This movie was very excellent, one of Pixar's best work if you ask me. I especially like Hector and Miguel's closeness, then later on, when you find out they're related to each other, you're like "oh, so that's why they're so similar!". I thought about multiple stories for the movie after my second time watching it. This is one of three, but it's my only one shot for now. Please tell me what you think.

Oh, Miguel can see the dead in my fic. I was disappointed they didn't allow him to have a connection to the deceased, after all, he had toed the line between life and death, shouldn't he at least be able to see them now?! The only thing I didn't like about the ending of the movie.

Absence and Fonder Hearts

Miguel had always enjoyed watching the fireworks burst open beside the stars on Día De Los Muertos. Aside from the soothing booming sound it makes, it also painted a beautiful picture of color and lights. The boy had never tired of that view when he was growing up watching the festivities. It had always been his favorite thing to observe.

Right now the Rivera was on the roof of the house and shoe shop that was his home, dressed in his custom red sweater with white stripes along with black boots and sitting near his former hideout as he watched the people below rush to prepare for the day of the dead to officially begin. Miguel, in particular, was looking forward to this year's Día De Los Muertos.

This time last year, he had never understood the importance of the holiday the village Santa Cecilia cherished and celebrated so. The marigold petals and food offerings for the spirits that would come to visit seemed pointless and a waste of resources. It wasn't until he accidentally put a curse on himself and saw the world through the eyes of the dead that he understood what the big deal was.

He was grateful he went through the adventure, even if he did almost end up dead in more ways than one. Not only did he get to meet his family, but he was also able to repair it, and bring music back into all their lives. Not just that, but Héctor was saved as well and got his family again.

Honestly, when he had first met the man (uhh… skeleton), Miguel had thought of him as a goofy, somewhat desperate guy. He never understood why Dante seemed so enamored with him or why he wanted to cross the bridge so badly. However, the boy had found that, despite a few different opinions, they seemed to have a lot in common. And he genuinely enjoyed the time he spent with him until the big fight they had about family, music and lies.

But, Miguel supposed that was a good thing too, else he would have never known the true nature of his ex-idol, Ernesto de la Cruz. The boy shuddered as he thought of his cleft face with his white mariachi outfit. The man had been his hero for so long, since the day he had discovered music for himself and learned that he had such a deep passion for it. He had been unusually elated when he had determined they were related by blood. That the greatest musician of all time was his great-great-grandfather.

Miguel could remember all too clearly what the supposed honorable man had done to him and his family. He murdered Héctor for trying to go back home to his wife and daughter. He stole his songs and never gave credit where it was due. Threw himself and his real great-great-grandfather into a cenote to rot (well, for him to die and Héctor to be forgotten). When there was a chance Miguel would get back to the Land of the Living and expose him for the fraud he was, Ernesto had not hesitated to throw him off a high building to plummet to his death. The boy still had nightmares about that sometimes. It was only because of Pepita and his family that he was even alive right now.

The trip through the realm of the dead opened his eyes to many things he had always taken for granted. Miguel now understood how important family was, was even willing to sacrifice his chance to lay music to save Héctor from the Final Death. Just like the man had sent him back even though he knew he would disappear because Miguel had lost the photo. Thank God for Mamá Coco, who had the original picture for the photograph. And now that the day of the dead has arrived again, he'll be able to see them all when they come to his home to see the ofrenda.

Looking up and seeing the sky was dark, the usual time when the dead would cross the bridge to their world, Miguel kept a steady eye on the archway, the standard trail of marigold petals leading from out of the streets of the village to their house, where the deceased would see the pictures and offerings the breathing Rivera family had set up. He could already see many skeletons walking about, some moving into nearby houses while others kept walking, expressions of happiness on their faces at the chance to see their families again. Miguel could only agree full-heartedly. He threw a wave and a shout of welcome to the crowd of deceased members walking through the streets. While some were surprised to be seen, others gave a smile and wave back.

Below he could see his family gathering around the courtyard in front of the house, setting decorations till they were just right and, regarding those who had music to play, were tuning up their instruments. It was the first day of the dead they would invite music into their celebrations. The owner of Ernesto's mausoleum had even allowed Miguel to keep the guitar, due to it actually belonging to his great-great-grandpa.

The boy watched with a sad smile as his parents reintroduced the deceased family to his baby sister. They had named her after Mamá Coco, someone else he would be able to see, of course. But it was still sad that everyone else in the family wouldn't meet the dead part of the Rivera family until after they had died. It was like no other feeling in the world, being able to see them again after so many months waiting for this day and the boy sincerely wished he could share that feeling with the rest of his relatives.

"Hey, Chamaco! Over here, Miguel."

Miguel started as he heard a familiar voice and nickname coming from behind him. He turned around, tears already appearing in his eyes to see the one deceased he had wanted to see the most. His Papá Héctor, looking almost exactly the same as when he last saw him in the realm of the dead. There were small differences to his appearance, like how he looked a bit healthier and less ragged, with fewer bandages and tattered clothing that had been sewn up but he still seemed somewhat identical to how he had when they had first met.

"Papá Héctor!" the teenaged Rivera called, sliding down the roof and onto the little ramp on the boxes of material they needed also located behind his house till he was back on the ground. And then he was hugging his great-great-grandfather, so many emotions welling up inside him as he squeezed the man with all his might.

"Ah, Miguel." The man sighed, soothingly pushing his fingers through the boy's hair as he hugged him gently back. "It's good to see you again, mijo." Miguel sniffed as he felt some tears start to spill over. "I was afraid I'd be too late. She almost—" Hector shushed him as he pushed the boy more firmly against his chest.

"Hey, chamaco. It's all okay. You helped Coco remember, that's all that matters." The boy nodded against Héctor's chest, closing his eyes as he breathed in his smell. The man had always had a particular smell about him before, like that of dusty bones in a museum. Now he smelled of clean clothes and marigold petals.

Miguel eventually moved away from the man, discreetly wiping his eyes as he noted a change he hadn't noticed before. "You have shoes now?" The whole time he had traveled with him through the land of the dead, the man had been barefoot.

"You like? Your Mamá Imelda finally forgave me after you helped Coco remember me and let me stay in the house with the rest of the Riveras. I now get shoes, nicer clothes, and even better company. So, thanks for that, chamaco!" Miguel laughed at his ancestor's antics, reveling in the apparent pride and happiness directed at him. It was nice their dynamic didn't change even though their relationship was different from when they had first met. Héctor was still as goofy and friendly as he had been the whole time he had known him in the world of the dead.

"Miguel?" The two males turned to see Mamá Coco and Imelda heading their way, along with the rest of the family. The young boy soon found himself wrapped up in a tight group hug and being prodded and looked at carefully.

"Oh look how much you've grown—"

"—you make sure we got a good offering this year?"

"How are you, Miguel?"

Soon the young boy found himself face to face with his recently deceased great-grandmother. He hugged her tightly around her neck. "It's good to see you again, Mamá Coco. I've missed you."

"It's nice to see you too, Julío." The two laughed at the little inside joke, considering for the last year Mamá Coco had been confusing him with her husband. "How are you, Miguel? I heard all about your adventures from mamá and papá." Miguel pulled away from her before he answered, "I'm fine, Mamá. It's good to see all of you again."

"Well, no use standing around here. We have an ofrenda to get to." Tía Victoria declared in her usual no-nonsense voice. Miguel couldn't agree more and started the small trek to the Rivera house. As they walked towards the front entrance to the yard, they could hear a tourist explaining to a small group of people about Héctor. The man in question gave a little start at that.

"You told people the truth?" He questioned his grandson quietly. Miguel shrugged with a warm smile on his face. "With Mamá Coco's help. After she gave me your picture with the guitar that was supposed to belong to Ernesto, people connected the dots. Now everyone knows who you are."

His great-great-grandpa had an unreadable expression on his face for a moment before a big smile appeared on his face. "Gracias, niño." He said softly for just Miguel to hear. As the boy smiled and opened his mouth to respond, they all heard someone clear their throat loudly and pointedly.

All the living and deceased Riveras looked forward to see it was Miguel's cousin, Rosa, holding a violin case in one hand and putting her other hand on her hips while shooting Miguel a condescending and amused look.

"Quit getting lost in la-la land, Miguel. In case you've forgotten, we have a performance to prepare for. Get a move on." Then she turned around with a snobbish huff and made her way inside. Rosita gave a girlish giggle. "You know, Vicky, she reminds me of you when you were that age." Victoria shrugged and gave a small nod of agreement at the comparison.

"Performance? What performance?" Mamá Imelda inquired as they stopped a few feet away from the ofrenda. Miguel grinned sheepishly. "Well, after I managed to get Mamá Coco to remember you, she told us all so many stories about how much music was important to you and Héctor. So Abeulita lifted the ban on music and said we'll perform this year."

"And I'm assuming you'll be playing too?" Imelda questioned knowingly. Héctor jumped in before Miguel could answer. "Of course he will. He takes after me, you know. He'll not only perform, but he will perform! Like grandpa, like grandson, I always say. Probably already started writing his own songs."

Miguel laughed. "Yeah, I'm actually singing something I wrote today. I should get going, we are going to start soon. I'll see you all in a little while." And then the boy ran off, presuming to get ready. The visiting skeletons decided to see the ofrenda while they waited for the aforementioned performance.

"Just as beautiful as it is every year." Mamá Imelda commented approvingly, looking around at the vast displays of meals and desserts laid out for them to take home. While most of the Riveras were watching the feast, Héctor was mesmerized by the picture set high above the others.

It was the three of them, him, Imelda and Coco, all huddled together and looking content. Except for Coco, who seemed confused and annoyed at having to sit still. Héctor remembered the day they had taken the picture. Coco had turned four and he, wanting to commemorate the occasion as any dad would decide to put together a photograph of all his precious things. His wife, his daughter and his guitar. And now here it was, in the Rivera family ofrenda, looking as though it belonged.

He felt more than heard Imelda come to stand next to him, the woman wrapping a hand around his bicep as she stared up at the picture. "I used to hate that picture. I always told you I looked too serious in pictures. You would never hear it. Used to annoy me to no end."

The man laughed as he picked his hand up to squeeze the grip Imelda used to touch his arm. "Well, a lot has changed since then. Besides, serious or not, you still look plenty beautiful."

"And you've only managed to annoy me even more. Some people would say I'd be stupid for staying with you. I've certainly asked myself time and time again." But there was a smile on the great-great-grandmother's face as she leaned her head on her husband's shoulder.

After a few moments of peacefully standing together and looking up at their pictures, they could all hear melodious music playing nearby. The Riveras made their way out as they listened to a masculine and robust voice sing out.

"Say that I'm crazy or call me a fool

Butlast night it seems that I dreamed about you."

"What's that's?" Papá Julío asked out loud, as they made their way to the yard. They all gave a little gas as they saw Miguel dressed in a red mariachi outfit with Héctor's guitar in his hands. He was standing before his other family members who have gathered around and listened to him play.

"When I opened my mouth what came out was a song

And you knew every word and we all sang along."

Accompanying him was Rosa with her violin and B on the accordion. Héctor and Imelda couldn't take their eyes off Miguel who looked so confident and happy singing this song to his family. And they heard more lyrics, they could tell exactly who and what had been on his mind when he wrote this particular song.

"To a melody played on the strings of our souls
And a rhythm that rattled us down to the bone
Our love for each other will live on forever
In every beat of my proud corazón
Our love for each other will live on forever
In every beat of my proud corazón.

The Rivera, both deceased and living, could only watch in awe as the young Rivera sang so beautifully of the love of the family. Héctor managed to dance for a little bit before he took his guitar to bring back to the Land of the Dead with him. From the smile that grew on Miguel's face, he not only noticed but approved thoroughly. Every musician needed his own instrument.

"Ay, mi familia, oiga, mi gente, canten a coro
Let it be known
Our love for each other will live on forever
In every beat of my proud corazón
Ay, mi familia, oiga, mi gente, canten a coro
Let it be known
Our love for each other will live on forever
In every beat of my proud corazón.

As Miguel belted out the last word in his song from the shoulders of his family, his great-great-grandfather couldn't help but reflect on how far they've all come. Just a year ago, he had no real hope he would see his Coco again or that Imelda would let him be a part of the family still or even that anyone in the living world would remember him after his daughter forgot him. The living members of his family had detested music because of his mistakes, and Miguel himself had almost been forced to give up one of his most profound passions. Now they were all here together, enjoying the music they all made along with his picture up and his wife and daughter standing beside him.

It seems as though life (or death, in this case) had meaning again. And he wouldn't want anything to change.

Long after the performances were done, Miguel made his way back to the ofrenda where the visiting Riveras were loitering, dressed again in his standard red and white sweater with blue jeans and black boots.

"Oh, you're still here." The young boy said sounding pleasantly surprised. Imelda stepped forward, a small smile on her face. "Of course. We couldn't leave without telling you how wonderful that song you sang was."

"Yeah, Chamaco. I'd say it was better than even my songs." Héctor exclaimed, ruffling Miguel's hair as he stared proudly at his grandson. The boy blushed, scratching the back of his head as he nervously laughed, "Was it really that good? I was a little worried about performing it. I mean, it was kind of short and—"

"Remember what I said, Miguel," Hector reminded him as he crouched down till he was at eye level with the kid, gripping his shoulder with a firm hand. "You can do it. And from what we saw, you definitely grabbed their attention and held on for all you were worth. I'm proud of you."

Miguel looked stunned stupid for a few moments, looking at his papá with a shocked expression before a small smile appeared on his face and he ducked his head to look at his shoes, apparently very bashful at the moment.

"Well, as much as we would all like to stay, we should be going. We have a lot of things to bring back today." Victoria spoke up as she picked up a basket of bread from the ofrenda to take back to the Land of the Dead. Every other member of the deceased Rivera family silently agreed, moving to grab all the food that was laid out for them. Miguel watched their progress quietly, knowing it was bound to happen sooner or later, but sad all the same.

"Ah, cheer up, Chamaco. We'll be back next year. Plenty of time to develop your mad skills and become an even more excellent musician. And then we'll be back to see you again." Héctor reassured his great-great-grandson as he knelt in front of him. Miguel nodded and gave a sad smile. "Yeah. Next year."

"I'd ask if you would like to come to the cemetery to see us off, but I doubt your parents would like that very much. They get that from me." Imelda said quite proudly as she walked out with a plate of chicken and rice. The rest of the family followed after her, including Miguel, saying their goodbyes to the living boy.

"See you soon, mího."

"Bye, Miguel."

"Later, boy. Do your best to stay out of trouble."

"Goodbye, Julío. We'll see each other as soon as Día De Los Muertos comes again." Mamá Coco said as she passed, stroking Miguel's right cheek before following after the others, leaving only Imelda and Héctor to say their farewells.

Imelda hugged her grandson, gently stroking his hair as she said softly to him. "We'll be back, Miguel. And every year until you join us. I promise." Miguel gave a small cough that broke as he nodded against his great-great-grandmother's abdomen. Then, when she finally released him, Héctor was hugged him just as tightly. "Till next year, kid. Don't forget to keep your dreams going. You're going to be great one day."

The young Rivera stepped back, watching as the two skeletons walked off holding hands and joining the rest of the family as they headed to the public graveyard again. As Miguel wiped the silent tears that had fallen down his face, his Abuelita happened to walk by and see her beloved grandson in his current state.

"Ah, don't despair, Miguel. Día De Los Muertos may be over now, but our ancestors will continue to live on through us." His grandmother said as she stood next to him and placed a hand on his shoulder. "And we'll see them again when they come to visit us the next time this day comes. Until then, we think of the many stories we know of our departed family and let ourselves live until they come back again."

"Yeah," Miguel whispered, shooting a teary smile at his Abuelita before turning to see the silhouette of his family as they got farther and farther away. "When they visit us next time."

So, what did you think? The reason this took me so long was that I wanted to make sure all the Spanish words were right and then I backtracked because I wanted to give Miguel and Héctor more special moments, then I got sidetracked because I came up with about five more story ideas to add to my account. Please review, follow and favorite and be on the lookout for updates and new additions.

Sorry about the ending, by the way, I just wanted to finish it quickly so I could focus on my other fanfics. Thank you for your reviews of Mediator of the Dead, and I will be working on the second chapter at this time. Until then, feel free to lot at my other stories, there's plenty more where that came from.