|How To Carry On
Author: CadyD PM
Toby leaves the Demon Barber alive out of hatred, so's he can brood upon accidentally killing his wife. This, however, pulls him onto a life threatening quest that he hadn't seen coming. And what of Johanna?Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Drama - Sweeney T. & Tobias R. - Chapters: 20 - Words: 60,613 - Reviews: 56 - Favs: 28 - Follows: 21 - Updated: 01-02-13 - Published: 06-10-11 - id: 7070818
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Please have mercy on my soul. Please. ;_;
When you turn a couple few corners beyond Fleet Street, a particular street with an abandoned household by the corner will be seen. The old, creaky front door was unexpectedly slammed open, making the small, white and brown stray dog nearby yelp and run off.
Luke had his arms crossed over the strap of the brown messanger bag he was carrying on him, over his shoulder. He stopped on the cobblestone and distractedly reached into the bag, muttering to himself. After this - and whatever he planned to do with his belongings appearing unsuccessful - he kept walking. Back in the direction of Fleet Street, his fists clenched at his sides the whole way there.
As the street grew louder with the more prominent commotion of people walking about from shop to shop, Luke's eyes finally settled on the pie emporium.
He slithered to the curtained window and peered in, frowning when he saw neither the barber nor the boy. Just in case, he made a round up the side steps to the barbershop above, and as he stared through the glass, there was no sign of Mr. Todd.
The razor box was gone... And the photo frames, too...
Glaring with suspicion now, he ran back down the steps, ignoring the looks a few Londoners were giving him in their passing of the building. He came to the side door, surprised when it opened without a protest of any sort.
When he stepped in, the pie shop was eerily quiet. To make sure no one truly noticed his trespassing from the outside, he closed the door behind him, suddenly quite grateful for the thin curtains that blocked peoples' view of him.
When the shop was in business, enough unexpected people showed up there randomly as it was, anyway...
As soon as the door was closed, the worn-down, marble floor was flecked with moving shadows, as the curtains wisped about in the chilly draft.
Luke, trying to stifle and calm the quick, hard pounding of his heart, ventured further in. A tiny, continuous noise was sounding in the parlor. Little ticks, like those which would come from a clock.
As he passed the ominous, sloped double doors to his left - which led down to the bakehouse - in the small hallway, Luke finally turned the corner into the room to see the noise came from just that: a clock.
Releasing a breath, Luke turned right back around and faced the heavy, steel, double doors again. With an effort, he wrenched them open. Nearly unconsciously, as though he'd been doing it for years.
The dark staircase below seemed to stretch on forever in front of him, and slowly, he gave in to the urge of heading down them, keeping as quiet as could be for his own safety. His face almost collided with the next steel door, but he went hands first to make sure he didn't bump into anything.
He felt for the sliding lock and gradually opened it, cringing at the squealing, creaking noise to follow.
In front of him was a dark room, no longer lit by the fire of the bakehouse oven. Swallowing, Luke reached into his bag and pulled out a match, promptly scraping the tip across the dank brick wall and letting it catch fire, bringing the cold room to light.
No one was there.
And even more astonishing; It was clean. All the bloodstains were gone, clean as a whistle.
Luke looked around, his mouth agape. He couldn't believe it. He refused to believe it.
They left! his mental voice exclaimed, outraged. I was so ruddy close!
Stamping his foot down to the stone floor beneath him in a nearly childish manner, he flipped around on the spot, waving the match's fire out with a flick of his wrist as he went, leaving the gentle smoke fog to follow him in his wake.
He stormed back up the stairs and abruptly turned the corner back into the pie shop, not bothering to close the doors behind him. He sat down at the edge of the booth and whipped out a piece of parchment and a quill, still fuming. Ink got all over the place as he wrote, his writing hand shaking with the effort.
Cousin. Always up for a challenge, aren't you? I've got a special request, if you don't mind me. You see... A madman is out to kill me.
It was an outright lie, given the real situation. But then again, had he gotten any further onto the barber's nerves, he probably would've been dead by now.
He and his... son of sorts are headed for Plymouth.
And he knew that for a fact. Listening in on several of their conversations, before his cover had gotten blown a day before.
He needs to be stopped before he does anymore damage, Patrick. You're strong, and you have a hearty few lads behind you, if I am correct? I've got my measly group - not nearly as strong and powerful as yours... I'll be arriving in Plymouth sharply. Brace yourself, Cousin.
In a great state of shock and worry, Luke.
He couldn't help but snicker at that last part, and think about what rubbish it really was.
After some technical difficulties, the train started moving again after being out in the thundering rain for about a half an hour in the dead of night.
A few relieved sighs filled the corridor, and Sweeney backed into his and Toby's compartment again, scowling, and raising his voice for all the passangers on the train to hear as he did so, "S'about bloody time!"
A few laughs responded to his outburst, and Toby smirked as the man sat back down beside him.
"They're doing their best, Mr. T," he reasoned. "Can't blame 'em."
Sweeney snorted. "Debris and dregs, lad."
Rain pelted the window, and steadily, Toby reached up with a hand to feel the glass. It was ice cold.
"Funny," he remarked, quiet. "On our way out of London, it's givin' us a cold, bitter send off."
"There's nothing good to remember," Sweeney stated grimly. "Look straight ahead, and don't look back."
Toby frowned, trying to find sense in the barber's words. He found nothing, though. "Isn't... Isn't that what Mum kept tryin' to get you to do?" It didn't make him uncomfortable to say it. Just scared. "I, 'course, had no clue what she was sayin'. Maybe I should've asked once in a while, 'stead of jumping to conclusions..."
The Demon Barber's jaw clenched, and Toby cringed, immediately regretting saying a word to him in the first place.
But then, in a gradual process, Sweeney sighed, his voice inaudible to Toby's ears. "Maybe I... should've listened mo-" He cut himself off to clear his throat, pounding a fist against his chest once. "...more."
Toby put his feet up on the identical seat across from them, gazing down at his lap. "M'sorry, Mr. T. Gotta quit bringin' it up, right?"
Sweeney's brows pulled together, looking a little more concerned than angry. "Speak freely of your Mum, Toby." His arm made brushing contact with the boy's, but he was too rapped up in memories to notice. "Just... please do not speak of Lucy."
Toby nodded, having just then noticed he was biting his lip the whole time the man was talking. "I will remember her every year, Mr. Todd," he promised, sitting up a little taller in the seat and raising his hand to his temple in a little salute, making Sweeney chuckle and pat his shoulder.
"Ain't required." He looked away when Toby's affects of humor wore off him, his arm dropping back down. "I can remember her on my own."
"Just 'cause I wasn't born don't mean I can't try to remember how she used to be, b'fore..."
Sweeney firmly pressed his back against the seat as the train rolled on, releasing a sigh. "Damn Judge."
An hour or so passed, and Toby eventually moved onto the opposite seat to sleep. Sweeney sat across from him, upright and alert. He let his dark eyes fall upon the dripping, cold window that he sat beside, shaking his head.
They were leaving London behind. He would be meeting with Johanna and Anthony again, soon. Things would be looking up. He was sure.
"I've said, Patrick," Johanna stood back first against the front door of her's and Anthony's residence, smiling good naturedly at the young man in front of her. "And for goodness sake, we're already here."
Patrick chuckled at her exasperated tone, with a hint of humor to it. "My apologies, Ms. Barker."
"You say that an awful lot," Johanna murmured, peering up at him with genuine curiosity now. "You need not apologize so much. And you may call me Johanna. I don't mind."
Patrick dipped his head. "Then I will call you Johanna."
Johanna smiled. Somehow, this boy had gotten her into a very good mood as an oppose to what she originally was that morning: worried. She was so very worried for Anthony and his state, but by now, she wasn't nearly as much. No one had ever really attempted to up her mood before...
"Good. Now, if you will excuse me, I'll be heading to bed. Do not wait up, Mr. Snayote." She was teasing, obviously. Her smile proved that.
She had began heading in, but Johanna ended up stopping in her tracks, and a slight frown reached her face. She turned back around to face him. "You... sound so sure."
"Well, we live so close together." Smiling, Patrick picked up a piece of her yellow hair that was hung over her shoulder and twirled it around in his fingers, nonchalant. "Perhaps we could get to know one another better."
Johanna gave him a weak smile in response. "Yes... I'd like that, Patrick."
Patrick didn't say anything this time around. He just smiled. Then he was off, a skip to his step, leaving Johanna bewildered as she pulled her front door open and stepped in, leaning her back against the inner side of it in the warmth of her's and Anthony's roomy household that wasn't quite complete yet.
Home sweet home?
Johanna wasn't sure, actually. Judge Turpin's manor never felt much like home, though she grew bitterly used to it. This place didn't feel like home because she wasn't used to it yet. But maybe when the place lived up to her expectations in looks, memories would start to build...
She hoped so.
She headed into the parlor and sat down on the couch she and Anthony just bought days before to run a hand through her yellow hair, lonely. Would inviting Patrick in for some company have been a good idea?
Partially, she didn't like the idea. It would feel wrong to know she was having fun in their new house with a stranger, while Antony was suffering away over his injuries in the hospital without anyone looking after him but the unfamiliar nurses and doctors.
No, Johanna thought dismissively, unable to help making a useless waving gesture with her hand for no one to see anyway. I'd never do that. Never.
Back at the second train station in the 24 hours of this strange experience, Toby stepped off board with Mr. Todd, watching as the practiced man immediately slipped into the large crowd and started walking in a random direction, his bag of luggage in hand.
"D'you know where you're goin', sir?" he asked, breathless. "Antony never gave an address or map, did he?"
"Never got the chance to, I don't think," came the thoughtless reply.
"An' why is that?"
"We left too fast," Sweeney responded matter-of-factly, not breaking in stride despite his faltering tone. Maybe he was getting tired of all the boy's questions.
Toby rolled his eyes agitatedly. "Could've waited a little longer."
"I'll find it, boy," the barber retorted icily. "Just walk behind me. Offer some verbal support, if you feel so obliged."
A half smile finding his lips, Toby walked a little faster to match the barber's pace, wanting to see the man's expression to know whether or not he was being truly serious.
To his surprise, Sweeney was shooting a determined glare straight ahead, looking very intent on what he was doing. Toby slowed his gait yet again, not wanting to make eye contact with the barber.
Someone quite obviously wasn't in the mood to talk. And he wanted to find out why, in all honesty. Because - to which he'd refuse to admit - he had come to care about Mr. T's well being. He didn't know why. He didn't know how it was even possible. Was it just because the wretched man was the only form of a shield from loneliness that Toby was too afraid to face? He knew he didn't want to feel alone again, but... surely there were other forms of better company out there than a man who used to murder his clients? Surely getting mistreated in a workhose was a better option than getting yelled at by a man who used to kill other people?
Frowning, Toby sped up his pace and shook his head to clear it when he realized Mr. Todd made an abrupt turn for the exit of the building.
Another question was beginning to fizz in his mind: Will Plymouth be any different from London? Less gloomy? Less... depressing?
But Toby knew, deep down, that London probably wasn't as depressing for some people as it was for he and Mr. Todd. Some folks lived out their lives happily in that city, perhaps, and raised a nice family that somehow managed to narrowly avoid Sweeney Todd's wrath.
Nodding at this conclusion, Toby reached Sweeney's side again as they entered the outdoors. Immediately, they both ducked their heads and closed their eyes when the sun hit them. The searing, unforgiving sun.
Toby was about to question the barber as to what it was, having not recongnized its bright, warm strength at first, until he realized and remembered.
Yes. This place was exceptionally different to London.
Either that, or the only way Toby saw London was with a dark shroud surrounding it. He knew that was the way Sweeney thought of it.
"Something else we'll need to get used to," Toby was surprised when Mr. Todd's voice sounded beside him, as he wasn't expecting more words from the man for a while. He found himself comforted when he felt the older man's hand on his shoulder, steadying him.
No fret. This'll work. The sun won't kill us.
Blinking several times, Toby lifted his head and opened his eyes, still needing to squint. He thought he saw the smug outline of a grin on the barber's palid face, and with force, he blindly shoved the man away, gritting his teeth.
"Leave it to you to find somethin' funny that others don't."
"It's what I live for, Toby," Sweeney claimed, his voice warm to match the beams of sunlight that hit the cobblestone pavement below them.
That wasn't always the truth, but he wasn't dead yet. He might as well have made the most of life for then. Johanna was still out there, after all...
For the rest of their walk until they found shade, the barber kept close contact with the boy. He didn't let him out of his sight. Not once.
I know, I know... *hides face*
For such a long time for an update, I made such little progress, and this chapter is so pitifully short. But... I just needed to get back into the groove of this story. Completely and fully. I've been so sidetracked by other things, including ideas for future stories that I've been pondering for one too many days long. I want to get this story done by the time the year is over! It should've been finished last year, really.
My updates are just so... blah.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this chapter for what it is! Hopefully the next will be longer, if the writer's block that's been plaguing me doesn't strike first. I know I may seem like I'm using writer's block as a cover up, but... trust me, I'm not. x.x Any true writer would know that writing spurs come on impulse, and when you feel the need to write, you do it without trouble. Lately, that has been... the opposite of me. 'xD