This idea for a one-shot came to me while I was swinging in my back yard. Just a short Claudia ficlet, hope you enjoy.
Pleas note this takes place any time after Claudia comes to the Warehouse but before the end of the first season.
Beta'd by CMDonovann
Disclaimer: Unfortunately I don't own W13.
Behind Leena's Bed and Breakfast is a small creek. If you follow the creek in the opposite direction of the town, you will find an old wooden and rope swing nestled within a copse of oak trees. Nobody knows who put it there, few even know of its existence. If someone were to see it they would think it nothing more than a charmingly picturesque spot. But to Claudia Donovan, it is a secret escape.
Claudia found the swing a few days after unofficially joining the Warehouse. Artie had thrown a fit when he found her "messing around" with his computer and she had taken a walk to blow off steam. Following the creek in the back yard had taken her to a grove of oaks where she saw an old fashioned swing. Claudia sat down and within a few minutes felt completely relaxed.
The swing had become a favorite place of hers when she was upset or worried. The soothing back and forth motion combined with the gentle babble of the water brought her a sense of peace and security. Countless arguments with Artie, worries about Pete and Myka's latest mission, and the nearly constant fear of being sent away all but vanished at the swing. For this reason Claudia loved the spot and went there whenever she needed to feel better.
At the end of one particularly bad day, during which Artie had shouted at her for trying to sneak along on an artifact retrieval ("You are NOT a qualified agent, you may NOT go out into the field!" he had yelled in her face), Claudia stormed down to her swing and sat down a bit heavily. She swung angrily for a bit then realizing how tired she was, fell asleep.
She dreamed about her swing. A man with a guitar, sitting under the swing, a woman about Claudia's age but dressed in sixties clothes, a young couple that looked an awful lot like Jack Sequod and Rebecca St. Claire, and an oldish guy with a diary all flashed past. The last person was a woman with a long, billowy white dress and petticoat that looked like it had come from the 1800s. This woman hung up the swing and walked away in the direction of the B&B.
When Claudia woke up it was dark. She hurried back to the B&B and was immediately confronted by Leena.
"Where were you? We've been looking for you for hours."
"I was out on the swing. Geez, chill out, Leena." Claudia rolled her eyes.
"'Chill out'? Artie was frantic, Claudia, he thought you'd run off."
Claudia blinked several times, not really sure she'd heard correctly. "Artie was worried about me?"
Leena nodded. "I know he's harsh sometimes, but he does care about you."
"Yeah, well he has a funny way of showing it." Claudia said under her breath, remembering him shouting at her.
"Give him time. He'll get used to having you around and stop the yelling. Trust me." Leena smiled at Claudia and pointed towards the door. "You should probably go back to the Warehouse and tell him you're all right so he can call Pete and Myka back from looking for you."
Then she blinked and grabbed Claudia's arm. "Wait, what swing?" she asked, looking confused.
"You said you were out on the swing. I didn't think we had one." Leena said. "At least, if we do, I don't know where it is."
"Uh, the swing down by the creek." Claudia said slowly, not sure what this was about.
Leena raised an eyebrow. "Did you put it up?"
"No, I didn't. It looks like it's been there forever. I'm going to the Warehouse now, Leena."
Claudia drove to the Warehouse, preparing a defense to the storm she knew was coming. But she walked through the door and all she got out was 'Artie, I can explain-" before he cut her off.
"If you EVER disappear like that again, I'll ground you till you're thirty." he said as he glared at her. "Where WERE you?"
"I needed some alone time. I was really pissed at you." At this Artie looked down at his desk.
"I'm, uh, sorry about that. I may have overreacted.""
"It's okay." Claudia shrugged. "I shouldn't have run off. I'm really sorry, dude."
"Well, we should go back to Leena's." Artie said after a moment of silence.
"You go, I want to check something first." Claudia said, motioning towards the computer.
After he left, Claudia ran a picture search for the people from her dream. Just as she suspected, they were all Warehouse agents. The woman in the frilly dress was Nancy Gerradine, who was an agent in 1899. She was also the original owner of the B&B.
Claudia was about to leave when, on a whim, decided to check the artifact records. She found what she was looking for and shut down the computer, smiling to herself.
The next day, Artie found her trying to handle a Tesla. He started to lose his temper.
"Claudia, how many times must I tell you? YOU DO NOT NEED A TESLA. YOU ARE NOT AN AGENT."
Claudia handed him the Tesla. "You're wrong." she said cheerfully.
"What?" Artie said, raising his eyebrows at her.
"You're wrong, Artie. I AM an agent."
Nobody lives forever, and someday Claudia Donovan, Pete Lattimer, Myka Bering, Artie Neilson and Leena will all be gone. But the swing will endure, an artifact that can be seen by Warehouse agents and Warehouse agents only, as it has for generations.
Yes, yes, I know it's cheesy. But everyone needs a bit of cheese once in a while. And I enjoyed writing it, Claudia's revelation that she is, in fact, a real agent, despite Artie's insistence to the contrary.