Fighting Fire with Fire

Fire and Ice


Italic lines mean the character is talking to him or herself.

“He just lost it… I never saw it coming.” Dawson sobs as she struggles to look at Shay who has just sat down beside her. The tension from the Millson breakup is lingering in the room, just like fog on a misty morning.

“He wasn’t good for you, you deserve much more than him.” Shay says leaning in to comfort her emotionally destroyed friend.

“I thought I would be able to talk to Casey too about this firefighting thing and he would be okay with it… I never thought he would react like that.” Dawson says between sobs.

“You were too good for him, he never deserved you, it will all work out.” Shay says tenderly.

“Man, today hasn’t been my day! I don’t know what I did wrong,” Dawson laments. “I was just coming by to get some advice from Casey after I failed my test–– since he said he would always be there to help if I needed it.”

“That’s because he totally likes you…” Shay mutters under her breath while trying to hold back a smirk. “That’s why you need to keep Casey close, he’s gonna help you kick butt on your next test!” Shay says in an audible tone this time, silently hoping that Dawson didn’t hear the first thing she said.

“Maybe I should go talk to Casey, to see if I can get a few ideas on how to attack the test differently next time,” Dawson says still in a slightly shaky tone. “I am a free woman now, so I don’t have to fear a breakup.” She chuckles.

Soon both her and Shay are laughing, and the less than pleasant things of the day are just a figment of Dawson’s imagination.

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“Maria, I’m not kidding I heard what I heard!” Emily laughs as she grabs her keys and prepares to drive over to Maria’s. “Hey, I have to drive, I’ll see you in 10. Then I’ll tell you more!” Emily says.

Emily, knowing Maria as well as she does, knows one thing- that her friend is silently cracking up on the other end of the line, and also knows that Maria would never admit to such a thing.

“Really Emily? You expect me to believe that story?” Maria laughs.

“There will be plenty of time for story-telling as soon as I get to your house!” Emily assures Maria “…If you shut up long enough for me to get there,” she mutters. “I’ll be there in 10 minutes.” She says with a laugh and hangs up

20 MINUTES LATER…

“You said 10 minutes!” Maria says trying to appear serious but soon bursts out laughing. “I’ve been pacing back and forth non-stop for the extra 10 minutes you made me wait, trying to figure out what juicy story you have to tell me this time, let’s go up to my room and talk.” Maria is still laughing and the look on her face is one of pure excitement.

“Here’s the deal,” Emily says sitting down in her trademark spot, the corner of Maria’s bed. “You remember that call I went on with Matt a few days ago?”

“Yeah of course I do! Super jealous, my friend!” Maria laughs.

“So I overheard Kelly when he was talking to Matt, and he said that Matt had to save Dawson’s life a few months ago!” Emily’s smile is a mile wide, and she is almost giddy.

“No way?! Really! Girl, you are gonna drive me crazy one of these days!” Maria says, nearly squealing over the image of Emily’s firefighter brother and Dawson together.

“I heard what I head!” Emily rebuts with a laugh.

“Those two seriously need to suck it up already and date!” Maria says the smile on her face nearing the ‘idiotic’ level.

“Oh I know right!?” Emily replies, dragging out the word ‘know’ for extra effect. “Here’s the best part: Kelly even promised to tell me a story about one of the times he had to rescue Matt!”

The girls quickly become immersed in conversation, which is constantly being broken up by laughing attacks. All the stresses from the week at school vanish as the girls continue talking.

“Girl, if you keep that story from me, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to talk to you again!” Maria laughs.

“Now why in the world would I keep that story away from my best friend?” Emily questions with a mock frown. “Of course I’ll tell it to you!”

“I can’t wait! Any story Kelly tells where he can tease Matt a little bit will be a good one!” Maria says.

“I love the fact that we’ve only known them for a few months and we both know how incredibly true that is!” Emily replies with a laugh. “I was thinking of heading over to 51 tonight, so you might not have to wait that long to hear it!”

“You just made me a thousand times more excited to hear it!” Maria says with an ear-to-ear grin.

“Let me just text Matt really quick to see if I can head over to 51 tonight.” Emily says

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Casey jumps off the truck as he and his team return to ‘home base’ after an early afternoon call, and feels his phone buzz. A smile appears across his face when he sees whom the message is from.

“Hey Matt! Think it would be okay if I popped by the station for a little bit tonight, just to say hey to you and Kelly? Maria can’t hang out tonight.” Love ya! –Emily. The message reads. Casey is quick to begin a response.

Severide is also quick to notice Casey pull out his phone and even quicker walk over and interrogate him about whom the text is to.

“Who’s the text to?” Severide asks curiously.

“Don’t get all excited, it’s just to Emily!” Casey replies trying to sound annoyed, but fails rather miserably.

“Tell her I say hi!” Severide chuckles.

“Nice try, maybe next time!” Casey rebuts and Severide pretends to pout as Casey slips the phone back into his pocket, rather dramatically, simply to annoy Severide a bit.
“Told you he’s the best brother in the world!” Emily says waving her phone in front of Maria’s face.

“Well, I can’t read the reply if you keep moving your phone!” Maria laughs as she snatches the phone from Emily’s hand so she can read the message.

“Hey Em, Of course you can stop by! We love having you around, anytime you want to come by is fine! Hope to see you later! :-)” Love, Matt

“You are so lucky to have him for a brother! I wish I had a brother!” Maria sighs.

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Emily approaches the station, just as she always does, and enters the door closest to her brother’s truck. Seeming to have timed her entrance perfectly, she happens to come in right as her brother is putting a set of tools back onto the truck.

“Hey Em! Glad you decided to come by!” Matt smiles and leans in for a hug!

“Maria had something going tonight, so I thought, what better way to spend my free time than with you guys!” Emily beams.

“Well, we are glad to have you! So, what’s new?” Casey asks, as the pair head for the kitchen.

“Nothing incredibly exciting, I’m still getting used to it practically being summer, and not having to go to school, and quite honestly, I like that!” Emily replies.

“I’m glad it’s all going good for you! Makes my job easier as your brother!” Casey replies.

TRUCK 81, AMBULANCE 61… SINGLE CAR ACCIDENT!

“Looks like you have something to attend to!” Emily smirks.

“Seems like I do,” Casey smiles. “Sorry I couldn’t hang out more tonight Em,” Casey calls as he grabs his jacket and the pager starts blaring the location of the accident “Go hang with Kelly, he’ll keep you busy!”

“Yeah! C’mon Emily, let’s go inside! Severide replies warmly and leads Emily to the kitchen.

“Hey Emily! Mills says as she and Severide enter the kitchen.

Severide looks around the room, perplexed, to find his entire squad milling about the kitchen, instead of commanding the table out by their truck.

“What are all of you doing in here?” Severide inquires.

“Just wanted a change of scenery.” Capp replies innocently. “…And Mills just made hot cocoa… He mutters.

“Really? It’s like 50˚ outside!” Severide laughs. “Wimps…” Severide says with a fake cough.

“…But that’s like freezing for summer!” Capp counters.

“Oh whatever…” Severide snickers.

“You would think that my squad would be tougher than this…” Severide whispers to Emily…

“I was expecting them to be tougher too!” Emily replies laughing.

“Why don’t you guys make yourselves somewhat useful, and go check all the squad’s equipment.” Severide says.

“Oh fine…” Capp huffs sarcastically not wanting to put up a fight.

“There you go Emily, enjoy!” Mills says as he sets a steaming mug down on the table before heading to join the rest of squad out in the vehicle bay.

“Really Mills? Using my favorite CFD mug?!” Severide teases as he cranes his neck so he can see Mills.

“She deserves it lieutenant!” Mills replies and leaves the room.

“So… since Matt’s not around… will you tell me that story you promised?” Emily asks with an innocent grin.

“I figured you were going to ask.” Severide smiles and turns his chair to face Emily. “Why do you think I sent the squad out of the room?”

“I thought I heard you say there was a time where Matt had to save that paramedic…” Emily says momentarily forgetting Dawson’s name.

“Dawson?” Severide prompts.

“Yeah! Dawson! I’m kind of bad with names…” Emily admits slightly embarrassed.

“That’s a good story…” Severide teases playfully. “Matt doesn’t want to admit it, but he was scared…”

“That’s the story I want to hear!” Emily almost begs. “Those two just need to get together already!” She mutters under her breath.

“Don’t worry, I feel the same way! Matt doesn’t know it, but I can see right through him!” Severide laughs.

“I can too…” Emily replies with a laugh.

The bond between Severide and Emily gets stronger with every visit Emily makes to 51. Severide is starting to think of Emily as a little sister, and is fiercely protective over her as a result.

“So that story…” Severide starts.

“Yeah! The story!” Emily replies excitedly.

“It was a ‘normal’ day around here, couple of calls, nothing huge. The ambo got called out a shooting, truck and squad stayed behind. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. In this job, when things seem to be quieter than usual, it can sometimes be a sign that something big is just around the corner. Everything seemed fine until Shay, the other paramedic, called me from the scene in a panic. Dawson had been taken hostage by the very agitated shooter. He had tied Dawson up and poured a ring of gasoline around her and the apartment. He struck a match, dropped it on the floor, and locked the door behind him as he left. By this point, my team along with your brother’s had gotten on scene, only knowing about the hostage situation and not the fire. Matt being Matt, as soon as he saw fire and made the connection that Dawson was inside unprotected, he was inside nearly as fast as lightning strikes the ground. He told me later, that when he busted down the door he nearly panicked when he noticed Dawson was out cold.As soon as I noticed she was unconscious, all I could think to do was pull off my own mask, put it on her and desperately try to get her to take a breath.” I remember him saying, “It was one of the quickest search and rescues I’ve ever done.”

Emily is nearly speechless at the end of the story. She knows now, more than ever, just how perfect Dawson and Matt would be as a couple. She tries to hide her love-struck expression, but Severide is quick to see through it.

“Told you they were perfect.” Severide smirks.

“That was an awesome story!” Emily beams.

“Just one of many I’ve collected in my time as a lieutenant.” Severide replies with a laugh.

“I bet!” Emily beams, silently hoping that Matt and Dawson will catch on to what the rest of 51 already know, and that she’ll hear another one of Severide’s many stories.

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“So tomorrow’s the big day?” Casey asks as he walks into the gear room to find Dawson drilling in a last-ditch effort to practice every skill she can.

“Yeah it is, and I’m already nervous!” Dawson replies averting her eyes away from Casey. “This damn anxiety isn’t helping me at all…”

“You want some help?” Casey offers.

“I’ve tried spending time trying to get used to my mask and gear, just like you suggested, but it’s not helping.” Dawson says still trying to avoid direct eye contact with Casey.

“I’ve got a couple ideas of things we can try, if you want.” Casey says sympathetically.

“That sounds good,” Dawson replies locking eyes with Casey for a brief second, “I need all the help I can get,” She mutters.

“Well, when I was having trouble with this, I was right where you are now, right before my test. It was really hard at first, I’m not going to sugarcoat it, but what really helped me power through, was what I did as I practiced. I reminded myself constantly of all the good I was going to do after I finished training, and how that good would only come after I passed. Repeating that day in and day out helped to take my mind off my anxiety and focus it back on my drills. It also helped me learn to tolerate all my gear more quickly.” Casey explains hoping to ease some of Dawson’s stress and anxiety.

“I never would have thought you would have had trouble with this kind of thing too…” Dawson says quietly.

“If you start to freak out, just stop for a second, but only a second. Take a deep breath and remember what your mission is, then go and do it.” Casey advises. “You got this!”

“Do you have any drills I could try for some more practice at this?” Dawson asks the seasoned firehouse lieutenant standing before her.

“We could try this…” Casey begins as he reaches for a duffle bag sitting on the shelf above him.

He digs around in the bag for a minute and then finds what he’s looking for, a blacked out facemask and hands it to Dawson.

“We could try a few drills with this, if you are up for it. It might be a little hard at first, but it might help you get over your fear a little faster, not to mention it will help you get used to the zero visibility aspect of many fires.” Casey suggests.

“Bring it!” Dawson replies with a sudden surge of confidence.

“Better for you to freak out on me, where we can fix it, than in a fire, right?” Casey says trying to hide a small chuckle.

“Yeah really.” Dawson says laughing.

“Let’s go then!” Casey says with a smile.

The morning has proved to be unusually quiet for firehouse 51. Before Casey can realize it, an hour has passed, and Dawson is more confident than ever! With her newfound confidence in her possession, Dawson pulls off the blacked out facemask after her fifth successful drill and turns to face Casey.

“The real trick to this is staying focused on your task at hand, but not so focused that you forget about yourself. If you can do that, you’ll be fine!” Casey says.

Just as Casey’s mind is finally able to wrap itself around the quietness of the morning, the all-familiar pager signals a call for the whole house, causing Casey to forget instantly about the quietness of the morning.

“Hey Casey! Thanks for all the help! I think I’m finally starting to get this anxiety thing under control!” Dawson smiles.

“Anytime Dawson! Casey smiles as he grabs his jacket and jumps into the truck.

Once safely perched up front and out of Dawson’s eyeshot, Casey notices Cruz shoot him a look that says ‘Are you serious?! We all know you like her’ Casey rebuts with a look that tells Cruz that he is beyond crazy for thinking such a thing. It is becoming harder and harder for Casey to hide his feelings for Dawson, but he knows doing so, is for the best.

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“I was starting to worry you guys would never get here!” Casey says as Severide walks over to get the download on the situation now facing his team.

“Sorry lieutenant” Severide chuckles. “In all seriousness, we got caught up at another call.” He says having switched into ‘work mode.’

“Driver ran a red, T-boned and flipped another car.” Casey reports pointing at the car his team is feverishly working to stabilize. “The driver is alive, but fading in and out of consciousness.”

“Thanks for the update! Severide says “Hey Capp, grab some cribbing!” He orders. “And a C-collar”

“Will you let me know when your team is done, so I can get in there and work on the driver?” Severide asks setting his air pack down beside the squad, figuring he won’t need it.

“You got it!” Casey replies

“Casey! We’re all good over here!” Cruz reports.

“They’re all good Severide!” Casey calls.

“Have engine charge a line just in case!” Severide orders. “You never know what might happen!” He mutters, rolling his eyes, “They’d better not screw up, because I am not in the mood for any surprises today!”

Severide maneuvers his way inside the totaled car so he can set to work on freeing the victim trapped inside.

“What’s your name bud?” Severide asks as Capp hands him the C-collar.

“Derek.” The young victim replies in a shaky voice.

“Derek, My name’s Kelly, we’re gonna get you out of here, don’t worry, bud.” Severide replies. “I’m going to put this around your neck to protect it, okay? I need you to stay as still as possible for me, think you can do that?”

“I’ll try.” Derek replies.

It is obvious to Severide that Derek is scared, but now is not the time and place for him to show his concern and worry. The bottom line, Severide knows, is getting Derek out alive.

“Mills, can you hand me your jacket quick? Severide asks. “I need to keep his face covered from the glass.”

“Yeah! I got it!” Mills replies instantly.

“Derek, I’m going to cover your face to protect it from the glass while my team works on getting you out.” Severide explains. “You doing okay?”

“I’m not going to make it…” Derek says, becoming more scared as each minute passes.

“Hey listen to me! You’re gonna make it!” Severide encourages.

Severide suddenly feels a surge of heat, and is quick to notice the flames beginning to rage beneath the hood of the car, melting the dashboard inside.

“Casey!!” Severide yells!

Smoke almost instantly fills the inside of the car, much more than Severide was expecting, and momentarily dashes any hopes he has of completing the rescue with no major setbacks.

“Casey!” Severide yells again before he begins to cough.

Severide works exceedingly hard to keep Derek from being exposed to the flames, which is becoming increasingly hard to do, as the fire creeps further into the car.

“Guys! Hit it!” Casey yells to his team.

Almost as fast as it came the fire is out, thanks to quick work from Casey’s team, but still not as fast as Severide would have liked.

It takes all of Severide’s strength not to pass out in the thick smoke, but he manages to hold out.

“You ok bud?” Severide manages between coughs. “We’re going to pull you out now, and the medics are going to take good care of you.”

“Are you ok!?” Casey asks Severide as soon as he gets out of the mangled car and notices him stagger a bit.

“Yeah…” Severide coughs again. “Yeah I’m fine.”

Severide tries to dismiss Casey’s worry, but in doing that it only makes Casey worry more. Casey knows Severide too well to fall for that trick, the oldest one in Severide’s arsenal.

“You should really let Mills look you over.” Casey suggests.

“No really, I’m fine.” Severide says and nearly slips again.

“That’s it, you’re getting checked out, you are not ‘fine’. Casey says. “Don’t make me drag you.”

Casey half-drags and half-guides Severide over to the front bumper of Truck; then calls for Mills to take a look at Severide, much to his dismay.

“Hey Mills! Grab the jump bag off of 81, we need you over here!” Casey yells. “And don’t you even think about trying to get up.” Casey warns Severide shooting him a look.

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“You got this! Remember Casey’s advice!” Dawson’s mind says as she prepares to take her test for the 2nd time. She begins to see images of her training flash before her. Her training sessions and Casey’s advice run through her mind at what seems like 100 miles per hour.

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2 DAYS LATER…

“I want to get Dawson on 81.” Casey says as soon as the door to Chief’s office clicks shut. “She passed her test today, I just heard from her.”

“That’s amazing for her, but do you think 81 would be a good fit?” Chief questions Casey, “And what about Jones?”

“I honestly do, simply because I’ve seen how hard she works, how dedicated she is, and how badly she wants this.” Casey says. “What do you mean ‘what about Jones?’”

“I don’t really need to know, nor do I want to know the details of your personal life, but as long as you two aren’t together as a couple, I don’t see why we can’t try it.” Chief says.

“Right now, we are defiantly not a couple.” Casey says almost too enthusiastically for his liking.

“Well, give it a few more days, and I’ll keep you in the loop.” Chief says dismissing his lieutenant.

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1 WEEK LATER…

“Jones is gone.” Casey says as Dawson pays one of her regular visits to 51.

“What?! Why??” Dawson asks clearly surprised.

“She was causing some problems around here, and we decided we’d had enough.” Casey replies. “I think she got into 25.”

“Casey, can I see you for a minute?” Chief asks rounding the corner and seeing Casey with Dawson.

“Sure thing, Chief.” Casey says and follows chief to his office. “I’ll be right back.” He says over his shoulder to Dawson.

“The spot is Dawson’s if she wants it. I cleared it with higher ups.” Chief explains. “She can start next shift.”

“That’s great Chief! Should I tell her now? Casey asks.

“I think that would be wise.” Chief replies with a wide-lipped grin.

“Thanks so much!” Casey beams.

Casey is very excited to deliver the news to Dawson, all though he knows he must be careful not to let any more of his true feelings for 51’s candidate-to-be show through.

“Dawson, you got a second?” Casey asks as he pokes his head into the kitchen to find Dawson sitting at a table laughing with Shay and Cruz.

“Yeah of course!” Dawson replies as she gets up. “What’s up?”

“So I have some news, but first I have to ask; how would you feel about joining truck 81?” Casey asks with a grin.

“For real!?” Dawson beams.

Casey can feel the excitement in the room rise ten-fold since he has a pretty good feeling of what Dawson will say.

“Chief says the spot’s yours if you want it!” Casey replies.

“Yeah I want it!!” Dawson says about ready to burst with excitement.

“You start next shift.” Casey says.

“I can’t believe this Casey! You are the best!!” Dawson smiles as she gives Casey a quick hug. “I can’t wait!”

Casey is about ready to burst with affection towards Dawson, but he knows he cannot. He must keep his feelings a secret for now, and must wait to see if the new arrangement is going to work out for the better.

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2 DAYS LATER…

Dawson walks into 51 exactly 30 minutes before the morning’s roll call. Everything she has worked for has finally concluded with the most desirable of outcomes, securing a candidate slot, something that’s pretty hard to come by anywhere. Today, she is officially a firefighter, a candidate at firehouse 51. Eager to make an impression among the rest of the firefighting crew, Dawson has come prepared, bearing a fresh box of donuts from her favorite bakery.

“You ready for this?” Casey asks as he reports for his shift, in his signature fashion, precisely 25 minutes early.

“For sure!” Dawson replies beaming and holds up the box to Casey.

“Good thinking Candidate.” Casey replies with a smile as he reaches into the box.

The rest of the firefighters begin to trickle in, and by the time only 10 minutes remain before the official shift change, they all have arrived.

“I like you already…” Cruz smirks as he grabs a donut from the box.

“Very funny Cruz!” Dawson chuckles.

Roll call is next, and when Dawson hears her name called as part of the Truck 81 crew she can’t help but smile; all her hard work has finally paid off.

“You know it’s the candidate that gets the privilege of scrubbing the bathrooms.” Otis whispers.

“Oh yeah?” Dawson challenges. “I shall look forward to that.”

She isn’t willing to play Otis’ little intimidation game, and can see right through him, which in turn, knocks the overly giddy Otis down a few pegs.

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TRUCK 81, SQUAD 3, AMBULANCE 61… APARTMENT FIRE!

“Let’s roll!” Casey says turning to his team, before jumping up into his usual shotgun spot in the truck.

“First fire, candidate! Get ready!” Herrmann says, giving Dawson an encouraging slap on the back. “There’s nothing to it!”

Dawson scrambles to grab her gear and is quick to follow the other truck 81 members to their spots in the back of the truck. She is a mess of nerves, but also of excitement.

“You got this…” Dawson says and begins to repeat this mantra until they arrive on scene.

“Dawson stay back with Herrmann and man an attack line!” Casey orders as he prepares to enter the burning building with his team to look for victims.

“Copy that lieutenant.” Dawson replies automatically, even though she silent laments about the fact that she can’t go inside with the guys.

The fire is bigger than the teams expected and soon Casey realizes that he and his team are in over their heads. Casey caves and radios to Severide for backup in the search effort, then prepares to allow Dawson to join the teams inside, provided that she is within his eyesight at all times.

“Severide! We’re gonna need some help in here! My team has found a couple of victims already, and I have no idea how many more there are.” Casey radios out to Severide. “I’ll be outside with a victim in a minute, then we can make a plan.”

“Sounds good!” Severide radios back. “Mills and Clarke, gear up!”

“Casey emerges from the building with a little girl, and quickly brings her over to Shay and Rafferty, before heading over to talk to Severide.”

“I think we just need some more eyes in there, it’s pretty smoky and we’re not sure how many people could be in there.” Casey tells Severide.

“Ok, I’ll grab Mills and Clarke and head in with you on your next trip.” Severide replies as he adjusts his gear.

“I’m gonna grab Herrmann and Dawson too!” Casey says. “We are going to need all the help we can get.”

“Let’s go!” Severide says. “You’re bringing Dawson in?”

“Herrmann! We need you inside!” Casey yells. “Dawson, with me! Mask up! Let’s go!” He says glancing over at Dawson. “Yeah, I am; she’s ready.” Casey says, swinging around to face Severide.

“You nervous?” Casey asks Dawson.

“Maybe a little…” Dawson admits quietly.

“Aren’t we all?” Casey smirks. “You’ll be fine!”

Dawson is a little nervous, but she knows that she has trained for this, and tries to remind herself that it’s not that much different than her practice was. “You got this!” She tells herself as she enters the building behind Casey.

The smoke is thick inside the building; it’s bad enough where it is beginning to give Casey problems, and also make Dawson panic a little.

“Just focus and calm down, you’re fine!” Dawson’s mind tells her. “Just breathe…”

Dawson takes a few deep breaths to try and calm her rising anxiety, and repeats her “You got this” manta a few times, before she notices Casey coming towards her.

“Hey, hey! You okay?!” Casey asks as he notices Dawson struggling a bit.

“Yeah… fine.” Dawson replies.

“I know this might seem kind of scary right now, but that’s only because it’s your first fire, on your first ever firefighting shift, nonetheless.” Casey encourages. “Just remember what I told you when we were doing drills.” Casey locks eyes with Dawson for a second, before averting them to finish his attempt at a pep talk. “Just take deep breath and remember what you are here to do.” Casey says as he reaches up to turn Dawson’s helmet flashlight on and give her a small pat on the back. “Hey, you got this!”

Though it seems like hours have passed, but in reality, only a mere fifteen seconds have passed. The pair continues to dive deeper into the house and before long Dawson comes across a victim.

“I got one lieutenant!” Dawson reports to Casey who is on the other side of the room.

“You know what to do.” Casey replies. “Get her out of here!”

With her confidence renewed, Dawson helps the victim stand and begins to lead her to safety.

Casey follows close behind with another victim, another kid, and soon is face to face with Dawson once more.

“Feels good doesn’t it?” Casey smirks. “Your first save!”

“Amazing…” Dawson beams, dragging out the word ‘amazing’ for a second. “It feels amazing!”

“It should! Considering you only get one!” Casey snickers “You ready for round two?”

“So ready!” Dawson replies, quick to put her mask back on and follow Casey inside.

Just as Casey and Dawson prepare to head back in, Severide comes rushing out, tailed by Mills and Clarke as they emerge with 3 more kids.

“Man, I hope someone called for more ambos! I had no idea there would be this many kids!” Severide says after the kids have been safely deposited with the medics.

“Does anyone know who’s filling in for Dawson?” Mills asks. “Clearly, I can’t…” He smirks taking off his helmet for a minute in an attempt to cool down a bit.

“I think Rafferty is here, but I’m not 100% sure.” Severide replies hoping to satisfy Mills’ curiosity.

“As long as the kids are being taken care of, I don’t care who’s on ambo.” Clarke pipes up.

“Since when did you have a soft spot for kids?” Severide chuckles.

“Since always, but this, can’t be common knowledge around here, I have a reputation to maintain.” Clarke says turning a little red.

“Your secret is safe with us!” Mills replies with a grin.

“Yeah Clarke, perfectly safe.” Severide snickers. “Okay, enough fooling around, let’s get back to it!”

“Awe, you’re no fun!” Clarke and Mills both say before making mock sad faces.

“Casey! How’s it looking in there?” Severide asks.

“We haven’t found anyone yet, but there are still a few rooms to check!” Casey replies.

“You guys need some more eyes?” Severide replies.

“That would actually be really helpful.” Casey responds. “Took you long enough to ask…” He mutters, trying to hold back a laugh, “What were you guys doing out there anyway?”

“Nothing.” Severide replies quickly, only making Casey more curious. “We’ll be in there in a minute.”

“Everything okay?” Mills asks.

“Yeah, Casey said they could use some help checking the last couple of rooms!” Severide replies. “Let’s gear up!”

Severide and his team enter the building for the third time, and, though they don’t know it, this will be the last trip they have to make.

Casey and his team have come up empty in the last couple rooms they’ve searched, and have three more to do, with the help of Severide and his team.

“All clear!” Mills yells as the first of the three rooms is finished.

“Remember to check under everything.” Casey advises Dawson as he finds himself next to her once again. “Some little kids try and hide.”

“Clear!” Casey hears Severide call from the next room.

“Casey, Dawson, you guys all good in there?” Severide asks.

“Yeah we’re all good.” Casey replies.

“I think my team is gonna head out. We didn’t find anyone, but I’m sending Mills over there, just in case.” Severide says.

“Ok, thanks!” Casey says.

“Lieutenant, I think I feel something.” Dawson remarks, reaching farther underneath the bed.

Sure enough when Dawson shines her flashlight under the bed she sees another child, one who appears to be nine or ten years old, somewhat older than the ones rescued before him, trying to hide, just as Casey had reminded her that children so often do.

“See if you can get under there a bit more, Dawson.” Casey suggests.

Dawson manages to wriggle underneath the bed enough so she can see the semi-conscious child drowsily open his eyes, before working on rescuing him.

“Hey bud, can you hear me?” Dawson asks.

The child only groans, but is alert enough to see Dawson. Upon making eye contact, he begins to quietly sob. Dawson can tell he’s scared, and does her best to show him that she’s not going to hurt him.

“Can you tell me your name bud?” Dawson asks tenderly.

“Sean…” He mumbles in a tone that is just barely audible.

“You’re going to be okay, I’m here to help.” Dawson says keeping with the tender tone of voice.

Casey and Mills are both perched on their knees, and both try to catch a glimpse of whatever part of the rescue they can, and once again it feels like hours have passed, but in reality, it hasn’t been much more than a minute.

“You’re okay…” Dawson encourages.

At the last second, Sean musters up all his strength to reach 2 feet to the left and grab his teddy bear, just as Dawson gets him out from under the bed.

“Dawson, we gotta get moving!” Casey says out of the blue, as he has just noticed flames starting to creep up on them, all while happening to notice his air is getting low.

“Copy that lieutenant!” Dawson just barely lets the reply escape before she is out from under the bed leading the way out for her and Casey, all while carrying her precious cargo.

Dawson emerges from the building, followed closely by Casey and Mills, and having gotten her second save of the day, she is full of excitement.

“Two saves in one day? That’s pretty impressive, especially for your first day! Casey says. “Well done candidate.”

“Thank you lieutenant.” Dawson replies, tempted to say something more, but knows this isn’t the time or place to do so.

The teams spend close to one hour more on scene, having cleared it of victims, all that remains is to check for hot spots with a secondary search inside the gutted building.

As hard as he tries to avoid Dawson, Mills cannot. He caves, and commends her on her first successful rescues.

“You did really well today, it being your first fire, and all.” Mills says as he walks past Dawson.

“Thanks, that means a lot.” Dawson replies and reluctantly lets a smile escape her lips.

Nothing comes up in the secondary search, much to the relief of all the firefighters, most of whom are more than ready to get back to the station after the nearly four-hour call.

“Heard you had 2 saves today!” Cruz says as he puts the last of his equipment away. “That’s awesome!”

“Nice job candidate.” Herrmann chimes in as Dawson walks over to the truck to put away a tool.

Word of Dawson’s two saves spread around the teams like a wildfire, and before long it seems as though everyone knows about it. Even Capp and Clarke have come over from the squad to offer their congratulations.

“Nice job Dawson!” Capp says and offers Dawson a high-five.

“Yeah, heard you kicked butt in there, nice job!” Clarke pipes up.

Dawson is buzzing with excitement now, and can’t stop replaying the day’s events in her head. She is realizing just how right Casey was when he said thinking about all the good she would do, helps get rid of anxiety. As her mind replays the day, it begins to wander and she begins to think of Casey, as hard as she tries to ignore the thoughts, she can’t. Soon, she is lost deep in a world of thought.

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“Couple hours left in the shift, man it’s been a busy one!” Severide says as he jumps off the squad upon arriving back at 51 alongside Casey.

“Yeah really!” Casey replies.

“I’m so excited for that Blackhawks game tonight! They’re playing Minnesota, it should be an easy win!” Severide says with a laugh. “The Blackhawks and the Wild… always a fun game to see!” He says still laughing.

“Ha! Don’t jinx it!” Casey warns playfully. “Speaking of that, I don’t think I can come tonight!”

“And you’re telling me this now??” Severide asks.

“Well, you just brought it up now!” Casey rebuts with a chuckle. “Besides, something popped up unexpectedly…

“Well, maybe I can make a few bucks off your ticket last minute.” Severide says. “Wonder if Emily is into hockey at all…”

“Well, you are in luck, I’ve finally turned her into a Blackhawks fan, only took me 6 months, she’s been rooting for…” Casey’s voice trails off “I don’t even want to say it... Minnesota, there, I said it!” Casey chuckles. “And before you ask, I have no idea how she became a Minnesota fan in the first place!”

“Minnesota, eh?” Severide questions.

“Yeah, I know right?! I don’t know where she got something like that!” Casey replies.

“Why don’t you ask her if she’d like to come?” Severide offers. “She can hang with the squad.”

“Right, because that’s so much better than the truck guys!” Casey laughs.

“It is, what it is!” Severide retorts. “Just go ask Emily!”

After about 5 minutes of searching the station, Casey realizes that Emily has been around practically the whole day, and has since taken to helping Shay in re-stocking the ambo.

“You’re still here!” Casey says excitedly as he sees Emily with Shay.

“Yeah, she’s pretty busy helping me, so… do you need something?” Shay asks with a laugh.

“Yeah, Em, Kelly has come upon an extra ticket to the Blackhawks game tonight, he’s curious if you want to go.” Casey explains.

“Seriously!? No way!! That game is against Minnesota! I would love to go!!” Emily beams.

“I never thought I’d see you get so excited over hockey!” Casey snickers. “I’ve trained you well!”

“I’m excited to see this!” Shay says! “I’m going too!”

“So I get to hang out with all of you!?” Emily asks still beaming.

“Yeah! It’s gonna be a blast!” Shay replies.

“Great, I’ll go tell Kelly that you’d be happy to tag along.” Casey says and turns to leave. “Oh, and Em, what team are you rooting for tonight?” Casey chuckles

“Blackhawks of course!!” Emily exclaims. “Go Hawks!!”

“That-a-girl!” Casey replies, “My work here is done…” He snickers to himself.

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The rest of shift seems to go by fairly quickly and quietly, with only ambo being called out for a ‘person in distress’ call. Emily spends the afternoon dividing her time between the truck and squad teams, as well as brushing up on hockey stats.

The clock reads 6 PM sharp, time for the shift change! Severide is more excited than anyone has ever seen him to leave work, and get to the game. Casey is excited for his own reasons, he has a date, a date totally worth missing the hockey game.

“Wanna ride with me, Emily?” Severide offers as soon as he emerges from the locker room. “You coming Shay?”

“Totally!” Emily replies instantly. “I’m so excited! This is my first real hockey game!”

“Then in that case, you are in for quite the treat!” Severide says smiling.

“They are pretty fun!” Shay chimes in.

“Oh what do you know Shay?! You’ve only been to one!” Severide laughs.

“…And you’ve been to how many??” Shay counters raising an eyebrow

“More than you, that’s for sure!” Severide rebuts with a laugh. “Let’s get going.”

The traffic on the way to the game is surprisingly light for a Friday night, but Severide doesn’t seem to notice, as he is too busy interrogating Emily on who her favorite Blackhawks player is, and how she became a hockey fan.

“You gotta have a favorite player…” Severide presses with a chuckle

“Hmmm… I think I have to go with Corey Crawford as my favorite player!” Emily laughs.

“I’m more of a Patrick Kane man myself, but I will admit, Crawford is pretty awesome goalie!” Severide says.

“I’m kind of impressed you switched over!” Shay chuckles. “What made you jump ship?”

“Well, even with Zack Parise, The Wild isn’t the best team out there, and on top of that, with Matt as a brother, rooting for any other team besides ‘The Hawks’, wasn’t gonna fly.” Emily chuckles reminiscing at a memory.

Severide manages to snag a parking spot close to the stadium, and before they know it, half time is upon them and the Blackhawks are up 4 to 1!

“Watching the Hawks kick butt is the best!” Mills exclaims!

“Yeah any time we can watch the Hawks get a win is awesome!” Capp chimes in.

“This has been awesome tonight!” Clarke says smiling.

“I can’t believe Kane has a hat-trick!” Emily grins.

“And that Crawford has only given up one goal!” Severide snickers! “Such a powerhouse, this team!”

“Nooooooo!” The pained groan escapes Capp, Clarke, and Mills’ mouths all at once as they catch Crawford missing a very cheap shot from a Minnesota Wild player.

By now, the third period and an overtime period have come and gone. The Blackhawks have let up their game considerably, and off-duty firefighters now find themselves watching them head into a nail-biting double overtime period!

“Score’s all tied up at 4 to 4, this is getting intense!” Emily says looking up at Severide.

“Aw, they’ll pull through!” Severide says.

“Let’s hope!” Emily begins to say as the goal horn begins blaring overhead. Emily looks and finds the Minnesota goalie lying on the ice and the Blackhawks players going crazy high-fiving each other.

“We won!!” Emily shouts! “Man, what a game that was!”

“I can’t remember the last time I have seen a Hawks game go into double overtime!” Severide says excitedly. “Seems like Casey picked the right night to ditch!” He laughs.

“Yeah! That’s for sure, if he hadn’t I’d never have gotten to see this game!” Emily replies.

Severide pulls out his phone to text Casey and let him know the outcome of the game.

“Hey Casey, the game went into double OT, and a lot later than expected. Just wanted to give you a heads up, and Emily is more than welcome to crash with us for the night.” Severide types into his phone.

Casey replies quicker than Severide expects, and has a message of his own for his friend.

“Thanks man, and you don’t have to do that! I can come get her.” Casey replies

“Matt, it’s like 1AM, it’s one night and totally cool if she spends it with us! We’d love to have her, and have an extra room anyway.” Severide replies.

“You guys are the best! Thanks so much! I owe you one!” Casey replies and hits send on his phone.

“Hey Emily, how do you feel about spending the night with me and Shay?” Severide asks with a smile.

“Really?! That sounds awesome!” Emily replies. “Matt cool with it?”

“Yup! Just texted him!” Severide chuckles holding up his phone.

Out of nowhere, Emily’s beaming smile vanishes, and her expression becomes one of fear and disbelief as she recognizes the face of the figure approaching them.

“No way…” Emily begins to say before her voice trails off.

In the stadium-wide excitement, Severide doesn’t notice the rude interrupter right away, and becomes distracted by his fellow firefighters.

“How the hell?!” Emily starts.

Emily turns around to see two security guards, who were recently chasing someone, stop dead in their tracks, as they realize their target has evaded their field of vision, they give up, and return to their posts. The security guards leave the arena and Emily is face to face with her worst enemy, her ex-foster dad, John.

He’s drunk, Emily can clearly see this, but isn’t surprised at all. He comes up behind her, and leans in close to her to say something; as he notices that Severide has his back turned.

“Let’s go home.” John slurs. “I’m still in charge of you…”

“I’m not going anywhere with you!” Emily yells! “Not now, not ever!”

Severide turns around when he hears Emily yell, and is just as surprised and enraged to see John as she is.

“Remember the pictures…” John hisses. “I own you…”

John tries to grab hold of Emily’s arm and pull her towards him.

“Let’s go now!” John says still barely coherent.

Unbeknownst to Emily, Severide has heard what John whispered to Emily, and knowing John’s nature, instantly becomes suspicious that there is something deeper going on with Emily, but decides almost instantly that this isn’t the place to make assumptions or question her about it.

At mention of the pictures, Emily loses her composure and shoves John so hard that he falls down five rows of stairs toward the ice below.

“Can we leave? Now, please?” Emily begs. “Like right now.”

John pulls a gun and fires into the crowd; he misses, but not before sending everyone in the stadium scrambling towards any exit they can find. He attempts to stand, fails and ends up falling down three more rows of stairs.

“What did he mean by pictures?” Severide asks.

“I reallydon’t want to talk about it now…” Emily says trying to swallow her emotions.

“Hey guys, we need to get out of here! Now!” Severide says turning face Shay and the squad. “I’m not going to be able to go out with you guys tonight.”

John stirs on the cement below them, and Severide decides it’s okay to leave, since they know he’s still alive.

“C’mon let’s get out of here.” Severide says as he puts a hand on Emily’s shoulder and leads her towards the exit.

Emily can’t help but contort her body away from Severide when she feels his hand on her shoulder. Painful memories of her past invade her mind before she can stop them, all the things she worked so hard to leave behind, have managed to find their way back into her life.

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The car ride is quiet, until Shay breaks the silence, seeming to snap the car’s occupants out of a trance-like state.

“Hey Kelly, can we drop by 51 quick? I left something there by mistake.” Shay says.

“Yeah sure.” Severide replies instantly.

They arrive at 51, and as soon as Shay is out of the car, Emily breaks down. She’s held her emotions in as long as she possibly can.

“Emily? Are you okay??” Severide asks in a very concerned tone.

“No…” Emily replies in a barely audible tone as tears begin to streak down her cheeks.

“What’s wrong?” Severide presses. “I know I’m not Matt, but you can talk to me, it’s okay, I promise.”

“When John showed up, everything came back, all the memories… all of them…” Emily manages to choke out.

“We can talk about this more later, if you want, I have a feeling we’ll need to.” Severide says as he notices Shay heading for the car out of the corner of his eye.

Something tells Severide what Emily has to tell him is for him, and only him to hear. He senses that there is something going on with Emily that is serious, something that he needs to hear more about.

Emily manages to regain enough composure to last her the rest of the car ride to Shay and Severide’s place, and just long enough to settle into the room Severide has given her for the night. Severide walks towards his own room, and stops for a second when he hears quiet sobbing coming from Emily’s partially closed door. Severide knocks on the door gently, and pushes the door open a bit more.

“You okay?” Severide asks.

“Oh, yeah, I’m fine…” Emily says, grabbing a Kleenex from the side table.

Severide shoots Emily a look that tells her he doesn’t completely believe the story.

“I just don’t know what to do, I thought I left that life behind…” Emily says.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Severide asks tenderly.

“I think I need to quite honestly…” Emily admits. “My old life nearly destroyed me, that’s why I emancipated myself, because I was scared that John would hurt me more.”

“What happened Emily?” Severide asks as he sits down on the edge of the bed.

“He abused me, Kelly. That’s what the pictures were… Even though it only happened a few times, each time hit me harder than the last. I was just a little girl, and tonight, I feared he was coming to do to me what he hasn’t been able to in three years. I felt threatened, like he was trying to abduct me… he threatened to do that, you know… in the hallway after the court emancipated me… I was afraid he was going to take me back there…” Emily has a hard time holding back her tears and they begin to pour out of her eyes before she can finish talking. “…And start the abuse all over again.” Tears stream down her cheeks as she finishes telling her story and feels a comforting hand come to rest on her shoulder.

“Does Matt know about this?” Severide asks as non-confrontationally as he can.

“No he doesn’t. There was never any reason to bring it up, I left that life when I emancipated myself.” Emily replies.

“I’m not here to boss you around, or tell you what to do; but if I were you, I would tell Matt about what happened tonight. Severide says turning serious, but remaining kind at the same time. “I’ll be here to support you every step of the way, Matt and­ I both know people in the Chicago Police department, and we are going to bring down this guy once and for all.”

“I really appreciate you being here for me, Kelly. With both you and Matt around, getting through all this stuff has been easier.” Emily says and walks over to the other side of the room to give Severide a hug. “I promise I’ll tell Matt.”

“I’m always here if you need something and can’t get ahold of Matt, don’t forget that.” Severide says kindly. “Now, try and get some sleep, I’m right down the hall if you need anything.”

“I’ll try, thanks for everything!” Emily says with a smile something she hasn’t done all night.

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“Hey, is everything okay with Emily?” Shay asks just before heading into her room. “Is there something else going on?”

“It’s not my place to say much.” Severide replies.

“I will be completely honest Kelly, when I heard ‘pictures’ mentioned, I wondered if abuse was happening,” Shay says, turning serious herself.

“Happened, Shay. It was the past…” Severide says with a sigh.

“She needs to talk to Casey…” Shay says keeping her serious tone and facial expression.

“I told her that, also told her that I know some people in the CPD, and that Matt does as well,” Severide says, “But most importantly, I told her that we will be there for her every step of the way, that’s the most important thing.”

“I hear that…” Shay says as a sigh escapes her lips. “There’s not much we can do…”

“It’s up to her to make the first move on this, it isn’t our place to get involved. If she asks us to, then of course we can.” Severide says.

“Yeah, it’s her move…” Shay replies.

With the clock nearing 2:30AM and an early morning shift looming, the pair prepare to head off to bed, Severide can’t help but think of Emily, who has finally gotten to sleep after a long, scary and stressful night. Deep down, Severide knows he has to do something, but tells himself to play this very carefully, not to say anything to Casey and to let Emily make all the decisions now and going forward.

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