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It starts out as a normal call, as they so often do.

The team are called to an emergency at a small coffee shop inside the local mall. Dispatch hadn’t been given much to go on, just that there was someone inside the shop that needed emergency medical assistance.

Like always, they park the ladder truck and ambulance outside the entrance, gather their equipment and head inside on foot. The mall is more deserted than usual, even for the middle of a pandemic. That was their first clue.

They find the shop easily, and Buck takes a second to appreciate the pun in the name- Fucoffee. Nice.

They step inside, only to realise that something is very wrong.

The customers are cowered in the corner, some with tears running down their face, some sat shock-still. Behind the register, a man with wild eyes and a balaclava covering his nose, mouth and ears stands waving a gun around.

“I told him not to move.” Is all he says.

His is voice borderline hysterical as he uses the gun to indicate the crumpled body of a barista on the floor a few yards away from the other customers, half hidden by a table.

Bobby, ever the calm and rational one, nods, his hands held out in front of his face placatingly. “Okay. Can we go and check him out?”

The man waves his gun in what Buck gathers is a ‘go ahead’ gesture but says nothing.

“Hen, Chim, get the employee.” Bobby orders in a purposely loud voice.

Hen and Chimney pale a little, but nod and slowly make their way over to the poor guy, who’s moaning in pain. Buck watches as they quickly settle into their usual rhythm of getting the man stable and calming him down.

“Why don’t you put the gun down, so we can talk about this?” Bobby suggests calmly.

The man shakes his head.

There’s noise and movement outside, and everyone turns to see at least 5 officers surround the small store window, their guns raised.

“You called the cops!” The man roars, pointing his gun into the small gathering of customers, who scream in fear.

“It’s just standard procedure.” Buck calls out calmly, getting the mans attention back on him as he slowly steps closer.

Bobby’s hand lands heavily on his shoulder, but Buck shakes it off and steps even closer to the gunman.

He’s obviously panicking and feeling cornered, and a panicking man with a gun and no way out quickly becomes a dangerous man with a gun with just one way out.

“When an ambulance is called, a cop car is automatically dispatched to the scene too. They must’ve called for backup.” Buck explains slowly.

“Fuck! This was meant to be an easy job. In and out.” The man rages, pacing back and forth behind the counter.

“It’s okay, I can help you.” Buck assures the man.

“What can you do?” The man scoffs.

“You need leverage to get out.’ Buck shrugs. ‘I’ll be your leverage.”

Buck faintly hears Bobby and Eddie hiss his name in warning behind him, but he ignores them.

“And why would you do that?” The man sneers.

“Because, I’m a firefighter. It’s my job to keep people safe. So take me as your leverage, but let everyone else go.”

The man looks at Buck with scrutinising eyes for a long moment, before he nods, training the gun on Buck. “Alright. You stay where you are but everyone else out!”

The cowering customers don’t need to be told twice. They all scramble to their feet and race out the door, into the waiting officers arms. The 118, however, stay where they are.

“Hen, Chim; get him out of here.” Bobby orders.

The two paramedics look like they want to argue, but with a stern look from Bobby, they heave the still bleeding man to his feet and slowly shuffle him out the door and over to the additional paramedic team waiting there.

Bobby and Eddie are still stood by the door, refusing to leave.

“Guys it’s okay, I’ve got this.” Buck tells them slowly, not looking away from the man.


“Listen to him. Get out.” The man orders, cutting Eddie off.

When they still don’t budge, the man turns and points the gun on them and Buck panics.

“Hey, no. Focus back on me. Don’t point that gun at them.’ He orders in a voice that’s stronger than he feels. ‘I’m prepared to be your leverage, but we do it my way, or not at all. Got it?”

“I don’t think you’re in a position to be barking out orders Buck.” The man sneers, but the gun is thankfully back on him.

“Oh I think I am.’ Buck smirks as he moves to position himself in front of Eddie and Bobby, blocking them both from view of the shorter man. ‘See, the way I look at it, you can do it your way and start shooting us, but that will set off a chain reaction that’s definitely not in your favour. You shoot me, maybe even kill me, but those two will duck and the officers behind us will open fire in retaliation, either killing you or allowing them to capture you. Either way, you don’t get out of here. Or, we do it my way, and you listen to everything I say, and you might just make it.”

The mans gun shakes in his hand.

“Fine.’ He spits finally. ‘What’s your way?”

“There’s an entrance to the mall delivery walks at the back of the store, we’re going to get out that way.” Buck shrugs.

He has no idea if there actually is an access door there or not, but the man seems to believe him. He nods and gets close enough to Buck to press the gun into his ribs. That’s all Buck needs. To be close enough to get the gun from his hands.

He walks towards the back with the man willingly, feels Eddie and Bobby’s gazes burn into his back as he goes. When they reach the back wall, that’s doorless, the man catches onto his plan.

“You little fucker.” He growls, but he’s too late.

Buck hones in on the skills he learnt from the SEALs and, in one swift movement, he swings his arm around, grabs the gun and points it up at the ceiling, just as it fires. He head-butts the man, making him lose his grip on the gun and stagger back. Buck quickly clicks on the safety and bends down slightly to slide the gun across the floor, where Athena stops it with her boot, her own gun loaded and raised, her eyes hard.

Buck then uses the momentum of standing back up to his full height to hit the man in the chin with the back of his head with enough force to knock him onto his ass. Buck plants his booted foot squarely on the mans chest, pinning him down to the tiles.

“If you know what’s good for you, you’ll stay down.” Buck snarls.

Athena is on them then, kneeling next to the man and cuffing him expertly, all while she reads him his rights.

Buck lets out a long, relieved sigh and closes his eyes momentarily as she hauls him away.

So when he gets a cuff upside the head hard enough to rattle his brain, he yelps in surprise. His eyes fly back open and he comes face to face with a very angry and unimpressed looking trio. They all start yelling at once.

“What the hell was that?” Bobby demands, sounding more furious than Buck has ever heard.

“Do you actually have a death wish?” Athena huffs, sounding more resigned than anything.

“I’m gonna kill you myself if you do that ever again.” Eddie threatens. Buck believes him.

“I knew what I was doing. Being in a hostage situation is something you train for with the SEAL’s, to make sure you’re prepared for every possible outcome.” Buck shrugs.

“Hold up. You were a SEAL?” Athena asks, incredulous.

“Not technically. I passed training, but I never pursued a career in it.”

“I didn’t even know that.” Eddie mumbles.

“It’s not something I really like talking about. The whole experience was… not nice.” Buck winces.

“Well, thank you for sharing that with us.’ Athena smiles, that motherly smile that puts Buck at ease almost instantly. ‘But you’re still not off the hook for that stunt, you hear me?”

“Yes mom.” Buck grins.

The sergeant stalks off, muttering about ‘dumbass white boys giving her heart attacks way before her time’ the whole way.

“She’s right you know. If I could, I’d ground you right now.” Bobby notes as he, Buck and Eddie slowly follow after her to get back to the ladder truck.

“I mean, you technically could, but-“

“We know how well that worked out last time.’ Bobby sighs sadly. ‘No, I’m not going to bench you, Buck. I’m not even going to write you up, because it technically wasn’t insubordination. But we will be having words, kid.”

“I’d expect nothing less.” Buck smiles cheekily.

Cap leaves with a roll of his eyes to say goodbye to Athena once they’re all outside again. Buck goes to join Hen, Chim and the rest of the team who’re stood around the truck, their shoulders visibly sagging in relief at the sight of him alive and walking. His heart thumps a little harder in his chest at that.

But, Eddies hand on his bicep stops him. Buck spins around to face the man, startling a little at the amount of emotions swimming around the usual stoic mans honey brown eyes.

“Ed’s?” Buck whispers.

“Please don’t ever do that to me again. It’s one thing to come to terms with the fact that I might loose you to a freak accident on call, but it’s a whole other ballpark when you willingly walk into danger like that.” Eddies voice cracks.

“Eddie, I’m right here, okay? I’m not going anywhere.” Buck assures the older man as he steps closer to him.

“You’re one of the most important people in my life Buck, I can’t stand the thought of you not being in it. So please, I’m begging you, be more careful in the future, okay? Come back home to me and Chris.”

Bucks breath catches in his throat at that, his heart pounding so hard, it’s probably tattooed his chest. He steps closer to Eddie, until they’re touching from their chests all the way down to their booted toes.

“I will always fight to come home to you and Chris.” Buck vows.

He leans in even closer, his nose grazing Eddies, his eyes searching. When Eddie gives him the slightest of nods, Buck closes the remaining distance between them to seal his lips over the other mans in an incredibly soft kiss. The world melts away as Eddie hands settle on the small of Bucks back and Buck cradles Eddies face in his palms, impossibly gentle.

When the need for air is too great, they break apart and rest their foreheads together. The world around them comes rushing back in, and the pair blush and snort at the sounds of their entire family hooting and catcalling them loudly.

“Come over after shift? I think we need to have our own little chat, and I know a certain 9 year old who’s always happy to see his Buck.’ Eddie smiles. ‘We can watch movies and order pizza.”

“Spend the whole evening with my Diaz boys? Count me in.” Buck beams, pecking Eddies lips once more before entwining their hands and pulling him over to the still-cheering 118.

“Nice to see you haven’t gotten yourself killed yet, Buckley.” Chimney grins.

And you finally got your man.” Hen exclaims proudly.

“All in all, a great day, I’d say.” Buck proclaims.

“I know Bobby and Athena have already given you an earful, or at least plan on it, so I won’t give you a lecture. But I will say, that if you ever do something like that again, I swear to God I will kick your ass so hard, you’ll taste my shoe. Capeesh?” Hen warns, wagging a finger in Bucks face.

“Capeesh.’ Buck laughs. ‘Can we go back now? I’m starving.”

“Aren’t you always?” Bobby teases as everyone piles into the trucks.