Author's note: So this little one-shot was the result of a rather bad day wherein my laptop decided to just stop working and expire on me with no warning, taking an awful lot of my writing with it. This fic was written that afternoon as a sort of anti-depressant and way of sticking it to the apparent anti-fanfiction-writing machinations of the universe. My deepest thanks and appreciation as always to JennMel for serving as beta, fixing my non-existent grammar and for her sympathy flailing on hearing the news of my laptop's demise :)
Disclaimer: Sadly, I own nothing, as much as I wish I did own the brothers.
"Garsiv?" Dastan mused, "Isn't it un-princely to hide behind a wall hanging?"
"I couldn't care less whether it's princely or not," hissed his brother, "It's self preservation! Think of it as a strategic manoeuvre."
"To strategically prevent Tus from finding us and killing us because we lost his worry beads?"
"Yes." Garsiv let his head thump back against the stone wall and let out a groan, "He's going to decapitate us both, all because of your stupid idea!"
"You took them!" Dastan objected.
"But you lost them!" Garsiv snapped, the eleven year olds' hands balling into fists.
"I didn't lose them! They fell out of my pocket!" Dastan snapped back.
"Why were you climbing with them in your pocket anyway?"
"I was planning to sneak them back into his rooms using the window entrance!" Dastan glared at his brother and sarcastically added, "It's called subtlety Garsiv, you should try it some time."
"Funny, because I managed to sneak them out of his rooms without any problem at all!"
Their furious whispers had obviously carried, because the wall hanging was suddenly swept aside and they both froze like startled rabbits.
"Garsiv, Dastan. Good morning."
Dastan swallowed and saw Garsiv wince as they both replied with a meek, "Good morning, Father."
"I think that perhaps you had both better come out so that we can have a little talk." Sharaman said, looking down at them both.
Dastan and Garsiv followed their father to his rooms, where he turned to regard them both with a mixture of curiosity and sternness.
"Am I correct in assuming from what I overheard that you have taken and lost your brother's worry beads?"
Dastan met Garsiv's eyes and stayed silent, making it clear that as the eldest, Dastan was lumping him with the responsibility of trying to come up with an explanation that would somehow convince their father to stop Tus from eviscerating them.
"Yes, Father. But it was an accident; they fell out of Dastan's pocket." Garsiv admitted quietly. "We meant to return them."
"I see. May I ask why you took them in the first place?" Sharaman asked.
"It was Dastan's idea; he wanted to have a closer look at them, because he has this stupid idea..." Garsiv blurted and Dastan shot him a betrayed look.
"It's not stupid! You said yourself that they were an heirloom!"
"That means they're really old, not that they're magic!" Garsiv shot back.
"Then why do they always help Tus calm down and make decisions?" Dastan said triumphantly.
"Because that's what worry beads do, you moron!" Garsiv yelled.
"How is that not magic?"
"Enough!" Sharaman cut across sharply and their mouths shut guiltily. They'd almost forgotten they were in front of their father.
Sharaman looked between them, eyebrows raised. "Are you telling me that Dastan thought Tus' worry beads were magic and you took them to have a closer look to see if they were?"
"I was trying to prove to him that they weren't and that it was a stupid idea," Garsiv muttered, glowering at his brother.
"We were arguing about them, so I said we needed a proper look at them to settle it," Dastan said, shifting from foot to foot under his father's gaze, "But Garsiv said no, so I accused him of being scared to be proven wrong. Then it sort of turned into a dare to see if we could sneak them away without Tus noticing"
"I took them from his rooms last night after he fell asleep," Garsiv chipped in, apparently finding the tiles beneath their feet fascinating. "And Dastan was supposed to sneak them back in at dawn this morning, but they fell out his pocket when he was climbing up to the balcony."
"We're really sorry, we never meant to lose them," Dastan said miserably.
"Quite a tale," Sharaman said, "But that still doesn't explain why you were hiding behind a wall hanging."
"We realised that by now, Tus must have found out they're missing," Garsiv began hesitantly and Dastan nodded in agreement.
"We thought he's probably going to kill us when he finds out we were the ones who lost them," Dastan explained emphatically, "So we were hiding...um...strategically?"
"I see." Sharaman folded his arms and fixed them both with a reprimanding gaze, "So not only did you take something that wasn't yours in the first place and then lose it, instead of owning up and apologising, you hid."
Dastan exchanged a guilty glance with Garsiv. He hadn't thought about it like that. Neither of them had.
"I'm disappointed in both of you. Garsiv, you should be setting an example for Dastan," their father said firmly, "And Dastan, you could have just asked Tus about the beads if you were curious, instead of making a game of it by daring Garsiv into taking them."
He laid a hand on each of their shoulders, dropping down to be on eye level with them. "In future, I expect better of you both. I expect you to respect other people's belongings and always ask permission before taking something. I especially expect you to always admit if you've done something wrong and apologise to the person in question immediately." He regarded both of them seriously, "Hiding from your mistakes is not the behaviour of a Prince, do you understand?"
"Yes, Father," Dastan said at the same time as Garsiv nodded earnestly, both of them feeling shame.
"Very well." Sharaman rose and Garsiv spoke up.
"Do you think Tus will be very angry at us?"
Sharaman looked between them and a smile twitched his lips, "Considering I found his worry beads on the floor of one of the corridors this morning and returned them to him, I think not. He is somewhat perplexed about how he could have dropped them there, considering he swears he left them on his desk last night, but I believe you can rest assured that he is free of any homicidal intent towards his little brothers."
Dastan grinned in relief and Sharaman waved a hand in dismissal towards Garsiv and him.
"Off you go," Sharaman said and shook his head as he heard the two boys bickering as they went down the corridor.
"Dastan! I can't believe you dropped them inside the palace! We could have found them easily!"
"It's not my fault! I didn't realise! You were the one who panicked and assumed they must have fallen out while I was climbing, Garsiv!"
Sharaman sighed as their voices receded, then chuckled to himself and decided to go pay a visit to his eldest son. No doubt Tus would like to have the mystery of his migrating beads solved and with the recent increase in his duties as crown prince, Sharaman was certain his eldest son was in need of some amusement.