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What If I Fall In Love Backwards?

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1. Eddie

"Y'all good here? Everyone else is just about ready," Eddie called out lightly as he approached Buck and the women he had been talking to for the past few minutes, his blue eyes noticeably pinched with discomfort at the woman's obvious advances.

They were just wrapping up a restaurant fire that had gotten out of hand when a dishwasher had panicked and poured water over a grease fire. They were able to get everyone out of the building but several people had sustained minor injuries, like the waitress with a bandaged left hand who was clearly not happy about the thought of the hot firefighter in front of her leaving.

"Yah Hot Stuff," Buck replied with their code word just like Eddie had expected him to. He could tell his best friend was uncomfortable but they had a system in place for this sort of thing and he didn't want to assume.

"Well c'mon then querido," Eddie slipped his hand into Buck's easily, intertwining their fingers and holding on tightly in case Buck tried to pull away quickly in surprise. He didn't, just squeezed right back and sent Eddie a smile of pure relief.

"Right behind you sweetheart. It was nice meeting you ma'am, hope your hand is okay." Buck nodded his head politely at the women he had been talking to, the disappointment and irritation in the women's eyes making Eddie roll his own.

Everyone wanted to look at Buck but no one wanted to see Buck. The real Buck who was loyal and brave. Who never backed down or gave up, who walked through fire for strangers like they were his own flesh and blood. Who loved with his whole heart and soul. These random women who saw a good looking man and pounced didn't deserve Buck's time. Eddie had no problem making sure they didn't get an extra second of it either, it's not like it was a hardship holding Buck's hand. It even felt nice, a comfortable weight. Familiar.

"You too," The women signed, waving her good hand in a sarcastic farewell as Eddie gently pulled on Buck's own to get him moving towards the rig.

"Dude you are a lifesaver! She was not taking the hint at all," Buck groaned in a whisper, knocking their shoulders together as he leaned in so Eddie could hear him better.

"I could tell, Dios it's like we can't go anywhere without someone hitting on you,"

"Or you, hell half the time it's both of us, are we really that good looking or do we like-give off a super powerful single vibe you think?" Buck questioned thoughtfully as they approached the ambulance.

"No, you both really don't. Especially when you do things like that," Hen stated as she hopped out of the back with her med bag in hand, nodding to their own hands that were still joined. "Which, why are you doing that?"

"That burn victim was hitting on Buck," Eddie huffed with distaste, nodding his head behind him where the woman had been standing.

"So that meant you needed to hold hands?"

"Throw in a pet name and a bit of physical contact and that's all it takes to look like we're together, easiest way to turn someone down." Eddie explained simply.

"Right, so just so I've got this straight-you saw someone hitting on Buck and thought the most logical response was to pretend to be Buck's boyfriend...because it's the most believable excuse he could have to turn down that woman." Hen nodded, her eyes narrowed like she was waiting for them to put some puzzle pieces in place. Eddie gave her a confused look while he answered.

"Well if I go over there and try to pull him out as a friend I risk the chance of getting unwanted attention onto myself as well. They always stop if they think we're together, quick and effective." Eddie shrugged carelessly.

"Wait have you done this before?" Hen asked with her eyebrows raised impossibly high.

"Yah, mostly at the bar, drunk girls are ruthless." Eddie shrugged again, Buck nodding in agreement.

"We even have a code word, we call each other hot stuff and boom," Buck made an explosion movement with his right hand. "Boyfriend mode: activated."

"Right. So you go around pretending to be boyfriends...because neither of you want to be hit on...when you go places...together. Right."

"What?" Buck huffed when Hen continued to look at the pair in slight judgement.

"Well, hot stuff, that doesn't explain why you're still holding hands."

"Oh, I guess I kinda forgot we were." Buck blushed, slowly letting go of Eddie's hand, missing the flash of displeasure in the older man's eyes at the action. Hen on the other hand, did not.

"Right."

"Shut up Hen," Eddie huffed with a small laugh and shake of his head, clapping Buck on the back with a nod to the rig. "Ready to go?"

"Yah, let's go."

 

 

 

2. Buck

"I'm here! I'm here Chris! I'm not late! I'm not late!" Buck panted as he came running into the crowded auditorium entrance, weaving around families while scanning the faces in the crowd for his favorite person. A previously pouting Christopher perked up as he caught sight of the man, leaving his crutches behind as he moved as fast as he could to meet Buck for a bone crushing hug.

"Bucky! I thought you weren't going to make it!"

"I told you I would, Superman, we just had a call run a little late that's all, but I came as soon as I got off." Buck responded as he picked the boy up in his arms, pressing a kiss to Christopher's cheek when the boy's only response was to hug him even tighter. Christopher had been getting like this whenever he was away from his dad or Buck for too long. Before letting them leave to go anywhere he'd hold them extra tight and making them promise to always come back to him. Buck was going to have to talk to Christopher's therapist about it when he and Eddie took him to his next appointment.

"Rough day, Hot Stuff?" Eddie asked with a tight smile as he came over with Christopher abandoned crutches in hand, trailed by a beautiful dark haired woman in a tight black dress. Ah, really this was becoming a common occurrence, the two of them couldn't go anywhere it seemed without having to use their code word.

"Only because I didn't have my other half there with me, babycakes," Buck said smoothly, moving forward to press a lingering kiss to Eddie's cheek, Christopher giggling at the action from the comfort of Buck's arms. "Car accident on the freeway, nothing terrible but not good either. Missed you today."

"Missed you too, cariño," Eddie muttered softly, resting his free hand on the small of Buck's back as the younger man shifted his hold on Christopher so he was effortlessly holding the boy in one arm while offering the other out to the women.

"Hi I'm Eddie's partner, Buck Buckley."

"It's a nickname," Eddie explained at the raised eyebrow she gave as she shook Buck's offered hand.

"So you must be the Buck, Christopher can't stop talking about his Buck most of the time," The woman's smile was as thin as her laugh as she addressed Buck. "I'm Angela Summers, the costume manager."

"Nice to finally meet you," Buck replied, getting a similar response from Angela.

"She came looking for Christopher, they're meant to be getting ready but he had to make sure you came." Eddie explained after a beat of awkward silence.

"Well I'm here now buddy," Buck hummed as he pressed another kiss to the boy's forehead, his heart practically bursting with the love he has for this little boy.

"Had to make sure you got here," Christopher whispered, his head resting in the crook of Buck's neck.

"You don't have to worry anymore, Superman, I'm here now. And hey, you wanna know something awesome?" Buck paused, getting a nod from Christopher to continue. "I was the first person in line when the tickets went on sale, so you know what that means?"

"What?"

"That I got first pick at what seats I wanted. I got dad and I front row so you'll know where we are the whole time, but mostly so I can videotape the whole thing to show everyone later. I already know it's going to be the best performance LA has ever seen. You wanna know why?"

"Why?"

"Because you're in it Superman! This could be your big break, where your fame starts!" Buck whispered in excitement causing Christopher to giggle in nervous amusement.

When Christopher had first told his dad and Buck about the school play he had been hesitant to try out, not wanting to set himself up for failure. Buck had not only helped him through his hesitation but had also helped him prepare for tryouts by studying the Alice in Wonderland books, movies, and play script with him. When Christopher told them he had been cast as the Caterpillar Buck had spun him around in his arms with the biggest grin on his face, telling Christopher to remember him even when he was rich and famous. Buck made sure to help Christopher run his lines every night after dinner, even sitting in on a few practices on his days off to watch the blocking the director was doing in Christopher's scenes so they could perfect it at home.

"I'm not even the lead Bucky," Christopher reminded the man, getting an offended scoff in reply.

"Who cares about the lead when you're going to steal the whole show? I swear by the end of the night no one will even care about Alice, everyone is going to be too busy talking about how amazing the Caterpillar was, mark my words, kid. You're going to be a star."

"He's right Mijo," Eddie agreed with a soft, proud smile. "But if that's going to stay true you better follow Ms. Summers backstage so you can go finish getting ready."

"Okay daddy," Christopher nodded in agreement, sighing when Buck set him back down on his feet. "Front row?"

"Front row right in the middle bud, and you know I'll be cheering the loudest when you do your curtain call. You're going to do so amazing Superman."

"I love you Bucky," Christopher grinned, patting Buck on the cheek as the man broke out into a wide smile at the boy's words.

"I love you too Chris, now go on and get ready," Buck stood up and grabbed the boy's crutches from Eddie, handing them off to the little boy with a wink and whisper of "Break a leg,"

"Too soon Buck. Too soon. Please, no breaking of any bones Mijo," Eddie groaned, making Christopher giggle fondly at the two before following Ms. Summers towards the backstage door.

"Love you," Christopher grinned over his shoulder, the two men breaking out into matching adoring smiles.

"We love you too bud, you're going to do great."

"You got this," Buck called out, shooting the boy a double thumbs up.

"I got this." Christopher agreed before disappearing behind the door.

"You have perfect timing, seriously Buck I was afraid she was working up to outright ask me to have a quicky in the bathroom-don't laugh-she kept making all these suggestive comments! Right in front of my kid, who definitely knew what was going on by the way! Who does that?" Eddie groaned in disbelief, pressing his face into Buck's collarbone, pouting when the taller man's shoulders continued to shake with silent laughter.

"Her apparently, so I guess it's a good thing you got me here to save you from all that unwanted sexual attention those striking good looks of yours attract." Buck grinned teasingly, casually throwing an arm around Eddie's shoulder to hold him against his chest.

"Yeah, good thing." Eddie hummed softly, his arms slipping around Buck's waist without thought, letting out an exhale full of tension that had been building since Ms. Summers had locked those bedroom eyes on him.

"Christopher seemed really worried I wasn't going to make it," Buck observed with a hint of concern, his hand moving up to card through Eddie's hair absentmindedly, feeling the man relax more against him.

"He was, we should probably-"

"Talk to his therapist, I had the same thought." Buck finished the sentence for him, smiling when Eddie raised his head up, his face soft and open as he stared up at the taller man.

"C'mon, we should check out the snack table before we head in." Eddie suggested, pulling away from Buck's embrace but reaching for his hand before Buck could miss the weight of him.

"Thank God, I'm starving. Haven't ate since lunch,"

"Busy day?"

"It was like we never got to sit down, the alarm just kept ringing." Buck informed with a tired sigh as they got in line behind a single mother with several small children all begging her for multiple treats.

"Well you have two full hours of sitting down to look forward to here," Eddie commented, letting go of Buck's hand to snag a brownie and rice crispy treat off the first table. "Then we can head home and you can get some much needed sleep."

"I promised Chris we'd have gelato to celebrate how great he's going to do. Which will lead to him suckering us into eating it in a blanket fort while watching a movie before we even know what hit us." Buck reminded the other man, lifting two bags of cookies and three bags of popcorn for himself off the table they were inspecting.

"Sure it's to celebrate and not to indulge your gelato addiction?"

"I've told you before Edmundo-I'm not addicted to gelato-"

"Tell that to my poor overstuffed freezer, cariño," Eddie snorted, pulling out his wallet as they approached the teacher manning the money box.

"See this is why grocery shopping has to be a family outing, Chris put at least four of those pints in the cart, you know I can't say no to him." Buck defended as he put his snacks down for the woman to see everything he had better.

"Right now there are 16 different disgusting flavors of gelato-that I can't believe are even considered edible-taking up 90 percent of my freezer-" Eddie rebuttal with a pointed look, completely unimpressed with Buck's argument. "And that number would be higher but I threw out the-"

"Edmundo Diaz you didn't-" Buck hissed, glaring at the disgusted face Eddie was sporting.

"Mint doesn't belong in gelato or my freezer Buck!"

"Just because you don't like it doesn't mean you can just throw it out! I was gonna eat that! You're basically throwing away money Eddie!" Buck protested with a huff, pouting his bottom lip out dramatically.

"Speaking of money-that will be 9.50," The very amused teacher broke in before Eddie could reply. Eddie blushed slightly as he pulled out a ten-dollar bill and handed it to the woman, not taking his eyes off of a still pouting Buck.

"I told you there's only one rule, cariño, no mint, not in my house."

"What did mint ever do to you that it's not even allowed in the house, huh?" Buck demanded to know, throwing his hands up in the air with an exaggerated groan at Eddie's reply.

"It's an abomination, it's existence is a constant reminder we are a hopeless species left to parish by a cruel-"

"Why are you so dramatic Eddie oh my God-"

"When you start contributing to the rent maybe-just maybe-I'd consider it, but even then-no I wouldn't-no mint. Deal with it Buckley."

"I'm going to get you for this," Buck swore with a huff, collecting his snacks back up and holding them to his chest as Eddie stuffed his change into his pocket.

"I'm terrified, really." Eddie deadpanned, rolling his eyes before nodding to the amused teenage couple behind them. "Now let's go take our seats. We're holding up the line."

"Please, you two just made my whole night. Your kid sounds lucky to have you both," The brunette girl reassured with a fond smile.

"Yah you guys are adorable," The girl's partner commented with an amused smile playing on her lips.

"Thank you," Eddie replied with a lethal full canine smile on display, leading a blushing Buck towards the auditorium doors.

 

 

3. Eddie

 

"I feel like we should go save him," Chimney said as he and Hen loaded their drunk and injured patient into the back of the ambulance (day drinking and balconies do not mix), nodding his head towards the small swarm of college girls surrounding a highly uncomfortable Buck. "And by we I mean you, Eddie."

"Yeah I got this," Eddie reassured, cupping one hand around his mouth before shouting, "Hey Buckley!"

"What's up, Hot Stuff?" Buck called back, his eyes holding crystal blue relief as they met Eddie's across the lawn. Eddie tried to bite back his amused smile but didn't succeed when his next words had Buck grinning like a complete fool.

"You. Me. Tonight. Wear something pretty."

"Edmundo Diaz, are you trying to ask me out on a date?"

"Yah, are you?" Chim was quick to chime in but was ignored, neither man seeming to want to break eye contact or acknowledge the crowd of people all watching them with a degree of different emotions.

"Depends," Eddie called back slowly, letting his teeth graze over his bottom lip at the playful twinkle reflected in those ocean eyes as Buck shot back an intrigued eyebrow raise and "On what?"

"You gonna say yes, hermoso?"

"I might," Buck drew out the two words, his mouth clearing fighting a smile as he tried to play it off like he might say no. Like that would ever actually happen, but Eddie didn't need to know that. "But only if we're going to that-"

"Sushi place on 6th," Eddie finished with him, smirking when he caught movement in the corner of his eye. Several of the girls surrounding Buck muttering to themselves as they headed back towards their sorority house. Good. "Don't worry, precioso, I know what you like."

"I bet you do," Hen muttered with a snort to herself, rolling her eyes and giving Eddie a light shove off the back of the ambulance. "We've got to get going, we'll meet you love birds back at the station."

"Well, I guess you've got yourself a date then, Diaz." Buck stated in confirmation as he made his way over towards his best friend, most of the drunken sorority sisters heading back to the house.

"I'll text Abuela, see if she wants to take Chris for the night. Which means we can rent that cheesy horror movie you've been talking my ear off about." Eddie replied readily, already pulling out his phone.

"Alright…" Buck agreed hesitantly, making Eddie glance up from the text he had just sent to meet Buck's conflicted eyes.

"Why is there a but coming?"

"But he's going to be so mad we had movie night without him and if he finds out I made our pancakes in the morning without him there to help me put in the secret ingredient-" Buck responded with a shake of his head, already imagining the look of betrayal Christopher would be sporting if he found out Buck spent the night without him being home to enjoy it as well. "You know we're gonna end up spending our whole next day off making it up to him."

"Looks like we'll be making it up to him then, cariño. It's not a date if children are present." Eddie informed, his attention raising from the new text of confirmation from Abuela to send Buck a playful, flirty smirk. "Besides, I never get you alone, Evan, maybe I want a little us time."

"Well if you wanted to get me alone all you had to do was ask, Edmundo," Buck hummed in approval, winking when Eddie wiggled his eyebrows in response, the two of them getting absorbed into their own silent conversation.

"Ugh, typical." One of the college girls moaned pitifully to her friends as they watched the two firefighters flirt shamelessly, not an inch of space between them. "If they're gay, they're in LA,"

"As entertaining as this has been, it's time to get back to the station, guys. Hop in." Bobby called out as he climbed into the front of the rig, sending the video he had just snuck of the encounter to Athena with the caption did you know they had come out?

Athena's reply was faster than he expected, Eddie and Buck having climbed into the back of the rig still talking about the plan for tonight while both typing away at their phones.

Hen says they haven't 😒 its their delusional way of being together without being together 🙄

Sounds confusing 😕

🙄😂 Apparently our boys get hit on enough that they have a code word to 'pretend' to be boyfriends so they can turn down women easier

But they're actually going on a date tonight 🧐 They planned it out and everything. Buck even said he'd be there to make pancakes in the morning 😳

And he will 🙃 as a 'platonic friend' who sleeps in Eddie's bed and co-parents his child but isn't his boyfriend 🙄😒

Have you WATCHED the video? 🤨😶 platonic? I don't think so 🤭

Even sent it to May 🤭 she said their UST is off the charts 😂 have to agree💯

Their what? 🧐🧐

🤣🤣🤣 ask firehose

"Hey Buck?" Bobby called out, both men in the back looking up from their phones to see what their captain needed.

"Yah Cap?"

"What does UST mean?" Bobby questioned, carefully reading the letters from the text as he said them out loud.

"Umm," Buck paused to punch a silently laughing Eddie in the arm, blushing at the tip of his ears as he answered in a neutral voice. "Unresolved sexual tension-um-sir."

"Ohhh, she's right-it is off the charts." Bobby muttered to himself, sending off his agreement to his wife as Eddie looked between Buck and Bobby in gleeful amusement.

"What Cap?"

"Nothing you need to concern yourself about," Bobby waved Eddie's question off. "Besides, you should probably make a reservation for tonight while you have the chance. That place has great food but horrible seating arrangements."

"He's right, you think eight or is that too late?" Eddie looked back down at his phone to start making a reservation but was stopped by Buck's next words.

"I already made a reservation," Buck grinned, waving his phone in Eddie's face. "7:30, should give us just enough time to get Chris over to Abuela's and stop at the house to change."

"Does that time include the talk down Christopher is going to need when he realizes dad is stealing his Buck all for himself tonight?" Eddie questioned, smirking fondly when Buck nodded enthusiastically.

"Not only the talk down, I also included time to talk to Abuela before we head out, but we both know twenty minutes isn't enough. Maybe we should just have them come over for breakfast in the morning." At the displeased face Eddie made Buck shot him an accusing pout. "We haven't seen Abuela in anything more than passing in almost three weeks now. She promised me she'd teach me the secret to her tortillas next time we got together and-"

"She won't even teach my mother that-" Eddie choked in surprise, Buck talking right over him now that he was on a role.

"Bonus-you could get some much needed social interaction, you know, besides your limited supply of Chris and I. We talked about this, the people we love enjoy our company and we enjoy theirs, therefore we need to put in the effort to see them more, Edmundo."

"I know I know," Eddie sighed like this was a recurring argument, shrugging one shoulder as he went on. "But you know how it is when we get off shift. We're exhausted and have a million things to get done. It's nice to just go home and be able to spend time with my boys when we have off."

"I'd believe that excuse if you haven't been dodging her for a month," Buck accused with a knowing look.

"I have not," Eddie denied with an unimpressed huff of air.

"You're still upset about the tamales aren't you?" Buck suddenly groaned dramatically, loudly groaning again when Eddie immediately denied the accusation.

"I'm not upset about-"

"That was months ago Eddie c'mon man it's really time to just accept that I'm her favorite now-"

"It isn't about the stupid tamales Buck!"

"Ha! So you admit you've been dodging Abuela!" Buck cried in triumph, grinning boldly back at Eddie's annoyed expression.

"I'm not admitting to anything, I'm saying it's not about the tamales."

"But it's about something, just tell me, Eds."

"She keeps giving me these smug looks! She's been helping Christopher with some big super secret project and neither one will tell me what it is." Eddie caved after catching sight of the pout Buck was sporting.

"Oh yes-the super secret project we aren't allowed to know about," Buck nodded in sympathetic understanding. "I've been trying to crack Chris but he keeps telling me I have to wait till 'Daddy asks you the important question.' Then he says we can help."

"Ask what important question?"

"If I knew that we'd know the secret, now wouldn't we?" Buck shot back, his attention snapping to the front when Bobby's regaled voice came through his headset.

"He's been planning your wedding for some time now,"

"Very funny Cap," Eddie snorted in amusement while Buck's brow drew together in thought.

"He's been asking me a lot of weird questions actually," Buck muttered, turning his attention back to his partner who seemed to have a flash of realization.

"Yah...remember when we went to the garden with that huge fountain and he kept asking us if we thought the place was nice enough to get married at?"

"You said no," Buck reminded with a slight look of offense, Eddie rolling his eyes at the comment.

"Because I'm not going to get married under a white arch surrounded by an overabundance of flowers-it's cheesy as hell."

"But it's such a beautiful place, what's wrong with a little cheese?"

"It's just a lot, there's such a thing as too much cheese, Buck."

"I happen to like a lot of cheese thank you very much, I thought it would be a pretty cool place to get married." Buck shrugged lightly, Eddie shaking his head in disagreement.

"Weddings are stressful Buck, not to mention expensive. I mean why spend all that money just to get married in a pretty place when we could put it towards what really matters, the honeymoon."

"You could always elope and apologize for it to your loved ones for the rest of your life." Bobby interjected, Buck quickly shaking his head at the statement.

"Not happening Cap, if I'm getting married I want to make a big deal out of it because it's the biggest deal to me. I'd go all out for it. It would be epic, we're talking like the wedding of the century. It's probably good Chris is getting a head start on ideas honestly."

"Bridezilla: The Buckley Addition, coming soon to a pending wedding venue near you." Eddie joked with a grin, bumping his shoulder into Buck's. "Or would it be the Buckley-Diaz addition?"

"Would you keep Buckley or change your last name if you got married, Buck?" Bobby questioned curiously, catching sight of the woeful look in the blonde's eyes.

"Um-I haven't really thought about it," Buck replied with an awkward laugh. Bobby could tell it was a lie even before Buck started rubbing the back of his neck. "But I'm not opposed to changing it, when I was in grade school I used to write Evan Donovan with little hearts in my notebooks because I was convinced Jack Donovan and I were going to get married."

"Evan Donovan," Eddie repeated, his face scrunched up with displeasure as they pulled into the station. "Doesn't even sound right,"

"Oh I'm sorry, is my middle school crush making you jealous, sweetheart?" Buck questioned with an overly amused smirk as he popped the door open to hop out of the rig with Eddie on his heels. "Would you like me to fill a notebook full of Buck Diaz and badly drawn hearts so you can feel better?"

"That'd be great actually, thanks. Evan Diaz has such a nicer ring to it-"

"It would actually be Buck Diaz-"

"Are you seriously going to legally change your first name to Buck when we get married?"

"Why shouldn't I?" Buck questioned back in challenge, looking over at his partner who was shooting him a knowing, sympathetic eyebrow raise as he answered.

"It's not that you shouldn't, cariño, but you don't have to hate your name just because it reminds you of your parents. I let you call me Edmundo even though I hate-"

"But you like when I call you Edmundo-"

"I'm aware Genius, just like I'm aware you love when I call you Evan-"

Bobby quickly tapped out a hurried message to Athena as Buck and Eddie headed to the locker room and out of his hearing range.

I think they just got engaged????

You think?? 🤨

I'm not sure they realized they sort of did…

🙄🤦🏾 those hopeless fools

 

 

 

4. Buck

 

Eddie didn't get drunk often, he was a father and a first responder. He had to be on top of his game as much as possible. But there were those rare nights he had off when he'd allow himself to let loose, to have a few drinks and dance his drunken heart out on the dance floor of a too hot club. Buck had set Chris up for a sleepover at Harry's and got them into this hot new place in the Hills that was owned by a friend of a friend who Buck had saved on a call years ago. The liquor was good, the music was great, but the company was what you expected from a Hills nightclub.

"Oi mira a donde vas!" "Hey watch where you're going!" A tiny girl suddenly appeared in front of Eddie's drunken vision when he looked down (way down, Dios why was there a child in here?) her bright blue drink half spilled on the ground between them.

Oh, not a child, just a very, very tiny woman.

"Lo siento mucho, señora, puedo comprarte una bebida nueva?" "I'm so sorry ma'am can I buy you a new drink?" Eddie offered, proud that his words didn't come out too jumbled even while he had trouble focusing his eyes. He was heading for the bar anyway, and he was a gentleman after all. He could replace this tiny woman's drink to make it up to her.

"Desde que lo derramaste creo que es justo, chico lindo."
"Since you spilled it I think that's only fair, pretty boy."

Eddie bobbed his head in quick agreement at her statement, waving a careless hand in front of himself to usher the now amused women to the bar.

"O estás borracho o eres muy bueno fingiendo estarlo para poder coquetear conmigo," "You're either drunk or very good at pretending to be so you can hit on me," The women commented as she slid onto an open bar stool, Eddie having to stand closer than he'd like behind her to get around the crowd of people trying to also get drinks.

"Estoy muy borracho, tengo miedo, aunque eres una mujer hermosa, pero no mi tipo." "Very drunk I'm afraid, though you're a beautiful woman, just not my type." Eddie replied with a shake of his head, flagging down the bartender and placing Buck and his order of IPAs along with the woman's cocktail.

"Cual es tu tipo?"
"What is your type?"

Eddie leaned closer and opened his mouth to tell her all about gorgeous ocean eyes, sunshine laughter, and soft lips kissed with perfect smiles when a rough hand landed on his shoulder and spun him around fast enough to unsettle his alcohol-laced body.

"Estás haciendo un movimiento con mi chica perra?" "You making a move on my girl, bitch?" The man asked with a deep scowl as he got up in Eddie's face.

"Derramé su bebida, tengo que conseguirle una nueva, no significa que esté coqueteando con ella, hombre." "I spilled her drink, have to get her a new one, doesn't mean I'm hitting on her, man." Eddie corrected with a shake of his head and a look that screamed 'you're an idiot'.

"Será mejor que te cuides pendejo-"
"You better watch yourself asshole-"

"We got a problem here?" Buck questioned as he came to stand just behind the man, his shoulders squared back and head held high to draw himself out to his full height. His icy blue gaze locked on the man who was just previously pointing a finger in Eddie's face and hissing something at him in Spanish that Buck didn't hear over the music.

"This idiota thinks I was hitting on his girlfriend." Eddie huffed with a hard eye roll, turning his head up to give Buck a 'Can you believe these people' look over the shorter man's head. "Like I could have eyes for anyone but you, Hot Stuff."

"Estás diciendo que mi chica no es lo suficientemente buena para tu trasero?" "Are you saying my girl isn't good enough for your ass?" The angry man hissed, Buck being able to pick up most of the words.

"Estoy diciendo que me gusta la polla, estúpido bastardo, ¿o mi novio vino aquí para ver por qué me acosabas y no entendió el punto en tu cabeza gorda?" "I'm saying I like dick you stupid bastard, or did my boyfriend coming over here to see why you were harassing me not get the point through your fat head?" Eddie shot back with a biting tone, irritation and annoyance clear on his face.

"Debería haber sabido que eras un maricón, apuesto a que te encanta tomarlo-"

"Should have known you were a faggot, bet you love to take it up-"

The man didn't get to finish his sentence before Buck had him pressed up against the bar by the front of his shirt, his eyes holding a storm of emotions and his mouth turned down in a disgusted scowl.

"Say another fucking word and I swear to God I'll make you regret ever being born let alone walking into this damn bar," Buck's voice was deadly calm, a dangerous rage bleeding into every word he spoke. "You have two options here, get your homophobic ass handed to you in a fight by two faggots or get the fuck out of here and never come back. I'm kind of hoping you're stupid enough to go for option one. I learned some pretty great moves in Seals training."

The man’s rage-filled eyes slowly started to mix with fear as Buck's strong grip kept him from moving an inch in his attempt to shake himself free, his nose scrunching up in disgust even as he nodded his head down in submission.

"I'll leave," The man said in English, straightening out his shirt when Buck finally backed off him.

"Too bad," Buck muttered darkly, keeping his eyes on the man until he was out the doors, his girlfriend having left to head towards the dance floor, hopefully to find herself a new boyfriend.

"You okay?" Buck questioned, resting a hand on Eddie's shoulder in concern.

"Fine, that was hot." Eddie blurted out as he blinked rapidly up at Buck, grinning stupidly when the younger man let out a loud bark of laughter at his words.

"Good to know you think so, sweetheart, what do you say we get some shots and hit the dance floor?"

"Hell yeah, I wanna dance,"

"I don't think I've ever seen you dance honestly,"

"That's because if you get enough drinks in me you can't really get me to stop, my sisters and I all did dance growing up," Eddie confessed, his lips brushing Buck's ear so he could hear him over the pumping music. "I've got moves, Hermoso,"

"This I have to see,"

"See that's the problem, cariño, I've seen you dance and well-" Eddie cut himself off to send the bartender a thankful smile as she set four clear shot glasses down in front of them. "I don't think you could keep up."

"All the more reason for you to show me what you got, maybe teach me a few of these moves." Buck responded, picking up his first shot and offering it out to cheers as Eddie grabbed his own.

"You really think you can keep up?" Eddie questioned as he clicked their glasses together, throwing the shot back easily. God, good tequila always went down so smoothly.

"Please, I'll probably last longer than you, sweetheart." Buck countered with a flirty smirk, setting his own empty glass down and reaching for the next.

"Is that so?"

"It is actually, yes," Buck responded with a cocky nod of his head, throwing back the shot in his hand, Eddie following right after with his own, setting his glass down on the bartop while sending Buck a challenging head tilt.

"How about you prove it then, Evan."

"Oh," Buck hummed low in his throat, hooking a finger in Eddie's belt loop to tug him towards the crowded dance floor. "I plan to Edmundo,"

 

 

 

5. Eddie

 

"I can't thank you enough for doing this for me man, really I owe you," Buck said for the twentieth time today as they made their way up the church stairs hand in hand.

Buck had texted Eddie a few months back with a picture of a wedding invitation from one Evan Davis, a firefighter Buck had been in the academy with, and the caption Wanna be my plus one, hot stuff?

Eddie had rolled his eyes but accepted the invitation regardless, not wanting his best friend to have to go to a wedding alone.

"I told you it's not a big deal cariño, besides there's an open bar later, we took an Uber, and Chris is at Denny's until tomorrow afternoon. Tonight's going to be one for the books."

"Gonna show off your sexy moves on the dance floor tonight, Diaz?" Buck hummed with a playful eyebrow wiggle as he held the door open for the both of them. Eddie sent him a wink and his most charming smile as he stepped inside.

"Get enough tequila in me again and I just might for you, Buckley."

"Buckley! Good to see you man how've you been doing?" One of the other guests, a handsome, tall black man with muscles that put Buck's to shame greeted them, moving forward to give a grinning Buck a friendly hug.

"Really good King, how about you? Station 6 treating you right?"

"Like I'm blood, brother. Who's this?" King nodded towards Eddie who gave the man a friendly smile as he held his hand out to shake.

"Wesley King," Buck placed a hand on the small of Eddie's back as he introduced the two men. "This is my partner, Edmundo Diaz."

"Everyone just calls me Eddie, nice to meet you man." Eddie corrected shaking the friendly man's hand.

"Right back at you Eddie and everyone just calls me King. You wouldn't happen to be the same silver star Diaz my captain complained for a week about not being able to snag a couple of years back would you?"

"That would be him, yes. And before you ask, yes the rumors are all true, he really is the best damn firefighter you'll ever see. The 118 couldn't be more proud to have snagged such a catch. No one in the world I'd rather have my back." Buck smiled proudly, bumping their shoulders together when Eddie shook his head in embarrassment.

"Dios querido, you're one to talk." Eddie huffed, lacing their fingers together again when Buck already started to shake his head."I'm not the one who set new records at the academy after healing from being crushed by a fire truck. There's no one I'd rather have my back. The 118 was lucky to have the best firefighter around way before I got there."

"You know-I had heard the rumors but seeing it in person is-" King shook his head with an amused smirk playing on his lips as he looked between the two men in front of him.

"What do you mean? What rumors?" Buck questioned with a confused tilt of his head.

"Well, full disclosure, I might have had an idea of who your boy was just from what the others have said about you two."

"Others?" Eddie repeated with a raised eyebrow, King shrugging slightly as he explained.

"I'm pretty tight with some of the guys at the 136, and after meeting you two everyone had something to say about how sickeningly in love you are. Bosko said being around you two was like being tossed right into the middle of a romantic comedy. Cooper argued the heart eyes you two make at each other qualified it as a Disney princess movie. Marcos insisted it was a romantic YA book series turned TV show. But I think it's more of a-two sides of the same coin story-you said partner earlier, yeah I feel like that's very fitting."

"You know King, this sounds suspiciously like a group chat about our love life that we aren't a part of." Buck responded with narrowed eyes, very pointedly trying not to look to see what kind of facial expression Eddie had on.

So maybe pretending to be boyfriends was giving people the wrong idea...or the right idea. An idea of some value that Buck doesn't feel capable of putting a name to. It's not like the two of them ever really talked about this whole fake boyfriend thing, it was just an act they both slipped into so easily.

Sometimes too easily he'll admit, the pet names and domestic touches had started to bleed into their everyday lives. They had to use Hot Stuff so often it was hard to just...turn it off and go back to just being friends.

The first time it happened, Buck had played it off as a joke, he had noticed Eddie looking uncomfortable at the bar the first time he ever came to Eddie's rescue as his 'boyfriend'. Eddie had been shocked but had rolled with Buck slipping himself between him and the aggressively forward women hitting on him to grab Eddie's hand with a wink and a playful pout.

"Thought you were getting me a drink, Hot Stuff?"

After the women had taken the hint and left when Eddie had answered with an amused "Hot Stuff? That's what you're going with Buck?" Causing Buck to begin showering Eddie with pet names to see which one he'd prefer.

The winners had been Babycakes, which had been rewarded with a bright laugh, and sweetheart which earned a lovely blush dusting Eddie's cheeks. When they left the bar that night, shoulder to shoulder in the back of an uber, Eddie had softly placed his hand on Buck's thigh and given it a tight squeeze.

"Thank you, for you know…"

"I'll be your pretend boyfriend anytime you need, sweetheart," Buck had winked back. A tender, relieved smile blooming on Eddie's face as he replied.

"Yeah? Well, if you ever need rescuing...I'm here for you too."

"Thanks man, should we come up with something like a code word-in case we're actually interested in someone or something,"

"What about Hot Stuff?" Eddie had suggested with a shrug.

"I thought you didn't like it?"

"I don't, which means it won't come up in conversation unless we need help."

 

That was just a few months after Eddie had joined the 118, when they would only have to deal with aggressive flirting attempts when they went out for the night or on a call every once in a while. Usually, they only used Hot Stuff for strangers who couldn't take a hint, but over the years with neither man interested in dating it had become so much easier to call one another Hot Stuff just to save themselves the trouble. It was fine, so they used Hot Stuff around strangers. Besides the wedding they have never done it in front of friends and acquaintances, who apparently thought they were really together and made for each other like in some romantic movie. At least Eddie hasn't let go of his hand, that meant he wasn't freaking out too much right? Right. Right?

"Does that qualify as you guys being our fans? Or is this like real-life followers? Or is it just followers since they follow us on social media as well? Why is everyone so interested?" Buck rambled when Eddie didn't say anything.

"King, you got a minute?" Came a voice from behind them, an usher coming towards their group.

"Hey, look at it this way guys, at least you're the leads," King shrugged, clapping them both on the shoulders with a grin. "I'll see you at the reception, hopefully Davis put us at the same table."

"Yeah we'll see you man." Buck waved as King moved to speak with the usher.

"Are we really the only exciting thing happening that other stations have opinions on our relationship?" Eddie questioned after another moment of tense silence.

"I guess so," Buck replied slowly, trying and failing to read the expression on Eddie's face.

"Do you think the 118 have a bet going about us?" Eddie wondered aloud, his brow drawn down in thought.

"There's definitely been a bet of some sort going since your first day at the station." Buck snorted with a roll of his eyes.

"What's the bet?"

"Why do you think I know?"

"Because Evan, I know you sneak peeks at Hen's logbook to check bets," Eddie answered with a pointed look, daring Buck to deny it. He couldn't.

"Well, honestly the title has been crossed out so many times it just says 'Buck and Eddie: Idiots to lovers?' In the top corner now." Buck confessed, biting his bottom lip as he held his breath for Eddie's response.

"Shut up no it doesn't," Eddie laughed with a smile, shaking his head in amusement. Buck could feel the little bit of hope he had allowed to fester turn to ash and die in his mouth, Eddie's off-handed behavior confirming what he had already known. This was all just a game to Eddie, something to get people off their backs. A funny act to put on to see how much they could get away with.

"There's also a bet on when you'll realize it's Bobby who's been pranking you with fake spiders," Buck confessed just to change the subject. Not letting his aching heart show on his face, instead plastering on a smirk when Eddie let out a muted scream of disbelief.

"Are you fucking serious right now Buckley! And you're just now telling me! I find at least three a day!"

"I know it's hilarious." Buck laughed, grinning when Eddie socked him in the shoulder and tried to let go of his hand in outrage. Buck didn't let him get far, still laughing at the pout on Eddie's face.

"It's been months!"

"And it probably would have been many more if I hadn't told you, so you're welcome."

"Tienes suerte eres tan lindo querido," "You are lucky you are so cute dear," Eddie muttered with a roll of his eyes, tugging on their joined hands as he started to make his way towards the pews to find a seat.

"Y que lindo soy?" "And just how cute am I?" Buck shot back without thinking, watching Eddie pull his bottom lip between his teeth as the words fell from Buck's lips.

"Demasiado para las palabras mi amor," "Too much for words my love," Eddie replied softly, tilting his head towards the middle row. "C'mon, found some seats."

"Lead the way, mi amor," Buck whispered with an exaggerated tone, making Eddie let out a soft laugh.

"Oh shut up, you love it. I'm the best fake boyfriend you've ever had."

"Hmm, I don't know that fake boyfriend I had in high school-"

"You talk so much shit, Buck, just sit here and look pretty. Shouldn't be too hard for you."

"Are you saying I'm pretty, Edmundo?" Buck teased as they took their seats, shoulders bumping together as they got comfortable.

"In that suit?" Edie hummed, making a point to look Buck over fully with a smirk playing on his lips and a challenge in his eyes. "Yeah I'd say so, Evan."

"Personally, Edmundo, I think your suit would look way better on the ground," Buck whispered with an exaggerated wink. If Eddie wanted to make jokes and try to one-up Buck, fine, two can play that game.

"Asking to take me home Buckley?"

"Thought that was the plan already, Diaz, have to give our fans something to talk about." Buck reminded with a gentle shoulder nudge.

"Our fans," Eddie repeated with a snort and bemused head shake.

"Is this a bad time to tell you we went viral when you asked me out at the sorority house?"

"Shut up we did not,"

"#GaysinLA, Eddie, look it up." Buck smirked, patiently waiting for Eddie to dig his phone out and pull up Instagram.

"Oh fuck," Eddie muttered as he let the video play on silent.

"We're famous," Buck stated unhelpfully, pointing at the millions of views the video already had.

"Maybe people will stop flirting with us now," Eddie suggested hopefully as he strolled through the comments briefly.

"Yeah, maybe if you’d stop being so handsome that might actually happen," Buck snorted in response.

"You think I'm handsome?"

"Oh my God, why do I put up with you?" Buck groaned, throwing his head back in exasperation.

"Because you love me," Eddie replied with a smug smile, Buck not getting the chance to confirm or deny before the priest was asking everyone to take their seats so the wedding could begin.

It's probably for the best, Eddie is always able to tell when Buck is lying.

 

 

 

+1 Chris 

 

"Hello there, Welcome to Kay Jewelers, I'm Zoey, anything I can help you gentlemen find today?" A pretty saleswoman greeted them as Chris and his dad walked into the jewelry store.

"Yah actually we're looking for something for Mother's day, a necklace or a bracelet maybe? We're not really sure." Daddy replied as they walked up to the counter the woman, Zoey, was standing behind.

"Well, your wife is very lucky to have two handsome men picking her out something nice for mother's day."

"It's actually for our Abuela, thought we'd get her something special." Daddy corrected the woman with a sheepish shrug. Chris watched the women's eyes light up at his Daddy's words. Seeing her lean over the counter to get closer to Daddy who's smile got tight around the edges like it always did when someone who wasn't Bucky got too close to him.

"Oh? No Mrs. in your life then?"

Christopher narrowed his own eyes at the women, already knowing where this was going to go. Lots of women got that look in their eyes around Daddy and tried to steal his attention. But Christopher knew Daddy didn't want to give it to them so he would call Bucky hot stuff and Bucky would put his arm around Daddy or kiss his cheek and say stuff like babycakes and sweetheart, then the woman would get displeased and go away.

Christopher is sure if Buck was here right now Daddy would have already been saved from the lady now twirling her hair around one finger.

The only thing was Bucky had run back to the car for his wallet and Christopher's forgotten drink so he wasn't here to save Daddy right now.

But Christopher was.

Christopher looked around with a frown trying to decide what to do when he caught sight of a display in the middle of the showroom. It was perfect, he had been meaning to question his dad about when he would finally ask Buck to marry him. If they had rings it would show strangers that his Daddy and his Bucky weren't interested in anyone else. No better time to bring it up to his Daddy than when they were already looking at jewelry.

"Daddy, while we're here can we get you and Bucky rings?" Christopher asked loudly, cutting into the middle of the saleswoman's flirting attempts. Both adults turned to look down at him with wide eyes.

"Rings like-"

"Like 'I want to marry you Bucky please say you'll stay with us forever' rings." Christopher confirmed with a serious nod, hiding his smile at the stunned look on his Daddy's face and the displeased nose scrunch the saleswoman was giving him.

"Uh-Bud I don't know if Buck-"

"He wants to marry you Daddy, you just have to ask him." Christopher stated confidently, he knew Bucky would say yes. Daddy just had to be brave and ask.

"Mijo, it's-Buck and I-"

"Are in love, so you should get married." Christopher finished for him, tilting his head to the side when his Daddy continued to open and close his mouth like a fish. He didn't understand why his Daddy was being so weird, Bucky and Daddy have been together almost as long as Bucky has been around, why wouldn't they get married? "You love each other so you have to get married."

"Who's getting married?" Buck questioned as he entered the shop, holding Christopher's Superman cup in one hand and his phone in the other, his attention only half on the situation he had just walked into as he texted away.

"You and Daddy." Christopher grinned as he replied, taking his cup from a now wide-eyed Buck's outstretched hand, the man's phone almost slipping out of his other in his surprise.

"Uh-" Buck turned his stunned gaze from Christopher to his dad, who looked just as caught off guard as Buck felt. Buck finally looked at the saleswoman who was switching between glaring at Buck and the display case in front of her. Buck put the pieces together fast.

"Uh, Hot Stuff?"

Eddie nodded his head quickly in panic at Buck's words, getting an understanding nod from Buck in return.

"Well Chris, as much as I would love to marry your dad...I'm pretty sure he needs to ask me a pretty important question before that can happen, buddy," Buck redirected his attention to Christopher, kneeling down so they were the same height.

"I know, I told him we should look at rings for you guys, that's the first step." Christopher replied with a proud grin, looking from Buck to the woman behind the counter before leaning in to whisper in Buck's ear. "It's okay, I saved Daddy from the lady while you were gone."

"Look at that, a proper knight in shining armor we have, thanks for doing my job while I was gone, buddy." Buck whispered back with a wink.

"That's why we should get rings, so no one will try to take you or daddy when you're not around, but not just any rings, right dad-" Christopher looked up to his dad who's wide eyes were jumping back and forth between Buck and Chris repeatedly. "We need 'I want to marry you Bucky please say you'll stay with us forever' rings."

"God I love you so much kid," Buck laughed breathlessly as he pressed a soft kiss to Christopher's forehead, running a hand down his back with a sad, fond shake of his head. "You're way too smart for your own good."

"Bucky, you could be a real Diaz if you guys get married," Christopher commented as the realization hit him. "We could be a real family."

"That would be pretty great wouldn’t it?" Buck hummed with a soft, woeful smile. Christopher nodding his head in excited agreement.

The very thought nearly brought tears to Buck's eyes. To be able to say he was a real Diaz, to say he was Eddie's partner in every sense of the word, being able to legally claim Christopher as his son, it was his every dream come true. His boys, his own family to love and be loved by.

"Say yes."

"What?" Buck asked in complete surprise as Eddie's rough voice cut through his overactive imagination.

"Say yes." Eddie breathed out in a shaky exhale, his own glossy eyes not leaving the two boys in front of him. Seeming to see them fully for the first time. "Marry me."

"Eddie are you-" Buck gasped in shock, trying to figure out if Eddie was being serious or just playing up their cover a little too well.

"Evan Daniel Buckley," Eddie breathlessly whispered as he sank down onto his knees right in front of his best friend and his son. "Marry me...please."

"Tell me you're joking," Buck demanded in a broken voice, the tears welling up in his eyes. There's no way, there's no way his best friend was actually proposing to him. There was no way Eddie actually wanted to marry him. They weren't even dating. Not really. This was all a joke to Eddie, something to keep unwanted attention off their backs. It couldn’t be what he desperately wanted it to be. It couldn't be real.

"I'm not joking Evan, I wouldn't joke about something so important to you, I love you Evan...marry me, please."

"Bucky, please say yes," Christopher whispered after a minute of stunned silence, reaching down to give Buck's trembling hand a tight squeeze of reassurance.

"You really want to marry me?" Buck asked in complete disbelief.

"I know I don't want to live my life without you by my side, so we could start with actual dating if you really want, but I know you're it for me. I want you, Evan, all of you, anyway I can have you. I love you Evan Buckley, so for love of all that is holy please say yes."

"Yes, yesyesyesyesyesyes-" Buck probably would have continued to repeat the word over and over if it wasn't for Eddie pulling him into an overdue bruising kiss with a hand on the back of his neck and the other lovingly cupping his cheek. When they finally pulled back enough to breathe they didn't go far, their foreheads resting together as they stared into each other eyes with nothing but pure love and awe bleeding out.

"Can we go look at the rings now?" Christopher asked the saleswoman politely, his smile blinding and his little body practically vibrating with excitement. His Bucky wasn't going anywhere now. He'd be a Diaz by the end of the year if Christopher had anything to say about it. He's been planning the wedding with his Abuela for a while now, he couldn't wait to tell her and the rest of the 118. Everyone has been waiting years for this to happen and Christopher was proud to say he could take credit for getting them there.