Ernesto couldn't believe what has happened to him as of recently. Ever since his crimes has been exposed to the living and dead, his legacy has been destroyed. Not only that, he's also in a verge of being forgotten judging by his current appearance where he looked like he is now in rags. Well, kinda; as he is still standing in the Land of the Dead, he won't be forgotten easily. While there are some fans who wished to forget about him, there are some who still wished to remember him. Probably people who still wanted to be his fans. Even so, it's not helping him when there are more people in both worlds who hate him than adoring him.
After he got out of the bell where he was trapped a year ago after his crimes had been exposed, he is sent to jail where he won't be visiting the land of the living even when there are a few ofrendas from people who still idolized despite all that he had done. Even some prisoners looked down on him as they have redeeming qualities themselves, unlike him. Who knew he could be hated there as well?
The only comfort he has is a small box beside him, and he looked at it with sadness on his face. It was his moment of feeling regret for what he had done, and it was his time to reflect on his actions.
"I failed you," he began opening it, showing a locket as he started talking to it. "I wish there were another way for me to say it, but I cannot. I can only beg your forgiveness, and pray you hear me somehow, someplace..."
He started to have tears coming out of his eyes; he hadn't cried a long time ever since his death. That very moment shows the side of him that is really human. The hidden side of himself when he was not seen performing any music or movie.
"...someplace where I will reach out to you, and we will be together again..." he opens the locket which showed a picture of a beautiful woman who had a kind smile on her face. "Mama."
He puts his head down in shame, contemplating on his current failure.
Unbeknownst to him, Hector has been watching all this from a distance. He couldn't help but feel bad for his former best friend. Ernesto only became the villain that everyone saw him as of now because of his father, who repeatedly abused him in every turn whether it could be emotional or physical. The latter is always the painful option of the two. It was because of this that he never got a good childhood himself. Sure his mother defended him from that abusive man, but it was never enough to save him from his wrath and that he was abusive to his own wife as well.
As a result, Ernesto became an outcast in Santa Cecilia before he met Hector. Thinking back on one time he saw him with a bruise from their childhood days...
"Oh, Ernesto..." Hector couldn't believe whom he just saw by the cliff. Ernesto covered his left eye. "Why are you covering your left eye?"
"It's... nothing, Hector," the latter tried to see that the subject is not a big deal.
"You call that nothing. Let me see it, please."
With his friend's plea, Ernesto uncovered his eye to see that it has a black circle covering it.
"Your father did it again, didn't he?" Hector realized, and Ernesto puts his head down in shame.
"I tried standing up against like him as you told me one time, and this is what I get," the latter said, taking a seat next to him.
"Why don't you just run away with me, Ernesto?"
"I wish I could, Hector, but I can't leave my mother at the hands of that monster."
"Hey, as long as I'm by your side, everything is going to be fine."
"I like the way you're thinking, Hector. That's why we're friends in the first place."
Going back to reality, Hector knew that the abuse Ernesto suffered for so long eventually got to him prior to their tour 97 years ago. He knew that the reason he only cared for attention was because of his days as an outcast. It came from his desire of wanting his father to acknowledge him in doing things different from him, but it didn't worked out; hence Ernesto became the villain that everyone saw him as of recently doing whatever it takes to survive the cruel world he was standing.
It became clear to Hector that Ernesto killed him not because of wanting to achieve his own dream badly, but rather as an act of misunderstanding on abandoning him to his own loneliness just as his father did to him days before asking his former friend to come touring with him.
Having found closure with him, Hector continued to walk to the bridge where he knew he can finally cross it to visit Coco and her family, including Miguel. He took one final look at the cell where Ernesto is currently imprisoned in before moving on.
"Farewell, my friend."
Author's Note: If Ernesto were to be a tragic villain... Of course, the fanfic is based from the final scene of Batman: The Animated Series episode, "Heart of Ice". Also, I got the idea from a story in AO3 called For Whom the Bell Tolls.