After everything that happened from the bomb all the way to Eddie's secret fighting, Bobby felt like he was losing control of his team. It was hard to be the adoptive dad of four literal children. Especially Buck. Buck was a lot. Right now Chimney was doing the best out of all of them (well other than Bobby but even he was having some issues). It was time for them to get back into the family type swing of things.
Specifically Eddie. That man used to be the neutral glue that sort of kept them all from going crazy. But now, it's like he could hardly recognize the broken man. Then there was
the ambulance accident with Hen. The whole lawsuit drama. Yeah, they definitely needed this.
He got it cleared with the chief after his last shift. A team building exercise to bring back the old bond that they all used to have. Well, at least repair it quicker. It was getting there, slowly but surely but it was only a matter of time before someone messed up on a call and suddenly the whole group was in shambles. Again, they needed this.
Athena sighed, putting the clean dishes in the cabinet, "You really think this is going to work?"
"I know it is," He responds, hugging her from behind, "I think it would run a lot smoother if you were there, though."
She smiles, one only meant for him before pressing a kiss gently on his lips. They both knew she couldn't go. Athena has too much responsibilities here at the moment. Michael was getting worse so someone had to make sure that the kids and him would be alright.
"Well start getting ready," She frowns after pulling away. So he does. Whatever Athena Grant says goes. Bobby wasn't afraid to admit that.
Buck didn't mind road trips. But spending four hours in a rented shuttle van with his team and their significant others sounded like absolute hell. He really tried to get out this. Lord knows the blond tried but there was no use. It was mandatory. What made this one hundred percent worse was the fact that Maddie was coming which meant that a full out war would probably occur.
Don't get him wrong, he loved her. But a full two nights in the wilderness with her was a little much. The only good part about it was he got the front seat. Plus Eddie. Eddie was nice too.
They were still a bit rocky at times. It hasn't gone back to what it used to be between them. Especially after Buck practically threw himself at him in his kitchen that one night. Really what was that? He didn't know when the air became tense during that time. But it did. He couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Buck wasn't an idiot, despite contrary belief. The man was very in touch with his emotions and he knew that if Eddie was a girl, they would have ended up ripping each other's clothes off after that. Well, if Christopher wasn't there, too. He knows sexual tension. He just couldn't understand why he felt it with his best friend. It felt like they were standing at the very edge before crossing some unspoken line and they were waiting for the other to hurl the two over to the other side. Was Eddie aware of it?
"Okay, everyone. No phones. Except for Maddie and Karen," Bobby speaks up, holding out a bag, "Before you say anything, Eddie. Chris will be fine. I gave Carla Maddie's number in case of an emergency. Plus Athena is going to go check on him everyday."
The anxiety on his best friend's face was very prominent despite the captain’s best efforts to comfort him. This wasn't going to end well. Everyone groaned as they put in the phones. Bobby really wanted them as far as civilization as possible. Eddie shot his son a text before placing his phone. Buck felt naked.
"So, as you know, you're going to have partners for this trip. You will be sharing a tent. Then, we'll break up into groups of three during the day for the events. The teams are Eddie, Chim, and Karen versus Maddie, Hen, and Buck."
"Jeez Cap'," Hen says, "What did I do to get on your bad side? Buck and Buckette? Really?"
The glint in her brown eyes revealed she was joking. He glared at her with mock hurt anyways. Maddie sighed, "Tent partners? If I'm with Buck, I literally might cry. No offense, Buck."
Everyone was taking a shot at him today. He smiled, "None taken. You snore, anyways."
Maddie's cheeks were suddenly very rosy as she shot a glare at him, "I do not!"
"You do too! That's why you're all embarrassed!"
"Well, you talk in your sleep! Every. Single. Time."
“Yes, you do,” Eddie cut in.
Maddie raised her eyebrows up as Buck felt his cheeks getting red. This trip hasn’t even really started and he wanted to curl up in a ball for the rest of his life. What was up with the casual tone of that too? Hadn’t Eddie realized what he’d done?
Chim goes to open his mouth. Probably to make some wise crack about that but he would never find out what it would’ve been. Bobby interrupted, "Have fun, Hen. Here’s the first night partners. Karen you're with Maddie, Chim with Hen, and finally Buck with Eddie."
Of course he would do that. Chimney spoke up in protest, "Wait? I'm not with Maddie?"
The look on Hen's face mirrored his. Buck was honestly just happy he didn't have to share a small ass tent with Chimney because they would have probably ended up killing each other. Wait did he say first night?
"This isn't a romantic getaway. You won't be with your significant others at all during this whole tent experience. There will be no..."
"Sex?" Eddie finishes once Bobby was quiet for a bit. The older man just nods in response. The remainder of the group exchanges looks, as if they were all thinking something but no one was brave enough to say it. Buck felt left out.
Karen just screws her features before motioning to the best friends standing awfully close together, "What about those two?"
Now it was Buck's turn to get embarrassed. He told himself that's what the cause of the heat on his face was. Embarrassment. The captain looked between the boys, "I wasn't aware that was-"
"It's not," They both pipe up a little too quickly. Neither of them seemed to sound too sure either. Hen raised an eyebrow.
Buck felt Eddie's eyes on his face. But he didn't meet those hazel orbs because with how close their standing? Their shoulders pressed against each other? Their heads a little less than a foot apart? The blond wasn't too sure he could look away. So Evan Buckley did what he needed to.
He stepped away from Eddie and rested a hand on Bobby's shoulder. Then with a way too straight of a back along with a too toothy of a grin, he reassured the man by giving him a nod.
"Alright," He still sounded suspicious but continued anyways as the boy he saw as his own dropped the arm, "If you're lying and Athena finds out. You two won’t need to worry about me because these tents are hers. Anyways, night two, Buck will be with Hen and Eddie will be with Chim. Night three, Buck with Chim, Hen with Eddie. Any questions?"
"Um yeah," Buck replies, "Three-"
Bobby claps his hands and walks away with the bag of phones. Three whole nights? Without a shower? Without Netflix? Without Christopher? At all? It seemed like torture knowing they can't call anyone now. God, this was going to be a long weekend.
After a long car ride, they finally arrived to the camp site. Bobby instructed them to get with their partners and start setting up the tents before it got too dark. They had left around ten in the morning, stopped a couple of times for bathroom breaks and to get food, plus with the LA traffic it took almost an hour or two longer to get here then it was supposed to.
Eddie picked a spot before getting set up. Buck tried his best to help but the older man took control of the whole thing. Soon enough, he was scolding Buck like the man was five years old, "What are you doing?"
"Exactly what you told me to do!" Buck said, exasperated, "I'm holding the pole up in place!"
"You're tilting it too far to the left!"
"Eddie, man, you know how much I care about you. But, I'm this close to strangling you."
A pair of brown eyes glare back at him with annoyance but not enough for Buck to feel hurt. Then, a voice says from the distance, "Kinky."
A sound of a thwap and Chimney-like protests reveals that it was in fact, her sisters boyfriend. The heat from earlier returned immediately. So, instead of trying to explain to Eddie, he moved pole, "Is this good enough? Or are you going to tell me I'm too straight now?"
A sad smile formed on his best friend's face, "No, it's fine, Buck. Sorry for getting annoyed. You're perfect just like that."
The last sentence made his heart skip a beat. Perfect. But there was something behind the way he stated that and the melancholy look on his face just made him feel like he'd done something wrong. After the tents were all set up, the group made a fire.
They were sitting around it on fold out chairs, all drinking beers and having a good time. Well, Bobby didn't drink. The man was was more than happy watching the team make fools out of themselves as the night went on. It was just starting to feel like they were family again which brought a whole different type of warmth into Buck's chest.
Eventually, it was time to go to bed. Buck, Eddie, and Bobby put the fire out while Hen gave Karen a kiss goodnight. Chimney had already said his good nights to everyone and was in his and Hen's tent probably passed out. Buck took this quiet time to appreciate the nature around him.
The sky was clear and every star could be seen. No light pollution had managed to reach this far out into the woods which really caused an amazing sight. The long trees around the clearing did sort of block the view though. Maddie came up and hugged him goodnight before following Karen into the tent.
A gush of cool wind had the rest of the men running into their own tents. Eddie wrapped himself up in a blanket before crouching down to turn off the lantern. The tent was pretty small for the two but they'd managed. At least, that's what he thought.
Eddie sat down, "Tonight was good..."
The tone sounded far off. He meant it but there was no doubt about that but the man was thinking about something. About someone. Buck sat opposite of him. "Yeah," The blond responded, "I know you're worried about Christopher. Trust me, though, he's with your abuela and Carla. Those two love that boy to death."
He patted Eddie's knee. Something about this just felt right. The way he was comforting him about Christopher to ease his best friend's racing thoughts, the small smiles, and the little to no energy. It was all so domestic.
"You're right, man."
The tent fell into silence. They had a tiny flashlight light so it wasn’t completely dark in there but that would be going off soon. Buck felt weird. Almost like he was too insecure to fall asleep next to Eddie out here with no escape. Maybe it had something to do with Maddie telling him he talked in his sleep. No. It was the fact that if he had a nightmare, there would be no ignoring it.
Eddie would know that Buck wasn't as fine as he acted. That day haunts him. It was like a ghost that would never leave him alone. Reminding him that he lost the one thing that mattered the most in that situation and almost never got it back. Buck believed Buck 2.0 died back there. That version of him was somewhere lost at sea and never to be seen again.
Buck 3.0 was the person he feared he'd become one day if he had decided to stick with the military route. A man who had to turn it off. It wasn't like he wanted to but he needed to if he wanted to continue on with his life. The nightmares reminded him of that.
Buck slowly moved his hand off of his friend and laid down, looking up at the tent roof. He wouldn't let it win. Tonight had been good. So, the man pushed the scary memories away and replaced them with the smell of a crackling fire along with the noise of laughing friends.
Eddie followed suit. That's when they realized that the tent situation was less than ideal. Their bodies were pressed up against each other from shoulder to thigh. To prevent an accidental spooning situation the two would most likely have to sleep back to back. "Why did Karen say that to Bobby today?" Buck suddenly asked.
He didn't even know that would come out. Word vomit from overthinking probably. The younger one continued, "I mean. She wasn't kidding either."
The sound of Eddie turning to face him was so loud compared to the small voice. The brunet flinched. It was almost like they were too afraid of being heard, "You know them, Buck. They always have some type of bet going on like the gamblers they are."
That earned a slight laugh from the both of them. They surrendered to the quietness again, the only sound now was wildlife living around them. It kept Buck grounded. Eddie grabbed a blanket and gave it to his best friend along with a pillow.
The boys got themselves situated underneath their own blankets again. Eddie stayed facing Buck. The thudding within the taller man's chest was accelerating more as he realized what was going on. "Hey Buck," Eddie whispered.
Buck dared to steal a look but that was a mistake. Now he was stuck. Blue eyes trapped inside a maze of brown. His friend scratched his own cheek before asking gently, "Do you still have nightmares? Like I know you did last time when you slept in the guest room at my house but this is different. You're in the middle of nowhere."
Of course Eddie would ask. Buck turned his body to face him. He swallowed, "Yeah, man. I'll be okay. I'll go take a walk if I have one and be fine. Don't worry."
There was silence again. A different vibe was starting to fill the air every second that passed as they sat there, the little night light illuminating their faces only slightly. It could only be recognized as that feeling where you both agree that this is what you want. It was peaceful, more than it usually was. As if a sacrifice to the inevitable end. The closing of one chapter and the beginning of a new one.
So there they were again, standing at the edge of the line. This time, instead of waiting for someone to push them both over at full-throttle, they were looking at each other and realizing that if they wanted it then they would need to go slowly over it together when they were ready. God, they were so ready. Yet, there was still uncertainty. It wasn't in what they had but more of why they had it to begin with. This was new.
At the end of their paths of exes, they weren't expecting to see the other standing there. Anticipating the next lover to come around, hoping that this one would stick. But there they were.
Buck let out a shaky breathe as he scooted closer to Eddie. The other man didn't move, just waiting for him to be ready to do this. Was he? Their faces were inches apart. So close but so far.
He was ready to finally give into this. After almost losing each other several times, this was what had to happen. They just needed to grow a pair. With a heart beating louder by the second, Buck asked in the softest voice he's ever had, "Would it be alright if I try something?"
His friend nodded in response. The blond swallowed. The stillness was left unnoticed at this point. Buck slowly set his hand on Eddie's face. Hope had barged in as soon as the man grabbed the wrist but didn't pull him off. Then, Buck did it. He closed his eyes and pressed his lips again his best friends. It was quick but not awkward, just hesitant. Neither opened their eyes as they did it again, meeting halfway this time.
The two kisses held a curiosity in them, unsure on if this was right. The questioning of was it just the moment or has this been something that they both wanted but never chased was there. Buck knew his answer. He's wanted this for a while. By the end of the second kiss, he knew Eddie's too. The feeling was mutual.
So Buck moved his hand to grab the man by the hips and pull him closer as they kissed again. This time much more like how adult should kiss rather than two teenagers that had no idea what the hell they were doing. Buck sat up a bit to lean on his elbow, causing Eddie to roll onto his back. A hand was in his blond hair now, the other on his hip. Evan slid his hand to rest on the inside of the brunet's thigh.
Just as they were about to really get into what they were doing, Buck remembered what Bobby had told them. Athena was going to kill them if they did anything not particularly innocent in this tent. So before they could be dumbasses, he pulled away. Rather abruptly, too.
Eddie eyes shine with confusion, "What's wrong?"
Buck takes in the situation for the moment, satisfied with how they probably looked right now. Swollen lips, dazed eyes, and hands all over each other. It was perfect but it had to stop for now out of respect for everyone else plus Athena, "We're not alone and remember what Bobby said earlier?"
Eddie sighed, bringing his hand to rest on the back of the blonds neck, "You're right, querido."
"Twice in one night?" He gleamed, "Wow, you're admitting I'm right not only once but twice? Do you feel okay?"
Eddie rolled his eyes as the younger boy moved his hand off of the lower area to instead rest on his forehead. A hand gripped his in response and placed the woven fingers onto the man’s chest rather than his forehead. It was a simple action but it left Buck's heart soaring to the thought that this was a thing. He could be this close to Eddie and hold hands. He begged for time to quit passing.
"Well, you were actually making sense tonight, which was surprising."
Buck smiled. It was genuine for the first time since the Christmas Party. "I'd argue that I'm always right."
A shiver went down his spine as Eddie absentmindedly traces a design on the back of his neck. They were both happy for the first time in forever and they were doing it together. Evan couldn't help but plant another kiss and smiled once Eddie kissed right back. It felt like his chest was going to explode.
Eddie pulled away this time, realization dancing across his features, "Christopher is going to have a field day with this one."
"I think everyone will have a field day with this."