My first Charlie and The Chocolate Factory fanfiction… I went and saw it opening day last summer, and now I'm finally writing something small to contribute to its awesomeness. It's a little sad, though. I just got done watching it with my brother and sister for the umpteenth time, and I'm not tired yet, so what the heck? Two hours, a few pages of material that I hope you'll like. I appreciate any and all feedback, so please review to tell me anything you thought. I hope you'll enjoy this, even though it's not exactly happy. Have fun with this one-shot. Thank you for having a look!

- Dis/Claimer -


As Promised

"Mr. Bucket?"

Charlie lifted his face from his hands and stood up after being hunched over for the passed few hours in worry. His new wife Annette stood with him, holding his hand as the doctor approached them. The man in a long white coat stopped before them with a look of profound regret.

"Mr. Wonka has just passed," he said quietly to them. "I am… terribly sorry for your loss."

Charlie's eyes went to the floor along with his stomach. His chest clenched tightly for a moment at the news as his wife stood in shock. What was he to do now? How would he tell the Oompa Loompas? How would he tell the world? Was he going to be able to carry on the greatest chocolate factory ever without his best friend? A hoard of questions and doubt blinded him for a few moments. Finally, he looked back up at the doctor with a painful sigh. He felt his throat tighten when he tried to speak.

He nodded to the doctor, understanding that he would no longer be able to speak with Willy. "Thank you," he said. It was still very tight, so he tried clearing it. Not much of a help, but enough. "Your… your help really meant a lot."

The doctor smiled grimly and nodded. Annette wiped her cheek after silently crying at the news. Charlie did not feel stable enough to walk; he felt weak and crippled, but he found his voice again to ask the doctor if he could see Willy. The doctor stepped aside out of their path to the chocolatier's bedroom. Annette squeezed Charlie's hand as he hesitated to step forward, and then, he found his feet and walked across the hallway almost cautiously. His footsteps echoed in the vast hall.

Charlie's feet left the shining hallway tile and stepped onto plush burgundy carpet without a sound. He waited for Annette to step into the room before he felt he could continue. She did, and they exchanged a look of tension. Both sets of eyes turned to the bed in front of them now, and Charlie and Annette took their careful steps towards the bed. Charlie did not ever want this day to come after having Grandma Josephine die four years ago, and Grandpa George looked to be getting sicker each day. And then to have Willy fall ill and die… It was becoming too much.

Soon, Charlie saw light brown and silver hair, and he stepped forward more. Willy's face was paler than customary, but his cheeks hinted some pink. He did - as Grandma Josephine had - look like he was simply sleeping. A soft sigh escaped from Annette at the sight. Charlie felt the heaviness of loss and depression beginning to set in as he looked at his mentor of the passed seventeen years lying motionless under a grand blanket with his initials stitched into it elegantly.

What would he do about the factory? How was he supposed to be in charge of all this? This of course was the duty given to him after winning the Golden Ticket contest, but still, for all these years, the day never seemed that it would come. And now that it had, Charlie resented ever finding that Golden Ticket and winning now that it meant he had to give up his days of scheming ingenious ideas and simply talking with him.

Suddenly, Charlie felt a tug at his pant leg. He and Annette looked down to see an Oompa Loompa raising his arm and pointing to Willy's bed. Charlie didn't know what to say. He hadn't the heart to tell the Oompa Loompas that their beloved cocoa bean provider was gone, but he did have the responsibility.

"I'm sorry to tell you this, Bernard," he told the Oompa Loompa with difficulty, "but he's not waking up anymore."

Annette's hand fell on his shoulder soothingly as she and Charlie watched the Oompa Loompa look over at Wonka's bed. He looked back up at them doing a quick series of several hand and arm motions. Charlie had become accustomed to their way of communication and knew what he was saying, but he ignored it for the time being.

"I need you to tell the other Oopma Loompas," Charlie said softly. "Would you?"

The Oopma Loompa folded his arms across his chest and bowed. Charlie gave him a small bleak smile and nod.

"Thank you."

The Oompa Loompa exited the large suite. Charlie looked back down at Wonka as Annette wrapped her arms around him. She rested her head on his chest, and Charlie ran his ran over her long, bushy blonde hair absentmindedly, keeping his eyes on Wonka's expressionless face. He suddenly felt a shiver go through him. Annette leaned away from him, looking at his face. He did not look at her. He was still in a stupor of disbelief.

"What am I going to do?" he finally said aloud.

"Oh, Charlie," she said quietly, looking back over at Wonka now. "You respect his wishes by continuing the run of the factory I suppose."

"I don't want to," he replied to Annette's surprise. "How am I going to measure up to the great Willy Wonka? I'm not the chocolatier he was."

"Obviously Willy thought otherwise when he chose you as his heir," Annette said.

"He didn't choose me," Charlie said bitterly. "Out of five children he chose me. Five. There were probably much better choices out there for running a chocolate factory. I don't even deserve this."

Annette tried to stay patient as he continued to shoot himself down. "You are the one Willy wanted at the time," she said. "You showed him how to love again." Charlie looked down at her. "Not many people can do that, Charlie," she said to him sincerely.

Charlie's mind revisited Wilbur Wonka's dentistry the day Willy was reunited with his father in less than an instant. Willy had been much more open and different after that. Charlie remembered looking at him and seeing a sort of veil lifted from him. The light in his eyes was never gone after that until today.

"He wanted his father back," Charlie said at the memory. "I know he did. It's all he ever thought about. It's all he ever griped about. He missed his father."

"And you gave that back to him," Annette said. "A gift like that is larger than any chocolate factory he could offer you."

"It was only right," Charlie said. "He needed it. Otherwise, I think things would have turned out much different." He paused. "I wouldn't be here to witness this, for one."

"Charlie, what you did… you saved him," Annette said. "You said he was a new man after that. Reborn."

"He was."

"The love you restored gave him life, Charlie. Had you never done that, things would not only be different, they would be worse."

Charlie realized that she was right.

"You need to stay here, Charlie," she told him. "You need to carry on. You didn't let him die; you let him live. Can't you show him that his dreams can live on through you? One last time?"

Charlie remained silent. He studied the face of Wonka again, the shape of his body under the blanket. He really did look peaceful. One foot was lopsided, but Wonka always did have something funny about him. A smile came and went on Charlie's face before he heaved a heavy sigh.

"This isn't going to be kept quiet long," he said regretfully.

"What are you going to tell the press?" Annette asked. She chided him inwardly for changing the subject but understood.

"That Willy Wonka is dead," he said, the pain returning to his throat. "And that I am to assume his position as head chocolatier. I have no choice. It's what Willy would have wanted after all."

Annette smiled at him.

"It is," she agreed.

"But I want the Oompa Loompas to be the first to know," he said quickly. "They meant a lot to him, and I'm sure he meant a lot to them. He paid their wages in almighty sacred cocoa beans after all," he said with a slight chuckle. Annette smiled, producing a small laugh as well. She looked up at him, and their eyes met.

"You're a good man, Mr. Bucket," she said to him. "You always have been." Charlie smiled at her. Then, another tug came at his pant leg. He and Annette looked down again.

"Yes?" Charlie asked.

The Oompa Loompa Bernard did another series of extravagant hand and arm motions before climbing up on the edge of Willy's bed and taking his top hot from the post at the end of the bed. He stood up and held it out, and Charlie looked over at his wife who smiled.

"Go on," she said.

Cooperatively, Charlie bent at the wait towards the Oompa Loompa. The Oompa Loompa Bernard placed the top hat on Charlie's head, and Charlie rose up again, looking taller than he had moments before. The Oompa Loompa also extended Wonka's cane to him, and Charlie took it slowly. He looked over at Annette. She was smiling sadly.

"Charlie Bucket, Chocolatier," she said, looking him over with the new additions of the cane and hat. Charlie smiled himself, looking over at Willy. His first time in the factory flew before his eyes again, including a younger face of Wonka. After seventeen years, the day had come to fulfill his duties and promise, and he would do it.

Charlie Bucket, Chocolatier.

"As promised," he whispered.

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