Found this half-written while wandering through old files, couldn't resist reworking it.
Thanks for the feedback.
52 flavours: #33: The opposite of faith
Charlie breaks down the first time Willy dies- he is a blubbering, terrified mess barely held together by a spider-web net of angry despair and grief so deep it numbs him for days on end. He is still feeling too young and too orphaned. The factory does not come to a halt, but it is a near thing: the oompa-loompas are not so much workers as integral parts of the factory itself and they are coolly firm against Charlie's hysterical orders. This should be how we mourn, one of the younger ones tell Charlie later, but Charlie's grief had reached the stage of white-numbness and Charlie just clutched at Willy's cane, blank and bewildered.
When Willy resurrects two weeks later, it takes a whole day before Charlie finds his voice again. In the meantime, his mentor roams his legacy, frowning at this and remarking at that and why on earth is our packaging all in black? Charlie, really.
Charlie regains his voice. Screaming commences, solely on his part.
The second time, Charlie manages to hold himself together. Most of the time. Some of the time. Hope is terrible like that- the factory runs on without so much as a hiccup and Charlie memorizes the splay of shadowed cracks on his ceiling by the second night, wide-eyed in his bed. Boneless and all ragged angles at the same time. Straining and waiting all the time. It is the only thing that keeps him together, this brutality of hope; it drives him to the cutting edge of desperation and holds him back from silently going under, from caving into the devastating peace of despair. He throws himself into what is left of Willy – his factory, their factory, Willy Wonka's factory- and is shivering miserably on the edge of a nervous breakdown when Willy resurfaces nineteen days later.
Willy purses his lips and frowns slightly when the chief oompa-loompa medic leans up to his ear and tells him Charlie hasn't slept properly in almost all the time he's been gone. That he is killing himself with waiting and they, the oompa-loompas, had been very worried about the young master. That Charlie had even lost his appetite for chocolate.
To which Willy had the audacity to cluck his tongue and close in on Charlie, concerned and mildly disapproving like an indulgent parent to a misbehaving child. Charlie's eyes are blurred with the salt-twist of rage and heartbreaking joy; he can't see very well, which is why the vicious swipe of his arms takes two tries before he manages to wrap himself around the man ina fierce, painful embrace. This time, there is no real yelling but a rush of quiet words in raw, ferventundercurrent: this is not a game, I am not your toy, and do you know what you are doing to me? I know what you are doing, I know what you are trying to do, how dare you, how dare you- you- arrogant- manipulating—and so on. Willy deftly counters this with a smattering of I know and Charlie, please and basically, Charlie later realizes, a lot of lingering eclipses leaving meaningful silences in the air which seem speak volumes while actually saying nothing at all.
The third time sparks more outrage than grief; the fourth drains away both insidious fear and Charlie's post-resurrection tirades. The sixth time is almost tolerable. Half-way through the seventh, Charlie is dismayed to find he is more resigned than anything else and is already starting to plan his schedule to the estimated reappearance, which durations span longer with each new death. The dark rings under his eyes start to fade and while Charlie misses him – of course he misses him; he will always miss and seethe and forgive, of course-, his breath no longer chokes in his throat at odd times. He even learns how to laugh without Willy's presence.
By the fourteenth death, Charlie is amused to find that he has started an idle betting game on predicting how long Willy will stay dead this time. For a heartbeat, a strange panic suffocates him like a flash of illumination, an blinding dread of something impossible building up over these four years.But then he shakes it off, it is over, and when the twentieth time rolls round, Charlie is already an old hand at heading entirely new projects on his own. Already, he is too impatient to wait for Willy before transmuting their latest project of Edible Technology from blackboard to reality, but he's sure Willy wouldn't mind.
And though its strange how long Willy is taking this time (seventeen weeks? eighteen?) when the last time was only ten weeks, it is only a matter of time. Charlie almost starts to miss him properly, more than the usual vague sense of misplacment, but there's barely time to worry about that- not when there's so many ideas to experiment with these days, so many dreams to fufill, so many delights to conjure! After all, he has to hurry, hurry- no time to waste! If Willy has taught him one thing, its that there's always something to do- oompa-loompas to see, plans to build, worlds to organize...Hang on- strike that last bit, reverse.
Andanyway, he'll see Willy again, he always does. And even if distantly, hollowly, Charlie knows what Willy has done, it is too late: there is no grief, no anger, only patience born from too much waiting. Hero-worship finally dormant and treachorous beneath his ribs.
After all, Charlie has always been a devoted student and Willy has taught him well--this is only death, Charlie thinks numbly, and it happens all the time.
Another scrap found. Originally posted this as a seperate piece previously, but got it booted off by ffnet. But might as well hitch it to a legitmate fic. To clarify: all facts are fictional, unless depp!moviecanon says otherwise..
Thanks for all previous feedback for this, and any forthcoming. :)
20 Facts about Willy Wonka
20) Willy's birth name is actually William. Willy was a nickname bestowed on him in finger-painting days, when boys with loud mouths still ruled his world. For some reason, it gave rise to snickers and jokes he didn't quite understand and almost-friendly (friendly!) ribbing for one week- the longest amount of time William felt breathlessly accepted as one of them. They were wonderful, wonderful seven days till Monday came and the novelty wore off. The name never did.
19) On some days, he hated his dad and those braces and the stupid, stupid rules his dad laid out. Other days, Willy loved his dad and wished he would drop his dental practice so they could spend more time together. It got so confusing Willy laid out a weekly plan to arrange his thoughts (Mon, Wed, Fri: hate dad; Tues, Thurs, Sat: love dad) with Sunday left free to give himself a break.
18) Willy still has the plan, but now all the days have been crossed out with: He loves. Me. He figures that's all he needs to know to decide.
17) He still remembers the first time he fell in love. It was a chocolate Easter egg, wrapped in crinkly coloured aluminum and tasting like the ten cents it cost. Now, for every Valentine's Day, he gets himself a bag from the local mart.
16) Willy will never forget the first time he truly experienced raw, incredulous hatred. He had been livid: at the spies, the damned thiefs that dared to call themselves his equals. The bleak despair of a failed dream- over, over, all over. There is still a room he keeps- empty, eerily untouched- that he visits every anniversary to remind him of what nearly was.
15) Willy never had an actual apprenticeship or training. He was, however, the cleaner for a humble chocolate café for a year. On the other hand, the shop was located in Switzerland and was eternally competing for the 'Best Chocolate Shop' award in its district. It was a remarkably educational experience, and Willy has gained an eternal respect for kitchen washers ever since.
14) The Wonka family is of magic heritage, coincidentally. It is a vaguely embarrassing affliction, much like the distant side of the family who did that in Ungora when on holiday that no one ever talks about.
13) However, it is admittedly useful in bringing many of his edible fantasies to life, or to be more specific, to reality. Willy takes guilty comfort in knowing his father never got round to controlling his power either, since he has noticed when he was young, there were occasions that a client might come out of the Room looking dazed, with teeth so perfect they sparkled and his father in tow, looking mutely mortified.
12) Of course the oopa-loompas are not real people. They are better than real people.
11) He really did know Charlie was going to win the game the moment he met all of them. At that moment, he just seemed the least of all snotty-nosed evils. There wasn't much competition, that's for sure.
10) But. Willy had not counted on Charlie being so… Charlie. For all his heady dreams of coca alchemy, his faith in the humanity had been digging new stops underground. Charlie did not prove him wrong, of course, but it at least convinced him that going up occasionally for some fresh air might not be such a terminal idea.
9) Willy is aware of a more colourful vocabulary (and all that implies) existing outside goshdarnit. He is coolly amused by those who believe him having a mind scarcely better than being infantile, and especially those who amiably refer to him as being so childlike. However, he is also a great subscriber to the benefits of underestimation.
8) Not even Charlie knows this, but as a sign of respect, the oompa-loompas have a tradition of generously inviting him into their families by allowing him the great privilege of introducing each new batch of adolescents to the grand wonders of Being An Adult and The Great Circle of Life. Generally, Willy dredges his memories for the 'Birds and the… Knees? Fees?' talk he was graced to several continents ago and rambles desperately for a few minutes while his pubescent (new) family stares up at him in solemn-eyed wonder. He really, really hopes Charlie's family will never ask the same of him.
7) Willy is a firm believer in experience being the greatest of all teachers. This is because aside from his dental care lessons, he has known no other.
6) Ever since Charlie and his family came to live with him, his therapist has been pleased to note that his bouts of forgetful repetition have been decreasing.
5) Ever since Charlie and his family came to live with him, his therapist has been pleased to note that his bouts of forgetful repetition have been decreasing.
4) He knows Charlie hero-worships him.
3) He knows he will never love Charlie or his family as much as Charlie loves him.
2) Willy is counting the days till Charlie realizes. He has not shoved something as precious as the Wonkavite in their faces for nothing; sooner or later, Charlie is bound to wonder. When one has created the philosopher's stone, mortality becomes a concept and the discovery of white hair reduced to the same level as running nose: both do not require heirs for remedies.
1) William Wonka does not believe the whole business with the golden tickets is one of his wisest decisions. But that doesn't mean it isn't one of his happiest.