Title: Back to Back

Rating: K to T rating depending on the chapter. They will have warnings on them along with a one sentence summary.

Summary: Little moments of Elena's family coming to terms with Shurki's rule and what happens after, before, and during the time they were gone. Ratings vary and not in any particular order. A collection of one shot and drabble ideas I have about the family in the past, present, and future.

Note1: I've been seeing people writing stories about Elena meeting one of her old friends. I kind of wanted to take a stab at it. I wanted to achieve something like how Lucia and Raul didn't have to say anything on Dia de Los Muertos, to know that they were proud of their daughters. Elena and her friend didn't have to have some giant catch up to know that they would still be friends regardless of age.

This is also some excuse for me to write some Francisco and Luisa fics too.

Note 2: This chapter has been replaced with a new updated version.

Spanish Notes: paletero man is a street seller of paletas and helados (ice-cream), usually from a pushcart called a paletería.

Shuriki stood over her as she took a look at her parents in the next room. She wanted to cry out for them as she raised her weapon. It was her job to save her abuelos and Isabel. There wasn't anything her parents could do at all. That one last look seemed to do it as she felt the spell hit her and the glow of her necklace envelope her. Shuriki's taunts ringing in her ears.

"Elena," said Gabe gently shaking her awake. "Wake up, Elena, wake up."

Elena sat up in her bed panting a bit as she patted herself, making sure that she was still here and not in some amulet in a faraway kingdom. She felt her nice and warm comfy bed around it. She noticed that it was still dark and her bedside clock read 3 am. Groaning, she leaned back into her pillow. Next to her lay Gabe as he watched her. He was still here from after her first nightmare.

"You were screaming in your sleep. What's wrong?" he asked brushing some hair out of her face. He was always gentle, particularly when she had the nightmares. Elena found herself thankful she had a close friend and guard in Gabe. Perhaps a little too close.

"It's nothing, really," she protested not wanting to relieve these nightmares once again. She told him about one already and that was enough for her to make him stay. Honestly, sometimes she dreamt if she was better off still locked in that amulet.

"Elena, it's not nothing. What's wrong?"

"I had a nightmare about Shuriki."

He only hugged her comfortingly not wanting to say anything else. Elena wished that she could come clean with the rest of her family about the occasional nightmare about it. They were usually far in between that she didn't have to really worry about it. She remembered her first one not too long after the noblin incident. She was pretty sure that she scared Gabe but he seemed to take it in stride. One quality that she liked along with the fact that he could keep a secret.

Gabe sat up on the edge of her bed now. "Later today we can go to the villa mercado. Go get a helado and ride with Migs and Skylar. That'll cheer you up I'll buy you one," he said putting his boots and socks back on. Elena smiled as he knew how to make her feel better. Free ice cream and a ride would always clear her mind.

She turned to face him as he made his way to the door. "Thanks Gabe, that helps. And thanks for staying with me after the first nightmare." He nodded at her before disappearing into the hallway for late night rounds. She ruffled her pillows before moving over to the middle of the bed. Hopefully, she would dream of nothing but eating chocolate with Isabel for the rest of the night. A smile on her face she fell back to sleep.

The next morning, she made sure that there wasn't any evidence that Gabe was in her room. Thankfully both of them were rather tidy people. Well, he was, Elena still couldn't find her favorite pair of stockings anywhere. The grand council meeting went on without a hitch and nobody seemed to say anything to her about last night. If they heard her scream she would just tell them the truth. Odd thing was, nobody seemed to say anything to her about it.

Long after breakfast and close enough to lunch did she find Gabe. Nobody was going to back out on an ice cream run with her. Migs and Skylar waiting for them as Elena knew how to get them here. "Where are you going Elena?" asked Isabel from her spot on the palace steps. Elena surprised this was where she was sitting. Then again Isabel found inspiration everywhere. She thought for a moment wanting to invite her sister before deciding no. Elena was going to go into a shop and get her sister a gift while she was there. Something that would make her Isabel's face light up. Elena loved watching her sister get excited about something. She didn't need to know what it was before.

"The villa mercado for something," she said mysteriously. "I'll be back just after lunch."

With that she took off as her sister looked bewildered from the steps. Isabel looked down before realizing that she was nearly at the end pages of her journal. She'll have to get a new one eventually. Then went back to ruthlessly scribbling about making a machine of some sort.

Elena took his hand as he helped her off of Skylar. "We'll be back princessa," called Migs as Skylar muttered something about a date. Elena only smiled at that, she wasn't going to get any sweet dates to snack on for him. The first thing she went looking for was the paletero man with his paleteria. Chocolate flavored sounded really good. As the generally happier person than normal, she found him quickly enough, pulling Gabe by his arm. If he was going to pay for it, he had to be there. Two cones in hand she started to eat one of them. So good, she thought happily. Two ice creams in one day sounded too good to be true. They walked by a couple of shops as Elena was looking for something in particular.

"A leather notebook," she said to Gabe. "Isabel's journal is almost filled. I want to get her a new one."

Her guard looked thoughtful for a moment as he pointed in the direction of artist square. A little area of nothing but artists that shared their skills. Commissioned orders or something premade already. That would be her best bet with the leather shop being just around the corner from there.

"Ma said that America Reyes has a good shop for that kind of stuff," he said pointing to a small store just a block down from Dona's. She knew Gabe's mother was a craftswoman of some sort. Having already knowing the business they walked into the small shop with the smell of fresh leather. Elena should have come into here for Isabel's first journal as it smelt so good.

Behind her, she heard one of the workers notice Gabe. They asked about a Dolores something or another as she looked at the leather bound covers. One of them had a stamp with the jaquins on it. Perfect, she thought as she saw a worker. Now all she had to do was find a pen for her to use. A good fountain one that would bleed just right to color something in. "Where are the pen-" she started to say as she saw the worker.

Esperanza Carrero.

That was Esperanza Carrero she noticed looking a bit stunned. She had the same pale skin and bright red hair as she did before. Her green eyes looked at her just as startled to hear her name. "Esperanza?" she choked out.

"Elena," she whispered stunned taking in her friend the same way she was last she saw her. They had been friends back before Shuriki decided to take over the kingdom. A lot of her friends were either moved away, too busy, or even dead. Elena remembered hearing the news about her friend, Lola Campos, had passed away at 56. Gabe and her abuela had found her crying for hours after hearing that. All three of them were the best of friends. If she had come out of the amulet sooner.

Both the younger and older woman looked at each other, drinking them in. This couldn't be the same person was it? "I heard you were freed. I just wasn't sure that… How are you now?"

Elena noted that she still had that musical tone in her voice as she smiled. Like every line she said sounded like she was going to sing. Both of them would hold little singing competitions here and there, randomly remembered Elena. "I'm great, how… How are you?"

That was a terrible question to ask. Esperanza looked like she was in a good shape but it was clear that she was older and life had moved on for her. Everyone had moved on without her. "I'm good, you're just as sunny as I remember Elena."

"Always me, happier than the average person," she said proving her point by bouncing a little on her heels. Both of them grew quiet after a moment. "So what… I mean…" How do you ask what happened to someone after so many years? One person clearly pulled out of time? "Is this your shop?"

"This is my daughters, America. Do you remember Cristobal Reyes?"

She flashed back to the handsome young man that Esperanza had giggled over. "You married him," said Elena after a minute happy for her friend. "I remember you having a crush on him since we were Isabel's age. I told you to-"

"Get him a valentine," she finished as if it was yesterday. Both smiled at each other as it was now contagious. "Yea, time sure does fly." Elena and Esperanza only laughed. The time jokes were starting to settle on her after so long. She could laugh at all of them by now. It was like there wasn't a difference between them. They could be 12 again or 112 and it wouldn't matter. They were friends and Elena could only remember the good.

She heard the familiar boots behind her. Esperanza only turned to the new customer. "Ahh Gabriel. How's your mother?"

"Great," said Gabe as she turned and faced him still holding the notebook she wanted to buy. She didn't even have time to get her pen. "She said to tell you hello actually and she'll get you your desert one day." Then he turned to look at her curious about why they were talking. Then shrugged it off. "Princess Elena the jaquins are back to pick us up."

She only smiled at Esperanza before turning to Gabe. "Tell them I'll be there in a minute." Gabe turned as she looked at her red haired friend.

"Good choice for a guard," said Esperanza. "He was always good at defending his family." Clearly she knew Gabe's family since her imprisonment in the amulet. Well, she must have known his mother to know each other's business.

Flashes of her friendship with her continued in her mind as she only replied back. "He does a pretty good job. Esperanza, you should come to the palace for a dinner sometime. Abuela would love to cook for you again."

"I wouldn't pass up Luisa's cooking for nothing. You know where to write now."

Both of them giggled once again. "I need to pay for my notebook."

"It's on me… Elena," she said as they hugged over the counter. Elena walked out of the shop with a little pep in her step. Happy tears ran down her cheeks as Gabe offered her a handkerchief. It was good to know that something didn't really change.