It was two weeks before Christmas and Buck was attempting to make Christmas plans. Attempting being the operative word.
"Hey Maddie, I was wondering if we could get together for Christmas this year?"
"Oh I'm so sorry Buck! Chim asked me to join his family this year."
"No it's fine Mads, I'm really happy for you. You deserve some happiness for Christmas."
"Yeah but you are my family first. Are you going to be okay?"
"Don't worry about me, Maddie. I'll be fine."
After saying their goodbyes Buck lowered his phone and stared at it. In all honesty, he didn't want to be alone on Christmas this year. If he asked, Bobby and Athena would probably invite him to join their family for Christmas but he really didn't want to intrude. Same goes for Hen and Karen. And Eddie… He deserved to spend happy moments with his son after the tsunami. Buck would love to spend that time with them but he just wasn't a part of their little family.
But sometimes… Sometimes it felt like he was a part of the Diaz family. He would hang out with Eddie and Christopher and Eddie would give him such a happy and soft look and Buck would feel like he's home, that this is his place. But he just attributed it to wishful thinking on his part, his low-key crush on Eddie bloomed into love so big there was no denying it anymore.
Maybe he should go out on Christmas, go to a bar and maybe meet some new people. He used to be pretty good at seducing women in bars, but the last couple of months his mind was so full of Eddie the thought of going out didn't even occur to him.
In the next two weeks, the team all asked about his Christmas plans. Upon hearing he had none they had all tried inviting him over. All but Eddie, that is. He politely declined Hen's and Bobby's invitations while slightly feeling offended his best friend hadn't even tried inviting him. Eddie had been more distracted lately, they hadn't hung out for a while and Eddie seemed to be keeping his distance from him. Every time Buck would try to talk with Eddie after shift he wouldn't meet his eyes and excuse himself from the conversation as soon as humanly possible. Buck had absolutely no idea why and wondered if it was something he did. Were his feelings that obvious? He thought that aside from the occasional experimental flirting, flirting that Eddie didn't seem to mind, he was hiding it pretty well.
He was at work on Christmas Eve. Between Christmas trees catching fire and rescuing drunk people from rooftops, it was a busy day for the 118. At the end of their shift the next morning Buck was ready to go home and maybe just sleep through Christmas altogether when Hen approached him.
"Hey Buck, do you think you could do me a favor? Karen and I didn't have time to put up our Christmas tree yet and we want to surprise Denny by putting his presents underneath it. Could you come over and distract Denny for like an hour? Maybe take him to the playground real quick?" Buck couldn't help but smile, he liked spending time with the team's kids. It meant they all trusted him now and especially on Christmas day that felt pretty good.
"Of course! Do you need me to come right over?"
"Oh that would be wonderful! You're a lifesaver Buck."
While Buck was walking from the station to his car, he didn't see Eddie anywhere. His car was already gone too, he must've left in a hurry while Buck was talking to Hen. He didn't even get to wish him a Merry Christmas. He pulled out his phone and stared at Eddie's contact. No new messages either. He put his phone away and got in his car. He had a kid to distract.
After taking Denny out for over an hour they returned to Hen and Karen's house. By the looks of it they were right on time. Hen just turned the lights on the tree on and Karen just finished putting a plate of cookies on the table. Denny immediately ran up to the tree and started looking for presents with his name on them. Hen and Karen were watching him with big smiles on their faces. Buck's mind wandered back to Eddie again. Could Christopher be opening presents with the same amount of happiness right now? He wouldn't know and the thought saddened him. Hen must've noticed his expression changing because she walked up to him, laid a hand on his shoulder and smiled at him.
"I should… I should probably get going. Let you guys enjoy your Christmas together."
He half expected them to convince him to stay, but they just smiled and wished him a merry Christmas. He noticed Hen quickly sending a text on her phone but she hid it just as quickly. Before driving home he checked his own phone again but still nothing.
He parked his car at its usual spot and walked towards his front door. He was pretty much dead on his feet right now which is probably why he didn't notice it right away. But after turning on the lights he definitely noticed his living room looked different. There was a fully decorated Christmas tree, the walls were lined with all sorts of Christmas decorations and there were lit candles on his tables and cabinets. He didn't bother decorating his apartment this year so this was definitely unexpected. He looked towards the dining table and his mouth fell open in shock.
"Surprise!!!" Eddie and Christopher yelled in unison.
They were sitting at the dining table, which was filled with food, both smiling at Buck who was still standing in the doorway with his hand on the lightswitch looking flabbergasted.
"Eddie. Uh- I- How did you-" And that was all he could get out before he felt a tear running down his cheek. Eddie stood up from the table, walked up to him and hugged him.
"Welcome home, Buck." And damn if those words and Eddie's warmth surrounding him didn't make him even more emotional. He moved his arms around Eddie and buried his face in his shoulder. After a couple of seconds they backed away and Buck quickly wiped his face with his hand.
"Let's have dinner first, okay? I'm starving and I know how your day was so you must be too." Eddie grinned at him and turned back around. Buck stood there for a moment, watching him put food on Christopher's plate before heading over there himself. He sat down next to Eddie and looked at all the food in front of him.
"Did you make all of this yourself Eddie? It looks amazing. And all those decorations… You got all this done after shift while I was at Hen's?"
"Well I had a little help from my own little elf." Eddie smiled at his son and ruffled his hair.
"And Maddie helped me out with what kind of food you liked, and Hen kept you occupied while I was still busy here." Eddie then looked at him and put his hand on Buck's shoulder.
"I heard you were going to spend your Christmas alone and I wanted you to know I consider you as a part of our little family. You've done a lot for the both of us over the past year and I'm really grateful for that." Eddie's hand squeezed his shoulder before pulling back. Buck found himself blushing at those words.
During dinner they talked about all sorts of things. Christopher was talking about school, his teachers and his latest school projects. Eddie asked him how his training was going lately. They were all having a great time. When they finished dinner, Buck cleaned the dishes while Eddie and Christopher moved to the couch to put on a movie.
Buck sat next to Christopher on the couch and Eddie raised his arm to loop around Chris with his hand landing on Buck's shoulder.
"I kinda promised Hen I'd send her a picture of all three of us together, do you mind?"
"Nah man, as long as you send it to me afterwards."
Eddie pulled out his phone and Buck leaned in more against Christopher and Eddie's arm to get in the picture. They all smiled brightly when Eddie took the picture. He quickly forwarded it to Buck and Hen and when Buck looked at the picture on his own phone he melted a little inside. They all looked so happy. And Eddie looked gorgeous, his eyes all lit up and that beautiful smile, his arm around his son and around Buck. He immediately set the picture as his phone's lock screen.
After the movie had ended Eddie took Christopher to get ready for bed. Buck assured him they could use his bed for tonight and head back home tomorrow after breakfast, as it was already pretty late for Christopher. Meanwhile, Buck scrolled through the list of Christmas related movies he and Eddie could watch after Christopher had been put to bed. He ended up choosing some cliché Christmas romantic comedy.
Eddie soon joined him on the couch holding two beers. He handed one to Buck and leaned against him on the couch, watching the movie in silence for a while. Eventually Eddie stretched his arms above his head and stealthily lowered one along the back of couch and around Buck’s shoulders. Buck’s eyes must've widened comically at this point. He's quite sure he's made this move himself countless times before. Could Eddie really be flirting with him right now? He sneaked a glance at the man next to him and saw a slight blush on his cheeks. He decided to use the opportunity and snuggled closer to Eddie's side. Eddie's hand carefully touched his shoulder and started gently caressing his arm. Buck was definitely blushing himself now. This was actually happening, they were cuddling on his couch while watching a movie. He could feel the butterflies and nervous anxiety flowing through him.
After a couple of minutes sitting like that Buck carefully glanced to the side. He locked eyes with Eddie and they stared at each other for a moment. Eddie slowly leaned towards him and Buck slowly turned his head while both keeping eye contact. When their noses were about to touch Eddie looked down at what Buck presumed to be his lips. He closed his eyes and decided to let this moment come over him. Soft lips touched his own, very softly. After a couple of seconds of just touching, Buck kissed back just as tenderly. He raised his hand to Eddie's cheek and gently caressed it while moving his lips against Eddie's. They continued kissing for at least a minute, neither of them deepening the kiss. When their lips parted they made eye contact again. Buck was the first one to break the silence.
"Wow that was uh- nice?" It came out more like a question.
Eddie smiled. "Yeah. Yeah it was. I uh, I really like you Buck. Part of today was to show you how much you mean to me. I think I got that through." Eddie let out a laugh and Buck could feel his breath on his face.
"I really like you too, Eddie. Thank you so much for today, it really meant a lot to me. I was kinda dreading being alone today. I'm really glad you guys are here." They both smiled at each other and leaned in for another kiss.
This was definitely a much better Christmas than Buck had ever imagined.