Don't own anything except original characters. All material (c) to respective owners. I write these for fun and make no profit. They're just random plot bunnies that live within my strange mind

Chapter 16: Something's Gotta Give

I look up to the stage across the room and see a girl in her teens like Charlie with rich dark brown curls flowing down her back and an elegant green dress with a single golden bow at her crown holding her curls from bright blue eyes and a cheerful far too fake looking smile. I study her for the longest time seeing her bow down for the icy colored white snowflake crown and feel my lips part in awareness before the announcement.

"Congratulations Christmas Princess Veruca Salt, please choose wisely when you pick that happy couple for king and queen." She bows once again clearly searching the massive crowd before I return my attention to my fiancé.

Willy's shaking his head in complete mystification staring up at the teen that had once been a spoiled brat going into his garbage chute. He had hoped it would wise the child up back then but her being the Christmas princess at the candy ball implied otherwise, he was positive the girl was in league with the rivals in the room. Thinking over it carefully he pulled out the program list from his pocket and saw that many rich families were attending so it could have been a coincidence, he hope that this wasn't another scheme of the rival companies.

"Didn't you change her with your garbage method?" I hoped despite not agreeing with what kind of psychological damage it could have caused her.

"Yeah, the little wart." I cover my laughter seeing him give me a look that implied he didn't find it amusing.

"People do change," I whisper kissing his cheek again wiping lipstick from his pale skin.

"I'm unconvinced." He grumbled both of us seeing no sign of the teen anywhere and exchanging worried looks.

I feel his hand twine with mine before seeing him begin to lead us back to the dance floor, even in a public place with those enemies lurking abound I knew that he wouldn't give up without a fight. Halfway to the front of the room I see a brief hint of green before feeling him pause ramrod straight at my side making a strange perturbed noise.

I look ahead and find myself eye to eye with Veruca offering a more realistic sort of smile. I see she seems amused by his lack of interest in her appearance and smile despite myself. Catching my smile she lifts a brow in interest before nodding offering a small hand out in greeting my way.

"Hello Ms. Laverne, I'm Veruca Salt." She greets her eyes moving swiftly to Willy at my side, he's a hairs breath from saying exactly what he had to her on her day at the factory. "Yes I know it's the same as a wart, nice to see you again Mr. Wonka." I'm astonished when her smile doesn't fade and she stifles a dainty giggle. "I was such a little snob wasn't I?"

"You were?" confused he looks between me and her and then shrugs.

"I was," She looks downward before taking a deep breath. " I also have an opportunity to thank you for showing me exactly where my attitude belonged…in the garbage. It may have been a bit harsh but I did eventually understand the method behind the mentor." Her words sound sincere but I can see doubt clouding Willy's eyes and gently squeeze his hand indicating hear her out. "I also want to ask you both to join me up there…and to warn you." Here I find my own doubts lifting.

"Please don't carry out their threats Ms. Salt." Willy's voice is cold and distant much like it had been before I stayed.

"It isn't," She looked around carefully before waving offering that strangely plastic smile again. "Ms. Slugworth offered me a contract for my father in her candies. It would help daddy out but I find her a reminder of what I was and could have been. I told her I would help her…but," her eyes dart to us and I find a hardness in her eyes that was very real. "I remember that garbage chute very well. I doubt you would be any kinder now that I'm older and I don't think your fiancé deserves the wrath that Ms. Slugworth is able to accomplish." She hands Willy a rolled document before eyeing us looking strangely serious. "Sometimes the harshest lessons are well learned."

"Why would you want to help?" Willy grumbled unconvinced and seeing my doubts surfacing.

"Charlie asked, we've been writing and he is the one that told me lesson well learned." I smile at her dirty look before seeing Lyrical give her a look in interest. "I am supposed to ask you to be King and Queen…I don't know why but that was the request."

"Hell no," I growl low seeing Veruca smile amused by my dark tone. "Knowing her we'll be the ones going down a garbage chute or worse."

"Exactly." Veruca agrees before seeing Willy's half smile and gently poking me pointing upward.

"Oh boy," I groan seeing the teen give us a once over before I smile failing to make it believable. "He's up to something…think that day and you'll understand." She flinched giving him a look between 'not again' and 'oh no'. "I will keep track of our new friend." I attempt to sneak of with Veruca and feel his arm loop around my waist.

"We're going with her," I see Veruca's expression turn conflicted and smile humorlessly at the impish glow in his gaze. "I want to see what happens when I dance with our teen friend."

"What?" both Veruca and I ask staring at Willy like he's lost his mind.

"You hate dancing with me." Veruca tried to protest remembering when she had hugged him and he looked at her like she was a disease. "I hugged you and you freaked out."

"I think that's the point Veruca, it will freak the four watching us out." Looking around she sees Lena, Lyrical, Astra and Zowie all watching us. "What am I going to do?"

"Wait and see what happens." Willy whispers nipping my ear softly before winking and taking the hand of our newly acquired friend.

"Oh crap, this isn't going to go well." I flush furiously aware he was hinting at what would happen when we returned home and knowing that whatever he was up to also made him more intriguing. Shaking my head I could already see this was going to cause Goldie a headache. Knowing that I look down at my cellphone and smile without humor texting her a heads up that she would have one bad headache come morning.

Willy Wonka's POV

Looking back he could guess what she was thinking watching her shake her head before searching her dress for her cellphone. He grinned maniacally before seeing Veruca give him a look that indicated she was terrified of what was going to happen. Shrugging he led her out to the floor and ignored the spotlight that focused on them almost the minute they stepped out of the crowd.

"If she's sincere then this will go smoothly." He didn't like taking chances but he knew Goldie set up precautions and also found himself certain Arctura would be prepared for whatever was thrown at them. Their lives would be public no matter what; it didn't mean that he would take it lightly or that the rival enemies would be able to win the final battle.

"Mr. Wonka," Veruca swallowed thickly. "I think you are out of your mind."

"No Ms. Salt, contrary to that belief I'm out to protect my future and my fiancé."

She smiled then mischief in her blue gaze, whatever was happening even if it didn't feel like it would lead to a good ending she found his energy catching.

Original POV

Looking at the pair keeping the crowd's attention I found myself smiling, he was dancing with a former enemy and seemed perfectly comfortable with that fact. I found my worries fading slightly entertained by my fiancé and our new friend showing off. I had forgotten my phone for a short while before being aware of the vibrating sensation and seeing Goldie's message.

Enthusiastic would be cruel to call her texted reply.

Leaning against one of the many pillars I watch the glittery room fade seeing my fiancé laughing it up turning the joke around on those rivals that had disrupted our perfect little bubble. I glance up hearing someone clear their throat before seeing Sullivan slither from the shadows his focus on the same two I had been watching over.

I'm uncomfortable with his presence but can't very well do much about it. Searching the crowd I see no sign of any of the others in sight and eye him keenly. I don't like him or how he had implied the worst of my friends making life miserable for them. Distracted again by the dancing pair I fail to notice when he's at the pillar and directly behind me.

Feeling a hand gently reach around my waist I am alert to the intrusion of my personal bubble and glare ahead before attempting to pry the arm loose.

"How did a freak get someone pretty to notice him?" His voice is acidic to my skin making my flesh crawl. "He dresses you like one of his candy toys. Does that make you his personal candy cane?"

"I'm getting tired of the whore comments." I elbow the brute behind me hearing his suck in a sharp breath and am startled when his arm yanks me tight to his body. He's much stronger than I thought and I can feel the muscles rippling behind me. Taking in a deep breath his grip wisely catches my struggling arm.

"Hit a nerve?"

"Let me go." I hiss repulsed by his hold and him, I see Willy is still conveniently distracted with his plan and am grateful worried of what he would do to Sullivan.

"Why does he get to have all the pretty ones?" He murmured trying to sound seductive and only being more unpleasant in my opinion.

Squirming to get loose I look up seeing the dance is over and the crowd is applauding. Willy and Veruca are taking their bows before I see those lavender eyes search for me in the crowd and see his expression turn dark. I scan the crowd worriedly hoping I didn't see what I had but see Veruca left up there in confusion talking to people and can see her trying to make her way back to where I'm at.

It's clear she sees something is wrong and is concerned it has something to do with what Willy had accomplished. I try to pry myself free again and feel a hand gently brush near my throat feeling a finger delicately trace the neckline of my dress. I look down before snapping my teeth hearing him laugh softly before looking up aware something was different.

I jerk to the side seeing Willy and feel air near my face before hearing a startled sound and finding my freedom landing hard on my feet and stumbling into another arm which wraps protectively around my waist. I find myself pressed into Willy's side and see him ready with another fist if needed.

Sullivan regains his footing narrowing his gaze on us before a thumb brushes his lip finding blood. Veruca comes out of the crowd at our side about then and stares in open mouthed astonishment at what she's witnessing.

"Don't you ever touch her again." Willy snarled darkly his arm tightening protectively around me.

Possessively his arm locks on my waist keeping me safely in his arms and I don't complain realizing by Sullivan's interested look where that would have led if Willy hadn't come to my aid. Sullivan clearly didn't take no for an answer and I gathered that Goldie had been on the receiving end of that method at one time.

"You learned to hit…amazing. I thought Goldie would get around to teaching you eventually." I feel my mouth open in surprise aware of the faintest of shudders rippling through Willy. "Takes one to know one William." He laughed slipping into the crowd before I pieced together a very dark story.

He relaxes after seeing Sullivan gathered up by security thanks to their princess friend. I dart a look at Veruca her eyes hard and mouth curled in an ugly sort of look. She turns to us her expression softening before using her power to lead us to the lobby and allowing us to exit with some dignity.

Before we climb into the limo Willy looks up at the teen that had proven herself a better person and smiled. "I warmly invite you to the factory Ms. Salt…this time I mean it." She smiled bowing before waving to us and going back inside.

We ride in silence back to the factory; I cling to him tightly glad to have his warmth and finding myself with more understanding in the darkness that consumes my dearest friend and love. Revelations like I am aware of now though disgust me, worry me and make me realize much more than I would have cared to know.

Closing his eyes he sees the events back at the Christmas Ball playing over and over again. Seeing Sullivan hadn't changed and had tried to hurt the only person he felt truly understood him made him internally rage but again he had been on the receiving end of that dark man. Sullivan had been like his cousin and had tried to seduce him taking 'no' wasn't his style and Goldie had come to his aid.

He had blindly ran away only to come back and find her punching him out for trying to get her to give into him and kneeing him in the groin. He had told her he didn't need her help and she had asked for Sullivan's wrath when the rumors flew. He had been an idiot and hurt her, the rage they shared hadn't dwindled until recently and he had his fiancé to thank for that.

"I don't like what I know." I mumbled glancing up searching his face and seeing him flinch. "He's the reason for the feud." Reluctantly he nodded; I curl closer to him grateful for him coming to my safety. "Thank you."

"For leaving you for that succubus to find?" he managed upsetting himself more.

"For knocking that bastard's face in," I lean over curling into his lap and kiss him, he is all I need and I want him to know that.

Getting to the factory we both jump when Goldie sticks her head into the limo already raving about what a bastard Sullivan is. We look at each other still trying to look presentable before we realize Veruca most likely took the invitation and told Charlie what happened who conveyed it to Goldie. After she rants for a few minutes she goes silent and then looks at us more closely.

"Oh jeez! In the limo guys? Come on already!" She leaves us slamming the door and we exchange amused looks before both bursting into giggles.

"I think we're in for an ear full." Willy murmurs his finger delicately buttoning the last of his vest.

"I doubt it, you'll threaten details and she'll run for it." He grins knowingly before wagging his brows and kissing me softly. "Though the clever cameras she gave us can make things interesting for Ms. Slugworth and friends."

"True." His grin is evil but in a good way.

Goldie didn't exactly look happy when we appeared in my office, her looks only darkened further when she actually watched the video from the mini cameras and exchanged a look with Willy before looking at me.

"He never wises up!" Willy darts around behind me thinking it was relevant to him before she swears about Sullivan.

"She knows." He interrupts Goldie's rant seeing her pause hands in the air before she turns sharply her eyes darting between us. "I apparently learned my lesson well Goldie, he's got a fat lip." He added watching her green eyes move over him in disbelief before reviewing the camera and smiling from ear to ear.

"I don't care if she knows, I do care that you hit that conniving prick and that he felt it." She seemed alive with a new energy worrying both of us. "Now we can have him taken care of and this will definitely help keep Lena's crew on hold, it wouldn't look good for them to be associating with him and him being a Ficklegrupper's distant nephew could hurt the family name."

She seemed too happy with the fact that revenge came in a sweet savory package. It worried me that I was surrounded by people that needed strait jackets. After a while of being in the chocolate room and curled in Willy's arms though I understood something. I understood that I loved him quirks and all. I also could see that the cousins might have reconciled and the greatest part of all was I wouldn't ever have to put up with Sullivan's harassment again.

"Are you alright?"

"Yep." I answer staring up at the delicate candy flowers falling around us due to far too many amused Oompa Loompas.

"Too many cocoa beans," he explains seeing where my interest lays. "Are you sure this is what you want?"

"Yes," I hug closer to him swatting away a chunk of candy flowers. "Stop it already guys, this isn't anywhere near fudge mountain." I smile even though my frustration is hinted at with laughter instead of granting my request. "Too many indeed."

Willy Wonka's POV

Laughing he pulls one off of his chest and gently laces the soft blue flower in her hair. "Perhaps, or they could just be happy for us." He kisses her softly seeing wonder in her gaze before he snatches several more flowers out of midair giving his workers a look. "Pushing it." He warns playfully before a few of them dart off back to work leaving a lazy looking group still sitting in the tree watching us.

"I like the fact you won." Arctura and he both look up seeing Goldie grinning with a folder and a gleam in her eyes. "We have restraining orders against all four of them, their fathers are currently up and arms and Sullivan is heading straight to trouble. Jail!" she shrieks spinning in a circle before landing among our gathering flowers laughing in true pleasure.

"Yay?" Arctura offers confused by her strange behavior.

"I would marry you if Willy didn't beat me to it. You are an amazing cousin-in-law." Crowed Goldie content to lay among the blue blooms surrounding us.

"Future." Charlie intervenes joining us among our place near the spring side of the chocolate river. "I like the future." He grins texting on his phone before looking at Willy and Arctura. "Veruca sends her best wishes."

Original POV

"Good." I find Willy's smile meaning Charlie is in for a shock of his own. "Veruca Salt is invited and you can take that to the bank." He kisses my cheek before laying back across the candy grass allowing me to lay on him. "Have we been in the void room?"

Goldie seeing where this goes takes herself and Charlie's delicate disposition away from our conversation. I give him an evil sort of look snatching his cane and playfully pretending to whack him one.

"You are going to give her a complex." He shrugs looking around before pulling me into his arms; he rolls over looking down in my eyes and grins.

"She knows my abilities much like you do." Kissing my cheek he gently strokes a finger across my lips.

"I also know that despite that I am marrying you because I love you." His grin is catching, his eyes are alive and I can see that Goldie being around is a good thing.

"I love you too."