TITLE: Ships that Pass in the Night
AUTHOR: Marisa 'Mayonnaise' Jane G.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own any Wonkas, Buckets, Loompas or a giant chocolate factory, I'm just borrowing them for a little while, and I promise I'll give them back in good condition.
SPOILERS: The Tim Burton Movie, and the Book… and any overlap they have with the other movie. Oh just consider it totally spoilerific.
ARCHIVE: Contact me please.
AUTHORS NOTE: This story assumes a few things that may or may not be true, but just for the record, I've assumed the following: 1) Willy Wonka, at the start of the movie, was in his mid to late 40s and had not seen his father since the house had been uprooted from it's rightful place. 2) While many bizarre things grow in Willy's Factory, some things are still supplied by outside suppliers, ie. Milk, Blueberrys, apples, basically anything "normal." Of course they come in the same way chocolate goes out… no one gets out of the trucks.

So yeah… everything is based on those assumptions, and without them, probably falls apart. This is my first story submitted on this site, but by no means my first foray into the realm of Fan Fiction. It is, though, my first attempt at writing in this particular genre. My previous stories have all been in the realm of Science Fiction, and thus… this story doesn't fit so well in my under trafficked never visited personal archive site… which is probably why all the cereal stories there, have stalled out horridly. I'm hoping with a more interactive community to be able find the motivation to complete this story in a timely manner. I'm really looking forward to any reviews, good or bad, as I rarely get feedback from anyone other than my beta.

And this is the part where I stop rambling and get on to the story.

Ships that pass in the night and speak each other in passing;
Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness;
So on the ocean of life we pass and speak one another,
Only a look and a voice; then darkness again and a silence.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Prologue: Adrift

The house wasn't there anymore.

He stood disbelieving in front of the place where his father's house no longer was. He hadn't thought it was possible. No one could move a house that quickly… it, just wasn't possible… but whether or not it was possible, was irrelevant. Just because it was impossible didn't mean it wasn't so. The house was gone, and his father with it, and Willy Wonka was alone.

He stayed there, thru the night, and thru the next day… not knowing where to go. He may never have moved, had the neighbors not called the police. Labeled an abandoned child… Willy was taken to the Long Road Home for Lost, and Unwanted Children, run by a soft spoken middle aged woman named Mary, in a tall, rickety building that looked from the outside as if it might come tumbling down at any moment. That did not concern the occupants however, as they seldom went out of doors. The boys and girls of the Long Road Home, lived and learned under that roof together, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for as long as they stayed there. Over time, some of those dropped off by their parents, clearly and legaly abandoned, were adopted, and some, the lost, were found by their parents who had been looking for them all along. Willy liked to pretend he was one of them, that his father was looking for him, and would find him some day… that he wasn't unwanted, wasn't like the kids who's parents had left them there, because they didn't want them anymore: he was just lost… but his father never came.

The other boys picked on Willy relentlessly, teasing him about his ridiculous orthodontia, even after the visiting doctor had managed to disassemble it and remove most of the components. He was near constantly sick, those first few years. So many children in close quarters breed disease, and it seemed they were always passing the same flu back and forth to one another. Willy, having been so protected as a child, had an immune system out of practice dealing with such an abundance of microorganisms. As time wore on though, as he grew older, and new, younger children arrived at the Home, who didn't remember or know about his former metallic adornments, and Willy learned to be careful about what he touched, and wash his hands frequently to prevent the transfer of that blasted flu back to himself, an early caution that while useful at the time, would grow to an unhealthy obsession, things began to look up for him. While the younger children had been expected to sweep and dust, and wash the toilets, the older kids were expected to do the laundry, and fix the meals. In time, Willy Wonka found his place, in the kitchens. His love of sweets, repressed since it had cost him his home, began to grow again… and it wasn't long before he was on desert duty as a regular daily chore… and quite suddenly, everyone loved him.

His deserts defied all sense and logic, a fact of which he was well aware. But to Willy Wonka, nothing was definite, not even the laws of physics. He'd seen them defied, so he didn't much bother with them at all. His father taught him, when he had moved that house… that the impossible… clearly wasn't. The younger children clambered around him every day, begging to know what delicious surprise they would be treated to that night. They adored him, wanting to know everything about him all the time, competing for his attention. For the first time, in a long time, there was light in his life… he didn't need his past anymore, because Willy Wonka had a future. When the younger children asked him about his life before the Home, he pretended to have forgotten. Willy's new friends, however, were all at least 3 years younger than him… many of his peers still sneered at him behind his back. He ignored them though, and focused his attentions on the kids who loved him, or… perhaps they just loved his deserts. Either way, it didn't matter. Many children left the Long Road Home with no idea where to go or what to do with their lives… but Willy Wonka knew precisely where he was going.

The day after his 18th birthday, Willy Wonka left the Long Road home for Lost and Unwanted children… but he never forgot his friends. After setting up a small chocolate shop, he returned the following Christmas, to visit his old friends, brining free candy for his one time peers… but after that Christmas, for reasons known only to him, and to the kindly woman who had taken care of him and the other children for so many years… he would never return there again. In time he found he didn't need those little friends anymore. There were children all throughout the city who came to his shop, and they all adored him… by the time he opened his factory, he'd quite nearly put those children from his mind… with so many more in the world to please. The children who had been there that Christmas by then were grown… he could pass any one of them on the street, and never know it… a quick hello from an old friend who recognized him, though he did not recognize them… and they'd both go on their ways once more…