Later, none of the team would remember what the call was even about. What they would remember however was how Buck, in a (possibly misguided) attempt to distract the young and visibly uncomfortable sex worker they were rescuing, blurted out: “Did you know that one of the most popular songs in Germany in the 80s was a song about a prostitute?”
Bobby might have scolded the young firefighter for the tactless approach, had it not worked or had the woman shown some other emotion than just pure confusion. “It was?” He motioned their colleagues to keep working.
Buck continued explaining. “Well, you see, the phone wasn’t as well-established then as it is now and this prostitute they are singing about, she was the only one that had a number you could call.”
“And they made a song about that?”
“A really popular song, it seems”, Buck shrugged.
Hen and Chimney slid her into the back of the truck, the rest of the team following suit shortly after.
“How does he even know that?”, Bobby asked when he passed Eddie.
The other man laughed. “Buck helped Christopher with a school project last week. They are talking about different musical decades in class and Christopher got the 80s. Don’t ask me how they ended up at European hit charts though.”
Bobby shook his head and followed his team into the truck.
On Friday, the team was deployed to help out on standby duty at a climate strike. So far, not much has happened to demand their attention, leading them to be able to observe the protesting teens.
“Do you think they are successful?”, Chimney asked Hen curiously.
“Hard to say”, the woman replied, “They are definitely getting the attention they want, that is for sure. I don’t know enough about it though. Denny is still too young to have an interest in it.” She shrugged.
“Chris has also yet to voice an interest”, Eddie chimed in, “how long do you think we still have until they start to lecture us on politics?” Hen laughed about it.
“I think they might be successful”, Buck voiced, “considering renewable energy sources already make up a third of the energy produced on earth, there is a good chance that with a push from these kids these numbers will increase.”
“A third?”, Chim pondered, “I would have thought it’d be less. Good for the planet though.”
“Yeah, I thought so too”, Buck agreed with a smile.
Expectedly, they did get some work to do, meaning right now, causing the paramedics to rush to help while Buck and Eddie stayed behind until they were needed.
“Did you learn that when researching with Christopher for that science project of his?”, Eddie asked the other man teasingly, bumping their shoulders softly.
“Maybe.” A cheeky grin accompanied Buck’s reply. Eddie shook his head fondly.
“A cat? In a tree?”, Eddie asked, “could it be more cliche?”
Buck only laughed and readied himself to climb the ladder.
Bobby approached the younger man to supervise the ordeal. “If he wasn’t so excited, I’m sure he’d tell you that the more cats get stuck in trees that we have to rescue, the more we get to cuddle with cute cats. Which”, he bobbed his head as if to think, all the while looking fondly up at the man reaching for the animal, “is not entirely untrue if you count holding a cat already as cuddling.”
“He’ll probably make the most of it on his way down”, Eddie jokingly replied the captain.
Both men followed Buck with their eyes as he was descending, the cat clutched tight and, in fact, keeping it as close to cuddling as the descent allowed.
“You were right”, Bobby nodded in the brunet’s direction before stepping towards Buck.
He greeted them by holding the cat to their faces. “Look at the eyes.”
The two men exchanged a surprised look before doing as told.
“Did you know you can tell the time by looking into a cat’s eyes?” Realizing the raised eyebrows he met with when looking up, Buck added apologetically, “I helped Chris with a fact sheet about cats.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen that fact listed on one of those before”, Bobby responded perplexed.
Buck shrugged. "I don't know when that would be useful anyway. It's still fun to know." He bobbed his nose against the cat's before carefully stroking its fur until its owners took it away from him, leaving him looking like a kicked puppy. Bobby patted him consolingly on the back.
"I think I wanna get a cat", Buck announced then, earning an amused look from Eddie.
"Does your apartment even allow pets?"
Buck sighed sadly, "I don't think so."
“Did you just put cinnamon into the hot chocolate?”, Eddie asked curiously, a smile tugging at his lips.
Buck turned around to where his friend leaned against the table. “I thought it might be good for Christopher. Seeing as cinnamon is supposed to be antispasmodic and supposed to stimulate the blood circulation which makes it perfect for gastrointestinal problems. He won’t even realize we’re giving him medicine.”
“And here I was, thinking you wanted to indulge him while he’s sick”, Eddie smirked, “Instead, you had ulterior motives.”
Buck started to fill the liquid into a mug he had just taken out of a cupboard. “I think when it comes to getting hot chocolate out of it, I think no one will dwell on my motives.” He grinned at his best friend. “Or would you like to dispute that?”
Eddie laughed fondly.
“How did you know that anyway?”, he asked then, “was that another one of Christopher’s school projects? Man, I really need to stop letting you help him or you will make everyone else feel inferior with all of the knowledge you amass.”
Buck bites his lip. “Does it bother you?”, he asked cautiously.
“What? That you help my son with his homework?”, Eddie asked, taken aback, “I would not know what to do without you.” Now it was his turn to bite his lip. He felt like he had said too much. “... helping my son with his homework”, he added quickly.
“No, I meant the me talking about all the random stuff I found out while researching with Christopher thing”, Buck clarified. With a playfully affronted look, he then added teasingly: “Also: is that all you keep me around for? To do homework with your son?”
“Hell no”, Eddie replied, “to both of those.” While he took his own mug of hot chocolate Buck was handing him, he debated internally if he should say more. Fuck it, he decided. “I like hearing you talk about these things. I can’t speak for anyone else but I enjoy listening to you, even if it’s rambling about German 80s songs or alternative time telling methods. And as to what I keep you around for...”, he stopped for a dramatic pause and sipped at his drink, “whatever reason I had in my mind before, it is now replaced by your hot chocolate.”
Buck stared at him, unamused. “Okay, give me your cup”, he ordered.
“Why?”, drawled Eddie and cocked an eyebrow, clutching his mug tight.
“You’re no longer allowed to drink my hot chocolate”, Buck stated and tried to get a grip on Eddie’s mug who recoiled and dodged him, every time Buck lunged forward to grab it.
“Stop it, you’re gonna spill the good chocolate”, Eddie shouted, laughing, taking a last step before realizing he was backed into a corner. Seizing the opportunity, he pushed his mug into the far corner behind him, shielding it with his body.
Buck would not be deterred from taking the hot chocolate away though, and wormed his arm around Eddie’s torso, pinning him against the counter in the process.
Shit, Eddie thought when his brain had processed their proximity.
“That’s dirty, man”, Buck mumbled when he resurged, “How could I anticipate that? You know your kitchen better than I do.”
“Barely”, Eddie muttered distractedly.
Buck halted and blinked at him.
Eddie forced himself to look up, fearful he’d blurt something else out. Something that would change their friendship. Make this easy banter impossible.
Buck reciprocated the eye contact, none of the men saying anything. After a few seconds, Eddie cleared his throat, desperate to distract from the fact that he got lost in his best friend’s eyes.
Said best friend surprisingly seemed just as shaken up, color surging into his face when his eyes wandered downwards and took in their closeness. When he looked back up, Eddie observed him curiously, averting his gaze as soon as their eyes met again.
Now it was Buck’s turn to clear his throat. “We should probably bring your son his hot chocolate.”
In a surge of confidence, Eddie made his smile turn into a smirk and said: “You’re not the one who can’t move because you’re being pinned against the kitchen counter.”
Buck blinked. “Right. Sorry.” He backed away and Eddie felt a pang of sadness at the sudden coldness where Buck’s body had touched his just a second ago.
In silence, they picked up the three mugs again and made their way to Christopher’s room, trading glances that were not as subtle as they thought.
Eddie stayed in the doorway while Buck handed Chris the chocolate, taking in the picture of the man interacting with his child. He’d like to keep it that way. Keep Buck in his house. In their little family.
Buck turned to smile at him, before sitting down on Christopher’s bed. All three of them sipped their drinks in silence, the sick child not having the energy to and both of the adults not knowing how to.
Christopher soon fell asleep again, as he’s been doing on and off for the whole day, making the men move back to the kitchen as to not wake him. Buck started to clean up, the silence continuing and starting to drive Eddie insane.
“This is awkward. Why is this awkward now?”, Buck finally interrupted. Turned to him. Eddie bit his lip, thinking about what to answer and how much to reveal of his own feelings. Bucks eyes flicked down to that movement which settled it for Eddie.
“I hope I didn’t misread this now.” He moved towards the other man whose eyes widened.
“I think”, Eddie explained, as he got closer, “that it feels weird because we grazed a line both of us did not try to cross until now.”
“Yeah”, Buck drawled, his eyes not leaving the other man’s even for a second, “I didn’t mean to. Does that mean you want to cross it now?”
“If you want to cross it too, then yes.” Eddie stopped in front of his best friend, oh wait, is that term even right anymore, looking at him expectantly.
“I definitely do, yes”, Buck exhaled and closed the gap between their bodies. Their lips found each other, the two of them not hesitating to drape their arms around each other and melting into the kiss.
When they parted, Buck sighed. “As nice as this is, now I dread going to work tomorrow.”
“Mhm”, Eddie replied, going in for another kiss, “I don’t want to be the one to tell Bobby.”
“Oh”, Buck’s face scrunched up in thought, “I was thinking more about the teasing from Hen and Chimney that I’d have to endure.”
Eddie grinned fondly. “I promise I’ll make it worth it.”