A Prince of Persia fanfic
Disclaimer: The sandbox Belongs to Disney etc, I'm just playing in it and destroying the sandcastles. I'll give the action figures back when I'm done.
Title: First Wife - a What If fic
Genre: What If
Primary Characters: Prince Dastan / Princess Tamina
Summary: What could have occurred if the cloak Dastan gave his father was not poisoned...
First Wife - a What If fic
"Clearly she will make a fine Queen," King Sharaman responded to Princess Tamina's jibe without expression, drawing a laugh from the assembled. He turned to the side, adjusting the Prayer robe about his shoulders, considering the situation.
"But... Tus already has enough wives." Looking at the Princess shrewdly, he acknowledged that his eldest son would likely have his hands full taming this one - if the feat were possible. Tus, much as Sharaman loved his eldest son, didn't have the fire to match this woman, or the time. Turning to his youngest son, Sharaman took a couple of steps to his side as Dastan bent his head to pay heed to his words. Words, Sharaman was sure, he wasn't expecting. "You, Dastan, might take fewer chances if such a jewel waited in your chamber."
Turning away, Sharaman didn't miss Dastan's jaw falling open with disbelief, but that didn't stop him from continuing. Shocking his sons was one of the few pleasures left to him that required little forethought in situations such as these. The King's pronouncement followed close on the heels of Dastan's reaction, daring anyone to refute his logic.
"The Princess of Alamut will be your first wife."
There was laughter and applause, the Princess shooting the youngest of the Princes a disdainful look as she took him in from head to toe with one contemptuous sweep of her kohl and gold enhanced eyes. Their gazes locked for a brief second, shock meeting distain. More composed by far than her prospective bridegroom, Tamina returned her gaze to the King.
Sharaman however, had turned back to his son. "What say you, Dastan?"
Blinking, his jaw still open from the shock of the pronouncement, Dastan stared with something akin to incredulity at his father. He couldn't speak, couldn't even begin to form conscious thought. Marry? Marry Princess Tamina? Was he mad? "Uh..."
The King's amusement was palpable as he turned to the gathering. "He plunges into a hundred foes without thought, but before marriage he stands frozen with fear, eh?" Laughter at the Prince's expense rippled through the crowd. None save Sharaman noted how Dastan's eyes darted from left to right as if looking for an escape route. "And there are those who say he is not yet wise."
More laughter at Dastan's expense peppered the crowd as Dastan - feeling trapped - leaned down to Bis, sparing the Princess barely a second glance. "I need a drink."
Bis chortled, stopping Dastan before he could run off. "I don't think you can leave without giving an answer." He grinned, signaling that he would do it, before disappearing into the crowd. Deserted by his best friend, and trapped by his unexpected wisdom, Dastan turned back to his father. Overwhelmed by the pronouncement, his eyes shifted back to the woman his father had declared would be his - pending his acceptance.
Sharaman gestured for his youngest to join him and the Princess, and Dastan took the two steps forward required reluctantly. He'd never wanted a wife; his father, however, obviously felt it was time he took one. Looking at Tamina for a long moment, he then turned his gaze to his father. Clearing his throat, he posed his own question. "How many wives must one have to have enough wives, father?"
Laughter, from several men close enough to hear, once again rippled outward.
Amused at his son's obvious dodge, he placed one hand on Dastan's shoulder. "With such raw fire and spirit, one might consider any other wives as one wife too many." Which meant Garsiv was out too. "At least until it has been tempered."
Dastan could feel the noose closing about his neck; his father had him neatly trapped and there were few if any ways he could escape this match. Politics had dictated the matches Garsiv and Tus had made before and his brothers had risen to embrace their responsibilities; Dastan had thankfully escaped their fate - until now. Yet, how could he do any less than Tus and Garsiv? Still, it wasn't he who has suggested this fate. "It was Tus who proposed the match; I would not want-"
"Tus will bow to my wishes. Is she not beauteous; do you not want her?"
Trapped, Dastan was damned if he spoke and damned if he didn't. No matter what he said, the Princess would have something to hold over him. Still... "There are things more important than beauty, father."
Garsiv, who'd been silently watching the byplay until now, scoffed. "Pray tell little brother, in all your wisdom, what is more important than beauty?"
Laughter rippled through the assembly once more, and Dastan cast his brother a glare. But it was the Princess Tamina who responded, silencing them all.
"Nothing a Persian barbarian can see."
The King ignored the insult once again, drawing faint laughter back to the room. "Is she not a rare treasure, my son?"
Treasure wasn't the word Dastan would have chosen to describe the viper-tongued Princess. "She is something," he allowed, his words deliberately disdainful to prick her pride. "But beauty fades with time and then what would I be left with?"
Gaffs and ribald comments swirled about the chamber, Garsiv adding his own comments as Bis arrived - belatedly - with a drink for Dastan. A drink he downed in one long swallow before he sent Bis back for more.
"Wisdom, it would seem, has come to you at last, my son. You marriage to the Princess will be the bond that cements the ties between our two nations. Tus has his own kingdom to eventually rule; Alamut will be yours."
One look at the tight look on the Princess' face showed him that was doubtful. A cry for the Lion of Persia to take up the challenge went up about the chamber, and Dastan leaned in close to be heard. He'd made his decision - the only one he could make - and would accept it gracefully. "I think the Princess would disagree with you, father - but I do not. I will handle her."
"Diplomacy has not been your strongest point in the past."
Dastan arched his eyebrows. "I will learn."
King Sharaman's raised hands demanded instant silence, taking a step back from his youngest. "What say you Dastan?"
"You honor me, father."
A cheer went up as Dastan extended his hand to the Princess. She look at him as if he were something she'd scraped off the bottom of her shoe; a look that he'd become accustom to when dealing with foreign dignitaries - and one he refused to let goad him. Trapped, for she had already agreed to a marriage of state, it didn't stop Tamina from deliberately withholding her hand.
"I would have the same promise of you, Prince Dastan, that Prince Tus has given," she told him, her clarion voice cutting easily through the tumult. "The people of Alamut will be treated with mercy."
A murmur of displeasure rippled through the crowd at such a demand, but Princess Tamina held the full weight of her stare upon Dastan, her head high, her shoulders back - every inch the regal monarch of her people. She would not acquiesce without his promise.
"The people of Alamut," Dastan told her with a faint smirk. "Will be treated no differently from any other Persian citizen."
"We are not Persians!"
"Then I will show leniency as you learn."
"Then it would be better that you kill us all now, for we will never learn such barbaric tendencies."
Dastan let his hand drop when his father stepped in.
"We are not without mercy to those who find themselves under our banner, your highness. Mercy you can expect - I would demand no less for my people in your place."
Which was ridiculous to contemplate; Sharaman would never be in her position. No man could. Tamina's gaze remained on Dastan. "Your word, Prince."
"On my honor, Princess," he returned, his lips twisting into a mocking smile as her eyes narrowed. She believed him to be without honor - which only went to show how little she knew him - and his promise was more of an insult to her ears. Little did she yet realize that swearing on his honor was not something he did lightly.
The King clasped Dastan on the shoulder once more before turning to move back to the throne at the center of the room, leaving his youngest with his bride-to-be. Looking at her, Dastan did the only thing he could under the circumstances - he extended his hand once more.
Tamina glared at him, but she didn't refuse him this time, placing her fingers within his grasp in the traditional sign of acceptance, and allowed him to draw her forward. Tradition dictated they spend the evening together at the banquet - captured bride or not - and as Dastan drew her close, she pitched her voice low so not to be overheard by others around them.
"You'd best sleep lightly, Persian."
"With you for a wife, it will be a miracle if I sleep at all."
Tamina's gaze dropped to his belt where the Dagger of time stuck out before returning to his. "The miracle, Prince, will be if you survive to see that first sunrise."
"Ah, Princess," his tone held amusement at her jab, bending his head to hers to keep their discussion private. "The miracle will be if you can walk in the morning." She made a sound of outrage, her eyes flashing and he grinned. "Or rather - if you want to."
"You'll die before you touch me, Persian," she hissed, her eyes spitting fire.
"Better men than you have tried to kill me, you highness," his grin turned challenging. "I look forward to watching you try."