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make it till monday

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Sometimes, Eddie forgets that the world consists of more than just Buck and Christopher.

There are other people in the world, of course. He knows this. But his world is narrowed down into two of his most important people and as long as they're with him, he's complete. Waking up to Buck beside him, feeling Buck's arms around him, knowing that if Buck isn't there he's most likely in the kitchen with Christopher settles him in a way he never expected to find when he moved from El Paso.

And Eddie's world isn't just Buck and Christopher. He can admit they're usually his favorite parts, but Abuela, Pepa, his sisters, nieces, his hordes of cousins, the 118, they all matter too. His family is large and sprawling, loud and demanding, and Eddie loves them.

He loves the way his large family opened up and welcomed Buck into it long before they were ever together. Buck's had a standing invitation to Diaz monthly dinner from the get-go, practically from day one. All he did was flash those eyes, smile that smile at Abuela, and the family matriarch had adopted him on the spot.

Abuela also took to calling Eddie idiota for two months until he found the nerve to take Buck out on a date. She stopped the day after (how she found out, Eddie has no idea) and simply dragged Buck into her kitchen to teach him how to make tamales, cheerfully announcing all the while that she was "stealing Edmundo's boyfriend" before marching off with him.

His cousins had cackled, offered him a beer, trading stories about significant others meeting Abuela- Jose had been terrified, Miguel dripping sweat- but told him not to worry as Buck had long since become the favorite, so he should be fine.

And that had been that, really.

The family at the 118 reacted much more loudly, but with equal amounts of love- and no small amount of money changing hands. There were HR forms to fill out, emergency contacts to update, and then everything had settled. Business as normal, just Buck and Eddie are now Buck-and-Eddie.

Six mostly blissful months have passed and now Eddie wakes with Buck's face buried in his chest, his arms curled around Buck's broad form, and a wet patch on his shoulder.

"Buck." He smiles, tracing his fingers up Buck's spine.

"Mm?"

"You're drooling."

"Mm."

Eddie chuckles, gently extracting himself to stand. Buck makes a sleepy noise of protest, then sits up, tired blue eyes tracking Eddie across the room.

"You don't have to get up." Eddie kisses him as he passes. "I was just going to grab a shower before Chris wakes."

He gathers the clothes at his feet and dumps them in the hamper by the closet. Last night's shift had been long and they'd been so tired by the time they crawled home they'd barely remembered to strip before collapsing into the bed, so he gathers Buck's too. He'll just add them to Buck's drawers later, once he's awake enough to use the washing machine.

Buck yawns hugely, checking the time on his phone. "Wow, are we really up before Christopher for a change? It's almost seven."

Eddie grabs his phone from the nightstand, turning off the alarm before it sounds.

"I think Pepa let him stay up late watching movies again. He wasn't fully asleep when I picked him up."

Buck's hair is wildly curly first thing in the morning. The way it's sticking straight up at the moment makes him think of a bird he'd seen at the zoo a few weeks back, so he snaps a quick picture to show Christopher later.

Sleep ruffled Buck is one of his favorites, as the photo album full of such pictures on his phone can attest.

"Shouldn't you be showering, not sneaking pictures of me?"

Caught, Eddie draws Buck up for a kiss with a hand on the back of his neck.

"I like looking at you," he says against Buck's mouth. He feels Buck's lips curve under his.

"What do you want for breakfast?" Buck asks, kissing him again before pushing Eddie away to stand.

"You know Christopher's gonna ask for pancakes again." Eddie shrugs, starting towards the bathroom. "I could go for a frittata."

"You just want to me to trick Chris into eating spinach."

"It tricks me too," Eddie reminds him, ducking into the bathroom.

"Did you get onions?"

"And tomatoes," Eddie confirms.

"Frittatas it is."

Breakfast is well on its way by the time Eddie's dressed, feeling mostly human after showering off.

"Remind me to never not shower before passing out," he mutters to Buck. "I smelled bad enough to wake myself up."

"You say that every time," Buck laughs, handing him coffee.

"He makes coffee too." Eddie kisses his cheek, arm sliding around Buck's waist. "What a guy."

"You did stink," Buck admits, stepping away to grate cheese over the skillet. "I'm glad you showered."

"Must not have smelled that bad- you were right up against me all night, Buckley."

Buck shrugs, flashing him a grin. "What can I say? You're comfy."

With a parting kiss to the back of Buck's neck, Eddie moves down the hall to rouse Christopher. As much as he would love to bask in this rare chance of Chris sleeping in, Eddie can't let him get too off his sleep schedule during the break.

Spring break or not, if Christopher sleeps much later, come Monday when he's due to wake up at six am again, he'll be a grouchy little monster for hours.

Eddie knocks on the bedroom door, then again when only silence answers him.

"Chris," he calls, cracking the door. "Time to get up, mijo."

There's a long, loud groan that makes Eddie grin. He tries to fight it back when he peeks his head in, spying Christopher burrowing deeper into the blankets with a frown.

"Early," Christopher insists.

"Yeah, I know, but it's later than you usually sleep. Time to rise and shine."

One eye opens to peer at Eddie. It squints at him.

"Is Buck making breakfast?"

"Frittatas."

The other eye opens in interest.

"In the cast iron skillet?" Christopher sits up, rubbing his eyes. "Can I help?"

"Stretches first, then you can be Buck's sous chef."

Watching Buck and Christopher move around the kitchen together feels like a privilege, something special he's allowed to witness. Be a part of. He knows Christopher will ask to cut the tops off the strawberries, that Buck will allow it as long as Chris wears a pair of those cutting proof gloves and keeps his hands under Buck's at all times.

It just further proves to him that he wants this every morning.

Eddie's got a plan and everything. He's going to drop Christopher off at Bobby and Athena's for an overnight with Harry on Wednesday, then he and Buck are going to that fancy Italian place that Buck's been wanting to try. Sometime between dinner and desert, Eddie's finally going to ask Buck to move in with them.

Given that most of Buck's stuff has already migrated over in the past six months, Eddie feels confident about a yes. Most of Buck's clothes are stashed in the closet, or folded beside Eddie's in the dresser already. A fancy electric toothbrush sits on the sink, a tube of hair gel in the medicine cabinet, expensive soaps and moisturizers lining the counter.

Buck keeps trying to get him to use the fancy face creams, but he hasn't caved yet.

Christopher's all for Buck moving in- he'd shrieked with excitement when Eddie had broached the subject weeks ago, ready to go pack Buck up and move him in that night. It had taken a few creative bribes to get Christopher to calm down and agree to wait, to give Eddie a chance to be sure himself and actually ask.

But now, Eddie's ready. He's sure. He wants Buck with him all the time, wants to wake up every morning knowing Buck will be beside him. All that's left to do is wait for Wednesday and tell Buck that he wants them to live together.

And then Thursday, the Diaz clan- including but not limited to his parents and at least one of his sisters, if not both of them- starts arriving for Easter weekend.

But that's Thursday's problem. And besides, he'll be able to go home with Buck to their home once all is said and done. It'll be nice to focus on the relatively calm activity of moving Buck in after the chaos of a weekend with most of his extended family.

Unfortunately for Eddie, family chaos is, well, chaotic, and halfway through Christopher plating a very colorful fruit salad ("Are you eating all of the blueberries?" Buck asks suspiciously, eyeing the shrinking pile. "...maybe."), there's a knock on the door.

Buck raises a brow at him. "Expecting anybody?"

"Not at seven thirty in the morning," Eddie says with a frown. "Not anyone who would knock, anyway."

Carla might come by this early, and certainly has before, but she usually uses her key, knocking and calling out a hello while she opens the door. Not to mention she's usually scheduled, and often texts to announce she's on her way, then again when she parks.

He's been saved from oversleeping before thanks to her methods, but he's about ninety percent sure she's not scheduled to watch Christopher today- Buck's got to work a short shift later but he's off until tomorrow night, so there's no reason for her to come by.

Eddie opens the door, desperately hoping he's not forgotten one of Christopher's doctors appointments or something. Then blinks, stunned when he realizes who's standing on the porch.

Well, it's definitely not Carla.

"Surprise!" Helena cries, throwing up her hands and smiling. "We're early!"

Eddie reels back in shock, mouth dropping open. Ramon frowns down at him, brows drawing together.

"Are you going to keep your parents standing on the porch?" Ramon asks. "Or can we come in?"

"You're... early."

"Surprise!" Helena says again, grinning wide. "Where's Christopher? I can't wait to see him- it's been too long. We thought we'd take you two out for breakfast today, before we go to Pepa's and get settled."

Eddie thanks every saint he can remember that his parents are at least staying with Pepa this weekend. They'd tried to worm an invitation out of Eddie for his sofa bed, but Pepa had fallen on her sword and offered them her guest room instead, insisting Ramon's back couldn't handle the pullout mattress.

"You're four days early."

Ramon waves it away. "More like three."

"That's not... did you tell Pepa you were coming this early?" he asks, because if Pepa had known she would have warned him, surely. And if she doesn't know, Eddie wants ringside seats for when she finds out.

Helena's smile slips the smallest bit. "It was a surprise," she says, voice still bright. "We got an earlier flight."

Eddie makes a point to check the clock on the wall before glancing back at his parents. "I'll say," he says, but waves them in.

"Edmundo, this is no way to react when family comes to visit," his father chides, brushing past. "You act like you're unhappy to see us."

Headache already building behind his eyes, Eddie sighs. "That's not it, papi. It's just... you weren't supposed to get here until Thursday, and Buck and I have to work most of the week so we could both get this weekend off. We're busy all week until Thursday afternoon." He's definitely not about to tell them about his Wednesday night plans.

Something in Ramon's posture changes. It's a subtle shift, but it immediately puts Eddie on edge.

"Buck's coming to Isabel's?" Helena asks. "I thought this was going to be a family affair- family only."

Dread coils in Eddie's stomach. His parents had been shocked about the change in his in Buck's relationship to say the least. They hadn't been happy when he told them, claiming he shouldn't reveal such big news over the phone, but really how else was he supposed to do it? But Eddie had been able to convince them he's happy, and they'd at least accepted it. Or, they'd seemed to. Helena had even offered to send Buck some of her recipes when she found out he cooked a few months later.

They hadn't been too happy about Eddie joining the army either, but they brag about his Silver Star every chance they get, even now. Adriana even swears she heard their father proudly telling the neighbors about his "brave firefighter son" despite his outright disapproval when Eddie had signed up for the academy.

They'd been furious when he moved too, but they hadn't broached him moving back to El Paso in months, so maybe that particular hang up is finally smoothing out.

He'd hoped with time they'd come around to him dating Buck too. They'd liked Buck his friend, so surely they could like Buck his boyfriend after a little while to adjust. And six months feels like plenty of time for adjustments.

He'd hoped he'd have time to ask Buck to move in before he saw them next, to have that next step all set up and ready before everyone came crashing into town with their own opinions. He hadn't counted on his parents extending their family weekend to a week on no notice.

"Buck is family," he says, voice sharp. "Abuela invited him personally, and he took two extra shifts this week in order to get the time off. He's spending Easter with us."

The look his parents exchange does not inspire confidence.

"Of course," Ramon says. Eddie can't quite decipher his tone, too shocked at how easily his father drops it to focus. "I should know better than to argue with my mother, hm?" He places an easy hand on Eddie's shoulder. "Let's get breakfast, then. We'll take you and Christopher out and talk like a family-"

"Who was at the door, babe?"

Spatula in hand, Buck appears in the kitchen doorway. His hair is still sticking straight up in the back, curly and wild. He's got a dribble of red staining his shirt and there's a rip in his neon orange sweatpants. Just the sight of him eases the pounding in Eddie's temple.

Buck's eyes widen a fraction before he schools his features into a pleased smile.

"Mr. and Mrs. Diaz," he says, and there's barely anything fake in the warmth of his smile. "What a surprise! We weren't expecting to see you until Thursday." Eddie gives him a helpless look, shrugging. "I was just making breakfast, if you want to join us?"

The silence is just a beat too long, but before Eddie can hone in on it, Ramon speaks.

"You live here now?"

Buck barely blinks. "Just visiting," he promises, offering a smile.

"Buck stayed the night," Eddie explains.

It's clearly the wrong thing to say, given the sharp look his parents throw him. (Honestly, if they disapprove of seeing Buck in his sleep clothes, maybe they shouldn't turn up at his house before eight am.)

"And do you often let visitors cook in your kitchen?" his mother asks. Her tone is cool, mouth pinched like it gets when someone is rude.

"You know I'm not the best cook, so I let my boyfriend cook me breakfast, yes."

This time, Buck notices the extra beat of silence. He clears his throat. "We're having spinach frittatas and fruit salad, if you're hungry."

Now Helena looks shocked. "Eddie hates spinach," she informs Buck. "He always has."

"What kind of fruit?" Ramon demands. "Christopher has allergies, you know. It could be dangerous for him."

"No pineapples," Buck assures. "Mostly strawberries and blueberries. If he hasn't eaten them all while my back's been turned."

"Buck knows about Christopher's allergies, papi. He was at the doctor's appointment with me." Already tired, Eddie runs a hand through his hair. "Do you want to eat breakfast with us or not? We need to feed Chris."

At the mention of their grandson, Helena and Ramon stride forward, brushing past Buck without a word, calling for Christopher.

Buck watches them go, head craned over his shoulder. "So... your parents are here. Four days early."

Eddie drops his head onto Buck's collar bone, groaning into his chest. "I was really hoping I'd been dreaming that."

"Not unless we both are. Christopher sounds happy, at least," Buck offers, stroking his hands soothingly down Eddie's back.

"I don't think they like you."

"I picked up on that."

Eddie burrows deeper into Buck's chest, wrapping his arms around him.

"Is that I'm a guy or me specifically?" Buck wonders out loud. "I don't think I'm gonna change my gender, but they liked me last time we met. Maybe I can charm them."

If anyone could charm his parents, it would be Buck. Eddie almost smiles.

"...I'm worried it might be the guy thing, at least partially," he admits quietly. "They claimed they didn't care, but I don't think that's true even though Mom asks about you in her emails, and Papi's polite over the phone. Fuck, I really don't know. Maybe they're just going to be like this to whoever I'm with. I told you what they were like to Shannon."

Buck leans in, resting his forehead against Eddie's. "I remember."

"I'm not going to let them treat you like that," Eddie promises. "They don't get to treat you like that. I will make them leave."

Buck shakes his head, presses a quick kiss to Eddie's lips. "Don't worry about it, Eddie. I can take disapproving parents. And besides, they'll be gone after the weekend." He pulls back, eyes wide. "They will, right?"

"God, I hope so."

Though, if they had thought arriving four days early with no notice to anyone was a good idea, who even knows anymore.

"Then we just need to make it till Monday. We can do that."

"They didn't tell Pepa they were coming early," Eddie tells him, glancing into the kitchen when Christopher laughs. "She has no idea they're here and I think they're still expecting to stay in her guest room."

"Oh man. Okay. I want to be there when they tell her. And if I can't be, you need to record it for me. That's going to be one epic Pepa rant."

Eddie smiles. "Deal," he says, kissing him.

"Daa-aaad! Buuuuuck!" Christopher appears in the doorway, a fistfull of blueberries clutched in his hand. His mouth is already stained purple. "Can you kiss later? I'm hungry."

Eddie snorts with laughter and pulls away. Buck grins, scooping Chris up. He misses the look on Ramon's face behind him, the way Helena gasps and shoots to her feet when Christopher is lifted and draped over Buck's shoulder.

"You got it, superman. Wanna help me make your grandparents frittatas?"

"Abuelo doesn't like tomatoes," Christopher tells Buck.

"Christopher helps you cook?" Helena looks alarmed, but sinks back down into her chair.

"Is he always so careless with Christopher?" his father hisses into his ear before sitting down. "Letting him use knives?"

"Best sous chef ever," Buck boasts, placing Chris on the stool in front of the counter. "Wash your hands, then knife gloves on. We'll leave the tomatoes out of this one. You want to grate the cheese?"

"He's not careless," Eddie furiously whispers to his father, face set in hard lines. "Never with Christopher. Don't even go there, papi."

His parents don't seem too happy with Buck herding Christopher around the kitchen, but they're at least silent in their disapproval. Eddie swallows anything he wants to say, unwilling to start a fight before eight am. He just needs to get through breakfast, then convince his folks to head over to Pepa's.

He's pretty sure whatever Pepa has to say to them will cover most of what he's feeling anyway. Might as well let her at them and save himself the energy, gain some entertainment value.

Hell, maybe Buck's famous breakfast cooking will start thawing the ice his parents have thrown up around themselves. He seriously doubts it, but hey, a man can dream.


"So you just show up four days early and expect me to just welcome you with a smile? No phone call, no text message, not so much as a by the way. Four days early, Ramon, for shame!" Pepa marches around her living room, snatching up the laundry she'd obviously been in the middle of folding when Eddie had arrived with his parents in tow.

His parents at least have the grace to look ashamed as Pepa tears into them. Eddie tries to be subtle about aiming his phone at them to record, biting his lip hard to stop from grinning.

"I haven't prepared, Ramon. I don't have groceries, or the bed made up. The guest room is a mess, ay. Why do you do this, hm? What made you think it was okay to arrive so early without telling anyone? Everyone else is arriving this weekend, but you decide you just have to be here ahead of schedule. You just have to come cause trouble."

"I thought my family would be happy to see me," Ramon says stiffly. "Obviously I'm mistaken."

Pepa rolls her eyes. "Oh, stop with the dramatics, Ramon. You are perfectly welcome, but arriving four days early is rude. If someone had done this to you, you would be furious and you know it."

"It's three days," Helena insists. "I know you-"

"You do not," Pepa cuts in sharply. "You walk into my house and expect a warm welcome this early in the day, this early in the week? What would Mama say, Ramon? Hm? You should have called before you just showed up. Interrupting poor Eddie's breakfast with his family after both those boys worked all night. Why are you even here so early?"

He'd love to know the answer to that too, but his folks had remained tight lipped about the reason for their early arrival. Whatever it is, Eddie has a sinking suspicion he's not going to like it much.

"We just wanted to spend time with everyone." Helena turns to Eddie, eyes wide, a plea in her voice. "We haven't seen Christopher in so long, Eddie. We just wanted to see him."

Baffled, Eddie turns off the recording and slides his phone into his pocket. "You saw him at Christmas, Mom."

"On a screen. It's not the same thing!"

Eddie swallows the cold fury that swamps him. "I'm aware," he reminds her, voice sharp before he manages to soften it. "I remember. But you saw him at Thanksgiving too, in person, and you'll see him all weekend."

"Six months is too long for a child to be without his grandparents," Ramon says, crossing his arms. "We barely see Christopher anymore. You hardly let us see him."

"We live eight hundred miles away from each other. You aren't going to be able to see him as often as you like, but-"

"We are not the one who moved away and took Christopher!" Ramon shouts, face red. "We cannot see him because you took him from us! If you hadn't run off with him, we could see him whenever we want."

"Ramon," Pepa snaps. "Cállate!"

"You can move back home," Helena says, hands clasped like she's praying. "We can help with Christopher. You can move back in with us, both of you. He needs us."

This argument is at least familiar. He knows how to navigate this territory. He's been in this minefield before. This time he's older. The ground is a little more steady under his feet and he's more sure of his steps.

"Christopher is not your son. No," he says when his father opens his mouth. "No. There is no disputing that. I am Christopher's father, not you. You both did a lot for him and Shannon while I was deployed and I'm grateful, but that doesn't give some kind of claim over my child." Eddie takes a breath to calm himself. If he yells back at his father, he's just going to make everything that much worse.

A hand touches his arm. He glances at his mother, unsurprised to see her frowning. He doesn't let her speak either, stepping away from them both.

"Listen, I'm not saying you can't ever see Christopher. But you need to understand that you are not his parents, that you don't get to decide what he does or does not do. We have a life here, a good life. I have a career, Christopher's excelling in school. He has friends, I have friends, and we both have Buck. We're not about to drop all of that- any of it- and move back to El Paso just because it's what you want."

He watches their faces carefully, but there's no disgust when he mentions Buck. They frown, lips thin and brows drawn, but they'd looked at Shannon the same way too. Maybe Buck being a man doesn't have anything to do with it.

Adriana's been married for years. Eddie can't remember her husband ever being on the receiving end of one of these looks from his in-laws. Not even in the beginning, when they'd had their first child as teens before the wedding. At sixteen, he'd gotten an earful about making good life choices when his nineteen year old sister moved in with her boyfriend, but that's about it. They'd barely even glared at Mark when he came around after that, and he and Adriana have been happily married for nearly fifteen years now- even added on another daughter.

Sophia's gone through a few serious relationships, but she's told them in no uncertain terms she's in no hurry to marry or pop out kids anytime soon. Their parents had barely protested when she took off to explore Africa with nothing but a camera to her name after high school instead of giving them more grandchildren. But as the baby, Sophia's always gotten away with much more than Eddie or Adriana ever did, and he was already overseas when she took off.

So it's just his partners then, which is just all kinds of messed up. Not that he would want his sisters going through this whenever they bring a significant other home (though Sophia stopped doing that years ago, claiming she knows better).

"Look," Eddie sighs, so drained at barely nine am. "You showed up days ahead of schedule, and that's just rude no matter how you spin it."

"Indeed," Pepa huffs, crossing her arms.

"You showed up at my house before eight am and you were also rude to Buck, who made you breakfast without complaint, who was nothing but polite despite everything you pulled. You said he was careless with Christopher. I'm going to be pissed about that. I am pissed about that. How dare you."

Helena touches a hand to her throat. "I- we weren't trying to be rude," she starts, but the words die when Eddie pins her with a glance.

"Sure, Mom."

She flinches slightly, dropping her gaze.

"Regardless, you're here, it's early, we're annoyed-"

"Very annoyed."

"-and I need to go. Buck has a shift later, and Chris has a playdate scheduled."

He gets halfway out the front door before his mother catches up to him.

"You're right," she says immediately. "It was rude of us to just assume it was okay to turn up three days early. I guess we got so caught up in the excitement of seeing you and Christopher for the first time in months that we forgot that you're not much of a morning person."

"That's not-" Eddie groans, aggravated. "Mom, I'm not annoyed because I'm tired. I'm annoyed that you aren't listening to me. I'm annoyed because you assumed you could just turn up at my house and demand to see my son and that I would just let you, and that you said shit about Buck behind his back."

"I just want you to-"

"Yeah, I know what you want. It's not going to happen. Christopher and I are very happy here. You would know, if you bothered to listen any of the times I told you that." Eddie pauses, then places his hands on Helena's shoulders, waits until she looks him in the eye. "I am happy here. I am so happy in the LAFD, with Christopher, with Buck. If you can't accept that, can't accept Buck, we're going to have some problems during your visit."

"Buck has nothing to do with this," Helena insists. "I don't care about your fling with your friend. He seems nice enough but-"

"My friend," Eddie chokes out. "My fling with my friend." He scrubs a hand over his face, backing away. "Okay, yeah. We're gonna have a few problems this week."

He climbs into his truck, ignoring his mother calling his name, his father starting out of the house and demanding he come back and apologize. Apparently they think he has an attitude, and Ramon doesn't appreciate the way Eddie 'seems to have turned Pepa' against him.

This is going to be a long, long week.


Eddie can't tell if they're being homophobic or just shitty, and he's not sure which is worse. Neither is good, both make his blood boil. Whatever the reason, them dismissing his relationship with Buck is enough to make him see red.

"They did crap like this to Shannon too, only I wasn't around back then." Sighing, Eddie accepts the cup of coffee Hen offers him. "I'm not about to let them get away with it again."

Making a sympathetic noise, Hen squeezes his hand, checking for the kids over her shoulder.

"Parents can suck," she says bluntly. "Yours are being serious assholes right now."

Oddly, it makes Eddie laugh. "Yeah," he agrees, and it's so nice to just have someone say that.

"You said they want you to move back to Texas." Hen scowls and sips her own mug. "Thought they were off that train finally. You've lived here for over three years- nearly four now."

"Apparently not. We barely made it into Pepa's living room before they started in on that." He sets the cup down a little harder than he means to. He still can't stop hearing you can move back home, like it's already a done deal just because his parents want it.

Fuck you and your wants, Eddie. Better listen to your parents. Never mind the fact that you're a grown man with a child, a career, a serious relationship, or bills to pay. Come move in and let your mother and father take over raising your kid- they can do it so much better than you.

Because that's what it comes down to, in the end: they think they can do a better job with Christopher. That Eddie's failing as a parent. That he's dragging Christopher down with him.

In Denny's room, there's a thump. Both parents pause, ears cocked, but the laughter that follows has them relaxing and turning back to their coffee. Christopher whoops, Denny lets out an overly-dramatic I-just-died-in-the-game wail, then giggles.

"I swear Denny learned that noise from Buck," Hen tells him, laughing. "I hear that boy make that noise every time I whoop his ass in Mario Kart." She reaches across the coffee table to pat Eddie's hand. "They're wrong, you know."

"Oh?"

"You're doing a great job with Christopher, and I know you're both happy here. They're wrong to try and force their wants on you, and they're definitely wrong to call what you and Buck have a fling."

Remembering, Eddie all but growls. "They know Buck and I are together. They've known for months. They ask about him, for god's sake. Now I'm wondering if they were trying to keep up appearances- maybe act like they don't mind because they thought my fling would be over with by now."

It leaves him with a bitter taste in his mouth that has nothing to do with the coffee.

"They claim it's not because Buck is a guy, but..."

Hen's frown deepens. "But you think it is?"

"I'm starting to wonder if that's part of it. By the time Shannon and I had been together six months they were already asking when we'd get married even though they didn't like her all that much, but they call me and Buck a fling? Either way, they don't like us being together and they aren't making a secret of it." Eddie shrugs, shoulders lifting and dropping with a jerk. "They're going to have to get over that; Buck and I are in for the long haul."

The smile Hen gives him is brilliant. "Oh, anybody with eyes can see you two are meant for each other, but how long of a haul are we talking here? You planning something?"

Eddie eyes his friend, considering things. Hen's a vault when you need her to be, so he's not worried about Wednesday's plans getting out before then. Hen will tell Karen, obviously, but she'll keep it to herself at work until Eddie gives her the all-clear.

As long as no one tells Chimney, the worst secret keeper at the 118, it should be okay.

"I'm going to ask Buck to move in with us," he admits quietly, one eye out for Christopher. Every time he brings up Buck moving in, he has to spend an hour calming Christopher down and reminding him it's a secret for a little while longer.

"Eddie Diaz!" Hen cackles, swatting him. "Aw, I'm so happy for you! When? Where?"

"Wednesday night. Christopher's got a sleepover with Harry planned, so I was going to take him out after our shift, ply him with fancy food and wine and see how he feels about selling his place."

Practically giddy, Hen gathers their mugs and all but dances into the kitchen.

"He's going to be over the moon," Hen declares. "He practically lives with you anyways."

"I'm excited," Eddie admits, leaning against the doorway. "Or at least, I was. Originally the plan was to have everything started before my parents arrived, but now-"

"Uh-uh. We're not doing that." Hen points a manicured nail at him, gaze fierce. "You are not going to let your parents suck the joy out of a joyful event. Be happy, be in love, and get your man to move in with you. Don't let them ruin your happiness with their selfishness."

Eddie checks the hall but Christopher and Denny are clearly still in the clutches of whatever video game they're playing. He still lowers his voice, just in case.

He might not be fond of his parents at the moment, but he's not about to let Christopher's view of his grandparents be tainted by their drama. He's happy to see them for now, and Eddie's not about to make him feel bad about that.

"They don't even want Buck coming to Easter dinner," he tells Hen, pinching the bridge of his nose. "They said it should be a family affair, and I'm willing to bet they're going to throw a fit about me and Chris having plans this week that they're not a part of."

Drying her hands, Hen faces him fully with an eye roll Eddie knows for a fact she passed on to her son. "Sounds like they shouldn't have shown up four days early, then. It's not your fault they didn't stick to the schedule- and I know how much juggling you and Buck did to get this weekend off."

"I know; Buck and I haven't had a real date in weeks. My aunt is very unhappy with them for arriving how they did, and it's gonna take me a while to calm down after this morning."

"But they're your parents," Hen guesses.

"Yeah. And I... I do feel a little bad about how little they get to see Christopher now. I remember watching him grow up on a screen. I know how much that sucks. It's hard for Chris too, he loves them a lot, but I also know that our life is here." Sighing hugely, Eddie pushes off the doorway. "I'm also enormously pissed off at them, so I don't have to see them today if I don't want to."

"Uh, you don't have to see them at all if you don't want to. Not even this weekend."

Guilt eats at him. Eight hundred miles might not be far enough away from his parents for his liking, but they do love Christopher, who loves them right back. And his parents did make the trip to see Chris, despite the very early arrival.

Can he really deny Christopher his grandparents just because Eddie's unhappy with them?

"I'll talk to them tomorrow," Eddie decides. "If they apologize and drop the moving back to El Paso nonsense, I'll go see them before Thursday."

"And if they don't?"

"Then this weekend is going to be very awkward," Eddie says with more bravado than he feels. "I'm not putting up with their crap all week. They don't have to agree with how I'm raising Christopher, but they will respect our life here. If they don't like it, they can pout about it all the way back to Texas."


Eddie's on a video chat with his sisters when Buck is due to come home later that night. Christopher had tried valiantly to stay awake to greet Buck, but a surprise visit from his grandparents in the morning coupled with a several hours long playdate at Hen's had left him exhausted. He'd practically fallen asleep over his dinner, eyes not opening once when Eddie carried him to bed.

Adriana buries her face in her hands and groans for a solid twenty seconds once Eddie's done explaining about this morning. It's honestly impressive.

"I think this might be my fault?" she says when she looks back up.

Sophia's face freezes in a frown before the camera cuts to her sliding back into her chair, the pixels dancing. "How is this your fault?" she wants to know. Her audio doesn't quite sync up with the movement of her mouth.

Eddie's also confused. "Yeah, unless you drove them to the airport-"

"God no."

"-they did this themselves."

"Yeah, they did, but I might have said something to trigger this," Adriana admits. "Lo siento, hermanito."

"What did you say?" Eddie asks curiously. It doesn't take much for an idea to get planted into their parent's heads. He wouldn't be surprised if his sister had inadvertently gotten the wheels for this harebrained scheme in motion.

"They were bitching about you guys living so far away, how it's not fair that you just up and left with Christopher like he's not your son." Adriana fists a hand in her curly hair, her other hand on her forehead. "And I told them that eight hundred miles isn't that bad when you think about it."

He's not really seeing the damaging statement here.

"...and then I said that we would see you guys on Easter, during Christopher's spring break, and that you even had most of the week off so you could spend time with us once we were all in LA."

Ah.

Eddie casts his gaze to the ceiling, lowering his head onto the back of the chair behind him. "Adriana," he groans, covering his face with his hands.

"I'm sorry! I meant to be like 'Eddie's spending all weekend with us, calm down'. I didn't think they'd just show up on your doorstep four days ahead of schedule and immediately start trying to ship you back to El Paso."

Sophia, already having gotten an earful of Helena's side of things, rolls her eyes. "Oh, you haven't heard? Mom and Dad are insisting it's fine because it's only three days."

Adriana's head comes up sharply, causing her picture to skip oddly. "What the hell does that matter? Three or four days- who cares, they should have stayed here until Thursday like the rest of us. Hell, Mark even offered to let them drive up with us and the girls. Instead they fly out almost a week early?!"

"This is why I'm never in the States," Sophia declares. "Your parents can't turn up at your door when you live halfway across the world. Nuestros padres están locos."

"She says like she's not also coming this weekend and therefore has to also put up with our crazy parents," Eddie says to Adriana, earning a grin.

"I could still change my mind." Sophia shrugs. "Flight got canceled. Oversold. Delayed. Tragic, really."

Eddie smirks. "I dunno, having my annoying little sister a few continents away is pretty nice. Not sure I'm ready to give that up yet."

Sophia narrows her eyes at him. Points into her camera. "You miss me. You know you do. I keep your life interesting as your wayward little sister."

"My life is interesting enough as it is, thanks."

Beside the laptop, his phone lights up, buzzing twice in quick succession while Adriana laughs.

Chim: He probably didn't say anything but Buck is minorly injured

Chim: I say once again: minor.

"What the fuck," Eddie mutters, heart dropping into his stomach.

"Eddie?"

Eddie: what?!

Chim: He's on his way to your place. He's okay, but I figured he didn't tell you.

If he calls Buck now, Buck will most likely be driving. But the roar in his veins, the clenching of his chest demands that he speak to Buck this instant. Just to double check Chimney's claims of 'minor'.

Are the injuries actually minor, or Buck's definition of minor?

Chimney wouldn't have let him leave the station if he was seriously hurt, Eddie knows this. Chim is practically Buck's big brother, and he loves Buck as such. There's no way in hell Buck would be on his way home if Chimney thought he needed to be in the ER.

He calls Buck anyway, unsurprised to get no answer.

"Buck got hurt at work," Eddie says, interrupting Sophia's line of questions. "I'm not sure-"

The sound of the front door opening has him springing to his feet. He's around the table and in the kitchen doorway before he's aware he's moving.

"Buck?"

"Okay, first of all," Buck announces, "I am fine."

That does not ease Eddie's anxiety in the slightest.

"Buck-"

"Second of all," Buck continues, stepping towards the kitchen and into the light just as Eddie gets into the living room, "Chimney is such a snitch."

The bruise on Buck's cheek and the cut above his eye knocks the breath from Eddie's lungs.

"Cariño," he breathes, tracing a careful finger over the red mark. "What happened?"

"Can someone tell us what's going on?" the laptop shrieks. "Is Buck okay?"

Eddie pulls Buck into the kitchen and pushes the taller man into the chair he'd vacated earlier before ducking back out. Twin gasps come from the screen, and Buck turns with an easy smile on his face.

"Hey, the Diaz sisters. Hi."

"God, you look like you got decked," Sophia says with a frown.

Eddie stalks back into the room with the first aid kit. He tries very hard not to slam it onto the table, though he does nearly rip the gloves in half when he attempts to jerk them on.

"I did," Buck admits.

Eddie whips around at that. "Somebody hit you? Who?" he demands.

"I didn't get his name." Buck eyes him, teeth worrying his lower lip. "Drunk driver incident. I tried to stop him from leaving the scene and he..." he gestures to his cheekbone.

"Hit you," Eddie finishes. He takes a deep breath to steady his temper as much as his hands. If it happened at a scene, it's been handled. The only thing he can do about it now is clean Buck up. "Let me see."

Obediently, Buck tilts his head up, presenting his injured side.

"Athena arrested the guy, if that makes you feel any better."

"It's a start."

The bruise on his cheek is small, a dark bloom across his cheekbone, trailing up his eye. It'll fade after a few days- before this weekend probably- but the cut in his brow needs a little attention. Buck probably ducked out before Chimney could pounce on him (and Eddie knows Chim would have only allowed that because Buck was coming home to him, hence the texts).

"I heard our parents are being... our parents," Adriana says as Eddie carefully cleans the cut. "Sorry about that, Buck."

"It's fine," Buck says, wincing. "I mean, it's not, but I can handle it. Parents never like me anyways."

"Our parents don't like anybody that dates Eddie. No one is good enough for The Son."

Wound clean and butterfly bandage applied, Eddie gets his fingers under Buck's chin and tilts his head, inspecting for more injuries. Buck gives him a lopsided grin that he can't help but return.

"Not gonna kiss it and make it better?" he teases.

Eddie bends and presses a soft kiss to his brow, just beside the cut, then another to his lips, lingering just a little too long.

"Oh my god you guys are adorable. What the fuck. Look at them, Adriana."

"Disgusting," Adriana agrees with a soft smile.

"We're going to have to put up with their cuteness in person all weekend. It's going to be so gross. I can't wait. Buck, you and I need to get drinks together- I have some amazing stories about Eddie as a teenager."

Eddie rolls his eyes and gathers the scattered first aid wrappers around him, shedding his gloves as he goes.

"I like your sisters," Buck announces, twisting in the chair to follow Eddie's movements.

"No you don't. They're very annoying and you'll soon learn that."

Sophia sniffs, tossing her hair. "Obviously your boyfriend has better taste than you, Edmundo."

"Don't listen to him, Buck," Adriana adds. "We're great and you'll love us before the weekend is over. Plus I have pictures to go with Soph's stories- of both of them."

Buck laughs, and the last of Eddie's unease dies in his chest. He seems to be mostly unharmed, but Eddie wants to make a through inspection of Buck before they go to bed. Just to be sure.

"Do you want an ice pack?" Eddie asks, fingers brushing the bruise again. No matter how fine Buck says he is, or appears to be, Eddie knows how much a fist to the face hurts.

"Eddie." Buck wraps his fingers around Eddie's wrist and pulls him right down into his lap. "I'm fine, I promise."

"This is why I hate you working without me."

"Pretty sure that dickwad would have gotten drunk and behind the wheel whether you were working tonight or not." Buck kisses the rest of Eddie's protests silent. "I'm okay."

Eddie accepts it with a grumble, refusing to turn to look at his obviously delighted sisters and focusing on Buck instead. He draws Buck in for a longer kiss, a hand on the back of Buck's neck, another in his hair.

One of his sisters coughs. Then the other clears her throat. "Uh, hello? Sisters, still talking, family drama. Please don't make out while the camera is still going."

He pulls away with a sigh and turns back to the computer, still firmly planted in Buck's lap. On screen, he can just make out Buck's arm wrapped around his waist, fingers inching their way up the back of his shirt.

"I still say I can win your parents over," Buck says. "No one can resist my charms."

"They can if their issue is the guy thing," Eddie grumbles. "I really hope it's not the guy thing."

"I don't think they're going to be happy with anyone you date, regardless of gender." Adriana shrugs when Eddie scowls at her. "It's true. They hated Shannon right off the bat. And that girl you went to prom with- Kaylee, Kati, oh, shoot, what was her name?"

"Kathy," Sophia remembers. "Kathy Gordon. She was super nice too, but they chased her off in, what, two months? They barely even made it to prom before she was running for the hills."

Eddie vaguely remembers Kathy. She had been nice- and his partner in science class. "I think we only lasted that long because she didn't want to have to find another prom date," Eddie tells them. "The day afterwards she literally told me she couldn't stand my parents and we broke up."

And Helena and Ramon had been much nicer to her after that. It had freaked Kathy out a bit, to the point that Eddie had to go to her house to work on their final science project so she didn't have to see his folks while they figured out how to build their diorama.

"And they were really pissy with that guy friend you had in high school- Trevor? I think they thought y'all were dating, so they didn't like him either."

"Uh, actually..." Eddie can feel his face burning. "Trevor and I did date for a while. I just never told them."

"I knew it!" Sophia shrieks, jumping up. "I knew you guys didn't have baseball practice that often!"

"You had a high school boyfriend?" Buck is delighted. "Tell me about Trevor, immediately. No wait." He turns to the computer instead, leaning forward and pointing at the screen. "You two tell me about Trevor."

Both of his sisters open their mouths, but Eddie is faster. "I'll see you two this weekend, bye," he says in a rush, slamming the laptop closed.

He turns to Buck, already trying to glare at him. "Whatever you're thinking right now, don't say it."

Buck says nothing, but his eyes are alight and his grin is a mile wide. Which is basically him saying something.

Eddie kisses the grin right off him, slinging his leg over the chair to straddle Buck properly. He feels Buck's hands dive into his hair to pull and sinks his teeth into Buck's lip in retaliation.

"Are you hurt anywhere else?" Eddie pulls away long enough to ask.

Buck hauls him back in for a messy kiss, groaning quietly when their tongues tangle. "No," Buck answers, kissing a trail down Eddie's neck.

"Yeah?" His fingers begin working on popping open the buttons of Buck's shirt. "Prove it."

"You trying to get me naked, Diaz?"

"Best way to make sure you're not hiding another injury under there."

Buck throws his head back on a laugh. Eddie takes the opportunity to sink his teeth into the column of his throat, finally getting Buck's shirt open.

"If that's what you wanna call it," Buck says, getting Eddie's own shirt up and off before allowing Eddie to divest him of the rest of his clothes. "I'm still going to ask your sisters about Trevor, you know. We're going to talk all about it this weekend."

"Oh my god," Eddie mutters, dragging them both up and into the bedroom.

Buck doesn't have any other marks on him.

Eddie still runs his fingers over every inch of him, just to double check.


"I think I want to paint the walls in here a nice blue," Buck says dreamily Wednesday night.

Still in a blissed out sex coma, Eddie merely grins into Buck's shoulder.

"Oh, I move you in here and you immediately start repainting the walls, is that what's happening?"

"Well someone has to do something about all this."

More offended than he should be, Eddie props himself up on his elbow. "All what?" he wants to know, glancing around his sparse but clean room.

"Exactly! You have nothing in here, Eddie. It's just sad. That's the first thing that's gonna change. How can you even live in such an empty space? We need to get some pictures on the walls, a mirror, maybe a nice plant or something."

Now worried, Eddie sits up fully. "I thought you were going to paint."

Buck nods, the sheets pooling at his waist when he sits up to gesture around the room. "Definitely going to paint," he confirms. "This yellow is bland, doesn't do the room any favors. Blue is nice and calming, and we'll get a bunch of pictures of us and Chris framed and put up too."

The pictures he can get behind. Eddie can always use more picture of his guys in his life. And okay, sure, painting the room could be nice. He's not a big fan of the yellow either, but he'd been so focused on getting Christopher set up when they'd moved in, he'd neglected to set up his own space. Then he just... never bothered. It had a bed, two nightstands, and a dresser. What more did he need?

Apparently, Buck has plans.

"Painting and pictures, sure," Eddie starts, but Buck's still going.

"I'm going to need a bookshelf too. I think mine will fit in the corner. Or maybe in the living room? We could put some plants on top of it, or in the shelves."

Eddie pictures the overflowing bookshelf in Buck's loft. Considers the tower of books already stacked on what he's long since considered to be Buck's nightstand.

"You're either going to need another shelf or a bigger one," he realizes. The shelf Buck currently owns could fit in the corner easy, but anything bigger would need to go in the living room.

Buck winces slightly. "Oh. I could... thin out my book collection. Haven't done a purge in a while. That way I'm not taking up too much space."

"Taking up too much- Buck." Eddie gets Buck's chin in his hand and turns him to meet his gaze. "You live here now. This is your house too, that's the entire point of moving in. You can't take up too much space, not here."

"I-"

"We'll bring your shelf over, then we'll hit up Ikea and get another one for the living room," Eddie decides. "And we can paint the walls blue, but you know you're going to kill whatever plant you bring in here."

Buck narrows his eyes at him. "You don't know that," he says loftily.

"You killed a cactus, Buck."

"So we won't get a cactus."

He's going to wind up taking care of whatever plant Buck drags in if they want it to live, but honestly he's kind of looking forward to it. Buck fills every space he's in with noise, with laughter and light. Of course he's going to bring all of that into their room, their house.

Their life.

Eddie smiles, leaning in to kiss him softly. "Bookshelf, pictures, painting. Sounds good. We'll talk about the plants."

"You need some green in here. I think we should get a bigger bed, too. You could probably fit a king sized frame in here if you put it against that wall."

"That's not a bad idea," Eddie says thoughtfully. He raises a brow at Buck, smirking. "And that's we could fit a king sized frame in here, Mr. Bed Hog."

"I can't help it; I'm all limbs." He stretches those long limbs now, climbing out of the bed with purpose. Eddie's gaze rakes over him, lingering on the swell of his toned arms, the ripple of muscles on his back. Eddie has a serious thing for Buck's back muscles (and leaving love bites all over them).

Buck's fucking beautiful, and Eddie gets to look at him every day now.

"You have any other ideas, Martha Stewart?"

Buck throws a grin over his shoulder, stepping into a pair of sweatpants. "A few. The living room could use some work."

His own pants halfway up, Eddie gives Buck a worried look. "What kind of work?" he wants to know. "What's wrong with the living room?"

"Nothing's wrong with it. It's just a little plain. You really don't know how to make the most out of the space you have." He saunters over, draping his arms over Eddie's shoulders, leaning in for a deep kiss. "Don't worry, I've got some ideas. We'll get the decoration situation sorted out."

"You're ridiculous."

"You love me."

Grinning, then laughing, Eddie kisses him again. "I do. So much."

"Do you love me enough to let me buy some new kitchen appliances? I saw this one stand mixer the other day that was just calling to me, but I didn't have the counter space for it. I do now," he says with delight. "I want a stand mixer."

"You're full of demands all of a sudden." Eddie slips out from under his arms to gather the clothes on the floor. He pulls his wallet and phone out of the pockets of his dress pants- still bunched up from where Buck had ripped them off once they'd gotten home- tosses them both onto the bed, the pants into the hamper.

"I've been dying to get this room sorted out ever since you let me in here," Buck admits. "It's sad, empty space, Eddie."

"Well, I still got you in here," Eddie reminds him smugly, following Buck into the hall after grabbing his phone. "Do whatever you want in here and the kitchen, but you can't go too crazy in the living room."

"Aw, come on. You don't even know what I would do. You can't protest my ideas before you know what they are."

"Way too many plants," Eddie guesses.

Buck just grins at him, ducking into the bathroom.

He has three missed calls from his mother that he's been ignoring since yesterday.

"Just a few plants."

"How many is a few?"

A voicemail, two texts, and three missed calls all from his mother. He even has a missed call from his father, and a message from Pepa telling him to ignore anything his parents say to him. Unbelievable. He'd been pretty clear in the text he'd sent to both his parents yesterday about needing some space to cool off, but they couldn't even go a full day respecting his wishes.

"At least two for the bedroom," Buck says, kissing his temple as he passes. "And three, maybe four for the living room."

"Two in the living room."

"Two small ones and a Pachira Tree." Hands on Eddie's hips, Buck turns him to face the empty space by the front door. "We can also make a succulent garden for Chris- put it in that window there, the Pachira by the door."

"Anything we put by the door has to be a low light plant." Eddie slides his phone into his pocket, ignoring the notifications and his parents for a little while.

He wanted space. He told them he needed space. And instead of giving him any, letting him cool off so they could speak without yelling, they'd both called and texted multiple times. Even if the messages are full of apologies- which he doubts- they should have waited. They should have listened.

"I can't wait to live here with you guys," Buck says quietly, arms tightening around Eddie's hips. "This is going to be so great."

"Yeah," Eddie agrees, turning to press his face into Buck's neck. "I can't believe you agreed to move in after my parents turned up the other day."

"I mean, you've met my family. Honestly, yours is kind of tame by comparison."

That has a gut deep laugh bursting out of Eddie.

"You're going to eat your words by Sunday," he promises, trying to kiss Buck and laugh at the same time. "You have no idea. Large Diaz gatherings are insane, baby. You're going to run for the fucking hills."

"Eh, I can deal with it. I get to come home to you at the end of the day. How bad can it be?"

"No less than fifteen of my cousins are coming, plus my sisters, my parents, and an army of spouses and kids and family friends." The Diaz clan is called a clan for a reason. He's pretty sure his side of the family is one of the smallest branches of it, even including everyone's kids and significant others. "There's going to be at least thirty, maybe forty people there."

Buck's mouth drops open. "Holy shit." He suddenly looks nervous. "I don't think I can win over everyone. Your parents are probably telling everyone how awful I am. Might have to do some damage control there."

It almost burns a hole in his stomach lining, thinking about the things his parents could be saying.

Is he always this careless with Christopher?

A family affair. Family only.

"If anyone gives you any issues, you send them to me," Eddie growls, dropping his forehead to Buck's. "Better yet, point Pepa and Abuela at them. Sophia told me she'd take Dad out at the knees if he starts in on you while she's around."

That gets a chuckle out of Buck, and a quick kiss pressed to Eddie's mouth before he steps away.

"I could... I could skip-"

"Absolutely not."

Looking wildly uncomfortable, Buck crosses his arms over his chest, grabbing his elbows. He hunches slightly, chewing on his lower lip. Eddie crosses to him, working his lip free with his thumb.

"Hey, where is this coming from? You were determined to still go yesterday."

Is Buck having second thoughts about agreeing to move in? Does he want to wait until his family is gone? Does he want to wait a little longer? What if he goes to the family dinner on Sunday and decides it's all too much after all?

"Your mom called me," Buck admits quietly, before Eddie can really spiral. "Yesterday, while we were on shift."

"Oh god." Eddie drops his head to Buck's shoulder. Groans. "I'm so sorry."

"She told me that I seem nice, and that we obviously care about each other."

"But?" Eddie prompts, knowing that wasn't everything.

Sighing, Buck wraps his arms around him and hauls him in, dropping his head onto Eddie's.

"But she says your life is in El Paso, with your family, with people, not strangers, who can look after Christopher. She asked me to... try to convince you to consider it."

Seething, Eddie's hands fist against Buck's back. "For my own good, I'm guessing," he spits. "I can't fucking believe this. I don't understand, why are they like this? What did I do so wrong that they think my entire life is nothing but one big screw up?"

"I... I kind of... lost it at her?"

Eddie's head snaps up. "You- what?"

There's been a lot of yelling since his parents got here on Monday. Most of it has been done by either Eddie, Pepa, Abuela, or his parents. Apparently Adriana even called Ramon and really laid into him this morning, shocking their father into silence. Adriana never loses her temper- always the cool, level-headed one of the Diaz clan.

And now Buck is taking part in the yelling?

Honestly, Eddie's a little delighted by the thought.

"What did you say?"

Buck jerks away, sighing, and suddenly Eddie realizes that Buck is mad.

"I told her that she and your father not only threw a wrench in our plans by showing up the way they did, but they made you so uncomfortable and upset that you didn't want to see them at all, and that that's their fault." Buck shoves his hands in his pockets, face set in hard lines. "I told her that she needs to lay off, or she's going to lose the relationship she has with you and Christopher, and she's not going to have anyone to blame but herself."

Hand over his mouth to hide the smile, Eddie just shakes his head. "Cariño-"

"I also told her that if you came to me and told me you wanted to move to El Paso, that would be one thing. I'd let you go, then. Hell, I would help you pack, drive you down myself if it was what you wanted. But it's not, and you've told them that so many times, so I told her to pull her head out of her ass and get over that before she fucks up her relationship with both her son and grandson."

Heart swelling, grin growing, Eddie takes a step towards him. "You did?"

Buck shrugs. "I love you. I love Christopher. You two are my family. Until you guys tell me to leave, I go where you go. If you move to El Paso, I'm coming too. Which I also told your mother."

Absolutely delighted, Eddie outright laughs. "You did?"

"And then I told her that you were serious about the boundaries, that if she didn't cool it with the phone calls and texts, she wouldn't see you at all this weekend, and even less in the future. I told her that she and your father are being straight up assholes and that they need to grow up. That they don't get to berate you just because they don't like the way you're living your life, and that I wasn't going to put up with them talking about the man I love like that." Aggravated, Buck rubs the back of his head. "Then I hung up on her."

Most of the calls and texts are from before they went on shift yesterday, when Eddie pulls out his phone to check. Which is something, at least. He wishes his parents had listened to him when he'd put the boundaries up, but if Buck had managed to get them to calm down, he'll take it.

They're probably still upset that Eddie didn't welcome them with open arms, bags already packed and ready to ship to Texas, but that's their damage. They can get the hell over it.

The most recent text from his mother calls Buck a very nice man, and tells Eddie that Buck is protective, and he obviously loves you very much. I shouldn't have called what you two have a fling. I'm sorry. You two seem very well suited for each other. I hope to see you on Sunday, at least.

He's not sure he wants to listen to the voicemail from his father. Ramon is a man of few words, but Eddie inherited his temper from him, and he's not interested in listening to his father insist Eddie's wrong about everything he's ever done, ever.

Ignoring his phone for now, Eddie hauls Buck in for a messy, frantic kiss.

"I love you," he says, kissing down Buck's neck, across his shoulder. "You're amazing."

Buck lets out a breathless laugh, fingers coming up to tangle in Eddie's hair.

"I try," he rasps, gasping when Eddie sinks his teeth into Buck's collarbone.

Eddie gets his own fingers into Buck's hair, uses the grip to yank Buck down to look him in the eye.

"I'm not going anywhere, cariño," Eddie promises. "And neither are you. We're staying right here. Together."

Buck smiles wide, leaning down to capture Eddie's mouth with his own.

"Together."


By the time the rest of the family is in town Friday night, several things have happened.

The first is that Eddie meets his parents in a public park Thursday morning, just the three of them, for A Talk.

"You shouldn't have called Buck," Eddie says immediately, before he even sits at the picnic table his parents are gathered at. "I told you I needed space and instead of respecting that, you called Buck to ask him to get me to consider moving back to El Paso. You shouldn't have done that."

He spends the entire drive over telling himself he isn't going to cave. He's going to be firm, he's going to establish some boundaries, and let his parents know exactly what he thinks of their behavior. If the boundaries he puts in place prove to be too much for his parents then, well, that's it. That'll be the end of his parents in his life.

Eddie can't keep doing this. He can't keep letting his parents talk down to him, about him, and he's definitely not going to let anything they say about Buck stand for a single goddamn second. He'll try and find a way for them to still contact Christopher (unless Christopher ever requests otherwise), but if he can't get through to them here...

So he's braced for the arguments, the blame, definitely some more yelling.

But his mother nods, completely throwing him.

"No, I shouldn't have," she agrees. "It was wrong of me to do that to him- to both of you. I'm sorry, Eddie. I can't even begin to excuse the way I've acted."

That's new.

Helena continues. "He called me an asshole, your Buck."

"Well, you were being one." Eddie's never been a liar.

"Yes," Ramon says now. "Yes, that's been made clear to us. And we- I am sorry, son."

Eddie considers them, then. They're sitting side by side, hand in hand, and yet they look so miserable and alone right now, like the entire world just crashed into them.

"Why are you so fixated on me moving back to El Paso?" he asks bluntly because that's the one thing he can't move past at all. He needs to know. "Is it because you want custody of Christopher?"

"No! No, it- it's not that."

"You just think I'm doing such a terrible job with my son that you need to be around to monitor me 24/7."

"You're not," Ramon cuts in. "Eddie, you... you're doing such a good job with Christopher. I'm sorry if we ever made you feel the opposite. We just... we want you closer, so we can see you more often."

And that just absolutely stuns him. He's so flabbergasted he can't actually get his brain to form words in Spanish or English.

Somewhere in the park, there's a very intense baseball game going on. Eddie can hear the cheers of the fans, the stomp of the feet on the bleachers and the crack of the baseball hitting a bat. For a second, he focuses on that, the smell of hotdogs cooking, the distant chatter of a crowd.

"If? Really, if? That's literally the first time you have ever said that," he tells his parents. He can hear the hurt, the pain and anger dripping from his voice and for once he doesn't swallow it. "You have never, not once, ever said anything like that to me."

Helena's face crumples. "Eddie-"

"In fact, I remember you telling me not to drag Christopher down with me." Now he does sit at the table, if only to be eye level with both his parents at the same time. "You thought so little of me that you not only thought I'd crash and burn in LA, but you figured I'd ruin Christopher's life in the process. You made no secret of that, and it's been burned into my brain for four fucking years."

It's been years and he can still remember every detail about that day. The way his mother sat on the coffee table and took his father's hand, her face so earnest and sure when she spoke. He'd been so tired from a double shift, body weeping for rest when they'd called a family meeting and sat him down.

His father, silent as always, quietly supporting his wife. Agreeing with her. They'd obviously discussed everything between themselves before they'd sat Eddie down and told him they wanted to take his son away.

Helena takes a breath, her free hand coming up to play with the necklace at her throat. "We were wrong," she says. "I was wrong, and I can see that now."

Ramon nods, but says nothing.

"Yeah. You were wrong about a lot of things."

Because there have been so many things over the years. He can't even remember all of them right now, the words and years all blurring together in his brain.

He turns to his father. "You said Buck was careless with Christopher, like Buck isn't the one that saved Christopher's life during the tsunami. Like Buck hasn't saved us both so many times- every day he saves us and you called him a fling-"

Hands over his face, Eddie takes a deep breath. He's not here to yell (though he absolutely will if it comes to that), so he leans back, takes a minute. He's not ashamed of the tears pricking his eyes or the catch in his chest. He knew this conversation wouldn't be easy.

"Buck is moving in," he tells them, voice calm and steady. "He's going to live with me and Christopher permanently. If I play my cards right, if I'm really fucking lucky, he's going to be with me for the rest of our lives."

Absolute silence.

Then-

"Eddie. That's wonderful." Helena smiles at him- a real smile, where her dimples flash and her eyes light up. "I had no idea you two were so serious."

"If you'd bothered to listen to me, you would have."

Helena's smile falls. Ramon sighs and squeezes her hand.

"Eddie," he starts, but Eddie silences him with a glare.

He must look as livid as he feels because that's never worked before.

"Let me lay this out for you, papi. You show up unannounced four days early, pissing off every single Diaz who heard about it. Then you were awful to Buck knowing I could hear you, thinking that I would just let you talk about the man I love like that. You're both barely here a few hours before you start demanding I uproot my entire life- my son's life- just to give you what you want. Nevermind how I feel about it, what I want, what Christopher wants. Have you even asked him about his life here, or did you just assume he was failing here like you thought I was?"

Now Ramon looks ashamed, face going pale.

"Here's what's going to happen: you don't get to see Christopher for a few days. You will not come by my house. You will not text me, call me, message me, or reach out in any way while you're here unless I reach out first. You're both going to apologize to Buck, in person, and you're both going to mean it. And you're both going to listen to me right now- I am never moving back to El Paso. My life is here."

Eddie stands calmly, hands sliding almost casually into his pockets. He glances at his parents, then away. Too much anger is still swirling in him, crashing against him in waves until he feels like he's drowning in it.

They've never had any faith in him, and he can see that. He could probably take that, given enough time and space. But some things stop here. It's years overdue, but he's putting his goddamn foot down here and now.

"You'll see Christopher while you're here. We've got that picnic planned for Saturday, and Christopher is really excited about it," he tells them, because he's not about to take his son's grandparents away while Christopher still wants to see them. He can't punish Chris for something his parents did. "But you will only see him on my terms, and never alone. After this weekend... we'll see where we are, how you do with the boundaries I've given you, and I'll decide from there."

Now Ramon stands as well, Helena's hand falling from his grasp. His mother sniffles, wiping her eyes and glancing away.

"You would completely remove us from Christopher's life?" he asks sadly. "Our only grandson and you'd take him from us?"

"Yes."

Ramon recoils, eyes wide.

"I'm his father. I decide what's best, not you. Christopher is my son, not yours. When it comes to Christopher- when it comes to our life, you have no say. You need to accept that or you won't be part of our life anymore. All you do is make me miserable and angry and fill me with doubt. I'm tired of feeling that way. I'm tired of fighting with you for every inch you give me. I'm not going to do it anymore."

And Eddie walks away, leaving them reeling in the park.

The second thing that happens is that his sister descends upon Los Angeles with her husband and two kids Thursday afternoon, appearing at Abuela's with coffee waiting for him.

"Is there whiskey in it?" he asks tiredly, accepting the cup.

Adriana makes a sympathetic noise. "That bad?"

"I didn't really let them talk. I just told them how it was going to be and then left before they could really argue." Unfortunately, there isn't alcohol in the coffee, but the caffeine hits just as good. "If they can't follow the rules while they're here, they won't access to us anymore. I'm allowed to be happy. I don't need them in my life to be happy, and I certainly don't need their permission."

The hug nearly knocks him off his feet. He yelps, bobbing his coffee and just barely managing to not spill it all over Abuela's carpet.

"I'm so proud of you," Adriana says into his chest, squeezing him hard enough to make his ribs creak. "Buen trabajo, hermanito."

Eddie's wall of bravado cracks for a second, feeling his big sister's arms around him. He shudders out a breath against her shoulder before releasing her, scrubbing a hand over his face before Abuela notices. Adriana gives him one more hard squeeze before darting off when her youngest daughter yells for her.

It means so much, knowing that his sister has his back. That his entire family has his back- every single Diaz member that's heard of Monday's unplanned arrival is pissed on Eddie's behalf. It's jarring, but amazingly nice to know that so many people are beside him for this, that the majority of the family is rallying by his and Buck's side.

The third thing that happens is Sophia arrives like a whirlwind late Friday night, and just as Eddie's always feared, she and Buck get along like a house on fire.

"You!" she cries, making a b-line straight for Buck.

"Hi, Sophia," Eddie says dryly when she blows right past him. "It's so nice to see you too, little sister. How I missed you these long months while you've been away. I'm fine, by the way."

"Shut up, I need to hug the man that called Mom an asshole."

Buck laughs, plants his feet, and accepts the missile that is Sophia launching herself at him. She throws herself upwards, arms circling Buck's neck, feet swinging when Buck lifts her off the floor.

"Nice to officially meet you," Buck says, carefully depositing Sophia back onto solid ground.

"You yelled at Mom," Sophia says in breathless wonder. Her grin hasn't left her face. "You're amazing and officially my favorite brother."

"Hey," Eddie protests. "Actual flesh and blood brother over here. I also yelled at our parents."

Buck gets a face full of Sophia's hair when she whirls around.

"You did? Where was I for this?" she demands, marching up to Eddie and throwing herself at him at as well. "Please tell me someone recorded some of the yelling- I hate secondhand information." A pause. Then: "Missed you too."

He can't help but let out an ah of satisfaction, lifting his little sister up and spinning her around. She yelps, slapping at his back before squirming away before he can dig his fingers into her sides and tickle her like he always does.

"There's been a lot of yelling," Buck says. "We even did some of it."

"Most of it has been Pepa," Abuela announces, opening her arms to accept Sophia's gentle cuddles. "But Buck and Edmundo both did their fair share, and I couldn't be more proud of them. Hola mi querida Sophia. Thank you for those magazine covers you sent me; Buck's been helping me frame them. Do you have any more for me? I love getting them, seeing where you've been. Eres tan talentosa!"

Brown eyes wide, Sophia glances at Buck, then at the wall of family photos behind them. At the top, three of her photos that were taken for the covers of various magazines- including last month's National Geographic- hung in nice frames among all the wedding and baby photos. There's also a fantastic picture of her standing in front of the Taj Mahal, another of her with pyramids in the background.

In their house, the same magazine covers are framed as well, but they live in Christopher's room where he can admire them more easily. Eddie has the Taj Mahal picture too, also framed but standing on a shelf in the living room next to Adriana's latest family photo.

"Aw, Eddie your boyfriend is the sweetest."

Abuela smiles sweetly at Sophia. "Es tan guapo, ¿no?"

"He is."

"Don't let him hear you say that."

"Too late- I already heard everything."

Through a comedy of errors, Sophia winds up crashing on Buck and Eddie's couch when her AirBnB cancels on her less than two hours before she's due to check in.

"You can stay in our AirBnB," Adriana offers. "We're not too far from Eddie's place, actually, but I don't think the couch pulls out."

"Our couch has a bed," Eddie hears himself say. "You're welcome to come stay with us for however long you need."

"I make a mean frittata," Buck adds.

There is a little hesitation in his offer, but that's mostly because Eddie's not sure he can handle the chaos that is his little sister being under the same roof with Buck's personified chaos, but to his surprise the house is still standing Saturday afternoon when the Diaz children gather at Eddie's to meet up with their parents at the park.

Eddie has a lot of fun watching his parents trying and failing not to be insulted that they hadn't even been offered Eddie's pull-out but Sophia is allowed to stay all weekend. But they say nothing, and the heavy air disappears less than five minutes into the lunch Buck had put together for them.

"I need your pot pie recipe, Buck." Adriana dives into the basket, fork raised, looking for leftovers. "Mark, I think I need to leave you for Buck."

"I understand. We had a good run. Eddie wasn't kidding about Buck's breakfasts either," Mark gushes to his in-laws, one eye trained on the kids racing around the playground. "It was amazing."

"I," Sophia declares, sipping at a wine cooler, "ate an entire loaf of bread by myself. Your french toast is to die for, dude. It's awesome, I wanna stay with you guys forever."

"How do you two stay so fit?" Adriana wants to know. "If I had Buck cooking for me all the time, I'd gain a hundred pounds a week."

"Once he's all moved in, I'm going to have to do a few extra gym sessions to burn off the calories he's going to feed us." Eddie watches Christopher maneuver himself up the slide with practiced ease. Beside him, his mother also watches. She's tense but stays quiet, merely letting out a small sigh of relief when Chris pops out of the spiral tube unharmed.

Blushing slightly, Buck ducks his head. "You should have Bobby's cooking- our captain. He taught me everything I know."

Ramon offers Buck a smile. "I hear my mother is teaching you recipes as well. She says you're not bad."

"So basically he's fantastic," Sophia translates, knowing Abuela's cooking standards very well. "What has she taught you? Can you make her pozole?"

"Abuela called his 'decent'," Eddie remembers.

At that, Ramon laughs. "You must have done very well, then."

Helena pouts slightly, but it's playful. "I had to marry Ramon to get her recipes," she tells them, laughing a little. "She must really like you."

"Buck is capable of charming almost any Diaz within forty-eight hours of meeting them," Eddie informs them. "It took Christopher all of five minutes to be completely enamored. Abuela pretty much immediately adopted him."

"I saw Pepa smile at him yesterday," Mark tells them, swiping the last of his wife's pot pie. "I nearly walked into a wall in shock."

"What about you, then?" Sophia asks, nudging Eddie's foot with hers. "How long did it take for you to fall for Buck?"

"Like, immediately."

Buck shoves him, sends him sprawling off the blanket they're all gathered on and into the grass. "Liar," he accuses. "Such a lie- I was a total dick to you that whole first day."

Eddie pffts that away. Rather than sitting back up, he scoots over to put his head in Buck's lap, stretching out in the warm sun. Automatically, Buck's hand starts combing through his hair. "More like twelve hours," he corrects. "I was done for once the ambulance exploded."

"You guys had a meet-cute over an exploding ambulance?" Shocked, Adriana turns her husband. "Wow, and we just met at the pizza parlor."

Mark sighs, shaking his head and grinning fondly. "You were wearing denim overalls. You had braces."

"We were both in uniform and there was a grenade involved," Buck announces, still running his fingers through Eddie's hair.

Seemingly fascinated, Ramon leans in. "A grenade?"

"So, this guys is a war memorabilia collector. He calls 9-1-1 and says that he's been shot. Turns out he shot himself in the leg with a grenade, and it's still in there. We're halfway to the hospital when Eddie realizes the grenade is live, and we have to pull it out before we can even get to the hospital."

Eddie listens to Buck tell the story with much more detail and flare than he uses when he tells it, and relaxes into it all.

He's not sure what exactly his parents had said to Buck earlier, but apologies have been made and accepted, and so far the only Diaz's blowing up his phone over the last few days have been his sisters. So far, his parents are sticking to the rules Eddie had put down.

He also got an apology of his own, and a promise he's not sure he completely believes about never mentioning moving again. Only time will tell, but today's been nice. The kids are screaming and running around the park, his parents are laughing and engaging with Buck, and Sophia is making no move to hide the fact that she's snapping pictures of Eddie with his head in Buck's lap.

Christopher is hyper and happy, still chatting with his cousins and spinning circles around his grandparents. He throws himself across Buck's lap as well, his head landing somewhere on Eddie's chest with a giggle. Immediately, Helena and Adriana are snapping photos right along with Sophia.

It's a good day, a step in the right direction, and at the end of the day he's able to say "see you tomorrow" to his parents and not feel a sense of dread. A little anxiety, sure. A few apologies and one good day isn't enough to erase the last week after all, but it's enough progress to allow Eddie to relax the slightest bit.

So of course, Adriana drops a bomb on them the very next day.

"We're moving to Colorado in August."

Their parents fumble a little with the news, which isn't surprising. They're clearly shocked and unhappy about the announcement, sitting stone faced and frowning while everyone else congratulates Mark on his big promotion.

"That's awesome," Buck says, clapping Mark on the back. "Colorado is beautiful. I think you'll love it."

"We're excited," Adriana says, making direct eye contact with Helena. "The promotion is a huge pay bump, but less hours, so he'll be home more. And I've done some interviews myself, gotten a few job offers."

Helena takes a breath, and it's like the entire house pauses.

"A little sudden," she says. "But congratulations."

"A little," Adriana admits. "But what an opportunity, and the company is going to let us stay in an apartment they own until we can find our own place. We decided we wanted to let the girls end the school year where they are, then get moved out and settled before the next one starts."

"Will you be selling the house?" Ramon asks. He's definitely frowning, his dark eyes sad, but he simply takes Helena's hand and nods as Mark rambles about their realtor.

"So that's all of our children moving out of Texas," Helena murmurs after the dishes are cleared. Her lip trembles slightly and she presses a hand to it, blinking hard. "Oh, that's going to be so hard, not having any of you close."

And, yeah, that is going to be hard on their parents, and that sucks. Once Christopher is old enough, if he ever decides to move far away it's probably going to snap Eddie's heart like a twig. But he hopes to hell he'll be able to let his son go without pulling half the shit his parents have over the years.

Despite the bombshell announcement, Easter dinner ends without any Diaz family brawls, and all the adults find themselves scattered across the backyard with drinks in hand, watching the kids run off their candy sugar highs.

Someone- Eddie suspects Buck- sets up the sprinklers and a slip n' slide, and all the parents are content to watch their children tire themselves out and sip on Pepa's famous frozen margaritas.

Buck has to extract himself from the gaggle of cousins by the door, only to turn and find himself face-to-face Pepa, already handing him another drink despite his protests.

"I think Pepa's trying to get me drunk," he whispers, diving into the open space next to Eddie. "She keeps handing me drinks."

"Is she pinching your cheek?" When Buck nods, Eddie laughs and slides an arm around his shoulders. "Oh, she's just happy then. I told her about you moving in and she immediately made Miguel volunteer to help us haul stuff."

Setting the untouched drink on the table, Buck glances around the backyard in awe. "There are so many people here. Eddie, I can't remember the name of all of your cousins. I swear I met three different Kyles, and at least two Jennifers."

"You only met two of the Jennifers? The rest are around here somewhere."

"How insulted is someone going to be if I don't remember their name?" Buck asks desperately.

Eddie makes a face and Buck groans. "Pretty insulted," he admits. "They all know you, so they're going to expect you to know them too."

"Oh god. All of the charming I've done is going to go right out the window because I can't keep all these names straight. They're all going to hate me when I forget their names by the next holiday gathering."

Eddie laughs, pressing a kiss to Buck's temple. "Just stick with me. I'll name drop anyone who stops to talk. Oh, and there are five Jennifers."

"That's so many Jennifers, Eddie."

"Only one goes by Jennifer," Helena reminds Eddie from behind him. "There's Jenny, Jen, Jennifer, JJ, and Jenni with an i. Jenny is the very tall one, and Jen has the pink hair." She smiles at Buck, looking a little more at ease than she did earlier. "Don't worry, there's not a quiz. And to tell you the truth, I'm not sure who some of these new faces are myself."

"Aren't there four Kyles now?" Ramon absently wonders, glancing around.

"Oh god. My family is nowhere near this big."

"Sure it is," Eddie says at the same time Helena says "Well it is now."

Stunned, her children watch her head off to help Pepa man the blender, Ramon following behind with a small smile. Adriana recovers first, shaking herself out of her stupor.

"Wow," she breathes, hand on her chest. "Holy crap. I think Mark and I were married for two years before she called him family."

"How many margaritas has she had?" Sophia wonders out loud. "First she's fine with Adriana moving hundreds of miles away and now she calls Buck a member of the family? She even complimented my pictures earlier. Damn, if I'd known calling her an asshole was the way to calm her down, I would have done it years ago."

Eddie's not sure if it was him yelling, or Buck yelling, or Adriana, or Sophia, or- listen, a lot of people yelled at Helena and Ramon this week. Eddie wound up threatening to remove them entirely from his life, then yelled some more. If somehow his parents hadn't gotten the point by now, Eddie would be seriously concerned.

But finally, finally, his parents had listened. They know where Eddie stands now: in LA, with Christopher and Buck. They know that's where he's going to stay.

He's not sure how they'll do with Adriana moving away, but however they react is on them. They know what's at stake if they start pulling their same crap again, and they don't seem to be willing to risk it. Eddie hates that it came to that, that he had to even consider the idea of cutting his parents out of his and Christopher's lives, but if it had come down to it, he absolutely would have.

Ramon shakes Buck's hand when they depart. Laughs at something Buck says and claps him on the back. Helena hugs him, waving as they drive off. It's more than a start now, Eddie thinks. This feels more like a corner being turned, a journey truly beginning.

"I'm not tired at all," Christopher announces, practically bouncing into the house. "Can we watch a movie? Buck, Buck, let's watch Jurassic Park. Can we Buck, please?"

Buck pretends to consider it, a hand on his chin and a very long drawn out hmmmm of deliberation. "I think I can convince your dad to go for that if you can get ready for bed first."

Nodding eagerly, Christopher dashes into the bathroom. Something crashes to the floor once the door slams shut.

"Everything's fine!" Chris calls before Eddie can start down the hallway.

"Okay, but I'm tired," Sophia moans. "How do kids have so much energy?"

"Oh, he'll be asleep before the T-Rex gets out," Buck says with a knowing look at Eddie.

Twenty minutes later, Buck is proven correct when Christopher begins to snore against Eddie's chest. Laughing quietly, Buck gathers him close and sets off to put him in bed with the ease of much practice.

"Eddie, hey."

He glances down, surprised to see Sophia still awake and looking right at him.

"Buck's a good one, dude. Don't fuck it up."

"I'm not planning on it."

"Good." She yawns, snuggling into the blankets and closing her eyes. "Oh, and if you guys try to hire someone else to do your wedding photography, I will kill you."

There are multiple things he could say to that, including pointing out that he and Buck aren't even engaged yet-

And then Eddie realizes it is not yet.

It slams into him like a train. He's always known, in an absent sort of way, that he wants to marry Buck. In the future they've started planning, marriage has been mentioned a few times, or at least alluded to. But he's never ached with the want of it so badly before.

"Would you let me propose to the man first before you start planning our wedding?" he settles on, dropping a spare pillow directly onto Sophia's face. "Tan mandona. When does your flight leave tomorrow?"

"Three. Can you give me a lift? Otherwise I'm riding with Mom and Dad, and they'll bitch about me not sitting at their gate with them. Although," she adds thoughtfully, "they were really cool the past two days. Maybe their good behavior will continue."

"Let's hope so, because Buck and I have a 24 hour shift tomorrow, so we can't be buffers anymore. Sorry."

This time, his parents text and ask for permission before showing up with an offer of buying everyone breakfast, and they bring Adriana with them. It's nice to eat with his parents, his sisters, his nieces, and Buck and Christopher before they part ways so the firefighters can get to work. And when they leave, they both hug Buck and welcome him to the family.

Buck looks a little shell shocked when they get into the station.

"How was your weekend, Buck?" Bobby wants to know. "Where you able to work those Buckley charms on Eddie's family?"

"Apparently," he says, a little dazed.

Eddie just smirks, threading his fingers through Buck's.

"He'll be a Diaz in no time, Cap," he says, smiling fondly at the dumbstruck look on Buck's face. "I guarantee it."