Title: Gardens: Part 1/?

Fandom: Prince of Persia

Pairing: Dastan/Tamina (do they have a shipper name?)

Rating: T/PG-13 to be safe

Genre: General/Romance? (idk…I never got this whole genre thing)

AN: This would be my first Prince of Persia fic, and my first fic in a while. Tell me your thoughts so far, how I could improve, what you (dis)like about it, what I should write about next…and on and on. Just talk haha.

They walked hand-in-hand around the expansive gardens as night gradually fell over them. The birds chirped quietly around them as the light summer breeze made the trees sway. An orange butterfly fluttered above their heads, finally deciding to rest upon the Princess's shoulder.

Dastan watched intently as Tamina interacted with the butterfly, using the excuse to study every plane, every movement of her face as the light shone down on them. As Tamina let the butterfly go, he reluctantly tore his eyes away from her serene face to his surroundings. He was content to walk beside Tamina – a warm, caring smile gracing his face every second in which her soft, silky hand remained in his. He also knew better to think that this was how their relationship was and would be. Tamina was composed in a mask of tranquility, and he knew it for what it was – just a facade. She was trying to figure out her thoughts, her plans. What was best for her country? Was a marriage to him really necessary? Did he know about the dagger? Dastan could only hope that this time her first plan of action did not involve trying to kill him with his own sword.

As they walked amongst the greenery in her palace, Tamina could barely keep her emotions in check. They were running rampant in her mind, and dare she say it, in her heart. With all the events that had just transpired, she was far from the cool and composed princess that she normally was. She could only hope that Dastan bought her act. A butterfly temporarily distracted her from her thoughts as it flew freely, basking in the warmth of the sun. Tamina let out a small, silent sigh as she wished she could be like the carefree insect flying around her. When it landed on shoulder, she lifted her free hand to the creature, gently blowing it back into the air. She could instinctively feel Dastan's eyes on her and the butterfly, though she had more than a hunch that they were mostly on her. Making sure to remain peaceful in appearance, Tamina held back a sigh and returned to her thoughts.

She was proposed to today. Proposed. Really proposed to. She knew that one day it would happen, but she never thought it would be so soon and by a barbarian! Still, even as the thought ran through her mind, she could feel a little part of her objecting at her use of the word barbarian to describe Prince Dastan, and she didn't know why. Perhaps it was because he was not like the other Persian soldiers or his brothers, or any other man, in fact. When he had handed her the Dagger, there was no lust in his eyes – simply respect and another emotion that she could not place. Searching his dark brown eyes both in the palace and in the gardens, she had seen none of the routine craving look; instead, she had felt enveloped by a sense of warmth and security. She wasn't used to it – those foreign feelings. She was used to being wanted. There had been no suitors who were completely fine with walking with her in silence, letting her think. The other men had been all loud, rambunctious, extravagant, and dramatic. They had went on and on and on about their achievements, their excellent qualities, and their riches to offer. Little did they know all their little speeches did was to tell her of their failure in courting her, their noisy flaws, and the headaches they offered. But Dastan had done no such thing. And what did Tus mention earlier about not being brothers by blood? Tamina wanted to kick something. Other than their brief conversation in the very beginning of their walk, neither of them had said a word, and she was starting to find that it annoyed her. She couldn't very well glean a great load of information from their brief interaction. She almost threw her hands up in exasperation.

Dastan felt a sudden change in Tamina's aura, and he was barely able to keep his chuckle in. She was irritated – that much he could gather. With what, he could only guess that she truly was scheming to get rid of him but each one was foiled by the shaky, not yet truly formed alliance with Persia. He smiled to himself. She would need to do a lot to get rid of him, more than hitting him on the head with a human bone, at least.

Tamina felt Dastan's hand softly squeeze hers in what she supposed was an act of comfort. She almost scoffed before she remembered proper etiquette and realized that it had worked. Briefly startled, she barely angled her head to get a look at Dastan. He was gazing at her with those eyes again. Those eyes! She shook herself out of her trance just soon enough to see him give her a small smile before he continued observing the unexplored gardens around him.

She had lied before. Dastan was like every other suitor in the manner that he gave her a headache. There were so many things to consider regarding him, and she hadn't even begun to figure out exactly what "so many things" were. Calming herself, she started to pick apart the situation one piece at a time.

What was best for her country? That one was easy. Alamut needed an alliance with Persia, especially if their previously impenetrable gates were now deemed penetrable. The Persians were well-respected and held a lot of sway and power over many other kingdoms. They would be able to provide the protection that Alamut lacked. Now that she firmly established that thought, she could move on to the next prodding question in her mind.

Was a marriage to him really necessary? Prince Tus had offered Dastan, probably unplanned if his stuttering was anything to go by, to her in marriage, stating that Persia and Alamut needed a bond stronger than friendship, but did they? Could they not just be in alliance without her marriage to Dastan? They totally could. There was no reason they couldn't. But even as she was saying these thoughts to herself, she knew the consequences of what she was suggesting. To reject the Prince would put a severe strain on the alliance – one that Alamut couldn't afford, not with their only ally. At least he doesn't seem to be forcing anything on her right away, and he had even given back the Dagger. Thank the gods. And that brought her to another point.

Did he know about the dagger? Everything pointed to the idea that he did, that he even used it. First off, the way that he had presented it to her, she could sense that he knew the significance of it to her. Then there was that odd destiny part of their ridiculously short conversation. He found something that changed him in a short time. That could mean nothing other than him using the dagger and for a long time. Yet, the only way that could happen was that he got to the Sands of Time and turned back time quite a while, but the world had not ended. And getting to the Sands of Time was difficult in itself. He couldn't very well get there without help, could he? And then who helped him? Her mind was going insane. She needed to sleep on everything that had happened today. This was nothing but ridiculous. She solved three questions and managed to unleash a sandstorm of other problems to be solved. She hated sandstorms.

As her hold on his hand grew tighter and tighter, Dastan would have had to be an idiot not to recognize her growing sense of frustration. It had been a long day, and having her city attacked by him, then proposed to by him was probably way too much to process – even for a princess like her. He stole one last glance in the moonlight at her silent self, knowing that this was probably the last time she would be quiet - if his experiences were anything to go by and took a breath to speak.

"Perhaps I ought to walk you back to your chambers? It is getting quite late, and it has been a long day?" Tamina whipped her head around in surprise at his voice, and before she could control her mouth, fluidly snapped back at him.

"I am not a weak Persian woman. I can stay up past the setting of the sun, and I don't have a bed time." Dastan could not manage to hide his smirk. He knew her silence was never going to last. Elated at her retort, he was more than happy to start some banter.

"Yes, I realize that you are not a weak Persian woman. You are in fact, Alamutian." Dastan didn't bother to hold back his chuckle at the look of shock and outrage on Tamina's face. As she opened her mouth to reply angrily, Dastan slipped his hand out of hers, and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. It was probably inappropriate, but he didn't care. She was really there, in flesh and blood and in words and wit. "I'm kidding. Relax, Princess. I am more than sure that you a strong, independent woman with many night time rituals that refrain you from having a bedtime. And furthermore, though you may not need sleep, Lions of Persia could use sleep at any time of the day or night." Dastan ended his jolly explanation with a smirk and looked down at Tamina who he seemed to have stunned speechless. One point for the knight, zero for the princess – in this time at least.

Tamina had no idea what to say or do. He was goading her! Right after, well not right after, he had just said they didn't know each other well enough for teasing. She was about to voice her protest, but before she could, he had spoken again.

"Is it allowed for me to walk you back to your chambers, or is that the role of your servants?" Tamina finally took in her surroundings and realized that Dastan had led them back inside the palace, arm removed from around her shoulders, which she ashamedly found sad, but whose hand was once more entwined with hers, which she supposed was fine too since she liked the feel of his calloused but gentle hand around hers. Having regrouped, Tamina waved over a servant and requested for her favorite member of the palace who was perhaps a friend, Namrita.

"This is fine. Namrita will be arriving shortly and accompanying me to my room." Dastan gave a microscopic frown, not liking the idea that his princess would be woefully unguarded. He had to remind himself that everyone was still safe and that she wasn't his.

Tamina saw a slight change in countenance on Dastan but couldn't quite place a finger on it. He seemed displeased not mainly at the fact of leaving her but something else. Sensing that he wasn't going to speak any time soon, still stuck in his thoughts, Tamina let her voice reverberate softly in the palace once more.

"Thank you for the walk, Prince Dastan." Shaken out of his reverie of a time that never happened, Dastan made up his mind and was determined to relieve Tamina of some of the pressures placed on her by this one single day.

"It was my pleasure, just as it would be a pleasure to me if you accepted my proposal." Seeing Tamina's mouth open in preparation to speak, Dastan quickly placed his index finger over her lips, effectively silencing both of them as the touch surprised both him and her. "But, I will not force you into anything, and I actually doubt that I could force you to do anything anyways, but I want you to accept the proposal because you want it. Not because Alamut wants it or because you think Persia will not form an alliance with you any other way. Your feelings do matter, Princess." With that, Dastan removed his finger from her rosy lips, and looking over her head to see the servant quickly approaching, he tenderly cupped Tamina's cheek, brushing her skin with his thumb, reliving the feel of it all, and kissed her forehead softly. Giving her hand one last squeeze, he departed.

When Namrita arrived by her side, Tamina managed to regain her senses and stroll regally back to her chambers. Reaching her room, she quickly dismissed all the ladies waiting on her, wanting to be alone after what had just happened. Dastan had told her that she needn't marry him, though he wished it to be so. And then there was the touch of his finger on her lips, the warmth of his hand on her cheek, and the comfort of his lips on her head. Her emotions were completely out of control, and she couldn't calm herself down - no matter how hard she tried – not when she still had the smell of him lingering to her, the ghost of his touches on her. Tamina fell back on her bed, not bothering to change and lazily pulling the covers over her body. Sleep overtook her quickly after that, and all she remembered thinking that night in her room was one thing.

She was going crazy.

AN: Review, pretty please? =D It'd make me happy!