Guilt of the Dying

She hadn't even wanted to come on this trip, damn it. She had wanted to stay back at – well, at the B&B, now, and she had wanted to figure out how that metronome worked. She wanted Steve back: Steve, and not the Warehouse. But no one else seemed to care; no one even seemed to notice she was grieving. Just because they could push it aside didn't mean she had too.

"See why we need you?" Artie had called after her as she squirmed town that little tunnel in the Brotherhood's wall. At the time it had made her smile, made her feel good about who she was. But now, alone in the dark, slowly going through the small amount of oxygen available, it made her feel guilty. When they had all run away, she had wanted to call out to them, to make one of them stay with her so she didn't have to die alone. But one thing had stopped her; one thought had taken over her mind.

Steve hadn't had anyone next to him to comfort him. Steve had died alone, she had made sure to point out to Jane. She owed it to him to know what that felt like. So she let them go, practically pushed them out the door, afraid that if she hesitated she would chicken out and ask them to stay.

The air was thinning, and surprisingly Claudia found it wasn't painful. It just felt like she was being lulled to sleep. She wondered if Steve had felt this way when Sykes killed him. Somehow she doubted it.

Frustrated, she pounded one fist against the wall of the passage, sending a cascade of dust down onto her and making her cough. It was her fault Steve had died: she was the one he was so desperate to protect after all. His guilt over his sister's death had made him sacrifice himself.

Claudia's eyelids fluttered, then closed. She exhaled once, and then stilled.

Her guilt over Steve's death had made her sacrifice herself as well.