Fighting Fire with Fire

Mistaken Identity?

“An emancipated minor?!? Why?” Casey asks in a tone of voice that is no short of saying he’s incredibly surprised by the news he was just given.

“My journey through the foster system was anything but pleasant, Matt. I never felt welcome in any of the families who agreed to foster me. It always seemed to me that they were just doing it for the money. I decided I was done after my last foster family fell through. My foster dad collapsed into alcoholism when his son was killed in a car crash; after that happened, he began to take all his anger out on me, and when he was at his worst, he would blame me for the death of his son,” Emily says swallowing a lump in her throat. “That’s when I decided I had to get out. Being a foster kid, I’ve gotten good at supporting myself, especially when the families you are placed with don’t pay you much mind. 18 months of getting yelled at all the time was enough for me.”

“I can’t believe you went through all that. I really wish you would have gotten in touch sooner; you could have lived with me. I’m really glad you told me why, and now because you did, I want to make sure you never have to go through that again. Why don’t you stay with me, at least until the school year is finished, that way you don’t have to worry as much.” Casey offers and hugs Emily close.

“I think I’d like that, I might need a good place to study for my finals coming up! Although I don’t know when I’m going to take them, since I’ve been gone so long, I plan to get on that when I go back Monday.” Emily admits as looks up at her brother with her dark and loving eyes.

“You excited to get back to school?” Casey asks.

“As much as I hate to admit it, yes I’m excited! Excited to see Maria again and excited to return to a somewhat normal routine. Maria says they’ve redone the classrooms on the third floor so you can’t even tell what happened up there. I’m worried that as soon as I set foot up there all
I will see is fire and smoke and start to freak out. I don’t know if I want to relive that, and am a little nervous to return to class up there, but change is good right?” Emily replies.

“Look, the same thing has happened to me. When my friend died, I couldn’t sleep soundly for weeks! I had flashbacks and had trouble getting back onto the truck after it happened. What I’m trying to say is, it’s normal to be nervous, and if you ever need anything, you can come find me!” Casey says reassuringly. “When I first began training as a firefighter I got nervous during smoke drills. It took me almost two months to finally get comfortable putting all my gear on and to stop getting anxious when we did smoke drills in training. It might be a little hard at first, I won’t lie, but every hardship gets easier with time. Point is, I’m always here for you, and it’s normal to be nervous.”

“You nervous? Really? After seeing you rescue Maria before I blacked out, I could never believe you were ever nervous around fire. I don’t know how you manage to charge into burning buildings full of unknown surprises as much as you do.” Emily says leaning in for another hug from her brother knowing how much security it offers. Something she has longed for non-stop for the last 7 years.

“I’ll always be here for you sis, don’t ever forget it! I’m not like those foster parents you had” Casey whispers to Emily trying not to become emotional, but quickly loses that battle.

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2 DAYS LATER…

“I went out to lunch with Emily on Saturday and found out she’s heading back to school today for the first time since the fire!” Casey says taking off his jacket and turning to Severide as the teams return from an early morning call. “I had an idea for something we could do later.”

“That’s great Matt! It shows Emily is very courageous for going back to the same school. I admire people like that.” Severide says as he hangs up his jacket next to Casey, but allowing his boots to remain on just like Casey’s. “What’s this idea of yours you were going to tell me about?”

“Well, since it is Emily’s first day back, I thought it would be really cool if we could surprise her at school with some lunch. What do you say?” Casey says now sporting an ecstatic grin.

“That’s a really good idea! I love it!” Severide replies soon sporting a similar grin to Casey’s.

“I was gonna have Cruz drive, I hope you can handle riding in the back of the truck!” Casey says with a snicker.

“Not my ideal ride, but I can deal with it!” Severide tosses back with a laugh.

“Hey Cruz!” Casey calls as he sticks his head around the truck.

“What’s up lieutenant?” Cruz replies snapping to attention.

“Mind giving us a ride? Casey asks walking up to 51’s veteran driver, “We’re going to surprise my sister at school with some lunch.”

“Yeah! No problem. Let’s go.” Cruz says. “Want me to grab the rest of the guys?”

“That’s a good idea, just in case we get a call.” Casey says. “Thanks Cruz!”

“We might as well grab our gear too. Like you said, just in case we get a call.” Severide says turning to head for the Squad so he can grab his jacket and helmet from the front seat. “Anything else I need I can grab when my team gets there, if need be.”

“We’re going for a ride guys! Get up!” Cruz says sauntering into the kitchen. “Grab your stuff too; Casey isn’t sure exactly how long his errand will take.”

“Well alright then…” Herrmann pipes up with a confused look on his face and heads for the truck.

“Lieutenant? What are you doing here?” Otis asks as innocently as he can when he spies Severide sitting in Andy’s old spot inside the truck.

“Casey wanted me to come.” Severide replies. “Man, I haven’t sat in this spot since I was a candidate…”

“You as a candidate…” Casey can’t help but chuckle at the thought. “That has got to be the funniest image I’ve had in my head all day!” Casey says from the front then turning around to shoot an amused look at Severide, who’s now glaring at him.

The other members of Truck 81 also have a hard time containing their laughter at the thought of Severide as a candidate, simply because Casey is very amused himself.

Severide knows the teasing is inevitable now that Casey’s started it, but also knows he can use this to his advantage later when he plans his revenge.

“Don’t worry guys, there will be plenty of time for teasing our ‘special guest’ later, but now, thanks to Cruz; Severide and I have a visit to pay.” Casey says jumping down from his shotgun spot in the truck and allowing time for Severide to catch up.

The pair of firehouse lieutenants are still wearing their boots from the earlier call as they enter the school with lunch from Emily’s favorite restaurant in hand. Casey and Severide are allowed entry after they show their badges and Casey explains he’s there for Emily to the office attendant he called earlier.

“I called.” Casey tells Severide, to bring him up to speed.

“I can show you where to go. You came at just the right time; your sister’s class eats lunch right now.” The office attendant says as she leads the two firefighters into the school.

“Thanks for the help.” Casey replies as they reach the lunch room and spy Emily at a table sitting next to Maria.

“That’s to be expected I suppose.” Severide says with a small chuckle. “Maria must hang with her every possible second of the day!”

“It’s true! From what she’s told me, they have all but one class together!” Casey replies. “I would assume that fire made them closer, when they realized just how precious life is, and how quickly it can yanked from their grasp.”

“Are we feeling wise today; because that was deep!” Severide teases as he delivers a playful punch to Casey’s shoulder.

“Someone order lunch?” Casey says, walking up to Emily’s table; Severide following close behind.

“Matt!! Oh my gosh, what are you doing here?” Emily exclaims just in time to watch Maria’s eyes nearly pop out of her head when she sees the visitors.

Maria’s look is one only Emily would understand, and it takes every bit of strength Emily has not to bust out laughing at Maria’s face.

“We heard it was your first day back, so we wanted to surprise you with some lunch.” Casey explains holding up a small pizza box.

“You even got my favorite pizza from Uno’s! Seriously! You are the best brother ever!” Emily says jumping up from her spot to hug Casey.

Maria is trying not to look distracted by the fact that Casey and Severide are there, but secretly is just as happy to see them as Emily is.

“Casey! We got a call!” Cruz yells as he comes running into the room.

A couple kids look up as another visitor comes tearing into the room, and Casey lets out a small chuckle when he figures out who it is.

Maria shoots another look at Emily that says ‘Really? Now?’ Emily returns fire with another look that tells Maria she is about to burst out laughing- but can’t.

Cruz comes running in the room, trips and falls as he is yelling at Casey to hurry up.

“I guess that’s why you are called ‘Chicago’s Bravest’ and not ‘Chicago’s Most Balanced.’” Emily snickers to Casey as Cruz tries to pick himself up off the floor.

“You truly are one of ‘Chicago’s Bravest’ at its finest aren’t you Cruz?” Casey laughs as he places an arm around Emily who is also doing her best not to laugh at her brother’s struggling team member.

“Lieutenant, respectfully, shut up!”Cruz replies finally able to get to his feet and then begins to laugh himself.

“I still don’t know why we let him drive...” Casey whispers to Emily.

“Totally called that one didn’t you Casey?” Severide teases.

“What’s going on?” Maria asks turning to Emily.

“You know what my brother does for a living; finish the puzzle.” Emily replies sarcastically then busts out laughing. “Quite the team you’ve got here…”

“You are so lucky you are not on my team, otherwise I’d make you do drills for that!” Casey says to Severide with a chuckle. “Yeah, I have ‘quite the team’ indeed; they might be slightly crazy, but they get the job done, and very good at doing it!” Casey says turning to Emily once more.

“C’mon you guys we gotta go! Squad’s already en-route!” Cruz presses.

“Duty calls sis! Love ya!” Casey says as he hands Emily the small pizza box, plants a small kiss on Emily’s head and sprints after Severide.

“Hurry up slowpoke! Cruz is waiting!” Severide calls from the opposite end of the hall.

“Oh shut it!” Casey fires back with a laugh.

“Dude, that was awesome!” Maria says as Casey disappears from view. Maria is hyped up after the exciting events of lunch, and is really excited to talk to Emily about it later.

“I can’t believe he came with lunch, and even remembered my favorite pizza!” Emily says still trying to come to terms with the excitement of lunch period.

“Admit it; you were excited to see Kelly too!” Maria taunts with a smile.

“Why wouldn’t I be? He saved my life, c’mon Maria any normal human would be excited at that” Emily replies with an unamused look, which says ‘really?’.

“Looks like you’re riding with us. Brings back memories doesn’t it?” Casey taunts.

“Yeah I guess it does! I’ve got the rest of my gear in the Squad, let’s get moving.” Severide replies.

“Dispatch said it was a shooting and ended up causing a fire.” Cruz reports.

“Seems like we are going to have our hands full, eh, Severide?” Casey asks from the front.

“Never again…” Severide moans to himself before answering Casey. “We may indeed have our hands full, but that’s what makes our job even more fun!”

“This is a different side to you lieutenant, we never knew it existed!” Otis pipes up trying not to laugh.

“This is just me deflecting Casey’s annoyingness.” Severide chuckles as he looks straight in Casey’s direction

“Yeah right, because I’m so annoying!” Casey fires back sarcastically, now turned completely around in his seat.

“Looks like we get to see the Casey and Severide antics in their full glory today! It’s pretty amusing isn’t it Otis?” Herrmann asks quietly

“That it is Herrmann… Never thought I’d see the day where Severide would have to ride with us!” Otis replies quietly trying not to laugh.

Even though it has been quite the morning for the 51 teams; they all know there is still over 19 hours left of the shift. Plenty of time for more banter and excitement; but now they all focus on the task ahead. The one of defusing what they will soon find out to be an extremely tense situation. Soon they will be there, faced with both injured people and a raging fire; two things that need to be fixed quickly with extreme precision and caution.

“This ought to be interesting…” Cruz remarks as he sees an altercation going on near the flaming building, a second victim laying on the ground close by, and Squad arriving on scene.

“Finally decide to join us?” Mills calls playfully as Severide jumps down off the truck and walks over to grab the rest of his gear.

“Yup, I was getting tired of Casey’s team!” Severide says with a smile.

“I heard that Severide!” Casey calls back with a laugh.

“I was hoping you would, that’s what I aiming for!” Severide counters.

“I’ll have to deal with you later, right but now we need to do a search and get Shay and Dawson over here to check on these two victims. Casey says, as soon as the altercation has ceased.

“Squad hit the back of the restaurant and Casey’s team, take the front.” Severide orders looking at Casey and switching into ‘work mode’.

“Sounds good to me; Cruz and Mouch stay outside to vent.” Casey orders. “Otis and Herrmann inside with me!”

“Capp, Clarke, left side, Mills with me on the right! Let’s go guys! Gear up! This place gets more unstable every second we let it burn!” Severide says to his team as he drops down to one knee to put his mask on so he can be the first one inside.

The teams head into the building with two missions, rescue victims and knocking down the fire. One thing that Casey knows is that the knocking down of the fire will be the lesser of two evils, and that the rescuing victims is always the harder part; as it requires more skill and precision. He knows this from experience, and has spent quite a few years perfecting his craft. The teams charge in and soon Casey finds himself searching alongside Severide and seeing his teams split up into the groups they were assigned. Never able to be without his firefighter brother, Severide wonders why he even bothers assigning pairs during a search because he knows inevitably he’ll end up at Casey’s side.

“Severide! I got one!” Casey yells as his hand comes into contact with what he knows is a victim.

“Hey lieutenant, we’ve got a victim over here too but he’s buried beneath quite a bit of rubble, we’re going to need some help!” Severide hears Mills say over his radio.

“Ok, I’ve got to help Casey with this guy over here, but radio to Clarke, he can help!” Severide tells Mills and then returns to Casey’s side to help him drag the victim to safety.

“Man it’s hard to see in here today! I know we’re used to the whole ‘near-zero visibility’ thing, but it just seems to me that it’s worse today than what I’ve seen in a while.” Casey says turning in what he thinks is Severide’s direction.

“I know, I was thinking the same thing, whatever started this thing; it’s nasty.” Severide replies as he bends down to tie a piece of webbing around the victim so Casey can drag him more easily.

“You got it?” Casey asks only because he can hear Severide fumbling with his hands a bit.

“Yeah, I got it; finally.” Severide replies a little less than confidently. “Mills! Did you get your guy out?”

“Yeah, Capp and Clarke helped and we’re almost out.” Mills replies. “Can’t tell exactly how bad he is since it’s so incredibly hard to see in here.”

“Just get him out as quickly as you can, the less time he spends in here, the better.” Severide orders.

“Guiding Mills through a rescue, is that what I’m hearing?” Casey asks with a laugh.

“Shut it.” Severide deadpans. “Oh and Mills, did you guys find any other victims?”

“No, it’s all clear here!” Mills replies instantly.

“…And you are incredibly hard to hear, c’mon speak up!” Casey shouts as static comes through the radio, “That means you Severide…”

“That’s not exactly the easiest task to accomplish when wearing all this gear, let me remind you.” Severide says in a way that tells Casey that he is highly amused all by the look he sports in his icy blue eyes.

“I seriously love how you guys are bantering while inside this raging inferno.” Mills pipes up over the radio.

“Don’t worry we’ve been feeling our way out this whole time, it’s just slow going.” Casey challenges.

“How did you…” Severide starts.

“You guys both had your radios open this whole time…” Mills laughs.

“We must be hilarious then if you are laughing so hard.” Severide says coming up behind Mills and scaring him a bit.

“When did you get out here lieutenant?” Mills asks and almost immediately after snaps to attention.

“That’s for me to know and you to never find out.” Severide replies and rewards Mills a playful slap on the back. “By the way, Shay and Dawson have our victim, so no need to worry.”

“Me worry? That’s funny lieutenant!” Mills counters.

“Just for that, I might have to have Casey remind me of some good ways to make you work!” Severide says mid-step in his trek back over to the Squad.

“Can’t wait…” Mills chuckles as he begins to follow Severide, but at a considerable distance.

“Did we seriously leave the radios open?” Casey asks as he walks over to the squad to talk to Severide. Severide can see by the look on his face that Casey is in disbelief at what they’ve done, but at the same time, is also slightly amused by it.

“I guess we did; but it was free entertainment for everyone else at least.” Severide says laughing.

“And that’s always a good thing!” Casey replies and heads back to the truck, just in time to meet Cruz as he jumps into the driver’s seat ready to return the team to 51.

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Before the girls can realize it, Friday afternoon is staring at them just like a deer stares at a set of approaching headlights. Emily has kept in touch with Casey throughout the week, talking to him twice on the phone.

“I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks!” Emily beams as she catches up with Maria in the hallway at school.

“Don’t get excited yet, we still have a whole hour of school left!” Maria laughs.

“Ugh, don’t remind me! Emily laughs and makes a mock sick face.

“Just think Em, we’ve got the whole weekend ahead of us, and we can spend every minute of it together!” Maria reminds her just as the two minute warning bell to class sounds.

“It kind of stinks that we don’t have our last class together, but I guess there’s nothing we can do about that, now can we?” Emily says.

The girls, coincidently have their final class of the day in classrooms right next to each other, and spend most the class switching between taking notes for the class and sneaking in a few text messages to each other. Finally the dismissal bell rings and Maria and Emily are the first ones out of their desks. They have planned the whole weekend out down to the littlest detail; since neither one of them have had the time to hang out together just the two of them in nearly two months.

“I figured we could grab dinner a little later and just spend the night relaxing.” Maria suggests as Emily immediately agrees.
“You have no idea how amazing that sounds.” Emily says with a smile as she jumps into the driver’s seat of her car.

“This is going to be an awesome weekend, I can feel it!” Maria smiles. “I thought since you drove me today, the least I could do, would be to host you for the weekend!”

“Tell me about it!” Emily says now beaming.

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Later that night the girls are just settling in to begin what they have planned to be an awesome all night marathon of their favorite TV show. Maria suggested the idea and Emily fell in love right away.

“This will be epic; since we both have the same favorite TV show!” Maria says tossing the last crust of the Uno’s pizza the girls ordered for dinner back into the box which lies with the tip of its cover hanging off of Maria’s bed. “Best pizza in Chicago!”

“I know, right?! Even Matt remembered it was my favorite!” Emily says, “That kind of detail was something only my dad would remember about me when,” She pauses… “When he was still alive…”

“I really miss him…” Emily says with a sigh. “Even though I was only about 4 years old, I still remember all the fun we used to have, there was a special connection between us, something I never had with my mom.”

“I wish I could have had that kind of connection with my dad. I never had the chance since he died when I was a baby.” Maria sighs.

The mood in the room has changed drastically from one of laughter and happiness to a more somber one. The girls both have things they want to get off their chests, and know this is the time to do it.

“You said your dad was a firefighter, right?” Emily asks. “I didn’t know that.”

“From what my mom has told me, yeah he was.” Maria replies. “I never really knew him; he died before I was a year old. A sad expression crosses her face, and Emily realizes that this is a topic to be explored with extreme caution.

“Sorry I brought it up…” Emily says quietly, avoiding direct eye contact with Maria.

“Trust me, it’s fine; I kind of needed to get it off my chest, and I know you are the person I want to share it with, since we kind of have similar situations.” Maria replies reassuringly.

“That’s what I’m here for!” Emily says. “Truthfully, I kind of want to get some stuff about my dad off my chest too!”

“Well after my dad died, my mom moved us into the city; we had lived in a suburb of Chicago before, and she felt she needed a sort of fresh start type thing. We all did.” Maria sighs trying not to become emotional.

“I really wish I could have helped more…” Emily says

“I feel like that fire was some sort of sign, a weird sign from my dad. Even though I never really knew him, I feel like he wants me to be okay. It was just the last part though, being rescued, and by my best friend’s brother of all people; there has to be something to it, it’d be too big of a coincidence if there wasn’t.” Maria says.

“Since we are on the topic, I’ve been waiting for a time to talk about this. Emily starts. “There was something about that moment Maria, something surreal for lack of a better word; I don’t know, I can’t describe it…” Emily says making a face that says that she’s desperately searching for words to describe what she’s trying to say.

“You mean the moment we got rescued…?” Maria prompts.

“That’s it.” Emily replies. “The one thing I do remember before I blacked out was how Kelly refused to leave the room Matt arrived. Matt has told me that Kelly does absolutely everything he can to save victims. I feel like that’s what he did for us!”

“I know that’s what he did! Em, we owe our lives to both of them, which is something we can never repay, but will always be able to more than grateful for!” Maria says with a warm smile.

“As much as I hate to remember anything about that day, there is one other part I remember without even trying.” Emily says.

“What’s that?” Maria asks curiously and makes a face to go with her tone of voice.

“The moment where you begged Kelly to rescue me first, right before I blacked out; I don’t know if you knew that I saw and heard all of that, but I did Maria, and I will never be able to thank you for your willingness to do something like that for me.”

“You’re my best friend, all the times you’ve been there for me, all the things we’ve been though; I didn’t even think about it, I just did it.” Maria says.

“Then there was the moment that it dawned on me that Kelly and Matt were there to save us, that we were going to be okay, that we are going to make it.” Emily sighs as she recalls the memory.

“Quite the story we have going for us, don’t we?” Maria laughs.

“You can defiantly say that again!” Emily begins laughing at this and soon Maria can’t help but join in.

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2 DAYS LATER….

“Last shift before your big test, eh, Dawson?” Severide teases as walks by the ambulance on his way to grab something from the squad. “You’ll be awesome, you’ve worked really hard, and I hope to see you pass!”

“I hope to pass too! I really want to get out into the action!” Dawson replies.

“Go get ‘em!” Severide says as he gives Dawson a playful nudge on the shoulder and returns to the squad table.

“A little birdie told me you have your big test in a couple days!” Casey says nearly running into Dawson.

“Severide? I know he tells you everything!” Dawson chuckles.

“Yeah, he told me, I’m impressed you figured that out so quickly!” Casey says with a warm smile.

“Guess it’s a natural talent!” Dawson replies not being able to contain her smile.

“Hey Matt!” Emily says as she enters 51 on what is turning out to be a perfect summer afternoon!

“Hey Em! Didn’t know you were gonna drop by today! It’s always great to have you here!” Casey says with an ever widening smile.

“You know I love it here; and besides you guys are amazing!” Emily beams.

“They are pretty amazing!” Dawson pipes up as she walks by Casey on her way into the kitchen.

Casey tries his hardest not let his true feelings for Dawson show through, as he knows Emily is incredibly good at deciphering even the smallest grimace.

Truck 81, Ambulance 61… Shooting

“What is it with people and guns today?” Casey asks as he passes Severide on his way to the truck.

“Who knows, some people are just crazy.” Severide chuckles as he shoots a look at Casey. “Have fun!”

“Oh don’t you worry, we will!” Casey replies. “Hey Dawson; real quick…”

“Yeah, what’s up Casey?” Dawson asks just before he hops into the back of the ambulance.

“Any chance you would let Emily come with you guys on a ride along for this call? She told me she is thinking of becoming a paramedic some someday and I have a feeling this call is going to be action packed.” Casey explains.

“Yeah for sure; anything for the guy who saved my life! Dawson replies with the type of look one gives when trying to hide their affection towards another person.

Unknown to Casey, Emily has heard what Dawson just said about Casey saving her life.

“Hey Em! How would you like to come along on the call with Dawson?” Casey asks almost pulling Emily over to the ambulance, since they have very little time to discuss the matter.

“For real?? You’re reallygoing to let me? Seriouslyyou’re the best brother in the world!” Emily says more excited than Casey has ever seen her. She jumps up to hug him before he runs off to join his waiting team in the truck.

“Hop in back! This will be an awesome call!” Dawson says warmly.

By now, the station is a flurry of activity, as the truck pulls out with their lieutenant perched up high in his shotgun seat ready to get on scene and see what awaits him and his team.

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(am I taking this [the highlighted part] out? If so, can you delete this? Thanks! –Julia)

“I hear you want to be a paramedic?” Dawson asks as the ambulance pulls out of 51.

“Yeah, I’m thinking about it, Matt’s got it floating around in my head, since I’ve been around here a few times.”

“Well having him for a brother will do that no doubt!” Dawson smiles while her mind begins to think of Casey and all that he’s done for her. She is quick to try and get the thoughts out of her mind as she remembers that she is with Mills and only Mills. As much as she tries stop thinking of him, Casey keeps coming to mind, and before she realizes just how distracted she is, she is jolted from her trance by Shay yelling that they have arrived on scene. Casey hops off the truck just as the ambulance gets on scene. Emily is sitting on the back step and has a perfect view of everything that’s going on.

“The guy just snapped! He went crazy and shot like 3 people!” A frantic man comes running out of the run-down house towards Casey.

“Shay! Dawson! We need you over here! We’ve got a couple of victims.” Casey calls.

Dawson does a quick inventory of their supplies before turning to Casey.

“Turns out we’ll need some of your stuff from the truck, help us out? Dawson replies.

“No problem, Cruz and I will grab the stuff you guys need and follow you up.” Casey says turning to Cruz to tell him what to grab, and then flashes a small smile at Dawson.

Emily is still perched in the back of the ambulance, now having her eyes fixed on her brother and his team member as they grab stuff from various compartments on the truck.

“Hopefully you’ll get to see some action in a few minutes!” Casey says from across the scene, just before he enters the building behind Shay and Dawson; having ditched his heaviest gear at the truck.

“Can’t wait!” Emily yells back with a beaming smile at least 100 times more excited than the last time Casey saw it.

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“You’ll be fine if you just calm down!” Dawson tells one of the victims, as she starts to patch up his wound.

“They guy just went crazy on us! All we were doing was playing a little poker!” The victim says wincing in pain.

“You’ll be fine if you just hold still and let us do our job.” Shay pipes up and presses a piece of gauze over the victim’s wound.

“Ouch!” He cries.

“Almost forgot, this is going to hurt a bit!” Shay smirks and presses a little harder on the gauze.

Dawson tires not to laugh at Shay’s snarkiness, but more often than not fails at containing her small chuckle each time it presents itself. Cruz and Casey have made it inside now; Cruz is leading the pair and is the first to spy a pretty beat up victim.

“I got this.” Casey says reaching for his radio. “Dawson, we’ve got a victim in here, he’s been shot 3 times from what I can see, we could use a little help!”

“You okay here?” Dawson asks turning to Shay.

Shay nods and returns to patching up her victim, while Dawson runs to grab her med bag and a backboard from the ambulance before heading to help Casey and Cruz.

“On my way Casey!” Dawson replies to Casey over her radio as she grabs a backboard and her med bag from the ambulance.

“Dawson, he’s slipping in and out of consciousness, you’d better---.” Casey starts.

“I’d better hurry up? That’s what you were going to say right?” Dawson asks coming up behind Casey.

“Something like that!” Casey says producing a wide smile before offering to help Dawson.

“You know how you could help? Go around looking for any more victims, so I know if I need to call in another crew or two. Dawson says. Cruz can stay with me, right Cruz?”

“You got it!” Casey says and takes off.

Casey heads down the hall and soon comes upon a man wandering aimlessly back and forth through it.

“Are you okay sir?” Casey ventures.

“I… I shot ‘em. I shot all of ‘em; three of them. I lost the…” the man pauses and burps, “I lost the game… he belches again, “I had to get my money back.” The man slurs making it obvious to Casey that he is intoxicated, very intoxicated, as if the smell of alcohol on his breath wasn’t enough for Casey to come to this conclusion.

“Casey, we’ve got a bit of an issue out here…” Casey is almost a bit surprised to hear Herrmann’s voice on the other end of the radio.

Casey’s search is interrupted by an urgent call from Herrmann over the radio alerting Casey to the fact that a brawl has broken out outside and they need backup.

Casey only has seconds to react once he notices that the very intoxicated shooter has left his field of vision and is now roaming throughout the building with what Casey must assume is a loaded gun. So in slight desperation he pulls out his phone to text the only person he knows can help with this situation; Severide.

Back at 51, Severide is relaxing in his usual spot when he gets Casey’s text.

“A text; really Casey?” Severide chuckles. “Hey Capp, you have to see this, it’s a text from Casey.” Severide laughs holding up his phone so Capp can read the message.

“Don’t worry, I know you are probably parading around the station showing this to all the squad guys, but I don’t care. I seriously need some help over here; this is getting out of hand. I already radioed dispatch---”

Severide doesn’t have time to finish reading the message before the page goes out calling the squad to assist truck at the shooting.

“Let’s go guys! Looks like Casey’s team needs us! Severide shoots a look at Capp before jumping up into his usual spot as the squad roars off towards the call.

“On our way Casey, give us 5 minutes.” Severide says in a text message to Casey as the squad is en-route.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

“Sir I’m here to help you and if you would just let me, this will be super easy!” Casey says as he tracks down the gunman only after hearing 2 additional gunshots ricochet through the halls of the run-down apartment. He is becoming a little perturbed with the man’s behavior, even though he doesn’t show it. Casey is not so much perturbed as he is worried that the gunman is going to launch another drunken rampage and injure more people.

“Let’s get you outside to see the medics.” Casey sighs and begins to half lead; half drag the gunman out of the apartment.

Without intentionally looking for where the gun shots ended up going, Casey finds where they went. One has made contact with a part of the wall near where Casey found the aimlessly wandering gunman. The other one is untraceable, but Casey is certain he heard a second shot. When the gunman looks up, he drops his gun, sees the holes in the wall, and begins an attempt to form a complete sentence.

“Oh boy, looks--- like--- someone came tearing through--- here shooting up--- the--- place, you should--- try and fix that Mr. Fireman.” The man’s attempts at a complete sentence are anything but perfect and Casey is trying not to become amused by his struggles. He knows he must focus on the task at hand, getting the gunman to somewhere where he can’t hurt anyone else, checked over by Shay and Dawson, and then finally dumping him off with the cops.

“Oh good, Antonio you’re here! Listen, this guy is really drunk…” Casey begins.

“I can tell already by his breath…” Antonio says cringing.

“He keeps saying that he shot all the people involved here, and given his condition, I don’t know what to believe. Think you guys could take him after Shay and Dawson get a quick look at him?” Casey explains.

“Yeah for sure, we’ll take care of it.” Antonio replies.

Emily is still perched on the back step of the ambulance and hops down to get a better look at all the action going on.

“Liking it so far?” Casey asks as he comes over to the ambulance to ask Dawson to have a look at the gunman and talk to Emily.

“This is pretty amazing so far, but not as amazing as having my life saved a few months ago. You can try and top that, but I don’t think you will ever be able to.” Emily laughs.

It has since gotten a little easier for Emily to talk about that fateful day nearly two months ago, especially to Matt.

“I’m glad you are enjoying this, maybe some other time we can get you on a ride along with my team and you could see some fire. From the outside of course, when you don’t have to fear for your life.” Casey says

“Really? You think you could do that?” Emily asks.

“I’m assuming you’d like that better than experiencing it from inside.” Casey says warmly as he takes off his jacket drapes it over Emily’s shoulders. “I’ll check with the ‘higher ups’”

“Thanks for everything Matt!” Emily manages to say and gets a quick hug from Casey before he runs to reorganize his team.

Just as Casey leaves, Severide’s team gets on scene. Emily is excited that she will get to see Kelly again and always is excited to see him.

“Hey Emily!” Severide calls as he jumps down from his truck.

“Future lieutenant of Truck 81, is that what I see here, and aren’t you a little young to be a lieutenant?” Severide chuckles as he walks over and notices Emily wearing Casey’s jacket. “Hey Casey, I think your sister wants to steal your job!” Severide laughs as he spies Casey on the other side of the scene.

“Kelly!” Emily replies excitedly as Capp lets out a small chuckle at hearing his lieutenant’s first name.

All Casey can do for the time being is shoot Severide a ‘wow you are so mature’ type look and try not to burst out laughing.

“This has been awesome today; I just told Matt how cool it’s been being here with you guys!” Emily says with a beaming smile.

“Don’t tell Matt, but I think you might be better at his job than him!” Severide snickers.

“Don’t worry, I won’t tell!” Emily promises. “I mean it when I say this is awesome, it really is! It’s cool to see that you guys aren’t always fighting fires and do other stuff too!”

“Yeah, surprisingly, we help out at these kinds of calls quite a bit!” Severide replies.

“I’ve think I’ve seen enough action pertaining to fire for a while, I don’t know if you remember what happened last time I was around it…” Emily says.

“Oh I remember, how can I not when you are here talking to me!” Severide says smiling.

“I can’t wait to hear more about all the action that went down today from Matt!” Emily says excitedly.

“I’m glad to hear you are enjoying being here, and I’m sure Matt will tell you all about it later!” Severide says with a smile as he lifts his protective arm off of Emily.

“Severide! A little help over here?!” Casey calls as soon as he spies the rescue squad lieutenant.

“There goes your brother needing my help again!” Severide laughs and heads over to help Casey. “Remember what I said, ‘future Truck 81 lieutenant’

This leaves Emily laughing as she watches her brother reward Severide a slightly annoyed face.

“Couldn’t handle it without us?” Severide teases.

“Yeah that’s it!” Casey replies sarcastically. “No in all seriousness, a fight broke out between some angry poker players all while I’m trying to deal with the very intoxicated shooter.” Casey explains as he gestures towards a man who is skipping around the building’s entrance and mumbling some drunken, profanity-laced strings of words.

“Sounds fun!” Severide snickers.

“Well at least he claims to be the shooter, I don’t know what to believe, but can you handle him for a few minutes until CPD gets here? I have to go ask Dawson something.” Casey explains.

“C’mon Casey, I can see right through you.” Severide’s mind muses. “Yeah, I got it!” He says out loud.

Severide turns his back for a few seconds to talk to Clarke and doesn’t notice the guy he is supposed to be ‘watching’ slip away and prepare to launch another drunken rant.

“Oh my god… What the hell are you doing here? You little life wrecker!” Emily’s ex-foster dad hisses upon making eye contact with his once foster daughter.

“Me? More like why the hell are you here when you know you are supposed to stay far away from me! Ever wonder why I emancipated myself, you made my life hell!” Emily challenges, quickly becoming agitated.

“You ruined my life!” He shouts again now having alerted a quickly-becoming-concerned Casey.

Emily is quick to notice that her former foster dad is drunk, but isn’t at all surprised by the fact.

“What is going on over here?” Casey asks upon hearing a commotion erupt, noticing that the shooter is now roaming freely around the scene and no longer being watched by Severide.

“What are you doing over here and why are you yelling at my sister?” Casey questions instantly becoming extremely protective over Emily; he places his hands on her shoulders to give her a sense of protection and then continues his rant,“and who do you think you are??!?”

Casey sends an almost invisible signal to Severide, one that Severide sees and can read instantly, one requesting backup. Severide comes over to lend a helping hand but mostly to let the shooter know they mean business.

“Just get out of here, and stay out of my life!” Emily hisses.

“The real question is who do you think YOU are?”Emily’s former foster dad hisses at Casey.

Both lieutenants now stand perfectly erect behind Emily, each with a protective hand on her shoulders. Both Severide and Casey cast menacing glares at the man for yelling at Emily and are not about to let it happen ever again, much less allow him to get anywhere close to Emily again.

“I’m her brother, her real family, and you sir, are going to have a little chat a friend of ours down at the police station. Casey counters in a tone that tells Severide to bring Emily’s ex-foster dad over to their friends in blue.

With that Severide begins to lead Emily’s ex-foster dad over to Antonio and a waiting CPD officer.

“I’m honestly not surprised he was out drinking and gambling, he does that a lot…” Emily says quietly.

“Well don’t worry Em, he’s with the cops now, and if he ever comes near you again, come find me or Kelly and we will teach him a lesson!” Casey says reassuringly.

“That’s right, anytime you need help, come find one of us!” Severide replies upon returning from his ‘special mission’.

There isn’t much time for comfort before Emily notices a very badly injured woman crawling out from the apartment building.

“Matt look! Over there!” Emily gasps as she points out the woman crawling towards them.

“Severide! We were going to need some help over here!” Casey calls to his fellow lieutenant. “Shay, Dawson! Emily noticed another victim; we are going to need your help pronto!”

Knowing that Mills is EMT certified, Severide calls for him to help too, “Mills! Help Casey!”

“On it, lieutenant!” Mills replies instantly as he takes off sprinting in Casey’s direction.

Mills reaches Casey just as the young victim collapses at their feet.

“Lieutenant, she’s pregnant!” Mills says in utter shock over the discovery he’s just made.

“Okay, get Shay and Dawson over here now and tell them we’ve got a critical victim!” Casey orders as worst-case scenarios begin to pour into his head with what seems to him as no end.

“We have to get moving, I can’t find an exit wound; and with her being pregnant now we’ve got two lives on the line!” Mills says with his inner EMT beginning to surface. “We need a backboard so we can move her!”

“Shay! Dawson! We really need you over here; it turns out that our victim is pregnant!” Casey says radioing Dawson the details of the situation that has been placed before them.

“Wanna see some close up action, Emily?” Dawson asks as she organizes some equipment they will need.

“Really?” Emily grins quickly becoming excited.

“Yeah! You can help me too; can you grab that bag over there for me?” Dawson replies pointing to her med bag that sits atop the ambulance’s stretcher before she heads off in Casey’s direction.

Emily, still wearing her brother’s jacket, grabs Dawson’s bag and follows her until she finds herself in a crowd of firefighters and medics as they work to try and save the woman’s life.

“On my count. One, two, three!” Shay orders as she, Dawson, Casey and Mills take corners of the backboard, lift it onto the stretcher, and rush off to the ambulance.

“Hey Severide! Can we take Mills with us as backup? We’ve got a critically injured woman here.” Dawson calls to seasoned rescue squad lieutenant.

“Yeah sure Dawson; whatever you need!” Severide replies instantly.

The next few moments are almost a blur to Casey as he watches Mills, who not too long ago was his candidate hop on top of the stretcher and begin CPR on the rapidly declining mother-to-be.

Casey whirls around on his feet so he can face Emily. “How about you ride back with me? Seems to me like Shay and Dawson have more than their hands full right now.” Casey suggests.

“Really!? I get to ride back in the truck?” Emily replies with a beaming smile.

“Something tells me you want to.” Casey counters with a smile. “I’m telling you, you look more like me every time I turn around and see you in that jacket.”

The pair begins to head for the truck, but not before being stopped by the ever comedic Lieutenant Severide who can’t resist getting the last word.

“Shrunk by a few inches, Lieutenant Casey?” Severide laughs

“Haha, very funny Severide!” Casey fires back.

“I can’t decide whether I like the smell of this jacket, it smells like a campfire mixed with, I don’t even know what!” Emily laughs.

“That other smell? Getting pinned under beams maybe?” Severide snickers to Casey.

“Don’t you let me ever forget that!” Casey whispers back with a chuckle.

“Matt’s saved tons of lives in that jacket, including mine a few times!” Severide pipes up. “And Dawson’s…” He mutters under his breath trying not to snicker.

“Yeah that’s right, I have saved your sorry butt a few times haven’t I?” Casey laughs. “Now those are the rescues I like to remember, it’s basically rescuing rescue squad!”

“It’s true isn’t it, I guess I can’t play hero all the time!” Severide says with a mock frown before beginning to laugh.

“As fun as it is for me to remember saving you, I will always remember the times you’ve saved my life, and there’s been a bunch!” Casey says turning serious for a minute.

“There are so many stories we would tell, but long stories short, there’s been tons of lives saved in that jacket, and many more to come!” Severide says to Emily. “Your brother is truly an amazing firefighter.”

“That’s one of the reasons I think Matt is so amazing!” Emily says smiling.

“Hey Casey, why don’t you let her sit up front too, I mean she looks just like you!” Severide says as he turns to head back for his own team.

“I was going to offer anyway, then Cruz can teach her about driving!” Casey replies.

“I heard my name.” Cruz says as he putsan extra med bag away in the truck.

“Hey, Kelly!” Emily starts running a few steps to catch up to Severide. “Do you think you could tell me one of the stories where you had to rescue Matt sometime?”

“Sure thing, when he’s not around that is!” Severide replies and heads back to his waiting team.

“Do we have a new lieutenant of Truck 81?” Herrmann asks as he grabs his normal spot in the back of the truck.

“Yeah Herrmann, my little sister is here to take my job!” Casey says sarcastically. “Hey guys, Emily is the new truck lieutenant, you all have to listen to her every word!”

Emily hops up front into Casey’s normal spot next to Cruz and the truck is quickly filled with laughter over Casey sarcasm, and soon even Severide can’t resist butting in again.

“I didn’t know she was a firefighter!” Severide calls from his shotgun place in the squad as it roars off back towards 51.

“Future lieutenant of truck 81 I see?” Cruz asks Emily.

“As far as Matt is concerned, I might just be!” Emily replies.

“Haven’t ridden back here in a while have you?” Cruz teases from the front.

“Yeah it’s been a while, I won’t lie.” Casey says with a mock shameful tone in his voice, before beginning to laugh once more.

“This’ll be good!” Otis snickers.

“Remind me to mess with Severide for that later.” Casey whispers to Emily.

“Roger that lieutenant Casey.” Emily chuckles with a small salute.

“See she’s getting it!” Cruz laughs. “You are paying him more respect right now than all of us combined do in a whole week!”

“Very funny Cruz, Emily and I will make sure to come up with something extra special for you do now that you’ve joined in on the teasing!” Casey counters.

“I will be looking forward to that!” Cruz says turning in Emily’s direction.

“Just turn around and get us home!” Casey says.

“Roger that lieutenant!” Cruz snickers.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

2 DAYS LATER…

“Hey Dawson! How’s the training going?” Casey asks as Dawson walks into 51 on her morning off from classes.

“The timed test is getting to me a little bit, but other than that…” Dawson admits quietly.

“Do you want to go somewhere and talk about it?” Casey offers. “Maybe I can help.”

“Yeah, maybe we should.” Dawson says.

Dawson is really starting to have trouble hiding her feelings for Casey, but knows now is the time to let Casey help her.

“Let’s go then!” Casey says as he hangs up his jacket on the side of the truck and throws his helmet into the front seat. “What seems to be getting on the timed test?”

“It’s the damn smoke drill part; I’m kind of claustrophobic.” Dawson admits.

“Well, thatdefinitely will make it a little more challenging, I won’t lie.” Casey says truthfully.

“When you combine anxiety with the low visibility and full gear, it’s no fun.” Dawson moans.

“Everyone has trouble at first, I know I did. You work through it with time and practice.” Casey says trying to encourage Dawson.

“It’s just so hard seeing everyone else get it on what seems like the first try! Even the other girl in my class is better at this stuff than I am.” Dawson says. “Maybe it’s just meant to be…” She adds quietly.

“Listen, don’t say that! You’ll get it down, then you’ll go out there and kick some serious ass for all to see!” Casey says with a wide-eyed smile.

“Practice I guess, I just don’t know how to get over this anxiety thing…” Dawson says.

“All you need is practice, trust me. It only gets easier the more you practice, you can go ask any of the guys around here about that, and they will tell you exactly what I just did.” Casey replies.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The Next Day…

“Ok guys, listen up!” Severide yells as his class snaps to attention. “This is the last run-through we are doing before the test!”

“Don’t fret, you got this!” Dawson’s mind muses as it tries to give itself a pep talk.

“We are reviewing everything that will be on the test, so get moving!” Severide orders.

“Dammit, that means smoke drill…” Dawson curses to herself.

“Jones! Hop to it! Severide yells referring to the only other female candidate in his class.

“Everyone does everything; you’ll pair up for a run through the tower, then break for individual station review.” Severide announces.

“You got this…” Dawson silently begins repeating this mantra in her head as a way to calm herself down.

“What time do you have to beat to pass?” Severide inquires of his class.

“Seven minutes.” The reply is instant and unanimous.

“That’s right! Now, everyone gear up and move it!” Severide barks.

Dawson and Jones pair up and both anxiously await their turn at arguably the most important of any station, the smoke test.

“Remember, ‘you got this’!” Dawson says and exhales deeply.

“Jones, Dawson, go!” Severide orders.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The day of the test has finally come and Dawson is both nervous and excited to finally show off all her hard work.

“Dawson! Move it! You’re losing time!” Severide yells as he looks down at his stopwatch.

“Damn smoke test!” Dawson mutters and pushes on.

“Don’t show any concern…” Severide’s mind sharply reminds itself as he watches Dawson give her all to the test.

“Don’t fret, just focus on your test, just like Casey said!” Dawson tells herself.

“Next task.” Severide says.

Dawson charges forward and tries to forget the difficulties of the smoke test and focus on her final 3 tasks. Not knowing how much time remains, she somehow finds the energy to keep going and hope that she will make the cut.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

“Hey Casey?” Dawson cautiously approaches Casey as she returns to 51 later that afternoon.

“Hey Dawson, what are you doing back here?” Casey asks in curiosity. “I thought today was your big test…”

“Yeah it was…” Dawson replies softly. “I came by to ask for some help.”

“So what’s up?” Casey inquires.

“Well you I remember you said you’d help me with this firefighting stuff.” Dawson says.

“Yeah, of course! What about it?” Casey prompts.

“Well, I kind of… failed my test today.” Dawson says avoiding direct eye contact with Casey. “Over time by 5.1 seconds…”

“Hey! That’s not bad at all for your first try, especially since you told me you were having trouble before.” Casey says. “What do you think tripped you up?”

“It was that damn smoke test!” Dawson says becoming a bit frustrated. “It’s not the physical part, it’s my anxiety!”

“That will improve with practice.” Casey replies calmly. “Just like I told Emily, I had trouble too as a candidate; it took me a good two months to get comfortable putting on and using all the gear. Everyone has trouble at some point down the road with something. You can’t expect to get everything on the first try.”

“How’d you do it?” Dawson asks.

“Honestly, I just practiced as much as I possibly could during class, then reminded myself of all the good I’d be doing after I passed my training.” Casey replies warmly.

“Thanks for all the help Matt; it is really to help me put things into perspective!” Dawson says.

“Anytime Dawson, I’m always around and ready to help!” Casey smiles knowing that there is no going back now, the sparks are flying and are only moments away from becoming a raging inferno that even he can’t control. There’s no going back…

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Mills notices the meeting going on between Casey and Dawson and despite his best efforts is beginning to get a little jealous. Soon he can’t take it anymore, and confronts Dawson.

“Can we talk?” Dawson asks nervously.

“Tell me you don’t have feelings for Casey…” Mills comes right out with his counter.

“I can’t tell you what you want to hear, it wouldn’t be the truth…” Dawson murmurs.

“All I want is for you to be happy, that’s all I’ve ever wanted for you.” Mills chokes out trying not to sound heartbroken.

“I really didn’t want to do this, but hiding something like this felt beyond wrong.” Dawson admits.

“Maybe this is for the best… As hard as that is for me to say, my heart is telling me to.” Mills sighs. “Mind if I ask how long this has been going on...?”

“Ummmmmm…” Dawson starts while avoiding eye contact.

“By that reaction, I take it this has been going on for a while…” Mills says beginning to get angry.

The conversation is getting heated, and Dawson can sense this. She begins to worry about how it will turn out, and eventually her mind leads her to fear that a breakup could be approaching.

“I just… I couldn’t find a way to tell you; I didn’t want to hurt you.” Dawson falters.

“Well that didn’t work very well did it?” Mills counters pointedly.

“Peter, I told you, I didn’t want to do this, but I really thought hiding this would be wrong.” Dawson pleas. “I hope you can understand that.”

“Should I, Dawson?” Mills says clearing getting upset, “Should I?”

“I just couldn’t do it anymore, hiding this from you was killing me, honest!” Dawson exclaims nearly in tears.

“I need space…” Mills says backing up from Dawson a bit and getting more upset by the minute.

“Peter…” Dawson begs. “Please…”

“I just can’t handle this right now… I just can’t!” Mills says, raising his voice a considerable deal.

“Look, I tried to explain this in the nice way I possibly could, but you are making it extremely hard for me to keep my cool.” Dawson yells. “I hoped you could understand…”

“Well what am I supposed to do?!” Mills yells. “You just came in here and told me you were having second thoughts on our relationship! Yeah I’m mad!”

“I tried…” Dawson struggles to say, biting her lip.

“I mean we are dating, and you are asking Casey for advice on firefighting as well as me? It seems to me you guys are getting pretty damn close during your little ‘talks’” Mills yells. “Did you remember you were dating me and not him??”

“This is a huge career move for me; I wanted to get a few different opinions. You should understand that!” Dawson counters.

“Is that what I need to do Dawson?!” Mills rebuts angrily.

“You’re blowing this way out of proportion; I thought you’d understand where I was coming from on this…” Dawson stammers.

“That’s it! I can’t do this anymore! We’re DONE!” Mills yells and storms out.

Dawson falls back in her chair and tries to begin processing what just happened, she sets her head on the table in front of her, and soon is sobbing onto it.

So ‘Milson’ is done… Emily and Casey continue to bond and Emily and Maria dive to new levels in their friendship. So the question remains, what’s in store for Emily? What’s next for our emotionally wrecked paramedic-turned-firefighter Dawson? And what is this story Severide promised to tell Emily? Stay tuned for more adventures, and thanks for reading!


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