Realize

An El Tigre fan story by Littletiger488

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Disclaimer: I do not claim ownership of "El Tigre – The Adventures of Manny Rivera". All characters and ideas from the show belong to Sandra Equihua & Jorge R. Gutierrez. I am not trying to make any money off this piece, merely attempting to entertain myself and others.

The songs used to inspire the title (Realize – Colbie Caillat) and chapters as well as their lyrics are copywrited to their respective singers and song writers.

Author's note: The story takes place two years into the future when Manny and Frida are freshman in high school. Being extremely Irish, I've tried my very best to research a culture I only know a handful of facts about. I apologize in advance for any fallacies and greatly welcome corrections.

Mucho gracias to my wonderful beta readers and brain storming partners Blushbunnyc3, DancesWithCorpses, and The Middle Warner Sibling.

Thank you and happy reading.


Chapter 1:

Amazing – Josh Kelley

Frida Suárez slumped forward in her seat, her arms crossed in front of her on the kitchen table. She lowered her chin to rest on her hands as she stared out the sliding glass door. Her eye lids drooped in a bored manner and she let out an inaudible sigh. She didn't even flinch at the sound of her father's leather boots clicking against the tiled floor as he paced back and forth beside her.

Frida glanced at Chief Emiliano Suárez out of the corner of her eye. He held a note pad in his hand, chewing on the end of a pencil as he muttered numbers to himself. He felt his daughter's gaze and looked away from the paper for a moment to give her a soft smile before returning his focus on the mumbled digits. Frida forced the corner of her mouth into an attempted smile, but it only lasted as long as her father's look.

"Have you decided on a dinner, mija?"

Frida shrugged and sat up in her chair, stretching her arms above her head and arching her back. "I figured we could just have churros as the main course," she responded with a devilish smirk. The smirk quickly faded at the sight of her father's less then amused look and she straightened up in her seat, smiling sheepishly. "But enchiladas are good too…"

Emiliano smiled this time, apparently more pleased with her second answer. He returned to his pacing and scribbled down a few more notes on his pad.

Frida slid back in her seat a little, bored expression returning to her features. She would be turning fifteen at the end of the month. A milestone in her culture's tradition. A passage from girl to young woman. A time to say goodbye to her childhood and accept new responsibilities on her way into the adult world. In other words… a big freaking deal.

She bit her lip as she rolled the word 'Quinceaños' around in her brain. Big party, lots of food and guests, music, and everyone focusing completely on her. When she put it that way, it sounded fantastic. A huge party just for her? Epic.

But it wasn't going to be like that at all.

She remembered her sisters' Quinceaños and how stressed the twins had been preparing for the whole ordeal. Apparently it wasn't just a big bash for one's fifteenth birthday, but a rite of passage that needed to be taken seriously, with practice dinners and rehearsals, and banquet halls, and an enormous guest list.

Suddenly a giant party all for her sounded like a lot more work than a birthday needed to be.

She hated taking things seriously.

Especially parties. Those were meant to be random and crazy. This was going to be formal and debateably less than random and crazy.

"Can't I just have a car instead?"

Emiliano stopped his pacing and looked over at her. He slowly approached the table and set his note pad down. He leaned over, resting one hand on the table top, his other running through his hair. "Frida, this is an important time in your young life and-"

"I should be grateful everyone is going to so much trouble and take it seriously," Frida rolled her eyes, letting her head hang off the back of her chair. "I know, Papa, I know…"

"I'm surprised you're not more excited."

Frida lifted her head up at the sound of her mother's voice as she entered the kitchen. Setting the grocery bags on the counter, Carmela moved around the kitchen putting items away, "It's a big day for you, Niña."

"A big day I'm totally gonna screw up cause I can't dance the stupid waltz thing and walk in the stupid heels! ... It's stupid! It's not like I'm getting married!" Frida huffed, crossing her arms in front of her chest.

Carmela just chuckled as she finished putting the food away. She approached her daughter from behind the chair and leaned down to wrap her arms around Frida's shoulders. The blue haired teenager just continued to pout as her mother nuzzled her cheek.

"You should think of it differently, mija. About how proud your father and I are of you. You're going to be a young woman-"

"So perhaps you should start acting like one?" her father interrupted his wife's statement, earning him and glare from both her and his daughter. With that warning the man wisely chose to throw his hands up in defense and back out of the room slowly.

Frida huffed louder and slumped deeper in the chair, her lower lip stuck out in a tight pout. But this only increased the pressure of her mother's embrace.

"You'll get the dance down, don't worry. You have a whole month," Carmela beamed brightly as gushing parents often do. "You're going to look mucha hermosa in your dress!"

Frida snorted and rolled her eyes. Her mother pulled back slightly, sighing as she moved around to her daughter's side. She gently took the teenager's hands in her own and held them tight. "Frida, I know it's not exactly… well… you. But you always talk about wanting us to stop treating you like una niña. This is your chance to prove to us you're not a little girl anymore."

Frida bit her lip in thought again, looking away. Her mother had a point. Stupid parents and their logic. They didn't think she was qualified to dress herself in the morning let alone make important decisions. Yet here they were asking her questions and opinions of everything that was being planned out for the party. In a way she was flattered they wanted her to be the final say in everything. It really was the first time they were treating her with this amount of respect.

Well not that she had really warranted this kind of treatment given her destructive nature, but still.

Carmela smiled, seeing the progressive change in her daughter's emotions. "Why don't you let your sisters and I take you shopping today? We'll find the perfect dress!"

Frida sighed and finally relented, nodding her head and receiving another tight hug from her mother before she left the kitchen. Frida turned her attention back out the sliding glass door, watching the afternoon sun splash against the terracotta tiles of the patio in their backyard.

She couldn't deny the fact that being treated like an adult would be a perk to this whole Quinceañaos nonsense. And the respect of her parents had always been something she secretly craved. Maybe she'd allow herself this one day of maturity, just to show them she wasn't a complete screw up like the vast majority of her family believed she was. She was completely capable of proving to them she was adult material and that she could be mature.

Then maybe they'd leave her alone so she could go back to perfecting her recipe for water balloons filled with goat cheese bean dip. She was still having issues with the viscosity…

***

Frida pulled her milkshake closer sipping at the contents through the plastic twisted straw. Swallowing enough to cause the roof of her mouth to numb from the frozen beverage, she winced at the sudden throbbing in her head.

"Brain freeze…" she commented, holding the sides of her head. "Ugh, is there anything more painful?"

El Tigre skidded across the pavement on his back, rolling to a stop just in front of the outdoor café table Frida was sitting at. The feline super teenager quickly pulled himself up in time to catch the oncoming jaws of the massive beast lunging towards him. He grunted slightly as he pushed his weight forward, clutching the fangs and keeping the monster from opening them any wider.

"I could think of a few other things," El Tigre answered her through gritted teeth before quickly jerking the monster's head to the side. Momentum threw the entire creature's body off balance, causing it to crash to the ground, it's weight making an indentation in the street.

Frida, seemingly oblivious to the battle unfolding in front of her, flipped a page in her skull and cross bones note book. She surveyed the list her father and her had made earlier that day. Sighing, she tapped the page with her pen.

"I should make phone calls later today. I dunno where I'm gonna get girls to be my damas."

"To be what?" El Tigre asked, leaping up as the monster regained its composure and lunged at him a second time. He landed on the beast's head, grabbing one of the horns protruding from its skull to help him balance.

"They're kinda like bride's maids or something. My sisters had like seventeen of them," Frida said and flipped another page in the note book. "I dunno if I even know more than two that I'm close to! Maybe the numbers don't matter."

El Tigre dug his claws into the monster's head as it shook violently trying to buck the young anti-hero off. He simply smirked and tuned into his cat-like reflexes, balancing easily as the monster tried it's hardest to remove the unwanted object from atop its head, flailing about.

"I've gotta write out invitations too..."

"Uh huh," El Tigre started to laugh, finding amusement in the monster's efforts.

Frida threw her arms up in exasperation. "Are you even listening to me?"

"Course I am!" El Tigre laughed, twirling his tail like a lasso, imitating a cowboy to further aggravate the monster. "Can't you just put up flyers about it like you did last year?"

Frida rolled her eyes, "It's not like that this time. This is different…"

El Tigre laughed somewhat maniacally as he annoyed the monster with the game of rodeo, not budging from his spot as the creature swung its long neck in a whip like fashion. "Si, instead of just turning another year older, you're 'graduating' from being a kid," he snickered sarcastically, "C'mon Frida, it's just a party!"

Frida tried not to scowl at her friend's words. True, this morning she had felt the same way about her Quinceaños, but the more she thought about it, the more important the day was becoming to her. Her whole family was paying so much attention to her. She couldn't remember the last time they had spent so much time around her unless she was in trouble. Her sisters had actually willingly taken her out shopping. It was kind of… nice.

"Well, my parents want me to-"

"Leave it to parents to turn a birthday party into a coronation," El Tigre laughed as he lept off the monster's head, flipping twice before landing in the center of the street. He grinned widely, extending his claws and leaning forward into a readied position.

Frida huffed slightly as she leaned over the back of her chair to watch him speed towards the monster. El Tigre roared an attack call as he dodged a swipe of the creature's gargantuan claw, grabbing its wrist and hoisting it into the air. The monster screeched in surprise as it was swept off its feet and spun above the boy's head a few times.

"Adios!" El Tigre bid the monster farewell before letting its wrist go, watching it fly through the air and over the Miracle City Volcano, screeching the entire flight.

Wiping his brow, El Tigre slumped down into the seat across the table from Frida, reaching for his own melting milkshake. He downed half of it in a few gulps, sighing contently at the refreshing feeling of the cool ice cream sliding down his throat.

Wiping the chocolate from his lips with the back of his wrist, he looked across the table at Frida who was narrowing his eyes at him.

"…Qué?" he questioned, unsure of why she was giving him such an annoyed look.

Frida rolled her eyes and looked away from him, closing her note book. El Tigre bit his lip at the sight of his best friend's mood suddenly plummeting. He sighed and reached down to give the buckle of his belt a swift spin, thunder sounding as his features converted back to Manny Rivera.

Frida didn't even flinch from the bright green light surrounding him, keeping her glare fixed as he stretched his arms behind his head.

"What are you so bent outta shape about?

"I really want my family to start taking me seriously," the blue haired teenager whined. "I can be mature!"

Manny snickered, "Says the one drinking from a bright pink swirly straw…"

Frida glared down at her straw as if it was the root of all her problems. She promptly plucked it from her drink and tossed it in the garbage.

"It's just a-"

Sick of hearing him say that, Frida stood up from her seat, slamming her hands down on the table top. "Maybe it's NOT 'just a party' to ME, Manny!"

Taken aback by her abrupt ferocity, Manny froze in his seat.

Frida sighed and hung her head, calming herself down. "I mean… maybe my parents aren't the only ones who want it to be special."

Manny frowned, kicking himself for not realizing this party actually did mean something to her. He rubbed the back of his neck. It was rare when Frida would look at something in a serious light, but he knew the few things that she did, meant a lot to his blue haired best friend.

"Aw Frida, I'm sorry…" Manny leaned over the table. "Hey if it's that important to you, then it's important to me too."

Manny could feel his cheeks flush slightly as Frida's expression changed rapidly from depressed to ecstatic. He couldn't deny the fact that he really liked seeing her smile at him like that.

"Really?" Frida asked, softening her tone.

"Of course," Manny smirked, waving it off like it was no problem. "You tell me what you need done, and it's done."

The boy's cheeks brightened in color even more as she unexpectedly lunged at him, throwing her arms around his neck. But he managed to smile through his embarrassment, willing his arms to wrap around her waist and return the hug. There had been a time this sort of reaction would have disgusted both parties. It was amazing how much one's perspective could change in only a few years.

"Thanks Manny, you're the best."

She pulled back from her friend and returned to her seat, flipping back open her note book. Manny ran his hand threw his curly locks, recovering from his blushing and hoping Frida was paying more attention to her task then his reddened cheeks.

"Okay so you really don't mind helping?" she looked up at the calm, cool, and collected Manny. He smirked at her, answering her question without words and she beamed. "Good cause I need you to be my Chambelan."

Manny raised an eyebrow at her and Frida waved her hand in a simply gesture. "It's no big deal, you just have to dance with me," she said, flipping through the note book and not looking concerned in the least at his role.

Manny nodded in response, shrugging off any apprehension. Sounded simple enough and it wasn't like he had never danced with her before. It wasn't uncommon for the two friends to share a dance at parties or school functions. He'd quiz his Dad and Grandpapi about what dance moves would be appropriate for that kind of party later. For right now he'd be supportive and sit back, listening to Frida ramble off everything that needed to be done before the end of the month.

By the end of the list, he was starting to wonder if he should be having regrets about offering to help. It sure sounded like a lot of work for a birthday. But he shook off his apprehension and instead decided to focus on his best friend's ever so distracting smile.

***

Deep inside the Miracle City Volcano, more than just lava steamed. Built inside the rock wall of the mountain was a cavern of sorts, adorned with various photos and newspaper clippings of the past. On the far side of the cavern, sitting with his back against the wall, The Titanium Titan held a slightly crumpled magazine in his liquid metallic hands.

The super-hero-gone-bad's expression was emotionless as he morphed his right hand into a pair of scissors. Ever so carefully he started to cut around the front image of the magazine. His eyes never blinked as he continued his task, the paper shavings littered his lap and the ground around him. He sighed when he was done, staring at the clipping of a recent photo taken at city hall of the great White Pantera.

But the cut out looked odd without the focus of whatever had been sitting on the hero's shoulder. A good chunk of White Pantera's upper body had been cut away to take it out. He looked like he had been chewed on. The Titan sighed once more and hung his head. As he did so he glanced at one of the paper shavings in his lap. He glared.

El Tigre's smiling face stared back at him from the clipped image, mocking him with his photographed happiness. The Titan's lip curled in disgust.

How dare that insolent brat be happy? Just by existing he had ruined everything. Everything the Titan had ever known and cared about. He despised the child more than he ever thought he could.

He had reasoned once that he shouldn't hate Manuel Rivera so much, that it wasn't his fault he was born. But the Titan had so much built up hate. So much contained malaise. And he couldn't possibly focus so much concentrated anger on the boy's father. No matter how much more sense it would make. He couldn't do it.

He couldn't hate Rodolfo.

But El Tigre he could. And he would.

With a few more slices from his morphed hand, the image of White Pantera's son was nothing more than confetti.

Releasing some of his anger calmed the Titan down and he leaned back against the wall to once again contemplate how life would be - how life should be – if he was once again with his best friend. He never knew how much it would hurt to lose his crime fighting partner, but then again, there was a time he never thought he would have to worry about that.

It made him seethe just thinking about it. Thoughts that just consumed him day in and day out. He had tried moving on, tried forgiveness, but the hurt was too strong.

It was easier to just let it fester.

If he wasn't day dreaming about what had been or what could have been, the Titan always resorted to one more outlet to quench his hatred.

Revenge.

It was an addiction of sorts, a high he could enjoy that would help him forget the hurt. Oh it would be such a sweet dish once he could taste it completely. And he had come so close a few times.

The last attempt had been perfect too. Perfectly planned for the maximum amount of pain he could inflict on El Tigre; both mentally and physically. Perfectly executed until the final stage of the entire elaborate scheme. He had thought of everything, counted on every last possibility.

Except for the girl.

Frida Suarez had surprised him with her devotion to her best friend, refusing to turn on him and instantly at his side in his time of need. As it turned out she was just easily distracted by motorcycles. He'd never be able to turn her against El Tigre.

The Titan sagged against the wall. He supposed that he couldn't blame her. He couldn't see himself being able to finish off Rodolfo. His evil tendencies would help him come close, maybe, but never fully. Even the thought of ending the hero's life had the Titan wincing. If not being with him hurt, knowing he was gone forever with no chance of redemption was even worse.

His last thought made the Titan sit up straight, repeating the notion over in his mind.

He wanted El Tigre gone forever, but he knew that the death of his son would change White Pantera in every way possible. The hurt would destroy him. Just like the hurt was slowly destroying the Titan. He could not do that to Rodolfo.

Killing Manny was suddenly out of the question.

But that idea of so much hurt from an important loss. If he could just refocus it.

The Titanium Titan grinned to himself, his crooked yellow teeth showing.

Losing a best friend hurt. Losing a best friend permanently would hurt even more.

And what was more permanent than death?


And I know you've got the feeling
And I can't say I'm agreeing
With your topic of conversation
So just listen to the reasons
And the hints I've been giving
To the thoughts of my imagination