Title: Hidden Agenda
Chapter 1 – A Not So Friendly Face?
Summary: Chief Boden takes a personal leave of absence for several weeks. But who is his new replacement and what secret grudge does he have against Casey? And when Casey confides in Severide will it cost Fire House 51 both their Lieutenants? Who else could be caught in the crossfire?
Disclaimer: Chicago Fire and its characters are the property of Dick Wolfe, NBC and….well sadly not me lol any of the OC's are mine (names taken from a random name generator) any resemblance to any of my readers is by pure coincidence.
A/N: Okay so first multi-chapter story! Will feature our two boys of course b/c that's what my muse Alice and I like best (but there will be some Casey/Dawson and the teams) and hope you like this idea that we came up with. Not sure how many chapters…will depend on interest. I am not a huge Hallie fan (sorry I find her kinda weepy) so this will focus on our boys with some Casey/Dawson. So gets get started...
"Casey behind you!"
He hears the familiar voice coming through his earpiece just as the blast of heat hurls toward his back, sending him to his knees, the young boy in his grasp falling to the charred wooden floor; Casey's hands instantly shooting out to pull the boy back before further damage could be done.
"Hold on," he lightly pants as he pushes his frame forward, the heat on his back forcing an army of sweat bead to form and threaten to blur his vision. Casey looks up as the flames dance before him; various shouts from his team as to where to go to get safe passage for the boy.
Casey gathers up the unmoving child as his head lolls into his soot stained jacket and then turns back; his eyes quickly squeezing shut for a few milliseconds, his body pivoting just as another fireball hurls toward him. But just before the superheated tornado can consume him and his precious cargo, he feels cool water splashing on the back of his helmet, a few droplets dribbling down the back of his damp neck and cooling his blazing skin.
"Can't take another one like that!"
"Casey walk directly backwards…trust me," Severide's determined voice is heard behind him.
Knowing better than to argue, Casey's arms tighten further around the boy in his grasp as he takes a few steps back, then a few more until he feels a firm hand on his shoulder, prompting him to turn and look at his fellow 51 Lieutenant.
"Take him…we got this," Severide's somewhat exasperated voice is heard over his headset.
Without missing a beat, Casey turns and rushes past Severide and two of his own team now joined together to battle back the raging inferno behind him. He busts through the black smoke filled entrance; hurrying toward the waiting arms of Dawson and Shay, handing them the now unconscious child and stepping back as they work to get him stabilized.
"Your hand Matt," Dawson nods to the small patch of red skin on his hand where it had pulled away from the glove for a few fateful moments; the chafing from the hard fabric only exacerbating it further.
"Casey!" He hears the voice of his boss calling him back to duty. So with a small nod to Dawson he turns back to see a thick plume of smoke escape the far right window of the small grocery store and then looks over at the hose, shouting at it where to point next and then heading back to the thick of the action. With no one left inside it was now all hands on deck to get the fire put out before it could further spread to surrounding buildings. After about twenty minutes of an intense battle, the flames finally start to abate and the soot and sweat clad forms start to pull away from the smoldering mess, back into the fresh air and the late morning sun.
"Close call," Casey huffs as he pats two of his team on the back as he passes, reaching the truck and grabbing the nearest water bottle and downing a few hearty gulps.
He gives Severide a nod as both of them now work to get their trucks and gear packed up and back to the house to refuel and rest up for the next emergency call.
"Is the boy going to be okay?" Peter Mills asks as he slides into the back, sandwiched between Hermann and Mouch.
"Hope so. Depends on how long he was pinned for," Casey's mind thinks back to when he found the boy pinned between the floor and a countertop. The trucks pull into the station, each member of the teams automatically getting off and going about their assigned tasks like little worker bees, before heading into the rest area to wash up and then get started on an early lunch.
"Great thanks for the update," Casey hangs up and then turns to see Severide watching. "Boy's going to be okay."
"Good to hear."
"I hadn't cleared it yet."
"I was in first and…" Casey argues back.
"You didn't wait."
"There wasn't time."
"Was still my call. Chief put…"
"You know what fine next ti…" is all Casey manages before they both hear someone calling Severide's name and the tension discussion is quickly halted.
Severide merely shrugs as he takes his leave; Casey leaning back in his chair and muttering an angry curse as his eyes dart back to his own version of the report. His mind quickly thinks back to the tension inside the cluttered store….the fire at his back and the boy in front; Severide's men on his right.
"Damn it," Casey shakes his head as he pushes himself up from his chair and heads toward the Chief's office; his hand slightly stinging from the cut but his mind too occupied with the call to dwell on a few twinges of pain.
"Hey Lieutenant," Mills calls out.
"The boy is gonna be fine," Casey replies, not looking back but continuing on.
"He needs a cookie or something," Hermann quips as pats Mills on the back before steering him toward the kitchen. "Speaking of cookie's…"
Casey nears Boden's office and then stops, his mind wanting to just make sure his side was in the clear and they were good. He stares at the empty office before him and frowns before turning and coming face to face with the very man he was seeking.
"I can see it written on your face."
"Concern over the call. I heard you both. You acted on instinct and the boy was saved."
"And Kelly's report?"
"Will probably contain a comment about you needing an updated hearing aide…you two got the job done; that's what counts the most. He can be a hot head at times and acts on instinct just as much as you; that's what makes you two my best and the best at what you do…but it also means you butt heads at times like you did today. But you kept it professional when it counts out there and that's what I expect. Your after call personal differences I'll let you two work out."
"Great thanks," Casey offers as Chief Boden walks past him and enters his office, Casey turning to the right and locking eyes with Severide as he stands a few feet down the hallway. Casey offers him a small frown before heading back down the other quiet hallway to his office to finish his report.
Fortunately the afternoon passes by without any other personal incident between them; both teams being called in different directions to handle two different situations and the day coming to a close with only the early morning emotional strain.
"Just gotta keep the rest of the week incident free," Casey tells himself as he walks past a few of his men laughing about some new water scheme that Hermann was trying to get them to buy into; heading for his truck and then getting inside with a heavy sigh; his body just wanting to get home and collapse.
As he pulls out of the parking lot he watches Severide walking to his car and gives him a small nod, almost relieved when his fellow Lieutenant offers a small nod in return; hope for restoring their once amicable friendship not completely lost. He looks down at his hand and notices a smal tinge of fresh blood on the edge where he banged it and knows its time to get home and get some rest.
"You're in a bitter mood tonight," Leslie Shay comments as Severide offers a small snippet as he pushes past his roommate. "Wanna talk about it?"
"No I'm just not in the mood to…talk…it was my call okay?"
"You still steamed about Casey? Seriously if I didn't know you as well as I do, I might think you like him," she smirks, making him look back in shock. "It was a joke. I don't like looking at your back."
"He didn't listen."
"And you always do?" She retorts dryly, making Severide just purse his lips but say nothing back. "You know it's a good thing you two have different teams."
"He'd never work for me."
"And vice versa?"
"And…vice versa," he huffs as he slumps down into one of their plush armchairs and takes a swig of his beer. "Hot head."
"Let's just hope the rest of the week is better."
"You mean with you giving him an order and expecting him to follow it?"
"Yes…exactly that," he replies in sarcasm; Shay giving his back an eye-roll before she turns her attention back to supper.
Feeling a bit better from getting some solid rest the night before, Matt Casey stops his truck in the parking lot, grabs his duffle bag and slowly heads inside, hoping the day also passes by without another personal altercation with Severide. He thinks back to the time before Andy Darden's death, his mind actually smiling at the friendship that he and Kelly had shared and wonders if things will ever get back to that.
Casey nods to two of his team, Otis and Mills doing a mock wrestling match on the floor; their silly antics actually making his lips produce an easy smile. He heads for the locker room, rounding the corner and entering the quiet area. He pulls open his locker door, hanging his jacket up and turning as he hears shuffling enter the quiet zone.
"Morning," Severide offers in a low tone.
"Morning," Casey responds back as he changes into his working uniform, glancing over at Severide who has his head buried in his locker. He hears what sounds like the rattle of a pill bottle but decides against asking him what was up. It could be anything and there's enough animosity to contend with, without stirring the pot on what could be nothing, his brain reasons as he closes his locker door and heads for the common area; Severide's fist covering over the nearly empty bottle of pain killers just as Casey walks past.
'Let me know what you can find. K'
Severide sends the text and then hurries to change for the day and join his team out in the dining area, his mind trying to swallow down the disappointment from the call earlier. As long as it's non-drowsy and I watch my diet during the day I should be fine, he repeats to himself over and over.
"Hey boss listen to his one…" one of his guys launches into a lame joke as he nears them.
But it's not long before the alarm sounds and its all hands on deck; fire at a high school and time is of the essence. As they race toward the high school, Casey reminds himself that today isn't a day to get on anyone's bad side, much less a fellow team supervisor on the same mission.
"Okay here's what I want…" Boden calls out the instructions to his two top men; they in turn funneling down the orders to their teams before all of them spring into action and literally sprint toward the superheated area. Each man takes an area, performing a rapid but careful search for any children tucked into areas that could be potentially dangerous and then helping them outside into the fresh air or to one of the waiting paramedic teams before rushing back inside to control the blaze.
About half hour later, Casey pulls back just as the last lick of flame is extinguished and looks over at Severide; this time both of them sharing a knowing glance that the job was done to everyone's satisfaction and no one crossed the other's personal line.
"Today was a good day," Hermann mentions on the ride back to the house.
"Except for the kid that started the fire," Casey informs them.
"They found who started it?" Mills inquires.
"Yeah someone came forward on him."
"No honor among punks huh," Hermann smirks. "Hope they make the kid pay for it."
"Grounded for life."
"And on Facebook."
Casey listens to the friendly banter of his team but his mind now fixed on the Chief's expression right after the call. He remembers watching his superior answer a phone call and his expression morph from one of satisfaction to one of almost panic. As soon as they reach their intended destination, Casey hops out of the truck and heads for the Chief's office, Severide a few steps behind; each of them letting their team's clean up.
"He asked to see you too?" Severide asks in a quiet tone just as Casey's phone buzzes.
"Just now," Casey quips as Boden turns around to see them both standing outside his office, gesturing for them to enter. "What's going on? Back at the school…I saw your expression. Bad news?"
"As a matter of fact…yes. I put in a request for some personal time…a leave and it's been granted. My nephew…he's being diagnosed with cancer. The call was from my sister, he's going into treatment tomorrow. My sister…she's alone and needs some help right now."
"Sorry…how long? I mean for him?" Severide inquires.
"They don't know. It's early and they are hopeful but while she's at the hospital with him for his treatments…"
"She'll need some help with her other two children," Casey interjects.
"She will. The few weeks should cover the treatment and…my being there will also help to defer some of the cost and other daily stuff. I don't expect you two to handle the load here plus your teams while I am away so I put a request in for a temp to cover the day to day stuff and now it's up to the diplomats to figure that out."
"We could have handled it," Casey quickly adds.
"We know this house and our teams."
"And I'm sure you two could put aside certain differences to get things done. But there are times when you…one of you is out on a call and a decision has to be made. The two of you sharing…not necessarily a happy picture for the one that comes back and doesn't like the other's decision but it's too late. I'm taking all that stress away."
"So they can just pull from another house?"
"More than likely it'll be a recent retiree," Boden continues.
"Hope its Riley Ford."
"Yeah he was my first choice also but it depends on who is willing to give up their life of leisure for only a few weeks," Boden replies with a small smile. "I'll try to check in once a week."
"Sir we got this. Just worry about your family," Severide utters in concern.
"Thank you both. I'll leave a list of what you can expect tomorrow if my replacement isn't found right away. That's all."
"Tough news," Casey remarks as they both head down the quiet hallway.
"You know we coulda handled this on our own."
"Really?" Casey stops and looks at Severide square on. "And if I was the one out on the call would you wait for me to get back or make the decision on your own?" Casey retorts almost rhetorically before he turns and leaves.
"I mighta waited," Severide mutters in an undertone as he turns and heads for the locker room; the end of the day calling him. He reaches his locker just as his phone buzzes to life; his fingers quickly snatching the small electronic device and looking at the message.
'I think I have what you need. Call me.'
"Perfect," he whispers as he quickly calls the number in anticipation.
"A replacement…only for a few weeks," Casey's tone echoes in the quiet cabin of his truck, as he slowly heads for home; Hallie having to work the graveyard shift. "Hope its Ford."
The following morning Casey awakens with a growing sense of agitation in his stomach. Boden is fully aware of the sometimes antagonistic feelings between him and Severide and acts as a good buffer but also holds his ground and puts them both in their place when he has to to keep the peace in the house. How would the replacement act when things got strained or one of them went against the other's decision? Would he know how to handle it without taking sides?
"This…is gonna be interesting," Casey mutters as he heads into the quiet firehouse early that morning. He nods to Mouch and Otis as he continues past, entering the quiet hallway toward the Chief's office, eager to see if anyone had gotten the call last night and if the man he hopes had been able to agree and step up to the plate.
He offers the darkened room before him a small frown before turning and heading for the locker room to get his stuff stored away and get the day started.
"Kelly in yet?" Casey asks Shay as he enters the quiet breakfast area.
"He's around…somewhere," Shay replies with a small shrug. "What's he done now?" She asks with a small smile.
"Nothing…but day's still young," Casey quips as he nears the counter, Mills behind working to make breakfast. But just before he can take his place, his phone buzzes and he's quick to answer. "Hold that for me," he instructs Mills as he turns and heads for his office, the hospital needing some extra contact information from the boy brought in the day before.
"Is everything okay?"
"Just some insurance matters," the hospital clerk replies. "We should be able to get it figured out. Do you have that other number in your report?"
"Yeah hold on."
Casey gives the clerk the information needed and then makes a note in his file about extra insurance being needed in case he was called upon at a later date.
"Morning…" Severide's voice breaks his thoughts, pulling his gaze upward. "Meet the new guy yet?"
"I was just there…the office is dark."
"He's there now."
"Not Ford I take it," Casey inquires as he stands up to follow Severide to the Chief's office and officially welcome Boden's temporary replacement to Fire House 51.
"No. someone else," Severide shrugs.
"Do you don't know who it is?"
"I…" Severide starts only to be quickly interrupted.
"Hello Matthew," a surprising and frighteningly familiar voice is heard from behind, forcing both Casey and Severide to turn and face their new temporary superior; Severide with a wondering expression and Casey with one that turns him instantly pale, a sense of dread starting to come upon him; his tense posture not lost on the man beside him.
This…this can't be…not…him…Casey's mind trails into a whispered panic.
A/N: uh oh… hehe so…am always nervous when starting new stories b/c things need to build. So are you liking it so far? Want to see how this all plays out? Who is the temp Chief and what's his connection to Casey? What trouble will he bring? (b/c you know with me there will be some haha). So please do review with your thoughts and thanks so much in advance!
PS: hope you all liked the last eppy one shot (the 4th in the warning series called playing for keeps-I'll return to my Voight/Casey/Severide series soon)