Eddie was exhausted.
Getting home after a long shift that had been almost non-stop full of calls had left him feeling rung out and ready to collapse. Physically, he was tired. But what was really doing him in was the emotional exhaustion. He’d been worrying about Christopher all day, his boy had woken up that morning with a fever.
He hadn’t wanted to leave him but with Buck out they were already a man down at the station and with such short notice he couldn’t call out. Thankfully, Carla had been able to stay with him for the day after Eddie called the school and told them Christopher wasn’t going to be in for at least a few days.
As soon as he’d gotten to work Eddie had talked to Bobby, explaining the situation. Bobby had been able to work it out so Eddie had the next day off, but that was as good as he could do with such short notice and them being already short staffed. Eddie didn’t complain, he would take what he could get.
Carla had been texting him throughout the day and Eddie kept hoping for that text that said Christopher’s fever had broken and he was on the mend. No such luck. The last time he’d been able to check in with Carla, she had told him that Christopher’s fever was worse and he might want to consider taking him to the doctor if he wasn’t better by the time Eddie got home.
Eddie dumped his stuff by the door when he got home, making a mental note to deal with it before he went to bed. If he didn’t he knew he’d regret it come morning when he inevitably tripped over it.
“Hey, Carla,” Eddie said, coming to stop at the kitchen table where the woman in question was sitting, a worried look on her face and a barely touched mug of tea sitting in front of her.
“Hi, honey,” She replied softly, looking at him with such gentle sympathy that Eddie wanted to cry. Not too many people looked at him like that these days. “I got him into bed to see if maybe he could sleep it off but he’s still running a pretty high fever. I think you should take him to the hospital.”
Eddie sighed, running a hand through his hair. “Yeah, that’s probably best. I’d rather be safe rather than sorry.”
Eddie made his way to Christopher’s bedroom, opening the door softly just in case Chris was already sleeping.
“Daddy?” Christopher croaked, making Eddie wince at the rough sound of his son’s voice.
“Hola, mijo,” Eddie whispered, coming to crouch down beside Christopher’s bed. He touched the back of his hand to his forehead, grimacing at the heat that radiated off him. “How are you feeling?”
“Not good,” Christopher mumbled, looking at him with flushed cheeks and glassy eyes.
“Okay, mijo. I know you hate hospitals but I think that’s the best place for you right now. I’m sorry, mi amor,” Eddie said, and it goes to show just how bad Christopher is feeling that he only nods and doesn’t fight Eddie when he helps him sit up.
“I’ll get the car ready,” Carla whispers from the doorway and Eddie shoots her a grateful look.
Moving quickly, Eddie gets a bag together with a change of clothes, a few books, and Christopher’s favourite blanket for when he’s not feeling well. It was the last gift that Shannon had given their boy before her death and Christopher loved it, said it as close to getting a hug from his Mommy as he could get.
“I’ll be right back,” Eddie said quietly, waiting for Christopher to nod weakly before rushing off to his own room.
He changes out of his uniform, wishing that he had thought to do so before he left the station. Usually he did, but today all he could think about was getting back home to Chris.
Eddie pulls on a pair of comfortable sweatpants and an old LAFD hoodie. Without knowing how long they’d be at the hospital, he was going for as comfortable as possible.
He shoved a few more things into the backpack he had started for Christopher and then made his way back to his son’s room.
Christopher hadn’t moved, was still sitting in bed, looking completely out of it. Eddie felt a stab in chest, the one he always felt whenever Christopher was sick or in pain. His son, his baby, was hurting and there was nothing he could do but take him to the hospital and hope for the best.
“Alright, mijo, let’s go,” He wraps Christopher up in his arms and sets him on his hip. Christopher doesn’t even protest, something he’d taken to doing more often since his last birthday, claiming he was getting too old to be carried. Now, though, he just rests his cheek tiredly against Eddie’s shoulder.
Eddie presses a kiss against Christopher’s sweaty hair and grabs his glasses and crutches before leaving the room.
Carla was already int he car with it running and warming up when Eddie and Chris exited the house. She got out of the car though when Eddie paused, trying to think of a way of locking up the house without setting Christopher down.
“You get him settled in and I’ll set the alarm and lock up,” She said and Eddie just shot her another grateful look before going to do as she said.
The drive to the hospital was short and quiet. Thankfully, it was a rare slow night in the ER because they got settled into a room a lot faster than in the past. It probably helped that it was almost midnight, but even so, Eddie knew just how busy ER’s could get during the night.
Eddie was sitting restlessly beside Christopher’s hospital bed while Carla went to ask the nurse if there had been any updates from the doctor.
Christopher was dozing lightly when Carla returned with the doctor in tow. He blinked himself awake when the doctor started speaking.
“Alright, Mr. Diaz, I think your son just has a really bad case of the flu. Due to his high fever and CP we’d like to keep him overnight for observation, just in case. Make sure he drinks as much fluids as he can and the nurse will come by when he can take another dose of Tylenol. It should help with breaking the fever but unfortunately this is mostly a case of waiting it out,” The doctor finished, giving both Eddie and Christopher a sympathetic look.
“Thanks, Doctor,” Eddie replies, wishing there was more he could do.
The doctor nodded and took his leave with a quiet “Call the nurse if anything changes. Good night.”
Eddie sighs when it’s just the three of them left in the room.
“Daddy?” Christopher whimpers, turning his head towards Eddie. “It hurts.”
“I know, baby,” Eddie whispers back, reaching out to push back Christopher’s sweaty hair and caress his cheek gently. “Is there anything I can do? Anything you want that might make you feel better?”
“Bucky,” Christopher croaked out. “I want my Bucky.”
Eddie had to close his eyes against the sudden sting behind his lids. He couldn’t help but think to himself, ‘yeah, kid, me too’. Once again Eddie is overwhelmed by a wave of anger, of deep sadness, that this goddamn lawsuit is keeping his best friend from him. From his kid. They both need him and he’s not here.
“I know you want Buck, mijo, but remember what we talked about? Bucky can’t be here right now,” Eddie says, trying and failing not to be crushed by the miserable look his son sends him.
He knows that Christopher is struggling without Buck. Hell, he’s struggling without Buck. It cuts deep, it hurts that the one thing that would make his son feel even slightly better is the one thing he can’t do for him.
“Bucky,” Christopher just sobs as tears spill down his fever flushed cheeks and Eddie hates this, hates everything, hates the lawsuit, hates anything and everything that’s keeping him from getting Buck to his son.
“Eddie, can we talk?” Carla whispers, trying to keep her voice as soft as possible. Eddie startles a bit, wincing as he realizes he forgot she was there too.
Eddie nods, turning back to Chris. “I’m just going to step out for a second, mijo. We’ll be right outside. Call if you need anything, okay?” and Christopher nods, sniffling, the fever and tears exhausting him.
They step outside and immediately Carla wraps Eddie up in a hug. Eddie feels himself melt against her, soaking up the comfort she offers.
When she pulls back, she has this look on her face and Eddie has a feeling he’s not going to like what she’s going to say next.
“I think you need to call Buck,” is what she says and fuck, Eddie was right.
“I can’t,” Eddie tries not to snap, really he does, but he can’t help it. The frustration and helplessness he feels is overwhelming. “He won’t answer anyway. This fucking lawsuit means that we can’t have any contact. And after the stupid shit I said to him in the grocery store, I wouldn’t be surprised if that wasn’t the only reason he wouldn’t pick up.”
“Eddie, we both know that if you call Buck he’ll pick up. That boy would do anything for you and your son. Even if he was upset with you, if you tell him Christopher wants to see him he’ll be here in a heartbeat. He thinks of that boy as his son,” Carla says sincerely and Eddie desperately wants to believe her.
Deep down, he knows that Buck would do anything for him, for Christopher, but he also knows that if for some reason he was wrong, it would devastate him. Sometimes ignorance really was bliss.
“Carla,” Eddie sighed. He seemed to be doing that a lot tonight. “Look, I want to call him more than anything. But the thought that…that I call and he doesn’t come…I can’t handle that. I can’t do that to Christopher.”
“Oh, honey,” Carla just sighs, laying a comforting hand on his cheek and wiping away the lone tear that breaks free.
Eddie just gives her a smile, pretending that he doesn’t know that she can tell it’s fake. “You should get home. It’s one in the morning and you should get home to your husband. Thank you so much for staying as long as you did.”
“It’s not a problem, baby. Buck’s not the only one who would do anything for you guys,” She winks at him, making a real smile tug at his lips. “Now, do you want me to get you some coffee before I go? I know you and I know you’re not going to be able to sleep until Chris starts to feel better.”
“No, it’s okay, I’ll manage. Thank you, though, Carla. Seriously. For everything,” Eddie says and he hopes that she knows he’s not just thanking her for tonight but for everything she’s ever done for his family. He hopes she knows just how much he appreciates and loves her.
The sweet smile she gives him makes him think that maybe she does.
“Okay, well, I’m just a call away if you need anything. I don’t want to wake him up in case he’s sleeping, so just tell Chris I said goodnight and I’ll see him soon.”
Eddie nods, giving her another smile, and this time it does reach his eyes.
Carla watches as Eddie slips back into Christopher’s room and sighs. She thinks for a minute before coming to a decision. Carla pulls out her phone as she starts walking to the elevator.
Eddie might not be able to make the call himself but Carla knows her boys. Nothing but Buck is going to make Christopher feel better, and quite honestly, the same goes for Eddie.
Stepping into the elevator, Carla presses call and puts the phone to her ear.
“Carla? Is everything okay?”
“Buck?” Eddie whispers, worried that maybe he’s seeing things. Maybe he fell asleep and it’s all a dream. Maybe he has a fever too.
“Eds,” Buck breathes and he’s real, he’s here, he’s standing right in front of him.
Eddie is too exhausted, emotionally and physically, to stop the tears from forming as he gets up out of his chair and falls into Buck’s open and waiting arms.
“Fuck, you’re here, you’re actually here,” Eddie mumbles into Buck’s neck.
“I’m here, Eddie, I’m right here,” Buck whispers back, closing his eyes at the shuddering sob that Eddie can’t help but let out.
“I’ve missed you so fucking much,” Eddie says, tongue loose from exhaustion. He might not have said it if he was feeling better but it’s not like it wasn’t true.
Buck pulls back slightly so he can look Eddie in the eyes. “I missed you too, so much. You and Chris. You…you have no idea how much.”
Eddie laughs, although it sounds more like a sob. “I think I do.”
Buck just smiles before looking at Christopher, whose finally settled into a restless sleep. Eddie desperately wants to wake him up and say look who’s here! But he knows that Chris needs sleep and Eddie isn’t going to let Buck go anywhere, so he’ll be there when he wakes up.
As quiet as he can, Eddie drags the second chair over to where his is so they can both sit next to Chris. Buck sits down and hesitantly reaches out a hand towards Chris. He doesn’t want to wake him up but he can’t help but touch his cheek gently.
Chris doesn’t wake up but he does turn his head towards Buck, nuzzling his face into his palm.
Eddie just sits back and watches them, more content than he’s been in weeks. Buck is here. He’s here. He’s not supposed to be—
“Wait, what about the lawsuit? Aren’t you going to get in trouble?” Eddie asks suddenly, even though everything in him is screaming at him to shut up. Buck is here, don’t say anything that’ll make him go!
“Fuck the lawsuit,” Is Buck’s unexpected reply.
“What?” Eddie is confused.
Buck sighs, leaning over to press a kiss to Christopher’s forehead before sitting back and giving Eddie his full attention. “The only reason I filed that stupid thing was to get back to my family. I love the 118, they were the first real family I ever had. But…I realized that you and Chris, you guys are my family. I filed the lawsuit to get back to my family and instead all it did was keep me away from you and hurt you. I never wanted to hurt you and I’m sorry I had my head so far up my ass I couldn’t see what was in front of me the whole time. You and Chris are my priorities, Eddie,” Buck finishes, his voice soft but his eyes sure.
Eddie can’t help the garbled sound that leaves his lips, anymore than he can help what he does next. He’s tangling his hands in Buck’s t-shirt and bringing their mouths together before he can think twice about it.
Buck makes no move to stop him, though, instead he curls his hand against Eddie’s cheek and presses in closer.
“You and Christopher are everything to me, Eddie. Everything I need. You are enough, I don’t need anything else,” Buck whispers against his lips and Eddie has never been more sure of anything in his goddamn life.
“I love you,” Eddie says easily, and Buck just smiles. God, he missed that smile.
“I love you too,” Buck replies just as easily. He presses another kiss against Eddie’s lips before pulling away. “Now get some sleep, you look dead on your feet. It’s not going to be comfortable, not in these chairs, but it’ll be something. I’ll watch over Chris and I’ll be here when you wake up,” He promises.
Eddie wants to protest, wants to say he’ll stay up with him, but he can already feel his eyes drooping as the full force of his exhaustion hits him. So, he just nods and maneuvers his chair so he can lean against Buck, who wraps his arm around his shoulders.
“Sleep,” Buck whispers, pressing a final kiss to Eddie’s hair and then Eddie’s eyes are slipping closed.
He knows that things aren’t going to be magically fixed when he wakes up, but he knows that at the very least, he’s got Buck by his side again and that makes Eddie believe that everything is going to be okay.