- 21 YEARS AGO -

"The King! The King is dead!"

Raphael would lose his head for being so bold but the whole kingdom was in uprising over the news of their beloved king's death. Forgetting himself, he'd barged into the royal dinning hall. The room was empty save for two guards dressed in uniform, the Queen's maid and the Queen herself.

The room itself was quite cold. The far wall, composed mostly of windows, let harsh breezes through. Despite the winter months being over, Galia did gain an extra month of gales that blew in from the east. Thick red drapes hung heavily against the wall, swishing minimally from the wind. Her majesty, Queen Evelyn, stood mournfully stiff, looking absently out at the city beneath her.

The streets were packed with returning soldiers. Both children and women rejoiced at the return of their heroes, friends and family, with the knowledge that their city was once again safe from those that threatened to take it. Many were lost in battle but they had fought on and won in the name of their fallen King.

Raphael stepped forward only to be restricted by the guards' crossed axes blocking his path. The Queen's maid, Isabel, looked up at the intruder and gave him a look which warned him today was not a good day to cross paths with the Queen. She was currently residing on a stool in the corner, knitting small woollen boots for the soon-to-arrive Prince. She had taken up the task of knitting after six months had passed when it was confirmed the child was healthy and Evelyn was most likely not to miscarry like her previous attempts to bear children.

"I'm quite aware of this fact. Thank you." The Queen spoke with harsh, cold tones. Her body barely turned away from the window when speaking to the messenger. Her eyes remained ever fixed on her husband's carriage which slowly progressed through the streets and up the hill towards the castle. No doubt his lifeless body was inside, pale and defiled by the wounds his enemies had laid upon him.

Her hands drifted down and over her belly subconsciously. The pregnancy remained yet a mystery to her husband. He had gone into battle after spending one last night with her. That was almost nine months ago. Each month had passed with no word from her beloved King. The ever-growing swell of her stomach was only a reminder of how long they'd been apart.

Raphael held his tongue. News of Rowan could wait. He mumbled his apologies and left the room with speed. The Queen barely registered him or anything else for quite some time. After the ceremony for her husband's passing, the Queen resigned herself to her room, she would not speak to anyone but Isabel or her unborn child. The city was in mourning, as was their Queen.


"Good swing," Dean praised, panting lightly. They'd been out fighting for a good hour in the fields behind the castle when Prince Castiel began to tire. Dean, son of Winchester, had been appointed the young Prince's bodyguard four years ago when he himself had come of age to become a fully-pledged Knight. His father before him had looked after the prince in his youth along with his mother, Queen Evelyn. But as the years passed, his father grew old, his legs stiffened with past injuries and he honourably had to step down from his post, not seeing himself fit enough to guard the royal family.

Dean had respectably been given the task. The Queen found it may be of benefit to her son if his personal security were of the same age. Growing up without a father figure made it hard for the Prince. He hid in his studies, learning about the world and skilled himself from books. When Dean first took his post, it soon became apparent that the Prince warmed to those of his own age.

"It wasn't," Castiel protested, wiping the sweat from his brow. His attire was slightly damp with sweat, hands clammy against the metal handle of the blade. Unlike most soldiers, Castiel's armour was tailored to his body, allowing him to move with ease without the metal jabbing into his flesh like most. The metal was lightweight and expensive, naturally. Yet, after years of practise, Castiel still found it hard to adjust to the weight of the outfit.

"Sire, you hit me. That's what I'd call a good swing," Dean protested, jamming the end of his sword into the ground so he could lean upon it whilst they both caught their breath. From here, they could see her majesty taking tea in the gardens. It was early spring, and the heat from the West would soon hit them, give or take a day or two. The flowers were beginning to blossom and the castle was once again beginning to crowd with colour.

Dean had never appreciated flowers until being appointed under the Prince. Castiel took a fond interest in all things the world had to offer, including flowers. He kept journals with his findings. He'd press flowers and keep them between the pages. On occasion, Castiel would show Dean what he'd discovered. Dean's education was near non-existent. His father's money was invested into buying weapons, booze and prostitutes after their mother's passing. So he found it interesting to listen to Castiel speak about anything and everything.

Castiel was well spoken and very well educated. Being a Prince he had to be of course, but it was more than that. The way his eyes would light up as he spoke with such enthusiasm about what he'd learnt that day, it was inspiring. It made Dean want to see the world the way Castiel did.

"A hit it may be, but a successful one it is not," Castiel argued, looking uncertainly at Dean as he threw his own sword into the ground with distaste, as if the object had personally offended him by not doing its job. "I barely scratched your chest plate. What good is that on the battlefield?"

Dean looked down at his armour. After being appointed a part of the royal guardsman, he soon found out that appearance plays a vital role in being a knight. His armour, like the Prince's, was tailored and better suited than the standard models made by the blacksmiths in the city. Certainly better than the scrap metal his father had made him practise with as a child. He traced the indent the Prince had made and shook his head. "My Lord, if it can be helped. I'd see to it you never see a battlefield."

"Castiel. Please," the Prince sighed. The amount of times he'd had to correct Dean. "I see you as an equal, Dean. A friend, even. Unless we're in my mother's presence there really is no need."

Dean nodded in understanding. "Yes, My Lor- Castiel. But needless to say, my point still stands."

Castiel looked curiously at Dean, picking up his sword once more and observed the way the sun shone against the clean blade, reflecting the wonders of the sky back at him. "Would you draw your sword for me, in my name, I mean?" Castiel asked, still casually observing the way his blade sliced through the light so innocently, altering its direction upon the command of his hand.

"Of course, My Lord," Dean nodded, straightening to attention and picking up his sword once more.

Castiel drew a little nearer to Dean, this time watching him intently, holding his sword by his side, mimicking Dean's stance. "Would you draw blood for me?" he asked, voice serious and neutral.

Dean nodded again. "Yes, My Lord." Dean would do anything his Prince requested. He'd taken an oath to protect him no matter what.

Castiel paused for a moment before asking, "Would you die for me?" He'd taken another step closer and was standing in front of Dean, eyeing him curiously.

Dean simply nodded again, without missing a beat. "With honour, My Lord."

Castiel raised an eyebrow. He always found it odd how noble and loyal people could be to him just because of his title. He was still a man, after all. There was nothing special about him. "Then I shall show you the same courtesy, Dean," he said with a small smile. "I may be a prince by blood but I'm just a man at heart. And an honourable man returns the favour to those he is indebted to."

Dean swallowed dryly. He despised thinking about his Prince as just a common soldier, protecting his people in battle as if here were just a man. He was more than a man. He was a genius. A leader. A hero. He didn't deserve to die in a ditch like the rest of them. He deserved a better death than what became of his father. He shouldn't have to follow the man's footsteps. Not if that's how it ended.

"My job, Castiel, is to stop anyone from getting so close to you that you need to use this," he said, gesturing to the Prince's sword. "We've practised close combat. Your strength lies within you, not with blades. Perhaps we should stick to hand-to-hand combat for now?"

Castiel looked like he was about to protest, which Dean knew all too well would mean he'd lose this argument. But the Prince closed his mouth, wiped a hand through his hair so it no longer clung to his forehead and nodded. "Very well. What say you we retire? I need to bathe before dinner."

Just before dinner was served, Castiel took a moment to add the newest addition to his collection; a bluebell flower he found from a patch growing near the pond in the castle grounds. He flattened the flower carefully before slipping it between the pages of his journal. Taking a quill to hand, he wrote the subject's number, name and location before setting the quill down and waiting a moment for the ink to dry.

The Prince now wore a royal blue coat, tailored to sit above his hips and curve around his neck like a turned-upright collar. The collar curved down into a v-neck shaped cut around the neck which darted down the left side where it was buttoned up with four silver plated clasps, detailed with small intricate patterns. Dark breeches accompanied by pointed black leather shoes, helped to enhance the Prince's healthy figure immensely.

Castiel looked up from his journal when he heard Dean enter the room after redressing into his evening uniform. "My Lord," he greeted with a simple nod and stood by the door. "Her majesty requests you wear red this evening despite how dashing you look in blue..sire."

A small smirk crossed the Prince's lips as he stood from his chair, removing his coat as he did so to reveal his white tunic beneath. "Come now, you jest too much," Castiel said from his wardrobe, taking out a red waistcoat and greeting it with as much vulgarity as the garment itself provided. He turned to Dean who was already by his side, assisting him in dressing.

"I have something to show you," he said with a small smile, sliding his arms through the waistcoat Dean held open for him. He leaned slightly back into Dean's touch, feeling warm hands press against his back as Dean smoothed out the garment and removed any lint which stuck to the fabric.

Castiel waited a moment before moving, gliding across the room towards the window where a small box lay with a layer of material covering it. He removed the fine silk to reveal a small butterfly within. Its wings were delicate looking, almost see through to the human eye except for its glorious auburn frame. "Greta oto," Castiel pronounced with excitement. "A glass-winged butterfly to you or I."

Dean followed Castiel to the other side of the room and peered curiously down at the specimen in the box. "You caught this?" he asked with a small smile. He loved finding out about all these different creatures and plants and things. His father had brought him up to only see pain and destruction but his leader, his Prince, was showing him how to appreciate what the fighting was for; to protect the beauty that was already there.

The Prince nodded simply, a surge of pride going through him. He had not shown many people his fascination with nature and collections of species. And those he had shown did not feign interest convincingly. However, Dean did, or genuinely did seem to be interested by what Castiel had to say. Either way, Castiel enjoyed showing Dean his findings. It brought him joy.

"You may set her free if you wish. I've completed my studies as best I can on her," the Prince said with a gesture that told Dean it was okay to touch his possessions. Dean nodded, unhooking the clasp on the window and opened it just enough to allow the butterfly to escape once he'd opened the box.

Several minutes passed, both watching the butterfly flutter off into the distance until she was no longer visible. The Prince's fingers slid over Dean's as he took the box back and placed it on the windowsill. "Will you be joining us for dinner?" Castiel asked after a moment, looking up at Dean with expectant eyes. "My mother does enjoy your company."

Dean shook his head. "My apologies, My Lord. I have other duties I must attend to before the day is out." Castiel nodded in understanding, trying not to feel too disappointed. Dean had other things to do. Dinner wasn't exactly of vital importance.

"Castiel," he reminded again with a small smile. It was endearing how loyal Dean was to him but it sometimes annoyed him how the other refused to call him by name when they were alone.

"Castiel," Dean mimicked in a low voice, fearful someone may hear them. He picked up Castiel's hand and pressed a tender kiss to the knuckles. It was an action which had caused trouble at first. Dean had wanted to show affection to the Prince but Dean deemed it rude to greet royalty the same way he did with the people in the city by kissing on the lips. So instead he substituted the gesture for one less common. The Prince did not seem to mind, whether he knew of the common greeting or not. He appreciated the gesture that affirmed that Dean was more than just his guard, but his friend.

Castiel nodded and let his hand be held for a moment longer before he slipped away to the dining hall. Dean closed the door and followed on behind him, nodding in greeting to the other guards surrounding the hallways. After five minutes, they arrived in the dining hall.

Queen Evelyn was already seated at the head of the table, waiting patiently for her son to arrive. She wore a maroon dress made of the finest silks the North could provide. The embroidery detailed those of robins that nest in the orchids in the winter. She lifted up her head, straightening and deeming herself presentable as she watched the Prince enter and take a seat by her side.

"Have you been waiting long?" he asked in way of an apology as his mother watched him with a saddened eye. She cupped his cheek gently, stroking a thumb over the plump skin.

"Not long at all," she assured, voice soft and gentle. Always had been. She was just the type. Beautiful and nurturing. Even after the loss of her husband, she found beauty in the world. As long as her son continued to give life and inspire others, her life had not been for nothing.

She looked up to see Dean standing at attention at the end of the table, waiting to be dismissed. "Dean, my boy. Will you be joining us for dinner?" she asked. "I do enjoy your company so." The Queen had always wanted more than one child but Castiel had been her only one before the passing of the King. It did not feel right to her, to bear the children of another man. So seeing her son bond with his guard, a youth himself, she felt almost obliged to treat him as her own to some extent.

Dean shook his head, sparing Castiel a glance. "My apologies, ma'am. My duties lie elsewhere this evening," he said, giving her his most charming boyish smile. He did love the Queen. She was caring, despite what the rumours and hushed whispers from the city said. She could rule with harsh and cold terms at times but all with the best interest of her people.

Queen Evelyn nodded and waved him off. "You're dismissed, Winchester. We'll see you tomorrow."

"Thank you, ma'am," he said with a slight nod and bow. He turned a little and did the same for Castiel. "My Lord." He stood back to attention before turning on his heel and exited the room swiftly to return to the guard's room and clean his armour before the night was out.

Evelyn watched as the boy left the room before turning her attention back to her son and the food which was being set out before them. They weren't greedy people. What food they had the savoured. They shared with others through dinner parties and charity. They did not feel the need to waste supplies or money, despite being well stocked with both. Agreeing with her advisers, she felt it was more appropriate to invest the money in the people and their city's defense system.

"Did you have fun with Dean today?" she asked Castiel, taking a few slithers of cooked chicken from the platter in front of them and placed it on her plate. She added a few slices of smoked ham and salmon before adding paté and goats cheese.

Castiel nodded, filling his own plate with assorted foods. "Yes. We practised combat again. I'm still useless with a sword but my hand-to-hand has improved," he said with enthusiasm.

His mother gave a look of concern. "You know how I feel about fighting, Castiel," she said with a grave tone.

The Prince nodded solemnly. "I understand. I just want to know how. That's all," he assured her to put her mind at ease. He knew the subject of war and the King was hard on her. "If something were to happen, it's a comforting thought to know I'd be able to protect myself from danger."

Evelyn seemed content with his answer and began to feast. The dinner was simple and mostly held in companionable silence, until dessert was served and the Queen looked troubled, struggling for words.

"Mother?" Castiel queried, frowning as he lowered his wine glass back to the table, watching her worryingly.

"You just became of age, Castiel," she began, clearly having trouble explaining herself. She didn't exactly support the idea. They'd been without a king for twenty-one years. Castiel seemed content to just continue ruling along side his mother, as did their people. "As you know you'll soon have to wed to become king. To do this you'll need to invite princesses and ladies to come here, to the castle, and choose your bride."

Castiel couldn't stomach dessert. The thought of marrying someone he did not know nor love nauseated him. He did not wish to proceed with this tradition but he didn't want to dishonour his family and their wishes. "Very well. We'll host a dinner three weeks from now. It'll be settled then."

True to his word, the Prince set a date and invited young women from across the land to come to Galia. Many responded, some they declined beforehand due to the alliance between their kingdoms being too unstable.

Two weeks prior to the princesses' arrival, Castiel was walking the castle grounds with Dean by his side, taking a leisurely stroll. "If I am to be King I must wed," Castiel had explained, expressing his troubles to the Knight. "My concern is taking a bride that I do not love."

Dean's step faltered a little, just for a moment before stepping back into line as he and the Prince walked into the city. "Do you wish to be King, My Lord?" he questioned, sounding upset and concerned for the poor Prince's fate. "Pardon my boldness but if your heart's desires are fixated on becoming King then surely wedding would be less of a concern?"

Castiel sighed, watching his people greet him with tipped hats and curtsies as they passed in the street. The Prince would greet them so with a traditional wave. "My mother and I have ruled this city without trouble these past few years. King is but a title, one I'm disinterested in earning unless I find true love."

A young girl, no more than four or five years of age, ran obliviously into the Prince's leg as her sister chased her through the streets. Castiel stood stiff for a moment, too invested in his conversation to notice the child. "Pardon my sis-teh, your grace," a young blonde said, picking her sister up like a toddler would a cat. Her accent thick, clearly uneducated with the way she pronounced her words.

Dean had stepped closer to Castiel out of habit, ready to resolve the situation if needs be but Castiel laid a hand on his shoulder and he stepped down. "It's quite alright. These things happen," Castiel had said, voice soft and gentle, much like his mother's. The older of the two sisters nudged the other one unsubtly and they both curtsied as best they could given their age before scurrying off, presumably to find their mother.

"But I am of age," Castiel continued as if nothing had happened, falling back into step with Dean as they continued to walk along the street, observing the bustle of people and the life that emerged there. "There is nothing I can do about my fate. I can only do my best to honour the tradition with grace and dignity."

Dean nodded in understanding. After all, he had no say in the matter and both he and Castiel knew what his opinion would be very clearly. It did not need to be spoken aloud. They finally made it to the Apothecary where Castiel required something to help his mother sleep.

Walter, son of Harold, one of Dean's friends growing up, stood behind the counter, bowing neatly upon arrival of the Prince. Dean pressed a chaste kiss to Walter's lips in greeting before the Prince looked curiously between the interaction. He had not been aware of such affections. Dean had never introduced him to it nor ever mentioned it as a common greeting amongst his people.

So the Prince held his hand out expectantly to which a confused exchange had been shared between Walter and Dean. The Knight nodded subtly, gesturing for Walter to go with it. He kissed the Prince's hand, feeling uncomfortable to the alien gesture of alliance. The Prince, however, was unaware of the foreignness of the gesture.

After the uncertain interaction the Prince got his mother's herbal medicines and a few tea leaves to study in his journal. Naturally, Dean carried them for him, despite the Prince's protests. "I'm perfectly capable of carrying my own things, Dean," he'd argued lightly on their way back to the castle.

"Yes but it's my job. The walk has been a privilege, I feel I should earn my keep some way," Dean said with an easy smile that made Castiel's argument dissolve on his tongue. "Now unless you disagree, I'd like to take the scenic route back. There's something I want to show you."

Castiel wanted to ask where Dean was taking them but held his tongue. He did enjoy Dean's surprise walks. They did tend to lead to the most fascinating of places. This time they found themselves in a forest, littered with yellow flowers behind the castle gardens. "I couldn't sleep the other night and stumbled across this place. I don't remember seeing these flowers in your books. Thought it might be of interest."

A nod from the Prince affirmed that it was of interest. He knelt down in the grass, feeling the blades tickles his knees through the thin material of his tights. His fingertips brushed over the small yellow flowers, studying them curiously. "Yes. I've never seen these before," he commented lightly, picking one and twirled the stem between his thumb and forefinger, observing the way the petals danced with the movement.

"I'm glad," Dean said, looking happier than he had in a while. He loved watching Castiel's ever-growing thirst for knowledge, for life. It was inspiring. Dean couldn't wait for the Prince to tell him all about his finding about the small flower. He watched as, with a few steps, the Prince had walked towards him, placing the flower carefully in Dean's carrier pouch.

A silence grew between them then. Dean waited for the Prince to move but he didn't. He simply stood, watching his Knight with great curiosity. "Why don't you kiss me?" Castiel finally asked with innocent curiosity. "Like you do the others?" They were alone out here. Castiel felt safe to ask these things. It was peaceful and quiet. The sun was setting, giving the yellow flowers a healthy glow, almost illuminating them, lighting the way as the night crept in.

Dean drew a breath in, unable to speak. He'd never expected the Prince to ask him this particular question. He'd asked about the people before, about their happiness and well being but never why Dean would not treat him as one. "I didn't think it would be appropriate, My Lord," he whispered, as night drew in the coldness did too. The cool air clouded his breath as Dean huffed out a shuddery breath, creating a opaque barrier between.

"Well I do," Castiel protested lightly, smiling uncertainly. He wasn't sure why Dean treated him differently. He would kiss his hand only in times when they were truly alone, why would the placement of the kiss be any different? "I'd like you to kiss me," he said with a small nod, watching Dean intently.

Dean looked uncertain. He did not want to offend his Prince but Castiel looked determined. No matter what Dean said, it was obvious he was going to get his way. He nodded timidly, fingers threading through the fine hairs on the back of the Prince's head, gently massaging the scalp as he brought Castiel closer until their lips ghosted over one another's.

Their breaths mingled. Castiel was still watching Dean with obvious curiosity and the Dean dipped forward that extra inch and their lips tangled softly. The press of heat from Dean's lips shivered through his entire body. It felt exotic, electrifying. Dean was everywhere. The heat and scent intoxicating.

In his life, Castiel had never kissed anyone. A touch of hands, a brush of shoulders, but never a kiss. He felt intense flames soar in the pit of his belly as Dean kissed him. His personal Knight and servant. His friend. No one else seemed fit for the job. Only Dean. As the Knight moved away, Castiel could barely speak. His mind ceased to be and all he could think about was Dean.

"F-Forgive me, My Lord," Dean stammered, stepping out of the Prince's personal space. "I forgot my place." He looked ever so flustered, cheeks and ears tinted pink against his naturally tanned skin. The blush spread across the bridge of his nose, making his freckles almost invincible to the eye.

The Prince could only stare, wide eyed and breathless as he tried to regain his thoughts. The only thing coherent that passed his lips were his name. "Castiel," he reminded, tone soft and forgiving in every way. His hands betrayed him, experimentally reaching out for the other and bringing him back closer. To taste the sweet skin of the man's lips once again. "My name's Castiel."

Dean found what little intelligence he had to protest disappeared when the sweet Prince's lips touched his' again. There must have been twenty minutes of sunlight left before the sun descended entirely, surrounding them in darkness. Until then, they laid down in the grass amongst the flowers, sharing kisses and touches no one else would know about. Castiel's name a prayer on Dean's lips as he whispered sweet nothings into his Prince's ear.

Upon nightfall, the Knight escorted Castiel home, back through the gardens and to the castle. Once in his chambers, Castiel bid Dean goodnight, pressing one last kiss to the man's lips before sending him away for some much needed rest. Castiel spent the next hour searching through his encyclopaedias but found nothing on the mysterious flower. So for now, in his journal, he wrote the location, the subject's number and a name: Dean.

Dean returned home shortly after leaving the castle. As always, Castiel had sent him to the kitchen to collect some leftover meat to take home for dinner. Nothing was to go to waste and most of the servants and guards were issued meat on a regular basis. It also ensured that the staff ate healthily.

Living on the outskirts of the city became a chore at times. The walks were long and tiresome but on nights like tonight, Dean didn't mind too much. His mind was at ease and for the first time in a while, he was happy. He admired the stars on his way home, trying to remember the names of the constellations Castiel had shown him one night last summer when the skies were clear.

Eventually, Dean reached his home. It wasn't much. A small wooden house with two bedrooms with a little patch of land for cattle out back. They didn't need much. It was mainly a place for his father to live in. Both Dean and his brother, Sam, spent their time working for the city, earning money to pay the debts of their father's filthy habits.

Inside, there was a fireplace, burning the last of the logs, illuminating the small room. His father sat on a tattered armchair, intoxicated in the corner of the room. An almost empty bottle of whiskey in one hand and a harlot in his lap. His other hand skimming across her thigh, playing with the hole in her broken stockings. He was muttering dirtily in her ear, things Dean could not hear nor wished to.

Dean didn't bother greeting him anymore. He was always too enthralled by the woman in his lap to pay attention to his own son. Dean took a step further into the room, closing the door gently after him as he set his coat on the hook on the wall. He set the burlap sack in his hand on the kitchen counter. The blood from the meat soaking through and staining the material. Dean rolled up his sleeves and washed his hands in the water bucket by the counter before taking the meat out of the sack and began to cut it into pieces for stew.

From the far corner, the woman's infuriating giggles could be heard. His father groping her indecently, whispering drunken slurs whilst sucking on her earlobe. Dean had learnt to tune it out by now. It's just how he was after mom died. It couldn't be helped. Most people around these parts were the same, looking for answers at the bottom of a bottle and for a cheap thrill in a prostitute in a short skirt and knee high boots. The woman soon stood, his father slapping her ass as she scurried across the room and up the stairs into the master bedroom, his father following suit without so much as an acknowledgement to Dean.

The water came to boil, Dean added the meat, vegetables and what little seasoning they had and let it stew over the fire. By this point his father's shenanigans could be heard. The wretched woman making noises not unheard to come from their cow daisy when they first tried to milk her. The floorboards above Dean's heard creaked and moaned, dust filling the air and making him sneeze. He shook his head, swiping the axe from the corner of the room and took to the woods. Dinner wouldn't be ready for some time and they were running low on wood.

By the time Dean had returned, his brother was polishing his armour by the fire and his father had returned to his armchair, passed out with a bottle of whiskey clutched in one hand. "Sammy," Dean greeted, setting down the logs and axe by the fireplace before checking over the stew in the pot.

"Dean, took you long enough," Sam grumbled. "I'm starving!" Sam was four years younger than him at just eighteen. Like their father, he too had joined to services. He was a guard for the lower city, street patrol mostly. Keeping everyone in order. He'd seen his brother earlier that day with the Prince. Sometimes he got jealous. Wished his job was that easy but at other times he was happy were he worked. It was good honest work and Sam was proud of what he did.

"Alright, quit your yammerin'," Dean snapped back, picking up the ladle and served both himself and Sam a bowl of stew. They both ate quickly, too tired to try and converse at this hour. Then played for the non-soiled bed upstairs, seeing as there was only two bedrooms. Growing up they'd shared but now their father spent most of his time passed out in his chair, there really was no need to let the bed go to waste anymore.

"Dammit," Dean sighed, throwing his cards down defeatedly. Sam tried to hide his victorious smile and failed. Dean tried to not think about what was on the bed as he curled under the covers and fell asleep to fond memories of his Prince, surrounded by flowers looking up at him with bright eyes as they kissed 'til sunset.

A week later and Ladies and Princesses began to flood the streets, coming in from all corners of the world. The city had been cleaned and prepared for their arrival. It wasn't often they had guests in Galia but when they did, they were welcomed like family and treated as such too.

Spring had arrived just in time. Flowers had blossomed through out the city, covering the streets with colour and life once again after the harsh winter months. Neither Castiel or Evelyn were looking forward to the upcoming week. They were both quiet, fairly sheltered people. They did not wish for someone to come in and ruin the way they ruled their kingdom. They just wanted to be left alone.

The people of Galia headed to the streets to see the arrival of royalty from distant lands. Some humoured the people, waving from their carriage and taking flowers offered from the locals. Others were not so kindhearted, ignoring everyone and remaining hidden behind their carriage door.

Castiel was currently in his chambers whilst Dean clasped the buttons together on his fitted navy waistcoat. The cheers from the city could be made out faintly from here. "Good luck today, My Lord," Dean had said, doing his best to be supportive of the situation. It's not like either of them had a choice in the matter. He swiped a hand down Castiel's back, smoothing out the material before taking a step back and to the side, out of the way of the Prince so he could admire himself in his dresser mirror.

"Castiel," he reminded again absently, tilting his chin up, striking a heroic pose. Something to make him look more like a prince, he supposed. "And thank you, Dean," he said as an afterthought, voice soft and gentle as he observed the other through his mirror. "I think I shall need all the support I can get."

Dean gave a small smile before brushing his fingertips over Castiel's velvet cloak, hooking the fabric over his fingers and draping it over one of the Prince's shoulders before clipping it into place so it hung smoothly on its own. The dark blue material broadening the lean frame of the Prince and making him look more defiant and powerful. All that was left was his crown. It was a simple piece, silver in colour, the base wrapped around his forehead which then allowed the metal to peter out into branches, nestled within his hair. Castiel looked radiant, Dean found. He'd only seen Castiel wear the crown once but hadn't been close enough to appreciate its true beauty.

"There's to be a dinner tonight," Castiel said after a long moment. Both men caught staring at each other. "My mother insists you join us," he said with a smile. "Princess Meghana will be joining us this evening." His breath was shaky as it fogged up the mirror. Castiel was having a hard time concentrating on his new found infatuation with Dean and playing host to a dozen possible brides-to-be.

"I'll be there," Dean assured with a nod, holding a hand out to the Prince, resting it carefully over his cheek. "Deep breath," he said, gesturing for Castiel to do the same as he took a deep breath. Castiel did. Then again and again until he was feeling relatively calm. Dean nodded, kissing his Prince briefly. "I'll be behind your chair. Just like usual, My Lord. It'll be okay." Both nodded but neither were convinced. No one involved wanted this. Only through technicalities where they agreeing to do this.

Castiel straightened, puffing out his chest as he stepped out of the room and began making his way to the main hall. Dean followed on behind, dreading every step that took them closer to the future. Dean had barely had time to appreciate the present before things began to change again.

"Presenting, Prince Castiel," the messenger called, trumpets began to play and Dean tried not to cringe. The Queen being the only royalty present in the room it seemed a bit unnecessary. Castiel walked the long path down to the thrones. His mother already situated in her's, dressed in fine silver silks. "My boy," she cooed sweetly, beckoning for him to sit beside her. He sat down with discomfort. He had sat in this chair as little as possible growing up. For it was his father's chair. It didn't feel right to sit here without having first earned it.

Dean bowed to the Queen, acknowledging her first before taking his position behind and to the side of Castiel's throne. His hands behind his back and stood up straight like most of the other guards that were located in the room. There was hushed murmurings between the Prince and his mother for quite some time before the trumpets blared again and a messenger stood to the side of the door announced, "Presenting, Princess Abaddon. Daughter of Diruta."

Castiel sat stiffly in his seat, awaiting the arrival of the princess. Moments later, a petite woman, possibly a year or two younger than the Prince walked through the archway and began to walk towards the thrones, stopping in front and took a bow. Her luscious lips almost blood like in colour stood out against her porcelain skin. Her hair as red as the poppies Castiel had once seen grown in the fields by the villages to the east of the castle. She was not the most beautiful woman Castiel had ever laid eyes upon but Castiel believed beauty came in many forms. The Prince was not so quick to judge.

"Princess Abaddon," Castiel greeted with a small nod. "A pleasure. I hope you find our home to your satisfaction."

The Princess gathered up the hem of her dress once more and curtseyed to both the Queen and Prince. Her smile charming yet seemingly forced. "Thank you, My Lord. I'm sure I will." One of the guards escorted her from the main hall and to her room, showing her the tour of the castle as they went.

Dean watched silently as the Prince continued to be introduced to his guests and possible bride-to-be. He was jealous, of course. The Prince did not look happy about this arrangement and that upset Dean more than anything. He just wanted his Prince to be happy. Whether that meant being with him or not.

"Presenting, Princess Meghana," the messenger announced before the trumpets set off again. Castiel sat up a little. Tonight, he and his mother would be entertaining Her Grace with a Galian traditional dinner. Unlike most, he'd heard great things of the Indian Princess. She did not seem to be interested in his money or title but more fascinated with the new and foreign lands on which she'd be visiting.

Princess Meghana approached the Prince in an ivory dress, covered in clear jewels which hit the light in such a way, it took Castiel's breath away. He'd never seen someone of such beauty before. Her eyes bright with youth looked up at the Prince with such awe and innocence. It reminded him of the rabbits which sat on the castle's hillside during the spring. So innocent and carefree. Her dark chocolate coloured hair curled against one shoulder, contrasted against the light, fair colour of her skin. Fabric, rich in colour concealed the lower half of her face, making her eyes shine even brighter. She bowed slightly, still watching the Prince with intense curiosity.

"My Lord," she purred, voice slightly accented, sounding almost exotic to the Prince's ear. "An honour to meet you. I've heard great things." Her tone was light and playful but none of it was for show. She had indeed heard many wonders of the young Prince and his thirst for knowledge that exceeded even her own.

Dean watched the interaction between the two and stood straighter, feeling a little uneasy. He knew Castiel had to be polite and entertain his guest but seeing him look so lovestruck by another made his stomach turn ever so sickly. "Ah but I assure you, My Lady, the pleasure is all mine," Castiel retorted with a friendly smile, lifting his hand up to gesture for a guard. "Roberts will show you to your room. I hope your quarters are to your expectations. We shall see you for dinner this evening."

The Princess smiled behind her mask and nodded slightly before curtseying to both the Prince and Queen. "Thank you, My Lord. Your Grace." She soon left, leaving Castiel once alone with his thoughts. Dean was still watching Castiel like a hawk, wishing he knew what the Prince was thinking.

"You did well, Castiel," Evelyn said with a proud smile. A few of the interactions between the Princesses and her son had looked promising. Hopefully they'd find him a wife before the week was out. The sooner they dealt with this inconvenience the better.

Three days later Castiel had taken dinners, lunches and afternoon walks with all the princesses, getting to know them and taking that step closer to choosing his bride. Castiel had taken an evening off to rest in his room and spend a quiet moment alone with Dean. The Knight was currently sat amongst the velvet cushions on top of the Prince's bed with said Prince's head resting in his lap. "I don't trust Abaddon, Dean," he'd said after a long pause for thought. His hands wrapped around the Knight's thigh as he snuggled against his leg, indulging in the heat which radiated there.

Dean nodded in agreement, daring to rest a hand in the Prince's hair, feeling the soft fine hairs stroke against his callus hand. "I'll keep watch on her, My Lord," he murmured back quietly, watching the Prince with admiration. He too did not feel comfortable in the Princess' presence. There was something about her that made Dean feel uneasy.

Castiel smiled against the thick material of Dean's tights before tilting his head up to look at the other through thick lashes. "Castiel," he scolded lightly, a teasing smirk crossed his lips. He swatted Dean's thigh lightly with his hand, sitting up between the Knight's legs and grinning at him happily. Dean laughed and nodded in defeat. "Castiel," he echoed happily, running his hand over the Prince's chest, feeling his heart pound strongly against the palm of his hand.

There was a moment of silence, both enjoying the silence that laid thick around them they stayed still. The Prince holding his hand over Dean's on his chest, connecting them in the moment. A click of the door shutting snapped them both out of their thoughts. The Prince's face reddening at being caught in the act. Fury clouding his eyes as someone dared to disturb the small moment he had alone with his Dean.

"Who dares enter the Prince's chambers?" he demanded angrily, pulling the fabric curtain back to reveal the rest of the room and a startled looking Meghana standing before him. He blinked in confusion, anger subsiding. "Meghana," he said, the word a whisper on his tongue. "What are you doing in here?"

The Princess looked concerned, her eyes darting between the young Prince and his bodyguard. "My Lord, forgive me. I have come to confess my sins." Castiel looked with wide eyes as the Princess gathered her dress and knelt by his feet. "My Lord, I must be true to thee. I love another." She looked up at Dean who could only stare with wide eyes back at her. No one was supposed to know about them but she did not even seem to care. Barely gave it a second moments thought. It was a reaction Dean had not been expecting. It made him almost feel equal among the two royals.

"A blacksmith," she continued, looking back at the Prince. "He is not of royal blood but cares for me so. I..I hope you can understand, the King, my father, wants me to rule as Queen in distant lands. Bring royalties to our land through marriage of a wealthy King." She looked as if she were about to weep but Castiel laid a solid hand on her shoulder, keeping her strong.

"My Lady, I understand greatly," he said, tone soft and gentle. He squeezed her shoulder lightly before moving his hand away to rest back in his lap. "Neither myself nor the Queen wish for me to wed. It is of technicality and years of tradition that I must." He looked at Dean, giving him a silent order to return to his post. Dean slipped off the bed subtly, standing back near the door, he straightened his uniform as he went.

"I promise you the safety of this boy. He shall stay here with his Queen. I will protect you, My Lady. True love should not be separated for the sake of hierarchy," Castiel said with such determination he'd barely realized his mistake.

"You're choosing me?" Meghana gasped, covering her hand over her mouth in shock. Castiel blinked, looking taken back before replaying his words again in his head.

"My apologies, My Lady," he said bashfully, coming to sit on the floor with her so they saw eye to eye. "I did not mean to blurt out such a thing. But yes. I propose we marry, Meghana." He held her hand daintily and smiled assuringly. "We'll ally our kingdoms, rule Galia as King and Queen and keep those we hold dear in our heart safe." Castiel's eyes darted to Dean for a moment before returning to Meghana's.

The Princess nodded enthusiastically. "My Lord," she beamed, placing her hand over Castiel's. "I cannot thank you enough for this." Her relief was something that left an ache in Castiel's heart. To think if Meghana had searched elsewhere for her salvation she would not have been so fortunate.

"Meghana, thank me not. There's still a lot of work to be done if we wish to make this work," he said firmly, giving Dean another uncertain look. One which Dean had mirrored with his own concern. The Princess nodded in understand before getting to her feet and bowed to her saviour. "Nevertheless, Castiel, the Earth has truly blessed you with such generosity."

Castiel blushed, hiding a small smile as he turned to gaze out the window for a brief moment. "You tease me," he quipped back with an even wider smile, fooling himself into believing he could actually hide his happiness. He was to wed a woman whose romantic intentions lied elsewhere. He could still be with Dean, his guardian angel, and feel no guilt for mistreating his Queen. Castiel could have everything he wanted. He could be free.

Word spread like wildfire throughout the city of Galia that the Prince was to marry the Indian Princess, Meghana. Galia's people rejoiced and welcomed their new soon-to-be Queen with excitement. Meghana's kingdom was a lot smaller than Galia. The community was well known to her. She treated her people with kindness much like the Prince did with his own. So as the celebrations continued throughout the week the Princess greeted her new home with open arms, acclimatising to their customs with curiosity and warmth.

Under both the Prince's and Dean's supervision, the Princess allowed for the children of Galia to present her with flowers as Castiel walked with her through the city streets. Meghana would smile so brightly as the children fought over who had brought her the prettiest flower to match her dress.

"Mine is be-ut-i-full an' wed like the colour of 'er dwess," a young blond girl pouted as her brother, a shorter brunette, tried to push her away to get the Princess' attention.

"But mine 'as thorns," he protested, eyes glistening green against the light of the sun. The gap between his teeth evident when he grinned proudly up at the Princess as he presented her with a white rose in his small chubby hands.

"Thorns?!" his sister questioned in shock. "But she's a pweety Pwincess. Thorns aren't pwetty."

"No. They're strong and..and tough and Princesses should be strong as..as well as being pretty," the boy protested, making Meghana giggle at the adorableness of the children. She looked over at Castiel with an easy smile. One which he threw back at her, heart melting at the sight of Meghana interacting with his people. He had certainly made the right choice in putting his trust in her.

As the blond girl was about to argue further with her brother, Meghana carefully bent down to crouch down next to the children and took both the rose and the poppy from them. "They are both beautiful," she settled, smelling the flowers as she held them in her hand carefully. The children all but squealed in delight as the Princess chose their flowers. "Thank you," she smiled, getting to her feet as she waved them goodbye as her and Castiel continued to stroll through the city, Dean following on behind.

"You may have these for your book if you wish, Castiel," Meghana offered softly as the Prince relinked their arms as they walked. "I know how you love to document these things." Castiel stopped walking, taking a moment to look over Meghana. The city continued to move around them. People with baskets of crops and poultry preparing for the markets. Children giggling and playing in the sunlight the afternoon had brought. But for Castiel none of it matter. Meghana was his only interest.

"My Lady, they were for you," he said softly, taking the poppy from her hand and carefully shaped the stem so he could thread it through her hair to rest near her temple. Meghana smiled softly, letting her eyes slide shut, her eyelashes brushing against the skin of her cheeks. Castiel admired her beauty. The way the sunlight hit her skin, making it almost glow. The gentle spring breeze making her hair flow freely around her shoulders. Castiel did not desire Meghana's beauty merely appreciate it. He felt responsible for her. To keep her safe. This was her home now. He wanted her to feel comfortable here.

As she opened her eyes, she was welcomed to the ocean. The Prince's blue eyes gazing into her's. It took her breath away. A determination in his eyes that made her feel safe. Not trapped however. From her Prince she expected dominance and rules. With Castiel, she was his equal and free to be herself. Within the month her lover, Vikram, would arrive along with a few other workers and Mehana would feel a little less lost but for now, Castiel was doing all he could to make her feel welcome.

She pressed her hand against the Prince's cheek, feeling the light stubble beneath her hand. Castiel watched with curiosity as her lips found his. Her lips plumb and soft in comparison to Dean's. Her touches light yet it was enough. Castiel was beginning to understand the common greeting of kissing on the lips. What he and Meghana shared was intimate yet playful and friendly. It was a gesture of love between friends that Castiel could only reciprocate with ease.

A light melody filled the Prince's ear, making him pull away from the Princess. The Princess did not seem hurt but merely confused at the Prince's abrupt laughter. "Did I do it wrong?" she asked, giving Dean a curious glance. The Knight had informed her kissing was what was done here after she had tried to press their foreheads together, much like warriors in battle did.

Dean wanted to reply, he truly did. Despite his feelings for the Prince. He was aware Meghana and Castiel were to wed. He knew they'd be intimate. He knew he'd be jealous but witnessing the act was more than he could ever prepare for. He felt like his heart had been ripped from his chest with bare hands and stuck on a pike for all to see. Seeing the Prince laugh only made things worse. For he knew he wasn't laughing at the Princess' poor attempts at intimacy.

"Gabriel!" the Prince cheered whilst Dean mouthed the same name in mockery. He didn't understand the Prince's fascination with the town jester. Gabriel was nothing but a fool. A fool with a lute.

"My Lord!," Gabriel grinned, taking a more than theatrical bow. His head almost hitting his knees with the swing of it. "A pleasure. As always." His attention sidetracked to the Princess who was quickly recovering from the embarrassment that was her attempts of a kiss. "My Lady," Gabriel greeted with another bow. "Allow me to introduce myself." He played a quick strum of his lute before continuing. "My name's Gabriel. I'm the town clown. And before you ask, no I don't do the whole weasel down the ol' pantyhose routine no more. The Prince don't like that."

"It's cruelty to the weasel," Castiel protested with a slight nod, one which Gabriel mimicked with a deadpan expression as he mouthed the same phrase in unison as if he'd been told this fact too many times over the years.

Meghana smiled, uncertain of what Gabriel was talking about. In her city, jesters weren't very common and very rarely associated with royalty. They tended more towards the taverns in the lower part of the city.

"Do you have any new songs for us?" Castiel asked happily. He did enjoy Gabriel's music. It was very rarely that his mother allowed Gabriel to play for them in the castle. Not after what happened last time.

"Well," Gabriel began, holding back. "I might have something," he teased. "Just for you, My Lord." He picked his lute up once more and began to play. Dean couldn't help but roll his eyes. He crossed his arms and stood close to the Prince and Princess as other's began to gather around them to listen to the works of 'Gabriel the Grand'. A name Dean found ironic considering the size of the man.

"Our Prince 'e is a goner. But with this I mean no dishonour. For he is under 'er spell, the Queen. The beauty of one that ain't all that mean. She is honest and kind. Although to marry our Prince she ain't in the best frame of mind," he sang with the biggest smirk. There was giggling and clapping all around and Castiel waved his hand at Gabriel, trying to hide his amusement behind a twisted smile.

"Gabriel, you jest too much," Castiel complained lightheartedly, laughing along with the Princess who held onto his arm lightly. Needing some form of comfort and familiarity among all this foreign culture.

"Well sire. That is my job," Gabriel protested, his smirk teasing and full of joy. Dean despised the man. He was about the same age as his father and lacked the respect he should be showing his soon-to-be King. Dean envied how easily Gabriel found it to speak with the Prince. Dean wished he could converse with the Prince with such ease and playfulness.

"Come now, Gabriel. Show Our Lady some etiquette. Play something more..respectable," Castiel said with a grin. Holding his hand lightly over the Princess'. Dean glared at them enviously but to anyone observing, he merely looked protective over his Prince's safety.

"Very well, My Lord," Gabriel said with a slight bow as he began to play his lute properly. Gabriel began to sing of distant lands and a tale of a sailor at sea. He sang of the sailors journey to distant lands. Told his tale, how he'd fought monsters of worlds unknown to this one. It was a tale of adventure and mystery and entertained the Prince and Princess greatly.

"Who was this man?" the Princess asked curiously after the audience had applauded and Gabriel had taken his bow and absorbed his praise. His stories enticed her greatly. It reminded her of her uncle. He'd tell her tales of his adventures, discovering distant lands and creatures. She remembered sitting by the window, waiting for his return after months at sea just so he could come home to tell her of what he'd seen.

"But the King, of course," Gabriel said as if remembering it yesterday. He'd been young but he remembered it well. His father before him had told him the tales of their great King and his adventures abroad. What he'd done to protect their city and kingdom.

Castiel cocked his head to the side, considering the jester carefully. He had never heard this particular tale. His father had been a complex man. As ruler of Galia his people had looked up to protect their kingdom. On arrival of the Prince and the death of the King, expectations of their new ruler had heightened. Castiel was to follow in his father's footsteps and rule with an iron fist.

After hearing a few stories as a child, Castiel had refused to hear anymore. This was not the way he wished to rule. War was not the answer unless in means of defence. His mother had agreed not to talk about the King. Too grieved herself to discuss her loss.

"He is no longer King," Castiel said, showing possessive authority he did not usually show. His father was a tender spot for him. One he did not wish to discuss. He did not want to be compared to the man who build their city up by spilling blood. That was not the way he wished to rule. He led Meghana away, storming through the city back to the castle. Dean just glared at Gabriel before following the Prince back to his quarters.

"My Lord," Meghana said, voice soft and calming as she settled with Castiel on the bed. Dean stood by the door, outside to his annoyance. Castiel had instructed him to stay away as he was still upset and wished to be alone. Meghana had other ideas. "Take a breath. Share with me."

Castiel gave her a scornful look. "My Lady, I do not wish to raise my voice to you but you are trying my patience and wish for you to leave," he said quickly and firmly, crossing his arms as he sat stiffly on the bed.

Meghana remained patient and calm, laying a hand on the Prince's ankle as she sat at the foot of the bed. "My Lord. Please. Even if you do not wish to converse I feel obligated to ensure that you're okay." She crawled up the bed a little and kissed his lips again, hoping this time she had done the act correctly.

Her movements startled the Prince. He was trying be upset but her gentle touches and kind words were deflating his anger. He melted against her lips, pressing a firm solid hand against the small of her back, holding her close. "Meghana," he sighed, her name a whisper lost on his tongue. "I'm sorry you had to see this side to me. I'm not usually so upfront with my anger."

Meghana altered her dress so she could lie by his side without revealing her thighs. Her curved figure more obvious than usual from this angle. His eyes gazed over her softly before they were kissing again, a way of an apology in Castiel's eyes. His hand sat snuggly against the dip between her waist and hip. "Castiel, I understand," she said sincerely. "It is a sensitive subject. I shan't ask, nor judge."

Castiel smiled gratefully at the Princess, kissing her again, adjusting to her touch and presence. Both aware to be convincing they must seem it in private as well. "Thank you, Meghana. I appreciate your patience with me." He kissed her again, slow and sensual before moving away to meet eye to eye.

"You are to be my husband, Castiel. My King. It is my duty to see you fit," Meghana said, a curve to her smile and a glint in her eyes. Her hand draped innocently over his arm, squeezing lightly in assurance.

Castiel watched her hand for a moment before taking it in his own and pressed the soft skin of her knuckles to his lips. "And you are to be my wife, Meghana. It is only fair I do you the same honour."

The Princess looked taken back, again, unused to being seen as equal in the Prince's eyes. "Thank you, My Lord," she said with a small, almost teasing, smile. One which Castiel returned. He had high hopes for this arrangement. They both shared a passion for knowledge, knew there was more out there than just the traditions of their kingdoms. They both wanted to be free and by marrying one another they could do just that. Castiel wasn't just gaining his freedom though. He was gaining a friend.

"My Lady, will you tell me of this Vikram?"

To the day it had been a month since the Prince of Galia had proposed to the Princess Meghana. Both had spent time learning one another, sharing knowledge and interests. Castiel had bought Meghana her own journal, a wedding gift to her. All pages blank besides a pressed Poppy within the pages, signifying their first walk through the city together as a royal couple. Her fascination with his journals had inspired her to start her own, writing of her homeland and the flowers and animals which resided there.

She was an excellent painter, it was discovered. The Prince would thrive the days when Meghana would pull him back to her quarters and show him her latest creation. And in return, Castiel would share with her his latest collection piece. Whether it was a flower or an insect he had been studying. Little things he'd used to show Dean, now shared with his soon-to-be wife. Dean had almost disappeared those few weeks coming up to the wedding. Castiel had been too busy to notice but they were slowly drawing apart.

"Castiel," Evelyn had chimed happily seeing her son dressed formally for the afternoon's ceremony. Usually it'd be the King's duty to see to his son before the wedding but obviously this could not be the case. "My dear, you're doing the right thing," she said with a motherly smile. "Meghana is a beautiful and intelligent young woman. She'll make an honourable Queen."

Castiel could only agree. Meghana, like the Prince himself, wanted what was best for her people. She wasn't against violence and was willing to put her people into battle but only when truly necessary. She was kind and nurturing but more than a few people had found out if you try to manipulate that innocence she will her true wrath.

The Prince thanked his servant absently, still confused as to why it was not Dean helping him. He understood Dean had other duties but today was a significant part in history for their city. He wanted to share this moment with him. "Yes," Castiel said after a long time. "Yes. She will be exquisite."

Evelyn embraced her son, holding Castiel close, stroking his hair soothingly like she had when he was but a babe. "You'll be fine, my boy. You will make your own paths, choose your own destiny. You'll make a fine King. One Galia will be proud of." She kissed his forehead and cupped his face in her hands gently, seeing how her little boy had grown up to become an honourable man. Their King.

Castiel indulged in his mother's touch for a moment longer. It was not often they got to connect like this. It felt nice to feel her reassurance in the matter. He did not wish to displease what little family he had left. He smoothed over his royal blue cloak, admiring the way it draped over one shoulder and billowed around the back of his thighs. His fitted waistcoat made him look even thinner than usual, to the point he found breathing difficult but it was only on rare occasions Castiel had to wear garments like these so did not feel the need to complain.

His mother had already left, seating herself on her throne ready for the ceremony. A custom one had been made for Meghana, detailed with imagery from the Princess' journals. With a deep breath, Castiel exited his chambers, unsurprised to see an unfamiliar face waiting for him. "Where is Sir Winchester?" Castiel asked the guardsman, his tone detached from emotion as to not give anything away.

"Winchester, 'e is with the royal guests, My Lord," the guardsman said as he escorted the Prince towards the main hall. "Princess Meghana requested 'e 'elp make 'er family feel welcome, My Lord." The Prince nodded in understanding, feeling foolish and selfish for wanting Dean to be by his side constantly. Although these passed few weeks remained unexplained. He still did not know why the Knight was avoiding him so.

"Vikram, I presume?" Dean asked, standing tall in his ceremony uniform. His hat held firmly in the crook of his elbow. He had been assigned by Meghana to help her secure Vikram's arrival. He, like many of her people, had been appointed jobs in Galia as part of their alliance. It was Dean's job to make sure Vikram was out of sight and to be escorted to the Princess' quarters.

Vikram had been informed to wait at the docks until someone came to get him. Dean had appointed Sam the task of bringing him up to the castle as Sam worked patrol in the lower part of the city. "Yeah, 'e is. Now what's so special about this guy anyways?" Sam demanded, annoyed his elder brother could order him around to do his errands.

"Nothing," Vikram said gingerly. "I'm just a blacksmith." Vikram had a low, deep voice that rumbled as he spoke. Skin much like Meghana's but stained slightly darker from coal dust. His hair unkept with uneven stubble from shaving with a blunt blade. Poverty a word most easily described with the man. A simple blacksmith who'd captured the heart of a Princess not through titles or looks but through the goodness of his soul.

"Mind your tongue, boy," Dean warned, trying to keep his rank in favour. Despite the guard being his brother. "Get back to your duties," he ordered to which he got a grumbled remark in return from Sam.

"My apologies, sir. Shall we?" Dean said, gesturing with his hand for him and Vikram to continue. With the majority of the castle in the main hall, it was easy for Dean to lead the blacksmith through into the Princess' quarters. There laid for him fresh clothes and a clean blade for him to shave with.

"She..She still wishes for me to be here?" Vikram asked, eyes darting over the expensive garments laid out just for him. He did not wish to be a bother and ask so much of her. He just wished to see her one last time before her duties lied with tending to her new King.

Dean smiled bashfully. Vikram looked nervous, almost sick with it. He obviously loved Meghana very much. To think titles would be the reason why they could not see one another again. "She has spoke of you everyday," Dean assured happily, seeing the way Vikram's shoulders sunk in relief. "She is very excited to see you again."

Vikram bowed, blessing Dean for his help and began prepping himself to look presentable for his Queen. Dean left the room, taking to the second floor of the castle. There was something he had to do upon request of Princess Meghana.

That night Castiel anticipated his evening anxiously. The marriage had been a success and convincing to all those that had attended. The city rejoiced for their newly crowned King and Queen. The celebrations were still underfoot in the city and fireworks could be heard even from the castle.

Castiel had neither seen nor heard from either Dean or Vikram. He was beginning to worry something had gone wrong. Meghana had assured him everything was taken care of and he shouldn't fuss but he could not help but wonder if everything had gone according to plan.

Meghana had left after the dinner to retire in her chambers. Castiel had escorted her there, taking the hidden door in her room to go back to his own quarters, fooling the guards into thinking he was to stay with her the night.

Once in his own chambers, alone at last. The King sighed heavily, letting the strain of today's events wash over him. He was now King of Galia. He had a wife and a city of people who looked up to him with admiration instead of fear. Everything was different and yet the same. His only wish was to have his dear friend back in his daily life. Recently he'd felt like Dean had been avoiding him. For reasons he did not know.

Unclipping his cloak and setting it over a chair, the Prince pulled back the curtain around his bed only to recoil back in surprise to see someone already laying there. "Dean," Castiel gasped, his expression laced with obvious confusion. "What are you doing here?"

Castiel's tone frightened the Knight, startling him to stand up off the bed and straighten to attention beside the King. "Apologies, My Lord. Queen Meghana sent for me," Dean said, flustered. He cleared his throat uncomfortably, watching the King with wide, startled eyes. "She said, a night like this must be spent with those you most desire."

The King turned a shade of red much like the poppies that blossomed in the castle grounds. "And you agree with her?" he asked curiously, unable to look at the Knight. "That you and I are what we both most desire." His words were hesitant and slow, unable to express aloud what their friendship had become.

"I believe so, yes," Dean said formally, daring to glance over at the King. His King. He'd missed the ceremony, tending to Vikram but the difference in Castiel was noticeable. The way he held himself. Almost with more pride. For now the whole city turned to him for guidance. Not just a little Prince anymore. He was their hero. Their saviour. Their King.

Castiel gave a short nod, meeting Dean's eyes momentarily. "Then why do you avoid me so?" he asked, unable to hold back. He'd never held secrets from Dean before. He did not wish to start now.

"I did not wish to disturb your time with Her Grace," Dean said with a small shrug of his shoulders. "You were to wed and I did not wish to interfere." Dean knew this was a weak excuse. Over four years they'd been together, inseparable. A woman with no sexual interest in the King should not change that.

The King pressed a solid hand to Dean's back, leading him over to the window. The sun was setting, illuminating the fields with a warm orange glow. Silhouettes of rabbits hopped from flower to flower, noses twitching as the gentle night air blew bast them. Castiel hummed contently, watching his kingdom, the city below still buzzing with noise as fireworks danced in the night sky, filling the sky with light.

"It's a new world, Dean," Castiel said, pressing his hand more firmly against the Knight's back. "A new era." Dean looked over at his King and smiled happily, mirroring Castiel's own look of joy and wonderment. "And we can do what we want."

Okay this was a new one for me. I hope you guys like it. It was a bit of a bitch to write and I had some help from my lovely friend Emily with spelling and stuff but any comment you've got to throw at me would be appreciated. xx