The thing about depression is that one can never anticipate how, when or why it'll hit you. It can start small and develop gradually, or it can all hit you suddenly like a ton of bricks. Buck too couldn't anticipate when it crept up on him, eating away at his soul and stealing the life from his eyes.
Maybe that's why he couldn't sleep. Couldn't stop his brain from playing a montage over and over again of how he had failed everyone in his life, how he was never enough to be wanted by anyone.
Buck knew what his team thought, that he was suing the department out of spite because he couldn't 'suck it up’. They didn't believe him when he says he did it to get his family back, that he was tired, so so tired of being alone, of being left behind, of being not enough.
Selfish. Selfish. Selfish.
His parents didn't deem him good enough to stick around, always leaving him behind with a nanny. His sister, God knows she loves him, left home the first chance she got and though he doesn’t blame her for what Doug did, she had still left him behind when she went off to college. After that, he became different, became Buck 1.0, the person who never stuck around long enough for people to leave him broken and hurting again. Then came Abby. Sweet, sweet Abby who calmed the inferno within him, made him think that he could want happiness, that he deserved to be loved and wanted and cared for. Then her mother died and though he couldn't hate her for trying to live her life on her own terms after spending so much time taking care of others and for making him Buck 2.0, he also hated her a little for leaving him broken and bruised, desperately holding on to the shreds of hope that disappeared bit by bit with every unreturned phone call and unseen text. Scared and desperate for love he found Ali. He cautiously hoped that since she was a strong, independent woman who has a career and knows who she is maybe this time it could work. But again it was his fault that she left. His job was too dangerous, too risky. He laid there with a cast on his leg, not knowing when his life would be back to normal, and she was the one who couldn’t take it anymore. They decided it would be better for them to be apart than stay in a relationship that was never gonna work, as if he had any choice. She had already made her decision.
Buck turned over in his bed and kicked the sheets down. The sheets were stiflingly hot and suffocating. He twisted and turned, trying to fall asleep desperately, to escape from his swirling thoughts, but no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t run away from his own traitorous mind that kept repeating all his worst traumas.
Do you know how much Christopher misses you? How could you? You’re not around.
Oh, Christopher. That child doesn’t even know that he holds Buck’s whole heart in his hands. Sweet little Christopher, Buck would give his life for that precious boy, would gladly cut his heart open and give it to him if he so asked. But he couldn’t even keep Chris safe. His beautiful ray of sunshine, who he lost in the tsunami.
Worthless. Stupid. Useless.
When he lost Chris in the swirling mass of water he felt as if his heart had been wrenched away from him. The look on Eddie’s face would forever haunt him when he told him how he lost Chris. But then Chris came back to them, their own little Superman, so strong and brave, he came back to them and Buck could die from the sheer amount of relief he felt. He thought this is it, I have lost Eddie and Christopher forever. There is no way that Eddie will let me anywhere near Chris now. But he was proved wrong. Eddie said he trusted him with Chris, more than anyone else. Buck felt maybe he could breathe again. And maybe he also realised how much he loved his Diaz boys then. Both of them.
Buck knew he was acting irrationally when he stormed out of the Grant-Nash household in wake of Bobby’s revelation, but he couldn’t help it, because if he didn’t focus on his anger now he fears he would break down completely and never be able to get back up. Once again he realised he was not good enough, he was broken and useless. But this time it hurt worse. He realised he had gotten too comfortable in the feeling of love and family that came from the 118. He had thought he had found his family, the ones who would always have his back, who would love him unconditionally. Maybe that’s why Bobby’s decision to bench him felt like a betrayal. Without being a firefighter Buck had nothing in his life, he didn’t know who he was if he was not saving people, helping them and being the best damn firefighter he could be. The 118 made him feel like he belonged and the team spirit between his co-workers made that pressure in his chest a little bit lighter. He knew Bobby loved him like a son and wanted to keep him safe, but this time Bobby had let his emotions overrule his professionalism. It felt like a stab to the heart for Buck to realise that Bobby didn’t trust his judgement. How was Bobby going to trust him in the field if he didn’t trust him enough to make decisions for himself? And that’s what led him to sue the department and Bobby. He had thought his team, his friends, his family would realise that he was doing it for them, to be close to them, to keep working alongside them. But all they saw was him being a selfish bastard and betraying their trust. Maybe he was being selfish. For once in his life, he didn’t want to be left behind without a fight. They didn’t understand that. He had hoped that Eddie, his best friend, would understand how it felt to be forgotten and thrown away. But his words were the ones that hurt him the most, cut him the deepest.
You’re exhausting. You’re exhausting. You’re exhausting.
With a scream of frustration Buck sat up. He reached over to his phone and realised it was 7 in the morning. He didn’t know how the night had passed so quickly, maybe that’s what happens when you’re drowning in guilt and self-loathing. There were no calls or messages on his phone. Why would there be? No one wanted him, no wanted to talk to him or hear his voice. They hated him. They hated him. Maddie probably would’ve called, out of her obligation as his sister, but she too had her own life with her newfound relationship with Chimney. She deserves to be happy after what she went trough with Doug. Buck really really is happy for her. He just wishes she had a little more time to spend with her little brother. But why would she? She had found all she needed in Chimney. She didn’t need him anymore.
Buck didn’t realise he had been sitting there staring at his phone for the past half hour with tears streaming down his face. He felt numb. He felt hopeless. He kept repeating to himself that he deserved it after all the trouble he’d put his family through. He deserved to be left alone. He didn’t want to be a burden anymore. He knew that after some time some of his friends may start talking to him out of pity. Chimney would probably talk to him because he was dating Maddie. Hen would probably pity him and feel compelled to talk to him because he used to be a part of her team. But Eddie, he would never want to talk to him again, and that meant never seeing Christopher. Bobby would also probably never talk to him again. But Buck didn’t want them to feel obligated or pressured to acknowledge him. He didn’t want to burden them with his miserable pathetic ass anymore. No one understood what he was going through, what he was feeling. They had already replaced him. Taped over his name as if his name on that locker was a mistake. Like he was never meant to be there, never wanted there. He knew he didn’t matter to the people he loved, and it was high time he let them live without him dragging them down and holding them back.
He knew what he had to do.
He just hoped they wouldn’t think too harshly of him.