"Holy shit!" Nick couldn't take his eyes off the form that stood before them. Kate scrambled to get up off of her partner.
"Nick." Kate whispered. "What is that thing?"
Both stood in shock, and horror, realizing what was happening. Zoe's skin had begun to split, allowing the growth to take place from human to Giant form. The woman looked like she had been involved in a fight with a razor blade, and although no blood seeped from the wounds, she was a horrific sight. Although she was not much larger at this stage, parts of her body had already began to undergo the change, as areas of her were unproportioned. The sounds of the stretching skin could be heard well, and she seemed to be in pain, as she occasionally jerked in a grotesque manner. Her eyes rested on O'Malley.
Being caught off guard and not armed well, aside from a .38 for home protection, which Nick didn't figure would work well against the link, they were in a deadly jam. Their only protection was to back up slightly, putting distance between them and the Giant.
Nick, unsure of what else he could do, aimed and emptied the guns ammo into the link. It had no effect. The bullets hit their target, but the creature didn't blink. Nick tossed the gun aside and crossed his arm over Kate, pushing her back a few steps, until both were backed up against his living room wall.
The link half circled them, the way any creature would his prey. Both detectives searched for an alternate escape route, but none was found. They were cornered.
It's eyes remained on Nick for some time, but when there was nowhere to go, it turned its gaze upon Kate. In one fast motion, it lunged for her, ripping her away from Nick into it's grasp. Nick was powerless to stop it. He tried to stop the assault, but the thing grabbed him by the bottom jaw, sending him flying across the room. He fell onto a table, breaking it, along with his arm. Dispite the pain, he pulled himself back to a standing position, charging at them, determined to get Kate away from it, setting his own safety aside.
"Anything to protect her," was all his mind would think.
"I will rip her heart out." The link sneered, whipping Kate around so her back was against the links chest. The thing than placed her hand on Kate's chest, right where her heart would be. Nick stopped dead in his tracks, looking at his partner in total confusion on what to do next. He couldn't form words to offer the link for an appeal for mercy, to let his friend go. The look on Kate's face told Nick she believed this was it, this was the way she was going to die.
With one tear on her cheek, and sincerity in her voice, Kate told Nick to leave. Dying she could do, but knowing her best friend was also going to die she could not. She pleaded with the man to run, but Nick refused.
The link's skin began to split so severely now, peices of it were falling off to the ground at their feet. Nick could tell by it's stance the time for it to kill was now.
Just as he was about to fight, something grabbed the bottom of his shirt, keeping him from moving forward. Nick looked down to find Carl holding him back. This got the attention of not only Kate and Nick, but the link as well. In it's distraction, it loosened it's grip on Kate enough for her to get free of it. Nick pulled her into his arms as Carl stepped forward.
"Somethings occured to me that didn't add up, princess." Carl tugged on his beard as he spoke. "Nick doesn't like me to be seen in public in fear I may be discovered, so why would he discuss the link world with you? The time frame you were gone too got me thinking. And your jealousy...whoo hoo, your jealousy. You used me to get to Nick. You used Nick to get to Kate. You used Kate to get to Nick. You wanted the SU2 team gone...dead. I'm sorry, sweetheart, as good lookin' as you once were, I gotta call off our engagement, pumpkin." Carl raised the Special Unit 2 gun to her chest, ready to fire it. Nick and Kate saw he had choosen the red ammo. Looking at eachother, knowing a large explosion was soon to come, they both took cover. "One more thing, snookums, that ring I got you, it was a fake." Carl smiled smuggly at the link and pressed the triggar, sending bits of link flesh to rain down on most of Nick's apartment.
Carl and Nick watched the explosion with awe until the SU2 task force, alerted by the gnome, came crashing into the living room.
"Better late than never, guys." Carl scoffed, brushing himself off.
Nick helped Kate to her feet, again hugging her.
As the task force quickly got the fire under control, Nick and Kate went in search of Carl. They found him sitting alone in the hallway.
Kate began to speak, but was cut off by Nick.
"I think I'll get this one, Kate." Nick looked at Carl, croutching down so they could be eye level. "You saved Kate's life. And mine. Thank you, friend." Nick extended his hand out to the little gnome. The gnome was touched by the words, as was Kate. Carl took O'Malley's hand to shake it, putting aside all their differences.
Nick pulled Carl into a hug, looking at Kate, than back to the gnome. "You saved her life." He repeated. "I never thought I would live to see the day the two of you shared such a tender moment." Kate said, almost crying.
"Of course," O'Malley grabbed Carl in a headlock, "there is the matter of MY APARTMENT AND THE FACT YOU USED RED AMMO ON IT!" Carl struggled against the pressure being put on his head by Nick. Kate sighed, rolled her eyes, and in a huff stormed off grumbling about how nothing ever changes. Few SU2 agents even bothered to look up as the detective and the gnome duked it out over the next few minutes.
Hours later, when the apartment was clear of everyone besides the three friends, Kate offered to bring the car around so they could all go back to Kate's apartment for a pizza. After she was gone, Nick asked the gnome if he was ok.
After a long thought, Carl answered his buddy. "I am. My heart will mend, as does everyones when a love doesn't work out."
Nick nodded in silent agreement.
"Besides," Carl added, "her breasts were way too small."
When the pizza was gone, and the gnome was on his way out the door. "See ya at work tomorrow, guys!"
Nick glanced around Kate's apartment, smirking.
"I guess I can hang my hat here for a few weeks."
"What?'' Kate demanded, her voice hitting a high note.
"Well it's going to take a few weeks for them to reconstruct my apartment, would you have your best friend be homeless for that time? But one thing, the couch," Nick nodded his head, "it's not really good on my back. I think your bed would probley be a more comfortable place to sleep."
Kate just laughed as Nick leaned in for the rest of the kiss that was disrupted earlier that night. "Now where were we?"
"I think right about here...," was all Kate got in before they were wrapped up in another kiss."
The summer night air hit Carl's face when he stepped onto the sidewalk, on his way home from Kate's apartment. He removed the diamond ring from his pocket, looking at it for a brief amount of time, than tucking it back in. He took a long breath in, thinking over the nights events as he walked.
"Excuse me, hello! Watch where your going!" A woman's voice snapped from up above. Carl, who had been in his own little world of recollecting, did not see or feel himself run into the girl. He looked up in suprise.
"Oh, I'm sorry I..." Carl's mouth flew open wide.
"Hey, I know you, don't I?'' The woman said, loosing some of her irritance. "Carl, right?"
"Yeah, it's me, Carl!"
"Mmmm hmm, you told me we were going to have a little misunderstanding, and you never showed up." The woman pouted, gently guiding Carl by his beard into her car. "Let's have that now, my little lover boy."
Carl could think of one thing as he freely accepted the ride with the blonde Ms. Understanding, "Gnomes need love to!"