclining back on his cot swiping colourful candies across his screen as his comrades do similar activities. Three more days and they ship out to their next location, some mission further west that, apparently, they’ll get informed properly about once they get there.

Eddie would call home but he has to wait another hour or so. This twelve-hour time difference sucks.

“Hey,” Jules says from the bunk across from Eddie, sitting up from his pillow to grab the tents’ attention. He gets a few responding grunts, which he must deem enough because he continues, “did y’all see what that firefighter did this time?”

Eddie hasn’t been bunking with this group for long yet, only a couple nights – he was down in the medic’s tent for the past few weeks but their tent sprung a leak and they got relocated. He still knows everyone, or, mostly everyone, in here though so that’s not an issue.

It’s just taking him a while to slide into the gossip train they had going before he joined.

Clearly this is another one of those conversations.

“What now?” Michaels asks, barely glancing up from her three issues old magazine (don’t ask how Eddie knows that).

“Did he run into another burning building to save a cat?” Garcia snorts. Someone throws an old sock at him.

“Hey! Cats are cute motherfuckers. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t do the same.”

Williams, in the cot next to Eddie, sits up too. “Don’t tell me. He climbed another rollercoaster again.”

“Either way,” Michaels pipes up again, “it’ll have been something both horrifically dangerous yet heroic.”

As Eddie runs out of moves on his level, losing yet again and cursing under his breath because Carla is totally going to beat him now that he has to wait for his lives to refill, he finally drops his phone beside him and glances up. “What are you all going on about? Is this a ‘place your bets’ thing or have we really run out of interesting news back home?”

He’s met with an array of disbelieving expressions, an offended scoff rippling through the tent, and Jules shakes his head in disappointment at Eddie. “You haven’t heard?”

“Heard what?”

Jules sighs, as if Eddie has just told him he’s never tried a Jibarito (which he hasn’t, and Jules was greatly put out by that revelation). “There’s this firefighter back in LA who keeps popping up in the news. Usually for doing reckless shit,” which is saying something, coming from anyone in this tent since pretty much anyone out here is known for being reckless. “He’s crazy.”

“And crazy hot.” Williams throws in and Jules points over at him in agreement.

“That, too. But, seriously, guy’s a hero.” He shrugs, “According to the press, and the general population, at least.”

“Sounds like an idiot.” Eddie says, rolling his eyes. People are always trying to get famous by doing stupid stuff and putting their lives in danger. Usually, it ends in someone else having to step in to save them.

“Not this guy,” Michaels says, shaking her head. “You should see some of the stuff he’s done! There was this booby-trapped house-”

“No, no!” Miller cuts in now and Eddie hadn’t even realised she was listening. He could’ve sworn she had her earphones in. “That time he saved the baby was the best. Did you see it in his arms? It looked so small!”

Williams scoffs. “Please.” He rolls his eyes. “When he almost drowned in that elevator is by far one of their best calls.”

“Yeah,” Jules hums, “the whole team is awesome. They do some wild shit. But this guy…he takes it to a whole other level. Guy literally jumped in a runaway hot air balloon didn’t he?”

“Did he actually get in it?”

“I think so.”

“He definitely jumped into that car the other month. Y’know, the one with the live bomb in it?” Garcia adds and everyone makes very noises of agreement, nodding their heads.

Eddie, though- Eddie is silent.

Because a lot of this crazy, impetuous shit sounds very, very familiar.

“What, uh…what else has he done recently?” he asks, just to be sure. Because, well, there’s a lot of weird stuff that happens is LA and, really, this could all just be some huge coincidence.

“Oh! He nearly got crushed in a hospital fire not that long ago. Surely you heard about that? It was all over the news.” Miller says and yeah Eddie did hear about that. He was fucking terrified when he heard about that.

“There was those escaped zoo animals, too, during the city blackouts. I’m pretty sure he helped herd a load of them back.”

“Oh, oh!” Harris, who’s currently sprawled across the bottom of Williams’ cot, starts snapping his fingers together aggressively and everyone turns his way. “Here’s one you’ll probably know, I swear his picture was in every damn article after this. You must’ve seen it! It was like a year ago so not really recent but still. There was this factory fire, I think it was a sanitiser one? Went up in flames! Guy refused to come out, said there was still an injured employee inside and he wasn’t leaving them behind. Like, I mean, he literally almost died in there. But then his team went in and they must’ve given him a hand because they all made it out just in time.”

“Damn, yeah.” Miller nods solemnly. Everyone takes a moment of silence to think back to that.

Eddie included, swallowing around a painful lump in his throat as he tries hard not to let his own mind run away from him. Because he definitely remembers that day.

All too well.

“You probably have heard of him,” Jules says, typing furiously on his phone. “a few years back he got crushed by a literal fire truck. It was brutal. Nobody quite knows how he survived, let alone returned to the job. Really gives us lot a run for our money.” He laughs, but it’s a little subdued.

Eddie has to blink back tears, taking a deep, calming breath and ignoring the itch in his fingers to just grab his phone because that was years ago and everything worked out in the end – well, for the most part – and it’s only nine in LA, he doesn’t want to interrupt the breakfast routine.

Although, he knows from experience that if he rings home, no matter what time of day (or night) it is in the states, his call won’t go unanswered.

Even so, his temptations are cut short when Jules jumps up from his cot with a triumphant smile on his face, clutching his phone to his chest as he practically skips over to Eddie. “Here.” he says, crouching down by Eddie’s side and revealing his screen with a flourish. “This is the guy.”

Eddie blinks, eyes taking a moment to focus on the picture that Jules has pulled up from some old article. It’s Buck, because of fucking course it is, smiling back at Eddie with those ridiculously blue eyes, his lips a cherry red that complements the birthmark above his eye. He looks a little younger here, probably since it’s a picture from a few years back, and he’s holding a black and white kitten in his arms, the headline above him reading, ‘Local Hero Saves Kitten and Wins Over A Few Hearts’. Eddie snorts, he can’t help it, and feels the corners of his own mouth twisting up into a small smile.

“Gorgeous, isn’t he?” Miller asks, leaning forward to steal a glance at the picture.

The rest of them are quiet, almost waiting with bated breath to hear Eddie’s reaction, and he has to try real hard not to burst out laughing right there and then.

“Oh yeah,” he nods, wetting his lips and letting his eyes linger over Buck’s face for an extra second or two before he finally glances up. He doesn’t meet any of their expectant gazes, instead looking down at his chest where his Saint Christopher medal rests alongside a simple, white gold ring. He smiles privately to himself, clasping the cool metal in his palm. “That’s my husband.”

The stunned silence that rings throughout the tent isn’t a surprise.

It also doesn’t last very long.

“Shut up!” Michaels practically shouts, and Eddie silently prays that they don’t have the Sergeant barging in here telling them all, rather unpleasantly, the shut the fuck up.

Williams actually leans over to push him, face a mixture of amusement and complete and utter disbelief. Harris doesn’t look much different.

Miller chucks her pillow at his head – and that woman has seriously scary good aim. Eddie lets out a weak chuckle as it hits him in the face, because he doesn’t have as good reflexes as he’d like, and tucks said pillow against his chest to rest his chin on. “You’re having us on!” she insists and Eddie sticks his lower lip out, shaking his head and fighting back his smile.

Garcia is falling apart, laughter echoing through the tent. A few others, who hadn’t really been involved in the conversation but had clearly been listening, join him, and it’s nice. Eddie had come out to most of his comrades, because they were a largely accepting group (they kind of had to be, naming no names but definitely looking at the two sat on the cot next to him).

Jules shakes his head, letting out a deep sigh. “I cannot believe you,” he says, hand clutching Eddie’s knee. “You’re serious? This-” he points at his phone again, “he is your fucking husband?!”

Eddie nods. “Damn right he is.” He tilts his head, smirking at Jules, “What, you think he’s out of my league?”

Jules scoffs, smile practically splitting his face in two, and gives Eddie a once over. “Oh, most definitely not. But still. That’s crazy. It sure is a small world.”

Eddie hums. It really is.

And then, because his husband either has wonderful timing or his ears are burning from all the gossip, Eddie’s phone lights up next to him and his eyes are drawn to it instantly. There, plastered over his screen, is a picture of Buck and Christopher on the swings, taken just before Eddie shipped out, ice cream on the tip of Buck’s nose as Christopher laughs at him. Eddie swears he can hear his son’s laughter every time he sees this picture.

“That’s him, isn’t it?” Michaels asks, a knowing smirk on her face. Eddie doesn’t even care that he must have the most sickeningly fond smile on his own face.

“Yep,” he says, popping the ‘p’ and snatching up his phone before Jules can get to it. He swipes the answer button, watching as the pixels clear up to show him his husband, all sleep mused hair and stupidly soft smile, sat at the breakfast table with a cup of coffee that is undoubtedly filled with sugar. Somewhere in the distance he can hear Christopher saying something that makes Buck laugh, and God has Eddie missed that sound.

“Hey,” Buck says when he meets Eddie’s eyes and even though they’re miles and miles apart Eddie’s entire soul feels warmer under that gentle gaze.

“Hey.” Eddie’s voice is equally as soft as he replies back, barely above a whisper because suddenly his throat feels dry and he’s honestly a little afraid that he might start crying. But then he looks up, seeing everyone watching him intently with silly, fond smiles on each of their faces, too, and he chuckles. With a tilt of his head, moving his phone back from his face a little, he asks the question he knows they’re all dying to hear, “You guys wanna come say hi?”