Title: If I Can’t Have You, I’ll Take The Stars
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.
When Eddie saw his first paycheck from Stargate Command, he had to sit down. It convinced him that the rabbit hole he’d followed an Air Force General and his archeologist down was the real thing. It was also scary to think about the things that had happened in the past that qualified him for the combat and hazard bonuses on the check.
Things had been mostly quiet at the makeshift clinic. They’d had a few of Jack’s assets come through with injuries that they wanted patched up before reporting in to the General. It seemed many didn’t trust the security at the Mountain and wanted to use the clinic’s secure communications to report to O’Neill rather than going through Landry, the General managing the Stargate base. Their paranoia made Trace and Eddie cautious of the head of Stargate Command.
There had been two cases that were the cause of several nightmares that took everything he, Trace, and Brennen had to get the agents stable enough to transfer to the Mountain, and into the care of Dr. Lam. Jack tried to give them a head’s up when any of his teams were in the area, but there were always a few that ran under the radar.
It was just five years since they’d made the move from California. Occasionally overwhelmed with the changes in his life, Eddie often felt an acute loneliness whenever he had a few moments to himself. Making it home after an easy 24-hour shift, he was struck speechless when he arrived home to start his four days off to find Evan Buckley … Minus Taylor, cuddling his son on his couch.
“Buck! What are you doing here? Where’s Taylor?”
“Taylor’s in Washington, D.C. auditioning for a new job, and you told me to visit anytime. So, I’m visiting. Is that okay?” Bright blue eyes caught brown.
“Of course. Did Letty set you up in a bedroom?”
“Yeah. There’s an awesome view of the backyard. This is a great house.”
“Well, mi casa es su casa.” Eddie’s face lit up with his smile.
Looking at Christopher wrapped in his comforter leaning into Buck, he grinned at the younger man. “How long have you been here?”
“About two hours.” Letty said he was on a break, so doesn’t have school today.”
“Yeah, Letty’s supposed to stay until lunch. Gives me a chance to catch a few hours sleep, but you’re here and it was a quiet night, so I think I can let her go a couple hours early.” Buck gave him a sad smile as he continued to run his fingers through Christopher’s curls. “Let me find Letty and I’ll fix us some breakfast.” Eddie dropped a kiss on two sets of curls as he headed for the kitchen.
“A face that reminded him so much of Carla, that it hurt, appeared from the mud room.
“Need something, Eddie?”
“No, I was just going to tell you to head home. It was quiet last night, so I think Buck and I can take over.”
“I’m not one to turn down some extra time to myself.” Letty teased. “Your Buck seems like a very nice young man. I can see why my sister would adopt him. Said he didn’t know how long he was staying.”
“Yeah, he has that effect on some people.” Eddie chuckled. “We’ll see you in four days.”
Letty gathered her things and headed for the garage while Eddie went to the kitchen to start breakfast.
“Why did you leave the 118, Eddie?”
Usually, his situational awareness was pretty good, but when Buck’s voice startled him while he was pulling ingredients out of the refrigerator, Eddie nearly shut the refrigerator door on his own head.
“I told you five years ago why I moved. Better health care for Christopher.”
“You did, but you didn’t tell me you were going to be sneaking off while I was on my honeymoon. Do you know how I felt when I got home, and you and Chris were gone?”
“Sad about Chris, and relieved that Taylor wouldn’t be bitching about me being underfoot.”
“EDDIE!” Buck hissed at his comment.
“I know she tries, but bless her heart, Taylor hates my guts for taking any of your attention away from her.” Eddie pulled the waffle iron out of the cabinet and turned on the oven for the bacon.
“I can’t argue with that. We’ve had a couple of arguments about our co-dependency.”
“Don’t know how she can say that. We’ve only been back to LA three times in five years.”
“Yeah, but I’ve missed you a lot.”
“Seems like whoever Bobby gave you as a partner worked out. You haven’t been hurt much in that time either.”
“It’s weird. Other than earthquakes and some weather stuff, the calls have been somewhat normal. I mean stupid people are still doing stupid things to post on the Internet, but you know … Ravi and Lucy are good, but they don’t get me like you did.”
“We’ve done some wild rescues here from the mixture of mountains, ice, snow, and people, but we’ve got a good crew. They just needed some seasoning.”
Buck got the bacon ready for the oven while Eddie was setting the waffle iron to heat and mix his batter. Fruit, syrup, and butter on the island to carry out on the deck. They worked in companionable silence until it was time to wake Christopher. Breakfast was a rowdy affair though Eddie kept a careful eye on Buck. His attention was pulled back to the conversation when he heard the word planetarium. Looked like they were headed for the Air Force Academy for the afternoon.
The show at the planetarium always tickled Eddie after all the things he’d learn working at SGC. He spent as much time working with the mechanical engineers figuring out the Ancient technology, he’d turned on for them to study. He’d even made several short trips through the gate to revisit the sites where some of the technology was found. He made sure to slip on his dog tags and have his military ID in his wallet. He called Cullen before they left to see if there was anything special going on at the Academy that might interest his two guys. With a plan in mind, he shooed Christopher off to his room to get ready while he and Buck cleaned the kitchen.
After dinner was cleaned up, the men carried their beers onto the deck and settle on the loungers. Eddie asked the question that had been on his mind since he’d been told Taylor was auditioning for a new job.
“If your wife gets a new job on the East Coast, are you moving with her, or are you going to try the bi-coastal marriage thing? You really want to live that close to your parents?”
Buck took a long pull on his beer while he figured out what to say. Did he tell Eddie that he felt like he’d wasted the past five years of his life. That the woman he thought he was spending the rest of his life with had turned out to be a stranger, and he was just a convenient decoration in her life that provided great sex? Maybe he could tell his best friend about the phantom pain he developed from missing the two best things in his life, and hell to the no … California was as close as he wants to get to his parental units.
“You ever think about moving back to California?”
“Yeah. For the first couple years, I thought about it a lot. But Christopher is thriving. I’m a Lieutenant on the Squad with a solid team at the fire house, and a part-time gig that makes my check from CSFD look like lunch money. It also adds to what’s going to be a good retirement from the Army if I make my twenty. I miss you like my next breath, and I miss some of the people at 118. A lot of them have been to visit, especially Abuela, Pepa, and a few of the cousins. We have the added benefit of being far enough from El Paso that my parents don’t visit much especially now that Papi has retired, and Mom has him under foot 24/7.”
“Taylor and I still haven’t bought a house. I brought up having a baby, and she got this look on face like I’d handed her a skunk. I heard her make a joke at one of her network parties that kids should be born full grown, so you don’t have to do anything but send them to college.” He took another drink of his beer. “I’ve been thinking about it since she left.”
“Then what? Kick her out of the loft, and just go back to work like nothing happened?”
“I’ve got vacation and a bunch of comp time I need to take off before I lose it. Maybe I’ll stay here with you until I figure out what I want.” He grinned at Eddie as if to draw him into the joke.
“Sure. You can have the whole lower level. It even has a separate entrance if you want privacy.” Eddie’s heart felt like it was trying to do flips in his chest.
“I was kidding.” Eddie’s heart crashed to the bottom of his rib cage. “I’d like to find out if there’s anything to salvage of the marriage. I guess the first question needs to be if she ever wants to have kids.”
“I wasn’t kidding, Evan.” Eddie’s voice had turned hard. “I wish you all the luck with Taylor and your marriage. I only ever want you to be happy.” Eddie went quiet as they finished their beer. “Chris will be rearing to go tomorrow since you’re here. I’m sure you’ll want to spend all the time you can with our boy. I’m on call for the clinic, but I’ve got to go in person tomorrow at nine to cover for someone. You’re free to go do … Whatever. The zoo, Garden of the Gods … I’m sure you’ll do a research spiral and figure something out.”
“Sure, we can do that. What time will you be done?”
“Not sure yet. Probably around six maybe seven unless something comes up. Good night, Evan.”
Just as he was drifting off to sleep, Buck sat up in the bed. What had Eddie meant by our son?
Eddie hadn’t told Buck that he had been on call for the safe house since he got off shift. Since they stayed home, he didn’t see the point. He knew he could have called Trace and changed up his schedule at the safehouse, but Brennen had taken Trace to the mountains for a romantic daycation. There was no way Eddie was going to throw a wrench in those plans. Besides, he needed the space from Buck to get his mind wrapped around everything he’d been told.
When they talked over the years, it became evident life was a bit of a rollercoaster in the Kelly-Buckley household, but they always seemed to work things out. Eddie knew Buck, and knew his friend probably gave in to what Taylor wanted rather than continue their arguments. Her using Buck for information on the LAFD that became stories seemed to have broken the fragile trust between the couple and highlighted the fraying threads of their marriage.
Refusing to indulge himself in what if fantasy scenarios, he picked his tablet off his bedside table and pulled up one of the SAR certifications he was taking online. The courses were self-paced, which gave him something to keep his brain from spiraling to the point where he couldn’t sleep. After 45 minutes, the dry reading material had him closing his tablet and sliding under the covers.
Eddie and Letty were in the kitchen when Buck made his way to the kitchen the next morning.
“Buck, in all the uproar of your arrival yesterday, I forgot Chris has PT this morning. You can go with him and Letty or hang out until they get back.” He placed his breakfast dishes in the dishwasher then filled a thermal cup with coffee.
“Morning, Bucky.” Christopher climbed onto the chair at the huge island that separated the kitchen from the family room.
“Hey, Superman. Ready for a big day?”
“Soon as Miss Letty gets me back from PT. Are you sure I can’t stay with Bucky instead of going to the clinic?” Christopher peeked through his curly bangs at his father.
“What did Dr. Ramirez tell you?”
“If I don’t do the work, I won’t get the results.” The teen recited quietly.
“You’ll be back by lunch time.” Eddie cajoled. He winked at Buck over Christopher’s head.
“I have to go.” Eddie kissed Christopher’s curls before moving on to Buck and without realizing what he was doing, kissed his temple. “Address is on the list on the fridge. Be good for Buck and Letty, love you, mijo.” Eddied called as he grabbed his bag.
“I will, love you, too, Dad.”
Buck’s expression was dumbstruck as he watched Eddie walk through the house to the garage door. Seeing his best friend in his black BDUs have stirred something in Buck he thought was gone when he married Taylor. Startled by the sound of the garage door closing, he turned back to see Letty giving him a look he’d often seen on Carla’s face.
“Did he …?” He stammered.
“He certainly did. He probably doesn’t even realize what he did. A couple of his team mates that he’s gotten close to are the affectionate type. It may have rubbed off on Mr. Stoic.”
“How affectionate?” Buck almost slapped his hand over his mouth at how jealous he sounded.
“Trace is the Paramedic in Charge at the station. He and his husband, Brennan hang out with my boys a lot, and at the fire fam outings. Now, Chano, is a different story all together. He’s interested in having more but knows Eddie’s not ready for more than friendship. Now, the minute Eddie looks like he’s ready to dip his toes in the dating pool, that pretty boy is going to be first in line.” Letty chuckled at Buck’s gob smacked expression as she finished putting the kitchen to rights. “You ready to go, little man?”
“Soon as I get my shoes and backpack.” Christopher headed toward his room.
“He didn’t have any patches on his uniform.” Buck blurted out.
Eddie hadn’t talked about dating anyone since the move, so he got used to thinking of ChrisandEddie. He wasn’t sure why the idea of Eddie dating was surprising. Eddie was a good man and deserved to be happy … Buck should be happy if his best friend found someone that loved him and Chris. But, if he fell in love with someone in Colorado Springs, Eddie might not move back to California. Buck needed more information about Eddie’s life in Colorado.
“What?” Letty turned her attention back to Buck.
“The only thing on his uniform was his name and rank.”
“That’s all it’s ever had on it.” She turned back to her work.
Buck sipped his coffee in thought for a few minutes. “Does he carry a gun?”
“Once he leaves the house. There are safes in his office and bedroom only he can open. Open carrying is no big deal. This is a military and cowboy city, Buck. No big thing.” Letty gave Buck an affectionate pat on her way to collect Christopher.
Buck stayed lost in thought long after Christopher and Letty left.
In the garage, Eddie stopped long enough to strap on his side arm before climbing in his truck. Parking his truck in the driveway of the safehouse would let SGC personnel know someone was at the clinic. As good as their security was, there’s always someone who could figure a way around it.
Thankfully, both the house and clinic were quiet. Eddie set to work checking supplies after logging into the network Jack had his people set up for the safehouses. Clinic chores taken care of, Eddie pulled out his laptop and went back to work on his SAR course. He scheduled time for the practical test before scrolling through other available courses. The date for the next captain’s exam caught his eye. Maybe it was time for the next step. He’d have a talk with Wilde when he went back on shift.
Raiding Trace’s refrigerator and pantry for lunch, Eddie was careful to leave the kitchen in pristine condition before retreating to the lower level. Trace was worse than any diva chef when it came to his kitchen, and he was not about to get on the paramedic’s bad side. He’d also took the time to raid the bookshelf for something relaxing to read … There was only so long he could stare at his computer before he began to feel like his brain was turning to mush. The latest in a series of paranormal romance novels he was reading would be the perfect way to pass the afternoon. He just didn’t know if he should tease Trace or Brennen about their guilty pleasure because it was his, too.
About halfway through the novel, movement on the security cameras caught his attention. Tires of the big black van screeched to a stop on the asphalt drive and seeing Teal’c behind the wheel had Eddie grabbing a gurney, his paramedic bag, and running to the door.
“Teal’c, what happened!?” The big Jaffa opened the back doors to show the bloody bodies lying in the back. Eddie grabbed his bag and scrambled inside to evaluate Colonel Cameron Mitchell and Dr. Daniel Jackson.
“Colonel Davis called DanielJackson with information on technology that had been stolen from your government. The coordinates were not far from here but in a place with no buildings and few roads. When we arrived, we found several underground buildings. There appeared to be no one around, so we began to search for any objects not of Earth. There were primitive locks on the doors, which Mitchell and Dr. Jackson easily opened. We had finished loading the artifacts we recovered when we heard vehicles approaching.”
Eddie worked quickly on Mitchell, putting pressure bandages on a through and through gunshot to the right side. He also felt cracked ribs, and a scalp cut that was bleeding like crazy. Eddie got him in a cervical collar and a bandage on the scalp wound.
“Hold that thought, Teal’c. Help me load Mitchell on the gurney. Wheel him inside and bring me another.”
“As you wish, ChiefEddieDiaz.”
Eddie turned his attention to Daniel. Of the two men, Mitchell appeared to have the least amount of damage. The pool of blood under Jackson was concerning to the medic. Opening Daniel’s jacket, Eddie cursed when he saw the wound on the archeologist’s chest. Reaching under him, he cursed in several languages when he found there was no exit wound. Seeing the men’s weapons lying on the other side of Jackson, Eddie grabbed them up and made them safe before returning his attention to his patient.
“I thought they were hazing the new guy when everyone told me about what a trouble magnet you are.” Eddie talked to Daniel while he worked to stop the bleeding. “O’Neill’s going to have my ass if anything happens to you guys.” Eddie kept up a stream of nonsense hoping Daniel realized he was some place safe.
Hearing Teal’c coming with another gurney, he got Daniel in a collar and on oxygen before they transferred him to the gurney.
“Any chance the people that did this are after you?”
“There is not. No one was alive when we left.”
“Bring that stuff in here and secure the artifacts and weapons in those empty supply crates. I’ll contact the General then get to work on Daniel.”
“What of Mitchell?”
“He’s the most stable. I’ve done what I can for the time being. I need to concentrate on Daniel.” He stripped off his bloody gloves and grabbed his SGC phone. Speed dial 1 was Jack and after typing in a string of numbers his call connected.
“It’s Diaz. Teal’c just brought me Mitchell and Jackson. Mitchell has a GSW through the right side, a head injury, possible cracked ribs, and is unconscious but stable. Jackson has GSW upper right chest, no exit wound, and also unconscious. I’m keeping an eye on Jackson in case his chest should start to fill with blood. Both men have IV’s and are on oxygen. Both have been stabilized, but I wanted your orders on whether I’m waiting for you to transport either Dr. Lam here or them to the mountain before proceeding any further.”
With a curse, the General yelled for Davis and a radio. “We’ll be there in two shakes.”
The line went dead. Eddie checked with Teal’c, who assured him he was uninjured. He handed the Jaffa a bottle of juice and water before turning his attention back to his patients. Relieved everyone’s vitals were stable, he wasn’t surprised when General O’Neill and Dr. Lam materialized in a flash of white light. The General headed for Teal’c while Dr. Lam turned to Eddie.
Giving her a rundown of the wounds and vitals, Lam checked both patients. “You handle Mitchell’s wounds. I see you’ve got a portable x-ray, so I’ll get started on Daniel. After you’re finished, you can assist.”
“Copy that.” Eddie started cutting away Mitchell’s clothes.
Thankfully, all Mitchell’s wound needed was to be cleaned and stitched. Eddie had him settled with an IV and pain meds within an hour. He asked Teal’c to watch over the Colonel while he went to help Dr. Lam with Daniel.
Watching the powder black van heading out of the neighborhood, Eddie sighed as he turned back to the house. After rolling his head several times to loosen his neck muscles, he got to work setting the little clinic to rights. Finally, the trash was in the secure outdoor storage for pick-up by SG personnel, so Eddie shut down for the night and headed down the driveway to his house.
It wasn’t a surprise to hear the voices of his son and Buck coming from the lower level. Buck hadn’t told him how long he was staying, and Eddie didn’t want to ask, he was good with living in the moment. He knew he was setting himself up for a painful fall, but all he wanted to do was forget Taylor Kelly ever existed in their lives. While his brain was indulging in wishful thinking, his hands put together a light meal to keep him going until breakfast. Cleaning up his dishes, he headed for the shower, wanting to be rid of the smell of blood and chemicals.
Barefoot, in his softest sweats and t-shirt, Eddie finally joined his son and best friend, and spent the rest of the evening basking in the warmth of his favorite people.
Ten days after appearing on his doorstep, Buck told Eddie and Christopher he was returning to Los Angeles. The wave of denial nearly choked Eddie.
“Back to Taylor?” Eddie hoped he didn’t sound as jealous to Buck as he did in his own head.
“I don’t know. I’m back on shift in two days. I haven’t heard from Taylor in three days. I texted her my flight details.” He shrugged as he poured a cup of coffee and watched Eddie collect ingredients for breakfast. “My flight leaves at one. I’ll call a ride about ten to give me plenty of time at the airport.”
“Don’t be stupid. I’m off today. I’ll take you to the airport after breakfast. Christopher was pouty that I wouldn’t let him skip school to go to the airport with us. Be prepared for a Facetime bitch session this evening.”
Chuckling at the thought of the pouty, bitchy teen, he was already missing the Diaz boys and he hadn’t even left. “I’m really not ready to go back, but Bobby’s jammed up with a depleted floater pool and some kind of bug going through the department.”
“Don’t beat yourself up. You told me you have lots of time accumulated, so feel free to come back any time. To quote one of those comic book movies, maybe you’ll see better from a distance.”
“The Avengers, seriously?” Buck nearly spit his coffee when Eddie gave him a wink. Was his best friend flirting?
Being able to spend this time with Eddie and Christopher without Taylor constantly pulling on his attention had given him the opportunity to really see the changes the past five years had brought in his friend. Eddie seemed more settled in his skin. Less inclined to worry about the opinion of others. He’d never talked about climbing the promotion ladder at LAFD, but they’d barely been settled in Colorado Springs before he had been promoted to Lieutenant, and now there were study guides all through the house for the captain’s exam.
Startled out of his thoughts when a plate full of food landed in front of him, he blinked several times as a smiling Eddie came into focus.
“Kinda. Just thinking about how you didn’t seem all that keen about the promotion thing when you were in LA. I was the one bent out of shape when Bobby didn’t pick me for interim Captain. Now, here you are studying for the captain’s exam.”
The men ate in silence for several minutes with Buck smirking at the blush creeping up Eddie’s neck and face.
“Rapid expansion due to the addition of the Space Force base, a rise in tourism, and being a very desirable place to live, the CSFD officer corps was a bit thin on the ground. We got an Engine, a Squad, and a bunch of new firefighters, including one Lieutenant on the day Wilde got Battalion Chief. A month later, he asked me to take the captain’s test. With the help of my shift, I passed the test. We had been working well with three Lieutenants, but the brass wants a Captain in the house, too. Myers has a new baby on the way and Smith is perfectly happy being a Lieutenant, so I’m it.”
They were on the way to the airport, and Buck had begun running What if scenarios in his head. “Ever think about moving back to Los Angeles?” He braced himself in case Eddie said no.
“Sure. I miss Abuela, Pepa and the family. Abuela isn’t getting any younger. I miss you and a couple of other friends I made while we were there. Christopher’s already looking at colleges some of the scientists I work with have recommended. I may have a budding expert in quantum mechanics or astrophysicist on my hands. California has several schools that interest him. I’ll probably move close to whichever one he picks. From the looks of the tuition, it’s a good thing I started his college fund when he was a baby.”
“I thought he’d have moved on to other things. He always had so many interests.”
“He’s got it narrowed down to three maybe four. I suspect by graduation he’ll have picked one.”
“CalTech, Stanford, He’s looking at all the science heavy schools in California. He loves it here, but he misses you and the rest of our family.” Buck felt the sting of tears, so he turned to look out the side window. He felt like this was the most honest conversation they’d had since he’d told Eddie he was going to propose to Taylor. “Think you’d try to get back in the 118.”
“If I make Captain, I doubt I’d be assigned there unless someone retired. Plus, I need to see if my Army assignment would let me transfer.”
“You’d let Chris go alone?”
“If he picks a school in LA he’d have you, Abuela, Pepa, and the Diaz clan. He might not want his old man hanging around. He’ll be wanting to prove his independence.”
The sadness in Eddie’s voice felt like someone stabbed him. “You never talk about anyone special. Surely, you’ve dated since you moved here.”
“What? No, between Christopher, work, the Army, and studying there really hasn’t been time. I haven’t felt like going through all the crap dating requires.”
Before he could think of how to ask his next question, Eddie pulled up to the departure gate. They both stepped out of the truck with Buck grabbing his bag out of the back. Eddie grabbed the younger man in hug that felt like he’d never let go. He inhaled the smell that was pure Buck before taking a step back.
“Remember, you always have some place to run to.” Eddie pulled him into another hug. Buck felt a barely there brush of lips against his temple. Be careful with yourself, Evan.”
Before Buck could form an answer, Eddie was headed around the truck and climbing behind the wheel. He saw the window next to him go down. Taking the hint, he stuck his head in the window. “I want to be the first in California to know when you get your Captain’s bugles.”
“Right after Abuela.”
“I can live with that.” Buck teased as stepped back. “I’ll call Chris when I get home. He should be home from school by then.”
“I’ll tell him.”
The black truck pulled away from the curb leaving Buck biting his lip to keep his emotions at bay. He was leaving his best friends while heading back to an uncertain future.
After returning from the airport, Eddie had planned to spend the few quiet hours before Christopher got out of school studying for his upcoming exam. He’d been reading, taking notes, and enjoying a late morning cup of coffee, but something kept distracting him. He finally got up to walk through the house looking for the problem. Coming inside after walking around the yard, he finally realized the problem. Other than the usual household sounds, it was quiet. There was no Buck going on about ingredients he needed for the latest recipe he wanted to try, or how running in the high altitude was expanding his lung capacity, or all the others sounds that came with living in the same house with someone you loved.
Cleaning up his desk and rinsing his coffee cup, Eddie changed into his BDUs and headed for SGC. Maybe he could find something to keep him distracted until Christopher got home. Apparently, it was going to take more than a few hours to get used to a house without Buck.
~ TBC ~