If I Can’t Have You, I’ll Take The Stars ~ Part 7

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
Rating: PG-15
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.

Arching an eyebrow with an expression that told the older man next to him that he hadn’t fooled Eddie when Athena had offered to help Christopher clean up after supper.

“You two aren’t the most subtle.” Eddie shook his finger and laughed at his fellow captain.

“That’s one thing no one ever accused Athena of being was subtle.” Bobby chuckled. “She gives you that look, kind of like the one you’re giving me, and you do what she wants or suffer the consequences. Believe me, I’m a lot more intimidated by her than I am of you.”

Eddie snorted his answer before grabbing his wine glass. “That’s only because you haven’t worked with me in seven years. If you listen to the gossip around my units, you might decide I’m just as badass as your wife.”

“I doubt that, but the reason I wanted to talk to you alone …” Bobby paused as if debating with himself. “I know a lot was left unsaid between you and Buck when he married Taylor, and I know the two of you have remained friends because you did the work to make it so.” Eddie nodded his agreement, wondering where Bobby was going with all this. “I would like for you to consider transferring back to the LAFD … The 118 to be specific. Because of the expansion of the city, they did some redistricting. They’re moving the 118 into that triangle formed by the Five and the OneTen.”

“So, County never put any stations out that way? You’ll be covering two colleges, two stadiums, the TwoTen, the Five, and the OneTen?”

“Yeah, along with building us a new station. We’ll go from a light brigade to a Battalion with the addition of a Squad to the Engine and Truck. Shifts will be like you have here.”

“Hopefully the locker room won’t have glass walls … So, LAFD kicking you to Battalion Chief or making you retire?”

“I’m taking the promotion. I still have a few years before they offer me a desk job. What I need are experienced officers, and that’s where you come in.”

“It would be good to be able to see my Abuela more. I hold my breath every time the phone rings with Tia Pepa’s number that it’s not news of her passing, but what about Han, Buck, Hen, or one of your other old hands? They’re not going to want you dragging in some new guy.”

“You are not a new guy. Except for a few leftovers from the captain before me, most of the 118 were fairly young when you left. We don’t get a lot of turnovers.”

“Hen did a great job when she was Interim Captain while I was on vacation, but she doesn’t want the added responsibility aside from the ambulance. Chim’s a work in progress but doesn’t seem to want to go further than Lieutenant, at present.”

“I’ve got one of those.” Eddie commiserated.

“I thought Buck would go after he got back from visiting you when you were getting ready to take your Captain’s exam, but he surprised me. He passed the Lieutenant’s exam but then went for Urban SAR certification. He’s also been kicking around with the Engineers.”

“Is he on Truck or Engine?”

“Engine. I’m starting to move the crews around as I find out about changes, so it won’t make as much impact when the changes come through. I confess when you invited us to lunch the other day, I was tempted to steal Trace. I’m jealous of his ability in the kitchen. But that’s not what I wanted to confess. I asked Chief Wilde to let me take a peek at your file. The list of certifications you’ve racked up while you’ve been here is impressive. It’s also eerie how your certifications run parallel to Buck’s … As if you guys coordinated.”

“To tell you the truth, Bobby, since Buck was here a couple of years ago and talked about maybe getting a divorce, he’s had more contact with Christopher than me. The thing is I don’t know why. I’ve never said or done anything he took issue with, so you might want to check with him to see if he’d even want to me at 118. Have they announced these changes yet, or are the Big Chiefs going to ambush everyone at the last minute? To tell the truth, I’ve been giving serious thought to going full-time with my military team once Christopher is settled at college.”

“No, they don’t want to make any announcements until a couple of weeks before the move. Buck’s had a lot going on … The divorce from Taylor, and buying a house … He really threw himself into the job. Part of it might be our fault.”

“Your fault? How could Buck not communicating with me be your and Athena’s fault?”

“Athena and I saw Buck was struggling emotionally after the divorce, so we invited him to the house for breakfast one day after shift. It had been a busy shift, and even with Lucy and Ravi helping, the heavy work fell on Buck. The poor guy was exhausted, but like the kind soul he is, he came to breakfast. After we ate, we were sitting on the patio with coffee, and Athena started to burrow into how Buck was doing since he’d kicked Taylor to the curb.”

“That boy was doing every move but the Electric Slide to keep from giving me a straight answer.” Athena put a tray with coffee and fixings on the table. “All that work he’d done with Dr. Copeland out the window in six short years. Christopher said to tell you he was going to his room. Something about a college final.”

“Yeah. The kid’s scary smart. He and some of his friends at Pearson are taking classes you usually take the first two years in college now so they can transfer them to their ‘real’ college and get right into the meatier classes. His girlfriend’s mother and father work with me at my other job.”

“Buck said you rejoined the Army.” Bobby reached over to fix his cup of coffee.

“Yeah. The extra money will keep me from being in debt to my eyeballs when Chris tells me he wants to get his Ph.D.” Eddie chuckled.

“Seriously?” Athena snagged a cookie Eddie had picked up at the bakery earlier.

“Yeah. He has a standing offer to work during his semester breaks, and a job when he graduates. A lot of the technology they use at the clinic that treated Christopher came out of my duty station.”

“If you wanted to come back to the 118, would they let you transfer?”

“My team’s fairly independent, so I have leeway on where I live. Wherever I end up, I’ll keep this house for Christopher if he wants to come back here to work.”

“I think we’ve gone down this garden path far enough.” Athena cut across the small talk. “As we were saying, Buck told us the night he told Taylor he wanted a divorce, she told him she married him because he was the Face of the LAFD and the sex was incredible. She acted like she was competing with someone else for Buck’s affection, and that she had won. She also accused you of alienating Buck from her while he was here on vacation. When he asked her who she was talking about, she refused to tell him. That boy has been wracking his brain trying to figure out what he missed while he was blinded by Taylor. We tried to drop little hints, but you know that boy couldn’t find a clue with both hands and a map. Maybe once you’re back, he’ll realize …”

“It’s okay, Athena. I learned to live with it a long time ago. Between my job, the Army, and Christopher, there hasn’t been time for much else.” Eddie paused as an overheard conversation from a week ago popped into his mind. “I don’t think you’re going to have to worry about whether I’ll take you up on your offer.”

“Why’s that?”

“A couple of my teammates are moving to Los Angeles to be closer to one’s elderly mother, so we’ll probably be using Coronado for training purposes. I’m sure my General has it all figured out. He was wanting us closer to the West Coast. That gives me about a year to get things squared around here and find a place to live with a move-in date of after Christopher graduates.”

“I call that a good night’s work. Welcome back, Captain Diaz.”

“One more question. You’re not asking me back because you think I’m the answer to Buck’s emotional doldrums?”

“WHAT! NO! We didn’t mean to give you the impression this is some kind of consolation prize for coming back to Los Angeles.” Bobby laid his hand over Eddie’s to emphasize his point. “Your file speaks for itself.”

“I had to ask. You guys have all but given Buck adult adoption papers.” Eddie rubbed his hands over his face. “My Chief is going to hate you.”

“He’ll get over it. I did.” Bobby grinned at his new Captain.


Feeling eyes on him, Buck lifted his head from his tablet to look around the loft. Bobby was leaning against the kitchen counter looking at him across the top of his coffee mug. He’d missed his captain’s calming influence while he was on vacation. The brass, not wanting another dictator Chim incident, had brought in a captain from the Academy for the two weeks Bobby and Athena had been trekking across the eleven western states. The woman had been competent with a no-nonsense attitude, and the two weeks had passed with little disruption in the 118’s normal routine.

“Hey, Cap. Something you need?”

“No, just wondering about something.”

“Sure. You know me … I’m an open book.” Buck closed the cover on his tablet to give Bobby his full attention.

“Talked to Eddie lately?”

That pulled Buck up short. “Sure. I had my usual Sunday call with Chris.”

“So, you talked to Eddie after you talked to Christopher?”

“Well, no.” Buck wondered where this line of questioning was going until he thought about Bobby’s question.

“So, how long?”

Buck’s face flushed then paled. “Oh my God.” Wide blue eyes looked at Bobby with realization. “Um, I think it’s been over two years since I talked to him.”

“Did something happen? An argument?”

“I don’t think so. I remember there were a couple of Sundays when he was on shift or doing his Army job. I got out of the habit of asking to talk to him. I would send him texts or do the comment thing on Insta.” Agitated, Buck stood and began to pace the loft. “With the divorce, then buying the house, and trying to figure out Taylor’s cryptic crap about winning some imagined competition with someone who’s supposedly in love with me … I didn’t realize that I was talking at him and not to him. He must think I’m a total ass.” He flopped back down on the couch.

“No, Buck, he doesn’t think you’re an ass. He’s just hurt that you don’t want to talk to him, but you haven’t told him what he did wrong.”

“What?! How do you … You stopped in Colorado Springs on your RV trip.”

“We did. Eddie was gracious enough to give us the run of his house while we ran all over the Front Range doing the tourist thing. Chris told us all about taking his college courses and his girlfriend, and your offer to let him live with you if he went to school in Los Angeles. I noticed in all those conversations; he never mentioned his father and his thoughts on the subject.”

“This just gets better and better. He probably thinks I’m trying to steal his kid.”

“Did you offer to let his girlfriend live with you, too? Sounds pretty serious between them. They’re planning on going to college together and probably working together at the same place Eddie’s working.”

The younger man’s face turned bright red. “I might have.” He rubbed both hands over his face. “Eddie is going to shoot me someplace painful. Not that I blame him. I’ve butted into his and Chris’ life without so much as a by your leave.”

“Have you given him your new address?”

“I gave it to Chris, which makes it seem like I don’t want him to have it. Bobby, what did Eddie tell you?”

“Before I answer that, I have another question … If Eddie transferred back to the 118, can you work with him?”

“Why would you even ask me that?! Of course, I would work with him.” Buck paused as his brain finally started adding two and two and getting four. “But he thinks I’m mad at him and thinks I wouldn’t want to work with him.”

“Pretty much.” Bobby said softly.

“Does he want to come back to the 118?” Blue eyes looked hopeful.

“We discussed it.” Bobby looked down the steps, but it seemed everyone was in their bunks. He moved to sit next to Buck on the couch so he could lower his voice. “This is not for anyone but you. Changes are coming and I would like Eddie to be part of those changes. He had a few conditions before he would consider taking my offer. One, that you were willing to work with him since you haven’t contacted him in so long, and two that his military superiors give the okay.”

“I’ve lost track of his schedule. I’ll get a hold of Chris, and maybe fly out on my next days off. How soon are these changes? Tell me I have time to fix this.”

Bobby laid a hand on Buck’s arm to calm him. “You have time, Buck. The changes will become public knowledge a couple of weeks after Christopher graduates. Remember, only you and Eddie know. I want to keep it that way.”

Buck grabbed his captain in a bear hug. “Thank you.”

“I didn’t do anything.”

“You snapped me out of this daze I’ve been walking around in.” He grabbed his phone and saw the time. “Maybe I’ll wait until Chris is awake before I text him.”

“It might be a good idea for you to try and sleep, too.”

“But I …”

“It’ll still be there in the morning, Buck. After all this time, another few hours won’t matter.”

Bobby could see Buck physically deflate. “You’re right. Good night, Cap.” Buck gave him another hug before heading to the bunk room.

Stretched out on his bunk, Buck tried to quiet his mind enough to doze off, but nothing seemed to be working. Thinking if he could concentrate on one topic, he might be able to sleep, he tried to think of the names of the people Chris talked about during their Facetime calls. He’d been to Eddie’s firehouse and met everyone on his shift. He seemed closest with Trace, the lead paramedic, and his husband, Brennan. Also, Will and Chano, who were part of his Squad crew.

As he felt sleep starting to tug at his mind, other names came to mind. Names that appeared in Chris’ conversations about six months after his visit. Stories about horseback riding with his dad’s team from his Army job. As sleep pulled him down, his final thought was, who are Sam, Emma, Goodnight, Billy, Vas, and Josh? What the hell kind of name is Goodnight?

At the shift’s end, Buck was one of the first ones out the door. When he got home, the first thing he did was send Eddie a text to call him when he was free. He then proceeded to make himself a lumberjack breakfast. He was sitting on the deck outside his bedroom enjoying the quiet of the neighborhood and his coffee when Eddie’s ringtone sounded off.

“Hey, Eddie, thanks for calling me back.”

“Everything all right?” The voice on the other end was cool … Wary. Buck felt awful that he’d put that tone in his friend’s voice.

“I thought everything was good, but I realized I was overlooking something very important.”

“Yeah, what’s that?”

“You. I talk to Chris. I talk to Pepa and Abulea, but I realized last night that I talk to everyone but you. I’m sorry, Eddie. I didn’t realize what I had done until I was talking to Bobby last night, and he asked when the last time was I talked to you. I would call, and you’d be on shift a couple of times, then I’d forget to ask Chris to talk to you, and the next thing you know, two years have gone by. Can you forgive me?”

“It’s fine, Buck. I thought I did or said something while you were here that upset you, but you seemed fine with Christopher. I didn’t want to run over your boundaries. You said you wanted to try with Taylor, and I know she never really liked me, so I didn’t push.”

“Oh, Eds.” Blinking rapidly as he felt the tears welling. Eddie was hiding behind the facade he used when he’d first started at the 118. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize. I’ve been so far into my head with the divorce, buying a house, and planning to ask Chris to live with me if he picked a school in Los Angeles … You know … In case you decided to stay in Colorado … And it would save on dorm fees … Then Chris is talking about Dina … And I have four bedrooms, so I offered her a place, too … I’m not trying to steal your kid …”

“Buck … BUCK … EVAN!” The use of his first name in Eddie’s dad voice finally broke through Buck’s verbal spiral. “Take a breath. Now, take another. Christopher has become an incredible young man. We discussed living with you vs. the dorms. Even took the time to visit the dorms at a couple of schools during the semester. The stimulus of all the noise and movement was overwhelming, so your suggestion is a good one.”

Voice trembling with emotion, Buck wracked his brain for a way to draw out the man that had been by his side for so much. The man that trusted him with his son. “Taylor had me so twisted up with her jealousy of my relationship with you …”

“Evan, stop. We’ll figure it out if you want to.”

“I do. I don’t know where to start.”

“We can start right here and see how it goes.”

“I’d like that. Are you coming back to Los Angeles?”

“Not until Christopher graduates, and if I can work it out with the military. How did you find out?”

“Bobby. He made me swear to secrecy. He started asking me questions that made me realize what I’d done. Eddie …”

“Buck.” Eddie interrupted before another spiral could start. “We’ll figure it out. We’ve been friends for over ten years. I’m not ready to give that up.”

“Right. You’re right. We’ve had each other’s back since the grenade in that guy’s leg.”

“You good now?”

“Yeah. I should have …” He heard Eddie start to growl on the other end of the call. “Right. Starting fresh. Send me your schedule, so I know when to call. Hug Chris for me.”

I’ll do that … The schedule and the hug. Be safe out there, Buck.”

“You, too, Eddie. We’ll talk soon.”

Eddie kicked his feet up on the couch. Heaving a sigh, he felt hope rise. Maybe this time he would get it right.


Looking across the table at his number one retrieval team, O’Neill didn’t know whether to praise them for anticipating his plans or kick them in the pants for pushing up his timeline. He thought he would lose Diaz when the man finally decided to move back to California. Eddie had called him two weeks ago asking if there was a way he could stay with the program and move to Los Angeles after Christopher graduated.

Jack had pulled Daniel and Davis into their conversation when Eddie suggested setting up a safe house situation for O’Neill’s agents as they had in Colorado Springs. Two days ago, Chisolm’s children of chaos, Faraday and Vasquez asked Jack the same thing because Vasquez wanted to take care of his mother during her final years.

Diaz already picked out a Spanish-style house in one of Los Angeles’ older neighborhoods. Instead of a garage, the house had a guesthouse that would be turned into an aid station/safe house. That it was located close to where Nash told Eddie the 118 was having a new firehouse built as Los Angeles expanded the reach of their firehouses was a bonus. The house was near Griffith Park, which would give extra cover to anyone making their way to the sanctuary of Eddie’s guesthouse. Vasquez and Faraday were within five miles of the house if Eddie happened to need backup.

Put together with Chisolm and Robicheaux making a move toward leaving fieldwork, Jack and Eddie had spent the week re-working the logistics of Team 7. Since Diaz had more time in the program and his firefighter training, O’Neill raised his rank to Chief Warrant Office 2, which made him and Rocks third in rank among the group. He would be riding Ramrod on the team when they were boots on the ground, while Chisolm, Goodnight, and Rocks worked as their backup from secure briefing rooms from Stargate offices at the Space Force base. A sly smile appeared on O’Neill’s face that made even a kick-ass team like the Magnificent Seven sit down and be quiet.

“Okay, Boys, here’s what’s going to happen.” Daniel put pictures of the house from the realtor’s website on the screen. “This is the house Eddie bought. We took a Tok’ra tunneling device and gave the house a basement that we’re turning into a clinic, just like here. There’s a wall of bookcases in the dining room. We took this shelf on the end and turned it into a door leading down to the clinic. It has a biometric lock keyed to Team 7. It’s also storage for your gear and weapons. Vasquez, it’s up to you and Faraday to take care of the weapons and equipment. Rocks, set them up a secure computer and home network. Everything is waiting for you. Let Walter know if you need anything else. He’s your supply line. He’s familiar with your training schedule and will be making arrangements at Coronado to use their facilities.” Jack looked at Eddie.

“My four days off start tomorrow. I’ll be returning Sunday afternoon. Christopher is staying with the Travers while I go to LA to buy furnishings for the house since the only things I’m moving from my home here are my clothes and a few odds and ends. Travel is courtesy of the Apollo. I’ve arranged to borrow a box truck, from my cousin, to haul furniture, so I don’t have to wait for delivery.” He looked at Vasquez and Faraday. “When are you moving? I could use the help.”

“We’ve shipped everything to Mami’s already. We moved her to the first level of the house. Joshua and I are using the upper level. We just need to finish packing our clothes tonight. Give us a time and place, we’ll be there.” Vasquez grinned at his partner.

“House is off-grid… solar panels on the roof, the battery bank is in the shed with the pool pumps, so no worries with the electric. Gas has been switched over to my name, and the cable guy is coming tomorrow afternoon.”

“I’ll call my head chef and tell him he’s in charge until Saturday.” Billy twirled his hairpin.

“I can lend an extra set of muscles.” Chano grinned at his Squad Captain.

“Beats running drills.” Eddie shook his finger at his friend.

“I fear I have obligations the next two days, so I will not be able to join you.” Goodnight frowned at not being able to go to Los Angeles.

“You can hang out with us if it gets to be too much.” Sam bumped shoulders with his old friend.

“Great it’s settled. Everybody be in the disembarkation room with your stuff in the morning at 0700. Eddie radio Apollo for your return trip.”

“We’ll set it for 1500 Sunday. I’d like to spend a minute or two with my kid this weekend.”

“Great. We’re done. Good meeting.” Jack paused when Daniel elbowed him. “What?” Daniel nodded toward his pocket. “Oh. Right. Diaz, front and center.” Eddie stood and walked over to Jack. “You know what to do with these. Congratulations, Chief Diaz for your promotion to Chief Warrant Officer 2. Since the team is now in the field and not, you’re in charge in the field.” He reached out to shake Eddie’s hand.

“Thank you, Sir.” He blinked in surprise while the rest of the team grinned their approval.

“Now, I think I’m in the mood for pie and coffee. I believe you all have some packing to do.” Daniel trailed Jack out of the conference room regaling the General with the last exploits of Vala Mal Doran.

“You heard the General, Texas. Hasta manana.” Vasquez slapped Eddie on the shoulder on his way out of the room.

“What Vas said. Faraday sauntered along behind the Weapons Specialist.

“You have become an integral part of our little family.” Goodnight drawled. “Come along, there’s no time to tarry.”

Shaking his head at their antics, he took a moment to enjoy the camaraderie he shared with these six very different men. Eddie could see himself following Sheppard and McKay to Atlantis if not for Christopher. What was it they said at the beginning of Star Trek? To explore strange new worlds. With his luck, they’d be just as screwed up as this one, but life would never be boring with the antics of the Colonel and his scientist. Maybe once Bobby got another captain and Christopher was settled in with Buck and Dina he would talk to Jack about Atlantis. Maybe just maybe the Pegasus galaxy would be far enough away for his stubborn heart to let go.


Picking up the mail on the way home, Eddie smiled when he saw the fat envelope from CalTech along with several other fat envelopes. He was so proud his son had proven the naysayers like his parents wrong.  He would also soon have to tell Christopher that he was transferring back to Los Angeles. As soon as Christopher picked where he was going to school, they would discuss their plans. Staying with Buck would make it easier for Eddie to carry on SGC business, with Buck offering Dina a place, too, there was no way Christopher would want to be separated from her.

Seeing Letty’s car still in the garage, Eddie took his time getting everything out of the truck before heading into the house. Seeing her puttering around the kitchen brought a smile to his face. Though Christopher didn’t need the amount of help he did eight years ago, Eddie wanted him to have someone at the house should he need them. Those years rested easy on Letty and Eddie would miss her when he and Christopher left Colorado.

“Hey, why are you still here? Didn’t Christopher ride with Dina this morning?”

“Yeah, he did. Those two are so cute.” She set a cup of tea in front of him.

“They are. We Diaz men fall fast and hard.” He grinned over the rim of his cup.

“You can turn the wattage down a bit. I am a married woman.”

“And Hank is a very lucky man.”

“Damn straight. Now, stop distracting me. I wanted to talk about Chris and Dina. Don’t you think those two got serious awful fast?”

“Letty, they’ve known each other since they were ten. I know Dina dated a couple of other guys before Christopher. He dated a few guys and girls before Dina. What’s brought this on, Letty?”

“I’m just being silly. I love you boys like you’re my own, and now I’m losing you both.”

“You’re not losing us any more than Carla did when we moved. We’ll keep in touch, and Christopher and Dina will be back in this house every summer for their internships, permanently as soon as they graduate college. Next thing you know they’ll be wanting you to be auntie to their babies.” Coming around the bar to hug him tight, Eddie felt her tears on his t-shirt. “We love you and Hank. Your kids won’t leave you behind.”

Letty backed up dabbing her eyes. “Stop being so reasonable. I hate that you’re both leaving.”

“I’d rather stay, but my first captain is in a jam, and I promised to help him out. Things go the way I hope, I’ll only be gone a few years.”

“From your lips to the Gods’ ear.” Letty kissed him on the cheek.

“If Christopher has any problems while I’m gone, you’re his first call. I can get home if something comes up, but it might take me a bit.”

“I’ve got the Travers’ number in my phone.” You better call Carla while you’re in California.” Letty warned.

“She’s third behind my Abuela and Tia.” Eddie assured her. Chuckling as she headed toward the garage, Eddie shook his head at the number of women that ran his life.

After a quick breakfast, he packed a couple of sea bags with clothes, shoes, and a few pictures he wanted with him. His kit and things that would be coming back Sunday night went in a smaller duffel. Anything else he could buy when he went shopping for the small items every house needs. This weekend was about the big stuff. Satisfied his stuff was packed, he decided to deal with the mail, then stretch out on the bed until Christopher got home.

Taking his backpack to his room after greeting his father, Christopher asked if they could order pizza for supper. Knowing there would be little cooking or anything else once he gave Chris his mail, Eddie agreed.

“Mijo! You’re going to spend the next four days with your girlfriend, come open your mail.” Eddie called from the living room.

“Dad, what’s the rush?” Christopher demanded his face flushed from his dad’s teasing.

“I thought you’d like to open these fat envelopes before the pizza arrived.”

“Fat? Oh wow.” He threw himself down next to his dad and grabbed the mail. Eddie watched his face as he read the three letters. Wide blue eyes looked up from the letters to Eddie. “If I was talking to Grandma and Abuelo right now, I would call them and read these letters to them.”

Eddie laughed at the disgruntled expression on his son’s face. I can do it later, tell Abuela, and give her the pleasure of telling them.”

“That’s evil, Dad, but it would make Abuelita very happy. Can I call Dina back to tell her?”

“How about you and I talk for a few minutes first?”

“Okay.” Christopher acted like he was steeling himself for bad news,

“I noticed one of the envelopes you got was from CalTech. I know you had tentative plans with Buck if you picked a school in Los Angeles … Are you going to follow through with those plans?”

“Yeah. Dad, why are you being weird?”

“Remember when Bobby and Athena visited?” At Christopher’s nod, Eddie continued. “Do you remember I told you Bobby wanted me to come back to Los Angeles to work at the 118? There’s a lot of changes coming to the LAFD, he needs my help.”

“You told him you couldn’t move until I graduated.”

“I did. Now, you’ll be graduating in a few months.”

“You’re moving back, too?”

“I am. That’s why I’m going to Los Angeles tomorrow.”

“That’s why I’m staying at Dina’s?”

“Yeah. Took me a while to find a house I like.”

“Does that mean I don’t get to stay with Buck and Dina?”

“No, you can still stay with Buck, if you want. You can always come and visit me. You’re on your way to being a wonderful, independent, and intelligent young man. This is the time in your life to find yourself. I can see you one day working with Sam, Rodney, or the Travers. I don’t ever want to slow you down, mijo.”

“Won’t you be lonely?”

“It’s no different than if I was staying here and you were going to California. Now you can visit without flying for four hours. You can also visit your Abuela, Tia Pepa, and the cousins. Vasquez and Faraday are moving to Los Angeles to take care of Vas’ mom, so I’ll be doing a lot of Army stuff, too.”

“Okay. As long as you’re sure you don’t mind me staying with Buck. I know he hasn’t talked to you for a while.”

“He called the other day when I was on shift. We got it worked out. Turns out it was a simple miscommunication.”

“Make sure you don’t do it anymore. I love you both.”

“I love you, mijo. It just goes to show you have to pay attention to these things or they get away from you. Always remember no matter where I am, you are always number one in my heart.” He reached out to pull Christopher into a hug.

“I’ll remember, Daddy.” He laid his head on his dad’s broad shoulder and felt blessed that he had men like his father and Buck in his life.

~ TBC ~

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