Actions

Work Header

The Way You Make Me Feel

Chapter Text

Buck is honestly surprised the place hadn’t burned down sooner. 

It has to be the oldest bar in Los Angeles, a shoddy little brick building shoved between a nail salon and another nail salon, depressingly dim with the broken light-up signs hanging in the window, perpetually in need of fixing. Nothing about it is up to code: the floors are always sticky, any piece of furniture that can wobble does, and more than once a patron had to dodge a picture frame that jumped off it’s rusty nail on the wall.

Still, leaning tiredly against a lamp post with sirens blaring in the distance, Buck can’t say he isn’t a little sad to see it go. For all its flaws, it wasn’t a bad place to work. 

Most of the night’s patrons still linger around the empty building, hysterically talking over each other as the building goes up in front of them like the world’s biggest bonfire. Buck tries to focus on the voices, force himself to pick apart the individual voices in order to keep himself cognizant, but every part of him aches. His throat burns, his eyes have been tearing up ever since he first ran back into the building, and he’s convinced he twisted something in his leg while dragging out the last of the patrons. 

No matter how blissful just collapsing into an unconscious pile in the middle of the street sounds, he forces himself to stay alert, pressing his temple to the cool metal of the streetlamp he’s draped over, letting the sting of it keep him awake.

The fire truck rolls up just as the flames abruptly jump, licking against the windows with an obscene cracking noise that has the crowd screaming.

“Everyone, clear out to the other side of the street!”

Already stumbling away from his lamppost, following orders on autopilot, Buck watches as an older man jumped out of the front seat and immediately take action. He must be the captain - his presence fills the entire street. 

As the tipsy and scared crowd slowly begins to process the commanding man’s orders, a smaller firefighter tipping his helmet down grumbles to his partner, “what is it with people hanging around fires? It’s like they want to blow up.”

His partner, looking no less annoyed as they fight through the stream of people, responds dryly, “probably shock. And the fact they’re all drunk off their asses.”

Their voices float away in the night air, swallowed up by the billow of the flames.

“Diaz, check to see if the building’s clear. Martinez, Lewis, work on venting those flames - ”

“No one’s in there.” Buck doesn’t realize he’s the one speaking until two heads whip towards him. “Everybody’s out.”

The captain looks him over skeptically. Buck, despite how much the action offends his ego, doesn’t blame him. Stooped over as he is, he doesn’t look like a man of much authority, especially not against a fire captain. “How would you know that?”

Buck swallows, trying to unstick his tongue from the roof of his mouth. The more he tries to talk, the dizzier he begins to feel, the ache in his throat transforming into an unpleasant burn. “If anyone was still in there, I would be going back to get them.”

This takes the older man by surprise. He shares a look with the firefighter next to him, the only one who hadn’t immediately run to building when the truck arrived on the scene. 

“Trust me,” Buck continues, resisting the urge to fidget underneath their scrutinizing gazes. “If the flames reach the other buildings, this entire block is going to turn into a bomb. Everyone’s out - focus on the fire.” Then, feeling like he is being a little too assertive about something that was nowhere near his profession, he tacks on a mild “please.”

“It’s true!” hollers a curvy blonde woman clinging to her friend’s arm. “He even dragged us out of the bathroom!”

Buck turns in the direction of her voice - maybe to thank her for the support, he doesn’t really know what he had in mind - but the movement is too fast for his body’s liking and he ends up sprawling on the ground, gravel scraping against his cheek and palms in his failure to catch himself. 

The captain’s voice slithers around him, incoherent as Buck uses the dregs of his tapped strength to roll onto his back. His view of the night sky is abruptly blocked by a pair of warm brown eyes.

“Sir, can you hear me?”

Buck struggles to nod. Large hands cup his shoulders and slowly bring him up to a sitting position. He squints against the brightness of a small flashlight being waved in his eyes.

“Can you tell me what happened?”

Buck swallows, wincing as the burn in his throat evaporates all the moisture in his mouth. “I think the sound system connected to the karaoke machine sparked, caught fire.”

“Seems like the whole place caught pretty quick.”

Buck struggles to recall the scene; it can’t have been more than ten minutes ago but the event is already beginning to slip from his mind like water. “A drink fell off a nearby table, made the fire grow. Sticky floors,” he also adds, because it seems important, but he can’t tell if it actually is an important detail by the way the firefighter’s mouth quirks up briefly on one side.

“Did you work there?” Buck’s arms are lifted, his singed sleeves rolled farther up his arms for the burn marks to examined. He hadn’t registered them until this point, when they are clinically poked and prodded for inspection.

Buck hisses out an affirmative, wanting to give in to the childish temptation to yank his hand away. “Bartender.”

After another minute of looking over both arms, Buck is allowed to drop them in favor of the other man checking his head.

“Well, it looks like you’ll live to mix drinks for another day. Don’t know how many drink orders you still have in your head, though. Feel dizzy? Nauseous?”

“Throat hurts.” At the urging of a hand on his jaw, Buck opens his mouth so the flashlight can be waved around. 

“Smoke inhalation, but nothing that should cause permanent damage, I think. But your head’s okay?”

Buck blinks. “I think so?”

An exasperated huff stirs the hair against his forehead. “That’s not too reassuring. Can you tell me your name?”

“Evan,” he replies immediately, then shakes his head and corrects himself. “Buck.”

The firefighter pulls back and searches his eyes, but Buck firmly repeats. “Buck. I go by Buck.”

“Okay,” is the response he gets, not sounding completely satisfied.

“What’s your name?” Buck thinks to ask. Seeing as how he’s been feeling the other’s man breath on his face for the past handful of minutes, it seems only fair he gets that much information.

“Eddie Diaz.”

“Alright, Eddie Diaz. Can I go home now? I kinda feel like this ash is molding into my skin.”

Diaz frowns at him. “You’re going to the hospital so they can look you over.”

Buck stares up at him in confusion. “Isn’t that what you’re doing?”

“I don’t have the proper equipment to check you over completely. And your burns need to be treated, and so does your smoke damage.”

“You said there wouldn’t be any permanent damage.”

“Yeah, as long as a doctor checks you out, there won’t be.”

Buck grumbles even as Diaz gets him standing to lead him over to the ambulance. He’s prompted to sit on the edge as the other man prepares an oxygen mask. Buck accepts the mask and presses to his face, finally tuning back into his surroundings. The crowds seems to have finally gotten the message to go home, only half a dozen people still peppering the sidewalk, waiting to be checked over for injuries. The fire has shrunk massively, reduced to an orange glow that burns vaguely in the doorway and massive plumes of smoke, dark enough to be visible even in the night air, their rolling figures illuminated by street lamps. 

Buck fights tooth and nail as the fire is stomped out to be allowed to go home, but Diaz doesn’t budge. He feels fine, really, after sitting for so long with the oxygen tank, but Diaz insists that his burns and cuts need to be looked over in a sterilized environment.

“And,” the brunet adds, one hand sliding behind Buck’s head to gently explore his scalp, “I think you might have a concussion.”

Buck serves him a flat look, but the scorn of it is diminished by the oxygen mask still pressed greedily against his face. “I’ve fallen down before, you know. I think I can handle a concussion on my own.”

Diaz stares back, equally unimpressed with Buck’s attitude. “You’re going to the hospital. Just be lucky I’m letting you ride on the bench and not strapping you to the gurney.”

Feeling himself losing the battle, Buck lets himself be carted away. Thankfully, he was the only one the firefighters deemed injured enough for the ambulance, so it is just him and Diaz, accompanied by the two paramedics who looked over the rest of the crowd. The shorter man tells Buck to call him Chimney and his partner introduces herself as Hen.

Buck furrows his brow, half-sure he misheard. “How do you get a nickname like Chimney?”

Eddie and Hen immediately begin to laugh as Chimney splutters indignantly.

“Not even all of my coworkers know that story,” he huffs. “No way am I telling you, Mysterious Bartender Hero.”

Still intrigued, but mostly exhausted as the night catches up with him, Buck let it go and continues sucking down oxygen, feeling his eyelids grow heavier with each mile. 

A persistent tapping on his knee has him struggling to bring his eyes up. It’s Hen, leaning back in her seat from where she stretched over the gurney to get his attention.

“That was quite the stunt you pulled back there,” she says in an awed tone mingled with a healthy amount of admonishment. It remains him of his sister; he blames it on the potential concussion. “You have a history in the field?”

Buck shakes his head. “I did basic training for the Seals, but I never actually served.”

“That had to be, what, forty people you dragged out of that place? Fifty?” Chimney lets out a low whistle. “That isn’t easy. And none of them had anything more severe than mild smoke inhalation.”

Buck just shrugs, fidgeting awkwardly underneath the trio’s focused attention. 

“That was pretty crazy,” Diaz adds from beside him. “Running in there and snatching people up like that. No regard for your personal safety.”

Buck tenses up, defensive. “I wasn’t going to let them die in there. It’s not like my life is worth any more than any of theirs.”

He meets Eddie’s gaze head on, even though he feels like shying away underneath the intensity of it.

The other man tilts his head, analyzing him with an expression Buck can’t grasp, then shifts away and lets Buck settle into the wall of the ambulance for the rest of the ride.

Like Buck expected, he has no severe injuries - not even a concussion, even though he is the unwilling owner of a dull headache pounding behind his eyes. He wants to gloat to Diaz about being so worried for nothing, but as soon as Buck was handed off to the nurses waiting at the loading doors, ambulance 118 had driven off into the night.

After nodding his way through a doctor’s instructions on how to treat his burn wounds - change the gauze every six hours, let them breathe between dressings, apply aloe to the irritated ones - Buck signs the discharge papers and walks to the next street over to catch the bus. 

As he waits alone, the only one trying to board a bus at two in the morning, he texts Maddie about his night, sure the demise of one of LA’s oldest bars would circulate quickly. He leaves out his heroics, telling her he got some mild injuries, but not to worry because he was already checked over at the hospital and now on his way home. 

He doesn’t mention that he was practically kidnapped by the firefighters to be taken to the hospital, however. His sister doesn’t need any more ammunition about how he needs to start taking better care of himself.

Maddie responds at lightning speed with several worried emojis and a lot of questions punctuated with dozens of question marks and exclamation points. Eventually he just sticks his phone in his jeans pocket and lets it buzz as Maddie lectures him through a string of texts. As impressed as he was with his sister’s texting abilities, Buck almost wishes she would just call to yell at him so she could get it out all in one breath.

When the bus finally arrives, he drags himself on and flops into the nearest seat, leaning in his head against the window and loving the feel of cold glass against his temple.

The ride passes in a blur. He notes that the buzzing in his pocket has finally stopped, but doesn’t pull his phone out to read the texts. In the morning, he’ll read them and call Maddie so she can hear how properly chagrined he is, but for now all he wants to do in sleep.

He stumbles into his building, up the steps instead of waiting for the notoriously slow elevator. He strips at the door, barely shutting and locking it before he’s kicking off his shoes and fumbling with his belt. A trail of clothes is left behind him as he makes the hellishly long walk to his bed: shoes and jeans by the door, shirt on the stairs, socks at the foot of his bed.

With a big sigh that whooshes from his chest as soon as he flops underneath the covers, Buck yanks the covers over his head and blocks out the world.

His last thought before he fully drifts off is how pissed the director is going to be when he shows up to set in a few days covered in bandages and cuts.

Chapter Text

Over the past five months, Eddie has gone from viciously disgusted to himself to only feeling nauseatingly guilty about running a BDSM business out of the same home he lives in with his eight-year-old son.

In El Paso, it was easier. Before he met Shannon, before he had Christopher, Eddie would meet with his clients in a nondescript brick building full of dungeons that belonged to several other Doms just like him. He had to rent the room out each time, but at least there was a clear distinction between work and home, and absolutely no risk of him scarring an innocent child for life.

Once he met Shannon, they got married, and he enlisted again, Eddie never thought he would return to the kink community in full force. Shannon was never into it, and they always had perfectly fine vanilla sex that left him satisfied. Even after they separated and Shannon made it abundantly clear there would be no grace period between their separation and the renewal of their dating lives, Eddie didn’t have the desire to dive back in. He didn’t lose interest, per se, in the rush he got when he dominated and took care of someone in the way they needed, but too many variables had been added it for him to enjoy it with a clear conscience like he once did - Chris, of course, being the biggest factor. He barely felt comfortable having plain sex with Shannon after Chris was born, and she was Christopher’s mother for god’s sake, nevermind the thought of sexually dominating a stranger.

Now, his dungeon resides in the guest bedroom. Sure, there’s no rent, and his apartment is decidedly more attractive than the dark play room they gave him for his sessions all those years ago, but there’s no hiding the fact from his conscience that his son’s bedroom is only two doors down and their walls aren’t exactly soundproof.

But Los Angeles was an expensive place to live. Even the cheapest place Eddie managed to find that could support his son’s needs was more than twice the price they paid for a house in Texas. Combined with the private school tuition and the costs of an aid, Eddie’s only hope of making half of what he needs just as firefighter would be to rank as captain, which wasn’t happening anytime soon.

The three years since the divorce has seen him coming to terms with the fact that he might be a decent father (a great one, if his family has anything to say about it), Eddie hinges heavily on that belief as he slowly fills the spare bedroom with equipment, even if he still doesn't quite believe it. Rope, cuffs, floggers, paddles. He keeps them in compact storage bins that fit neatly under the bed. Christopher has never been the type of kid to snoop - not even for Christmas presents, which convinces Eddie he was truly sent a saint as a child - but it’s not counting as snooping if Chris walks by the door and sees a bunch of sex toys hanging on the wall.

After his thirty-six hour shift, Eddie unwinds by helping his son with his fractions then treating both of them to a couple Disney movies of Christopher’s choosing. Blessedly, the shift was quiet up until the last five hours, which included a fantastic bar fire with a strangely heroic and stubborn bartender. The only downside was that Eddie is full of adrenaline even hours after tucking his son in. All keyed up and no call to answer, he takes his laptop and locks himself in the guest bedroom.

Before, when he worked underneath a company name, Eddie hadn’t been in charge of his profile or any kind of website. When he first got the job, they had him write up a neat little description, mainly what he looked like and what kind of services he offered, but it was barely more than a Twitter bio that they subsequently dressed up to entice clients in. Although the company went out of business shortly after he went on his first tour, the website’s still up, an archive of El Paso’s kink scene in the early aughts. 

Luckily, the internet is kind to people like him, who are not exactly what could be called tech-savvy. He only has to scour for ten minutes before finding a site that lets individual sex workers post profiles for potential clientele to view. There’s a forty-eight hour review period, he assumes for background checks and legitimacy, but it still allows him to draw a mock-up of what his profile would look like.

Eddie doesn’t have much in terms of a portfolio of his work. He gives the email address he made just for this purpose and attaches a hyperlink to the old business in El Paso, hoping it would be enough even if it was outdated. The place didn’t shut down because it wasn’t safe, after all, it just couldn’t stay afloat well enough to remain open and bowed out of the game gracefully before they had to declare bankruptcy. 

Eddie considers his bio carefully. He doesn’t want to reveal too much; he’s heard horror stories of people trying to keep their personal lives separate from their sex work and failing miserably. He is already toeing that line dangerously by having his clients come to his home and using his real name. But if he doesn’t give enough information he runs the risk of seeming predatory and dangerous, and while he wants people to come to him for the pain they need, he doesn’t want their fear. 

Sighing, he decides to skip over himself entirely and get to the real brunt of the page: the services he provides.

 

Mr. Diaz is an experienced professional Dom that provides sexual and non-sexual domination.

He specializes in painplay, service topping, breathplay, bondage, corporal punishment, and humiliation. Bloodplay, watersports, scat, vomit, and exhibitionism are hard limits. Anything not listed is open to discussion at first consultation. Length and cost of each session will vary according to what the client is looking for and what activities are desired. 

Appointments will be made on a client-to-client basis. Mr. Diaz has an irregular schedule, which means there is no possibility of routine sessions, but clients can always reach out to book in at least two week’s advance.

Mr. Diaz’s primary concern is the safety and enjoyment of the client. No sessions will include anything that isn’t explicitly consented to beforehand. Negotiation, safewords, and aftercare are mandatory and will not be neglected under any circumstances. Any attempts to do so will result in immediate removal and flagging of the client.

 

It’s nerve-wracking to see his name before a list of a bunch of things that would, in most conservative circles, get him branded as a sexual deviant. But it’s been six months in this new city and he’s made a name for himself as a damn good firefighter - he passed in the top of his class at the academy, and the department can’t fire him on the grounds of sex work. That’s discrimination, and illegal, and one of the first things he looked up when considering a career as a firefighter.

Still. Things would change if his coworkers ever found out. He doesn’t think he would be ostracized, but there’s no telling how their opinion of him would change, especially his captain.

Would they trust him less? Find him to be perverted, a sadist?

Before he can talk himself out of it, Eddie hits save and closes his laptop.

 


 

In the morning, Eddie opens his email to find an automated message that cheerily tells him he’s been approved.

 




Much to Buck’s delight, the burns only had to remain bandaged for another week after his hospital visit. He still applied liberal amounts of aloe between the dressings, but his arms and the back of his neck are still an angry looking red when he throws the bandages out for good. Luckily, there doesn’t seem to be any permanent scarring, and that’s really the best he could ask for, given the circumstances.

Lou, the director of the shoot he was supposed to be filming a few days after the bar caught fire, does not share Buck’s optimistic outlook. No matter how much Buck apologizes, or points out that it’s not like he started the damn fire, Lou does a bunch of heavy sighing and disappointed muttering when Buck calls him to bow out the next morning. If Lou was someone whose opinion actually mattered to Buck, he would feel a little guilty for leaving the man hanging with such short notice.

As it was, Lou isn't the most stellar man. Not only is he more homophobic than what should be possible for a director of gay adult films, he also has a big reputation for being incredibly cagey when it came to payment. Having done two shoots with him before, Buck had been dragged through the ringer the weeks after his performances, only finally receiving his checks weeks later than originally agreed upon. 

But the man is also one of the most popular directors for the biggest up-and-coming porn site of the year. He is an ass, no doubt about it, but an ass with a following. His videos are watched, and that’s all a person could ask for when it came to what jobs to accept. 

Who Buck really feels bad for is Kyle, the other star of the shoot. He's sweet, even younger and newer to the scene than Buck. He's also an incredibly attractive twink who looks good in any position he bent in, which has him earning new followers practically in his sleep. He's nice enough, if a little shy and introverted, especially when it came to other people in the business. He and Buck went out for drinks enough times for Buck to know that porn wasn’t his big plan, his final stop. It rarely is when it came down to what people wanted to do with the rest of their lives, Kyle seemed more reluctant about his work in front of a camera than most.

Fortunately, Kyle would still have a job, even if Buck didn’t. Solo shoots paid less, but with how entertaining it was to watch Kyle debauch himself, Buck has no doubts his video would get a decent amount of traction.

With his week now free, Buck decides to ignore that blaring fact that he’s now unemployed by making a lunch date with Maddie. She readily agrees and sends the address of a sandwich near the dispatch center that she adores.

Even though she just saw him last week, Maddie greets him with tight hug that Buck happily returns. It was hard, those years that she spent away from him, even if she never really wanted to leave in the first place. It made the house lonelier, and harder to survive, with it being one versus two, youngest child versus two authoritative parents. But now that they live in the same city and see each other nearly everyday, it's easy to forget they were ever separated in the first place.

Once they’ve placed their orders, Maddie leads him to secluded table tucked in a corner.

“Let me see,” she demands in her no-nonsense sisterly tone, holding out her hands. It’s a tone that he’s unbearably fond of, even if it does make him feel like a child again, so with little fuss Buck lets her examine the remaining traces of the burns, still soft with the liberal amounts of aloe he applied before he left his apartment that morning.

Maddie makes a humming noise, and once she’s thoroughly convinced his arms won’t spontaneously fall out of their sockets, she releases them.

“They’re healing up nicely,” she comments with a hint of teasing, “finally got it through your thick skull to do what you’re told?”

“I do what I’m told,” Buck argues, but he’s smiling because he knows she’s mostly joking, “especially when it comes to the physical stuff. My body is my temple, Mads. Have to keep it in top condition.”

He makes a faux-smoldering look to get a laugh, but Maddie’s expression noticeably dims. Buck feels a little bad for killing their jovial mood only minutes after they’ve sat down, but his work was going to come up eventually. Better sooner than later, and on his terms.

“So, how’s work going for you?” Maddie phrases it carefully, rolling the words around her mouth before she lets them out, trying to see if they taste right. Buck doesn’t miss the way her eyes flit to the closest table near them, even though it’s well out of earshot.

Buck has long since gotten over being ashamed of saying he does porn. He’d spent his entire life being praised for winning the genetic lottery, even with the birthmark that sliced his eyebrow and took up residence on his eyelid. He’d always been athletic, charming, and a sex-positive type of person. School had never been for him, even if he did enjoy learning new things. He was always just a beat behind everyone else; when his classmates moved on to multiplication, he was still working on addition. 

He knew that that disappointed his parents, that his intelligence was meeker than the mightiness of his sister’s. He knew his struggle with school worried his sister about his future, about what would come next for him.

But Buck had spent most of high school hiding in his room looking at muscled backs and beefy arms of the male stars of porn. He looked at Playboys, male underwear ads on TV and in magazines, the handsome chiseled jaws of actors in movies, and was never really worried. If there was one thing the world would never tire of, it was looking at pretty people.

Adult entertainment hadn’t been his first choice. It rarely is. Like most of the other models he’s worked with, it is little more than a stepping stone - an easy way to earn a lot of money in a short amount of time. It keeps him afloat while he figured out what to do next.

The only hitch in his plan is that Buck has no idea what he wants to do next.

Buck shrugs, toying with the straw in his soda. “Lou wasn’t too thrilled about me bailing on him at the last second, but I guarantee he’ll be calling me with a new shoot idea before the month’s over. I have another lined up for late next week.”

Maddie darts her eyes back to the red, scarred planes of his arms. “Are you sure you’ll be up to...that much physical activity so soon?”

Buck smiles to reassure her. The shoot, in all honesty, is a fanservice piece. He and another rising star were told it would be a lot of tongue action and missionary fucking, nothing too sternuous or acrobatic. But Maddie is never thrilled to hear the details of it all, so he simply says, “I should be fine.”

She doesn’t look too convinced, but before she can say anything more, an agonized teenager in a matching brown cap and apron set is calling out their order number. When Buck returns, plunking down their food and an obscene amount of ketchup packets, he readily changes the subject. “So, how’s the high-stakes life of a first responder going?”

Always one to see right through him, Maddie narrows her eyes but thankfully takes her cue to let the attention settle on her for a while.

“Josh and I have been saddled with training some new recruits,” she begins as she mixes her ketchup. She adds liberal amounts of salt and pepper to the lake of it and stirs it all with a fry before popping it in her mouth. “The girl I got is really sweet, but I don’t know if this is the right field for her.”

“No good at talking?”

Maddie sighs. “I wouldn’t know. She shakes like a leaf every time I try to get her to take a call. I know she wants to help people, and she is really smart, but I don’t think she can handle the pressure of it.”

“Maybe it’s just first day jitters.”

Maddie doubles up two long fries and stirs them absentmindedly. “That’s what Chim said. But this isn’t the kind of job where you can just sit on the sidelines for too long, you know? And - ”

“Wait, who said that?”

Maddie rolls her eyes. “Buck, I know I’ve mentioned Chimney to you before.”

Buck licks mayo from the side of his mouth. “Yeah, your boyfriend.”

“Oh, so you do pay attention when I say things.”

Buck waves her on to continue, and Maddie readily rolls back into her worries for this new girl, but Buck's thoughts trail away from the conversation almost as soon as she starts speaking. All he can think about is the firefighter in the back of the ambulance with the exact same nickname as his sister’s boyfriend.

Maddie has mentioned that her boyfriend was firefighter before. He remembers thinking that Chimney was a very specific nickname that must have a good story behind it when Maddie first told Buck about him, but that had been in the first few months of Buck’s arrival in Los Angeles.

And with all the commotion of the fire, with the handsome brown-eyed firefighter hovering in his space and the whole ordeal of only being on the barest cusps of consciousness, Buck’s mind hadn’t been in any shape of connecting the crew on the scene with his sister’s love life.

But how many people can share a nickname like Chimney?

“What house did you say Chimney was with?”

Maddie glares at him. “The one eighteen,” she answers begrudgingly.

Brief images flit through his mind: the side of the ambulance, the bold white numbers stamped across it barely legible through the glass bay windows as it escapes down the street.

“Huh.”

Maddie gives up on her venting completely. “What ‘huh’?”

“Did your boyfriend mention anything about the bar fire on Westend last weekend?”

Confusion clouds her face for a split second before concerned anger takes over. “Evan Buckley! Are you telling me you are the same dumbass bartender that kept running into a burning building my boyfriend was telling me about?”

“I figured you knew! I told you I was there that night!”

“You didn’t tell me you were playing hero!”

Buck spreads his arms, putting his remaining injuries on display. “Mads, I’m fine. And, even better, everyone else is fine. Do you honestly think I would’ve just sat on my ass while customers were trapped in a burning building?”

“No,” Maddie replies glumly. “No, you wouldn’t.”

Buck frowns. “Wow, I was kinda hoping you’d be a little prouder of your badass baby brother.”

Maddie sighs, eyes softening as she reaches over and squeezes one of his hands in both of hers. 

“Evan, you know I love how big your heart is. It’s the greatest thing about you. But what if you hadn’t made it out? You aren’t a Seal, or even a firefighter. You don’t have the training to survive the crazy kind of shit you pull.”

Buck opens his mouth to respond - how, he doesn’t know exactly, but that’s never stopped things from coming out of his mouth before - when Maddie’s face abruptly contorts. Her eyes begin to gleam as her mouth stretches into that maniacal smile that Buck has long since learned to associate with trouble.

“So you should get the training,” Maddie says, as if she’s continuing a conversation they’ve already been having and not doing a complete one eighty.

“What training?” Buck’s head is spinning trying to keep up with the whiplash.

“Firefighter training! It’s perfect! Well, not perfect because you would still be putting your ass on the line every day, but you would have skills! And a team!”

“Maddie, slow down.” Buck struggles to process and stalls his urge to argue by chewing on a handful of fries. Once he’s swallowed, he settles for the obvious. “I can’t be a firefighter.”

Maddie looks indignant on his behalf. “Why not?”

For dozens of reasons, but Buck once again reaches for the most apparent one. “I couldn’t even make it through Seal training.”

“Ev, you aced basic. It was the emotions you couldn’t turn off. And great news - when you’re a firefighter, you don’t have to! Do you know how many stories Chim’s told me that has ended in tears?”

“Cool, sadness - great endorsement.”

She gives him a flat look, and Buck mimes sealing his lips shut and gestures her to continue.

“What I’m saying is, no one cares if you cries, or if you take something too hard, or if you get a little too invested in a call. Sometimes it even pays off.”

Intrigued but wanting to stick to his silence bit, he raises his eyebrows in a show of interest.

She leans forward, eyes glittering with the hint of tears. “Chim told me this story, about when he was first starting out. This mother comes in, holding her newborn baby, and she tells him that she remembers him from the night that she almost lost her life - and her baby.”

Stubbornly, Buck wipes at the tears misting in his eyes with closed fists.

“Yeah, there are sad moments, but then there are the people you save. The ones, that at the end of the day, remember your face being their hope in the middle of all the chaos and are grateful there are people who dedicate their lives to saving others.”

At the end of her little speech, Maddie settles back into her seat. She can see the wetness of her brother’s eyes and the put-upon twist of his mouth and is smug she’s made her point, if her victorious facial expression is anything to go by.  

And if Buck is honest with himself, the thought of it sounds nice. Having a team, knowing he was saving people when they needed it most - knowing he wouldn’t be mocked or ridiculed for the emotions he so brazenly wears on his sleeve.

It sparks a bit of hope, a flicker of excitement and possibility that he hasn’t felt since before he went on his trip to South America. 

But there’s fear there, too. A team is only his if they accept him, and there’s no guarantee of that, especially with his career in adult entertainment. Most people, once the initial shock of hearing him so proudly proclaim his profession wears off, manage to look the other way, but firefighters are different. They are about honor, integrity, pride. 

Buck is doubtful anyone would be proud of him.

While all these reasons are perfectly logical to him, Buck knows if he tells his sister any of them she’ll refuse to drop the subject until she gets her way. 

So he smiles. Says he’ll think about it, even look up the academy website, but he can’t promise anything.

As he watches Maddie smugly pick up her sandwich, he can tell she bought it. 

He has no intention of looking up anything but other bartender jobs in the areas, but at least he’s saved himself some time from his sister’s idyllic imagination.

Chapter Text

It’s only been two weeks since Eddie’s profile was finalized and officially registered on the website for viewing.

There are over two hundred unanswered inquiries sitting in his inbox.

A few of them he knows, just from skimming the subject lines, that he won’t be a right fit. They're looking for something Eddie can’t provide: needles, pe tplay, a stone dom that spends the entire sessions not giving a fuck about what happens to their sub.

Eddie knows there are doms like that: all sharp edges, all pain, no comfort unless a safeword is spoken or the scene comes to an end. He isn’t like that - he enjoys taking care of a sub: caressing and cooing over them, calling them sweet names, rewarding them when they’ve done something good, correcting them when they need some guidance. He likes knowing they depend on him, likes that he’s needed, even if it’s only temporary.

He knows that makes him selfish, using these people to feel good about himself. But there will be times when a sub will look up at him, eyes glossy, their skin flushed with pleasure or marks, and they smile so dopily that Eddie can convince himself that he can't be as selfish as he thinks he is if he's making people feel so good.

Eddie keeps scrolling through his inbox until he finds a subject line that seems promising.

It’s from a woman, who describes what she’s looking for: bondage, pussy play, a little pain - a lot of attention on her breasts. 

Nipple play is a must when I scene, she writes.

Eddie is impressed with her thoroughness. She gives her safeword, asks for negotiation forms to fill out, and gives him a few dates in the next month for their consultation and first scene.

Money is no option is the last line of the message.

Eddie writes her back, confirming the date that’s the farthest in the future. He also attaches the requested forms, which he finally got ahold of after asking around a couple dungeons in LA. 

Settling back against the headboard, Eddie is surprised by how bad he doesn’t feel. At the beginning, when he first opened his email and looked at the mass of sexual fantasies waiting for him to paw through them, he was overcome with trepidation, like he was waiting for the moment his high school history teacher caught on that he copied his friend's homework.

Now, his stomach is still lit up with nerves, but they're the same type that crawled around his stomach when he first arrived to his firehouse.

It doesn't feel like he just told a stranger looking for rough sex to come to his house to let him dominate her.

It feels like he just scheduled a job interview.

The more he sinks into it, the farther he goes into this rabbit hole, the more normal it seems to become.

As much as he loves having the weight lifted off his shoulders, he can’t help but think of his son sleeping down the hall from him. 

Eddie doesn’t want his new normal to be hiding from his son.

 


 

“Have I seen you before?” 

Buck slides the impatient patron in front of him their boilermaker before giving his full attention to the lady at the end of the bar. She’s concentrating on him hard, her gaze shifting from his birthmark to the long script that dominates his left arm.

Buck’s horrible with names, but he has an admirable talent for memorizing faces. Kind of necessary, with the two professions he dabbles in. It’s embarrassing to show up to set and introduce yourself to someone who’s already come on your face or anger a regular who expects you to have their usual already waiting for them.

But this woman has him drawing a total blank. She doesn’t look like a member of the crowd who hung around Bernie’s, the burned down bar. She’s older, even older than his sister, but her brown hair is streaked with blond instead of gray and she has a stud in her nose and her eye makeup is light, glittering and youthful. As attractive as she is, Buck’s never seen her before in his life.

She waves him closer, and ever polite, Buck obeys.

“I know where I’ve seen you.” She snaps her fingers then points at him with a finger gun; she cocks it then pulls the trigger. “I saw you blowing a guy on my son’s computer. Buck Wilde!”

Buck glances around, wondering if anyone’s overheard the name. Most of the time Buck can slide by without getting recognized by his face alone (a lot of studios have his birthmark covered), but when someone uses his stage name it usually garners unwanted public attention. “You recognize me just from catching your son masturbating?”

“I might’ve looked you up myself.” She winks unabashedly. “I know a good thing when I see it.”

Buck is almost taken aback by this woman’s directness. He’s used to being hit on - part of the job, adult entertainer and bartender alike - but usually not in the daytime, in such a heavy crowd of people.

Since he’d taken on this new job at the kind recommendation of Bernie’s owner, Buck’s found himself dealing with a slight environmental adaptation. For one, Lucinda’s is a lot classier of a place, and two, it sees most of its business in the daytime - being a high-end bar that specializes in imported wine and gourmet burgers will make a place prime for business meetings and rich patrons looking for a place to socialize. He doesn’t get hit on as much, and the customers are less rowdy, but he just barely tolerates them for a different reason.

They’re so arrogant. When they come up to place their orders they’re already impatient, looking for something to complain about before he’s even turned to pour. He can feel their gazes linger on his birthmark, his tattoos; he can practically hear the disapproving tsk sound they make in their heads when they see him.

It’s tempting to spit in their drinks, serve it to them with a smile just as wide and fake as the ones they give him are, but Buck gets checked so regularly he knows his spit wouldn’t do any harm to them, anyway. Just make him look bad.

This lady, however, is different. It’s clear she has money, from the matching diamond earrings and bracelet she wears to the third twenty-dollar martini she cradles in her hand. She even smells expensive. With the clink and scrape of silverware against plates mingling with the buzzing chatter of dozens of conversations happening at once, Buck has to lean over the bar to make out her words; he gets a whiff of something that smells rich, like the bottle of perfume his mother would only wear for special occasions.

“I gotta ask,” she says, using a toothpick to stir the olives in her glass, “is it fun?”

“Is what fun?”

She waves her free hand in a vague shape. “Porn. It looks fun, but I’m not the one being pounded while surrounded by an entire camera crew on a rented set.”

Buck shrugs. “It’s not too bad. You get used to it.”

She narrows her eyes at him, uncomfortably similar to the stare Maddie pins him with she can smell his bullshit, and spears an olive. Popping it in her mouth, she asks, “ever been tied up and whipped?”

Buck chokes on his tongue.

She continues, paying no mind to his spasm. “I’ve seen enough of your videos to know it’s much of the same. Two hot guys making out, pounding each other silly, maybe a little ass licking and nipple tugging. It’s hot, but don’t you ever get bored?”

“I’m not really doing it for fun,” Buck answers. “It’s about a paycheck - getting off is just an added bonus.”

“What about in your personal life?” the woman presses. “Is it still the same song, different verse?”

 

Normally, this is part where Buck shuts down, slides his walls in place and keeps them there until the conversation is firmly out of porn territory. Even in the pre-interviews, sitting naked and pressing against his scene partner, he dances around the question of what kind of sex he enjoys in his personal life. Gives the camera a sultry wink - wouldn’t you like to know?

But this woman seems genuinely curious, almost as if she’s concerned. 

It’s so bizarre, and strangely touching that Buck finds himself giving an honest answer for once.

“With all the sex I do for a living, I don’t really make time for it outside of work.” Buck glances back at the bar to make sure no patrons are pointedly looking at him while drumming their fingers against the bartop. “Vanilla or otherwise.”

The woman purses her lips, then digs around in the big purse beside her, holding up a finger to keep him from leaving. She produces a pen and scrap of paper, which she quickly scribbles on. When she finishes, she thrusts it toward him.

“You can thank me later,” she winks. 

Buck looks down at her messy handwriting. It’s a name with a website underneath it.

He opens his mouth, prepared to ask what he would be thanking her for, when her eyes dart past him to the door. She enthusiastically waves at someone who just stepped through the entrance, draining the rest of her martini before she hops from her seat and joins whoever she’d been waiting for.

For some reason unbeknownst to him, Buck slips the paper into his back pocket instead of throwing it in the trash.

 


 

Maddie is growing manic over her firefighter shtick. As Buck parks his jeep, sunset painting orange and pink stripes on the face of his apartment building, his phone pings with four new email notifications, one right after another.

He doesn’t check his email until he’s inside and he stripped off his shoes and belt, throwing himself on the couch and flicking on the TV, not even paying attention to what’s on, just needing background noise. The only reason he even has an email is for job inquiries; why he let his sister persuade him into giving it to her is beyond him - couldn’t she just text him like a normal person?

All four messages have to do with the Los Angeles Fire Department. The first is a link to the academy’s registration and session schedule. The second and third are links to firefighters being interviewed. The fourth is still a video, but instead it’s a longer piece on firehouse one eighteen, done by a rising news reporter Buck is used to hearing give the traffic report.

His sister is allergic to stubley.

Instead of sending an email back, like Maddie would want him to, Buck sends her a text like a normal person, saying he just got done at the bar and is going to sleep. She’ll undoubtedly hound him about the emails in the morning, but at least he’s safe for the night.

Buck flips through channels for a while, not really finding anything of interest. When his leg starts to cramp, he shuts the TV off and drags himself to bed. 

It isn’t he’s kicking off his jeans that he remembers the slip from earlier. Cozying up beneath the covers, he holds the paper up to the light of his phone and carefully types out the URL with his thumb.

When the site comes up, he drops his phone on his face.

Cursing, holding his nose with one hand, Buck holds his phone up again and looks at the profile staring back at him. It’s for a professional Dom. 

Mr. Diaz is an experienced professional Dom that provides sexual and non-sexual domination.

Buck bites his lip, rereading non-sexual domination. 

He’s not entirely clueless - he’s seen BDSM porn before, even tagged along to a few kink parties, but only as an observer. There are some parts of it that enthralled him: the rope, the marks, the trust of putting yourself into someone else’s hands.

But he’s seen how rough it can get. He knows that it must be consensual, that the sub must have asked for it if the dom was doing it, but it was also a little terrifying, to think about a person hitting him, whipping him within an inch of his life, abusing his dick and balls until they felt like they were going to fall off his body. It’s a lot of control for one person to have over another, even if it was for mutual enjoyment.

Buck scrolls down until he reaches the end.

Mr. Diaz’s primary concern is the safety and enjoyment of the client.

Not all doms are the same, just like not all subs are the same. Buck’s never embraced it before, but he’s bottomed enough, been manhandled and spanked enough to know he would enjoy being a sub.

The woman from the bar seemed to sense that; she wouldn’t have given him the name of a professional dom if she hadn’t. And she clearly thought highly enough of this guy to spread his name around.

Sighing, Buck plugs his phone and sets it on his bedside table.

He doesn’t close out of the site before turning off his phone.

Chapter Text

Buck rewrites the email approximately a hundred times before he finally just bites the bullet and sends it off. He spends the rest of the day distracting himself with odd jobs around the apartment. He cleans every inch of every room, even using the duster his sister gave him when he moved into his apartment. It hasn’t seen the light of day since he threw it into his spare closet; now its bright orange feathers are coated in dust and every surface gleams.

He makes a pile of clothes to donate to Goodwill; he makes his bed; he scrubs at the rust ringing the bathroom sink and shower drains; he even organizes his sparse DVD and video game collection - alphabetically, with his favorites getting their own shelf on the entertainment stand. 

Within two hours his apartment is spotless, and his closet is so neat and tidy even Mr. Clean himself wouldn’t find a problem with it. Having successfully burned the morning away, he makes himself lunch and distracts himself with bingeing anime shows on Hulu - a guilty pleasure he hasn’t indulged in since he hung out with his friends in high school, back in Hershey. 

By the time night rolls around, Buck’s eaten his weight in pizza rolls, watched two seasons of Sailor Moon in their entirety, and he’s gotten no email notifications - kink-related or otherwise.

He drags himself to bed earlier than normal, tucking himself in and trying to figure out why he feels so disappointed when he hadn’t even been that dedicated to the idea of a professional dominant in the first place.

 


 

Hello, Mr. Diaz.

I’m new to the kink scene, so I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for. But you came highly recommended, so I’m hoping you can help me find something that fits.

I debated even writing to you in the first place. I have a regularly active sex life, so I’m not exactly lacking in opportunity or partners. But lately it’s like I’ve grown tired of the same thing. It feels like all the sex I have has grown predictable, and that I’m not getting the pleasure out of it that I should be. 

But I don’t want pain. I don’t think I do, anyway. Whips, chains, the whole master-dungeon scene - it doesn’t turn me on. But your profile mentions service topping and breathplay? I don’t have experience in either but they sound interesting, something I’m willing to try.

I read that you have a busy schedule, but I tend to have a lot of gaps in my work schedule.

Just let me know when you can meet.

I look forward to speaking with you.

E.B.

Eddie reads the email three times. Since making his first appointment, he’s gotten better about actually opening emails, reading them, and responding to people, whether he’s giving them potential dates or telling them that he won’t be a right fit for them.

Normally, he would be opposed to reading emails about his side business while at work, but tonight he makes an exception. It’s the tailend of a twenty-four hour shift and most of his coworkers are sleeping off their last call in the bunks. The ones still hopped up on adrenaline looking for an outlet are in the gym; he can make out the grunts and clink of weights being lifted and dropped. 

Bored, but knowing if he sleeps now he’ll never sleep later, which will make getting Christopher ready for bed hell, Eddie keeps himself awake. After finding nothing of interest to watch on TV, and lacking in nearby partners to play video games with, he resorts to combing through his email for potential clients.

He likes to think he’s a good judge of character. Has to be, in a way - an army medic and a firefighter are both jobs that benefit from being able to read people well. Pain, shock, fear - all written into faces, etched into eyes and mouths; the scrunch of shoulders, the tightness of fists. The written word is harder to decipher, especially when coming from someone he’s never spoken to face-to-face, but sometimes the meaning is in the word choice.

There is one sentence in particular his eyes keep returning to: It feels like all the sex I have has grown predictable, and that I’m not getting the pleasure out of it that I should be. 

He scans it again and again, attempting to read between the lines. It feels arrogant, self-centered - the implication of large amounts of sex, then lamenting their dissatisfaction of it all in the backhalf of the same line. The entitlement of it gives Eddie a twinge of annoyance; quitting sex is a lot easier than trying to get any at all. He should know - Shannon took delight in leaving him with blue balls; Eddie felt like ripping his hair out as the intimacy between them faded, fizzling out until all that was left was divorce papers and one side of the bed colder than the other.

Eddie has no sympathy for someone sick of having a line of people to sleep with them. Just the thought of someone complaining about it makes his blood boil; there are people with real problems, try to gain some perspective.

However, the rest of the email seems genuine, albeit a little naïve. It wouldn’t be Eddie’s first time taking on someone new to the kink scene - back in Texas, he’d earned himself the reputation of the Beginner Dominant, all kink-fresh clients being handed to him for his casual, relaxing nature. Most of them were usually so satisfied with his work that they stayed on as regulars until he left.

And, he reasons with himself, it would just be a consultation. If the arrogance and ego he suspects the sentence portrays is actually a true portrait of the writer, Eddie can tell them he won’t be a right match. Some dominants can handle working with clients they personally don’t like - even get joy out of it, having someone they dislike willingly put themselves in an inferior position, even if it’s just pretend. Eddie has never been one of those types - he likes getting along with people, making a connection. Forging a relationship, no matter how thin of one it may be, always makes the scene more fun for both sides.

Letting out a deep breath, Eddie quickly types of a response, then hits send before he can second-guess himself and delete the entire thing.

Eddie rises, slipping his phone in his pocket. He circles the couch a couple times, stretching his arms behind his head, relishing the pop of joints as they crack and release some tension he’s built up from slouching. The house is still quiet - even the noises from the gym have ceased, and Eddie assumes the gym rats have taken this rare stretch of boredom to enjoy a shower. He goes over to the railing and looks out, over the tops of the ladder rig and the ambulance, the shiny hoods of the alarms.

Outside the bay doors, sunset paints the sky a swirl of orange and pink, darkening into the smooth purple of nighttime.

Eddie holds back a sigh. Only three more hours until he can go home and spend the night with his son.

He pushes off the railing, not entirely sure where he’s planning to go but knowing he has to move, when movement outside the bay doors catches his attention.

He doesn’t recognize the man at first. He holds something in his hands, head ducked down as if he’s scared of dropping his load. Eddie tenses, his instincts recoiling at the combination of a stranger entering the house with an unknown object in his hands, but as he takes in the man, his body minutely relaxes.

Blond hair gelled into a stylish swoop to the right. Dark jeans and pristine white sneakers, matching the white V-neck underneath the rust-orange bomber jacket. There’s the glint of something gold on his wrist, a watch - probably an expensive one, if the brand of his shoes are anything to go by.

Whoever this person is, they have money, and know how to put themselves together. That’s hardly the profile of a bomber or terrorist.

Still, Eddie keeps his distance and straightens his stance, taking advantage of his imposing figure and the height of the balcony to call out, “Can I help you?”

The man stops at the back of the rig and looks up. The slash of red on the corner of the right eye rings a bell or two, but Eddie can’t place him.

“Oh, hi. I’m here to drop something off for Chimney?” He holds up what Eddie can now see is a Tupperware container, full of something speckled and white.

Comforted by the familiarity of the face peering up at him, Eddie waves him up. He spends the time the man’s long legs climb the stairs to search for a name, but he still comes up empty. After over twenty hours of working and only catching a brief nap between calls after lunch, his brain isn’t operating at full speed.

The man, however, has no problems recognizing him.

“Diaz, right? You were there the night Bernie’s went up.”

It finally clicks into place. “You’re the heroic bartender.” Evan - Buck.

Buck shrugs, ducking his head modestly. “Just bartender, actually.”

“Dropping off a thank-you gift?” This isn’t an uncommon occurrence, but usually most gifts were given to the entire team that worked a call, not just one member in particular. If Chimney found he had been singled out for someone’s gratitude, he wouldn’t shut up about it for weeks.

“Oh, uh, no.” Buck holds up the container; with a closer view, Eddie can see that it’s a type of pasta. “Maddie had to cancel their date night to cover a shift and wanted me to send this over to Chimney as an apology. I work at the bar two streets over, so she asked me to drop it off on my way home.”

“You’re Maddie’s younger brother?” Maddie’s only talked about him in passing, but always fondly, with the same adoring expression Eddie or Hen have when they talk about their kids.

Eddie pictured the male Buckley sibling to be younger by at least a couple decades. But the man in front of him has to be in his late twenties, only a few years younger than Eddie himself.

Buck’s face brightens at the mention of his sister. “The one and only.”

Eddie leads him to the kitchen and points out the fridge, welcoming him to put the food away himself. 

The Buckley siblings look nothing alike - Buck’s features are light and rugged where Maddie’s are dark and soft. But the more he thinks about it, the more Eddie realizes they may have more in common than meets the eye. Maddie’s always been kind and adores Chimney, definitely an improvement if Hen’s sordid tales of Chim’s dating history is anything to go by. The night of Bernie’s demise proved that Buck is selfless, and it’s not many brothers who would do their sister the favor of dropping food off to their significant other.

“So, you found another job?” Eddie asks, leaning against the counter.

Buck shuts the door and turns to look at him. “Yeah - at Lucinda’s? It’s alright, been there a few weeks now.”

“That’s good. I know it can be hard, finding a job after losing one so quickly like that.” Eddie’s never gone through that kind of whiplash, but he’s heard stories of landlords and business owners who struggle with getting themselves back on their feet while also dealing with the aftermath of the incident. Accident or not, a fire always follows them as a cloud of suspicion, making people reluctant to sell property to them in fear of aiding a serial arsonist.

Buck nods. “Yeah. My old manager was nice enough to recommend me when Lucinda’s started looking for new hires. But I wasn’t too worried - the bartending gig is more of a hobby, anyway.”

Eddie opens his mouth, a question poised on the tip of his tongue, when the sound of a door opening cuts him off. Both men turn to watch the captain emerge from his office, looking exhausted as he walks into the kitchen. 

Bobby slows in his steps as he catches sight of Buck, who straightens from the counter he’d been leaning against as the captain’s gazes falls on him.

“Bobby, this is Maddie’s brother, Buck.” Eddie can tell by the beat Bobby takes before he resumes his languid pace that the older man recognizes Buck from the bar, but mentioning Maddie would answer more questions than saying this is Buck the bartender.

Buck dips his head in a respectful nod. “Sir. Good to see you again.”

Bobby helps himself to a bottle of water from the fridge. “You as well. Mr. Buckley, is it?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Here to pick up an application?”

Eddie raises his brows as Buck stutters, taken off guard. “Oh, no. Maddie just wanted me to drop off something for Chimney. Now that I have, I should get going.”

Buck makes to leave, but Bobby stops him in his tracks by holding out a hand.

“You should consider it. Maddie speaks very highly of you, and you definitely have the skill for the job. Something to think about.”

Buck seems at a loss of what to say, but whether it’s because Maddie talks about him or a fire captain is telling him to apply, Eddie isn’t sure.

“I’ll - I’ll keep that in mind. You two have a nice night.” With another nod of his head, Buck shoots for the stairs like his pants are on fire.

Eddie watches him disappear down the stairs, then turns to see Bobby already looking at him. “That was odd.”

Bobby nods. “Very. Almost like the kid’s never been given a compliment in his life.”

“Did you mean it? When you said he should apply?”

Bobby screws the lid back on his water. “He definitely has the potential, if Bernie’s fire was anything to go by. And Maddie brings up her little brother’s heart of gold whenever she can. I think he would have a shot.”

Eddie listens to Bobby’s footsteps retreat back to his office, leaving him alone in the kitchen, the house once again emerged in an odd, uncharacteristic quiet.

He tries to picture Buck in the firehouse - attractive birthmark, soulful blue eyes, and all six feet of his muscular frame walking around in a uniform. Sitting in the rig, climbing into turnout gear, laughing with the rest of the team at family dinner.

Normally Eddie has a rough time adjusting to new members - hates having to build new dynamics, shift with the change in groups and social circles, no matter how small the change may be.

But his small, mindless daydreams of Buck in the firehouse don’t spark a curl of dread in his stomach. Rather, it does almost the opposite.

Like Buck belongs among their ranks, and his spot is just waiting for him to take it.

 


 

It isn’t until Buck’s gotten home from the firehouse that he realizes his email has finally gotten a response.

Although it had only been a day since he sent it, Buck wrote off the entire thing, dismissing the dominant as picky or busy, and let himself sulk in the disappointment of a missed opportunity. He was surprised by how bummed he was at the loss of it - there were plenty of professional doms in Los Angeles, and he knew several studios that did kink scenes and would be more than happy to hire him for a shoot. But there was something about this dom in particular that lit him up with nerves and excitement. Maybe it had been the bizarreness of it all, being so brazenly given a card at his day job by a woman who was familiar with his work and thought he was missing something, the collision of his two worlds.

But after dropping by station one eighteen, Buck’s failed entrance into the kink scene was the last thing on his mind. 

It was one thing to have Maddie pestering him about becoming a firefighter. Buck was used to putting up with his sister’s big imagination and grandiose ideas - he’d been dealing with it his entire life, and has the arsenal of evasion tactics to prove it. 

But being given the seal of approval by a fire captain is another thing entirely. His words carry weight. If he thinks Buck can do it, then that might mean Buck could actually do it. 

He sighs, trudging into the kitchen. He pulls his phone from his pocket, ready to text Maddie that Chimney’s pasta made it safely to the fire station, when he freezes.

Sitting in the top of his notifications is an email from Mr. Diaz. 

All thoughts of firefighters fade from his mind, replaced by the anticipatory buzz that had faded after his cleaning frenzy the other day.

Now, shoes haphazardly kicked off and leaning against the kitchen counter, the excitement reignites itself, accompanied by a tremor running through his left leg as he looks down at the notification lighting up his screen.

Maybe he took so long because he couldn’t find the words to let Buck down gently. Maybe he took so long because he had trouble listing all the reasons why he wouldn’t take Buck on. Maybe he took so long because he has actual clients that need his attention, not some newbie trying to edge his way into the scene on a whim.

Maybe, just maybe, he said yes.

With a deep breath, Buck clicks on the glowing little envelope icon staring up at him.

 

EB,

I’ll send over a list of kinks for you to fill out. Mark every item as a green for go, red for no/never tried and don’t want to, or a yellow for maybe/don’t know/never tried but willing to. 

Not all of your greens or yellows will be done in one session, but having a list at hand will give me a good idea of what you’re type of scene you’re looking for and will help us discuss what you want from me as your dominant.

I’m available to meet the 26th and the 27th. If neither of these days work for you, send some potential days - please keep them at least three weeks in advance.

Get back to me as soon as possible.

E. Diaz

Chapter Text

The contract is long and thorough, leaving no stone unturned in terms of boundaries and interests. Buck spends hours poring over it all, equally meticulous in filling it out.

He’s surprised, at first, by how many things he marks as green. He thought, as someone who’s never scened before, that most of the kinks would be yellow or red. A lot of the rougher things he’s already endured during shoots: manhandling, slapping, hair pulling, uncomfortable positions for long periods of time. He’s done each enough times to know which he genuinely enjoyed in the moment and which he would only continue to do as long as there is a paycheck attached. 

Now he’s forced to consider what he likes for fun. It’s hard - ever since getting to Los Angeles, Buck’s private sex life has been slim to none. In South America, he’d have a new partner almost every night, usually a patron from the bar he worked at who made eyes at him from the dance floor. It had been so easy then; fresh from college and no longer under his parents’ thumb. Although he’d loved leaving the country, he was surrounded by strangers in a foreign land with only a basic grasp of the language. That made sex even easier; what people couldn’t communicate with their words, they did with their bodies.

When Buck moved to California - mostly on a whim, missing the familiarity of English and urban American life - he tried dating. There were a few people who he thought he could fall for, until he looked in their eyes and all he saw was a hungry lust. No one wanted commitment; they wanted good sex with a hot partner for one night where they could forget about their daily lives. It was fun, until Buck was six months into his new life on the west coast, scraping by on his savings and looking for a bar willing to take on a bartender so young and inexperienced.

His breakthrough came in the form of a tall green-eyed brunet named Jake, who smiled with teeth straight out of a toothpaste commercial and wore clothes so tight they had to have been painted on. He looked like all the rich, douchey tourists that took up space like they owned the bar Buck worked at in Argentina, all the money in the world and no time for anyone else. Jake was the last thing Buck expected to see when he dipped into a gay bar one night, and the last person he expected to fall into bed with.

In the morning, Buck woke up his clothes carefully folded on the edge of the hotel bed and a card for an adult entertainment company looking at him from the night stand.

Since that first interview, landing that first gig, Buck’s personal ideas on pleasure and sex had gone out the window, replaced by what viewers like to see, what looks best for the camera.

Maybe that lady from Lucinda’s was right; he needed this. Even if Mr. Diaz isn’t right for him, even if the kink scene doesn’t turn out to be the right fit, this is the first step toward Buck reclaiming his sexual independence.

All he has to do is reach out and grab it.

 


 

Eddie almost regrets not putting up a policy about clients sending in a picture before their first consultation. In the end he’d axed the idea because it wouldn’t be fair - after all, the site didn’t show any shots of him. It’s more equal this way, both parties going in blind with a connection only established with words. He’d also heard horror stories of doms with vetting processes, rejecting potential clients based on their physical appearance, and that is the last kind of person he wants to come across as.

Still, having a frame of reference would cut down on the time Eddie spends pacing his living room, anxiously looking out the window. The floor-ceiling panels allow a near-perfect view of the apartment complex entrance, along with the security guard stationed at the door and a snippet of the huge parking lot adjacent to the building.

There’s still fifteen minutes until E.B. is due to arrive, but Eddie’s plastered himself to the window for the last hour. The bedroom’s been set up since he got back from dropping Christopher at his play group; his copy of the contract and his limits are sitting next two clean mugs on the dining table. He thought about putting out a dish of something as well, to seem a little more welcoming, but then Eddie was hit with all the food allergies that exist in the world and how he could accidentally kill his first client by pressuring them into eating for his sake and Christ , it’s been so long since he’s entertained company that isn’t family.

Eddie pauses in the middle of the windows just as a dark grey jeep pulls into the lot. He glances over at the stove clock - ten minutes. The jeep leaves from view again, parking in the farthest corner of the lot. Eddie waits to see the driver reappear, but a gaggle of women - a mother with her daughters, he assumes - holding shopping bags enters first and their bright commotion distracts him from focusing on a lone party. 

Anyway, it’s Los Angeles - hundreds of people drive jeeps, and it’s not like he’s the only one in the complex allowed to have visitors. Just because he doesn’t recognize this specific one doesn’t mean it’s his client. He needs to loosen up .

He forces himself away from the window as the security guard holds the door open for the women. He ducks into the bathroom, pulling at his outfit to straighten wrinkles that don’t exist. It’s been so long since he’s done this he nearly sent himself into a panic attack trying to decide what to wear. The first time around he was younger and slimmer, so he could get away with wearing tight clothes without coming across obscene. Now, nearly a decade later with multiple tours and fire training under his belt, he’s packed on enough muscle to make everything bulge whether he’s trying or not. He doesn’t want to seem imposing, or threatening, without having a read on if this client likes that kind of thing. Some people love when the person in charge looks in charge -  big and strong and towering. Others prefer their doms casual, almost like a friend who’s a little too bossy. Eddie’s had both types of clients, but he’s been retired so long he doesn’t trust his instincts anymore. Besides, he can’t get much of an impression by just an email, that’s what the consultation is for. He decided on his wornest pair of jeans and a navy blue henley, sleeves rolled up to his elbows - it’s what he’s most comfortable in, and he shouldn’t bother trying to live up to an impression of a dom his client hasn’t even met.

Just when he’s considering gelling his hair back, there’s a knock at the door. E.B.’s early.

Shutting the bathroom light off, Eddie hurries to the door. With his hand on the knob, he takes a heartbeat to slow his breathing before opening the door.

He finds himself staring into a familiar pair of startled blue eyes.

“Firefighter Diaz?”

“EB?”

Buck drops his hand, poised to knock again right as Eddie opened the door, and shoves both hands into his pockets. “Yeah…” His voice is breathy, nervous and skittish in a way that doesn’t fit him. Considering they met at a fire and Buck was the coolest head on the scene, Eddie thought the younger man didn’t get nervous. To see evidence of the contrary is - unsettling.

“I didn’t know it would be you,” Buck states, biting his lip.

“I like to keep it that way. Diaz is a common name.”

Buck points a thumb in the direction of the lobby. “I can go, if this is too awkward. I’m sorry - “

“Wait.” Eddie grabs the nearest wrist to keep Buck from darting away. “It’s okay. It’s not like it’s a rule that we have to be strangers.”

Buck’s brow furrows. “Won’t it be weird, though? Like, running into each other after and everything.”

Eddie shrugs. Of course he prefers to keep these two parts of his life totally separate, but he’s run into clients in the real world before. It’s an unprecedented situation, but nothing that can’t be negotiated around. “We can work it out. As long as you still want this.” 

Buck swallows; Eddie watches his Adam’s apple bob underneath the smooth, pale skin of his throat.

“Yeah, I want this,” Buck says.

Eddie steps aside, leaning on the door jamb. “Come in.”

 


 

Buck doesn’t know what he’s expecting. His shoots are all done on private sets or hotel suites, even the occasionally rented house for a themed scene. From what he’s seen on BDSM porn, he’s expecting an extravagant dungeon to go along with this dom’s reputation - St. Andrew’s cross, leather cuffs, chains and attachments on every wall. 

Eddie’s apartment is nice - large and open with buttery leather furniture and a marble kitchen counter. It’s modern and clean, but a little too mundane. If Buck didn’t know better, he would think Eddie had only moved to town recently. Idly, Buck wonders if the lack of personal touches is for his effort to stop the line between life and play from blurring of it Eddie just isn’t sentimental enough to keep any emotional decorations around.

Eddie leads him into the kitchen, which is large. A marble countertop island takes up most of the space, with wide enough walkways on either side someone could rollerblade around it without their legs brushing the black cupboard doors. They settle at a black dining table set, Eddie pulling out his chair before moving to sit across from him. Spotting the contract papers, Buck pulls the simple folder he’s kept tucked under his arm and pulls out his own copy.

“So, what are you looking for?” Eddie crosses his arms on the table and leans forward. “Or do you not have any idea?”

Buck shrugs. “I have a small idea, I think. I like the thought of being manhandled, tied up and roughed up a bit. But I don’t want to be completely dehumanized, you know? I - I don’t like humiliation, or being left alone.”

Eddie nods. “Do you have a pain kink at all?”

Buck shivers. “Clamps are good. I love having my hair pulled. I’m willing to try floggers and canes, but whips are a definite no.”

“Cock and ball torture?”

Just the words have his balls seizing up. “M-maybe. I’m open to it, but maybe nothing too heavy to start?”

Eddie nods solemnly. “Of course. This is only about doing what feels good for you, not shoving you in the deep end without a life jacket.”

Although Buck knows that, he came into this idea knowing he would be able to set the terms, hearing the older man say it relaxes him.

“I like being told when I’m doing good, especially when you’ve just given me a challenge.”

Eddie smiles. “You’re in luck. I love complimenting pretty boys on a job well done.”

Buck flushes down to his toes.

“What parameters do you have?” Eddie asks, switching gears. “I’ve had some clients who don’t want kissing, don’t want insertion. Other clients, they’re begging to sit on my dick.”

Buck licks his lips. “What do you like?”

Eddie’s eyes darken. “I do like fucking, but not for the first couple of sessions. Kissing is fun, too. I also really have a thing for pet names, especially when you’re really down.”

Buck scrunches his face. “Down?”

“Subspace,” Eddie clarifies. “Porn doesn’t really cover it, but it’s really beautiful. I’ve never experienced it myself, but it’s amazing to see, to know you make a person feel safe enough to float from their own body.”

“Is it like passing out?” No matter how nice of a guy Eddie is - and he is undoubtedly one of the most genuinely nice men Buck’s met in a while - the thought of being unconscious after only knowing him a day makes him anxious.

Eddie senses his worry and is quick to mollify it. “More like checking out. You get spacey, a little loopy, but you’re still awake. If done right, you can still tell the difference between what feels good and what doesn’t.”

“What if I can’t tell the difference?”

“That’s part of my job, to keep a close eye on you and make sure I’m not hurting you past what you like.”

The idea of leaving his body, even if just for a few minutes, is a tantalizing and terrifying prospect. He worries his bottom lip between his teeth.

“Maybe next time?” he asks.

Eddie reaches out and loosely squeezes Buck’s wrist. “Of course.”

Buck smiles timidly as Eddie pulls his hand away, half-wishing the older man would just keep it there. 

“Can I see your contract?”

Buck pulls it over and hands it over. A lot of sections they’ve already discussed, but Eddie still flips through it. Buck watches brown eyes dart across the page, skimming some sections and narrowing in on others. 

“You don’t have a lot of hard limits,” Eddie comments finally.

“Is that a problem?”

“No, not necessarily. Have you tried a lot of this? Or know that you’re willing to try it?”

Buck mulls over the question carefully. A lot of them he knows about in theory, or just seen in porn or heard his partners talk about when they were getting to know each other before a shoot. 

“I mostly just went with my gut,” he says finally. “If it sounded like fun, I’d put it as a soft limit. If it didn’t, hard limit.”

Eddie nods. “Fair enough. Just know you don’t have to stick to this - if we find something that’s a hard limit, we’ll just change and not touch it again.”

Buck lets out a breath, more relieved by that assurance than he thought. “Sounds good.”

They continue through the rest of the contract, Eddie asking questions when he wants more than what’s written on the page.

“Any pre-existing conditions, medical or otherwise that I need to work around in play?”

“No.”

“And have you been tested in the last six months?”

“Yes. I was just tested last month.”

Eddie seems fine to continue, but Buck feels the need to explain himself. “I have to get tested regularly - for my job.”

Eddie raises his eyebrows. “I didn’t know that was a requirement for bartenders.”

“Uh, actually, I have another job.” Buck licks his lips, averting his eyes as he adds, “in the adult entertainment industry.”

He’s gotten into the habit of calling it that when Maddie’s face soured every time he said porn . He tries to avoid talking about his day job with his sister at all costs, but whenever it comes up Maddie can pretend adult entertainment just means explicit movies, not her baby brother getting railed within an inch of his life by a guy he met two hours prior.

Buck peeks at Eddie’s face beneath his lashes. The older man’s face remains impassive, but his head has a thoughtful tilt.

“Will I be able to leave marks?” Eddie asks finally. “I wouldn’t want to ruin a shoot for you the next day or anything.”

Buck nods quickly. “Oh, yeah, absolutely. I try to schedule my shoots far enough in advance so my work isn’t affected by my personal life.”

“Okay, as long as you have it handled, I won’t worry about it.” Eddie flips the packet of papers closed, staring at the back page, which is the financial information box.

“As you might’ve seen on my site, I work on a sliding scale payment system. I don’t charge for the first consultation, or the first session unless you confirm you enjoyed everything in the scene or that you are going to make another session. That way I’m not charging you for not enjoying yourself.”

Buck nods. It makes sense. “Money isn’t really an issue for me,” he states with a shrug. “I know I work two jobs, but it’s mostly to fill my time. Doing shoots means I get a lot of money in a short amount of time, so I’m pretty flexible to whatever you want.”

Eddie bites his lip. “Last time I did this, I charged a two hundred flat rate for a three-hour session, plus an extra twenty-five for every additional hour.”

“Sounds fine, but I won’t be able to pay in cash,” Buck says with a tinge of regret.

Eddie waves away his concern. “That’s a lot of cash to handle, anyway. I’m working on getting a pay account set up, so we’ll worry about it then.”

“So, is that it?” 

Eddie chuckles, a low amused rumble. “Not so fast. We still need to go over safewords.”

Chagrined, Buck settles back in his seat. “Right.”

“I like using the color system within a scene - green for go, yellow for slow down, and red for stop. But if you ever want to stop a scene entirely, you need your own safeword. Something that isn’t sex related and that you won’t call out by mistake.”

Buck tries to think of the examples he’s seen in porn.

“How about kryptonite?” he asks.

Eddie’s mouth quirks up, trying not to laugh. “Kryptonite. Okay. I don’t want to gag you the first few times, not until we’re a little more comfortable with each other, and since you want to stay above subspace, I don’t think we have to worry about nonverbal signs for the moment. But if you ever find yourself having trouble with words, let me know so we can work it out, okay?”

Buck nods. “Sir, yes, sir.”

Eddie’s eyes darken. “A title already. You must be eager to start.”

Buck tries not to sound too eager as he asks, “when do we start?”

Eddie smirks, standing up and holding out his hand. “How about now?”

Eddie leads him to a plain-looking bedroom. He instructs him to stand at the foot of the bed, which Buck dutifully does. Eddie is quick to disappear from his eyesight; Buck can hear him rummaging around behind him - under the bed, maybe? - but Buck doesn’t know if he has permission to look, so he keeps his head forward. He doesn’t want to strike out before they’ve even begun.

Moments later a bundle of blue hemp rope is held out beneath his nose. 

“I wanna tie you up. You good with that?”

Buck watches as Eddie uncoils the rope and begins skillfully looping it around his hands.

“Green,” he assents, already breathless.

Eddie smirks. “Good boy. Can you strip for me?”

Buck strips with little fanfare. It’s only when he gets to his black briefs, thumbs hooked on the waistband, that he pauses, looking to Eddie for guidance. At his assenting nod, Buck adds them to the pile of his jeans. When Eddie’s eyes pause on his legs, Buck remembers the mosaic of trauma that makes up his left leg.

“What happened?” Eddie says. His voice is light, casual; his hands haven’t stopped winding rope through them, but his eyes are dark.

Buck licks his lips. “Car crash. Crush injury; I had to get a rod and some screws put in, but they were taken out years ago.”

One of the first producers he’d worked with had told him not to waste his time with even trying to break out into the industry.

“People want to watch people who look better than them,” they said. “Flawless and sexy. Perfect, even. You have the face, but that leg will ruin you.”

Eddie doesn’t seem bothered, though, just curious. “Any lasting damage?”

“It gets stiff if overworked, can’t be one position for too long, but other than that it’s fine.”

Eddie nods. “Good.” He drapes the rope over his arm and reaches up. Buck’s eyes flutter shut as Eddie’s thumb brushes across his birthmark. 

“And here?” Eddie asks, voice low. “Anything I need to know about? Nerve damage, sensitivity?”

Buck opens his eyes with some effort. “No, sir. It’s just a birthmark.”

Eddie nods, but spends another second soothing the red skin with his thumb. When he pulls his hand away, Buck immediately misses the warmth of his hand.

“Can I make a request? Sir?”

Eddie’s mouth does that funny quirk thing again. “Sure.”

“Can you - can you call me Evan?”

At Eddie’s inquiring look, Buck tacks on, “it’s my first name. I’ve just gone by Buck since forever.” He doesn’t add that Buck is his stage name, and the thought of hearing this dom call him the same name his co-stars moan out on a shoot makes him uneasy. He wants the two worlds to be separate.

Also, the thought of this strapping handsome dom calling him Evan while tying him up is incredibly arousing.

“Alright, Evan,” Eddie says with a smirk. He holds up the uncoiled rope hanging limply from his arm. “Here’s the plan: I’m gonna tie you in a chest harness, and then I’m gonna play with you a little bit. Sound good to you?”

Buck licks his lips. “Sounds great, sir.”

Eddie’s smirk widens as he glances at Buck’s dick, which is standing at attention. “Looks like it.”

Buck’s cheeks flush, but Eddie doesn’t give him time to be embarrassed. The dom maneuvers the younger man to how he wants him, turning Buck around. He loops the blue rope around Buck’s chest, then frames his pecs by bringing the rope up and over his shoulders. The harness is finished by tying Buck’s wrists together behind his back.

Eddie turns him back around so they’re facing each other again. “How does that feel? Too tight?”

Buck flexes his arms, wiggles his fingers. He could roll his shoulders and twist his wrists within their confines, but that’s all he could manage. “No, it’s good.”

“Good.” Then Eddie’s slipping his fingers through the harness and pulling him in for a searing kiss. 

Buck has spent most of his adult life kissing people. Although each experience was different, they all had one thing in common: Buck took the lead. Whether it was guys or girls, in front of a camera or in a bar bathroom, his partner was more than happy to let Buck dominate, submitting to his tongue swiping over their mouths, his hands framing their faces and holding them close.

Kissing Eddie is in a league of its own. Not only because Buck can’t use his hands, but Eddie leaves no room for guessing who’s in charge. The older man bites down on the blond’s bottom lip, pulling on it slightly before releasing and soothing the indents left behind with his tongue. Buck moans, swaying closer as Eddie’s tongue makes it way inside his mouth. A large, callused hand slides up to cup Buck’s neck, fingertips resting in the short hairs sitting there.

When they pull apart, Buck’s chest is heaving as Eddie triumphantly looks at the puffy mess he made of Buck’s mouth.

The hand not on his neck flicks at Buck’s unsuspecting cockhead, making the younger man moan as his knees buckle. 

“So, Evan, what should I do with you?” Eddie keeps his right hand on Buck’s dicking, tapping on its length the same way an impatient customer would on the bartop when Buck is taking too long with their drink. “What do you like?”

Buck is still reeling from the kiss, can barely muster the words to say, “whatever you want.”

Eddie huffs a laugh, shakes Buck with the hand still on his neck. “Nuh-uh, Evan, gotta give me a little more than that. Want me to smack your dick around? Play with your nipples?”

Buck moans. “Please pull my hair, sir.”

“Oh, right. That was one of your things, wasn’t it?” Eddie moves his hand up and pulls at the strands on the crown of Buck’s head. Buck tries to follow the hand as it pulls his head back, stretching his neck out, but Eddie’s right hand is still on his dick, yanking it, forcing his hips forward when all he wants is to fall back. The dom takes advantage of his exposed throat to bite the unmarked skin there. 

Buck loses sense of time as Eddie thoroughly explores his body. The hand in his hair eventually travels to his chest, tweaking his nipples while the hand on his dick remains there, sliding up and down his length, a thumb periodically sweeping across the head and digging into his slit.

Eddie’s low voice will rumble around him occasionally, asking for a color or giving him praise. Buck tries to pay attention, but it’s hard when Eddie’s teeth are swooping down and sinking into his throat, his shoulders, even once his nipple, biting down until Buck is near tears and the nub is erect and bright red. 

The only reason why Buck knows they’re time is coming to an end is Eddie saying, “there’s one last thing I wanna do, Evan. You think you’re up for it?”

Around the digit thumbing his bottom lip, Buck nods. “Yes, sir.”

Eddie chuckles. “Good boy.”

With gentle nudging Buck is laid out on the bed, legs spread wide and hanging over the edge. Eddie’s hands disappear for a second, but they return before Buck can truly miss his touch. His hands are cool and wet, fingers running over his dick, his balls - lube, it must be.

Buck’s hips rise from the bed as Eddie begins jerking him off with vigor, even reaching low enough to circle his rim. Buck tosses his head, toes curling.

“Come on, baby,” Eddie mutters, twisting his hand. “Come for me.”

It doesn’t take much longer after that. Buck cries out as one final touch to his slit sends him over the edge. Come lands on his stomach in spurts. Eddie doesn’t stop until nothing is left, until Buck is whimpering and attempting to close his legs.

“Good boy, did so good for me,” Eddie praises, kissing his inner thigh.

Buck smiles tiredly, closing his eyes and slumping gratefully into the sheets. “Thank you, sir.”