So, I never thought I'd find myself writing a "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" fanfic, but here it is! I own the 2005 movie on DVD, but I hadn't seen it in literally years. When I saw it on a movie channel recently, I watched it and sort of became obsessed! I probably shouldn't admit this, but I've already watched it three times since it aired a few days ago, LOL. So, it's inspired me to write a fic. I see a lot of romance stories for Willy and a lot of stories about the secondary characters, but what I want to read and write is a good old-fashioned Charlie and Willy story…well, it might not be all that old-fashioned, but you know what I mean.
That being said, I do want to clarify that this is not a slash fic. My fics, regardless of the fandom, tend to lean towards friendships and familial relationships, not that everything will be all roses. It most certainly won't be, LOL. You've been warned.
Charlie Bucket opened his eyes and stared through a hole above his bed in the little shack he had called home for the majority of his life. When he used to do this not all that long ago, the first thing he would usually see was the early morning sky. Sometimes there would be cloud cover; at other times the sun would shine brightly throughout the baby blue atmosphere. He saw neither now…
The lights in the outer room were turned off completely, so the only thing he could really see was the vague formation of another ceiling far above his home's. This, of course, didn't startle him at all. It didn't even startle him the first night he had woken up here, because the sounds of the nearby waterfall reminded him of where he was:
The Wonka Chocolate Factory.
He still couldn't believe it sometimes. Before it all happened, Grandpa George had almost convinced him that things like this didn't happen to people like them…but his grandfather had been wrong, oh so very wrong! He was glad he had never completely given up hope that perhaps he could be one of the few who would find one of Mr. Wonka's golden tickets. And, not only had that happened, shortly afterwards he had also won a bigger prize, the biggest prize of them all: the factory, itself.
Well, it wasn't his, yet, technically; rather, he was Mr. Wonka's heir.
Sometimes it felt so weird to call himself that. He remembered studying about past kings and queens in history class, and his teachers would always explain that "heirs" were the children of royalty who would inherit the throne when their parents died. Nothing in that definition really fit this situation. He certainly wasn't Mr. Wonka's son—he didn't have any kids at all! And, Mr. Wonka definitely wasn't a king.
Well, maybe he was…here, in his own factory. There was no disputing the fact that he was the High Chief of the Oompa Loompas, after all.
Smiling at the thought, Charlie stretched and yawned when a sudden whistle resounded throughout the factory and he heard Mr. Wonka's voice over the intercom exclaim, "LIGHTS!"
Immediately, without delay, beams of artificial sunlight spread throughout the Chocolate Room, and as usual, he heard the sounds of birds chirping overhead, but he never saw any live ones in the factory. In fact, the only birds he had ever seen inside were bird-shaped chocolate bars that were placed sporadically across the room on various different types of candy trees. He had always wanted to ask Mr. Wonka about the chirping, but every time he got in the great chocolatier's presence, the question would never cross his mind. Mr. Wonka always managed to sidetrack him by the million other things that occurred inside this amazing place.
Charlie rolled out of bed and put on a brown sweater and a pair of khaki-colored slacks quickly. He knew he would have a visitor any second now, and he wasn't disappointed when a light knock was heard at the front door. As he rushed down the ladder, he watched his father open the door with a smile and say, "Ah, good morning, Willy! Do come in!"
Willy Wonka stood at the precipice of the door and stared inside the Bucket home. His eyes wandered across the room quickly, studying the occupants, but when his eyes finally settled on Charlie, he grinned and stepped inside. "Good morning. How is everyone today?" he asked in his overly exuberant high-pitched tone.
"GREAT!" Charlie exclaimed as he jumped down from the last few steps and rushed to his mentor's side.
"Wonderful," Willy commented as he turned back to Mr. Bucket, who was currently gesturing towards the dining room table.
"Would you care to join us for breakfast, Willy?" Mr. Bucket asked as he sat down at the head of the table. Willy watched Charlie sit beside his father, so he took a seat between Grandma Georgina and Grandma Josephine.
"Don't mind if I do," he replied. He pulled off his plum gloves and set them across his lap gingerly, almost nervously.
Everyone in the room didn't comment on Mr. Wonka's actions, but they knew why the gloves had been removed. The gloves had been something of a distraction the first day Willy had decided to eat with the Bucket clan. While they were in the little shack, sounds within the home seemed to be magnified tenfold and all the distractions of the factory in general were shielded out. Because of that, it had been discovered rather quickly that Mr. Wonka's gloves made a lot of noise, especially when gripping silverware since they appeared to be made of a thick rubber that would make low groans or whines no matter how or which way its wearer moved. Without conscious thought, everyone in the house had turned to look at Mr. Wonka every time he had gripped his spoon or brought food to his mouth. After this had happened for maybe the tenth time, Willy sighed, took off his gloves, and seemed to withdraw within himself: he made himself as small as possible and was very careful not to touch anyone else.
That was also something everyone had learned quickly: Willy didn't like to touch anyone barehanded, nor could he stand for most people to touch him. Charlie had noticed it on the tour when Veruca Salt had hugged Mr. Wonka and nothing he had seen since then made him believe any differently.
At that moment, Mrs. Bucket walked out of the kitchen with a pot of oatmeal. "How are you this morning, Willy?" she asked with a light smile on her face.
"Very well, thank you," he said with a nervous smile.
Mrs. Bucket served Willy first since he was their guest and then walked around the table to serve everyone else. Once she was seated, Grandpa Joe turned to Willy and inquired, "What is to be done in the factory today, Mr. Wonka?"
Willy seemed relieved that this would be their first topic of the day, and Charlie smiled. The easiest way to settle Mr. Wonka and make him feel comfortable was to discuss his candy or the factory. And, the funny thing was they never seemed to run out of things to discuss with those two topics. Every day, they had something new to talk about, whether it was a new invention, something going wrong in one of the workrooms, or an Oompa Loompa's newest adventure thanks to trying out a new candy or going on a mischievous adventure. Something was always happening!
"Well, today, I'm taking Charlie to the Bubble Room," he answered excitedly with a smile.
"The Bubble Room?" Charlie repeated enthusiastically. That was a place they hadn't visited yet, but he had seen the name a few times while they had ridden in the Great Glass Elevator.
Mr. Wonka's smile grew even wider as he exclaimed, "Yes, my dear boy! I thought since we've been working all weekend, it was time for you and me to have some fun!"
Before Charlie could comment, Mrs. Bucket replied, "I think that sounds wonderful, Willy, but aren't you forgetting something?" When Charlie and Willy turned quizzical brows to her, she sighed and said, "Today is Charlie's first day back to school. He won't be here until this afternoon. As a matter of fact…" She grabbed her husband's hand, looked at his watch, and then continued, "If he doesn't get outside within the next five minutes, he'll miss the bus!"
Both Charlie and Mr. Wonka groaned. They had known all along that today was coming, and neither had been looking forward to it. Charlie had grown accustomed to not being in school during the summer and Willy had gotten used to his apprentice being by his side throughout the workday. Neither liked that their daily routines would be changing.
Forgetting himself and that they had already had a discussion on the topic, Willy muttered, "Couldn't we just hire…"
"No," Mrs. Bucket said, interrupting him, "we cannot hire a tutor for Charlie. I realize that my son is now your heir and he has a job lined up at this factory when he gets older, but he still needs to interact with the world, Willy. He needs his education; he needs his friends. Even you went to school as a child."
It was a one-sided argument that his mother always won. This time, like the last time, Willy simply pursed his lips together and didn't talk back.
Charlie, for one, was a little shocked at this reaction. When it came to others, Mr. Wonka was confrontational when he had to be and would make his sentiments known, but when it came to Charlie's mother, he'd always back down. Charlie wondered if it was because Mr. Wonka knew his mother was right or he simply recognized that his parents had final say. Charlie honestly didn't know.
"Yes, well," Willy said after a few moments, "I guess it will have to wait until he gets home, then." After that, it took him a matter of seconds to finish his oatmeal. Willy stood from the table and slipped back on his gloves. "I suppose I need to get to work. I have far too much to do today. I'll see you this afternoon, Charlie."
As he headed towards the door, Charlie jumped up from the table abruptly and asked, "Could you walk with me and wait for the bus, Mr. Wonka?"
Everyone in the room paused as Charlie made his request. No one knew what the answer would be and just as Charlie knew Mrs. Bucket was going to suggest that she or Mr. Bucket take him, Willy turned around and exclaimed, "Oh, of course, my dear boy! Come on!"
Charlie sprung from the table and grabbed his backpack off the floor next to the door. It had been sitting there, packed and ready to go, for the past week. "Bye, Mom! Bye, Dad!" Charlie called out as he ran towards them and gave them a kiss on their cheeks. Then, he followed Mr. Wonka into the Chocolate Room.
Willy and Charlie were quiet as they walked to the front door of the factory. It wasn't all that faraway. As a matter of fact, the hall that led to the factory front exit was right outside the Chocolate Room, so everyone knew Charlie had wanted to talk to Willy and that's why he had asked the elder gentleman to walk with him to the bus stop.
As soon as the door to the Chocolate Room slammed shut behind them, Charlie looked up at his mentor and said, "I'm sorry I won't be able to help you today, Mr. Wonka."
Willy kept his eyes facing forward as he replied with a sigh, "It's not your fault. Your mother is right: you do need your education."
Charlie nodded slowly and when they reached the end of the hall, Willy opened the door and stepped outside into the dreary morning air. The skies were dark with the threat of rain and Charlie sighed when he noticed that it was brighter and more cheerful in the factory than out.
As they continued to walk to the front gate to wait on the bus, Charlie looked at Mr. Wonka once more and asked, "What was it like when you went to school, Mr. Wonka? Did you like it?" Truthfully, it was hard for Charlie to imagine his mentor in school, so he naturally wondered how Mr. Wonka had fit in and if he had enjoyed it.
As usual when someone questioned his past, Willy got a faraway look in his eyes and he stood absolutely still. No doubt, he was reliving something that had occurred when he was a child. After almost a minute, Mr. Wonka shook himself and said, "I'm sorry. Yes, yes. I enjoyed school."
Something in the way he said it, though, made Charlie doubt the words very much. Mr. Wonka didn't smile; he didn't even try to fake a cheery disposition. Instead, he said the words in a low voice that was barely recognizable as belonging to the great chocolatier.
When the bus was heard and seen in the distance, Mr. Wonka turned to Charlie, knelt down in front of him, and said, "I want you to have a good time at school today, but I feel that I should warn you." When Charlie widened his eyes, Willy cleared his throat and said, "I don't know how things are going to change for you there. You are now my heir and everyone knows you live with me in the factory. Some people who were mean might try to be nice. Some who were nice might try to be mean. Some might try to exploit you." When Charlie wrinkled his brow, he explained, "They might try to use you somehow. I'm not saying any of this to alarm you. I just want you to be aware and come to me or your puh-puh-parents if you have any problems. Okay?"
Charlie nodded after a few seconds of contemplation and mumbled, "Okay."
At that moment, the bus pulled up and Willy immediately stood. He placed a hand on Charlie's shoulder and said confidently, "You'll be back before you know it."
Charlie noticed that Mr. Wonka looked a little worried when he said it, but he breathed deeply and nodded before stepping on the bus anyway. As soon as he was completely inside, he turned around and waved. "Good-bye, Mr. Wonka!"
When the bus door closed, Charlie turned around and finished walking up the steps. When he stood before the rest of the bus' occupants, he knew immediately that Mr. Wonka had been right. Some of the students were looking at him in shock; some were smiling happily at him, and others…others were frowning and furrowing their brows at him.
Charlie had a feeling the day was going to seem a lot longer than both Mr. Wonka and he had hoped.
Okay, so I kept the chapter kind of short to test the waters and see if any of you were interested. I know I'm going to write the story and finish it either way, but I'm hoping some of you would like to join me for the ride! So, please, let me know what you think! And, yes, I promise, things do pick up in this story and many revelations will be made in the future.