Disclaimer: I do not own Warehouse 13 or any of its original characters or plots. If I did, a lot more cruel things would probably happen to the characters. I know, I'm just brutal.

Author's Note: First, thank you to Wonderlandbaby for giving me some great ideas and a lot of inspiration to write down my random plot bunnies instead of letting them die in my head =) Second, I hope you enjoy this "what-if" scenario of a story! Third, review if you like!


The Answer

"Give it to me, Claudia!" Pete shouted, his face contorted in rage. Tear tracks ran down his face; his dark eyes squinted against them. Kicking the nearest shelf with all the force he could muster, a scream tore out from his lungs in emotional anguish.

"No, Pete. No! There are other ways! It's not worth it!" Claudia yelled back at him, her own tears in little rivers of mascara on her cheeks. She gritted her teeth angrily, "If I'm not allowed to—if I couldn't do it, then neither can you."

Pacing back and forth with his head hung back, he stared blankly into the impossibly high rafters. His breathing came in rough, ragged breaths. Dropping his head back down to glare at his shaking hands in front of him, he gnashed his teeth. "She did. If I—if I'd known," fresh tears fell from his eyes. He squeezed his eyelids shut, forcing the moisture away. Opening them again, he glared at Claudia. "Give me the damn gun, Claud."

x

She laughed, tossing her head back, her chestnut curls bouncing. Her green eyes smiled when she turned to him, "Pete!" Even scolding him she beamed; her full lips pulled back from her white teeth; her pale eyes glinting. Her laugh rang out again like a silver bell when he made another crude comment under his breath about the officers, not but a few yards away. "Shh!" she hushed him, lightly giving his shoulder a smack, her eyes lit like lanterns.

x

"It wasn't your fault, Pete!" her voice cracked and wavered, "There was nothing you could do!" She couldn't believe it either. None of them could. None of them believed that there wasn't something they could have done that would have changed what happened. They would all harbor the burden of guilt. Together. Claudia shook her head vigorously, swiping running mascara quickly away from her eyes. "I won't give it to you, Pete."

Releasing a scream again, he threw a glass box from the shelf, smashing it to pieces on the ground. He couldn't care less what was in it. He hoped whatever it held would summon its dark powers against him. Let the damn artifact hurt him. His shoulders rose and fell heavily with each labored breath. "You don't understand."

x

A runaway curl fell into her eyes as she looked up at him, a quaint smile on her face. "Thank you. For…everything." She shrugged, her bright eyes hidden behind thick dark lashes as she let her tell-tale guarded conscience found its way back to her. Her cheeks blushed as she began to turn to head back toward the others when she paused momentarily to add, over her shoulder, "I mean it." She continued down the hall, brown curls bouncing lightly with each step.

x

"Don't understand?" Claudia spat incredulously, "Shut up. Don't tell me what I understand about life and death and feelings, Pete! God! Fuck. Don't tell me what I 'don't understand' about how you feel! And dammit, don't tell me what I feel."

Pete stared down the diagonal aisle, refusing to face the angered redhead behind him. He allowed his breathing to become more steadied. His face contorted at the disgusting feeling in his mouth. His jaw began to tremble and he shut his eyes against new tears. "Just give me the gun."

x

She stared out the window into the rain that spattered the SUV. Shaking her head slowly, she looked at him in the driver's seat. "I don't get it," she said quietly, "I don't understand why someone would do that, Pete." She snorted in disbelief; her head still shaking; her curls still bouncing. Sighing, she lifted her soft green eyes to him again, smiling weekly as he cracked a small joke.

"Pete…" he listened attentively as her voice took a serious tone, "if he…if Mr. Johnson really loved her, he would've stopped her, right?" She smiled at his reply, comforted at least for the moment.

x

Silence fell, broken only by the sound of soft weeping. After several long moments absent of a response from Claudia, Pete slowly turned to face her. His eyes fell upon the sight of the young girl pressing a revolver to her temple, her eyes squeezed shut. Her amber eyes opened slowly to stare back at him; her jaw clenched; her hands shook.

x

'Of course. Only a real bastard wouldn't have given his all to stop her.'

x

"Claud…no, that's not—," Pete sighed roughly, shaking his head, "That's not the answer, that's… You've got too much ahead of you, it's not worth it."

Pressing the gun harder into her own temple, she bared her teeth, "Oh yeah? Well, if it's the answer for you, then why not for me? What's makes this different, Pete? Huh? What makes it any different?" Pete remained silent, his eyes falling to the floor. Claudia pulled the gun from her head and fired into the air. Pete jolted, even the silenced sound of the gunshot echoed across the vast space of the Warehouse. He stared at her in shock, his eyes wide as quarters.

x

Mrs. Frederick's words stung his ears. They weren't real. It couldn't be real. It simply wasn't real. He flew down the spiral stairs and through the tunnel, up the stairs and out the door, metal crashing against metal as he forced the outermost door open with all his strength.

She ran, curls jouncing from side to side in her wake. Her eyes darted behind her, to see him standing in the doorway, about to chase after. She hit the car, throwing the door to the driver's side open and leapt in. Keying the ignition, she watched the dumbfounded look on his face; the lost look on his face; the excruciatingly betrayed look on his face, and drove away.

x

Pete watched as she ripped the cartridge from the gun and threw the gun in its two pieces to the floor with all her might. She swiped her hand across her face, smudging the wet mascara tracks. Her fingers lightly ran along the edges of the folded note in her pocket. She pulled it out and clutched it in her fist, holding close the last thing she had of…

Spitting on the gun with deep satisfaction, she raised her eyes to meet his.

"Just because Myka thought it was the answer for her, doesn't mean it's the answer for us."