Disclaimer: I do not own Alles was zählt. Dammit.

Spoilers: Through episode 1269.

Summary: Deniz goes on the only way he knows how.

Incredibly, Deniz realizes, there's actually one good thing about a loss this devastating.

The scope and gravity of it is so expansive, so all-encompassing, his brain simply doesn't have the capacity to process it fully - to feel it completely.

And he's thankful for that, even on the days he's grateful for almost nothing else. As it is, the overwhelming crush of what Deniz can feel is excruciating enough. Surely one drop more would finish him.

Surprisingly, he didn't realize it would be this difficult. Of course he knew losing Roman would suck. Of course Deniz understood he'd miss Roman like hell. Of course he comprehended that when Roman died, he would take Deniz's every dream of their future with him.

What he hadn't expected was this. This... emotion? Deniz would hesitate to call it that. Emotions are transient, fluid, variable. This... whatever the hell this is... is not.

It had descended and settled heavy in his stomach the moment Roman's eyes closed for the last time. At first, it largely escaped his attention. Deniz sensed it, certainly, but it hardly garnered his notice as it lay buried beneath the ocean of agony that had so swiftly overtaken him.

But even the strongest of tidal waves must recede. Over time, the fiercest waters of his grief began to slowly ebb, releasing Deniz from the feel of being constantly twisted and thrown within their vortex. As they did, it was more difficult to ignore.

He could describe it as a weight of sorts. Only, it isn't carried upon his shoulders, as burdens are rumored to be. Instead, it rests in the very core of him, always pounding dully - even in rare moments when his mind is almost entirely occupied with something other than what he's lost.

It doesn't allow him the luxury of a completely free moment, undisturbed by regret. It doesn't absolve him from the mistakes he made with Roman. It doesn't let him forget how much goddamned time they wasted.

Yet, as the weeks of the post-Roman era of his life turn to months, Deniz realizes something. This thing in his gut - this leaden weight of if only - doesn't remain inside him against his will. It's there because he wants it; needs it.

If he released it, it would mean letting go of them. People keep telling Deniz to remember the good times; to hold on to their best moments as a comfort. And naturally, he does that.

But to only relive those times would be to lose the complexity, the depth of who they were together. Because they were so much more than happy. Hell, sometimes they made each other downright miserable.

They fought. They reunited.

They screamed. They laughed.

They accused. They forgave.

They lied. They came clean.

They tumbled. They soared.

They injured. They healed.

They broke. They glued.

They obliterated. They were reborn.

They hated. They loved.

God, how they loved.

Eventually, Deniz more than accepts that the ball of recriminations lodged within him will remain, because he requires it. He embraces it, keeping it secure alongside remembrances of the good times - the best times. Doing so comes at a cost.

He is altered, significantly and irrevocably. He's less present with those around him. His focus is more often than not turned inward, to where he can always find the real, complete Roman.

Not the sanitized version their friends extoll, as most friends do when a loved one is lost. Deniz doesn't know or even care if others can see the change in him. He only knows it's there to stay.

This is who he is now. He might say he's chosen it, if there had ever really been a choice. But taking the path their friends have is, for him, no option at all.

Even Florian, who'd been so angry with Roman for leaving them, eventually settled into the same pattern as everyone else. When something reminds him of Roman now, he jokes about it, or praises some quirk or other of his brother's. Flo never mentions Roman's initial failure to welcome him, or other things Roman did that had, quite frankly, just sucked.

Deniz doesn't fault him for that, though. Like everyone else, it's what Flo needs to do to cope. Concentrate on the good; ignore the rest.

But once Flo made that transition, Deniz was faced with the reality that he was the only one left. The only one of them dedicated to remembering all of Roman. It is his sole responsibility now, but not at all one he resents.

On the contrary, it is sacred. His very isolation in this task makes him feel that much closer to Roman. Perhaps it's less than generous, but a proprietary part of Deniz feels like his insistence on commemorating the entirety of who Roman was proves he loves Roman the most.

His logical mind knows this is silly at best, petty at worst. Except, maybe it's also true. He can't help but wish that it is.

Deniz doesn't know if Roman exists on any plane anymore; whether there is anything at all after death. But on the off chance that Roman can somehow see him, or even read his thoughts, Deniz wants him to know. He wants Roman to know that despite Every Stupid Mistake he ever made, he loves Roman most; he loves Roman best.

And inside, Deniz clutches that softly throbbing, strangely precious weight of all-that-was-wrong-between-them. Because it's as real a part of them as the everything-that-was-so-damned-right. As much as it wrecks him sometimes, he'll cling to both.

To do so is to hold on to Roman. So he'll do it. Because in this precarious new world of lowered expectations and boundless uncertainties, Deniz possesses one absolute, unconditional truth.

He will never let Roman go.