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Fanfic / Somos Familia

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Hector: I thought if I didn't leave Mexico City, right then and there, then I'd....Then I'd never see you again.
Imelda: I had the same fear mi corazon. But we're here, together. And nothing will part us again.

Warning, Late-Arrival Spoiler below.

You know the story of Coco. (Or, you should) A man wanted to play for the world, and so set out with his best friend, leaving behind a wife and daughter. The wife grew bitter and banned music for 5 generations when he never returned. Leaving only his great, great grandson to redeem music for the family, and more importantly, discover the truth behind this lost member of the family.

Yeeeaahhh, turns out he was poisoned by his friend Ernesto de la Cruz, who was terrified to go perform without his songs which he wrote in honor of his family. But what if that wasn't the case? What if a small change in words, a sting of the heart, and a slight adjustment to fate changed everything? What if Hector Rivera lived?

Somos Familia (Alternate Link) is a For Want Of A Nail fic, chronicling the journey the Rivera family might've taken if Family of Choice had won over egotism. Of a family rebuilt, a life changed, twisted and turned as Hector Rivera DID go home.

The current status of the story is unclear, as it was last updated in January 2022.

This fanfic explores these tropes:

  • Adaptation Expansion: We don't get much of an idea what Santa Cecilia is like since Coco spends most of its time in the land of the dead. With this human focused adaptation, there's a lot more time spent getting to know the people of the town.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: It goes without saying that Ernesto gets this, since he backs away from murdering Hector.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Coco's younger siblings Leticia and Mateo have Leti and Matty respectively.
  • Alternate Universe Fic: Taking something as fundamental as the incident that formed the identity of the Riveras for 5 generations and reversing it? Yeah you better believe this is an alternate history fic.
  • And This Is for...: When Hector is sent to the Land of the Dead, his father-in-law smacks him, saying it's for getting Imelda pregnant out of wedlock. He also says he's been waiting for a chance to do this for the last 33 years.
  • Angsty Surviving Twin: Poor Matty gets hit with this hard, becoming very moody and depressed in his teenage years.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't speak ill about Leti around Matty, as Sergio the bully found out the hard way.
    • Hector can't stand people taking credit for other people's work. It's one of the things he doesn't like about Coco's suitor Ignacio.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Coco is nice, sweet, and motherly, but she does not hesitate to yell at her parents for their mistakes.
    "For months! NO! For years! YEEEAAARS! I have watched you sulk and whine and piddle and cry and not even try to stand up for yourself while Mamá treated you like dirt! No, instead you drink yourself into a hospital bed and made us all worry for your health when you don't care at all! What a wonderful example you've set for your son and granddaughter! No, you're not a grandfather! You're just a kicked puppy trailing after Mamá! And you Mamá, are the puppy kicker! Imelda Rivera, kicker of puppies! You should be ashamed of yourself! And why?! Because you were depressed about the surgery! All-of-this-could-have-been-prevented-if-you-had-just-TOLD-US!"
  • Big Sister Instinct: Coco and Leti are both fiercely protective of Matty and he feels the same way about Leti when a bully makes uncouth remarks about her after her passing.
  • Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: Hector sorting his mail in Chapter 32. "Fan mail, fan mail, bill, monthly bar tab, fan mail..."
  • Birthday Hater: Miguel was born on Dia de los Muertos, and has grown increasingly jaded over the years about celebrating it because Hector uses it as an excuse to make himself feel happy as opposed to his son. Given that the holiday is very traumatic to his father due to Ernesto's death, Miguel lets Hector do as he pleases but feels no real excitement about celebrating. Then his twelfth birthday happens, and he finally declares that he hates it.
  • Boring, but Practical: Brought up when Imelda talks about getting the shoe business going: that shoes are concrete and will help those working hard in the world.
  • But I Can't Be Pregnant!: Imelda is shocked and afraid when she discovers that she is pregnant with her fourth child, given her age and the fact she's also about to become a grandmother.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Despite how much they love him, both of Hector's sons call him out in chapter 40, chiding his decision making choices and how he's projected coldness and hostility when he didn't need to.
  • Central Theme: The relationship between Death, Sorrow, and Joy.
  • Chessmaster Sidekick: De La Cruz Records employee Vincente shows signs of this. He's deeply loyal to Ernesto and the Rivieras, effortlessly figures out a Loophole Abuse way to get Coco out of an unwanted contract, and runs the company almost single-handedly by the 1950s. He also puts a lot of thought into a Long Game to get Hector to ease up on his destructive music ban, although it gets derailed pretty quickly due to external factors.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Domingo Cavallero shows up as a greedy and unpleasant member of the local mayor's family who asks Hector for an enormous loan for a stupid business proposition. The next time he's mentioned, it's revealed that he is Hector's father.
  • Child Prodigy: Hector apparently had traces of this according to the flashbacks. Turns out he was writing and beginning to compose from the age of 4!
  • Childhood Friends: Coco mentions growing up and knowing 2 kids. The kindly Rosita, and her brother Julio who's odd towards her.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Hector and Imelda have known each other since they were four and five respectively, but fell in love with each other at different points in their life.
    • Julio had been in love with Coco since he was five years old, teaching himself to dance so that he could one day dance with her.
  • Children Are Innocent: Due to being really young, Coco doesn't know a thing about her parents "welcome back" song they made together.
    • She later figures it out after her own wedding night, leading her to burst out laughing.
  • Clingy Macguffin: After he steals it from his grave, Ernesto's custom guitar will not leave Hector's hand, keeping him anchored in the spirit realm no matter how he tries to get rid of it, and zipping back when he tries to throw it away.
  • Clothing-Concealed Injury: Ernesto wears his trademark long-sleeved white jacket even when it's blistering hot outside and gets nervous when asked to remove it. His jacket sleeves cover up the injuries on his wrists from a Happily Failed Suicide.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: When Imelda confront him about The overall stupidity of the ban on music Hector babbles about how If she was the one to demand it then she wouldn't be painted as the bad guy and defied by the family which sounds completely nonsensical and is a pretty blatant way of trying to excuse his behavior while he's in a dark, confused place but (given the original timelines events) happens to be true.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Ernesto chose to never give up the circuit, and so will drop in and out of the story as he's singing Hector's songs along.
  • Confess to a Lesser Crime: By the time Ernesto decides not to kill Hector, the only way to stop the latter from drinking the poisoned liquid without admitting it's poisoned is to say it was the Del Toro. Hector hates that drink so much he assumes it would be a petty revenge on Ernesto's part.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Imelda, Hector and Ernesto were all orphans who met each other. Although, they each had different contexts for this. Imelda's parents were killed by malaria when she was five and her brothers were babies, Ernesto's mother died in childbirth, and Hector was dropped off there.
  • Curse Cut Short: Upon learning how Senor Guzman really feels about teaching his trade to a woman, Hector says that, if Guzman does or says anything to make her lose that passion, Hector will shove boots up Guzman's... whatever it is, the readers are never told because Imelda interrupts them by showing up but it was implied what Hector was going to say.
  • Curse Escape Clause: Hector's curse with Ernesto's guitar can be broken with a blessing like before, but this time, it's much more specific. He needs Ernesto's blessing specifically.
  • Death by Childbirth: Subverted. When Hector learns his birth mother was 14 when she gave birth to him and when she died, he initially assumes she died giving birth to him but she tells him otherwise.
  • Death of a Child: Leticia, Hector and Imelda's second child, contracts leukemia and ultimately dies of it.
  • Dramatic Irony: SO MUCH! In fact, the audience can see bits of the movie proper in the words of the characters, seeing the seeming mundane take on special dimensions. For example, Hector's first song writing check caused him to "nearly choke on my chorizo".
  • Driven to Suicide: Hector's birth mother gave birth to him at age 14. But she was kicked out of her own family due to being an unwed mother, and the person she fell for rejected her afterwards. So, after giving birth, she thought she couldn't properly provide for him. And she drowned herself.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Poor Hector hits the bottle hard to deal with the stress of Imelda kicking him out of the house and Matty serving in World War II. Ernesto is also doing this because of his enormous guilt complex with mindless sex and drug use.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Ernesto to his and Hector's record producer. after discovering that he's a pedophile, complete with a Suspiciously Specific Denial about how it isn't like he could have police outside listening to every word they're saying right before he bring the hammer down on the guy.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Imelda, Hector and Ernesto met each other in an orphanage, and grew up together.
    • In a more literal example, Coco, Julio and Rosita all went to school together as well.
  • Exact Words: The Riveras' sign say they're shoemakers since 1921. The shop's opening year is 1922 but Imelda argues that they're shoemakers since 1921 because that's when she came up with the idea.
  • For Want Of A Nail: The nail in this case is as mentioned above. In a moment of clarification for the two of them, Hector ended up alleviating some of Ernesto's fears about losing his moment by clarifying that he wasn't walking away from their work forever. In that moment, Ernesto chose to let the poison fall, and gave Hector a chance to have a fuller life.
  • Grave-Marking Scene: Two-for-one. As soon as Matti get's settled he goes to Ernesto's grave to talk to him where he's met by Hector. But while Hector and Matti have their talk, they sit on the grave of a certain Nieve.
  • Heroic Dog: The Rivera's only pet animal: a dog that grows from pup to mutt named Dante. He's absolutely devoted to Mateo, so that when he almost gets skewered during the earthquake, Dante leads Hector straight to him.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Hector thinks Coco is too young to get married but his brothers-in-law point out he was one year younger than that when he got married and was of her age when he became a father.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!: Played with. To prove his good intent, Hector is challenged to smash his guitar by Imelda. The surprise though is where once she sees that Hector's serious about doing it, she stops him, and agrees to let him keep it.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Ernesto eventually gets to sing "Remember Me" to the world.
    • And a bell still falls on him during a performance of "Remember Me" in 1942.
    • Miguel Rivera still ends up being a talented guitar player living under a music ban.
  • Insistent Terminology: In Chapter 36, Hector says his hair is "slate, not gray".
  • The Insomniac: Hector briefly passes through this phase when the twins are very young. According to Oscar and Felipe, he didn't get much sleep at all for 10 days!
  • Irony: All the fertility stuff pushed on Coco and Julio doesn't work on them...but it sure works on Hector and Imelda!
  • It Will Never Catch On: In chapter 22, Imelda uses the expression "useless ideas" to describe her brothers' shoes "with wheels that popped out of the heels".
  • It Tastes Like Feet: Apparently, Del Toro tequila tastes like 'floor cleaner in a fancy bottle'.
  • Loophole Abuse: By the time Coco decides to quit show business and leave Rivera De La Cruz Productions, she still has three years before her contract expires and, since Ernesto is dead and Hector's poor health prevents him from making decisions in the company's name, the power to release her from the contract is on the hands of someone who won't do it. Upon Vicente's suggestion, she opts to fulfill her obligations by appearing in short films to help the war effort and taking long vacations between them.
  • Meaningful Echo: Hector finally realizes he cannot change Mateo's mind to fight in WWII when his son says, "I'M GOING PAPA! Hate me if you want, but my mind is made up!"
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Mentioned, since due to it being the The Roaring '20s, Imelda had a rocky start getting her shoe business going. And indeed, she did need all her family's help to get it going, but the idea was still hers and the customers who only tried her shoes because she's Hector's wife only became regulars because her shoes are good enough to keep them satisfied.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: After Leti passes, one of her brother's bullies not only says he should have been the one to die but offers to swap the poor kid with Leti's body and "make her a real woman". His sidekick is so appalled he tells Hector and Imelda exactly what happened when the boys get into a fight.
  • Noodle Incident: Ever "since that incident with Coco and the masa...", Imelda won't trust her brothers to watch over the babies even when Hector is what she calls "this sleep-starved, crazed buffoon".
  • Not His Sled: Surprisingly, the person who is sent to the land of the dead after a disaster on Day of the Dead isn't Miguel, but Hector!
  • Oblivious to Her Own Description: Imelda doesn't understand where Matty gets his quick temper, stubbornness and inability to let go of grudges from.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: In general, the Rivera children don't go by their birth name. In fact, this is part of why Coco quickly ran back to Julio. Because, "Nobody calls me Socorro."
  • Original Character: So many, thanks to the expansion of the setting. Parents, friends, enemies, managers, there's no shortage of new people who show up in the story.
  • Papa Wolf: Now that Hector's back in his family's life, he's more than willing to stand up for his wife to learn shoe making.
    • When a jilted suitor attempts to attack Coco out of spite, Hector double teams with Matty and they both punch the living daylights out of him.
  • Plagiarism in Fiction: Averted with Hector's songs because Ernesto gives due credit but Coco's rich suitor Ignacio passes a variation of Walt Whitman's "Oh Captain, My Captain" as a poem of his own during an attempt to court Coco.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Imelda's first ultimatum to Hector showing he'll stay: NO MORE MUSIC!!
  • Redemption Equals Sex: Once Hector proves his intent to remain back to his family, Imelda has a VERY passionate night with him afterwards.
  • Rescue Romance: Coco finally begins warming up to Julio after he protects her from a falling tree branch during the earthquake.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: Julio briefly ends up with a rival who is well-off. Eventually his chauvinistic ways infuriate Coco and she tells him to leave her alone!
    • Happens again for poor Julio when it seems like Hector's assistant Vicente has fallen for Coco and is trying to lure her away from her husband. Turns out that Vicente was just being a nice guy to Coco. And that he's gay.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: When Matty tells his friend Barto about his desire to go to Yale to earn a business degree, Barto says Hector and Ernesto could bribe his way in.
  • Self-Made Man: The whole Rivera extended family has this to some degree. Hector, Imelda, Ernesto, Oscar and Felipe started as orphans with little to their names. But thanks to some determination, hope, talent and a lot of luck, they all ended up in a VERY good place as the richest people in Santa Cecelia.
  • Shellshocked Veteran: It's gradually revealed that Matty hasn't quite gotten over World War II, accidentally breaking his sons arm while yanking him to the ground after hearing a car backfire in one scene. Hector also has quite a bit of PTSD from Ernesto's death, which makes him shun music but refuses to admit this.
  • Shout-Out: Back when Imelda was a toddler, her father grew a pumpkin "so big he had it fashioned into an actual carriage for her".
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: When Hector calls Ignacio out on trying to pass a Walt Whitman poem as his own, Ignacio says he "didn't know that some orphans could be so well read, especially in another country's literature" and guesses his father was right about new money people trying too hard to make up for what they lacked early on.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: When Hector returns to his family, the soon-to-be retired shoemaker who's teaching them his trade expects him to relegate Imelda to housewife duties. Hector instead gives the shoemaker a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Surprise Incest: Downplayed. Ignacio tries to woo Coco, whose father turns out to be his half-brother. However, Coco only returns his interest as a knee-jerk reaction after getting into a fight with Julio. She dislikes Ignacio and quickly dumps him before their relationship gets physical. Additionally, the only character to learn about their relationship so far is Hector, who is too busy processing his father's identity to reflect on Ignacio pursuing Coco.
  • The Cameo: Some characters from the movie show up in Chapter 24: Ceci, who makes Coco's wedding dress, and Los Chachalacos who perform at the wedding reception.
  • Those Two Guys: Oscar and Felipe, Hector's brothers in law are the comedic extra trio, pulling all sorts of stunts while Hector and Imelda have the primary drama.
  • Together in Death: Leti is reunited in the land of the dead with Frangipani, the circus elephant she had befriended years ago. Which becomes her alebrije in the land of the dead.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Leticia was kind and bright. Everyone was enamored of her, but she also was humble and protective of her twin brother. So of course she is the first of the named characters to die.
  • Twin Telepathy: Oscar and Felipe still have this, but it also crops up a bit with Mateo and Leticia.
  • Uncle Pennybags: Hector becomes this once he and his family strike it rich. He invests in several businesses that provide people with jobs, donates money, operates soup kitchens and even turned his childrens' birthday party into a grand feast for his starving neighbors to enjoy during the Great Depression. His motto is "Spread the wealth around", and he even convinces Ernesto to be more charitable with his money too.
  • Wham Episode: Quite a few occur.
    • New Additions: Hector gets fraternal twins for the family.
    • Diagnosis: Leticia is diagnosed with CANCER!
    • Have Faith: Hector's 4th child is born. Whom he wants to name after the doctor who saved his life. That doctor's name is Miguel.
    • Parting Words of Regret: We get inside Hector's head after years under the music ban while we're in the middle of him hurting relationships with ALL his family, and then he gets sent to the land of the dead. And Miguel watches it happen!
  • Wham Line: When Leti takes Hector to meet a lady named Nieve, Leti is getting shoved out and accidentally says, "Please..Abuelita!"
  • Worldbuilding: Since Coco had to be minimalistic in its worldbuilding due to time constraints, there's a bit more fleshing out the land of the dead in this story. The land of the living is more Like Reality, Unless Noted, since the Riveras aren't important enough to cause more than minor ripples to the world. The land of the dead however has some sincere expanding of the world beyond what's shown in the movie. Not just regarding visits, but what skeletons do during the year, how jobs do or don't translate, and other examples of getting cursed for stealing from the dead.
  • You Should Have Died Instead: Inverted. The only person who thinks Matty should have died instead of Leti is himself.
  • You're Not My Father: While not done verbatim, this is Miguel's closing line when he calls his father out on how his choices have made him seem like a cowardly hypocrite.