- Explicit Sex
- Alternate Universe
The sound of the splash slammed into him and for an instant, the whole world froze. Christopher wasn’t on the truck. Buck was pretty sure he was shouting for Chris, but for several painful heartbeats, he couldn’t be sure. He couldn’t be sure of anything other than the fact that Chris had fallen off the truck, he’d fallen, and he had to get him. Then the world crashed back into him with more force than the initial wave, and he was jumping off the truck and into the water.
The moment his head broke the surface he called, screaming Christopher’s name even as he put every ounce of strength and energy he had into swimming with the current. The rushing water would have surely carried Chris away, so letting it take him, helping it take him as fast as possible was the only choice Buck had.
He choked on water with every cry of the boy’s name, but he paused only long enough each time to listen for a response. He couldn’t lose Chris again. He had to find him. The fear of it was numbing, allowing him to force his way through the water despite the pain and exhaustion plaguing him.
The water nearly slammed Buck into a parked car and he took the opportunity to grab onto it briefly to listen and catch his breath. He had to keep looking. He had to find him, because not finding Chris was unfathomable to him. Chris and Eddie had become far too important to him to even think about truly losing one of them. They were family. They were the family he wanted more than anything else and he wasn’t sure how he could ever live without them. So he ignored his leaden muscles and burning lungs and prepared to keep swimming.
Just before he pushed off and reentered the current, he heard something other than the rush of water. It pulled his attention like a magnet. At first it sounded almost like bells but before he could do more than pinpoint the general direction it was coming from, it sharpened into a familiar scream. Buck turned, kicking off from the car and striking out down the side street, a surge of hope and panic making his heart race. Because the faint scream came again, and it wasn’t a wordless cry. It was a single word. It was a name, repeated with hoarse desperation.
His shoulder bumped a submerged object as he swam and water filled his ears, drowning out the voice for a moment. His heart lodged in his throat but he kept swimming, hope and something more painful pushing him to move faster when the voice came again.
“Christopher!” He spit out water, almost choking on the cry of relief torn from him when he finally spotted the boy clinging to a pile of debris lodged against a building further down the street. “Chris! I’m coming!”
“Buck! Buck help!”
“Hold on!” He fought the strength of the water, focusing only on the boy he loved as much as he could ever imagine loving his own child. “I’m coming Chris!”
Chris was grabbing on to him almost before Buck was able to lever himself onto the side of the life raft of debris Christopher had managed to find. But he couldn’t possibly think to protest, too damned relieved to have found him, to be able to hold him.
A small part of Buck was glad that he was forced to carry Chris so much in the hours that followed, whether because of the height of the water or just the boy’s exhaustion. Even when he himself was so tired and sore and thirsty that carrying Chris felt nearly impossible, he savored the warm weight in his arms. Buck hated each and every time he had to put Christopher down in order to help someone else. Not because of the suffering and loss and destruction around them – or at least not only that – but because it meant letting go of Chris.
Separating enough for them both to be looked over in the field hospital was just another agony piled on top of all the others. As much as he generally disliked physical confrontation, he felt immediately ready to come to blows when it was suggested that Christopher move onto his own cot. Thankfully the nurse gave in quickly enough and allowed them to share without further argument. The moment they both had a free hand, Buck reached out and clasped the smaller hand in his own. Chris glanced over with a smile that looked all the sweeter for how tired it was. The sight was enough to make him smile back.
The arrival of another nurse had the boy narrowing his eyes in as menacing an expression as an exhausted eight-year-old was capable of. Those eyes watched closely as the nurse prepared to insert an IV into Buck’s arm. He couldn’t even argue the necessity, seeing as he’d nearly collapsed from exhaustion and dehydration when they’d first arrived. But he did squeeze back when Chris tightened his hold.
When she’d finished and moved to the next patient, Buck pulled Chris a little closer and let his eyes fall shut as the boy practically burrowed into his side. In a minute he would have to find some way to contact Eddie or the 118 to let him know where Christopher was but he couldn’t help but take a few long moments to finally relax and wallow in the fact that they were safe. Chris was safe. He’d found him. He’d found him and he’d kept him and he was safe.
– – –
“Do you have pain anywhere else?” Eddie asked with a glance up at the woman’s face. One of the paramedics he had been working with since he’d brought Bosco and the others in for treatment interrupted before she could respond.
“Firefighter Diaz, your team has been rerouted to another location. The IC wants you here at least until the field medics from the National Guard arrive.”
He nodded his acknowledgement then turned back to his patient, forcing a smile as he did so. “Sorry, what were you saying?”
“No real pain, just sore all over. Your name is Diaz?”
He blinked, then nodded as he finished checking her ribs. “Nothing seems to be broken. Let someone here know if the pain changes or gets worse, otherwise, you should go in to your regular doctor for x-rays to make sure there aren’t any small fractures.”
“Are you Eddie? With the one-eighteen?”
He paused for a moment, then pulled her shirt back over her stomach. “Yes. Have we met?”
“Oh, no. The man who saved me said he worked there. Buck?”
Eddie’s head snapped up.
“And your son talked about you a lot. I think it kept his mind off of things.”
His heart lodged in his throat. “My son?”
She nodded, grimacing slightly as she shifted on the cot- one of dozens that had been set up to handle the overflow from the field hospital tent. “Yes. Christopher? I walked with them most of the way here.”
For a moment, Eddie couldn’t get the breath to even speak. She had walked with Chris. Buck saved her and she walked here with Chris. Buck and Chris were here. His family was here. His pulse thundered so loudly in his ears that he could barely hear himself speak as he stopped the closest nurse. It took four tries to find someone who could answer his questions. Finally one medic nodded, pointing to the tent and Eddie was moving before he even processed the woman’s response.
Through the crowded tent, he could just make out a cot with a man and a child laying together. He apologized absently as he bumped into a few people on his way through the tent but he didn’t stop moving. Because it was Buck and Chris on that cot, fast asleep with his best friend practically curled around his son, both dirty and scratched and bruised. But alive. His family was alive. There was a brief jingling noise as fell to his knees beside the cot but he didn’t care what he might have knocked over. He reached out just as two pairs of eyes snapped open.
Chris was in his arms in a heartbeat, clinging to him with a little sob. He clung back just as hard. “Mijo. Estas bien. Gracias a Dios estas bien.”
His name sounded like it came out on a choked whisper and he lifted his head from where he had buried it in Christopher’s hair. “Buck.” The words he wanted to say backed up in his throat. He swallowed past the tears and finally lifted one hand from his son to rest it on Buck’s cheek.
“Eddie, I’m so-”
Eddie’s hand moved to the back of Buck’s neck, gripping tightly as he pulled his best friend close. He let his forehead rest on Buck’s, arm around the man’s shoulders and hand in the short strands of dirty blond hair with Chris held tightly between them.
“Thank you,” he finally managed. “Dios. Buck. Thank you.”
He felt Buck start to shake with muffled sobs. Eddie just held them both tighter and breathed past the tears that wanted to escape.
Eddie continued to just breathe past the emotion that had lodged itself in the back of his throat since the moment in the tent when he’d first seen Buck and Chris. Even days later, there were times where all he could do was breathe past it.
The gentle hand that settled on his shoulder jolted him from his respiratory preoccupation as he stepped back from the sofa where Chris was already cuddling into a pillow with a little snore. Eddie coughed, then took a deep breath and turned to face his best friend, raising a single brow as casually as he could manage. Buck stared back for several heartbeats, then smiled in that soft, understanding way he had that always managed to leave Eddie feeling lighter somehow.
“I was thinking full on lego explosion today, if you think you can handle the constant barrage of pictures and text messages.”
The simple statement drove home how damn lucky he was to have met Evan Buckley. In just a few words, Buck had offered him the reassurance that he’d needed so badly – a promise that he’d be able to see that Chris was okay throughout his absence – while also giving him the conversational out that Eddie needed equally as badly. Because if Buck had asked him if he were okay or even brought up the water-logged elephant in the room he may well have split wide open. And he absolutely didn’t have the time or the slightest inclination to do so.
A smile twisted his lips despite the emotional exhaustion he felt at the idea of leaving Buck’s apartment. “He does like to keep me updated, doesn’t he?”
Their shift should have had four days off after the tsunami, but the disaster had resulted in so much overtime for the first responders in and around Santa Monica that the day before had actually been the first time he’d had a full twenty-four hours off work in damn near a week. Which meant that even though Chris had taken off several days from school after his ordeal, Eddie had been able to spend very little time with his son since he’d almost lost him. And he’d spent even less time with Buck.
“I’ve been reliably informed that he has to document his process. I half expect him to move on to video soon so that he can make his own documentary on the subject of lego construction.” The smile Buck gave in response was only slightly more cheerful than his own, despite the clear affection in the other man’s voice.
Eddie had to laugh just a little, because that sounded exactly like something Chris would do, and he was sure that Buck would be more than willing to enable him in doing so. He wouldn’t be at all surprised to find both of them had been completely immersed in vlogs and internet tutorials on film making and home editing software by lunch time.
“Maybe he can take notes and you guys can narrate the pictures for me over dinner tomorrow night?”
Buck’s smile widened briefly, then dimmed as they slowly made their way towards the door. “The notes are a great idea, but I’ll have to take a raincheck on the dinner; I’m eating at Bobby and Athena’s tomorrow night.”
Eddie refused to be disappointed, but he did respond without hesitation. “Monday, then? We’re back on the regular schedule, so I’ve got two days off in a row.” The smile and nod that Buck gave him almost made it a little easier to leave the apartment.
– – –
Buck ran one hand through his hair while he flipped through the stack of papers with his other, half his attention on what Mackey was saying and half still stuck replaying the awful dinner at Bobby’s, where he’d learned that it was Bobby rather than the city that was keeping him off the job.
“And, of course, you’ll have to cease all contact with anyone employed by the city for the duration of the lawsuit in order to-”
The statement seemed to echo in his head for several heartbeats while the man continued talking. By the third mental repetition Buck felt his face grow slightly cold. He was utterly incapable of stopping himself from responding.
“No.” Mackey stuttered in his recitation of instructions, looking startled and a little annoyed, but Buck didn’t care. The denial had been immediate and visceral.
He held up a hand, cutting off whatever the lawyer had been about to say. “No. This isn’t going to work. I’m sorry to have wasted your time, Mr. Mackey, but I’ve changed my mind.”
Anger was clear through the surprise on the man’s face, but Buck stood from the table and gathered the paperwork he’d brought with him, vastly relieved that he hadn’t actually signed anything yet so he didn’t have to stay and undo any of what he had been about to put into motion. “I’m not doing this. Thank you for meeting with me but I’m done. I’ll see myself out.”
Mackey’s voice followed him out of the office, only slightly louder than the jingle of bells as he let the door close behind him, but Buck just kept moving. By the time he’d driven half way to the loft, his hands were shaking and he had to pull off into a parking lot to calm down. He felt like he’d just escaped something awful and for long moments his mind spun as he tried to make sense of it all. The strength of his reaction to the idea of being cut off from his family was almost nauseating. And it had nothing to do with the work family he’d forged at the 118. It had everything to do with the family he wanted with Eddie and Chris.
For a moment he was back on the fire truck and Chris was falling into rushing water with a heart-wrenching splash. The fear he’d experienced when he’d thought he’d lost Chris was echoed in the fear at the idea of intentionally putting himself in a situation where he couldn’t talk to either member of the Diaz clan. He had bowed out of dinner with Eddie and Chris on Monday and Wednesday, still reeling from the revelations at Bobby’s, and he already missed them both like crazy.
Buck closed his eyes, hands clenching on the steering wheel despite the fact that he was parked. As much as he hated the idea of what Bobby was doing to him and his career, as much as he wanted to fight for the job he loved and had more than earned, he hated even more, the idea of losing even a few weeks with Chris and Eddie. He couldn’t give that up. He couldn’t give them up.
So he would just have to find another way to fight for his job that wouldn’t mean turning his back even momentarily on the two people who meant the most to him. Buck leaned his head back on the headrest and took a few deep breaths while his heartbeat slowed. Then he released his death grip on the steering wheel, flexing his hands to restore circulation while he looked out the window to orient himself before restarting the jeep. He was calm enough to drive but far from calm enough to resist the urge to see Chris and Eddie.
He stopped briefly at the store to give himself some more time to settle his nerves and to grab a six pack and a box of cookies as an apology for crashing the Diaz dinner plans. It didn’t feel like enough when Eddie blinked at him in surprise.
“Buck? I thought you said you couldn’t make it?”
“Hey,” he shifted his weight and held out his offerings with what he hoped was a casual smile because he did not want to get into the details right then. “Sorry, I know I should have texted or something.”
Eddie stared at him for a moment before he stepped aside and waved him in. “No, it’s fine, you know you’re always welcome.”
Buck tried to smile but was pretty sure he failed. Because hearing that was both comforting and painful, considering the circumstances, but he ignored the way Eddie narrowed his eyes in response. Instead, he focused entirely on Christopher, who brightened visibly when he stepped into the kitchen and joined them at the table.
“Bucky! Did you come to eat dinner with us?”
“I sure did, Superman. I hope you didn’t let your old man cook it all by himself.”
Eddie rolled his eyes as he set a third plate of food in front of Buck, but he ignored that too.
Chris just smiled. “Don’t worry Buck. I supervised.”
Some of the anger he’d been struggling with drifted away as he swiped a hand over his brow with an exaggerated sigh, causing Chris to laugh and Eddie to huff around his smile. The rest of the meal settled him in a way he’d not realized he needed. The fact that seeing Chris and Eddie often had that effect on him left him swallowing more than just beer.
He could tell by the way Eddie watched him throughout the meal, that the other man knew something was going on with him. Buck was sure he was going to get cornered before the night was over. Yet, it still managed to catch him by surprise.
“Okay, out with it.”
Buck spun to face the doorway where his best friend was leaning, gaze fixed firmly on Buck. He cleared his throat. “Chris in bed?”
“Out like a light.” Eddie grabbed his own beer and leaned against the counter beside him. “Now answer the question. Something’s been bugging you all night. What is it?”
Buck finished his drink in one long pull, then set the bottle down with a great deal of concentration. “Bobby doesn’t want me to come back to work.”
Eddie straightened. “What-”
“Please, Eds. Just let me get it out.”
Eddie took a deep breath, then nodded his head sharply.
“I had dinner at his place on Sunday.” Buck waved half-heartedly. “You know that already. Anyway, I asked him about it, because I’ve been cleared medically and recertified and everything. He’s the one not letting me come back. He doesn’t trust me.” Buck rubbed both hands over his face. “I have grounds to sue. I even met with a lawyer. But I just…”
With a frustrated sigh, Buck went over and grabbed another beer from the fridge. He opened it and took a sip before he went on. “Filing a lawsuit would mean that I would have to cut off contact with anyone who works for the city.” Eddie turned and set his own drink down, bracing both hands on the counter, his back to Buck. Buck took another drink, trying hard not to think about what it meant. “I can’t do that.”
Eddie turned his head, looking over at him with an expression Buck couldn’t quite interpret. “So what are you going to do?”
“I don’t know.” The words came out on a sigh, and for a moment he wasn’t even sure Eddie heard him until the other man nodded and looked back down at the counter.
“I’m a firefighter. I can be a fire marshal but I don’t want to. I want to do the job I trained for. I’m good at it, I think everything with the… everything that happened proved that I can still do the job. But if that didn’t convince Bobby and I’m not willing to force the issue with him legally, I don’t…” He set his beer down, paused to see if his best friend would turn back around so he could see his face. When Eddie stayed where he was, hunched over the counter, Buck sighed.
“I don’t know what else to do other than request a transfer. I’m pretty sure the 56 would take me without much trouble. It was suggested when I first joined, and they’re short a couple heavy rescue assets.”
Eddie pushed himself upright, using what looked like far more force than necessary as he spun to face Buck. The look in the man’s eyes was unreadable but intense. Buck swallowed when Eddie slowly crossed the room to stand right in front of him, dark gaze on his the entire time.
“How many assets exactly?”
“Two.” The single word felt like it landed in the space between them like a heavy weight, the silence that followed it even heavier. Buck couldn’t stand it more than a few seconds, filling it before he thought through what he actually wanted to say. “Why? Feel like jumping ship?”
“With you, yeah, of course.”
Eddie said it so calmly, so matter of fact, that Buck had a hard time even processing what the other man meant. Before he could form the question he could feel burning the back of his throat, Eddie took another step forward until there was barely a foot between them and placed both hands on his shoulders.
“I’ve got your back, Buck.”
He didn’t even have to think about it before he responded, which was good because he was pretty sure his brain was struggling to reboot.
“And I’ve got yours.”
Eddie smiled, but it wasn’t the carefree expression he was used to seeing when they hung out in his kitchen drinking beers after Chris had gone to bed.
“I know you do. You may be my son’s best friend, but you’re mine too. You’re family, Buck.”
His breath hitched in his chest because he knew how Eddie meant that. And he knew how he wanted Eddie to mean it. He wanted Eddie and Chris to be his family of course- he considered them his family. But he also wanted them to be his. He wanted them both in very different but equally desperate ways. And when it came to Eddie Diaz, Buck just plain wanted.
They stood there for several heart stopping moments, Eddie’s hands on his shoulders and the small space that separated them warm and heavy with something Buck couldn’t put a name to. Time seemed to stretch between them, and Buck let it, unable to break the silence, unable to look away as a sense of expectation seemed to bubble up in his chest.
Then the moment broke when the sound of bells had them both looking towards Christopher’s room. But while the sound started from that direction, it soon grew until it came from all around them, growing sharper and sweeter until it faded into a soft cry. A baby’s cry.
– – –
Buck knew what a wish baby was. Of course he did. Everyone knew what a wish baby was. They were covered in the chapter all elementary social studies books had on the fae, and in junior high biology and health classes. But he also knew how rare they were since the fae court only gifted children to those who not only caught their attention, but kept their attention long enough to prove themselves worthy.
For all that he had wanted and wished, Buck had never truly believed he might be one of the few to have their wish granted. The idea that he was, that he and Eddie were wish parents had been so overwhelming that he had spent a full minute staring at the baby they’d found in the living room. In fact, he was still staring, unable to fathom the sight of Eddie Diaz sitting on his couch, holding a baby girl. Their baby girl.
“You going to just stand there, Buckley?”
Buck took a deep breath and forced himself to move, sitting carefully beside Eddie and leaning over to look more closely at the tiny smiling face. Eddie leaned back to give him a better view, and for the first time, Buck didn’t feel his emotions getting the best of him at the feel of the man’s shoulder pressing firmly against his own chest. He was a little busy being completely overwhelmed at the sight of his daughter. His daughter. The thought itself was enough to leave him breathless.
“We have a daughter.” The words were pulled from him as she waved one hand in the air in his direction, as if reaching for him. Nothing could have kept him from reaching out and gently touching her little hand. She took the opportunity to latch on, five tiny fingers wrapping around his index finger with far more strength than Buck would have expected.
“Filii Cordis,” Eddie said, voice soft and almost reverent.
Filii Cordis. The more formal name for wish babies. Latin for Children of the Heart. Buck swallowed, hard, then cleared his throat.
“Dona Amoris,” Buck whispered back, a feeling of hope and awe and love rising up.
The name of the international society dedicated to research, support and advocacy for wish babies and their families, Dona Amoris was also a name used in ancient stories of the time just after the fae retreated to their own realm. Translated as Gifts of Love, it was once loosely contested whether it referred to the meaning behind the fae magic, or the content of the wish. As historical accounts were compiled and published regarding the elements always present within a wish family, it became fairly accepted that the latter was more accurate. It gave him the confidence to say what he had felt, what he had known for longer than he cared to admit.
“I’m in love with you.”
Eddie finally looked up from the baby he still held, a smile on his face that held a hint of the same pure sweet joy that seemed to shine out of Christopher. The sight was intoxicating and Buck didn’t try to resist it. He leaned carefully over the baby and kissed Eddie Diaz. His heart thundered in his ears for the half a second it took Eddie to respond.
They exchanged soft, deceptively tame kisses for several minutes, pausing only to look down at the beautiful gift cradled between them. When they finally stopped, Buck leaned his forehead against Eddie’s and simply shared breath as his heart slowed to a more manageable flutter in his chest.
They pulled apart just far enough to stare at each other for several more heartbeats, then Eddie closed the distance one more time to deliver a slow, soft kiss.
“I love you, Evan Buckley,” was whispered against his lips.
It was hardly a surprising statement, given the evidence still holding tight to his finger, but hearing it left him feeling warm and just a little weightless. Buck didn’t try to hold back the tears that burned his eyes. He rested the hand she refused to let go of on the baby’s blanket wrapped belly as gently as he could.
“Yeah,” Buck paused to clear his throat, then sat back up a little and wrapped his other arm around Eddie’s shoulders. “Apparently we’re both so besotted even the fae noticed.”
Eddie just grinned and leaned harder into Buck’s side. “It would seem they’re a little more observant than either of us.”
“How much of that do you think we could get away with blaming on the fact that they have magic on their side?”
“That probably depends on how much we admit to everyone else about our epic obliviousness.”
They exchanged rueful grins. “Let’s just agree that lack of specificity is our friend and no one needs a timeline of our feelings or our wishes.”
Buck could feel his cheeks heat. “Probably a good idea. I’m not sure I could map out a timeline anyway. Some days it feels like I’ve just always felt like this and that’s ridiculous since we’ve only actually known each other a little over a year.”
Eddie glanced over and tilted his head with a smile. “I know what you mean. It seemed like you slotted into our lives like you’d been there from the beginning.”
“Well, that was all Christopher’s fault. He’s too easy to love, I think I fell face first the day I met him. You took a bit longer.” He scooted a little closer, resting his chin on Eddie’s shoulder so he could see the baby a little better. “Obviously, she’s already taking after her big brother.”
“Absolutely.” Eddie turned a little, dislodging Buck’s chin. “Do you want to hold her?”
He bit his lip, cleared his suddenly dry throat, and nodded. The transfer was slow and careful but before he knew it, his baby girl was laying against his chest. His breath hitched and he blinked back more tears, because in that instant, he had fallen further than he thought he could. And he was never ever getting back up.
– – –
For lack of a better option, the baby had slept the rest of the night in the basket she had appeared in. They’d placed it on the floor beside the bed in Eddie’s room. Eddie was positive that they’d both spent far more of the night just staring down at the sleeping baby than they had spent sleeping themselves. He couldn’t regret a single minute of missed sleep. Or the fact that he and Buck had pressed as closely together as possible and ignored the rest of the bed entirely. The only time they’d moved had been when their little girl had woken, wet and hungry several hours before.
The only debatable regret he might have was the fact that Buck had gotten the position closer to the edge of the mattress when they had laid back down. Debatable because while had had a slightly less clear view of the basket and the treasure within, he also had the chance to wrap his arms around Buck and lay with the entirety of his body pressed tightly along his best friend’s back.
He’d fallen asleep more nights than he cared to think about, wondering how it would feel to hold Buck in just that manner. And now he knew. It was just as amazing and almost as unbelievable as the sight of their daughter sleeping peacefully only feet away.
“I still can’t quite believe she’s ours.” The admission was almost a whisper, though he wasn’t honestly sure if it was because he didn’t want to wake Buck if he were sleeping, or because the truth felt precious and delicate.
Eddie managed to loosen his hold enough to let Buck roll onto his back so they could see each other. He took advantage of the new position and pressed a kiss against his best friend’s tempting lips. Buck lifted his head to steal another kiss as he pulled away, then smiled up at him in silence for a moment.
“I never would have thought… I mean, I wanted it so bad, but wish babies are like being struck by lightning – you know objectively that it’s possible but the likelihood of it happening is so small that it never really enters your thought process as an actual possibility.” Buck paused, nose scrunching up in thought as he turned his head to the side, no doubt so he could look down at the sleeping baby. “Actually the odds of being struck by lightning are higher – about one in a million.”
“One in a million? Literally?”
“Closer to one in 1.2 million, actually.” Buck yawned. “There were about 270 people struck by lightning last year in the US. Whereas there were only 253 wish babies gifted in this country – making the odds of being granted a wish baby in the US one in just over 1.3 million.”
“Did you seriously just do that math in your head?”
Buck turned to look back up at him, a grin flashing briefly across his face. “No. Of course not. I read an article.”
Eddie smiled back, propping his head up with one hand while tightening his hold on Buck with the other. “Of course you did. You’re one of those people who have a subscription to that wish baby magazine, aren’t you?”
The blush that stained Buck’s cheeks was almost as cute as the abashed expression on his face.
“I do not.” Buck glanced over at him for just a second before his gaze returned to the basket. “I had a long wait one day at the ortho’s office. It was either that or a bunch of gossipy things about some social media person I didn’t even recognize.”
Eddie decided not to question that excuse, attention jolting to his bedside clock as the alarm started to sound. He reached out to quickly turn it off, gaze immediately dropping to the basket. He and Buck both stared down in tense silence for several moments until it was clear that she hadn’t been woken by the brief noise. Eddie let himself fall back on the bed. He didn’t stay there long as Buck was soon pushing himself out of bed with a sigh.
The smile he had grown to nearly crave drew him from the blankets as effectively as the quiet reminder that if he didn’t get to the coffee maker first, that Buck was likely to ruin the entire first pot of coffee with the fancy, organic hazelnut creamer he favored.
“I’ll get the coffee,” Eddie insisted with a mock glare, “you get the baby.”
Buck just smiled wider and waved dramatically at the doorway. Despite the indication that he should leave, Buck stepped in front of him, blocking his exit as soon as he moved towards the door. Eddie raised an eyebrow in question. His answer came in the form of a kiss and a softly whispered “good morning,” followed by a teasing smirk as Buck went back about his assigned task.
With a gusty exhale and a shake of his head, he continued towards the kitchen with a smirk of his own. By the time Eddie was getting down the mugs, Buck was carrying a sleepy baby in to join him. He paused in the act of serving himself to grin down at her when she made a small sound.
“We should place a full order soon. There’s only another few servings of formula left,” Buck pointed out in a soft voice.
Eddie glanced up at Buck, then at the small container of formula, bottle, and half-dozen diapers spread over the kitchen table. The logo for the Dona Amoris Society was clearly visible on each item. He couldn’t even be annoyed that his baby’s diapers were branded because the emergency supplies had saved one of them a very late night trip to the nearest store.
He’d heard of the DA Society’s wish support service. It provided two hour delivery of the basic necessities with the verification of the Donum Certificate that came in the baby basket the fae apparently favored for delivery. Wish parents made use of the service in every rom-com he’d ever seen. Eddie had just never imagined having to do the same. Thankfully, there was an ap for that. Unsurprisingly, Buck had downloaded it to his phone within an hour of her arrival.
He nodded and went back to getting them both coffee, rolling his eyes as he poured the requisite amount of creamer in the second mug. “Yeah, that’s definitely on the list for today. I was thinking Chris might enjoy helping order it.”
Buck paused in the act of heating her another bottle to grin when his drink was placed at his normal seat. “I can’t wait to see Superman’s reaction.”
Eddie sat with a huff, covering his besotted smile with a long sip of coffee. “He’ll be over the moon. He’s hardly subtle about the comments whenever characters in his movies or books have siblings.”
Buck laughed softly, shaking the bottle with one hand while holding her securely to his chest with the other. “Yes, last time I read him one, I was reliably informed that he would be an excellent big brother and would never lock his little brother or sister out of his room because they might need him and he’d have to be accessible.” Buck drew the last word out, enunciating it in what he assumed was the same dramatic fashion Chris had used at the time.
Eddie grinned and shook his head at his son’s antics. Then he looked down at the baby while Buck settled in at the table. She chose that moment to let out something between a squeal and a giggle. Neither of them held back their own laughter in response.
“Well, you’ll get along just perfectly with your big brother, won’t you, cheerful girl?” Her response was to latch eagerly onto the bottle as soon as it was close enough.
They spent the rest of her breakfast making faces at the baby and keeping each other’s coffee mugs filled. Just as Buck was getting up to start another pot of much needed caffeine, Eddie shifted her in his arms and decided to finish a conversation they’d started around three o’clock that morning. “Are we still thinking Rosalind?”
Buck glanced over, looking confused for a moment. “Oh, the name. Yeah, it’s definitely my favorite,” he said with a smile that only widened when she let out a cheerful gurgle and waved her arms in the air.
“It looks like someone else likes it too.” Buck abandoned the coffee and stole her right out of Eddie’s arms. “Don’t you, sweet girl? Yeah, you’re a perfect little Rosalind, aren’t you?”
Eddie rolled his eyes and finished making the coffee. He didn’t get a chance to drink any of it, however, because Chris called out from the bedroom.
“Oh. Dibs!” Buck called out, pausing only long enough to gently drop her back into his arms and shoot him a bright, eager smile before dashing off to deal with whatever early morning crisis their son was having. And no doubt give the big reveal.
They’d discussed how to explain things to Christopher while they’d waited for the formula to be delivered the night before and Buck had always been really good at providing Chris with answers that were both thorough and age appropriate. “How many of the difficult conversations that await us do you think I can call dibs for on his behalf, huh?” Eddie bounced her a little in his arms, smiling at the way she giggled in response, and went back to the coffee.
He’d only managed a few sips when Chris yelled, “What?!” The exclamation was quickly followed by the stampede of curiosity and excitement Eddie was pretty sure he should just get used to now.
“Yes!” Christopher crowed the moment he reached the kitchen and saw them. “We have a wish baby! Daddy! Bucky! We have a wish baby. I wished and wished and now she’s here! Can I see her? Can I hold her? Does she need to be fed? Can I feed her? Where’s her room going to be? Does-”
“Woah, there, buddy,” Buck called as he came up behind Christopher and placed both hands on his shoulders. “Slow down a little. She’s just had a bottle, but we can all move into the front room and then you can hold her on the couch, okay?”
Chris took a slow, exaggerated breath. “Okay. Let’s go”
Despite the fact that they followed on the boy’s heels, he was bouncing impatiently by the time they were all situated, Buck and Eddie on either side of Christopher and a pillow in his lap for added support.
“Alright, mijo, she’s old enough that it’s not a big concern but try to support her head anyway, and keep a good hold on her, she likes to wriggle.”
He hardly needed the warning since she was already throwing her arms around, her whole body moving just a little with an overabundance of what looked like excitement.
“Chris, meet your new sister, Rosalind. Rosalind, this is your big brother, Christopher.”
Chris stared down at her, eyes wide and smile wider. “She’s so awesome.”
“Well,” Eddie adjusted the blanket a little so her arms were free enough to allow her to slap both hands against Christopher’s face where it was hunched over her. “We were talking earlier about her already taking after her brother, so her awesomeness comes naturally.”
Chris flashed them a wide, sunny smile. “She should be just as awesome as me. I wished for her.”
Eddie swallowed his laugh but couldn’t stop the amusement from leaking out in his voice. “Chris, mijo, you know the fae only gift to adults.”
Chris looked at him as if he seriously doubted his father’s intelligence. “Daddy,” Chris said on a sigh. “When did you make your wish?”
“Yeah, Eds, when did you make your wish?” Buck added.
Eddie narrowed his eyes even as he bit his lip to keep from laughing. “When did you make yours?”
Chris stared at them both, looking far less amused but much more patient than the adults. “Don’t you know when you wished?”
Buck’s smile had a bashful edge as he shrugged at their son. “The thing is, buddy, I’ve been wishing a lot for a while. You and your dad have been the family I wanted practically since we met, so it’s a little difficult to pinpoint when exactly wishing became a wish.”
“Everyone knows there are fae bells when the court pays attention to you.” Chris sounded so beleaguered at having to explain such a thing.
Eddie smiled. “Well, I can’t remember hearing fae bells except for last night when she arrived. The fae don’t exactly use a loudspeaker, after all.”
“Anecdotal evidence suggests that only one in five wish parents actually noticed bells before they were gifted,” Buck chimed in, but for once even his statistical acumen didn’t keep Chris from rolling his eyes.
“You guys are supposed to notice things more than average people. You’re professionals, aren’t you?”
Buck turned away for a moment and coughed. Chris just sighed again. “Besides, if you’ve been wishing for a long time, obviously the fae needed some help to make up their minds. I’m very convincing, Daddy.”
Eddie took a moment to swallow his laughter, allowing Buck the chance to respond first. “I’m sure you were in fact, very convincing on the topic of your father and I wishing for a baby.”
Chris stared at Buck a moment with narrowed eyes before turning back to him. “Is he a-piecing me, Daddy?”
“Appeasing,” Buck corrected with an impressively straight face before Eddie had a chance. “And maybe a little. But wishing for a baby is all about love and making a family. So I’m sure the fae did in fact consider you in their decision since we both love you so much and I’ve thought of both of you as family for a long time. Besides, they were giving Rosalind to our family as much as they were to me or your dad. And her big brother is certainly an important part of her new family.”
Chris nodded as magnanimously as an eight-year-old could, then turned his attention back to the baby just in time for her to emit a very distinct smell. Chris’ nose scrunched up and he looked down at his sister with a tragically betrayed expression.
“What, no one wants to call dibs on this one?” Eddie was rather proud of the fact that he got out the whole question without laughing.
Chris looked up at him with a very serious face. “I think there are parts of this new baby situation you’re just going to have to ease me into.”
– – –
Eddie carried the stack of pancakes to the table while Buck plated the bacon. “Yes, mijo?”
Chris snagged the top two pancakes as soon as they were within reach. “Where is Rosalind’s room going to be? Are we going to move?”
Eddie made a face as the boy poured himself a little more syrup than necessary, then moved the syrup bottle out of reach once Chris was finished with it. “We will probably need to move at some point, but for now we’re going to set up the guest room for her.”
“But that’s Carla’s room.”
He shared a smile with Buck at the concern in their son’s voice. “We’re not taking Carla’s bed out of the room, she can still use it when she stays the night with you. We only really need to add a crib and changing table in there for now and there’s enough space to make it work if we move a few things.”
Chris finished his bite with a thoughtful look. “But Carla and Rosalind need their privacy. We should get a bigger house so everyone has their own space.”
Buck rubbed a hand briefly through Chris’s hair as he passed by on his way to heat up a bottle. “There’ll be a bassinet, or maybe a pack and play in the master bedroom that your sister can use on the nights Carla is here.”
“Oh.” Chris nodded as he took another bite. “Well, that’s good.”
“I’m glad you approve.” Eddie said as seriously as he could manage.
Christopher smiled, far too much syrup smeared around his mouth.
Chris was still smiling hours later, but that was probably the epic debates he had been engaging in with Buck as the two electronically rampaged through baby sites in between bouts of research. Eddie was just glad that they had ordered more formula and diapers before they’d delved into the rest of it. And that it had been promptly delivered.
He smiled down at the now sleeping face of his daughter as he carefully placed her in the bassinet already set up in his room. Eddie rejoined them at the kitchen table and reached for what was left of his sandwich as he leaned into Buck’s side to get a better look at the computer screen.
Buck turned to him with a wide smile that mirrored Christopher’s cheerful expression. “Hey, did she go down?”
Eddie couldn’t do anything but smile back. “Out like a light and enjoying the bassinet.”
“She’s going to like her new crib more,” Chris cut in. “Did you see the one we picked out, Daddy? Bucky looked them up and it has the best safety rating of all the ones on the site and it turns into a toddler bed for when she’s older and the wood matches the dresser you want to turn into the changing table and I picked out the sheets and the mobile has flowers and fairies and unicorns on it, and-”
“Whoa, Superman,” Buck threw an arm over his shoulders. “Take a breath buddy.”
Chris took a long, exaggerated breath for the third time in the last four hours. “Did you see it?”
Eddie laughed, his shoulder still pressed against Buck’s as he looked back and forth between their son and the image of the baby quilts on the screen. “I did see it when you picked it out earlier. And I agree, she’s going to like it a lot.”
“Wait until you see what else we got!” Chris’ excitement provided detailed commentary on the day’s shopping while Eddie put away the last bits from lunch and Buck moved the computer back into the living room.
Eddie spent a lot of time smiling and shaking his head at the rambled list of purchases while he wrote up a preliminary grocery list for the rest of them. By the time he’d passed the list to Buck for his revisions, Chris had finally wound down and was once more focused on the quilts. The quiet lasted until the issue of personalization came up. Initials or no initials seemed of vital importance and sparked another round of debate and google searches.
“What’s her other names?”
Eddie tilted his head in Buck’s direction because it was definitely Buck’s turn to answer a question.
“She’s your sister, so her last name has to be Diaz, of course.” Buck looked to him with a wordless question clear on his face. They had gone back and forth a bit on middle names. Eddie had lobbied hard for Evelyn. Despite a name that could mean ‘wished for child’ being rather overused for wish babies, he’d wanted something of Buck, of Evan, in her name since Buck had refused to saddle her with Buckley. But in the end, Buck’s argument for the other choice had won Eddie over, so he just nodded back. Buck grinned and turned back to their kids. “And her middle name is Diana, of course.”
An adorable look of confusion wrinkled Christopher’s brow. “Of course? I don’t know anyone named Diana.”
“Well, we already have a Superman so of course we need a Wonder Woman.”
“Bucky!” It looked like Christopher practically strangled Buck in his exuberance to hug him, but the soft smile Buck sent him over their son’s shoulder told him that his partner didn’t mind at all.
The cuddle session between the two lasted until just before the baby woke from her nap, but it restarted with the addition of Rosalind as they put on a movie and settled in on the couch. Eddie only raised a single brow at the hopeful expression on Buck’s face and the expectant one on Christopher’s.
“Oh, am I invited this time?” Eddie shook his head and laughed as he was pulled onto the couch beside Buck the moment he was within reach.
“Snuggle up, Eds, it’s family bonding time. There’s no escape.”
Eddie leaned fully against Buck’s side, placed one hand on the baby nestled on Buck’s chest, and rested one arm over the back of the couch so he could reach Chris with his other hand. “Promise?”
His best friend looked over at the whispered question, face soft and open in a way that made something ache pleasantly in Eddie’s chest. “Pinky swear.”
The soft words left him feeling almost over-heated. The warmth was still there as he watched his new little family move around each other almost seamlessly the rest of the day.
Eddie looked up from where he was stacking their dinner dishes in the dishwasher. “Yes, mijo?”
“Can Rosalind stay in my room sometimes?”
“Well, she can certainly hang out and play in there sometimes during the day. And if you both want to take a nap at the same time, we might set up a spot for her in your room. But overnights aren’t a good idea.”
Eddie could see the argument brewing in the frown Chris shot him but Buck cut him off gently as he re-entered the room. “She’s going to be getting up a lot during the night and you need your sleep, kiddo.”
Chris sighed in an aggrieved fashion.
“Can I feed Rosalind this time?”
Eddie smiled, closed the dishwasher and dried off his hands, then glanced to where Buck was putting the leftovers away. “Sure thing, let’s get you guys set up on the couch and Buck can get her meal ready.”
Chris immediately headed for the couch. He squirmed around on his butt once he got there, getting seated just right, then held out his hands for the baby. Eddie situated his daughter in his son’s arms and took a seat beside them. Christopher stared down with a bright smile, not looking back up until Buck returned, bottle in hand.
“Here ya go, Superman.” Chris flashed Buck a blinding smile, then turned quite serious as he followed their instructions to feed Rosalind. Once she was taking the bottle, the little furrow between his brows disappeared with another grin.
“Can I change my middle name to Clark?”
“No, I’m afraid that ship has sailed.” He shook his head at the adorably put-upon expression his son was giving him.
“But I want me and Rosalind to match.”
Buck, the traitor, just laughed and grabbed a stack of her new clothes on his way out of the room. Eddie would have reminded him to use the new laundry soap but since Buck and Chris had spent about twenty minutes picking out the right brand for same day delivery, he figured it probably wasn’t necessary. Chris apparently didn’t agree since he paused in watching her eat to shout towards the back of the house.
“Don’t forget the baby soap for her clothes, Bucky, she’s delicate!”
“Yes sir!” came from the back of the house.
Chris smiled and looked back down at the baby. “Our daddies are silly, Rosalind, you have to grow up soon so you can help me keep them in line.”
– – –
“Everything okay?” Buck asked as Eddie closed the bedroom door behind himself. He’d gone to put Chris to bed an hour before, so it was slightly concerning that a process that normally took half that time had dragged on the way it apparently had. “Was he not as tired as we thought?”
Eddie gave him a tired smile and paused at the bassinet to check on the sleeping baby on his way to join Buck on the bed. “Oh, he was plenty tired. He just didn’t want to go to sleep before he’d worked out his plan of attack for tomorrow. He has ideas.”
Buck bit his lip to prevent himself from laughing. “Did he finally figure out the theme he wanted?”
“Yes, it’s going to feature wildflowers everywhere and soft greens and accents of blue and pink and gold, but not too much because Rosalind shouldn’t have to conform.” Eddie sat on the side of the bed with a pointed look, complete with raised brow and crossed arms.
“He’s taking his role as big brother very seriously.”
“He’s getting carried away because someone said he should be the foreman of the nursery project.”
Buck shrugged, fully aware that his smile clearly showed his lack of remorse on that topic. “He wants to be involved.”
“Then I guess it’s a good thing that you’ll be around to act as the site manager.”
Buck could feel his smile dim a little at the unintended reminder that he wouldn’t be going back to work anytime soon. He pushed off the sinking feeling in his stomach with a glance at his sleeping daughter. Because she was more important than anything else and even if he’d already been back at the 118 he’d still take time off to be with her. Wish parents got paternity leave just like conventional parents did, after all. “Does that mean you won’t be overseeing our interior decorating efforts?”
Eddie shot him a mock glare, then looked off to the side with a not-quite casual shrug. “Actually, I was thinking I might run a few errands. The Donum Certificate needs to be submitted to the Dona Amoris registry at city hall and at HR so they can process our leave. I mean, I can’t talk to anyone at the registry on a Saturday, but they have a place to pick up and submit paperwork so I can still do that.” He cleared his throat. “I also left a message at my lawyer’s office so I will probably need to at least talk to her on the phone at some point. If she needs any paperwork, I suppose I’ll have to email it. You’ll be needed for the actual meeting, but that will probably have to wait for Monday.”
Buck adjusted the blanket and shifted so he could face Eddie more directly as he tried to digest the rather rambling explanation. “Why do you have to go to the lawyer’s? Domestic partnership is pretty automatic for wish parents even if they don’t already have some form of joint legal status.” Unless, of course, Eddie didn’t want to have a domestic partnership with him. The legal status may have been nearly automatic, but it wasn’t required. Before he could voice the fear he was pretty sure was all over his face, Eddie reached out and took hold of both of his hands.
“It is. And that’ll probably be handled easily enough at city hall. Anything you need to sign I can bring back for you to fill out and I’ll just drop it back off later in the day.” Eddie tightened his grip on Buck’s hands. “I’ve asked the lawyer to start the paperwork for your partner adoption of Chris. I looked it up and it’s an expedited process for wish parents if the other birth parent is gone or doesn’t have legal custody, but there’s still a few steps to go through and I just figured that it would be easier if we get that started while we’re both available to deal with everything.”
Buck found himself unable to say a single word in response. He’d thought that he and Eddie being granted a wish baby and all that implied was all he could have ever wanted. He was wrong. “You want me to adopt Chris?”
The words had been forced out on a near whisper, shock and joy and hope practically choking him. But Eddie must not have had any trouble hearing him because he immediately shifted on the bed so he was sitting crossed legged in front of him, so close that their knees were touching. But Eddie never let go of his hands. “Dios, Buck. Of course I want you to adopt Chris. You’re our family. You’re ours, Buck. And let’s be honest, you’ve been his other parent for a while now, even if none of us said it out loud.”
His breath hitched. “It’s just all been so fast. I mean, one minute we’re best friends and then the next, we have a baby and we’re suddenly us and family and it’s all-”
Eddie thankfully cut him off before his neuroses had him rambling incoherently.
“Stop. Just stop, Buck. You’re right that this has been fast, and it’s certainly not how I ever thought I might tell you how I feel but it doesn’t change how I feel.” Eddie pulled on his hands until they were both leaning forward, foreheads touching and hands still clasped tightly between them. “I love you, Buck. I want to be a family with you. Officially. Because you already were our family. Mine and Christophers. And now Rosalind’s. So please don’t doubt that, okay?”
Buck just nodded silently, then, instead of pulling away, he leaned in further. He’d intended the kiss to be as soft and sweet as those they’d exchanged that morning, but it turned hot in an instant.
He sat up on his knees, nearly falling over in his effort to do so without breaking the kiss. Eddie laughed as he pushed himself up and knee walked across the bed, removing his shirt as he went. The sight left Buck more than a little breathless and it was several seconds before he could think past the sudden rush of want that flooded through him. Eddie just laughed again and pressed one hand against his shoulder, levering himself over Buck as he fell back on the bed.
The feel of Eddie’s hands diving under his shirt and pulling it off of him finally jolted Buck back to himself. They were both naked a few frantic moments later and Eddie was struggling to shove the bedspread off the bed without getting off of it themselves. Buck took advantage of the man’s preoccupation to lunge upward and press his mouth firmly against Eddie’s. Buck’s hand wrapped around his head, holding him in place as he kissed him with the kind of hunger he’d been fighting since practically the day they’d met.
Eddie moaned, the sound quiet enough not to risk waking the baby, but delicious enough to leave Buck desperate for more as his best friend used his body weight to pin Buck to the mattress.
“Fuck yes,” he whispered as Eddie kissed a trail across his jaw and down the side of his neck. He didn’t even try to stop the way his hips rocked up into the weight of Eddie above him.
Eddie met each roll of Buck’s hips with his own downward thrust, never lifting off of him, never moving away. The press of Eddie’s body, the heat of his skin was overwhelming and it was all he could do to keep the instinctive sounds behind his teeth. The way Eddie breathed against his neck and whispered his name just below his ear only made it harder for Buck to stay quiet.
Then Eddie moved the hands that had been tugging at the short hairs on the back of Buck’s neck and took hold of Buck’s own hands where they clung to Eddie’s shoulders. Before he realized what Eddie was doing, both of his hands were being held above his head. Buck automatically tried to pull his hands away but Eddie just pressed them harder against the mattress, holding them in place as he increased the speed and force of his thrusts.
Buck tipped his head back and moaned through gritted teeth.
“Yeah?” Eddie asked as he bit lightly at Buck’s throat.
“Yes,” Buck hissed. “More, please, Eds.”
Eddie’s hips pressed even harder on each thrust and time passed in a blur of gasping breaths and breathless pleasure. It all exploded in bright colors behind Buck’s eyelids and he wrapped his legs tightly around Eddie’s waist in an effort to keep their body locked tightly together.
Several words he didn’t try to translate were muffled against his neck before Eddie lay heavy and still above him, his weight a sweet burden as Buck waited for his racing heart to finally slow. He let out a sound of disappointment when his best friend moved himself onto the bed beside him. Buck bit his lip, feeling a moment’s embarrassment until Eddie pressed a kiss to his shoulder before getting off the bed.
He watched Eddie duck into the bathroom briefly, not bothering to get up himself just yet. Before he convinced his leaden muscles to move, Eddie returned with a wet cloth and gently but efficiently cleaned Buck’s stomach and chest. It was odd to have someone else doing such a thing for him, but the surreal quality of the experience was overshadowed by the feeling of care that permeated every action. He let out a hiss when the slightly rough fabric was swiped over his dick. Eddie just flashed a smile as he left to dispose of the cloth. Moments later, his best friend was dropping back down beside him with a heavy exhale that sounded like contentment.
Buck almost said aloud that he’d never had a partner take care of him like that before, but instead he shook his head and let himself finish catching his breath. At least until Eddie’s voice broke the satisfied quiet.
“So, adoption paperwork?”
Buck laughed and turned his head to face Eddie without moving from his boneless sprawl. “Yes,” he finally said with a smile so wide it was actually uncomfortable, completely uncaring that the man had effectively ended the afterglow. “Yes, please, absolutely.”
“Okay, then.” Eddie nodded decisively, a smile of his own tugging more sedately at his lips. “I’ll talk to the lawyer in the morning and get the ball moving on that. I don’t know how long the whole legal process will take but it would be nice to have it all wrapped up before paternity leave runs out.”
Buck refused to let thoughts of going – or not going – back to work ruin his mood. He rolled onto his side so he could see Eddie better. Eddie followed suit, scooting close enough that they were sharing a pillow. “Were you serious about transferring with me?”
Eddie pulled him close. Their chests pressed together and their legs tangled. Buck closed his eyes and just savored the feeling.
“I’m serious about being with you. At home. At work. If that means transferring to a different house then that’s what I’ll do.”
He nodded silently, not quite able to make himself respond. Only a day ago, the thought of not going back to the 118 had been too painful to contemplate. The house had been his work family since he’d left the academy- the only family he’d had.
But work family was one thing. Their family – Eddie and Chris and Rosalind – was what he had wanted and it was more important than anything else. Buck took a deep breath. Work could be work. For the first time he could remember it didn’t need to be anything else, because the family he had wanted for longer than he cared to admit was shaping around him and that was all he needed.
Eddie pressed a kiss to his lips. “Whatever you decide to do, Evan Buckley, I’ve got your back.”
Buck pressed his forehead to Eddie’s. “And I’ve got yours.”