[Spoiler (click to open)]
Title: The Time Nothing Changed and the One when Everything Did
Gift Fic for: shanachie_quill
The first time it happens, nothing changes.
It’s the end of a long, very fun Sunday - starting with a morning trip to the county fair involving way too much cotton candy and funnel cake. They burn it off making rounds of the exhibits and the petting zoo, though, and Chris doesn’t even have to plead too hard to get Eddie to agree to stay and watch the demolition derby at four.
Eddie’s not sure who enjoyed that more, Chris or Buck.
Buck planned to head home, then, but Chris wasn’t ready for that to happen and neither, Eddie found, was he.
“It’s almost dinner time anyway,” he nudged Buck as they were heading back to the wide field that served as a parking lot. “Wanna come eat?”
“How can you even think about food?” Buck was holding his stomach in misery that was only half feigned. “After the turkey legs and the candy apples…”
Still, he looked like he could be swayed.
“Doesn’t have to be heavy,” Eddie shrugged. “I can whip up pasta primavera, something with actual vegetables in it.”
“Well, that is one food group absent from the festivities….”
Buck had shown up with an oversized bottle of red, which they split over dinner and then on the couch watching a movie. Chris was wrapped up in it, and Eddie too - so he didn’t notice for some time…. Buck snoozing at the other end of the sofa, a little away from them; head back, arms folded, socked feet on the ground but body on the verge of going loosely into deep sleep.
It was a mesmerizing thing; There was a kind of intimacy in the sight of him sprawled out that way - a sight Eddie couldn’t help stealing glances at, in between laughing with Chris through the last quarter hour of the movie.
“Buck didn’t like it much, huh?” Chris asked as the credits rolled. He reached, would have given Buck’s arm a shake but Eddie stopped him.
“I think he did… he’s just tired, buddy. Let him rest. Time for you to get to sleep, too….”
It was a sign of how much fun the day had been that Chris didn’t even have an objection.
Eddie expected Buck might be up and rummaging for his shoes when he came back but instead found him stretched full out, face down, arms around a sofa pillow and even more gone than before.
“Well this is…inconvenient….” Eddie muttered.
Not Buck being out on his couch. What was troubling was the idea forming in his head; the wordless images of reaching to run fingers through Buck’s hair and wake him with a long, deep squeeze to the shoulder. And of maybe watching him wake with a soft smile- one made angelic by the sleepiness in his eyes, Buck’s arm maybe reaching up in silent invitation to join him.
“Shit!” Eddie meant to think the word, but found he had pretty much barked it- almost like a piece of his brain was trying to verbally shake the images away.
Buck did stir, then, but never came close to anything like consciousness. The boy could sleep.
“All right… “ Eddie left him long enough to grab a pillow from his own bed and a blanket from the closet.
He draped the blanket over Buck. He left the pillow propped vertically against the arm of the couch, where Buck might find it with his arms if he did surface...and then he turned in.
Buck had left before Eddie got up for work. At work - he seemed, maybe, a little sheepish at first. Or maybe Eddie was imagining it. But it wore off pretty quickly; soon, Buck was relaying the events of their adventures to the others in detail and it felt like enjoying the fair and dinner all over again.
So… uncomfortable, intimate, first-time-you-fell-asleep-on-my-couch over.
And probably best, Eddie decides, that nothing changed.
The next time it happens,,,
There’s been nothing fun about the week. They’ve faced bigger crises, of course, but seldom have a few days brought such unnecessary sorrow: People who didn’t know to shut the door to the room where the blaze broke out, and fires that burned so fast and hot that even the quickest response time couldn’t save everyone.
“I should bow out and go home.. pick up some takeout” Buck says it like he means it, almost. “…let you two have a quiet Friday without me in the way.”
But as beat up and in need of not having to cook and eat alone as they both visibly are right now? Eddie isn’t buying it.
“Something tells me my night goes better if you don’t cancel,” he tells him as they’re headed out. “Chris hasn’t had the best week, either, and if I get home and there’s no you…”
Thankfully, Buck doesn’t argue - and while dinner and the evening aren’t exactly high-energy, they are blessedly peaceful and uneventful.
“Woah,” Eddie sits forward, disoriented, arm reaching down for the beer bottle he’s just dropped.
It was close to empty, anyway; he checks that nothing’s spilled, then sits back and turns off the TV.
The movie had to have ended a couple of hours ago; it feels like midnight, which a quick glance at the wall in the now very darkened room confirms .
And this time, they both fell asleep. Eddie at one end, Buck at the other- apparently undisturbed by his bolting up - breathing lightly, arms folded, his own beer still in hand. Eddie watches him for a minute; thinks about digging out that blanket and a pillow. Considers leaving him as comfortable as a sofa can manage to make a guy. But…
“No,” he says it under his breath - is up and sliding the bottle loose, setting it on the side table. “Hey, Buck… c’mon…”
Reaching to run fingers through Buck’s hair. To wake him with a finger run along his cheek, and a deep squeeze to the shoulder.
“Holy crap,” Buck breathes the words out in a whisper, waking with a crooked smile- one made angelic by the sleepiness in his eyes. “I’m so goddamned tired…”
“I know. So .. up, okay? C’mon…”
Eddie isn’t sure Buck’s anywhere near fully conscious as they stumble to his room. But when he gets back from the bathroom, he finds Buck already under the sheets, face to the wall, shoes deposited neatly under the foot of his bed and jeans folded on the dresser, so….
It would be idiotic, really, to sleep uncomfortably in his own.
“Hey,” Buck says to the wall as Eddie hits the lights and slides in- on his back, sinking gratefully into the mattress with a sigh. “Three things…”
Well, he had been surprised Buck had just gone with this, but….
“It’s not lost on me that you invited me into your bed.”
“I figured… since, you know, you’re…here.”
Eddie feels Buck moving, turning toward him; feels the warmth of him, closer, and it brings a surprisingly strong rush of goosebumps to his skin.
“Can we talk about it in the morning?”
“Good…’cause if we do now… I don’t want to mess this up.”
“I know exactly what you mean.”
The pause is so long that Eddie thinks he may have drifted back off.
“Third… is it okay if I assume, a little, how the talk’ll go?”
“What does that…”
But Eddie’s figuring it out by the way Buck’s turning him, now, too; urging him onto his side, one arm sliding under him and the other draping over. Buck’s is there, right behind him, against him, the warm palm of his hand against Eddie’s chest asking him to lean back and relax.
He doesn’t realize it’s made him gasp aloud until he hears a soft snicker.
“I’m not….the little spoon.”
But Buck is gone; a long, deep sigh and he’s out.
Eddie takes longer to drift off.
In his defense, it’s distracting: Buck’s soft exhalations in his hair, warming him; every place they’re touching, how well they fit together, how good it feels to be held by him.
How good it’s going to be when they wake up and experiment with….everything that just changed.
For the better.