How did the song go? A million halls, a maze that’s never ending?
Yeah, Eddie could relate. The hospital wasn’t even that big, sure it was bigger than the one at Cordolia, but it wasn’t by much, the reason Buck had only been brought here was because it had a better equipped OR and he had to be rushed for surgery. And Eddie couldn’t find the waiting room, or a nurses station, he couldn’t find his way back to Buck.
Buck had a tendency of getting hurt on the job, it wasn’t a lot, but it was above certainly average, Bobby had once threaten to send him back to the coffeeshop where he had to worry about him hurting himself less, and Eddie would agree because he was constantly worried about him, having him have come home with stitches, or sprained ankles and wrists, bruised ribs or that one time smoke inhalation, concussions were also a frequent injury, and Eddie always knew Buck had gotten them trying to help someone, trying to save someone, and he was aware he had a difficult and dangerous job, and still, the moment he answered his phone to have Bobby tell him they were rushing him to the next county’s hospital because he needed surgery, his world stood still.
He barely heard most of what Bobby said, he only understood that Buck had fallen, an exposed fracture somewhere and he had been found unconscious; Bobby must’ve guessed that Eddie didn’t quite hear him because by the time he realized he didn’t know which hospital Bobby had said they were taking him too, he had a text with all the information waiting for him.
From Capt. Bobby: In surgery at Saint Matthews, we’re in the waiting room, the hospital tried to reach you too but we told them you were on the way, don’t freak out if you see the missing call. He’s stable so far.
The halls opened into a room where he finally saw Buck’s team, Bobby reached him and grabbed his shaking hands on his, Eddie frowned when he noticed how badly he was shaking, he was sure he wasn’t shaking like that on the way over.
“How” he cleared his throat when he noticed how rough his voice came out “How is he? Have they given you any updates?”
Bobby shook his head and lead him to the rest of the team, Hen and Chimney were both sitting down and resting their heads back to the wall, eyes closed, while Ravi, the newest probie, was sitting a little away from the others, staring at the opposite hall from where Eddie had come in, probably waiting for a nurse or a doctor to update them.
“He was taken to surgery right away after the x-rays, he was stable then and that’s the last we heard of him” Bobby’s voice was soft, probably trying to keep Eddie calm.
“What happened?” Eddie watched as Ravi flinched, keeping his gaze away from Eddie and Bobby, worrying his fingers with each other.
“It was a search and rescue call, we were looking for a lost hiker on the mountain, hoping to find them before nightfall, and Ravi and Buck did found him, but, the ground was unstable, and Buck fell”
“He pushed me away, I was the one who was supposed to fall” Everyone frowned at Ravi when he spoke.
“Ravi, it wasn’t your fault” Bobby said, sounding a lot like this wasn’t the first time he’d said it, and Ravi looked like the guilt was eating him alive. Eddie stood up and sat next to him, taking one of his hands on his own.
“Bobby’s right, I’ve known Buck for a long time now, his first instinct it’s to put himself between the danger and whoever’s there with him, he would’ve done it with anyone, alright?” Eddie squeezed Ravi’s hands, even when the kid looked like he still didn’t believe a word Eddie had said, he figured it’d take Buck himself talking to him for him to really believe it “What’s the damage, cap?” Eddie asked, not letting go of Ravi’s hand, but turning back to look at the others “What’s the surgery for?”
“The exposure break I told you about?” Oh right, he had mention that over the phone “He broke his arm in three different places, two parts broke skin, he recovered consciousness as we were arriving at the ER, and they were able to rule out any head trauma, which was a miracle, the rest of him is pretty banged up, the arm’s the worst of it, but he has some minor cuts and bruises”
“Oh, he’s gonna hate recovery”
Everyone but Ravi let out a laugh, all well aware of how much Buck hated being out of commission, especially when he had to be taken care of, and with an arm out of commission he was bound to be cranky for a few weeks.
A little over an hour later they were told that Buck was out of surgery and in a recovery room, he wasn’t allowed visitors just yet but they’d let them know when he was moved to a regular room and they could check on him. Eddie used the time in between to call Pepa and check in with Chris and let him know Buck was fine.
It was almost midnight when they were finally allowed to check on him, the staff was familiar with the firefighters so they allowed them 10 minutes to check on their teammate before being thrown out of the room, and sadly since his condition wasn’t critical, he wasn’t allowed to have someone stay the night with him.
“Hey” Eddie said softly as he walked into the room before anyone else, a small smile taking over Buck’s face, eyes unfocused, clearly still a little gone on the pain meds “Gave me quite the scare this time around”
“Sorry” He cleared his throat and frowned confused, probably because it still felt rough from surgery; Eddie took the glass of water from the night stand and helped him drink “Thank you”
“No problem, how are you feeling?”
“Uh, pretty great actually” Buck tried to shrug only to be stopped by the brace that was holding his casted arm in place “Oh fuck,I broke an arm?” Eddie couldn’t help the laugh that came in response to the question.
“Sure did, they spent two hours in surgery putting it back together”
“What happened?” Buck asked with a small voice, Eddie took a seat in the bed next to his hip, careful not to make him move, and held onto his uninjured hand.
“You fell down a mountain side, it was a rough terrain, your arm probably slowed down your fall and saved you from worse damage” Eddie had finally got all the details out of Ravi, who was the only one there when the accident happened, he still looked guilty but Eddie reassured him once again that it hadn’t been his fault.
“But I fucked it up”
“You had two exposed fractures and a clean one, the doctors are pretty confident there won’t be much nerve damage and you’ll go back in the field in no time, probably 8 to 10 weeks”
“That’s still a long time” He yawned at the end of his sentence, and Eddie could see the way his eyes kept trying to drop.
“Hey, we'll figure it out, okay? Let me get your team to check on you so they can head back to the station”
“Okay, are you staying with me?”
“Can’t, hospital said you’re not allowed overnight visitors, they’ll probably discharge you tomorrow morning”
Buck pouted, giving him heavy puppy eyes.
Eddie let the team come into the room and check on Buck themselves, Ravi hovered by the door until Buck asked him to come in, and told him, still in a low slurry voice, that he was happy he didn’t get hurt, Ravi teared up, apologized to Buck and hugged him as best as he could. Buck looked at Eddie over Ravi’s shoulder with a confused frown, Eddie shook his head and promised himself to talk to Buck later, when he wasn’t high on painkillers.
“We’re glad you’re okay, kid” Bobby said, hand on Buck’s free shoulder.
“Gave us quite the scare there, but you made me lose the pool” Chimney joked, the team laughed while Buck frowned at them confused, Eddie just rolled his eyes at them, all too aware of Hen’s betting tendencies.
“What did you have him for?” Eddie asked him, taking a seat in the bed again, smiling when Buck leaned into his side and let his head drop into his shoulder.
“Head trauma, after going back into a building to save a cat or something” They all laughed, probably because it was an accurate guess.
“You guys were betting on what would land me in the hospital next?” Buck said through yawns.
“No” Hen squeezed Buck’s ankle “We were betting of what would land you an overnight stay”
The team left after the second time Buck jumped awake, he promised them he wasn’t sleepy yet, but they all knew he was going to be asleep in no time, so they promised him to visit at home once he was there and to miss him at the station. Eddie waved them goodbye with the hand that wasn’t being held captive by Buck’s.
“I’ll stay until you fall asleep, deal?” Buck shook his head, getting himself more comfortable against Eddie’s side, Eddie nearly fell off the edge of the bed, those hospital beds were not made for two men their size.
“I would if i could, but a nurse is going to kick me out soon”
“They can fight me”
Eddie laughed, settling himself to at least cuddle Buck until he fell asleep and then make his escape.
Next morning, he’d have to deal with the discharge paperwork, and probably picking up a prescription, and then getting Buck home, where Chris would be waiting for them with probably a million get well cards, and for the next two months he’d have to deal with Buck in recovery, and him trying to upspeed his recovery.
But, for now, Buck was safe on his arms, fast asleep already, soft snores falling against Eddie’s chest, and Eddie would savor the moment of peace as much as he could.