A/N: Hi! This is my first Prince of Persia : Sands of Time fic. Hope you guys like it... any and all sorts of feedback are appreciated. :)
Disclaimer: I don't own anything that's recognizable
As Tamina stood to the side and watched, she saw the whole thing happening in sickening slow motion. Dastan, who had come with her to the sandglass to stop his greedy uncle Nizam's plans from coming to fruition was pushed over the ledge by the same man who he had idolized for so many years that he couldn't even remember a time when he hadn't... That is, before Dastan knew of the truth behind his uncle's actions and learnt to see beneath the veneer of good humor the older man always seemed to hide behind.
Dastan... Prince of Persia - The man who'd first scared her, then irritated her to no end... the man who was a Persian to his toes but still wasn't... the man who'd had so many opportunities to take the dagger and run once he'd come to know the truth of it's powers, but had chosen instead, to respect it's powers and remained with her to help her correct the wrongs that had been unknowingly perpetrated by his own actions.
The man who'd started as her enemy and had somehow... in the process of their adventures, turned into someone who every part of her responded to... the regal princess, the naive young girl, the spirited woman... every facet of her seemed to respond to every other facet of his, in ways she hadn't even dreamed would exist... and the thing that excited and scared her the most at the same time... there were so many of these feelings and reactions that they'd not even started delving into.
Tamina'd always known that as the High Priestess of Alamut and the Guardian of the Dagger holding the sands of time, she'd led a very sheltered life, not being allowed to concentrate on anything other than what she would be needing in her life as a royal princess and guardian of the Sandglass of the Gods. Now, with his tumultuous entry into her ordered life, Dastan had shown her things, made her experience things that she knew had changed her perception of what life entailed... he'd changed her and in the process himself changed. A fact that she knew he was aware of, and didn't seem to be too worried about.
She'd sensed a purpose, a sort of calm courage inside him from the first moment she'd laid her eyes on his form inside the high temple... even standing beside his richly clad brothers in his plain, leather armor and a commoner's clothing, there had been something about him... something different, something elusively alluring... a connection that had tickled her dormant sense of adventure, something that had alarmed and discomfited her then... but something she'd learned to like, even revel in at times now.
Like a nervous new horse, she'd tried to shy away from the spark she'd felt... the connection between them, a number of times. But even back then, Tamina had known that what she felt shimmering between them was something rare... something to be treasured and nurtured. But they'd been facing a monumental task of sorts... one in which she knew she might very well have to sacrifice herself if order had to be restored to the world. So she kept trying to run away from it... from him. Try as she might, she already knew even before attempting anything that she would definitely end up right beside him again... and again. But that hadn't stopped the princess of Alamut from trying to best destiny. She wasn't after all, known for her patience and complacence.
So she'd tried... again and again, to get away from the magnet that was Dastan, Prince of Persia, and failed miserably each time. There had been a couple of times she'd grown tired of fighting it... like when they'd been inside the temple across the Hindukush mountains, where she knew she'd been moments from sacrificing her own life to put the dagger back into the holy stone. She'd been extremely tempted to acquiesce to Dastan's silent pleas... he'd known what she was about to do and had wanted to stop her... why, she hadn't had time to think about then. But the repeated lessons she'd learned as a child had resurfaced from the temporary fog of emotions that the prince seemed to engender in increasing frequency nowadays, and she'd come back to her senses, knowing that whatever she felt, whatever she wanted, whatever he wanted... nothing was worth anything in front of the fate of the world... which rested firmly in her fingers in the cold form of the dagger. For one small moment, Tamina was tempted... to forget her duties, her responsibilities... and be just herself - a woman, in front of her man.
But then the Hassansin's had attacked and the rest of the moment had fled into oblivion while the two of them and Shaikh Omar's men returned to Alamut as fast as possible, to stop Nizam before he broke the sandglass and brought hell itself onto the Earth.
Now however, as she stood, just watching, helpless to do anything for the moment, watching as Nizam pushed his own nephew to the edge of the narrow ledge of rock and beyond it into the blackness, Tamina understood just what it meant to lose Dastan while she remained. Before, she'd been acquiescent about giving up her own life in the mountain temple because that had been the plan her whole life... live protecting the dagger and if necessary, die protecting it. But this... this was different. The plan had never called for the sacrifice of someone else's life. The Gods of the sandglass could never be asking for the sacrifice of someone who had expended so much effort in protecting their creation. Dastan wasn't meant to die tonight and she would see to it that it didn't happen... it was another thing entirely that even the thought of the Persian prince dying sent a stab to her heart that made her feel as if she herself was dying.
At that moment, nothing could've stopped her... had even the sandglass been breaking, Tamina would've paid no attention to anything other than the fact that Dastan was about to go over the edge into the blackness of certain death. Without even her knowledge, her legs had sprinted forward and she was right next to Nizam, trying to stop him from paying attention to an already recovering Dastan. In those precious seconds that Nizam was focused on her, the princess was lulled into the certainty that the greedy older Persian was unaware of his nephew's progress, but alas... her belief proved untruthful. Nizam had always known... and he'd just used her the same way he'd used his family. As soon as he felt Dastan's hand clutching on to his foot, from the rocky ledge he'd been hanging on, the cunning older man threw Tamina off balance and sent her falling in the direction of the same inky blackness that he'd tried to send Dastan to a few moments before.
For all of a second, Tamina felt the certainty of death, the oddly welcoming fold of darkness that she knew was going to swallow her up in a matter of seconds... but that was only for a second or two. As unexpected as her fall had been, so abrupt was her stop... and not much further down from where she had been scant moments before. An odd sort of pulling pain reaching down her outstretched arm from her wrist down to her shoulder and the jerking motion of her stop made the princess of Alamut and Guardian of the sands of Time open her eyes, which had fallen shut in the process of her descent.
Looking down into her brown orbs were the pained but simultaneously relieved pale blue eyes of Dastan. For a second, Tamina couldn't understand what was happening... where she was and what her position was. Her brain had, in that moment she was falling, accepted the fact that she was plunging to her death and that the next thing she would experience was the version of heaven or hell that the Gods of her religion chose to send her to. Now, she couldn't really understand what was going on because the fall had been far too short and she was somewhere, apparently hanging off of Dastan's arm, his injured shoulder still seeping fresh blood every few seconds as his muscles twitched with the effort of keeping her from falling.
It took a while for the usually clever princess to understand the situation. Nizam was getting closer and closer to unleashing the sands of Time from the sandglass, while she hung precariously off the ledge, her hand firmly imprisoned in the hand of the one man she knew wouldn't let her go. But even Dastan, for all his courage and intelligence, couldn't be a superhuman. It would be impossible for him to save her as well as stop Nizam from breaking the sandglass.
For now, she understood. Tamina... the beautiful princess of the Holy City of Alamut, the High Priestess of the Temple of Alamut and the Prime Guardian of the Sandglass of the gods, finally understood the purpose of her life. Her twenty years on Earth had not been for the protection of the dagger... nor had they been for the prayers she'd offered or for her position as Princess, ruling over a holy city. Her entire life's purpose was hinged on this very moment. Tamina finally realized that though she was supposed to be the Guardian of the dagger for all these years, the true guardian was someone completely different. The true Guardian of the dagger, as chosen by her Gods, was none other than Dastan, the commoner prince of Persia. And she had been nothing but a means... a way for Dastan to be brought into the realm of influence of the sands of Time.
It should have been clear as crystal to her the first day itself. Anyone, who had come to know the secret of the dagger and the sands of Time, always first sought to use it for their own betterment. It took most people quite a bit of time to master the unholy temptation that the dagger and the sandglass presented. The high Guardians, who spent their lifetimes guarding the weapons of the Gods, were prepared for this duty from their birth and often kept away from the rigors of day to day life so that they may not fall prey to the temptations that being the master of Time presented.
But Dastan... he, had been different. He had been probably the only human being taht had come in contact with the dagger and the sands of Time, and sought to use them for the benefit of others. Even when he had thought of using the dagger in the beginning, it had only been so that he could exonerate himself and at the same time prevent his father from dying, while bringing the crooked Nizam to justice. He was the only one other than herself, that Tamina knew, truly understood the extent of the power the dagger held and held it in a position of... if not fear, then at least respectful distance. He would want to have nothing to do with it if he could at this moment... of that, Tamina was sure. And because of that she knew that he wouldn't be tempted to misuse it for his own ends... thus making him the prefect Guardian for the sandglass.
As her brain processed the fact, Tamina also came to another conclusion. There was no way Dastan was going to be able to save her and get to Nizam in time. As it stood, the hand that he was hanging on to her with, was already injured because of Nizam... so it would definitely take the prince more time and effort to get her to safety. And being the person he was, Dastan would never choose to stop Nizam before he was sure that she was completely safe from harm. So it fell to her, to clear the distractions from Dastan's path and allow him to get to the dagger before Nizam used it to break the sandglass so that he could turn back time and relive his life as a king instead of the king's brother and adviser.
Tamina was never one to shirk responsibilities and she had always been brought up to do what was right... not what was easy. She knew that most times, doing what was right was never going to be easy. Also, she had been brought up most of her life, knowing that at one time or the other, she would have to give up her life protecting the dagger. Only, she'd never thought she would think twice about it. Before Dastan, she might've accepted it as her fate and not tried to fight what her brain told her to do. But now that she had experienced what it was like to really live, with Dastan by her side, Tamina found it incredibly hard to do what she was about to... what she knew she must.
With her heart in her eyes and her eyes full of Dastan's image, Tamina said what she knew were to be her last words on Earth
"Stop him!... If the glass shatters, the world dies with it"
She could hear him grunt in pain and effort as he tried his best to pull her up to his level and to safety while holding onto the rocky ledge with just one arm. Seeing him in so much pain, knowing that there was only one way out of the situation, Tamina knew that she would have to explain what she now knew...
"It's not my destiny... It's yours... It always has been"
Drawing a deep breath... she said it
"Let me go..."
Tamina'd meant to say it with finality... with a bit of the regal authority that she'd always thought she would have when she faced her own demise protecting the dagger. But all she could get out was a whisper filled with sadness, remorse and fear at what was about to happen. More than fear at her impending demise, Tamina felt an overwhelming sadness at the abrupt ending their story was going to get. He'd been the irreverent, irritating but completely trustworthy and... just an amazing man that Tamina knew she would have more than met her match in had they had more time together.
For all the thinking, all the emotions she'd come through before uttering those three words, Dastan seemed to need no time to react. He was so sure of the fact that he wasn't letting her go, that the pain in her heart just seemed to double at that
"Let me go..." she tried again, feeling a hot tear slide down the side of her face as the reddish yellow light of the sandglass reflected off of her upturned face
"I'm not letting you go!"
The sheer amount of strength and conviction in his sentence, even in such bleak circumstances, made Tamina want to sob even more
"I wish we could've been together..."
She hadn't really meant to say that... she couldn't give Dastan more regrets than he would already be having. But the memory of that soft kiss they'd shared just a few minutes back, after the Hassansin had been killed, took center stage in her mind. Even with the whole foundations of her city crumbling around her, even with the earth already shaking beneath their feet, Tamina had found an odd solace in his arms... a feeling of security so complete and undeterrable as her lips brushed his, that it had given her all the courage she'd needed till this moment.
Now, as the whole truth of the situation, of what she must do became clearer, Tamina found herself panicking for the first time... not for herself. But for Dastan... she had no idea what he would do after she let go... he'd always put her safety and security above that of the dagger and the sandglass... and now, he would be watching her let go, for the sake of the very same weapons of time. There was no way she could predict his reactions to the situation... she could only trust in his integrity and hope that he would be able to reverse whatever damage had already been done to the sandglass by his uncle by the time he got to it.
Knowing that she had to let go soon, seeing the horror at her plan dawning in his pale eyes directly above her own, Tamina had never felt so afraid, so alone in her lifetime. With her last bit of determination, she started to wrench her hand out of his iron grip... the only connection that held her in this world.
She could hear his tortured cries of 'No!' resounding in the chamber of the sandglass as she twisted and wrenched her hand with single minded focus, from his clutch. At last, when she could feel his grip start to loosen around her hand, an involuntary cry of fear left her. She could feel her hand gradually slide out of his, her body succumbing to the pull of gravity... her last connection with this world, with him, slipping away from her and the cry of fear turned into one of loss.
The second her hand left his, she could hear his shout of 'Tamina!' and knew that she was crying out his name... her last voiced thought his name
And she fell.
With a jerk, Tamina, Princess of the Holy city of Alamut and the High Priestess of the Temple, felt herself return to consciousness. There was something achingly familiar about the surroundings, the textures, the smells... everything reminding her of the high Temple of Alamut. Maybe the Gods had taken pity on her and were going to give her their judgement in surroundings that would be familiar to her. But then, the princess noticed that she was in the customary position of prayer, her body arched down over the last step before the citadel and her hands spread out in prayer. She could feel the soft but heavy presence of the embroidered ceremonial robes over her shoulders and her head... something she was sure she hadn't been wearing a moment ago when she'd been in the sandglass chamber with Dastan.
Just thinking that name sent a shiver of pain through her. But Tamina had no time to delve on that when her senses told her that a large number of people were standing surrounding her. She had a deep seated feeling of deja-vu.
She had already been in this situation before. She knew it... but she wasn't able to quite place where or rather... when in her life it had happened. There was a slight scuffle behind her and someone came and stood in front of her
"Princess... The Persians have breached our city's defenses and taken over. The Princes of Persia are heading toward the throne room right now. Your Highness should be taken somewhere safe so that the barbarians are not allowed to come in contact with your person"
An older, experienced high priest of the Temple was standing to her left, an ill-concealed expression of disgust and fear etched upon his face as he gave her news of the Persians taking over and raiding her Holy City. Had she been the original Tamina, she might've reacted with a little bit of fear and a whole lot of anger and disgust at their callous behavior.
But now, she was different. She had information that changed her perspective completely and also influenced her decisions. Now... she was only looking forward to this meeting. She was eager to see if Dastan remembered anything or if it would only be her that knew of the timeline that did not exist now. If he did remember, it would be delightful to know that they did have a future together, but if her didn't, then too, Tamina would have a great time ahead, pushing his buttons and trying to outplay him on every turn. Plus, there was the urgent need to unmask Nizam for the evil snake he was.
These thoughts swirling through her brain, Tamina didn't even know that she'd gotten up and was moving towards the throne room till she was forcibly stopped by the same older priest
"Princess! What are you doing?..."
There was more anger and indignation in his voice at his orders not being followed than concern for her safety. Even in the other timeline, he'd been controlling and severe, looking down on others for no reason other than their birth or their lineage, something that neither Tamina nor her royal family had ever believed in.
Just as she turned to answer the priest, named Jodeh, a handmaiden of hers, that she had sent to gather news, rushed back to her side and informed the princess in hushed breathless tones of the confrontation that had happened at the palace footsteps between the youngest prince and their Uncle and adviser, Nizam. Tamina had to try extremely hard not to jump and shout out her joy... for now she knew, that Dastan had not only been successful in restoring the timeline to its proper place, but he'd also retained his memories from the alternate timeline... a fact that gave the princess what was probably the greatest pleasure and relief she'd felt yet in her life.
As the handmaiden narrated the salient points of the confrontation and finished by saying that the older man was no more, and had died trying to kill the youngest prince, whose name she still didn't know, Tamina was hard pressed to keep quiet. On more than two instances, she had stopped herself right at the last moment from saying Dastan's name. It wouldn't do to divulge that information when she wasn't even supposed to know of it, so she kept quiet.
Paying scant attention to anything else, walking swiftly and quietly to the throne room, Tamina had barely enough time to situate herself over the glowing amber throne of Alamut before the doors opened and the princes of Persia were announced.
Though her ceremonial robes were over her head, obscuring her face from the rest of the people present in the room, she had no trouble watching them. Impatiently, the princess waited for them to show up... they were taking an inordinately long time to traverse the corridor between the palace entrance and the throne room and Tamina was almost squirming in expectation on her slightly uncomfortable perch on the throne.
And then it happened. The three princes of Persia, each clad in their own style of armor and battle dress, appeared walking, side by side, representing the united but diverse land that Persia was, and Tamina could hardly keep herself from rushing down the length of the room and throwing herself at Dastan. It was almost as if she was seeing him after a long while. Even though his features were etched in her mind and heart, she had despaired seeing him ever again and now that she was, Tamina had no idea what she wanted to do.
But there was other, more important things happening. If this was a rerun of the previous timeline, then this meeting would mean that the crown prince Tus would ask for her hand so that they could cement the relationship between the two ruling families... and Tamina had no idea how she was going to politely but surely, refuse his offer and still keep her position and pride. There was also the teeny tiny confusion that existed... she had no idea what Dastan would be doing in this situation. By now, he would also have figured that if this were a rerun of their previous timeline, Tus would be asking for her hand in just under a minute and a half.
She'd been so involved in her thoughts and in tracing every facial feature of Dastan's into her mind, that Tamina realized belatedly, that she'd missed most of what Tus had said. She caught the last words of his sentence and turned her attention to him
"-misled into attacking your city. Forgive me your Highness... let me try to make amends"
That caught her attention and Tamina took off the hood of her robe, revealing her face to the room. She could almost hear the collective intake of breath at seeing her for the first time. But she wasn't concerned with any of that. The first time, she'd been too nervous about what Tus had been saying and now, she was concerned about only one man's reaction. And his reaction to seeing her face again was all that she'd hoped it would be. She could literally feel the waves of emotions that came from him wrap around her body, mind and heart, entrenching themselves deeper and deeper into her very soul. If she'd ever had any doubts about Dastan's feelings for her, she did not now. But Tus was already continuing...
"It would be to our mutual advantage that our nations be united by a bond stronger than friendship...Marriage"
Tus was clearly not very comfortable donning the mantle of one who was trying to make amends but she had to give him points for at least trying. But then again, here he was, going to say that she should marry him when she wanted nothing more than to belong to his brother. But for once, her prospective brother-in-law said the right thing
"Your marriage to one who is both conqueror and savior of your city... Dastan"
She couldn't believe it... but yes... Tus was going down the steps from the throne and putting his hand over Dastan's shoulder. She had head right... this was it. She was going to get her happy ending... like all the fairy stories that Nazma, her nursemaid used to read to her when Tamina had been a lonely child.
Tus had just finished praising his little brother and Dastan was grinning like the fool in love he was... Garsiv said something in his brother's ear and Tamina knew... she knew that this was what she was meant for. She was meant to be a part of this... this family that had somehow, formed around her when she hadn't even known that she'd been yearning for it. With this relationship, she was not only going to be part of Dastan's life, she would also be gaining two very different and very temperamental brothers.
It was also quite clear that Dastan had had no idea of his brother's plans as Tus and Garsiv had to literally push him toward her and he became quite uncomfortable. Smiling self-deprecatingly like he did, Dastan nodded up at her from the step and said
"Hello Princess...I... I-It is customary to accompany a proposal with gifts but... I was surprised and alas am unprepared. I have nothing for you save that which is already yours..."
Saying that, he pulled the dagger of Time out of his belt and offered it to her, kneeling in front of her throne, making their faces in line with each other. Tamina could see that he was desperately trying to rein in his emotions from showing, fearing that he might let her know that he knew about it... It was apparent to her that Dastan had no clue as to whether she remembered anything or not. And right then she decided... she wouldn't torture him... much.
Trying her hardest not to break out into the biggest grin that had ever graced her face, Tamina could feel herself failing as her lips curled slightly as she took the dagger from him and looked up into his oh so familiar blue eyes.
"Walk with me... Prince Dastan"
Without comment, but with a slightly calculating look, the youngest prince of Persia agreed. As they neared the garden she wanted to be in, Tamina dismissed the two handmaidens that had accompanied her, leaving her completely alone with the prince... her prince.
As soon as she knew that they were well and truly alone... or as alone as they could be in a palace of the size that Alamut had, Tamina whirled around to face the man standing beside her. Finally allowing her emotions to show in her eyes, the princess looked up into the warm and loving eyes of Dastan, her entire being basking in the warmth and security that she'd always felt in his presence. Giving him no time to react, Tamina pulled a bit on the wide and slightly ornate leather belt that surrounded his waist and thrust the dagger through one of the apertures that had been left on it for that same purpose.
Having her arms freed of anything, the usually demure and proper princess of Alamut proceeded to throw her arms around the man in front of her, her hands automatically sliding into his slightly long but soft dark hair as she pulled herself closer and touched her lips again to those of the only man she'd kissed before. Dastan stiffened for all of a second before he kissed her back with everything inside him. She knew that he'd understand everything she was trying to tell him with theat one kiss itself. As she gave herself up to the emotions that Dastan had always been expert at stirring up inside her, Tamina knew that the Gods were smiling down on them.
"Y-You... You remember!"
"Yes... yes... I remember everything Dastan..."
She couldn't keep herself from shrieking and laughing out loud when he picked her up and twirled her around like a mad man, all the while repeating the words 'thank you' again and again to whatever higher power that had been listening to his prayers.
As he slowed to a stop and let her slide down to the ground again, his arms never letting her go, Tamina couldn't take her eyes away from all the blatant emotions radiating out of his and knew without question that whatever she was able to see in his eyes were being reflected from hers too. They were two halves of a whole and they'd fought the world, the gods and even Time to be together.
"Shh... Dastan... I know. I love you more than life too... I always will. Forever and more"
"Forever and more my love... and now that I have you, I am never, ever letting you go. Never again"
Tamina's eyes became wet at the amount of pain she could hear in Dastan's voice as he relived the horrific moments in his head, when she'd slipped her hand out of his and fallen to her death
"Never again my love... I will never let you go."
Now that they had each other by their side, nothing could go wrong... nothing could break them apart and everything in life from this moment on would just be gilding on an already golden lily.
Dastan's head dipped and his lips again found Tamina's in a tender caress as the orange ball of the sun sank lower in the sky, bathing everything around, in an orange gold glow, and two halves of a soul finally found each other.
A/N: Hope you guys liked my attempt at a PoP fic...
Please send me your thoughts and ideas... I would love to hear from you. All sorts of feedback is greatly appreciated
Lotsa luv and cookies