In This Home On Ice (Interlude)

Title: In This Home On Ice – Interlude 1: Deniz
Author: [info]aldiara
Fandom/Characters: Alles Was Zählt, Deniz/Roman
Word Count: 2800 words
Rating: PG
Summary: Blow job lips are a bitch to hide. Deniz struggles with the aftermath of his encounter with Roman.
Disclaimer: Sadly we don't own these characters; we just like watching them fight.
A/N: Follow-up to Chapter 1, Face-Off. Thanks to the lovely [info]lilithilien, my fabulous partner in crime, for the prompt beta!

~~~

Interlude 1: Deniz


His father’s first words when he walks in the door are, “You’ve been a while. Had a hard day at work?”

Deniz stops in the middle of kicking off his shoes and glares through the yellow archway at his father, who is sprawled on the couch, a beer bottle dangling loosely from his hand. It’s a familiar sight, these days. Not that it was ever something exactly out of the ordinary – Marian Öztürk does love his casual evening beer – and he doesn’t ever get drunk or unpleasant, but something is different about his posture lately: something gloomy and nearly despondent that he doesn’t seem to let in until late at night, when the bar is closed and all daily affairs taken care of and nothing left to distract him from disappointment and loneliness. On some level, Deniz resents it as much as he resents Marian’s meddling. It’s like a mute accusation, spelling out all too clearly, See what you’ve driven me to? Of course. Everything’s always his fucking fault. God forbid any of these people stop for a second and consider their share of whatever blame they heap so generously on him.

Any other night, he might have made something of it, picked up on the challenge in Marian’s voice and flung it back in his face; but not tonight, when he’s feeling tired and sore and like cracked ice inside. All he wants is a door to close on the world and a blanket to pull over his head.

“Hi,” he mumbles, dumping his hockey bag unceremoniously in the middle of the corridor. With any luck, someone will stumble over it and break their neck on the way to the toilet at night. Then he remembers Lena, who is relatively innocent and probably doesn’t deserve breaking her neck or losing her baby. With a grumbled curse, he kicks the bag to one side, out of the way.

“Someone’s in a bad mood,” Marian observes sardonically, taking another sip. “Did the job not go well?”

The pause before ‘job’ is just long enough to be insulting, and Deniz gives the bag another kick, sending it all the way into the corner. “It went smashing,” he retorts, unable to keep the bitterness from his voice, and makes for the fridge. He hears a hissing noise from Marian as he passes, and then his father is up, crossing the room in three long strides and grabbing him by the shoulder. As Marian yanks him around, Deniz wonders for a brief, confused moment if he’s about to get socked; whether perhaps Marian has been sitting on that couch for hours, steeping in anger and just waiting for a spark to lit the fuse. Instead, Marian stares at his mouth, frowning. “What happened to you?”

Too late, Deniz remembers his bruised lips, which must look even worse now than two hours ago. Unthinking, he brings up a hand to cover them, then drops it again quickly when he realises it’s the hand he broke the tile with, now clumsily wrapped in a bandage he nicked from the first aid kit in the locker room. Four near-identical stains of blood have seeped through at the knuckles, and the irony of this injury isn’t lost on Deniz: the fact that it’s the same hand he’s bruised once before in self-loathing rage, and on behalf of the same person. As ever, Roman brings out the sides of him that are in jarring misalignment.

“Answer me, dammit!” his father demands, worry momentarily obliterating his cynicism. “What happened? Did you get in a fight?” He grabs the hand Deniz is trying to hide, unsuccessfully, behind his back, and inspects the drying bloodstains. His face darkens. “Was it that… that…”

Despite himself, and although he knows he’s just making matters worse, Deniz laughs; it burns his throat like reflux as it comes out. “Julia? No, Dad, don’t worry – your whoring son didn’t get beaten up by his evil client.”

Marian’s frown deepens; still concerned, although his mouth tightens with annoyance. “Deniz. I want to know what happened.”

“Nothing.” Deniz jerks his hand away, takes a step back to escape closer scrutiny of his lips, which feel puffy and foreign in his face. “Nothing important,” he amends when he sees his father’s brows draw close together. “Look, Dad, just forget about it, okay? I’m fine.”

“Dammit, Deniz…” Marian makes a small, aborted gesture that together with his tone holds more desperation, more futile anger, worry and helplessness than Deniz feels himself equipped to handle. He can’t deal with someone else’s breakdown right now, especially not if it’s over him.

“I’m fine,” he repeats, his voice sounding high and strained to his own ears. “Really, okay? I’m just tired from practice. See you tomorrow.”

Deniz flees for the sanctuary of his room before his father can say another word, turning the key in the lock and leaning for a moment with his back against the door, eyes closed, trying not to revisit the locker room, and failing.

He can’t get the memory of the money out of his head: three crumpled notes, left scattered across the floor of the locker room, where doubtlessly tomorrow some cleaning lady will gleefully seize the unexpected bonus (I hope she wipes it first, that cynical voice pipes up again in the back of his head). Every time he thinks of it, it hits him with as much force, as much stunned humiliation, as the second when Roman threw the money at him; the impact doesn’t seem to lessen. He’s not quite sure what he set out to prove when he went down on his knees, other than to satisfy his own need, but vaguely, he knows that he held notions of showing Roman he was wrong; that he, Deniz, could have what he wanted and still somehow emerge the winner from their little clinch.

He doesn’t think he’s ever lost quite so spectacularly, nor been quite so wrong.

~~~


Morning brings the smell of coffee wafting into his room, and a feeling like someone’s glued a dead fish to his mouth. It takes him a moment and a clumsy grope at his face to realise the dead fish is his lips, still puffy and tender. The skin stretches painfully as he yawns, and his jaw cracks sorely. Groaning, Deniz resists the urge to pull the pillow back over his face and makes himself roll out of bed.

The bathroom mirror shows him bleary-eyed and stubbly, his mouth less obviously bruised than last night but still pretty damn noticeable. Deniz grimaces at it and goes about the challenging task of shaving without looking in the mirror more than strictly necessary. It’s a miracle he doesn’t slash his throat.

The first time he wore a visible mark of Roman’s attentions, he was by turns embarrassed and goofily proud of it; he remembers how that entire day, his fingers would steal up to his neck at random intervals, probing the dark red mark of the hickey as if to make sure it was still there; remembers the stupid urge to show it off, to grin and crow “looook, someone liiiikes me” like a twelve-year-old.

This isn’t like that. The tender swell of his lips is like a brand of accusation in his own face, livid proof of having been had and dismissed without so much as a by-your-leave. Every time he looks at it, he can see Roman’s face instead, mouth twisting slightly in distaste, pulling up his sweats as quickly as he can. This is so far removed from being a mark of affection that it’s in a different realm entirely – it’s a brand of angry, careless, temporary possession, and it might as well spell spoiled goods.

Deniz ducks into the shower quickly, turning the faucet nearly all the way to blue and trying not to think. The near-frigid water hits his heated face in a rain of tiny ice needles that’s almost soothing, and he tilts his head up into it eagerly.

He emerges into the kitchen some time later, dressed and having clumsily stuck a few band-aids on the cracked knuckles of his hand, and feeling, if not entirely human, a little less like last week’s rubbish spilled from a ripped bag. His father’s sitting at the table, browsing the paper while punching numbers into his phone. Lena, tousle-haired and still in her pyjamas, is leaning against the kitchen counter, cradling a mug of peppermint tea while stealing longing glances at the coffee pot. She’s looking peaky.

“Morning,” Deniz mumbles. His father looks up briefly, brow furrowing, then nods curtly. “Morning.”

Lena waves vaguely, wrinkling her nose at the steam rising from her mug. “Word of advice,” she grumbles, “Don’t ever get a woman pregnant. She’ll hate your guts for it.”

Deniz blinks. “I’ll, er, keep it in mind.” He notices the change in his father’s posture a split second before turning his head to actually see it: the suddenly rigid shoulders, the phone raised halfway to his ear and frozen there. Their eyes meet, and Deniz is caught off-guard for a second by the raw pain in his father’s gaze. Behind him, Lena makes a dismayed noise. “Shit, Marian, I’m sorry. I didn’t…”

“It’s fine,” Marian says, too quickly, and waves the phone dismissively. “Don’t worry about it.”

“No, really, I wasn’t thinking…” Lena starts, but Marian cuts her off – “Lena, it’s fine” – a tad too sharply, and Lena falls silent. They all stand frozen for a moment, a still life in awkward angles and chagrin. Deniz feels, as he sometimes does, the lack of Nadja’s warm, comforting presence in the room, in their lives, like a physical gap: a jagged-edged hole that none of them know how to mend or fill. Nadja would know what to say. She’d set it right. She wouldn’t let them stand about and hurt alone.

Of course, if Nadja were here, they wouldn’t be having this awkward moment in the first place.

Then Marian clears his throat and smiles a bright and laboured smile. “Don’t worry about it,” he says again, more gently this time. “Anyway, I’ve got to…” He nods at the phone. Deniz busies himself with the coffee, grateful to have something to do with his hands. Beside him, Lena tilts her head and frowns. “Deniz, what happened to your-“

“Nothing,” Deniz cuts her off quickly, stirring sugar into his coffee with rather more force than necessary. Lena lifts her hands. “All right, all right. Apparently I woke up with my foot in my mouth this morning. Blame the hormones?”

Marian’s muttered curse saves Deniz a reply. “Doesn’t anyone just answer their phone anymore? I’ve called eight people and got voicemail for six of them!”

“Who’re you trying to call?” Deniz asks, turning around and sipping at his coffee, which is hot and strong and comforting.

“Camilla’s still on vacation and her replacement called in sick. I’m trying to find someone to help out at No. 7.”

“I told you I have time today,” Lena offers, pouring the rest of her tea down the drain with a grimace. Marian shakes his head, looking obstinate. “And I told you I’m not letting a pregnant woman carry trays all day. Thanks for offering, though. I’ll find someone.” He’s already clicking through his address book, lips moving soundlessly.

Deniz takes another sip of coffee, relishing the hot slide down his throat. For the briefest moment, it reminds him of yesterday, Roman’s hands on his head holding him in place as his climax took him, the sound he made, as if he was in pain… He coughs, and nearly chokes on hot coffee. Lena gives him an odd look. “I could help out.” The offer comes out before he knows he meant to make it, and Marian looks at him quizzically. The corners of his mouth tuck down.

“Aren’t you busy with your… with that…”

Deniz grits his teeth, registering the lingering soreness in his jaw as he does so. It adds fuel to his irritation. “No I’m not,” he bites out. “But if you’d rather find someone else, that’s fine with me.”

His father continues to stare at him, considering. Eventually, he shrugs, and clicks his phone shut. “No, that would be great. If you’ve got nothing better-” He stops, looks down at his hands, and shakes his head. “That would be great,” he repeats.

~~~


Things never change at No. 7. Wiping tables, taking orders, carrying trays. Deniz is half amused and half dismayed at how comforting it feels, these familiar chores that a few weeks ago, he gave up for more glamorous pastures. Except that there’s nothing glamorous about ending up naked on your knees in a locker room while your ex throws money at you, the voice in his head reminds him spitefully, and he sets down a tray with rather more force than necessary, eliciting alarmed looks from the diners round the table. Deniz murmurs an apology and retreats with a forced smile.

His mobile is lying behind the counter, beckoning with its wealth of numbers, promising distraction. The escort service line is in there, too.

He could call them, he supposes. Nothing to stop him. Perhaps Julia hasn’t had time to ring them and complain about him yet, and even if she has, they probably wouldn’t care all that much; he knows they’re always booked up, and in need of more people. Yeah, he could call. He probably will, in a little bit. When he gets bored. When his father can no longer resist making another jab about why he isn’t “working”.

Marian doesn’t say anything, though, just hands him an order for another table and disappears into the kitchen to discuss the menu with Celine, and at the end of the day, after they’ve settled the books and locked up the cash and done the cleaning, Marian merely gives him a little nod and says, in a carefully neutral tone, “Thanks for helping out today. I appreciate it.”

“You’re welcome.” The words feel stiff in Deniz’s mouth. He pauses. Clears his throat. “Uhm.”

His father looks up at him from the calculator, features so deliberately indifferent that Deniz feels a random, absurd urge to poke his tongue out at him and see if that cracks the polite facade. “What?”

“If you. I mean. I could help out again tomorrow, if you still need someone.” Deniz says it quickly, before he can change his mind. He doesn’t look at Marian, gathering his keys and his mobile from behind the counter instead. Without meaning to, he’s tensed up, knowing any second now his father will make a wisecrack about how surely he has better things to do, surely he needs to be working, surely his client will need him, and he knows that when it comes, he’ll have no choice but to spit an insult and flee, and call the agency tomorrow.

But the expected taunt doesn’t come. After a long pause, Marian simply says, “I’d like that,” and the rush of relief he feels at that, of gratitude, almost, is surely absurd.

“Okay.”

~~~


Over the course of the next few days, it becomes a game, almost – a strange, unaccustomed game in which all the rules seem to revolve around stamina and refusal to engage. They go through the familiar motions of running the bar, exchanging the necessary information – “another three beers for table six” and “could you get those empty plates” and “I think that guy’s had enough” – and otherwise move around each other in an oddly cautious, oddly polite fashion that steers carefully clear of any loaded topic.

Deniz knows his father is watching him, and Marian probably knows that he knows. He can see the questions in his father’s eyes, in the slight frown that’s such a staple of his expression these days when he looks at his troublesome son. Deniz can sense the mistrust and the curiosity, and although he knows he deserves both, he can’t help but resent them still. He dreads the moment the questions will inevitably come out, leaving him no other options than a complete loss of face or an angry retreat; the anticipation is a small, hard knot in the back of his throat that makes it difficult to breathe.

It’s all right, he tells himself. He can still call the agency anytime. He might even do it today, if the tension gets too much or if Marian finally breaks and demands to know what the hell he’s doing here. Maybe he’ll call anyway, just because he can. He’s an adult. He can do as he damn well pleases. Screw his father’s disappointment and the bar and his friends’ frowns and Mike’s sneers, and above all, screw Roman Wild. He’ll call if he feels like it. Really.

There’s nothing to stop him, after all.

(next part)
~~~

Comments

I can't believe you can take the Deniz we see in AWZ who lately (every time I read recaps and click on the spoiler board) I want to strangle, and make him make sense and make me love him again, and God do I love him here. His bruised lips reminding him of an earlier loving hickey (oh Deniz!) and that little flashback of him wanting to show it off like a 12-year-old, so much love!

And Marian! God, I want to huggle him close and pet his hair. He's so bitter and broken (I suspected Marian/Nadja wouldn't last due to soap land being what it is, but NO WHERE IS NADJA TO MAKE EVERYTHING OKAY????). They both are, and I love how you put that undercurrent of them both seeking each other out in a way, needing each other to heal, but you never outright state it because Deniz is just not that self-aware and it's amazing how you do that.

God, and Deniz's little childish inner voice "I can call the Agency at any time!" Really so much love.

This is wonderful, Aldi! I'm so excited to read an update to this universe!
*pounces and pets you and your shiny comment!*

Thanks, love! I'm way tickled you enjoyed this :):):)

It's quite startling how suddenly the show went downhill once DeRo started crumbling and Regine Seidler left (and I hadn't actually known before that those two events pretty much coincide). Nadja was a major contribution to the backbone of these storylines, and losing that actress was a major blow. I'm still kind of idly hoping that she'll come back.

Poor messed-up Öztürk men, indeed! *cuddles them*

Anyway, thank you so much... it makes me so happy to hear this worked for you :D
I love this story so far! It's so hot and intense, and I think you capture Deniz' and Roman's relationship perfectly. I really like Deniz here (and Roman, too, of course. *g*). Can't wait for the next part. :)
Thanks for your comment, and yay for enjoying the story! We're working on the next part :)

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