i tear myself down (to be built back up again)
1.3k. i’m just in my feelings about buck in the last ep so. here u go.
Buck breaks things. He doesn't mean to—he's always tried so hard not to—but somehow, eventually, things always end up in pieces.
And it was happening again, with Chimney, and Maddie, and his team; it felt like his whole life was shattering like glass, and he'd caused the first crack.
You break everything you touch.
His mother's voice echoed in his head. She'd said it one day when he was young, after he'd snapped the stem off a wine glass when being a bit too heavy handed in washing the dishes. He didn't think she was trying to be mean, there was no venom behind the words, it was just a statement of a fact. She'd even smiled a bit when she took the cloth from him and told him to go amuse himself somewhere else. One of those rare moments when she'd even seemed a bit fond of him.
But the words had stuck with him for his whole life. You break everything you touch. They were always there in the back of his mind, like a taunt, like that was just the way of things. There was a point after he'd left home that he decided to be different, to fix instead of break, but it always seemed to catch up to him. It didn't matter how hard he tried to do the right thing, to make the right decision, to help; he inevitably wound up at the end holding the remains of what he'd tried to keep together.
He didn't know how to help Maddie. He'd screwed everything up with Chimney. And his team was... different. Off-kilter without Chim.
He knew, on some level, that this wasn't all on him (not everything is about you), his team had told him as much when he'd brought it up. They didn't blame him, but it was hard to not blame himself anyway. Especially when it felt like everything he loved was slipping away from him.
He leaned on the railing of his balcony, looked out over the city he'd made his home, and let out a breath. His shift had ended hours ago, but the empty feeling in his chest lingered. He let himself wonder, for a moment, if he'd ever stop feeling this way.
Then Buck heard footsteps behind him, and he glanced up to find Eddie watching him from the doorway.
"Hey," Eddie said. Buck wasn't surprised he'd shown up; Eddie had a way of knowing when he was letting himself wallow in self-pity for too long.
"Hey," Buck replied. "What are you doing here?" As in, why aren't you at home sleeping or relaxing or hanging out with your kid? As in, why would you choose to be here, with all of my broken pieces, instead of someplace brighter?
"I just... wanted to see you, I guess. To make sure you were okay." He didn't elaborate, but he didn't need to. Everything Buck had said at the table last night was still fresh in his mind. Eddie took a couple steps out onto the balcony where Buck was standing, but stopped before he was truly close. The space left between them felt wrong, somehow. "Are you okay?"
Buck looked back out towards the city. "I'm sorry about that," he said, avoiding the question. "About—about what I said. The whole dramatic spiel about leaving. It was stupid."
"You didn't answer my question."
For a moment, Buck thought about telling him the truth. About opening himself up and spilling every bit of his fear and loneliness and self-hatred on the ground at Eddie's feet, and begging him to find something worthwhile underneath all the shards of himself. But it was easier to pretend sometimes, and he wasn't sure he could even put it into words.
"I'm fine," Buck said finally. It didn't even sound convincing to him.
Eddie didn't say anything at first, just took those last few steps across the balcony and leaned back against the railing beside Buck. Close now, but there was still a space between them; a small gap that felt miles wide. Buck didn't close it.
"Did you mean it?" Eddie asked after a minute. "About the transfer?"
"I don't know. Yeah. Probably," Buck said truthfully. In that moment he had meant it. He didn't want to leave, but if that was the price of his friends’ happiness, he would have paid it. He figured if all he was good for was tearing things apart, the least he could do was separate them from his mess.
"Did you really think we would have just let you go?"
And... Buck honestly didn't know how to respond to that. The simple answer was yes, he did; he'd gotten it into his head that he'd caused all this tension, and they wouldn't want him around anymore. That they'd take the out and let him walk away. The more complicated answer was... he didn't know. He knew that they cared about him, they'd proved that over and over, but once his mind fell into that endless loop of this is your fault, this is your fault, this is your fault, it was hard to pull back. It wasn't rational, but emotions that big rarely are.
Buck just looked at Eddie, and hoped he'd understand. Eddie held his gaze for a second, then nodded.
"You know we don't blame you for anything that's happened, right? I don't blame you."
Buck turned away again. "Yeah, I know."
"Then what's really going on?"
You break everything you touch.
"It just feels like something broke when Chim left, and I'm the one who broke it."
"Come on, that's not on you."
"Isn't it? He won't even speak to me anymore, that's how badly I fucked things up between us. It doesn't matter how many times I call him or text him— I-I don't even think he checks them anymore. And I haven't heard from Maddie since—"
"Chimney is dealing with a lot right now," Eddie interrupted before Buck could spiral further. "You're family, he'll come around. Maybe you just need to give him some space."
"He's probably states away, how much space does he need?" Buck muttered bitterly, which earned him a snort from Eddie, but Buck knew he was right.
"And Maddie will call," he continued. "You said yourself that she needs time."
Buck hummed. "I did say that, didn't I?"
"You did," Eddie said. "And until they come home, you've still got us. You've still got me. That's gotta count for something, right?"
"Yeah, I guess," Buck said with a small smile.
"Oh, 'you guess'?" Eddie teased, jostling him a bit, and Buck laughed. Sometimes just being around Eddie made his heart feel lighter.
"It'll be okay," Eddie said in a more serious tone. "I know you always want to fix things for people, and you feel like you've failed if you can't, but sometimes they're not for you to fix. You don't need to shoulder all that responsibility."
You're the guy who likes to fix things.
Buck didn't understand it, but somehow Eddie could take one look at him and see through every layer of hurt and worry, and every way his mind had twisted situations into something uglier than they were, and really see him. He always knew exactly what to say to ease the weight on Buck's shoulders, and he was grateful for it. He loved him for it.
"And Buck?" Eddie waited until Buck looked at him again. "Ravi is great, but he's not you. You're not just... replaceable like that. I know sometimes you don't believe that, but I really don't know what I'd do without you."
You’re stuck with us.
Buck slid over those last few inches until their arms were pressed against each other, and he felt grounded. "Well, doesn't look like I'm going anywhere anytime soon. So I guess you're stuck with me too."
Eddie smiled. "Wouldn't have it any other way."