Author's Note: Well hello! It has been a while…and honestly it probably would've been even longer, but then the finale came and kicked me in the gut so here I am, with a quick and dirty (not in the gross sense of the word, mind you) one-shot meant to make the shock of the finale a little less…shocking. So consider this your spoiler warning! If you haven't seen the Warehouse 13 Season 3 finale…you should go watch it NOW. RIGHT NOW. And you shouldn't read this fic, because spoilers for seasons 1-3 abound.

Disclaimer: I do not own Warehouse 13. If I did, I'd be kicking myself for not getting that fire insurance. I do own all spelling mistakes though.

Alone

Claudia doesn't know much about her supposed destiny. She likes to pretend it doesn't exist, actually. She likes to tuck it away neatly at the back of her mind, much like tucking a shirt she doesn't particularly care for anymore at the back of the closet. 'Out of sight, out of mind' mentality at its finest.

But she knows enough about her supposed destiny that when she sees the withered form of Mrs. Frederic on the floor, something terrible has happened.

"Oh my God," Leena chokes. "Oh my God…Mrs. Frederic!" She practically screams it as she stoops to examine the blackened remains. Claudia stays rigid and removed. Her mind was already reeling from Steve…and now this...

How can this… she struggles to make sense of things. How can this be happening? How on earth can this be happening? She slowly sinks to her knees, oblivious to Leena's desperation. She thinks back to Dr. Calder's visit not even a year ago.

"The Caretaker and the Warehouse are linked. If the Caretaker dies…the Warehouse dies as well." Claudia feels new tears fall down her face. Because if that is true…if the Caretaker can kill the Warehouse…

The Warehouse can kill the Caretaker.

Leena doesn't know. She can't know, because she thinks that Claudia's silent sobs are for Mrs. Frederic. They aren't. They are for Steve, and for Myka, and Pete…

And Artie.

She woke up a few days ago and she had a family. Now, she is alone again. She swore she'd never be alone again, but here she is, on the floor at the B&B, so far from the ones she loved. She aches to be with them, dead in the Warehouse. Nothing can drive the black thought from her mind. Not even the presence of Leena can comfort her. She hunches forward, and sobs harder.

"Claudia…" Leena must sense something is off. After all, she liked Mrs. Frederic well enough…but not enough to sob about it. "Claudia, what's wrong?"

She can't hardly breathe, let alone explain it to her. But somehow, she's able to throw out the words.

"The Warehouse. The Warehouse is dead." She runs her hands through her hair. She can't see straight, and her head feels oddly light. "If Mrs. Frederic is dead…it means that…" Leena doesn't need her to go on. She grabs Claudia's shoulders and pulls her into a tight hug. It isn't a hug to comfort herself. She's trying to help Claudia. Trying to shield her from the reality of the situation.

Claudia resists. She even contemplates shoving Leena away, but then a spark of rationality flickers in her addled mind. Leena is all she has left here. Joshua is too far for her to feel any solace, any connection. Leena is here now, holding her close, stroking her hair like she's five years old again. And right now, that's kind of how she feels. Small. Helpless.

So alone.

She can't imagine how long they stay that way, sobbing together in the silent B&B. Maybe minutes. Maybe hours. The emptiness and sadness doesn't recede though. Claudia begins to wonder if she'll ever be alright again. She was certain she'd never be alright again after Steve. So certain, in fact, she's risked everything defying Mrs. Frederic to keep the metronome. She knows now she was probably wrong. She might have recovered from Steve.

She cannot recover from this.

Leena mutters incomprehensible words into her ear. Still hugging her tightly. She doesn't know what she's saying. Something about an old promise. About Mrs. Frederic.

Her Farnsworth rings.

She ignores it.

Her Farnsworth continues to ring. She ignores it still. She doesn't want to talk to Jane now. She never wants to see that woman again.

Leena stops murmuring. She loosens her grip on Claudia's shoulders. Claudia is surprised to discover that she doesn't like it.

"What…?"

"Claudia…" Leena whispers. Her voice is rough from crying, her eyes haggard and her face soaking wet. "Claudia, answer your Farnsworth." Anger boils in Claudia's chest.

"…No." She croaks. "How can you even—"

"Claudia, Jane doesn't know. Mrs. Frederic said she's still in Hong Kong. She can't know." Claudia sees where Leena is going. She shakes her head.

"No, Leena. No. Don't do that. Don't you dare do that."

"Claudia, please!" She begs. "Please Claudia. Please."

The girl hesitates. She wants to do as Leena says. She wants to answer the Farnsworth so badly that it physically hurts. But she doesn't know if she can survive the crushing disappointment that would follow.

But already, the small sliver of hope has wormed its way into her mind.

"Damn it, Leena," she snarls, yanking herself away from the woman. "Damn it!" She reaches over and shoves aside some rubble. Her fingers settle on the cool black metal. It pulsates slightly as it buzzes.

ZZZZZZZZRT. ZZZZZZZZZZRT.

She can't breathe again. Her chest is too tight. Her vision swarms with black dots.

"Claudia," Leena's voice is far off and sounds concerned. But of course she's concerned. Look at what's happened.

She shakes her head, but the dizziness doesn't fade. She coughs and waits a moment longer, already feeling the heavy weight returning. That crushing disappointment…

ZZZZZZZZRT. ZZZZZZZRT.

God, she used to love that sound. Now it makes her sick.

She flips open the device with quaking hands. The screen is black. She can end this now. She can shut it and throw it away…no. She can do better. She can destroy it. She knows how.

Her thumb acts on its own, however. She presses the button and the red light begins to flash. The screen flickers to life.

She lets out a strangled cry. Her vision blurs with tears. But she saw it. She saw it before she passed out…she knows she saw it.

Artie's face.

WELL! There ya have it folks! Again, this was done quickly, in the heat of the moment. I typically avoid serious stuff…I'm more of a comedy gal. So if it comes off as sappy or overdone, my apologies. Please feel free to review if you like! I'd appreciate it. Also…not sure if I will continue this. Would anyone be interested in seeing more, or no? I value your input.