Eddie realized that to think Buck hated him at first sight was ridiculous. The younger man might have not been friendly like other members but he came around quick.
This, though, this was pure hatred.
“Ed! Stop!” Buck hugged the black and quite large creature to make it stay still without hurting any party.
Of course Buck had a dog, a black Belgian Sheepdog with beautiful fur and determination to bite Eddie’s head off.
“I’m sorry. He never acted like this before.” Buck looked up from the floor as it seemed like he could not let the dog, Ed, out of his embrace at all or it might try to devour Eddie. Even in its owner’s arms, Eddie still could hear a growl accompanying a hostile gaze from Ed.
“Maybe he smells another dog on me. I brought him too.” Or maybe he finally met his mortal enemy, Eddie could not be sure. Buck’s dog barked loudly like a thunderstorm the moment it laid eyes on Eddie when he first arrive at their spot in the park. Even startled Hen and Karen they almost dropped their cups.
Buck perked up without letting Ed go. “You have a dog? How come you never mentioned it before?”
“Oh, Buckaroo, and you’ll love him.” Hen snickered as she finished preparing the lunch for Denny and Chris. The two boys were off playing kites with Carla and another companion at the other side of the lake. Hen laughed so hard she almost cried when Eddie introduced his dog to her.
“Might be the same reason you never told me you have one -- Wow!” Ed charged , trying to bite Eddie’s leg when he took one step closer. Buck tighten his hold and pulled his friend back.
“What, no! I never knew he would be like this! Usually Ed’s the friendliest dog, I swear.”
“No, I mean his name.”
Buck blushed, he looked at the dog. “Ah, yeah. And he’s exactly like his namesake, you have to believe me. He’s big and kind and goofy. I have no idea what’s happening with him today. What’s it, buddy? You know Eddie is an awesome guy, What’s wrong?”
“Yeah,” Buck changed from kneeling to sitting legs crossed on the grass to hold Ed on his lap. The dog seemed calmer when it faced Buck instead and got to rested its chin on the young man’s head. “Ed, Edd, and Eddy.”
“And you didn’t name him Eddy?” asked Karen.
“Nah, my favorite is Ed, Maddie’s is Edd.” Buck ran his fingers through the long, black fur before moved the attention back to Eddie. “Wait, you said the same reason. Did you mean --”
Carla’s voice rang across and all four followed. They saw a Golden Retriever running to Eddie with a bright red ball in its mouth. Carla was behind with Christopher and Denny. Eddie crouched down as it dropped the ball at his shoe. “Did you worn Carla out?” It barked cheerfully like it understood the question and was very proud. Carla came behind and scratch its head.
“Buck! You have dog!” Christopher exclaimed excitingly.
“And I see that you do too, Superman.” Buck watched the Golden Retriever with adoration. “Look, Ed, please behave for your new friend or Ed might never let me bring you to meet the most awesome kid in the world, please?” Buck nudged the dog softly and carefully made it turned to see.
Ed finally moved from Buck’s lap. Eddie had this urge to jumped on the wooden table to keep his leg safe but Ed did not bark, only stared at Bucky. Everyone held their breath, Buck wouldn’t dare let Ed go entirely. He really had no idea what was going on with his best friend. Ed used to belong to his neighbor but they had to move to smaller apartment, no pet allowed, so Buck stepped in and took Ed, not just because he liked animals in general, but Ed was really a kind creature. It greeted him every morning when he left for LAFD training and looked the happiest when he came back to the shared house. After being discharged from hospital from chocking incident, ruining his official first date with Abby, Buck sat on the steps, not wanting to go, just him and his embarrassment, Ed jumped over the fence like every other time and came to sit like a sculpture next to him, like it knew he want space and silence to rebuild his confidence, not aloneness. There were even one or four times Ed ran around Buck’s drunk housemates, trying to help them walked straight from mailbox back to the house.
He was so focus on trying to understand what was wrong with Ed he was not prepared when Eddie and Christopher’s Bucky jumped on him. Buck fell flat on his back, a bit of air knocked out.
Loud barking and the weights were gone. “Buckaroo, did you hit your head?” Hen hurriedly got up from the table to check Buck.
Buck pushed himself up. “Nah, just my back, nothing really hurts.”
Behind him, the two dogs wrestled playfully on the ground. They took turn chasing after each other, making the boys laugh. Ed ran past Eddie to go after Bucky two or three times without paying him any mind, as if he was a tree, and the man decided he was safe now.
“Wow, he never played with other dogs like that either.” Buck mused. Today, Ed was really weird.
“No, he usually just sticks with me when there’s another dog.” Buck explained as he took Eddie’s hand to get up. They all sat at the table, still watching the dogs while starting their lunch together.
“So, Bucky, huh?” Buck grinned.
Eddie groaned. “Chris chose the name. He’s not really ours, honestly. He’s my abuela’s.”
“Please, boy, she totally got him for your son.” Carla snorted.
“And he’s Bucky because he’s Captain America’s best friend.” Christopher added.
“Who?” Buck tilted his head, confused.
“Don’t tell me the last time you watch anything was ‘Ed, Edd, and Eddie’” joked Hen.
“I’m starting to think you knowing who’s Superman is a miracle.”
“Come on, who wouldn’t know Superman?”
Karen wondered out loud. “But have you ever watched any movies of Superman.”
Quite a long pause happened there.
“Not even the one that came out in 2013?”
“How many Superman movies are there?” Buck could not help but ask back in genuine surprise.
“A lot!” Christopher and Denny yelled “And Batman, and Ironman, then Captain America, and Thor.”
“I’ve heard about this a lot from Chimney.” Karen cleared her throat. “It’s not a bad thing, but I’m just curious, you really don’t know any of this or you’re just messing with Howard Han?”
“I don’t usually watch or read fictional anything, I guess?” Buck shrugged. “Maddie doesn’t either. We watched cartoons together when I was young, tons of cartoons, then Maddie got hooked with all these classic novels and watching cartoons without her is not as fun so I started playing video games on my own. Movies and TV shows never really came up in our minds.” Buck unwrapped his sandwich and called out for Ed. Eddie did the same for Bucky. “I heard Chimney got Maddie obsessed with Throne Game or something though. He baited her with the books first.”
“What games did you play, Buck?” Christopher tucked the hem of this t-shirt.
“I spent most of my time on Residen --”
Eddie kicked him under the table.
“-- tal Dentists, it’s boring when I’m thinking about it now. I haven’t played any games since I moved here. Playing with Ed is enough for my free time but I can find a game for us to play together if you want, and if your dad’s okay with it.” And if it’s age-appropriate left unsaid yet clear among the grown-ups.
Ed rested its head on Buck’s lap while Bucky jumped up and down for a sausage. Christopher giggled. He patted Bucky’s head. “Can I pet him too?”
Looking down at Ed, Buck hesitated a bit. “Can Chris pet you, my friend?” Ed seemed calm and peaceful they almost forgot he barked like crazy at Eddie about half an hour ago.
As if it knew, Ed crawled across Buck lap without really getting up. It nudged under Christopher’s waiting palm. “Thanks God, I think he’s back to his friendly self, right, Ed?”
“Maybe he’s excited --” Eddie looked over his son’s head
Ed looked up, all teeth bared to Eddie. “-- or just hates me.” The man added calmly since the dog did not show any sign to open its mouth to harm Christopher, no, only Eddie. “Seriously, I’ve never been singled out by a dog before. Do I have to get a bomb out of someone’s leg with him too?”
“Shut up. I was being a d -- donkey, for moments, but Ed is an angel. Did you play with a cat before you came here?”
“I didn’t play with any cat before I showed up at the station on my first day.”
Eddie had to sprint away from the table with Buck chased after, trying to yank the back of his t-shirt and pour all the ice inside.
Another big laughter roared when the two ran back, Eddie chasing after Buck.
After it had been established that Ed would not bite nor harm anyone, only threatening Eddie when it remembered his existence, the older man offered Buck a dinner at his house since Christopher wanted to showed the young firefighter a Superman movie or two.
Buck was making sure Ed played nice with Christopher while Eddie was making popcorn. Bucky helped a lot since the black dog would tend to forget about Eddie entirely when played with the Golden Retriever.
“I’m sorry my friend bullies your dad, bud.”
Christopher patted Ed. “He’s nice to me, he doesn’t really hate daddy.”
“You sure? He might have my bad judgement of character.”
“Uncle Chimney told me when I went to the station. He said you like daddy but acted like you didn’t at first because you’re not good at making friend. You’re nice and fun, you can’t hate daddy.”
“I don’t hate him. I really like him, a lot.” Buck admitted. “I really like him, Ed, so I hope you’d be nice to him. I want my friends to get along.”
Ed whined and buried its head into Buck’s stomach. Christopher stroke its long back. “Maybe he’s jealous.”
“Denny said his friend’s jealous of me because daddy and auntie Hen always let us to play and stay over whenever we ask.” Christopher poked into Ed’s fur. “Maybe Ed’s jealous because daddy works with you.”
“Really, Ed?” Buck scratched Ed’s neck. “Come on, buddy, Eddie has my back. You can’t be jealous of him. Hmm, Ed?”
If Buck did not know better, he would think Ed pouted and got up to snuggle with Bucky as a protest. The two dogs piled on each other when Eddie put down a bowl of popcorn and started the movie.
They were in the middle of the third movie when something woke Buck up, a dream or whatever he used as a pillow moved maybe. He blinked the sleepiness away yet he was still unable to get up. The movie, Man of Steel, on the television. Christopher was sleeping soundly, head on Buck’s stomach while the rest laid on his father’s lap. Buck himself was literally using Eddie’s chest as the pillow. Eddie’s arm draped across Buck’s chest as an arm rest so he would call them even.
It was impossible to move though.
On the floor, Bucky was on Ed like a bright and lively blanket even in its sleep. Its legs moved, probably running after something in dreamland.
However, Ed wasn’t asleep. Buck had the hardest time trying not to laugh when the black dog turned to see him already awake too and started to slide along the floor without dropping Bucky. Ed’s nose nudged against Buck’s leg.
“You seem really get along with Bucky.” Buck whispered. “I’m glad.”
Ed made a noise.
“I’d be even happier if you get along with Eddie, you know?” Buck continued. “I really like him.”
“I like you too.”
Buck jolted. Only the universe to thank that he did not accidentally wake Christopher up. Eddie opened one eye and painted this goofy smile on his lips that parted when he whispered more. “Very much.”