Bobby glanced around the station, clipboard in hand as he met the team, ready for the day. Or, rather, most of the team.
Eddie glanced up from his phone, face pinched in worry. "I don't know. He's not answering his phone."
Bobby looked to Hen and Chimney but they just shrugged, Hen adding her own concern to the mix. "He hasn't been late since coming back. Somethings wrong."
Bobby tried to calm his team as Eddie dialled again. "Hang on now, we can't go jumping to any conclusions. It could be traffic, his alarm or maybe he misread the schedules."
Eddie cursed at his phone and shook his head, restless energy coming off him in waves. "Voicemail, again. I'm going over there."
Bobby watched him turn and leave, Hen and Chimney itching to follow. "Eddie!"
He stopped and turned but his feet stayed pointed towards the door. He was going, no matter what Bobby said.
Hen sighed. "You know it is unusual for him not to answer his phone. After everything that's happened, he never misses a call."
Jumping to conclusions didn't help anyone but Bobby had to admit it was strange. Buck jumped at the chance to come to work, no matter what. On days off or for extra hours, even holidays, Buck was happy to come to work. It wasn't like him to be late and it definitely wasn't like him to miss calls.
Bobby dropped his clipboard on a shelf, defeated and called out to Eddie. "We'll take the truck."
Eddie nodded gratefully and the team ran, conspiracies and possible theories piling up in their heads with every second they didn't have answers.
"What if it's another blood clot? He could have had another pulmonary embolism."
Eddie's voice was bordering on hysterical but Hen shook her head, sorting through the details before panicking. "He was cleared of clots when they took him off the blood thinners. Maybe his leg flared up? He sometimes gets those aches that take hours to go away."
Chim twisted in his seat to see the dashboard as Bobby drove, wishing he'd push the speed a little. "It could be anything and it also could be nothing. You know Buck, the guy has luck so bad I wouldn't even let him hold my lottery ticket. I wouldn't be surprised if he woke up to a broken phone, a clogged toilet and a flat tire."
Eddie shook his head, hands running frantically through his hair as his boots tapped against the floor, anxious to arrive already. "No, somethings wrong. I know it."
Hen didn't know how he knew. But he knew.
"Buck! Open up!"
Eddie was freaking out and he realised that but he didn't care how ridiculous he looked. He needed to find Buck.
"Buck! We're coming in!" He pounded his fists against the door a couple more times before fishing his keys out of his pocket and jamming one into the lock.
"You have his house keys?"
"Yeah I made him give me one after his leg got crushed so, I could check up on him without him having to get out of bed."
Chim stored that information away for later and vowed to gossip about it with Maddie at some point but for now Eddie was storming inside.
"Buck? Where are you?!"
"Ugh, stop yelling." A familiar groan pulled Eddie towards the bathroom, leaving the team to follow after.
So they'd found Buck but Eddie's feet stumbled to a halt at the doorway anything but relief flooding through him.
Blood coated the floor, a smeared trail of handprints and footprints that had slip-slided their way from the shower to where Buck was sitting on the closed lid of the toilet.
He was still damp from the shower, towel around his waist and another in his hand where he pressed it to his forehead, curls wet and soaked with blood on one side.
"Jesus, Buck. What happened?"
Eddie shook off his shock and ran in, dropping to his knees in front of his best friend and grabbing his chin, tugging it to the side to take a better look.
Bucks eyes were glassy and half lidded and it took him a moment to answer, pulling away from Eddie's touch with a wince and a groan.
"Ow. I um...I slipped. I think I hit my head."
Eddie frowned, gesturing to the slick wash of blood sliding down Bucks neck and chest. There was so goddamn much of it.
"Yeah, Buddy. I think you did."
Hen snapped on some gloves before smiling at the blonde. "Hey, Buckaroo. Not having a great morning are you?"
She got to work triaging, gently pulling the towel away from his head just enough to get a good idea of what they were dealing with. And what they were dealing with was a knot and a gash that needed stitches.
"W-why are you guys here?"
Eddie dove into Hens bag and snapped on some gloves of his own before grabbing a blood pressure cuff. "You didn't show up to work and I called you like twenty times. I got worried."
Buck squinted his eyes and did his best to stay still as Hen flicked her penlight back and forth in front of him, practically burning his retina out of his skull. "So you brought the whole team?"
Eddie rolled his eyes as Hen rattled off notes. "I told you, I was worried. It's not like you to go awol. And why didn't you call for help? You should be in the hospital, Buck. Not sitting in your bathroom by yourself."
Bucks nose scrunched up, frowning at Eddie's sudden anger. "I wanted to but my Jeep has a flat tire and I dropped my phone and broke it."
Eddie ignored Chimneys quiet 'I told you so' and gestured to the floor and the bloody mess over every inch of the bathroom. "Then you should have gone for help! Look at this! Look at you!"
Buck blinked around, barely seeing any of it through his blurry vision. "Head wounds bleed a lot, you know that and it's mostly water thinning it out anyway. I went to get help but I got too dizzy to stand up. Why are you mad at me?"
Eddie's anger fell away like a tangible weight from his shoulders, settling on his chest instead. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm not mad. I just panicked, man. I kept imagining all these horrible scenarios in my head about what could have happened and then I see you here bleeding all over the place and I...I was worried. That's all."
Bucks puppy eyes watched Eddie's shoulders drop and he lifted a clumsy hand to plant on his best friend's head. "You don't have to worry about me, Eddie. I'm okie dokie, I promise."
Eddie let out a laugh and shook his head, pulling the blood pressure cuff from Bucks arm as Chim started mopping up the worst of the blood from Bucks skin.
"Not sure that you are, Buddy. But you will be."
Eddie stood as Bobby brought some clothes in, handing Eddie a pair of sweats as Hen secured the pressure bandage to Bucks head.
"Okay, Buck. Let's get you dressed and back to the hospital. I'm sure they'll be happy to punch your loyalty card."
Chim laughed even as the cloth in his hand stained red. "Yeah, two more admissions and you get a free kidney."
Wrestling a concussed and drowsy Buck into some clothes was about as easy as putting pants on a horse and Eddie was left panting when they finally led Buck from his bathroom.
"I'm gonna need to get you one of those life alert bracelets if this keeps happening, Buck. I'm genuinely afraid to leave you on your own."
Buck grunted out a half laugh as he leaned on Eddie, nauseous and wobbly as his feet slapped the floor, Bobby's hands on his waist in case he fell again.
"You know what? Maybe I could set you up with those Alexa things so you can call for help when you've fallen and can't get up."
Buck let out a low rumble of laughter and squeezed Eddie's hand where he gripped it, arm draped across his shoulders to keep him upright.
"Don't make me laugh, my heads gonna explode."
Buck was loaded into the truck and driven to the hospital where Eddie sat with him through every test and every stitch, the rest of the team trusting him to take care of Buck while they got back to work.
"Don't want the green one."
Eddie rolled his eyes at Buck who lay half asleep in the bed, blankets tucked up to his chest by his ever attentive mother-hen.
"Well, you need some sugar after losing all that blood so it's either the jello or the juice. Which is it?"
Buck squinted at him, eyes flickering between the green jello cup and the apple juice. "I want red."
"Jesus, you're worse than Chris. Are you really going to make me walk all the way back to the cafeteria to get red jello?"
Buck stuck his bottom lip out, still loopy from the blood loss and unaware of how adorably stupid he looked. "I don't like green, Eddie."
The jello was set down and the juice thrust forward with a very patient gaze. "Bucky bear, I need you to drink the juice, okay? Then you can have your nap and I can have my coronary in peace."
If Buck noticed the over-the-top sarcasm he didn't comment on it and snaked an arm out from under his blanket to take the juice.
Eddie was glad he'd thought ahead to turn his phone's ringer off when it buzzed in his pocket, the noise just from the vibrations creasing Bucks forehead with pain.
He answered it and watched Buck sip at his apple juice, head tipped back against his pillow, eyes drifting closed.
Eddie flinched from the sudden shout, Maddies wailing too loud through the phone and he pulled it away from his ear while simultaneously trying to calm her down.
"I went to his place to get the book he borrowed and I found blood everywhere! He's hurt, Eddie and he's not here!"
Eddie stood, hand running through his hair as he cursed himself for being such an idiot.
"Shit, I'm so sorry. I meant to call you but then Bucks scan took longer than I anticipated and there were a bunch of forms to fill out and-"
"He's with you?!"
Eddie closed his eyes. God, how could he have forgotten to tell her? "Yes. We're at the hospital, he's got a concussion and eight stitches and he's just fine."
She let out a small sob through the phone, breaking Eddie's heart and making him feel even guiltier.
"Thank god. I was so worried."
Eddie turned and watched Buck snore, fast asleep with the straw from his juice still in his mouth. "Don't be. He's perfectly fine. I've been babysitting him ever since we brought him in. We'll be right here waiting when you get here. Room fifteen."
"Thank you! I'll be there soon!"
So, despite the slightly traumatic day Buck was fine, if not a little insulted by Eddie's additions to his bathroom.
"A hand rail? Seriously? I'm not eighty."
Eddie finished screwing in the last piece and gestured to the floor of the shower, tapping the squidgy plastic with his toe.
"Yeah, well there's also the slip proof duckies I put on the floor and you're not four either, just an idiot."
Buck laughed and sighed, dramatic as always as he batted his eyelashes. "Yeah, but I'm your idiot."
Eddie snickered but he couldn't keep the smirk from his face. God, he loved his best friend. "I hate you."