(AN: I wrote this a little while ago with the help from the wonderful gay-in-221b on Tumblr so thank you!)
Sometimes when Buck drank, he'd slip up.
"Never have I ever been punched in the face."
Hen laughed as she put a finger down, pointing at Chim with a cup too full with gin. "You are lying. Never? You worked at a bar."
Chim laughed with her, holding his hands up as he shook his head. "And we had really good security."
Eddie noticed Buck's finger go down and the sip he took from his beer. "When have you gotten punched? Is that where you got that mark from?" He'd been attempting to make him laugh but Buck only let out a low grunt.
"I don't think there was a single day that teenage Evan didn't get punched."
Eddie's smile dropped right onto the floor, blood turning cold in an instant. "What?"
Hen and Chim were still laughing but Eddie felt as if all the alcohol had left his system at once.
Buck found his eyes and seemed to sober up a little too, sitting straighter in his chair and throwing Eddie an unconvincing smile. "I'm just kidding, Eddie. I mean who wouldn't have wanted to punch me? I'm the annoying idiot, remember?"
He looked sad for a moment before taking another mouthful of beer and taking his turn. "Okay, never have I ever-"
But Eddie couldn't shake it off.
It happened at bars too.
Buck and Eddie would go to have some fun after a long shift or to talk after a bad one. It could be the smell of a drink floating past him that suddenly made the colour drain from his face or the angry, booming voice of a man that had reached his limit and Buck was out of there.
He'd make an excuse to go to the bathroom or that it was late and he should go. Eddie had tried to talk to him about it, had taken his arm and asked him to wait but Buck had only ducked his head and mumbled an apology.
It worried Eddie. Whatever it was that made Buck so scared when a man raised their voice or gag at that one brand of whiskey wasn't something that had gone away.
And apparently Maddie didn't know about it.
"What are you talking about?"
Eddie didn't like the guilty pit in his stomach that he got talking to Maddie behind Buck's back but he was worried enough to shove it aside for a little while. He'd apologize later.
"Every time he smells it he looks sick. I've never seen him drink any kind of whiskey but-"
Maddie waved a hand, bringing her tea back to her lips. "He probably drank too much of it at a party as a kid. We've all been there. I can't smell a vodka cranberry without having flashbacks of throwing up all over my prom date." She laughs but Eddie isn't going to let it go.
"No, but he always looks really upset after. Did he drink a lot as a teenager?"
Maddie frowned, thinking. "I don't know actually. I went to college before he got to that stage. I came home for holidays for a while but then met Doug and… well. What kind of whiskey was it?"
Eddie had committed the brand to memory the last time Buck had paled at the bottle, vowing to never, ever bring it anywhere near the man.
Maddie broke out into a smile, rolling her eyes but Eddie wasn't finding any part of it funny. "Oh, that was our Dads favourite. He had a bottle on his shelf at all times. I don't know why that would make Evan feel sick though."
Maybe he had taken the bottle off his dad's shelf and drank too much of it. Maybe it was just bad whiskey but Eddie couldn't help but notice that there were pieces of the Evan Buckley puzzle everywhere and the picture it made wasn't one he wanted to see.
"This is my property and I said I don't want you here!"
"Sir, there's been a call about a gas leak. You need to evacuate immediately, it's for your own safety."
Buck was trying to quell the man's anger but the guy was huge. He towered at least a head over Buck and pushed right up close to him, shoving him back as he screamed in his face.
"I don't give a shit what the call said! This is my building and I want you fuckers gone! You understand me?"
Buck sucked in a gasp, shaky and thin and Eddie dropped the gear in his hands, ignoring anything else and just trying to get to Buck's side.
"Sir, please just-"
Bucks head was low, eyes trained on the ground, shoulders pulling upwards as he cowered away from the man. Buck, a six-foot-one firefighter with an axe in his hand was terrified of the brute standing over him.
"ARE YOU NOT HEARIN' ME, BOY? I SAID GET THE FUCK OFF MY PROPERTY!"
Eddie ran faster but the son of a bitches fist was already swinging, colliding with the side of Buck's head and sending him sprawling to the ground, axe skidding away, blessedly out of the man's reach.
"Hey!" Eddie let out a shout as anger pounded through his chest, watching as the man stepped over Buck and swung again, sending his head cracking against the pavement.
Eddie was not as tall as Buck and he definitely wasn't as tall as the man he was sprinting to meet but he'd been up against worse and still won and he was too angry to lose.
He passed a cop as he ran, swiping the taser from her belt as she called for backup, waiting too long to do something for his liking.
"Get off him!"
His hands gripped the man's jacket and yanked him back, taking the moment of off-balanced stumbles to jab the taser into the man's side. The sharp buzzing of the electric current sent the man to the pavement, body jerking, neck straining as he fried.
He leaned down and gripped the assholes collar, yanking him up from the ground and probably would have punched the guy if someone hadn't yelled his name and snapped him out of it.
"Eddie!" Athena appeared out of nowhere and grabbed the taser from his hand, waiting till the man was safely gasping for air before she dug a boot into his side and ordered him to roll over.
Her eyes were hard on Eddies as she pulled the man's hands behind his back. "Go help Buck."
Eddie nodded and spun to where Buck had pushed himself against a wall, shaking hands wrapped around his head as his feet kicked at the concrete, trying to curl up as small as he possibly could.
Hen and Chim were already in front of him, med bags at the ready but they couldn't get close.
The closer Eddie got the worse the scene got. Bucks voice breaking on sobs as he begged for relief. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry, I won't tell Maddie. I promise just stop, Dad. Please."
Hen exchanged a heavy look with Chim before she tried again, voice as soft as Eddie had ever heard it.
"Buck, honey, it's alright. You're safe now but I need to check you over."
Buck's ramble cut off with a whimper and Eddie couldn't breathe standing there. Flashes of blood twisted at his stomach where he caught brief glimpses of it behind Buck's arms and he swallowed against his sudden nausea as Bobby waved at them all to step back.
He knelt a couple of meters away from the blonde and kept his voice calm, smooth as it always was and solid as a rock. "Buck. It's Bobby. I'm here, kid and I know that you're scared but everything's alright. I need you to take a breath."
Buck shivered and Eddie could see his eyes peek out from under his arm, voice weak and shaky. "B-Bobby?"
Bobby smiled as Buck looked him up and down arms lowering as he blinked in confusion. "That's right. Can you take a slow breath for me?"
Buck pressed his hands to the ground, fingers smeared in red as he pushed himself up to sit against the wall. Tear tracks ran down his cheeks and wet his lips as blood slicked the side of his head and slid down his neck, staining his hair, too bright against his suddenly pale skin.
He pulled in a measured breath and looked around, wiping a trembling palm across his cheeks as he tried to work out what was happening.
Eddie was frozen as Bobby raised his hands. "Is it okay if I come closer? If you need some space we can wait a minute but your head is bleeding and I'd like to get it taken care of."
Buck blinked and raised a hand to his temple where his skin had split against the concrete. He pulled his palm back down and swallowed at the blood dripping from it, nodding.
Bobby scooted closer and lifted a slow hand to Buck's chin, tilting his face to see the cut better.
Bobby shook his head, running his thumb across the blondes chin as that bottom lip wobbled. "You don't have to be sorry, kid. You didn't do anything wrong. If I ask Hen and Chim to look you over will it make it worse or better?"
Buck seemed to be coming back to himself and blinked, nodding as his puppy eyes flitted to each of his team's faces. He looked embarrassed, voice little.
"I can do it."
It wasn't exactly what Bobby asked but he knew that Buck only meant that he could stay calm and he patted his cheek before releasing him, standing and stepping back to let them in.
Bobby stood next to Eddie as Hen pressed a palm to Buck's head, thumb swiping away his tears as Chim pressed gauze to his head wound.
"You're going to want to practice your 'sorry ma'am, yes ma'am' face before she gets over here."
Eddie frowned at Bobby, completely lost. "What?"
Bobby only had time to raise an eyebrow, eyes trained over Eddie's shoulder before his heart almost stopped again.
"You want to explain yourself to me?"
Athena sounded pissed and when Eddie turned around he could see that she most definitely was; hands on her hips and eyes lit up with anger. There was a lot of that going around.
Eddie immediately ducked his head and straightened his shoulders. "He was being attacked and the only officer close enough to help was just standing there and-"
Athena nodded, cutting him off. "That officer has only been on the job for two weeks, she got worried about taking him on by herself and called for backup before moving in. Which is protocol. What you did was not."
Eddie nodded. "I know but he was hurting Buck and I couldn't just let him-"
Athena didn't let him finish, sparing a glance towards the blonde being bandaged up by his team, concern dampening the anger for a moment before igniting again when she trained her eyes back on Eddie. "You helped your teammate, I understand why you did it, Diaz."
She stepped closer, pointing her finger at him with a glare. "But don't you ever let me catch you doing that again."
Eddie nodded, listening to Bobby snicker behind him when the words he'd warned him about left his mouth. "Sorry ma'am, yes ma'am."
Athena sighed and walked past him to Bobby, pulling his chin down to steal a kiss.
Buck was sitting cross-legged on the ground now, looking more sad and embarrassed than scared, his shoulders slumped like a kid who'd been put in time out. His puppy eyes were in full effect as he tried to talk Hen into letting him skip the hospital visit.
"I don't want to go. I know enough about concussions to take care of myself."
"Then you should know that it's important to get properly checked out after such a bad hit to the head."
Chim worked on packing his equipment away and gestured to Buck's head. "Besides, you still need to get stitches."
Buck groaned, blinking up at Athena as she knelt in front of him.
"Hey, handsome. Borrowing trouble again?"
He smiled a little as she grabbed a wet wipe from Hen and started cleaning him up, mopping up the blood from his neck. "Hey 'Thena."
Her tone was much kinder than it had been with Eddie, and Bucks eyes stuck to her as if he hung on every word. "Now, I know that you like to be stubborn and pretend like you're a superhero but even they need help sometimes so, you're going to get yourself checked out and then let Eddie take you home. Understood?"
Buck didn't like it but there was no arguing with Athena and he nodded, eyes warming in a smile when Athena kissed his forehead. "Good boy."
Buck sat through another examination and squeezed his eyes shut for the five stitches he needed but after a few hours of being poked and prodded was finally released to go home.
"I'm fine. It's only a mild concussion. I can still finish my shift."
Eddie nodded, smiling in that patronising way that adults did to kids to placate them. "That's great, Buddy. You can tell me all about it on the way home."
Buck rolled his eyes as Eddie helped him in his seat and closed the car door for him before walking to his side but he was quiet on the drive back and it made Buck anxious.
"I didn't mean for it to escalate. I tried to get him to calm down but he just-"
"He was drunk, Buck. It wasn't your fault."
He'd also been running a meth lab in his basement and would have gone through anybody to keep it hidden.
Buck nodded, looking down at his hands as he fiddled with his thumbnail, voice quiet and sad. "I know. I could smell it on his breath."
When Eddie didn't say anything he sighed and looked out the window, tired. "You're mad."
"I'm not mad." Eddie's voice was harder than he'd intended and he took a breath to soften it.
"I got scared, Buck."
Eddie kept his eyes trained on the road, hands clenching at the steering wheel to keep his voice steady.
"You didn't hear the sound your head made when it...when it cracked against the concrete."
He spared a hand to grip Bucks shoulder, trying for half a laugh.
"I know you probably felt it pretty good."
Bucks silence was worrying him but he knew that filling the quiet with noise wasn't going to make it better so, he kept his mouth shut. It only took a few minutes for Buck to say what they were both thinking.
"I remember what I said, Eddie. I know you heard it."
Eddie didn't know what to say. He didn't know how to make their crappy situation better or how to make their conversation any easier for Buck.
He chose to skirt around the subject for at least a little while. "Why haven't you told Maddie?"
Buck looked at him then, confusion pulling at his eyebrows. "I-"
"I asked her about the whiskey smell that makes you sick. She knew it was your dads but she didn't know why you wouldn't like it."
Buck wasn't all that surprised that Eddie had noticed. He always noticed those sorts of things and he was a little grateful that at least he wouldn't have to explain everything if Eddie already knew a little.
"She was already at college when it started. My dad worked at the same factory for thirty years and he was fine. I mean he never really said I love you and Maddie used to always get pissed at him because of all his rules but he was fine.
"And then he got laid off and I became the nuisance in his house that kept having growth spurts and needed new clothes, that was hungry all the time and needed extra help at school because of his dyslexia.
"Maddie was off acing her nursing classes and working in her free time and I was asking for new shoes because mine didn't fit anymore."
Eddie gripped the steering wheel harder, knuckles turning white as he listened.
"He started drinking that same shitty whiskey every night and got good and drunk so that he could take his anger out on me.
"Mom would close the door until the next morning, she'd just stay in her room and ignore it all and then at breakfast we'd pretend like nothing happened. Except it did. And it kept happening."
Eddie saw Buck wipe his face out of the corner of his eye but didn't move to wipe his own, clenching his jaw till it hurt instead and leaving his tears to carve their way down his face.
"I left when I was eighteen and never went back. There was no point in telling Maddie, I knew that dad would never hit her. He always made me promise not to let her know. She was his favourite."
Buck let out a humourless laugh and sniffled, rubbing at his nose. "The only time he's ever called me was once he saw me on the news after that arrest I helped Athena with. He told me he was surprised they'd let such a screw up be a firefighter. It was a job for important people, and I wasn't one of them."
He shrugged and looked back out the window. "I hung up on him and even a thousand miles away I was scared he'd beat my ass for disrespecting him. My hands shook so bad I couldn't hold a pen for three hours after."
Eddie clenched his jaw harder but he couldn't see the road anymore through his tears and he pulled over.
He didn't want to scare Buck but he couldn't sit two feet from the guy and not do anything so he got out of the truck and walked to the other side. He pulled open Bucks door and reached for him, pulling him into a hug and gripping him tightly.
Buck felt Eddie shake and wrapped his arms around him, hating to cause Eddie pain but grateful that he didn't have to carry it all on his own anymore.
"You didn't deserve that, Buck. You didn't deserve any of it. Please, tell me that you know that."
Buck had wrestled with that exact question for most of his life but seeing how Eddie was with Christopher, how Hen was with her kids and Bobby and Athena were with theirs he'd come to the conclusion that he'd just been a normal kid with a shitty dad.
"Yeah, I know. Thanks, Eddie. For saying it."
Eddie pulled away, face wet, and scrubbed a hand down his face before pointing a finger at Buck. "And you know that if he or any other asshole ever fucks with you again they'll have the entire one-eighteen and police department on their ass."
Buck let out a watery laugh, heart swelling to know that he had so many people to protect him; to love him, the way he deserved to be loved.
"I'll just sick you on 'em. You're a badass with that taser."
Eddie laughed and clapped a hand on his shoulder. "Yeah and if I ever do that again Athena is going to put my badass self in handcuffs. So, make it worth it, alright?"
Buck was more grateful for the jokes than Eddie could ever know. For letting him spill his guts and all his ugly secrets and not see him as some fragile, broken thing. He was still Buck.
Eddie wiped his face, making a mess of his sleeve as he sniffed, laughing at himself. "Man you went and made me cry everywhere. I'm disgusting!"
Buck laughed and wiped his own face, watching as Eddie walked back to his side and started the car again.
"I made myself cry." he let out a long breath and let his head fall back against the headrest. "God, I'm exhausted. I want to sleep for like a month."
Eddie nodded, knowing exactly how he felt. "I've been more exhausted after watching the fox and the hound than I have after a twenty-four-hour shift. Crying takes a lot out of you."
Buck almost fully turned on his seat trying to look at Eddie. "RIGHT?! That little fox! And the puppy dog eyes!"
Eddie waved a hand, infinitely glad that he had a best friend on the same wavelength he was. "And when the old lady left him! They got little kids to voice them and everything! Oh, man. Christopher and I were sobbing."
Buck laughed, ignoring the pounding in his head for the heat in his chest as he snickered. "You should have seen me when I watched Coco."
Eddie's eyes went wide as he snapped his head back to look at Buck, almost serious. "Dude, don't get me started. Do not EVEN get me started on Coco cause I can't-"
Buck couldn't help it. "Remember me-"
Eddie reached out a hand to smack at Buck's arm as the blonde broke into a fit of laughter. "Buck! You asshole!"
Buck laughed again, biting his lip before nudging an elbow towards Eddie. "I'd be Copper though."
(AN: I have written some more but i haven't finished it so I can't promise I'll post it but I'll try cause I really like the scenes I've done and I want to add them
also if you have suggestions ill happily take them)
Eddie snickered. "You can have Copper, Todd is way cooler."