Meow :3 I'm back! Though I haven't published a Fic in fuurreevveerrr, I was watching the Warehouse 13 season 3 finale and felt the overwhelming need to write this. I was inspired by the scene just before Claudia finds Steve dead and Pete tries to get her to go back to the car. I thought it was so sweet that he was trying to protect her. Anyways, please read and review! I know I'm not the only one obsessing right before the season premiere!

I also recommend listening to this song as you read. I was listening to it as I wrote and just...so. many. feels. GAH!

watch?v=CDV29wpS4C4

Happy reading!

Oh yeah. I don't own Warehouse 13. BUT I do have an unhealthy obsession with the show. Does that count?


Protector:

Pete/Claudia-Family/Loss/Hurt/Comfort

Rated-K+ for language

Summary: He had watched her pain, watched her lose everything, and he refused to let it happen again.


He hated seeing her cry. This strong, snarky, independent girl, not even old enough to drink could break his heart with a single tear. Pete often looked at her and realised that, had circumstances been different, she wouldn't be sitting in the Warehouse, hacking away at Syke's mainframe, but rather at a college Frat party, laughing with friends her own age without a care in the world.

But Claudia's life took a turn for the worst. Parent's dead, her brother vanished for a decade, skipping from foster home to foster home, and a ride of the psychiatric rollercoaster left Claudia scarred, blocked, emotionally unstable; trusting was a foreign concept to her, and abandonment was her middle name. Pete had studied her since she came to the Warehouse. After she loosened up around them, he began to see the real her: rebellious, witty, caring, and tough. She was great fun to have around the Warehouse, and an equally as great agent. It wasn't long before she and Pete formed a bond; she was his little sister.

No brother likes watching his little sister cry.

He remembers after the silly putty incident, the incident that put her near death for the first time at the Warehouse. It was all Pete could do to pray that she would stay strong and be alright. When he rescued Claudia and Myka, he remembers being so, so, so relieved. She was safe and fine and, as he turned to her, he prepared himself for one of her patented witty, albeit slightly insulting, comebacks. But it never came. Instead, her fiery amber eyes widened, her eyes were glassy, her skin unnaturally white, and her hands shaking. He couldn't look away from her as the petrified tears welled up, shining pools of absolute fear. The sadness that was etched onto her face was unlike any misery he had seen. She looked one hundred percent different, and when she came willingly into Pete's open arms, nuzzling her head against his chest while her body trembled and shook with sobs, he realised that this was Claudia minus the mask.

It was a while before he saw her like that again. Happy, reckless Claudia returned to crack jokes and make burrito runs at two in the morning when inventory got particularly gruesome. However, occasionally he'd catch her. During Christmas, when Myka announced that she would be visiting her parents, he caught her staring far off into the distance with a glassy expression that she brushed off with an 'oh, I'm fine, just a little tired. Artie's got me breaking my back over paperwork', but Pete knew that wasn't true. After speaking with her brother over the phone for the first time in a month, Pete walked by her room and heart soft, puppy-like sniffles and cries. He froze, petrified at the thought that she might be crying, but when he knocked hesitantly at the door, the weeping stopped.

"Claud?" He had called gently, "You okay? I was gonna go get some donuts, you wanna come?"

"Yeah, totally!" She responded in a steady, albeit thick, voice. The door swung open and Claudia appeared, her favourite Ray Bans covering her eyes, "Let's kick it!"

Everything was fine for a while, though he worried about her constantly. Pete wished she had more friends her own age. Pete, Claud, and Myka were, of course, extremely close, but he wanted someone younger for her to relate with.

His prayers were answered at the arrival of Agent Steve Jinks. Steve, at first seeming stiff and boring, opened up immediately after partnered up with Claudia. The two were inseparable, often talking late into the night in their rooms, a habit that at first perturbed Pete until he discovered Steve's sexual orientation. When she started playing guitar at the local coffee shop, Pete was at peace; more than once she was forced to cancel plans with friends for work at the Warehouse. Claudia was as happy as ever.

Everything changed when Steve was fired from the Warehouse. Pete pretended not to see her cry. But the tears were undeniable. He let Myka handle the comforting; he knew his composure would fail if he saw the teen break down again. Thankfully, Claudia continued seeing friends from the coffeehouse, but she was constantly torn up by Steve's lack of communication, and was devastated when he denounced their friendship. When Steve was found working for Sykes, Pete was glad he was on the other side of a Farnsworth to avoid seeing her broken hearted face. He was too far away to protect her, and that killed him.

She denied it, of course. Steve would never do something like that, she claimed over and over again. She wasn't trying to convince Artie or Mrs. Frederic or Myka of Pete; she was trying to convince herself. Pete was furious with Steve for abandoning Claudia yet again. He knew what she had gone through, so why the hell would he do such a thing? In the forest, Claudia's denial turned to anger as she accused Steve of his blatant betrayal. His face remained stony, and turned to shock as the spitfire girl took off running into the forest, Janus coin in hand.

Bang.

Bang.

Two gunshots. That was all Pete heard. Everything else went quiet. He knew that Steve and Claudia were out there, and Claudia was not one to carry such lethal firearm. A cold sweat broke over his skin when Steve returned.

"You'll need to hurry if you want to save Claud."

How dare he call her Claud. After all he'd done to her? Pete was prepared to ship out his tesla and zap Steve repeatedly, but then he realised that Claudia could be dead. Dying. Deceased.

He and Myka screamed her name over and over, but the only reply was the wind in the trees. The rushing sound was too soothing for such a terrifying situation. Pete could feel a lump in the back of his throat and a heat behind his eyes.

What if he was too late.

He was supposed to save her.

But at that very thought the sparkle eyed, grinning redhead appeared in front of them, shushing the agents before she explained the story. The renewed light in her eyes was shining as brightly as ever. Hope was back. She had hope to save one of the people she loved. Pete couldn't help but smile with her.

The team speeds to the abandoned air hanger. As they approach, Pete feels a knot of apprehending doom tighten in his chest. Something is wrong, he can feel it. He kicks the door open with a sharp screeching of metal on metal, and Pete shivers, not because of the noise, but because of the dread he knows is awaiting them. Claudia and Myka are pleasantly oblivious to Pete's ominous vibe. He runs ahead of them, leaving the two girls behind as he sprints up the metal staircase ahead. He holds his weapon aloft and at the ready, his sharp eyes ready to shoot as he enters the bunker-like room.

Shit.

A dull thud seems to bloom from his stomach. He feel ill, he feels scared, he feels sad, and he feels responsible. Steve, the fallen hero, sits upon his throne, his head twisted grotesquely. His neck is at an angle so inhuman that Pete has to do all in his power to keep from screaming.

Shit.

Another pang of worry stabs at him. Claudia. Another person is gone from her life. After the rollercoaster of emotions she has experienced in the day, he cannot, will not, let her see this.

Blindly, Pete backs away, his face still shocked, but when he sees Myka and Claud in his peripherals, he shakes himself mentally and puts on a disguise of strength. He trots down the stairs, his eyes fixed on the ground. He can't let her see this. It was his job, and it still is.

They ask him what he found.

Nothing, he tells them, Sykes escaped, get back in the car.

Claudia and Myka look at him. They both know.

Pete, what's wrong. Myka doesn't know that what she's pressing him to reveal will ruin the younger agent next to her.

Nothing, he repeats forcefully, looking directly at Claudia. Her eyes glossed over.

Shit.

Claudia, he commands, get back in the car!

Her mask falls to the ground, like water falling through the air. Her eyes fill with tears, her legs tremble, her mouth opens and closes with no sound coming out. He can see her pleading, praying to him that it isn't true. She knows that his words are meant for her, knows that what is up there is another blow to her life. Pete shakes his head desperately, his breath ragged as he tries one last time to shelter her.

Please get back in the car, he begs.

She legs a shaking, uncontrolled breath escape her lips before she goes flying up the stairs, her shoes hitting the stairs rapidly, like gunshots. Pete closes his eyes, hangs his head. A tear drips silently down his face. Myka asks him what's wrong again. He doesn't need to answer because Claudia's scream says everything.

The heartbroken, mournful, grieving shriek sends Myka and Pete sprinting after her. Claudia stands in the doorway, tears pouring down her face as she looks at the corpse of her best friend. She runs to him, openly sobbing, and rests her hand on his cheek, staring into his wide eyes that seem to be looking directly at her. She dissolves into tears as the falls to the floor, any fa├žade of strength forgotten.

Pete watches her as tears pour down his face. He cries for H. G. and for his mom and his sister.

But most of all he cries for Claudia.

He was supposed to protect her.

Her distraught sobs let him know that he failed.


*Cries silently to self while eating Nutella straight from the jar*

What? I'm not crying? I just have something in my eyes, like, a branch or something.

Anyways! REVIEW! And let me know what you thought of the story and the season 4 premiere! :3