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Whatever It Takes (alternate link) by im-fairly-witty and slusheeduck is an ongoing fanfic based on Pixar's Coco. The story is set in a What If? universe where Hector was the antagonist while Ernesto de la Cruz became his victim. Along with focusing on Hector's, and by extension Imelda's, successes as celebrities it also portrays the dark deeds they performed in order to protect their fame and their family.
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The fanfiction is built heavily on spoilers from the movie. Thus, all spoilers will be unmarked.


Tropes in Whatever It Takes include:

  • Adaptational Villainy: The purpose of this AU is to show what life would be like if Hector, along with Imelda, were the villains of the story. This also extends to various members of the Rivera family since they too are aware of and involved in the couple's dark deeds. Even Dante has a more serious personality from working for Hector.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Hector's fans refer to him as Tio Hector because of his warm and affectionate personality.
  • Ascended Extra: Enrique Rivera, Miguel's father, is shaping up to be this after his death in Chapter 4 and noticing the grim circumstances relating to his son.
  • Asshole Victim: Ernesto ends up in Hector's original position; a pathetic, lonely, down-on-his-luck street urchin on the verge of being forgotten. But in all fairness, he did have it coming for trying to poison Hector so he could steal his songs.
    • This also applies to all of Hector and Imelda's victims after Ernesto as many of them tried to harm them or their family members in different ways thus forcing the couple's hand at disposing them with righteous justice.
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  • Bait-and-Switch: There is a scene where Imelda walks in on Hector trying to wash off blood from his clothes and is shocked by his appearance. He just came back from filming a movie scene involving the Mexican Revolution and Imelda is worried about being late to an important dinner.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Thanks to her newly earned wealth, Imelda is free to indulge in receiving the finest outfits, jewelry and accessories that she desires. She's able to successfully pull her new looks thanks to her coordination and classy personality to which the public, and Hector, are head over heels for her.
  • Berserk Button: Victoria despises kidnappers, as she was kidnapped and murdered when she was alive. When Enrique and Rodrigo take Miguel away from the Rivera house, she assumes they "kidnapped" Miguel and tortures Rodrigo to the point several of his bones broke. And planned to do the same to Enrique, if not for Héctor and the police's invervention.
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  • Bittersweet Ending: After so many harships, Miguel finally remembers who he used to be and calls Héctor on his hypocresy and his murders. Victoria is institutionalized and Héctor is arrested for all his deeds. The reputation of the Riveras is in shambles now but despite everything Imelda and Coco continue to side with Héctor. Meanwhile, Miguel and Enrique live a peaceful afterlife in the land of the dead with Ruy.
  • Black Sheep: Rodrigo Rivera, the fifth child of Hector and Imelda, is something of an outcast among the Riveras. His relationship with his parents has and continues to be on the rocks because of how much of a careless and irresponsible party boy he is from both the living world and the afterlife.
  • Break the Cutie: Miguel suffers through this. He realizes that his great-great-grandfather went out of his way to murder someone and was willing to let them suffer the Final Death in order to protect his secrets. Then Hector decides to keep him from escaping by trapping him in his mansion forcing him to die in the LOTD. Roughly 20 years of extensive and questionable therapy later, Miguel is no longer the same, cheerful and free spirited boy he once was and it takes him the whole story to get some progress of recovery.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Pepita and Dante's origins. In canon, Pepita was an ordinary house cat who belonged to Imelda and then served as her spirit guide in the afterlife. And Dante was a street dog that was unofficially adopted by Miguel. In this reality, Pepita was a Savannah cat who was given to Imelda as an exotic gift while Dante was a trained dog that worked with Hector in one of his movies before Hector decided to buy him from his handler.
  • The Confidant: Imelda is this for Hector. After coming close to being poisoned by Ernesto, Hector relies on her for every important action he takes and along with helping him through his weaker moments. He considers her his rock and he deeply appreciates everything she does.
  • Demoted to Extra: Ernesto de la Cruz only appears in the first chapter and is then taken away by Pepita where he ends up experiencing the Final Death.
  • Despair Event Horizon / Et Tu, Brute?: Happened to Héctor after finding out that Ernesto wanted to poison him. Even when Imelda convinces him to murder Ernesto with his own poison, he's plagued with disbelief and denial. When he poisons Ernesto in self-defense, he took it so badly that he spent a month locked in his house out of depression, with Imelda becoming his Living Emotional Crutch.
  • Elective Mute: Miguel is transformed into this after 20 years in the Land of the Dead. While he is capable of speaking when spoken to, he only speaks for a little and prefers to stay silent.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Despite their new roles as villains, Hector and Imelda highly value their family and only commit their sinister deeds if someone tries to hurt their family in any way. And of course, they're both romantically devoted to each other no matter what. Word of God admits that this is their favorite aspect of the AU.
  • For Want of a Nail: This AU happens when Hector is able to learn early on that Ernesto is planning to poison him so he can keep his song book for himself, thus leading him to retaliate and kill him first. With a motivational boost from Imelda.
  • He Knows Too Much: The reason why Héctor and Imelda forced Miguel to stay at the land of the dead.
  • Hypercompetent Business Partner: Imelda becomes this for Hector when he gives his musical tour a second chance. She organizes all of his events and strategies for his public appearances. She even coordinates how to deal with Miguel after he dies in the Land of the Dead because of Hector.
  • It's All My Fault: Elena blames herself for arguing with Miguel about his plan to leave his family in order to pursue his music career, as it resulted in Miguel running away and becoming missing forever.
  • Lady Macbeth: Imelda has multiple shades of this as she calls the shots for which actions Hector should take, particularly in having Ernesto killed with his own poison. This trope is also subverted because while Macbeth was motivated by selfish ambition, Imelda is driven by the love of protecting her family and only resorting to murder if given no other choice.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The way the couple goes after a designated target. They manage to kill them in an accident style manner that turn their target's vices against them. Word of God refers to this as 'karmic attacks'.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Héctor and Imelda are this to each other.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: With Hector and Imelda having a longer relationship in real life, Coco now has four new siblings. This includes the following siblings from second born to youngest: Leti, a singer who died at the early age of 17 because of cancer which devastated her parents, Mateo, her twin brother who ran the Rivera Legacy foundation keeping the family's legacy in tact until his death, Hector II who became the CEO of a successful shoewear company alongside his uncles Oscar and Felipe, and Rodrigo, a conductor who earned the family's disapproval for his aggressive personality and his chaotic partying.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When Imelda finds out that Rodrigo took Miguel in order to escape from the Rivera household and that Victoria found out and tortured him to the point his bones broke and Héctor allowed it to happen is the moment Imelda realizes Héctor has gone too far in his attempt to keep the family together.
  • Parental Substitute: Played for Drama. Hector has usurped Enrique's role as Miguel's father throughout the twenty years that the boy as stayed in the LOTD and Enrique does not take the news very well.
  • The Rock Star: 20 years in the future, Socorro is now famous musician along with her own band called Fenix.
  • Romance on the Set: An unorthodox In-Universe example. Thanks to various circumstances, Imelda ended up becoming the main female lead alongside Hector in a romance movie called Nunca Sabes. The two were already married but their chemistry and interactions caught the attention of the film crew and the audience. Their dynamic was so good that it ended up creating the 'Rivera Dynamic' which was a standard that many directors tried to achieve in their romance movies.
  • Secret Keeper: Out of all of her siblings, Coco is the only one who is fully aware of her parents' dark history and is willing to help them in their affairs to keep the family name safe. Victoria knows about it as well, but she's more like a Psycho Supporter who tortures those who deserve to be punished.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Ernesto receives the Final Death earlier in the story, but it's his betrayal in the past that broke Héctor and made him the man he's now, willing to dirty his hands for the sake of protecting his family.
  • Team Mom: Coco, being the eldest and most knowledgeable of her siblings. She does her best to keep the family together during special occasions and smooth things out whenever tensions are high among the relatives.
  • Time Skip: The story cuts to 20 years after Miguel's disappearance on Dia de los Muertos.
  • Trauma Button: Word of God states that Miguel now has a fear of locked doors and goes into a panic if he encounters a door that won't open.
  • Typecasting: Regarding movie roles, Hector's characters were always heroic, father figures with good morals.
  • Vigilante Execution: The only people that Hector and Imelda go after are the ones that attack their family, such as Ernesto who tried to poison Hector or a deranged fan who tried to assault Imelda. Their karmic attacks are done with enough care that they manage to get away with their reputations untainted.
  • Villains With Good Publicity: Hector and Imelda are adored by the world not only for Hector's music and the family's shoe business, but also for the vast amounts of charity works they provide for the community. This even extends to the afterlife where Hector uses the gifts provided by his fans to share with the less fortunate souls with no ofrendas of their own.
  • White and Grey Morality: When it comes down to it, Hector and Imelda's dark deeds fall on the grey scale of the morality spectrum. While their body count is high enough for them to reach serial killer status, they never kill for the fun of it. They only do so whenever their family is threatened and go for targets that deserve to die, such as conniving agents, deranged fans or sleazy/nosy reporters. And for the most part, they are technically good people since they love and cherish their family, both their immediate and descendant members, and they commit to the charity work they're involved in because of how much good it does for those in need.
    • One can make the argument that this is averted, however. While they argue that they kill to defend their family, they also killed a twelve year old boy, their own great-great-grandson, to hide their evil acts, and while the circumstances surrounding the murders aside from Ernesto's remain somewhat ambiguous, there isn't one that doesn't seem like it could have been handled legally. In addition, as the story goes on, it's clear that their crimes have caused some distinctly cruel behavior to leak into their daily lives, as evidenced by their incredibly unhealthy and abusive realtionship with their youngest child, Rodrigo.
  • The Woman Behind The Man: Hector may be the main face to the Rivera family's rise to fame but Imelda is the true ringleader behind his success.
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