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, Magnificent 7 (2016), 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.
Standing in the middle of the bright open room, Evan Buckley felt a mix of emotions. He felt satisfaction because he was standing in the middle of His living room. The house was a 1922 bungalow five miles from CalTech. The neighborhood was historical and quiet, and the house had plenty of room for Christopher if he chose a college in Los Angeles, and Eddie if he decided to transfer back to LAFD.
Along with the satisfaction was grief. Grief for the end of his marriage. He had been so happy to start a new phase of his life when he married Taylor. He still didn’t know whom Taylor felt like she was competing against for his attention. He thought it was Eddie, but until the man had inadvertently kissed him on the head like he did Chris, Buck hadn’t thought there was anything more than brotherhood between them.
Taylor had tried to talk him into bed, but when he had presented her with divorce papers, she had started to argue until she saw the stubborn expression on Buck’s face.
“Fine. I guess you’ll run to him now.” She scribbled her name on the papers.
“Run to who?” Buck was getting tired of the word games with Taylor.
“If you don’t know, I guess you don’t feel the same, so no use telling you. Your lawyer can mail my copies to the station.” Taylor grabbed a suitcase containing the last of her belongings, threw her keys on the island, and flounced out of the loft.
The locksmith had come in practically on her heels and changed the locks, which came as a relief. Now, no one had access to his space. He had thought about selling the loft, but Lora had convinced him to turn it into a short-term rental and even had someone to manage it for him.
Next week his divorce would be final, but this week he was moving into his new house. He hadn’t realized how stifling the loft had become until he walked into this house. Standing in the living room, he felt his shoulders drop and the muscles in his neck relax. The open rooms, the master suite that led into a large yard. Buck told the agent to ask the seller their best cash price and got Lora on the phone. Cash talked and the amount of time it was listed made the sellers very amenable. The only problem he had now was he didn’t have nearly enough furniture for all the rooms, but there was no hurry. The house had been updated recently, and the furniture he did have was a perfect fit. He needed two more beds and stuff for three bathrooms. His online shopping accounts would soon be taking quite a hit.
Sticking his sweat-soaked head into the nearest water trough, Eddie dropped his pack and let the cool water run down his back. Chano settled next to him and handed him a bottle of water.
“Didn’t think you’d want to drink water full of horse spit and hay.”
“I know Sam’s water troughs are cleaner than most people’s kitchens, so no worries. I don’t think I was in this good of shape when I came out of boot camp.”
“When O’Neill tells you he wants the best, he gets the best.”
“I was thinking of heading out with Sheppard after Christopher heads off to college, but maybe this would be the best of both worlds for me.” Chano looked at him confused. “I work keeping the planet safe while letting Christopher have his independence.”
“What about a partner … Family?”
“This job is not exactly one conducive to an open, honest relationship.” Eddie cocked an eyebrow at his teammate at both the fire department and SGC.
“You have Trace, Brennan, and me.”
“I know, and I thank anyone who’s listening every day. I hate leaving the clinic all on Trace and Brennan, but this hits all the right buttons.”
“That why you don’t date? Too busy on the job?”
“I’ve been in love before. Twice. Well, the first one was technically lust. Didn’t work out either time. Always the best man, never the groom.” Eddie chuckled as he stood before his muscles tightened up. “Let’s get cleaned up. I need to get home. Don’t want Letty to meet me at the door with a wooden spoon for being late.” Eddie joked as he headed toward the cabin the team used when they were at the ranch to clean up before driving /back to Colorado Springs. “I’ll see you on shift.” He picked up the pack they’d each carried on the road march Chisolm had scheduled.
A soft expression filled dark eyes as they watched Eddie walk away. He knew Eddie wouldn’t consider any more than friendship because of being Chano’s captain, but he’d also seen how he acted with Evan Buckley when the California firefighter had visited the station. Eddie was in love with his best friend but seemed to have locked his feelings down for the married man. Maybe if Chano was very patient, he could coax Eddie to change his mind. Shaking himself loose from his thoughts, he grabbed his pack and followed Eddie to the shower.
The first few retrievals Team 7 was assigned went according to plan. Being able to beam from place to place was an ideal scenario, but most times more conventional modes of transportation were needed.
Their second mission was Eddie and Chano’s skills as firefighters that had been useful in the recovery of a Goa’uld sarcophagus from a building on the outskirts of Las Vegas. From the rows of skylights, it appeared the building was intended to become condos, but the city had not yet sprawled this far to the east. The surveillance cameras were concentrated on the approach from the ground, leaving the roof access open.
Beaming onto the roof at noon to hide the flash of light from the Asgard technology, the team carefully checked the perimeter before starting to work on the skylights. Seeing fresh tire tracks disappearing into a garage door, Eddie pulled out a Life Signs Detector to scan the building at the same time Chano was doing the same with a thermal scanner.
“I got heat from a car engine.” Chano reported.
“I’ve got a humanoid heat signature, but it’s muted. Maybe asleep or drugged.” Eddie suggested.
Billy had turned off the alarms and had control of the cameras while Vasquez and Faraday worked on removing the large pane of glass. “Easy, boys. We need to put everything back the way we found it.” Robicheaux reminded them.
While the twins of mass destruction, Faraday and Vasquez, were gaining entry, Eddie and Chano were getting into their harnesses to rope down into the building. Before rappelling down, Eddie did another quick scan. Seeing the results hadn’t changed, the two men descended into the building where the only light came from the skylights. Weapons ready, a quick look around showed them a luxury sports car sitting just inside the garage door. They cleared the building before returning to look at the sarcophagus.
“Did anyone know what we were going after or was this just one of those we detected blah, blah, blah, go pick it up missions.” Black Moon stood with his hands on his hips as he looked at the gold-colored box the size of a banquet table.
“Can we beam it out?” Eddie was looking at the LSD. “This thing still says someone is in the building.” He adjusted the settings again. “It says they should be right in front of me.”
The men exchanged a look before they began looking for a way to open the sarcophagus. Eventually one of the hieroglyphs moved under Chano’s hand and the lid opened to reveal one of the wealthiest men in Las Vegas. Andrew Emmitts always made Eddie think of an older version of Buck. Probably around the age of fifty. The man was Warren Buffet rich, having taken the family fortune made from mining gold and gemstones in the western states, and expanding it to where the family wouldn’t have to work for generations.
Now they knew why a man that should be pushing … Ninety … Looked like he was fifty. Eddie cursed in four languages. This was going to be such a shit show. They could not just disappear one of the wealthiest men in the world into one of Stargate’s black sites. Chano rolled the still unconscious man over and zip-tied his hands behind him. As Emmitts was beginning to come around from being yanked out of the sarcophagus, Eddie grabbed a tranquilizer from his medic supplies, and put the man out before he radioed Chisolm.
“Boss, we have a situation. One that needs lots of stars. Someone was in the box.” Eddie was careful with his words. As secure as their transmissions were, you could never be too careful.
“Got an identity?”
“Well, it wasn’t Little Orphan Annie.” Eddie and Chano could practically hear the groans from the roof. Generals and Daddy Warbucks did not bode well.
This just went from a quick, quiet, in and out to without a trace mission. They couldn’t do multiple beam outs without attracting attention. Even though Billy had control of the cameras, the team didn’t want to take a chance of leaving footprints outside the building, so they removed enough of the skylights to rope people and equipment in and out of the building. Eddie and Chano set up the ropes and winches on the roof to get everyone in and out as safely as possible. They had put a transponder on the sarcophagus to have it beamed out, but something in the building was blocking the signal, and they didn’t have time to search for the reason.
After searching the building from top to bottom, they collected several other pieces of Goa’uld technology along with several items that pulled on Eddie’s ATA gene. He wrapped them carefully and secured them in his pack before he got to work preparing the sarcophagus to be hoisted out through the roof so Apollo could get a lock.
Even with the use of ascenders and descenders, the numerous trips up and down the ropes were working on his stamina. Taking a few minutes to grab some water and ration bars, the two firefighters were back on their game as they started bringing the sarcophagus out of the building.
“Man, I want to meet the idiot that said this was an easy in and out and send them up and down the ropes by hand a dozen times.” Black Moon complained as they finally got the sarcophagus on the roof. Releasing the webbing and ropes, they signaled Apollo to retrieve the package. Chuckling at his friend’s grumbling, Eddie started repacking their equipment.
When they finished, they lowered themselves back into the building to discuss their next steps. A man of Andrew Emmitt’s high profile could not just disappear. The cameras were going to have to show he left the building, and when they were in an area where there either were no cameras, Billy could put in a loop to give them a few minutes to get Emmitts somewhere secure.
“Faraday looks the most like Emmitts in height and build, so he’s going to put on his coat and hat, and drive Emmitts’ car to where we can get to it without being seen. Billy, you got a spot picked out?”
Pulling up a map on his tablet, Billy pointed to a point three miles from the building. “There’s a National Forest Road that turns off to the right leading to some gold claims, so it should be in good enough shape for the car to handle. Stop behind the first set of hills. Apollo can pick you up from there.” Faraday huffed at being separated from the team but nodded his agreement.
“Luckily the sun’s still bright enough here to hide all the beaming, so take off now. We’ll let O’Neill figure out how to search the rest of Emmitts’ properties for things he shouldn’t have. Pack it up. Remember, we were never here. Faraday, we’ll be in your ear the whole time. You’ll probably be on Apollo before we are.” Chisolm reassured the redheaded SEAL.
The team scattered to carry out their orders. Robicheaux and Vasquez got Faraday out of gear and into Emmitt’s coat and hat. Eddie and Chano got the trillionaire up the rope to the roof while Billy and Chisolm did one last sweep of the building for anything to show they’d been there.
On board Apollo, General Jack O’Neill met them in the transport bay with Andrew Emmitts draped over Black Moon’s shoulders. Jack sighed. “Do you realize how many meetings this is going to cause me to have?”
Eddie shrugged off his pack and pulled out the Ancient tech he’d carried back. “This might make a few more. Plus, we have to figure out how to search how many hundred pieces of property the man and his companies own?”
“Stay here, you menaces. I have to talk to Colonel Ellis about where to beam you and all this ‘stuff’.” He turned on his heel and headed to the bridge.
Jack O’Neill was beyond pissed. How had so much alien and Ancient tech disappeared from their facilities, especially a sarcophagus? When he found out who it was, they were going to wish they didn’t know his name. He leaned against the table in the observation area of the interrogation room watching Andrew Emmitts through the two-way mirror, as he began to regain consciousness while handcuffed to the table. There was no way they could make one of the richest men on the planet disappear.
A smile cracked the stony visage as the members of Team 7 sauntered into the observation room.
“Chris started working with a new therapist about six months ago who looks an awful lot like you.” Diaz looked at Black Moon expectantly.
“My cousin, Red Harvest. He was part of Team 7 until he took a hit from a staff weapon. He was already studying physical therapy when he was injured, so he finished his degree while he was rehabbing. He took a job at Innovations Gate Clinic so he could work with people in the program that need therapy and someone they could talk to that’s in the know.”
“Christopher likes him. Likes that he pushes him to be as independent as possible, especially since he couldn’t pass the evaluation to get a driver’s license.”
“Shame we can’t use much of this space junk to heal our people.” Faraday chimed in.
“Who’s going to volunteer to do whatever you need to get naquadah in your bloodstream so you can use those gizmos?” Robicheaux drawled.
“Then there’s the problem of addiction to the sarcophagus healing.” Billy muttered.
Jack moved from where he was leaning like he’d been shocked. “That’s it.”
“Sir?” The team turned as one to give the General their attention.
“I’ve been trying to come up with an angle to go at Emmitts with. He’s a junkie to the sarcophagus.
“You’re going to tease him with a ‘fix’ in exchange for the location of all the stolen tech?” Eddie asked.
“Good idea, Diaz.” He headed for the interrogation room to put his plan into action.
The interview turned out to be a bit anticlimactic when after finding out his money couldn’t buy him out of the situation, Emmitts folded like a house of cards. When he realized he was addicted to the alien machine, he began limiting his use as much as he could withstand. Given the promise of help with his addiction, the trillionaire turned over the names of the people from whom he’d purchased the alien technology.
Ten days under the thumb of Dr. Carolyn Lam, an NDA, and one of Jack’s Homeworld agents inserted as Emmitt’s personal security saw the man able to return home with a story of checking himself into a very exclusive health resort for a full course of physical and spiritual wellness treatments. Once, O’Neill, had all that settled, he turned his attention to another round of actions against the TRUST.
Forcing himself to keep putting one foot in front of the other, Eddie silently cursed the Homeworld idiot that included rookie agents on the takedown of members of the TRUST. Instead of waiting for the signal to move from Chisolm, the rookie had jumped at the first sign of one of their targets. They had taken down their targets, and two Homeworld agents had been wounded, but the rookie had died when the TRUST agent had shot before the rookie finished identifying herself. In the battle that followed, the TRUST people not only had conventional weapons but also Goa’uld and Jaffa weapons. If not for the ceramic polymer plates that had been developed, Eddie would be carrying the dead body of Chano Black Moon instead of his unconscious body to the beaming site. And don’t think Chano wasn’t going to be told about protecting his teammate by stepping in front of a Ma’Tok blast just as soon as he was coherent enough to understand how badly he had scared Eddie when he saw Chano hit the ground.
The rest of Team 7 had a wide array of hurts. Vasquez had Faraday in a fireman’s carry also from a Ma’Tok blast, while Chisolm and Billy carried Robicheaux between them after the sniper had been knocked from his nest. Eddie had patched everyone up as best he could before they were beamed along with the live TRUST people back to Stargate Command.
Once he’d been checked over by Dr. Lam’s merry band of needle-happy doctors, Eddie settled in beside Chano, waiting for him to regain consciousness. In between working on his after-action report, and waiting on the rest of his team, he indulged in a bit of introspection. Why had seeing Chano go down from the staff blast frightened him so much? Why had it felt like it did when he’d seen Buck trapped under the ladder truck? Was it fear of losing a friend and teammate, or was it something more?
Before he could find the answer, dark eyes opened, and Chano smiled when he saw Eddie sitting at his bedside.
After leaving his messenger bag and shoes in the mudroom, Christopher stopped to look around for his father. His best friend, Dina Travers, dropped him home after the robotics club finished working on their latest project. Dina had introduced herself on his first day at Pearson and had stood by his side ever since. Her mom was a scientist at the same base where his dad did his Army work and had been an awesome help to him when his homework was too far out of his dad’s comfort zone.
Thinking he and Dina would be like his dad and Buck, BFFs no matter what, Christopher had been blindsided when instead of simply grabbing his bag out of the backseat and handing it to him, she had walked with him to the door and kissed him on the lips. He was still standing there awestruck when she gave him a sweet smile, a jaunty wave, and said, “Pick you up at the regular time. Night, Chris.” He absentmindedly waved his agreement with one hand while lightly touching his lips with the other. He finally shook off his astonishment, and as he always did when he was confused, he went in search of his father.
A flash of light drew Christopher’s attention to the deck where his dad was looking at something on his phone with a bottle of beer sitting at his elbow. As he’d gotten older and gone through puberty, he’d had very blunt conversations with his dad, Buck, and his team of doctors about what being an adult with Cerebral Palsy would mean in the future. Now, all that theory started swirling through his brain with the taste of his best friend still on his lips. He grinned at the thought he was sneaking up on his warrior father since he hadn’t looked up from his phone, but he should have known better.
“Hey, mijo. Is everything okay? It took you a while after you came in.”
“I don’t know.” Christopher huffed out. “Dina kissed me, and I liked it … A lot.”
Eddie bit his lip to keep from smiling at his teenage son. “Is that a bad thing? You seem a little putout.”
“She didn’t warn me, and I wasn’t ready. I just stood there. I know I had this goofy look on my face because she gave me that smile she gets when she thinks I’m being goofy.”
“Guess that means she liked it, too.” He teased lightly.
“Daaaaddd, this is serious.” Christopher flailed and thumped down in a chair.
“First kisses always are. Plus, she’s your best friend. That can be a blessing and curse.” Eddie picked up his phone to darken the screen.
Before it wet black, Christopher saw a picture of him, his dad, and Buck, from when Buck had visited last year.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, it’s your best friend. You know a lot about them. You’re comfortable with them, and they’re so very easy to love. If something happens and you aren’t together anymore, you not only lost a romantic partner, but you also lose your best friend.”
“Is that what happened with you and Bucky?” Christopher reached out for his father to comfort the sad expression on his face.
“What? No. I mean I love Buck, but he made a life with Taylor, and I accepted his decision.”
Leaning forward, Christopher made the decision that now would be a good time to show his father he was becoming an adult. He would be seventeen in a few months, and he would be going to college next year. Dina had been talking about CalTech and he was seriously thinking about following her. On their last Facetime, Buck had walked through his new house inviting Christopher to live with him if he chose a college in Los Angeles. Maybe his dad could transfer back to Los Angeles, and things could be like before Buck married.
“You know I’ll be going to college in little over a year.”
“Don’t remind me. You’ll make me feel old.” His dad gave him a sad smile.
“I worry about you being alone. How come you haven’t found someone just for you?”
“Oh, mijo, it’s not that easy.”
“Is it because you can’t love Buck like a boyfriend?”
“Not anymore. I know Buck doesn’t love me like that. It takes me a long time to warm up to people … To develop feelings. People get impatient. They want everything to be instant … Like a microwave burrito.” Eddie smiled at his son’s infectious laugh.
“I’m sorry, Dad. I wish you had someone like Trace or Chano or Brennan. Iris or Linsay would be good, too. They would keep you from wallowing.”
“I don’t wallow.” Eddie reached out to tickle the son, who was almost as tall as him.
“You do. Tia Pepa said so.”
“Tia Pepa is a casaamentera, and not a very good one. She just throws people at you hoping something will stick. Now, are you getting a shower before bed or in the morning?”
“In the morning. Dina’s picking me up for school.” Christopher blushed to the tips of his ears.
“Ahhhh. It’s like that, now. I’m happy for you, mijo. Now, give me a hug, and head to bed. I am not very far behind. It’s been a long day.” Eddie stood, slipped his phone into his pocket, and waited until Christopher’s balance was solid before reaching out for a hug. His son was getting so tall and broad, and now he had love. He held on until he beat back the tears and swallowed the lump in his throat. “I love you, mijo.”
“Love you, too, Dad.”
Watching his son walk tall and almost straight with one cane toward his room, Eddie knew every day of his life in Colorado Springs had been worth whatever he had to give. With Christopher getting ready to step out into life on his own, maybe it was time for him to find someone, too.
~ TBC ~