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Shelter (9-1-1, Buck/Eddie, M)

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. . .

“To be clear,” Bobby says, because Buck is literally vibrating with excitement, bouncing on the balls of his feet as he waits for the clock to hit eight, “I’m saying you can go do some research. This is a decision the whole house has to make together, and so far only one of the other shifts is on board. At least at the leadership level.”

Buck waves a hand dismissively. “They just have to meet him. Or her. And next shift is here, I can go talk to them right—”

“No!” Eddie and Bobby, in unison. Bobby bites back a smile and gives Eddie the smallest nod to let him take this one.

“You, uh.” Eddie puts a hand on Buck’s shoulder. “Don’t want to come on too strong. Like you say, wait until we’ve got something concrete. A cute furry face to go along with the idea, yeah?”

Buck pouts, then checks his watch and immediately brightens. “End of shift!”

Bobby folds his arms, but his eyes are fond. “Eddie, you’ll keep him in check?”

“I’ll do my best.”

“In that case—” Bobby makes them wait for just a second, eyebrows raised at Buck, then gestures to the door. “Dismissed.” Buck whoops and heads for the door.

They take Eddie’s truck, because Buck’s got this single-minded focus that would make him a damn traffic hazard right now. Which he kind of is anyway, scrolling through his phone in the passenger’s seat, reading through the the adoption list on the shelter’s website.

“Oh my god, Eddie, look at this one—” He shoves the phone into Eddie’s line of sight at a red light. Eddie bats it out of the way as the light changes.

“It’s too early, they’re not even open yet. Let’s go home first—”

“No way, we’ve gotta be there right when they open.”

“Fine, then we’re getting breakfast. And I get to pick where.”

“As long as it’s close to the shelter.”



Breakfast and traffic end up taking longer than expected, and it’s quarter after by the time they actually get to the shelter.

“There’s someone else here!” Affronted.

“Buck.” God, sometimes Buck’s just like a puppy himself. “We’re not walking out of here with a dog today, so no matter how many people are here, it’s not like they’re, I dunno, stealing our future pet.”

“They might be!”

Buck’s still weaving conspiracy theories about how Eddie’s enjoyment of his deliciously greasy diner eggs and bacon is going to cost them their One Perfect Firehouse Dog. Eddie just lets him rant, and opens the door.

“Good morning!” The smiling young woman at the front desk is immediately interrupted by the ringing phone. “Oh, sorry, I’d better get that. Have a seat, Darcy will be right with you.” She gestures to a middle-aged woman with short hair who’s showing the people ahead of them around, and picks up the phone.

Buck gives him a look that clearly says, See? Eddie just shakes his head and leads him over to waiting room’s plastic chairs. Buck doesn’t sit down, just wanders around the room reading every poster. He circles back, drops into the seat beside Eddie, rubs his nose, and starts back up like he’s continuing a conversation he'd been having in his head. “The 126 has a dog, so clearly, we should have a dog, too.”

“I’m not sure how what happens at a house in Texas is going to convince the other shift here to say yes, but sure, add that to your list.”

“Already did,” Buck says confidently, and sniffles, and wipes his nose on his shirtsleeve.


Buck flips him off without looking, already back to scrolling through the adoption list that he’s looked through three times in the last hour, and pulls his sleeve across his nose again. Eddie’s about to ask if he’s okay when Darcy walks in.

“Our firehouse is thinking about getting a station dog,” Eddie tells her after some introductions, Buck nodding enthusiastically beside him, still sniffling. “Thinking about being the key words here,” he says pointedly in Buck’s direction.

“So,” Buck jumps in, “we’re here to find out what the adoption process would be, and hopefully to meet every single one of your dogs.” Megawatt smile as always, even as he wipes his nose on his sleeve yet again.

Darcy laughs. “Well, I’d be happy to walk you through the process while we say hi to the dogs. This way!” They follow her back toward the front desk. “There will be an application process, of course—” She’s cut off by a sudden kTCHU!

Buck blinks up at them from his elbow. “Sorry,” he says, and immediately buries his face in his sleeve again: heh-kTSCHHH! kTCHUU!

“Bless you!” Darcy reaches over the counter to grab a box of tissues and offers it to Buck, who, instead of taking one or two like Darcy undoubtedly intended, tucks the whole box under his arm, takes out three, and blows his nose loudly.

“Thanks,” he says, and his consonants are already flat with congestion. “Sorry, you were saying?”

“No problem,” Darcy tells him, eyes glancing back to the tissue box under his arm one more time before just accepting that it’s been commandeered for the duration. “Happens all the time.”

“All the time,” the young woman behind the desk confirms. Her nametag says “Annie.”

Eddie would be dying of embarrassment, but Buck’s clearly soaking up the attention, grinning at both women, still bouncing a little on his feet. Eddie takes a step closer and clears his throat, trying to get them back on track. “The adoption paperwork?”

“Yes!” Darcy claps her hands and motions them back. She unlocks a door and when she opens it, they’re greeted with a cacophony of animal noises, mostly meowing and barking, but there are definitely some birds in there, too. And maybe a snake? “It will be a bit different with a whole firehouse doing the adopting, but— bless you!— I’m sure we can work something out. I’m sorry to say we don’t have any Dalmatians,” she grins. “Can you tell me a little bit more about what you’re looking for?”

Buck starts to answer, but the inhale catches again and he just shakes his head. Eddies gets a hand on his back, and he can feel Buck’s breath fluttering under his palm.

“Well, I know this can be tough with rescue dogs, but we’d need one that’s...” he breaks off as Buck pulls out two more tissues and waits, mouth open, tissues poised, until his hitching breath finally— heh-TCHUU!— gets over the edge. “Salud,” he says, and moves his hand up to squeeze Buck’s shoulder, then picks up what he was saying to Darcy. “That’s really steady. New people, sudden loud noises, being left alone without warning for an hour or two. I mean, the upside is that there’s people there 24-7, endless attention, exercise, stimulation, all that, but just you never know when a call is going to come in.”  

“Of course.” She thinks for a moment. “You know what, I have one in mind, just down here—”

“Oh, we’re still waiting for permission from the other shift leaders to—”

They’re both interrupted by heh-kTSCHH! kTCH! eh... TSCHU! Buck blinks in surprise, then coughs a little bit and rubs at his eyes. There’s a lump in the pocket of his jeans from all of the discarded tissues.

“I’m sorry, Darcy, could you give us a minute?”

“I’ll go get Winston for you to meet.” She’s off before Eddie can tell her that they won’t be staying that long.

He rounds on Buck, effectively pinning him up against one of the empty cages. “Buck.”

“Mm?” He’s breathing open-mouthed and rubbing at his already red eyes.

“Were you planning to mention at any point that you’re allergic to dogs?”

“I’m not!” Wide-eyed, although the way his eyes are starting to swell is somewhat altering the effect, as is the way his breath is starting to hitch again.

Very calmly. “Buck.”

“I’m—” struggling to keep his eyes open, and then losing the battle: KTCHHH! A sniff that makes Eddie wrinkle his nose. “I’m not allergic to dogs.” Like it’s obvious. “I’m allergic to cats.”

Eddie’s mouth drops open, but Darcy’s back with a medium-large brown dog. It’s not clear what breed he might be; there might be retriever or lab somewhere in the mix. He’s moving slowly, but his eyes are alert and curious. Darcy leans down to scratch between his ears. “Bless you again! This is our lovely Winston—”

“Darcy, I’m so sorry,” Eddie tells her, “but—”

“Don’t you fucking dare,” Buck tells him. Then, to Darcy, that endless smile again: “You were saying about Winston?”

“Well, he’s been here a while; a little bit older than most families are looking for, a few health problems that need some care, but he’s so sweet and he just doesn’t seem to be fazed by anything....” She grins at Buck, who’s already on his knees in front of Winston, letting him sniff the back of his hand and then starting in with ear scratches. “Here, let’s go into the visiting room so you can get to know each other better.”

The room has a few chairs, a dog bed, some dog and cat toys in a basket on the table, and a trash can, which Eddie not-so-subtly nudges toward Buck so he can empty his pockets. He does, one hand still on Winston. There’s a knock at the door, and Annie motions to Darcy.

“I need to go check in with some of the other folks who are here; why don’t you hang out with Winston for a minute and I’ll be right back.”

Buck nods, and sneezes into his shoulder three more times. Winston licks his cheek, and Buck laughs. His voice is starting to go hoarse.

Eddie shakes his head and sinks down onto the floor with them. He lets Winston sniff at him as well, and then joins in the petting. Winston flops down on the floor in pure bliss. “Oh, that’s a good boy,” he murmurs, moving on to belly scratches. “How could no one have taken you, huh?” Winston twists around so that he can lick at Eddie’s arm without losing contact with either of his two new friends.

Buck’s grinning ear to ear. “See? He’s per... feh.... huh-TSCHU! Perfect.”

Eddie hand him a tissue from the box, glancing around the room to see if there’s anything especially cat...y that needs to be moved. He can’t find a specific culprit; it’s just impossible to escape around here. On all the fabric, and in the air. “We’ve literally known him for two minutes. We have no idea what kind of health issues Darcy was talking about. We don’t even know if the other shift is going to say yes, or if someone even higher up is going to veto the whole thing.”

“Killjoy.” Buck pouts at him.

Eddie sighs. “I want this to work, I really do.” He glances at Buck, then back at Winston. “But I knew you’d fall in love at first sight with whichever dog they brought out, and then we might not be able to bring him home.” Quieter, like he’s talking to Winston instead. “I just... didn’t want your heart to get broken.”

Buck hums, fingers still working through Winston’s fur, and then starts to cough again.

Eddie frowns at him. “We gotta get you out of here. Your eyes are getting all puffy and shit.”

“I’m fine,” Buck tells him, but he’s itching at the back of his hand, and then at his neck.

Eddie shakes his head. “I’m calling it.”

“No—” Buck looks crushed, but Eddie can hear the wheeze that’s starting to creep into his breathing, and that’s where he draws the line.

He pushes himself up to standing. “I know you don’t have any sense of self-preservation, so I’ve gotta have it for you.” Lets his fingers sweep through Buck’s hair on his way by, a silent apology. Pokes his head out of the door. “Darcy?”

She’s just showing the other visitors, a mother and her middle-school-aged daughter, to the counter so that Annie can help them with paperwork.

“I’ve gotta get this guy out of here—” Buck’s currently sneezing into a handful of tissues, which kind of makes his point for him. Darcy nods sympathetically. “But we’d love to come back later this week—”

“Tomorrow!” Buck interjects.

“—maybe even tomorrow,” Eddie concedes, “and spend some more time with Winston, and any other dogs you think would be a good fit—”

“He’s the one,” Buck insists, taking Winston’s head in both of his hands and flopping his ears around, and planting a kiss on top of his head.

“—and find out more about what kind of medical care he needs, and what kind of paperwork and fees would be involved, so that we can bring all that information back to our captain and go from there.”

“Don’t let anyone else take him,” Buck tells her very seriously.

Darcy laughs. “Tell you what, if anyone else expresses interest I’ll give you a call first. Based on how his time here has gone so far, though, I think you’re probably safe.” She takes Winston’s leash.

Buck nods and stands up to follow them out. He’s scratching at his neck again, clearing his throat like that’s actually what’s itching. Eddie takes the tissue box from under Buck’s arm, pulls out half a dozen tissues and presses them into Buck’s hand, and pushes him out the door. He apologetically put the significantly-lighter-than-before box back on Annie’s desk and gets in line behind the mother and daughter to give Annie his contact information and get a packet of information on the adoption process to bring home to read.

When he gets outside, Buck’s sitting on a retaining wall, looking a little less itchy but no less congested. Eddie was sort of hoping for a hose, but doesn’t immediately see one, so he digs around in his truck and duffel bag until he comes up with a bandana and a bottle of water. He pours some of the water onto the bandana and hands it to Buck, then, once he’s had a chance to wipe his face and hands, hands over the bottle as well.

“You’re an idiot.” He’s watching him with his arms crossed over his chest. Listening to him breathe. It sounds better, and the tightness in his own lungs eases a bit. Buck’s blowing his nose dramatically into the bandana. “That’s yours, now, by the way. I don’t want it back.” Buck coughs, and Eddie shakes his head. “Apart from the obvious question of why you thought it was a good idea to come along in the first place, did it not occur to you to, I dunno, take some Claritin ahead of time?”

“Forgot.” He’s got his face scrunched up, itching at his eyes. Eddie sighs and grabs both of Buck’s hands in one of his to stop him from scratching, then immediately has to let go when Buck sneezes yet again.

“Alright, get in the truck.”

Buck sticks out a hand, eyes closed, and Eddie pulls him up and herds him into the passenger’s seat. Five minutes later, they’re in the parking lot of a Walgreens. He comes back out with Benadryl, a big box of tissues, and a cold bottle of water. Buck groans in relief. Eddie opens everything and hands it over, one by one, and hangs the grocery bag over the gear stick for trash, and heads for home.


“Shower,” Eddie tells him, pushing him toward the house. “I’ll get you some of my clothes to put on after.”

“Don’ wanna,” Buck protests vaguely, but he lets himself be propelled forward.

“Gotta get the cat... ness off. Then you can give in to the Benadryl, promise.”

“Katniss,” Buck says wonderingly. Eddie tugs on his shirt. “Oh. Yeah.”

“You got this? Or do I have to come in there and play lifeguard?”

“Sounds hot.”

“Maybe when you’re sober, then. C’mon. In.”

He pulls out some clothes from his dresser while Buck’s showering, or more likely just standing under the water slightly stoned. He can hear Buck sneezing in there, so many times he loses count, and grabs the box of tissues he’d just bought and puts it on the nightstand on the opposite side of his bed. When Buck re-emerges, he hands over the basketball shorts and an old t-shirt and steps out of the room so he can change, then comes back in and presses him toward the bed.

“Couch is fine,” Buck yawns, but Eddie shakes his head.

“This is comfier.”

“Okay.” He flops down onto the bed, but not before grabbing Eddie’s hand, pulling him off-balance so that he nearly falls onto the bed as well. “C’mon.”

“What?” Buck really is out of it.


No more explanation than that, but, whatever. It’s not like they’d gotten much sleep on shift. He sets his alarm so he’ll be up with plenty of time to go pick up Christopher from school, and takes off his jeans, and climbs into bed. Buck immediately curls around him, head on his chest, one leg looped over his. Eddie laughs, and wraps his arms around him, and closes his eyes. “Just try not to—” eh-tCHU! “—sneeze on me.” Whelp. “Never mind.”

“Sorry. I... eh...

Tissues, Buck.”

“Oh yeah.” He grabs a handful, buries his face in them, and sneezes twice more.

“Now y’ got it,” Eddie says, sleepy and half-voiced, and pulls him close again.

Buck sniffles, and hums, and burrows into the embrace. Quiet for long enough that Eddie’s pretty sure he’s waking him up when he says, “Hey.”


“I was thinking.”

Buck just sniffs in reply. The meds and the shower and everything seem to be helping. His eyes are red but not as puffy, and his lungs sound clear.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen with the station. If all the right people are gonna say yes, or what kind of timeline we’d be looking at even if they all eventually do. And I know your apartment complex doesn’t allow pets, or you’d already be doing the adoption paperwork yourself.”


“I’ve been... thinking for a while that it might be nice to have a pet. We always did, growing up, and I’d love for Christopher to have that experience, too. But with our shifts, and needing to find one that’s not going to get under Christopher’s feet and knock him over, and just...” He’s got his hand moving over Buck’s back. It’s so warm and comfortable like this, Buck’s weight on him in the mid-morning sun. Why don’t they do this all the time? “I had been thinking about a cat, since they probably wouldn’t mind our weird shifts, but clearly that’s out.” He laughs a little and runs a hand over Buck’s hair. “I’d have to talk to Carla; I’d hire a dogwalker and all that but obviously we’d have to make sure that she’s okay, not afraid or allergic or anything. I’m pretty sure at least a couple of her other clients have dogs, though, so...”

“Eddie,” Buck breathes.

“What do you think about bringing Christopher with us to meet Winston? And if they’re a good match, which I’m guessing they will be...”

“Eddie.” Choked up.

“We can get him?”

If Buck hadn’t already been in his arms he would’ve thrown himself at Eddie. Instead, he just bear-hugs him tight, and when he lifts his head there are tears in his eyes. “Oh my god, Eddie, I know he’d be yours, well, yours and Chris’s, but I’ll help take care of him, I’ll pay for all the medical stuff, I’ll—”

“Buck, when I say, ‘we,’ I mean we. Yeah, it’ll probably be my name on the paperwork just because he’d be living here, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be just as much yours, too. If that’s what you want,” he amends, just in case.

“Are you kidding?” He’s propped up on his elbow now. “That’s the nicest—” his voice breaks and the tears threaten to spill. “Thank you,” he whispers, and Eddie pulls him back in.

“No shift tomorrow, so what if we pick up Christopher a few minutes early from school to beat the traffic and head over then?” Buck’s nodding against him, half-sobbing and half-laughing, and Eddie presses his cheek against Buck’s hair. “For the record, you are not allowed back in the building, no matter what kind of allergy meds you’ve got. They’ve got a fenced-in area outside, we’ll do it all out there. No cats allowed.”

“We’re gonna have to go shopping first.” Voice thick with emotion, still.

“I mean, I feel like after would make more sense.”

“We both know what the answer’s gonna be.”

He smiles, and slides further down in bed, settling in for sleep, Buck warm and happy against his side. They do know, and it feels so goddamn good: Yes.

. . .

. . .


(Also available on AO3.)


Edited by phoenix

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Aw! I love it! Buck, baby, you are just a disaster and a half, but sweet enough to make up for it. And Eddie! If anyone ever doubted just how much he loves Buck, his patience with Buck’s...Buck-ness should answer that! 😍

EDITED ‘cause I forgot to mention before: I love how Eddie keeps trying to drag Buck out, but then keeps giving in...only to stand his ground when Buck starts having breathing issues, whether or not Buck acknowledges them. And I love that Buck clearly knows when he can and can’t push Eddie any further, ‘cause when Eddie says he’s calling it, Buck immediately gives in.

(Basically, I just love everything about this.)

Edited by MyOwnPrivateSFC

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Yay, I'm so glad you liked it! Thanks for your lovely comment. 🙂

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Once again, incredible job with these two!! Would love to see more Buck cat allergy action!

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