Your situation was, to put it nicely, not ideal. This kind of thing was exactly why your parents always warned you about magic. And really you had done a pretty damn good job of heeding their advice. You went almost your entire life not going to the local bruja for anything related to magic. While every other family in your little village visited the mysterious enchantress Vanesa for every little inconvenience, you had been steadfast in your avoidance of her. That is…until now.
You had stayed in your village your whole life, tending your parents’ shop. Staying by their side. The perfect dutiful daughter. You abided by their strict rules, bent to their whims, and respected their superstitions. You had done everything, everything in your power to please them. To make them proud. But it wasn’t enough. It was never enough.
You never asked for anything from them. So this one thing, this simple request should have been easily granted. All you wanted was to take a class from the local artisan in town. You had always admired the gorgeous stained glass windows in the village church. And you had a love for art, sewing little animals and flowers into all your clothes, sketching designs in your secret sketchbooks.
You had learned that one of the local artisans was now holding several classes, including a class that would teach you to make incredible works of art out of stained glass. This was your request, you had saved up the money for it, from the pittance your parents paid you to work their shop. You had even found someone your parents could hire during the hours you would be in class.
It was reasonable, it wasn’t too much to ask. You knew this.
Your parents did not seem to find the request reasonable. Your ears rang from the shouting you had been bombarded with. They had called you a selfish, ungrateful child. How could you abandon them this way? Leave the shop? The family’s livelihood? For some foolish dream. Your art was important to you, you had pleaded with them, taking out your hidden sketchbook, showing them the designs you had poured over for hours. The very object had offended them.
Silly little drawings were a distraction. You should be focused on the shop. On finding a husband to wed, so he could take the shop over with you once they had passed. In a fit of rage, your mother had torn the sketchbook from your hands and tossed it into the kitchen’s fireplace. You watched as years’ worth of yearning, of hoping for some life that was different from this one, turned to ash. It wasn’t just the class, it wasn’t just the sketchbook, or the yelling, or the complete dismissal of your art. It was the realization that your parents had no true respect for you, no parental unconditional love. That all these years you had been raised to be an extra hand in the shop, you existed to ensure that your parents could retire and pass the buck to someone else. They hadn’t wanted a daughter, they wanted a servant.
You hadn’t reacted, no tears, though your throat had burned from holding them in. You had looked at your parents in the eyes and shook your head, for once it was you showing your disappointment in them. Then you left out the front door without a word. Careless about the late hour, you wandered through your hometown, ambling aimlessly through the empty cobblestone streets. You had no destination in mind, as the tears silently ran along your cheeks.
When you had finally thought to stop and look at your surroundings, you had arrived on the far end of town. In front of you loomed the house of the bruja Vanesa. Your first instinct had been to turn right back around, to leave. But your burning resentment towards your parents stopped you. Leaving is what they would have wanted you to do. So just to spite them, you marched up to the door, poised to knock.
Then you chickened out and dropped your hand. It really wasn’t a good idea to bother her so late at night. You should probably just go. And that’s what you were about to do…when her door swung open. Before you stood the enchantress; tall, beautiful, and terrifying. Her long curly hair swayed as she tilted her head to examine you. An eerie smile tugged at her lips as she took you in.
“Bienvenida Y/n” she greeted, her voice soft and thick like honey.
She knew your name. Of course.
“B-buenas noches, Señora. I am sorry for the intrusion. I did not realize where I was going and I ended up here.” You replied, looking away from the intense gaze of the woman before you.
“The pull of fate led you to my door, Señorita.” She murmured as she beckoned you into her candle-lit home.
You had a strong feeling that to refuse her offer would be a bad idea, so you followed her inside.
She led you to a table in the main room and guided you into the chair before taking her seat across from you. Several candles were laid in a circle in the middle of the table. Strewn across its surface were herbs and gemstones, some of which you couldn’t identify.
“Pequeña artista do not cry.” Vanesa spoke, a strange sincerity in her tone.
You jolted at the reminder of the tears on your face and wiped them away in embarrassment.
“Your parents are crude folk, no? To treat their only daughter this way.” She tsked.
You looked at your hands folded in your lap and nodded.
“Not to worry. You are here for a reason. I will help you. So tell me, what is it you need, hmm?”
You thought it over with a furrowed brow. How could she help you? You had no idea what to do now, no clear path laid ahead of you. Staying with your parents wasn’t an option. Your future was muddied.
Your head snapped up as you realized what you needed.
“Please Señora Vanesa, tell me what my future is?”
The woman tilted her head again and pursed her lips.
“lo siento, Y/n. The future is beyond my grasp. My skills lie firmly in the present.” As she spoke, Vanessa lifted her hand. In her open palm, a purple cloud of smoke began to form.
You gaped at the display in wonder as an image began to form in the cloud. It was your parents in the kitchen arguing and shouting at each other, your charred sketchbook sitting in the dying fireplace.
“This- This is happening right now?”
“Sí. My gift allows me to see anywhere in the world, any people, any place no matter how hidden, as long as it is in the present.” As she said this, the image in the smoke changed to the two of you seated at her table. You waved your hand experimentally, and the little you in the image moved in sync.
“This is amazing, truly. But…but the present can’t help me. I need- I need a future.” You bit your lip as you said this, hoping you didn’t offend her.
Vanesa closed her hand and the smoke dissipated. She looked at you with a considering expression.
“Perhaps there is another way.”
It was your turn to tilt your head.
Vanesa put her hands together as though in prayer, then slowly she dragged them apart, another cloud of smoke began to swirl between her palms.
“I can not see your future, but perhaps there is someone else who can. As long as this person exists in the present, I can find them.”
Vanessa closed her eyes in concentration and you watched with rapt attention as an image began to form. The Bruja opened her eyes, and you both looked on at a beautiful village, full of color and life, surrounded by tall mountains. The image changed to a large house, more colorful and lovely than the village before. And then to your confusion, the image shifted to a dark and dingy place indoors. It was cramped and dusty. Within these halls stood a figure clad in a green ruana, the hood drawn over their face. A few rats scurried up the figure’s arm and perched on its shoulder.
Vanesa smiled widely and clapped her hands together, the smoke clearing out again.
“Of course, of course. The Madrigals.” She grinned.
“The Madrigals? Which village was that? I’ve never seen it before.” You questioned.
“Oh, no village you or anyone else from around here would have ever seen.” Vanesa giggled.
“I have looked in on the Encanto many times, I like to keep an eye on anyone with a gift like mine, and the family Madrigal is very blessed.”
“So this family Madrigal, they can help me find my future?”
“Hm, I wonder about that? The man in my vision, Bruno Madrigal, he is the one with the gift of precognition. But he’s…out of commission at the moment. His current residence within the walls of his family’s Casita would make it exceptionally hard for you to speak to him. And he hasn’t used his gift in almost ten years.” She explained.
“He lives in the walls!?”
“Yes, yes now keep up. Bruno won’t talk to you as you are now, he hasn’t spoken to anyone the entire time he’s been living within the walls…” Vanesa trailed off.
Then all of the sudden she looked at you straight in the eye and grinned wickedly. Your heart skipped a beat. You did not like that look.
“But that isn’t entirely true, is it? He has spoken quite often to his faithful companions.”
You shifted in your seat uneasily, uncomprehending of Vanesa’s formulating plan.
“Lucky for you I know how to do a little more than just see the present. I’m also quite gifted at transformation magic.” She laughed.
“Transformation magic? But-But I don’t understand. How will this help me? What does this have to do with this Bruno person?” You began to stand from your seat.
Vanesa grabbed a pouch from the table in front of her and reached in, grabbing a handful of green powder. She tutted at your concerned expression.
“Not to worry, Pequeña artista.”
“You will make a very cute rat.”
These were the last words you heard before you were hit with a face full of powder.
I'm not fluent in Spanish so apologies if I got any words or phrases wrong. Feel free to correct me if I did. I hope you enjoyed it! Please comment, it keeps me motivated!
Buenas noches, Señora. - Goodnight, Ms (greeting)
Pequeña artista- little artist
lo siento- I’m sorry
You let out a pitiful squeak, curled up inside the little cage that Vanesa held you in.
She cooed at your furry form.
“I was right, you are an adorable little rat.”
Your little ears shifted backward in displeasure.
“How am I supposed to talk to Bruno, if I’m stuck as a rodent! Why did you do this to me!?” Your words came out as a series of squeaks.
Vanessa picked up your cage and began to walk outside her house.
“Don’t be sad, I did this to help you. You couldn’t very well sneak into the house of the Madrigals and climb into their walls as a human. As for talking to Bruno, I will help with that too. I will be checking in on you and when the time is right and you have his trust, I will use a spell so he can understand you, then you can request a vision from him.” Vanesa responded, understanding your squeaks as she was the spell caster.
You did not like this plan and you told her so.
“You may not like it now, but once you have your answers, you will come running to me full of praise. You will say ‘You’re the best Vanesa! You saved me! You are so talented.’ And then you will tell me how lovely I look.” She spoke happily.
You let out an annoyed huff.
Vanessa lifted the cage you were in and smiled. You hated how sweet and genuine the look on her face was. She really thought she was helping you.
“You won’t be stuck like this forever Y/n. I wouldn’t do that to you. I want to help you make your lovely art. I know someday you will make the most magnificent stained glass pieces. And when you do, I'll buy some windows for my house.”
You felt your anger melt away at the words of encouragement. You really wanted to hate her for doing this to you. But maybe…maybe this would help. Maybe things would work out.
You were still stuck as a rat though.
You looked down at your hands, well paws actually. God damn it, your little rat paws were adorable.
You sighed again. Then you nodded your fuzzy head.
Vanesa smiled gleefully before taking out another pouch.
You backed up against the bars of the cage. What was she gonna turn you into now?
“Relax, this will transport you inside the mountains that hide Encanto. I’m too big for this stuff to work on me, but your cute little rat body is just the right size for transportation.”
You did relax at that, though you wished she would stop commenting on your current state as a rat.
Vanesa opened the cage and held out her hand. Reluctantly you climbed into her palm. She brushed against your fur affectionately with her thumb. You fought the urge to bite her in revenge.
“Off you go. Remember, find Bruno.” She spoke as she sprinkled orange dust over you.
You watched as her face disappeared in a cloud of orange.
When the orange dust dissipated you were in a grassy field. Everything around you seemed so large, and you began to realize how vulnerable you were in this state. You searched your surroundings, letting out a sigh of relief as you spotted the colorful house from the smoke vision. So this was the casa de madrigal. You scurried up to it looking for a way in.
As you came close to the house, you heard a sound that made your heart lurch.
The screech of an owl.
You picked up your pace, running as fast as your little legs could carry you. You heard the sound of wings beating nearby. Oh god was this how you died? As owl food?
You ran up to the house desperate for a way in.
“Please!” You cried out. Even if anyone could hear you, all they would hear was a squeak.
But it seemed someone did hear you, or rather, something.
The house itself swung open one of the windows on the bottom floor, the pane swinging back and forth beckoning you inside. You dashed up a pipe and launched yourself into the open window. The window slammed shut behind you and the owl collided with the glass pane.
You panted from your place on what appeared to be a kitchen counter. Okay. So the house was magical too. That was still not the weirdest thing that had happened to you tonight.
You squeaked out a gracias and one of the tiles on the counter nudged you delicately as if to say de nada.
Then you heard the sound of a baked good, dropping from someone’s hands onto the floor.
You looked up worriedly.
Before you stood the man from the vision, his hood down and a shocked look painting his features. His strangely attractive features…but you really shouldn’t be thinking about that right now, you had bigger things to deal with. Like the fact that you were trapped as a rodent.
The man that you knew to be Bruno crouched down to your level, a concerned look on his face.
“You okay little rat?” He whispered.
“You almost got scooped up by that owl!” He continued in his hushed tone.
You slowly inched towards the man, somewhat hesitant to approach him.
“I don’t think I’ve seen you around here before. Don’t worry though, I won’t hurt you.” He put out his large palm and you eyed the appendage.
You looked up at him and he gave you an encouraging smile. He was very friendly, not at all imposing like how he seemed in the vision.
You climbed onto his palm and he smiled brightly. Bruno picked up the sweet bread he had dropped and carried you towards a painting. He lifted the frame and slipped into the hole behind it.
You had successfully made it into the walls of the Madrigal house, you were with Bruno, the man who could tell you about your future. But you were still a rat. How long would Vanesa keep you like this? You grumbled to yourself as you imagined her laughing as she watched you from afar.
By the time you looked up, Bruno had brought you into a little room with several other rats. At its center, there was a worn-out-looking cushy red chair. Bruno settled into it, with you carefully cradled in his palm.
“Now you’re safe. I’ve got lots of little friends like you, and I take good care of them. That reminds me, everyone come get some food!” He called and several rats came scurrying toward his feet. He set down several pieces of sweet bread and you watched as the swarm of rodents devoured the treats.
“Well go on… Aren’t you hungry little one?” He tilted his head, a few curly strands of hair falling over his eyes.
You were hungry. But you really didn’t want to join the swarm of rats. You didn’t mind the little creatures, you always thought they were cute. But you had no idea how they’d react to you, especially since you weren’t really a rat, you had a feeling you wouldn’t be able to communicate with them.
You shrunk into his hand.
Bruno let out a sweet laugh “Aww, don’t worry, they really are nice. I know you’re new but they’ll treat you well.”
You felt your heart warm at the man’s gentle tone. He was so kind to such a generally disliked creature.
Bruno lifted you closer to his face, and you looked into his widened eyes.
“That’s okay, I get nervous too. You can stay with me. Here I think I have a few pumpkin seeds, would you like those?” He questioned as he reached into his pants pocket and pulled out the seeds.
You moved towards the little seeds, suddenly very hungry.
Bruno placed a handful of seeds in his hand beside you. He smiled joyfully as you hurriedly grabbed up a seed between your paws and began nibbling at it.
“Aww, you really like those huh?” He gently ran a finger over your fur as he spoke.
“I think I’ll call you Pepita. Yes, that suits you very well.” Bruno declared.
You didn’t mind the nickname. Maybe it did suit you well, you were eating the pumpkin seeds rather fast.
When you had finished Bruno put you down onto his lap. You began to feel rather sleepy. You had been up all night after all, and you’d been through a lot. It probably wouldn’t hurt to take a short nap. You felt very safe with Bruno, and you could figure out how to get your vision tomorrow. Before you realized it, you had curled up into a ball and dozed off. The last thing you heard before you slipped into slumber was Bruno’s soft voice.
“Rest well Pepita.”
Thanks so much to everyone who commented and left kudos! Hope you liked chapter 2. Please comment!
Casa de madrigal - House of Madrigal
Gracias - Thank you
De nada- You’re welcome
Pepita- Pumpkin seed
Hey guys! I'm really glad people like this story so far! Honestly, I'm surprised! Thanks so much to everyone who comments and leaves kudos! As a little treat, I included a meme I spent way too much time drawing of Bruno at the end ;)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
You tended to be a slow riser. It took you a minute to fully boot up and for your mind to enter the world of the waking. So when you came to the next morning, you simply stared at the large chair you were laying in. Wow, that chair was huge. Where does someone even get a chair that big? In fact, where were you? You rubbed your eyes and the motion felt strange. Pulling your hands back, you looked at them closely…hmm that’s funny they looked like little rat paws haha. You were probably still asleep.
You were not asleep
You let out a horrified squeak.
Oh god. Now it was all coming back to you. That bruja Vanesa, she turned you into a rodent.
You cursed out the woman, letting out a few enraged squeaks. You were sure she was watching this from afar, so you made sure to thoroughly rip into her.
“Hey- Hey you okay? What’s wrong Pepita? Are you hurt?” The soft sound of Bruno Madrigal's voice drew your attention to the other side of the room.
You immediately ceased your squeaky fit and backed up on the chair, suddenly embarrassed. This just made the kind man look more concerned. He crouched down so he was at eye level with the seat of the chair.
“It’s okay little one. It’s me, Bruno. I won’t hurt you” He reassured.
Something about the gentle look on his face, and the openness of the man, made you feel flooded with emotion. You realized that you had been holding back the building anguish inside of you. The sadness had been growing in you since your mother threw your sketchbook to the flames. You had pushed it down. And now you were stuck as a rat.
You scurried to the edge of the chair towards Bruno and let out a distressed squeak.
Emotions overwhelmed you, you knew that if you were human you’d be crying your eyes out. And Bruno, he was so kind and gentle, and he thought you were a rat, so really it wouldn’t hurt if you sought a bit of comfort from the man.
It must have been part of the transformation magic, it had to be because you were in rat form. But you didn’t even think twice about it as you jumped from the chair edge and landed on the man’s shoulder. He let out a surprised little huff.
Seeking comfort, you nuzzled your fuzzy little head against his neck, as if to thank him for being so kind to you.
Bruno made an awed sound, seemingly surprised at the cuddles from his new little friend.
Then he cooed at you, charmed by your affectionate nature.
“You’ve got to be the friendliest rat I’ve met. No-No offense to any of you.” He spoke to his other rat friends who continued to go about their business, not really understanding his words.
Bruno lifted his hand and ran the back of his fingers along your fur.
“Come on Pepita, I’ll take you on a tour of the casita, from inside the walls of course.”
Bruno had maneuvered through the rickety inner walls of his family home, stopping every once in a while to show you a crack or opening. Through the openings, you could see into the rooms of the house, and Bruno pointed out what each room was and who each person in the room was. He described his family with clear adoration, though a ringing loneliness resounded through each syllable he spoke. He obviously missed his family intensely and he was quite lonely, especially since he had just spent the first half of the day describing his family to a rat.
You wondered why he was separating himself from the people he so evidently loved, why he chose to hide so close to them.
After his tour, he had brought you back to his room and sat down in his chair, your form still cradled in his hand. You hopped down and settled onto his lap. He pulled out some food he had stored away, which he promptly gave to his rats on the floor. You let out an indignant squeak. Why was he giving all his food to the rats? He looked underfed, he obviously needed to eat too!
Bruno mistook your squeak as you asking for food.
“Oh! Sorry, Pepita. Are you hungry? You still don’t want to join them, huh? I guess you’re more of a hand-tamed kinda rat. Like-like a fancy rat or something.” Bruno rambled as he pulled out an arepa from his ruana.
He placed the food on his lap beside you and told you to dig in. You let out another annoyed squeak. Deciding to take matters into your own hands, well paws, you grabbed at the arepa with your teeth and dragged it forwards towards Bruno. Then you let it go and backed away.
Bruno looked at you in puzzlement. Then a disbelieving look crossed his features as he took in what you were seemingly trying to do.
“You…You want me to eat it…?”
You let out a squeak of confirmation.
Bruno looked at you with wide eyes before hesitantly reaching forward and grabbing the food.
“I guess I should eat something…”He muttered before taking a bite of the arepa. He sighed happily at the taste.
“You are one smart little rat, you know that? It almost seemed like you were talking to me. Heh, but thats silly.” As he spoke he broke off a small piece of the arepa and placed it in front of you.
Satisfied that the man had actually eaten something, you allowed yourself to eat the offered food.
“Thanks for looking out for me, pepita. It’s nice to have someone with me who cares…” He trailed off, becoming lost in melancholy contemplations.
You knew you should probably be worried about turning back into a human, and about getting your vision. But there was something profoundly sad about the man before you. Sad but also…familiar. You recognized that deep loneliness, that isolation from your family, the feeling of being an utter disappointment, these were all emotions that had followed you around since you were a child.
It wouldn’t hurt to just stay as a rat for a short while, right? Just to bring him some comfort and companionship, hell to bring companionship to you both. And after all, Vanesa had said you just had to earn his trust, and then she would cast a spell so that he would understand you. You laughed internally as you imagined Bruno’s face when one of his rats suddenly started speaking to him.
So that was your game plan, be a friend to Bruno as a rat, have Vanesa give you a voice, get your vision, and then have some unknown hopefully wonderful future.
Your ears shifted back on your head as a feeling of guilt swept over you. That plan… It made it seem like you were just befriending Bruno to use him. To get him to show you a vision and then leave. That wasn’t right, and it wasn’t fair. You decided then that you would add a side quest to your mission. You wanted to help Bruno reunite with his family, to help relieve some of that aching loneliness that weighed on his slight shoulders. And maybe afterwards, when you both had your happy endings, maybe he would still want to be your friend?
You just hoped he didn’t hate you for deceiving him and making him think you were only a rat.
No, you didn’t think he would, he did not seem like a hateful person at all.
So now you had your missions. But you realized you were going to need to find out more about why he disappeared in the first place before you could start to help him.
Great, you could do that. You just had to…had to…
How the hell were you gonna get anything done, trapped in this furry little form?
Hope you liked it! And the meme lol. It's based on that one anime screencap of the guy saying this ramen is my girlfriend. Thanks for reading! Please comment!!! :D
A week had passed since you first arrived at La Casa Madrigal. It had somehow been an incredibly eventful week, even though you hadn’t yet left the walls of the house. You had learned much about the family Madrigal. From your perch on Bruno’s shoulder as he sat at his little makeshift dinner table the both of you had watched the family’s dinners through the crack in the walls. It was almost too much for you. To see the mild-mannered man peer in on his family and watch them live their lives without him.
The glimpses you’d gotten of these family meals had led you to some important observations about the family dynamic. The matriarch of the house had a commanding presence, she seemed to want the best for her family, but that led her to only accept the best from them. Anything but perfection was frowned upon. The daughters of Julietta and Agustin all seemed to have issues with living up to these expectations. Isabela had to be perfect, Luisa strong, and Mirabel…poor Mirabel. You felt for her almost as much as Bruno. She reminded you of yourself, always striving to prove herself, and never being recognized. And she had no gift, she must have felt so alone in the family. Alone like you felt. And like Bruno felt.
That was another thing you noticed.
No one talked about Bruno.
Not even a little. If he was brought up in conversation when his sisters or mother were recounting some old memory, they’d carefully dance around mentioning his name. If his name was uttered a dark cloud would appear above Pepa’s head.
Something about their refusal to acknowledge him made a deep frustration rise in you. You still weren’t sure why he had left in the first place, but you were beginning to understand. His family obviously did not appreciate him.
Today you had scampered out of the house on a mission to explore a bit of the town. You had stopped below the mural in the village square showing the family Madrigal. There they all were painted beautifully and in the middle Bruno. While you had been admiring the painting you overhead a conversation nearby; a couple of the locals discussing the subjects of the portrait. They had gushed about the magical Madrigals and how generous they were with their gifts. You had felt your fur rise in indignation at their next comment. One of them had muttered about the Blacksheep of the family, the mysterious disappeared Bruno. The person had begun ranting about how his vision of their future had cursed them.
You ran off before you could give in to the urge to rush over and bite them. What was wrong with those people. They had come to Bruno for a favor, and when he had granted them their vision, they blamed him? How was it his fault that they ended up bumping into their grandmother’s urn and spilling her ashes all over the carpet? It was obvious to you that Bruno just told them what he saw, and these people blamed him for it! They were the definition of shooting the messenger!
Before you returned to the casita, you had decided to try and find something to give to Bruno. At the moment you wanted nothing more than to see him smile, after hearing the awful things people were saying about him.
You had run beneath one of the stalls and found a few dropped items the vendor hadn’t noticed. The stall was selling items made from leather, and you nosed through the few articles on the ground. You stopped at a simple braided leather bracelet, it was unassuming but its uncomplicated nature called out to you. While it wasn’t anything fancy, you thought it might cheer up your friend, maybe he’d even give you a few extra pumpkin seeds as a treat!
Geez, you were really thinking like a rat now.
You grabbed the bracelet between your teeth and scurried off, internally promising that when you turned human you’d come back and pay the vendor for the item. On your way back you noticed the church that was currently being lifted and maneuvered by the impressive Luisa. It was a lovely building, but you couldn’t help the thought that it would look wonderful with a few intricate stained glass windows. Maybe that was another thing for you to consider for when you got your human form back…
When you had squeezed your way back into the walls of the casita and into the room with the chair, you had been met with a frantically pacing Bruno. He was muttering in concern and you could just make out the nickname he had given you and a few words like “not here” and “hurt”.
You felt a funny warmth settle in your chest at the concern he was showing for you. Letting out a small squeak you called his attention to your place at his feet.
“Pepita! There-There you are! Where did you go? I was really worried. I mean you just ran off and disappeared. And-and you’re not like the other rats! You always stick so close to me.” He frowned anxiously as he dropped down to your level.
“I mean, when I first found you, you were almost eaten by an owl. You’re not as hardy as the other rat’s ya know. You must have been someone’s pet before or something. I have to- I have to protect you pepita. God forbid something happens to you. Nope nope nope, knock on wood knock knock knock on wood.” Bruno devolved into worried ramblings before he scooped you up into his warm hands.
In his concern, he hadn’t even noticed the item you held in your mouth.
“You’re okay though, right? I can sneak into the kitchen tonight and get some of Julietta’s cooking if you’re injured…” He trailed off as he noticed that not only were you unharmed, but you held something between your teeth.
“...what have you got there pepita?” He furrowed his brows in question
You dropped it in his hands and he stared for a minute.
“It’s… a bracelet? For…for me?”
You twitched your whiskers at him in response.
Bruno settled into the chair and perched you on the armrest before picking up the little leather braid and examining it in wonder.
“How did you get this…? Did you-did you go outside the casita just to get something for me?” As he spoke an appreciative smile began to tug at his lips.
You inched towards his arm on the armrest before giving him a light nibble on the wrist.
“Okay, Okay! I’ll put it on” He spoke through his laughter.
Bruno slipped the bracelet over his right hand and you watched in satisfaction as a smile lit up his handsome features.
He picked you up in his hand again and lifted you so you were eye-level with him.
“Thank you, Pepita. You always seem to be thinking about me… Actually, you think a lot for a rat. You’re my little genius huh?” he murmured affectionately and pet you on the head. The action should not have made your heart skip a beat but whatever, you were not going to acknowledge that.
“Just please…don’t leave the casita again? It isn’t safe out there for a sweet little rat like you. Maybe if you were streetwise like my other small friends, but you seem to need to be pampered a bit. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you. So please stay where it’s safe?” He continued.
It was true, you just weren’t used to being a rat. The other rats in Bruno’s care were pretty self-sufficient, luckily they didn’t seem to mind you, or really pay any attention to you at all. You had a feeling that they could tell you weren’t actually a rat, maybe through smell? Either way, they didn’t bother you and you didn’t bother them. You had spent most of your time at Bruno’s side. The fact that he wanted to protect you…It just endeared him to you more. You were quickly realizing that you cared a lot about the man in the green ruana.
Vowing to heed his advice and stay in the casita, you jumped from his hand to his shoulder again, a trick you learned always made him chuckle a bit.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” He grinned
Thanks so much to everyone who has been commenting and leaving kudos. I wasn't feeling too well today, but reading your comments made me really happy. I'm glad to know there are people who like this fic. Thanks again! If you liked this chapter please comment!
“Aww come on Pepita, you’re the smartest rat here, you’d make a wonderful actress!” Bruno pleaded with you as he tried to place you on his little stage.
After being with Bruno for two weeks you had seen plenty of his little plays. You were perfectly happy to sit on his shoulder and listen to him narrate the performances. He was actually a pretty creative guy, and you found yourself genuinely invested in some of the storylines he came up with. You preferred the telenovelas to the sports channel, sitting beneath the curtain of his hair as he described the dramatic twists and betrayals.
As good of a storyteller as you found Bruno to be, letting him turn you into a circus rat was going too far.
You ran up his arm and onto his shoulder away from the stage.
Bruno gently lifted you off of his shoulder and held you in his palm.
“Don’t tell me the world’s most amazing , most talented rat, has stage fright?” He spoke with a teasing twist to his lips.
You had always wanted someone to call you amazing and talented, you had just never imagined the words to be followed by “rat”…
You turned your back to him haughtily.
For the past two weeks, you had been growing more and more enamored with the man taking care of you. He was often in a solemn mood and you had taken it upon yourself to make him happy as much as possible. It was becoming clear to you that you had taken the spot as Bruno’s favorite rat, he always saved treats for you and he had even fashioned a little makeshift bed for you out of a basket and some soft cloth. You really only spent time in it during the day though, preferring to sleep on his lap ( what ? he was warm! That’s all!)
The more time you spent around the man, the more sure you became that you wanted to help him. Somehow your side quest to reunite Bruno and the rest of his family had become your priority. You figured that having your friend be happy would make it easier for you to complete your main goal. Which was to get your vision. What would happen after that? You didn’t want to think about it, you were sure that you wouldn’t return to your parents. Maybe…maybe you could stay in the Encanto? This had nothing to do with the man currently trying to get you to be the lead in his rat telenovela…nothing at all.
You still weren’t gonna perform for him though.
You turned back around to see Bruno giving you a pleading look. You were almost convinced by those puppy dog eyes, but your pride won out and you held fast in your refusal.
“All right, all right Pepita. I get it, not everyone has the gift of ‘acting’ like I do.” Bruno shrugged his shoulders
Was this man really trying to use reverse psychology on a rat…
It was kinda working too.
No! Stay strong Y/n!
You curled into a ball in his hand and pretended to fall asleep.
“Oh fine, party pooper. I'd be annoyed with you for ignoring me, if you falling asleep in my hand wasn’t so ridiculously adorable…”
You felt him gently set you down in the little bed he made you.
A rush of affection for the man swept over you at the loving way he covered your form with a little blanket. A sudden intrusive thought wormed its way into your head; you wished you were human again, so you could kiss him on the cheek.
If it was possible for a rat to blush, you’d be red behind the whiskers.
My Gosh, thank you all so much for the comments! I'm having a lot of fun writing this, and even more fun reading what you guys have to say about it! Sorry, this chapter is so short, the next chapter will definitely be longer. Thanks for reading! Please comment!
Before you knew it, a month had gone by since you first met Bruno. Though you didn’t want to admit it, you were becoming complacent. It was just so easy to be around him. You hadn’t made much progress toward either of your two goals. Though you had learned more about the Madrigals and even encountered a couple of them. Mirabel had caught you sneaking into the courtyard trying to take a few beads from the ground. They had been left behind when Pepa had accidentally gripped too tight and snapped one of her necklaces trying to control a thunderstorm.
“Oh!….hey there little guy…girl? Okay yep girl. What uh…what are you trying to do there?” She bunched up her nose questioningly.
You let out a squeak, explaining that you were gathering the beads to put the necklace back together. You thought it might be nice to bring it to Bruno, have him string it back together, and then return the jewelry to Pepa. You felt for the woman, she constantly had to restrain her own emotions, and if she was ever upset, her feelings were invalidated and she was told to push it down, or else her storm clouds would bother everyone else.
Of course, Mirabel had no idea what you were saying. But she was sweet enough to nod along and go mmhmm.
“Aha, I see. Well, no I don’t…But I can see that you're trying to do something. And I’m sure it’s important to you and all…but, I can’t let you take those beads, they belong to mi tía…I’m sorry.” Mirabel wrung her hands apologetically before reaching towards the scattered objects. You were willing to let her take the beads, not wanting to upset her even if she misunderstood your reasoning. You dropped the items you had collected and backed away.
Mirabel stopped and stared at you in wonder.
“Huh. That was…interesting. You’ll let me take them?”
You sat back on your haunches.
“Okay. Thank you..” she reached forward and was about to pick up the beads, when the tiles beneath them began to shift and tip upwards. The beads all rolled towards you and landed in a little pile by your paws.
Both you and Mirabel stared at each other for a minute in bewilderment.
“Um…Casita? Why are you giving tía Pepa’s Beads to this rat?”
One of the window shutters swung open and closed making a creaking noise.
“Of course I trust you casita!”
Casita responded with more creaks
“She wants to help…?”
Mirabel looked down at the little pile of beads next to you.
“Maybe I should just…” she began as she stretched a hand towards the pile. Before she could get to them, casita pulled her backwards.
“Okay, okay!” She laughed
“At least let me get a little pouch for her. How else is she gonna carry all those beads? One by one?” Mirabel chuckled before leaving the room. She returned with a small drawstring bag, and she began collecting the beads. She handed the little bag off to you and watched as you dragged it away in your mouth. You laughed internally as you heard her talking to the house as you left.
“Casita, that was really strange. I hope you're not losing your mind. You are pretty old. Can houses get dementia?” Came the sound of her teasing voice.
This was followed by a yelp and the sound of Mirabel landing on her backside, then giggles from the teenager.
You rolled your eyes fondly and slipped beneath the painting in search of your friend. You’d have to thank the casita later. It was strange but the house seemed to have no problem understanding you, and it seemed to know that you were more than just an ordinary rat. Really you shouldn’t be surprised, the house was magic. You’d never understand how all this magic stuff worked….
When you had arrived at Bruno’s kitchen adjacent room you found him seated at the little table by the crack in the wall. He was dead asleep slumped over on the tabletop. You climbed up the table leg and deposited the bag of beads on the table by one of his hands.
Slowly you inched towards the sleeping face of your…your what? Friend? Protector? Beloved?
The past month you had learned so much about the solitary man. He was caring, creative, unsure of himself, unassuming, empathetic, sweet, and his awkwardness was so charming it was unfair.
You felt warmth blossom in your chest as you approached the man.
If only…if only you could have met when you were human. You two could have talked about so much, you could have come up with dramatic ideas for his telenovelas. You could talk to his family, make them see how much they were hurting him, and how much he cared about them.
And maybe if you were still in the form of a human woman, maybe he’d see you differently.
You turned away from his lightly snoring shape, ashamed at the feelings growing within you. You were becoming irrevocably attached to the gentle-natured man. As much as you wanted to play it off, you knew the truth. You were enamored with him. How could you not be? He was so kind to you, so affectionate and funny. And he was unlike most of the men from your village. Many of them were arrogant, too caught up in themselves to truly care about anyone else; those who weren’t were already taken, married to the lucky people who had met them first.
But Bruno, he didn’t seem to have a drop of arrogance in his body.
He had no idea how wonderful he was.
If you were human again you’d tell him! And then maybe to make him smile you’d kiss him on the cheek? Would he turn red if you did that? Would he start to stutter and rub at the back of his neck? Probably, he hadn’t had any contact with people in a long time.
He was so alone, yet surrounded by people. Just like you had been.
You turned back towards him and moved towards his face. You watched his long eyelashes flutter against his cheeks as he slept.
You were hopeless, weren’t you? Becoming infatuated with a man who didn’t even know you were human. He thought you were his pet rat. He’d probably be horrified if he knew that all along you had been a person.
He had been very comfortable with you; after all…he thought you were a rodent! You felt the itch of embarrassment as you recalled a few weeks ago when Bruno had been getting ready to clean himself.
Honestly, you had been relieved to find out Bruno had some sort of cleaning routine. The inner walls of the house, the stairs, the little room, and a small bathroom, had all been created by the casita to accommodate Bruno. He had told you as he dusted off the chair in his room that when he had first fled into the walls, there was nothing inside but empty halls. The house had done its best to form living arrangements inside the walls for him, but its abilities didn’t reach very far within the walls. That’s why the room and the bathroom were so bare. Over the years as the miracle began to waver, casita lost all ability to communicate within the walls where Bruno resided, though his living arrangements remained.
You had found this explanation fascinating, but you had left out a horrified squeak as the man in front of you proceeded to take off his ruana and then his shirt.
He was undressing in front of you!!
You turned away, your little heart beating out of your chest. He continued to talk about the house before he headed off towards his tiny bathroom to take a quick shower.
You continued to face the wall, hyperventilating as much as a rodent could.
Oh god, you had seen him shirtless.
Your treacherous mind attempted to wander in a decidedly not innocent direction, but you stamped the thought out ruthlessly.
Rat. Rat. You. Were. A. Rat.
Rats don’t think about people like that.
Okay so you weren't really a rat, you were a perfectly healthy woman stuck in the body of a rat. But you still wouldn’t let your mind go there!
That whole incident had been weeks ago, since then he’d gone to bathe several times, and you had learned to turn away when he started to take his ruana off.
You shook your head to clear yourself of these thoughts and stepped forward even closer to Bruno’s resting figure.
There was so much you wished you could talk to him about. The tightening yearning inside your rib cage overwhelmed you and you stood on your back legs so you could reach up and place a paw on his cheek.
Bruno stirred a bit at the motion and his eyes drifted open.
You would have laughed at the expression on his face, if you weren’t so caught up in your swirling emotions. He obviously wasn’t expecting to wake up to a rat face directly in front of his, nor a tiny paw placed lovingly on his cheek. He stared for a moment unblinkingly.
“…what’s up, tiny? Are you lonely?”
You stayed put with your paw on his cheek.
“You feeling cuddly today?” Bruno spoke through his laughter
“You just couldn’t wait for me to wake up, so you decided to wake me up yourself? Is that it?” His grin lit up his eyes.
Oh to hell with it, he was adorable.
You leaned forward and rubbed your face against his. He laughed again as your whiskers tickled his face.
Bruno lifted you in his hands and looked at you happily.
“Oh Pepita, you’re the best thing that’s happened to me in years.” He murmured in adoration. Then to your shock, he leaned forward and placed a gentle kiss on your head.
It made you so happy you couldn’t help but let out a joyous squeak. You spun in a circle in his hand.
He kissed you!
“ Aww Pepita! Did that make you happy? Come here, I’ll shower you with kisses!” He grinned and started to pull you towards him.
Oh lord, now you really wished you were human…
You jumped out of his hands and onto the table, desperate to escape the sweet torture Bruno was preparing to inflict on you.
“Oh no…don’t go” he spoke, genuine disappointment creeping into his tone.
You had no plans of leaving however, instead you grabbed the little pouch of beads Mirabel had given you and dragged them to Bruno.
“Oh haha you weren’t going, good. Good good good…” he rambled in relief as he crossed his fingers on one hand and knocked against the table’s surface with the other.
You nudged the bag forward with your nose.
“What’s that?” Bruno lifted the little bag and peeked at its contents.
“Where did you…wait. These are Pepa’s! We saw her yank so hard on her necklace chain that it snapped. Oh geez she was really worried, the whole casita was thundering.” Bruno without prompting grabbed a string and began placing the beads onto it, repairing the necklace.
He continued to talk as he carried out his task. You were in awe of the man. Somehow he had known exactly what you wanted him to do…
“There! All put together! I’m guessing you're gonna take it back to her, aren’t you? You're such a thoughtful little one.” He handed the complete necklace to you and you gently grabbed it between your teeth
“Hopefully having her favorite necklace back together will cheer her up a bit…” he muttered, scratching at the scruff on his chin.
“I can see why she’s so worried…we’re only a week away from Antonio’s gift ceremony…” the words were tinged with apprehension. Something about them set off an eerie sense of foreboding within you.
(Meme time part 2)
Bruno: *wakes up slumped over on the table*
Hey, I hope you all enjoyed this chapter! So we're finally about to catch up with the movie...this should be fun. I can't thank you guys enough for all the wonderful encouraging comments, I must have read each comment 3 times over at least. I haven't been replying to most comments (I've been too busy planning this story out lol) but I want you all to know that I've read every kind word you've written and I've laughed at all your jokes and little remarks. Every comment I get makes me so happy, it's good to know that people are interested in my silly little rat story! If you liked this chapter, please comment!
The day of Antonio’s gift ceremony had finally arrived. The house and all its residents were buzzing in anticipation. The mounting apprehension you had felt a week ago was starting to reach its peak. As the day of Antonio’s fifth birthday had neared, you and Bruno had watched as tensions between the family members had heightened to an unbearable degree.
You felt sure that something was coming. The way Mirabel was being disregarded, the frantic way Pepa was reacting, the obvious overworking of Luisa, even the subtle way in which Isabela seemed to cringe when her fiancé-to-be was mentioned. It felt like a huge family argument was about to erupt.
The nervous energy from the casita had made you into a twitchy bundle of fur. You hoped that whatever was about to happen, it didn’t end up hurting your Bruno.
The man had seemed to pick up on your anxieties doing his best to soothe you.
“Eh, Pepita, your fur is rising again, try to calm down, little love.” He gently stroked your back.
You were trying to be calm, really you were but you had just come back from a trip to the balcony and you had observed Alma telling Mirabel in an underhanded way, to step aside and not get involved in her own cousin's birthday party.
The exchange had been so disheartening to watch, it had brought you right back to that day when your parents had tossed your relationship to the flames.
“I know, I know. All the anxiety in the house is getting to us both. I should have known you’d be affected by it, you're a sensitive little thing.” As he spoke he picked you up and deposited you on his shoulder. Walking you both into the halls, Bruno surveyed the fracturing cracks in the walls with a despondent sigh.
As he stood there you could hear the sounds of guests arriving and chatting excitedly from the casita. Antonio’s party had started. The thought crossed your mind that it must have been overwhelming for Dolores to hear all the commotion.
All of a sudden the inner walls of the house let out a great groan as if the casita was in pain. The jarring sound of more cracks sprouting across the walls made both you and Bruno jump. It scared you enough that you ducked for cover, finding safety in the hood of Bruno’s ruana hanging on his back.
Bruno let out a wilting sigh, his body folding in on itself with the weight of his worries.
He reached behind himself and delicately lifted you from your refuge in his hood.
“lo siento little one, I think you better go back to our room. It’s not safe here with the cracks opening.” He set you down on the floor as he said this.
You hesitated to go, not wanting to leave him alone.
“It’s okay Pepita. I'm not gonna be fixing the cracks, it’s way too scary for me,” he flipped his hood over his face, covering his eyes.
“ I on the other hand, am not scared! I am Hernando, I fear nothing-!”
You had already started to scamper away
“Aye Pepita, you’re just jealous of my acting abilities-!” You heard him chuckle as you left. Good, you had hoped your teasing way of leaving would make him smile a bit.
Instead of returning to the room with the chair, you had decided to scurry out and spy on the gift ceremony. You emerged on the balcony near the glowing new door. Alma stood on the stairs holding the miracle candle and looking down on the crowd below. You tucked behind a nearby potted plant and held your breath as Mirabel guided sweet little Antonio to his door, and his destiny.
You only half-listened as Alma had the boy pledge to use his gift to help. You were too focused on the anxious look on Antonio’s face. Finally, he stepped forward and stretched his hand toward the door. The entire Encanto stood with bated breath.
His hand landed on the doorknob, and a pulse of glittering magic bloomed beneath his palm. The moment his hand connected with the doorknob, you jolted, you had heard something… it sounded like a bell ringing. Somehow you knew, Antonio’s gift…he would be able to understand you.
As if to confirm this, a toucan came flying down and landed on his arm, everyone watched in fascination as Antonio and the bird conversed.
Soon a whole swarm of animals came running up to the boy, and the people below cheered. The door was opened and the giant room was revealed, a great tree towering proudly at its center.
You peeked in for a moment and looked in at the beautiful space in wonder. As the family posed for a picture you wriggled your way out of the room, only stopping for a moment to cast a sympathetic glance at Mirabel. Your heart ached for the excluded girl.
Continuing on your way you squeezed beneath the painting in the hall and left to find Bruno
You had only just arrived at the man's feet when the walls began to rattle violently. The cracks began to tear into the walls all around you both, dust raining down on you.
Bruno grabbed you up and cradled you beneath his ruana protectively. He darted through the halls towards his kitchen adjacent room. The walls around you ruptured and screeched in protest.
Bruno ducked into his room, the door slamming shut behind him. He leaned against the closed door and let out a shuddering breath. You scurried out of his hand and onto his shoulder. The man began to knock on wood repeatedly, muttering consolingly to himself. He was spiraling into despair, slowly sliding down the door until he was seated on the floor.
Your heart squeezed painfully in your chest, you were desperate to help the shivering man. Your frustration with your current form heightened to an unbearable degree as you watched the man you cared for so deeply begin to devolve into sobs.
You let out a series of distressed squeaks, frantically running back and forth from his right shoulder to his left. You had to help him! You just had to! Burrowing beneath the shroud of his hair you nuzzled against his scruffy cheek, even giving a slight love bite on his ear.
He let out a wobbly laugh, his voice thick with tears.
“I knew this would happen Pepita…after Mirabel’s ceremony, I had a vision…”
You had listened from your place pressed firmly against his cheek as Bruno had described his vision of the Casita’s destruction. Now you understood, he had gone into hiding, had cut himself off from love and companionship, to protect his niece. Bruno was truly a wonderful man, and you wished more than anything, that you could tell him that he had a good heart.
You had continued to rub your head against him affectionately, doing your best to convey how much you thought of him.
He had said that his vision was unclear, that the casita would be broken in one moment, then healed in the next. He had left the green glass shattered in his tower room. At these words, you perked up. You had visited his room out of curiosity a couple of times. If you could just find the pieces of his vision, maybe you could find some answers. Maybe you could find a way to help Bruno.
The next day you had decided to visit Bruno’s tower, intent on finding the vision he had spoken of. You had learned that the inner walls of the house could lead you to his vision cave at the top of his tower room. For once you were glad to be a rat, able to squeeze into small spaces and take shortcuts throughout the casita. The thought of having to climb all those stairs made you wince.
Just as you had squeezed out from a hole in one of the hallways that lined the walk to Bruno’s vision cave, you heard a groan echoing up from the cavernous recesses of the sandy tower.
“Bruno! Your room is the worst-!” She called out through her frustrated exhaustion.
You paused and listened to the girl climb the stairs, sympathy for her making your tail twitch. Those stairs were truly awful.
You realized that Mirabel had come here for the same reason you had, in search of Bruno’s last vision.
He had told you the vision was about her. It dawned on you then that Mirabel was probably your best bet for helping Bruno. Instead of searching through the cave, you’d leave the task to her, hoping that she could uncover a way to heal the broken family.
As she approached, you and a few other rats scurried away and squeezed your way through the openings in the carving of a face on the wall. You darted into the gaping mouth of the statue and ran off to join Bruno in the room with the red chair.
You and Bruno had watched through the crack in the wall as the disastrous dinner with the Guzman’s played out. This was not good. The proposal going wrong wasn’t so bad, Mariano and Isabela had about as much chemistry as a bird trying to woo a fish. But the storm clouds from Pepa, the weeping from poor weakened Luisa, the way Camilo's face had malfunctioned, those were all very bad signs. Then the simmering chaos had set more cracks into motion. Mirabel had done her best to hide them and ended up sprawling awkwardly on the floor.
But the worst had come, when Dolores had ruptured under the pressure and spilled the secret of Mirabel’s connection to the cracks. The tray with the vision depicting this had been knocked across the table in a most unfortunate series of events and landed in front of the quietly furious matriarch of the family.
Seeing all this Bruno had let out a groan of frustration and laid his head in his hands. He hadn’t wanted any of them to ever see that vision.
But you knew that if they hadn't seen it, things would always stay the same. Bruno would remain in the walls indefinitely if left to his own devices. You had decided then what you would do to help him.
If you could grab up a piece of the vision, and run off, you were sure that Mirabel would follow. Bruno may not like it, but talking to his niece is just what he needed, what they both needed. You could help Mirabel too, by leading her closer to her answers.
You scampered out towards the tray and swept in to grab a piece of the glowing green glass. To your surprise, several of Bruno’s other rats had also come to take the shards. They may not have been human, but they were still quite intelligent creatures.
You lagged behind, intent on ensuring that Mirabel followed you. Luckily the girl was observant and she trailed behind you determinedly.
You slipped beneath the painting and listened as Mirabel did the same. Then you scampered forward to where you saw Bruno in the distance, aware that Mirabel was behind you and probably only saw the glowing glass you held. Bruno picked you and the glass up, and you perched on his shoulder. A flash of lightning from Pepa’s indoor thunderstorm illuminated Bruno and your furry form upon his shoulder. Mirabel looked her tio in the eyes for the first time in 10 years, then Bruno shot off like a light, weaving his way through the inner walls of the casita, his niece close on his tail.
Bruno sure was an expert at avoiding people…you had hoped that he would at least talk to her. The man leapt over a chasm in the floorboards and continued forward. For a moment you thought that your efforts had been wasted, that Bruno would refuse to talk to Mirabel at all.
But the man stopped short in his escape, at the sounds of the distressed cries coming from the girl.
Oh no! Did she hurt herself, trying to keep up with Bruno?
You heard her call out for help from the casita and both you and Bruno seemed to realize at the same moment that Mirabel had not made the jump over the pit. Bruno turned back to the pit and sprinted towards his dangling niece, his hood falling down in the process.
She was slipping! If that girl fell and hurt herself trying to chase after her reclusive uncle, just because he was too antisocial to see her, you’d be angry with Bruno for the first time. You’d bite the man if he let her get injured.
But he had no intention of allowing any harm to come to the girl. He caught her hand just in time, and the first words he said to her in ten years were “You’re very sweaty.”
Then he had slipped and their positions had been flipped. Now Mirabel was the one to catch her uncle by the hand. Oh good! You ran out onto Bruno’s arm to greet the teenager you had met in the kitchen before.
Unfortunately, your little furry form popping up was not what she had expected. The surprise had her pulling her hand back, and dropping Bruno and you into the fog. He screamed and held onto you as he fell. But he landed not a moment later.
So the pit wasn’t as deep as it seemed…
Bruno climbed his way out of the shallow hole and left with a solitary “Bye.”
Luckily Mirabel was stubborn, she wasn’t leaving till she got to actually have a conversation with the man.
Inside the kitchen adjacent room, you climbed off of Bruno’s shoulders and perched on one of the shelves nearby, focused on listening to what Mirabel would say to her uncle.
You listened to their conversation, hollow sadness gnawing at your gut.
They both felt so alone within their family. As Bruno described the truth about his disappearance into the walls, you turned away, despair for the man making your ears shift backwards sadly. He spoke of how his gift, his visions, only brought pain, he couldn’t help the family that he loved more than anything.
An idea began to claw its way from the depths of your subconscious. Before when he had described his vision to you, he had said that the end result was unclear, that the house would be fractured one moment, then whole the next. There had to be more to this vision. The truth was so close! If only Bruno could be convinced to use his gift again. But how would he do that? He had nowhere to go to have his vision. Where else was there such a wide open space?
You recalled the sound of the bell ringing, as Antonio received his gift. And you knew what you had to do.
Thanks so much for all the amazing comments. We're partway through the movie now, I realized that doing the whole movie in one chapter would be too long so I ended up splitting it up. I hope you guys like it! Btw the rat that Bruno yeets in the movie is not Pepita, cause she's off getting Antonio lol. If you enjoyed this chapter, please comment!
You hoped you were fast enough, you had reached Antonio’s room in record time, though your little legs burned from the exercise. Slipping under the glowing door you scampered around the towering tree, seeking out the little boy.
You skidded to a stop.
An imposing shadow fell over your trembling form.
A Jaguar stood above you, its gaze intently focused on your shape.
You were going to die. Bruno would be so worried when you disappeared. He’d probably never guess that you ended up as kitty chow.
“Don’t.” Came the soft voice of the owner of the room. Antonio climbed off the back of the Jaguar. You hadn’t even noticed that he was there.
He sat on the floor beside you. And the Jaguar curled behind him, its gaze still piercing you as it settled.
“Hi! I’m Antonio, are you one of the rats that lives in the walls?” Antonio leaned towards you, a precocious smile on his face.
You gulped, this was your first time actually talking to anyone as a rat, besides Vanesa.
“Great! Nice to meet you!”
“I’d love to talk to you Antonio, you seem like you have many interesting things to say. But right now I need your help!”
Antonio clapped his hands together happily.
“That’s awesome! I’m here to help! After all, I made a pledge to help when I got my gift!” He began to speak before he crouched down even further, his face just inches from yours.
“But I gotta say, you sound different than the others. Whenever I talk to my other animal friends they still sound like animals, but I can understand them, like they have an animal accent or something. But your voice sounds so clear, you sound like you have a human accent!” At this, the boy let out a series of giggles.
The action was endearing but you really needed to get help for Bruno and Mirabel.
“I’m a very special rat, Antonio, someday I’ll tell you all about it. But now I need to explain why I need your help okay?”
The boy nodded in response.
“You heard about the vision of Mirabel causing the house's destruction right?” You asked. He hummed in affirmation.
“That vision was created by your Tio Bruno. Everyone thinks he disappeared but he hasn’t. He’s been living in the walls of the Casita alone all this time. He left to protect your cousin Mirabel after he had his vision. Right now she’s trying to get answers from him, so she can save the house, the miracle. I think he can help her by having another vision. But to do that he needs a big open space, and his vision cave was ruined. So I need your help. If he could use your room, he could have a vision and help save the Encanto.” You spoke as quickly but as clearly as you could.
To Antonio’s credit, he seemed to be absorbing everything you said.
“So that’s where Tio Bruno has been all along…”
“Yes, he made a great sacrifice by separating himself from the family, he did it because he thought you would all be better off without him. But he was very lonely…”
Antonio nodded a serious look on his cute face. He picked you up and dropped you on his shoulder before climbing atop his Jaguar.
“Come on guys, let’s go help!” And just like that, he took off, a flock of various animals as his entourage.
It seemed that you and Antonio had arrived just in time. He burst through the door at the perfect moment and offered his room to Bruno. When he had explained that the rats had come to talk to him, Bruno’s gaze had landed on you perched on his nephew's outstretched hand.
After some minor convincing, Bruno had agreed to have a vision. As Bruno, Mirabel, and Antonio navigated through the walls, you settled into a spot on Antonio’s shoulder.
“You are a very special rat! You got my help just in time.” Antonio talked to you as the group headed towards his room
Mirabel glanced over at you and a look of recognition crossed her face.
“You can…you can understand Pepita?” Bruno spoke as he looked down at Antonio and you on the boy's shoulder.
“Yeah! It’s my gift after all! That’s a nice name, by the way, Pepita. Anyways she came to me and told me all about how you needed help and also how lonely you were.” Antonio shrugged slightly and you bobbed with the motion.
Bruno’s face flushed and he looked away. Oh great; you hadn’t meant to humiliate him.
“Antonio, can you tell Bruno something for me?” You spoke, both Mirabel and Bruno looked up at the sound of your squeaks
The boy nodded.
“She wants me to tell you something, Tio Bruno.”
Bruno looked over at you, his eyes wide, it was clear from his expression that he never thought he’d be able to communicate with you.
You told Antonio your message and watched as Mirabel leaned forward in anticipation, clearly curious about what you had just said. Bruno and Mirabel waited as Antonio began to translate your squeaks.
The boy let out a bright smile
“Pepita says that you're the best friend a rat could ask for. She says that you are a wonderful person and that you have a good heart.”
Mirabel let out an awww.
Bruno looked at you in awe, he acted as though the words you had just given to Antonio were the highest praise he could imagine.
“Pepita…” the man gently lifted you off of Antonio and cradled you in his palms.
“My little love…what a sweet creature you are.”
You squeaked, and unfortunately for you, you had been so caught up in the affection from Bruno, that you had forgotten that your present company could understand your every squeak.
Antonio giggled excitedly.
“ She said she loves you! ” Antonio sing-songed.
Oh god. How mortifying.
“She loves me?” Bruno's voice wavered with emotion, sounding by all accounts like a man on the verge of tears.
Unable to stand the burning humiliation, you jumped from Bruno’s hands into the arms of Mirabel beside him.
“Woah! Hey there. I think we’ve met before huh?”
Mirabel looked down at you.
“She says yes, and thank you for the help with the beads. Oh, and she says that she made sure to leave the pouch with the necklace in Pepa’s room on her bedside table.” Antonio translated for you again.
Mirabel smiled down at you and you decided to stay with her till you reached your destination, too shy to glance back at the man you had just inadvertently said you loved…
Watching Bruno have a vision was unlike anything you had ever seen. The man you had gotten to know so well was mild-mannered and introverted. But the moment he accessed his gift, it was like a cloak of self-assuredness had draped itself over the man. His power seemed to thrum beneath his fingertips, and you couldn’t hold back your astonishment as you watched his eyes glow green.
He was beautiful.
And Mirabel had been right, there was more to the vision. They had followed the butterfly and Bruno had found that what was needed was an embrace between Mirabel and her sister Isabela.
Mirabel had not liked that but Bruno had been able to convince her. You felt a swell of pride as you listened to the man encourage her from behind the potted plant. He really was such a good tio.
Mirabel had left to hug her sister, and you and Bruno had retreated back within the walls. He stopped at a spot in the cramped hallways and pulled you from your spot on his shoulder. Delicately he placed you on the wooden handrail in the wall, so you were eye to eye with each other.
“Hi Pepita. I’m not sure if you can understand me, or if Antonio has to be here to translate for me but I think I’ll just say this to you anyway.”
Your whiskers twitched nervously. What was he going to say to you?
“You’re the best friend a person could ever ask for.” He parroted your words back to you, petting you lightly on the head with one finger.
It was bittersweet, truly. The words warmed your heart, but you wished he could be a friend to you while you were a human. You wished for more than just friendship, but you knew that you didn’t deserve such a thing with the tender man. You had been deceiving him for over a month…
You grabbed his finger in both your tiny paws, yearning to apologize, wishing for more than you could ever have.
Your moment was interrupted by the loud arguing coming from the casita.
You and Bruno listened horrified as Alma berated Mirabel, who was just trying to help. You felt indignation rise in you on behalf of the underappreciated girl. You couldn’t help but root for her as she tore her grandmother apart with her words. You knew it was true. Alma was the one hurting the family.
The casita began to shake violently. Cracks became ruptures and you soon realized that the house itself was being torn apart.
“Oh! Oh no!” Bruno uttered, his throat tight.
The house was coming down.
You dashed forward along the railing, Bruno running in the hall beside you. Debris and chunks of the collapsing house came raining down beside you both.
Without a second thought, Bruno grabbed you off the rail, threw his Jorge bucket on his head, and rammed his way through the walls of the tumbling house. He landed safely on the grass outside with a roll, you held protectively against his chest.
Bruno lifted the bucket of his head and looked down at you.
You couldn’t help the shivers that wracked your tiny form, the two of you had just narrowly escaped a crushing death.
“Shhh, Pequeña…we’re okay.” As he spoke he stroked a worried thumb across your back
You had been with Bruno as he mounted the horse and rode off to find Mirabel. He had been rather clumsy in the dismount but even with his scrambling, he had managed to keep you safe in the hood of his ruana.
You wouldn’t lie, you had been just as confused as Bruno, when instead of finding an argument between Alma and Mirabel, you had stumbled in on a moment of genuine connection. Then the woman had grabbed her son and embraced him, kissing him lovingly on the cheek.
Yep, you were just as lost as Bruno.
Whatever it was you had missed, it seemed that Alma and Mirabel had had a heart-to-heart. Mirabel guided her Abuela and tio onto the horse and raced back towards the ruins of the casita.
It had been truly touching to watch Bruno reunite with his family. He looked so happy. Happier than you had seen him in the weeks that you had lived with him in the walls.
You almost couldn’t believe it, you had accomplished the mission that had taken precedence over getting your vision. You had helped the man you were deeply enamored with reunite with his family. You were so happy for him.
You climbed down his shoulder and scampered off to a secluded section of rubble to think.
You had helped Bruno, and really that was more important than your vision. Besides, even if you felt like asking him for a glimpse into your future, he couldn’t help you with that anymore. He and the rest of the Encanto, had lost the miracle and all the gifts that came with it.
You let out a sigh, not really sad, but unsure. As you pondered what came next, you sat in the smoking pile of rubble.
The rubble wasn’t on fire, was it?
No. No, it was not. The smoke you saw gathered before you into the wavering shape of a woman. Gradually the image in the smoke became clearer, and the Bruja Vanesa stood before you.
“Hola, Pepita.” She teased, a wide smile on her face.
“Yes! That’s me! Hmm well you certainly earned the trust of the Madrigal son, didn’t you?” As she spoke the smoke that made up her image swirled tauntingly.
“You could say that. You could also say that he earned mine. Bruno Madrigal is a kind, gentle, sensitive man. I know why you’re here. You saw them lose their powers. Well I don’t care. I don’t care about getting a vision, I don’t care about earning Bruno’s trust just to use him for his gift, and I don’t care that you can’t help me see into the future. I’ll figure my own future out, somehow. But for now, I’m not leaving Bruno’s side. He still needs me, it’s not going to be easy for him to get used to being around other people after so long in isolation, especially since the people of this town seem to have some unwarranted prejudice against him. So no, I’m not giving up, and I’m definitely not leaving Bruno behind-!” You had spoken at a steadily increasing pace, by the end your words had come out in a rush.
You expected Vanesa to look at you angrily, maybe toss her hair haughtily. But it shocked you to see the woman smiling down on you with a look akin to pride in her eyes.
“Y/n you’ve grown so very much. How wonderful you are. You are indeed correct. It is best for you to stay by Bruno’s side. Even though there is no vision to be had now, I did still tell you, that when you earned his trust, I would make it so he understood you. You have his trust, and as you said, he has yours. So now I will do as I said, and you will be able to communicate with your beloved.”
You gasped, partly at the fact that you would finally be able to talk to Bruno, and partly in embarrassed horror at the woman calling Bruno your beloved. Even if it was true…
“I…thank you, Vanesa. I guess you really do want to help me…”
Vanesa grinned a trickster's grin.
“Don’t thank me yet, pepita , I can’t cast the spell yet, I’ve used up too much energy making this smoke vision of myself appear before you… you’ll have to wait a little while. But sometime soon, maybe a day, maybe two or three, you’ll find that you will be able to speak with your dear Bruno quite easily… ”
Something about her teasing smile, made alarm bells go off in your head. But then again, it could have been leftover paranoia from her turning you into a rat without asking.
“Go on now, scamper off to your lover-boy. He’s probably looking for you now!” And with those parting words, the smoke making up Vanesa drifted away.
You rolled your eyes at her taunting and left to find Bruno.
So casita fell and we meet with the Bruja Vanesa again... I hope you guys liked this chapter! I had fun writing Antonio, Besides Bruno and Mirabel, he's my favorite. He's so cute and if I could have a power of any of the Madrigal's I'd love to have Antonio's. I totally wish I could talk to animals. Thanks so much to everyone who's reading, leaving kudos, and commenting! Your comments are like bam! instant serotonin and I immediately want to write more after reading them! So if you liked this chapter please comment! Stay tuned for the next chapter!
A day had passed since Casita fell. You couldn’t help but mourn for the building, it had always been a friend to you. The whole town had pitched in and the effort to rebuild the casita had begun. In the interim, the Madrigals had needed places to stay. The people of the town were kind enough to offer the spare rooms in their homes. The Madrigals were a large family, so no one house could hold them all. Instead, they had been split up across the houses of the Encanto.
Unfortunately, much of the town was still wary of Bruno. Not many were willing to take him in. It was only at the last moment that old man Ortiz had ambled up to Bruno and offered one of the rooms in his house’s basement as shelter. Bruno had accepted the kind older man's offer and the two of you were currently staying in the cramped little basement room. There was another room at the basement level about the same size as Bruno’s that was currently unoccupied except for the piles of boxes and storage scattered across its floors. But luckily the room offered to Bruno had no junk on the floors, it had a small window at the very top of the wall that just peeked out onto ground level.
The little space was rather bare. There was only a dusty twin-sized bed and a desk within the room. The desk did have a rather comfortable cushy chair though. Bruno gravitated towards the familiar item of furniture immediately. He had spent the first night sleeping in the chair and the bed remained empty and untouched. In the morning Bruno had taken the long walk up the hill back to the ruins of the casita. The Ortiz house was on the very far end of town, and the walk was most inconvenient, but Bruno didn’t complain. You stayed in his hood the entire day, as he helped with the plans to rebuild the house.
You were anxious, any moment now, Vanesa could grant you your voice, it would be strange, to speak to Bruno as a rat, but it would be better than him never understanding you.
The day faded quickly, and before you knew it, Bruno had retried with you to the Ortiz house and promptly fallen asleep in the chair. Soon, soon you’d be able to speak to him…
You curled up into a comfortable ball of fur and drifted off in his warm lap.
The morning sun filtered in through the tiny basement window. Rays of light danced across your eyelids and beckoned you into the land of the waking. You settled slightly, enjoying the warmth of the sun. Languidly you stretched, feeling the satisfying pop of your joints.
Your eyes drifted open, but the shift in perspective shocked you. You had fallen asleep in Bruno’s lap, but now you were somehow at his eye level? You glanced down and your heart seized inside your ribcage.
Oh god ohgodohgod
She had turned you back into a human.
Which usually would have been great!
But why? Why why why? Why did she turn you back when you were sleeping in Bruno’s lap-!
And that was not the worst of it.
This was mortifying.
You were naked!
Of course, you weren’t wearing any when you were a rat so logically when she turned you human, you’d be naked. Vanesa must have known this would happen. She did this to you on purpose! She was definitely watching this and laughing till she cried.
You were fuming.
If you ever got your hands on that insufferable witch-!
No no. Now wasn’t the time to think about that. You glanced up sharply. Oh thank god. Bruno was still asleep. You couldn’t imagine his reaction if he woke up to a naked woman dropped in his lap. You just had to figure out a way to carefully slip off his lap and then duck out of the room.
You scanned the room for the quickest escape route, already planning where you could steal some clothes.
And then came the sound that crushed all hope of escape.
A sharp gasp from the man beneath you. You felt his body go stiff in shock. Slowly you dragged your terror-filled gaze towards him. You noted with mounting horror the way his hands were clenching and unclenching in panic as they lay on the armrests of the chair. Neither of you breathed as your eyes met his.
You had never seen the man look more terrified. His eyes were wide, his mouth agape in pure shock. A deep blush swept across his cheeks. You were sure your face matched his in hue.
“I-I-I-! I don’t- I don’t understand!” He yelled out.
“Who? What? I- who are you? Why are you -“ his gaze lowered for a millisecond on instinct and his eyes snapped back up in fear, his face somehow going redder. He gulped “why are you naked? Why are you on my lap?!”
“I’m sorry!” You screamed, humiliated.
You slid off his lap and onto the floor, crossing your arms over your chest in a haphazard attempt at preserving your dignity.
“Oh god-! What’s happening??? Is this a nightmare?” As he spoke he covered his eyes with his hands.
“Yeah, yep, absolutely! It has to be a dream! Things like this don’t happen to Bruno Madrigal. It’s a dream! A really confusing, scary one! I’m just gonna wake up now! Bye-!” Bruno kept one hand shielding his eyes and used the other to pinch himself on the leg. He yelped at the sensation.
“It’s not a dream? How is it not a dream!” Bruno began to mutter to himself, still not looking at you.
Oh god, this was worse than you ever could have imagined! Any possibility of him wanting to be friends with you, to even talk to you, was gone. The thought of losing Bruno’s companionship forever brought stinging tears to your eyes.
Bruno stilled as he heard you sniffle, and like a switch was flipped, his demeanor changed.
“Oh my god, are you okay?”
“What is wrong with me-! I had to freak out so much I didn’t even think about why there would be a naked woman in front of me. And now! Now you're crying ! Oh god, did-did something happen to you? Do you-do you need help? Did someone hurt you?” Bruno’s mind seemed to be torturing him with images of what possibly could have happened to you, his voice wavered as he asked you these questions.
Before you could correct Bruno’s assumptions that you had been somehow assaulted, he interrupted you again by smacking his forehead.
“I’m such an idiot! I’m rambling and you're sitting there naked shivering on the floor!” Bruno tugged his ruana off and draped it over you, looking at the ceiling the entire time to avoid an eyeful.
You slipped it over you, glad for the coverage.
Bruno held his hand out to you and you placed yours in his, he pulled you up from the floor and guided you so you were sitting in the chair.
He still seemed to have trouble looking at you, even though the ruana had offered you some minuscule modesty. Bruno sat on the edge of the unused twin bed.
“Please…if you can…will you explain?” He muttered as his eyes darted from your face to the floor and back.
You could do that.
You had to. Bruno deserved an explanation.
“I-I’ll do my best to explain. It’s a…long story.” You murmured. Bruno nodded at you encouragingly
“I’ll start by saying, nobody hurt me, not physically-“ you watched his shoulders sag in relief “-My name is Y/n. I’m not from the Encanto, I’m from a small village, I’m not sure how far it is from here. I live… lived with my parents and helped them with their shop. My life was an endless march of monotony. I did my work, stayed by my parents’ side, I listened to all their rules for me. The only thing that ever made me feel happy, feel fulfilled, was my art.”
You glanced up at the man and found him listening with rapt attention.
“I always loved the great big windows of stained glass in the church. They were beautiful, colorful, and they told a story. So just for fun, I started to sketch them, then I began drawing windows of my own design. I ended up filling sketchbook after sketchbook. By the time I had found out that a local artist was holding classes on how to make stained glass, I had gotten to my best sketches yet. I had a book this thick-“ you gestured with your hand to show the thickness of the binding “-filled with my best ideas. I poured my soul into the pages of that book.” You clenched your teeth as you thought about all the work you had lost.
“Well…I went to my parents, asking them if I could take the stained glass class-“ you laughed bitterly
“-of course they rejected me. They reviled the very suggestion of me doing anything but working behind the shop's counter and marrying a sturdy man. So I thought, maybe, maybe if they saw my sketches, they’d understand how much my art means to me…but I should have known. They took one look at my drawings and told me how foolish I was for ever thinking I could be an artist. I was told that I was wasting my time, that drawing and doodling were for children. My mother, she pried the book from my hands…and she threw it into the kitchen fireplace…”
You heard Bruno gasp.
“…that’s awful…” he spoke softly as he wrung his hands together.
“Yeah, it-“ you discreetly wiped at the dampness gathering under your eyes.
“-it made me realize how little love they had for me.”
“Anyway, after that I just couldn’t stand to be near them or even look at them. I walked out of that house forever. I didn’t mean to, but I ended up at the house of the local Bruja.” Here you looked around, a pinched look on your face as you mentioned the offending woman.
“Her name is Vanesa. She called me into her house and said she wanted to help. She had probably seen everything that had just happened with my parents, her magic lets her see the present. When she asked me what she could do for me, I-“
You hesitated, but Bruno gave you a small smile and a nod, so you continued.
“I asked her to show me my future.”
A look of understanding dawned on the man's face.
“She said she couldn’t, she could only see the now. But, she told me that she knew of someone who could see the future-“
“-me.” Bruno said evenly.
“Yes. She spoke of peeking in on the Encanto every once in a while, to check in on other people with gifts like hers. So…she already knew about you and your family. Vanesa also knew that you were..you were in hiding…” you trailed off, unable to look him in the eye.
“I see.” He didn’t sound mad, but a solemn heaviness had settled in his words.
“Then she said that you hadn’t used your gift in years and that you hadn’t spoken to anyone in years, so you probably wouldn’t want to talk to me-“ you began to speak frantically, your words dancing to a quicker tempo “-so completely without asking me, she came up with a plan. A stupid, stupid plan! So that you would help me. But I swear Bruno, it wasn’t my idea, and she went ahead with it without consulting me-!” You gasped as the words rushed out of you. Panting, you looked up at the man you’d grown to care so much about.
Oh no. He looked-
He looked angry.
This was your worst nightmare.
Your face crumpled in despair, though no tears tracked across your cheeks.
“So. She thought. That she’d just drop you naked in my lap. And that would make me help you?” Bruno looked away in disgust.
Wait. That wasn’t right. You hadn’t finished your story, hadn’t told him about your time as Pepita. He had jumped to his own conclusion.
“What kind of man does she think I am? Some kind of-of-of some kind of sick, twisted-some kind of predator?” Bruno’s brows were deeply furrowed, his fists clenched tight.
He had the wrong idea, but before you could correct him, he continued.
“And what if I had been, huh? What if I was that kinda man? What did she think would happen? I’d take advantage of you? And give you a vision in exchange? How could she do that to you? Put you in such a vulnerable position, without your consent? Without either of our consent!” Bruno slapped his hand against the mattress in frustration.
He wasn’t mad at you, he was mad for you.
Usually, you would have rushed to correct his assumptions about Vanesa. But right now you were so mad at her, you couldn’t summon the will to defend her.
Bruno rubbed his eyes with his hand and let out a weary sigh.
“I’m so sorry, Y/n, that’s your name right?”
“I’m sorry about your parents, and your sketchbook, and that Bruja making things difficult for you…” there was a deep sincerity laced throughout his words
“And I’m really, really sorry that I have to tell you this too, after the morning you just had. But I can’t help you, I- my whole family, we lost our gifts two days ago. Our house, our miracle, our powers, they’re all gone…” Bruno slumped his shoulders in consternation, looking as though the act of telling you this had sent him into a deep depression.
This was your chance. You should tell him now. Tell him that he was wrong about when Vanesa sent you. Tell him about Pepita. About how much he had come to mean to you, in your time as his pet rat.
The thought of his reaction terrified you
“Bruno, it’s okay, really. Even if you can’t give me a vision, you’ve been so kind to me, and I thank you.”
Coward , your mind whispered.
“It’s-its okay?” He looked at you in disbelief.
“Yes, I’m just…I’m glad that I’m not stuck in that situation anymore, with the people that raised me. I know that you don’t have your gift anymore, and my reason for coming here in the first place was a vision. But, I just can’t go back to that village. Would it be alright if I…can I stay in the Encanto? I have nowhere else to go.” At least that part was true.
Bruno stood from his seat on the bed.
“Are you kidding me?” He exclaimed
“-oh, okay I understand. Sorry I’ll-“
“Of course you can stay here! I’m not sending you back there! I’m not letting you anywhere near that crazy witch!” As he spoke his foot tapped against the floor erratically.
You swelled with joy at the man's proclamation.
“Really? Thank you! Thank you so much Bruno, you’re the best friend anyone could ask for!” As you said this you catapulted yourself into his arms and enveloped him in a hug.
Oh. Whoops. You knew him very well, and already considered him a friend. But to him, you were a stranger.
Bruno stiffened beneath your hug. Letting out an awkward chuckle, he patted you on the back mechanically.
You pulled away from the embarrassed man.
“Sure-! I mean yeah! No problem, it’s nothing! Glad to help,…mi… amiga…?” Bruno’s words trailed off.
You smiled up at him, overjoyed at his stilted attempts at socialization.
He looked at your smiling face, and a small mirror of your smile began to reflect on his features.
Then he made the mistake of glancing down again, and he yelped as he realized you were standing there in nothing but his ruana.
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m not good at the interacting with people stuff! I can't believe I just let you stand there without proper clothes. I’ll-I’ll be right back, don’t go anywhere okay! I’m just gonna… uh …Oh! Oh! I’ll get Mirabel! She’ll help me find you something to wear” And with that, he darted out of the room.
A moment later he came skidding back into the doorway.
“You’ll be okay here right? Do you need anything?”
“I’ll be fine. I don’t need anything right now, just the clothes you were gonna get.” You murmured fondly
“Right! Right! I’m on that now, just gotta get Mirabel…” you heard the sound of the man knocking on the wooden walls of the basement hallway as he left in search of his niece.
You dropped yourself into the chair shakily.
What the hell was that? That was not how you thought your morning would go!
Then the last thing you wanted to see at the moment began to form in your peripheral vision. Smoke had begun to climb up the wall beside you. You swore you saw red, as the shape of the enchantress formed once again beside you.
You darted out of your chair, grabbed one of the dusty tomes from the desk nearby, and chucked the book at the infuriating woman.
She laughed as the item passed through the smoke that made up her head.
“Y/n! Aren’t you glad to see your old friend Vanesa once again?”
You stomped your foot against the wooden floorboards, looking like you were doing your best imitation of a bull ready to charge.
“ You. Are not. My friend-!” You ground out
Vanesa held her obnoxious giggling behind her hand.
“Why so mad, Pequeña artista? I only did as I said I would.” She tapped her chin and adopted a look of mock confusion.
“ No. No, you did not! You said that you would make it so he understood me. Not that you’d turn me back into a human , and at the worst possible moment!” You screeched.
“But I did do what I said. I said that he would understand you and now he does, you two can talk all through the day now!”
“-I never said that you’d be able to talk to him as a rat. You made that assumption all by yourself”
“You Bruja! This is why my parents wanted me to avoid you! You tricked me on purpose! What was the point of doing that to me?! You just wanted to see me humiliate myself and-and ruin the most important relationship in my life?” You couldn’t keep the hurt from your voice
“I never lied to you, I've always had the intention of helping you. And don’t try to suddenly say your parents were right, you and I both know that they were wrong about a great many things, your artistic talent and your worth to name a few. I turned you back into a human because it was time for you to talk to Bruno as you truly are. No more hiding your feelings behind the shield of Pepita. If I kept you as a rat, you would have stayed as Bruno’s pet forever, you probably would have been too scared to tell him the truth, and you would have lived out your days as Bruno Madrigal’s marvelous talking pet rat…”
You felt your face burn in shame. Even if the words were true, that didn’t explain it all.
“Fine. Fine, I can accept that. But that does not explain why you turned me back while I was sleeping on his lap?!” You crossed your arms and looked up at her accusingly.
“What, don’t act like it wasn’t adorable to see him so flustered. All I did was nudge your relationship forward a bit. The possibility of him only wanting to be your friend and nothing more has been kicked out of orbit. Now he’ll think of you as the beautiful damsel who fell into his lap.” Vanesa spoke as though she were holding back giggles, and indeed she was. By the time she had finished her inadequate explanation, she had devolved into full-on laughter.
“You liar! You just did it cuz you thought it was funny! I’m just free entertainment for you, aren’t I?” You gasped out.
“You're just as bad as my parents. You don’t really care about me, you're just using me for your own gain. I’m just a funny little thing for you to point at and laugh. You…you never really believed in me…” your words caught in your throat.
For a moment there was silence, then you felt smoke drift over your forehead. You snapped your gaze up to the woman. She had lifted a hand and was brushing it over your head as soothingly as she could in this smoke form.
To say you were shocked was an understatement. You had never seen the enchantress look anywhere near guilty. But right now, she looked like she wished she could go back in time and undo her prank on you.
“Lo siento, truly. I didn’t think that my actions would hurt you so. I went too far, I thought you would just be a little flustered, I never meant to dishearten you so much. I do care about you. I believe in you more than you know, I’ve watched over you for years, I’ve seen your art grow and flourish. My heart was torn too, when I saw your sketches destroyed by your awful parents. I tease you so much because you remind me of myself, a smaller, more adorable, pitiful version of myself.”
You rolled your eyes at her underhanded compliment, fighting off the urge to forgive the woman. You wanted to still be mad at her for this!
“Forgive me, Y/n. I think I may be able to do something small for you, to make up for my mistake.” She looked sincere but you still felt wary after everything that had happened.
“…what is it?” You murmured, looking away from her stubbornly.
“Well, your dear Bruno will be returning quite soon with his niece and some clothes for you. I know you two will be so adorable around each other now that you're both human, however, I also know that I’m not the only one who's guilty of lying by omission…you didn’t tell him that you were Pepita. And you let him think that I’m sort of evil witch who puts you in dangerous situations with men. I’ll let that part slide though, given my misstep today. But if you are to continue like this, there’s something you should know.” Vanesa rested her hands on her hips.
You shuffled your feet, now it was your turn to feel guilty, not towards her (never!) but towards Bruno for not telling him the truth.
“If you want to continue as you are, never revealing that Pepita and Y/n are the same, then you will strike a terrible blow to the man you care for,” Vanesa warned.
“What? How!” You questioned desperately, never wanting to hurt him.
“Without you, there is no Pepita, if you don’t tell him that you are indeed the rat, then Pepita will disappear forever, and Bruno will lose his beloved pet.” She explained calmly.
You stepped back.
“…you’re right…” you whispered miserably.
“Yes, yes as I often am. Here’s another thing I’m about to be right about. You're not ready to tell him the truth are you?” Vanesa predicted and glanced at her nails nonchalantly
“No…I’m not…but I’ll do it anyway. Even if he hates me after, it would be better than having him go into depression over losing Pepita. I can’t do that to him.” You looked away again, resigned to your fate.
“Very noble of you. However, I did say that I would do something for you. Since you’ve already been under the magic of the transformation powder, this next spell should be quite simple to cast.” Vanesa nodded thoughtfully.
“I don’t know…what’s this spell of yours supposed to do…?” you quietly questioned.
“Hhmhh well, I am quite talented at what I do! I can make it so you have the ability to shift between human and rat form at will. Pepita one moment and Y/n the next.” Vanesa clapped her hands together, smoke twisting upwards at the motion.
“You…you can do that?”
“Of course! I am the very best at what I do after all. You will be free to lead your double lives, both of them revolving around Bruno. Until you work up the courage to tell him the truth, that is. In the meantime, you can spend time with his family, and flirt with the man to your heart's content, then turn into a cute rat and have him cuddle you all you like! How’s that sound?” Vanesa explained excitedly.
Your face heated again at her insinuations. But…she was right, though you hated to admit it. The spell would help you. You could be yourself as a human most of the time, get to actually talk to Bruno and support him, and then you could turn into Pepita for just enough time through the day to keep the man from worrying about losing you, and you could offer him comfort in that form too.
You sighed and resigned yourself to the fact that you’d be accepting help from the troublesome witch once again.
“Okay. I’ll do it.” You responded, deciding then to place your faith in the Bruja again.
Well! That was an eventful chapter...I'm honestly so excited to see what you guys have to say about it. I've had some scenes from this chapter planned for a while, so I'm glad you guys finally get to read it. Poor reader, Vanesa and I just love to embarrass and tease her...I really hope you liked this chapter, not gonna lie I'm nervous to see how you all react to the reader's change back into a human. If you liked it, please comment! I can't wait to see what you guys have to say.
Vanesa had disappeared again after you had agreed to her plan. As you sat and waited for Bruno to return, you thought over your situation with growing anguish.
What you were doing just wasn't right. You had felt a mounting sense of guilt slowly pile upon your shoulders from the moment Bruno had taken you in as his pet rat. But now, now the weight of your guilt was crushing.
For one brief moment, you considered telling Bruno everything the moment he came through the door. But with a distressed jolt, you realized that though the action may alleviate your guilt, it would be disastrous for Bruno. Right now, his state of mind was precarious, he was unused to the people of the town around him, unsure of how to interact with his own family, and without the Casita he had no home.
The truth was, the more you thought it over, the more sure you became that once he found out, he wouldn’t want to speak to you again.
If you told him now, he’d be completely alone, isolated once again, in this dusty basement at the far end of town.
With tremulous hands, you wiped away the tears that swept across your face as you made a resolution to yourself.
You wouldn’t drag this on. You cared about Bruno too much to keep lying to him forever. The thought of what you had to do brought stinging tears to your eyes, but you knew that how you felt was unimportant. What mattered was how he felt. Though you had just asked the man if you could stay in the Encanto,
stay with him, and he had agreed, you realized that it could never be.
You would remain in Encanto for only as long as it took to help the family rebuild their casita and help Bruno integrate back into his family and his community. Then when he was safe, when he had shelter, when he was happy, then you’d explain everything to him, and leave the Encanto forever, to find your own future elsewhere.
A future without him….
A dull ache settled in your chest.
In the meantime you’d relish every moment you spent with the man, trying to ignore the clock ticking in the back of your mind.
Once the casita was whole again, you’d let yourself fracture into a thousand pieces. For Bruno.
30 minutes after your conversation with Vanesa, you heard the sound of two sets of footsteps descending the basement staircase. You let out a deep breath, still situated in the cushy chair, and tucked your legs beneath the shroud of Bruno’s ruana. You weren’t exactly looking forward to lying more to the man, but for now, deceiving him was necessary. You’d tell him soon enough, you were reminded, giving yourself a little shake to dislodge the painful thoughts from your head. You had limited time left with the man that you loved, best to enjoy it while you could.
A moment later, the man came sliding into the doorway, panting.
“Here-” He wheezed “...here she is, Mirabel.” He paused and bent over with his hands on his knees and huffed. His appearance brought with it the warmth in your chest that had become customary with his presence, though now it was tinged with dismay. The man stood up unsteadily and you noticed his niece standing behind him.
Mirabel popped her head out from behind him and swept an inquisitive glance over you. She blushed shyly at your under-clothed state and pushed up her glasses nervously.
“Oh, hi! I’m, well he just said it but uh, I’m Mirabel. Tio Bruno told me everything-!” Here Mirabel looked off in embarrassment and cleared her throat as she stepped out from behind her uncle.
“- Ahem , he uh, told me about how you…showed up.” You saw Bruno wince behind her and nervously tuck his feet inwards, one foot on top of the other.
“Anyway, I brought you some clothes! I wasn’t sure what would fit you, so I ended up taking a set of clothes from each of my female family members. But don’t worry they’ll be fine with it!” The girl explained as she dragged a heavy-looking bag forward and dropped it at your feet.
“Thank you.” You murmured quietly, still a bit unused to being back in human form.
“No problem, Y/n. Bruno told me your name by the way, but no problem, I’m happy to help! My whole family will be glad to help,” She laughed “helping people is kinda our thing!”
“Yes, you have a wonderful family,” as you softly said this, you looked straight at Bruno, unable to hide the tender smile on your face.
He burst out in an awkward chuckle, the corner of his mouth quirked upward in a bashful half-smile.
When your gaze snapped back to Mirabel, she was looking at you with a smug cat-that-got-the-canary look.
You looked away nonchalantly and picked at the fabric on the arm of the chair, a small tick you seemed to have picked up from Bruno.
Out of the corner of your eye, you saw Mirabel glance back at her uncle. She seemed to realize that you still hadn’t reached for the clothes and she let out a huff.
“Okay! I’m gonna stay in case she needs any help with some of the clothes or anything. But, sorry Tio Bruno! You gotta go now.” As she said this she shoved her sputtering, apologizing uncle out the door and shut it behind him.
Mirabel gave a nod and slapped her hands together, as though to clear them of dust after a job well done.
“Alrighty! Let’s pick out some clothes for you!” The girl began to rifle through the bag at your feet.
The two of you chatted amiably as she pulled out several articles of clothing.
“...and then, after I had made up with Abuela, Tio Bruno came riding in like a hero in a storybook, though a lot more clumsy. And he defended me to her, haha, he had no idea that we had just had a big heartfelt conversation!” Mirabel explained to you as she faced the wall, not looking at you as you tried on the set of clothes that fit you best.
You let out little noises of affirmation and surprise, not revealing that you had been there for the whole thing.
“Your uncle seems like a very caring man,” you replied, barely restraining yourself from showering praise upon the man you were pretending to have just met.
Mirabel let out a little pleased noise.
“I’m so glad you can see that! The people in this town are too hard on him, they never really gave him a chance. They seem to want to stick to their view of him as some devious harbinger of doom…”
“Well, he was very kind to me,” that was an understatement, you thought to yourself “maybe if we could just get the people of this town to see what he’s really like, they might change their minds.” You spoke as you adjusted your skirt.
“That’s what I think too! Hmm! I think you and I are gonna get along just fine!” you heard the teenager clap her hands together excitedly.
“I think you’re absolutely right. You can turn around now.” You told her.
The girl spun sound and swept her gaze over your outfit.
“Hey, that looks great! I’m gonna fetch Tio Bruno so we can talk about introducing you to the rest of the family.” The girl darted towards the door and pulled it open excitedly, yelling out for her uncle.
The man came shuffling down the basement stairs and appeared in the doorway. You felt your eye twitch guiltily at his next words.
“Have…well, have either of you seen a…a rat? I haven’t seen my pet rat Pepita all morning.” As he spoke worriedly he wrung his hands.
“Oh no! Is Pepita missing?” Mirabel furrowed her brows and scanned the floor for the fuzzy shape.
“Uh! I saw her! I think…When you left to get Mirabel, a little rat came up to me. She was very friendly, and she let me pet her. Then she scampered off…I’m not sure where.” You lied, not looking the man in the eye. This was tougher than you thought…the guilt was almost suffocating.
Bruno let out a relieved sigh
“That was definitely Pepita, she’s the friendliest creature you’ll ever meet. I don’t know why she disappeared but at least she was here earlier.” Bruno scratched at his head, a few strands of his curly hair drifting over his eyes.
“I’m sure she’ll show up again, I can’t imagine her wanting to leave you.” You spoke sincerely, the words truer than you could explain.
Bruno looked comforted by your words, if not a little shocked at how nice you were being to him.
“I think she’s right. Remember what Antonio translated for her, that little rat loves you.” Mirabel chimed in.
You blushed and turned your head away.
“Yeah…yeah. I’m sure she’ll be back. Definitely, definitely. Knock, knock, knock. Knock on wood” Bruno calmed himself with his little ritual.
Then realizing you had seen that, he darted his embarrassed gaze towards you. He seemed surprised by the fact that his actions hadn’t disquieted you.
Mirabel took a seat on the edge of the bed, and her uncle followed suit, sitting beside her on the twin bed. You sat again in the desk chair.
“So! We’ve got a lot to do today.” Mirabel began, taking charge.
A sympathetic look passed over her face.
“Bruno explained about your parents, it’s…” the girl swallowed, clearly relating to your experiences “…it’s not how families should treat each other. You're welcome to stay in Encanto; and if my family disagrees, I’ll just guilt-trip them into it.” She joked.
“Thank you, Mirabel.” You spoke, swallowing the lump in your throat, you knew you wouldn’t be staying for long…
“Of course! Us family rejects gotta stick together.” as she said this, she elbowed her uncle lightly, who smiled fondly at his niece.
“Yes, we do... And, to repay you all for your kindness, I want to pitch in and help you rebuild your house.” You spoke.
“Are-are you sure? You really don’t have to do that, you’ve been through a lot…” Bruno muttered.
“I want to help.” You looked over at him. “I’d hate to stick around here just being useless. Besides, if I work with you guys rebuilding the house, I get to spend more time with you-”
“-you two.” you quickly corrected.
Mirabel seemed to catch your slip up, but Bruno nodded blissfully unaware.
“ Yeah , Tio Bruno, that way you can spend more time getting to know your new friend… ” The teenager teased with a wicked smile.
You gave her a warning look that had her stifling her giggles.
“Oh yeah, that’s true!” Bruno replied, completely oblivious.
Thank god for Bruno’s airheadedness at the moment, his adorable absentmindedness saved you from further unnecessary embarrassment.
You’d really have to learn to work on your filter, it had eroded away during your time as a rat. Now you couldn’t exactly say every little affectionate thought that came to your mind, it would sound like a lot more than just squeaks.
“Welp, now that that’s decided, we better go meet up with the rest of the family and explain everything. Then we can discuss a place for you to stay.” Mirabel concluded and started to stand up. You stopped her with a raised hand.
“Actually…before we go talk to them. Do you think it's possible if we…uh if we don’t explain everything to them...?” You fidgeted with your skirt nervously.
Mirabel tilted her head in question.
“Like what part?” she asked
“...the me showing up undressed in your uncle’s lap part…”
Everyone in the room seemed to feel their faces burn at that.
Bruno stood up like a shot and began pacing and muttering shakily to himself.
“Oh! Right. Yeah, we should definitely leave that part out….” Mirabel murmured.
With the three of you in agreement, you headed off to meet the family. You did your best to take calming breaths, telling yourself that whatever turmoil you were feeling would be worth it in the end, when Bruno had his home, his relationship with his family, and the respect of the people of the Encanto. As far as your own future, it was as undecided as it had always been...
(here have another meme, to cheer you up after that chapter)
Reader *having an internal existential crisis, thinking about having to leave her beloved Bruno forever*:
Mirabel, who didn’t pick up on the inner turmoil, but instead immediately honed in on reader’s crush on her uncle:
Hey guys! Here's another chapter for you. I can't lie, I felt like a villain in their lair rubbing their hands together evilly as I read all of you worrying about the double life. Muahaha. Sorry, I just couldn't make it easy for the reader, as Vanesa would say, its about the drama~ And poor y/n, now she's horribly guilty, and she's vowed to leave the Encanto forever...Meanwhile, Mirabel is testing out her skills as a matchmaker lol. Try not to worry too much, dear readers, I promise you the ending will be happy...eventually. It won't all be bad, just a lot of inner turmoil...But how is Bruno feeling about this new person, hmmm 🤔
If you liked this chapter, please comment!
As the three of you walked through the streets of the Encanto, you realized that your little group was getting strange looks. For a moment you thought they were sending their uncomfortable glances your way, as you were new to the town. But you realized with a shock, that they weren’t even looking at you, all their odd looks were targeted at Bruno, who lifted his hood uneasily. You had to take a deep breath to remind yourself that you were no longer a rat and that your instinct to bite people would not go over very well.
You leaned over to the man and laid a gentle hand on his shoulder.
“Don’t mind them, they just don’t understand what you’re really like.” You assured him.
He looked at you from under his hood, his expression indicating the disbelief and appreciation currently warring for dominance on his face.
“...thank you.” He offered you a small smile.
You had to push down another rush of affection, reminding yourself that to Bruno you were little more than a stranger. A depressing thought, but oh well. You let your hand slip from his shoulder and the way Bruno’s eyes traced the motion was not lost on you.
Mirabel hummed a bit as she marched ahead of you two, guiding you towards the ruins of the Casita. After a few minutes of silence, Bruno spoke up again.
“I am sorry about your vision…I wish I could have helped you more…” He whispered dejectedly, rubbing at his shoulder.
“You’ve helped me more than you know…” You told him, your heart skipping a beat as the man looked at you like you were too good to be true.
As the three of you neared the crumpled remains of the former Casa de Madrigal, you heard the sound of Camilo chuckling and talking to his little brother.
“So the rats along his back are all in love with him?” Camilo laughed behind his closed fist.
“No, no, just Pepita! And I didn’t say
love, I just said love. Don’t be weird” Antonio corrected. As you heard this, you wished you could die on the spot from humiliation,
especially given the fact that
was an accurate assumption.
Bruno however gave a little smile as he remembered that Pepita had said she loved him.
You really wished he would stop doing things that made you want to hug him. It was unfair how endearing he was.
“Hey everyone! I’m back! And I brought Bruno…and… and someone else!” Mirabel called out as the three of you approached.
In an instant all eyes were on you, you felt yourself wilt under the intense gaze of the entire Madrigal family. Without thinking, you ducked shyly behind Bruno.
The man turned to you and gave you a reassuring look. You took a few deep breaths and stepped out beside him, holding your hands behind your back nervously.
Alma, of course, was the first to step forward.
“Mirabel, who is this person? I don’t think I have seen her before…” Abuela looked you over and you felt yourself freeze beneath her intimidating stare.
You watched as Mirabel squared her shoulders and assumed a stubborn aura.
“Abuela, this is Y/n. You haven’t seen her before because she isn’t from the Encanto-” Mirabel continued, bulldozing over any comment her grandmother was about to make. “-She needs our help. And we’re going to give it to her.” The teenager stood tall as she told Alma this.
For a moment there was silence, and though you were grateful to Mirabel, you regretted ever asking to stay in the Encanto, especially considering the fact that you had resigned yourself to leaving the town once the house was rebuilt. The grandchildren of the Madrigal family looked at Mirabel like she had grown another head, they had never heard someone tell their Abuela what to do. You started to feel worried for Mirabel, scared that your presence would shatter the fragile relationship between her and her Grandmother. Destroying the delicate dynamic of the Madrigal family would only hurt Bruno more, maybe you shouldn’t stay at all.
“...if, if I’m not welcome in the Encanto, I’ll leave. The last thing I want to do is cause you any trouble, after everything you’ve just been through…” You spoke up. Alma’s gaze drifted your way.
Bruno looked like the thought of you leaving left a bad taste in his mouth.
“No way…I told you that you could stay. I meant it. You shouldn’t have to go back to the situation you were in before.” Bruno frowned, looking at the floor as he spoke.
“I’m sorry, that’s very nice and everything, but what are you all talking about, huh? What situation? Maybe you could explain who this person is?” Pepa questioned, her hands on her hips.
Beside her, Felix placed a loving hand on her side.
“What my beautiful esopsa means to ask is: What’s your story Señorita? Why do you need our help?” The man smiled kindly at you.
“Felix! I don’t need you to translate for me!” Pepa raised a brow at her husband, who just gave her a loving grin. She rolled her eyes and smirked at the man. “He’s right though, you should tell us why you need help.” She continued.
Again, all eyes were on you.
“O-okay…” you began shakily, still not entirely sure that staying was the right thing to do.
“-Hold on.” Came the sound of Alma Madrigal’s commanding voice.
You stepped back slightly.
“We are being very rude to our guest. Yes, we need an explanation, but standing in the rubble of our home is not the place. Y/n, you will tell us all that we need to know, tonight, over dinner. I will speak to the Guzmans and request that we use their dining room.” The matriarch nodded at you and you looked at the woman in surprise.
If you staying wouldn’t generate more discord, then you’d stick to your original resolution and stay with Bruno till his family home was reconstructed.
“...Yes, tonight. I would be honored to join you all for dinner,” you replied. Alma gave you a slight smile, then she turned back to her family.
“Well? What are you all standing around for? Back to work! We have rebuilding to do.” She ordered, and with that, the family dispersed, though you caught several of them sending curious glances your way.
Alma turned back towards you, Bruno, and Mirabel.
“Good. Now, until we’ve had our dinner, and made our decision regarding you, I’m afraid that I can’t leave you unmonitored. Seeing as my son and grandaughter seem to trust you, I’ll leave the task of keeping an eye on you, to them” Alma informed you, her hands clasped together.
“Of course, Señora. I understand completely” you answered. Alma gifted you with another rare smile, then she shot a stern glance at her son and granddaughter.
“Our guest understands, Do you two?” She questioned, one brow raised.
“Si mamá,” Bruno huffed.
Mirabel still looked shocked that things had gone over so well.
“I understand! We wanted to hang out with her anyway!” She told her grandmother before grabbing you in one arm, and her tio in another, then pulling you both away. You looked back at Alma and caught her smiling with affection at her granddaughter.
Mirabel eventually stopped by a bridge running over a stream, she had explained to you how her sister Luisa had lifted and maneuvered the walkway into place when she still had her power. The three of you sat on the rail of the bridge, Mirabel not-so sneakily guiding you so you were seated beside her uncle. The girl sat on your other side, and you were soon sandwiched between the two Madrigals.
Mirabel shot off question after question about you, unable to hold back her curiosity at meeting someone new.
You answered as best you could, telling her about what kind of things you liked to draw and make. She seemed particularly excited when you mentioned that besides your love for stained glass, you liked to embroider as well. She pointed to the details on her top and skirt and proudly told you how she made them. You had told her honestly how much you admired her work, happy to talk with a fellow artist. As you spoke, you allowed yourself to relax and stop thinking about your dreary future, instead focusing on the loveliness of the moment.
Glancing over at Bruno, you felt a spark of happiness reignite itself within you. The man was leaning forward, listening intently as you answered Mirabel’s queries. He was as enraptured with you as his niece was. Bruno looked away shyly when he noticed that you had caught him staring. You felt delight bubble up inside you, he was irresistibly charming.
After answering a question about what sort of things you liked to include in your embroidery, you had turned to Bruno and proposed a question of your own.
“Bruno, what about you? Do you have any hobbies like Mirabel and I?” You asked the purposefully leading question, hoping he’d mention his love of telenovelas. You had always wanted to talk to him about them…
He seemed surprised that you wanted to know, awkwardly rubbing the back of his neck.
“Eh, I don’t know, not really…” he trailed off.
“Really? I’m sure there must be something you do for fun?” As you said this you leaned towards him, the man looking away to hide his reddening face at your proximity.
“I-I guess…” As he spoke he kicked his feet that were dangling from the rail. You had to quell the urge to tease him more, finding his flustered state adorable. What , It’s not like you got to see him like this when you were a rat. This was a new side of the man to you, and the infatuated, devious part of you wanted to bring it out more.
“Tio Bruno, don’t lie! That’s no way to start a friendship!” Mirabel scolded and you watched as her uncle grimaced. Unfortunately, her words had struck you much more than they could ever bother Bruno.
“Bruno loves Telenovelas. He likes to have his pet rats act out his own stories.” Mirabel told you.
“Mirabel!” Her uncle groaned and covered his face with his hands.
“...sorry. I just thought she’d like to know.” Mirabel apologized, rubbing her arms.
“What? I don’t see anything wrong with that. I like telenovelas too, the dramatic twists, the ultimate betrayals, the star-crossed romance, it’s all quite captivating.” You told him, watching as his face lit up in astonishment. Mirabel nodded and murmured a quiet ‘see, I told you.’
“And I think it’s very creative that you use your rats as actors, they are very smart creatures after all.” You continued.
Bruno seemed pleased at your praise of the rodents
“Yes, they are! My favorite rat Pepita, though don’t tell the others I have a favorite, but she’s super smart, like a little rodent genius. She’s the one I was looking for this morning. Oh! And you said you pet her. I’m glad you aren’t afraid of rats, maybe you’ve had pet rats before?” he inquired.
“No, not any pet rats, I just…I’m just very familiar with them...” You responded, looking at your feet.
“Plus I do think they’re cute,” you added.
Bruno nodded in agreement, and the three of you continued to talk. Mirabel and Bruno took turns telling you about the family, and about amusing things family members had done. In turn, you told them about your life in your village, and the funny people who had lived there, like the man who came into your parent’s shop twice a day to buy new pants (You still had no idea what was going on with that guy…)
Before you knew it, several hours had passed. You were deep into a conversation with Bruno about the superstitions local to your village when Mirabel suddenly stood up on the bridge and pointed out how much time had passed.
“The sun’s almost set! We gotta get ready for dinner!” She exclaimed before once again, dragging you and Bruno away.
Oh boy, you hoped this went well…
In your time as a rat, you had observed many family dinners from the crack in the kitchen wall. But being dropped into the middle of one was quite a different experience. Mirabel had seated you next to her chair towards the middle of the table, at your other side sat her older sister Luisa. And across from you, sat Bruno. As Julieta brought out the dinner, aided by Augustin and Dolores, you risked a glance up at the head of the table, where Alma was seated. The woman was already looking at you. To your relief, she gave a small nod and turned back to her conversation with Felix.
As the house belonged to the Guzmans, the mother and son had also joined in on the meal, seated at the opposite end of the table. Isabela sat closer to Alma, looking the most uncomfortable you'd seen the usually graceful girl. You understood why, she was having dinner at her ex-fiance’s house.
Julieta set a plate of arroz con pollo in front of you with a welcoming smile. After everyone was served and had taken their seats, conversation between the family continued as though this were any other night. The adults discussed the progress on the plans for the Casita, and Señora Guzman struck up a conversation with Julieta. You listened in on the buzz, an unexpected yearning burrowing its way into your chest. Your family dinners had never been like this at home…
You remained quiet, content to observe the family around you. As you ate, your gaze drifted to the man who sat across from you. He looked happy to be surrounded by his family, but you could see by the way he tucked in on himself, that he still felt unsure. Like you, he hadn’t said a word all night. Taking a risk, you nudged him lightly under the table with your foot. His eyes snapped up to yours. You shot him an encouraging smile and a little thumbs-up. His response was a hesitant thumbs-up back at you, followed by a silly little smile.
“Ugh! Okay! Enough stalling already people! We can talk about the plans for the Casita later! I wanna know about this mysterious stranger.” Camillo burst out, leaning back in his chair slightly and sweeping a mock-intimidating glance over you. The boy leaned back too far in his chair and let out a little yelp as it started to tip backwards. His sister Dolores caught his chair with an unbothered sigh and went back to eating.
“Camilo!” Pepa snapped.
“It’s okay,” You began “I can explain now if you’re all ready.”
All eyes drifted to Alma, who gave a slight nod.
You took a deep breath again. Suddenly you felt a nudge against one of your feet, you looked up to see Bruno giving you a thumbs-up from across the table, mirroring your earlier reassurance.
You tilted your head at him, a tender smile on your face.
Mirabel elbowed you discreetly.
And with that you began your story, starting as you had with Bruno, with the fateful night that your sketches had been destroyed.
By the end of the story, you had felt tired out. Before anyone could even comment on what you had said, you felt yourself being pulled into a crushing embrace.
Luisa had scooped you into her arms and she was fighting back tears.
“That’s so sad! How awful, all that pressure to take care of your family's shop!” She sobbed.
You patted her on the back and let out a wheeze as you felt yourself start to go numb.
“Luisa you better let her go.” Mirabel lightly tapped her sister on the shoulder.
“Oh! Right!” The woman gently deposited you back into your chair.
“That’s sad…” Antonio looked down at his plate glumly.
“Yes, and like she said, she wanted help from Tio Bruno, but…he can’t give her a vision anymore,” Mirabel spoke up.
“So I-“ Mirabel began, then motioned pointedly at her uncle “- we , want to help her nonetheless. She should be able to stay in the Encanto.”
There was a resounding silence as everyone at the table seemed to consider these words.
“We may not have our gifts anymore…but we still made a vow to help others.” Everyone looked up as Bruno spoke his first words of the night.
His quiet confidence in you was almost overwhelming, you didn’t deserve this, didn’t deserve him…
“Y/n.” The matriarch of the family spoke, directing your attention to her.
“You have given us much to think about. I must say that your story of the Bruja is concerning. You say she is not dangerous, but her deciding what to do without your consent is troubling. We will have to discuss this further, I believe. However, in the meantime, you shall continue to be treated as our guest. We will find a spare room for you to stay in temporarily.” Abuela explained.
This was good news to you. A more permanent decision would have only made you more anxious. If they had declared right there and then that you were welcome in the Encanto forever, you ran the risk of getting too comfortable and living in your lie eternally.
“Thank you, all of you…” You hoped they’d postpone the decision until after the casita was rebuilt, by then you could reveal the truth to Bruno and leave before you did any more damage…
“Mirabel, do you know of anywhere she can stay?” Julieta asked her daughter. You glanced at the girl in question and held back a terrified squeak.
The look on the girl’s face could only be described as devious.
“Well…I’m not sure many people in the town will be willing to take her in, seeing as she’s a stranger. I’d suggest the Guzman’s, but Mama, Papa, and Luisa are staying in their guest bedrooms,” As she said this, Señora Guzman gave an apologetic nod.
“If I’m being perfectly honest, the only one in town who might be hospitable enough to welcome her is old man Ortiz.” The girl finished, her hands tented together on the table as she made her proposition, a smirk tugging at her face.
Old man Ortiz-!
“He has another spare room in his basement, across from the one Bruno is staying in, it’s a little messy but I can help her clean up.” Mirabel continued.
Oh No, no no no. You were not staying across from Bruno. That was…dangerous. You’d rather live far away and have to run halfway across town as a rat to reach him, than be so close by.
“Mirabel,” Alma began, and the girl had the sense to look a bit guilty “that is a good plan. That way Bruno can show our guest around and make sure she keeps out of trouble.”
“...Mama, I’m not a babysitter…” Bruno frowned
“And Y/n is not a baby, so I see no problem. It’s decided then, Mirabel, return with those two to the Ortiz house and ask Señor Ortiz if he will provide lodgings for her.”
“Ooh ooh! Can I come too? I wanna talk to Y/n!” Antonio called out.
“Alright, Tonito, you may go as well.” Alma smiled at the boy as he let out a triumphant ‘Yes!’
And with that decision your fate was sealed.
Thanks again to everyone who's been commenting and leaving kudos! Honestly I, like a lot of people right now, have some anxiety about the future, going into this new year is a little scary, there's so much I don't know about what's gonna happen. But having this story is such a fun distraction for me, plus it's a way for me to exercise some of my creative juices lol. It may sound silly, but I'm really happy that I saw Encanto, and I had something positive to hold on to (and maybe obsess over). Besides the fact that I fell in love with Bruno, I related a lot to the themes in the movie, especially the feeling of being under so much pressure and having to live up to people's expectations of you as perfect. Encanto is such an amazing, multi-faceted movie, no wonder I can't stop thinking about it! Anyway sorry for rambling, just wanted to say that I'm happy other people are getting something out of my story like I am. Hope you all enjoyed this chapter. Next chapter we'll get to see more of reader as Pepita. We've got some interesting things coming up...
If you enjoyed this chapter, please comment!
Your only hope for escape, was for Señor Ortiz to tell the Madrigals no, that he wouldn’t house you in his other spare room, and that you’d have to find someone else. But of course, the sweet man had said yes. As long as you could clear the room up a bit, you were welcome to stay.
So that’s what you were currently doing, sorting boxes and piles of old blankets with Mirabel, Bruno, and Antonio.
As you sat on the floor beside Antonio sifting through boxes, the boy tapped you on the shoulder to get your attention. You looked over at him with an answering smile and an incline of your head.
“So…you wanna help us rebuild our house?” Antonio began looking up at you questioningly.
“I do; I think it’s only right since your family is helping me so much.” You told the boy.
“That’s good! I can’t wait till our Casita is back together again.” He spoke as he handed you a box of unused kitchenware that you placed in the corner.
You, on the other hand, couldn’t help but wish it would take a while so you’d have more time with Bruno.
For a moment Antonio was quiet as everyone worked. Then he suddenly spoke up again.
“You know Y/n, your voice sounds kinda familiar…” Was that a mischievous glint in his eye?
You almost dropped the ceramic pot you were holding. All eyes had turned to the boy. Mirabel gazed at her cousin in bewilderment.
You risked a glance at Bruno, who was looking at his nephew in surprise.
“We haven’t met before…have we?” Antonio tilted his head at you innocently.
“N-no…just this evening at dinner. I’m not from the Encanto, so you’ve never seen me before, have you?” You danced around the truth, focusing on the task at your hands. After all, before today, he had never seen you as you were now, a human woman…
“Huh, I guess you're right!” He replied brightly as he shifted his focus back to his job.
“I think I would have remembered meeting someone as nice as you!” You told him as you patted him lightly on the shoulder. Antonio giggled at that. Still, you noticed the boy shooting you a roughish little grin. You tried to ignore the dread fighting its way into your throat. He didn’t…he didn’t know, did he?
Everyone settled back into the task, and occasionally Mirabel would point out some interesting item or trinket.
You couldn’t help but notice Bruno’s gaze being constantly drawn towards you as if magnetized. You watched him out of the corner of your eye and noticed that he kept looking at you like he was trying to solve a puzzle.
The man in question let out a little yelp as he had pricked his finger on the jagged edge of an old photo frame. Obviously, he hadn’t been paying attention to what he was doing.
You stood up and walked over to him, grabbing his injured hand and shaking your head.
“Bruno, really, try to be more careful!” you scolded, though he wasn’t anywhere near the level of Agustin, you had seen him trip up and hurt himself plenty of times when you were Pepita.
Your eyes met his, and you pulled your hand away in humiliation. He had a shocked look on his face, you were sure he wasn’t expecting the nurturing attitude from the woman he had just met. Still, it wouldn’t do to let his finger keep bleeding, so you guided him out of the room and to the tiny bathroom down the hall, letting the cool water from the sink run over his fingers and wash the red away.
“...Gracias Y/n.” He spoke, looking at you in wonder.
“De nada..I, I shouldn’t have just grabbed at you like that, I’m sorry….”You bit your lip.
“No, no, don’t be sorry. You…you seem like a very caring person…you remind me of mi hermana Julieta…you met her today.” He told you.
“Thank you, that’s quite the compliment. Your sister is an incredible woman.” You began to dry his nicked hand off with a towel as you said this.
“Yep! My mom’s amazing!”
“Ahh!” Both you and Bruno cried out in surprise at Mirabel popping up in the bathroom doorway.
“Haha sorry, didn’t mean to interrupt. I just wanted to tell you that Antonio and I finished clearing up the room. It’s all yours Y/n!” The girl informed you and walked off.
The two of you followed the girl into the bedroom and you surveyed your temporary lodgings. It was simple, and most of the clutter had just been shoved into one corner, but it would do well for the time spent there. After all, this wasn’t for forever…
“It looks perfect, thank you all for your help.”
“Meh, perfect is not how I’d put it…”Bruno shrugged looking at the cramped room.
Mirabel elbowed her uncle, who let out a wheeze at the impact. You and Antonio broke out in giggles at the action.
“Well! Now that you’ve got your room, I’d say it’s time for me and Antonio to head back to our own rooms. Tio Bruno, you too! Don’t bother her too much okay~” The girl joked.
“I’m not gonna bother her! What are you-!” But Mirabel had already started to walk out of the room. On his way out, Antonio leaned towards you and put his index finger in front of his lips, miming a shushing gesture.
Dios mio, he knew! The fate of your secret lay in the hands of a 5-year-old. Granted he was an intelligent, empathetic child, but a 5-year-old nonetheless.
Before you could allow yourself to devolve into anxiety too much, you noticed that Bruno was still grumbling about his niece’s teasing.
You interrupted his mutterings, with a hand on his shoulder.
“Thank you again, Bruno. You’re a good man, you have a good heart.” As you spoke, appreciation flitted across his face and for a second, a flash of recognition, but the look was quickly wiped away and replaced with a soft smile.
His eyes darted over your face for a moment, taking you in as if he were truly seeing you for the first time. Then he spoke again.
“…You’re welcome. Anyway, I, uh, I think I better say goodnight now. So..goodnight.” The man gave you a little shrug and a half-smile.
“Goodnight…” you replied softly.
As Bruno began to close the door, you heard him utter some last few parting words
“Rest well, Y/n ”
The moment the door had shut, you let out a sigh. Even though you felt guilty, you knew it would soon be time for you to make an appearance as Pepita, otherwise, Bruno would start to worry. You decided to wait a little while before popping up as a rat, to avoid suspicion. After an hour your anxiety became too much, and you gave in to the internal restlessness urging you to act.
You thought over what Vanesa had told you, all you had to do to turn back into a rat, was to remember what it felt like, and the same thing to turn back into a human. You took a deep breath, and let yourself remember the feeling of fur along your back, and Bruno’s fingers brushing along it. With that memory in mind, you willed yourself into the form of Pepita and scampered beneath the door and to the room across the way.
Letting out a squeak of greeting, you stopped in front of Bruno seated in the cushy chair.
He looked down at you, a deliberate smile on his face, one eyebrow raised.
“Hola pepita , there you are…Where have you been all day, hmm ?” He questioned as he picked you up from the floor.
“Maybe you’ve been running off to get food from someone else? Are you cheating on me?” He teased.
You snuggled your head against his hand, cherishing the affection you would one day be deprived of.
Bruno blushed for some reason.
“You’ll never believe what happened to me this morning…” He spoke up, lightly petting you on the head.
“I woke up, and there was a naked woman in my lap!” You couldn’t hide the way your ears shifted backward in displeasure at the recounting of your humiliation. Bruno noticed your little sign of discomfort and let out a little “Hm!”
“That was very embarrassing for us both…” He began before giving you a quick summary of the day’s event.
“..she explained her story, and the family has agreed to help her, she’ll be staying in that room across from me. She seems very nice, but I think she may be a little crazy…”
Before you could think it over, you gave a gentle warning bite to the man’s thumb.
Bruno let out a little yelp, then laughed, looking at you knowingly.
“Sorry Pepita, I know, it’s not nice to talk about strangers that way. Besides, you didn’t let me finish. She’d have to be crazy to want to be friends with me…” Even as the man spoke these self-deprecating words, a little smile quirked his lips.
He paused for a moment as though hesitant to say what was on his mind. His gaze darted to your fuzzy form in his hands and then away to the floor anxiously.
He seemed to be working up the courage to say what he was thinking, though you weren’t sure why he was so worried, he’d told you plenty of things before.
“She is…very lovely.” As he said this, a flush rose over his face. He looked down at you nervously.
The thought of Bruno finding you lovely was so enormously thrilling, you had to restrain yourself from jumping out of his hands in excitement.
No. Bad Pepita. You shouldn’t have even heard something like that, you weren’t allowed to be happy about that.
You turned your little face away from Bruno in shame.
He let out tsk.
“ Pepita , I’m surprised at you, turning away like that. Are you jealous? You don’t like the fact that my new friend Y/n is very beautiful?” He taunted again.
This was just too much for you, you were sure that when you returned to your human form, a deep blush would settle on your face for hours.
You jumped out of his hand and scrambled away, Bruno’s raucous laughter following you as you left the room.
When you returned to your own room and had taken your true form again, you had shakily put on your clothes and slipped into the bed. You pulled the covers over your face as you felt your cheeks burn.
He had called you lovely…
Hey everyone! Thanks so so much for all the comments and kudos! Honest to god, I never thought this story would get much or really any attention. I just ended up writing it for myself, so imagine my shock when other people like it for some reason. So thank you so much to you all, you're words are incredibly encouraging! Anyway another fun chapter, my compliments to everyone who guessed that Antonio would figure it out.
More chapters are on the way...
If you enjoyed this chapter, please comment!
Again, the weeks passed before you in a flash. You had spent your first few days getting situated. Mirabel, Dolores, and Isabela had taken a day off from working on the casita to help you acquire some clothes and other supplies. You were glad to see that Isabela and Mirabel were getting along better, they still shot out little jabs at each other, but they were mostly teasing. You and Dolores listened as the two sisters went back and forth inside the small clothing store. Dolores pulled out a nightgown and offered it to you as Mirabel tossed a bundle of clothes at her sister’s face with a triumphant laugh.
“ You, little– hey get back here-!” Isabela took off chasing her little sister around the shop.
You and Dolores let out giggles at the sibling’s antics. By the end of your visit, you had a few sets of clothes that would hold you over while you were in the Encanto. The next day had been spent meeting people of the town, Alma had accompanied you for that. Her presence had eased any possible worries about you as a stranger, and you received warm welcomes from the people. By the third day, you had finally made good on your promise to help with the Casita. Your sketching skills had come in handy for drafting plans for some of the rooms.
You had made the mistake of mentioning how nice some stained glass windows would look in the house, and suddenly the entire Madrigal family was convinced that you should help them make some. You had tried to tell them that you didn’t know how, but Mirabel had told you that there were a few people in town who made the glass amongst other crafts and that you could collaborate with and learn from them. From then on, you had been tasked with coming up with designs for windows. Bruno had brought you a sketchbook and handed it to you with an encouraging smile.
And just like that, two weeks had passed.
During the day, you’d get to know the family, laughing and joking with Felix and Camilo, or complimenting Pepa and Julieta on their outfits. Of course, you spent most of your time at Bruno’s side. You gravitated toward him constantly, hoping to savor the time you had left with him before you told him the truth. Bruno seemed happy for your company, though he blushed and acted awkwardly a lot around you.
The two of you began to talk nonstop, even as you worked on the house. You had taken to playing a game with each other where you would take turns coming up with a scene for an imagined telenovela. Bruno would start off with a few sentences, then you’d jump in and take the story in a different direction, until his turn when he’d inevitably lead the story back to romance.
You found that, though he was somewhat awkward still, his interactions with you as a person were just as endearing as they had been when you were a rat.
Besides your time with Bruno, you had made it your personal mission to tell every person in town you met, how Bruno Madrigal had been the one to help you and how kind he was. This had earned you a few odd looks, but a few people had seemed surprised and had started to become less wary around the man. Between you and Mirabel, you were sure that a good portion of the town would realize how great he really was eventually.
Your time during the day was like a dream, wonderful and light and full of promise.
But as soon as you turned in for the night, reality would settle itself onto your shoulders, reminding you that this deception would be coming to an end all too soon.
You’d take the form of Pepita for a few hours before bed, and visit the man across the hall. Tonight was one such night.
As you wriggled your way under the door, the man in the ruana spoke up.
“There you are Pepita, you’ve disappeared during the day as always…” Bruno said as he lifted you.
“I wonder what you’re always up to huh? You have a secret double life…?” Bruno looked at you out of the corner of his eye. You felt your fur rise anxiously.
Was he insinuating…?
“But of course you don’t, little love . You wouldn’t hide such a thing from me, would you? After all, like Antonio told me, you love me don’t you?” As he spoke he lifted you to his eye level and fixed you with a smug gaze.
This was torture…
“Pepita...don’t worry so much, I could never be mad at you.” He said sincerely, giving you a soft smile as if to apologize for his teasing
You only wished that were true…
“Well whatever it is, you can show me when you’re ready. I’ll be here for you no matter what.” His understanding words made you want to cry.
“Even if you have a secret rat family that you haven’t told me about and you’re running off to meet them.” He finished.
You squeaked indignantly and Bruno laughed again, he seemed to be teasing and laughing at you more and more these days…
“Anyway, why don’t I tell you about what Y/n and I got up to today?” He began.
Dios mio, not this part…
Every night you’d show up as a rat to his room, and he’d recount for you the day you’d just spent as a human, and of course, he’d bring up every embarrassing thing you did, like trip over rubble, or being picked up by Luisa like you weighed nothing despite her lack of powers.
And really as embarrassing as it was, you could live with that. Bruno always laughed so sweetly when he talked about how funny he found you.
But the part that devastated you, was when he began to talk about you as if you were wonderful.
He’d tell you as Pepita, how he found Y/n’s sketches so beautiful and lively, how he truly believed that she was going to become an amazing stained glass artist. You’d feel your little ears flatten in shame as he showered you in undeserved praise. He’d say things about how kind you were, how thoughtful, that you always pointed out how lovely his sisters looked and made them smile. How you were quick-witted, and you kept up with the fast-paced back and forth between Camilo and Felix. How he thought you were a true friend to Mirabel, and he noticed you encouraging her. That all his family seemed to be growing to love you.
And the thought terrified you, that maybe, maybe he was growing to love you too.
Because you didn’t deserve that.
Hey guys, here's another chapter for you, sorry it's kinda short. The next chapter is definitely longer...and it's from Bruno's Pov. That should be interesting. Thank you guys so much for all your comments! Reading all your thoughts on the story is just such a pick me up! I hope you all liked this chapter, and if you did, please comment! I love hearing what everyone has to say!
Bruno Madrigal was no fool. Though he had been called one plenty of times, among other harsher things. But the truth was, he was not foolish. He was actually quite observant, a skill that he had only honed in his time living in the walls of the casita. Alone in those dusty halls, observing others was pretty much all he had. Watching his family live their lives and deal with their struggles; that and the companionship of his rats, kept him going.
So no, he did not think of himself as a fool.
He noticed much more than he let on.
For instance, the fact that the woman who had landed in his lap a month ago was none other than his beloved Pepita.
Oh, he hadn’t realized it at first, too caught up in his embarrassment at the sudden appearance of the underdressed person in his lap. And over the course of the first day, he had been too distracted talking to the woman, Y/n. Still, as distracted as he was by her and his family at dinner, something about her had tugged at his subconscious. She almost seemed familiar.
And she appeared unnaturally comfortable with him, no one he had ever met before had warmed up to him so quickly. She was friendly and intelligent, and she had some pretty interesting things to say about telenovelas. She was just too good to be true.
Still, as the day had stretched on and she met his family, something about her mannerisms, the phrases she had used, set off a nagging thought within his head. ‘You know this person’ it said, the thought endlessly circling his brain.
But he didn’t. How could he know her?
Then it had been decided by his mother that she’d be staying in the room across from his within the Ortiz house. Though he had grumbled a bit at his mother determining this for him, the truth was, he didn’t really mind. Y/n was a captivating person, he’d only spent a day in her company, but he was already looking forward to talking with her more. There was just something about her that was comfortable.
Then his thoughts had come to a screeching halt when Antonio had spoken up.
“You know Y/n, your voice sounds kinda familiar…”
“We haven’t met before…have we?”
It was such a strange thing for his nephew to say, why on earth would her voice be familiar to him?
For a moment, an idea flashed in Bruno’s head, but he quickly dismissed it as foolish.
Still, he couldn’t help but look at Y/n, trying to decipher the mystery around her.
And because he was too busy gawking at her, he hadn’t realized that the frame he had grabbed was sharp.
Y/n had swooped in, tutting over his injured finger in an endearingly nurturing fashion. For a moment, Bruno forgot about his curiosity and found himself absorbed in the woman before him as she tended to his finger.
Then Mirabel had popped in and saved him from embarrassing himself by saying anything too complimentary to the charming person in front of him.
After his niece and nephew had left for the night, he had been caught up in muttering for a moment, Mirabel’s teasing words setting his anxiety off (as if he would ever bother y/n… And what did she even mean by bother?)
Then the woman had done something she had been doing all day, she placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder and gifted him with gentle words of comfort.
His first instinct was swooning appreciation. But then he fully processed her words, and the earlier dumb little idea that flashed in his head, suddenly wasn’t so dumb anymore.
Y/n had said to him You’re a good man, you have a good heart.
And he knew.
He knew it was her.
His Pepita, was standing before him, in the shape of an enchanting woman.
Because those words, those were the precious words that Pepita had given him through Antonio’s translation.
And for a moment he couldn’t stop himself from staring, because this person was the one who had been by his side the past month. The sweet, loving, sassy little creature that had looked out for him. Here she was, in the form of a woman, and she seemed just as determined as before to shower him with undeserved praise and kindness.
An odd softness settled in his chest, and worked its way onto his face in the form of a smile.
Dragging himself out of his distraction, Bruno wished her a good night and left with a few parting words, an echo of the ones he had said on her first night as Pepita.
After that, he had retreated to his room and dropped himself in the armchair, overrun with warring thoughts.
That was her, wasn’t it?
No, maybe he was just overthinking things, the idea of her being Pepita, it was just ridiculous…
But then, all day she had been saying things that made it seem far from ridiculous.
What had she said when she jumped up and hugged him? (He pushed down his elated embarrassment as he recalled that). She had said Really? Thank you! Thank you so much Bruno, you’re the best friend anyone could ask for.
Again those words. Pepita had said the exact same thing! Well not the exact same thing, she had said he was the best friend a rat could ask for, but still! It wasn’t a coincidence! No way!
And it would make sense if she was Pepita, in some odd way…
In the story she had told him, she had said that the Bruja had come up with a stupid plan and initiated it without asking. A person with the kind of power that could transport someone inside the Encanto, would probably have no problem turning someone into a rat.
Bruno laid his head in his hands and let out a frustrated sigh.
If she really was Pepita, then she had seen him at his most embarrassing, his most flawed; she had seen him at his lowest possible moments!
And the whole time, she was just…just pretending to be a rat?
Did she…did she even care about him…?
Suddenly the soft feeling in his chest had turned to a frigid block of ice.
Was the best thing that had happened to him in years, his little love Pepita, was she just a lie? Bruno curled in on himself in distress.
No no no , it just couldn’t be.
She cared about him. She always comforted him, always made sure he ate, did funny little things just to make him laugh. She cared! She had told Antonio that she thought of him as her best friend. She. Cared.
Bruno sat up straight in his chair.
She more than cared…
He felt his face heat up.
She had said-she had-
He was going to start hyperventilating.
Pepita had said she loved him.
Did that mean…did Y/n love him too?
Bruno stood from his chair so fast it almost toppled over. He began to pace, his fingers crossed.
Nope, no way she loved him. At least not in-love love.
Yeah that was it. Some kind of rat/human adoration for the person who took care of her.
Love as in the way you love a friend.
A traitorous, goofy smile worked its way onto his face
But what if she did love him as in, in-love?
Nonono. He shook his head frantically. There was no way he was just gonna go and assume something like that!
Besides he had bigger things to think about than hoping the captivating woman had developed feelings for him.
So Pepita was Y/n, Y/n was Pepita.
Bruno stopped in his pacing. That explained why he hadn’t seen his favorite rat all day…
He dropped into the chair again with a strangled groan.
He honestly had no clue what to do now.
Should he confront her? He didn’t want to upset her…Even if he did tell her that he knew the truth, he’d have to do it in a gentle way. Not that he wasn’t upset himself.
For a brief second, he had felt betrayed, but thinking it through eased the feeling a bit.
If she really had only been using him for a vision the entire time, she would have left the moment he lost his power.
Instead, she stuck around for some reason.
And she had been brought back to her original human form.
His face burned again at that particular memory of the morning.
Why hadn’t she told him then? She had explained almost everything, so why not tell him the truth about Pepita? Why had she told him that the bruja had sent her over as a naked human in his lap?!
Bruno ran a frustrated hand through his curls.
She hadn’t actually said that, had she? He had just jumped to that conclusion himself.
Still, she hadn’t corrected him, she spent the whole day not bringing it up!
He wasn’t mad at her, not really, she had more than proved to him that she genuinely cared about him. He was just confused and frustrated, and anxious. And…maybe a little nervous.
Here was this woman, this amazing, funny, telenovela-loving, friendly, caring woman. And for some reason she liked him? Why, why would she like him?
She had seen him trip over a swarm of rats and fall face-first onto the floor. What about that had her so interested in being around him?
He let out a deep breath and considered his options.
He wouldn’t confront her, the last thing he wanted to do was to scare her away. If he did that he’d not only lose Pepita, but the new friend he was making.
He’d just have to wait - wait until she worked up the courage to tell him the truth.
Bruno rubbed at his forehead, wondering how long she would keep him waiting.
At least in the meantime, he’d get to know her more as a person, seeing as he was already quite familiar with her as a rat…It was still weird to think about; all along, Pepita had been human…
That did explain why she was so smart. And why she seemed to understand what he was saying a lot. And how she seemed to have an incredibly lively personality for a rat. And how she seemed to be clever enough to know to pick up Pepa’s beads and have him fix them…
Maybe he should have realized this sooner.
Well. This was embarrassing on several levels, wasn’t it?
And it was gonna be more embarrassing, having to pretend that he had no idea once she showed up as a rat again. If she showed up as a rat again.
Bruno found himself fidgeting with the little leather bracelet on his wrist, gifted to him by Pepita weeks ago. He realized that he had no idea if she could even take the form of a rodent anymore. An unpleasant ache settled in his chest at the thought of never seeing Pepita again, even if he knew the truth of her hidden humanity. But it seemed like she would have to appear as Pepita again, if she wanted to keep up her lie.
He could only imagine how anxiety and frankly guilt-inducing it would be, to have to switch back and forth, just to keep up with her deception. A mean little part of him couldn’t help but think that she deserved a little anxiety and guilt, for choosing to trick him. Even though he wasn’t mad, a bit of karma would do well for her. That thought led to a more insistent, more devious idea.
It wouldn’t hurt, to turn the tables on her a bit.
Nothing too vengeful, just a bit of minor taunting, to make her squirm. He’d just drop a few teasing comments to her as Pepita, and sit back and enjoy the reaction. Maybe his baiting words to her as Pepita, would compel her to tell him the truth sooner.
He settled a bit in his seat and waited for the inevitable appearance of his favorite rat.
And just as he had predicted, she popped up at his feet, with a deceptively innocent squeak.
What an adorable little trickster she was…
He’d had more fun than he would admit, watching her react to his little jabs… he had to hold in his laughter at her biting him over being called crazy.
Then, because maybe he was a bit of a fool after all, and he wanted to see her response, he worked up the courage to say something he’d never dare to say to her as a human.
He told her she was lovely.
And before he could even regret it, he had been distracted by her reaction. Pepita turned her little head away in reserved embarrassment.
The action was so unfairly endearing, he felt himself give in to the mischievous urge to tease her even more, calling her jealous over her own beauty.
That time he couldn’t hold back his laughter, as Pepita ran off frantically into the night.
Since that first day, a month had passed. Bruno spent each day greeting Y/n in the morning, talking to her over the breakfast table as old man Ortiz chimed in with his occasional wisdom. Bruno would take the long walk up the hill toward the casita’s bones, and what should have been a tedious journey became leisurely with Y/n at his side. They’d go back and forth as they worked on the house, telling each other little jokes, and coming up with stories. It wasn’t lost on him, the way his family seemed to pick up on their growing closeness. Actually, none of them had any idea how close they really were. Well, none of them except for maybe Antonio, who had obviously realized Y/n’s secret and was doing his best to sneakily hint at it and reassure the woman he would keep it at every turn. But he was 5, and his idea of keeping a secret was only slightly more sophisticated than his once-all-hearing-and-all-telling older sister.
But even his family’s limited knowledge of the true depth of his growing friendship with Y/n didn’t save him from the bombardment of teasing. Of course, Camilo was the worst offender, coming up with some new insinuation or taunt each day. Mirabel wasn’t much better, though instead of constant teasing, she appeared to be doing her best to set the two up together, she seemed to be aiming for a marriage proposal by the end of the year.
As embarrassing as Bruno found all of that, Y/n seemed to have not one problem with it. It was almost like she didn’t mind the family thinking they were…were becoming a couple or something. She seemed genuinely happy to be by his side and to have been welcomed so completely by the family. Though, Bruno caught her every once in a while, looking away distractedly, a grave expression marring her features. She’d snap out of it the moment she realized he was looking, but he knew that the feelings were still there.
He had to wonder why she was torturing herself. Why didn’t she just come clean and tell him the truth? It was obviously upsetting her a lot more than him. He could wait, he was very used to waiting, after all, ten years living in the walls did wonders for a man’s sense of patience.
Still, though he’d never admit it, a small part of him started to grow until it threatened to consume him, a part that always told him that he was worthless. A poisonous voice in his head that reminded him that he could do nothing right (a voice which spoke in the same scolding cadence as every person he had disappointed with his visions). That voice told him that Y/n was too scared to talk to him, because she just didn’t trust him (‘and why would she? All he did was cause misfortune’. The voice would whisper maliciously, its words sinking self-deprecating thoughts into the tissue of his brain with sharpened claws).
Then Y/n would do something so thoughtful and gentle just for him, and her shining presence would chase away the shadows of his self-hatred. And for a moment he’d have a reprieve from his self-inflicted inner wounds, and he’d be able to focus once again, on how he wasn’t the only one hurting himself. The woman who he’d come to care for so entirely was tearing herself apart over her own guilt. Bruno would wait with practiced patience, but he knew that the longer Y/n held on to her lie, the more it was damaging her. He hated how worried it made her. She’d seem joyous and comfortable one moment, only to be overtaken by sadness, her remorse making her distant and melancholy.
He just wanted her to be happy…
And she almost was! Over the course of the month she’d spent in the Encanto, she had become close with not only his family but two of the local artists in town. Francisco Hernandez and his wife Maritza were very talented craftsmen, and they seemed thrilled at the prospect of a new apprentice. Y/n had warmed up to them quickly and had shown them her plans and designs for new windows for the Casa de Madrigal (designs that she had made in the sketchbook that he gave her, Bruno thought proudly). They had loved them, giving her helpful critique and suggestions, and pointing out which versions they liked best. Half of Y/n’s days were spent at the Hernandez workshop, simultaneously learning her new skill, and crafting windows for the casita. He’d make sure to stop in and visit her at every opportunity, wanting to be near her as often as possible for some reason…
Besides all that, the family had taken to having dinner all together at the Guzman’s on most nights. Y/n was invited by Alma herself and Bruno was glad to see his mother loosening up a bit. Abuela still had controlling tendencies, but the important part was that she was trying to be better, she realized how her demanding presence was affecting her family, and she was working towards a healthier mindset concerning them all. The atmosphere at these dinners was relaxed and warm, and Bruno finally began to feel himself settling into being around his family, like the comfort of slipping into a warm bath.
It didn’t hurt that Y/n sat across from him every time, and he got to watch laughter light up her face as she joined in on the conversations with ease.
Another nice thing about these dinners was that for once the teasing attention was shifted from Bruno and Y/n, and instead focused on Dolores and her budding relationship with Mariano. As much as Dolores seemed ecstatic to finally be with the man of her dreams, Mariano’s affection for her was intense. And the man seemed to have no filter, spewing soliloquies about every minutia of his new paramour. This of course set Camilo off into hysterical cackles, and the family would descend on Dolores with taunting jabs, like a pack of wild hyenas zeroing in on a fresh kill. Even Isabela seemed to join in on the goading, slowly growing out of her discomfort surrounding the unwanted marriage she had almost had to endure. Dolores could keep up with the teasing just fine, throwing back sharp comments without a care while her clueless lover looked on at the verbal sparring guilelessly.
After dinner would end, Y/n and Bruno would stroll down the streets, laughingly recounting the events of the day as they headed towards their shared home. (Bruno felt the uncomfortable warmth in his face grow at his internal slip-up, they were not going to their shared home..that made it sound like they were-like they were married-) When they’d reach the door of their temporary lodgings that they both happened to be staying at, not their shared home, they’d call out a greeting to Señor Ortiz as he sat at his kitchen table reading. Then they’d descend the rickety basement staircase and go their separate ways, into their rooms.
And for about an hour, Bruno would sit in his chair, reading a book of his own, as he waited for Pepita to carry out her little charade.
Like clockwork, she’d appear, snuggling into his hands, or jumping onto his shoulder, affectionate as ever.
And well, Bruno never thought that he would blush at a rat. But of course, Pepita was more than just a rat…
Each night, he’d tell her of the day’s events, playing up Y/n’s clumsiness, watching with hidden glee as she let out an embarrassed squeak. Then to keep his friend from feeling too bad, he’d tell her all the wonderful things he had noticed about her in the day. His unfiltered praise was not something he’d usually be brave enough to tell her to her face, but with her as Pepita, he could handle it. Besides, this way he got to tell her how much he thought of her. How much he was growing to like her, to care for her…
And then with one last sign of affection, usually a nuzzle of her head against his cheek, Pepita would run off, and Bruno would be left with his thoughts.
As it had happened every night for the past month, it happened again this night.
Bruno sat in his chair, watching the retreating form of his dear friend.
He wondered, for not the first time, how she felt about all this.
How she felt about him…
Bruno turned his face away as it heated up.
The words she had said as Pepita all those weeks ago echoed in his head, sending a hopeful little thrill down his spine.
Could it be possible…?
Y/n loved him?
(Meme time again…)
Bruno, realizing that reader said the same exact phrase as Antonio translated for Pepita:
He knows, he knows, and I know he knows~
So we finally have the reveal, of sorts. Bruno knows the truth, but reader is still hiding it from him...
Ahh I'm really nervous to see what you all think about this chapter. It was really fun to write in Bruno's Pov! Next chapter will be back to readers pov though. I hoped you guys liked reading from Bruno's perspective, I have a chapter or two in his pov planned for the future. I can't wait to see what you guys have to say about this chapter, if you liked it, please comment!
Hello dear readers! Just a reminder, this chapter is back to reader's pov...and poor y/n doesn't know what we all found out last chapter; that Bruno already knows the truth! Happy reading!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Time continued its endless march, dragging you toward your future kicking and screaming. Two months had passed since you first appeared before Bruno as a human. You did your best to fill each day to the brim with as much time with Bruno as you possibly could, cherishing each inside joke and heartfelt conversation. Trying not to over-analyze every affectionate word and gentle touch from the man.
But you knew that your time with him was coming to a close. The casita was coming along beautifully, its proud form towering over the community, a beckoning reminder of the love that the people of the Encanto held for each other. Watching the building rise from the ashes was bittersweet. You were truly happy for the Madrigals, who you’d come to view as a family of your own, and you knew that they deserved to have their home again. But at the same time, you knew that when the doors of the casita finally opened once more, you would have to pull Bruno aside and fracture your relationship with the piercing truth. And then, because you knew how betrayed he would feel, you’d do the last thing you wanted to do, and leave behind what you had come to think of as your new home.
Tomorrow was the day, the building was almost complete, all it needed was its final touch, the doorknob. The family considered you so close, that they had let you in on that little secret, the surprise doorknob specially made for the inspiring Mirabel. You were so proud of the girl. The thought of leaving her behind too, made you want to cry.
You sighed as you sorted through the assortment of multicolored glass pieces in front of you. You were currently sitting at one of the tables of the Hernandez’s workshop. It was already dark out, the sun had set hours ago, but you willed yourself to work on through the night, desperate to distract yourself from the inevitable.
You had already finished your windows a week ago. The panes were now prominently placed within the casita. You had made a set of portraits, one window for each person. The concept was similar to the doors that once existed in the house, but instead of showcasing only their gifts, the windows had little nods to each person’s interests. For example, the window that you had made for Luisa showed her relaxing amongst the clouds. You had been very proud of the finished set. The work that you, Fransisco, and Maritza had put into them was obvious to anyone who saw them.
After your job had been completed, the artisan couple had been happy to let you continue using their workshop, as long as you cleaned up when you were done. So each night, as the time of Casita’s revival grew closer, you skipped the family dinner, and secluded yourself in the empty workshop, working past midnight.
You knew that this concerned the family, but you had managed to convince them that you weren’t really isolating yourself, you were just too absorbed in your exciting new project. Only Bruno had seemed to not believe you, inquiring each day if you were alright, a worried expression on his face. He would only let you go once you’d taken a portion of food with you, and he had secured a promise from you that you would eat and not stay up too late overworking yourself. You would agree, but warn him not to wait up for you, and that you’d probably spend the night at the workshop. That brought a frown to his face, but he was by no means a controlling man, and he backed down with a simple ‘take care of yourself.’
Truthfully you weren’t spending the entire nights in the workshop, only staying till about midnight, then shifting into Pepita and running back to the Ortiz house, to avoid Bruno’s suspicion. Every time he’d see his favorite rat, he’d let out a sigh of relief, and then proceed to rant about how Y/n wasn’t taking care of herself. You’d snuggle in his hand, partially to calm him down, and partially to cheer yourself up at his inadvertent scolding. Then after a while, you’d dart off back to the workshop, and fall asleep on the small couch in the corner of the room.
That had been your schedule for the past week. Within the empty workshop, you let your attention be diverted by your new art piece.
When you had come up with the idea for your personal project, the realization hadn’t hit you about what you were truly making. You had decided to craft a toucan out of stained glass, the piece could be hung by a window, and the sun’s illumination would stream through the colored glass. At first, you thought that the sudden inspiration behind your project had been little Antonio: When he had received his gift, it had been a toucan that spoke to him first. But tonight, as you put the finishing touches on the glass bird and hung it on its chain, the truth struck you.
Your fingers traced the lead linework of the bird, as you recalled a story told to you when you were just a child.
When your parents first met, they had despised each other, always throwing insults at one another, and even tripping each other.
They were only 6 years old at the time, but still. They hated one another.
Over the years their animosity flickered away, and they came to view one another with the neutrality reserved for a particularly uninteresting neighbor. It was only when they reached their late teens, that they grew to view one another in a different light. And with their newfound infatuation, came the revival of their childhood teasing. This time, names were thrown at each other through mischievous smiles and delighted blushes. When your mother had finally worked up the courage to ask your father if he wanted to court her, they had run off into the forest nearby, laughing like the children they still were. (And yes, your mother had been the one to ask, your father was no timid man, but your mother burned bright and demanding like the sun).
They laid beneath the canopy of trees and chatted for hours.
And then your father had taken out a bit of food, bocadillo , he had brought the guava dessert along just for your mother.
But before she could take it from his hands, a bird swept down, landed on your father’s arm, and snatched the treat from the man’s outstretched hand. It had looked your mother in the eye with mischievous intelligence, as if to taunt her with its act of theft. And then it had taken off, flying away to its perch, its spoils clutched proudly in its large beak.
Your parents had stared at each other in shock, before bursting out in boisterous laughter and falling backward onto the grass.
They had told you that when you were young, sitting on your father’s lap as your mother recounted the tale for you.
Hearing that story was such a happy memory for you. You had almost forgotten that you had those; happy memories of your parents…
You looked again at the bird in your hands and held back a strangled sob. You had made a toucan, the very same bird that to your parents, had become a reminder of the innocence of first love.
You set the toucan down on the table gently and touched quivering hands to your cheeks. Your fingers met the damp paths that had traced themselves down your face.
You… you missed them…
You had forced yourself not to think on it too much, choosing to focus instead on the man you had fallen in love with. But…the way you had left your parents…that horrible fight that night, was that really what you wanted as your last memory of them?
You let out a wavering breath and shook your head. They probably wouldn’t want to see you anyway.
Just like Bruno wouldn’t, once you told him the truth…
The thought pulled you further into twisting anguish and your despairing focus shifted to the man who held your heart in his warm hands.
You could just imagine the horror on his face when you told him the truth.
You shuddered. Even if the act would tear you apart, you couldn’t keep lying to him forever, and you knew that leaving would be the best thing you could do for him, so you wouldn’t torment him with your presence any longer.
He would be…He would be heartbroken.
Bruno truly seemed to care for you. He considered you a true friend (In both your forms as Pepita and as Y/n).
A secret hopeful part of you even wondered if his feelings for you were beginning to border on infatuation. Maybe even love…? But you stomped those thoughts out ruthlessly, disgusted by your own desires. You didn’t deserve the love and affection of the man you’d been deceiving.
Looking at the clock on the wall, you noticed the late hour, and managed to drag yourself out of the lovely pool of misery you had been wallowing in.
You stood up from the table you’d been hunched over all night, and rubbed the sore spot on your back, letting out a despondent sigh.
It was time for you to make another appearance as Pepita.
Your final one.
Taking a deep breath, you spoke your thoughts to the night.
“...I’m sorry Bruno…”
And with that, you thought of Pepita, and the feeling of warm fingers caressing the fur on your head. The thought of Bruno’s affection left a tightness in your throat that followed you in to your form as a rat.
Climbing out of the pile of clothes you left behind on the floor, you stepped forward.
Only to meet a pair of feet standing before you.
You dragged your gaze upwards in terror, and took in the form of Mirabel Madrigal, standing over you, with her mouth agape.
Hohohoho sorry to leave you all on a cliffhanger, it's very evil of me I know, maybe Vanesa is rubbing off on me...not that she's evil, just very mischievous.
And poor reader, so torn up over telling Bruno the truth! Next two chapters will be back to Bruno's Pov.
Thank you all so much for all your amazing comments! Reading what you guys comment has had me literally grinning at my phone all day like a loon.
I wanted to shout out some amazing, talented people who were sweet enough to draw some fanart for Creature Comforts. Please check out their awesome work!!!
I hope you all liked this chapter, if you did please comment!
Quick reminder, back to Bruno's Pov again! Enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The morning rays fought their way through the little basement window and pushed onward toward their unsuspecting target. Bruno Madrigal let out a sleep-muddled groan as the beams of light pierced his eyelids. He dropped a hand over his eyes, desperate to hold on to a few last moments of rest. But the sun was insistent, and Bruno‘s valiant attempt to hold onto slumber was vanquished. He shrugged the last vestiges of sleep from his shoulders and faced the morning with tired apathy.
He wasn’t usually such a slow riser, but this particular morning had him wishing the sun would delay its path across the sky, and offer him at least a few more hours of rest. He had been up almost all night, waiting for Pepita to appear. For the last week, Y/n had secluded herself in the Hernandez workshop, toiling away into the night, carless of her wellbeing. He had begun to drive himself mad with concern for the woman. It was obvious to him that her secret had begun to eat her away from the inside. She had become withdrawn and distant. Still, even in her evident misery, she had not become harsh or angry with him. Anger was something he was quite used to from people, but he was shocked by her benevolent attitude towards him, even when his worry for her wellbeing bordered on overbearing.
The thought that she perhaps was working herself up to telling him the truth brought him a strangled sense of relief. Once the truth was out in the open, he could ease her worries, and let her know that he understood and that he was here for her, that he would always be here for her. Still, he knew that the thought of telling him must be terrifying. Bruno frowned as he thought over how unhappy his cherished Y/n clearly was.
She had told him every night for the past week, not to wait up for her, and that she would be spending the night at the workshop. Of course, Bruno knew the truth, that she would scamper out of the workshop, through the streets, and into his little basement bedroom, in the form of Pepita. And of course, Bruno had ignored her advice every night and had waited up for her anyway. He wondered if her visits to him as Pepita were for more than just keeping up the illusion, perhaps she drew some sense of comfort from his presence. Bruno would do his best to provide that comfort for her, sheltering her fragile form in his palms, and whispering gentle words to her. Then because he couldn’t help but be a little annoyed at Y/n’s neglect of her own needs, he’d rant to “Pepita” about how the woman needed to take better care of herself.
She’d keep him company for a precious hour or two then run off back to the shop.
But last night, Pepita had never appeared.
He had stayed up until almost 4:00 in the morning, waiting for her to arrive, but she never did. Eventually, sleep had found him, and he rested for a few hours until the sun rudely decided to rise. Bruno rubbed the sleep from his eyes and busied himself with getting ready for the day. He threw on his ruana and considered the day ahead of him.
Today was the day that the Casita would finally be finished. Though the building itself was all but complete, there were a few other preparations to be had for the family. Before the final touch could be placed on the house, the leftover building supplies and tools needed to be cleared away, a somewhat arduous task that would probably take up the remainder of the day. Though he was sure that there would still be time for the little surprise his family had planned for Mirabel.
With the thought of Mirabel’s doorknob in mind, Bruno began the trek across town to the new Casita. As he walked he couldn’t but notice the clinging loneliness shadowing his every step. He was so used to taking these walks with Y/n, it felt strange to make the journey alone. He let out a sigh as he considered stopping in on the workshop to check on the woman. But he kept himself from doing that, not wanting to smother her with his concern, and hoping that perhaps Y/n was still sleeping. Bruno crossed his fingers with his breath held, jumping over a familiar crack in the street. Well, it would actually be really great if she was sleeping. She’d probably stayed up the entire night, depriving herself of rest. It would be much better to leave her to catch up on her sleep, than to go wake her up, and run the risk of her wanting to help with the day’s chores. With how tired she probably was, the last thing she needed to do was to lift heavy building materials. Bruno began to mutter as his head ran wild with all the possible ways she could get hurt. He took a calming breath, then pulled some salt from his pocket and tossed it over his shoulder, followed by sugar.
By the time he had reached the rebuilt Casita, the rest of his family had gathered there. Most of them looked well-rested, even excited for the day to come. Mirabel, though…
While she did seem genuinely proud of the house they had rebuilt, for some reason she appeared antsy, her foot tapping on the ground as she watched her uncle approach.
“B-Buenos días Tio Bruno!” She called out a little loudly, then grimaced.
“Uh, Buenos días…” he trailed off, watching as Mirabel fidgeted.
Around them, the family members had begun to get to work, clearing out tools and sorting materials. Luisa walked by with a ladder, humming contentedly to herself. Her father Agustin just narrowly avoided getting hit over the head with it by ducking, only for him to slip and fall on his backside as he stood back up. Julieta calmly walked to his aid as the family let out chuckles. Bruno tilted his head as he watched his niece bite her lip awkwardly.
“You okay Mira?” He placed a caring hand on his niece’s shoulder.
“Yep! Yep! Totally fine, I’m fine, you’re fine. Were all good-!” Mirabel let out an awkward laugh, looking like a girl about to burst at the seams.
Bruno furrowed his brow as his concern for his niece intensified. He led the girl to a quiet area outside the casita and placed the back of his hand on her forehead.
“Hmm..you don’t have a fever…” he said.
Mirabel batted his hand away with a laugh.
“Tio Bruno! I’m not sick, geez you’re almost as bad as mom!” the girl tutted fondly, some of her nervous energy easing.
“I’ll take that as a compliment. If you’re not sick, then what’s wrong kid? You can tell me you know.”
Mirabel looked at the ground with a guilty little huff.
“I saw something I wasn’t supposed to…” She began.
“Oh! Oh god, uh , okay.” Bruno went red in embarrassment “It-it’s perfectly natural you know…ummm...When- when two people really love each other-!”
“STOP!” Mirabel cried out in horror.
“That is not what I meant! I don’t need you to give me the talk, for the love of god!” the embarrassed teenager cried out. Her uncle seemed to be panicking just as much as she was.
“I”m sorry! I’m sorry! I thought maybe you walked in on your parents! Which honestly I wouldn’t be surprised, I’ve walked in on those two accidentally once too, it was mortifying-”
In a desperate attempt to halt her uncle’s frantic explanation, Mirabel cried out the first thing on her mind.
“I accidentally saw something that I shouldn’t have about Y/n! ” The moment the words were spoken, Mirabel clamped a nervous hand over her traitorous mouth.
Bruno halted and stared at the girl, a sick feeling rising in his gut.
“....you…you waked in on y/n-” He began in a choked voice, jealousy working its way up his spine.
“-NO!” Mirabel interrupted him, correcting his ridiculous assumption, and saving him from the despair threatening to consume him.
“Stop assuming it’s that !”
“Okay, okay! I’m sorry!” He took a frustrated seat on the ground and ran a hand through his curls, his niece followed suit, sitting cross-legged beside him. He definitely should have gotten more rest, his sleep-deprived mind was taking his thoughts in unnecessarily frantic directions.
“What did you see Mirabel? I’m starting to get worried, you say that you-you saw something you weren’t supposed to about Y/n and I haven’t seen her all morning. Is she alright?” As Bruno said this, he began to fidget with the leather bracelet around his wrist.
Mirabel looked up at her uncle, concern lifting her brows and tugging the corners of her lips downwards.
“I-I can’t tell you. I mean, I want to! I don’t want you to worry Tio Bruno, it’s just…it’s just…” The girl let out a sigh
“It’s not my place to tell you. Y/n has a secret, something she’s been hiding from you, and I found out. We had a talk after I saw- after I discovered the truth, and she told me that she was going to tell you today.” The girl wrung her hands and looked up at her Tio reluctantly.
However, whatever dismayed emotion she expected to find on Bruno’s face, was not what she was greeted with. He looked truly relieved, even letting out a relaxed sigh. A small smile worked its way onto his face and Mirabel looked on at him in shock.
“You’re not upset? Or mad? Maybe a bit worried? The woman you’re destined to marry has been hiding something from you!” Mirabel lifted her hands in the air, the gesture indicating her confusion.
Bruno sputtered at that.
Destined to marry!?
He shook his head in a futile attempt to clear the rising blush on his face.
“I’m just gonna ignore that last part for my own sanity…but no I’m not mad. If you’re referring to what I think you’re referring to, then I already know.” Bruno shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly as he spoke.
Mirabel let out an incredulous laugh
“I don’t know about that…it’s not your average run-of-the-mill secret,” Mirabel spoke disbelievingly and adjusted her glasses a little proudly “I seriously doubt you could just guess-”
“-she’s Pepita.” Bruno interrupted her and watched as Mirabel gaped at him.
The teenager scrambled up from her place on the floor and pointed at him accusingly.
“Tio Bruno!” She gasped “You-! You knew!? How did you know?” The girl opened and closed her mouth in pure surprise.
Bruno shook his head from his spot on the floor.
“I figured it out the first day she showed up as a human. She seemed familiar to me all day, and even Antonio said she sounded familiar. Then that night, she said something to me that was exactly what Pepita had said through Antonio’s translation. It all started to make sense, and I realized that the Bruja she spoke of hadn’t teleported her here that day, she had turned her into a rat a month before. If you think about it, it explains why Pepita was so unnaturally intelligent, and also why she mysteriously disappeared from my lap the same morning that Y/n appeared in the same spot…”Bruno trailed off his explanation, still embarrassed to recall that moment.
“A-anyway, I figured it out then, I’ve known for the past two months...”
Mirabel stood over him, her hands on her hips and a disappointed frown on her face. It sent a little pang of unhappiness through him, to see his favorite niece look at him in that familiar disappointment.
“Bruno…why didn’t you just tell her you knew? Don’t you realize how conflicted she’s felt over this?” The girl shook her head sadly.
“I-I didn’t want to scare her away…I was waiting for her to come to me. The last thing I’d want to do is make her think I hate her or something horrible like that. I-I could see how scared she was to tell me. And I knew if I confronted her about it, she might take it as an accusation, and not want to talk to me anymore or something. I can’t-” Bruno looked up at Mirabel again, his face tight with grief “I can’t lose her…”
Mirabel dropped herself down to the ground and retook her seat beside her uncle with a sigh.
“You two have got to work on your communication issues.” The girl told him as she rested her chin on her fist.
“That’s pretty much what I told her last night, after the panicky explanation she blurted out. I told her she needed to actually communicate with the people she loves, instead of holding in all her emotions and hoping they’ll just go away. And well, she agreed. She said she needed to come clean, and let the people that she loves know how she really feels”
Bruno rubbed an anxious hand on the back of his neck, hiding his reddening face behind the shroud of his hair. Was he…was he included in that? In the people that Y/n loved…?
He cleared his throat.
“So she’s going to tell me today?” He questioned.
“That’s what she told me. Whew…I’m actually pretty relieved that you already know, avoids a lot of unnecessary drama you know? Now you and Y/n can come clean to each other and ride off into the sunset.” Mirabel teased, giving her uncle a nudge.
“Mirabel…” Bruno groaned in humiliation. The girl just laughed in response.
“...Besides we’re not riding off into the sunset, you saw how bad I was at riding a horse…”
After their conversation, Mirabel’s earlier anxieties had disappeared, and the two of them returned to the job at hand. The hours dragged on as the family cleared away the last of the construction supplies. Y/n had still not made an appearance, but Bruno wasn’t worried anymore. She had probably been up all night not just working, but worrying about the fact that Mirabel knew her secret. He wouldn’t be surprised if his beloved slept through the entire day, he thought fondly.
Oh, who was he kidding?
Bruno knew the truth.
Beloved was an accurate descriptor.
Y/n owned his heart entirely. There was no use denying that.
For the rest of the time spent working, a happy little smile quirked the man’s lips.
Finally, the job was done. The sun was low on the horizon and the muted tones of dusk painted the landscape. The now completely relaxed Mirabel looked on at the finished house and remarked that she liked the new foundation.
Bruno watched on in pride, as his sobrina was presented with her doorknob. The teenager walked the path to the Casita’s front door, Antonio at her side.
Surrounded by the words of encouragement from her family, Mirabel placed the doorknob in the door and turned the handle.
And the magic bloomed beneath her fingertips.
Haha that chapter was very fun to write no lie. Next chapter will also be in Bruno's Pov before we switch back to readers pov in the chapter after it!
Btw just wanted to share a funny story with you all. I’ve seen a few comments with /pos after them and not to sound like an old person, but I had no idea what that meant. I had to look it up, super glad that its a tone indicator that means positive and not what I assumed it was, which was people calling me a piece of shit (which I was just kind of okay with for some reason) 😂
I also just wanted to reassure everyone who's worried, this story will absolutely have a happy ending, there are just a few...bumps in the road on the way there. But yes, the ending will be happy don't worry!
I hope you all liked this chapter, If you did please comment!
Hey guys, we're still in Bruno's Pov! Enjoy the chapter
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Truth be told, Bruno thought he’d never have his gift again, he was sure that the rest of his family had assumed the same. But he should have known, Mirabel brought the family together, she healed them, healed the casita, the entire Encanto. She was a wonder. So of course, she brought the magic back with her.
As the party filled the revived Casita with laughter and life, Bruno watched from a corner as his family members rejoiced at regaining their gifts.
As far as his own feelings at the return of his power, he was conflicted. It had brought so much misfortune to those around him, it had pushed everyone away. His visions had caused unhappiness and grief, for many, including himself.
But…his last vision, that hadn’t been so bad.
It had…It had actually helped. He had been able to show Mirabel the right path, that the family needed to be healed through reconciliation and understanding.
So, maybe his visions weren’t all bad?
And maybe-maybe he could even give Y/n a vision! He had always felt bad that he never got the chance to help her. A vision, a glimpse into her undecided future, had been the very reason she had been sent to him in the first place.
His thoughts stuck in his throat as a new fear presented itself to him.
What if…what if once she got her vision….she wouldn’t want to be around him anymore? She’d have what she came for…what if that’s all she really wanted from him-?
Bruno shook his head, angry at himself. He wouldn’t let his insecurities overwhelm him to the point that he began to paint Y/n in a bad light.
She was a good person and she cared for him. Even if her love for him was only that of a friend she would never just use him like that. He thought over her constant praise and affection towards him.
Bruno fidgeted with his bracelet again, unable to repress a smile. Maybe…maybe she did care for him just as much as he cared for her….
Maybe she was in love with him too.
He was startled out of his thoughts by his nephew tugging at the bottom of his ruana. Bruno crouched down to the boy’s level and ruffled his nephew’s hair. The boy smiled brightly.
“Tio Bruno, why are you standing in the corner?” Antonio questioned, a parrot perched on his shoulder.
“Ah, sorry…I guess I should join the party…I was just thinking about some things…” Bruno apologized.
Antonio fixed him with a winning smile.
“Were you thinking about Y/n?”
Bruno nodded, chuckling a bit at the boy’s perceptiveness.
“What about Y/n?” Dolores questioned, appearing out of nowhere beside them.
Bruno let out a shocked yelp, but Antonio just shrugged and left to find someone else to question, sensing the impending conversation between his hermana and tio.
“D-Dolores…” Bruno stuttered as he stood up.
“Antonio was asking you about Y/n. Are you planning on telling her you love her?” The all-hearing woman asked, eyes wide.
“What!? No- How did-How did you…? How much can you hear? Can you-can you hear my thoughts?!” Bruno questioned anxiously, watching his niece in paranoia.
“No. I don’t have to hear your thoughts, I could just tell.” She shrugged, still speaking in that muted tone characteristic of the young woman.
“...great.” He huffed.
“Do you want me to find her? I’ll listen for her, so you can go talk.” Dolores offered.
“Ah-No. No that’s okay, really. I-”
But his niece had already tilted her head, one hand raised behind her right ear.
He sighed at her making the decision for him.
Dolores furrowed her brows, a dissatisfied pout making its way onto her face.
Bruno looked on in confusion as Dolores shifted her eyes from side to side, her frown deepening.
The woman met his gaze, a panicked look quickly overtaking her features.
Bruno felt his heart stutter in his chest.
“What? What is it? Is she okay? Is she hurt? What’s wrong?”
Dolores lifted her hands to her mouth, letting out a terrified high-pitched “Hm!”
“I can’t hear her!”
The first dreaded thought that had crossed Bruno’s mind was so horrific to consider, the man let out a strangled sob.
Dolores could hear everything, everything that went on in the Encanto. She could hear the near-silent sound of someone’s eye twitching.
If she couldn’t hear Y/n, she wasn’t making a sound.
Not even a heartbeat.
The thought was terrifying, and Bruno felt his knees buckle.
His panicked niece grabbed him before he could topple over. Dolores spotted Mirabel nearby and called for her prima.
Mirabel took one look at the terrified tears welling in her uncle’s eyes and rushed over to help.
She pulled Bruno and Dolores into the empty kitchen and sat them at the small table.
Bruno tore his gaze from Mirabel and focused on Dolores.
“Do you-Do you hear her now? Anything?” He begged.
Dolores swallowed, her face contorted in despair.
Bruno laid his head in his hands on the table and began to curl in on himself in misery.
“Tio, Tio Bruno, I need you to listen to me. I think I know the reason Dolores can’t hear her.” Mirabel spoke coaxingly.
Bruno’s head snapped up at her words. Mirabel bit her lip as she took in the tears tracing down his face.
“Why? Why can’t she hear Y/n?” He questioned, dangerous hope coloring his scratchy tone.
“I need you to take a few deep breaths okay,” She began, noticing her uncle devolving into hyperventilating. “She’s safe. I’m sure of it. But…she might not be in the Encanto anymore…”
“Are you sure? She’s fine? She’s-she’s not-?” Bruno interrupted his own words as he devolved into a fit of knocking on wood.
“She’s okay…” Mirabel soothed.
Dolores let out a breath, her shoulders sagging in relief.
“Mirabel, if she’s not in the Encanto, where is she?” The woman asked.
The teenager placed a comforting hand over her uncle’s that lay on the table, seeing this, Dolores grasped his other hand in hers.
Bruno let his horrified emotions seep away as he took a deep breath, his two nieces at his side.
“That conversation I told you about earlier Tio Bruno? Well, it wasn’t just the two of us talking about her-” Mirabel’s gaze darted to her cousin“-talking about her secret. She told me that she was planning to tell you everything and that once you knew the truth, she would leave the Encanto forever, so you wouldn’t be forced to be around her…”
Bruno furrowed his brows in frantic frustration.
“She left? And you knew she was planning on leaving?” He questioned, his tone sharp.
“No, you don’t understand. We had this big heart to heart. I told her she had to communicate with the people she loved and that running away was never going to solve her problems. And she agreed! Sure there was a bit of arguing, but eventually, she realized that she was wrong and that running away was never going to make her happy. She said that more than anything, she wanted to stay by your side, even if telling you the truth made you hate her, she was still going to try to make it up to you!” Mirabel explained, her tone pleading him to understand.
“Then…then why? Why isn’t she here?” Bruno let out a shuddering breath.
Dolores looked on at the conversation in clear confusion. Still, even if she didn’t understand what they were talking about, it was evident that her uncle was distressed. She sent a comforting squeeze to her uncle’s hand that she still held.
The man looked up at her in surprise, before shooting her a grateful look.
“I don’t know…I don’t think she was lying…She was very sincere when we talked. She said that there were a lot of things that she had to set right, a lot of burned bridges she needed to rebuild…” Mirabel described her conversation, sending a reassuring squeeze of her own to her uncle’s other hand.
Mirabel suddenly stilled, an idea clearly forming in her head.
“Bruno, you should have a vision! See where she is!” Mirabel exclaimed, dropping his hand as she gesticulated excitedly.
The man sighed and shook his head despondently.
“A vision won’t help, it’ll show me the future , I need to know where she is right now…” As he said this an idea took root in his mind.
“Why not see where she is in the future?” Dolores spoke up.
Bruno stood from the table and wiped the remaining dampness from his face, already deciding that his idea was his best bet.
“Because I don’t need to see where she is in the future. She’ll be back in the Encanto, with me.” He replied, determination squaring his slight shoulders.
Now all he had to do, was to get the attention of someone who could see the present.
Dios Mio, he was not looking forward to this.
...before anyone says anything, I promise you guys the ending is gonna be happy! There's just a bit of conflict on the way there. To everyone who predicted that reader would leave, my compliments and also my apologies. Sorry about the angst everyone, well not completely sorry, angst is unfortunately very enjoyable to write. Try not to be too mad at reader everyone, we don't have the full picture yet. Next chapter more will be revealed, we'll be back to Reader's Pov and it starts where chapter 15 left off, with Mirabel discovering the truth about Pepita.
Haha, I hope you're all not too mad at me!
Thanks to everyone who's commented and left kudos.
If you're up for it after that chapter, Please comment!
Hey guys! For this chapter, we're back to reader's pov and it picks up where chapter 15 left off. Enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Mirabel’s disbelieving cry rang in your tiny ears.
For a moment, neither of you moved, the both of you staring at each other in shock, just as you had those months ago when she encountered you in the casita collecting Pepa’s beads.
Snapping out of your frozen terror, you did the first thing that came to mind and ran back to your pile of clothes to hide beneath the layers of fabric. Maybe it was from being a rat for so long, or from being around Bruno’s other rats, but you seemed to have picked up their instinct to run and hide.
For a moment, you stayed sheltered beneath your sanctuary of cloth, praying that Mirabel would just leave, go to bed, and assume what she saw was a dream.
You listened with bated breath as Mirabel’s footsteps approached your shivering form.
“Y/n…” The girl spoke softly, coaxingly.
As she spoke your true name, you felt all hope of her not understanding the truth vanish. You heard the sound of Mirabel crouching down to your level.
Even with the sinking dread growing within you, you knew that you had no choice but to face the girl.
Gingerly you emerged from the layers of clothing, guilt flattening your ears and lowering your head.
You lifted your eyes to hers and took in the caring, understanding smile on the teenager’s face.
You couldn’t help the way your ears perked up slightly.
“...Can I…Is it alright if I pick you for a second?” Mirabel spoke as she shifted her position so she was sitting cross-legged on the floor.
You nodded your little head at her, and Mirabel scooped you into her hands, bringing you to her eye level.
“I know you’re probably pretty scared right now…I definitely was not supposed to see that. But, please, don’t be afraid, you’re my friend, you’re important to everyone in my family. I won’t hurt you okay? I have some- well actually a lot , I have a lot of questions. But I want you to know that you can talk to me…” Mirabel began, her eyes communicating the depth of her sincerity.
Even with your anxiety tugging at your chest, you felt yourself relax minutely, sensing the truth of her words.
“...So…can you…can you turn back into Y/n? So we can talk?” Mirabel questioned, setting you down on the ground delicately.
You hesitated, before giving her a small nod.
She let out a sigh of relief and stood from her spot on the floor.
“...” the girl stared at you, the silence stretching on awkwardly as she waited for you to shift back.
No way were you gonna show up naked in front of anyone a second time. You turned your back to her, indicating that she should do the same.
You turned to face her again, and Mirabel was looking at you with her brows furrowed. You rolled your little eyes fondly and repeated the gesture. She let out a gasp as she realized what you were trying to communicate.
“Oh! Right, sorry!” She spun around, as you took your human form again.
Mirabel hummed nervously as she listened to the sound of you pulling on your clothes.
“...you can turn around now Mirabel…” you whispered as you sat on the workshop stool, eyes downcast.
The girl turned around to face you, walking up so she was directly in front of you.
You couldn’t meet her eye, guilt at deceiving her sinking into your bones.
You gasped as you felt Mirabel’s arms wrap around you. She hugged you warmly, pouring her sympathetic affection into the embrace. Slowly you lifted your arms, and returned the hug, exhausted tears streaking silently down your face.
“Y/n, I trust you, whatever your reasoning is for all this, I know you had good intentions. It must have been so hard for you to keep this secret. Just know that you’ll always be my friend, okay?” The girl comforted you. As relieved as her words made you feel, another part of you felt guilty in a different way, not wanting the teenager to have to shoulder any more burdens.
You patted her back lightly, and the girl released you, taking a seat on the stool beside you.
Taking a deep breath, you put aside your own distress and readied yourself to give the girl the explanation she deserved.
“...You know the beginning. Everything I told you about my past was the truth…I just, I never told you, told anyone , that the Bruja Vanesa didn’t send me here that day. The truth is, I arrived in the Encanto a month before that, trapped in the form of a rat. My only hope for a future, for getting my body back, was your tio…”
As you spoke you glanced occasionally at the girl, watching as she absorbed the truth.
Mirabel listened intently, grabbing your hand soothingly when your story veered into hopelessness.
“...and now, the casita is almost finished, tomorrow is the day that everyone will be celebrating. But…my time has run out. I can’t lie to Bruno anymore…I- I love him too much…” You finished your explanation in a small voice.
“Y/n, you know as well as I do that my tio is a good man. You can tell him, it will be alright. He cares about you so much.” Mirabel took both of your hands in hers, speaking confidently.
You turned your head away shamefully.
“I know. And that’s why what I did to him was so horrible. A kind, caring, gentle person like Bruno doesn’t deserve to be lied to by someone he thinks of as a close friend. So I…So I have to tell him everything, and when the truth breaks his heart, I’ll leave the Encanto, to spare him from having to be near someone who betrayed him…”
Mirabel stood from her seat in outraged shock.
“You can’t just leave! He needs you, We need you! You’re part of the Encanto. You’re familia! You’re….you’re mi tia…”Mirabel bit her lip as her voice wavered.
Instantly you stood from your seat, pulling the girl into an embrace.
“Sshhh, Mira, Mira, I’m sorry. I want to be your tia more than you know,” You pulled back and lifted the girl's chin with your finger, maternal affection seeping into your words. The thought of being her tia made your heart swell, even if you knew you could never truly be the girl’s aunt. Bruno would have to be in love with you for that, and even if he ever did grow to love you to the point of marriage, after you revealed the truth he’d never want to see you again.
“You’re family to me too, if I could…I’d stay in the Encanto forever. Stay with you and the rest of the Madrigals.”
“But you can!” Mirabel cried out in frustration, stepping out of your arms.
“You don’t have to leave, don’t you see how leaving would break Bruno’s heart! He loves you, no matter what form you take. Bruno loves Pepita, and he definitely loves Y/n! He’s not going to just let you go when he knows you’re one and the same!” Mirabel put her hands over her heart, pleading with you to realize she was right.
For a moment you felt your resolve waver, hope seeping into the cracks in your resolution.
But you shook your head despondently as you imagined Bruno’s reaction to the truth.
“I can’t! I just can’t! Even if- even if he did love me, that would just make it worse! Imagine the person you’re- you’re in love with, tells you they’ve been deceiving you for months, wouldn’t that make the heartbreak so much worse?” You rubbed your eyes with your hands, disheartened at the thought.
“Y/n” Mirabel spoke firmly, taking your shoulders in her hands “I’m gonna tell you something you’re not gonna want to hear, but you’re gonna hear it anyway. Lo entiendes?” Her uncharacteristically stern tone gave your anxieties pause and you nodded your head warily.
“No seas tonta.” The girl began, an unimpressed frown situated on her face.
“If you tell him the truth, then run away all dramatically, not only will you not give Bruno any time to properly process everything, not only will you rip his heart out by leaving, No, you’ll also be completely sabotaging yourself. Are you really gonna ruin your own life, just because you’re afraid? What about your apprenticeship with the Hernandezs’? What about your art, your stained glass masterpieces?! Don’t you realize that running away was exactly what Bruno did? You saw it yourself when you were Pepita. Bruno isolating himself made him miserable.” Mirabel took a deep breath, then continued to talk before you could say anything.
“You have to communicate with the people you love. Tell them how you really feel, instead of bottling it up inside forever, It only hurts you and your loved ones. So yeah, talk to people about how you really feel and don’t just run away when you do.” The girl finished. As the word left her, she dropped her hands from your shoulders and sighed, her energy drained from her speech.
Her words struck you with the force of a hurricane. You dropped back onto your seat on the stool, feeling like your eyes had been opened forcibly by the strong-willed girl.
You looked at your hands, the creeping realization that she was right taking root in your soul.
“...You’re… You’re right , Mirabel…” You muttered in disbelief.
The girl let out a relieved sigh and sat again next to you. She was patiently silent, as she watched your thoughts play out over your face.
You were just running away.
This entire time, you had been running away. From your problems, from your parents, from the future you didn’t want. And now, now you had almost run away from Bruno too.
But you couldn’t. You couldn’t run anymore, not from the life you had built in the Encanto. Not from the man you loved.
“You really are a wonder, Mirabel Madrigal.” You told the girl with a small smile.
“Well, I may have been told that, once or twice.” She made a show of fanning herself at your compliment and looking away coyly, obviously doing her best to cheer you up.
“So…you'll stay?” She questioned hopefully, breaking from her playful demeanor.
You sighed, then gave her a nod.
“...I will. You were right, I have a life, a family, a future here. I need to do my best to hold onto it. And if telling Bruno breaks his heart, if it makes him hate me, well, I guess I’ll just have to spend every day for the rest of my life trying to make it up to him. I want to stay by his side more than anything…” You confessed to Mirabel and to yourself.
“There are a lot of things that I have to set right. And a lot of burned bridges I need to rebuild.” As you spoke, you rubbed the back of your neck, a resigned smile twisting your lips.
Mirabel pulled you in for another hug, laughing happily.
“Things are gonna be okay tia! You’ll see, I think Bruno will be more understanding than you’re giving him credit for. He really does love you.” she told you as she released you.
You felt your face warm a bit at her words.
“I hope you're right about him understanding…” Then you looked around slyly, before leaning towards her conspiratorially.
“...and about him loving me. ” the two of you devolved into giggles, and you felt some of the weight ease from your shoulders.
“I’ll tell him tomorrow, later in the day, after the celebration for the new casita is over. I wouldn’t want to ruin the party for him.” You told the girl.
“Okay, fine. I think you’re overreacting though. You don’t know that he’ll be mad. What if he’s actually happy?” Mirabel suggested.
You raised an eyebrow at the girl disbelievingly.
“Happy? Why would he be happy that I’m his pet rat?” You asked, watching as the girl snickered.
“Oh come on, it’s Bruno. He loves rats. Especially Pepita. Maybe he’s fantasized about something like this before? I mean what guy wouldn’t want his beloved pet to turn into a beautiful woman,” Here she paused, holding back giggles “Especially a naked one.”
She burst out laughing as you gasped in offense.
“Mirabel!” You nudged her shoulder playfully.
“I’m surprised at you! Maybe I should tell Julieta!” You jokingly threatened.
“Noooo!” Mirabel acted along
“Besides you wouldn’t do that! Don’t you wanna be the cool aunt?” She questioned innocently.
“I’m not even your aunt and I’m already the cool aunt” You replied, bumping your shoulder against hers.
“True” She smiled.
After Mirabel left the workshop, you sat at the worktable, thinking over all that she had said.
She was such an intelligent girl, and really she was mature beyond her years, you thought proudly. And of course, she had been right. Somehow with one conversation, she had managed to talk you out of a decision you’d held onto for two months.
Everything she had said was correct. You were being a fool. Leaving was never the right choice. And you did need to communicate with the people you loved.
Your eyes fell on the stained glass toucan you had crafted, and you looked at the bird a little sadly.
Really, you should have communicated with your parents that night. Even if you were still angry with them for what they did, talking with them about it would have been better for your mental health and theirs.
Instead, you had just disappeared. For three months.
To your parents, you had been missing for three whole months. They had no idea where you were; If you were even alive!
A part of you, a vicious, hurting part, hoped that they thought you were dead. Hoped that your disappearance tore them up with guilt over how they treated you.
You acknowledged that part of you. Acknowledged that they had truly wounded you, and you would never completely forgive them for that. But you didn’t let the vengeful side of you overtake the rest. Your feelings of betrayal were important, but so was your feeling of missing them.
You laughed a little bitterly. How ironic it was, to love someone, and still not want to be around them anymore.
Picking up the glass toucan, you muttered in annoyance as you realized what you had to do. You really didn’t want to, but, you needed closure, you needed to speak with your parents again.
You sighed, aggravated with your own decision, but knowing that you were right.
What was it that Mirabel had said? You have to communicate with the people you love
And whether you liked it or not, you still loved your parents. You just hoped they wouldn’t yell at you as soon as they saw you. Thank god, you were just going to visit them, you cringed at the thought of living with the controlling people again. Nope. Just a talk. That was it.
You turned the toucan decor in your hand. Maybe…maybe they’d understand better if you showed them your art? An image flashed in your head of your mother furiously grabbing the glass bird and shattering it on the floor. You frowned. If that’s how they reacted, it would only further cement the fact that staying in the Encanto was the right thing. Regardless of their reactions, you knew that you had to talk to them at least once more, before you told Bruno the truth and stayed in the Encanto forever.
Ugh. It would be so much easier to just tell Bruno first. But you knew that the thought of your impending conversation with your parents would only muddy your confession to the man. You wanted as clear of a head and heart as possible when you told him the truth. And to be honest, you cared a lot more about how Bruno would react, than how your parents would.
Standing from your chair, you prepared for another aspect of your plan that you really didn’t want to do.
It was time to call on Vanesa.
It took about two minutes after you called on Vanesa and had a conversation with thin air in the hopes that she was listening, before you saw smoke gather at your feet.
You lept back as the form of the Bruja took shape before you.
She had listened as you explained, a small frown tugging at her lips.
“You want to see your parents again? I really don’t understand. I’ve said it before and I'll say it again; those two are awful. Just terrible parents! They make my parents look like saints, and my mother cursed my father so he’d stub his toe anytime he so much as looked at another woman.” As the enchantress spoke she gesticulated dramatically and tendrils of smoke twisted towards the ceiling.
“Yes, Vanesa. I need to actually talk to them, get all these bottled up emotions out, you know-” You began.
“Oh!” Vanesa clapped happily, interrupting you “You want to visit them so you can yell at them for making you feel so horrible! I understand completely! Of course I’ll help you, Mi amiguita favorita!” She murmured happily, her hands clasped together against her cheek.
You clicked your tongue in distaste at her patronizing tone and complete misunderstanding of your reasoning. Still, if she’d help you, then there was no need to try and explain it to her further. Besides, you had the sneaking suspicion that she actually did understand that you wanted to communicate with your parents and that she was just messing with you.
At first, the woman had tried to convince you that to transport you back to the village, it would be best if you took the form of Pepita. But you had quickly vetoed that idea, seeing as you’d arrive in your home town as a rat, turn back human, and subsequently have no clothes. It was most definitely not just your imagination that the Bruja looked a little disappointed that you had figured that out.
“Fine, fine. Come as a human.” She relented.
“Besides, I could only transport you as a rat with the powder before because the barrier around the Encanto was so strong. Now that the mountain is cracked, the barrier is weakened. And with someone of my magnificent talent, you can be taken back and forth in your original human form now!” The bruja explained, running a vain hand through her hair.
You nodded, picking up the glass toucan and clutching it to your chest.
“Okay. I’m ready.”
“Excellent! Now come here! Give Vanesa a big hug!” She opened her arms wide, smoke billowing from her form.
You cringed, giving her an unimpressed look.
“Don’t be like that Y/n! This is how I’m going to transport you. Now come on, give me a hug.” She beckoned you with her hands.
Looking like a toddler being forced to go home when they wanted to keep playing, you dragged your feet and shuffled towards the woman, pouting as you fell into her arms.
As she enclosed you in an embrace, smoke twisted all around you, clouding your vision. You had the sensation of falling forward suddenly. At the feeling, you jolted, only for a solid pair of arms to catch you a moment later. The smoke cleared and you found yourself once again in the house of the Bruja Vanesa.
Vanesa had pulled you into another hug, squealing about how she missed her favorite little artist. You let her hug you for a moment, then pulled away.
She had stopped you at the doorway, her air of playfulness and teasing dissipating as she placed a hand on your shoulder.
“Y/n…you are very brave for going back to talk to your parents after what they did. It’s a very mature decision, one that I would probably never have the courage to make. I want you to know that no matter what they say to you, you have someone here who cares about you, who’s watching out for you. I’m proud of you mija.” Vanesa spoke clearly, a serious expression on her face. All traces of taunting were gone, and for once you had no doubts that the woman was being completely honest with you.
“...Thank you.” You answered in surprise, looking the woman in the eyes.
“Stop pulling pranks on me, and I’ll consider you a true friend.” You said, a smile curving your lips.
And just like that, the playfulness was back in the woman’s demeanor.
“Me? I’d never prank you!...not again at least...”
And with that, you walked out her door and began your journey across your hometown back to your parent’s house.
Mirabel, deciding to pop in on reader in the workshop since she’s worried over her isolating herself.
Aha! The truth has been revealed! Reader wasn't really running away, she just had some unresolved issues to deal with regarding her parents! Kudos to those of you that guessed that! I hope that redeems reader in the eyes of all of you a bit lol. The next chapter is back to Bruno's pov and we get to see what happens after the end of last chapter when he decided to find reader! Also lol I couldn't help but include the Animorphs book cover as a meme, even though I know it's a mouse and not a rat. Hope you enjoyed this chapter! If you did please comment; I can't wait to see what you have to say about this chapter!
Lo entiendes- Do you understand?
No seas tonta- Don't be a fool
Mi amiguita favorita- my favorite little friend
Back to Bruno's Pov for this chapter! It picks up where chapter 17 left off, with Bruno deciding to find reader. Enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Bruno laid a gentle hand on the shoulder of each of his nieces still sitting at the kitchen table.
He sent a weary smile their way, grateful for the comfort they provided him as he had almost devolved into complete despair
For a moment he had thought that Y/n was- was…it didn’t matter. She was safe, she was just somewhere outside of the Encanto.
And he would find her.
“Gracias mis queridas sobrinas.” He whispered to them, watching as they smiled up at him with fond relief, glad their uncle was no longer distressed.
He leaned forward and placed a quick kiss on both of their foreheads, then left the kitchen with a few parting words.
“Tell Mamá- tell her I didn’t just disappear again. I’ll be back, okay? And I’m bringing Y/n”
Bruno wandered outside the casita and off into the trees nearby. The sounds of the party drifted out across the landscape and followed him as he found an empty spot in the forest.
He took a deep breath, the cool evening air working to calm some of his growing unease.
Bruno took a pinch of salt from his ruana and tossed it over his shoulder. He could do this….
Squaring his shoulders, the man in the green ruana readied himself to call on the troublemaking Bruja for help.
“V-Vanesa? That’s your name, right? I know-I know you're probably watching! Y/n told me that you look in on the Encanto all the time. And you’re most likely watching right now, seeing as you probably find this all very funny!” He yelled to the wind, listening and waiting for any sign that the witch was hearing him.
“We’re just a big joke to you, right?” He grumbled, frustration rising in him.
“That’s-that’s why you turned her back into a human in the most embarrassing way possible right? This is like your favorite show or something, huh? Well it’s not just some game to us! To me ! Y/n left! She’s gone! And I…I can’t. I just can’t -“ Bruno sighed brokenly, running an angry hand through his hair.
“I need your help…” he muttered.
The sounds of life in the forest hummed around him. He waited as the little creek beside him sang its babbling song.
She wasn’t coming.
Was that it? Was there no chance for him to find Y/n?
Was she…was she gone forever?
Bruno leaned against a tree behind him, dropping his head back against the bark in despair.
He watched hopelessly as a thin trail of smoke drifted from the trunk of the tree across from him.
Bruno stood up straight in panic.
“D-Dios mio-! The-the tree! Oh no, oh no! It’s on fire! Quick- I gotta get-“
His words were cut off as the smoke rapidly grew into a large cloud. The mass of smoke pulled away from the tree and halted before him unnaturally. It twisted and condensed, and the man watched in awe as the form of a woman took shape in the cloud.
She stood towering before him, her hair of smoke flickering like hungry flames.
Vanesa tilted her head, a wide smile stretching her lips.
“Hola Brunito , you called for me?” She leaned forward hands on her hips, grinning all the while.
“What-? Don’t-don’t call me that.”
Bruno sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration.
“Nevermind that doesn’t matter. You’re the Bruja Vanesa, right? I- well, I need your help.”
“What can la maravillosa Vanesa do for you? I am at your service…” she gave a mocking bow.
Bruno tsked in annoyance at the woman’s obnoxious attitude.
He shoved his aggravation aside, and focused on his true purpose here; to find Y/n.
“I’m pretty sure you already know. Y/n…she left. I have to- I need to find her. I should have told her that I knew the truth, instead she ended up running away because she was so scared of how I’d react. Why didn’t I…maybe if I had let her know more when she came to me as Pepita, if I had just made her understand that I could never be mad at her. Maybe she would have stayed…” his words trailed away, sorrow lacing his sentences.
The witch was silent for a moment.
“Oh I was never one to enjoy Star-crossed romance anyway, ” she began, throwing her hair behind her shoulder. “I’ve always enjoyed happy endings much more! Of course, I adore the dramatic ups and downs on the way to that happily ever after.”
“Alright,” she clapped “I’ve decided! How very magnanimous of me! I’ll help you find your runaway bride!” She said as she placed a hand over her heart.
“-she’s not my-! We’re not engaged-! You know what, forget it. Yeah, yeah, okay, help me find my bride , whatever terminology it takes to get you to actually help me…” he muttered, face red.
“…she’s not my bride though…” he whispered to himself.
“Not yet, you adorable little man!” Vanesa laughed.
“Ugh…” He groaned in annoyance.
“Where is she anyway? Do you even know?” He furrowed his brow as he questioned her.
Vanesa cast a glance at him, mischief dancing behind her eyes.
She threw a dramatic hand over her eyes.
“Oh, that poor woman, running away in a fit of hysterics, returning to the only other home she ever knew. To the cold, unloving arms of her cruel parents…” Vanesa glanced down after she said this, watching intently as concern broke out over the man’s face
“She…she went back to them? But-but she’ll be miserable there! They don’t know how to treat her! They’ll stifle her, all her joy and passion and her art! All of that will be crushed under the weight of their expectations for her!” Bruno exclaimed.
“Ah…I know, I know. La mujer tiene padres terribles…” Vanesa muttered, seriousness flickering over her face momentarily, before she slipped back into her teasing.
“Anyway, the two of you are actually quite lucky! Since your miracle returned it would usually seem that the barrier around the Encanto would be whole again, that would mean it would be exceptionally hard for me to transport you back and forth in your human forms. However! The crack in the mountains from your little family dispute remained. The opening is still there, and I can transport you as are no problem! Of course , it is a shame , it might have been fun to transform you into a little creature and bring you to Y/n that way…maybe another rat?” She tapped her chin with her index finger as she considered what form would be best for the man.
“You're insane aren’t you?” Bruno deadpanned before pinching the bridge of his nose in aggravation.
Vanesa waved her hand, completely ignoring what the man had just said.
“Now then! If you want to rush in to her rescue like a dashing hero from a storybook, you’ll have to come a little closer…” Vanesa beckoned him forward with her finger.
Bruno stepped towards the woman’s form distrustingly.
“Come here, mi yerno!” And with that, the woman wrapped her arms of smoke around him, and Bruno fell forward into nothingness.
He landed in the witch’s arms, which he promptly jumped out of.
“I’m not your son-in-law! Y/n and I aren’t married-were not even-we’re not,” Bruno sputtered as the heat on his face flamed “-were not a couple- ! And you ! You’re not even her mother-!” Bruno was so caught up in correcting the Bruja, it took him a minute to realize that his surroundings had changed completely.
He paused in his rantings as he took in the dim candlelit surroundings.
“…uh…where are we?”
“ We are in my house, but you won’t be here for long,” as the witch laughingly spoke, she began shoving the man towards the door “…off you go! Time for you to make your grand romantic entrance!” Vanesa opened her front door and pushily led him outside.
“Woah-woah, wait! Hold on a minute! I have no idea where I’m going!” Bruno exclaimed.
The witch halted in her shoving, a small pout on her face.
“Oh right. Well continue down this road, that way,” she began impatiently and pointed in the proper direction. Then she put her right hand out and snapped, a small spark fizzled to life between her fingers and soon a tiny cloud of smoke hovered above her open palm.
“Stop when you get to a house that looks like this, it’s the one on the far end with a little shop attached” she described in a bored tone as an image of a house with a tile roof was conjured in the smoke.
“Good? Good! Now off with you, ve rápido!” She shoved him lightly out of the doorway.
Bruno gave a little yelp as he almost tripped, but he caught himself just in time.
Brushing his ruana off in aggravation, he cast one last disgruntled glance at the house of the Bruja.
“…insufferable woman…just another thing for me to yell at her about later…that and the humiliating morning when she turned Y/n human again…” he muttered as he stomped away, a little red in the face as he recalled the aforementioned incident.
He began his journey across town, looking at each house, hoping he’d see the one where he could find Y/n.
As he walked through the streets illuminated by the evening sun, his thoughts were his only companion.
As determined as he was to find Y/n, that didn’t completely erase his insecurities. He couldn’t help but wonder if she would even want to see him. What if she turned him away…?
Bruno shook his head. He had to try. He was not just going to give up on her. His heart ached unpleasantly in his chest at the thought of being separated from her. She brought so much joy, and light, and comfort into his life. He couldn’t just leave her to suffer with her parents. He wanted her to be happy…with him…
Bruno halted as he realized he had just walked past a building that looked exactly like the house the Bruja had shown him, with the charming little shop attached and everything. He sprinted back to the buildings and skidded to a stop in front of the large wooden door.
Taking a few deep breaths, he crossed his fingers for good luck. Then before his courage could run out, Bruno began to knock a bit frantically on the door, hoping the action would not only alert the residents inside, but would bring him good luck as well.
There was the sound of shuffling for a moment, before the door swung open wide.
Y/n stood before him, shock painting her tear-stained features.
Vanesa, knowing full well that reader just left the Encanto for a visit, but letting Bruno think she ran away forever just so she could watch him run after her dramatically:
(Second meme, cuz I couldn’t resist)
Bruno immediately after meeting Vanesa and realizing she’s batshit insane:
Hey guys! I hope you enjoyed this chapter, it's always fun for me to write in Bruno's Pov. Thanks so much for all your amazing comments! Pretty much every moment I haven't spent writing or planning this story, I've spent reading and re-reading the wonderful things you all have to say! The next chapter will be back in reader's Pov and it picks up where chapter 18 left off with reader heading to her parent's house. By the way if anyone is curious about the crack in the mountain remaining, that is actually canon! The director of Encanto was interviewed and said that though the miracle returned, the rupture in the mountain stayed. Here's the article where the director talks about it, I found it pretty interesting!
Anyway, I hope you all liked this chapter, please let me know and comment if you did!
Gracias mis queridas sobrinas- Thank you my dear nieces
la maravillosa Vanesa- the marvelous Vanesa
La mujer tiene padres terribles- The woman has terrible parents
mi yerno- my son-in-law
Ve rápido- Go quickly
Back to reader's pov! This one starts where chapter 18 ended with reader heading over to their parent's house.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
After the surprising pep-talk you had received from Vanesa, you began the march across town back to your parent’s house. You were about halfway there when you realized that it was currently 5:00 in the morning and that you showing up at your parent’s door would probably not go over well. Actually… they’d probably think you were the ghost of their daughter, showing up to haunt them for their mistreatment of you…
They’d be terrified.
You had to repress the vengeful urge to show up and scare them, even if it was incredibly tempting…
You paused and surveyed the village you had once called home, considering what to do for the next few hours until it was appropriate to show up at your parents’ home. You supposed you could always turn back around and spend the next few hours with Vanesa….
Nope. No way.
You marched off in the other direction until you arrived at a small hill just on the outskirts of town. It was still within the boundaries of town, sheltered on either side by long-abandoned houses. You had been here many times in the past, it was a good place to sketch. And even before that, you had come here as a child with your parents; situated on the grassy hill, the three of you would watch shooting stars streak across the sky.
The dull ache in your chest flared up at the memory.
Why? Why did they have to destroy your relationship to the point that it hurt for you to love them…?
You dropped onto the grass below, laying on your back to look at the stars once again, ignoring the green stains that would most likely linger on your clothes. You set the glass toucan beside you and watched the flickering of the constellations above you.
Before you had realized it, you began to drift into sleep, the hours you spent avoiding rest finally catching up on you.
You were drawn from sleep, at the sound of a stunned gasp. Still, you were a slow riser, so you fought against the pull of the waking world and kept your eyes shut. As you let the current of slumber pull you back in, you heard through sleep-muddled ears the sound of someone calling your name. Then a hand gently set itself on your cheek. The touch was so delicate, as though the owner of the hand thought you would crumble beneath their fingertips. Stubbornly you kept your eyes closed, part of you believing this was all just a dream still.
The hand on your face trembled as it caressed you with undisguised tenderness. The sound of a man’s stifled sob met your ears and that was what finally drew you from your slumber. A thumb brushed along your cheekbone and you let out a sigh at the action, eyes still shut.
“...Bruno…?” You murmured sleepily, letting your eyes drift open.
But it was not Bruno (and you couldn’t help but burn in embarrassment for ever assuming that it was).
It was your father, kneeling over your sleeping form, tears of awe streaming down his face as the daylight streamed behind him.
At seeing your widened eyes, your father snapped out of his astonished disbelief and pulled you into a crushing embrace, his sobs shaking you both as he clung to you.
You lifted a hand and placed it on his back mechanically. For some reason, you couldn’t summon much emotion. You knew that you were glad to see him again, that you were still angry at him for everything, that you were shocked at how broken he seemed as he held you. But for some reason all you felt was numb.
“Mija, Mija….you're-” His voice faltered as he swallowed a cry “you’re alive…”
You pulled from his grasp slowly. So they really had thought you were dead. You should have felt guilty or perhaps vindicated, but you didn’t.
And still, the numbness persisted.
You sighed, and the thought occurred to you that the noise sounded like a death rattle.
Shaking yourself lightly to pull yourself from your over-dramatic fit of melancholy, you met your father’s eyes and spoke to him for the first time in months.
You had followed your father wordlessly through the sunlit streets as he guided you back home, the glass bird still clutched in your grasp. People around you went about their lives, a few of them staring at you in stunned silence, probably shocked to see you again after your disappearance. Through the course of your journey, you had said nothing except for asking your father for the time. He almost dropped his pocket watch as he took it out with trembling hands. He answered you and let you know that it was 5:30. For a moment your sleep-addled brain assumed that it was 5:30 in the morning and that you had only rested for half an hour. The realization that it was 5:30 pm struck you forcefully as you took in the afternoon sunlight and the busy streets. You had slept for 12 and half hours?!
You didn’t think you’d ever slept that long in your entire life. You must have been exhausted physically and emotionally from all that happened the night before.
Arriving at your family home, you rubbed the last of your sleep from your eyes. You couldn’t help but cast a bitter glance at the shop attached to your parent’s house.
Your father fumbled a bit with the door, before pulling it open frantically. He called out to your mother, his voice bordering on hysterical. He turned back rapidly to check if you were still behind him, as if he thought you might have disappeared in the minute it took him to open the door.
Your mother called back a frazzled “What!” And began to berate your father for interrupting her as she was doing the dishes. You and your father stood in the doorway as your mother emerged from the kitchen, a wet plate still clutched in her hands and a curt remark poised on the tip of her tongue.
The plate slipped from her grasp and shattered on the wooden floor.
You said nothing as you watched a series of emotions play across your mother’s face.
It was something you had almost never seen before, your strong-willed mother, looking what you could only describe as weak.
The woman fell to her knees, your name on her lips. She landed on the remains of the shattered plate, and just narrowly avoided a nasty cut as the shards lay flat against the fabric of her skirt.
Your father called her name and rushed to her side, picking her up by the arm.
Still you remained silent, walking into the house, and gently shutting the door behind you.
After a minute or so, your mother had pulled herself from your father’s arms and rushed over to hug you. She pet your hair, crying as she called you terms of endearment she hadn’t spoken since you were a child.
Simmering resentment had you pulling from her grasp after a few moments. You calmed yourself, you were here to communicate , not berate.
Your mother guided you to the dining room table and the three of you took a seat. You set the glass toucan on a counter nearby, your parents too distracted by you to even notice the item.
Your mother and father looked at you across the table, uttering a few pleading words, begging you to explain.
Your parents stayed commendably silent, as you began to tell them where you had been.
You saw them tense as you mentioned the Bruja Vanesa, but you spoke forcibly over any objections they started to make.
Though you couldn’t help but want to hide part of the story, you knew that speaking the whole truth was the only way to move forward. You told them about being turned into a rodent, your life with Bruno in the walls, and how you discovered what a compassionate, gentle person he was. You told them everything.
Well, actually, not everything. You conveniently skipped over how your transformation back to your human form had landed you naked in Bruno’s lap.
Your parents listened with twisted grimaces, your mother halting you at one point, and asking with condescending disbelief if you had hit your head.
Realizing that there was really only one way to prove it to them, you sighed in irritation. You warned your parents that after turning back into a person, you’d have no clothes, so they should kindly turn around when you gave them the signal. They nodded at you, strained looks on their faces as they probably contemplated just what kind of crazy you were.
You stood before them, and let yourself remember the sensations of Pepita.
Your mother screamed as she took in her daughter in the shape of a rat, sitting on her dining room floor.
You rolled your eyes at the sound, then jolted at the sensation of a hand picking you up. Your father held you lightly in his grasp, looking at you in horror, calling your name. He set you gently on the table and you hesitantly approached your mother’s seated figure.
“M-Mija…? Is it…is it really you…?” She questioned through her wavering voice.
You pushed past your mounting annoyance at the woman and nodded your little head.
She reached out a trembling finger and stroked your fur delicately. The affection sent pangs of longing to your heart. Your annoyance morphed into regret; regret that your relationship with your mother wasn’t more loving, that she had stifled you all these years, instead of encouraging you like a mother should.
You stepped away and let your father pick you up again, pointing your nose at the floor to indicate you wanted to be put on the ground. He placed you on the wooden floor and your parents promptly turned around when you gave them a little turn to signal you were going to shift back.
After pulling your clothes back on, you retook your seat, continuing your explanation. You hesitated when you got to the part about your apprenticeship and the art you had made with Francisco and Maritza Hernandez. But you strengthened your resolve, and powered on through. You spoke of how content you were, how fulfilled your art made you feel. How being in the Encanto was the happiest you had ever been, even with all your conflicting feelings of guilt over hiding the truth from Bruno. You looked at your hands as you told them that you had a life there now, that you thought of the Madrigals as family, and that now that you had started, you never wanted to stop making your art.
Risking a glance up, you caught the torn expressions on your parents’ faces.
“Y/n…we only just got you back, and now you’re telling us you want to leave again? To stay in this strange town you speak of?” Your father began.
“What about your mother and I? What about the shop?” He spoke, sounding more defeated than angry.
You took a calming breath to prevent yourself from succumbing to the rising outrage within you.
“Papá,” you spoke, your eyes and tone steely as you set your gaze upon your father
“Mamá…” you turned to her next.
“All my life, I have put you first. Set aside my own happiness, my own desires, my own well-being! I know that you love me, but you don’t know how to love me. You know how to control me, how to mold me and shape me until I conform to your idea of the perfect daughter. But the moment I put one toe off the path you set for me, you destroyed the tiny piece of myself I had preserved. I am your daughter, but that doesn’t mean you own me. You make me feel like I’m not even my own person; like when I’m in the room with you, you’re the only ones who are allowed to feel anything. My emotions, my desires, my hopes for the future, they lose all meaning when overshadowed by your feelings. But they shouldn’t! What I feel matters too! I’m not here for you to direct, I’m not here to act as a crutch for you, I am not here to hold all your burdens and shoulder all your emotions.”
You took a shaky breath, before continuing on. “When you destroyed my sketchbook, I was so angry, so heartbroken. I didn’t think about why you did it. I just knew that the act was symbolic. That you were telling me that to want that future for myself was wrong, that the art I made and who I was as a person was wrong . I…I realized over the last three months, that there had to be some reasoning behind it, that in your heads you must have thought that was the right course of action. I know that I am not the one here who should be apologizing, but I’m sorry anyway that I can’t take over the shop for you. I'm sorry that the life you hoped for me will never be. I know now that that was the true reason behind it. That Mamá, you threw my sketches into the fire because you thought it was some necessary act of tough love. But the only lesson you taught me was that I need to have my own life, and create my own future.”
As you spoke the tightness in your throat constricted, your repressed emotions finally bubbling to the surface. You let your feelings spill out in the form of tears tracing down your cheeks.
“I love you two, I will never stop loving you, but I have my own life. I’m my own person. And I have to love you from afar, because I can’t live with you anymore.” You finished, your voice thick with tears.
Your father stood from the table, panic, fear, and anger alternating across his features.
“Y/n! You’re-you’re speaking nonsense…you act like we abused you! Your mother and I have only ever done what’s best for you-!” Your father pleaded, but you could tell from the expression on his face, that not even he fully believed his words.
Before you could speak up, defend your words to your terrified father, your mother stood from the table.
You watched in sinking disappointment as the woman walked out of the room without a word.
Letting out a choked sob, you wiped at the growing river of tears streaming down your face.
A few moments later, your mother returned, a pile of familiar books in her arms.
She sat again at the table, dropping the books on its surface, tears of her own dampening her face.
You looked on at the pile of books in disbelief. They were your sketchbooks, spanning back years, some of them ratty and worn from use. They’d been hidden in the back of your closet for all this time. That day that your mother had destroyed your book, it was only your most recent sketchbook, the one you had been most proud of.
Your mother caressed the cover of one of the books in front of her, letting out a shuddering breath.
“After…after you left. We thought…we thought you were gone forever. That we had chased you away, or-or you had-had died. I even-” your mother let out an unrestrained sob “-I wondered if we had pushed you over the edge, and you had…taken your life in the river…like my brother did…” she stared at her hands, a dead look in her eyes as she recalled your late tio. You were shocked, not only that they thought you had ended your own life, but that your mother brought up her brother who passed long before you were born. She never spoke of the man, her heartache closing the door on the subject of him forever.
“…I went into your room a month ago, I tore the place apart, looking for something, anything that would make me understand why this had happened. And I found these, in the back of your closet, where you felt you had to hide what made you happy from us.” Your mother laughed bitterly.
“And you were right to hide them. What did I do, the moment you made yourself vulnerable to us by showing us a piece of yourself? I- I destroyed it…I destroyed you. And that lost you to us….”
You watched with wide eyes as your mother opened one of the books and traced with her fingertips a drawing of her you had done secretly.
“Mi Vida…I never should have done that to you. We should have never pushed you so hard, we didn’t realize that the hold we had on you was more crushing , than loving…Your art, your sketches, they’re beautiful. And-” she sobbed
“-And you are beautiful, your soul- and your joy, and the strong woman you’ve become without us, are beautiful. We never knew how much we held you back, but I can see it now, with how you’ve flourished on your own.” She paused, collecting her breath as cries wracked her body.
Your father pulled her into a comforting hug, apologizing to you and murmuring that everything your mother had said was right.
Within your chest, your heart beat against your ribcage rapidly. You had never, never thought you’d hear your parents say those words.
“ I’m so so sorry Mi Amor.” Your mother cried, your father’s apology echoing after her.
Finally, finally , the numbness at the edges of your soul fully abated. And you let out a breath, sadness and joy mingling confusingly in your consciousness.
You stood from the table, and hugged your parents, feeling a bit of the weight on your soul ease. The three of you stayed cocooned together in your embrace for a minute, savoring the understanding affection that had begun to develop between you all.
You stepped out of their arms, wiping the now happy tears from your cheeks with an embarrassed laugh.
“I love you both. Even though I’m…I’m not staying with you anymore…I still want you in my life.” You told them.
Your parents nodded at you desperately, clearly hoping you’d come to visit them again.
You let out a startled laugh as you remembered you had brought something for them. Waking over to the counter you picked up your glass toucan and placed it on the table before them, explaining that you had made the stained glass piece yourself.
“You made this?” Your father asked in astonishment, lightly touching the multi-colored panes that made up the glass bird.
At your confirmation, he and your mother studied the bird in awe.
“It’s our toucan…” your mother murmured, her warm tone making it clear how much the piece moved her.
“Mija…you really are an artist…” she told you.
Oh boy, how embarrassing…You had started to cry again.
“…thank you…” you barely managed to get the words out, your voice shaking with emotion.
Your father was about to say something, probably something else incredibly touching that would make you cry more, when a frenzied knock on the front door interrupted you all.
Your parents paused, looking at eachother in confusion, clearly not expecting anyone.
You stood from the table and left to answer the door, forgetting the tears still on your face.
Swinging the door open, you were met with the last thing you expected to see; the love of your life, panting frantically at the door, his face desperate as his eyes met yours.
Sorry to leave you guys on the same cliffhanger twice! 😬 This chapter ended up longer than I expected when I wrote it, so sorry about that. I promise next chapter we all get to see what happens when reader opens the door to Bruno.
Are this chapter and the reconciliation with the parents blatant wish-fulfillment? Yes, yes they are. But then again so is this entire story, so yeah 😅 I wanted to handle the conversation delicately. I don't think reader has fully forgiven her parents, and there will probably always be some lingering resentment. But even if their relationship remains somewhat strained, I wanted them to be working on moving forward and healing. Maybe it would have been more realistic if the reader never talked to her parents again, or if they tore her apart verbally when she showed up at their door, but, realism is obviously not my main goal with this story (being turned into a rat anyone?). To be honest, the conversation was kind of cathartic to write, hopefully, it's okay to read too. I definitely ended up drawing from real-life experiences and emotions for this chapter; I think reader says a few things I might have liked to say to some people. Anyway, at the end of the day, this story was always meant to be fun and self-indulgent, so I think it's in theme to stick with happy endings!
The story isn't over yet, I've got a few more chapters to go, so stick around!
Geez sorry for rambling so much! If you're still reading this, I hope this chapter was to your liking. If so, please comment. I'm honestly nervous about what you guys think of this chapter haha.
Mi Vida- My life
Mi Amor- My love
You stood still for a moment, taking in Bruno’s frantic form with disbelieving eyes. He stared too and the clear relief in his eyes at seeing you set off a flurry of butterflies within you.
Then, careless of your parents seated at the table behind you (or perhaps not even noticing them) Bruno pulled you into an intense embrace.
He whispered your name like it was a prayer, reverent and adoring.
You felt your face heat up as you returned the hug, embarrassed at the affection in front of your parents, but not enough so to ever reject it.
Oh to hell with it, your parents could deal with a little chaste cuddling.
You snuggled your head into the crook of his neck, something you had only ever been able to do before as a rat. His arms tightened around you desperately as you did this, as if letting you go would make you disappear again.
“...don't leave…” He whispered, nuzzling his face against the top of your head.
“Bruno…” You began
“-Wait!” He interrupted pulling away from you slightly, just enough that he could look you in the face. He gently wiped the tears from your face with a delicate hand, before placing his palm on your waist again. “Before you try to argue with me about how you shouldn’t stay in the Encanto, just-just let me say a few things, please” the man pleaded, his arms still around you (if he didn't realize he was still hugging you, you were certainly not going to tell him only to have him pull away).
The meaning of his words struck you.
. You cringed internally. Bruno had thought you had left forever? Why did he think that? And…How did he even know you had left? Did he search the entire Encanto for you? How did he even get to your village?
You were so caught up in your own internal questions, you hadn’t spoken up to interrupt the man and explain that you had only left for a visit.
He took your silence as confirmation that he should continue his explanation.
“Y/n…Don’t leave the Encanto. I- We all love you. My family has basically accepted you as one of their own, I don’t know if you know this or not, but that’s kind of a big deal for the Madrigals. You have a life there, one that you've built with your own two hands. Your art inspires the community. You're a true friend to my sisters, to all of my nieces and nephews…and…and to me…” Bruno looked at you, unhidden adoration apparent on his face.
“And even Mamá likes you! That’s saying something! Granted she’s a lot less uptight these days, but she genuinely enjoys your company! Don’t think I don't see all those times you whisper jokes to her and make her crack a smile. We all want you around! We need you…I -” Bruno took a deep breath, and with a reverent hand he brushed a few stray hairs from your face, the tenderness of the motion making warmth bloom in your chest and on your face.
“ I need you.” He spoke. You just stopped yourself from letting your knees buckle and bring you to the ground in infatuated wonder.
You could tell that Bruno was about to say more, but he was interrupted by the sound of a throat clearing.
You looked over your shoulder and saw your father looking at the two of you still hugging unimpressed, while your mother rolled her eyes, a tiny smirk pulling at her lips.
“Hello, strange man, yes that’s fine, why don’t you just come into our house and grab our daughter?” Your father snipped sarcastically. Good, sarcasm from the man just meant he was slightly annoyed, not outraged. Your parents must have put two and two together and realized that the man in your arms was the same Bruno you had described in loving detail to them.
You expected Bruno to release you anxiously, maybe blush, and mutter an apology.
Instead as you turned back to the man, you felt his arm’s tighten around you protectively, a small frown tugging at his lips and furrowing his brows.
“Y/n,” He said, looking at your parents, but speaking to you “these two must be your mother and father…” He fixed them with an unimpressed glare of his own, his gaze harder than you had ever seen.
“I have a few things I’d like to say to you two. First off, whatever you said to her to make her cry, you better apologize. And yeah, I saw the tears on her face when she opened the door.” Bruno spoke accusingly, the harshness in his voice foreign to you.
“I don’t care if you don’t like me around her, or you think I'm strange or creepy or whatever. Think what you want of me! But you should realize that your daughter is an amazing, talented, caring woman-!” Bruno took a breath before continuing, his words picking up in pace.
“-And another thing! You can’t force her to just stay as your shopkeeper forever! She wants to live her own life and make her magnificent art! She doesn’t want to work in your shop- which I passed on the way here and by the way it’s lovely -but that’s beside the point! She has a future of her own! A life of her own, with the people of the Encanto- with….with me…” He darted his nervous gaze back to your face.
“...if she wants…”
Elation swept through your body, and you were unable to hide the adoring smile from your face. Bruno’s lips quirked up in pleasant surprise as he took in your smile
He shook his head, trying not to stare, before fixing the stern look back on his face, and looking at your parents.
“What you did was wrong. How you treated her was wrong . And she’s not yours anymore, so don’t try to control her!” He finished, frowning at your parents, as he held you in his arms still.
You heard your mother let out an annoyed tsk and your father grumble something nasty under his breath, but you ignored it.
You let out a joyous little laugh, and rested your hand against his cheek. Bruno looked back at you in wonder.
“Bruno ... un momento por favor?” You said to him sweetly, reluctantly drawing yourself from his embrace.
You turned to face your parents, who looked caught between wanting to tease you, wanting to lecture you for letting the man cling to you so long, and wanting to defend themselves against the man in the ruana.
But seeing the radiant smile on your face, they eased up a bit, their taut shoulders relaxing incrementally. You were sure they’d have much to say about this the next time you visited. Right now they were probably too overwhelmed with finding out you were alive, only to have a strange man that you were clearly in love with burst into their house and lecture them.
You strode over to your tense parents and leaned down to place a kiss first on your mother’s cheek, then your father’s. They each relaxed at the affection.
“Perdónenme, Mamá, Papá. Por favor, nos dan un poco de privacidad?" You asked them.
Your father seemed a bit reluctant, but your mother pulled him away with a click of her tongue. Though they both shot dirty glances at the man who stood behind you.
You knew they would be able to hear a good amount of what was happening from the other room, and that was probably why they were okay with leaving you two alone, but you appreciated the illusion of privacy. Maybe it would ease Bruno’s worries a bit.
You turned back to the man in the ruana, who was gaping at the display of affection you had just had with your parents.
“Oh no… Did I miss something again ?” He questioned, wringing his hands anxiously.
You walked up to him and took his worried hands in yours.
“Yes,” You laughed. “You did. Thank you for everything you said about me, and thank you for defending me. What you said was…beautiful. Now I have some things that I'd like to explain, So…can I have my turn?” You questioned, a teasing twist to your lips.
Bruno nodded, and you guided him by the hands over to the now empty table. He sat beside you, moving his chair so he would be closer to you, as if he was afraid to let you out of his reach.
You had to stifle the affection bursting inside you.
“Bruno…I wasn’t leaving the Encanto,” You began, your hands still joined between you.
You watched as a confused expression took over his face.
“Not forever, at least. I just left for the day, so I could talk with my parents again and get some things off my chest. Actually a lot of the stuff that you told them off for? I beat you to it. I already told them that I wasn't going to work in their shop, and that I had a life of my own.”
Bruno’s shoulders sagged with relief.
“So you're…you're staying in the Encanto, right?” He asked almost timidly, like he was too scared to hope.
“Yes, I am. For as long as I’m welcome there-”
“-forever!” Bruno blurted out, then turned his head away as his face reddened.
“Uh- I mean, Mamá and the rest of the family already decided, you've more than proven yourself as a useful and cherished member of the community. We all want you to stay. We were gonna tell you at the celebration today…” He trailed off.
It was your turn to look away in embarrassment.
“I wanted to be there…I was only supposed to be gone for a couple hours to talk to my parents but…” You looked up at Bruno with an abashed expression on your face. “...I fell asleep on a hill for like 12 hours…” You looked away and bit your lip.
Bruno burst out laughing, and your face flamed in humiliation.
“Stop laughing!” Even as you said this, you let out a few giggles of your own.
You dropped one of his hands, and Bruno’s laughter ceased, his eyes darting to your face, an apology ready on his tongue. But you had only dropped it to place a hand on his cheek once more. The consternation in his face eased, and he looked at you, something akin to devotion in his eyes. It occurred to you for the first time, that Bruno Madrigal might truly and honestly love you back.
And as much as you wanted to jump up in overjoyed celebration, you knew that you weren’t done with your explanation.
“Bruno…There’s more I have to tell you…I- I’m so, so sorry…” your smile had slipped from your face “...all these months, I've been lying to you…And I do want to…to have a life with you… ” You whispered shyly.
“But I have to come clean first. And hopefully, you'll still…you'll still want me around after. Bruno I-”
The man silenced you with a gentle hand over your lips, a knowing smile on his face.
“Y/n…you don’t have to worry about that. You never have to worry about me not wanting you around…I already know, my little love…I know that you're my Pepita.”
So glad we finally reached this point of the story. The fluffy parts are so fun to write lol. Hopefully they're as enjoyable to read as they are to write. There's a whole lot more fluff on the way people, buckle up for the next few chapters haha. Thank you so much for all of your beautiful comments, I'm so grateful to have such amazing readers! Anyway I hope you guys all liked this chapter! Please comment if you did!
Bruno ... un momento por favor?- Bruno… one moment please?
Perdónenme, Mamá, Papá. Por favor, nos dan un poco de privacidad?- Pardon me Mama, Papa. Please give us a little privacy?
From your seat across from him at the table, you stared at Bruno for a moment uncomprehendingly.
You must have looked like an animal frozen in fear ( A rat perhaps? A sarcastic voice in your mind whispered). Bruno squeezed your hand, a concerned expression overtaking his face as he took in your unmoving state.
“Cariño…Are you alright?” He asked worriedly
Usually your heart would have soared at the term of endearment, but you were too busy feeling like a bucket of freezing cold water had been doused over your head.
“You…you…you” It sounded as if you were malfunctioning like one of your mother’s old records.
Finally you snapped your gaze to him.
“...you…knew I was Pepita…?” You questioned in a small voice.
Bruno rubbed the back of his neck with his free hand.
“I, uh…I figured it out the first night you showed up as a human…” He whispered a little guiltily.
You brought both of your hands over your mouth to cover up the humiliated whimper you made, dropping Bruno’s hand in the process.
You felt like you were drowning in a sea of mortification. A fate you deserved for trying to trick the man. But of course, he threw you a life preserver. Bruno gently pried your hands away from your face after you had moved them to cover your eyes.
“Y/n…” He said, drawing your ashamed gaze towards him again. You could feel the searing heat turning your face dark red.
“...then you aren’t…you aren’t mad?” You whispered.
Bruno seemed to find the words endearing, letting out a little coo he usually only reserved for when you were in the form of Pepita. He stood from the table and pulled your blushing, embarrassed form out of your chair and into his arms
“I should have told you I knew sooner…Lo siento cariño…”He repeated the affectionate term, making you more embarrassed. You buried your face in your hands again.
Bruno couldn’t help but chuckle at that, his arms still around your waist.
“Don’t apologize Bruno, please. I’m the one who should apologize. I- I tried to deceive you…” You tucked your face against his chest, his ruana muffling your words slightly.
“I told you, didn’t I, when you came to me as Pepita? You don’t have to hide things from me, I understand, I could never be mad at you.” You felt the vibrations of his words from your place nestled against his chest.
“Yes…” you murmured.
“You also told me you thought Y/n seemed a little crazy…” you pouted half-heartedly.
Bruno snickered, making your pout grow.
“Sorry, sorry. I couldn't help but tease you a bit, just to make us even for the little charade you were trying to pull… plus your little embarrassed squeaks were so adorable!”
You let out a groan and butted your head against his shoulder in protest.
Then something else he had said to you came to mind, and you indulged the playful urge to tease him back.
“...you also said I was very lovely .”
Bruno stiffened a bit, letting out an embarrassed little gasp of his own.
He looked away, then back at you, nervousness overtaking his features. His hands around your waist tightened.
“....It’s…it’s true….you are lovely.”
You couldn’t hold back your happy sigh as you nuzzled against his neck again.
“So are you.” You replied, listening in mischievous delight as Bruno made a bashful “hm”
Though you wanted to stay in his arms for a while longer (...for forever…) you pulled away to look at him.
“How did you even know?” You questioned.
Bruno gave a little shrug, then began to relay for you his side of the story. He told you about that first day (The two of you were unable to look at each other as he danced around the subject of your nakedness that morning). He said that at the beginning he truly didn’t know. For almost the entire first day, he was oblivious, simply enjoying the company of the charming new stranger. You grinned in elation as he said that. But then Antonio had said your voice was familiar, and Bruno began to suspect something about you.
It was only once you had placed your hand on his shoulder, and told him what a good man he was and what a good heart he had, that he realized the truth. You were his Pepita, you had spoken the same words as she did through Antonio. And the pieces of the puzzle fit together for him. Things you had said earlier in the day that sounded familiar, the way that you were so comfortable around him, the fact that you had appeared in the same spot that Pepita had been sleeping in the night before…all these things clicked into place in his mind. And he couldn’t deny the truth.
You gave a little understanding nod as he said this, you should have known that he figured it out, your Bruno was an intelligent man.
He told you he didn’t reveal that he knew because he didn’t want to scare you away, he was waiting for you to come to him in your own time. The ability to tease you as Pepita was just an added bonus…
You huffed a little as he said that, not really mad.
“...So, I guess I was just waiting…hoping you’d trust me enough to tell me.” He finished his explanation.
You placed a hand over his heart.
“Bruno, I always trusted you. How could I not? The way you treated me when you first found me, how you sheltered me, protected me, spoke kindly to me? I knew you were a gentle, kind man. I knew I could trust you. When I was trapped as Pepita for that first month, I grew to care for you so much…I-” You cut yourself off, not yet ready to confess the depth of your feelings. There were just too many things happening that day. You cleared your throat.
“I was waiting to tell you until the Casita was rebuilt, until you had your home back. I didn’t want to isolate you, by taking away your friend when you were alone in the basement of Señor Ortiz’s house.”
Bruno let out a little huff.
“Mirabel did say you were going to tell me today…”
You paused, brows furrowed.
“Mirabel told you? She said she wasn’t going to tell anyone, that I should be the one to tell you I was Pepita.” You frowned, a little hurt that the teenager hadn’t kept her word, though you understood why. Maybe the pressure of your secret was too much for her?
Bruno shook his head.
“No, no. She didn’t tell me that. She was anxious and I asked her what was wrong. She said that she saw something about you that she wasn’t supposed to, and that she couldn’t reveal your secret. But since I already knew, I told her that you were Pepita. Then she let me know that you were going to tell me tonight.” Bruno explained, correcting your assumption that the girl had given up your secret.
“...Oh, I see,” Then another thought struck you.
“...but wait. I told Mirabel that she was right, that I wasn’t going to leave the Encanto. How did you even know I was gone?”
Bruno’s face fell, a flash of anguish overtaking his features for a moment, before his expression shifted into something less vulnerable and more guarded. You looked at him in concern.
“When Mirabel turned the doorknob, she brought the magic back. Mirabel was the real miracle. She healed our family, and with the house rebuilt, our gifts all came back,” He began his explanation. You furrowed your brow in confusion, unsure why this had made him look upset for a moment.
He continued. “Everybody has their gifts again. So…So...” He let out a sigh, grabbing your hand that still lingered on his chest. His grip tightened protectively.
“Dolores tried to listen for you…”
Oh, oh no.
“She couldn't hear you anywhere. She hears everything…I thought…” Bruno looked at the ceiling.
“...I thought you had- had died” He spoke through trembling breaths.
You pulled him into your arms again, aware that the two of you had been hugging a lot, but not really caring. You felt awful, not only had your parents thought you were dead, but Bruno too? What was wrong with you? Maybe Vanesa should have turned you into a vulture instead of a rat…
“I’m so so sorry Bruno. I had no idea you'd even know I was gone, I thought maybe I'd be gone for a few hours and you wouldn't even notice. And if you did, you would think I was somewhere in the Encanto still until I returned and told you everything-!” You began to hyperventilate as you imagined how horrified he must have been.
Bruno rested his head atop yours. His arms around you were warm and secure, as he muttered calming words to you and himself.
“It’s okay, We’re alright now. You didn’t know. How could you have known? There was no way that you could have guessed that we would have our gifts again.”
For a moment the both of you just enjoyed the comfort you found in each other's embrace. Then Bruno continued his explanation, telling you that Mirabel had talked him down and let him know that you were safe. She told him that you had mentioned leaving the Encanto. And you realized that this all could have been avoided if you just told the girl you were leaving to visit your parents.
You tilted your head as a thought dawned on you.
“How did you know where I was? Actually, how did you even get here?”
Bruno grimaced, and the pure annoyance on his face told you everything you needed to know.
“.... Vanesa… ” You muttered testily.
“Yup, well, yeah. It was her. I called on her and she showed up in this big cloud of smoke…And I thought I was dramatic with my powers…”
“Anyway, I told her you had left and that I needed to find you, so you wouldn’t leave the Encanto forever. She said you had run back to your parents and that she'd help me bring you back…”
Bruno’s face twisted sourly. “Guess she was lying… ” He muttered through gritted teeth.
“I was right, she is insane.” He grumbled
You stepped out of his arms and began to pace frustratedly.
“I cannot stand that woman! You hear me Vanesa? I can’t stand you! You let Bruno think I ran away forever?! You know perfectly well that I was just here for a visit, I told you that when you brought me here! What was the point of messing with him like that, huh? You thought it was funny? You said you weren’t gonna pull any more pranks on me!” You yelled, Bruno watching you pace, an equally annoyed look across his face.
“I kept my word, Mi amiga! I didn’t prank you. I pranked your lover!” You and Bruno let out a scream as Vanesa appeared in the doorway. This time she was actually there in person, rather than a smoke vision.
You and Bruno both sputtered, both in anger at her trickery, and in humiliation at her calling you lovers.
“How did you even get in here Bruja!” You questioned accusingly.
Vanesa shot you a look like you were dumb, then shrugged.
“Your door was unlocked...Though if it had been locked I probably still could've gotten in...magic, remember?" She laughed before continuing.
"Now enough dawdling. I think it’s time to return you two home, wait any longer and the Madrigal family will become even more worried than they already are!”
You and Bruno shot each other a look. You both reluctantly stepped towards her, realizing she was right, it was time for you to return home.
Before Vanesa could send you back, you heard your mother call your name. Your parents had emerged from the hallway and they were looking at Vanesa with barely contained distaste.
She shot them a venomous smile.
“Ah, if it isn’t los padres del infierno” She hissed.
You found yourself truly surprised. For all of Vanesa’s trickery, she was never outright malicious. But she seemed to harbor true hatred for the couple that raised you. Instead of feeling defensive on their behalf, you felt a bit touched that she was so protective of you.
You interrupted your father before he could throw an insult at the woman.
“-I’m going home now Mamá, Papá.” you walked over to them and gave them each one last hug.
They looked like they wanted to beg you to stay. But you were grateful when they didn’t.
You returned to Bruno’s side, taking his hand in yours as Vanesa conjured a cloud of smoke that soon enveloped you two.
“Remember, Mijos, Vanesa will be watching out for you! I’m here if you need me…” The sound of her voice echoed after you both, as you descended into the mass of smoke.
(Meme time again)
Bruno, reader, and really anyone who knows her, when Vanesa is mentioned:
There you have it! I promised fluff didn't I? *infomercial voice* But wait, there's more! From here on out the fluff only multiplies exponentially! Hope you're all okay with that!
Anyway, you may have noticed that this fic now says 22/28! That's right I've found the length of the story, it's fully planned out to the end and even partially finished! I hope you all stick around to the end! Also, I couldn't resist throwing in the Excalibur face from soul eater as a meme, it just suited how I imagine Bruno reacting to Vanesa too well.
Thanks so much to everyone leaving kudos, commenting, and reading my story! I hope you enjoyed reading this chapter as much as I enjoyed writing it, if you did please leave a comment!
los padres del infierno- the parents from hell
Mijos- My children
As the smoke cleared around you and Bruno, the two of you took in your surroundings, hands still clasped together. You were standing on the streets of the Encanto, the familiar form of the Ortiz house before you. The sky was lit up with stars, and you stopped for a moment, your head tilted back as you watched the constellations twinkling above you.
Taking a deep breath, you felt the night air chilling your lungs pleasantly. You listened as the grasshoppers chirped their nocturnal melody.
You felt…you felt free .
For the first time, you were really free. No guilt hanging over your head for lying to Bruno, no rift between you and your parents to mourn over. Your life was your own now. You had a future . You let out a joyous laugh, eyes shining in the starlight. You turned your head to the side to look at Bruno. He wasn’t looking at the stars, his awestruck gaze was focused only on you, as if the magnificent celestial ceiling above couldn’t hold a candle to you.
You beamed at him, adoration for the man still clasping your hand making you feel light-headed with elation. A smile curved his lips as he took in the unrestrained joy radiating from you.
“Bruno!” You exclaimed happily, swinging his hand back and forth in yours.
He laughed at the motion. “Yes?”
“I don’t know! I just wanted to say your name!” You were aware that your ecstatic demeanor probably came off as a bit crazy, but neither you nor Bruno seemed to mind.
He laughed again, looking completely enamored with you.
He loved you. You could see it in his eyes clear as day, and the man made no effort to hide it. Maybe he had never tried to hide it, and you were just too scared to see and acknowledge it. But now, you allowed yourself to realize the truth.
Grinning at the man, you tugged him closer to you by his hand. He let out a little yelp as you pulled him into another hug suddenly.
You hadn’t meant to say the words out loud, the thought echoed triumphantly in your head as Bruno wrapped his arms around you and murmured your name. But, somehow, the words slipped from your mouth.
“...you’re mine, Bruno Madrigal…”
You risked a glance at the man who had turned a becoming shade of red. He couldn’t meet your eye as he wheezed out an embarrassed chuckle and gave a little shrug.
“...yeah…I…I guess I kind of am…” He replied, lips quirked upward bashfully, as he moved a nervous hand to rub at the back of his neck.
You did something you’d dreamt of since you were stuck as Pepita, leaning forward and pressing a soft kiss against his cheek.
Bruno seemed to melt a little at the affection, letting out a sigh of contentment.
You stepped out of the hug and looked at your feet. “…I’m… I’m yours too you know…” You whispered, suddenly unreasonably shy after your previous boldness.
Bruno tilted your chin up with his finger, honeyed words poised on his lips.
“There they are!” A voice cried out. Bruno dropped his hand and stepped back from you in embarrassment. You tried your best to push down your aggravation at getting interrupted.
The two of you watched as Luisa came barrelling towards you both, Dolores and Mirabel at her tail.
Luisa swept the two of you into a forceful hug.
“We thought you were gone-!” She sobbed dramatically “-forever!” she added.
“Y/n, if you had left, it would have been horrible. I can always talk to you about anything! Plus without you who else would do a spa day with me? You’re the only one who knows how to paint my nails right, your hands are so steady! Isabela always gets too frustrated when the polish goes off the nail and onto the finger, and she freaks out!” Luisa cried, tightening her grip to a near-painful degree.
“And Tio Bruno! We all thought you disappeared again! I can’t go another 10 years without you, I just got you back!” She continued.
“It’s- It’s okay, Luisa. We’re back now, I’m not leaving you guys again, and neither is Y/n” Bruno spoke up, his voice straining under the pressure of the embrace.
“Oh Thank god!” Luisa cried before releasing you both.
Mirabel put an understanding hand on her sister’s bicep as Dolores walked up to you.
The woman in the red hair bow took both your hands in hers, and let out a breath of relief.
“I’m so glad to hear you again.” She spoke, squeezing your hands gently.
You realized that Bruno was probably not the only one disturbed by your disappearance. It must have been alarming for Dolores when she realized she couldn’t hear you at all. She probably thought the same thing that Bruno had…
You squeezed her hands back, telling her how grateful you were to her for helping Bruno. She shrugged it off sweetly.
Mirabel stole you from her cousin, pulling you into a side hug.
“We came as fast as we could as soon as Dolores told us she heard you,” Mirabel explained before turning to Bruno.
“The rest of the family is waiting back at the casita, I tried to tell them you’d be back, but, uh, let’s just say Luisa wasn’t the only one who worried that you’d vanished for another 10 years…Poor Tia Pepa has been raining all night…” Mirabel told him.
You and Bruno looked at each other a bit guiltily.
“You better go and let them know you're back,” You told him.
“Huh? You’re coming too! Don’t think we’re gonna let you just stay back here after you disappeared on us.” Mirabel spoke up, hands on her hips.
“But- it’s late at night. Shouldn’t Bruno go back to the casita and sleep in his room? I’ll stay in Señor Ortiz’s basement room.” You pointed at the house behind you with your thumb.
“Nope!” Mirabel smiled “You’re staying with us for the night. And in the morning you can let me know where you went.” She stated this as if it were a fact.
“W-what? I really shouldn’t impose…”
“Oh you're not imposing,” Dolores spoke up “Abuela wants you to stay at the casita tonight, she didn’t like it when you disappeared. She was worried too. Plus she thinks that if you stay In Señor Ortiz’s house that Bruno will want to stay there too to be close to you.” Dolores continued as Bruno sputtered beside you.
“Anyway, no use arguing, I can hear them putting blankets in the guest bedroom now.”
You sighed a bit, then gave a resigned shrug.
“All right then I guess…”
Mirabel nodded and began to march towards the Casita, pulling her tio beside her. Luisa walked next to her sister as you and Dolores lingered in the back of the group.
The woman leaned towards you.
“So…what’s this secret of yours that Mirabel discovered?” She whispered.
You laughed nervously.
“Uh…I think I better explain that secret of mine to you a bit later…actually I better tell everybody.” You said to her.
“Don’t worry about that for tonight Y/n,” Mirabel shouted over her shoulder “You’ve had a looong day, You can tell everyone soon enough.” Then the girl spun around to face you and began walking backwards.
“Don’t worry tia,” She giggled “I won’t rat you out…”
Bruno tripped and just caught himself at hearing Mirabel call you her tia.
As your group arrived at the Madrigal house, the door to the casita opened to greet you. You felt yourself grin, glad to see the building again. It lifted the tiles over the doorway at you as though to welcome you back.
Luisa called out to the family that everyone had returned. Pepa was the first to rush out, her cloud dissipating as she saw her brother again. She pulled him into a hug and lifted him off the ground, her soaking wet dress dampening his ruana.
“Brunito, don’t you ever do that again! You run away one more time and I won’t be able to stop a tornado from destroying half the town!” The woman lectured, still clinging to her brother, though she had set him back down on his feet.
“Sorry, Sorry! I was only gone for a few hours…” He replied as he put his arms around her.
Julieta emerged soon after, joining the hug. You watched happily as the triplets embraced again.
Then to your surprise, the two women released their brother and pulled you into their arms.
“You too Y/n, we noticed you were gone all day!” Pepa scolded.
“Ahh, sorry. I um, I have some explaining to do…” You told her guiltily.
“Don’t worry about that right now, we’re just glad you’re alright,” Julieta told you kindly, patting you on the back.
Everyone entered the Casita, talking and buzzing with excitement. It had been an incredibly eventful day for them after all. Not only had their gifts returned, but they had a huge party only to realize that you and Bruno were missing. And knowing Dolores, she had probably explained to them all about not being able to hear you and Bruno going after you.
Camilo was waiting in the courtyard anxiously. He jumped out of his nervous posture as he saw you and Bruno, a relieved smile on his face. He had shifted into you and then Bruno to hug you both, something you had come to realize was a sign of affection from the boy. After he let you go, he muttered a hesitant apology about always teasing you two, letting you know that it was only ever jokes, and they were never meant to be mean-spirited. You had laughed, telling him it was fine, to which the boy replied with a mischievous grin, telling you ‘good, cuz I’m gonna keep doing it then’ After that he ran up the stairs and slid into his room with a cackle.
As the large family stood in the courtyard, conversations jumped about and crossed over between people. Isabela came swinging down from the balcony, landing before you, hands on her hips and one brow raised. She began to lecture you and Bruno about running off, before shooting a smug smile at you both and asking just what the two of you had been up to. As you and Bruno turned red, Pepa bid you goodnight and left to join her husband who had already passed out in her room. You figured that little Antonio was asleep too, the hour a bit late for the boy. Slowly the crowd of Madrigals began to disperse. Luisa left for her room, giving you and Bruno one last parting pat on the shoulder.
Mirabel grabbed your hands and leaned in to whisper in your ear, telling you goodnight and that she wanted to hear all the juicy details in the morning and also did he kiss you? The girl ran off to her room before you could even gasp (You were so glad she finally had a real room of her own).
Eventually, the family left one by one, leaving only you, Bruno, and Julieta. The woman patted her brother’s cheek affectionately, before telling him to go to bed.
Bruno shot a glance at you, obviously not wanting to be parted from you just yet. An idea popped into your head, and it was too fun to ignore. You gave him a smile and mouthed the word ‘Pepita’. Understanding dawned on his face before he wished you and his sister goodnight and left for his room.
Julieta turned to you, a gentle smile warming her face.
“Come on, I'll show you to the guest bedroom.” She offered, looping her arm with yours.
She led you into the room and sat on the bed beside you.
“Y/n, I want to thank you for taking care of my brother,” Julieta spoke, taking your hands in hers.
“Bruno is still getting used to being around people again, I know it’s hard for him after he was isolated for so long. But I want you to know that I see how you are around him; you’re always making sure he’s comfortable, you encourage him, and I’ve even seen you get some of the people of the town to apologize to him. Bruno needs someone like you in his life. Yes, he has the support and love of his family, but… you’re giving him a different kind of love I think.” She smiled at you knowingly.
You only nodded your head with a simple smile, feeling no urge to deny your feelings towards the man.
“And I think you need him too,” She said.
“You’re right about that,” you told her.
The woman let go of your hands with a little pat.
“Alright, It’s late, I better join Agustin.” She stood from the bed.
“Buenas noches.” She whispered from the doorway.
“Buenas noches…” You replied, watching as the woman left.
For a moment you adjusted the blankets over the bed, thinking over the eventful day you had. You may have just slept 12 hours, but after the conversation with your parents, Bruno showing up and revealing he knew you were Pepita, and the large welcome party that greeted you at the Casita, you knew that you would have no trouble sleeping tonight.
A knock on the open door startled you from your thoughts. You glanced up to see the Madrigal Matriarch standing in the doorway. Even though you had grown to like the woman quite a bit, you still found yourself standing up straight like a child about to be scolded.
“Buenas noches Señora.” You said respectfully, if not a little stiffly.
The woman repeated the greeting back at you, before joining you on the bed in the same spot her daughter had just occupied. She remained patiently silent, obviously seeing that you wanted to speak and try to explain.
“I’m sorry for causing so much fuss,” You began “I truly only meant to leave for a short while, I needed…I had to try to- to reconcile with my parents. But I was always going to come back. I had no idea Bruno would come after me, or really even know I was gone…” You explained nervously, rubbing the back of your neck.
“I think I understand.” Alma told you.
“You are a lot like Mirabel,” She said, a small smile creasing her face. “It wasn’t so long ago that Mirabel did the same thing with me as you did with your parents. And by that I mean knock some sense into me…Truth be told, I have no doubt that that girl had a hand in this in some way,” Abuela spoke fondly.
You gave a little laugh,
“She may or may not have told me I needed to communicate with my loved ones.” You said.
Abuela shook her head with a little chuckle.
“I’m not surprised,” She looked at you again
“I am glad that you’re unharmed. When Dolores first told us she could not hear you, it frightened us all. You’ve become important to this family. Especially to my Brunito…” The woman picked up the locket that hung from her dress and traced the outside of it.
“He cares for you very much…He was always the type of boy to love with his whole heart…” She opened the locket, looking at the little picture of Pedro with lingering grief. “He is much like his father in that way.”
Even though it may not have been your place, you laid a gentle hand on her shoulder.
“He loves you very much,” You began “I can’t tell you how much it means to him that he has his Mamá back in his life.”
The woman shot you a grateful smile, and you found that the way her eyes warmed was familiar to you; you saw Bruno in her smile, the deep capacity he held for love shining through her eyes as well.
She closed the locket and placed her hand over yours on her shoulder.
“Gracias Y/n,” She spoke “I know you have much to tell us all. We will hear you out with open hearts and open minds in the morning.”
You nodded and watched as Alma stood from the bed. She paused in the doorway.
“You are welcome in the Encanto. This is your home now, if you wish to stay.” She told you seriously.
“I do” You replied. With one last little smile, Alma left to retire for the night.
You remained in your spot on the bed, your heart suddenly heavy. Alma’s quiet grief had affected you, and you shuddered at the thought of losing Bruno in the same way. You began to become so worked up over the thought, that you decided against waiting to visit the man any longer, feeling the urge to see him safe and whole.
You shifted into Pepita and ran out into the hall, desperate to see the man you loved again.
Hey guys I hope you liked this chapter! Next chapter's a fun one! More fluff on the way...
Thanks so much to everyone who comments, reading what you guys have to say makes me so happy! Honestly, every time I get a comment, even if it's short or just says ahhh or <3, my heart starts beating super fast! It's really fulfilling knowing that other people get something out of my story! Anyway, I can't wait to read what you all have to say about this chapter! Please comment!
Also! Check out this gorgeous fanart, the artist is so talented (love the use of color btw plus the way they drew pepita is so adorable!) and I'm super grateful they drew something for this story! Give it a look!
You scampered across the casita’s floors, halting when you got to Bruno’s door. Squeezing under the gap beneath, you hoped to yourself that there were still shortcuts so you wouldn’t have to climb all the stairs as a rat.
The sight that met you was not the cavernous tower room that you had visited before. Instead, the sight that met you was similar to a large waiting room. Dark wood floors complemented the emerald green walls, there were several comfortable-looking chairs situated throughout the room and your eyes took in the various hourglasses of all shapes and sizes decorated throughout. Clocks lined the walls, ticking in rhythmic harmony. There were several doors in the welcoming waiting room. You figured they all led to separate rooms, though you were sure the larger dramatic stone door led to Bruno’s new vision cave.
You scampered up to the most unassuming door, a plain piece of wood with a brass doorknob. You saw light shining beneath it, and shimmied beneath the wood, intent on tracing the source of the illumination. Before you was a short hallway containing only two doors. One was open and you could see the good-sized bathroom inside, a large comfortable looking tub on one side. You let out a little relieved sigh inwardly, glad that Bruno finally had an adequate place to bathe after the tiny rickety bathroom he’d used for 10 years inside the casita’s walls. You turned to the other room and approached the slightly ajar door.
It was clear that this room was meant to be the bedroom for Bruno. You could see through the illuminated crack in the partially opened door. Inside was a cozy-looking room, warm candlelight painted the walls in golden tones and a large window with a sleeping nook beside it let in silvery moonlight. There was both a comfortable bed in the corner, and a cushy red chair seated before a writing desk. The armchair looked exactly like the one that had been in Bruno’s kitchen-adjacent room, except it was brand new with no wear or holes in its upholstery. Your eyes moved around the room taking in the surroundings, you noticed with a little internal chuckle that a small stage was atop a table on one side of the room, just perfectly sized for rat telenovelas.
You found Bruno standing in front of a large bookshelf on the opposite side of the room. His fingers were tracing the spine of a book as he muttered in delight at the little library the casita had conjured for him.
You let out a squeak and watched as Bruno spun around joyfully. Running up to him, you stopped at his feet. Bruno leaned down and picked you up from the ground.
“There you are Pepita…I was wondering when you’d arrive.” He told you as he carried you over to the familiar armchair.
He took a seat again, brushing over your fur with his thumb.
“Busy day huh?” He murmured affectionately. You responded by climbing up his arm and perching on his shoulder. You took your favorite spot beneath the curtain of his hair as you thought over all that had happened that day.
He reached a hand up to his shoulder and ran his fingers over your back.
“I think we’re all gonna need a break from working around the town tomorrow. Even Mamá will probably agree that the family should have the day to rest tomorrow.”
At the mention of his mother, you recalled the conversation you had had with the woman. The heaviness returned to your heart as you remembered how heartbroken she appeared as she looked at the photo of her husband. Again the thought occurred to you that Alma was an incredibly strong woman; you never would have been able to carry yourself with her strength if you lost Bruno like that.
Suddenly the urge to embrace him again became overwhelming. You climbed off his shoulder, and down the chair, jumping onto the floor. You ran until you were standing at the back of the chair, and without thinking it over, let yourself become human again. The chair separated you from view.
“Where’d you go little love…?” Bruno called, preparing to get up from the chair and to turn to look for you.
Realizing your under-dressed state, you frantically called out to the man to halt him.
“Don’t turn around!” You exclaimed. Even from your place behind the tall chair, you were sure that Bruno stiffened as he realized you were standing behind him without any clothes.
“I- I won’t!” He replied in a panicky breath.
“Is everything…okay?” He questioned, worry for you coloring his tone.
You felt a rush of desperate affection at the man’s concern. Approaching the back of the chair, you wrapped your arms around it, hugging Bruno from behind the armchair. He stilled in your embrace, and you were sure that his thoughts were racing through his head frantically as he realized the only thing separating him from your undressed form was the chair between you.
Still, he placed a shaky hand over yours on his chest, and asked you again if you were alright.
“… I’m okay…it’s just…I had a conversation with your mother…” as you spoke you felt Bruno’s thumb rubbing loving patterns on the back of your hand.
“I feel so awful for her. The way she…the way she lost her husband, your Papá, it’s heart-wrenching. I just- the thought of losing you like that…it’s terrifying…” you muttered, tightening your arms around him.
“-Not that you're my husband-!” You spoke suddenly in a rush. Then you continued speaking before Bruno could acknowledge those words.
“Anyway! I-uh- I guess I just wanted to- well. I wanted to feel that you were okay…” as you spoke, you spread your fingers so your palm was lying flat against his chest, directly over his heart. You felt with relief as his heartbeat thrummed rhythmically beneath your hand.
“Cariño-“ he began with the term of endearment, his voice warm and understanding.
“You won’t lose me. I'm not going anywhere. And neither are you, right?” He reassured you.
“Right,” you replied “you’re good and stuck with me now Bruno.” You joked.
He let out a little laugh and you smiled as the vibrations carried through his chest to your fingertips.
A daring thought crossed your mind, and you once again gave in to the urge to tease the man you loved. You wanted to feel his heartbeat speed up beneath your palm.
“You know…” you began “it’s a good thing there’s this chair between us. Otherwise, I’d be hugging you from behind in my current… inadequate state of clothing.” Your voice lilted with your taunting.
Your teasing efforts were rewarded with a gasp, and the pitter-patter of his heart picking up tempo beneath your fingertips.
Bruno let out a nervous cough.
“Yeah I um…yeah, yep, g-good thing-!”
You grinned deviously.
“Maybe you’d think it was a nightmare, like last time.” You said, feeling giddy while Bruno squirmed a bit as he remembered that morning.
“…yeah…but not a nightmare…some other kind of dream…” he muttered under his breath, unaware you could hear him. Your face heated up a bit at that.
You untwined your arms from around him and the chair.
“I guess it’s pretty late…” you said “I think I better go to bed, I’m gonna need energy for when I tell everyone the whole story for the first time in the morning.”
Then you paused.
“Well besides Mirabel and Antonio, they already knew,” you rubbed the back of your neck.
“And Dolores too now I guess, she uh, she probably just heard everything.” You shrugged a bit.
“Don’t worry too much Dolores, you won’t be stuck with my secret for long, I’m telling everyone in the morning. So- so I hope you can hold it in till then, I’d really like to be the one to come clean.” You spoke to the girl on the other side of the house, sure she was listening.
You turned your attention back to the backside of the chair.
“I hope they aren’t all too mad about me not telling them the whole truth.” You spoke to Bruno.
“I don’t think they will be…Camilo is definitely gonna want to see you turn into a rat though” he added.
You laughed and told him you might just do that for the shapeshifter’s benefit.
You lingered for a moment before you began to leave, one last idea directing your actions.
“Bruno,” you said,
“close your eyes for me?”
You heard Bruno shift a bit in his seat, a near inaudible gulp meeting your ears.
“They're closed” he told you.
You walked around to the front of the chair. Bruno’s eyes were shut tightly, his hands clasped together in his lap.
You leaned forward and ran the back of your fingers against his jaw, feeling the stubble against your skin. Bruno let out a sigh at the sensation. Turning your hand, you placed it flat against the side of his face, cupping his cheek.
“Goodnight, Cariño…” you whispered the term back to him for the first time.
Bruno’s tightly shut eyes relaxed incrementally, your eyes traced the lines of his eyelashes as they fluttered against his cheek. Love for the man overwhelmed you, as he pressed his face against your hand adoringly.
“Goodnight Y/n” he said, eyes still closed obediently.
You leaned closer and pressed your lips against his forehead, before walking away and taking the form of Pepita again. You scampered out of his tower and back into your room for the night.
😳 Hope you liked this chapter haha, Even I was blushing writing it...
I just like fluff a lot okay! Hope you all do too!
Next chapter we get to see reader tell the family about Pepita! We're getting pretty close to the end of the story; on one hand, I'm a little sad it's almost over, but on the other hand, I'm excited to see how you all like the ending once I post chapter 28! Thank you so much to everyone who's stuck with this story so long, and thank you to anyone who's a new reader, I'm glad my fic caught your eye! I love love love reading your comments; Honestly, I started to have a little bit of an anxiety attack yesterday (worries about the future, ironic lol) But no lie, I actually started to feel better after I read some of the kind, encouraging things that you guys wrote! I love you all so much! Ahh sorry for being mushy and for rambling!
I hope you liked this chapter! Please Comment!
Just as you had predicted, despite your 12-hour rest, you were still utterly exhausted. You had fallen into bed in the guest bedroom and passed out almost immediately.
You opened your eye’s blearily in the morning, shifting beneath the covers.
Only to jump back with a startled yelp.
“Dios Mio-!” you cried.
Three of the Madrigal grandchildren stood beside your bed, hovering over you and watching as you scrambled to sit up against the bed’s headboard. Dolores, Mirabel, and Antonio stood at the end of your bed. Antonio tilted his head cutely as he watched you let out a series of startled breaths.
“Buenos días Y/n.” Mirabel said casually as if the three of them watching you sleep was the most normal thing in the world.
You pulled the covers up over your shoulders nervously.
“What…what are you guys doing in here…?”
“We wanted to talk to you!” Antonio said sweetly. You shot a shaky smile at the boy.
“O-okay…?” You looked to Dolores, the oldest of the three in the room, with a searching glance.
“The three of us want to have a conversation with you before you tell the family your super big secret,” Dolores shrugged “We have some questions, seeing as we’re the only three who already know, besides Tio Bruno that is.” She added.
You relaxed a bit, your brow raised as you took in the little group gathered at the edge of the bed.
“Alright then…” You adjusted your position so you were seated cross-legged and leaned against the headboard of the bed.
“Have a seat you three, I feel a bit awkward with you standing over me like that.” You said.
“Great!” Mirabel said as she too sat cross-legged near the end of the bed.
Dolores sat on her knees beside her prima.
Little Antonio hopped up on the bed excitedly and crawled over to where you were, situating himself next to you and snuggling into your side. You smiled down at the boy and laid an affectionate hand atop the loving child’s head.
You looked up at the two young women sitting across from you on the bed and gave a little laugh at their eager expressions.
“Alright, alright,” You chuckled. “What is it you all wanted to know so bad you had to stand over my bed and watch me sleep?”
The three of them all started to talk, and you halted them with a raised hand and a knowing smirk.
“One at a time, por favor.” You spoke, turning to Antonio first and pursing your lips towards him to indicate he should ask first.
The boy perked up. “When you were Pepita, could you talk to the other rats?” He began.
You shook your head and told him no, to which he told you that he had spoken to Bruno’s other rats and they had told him that they knew you were human. You weren’t shocked by that, but when he had told you that they gossiped about you and Bruno you coughed in surprise.
“My turn!” Mirabel called, to which her prima pouted at being beaten to the punch. Mirabel’s smile faded a bit, an aura of seriousness settling onto her features.
“Why did you leave yesterday when you told me you were planning on staying?” She asked.
You frowned guiltily.
“Mira, what I said to you was the truth, I didn’t plan on leaving forever. It’s just that after we had our conversation, I realized that Bruno wasn’t the only one I needed to actually communicate with. You helped me see that I needed to go and talk to my parents, to try and mend our fractured relationship. I was only planning on being gone for a few hours and then returning and letting Bruno know the truth, like I told you I would.” You explained wringing your hands nervously, yet another quirk you seemed to have picked up from your beloved.
“Did it work? Is…is your relationship with your parents fixed?” Mirabel asked, and neither Antonio nor Dolores objected to the girl asking more questions despite already using her turn. They all leaned towards you, curiosity and concern for you painting their expressions.
“Unfortunately it’s not quite as simple as that,” You began watching as their faces fell.
You smiled at them warmly, and they perked up slightly.
“A relationship like mine with my parents can’t just be fixed over one visit. But we are on the right track. I think we all understand each other a bit more. And…they seem to accept me now. They're even…proud of me…” You looked off a bit teary-eyed.
“A-anyway, it’s not fixed, not completely. But our relationship is healing.” You finished.
“I’m so happy for you,” Mirabel said sweetly.
“I am too,” Dolores added, a smile curving her lips.
“Anyway my turn now!” She said.
“You were a rat in the walls for a month, I heard Tio Bruno talking to ‘Pepita’ all the time. I want to know if you fell in love with him before, or after you turned back into a human.” She looked at you with her head tilted forward and her eyes widened comically.
“Before.” You replied with a nonchalant shrug, not really feeling ashamed over it anymore.
Dolores nodded, eyes narrowed and a hand on her chin in thought.
“Really?” Mirabel asked “So you were stuck as a rat and you were all “Oh Bruno, Mi Amor, how I wish we could be together…if only I wasn’t trapped in this furry rodent form…!’?” She narrated in a teasing falsetto.
You nodded your head with a laugh. “Pretty much!”
Antonio called out an annoyed “Hey it’s my turn Mira!”
“Go ahead,” you said, “But only one more question each, I have to get up and get dressed so I can answer everybody else’s questions when I tell them everything.” The three of them nodded after you said this.
Antonio squirmed a bit from his place at your side. “Are you and Tio Bruno gonna get married?” He asked.
His hermana and prima let out a groan.
“No fair Tonito, that’s what I was gonna ask!” Mirabel declared. “Yeah, me too…” Dolores added.
You turned a bit red at the boy’s innocent question.
“I…I don’t know. I think… I know I want to someday. But, uh, it’s a bit early in our…courtship to even consider something like that,” You told them rubbing your shoulder awkwardly. “We haven’t even actually stated out loud how we feel about each other yet.”
Mirabel slapped the bed in outrage “ What?! You haven’t said I love you to each other?!” She questioned in indignation.
“No, and that counts as a question by the way.” You smirked a bit as you said this.
Mirabel groaned as she realized her outburst had cost her her last question.
“We haven’t said it to each other, but…I think we both already know how we feel about one another. I think the words themselves will probably just naturally follow the emotions,” Mirabel seemed satisfied by your response.
“Okay! My turn again.” Dolores butted in.
“What did you do to Tio Bruno last night that had his heart beating so loud?” She began an innocent look on her face despite the wicked gleam in her eye.
“And what did you mean last night when you said inadequate state of cloth-”
“-I’ll answer that one later!” You cried, motioning your head to the clueless five-year-old currently hugging your side.
Dolores let a small smirk pull at the corner of her mouth.
Before Mirabel could lean forward and try and pry into what that exchange had meant, you cleared your throat loudly.
“Alright you troublemakers,’ You began fondly “I’m kicking you out now. I’ll see you downstairs.”
The two young women looked at each other then the boy clinging to your side. They seemed to communicate telepathically before reaching a mutual decision.
You let out a huff as the wind was knocked out of you. The two had joined Antonio and piled on to you in an embrace.
“Thanks for answering our questions Tia!” Mirabel declared, Antonio and Dolores nodded in assent.
You squeezed the three Madrigals in your arms affectionately, your heart swelling as you looked at your family.
The three of them lept off the bed and told you to not take too long getting ready; Julieta would be done with breakfast soon.
You sat at your customary spot beside Mirabel, the table around you bustling with activity as the Madrigal’s had their first breakfast in the casita since its reconstruction. Though the breakfast of Migas de Arepa and chorizo looked and smelled enticing, you found yourself eating the food sparingly, your anxiety dampening your appetite. You felt a nudge at your foot, and glanced up to see Bruno seated across from you, sending you an encouraging smile. The little nudges of reassurance had become a tradition that the two of you practiced back and forth over the course of many family meals. You graced him with a grateful smile, your nerves easing slightly.
Alma had announced that after the table was cleared of breakfast, the entire family was to return to their seats so you could speak to them all. Though her words had been said kindly, the thought of standing in front of the large family and revealing everything made you twitch anxiously.
You helped with the rest of the family as the table was cleared and the plates were cleaned, humming in an attempt to calm yourself.
Finally, everyone had retaken their seats, and you stood from your chair looking on at the faces of the Madrigals.
You began with a deep breath, before addressing the family before you.
“I think I better start with an apology to you all. I’m so sorry, I never wanted to make you worry when I disappeared. Actually, I had no clue you’d notice I was gone, I thought I’d be back before that. But…I- I’ll tell you about where I went in a bit. There’s actually something else I need to say to you all first.” As you spoke your voice trembled almost unnoticeably. Alma furrowed her brows in confusion, clearly not expecting you to have something to tell the family besides where you had gone yesterday.
“I haven’t been completely honest with you all…” You shifted nervously. Mirabel caught your eye and sent you a smile. You dropped your tense shoulders a bit.
“Everything I told you about my parents, about that day they burned my sketches, about the Bruja Vanesa, that was all true but…” You faltered.
Your eyes met Bruno’s, the man looked at you in undisguised devotion, urging you with his eyes to continue. You could almost hear his voice in your head, telling you it would be alright.
You nodded determinedly and faced your family with a grin.
“Funny story…” you began.
By the time you had finished your long explanation, the people around the table looked like they were about to burst from holding in their questions and remarks.
“Everything I just told you is the truth,” You spoke, looking over their confused and disbelieving faces.
“I didn’t tell anyone the truth about… pepita …before because I was terrified that Bruno and the rest of you wouldn’t want me around anymore once you knew. I…was actually originally just going to stick around until the casita was finished, then tell Bruno the truth and leave the Encanto forever…”
A storm cloud appeared above Pepa’s head as you said this. Felix caressed her cheek tenderly, chasing the storm away with gentle words.
“You…Is that why you left yesterday?” Pepa frowned a bit.
“No,” You shook your head.
“I can explain this part actually if that’s okay with you?” Mirabel offered to you. You accepted with a grateful smile and took a seat.
You and the rest of the family listened as Mirabel described walking in on you, seeing you take the form of Pepita, and the subsequent heart-to-heart you had had.
“So yeah, our conversation talked her out of leaving permanently.” Mirabel finished.
“Uh…then why did you leave still…?” Camilo cut in, looking at you pointedly.
You turned to the boy, before explaining to the entire table the reconciliation you had sought from your parents. The expressions on the family’s faces shifted from confusion to understanding as you described your visit with your parents and your attempt to patch your fractured relationship with them.
“That was a wise decision,” Julieta spoke up, pride in you warming her tone.
“Bad timing though.” Camilo added, his sister shoved him in the shoulder and he yelped out a ‘what?’
“Hey, how was she supposed to know the miracle would return? And our gifts too?” Luisa spoke up in your defense.
“Just unlucky timing I guess,” Felix added from across the table.
“I’m sorry, are we all going to just ignore the part where she just told us that she lived as a rat in our walls for a month?” Isabela leaned forward, a disbelieving squint to her eyes.
“It’s true though!” Antonio spoke up. All eyes turned to the boy.
“I talked to her when she was stuck as Pepita. Then when I met her as a lady I could tell she was the same. Her voice is the same as Pepita’s” He explained, the toucan perched on his shoulder nodding sagely.
“Were you the rat that picked up my handkerchief for me when I kept dropping it?” Agustin asked curiously.
“Yeah, actually,” You responded.
“Okay, okay, my turn! But were you the rat that kept bringing me chocolate when I was really stressed out?” Luisa piped up from her seat on the other side of you.
You looked away somewhat bashfully. “Yeah…”
She pulled you into a one-armed side embrace, her lips trembling. “You're so sweet!” she said with an abundance of affection.
“Wait! Wait did you-” Camilo began, before he was cut off by Alma.
“Enough questions all of you.” She spoke with finality.
The woman looked at you from her spot at the head of the table.
“Y/n.” She began “…I thank you for telling us the truth. It would have been better if you had not been hiding this from us all in the first place, but while I don’t fully condone your lying, I understand your reasoning.”
“This changes nothing, you are still welcome in the Encanto, you have a place in the community. And whenever you wish it, a place at this table.” She told you with a civil nod.
“In the future though, I expect the truth from you.” She said with a stern brow raised.
You nodded at her in understanding, a respectful smile curving your lips.
“No more hiding things,” You said, catching Bruno’s eye as he watched you in silent pride.
“Good. The same goes for those of you who already knew Y/n’s secret.” She said scanning the table.
“I didn’t know!” Camilo spoke up, before leaning over the table and looking at you.
“Hey, Y/n, can you do it now? Turn into Bruno’s rat?”
“Camilo…” Felix muttered, though you could see the barely restrained curiosity threatening to break through his expression.
“What? You don’t want to see her turn into a rat? Mirabel got to see it.” He shrugged.
“I’d like to see it too actually,” Isabela added.
“Me too…I’ve only heard you talking about it, I never got to see it.” Dolores agreed.
“Stop pressuring her!” Luisa shouted.
“We’re not pressuring! We just want to see!” Isabela called back.
“Don’t shout at your sister.” Julieta frowned.
“Pepita is a very cute rat,” Antonio giggled. “Right Tio Bruno?”
“Yes.” He nodded “Probably in the top ten of the cutest rats I’ve seen.”
“Top ten?!” You cried in mock outrage.
“Excuse you, I am cuter than that!” You joked.
“ Hm ,” he shrugged “Maybe top five.”
The family laughed at the banter, you joining in on the chuckles. Even Abuela cracked a smile.
Julieta leaned forward to talk to you as conversations and mini-arguments erupted across the table.
“You don’t have to show us if you don’t want to. They’re pushy because they’re curious, but they mean well,” she spoke over the rising din of voices.
“That’s okay,” You laughed “I’m willing to show everyone. I’m not ashamed of it anymore. Pepita is a part of me.”
She nodded at your words.
You stood from the table.
“Okay Amazing Madrigals!” You spoke loudly, calling their attention and halting the crisscrossing conversations. “I’ll show you. I think it’s time you were all formally introduced to Pepita.”
You turned to Alma. “If that is alright with you Señora.”
“Yes…I am curious as well truthfully.” She responded.
“Okay then,” You turned to Mirabel sitting beside you. “Mind picking up my clothes and leaving them in the guest bedroom with me after?” you asked. She nodded and told you of course.
You looked over the expectant faces of the people before you, your eyes stopping on Bruno’s. You beamed at him as you let yourself remember how it felt to be held in his palms as a rat.
Gasps sounded around you as you stepped out of the pile of clothes as Pepita. Luisa bent down and picked you up gently.
“Woah! Cool!” Camilo cried. Then he studied your form for a minute with a considering eye.
“...can I do that…?” He muttered. You had no doubt that the boy would spend the next few days attempting to take the form of a rat, and possibly succeeding.
Luisa handed you off to Isabela beside her, who laughed as she conjured a tiny leaf and placed it on your head like a hat. You accepted the teasing gesture with the tolerance of a beloved old pet confronted with an inquisitive and handsy child. Before you knew it, you were being passed off from one Madrigal to another in a bizarrely endearing game of hot potato. Alma held you a bit hesitantly, studying your form with interest, before passing you on. When you had landed in Bruno’s hands again, he lifted the leaf of your head with an annoyed tsk at his eldest niece.
“She’s not a toy Isabela…” He muttered.
“You mean she’s not my toy, you on the other hand, probably love playing with her,” Isabela smirked, her words ringing with barely hidden double meaning.
Bruno almost dropped you in shock, his face turning red as he stuttered out her name reprimandingly. You found yourself laughing internally at the exchange.
Camilo doubled over with cackles, laughing so hard he had trouble breathing.
Bruno handed you off, fidgeting in humiliation.
By the time you landed in Mirabel’s hands, the table was abuzz with conversation over you.
“Alright! That was fun! I’m gonna pick up her clothes and bring her to her room now.” Mirabel spoke before doing just that.
She deposited you in the guest room and left you to change in privacy. As you returned to your true form, a giddy smile lit up your features. The last big hurdle had been crossed, you now had the acceptance of your families, both your original one and the new one you had made in the Encanto.
You hummed in delight, cherishing the thought of what the future might bring.
Yay! Now the family knows and the future is bright!
Only 3 chapters left! I'm so honored that you've all kept up with this story! Thank you so so much to everyone leaving kudos and commenting; I know I say that every chapter but I'm still thrilled everytime I see people interacting with this fic!
I had a question for you all. I'm working on a drawing of the bruja Vanesa for fun and I thought it might be cool to post it when it's done. Would you guys be interested in seeing it? I ask because I don't want to ruin anyone's immersion in the story or anything. The drawing I'm doing is just my interpretation of her. If you imagined her looking differently, then however you imagine her is how she looks. I just thought it might be fun to illustrate how I saw her. Anyway if you guys are interested in seeing it let me know in the comments and I'll post it in one of the upcoming chapters. (But if you'd rather I didn't you can tell me! Don't worry I won't be offended haha)
Anyway thanks so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this chapter, if you did please comment!
As the first week since the magic returned to the Encanto went by, you found yourself settling into life around you. Señor Ortiz had offered you his basement room on an indefinite basis. He told you that you were welcome to stay until you found somewhere else you wished to live. The mischievous grin creasing his weathered face told you that the man seemed to think you’d be moving into the Casa Madrigal someday…you hoped he was right.
Each morning you’d wake up, converse with the kind older man from across the breakfast table, and do your daily chores in the household. Then you’d take the walk across town to the Hernandez workshop. The couple had taken you on as their employee on a permanent basis, eager to have someone to teach their trade to. They had a daughter of their own, 16-year-old Daniela, who knew how to make the kind of art her parents created, but had no true interest in it. Her passions lay fully in the culinary arts, and you often saw the teenager lingering around Julieta and asking her questions.
After the entire town had seen the work you and the Hernandezs' had done on the windows for the casita, orders began to pour into the workshop. You dedicated yourself to your craft completely, sketching out designs for windows, ornaments, jewelry boxes, anything a person could think of that could be made from stained glass. It was tiring work, but it was challenging and fulfilling. Still, in that first week of chaos, you may have overdone it in an attempt to please everyone with their orders.
Bruno had stopped in on you in the workshop periodically. He had a steadily increasing stream of people coming to him for visions, and though using his gift again brought him some understandable anxiety, Bruno did his best to help those around him. There had been a few disgruntled people after his visions had shown them something they didn’t like, but Bruno was surprised to find that many people had started to develop a more understanding attitude. And some of them even got good visions of their futures! There was still quite a ways to go before the people of the town were fully accepting of him, but it seemed like he had hope that they would accept him soon.
Like you, he had been busy throughout the week. But it seemed that any moment he had spare time, he’d pop into the workshop and take a seat beside you while you worked. The little stolen moments you had together weren’t nearly enough, and after a few days, Bruno began to insist that you have dinner at the casita with the family. You agreed to his request and carried your exhausted self up the hill with Bruno at your side. You’d take his hand in yours as you walked, telling him about the events of the day, and sometimes your conversations would jump around from topic to topic. It was amazing the way you could keep up a lively conversation with the man about almost anything. One night you had arrived at the doors of the casita deep in a friendly (but utterly ridiculous) debate about which mythological character would be able to beat the other in a fight.
And if the rest of the family looked on at you two in a mixture of amusement and certainty that you both had gone insane, that was fine. You figured the Madrigals could deal with a little crazy, they had enough of their own to go around, you thought fondly.
Truthfully the family dinners had become your favorite part of the day, you felt yourself relaxing in the homey atmosphere. Afterward, Antonio would pull you into the backyard and beg you and Mirabel to play ball with him. Even with your exhausted state, you couldn’t resist his pleading, joining in on the game, as the others watched and talked to each other. Then Luisa would swap out with you and Camilo would join in on his brother’s side. Before you knew it, you’d often end up watching the game become a family competition, all the grandchildren joining in and picking a side. By this point, you’d be out of the game for the night, and you sit back on the new set of outdoor couches and chairs to watch with the other adults.
You never failed to snag the spot next to Bruno on one of the couches, pressing against his side and laying your head on his shoulder. The first time you had done that, Bruno had turned red and began to fidget awkwardly, not used to such contact from you in front of his family. Though you could tell he was a bit embarrassed, he never asked you to stop, even frowning to himself when you’d get up, only to look away with a pleased expression when you returned with a glass of water and retook your spot snuggled against his side. After a few days, his embarrassment at your closeness in front of everyone eased, and he’d taken to wrapping an arm around you as the older generations watched the grandkids battle over the ball dramatically.
You hadn’t really announced to anyone that you two were together (though everyone could tell). Actually, you hadn’t even really talked about it to each other. You had just somehow slipped into your romantic relationship with the same comfortable ease that you had begun your friendship with. Still, you realized that it was probably a good idea for you two to actually communicate about that. After all the antics that had come from not talking to each other, you had vowed to make communication a cornerstone of your relationship. So one night after a week had passed, you took his hand again as he walked you back to the Ortiz house after another family dinner (he always made sure to walk you home, leaving you at the doorstep with a chaste press of his lips to your forehead that left your heart-rate picking up unreasonably)
But on this night, as he turned to leave you at the door, you stopped him with a hand on his shoulder.
“...Everything okay, querida?” He said with a worried set to his brow.
You patted his shoulder lightly to ease his concern.
“Actually, everything is wonderful. I wanna talk to you, come inside? I’m pretty sure Señor Ortiz is making coffee right about now.” You said.
Bruno gave a little nod and followed you inside to the kitchen table, where old man Ortiz was seated reading a book, a cup of dark roast in his hand.
“I’m back Señor,” You called the man’s attention “and I brought Bruno.”
The man perked up at seeing his previous houseguest. He had seemed genuinely happy to have Bruno and you in the house with him, glad for the company after years of living alone. Many times when Bruno was still staying there, you’d come back from the workshop to find the two of them reading at the table, a comfortable atmosphere settling around them both.
“Buenas noches Bruno! Let me get you both a cup.” The man stood from the table and ambled over to get some coffee for Bruno and you.
“Gracias, Andrés,” Bruno replied, calling the man by his first name as he set a cup in front of each of you.
The man waved off the thanks, patting Bruno on the shoulder.
“It’s late, it’s late, I think I better retire for the night,” The older man spoke over his shoulder, before leaving you two to your conversation.
“Goodnight Señor. Don’t stay up too late reading, you always complain that your eyes ache in the morning when you do!” You called after him
“Leave an old man to his readings Mija,” He waved you off with a chuckle before disappearing into his bedroom.
You and Bruno shook your heads fondly at your friend. For a moment the two of you simply drank from your cups, enjoying the rich taste of the arabica coffee.
Bruno set the drink down on the table, fidgeting a bit.
“Do you…Do you still want to talk…?” He questioned.
You nodded at him pleasantly.
“Yes, and stop worrying. I can see your fingers twitching Brunito.” You called his nickname teasingly, watching as he rolled his eyes with a fond smile.
“Sorry, sorry. I guess I just want to know what you want to talk about Pepita .” He replied with the familiar nickname for you of his own.
You shook your head with a chuckle and sent him a gentle kick beneath the table.
“Hey, you started it with the nicknames,” He laughed.
You stopped yourself from continuing the banter, aware that if you let it, your teasing back-and-forth would go on all night.
You reached a hand across the table and grasped Bruno’s unoccupied hand in yours.
“You're the most important person in my life, you know that right?” You told him honestly.
Bruno’s eyes softened, his playful demeanor evaporating and being replaced with some deep affectionate emotion.
“I do know,” He began “you’re…you’re mine too.” He said with a quirk of his lips.
“Good…” You smiled.
“So you know I’m in love with you then, right?” You stated matter-of-factly.
Bruno coughed in surprise, narrowly avoiding a choking fit by swallowing the sip of coffee he had taken.
“...you are-?” He wheezed, face red.
He cleared his throat and put a serious look on his face in an attempt to recover his dignity. Bruno set his cup on the tabletop.
“I- uh, I mean yeah. I knew! Haha yep…” You heard him knock with his free hand on the underside of the table discreetly.
“....yep….” Bruno trailed off, looking away nervously.
He paused before bringing his hopeful gaze back to you.
“...you…you really mean it…?” He questioned almost desperately.
You squeezed his hand in yours.
“I do. I love you, Bruno.” You smiled as his face reddened impossibly.
You knew that he felt the same, but you didn’t want to overwhelm him. The last thing you wanted to do was demand he say the words back to you or question his feelings.
“It’s okay Bruno,” You laughed kindly and began to stand to return your empty cup to the sink, “don’t be anxious. You don’t have to say it back.”
You thought that would ease his nerves, but instead, Bruno seemed to devolve into more panic.
“W-wait!” He yelped, gripping your hand tightly and preventing you from leaving. You stood over him as he sat at the table, his hand clenched in yours. You set your cup back down.
“Don’t go! I was just surprised, but not bad surprised, happy surprised- actually that’s an understatement-! Maybe ecstatic surprised? Overjoyed -!” You cut off Bruno’s frantic ramblings with a hand brushing through his hair soothingly. The man stilled before leaning into the touch automatically, his shoulders untensing and his eyes drifting closed with a sigh.
Slowly he looked up at you again, his lidded gaze radiating adoration.
“I do love you…” He said softly, his eyes darting over your face.
It just felt right, to bend forward, and press your lips against his. As he kissed you back softly, he laced his fingers through yours.
You stepped back and stood up straight. Bruno followed you, standing as well, not ready to let you go just yet. He pulled you into another kiss, his lips meeting yours adoringly.
You broke from the kiss, resting your reddened face on his shoulder. Bruno dropped your interlaced hands only to wrap his arms around you again. You rested your hands flat against his back, breathing in the familiar scent of the man in the ruana, sand and old stone, coffee and wood.
“I was right, you know,” He began.
“When I told you as Pepita, that you were the best thing to happen to me in years…”
You snuggled your head against him. Then, because you found yourself unable to resist the urge, you placed a small kiss against the juncture of his neck and collarbone.
Bruno shivered at the sensation, his arms tightening around you.
His reaction just made you want to tease him more. You began pressing more and more fervent kisses up the column of his throat. Bruno let out an almost inaudible whimper. You felt a bit dizzy with power as the man began to shake. Before you could get too affectionate and leave your mark on him (Which you really, really wanted to do) Bruno stepped out of the embrace, his face flaming.
“O-Okay!” His eyes met the ceiling “I better- I have to- uhhh - I think I should say goodnight!” He said as you watched him cross his fingers.
You worried for a moment that you had gone too far, maybe made him uncomfortable. But his gaze darted to your face and you didn’t miss the love-struck smile that flashed across his embarrassed features.
“So…so you know…uh goodnight…” He scratched the back of his head awkwardly.
“Goodnight, mi amor.” You whispered.
Some of his nervous energy eased at the term, he gifted you with a gentle smile, and once again told you to rest well.
By the time that three more months had passed, the entire town seemed to think of you and Bruno as a pair. If one of you was ever out and about without the other, you were sure to get snooping questions asking where the other person was. They seemed to think you were attached at the hip, which to be fair, you were around each other nearly constantly. The people of the Encanto considered you one of the Madrigals, which made sense considering how much time you spent with the family and how close you had grown to them all.
Life moved forward as the seasons shifted. Nearly 6 months passed by since the day the magic had returned. Not everything was perfect, you found that you were constantly overworking yourself and some people in town stubbornly refused to be kind to Bruno. But life was never going to be perfect, there were always going to be ups and downs, and with each great happiness, great sadness as well. Dolores’s engagement and wedding had flown by, the celebration joyous and colorful. You cried almost as much as Luisa and Pepa as you watched the young woman be joined with her love for the rest of her life.
But as you said, with great joy, great sorrow was sure to follow.
Andrés Ortiz passed peacefully one morning. You found him asleep on the couch, his favorite book in his hands and his reading glasses sliding down his nose. Your attempts to wake him soon grew frantic and you realized with aching grief that the kind man who had become a dear friend to you was gone.
The sounds of your cries reached across the Encanto and echoed in the ears of the newly married Dolores. She and her husband of 2 months raced to meet you in the old house at the edge of town, stopping only to grab Bruno. You were startled from your spot kneeling on the floor beside the couch where Señor Ortiz lay, by the frantic calls from the other side of the door.
You had scrambled to open it, and had been pulled into the terrified arms of your beloved. None of them knew what had happened, only that Dolores had heard your grief-stricken cries. She hadn’t thought to listen for Señor Ortiz’s heartbeat, but if she had, she would have realized that the sound had stopped.
You explained through your tears, and watched as sorrow draped itself over all who were present. Bruno’s grip on you had tightened, he later told you that he felt guilty for the relief he felt that you were unharmed, though his sadness at losing his friend had tightened his throat painfully.
A week later, the funeral was held. The entire Encanto came to the house at the far end of town to pay their respects. Señor Ortiz had no children, his wife had passed before they were ever able to. There was no one to take over the house. You had done your best to clean it up, but you were only able to spend a few nights in the vacant home, before you realized that the lonely emptiness was pulling you into depression.
In the middle of the night, you had woken up in the little basement room, tears streaming down your face. You had dreamt of the kind man, a memory of him replaying itself in your consciousness. It was of the first morning you’d woken up in his house, after he had agreed to let you stay. He had sat you down at the kitchen table and listened with obliging patience as you explained why you wished to stay in the Encanto. The older man had smiled at you in understanding and laid a weathered hand over yours. Then he had told you that you were welcome to stay for as long as you needed, that he was glad to have a new friend…
You had shot up from bed and wiped the dampness from your face. Without really considering it, you had shifted into Pepita and ran off frantically into the night. Casita had opened the door a sliver for you and you had slipped into the house. Then, careless about whether it was rude or not, you darted into Bruno’s tower, past the waiting room, into the hall, and into his bedroom.
You shifted back into your true form and stood over Bruno’s sleeping figure, sobbing quietly.
Unfortunately for you, your distressed brain hadn’t considered the implications of the superstitious man finding a crying woman standing over his bed at night.
He had screamed and scrambled backwards until he fell off the side of the bed and onto the floor. If you weren’t having a grief-stricken panic attack, you would have laughed as Bruno called you La Llorona. Instead, you began to hyperventilate, as you thought of the big empty Ortiz house, and the lingering echo of the man who once lived there.
Bruno had stood up hastily as he heard your trembling voice call his name through gasping cries. As he realized it was you, his terror morphed into concern. He grabbed the blanket from his bed and draped it over your unclothed form. He was so worried for you, he hadn’t even been embarrassed by your state of dress, focusing instead on calming your panic attack. He guided your blanket-wrapped body to sit on the bed, taking a seat beside you. Bruno calmed your hysteria by having you take deep breaths, using the very same techniques and breathing exercises that you had told him to use when he began to devolve into panic attacks of his own.
He hadn’t asked what was wrong, understanding of your grief leading him to speak gentle words of comfort. Eventually your breathing had shallowed, your hysteria abating. You had passed out on his bed and woken up in the morning to find Bruno asleep in the armchair by his writing desk.
The next morning, he had walked across town to the Ortiz house, you perched on his shoulder as Pepita. By now the people of the Encanto knew of your other form, and they greeted Bruno and you with your real name. He had deposited you on the desk in the basement room, and told you to get dressed and pack your things.
In the most demanding tone you had ever heard from the man (which really, was still quite gentle) he had told you that he wouldn’t let you live alone in this house anymore, and that you were moving into the guest bedroom of the casita. Then he had left the room as you turned back into your human form, dressed yourself, and began to pack as he had asked.
Bruno hadn’t consulted his family, not even Alma. He had made the decision by himself after seeing your distressed state the previous night. Later in the day the two of you had returned to the casita and you watched in wonder as the man told his mother without a stutter or an ounce of pleading, that you were going to stay in the casita now.
The woman had kissed her son on the cheek and told him that was fine. It was only later that Dolores had told you that she had heard your horrified sobs the previous night, and had alerted the matriarch to your struggles. By the time her son had shown up with you and demanded that you were to stay in the casita, Alma had already decided the very same thing.
From then on, the Casa Madrigal became your home. You returned to the guest bedroom each night after a busy day of glass crafting. Slowly, as the months passed, grief loosened its piercing grip on you and Bruno both, until all that lingered was a dull ache.
Breathing became a bit easier, and with time you felt happiness ebbing its way into your mind. Life at the Casa Madrigal was hectic and lively, you often found yourself pulled in different directions by family members seeking your attention or advice. You hadn’t even realized an entire year had passed since that day that you had returned to your human form, until Mirabel had gifted you with a shirt she hand-embroidered, telling you ‘Happy 1 year anniversary since we first met!’ (Of course, she wasn’t counting the time you had met first as a rat). You hugged the girl gratefully, thanking her and laughing over the little rats and pumpkins she had sewn into the fabric.
She had shrugged off your thanks and told you that sort of thing was what family did for each other. Then she had whispered in your ear that she was getting impatient and were you and Bruno getting married soon?
You had laughed it off and elbowed the girl lightly, but the thought lingered with you. You did want to marry Bruno, more than anything. The past year of your relationship had only solidified that truth in your mind more. Bruno was as wonderful as you had always thought. Gentle, thoughtful, intelligent, and affectionate (and he made this adorable little whine when you-)
He was the love of your life. You were sure of that. And you were ready to spend the rest of your life with him, if that was what he wished. You didn’t feel anxious or even sad that he hadn’t asked you. Bruno was a patient, considerate man. You knew he was waiting for you to be ready. For you to settle into your new life completely, and work through your grief at losing Senor Ortiz (though you felt a bit guilty, you realized that the man had become a better father figure to you than your own father). It was obvious to you that Bruno loved you entirely (even without him constantly reminding you of this fact, his actions told you how deeply he felt for you)
So Bruno was simply waiting. He had always been good at that. But you didn’t want to make him wait any longer. A plan formed in your mind, and you ran with the idea happily. Soon enough, Mirabel’s impatience would be eased, and you’d take Bruno’s hand in yours for the rest of your life.
Well, that was a long chapter huh? Lots of stuff happened...😳 Aren't reader and Bruno just adorable haha. Anyway only 2 chapters left wow! Thanks to everyone commenting and leaving kudos, your comments mean so much to me, I literally read and re-read them like 3 or 4 times each.
Also thank you guys so much for your responses about Vanesa! I'm glad you want to see how I interpret her. I'm still working on the drawing, I'll post it in the next chapter!
I hope this chapter was to your liking! If it was, Please leave a comment! :)
The idea was a simple one, maybe a little silly, but it was just too fun to resist. You knew that Bruno wanted to be with you for the rest of your lives, he had told you often enough that he wanted a life with you. And maybe if you had dropped hints at him that you were ready, that he didn’t need to wait anymore, Bruno would have driven himself crazy trying to plan the right way to propose to you. But you realized with a little laugh, that you wanted to be the one to ask. Not only would his face probably be priceless, but it would save him any anxiety he might have had if he let himself obsess over asking you to marry him.
You wanted the way you asked to be sincere, and what better way to do that than to create a piece of art that communicated that sincerity. For the next three weeks, you put aside the orders from customers and focused instead on the piece you were making for Bruno. The Hernandezs' gave you your break gladly, pleased with how much progress their workshop had made since you arrived in town. While you were busy with your piece, their daughter Daniela was kind enough to shoulder some of your workload (in exchange for a recipe you had wheedled out of Julieta).
Bruno had popped in on the workshop several times, and there had been a few times when he had almost seen what you had been working on. But you and Daniela had been able to cover the piece hastily. You distracted Bruno’s suspicious glances with a well-timed kiss, and a few choice words whispered in his ear. Afterward, Bruno would wander out of the workshop, a goofy smile on his reddened face. Daniela had demanded to know what you had whispered to the man one day, after your words had made him so airheaded he walked face-first into the workshop door. She’d have to wonder forever though, you weren’t planning on sharing what you'd said.
Finally the day had come when you looked down at your piece and realized that you were ready. The three Hernadezs’ stood behind you and looked over your shoulder at the piece with little noises of awe. Your work had been showered with praise, and coming from the talented family, you felt yourself swell with pride. Turning around, you pulled Francisco, Maritza, and Daniela into your arms, thanking the family for their help. They had returned the hug happily, telling you that they expected an invite to your wedding soon.
Carefully, you wrapped the delicate piece and placed it in a flat box. You walked stiffly across town with the box in your arms, paranoid about dropping the fragile item.
The door to the casita swung open for you, and you entered the house, calling out a greeting to Pepa, who teasingly sent a gust of wind to ruffle your skirt.
“Going somewhere in a hurry, Pepita?” She called as you ascended the stairs delicately.
“I’m going somewhere, just not in a hurry,” You laughed, “I don’t want to drop this.”
Julieta emerged from the kitchen, a bit of flour on her cheek which her sister wiped off with her fingers giving a click of her tongue.
“Y/n, is that your newest piece? We’d love to see it.” The woman in the apron spoke.
You looked down at them from the balcony, unable to hide your exhilarated grin.
“Don’t worry mis hermanas, you’ll see it soon enough! I have to show Bruno first though.” You winked.
The sisters looked at you, amusement and confusion flickering across their faces. The realization of what you had called them seemed to hit Julieta first, she put up a surprised hand over her beaming smile.
“What? What are you two grinning about?” Pepa asked, getting a bit annoyed at being left out.
“Don’t worry about it,” Julieta began to pull her sister away. “Y/n, Bruno’s in his tower right now, he’s doing a vision for little Valentina, the girl should be out soon. Why don’t you rest in the waiting room of his tower.” The woman called to you, as she dragged her confused and slightly irritated sister into the kitchen. As you left for the tower, you heard excited whispering between the two, and then an exclamation of surprise from Pepa. You paused and looked at the rainbow that had bloomed in the Casita’s courtyard, before continuing on to find Bruno, the box still held tight in your grasp.
You entered his room and settled into one of the comfy brown chairs, listening to the ticking of the clocks. You drummed your fingers against the surface of the box in your lap, unable to lie to yourself and say you weren’t nervous. You knew that no matter what, Bruno would be kind and gentle with you. Even if for some reason he didn’t like that you were the one to propose, or he felt he wasn’t ready to get married, he would never say anything purposefully hurtful. Still, the thought of rejection had you antsy as you watched the sand trickle down in the hourglasses around you.
Finally, after what felt like an hour (But was really at most 10 minutes), the ornate stone door creaked open, and Mrs. Muñoz emerged with her 7-year-old daughter Valentina. The little girl was clinging to the edge of Bruno’s ruana, frantically jumping up and down and talking a mile a minute as her mother looked on with a fond sigh.
“So- so I get to be a piano player someday? Like a popular one? Everyone in town’s gonna come watch me play-!” She spouted off happily as her mother slid the vision of her daughter’s future into the messenger bag draped over her shoulder.
Bruno chuckled a bit at the elated child, clearly pleased to have given her a positive vision.
“Yeah looks like it! Can’t wait to hear what you do…” He told her with a smile.
Mrs. Muñoz scooped up her energetic daughter and turned to Bruno to thank him.
“Thank you Bruno. She’s been begging me for weeks to take lessons from Agustin. I only hesitated because she did the same thing with painting classes and she gave up after a month.” The woman spoke gratefully.
Her daughter pouted in her arms.
“Soorryy mom, geez. The paint was so messy, and I'm no good at it.” The girl groaned.
“It’s fine niña, Señor Madrigal gave us a wonderful vision, now we know piano lessons are right for you.” The woman talked to her daughter in her arms as she weaved her way out of the waiting room. She called out one last thank you, before leaving out the tower door.
For a moment, Bruno stared at the ground, a disbelieving smile softening his features as he fidgeted happily with his ruana. He obviously hadn’t noticed you situated in one of the chairs in the corner, and you let yourself watch the joy radiate from the once solemn man.
“Had a good day?” You called.
Bruno jumped with a little scream, clutching at his chest.
You cackled wickedly from your chair, watching as Bruno huffed in annoyance at your antics. His irritation seeped away almost immediately, as he watched the laughter light up your face.
“Yeah…it’s been a good day.” He said, walking towards where you were, and taking a seat in the chair across from you.
“How about you, amor? Was your day alright?” He asked as he settled into his chair.
“Yeah actually. I finished the project I was working on…” You trailed off, nerves getting the better of you.
Bruno’s eyes landed on the box in your lap. He leaned forward curiously.
“Is that the thing you hide every time I come in the shop?” He questioned with a little smirk.
“Yes…” You placed a hand on the lid.
“...well…can I…can I see it-?” Bruno began.
He halted at the panicked look on your face, and quickly rushed to reassure you.
“Y/n, you don’t have to show me if you're not comfortable! Or if you just don’t want to. I don’t want to pressure you. We can wait till you're ready.” He said kindly, gently.
His characteristic consideration chased away your worries like they were nothing. You breathed out a sigh of relief, and looked at him with a loving smile.
“I’m ready.” You told him.
He nodded happily, taking the box from you gently as you handed it to him.
Your heart picked up speed as his nimble fingers undid the strip of cloth tying the box closed. He lifted the lid, and pulled out the wrapped piece, shooting you a reassuring smile as he slowly pulled the fabric around the glass away.
He stilled. Looking down on the square tablet in wonder.
You watched the realization dance across his face, as he took in what you had made.
It was a stained glass tablet, the same shape and size as one of Bruno’s visions. The emerald glass and intricate lead linework created a scene of you and Bruno hand in hand, standing before the church in your wedding clothes. Little flowers were placed throughout the scene, and the green of the glass reflected the room's candlelight, making it appear to glow like Bruno’s visions did.
“So…what do you think? I know I'm not the one with the visions here, but…do you think…do you think this could be our future?” Your leg bounced a bit with your anxiety as you willed the words out of your mouth.
Bruno’s eyes snapped to yours, an overjoyed light shining behind them. A single tear traced down his cheek.
“I know it’s our future.” He said earnestly, holding the piece you had created like it was the most precious thing to him.
Carefully he placed the piece back in its wrapping and in the box, setting the item down gently as he stood from his chair.
He dropped to his knees before your still seated form, grasping your hand.
“Marry me Y/n.” He said, something akin to worship in his tone and expression.
You laughed joyfully, standing up, and pulling the kneeling man up with you by the hand.
“That’s what I was hoping you'd say” You sighed happily, taking Bruno in your arms and pulling him into a kiss. You broke from the kiss to rest your head on his shoulder, sighing in contentment.
The two of you stood for a moment, arms around each other, letting yourselves get lost in the person before you.
Bruno chuckled a bit as he drew patterns on your back with his thumbs.
“I’d say we should go tell people, but I'm pretty sure Dolores has already beat us to it.”
You laughed and nodded your head, no doubt in your mind that he was right.
Thanks so much to everyone who let me know they were interested in seeing my depiction of Vanesa. So here she is!
Here she is in her normal form:
And this is how she looks when she appears as a smoke vision:
Yay, they're finally engaged! I hope you all liked the proposal! I can not believe there is only one chapter left 😭 Writing this story and sharing it with you all has brought me so much joy! Thank you all so much for sticking with this story, being encouraging and kind (and funny!), and thank you for your amazing inspiring comments!
I hope you all enjoyed this chapter (and the drawings of Vanesa), If you did please let me know in the comments!
Bruno had been right of course, Dolores had told the family immediately. The two of you had exited his tower room to find a crowd of Madrigals standing in the courtyard, talking excitedly. Dolores had her arm looped with Mariano’s as she whispered eagerly to Mirabel. The moment Antonio spotted you and Bruno standing on the balcony, he shouted “Look, there they are!” and suddenly all eyes were on you two.
The celebration that night had lasted hours, the family staying up and talking about what the wedding would be like. Alma was pleased to finally see her son married, and especially so soon after Dolores had wed Mariano as well. You and Bruno sat beside each other on one of the couches in the backyard as you listened to the rest of your family attempt to plan your wedding for you. Everyone seemed to have their own idea about how it should go and who could do what to help. You and Bruno shared a look as ideas were thrown about the room.
In the end, no one actually wanted to be controlling, their ideas were simply suggestions. So you and Bruno took their exhilarated brainstorming with good humor. Some of their ideas were actually quite good, and you found yourself taking mental note of what things made Bruno nod and what made him cringe. However the ceremony would be, how big or small, extravagant or not, you knew that you’d be thrilled as long as you got to call yourself Bruno’s wife at the end of the day.
The first few months of your engagement went by in a flurry of planning. You and Bruno both struggled to balance your work during the day, and the growing complexity of the ceremony being planned. You were grateful to Mirabel and Alma who took charge and began to direct the rest of the family on what to do to help plan. Soon each member of the family had their own jobs related to the ceremony, even Antonio, who besides being the ring-bearer, promised to have an assortment of colorful birds show up and fly a synchronized dance as you and Bruno emerged from the church.
You felt that maybe the whole thing was getting a bit dramatic when Isabela added in that she’d make not only the world’s most colorful bouquet but also topiary figures of you and Bruno. At that point, you had pulled her aside and brought a delighted smile to her face as you gave her an alternative request. Instead of the figures, you asked if she was able to create a weeping willow tree to place nearby the house as a wedding present. She had let out an excited ‘of course I can do that!’ And said that for the evening of your ceremony she’d create a whole grove of trees so large the canopy could shelter the entire wedding party. You told her not to tire herself out, but the idea of having dinner beneath the trees sounded beautiful. Bruno had agreed and added that it would look lovely illuminated by candles and hanging lanterns.
A bump in the road of your engagement came about 4 months in. You had been so caught up in planning, that you realized you hadn’t even told your parents yet. The idea brought you anxiety for some reason, and you found yourself putting it off. It had actually been Felix, who pulled you aside one day and sat you down for a conversation. Agustin had walked by the table and Felix had called him over. The three of you sat as Felix told you he had noticed your increasing nervousness. He had told you that he understood completely, though he had known the Madrigals for most of his life, it was still nerve-wracking for him to marry into the magical family. Agustin had nodded in agreement, telling you that though the family meant well, they didn’t really realize the pressure that came with marrying one of them.
You had smiled at them gratefully, and told them that you had begun to feel much better about the pressure months ago, but that you had something else on your mind. The two men had listened patiently as you had described your unease about telling your parents.
Over a year had passed since your first visit with them. You had gone back 7 times since then, the visits spread out over months. Your relationship was still somewhat tense, and at times you could feel the familiar arguments trying to worm their way into conversations, but it wasn’t all bad. Many of your visits were even pleasant.
Not all though.
On your third visit to them, you had asked Vanesa to send Bruno with you. The Bruja had obliged, always willing to help you despite her distaste for your parents. You found yourself truly grateful to her, sometimes even lingering in her house to have conversations after talking to your parents. The first time you had brought Bruno back with you, an argument had erupted between your parents and Bruno. Your parents still resented the way he had (rightfully) called them out and lectured them. And Bruno despised the couple for how they had treated you. At one point the yelling had gotten to be too much and you left the house, overwhelmed by the dispute. Bruno had promptly followed after you, apologies spilling from his lips desperately.
You hadn’t been too angry with him. Really your parents had been the ones to start it. But you couldn’t help but feel upset that the people you loved couldn’t even try to get along. As you sat on the back steps of your childhood home, Bruno wrapped an arm around you and sat with you while you got your breathing under control. Eventually, your father had opened the back door and taken a seat on the step on your other side, your mother followed after, sitting on the step above you. The four of you simply sat in silence for a moment as the grasshoppers chirped and the stars blazed above you. Eventually, apologies had been passed around.
You had told your parents that if they couldn’t get along with Bruno, you would not be visiting them again for a while. That had cowed them a bit, and everyone had agreed to remain civil. Afterward, when you and Bruno had returned back to Vanesa’s house, she had pulled Bruno into a hug and congratulated him for ripping into your parents so thoroughly. Bruno actually accepted the embrace for a moment. He later told you that though he still found the enchantress to be exasperating, the one thing they could always agree on, was how much they both disliked your parents, well, that and they could also agree on how much they both adored you.
After you had explained all this to Felix and Agustin, they had gifted you with some sage advice. You were going to marry Bruno no matter what your parents said about it, no matter how they reacted; telling them was simply an act of courtesy on your part, and it was better to just get it over with so you didn’t have to waste any more headspace on the matter.
And of course, your soon-to-be brother-in-laws were right. The next day you had called on Vanesa and had her bring you back to your hometown. You would have had Bruno come with you, but the thought of your parents rejecting the marriage had you wanting to go alone. As little as Bruno valued their opinion, you knew it would still hurt him if they said they didn’t want him to marry you.
The conversation had not gone how you would have expected it. Your parents had already come to accept the fact that you and Bruno were truly in love, that he would always be a part of your life. They took the news of the wedding quite well, and for a moment you felt giddy with their congratulations. But it had been a bit too good to be true. The moment you had told them the wedding was to be held in the Encanto, the smiles had been wiped from their faces. An argument had broken out over the location of the wedding, your parents insisting it take place in their hometown, after all, it was where they were married. You, of course, rejected this thought immediately. Encanto was your home now, the people there were your community, and there was no other place in the world you wished to be married.
Your mother had begun to cry angrily, telling you that if you married there, she and your father wouldn’t be able to attend the wedding. You had looked at her in irritated bewilderment. Of course they could attend, you had said, Vanesa could send them over easily. This had only riled them up further, and they began to curse out the woman you had begrudgingly begun to think of as your friend. They told you that they didn’t trust her or her magic and that they certainly didn’t want to go to some strange town under some mysterious enchantment. You realized with a jolt that they would really let their superstitions and their prejudice against Vanesa keep them from being there on your wedding day.
You had taken a deep breath to calm yourself and told them that it was your wedding, your life, and you were going to get married in the Encanto. If they refused to be there, then that was their choice. You had said that you loved them, and then you had walked out the door.
As you marched across the streets of your hometown, you found that your anger at your parents’ stubbornness far outweighed any sadness about them not being there. That night you had described your visit to Bruno. He had told you that he was proud of you for standing up for yourself, and for not letting yourself be bent to their whims.
Several months more of planning had passed, when you found yourself calling on the Bruja Vanesa again. Without asking why you needed to be transported, or even paying attention to the large unwieldy box in your hand, she had agreed. You found yourself smiling fondly at the woman, as you realized that she truly cared for you, and she was really on your side.
You had appeared in her house again, the dim surroundings no longer mysterious, but familiar and homey. The woman had paused as she realized you had brought a large box with you.
“Y/n, did you really bring a gift with you for your parents after they were so nasty to you last time?” She huffed hands on her hips.
“No.” You stated simply, carefully dropping the large item on her table with a shrug.
“...I’m confused then.” She looked at the item with squinted eyes, before popping up with a wide smile.
“Oh! Oh! Did you bring a bunch of garbage to dump on their doorstep! I’ll help.” She clapped.
“What-? No? Why would someone even do that…?” You were momentarily distracted at her words.
“I’ve done much worse.” She nodded, a grin curving her lips as she remembered some distant act of deviancy fondly.
“I’m sure you have,” you shook your head with a little chuckle.
“Anyway, this isn’t for my parents. I’m not even here to see them really. Though if I'm feeling nice I might stop in on them.” You explained taking a seat at her table.
Vanesa sat across from you, confusion furrowing her brow.
She poked the box suspiciously, then looked up at you.
“If you aren’t here for your parents, why did you want to come here?” She asked curiously.
“I’m here for you of course.” You told her, the corner of your lip quirking up as Vanesa’s eyes snapped to yours.
“You…you came to visit me?” She muttered. You delighted in her unsure attitude, never before seeing the theatrical woman act that way.
“Yes, I did. I want to thank you. If it weren’t for you, I never would have met Bruno, I never would have learned my craft, or found my family. Though some of the things you did were very much not okay, I know that you were always trying to help me. And I know you haven’t been spying on me anymore like you promised you wouldn’t. Otherwise, you would have known about the little surprise I’ve been working on for you.” As you spoke, you watched surprise transform the face of the woman before you.
“So thank you, Vanesa, you really are my friend. Just no more pranks, please, otherwise I’m going to have to rescind my words of friendship,” You laughed.
Vanesa stared at you for a moment, and you realized that she was probably unused to hearing thank-yous from people. And possibly even more unused to being called someone’s friend.
“Y/n…” She looked at you in wonder.
“…how special you are.” She murmured, the gentle tone unfamiliar.
You blushed a bit and scratched at the back of your head.
“W-well go on then…open the gift, we probably shouldn’t sit here all night.” You told her with a little half-shrug.
She lifted the lid and pulled the thin paper around the object away, letting out a little gasp.
“They’re…they’re windows.” She whispered, tracing the panes with her fingertips. The windows were a matching set of two, made to be placed in the thin windows that were on either side of her front door. Both of them showed Vanesa prominently as she appeared in her visions of smoke, her cloud of hair billowing upward dramatically, a mischievous smile on her face, and as a little joke, a rat on her shoulder.
“You did say after all, that you believed in me and my art, and that later on, you’d have me make windows for you. I took measurements last time I was here.” You revealed with a smile.
Vanesa stood from the table and pulled you into a hasty embrace.
“I knew you were amazing! Didn’t I tell you I believed in you! Look at you, mi pequeña artista favorita! Look how you shine!” She exclaimed happily.
You pulled from her embrace after a few minutes with a laugh.
“You were right about a few things. What was it that you said? I may not like the plan you came up with for now, but once I see that it works out, I’ll come running to you with praise?” You grinned.
“So I guess it’s time for me to say those words of praise you predicted.” You laughed.
“Vanesa, you’re the best! You’re so talented! You saved me!” You quoted.
“Oh! Almost forgot,” You snapped.
“And you look very lovely!” You finished.
Vanesa did something you had never seen her do. She turned red, a rare blush darkening her cheeks. She looked away and let out an embarrassed cough.
“Of course!” She said, recovering her confident attitude.
“I am the best after all!” Still, even with her show of bragging, you could see how deeply your actions and words had affected her, her eyes warm as she looked down at you.
After giving Vanesa her windows, you had figured that you were feeling nice after all and that you would stop in on your parents for a quick visit.
They had pulled you into an embrace immediately, apologies ringing in your ears. You were startled by their desperation, but you realized they may have worried that they had chased you away again. You patted your mother and father on the back lightly and sat down for a long conversation.
By the end of your talk, you and your parents had reached an understanding. They were still too afraid of the power that Vanesa wielded, and the magic that saturated the town of the Encanto. They wouldn’t attend your wedding, but they’d be sending you their love from afar. They said that though you didn’t require it, you and Bruno had their blessings. Your mother begged the two of you to come to visit once you were married, promising that she and her husband would behave and not start any fights. You realized that this compromise was the best one that you would reach with the stubborn couple. Giving them your promise to return with Bruno as Husband and wife, you hugged them one last time, before leaving for the night.
Finally, after 14 months of your engagement had passed, your wedding day had arrived. You awoke early in the morning, once again startled to find a crowd of Madrigals standing over your bed in the guest room. Nearly every Madrigal woman hovered over you, eager grins making you chuckle nervously. Only Alma was absent, the woman downstairs sipping her cup of coffee with a smile as she listened to the sound of you squealing while her female family members dogpiled on you with a hug. Really you shouldn’t have been surprised, you had participated in the same wake-up hug on the day of Dolores’s wedding.
The women cleared out after shouting out “Felicidades!” and were off to make sure the day went smoothly.
You had pulled your beautiful wedding dress from the closet, running your hands over the carefully embroidered silver and white flowers that you and Mirabel had slaved over. But you stopped yourself before putting it on, a thought presenting itself to you.
You were giddy with excitement, the only nervous energy in your body was positive. But you knew Bruno better than almost anyone. You had no doubt that he was eager to marry you too, but his excitement was sure to come with anxiety. The ceremony would be large, and all eyes would be on you two. Even though this would surely be one of the happiest days of both of our lives, you wouldn’t fault him for being nervous.
And well, you still had a few hours to get ready.
You smiled to yourself as you decided to go forward with your little plan.
Bruno was pacing back and forth in his bedroom, dressed smartly in dark pants and a white shirt. He was muttering to himself, and you watched as salt then sugar went flying over his shoulder.
“I can do this…I can do this…I can do this…”
You smiled to yourself internally; you had been right, he was nervous.
You let out a squeak and Bruno spun around and stared at you in surprise, clearly not expecting to see you as Pepita hours before your wedding.
He bent over and scooped you into his warm palms.
“Pepita! What are you doing here?” He spoke, though you could see the way his shoulders had relaxed slightly at your appearance.
You jumped from his hand onto his shoulder, a familiar gesture of affection.
Bruno hummed as the reason for your visit dawned on him.
“Came to comfort me huh?” He said, brushing his hand along your fur.
“You always know how to make me feel better…” he spoke.
He lifted you from his shoulder and held you in his palm at eye-level, a teasing twist to his mouth.
“Isn’t it supposed to be bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding?” He teased.
You twitched your whiskers at him.
“Yeah, yeah, I guess it only applies if the bride is in her wedding dress…which you certainly are not.” As he said this, he ran a thumb over your head, your little eyes closed at the motion.
“Thank you for thinking about me Y/n. I’m not that worried…okay maybe I am a little bit. But even if I do something ridiculous like trip in front of everyone, as embarrassing as that would be, it doesn’t matter.” He smiled lovingly at you.
“All that matters is that I can finally call you my wife,” Bruno sighed affectionately, before pulling your form towards him and planting a kiss on your little head.
He set you down reluctantly.
“Alright, I- Uh, I think I’ll be fine now. You better go get dressed, the girls are probably looking for you now so they can do your hair and all that stuff.”
With one last squeak, you ran off to get ready.
You and Bruno were married before the entire Encanto. He had looked at you in your wedding dress like you were a work of art, worshipful adoration painting itself across his handsome features. The sound of your family cheering behind you as you kissed for the first time as a married couple would be seared into your memory forever. And just as Antonio had promised, a flock of vibrant birds soared across the sky in a graceful dance as the two of you emerged from the church, finally husband and wife. You both laughed as you ran out the doors, Bruno’s hand in yours, your fingers interlaced as the bells chimed behind you.
The wedding party had been joyous and lively. Julieta had cooked the meal with the help of other chefs in town, and even Daniela got her chance to pitch in, helping bake and decorate the elaborate wedding cake. The sun set over the town, as music and laughter filled the air. Children ran about excitedly, and enthusiastic conversation sounded around you. Once the sky had darkened, the wedding party moved to the grove of trees Isabela had created, Everyone let out gasps of awe, as you took in the wonderland she had conjured. Beneath the hanging tendrils of the willow trees, little lanterns were hung about like stars. Colorful ribbons were laced through the branches, and long tables with chairs were set up beneath the curtain of leaves.
As people were seated and food was brought out, you and Bruno took your places next to each other, hands clasped together beneath the table. The dinner had been beautiful, the speeches fond and teasing, the dancing freeing. But by the end of the night, you were both thoroughly tired, and you could tell that both of your social batteries had run out. Finally, you announced to your community that you and your husband were retiring for the night, which to Bruno’s embarrassment, was met with loud whooping and cat-calls.
You didn’t really mind their assumption though, you thought with a grin as you eagerly pulled your husband into the casita. They were right after all.
The next morning you had awoken in your husband’s arms. He smiled down at you and pulled you into a kiss. And you hadn’t left his arms for half of the day. Finally, when you felt the urge to clean up, you had darted out of his bedroom and into the bathroom across the little hall. After a quick shower, you had stepped out from the bathroom only to pause.
“Bruno…?” You called in bewilderment.
The now fully dressed man emerged from the bedroom at the sound of you calling his name.
“What is it, mi amor?” He said, peeking at you from the doorway.
“There’s a third door here.” You said, staring at the new door in the hall in wonder.
Bruno stepped into the hall and surveyed the little hallway, his eyes landing on the unfamiliar plain wooden door.
“...there is. Casita, did you do this?” He spoke.
The floorboards began to lift beneath both of your feet nudging you towards the door.
“Okay, okay!” You laughed.
You reached for the door and swung it open curiously.
You gasped in delight.
Casita had made you your very own studio. A large worktable, chairs, and art supplies were strewn about. You turned around in a desperate attempt to take it all in. Spread across the table was everything you could need to make pieces out of stained glass. It was a little workshop, just for you, nestled inside Bruno’s tower.
You had thanked the building tearfully, turning to your husband and pulling him into a hug. You knew what this meant, the casita had welcomed you fully, accepting you as one of the Madrigals.
Being a Madrigal came with its ups and downs. Life was busy, hectic and sometimes stressful. But you always had support, had companionship, had family, and most of all, you always had Bruno. He was always there to make you laugh when you had a bad day, and he seemed to know you better than anyone in the world.
He knew you so well, he could tell right away when Camilo tried to prank him. The boy had finally mastered taking the form of a rat. You had happened to be just around the corner one day, when you caught Camilo trying to trick your husband. You had hid behind the corner, curious to see how this would go. The shapeshifter had run up to Bruno in the form of a rat, one that looked exactly like you as Pepita. Then he shifted into you, standing before Bruno, arms outstretched and a mushy look on your face.
Of course, Bruno had caught on to the deception right away. Camilo had changed into you as he always saw you, fully clothed. Your husband knew full well that anytime you changed back from being Pepita, you’d have no clothes. You saw the devious thought pass over Bruno’s face.
He pulled his sobrino into his arms, crying out “Y/n, mi hermosa esposa! There you are!” Then he leaned slowly towards the boy who was pretending to be you, making an exaggerated kissy face.
Camilo jumped out of his tio’s arms with a yelp, changing back into himself and tripping and landing on his backside. His face had burned bright red as he watched his uncle break out in uncontrollable laughter.
After the boy had scrambled off with a humiliated apology, you had emerged from your hiding spot, and hugged your husband from behind.
“That better not be you again Camilo…” He muttered.
“Oh it's not,” you said, tracing lazy patterns on his chest.
“Hmm…maybe you should prove that to me, amor.” He teased, already sure that the woman hugging him from behind was you.
“Gladly,” You said with a grin, pulling him away to his tower room by the hand as he let out a startled yelp.
It was only a few months into your marriage, when Bruno spoke to you one night about something that had been weighing on his mind for some time. As the two of you sat side by side in the little reading nook nestled into the window of your bedroom, Bruno wrapped an arm around you with a sigh.
“I…I always felt bad, you know. That I never got to give you your vision I mean. The whole reason you came here in the first place was for my help. And you ended up putting helping me first instead.” He spoke as his thumb rubbed circles into your shoulder.
“I’d do anything for you, amor.” He said softly.
You leaned forward and kissed him slowly, your lips lingering on his.
“I know Bruno.” you said with an affectionate smile as you pulled back slightly
He brushed the hair from your face tenderly.
“Let me have a vision for you? I can finally show you your future.” He said, his eyes darting over the face of his wife as if he was trying to memorize every detail he saw.
You laughed kindly and shook your head, placing a gentle hand on his cheek. You met his gaze, his eyes stilling on yours.
“I don't need a vision of my future.” You said.
“I see it right in front of me.”
(Meme time! For the last time!)
Bruno, introducing his wife to someone new: “Hey come meet my wife!”
The wife in question:
I thought it might be fun to draw the scene from this chapter where reader visits Bruno as Pepita hours before their wedding to comfort him. Sorry it’s a bit rough/unfinished!
Thanks for reading!
Thank you all so so much for your support. This story has brought me a lot of joy, and your comments and encouragement have meant so much to me. Honestly, I think you guys have helped me develop some confidence in my writing, I know I'm not professional or anything haha but I'm glad that I could make something that other people can get something positive out of! I've never had a story grab me as hard as this one did. I literally spent the past month obsessing over it, it motivated me so much to know that I had such amazing readers! I honestly can't believe that I wrote this whole fic (it's actually novel length wtf😱) and posted it in 28 days, this story literally took up the same amount of time as an average February (not including leap year) I never would have been able to do that without the amazing feedback I got! You guys are the best readers ever! I love you!!!
Anyway, I have a few little notes about the story in case you're interested.
First off, even though it wasn't mentioned, Vanesa was absolutely at the wedding! (reader made her promise not to pull anything, and she was surprisingly well behaved) She definitely ended up giving reader the best wedding gift too!
Also about the little workshop that casita makes for reader, that's kind of based off of a personal headcanon of mine. I feel like when someone marries into the family, casita makes a little space for them within their partner's room to signify that they are part of the Madrigals. In Julieta's room, Agustin definitely has a space with a piano, Mariano probably gets a small study with books of poetry and a writing desk in Dolores's room, and I'm not sure exactly what Felix's space would look like, except for the fact that the walls are probably plastered with pictures of Pepa and little hearts 😆
A couple of people asked if reader and Bruno would have any kids in the future. While I didn't include that in this story, I think it's entirely possible. Basically, that's completely up to interpretation. If you want them to have kids then they will, if not, then they won't. I know not everyone wants kids, so I decided to leave it up to you!
Also, I'm so happy you all like my drawing of Vanesa! (Yes I made her hot on purpose...👀)
Anyway, this is quite a long author's note, sorry! If you're still here, thank you so so much! I adore you all!
I hope you liked the ending! And the little drawing I did of Bruno and Pepita!
If you enjoyed this story, please let me know. I can't wait to read your comments.
Thanks for everything!
Edit: Check out this awesome fan art of Vanesa!! She looks great! I love the style!!