Work Header

It Ain't Easy

Work Text:

Leslie sat at the breakfast bar of her own apartment eating yoghurt when Corrine makes her way down the stairs.

“Have a good day” Leslie speaks up between mouthfuls of yoghurt

“Yeah you too” the awkwardness in the air was painful as Corrine makes her exit from the apartment. Not long after, Kelly makes his way down the stairs, he makes eye contact with Leslie and she says

“You feel better? Feel like you’ve accomplished something?”

“By the way… she’s not 100% lesbian” Kelly smirks and is met with a disappointed look from Leslie “What? You said it was cool” he raises his arms in defence. Kelly quickly drinks a cup of coffee and the two are out the door on their way to their next shift and it was a good thing they left when they did because almost as soon as they arrived they were called to an accident.

“Started getting hot. Smoke started coming in. I turned around. Next thing I know, fire's coming in through the window. We tried to spray it, but it got too hot, and the propane tank blew.” A man dressed in a warehouse jumpsuit explains as the firefighters of 51 herd around him.

“Anything else combustible in there?” Matt asks

“A bunch of cylinders... oxygen, acetylene.” The man lists

“Truck 81, pull those tanks out before it turns into the Fourth of July. Squad, you're on search.” Boden orders

“Hey, isn't that that kid Ernie from the Thanksgiving dinner?” Otis points as Kelly turns to Boden who walks away. Inside the burning building Matt updates Kelly on what he knew.

“Main room's clear of hazardous material. No workers in here. Haven't checked the supply room yet.”

“We got it!” Kelly replied. In another room Jose’s thermal imaging camera began to beep

“Lieutenant, somebody's in the corner!”

“Okay, grab his legs! Hadley, Capp, finish the sweep!” Kelly orders. Jose and Kelly pull the body out and put him on the stretcher, they were about to head back into the building when Boden began to speak

“Truck's still engaged. I need you two to vent the roof.”

“On it.” Kelly replies as they climb onto the roof of the building. Jose and Kelly poke a hole in the window and clear the remaining glass so that the fire was able to gain oxygen from above. Inside, Engine began to spray the fire when sparks begin to fly causing increased smoke to come out of the freshly made vent. Jose begins to cough and falls back, Kelly quickly ducks and calls for mayday as he slowly approaches Jose on his knees. They get Jose off the roof and is quickly strapped to the stretcher

“Vargas, can you hear me?” Sylvie asks as Jose continued to cough violently trying to sit up in the stretcher by Leslie holds him down “Take nice, slow breaths for us, Vargas. We're gonna get you to the hospital in no time, okay? Just hang in there for us.” Sylvie reassures him as Leslie cuts his shirt open. She checks his heartrate

"Oh to wake up to that" Hadley mumbles watching as Sylvie works on his supposed friend

"Not the time man" Kelly warns as the two paramedics begin loading him into the ambulance and drive away to the nearest hospital. Kelly’s shoulder hurt, he was angry that Jose had been hurt and not to mention he was just incredibly tired, it was no surprise when he began to scream at Ernie, accusing him of starting the fire

“I'm watching.” Ernie defends himself

“You're watching it? Did you do it, huh?” this was when Boden chose to step in

“Kelly! That's enough!”

“That's two fires, two dumpsters, same kid!” Kelly booms

“Walk it off, Kelly!” Boden retorts. “I am handling this!”

“Why don't you invite him back for apple pie? Keep him close. That's the plan, right?”

The following morning everyone sat in the briefing room anxiously awaiting any news about Jose

“Morning. I know you're all concerned about what happened to Vargas on the last shift. Hospital has treated him and released him. He's resting up. But he is not out of the woods. Hazmat has confirmed magnesium shavings were in a bin at the machine shop, which you all know is reactive with water.”

Herrmann sighs “Magnesium inhalation.”

“He's got burns in his lungs and an upper respiratory tract infection.”

“So when are we gonna see him again?” Herrmann asks

“We won't know until we get the test results. But look, he's gonna be fine no matter what happens. Okay?” Leslie put a hand on Kelly’s knee to comfort him as Boden ushered Kelly into his office. Kelly closes the door behind him and Boden begins to lecture the lieutenant

“You ever talk to me like that in front of the men again, you will see a side of me that you won't forget.”

“All due respect, I've got to protect my men.”

“And I am doing what? Walking around with my thumb up my ass?”

“He is a firebug. Plain as day.”

“I am taking care of this! Do you understand me? Step back.” Kelly turns and leaves slamming the door behind him heading towards the locker room. He takes a tablet out of his backpack holding it in his hand a moment before taking it. He goes to close his locker but hesitates, opening it back up and pulling another pill out.

Matt was anxiously trying to get through to Jose’s mobile but failed each time only being met with Jose’s prerecorded voicemail message. Leslie makes her way over to him as Matt hangs up the phone, he had already left two voicemails and didn’t want to overload his phone.

“Hey. Anything?” she asks

“He's not picking up.”

“All right. Well, let me know if anyone's planning on going over there. Brett and I want in.”

“You got it.”

“Speaking of Brett, her landlord is being a dick about repairs. Her kitchen window leaks every time it rains, and he won't do anything about it.”

“Really? She hasn't said anything to me about it.”

“Well, you know Brett, always doing everything for everyone else, never thinking about herself.” Matt nods remembering the paramedics selfless attitude “Anyway, she tried to fix it herself, and now the window won’t go up or down” Leslie explains

“Oh. I'll talk to her.” Matt nods as he walks away leaving Leslie alone, she smiles to herself knowing she was doing God’s work. Matt walks out to see Sylvie disinfecting the ambulance, mirror image spray in hand.

“You should have said something about your window.”

“I didn’t want to bother you” she shakes her head

“I can put in a new one for you”

“Oh no, you don’t have to do that, I’m sure my landlord will get back to me eventually, he’s just busy”

“Well let me take the task off his shoulders” he insists. She smiles

“Thanks Matt”


Boden knocked on Ernie’s grandmothers door, he emerges in the doorway stunned to see the battalion chief. Boden wastes no time with pleasantries and immediately gets down to business asking him

“fire at the machine shop... do you know how it started?” Ernie tries to slam the door but Boden’s foot stood in front of it  “Do you remember Jose Vargas? From the firehouse? His lungs are burned. Pretty bad.”

“I told you, I don't know anything.” He turns away from Boden

“But if you did know something, now would be the time for you to speak up, because that way, I can still help you out.”

“It's not my fault.”

“What's not your fault? Come on, son, talk to me. Look, whatever it is, we can make it right. We can get you some help.”

“I want to bring my grandma.”

“That's fine.” Boden had finally got through to the kid and all was going according to plan, but the universe had different plans as Boden’s radio chimes Truck 81, elevator accident Boden sighs and then says to Ernie “You come down to the station by 2:00. No one's gonna hurt you anymore, Ernie. Station by 2:00, okay?”


Matt led the members of Truck 81 into a hotel as he asked a concierge for details on the situation

“A bank elevator stopped working. One of them is stuck. Somebody in there was calling for help, but now nobody's answering the phone.”

“What floor?” Matt asks

“It's express. It could be anywhere between the lobby and the tenth floor.”

“Let's start on ten and get a bird's eye view.” Matt orders as his team head toward the stairs. Mouch groans as he begins his ten floor ascent. When they finally get to the tenth floor, Otis pries open the door to the elevator as Joe holds his waist ensuring he doesn’t fall. Once the door is open, the two men move out the way to allow Matt to peer down the cavity. His flashlight shone barely any light in the darkness as he sees the elevator far below them.

“This is the fire department! Can anybody hear me?” Matt doesn’t receive a response, he stands up and begins to order his team into action “Dawson, Cruz, Herrmann, throw a rope. I'll get in the hoistway. Otis, get up to the motor room and take over the power. Ah, Mouch. You, uh, stay right here and take command of this floor, huh?” Mouch huffs as he finally emerges from the stairwell nodding to Matt as the lieutenant heads to work.

“Power's down in all elevators.” Otis says into his radioas Herrmann finishes tying a rope around the wall

“Gabriela, your line's secure.” Joe clips a carabiner onto Matt’s waist as Gabby begins to lower Matt into the elevator shaft. When Matt reaches the elevator he opens it up from the top and peers inside, only to be met with emptiness.

“Elevator's empty except for a safe. Gotta weigh a ton, at least.” Matt declares, he notices a shadow moving in the elevator shaft and shines his torch on the figure to reveal a man clinging to the side of the wall

“I didn't do it.” Is all the man says

“Hey buddy? I'm down here to help you. Didn't hear me yelling?”

“Please, I don't want any help.”

“Clearly. What's your name?”

“I don't want to say.”

“I'm not a cop. Fine. I'll call you Ralph. Ralph, don't...”

“It's Mark.” The man announces

“All right, Mark, don't do anything stupid.” Matt notices how foolish his words were talking to a man who had evidently stolen a safe and then climbed out of an elevator shaft so he adds to his sentence “I mean, don't do anything stupid again.” Wondering what the commotion is, Joe shines his torch into the elevator shaft

“Elevator's dead until that safe's out, Casey!” he calls

“Drop me a rescue harness.” Matt calls back as the light from Joe’s torch vanishes. On the outside of the elevator shaft, a woman, presumably a CEO was talking with a police officer

“I only noticed the safe was missing when I got back from a meeting.” She says, hands on her hips angrily, this whole situation was incredibly inconvenient not to mention costing the hotel chain dollars by the minute.

“Well, it ain't going anywhere now.” Herrmann says from his position holding the rope. Inside the elevator, Mark had begun to tell his side of the story, listening to his sisters voice echo from the top

“I told her I needed 45, and she just said, "take it or leave it."

“Looks like you took it.” Matt nods. Mouch was controlling the damage Herrmann’s words had created by reassuring the woman that the man would be out of the shaft in no time. She scoffed at his words and sighed

“Never hire family.”

“The money never left the building. Maybe Betts and I can work something out.” Mark mumbles, more to himself than to the fireman across from him

“There you go. Now, when I say the word...“ Matt says as Mark begins to move “not yet!” he cries as the man begins to fall. Matt acts quickly, disconnecting himself from the rope and moving towards Mark. Matt’s radio buzzes with Herrmann’s voice Lieutenant, put your line back on but Matt doesn’t listen, he reaches his hand toward Mark and encourages him to hold on to a metal beam inside the elevator shaft. He continues to pull Mark towards him giving words of encouragement as he edges closer to the firefighter. Matt grabs onto both of his arms just in time as Mark’s legs give way and he falls down the shaft. Matt holds onto him tightly

“Hold on!” Matt cries as he pulls the man up. Matt smirks to himself at how lucky that save was and says into his radio “I got him” the smirk evident in his voice. The firefighters on the tenth floor begin to pull Mark up slowly but surely etching closer to the top of the elevator shaft. Gabby grabs the mans arms and pulls him into the safety of the floor. The paramedics quickly usher him over to a chair that sat in the hallway as they begin to inspect him for any injuries.

“Well, sir, you look okay. Do you hurt anywhere?” Sylvie asks sitting in a chair across from him

“I feel sick.” Leslie places an oxygen mask over his face

“You'll be all right.” Sylvie assures him as the woman stomps over to him, heels clacking on the floor

“What am I supposed to tell mom, huh? You dropout.” Her voice booms


Mouch sat on the back of 81 the cold Chicago air hitting his lungs gratefully as he huffed trying to catch his breath. Never again would he climb ten flights of stairs, Joe walks over to him

“Hey, Mouch, I think I left my kit upstairs. Can you run up and grab it for me?” he jokes

“I'd give you the finger, but that would require too much energy.” Mouch gasps as Joe’s phone begins to buzz

“Hello? Yeah, I'll accept the charges. Leon, you better not be calling me from where I think you're calling.” Leon speaks for a moment and Joe then hangs up the phone making his way over to Matt who was packing away the equipment “Lieutenant?” Joe asks

“Yeah.” Matt replies his attention focussed on getting back to the firehouse as soon as possible

“My little brother got pinched in a robbery. Unarmed. Petty theft. Anyway, he's at county and if I could get an hour, I need to bail him out.” Joe explains

“Get us back to 51 and then do what you gotta do.” Matt nods

“You sure?”

“Are you?”

“It's family.” Matt closes the door as Sylvie walks up to him smiling

“How can I thank you for fixing my window?”

“You don’t have to thank me Brett, but since you’re asking. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about your cooking since Thanksgiving so if you were to cook me dinner I wouldn’t complain”

“Dinner it is” Sylvie grins as she walks back over to the ambulance “Just don’t get used to it” she calls back to him turning around to see him laugh softly. When Sylvie gets back to the ambulance, Leslie is shaking her head with a smirk playing on her lips

“Look at you. All lit up like a Christmas tree.”

“He asked me to cook him dinner”

“And you’re smiling about it?” Leslie gasped

“It’s nothing, just thanking him for doing something nice for me”

“Right. And it has nothing to do with the way you gawk at him when you’re in the same room”

“He just dumped his fiancé Shay”

“You can always be the rebound”

“I don’t want to be the rebound”

“Sure. Whatever you say” Sylvie shakes her head with a smile and walks around to the drivers seat.


Jose walks onto the apparatus floor and everyone cheers when they see his face, everyone begins to wrap him in hugs and they begin to usher him inside for lunch when the bells go off. Ambulance 61. 716 South Morgan Drive. Jose sits down at the table, Otis goes to sit next to him but a kahki green bag is in the way. Jose then moves it and begins to go on a spiel about his medical regime.

“Busy day so far?” Jose asks.

“Uh, no. No. Not too bad.” Kelly replies as Jose begins to eat there’s an obvious tension in the air regarding Jose’s health as Matt and Kelly make eye contact across the room. Connie walks in and informs the two lieutenants that they are requested in Boden’s office as the two men stand up

“This is Dr. Tenney, the CFD medical director. We wanted to bring you men in since Vargas served under both your command.” Boden says as the men walk into his office. The doctor begins to talk using nothing but medical jargon leaving the lieutenants nothing but confused. Kelly speaks on behalf of all the firefighters in the room when he asks what chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is.

“He'll develop emphysema, which means his lungs will gradually deteriorate. He won't be able to breathe a normal amount of air, which could lead to other issues. Weight loss. Skeletal muscle dysfunction. Heart problems.” The doctor explains

“There's just no way he can handle the demands of the job.” Boden shakes his head

“He's out there right now, Chief. He looks good.” Matt shrugs

“We are placing him on long-term disability. I wanted you two to know what was happening. When I get all this paperwork together, I will talk to Vargas.” Boden elaborates

“We... We'll tell him.” Matt speaks on behalf of Kelly as the two leave Boden’s office to inform him of the bad news. They talk in the locker room and Jose is deeply saddened by the news.

“I'm sorry Vargas. It could have happened to any of us.” Kelly says his mind wandering to his own medical issues.

“Well, be glad it didn't happen to you.” Jose retorts

“Hey. You're getting paid. 3/4 salary. It's not what anybody wants. But any of us would take that deal.” Matt reassures him

“How about you, Kelly? Would you take that deal?” Jose asks

“Uh... They're not offering a choice.” Kelly shrugs

“You still doing landscaping?” Matt asked

“Yeah. Whenever my buddy needs another guy.”

“Take the 75%, start your own business.” Matt says

“Or go ride Harleys with your brother like you talked about.”

“He moved to Albuquerque.” Jose sighs “You and me should both be taking 75%.” Jose stands and leaves, it wouldn’t be the last time he left the 51 locker room, he left all of his belongings in his locker just so he would have an excuse to come back again and pretend it wasn’t all over.

“Did you see a doctor? Your shoulder. Do you think no one's noticed?” Matt says

“It's my neck. And I saw a doctor. She said there's nothing to worry about, so I'm not worrying about it.” Kelly bites

“It's your business, but if it's an issue for you, it's an issue for all of us.”

“Then we're good.” Kelly replies Squad three, engine 51. Single car accident, 5512 South Sangamon.


A car had ploughed directly into a stobie pole causing the power line to fall onto the car, sparks were flying across the bonnet.

“Car's energized, keep your distance. Tony, get on the horn with com-ed and get this line cut.  Watch it, guys.” Kelly orders as he approaches the side of the car to talk to the woman. She seemed fine, the accident had just caused a major inconvenience to her day

“Uh, I knew to not get out of the car.”

“You knew right. You hurt?” Kelly asks

“No. I don't think so.”

“What happened?”

“  Well, this animal just darted out, right out in front of my car and...”

“Well, looks like you missed him, so PETA will be happy. Just give us a sec.” Kelly joked as a firefighter directs him to look down. Kelly peers underneath the car to see fuel beginning to leak

“All right, we can't wait for the power company.”

“Wait, what's happening?” the woman asks

“Stay in the car.” He orders and then turns to Hadley “Hadley, throw me the rope bag.” The fuel was running quickly. Kelly and Capp throw the rope around the electricity wire and move it out of the way tying it around a road blocker before Kelly walks over to the woman to finally get her out the car. She assures him that she is okay as an ambulance company make their way over to her to ensure she had no injuries, she turns to thank Kelly but he was already walking back to the truck.


Joe stood outside the prison waiting for Leon to make his way over to the car.

“You're moving in with me.” Joe orders

“Yo, whatever.” Leon shrugs

“Whatever? How about, "thanks for saving my ass"? We weren't raised like this. You're turning your back on your familia.”

“Yo, I got a different family now.”

“What the hell is the matter with you? Look at where we are! I can't keep chasing after you your whole life, cleaning up your mess.”

“Yo, then don't.”

“You want to die in a gang? Like Moco? Like Ruiz?” Leon’s face turned white, fear of the reality that was the life he was facing. Joe wraps his arms around him before directing him to the car.

Back at 51 Mouch and Sylvie were playing Scrabble. Mouch had just played the word blackboy and Sylvie was staring at him

“Blackboy? That's your word?”

“It's a plant. And a triple word score.”

“This game is over. You win”

“Should I go get the dictionary? It's a word.” Sylvie makes her way over to the kitchen

“Do you want me to make you lunch?” Sylvie asked Leslie who was standing in front of the fridge looking at the multitude of cooking ingredients but lack of instant gratification snacks

“Oh no don’t trouble yourself, I had a wrap earlier” Leslie assures her

“Alright well, I’m making myself pasta and I might just happen to have enough leftovers for only you” she grins.

“God what did I do to deserve a partner like you” Leslie sighs at the thought of Sylvie’s cooking.


Meanwhile Herrmann walked into Boden’s office

“Ernie here yet?” he asks

“Not yet.” Boden assures

“I know you don't want to do this, Chief. But you gotta do this.”

 “I just want to believe he's a good kid.”

“But you're not doing anybody any favors by waiting for this kid to do the right thing.“

“Putting him in the system does what?” Boden says crossing his arms and leaning against his desk

“What choice do you have? Let it slide? Hope that he changes on his own?” Boden sighs, Herrmann was right but he still had faith Ernie would pull through


Kelly was putting a rope bag away into the compartment on squad when a woman approaches him

“Remember me? I tried to electrocute you earlier?”

“I remember.” Kelly nods with a smile

“For you. Chocolates.” She hands him  an unmarked box

“Well, thanks, but it's not...”

“No. No, please. I mean, it doesn't even begin to repay you for all your help.”


“Uh, Renee Royce. Call me Renee.”

“Um, look, my services are free.”

“This is gonna sound, um... okay, what the hell? Do you want to have lunch or coffee sometime? It doesn't have to be today...”

“Look, it's a really nice offer.”

“Come on, just say yes.”

“Miss Royce? Yes. There's a well-known phenomenon where people who have been rescued become attracted to the men that helped them. Believe me, this will wear off in 30 minutes, tops”

“ Thank you again.”

“Yeah. It was my pleasure.” Jose had returned to empty out his locker when Gabby makes her way over to him

“Hey, I heard the news. Sorry, man.”

“Want a yo-yo?” he chucks the children’s toy at Gabby who quickly grabs it “Even as a kid, I could never figure out how to do it. Otis says I gotta snap my wrists more.”

“Yeah uh I’m pretty hopeless too” Gabby chuckles as Jose pulls his name tag off his locker, the two of them walk out together and are met with all of 51 standing on the apparatus floor. Gabby takes the cardboard box from Jose, Otis walks up to him and hands him a paper bag

“This is from all of us.” He opens it to reveal a helmet signed by all his friends he had made since joining 51

“Thanks, guys. This is, um... it sure ain't pretty. But I love it. Thanks.” Boden approaches him shaking his hand

“It was an honor to serve with you at this house, Vargas.”

“Thanks, Chief.” Mouch follows suit and soon everyone is shaking Jose’s hand giving him well wishes. Jose adds the helmet to his box and takes it back from Gabby and leaves 51 for the last time.


Boden knocks on the door of the commissioners officer and is met with an excited face

“Wallace! Thanks for seeing me on such short notice. We gotta catch up sometime. Off duty.”

“You don't have to tell me twice.”

“Sit. Sit. So what you got?”

“We think we have at least two major fires that are connected. Both of them started in dumpsters, both possibly started by a 14-year-old kid who has been seen at three incidents. Record of station visits, phone correspondence, medical history, SSI data. Dad's doing 30 years in Tamms. Mom OD'd a year ago. He's a good kid. Some day he's gonna kill somebody.”


Joe pulled up in front of an old diner pulling the door open, he approaches a group of standoffish men

“Is that Joe Cruz? Damn, ain't seen you for a minute. What up, man?”

“Hey, I appreciate you taking the time.”

“We go back, you and me.”

“I wanted to talk to you about my brother.”

“Yeah? I heard you bailed him out. Yeah. That's cool. You ain't gotta worry about Puppet though. I'm watching out for him. Personally.”

“Look, he ain't cut out for your crew.”

“I'd love to help you out, bro. But I put in time on him. Been grooming him for a while now. You want to buy out, you gotta drop 10k.”


“Time is money, man.”

“I don't have it. And even if I did, I put in time with Leon. A lot more than you. So the way I see it, maybe you owe me something.”

“You got heart. I'll give you that. And loyalty. Ain't nothing more important than loyalty to your hermanos, right? Okay.” Falco sips at his Fanta

 “We're cool?”

“As cucumbers.”

“If we're having this same conversation a year from now, I swear to you, he's all yours.”


Mouch sat in front of Kelly’s chocolate box reading the piece of paper

“Sea salt sarsaparilla? What the hell kind of chocolate is this? Where's the nougat?” meanwhile, Matt and Sylvie were crouched over a computer looking at windows.

“You know I’ve seen every episode of Restoration Home?” she says making polite conversation

“That somehow surprises me less than it should” Matt nods as they scroll through the website.


Kelly is walking down the hallway with a huge grin on his face

“Hey. What's shaking, Sparkles?” Leslie grabs his arm and pulls him aside

“What's up with you?”


“Are you on something again? You know I'm not giving you painkillers. You'd think after Thanksgiving that you'd be...”

“No. I'm finally feeling better, Shay, and when I have a good day I don't question it. So maybe you shouldn't either. And by the way, didn't we have an agreement when we first moved in that we wouldn't get in each other's business?”

“This isn't some personal thing. This is serious, what you're doing.”

“I'm not doing anything!” he bites. Leslie sighs in defeat, there was no getting through to him.

“Anyhow...I came to tell you there's someone looking for you on the floor.” He makes his way out and is met with Renee.

“It has been over 30 minutes, and it hasn't worn off.”

“Well, how about that?” he grins

“Because you made me wait, it is now going to be dinner.”

“Is it?” he smirks

“Have you ever been to Francesca's? 'Cause we're in for tomorrow night.”

“Where is this place?” he asks. meanwhile inside, Mouch is explaining to Otis how he would like to be shot in the foot when Kelly walks back inside.

“Severide, tell me that lady you were just with wasn't the same woman that you saved from the wreck.”

“Why? Is she your sister?” Kelly asks pouring coffee

“Doctors don't date patients. Lawyers don't date clients. Victims are off-limits to firefighters.”

“Actually there's nothing in the Union bylaws that says you can't date a victim.” Mouch pipes up

“And might I add, these chocolates? A little too fancy-pants.” Otis holds up the chocolate box that was now almost completely empty

“So don't eat them.” Kelly retorts snatching the box back

“Whoa! Hey, I didn't say inedible.” Otis pleas as Jose walks back inside.

“Vargas, hey! You forget something?” Herrmann asks

“You said come back anytime.”

“Of course. Yeah.” Jose sits next to Kelly at the dining table spinning around on the desk chair

“Hey, who's drinking after shift? I'm buying.” Jose grins

“Aw, jeez, I wish I could. But Lee Henry's got a hockey game.” Herrmann replies,

“Hey, if you're still buying next week, I am totally free Saturday and Sunday.” Mouch says Jose smiles politely

“No problem.”

Boden pulls up to another dumpster fire right as the excitement had diminished. Boden asks a lieutenant for information and he provides clearly unenthused by the lack of adrenaline induced by the call. Boden looks around the scene and spots Ernie riding away on his bike. Boden’s phone begins to ring. He picks it up and speaks with the commissioner

“Got anything for me?” he asks

“Sent a couple guys over to the kid's grandma's house. Nobody's there. Got a hit on something else though. The grandma's the legal guardian, but his SSI checks, they're going to another address.” He explains. Boden’s next stop was the address that the commissioner had sent him. When he arrived. The door was wide open and Ernie was sitting on a beanbag

“Did you start that fire? Did you start that fire!” Boden’s voice booms

“The cops were at my house.” Ernie says

“Why didn't you come to the fire station like we agreed?” Boden asks

“You ratted me out.”

“I'm trying to help you out.”

“I didn't do anything wrong. Everything's all messed up.”

“What's messed up?”

“No. You have to go. Get out of here. Go!” Ernie tries to push Boden towards the exit as a man emerges from the adjacent room

“Who the hell are you?”

“Wallace Boden. How do you know Ernie?”

“I'm his Uncle.” The man wraps his arm around Ernie’s shoulders

“You okay, Ernie?” Boden asks

“He's my Uncle Ray.” Ernie nods scared


Back at the firehouse, Jose is sitting at the squad table alone thinking about his days as a firefighter

“You stay the whole shift?” Kelly asks

“Old habits.” Jose shrugs

“You still free tonight?” Kelly asks. Later that night they meet up at a restaurant with Renee, Jose was telling a story about a time he was hanging off the side of a balcony. After they had finished eating, Jose apologised repeatedly for intruding on their date and then leaves the restaurant, both Renee and Kelly insisting it was okay

“I appreciate you making it three. He's... struggling.” Kelly explains once he was sure Jose was gone

“You're a good man.” Renee nods with a  smile



Boden and the commissioner sat in an impersonal office, the commissioner read off his computer screen

“No record of an Uncle. But then in that part of town you get a lot of unofficial "uncles" and "aunties." The commissioner shrugs

“What about the house where I found him?” Boden asks hunched over trying to get a look at the screen

“Uh, it's rented to a Raymond Martin.” The commissioner turns the screen to show Boden a mugshot of the man

“That's him.” Boden nods

“No outstanding warrants. Looks like he's laying low.”

“Has he got any priors? “

“Ah. Did eight years in Statesville. Felony arson.”


Matt had finished putting the window in place and Sylvie smiles

“Thank you so much, you didn’t have to do that”

“It’s my pleasure. You’re burning your sauce by the way”

“Oh gosh” Sylvie hurries over to the simmering pot and turns the heat down stirring the sauce slowly. While Sylvie is preoccupied with the sauce Matt wanders around her apartment looking at the walls. There were a few photos of her and Leslie scattered around as well as a photo of her and her family.

“You must really love Shay” he comments

“Oh, pft, she gave them to me. When I first moved in, the place came fully furnished but the furniture as you can probably tell is the most ancient looking furniture ever and the house looked so cold and dark so Shay decided she thought she’d ‘light the place up’ for me”

“That sounds like her” Matt chuckled “Still. We shouldn’t give her a big head otherwise she’ll start thinking this is her apartment. I’d better show her who the real boss is” he takes out his phone ready to take a selfie with Sylvie

“I’ll get it blown up to A2 size” she jokes as he snaps the photo the two of them laughing together

“I wasn’t ready!” she gasps

“You look beautiful” he immediately mentally curses himself for saying those words out loud. She looks at him for a moment when Matt’s phone begins to buzz

“I gotta go.” He says looking at his phone

“Let me give you some food to take home. I made way too much for just myself” she says as she shovels pasta and sauce into a Tupperware container “Bring the container back to me next shift” she says as she walks Matt to the door. When Matt arrives at the address Kelly had texted him, he sees Jose standing on the roof of a building and Kelly talking to him.

“Hey, there, buddy. What's going on?” Matt asks

“This is so messed up.” Jose looks down at the cars and the people making their way through Chicago on the frosty night

“Why don't you move away from the edge there, Vargas?”

“I've been telling him. He keeps living the rest of his life the way he fought fires, he'll have a hell of a lot to be proud of.”

“Remember the homewood fire? We lost the house, and Vargas saves the family photo album. But here's the thing I never told you. The mom thanked me after it was all over. You know what she said? She said, "the house was made out of wood. But the home was made out of the people in that book." Firehouse 51 is made out of you and me and Severide... and every firefighter that passes through those gates. Nothing can take that away from you.” Jose turns around and looks at the two men “51 is always gonna be your house” Matt says as he and Kelly wrap their arms tightly around Jose.