Well, here we are. I'd like to thank everyone who reviewed over the course of this, especially for putting up with that huge gap between chapters 5 and 6. It means a lot to me and I couldn't have done it without you.
Reikgirl: I know it was a bit rushed, I'm not great at coming up with cases, with clues and everything, so I just had it kind of all unravel and the Artifact fall into their laps.
livluvdance2992: thanks *hugs back*
wickedchik500: that was hysterical. Thanks for your review.
Seasammy13: I know, they're leaving out such enormous potential.
Odakota Rose: *pokes back* yes, cookies help, especially ones in the form of reviews that I can feed to the plot bunnies.
Mathmel: your wish is granted.
"Where's Pete?" Claudia asked, dropping her clipboard on Artie's desk and her body on the couch. She reclined back, crossing her ankles and resting her head on palms stacked behind her head.
"Finishing his half of the inventory," Myka replied, not looking up from whatever she was doing on her desk.
"Ah," the redhead said. It was not a word, simply a noise of acknowledgment. There was a pause where the two females sat in comfortable silence, neither needing to fill it with babble.
The quiet was broken when Pete came tramping up the stairs, the old metal creaking with each step. "Why do we have to check all this stuff?" he complained to no one in particular, "it's not like it can grow legs and walk off."
"Dude, it's the Warehouse, you never know," Claudia said.
Pete opened his mouth to reply, thought for a second, then shut it again. "Stranger things have happened," he remarked, depositing his inventory sheet on her desk. "Claud, why do you have an egg on your desk?" he called, voice twisted with puzzlement.
"I do not have an egg on my desk," the tech protested.
"Yes you do," he said, holding up the little white sphere. "here, catch." The Artifact flew in an arc across the room, spinning end over end toward the couch's occupant. Claudia sat upright and stretched out a hand. The sphere smacked safely into her palm-
And cracked neatly in two on impact.
There was a hiss as whatever substance had been contained within escaped. Claudia stared at it, then slowly looked up to meet the gazes of her fellow agents.
"Pete, what were you playing with this time?" Myka sighed.
Pete opened his mouth, then closed it again. "I don't know," he confessed.
"It was an Artifact," Claudia shot out into the sudden silence. She clamped a hand over her mouth as the older agents turned toward her.
"What was it, and why was it on your desk?" Myka asked.
The answer bubbled up her throat and tore itself out even though she tried to keep it down. "It was an Artifact, and it was on my desk so Pete would play with it."
"Why would you want me to play with an Artifact?" Pete queried, "except to give Myka an excuse to snap at me."
"I wanted you to play with the Artifact so it would go off," Claudia responded. Before they could ask her another question that she didn't want to answer, she fired off one of her own. "Pete, if Myka snaps at you whenever you play with an Artifact, why do you keep doing it?"
"Because she's gorgeous when she's angry," Pete answered unhesitatingly.
Silence reigned over the room for a minute as everyone processed that statement. Myka opened and closed her mouth several times, trying to come up with a response to that. Finally, she decided to ignore it for now and turned back to Claudia.
"Claudia, what did that Artifact do, exactly?" she wondered.
"Acts like truth serum," the tech replied, "it was designed to be lobbed like a grenade and break on impact, so I was hoping Pete would drop it." She'd added that last bit herself, without prompting from the Artifact.
"And the point of getting him unable to lie was?"
"Both of you," the redhead corrected. "I wanted both of you unable to lie. The point was to get snippets like Pete just gave, about you being gorgeous when you're angry. Of course, me being in the affected range was not part of the plan."
"What plan?" Pete asked curiously.
"The plan to get you two to realize you've got mega-obvious crushes on each other," she said.
"I do not have a mega-obvious crush on Myka," Pete protested.
Myka jumped on this snippet of information. "See, we're under truth serum, so he couldn't possibly lie. Your plan failed Claudia, because there's-" she choked off on the last words.
The tech grinned. "What were you about to say, Myka?" she asked.
"Nothing there to realize," Myka finished miserably.
"But," she said triumphantly, "the Artifact choked you off, so that's a lie." An idea lit her eyes and she turned back to Pete. "Pete," she began, "you said you don't have a mega-obvious crush on Myka, but do you have a crush on her?"
Pete hesitated before answering. "I-I might," he replied, "I tried not to think about it."
Claudia nodded,as if this had confirmed her deepest suspicions, and turned to the woman. "Myka, do you have a crush on Pete?" she asked.
"No," Myka said quickly even with the Artifact prompting her, then added, "but yes." The last part seemed hesitant.
"No and yes?" Pete asked, "now I'm curious."
Myka stood up quickly before he could get his question out, avoiding looking at either of them. "I think I'll do another round of inventory," she rushed out. her footsteps were quick and close together as she hurried down the stairs to the floor.
Claudia locked gazes with Pete before he could follow his partner's example and run off. "I'm going to interrogate you," she informed him, "we can do it now, or I can follow you around and badger you until you've answered all my questions. Your choice."
Pete flopped down next to her. "I'll answer your questions if you answer mine," he countered.
"Sounds good," Claudia replied, "you can go first." She settled back into the cushions, still cradling the broken halves of the Artifact, that was slowly repairing itself.
"What, exactly, have you done to us?" Pete asked.
"Put that egg-looking thing on my desk; activated the statue, that's the one that bound you together; moved the mistletoe, HG helped with that one," she listed.
"HG was in on this?" he asked.
Claudia nodded, "and Leena."
The agent shook off his surprise. "Cupid's bow. There's no way you could have been responsible for that."
The red head shook her head. "I went through the list of Artifacts being actively looked for until I found one that fit the bill, then tweaked Artie's search parameters," she said, "if the bow was active, it would show up within a day."
"All that, just to get us to realize something," Pete said. It wasn't a question, but Claudia answered it like one anyway.
"Mega-obvious, remember? Leena's in on it partly because she, with her weird aura-reading gift, can tell you two would be great together. Now, speaking of that bow, what happened in Eureka?"
Myka moved through the aisles, checking off Artifacts as she went. It was mind-numbing, repetitive work, but it let her think. And there was a lot to think about. Pete had confessed, under truth serum no less, that he considered her gorgeous. It wasn't the first time he'd said something like that, but before she had just thought he said that to make her feel better about going out on the runway.
"What did you mean, 'no but yes'?" Pete asked. She jumped at the sudden noise. The Artifact bubbled, telling her to answer and answer truthfully, but letting her gather her thoughts for the slightly more complicated question.
"I think I meant that I do have feelings for you but I'm not sure it could be considered a crush," she answered finally.
That one was a bit easier to answer, at least. "Cupid's bow," she replied, "it only unearths feelings that were already there, rather than create them. I was shot with a love arrow, and well..." she trailed off.
"You kissed me," Pete provided, "meaning that," here he mock gasped, the picture of someone who has just come to an obvious conclusion, "you're in love with me." It was said in a teasing voice, but that didn't change the words and the fact that he couldn't lie.
"You are so childish," she shot back, "but I guess so."
"Why didn't you say anything?" he asked.
"Denver." She clarified, even though she could tell by his expression that he understood just from that one word, "It would be hard enough to lose you now, when you're only my work partner. If you were anything... more, I don't think I could stand it. And besides, work partners aren't supposed to-"
Pete cut off her stream of words with a kiss. "Ten feet, remember Myks?" he asked when they broke apart for air.
"I remember," Myka replied, then added, "and don't call me Myks."
Her partner ignored the request. "Whatever happens to you will probably happen to me too. And that includes falling in love."
"Why didn't you say anything?" she asked, shooting his words back at him.
"I wanted to be sure," he replied, "I couldn't let you get hurt again, not after-"
This time, she was the one to cut him off with a kiss. "Works both ways," Myka told him, "we've got each others backs, alright partner?"
"Artie nearly had a litter of kittens when found out about the whole escapade, but in the end..."
"If you say 'they lived happily ever after' I'm going to barf," Nick threatened.
"Nick," complained his sister, "stop interrupting." Tracy turned her eyes, so like her mother's, back toward the tech. "Did you really do all that stuff, Aunt Claudia?" she asked.
"Yeah, and didn't Grandpa Artie ground you for like, a month when he found out you'd been playing with the Artifacts?" Nick added.
Claudia chuckled. "Yes, I did do all that stuff, and your Grandpa Artie made me write "I will not mess with Artifacts" about five thousand times when he found out about it," she told the twins. "Now go to sleep, and try to let your Mom and Dad sleep in a bit tomorrow morning, alright?"
"Yes, Aunt Claudia," they chorused. Claudia rolled her eyes. Whenever the twins agreed so easily, it meant they were plotting something. Sure enough, as she shut the door to their room, she could hear Nick and Tracy start whispering frantically.
Pete and Myka were in for a surprise tomorrow, but that was life at the Warehouse, full of surprises.
Someday, I might own Warehouse 13, and then this will be an arc on the show. Until then, it's been fun. Sayonara.