Fighting Fire with Fire

Just Like Old Times?

“Morning, Sleeping Beauty,” Severide teases as Emily walks into the kitchen, appearing to be still half-asleep. “We’re taking you to school today!” Severide announces producing his phone to show a text from Casey.

“Ha, that’s funny” Emily replies, her quick wit seeming to be unaffected by her obvious drowsiness.

“We need to get some coffee in you.” Shay says laughing.

“Matt does let me drink it…” Emily smirks, beginning to wake up a little more.

“Well here then,” Severide says, pushing a half-filled CFD mug along the counter. “You know where the milk is.” He laughs.

Emily walks to the other end of the counter to retrieve the milk carton, purposely bumping into Severide as she grabs the milk, hoping to make him laugh, and perhaps more importantly, spill his coffee.

“Hey, what was that for?” Severide laughs “You don’t want me falling asleep on my way to a call do you??” He teases

“Don’t tell him I told you, but once I caught him passed out in the officer quarters after an early afternoon call,” Shay whispers as she comes up behind Emily. “And that’s not even the best part…”

“What is?” Emily snickers

“Squad didn’t have to lift a finger on that call… so someone clearly didn’t get his morning nap in beforehand…” Shay chuckles.

“What’s that?” Severide inquires with a curious expression.

“Oh nothing you need to worry about,” Shay replies instantly, her tone slightly sassy. “…And seriously, where’s breakfast? I’m sure Emily’s about ready to die of hunger! Shay adds with a sarcastic laugh.

“Wait, so you can cook? Matt says you’re a lost cause in the kitchen!” Emily laughs as she looks up at an over confident-looking Severide.

“Oh does he? We’ll just see about that, and you make sure to tell him how awesome it was.” Severide counters as he takes a sip from his still steaming mug. “Dang that’s hot!” He mutters under his breath

Emily watches Severide spit the sip of coffee back into the mug and tries not to laugh, seeing Severide succumb to, when compared to the conditions he runs into on an almost daily basis, the minimal heat of his coffee, is just enough to make smiles appear across both Emily and Shay’s faces.

“Just you watch.” Severide smirks as he attempts to toss and egg into the air and catch it. He misses and the egg shatters on the floor, its contents spilling out around it.

“Nice.” Shay laughs.

Shay knows that Severide’s attempts cooking can’t possibly end well, and in this moment, is more grateful than ever before that her roommate is a member of the illustrious Rescue Squad 3 of the Chicago Fire Department. Rather stealthily, she puts a hand on the small fire extinguisher sitting in the corner of the apartment, and as quietly as she can, sets it down on the edge of the table farthest away from Severide. Emily tries to stifle a laugh, but can’t, causing Severide to turn around and see what Shay has set on the table. The most he can do is shoot her an un-amused look that teasingly begs the question, ‘Why are we friends?’ and return to his “cooking”.

“I’m a firefighter Shay, come on,” Severide laughs. “Nothing’s gonna happen!”

“I know,” Shay replies instantly. “But with you cooking, you gotta be prepared for all possible outcomes…”

Emily is incredibly amused by the morning banter, which unknown to her is the normal morning routine around between the duo. Soon laughter and smiles fill the room and Emily tries to think back to the last time she had this fun on a school morning. It’s hard, since the majority of the mornings over the last year and a half have been spent alone in her small apartment near her school.

“Best morning to have a late start!” Emily chimes in as she gingerly sips her coffee.

The taste is a bittersweet one, a taste that falls closer to the sweet side; it’s a taste that Emily loves.

“Whoa!” Shay yells she whirls around to see smoke coming from the pan of now burning eggs that Severide has his back turned to. “Kelly!” Shay shouts sharply.

“Crap!” Severide mutters as the smoke give way to flames that begin to dance about the pan.

Severide is at the other end of the kitchen and can’t reach the fire extinguisher that Shay was taunting him with earlier.

Emily instantly reaches for the fire extinguisher and within seconds has the fire out.

“Thought you said nothing was going to happen!” Shay taunts.

Severide searches for a rebuttal, but can’t find any witty comebacks worth tossing into the now slightly hazy room.

“That was quick…” Severide mutters. “And impressive, where’d you—”

“Matt of course!” Emily replies with a laugh. “Who else?”

“Should have seen that coming…” Severide says clearly amused. “You two, this never happened.” He says turning to Shay and Emily.

“Yeah, don’t worry… we didn’t see anything” Shay says shooting a ‘We’ll tell Casey later, don’t you worry’-type look at Emily who is having a hard time containing her smile.

“Should we just go out?” Severide asks sheepishly.

“I think maybe we should.” Shay says with a laugh. “Make sure to remind us never to let you cook again.

“I think that would be best for everyone…” Severide admits hanging his head in mock embarrassment.

“I think we could let him earn back his cooking privileges…” Emily says a smile beginning to form across her face. “After a crash course from Mills, maybe.” She laughs.

“That could be good,” Shay says. “That’s the kind of idea Matt would come up with to get back at Kelly.”

“That’s exactly what he’d do, actually…” Severide admits

“Well, I am related to him after all!” Emily declares with a laugh.


“Thanks for the breakfast, the game, and for everything I guess; you guys have no idea how much this means to me!” Emily says before getting out of the car and heading towards her school.

“Anytime Em, Shay and I love having you around!” Severide replies with a smile. “If you ever get tired of hanging out with Matt, you know where to find us.” He laughs.

“Thanks again guys.” Emily says her walk quickly turning into a slight jog as she spies Maria heading into the school and runs to catch up with her.

“Hopefully she’ll get around to telling Casey about what happened…” Shay mutters.

“For her sake, I hope so too,” Severide says. “Knowing Casey, he’s going to ask her about the game the second she sets foot inside 51.”


Shay and Severide head into 51 in preparation for the shift that awaits them; as they pull up, they run into Casey followed by Dawson, and not soon after the lieutenants and medics have spilt off into their respective ‘pairs’ and enter 51. Shay and Dawson have taken to laughing over some inside joke, while Casey and Severide catch up ever so briefly about Emily’s time with them and the game; all this without any of the shocking details of the previous night’s game being revealed. As badly as Severide wants to tell Casey about what happened, he remains quiet about matter, only by constantly reminding himself that it’s not his issue to deal with, its Emily’s, and that he really can’t do anything about what happened.

“You can’t change anything about it, so what’s the point of trying?” Severide’s mind muses.

Even though Severide knows he is doing the right thing, no matter how hard it feels, he still worries that when the incident comes to light, that Casey will get upset at him for not telling him sooner.

“Something seems off with you this morning, you okay?” Casey ventures.

“Huh? Oh yeah, I’m fine, I just didn’t get very much sleep last night that’s all, it was a pretty late night.” Severide replies trying not to seem like he’s brushing Casey off, even though that is exactly what he is doing.

“Don’t worry about the what-ifs, just deal with it when it happens…” Severide tells himself as he sinks back into his chair at the squad table just as the pager goes off, causing him, out of habit to drop everything and snap to attention so he can hear the call.


Severide is able to relax somewhat after hearing that the call doesn’t require his presence, something that he’s secretly grateful for this early in the morning.

“Let’s roll!” Rafferty says setting her coffee mug back on the counter and turning to Shay.

“Read my mind.” Shay smiles [smirks] and does the same with her mug and the copy of the Chicago Tribune she was browsing.

Shay sprints around Rafferty and out of the kitchen to the ambo, jumping into her signature spot behind the wheel, all before Rafferty even exits the kitchen.

On her way into the kitchen during one of her regular visits, Dawson brushes by Casey who offers her a sly smile; she smiles back and is almost distracted by the moment of bliss, until Shay jolts her back into reality with her character yelling at Rafferty “You comin’? We’ve got lives to save!”

“Yeah comin’!” Rafferty replies with a slight eye roll.

The whole house is filled with laughter after Shay’s little outburst, which helps to set the tone for what everyone hopes is a pleasant, rather quiet morning.


“Hey thanks,” Severide replies as Casey approaches with a mug of coffee. “You can sit…” Severide adds, with a grin.

“The squad table? Really?” Casey asks in surprise, pretending to be shocked at the offer. “Never thought I’d see the day.” He chuckles

“Don’t worry, my team’s off making trouble elsewhere I’m sure.” Severide laughs.

Casey does a quick “360” to check for any lingering squad members for fear of being the butt of some inside joke, upon finding none, and after enduring a few laughs from Severide, he allows himself to sit beside the man who is quite often “partner in crime.”

Though it seems like Shay and Rafferty have been gone all morning, in reality it’s only been fifteen minutes.


“Chicago Fire Department, someone call for the paramedics?” Shay calls out as she and Rafferty gather at the front door of the home to which they were called.

“Man its cold out here this morning,” Rafferty remarks with a shiver. “And to think it’s only October…” She mutters.

Getting no response the first time they call out a second time, and still no response, Rafferty can see Shay getting that look on her face that means she’s thinking…

“Freezing temps… no responses… no smoke or fire...” Shay wonders to herself. The idea pops into her head without much explanation; it’s a sudden and unexpected one. “Rafferty! What if it’s Carbon Monoxide poisoning?

“That could explain someone being able to call fifteen minutes ago and being unresponsive now, it also explains the no smoke or fire, it fits!” Rafferty says.

“If it is, we can’t go in there, we don’t have any gear,” Shay says “Let’s call for Truck and Squad to come down here.”

“Good idea.” Rafferty agrees.

“And Severide says that I never learn anything from him…” Shay chuckles to herself.

“What’s that?” Rafferty asks curiously.

“Oh nothing,” Shay smiles before switching right back into paramedic mode, “61 to main, we need Truck and Squad backup at our call ASAP!” Shay reports to dispatch.

“Copy 61, sending backup now.” Shay hears the reply over her radio as she rushes back over to 61 to start stockpiling supplies.

“This is all we can do until Truck and Squad gets here.” Shay says to Rafferty as she takes a quick inventory of their available supplies and begins to organize it rather hastily.

While they wait, Shay continues to organize the ambo’s supplies and Rafferty has taken to looking around the exterior of the house for any clues as to what they might be dealing with.

“Hey Shay, look at this!” Rafferty calls as she peers through a side window. “I can’t tell for sure, but I think that’s a kid in there, and he’s look, he’s holding a phone!”

Before Shay has time to investigate, Casey’s team arrives to help out.

“That was quick.” Shay says walking over to Casey.

“Everything okay? Dispatch just told us you needed backup.” Casey says heading over to meet up with Shay. “They didn’t say what for.”

“Yeah we’re fine,” Shay assures Casey. “We think it might be carbon monoxide poisoning, since no one responded inside even after we called twice.” She explains. “On top of that, it’s a pretty chilly morning.”

Not even two minutes later, Severide’s team is on scene, and he is quick to join up with Shay and Casey.

“You guys really are quick, ha!” Shay smirks.

“We do try,” Severide smirks back. “Now what’s up?”

“They were suspecting CO poisoning, since no one has responded from the house, plus the fact it’s pretty cold this morning.” Casey explains to Severide.

“Let’s go check it out, let me grab the four-gas monitor quick.” Severide replies.

“Four-gas monitor, that’s a new one,” Shay says with a slightly puzzled expression.

“It’s a tool we can use to measure deadly gasses from outside,” Casey explains before calling for Dawson to join him. “Quick teaching moment.” He winks at Shay. “Dawson! With me!”

“Hey Casey, Rafferty thinks she might have seen a little kid in there, so look out for that, would you?” Shay asks.

“You got it Shay!” Casey replies with a warm smile.

Casey along his candidate Dawson and Severide along with Capp and Mills head for the front entrance of the house to see if they can confirm the medics’ suspicions.

“Whoa!” Severide remarks as he shows the monitor to Casey.

“CO’s off the charts!” Casey says. “We’ve got to move on this one guys; now Dawson, what’s the most important thing to remember in a situation where you have to enter a home like this?” Casey quizzes his candidate.

“Full gear at all times, since we’re dealing with toxic chemicals.” Dawson replies, silently hoping to impress her lieutenant.

“We need to move fast; Capp with me,” Severide says taking a knee. “And Casey, do whatever you need to.”

“Ok, Dawson you’re coming with me, you too Cruz, and the rest of you, be ready to go if need be! Let’s move!” Casey orders before following Severide in taking a knee to put on his gear.

“Chicago Fire Department, call out!” Severide shouts as he rounds the corner.

“Lieutenant!” Dawson calls upon finding the first victim, a little boy, still clutching a cell phone. “I got one!”

“Just like Shay said there’d be…” Dawson thinks to herself, and for a fraction of a second reminisces at her time as Shay’s partner before pulling herself back into the reality of what’s really going on.

“Cruz! Help Dawson, I’m helping out Severide!” Casey orders as he and Severide come across three more victims, a family.

“Want me to call for more help?” Severide asks.

“Honestly, right now, I think we just need to get them out with the people we have, and not leave them in here a second longer.” Casey replies as he grabs the monitor again to check the CO levels in the house.

After taking one look, Severide agrees and helps Casey lift one of the victims to safety. Dawson and Cruz are quick to follow with the little boy, and finally Capp with another child.

“Shay you are going to need more rigs, there’s a whole family in there, and one still comin’.” Severide says after dropping off one of the victims with the medics. “You guys were right by the way; the CO was way off the charts, nice call.” Severide smiles before jogging to meet up with Casey at the entrance to the house.

“My team, do what you can to help out the medics, Severide and I are heading back in for the last victim.” Casey calls to his team.

As soon as the order is given, Dawson is first to grab 81’s med bag and jump in to help Shay who is relieved to see her.

“Casey told us to help however we can, so I’m all yours, what can I do?” Dawson is quick to ask Shay.

“Check on the kid?” Shay says as if it’s a question.

“You got it!” Dawson replies and heads to her assigned task.

“Just like old times…” She smiles to herself.

Dawson heads over to check the little boy over and begins to remember how it used to be.

“What’s your name bud?” Dawson asks the little boy.

“Luca…” The little boy replies in his best big boy voice.


“Ready?” Severide teases.

“Who are you kidding, of course!” Casey laughs as the pair make reentry to the house.

The lieutenant duo head back to where they found the first three victims and easily find the forth; a little girl who’s on the verge of passing out cold, they can tell she doesn’t know what’s happening and is nervous to see them.

“You’re better with kids than me, probably less scary sounding too.” Severide says, allowing Casey to get in closer to the little girl, who is getting drowsier by the second.

“Sure I am,” Casey says to Severide with a light snicker and bends down so he can see the girl. “It’s okay sweetie, we’re not going to hurt you, I promise.” Casey says tenderly.

The girl crawls a little closer to Casey, she only makes it a few feet before she can’t go any farther and Casey must reach in and grab her.

Casey then notices an object next to the girl that she was cuddling before she passed out, “Severide I think there’s something else back here but I can’t reach it.” Casey calls. “Can you take the girl?”

“Yeah I got her.” Severide replies as the pair complete the handoff and Severide exits the house with the girl. “What’d you find?” He asks over his radio after delivering the girl to the waiting medics.

“It’s just the girl’s stuffed animal,” Casey reports. “Nothing too exciting.” He adds with a mock frown and grabs the stuffed elephant.

“Lieutenant Casey, always savin’ lives,” Severide smirks.

Casey can hear Severide chuckle on the other end of his radio as he searches for something to day, but can’t find anything witty enough worth replying with.

Casey exits the house only about a minute after Severide and is prompt in his arrival over to the ambulance where the girl and Severide are stationed. He hands the elephant over to Shay before being rewarded with a glace that lets Casey knows Shay is silently laughing at him. Severide is smirking in the background and when he looks at Shay it becomes clear that they are both thinking about and laughing at the same thing.

“For the record, I thought it was another kid.” Casey says trying to maintain a serious face, but has a little trouble carrying it out.

“Sure you did…” Shay laughs holding up the elephant. “…must have been a really small kid.” She mutters to Severide with a smile-borderline smirk.


“Well Luca,” Dawson starts. “I’m just going to make sure everything’s okay with you, sound good? Come sit up here with me where it’s warm.” Dawson smiles holding out a hand so Luca can join her in back of the warm ambulance.

“Okay, just promise you’ll tell me if anything’s gonna hurt.” Luca says letting his little kid nervousness emerge just a little.

“I’ll do my best not to do anything that’ll hurt,” Dawson replies with a warm smile, one that lets Luca know he can trust her. “How about that?”

“Sounds good.” Luca says trying his best not to look nervous.

“Everything feel okay Luca? Anything hurt?” Dawson asks as she continues her exam.

“Nothing hurts, I feel okay.” Luca says but suddenly changes subjects. “Where’s my sister?”

“Sister?” Dawson wonders to herself just as she hears chatter over the radio between Casey and Severide confirming they’ve got a little girl.

“Your sister is fine; one of the firefighters just brought her out.” Dawson says choosing not to say more when she spies the motionless girl in Severide’s arms out of the corner of her eye,”

“Shay how’s th­––…” Dawson starts to ask but is cut off by Casey asking the same question over his radio.

“She’s comin’ around, we got some oxygen on her and she’s already doing better.” Shay says and Dawson knows without even looking at her that a smile is accompanying the reply.

“Can we go see her?” Luca asks looking up at Dawson with that look little kids make, making them incredibly hard to say no to.

“Hey Shay, the little boy is doing well, and he’s wondering if he can come see his sister.

“Sure, she’s doing well enough that I think a visit wouldn’t hurt.” Shay replies glancing over at the little girl, then up at the monitors displaying her vitals. “Then we can take them to the hospital together.” She adds.

“Sounds like a plan.” Dawson says.

“Admit it Dawson, you miss this.” Shay teases over her radio as she spies Casey walking towards her. “Hey Casey, can we take Dawson with us for [as] an extra set of hands?”

“I guess I could spare her…” Casey says with [in] mock exasperation. “No, that’s fine Shay.” He laughs.

Dawson reaches into a compartment, pulls out a blanket, and hands it to Luca. “Alright Luca, we’re going to see your sister, but only if you promise to keep yourself wrapped up tight in that blanket I gave you,” Dawson says. “Think you can do that for me?”

“I know I can, I hate being cold.” Luca replies with a toothy smile as a chill runs through the 7-year-old’s body.

The pair set off into the bitter Chicago cold to meet up with Shay and Rafferty at 61; neither one wanting to believe that it’s only October and that winter has yet to grace them with its presence.

“Watch your step there Luca.” Dawson warns as Shay presents an outstretched arm and helps guide Luca onto the stretcher beside his sister.

“Alex!” Luca exclaims.

Shay and the medic-turned-firefighter Dawson can’t help but smile at the reunion of the two young siblings.

“Hey Luca,” Alex replies softly [but] with more energy than Shay and Rafferty have seen out of her all morning. “Everything’s gonna be just fine, I promise.” She says.

“She’s wise beyond her years… Rafferty starts “She’s got to be, what? 12; that’s amazing.” She smiles [thus] setting off a chain reaction that ends with the trio smiling together

“Seems like the guys are done here…” Dawson says craning her neck so she can get a glimpse of her fellow firefighters. “Should we go?”

“Yeah let’s bounce,” Shay replies tossing the keys to Rafferty. “Oh yeah, Rafferty, will you drive?” Shay laughs while Dawson tries to stifle her snicker.

Dawson swings the back door closed and Shay takes her spot at the head of the stretcher where Alex and Luca are sitting huddled together under the blanket. As soon as Shay and Dawson hear the engine start, they take one look at each other and bust out laughing, somehow managing to keep it at a level which Rafferty won’t hear.

“…Just like old times… Dawson says as a few particularly memorable memories fill her mind.

“Yeah, just like old times.” Shay repeats slowly shaking her head.


“Did the family make it?” Casey asks Severide knowing that he will have asked Shay already.

“Yeah they did, that little girl you pulled out is lucky to still be here,” Severide replies. “At least that’s what Shay said she heard the doctors say anyway…”

“Those doctors at Chicago Med are pretty amazing,” Casey says. “Always helping us out!” He smiles.

“Yeah they are great at what they do, just like you are at saving stuffed animals.” Severide says with a laugh.

Hey, c’mon, that was only one other time, plus I had a kid in my arms too, so it shouldn’t count.” Casey rebuts trying to sound a little annoyed, but can only manage a laugh.

“I’m just telling it like it is,” Severide smirks. “I mean if you like animals so much why didn’t you become a zoo keeper or something?”

Severide can’t help but contain his chuckle and at the sight of Severide, neither can Casey; he reaches into the pocket of his bunker pants, pulls out his gloves, and throws them at the face of an un-expecting Severide, who catches them effortlessly without looking up.

“Oh cool, finder’s keepers.” Severide taunts.

“You know I’m going to need those back right?” Casey replies.

“Yeah, sure, you can have them back… eventually,” Severide says. “As soon as you admit that you like grabbing kids’ stuffed animals at the last second just for the thrill of it.”

“In your dreams,” Casey replies and snatches the gloves back from his fellow lieutenant. “C’mon I told you my “Why I became a firefighter” story once already, I know if you try hard enough, you can remember it; I have faith in you.” Casey laughs.


“You never did tell me why you bailed on the hockey game the other night…” Severide ventures as he heads over to 81 after a quickly-resolved early afternoon call. “I got that ticket special for you.” He adds faking a frown.

“Something came up…” Casey replies avoiding direct eye contact with the smirking squad lieutenant before him.

“Something came up, eh? Not sure I can believe that one Casey.” Severide says his smirk widening. “What kind of something?” He inquires raising an eyebrow.

“Just something.” Casey insists.

“If I know you as well as I think I do, I would say you met someone, and are trying to hide it.” Severide says his smirk returning.

“Then you must not know me as well as you think…” Casey rebuts still avoiding eye contact.

Suddenly an idea pops into Severide’s head, and Casey can tell by the way Severide sticks his tongue out of the bottom right corner of his mouth all while maintaining his smirk.

“Dang, he’s onto me…” Casey’s mind frets.

“Dawson… It was Dawson wasn’t it? You went out with Dawson and that’s why you ditched the game.” Severide says amusing himself more and more by the second.

“Hey it’s not––…” Casey starts but falters when he isn’t able any words to defend himself, now that he’s been found out.

“No denying it Casey, but you can try all you want.” Severide laughs. “I will admit, it is pretty funny to watch you try though.

Casey rolls his eyes and even turns a little red at the thought of Severide knowing his secret, but he also knows that unlike some of the members on his team, Severide will keep his secret safe.

Fine, you caught me, yeah I went out with Dawson,” Casey admits hanging his head. “But this can’t go any further… I’m serious.”

“Hey man, my lips are sealed,” Severide promises. “So, remind me again, who’d you go out with? He pipes up with a smirk.

“Hey there you go!” Casey laughs just as Dawson rounds the corner and the pager goes off signaling a house fire call for the entire house.

“Look who it is…” Severide smirks at Casey.

“That’s not even funny.” Casey replies trying his best to maintain a straight face, but starts chuckling from his shotgun seat down at a still smirking Severide.

“Hey lieutenant!” Capp calls from the back of the idling squad truck. “We’ve got a fire to fight!”

“Yeah, yeah Capp, I know.” Severide says swinging around the front bumper of the squad to take his spot up front and nearly running into Mills as he does it.

“Taking your sweet time today Mills?” Severide questions.

“Sorry lieutenant, I left my helmet on the table from my tour earlier.” Mills replies skipping a few steps as he jumps into the squad.

To anyone involved, the exchange might have seemed like hours, when in reality only a mere 30 seconds have actually passed.

As the teams arrive, they find a house that’s only seconds away from being fully engulfed; they know every second they spend outside forming a game plan is one less second they have to get inside and rescue any victims that may be inside waiting. The two lieutenants jump down from their respective trucks and after taking one look at each other, they know exactly what needs to get done and who is going to do each task, all without saying a single word. Their teams, ready to back them up, stand fully geared up in a shoulder to shoulder semi-circle behind their two lieutenants as one cohesive team, none of them even bothering to look at what team insignia they wear; truck members next to squad members and squad members next to truck members.

“My team take the first floor, start at the back and work towards the front.” Casey orders as he takes a knee next to Otis to put on his mask so he can lead his team into the towering inferno before them. “Herrmann, take Dawson up the aerial to vent the roof!”

Before Casey can even look up, Herrmann is scaling the ladder with Dawson in tow.

“My team stand-by for RIT.” Severide orders nodding at Casey letting him know his team is in position.

“…And me lieutenant?” Cruz asks turning to face Casey a little unsure of where to go.

“Cruz, we’ll need you with us, engine can back us up,” Casey replies. “Hey Severide, think you can spare a guy?”

“Yeah, you can take Mills,” Severide replies. “Mills, mask up and go with Casey, he needs an extra guy!” Severide orders turning around to face Mills.

Secretly a little excited, Cruz gives Casey a nod of affirmation and heads to grab his air pack off the truck and follow his team inside.

“We’ve only got a few minutes, fan out and check everything!” Casey reminds his team.

At the back of the house’s first level they find two bedrooms, then off to the left a living area and kitchen.

“Cruz and I have the bedrooms!” Otis calls over his radio.

“Copy.” Casey replies letting Otis know they have the go ahead to continue their search.

“I’ll take the left room, you take the right.” Cruz says to Otis as the pair dive deeper into the inferno.

“Copy that!” Otis replies instantly.

“Mills, take the kitchen area!” Casey orders.

“You got it lieutenant!” Mills replies instantly.

A slight *thump* is heard from the next room, and Casey just assumes it’s one of his team members feeling along the wall to orient themselves, but just to be safe, Casey decides to check to make sure all his men are accounted for

“Otis!” Casey calls. “Cruz!”

“Right here, lieutenant!” Cruz replies.

“Here!” Otis replies.

“Mills?!” Casey calls. “Mills!”

Guys, where’s Mills?” Casey calls.

The blare of a pass alarm is heard from the kitchen area, and Casey immediately knows who is unaccounted for and springs into action.

“Get squad in here now!” Casey orders. “Severide, we need you in here, Mills is down!”

“Copy, Casey!” Severide’s reply is instant as his team storms into the burning house ahead of him in search of their fallen team member.

Squad has virtually no trouble finding Mills and is just as quick in getting him outside for a little visit with Shay and Rafferty.

“Nice work.” Casey says to Severide before heading back to the task he must complete.

“Need me to stay as an extra pair of hands?” Severide offers. “And thanks.”

“I think we got it, but can you go check on Mills for me?” Casey answers. “Let’s get back to it guys, we’re losing time and we need to check everything!” He yells to his team.

Cruz and Otis head back for their rooms, and a search of the right side-room turns up empty. Before they can realize, all hell breaks loose, flames begin to roll across the ceiling and not soon after, urgent calls for backup can be heard coming from the other room.

“Otis!” Cruz yells. “I need some help in here!”

As soon as his partner’s calls are heard, Otis is across the hall in the other room ready to lend aid in whatever Cruz needs him for.

“There’s two little kids under here and I can only get one of them; it’s getting ugly in here faster than I can search, so we gotta to move, now!” Cruz says.

“Cruz! Otis! Get out of there!” Casey calls over his radio from the kitchen.

“Grab the other kid and let’s go!” Cruz says scooping one of the boys out from under the bed.

“Hey bud, I got you,” Otis says bending down to prop himself up on his elbows in an attempt to look as non-threatening as possible. “I know this is scary, but I’m here to help, and you’re going to be okay, you gotta come to me though,”

The boy lets out a weak cough and crawls towards Otis, he’s scared, Otis can feel it as he trembles in his arms, the trembles are weak, but not weak enough for Otis [him] not to notice them. He knows he only has a matter of seconds to escape the inferno, and in one foul swoop gets up from under the bed and sprints back the way he came; doing his best to shield the little boy from the fire closing in around them. They make it outside seconds before the windows are blown out from an explosion. Otis, still carrying his precious cargo, takes off his mask and helmet before heading over to where he notices Cruz sitting with the other little boy as Shay examines him. As soon as Otis sets the other boy down, he begins to perk up; it’s almost instantaneous.

“Can you guys check these two out for us? We just pulled them out of that…” Cruz asks turning to Shay.

“You pulled them out of there??” Shay asks looking towards the now-windowless, still smoldering house. “I wasn’t even watching today, like I usually do.”

“Just barely made it, but yeah, we got ‘em out of there just in the nick of time.” Otis replies.

“These guys are definitely troopers,” Rafferty remarks. “The younger one has a little bit of smoke inhalation, but other than that they are perfectly fine.”

“What are your guys’ names?” Shay asks tenderly still under the watchful eye of Cruz and Otis.

“My name’s Demarkus, Markus for short.” The younger of the boys ventures, trying, in his best little boy voice to sound brave.

“Well Markus,” Shay winks. “Is this your brother?”

“Yeah, that’s my older brother, his name’s Dante.” Markus says still doing his best to sound brave.

“Demarkus and Dante, I like those names.” Rafferty pipes up.

“I have to say, these are some of the bravest kids I’ve met in a long time, what do you think Cruz?” Otis asks turning to his partner.

“Oh 100%, you guys are really brave,” Cruz starts. “You wanna know a secret?”

“Yeah!!” Both boys exclaim at once.

“You guys were even braver than me in that house; I was a tiny bit nervous.” Cruz says hoping his distractions will keep the boys’ minds preoccupied.

“Me too,” Otis joins in. “Keep this up, and you guys will make great firefighters when you’re older.”

“You guys are well on your way!” Cruz says as he takes off his helmet and places it on Dante’s head, shooting Shay a look that says ‘I better get that back later’. Shay returns fire by raising single eyebrow, a classic move for her, and a look that tells Cruz not to worry about and that he will see his precious helmet once again.

Mills is still recovering from his ordeal, and at the same time chilling in the back of 61 under Shay’s close supervision.

“Don’t you even think about getting up,” Shay says casting a warning glance in Mills’ direction. “What even happened in there? Shay questions. “You seem fine now.”

“I don’t really even know, I just got kinda lightheaded all of a sudden… and the next thing I know I’m getting dragged out of the house and over here too see you,” Mills says. “Did you guys notice anything weird when they brought me over?”

“Well, maybe it had something to do with the fact that your mask wasn’t sealed all the way, and considering you bounced back after we gave you a little oxygen, I’d say my hunch is right.” Shay says trying to hold back a laugh. “Did someone get a little too excited when he saw the fire and forget to check all his gear? When Severide gets an earful of this, you’re gonna be in trouble.” She teases. “And speaking of…”

“How’d you even learn what a correctly done seal looks like?” Mills questions Shay, doubting her a little.

“My roommate’s a firefighter, that and I spend most of my time in a fire station…” Shay replies with a laugh. “Where do you think I learned it?”

“Fine Shay, I see how it is.” Mills chuckles.

“What happened to you in there Mills??” Severide asks as he comes over to 61.

“Just got a little lightheaded lieutenant.” Mills replies trying to avoid the topic as best he can.

“Lightheaded? From what?” Severide asks. “You okay?”

“Oh yeah I’m fine.” Mills assures Severide who immediately turns to Shay for confirmation.

“Oh just tell him what happens already!” Shay says with a sigh.

“I may have forgotten to check the seal on my mask before going into that fire… Shay says that’s why I got lightheaded and passed out.” Mills admits avoiding eye contact with his lieutenant.

“Really Mills?! Didn’t they teach you about how important checking those types of things are/is while you were in academy?” Severide says a little annoyed. “What happened could have been a lot worse, had we been in different circumstances, you’re lucky and I hope/know you know that. This conversation isn’t over…” Severide says as he turns to walk over to where Casey’s standing.

“Ohhhhh, someone’s gonna get a chewing out when we get back to 51.” Shay teases an already exacerbated Mills.

“What do you mean ‘gonna get’??” Mills asks. “You saw what just happened.”

“He’s only looking out for you,” Shay says coming to defend Severide. “That is his job, remember?” Shay says almost looking down on Mills. “I know you know he’s right, and I also know that you aren’t about to admit it right now either.”

“Maybe someday, but not now, you’re right… again.” Mills admits his pride having taken a pretty big hit.

“Don’t worry; pride is something that will heal on its own.” Shay smirks. “And if you are going to ask if they taught me that in paramedic school, they didn’t,” Shay says trying to appear wise. “I learned that one all by myself.”


“Mills okay after his little mishap earlier?” Casey asks Severide as they return to 51.

“Oh yeah, he’s fine. He was being a little sloppy, and admitted to me he forgot to check the seal on his mask before heading into that fire.” Severide says in no mood to hide things from Casey, having decided it is best just to tell him what happened “I did chew him out a little on scene for it, and he knows how lucky he is to have gotten out without hurting himself; I made sure of that.”

“Sounds like you took care of it as best you could.” Casey replies. “Oh and by the way, did chief mention anything to you about the open house and barbeque thing we’re doing in a couple weeks?”

“I hadn’t heard about that yet, but it sounds like it could be cool.” Severide says. “Maybe we can make Mills run a station or something as punishment for being sloppy on a call.”

“Now there’s an idea.” Casey smirks.

“I’ll go talk to chief about it and see what exactly we’re doing.” Severide says. “So, thanks Casey, now I have something to do.” He laughs.

“Hey, anything to keep you from just sitting around doing nothing.” Casey chuckles as Severide walks away.


The next few weeks pass faster than both Casey and Severide can comprehend. The weekend of the open house is quickly approaching and before Casey can realize, it is only 2 days away.

“Well, Emily’s back in school, and from what she tells me, senior year has been a blast so far.” Casey says as he heads over to talk to Severide after an early morning call sent his team scrambling.

Severide is sitting on the front bumper of the squad truck attempting to buff out a scratch on his helmet.

“You can sit if you want.” Severide says looking up at Casey with an amused expression.

“Wow, first the squad table, and now the truck, I must be getting a promotion,” Casey says sarcastically adding a laugh in for effect. “…and what are you even doing?”

“Trying to buff out a scratch…” Severide replies a little puzzled.

“Why? The scratches give it character, why bother trying to get rid of them?” Casey laughs. “And on top of that, they prove that you actually do some work around this place.”

“Fine, I digress, you’re right, they all have stories to them don’t they?” Severide replies thinking back to the story behind the scratch he’s trying to buff out.

“For the record, I think you’re making it worse by trying to get rid of it.” Casey smirks.

Severide notices that the scratch isn’t getting any less noticeable and finally lets Casey have his moment of victory, not an easy feat by any means.

“You win…” Severide sighs and sets down his helmet before leaning over to pick up his mask instead so he can clean it off. “It’s a little dirty, you know, from all the work I do.” He laughs.

“Right, because you do go the extra mile all the time around here.” Casey chuckles sarcatically. “Hey, think I should tell Emily about the open house?”

“Yeah, why wouldn’t you tell her?” Severide replies. “Honestly, I’d be surprised if she doesn’t already know about it.”

“Hey, I just figured she hangs out here all the time, so why bore her with this, besides there will be little kids running all over anyway.” Casey admits.

“Well, she can just hang in your office if she needs to, can’t she?” Severide reminds his fellow lieutenant. “You know, she could help out too, she knows a lot from what you’ve shown her and what she’s seen herself.”

The idea just comes to him suddenly, and by Casey’s reaction, Severide can tell that he thinks it’s a good one, and that he plans to act on it.

“You’re right, she does know a lot, I’ll text her and see if she would want to come down and help out.” Casey says pulling out his phone.

“Make sure you tell her “hi” from me, you promised last time and never did.” Severide says laughing, as the memory comes back to him.

“I will!” Casey replies. “I wouldn’t want to hurt your feelings.” He laughs.

“Hey Em, don’t know if you heard, but 51 is doing an open house this weekend and I was wondering what your plans were, and if you’d be interested in maybe helping us out with some stuff. Thanks!

Love, Matt

“Don’t forget to tell her hi from me!” Severide interjects.

Oh and P.S Sev--- Kelly says hi.”

Casey finishes reading the text aloud to ensure approval from Severide before hitting send. Emily’s reply seems almost instantaneous, and reading it puts a smile on Casey’s face.

“Teenagers these days…” Casey smiles checking his watch “Wait… she’s in class right now… oh well… I’ll read it anyway.”

“Oh tell me about it!” Severide replies with a chuckle and goes back to cleaning up his mask. “Now scratches on this, that can’t happen.” He says turning to Casey.

“I’ll let that one slide.” Casey smirks.

Hey Matt,

I already knew about the open house and cleared my schedule Saturday so I could come down and hang out; I saw a poster or something about it somewhere… Anyway, I would love to come and help out, whatever you have for me to do, I’m sure it will be fun! I could help you guys show off the truck or something.

Oh, and tell Kelly hi from me.

Crap, I think the teacher is looking this way…

Oh, wait, never mind it’s just Maria, she says hi too. Talk to you later!


Casey hands the phone over to Severide so he can read the message too, reading it puts a smile on his face, just as it did Casey’s.

“It’ll be fun to see her on Saturday!” Severide says. “Did you have any ideas for what she could do?”

“I don’t really, do you?” Casey replies.

“I guess it depends on what we are doing, you could have help Mills show off the trucks or something.” Severide suggests. “I can’t really think of any other ideas at the moment.”

“Were we planning to do any kind of demos or anything?” Casey asks.

“Not that I heard, but that doesn’t mean we can think of something like that to do.” Severide replies. “We all know how the kids love that kind of stuff.”

“True, true, they always seem to like crazy stuff like that.” Casey admits.

Saturday comes faster than anyone at 51 can imagine, and with the day blocked out for the festivities of the open house, everyone can’t help but hold their breath and hope for a relatively quiet day.

“Mills, if you are even going to make mention of hoping for a quiet day, don’t; because you know what happens when someone does that around here…” Severide say spying the young squad member lurking around the squad table.

“Kinda like you just did?” Mills laughs

“Crap, I gotta watch what I say.” Severide laughs.

“At least we’ll know who to blame when the inevitable happens…” Mills says with a smirk.

“Go make yourself useful or something, the Squad could use a wash before people start showing up.” Severide says trying to hold back a laugh.

“Yes sir!” Mills replies with a mock salute. “Shouldn’t Dawson be in charge of cleaning the trucks?”

“Is Dawson on squad?” Severide counters.

“No… she’s not.” Mills replies hanging his head in mock embarrassment.

“That’s right, now hop to it or I’ll have Casey come out here and make you wash the truck too.”

“You wouldn’t.” Mills laughs.

“Try me.” Severide replies as he leans back in his chair picks up a copy of the daily newspaper. “All in good fun Mills, I promise––that and I don’t wanna wash the truck.” Severide smirks.

“Of course lieutenant, let me get right on that.” Mills smirks back and heads over to grab a bucket and brush.

Severide quickly becomes bored of the newspaper and heads for the kitchen to grab a snack instead, brushing past Dawson, who has a bucket in hand, on his way.

“Let me guess…” Severide smirks.

“Yup, cleaning duty; per my candidate duties...” Dawson replies.

“Well, have fun with that, I know you will.” Severide laughs.
Dawson swings around the front of 81 so she can grab a hose and spray down the truck first, all while nearly running into Mills as he works on the squad.

“Shoulda seen this coming...” Mills laughs as he sees Dawson beginning the rather unpleasant task of cleaning the truck. “Still enjoying being a candidate?”

“I got to laugh at you when you were in this same spot, so now it’s your turn; I get that, and if you’re trying to annoy me, it’s not working.” Dawson smirks.

“Well then, I think we’ll just have to change that.” Mills says snatching the sprayer from Dawson and turning it back on her.

“Oh it’s on Mills!” Dawson says a surge of competitiveness in her voice.

“There’s that competitive Gabby we all love so much.” Mills laughs. “Tell you what, I’ll help you and you help me, that way, in theory we can get done twice as fast?”

“…And if Casey comes out here?” Dawson asks casting an eye towards the door leading into the kitchen, just in case.

“Oh he won’t, he’s up in his office ‘relaxing’” Mills laughs.

“Fine, but if he comes out here, I’m throwing you under the bus or truck in this case…” Dawson laughs. “Just a warning.”

In all honestly, Dawson is a little surprised at Mills’ willingness to help her considering how they left things between them. Despite her feelings, she decides to take the help in stride, figuring it will give her a little time to let loose and have a little fun doing a task no one else likes or wants to do. A short thirty minutes later, both trucks are shiny and clean something that surprises Severide when he comes to grab something off the squad table.

“That was quick…” Severide says losing his train of thought. “I have to check this out myself.”

“Just in time too…” Mills remarks catching sight of the poster out front which reads 12PM and the clock on the wall that’s reads 11AM.

“Well we’ve got trucks to set up and things to do, you guys get on the truck set up, and I’m gonna go find Casey.” Severide says turning to head back inside. “Anyone seen Casey?” Severide asks as he reenters the kitchen to find his team relaxing around the kitchen table.

“No, I haven’t seen him…” Capp says. “Why?”


“Seems like we’ve got our own jobs to do now.” Dawson remarks with a laugh.

“It does seem like that, I’ll catch ya later.” Mills says and goes to grab his gear from the squad.


“Hey wake up sleeping beauty!” Severide says tossing a pillow at a still half-asleep Casey. “It’s noon!”

“Noon already?!” Casey stammers and is quick to get up and pull his boots back on even in the midst of his post-nap fog.

“Nope, it’s just 11. But we have stuff to do; so I figured your beauty sleep could wait.” Severide snickers.

“I’ll get you back for this…” Casey threatens.

“Oh I’m sure you will, but open house first, revenge later.” Severide says. “Where’s Emily at?”

“How would I know?” Casey replies still a little out of it.

“Why don’t you check your phone and find out?” Severide suggests leaning his head farther into Casey’s office.

“Why bother, she’s right behind you.” Casey replies holding up his phone.

“Hey Matt…” Emily starts trying to stifle a laugh.

“Perfect timing Em, I was just waking up Casey here from his mid-morning nap. If he doesn’t get it in, he gets grouchy.” Severide laughs.

“That’s funny Severide…” Casey rebuts trying to remain serious but fails rather miserably.

“Let’s head down to the bay and see about getting you something to do,” Severide says turning to Emily. “How’s that?”

“I’m down for that, Matt can catch up with us when he’s more awake.” Emily snickers.

“If that ever happens…” Severide pipes up.

“Shut it…” Casey says turning to face Severide…

“Like I said, open house first, revenge later.” Severide reminds Casey with a laugh.


“Alright guys, everything looks good, let’s get this thing going!” Severide says turning to his team.

“Was that supposed to be a pep talk or something?” Capp laughs.

“And if it was?” Severide counters.

“Then it was great.” Capp is quick to reply.

“Good answer.” Severide smirks and heads to grab his helmet from inside the squad.

“Oh lieutenant,” Mills starts. “Got a sec?”

“Yeah Mills, what’s up?” Severide asks pivoting around to face Mills.

“Did you want me to give tours or something, I never got a chance to ask.” Mills asks.

“What do you think Casey?” Severide asks in hopes of gaining an opinion from his fellow lieutenant.
“I kind of just assumed Dawson would be doing it, since she’s the candidate in all.” Casey admits.

“Has she even done one yet?” Severide asks.

“I don’t know… Dawson! Come here.” Casey says turning to shoot a look at his candidate. “Have you done a tour yet?”

“No I haven’t, I don’t know how to even start one.” Dawson replies.

“Mills, would you be up for showing Dawson the ropes, since you were the last one to have to give them.” Severide asks. “That is, if Casey’s cool with that.”

“Yeah, that’ll work.” Casey replies half not wanting to admit that Severide had a good idea about something, and half not wanting Severide know anything more about his feelings for Dawson. Severide shoots a look in Casey’s direction to remind Casey that he’s totally onto him, and can see right through him. Casey knows this, but chooses to attempt and ignore it.

“Hey Em!” Casey says as he catches sight of Emily waltzing back into the bay from the kitchen, sandwich in hand.

“Nice shirt,” Severide smirks referring to the Truck 81 shirt she’s wearing, one that’s a good deal too big and requires her to tie it back. “Wonder where she got that…”

“I wouldn’t know.” Casey smirks.

“We really need to get her a squad shirt…” Severide mutters under his breath.

“Give her a squad shirt and I’ll burn it.” Casey laughs.

“Well good thing Emily knows how to put out a fire then.” Severide replies his smirk returning.

“Funny, Severide,” Casey laughs. “So very funny.”

“Hey Em, you wanna hang with Mills and Dawson today?” Casey asks. “They’ll be giving tours and could use an assistant.”

“Sure,” Emily replies instantly. “That sounds like a blast actually.”

“Severide and his little posse will be showing off the squad, and my team will be lurking helping out with whatever.” Casey says making it obvious he’s thinking out loud. “Seems like we’ve got everything covered.”

“Who’d you put on grill duty, with Mills helping Dawson?” Severide asks.

“Herrmann, with Clarke supervising of course.” Casey smirks.

“Clarke, supervising? You must have a lot of faith in him.” Severide laughs.

Kids and families alike start arriving, much to the excitement of the 51 crew, who finally have something to do.


“Hey Emily, come here.” Cruz says motioning for Emily to join him over by Casey’s spot on truck 81. “I figured we could have a little fun with Lieutenant Casey while you’re here.” Cruz explains reaching up to snatch Casey’s helmet off the dashboard and hands it to a now smiling Emily.

“Hey, you wanna help me quick?” Emily asks figuring as driver of 81, Cruz can help her with pretty much anything concerning the truck.

“Yeah sure, what do you need?” Cruz asks with a smile.

“Mills actually sent me over here to grab an extra air pack, he said for a gear demo or something, I think.” Emily explains.

“Are you helping him with the tour?” Cruz asks.

“Yeah, him and Dawson actually.” Emily replies.

“Oh interesting…” Cruz says his voice trailing off. “But here, I’ll show you were we can grab a spare.”

“Perfect, thanks!” Emily replies.

Emily swings around the side of truck 81, her gear in tow, and Casey’s helmet on her head, almost running into her brother as she heads back over to rejoin Mills and Dawson.

“Lieutenant Casey, how nice it is to see you again,” Casey smirks. “It’s been a while, how have you been?”

“Oh you know, the same, just saving a lot of stuffed animals from fires.” Emily smirks back trying to hide a laugh.

“Dang-it Severide!” Casey mutters under his breath. “And nice helmet, by the way- I have one just like it.”

“Hm, I didn’t know that, funny how these things work.” Emily replies still smirking.

“Well, I’ll let you get back to it, I’m sure you have some important work to be doing,” Casey smiles his smirk returning. “Have fun.”


The afternoon passes without a hitch. Kids and their families come and go, Dawson, Mills, and Emily give their tours to a “T”, and everyone gets fed, and therefore averting a major catastrophe. The event goes so well, that Chief, along with the 51 crew, decide to make it an annual affair.

“Told you you’d do great with those tours.” Mills smiles as he helps Dawson put away her gear.

“I guess it really wasn’t that bad,” Dawson replies. “It was fun having Emily help us out!”

“Hey, you did great; better than my did my first day, that’s for sure.” Mills says.

“Thanks for all the help, by the way, that was really nice of you.” Dawson says trying not to smile.

“Anytime. Hey, I know this might be weird, but I get that you like Casey, and I’m okay with that; I just want you to know I’ll always be around to help if you need it, that’s my job now that we have a candidate in the house.” Mills says averting his eyes away from Dawson.

“Thanks Mills, that means a lot, I really appreciate that.” Dawson smiles and turns to put the rest of her gear away.


“We were just looking for you.” Casey informs Severide as he saunters into the kitchen.

“For??” Severide asks sounding a little suspicious.

“Just wondering if you’d be up for a little challenge, is all…” Casey smirks.

“Whenever you make that face, everyone in a 3-mile radius should get scared,” Severide says. “Okay, shoot.”

“We were just thinking, why have Dawson cook dinner tonight, when you need a crash course in cooking yourself.” Casey says with a laugh.

“Really, Casey?” Severide laughs.

“Yes really, besides, I came prepared,” Casey replies pulling a fire extinguisher from under the table. “On top of that, Mills is really excited to teach you, you don’t want to hurt his feelings do you?”

“Or his pride…” Shay snickers turning to Casey.

“I am?” Mills asks in surprise at the mention of his name. “I was just coming in here for an apple, what’s this about me teaching, now?”

“Severide almost burned down his apartment trying to cook breakfast a few weeks ago, so he needs to learn how to cook without starting any fires.” Casey explains.

“Ah, I got it,” Mills laughs. “Don’t worry I’ll go easy on you.”

“Hey, I gotta run to my office quick to grab something, then we’ll make a food/dinner run.” Casey says.

Emily notices her brother take off for upstairs, and sees her moment, silently deciding to follow him, knowing this might very well be the only chance she’ll get.

“I actually have to grab something from my office too, I’ll be up in a sec.” Severide replies before taking a detour to the fridge for a pre-dinner snack.


Emily leans into the brick wall leading into the sleeping area before her brother’s office, and takes a deep breath, taking the half a second she needs to make sure Casey is actually in his office. She prepares herself for what she’s about to say, and goes for it, not knowing that Severide has just entered the room as well. He silently watches from behind the brick wall, his head just far enough over the top for him to watch what’s going on without being noticed. Emily walks towards Casey’s office and quietly opens the door, causing Casey to look up from the mound of papers on his desk.

“Hey Em, you need something?” Casey asks innocently.

“We need to talk.” Emily replies as tears begin to roll down her cheek.

Whoa, this just got interesting… What is Emily going to tell Casey? Is everything okay between her and Maria? Did something happen at school? The open house? Stay tuned to find out!

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