Excuse Granted!


diogenes_icon.gif isis2_icon.gif

Scene Title Excuse Granted!
Synopsis Isis visits Diogenes in his home country and asks him to return to New York. He needs a good excuse. He is promptly granted such.
Date August 11, 2010

An Apartment in Vilnius, Lithuania

A quaint old apartment in an equally old building in a Eastern European city.

Languid steps bring a tall gaunt man towards a small kitchen table. The poorly constructed wooden boards creak beneath the bare feet that walk the fine line between wariness and weariness. A swift hand unceremoniously slams a tall mug against the scarred surface of the table. Cold grey eyes slowly guide their gaze towards the windowsill atop which a cute stout water boiler resides. The shuffle begins anew as the slim figure makes its way to the window.

Inevitably, the young man is distracted by the deceptively promising brightness of an early morning that seeps through into the small apartment. A subtle tint of blue colours the empty narrow street below. The cobblestone is yet to be disturbed today: cars remain in their nightly place, framing the aforementioned street, while their masters still slumber, enjoying the final moments of their sweet sleep before another routine-ridden day finally dawns.

Captivated by the enchanting l'heure bleue, the lissome man completely fails to notice that, even though he has flicked the power switch of the water boiler, it refused to serve the purpose it has been aptly named after. The eerie silence confuses him and draws his attention back to immediate reality. He throws the switch a few more times, as though merely encouraging the device to work would make it function.

Ignorant of the fact that he had unplugged the thing last night so as to provide his laptop with an energy source, the foolish man picks the full water boiler up from its nest and carries it to the table with swift and irked motions, as if there was an audience to which he had to broadcast his frustration. Once the mug is filled up with water, the water boiler is penalised by being left there on the table, while the mug travels to the microwave. Fortunately, this particular kitchen appliance complies.

The monotonous humming and the torturously slow countdown did little to assuage the victim of morning mishaps. Determined to distance himself from another source of irritation, he walks back to the window, rolling the sleeves of the white shirt up his fairly slender forearms. Eyes observe the visible silence beyond the window once more. A content smirk tugs at a single corner of his lips. The frustration is gone.

While the man doesn't deliberately wake early in the morning every day, he finds himself fortunate that he indeed rises early, despite the fact that it costs him a couple of hours of sleep. It is a small price to pay to not only watch the city slowly rise up around him, but to selfishly distinguish himself from the faceless crowd that ultimately floods the city streets and buildings, as all of us, in one way or another. Some might wear a different hat to work. Diogenes wakes an hour or two earlier than the rest.

And, well, heats up water for tea in a microwave.

With the flip of another switch, his not so trustworthy laptop is opened up. It takes a few presses of the power button (and a few sips of the strongly brewed tea to fortify his patience) to actually start up the computer. As he makes himself as comfortable as he can on the woefully uncomfortable stool, he sets the mug back down on the table and enters the requisite password to log in. A few clicks later the Internet browser he opens shows the Facebook profile page he has set up.

He isn't particularly proud of having fallen prey to social networking, but it has proved to be useful in gathering information that is too trivial or controversial for the media to report. And he would readily admit that he had fun setting it up: the profile page hardly alluded to its true owner, and instead it seemed as though the real Diogenes rose from the grave and travelled to the nearest Internet cafe to set up his own Facebook and, as we learn from one more well-placed click, to deny Alexander the Great of friendship.

What? When? Where? Why? Who? Isis? Joanne? Nothingness. The tumult of silent questions posed in her mind are equally unanswered as they have been through the months No, it's August now. The countdown begins on the one year mark.

One long year, and here she stands - the girl with no purpose, the girl with no identity even to herself - the little redhead. She does not hear the sounds of her own boots climbing the stairs a daybreak, flowing like a delicate marionette. It's only when she stands before the door that she recognizes her own presence. Her almond-shaped eyes follow the lines of the poorly-built, crooked doorway before settling on the crumpled paper in her hand. Mapquest directions are stained with drops of coffee & liquor, worn thin with the folds of being folded and open to many times in her contemplations.

The redhead exchanges the paper for her cellular phone, pulling up her Facebook application upon its tiny touch screen.

Chirp-chirp. The Facebook instant message illuminates the corner of Diogenes's screen: *Knock knock*. A search for the source of this intrusive message reveals only an ambiguous screen-name: Phoenix.

Calmly, the man observes the notification that pops up on the computer screen. In no rush to grant it any significant meaning, let alone to reply to it, he even dares to pick the mug off the table to take a lengthy sip of his morning tea. It is as if this is a regular occurence, or an outcome he thinks he immaculately predicted. As the bottom of the mug meets the table once more, Diogenes finally rises from the low stool.

And to think he hasn't even enjoyed his tea properly.

With no haste involved, he saunters over to the door. Although as silent on his feet as he usually is, the wooden boards described earlier instantly give away every single step he makes; as such, there is no need for actual stealth. With unabashed boldness, he walks up to the door, a hand brushing his locks back; his natural blond colour is beginning to show at the roots of his hair. It takes him a while to actually reach out towards the door handle. For a few moments, he is but standing and staring absent-mindedly at the door, as if he could see through it. Alas, he could not.

Swiftly, a hand grabs a handle, and with one metallic squeak and one wooden creak, the door swings open. The reaction on the man's face is difficult to describe - contorted chaos of confusion, surprise and exposure. "I… can't think of a joke", he murmurs.

Lids lined in thick dark coal widen to reveal the empty sheen of emerald irises. Their only spark is somewhere deep within the abyss of her pupils, dilating sharply as her heart skips up into an uncertain pace. "I…" What? What did you come here for? What did you have to say? Admit that you did not know where else to go? She shakes her head, lazy curls bobbing around her shoulders. Still, she is incapable of removing her gaze from his countenance. She sets aside all uncertainties and straightens her shoulders. "You look like you've seen a ghost, Clyde." Clyde - it's how she's referred to him in silent, one-sided, self-conversations. She bites her tongue behind a half-smile. "Missed me?"

The pair equally stumbled in terms of self-expression, although the redhead had a clear advantage to the stoic man standing before her, a hand still clutching on the door handle. Both of his brows perk up, giving rise to numerous wrinkles on his forehead. "Missed you", he echoes the word in an inquisitive tone. His brows then furrow, and with a quick nod, he moves to the side to allow her to enter. "Yes. Yes, I think I did. But don't just stand there. Enter Manor Diogenes."

As one might expect, it is anything but a manor. Although the apartment is leaps and bounds better than what he settled with across the pond, it is still small. But instead of feeling cramped, it feels cosy. The quaint apartment lies in the very heart of the capital city of what he would reluctantly admit to be his homeland. It is in the Old Town district, in a building very much like those that surround it. They all vary greatly, ranging from baroque to roccoco. This particular district undoubtedly has a European air to it.

The owner of the apartment is not dressed as one might expect the owner of a manor to be dressed, either. The typical formal attire is traded for an open shirt and a pair of dark grey jeans. Unimpressive, yet practical.

The man's confession of emotion, slight though it may be, illuminates a softness in the woman's eyes and draws a shiver over her skin that raises the soft hairs on the back of her neck. She smiles. Truly smiles. "I have missed you, too," she replies in barely more than a whisper, the steps of her entrance upon the settling floorboards inviting one to strain in order to hear the soft lilt of her words.

She steps around the man and into his little abode, turning as she moves in order to keep her eyes upon him. "I have always wanted to see where you came from, you know…" Finally, her attentions stray from Diogenes. It is the first time, truly, that she has been even off the eastern coast of America. Her flight across the sea, her rumbling trip down the rail lines, even the ride in the taxi and the stroll down the street had been acted out in apparent blindness. His face was the first she had seen in clarity in months. And, it is his apartment that is the first thing she truly sees outside him, on this whole adventure. Suddenly enlivened to this new world, she turns to the window and looks out to the dawn breaking on the city. "It's fitting," she decides, with a soft smile, nodding at the portrait of the city outside the glass.

After an askance glance sent down the hallway to quench the thirst of his paranoia, Diogenes closes the door. He leaves as it was - unlocked, for a reason known only to the quirky young man - and follows in the woman's footsteps, although his path eventually diverges and brings him to the kitchen table, instead, positioned a few feet directly away from the window. Judging from the position of the laptop, the apartment's owner must spend his mornings having breakfast and using his computer while occasionally glancing outside to the tall skyscrapers in the distance, standing much taller than the roofs of nearby old buildings.

"Well, I have to disappoint you", he quips with a snort and one half of a grin as he lifts the mug with both hands hugging it. "This isn't the apartment I've spent twenty years of my life in. My family wouldn't have me back." Of course, far be it from Diogenes to allow his personal life to be discussed so freely. After another sip of the camomile tea, he rushes to switch to another subject matter. "Before I ominously inform you of your bad timing… Mind telling me how and why did you find me?"

The redhead's smile wanes ever so gently at the corners, her gaze holding a while longer on the scene before her as she takes in the man's first remark and then the more probing question to follow. Tick tock, tick tock. Seconds wander away in silence before the little woman offers a half-hearted shrug. "I don't know. It didn't feel right…" She drums her nails along the window sill before pulling her hand away to flex her fingers uncertainly. "It didn't feel right without you around. I know I wasn't all…" she looks back and swirls her index finger beside her right temple, "there when last I saw you. And, I'm not saying I'm all cured of what I've experience. But, I do know something was just amiss without you there to stir things up." Her smile returns, sadly beautiful, as she crosses the room and leans against rump against the small kitchen sink, bracing her hands to the counter behind her to keep them still.

The stubborn nature of the man's hair demands that he brushes the disobedient locks back again. The pervasive silence that returns is interrupted by the mug hitting the table. Slowly, he rises from the table, pushing the stool away from him with his shins. His hands move to button up his white shirt; nimble hands work up his lithe torso. His eyes, however, do not leave Isis.

"Not that I do not appreciate your visit and your words, I tried to leave everything behind", he states firmly. "We live in an interesting world. A bit too 'interesting', if you ask me. I thought I was above it all, and I was sorely proven wrong with my arrogance shoved back in my face. Routine is…" He pauses. The words that almost slipped are heretic words; words that he never would see himself speaking. And yet, they are now a necessity to utter. "Routine is underrated. I don't want to be shot in a dark alley, thinking I'm an untouchable deity that watches his creation unfold."
but I tried*

A thin brow lofts into a fine, curious arc on the woman's porcelain features. She steps forward with a slow, fluid motion - suddenly clarity returns in those moments. Thought, purpose, intrigue - renewed. "You are not untouchable. We are not untouchable. But, that is what makes us better than the deities. People like you can put into motion things only Gods might fathom, but the Gods are weak in immortality. What challenge is anything to them? Where is the true game in what they do?" She laughs and shakes her hand, banishing the topic away as a more serene mood settles on her mind. Yes, the mood swings are worse than they once were, but at least they are eased with moments of true humanity. "You are right though, there is a certain peacefulness in routine that I had not taken any worth in before." She shrugs. "But, what fulfillment is there in a routine here?" She makes a gesture towards the tiny abode. "Come home, Tomas. Come back to New York with me. We'll deal with it together."

Leaving three uppermost buttons open, his hands drop down to his sides before promptly burying themselves into the pockets of his jeans. Diogenes subtly tilts his head to the right, examining Isis as one might examine an invaluable exhibit in a museum dedicated to infamous insane historical figures. "A challenge is thrilling, yes. It's enchanting and captivating. But so were the siren."

A sardonic remark accompanied by a grin is just about the only response he can offer. Life on the safer side of the looking glass is something he has warmed up to, and yet at the same time he longed for that short period in his life where he truly felt that he had a drive and a motive, as opposed to apathetic drifting along the steady stream of Life. "I want to", he finally admits. Predictably, however, his speech quickly takes a turn. "But I shouldn't. I can't." And, with a barely audible snort, he adds reluctantly: "I need a better excuse to fly back to New York. A life-threatening one."

To say Diogenes is fully ignorant of what is to come is an overstatement, but the actual time of the inevitable has escaped him. He is going to have his excuse. In fact, three burly excuses were walking up the stairs, muttering lowly between themselves how they were going to subdue the troublesome evolved individual. They were waiting for a long while to catch him off-guard, and now that he is distracted by some dame… It is a good enough opportunity they have decided to settle with.

Clip clip. She's wearing heeled boots that carry her forward before she can check the needy motion. She stops just short of pressing herself to Diogenes. She lifts a hand uncertainly, her palm hovering over the flesh bared just beneath the unfastened buttons at the top of his shirt. "But, you have to…" As if this alone was purpose and purpose enough at that, to return. She cringes and stuffs her fingers in her back pockets, looking away to present the silhouette of her visage behind a soft curtain of crimson curls. "You just have to," she offers more quietly, looking out the window beside them.

The men closing in on the apartment were not masters of stealth, though they were not boisterously envisioning their plan right outside of their target's apartments. Perhaps, very much like Diogenes, they have gathered that stealth is a void concept in a house that would creak if someone outside of sneezed. Or perhaps men as big as them were simply not built for such a thing. Yes, the Russians who approached were shining examples of Russian stereotypes: mountainous and possibly drunk, despite the hour.

"I have to, huh?" Judging from the sceptical expression, the reason did not sound convincing to Diogenes. Then again, if one searched deeper within those eyes, uncertainty could very easily be noticed. "I'll admit, I missed it all. But it's my forbidden fruit. If I come back…" He simply doesn't dare to finish that sentence. Instead, the young man sighs, lowering his gaze to the floor. He hears the floorboards creak outside of his apartment, but his mind does not grant it any real meaning or significance. "I think it's safer if I stay here. For both of us."

Diogenes soon will want to take these words back. Very soon, in fact. In just a couple of seconds, the doors he has foolishly left unlocked noisily swing open. A tall, powerfully built man presumably in his thirties storms into the apartment. Shaven head, bushy brows. A peculiar gun in his hand. The other two that follow are slightly younger; both dark-haired, and both nearly as visually imposing as their supposed leader. Their sudden appearance prompts Diogenes to shift his attention, and to mutter: "Or not."

The gun, which is without so much as a pause aimed at Diogenes, turns out to be nothing but a taser. But one would sooner find that out the moment it's shot, and with a fractured scream, the man would crumple to the ground, twitching in pain. Now, what?

"Tomas," the redhead begins, only to be interrupted by the thud of the door swinging back to hit the wall. The redhead wheels about, knees bent uncertainly, like a cat startled back into the instincts of the wild. "Tomas!!?!!" comes the louder, girly shriek, as her companion slumps to the floor. Karma. You invited this on yourself. Your inherited bad luck. You brought it here to him, you know. "Shut up!" the little flame screeches aloud, even if her cries are directed at the bitterness within her own head, suddenly leaping up onto the table and launching herself blindly at the first man with a nicely aimed knee for his crotch and a fist for side of his brick-like noggin.

The distance that Isis has to cover is abysmal, considering the man were in a rush and quickly wandered towards where the pair stood. With a shorter distance to cover, one of the unlucky saps also had a shorter time period during which they could react. Predictably, Diogenes soon acquires a companion in the barren town of Floorsville. A companion he promptly attempts to paralyse, but, just as predictably, his ability refuses to function for painfully obvious reasons.

The others, of course, had what their friend did not - Time. While the company's lead was busy reloading the taser gun, the other one wasted absolutely no time in attempting to shove a fist in the redhead's face. As it may be known to both Isis and Diogenes, that could only go either badly or… well, badly. Mostly for the assailant, however. "Cute", blurts out the older man in the Russian tongue.

Fuckers. Tasers. Tasers equal needles. Fuckers. FIST! Isis's vibrant eyes grow wide, time barely allowing for a quick gasp before those rocky knuckles collide with her little nose. She squeezes her eyes shut and relinquishes all retention of her ability. There is a moment of sharp pain as her nose shatters, outdone instantly by the abrupt, and lately unpracticed, transition of shifting from one body to another. A hook in her navel, a fish line yanking her from her body, the car-cash collision of slamming her consciousness into another body.

Looking out from the thug-shell, Isis watches as her rightful body crumple with a frilly yelp. She stretches the masculine arms of her new vessels and turns to the last remaining bozo with a tilted smile. The puppet body makes a show of dusting his hands while strolling over to the leader. Isis uses her vessel to give one congratulatory pat from one man to another on the last man's back, only to lead the hand back and grab the man abruptly at the back of his head, slamming the melon as hard as she can into the nearest wall.

Spinning. Everything is spinning. Even though he felt as though on a spinning cloud, the overwhelming burning pain that enveloped his body prevented him from taking even the slightest amount of pleasure from the vertigo the taser introduced. Diogenes is suddenly reminded of the many times he would wake up to sleep paralysis, a repeated cruel joke by some cosmic force, most likely the one behind irony. In control of the mind, yet not the body. It is maddening.

Of course, were he asked, Diogenes would most likely admit that it is better to be tased than meet the fury of the fiery redhead. "What?", asks the final thug, the grumpiest of all, confused with the unusual friendliness his companion exhibits. It's something he should have appreciated, since what comes next is not exactly a friendly gesture; not even in Russia. After the man feels what the wall tastes like, he too collapses to the ground, unconscious.

Now all that remains is the poor fellow clutching his crotch. Though perhaps he's enduring enough torture to leave him alone? Only the infuriated Egyptian goddess is allowed to decide such. The Greek philosopher, in the meantime, is whimpering in a high-pitched tone, trying to form incoherent noises into words. Or, well, one word: "Ph… Ph… nnh… Fuck!"

Business. All business. In her little world, Isis believes she has brought some hellish poor luck on Diogenes - nothing more, nothing less. The body thief walks her vessel across the small apartment, strolling the heavy weight right atop the injured man's injured groin once more. The differently possessed, redhead body, continues to roll around screaming as she clutches her nose while the Isis conducts her stolen shell to kneel down beside Diogenes. "Come on. Please. I need your help… I need to get back in my body," utters the masculine voice on Isis's last kindness. She uses the large, man hands to yank the taser barb out of Diogenes' chest with a squeamish gagging sound. " Please. We should get out of here. More could come." She uncertainly puts a thick arm under her companion's head and sits him up carefully.

Easier for her to say, thinks Diogenes. And thinking is just about the only thing he can afford to do, at this very moment, and not entirely because he cannot; in part, it's also because the actual fact that he has been shot with a taser gun bound his mind, as well. Fortunately, Isis seems to know how to communicate to a victim of a taser. "W-well", he stammers vigorously, his facial expression an exaggerated mockery of excitement and enthusiasm, "aren't challenges f-f-fucking f-fun!"

It takes Diogenes a couple more moments of focus to gather his mind. Considering this was the first time he was tasered, he broke the spell in almost record time, something he might actually brag about… in case he miraculously decides not to cover up this humiliating defeat. "Okay. S-Suh… Swap." A hand jerks away from his body, roughly landing palm-facing-down onto the floor in order to support the body it belongs to.

The body-vessel ushers a snort of sarcastic amusement. "If you ever dare to breed, I'm so telling your children about the time I saved your ass…" The man-body offers a smile before making sure Diogenes is righted enough and shuffling back off to the flailing, redheaded body star-struck and broken-nosed upon the floor. With a notable tension lining the man's jaw, his hand is conducted out towards the little woman until a little brush of his fingers along her shoulder set things, with a painful sharpness, back to rights of body and mind.

Isis - yes, Isis, for all the excitement has most certainly brought clarity of mind to this little lost soul - buck on the kitchen floor as her finds her fleshy, rightful home… and the pain of her bloodied and shattered nose. The goon slumps back against the counter an instant of uncertainty, but quickly shakes his head in an effort to clear the dishevelled state of his mind before looking fearfully between Isis and Diogenes.

Ignoring the admittedly cruel quip Isis replies with, Diogenes, slowly climbs up the leg of the table. It is a feat almost as demanding as climbing Mount Everest in his current state, but he surprisingly manages to crawl on top of it. "It's safer here", he mockingly echoes himself, "For both of us. F-fuh… Fucking… hitting me in my home." Clutching onto the table and his laptop, Diogenes readies himself to spin 'round. It almost costs him all of his efforts, but instead of collapsing back to the floor, he now stands only half-crumpled while leaning against the kitchen table, the pair before his eyes once more.

It takes him a minute longer to stand to his full height. After a heavy sigh of relief and closing his weary eyes, Diogenes murmurs in a tone that is finally level: "Okay, I'm back. More or less." His eyes open in one flick of his eye-lids, and his gaze is quickly directed towards the fleeting thug. Or, to be more exact, where he last saw him.

By the time Diogenes regains as much of his composure as he is able to, the Russian is already at the side of one of his fallen comrades; the one whose face slid down along the wall. A contingency plan is put into motion: having failed to subdue the problematic young man, he might as well lay dead in a pool of his own blood. A Glock is hastily retrieved and aimed towards Diogenes. A trigger is pulled. A thunderous shot is heard.

A shot which, as fortune would have it, misses Diogenes by a margin. The whistling bullet and the surprising proximity to death causes the evolved man to retreat, trip on the stool and drop to the ground thereafter. It is as this point that both men stare at each other, both startled by the fact it was such a close miss, even if each had different reasoning.

Fortunately for Diogenes and Isis, it is the younger man who takes initiative. The handgun drops to the ground, and the limp thuggish hands fail to pick it up again. Diogenes rises back on his feet, his opponent's body at his mercy now. An icy glare binds the victim, taking away all control from him and leaving him with nothing but the ability to breathe; an act we take for granted, and an act which he and his two colleagues will see as a luxury for the rest of their lives.

The pistol is reluctantly picked up by Diogenes. A tangible weapon is so much different than a supernatural ability. You can actually hold the instrument of death, feel its neutral cold against your fingers and palm. For all the complexity the creation of life holds, you can end it within a fraction of a second. Diogenes has killed before, yet not with an actual weapon. What does it feel like? What does it feel like to kill a man with a gun?

If Diogenes ever discovers what it is like, it is certainly not at this point. He has committed a similar mistake once; he is not about to repeat it. The gun is tossed aside, and his cold eyes touch Isis, instead. "I don't have anything to patch that up with, sorry", he refers to her injury. "We'll have to buy you some painkillers."

Clutching her nose in one hand, Isis rolls herself over and pushes herself to her feet with the other. Shaking in the shockwaves of the fired sidearm, she wraps her free arm around herself, staring at the discarded weapon. After a long moment, she nods uncertainly, taking in the world from blurry eyes. The bruises have already begun to slip out beneath both of her emerald eyes in a morbid coal-like hue. "Then let's go. I'm not waiting around for more 'friends' to pop in for a visit. And this HURTS…" the last sounds almost like a whining child.

A grim grin stretches the man's lips. "I've just been tasered", he notes off-handedly. It is not something he goes into detail, just in case Isis decides to trade with him without his consent. Even though his body is still stiff and sore, he still would not trade it for having an aching face, bloody nose and a generously sized bruise that will last longer than a day or several. "I don't think they have more outside", he elaborates, walking towards the door with rigid steps, "This isn't… how they work."

Diogenes freezes a few feet away from the door. He looks back to the mess that has been made out of his apartment. It is in this apartment has he has sought to build his life anew. Now, he has to abandon it. What he faces at this moment is in no way a dilemma. He has received his excuse to leave his country for the second time. "I should take some things with me, first." A laptop. A phone. His wallet. These are the things he retrieves and stuffs into a bag Isis so often saw him with.

Isis frowns behind the cup of her hand, an apologetic expression hidden as she watches her only friend tie up his life in a satchel. She leans by the doorway, eagerly awaiting escape despite her pity. "I'm sorry," she mumbles behind her palm, as she walks near, holding open the door for him. "But, you've got some 'splainin' to do, Lucy." She steps out into the hall, leaving the mess behind.

Diogenes follows Isis into the hallway and soon steps ahead of her with his crooked stride. The apartment is carelessly left in its current state of havoc, for it is no longer the man's concern; no longer the man's home. "Sure, sure", he answers in a low, irked tone, "but I'll have to make a phone call, first." Yet, as he suddenly recalls a particular something, which he affirms with a glance sent over his shoulder, he adds: "Well, second. Your nose comes first."

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