2010-07-11: The Monkey's Paw



Date: July 11th, 2010


Be careful what you wish for…

"The Monkey's Paw"

Gabriel and Lizzie's Apartments, Paris



From the open window the downstairs neighbors are yelling to keep quiet in their always eloquent sounding native language. It doesn't stop, the screams of a woman possibly being tortured are interlaced with each bang from next door.


"Mon dieux! Ca c'est l'or!" The shout wafts from below, in the street people are gathering around one man holding something the size of an apple. There's another crash of glass and a scream and the crowd scatters as something heavy crashes to the sidewalk below with the ring of metal against cement. The gasps of surprise come from most of the crowd before the fighting begins.

Having fallen asleep on the couch with the TV on, it takes a few of the crashing noises before Gabriel finally wakes up, his eyes snapping open. He stares at the ceiling for a few moments, wondering what woke him up, and then it hears it— a crash of glass from somewhere outside of the apartment, coming in through the window. The thumps and screams seem to be coming from next door, and he frowns. What could she possibly have gotten herself into? Either way, it sounds like trouble.

Pushing himself off of the couch, he puts on a quick pair of flip flops to make the small trek next door, opening the door to his own apartment and leaving it that way. Turning to the left, he takes a few steps down the hallway…

To find a gold door.

Blinking, Gabriel brings up both hands to his eyes, massaging his eyelids with his palms. Blinking again to clear the cobwebs, he looks at the door again— still gold. What the hell? "… Lizzie?" he ventures, not sure if it's loud enough to hear through the gold. He begins pounding on it, having absolutely no idea what's going on — but it certainly can't be good.

As far as high pitched screams go, the next one is epic horror movie quality. The loud thumping inside of the apartment is only louder when combined with the reverberations of the door. Something heavy is slammed against it, the ring of metal on metal is unmistakable, and it shakes, threatening to come loose from the wall.

Another yell from the neighbors below receive a shriek in response, "Please someone!! Someone help me!!" Whether through the wall or through the door, Lizzie heard him. "Gabriel!!" The sound again, something metal and heavy being thrown against the door. "Gabriel call… I don't know… please help me.." The cry turns to a rather pathetic whimper and the thumping stops.

Stepping back when something heavy slams against the door, Gabriel can't help but think for a crazy second that he's in some sort of living nightmare, and some vicious creature is going to come through the door. But that doesn't really make any sense (not that the gold door makes much more), and he has to get inside somehow to help Lizzie. Stepping forward, he puts a hand up against the door, concentrating with all his might to make the damn thing melt, but he can't. His powers aren't working the way he wants them too — which is why he's so unsure of what's going on here. He melted the toasted this morning on accident, and now he can't get his power to work when he wants it to.

Still trying to melt the door, he finally gives up on it. It worked a little bit, little streams of gold melting their way down the door, but it isn't enough. Taking a step back, he brings his foot up and slams it into the door. It gives just a tiny bit, and finally, after a few more kicks, the door finally breaks free of its secure position, the hinges ripping from the wall.

It tips inward and there's one last shriek before it hits with a loud ringing and something heavy hits the floor, pinned down by the heavy gold door. The apartment is silent but for the fighting from the streets below, everyone wants a piece and a riot is threatening to break out unless someone is able to make off with whatever they're fighting over.

The apartment itself is in shambles and oddly enough, there seems to be a lot of gold pieces laying around. Near the floor at the foot of the dining table is a golden cup lying on its side, rocking back and forth. The side table near the sofa was once a deep rich walnut, now a garish shade of gold. Again, bits of the sofa sport shining spots the size of handprints, also gold. Lizzie is nowhere to be found.

As soon as the door hits he's inside the apartment, stepping past the large slab of gold and directly into the center of the apartment. He turns in a circle, eyeing all of the pieces of gold, his eyes falling on the golden handprints as well. It looks like someone crawled across the carpet on their hands and knees with gold spraypaint on them, but these things aren't just colored gold. They seem to be gold.

With Lizzie nowhere in sight, Gabriel turns back to the door, and it dawns on him that he may have just done something very, very horrible. Praying outloud that Lizzie isn't squished under the door, and praying even more that she isn't dead if she is under the door, he runs to it, falling to his knees and sliding across the carpet a little ways. Using all the strength he can muster, he gets a grip under the door and slowly begins to lift it, straining with the weight of the large slab of gold, but managing to get good purchase and slowly lift it up, revealing what's underneath.

His eyes widen in surprised once he lifts it, staring at what he finds underneath, face slightly red from the strain of keeping the door lifted up.

A golden statue of a woman lays sprawled on the floor, arms over her head to protect it and her face frozen in a scream. From the waist down, she is wrapped in what seems to be a heavy sheet that is also made of gold. Upon close examination, the statue could be Lizzie but why she would have one cast in her likeness in that sort of a pose is beyond all reason.

Slowly, right before Gabriel's eyes, some of the handprints seem to fade back to their natural material. Others things remain as they are, like the heavy golden door just as when he kicked it. The table turns to a confusing motley of gold blended with wood, some patches fade, while others remain. The statue lying on the floor remains as it is, terrified.

Staring at the statue, Gabriel manages to lift the door off her completely, turning it over so it falls on its other side. He falls to his hands, hovering over the golden statue, one hand on the carpet, the other on its stomach. Pulling back slightly, he comes to a seat on the floor, legs out in front of him, knees raised, a hand on each one. Staring at it, he can't help but notice it looks far too much like Lizzie, and he thinks he would know if she were getting a golden statue made of herself.

Slowly, the realization starts to sink in — did she have a power and just never told him about it? Can she turn things into gold like Elle's dad could? It would make sense… his powers were gone, but slowly starting to come back. Maybe hers were gone, but when they came back, perhaps it was some kind of… shaking his head, he moves forward, gently poking the statue, placing a hand on the forehead of it — he just hopes to god she isn't dead, but it looks that way. Frowning slightly, sadness slowly taking over his features as he begins to think more and more that she's dead, he can't help but think of the time Elle's dad was turned to gold by Arthur… and he didn't survive.

Agonizingly long minutes pass, the room is silent except for the noise from the street below. It would indeed seem that the young woman is dead, until the last breath of that shriek of terror rings through the open space and from the waist up, the golden statue comes back to life. The hands come down from her face and her fingers graze the edge of Gabriel's flip flop. The flimsy shoe turns cold under his foot and the plastic strap takes on a golden metallic hue. The other hand comes down onto the floor and from under it a handprint slowly spreads out until a circle of gold the size of a dinner plate remains.

When her breath is exhausted, there's a quick gasp and the young woman begins to shake with cold. Her eyes are widen open and she stares up at the ceiling as her thin body quakes, her teeth chattering like a tightly wound toy. Rapid breaths inward would indicate that she is trying to collect enough to begin screaming again. The trembling hand that first touched Gabriel's shoe begins to move, feeling around.

Staring at the body, a few tears fall from Gabriel's eyes and wet the carpet, his face pointed downwards toward the fabric. Only when Lizzie finishes her shriek does he show any other signs of life, jumping suddenly at the noise and snapping his gaze up towards her. "Lizzie?" he says, hopeful, and when she begins to move, he responds in turn. Even though his flipflop gets cold, turning to gold, Gabriel quickly shakes it off, ignoring it for now. He has another pair, it's not a big deal. Of course, he doesn't want to turn to gold, and considering he isn't wearing much more than a t-shirt and a conservative pair of boxers that are more shorts than boxers, he doesn't know if he should let Lizzie continue to touch him.

Pushing himself off of the ground, he moves forward, watching the small woman as she comes back to life. "Lizzie!" he says again, face close to hers, but not touching. "Are you okay? What's going on?!"

Turning her face toward him, Lizzie's eyes search the direction his voice came in, not seeing him. "Gab-b-briel? … I can't s-s-see. I— I c-can't see." Her voice is shaking from cold, her chin quivering as she holds her mouth open only to avoid the clacking sound of her teeth. The sound of his voice does seem to calm her somewhat, her hands have stopped feeling around and are resting on the solid gold sheet wrapped around her waist. At least it's already gold, the damage is done.

Her face is still turned toward him, her eyes blinking rapidly as though trying to focus but unable. "What's going on?" she whimpers pathetically, her eyebrows twitch together in a worried frown. "I'm s-so c-cold…" The blue orbs search the area where his breath brushes her skin, still unable to see him. A deep breath is taken in the form of a sniffle before tears of her own leak from the corner of her eyes. Her skin is covered in goose bumps, at least the visible parts… which seems to be everything from the waist up.

"Hey, hey," Gabriel says, voice soothing, calm. He reaches out, slowly, and places a hand against her forehead, waiting to see what happens — and his hand doesn't turn to gold. He takes this as a good sign. Using both hands now, he smoothes her hair back, talking the entire time he's moving. "Don't worry, I'm gonna get you a blanket, and then we're gonna get this sheet off you somehow. We'll figure this out." Standing from the ground, he runs down the hallway to the bedroom, coming to a stop about halfway. The apartment is pretty much exactly like his, so he knows where to look.

Grabbing a blanket from the hall closet, he rushes back into the living room, tossing the blanket near the couch and giving her a once over with his eyes to see if there seems to be any permanent damage. He can't help but notice she's naked from the waist up, but considering the severity of the situation at hand, this isn't any time to admire her body. Kneeling down besides her, he takes a deep breath, and manages to slide an arm under her lower half, the gold cold against his skin. "I'm gonna move you now… be ready." His other arm goes under her back, and he attempts to lift her, struggling with the fact the gold sheet is pretty damn heavy, and move her over to the couch where he can get her under the blanket, and then figure out how to get that sheet off.

Her thin body tenses at his touch, she winces with every bit of contact his hands make to her hair and face, afraid that soon he will turn to gold just as everything else has. "D-don't you'll— I'll— " but he doesn't. Slowly, she calms and begins to breathe normally. Both of her hands keep a tight grip on the sheet at her waist, her knuckles turning white from the strain.

Gabriel's warm hands cause her close blink a few times before closing her eyes, only to open them again when he disappears down the hall. She follows the sound with a tilt of her head, turning in slight jerky movements when he passes and then toward him when he's beside him again. "Th-thanks, thank you…" she stammers as his hands slip underneath her and she feels herself being lifted from the floor and laid on the sofa. "What if it turns into gold too? What if I can't every touch anything ever again?"

"Don't worry about me," Gabriel says, setting her down on the couch and grabbing the blanket. Snapping it a few times to make sure it's not tangled up in anyway, he lets it float down over her, tucking the majority of it around her upper torso. He can't work the sheet if it's wrapped up in the blanket, too.

"Don't worry," Gabriel repeats, kneeling down besides Lizzie. "We'll figure out something if it's like that. Just keep your hands on the sheet. I'm gonna try something — it might feel… a little weird. I promise you're gonna be okay, okay?" With that said, he moves back down to her legs and the sheet, and gives the sheet a tug. Nope. It's not moving. Trying to get his fingers curled around to the inside of it the best he can, he concentrates with all his might to make the damn thing melt. Why are his powers failing him now when he needs them most? Why did that stupid Eclipse have to happen? The brief respite from the hunger was nice, but even that buzzing is beginning to start again. Slowly, but surely. Even then, he'll deal with that later, all he needs to do is get this sheet off… which might work as little streams of gold, small, hardly any at all, begin to drop around Lizzie's waist and sluice down her skin to the couch. If only he can only melt enough to pull the sheet down and off…

The bits that stream away, slip down in golden rivulets until they become completely separated from the whole and drift down into thin ribbons of fabric. It seems like forever before enough of it drips away to reveal her hips, hips covered in a rather modest pair of underwear. It must be laundry time again. Fortunately, they haven't been touched and are still fabric. How Lizzie managed to get from the bedroom to the living room wrapped in the heavy gold sheet might explain the raucous noise that woke Gabriel in the first place.

As he works, she stops shivering and her blinking becomes a little more rapid. Eventually, she focuses in on him at her waist and gives him a pitiful little smile. "You really are my personal angel, aren't you? You saved me from rat bread, monkeys, and now the sheet." Her smile widens a little and she moves a little under the blanket, trying to worm her way out of the sheet without touching the blanket that covers her.

Taking notice of the gold turning into ribbons of fabric, Gabriel still concentrates with all of his might to get enough of the gold away. Once it seems he has, he falls back slightly, hand coming away from the gold sheet so he can catch himself with both hands as he hits the floor. Breathing heavy, he takes one look at her underwear, shakes his head, and turns his attention to Lizzie. "Don't you own ANY sexy underwear?"

With a small wave of his hand, he dismisses all of her talk about being a personal angel. "Don't mention it," he says, taking a deep breath — it seems all the focus and concentration of getting his ability to work has worn him out. In a way… it feels kind of nice. To have to strain himself to use an ability, to have felt pain over the last couple of weeks, the buzzing gone… he savors it, at least for the moment, before he moves back up to the couch and helps Lizzie squirm her way out of the golden sheet. He places one hand on her stomach (and considering he's already seen her bare chest /plus/ her underwear, twice, the touch at this point shouldn't be all that uncomfortable) for leverage, he uses his other hand to push the sheet down and off of her legs, it landing in the floor with a loud thud before it begins to turn back to sheet. Falling away from the couch, Gabriel lands on his back, eyes staring at the ceiling, his breathing slowing, but still faster than usual.

A defiant lift of her chin is the first answer to his question and that turns into a squinty grimace as she retorts, "I don't know.. DO YOU?" Then her gaze drops to his underwear and back to up his eyes. She raises one of her eyebrows in a little bit of a challenge but instead of answering, he takes the time to pry her free of the sheet wrapped tightly around her lower half. The hand on her waist doesn't make her squeamish, but the tickle of his fingers does cause her abdomen to tense before a little burst of giggles fills the room. Yes, she's ticklish. Without thinking, she grabs his hand to make him stop.

Her eyes widen when she's realized what she's done and she quickly lets go, placing her hand back flat against her own. Gabriel remains intact, save for a bit of hair that turns wiry and then shifts back to its normal texture within seconds. "I'm sorry!" she bursts out before he falls away, "I didn't mean it!" Her eyes rove his entire form and her quick bout of panic subsides when she discovers that he is no worse for wear.

"It's okay," Gabriel assures her — he's fine, honestly! He isn't turning to gold, and his hand is perfectly fine still. Eyes moving down to his own underwear as her eyes rove over his form, his face actually turns a tinge red as he realizes the predicament he's in. Hey, he hurried over here to be a hero and save the day, he wasn't exactly thinking about what he was wearing. It might be laundry for him, too, and the jeans he were going to wear were in the dryer. It happens!

Reaching up and grabbing part of her blanket, he pulls it down over him so his lower torso is covered by the blanket, his boxers no longer showing. He'll go get some pants in a moment, once he makes sure she's fine. "Are you okay?" he says, eyes moving up to her. "You know… aside from the hot panties." Even now he can't help but tease her just a little bit.

It's her turn to go a bit red now and she breaks eye contact with him to eye the blanket rather demurely. "They're comfortable…" she murmurs, not feeling the urge to justify her choice of undergarments any further than that. Still blushing furiously, she catches his eye again and pastes a stubborn expression on her face. "Besides, it's not like I expected to have someone rush into my apartment and pry my sheets off me."

The corners of her lips lift into a little smile and the color slowly drains from her cheeks, leaving them the healthy tan that she's gained. "I'm okay now, thank you," she breathes, still looking a little bit sheepish. Her hands are kept pressed against her own skin, it seems to be the only thing that she hasn't turned. From the disarray in her apartment, it seems the items that had turned to gold seem to be completely normal now. The glass under the table has a puddle of water around it, presumably she'd turned that too.

"Sometimes life throws you an unexpected twist," Gabriel says, pushing himself up off of the floor and into a sitting position. He runs a hand through his hair and takes a deep breath, finally standing up — accidentally pulling the blanket off of Lizzie in the process, although he doesn't notice — and taking a look around the apartment. Aware that he's still in his underwear, he moves over to the spilled glass and sets it up. "I'm gonna go… put on some pants, I think," he says, as odd as it is to say it, turning back to face Lizzie. "Are you gonna be okay while I'm — "

Arms crossed over her chest, cheeks a burning red, and eyes as wide as dinner plates, Lizzie just nods dumbly. She didn't reach out to pull the blanket back for fear of trapping Gabriel in the same situation she was just in. Averting her eyes from his, she nods quickly again and swings her legs over the side of the sofa and rises to stand.

"Fine, I'm fine, thanks again," she says all too quickly, well aware of her current state of undress. Then her chin quivers a little bit and her eyebrows tweak up at the inner edges in worry. "Gabriel… How am I going to get dressed?" Her voice is cracking, as if she's about to burst into tears.

Keeping his eyes anywhere but on her, Gabriel makes his way back over to Lizzie, but comes to a stop just as her voice begins to crack. He can't help it when his heart goes out to her, and he pulls the blanket from around his waist and drapes it over her shoulder, making sure it's snug around her upper torso so her bare flesh is no longer showing, hands remaining on her shoulders out of comfort. "I… can help you, if you want," Gabriel offers, shrugging awkwardly. "I mean, I don't know if you want me to, I'm just.. offering. I… can dress you." With another shrug, he makes a lame attempt at humor, trying to smile. "I mean, hey, it's not like I haven't seen you naked!"

Large tears spill down her cheeks as the blanket is wrapped around her and she ducks her head low in a feeble attempt to hide them. "You can't dress me forever," she barely manages through a hiccuping sob. "And what about eating? I like chocolate bars, you can't eat chocolate bars with a fork. Or french fries… Or… or… popcorn! You can't eat popcorn without your hands!" By now she's sniffling quite loudly and her entire body is quaking with every breath inward. Then she looks up at him again, her face streaming with tears as she imparts her latest and greatest revelation of all. "I'll never get to feed the baby monkey again!"

"It's going to be okay," Gabriel says, leaning down slightly so he's at eye level with her. Well — he leans down quite a bit, but it doesn't matter to him. Both hands remain on her shoulders as he looks at her, speaking slowly and softly. "We're going to get you dressed, you're gonna go to sleep, and when you wake up tomorrow, I promise it's going to be okay, all right?" He uses his thumbs to wipe the tears from her cheeks, and he pulls her forward in a hug, squeezing her against him, despite the rather large difference in height. Pulling away from her, he keeps an arm around her shoulder as he guides her toward the bedroom. "I'm gonna stay here and keep an eye on you," he says as they past the hallway closet, and he grabs another blanket from inside it. This way he'll have something around his legs, at least.

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