A/N: I like Chicago Fire but there are too little of Casey/Severide time together and I need more of them. That's how I ended up writing this little piece. Well initially it should have been fluffy one shot about guys together on a date (something I couldn't get out of my head after discussing last chapter of Puzzles everywhere with Pallada) but then the episode came and I realized I wanted to have more of them there discussing their problems and getting ready to the life-changing events such as Kelly's surgery and Matt's mother getting out on a parole.
Severide watched Renee driving away. It was hard to say her good bye almost as hard as it was to tell his friends he was moving to Spain. He had thought then it was his final decision and he had believed that right until that experimental surgery. If he was really honest with himself he was planning to go with Renee because it was the easiest way to get out of the situation, not to be the ex-squad who had no idea what to do now when he couldn't save people. He still could see Vargas sitting there all alone for the whole shift. He didn't want that fate for himself. No, thanks. Spain had been his escape but his father was right. He had been ignoring the problem instead of solving it, the same as he had done last few months. He was the one who had been telling Shay he would do anything to get his job back because it was his life. So there shouldn't have been a choice for him. The hell with possible paralysis. He had never been the cautious one. It was hit-or-miss for him, whether he could return to the squad again or not that was the only thing mattered. Still he was scared to the hell of his mind.
Severide went to the bar. He knew he had to tell his friends he changed his mind, at least so not to be tasered by Shay. But he couldn't manage this right now. He couldn't manage their questions about the reasons he stayed and worries about the dangerous surgery. He knew all that too well because he had been asking the same questions all night before finally talking to Renee. No, what he needed right now was to get absolutely drunk and forget for few blissful hours how his life could change in a few days.
"What are you doing here?"
Severide turned to see his fellow lieutenant Matthew Casey looking at him with surprise from one of the tables.
"Weren't you supposed to be ready for the surgery so not to make Renee wait for you in Spain for too long?"
There was some strange tone in Casey's voice Severide couldn't just grasp on but he didn't care. All he wanted were few hours without explaining himself to anyone and even that the fate couldn't give him.
"Plans changed. I have my surgery in two days from now." He muttered before turning to leave. He could find another bar.
"For delaying of your execution then." Casey answered downing his shot and pouring another one from the bottle in front of him.
Only that moment did Severide notice that the bottle was already almost empty. He closed his eyes than opened them again. Yep, the bottle was still there. It wasn't just the strange tone of voice now. It was absolutely impossible behavior for his friend to be drinking so early in the evening and all alone.
"Want to join?" Casey asked seeing Severide's look at the bottle.
And what the Hell?! If he wasn't going to pester him for his actions and decisions Severide had no problem in having someone to drink with.
"Why not?!" He shrugged sitting. "Any particular reason for all of this?"
Not that he was interested in the answer. Well, maybe a little but only to get the topic away from his own wishes to get drunk.
"Life sucks. Nothing new."
Severide almost choked on his shot. It was so un-Casey like he couldn't even start to explain why the whole situation was wrong. Casey wasn't drinking the whole bottle all alone. He was the right guy, the one your parents had been talking to you about for your whole childhood 'Look, how obedient he is.', 'Look at his school marks' and so on. And what was more important he wasn't telling people how shitty his life was, anyone but not Mr. I'm-fine-Casey.
"Ookaay!" Severide pulled the bottle out of Casey's hands. "Now I'm really curious. What's going on?"
Casey frowned at him and tried to get the bottle back.
"Uh-huh. First you should answer the question." Now Severide was really worried for his friend. Surely he hadn't been spending a lot of time with Matt after Andy's death but he was damn sure he would notice if something was that off. That meant it had had to be about these last days.
For a moment he was sure that Casey would really answer him but then he stood up to leave.
"Enjoy the bottle. I'm done here." He said stepping forward or more correctly stumbling because it was only due to Severide's reaction that he didn't end up on the floor.
"I see." Severide led him back to his chair.
They were sitting in the silence with Casey lost deep in his thoughts and Severide trying to find the words to say. He wasn't good in that kind of crap. It was Matt's role to say the right words to the right people in right time. He was good with his actions, well and women, of course.
"I'm staying." He finally said.
"Good to know" Casey answered trying to smile at him but failing miserably.
Somehow it wasn't so scary anymore to talk about his current situation. It even felt good, like in old times they were sharing their secrets. He liked Shay and she was his friend too but it wasn't the same as with Matt. She just couldn't simply sit there listening to him and not trying to push.
"There is that surgery that can help me get back in less than a month instead of the year." He continued. "But if anything goes wrong I'll become a cripple. Partial paralysis, doc said."
"Are you sure about this?" Casey looked at him in his unique manner, the one that made you spilling your guts even against your wishes.
"No, I'm not. But that's my only chance to become a firefighter again." Severide paused looking at him. "What would you do in my place?"
"Right now?! I'd sit on the plane with that beautiful girl of yours and get the hell away from all the shit here." Casey laughed bitterly.
"That bad?" Severide winced sympathetically.
"Yeah. That bad."
"Want to…" Severide started but was stopped by Casey.
"But I guess you were asking about the surgery. Well, I'd take the chance and risk it."
Severide wasn't sure whether he really thought so or just telling him what he wanted to hear.
"You're damn good at your job Kelly and it'd be a complete waste to let you become a bookworm." Casey smiled clapping him on the shoulder.
"Or become a vegetable" Severide added. He wasn't scared of the pain but being helpless and useless was something he couldn't bear.
Casey nodded thoughtfully and then there was that glimpse in his eyes that always meant trouble. It had been very long time since Severide had last seen that look on his face and that time... Well, it didn't end so well.
"But you still have time before the surgery" Casey nudged him.
"Oh no. Tell me you don't mean what I think you mean."
"I do mean what you mean I think or you think I mean." Casey stopped to choose the right order.
If Severide wasn't so worried he'd laugh at how funny Matt was in that drunken state.
"Anyway we need to enjoy the time before our lives will change forever."
"I mean your life" Casey corrected himself hastily.
Severide felt like he finally got something. Maybe if he stayed a little longer with Casey he would understand what exactly happened or was going to happen with his friend. Looked like, that 'enjoying time' thing wasn't so bad after all. He could use some distraction and Casey couldn't be left on his own in that state.
"What do you suggest?" He chuckled.
"Anything that I couldn't allow myself to do before. There are so many limitations in my life. I'm fed up with being so proper and thoughtful and all that crap. I want to be able to tell people that they're idiots when they really are instead of being understandable about 'oh, I don't know how it could have been caught on fire, I didn't do anything' except they did. I want to get a one-night sex and don't bother about hurt feelings. I want to just come into the shop and get what I want for free. I…"
"Stop, stop, stop! I like your rebellious thoughts but I think you should slow down. I don't want to miss my surgery by being in jail. Let's stop at something more appropriate."
"Why?" Casey shouted suddenly. "Why should I care about that? Maybe it would be better to become unreliable, unstable and problematic person. Maybe that's exactly what I need right now."
"Matt" Severide was shocked by his outrage.
"What?! I don't want to think before doing things. I don't want to care for consequences. That way nobody will expect anything from me like they don't expect from you. That way it can be normal to endanger everyone around you just because you're too scared to do the right thing."
He stopped suddenly realizing what he had said. It wasn't Casey's intention to open up so much. He hadn't even thought he was still angry at Severide for his stupid actions. He was just caught in the moment and everything was too much for him to bear.
"Sorry. I shouldn't have said that." He whispered to silent Severide.
Severide didn't know what to feel. He was hurt to hear those things but he needed to hear them. All his friends were so focused on his health that they absolutely forgot about his actions and the risk. And of course he didn't want to be lectured but it was refreshing to have someone plain angry at him without thinking about his hurt feelings. Maybe he could like that 'telling truth into face' thing.
"No. You're right, I've made my fair share of bad decisions and you should have told me all of that long before instead of supporting my pity ass."
Severide poured both of them drinks. The hell with thinking, it was their time.
"For you telling the truth and calling me idiot when I'm acting like one" He said as a toast.
Casey looked at him suspiciously before smiling widely and drinking.
"It was good." He said thoughtfully. "I should repeat it."
"You'll repeat cowboy." Severide nodded. "Just not in this city. I want to have a job to come to after all."
"But it doesn't mean we can't drive away and then"
"Let's the show begin" They said simultaneously.
A/N: Tell me, what do you think? Should I stop here or not?