[identity profile] tempered-rose.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] tr_fic
Title: Schadenfreude Chapter 7: The Case Breaks Open
Characters: Miroslav Klose, Thomas Müller, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sarah Brandner, Sylwia Klose, Michael Ballack, Luan & Noah Klose, mentions of: Monika Podolski, Joachim Löw, Lothar Matthaus, Lukas Podolski, Jürgen Klinsmann, Arne Friedrich
Rating: PG-13
Words: 3,017 | Overall: 13,767
Previous Parts: One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six



“Shh, be quiet. Daddy’s sleeping. Let’s not wake him.”

The words barely registered through his over-exhausted mind. Still, as faint and distant as they had been, they did register. Miroslav groaned as he turned in bed. That’s when he almost slipped off his resting place.

Shit. He hadn’t gone to bed like he planned. Running a hand over his face, he opened his eyes and felt them sting from the sunlight coming in through the sheer curtains he had in the living room. He’d fallen asleep on the sofa. Sitting up with a groan, he heard a giggle come from the direction of the kitchen.

Looking around, paperwork was still strewn on the coffee table where he’d been reading it after he’d arrived home the night before. The half-empty cup of coffee sitting on top of a folder would undoubtedly be cold and stale by now, not that he was thinking of drinking it anyway.

“He’s not asleep now.” The sing-song tone came from behind him. He heard another giggle. He turned his head and saw Luan leaning against the doorframe while Noah was half in the hallway behind his brother. That’s when Miro saw the speaker who had woken him. Surprise lit his features a little, but it wasn’t unpleasant.

“Sylwia.” He replied, sleep made his voice gravelly. He moved to stand up and his body demanded he stretch, so he did. When he looked back at her, she was smiling a little at him. “Always nice to see you.”

“You too,” she replied. “Though, I think you could’ve done without us waking you up.”

Miro waved off her apologetic look. “No matter. I didn’t mean to fall asleep here anyway. You should’ve let me know you were coming over, and I’d have tidied up a bit.”

Had she said she was bringing them over? He didn’t recall, but he wasn’t going to ask. He was always happy to see his boys.

Miroslav moved over and ruffled both of their hair at the same time. They both reacted almost the same way, with a scowl and an immediate urge to straighten their hair. He smiled fondly at both of them before looking at Sylwia.

“Papa! Let’s have lunch.” Luan asked once his hair had been straightened out. “You, me, Noah and mother. Please?”

His request was immediately echoed by Noah and Miro smiled slightly. He looked at Sylwia and she shrugged before nodding.

“Very well. But let me shower first.” He winked at both of the twins and then started for the stairs.

---

He had only been gone for perhaps fifteen minutes, but by the time he came down the boys were playing with a football in the hallway under Sylwia’s watchful gaze. He came down in a fresh change of clothes and had squeezed in a quick shave as well. He greeted her properly this time with a kiss on the check and a squeeze of her arm. She smiled at him.

“Who’s ready for lunch?” He asked and both boys replied enthusiastically.

“Oh, someone called for you while you were gone.” Sylwia said, as she grabbed her purse and the boys ran out of the house. She handed him his phone; he’d almost forgotten it on the coffee table.

“Really?” He was already unlocking it and starting for his missed calls.

“Someone named Thomas. I didn’t answer it. I hope he’s nice.” She smiled, knowingly and Miro blinked.

“He isn’t—We are not—” He stumbled over his words awkwardly, making Sylwia smile more.

Sylwia held up a hand. “It’s your business, Miroslav. I just want you to be happy. I won’t pry.”

Miroslav cleared his throat. “Thomas is my partner. At work.” He added for extra clarification, just in case.

“Oh.” She sounded disappointed. “I thought you’d actually found someone.”

Miroslav shrugged and followed her out of the house. The boys were already in the car waiting.

“I’m too busy for that,” he replied, opening the driver door for her to get inside of her vehicle.

Sylwia remained disappointed as she looked in his eyes. “I know. That’s what saddens me, Miro.”

Miro frowned a little, but shut the door once she was inside and moved around to the passenger side. They didn’t speak more on it as they headed to the restaurant that the boys had decided on for lunch.

---

Thomas read over the transcript that the stenographer had left for him of Miroslav’s interrogation, er, questioning of Bastian Schweinsteiger. He had elected to see if Torsten had received anything new, which he hadn’t, and by the time he’d returned, Miroslav was ending the interview. The papers were laid flat on his desk as he braced his head on his fists to read the report.

Miro had asked the standard questions before getting to the heart of the matter.

‘How long have you known Miss Brandner?’ Over ten years, since we were both eighteen.

‘Why were you looking for her tonight?’ She’d told me to meet her after work at the café down the road. Sarah said she needed to talk to me about something important. She never arrived.

‘What made you think she would be at the Schadenfreude?’

That’s where it got interesting, Thomas had quickly realized.

She texted me and said she’d be there. That she followed him there.

‘Followed whom?’ Miro had asked.

I don’t know to be honest. She never told me. Maybe the guy from the other night, the one in the hoodie?

“How did you know he was wearing a hoodie?” Thomas mumbled to himself, considering. Perhaps she’d told her boyfriend about the night of Kevin’s murder? That wasn’t that illogical. Thomas chewed his lip and continued looking over the document.

He really wanted to go take a look around Sarah’s apartment again. They hadn’t found anything too helpful on the initial search. Thomas did recall the large amount of framed photographs of her and this Bastian person on the walls. They had appeared happy at least.

“Catch your killer yet, or are you too busy sleeping at work?”

Thomas inwardly groaned. Ballack.

“Just reading Miro’s questioning from last night.” Thomas replied cheerfully, sitting up. He refused to show the other man just how much he was annoying him.

“Yes, reading it because of course you weren’t there.” Michael returned, walking towards his own office. He was tutt-ing as he walked past. It set Thomas’ teeth on edge.

Thomas shook his head and looked at the phone on his desk. He considered calling Miroslav again to see if they could take another crack at the case, but he resisted. He had already called once and Miroslav hadn’t answered. That was a bit unlike his superior, however, Miro had said he was going to try and get some sleep before coming back for the day. Thomas would hate to bother the man if he was in fact asleep. Besides, it wasn’t that important.

Decided that he wasn’t going to bother his boss until he had some good news to report for a change, Thomas went back to looking at the transcript and chewed his lip in thought. From what Miro had gleaned out of Bastian yesterday, it appeared that Sarah had recognized the person she saw leaving the alley near the Schadenfreude and had followed them. Apparently, they had recognized her too, because they killed her. Thomas tapped his fingers on his desk.

Picking up one of the evidence bags on his desk, Thomas opened it following procedure and powered on Sarah’s phone. He leaned back in his desk and started flipping through the text messages she’d kept, particularly the ones she’d sent to Bastian in the past twenty-four hours.

‘OMG’ was followed by, ‘It was you’.

Thomas raised his eyebrow. That was the last one she had sent and the time for the message was sent about half an hour before she’d been murdered. Well that was incriminating and definitely worth another chat with mister Schweinsteiger.

Guilty or not, this was important. Thomas picked up the phone and dialed Miroslav’s number. He had to let his boss know about this.

---

Miro and Sylwia were seated on a park bench as the boys played in the park opposite his house. He technically didn’t have the day off, but he had already informed Jürgen of what was going on. His boss had told him to take half the day, something that Miro was very grateful for.

“How is Monika?” he asked after a lapse in their earlier conversation about the boys and schoolwork.

“She’s fine. We’re fine.” Sylwia looked over and smiled at Miro.

It was an odd arrangement between them, but neither had complained. Their beautiful sons was more than enough reward to replace any awkward feelings between the two long-time friends. Miroslav looked back to their boys and smiled when he saw them playing football. They would grow up to be something one day, he thought. And it didn’t matter the origins of their conception or the reasoning behind it. They were there now and very much loved by their parents, all three of them.

“I really wish you wouldn’t work so much. So what if this Thomas person is only your partner at work. When was the last time you’d had a boyfriend, Miro?” Sylwia started and Miro inwardly groaned.

“It doesn’t matter. I’m busy, this case is very important to me.”

“All of them are, Miro. But you need to remember that you are important as well. You haven’t had a boyfriend since,” she tried to remember but Miro mumbled the reply before she could.

“Arne.” God that had been forever ago. Have you really not gotten laid since then? He really hadn’t. That’s embarrassing.

Sylwia shook her head. “I just want you to be happy, Miro. Happy, and not alone. You’re married to your job.”

“What’s wrong with that? I see you, my friend, and I see our children on a frequent basis. I have a career that I am pleased with and am successful at. I have a partner at work who I can live vicariously through, now. Why can’t I just be the quiet old man?” He asked, self-depreciating smile on his face at the last part.

Sylwia leaned over and kissed his cheek softly as her hand rested on his shoulder.

“You can, if that’s what you really want. If it’s what would truly make you the most happy, I will say no more about this subject ever again.” She looked into his eyes. “But I remember how happy you were with Arne back then. You lit up. You deserve that happiness again, Miroslav.”

Miro sighed and was about to argue again when his phone started to vibrate. Thinking it was the alarm he had set to remind him that he needed to get to work, he pulled it out to check it. He then frowned when he saw the name on the device.

“I’ll just take this, it might be important.” Miro gave her an apologetic look but Sylwia waved him off. He stood up and carried his phone a short way away from the bench and looked over at the park where Luan and Noah had started a small five-a-side game with some other boys. He lifted the phone to his ear, “Yes, Müller?”

A burst of energetic, excited rambling came across his ear, causing Miroslav to raise his eyebrows. He waited, a full three minutes, for Thomas to take a breath of air before he jumped in to interrupt.

“Wait, wait, wait. Sarah did what?” Miro asked, hoping that Thomas would take the hint and slow down. He didn’t. “Thomas slow down, start from the beginning.”

“I was rereading the transcript of your chat with Bastian last night,” Thomas said, his words still running together but it was at least discernible this time. “And then I was looking at Sarah’s phone and went to reread the last text messages she sent. Just for giggles, I guess, but anyway. The point is: Sarah’s last text messages to Bastian weren’t asking him to meet her by the Schadenfreude. The last messages were ‘OMG’ and ‘It was you’. Miro, boss, I think Bastian killed his girlfriend. And if he did her for that, then he may have killed Kevin also.”

Years of experience told him not to get too excited about the prospect of finally having a good break in the case. However, this was a lead. And a solid one.

“Have Podolski pick him up for more questioning, if he refuses, have Podolski arrest him for suspicion of murder.” Miro ordered and then checked his watch. “I’ll be at the office in twenty minutes.”

“You got it boss.” Thomas replied, excitement back in his voice as he ended the call and Miro shook his head. He hadn’t gotten a chance to thank him for his good work. Oh well, he could do that later.

Turning, Miro went back towards the bench with a purposeful look on his face.

“Let me guess, that call was super important and you have to go now?” Miro nodded, grabbing his suit jacket that he had brought with him from the house. “Well, say goodbye to the boys at least. Call me and we can go have breakfast or something tomorrow or the day after.”

Miroslav smiled and moved over to kiss her forehead. “You’re an angel. Remind me why I didn’t marry you?” He asked, teasingly.

Sylwia shook her head and playfully swatted at him. “Because I’m a lesbian and you’re a gay man, for a start?”

“Oh, right. I suppose there is that.” Miro smiled and waved at Luan and Noah so as he didn’t interrupt their game. “See you later, Sylwia. And I did enjoy our morning today.”

She smiled and nodded in agreement. “So did I. But don’t think you are off the hook for the end of that conversation.”

Miro shook his head and gave her another peck on the cheek before leaving and going towards the street where his car was parked. His mind shifted from family man mode back to the homicide detective and a million questions began to wake, stretch and swirl in his mind.

He had had a feeling about Schweinsteiger during the interview but he hadn’t been able to place it. Now that he thought about it, it did seem as if Bastian was uncomfortable and hiding something. Miro had picked up on the fact that he appeared unsettled during their conversation, but now that he had proof that he was hiding something…

Once he arrived at the office, Thomas was again, literally, bouncing on his heels. He really was like an energetic puppy sometimes. Christ, are Luan and Noah going to be like this when they grow up? Miro groaned at the thought and moved over to Thomas’ desk.

“Lukas is on his way back with our suspect.” Thomas supplied once Miro was close enough he didn’t have to shout. “And Klinsi wants to talk to you as soon as you can.”

Miro nodded and ignored Ballack scoffing as he walked past. Micha really needs someone to give him a reality check. “Thank you, Thomas. And I didn’t get the chance earlier, but good work.”

He put his hand on Thomas’ shoulder and squeezed. Thomas beamed even more. The little shit. Lowering his voice, he moved slightly closer to Thomas and spoke near his ear so that the younger man could hear, and Thomas only.

“Don’t look so cheeky. Be pleased with yourself, but do it modestly. Those remember humility, but if you call attention to yourself, they will take great delight when you fail if you aren’t humble. Perfect example, take a look at Ballack.” Miro squeezed Thomas’ shoulder and stepped back. “Let me know when Podolski arrives.”

Thomas nodded and watched as Miro moved over to talk to Jürgen. He still felt pleased with himself, but he did acknowledge what Miro had said. He didn’t want to turn into Michael Ballack by any means. He took his seat and smiled a little, recalling the delicious shiver that had gone down his spine when Miro spoke next to his ear.

Oh no. Now he was going to have some problems. You are developing a crush on your boss. Perfect. Thomas wanted to groan and beat his head on the desk. This wasn’t supposed to happen.

“Cheer up,” Ballack again, doesn’t he have anything better to do? Like, at all? “At least you’re not dead like Miro’s last partner. Yet.”

Thomas frowned and looked over. “Just what is that supposed to mean?”

Scheiße. Michael’s face broke into a grin, delighted that Thomas finally accepted his bait.

“I would just watch your back if I were you, is all.” Michael replied with a nonchalant shrug that indicated a hundred things other than being uninterested in this conversation. “Since Miroslav is responsible for Lothar’s death, I would just be careful if I was his new partner. Which, of course, I wouldn’t ever be. No one would. That’s why they had to get a nobody from the academy who didn’t know any differently to be the man’s partner. Watch your back kid, somebody might shoot you in it. And that person may just be Miroslav Klose.”

Michael smirked and turned to walk away as Thomas’ jaw twitched in anger. He couldn’t reply factually when he was entirely ignorant of the situation that Michael was talking about. It was frustrating.

“Miro wouldn’t ever be in that position. You’re just jealous of his reputation. You think you’re being helpful but you aren’t. You just take delight in causing problems for other people, you’re just an assho—”

Müller!

Thomas turned around to look at who spoke and he wanted the floor to just open and swallow him whole. To his embarrassment and undoubtedly Ballack’s delight, standing inside the doorway and witness to his outburst was Klinsi, Miroslav, and worst of all, the head of their division from all the way in Berlin, Joachim Löw.

You’re in for it now.

Thomas did the only rational thing he could do. He gulped.

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October 2014

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