#bruno is best uncle
yoda-fucks · 2 days ago
New head canon that I will just present as fact: sometimes tiny Mirabel and Camilo (and maybe Antonio) would fall asleep in different spots in the house and Bruno would carry them to their beds while they slept
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unwiserjoker · 5 days ago
This moment always gets me
Look at how Bruno recoils after Mirabel yells at him.
He thinks he’s upset her.
He thinks his vision has done harm to his family again. You can see it all on his face.
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Just like Mirabel, he wants the family to be proud of him. It’s all he’s ever wanted.
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Mirabel asked for the vision. He did it to help her, and now she’s angry. It’s such a small detail that shows his trauma and fear of Mirabel turning on him like the rest.
Someone give this man a hug
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mmollymercury · 13 days ago
New drawing program + hyperfixation coming throughhhhh!!!
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"She says she loves you very much!"
I had tooooOoo😭😭😭😭
EDIT EDIT: we don't talk about those other heads...okay, I'm ashamed and wish tumblr could wipe them from existence but they'll always be there in every old reblog-
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naensut · 15 days ago
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Edit: Thanks to @chocolatedoesntasksillyquestions I changed the text to a more grammatically correct version. Thank you!  View in HQ since tumblr massacres the preview quality.
I have nothing against Camilo, just thought this would be cute😆 I think Mirabel would be a bit of a crybaby and you can bet she poked her finger into Camilo’s mouth on purpose. Kids sometimes do that. And I finally dared to use one word of spanish. I tried to google if I should use pequeña instead of pequeño, but it didn't specify if my little one = mi pequeño is changed into feminine form when it's being used to describe a girl.
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devintrinidad · a month ago
Chapters: 1/1 Fandom: Encanto (2021) Rating: Teen And Up Audiences Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings Relationships: Bruno Madrigal & Mirabel Madrigal Characters: Bruno Madrigal, Mirabel Madrigal Additional Tags: Pre-Movie, Pre-Canon, before Antonio was born, camilo and mirabel are toddlers in this, Bruno is best uncle, bruno bonding with the madrigal grandchildren, but he's mainly there for mirabel, he doesn't have favorites but mirabel comes close, mirabel doesn't have glasses yet, you'll see why - Freeform, Cute, Fluff, slight angst, implied social outcast bruno Summary:
Bruno may not have had favorites among his nieces and nephew, but Mirabel certainly did.
(A story where Bruno realizes that Mirabel needs glasses, his thoughts and feelings concerning his gift, and generally what it means to be a socially awkward uncle).
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savetheupholstery · a month ago
Enjoy my near 5 am concept that I came up with right as I was falling asleep. I’m going to hopefully draw this but I would love for someone with actual skills to do it if they wanted. I imagine the dream/nightmare/prophecy sequence in a black expanse (you know what I’m talking about)
Young Bruno following Pepa and Julieta laughing, they call to him pan to him, he starts to turn into a prophecy (think Bumi’s crystals avatar from feet up) he can’t follow they call to him again but adult, pan back to him also adult he calls more frantic worried hands turning to green stone sand swirls, they leave him he’s alone, sand swirling like a hurricane, boom house -there’s young Mirabel, she looks at him after her door~doesn’t fade~but turns green and shows her as a teen with the broken house, she gives him a broken terrified confused look, it’s his prophecy, it’s his fault, the family turns to shadows pounces envelop Mirabel and the screen, Bruno calls out, cut to to Mirabel alone in the forest, Bruno on house flooring cracks beneath his feet falling along with the shards of prophecy from that night broke off his skin. Cut to real Bruno waking up, he goes to Mira’s room gives her a kiss on the forehead, and then sadly slips behind the picture frame closing it behind him
So yea that’s also theory on how Bruno decided to “leave” he had a vision/nightmare (theory that he got visions everywhere including his dreams anyone?) and saw that if anyone knew of the “prophecy” Mirabel would be outcast and he was being left behind/ostracized cause of his prophecy’s anyways so he left to protect her (HE LEFT TO PROTECT HER) (DONT TOUCH ME IM SOFT HES SUCH A GOOD TIO)
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sugayoongi08 · a day ago
i watched encanto FINALLY
i love bruno he is so damn funny u can tell he's the family clown
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pls they r throwing a distrack on him and he is just vibing in the background🤚😭
the bucket and the spatula i can't🤚😭
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sofie-the-witch · 10 days ago
⚠️Spoilers for encanto⚠️
Ok sooo..
The sisters are strong and sorta kind and pretty and a total cunt. Then Mirabella shows cunt that she can make a cactus and suddenly everything is alright despite the years she's been mean and unfair to her all this time? I mean she has her own troubles but she has just been puuuushing them onto miabella while hurting herself as well so like boo fucking hoo, JUST DONT MARRY THE FUCKING IDIOT!! Bruno is driven away form the family because of his allianation but lives in the wall where he
And he just comes back, no proper apology no townspeople say they're sorry for treating him like crap all those years and he's JUST SUPPOSED TO BE FINE WITH THAT?!?
And grandma has a halfway-poligy where she admits that she's been bad to the poor girl
And they didn't even notice..
And then they give her the doorknob to symbolize how she's part of the family AND EVERYONE GETS THEIR ROOMS BACK!!!!! AND SHE DOESN'T GET THE SPECIAL ROOM?!?!!!
Overall a decent movie 7/10 i liked the the beautiful popping colours and the beautiful scenery and clothing. Overall a Wonderful insight into something I'd didn't know anything about which is Columbian culture!
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aetherdecember · 8 days ago
Bruno: *sitting in the kitchen late at night, eyes glowing with a mild vision*
Later, when Bruno comes out of the vision, he finds a blanket draped over his shoulders and Mirabel asleep on the chair next to him, using his lap as a pillow.
Next morning, Julieta arrives in the kitchen to find them in the same spot.
Bruno: *looking exhausted and no longer able to feel his limbs* Shhhh, she’s sleeping...
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dikanamai · a month ago
“And everyone always assumes the worst”, an Encanto fic
Since I wrote this post, my love for Bruno and Dolores as the perfect duo of uncle and niece hasn't stopped growing. I really love tío Bruno being the best tío ever with all the kids, but I still think his bond with Dolores has a loooot of potential, and both have the perfect characteristics to have a very especial relationship. So I needed to write this to honor them.
Besides, something I like a lot about Dolores as a character is how resigned she seems all the time in the movie. Not in a salty way, but just with total acceptance of the situation she's living (being at Isa's shadow, the Mariano issue, etc.). To me, she has this 'ok, this is my life' kind of vibe, and I wanted to explore it here with Bruno's prophecy as background. I also think her gift made her mature very soon and, while I can picture Isa as very goofy and childish when she was little, I imagen Dolores way more serious and mature even at 12.
Since this one is written from Bruno's POV, there're a lot of indirect triplets content included (this time, many Bruno-Pepa dynamics, because I love them too). Thus the length, but I hope you enjoy it :)
Title: And everyone always assumes the worst Characters: Bruno and Dolores Word Count: 10.549 Rating: G Warnings/Spoilers: none, if you've watched the movie. This one ties directly with my previous one, 'The life of her dreams', and has some winks of 'It will always be the three of us', if you want to check them first. This time the family fluff is more bittersweet than ever, so grab you tissues, just in case. Summary: Three times in a row, Bruno was asked to look into his nieces' future. The first one was Isabela, a perfectly good omen turned into an awful warning under his mother's perfectionist look. The last one, the one that changed everything, was Mirabel, that fateful night full of fear and anxiety about a vanished door. But the one that hurt the most, the one that really made him reach his limit, was the second one. A request in the tiny voice of his dearest niece and a vision that made him wonder what was the point of having a miracle that felt like a curse.
(Friendly reminder that English is not my mother tongue, and I'm not used to write fiction in this language. So this text is probably closer to Spanglish. Anyway, I hope it's readable enough and you can enjoy it. Thanks for your time!)
Three times in a row, Bruno was asked to look into his nieces' future.
The first one was Isabela, feeling already trapped in her gift at twelve. She hadn't told him, but it wasn't necessary. Bruno understood in a blink that look in her eyes; he knew what it meant, he knew perfectly. The eagerness to find your own voice, to free your true self, to find out what else you could be beyond the frame imposed by your gift. Her request had been born from hope. And, at least, he was glad his oldest niece had been able to enjoy her power in a more or less healthy way along those seven years, thanks to her blissful obliviousness. Because she'd have surely understood by now that Madrigals weren't allowed to hope. Mamá would make sure of explaining her why.
The second one was Dolores. But she was anything but oblivious, so her request was born from concern. And it was the hardest one Bruno had to face in his entire life.
It took place one afternoon, a couple of weeks after Isabela's vision fiasco, when he was dozing off in his hammock, trying to focus on the sound of falling sand to empty his mind. He closed his eyes one second and, the next one, he found another pair of big, round eyes peeking at him over the edge of the cloth, below two buns of fluffy curly hair.
She always did that, sneaking in his room without asking, whenever she wanted. She knew she was always welcome. And his uncle always greeted her with the same joke.
"Hm, I didn't know this floor grew wild nieces."
Dolores smiled and sat up, half kneeling beside the hammock. "I'm as silent as the wind," she said, with that tiny voice of hers. "I slide under the door like a breeze."
"How poetic of you. So that's your real gift? Had you been fooling us all these years?"
Bruno couldn't help a weak laugh and offered her his hand with a grateful look. Dolores took it between hers and pressed it briefly against her cheek, before crossing her arms on the hammock's side to lean on it. "How's doña Catalina doing?"
Bruno lifted a handful of curls to show her the old, sleeping rat curled in the cozy corner where his neck met his shoulder. "She's very tired today. I have the feeling she's gonna leave us soon."
The corners of Dolores mouth turned downwards with sincere sadness. "I'm sorry, tío Bruno."
"It's ok, pajarito. Rats' lives are short anyway. But I'm gonna miss Catalina III, she has always been very loving. Catalina II had an awful character, she was a steel matriarch. Benevolence was a refreshing change, for once." And he gave his rat a soft, affectionate pat, covering her again with his curls and hoping his last remark hadn't sounded too salty.
If Dolores noticed, she didn't comment on it. "Have you already chosen Catalina IV?"
"Nah, not yet. But I have some candidates, I'll give it a little more thought."
"Could I attend the succession ceremony?"
Bruno laughed again. Among all his family, Dolores was the only one who took seriously his stupid rats stories. She knew their names, their bloodlines, their tangled affairs. Most of that information was made up, of course; not even he was able to keep a constant track on whatever the house's rats were doing. But Dolores was really invested on their story and played along with his antics and was always helping him to plan out new plot lines. The life of the Madrigal rats was even more extraordinary than their own, and he loved to share that little game with her.
"Of course you can," he promised. "You'll be our guest of honor."
She gave him a wide smile, resting her chin on her crossed arms. But he knew her too well to be fooled. Her eyes still looked clouded by worry, and all that detour had just been a tactic to make him feel at ease. What she really wanted to ask came then.
"How are you?"
Bruno sighed, looking away. "World is finally upside down if my niece has to come to check on me, instead the opposite."
"I like to check on you. You're always checking on everyone."
"You think too well of your uncle."
"You think too ill of yourself."
He sighed again. "I'm fine, pajarito. I just— I-I just need to be left alone with my rats for a while."
"Should I go?"
Bruno chuckled and patted her head kindly. "All my niblings are part of 'my rats', so you can stay."
"That's awful. I'll take it as a compliment."
He laughed a bit louder this time and looked at her with a sad but also loving smile, to answer more honestly. "I'm fine, really."
"You're not." She paused, with a side look at the ceiling. "But don't worry. I know you're in those days."
Bruno raised an eyebrow. "Did you… really say right now I'm in those days?"
"Yes," she nodded, shrugging. "Like mamá. Those days in which she just can't take it anymore, and needs a break and to be alone. You two are the same."
He was about to protest, but pursed his lips pensively instead and gave her an accepting nod. "Yeah, well, yes, I suppose that's pretty accurate. You know, we both have the theory that Julieta was the only one who got enough oxygen in abuela's womb, that's why we're always malfunctioning." Bruno laughed at his own joke, but Dolores just looked at him, brows raised and eyes half closed, with her usual 'stop beating yourself' expression. That girl was terrible.
"I heard what happened this morning with don Eduardo," she said plainly, right to the point at last. "You shouldn't feel bad for refusing. You did nothing wrong."
Bruno held his breath for a moment and then exhaled, laying down his head on the hammock to look at the ceiling. Of course she had heard. Of course he hadn't done anything wrong, and still he had. But how could he explain it?
It had been quite difficult days, with all that tension filling the house, and he had been feeling awfully since what happened with Isabela. Upset stomach, migraines, insomnia— nothing new, but pretty worse than usual. And he had that dreadful feeling again: the feeling that he was on the verge of something, something bigger and even worse, so close he could almost feel it breathing on his neck, and it was none of his rats. That strangling anxiety had plagued his dreams with nightmares, and he felt so exhausted, so worn out, that even after everything at home calmed down and life went back to normal, he couldn't get rid of that ominous sensation of fatality hanging over his head.
He really couldn't take it anymore. He needed a break. He needed to be alone some time to recompose himself. And attending to stupid requests of neighbors more than willing to see the worst in his visions was the last thing he wanted. He already felt like sending everyone to hell, along with their fears, their paranoia and their resentments.
But he shouldn't have refused to help that man. He had no right to refuse. Madrigals weren't allowed to refuse, either.
He could almost hear mamá's voice in that very moment: is this a good example for your niblings?
It wasn't.
"I-it's not like I didn't want to help him," he started babbling, waving one hand and scratching his chin nervously with the other. "I-it's just— I-I'm not feeling good lately, and doing visions in this state is not the best idea, you know, if I don't have my mind clear, I could— A-and that Eduardo, come on, his cousin Taís still resents me because I told her to check on her fish more often and the poor thing ended up dead, she thought I had done it mal de ojo. Have I told you that story? One of my greatest hits! Dios, how much she loved that fish, it's been almost twenty years and she's still mourning that damn fish!"
Dolores chuckled and Bruno suppressed a relieved sigh. Distracting her was never easy; when Dolores wanted to talk about something important, it was hard as hell to make her loose her grip on the subject.
"You're trying to change the subject."
Dammit. "Loli, look, it's just—" He gave up with another sigh. "I didn't do right, ok? Madrigals have responsibilities, like it or not, a-and we should never— w-we should never be selfish, we should…"
He trailed off and his words faded. They should what? Sacrifice themselves. That's it, they had to sacrifice themselves, because papá had sacrificed himself, and they had to be worthy of that sacrifice, they had to, it was too important, it was mandatory, even if it cost them their own lives. At least, that was mamá's philosophy.
But what would have papá thought if he could see them like this now? The family turned into such a mess.
Dolores stared at him for a moment, as if she could hear his very thoughts, and then stood slowly and leaned on the hammock, lying face down across his stomach and letting her head and arms hanging from one side and her legs hanging from the opposite. Bruno snorted and was about to tell her that position wasn't a good idea, since he really felt like throwing up and the added pressure wasn't helping. But he couldn't complain. He knew his niece just lay on him like this when she was feeling worried or anxious, or when she felt he was worried or anxious. Pepa had always done the same thing when they were little, even if she was way bigger than him; both collapsed perpendicularly on Pepa's bed, belly against belly, he looking at the ceiling, she burying her face on the mattress, without talking, just lying together miserably. Julieta called it 'the cross alignment' (Oh, no, you're doing the cross again?), till Pepa came out with the brilliant explanation of 'We're neutralizing each other's pain, ok?!', and since then Juli had always teased them to stop neutralizing each other.
Bruno felt his eyes stung at the memory and gritted his teeth, trying to remain calm. Moving slightly to free his arms and get more comfortable, he laid his hands on Dolores' back and patted her gently, following the old soothing rhythm he had always used to make her sleep when she was a baby. Getting restless by the change of weight, Julián and Ana María, that had been sleeping on his chest under his ruana, crept to his collar and slipped away, climbing the hammock's rope to the shelf he had hung for them along the wall, near the ceiling. They disappeared through a hole gnawed there, leading to who knows where. Sometimes, he envied his rats. Whenever they wanted to avoid something, it was as easy as disappearing into the walls.
"You're not selfish, tío Bruno," Dolores whispered after a brief silence. "You're the least selfish person I know. You were tired and annoyed, but you stood there for half an hour talking with that man to calm him down, and you managed."
"I only wanted him to stop pestering me," he snorted, rolling his eyes.
"Don't lie. I have noticed, you know. The people who visit you— Most of them are just worried and want to talk. They come to tell you their problems, expecting you to soothe them."
"Yeah, I know," he sighed absently. "They should visit Padre Sebas more often and leave me alone, I'm not a confessor. But they think I can give specific answers to specific questions. They want me to solve everything with magic. And I can't do that." He twitched his mouth in a bitter grimace, glad Dolores couldn't see it. "More than thirty years and they still don't understand how my gift works…"
"But you really like to help people, it's just— you also want to be heard."
Bruno stopped the soft patting and looked at her, frowning. "What do you mean?"
Dolores swayed her feet, touching the floor with her toes to make the hammock swing slightly. "The problem is not your gift or your visions," she answered quietly. "The problem is not you. It's people's demands. Everyone asks first for a vision because they want to know, but they don't listen to you, so they don't understand. And you don't like doing visions that way, because that's why everyone always assumes the worst. Just like abuela did with Isa's."
Ah, there it was. The real core of the matter. Bruno let out a heavy sigh, wondering why she had to be so perceptive. "Abuela has her reasons to be worried, Loli. She carries a heavy weight on her shoulders and—"
"I know," she said softly. "I know she's worried. I hear her every night talking to abuelo Pedro. She misses him so much. Sometimes, she cries. I know she's always suffering, and it's getting worse lately."
Bruno forgot how to breathe for a second and stared blankly at the ceiling, eyes wide and moisty, feeling his heart crushed by those words. He knew it, of course. But hearing it in the tiny voice of his twelve years old niece made it sound even worse. He had to press his lips together to prevent them from trembling. "I'm sorry you have to hear those things, pajarito," he babbled, gulping. "You're too young. You shouldn't have to deal with the messed up heads of your elders."
"I rather hear those things. You know I like to understand what's happening." Dolores paused and swung the hammock again. "You talk to abuelo too, right?"
He almost choked and shot her an alarmed look, before letting out a weak, wavering titter. "There's no way you could hear that…"
"I don't hear it," she admitted, raising her torso to rest her elbows on the hammock, with her eyes closed and a peaceful expression. "But at night, when everything's quiet, I close my eyes and I can see Casita in my mind. If something moves across the house, I can see what's doing. And I know you go down to the kitchen for water before sleep, and you stand in the stairs for a while in your way back, before abuelo's painting. So I've always thought you're talking to him." She finished with a sweet, loving smile, but it faded quickly when she looked at him and saw whatever was in his face. Ashamed and nervous, Dolores rushed to bow her head again. "S-sorry, that sounded— t-that sounded super nosy. I didn't mean to—"
"It's ok," he cut her off gently, clearing his throat. "I'm not upset, Loli, it's ok. I just— I-I had no idea you could do that… bat thing." And he smirked and gave her some comforting pats again. "That's amazing."
Dolores glanced at him pursing her lips, but her pout turned into a grateful smile in a blink. "So you really do it?"
"I do," Bruno nodded and looked away, trying to hold back the sudden wave of melancholy. "I like to… tell him things and ask him things. I often ask him for help, too, for guidance. I wish he could tell me what should we do to fix this mess, what would he do to help abuela and… and everyone else." He paused for a moment, taking a deep breath. "I wish I could also look into the past to know him better, because maybe that way it would be easier to guess his words. I wonder what he would think of us, if he'd be proud or disappointed or…"
He couldn't finish the sentence. He saw out of the corner of his eye how Dolores stared at him, but he couldn't face her either. And, for a brief moment, the silence grew thicker, till his niece sighed. "You know, I think he would— Oh." Dolores stopped, eyes wide, and titled her head as if listening. "Aha. Yes. Yes, I see. Ok, I'll tell him." And then she looked at him with a satisficed smile. "Abuelo says y'all are wonderful and he loves you with all his heart."
Bruno gaped at her, dumbfounded. It took him a good time to realize she was joking, and then he cracked up laughing breathlessly, on the verge of tears. "Santo Dios, so now you can also hear the dead?"
Dolores' smile grew wider. "That would be awesome, ah?"
"Actually, it would be a nightmare," he joked back. "Hearing the living is more than enough."
"But that way we could be the perfect duo," she insisted, almost dreamy. "The fortuneteller and the ghost talker."
"The perfect duo of Madrigal freaks, you mean?"
"Yeah, we could terrify the town together."
Bruno chuckled and shook his head. "That's… actually tempting, but I wish a better life for you."
"There's no better life than being your sidekick," she kept teasing, and he rolled his eyes at her exaggeration, but laughed again anyway.
"Ay, what have I done to deserve such an amazing niece?"
"That's an easy one: being an amazing uncle." Dolores elbowed him cheerfully, and they shared a long, knowing look. "Don't worry, tío Bruno," she added, a bit more serious. "You know I understand."
"Yes, I know." Bruno gave her a bittersweet smile, because he understood her very well too. And that shadow in her eyes was still there, too old for a girl so little. "But I wish you couldn't. That would mean you haven't had to go through all this yourself, right?" Dolores' smile faded again slowly under his intent look and Bruno twitched his mouth. "You know, all those wise words of a moment ago about wanting to be heard and people's demands and assumptions— I know what they mean and where they come from. You did a pretty good job trying to change the subject yourself, but I'm smarter than I look."
Dolores was pressing her lips together in a flat line by then, looking as caught as a mouse in a trap. With a soft 'hm' of surrender, she collapsed again on the hammock, letting her limbs hanging lifelessly, like a rag doll.
"There, there." Bruno patted her back sympathetically. "Come on, let it out. The cross alignment is meant to neutralize each other's pain, now it's your turn. What's happened?" Dolores just made another 'hm', so he tried again. "Isa told me you've been pretty worried lately, and I've noticed too. You've said it yourself: people visit me to tell me their problems and seek some comfort. Don't you wanna talk about it?" Dolores shook her head. "If you don't tell me, I'll have to guess. Remember I'm pretty good at guessing." She shrugged with another 'hm'. "Oook, so… has something bad happened at town? Has someone hurt you?" She shook her head again, and Bruno gritted his teeth. "Are you… worried about abuela's behavior and Camilo's gift?"
There was a pause, and then Dolores spoke very quietly, without moving. "I'm not worried about Camilo. Mami and papi will fight for him, and he will always have his big sis to protect him. He will be fine. And abuela will eventually find a way to put his gift into good use and she will calm down. As always."
"Then has something happened at school?" Silence. Bruno sighed. "Has some classmate asked you some stupid request that turned out terrible bad and blamed you for the consequences as if it was all your fault, and now everybody is upset around you and you're feeling like a total failure?"
Deep, deep silence. Bingo. Bruno sighed again in frustration. Were they already in that age? Why did they have to grow so fast? He wished kids could remain kind and innocent their entire life, but he knew better than anyone that there wasn't anything worse than a bunch of pre-teens trying to take advantage of a Madrigal's gift. That could get messy as hell.
"Loli, you shouldn't—"
"Tío Bruno," she whispered in a burst, as if she had been holding back the words for too long and couldn't do it anymore, "would you look into my future?"
Her ask made his heart skip a beat and he almost choked on his words. "What?"
"I know Isa told you. I didn't want to ask you, I wasn't going to, but—"
"I rather not," he retorted, too abruptly for his taste, but unable to bite it back. His stomach, far calmer than before thanks to her company and her chat, seemed to twist again and he felt like throwing up one more time. Bruno shifted in the hammock, feeling suddenly trapped. "W-what are you t-talking about, anyway?" he stuttered nervously. "Are you serious? After the talk we just had? Whatever the problem is, a vision won't solve it and you don't—"
"I don't want it to solve anything. I just want to know something."
"What is it? Tell me, and we can just talk it over and—"
"I don't want to talk about it. I'm tired of words. I already know what you're going to say. I just want to see what's going to happen."
Bruno stared at her, brow frown and lips parted in confusion. That awful dread was creeping up his throat, and he had to gulp to suppress a screech. "Loli…"
"You know I can do it. I understand. I'm not some ramdo from town, I know how it works and I'm not afraid."
"So said Isa, and now she can barely look me in the eye."
"She's not afraid of you, tío, she's afraid of abuela," Dolores said quickly, almost impatient. "She thinks she has failed you and she's feeling miserable, but she wants to please abuela at any cost. There wasn't anything wrong in her vision. You gave her hope and—"
"I didn't give her hope, I gave her despair," he finally exclaimed, losing his nerves. "I showed her the future she loved the most just to find she can't afford it, so she's gonna live in fear of her own dreams and wishes from now on. Don't you see it? I should have never looked into Isabela's future, and I'm certainly not going to look into yours."
Dolores shut up and kept quiet for so long that he felt almost strangled by the anxiety. The thought that he had been too loud or rude or harsh made him panic, and he covered his face with his hands, exhaling a desperate growl of frustration. "Argh, sorry, sorry, sorry. I didn't— I just— I-I just think you're not getting the point. T-this is not a good idea, it's a horrible idea, and abuela would freak if I do it again."
She let out a muffled sound he didn't get. "Abuela doesn't care the slightest about my future."
There was something in the way she said that, in her flat tone, so lacked of anger or resentment, just full of plain acceptance, that broke his heart. "Loli," he babbled, trying to swallow again the lump in his throat. "Loli, don't say that. Abuela loves you so, so much, you're her—"
"Sorry," she cut him off quietly. "I didn't mean she doesn't love me. I know she does. I mean she's not worry about my future, because my gift isn't dangerous. It can't get out of control or hurt people. If it gets out of control, I couldn't hurt anyone but myself."
"That's not a comfort at all." Bruno groaned, palming his face. "A-anyway, gifts aren't everything in life, and this is— i-it's about your life. If I see something bad in your future, your mother will never forgive me."
"I won't tell her. I won't tell anyone. I don't want anyone to know, anyway."
"Loli, please, just—" He bit his tongue and shut his mouth, laying down his head on the hammock again with an exhausted sigh. He stared at the ceiling and counted to ten, to twenty, to twenty-five. But that didn't make his voice any steadier when he kept talking. "O-ok, there's— there's something important you must understand. If I see something bad in your future, I will never forgive myself. And it will probably kill me."
"Don't joke with that, tío."
"I'm not joking." Bruno shook his head and lowered his voice even more. "I'm not joking, mija, that's the point. I couldn't bear it."
Dolores raised her head to look at his face, but Bruno forced himself to keep his gaze fixed on the ceiling. His eyes stung more than ever, and he couldn't afford to have a breakdown in front of his niece. But he wasn't joking. He meant it, he needed her to understand that. And she understood. She slid off the hammock and sat on the floor again to stare at him intently, waiting for him to meet her eyes. And, since he didn't, Dolores gripped his ruana and tugged gently, in that childish way to demand his attention; till Bruno gave up, took a deep breath and finally looked down at her. Big, round eyes looked back at him.
It had always been like that, since the very first time Félix had put her in his arms and the newborn Dolores had opened those big eyes to look at him. She hadn't smiled, but she hadn't cried either, just stared curiously as if wondering who he was. And Bruno had laughed and teased Pepa, telling her the baby was so beautiful she obviously hadn't taken after her.
Isabela had been born a few months before, so technically he was already an uncle when Dolores arrived. But he hadn't had many opportunities to feel like that. Julieta and Agustín were very efficient parents, they seemed to be able to manage on their own, and baby Isa needed nothing more than her mamá and papá during those first months of life. But Pepa was different. Dolores had been her miracle, and she was so afraid of failing, so scared of doing something wrong and hurt her baby, that her first months of motherhood had been a hell of a struggle. It hadn't helped at all that Dolores didn't eat enough, didn't rest enough, didn't sleep enough. She had always been a quiet baby, but so, so restless. Pepa didn't want to ask mamá or Julieta for help, she wanted to do it on her own too; but the anxiety kept growing bigger and bigger over the weeks. And, when the inevitable breakdown hit her, Bruno told Félix: 'She needs you now more than anything; take care of her and let me the baby, I'll try'. His brother-in-law had looked him in the eye for five seconds, and then nodded and wrapped his torso with a shawl in a blink to carry the baby, sending him out with a list of instructions to know how to react to diverse scenarios.
Sweating by his own nerves, Bruno had taken Dolores for a walk, away from Casita and away from town, striding along the path that leaded to the forest. He had been mumbling and humming the whole time, just looking around and describing everything for his niece, rambling nonsenses nonstop. And when he had finally gathered enough courage to look down at her again, he had found her sleeping deep and peacefully for the first time in weeks, curled against his chest. That shocked him for an instant. He was so shocked that he sat down on a rock and stared into the nothing, and then cried. He had cried and cried quietly, almost sobbing like a child, and he had felt so damn ridiculous but also so damn happy and relieved, crushed by the sudden realization that he had one task and he had accomplished it successfully. That little human being had trusted him and had calmed down, because she had felt safe and sound in his arms. He had managed. And he couldn't remember, he was utterly unable to remember, when had been the last time he'd had the feeling of doing something right.
Bruno knew perfectly he would be an awful father. He had always known. He could barely take care of himself, far less take care of children of his own. He wasn't meant for parenthood at all. But he had always hoped, he had always wished, he could be a good uncle. Not a parent or a brother or a friend, but something in between. The extra support for his niblings, their confidant, their guide, if they wanted him to. He had always hoped to be some kind of counterbalance to mamá's pressure, the uncle who's there to remind the kids that they were valid, they were loved, and life could be more than just a magical gift. And then, sat there with the snoring baby, he believed he could do it. He would do anything for them. He finally felt like a real uncle, with a goal to meet.
And he had whispered to Dolores for the first time the words that he would repeat later to all his niblings when they were born.
"Don't worry, Loli. I'm here. We're all here. You'll be fine. You have an amazing family. You have an amazing house. And now we have an amazing you."
He had gone back home when he managed to pull himself together, and had found Pepa and Félix waiting for him. Before he could say anything, his sister looked him in the eye, and Bruno knew she could see his very soul. She understood immediately, and he understood too, because Pepa had been feeling the same way since Dolores' birth: the overwhelming joy of being able to do something right after so many failures. Neither of them said it out loud, but it wasn't necessary; and he had the feeling Pepa had given her blessing to the newly set bond between uncle and niece.
After that, she and Félix had slid smoothly into parenthood and everything had gotten better. But Pepa stablished that nap time was tío Bruno's duty, and he welcomed it with open arms, every day, week after week, month after month, even when the girls got old enough to settle together on the nursery. He was caught there one day by Pepa, when he was laying one year old Dolores on her cradle after their usual walk, and he felt embarrassed as hell at how proudly his sister looked at him.
"Who's your favorite nieceee?" Pepa had whispered in a teasing singsong.
"I have no favorite," he muttered in response, looking away.
"Yes, you haveee," she pushed smugly. "You know it. I know it."
And Bruno had no choice but to sigh dramatically and pout at her. "Just— don't tell Julieta."
"Yasss!" Pepa made a gesture of triumph, and a rainbow glowed over her head. "You've been mocking me for years about my 'creatures', but noooow mine is your favorite, mine is your favorite…"
And she kept singsonging and performing a goofy dance around him, shaking her hips to bump him, till Bruno rolled his eyes and growled, "Grow up, ¿quieres?"
Next thing he knew was Pepa's arms were wrapping his head, stifling him. "Who needs to grow up, ah, canijo? Who needs it?"
"Stop it, jirafa!"
And they were struggling and slapping each other as children, till a soft chuckle caught their attention and they saw little Dolores awake again, clapping at the show. It took them half an hour to put her back to sleep, but that stupid rainbow had been crowning proudly his sister head for weeks.
Years had passed and more niblings had been born, and he loved them all greatly. Luisa was a kind, noble soul, always caring about the others, always willing to help. Camilo was the embodiment of joy and mischief, always laughing, always proud of making others laugh. And lil Mirabel was pure energy and innocence, always bouncing around, always asking, just like Isa. He would always treasure the memories of those nighttime tales in the nursery diverting the kids before sleep, first with the older girls and then with the youngest ones. All those times he had fallen asleep somewhere and had woken up with two or three kids using him as pillow. All those days of babysitting while the children were learning to walk and speak, and the excitement brought by their first steps, their first words, their first jokes and witty comments. All the little tricks he prepared for them and all those hours of playing with blocks or board games, reading together, making crafts. He had grown accustomed to walk around with some kid clung to his ruana, and to be climbed immediately when he sat on the couch, and to hear their laughs in the cave when they were there playing with the sand. Over those twelve years, they had been the light of his life, and he had felt so lucky to be there to see them grow and know them, as their personalities developed and got defined.
But Luisa had always had a big sis and a cousin to look up to; and when they grew up and left the nursey, she got a lil sis and a lil cousin to look after. By Camilo's birth, Pepa had more experience and felt more confident, and she coddled him so much he was very attached to her. And Mirabel, who had arrived at a house full of children to play with, spent most of her time stuck to Camilo or running after her sisters. Among all of them, Isa and Dolores had been the first ones, and his relationship with them had been always different, a bit closer; a bond that had never stopped getting stronger. And between them both… Dolores still was the apple of his eye.
It wasn't about favoritism; it was just affinity. It had always been, even more after getting her gift, when she started sneaking in his room every now and then, seeking peace and silence and reassurance. She dozed on the hammock or played on the floor in silence when he was busy writing, reading or drawing, just content to spend time by his side. She had been there while he trained his rats and they had plotted their stories together, and joked together and laughed together. She still liked to snuggle up to him to nap or to talk quietly about anything, because she still trusted him, he still made her feel safe and sound. They had thousands of little habits and routines. And they were so similar, they understand each other so well, that even Pepa admitted once: 'You were right; she has taken after you'.
How could he explain all that to the girl who was staring at him now, asking for a prophecy that could destroy her life? How could he ruin the most important of the few things he had ever done right? He didn't feel this way when Isa asked him for a vision; maybe because her mood was far different, and facing the ritual with the proper mood was something essential. Now, under the pressure of Dolores' anxiety, the simple thought of doing a vision for her made him feel like crying. He already was on the verge of tears again.
But she held his gaze, tightening her grip to his ruana, and whispered, "Have I ever told you? The night I got my gift— Have I ever told you what I was thinking?" Bruno shook his head, and Dolores closed her eyes and titled her head. "I was feeling far behind everybody. Isa had already gotten her gift, and it was beautiful. She had already had a little sister, and she was great. Her mamá was the most respected by abuela, by everyone. And I had the feeling there were a lot of things happening around me that I didn't understand. I wanted to know. I wanted to know everything, to understand why people acted as they acted, and said what they said. I thought that way I would be better and know what everyone needed, and I could help a lot of people, and they would see me and think 'Oh, Dolores Madrigal! Such a great girl!'. Then I touched the doorknob and ¡tachán!, I could hear everything." She opened her eyes and gave him a smile far too tired for a girl her age.
Bruno gritted his teeth again, but forced a sad smile too in response. "That sounds familiar. I was always scared of the future. Unexpected changes made me sick, it always took me far too long to get used to new things. And I thought it would be great to be able to see what was going to happen in advance, to get ready and process it with time." He chuckled bitterly. "Beware what you wish, ah?"
He offered her his hand, and Dolores took it again between hers to press it against her cheek. But this time, she didn't let it go. She rested her head on his hand and kept quiet for a moment, eyes closed again.
"There's something in my mind, tío Bruno," she explained finally. "I can't get rid of it, and it's driving me crazy. Mami has already noticed, and I don't want her to worry. Papi is trying to find out what's happening and I think he's gonna ask tío Agus to keep an eye on the kids at school. And I don't want them to get involved, because nothing has happened actually. It's just me." She looked at him, a sudden flash of anguish shadowing her face. "I can hear the present, but I can't hear the future, so I need you to show me. That's all. I— I-I need to know, I just want to know, and then— then I can get ready and calm down and… and settle for it."
Settle for it. What the hell was going on there? Bruno frowned and sat up carefully, taking doña Catalina from his shoulder and laying her on his lap. The sleepy rat looked around, disoriented for a second, but then stretched and started cleaning herself thoroughly. "Will you tell me what's the matter?"
Dolores hesitated, but nodded at last. "I'll tell you after the ritual. I promise."
He frowned even more, suspicious. "Why all the mystery?"
And she lowered her gaze, twisting her hands with embarrassment. "I… I don't want you to think I'm dumb for worrying about this."
That confession melted his uneasiness and Bruno exhaled, rubbing his forehead. "Loli, I would never think you're dumb for worrying. Unless you're worrying about some goldfish or losing your hair or something like that."
Dolores choked on a chuckle and shook her head. "No, it's nothing like that." She looked up and made an obvious effort to smile again. "Listen, if we see something good, we can laugh together about it. If we see something bad, we can cried together and let it all out and… close this chapter. Deal?"
He kept staring a little longer, knowing deep inside he was going to regret whatever decision he chose. But he also knew how maddening the sting of concern could be, scratching one's brain constantly, at day, at night. Dolores didn't deserve that. She was too young, dammit, she was still too young. But again, since when were the Madrigals even allowed to rest? There was no rest for the Madrigals. Dolores —as well as her mother, as well as him— had been pulled away from childhood since the very moment she had touched her magic doorknob.
So, with a heavy sigh of surrender, he nodded. "Deal."
Dolores smiled widely, a sort of smile very rare on her. Lifting the rat to his shoulder again, Bruno stood up and offered her his hand to help her up too. She took it and stood, but then pulled him into a hug and wrapped him in her arms so, so tightly it almost hurt. She was trembling; perhaps she was about to cry in relief. And he just could press his lips together and embrace her back, also as tightly as he could, to rest a cheek on her hair.
"O-ok, let's do it," he sighed weakly after a while, with a last squeeze before letting her go.
"It doesn't have to be now, if you don't feel up to," she said, frowning in worry.
"It's ok." Bruno shook his head and waved a hand in a gesture of determination. "I-it's ok. The sooner, the better. You're right, if it's— i-if it's something bad, you'll get rid of it once and for all, and— and we'll cry, and at least we'll have enough time to pull ourselves together before dinner and don't look as if someone had beat the daylights out of us. Oh! Wait, wait." He stopped and turned to his shelves, searching them from up to down frantically. Among books and notebooks, Pepa's fulgurites, Luisa's little wooden animals and the babies' ragdolls, he finally found a wooden box decorate with Isa's dried flowers. Inside, there were the ear plugs Dolores used to wear when she napped in his room. "Here, take them. The ritual is very noisy."
His niece stared at the ear plugs, looked up at his face and then hugged him again. When they headed to the sand clock door at last, she was still clung to his arm.
Before crossing the threshold, Bruno stood still for a moment and gulped. He knocked on wood, and Dolores did it too. He placed his free hand under the falling sand, took a handful of it and threw it over his left shoulder. Dolores mirrored him. And they entered the cave, holding his breath and crossing his fingers, with that dreadful feeling pulsing again inside his chest.
As they approached the stairs, he had to suppress a gasp while looking up, counting. That damn place had grown at least two rounds more of steps since the last time, and his shoulders dropped in despair. It didn't matter how much he tried to keep control, it didn't matter how many times he tried to fix it; his room was always acting on its own in response to his real mood, as revealing as Pepa's clouds. The more alienated he felt from his gift, the more inaccessible got the chamber of visions. It was like looking himself in a mirror and getting a perfect picture of how messed up his mind and his heart were.
"Want me to use a shortcut?" he tried to joke, when they reach the stairs.
But Dolores shook her head. "I want to climb on foot. Isa said you must overcome this challenge to get the prize."
"Yeah, well, yes, but actually, hm, Isa cheated," he coughed. "Isa cheated a lot."
"I would like to make the way with you." Dolores looked at him, her big eyes wide open. She was nervous. "Would you mind?"
And he couldn't refuse. "Of course not, pajarito. Come on."
Even so, he touched the wall as they climbed. Shorter, he ordered the stone. Shorter, shorter, shorter. Make it shorter for my niece. Dolores titled her head, probably hearing the distant movement at the top, and glanced at him raising an eyebrow. But he just shrugged and gave her an awkward smile, telling her he was adjusting it for a twelve years old visitor. And the joke made her chuckle and relaxed her a bit.
Their way to the top was so different from the previous one with Isabela that Bruno couldn't loosen the lump on his throat. There weren't jokes, laughs or silly teasing, but silence and soft talk. Once in a while, they stopped to take a break and rest a little, before going on. They took turns carrying doña Catalina, as the old rat jumped from Bruno's shoulder to Dolores' head and vice versa. And, for once, his stupid rule about the cave's stairs seemed to actually work, because he noticed each step was soothing his niece's nerves a bit more.
"I love this sound," Dolores said, when they were halfway.
"What sound?"
"Your sound." Dolores titled her head with a little smile. "The sound of falling sand. I focus on it at night to sleep. But—" She lowered her gaze, ashamed again. "I'll stop if it bothers you."
He snorted a laugh. "Why would I be bothered? I feel honored."
"If I focus on this sound, I can hear anything what's happening on the cave or your room."
"Oh." He blinked and then shrugged, lips pursed. "There's not much to hear, actually. You can hear me scribbling, snoring, talking with my rats… talking with myself… ok, that could be creepy. Oh! Sometimes I fart, like any other human being…" Dolores elbowed him, laughing quietly, and he couldn't help a laugh himself, before smiling fondly at her. "Don't worry, Loli, I don't mind. If you're listening, I'll say you goodnight from here before sleep from now on."
He hadn't said anything groundbreaking or extraordinary, but the look she gave him in that moment left him breathless: a wide, wavering smile full of emotion and big, moisty eyes full of love. She seemed so starved of approval, of validation, that his heart sank painfully. But he couldn't add anything, because she burst into words, almost stuttering.
"Y-you know, I can already block any sound at night without the help of my room, have I told you? I'm getting better and better at it, and I only keep an ear on the nursery to check on the babies, now on Camilo's room too, and on abuela's in case she needs something, b-but— but this…" She looked around and then looked at her feet again. "This is just for me. It's my safe place. Besides my papis, you're the only one who thinks my gift isn't annoying, tío Bruno. Well, you and Isa. She thinks I'm amazing."
"That's because you are." Bruno prayed for his words to not sound as strangled as he felt.
"I'm not." Dolores kicked a little stone out of their way. "I've been wondering… what's the point of my gift."
Bruno inhaled and looked up, at the top of the stairs, trying to calm his heartbeats and steel himself for that talk, now that his niece seemed to feel more comfortable to open up. Support, reassurance, guidance. That was what Dolores needed, a wise uncle with wise answers, not the anxious wreck who could barely hold the tears. He had to gulp twice and cleared his throat, but he managed to said, "Protecting the Encanto, of course."
"How?" She sounded confused, but not skeptical.
"Your gift had always been pretty similar to mine. I'm supposed to warn our people about any danger in advance, so we could be prepared if something bad happens. You're the same, some kind of… lookout, our guardian. If any danger approaches the Encanto, you could hear it and warn the town. You're the one meant to keep everyone safe."
There was a brief silence, while Dolores stared blankly at the stairs, as if processing his words. "You… You really think so?" Bruno nodded and she frowned. "I had— I'd never thought of it that way. Abuela only asks me to keep an ear on people to check if there's anyone unhappy, uncomfortable or angry. She wants me to track what's everyone's doing to know if there's any problem in town that needs to be solve."
Yeah, in town. Bruno suppressed a sigh at the irony. "Abuela is a bit overprotective sometimes."
"But I don't feel like I'm protecting anyone, I just feel… nosy." She twitched her mouth, dejected. "I rather protect people for real than keep this policing. But I don't know how to do that. I don't think they see me as a protector either. Everyone's always jumpy when I'm around."
"Yeees, that sounds familiar too. But, you know, you said it yourself: the problem is not you or your gift. Our gifts can be used in many ways, and it should depend just on us what to do with them. We're the ones who must decide what we want them to be. But sometimes people don't fully understand the purpose of the miracle and they act weirdly around us, just because they assume the worst."
Dolores nodded and kicked absently another little stone. "How… How was it? When you were twelve."
Ah, great, finally getting to the point.
"Messy." Bruno tried to laugh it off, and hoped he had sounded more nonchalant than hysteric. "The other kids were amazed by my cool powers and they were always making stupid request just to see me prophesy. They just assumed I knew everything and wanted answers right away. I knew how dangerous could be doing visions without the ritual, but I didn't want to let them down, so I did it secretly for a while just to please them. And it was a disaster. Without the ritual of projection and away from my room, my visions are just random flashes of info. They saw me sitting there in trance, babbling nonsenses and glowing like a firefly, and I scared the hell out of them. But they kept asking because— you know, kids sometimes have this morbid fascination for creepy things, and I was the creepiest thing ever. I almost broke my brain. Till one day Pepa and Juli caught us in the act and, well, that was the end of the show." He smirked at her. "Your mamá knocked out half of town kids that day. You know Germán's nose? It's crooked because she broke it. And Juli refused to heal it."
Dolores was gaping at the story, eyes totally round. "Seriously?"
"Oh, yes." Bruno couldn't help a dreamy, nostalgic smile. It was a bittersweet memory, of course, because the migraines that came after that, the rumors about his creepy visions and bad omens and his 'coronation' as the Madrigal weirdo weren't funny things. But it had been glorious seeing Juli shouting like crazy and Pepa punching people and chasing them with a thundering cloud, even if he had been punched too for being so stupid. Even mamá took sides that time to defend her children, which was pretty unusual when they did something irresponsible. "The moral of this fable is to never do anything against your own safety or better judgement, no matter what people ask you for. We're meant to help and we must honor the miracle, but we're not tools, far less to please the people who treat us like circus freaks. And never forget that the best part of being a Madrigal is that you can count on the backup of your family anytime." He gave her a significant look and, by the face she made, he knew she had taken the hint. "You know, I understand you don't want your papis to get involved, but I'm pretty sure Isa's excellent at punching."
Dolores pouted, as if feeling caught, but then sighed tiredly. "She is. But they know it too. That's why no one says anything in my face. Nobody wants to get on Isa's bad side, everybody loves her. But they know I can hear them. So they keep saying things, just… from far away."
Bruno gritted his teeth, but freed his arm of her grip gently and put it around her shoulders to squeeze her in a reassuring side hug. "You should let her break some noses. She would enjoy it greatly, and you'd be avenged."
She chuckled. "Nah, she would get in troubles with abuela."
"Abuela," Bruno snorted and rolled his eyes, joking, "always setting limits on our talents."
Dolores laughed a bit louder and leaned on him, hugging him too in gratitude. "Tell me more, would you? Were there good things too?"
"Oh, of course!"
And he spent the rest of the way telling her stories of the triplets' childhood, funny, good, tender stories, about the three of them, about the few but loyal good friends they still had and those first years of the Encanto. Trying to make her understand that life didn't have to be a burden, that things were always changing, that there was always room for things to get better, to get fixed.
When they got to the top, both of them felt a bit better and a bit calmer. They crossed the bridge, they crossed the hall, and Dolores looked around without asking anything, because she didn't need to. Bruno left doña Catalina with the other rats before entering the chamber of visions, and his niece helped him to prepare the ritual, just as Isa did, without leaving his side once. As they sat together before the fireplace, side by side, Bruno glanced at her one last time, bracing himself for whatever could happen, and asked her softly, "You ready?"
Dolores put in place her ear plugs and nodded, wrapping his arm with hers.
"Do you have in mind what you wanna know?"
She nodded again, suddenly shy.
And he faced the burning fire, taking a deep breath. He made an effort to let its light burn up every stray thought in his mind to empty it. He tried really, really hard. But the fear rose up, as strong as the flames. Please, he prayed. Please, let it be a good omen. Let me show her something good. Let me bring her hope. Please, please. And he felt the roots of his dread creeping up his throat and reaching his brain, digging their way on it with a burst of blinding pain, just before the world faded around him and turned into green light.
The vision was a chaos of swirling, half formed imagens, melting with each other. He fretted, trying to focus and regain control, lost in the sand whirlwind with the only anchor of Dolores grip to keep him grounded. It took him several seconds to find sense in anything, but the first flash of green he managed to transform into something comprehensible was a quick imagen of a grown up Dolores clung to the arm of a young man. His niece had to see it too, because he felt how she jolted at his side and straightened up in tension.
"Is that—" Bruno frowned, seeking more in the sand, as the meaning of what they were seeing sank on his mind. "Have you really brought me here to ask me about boys?" he exclaimed, with a high pitched screech.
"I-it's not about boys!" Dolores complained weakly, but she sounded so mortified he almost cracked up laughing.
So that was the matter? Bruno didn't know if he found it hilarious, endearing or worrying, but a wave of relief soothed his mind and the vision got clearer, more precise. More imagens of that young man took form in the whirlwind, and he felt a wide smile tugging at the corner of his lips, imagining Félix's face when he discovered his little girl was in love.
"Who's that guy? I see him everywhere!"
"I don't know!" Dolores seemed as surprised as him. "I don't recognize him!"
"Well, I bet you're gonna know him pretty well in the future. He looks like the man of your dreams!"
Dolores' grip tightened so much she almost left his arm numb, and he felt like laughing again. But there was something off. Looking eagerly around to catch every bit of information, an odd feeling struck him. In most of those glimpses, they didn't seem to be together. The man appeared doing many things, living his life, while Dolores watched him from the distance. Bruno's smile started to fade and he pushed his power to its limits, trying to see more. Till a clear imagen of the man kneeling at a young woman's feet offering her a ring gleamed before their eyes.
"He's proposing!" he cried out.
"That's not me."
Dolores' remark hit him like a slap. She was right. Straight hair instead of curls; hooked, sharp nose instead of a broad, round one. The woman betrothed to the man of her dreams wasn't her. A shock of panic left him breathless, kicking his concentration away. And the heat of his power burned his mind as the touch of a branding iron.
"No," he gasped. "No, no, no, NO! STOP! STOP IT!"
His shout made the chamber of visions rumble, and he lost control over the ritual. The fire exploded in a final burst, the whirlwind blasted so wildly it almost threw them to the ground. And, since nobody reached for the green plate half formed in the air, it plummeted and hit hard the stones, shattering and scattering all over the floor. The sudden silence that came then was even more deafening than the roaring wind, and Bruno panted frantically, trying to catch his breath. He couldn't see, still blinded by the headache and the ritual's abrupt end, and blinked furiously as he felt around for his niece.
"Loli," he gasped again. "Loli, a-are you ok?"
A little hand grabbed his tightly. "I'm ok."
Her tiny voice sounded awfully weak in the darkness. Bruno felt his lips trembling, and he had to bite them to suppress a scream of rage. Dammit, dammit, dammit. Bold of him to assume he could see something positive! But the weight of this failure was heavier than ever, and it crushed him more than anything else. "I-I'm sorry," he babbled. "I'm so sorry, mija. I-I didn't—"
"It's ok." He turned to her, squinting to focus her face. His sight cleared slowly, and he saw Dolores sitting on her ankles, looking blankly at the glowing pieces of broken glass. "It's ok, tío Bruno. It's what I expected." She looked at him and tried to smile, but her cheeks were crossed by tears. "Who would want to be with the Madrigal sapa, anyway."
That was like a punch. Sapa, gossipy, big mouth. His heart skipped a beat. "Loli, y-you're not—"
"That's what they say," she cut him off, and then the words flowed like a river with no dams. "The know-it-all sapa. They want me to tell them the secrets of the others, but then they say I'm an awful, nosy sapa, that I have no friends because nobody trusts me, that I'll be the next Madrigal spinster because no one could ever love me. And they're right." Dolores pressed her fists to her face, cringing. "They're right, tío Bruno. I-I have no friends. I feel so lonely. I don't want to be alone forever, I just want someone to see me and love me, like papi loves mami. But no one will ever give me a chance, because everyone always assumes the worst about me."
He stared, petrified, holding his breath as his niece teared the wound of her heart and let out the poison of her worries. He saw how she bent over, covered her ears, started sobbing and then cracked up crying, louder and harder than ever in her life. And her sobs kicked him again into reality, and he reached for her, and pulled her into a tight hug, wrapping her in his arms, wishing desperately he was actually able to neutralize her pain somehow.
Dolores curled up in his arms and cried, desolate. He rocked her and mumbled that she wasn't awful or unworthy of trust or love. He reminded her she was already loved, because her papis adored her, he adored her, and Juli, Agus, abuela, her little brother, her cousins, all of them adored her sincerely. But even he felt those words weren't enough this time. He tended to forget that he wasn't the norm, that most of people did want more, need more, and that being alone by choice was far different to believe you didn't deserve any company.
She kept crying till there were no more tears to shed; and he cried with her, of course, as they had promised. Neither moved again till they managed to calm down, and Dolores begged him to keep quiet about the vision, about the kids' words, about everything she had told him. Still with moisty eyes, she also begged him to not worry and not blame himself, because she really rather know instead of being on tenterhooks for years.
"It's like you said, tío," she whispered, her head on his shoulder. "You warn us about bad things to be prepared."
And Bruno wondered why his own words, meant to make her feel better and more valid, sounded suddenly so wrong and twisted.
Dolores concealed everything very skillfully. Before the rest of the family, she seemed to calm down and go on, and her parent's worries faded bit by bit. But she grew even quieter, even more introvert, almost turning into an invisible ghost who avoid stubbornly being in the spotlight. She resigned so hard that it was heartbreaking.
Bruno, however, didn't recover from that experience, as he had predicted. The wound of showing his dearest niece a loveless future didn't heal. He refused to do visions for weeks, as stubborn as Dolores, and when he was forced to stop avoiding his responsibilities, he didn't even try to pretend he wasn't sick of everything and everyone. His visions were awful even for himself, he spat prophecies without any tact, he didn't bother to look for the good side, he showed no more patience towards the villagers and their problems, or mamá's pressure, or the whole situation around the Encanto and the miracle and their gifts. He wondered, too, what was the point of all that, what else they had to sacrifice, why their kids had to sacrifice anything in the first place, how he was supposed to comfort his niblings when he was feeling so broken and helpless himself. He stood for long minutes before papá's painting every night, wondering why the miracle had to feel like a curse, asking him what they were doing wrong, how could they fix it or if there was actually room for it to get fixed, after all. He asked him for help one more time, and then wondered if he was even listening. He felt as if the salt of his rituals had been absorbed by his body and was infecting his very bloodstream.
That's why he did what he did when the last request finally reached him, a few months later. A request born from fear and despair, made in the heat of the moment, during the second worst night in the history of the Madrigal family. When mamá looked him in the eye and asked him to look into Mirabel's future, he knew what was going to happen. He knew, because he was Bruno, and he was a mess, his visions, his gift, his warnings, all of him was a harmful mess. And he couldn't bear to destroy the life of another niece, barely a baby, with any more bad assumption.
Later, he would find out that Casita was hiding a lot of cracks behind its walls since who knows when. But the first thing that cracked beyond any repair that fateful year in Casa Madrigal was him.
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pricklycarebear · 14 days ago
More - encanto tickle hcs
Ok so this one started as ler!bruno but turned into a grandkid roundup. So here's my tickle hcs on Bruno with all the grandkids!
Ok so while Bruno is the WORST person to be starting tickle fights with ANYONE given his... unfortunate sensitivities... That does not stop him from doing it anyway
First and foremost he has missed out on A LOT of uncl'in and after he's back with his family he takes every opportunity to be the best tío ever
He's still a kid at heart so it's the most natural thing ever for him to mess around with his nieces and nephews - out of the triplets he may seem the younger brother, but with the rest, it's like he's everyone's favourite older brother
Often it'll be the younger to middle-grandchildren that fall victim to his tickle attacks
Dolores, Camilo, Antonio and Mirabel all end up frequently getting involved in these tickle fights
Dolores adores her uncle and after his return his aura just brings out the more fun mischievous side of her again
One time not long after his return Bruno is having THE MOTHER of all tickle wars with Camilo and Antonio. Dolores hears and when she sees what's going on, that fun side of her lights up again - she's barely felt this way since Bruno left. She doesn't really know how to get involved, she's got an image to keep you know! so instead she "innocently" wanders by and just happens to mention one of her hermano's death-spots. They all stare in surprise (Bruno's genuine, the other two going from disbelief to anxiety) but instead of using his new knowledge Bruno's like "no no no no get back here missy" grabs her and pulls her into the fray. After that she has no problems jumping in
The only thing about tickling Dolores is, she is not the type to lie down and take it like a lee for long. She is a mean ler with her trademark sadistic nature, and surprisingly assertive at being able to get out of a ticklee situation and pin someone down.
Often Bruno ends up the one squealing here, and she doesn't let up until SHE'S satisfied with the retribution
Bruno takes it like a champ. Sometimes even congratulates her afterwards. Good uncle
Camilo could actually easily wrestle with his uncle, but enjoys the game too much to really try. He's pretty ticklish and Bruno is all too happy to tickle him to a puddle
Love love LOVE that hc I've seen around here about Bruno tickling Camilo as the scary persona Camilo decided to give him in "We Don't Talk About Bruno" *chefs kiss* justice
Bruno also tickles Antonio a lot but he's never too harsh and always lets up pretty quickly - he would know in an instant if his older nieces/nephews weren't enjoying themselves anymore, but given Antonio is so young, he knows he has to make sure it's all ok and he's not going overboard
Meanwhile, Mirabel gets a LOT of tickles from Bruno. Not only does she involve herself in EVERY tickle war, but she also is part of an ongoing, forever tickle-war between just herself and Bruno
They will find new and inventive ways to get the other unawares, but common methods are tickle-hugs, sneak attacks and random pokes at any time
Luisa and Isabela don't normally appreciate that kind of thing as much, and Bruno respects this by finding other ways to show his affection (absolute killer uncle, he is the best)
Bruno is genuinely at his happiest in the middle of a tickle fight with all his nieces and nephews. He feels like he's making up on lost time and for a while, he can just relax and enjoy being with his family
Being everyone's favourite, everyone wants to team up with him to get someone else, and in the course of a war there will be many changing of sides, betrayals and new alliances formed
Best of all is when the kids all decide enough is enough and gang up on tío Bruno together. He's an easy target, and doesn't even have to pretend to be beat. In the end it's usually one of the other adults in the house that will hear the general ruckus turn into Bruno's sole, desperate laughter and eveeeeeentually... go save him, once they think he's had enough
It's their way of punishing him for getting the kids and the house all riled up. Really they just love to hear his laugh again after so, so long. The house feels full again. Gang's all here
Bonus because I forget to put it in earlier - Bruno sometimes tickles as his persona Hernando, just for laughs
Still working out how to get things under a "read more" so this won't be too annoying on the tags, please bear with me folks (or help me). Likely more to come soon!
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theeerealpunkin · 4 days ago
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"Look, Tío! Now you can see the stars again!"
Headcannon that Bruno loves stargazing.
(Based on that one screen in the movie when the credits roll.)
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alleywayart · 28 days ago
Oooooohhhhh I get it now
Mirabel IS the miracle!!!
how did I not catch onto the butterflies all over her dress
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themountainsays · 26 days ago
Aaaaah help
I can’t get the idea of young Mirabel at four making her Tio Bruno wear dresses and make up and have tea parties with her all because he was her favorite and honestly,
He can’t say no to puppy eyes.
Omg that's very cute. And he'd play all these different characters for her because he's cool like that. And when they reunite 10 years later dude will still think "oh yeah she liked tea parties" and try to relive the experience of pretending to be some high society british lady drinking tea with Princess Mirabel. And 15 y.o Mirabel doesn't remember shit and she's trying REALLY HARD to figure out if Bruno has lost his mind, or if he's trying to send a S.O.S message without Dolores noticing.
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fuyueesvenenoso · 17 days ago
Bruno being involved in a rat cuddle pile, the rats knows when he’s feeling blue.
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what-in-procrastination · 25 days ago
thinking about the fact that bruno’s solution to protect maribel was to go live permanently with the rats in the walls instead of just, like, lying
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emietook · a year ago
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Ender killing me softly how dare he
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littlewritingsss · a month ago
Smooth (Bruno Madrigal x Reader)
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Ship: Bruno Madrigal x Reader (She/Her pronouns)
Tags: Fluff, flustered Bruno, wingman Camilo
Warnings: None:)
Synopsis: Bruno has never had the courage to talk to Y/N but maybe with a little help from his nephew, he’ll be able to do it
‘Ugh did I have to come with you to the market Tío?’ Camilo groaned as they walked into town. Bruno looked over at him
‘Yeah sorry Camilo but I needed a hand carrying everything back and you were the only one not busy so-‘
‘Hey isn’t that señorita Y/N?’ Bruno froze. There she was.
He shouldn’t be so surprised, Y/N always came to the market at this time very week. It was mostly this reason that Bruno decided to go. Of course he couldn’t muster up the courage to actually talk to her once he got there. But seeing her smile was enough to make his day.
‘Let me guess, you’re not going to talk to her like you do every week?’ Camilo huffed. ‘Y’know it was kinda funny to begin with but now it’s just sad Tío.’
‘Ah that’s mean Camilo. You shouldn’t say things like that.’ Bruno was never good at being the disciplinary adult but he still tried. Unfortunately he agreed with his nephew in this instance.
‘You want my advice?’ Camilo offered. ‘You just gotta go over there and smooth talk her.’
‘Smooth talk?’ Bruno didn’t think that was something he was capable off. In his choice of words or the tone he deliver them in, neither would be considered smooth he was sure of it.
‘Come on let’s just go over to her.’ Camilo began to push his uncle in Y/N’s direction. Bruno began to panic.
‘No Camilo I-I don’t think this is a good idea-‘ He tried to push back but Camilo had shapeshifted into Luisa. There was no getting out of this now.
The two stopped at the stall Y/N was at. She hadn’t noticed them just yet.
‘Just be smooth.’ Camilo whispered as he transformed back into himself. Bruno looked at the floor to compose him self.
Be smooth. Be smooth. Okay you can do this.
‘Good morning Bruno! Camilo.’ Y/N greeted cheerily.
‘Morning señorita.’
‘Y-Y/N! Ah good morning.’ Bruno jumped.
‘You’re doing great.’ Camilo commented sarcastically. Bruno tried his best to ignore him.
‘How are you?’
‘Very well thank you. And yourself?’
‘Yeah I’m good.’ Bruno looked down to his feet again. It was difficult to look her in the eyes and stay composed.
Y/N quirked an eyebrow and looked over at Camilo. He just shrugged saying he’s always like this. Y/N chuckled.
Bruno felt a hand on his chin, lifting his head up. Y/N smiled at him and moved his curly hair away from his face.
‘That’s better. I can see your handsome face now.’
‘M-My what?’
‘Have a good day Bruno.’ Y/N said and walked away. Camilo grinned.
‘Looks like señorita Y/N is smooth enough for the both of you.’
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magicalencanto · a month ago
⊹₊ ⋆❝ Vision of the future❞
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✎ ⁞ Camilo Madrigal x female! Reader
✎ ⁞ requested by @beamingbeaming
✎ ⁞ date: 28.12.2021
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Everyone in Encanto could be seen, bussing around. And when I say, everyone, I mean it. Even children could be seen, helping adults in preparations.
'A preparations for what?' You may ask. Well, for Dolores and Mariano's wedding, of course! Only last week, during beautiful sunset, did Mariano proposed to Dolores. It only took Dolores a few seconds, to realize what was happening and when she did, a loud 'yes!' could be heard from where they were standing.
Later that night, a young couple announced they're engagement to the rest of the Madrigal's. Of course, everyone were happy for them! Alma, as the oldest and the head of the family, gave them her blessing and immediately went, to announce the great news to the whole Encanto. Above Pepa's head a beautiful rainbow appeared, as she and Felix gave them their blessings and many tight hugs and kisses. Julieta and Augustin, too rushed where the couple were and gave them tight hugs, softly congratulating them. Mirabel, Louisa and Isabela gave each other high fives, with satisfied smirks on their faces. And Camilo and Antonio rushed towards their sister, showering her in affection, because they loved her and were a little sad that she was 'leaving' them to start a new chapter in her life.
The next day, congratulations were thrown at the young couple from every corner. Everyone, and I mean, everyone were happy for them.
The date of the wedding was quickly picked and preparations for this event had officially begun! And oh boy, was there a lot to do.
Decorations, food, guests, wedding dress, suit for Mariano...the list goes on and on. Poor Dolores became a nervous wreck. Even when her family assured her, that they would help her the best they could, her worries and fears took the best of her. All she could see was a vision of her wedding being ruined, just like her mom's. No, she wasn't angry at uncle Bruno, because he couldn't control his visions, but she was worried that something else my ruin her special day. After all, there were so many things that could go wrong! Poor thing, practically switched roles with her mother. Now Pepa was the one who had to constantly calm her daughter down...
While Dolores was too busy worrying about her nearing wedding, in reality everything was going smoothly. Under the watchful eye of Alma, people worked day after day. Pepa helped everyone by just being in a good mood and giving them the sunny weather all week. Julietta, with help, spend hours in the kitchen, preparing dishes. Isabela helped to make a lot of flowers needed for the decorations, Louisa put things into their rightful places and Mirabel locked herself inside her room, sewing her cousin wedding dress. Antonio choose to spend time with his mother and sister and Camilo? Camilo was everywhere, doing everything. Since he can change forms, he could practically everything. From helping with decorations to trying to make his sister laugh.
And Camilo didn't mind. He liked feeling useful and was driven by the fact that it was his older sister wedding. Those two sources of motivation, gave him necessary boosts of energy to help around. Besides, he had another, secret, motivation...
(name) Guzman. She was Mariano's cousin and Camilo and her had met some time ago. He didn't really remember how it had happened, but he and (name) became good friends. And recently something more. Again, Camilo didn't know how it came to be, but he was happy. Really happy and stupidly in love.
But since Camilo and (name) heard about the engagement, they've decided to keep their relationship a secret. They had agreed on that without hesitation. They didn't want to ruin his sister's and her cousin's special time. Their relationship could wait a little longer and they were more than fine with that.
But Bruno shattered their peace by being the usual lovely dork that he was. While you and Camilo were on a date, just a picnick in the middle of the meadow, Bruno decided that he wanted to go on a stroll with his rat friend, Alina. The youngest Madrugal triplet was having nice conversation with Alina, when he noticed his nephew and Mariano's cousin having a picnicking. At first, he thought that it was just two friends who decided to hang out, so he let it slide. And then...
Bruno saw Camilo hugging you tightly and kissing your cheek lovingly.
Bruno gasped once again, and Alina squeaked loudly, but this time louder and unfortunately, he managed to catch attention of his nephew, who in flash turned his head around and his warm brown eyes met his green ones. Camilo eyes widened as his shoulders tensed up, quickly realizing what had just occurred.
His uncle found out that you're dating and tomorrow was a last dinner between Guzman's and Madrigal's before the wedding day.
You were doomed.
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The dinner time came much quicker than Camilo would like. After your date, he couldn't stop thinking about his uncle potentially spoiling his sister's day. His brain kept showing him awful visions of potential future, where Bruno accidentally tells both his and your family that you're dating and Dolores would be devastated, because all attention is now on you. And how she would cry, because her special day was ruined because of you.
No, he won't allow it to happened. Camilo will make sure of it. Everything, the dinner and the wedding, will go smoothly.
Oh how wrong he was.
Since it was special day, today's dinner was served outside. The delicious food was laid on the table, Isabela made a two small bouquets that she puts into glass vases and placed them on the table and everyone sat down in their places. Mariano sat with his fiance and you sat next to him. Camilo sat opposite of you, and just besides his dear uncle. Alma with a warm smile, welcomed everyone and the dinner had officially begun.
While everyone were chatting happily, Camilo kept a watchful eye out for his uncle. Every time Bruno opened his mouth, he received a glare from his nephew, making poor man gulp and turn his head to the other side. In some way, Camilo was succeeding in keeping his uncle quiet. So far, everything was going smoothly...
❝ Can someone pass me arepa? ❞ Asked Alma, looking at the plate on the other side of the table.
❝ Here-! ❞
❝ Let me-! ❞
Both Camilo and Bruno reached for the plate and their hands had accidentally touched. Both men were blinded by the green color, as they both witness what was about to come. There was Dolore's wedding and...you. It looked like you had cached the bouquet and Camilo was hugging you, kissing your cheek. Then, he saw everyone standing around them, probably gasping in surprise. Tomorrow, everyone would know...Dolores would be devastated...
❝ Camilo...! ❞
❝ Bruno...! ❞
❝ Wake up! ❞ Both Camilo and Bruno snapped out of the trace after hearing Alma's voice. Like they were burned, both men jumped away from each other, trying to catch their breaths. Only after Camilo looked down at himself, did he realize that he accidentally keep changing into you, Bruno, Dolores and Mariano. Taking a deep breath, Camilo stopped changing, a looked at his uncle with wide eyes, trying to make sense of what he had just seen.
❝ Brunito, what happened?! ❞ Asked worried Alma, quickly running to his son and checking on him.
❝ Was this about my wedding?! ❞ Dolores burst out, worry filling her doe like eyes again.
❝ No, no, no! It was just something about...uh...my room! ❞ Bruno tried to assure his niece, smiling awkwardly at everyone and apologizing every minute for the inconvenience.
❝ Yeah! Bruno has been training his powers and now he gets those small visions here and there. Hehehehe... ❞ Camilo joined his uncle and laughed it off, secretly feeling something dying inside of him.
After a few more minutes, everything went back to normal, and the dinner resumed. Food quickly disappeared and Mariano had to go back with his family. You all said your goodbyes and parted your ways, while Madrigal's keep waving at you. And when you disappeared from their sight, Dolores was quick to grasp his uncle arm and started dragging him towards the kitchen. Ignoring his uncle protests, everyone rushed after the bride and Camilo was ahead of the rest. His heart squeezed painfully, afraid that Bruno would tell her everything.
❝ What did you see?! Tell me! ❞ He heard Dolore's yelling, as he had entered the kitchen.
❝ N-Nothing! ❞
❝ Tell me! ❞ Dolores started to shake the poor man by his shoulders, desperate to know the answer.
❝ Dolores! Stop this at once! ❞ Alma was quick to react, and step in at the right time, freeing Bruno from the poor girl's grasps. Older woman checked on her precocious son, caressing his cheeks and trying to calm him down.
❝ Brunito, go to your room... ❞
Camilo watched everything happening before him, feeling guilty. He tried so hard to stop this disaster from ruining his sister mood and he still failed...
❝ Camilo... ❞ He heard his mother calling him and he turned around to face her. Camilo saw a stormy cloud above her head, and feel even more guilty. Now his sister and mami were in a bad mood...
❝ Please, tell us what you saw... ❞ Begged him Pepa, grasping his hands in her own, looking into his soul. The young boy was forced to make a decision he was not ready for. Gulping, Camilo shook his head softly and whispered:
❝ Nothing...❞
❝...good ❞ Camilo added in his head, knowing perfectly well, that story about his mother's wedding would be repeating itself tomorrow.
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✎ ⁞ taglist: @10n31y-100n3y-10s3r
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bwall-7204 · 25 days ago
Encanto Headcannons #14
* Camilo and Isabela will aggressively fight over what they think will happen next in Bruno’s telenovelas
* Antonio is very clingy when it comes to Bruno making his tio pick him up at any and every opportunity
* Luisa is actually very competitive but ignorantly so where her siblings and cousins will trick her into competitions where she ends up taking care of herself. “I BET I CAN FINISH THIS BOOK BEFORE YOU!” “YOUR ON!” or “I BET YOU CANT CHUG THAT WHOLE BOTTLE OF WATER!” “WATCH ME!”
* During the summer the whole family will take one day a week to hangout and swim in the river
* Antonio becomes best friends with that coffee kid, much to the families dismay. Pepa worries about there friendship due to the kids over hyper ness. Little does Pepa know he enjoys his hyper company reminding him of his mom and siblings
* Bruno is a really good baker. He can’t cook for shit but Julieta and Pepa’s wedding cakes were both baked by him
* Agustin will buy small things for his daughters when he spots something while shopping. Usually buying Mirabel sewing supplies, Isabela painting supplies, and Luisa cute earrings or a small stuffie
* Camilo has tried to trick Mariano into thinking he’s Dolores (he’s shape shifted as Dolores) Mariano realizes every time acting extra lovey dovey to make Camilo panic into changing back
* Camilo has threatened Mariano about treating his sister right, making sure he’s not just there for a rebound
* Julieta and Luisa are early risers. They sit and watch the sun rise a bit more in the sky while drinking coffee
* Luisa’s designated bedtime is at 10, but she’s always to busy to ever get to sleep at that time
* Isabela has more than once stayed up till the early hours of the morning when working on an art project
* Bruno sometimes purposefully waits downstairs at the dinner table, waiting for Camilo to come get his midnight snack. They’ve both been yelled at for waking everyone up due to Camilos highpitched scream
* Antonio try’s to sneak food into his room for his animals, Pepa or Felix catching him every time. He gets better at it with age
* Once Bruno returns Isabela and Dolores give him a long and much needed hair washing. Luisa braiding it up after the fact
* While Mirabel was making new clothes for Bruno the whole family was fighting on which color coded side he’d be on. Mirabel ignoring all of them sticking with green and maroon
* Luisa says that she’s a tea expert. She actually hates tea
* Camilo steals Isabela’s eyeliner
* When Dolores was little and she would become overwhelmed with all the noise she would have fits where she would hit her head. Her parents, aunts, uncles, and even Isabela would go and cover her ears until she stopped
* Some days Camilo will come over to a family member and just stand there till they notice and question him. He’ll open up his arms slightly. Each family member knows right away to just hug him till he lets go
* Luisa will sometimes just carry him around while she does chores during these moments. She’ll do the same when she babysits a sleeping Antonio
* Bruno wasn’t super thrilled when he first opened the door to his room. All the stairs looked tiring. At least he could make sand castles
* Anytime Bruno was bullied his sisters would be right there to defend and beat the shit out of whoever it was.
* Anyone who touched the Madrigal sisters though, Bruno never hesitated to kick them in the stomach
* Julieta always healed them up right after so Abuela would never know
* Bruno is always protective over his sisters and didn’t like most guys they dated or warded them off with his presence. Agustin was just clueless and Felix was way to friendly
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