Fighting Fire with Fire

The Future Looks Bright

Everyone stands up instantly and looks at the nurse with desperate expressions on their faces. The nurse looks down at her clipboard, then back up, then begins to speak.

“Family of Gabriella Dawson?” The nurse, Jasmine prompts.

“Yeah?” Casey answers nervously as he stands up.

“Casey and Shay go; Shay, you’re her best friend, and Casey, because you saved her life.” Severide says.

“She’s lucky, very lucky. Pretty severe smoke inhalation, a couple of minor burns, and some cuts and bruises. It will take a few weeks, but she’ll be back to normal after that.” Jasmine reports. “We have her on oxygen right now to clear the smoke, and she’ll have to stay here for a few days.”

“Can we see her?” Shay asks.

“Only for a few minutes, she is still very sick, and not quite awake yet.” Jasmine says. “Only two of you.”

“Shay and Casey, go!” Severide says again, before he sneaks a look at Mills, who has his head down in a desperate attempt to not make eye contact with anybody.

“Depending on how she does later this week, she might be able to have more visitors.” Jasmine says, before leading Shay and Casey into the hospital.

Shay and Casey step into Dawson’s room, and are taken a-back by what they see.

“I know it might look shocking now, but in a few days, it will look better.” Jasmine says tenderly.

“I.. I’m just glad she’s alive… I don’t want to think what could have happened if… Casey stutters, struggling to find the words that keep bouncing around his head. If she’d been in there any longer…” Casey says quietly as he looks away from Shay and tries to hide his true emotions.

“Since this is the ICU, we’re really not supposed to have people up here after visiting hours, who aren’t directly related to the patient…” Jasmine says. “You guys can come back and see her again tomorrow, she might be awake by then.”

“Thank you for letting us see her.” Shay says, as she makes her exit with Casey. “There’s something going on between you two isn’t there?” Shay teases.

“What are you talking about Shay? Nothing’s going on, Dawson is with Mills remember?” Casey says slightly embarrassed, as he knows he’s hiding his true feelings.

“Whatever you say Casey.” Shay says with a grin. “You know I can still get it out of Severide.”

“He doesn’t know anything, and if he did, he’s sworn to secrecy.” Casey replies, smiling.

“If you hadn’t been there, she wouldn’t have made it.” Shay says.

“Any firefighter would have done the same.” Casey states.

“I’m calling it right now, I don’t care what you say Casey, there is something brewing with you and Dawson.” Shay grins.

“Maybe there will be someday, just not now.” Casey admits.

“She’s pretty beat up, but she’s going to make it.” Shay says as she and Casey arrive back downstairs to the anxiously waiting firefighters.

“She’s a fighter, I’m sure she’ll be back to her old self soon!” Severide says.

“Let’s hope, because I think Shay here will go insane without her partner around.” Casey says, putting his hand on Shay’s shoulder.

“Mills can cover for Dawson while she’s gone.” Chief says.

“I’m all for it.” Mills says.

“I’m gonna be down one hell of a man while Dawson’s gone, but I’ll live.” Severide pipes up with a smile.

“You got us!” Capp and Clarke reply with mock frowns.

“Yeah that’s right, I’ve got you two, and you’re so helpful!” Severide replies with a grin.

“I still think you guys goof off more than you actually work!” Casey says.

“Depends on the day.” Severide counters, as Clarke and Capp nod their heads in agreement.

“Let’s head back to the house, everyone’s probably ready to get home.” Chief says, as the teams leave, happy to know that Dawson will survive.

“Wanna head over to Molly’s for a couple beers?” Severide asks Casey on their way out.

“Sounds like a plan!” Casey responds.

“I am ready to ditch this gear.” Severide admits.

“Oh, and by the way, I was wondering what you would think if Emily and her friend Maria came by the house for a little while during a shift, I promised Emily I’d show her around.” Casey asks.

“For sure!! I’d like to see how she’s doing.” Severide replies enthusiastically.

“I think she is getting out of the hospital tonight, I was going to head over there before Molly’s, why don’t you come along.” Casey suggests.

“I’m in!” Severide replies, as the pair head out of 51.

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“Matt!” Emily exclaims, as she runs to give Casey a hug as he enters the hospital, Severide in tow.

“Someone’s a lot better than the last time I saw them!” Casey says tenderly.

“Yeah, I’m ready to get out of here!” Emily says.

“You remember Kelly right?” Casey asks.

“Of course I remember him, how could I forget the man who saved my life?” Emily replies with a beaming smile.

“I’m really glad to see you’re okay Emily, Matt hasn’t stopped worrying about you since the fire.” Severide says.

“That’s because I love my baby sister, and would be devastated if anything happened to her.” Casey says.

“I can’t thank you enough! You saved my life, and you gave me more time with Matt!” Emily says, as she hugs Severide.

“How about we take Emily out for dinner, and go to Molly’s tomorrow.” Casey suggests. “I know a good little place.”

“I actually like that idea.” Severide admits.

“Do you have to sign something to get out of here, or do I have to sign something?” Casey asks Emily.

“Nope, I’m all free to go, we took care of it.” Emily says, while avoiding direct eye contact with Casey.

“I know the hospital isn’t the place to discuss this, but I have a feeling you’ve got something you want to tell me,” Casey says.

“Maybe later.” Emily says quietly.

“I can get a cab and head out if you guys need to talk about something.” Severide offers as he turns to leave.

“No, we got it, we can talk about it later.” Casey assures Severide.

“Let’s go, I need to get out of this hospital! Ever since Maria left yesterday, it’s been lonely!” Emily says.

“Sounds like it would be!” Casey says in agreement.

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2 DAYS LATER…

“Friday night was really fun!” I’m glad to see Emily is okay, since I know how much she means to you.” Severide says, as he and Casey report for their Sunday shift.

“It really means a lot that you care so much, I think you secretly wish your sister was younger, so you could baby her a little bit.” Casey teases.

“Maybe just a little.” Severide admits sheepishly.

“That’s what I thought!” Casey says with a smile. “I do worry about Emily, I mean, you were there, you saw how she signed herself out of the hospital, and just left. It makes me wonder if she’s hiding something.” Casey admits.

“I just figured it was something for you two to deal with.” Severide replies.

“I hope she knows she can talk to me. I hope she knows I’ll do whatever I can to help her.” Casey says with a sigh.

“I’m sure she knows!” Severide says.

“On a more positive note, Emily’s coming by with Maria for a bit during Tuesday’s shift!” Casey says.

“We do have a pretty awesome job…” Severide says, sounding cocky.

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TRUCK 81, SQAUD 3, AMBULANCE 61… STRUCTURE FIRE!

“Let’s go guys!” Severide yells.

“We’ve got a hostage situation inside, and we smelled gasoline and figured we better call you guys! We’ve got officers ready to go inside, but the guys threatened to kill the hostage and torch the place if we got too close.” A CPD officer, who turns out to be Antonio Dawson, briefs Casey and Severide as the teams arrive on scene to a jewelry store.

“Guys! I told you not to screw this up!!” The lead robber, Max moans to his two accomplices Sid and Elliot. “Now we have the police and fire departments to deal with!”

“Tell me you found his stash of jewels!” Sid yells at Eliot.

“Tell us where the jewels are!” Max demands as he puts a gun to the storeowner, Danny’s head.

“Grandpa!!” Danny’s granddaughter Talia exclaims excitedly as she pops up from behind her grandfather’s jewelry counter.

“Dammit! There’s a kid! We need to get out of here! Torch the place!” Max orders.

Sid pulls a Molotov cocktail from a bag, lights it, and tosses it in Eliot and Max’s direction, causing Eliot to let Danny go, and Max to run from the store.

*BOOM!*

Sid stumbles backwards

“Whoa, whoa! Stop right there!” Antonio yells with his gun trained on Max.

Not wanting to put up a fight Max surrenders, but Elliot tries to run, he is quickly subdued by two officers and a thorough round of ‘tazing’ by a 3rd officer.

“The back door! You can escape!” Sid’s mind says frantically as he gropes around in the smoke for the door.

“Talia!!” Danny shouts frantically, but the smoke and flames accelerate quickly, forcing Danny to make a break for the exit.

Danny grovels around in the near zero visibility of his burning jewelry store, and is ecstatic when he finally comes upon the light of day and escapes to the outside world.

“Get in there!” A CPD officer growls as he shoves Max into the back of his squad car.

“Please help! My granddaughter’s inside, I couldn’t get to her!” Danny begs Casey and Severide as he staggers outside.

“We’ll get her!” Severide promises.

“Mills! Shay! Can you check him over?” Casey asks.

“Just help my granddaughter!” Danny says, nearly breathless.

“Squad inside with us! My team, be ready to jump in!” Casey orders, as he and Severide head for the burning building.

You guys check all the tight spots for any more victims! Casey and I are going to look for the kid!” Severide yells from under his gear.

“Got it Lieutenant!” Clarke replies.

“Casey! You take that side of the counter, I’ll take this side!” Severide says gesturing to both sides.

“Severide! I got her!!” Casey yells, as he spies the trembling girl huddled in a corner behind the jewelry counter.

“You’ll be fine sweetie, I promise!” Casey says tenderly, as he scoops up the trembling little girl.

“Casey! You have to show her you won’t hurt her, just be as unintimidating as you can. Works every time!” Severide yells.

“C’mon sweetie.” Casey says again, bending down to Talia’s level to reassure her.

“Nooooo!” Talia starts, as she tries to reach for her stuffed tiger that lies behind the counter.

“Hey, hey, you’re going to be fine; I can rescue Mr. Tiger too!” Casey encourages, as he reaches for the tiger and hands it to Talia who is now safely in his arms.

“We’re all good over here, Talia was the only one in here!” Severide reports over his radio.

“We’re headed out! Let’s go!” Casey replies.

“Capp! Did you find any other victims?” Severide asks.

“No, it’s all clear over here!” Capp says.

“Alright sweetie, let’s get you safe and sound!” Casey says, as he exits to the outside world with Talia.

“Oh thank goodness!!” Danny exclaims, and wraps his granddaughter in a huge hug.

“Told you it would work out fine!” Severide says, as he gives Casey a playful slap on the back.

“Thank you so much! I don’t know how to say thank you!” Danny says.

“No thanks needed sir,” Casey replies as he receives Talia’s version of a giant hug.

“If Casey ever found out how cute I think that hug is, I’d never hear the end of it!” Severide whispers to Clarke.

“Something like that could spark a prank war...” Clarke replies with a smirk.

“Hey Lieutenant, we didn’t find any other victims, but we did find this.” Capp says, holding up a soot-covered and partly melted silver ring.

“Someone needs to give that to the CPD, maybe they can ID the escapee by that ring.” Clarke says.

“It’s not our job to find him, our job is to save people from fiery infernos.” Severide says.

“Right! That’s why I think our job is better, it’s way more fun!” Clarke replies.

“Let’s pack up and get out of here!” Severide calls.

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“Boy is it weird without Dawson here!” Shay says.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Mills challenges playfully.

“At least she’ll be back next shift.” Shay reports, holding up her phone.

“Nothing’s gonna stop her, not even a near-death experience.” Casey pipes up.

“I wonder if she’s ever thought of firefighting, she seems like she has the personality for it.” Mills says. “Anyone else think so?”

“I won’t lie, that has crossed my mind once or twice.” Casey admits.

“I would hate to have to give up my partner!” Shay interjects.

“I will admit, after coming off an injury, I don’t know what I would think if she decides she wants to try firefighting.” Casey says.

“Hey Casey, can I borrow you a minute?” Shay asks.

“Sure Shay, what’s up?” Casey replies.

“Okay, so here’s the deal, you remember that little training thing you and Severide did a while back?” Shay starts, as she walks over to Casey.

The pair walk up to where Casey’s officer quarters are to continue concocting their revenge plan.

“Of course I remember, we were engaging each other in a bet, as we do so often.” Casey says.

“Well, I am kind of interested in getting ‘revenge’ if you want to call it that, on Severide for what happened during your little ‘bet’.” Shay says.

“Oh you are, are you?” Casey challenges. “I kind of like that idea, even though nothing happened to me. This seems like a chance for us to mess with Severide’s head.”

“Can’t help but overhear, but it seems like to me, that I am hearing the beginnings of a revenge plan being devised.” Clarke pipes up.

“You want to help play a prank on your boss, I love it!” Casey chuckles.

“Well, I have a bit of experience in this field…” Clarke starts, before looking away for a minute.

“Something wrong Clarke?” Shay asks innocently.

“Sorry, I was just reminiscing about my time with Gil when we were in the Marines together.” Clarke says quietly trying not to look upset.

“You guys served together? Casey asks.

“Yeah, we were known as the ‘dynamic duo’ by everyone in our unit; pranking people and messing around was our specialty.” Clarke says with a smile.

“Why’d you never tell us about the fun you had while serving?” Shay questions.

“Never thought about it to be honest, too many memories, I guess.” Clarke admits.

“Well it’s good we have an experienced guy on our side!” Casey says laughing.

“I’ve still got a couple good tricks up my sleeve!” Clarke says. “I still miss him...” He adds quietly.

“So Shay, why’d you get me involved exactly?” Casey asks.

“You know Severide better than any of us, I figured you’d know how to mess with his head the most.” Shay says.

“I may be able to help in that department!” Casey says laughing.

“Maybe Dawson will be willing to get in on this when she gets back.” Shay suggests.

“The more the merrier.” Casey says.

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2 DAYS LATER…

“Hey! Look who’s back!!” Severide exclaims as Dawson enters.

“Yeah, I’m back and here to stay, no little injury is going to stop me!” Dawson says.

“We’re all really glad to have to have you back, no one’s as good of partner as you!” Shay says as she embraces Dawson in a big hug.

“Thanks Shay…” Mills says with a mock frown.

“Hey Mills, you got a sec?” Dawson asks.

SQUAD 3, AMBULNACE 61… CAR IN THE WATER!

“I will after this call.” Mills says, heading for the Squad truck.

“Ready to rock and roll?” Shay asks.

“I’ve been ready for over a week.” Dawson replies.

“It must suck to have to recuperate alone for a week!” Shay says.

“It really does! I will admit, I’ve missed the craziness of the house; I mean I’m not even on shift for 10 minutes and a call comes in!!” Dawson says excitedly.

“Well, get used to it, and do it fast, because you’re back to work now!” Shay says playfully as they arrive on scene.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to go to work!” Dawson admits.

“What happened here?” Severide asks a bystander as his team arrives on scene.

“I don’t know, I just was walking by, and I noticed the rip in the fence!” The bystander replies.

“Did you see anyone in the car? Severide asks.

“Yeah, I think there’s a couple kids inside.” The man replies, just as someone breaks the surface of the water!

“My daughters, Paige and Rachel… I—I couldn’t get them!” The man chokes out as he breaks into a coughing fit.

Severide jumps into the water to help the man onto dry land, before calling up to Mills.

“Mills! With me! We’re going in!” Severide orders. “Capp and Clarke on line! Be ready to jump in and help!”

“You got it!” Capp replies.

“You ready for this?” Severide asks, turning to Mills.

“Yeah I’m ready! Let’s go save some lives!” Mills replies.

“That’s what I like to hear!” Severide says, pulling on his dive mask and jumping into the water below.

“It’s now or never…” Mills says to himself as he pushes all nervousness from his mind, pulls on his gear and jumps into the water below.

It’s Mills’ first water rescue, and Severide has much confidence in the new squad member.

“Just remember your training, this is nothing new. You got this.” Mills tells himself trying to instill some confidence in himself.

Severide motions for Mills to break the window of the car and grab one of the two little girls trapped inside. Mills grabs the unmoving little girl and surfaces.

“Capp! Little help?” Mills yells, as he surfaces with the little girl, just before Severide does with her sister. Capp is waiting on dry land, ready to lend a hand when needed. Mills struggles a bit to keep the little girl completely above the water as he swims over to Capp, who has now climbed down the ladder going into the water and is ready to pluck the still unmoving little girl from the rookie diver’s arms.

“Hand her up to me, Shay’s waiting! Capp says.

Mills climbs up the ladder, and hands the first little girl, Rachel up to Capp.

Severide surfaces with the other girl, Paige. Severide climbs up the ladder and immediately hands the girl off to Shay to be checked out. Paige isn’t breathing at the time Severide gets her to Shay. Shay begins CPR, as Dawson continues CPR on Rachel, Paige’s older sister.

“I got her!” Shay yells. “Dawson, Severide said there’s two girls, you might want to call another rig and be ready to grab the other one when Severide surfaces.”

“On it! I’m calling for another rig now!” Dawson replies.

“Might need to hold off, she’s not breathing and I need some help!” Shay calls.

“Already done, another rig is on the way!” Dawson calls, before bending down to start CPR.

“C’mon Rachel! You can do it!” Dawson pleas.

Dawson feverishly works on the little girl until she begins to see some signs of life 2 minutes later. A 2 minutes that seem like an eternity to her.

The little girl coughs and spits up some water, then begins to come around

“She’s gonna live…” Shay says sounding quite relieved.

“So is her sister Paige; Severide got to her just in time!” Dawson says.

“Everything’s going to be alright!” Paige and Rachel’s dad says, as he wraps his girls in his arms. “Thank you! Thank you so much!”

“We’re glad everything turned out for the best!” Severide responds.

“We want to take the girls to the hospital just to be certain everything is okay, we can take both of them, and you can ride in the back.” Dawson says.

“Okay, I just need to know they are okay after what happened.” The girls’ dad cries, trying his best not to sound emotionally distraught.

“They both should be fine, Paige was down there a little longer, but should make a full recovery with a little time.” Dawson says.

“Thank God!” Paige and Rachel’s dad sighs. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

“Hey Dawson!” Severide calls, as he comes jogging behind her.

“Yeah what’s up?” Dawson asks.

“Just wondering how those two little girls we pulled out of the water ended up doing.” Severide says.

“They’re both going to make a full recovery, you got ‘em just in time.” Dawson replies with a smile. “How’d Mills do with his first water rescue?”

“Oh good! I always like hearing that!” Severide says. “And he did great actually! I was impressed!”

“Hey have you seen Mills by chance? I have a question for him” Dawson asks.

“Yeah, he was in the kitchen when I saw in 10 minutes ago.” Severide replies.

“Thanks!” Dawson says, and takes her leave.

“I heard you did amazing during that water rescue today!” Dawson says, coming up behind Mills.

“Oh did you now?” Mills says, with a smile.

“Yeah I did!” Dawson says with a smile. “Do you have a second to talk?”

“Yeah, of course! Everything okay?” Mills asks.

“Yup! I just have a question about something.” Dawson says.

“Let’s head over to the briefing room to talk.” Mills suggests.

“Sounds good!” Dawson replies. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

“So what’s your burning question?” Mills asks with a small chuckle.

“I just want to know what you think of female firefighters…” Dawson says in a quiet tone, avoiding eye contact.

“Why? You’re not thinking of…” Mills’ lips curl into a smile. “…of becoming a firefighter are you?”

“Well, after I first applied to be an EMT, I took the firefighter’s test, it was like 6 years ago and I’d honestly forgotten all about it, until today. Today I got a letter saying I’d been accepted to the fire academy!” Dawson says.

“Honestly, I’m fine with female firefighters, and obviously I want you to be happy. If you really want this, my only advice would be, do some research and maybe talk to some people, then go for it!” Mills says, now beaming, as he embraces Dawson in a big hug and places a small kiss on her cheek.

“I will admit, watching you guys do this everyday, has made me wonder what it’s like to be the one doing it.” Dawson says.

“…And even with your close call a few weeks ago?!? Mills questions. That’s impressive!”

“I feel like Casey would be a big help with this too, I feel as though I need to talk to people about this.” Dawson says

“Well, if there’s ever anything you’d like to know about the job, you know where to find me!” Mills says with a smile.

“Thanks Peter, you’ve been a huge help, seriously!” Dawson says, planting a small kiss on Mills’ cheek and exiting the room.

“I always wondered if this day would come…” Mills says to himself with a small chuckle.

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“So tonight’s the big night?” Severide questions Casey.

“I guess it is! Hopefully we can find some stuff to show her.” Casey says, referring to Emily and Maria’s impending visit to shift.

“C’mon Casey! We’re firefighters, finding cool stuff to show Emily and Maria shouldn’t be that hard!” Severide laughs.

“Hey Matt!!” Emily calls, as she walks into the firehouse with Maria following behind.

“I’m so glad you guys could stop by!” Casey beams.

“Well, it’s my last couple of free days before I go back to school next week, I figured I wouldn’t spend them doing nothing!” Emily replies.

“She’s been annoying me all week!” Maria laughs.

“I really want to see what it’s like working here, I’m so excited!” Emily says.

“Well you’ve got Kelly here who is just dying to give you the VIP tour.” Casey says, smirking.

“You said we were gonna do this together!” Severide counters with a laugh.

“Why? Because you’re afraid you will screw it up otherwise?” Casey taunts.

“Very funny Casey, and no, I’m not scared!” Severide says laughing.

“You guys eaten?” Casey asks. “One of the guys on Kelly’s Squad is a really good cook!”

“No, we haven’t eaten.” Emily responds.

“Oh good!” Casey says, putting a protective arm around Emily and leading her into the kitchen.

“We’ve got some VIP visitors tonight Chief!” Severide calls, as they enter the kitchen.

“Real VIPs in the house, guys, meet my sister Emily and her friend Maria.” Casey announces.

“Mills, you better get cooking, we’ve got some hungry guests!” Severide orders.

“You have a sister?!” Cruz spits out.

“Yeah I do…” Casey says.

“Kelly saved my life when my school caught fire a few weeks ago, ever since then, I’ve been wanting to come and visit them on a shift.” Emily says.

“And Matt saved mine.” Maria says with a wide-eyed smile.

“That was your guys’ school?” Mills chimes in.

“Yeah, it was, I haven’t been back since, don’t think I’m ready to go back.” Emily admits quietly. “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank you guys for all you did.”

“I will never be able to thank you enough either, you guys saved Emily’s life, and I’d be lost without her.” Maria says.

“I’m lucky to work with these guys, they’re all amazing at what they do!” Casey says.

“Even I wish you guys wouldn’t have had to see us in action yourselves, I know something like what you went through can be traumatic.” Severide says.

“Dinner’s ready!” Mills calls.

“Thanks for Mills making cook tonight, couldn’t risk having Cruz do it with Emily and Maria here!” Casey whispers to Severide trying not to laugh.

“Hey!” Cruz challenges playfully. “My cooking is great!”

“I simply wanted our visitors to have edible food.” Severide snickers.

“Mills’ family owns a restaurant, so whenever we want quality food, we just make him cook! Isn’t that right Mills?” Casey laughs.

“Sure is!” Mills replies.

“Maybe you can give Cruz some cooking pointers next shift.” Severide pipes up.

“What now?” Cruz asks in a way that makes it obvious he hasn’t been paying attention to the conversation at all.

“Oh nothing…” Casey says quickly, looking up at Severide and having trouble holding back a laugh.

“Another awesome meal Mills!” Severide says, as he takes his plate from the table, along with Emily and Maria’s.

“Hey Casey, got a second?” Dawson asks, walking into the room.

“Yeah, I will after Severide and I show Emily and Maria around!” Casey replies.

“Thanks!” Dawson replies.

Emily shoots a look at Maria, a sort of secret communication that only the two of them understand. Maria tries to hold back a smile, but can’t.

“So, what do you say we get to looking around?” Casey asks.

“I was hoping you’d say that!” Emily replies, obviously excited.

“So what exactly do you guys do on a shift when there’s no calls?” Maria asks.

“Well, Matt and I are lieutenants, all that basically means is we have to sit around and do paperwork.” Severide chuckles.

“He speaks the truth Maria, it’s always tons of fun.” Casey says sarcastically.

“If there’s no paperwork to be done, I like to pass the time but screwing with Matt; lots of pranks go down in this house!” Severide says.

“Also accurate, Kelly likes to get on my nerves whenever possible.” Casey replies.

“What else is there to talk about?” Severide asks.

“Well this house has a few different companies, there’s a truck company and a rescue squad company; both have different jobs.” Casey explains, as the group walks out by the trucks.

“My team handles more challenging situations that arise, like water rescues.” Severide says.

“We keep most of our gear in here…” Casey says, plucking his helmet from the self and handing it to Emily as they walk through the gear room.

“Do you guys have a favorite part about you job?” Maria asks.

“Saving lives is always fun!” Severide says.

“I would say that’s my favorite too! There’s nothing better!” Casey says.

“Have either one of you ever thought about becoming a firefighter or paramedic?” Severide asks the girls.

“Being a paramedic might be fun.” Emily replies.

“Not gonna follow in your big brother’s footsteps?” Casey teases.

“After what happened at school, I don’t know if I could do it.” Emily sighs, trying to hide a wisp of embarrassment.

“There’s a huge difference between being a victim, and being the one who saves them.” Severide says. “Don’t let one scary experience make up your mind.”

“I guess I’ve got a lot to think about.” Maria says quietly. “My dad was a firefighter, I never knew him, he died on the job when I was 7 months old…”

“I’m sorry to hear about your dad.” Severide says quietly as memories of Andy Darden start pouring into his head.

Severide tries his best not to look upset when Maria mentions her father, but deep down inside he is beginning to miss Andy now more than ever.

“That’s about the extent of what we have here at 51. You guys can drop by and visit anytime! Kelly and I are on shift every 3 days.” Casey says as he hugs Emily.

“Glad I caught you Casey! Heard we had some visitors tonight!” Dawson says, as she walks onto the vehicle floor.

“I forgot to tell you, didn’t I? We were just getting done showing them around! This is my sister Emily and her friend Maria.” Casey says.

“Gabby is one of our paramedics here.” Severide explains.

“Emily was saying she was thinking about maybe becoming a paramedic.” Casey says.

“I just said it would be fun!” Emily counters, without being able to hold back a smile.

“Well if fire and smoke aren’t your thing, being a medic is just as fun!” Dawson says. “Catch you later Casey!”

“Your brother should totally be dating her!” Maria whispers to Emily, while trying to hold back a laugh.

“Oh I know right!” Emily whispers back with a chuckle. “Thanks so much for letting us come by, we had a blast!”

“Anytime! You guys have other plans or something?” Casey questions.

“Yeah we were going to see a movie!” Maria replies.

“I almost forgot about that! Emily says. “Thanks so much Matt!”

“Like I said, drop by anytime!” Casey says, as he embraces Emily in one final hug. “I’ll see you tomorrow for lunch?”

“Oh yeah! Now I have another thing to look forward to!” Emily replies excitedly.

“Hope to see you guys around! Have fun and stay safe!” Severide calls, as the girls exit into the Chicago night.

“That was pretty awesome.” Casey says with a smile.

“You’re so lucky!” Severide says.

“Lucky how?” Casey questions.

“Lucky in the sense that you have a younger sister you can watch out for.” Severide responds.

“You know I wouldn’t have her had you not been there to save her life!” Casey says. “I’ll always be in debt to you for that.”

“Any firefighter would have done that!” Severide says.

“I gotta go find Dawson, she wanted to talk to me about something, catch you later?” Casey says.

“Yeah, I’ve got some work to do anyway that I’ve been putting off.” Severide admits.

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“Emily leave?” Dawson questions, as she sticks her head inside Casey’s office.

“Yeah, they had to run, they were catching a movie.” Casey replies, turning around in his chair. “Did you need me before?”

“Yeah, I just wanted your opinion on something.” Dawson says.

“What is it?” Casey asks.

“I just was curious on what you think of female firefighters…” Dawson says, averting her eyes.

“I have no problem with them, as long as they are team players.” Casey responds. “Why?”

“Today, I was accepted into the Chicago Fire Academy…” Dawson says quietly.

“I didn’t know you were even thinking about this.” Casey says in surprise.

“Well I honestly forgot about it until recently; then after the ‘Vincent thing’ I realized how cool it would be to be the one doing the rescuing. Dawson says smiling. “I really haven’t thought about this much, until I got the letter, that is.”

“Well, if you really want to know what I think, I’d say talk to some people first; find out exactly you’d be getting yourself into, this is quite the career change you’re looking at. Casey says.

“Then I realize, that I probably wouldn’t be standing here in front of you with the option of firefighting on my plate had you not been there. You saved my life, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to repay that, but I’ll sure as hell try!” Dawson says, now beaming.

“Any firefighter would have done the same!” Casey says.

“I can’t thank you enough, I never will be able to.” Dawson says, as she turns to exit.

“Wait! Dawson! I think you’d make a great firefighter!” Casey calls.

“That means a lot actually, it really does, even though I know you worry about me.” Dawson says.

“What makes you think I worry about you?” Casey tosses back, blushing slightly.

“Sorry to tell you this, but you’re not very good at hiding it, believe me.” Dawson laughs.

“At least I have a reason to worry, I kind of had to save your life a few weeks ago!” Casey says with a smile.

“Trust me, I’ll never forget that!” Dawson says.

“Neither will I…” Casey admits…

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THE NEXT DAY…

“Heard you were meeting Emily for lunch, right?” Severide says with a puzzled look as he and Casey leave 51.

“Yeah, it should be fun, I’m excited to hang out with her when I don’t have to worry about work!” Casey admits.

“I know you have a lot on your plate right now, seeing Emily again for the first time not too long ago, and worrying about Dawson becoming a firefighter…” Severide says. “I’m always here if you need to vent or talk about something, and Molly’s is just down the street!”

“Who said anything about me worrying about Dawson?” Casey asks, a little more defensively than he’d hoped.

“I know you better than you think I do Matt, your constant worrying is showing through.” Severide says smiling.

“Ok fine! I admit it, I’m worried about her, I don’t think I could ever forgive myself if something happened to her!” Casey says, hanging his head. “It’d be even worse if she made it though, ended up on 81, then got hurt… That’d be on me.”

“Look, that’s what the academy is for, to teach candidates on how to handle themselves. Sure, accidents happen, but you can’t worry about it now.” Severide says in a comforting tone.

“I feel like we’ve been down this road before, Dawson and I. I don’t get why I’m worrying so much; I guess its just happening.” Casey moans.

“Everything will turn out okay in the end, I’m sure of it!” Severide says giving Casey a firm slap on the back. “Now get out of here so you meet Emily! I’ll see you next shift.”

“Thanks for everything Kelly, this whole thing a lot for me handle right now.” Casey says quietly.

“Consider it me paying you back for dragging me out of that bar in my drunken state a few months ago.” Severide says with a chuckle.

“Man you were so drunk!” Casey says smiling. “It was really entertaining, I won’t lie!”

“Never again, I promise!” Severide says not being able to wipe the grin off his face.

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“Hey Matt!” Emily says coming over to embrace him in a big hug. “So glad you could make it!”

“I am too, glad I could get off my shift actually on time for once!” Casey says.

“You mean you have to stay late sometimes?” Emily asks.

“Oh yeah, I’ve been on calls before that come in towards the end of shift, and when we get back, shift is technically over.” Casey explains.

“That must be annoying!” Emily says laughing. “Now, when are you going to tell me what the hardest thing you ever saw on the job was; you promised.”

“It’s very annoying, trust me!” Casey says with a warm smile. “Quite the turn from the happy conversation we were having.”

“Was it really that bad?” Emily asks.

“Yeah, it still hurts, but if you really want to know, I’ll tell you because I did promise.” Casey says.

“I have something to tell you too…” Emily admits. “But finish your story first.”

“You obviously remember the day Kelly and I rescued you and Maria at school, right?” Casey says.

“Of course I remember; it gets a little less painful everyday.” Emily replies.

“There is one major difference between that fire, and the hardest shift I ever endured.” Casey says. “Your best friend lived, and mine died.” Casey says, swallowing a lump in his throat.

“Oh my gosh Matt, I’m so sorry, I had no idea.” Emily says.

“I still miss him, everyday I walk into 51; and it’s been over a year since he died.” Casey says

“Wow… I don’t know what to say.” Emily says struggling for words.

“This is why I told you to never let Maria’s friendship slip through your fingers, you have to protect it! Casey says.

“I will work extra hard to always protect it!” Emily promises.

“I’ll end this conversation with a quote I head somewhere, don’t remember where. Casey says. ‘Always respect people you never know, one day that person might save your LIFE’

“I’ll always remember that quote!” Emily says.

“Now, on to business…” Casey says changing the subject.

“What business?” Emily asks.

“I got the idea you wanted to tell me something earlier when we were with Kelly…” Casey says. “Yeah, you should know I guess…” Emily admits avoiding eye contact with her brother.

“Know what?” Casey presses.

“I’m an emancipated minor…” Emily replies quietly.

Little cliffhanger for all of you! I hope you guys like this chapter! So, what’s next for Emily and Maria? Why did Emily emancipate herself? Stay tuned for more! Thanks so much for reading everyone!


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