Dastan smiled lightly as he watched his son run around the courtyard of his palace, his blue eyes following every movement of the little boy.
"No, Thaedin. From your knees. Jump from your knees!" Dastan said as his son tried to leap over a crate.
"Yes, father" Thaedin replied, tossing his long brown hair before trying again, clearing the crate in one swift bound.
Dastan clapped in approval, then turned when felt a soft hand on his shoulder. Tamina stood there, smiling softly. Her stomach swelled slightly under the soft fabric of her gown. Dastan kissed his wife, laying a hand on her stomach as they both turned to watch their son.
"If I didn't know better, I would say that our son is taking after you" Tamina said.
"I wouldn't count that as a good thing..." Dastan replied, sighing. "He's already getting into trouble."
Thaedin looked up, shaking his hair out of his eyes once more in the fashion of his father.
"Maman! I mean, ahem. Mother, watch!" Thaedin cried, flushing as he used the less formal name for his mother. Dastan smirked at his son. Not even seven summers yet and already trying to be a mature young man. He wryly wondered how long this phase would last.
Thaedin piled up two crates, then backed up for a running start.
"Remember what I told you." Dastan said. Thaedin nodded, then took a running leap, jumping clear over the crates and landing gracefully. Tamina smiled, holding her arms out for her little boy. Thaedin couldn't resist his mother's attention and ran into her arms, pressing himself against her swollen stomach.
"When it's born, can I teach it how to jump too?" Thaedin asked his parents. Tamina and Dastan both laughed.
"Of course. Why don't you practice more so you can hone your teaching skills?" Tamina said gently. Thaedin grinned and ran back to his crates.
Dastan frowned slightly as his eyes followed his son.
"Dastan?" Tamina asked.
"He is so strong..." Dastan sighed. "I worry for the boy. You realize that he can never know..."
"He will find out his true parentage one day, Dastan. But only the gods will decide when that is." Tamina replied, stroking a scar on her husband's cheek.
"I hope that day is far in the future." Dastan said before striding off. Tamina sighed, stroking her stomach absently.
Ten years later.
"Thaedin! Thaedin!" Tamina called, running through the halls of their palace, calling the name of her son and brandishing his best tunic.
"Tamina." Dastan said, intercepting his wife.
"I can't find Thaedin and the guests will be arriving any minute!" Tamina replied, nearly frantic as she waved the tunic in her husband's face. Dastan brushed the fabric away and kissed his wife.
"Leave it to me, darling. You go await the guests." He said.
Tamina frowned, but handed him the embroidered tunic all the same and left for the party.
It was the evening of Thaedin's seventeenth birthday celebration, and thus far the young Prince of Persia was nowhere to be seen. Dastan had a good idea of where his 'son' might be hiding, but he decided to get a second opinion.
"Thalia?" He called, knocking on his daughter's bedchamber door. The door opened a crack, and two bright eyes peered out.
"Would you happen to know where your brother is?" He asked, winking.
"On the roof, Papa." Thalia said in her nine-year old voice. "Where he always is."
"Come help me fetch him?" Dastan asked.
"I look funny..." Thalia said, sniffling.
"Nonsense. Let me see!" Her father replied.
Thalia stepped out of the safety of her room, holding her skirts bunched in her hands. Tonight was also Thalia's coming out in Persian society.
"Maman wouldn't let me wear my leggings underneath..." The little girl sniffled. Dastan resisted a chuckle. His daughter resisted feminine society like a cat resists water. She would rather be following her brother around in her leggings, getting into all sorts of trouble. She had her mother's will and her father's skill, a combination that had Tamina pulling her hair out in frustration.
"Darling, let your skirts hang like this..." Dastan said patiently, prying the fabric out of his daughter's hands and arranging it so it fell perfectly.
"I didn't know you knew how to wear a dress, Papa." Thalia giggled.
"One of my many talents." He replied with another wink. "Now, let's go get your brother."