Continuing with my new-found love of all things Garsiv/Tamina ...

She walked through the quiet corridor in silence, slowly approaching the great hall where men and women reveled in the Persians' return over food and spirits. She, too, should have been in there with them, smiling and dancing and enjoying the return of her new family with her equally new husband.

But how could she feel merry when her heart was so laden with regret and sadness?

Days, weeks, months had come and gone since the might of the Persian army had last sat at Alamut's doorstep, and now, after the conquering of the barbarians of Koshkan, they had returned to celebrate their victory. Lead by none other than her husband's own brother.

A man she dearly wanted to set eyes on again, but whom she dreaded to see.

But the Gods, it seemed, planned a cruelty for her that day.

A hand reached for hers before she could enter the great hall, dragging her aside with a muffled shriek into a curtained alcove. Hot lips covered hers, a rough voice growled honeyed words against her skin, and those familiar hands hurried to caress her in ways she thought she would never feel again.

"Garsiv," she murmured, a plea against his ministrations. "Anyone could see."

"Let them," he replied defiantly, cupping her face with both hands so he could look into her eyes. "Maybe then I can live without this burden."

"Or die fighting for it," she replied, shaking her head and regretfully wrenching herself away from his touch. "If Dastan should see us-"

An almost feral growl tore from Garsiv's lips and he paced away from her. "Have I been gone so long that my brother is all you think of now?" he asked, wounded.

"No!" Reaching forward she grasped his shoulder and forced him to turn to her. Then she paused. "But ... he is my husband. It is not wrong for me to think of him."

Her implication didn't go unnoticed.

"But it's wrong of you to think of me?"

"I've thought only of you," she admitted in a whisper, her gaze dropping away, unable to meet his eyes. "I lay awake at night frozen with fear at thoughts of you."

She could feel his gaze pinning her, demanding with his eyes alone that she explain herself.

"How can I be sure you'll return?" She asked, her voice so low she wondered if he heard her. "I can't keep you with me, I can rarely ask of your safety. You were born to lead battles, to fight for your Kingdom, and I-" Her voice broke. "I lay awake at night dreading that the next kiss will be our last."

"That will never happen," he confidently promised her, but even she could hear the wavering in his voice. "Tamina."

Looking up, finally meeting his gaze again, Princess Tamina leaned forward and pressed her lips to his, savouring his taste and scent one last time, hoping with all her heart that this brief embrace could sustain her.

"But it must," she whispered, her heart breaking as she turned and fled.

Away from the great hall. Away from her husband. Away from him.