The day was a slow one, only a few calls taking place throughout their shift, mostly medical issues, and Eddie found himself bored out of his mind. Buck wasn’t working today, and a rather large part of him missed his best friend. Of course, Eddie knew that a large part of that was his own fault, since he had been ignoring Buck since the lawsuit and the apology and the street-fighting. Not because he hadn’t forgiven the younger man - he had, he most definitely had - but because the events had made Eddie realize just how much he had come to rely on Buck in his life, with Christopher and himself. And Eddie hadn’t known what to do about that, especially when, after seeing someone on Bobby’s persistence, he realized why he had come to rely on Buck so much, and why he had been so upset when he couldn’t rely on the younger man, or why he had been comparing Buck to Shannon a whole lot.
And the realization of that reasoning had been enough to knock Eddie backwards, like a punch to his jaw, and Eddie -- Eddie hadn’t known what to do with it. And he sure as hell didn’t handle it well enough, since all he had done was push Buck away whenever the younger man tried to talk to him or get things back to normal in their friendship.
Even though Eddie didn’t want things to be back to normal between them. He just didn’t know how to tell Buck that. Didn’t know if Buck would feel the same way.
He had about forty-five minutes left of his shift when the call came in, interrupting Eddie from his thoughts. Without much acknowledgement, Eddie had gone to the firetruck and started grabbing everything, his chest aching for some reason -- but Eddie ignored it, ignored how he felt fear coursing through his system as he jumped into the truck and got lost in the drive to their next call.
All throughout the ride, Eddie finds himself lost in his thoughts, barely noticing the scenery through the windows as they pass, ignoring the conversation Chim and Hen are having on the other side of the truck. His surroundings feel so empty without his best friend, and Eddie feels lost, but he knows there’s nothing he can do about that right now, especially with Buck having the day off, a rarity between the two of them, admittedly.
“We have an apartment on fire - a person stuck inside,” Bobby says over the coms, interrupting the spiral Eddie was slowly getting into, the man blinking sluggishly as he nods when he realizes everyone is waiting for some form of response from him. The next few blocks fly by, Eddie still not paying complete attention before he begins to recognize the turns the truck is making, having made them himself what feels like hundreds of times. Straightening up, Eddie’s eyes widen as he sucks back a gasp, Hen and Chim looking towards him, clearly confused at the outburst that’s come forth.
“Eddie, wha--” Chim begins, only to pause when Eddie lets out a sound that he knows the others have never heard him make.
“What was the address?” Eddie asks, and he can see the others frowning at him, but he only shakes his head, looking towards Bobby with pleading eyes, whimpering when the captain calls out the address before pausing.
“Cap, that’s Buck’s place,” Eddie whispers, a small pain coursing through him when Bobby nods, ignoring how Hen and Chim snap their heads to their captain, clearly surprised. The rest of the drive seems to go by annoyingly slow for Eddie, his entire body becoming more and more tense as he tries not to think about any worse case scenarios. When the firetruck finally arrives to the apartment building Buck lives in, Eddie can’t help but suck back a breath all while his heart pounds inside his chest and then completely falls when he sees how high the flames are - and when Eddie finally looks towards the wall of windows he knows belong to Buck specifically, he lets out a small whimper and shakes his head, stepping backwards as he tries his hardest to deny what he’s seeing.
“Bu-- BUCK!” Eddie yells, running forward only to be held completely back by arms around his waist. He can’t pay attention to those arms though, tries hard to break free from them and run upstairs, make sure Buck’s not in the building, even when he sees another team of firefighters leaving the building empty handed, shaking their heads.
He doesn’t realize he lets out a guttural scream, clawing and scratching at the arms holding him back when he realizes what that means, before falling to his knees in shock, eyes watering as he realizes that Buck is gone and he never got to tell him the truth about how he fucking felt.
When she first hears the call, she’s just leaving the scene of the fire that took place at Buck’s apartment. She felt numb, and she had no idea what she’s supposed to do next - no idea how to continue working, even though she feels like she’s lost almost everything important to her with the news that Buck’s apartment was in flames, that they found a body charred beyond recognition on the floor of the upper level.
The call comes in and causes Athena to frown, shaking her head briefly before she gets into the squad car and begins driving to where the apparent jam is. Apparently, some asshole had -- Athena, doesn’t even know, unable to pay attention to the words that were relayed to her through the comm system, even though she knows how dangerous that is. When she finally makes it to where the jam is, where everyone appears to be backed up, she lets her gaze roam the scene in front of her, frowning at the damaged bumper of the car that crashed into the tailgate of the car in front of it.
A car, Athena can’t help but think, that looks extremely familiar to her, a small frown in place as her eyes widen momentarily as shock and surprise courses through her entire system. She doesn’t realize what she’s doing as she makes her way to the all too familiar Jeep with the damaged back end, heart pounding fast inside her chest. When she finally makes it to the driver’s side of the jeep, what feels like an eternity later -- a small pained noise escapes from her as she shakes her head, “Buck? Buckaroo, what are you—” Athena gasps, knees failing, her body following the motion of falling.
“Everything okay, Athena?” She hears Buck ask, turning towards her with a small frown, moving out of his car and through the window before moving backwards and opening the car door.
“You look like you’ve seen a ghost, Athena. What’s wrong?” Buck questions after a few minutes with his own frown, stepping out of the car while Athena moves, startling him as her arms wrap around his neck as she pulls him in, breathes him in, her entire body relaxing briefly while Buck pats her back, clearly confused.
She doesn’t know how much time passes between the moment Athena hugs Buck and then pulls away, but as she takes him in carefully, she realizes he was nowhere near his building when it was set ablaze.
“Where -- what have you been doing all day, Buckaroo?” Athena asks, ignoring the way Buck looks at her with a small frown before looking around and arching his eyebrow.
“Had breakfast with Maddie, then did physical therapy, then groceries. I was just on my way home with them when this guy behind me rear-ended me. Why?” Buck asks, arms folding in front of his chest while Athena takes a few notes and then hands the paper off to another officer, blowing out a breath.
“Buck, your apartment was set on fire. The entire building went up in flames, originating from your apartment. There was a body inside the place that was burned beyond recognition and everyone thought it was you,” Athena whisper-shouts, ignoring the way Buck’s eyes widen in surprise.
“Shit,” Buck whispers, falling backwards in surprise, leaning against his car while Athena pulls out her phone, intent on calling Bobby immediately, wanting to share the news.
The moment Buck enters the room, Eddie loses all sense of decorum, immediately rushing towards the younger man and wrapping his arms around him, murmuring words that almost sound like nonsense. He knows a few of the words that are being said are words admitting love, but he ignores the way his heart pounds inside his chest, placing a few kisses on Buck’s forehead as Buck wraps his arms around Eddie’s waist, pulling him in closer.
“Eddie, Eddie, sh, it’s okay. I’m okay,” Buck whispers, fingers running through the hair that’s been growing out for the past few weeks. He misses being able to touch Eddie this way, misses the feeling of Eddie’s arms around him, but he breathes through it, arms wrapping around Eddie slightly tighter than before.
“I can’t -- I don’t want to think about you getting hurt in life without me not --” Eddie gasps and he briefly recognizes Buck telling him that everything is alright, that they’re going to be alright, the two of them moving forward together to kiss one another softly, Buck’s hands on Eddie’s cheeks, Eddie’s hands on top of buck’s as they continue to whisper to one another, ignoring everyone else.