Title: If I Can’t Have You, I’ll Take The Stars ~ Part 2
Characters: Eddie Diaz, Evan Buckley, Christopher Diaz, 9-1-1 Characters, Stargate characters, Original characters
Author’s Note: Alternate Universe, Grammarly is my beta reader.
Summary: Eddie knew he loved Buck, but it wasn’t until after he was shot, Eddie realized how deep that love goes. Problem is, Buck loves Taylor, so unable to bear having Buck push him and Christopher out of his life, the Diazes leave Los Angeles.
Sitting in the principal’s office at the Pearson school, Eddie wanted to grab Letty and kiss the woman that so reminded him of her sister, Carla. Christopher was so excited by the tour they’d just taken he was bouncing in his seat. He signed the last form and smiled down at his son and smiled. “You’re all set as soon as we pick up your supplies.”
The principal, Janet Turner, smiled at the boy as he handed him his list of supplies. “We look forward to having you join us when school starts in two weeks.”
“I can’t wait, Principal Turner. I’m looking forward to the classes on my schedule.”
Eddie reached across the desk as he and Christopher stood and shook hands with the principal. He felt 100 pounds lighter as they walked out of the school. New house, new job, new school, he’d gotten it all done with four days to spare. His bubble of feel good was burst by his sweet son.
“Bucky’s supposed to be home today. Can I call him and tell him about my new school?”
“Of course, you can, mijo. Even though we moved, Buck’s still our friend. Everyone we left behind in Los Angeles is still our friends and family.”
“I know that, Dad.”
The truck was quiet for a few minutes as Eddie enjoyed the fact Pearson was only five miles from both the house and the fire station. He was turning into the driveway when Christopher broke the silence.
‘What about Grandma and Abuelo?”
“What about them?”
“Will they be coming to visit?”
“Hopefully not for a long time, but I have to eventually tell them we moved.”
“We could call them without telling them where we are.” The 12-year-old’s voice was quiet.
“You might be right, mijo.” Eddie gave him a wide smile as he pulled into the garage.
Supper had been over for a while. Eddie had finished cleaning up and was enjoying a beer on the deck. He had heard voices coming from Christopher’s room as he left the kitchen and assumed his son had gotten in touch with Buck. He was enjoying the peace and the view out over Colorado Springs. Being in an older neighborhood, there was nowhere near the traffic there had been in Los Angeles. He was brought out of his reverie when he heard the sliding glass door.
“Dad, Buck wants to talk to you.” Eddie reached for Christopher’s tablet.
“Okay, mijo, but it’s time for you to get ready for bed.”
“Okay, Dad. Bye Bucky.”
“We’ll talk soon, Superman.”
Eddie closed the door so Christopher would not hear the conversation that he was sure was going to be loud and painful for at least one of them.
“Eddie, what the hell, man? I go on my honeymoon, and when we get back, I find out you’ve moved!” Buck snarled.
“Christopher’s doctor got him into this clinic that is doing miraculous things for people with mobility issues, but they only had a limited number of spaces. There was no way I could afford for us to fly back and forth, so I made the decision to move.”
The fact that it was for Christopher seemed to defuse some of the younger man’s anger. “You could have called me. I was blindsided when Chris showed me his new bedroom and talked about Carla’s sister.”
“You were at that no phone zone place. What was I supposed to do … Send a carrier pigeon? Taylor didn’t want anything interrupting your two weeks of bliss.”
“Yeah.” Buck rubbed a hand over his face. “It was a long two weeks. I missed my best friends.”
Eddie didn’t answer. Taylor had made it clear that Buck wouldn’t be having a lot of time for the Diaz boys after the wedding. “You have a new best friend now.”
“I can have more than one.” Buck sounded like a petulant teenager.
“You keep telling yourself that. You have a wife to make your schedule now.”
“Is that what Shannon did?” Buck snarked. “Man, I’m …”
“It’s okay. When I got home from the sandbox, she wanted to schedule everything, and I was trying to recover from being shot while figuring out where I was.”
“It’s just a three-hour flight. I could come on my four days off.”
“Better check with your wife first before you go making any plans.”
“Your life is no longer your own, Buck.” Eddie teased.
“We can still Facetime.” His tone stubborn.
“Yeah, we can still Facetime.” Eddie’s smile was said. “I miss you, too, Evan.”
“I’ve got to go. Christopher swears he’s too old for stories, but he hasn’t rebelled against being tucked in yet.”
“Tell your new station to take care of you. I hate I’m not there to watch your back.”
“They’re a great bunch of people. It’ll be fine. Now, I really have to go. Take care of yourself. I’ll have Bobby give your new partner the shovel talk in my place.”
Eddie ended the call. Buck trailed his fingers over the blank screen. “Bye, Eddie.”
“Buck!” Taylor yelled from the entry way.
“In the loft.”
“What are you doing?”
“Just got off a call with Chris and Eddie.”
“Oh.” He looked up to see her frown at the news.
“Aren’t you going to see him at work tomorrow? Why would you need to call him tonight?”
Buck frowned at the shrewish tone. “Because they’re my friends. What’s with you?”
“Nothing. I just thought since you’re going back to work, you’d talk to him there.”
“He’s not going to be at work because they moved to Colorado.” He was careful to watch her reaction.
Her face brightened. “Oh, that was fast.”
“Yeah. A new clinic Chris’ doctor recommended. Eddie transferred to a new fire station. What do you mean that was fast?”
“What? Oh, nothing. Good for them.” She smirked as she carried her briefcase into the room they’d converted from Chris’ room to an office.
Buck wondered if he really knew the woman he’d married.
Sighing in relief as he closed the garage door, Eddie headed toward the kitchen to find Letty fixing breakfast.
“Come, sit … Relax. I saw the accident on the news this morning. You must be chilled to the bone. A nice, hot breakfast will warm you.”
“Thanks, Letty.” Eddie laid a hand on her shoulder as he passed by to make himself a cup of green tea. Letty was right. He was chilled through. This was the beginning of their second winter in Colorado, so he hoped they were all better acclimated. A six-inch snowfall that started in the late afternoon, along with drivers that refused to slow down in bad weather, caused a chain reaction involving eight cars and two tractor-trailers. The snow was still falling “You didn’t have to go to all this trouble. Isn’t this your day at the library?”
“Cancelled since the snow has not stopped. I am glad you’re starting you days off.”
“Christopher and I went to the store last night after the snow started to pick a few things.”
That got a chuckle from Eddie. A few things translated to; he would only have to shop for perishables for the next two weeks. He had changed the house over to a solar powered system with a propane backup after the disaster of a winter storm that had hit Texas. It was working well, and the lack of an electric bill was a bonus.
Eddie saw the message light flashing on his office phone. Seeing the name on the caller ID, he decided to wait until he’d had some sleep to deal with his parents. He had waited six months before telling Helena and Ramon they had moved. He had ended the tantrum his parents had thrown over being kept in the dark about their move with a sarcastic, “This is the reason we didn’t tell you.” before cutting connection on their video call.
Since then, he strictly controlled the Facetime schedule with Christopher and only gave them the number for the house’s landline and had given them an address at the local shipping place to send anything for Christopher.
Watching her boss practically devour his breakfast, Letty gave herself a self-satisfied smile. Her sister, Carla, had given her the real lowdown on the Diaz boys, and threatened to come to Colorado Springs to kick sister ass if she didn’t treat ‘her boys’ right. It had only taken a few months of her working for Eddie for the shadows and dark circles to fade from his eyes. Christopher’s doctors had worked wonders with his mobility issues. Letty was so impressed at the improvement; she was recommending Innovations Gate Clinic to anyone she knew. Though he still needed his crutches, his balance was better, and there was no talk of additional surgeries. His physical therapist was talking about switching him to canes after his next growth spurt. The psychologist the clinic recommended had helped him get over his lingering traumas from the tsunami and his father being shot.
Eddie had also found a therapist he liked. He immediately clicked with one of the paramedics, Trace Richey, who recommended Dr. Gretchen Staggers. She had brought him to the point where he only called her when he felt he was backsliding into past bad habits when it came to his emotions. As he stopped being the new guy on the job, she was happy to see he had become as close with the Station 11 team as he had been with his team in Los Angeles. She knew he was still in contact with his old captain, and his best friend, Buck. Buck called Christopher several times a week, but time and distance had caused some of the friendships to fade.
“Have you heard from your friends in Los Angeles lately?” Letty asked.
“I talked to Buck the other night after he finished talking to Christopher. Taylor seems to have a sixth sense about whether he’s talking to Christopher or me. She doesn’t care how long he talks to our kid, but always seems to find a way to interrupt when he’s talking to me.
“So, how is Buck and his wife?” She saw a look of curiosity coming at her from across the island. “What? Carla talks about you guys all the time, so I get all the hot gossip.”
“Things must be good. They’re talking about buying a house.”
“Hmmm. Houses usually mean babies.” She watched Eddie closely. The man was way too good at hiding himself.
“I suppose.” He turned his face away and busied himself with putting his dishes in the dishwasher. “If the storm lets up today, a few of us from the station are caravanning up to Monarch to ski. We’ll leave around seven and probably get home around nine.”
“I bet Christopher is looking forward to picking up where he left off last winter.” The boy had taken to skiing like he was born to it.
“I may have to peel him off the ceiling he’s so excited. We’ll be riding with Brennan and Trace. Brennan’s good at keeping him entertained with stories about the animals that wander in the area while he’s on guard duty at Cheyenne Mountain. I think the whole shift is going except Slade and the Captain is going. Slade’s family has some kind of family thing planned that they couldn’t wiggle out of. Slade cursed a blue streak when Wilde told him the date we were going. I’ve never seen anyone love to ski like he does.”
Slade Talbot was the son of scions of Denver society and when he married a lowly fire captain from Colorado Springs he met while skiing at Vail, it set the paragons of Colorado high society all a twitter. Eddie liked Slade. They shared the same dry wit that caused Curtis to shake his head and roll his eyes when one of their acerbic comments brought the room to a standstill.
“His mother’s worse than my mother when someone ruins her plans. This way he lives to ski another day.” Eddie chuckled as he wiped down the island. “If you don’t mind staying, I’m going to grab a few hours’ sleep. Since classes are virtual today, I should be awake by the time Christopher’s finished.”
“No worries. I have no problem staying here. My neighbor sent me a text to say the power was out in my section of town.”
“Stay as long as you need. You’re always welcome.” Eddie said over his shoulder as he headed for his room.
Willing tired muscles to relax, Eddie let his mind roam over the past two years as he waited for the warmth of his flannel sheets to draw him into sleep. He’d passed his Lieutenant’s exam with a specialty in rescue. He thought about the friends he still kept in touch with in Los Angeles besides the core group at the 118. He missed them every day, but he’d made good friends at Station 11.
Christopher was thriving at his new school. One positive thing that came out of the COVID lockdowns … Unless the Internet was out, snow days were a thing of the past, and vacations could commence on time. They had spent several days of the first of Christopher’s school breaks at the National Western Stock Show in Denver. As a sponsor, the Talbots had complimentary tickets that Slade had been happy to let Eddie and Christopher use. This led to a fascination with horses that saw him and Buck doing Facetime research binges. He’d asked Eddie if they could take a trip to Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming during his next summer break. Eddie was smiling as he drifted off to sleep.
Sprawled on the lounger in the noon day sun, Eddie was glad winter was finally in the rearview mirror. He loved the snowy days but hated ice. Icy hoses, frozen hydrants, tricky rescues made worse by icy roads, sidewalks, and mountains.
In one of the worse rescues of the winter, he and Trace had repelled down an ice fall when a car took a turn too fast, had gone through the guardrail, and came to rest against a large cedar tree. The occupants had barely survived and getting them back up the icy mountainside had been a nightmare. He gained a lot of respect for their head paramedic that day. They had practically strapped the baskets to their backs to climb the ice fall with their patients. By the time the patients were loaded in the ambulance, they’d both been shaking with cold and exhaustion.
Now, he took every opportunity to soak up the heat of the sun. Christopher was at a weekend sleepover with Roger, the son of 11’s Engine Lieutenant, who went to the same school as Christopher, so for once he had the house to himself. He was thinking about a nap in the sun, but the list of chores he needed to accomplish while he was off was calling his name, and Eddie knew he wouldn’t relax until the list was finished.
Finishing the floors on the lower level, Eddie’s put away his cleaning supplies when he heard someone knocking on the sliding glass door. Curious at who would come to the lower level at the back of the house, he picked up one of the baseball bats he had scattered through house. The doors were heavy and well insulated against the Colorado winter but wouldn’t offer a lot of protection against someone with bad intentions. Besides, someone wanting to break-in wouldn’t knock.
“Can I help you?” Eddie’s tone was cautious as he waited for an answer from the two men standing on his patio. They had backed away from the door and were keeping their hands in sight to make themselves seem less threatening.
“Are you Edmundo Diaz, firefighter and former Army medic?” A man who was too pale to have spent much time outdoors, with brown thinning hair asked as he supported a slim dark-haired man, who was pale and sweating.
“I am. I go by Eddie. What do you want?”
“We need your help. Could we please come inside. We can’t go to the hospital, and he’s getting too heavy for me to carry.” Blue eyes begged Eddie to take a chance.
“Told you you should take PT with the team.” The dark-haired man chided. “Rodney rarely says please, so you should put him out of his misery of having to be nice, and let us in.” He straightened enough to pull his jacket back enough to allow the medic to catch a glimpse of the bloody makeshift bandage on his side. Never one to turn away someone in need, Eddie stepped back to let them through the door. “If it helps, I’m Lt. Colonel John Sheppard, USAF.” He pulled out his dog tags. “This is my partner, Dr. Rodney McKay, PhD, PhD.”
“Dios mio. Have a seat and take off your jacket and shirt while I get my kit.” Rodney followed Eddie through the house to the master suite where he pulled a large red bag off a top shelf. “My son has a sleepover this evening, so short of an emergency, we should have the house to ourselves.” Eddie stood nose to nose with the scientist. “Is there any danger that whoever shot Sheppard followed you here? I will not have my family put at risk.”
“I swear on John’s life we’re no danger to you or your son.” Rodney assured him.
“What about you, and don’t tell me you’re no danger. I’ve worked with more than one Black Ops outfit. Your Colonel has the look of it up to his eyeballs. How did you find out about me?” He asked while pulling on gloves before checking John’s vitals then turning his attention to the through and through gunshot wound. Rodney had begun to twitch as Eddie carefully cleaned and stitched the wound. “There’s a pot of coffee on the counter. Cream in the mini-fridge, cups are in the cabinet above the pot.”
Rodney looked in the direction Diaz indicated with his head then practically teleported from where he sat fidgeting on the couch next to John to the coffee maker. “Don’t mind Rodney. He’s not good at not doing anything while someone else saves the day.” John said through gritted teeth.
“Sorry I don’t have anything that’s not OTC for the pain.”
“It’s fine. I’m glad to have a professional patch me up until we get home.”
“I’ll remember that the next time your James Kirkness gets you beat to hell.” Rodney snarked from where he camped in front of the coffee pot.
Eddie pulled a bottle of juice out of the fridge along with a bottle of water and a couple over the counter pain relief tablets. “Liquids for blood loss. I’m assuming you want to be as operational as possible?”
“Yeah. Hey, thank you for not calling the police.”
“I can usually get a pretty good read on people. Let’s just say there’s something about you the seems familiar, and the coffee worshipping Dr. Rodney seems like he’d set the world on fire for you.”
A soft expression flickered across Sheppard’s face. “Yeah, he would.”
“I’m not usually so trusting with strangers, especially ones that come in my house with gunshot wounds, but there’s … I wish I could put my finger on it … Since you’re sure whoever did this is not a danger … Anymore … Is there someone I can call or some place I can take you?”
“Rodney, stop molesting the man’s coffee pot and come over here.” John teased his partner. With a huff, the scientist refilled his mug and joined him at the table as Eddie began cleaning up the trash from doctoring John’s wound. He sealed it in a zip lock bag and handed it the colonel. “Oh … Uh … Thanks. Rodney, can you get us a ride?”
“What? Oh sure, just let me make a call.” He snagged his coffee and walked outside, closing the door behind him.
“I won’t say anything.”
“I heard the crack about Spec Ops, so I’m not worried. Rodney wouldn’t have brought me here if he didn’t think it would be safe.”
“He acts like the type that could find out everything down to what type of underwear I buy in about five minutes.” Eddie chuckled as he handed John another bottle of juice.
“Yeah. That’s probably why we ended up here. I was a little too out of it to pay attention to what he was mumbling about over his tablet.”
“Let me help you upstairs. I was just getting ready to fix a snack before heading out to do some errands. It’s not often I get a kid free day.”
“Don’t put yourself out.”
“It’s no problem. Come on you can use my kid’s stairlift.”
Eddie reached out to help John to his feet, grabbing his elbow to lever him out of the chair. Sheppard got what the man meant when he said it felt like they knew each other. A look of consideration flashed across his face as he turned to check Rodney’s location.
“I think I can make up a few steps.”
“Suit yourself, but if you get dizzy, tell me. Don’t make me pick your ass up after you fall over backwards.”
“Listen to the man, Sheppard. It sounds like he knows you.” Rodney smirked as he grabbed John’s elbow. “Ride will be here in a half hour.”
“I was about to make myself a sandwich. Care to join me?”
“No citrus.” Rodney blurted out.
“Uh, no. Turkey, ham, or roast beef. Allergies?”
“Why limit yourself. All three.”
Eddie was making a list of replacement items he’d used on John when he caught movement out of the corner of his eye.
“I think your ride is here.” He went to answer the door. A pretty blonde woman with a stern expression and posture so straight it made Eddie’s back hurt. “Can I help you?”
“I’m Anne. A friend of mine called from this address said he needed a ride.”
“Eddie Diaz. Come in we were just finishing a bite to eat.”
“Colonel? Dr. McKay?”
“It’s fine, Major. Eddie here is an excellent field medic. Very cool under duress.” John stood from his seat at the island. “Now, it’s time to let you get on with your day.”
“Yeah. What he said.” Rodney looked up from his tablet.
Eddie’s eyebrows raised toward his hairline as he watched McKay walk and read at the same time.
“That’s Rodney being polite.” John offered. “Hey Eddie, think fast.” John tossed something at the younger man, whose sharp reflexes had him snatching out of the air whatever John had thrown.
Opening his hand, he saw a rock glowing with beautiful blue and green lights. He looked between the three strangers standing in his living room staring at him.
“That’s why we felt comfortable with him. Like knows like.” Rodney stated.
“What’s that mean?” Eddie was confused.
“Nothing bad, but we need to talk some more.” What’s your schedule look like?”
“Umm … I’m back on shift tomorrow, but my next days off start Thursday.”
“What time would be good?”
“About one. My son will be home from school between three forty-five and four.”
“We’ll see you then.” Sheppard gave him a salute as the other two hustled him to the car.
Eddie stood in the doorway for a few minutes after they left, dumbfounded, and mentally marked it as one of the weirdest days ever.
By the time Christopher was dropped off around noon the next day, there was no sign that anything out of the ordinary had occurred at the house. After getting a big hug that turned into a fifteen minute cuddle, Eddie asked his son about his sleepover. Christopher waxed poetic about movie night in the Meyer’s backyard, how he’d made a bunch of new friends, how nice his friend, Roger’s parents were, and Roger’s grandfather lived with them who told really cool stories about his time being an engineer on the railroad.
“Dad, can I call Bucky and tell him about my weekend?” Christopher asked when he finally wound down.
“It’s outside your normal time, mijo.”
“I know, but this is something special I’d like to share with him.”
“Okay. Go get your tablet and we’ll give him a call.”
Eddie picked up Christopher’s duffel bag and followed his son to his room.
“Are you and Buck still friends?”
“Of course. He’s my best friend. Why the question?”
“Well, you do all the stuff you used to do with Buck with the people where you work, but we never do anything with Buck anymore.”
Sitting down in Chris’ reading chair, Eddie pulled his son into a hug. “Ah, mijo, Buck lives so far away, and he does a lot of those things with Taylor since they got married. Don’t you like the people I work with and their families?”
“I do, a lot, but you still had friends even when you were with mom why can’t Buck?”
“True, but we all lived in the same area.” He looked at Chris’ hangdog expression for a few minutes before making a decision. “How about I look at my schedule and the next time I have my days off that’s over the weekend so you don’t miss a lot of school, I’ll check with Buck and maybe we can go visit.”
“Really. That would so cool. It seems like forever since we saw Buck in person. I can’t wait to tell him.”
“Hang on a minute. Let me talk to Buck first to make sure it’s okay and works with his schedule. You just tell Buck about your weekend, because I still need to check with Captain Wilde about my schedule.”
“Now, fire up your tablet and we’ll surprise Buck with an extra call.”
“Hey Superman, I thought we already did our call for this week.” Buck sounded excited but Eddie could hear something else in his voice.
“We did, but that was before I had this awesome sleepover at Roger’s …” Eddie let the voices move to background as he watched Buck and Chris interact. He could tell Buck hadn’t been in a good mood when he answered, but listening to Christopher talk about his weekend was bringing him out of his funk. “And Dad said that when he was off on a weekend, we’re coming to visit you.”
“Oh, uh, I’d need to check with Taylor. We’re still living at the loft. We haven’t found a house we like in our price range yet …”
Eddie motioned for Chris to hand him the tablet before Buck’s spiral got any higher. “Evan … Stop. We’ll stay at a Abuela’s. We just wanted to let you know that we’re working on a plan to visit. It was something Chris and I talked about this evening. He misses all the things you guys did together. Hell, I miss all the things we used to do together.” He watched as Buck’s anxiety smooth out.
“I miss you guys, too. I know you had to go for Chris’ sake, but it’s not the same since you moved.”
“How are you and Taylor really doing? You said you haven’t found a house?”
“She likes the loft. Likes that it’s ‘sleek and modern’, ‘perfect for young professionals’.”
“Doesn’t sound like she’s settling down any.”
“She keeps avoiding the topic.”
The men kept their conversation vague since Christopher was still listening. “I’m going to let you finish talking to Chris, and I’ll have a better idea of a timetable after I talk to my captain.”
“Eddie, I didn’t mean to make it sound like I don’t want you to visit. I’d love to see you and Chris. I was just upset I couldn’t offer you a place to stay.”
“It’s fine, Buck. I don’t want to put anyone out or disrupt your schedule that’s why I said we’d stay at Abuela’s.”
I’m going to hand you back to Christopher. We’ll talk again when I have a better idea of a schedule.”
“Eddie, wait, I didn’t mean to sound like an ass. It’s been a frustrating few days. I didn’t mean to take it out on you.”
“Hey, that’s what best friends are for, right?”
“Not one I haven’t seen in person for two years.”
“You and Taylor are welcome anytime. We have a whole lower level for guests.”
“I’d love to, but I’ll have to talk it over with Taylor.”
“Of course. Here’s Chris. Take care and we’re here if you need us.” Eddie handed the tablet back to his son.
“I thought of something else I need to tell you …”
~ TBC ~