Title: Altered Futures

Summary: Anyone seen Casey? Severide seeks out his fellow 51 Lieutenant before his surgery only Casey's not there. Where does Severide find him? And why is Casey avoiding Severide? Based on eppy 1.13 Warm and Dead, Contains some spoilers (missing scene)

Disclaimer: Chicago Fire and its characters are the property of Dick Wolfe, NBC and….well sadly not me if so then the ever yummy Lt. Casey would be all mine

A/N: okay I say we start a petition to get more Casey/Severide (Team sexy) broments! I mean come on…sharing screen time is not the same…they need to talk…confide in each other more (like the bar scene) and kick ass in a fiery situation! Okay rant over lol hope you all like this little eppy OS the muse has come up with

Note: "Words in italics and double quotes taken directly from the eppy"


"Hey have you seen Kelly?" Renee had inquired of Casey the night of Kelly's casual going away party at their favorite bar.

"Yeah he's right over…there," Casey started with a smile before turning and pointing at Kelly's empty chair with a fresh frown. "Or was."

When Renee had called him with the plan for Severide's going away party, he at first mentally protested, wanting to tell her that she was taking away a good friend and a solid pillar in their Firehouse and that her motives could be selfish. He of course didn't voice that; merely offered a casual 'sure…whatever' and would pass the word along to his team, reminding them it was a surprise.

Casey recalls his rather strained discussion with Severide a few nights ago in the bar, asking him if he was sure he had thought it all out and if this was the best decision in the long run; Severide of course shrugging it off and telling him it would be the best for his overall well being in the long run and not to worry he knew what he was doing. Renee had told him that Kelly was looking into a new form of surgery, experimental but would speed his healing faster than conventional treatment. But that was all he had heard and the past few days had ambled along without so much as another word from Severide; forcing him to figure that Severide was still on course to leave as he had told him. He had bought the plane ticket after all.

He had hoped inside that Severide was joking or maybe it was just said in passing; until Severide came into the Firehouse that morning and announced to everyone that he was indeed going to Madrid with Renee; even Chief Boden's passionate plea fell on deaf ears. Despite their odds in the past, he always had Severide to turn to for an impartial opinion; now that sounding board was leaving and with his current family turmoil, felt his inner strength starting to crumble. Dawson had offered support, but with Severide there was no other motive coming to the fore and he could be as dispassionate as he wanted and not feel guilty.

The parole hearing had slayed him inside; speaking at his mother's parole hearing, in her favor, for the first time; actually saying he had forgiven her and it was time for them to also. "What's changed? I have. I forgive her." But it was the eye of silent resentment from his sister after the hearing that he feared had forever altered his future and not in a good way; her cold expression and her back turned to him in silent defiance as she left the hearing room, not looking back that had him reeling the most; his mind now wondering if he had forever damaged a bond between brother and sister who had been left near orphans fifteen years ago. But the worst was still to come.

"Parole sanctions…she has to live in a stable family setting…she's coming to live with me."

He had merely stated the words and then brushed them off as if he was okay with it no questions asked; however, inside he knew he wasn't…he wasn't asked or consulted and having his mother living with him after not seeing her for fifteen years, after she killed their father, a man he liked and would be reminded of his loss on a daily basis, would be no easy task. He had pasted on a small smile in the moment of that confession; but inside his resentment could only continue to build. And if it did continue it would reach a breaking point and then what? With Severide gone who could impartially pull him back? Severide had no agenda. He wasn't swayed either way like his sister or even Dawson. He was the silent pillar Casey always counted on.

Casey remains in his truck a bit longer before he finally gets out and heads for the familiar spot; his heart starting to sag and his mind race as his head lightly pounds as he contemplates the future. He could always count on work being the stable point in his life but now with Severide's sudden and surprising news, even that was in dire jeopardy of becoming a hardship.

Casey slumps down onto a nearby bench and hangs his head. How did things get this messed up?

XXXXXXXX

"Anyone seen Casey?" Severide asks the same day; the day after his party. The night before the two teams had gathered for a final farewell before him heading to Madrid but as he sat alone on that barstool, looking at his closest friends; friends he considers family, something inside started to tug at his mind and heart. You know you can't do this…but no one has said what you need to hear…what you have to hear…there is only one person that can do this…go see him. Go see your father. Have him make you stay…you know you want to…need to. Go. Now.

The discussion with his father went exactly as he had hoped; his father telling him going to Madrid with a woman he in reality hardly knew, would be the biggest mistake he could make and that was it. A few verbal nuggets later, Severide got back into his car and headed for the city; first stop to see Renee and tell her, second to see Shay and third – Casey.

"Where is he?" Severide asks Shay in wonder.

"Haven't seen him," she replies with a small shrug.

"I want to tell him myself."

"You tried home?"

"Called his home…cell…doubt he's on a job, he'd normally get back to me," Severide replies with a small frown.

"Did you try his father's gravesite?"

"Not there either. You know what's going on?" Severide asks in concern.

"Nope, but I heard him talking to Christie earlier," Shay replies, referring to Casey's sister. "Try her?"

"Okay."

XXXXXXXX

Casey's somewhat misted gaze hangs over the still water before him; his mind, however, not delighting as much in the peaceful setting as it should be. His mother's recent release; his now strained silence with his sister; Severide's sudden department and mixed signals from Dawson. Add to that the stress of the job, Boden's outward struggles with Ernie, Otis possibly wanting to leave his team, a few unfinished contracting jobs and life in general.

"Ahhhh!" Casey growls as he picks up a nearby stone and hurls it into the water; forcing the smooth surface to ripple and his fist to retreat back to his side in a tight ball.

"Didn't skip very well," Severide's soft but distinct tone is heard, Casey's stony blue gaze kept on the disturbed waters.

"How'd you know I was here?" Casey inquires a bit sourly.

"Christie told me you like to come here sometimes," Severide replies in truth; Casey this time looking up at him in shock. "What?"

"She told you where I'd be?"

"You expected her not to."

"I…yeah whatever," Casey mutters under his breath as he pushes himself up from the bench and prepares to leave; Severide looking him in wonder. "Enjoy the silence."

"Came to talk to you."

"I'm done talking," Casey retorts with a soft bitterness in his tone.

"Ok-ay…" Severide looks at him with a small frown as Casey holds his gaze a few seconds and then turns to leave.

"Aren't you late for a flight?" Casey retorts bitterly as Severide's face screws for a second before he hurries after his friend; the tone in Casey's voice, despite telling him that he was done, was silently begging for some verbal continuation.

"I'm not going to Madrid with Renee," Severide confesses with a small sigh as Casey stops his slow pace and looks at him in surprise.

"Well that's…good," Casey nods as he turns back, Severide's hand quickly grabbing his jacket, but Casey's arm jerking free and Severide backing off.

"Hey take it easy," Severide offers in haste. "Talked to my father last night and…"

"Nice of you to slip out of your own party like that."

"What's with the bitterness? This isn't like you. What's going on?"

"Nothing," Casey huffs as he turns and starts to walk away.

"Casey hold on," Severide pulls him back only have Casey turn and give him a good shove, nearly knocking Severide off his feet.

"What the hell? What's that about?" Severide lightly growls as he quickly counters and looks at Casey with a determined glare. "What's going on?"

"Nothing."

"I know you too well Matt…you're lying…" Severide quickly blocks his path; Casey looking at him with a heavily furrowed brow.

"Fine then I'm lying," Casey replies firmly as he holds his ground and then tries to make a move past once more; Severide's steps matching his and blocking his way. "What?"

"What's going on?" Severide lightly presses once more. "I'm the one facing risky surgery."

"You're right and…I'm glad you're father talked you out of going."

"You make it sound like…it's a bad thing."

"No. I'm…I'm glad he did. You belong here," Casey replies, trying to sound as calm as he can and agitated praying his tone doesn't give him away; it does. How can I tell him I envy the fact he has his father to talk to? Someone still in his corner? I'll never have that again and now…

"Sounds like a load of BS to me," Severide's voice breaks into his thoughts; forcing his anger to surge and his body to react before his brain can get into gear.

"WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO SAY?" Casey shouts before he turns his back and utters a small curse.

"You've been in an off mood since yesterday."

"How would you know? You're not there," Casey retorts; his back still to Severide.

"Shay told me. Wanna tell me what's up?"

"Not…really. It's family business," Casey lightly shrugs as he offers Severide a small but defeated expression as his eyes drop and he utters a heavy sigh. "It's not fair to put this on you…right now. I'm glad you talked to your dad. Glad his words…worked," Casey turns around to face Severide. "It's…great."

"But?"

"But nothing."

"You're angry I went to talk to my dad?" Severide dares to inquire. But when Casey's jaw instantly tightens he knows he's struck a nerve and offers his friend a wondering frown. "I know we haven't been close but um…figured I'd get a straight answer from him."

"Great," Casey offers a rather false looking, tight lipped smile. "That's great."

"Yeah…it is."

"At least you have him…your dad. I'd give anything to have mine back," Casey finally admits with a hint of sour in his tone; as Severide looks at him with pleading eyes; silently begging him to explain further. "And for once…I'd give anything to trade places…with you…and have him back."

"What happened?" Severide presses. "Because I know you don't want what I'm facing. You don't want this surgery."

"Might be the lesser of two evils right now."

"You really believe that? What's up?"

"I spoke at my mother's parole hearing the other day and now…now she's coming to live with me," Casey admits as his teeth grit and he utters a small curse under his breath before turning away from Severide and heading back toward the water's edge; Severide slowly following.

"I didn't know…sorry."

"For fifteen years I had struggled with myself and that night…and what happened with my dad…losing him that way…her being to blame…" Casey's voice trails off as he picks up a rock and tosses it into the water; staring absently at the ripples as they grow wider and wider; Severide at his side but saying nothing. "Christie and I had been solid in our agreement with each for many years but the last few years…we kinda lost eye to eye on things and maybe that was my fault. Mom always asked if she'd come or how she is but um…and now…now she's going to be with me. After the hearing Christie didn't say anything and for the first time I felt as if I betrayed her in some way. Now I wonder if I've lost my sister only to gain back my mother. And now with mom there…it'll be a constant reminder of what she did…what I did…and now I'm wondering if maybe Christie was right. I want him back and I know that won't happen…and I envy you that."

"Matt…"

"No…it's okay," Casey nods. "I have to come to terms with this. But knowing you can just duck out and see him whenever you want and get…what you need…it's great."

"Sorry," Severide mumbles as he picks up a stone and tosses it into the water; making new ripples that both of them gaze at in silence.

"Don't be," Casey finally breaks it. "I brought it upon myself right?" Casey mutters under his breath as he turns and heads back for the bench; slumping down on the bench and looking at Severide with a small grimace. "I'm sorry if my resentment came to the fore."

"Don't worry about it," Severide huffs as he turns and heads back to the bench and slumps down beside Casey; Casey looking out at the water in sorrow. But now that I know…well all that…I would be angry also. My dad and I never saw eye to eye on everything; mostly because he wasn't around much, but having him here…I'm glad he's here. To be honest…I'm glad I'm not going to Madrid to face all that alone."

"I'm glad you're not going either. 'sides…you would have been bored," Casey adds lightly as Severide nods in agreement. "Scared?" Casey asks as he leans forward and rests his elbows on his knees.

"Yeah," Severide admits as the two of them look out over the water. "Something could go wrong you know? The doctor…he comes highly recommended but he was pretty open about the fact that something could happen and if that does…I'm done," Severide concludes as he looks down at a small grassy spot in front of his feet. "And…I can't be done."

"It won't come to that," Casey insists as he looks up with a firm expression as he sits back upright.

"Yeah I hope not either but um…but it could."

"At least you're not a million miles away facing it alone," Casey states matter of factly.

"Yeah I wasn't ready for that. I thought I was but…but deep inside I wasn't."

"That's why you went to see him," Casey adds.

"I know you all tried but…" Severide starts as Casey holds up his hand to stop him.

"I would have done the same. You're lucky to have him here."

"Yeah I am."

"I have to see my mom everyday…everyday reminded of what she did and us…I stepped up and helped her get out but I never thought I'd have to have her as a roommate. Figured she'd just get out…and start her own life and that would be it. Now…everyday…she'll be there. Just not sure I'm ready for this."

"Maybe she'll cook for you," Severide smirks as Casey's lips slightly twitch upward.

"Then I might end up in jail," Casey smirks as his posture finally relaxes. "I miss him."

"You know if you ever wanna just escape the impending mad house…come by…couch is always available."

"Thanks," Casey replies with a friendly tone and warm smile. "So…what time's the surgery?"

"First thing in the morning. Doubt I'll get any sleep tonight."

"Yeah to be expected. I'll be there."

"Appreciate it," Severide nods as they both utter a small sigh.

"How soon after that can you go for a drink?" Casey lightly chuckles as he looks at Severide who looks back in amusement.

"Not soon enough. But…first rounds on me."

"How about…we toss for it," Casey suggests as he gets up from the bench and heads back toward the water; picking up a stone and tossing it a foot into the air, catching it and looking at Severide with a daring glance. As suspected, just having his friend here, unloading all his inner turmoil and expecting only a few solid words from Severide in return was more than he could express out loud. He didn't have to justify or explain further…but the more he did, the more he felt his friend's strength in his corner and knows if family turmoil does strike that Severide wasn't that far away and perhaps a night on a couch would be just what the doctor ordered. The futures of both might have been altered by means beyond their control but their friendship was intact and growing stronger; that's what would count the most in the long run. Kelly…buddy I'm glad you're not going.

"You mean into the water?" Severide chuckles as he too gets up and heads back down toward the water's edge. "Toss or skip because you suck at skipping," he teases.

"Toss it is then."

"I can only use my left arm."

"Then first round is on me," Casey states with a firm expression as he tosses the first rock well into the middle of the lake. Severide picks up a stone and tosses it into the lake; earning a small laugh from Casey at his feeble attempt.

"That was a warm up," Severide assures him as he tosses another stone in his grasp. "Watch and learn," Severide boasts as he the second stone lands approximately in the same area as Casey's; Casey looking over with a rather impressed expression. "Squad," he grins as Casey just smiles and shakes his head.

"Okay, go for two…"

"Bring it on," Severide goads as they both toss a rock into the water at the same time and watch as both of them plunk into the somewhat calm body before them and then look at each other with a knowing smile before one of them speaks.

"First rounds on you…"

THE END!


A/N: Okay so I know there wasn't any whump in this so hope it wasn't boring but wanted just a good old fashioned angsty conversation with our boys about some inner fears and future impending issues and hope you all liked this also! Please do review before you go and thanks so much!

PS: Hidden Agenda will update next and we are working on 2 new C/S story outlines