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must be because i love you

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Buck is asleep on Eddie’s shoulder.

Normally, Eddie wouldn’t be too invested in that, would just settle into the couch for the rest of the movie, let Buck catch whatever rest he could before eventually rousting him enough to get horizontal.

Normally, Buck was a light sleeper, an explosion on TV enough to have him blinking awake into the dim living room light.

Normally, Buck wasn’t so dead to the world that even Eddie’s phone going off in his pocket wasn’t enough to wake him, sleeping soundly right through his conversation with Carla about Chris’ plans for the following day.

But nothing about tonight is normal and Eddie is currently staring at the TV, credits rolling for a movie that he stopped watching a little over an hour ago, too distracted by the little damp patch growing on his shoulder and the fact that he, somehow, isn’t bothered by it.

Through the years, Eddie’s gotten pretty used to objectively gross situations.

You don’t survive years as an army medic with a queasy stomach, and you definitely don’t survive any part of fatherhood.

There was a time when he and Shannon had first started dating and she’d fallen asleep on his shoulder during a movie, a little wet patch bleeding through the fabric of his shirt, and he’d wrinkled his nose. (Yeah he liked her, and no he wasn’t going to push her off, but it was still just nasty enough to have him itching for a shower.)

Deepened love and years of marriage had changed that. He’d yawn and peck her on the forehead before he even realized the little spot of drying wetness on his chest. It was normal. He loved her. He wanted her beside him even if it meant a little drool every now and again.

And caring for Christopher, dealing with a little drool or puke or whatever else, it was nothing. It was his kid, of course he didn’t mind.

But now, the TV’s on low, Chris is long tucked into bed, and Eddie is having a bit of a crisis.

Because it’s Buck drooling on his shoulder and some part of him knows that this is gross and he should move him, go change his shirt to save them both the embarrassment but…he can’t find it in himself to get up.

Because it’s Buck.

Buck who doesn’t always get enough sleep.

Buck who feels like a permanent fixture in their home.

Buck who, Eddie’s realizing, looks peaceful and perfect and right pressed up against his side. Like there’s nowhere else he should be.

So yeah, he’s just a little fucked.

Sitting on his living room couch having the eye-opening revelation that he’s more than a little in love with his best friend, going over every moment of their friendship with a fine tooth comb and feeling like a complete idiot because how had he not noticed sooner? Buck has a drawer in Eddie’s dresser because he stays here so much. Buck is the one he trusts most with his son. Hell, Buck is practically helping him raise his son.

Eddie takes another glance down at Buck’s sleeping face, still oblivious and slack and innocent and part of Eddie wants to shake him, wants to ask him if he knows that they’ve basically been dating for the past year, maybe longer. Another part of him catches on Buck’s lips and wonders what it would be like to kiss him.

He barely suppresses a groan.

What the hell is he supposed to do?

How is he supposed to move on from this? How is he supposed to wake Buck up, look him in the eyes and get him settled on the couch when all he wants is for those ridiculously long limbs to be tucked into his bed, with him?

Because he knows Buck, and he knows them, and he knows they’re both pretty shit at keeping secrets from each other. Usually, Eddie loves that. (Usually, it’s Buck trying to lie his way out of well-deserved concern.)

Eddie’s not so sure how much he’ll like it when his entire being is vibrating with this realization and all it will take is one look and one cute, predictable crease between Buck’s brows for their entire relationship to be changed forever.

What if this makes it weird?

What if Buck pulls away?

What if this is the lawsuit all over again, Buck so close but just out of reach? Leaving Christopher confused and hurt and Eddie to spiral out of control when one of the only constants in his life is suddenly ripped out from beneath his feet.

He thinks of all the things that would suddenly disappear.

Christopher’s best friend. Their laughter after a long shift. Warm dinners and movie nights. Trips to the park and the zoo and making pillow forts in the living room. Waking up to Buck making pancakes with Christopher. Falling asleep knowing Buck will be there in the morning.

Buck smiling at him, bright and real the same way he does for Maddie, for Christopher.

Buck hugging him, touching him, bumping their shoulders, thighs pressed together in the truck when a call’s gone wrong.

Buck looking at him like—like—

Eddie sucks in a breath.

Buck makes a small noise at the movement, nose scrunching before he buries his face deeper into Eddie’s shoulder.

Eddie’s chest feels so tight he could burst, tingling warmth radiating down to the ends of his fingers that he knows isn’t the circulation loss from the past hour.

Buck loves him.

Eddie might’ve been too blind to see it for the past…forever. But it’s pretty hard to miss now, all those moments staring back at him like the most obvious movie montage he could possibly imagine.

Buck loves him and he loves Buck and they have both been so monumentallystupidit’s a miracle no one has locked them in a closet and thrown away the key.

He can’t be completely sure, of course, not until he talks to Buck. But all of the clues are right there, written in every line of their relationship. Everything about it just feels right.

Even the drool still seeping into his shoulder.

He can’t help but laugh a little, reach over with a careful hand and brush some of the hair back from Buck’s forehead.

“We really have been stupid, haven’t we?”

Buck makes another sound, turns his face to follow the path of Eddie’s fingers before blinking up at him through half open eyes.


Eddie hums, taking back his hand and settling back into the couch, noting the confusion that quickly furrows Buck’s brow.

Normally, this is the part where Eddie would be coaxing Buck to lie down, covering him with an extra blanket before disappearing down the hall to his own room.

But nothing about tonight is normal. Except for all the ways it is.

Buck sits up slowly, eyes tracking from the now dark TV screen, to the empty beer bottles, to the way Eddie’s still slouched back against the cushions. Eddie can almost see the gears turning and tries to coax him along, doing nothing to hide the look on his face and the warmth in his chest that still makes him want to rattle right out of his skin.

“Eddie?” Buck asks again, eyes finally stopping long enough to meet Eddie’s. “What—?”

His words die off and for a moment Eddie takes in the shock there and wonders if he’s made a mistake. If he wasn’t the only one with his head so far up his ass to not realize what’s been going on between them.

Then, Buck begins to smile, slow and small but still so, soperfect.

There’s so much happiness clear in every line of his body that Eddie wonders how he could have ever took so long to put it there.

He drops his head back against the cushions and looks at Buck from the corner of his eye. “If you were part of the betting pool, we’re getting a divorce.”

The laugh that shocks out of Buck feels like something slotting into place, like the pressure in his chest can finally fizzle over into something sweeter.

He can hardly keep a straight face, breaks as soon as Buck shoves him in the shoulder.

“A divorce, huh?” Buck asks. “Moving pretty fast, Eddie. Pretty sure we’d have to be married first.”

Eddie hums, looking up at the ceiling, then back down at Buck. “Are we not? Because I didn’t notice we were dating and co-parenting a child for years so who knows what else I’ve missed.”

Buck snorts, then shakes his head, eyes suddenly soft and earnest. “You didn’t miss anything, actually.”

Eddie looks at him. “No?”

“No,” Buck grins, reaching out to take Eddie’s hand.

Their fingers fit together perfectly.

“Because you were there,” Buck says. “For everything. Even if you didn’t always know how much it meant.”

“I think a part of me did know,” Eddie says quietly. “I was just too caught up in everything else to realize.”

Buck squeezes his hand and Eddie feels a tug, drawn forward by the warmth of their fingers and the sweet smile on Buck’s face.

He tastes like popcorn and beer and a little of the chocolate ice cream Christopher conned them into after dinner. It’s warm and rough and perfect, Buck’s chapped lips against his own, the slight scratch of stubble when they readjust, noses bumping for just a moment before Buck’s fingers find his chin, tilt him just so and then oh.

Eddie lets out a soft groan, practically melting into the couch as Buck pushes him back into the cushions, half-straddling him as his tongue sweeps past his lips.

All of that pleasant fizzing turns liquid hot, making Eddie squirm and clutch at Buck’s back to try and drag him closer, wanting anything, everything,but not entirely sure where to start.

One hand finds Buck’s hair, threads through the growing curls, and his entire body shudders at the moan it produces, Buck’s thighs suddenly warm and solid on either side of his own, hips stuttering down before Buck pulls back with a gasp.

“Fuck, Eddie—”

He sounds wrecked, looks it even more so, face flushed and mouth pink and Eddie knows he’s no better. One of his hands has drifted down to the back pocket of Buck’s jeans.

He swallows thickly, stomach swooping when Buck’s eyes drop to follow the movement.

“God, Eddie,” he says. “I want this so bad, want you.

Eddie clutches him tighter. “You have me, cariño.”

Buck bites his lip and his eyes flicker over Eddie’s head, down the hall. Towards Eddies’ room, yes, but also towards Christopher’s.

Eddie takes his hands off Buck and rubs them over his own face instead.

Buck flops down onto the couch beside him.

“Raincheck?” Buck asks.

“Yeah, raincheck.” He takes a moment to think, then sighs. “But Christopher doesn’t have an overnight with abuela until next weekend and...”

Buck groans. “And I promised Stevenson I’d cover her shift,” he finishes. “Fuck.”

Eddie pats his knee. “I’m sure we can ask Hen to take him some other weekend. We’ll just have to wait for our shifts to line up again.” He smiles ruefully, mental math quickly adding up. “Shouldn’t be more than a month.”

Buck lets out another groan, dropping his face down onto Eddie’s shoulder to muffle it. He rubs his forehead against the cloth there then sits up suddenly, making a face that Eddie really wishes he could’ve gotten a picture of. For posterity.

“Did I—” Buck starts. “Did I drool on your shoulder?”

 Eddie laughs and Buck flushes a beautiful shade of pink.

“Oh my god, I’m never sleeping on you again.”

He buries his face in his hands but Eddie is quick to grab them, tugging them away from his face and giving them a comforting squeeze instead.

“Buck, I just had your tongue in my mouth, a little drool on my shoulder isn’t going to kill me.”

He turns a little red himself as he says it, but it’s nothing compared to the way the flush deepens on Buck’s cheeks, creeping down his neck and below the collar of his shirt.

Eddie stands and pulls Buck up after him, smirking at the way Buck is still looking at him like he can’t decide if he wants to pin Eddie up against a wall or run out the front door. Eddie tightens his hold on Buck’s fingers.

“Come on,” he says.

They get to his bedroom and take turns in the bathroom, only a little awkward as they shuffle around each other before they’re both standing by the bed and Eddie is turning down the sheets.

“You okay with the left side?” Eddie asks.

Buck nods wordlessly, slipping under the covers while Eddie turns off the light. The sheets rustle as they both settle, a polite few inches between them before Eddie huffs and reaches across to tug at Buck’s arm.

“What’s the point of sharing a bed if you’re going to stay all the way over there?”

“I don’t know, some people aren’t into cuddling.”

Eddie rolls his eyes in the dark, knows Buck knows he’s doing it.

“Buck,” he says.

I know you.

It’s fine.

Get over here.

Buck goes, settles against Eddie’s side but very carefully does not put his head anywhere near Eddie’s body.

Eddie prays silently for patience.

Then, he reaches for Buck and bodily hauls him up onto his chest, studiously ignoring the squawking it earns him and wrapping an arm around Buck’s lower back to keep him in place.

“Eddie,” Buck whines, squirming against him, still obviously trying to arrange himself with his face anywhere but on Eddie’s person.

“Go to sleep,” Eddie says back.

Buck sighs and stops moving, but Eddie can still hear the thoughts flying around in his head. Probably pulling up stats of how much saliva a person can produce in a night.

God, Eddie loves him.

“Buck,” he murmurs, hand brushing up his spine to run through the short strands at the back of his neck. “Would you mind if Christopher drooled on you?”

“No, of course not. He’s a kid.”

“What if I drooled on you?”

Buck’s quiet for a moment, fingers tracing patterns at Eddie’s hip before going still. “Oh.”

“Yeah,” Eddie says. “Oh.”

He can feel Buck’s smile against his chest, warm and obvious even in the dark.

“Besides,” he says, mouth tilting up at the corners. “I can always shower in the morning.”

Buck pinches his side, cold toes pressing against Eddie’s calves.

It’s a normal night, except for all the ways it’s not. All the ways that matter.

It feels like this is where they’re meant to be, where they’ve always been headed, curled together in their home with Buck pressed right up against Eddie’s heart. (A place he’s already been for a long, long time.)

The AC clicks on and a faint strip of light sneaks in beneath the blinds, the covers rustling as Buck settles more fully against him. Eddie presses a kiss to the softening mass of curls just beneath his nose.

I love you.

Just thinking it makes something light up inside him, replaying the evening and remembering the smile that had lit up Buck’s face, the way they had fallen so easily together. He can’t wait to say the words out loud, can’t wait to watch the way Buck’s eyes will widen then crinkle shut, flushed and happy and loved.

A soft laugh escapes his lips, joy and a little disbelief as to how he got so lucky.

He feels Buck move, face shoved just beneath his collarbone. Then, the first hint of wetness starts to spread against his skin.

Eddie smiles up at the ceiling.

Buck is asleep on Eddie’s shoulder, and everything feels exactly as it’s supposed to be.