A/N: Disclaimer: I don't own the characters, just what I made up.
This one is kind of sad, just so ya know.
I want to give huge thanks to the person who made this story possible: Charlie Casanova. This story wouldn't be what it is without her encouragement and the inspiration she gave me (not to mention the caffeine she gave me to keep me awake). Thank ya, darling:)
Sit back, grab a tissue, and enjoy.
Charlie stood over the round pile of fake dirt and stared at the handmade plaque he created himself to serve as a tombstone. The tears would not come. He rarely ever cried in his life and now the act of crying felt as if it had to be taught to him in order to let the drops descend. He never understood the feeling of being alone because he always had his family. But at this moment, they could not prevent the sensation. Alone. Shattered. Empty.
It was only a week after his nineteenth birthday. What a cheerful celebration it had been, considering that Grandma Georgina and Grandpa George had both past away two weeks before. Willy Wonka had the Oompa Loompas create a spectacular chocolate cake and made sure that nineteen candles nested on top. He had retained the childish belief that if you made a wish before blowing out the candles, it would come true; Charlie loved that about him. The man was a kid at heart, trapped in an adult's body. Some of the best inventions of candy had come out of the factory due to their imaginative collaboration together. Charlie looked forward to working with Wonka every single day. Wonka was his best friend. He was his only friend. He even started to have feelings of wanting to make more than chocolate with Wonka, and it scared him.
But then Wonka got sick. He waved it off as just a minor cold, refusing to rest and so continued making his beloved chocolate. Each day the illness progressed. Charlie's lips twitched uncontrollably as tears welled in his eyes for the first time since he stood there at the mound. He remembered the day all too well. He had watched, as if in slow motion, Wonka collapse to the floor in the Inventing Room. He ran to his side and hesitated before he moved to hold him in his arms, as Oompa Loompas panicked around him. He gazed into Wonka's seemingly lilac eyes and for the very first time, he saw an expression that was as far from child innocence as is possible.
"Do you know where you are? Can you hear me?" Charlie asked frantically.
Wonka nodded and shook as he coughed violently.
"I'm going to take you to your bed. You need rest."
Surprisingly to Charlie, Wonka had not moved away from him. Charlie knew how much he disliked being touched. They usually only shared a handshake between one another and on rare occasions, sometimes an awkward hug. Not knowing if he was strong enough, Charlie attempted to pick him up and succeeded. The events that happened afterward were now blurred in his memory.
An Oompa Loompa doctor came to see Wonka. He tried every remedy known in Oompa Loompa Land and medicines suggested from medical books, but nothing worked. Wonka's cough grew worse each day, draining what energy he had left. He had trouble breathing and a high fever. The doctor ordered him to stay confined to the bed, no matter how much he wanted to get up and start inventing again.
Charlie regretted not going to visit him often. It was his own fear of seeing someone sick, especially when that person was Wonka; the man he thought could never get ill, never stop working. Instead, he filled his time continuing the work they had started together, trying to get his mind fixed on something else.
He would remember the good times they spent. One time, Wonka's new attempt at evolving his Shock Tarts went…….not as planned. Charlie had volunteered to be the guinea pig and test one first. It literally shocked him, not in a harmful way, but just enough to make him shake and his hair to stand straight up. Wonka laughed at that and Charlie smiled for days after, the sound of Wonka's entertainment ringing in his ears like soft wind chimes.
The factory had been in a dreary state while Wonka was unable to work. The news spread that he was not getting any better. Charlie gained up the courage to go see him for what would be the second time since Wonka had been cooped up in his room and the last…….
When he entered the room, Wonka lay in his bed, propped up by several pillows. Charlie tried to hold himself together as he gazed upon a man who looked nothing like the Willy Wonka he had come to know and admire. Wonka was more colorless than ever. His hair hung in slight tangles and was damp with sweat. His eyes were overcast with exhaustion. The aura of childish innocence, Charlie felt, was gone. What was left was a man who had to grow up and face…….
Charlie walked to sit a safe distance from him on the bed.
"Hello, Charlie!" he said in his usual upbeat, though weaker, voice and smiled.
Charlie smiled in return. The rest of the conversation had been about new candy ideas until Wonka became serious.
"You will take good care of the factory, won't you?"
"What do you mean?"
"Oh, my dear boy! When I'm………When I'm gone, of course. I told you when you had won the contest that you would be my heir and take over. You've been my partner, and now you'll have to be a success on your own. I know you can do it, that's why I picked you!" He paused, and then continued. "I'd like to be buried here, in my factory. Can you do that for me?"
Charlie nodded. He understood why. The factory was Wonka's home; it was his world, his life.
Wonka began to cough and Charlie looked away. He closed his eyes as the horrible sound filled his ears.
After a minute or so, Wonka recovered. He smiled and Charlie could not help but hug him. He felt Wonka tense against him, but after a moment Wonka wrapped languid arms around him. Wonka was still trembling slightly from his coughing fit, and Charlie's heart ached. As he held Wonka close, the words echoed in his head. When I'm gone. It was a foolish thought on his part, but Charlie always believed Wonka would be there. He believed Wonka would always be young and never leave.
When they both pulled away from each other, a strong temptation overcame Charlie. He wanted to take it a step farther and kiss Wonka. The thought had entered his mind a couple of times before, but now the feeling was strong. Before he could act on it though, Wonka closed his eyes and fell asleep. Charlie left the room quietly.
A day later the news reached all of the Oompa Loompas and Charlie fell to his knees when he heard. He went to his mother and she held him in her arms. He had not gone to his mother for comfort since he was a child.
It was then time to decide how he was going to make Wonka's request a reality. He helped the Oompa Loompas make barrels full of the grass that was used in the Chocolate Room and laid it out in a vacant room in the east wing of the factory. They created a hole big enough for the casket on the far side of the room.
All the Oompa Loompas, Grandpa Joe, Grandma Josephine, Mr. and Mrs. Bucket, and Charlie attended the funeral ceremony. Sorrow covered the room like a heavy blanket. The Oompa Loompas did not even speak, no songs, just silence. Everyone had been quiet, left to their own thoughts and memories of the chocolatier.
Charlie was the last one left. He could not bring himself to leave just yet. He never got to touch Wonka; really touch him. He had wanted to become intimate with Wonka, but did not know how to pursue it. He had thought that in time, they could have been more than friends, dare he say it? Lovers even. But the time was cut short. He never got to feel those lips against his, the older man's bare skin against his. He never got to confess his true feelings.
Charlie sat down and placed a hand on the grave.
"I love you," he whispered. "I love you, Willy Wonka. But it's too late."
The lesson was over. A wave of grief came over him, bringing tears. He began to sob and he felt a large part of him was gone.
When Willy Wonka was buried, so was Charlie's childish hopes. He crossed over into the adult world that Willy Wonka tried so hard to keep out of. And Willy Wonka accomplished that till his last day.
A/N: Now go read the sequel: "The Desolate Room" (already up!) :D
A/N: Thanks to everyone who has reviewed so far. It means so much to me! If you haven't yet, please do!