This is the first of the Depp!Wonka Sues, and one of the least Suey. As a matter of fact, she wouldn't be one at all, were it not for the fact that she is in a Suey situation. So she is a Mary-Sue by occupation, not by nature. This is the fourth part of a slightly lengthy fic, but it's all worth reading, you have my assurance. Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back.
I hope you enjoy the fourth installment. ^___^ And yes, your feedback and constant prodding do help me to update faster, by the way. All feedback is welcomed, though I will mention that I'm particularly sensitive about this fic because I generally dislike writing Sues, so I'm basically afraid no one will like it ;-;.
But enough of my neurotic rambling. Enjoy.
Une | Deux | Trois |
Nicole slipped out only a few hours later, before the sun rose. Wonka insisted that she leave while still under cover of darkness, and she was inclined to agree. Having almost completely, at this point, forgotten about her troubles at home, she crept back in through her bedroom window, crawled into her own bed, and slept for the remainder of the night.
When Nicole approached what her group of friends called their "Headquarters," an abandoned but patched-up old toolshed behind the playground in Acorn Park, she was worried. She hadn't brought anything from the factory, since she'd returned Wonka's favourite gloves, face red with shame. And no proof meant no credit for what she'd done.
Nicole did not have many friends. Nicole, to be truthful, did not have any friends at all. Her brothers and sister were friends, she supposed, but most of her brothers were too old to be interested in playing, and her younger sister was only eight. Desperately, she'd tried to make friends at school, but because she was rather quiet, doing this was hard.
So she'd decided to try and muscle her way into one of the groups of kids at school. As luck would have it, the one that she was currently approaching was the first she'd run into that might possibly accept her as one of them. But as it was primarily male, it was as it is with most male-run 'clubs'; there was a ritual required to become a 'member'.
Nicole, she was well-aware, as she pushed open the squeaky wooden door, had failed the test.
"Well, where's the proof?" the tallest boy, Adam, demanded. Nicole blanched at his blunt unkindness. She grimaced.
"I didn't bring any. But I did go! It was raining a lot, but I got in! I did, and I met Mr. Wonka! He was tall, and slightly mad, and - "
"What did he look like?" came a female voice from across the room. Angela, one of the only females in the group, was leaning forward on her makeshift couch of pillows. "Was he handsome?"
"I suppose, maybe," she said, with a shrug, "He was tall, and he had blue eyes like...like..."
"Shut up, Angie, she didn't even get in. You could have at least grabbed a candy bar or something if you had gone. It is a chocolate factory, after all. Candy must just be lying around everywhere!"
"Well, that's not true at all! It's very clean there, and I didn't see any candy, though Mr. Wonka did give me some hot chocolate."
"Well, at least tell us how you got in."
"Oh, I can't tell you that," Nicole replied immediately.
"What? Why not?" the boy demanded in irritation.
"Mr. Wonka wouldn't like it if I - I mean, it's not...I mean, no one can know! I shouldn't even know!"
"Hah! Some proof that is. At least you could have come up with a better story, you liar."
"I'm not lying!" Nicole protested, her hands curling into fists, "I did go, and there was a maze made of mirrors, and everything in Wonka's office is cut in half, except it isn't really, it was just made that way, but it looks cut in half, and - Why are you giving me that look? I'm not making this up! Why can't you just believe me?"
"Look, Nicole," Adam said with a condescending air, "How do you expect us to believe you if you don't bring us proof?"
"You don't need to see to believe..." Nicole mumbled, too low for Adam to hear, and shook her head. "Fine," she said, at last, "I'll go back tonight. I'll bring you proof. You see if I don't!"
"We will see if you don't!" Adam called nastily after Nicole as she beat a hasty retreat.
Nicole barely waited for the sun to set, this time, before she climbed the ancient oak and jumped over the wall, landing with a quiet thud on the grass. She headed toward the building the same way she remembered doing last night, but it had been raining at the time, and Nicole was not at all confident that she was going the right way.
It was beginning to get dark as she crept her way across the Wonka factory grounds, and ever-so quiet, except for the chirping of some crickets. However, as she was sneaking past the bushes, there suddenly came a rustle beside her. She jumped away from it, hoping desperately that there was no such thing as a Vermicious Knid or rabid hobblerabbit.
But it must have been the wind, because no further movement was seen, no further noise heard from the dark jungle of the hedges. But Nicole hurried on quickly nevertheless.
The door was gone.
Nicole had reached the wall of the factory, and found it gone. She was certain there had been a door there, but now it was missing, and nothing but brick remained. She felt along the wall, just in case she was mistaken, but it seemed to be solid enough. She sighed. She wasn't sure how else to get in.
Where could it have gone? It was a door, and doors do not just disappear. Except here, she reminded herself. This was all in a day's work for Willy Wonka. He probably wanted to make sure she didn't get in again. That thought caused a little twinge of hurt to tug at her heart, but she steeled herself and decided to try her luck anyway.
She walked along the wall, wondering if perhaps she'd just miscalculated the placing of the door. Perhaps it was further along than she remembered. It had been raining, after all... But no, there was the odd brick. Still...perhaps she'd been mistaken. But she didn't see any doors. The darkness was beginning to get heavier, making it even more difficult for Nicole to see where she was going. The few beacons of street lamps looked like will-o-the-wisps in the gathering fog, and she shivered to think about it.
There was a rustle in the nearby bushes again, and Nicole flinched and put her back against the wall, facing the bushes warily. There was a momentary silence as Nicole watched the ominous bush in wide-eyed terror.
"I'm not afraid of you," she whispered into the darkness, trembling greatly.
"Lying again, my dear girl? It really is bad for you, you know. Rots the teeth." The voice had come from behind her. Nicole issued a frightened squeak and turned to face Mr. Wonka. He was standing behind her, illuminated from the back by the brilliant light of the hallway, leaning nonchalantly on the doorhandle of a bright red door.
"Mr. Wonka," Nicole breathed, "I'm - I'm sorry, I - "
"Yes, yes, of course. Oh dear, it really is a bit cold out, is it not? Why not come inside, then? After all, there is a rather large and unpleasant creature in the bush just behind you. No, don't turn around. Come in, quickly, you understand. Ah! That's the ticket. No, oh goodness, my dear, it's all right. I was joking about the monster, really I was. Go on inside, then. Go on, shoo! Shoo!"
Wonka shot the hobblerabbit in the bush a withering glare and shut the door behind him.
When the door had closed behind Nicole, Wonka spoke again. "You really are a most troublesome child, you know that? I daresay you'll like some more hot chocolate, and perhaps a small token to bring to your unbelieving friends, am I right?"
Nicole laughed tremulously. "Yes, sir, if you please."
"Well, I suppose there's nothing for it. Bother, bother. And here I am with so much paperwork. Most troublesome indeed."
There was a pause.
"Well, are you going to stand there all day and stare at me like some sort of elk? I certainly am not going to put aside my affairs if we're just going to stand out in the hallway all this time. The door is just behind you, my dear, go on through it. Yes, splendid, superb, fantastic. Quickly, quickly now! Have a seat, just there, my dear, and I shall be with you in nary a moment. Don't touch anything!" he added quickly as he shut the door behind him.
Wonka leaned against the wall, recovering breath from his rapidly-spoken tirade.
She'd come back. Goodness gracious, she'd actually come back. She'd been able to. That was rather surprising, though, truthfully, Wonka had not gone to terribly great pains to guard his factory. He hadn't needed to - the walls were enough. True, the oak always had been a flaw in the plan. It had often occured to him that someone could use it to gain entry to the grounds, but it was so old, and such a majestic tree...Wonka had never had the heart to tear it down.
And after all, adults didn't climb trees, as a rule. And since it was adults he was discouraging from entering, he didn't worry quite so much. Children were fine. Granted, Nicole was not quite a child, but she was enough so that Wonka took a shining to her. Wonka loved kids. Some said that Wonka loved them a little too closely, but that was a simply disgusting thought, and Wonka's cheery disposition did not even allow it inside his head.
He'd made it easy for her, though. The door was not scheduled to be on that wall until late Thursday of the following week...but he'd known she would return. And he feared she would not even think to climb up the eaves and get in through the roof, so he'd had to move things around a little. But he was allowed. He was crazy, after all...
Grinning at that happy thought, he swung open the door to the room he'd banished Nicole to, and stepped in, pulling the door shut behind him.
"Ah! I see you've discovered my private library. Yes, go on, do have a look. I do so encourage reading...unfortunately, it seems to have become quite unpopular, in favour of television. Such a shame, as children's vocabularies are not what they used to be. Do you read, Miss Heltquist?"
Nicole thumbed through the titles on the shelf absently, and turned to smile at Wonka. "Incessantly," she replied cheekily, and to her surprise, Wonka laughed. He looked for a moment as if he were going to reach out and tweak her nose, but he apparently contained himself. Nicole looked at the books again.
"Perhaps one of these books...I could use one of them as proof? For my friends, I mean."
"No, don't be silly, my dear girl, I shall simply loan you my gloves. I believe you had the right idea when you picked them out the first time. But you must promise to return them!" Wonka insisted, waggling a lavendar-gloved finger at her. Nicole nodded solemnly.
"I promise, of course I do!"
"How do I know you aren't being sneaky and lying? Children are apt to do so, nowadays."
"I'm not! I will bring them back! Er...I could leave my sweater as insurance?" she suggested, indicating the well-worn sweater. Wonka surveyed it. It was easy to tell from the easy, comfortable way the garment hung around Nicole's short and slightly plump frame that she wore it almost all the time. It had a very lived-in feel to it. Wonka nodded, it would do.
"Yes, I believe that will be fine," he agreed, and handed Nicole the gloves. She accepted them with a sort of reverence, as if she were receiving communion, and tucked them into the large front pocket on her dress. She looked at the sleeves of her sweater as if saying goodbye to them, and then pulled the black knit article from either arm and held it out to Wonka with half a smile.
"You'll take care of them, won't you?" Wonka asked, taking the sweater from his young guest, "I would so hate to see anything happen to them. My father gave them to me, you know."
"Your father?" Nicole echoed. Somehow it hadn't occured to her that Wonka might have parents. But naturally he must have. Perhaps he'd even inherited the factory from his father; that was quite common these days. Nicole smiled at the sudden mental image of Wonka as a child, grinning brightly and unnerving all of his classmates.
"Why are you smiling?" Wonka asked, as he began to head into toward one of the few exits.
"What? Oh, nothing," Nicole replied, putting the image away for further perusal and amuse-al, and followed Wonka obediently.
"Well, here we are again," Wonka announced as they stepped into his office, "I really must do a bit of finishing up, however. So if you'd care to take a seat, I shall be with you momentarily." Wonka walked over to a filing cabinet (or, half of one), and began shuffling the contents around.
"Pardon me," Nicole interrupted suddenly, "But does any of this...have another half, somewhere?"
"Ah, inquisitiveness! Too many people ask the wrong questions, yes...all together too many. But you seem to have a knack," at this Wonka snapped his fingers for emphasis (which caused a rather embarrassing faux pas when an Oompa Loompa suddenly appeared. Wonka had the grace to look ashamed and sent it away.), "Where was I? Oh yes, a knack - without the snapping - for choosing the right ones.
"The answer is, of course they do. Everything has another half. Everything, everyone, there is absolutely nothing in the world without another half. Hence marriage. Children. You can't have children by yourself, can you?"
"I should certainly hope not! Because you aren't meant to! You're not yet whole! You must find your other half first, before you can even hope to make another half. If you tried to do it yourself, you'd end up with only a fourth, and that would be terrible. A fourth? It would have to marry three other fourths - or one fourth and one half, I love fractions - to be complete, and bigamy is illegal.
"So naturally all of this has another half. I do have another office, on the other side of the factory. It depends on whether or not I'm feeling in my right mind or not. You'll notice that most everything in here is the left side. It's where I feel most comfortable. I'm not often in my right mind, at all."
"You've got that right," Nicole mumbled under her breath, with half a smile (the left half) on her face.
"Now. Filing. Yes. Here, hold these," Wonka shoved a pile of papers into Nicole's hands, spun about and took them again. Then he bustled over to the desk, made a bunch of markings in large, loopy handwriting, and began to shuffle the papers again. However, usually when someone says "shuffle papers," it is to indicate a general rifling, thumbing, or browsing of the papers. In this context, however, "shuffling" is to be used in the sense of one shuffling a deck of cards, to make sure they are properly interspered amongst each other. One does not normally accomplish this with plain paper, but Wonka was doing it now with deceptive ease, now folding them until they shunted together, then pulling them apart and pushing them back together like a magician.
In a moment he bored of this and replaced them carefully in the file cabinet.
"There," he stated enigmatically, "That's done."
Nicole took a sip of hot chocolate and smiled at the man sitting in the high-backed arm chair beside her. Wonka was relaxed, his feet resting on the plush contours of a footrest shaped like a small purple elephant. He was sipping his cocoa with a mildly benevolent air of a kindly king who has just finished a great meal. Nicole couldn't help but smile at him.
"Mr. Wonka, may I ask you a question?"
"Well, considering that you just have, I suppose so. I shall even allow you to ask me a second," he answered, smirking.
"I was just wondering...the tinker with the brushes outside the factory...he always says that no one comes in, and no one goes out. He warns away curious children. Does he work for you, as a kind of discouragement?"
Wonka seemed surprised. "Er...No, though perhaps he ought. Maybe I shall send someone out to speak to him. I would hate for someone to help me so without my gratitude. Somehow I've never seen him on our cameras. Peculiar."
"Yes, my dear, go ahead," Wonka said, waving a hand airily, seemingly still lost in thought about the tinker.
"Why don't you want anyone to come in? I mean, I can understand you not wanting the Oompa Loompas to leave - they could get hurt out there. But surely there's no harm in visitors, is there?"
Wonka shifted in his seat so that he was sitting more straight up, and sighed. "Alas, my dear, that is not the case. Would that it were...it does get terribly lonely sometimes. But I'm afraid it's really not possible. You see, I used to employ humans to work here. I loved having them, and I realised how important it was for them to have jobs - many were supporting their families on my pay, and there were many openings I had for employment. But sadly, a couple of bad eggs spoiled it for everyone. The other chocolate companies sent in spies, acting as workers, and soon many of my original recipes and inventions were being mass-produced (and at much lower quality, might I add) and sold to the public for cheaper. Soon it was getting to be that every other day, another one would steal something valuable to me.
"I couldn't let it go on, of course I couldn't, so I merely had to lay everyone off. I felt terrible doing it, and even worse for closing down the factory, but it had to be done. As a result of course, I ended up in the midst of many adventures, filled with wacky mishaps and Missy Whackhaps (you remember the amorous boar I mentioned previously?), which I shall not relate to you now, except in short to say that it landed me in Loompaland."
"May I assume that you found your current staff there?" Nicole hazarded. Wonka nodded kindly.
"Indeed you may, my dear. A sharp one, you are. Sharp as a thumbtack! Perhaps I ought to press you into a wall." It occured to Wonka too late that he'd unthinkingly taken his metaphor just a bit too far. There was a moment of awkward silence as both of the people present turned an attractive crimson colour, and then Wonka cleared his throat. "Yes. Well. So now I employ the Oompa Loompas. And more hardworking, dedicated, honest workers you could not hope to find."
"No, of course not," Nicole added hurriedly, "They seem quite...er...yes. Good."
"So you don't ever see anyone at all?" Nicole persisted, intent on breaking the horrible silence.
"No, I am afraid not."
"Well, that doesn't sound like much fun..." Nicole stated, her voice trailing off near the end. That sounded rather rude, now that she'd said it out loud, and she hoped Wonka wouldn't be offended.
"Well, it works well enough for me. At least I can do my business in peace."
"But...being so reclusive - "
"Reclusive? My, yes. reclusive, elusive, exclusive, and occasionally even a little intrusive, if you catch my meaning. I hope you don't, however, as it's quite contagious and I can't have everyone getting sick on my account. But really, if people kept stealing from you, wouldn't you be reclusive?"
"I...suppose I would be," Nicole answered, after a while. Again there was a pregnant silence. That silence then gave birth to a number of baby silences, who happily grew up and bounded off to seek their fortunes in the world. "Does that include me?"
"Well, I suppose that would depend. Are you stealing from me?" Wonka asked, his eyes suddenly alight.
"No," Nicole replied honestly.
"Well, then. I suppose it doesn't."
Nicole beamed, and Wonka's grin seemed a little too sheepish, his chuckle a little too nervous. One of the pregnant silence's offspring found a lovely little niche to settle into at this point, and made its presence known. It was broken, sadly, by Wonka's slightly strained voice.
"Look at the time!" he cried, though he did not appear to be looking at a watch, and there were no clocks on the walls, "It's so terribly late. You really must be going, I need some sleep to time. Wait. Strike that, reverse it. Yes. I shall walk you to the door, my dear, it's just this way."
"Oh, no, Mr. Wonka!" Nicole cried, as he reached to take her arm and remove her from her easy-chair. "I haven't finished my chocolate!"
"Oh. Yes. Of course. That. Well, do hurry?" Wonka asked, hovering over her. Nicole gave him a look of sad reluctance.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Wonka, I know it's terribly rude of me...but I wish I didn't have to go."
Wonka's face froze into a smile. Or at least, his mouth was open and his teeth were showing. He gave a bit of a forced chuckle. He knew where this was going. He also knew that he lacked the willpower to make her leave against her will. He'd never really been able to be firm with children, and against girls...? Forget it. Also, much to his chagrin, he found that wanted her to stay, though it was a strange and selfish thought, considering that he'd known her for barely a day, and somehow it had wormed itself into his mind without him quite noticing. But there it was.
"Couldn't I stay again?" she asked, and when he looked at her, he knew he'd lost. God help him if she pouted.
Wonka sighed. "I suppose. But mind you, I don't want this to get out. If people thought I was giving free quarter to anyone who could sneak past my hobblerabbits, I'd soon have to stop making chocolate and become a hotel! And that, my dear, is something that no one needs to have happen."
"You mean, I can't tell anyone?"
"Not a soul, dear girl!" Wonka insisted with sincerity, "No one must know."
"Not even if I make it sound very dangerous?" she asked with a sly grin, "If it seems as if I was barely able to escape with my life and limbs in tact? I could tell them all the horrible obstacles I had to overcome! Rabid hobblerabbits! Terrible Whangdoodles! Bogglebanges and guzzlefish and Snogglewhompers!"
"Now, I say, how would you know about Snogglewhompers?"
"You mean I didn't just make them up?"