21 December 2010 @ 02:33 pm
Falling  
Title: Falling
Author: [info]lilithilien
Fandom/Characters: Alles Was Zählt, Diana, Jenny, Deniz, Vanessa, Lars, Roman
Word Count: ~1000 words
Rating: Gen
Summary: Every skater falls differently.
Disclaimer: Not mine. (Sigh)
A/N: For the brilliant, generous, gorgeous, loveable, and all-around fabulously sparkly [info]amilee123. With thanks to [info]aldiara for being the Beta Queen and to Show for being so full of suck these days that I am inspired to write again.




Every skater falls differently.

Diana, of course, falls with a pixie’s grace. Her tumbles, even the worst ones, look light and playful, as if she’s tripping across a field of forget-me-nots. The ice seems almost to sway as it catches her, cushioning her from the damage it can do to those it loves less.

~

Jenny has never felt the ice’s cushion. It’s hard and cold and she resents its unforgiving sheen, those tiny invisible cracks that trip her up and remind her, with every fall, that she is not yet good enough. But she knows she will be, someday. She’s Jennifer Steinkamp, after all.

~

Deniz has a secret: he loves falling. He loves that second when his skates slip and something more powerful takes over. It’s like that moment just as the roller coaster reaches its apex, that split second before gravity sends it careening down. It’s even faster on the ice, when he becomes a jumbled mass of limbs and cold and sometimes blood. And he gets up just so he can do it again.

~

Vanessa never expected the ice to be hers. Jenny was the one with the natural talent and poise; she had the baby fat and the feet that refused to do what they were told. So when she first stepped into the rink, she fully expected to fall. And when she discovered hockey, she found she could take others down with her.

~

For Lars, falling is a test. If he can stand up on the ice, he hasn’t drunk enough.

~

Roman had been afraid of falling once. He skated in rigid little figures that displayed his control, determined to stay upright above all else. One day his mother came to pick him up at the rink; seeing her at the boards, he decided to show off the compulsory figures that he had learned: a perfectly spiraling serpentine, the efficient lines of a loop, even a precise bracket with not one line out of place.

“How was I?” he eagerly asked afterwards.

“You were perfect,” she replied, but her smile was tight, and her thoughts seemed far away.

That night his parents argued loudly in their bedroom. This was unheard of – Papa always blustered but Mum always soothed, and so continued the quiet peace of their home. But on this night their angry voices rose, louder and louder, seeping through the faded wallpaper into Roman’s room. While his mother loudly protested that “he’s worth it”, Roman pulled his pillow over his head and drowned out his father’s barks about “good money wasted” and “turning him into a pouf.”

A few days later, his mother appeared at the boards again, this time with a man. She signalled to Roman, calling them over.

“This is Falk,” she said. “He’s a trainer – he wants to see what you can do.”

Roman nodded calmly, although his heart was beating fast. His figures had been impressive after all, enough so that she wanted to show them off. He would not let her down. Concentrating more than he ever had, Roman repeated each one flawlessly: another serpentine, another loop, another precise bracket. His blade was exact, not one hairline out of place. He waited proudly for Falk to examine his cuts, but when the man walked out to the patch, he didn’t give it a second glance.

But he did say, “You’re good.”

Roman smiled, then had to look down when the heat rose in his cheeks. The smooth curve of his figure eight caught his eye and sparkled back at him.

“But good’s not enough, not nearly enough.”

It took a second for the trainer’s words to sink in; they drained the smile from Roman’s face, leaving him with the not unfamiliar ache of disappointment. It wasn’t unexpected, after all. He’d always had the feeling that he was nothing special – his father had known it, had told him often enough; surely his mother knew it too, although she never wanted to admit it. The sooner he accepted that truth, the better off he would be. Roman dug his toepick into the ice, staring at his patch of figures. He could start by erasing them. They were as perfect as he could possibly make them, and they still weren’t enough. Turning them into a mass of jagged cuts was something he might possibly be able to master. If he didn’t fuck that up, too.

Contemplating this destruction, Roman almost missed the trainer’s next words. “The thing is, you could be great.”

His head jerked up, his ears confused; he could not have heard that right. “What?” he asked, bracing for the clarification that would confirm his uselessness. But Falk smiled.

“I said you could be great. It’ll take some work, and even more courage, but I think I can help you.” Falk’s eyes narrowed, studying him, making Roman feel like a bug under a magnifying glass. Finally he asked, “How do you feel about falling?”

Roman swallowed. “I hate it.” Falling meant failure. Failure meant his father was right.

“I thought so.” Falk shoved his hands in his jacket. “Your mother is paying me good money to help you. But you’ll never get anywhere as controlled as you are.”

Roman’s gaze darted over at where his mom stood. The words from the argument came back to him, his father’s cries of “wasting good money” and his mother’s firm insistence that “he’s worth it.” He felt tears sting his eyes but he blinked them back.

“Falls are a part of skating,” Falk continued, “every bit as much as your footwork and your balance. And a lot more than these figures you’ve memorised, perfect as they are.” His eyes fell on the patch of cracked ice now, but Roman no longer cared if they passed inspection. His brain felt tangled as a bramble while he tried to decipher Falk’s words; they didn’t slot easily into his thoughts, but Roman had a feeling that if they could, they would mean more than anything else he’d ever known.

“It’s okay to fall down?”

Falk grinned. “If you don’t fall, you’re never going to fly.”

It's been years since he had Falk as his trainer, decades since he learned to let go of his perfect spirals and aim for something more. Roman’s fallen a million times since then. He’s had bruises, broken fingers, at least one concussion. (More if you believe Dr. Sommer, but he always was overly protective of the skaters.) He still gets frustrated when he knows he can do something, when he gives his all and it still seems just out of his reach. But he lets himself fall, and reminds himself that what some people consider failures, Falk would have just seen as a step on the way to something better.

And when he’s flying free, he knows it’s worth it.

~ The End ~
 
 
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geekchick1013: DW <3 Torchstick Dalek[info]geekchick1013 on December 21st, 2010 09:42 pm (UTC)
SKFSLDKFJAKDFJALAAKGJLAFLDJKF WHY DO I NOT HAVE A SKATING ICON YET FFS

Anyway, pardon me while I flail uncontrollably for a while. LOOOOOOOOVE. I just adore these peeks into the early life of Roman Wild. But being the Dirty Deniz Lover that I am, this is totally my favorite part: Deniz has a secret: he loves falling. OF COURSE HE DOES. What a lovely microcosmic description of him, and when taken with Roman's controlled fear of falling, it even becomes a microcosmic description of their relationship in a lot of ways... particularly by the time they're skating together.

And I just love the descriptions of how each different skater falls. What a fantastic theme.
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Lilith: awz-deniz[info]lilithilien on December 25th, 2010 05:31 pm (UTC)
I love that you saw that impulsiveness/control in the context of their relationship, honey. That's awesome - and very true, I think. I'm so glad that you liked it!!
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[info]graspthethorn on December 21st, 2010 10:29 pm (UTC)
PROPER FEEDBACK LATER, TOO BUSY FLAILING RIGHT NOW, BECAUSE THIS IS AMAZING AND BEAUTIFUL AND I LOVE THIS FORMAT. SO SO MUCH.
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Lilith: awz-vanessa[info]lilithilien on December 25th, 2010 05:32 pm (UTC)
Aw, Rose, thank you - I'm just so happy that you enjoyed it!
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Giorgia: WoobieDenizIce[info]giorgiakerr on December 22nd, 2010 02:41 pm (UTC)
FFFFFFFFFFFFFFF, LIL! OH MY GOD THIS IS AMAZING. SO PERFECT. YOU'VE CAPTURED EVERY CHARACTER HERE SO DAMN WELL, AND IN HOW THEY *FALL* NO LESS. DIANA'S MADE ME ALL HAPPY; JENNY'S MADE ME FEEL SO ANGRY AND SO DETERMINED; VANESSA'S MADE ME GRIN IN ABSOLUTE TRIUMPH; DENIZ'S MADE ME COMPETITIVE AND JUST A BIT WOOBIE.

AND ROMAN. SO LOVELY. POIGNANT AND PERFECT AND *SO* ROMAN. SO HIM TO BE AFRAID OF FALLING, TO HATE IT, TO WANT UTTER PERFECTION. GUH. DYING OF AWESOME, OVER HERE. AND STUCK IN CAPSLOCK.

THIS IS AMAZING.
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Lilith: awz-gay figure skater?[info]lilithilien on December 25th, 2010 05:40 pm (UTC)
Hahahaha Capslock stickage is such a compliment, thank you! I kinda hate to admit it, but it was really easy to write because these characters and reactions are all so distinct. I'm really happy to hear it affected you like that!
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Momo: gay figure skater by shellykitty[info]momogermany on December 22nd, 2010 07:26 pm (UTC)
This is what this fic did to me today:

Diana put a bright warm happy smile on my face,

Jenny made me raise my arms and applaud her and shout out : YES, you will be perfect, not because you're a Steinkamp, but because you're you, strong beautiful ice princess...

Deniz made me make a mental note of his falling style and hope I'll remember it, the next time I feel my feet slipping away. What a way to go down !

Vanessa made me want to cuddle her and tell her to never ever change.

LARS!! Hahahaha ! Lars made me almost spill my coffee!

Roman Wild, you are just a character in a silly soap and no matter how beautifully you are written here, you have no right to make me almost tear up at my workplace, no right at all...
Kid! Roman, so heartbreaking! Especially as we know how much of this kid will live on in grown up Roman.

So fly away skater boy, and as much as I know that you have mastered the art of falling by now, some part in me wishes you someone who flies along with you, who's there to catch you when you slip, to pick you up when you hit the ice too hard, to offer a shoulder to rest your head on and breathe, before you take off again for the next spin, the next loop, the next pirouette...

GOLD MEDAL
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Lilith: awz-ice[info]lilithilien on December 25th, 2010 05:50 pm (UTC)
Awww Momo, thank you! Especially with Lars made me almost spill my coffee! I miss Lars and his awesomely broody messed-up self!

And *hugs* I love what you said about Roman. I think I'm going to have to go watch ep812 again, when he does have someone who flies along with him. (And maybe 299 again, when someone is there to break his fall.)
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쉘리 I whip my hair like Bang Bang: [e] :) - dero on ice[info]sdk on December 22nd, 2010 10:23 pm (UTC)
(I read this the other night, but I thought you might appreciate a comment that actually contained spaces lolol)

Oh this is lovely, really lovely. The details with each skater are so spot on (LARS LOLOLOL. OMO, CAN'T GET OVER THAT ONE.) and then you get to Roman and oh, my heart. I don't really know what I can say (apparently spaces aren't that helpful) but this is perfect and I love it.
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Lilith: awz-ekp[info]lilithilien on December 25th, 2010 06:00 pm (UTC)
Oh Shelly, thank you! I adore your comment, spaces or not! *cuddles it madly*
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Linda: sparkly skating!Katja[info]vitacrudelis on December 23rd, 2010 04:01 pm (UTC)
OMG LIL THIS FIC IS BEAUTIFUL! <333

I love the topic and your different characterizations are spot on.

Pixie!Diana is lovely. I want to cheer for determined!Jenny. Yes, you'll be on top, because you are good. And damn, Deniz. Of course he loves falling. That fits so well. *wibbles* Hee Vanessa. YOU GO, GIRLFRIEND! LOLOL, Lars. Precise and poignant.

And gosh, Roman. *cuddles* His self-doubts/low self-esteem, his fear of falling, his eagerness to prove his father wrong. I love Falk and Mama Wild - people who believe in Roman and his skating and make him realize that he's worth it and it's okay to make mistakes. I just want to cuddle them all.
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Lilith: awz-katja skates[info]lilithilien on December 25th, 2010 06:08 pm (UTC)
Linda!! Thank you!! I am so glad you like it, and so happy that you're giving them all cuddles. *cuddles you too*
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Aldi: AWZ: Roman goodbye to the ice[info]aldiara on December 24th, 2010 03:32 am (UTC)
I LOVE THIS FIC SO DAMN HARD. ONCE I GOT OVER MY CRUSHING DISAPPOINTMENT THAT THERE IS NO BREATH OR WHISPER ABOUT STELLA'S INDOMITABLE SPIRIT AND JOY IN HER GRACEFUL BEETLEFALLS, THAT IS. WHEN I REALISED THERE WOULD BE NO BEETLEFALLS, I HAD TO GO AWAY AND SQUIRT A WHOLE LOT OF GLYCERIN IN MY EYES TO HAVE A GOOD CRY AND BURN A FEW PERSONAL ITEMS OF GREAT SENTIMENTAL VALUE. BUT I AM BETTER NOW.


Okay, seriously now. These glimpses are just gorgeous, and like other people have already said, you've matches the kinds of falls to their personalities so well. I love, too, how the ice itself seems like a character in its own right here, one that changes its behaviour according to who occupies it - loving and gentle with Diana, harsh and actively hostile with Jenny (who makes it her bitch anyway - oh Jenny <3333333333), similarly antagonistic with Vanessa, as if there's something about the Steinkamp girls that just won't let them ever win anything easily; then nearly playful with Deniz (I could almost see it going up and down like that rollercoaster, bouncing him around); with Lars, it's rigid and just waiting for him to fail his self-imposed test, and with Roman... it felt as brittle and insecure as him, as if it was a love affair where neither of them is sure of the other yet, and the ice would not give itself to him completely unless he learned to give himself completely too, and embraced the falls. I adore this!

And I adore Roman's mum so much - standing up for her son because she sees that this is something special, facing down her asshole hubby over it. *cuddles her*

AND FALK. HAHAHAHA I LOVE FALK. I'LL ALSO HAVE YOU KNOW THAT I'VE TOTALLY GOT THE SHARKS' TRAINER DUDE'S FACE PLASTERED ON FALK AND IT REFUSES TO CHANGE. And your Roman characterisation is flawless, as ever - so much pessimism even back then, so little room for compromise - he's gotta be perfect or he's a failure altogether. And this:

He’d always had the feeling that he was nothing special – his father had known it, had told him often enough; surely his mother knew it too, although she never wanted to admit it. The sooner he accepted that truth, the better off he would be. Roman dug his toepick into the ice, staring at his patch of figures. He could start by erasing them. They were as perfect as he could possibly make them, and they still weren’t enough. Turning them into a mass of jagged cuts was something he might possibly be able to master. If he didn’t fuck that up, too.

So much gorgeous bitterness it makes me ache - and it makes so much sense for it to have grown in that environment, with a father who utterly dismissed and belittled him, a mother living under his father's rule and temperament, and the ice his only chance to be someone who mattered.

Absolutely flawless. I love it to pieces.
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Lilith: awz-roman does not approve[info]lilithilien on December 25th, 2010 06:16 pm (UTC)
*snort* I came so close to including a bit about Stella, all about her taking to the ice so naturally because she was born to it, and her natural grace, and how she didn't mind the beetlefalls because they reminded her of her dead mother. Maybe I will do a Stella sequel, Y/Y?

But honestly... *clings to this comment and doesn't let go* Your characterisation of the ice is so amazing! Yes, I can see it being almost joyful when Deniz steps onto it, because it knows it's time for fun. And what you said about its brittle fragility around Roman... *loves*

And um, yeah, Falk just might look a little like the Sharks' trainer... *whistles innocently* I kinda love him and think he should stay in Essen. He'd be a much better hockey coach than Ingo!

Thank you so, so much! I'm all bouncy that you liked it!
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[info]praderwilli on December 30th, 2010 05:40 pm (UTC)
I just read this fic this morning, and I wanted you to know how much I love it. This is a remarkable representation of the characters. I love how each of them deals with falling on the ice and that it reveals their personalities, their character. This lovely little ficlet says so much with an economy of words. I'm truly impressed.

Deniz has a secret: he loves falling.

This is so very Deniz. I love the way you effortlessly capture his character in this one sentence.

For Lars, falling is a test. If he can stand up on the ice, he hasn’t drunk enough.

So sad, this almost makes me like Lars.

I love the entire section about Roman, so I won't quote it all back to you, but this:

And when he’s flying free, he knows it’s worth it.

A lovely and perfect ending to this piece.
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Diana: AWZ- Angry Turkish[info]notoriouslyuniq on January 4th, 2011 02:09 am (UTC)
For Lars, falling is a test. If he can stand up on the ice, he hasn’t drunk enough.
First I was like "LOL!"
Then I was like "GAH! Will you lot stop making me sympathize with L'Arse already?!"

Awesome fic tho, baby *mwah* I seriously heart Mrs Wild.
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