Title: Hidden Agenda
Chapter 12 – Dance with the Devil

Matt you should have listened to me…I was your friend…backed you…went to war with Ben and you never let me explain…thought we were friends…you turned on me…NO…FOCUS…snap out of this and FOCUS! Casey's mind tries to snap him out of his miserable stupor as his body finally starts to ease in shaking – shaking from anxiety not the cold. His mind flashes back to his very realistic nightmare where he's tied down to his bed with Ben on top…his mind offering images of Kelly's face and voice and then his cruel attacker's. I just imagined all that right? He never did anything right? But…what if he did?

Casey's stomach lurches as the car goes over a bump; his mind racing as to where Ben could be taking him. But he doesn't have to ponder what Ben has in mind as he knows; he'll be kept subdued for the most part, at least his wrists and ankles so he can't fight back, not drugged as Ben would want him awake and then Ben will…NO…DON'T DO THIS…his mind yells as he's flashed back in time to the time Ben had first cornered him. He hadn't told Kelly the whole truth about that incident; how Ben did corner him in the shower and he did tell him no but that Ben merely laughed and pressed on with his evil plan, pulling out a pair of handcuffs and capturing him when he had his back turned; his mouth covered with tape and his future forever altered.

This can't happen again…not again…Casey's chest starts to hyperventilate again as his mind offers him another sordid memory and his anger surges.

AHHHHH! Casey's bound feet kick at the side of the trunk in angry misery; Ben merely turning up the base so that his pounding was now in time with the beat to whatever rock song was being played in the front seat. He slumps back, praying for the pounding in his head and the sick feeling in his stomach to subside long enough for him to focus. Work the sleeping bag down and try to cut your wrists free…on something, his brain instructs.

Okay…I can do that…Casey tells himself as he starts to slowly inch the bag down toward his feet; his lips uttering a muffled gasp as his bare shoulders finally connect with something metallic in the trunk; his plan is working. He feels cool air starting to assault his chest as the bag slowly starts to move downward; the process slow but promising. But just as he manages to get the bag halfway down his chest he feels the car starting to slow and his heart rate to skyrocket.

No…oh what the hell? Where here already? This can't be…we're here already? Did Kelly check my home? Did he check Ben's? Did he even bother or is Ben right? Is this it? I'm alone? No help? No escape? Hurry…you hafta hurry…if no one is coming to your aid you hafta find a way to escape on your own…if not…you really are dead.

Not caring about the small scrapes starting to form along his smooth back, Casey continues to work the sleeping bag, managing to get it almost near his belly and pull his bound wrists free and rest along a jagged edge. But just as he does the car suddenly jerks to a halt, forcing his lips to utter an angry groan as his body painfully rolls to the right and then back to its original position. His teeth grit as Ben's whistling tune is heard seconds before the trunk is pulled open.

"Am glad you are happy to show yourself to me Matthew," Ben snickers before his gaze turns serious. Then without much warning, his fingers firmly curl around a taut bicep and yank him upward to inspect the ropes still keeping his wrists firmly bound behind his back. "I told you!" Ben hisses, his lips inches from Casey's ear. "You have nowhere to go and no one is coming to help you!"

He yanks the tape off Casey's mouth and then lets him drop back into the trunk.

"Ben…please do…" is all he manages before Ben pulls his hidden weapon and cocks the trigger; forcing Casey's frame to instantly seize.

"Please do whatever I want?" Ben states sharply as he presses the cold end of the gun barrel against Casey's cheek and then traces the firm outline of his rough jaw. "Oh I will and more and this…this will stop whoever tries to come between me and my prize."

"They know we're missing…Antonio knows…"

"What?" Ben asks as he slowly unzips the sleeping back; Casey's skin instantly covered with shiver bumps. "What does he know?"

"Everything. He has a warrant…for your arrest. It's…over."

"Hardly over. It'll never be OVER! He'll hafta find me first," Ben taunts as he puts the gun away and then pulls his knife and reaches down, yanking Casey's found feet and pulling them up to cut them free. "Don't worry…you'll be in my arms later," he continues to taunt his helpless captive.

No…this can't be…they'll find me time. Antonio will trace the car…Kelly will insist…he will right? RIGHT?


"Hush now Matthew. I'd hate to gag those perfect lips of yours," Ben merely replies as he shoves a pair of runners on Casey's bare feet and then starts to pull him out of the trunk. Casey kicks at him but misjudges Ben's anger; uttering an angry growl as Ben allows his nearly naked body to fall to the cold ground; a painful grunt quickly following.

Run! Where to? I can't see anything and he has a gun. Maybe if he shoots it'll be heard and…

"Come now Matthew," Ben huffs as he easily sidesteps Casey's feeble kicks and lifts him up by his shoulders. "I know you're cold but I promise I'll make you warm very soon."

"Ben!" Casey snaps as he tries to pull himself free of his evil captor's firm grasp. "HELP ME! SOMEONE HELP ME!" Casey shouts in vain, his ears instantly filling with Ben's mocking laughter.

"No one around but us Matthew. My car isn't registered. My phone is turned off and yours is at home. I can enjoy you without interruptions," Ben pauses as his free hand rests on Casey's back and threatens to move lower. "Now now I see you cut yourself Matthew. I'll patch it up later."

"They'll know you're gone."

"WHO?" Ben shouts as his fingers tighten their grasp; pressing into his cold skin with added force. "Who's going to know or CARE? You pissed off the only ballsy ally you had in your corner. Kelly doesn't care anymore. He'll give you your space and by the time anyone bothers to miss you, YOU'LL BE DEAD! You're fate is sealed! Accept it!"

NO! Fight back! Casey's brain commands as it tries to push the sordid lies to the back of his mind and concentrate. But as he forces himself to listen for a few seconds; he rightfully discerns he is alone…no sounds of the city…or people…or life other than them. Where the hell am I?

"Where are we?"

"Oh I like the little lost boy routine Matthew, very charming," Ben grins as Casey grits his teeth.


A few seconds later, Ben yanks the thick blindfold down; Casey's watery eyes furiously trying to clear some of the stinging dye from the cloth out so he could at least get a bearing on where he's being taken.

Ben stops them from walking and looks at Casey with a serious expression; Casey's brain finally discerning that he was being taken toward a defunct training burn house; one put out of commission in favor of a newer facility a few years back.

"Feels like home doesn't it Matthew?"

Casey turns and angrily spits in Ben's face, his brain biting back a wince to the harsh backhand he predictably received in return. Just stall for time…just stall…do anything to stall.

"Why are you doing this?"

"Why do you want to make me angry Matthew? You know I'm a lot gentler when I'm not angry."

"WHY!" Casey shouts only to slightly pull back as Ben leans in with an angry snarl.

"BECAUSE I CAN! You know…I've changed my MIND! You can beg me LATER!" Ben shouts back as he pulls the cloth that had been the blindfold and stuffs it between Casey's throbbing lips. "And because I want to. Time to go have some fun."

"B…mhp…" Casey tries to offer a garbled protest; his body pulling back but quickly recoiling at Ben's touch, allowing Ben to succeed in dragging him further toward the burn house and then into the darkened surroundings.

HELP ME! Casey continues his futile struggles. His eyes dart frantically around for any means of escape, not caring that his wrists are bound. He has shoes and can run; surely anyone would see him and call the police for help. But as they round a corner, Casey's eyes widen in horror and fear finally seizes him.

"Time for some fun Matthew. And I think this time…you might even enjoy this."


Severide's anxious eyes look at the time and then back to the road; his mind racing with horrible thoughts about what his friend has possibly had to endure at evil hands and his brain trying to push aside Casey's voice calling to him for help and him arriving too late to save him. The ropes on the bed…the drugs…the tape…the clothes…

"Damn it!" Severide curses as he hits the dashboard with his fist and grits his teeth. Having Casey mad at him for keeping the truth was one thing but having him hate him for him being part of the cause Casey's forcibly assaulted was something else entirely. Of course it would be forcible…what if….DON'T…his brain warns as he feels his foot slowly lift off the pedal. You have to keep going…you are the closest…you have to stop Ben and help your friend…this means his very life.

"He'll hate me for this…" Severide huffs as he recalls what Boden had told him about who was helping Ben commit his horrible deeds. "Matt…damn I'm so sorry…"

Ben…don't do this…please…KELLY!

Severide's eyes squeeze shut for a few milliseconds as his grip tightens around the steering wheel; Casey's tormented cries in his head begging for help and Ben's sickening laughter in the background.

"Please god…let me make it there in time."

He knows that if it was just a simple beating Ben was after, Casey's body could heal…even broken limbs…but he knows that Ben has something far more sinister in mind and that was the kind of assault a mind might never heal from. The pain from the past Casey had buried but it never left…now it would come up to the fore again…maybe worse?

"I can't let that happen," Severide utters with a determined tone as he pushes down on the pedals a bit with a more force. "I have to get there in time…just hold on Matt…buddy I'm coming."


"N..mmph…" Casey tries in protest as he looks at the setup before him and feels his stomach want to throw up; swallowing back down the angry bile as he tries to pull away.

"You have a choice Matthew…you go into those shackles willingly and I'll be gentler…or you fight me and you end up in a lot more pain. Either way…you're going in."

Casey's leg automatically comes up and kicks Ben in the knee, his body then instantly pivoting on his right foot and trying to bolt for the stairs. He had thought about just tossing himself out the window but if he couldn't ensure he'd land on his feet and keep going it was moot; he'd just cut himself further in the process and really be in more trouble than he already was; Ben wouldn't care. So instead he darts into a darkened alcove and tries to keep his breathing shallow from giving himself away.

"Oh I like hide and seek Matthew. Will make my victory over catching you again that much sweeter."

Casey closes his eyes for a few seconds and prays for his heart rate to subside long enough for the pounding in his ears to lessen and his brain to think of the next move in his feeble escape plan.

"Marco!" Ben calls out with a small snicker as Casey slowly starts to make his way toward the staircase, his brain urging his feet to be as quiet as possible. He turns and looks at the lighted space behind him; his brain now racing with thoughts of where Ben is as everything had gone quiet.

But just as he looks back his lips utter a horrified gasp.

"Polo," Ben states with a low evil tone. "Playtime is up. Now its time for some serious fun."

Casey turns around and tries to make it a break for it in the other direction; his weary frame no match for Ben's large stride which is upon him in seconds, am arm wrapping around his neck as his free hand reaches lower; Casey's struggling instantly halting as his lips utter an anguished cry. His foot comes down on Ben's but Ben's grasp merely tightens; his body pulled tightly against Ben's.

"As much I like this, you've made me angry…very angry. Now you'll really pay."


"Kelly you'll wait for us…" Boden instructs.

"Sir whatever happens just promise me that only the four of us know what happened tonight okay? If Ben…oh god if he…I mean I hope not but…Matt can't have everyone knowing about…it…he just can't."

"I give you my word, but Kelly he could be…"

"I see the car. It's empty," Severide mentions as he stops his own car and gets out. "I'm going after Matt," Severide tells a protesting Boden and Antonio as they hurry toward them but still being a good distance away.

"Kelly wai…"

Severide opens his trunk and grabs the only thing he can find as a weapon – his tire iron and hurries toward Ben's car. His lips offer an angry curse as he looks at the rope and bloody piece of duct tape on the ground and then at the sleeping back in the trunk.

"Time to end this you sick bastard," Severide hisses as he heads for the dark and defunct fire house at top speed. His speed slows to a careful pace as he nears the entrance and then steps inside; his heart rate also starting to soar. He hears whispered voices on the second floor and makes his way toward the stairs; knowing the layout of the abandoned building like the back of his hand even in the dark.

"You tell me to stop Matthew and I will," Ben mocks; forcing Severide's teeth to grit in the dark.

Come on Matt…tell him no…let me hear you say it, Severide's mind anxiously begs. But when Casey doesn't answer back his fingers tighten around the tire iron in his hands as he slowly climbs upward. He reaches the second floor landing and carefully peers around the corner, narrowing his gaze at the lighted area in the distance and trying to figure out whose shadow was on the wall. Ben's? or Casey's?

I'm here Matt…I just hope I'm not to late…

"I know it's been awhile so this might feel like the first time. A body like yours…too perfect to be used by female hands. You need someone with some strength and power…rough you up a little. I know you like it rough. You remember the first time don't you? I do. Finding you in the showers like that…your perfect naked body…you said no but I know you meant yes. You weren't firm in your denial…just like now. I know you want this as much as I do."

Oh damn Matt….no…so he did…Severide's body rests against a darkened wall for a few seconds as the sickening realization comes clear.

"I'll warm you up shortly and everything will feel perfect; just like old times. No one here but you and me. You like that right? Now first…stop fighting me and let me…I'm warning you Matthew…you stop fighting me or else I'll just do…this…you like that don't you. I know I do."

Severide hears the muffled yell this time he feels his teeth bite down and his fist tighten so tightly around the piece of metal in his hands that his fingers start to throb.

"Since we have all night…let me get something extra special for us…to enhance the mood."

This tire iron will help with that you sick son of a bitch!

Severide holds his breath as he hears Ben's voice near and then fade out; his brain trying to utter a warning that he might

have been heard but his heart just eager to get his friend out of the devil's evil clutches and get outside; praying that Boden and Antonio will arrive and deal with Ben on their own. He takes a chance to head toward the lighted area, praying that Casey's just tied up but could be easily freed with his small pocket knife.

Severide nears the lighted area and looks around to make sure his shadow doesn't give him away prematurely and then dares to peek around the corner. Oh damn Matt…his mind gasps in horror as he spies his friend in a very compromising position; each wrist pulled tightly away from his body to ether side and secured with a thick leather cuff to a post on either side; the thick damp gag still tightly in place. At least he's not fully naked, he notes the black underwear and runners. Severide quickly looks around for Ben and knows he hasn't gone far so will have to act with haste.


Oh god please no more...please…no more…just let me die a quick death…please…Casey's mind begs as he hears Ben's low taunting laughter. To get him into position; Ben had retied his feet and then taken delight in the struggle as he wrestled Casey to the floor, cut his wrists free and then prepared to get the leather cuffs around each chaffed wrist; Casey fighting back with every once of adrenaline his depleted body could manage. But with Ben's size and strength it was a very one sided and losing battle as the cuffs were tightened and then his body was hoisted upright and fastened in place; his ankles then cut free.

Ben! Casey's mind yelled as he struggled in vain; the compromising position doing little to offer protection from his captor's evil touch.

"Do you like this Matthew?"

No…please don't let him…

"Ah kick all you want right now…in minutes you'll have no fight left."

BEN! Casey's lips try to yell past the gag as Ben's hand rests on his chest and move lower. Casey kicks out with his leg, not caring about not having full strength; but succeeding in getting Ben's touch to at least temporarily halt.

"You can't win. You're mine…no one knows where we are and unless I let you go…you aren't getting free anytime soon. So think ON THAT!" Ben shouts as he leans in closer; his hand poised. "But just to keep you in your place I have another toy to you might like. A nice spreader bar," Ben had whispered as he hand traced Casey's tight jaw; Casey's teeth tightened around the damp gag in his mouth as his head pulled back. "Your games are futile little boy. You have no where to go. I'll be right back."

As soon as Ben's back was turned; Casey's wrists started to pull and pull; his brain ordering his body to muster up whatever amount of energy it could find and help him try to escape. But the leather holds fast, keeping him prisoner with no hope of escape.

This can't happen…not again…please god not again…Casey's panic-stricken mind begs over and over as he tries to erase the horrible image from not so long ago; Ben's rough hands on his bare skin, his lungs yelling for help in vain and his mind doing whatever it had to to block out the nightmarish hell.

Casey hears Ben whistling in the near distance and once again tries to pull down on the thick leather cuffs, willing his wrists to pull out before his evil captor returned and he would most certainly beg for death; his mind knowing his evil captor would not grant that request until he was ready.

Casey's brain picks up some shuffling behind him and tries to pull down once more, not caring now that the edges of the leather cuffs were starting to bite into his raw skin; his body just wanting to keep Ben away and keep him from being fully subdued. If he gets my legs apart…oh god no…please no…The figure behind him nears and his heart rate threatens to explode as his body struggles against the restraints holding him fast. HELP ME!

But then something happens. A voice is heard whispering in his ear. A friendly voice. One he knows. One he can trust.

"Matt, it's me…hold on…"

Kelly? No he's not here…it's Ben playing tricks…how would Kelly even know where to look? Don't give in to Ben's tricks…don't relax…keep fighting.

The voice again…comforting…reassuring…but frantic…determined.

"Matt, it's me…hold on," Severide's voice whispers as he finally comes into view, Casey's watery eyes furiously blinking in a desperate effort to focus. "I have to get you free. Just stop moving and let me."

Kelly's here? Am I safe? Really? Where's Ben?


Severide bites back an angry growl as he nears Casey's struggling and captive frame, his mind begging for the chance to get Ben alone and literally beat the pulp out of him for this vile deed.

"Matt…it's me," Severide whispers as he touches Casey's damp back, trying to reach for his wrist but frowning when Casey's actions don't stop and allow him to cut the leather without cutting his hand. He has to see you…let him see you…his brain urges as he pulls his hand back and steps in front of Casey's struggling frame.

"Matt…" Severide whispers as he gently tugs the damp gag from Casey's bruised lips. "It's me…hold on okay?" Severide looks at him directly; his frown instantly growing and his heart sinking at his friends defeated condition as his fingers gently touch his flushed and dirty face and Casey finally looks directly at him. "Matt, I'm sorry." FOCUS…dwell on the misery later…right now you have to focus and get him free before Ben comes back! His brain commands. "I'm going to cut you down…don't move your hand."

"Kelly," Casey manages with a hoarse tone, his brain warning him to keep quiet until he was free of the shackles. Much to his relief Severide looks at the clasp and merely unhooks the large ring and then reaches for the second, finally freeing Casey and allowing his friend's body to literally collapse into his waiting grasp.

"Okay…buddy I got you…just hold on…" Severide mutters as he looks at the small bed and curses but helps Casey toward it and gently lowers him down, cursing as Casey's frame tries to rebel and his mind now wondering if Ben had succeeded with the assault. Put your jacket on him and get the hell out of there! Severide takes off his jacket and then helps to feed Casey's right arm through it, worrying about the leather cuffs later but wanting to give him a bit more privacy for when the police arrive.

Severide looks up to ensure they are still alone and then looks back down at Casey's unmoving frame and shakes his head as he leans in closer to help him get back upright.

"Matt…buddy you gotta stand up now…come on…we have to leave here…"

But Casey's mind had switched off…he hears Severide's voice but then the small amount of comfort he takes in the fact that he could be saved is quickly cut off as a low evil laugh punctuates the air around them. Ben's still here…I'm not really safe…this is all just an illusion…you're still captive. No one is coming to help you…no one cares.

Severide's head whips around just at the same time Ben's fist connects with his jaw, forcing his head to snap to the left and his body to jerk and stumble away.

"Get away from my prize!" Ben's voice bellows as his hands grip Severide's sweater and yank him backward, forcing Severide's footing to be lost and the distance between him and Casey to grow.

Fighting…I hear fighting…shouting…

"Matt, get up and RUN!" Severide shouts as he tries to pull Ben back. But at the same time his mind now races with another terrifying thought. "What the hell…" he sputters as he tries to pull himself free as his nose picks up the distinct smell of…"Fire?"

"You should have just minded your own DAMN BUSINESS!" Ben's angry voice bellows as he glares at Severide with hatred. "He's mine!"

"You've hurt him LONG ENOUGH!" Severide hisses back as he eyes the tire iron near the small bed where he left it and makes a dive for it; Ben trying to block his attempt but Severide succeeding in getting a bit closer.

"I'll be right with you Matthew," Ben's angry voice booms as he stomps toward Severide.

"No you won't!"

"You wanna try to stop me Kelly?"

"As I said before, my place is between you and Casey. So try it you sick bastard."

"Oh with pleasure."

"Matt…head for th…" is all Severide manages before Ben's hands grab his boots and yank him backward; Severide's fingers finally grasping the end of the tire iron and pulling it back with him. His mind frantically reminds him that the defunct fire house's back door is welded shut and the only exit could soon be blocked by flames or thick smoke – time is now of the essence.

Severide hits Ben in the side of the leg with the tire iron; forcing Ben's lips to growl as he staggers backward and loses his grip on Severide's boots. Severide's fingers claw at the ground as he tries to pull away; watching in horror as Ben pushes past him and heads for Casey's still unmoving frame on the bed.

"Matt, MOVE!" Severide shouts just as Ben reaches him.

"Time to go Matthew," Ben grins as he pulls Casey by the arm and then turns and looks at Severide just as he gets up. Severide charges, not caring about his own fate or wellbeing, just wanting to get Ben away from Casey. His body slams into Ben's forcing Ben's hold on Casey to loosen. He wastes no time in hitting Ben with the tire iron and forcing the large man to yell but look at him in hatred and keep coming.

"Damn!" Severide huffs as Ben's body slams into his; Severide trying to bring the tire iron down on his back but merely offering a weak hit to the side with his right arm and forcing his ears to hear Ben's mocking laugh. Ben kicks Severide in the knee, pushing him back and allowing him to turn and grab Casey once more. Severide quickly recovers and stands up with the tire iron poised to strike but is quickly forced to freeze in place as Ben pulls his final trump card.

"See…" Ben sneers as he pulls the gun and quickly points it at Severide and cocks the trigger. "I really do win. Are you faster than a speeding bullet Lieutenant Severide? He's mine and coming with me. I don't mind a few extra days alone with him."

"Let him go," Severide implores, the tire iron still fixed firmly in his right hand. "You've hurt him enough."

"Matthew likes pain."

"You've deluded yourself long enough; he doesn't want this! Now let him go."

"Matthew wants to come with me. See…he's not even fighting back."

"He's in shock you sick bastard," Severide growls as Ben raises the gun.

"Kinda stupid to come here all alone," Ben taunts.

"Let him go!"

"Matthew is mine. I had set this trap for him but I will take just as much satisfaction knowing you died in here today," Ben grins as Severide stares at Casey's placid expression in frustration.


"He wants to stay with me," Ben snickers as his grip on Casey's arm tightens. "He wants this as much as me! Right Matthew?"

"Casey!" Severide growls loudly.


The use of his last name in a familiar smoky environment finally rings clear as his anxiety filled brain had mixed up Matt and Matthew, offering both in Ben's evil tone and forcing his system to just shut down and go into a numb shell; a mental defense mechanism to block out the pain. But…If Kelly's here…hope isn't lost…don't give up…help him…fight back…you have to fight back.

Casey finally looks up at Severide and blinks; a small but telling sign to Severide that his fight wouldn't be in vain.

"Matthew wants to stay with me, don't you Matthew?" Ben's hot breath starts to dance on Casey's cheek, forcing his teeth to grit and his brain to summon whatever was left to make a move.

"Never…" Casey offers a very hoarse whisper.

Ben's eyes momentarily shift from Severide to Casey; allowing Severide to lunge and Casey's right elbow to come up and clip Ben in the jaw just as Severide's body slams into both of them, pushing Casey's weary frame to the right and them to slam onto the dirty floor.

"Kelly!" Casey coughs into the thickening smoke, his brain finally registering the comforting sounds of sirens in the distance as he looks up from his fallen position on the floor; his brain wishing he could find the extra strength to join the fight.

Severide's lips utter an angry yelp as Ben hits him in the jaw with the butt end of the gun; Severide countering with a knee to the groin and forcing Ben's body to recoil in return.

"Si…rens…" Casey coughs as he tries to pull himself toward them; frantically looking for anything to use as a weapon but knowing he has to stay low to keep free from the putrid smoke as it rises. Ben's hand shoots out and grabs Casey's bare ankle; making Casey turn back and kick at Ben the same time as Severide's arms wrap around Ben's chest and he tries to pull Ben away; the large man not going down as easily as wanted.

"Police…are he…" is all Severide manages before he curses in horror as Ben's hand reaches for his gun and he fires at Casey. Ben kicks back at Severide at the same time he tosses his head back, forcing Severide's grasp around him to loosen and Ben to claw free

"If I can't have you…" Ben growls as he lunges for Casey who was trying to get to the stairs to get down. "NO one can!" Ben's arms pull him back, the gun coming close to his stubble clad face just as Severide pounces; the three of them struggling to get free as the flames continue to build.

"Casey! Get for…" Severide tries as Ben's elbow comes and up and caches him in the lungs, forcing his lips to sputter for air as Casey tries to pull himself free.


"Let him…go…" Severide grunts as he wraps his arms around Ben's neck, desperately trying to free Casey from Ben's evil grasp.

Casey struggles to get his tired arms free of Severide's thick coat, his fingers shaking as they fumble with the zipper to pull it down and get him loose – but to no avail. The smoke and heat continues to build around them; coating them all in thick sweat and soot and forcing Casey's already straining lungs to cough and his stomach to rebel.

"Casey! Get o…" Severide tries as Ben twists his arm and fires; the bullet missing by only a few inches.

Casey tries to drop to his knees, not caring about scraping the skin further, just wanting to get free of Ben's iron-like grasp. Ben turns and lands a hard punch to Severide's jaw pushing him backward a few feet and then forcing him to stumble into the small bed.

Casey picks up the metal spreader bar and hits Ben over the back of the head of the head; Ben's frame slumping down long enough for Severide's hands to grapple for the gun and try to wrestle it away.

"Casey go…the smoke…" Severide coughs as Casey hesitates. But much like himself, he knows Casey won't leave him to fight Ben alone; not if there was even the slightest drop of energy left in him to offer. Casey grabs Ben's legs and gives whatever yank he can manage, pulling him free and allowing Severide to finally get the gun. But just as Severide holds it up; a small explosion rocks the building, forcing all three of them to nearly be knocked off their feet. Ben takes advantage of the distraction and dives for Severide, his body slamming into Severide's tiring frame and knocking the gun clear, sending it flying into the darkness and well out of reach.

Hearing the sirens finally near, Casey turns and slowly heads for the stairs to go down; his lungs coughing heavily and his brain praying for the heated dizzy spells to stay away long enough for him to make it downstairs on his own merit. But Ben has other plans as he breaks free from Severide and charges after Casey, grabbing the back of his jacket and pulling him back into his grasp.

"You can't leave me that easily Mathew. I won't allow it," his breath hisses in Casey's ear.

With an angry grunt Casey tosses back his head, the two of theirs connecting and forcing Ben's to snap back and his to explode with new painful sensations. Severide's arms wrap around Ben's neck and pull him back; his grasp still on Casey and dragging him with him.

"Let him…go," Severide orders as he tightens his grasp on Ben. Ben gives Casey a good shove, sending the beleaguered 51 Lieutenant to his knees slightly gasping for air and trying to get the black circles to disappear so he can get out of the building. They don't and he remains on his knees.

The fire starts to come up the back stairwell, having nowhere else to go thanks to the locked door; Severide desperate to get Ben down for good and Casey out of harms way; his eyes frantically darting back to his fallen friend and his brain desperately urging him to move faster – the fire would soon be there to consume all of them.

"It's over!" Severide shouts as he tries to get Ben's large frame to slow in its struggles.

"Matthew will always…be mine!" Ben shouts back as he pitches his large frame forward, sending Severide's heavily breathing frame over his shoulder and crashing onto the floor inches away from the small bed. Ben turns and tries to bolt for Casey; Severide's hands reaching out and grabbing Ben's foot and pulling, forcing him stagger and land on his knees in an angry thud.

"Cas…ey…" Severide coughs painfully as the smoke thickens in the confined space, the windows not all properly vented and only the one main entrance still open and waiting for them to use as escape if possible. Severide pushes himself up and rushes toward Ben as he tries to get at Casey one last time; pulling his unwilling frame toward a new pillar of fire.

Casey feels the intense heat on his face; panic finally seizing him as his elbow lands square on Ben's jaw and he turns in his grasp with an angry glare. "No more!" Is all he offers Ben before he punches him square in the jaw and then punches him once more in the face; his brain knowing his fist would have no success in making a dent in Ben's thick stomach.

Casey punches his jaw one last time, not caring about the flames now trying to lick at the back of his vulnerable bare legs. Severide jumps in and pushes Ben forward toward the flames at the same time as Casey pulls Ben toward him; Ben's face offering a large grin as he nears and then a horrified gasp as Casey manages to quickly side-step out of the way. The flesh hungry flames open their arms for Ben's protesting frame; Severide pushing past him and pulling Casey clear before his tardiness would get his tender skin burned as well.

"Matt!" Severide grabs Casey before he can collapse to the warming cement floor.

"Don't…look back," Severide pants as he struggles to keep Casey upright in his arms; Casey's watery unblinking eyes fixed on Ben's flailing frame now covered with flames. Casey's eyes finally blink and Ben is gone…fallen…taken to hell where he rightfully belongs.

"He's…gone…" Casey utters softly as his weary frame finally collapses from sheer exhaustion.

"No…Matt…no don't do this to me!" Severide shouts as he looks at Casey's closed eyes and heat kissed cheeks as the blaze finally reaches them. "MATT!" He shouts with a hoarse cough as he drags him toward the stairs. "Matt…no buddy not now…" he shouts as he leans down to feel for a breath. When he gets a small one, Severide gathers up Casey's limp frame in his arms; pushing past the throbbing in his right shoulder and just praying his strength holds long enough for him to get his precious cargo down the darkened stairwell and outside into the fresh air and to safety.


"We're too late!" Antonio states in a panic as he jumps out of his cruiser and races toward the entrance of the burn House; Boden a few feet behind and two local fire trucks and an ambulance, mere minutes away.

"Come on Kelly…" Boden begs as they both stop as another small explosion is felt; forcing both to look up in horror. But a few seconds later, both Boden and Antonio watch as Severide's soot covered frame emerges from the thick smoke with Casey in his grasp.

"They made it," Boden utters with a sigh of relief.

But as he looks at Severide's tense expression and then down at Casey's unmoving frame in his grasp he knows it's not over yet; the physical battle might be over but a few emotional skirmishes were still waiting to be fought. And in this kind of war there would be no clear winners; the night ahead would be long and tormented – for both of them.

A/N: *Phew* okay breathe a sigh of relief…big bad Ben is gone! Hope this chapter wasn't too long and you liked the angsty rescue, but Boden is right…its not over quite yet…have a few tense emotional broments coming hehe! so please do review before you go and tell me if you liked this takedown and what you think might happen next for our boys and thanks so much!

PS: Hope you all liked my last little perilous one shot – Winter's Fury