All right guys, here it is: the absolute end of the story. Thanks to all of you who have added my story to your favorites, added me to your favorites and/or sent me a review. Hope you enjoy it, I know I have loved writing every minute of this story and hope that you have enjoyed reading it just as much. Let me know what you think, hate it, like it, love it, just let me know! Be on the lookout for some new stories from me in the future though, I think I may have a few more one shots in the making.
Anyways, as always, happy reading!
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the original characters from the movie and/or video game.
Chapter 16: Epilogue
The night was dark and cold as Dastan and his men rode through the desert, but he didn't care. The lights from the guard towers of the Alamutian walls were scattered on the horizon in front of him and he spurred his horse to maximum speed. He was almost home.
Dastan and has men had been away from Alamut for almost four months. His brothers had been on a campaign against the Greeks in the Western lands and had requested aid from the Alamutians. After long deliberations with Tamina and the High Council, Dastan was able to join his brothers and assist them. The Alamutian army had not been fully tested since the battle with Koshkahn, but they had proven their worth. With Dastan's creative battle techniques and the Alamutian strategists, they had been able to help the Persian army drive back the invading westerners.
It had been a long fight that Dastan was sure had not been resolved one way or the other, but the immediate threat to Alamut and Persia had been alleviated. His brothers had kept their armies on the border to ensure the Greeks did not try to regroup so quickly. Dastan and the Alamutian army had been allowed to return home, but Dastan knew there was a possibility they could be returning to the war.
But right now, Dastan was focused on the lights he saw in the distance. The closer he got to the walls, the more he could make out the outline of the palace and its towers sitting high above the rest of the city. His chest swelled and he let out a deep breath. When he got to the gates, he worked out the path he would take to the palace. Knowing that the path leading to the right would get him home faster, he reared his horse and shot off around the main market place. The streets of the city were quiet and dark as Dastan rode through them. It was a little unsettling compared to the usually flurrying and hectic bazaar he was used to, but he put it out of his mind focused on getting to the palace. The last bit of the ride, he spurred his horse ahead of the rest of his men. He bounded up the steps two at a time, excited to be home.
"Good evening, Your Majesty," a servant said as he met Dastan at the door and followed him through the palace. "It is good to see you safely returned."
"Thank you, Cy. It is good to be home," Dastan answered as he handed the man his heavy winter cloak. "Is everyone already asleep?"
"Yes, I believe Her Majesty has just retired to your bedchambers."
Dastan smiled as he finished handing the servant the rest of his heavier traveling clothes.
"At this hour, we should all be in bed. Goodnight," he said and left the man as he walked down the twisting and confusing corridors.
Dastan easily navigated his way through the passageways of the palace until he reached the familiar door that led to his and Tamina's bedchamber. He pushed through it to find the large fireplace ablaze and casting an organish yellow glow through the usually white room.
He shut the door softly behind him and let the familiar scents of his room fill his senses. The usual smell of incense mixed with the smell of the wood burning in the fireplace and Dastan relished in the smell of his home. He remembered vaguely when he thought he would never get used to the scented smoke that seemed to cling to Tamina, but after a while, he realized that it was very comforting to him. Whether it was because he recognized it as a part of Tamina or because it was actually calming to him he didn't know, but he was grateful for the effect it always seemed to have on him.
His boots made loud, heavy sounds across the floor as each step he took brought him closer to his bed. The sound seemed loud in the peaceful room, louder than even the crackling fire. It felt as if he was disturbing some sacred ritual that Tamina was performing in the temple. He wasn't the only who thought so either.
"Shh," a familiar voice hushed him from the bed. Dastan stopped in his tracks. He saw someone rise from the bed and quietly pad across the room over to him. As she came into the light, Dastan recognized his wife.
Her hair was braided in a single braid that hung loosely over her shoulder. The long white sleeping clothes she wore billowed behind her as she swiftly approached him. But Dastan was focused on her face. She was smiling broadly at him, and the look in her eyes was something he had missed the most. It was a look that she only seemed to save for him. All of her emotions swam in her eyes at once but he could clearly see the ones that dominated her heart. Relief, happiness and unconditional love she had for him reflected in her bright, dark brown eyes.
She threw her arms around him and kissed him passionately. When she broke the kiss, she nestled her face into the crook of his neck and held him tighter. Dastan loved how quickly Tamina could relax him with just a simple touch. He wrapped his arms just as tightly around her.
"I've missed you," Tamina whispered to him. "When we received your letter that you were on your way back, we expected you last week."
"We got caught in a snow storm coming through the mountains," Dastan whispered back. "How did you know it was me and not some kidnapper walking through the door?"
"Believe me the thought crossed my mind, but no enemy is going to make that much noise if he wishes to sneak up on his prey, or use the door for that matter."
"I'm sorry, I just couldn't wait to get home."
"There were a few other people who couldn't wait either. I haven't had a moment's peace since I got that letter."
"Why, what happened?"
"Aliya, Raj and Kamran have been sitting on the balcony every night waiting for you to come back. They've been sleeping here every night since your letter arrived."
Dastan glanced to the bed and noticed three small lumps tucked under the blankets. One of the lumps twitched then rolled over and was still once more. He felt his heart race as he realized his daughter and her two younger brothers were sleeping there.
"Every night?" he asked with a small smile.
"Yes, they didn't want to miss you," Tamina answered with a smile of her own. "Aliya has been trying to stay up every night until you came home. She almost made it to dawn the other day before I brought her to bed." Dastan chuckled and shook his head.
"And what about their mother?" he inquired as he pulled her closer to him.
"I've been as well as can be expected. Explaining to three young children who adore their father that he will return soon is about as much heart break as I ever care to handle. Those overactive imaginations they seem to have inherited from you were not kind to them."
"Maybe I should wake them up now then," Dastan thought out loud as he looked over at his children again.
"Let them sleep. They've only just tired themselves out enough to actually fall asleep."
Dastan nodded and turned back to Tamina as he ran his hands down her spine.
"And you? How are you doing?" she sighed.
"Better now I'm home. The King of Persia and his brother send their gratitude for your help," he paused and smiled, "Tus and Garsiv send their best wishes as well."
"Let's discuss politics tomorrow, that is the last thing I want to worry about just now," Tamina said as she laid her head against his chest.
"Is that an order?" Dastan asked with a smirk.
"If it has to be, then yes," Tamina smiled. "I'm glad your home. You must be tired," she added as Dastan let a large yawn escape.
"It's been a long day," he said. "I wouldn't mind sleeping through tomorrow."
"You know that won't happen," Tamina explained. "As soon as one of them wakes up and notices you're home, they'll be all over you."
"I know," he chuckled back. "Do you think we could sleep in one of their rooms tonight?"
"That's not funny; you know they'll be heartbroken if they aren't the first ones to see you tomorrow."
"All the more reason to wake them up now," Dastan argued with a smile.
"Do you honestly think that if you wake them up now, they'll ever go back to sleep?" Tamina countered with a smile of her own. Dastan hesitated for a moment, but that was all the confirmation Tamina needed. "That's what I thought, go get ready for bed then, you're going to need all the sleep you can get."
Tamina walked back over to the bed as Dastan went to change. She carefully uncovered Kamran, her youngest son who was sleeping on Dastan's side of the bed, and tried to figure out the easiest way to move him without waking him.
Dastan returned just as Tamina was picking him up. He watched as she gently brought him into her arms. When she brought him to her chest, the little boy laid his head on her shoulder and wrapped one of his small little arms around her neck as the other fell limply to his side. He stirred slightly as Tamina began to walk, but before he could fully wake, Tamina soothingly rubbed his back and the young boy easily fell back to sleep.
There was nothing spectacular about the moment and Dastan was sure that there had been many times like it before. But he also knew that it was a moment he would never forget. The sight of his wife comforting his son brought a smile to his face. His family was safe; Tamina was safe. Everything that he and Tamina had been through with the Dagger of Time he would willingly go through again if he knew this was going to be the way his life turned out. Just to be able to see the intimate moments like the one he had just witnessed confirmed that he had done the right thing.
He walked out from behind the changing screen as Tamina put Kamran down next to his older sister. He stirred again, but she gently caressed his face, whispered something to him and kissed his temple as he went back to sleep.
Tamina was about to crawl into bed next to her children when Dastan caught her around the waist. He was standing right behind her and pulled her against him.
"I love you," he whispered into her ear. Tamina looked up at him over her shoulder and melted into his embrace.
"I love you too," she murmured back softly.
She leaned up and kissed him gently.
Dastan smiled at his wife when the kiss was broken and touched his forehead to hers.
Tamina returned the smile and got into bed. Her little son snuggled closer to her as Dastan lay down on the other side of his sleeping children.
His body relaxed into the familiar, soft cushion of his bed. Part of him was content to lay there and not move for the rest of the week. But the other part could not wait for his children to wake him.