- Character Bashing
- Death - Minor Character
- Discussion - Child Abuse
- Discussion - Domestic Violence
- Discussion - Other Trigger Topics
- No Beta
- Alternate Universe
- Challenge Response
Evan Buckley had grown up knowing that he wasn’t Special. He knew because both of his parents told him regularly growing up, but especially his mother. By the time his sister Maddie left for college when he was 9, he also knew that he wasn’t special either.
Special meant that on his 15th birthday he had a faint image that would be his soul mate mark once he met his soul mate. Special meant that Magic herself had determined him to be important enough to have created a mate just for him. She made another person who would love him for his whole life no matter what. Evan Buckley though wasn’t gifted enough to blessed by Mother Magic, and Margaret Buckley made sure that he never forgot it.
However, not only did Evan know that he wasn’t Special, he also knew that he wasn’t special. Little case s as opposed to upper case S. Lower case s was for things like being destined to do something important with his life. Lower case s meant being smart enough to do something like being a doctor or scientist or self sacrificing enough to be something like a first responder or a member of the military when he grew up. Lower case s meant talented enough to be an elite professional athlete.
Evan Buckley was none of those things. Evan Buckley would never be more than average even on his best day and average was not special according to Margaret Buckley.
Evan Buckley was exhausting and irritating. Evan Buckley made his parents lives hard just by being a child. Evan Buckley could never quite do the right thing no matter how hard he tried to do what his mother asked. And he tried. He tried to obey the rules. He tried to be quite and keep things clean and orderly. He tried not to worry his mother. He tried not to forget things. But sometimes his brain seemed to go so fast and have so many things going on in it at once that it was hard to remember all the rules and be the person that his parents, but especially his mother, wanted him to be.
He never quite understood and for a long time it hurt him a lot to know that he could just never be enough. He couldn’t be good enough or smart enough or calm enough or whatever enough his mother wanted to finally be a child that she could love.
Then once day just before he turned 20 his Great Aunt Aggie died and left him a shit load of money along with a couple houses. In addition to that thought and maybe more importantly, she also left him a letter telling him about why he was conceived, how his older brother Daniel had died anyway and how none of it was Evan’s fault.
Evan was so hurt that he’d pretty much turned his back on what was left of his family. His parents had written him off and given up all pretense of caring what he did when his sister Maddie was no longer there to try and guilt them into at least acting like they cared. Maddie, his at that point his beloved older sister, was a whole different story.
Maddie had been the closest thing he had to a parent right up until she turned 18 and left for college. Before that point she was Evan’s whole world because she was quite literally all that he had. The thing was though that Madeline Buckley was Special. Special with a capitol S. Maddie had a faded soul mate mark that had burst into color when she’d met her soul mate during her junior year of college. It had immediately thrown a money wrench into the love affair Maddie had going with her boyfriend Doug.
As an adult, Evan Buckley understood intellectually why Maddie had done the things she did from that point forward. Doug Kendall turned out to be a creepy, abusive stalker who’d been able to make her life a living hell until Maddie and her soul mate Emily Miller fled the country with their mutual best friend Jacob McMahon the second Jacob could practice as a doctor on his own. They’d headed to a small island in the Caribbean where they’d set up a small clinic and lived as a triad in one of the properties Buck got after his Aunt and Auntie died.
Emotionally the whole thing hurt Evan badly to have the only person that he’d ever had, had almost completely written him out of her life. He’d tried to visit for a while during his travels after realizing that college at that time just wasn’t for him. It mostly had been a disaster though where he’d felt like a mostly unwanted guest and he hadn’t stayed long. He had grown up in the decade plus since Maddie left home to go to college and his sister didn’t seem to understand that. They still talked infrequently, but Evan was aware of the fact that he just wasn’t any kind of priority for his sister. Evan was torn between being happy that his sister was so happy and hurt that her happiness required her basically abandoning him.
After that, Evan decided that maybe he should stop listening to his family when it came to who Evan Buckley was, but he certainly knew that should stop listening to Margaret and Phillip Buckley. So, from the day that he’d left his sister’s island home, he’d put a focus on figuring out who he was. What he had figured out by the time he was headed to LA was that he was special. He learned that a lot of people were special, and that you didn’t need to have some fancy degree or make millions in the NFL to be special. He’d learned that there were all kinds of people in the world and that as a whole the world was a lot more awesome and beautiful than any of the three living Buckleys in his immediate family would have had him believe.
He learned about the beauty in peace and stillness in Montana. He learned about the resilience in the human spirit during earthquake recovery work he’d done in Mexico. He learned about how his brain works and how amazing the mind was while volunteering at a center for at risk children while he was living in upper New York. He’d learned about how breathtaking nature and that there were things to be learned from even the most primitive of societies was while bartending at a resort in Peru.
And during the whole excursion around the world, Evan Buckley learned that he wanted to help people. He wanted to make a difference in the world. He wanted to make people happy and feel safe and be that bright spot on the worst day of their lives.
So, when Evan Buckley finally left Peru and headed toward LA where he had an open invitation for a spot in the LAFD academy he was far from the scared and lost 19 year old who left Hershey PA practically with his tail between his legs. After all the boy who his parents had tried to convince him that he was wouldn’t have that open invitation as the result of saving the right person’s beloved aunt during the earthquake recovery, and impressing the, at that time, Captain Palladium Andrew Barrows who had been working along side him.
Captain Barrows – call me Drew or risk my eternal wrath – had told Evan Buckley that he could be special, and he should stop listening to the people who told him otherwise. Then in a small village deep in the Peruvian rainforest Evan Buckley learned that he just might also be Special, but apparently his parents were worse at the whole parenting thing than he’d understood prior to that.
It turned out that Evan Buckley was in fact Special with a capitol S, but someone after his first birthday, when the magic that created the soul mate mark settled on a child, and before his 15th birthday when the faded mark actually appeared, had suppressed his soul mark to make sure that it never appeared. Fortunately for Evan, it was something that could be fixed, especially if you knew a Shaman in said small village who felt he owed you a life debt because your epi pen had saved his granddaughter’s life. The mark wouldn’t show up until he met his soul mate, but the connection was there and eagerly awaiting to be formed.
The Evan Buckley who showed up for orientation at the Los Angeles Fire Academy was much different from the one who had left Hershey Pennsylvania in tears knowing that really he had no one left alive in the world who cared about him. This meant, that by the twelfth time that three people answered when their instructor called for Evan on that first day, Evan Buckley, with a grin on his face and a carefree shrug of his shoulder, offered to go by Buck. Evan Buckley died that day in the classroom and would never be resurrected if Buck had anything to say about it.
He still didn’t’ know who his soul mate was, but that wasn’t different from any other person in the world who was Special. There had never been an accurate way of figuring out who your match was beyond posting your faded mark on the internet and hoping that the right person saw it. What he did know was that he was not just special but also Special. Despite that he knew that he would never look down on someone who wasn’t Special, and had a whole list of arguments for anyone who thought they weren’t special either.
“That is one beautiful man,” Buck heard as he walked toward where paramedic partners Alejandro Mendoza, who went by Alex, and Henrietta Wilson, who went by Hen, were standing talking to their shift Captain Bobby Nash.
“No lies detected there, and I’m a lesbian,” Hen offered.
Buck opened his mouth to ask questions as he turned to see who his friends and shift mates were talking about when a burst of pain hit his upper left chest that felt like someone had literally lit it on fire. The pain was so strong that he couldn’t hold back his cry as he grabbed his shoulder while beginning to sway as he suddenly felt light headed. As his team immediately turned toward him, Buck was still staring in amazement at the man standing with his shirt half on in the locker room and also grabbing his upper left chest.
“Buck!” He heard and realized that he was not just swaying but that his legs were going numb and weren’t going to hold him very much longer. He must have blacked out for a second, because the next thing that he knew he was sitting on his ass on the ground with Alex calling out to someone downstairs to retrieve one of their emergency kits from the main ambulance as Hen called out numbers, seemingly taking Buck’s pulse.
“Lay down, Buck,” Alex ordered sternly as Buck fought to sit up once he realized he couldn’t see his mate anymore and felt his pulse quicken even further.
“Where is he?” Buck asked anxiously, fighting the hands trying to hold him down while he tried to sit up.
“I’m right here,” a new voice answered as the man from the locker room knelt down by his side looking as panicked as Buck felt. “What happened? I’ve never heard of someone passing out or being in that much pain when their mark fills in.”
“His mark was suppressed,” Alex answered. His voice short and clipped, and if Buck didn’t know his friend so well he’d think he was pissed. “Take his hand. Talk to him. He’s probably getting anxious because he can’t touch you and can’t feel the connection to you forming.”
“That will change right? I normally know all this shit, but at the moment none of it is coming to me.” The man asked as he took one of Buck’s hands in both of his and turned his eyes on Buck.
“Hey, Hi. Uhh, my name is Edmundo Diaz, but I go by Eddie. Former Army medic. Single father to the most awesome 7 year old on the planet. His name is Christopher but he goes by Chris mostly although he doesn’t hate being called Christopher. His mother isn’t in our lives, and honestly we have no idea where she is, nor do we care at this point. I’ve never been more happy that my Abuela talked me out of marrying her than I was the morning I woke up and realized she’d abandoned us. Before now I thought I had the crappy parents award, but if yours suppressed your mark then you win that hand down. I assume it was your parents? I don’t know much about it, but isn’t it usually the parents?”
“Evan Buckley, but I loathe my first name because I always hear Margaret’s voice when I hear it. I go by Buck now. I hate the ‘who has the worst parents game’ and refuse to play it,” Buck argued as he finally settled on his back as Sadie came running up the stairs and dropped the emergency kit they kept for all things soul mates related in the ambulance. For the most part, soul mates were just like everyone else, but depending on the strength of the bond, which someone could get an idea of by the color of the soul mate mark, there could be some medical quirks, especially upon mating.
“Margaret Buckley is my egg donor and the woman who carried me. Phillip Buckley is the sperm donor. I hate them both and if I have my way I will never hear or see them again for as long as I live. Your fuzzy head is probably the bond trying to form. To answer your kinda question though, yes it was my creators. I refuse to call them parents because that indicates they have ever given a shit about me. I love kids. I can’t wait to meet your son. What color is our mark? You put your shirt on. So, I can’t see it.”
“Purple,” Hen answered instead of Eddie as she finished rattling off an update of Buck’s vitals for Alex who was talking to someone about what was going on and relaying information. “If anyone deserves a Purple Bond it’s you Buckaroo. How are you feeling? You scared years off my life. I’m gonna let Karen yell at you for it right after she gets done hugging the crap out of you cause she’s so happy for you.”
“Sorry,” Buck offered quietly as he rolled his head away from Eddie and towards Hen.
“Feel weird. Head is fuzzy and I feel super tired. My shoulder felt like someone set it on fire originally, but it’s more like when you touch a hot pain without an oven mitt now. I’m gonna have to go to the hospital aren’t I? Don’t let them separate us, Hen. I can’t… They can’t take him away from me. I can’t deal with it.”
“Hey,” Eddie said drawing Buck’s attention again away from Hen who began discussing options with Bobby and Alex. “I’m not going anywhere and they can’t separate us. It’s illegal and considered bond interference to separate a newly formed or newly forming soul mate bond. My brain is starting to clear now so I can think again. I’m sorry your creators were sacks of shit, but I can’t lie. I am thankful they made you, even if that was the highlight of their parenting achievements. Do you have any family you’re close to at least? I don’t get along much with my parents these days but my Abuela and my Tia Pepa are awesome, and a big part of the reason why I ended up in LA. I am happy to share with you, if you need.”
“I totally need. The only family I had really was my older sister Maddie and my Great Aunt Aggie and her partner my Auntie Lizzie. My sister fucked off to an island though and we aren’t as close anymore as we were when I was a kid and she was practically raising me. Aggie and Lizzie died just before I turned 20 and I’m not really close to anyone else in my family. Phillip hates his family. So, I’ve honestly never even met any of them, and Margaret’s family are full of assholes that I would rather not associate with of my own free will. So, I will totally take up your offer to share your Abuela and Tia. I can even talk to them in Spanish. Do they speak Spanish? I shouldn’t assume. That was very asshole of me.”
“They totally do,” Eddie said with a laugh as a couple of the other guys from A shift brought the stretcher up the stairs so that they could transport Buck, and Eddie because of the new bond, to the hospital. “Abuela will be happy to have someone else to share her telanovelas with. Where did you learn the language?”
“Peru,” Buck offered and made a face as Alex interrupted them to explain what was going to happen. Buck wrinkled his nose, but didn’t argue knowing that it would be useless. Alex was fiercely protective of his team mates. He was most protective of Buck though ever since he’d set up some trusts with some of the money Aggie and Lizzie left him for Alex’s younger brother.
Carlos had been seriously injured after getting hit by a driver who was high and was permanently paralyzed from the waist down. Buck had inherited way more money from his Aunt and Auntie than he’d ever use in his lifetime, and tried to do good things with his chunk. The only really big purchase that he’d ever made was to buy back his Auntie Lizzie’s old family house the Fairbanks Mansion when it came up for sale in a neighbor hood within the radius he wanted to be in from the 118. It was stupidly big and had more bedrooms than Buck could fill, but so far he thought that he’d come up with a plan that worked for him.
One of the things that Buck had learned during his travels was that he hated living alone and that most likely if he wanted a family then he was going to have to build one for himself. One of the first people that Buck added was Mitchell O’Sullivan or Sully as he liked to be called, whom Buck met when he was going thru BUDs while trying to become a SEAL.
While the SEAL thing hadn’t panned out, mostly because Buck didn’t have it in him to divorce himself from his emotions the way you needed to to be a SEAL, he had formed one of his first real friendships. Sully had made it through training, but had gotten hurt within a couple years of making it to a tier one team, and had been honorably discharged. The injury, while serious enough that he couldn’t be a SEAL anymore, didn’t prevent him from being a firefighter, which is why Sully decided to join LAFD following in the footsteps of various family members going back to his great grandfather.
The most recent addition to the house was Tommy Kinnaird from the 217 whose place Buck had taken at the 118 when the older man transferred for an advancement opportunity. Alex was considered Bobby’s second in command at the 118. So, while Tommy could have become a Lieutenant and stayed at the 118, he couldn’t have moved up the ranks from there anytime soon. It was actually Alex who had introduced Buck to Tommy not long after Buck started with the 118 saying that Tommy would be the perfect mentor for Buck, and he’d been right. There were a couple other people in the house.
There was actually an LAPD Detective who was going to be moving in that Buck had met through Bobby’s soul mate Athena Grant. Athena being the most badass woman that Buck had met since his Aunt and Auntie died had recommended Lou who had recently had some personal hits and thought he could use being around a group of people who understood why he did what he did for a living.
The last person who lived in the house was a nurse at one of the local hospitals that Sully knew, and who had needed a different living situation after a nasty incident at her old apartment building. Her name was Elsie Potter and as a single mother she needed a safer and more positive environment for her 10 year old son.
Elsie was badass in her own right and Buck loved her son. Lately he’d come to realize how fortunate he was to have so many amazing women in his life who were slowly teaching him that Margaret Buckley was the outlier not the norm when it came to mothers and women in general.
At some point after being loaded up onto the stretcher, Buck must have fallen asleep again because when he opened his eyes in a private suite in the hospital closest to the 118 he realized he’d lost some time again. Fortunately, when he looked around, Eddie was already at his side and pouring some water into a cup for him. “Hey, you’re awake,” Eddie commented as he pushed the call button to let the nursing staff know that Buck had woken up.
“Sorry,” Buck commented groggily as not only a nurse, but a doctor as well, came in. Buck found himself distracted by answering their various questions but still out of it enough that he was depending on Eddie to ask the right questions about what was going on. What Buck found out was that thus far nothing that happened had been out of the ordinary for someone with a suppressed soul mate mark. It turned out that during the time period that Buck had been dosed, the drugs given to him had been expected to suppress his ability to form a soul mate bond altogether. The expectations were that even if Buick ever met his soul mate neither of them would know it because the bond had no way to form.
This had turned out to be untrue, but what had happened was that for those that hadn’t had the suppression removed prior to meeting their mate, there had been quite a lot of physical consequences, sometimes even critical ones, to the drugging. Even once removed those that had previously been suppressed tended to suffer from low blood pressure and/or low blood sugar, numbness in his extremities, migraines, exhaustion and sometimes even trouble breathing along with a long list of more rare symptoms. So, because they needed to monitor him, Buck would be kept the room for 24 hours, and then would be re-evaluated. Eddie would be not just allowed to stay with Buck, but it was expected that he would do so. The doctors told them that even with their medical concerns, the first 24 hours was a critical period for the forming of the bond, and no one wanted their bond to suffer because the pair had been separated.
Buck found himself sleeping more than being awake for the next several hours, but fortunately by the time dinner time came he found himself feeling more alert. When he woke up, Buck found Eddie standing near the window he room talking to his son by the sound of the conversation. Buck wasn’t mad though as it gave him an opportunity to observe his mate. Physically, Eddie Diaz was truly a beautiful man and Buck knew he’d won the soul mate lottery there. More important to Buck though it sounded like, at least from what he could hear of the conversation with Christopher, Eddie Diaz was everything in a father that Buck had ever wanted. When Eddie turned suddenly though, Buck didn’t have time to hide the fact that he had been eavesdropping, and felt himself blushing as Eddie quickly said his goodbyes.
“Sorry, I shouldn’t have listened in,” Buck said quickly as he raised the head of the bed so that he could sit up straighter.
“No, no, it’s fine,” Eddie assured coming over. “I was just filling Abuela in on what was going on and took a second to let Chris know as well. They’re going to come by in the morning to see you before my Tia Pepa takes Chris to school if you’re up for it. How are you feeling? Is there someone I need to contact for you? I forgot to ask Bobby.”
“Better,” Buck said immediately as he reached for the water glass to take a healthy swig. “Not so tired although I do feel dizzy and a little nauseous. I don’t mind them coming by although I’m not sure this is the first impression that I wanted to make. As to contacting people, I should send Sully a text before he hears the gossip through the grapevine and freaks out. I don’t… I feel like there’s at least a dozen things I should be asking you or telling you right now, but I can’t really focus. All I can think about is making sure that you don’t go away. I… at the risk of sounding incredibly pathetic, everyone seems to leave me or not want me and I don’t know what I would do if I lost you, too.”
“I know its very early days. I mean, we’re literally just hours into this bond, but this is important to me, Buck. When Chris’ mother got pregnant my parents tried to pressure me into marrying her. The thing is though that when my mark first appeared, my Abuelo, who was still alive at the time, came to visit me with Abuela Isabel and sat me down immediately when he got here. Abuelo told me that I was to ignore whatever rhetoric my father would tell me about the mark and that I was to remember that my soul mate would be the single most important person in my life.
“Abuelo Gabriel told me that as much as he loved all of his children, even ones like my father Ramon whose choices he didn’t always agree with, there was no one in the world that he loved more than Abuela Isabel. He said that without her, he would be half the man he was and wouldn’t have any of the blessings that he did. I love my son, and wouldn’t trade him for anything, but I understand the blessing that Mother Magic has given us. I want Christopher to see for himself what a blessing the bond is, and I pray that he is granted the blessing as we have been. I don’t expect us to walk out of this hospital tomorrow madly in love, and I want us to take our time to learn each other before we jump into the sex thing as unpopular as that is. That said, I can’t imagine leaving here and going back to my room at Abuela’s house knowing that you’re not at least sleeping within the same dwelling.”
“I really like the idea of us taking our time to get to know each other. Despite what some at the station may tell you, sex isn’t the only thing I think about and a long term, committed relationship is important to me. I umm, well one of the things I guess we should talk about is my inheritance. I think maybe I mentioned my Great Aunt Aggie and Great Auntie Lizzie. Aggie was my mother’s aunt and considered an embarrassment by most of my mother’s family. I adored her and Lizzie though and often got to spend a week or two with them in the summers so that I wasn’t in Margaret’s hair all the time. When Lizzie died suddenly after getting pneumonia, Aggie was heartbroken.
“The day after Lizzie died, Aggie had a meeting with her lawyer to make sure that everything was set up the way that they wanted. After that she called me to tell me what happened, and tell me that she loved me and that her greatest regret was not having fought Margaret and Phillip to get custody of me. That night she went to bed, and never woke up. I honestly believe that she loved Lizzie so much that she just couldn’t be without her. I found out in a letter that Aggie gave me in her will that she and Lizzie were soul mates.
“I want a love like that. I want to know that I have someone in my life that I don’t have to worry about leaving me because I’m not enough. I want someone in my life that I never have to worry about not being enough something for. When the will was read, Aggie and Lizzie left a shit load of money to various charities then willed me two houses and 23 million dollars. One of the houses is on an island in the Caribbean that I have let my sister Maddie live in with her soul mate and their kinda partner Roger. The other is the house Aggie and Lizzie lived in for most of their relationship in upstate New York. I haven’t spent much with the money that they gave me other than set up some trusts here and there for people I wanted to help, but the one big purchase I made was to buy the summer home here in LA that Lizzie adored but her father had sold before he died.
“The thing is huge and has a stupid amount of rooms. So, I have been starting to fill it with other people who don’t want to live alone. I mention my stupidly big mansion because while most of the existing bedrooms are upstairs, there are two bedrooms downstairs that share a bathroom and an in-law suite. All of the rooms downstairs have been recently renovated to be able to be used if we got a house mate that has an impairment, disability or is handicap. The in-law suite was renovated to be used in case any of us got a serious injury that would require a lengthy recovery.
“There was also an elevator added by the previous owner so that someone who can’t use the stairs can get to not only the second floor but also the basement. There are only four other people in the house besides me right now. Two of them are LAFD and then there is an LAPD Detective and a single mother who is a nurse. I hope living with a bunch of other people doesn’t bother you. I can understand how you might not want a bunch of strangers around your kid.”
“I think it would be different if say the house was filled with a bunch of frat kids or just random strangers,” Eddie commented after a pause where he seemed to be considering the situation.
“I honestly am not opposed to living with other people. I miss having people around all the time when I was in the Army. I like the idea of there being another kid in the house for Chris. I’d have to check things out before I made a final decision, but at first blush it sounds doable. I think the main thing right now is that we’re both committed to not just forming a bond, but doing this right and taking our time to form something solid and meaningful. We have our entire lives to spend together. Soul mates who have bonded tend to live much longer than those who don’t have the soul mate bond. I vote that we do this thing our way, and not worry about what any dissenters have to say. I know my parents are going to blow a gasket, but frankly I don’t give a shit. They gave up their right to have an opinion about how I live my life when they tried to take my son from me because they said I was working too much. Never mind the fact that they knew it was a temporary situation until I could get into one of the two fire academies I applied to.
“I want this, Buck. I want us. I know that if we do this our way then we can have that relationship like your Aunt and Auntie had or like the one my Abuelo and Abuela had. The second I felt my mark filling in I knew that my whole life was changing. I was so nervous to start at the 118 and it turned out that today was one of the best days of my life. So, whatever else happens, from today forward it’s you and me and Chris and whatever family we build around us forever.”
When Buck reached out his hand for Eddie and it was wrapped up between his mate’s two hands, something inside of him relaxed. He might not have all the answers just yet and he knew that the road forward would have its bumps and pot holes. The important thing though was that never again would he be made to feel like he wasn’t enough for the person who was supposed to love him the most. Somewhere inside of him where that little boy that was Evan Buckley lived, Buck felt like finally, after years of hoping and believing, the child had finally found love and acceptance. And really, Buck wasn’t sure there was any greater gift that Edmundo Diaz could possibly give him.