A/N: so, I'm starting another multi-chaptered fic while already working on more fics than I can follow already. I'm insane. Certified insane. Oh, well, some news.
I'm a sucker for villains and most of all I'm a sucker for villain redemption fics, and the idea for this fic hit me like a ton of bricks shortly after I watched the movie. It's been a while since last time I wrote one, so I figured out it would be fun giving it a try. I can't promise steady updates, but I'll do my best.
When the old woman walked into the cemetery black clouds were hiding the moon from sight, keeping everything in complete darkness. Still, that was far from a problem: darkness was everything she could see since when she had lost her sight when she was still young – sometime between her eighties and her nineties, she seemed to recall – and it had long since stopped being a problem.
Sight was definitely overrated, much like the Loa his great-great-great grandson had gotten himself involved with, she thought with a sigh. "Someone should have given him a good spanking' years ago," she muttered as she stopped walking. The snake she had been literally been using as a walking stick stopped staying stiff and began crawling on the ground while her owner reached out to touch the tombstone right in front of her. Her old fingers grazed the name written on the polished rock, and she snorted a little as she touched the carving of Facilier's terrified face above the name.
"Yes, getting a lesson or two before this would have been better," Mama Odie muttered, then she shrugged "oh, well, we'll work with that we have. Juju!"
The snake immediately crawled away from the tombstone and went to rest safely on its owner's shoulders. Mama Odie raised her torch and lit it, ready to use it to fend off whatever shadow might come. Her other hand reached in a pocket to grab a small phial she emptied on the tombstone before taking a few steps back.
Even though she couldn't see anything of what happened next – the bright lights, the tombstone turning into the giant mask of one of the Loa – she could hear the chanting and drums that suddenly filled the air… and most important of all, she could feel the shadows creeping closer to her.
Her torch-wielding hand moved quicker than eye could follow, had there been any human being to see her: a blast of light hit a first shadow and caused it to just dissolve, and within moments any other shadow that tried to attack her met the same fate. The other shadows retreated, and Mama Odie allowed herself to smirk before she turned her face ahead as if she could see the Loa facing her – a Loa that would have looked everything like a huge African mask if it wasn't for the detail that it was animated, glaring at her with pure malevolence… and that beyond its mouth there was the entrance of the Other Side.
"So," she said, lowering her torch a little after absentmindedly hitting yet another shadow that had tried to creep up on her "how about spitting him out already? I've got plans for him."
A low, threatening growl found was the only reply she got, and hadn't she been blind she would have seen the Loa's sharp fangs baring in a menacing snarl.
"Oh, c'mon," she dismissively waved her torch-wielding hand, and the shadows retreated a little more "I'll eat my hat if you can tell me one plan you have for him. You haven't got any. You'd just keep his soul because… well, beats me why. I don't think it's worth that much," she added. She guessed one could argue Facilier's soul wasn't worth all the trouble of walking there from the Bayou and arguing with his so called friends to get him back either, but blood's thicker than water and she supposed it was her duty doing something to help out her last descendant. Not to mention that it was fun getting some action again: the Bayou could get rather boring every now and then.
An even louder growl filled the air as she spoke and a few shadows crept forward again to grab her, but they immediately retreated as she sensed them and lifted her torch again. "Is his soul really worth losing more of your shadows? Eh, I doubt it," she said with a shrug "you can't do anything to me, and I'm not moving from here. So hand him over: I'll just walk back home and you won't hear from either of us anymore. It's not like I don't have anything better to do than messing with you guys," she informed the Loa.
There was a brief silence as the Loa seemed to consider her words, then something resembling a snort reached her ears and only a moment later there was the dull thud of something hitting the ground just in front of her. "Not really that theatrical when you've got to spit people back instead of swallowing them, eh?" she muttered as she heard the drums and chants growing more and more distant until they disappeared and she could no longer sense any Loa or shadow's presence.
Juju slid off her shoulders, and Mama Odie finally lowered her torch and knelt to turn her attention to Facilier. She pressed her fingers on his throat to check the pulse – his skin was icy cold and his pulse was rather weak, but she knew he'd live… and maybe with his sanity still intact: he hadn't been on the Other Side for more than a few days after all.
"Next time get yourself friends you'd like to drop by to visit, kid," she chided the unconscious man before she grabbed his arm with surprising strength and passed it over her shoulders "Juju!"
The snake immediately moved to help her, its coils wrapping around Facilier's midsection to help its owner dragging him – it was going to be a long way home.
"Good baby," Mama Odie cooed at her pet before she began marching out of the cemetery as if she could see her way perfectly, apparently unbothered by Facilier's weight – not that he was really heavy anyway, she mused. It wasn't healthy for someone to be that skinny, so maybe she'd give him some candy later. Maybe.
If he behaved.
Had anyone asked him what the Other Side was like, Doctor Facilier, wouldn't have been able to give any kind of reply. Not only because he would never be able to remember anything at all about the time he had spent on the Other Side – something he was rather grateful for – but also because right now he wouldn't be able to put together any kind of reply to anything at all: while slowly waking up, his mind wandering somewhere between unconsciousness and awareness, he was completely unable to think, let alone to remember anything past his name.
His name, right. Émile Facilier. That was something he could remember. It was also all he could remember for now, but it was better than complete nothingness, so he clung to it as he tried to put the rest back together.
Eh, good question. He couldn't remember anything at all, but if anything now he could think about the fact that he didn't remember a thing, so he guessed it was a step forward.
Facilier let out a small groan as he finally began to stir. Opening his eyes took him an awful effort, as if each eyelid weighted a ton, and then he immediately had to close them again with a grimace against the light that hit his eyes. It wasn't that much, but for some reason it was still enough to bother him, as if he had spent a lot of time in complete darkness or… or…
Facilier's eyes snapped open again, though still blinded by the sudden light as all memories flowed back in their place.
His friends from the Other Side.
The frog prince.
The amulet shattering.
And then… then…
Are you ready?
"Wha…?" Mama Odie – who had been trying to get some rest because no matter how much of a fly weight Facilier could be, dragging him in the Bayou and in her house had been tiring – was roughly awakened by the blood-curling scream that filled the Bayou and that frightened all the spoonbills in the boat.
"I PROMISE I'LL PAY YOU BACK! I PROMISE!"
Well, it looked like the Shadow man had woken up, and he was probably still rather confused. Something she would put a remedy to right away. "JUJU!" she had to yell to be heard over Facilier's cries, but it apparently was enough for her pet to know exactly what she wanted, for just a moment later a heavy piece of wood was placed in her hand.
"Good baby," she muttered before walking to the small cot in the corner of the room where they had leant Facilier. Had she been able to see, she could have chuckled at the sight of Facilier's shadow glancing worriedly down at his owner as he tossed and turned, trying to shake him to make him snap out of it and only making him panic even more.
"JUST A LITTLE MORE TIME!" Facilier was screaming at the top of his lungs "JUST A LITTLE MORE-"
His shadow winced a little in empathy as the piece of wood Mama Odie was holding hit the back of Facilier's head, causing his screams to stop as he slumped unconsciously back on the cot. He was going to have one heck of a headache when he woke up again, that was for sure. Oh, well, he'd live. Probably.
Mama Odie, on the other hand, just gave a satisfied nod – finally some relief for her ears. "That was for Ray," she informed the unconscious man before she threw the piece of wood over her shoulder, causing Shadow to scramble to avoid it. "And as for you," she added sternly, somehow aware of the shadow's presence as well even though she was blind and he hadn't made a sound "let me know if he wakes up again. And he better not yell like that again, it could be an iron bar next time."
The shadow just nodded frantically – a rather useless gesture since she had no way to see him, but what else could he do? – but she seemed satisfied, which relieved the shadow greatly. He didn't really want to make someone like her angry and find out what would happen.
"Good," Mama Odie scratched her cheek in thought for a few moments, then she called out for her snake. "Juju! Get the ingredients ready to make some soup, and-" she trailed off, then she shrugged "oh, well, and see if you can find something a little more solid than that," she said. Even though she had had nothing but soup in the past century or so – having to teeth kind of forces you to revise your meal choices – she got the distinct feeling Skinny Boy would need something more than that to get back on his feet, even though soup would have to do as his first meal.
"He better not start shrieking and just eat when he wakes up," she said to no one in particular as she sat on her chair again "the sooner he gets back on his feet, the better. I wasn't bluffing when I said I have plans for him."