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25 February 2016 @ 06:27 pm
Once Upon a Dream  
Title: Once Upon a Dream
Author: lunasenzanotte
Pairings and characters: James Rodríguez/Cristiano Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo/Irina Shayk, Pep Guardiola, Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller, Sergio Ramos, Shakira, Raúl González, Carlo Ancelotti, José María Gutiérrez, Zinedine Zidane
Summary: When two kings desperate to have a child ask Pep the Wiseman for help, they don’t know what they’re getting into. Pep helps them to have a baby, but when Prince James is born, he curses him. Luckily, there is the good fairy Thomas, who changes the prophecy, much to Pep’s dismay. But finding a brave and good princess to save the kingdom proves to be a difficult task...
Type: AU, crack
Word count: 5,857
Rating: R
Warnings: mild swearing, allusions to violence
Notes: A kind of twisted Sleeping Beauty retelling. Many have asked for another Crismes after I wrote Mirror, mirror... so I tried.

Once upon a time in Madrid, there lived two kings. They reigned well and people loved them, but the kings were unhappy for they had no children.

Many doctors, charlatans, enchanters and even witches tried to help the kings, but the crib the couple had bought soon after their wedding remained empty.

Finally, they heard on the grapevine that there was a wise man living in the deep forests at the very far end of the kingdom, some kind of a hermit called Pep. Immediately, the two kings ordered the servants to get a carriage ready, and they rode to the forest.

It took them a long time, but finally, they found the little house that belonged to the wise man. It was half in ruins and looked abandoned, but then the door opened and the wise man came out. It was a tall, bald man in plain clothes. He invited them in and showed them two chairs they could sit on.

“What brings you here, Majesties?” Pep asked.

One of the kings discreetly brushed a spiderweb off his sleeve and cleared his throat. “We want to have a baby,” he said. “But many doctors, charlatans, enchanters and even witches tried to help us, we gave them almost all that was in the kingdom’s treasury, we had to increase the taxes because of it, and still there is no baby. Nobody knows why we can’t have one.”

Pep scratched his bald head. “What do I know,” he mumbled. “Maybe because... you are both guys? But I could be totally wrong, of course.”

The two kings stared at each other with horror.

“Because we’re both guys?”

“Is that a problem?”

“They didn’t tell us!”

Pep pretended to stir the contents of a pot hung over the fireplace so that he could roll his eyes in secret. “Well,” he said then. “Don’t lose hope just yet. What is impossible for others isn’t impossible for Pep.”

He looked at them and then drew the curtains shut with a swift movement. The room became dark, only the flames illuminated Pep’s face. His voice became just a whisper. “I will tell you what to do, and you will be happy, you will have the child you desire,” he said. “But it won’t be for free.”

“Of course,” one of the kings said excitedly. “We will give you anything you want!”

“Anything I want...” Pep repeated. “That is a generous offer.”

“We still have enough money...”

“No, no, I don’t want your money!” Pep shook his head. “All that I want is for you to invite me to the child’s christening party.”

“T-to invite you?” the kings blinked. “Just that?”

“Yes. I’ve been lonely all my life. I’ve never even had a birthday party. No cake, no party hats, no confetti...” Pep turned away to wipe off a tear discreetly. “All I’m asking for is to be invited to your child’s christening party. You will introduce me to the guests and seat me in an honorable place, and your court will bow to me. That is my price.”

The kings exchanged confused looks.

“I don’t like it!” one of them whispered. “Imagine the embarrassment if we bring him there!”

“But it’s our only chance!”

“But he wants our court to bow to them! They can only bow to us!”

“But the child will be born after nine months, and the christening will take place months after that. Many things can happen. This guy can die.”

Finally, they looked at Pep again and nodded.

“We take the offer.”

“Perfect!” Pep exclaimed and rubbed his hands together.

“Still,” one of the kings, the one who didn’t agree with Pep’s conditions, said. “If not even God could help us, how could you?”

Pep smiled wickedly. “God maybe can’t, but if God can’t, then Satan surely can.”

He grabbed a handful of suspiciously looking powder and threw it in the fireplace while mumbling words in a language the kings couldn’t understand. After a while, the flames rose and a shadowy figure dressed in a black cape appeared right in the middle of them. The kings shrieked and ran to hide behind the chairs.

“Pep,” the figure said in a lazy voice. “What do you want again?”

“Your Excellency, Lord of all Hells, Robert our father Lucifer,” Pep mumbled, bowing to the figure. “I need your help.”

“You always do,” Robert deadpanned. “What is it now?”

“These two...” Pep gestured to the kings behind him. “Want a baby.”

“The two chairs want a baby?” Robert asked.

Pep turned back. “Eh... no, the two are behind the chairs,” he said and rolled his eyes. “But they are both guys, so...”

“Pep, I told you many times that I will not help humans just so that you can boast with being the wisest man on Earth.”

“This is the last time, I swear, Excellency!” Pep whined.

“You’ve said that about thirty times already,” Robert snapped. “But fine. Just for the fun, because I want to see what comes out of this.”


Nine months later, the whole Madrid heard three loud shots. At first, they panicked, thinking that a war has just begun, but then remembered that the heir to the throne was due any day. They rushed to the courtyard of the palace where the royal announcer was just getting ready to tell them the news.

“Citizens of Madrid!” the announcer’s voice boomed over their heads. “Be merry and celebrate...”

“With pleasure!” a drunkard in the back yelled. “If you pay for my drinks!”

“For unto us a Prince is born...”

“This sounds familiar,” a man holding a goat mumbled. “Where did I hear that?”

“And his name shall be... James!”

“That’s very Spanish,” someone mumbled.

“Shut up, it’s not your baby!” another peasant snapped.

“His christening party will take place two months from this day in the palace. For all the citizens of Madrid, all they can drink and eat in the city inns and taverns on that day will be covered by the kingdom’s treasury!”

Loud cheering followed. A tall, bald man in the crowd smiled contentedly. The moment of his victory was approaching.


The two kings were sitting in the throne room, rocking the baby in the crib lovingly while an old scribe was trying to put together a guest list for the christening party.

“We should invite the King of Barcelona,” one of the kings said. “Nobody wants a war now.”

“Sure,” his husband nodded. “Invite him. What about the Basques?”

“But Majesty, they always get so drunk...” the scribe whispered. “Last time we ran out of our year reserve of wine when you invited them, and then they ran away with your crown. It took us three months to get the crown from them. What if they run away with the baby now?”

“So water down the wine, but we have to invite them,” the king snapped, rocking the crib faster as the baby started crying. “And the King of Valencia.”

“I’m afraid that the King of Valencia won’t be able to come, Majesty,” the scribe said. “Valencia is going through rather tumultuous times, and we don’t even know who the King is now... it changes every three weeks or so.”

“Oh well,” the king shrugged. “Then we have everyone.”

“Wait...” his husband whispered. “What about... Pep?”

“Pep?” the king frowned. “You don’t really want to invite him, do you?”

“But if we don’t invite him, something bad might happen.”

“Something bad will happen if we do invite him. Can you imagine that dirty, weird type sitting next to the King of Barcelona? The shame it would bring us! No, that will not happen. We can send him the rests from the table after the feast, and maybe some money. That has to be enough.”

His husband looked worried but didn’t say anything. In all honesty, both inviting and not inviting Pep sounded horrible now.


The feast was indeed spectacular. The guests brought gifts for the newborn Prince, and they drank and ate like it was their last meal.

When the door burst open and Pep walked in, accompanied by strange looking people, some of the guests were already so drunk that they didn’t even notice, which made the moment a bit less dramatic.

Only the two kings raised from their seats.

“The invitation for the party must have gotten lost,” Pep said. “Damn postmen. You should chop their heads off.”

“Um, well, we didn’t...” one of the kings started.

“Never mind,” Pep smiled. “I just came to give the baby a present.”

“A present?” the kings asked warily.

“Yes. I am a poor man, you know, so I will give him just a little prophecy,” Pep said and approached the crib. “When he comes of age, the Prince will prick his finger and die!”

Panic ensued. Some of the ladies fainted, the kings yelled in horror and a few of the courtiers choked on the cake. Only the Basques kept on drinking, occasionally raising their glasses to toast to Pep.

“And now I must go!” Pep said and snapped his fingers. “Enjoy your happiness, Majesties. It won’t last long.” He laughed demonically and stormed out of the room. His minions immediately followed him out of the door.

But one of the men from Pep’s entourage stopped at the crib and looked at the baby. “Well, Pep can be a bit hot-tempered,” he said. “He’s all about dying and such. But what he doesn’t hear doesn’t hurt him, right?”

“What do you mean?” the kings asked.

“How about we change that prophecy just a little bit?” the man grinned. “To something that doesn’t sound so drastic?”

“But he said our son would die!” one of the kings objected.

The man spread his arms. “Well, if you prefer your son dead, it’s your business, I’m outta here!” he snapped and turned to leave.

“No, wait!” the other king called. “Come back! What can you do to save our son? Can you revoke the curse?”

“Eh, no,” the man said. “But I can change it slightly... Well, when your son pricks his finger, he won’t die. He will just fall asleep, for a long, long time...”

“What’s the difference, dammit?” a courtier yelled, but the others shushed him quickly.

“And with him, the whole kingdom...”

“Even better! That wasn’t included in the original!” the same courtier yelled after which they promptly carried him out of the dining room.

“Until a true love’s kiss wakes him up, and the curse will be broken, and then everyone will live happily ever after.”

“Thomas!” Pep’s voice sounded from the hallway. “Where the hell is that damn fairy again? I swear, if he’s changing my prophecies again...”

“I’m here, Pep!” Thomas called quickly and ran to the door. “I lost... eh, my pouch with pixie dust, but I’ve found it already!”

Pep’s suspicious face appeared in the the doorway. “You weren’t saying anything silly over that crib, were you?”

“Crib? What crib?” Thomas grinned, waving a leather pouch at Pep. “I’m ready, let’s go!”

Pep shot one last warning look at the crib and the two kings, and then disappeared.


“A true love’s kiss,” the king whined. “Where do we find a woman willing to defeat the evil and save our prince? The princesses are not even interested in princes anymore, they want to rule alone.”

“But I’ve heard that one princess went to save her true love from a hungry dragon!”

“She went to save her cat,” the other king deadpanned.

“Maybe if we offer her a lot of money...”

“But we will be asleep,” the king reminded his husband.

“Damn. What do we do now?”

Finally, they decided to call up the Royal Council to brainstorm. Raúl González, the Duke of Bernabeu, suggested killing Pep, but they weren’t sure if the curse wouldn’t persist even after his death. Zinedine Zidane was suggesting evacuating the kingdom, while Guti, one of the frivolous noblemen who were only in the Council to make the meetings more fun, said that it would be best to get drunk until they fell asleep and then the curse would make no difference.

“I think it’s all bullshit,” Carlo Ancelotti, the oldest and wisest man in the room, said then. “Let’s not speak about how to break the curse. Let’s try to prevent it from overcoming the kingdom.”

“But how?” the kings asked.

“Well, Pep and the fairy both said it would start when the Prince would prick his finger. But if he doesn’t prick his finger, then it will never happen.”

“But how do we ensure he won’t prick his finger?” Zinedine asked.

“If we chop all his fingers off, he won’t be able to...” Raúl started.

“Nobody will chop our son’s fingers off!” the kings yelled in unison. “He’s just a baby, for God’s sake!”

“Then we must do it the more difficult way,” Carlo sighed. “Make sure there is nothing that could prick his finger.”


The Prince grew up into a handsome young man. He was sweet, gentle and merry, although he didn’t get that much fun because his parents were overprotective for obvious reasons. James had no idea why exactly they wouldn’t let him out of their sight, although the rumors of some curse had reached his ears. But he never thought much of it.

He was just going to the library to return some books he had to read for his studies when he heard his royal fathers talking behind the curtain of the throne room.

“Maybe if we married him off to some princess, he’d get the true love’s kiss and then the curse would just break,” the first king said.

“Good idea,” his husband agreed. “But he would have to truly love her, and where do you want to find such princess?”

James giggled behind the curtain. He didn’t believe a word of what his fathers said. He had studied biology and none of the books said anything about sleep that could last for hundreds of years. Simply because the person would die.

He walked up the stairs to the royal library and put the books on the table. A tall, bald man appeared from behind the shelves. James has never seen him there, but he wasn‘t the one who employed the librarians. Besides, the old librarian was about a hundred years old. Nobody could be surprised if he died.

“Oh, have you read all that, my prince?” the librarian asked.

“Yes,” James nodded. “It’s a part of my studies.”

“That’s extraordinary,” the man said. “It has to be difficult to remember so many things.”

It was. James had to agree that if he could actually take notes and not memorize everything, it would be easier, but since he came of age, his parents became kind of obsessed with sharp objects, and the quills had to be sharp to be useful, so he was stuck with nothing but his memory. Still, it wasn’t as annoying as eating only with spoons.

“Maybe you could use this,” the man suggested and produced a big white quill from underneath his robe.

It was the most beautiful thing James has ever seen. The feathers were almost silver, and the tip was remarkably sharp. James could imagine dipping it in a bottle of ink and writing all night without it losing its sharpness...

“I’m sorry, but my parents wouldn’t be happy,” James said because he was a good son and no rebel. “They don’t want any dangerous sharp objects near me.”

“Oh, but how is a quill dangerous?” the man smiled. “It’s a tool of knowledge.”

“They say knowledge can be dangerous, too,” James noted.

“Damn nerd,” the man muttered under his breath. “Never mind,” he said aloud. “I’ll just stick it in here, then.”

He put the quill among the tulips in the vase on the table and disappeared behind the shelves again.

James stood at the table for a moment, until his History teacher walked in. “Oh, there you are, my prince,” he said. “I forgot to give you the book you have to read for our classes. Here it is.”

Then he dropped a huge book on the table with a loud thud. James just blinked. “How many pages does this have?”

“Oh, just three thousand,” the teacher said. “I know it doesn’t look like it, but the paper is kind of thick. Have to run. Study well, my prince!”

James opened the book, looked at the fine print and sighed. Then his eyes fell on the quill in the vase. Well, desperate situations called for desperate measures.

He took the quill and found a bottle of ink among the librarian’s things. He sat down at the table and opened the book. Then he looked at the quill and touched the tip to find out if it was sharp enough.

He hissed as the tip pricked his finger. A drop of blood appeared on his skin. The last thing he heard before he fell asleep was the new librarian’s demonic laughter.


Sergio Ramos longed for adventure. All of his days were identical. In the morning he led his sheep to the pastures, spent the day daydreaming of foreign lands, adventure and becoming king of some land, and in the evening he gathered the sheep and went back home.

That afternoon, though, one of his sheep ran away. It wasn’t exactly the adventure he imagined, but at least he had a reason to leave the shade of his favorite tree as he went to chase after it. The sheep looked like it went completely mad, running through the forest as Sergio tried to keep up with it. His master would surely punish him if he didn’t return with the same number of sheep as he left with in the morning.

He didn’t even notice that he had crossed the borders of the kingdom. The sheep kept on running. Finally, it stopped at a stream to drink some water. Sergio breathed out a sigh of relief and splashed some water in his face. Then he threw a rope around the sheep’s neck and started towards the border.

When he crossed it, he immediately knew something wasn’t right. Everything was too quiet, and when he looked towards the castle, he saw it. Roses. They were growing all over the castle, covering the walls and creating a live fence. Sergio ran to the nearest tavern. His suspicion was confirmed. People there were asleep. The tap was still running, so there was beer all over the floor.

“Oh. Dammit. Dammit. It happened. It happened! Goddammit!” Sergio swore.

At first he was happy because the curse missed him. But then he realized that he was the only one who could save the kingdom now, and fear washed over him. He did want an adventure, but this looked like more than he could take.

“Man up, Sergio,” he mumbled to himself. “You have to do something!”

He approached the sleeping bartender and grabbed the pouch with money he had.

“Sorry, but it’s for the sake of the kingdom,” Sergio said. He also took some food from the kitchen and a knife, just in case. Then he started towards the border. He knew what he had to do now.


After some days of walking and some of riding various animals he came across, he reached the Kingdom of Barcelona. He found the royal palace without a problem and headed to the gate.

“Halt! What are you doing here?” a guard called at him.

“Hey, I need to talk to your Princess, if you have one,” Sergio said.

“We have a Queen,” the guard said. “Her Royal Highness Queen Shakira. If you’re lucky, she might give you an audience.”

“Great!” Sergio exclaimed. “What do I need to do?”

“Get in line,” the guard said and pointed at the line of people waiting in front of the gates.

Sergio sighed. There were at least a hundred, but what wouldn’t he do for his kingdom? He stood in the line and waited.

Four hours later, he entered the throne room. It was decorated with sequins and feathers and his eyes hurt when he tried to look around himself. The woman who sat on the throne was beautiful and she looked fierce enough. Sergio felt the tiny sparkle of hope grow bigger.

“My lady Shakira,” he bowed to her. “My kingdom is under a terrible curse. Everyone fell asleep and they won’t wake up until our Prince gets his true love’s kiss. Please, take your sword and come with me to save us.”

Shakira frowned. “Why should I go anywhere?” she asked. “I need no Prince, I am already Queen!”

Sergio’s shoulders sagged. He wanted to say something, but in that moment someone announced that the audience was over and the guards dragged him out of the throne room.

He went to the nearest inn and sat in the corner, staring gloomily at the cup of sour wine.

“You are not from here,” a voice stated and then a man in a cape sat opposite to him. “Otherwise you wouldn’t be surprised that they serve acid instead of wine.”

“No, I’m not from here,” Sergio said. “But the wine is the smallest of my problems.”

“And the biggest is...?”

“I came here to ask Queen Shakira to save our kingdom,” Sergio said. “Everyone fell asleep and they won’t wake up until somebody gives our prince a true love’s kiss.”

The man laughed. “Well, Queen Shakira isn’t the right person, then,” he said. “Do you know how she got the throne?”

Sergio shook his head.

“She married our prince, Prince Gerard. And when he became King, she gave him some potion which made him lose his mind, and then she locked him up in the highest tower of the castle,” the man said.

Sergio shivered. He sure as hell didn’t want to bring someone like that to their kingdom. “But I need to find a princess that would save our kingdom!” he whined.

“Have you tried Portugal?” the man asked. “I’ve heard they have a beautiful princess there. Maybe she would be interested.”

Sergio nodded and set the cup on the table. “I better get going, then,” he said.

He threw a coin to the innkeeper and walked out the door. He didn’t see when the man pulled off his cape, revealing his bald head, and reached for Sergio’s abandoned cup. “Hurry up,” he chuckled. “That princess will be delighted to see you. Better enjoy the last hours when you still have your head sitting on your shoulders.”

He drank the wine and then disappeared through the back door.


After long days of walking and some riding various carriages he came across and made profit of until the coachmen spotted him and kicked him down, Sergio reached the Kingdom of Portugal.

He found the royal palace easily enough – it was the tallest and biggest building in the capital, made of white marble. Sergio headed to the gate boldly.

“Hey!” a guard shouted at him. “Where do you think you are going?”

“Um, I need to talk to your princess,” Sergio said.

“You want to talk to Princess Irina?” the guard blinked. “Are you mad?”

“Why?” Sergio shrugged.

“Well, one in two audiences end with an execution, but if you’re feeling lucky...”

Sergio gulped. But he had to save his kingdom. “I’ll give it a try,” he said.

There weren’t any people waiting for an audience this time, and after the talk he had with the guard, Sergio could guess why.

Princess Irina was beautiful, too, and probably brave enough, as he could tell by the armor she wore underneath her red velvet cloak, but she didn’t look like she could be anyone’s true love. Next to her, there was a man, beautiful as well, but he looked like he would like to be anywhere else but that room.

“My lady Irina,” Sergio bowed to her. “My kingdom is under a terrible curse. Everyone fell asleep and they won’t wake up until someone gives our Prince a true love’s kiss. Please, grab your sword and come with me to save our kingdom.”

“Why would I do that?” Princess Irina frowned. “I do have a kingdom, and soon it will be mine by right.”

“But they need help!” the man next to her objected. “Look, I could go and see...”

“You are not going anywhere!” Princess Irina snapped. “You are staying here. Our wedding will be next week.”

“Last time you said it would be next month!”

“I changed my mind!” she shrieked. “And if you don’t shut up, it will be tomorrow!”

The man bowed his head and stayed silent. Princess Irina turned back to Sergio. “The kingdom is asleep, you say?”

Sergio nodded.

“And the Prince as well?”

Sergio nodded again.

“Perfect!” she beamed. “I’m going there. I’ll take the kingdom to myself.”

“But you have to break the curse first!” Sergio said.

“What? I don’t give a damn about the curse. I just want the land.”

“But it’s full of sleeping people!” Sergio objected.

“Well, I’m sure we can throw them somewhere and populate the kingdom with people that are awake,” she waved her hand.

“But what about the Prince?” Sergio asked.

“If I kill him, he won’t even know!” Princess Irina laughed. “It will be a merciful death. Captain, get my horse ready. And some soldiers. I’m sure we won’t need many. I’ll just grab my sword and we can go!” With that, she ran out.

Sergio just stood in the room, stunned. He’s probably brought even more doom onto his kingdom. Then he noticed the man still sitting next to the throne.

“Hey, you there,” Sergio said. “I noticed you weren’t eager to marry that woman, and I can’t blame you, but... maybe you have some influence on her, so you could tell her not to...”

“I can’t do anything,” the man said sadly.

“How come?”

“Don’t you know?” the man laughed humorlessly. “I’m Prince Cristiano, the rightful heir to this throne. Princess Irina conquered my country and made me her slave. She promised me freedom if I married her and gave her full rights to the throne, but I wonder if such thing can even be called freedom.”

“Sounds a bit harsh indeed,” Sergio nodded. “Well, I’d like to help you but... there’s nothing that could stop her, right?”

“No,” Cristiano sighed. “She always takes what she wants.”

“Dammit. And I thought I was saving my kingdom,” Sergio sighed.


They rode mostly in silence. Well, Princess Irina did shout commands at her soldiers and complained about the quality of the roads, but nobody dared to answer her, so it was a rather dull conversation.

Then they reached the Kingdom of Madrid. It was quiet everywhere. They passed a tavern full of sleeping people, and a market where people fell asleep with the goods in their hands. One unfortunate man fell into a tub with fish when he fell asleep. A group of children was sleeping on the steps of a house, still holding their toys.

“Poor people,” Prince Cristiano said.

“Shut up there in the back!” Princess Irina barked. “Where is that palace?”

“It’s right there,” Sergio said and pointed to the palace.

Princess Irina frowned. “What about the roses? What was the gardener doing all years?”

“The roses weren’t there before,” Sergio explained. “They are a part of the curse.”

Princess Irina sighed and jumped off her horse. She grabbed her sword and started cutting the branches. Occasionally, she cursed when the thorns ripped her fancy cloak.

“I’m almost there,” she panted. “Soldiers, start removing the sleeping lot. I’ll just get rid of the Prince and take the crown, and then we can bring new people here.”

Sergio and Prince Cristiano exchanged defeated glances. Princess Irina cut the last roses down and opened the gate. Cristiano and Sergio followed her.

“I need to find him,” she muttered. “I’ll look in the bedrooms. You two stay somewhere you won’t be in the way.”

With that, she ran off. Cristiano shrugged and climbed the stairs. He found himself in what looked like a library. Curiously, the fire still burned in the fireplace and everything looked like it was only abandoned minutes ago.

He walked past the shelves and then stopped in awe. At a table, a beautiful boy was sleeping. There was a heavy book in front of him and a white quill on the floor. Cristiano approached him carefully. Then he noticed the golden embroidery on the boy’s coat.

“Oh, God, this is the Prince!” Cristiano whispered.

She cannot kill someone this innocent and beautiful, he thought.

He turned around in panic when he heard fast steps, but it was just Sergio.

“I found him,” he told Sergio. “The Prince.”

“Oh, great,” Sergio said. “The witch is searching through the treasury and she got momentarily distracted by all the gold. So we have a bit of time.”

“Time for what?” Cristiano blinked.

“Trying to wake him up!” Sergio said. “Desperate situations call for desperate measures. Shall I try first or...”

“Um... maybe?” Cristiano shrugged. “I mean... have you kissed anyone before?”

“Sure thing,” Sergio said and approached the sleeping Prince. “I kiss my sheep goodnight every night.”

“Wait!” Cristiano said. “In that case... I better go first.”

He touched the Prince’s face gently and then kissed him on the lips lightly. The Prince’s lashes fluttered and then he opened his eyes.

“Wh-what happened?” he asked.

“Yeah, I’ll explain you that,” Sergio started. “So I was chasing a sheep and...”

“Sergio!” Cristiano snapped. “I... I am Prince Cristiano of Portugal. It seems that I broke the curse, but we might have a problem...”

“I’m sure my parents won’t mind you’re a guy, they’re both guys, too!” James said excitedly. “And I like you... I mean, I don’t know you yet, but it could be much worse, I think.”

Cristiano was trying hard not to be too flattered. “Yeah, I know, but the problem is that there is a mad woman who wants to kill you, and she’s... just found us.”

Princess Irina ran past the shelves to them. “Ah, here he is!” she said. “Who dared to wake him up?”

“I did!” Cristiano said boldly and stood in front of James. “And I won’t let you hurt him!”

Irina laughed. “I’ll cut you in half with my sword,” she said and raised the said sword. “And then I’ll do the same to this kid and take the kingdom to myself.”

Suddenly, with a loud bang, the flames in the fireplace got higher and a figure in a black cape appeared. Sergio shrieked and hid under the table. Cristiano hugged James, while Irina pointed her sword at the figure.

“Princess Irina,” the figure said. “I’m afraid that I can’t let you kill my son James.”

“Your son?” Irina shrieked. “But aren’t you...”

“Robert, the lord of all Hells, Satan, Lucifer, whatever you like,” Robert nodded. “Well, it’s not really my son, but I have some merits when it comes to his existence and technically, you could say that he’s really a spawn of Satan... although I didn’t intend him to be such a nerd. Anyway, I could offer you another kingdom as a compensation. Much bigger and better, and much richer.”

“Really?” Irina smiled. “I take it! I take everything! Where is it? I want it!”

Robert smiled. “It’s not far away. If you’d just take my hand, I’ll lead you there.”

Irina didn’t think twice. She took Robert’s hand and stepped into the fire.

“Prince Cristiano, I hope you will forgive me for taking your fiancée,” Robert said. “But I’ve been looking for a viceroy for my Hell forever. Now I’ve found the perfect vicereine for when I want to go on vacation!”

“I forgive you heartily,” Cristiano said. “Just be careful with her. She might try to dethrone you anytime.”

“Oh, don’t worry, my demons are loyal to me,” Robert smiled. “Well, if you excuse me, I need to drop the lady off in Hell, and then find Pep and finally take him to Hell as well. Annoying brat.”

“Sure,” Cristiano nodded.

“And... I know it’s going to sound awkward, but... may I invite you to our wedding?” James asked and blushed. “Well, after all you are something like my dad, so...”

“Eh... let’s not get much into these family relations,” Robert made a face. “I’m not a family type, really. But I’ll come if I have that day free.”

“Yeah, anyway, could you two go to hell already?” Cristiano asked. “We have to get to know each before the wedding actually happens.”

“Yep, going to Hell right now,” Robert said and then he and Irina disappeared.

Cristiano looked at James and smiled. “So... shall we go and meet your royal parents, or can we have a moment for ourselves?”

James returned the smile. “I think we deserve a moment of privacy,” he said.

Then he threw down the history book and climbed onto the table, pulling Cristiano down for another kiss. They were so happy that they completely forgot about Sergio under the table.

Sergio waited until they got too caught up in what they were doing, and then crawled to the door. He needed to inform the kings that their son was well, and that they should probably start preparing the wedding.