Damn It Feels Good (To Be Me)

Damn It Feels Good (To Be Me)


Title: Damn It Feels Good (To Be Me)
Author: PNZ
Fandom: 9-1-1, The Rookie
Pairing: gen
Warnings: character bashing - Not for fans of Chimney or Maddie, discussion of murder,
Summary: Buck adults. Life goes on.
Note: Discussion of events up to end of season 2
No knowledge of The Rookie necessary.
Title taken from Andy Grammer song Damn it feels good to be me, Album Love Myself

From left to right, image of Eric Winter looking at the camera, in the center there is text - Damn it feels good (to be me), on the right is an image of Oliver Stark staring at the camera

Buck sat on his neighbor’s porch, staring at his own front yard with a frown on his face. It was a nice house, ranch-style, with three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, one half-bath, a kitchen that he was totally going to work on, and a good-sized living room. The light blue facade with brick outside also appealed to his normally happy nature. What was bothering him right now was the lack of landscaping.

“What could possibly be bothering you about that house so soon after you’ve moved in? Do I need to call Nolan?” his neighbor asked, sitting down next to him and offering him a beer. Tim Bradford had been a godsend when he had moved to LA, and once again when he had let slip that he needed to find a new place to live. 

Buck knocked his good leg against Tim’s and replied, “Nothing really, just can’t decide what to do about the front of the house. You know, flowers and whatnot. I’m fine with construction and stuff, but complete shit with landscaping.”

“Ah, the woes of a new homeowner,” Tim teased Buck, taking a sip of his beer. “But seriously, just take some really good photos of the house, some from a distance like here, and some close up sections of where you want gardening stuff. Then take them to the gardening center and ask for a consultation. Let the professionals handle their own shit.”

Buck took in the advice and decided Tim was right. The tension eased out of his shoulders, and he leaned back in his chair once again, frown gone from his face. 

“So, let’s move on to some deeper topics. Any news from that so-called ‘family’ of yours? Do they even know you’ve moved? Because Buck, the only people I’ve seen at this new place of yours have been my fellow LAPD officers.”

Buck sighed and put the beer on the side table. “A month after I got home from the hospital, the team seemed to start getting…tired, I guess, is the best word to describe it. They got tired of carting me to and from physical therapy and doctor’s appointments. The phone calls and texts stopped unless I initiated them. I really began to feel like a burden. I was having flashbacks to when I lived with my parents.” He paused. “Even Eddie–I mean, I understand about needing time to grieve and all that. But even so, I’ve started to feel like his free babysitter.” Tim just raised his brows. “Don’t get me wrong, Christopher is a national treasure, and I never regret spending time with him. He and Carla have also noticed what’s happened, though.”

“What do you mean? Do they know about the move?”

“Well, Carla and I had a discussion about my apartment being unsuitable once I came home from the hospital, and since Ali broke up with me right then, I decided why not just find a new place anyway? Carla agreed to keep it to herself. 

“You know that I knew Carla before Eddie, right? That I introduced them? So she has no problem keeping these secrets for me. I’m not sure that Chris knows that I’ve moved, just that we don’t meet at the apartment anymore. He just goes with the flow. Carla brings him to meet me at the park and stuff. She comes over on her own to check up on me and help me with the exercises. 

“But the thing is that I did what you said. I stopped calling the others first or texting first. And what do you know, I stopped hearing from all of them. And I did start talking to that new therapist, too. She has helped with all of the bullshit with my sister. Who also, by the way, you might have noticed is unaware of my new address.”

“Well, yes. We have all noticed that your sister is not in your good graces.”

“Tim, meeting you guys when I first got to LA was one of the best things to happen to me, I don’t know how many times I can say it.”

Tim blew on his fingers and polished it against his chest in false modesty, setting Buck off in loud laughter. 

“So, are you going to put in for the transfer?” Tim asked.

Buck didn’t answer right away. He had been thinking about it for a while and had even discussed it with his therapist quite a bit.

“Yeah, I am going to meet with the union guy about it, I think, first. I am worried if I go to Bobby, he will just dismiss it. Just like he does everything else when it comes to me.” Buck’s head dipped down again, his hands came up to cradle it. 

“Want me to come with you? Or Nolan? You two have gotten close, right? Or even Lucy? She’s all about helping.”

He looked back up and sat back. “Well, Nolan and I have bonded over the glory of kitchen reno, yes,” Buck said with a light laugh, “but I think I would rather have you there since you know all of it. The slander, the lies, the catfish thing. Ugh, just thinking about how much crap I’ve been through there that is probably tanking my career…” he trailed off. 

“Yeah, why don’t you go ahead and make the call now before you change your mind again.”

Buck dug out his phone and dialed.


Ricardo Gill, it turned out, lived just one neighborhood over and was off that day. He was new to the role of union representative, much to Buck’s relief, and didn’t mind just hopping over for a beer and a quick chat.

“Nice to meet both of you,” he said while taking a seat on the porch with them. “Thanks for having me over.”

“No, thank you for doing this on your day off and away from the office and all those prying eyes,” Buck said quietly. He was so relieved it was a new person in the role, as the predecessor was the one who had given him problems over the Dr. Wells issue. 

“Why don’t you tell me what seems to be the problem, and then we’ll see what your options are,” Gill said, accepting a drink from Tim. He put it to the side and opened his notebook, pen to the ready.

Buck took a deep breath and began laying out everything that had occurred at the 118. The cutting remarks, the bullying, the slander, assault, things that were ignored. How he was a transfer, not a probie, but was still treated like one. Dr. Wells. Buck informed him that he would like a transfer but was afraid the captain would deny him.

“Where would you like to transfer to?”

“I’d like SAR–which is where I thought I was originally getting stationed, by the way–and if there are things I need to certify for, then now is the perfect time to study since I still have some time before I can do anything physical.”

Tim explained, “Buck has switched doctors since the initial incident and also the people that have his Power of Attorney. There were some issues with his care at the hospital.”

“Oh? Anything I need to be aware of?” 

“Your predecessor, Neil Winters, decided that my sister–or my sister’s breasts, rather–made a convincing argument and let her change some paperwork without my consent. She made some decisions that weren’t hers to make, and I am now paying the price. I needed to switch doctors since I couldn’t trust the original set anymore and get reevaluated; I discovered I needed a new surgery and to be put on blood thinners for a while until the new hardware that was put in got taken out. I have at least six more months of PT and one more surgery to go through before I can come back.

“My sister not only interfered in my health and decision making, she started bombarding me with messages about how reckless I am with my health and life, and pretty much all the victim-blaming you can think of. Apparently, I should just give up on being a firefighter and start being an adult and find an adult job.”

Buck passed over his phone so that the union rep could see for himself everything that was sent over text messaging. 

“Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t she dating one of your coworkers? Is she making him switch jobs, too?” Gill asked.

Buck lifted his hands in the air helplessly. “Right? That’s what I asked, and all I got in reply was, ‘that’s different.’ That is also one of the reasons I need to get out of there. I cannot work in the same station as my sister’s boyfriend. Even though they refused to admit they were dating, the moment they started ‘hanging out,’ Chimney started reporting my every move and every word to my sister.

“The thing is, my sister hadn’t been part of my life for about a decade until she had broken into my ex’s apartment to surprise me.”

“She what?” Both men stared at him, one in disbelief, the other in anger.

“Buck, why did you never tell me that part?” Tim asked, annoyance clear in his voice.

“Because she was clearly running away from something. I was shocked she had shown up after three years of complete silence. In the years before that, I was able to check in with her sometimes, but nothing of substance was shared, just that we were both alive, you know? Then, boom, here she is in Abby’s apartment. 

“The kicker is, she got mad at me for not letting her know I was home. And then didn’t understand why I was upset she had broken in. I’m not sure she understood what the problem was there, since the building manager actually lost his job for letting her in. Also, she really doesn’t get that there are always consequences for her actions. It’s pretty much par for the course.”

“Jesus,” Tim said, pinching his nose, eyes closed. “I don’t–Buck, please tell me you have discussed all of this with your therapist and that she has recommended that you cut your sister out of your life.”

Buck sighed. It would be hard, but he knew he had to do it. “I’ve just gotten her back in my life, but she’s made it clear that she will always choose the men in her life over me. She–” Buck stopped and got up to walk around the porch a bit. He took a deep breath and continued, standing at the side rail.

“Maddie had multiple opportunities to break it off with Doug before they even became engaged, and there were so many signs that he was not made of sunshine and kittens even back then. She didn’t take the out, though. You know why? She didn’t want to prove my mother right, and she wanted the easy ride away from home. 

“I’ll admit, my parents are a horror show, no matter which way you look at the situation. They have no bearing on anything to do with the job. My sister, unfortunately, does. Since she works at the 9-1-1 call center, she tends to run her mouth and spread shit just as much as Chimney does around the station. Between the two of them, the entire LAFD thinks I’m some himbo-jock-fratboy-child who can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. 

“But I was going somewhere with my point earlier. Right. Um, Maddie finally ran away from Doug to me since I did my best to keep her updated with my location just in case she needed an escape. She finally took me up on it. Until the point when she found a new man, she remembered that I was her brother. Although, she did her best to tell all and sundry as much shit as she could to ruin my reputation in the meantime, of course. Ugh.” He took a breath to calm down. “Then Chimney and Maddie started hanging out, and suddenly I wasn’t necessary anymore. Once Doug was taken care of, and Maddie and Chim solidified their relationship, I knew that it would just get worse for me.”

“Evan–Buck,” Gill started, “you were already considering transferring at that point?”

“I was considering months ago during the whole catfishing incident, when women were coming into the station, assaulting me, and my team thought it was nothing more than I deserved.”

Tim chimed in from his seat. “I was the one who followed up on that since his captain hadn’t bothered. We tried to get the LAFD involved, but Winters just didn’t care.”

Gill nodded. “Yes, that was the last straw in his career. Winters didn’t know that he was under investigation–you don’t need to know for what–but his negligence on a number of things had him removed. You should know that one of the cases that were reopened was the Wells case.

“I’m glad the women who were hurting you were brought up on charges, as they shouldn’t have gotten away with anything. I’ll take a look to see if your name has been used for anything else and get the paperwork started for your transfer after I speak with the chief. I need to find out about open spots at SAR before completing anything, and they will probably want to come to speak with you.”

Buck and Tim shook Gill’s hand and watched him walk off down the street before Buck collapsed back into his chair in relief. 

“I can’t believe it, this might actually be happening.”

“You deserve a fresh start, Evan, without having to completely uproot yourself. And you have friends here who will support you.”

Buck smiled up at Tim and pat the hand that gripped his shoulder. “Thanks, really. Now, come help me take photos of the garden so we can get professionals to make it look pretty.”

“You’re having Nolan go with you. Or Chen. Not me.”

“Sure, whatever.”


  1. AlisonK

    Yet another story that is already hooking me in 🙂

    You’re very evil this year! Once again, should you decide to write more, I would be delighted to read it.

    Thanks again!

  2. NyxFrost

    Again-nothing but love for this. I am completely addicted to stories where Maddie faces consequences for being such a horrible person. I like the setting and Buck bring friends/neighbors with Tim-excellent!
    Thank you!

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