(AN: Based on that shot post-tsunami where Buck is sitting at the table staring off into space. Yep. This fic is based on that one shot. Anyway.
this has not been edited. Its quarantine, I'm losing it, its 2 AM and this is the first fic in a while that I've been able to finish so I really hope you like it cause it was really fun to write.
I hope everyone is staying safe and quarantining! Love you all!)
"Evan? I tried calling but you didn't pick up." Maddie twisted her key in the lock, the one that her brother had given her the day he moved in.
She knew he might still be sleeping and she couldn't blame him. After what he'd been through he deserved the rest. After having collapsed in his team's arms they'd checked him over and promptly sent him home but it was ten o'clock already and she didn't want him falling into his old patterns.
"I brought some food and some clean bandages for your arm." The apartment was silent as she entered and it didn't take long to find her brother, sitting frozen at the table. He was in the same clothes she'd seen him in when she'd gotten to the VA hospital, same dirt and blood covered skin and angry looking wounds.
She sucked in a breath at the sight of him and dropped her bags on the floor, making her way over to him and dropping to her knees at his feet. "Oh my god, Evan. Have you been here since yesterday?"
He didn't move, gave no indication that he'd heard her, just stared ahead with a pinched expression and far too much weight on his shoulders, only worrying Maddie further.
"Evan? Can you hear me?" She looked him over, taking note of the fine tremors running through him, his unfocused eyes and pale skin.
He didn't seem to notice her presence at all, not even blinking as she took his wrist and pressed the pads of her fingers to his pulse point. "Jesus, you're freezing. Are you in any pain?"
His heart rate and breathing were fine but his skin was cold and damp, clothes still wet and dirty and he was no doubt dehydrated. But he still hadn't looked at her and she took the seat next to him and pressed her warm palms to his frigid cheeks, forcing him to face her.
"Evan. I need you to talk to me. What's going on in that head of yours?"
His eyes met hers, slow and confused and he frowned as he blinked through the haze of exhaustion weighing him down. "Maddie? I thought you were going to help at the VA hospital?"
His words were slightly slurred and slow and his confusion tightened something in her throat, making it hard to speak. "I did. I dropped you off here yesterday morning. Have you been sitting here this whole time?"
Buck blinked and looked down at himself. "I-I don't know. I don't remember."
Maddie nodded to herself and took a breath. He needed her calm.
There were a dozen different things that needed attention but she focussed on one at a time, getting up to grab her bags where she'd dropped them. "Okay, I'm going to get you something to eat and then we'll deal with the rest."
She grabbed a cloth and soaked it in water before gently wiping his hands down the best she could, throwing the blackened and bloody cloth straight into the bin once she was finished.
He held still as she did, pliant and still as Maddie turned his hands over and washed them.
He still wasn't all the way there, staring at the tabletop as she placed down a glass of water and a handful of pills next to a sandwich she'd had the foresight to make beforehand.
"What are they?"
They were the first words Buck had spoken without any prompting and Maddie pressed a palm to his cheek, hating the scratched, raw sound of them but glad to hear it nevertheless.
"Antibiotics and your anticoagulants. Which reminds me, I want to take you in for a scan later to make sure you didn't overwork yourself and create any more. Is there anything that hurts that you want me to take a look at?"
Buck looked down at the pills, pushing one across the table with his finger, voice quiet. "I had to find Christopher."
Maddie's hands froze and she nodded, picking the pills up and turning her brother's hand over, tipping them into his palm and pushing it towards his mouth. "I know."
Although he was speaking on his own, it took Maddie's gentle persuasion and the insistent pushing at his hands for him to down the medication and the water. He finally got the hint and started drinking, Maddie taking the opportunity to turn away and pull out her phone.
"You drink all of it, Evan, okay? Small sips." She made her way up the stairs to his bedroom, holding her phone to her ear with one hand as she rummaged through his drawers for some clean clothes with the other.
"Maddie, hey. How are you holding up?"
She was so glad to hear his voice that she closed her eyes the moment she heard it, breathing in the feeling of safety it always brought with it.
"Chimney. I'm okay but I'm at Evans and I know you must be busy with the cleanup but somethings wrong with him."
She could hear shuffling on the other end, a chair scraping back as he got up from the table and walked to somewhere quieter. "What? What do you mean?"
"I mean, I dropped him off here yesterday morning and he hasn't moved since then. I found him at the table practically catatonic and hypothermic. He's confused and cold and I doubt he'd be able to walk even if I could get him on his feet. But I need to warm him up and get him to rest or-"
Chimney cut her off, her throat tightening with every word that spilled from her mouth. "Okay, he's probably still in shock. I can spare a couple of hours for lunch, I'll come over."
Relief crashed through her and she sank down into Bucks bed. "Thank you."
"Don't worry about it. He'll be okay, Maddie. I'll be there soon."
He hung up and she took a moment to steady herself before grabbing a blanket and making her way back down the stairs.
She dumped his clothes outside of the bathroom and got back to her brother, wrapping the blanket around him. "Eat the sandwich, Evan. Chimney's going to be here soon."
Buck had only taken one bite before he was blinking up at her again. "Where's Christopher? Is he okay?"
Maddie nodded, running her fingers over his mud-caked hair. "Yeah, I called Eddie this morning. They're at home. Christopher's fine mostly. He's been asking about you though."
Buck pushed his sandwich away as his feet shuffled, clumsy and heavy under him. "I should go see him."
He tried to stand, knees buckling the second he tried to put any weight on them and Maddie was quick to push him back into his seat. "Whoah, hang on. Just sit down, okay? Christopher is fine, it's you I'm worried about."
He looked confused again, eyebrows scrunching as he tilted his head slightly like a puppy trying to hear better. "Why?"
Maddie's shoulders slumped as she tried to explain. "Evan you haven't moved for hours. You haven't showered or slept or eaten and I'm not sure that you even noticed. You're not taking care of yourself."
Buck sighed, eyes staring down at his feet. "Sorry."
Maddie took the seat beside him and gripped his knee. "You don't have to be sorry. You scared me that's all. When you called me, I...I just kept thinking about all the ways I could lose you in a mess as big as a tsunami. You could drown or get lost or the blood clots could…" she paused, wiping a hand over her cheek to dry it before pressing her fingers to Bucks jaw instead.
"You went through a lot. I just want to make sure you're okay."
Buck bit his lip, blinking through tears that were suddenly blurring his vision and he shook his head, words choked and wet. "I don't think I'm okay, Maddie."
He tipped towards her and Maddie didn't hesitate to wrap him up on her arms, guiding him to her shoulder with a hand to the back of his head. He shook in her grasp but she held on tight.
"You will be. I've got you now. I'm right here."
Chimney got to Bucks as fast as he could, finding both Buckley's at the table. Buck looked as bad as he had at the VA hospital and he quickly made his way over and knelt in front of his teammate.
"Hey, Buckaroo. How you doin'?"
He shrugged, quieter than Chimney had ever seen him. "Cold."
Chin nodded as he pulled some gloves on, gesturing to Bobby as he walked in. "Cap heard that you weren't feeling too good and he insisted on checking up on you. Hope that's okay."
Bobby gave a quick hug to Maddie as he looked his youngest teammate over, trying to keep the concern from his eyes knowing that Buck would only feel guilty for it. "Hen was worried about you too but she said she'd cover for us at the station and see how you were doing later on."
Chim wasn't sure how much Buck was taking in, looking shaken and shell shocked still.
He lifted his penlight and aimed it just below Buck's eyes, gently tugging the blondes chin back to centre when he pulled away. "I know, it'll just take a minute. Do you know what day it is?"
He took the light away and Buck shrugged again, his whole body curling up as he gripped the edges of his blanket. "I don't know. I think Maddie said something about it earlier but I...I don't remember."
They'd checked him over as soon as they'd found him but Chim was worried they'd missed something that could have been causing Bucks confusion. "That's okay. Do you know where you are?"
Chim nodded and gave him an encouraging smile, feeling like he was talking to a scared kid rather than a former firefighter. But he supposed that Buck really was just a scared kid.
"That's good, Buck. I'm just going to check the rest of you over and then we'll get you into a hot shower and warm you up a bit, okay?"
Every gentle squeeze and palpitation was met with shivers and the occasional groan but Chim was sure by the end of it that most of the pain was due to overworked muscles and a combination of dehydration and exhaustion.
The kid needed an IV and a very long nap.
"I'll just take a look at those cuts and we'll be done. Try to drink a little more."
Chim was careful but Buck still winced at the painful tugging of tape as the bandages were pulled away and Chimney hissed both in sympathy and what he saw laying underneath.
"This big cut here is infected. I'm not surprised with everything you swam through and that rag you had on it when we found you. You taking those antibiotics we gave you?"
Buck blinked, frowning but couldn't answer before Maddie rubbed a palm across his shoulders. "Yes, he is. You remember, Evan?"
Buck nodded but Chimney knew that he wasn't sure. He was too tired to take anything more in.
Chimney threw the bandages in the bin before gently cleaning and rewrapping the wounds, covering them with a waterproof layer, the bright clean white almost jarring against Bucks dirtied skin. Finally, he stripped off his gloves, nodding to Bobby as they each took one side of Buck.
"Let's get you up and into a shower, huh? Nice and slow, let us do most of the work. You're going to be pretty sore."
They each took an arm as Maddie hovered behind them, getting Buck to his feet as he did his best to keep every pained gasp and grunt locked behind gritted teeth. Every muscle hurt and shook, too tight to stretch and too weak to take his weight. He couldn't help but let a whimper slip as he put pressure on his bad leg, the three of them making their slow way to the bathroom.
"You're okay. You're doing great, Buck. Just a little further."
Buck was glad that the captain was there, his soothing voice strong and sure. He knew what to do, he knew how to fix things and Buck was safe knowing that he could let go and let Bobby handle whatever might happen.
They sat him down once in the bathroom as Bobby started the shower and Chim knelt in front of his friend, beginning the tough work of getting Buck undressed.
"You want some help to get this off or do you want to cut it?" Cutting it would be easier with Bucks body so heavy and no doubt too sore to lift his arms but Evan didn't answer his question, leaning forward instead to rest his forehead on Chim's shoulder, shaky breath intensifying the tremor still running over his frame.
"I'm glad you guys are here."
Chim reached up a hand and pressed warm fingers to the back of Buck's neck, brushing the hair there and trying to quell the worry that stirred further at the frigid skin that lay against his.
"You've always got us, Buck. Whenever you need us, okay?"
Buck nodded against him and took a breath as he sat up, looking down at his clothes like they weighed as much as that horrible day itself. "Cut them."
Getting Bucks clothes off was far easier than getting him in the shower. He couldn't stand on his own for long, Bobby's hand tight on his arm as he kept him standing under the water, doing his best to soothe him as the temperature change stung.
"I know, I know, we're going to bring it up slowly, okay?"
Buck leaned heavily against the wall arms pulled tight to his chest, hair dripping over his eyes as he scrunched them shut, leaning heavily against the wall.
His teeth chattered so relentlessly that his lip got caught between them and he cried out at the new sting added to all the rest.
Bobby watched the layers of dirt and blood washed over Bucks feet to swirl down the drain, waiting until Bucks skin began to warm before attempting any scrubbing.
He could see the moment Bucks muscles melted under the hot water, goosebumps disappearing as his shivering ceased. Buck let out a sigh as his knees sank, sliding down the shower wall to the floor where Bobby let him sit.
"There we go. That's better isn't it?"
He brushed Bucks hair out of his fae and those bright blue eyes opened, sleepy but so, so grateful. "Thanks, Cap."
Bobby took a cloth and wet in the warm spray of water before grabbing a bottle of body wash, glancing up at the boy as he scrubbed the fabric together to make bubbles. "For what, Buck?"
Bobby ran the cloth over those broad shoulders, watching the skin turn pink under the soft layer of suds.
Bobby smiled at him, picking up Bucks hand to turn his arm as he washed it, careful of the bandages and their taped edges. "It's nothing you haven't done for me."
It wasn't true in the literal sense but Buck understood its meaning. Buck hadn't sat him in a shower and washed him clean but he'd taken care of him when Bobby had been at his lowest. When he couldn't hold himself up and needed someone else to take the weight for a while.
Buck smiled, blinking tiredly through the water that tented his eyelashes, flattened his hair and made him look so young. Bobby could almost imagine he was his own son. The same blonde hair the same look of trust in his eyes that he could fix anything that broke.
Bobby would have shied away at the thought once but now he only squeezed Bucks hand and cleaned him up, letting the boy doze against the wall while he had a chance.
Chimney left Bobby to it and helped Maddie prepare Bucks bed and the IV that he definitely needed.
"Can you pass me that-Maddie?"
She had her hand pressed to her mouth as she cried, the ruined tangle of Bucks clothes in her lap. How many dirtied clothes had she cut off patients? How long had Buck been sitting in that chair needing help and not getting it?
Chimney dropped what he was holding and sat beside her on Bucks bed, wrapping his arms around her shoulders as she fell against his chest.
"Hey, what's wrong? Come on, he's okay."
Maddie sucked in a heaving breath and shook her head against him, sobs shaking her words and breaking them apart in her mouth. "He's not. He wasn't. He was out there alone for hours! He was supposed to be safe, I thought it was the one disaster I could count on him staying away from. I actually felt grateful that he couldn't work and then he called me and-"
Chimney pressed her closer to him, grief pulling at his heart. The Buckleys couldn't seem to catch a single break and it killed him to know that he couldn't ease Maddie's pain or stop it from happening again.
"I know. As soon as we found him he collapsed and I couldn't stop thinking about all the times we could have walked right past him and not known it."
Maddie's hands gripped Chimneys shirt as if he were her anchor and she'd be washed away without him.
"You guys checked him over and he was fine, he was banged up but he was talking and he kept telling me not to worry, that all he cared about was that Christopher was okay. I thought he was okay so, I left him here, alone."
Chimney wouldn't let her blame herself, though he felt as guilty as she did for not realising that Buck had needed more help than they'd realised. "Hey, they needed all the hands they could get and he insisted that you not worry about him. You helped a lot of patients through what was no doubt the worst night of their lives. I saw those families that you brought back together and those kids that you made feel safe."
Maddie sniffled against him, the stress of the past few days dissipating in Chimneys arms.
He looked down at her, smiling. "Hey, you did really good, Maddie. You helped everyone that you could and now we're here to help Buck. He's going to be okay."
She looked up at him and nodded, never so grateful to have met him. "Thanks, Chimney."
"Just a little longer, kid and then we'll get you into some warm clothes and into bed. I promise."
Buck hummed, slumped against the wall as his head rolled with each knead of the caps fingers against his scalp.
Bobby laughed as the kid's eyes rolled a little beneath their lids, a sleepy smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.
Once he was finally clean and the last of the shampoo was washed away he turned off the water and grabbed a towel.
"You're doing great, Buck. We're almost done. I know you're tired."
Buck let Bobby wrap the towel around him but lacked the energy to move and help. He forced heavy eyelids open as Bobby pulled at his sleepy limbs, wrestling him into his clothes.
"Don't wanna sleep, Cap. Can't."
Bobby frowned, pulling a hoodie over that blonde hair and tugging it down over his chest. "Why? You're exhausted, you need to rest."
Buck shook his head as Bobby laid the towel over his hair and scrubbed, just like Eddie did to Christopher after his baths.
"Don't want it to be dark again. Don't wanna be by myself." His voice was so quiet that Bobby almost couldn't hear it.
"When that first wave hit it's like it swallowed me up. I didn't know which way was up, it was all just dark and loud and cold. I lost Christopher in one of those waves. In freezing water full of bodies, I lost him."
Bobby knew that it wasn't the first time someone had told Buck the same words he was telling him now and he hoped that it would be the last, the ones that stuck.
"It wasn't your fault. You did everything you could, saved as many people as you could get your hands on."
"But he wasn't one of them. I shouldn't have let go."
Bobby shook his head and raised his chin in that way of his when he meant something and wasn't leaving any room for arguments. Chim called it his Captains voice but Buck had often joked he sounded more like a dad.
"You know the first thing that he told me when I checked on him and Eddie? He told me that his Buck had saved him and then saved everyone else." He brushed a finger across Buck's cheek, catching a tear before it could fall as Buck's lip wobbled.
"And then he told me to take care of you. To make sure that you had someone to hug him like he had his dad."
Buck pulled in a shaky breath and dived, pressing his face to Bobby's shoulder as his captain's arms wrapped around him and for the second time that day he cried.
Bobby held him, letting him cry himself out until he was almost falling asleep again, heavy in his arms.
"I think I'm ready to sleep now."
The Captain let out a soft laugh at that, hand sweeping across Bucks shoulder blades as he nodded. "You definitely need it, kid."
Chim came in to help get Buck to his feet, both of them holding onto his arms tight as they got him up the stairs and onto his bed.
He sighed as he sat down, smiling as Maddie pulled his hoodie over his head and gripped it tight, pressing a kiss to his forehead before helping him lay down.
Chimney set up the IV, taping it to the back of Buck's hand to give him the fluid and nutrients he desperately needed, carefully laying out the line as Bobby helped Buck curl up on his side.
"You should feel better once this bag is done and after one hell of a sleep. You deserve the rest, man."
Maddie sat on the edge of the bed and brushed her fingers through Bucks hair in long soothing strokes but he still looked hesitant to sleep, even as his eyelids dragged themselves down.
He looked up at her, fingers pulling at the edges of his sleeves. "Are you sure you can wake me if I have a bad dream? I don't want to be stuck in one. All I see when I close my eyes is Christopher falling in and-"
"Hey, I'll be right here."
He looked ready to argue again when the apartment door opened and heavy feet shuffled through, four pairs of eyes looking to see who it was.
"Eddie? Are you okay?"
Buck tried to sit up as soon as Bobby said his name, sleepy limbs only succeeding in pulling him back into his pillows.
"Sorry, I tried calling but no one picked up. Why are you all here? Is Buck okay? Is that an IV?"
He practically sprinted to the stairs, voice hushed as he carried a half-asleep Christopher in his arms, PJ's a bright blue against his dad's black shirt.
Bobby met him at the foot of the steps, voice hushed as he explained. "He's okay, just worn out dehydrated. Maddie found him a few hours ago, he hadn't moved since she brought him back. We think it was shock but he's doing better now."
Eddie was clearly upset that his best friend had been hurt and he hadn't known and he shook his head, eyes lowered in shame. "I wanted to check up on him, I wanted to stay with him and make sure he was alright but Christopher was-"
Bobby shut any guilt or blame down, giving Eddie a light tap on his shoulder, the same captains voice that he'd used with Buck. "You had to think of your son first, Eddie. No ones at fault here. Is Christopher alright?"
Eddie shook off his dark thoughts and looked down to his son, cheek squashed against his shoulder and grunting unhappily in his sleep.
"There's barely a scratch on him but I can't get him to sleep for more than a couple of hours at a time. I think he's still in survival mode and he can't relax. He asks for Buck every time he wakes up. I thought bringing him here might help."
Bobby nodded and led him up the stairs, gesturing to the bed. "I think that's a good idea, we've been having trouble convincing this one to sleep too."
Bucks face broke out into a grin the second he saw the two Diaz boys and he reached out a hand to them, voice weak but exited.
Eddie smiled at the cocoon Buck had around him, as Christopher sat up in his arms, blinking awake and realising where he was.
"Buck! Daddy, it's Buck!"
Buck pushed his blankets away to let Christopher in as Eddie lowered him down, letting his kid lay down on Buck's chest as he wrapped his arms around him tight as he could.
The both of them visibly brightened at being back together and Eddie tucked them in, brushing his son's hair back as he watched Buck close his eyes, cheek pressed to Christopher's curls.
"I don't think I'll ever be able to separate you two again."
Buck smiled, finally safe. "Nope. Never."
Eddie smiled, bending down to kiss Christopher's forehead, the boy already asleep in his Buck's arms. "Goodnight, Mijo."
He didn't hesitate in pressing a kiss to Buck's hair too, smiling as the blonde grinned, half asleep.
Evan didn't feel cold anymore and he didn't feel alone either. He slept better than he ever had before, safe and sound and utterly exhausted.