High above the Kingdom of Winchester, stood on a tall podium, overlooking the city stood a statue of the beautiful prince. The statue was erected decades before, a present to the King and Queen in memory of their prematurely deceased son. His name was Dean, and he was beautiful, intelligent, fiercely loyal, and a prize warrior. He would have made an excellent King had he not met his early demise on the battlefield. For years there'd been a battle between the Kingdom and the self-named "Demons". Dean, and his younger brother Sam were a team to be reckoned with, but so was Azazel and his army. Dean died spearing himself on the end of a sword meant for his brother.
In the end the battle had been won, but the Kingdom missed their Prince. Prince Sam fled the Kingdom shortly after his brother's funeral, unable to deal with his guilt; Queen Mary died soon after from what was believed to be grief, leaving King John to rule the Kingdom alone. Years later, after the King had died, Prince Dean was left to watch over the Kingdom as it slowly fell in to disarray. The prince himself was gilded all over with leaves of gold, his eyes were two bright, gleaming emeralds, and a large red ruby glowed on the hilt of his sword.
Everyone in the town admired the statue of the prince. He truly was a thing of beauty, a happy smile permanently worn on his handsome face.
Angels were rare creatures, especially in the Kingdom of Winchester. They were only seen towards the end of autumn, or at the beginning of spring when they migrated from the Kingdom of Enoch in the north to the Golden City in the south, and vice versa.
Castiel was one such angel. His friends had made their way to the Golden City several weeks earlier but he had stayed behind having fallen in love with a hamburger. He'd discovered it one day whilst flying around Enoch City, stopping to talk to it.
"You make me very happy," he mused. Cutting straight to the point had always been his style. His friends had laughed and mocked him.
"This is ridiculous, Castiel," they said. Castiel took no heed, and they left when the autumn came. Castiel remained behind with his burger, but not long after they'd left he began to feel lonely. Several weeks after his friends' departure, Castiel turned to his love and asked;
"Will you come away with me?"
When the burger didn't reply, Castiel got angry; "you've been toying with me! I'm leaving for the Golden City! Goodbye!" and he flew away.
He flew hard and fast all day, arriving in the city come nightfall. His dark wings flapped behind him as he looked around the city, looking for somewhere to put up for the night. He spotted the golden statue and smiled, deciding to sleep at the Prince's feet.
He'd just settled down for the night, curling up on his tan overcoat, using his wings to cover his body and keep him warm when a large drop of water fell on him. Looking up curiously at the sky, he wondered where it had come from, there not being a could in the sky. Figuring it was just some water left over from a rainy day, Castiel went to hide his head back under his wing when another drop fell. The angel looked up angrily.
"What use is a statue that can't keep the rain off?!"
He stood, stretching out his wings and shrugging his coat back on, readying himself for flight when another drop fell on him. He looked up and was shocked at what he saw. The eyes of the Prince were filled with tears. The tears ran down his golden cheeks. Even in the moonlight his face was so beautiful; Castiel's heart clenched.
He flapped his wings, flying up to be level with the statue's face, hovering in front of him; "who are you?"
"I am Prince Dean."
"Why are you weeping? You've soaked me."
"When I was alive," the Prince answered; "my father ruled this Kingdom. The city was beautiful, the people were happy. Great feasts and balls were held up in the castle... And now, since his death the city has perished. I've been set up here to see the ugliness and misery that surrounds me; I can't help but weep."
Castiel pondered the Prince's sentience, too polite to ask aloud.
Dean continued; "far away, on a little street there is a poor house. One of the windows is open, and I can see a poor woman inside. She is sewing a dress for one of the young débutantes for the next ball, whilst in the next room her young child lies sick with a fever. He needs water and medicine, and her, food. Angel, angel, little angel, will you not take her the ruby from my hilt and take it to her? My feet are fastened in place and I cannot move."
"I am waited for in the Golden City," Castiel replied.
"Angel, angel, little angel, will you not stay with me for one night and be my messenger? The boy is sick, and his mother hungry."
"I don't like boys," the angel said; "last spring as I was flying north two rude boys tried to throw stones at me. They didn't hit me, of course, but it was a mark of disrespect!"
Prince Dean looked at the angel sadly, tears still present in his eyes. Castiel's heart filled with pity.
"It is very cold here, but I will stay for one night and be your messenger."
"Thank you. What is your name, little angel?"
"Thank you, Castiel."
The angel smiled, a plucked the ruby from the hilt of the Prince's sword, flying away with it. He flew over chimney pots, past grand buildings, past the river, until he found the small house. He looked in through the window. The young boy was thrashing feverishly in his bed, his mother slumped over at the table, asleep from working so hard. Castiel let himself in, laying the ruby on the table at the elbow of the worn-out mother. He then went in to the bedroom, fanning his wings, blowing cool air over the small boy. He moaned happily, rolling over and sinking in to a deep slumber.
Castiel flew back to the Prince and told him what he had done; "it's strange, but I feel quite warm, even though it's cold."
"That's because you've done a good deed," Dean replied. Castiel smiled, flying around the Prince's head a few times before laying down at his feet, falling asleep.
The next morning, Castiel chirped happily, flying up to the Prince's face, flaring his wings out majestically. If the Prince had been able to move, an even larger smile would have been gracing his face.
"Your wings are beautiful, Castiel. Dark like a clear night's sky, and just as breathtaking."
Castiel's face burned with embarrassment; "not as beautiful as your eyes, my Prince. Tell me, were your human eyes as green?"
The angel and the statue spoke through the day, Castiel settling on the arm of the Prince to keep his wings from getting tired. Dean told Castiel of his life as a human; the games he played with his brother, the men and women he'd danced with at balls held by his parents... Castiel told Dean of the adventures he and his friends had gone on throughout their years, and the beauty of the Golden City.
"I'd never met an angel before," Dean mused; "only seen them fly overhead as they flew north or south. You are my first."
Castiel smiled; "I'm glad to have that honour."
When the moon rose, Castiel flew from his perch on the Prince's arm; "I'm off for the Golden City."
"Angel, angel, little angel, will you not stay with me one night longer?"
Castiel frowned; "but I am waited for in the Golden City, my friends are surely wondering where I am."
"Castiel... Far across the city I see a man in his attic leaning over his desk. He is thin, and pale, and has large blue eyes. He's trying to finish his book, but he is cold. He has no fire, and his hunger is making him faint."
"I will wait with you one night longer. Shall I take him another ruby?"
"I have no ruby's; my eyes are all I have left. Take him one of the emeralds."
Castiel's heart rose up in to his throat, tears stinging his eyes; "I cannot do that, my Prince. Your eyes..."
"Angel, little angel, do as I request."
Wiping the tears from his eyes, Castiel flew up, pressing a soft kiss to the tip of the Prince's nose before plucking out the left emerald. He flew through the city to the young man's home. It was easy enough to get in, there being a hole in the roof. The young man had his face buried in his hands, and didn't notice the angel fly in to his room. Castiel gently placed the emerald next to the writer's pen and flew away.
The next morning, the angel took up his perch on the Prince's arm, and the two of them talked the day away once more. When the moon rose again, Castiel flapped his wings, hovering in the air.
"I'm afraid I must now bid you goodbye."
"Angel, angel, little angel, will you not stay with me one night longer?" Prince Dean asked. Castiel grimaced.
"But it is winter; soon the ice and snow shall be here, it is warm in the Golden City, the sun hangs up in the sky warming the land. Dear Prince, I must leave you. I shall never forget you. And when I return I shall bring you back two beautiful jewels to replace the ones you so nobly gave away."
"In the square below," Dean continued; "there is a young woman, burdened with the task of finding objects of value to exchange for food. If she doesn't return home with anything her father shall beat her. Take her my other eye and she shall be spared a beating."
"I will stay with you one night longer, but I cannot pluck out your other eye. You will be blind then."
"Beautiful Castiel, do as I command you."
Tears prickling at his eyes once more, Castiel plucked out the last emerald and took it down to the woman in the square. He flew back up to Prince Dean, perching on his arm.
"You are blind now, so I shall remain here with you, always."
"No, little angel," Dean replied; "you must go to the Golden City."
"I'm staying with you," Castiel said, flying down the Prince's feet and falling asleep.
The next morning, the angel perched himself on the statue's shoulder, describing all the marvellous things he'd be doing in the Golden City.
"My dear Castiel, you tell me of such marvellous things, but more marvellous than anything is the suffering of men and women. Will you fly over my city, angel, and tell me what you see?"
Castiel did as he was told and flew out over the city. He saw the rich squander their money whilst the poor begged for scraps to eat. He saw families living in filthy too-small homes, shivering from the cold and lack of food. He saw a pair of young boys clung desperately to each other to try and keep warm outside the castle gates; a burly watchman shouting at them to move away, hitting the slowest boy with his baton.
He then flew back to the Prince and told him of what he had seen.
"I'm covered with fine gold," said Dean; "take it off leaf by leaf and give it to the poor. Humans always think that gold will make them happy."
Castiel picked off leaf after leaf of the fine gold, until the Prince was dull and grey. And the angel took leaf after leaf down to the poor, watching the children dance in happiness
The snow soon came, and after the snow came the frost. The streets looked as if they were made of silver, long jagged icicles hung from the eaves of houses, the people of the city went about in thick fur clothing to keep warm, the children skated on the ice.
And Castiel grew colder and colder, but he would not leave Prince Dean. He loved him too much. He picked about the town at whatever food he could find, flapping his wings to keep warm. But he knew he was going to die. He just had the strength to fly up to the Prince's shoulder once more.
"Goodbye, dear Prince. May I kiss your hand before I leave?"
"I'm glad you're going to the Golden City at last, my angel, you have stayed here too long," Dean replied; "but you must kiss me on the lips, for I love you."
"I do not leave for the Golden City, no, I am going to the Hose of Death. Death is the brother of sleep, is he not?"
And Castiel kissed the Prince on the lips and fell dead at his feet.
At that moment there was a curious crack come from inside the statue. Prince Dean's leaden heart had cracked in two; it certainly was a hard frost.
The next morning, the city Mayor was walking in the square with some of the City Officials. As they passed the column he looked up at the statue and frowned.
"Dear me. Look how shabby the Prince looks."
"How shabby indeed," the Officials replied, always agreeing with the Mayor.
"The ruby is gone from his sword, his eyes are missing and he is no longer golden. In fact, he is little better than a beggar!"
"Little better than a beggar!" the Officials chirped.
"And look! Is that... There's a dead angel at his feet. We must make a proclamation that angels are not allowed to die here."
A City Official made a note.
The statue of Prince Dean was pulled down, as he was no longer beautiful and no longer useful. The statue of the prince was burned in a furnace, along with the body of the angel whilst the Mayor held a meeting to discuss what would be done with the metal.
At the foundry, two work-men found the broken lead heart would not melt.
"Throw it out," one said the other; and the leaden heart was tossed on to the dust heap where some of the angel's feathers also lay.
Up in heaven, God turned to one of his seraphs and said; "bring me the two most precious things in the city."
The seraph returned with the heart of the Prince and the most beautiful feather of the angel. God smiled.
"You have rightly chosen. Here in my garden of paradise the angel shall fly once more, and the Prince shall be happy, for they'll be together. Forever."