A/N: I suddenly found myself inspired after almost a decade without writing fanfiction. I decided to have fun with this, rather than let myself get too hung up on every little detail. That being said, do not expect complete historical accuracy. I intend to do my best to keep Mr. Todd and Mrs. Lovett in character as much as I possibly can, however, this being a "fan" fic, it obviously leaves room for fan interpretation. The characters and their likeness in this particular story are based on the 2007 movie directed by Tim Burton, which I do not own.
"Opheliac" is a noun meaning "one who has delved into madness", in reference to Ophelia in Shakespeare's Hamlet. The source of this word comes from Emilie Autumn's album, along with a song sharing the title name.
"According to Plan"
186 Fleet Street London, England 1846
Mrs. Lovett was as cunning as she was clever. Despite that, she was almost as delirious and twisted as her male counterpart, Sweeney Todd. The two of them were a deadly pair, each fueling the other's fires, feeding into both of their darkest desires - his pining need for revenge, and her desperate longing to be loved.
The widowed baker had spent a great deal of the last few years completely and utterly alone. As friendly as she was, she didn't have much for friends, what little family she had was dearly departed, and she spent the majority of her days puttering around her empty shop and living quarters, waiting for time to go by. By the time the man formerly known as Benjamin Barker showed up at her doorstep, the dark-haired stranger completely mesmerized her. He was like a wounded animal in need of her help, and almost instantly, he became her very own dark knight in shining armor.
She remembered him from the old days. Benjamin Barker was warm and kind, nothing like the cold and sorrowful man that stood before her now. The difference was as vast as night and day. There was something about this man, however, something hopelessly tragic that she was drawn to. He knew what it was like to be locked out of sight all these years, just like her. It was under an entirely different set of circumstances, of course. She was just a poor, childless widow, while he was a hardened fugitive that was ripped away from his family on a false charge.
Considering his reaction to the news of all that conspired after he was shipped away to Australia, Mrs. Lovett couldn't bear telling him that his beloved wife, his Lucy, was still alive. She knew that if she revealed Lucy's true fate, he would go in search of her, or at least, what was left of her. After all, she figured he had already been through enough for one lifetime and it was probably best to preserve the memories he had of his wife. The poison turned the once radiant Lucy Barker into a common beggar woman. She became nothing more than a deranged shell of what she once was, left to wander the festering streets of London. As time went on, Mrs. Lovett began to suffer the consequences of leaving out that one vital piece of information. Little did she know that the husk of Lucy Barker lingering around her shop would only be the beginning of her troubles.
Despite her almost complete lack of moral sense, Mrs. Lovett was indeed quite nurturing at heart. In fact, one of her biggest faults was that she was desperate for companionship, love, and acceptance - something of which she never truly experienced. She thought that by standing by his side and aiding him in his revenge, she could get him to return her affections and the two could live, really live, at last.
Although they were neighbors, Mrs. Lovett and Lucy never became more than acquaintances as they seldom interacted. Mrs. Lovett, being the nosey neighbor that she was, figured out very quickly exactly what happened to the Barker family upstairs. She heard Lucy and Johanna's cries through their thin walls and felt sympathetic towards her. She had hoped that the two might be able to bond over her tragedy and become friends, but unfortunately, the woman attempted suicide and ended up in Bedlam not long after. Mrs. Lovett took care of her child, Johanna, for a short time before Judge Turpin came for her. And then, just like that, she was alone once again.
Mrs. Lovett reflected on her most recent outing with Toby and Mr. Todd, which was a simple picnic in the park. She managed to convince him to go as a way to celebrate their newfound success and get some "fresh air". Much to her delight, it ended up being a fairly decent day and when she went on about her plans for their future, Mr. Todd did not protest. Then again, he didn't necessarily acknowledge them either and Mrs. Lovett was known for being terribly optimistic.
Sweeney Todd was by no means a stupid man. He was, however, blinded by his insatiable need for revenge. He was not oblivious to his accomplice's affections for him, as she made them incredibly well known, and he used it to his advantage. She made it clear from the moment she took him back up to his abandoned shop and reintroduced him to his razors, his friends, the one thing that tied him to his life as Benjamin Barker.
Contradicting his belief that everyone deserved to die, he still spared some of his customers. Men with families, men that were polite and not too unyielding. It was further proof that he still had morals somewhere. But, the part of him that was still human was slipping further and further away. He was at war with himself, the part of him that was settled deep into the pits of his despair, and then the angry, vengeful side of him that was bursting at the seams. He was delving into madness, but luckily Mrs. Lovett had a way of keeping him from bubbling over the surface.
Benjamin Barker died so Sweeney Todd could live. He crawled from the very depths of hell and made it back to the place he once called home, only to discover that all that waited for him was a lonely baker, seven pieces of silver, and best of all, those responsible for destroying his family. He walked among them once again, right below their noses, mocking them with his existence alone. He stayed alive out of spite, living solely to dedicate his life to his oath: revenge.
All good things come to those who can wait…
Mrs. Lovett's advice often repeated itself over and over again in Mr. Todd's mind. He supposed he could listen to her, after all, she had been right in not letting him slit the Beadle's throat the moment he laid eyes on him at St. Dunstan's market. That would have been disastrous and he would have been shipped right back to Australia. The baker also proved herself to be quite the accomplice after coming up with the brilliant, eminently practical plan for them to cover up his crimes all while making a profit. Though he didn't typically pay much attention to her ramblings, she was, admittedly, the only thing keeping him from slipping off the edge. So, yes, he supposed he should listen to her after all...
Since his return, he lived each day like a ghost just going through the motions. He didn't plan for anything beyond his revenge, as he only knew of pain and torment and had little memory of what it felt to feel anything else. Though, somehow, perhaps through her relentless prying and devotion, his neighbor made him feel hopeful for the first time in fifteen years.
As the days went on, however, the barber grew increasingly restless. His need for revenge became an obsession that consumed every corner of his mind. Years of pent up rage and bitterness made itself known with every slice of another man's throat. Unfortunately, the high he got from killing started lasting less and less. He needed relief. He needed the judge.
In time, this need grew, and with it, his temper and the frequency of his outbursts that Mrs. Lovett was almost always at the receiving end of. There were moments when she was fearful of him, afraid that they had gone too far until she saw the excitable glint in his eye as he waltzed her about her pie shop, completely enamored by her brilliant plan.
Mrs. Lovett ignited the fire that had been burning within him that day. She knew it was a dangerous game, encouraging such a dreadful monster to come out and play. But, it was also to her gain. Business was booming, and as far as she was concerned, the only thing that stood between her and her happy ending was Judge Turpin and his foul, rat-faced counterpart, Beadle Bamford.
Over time, it became harder to keep the beast within him tamed. She managed to preoccupy him for a while now, covering up his crimes while he "practiced" on the throats of his unfortunate customers. It was grueling work, not a job for just anyone, and you certainly needed the stomach for it. Thankfully, years of breathing in London's toxic fumes and being no stranger to death helped dull her senses. Not to mention her desperate need to please the murderous barber completely overshadowed any feelings of regret or remorse she might have had. She convinced herself that this was payback to all of those stuck-up members of society that never gave her a passing glance. She managed to detach herself from the horrific, gut-wrenching work, and over time, dismembering bodies became just another chore to check off her list. In her own way, this was her revenge.
Their plan was simple. Anthony would disguise himself as a wig-maker's apprentice and free Johanna from Fogg's asylum. He instructed the sailor to leave Johanna downstairs with Mrs. Lovett while he went to make arrangements for their departure, claiming that she would be more comfortable down there. When in truth, Mr. Todd figured it best to avoid seeing his estranged daughter altogether. He considered Mrs. Lovett's remark about Anthony's throat being "the one to slit", especially given his irritating tendency to burst in unannounced. However, he quickly concluded that Johanna would be better off never knowing him and he couldn't bring himself to harm the young sailor, considering he saved him from being lost at sea. He owed him his life and knew that Johanna would be much safer with him, far away from here.
Unbeknownst to Anthony, the barber had another plan up his sleeve. Mr. Todd gave Toby very strict and urgent orders to deliver a letter to Judge Turpin, explaining that he convinced the sailor to bring Johanna back to him, in order to win his favor. If everything went according to plan, by the time the judge arrived, Johanna would be long gone, and Sweeney Todd would have his revenge at last.
Mr. Todd turned his head in the direction of the doorway and got up from his chair, "I thought I told you to leave her with my neighbor," he said irritably, feeling caught completely off-guard.
"There wasn't an answer at the door, sir, and I didn't see her down there, so I thought I'd bring her up here. I hope you don't mind."
"Well, I very much do mind." He made it a point not to look in the girl's direction and spoke as if she wasn't even there.
"Mr. Todd, please. We haven't much time."
Without waiting for the barber to answer, Anthony turned to Johanna, "I'll be right back to you. Half an hour and we'll be free." He squeezed her hand and gave her a reassuring look before running out the door, leaving Johanna and Mr. Todd alone.
Johanna stood awkwardly by the doorway. She appeared only mildly frightened, but not as much as you'd expect from a girl that just escaped from the madhouse. She was disguised in boy's clothing and her features, including her long, yellow hair, were hidden beneath the hat she was wearing.
"I am sorry to be of a nuisance, sir," she said in a timid voice, "thank you for helping me, Mr. Todd. Anthony speaks very highly of you."
He nodded in response, focusing his attention out the window. The less he had to interact with her, the better.
He heard hurried footsteps coming up the stairs and then suddenly Mrs. Lovett flung the door open, "Mista T!" She stopped in her tracks, surprised to see the girl left alone with Mr. Todd.
Dear God, has anyone ever heard of knocking?
"Oh, this must be Johanna," Mrs. Lovett said absentmindedly, eager to talk to the barber in private.
"Yes, Mrs. Lovett. She was supposed to be waiting downstairs with you." He replied through gritted teeth, not bothering to hide his annoyance.
"I know, dear… but, I've been dealing with another situation that I could really use some assistance with", she said cheerfully, trying not to sound as anxious as she really was. Mrs. Lovett flashed Johanna a genuine, yet understandably distracted smile, "We'll be right back, dear, just sit tight." She turned and started out the door, Mr. Todd following in her wake.
As soon as they were out of Johanna's sight, Mr. Todd grabbed Mrs. Lovett's arm roughly, "What is going on?"
She shook off his grip and whispered frantically, "Toby's onto us, Mista Todd, I didn't know what to do so I locked him down in the bakehouse. But if he escapes, he'll go to the law."
"Then he won't escape." Mr. Todd grumbled as the two continued to rush downstairs.
"There has to be another way", she pleaded with him. "Maybe if we just scare him, he'll keep quiet."
"There is no other way." He opened the door to the bakehouse and scanned the room.
"Can't have gone too far, come on." Mr. Todd put his hand on the small of Mrs. Lovett's back and led her down towards the sewers in search of the missing boy, their voices echoing eerily as they called out for him.
Beadle Bamford made his way towards what was known as "Mrs. Lovett's Meat Pie Emporium", cane in hand. His original plans were to visit the baker on official business in regards to the foul smell that came from her chimney. However, upon receiving correspondence from the barber that rented from the woman downstairs, the Judge asked his loyal Beadle to visit "Sweeney Todd's Tonsorial Parlor" as well and hopefully return with his ward.
After no one came to the door to greet him, he impatiently made his way towards the barbershop upstairs, where Johanna continued to wait anxiously.
It had already been at least fifteen minutes since Mr. Todd and his neighbor left her in the shop alone. If Anthony hadn't insisted that Mr. Todd was a true and trustworthy friend, the barber's gruffness could have easily convinced her otherwise. Johanna did not take his apparent disdain for her to heart, as his coldness was nothing in comparison to the horrors she endured during her time in Fogg's Asylum or growing up as Judge Turpin's ward.
Johanna's time in Fogg's asylum was short, but she was no stranger to being a prisoner. While she grew up with privilege, it was at a price. In exchange for a decent education, lavish dresses, and various other upper-class comforts, she was tormented by the Judge's perversions and strict rules all her life. She knew from a very young age that she had little to no privacy and absolutely no control over her life. No matter where she went in the home that she would eventually come to know as her cage, she knew she was being watched.
Judge Turpin always made it a point to make Johanna feel as though she owed him something for taking her in. He told her that her mother was just a common whore and didn't know who her real father was, and he out of the goodness of his heart gave her a home. Although he claimed to love her "as his own", the judge was never a father figure to her. He was always cruel and abrasive and treated her as though she was nothing more than a possession.
She moved further into the room, making her way over to the dressing table that held the barber's tonsorial supplies. Her eyes skimmed over the contents of the vanity, stopping at the framed portraits that featured a woman and a baby. She was admiring the photographs of the beautiful family when she heard footsteps coming up the stairs. The shop was closed for the evening and the only people that would be out in this part of town so late at night were the ones you'd want to avoid. At first, she thought it to be either Mr. Todd and Mrs. Lovett, or, better yet, Anthony. Before she could even think, the door opened.
The Beadle entered the barbershop, expecting to be greeted by Mr. Todd, only to meet eyes with what appeared to be a young boy standing in front of the dressing table.
"Good evening, young lad. You must be the boy that helps Mrs. Lovett downstairs. Do you know where I might find her or Mr. Todd?" It was obvious that he had not looked at her too closely.
Nervous that her voice would give her away, she shook her head.
While the Beadle continued to survey the room, Johanna backed up against the dressing table and reached behind her.
"Do you know when they'll be back, at least? I have official business to discuss with them, you see…" He trailed off when he noticed a long strand of yellow hair fall from the boy's hat.
The Beadle eyed Johanna suspiciously. She tried her best not to appear nervous as she grasped the cold metal object behind her.
The Beadle took a few steps closer to Johanna, "Surely you know it's bad manners to wear your cap inside", he grabbed the hat off of Johanna's head, spilling long locks of yellow hair over her shoulders. Johanna winced.
"Ah, Judge Turpin said I'd find you here." The Beadle said with a grin, grabbing Johanna by the wrist, causing her to gasp. He grabbed her chin with his other hand, and brought his face close to hers, "You should be ashamed of yourself, girl, Judge Turpin has been absolutely heartbroken over you."
"Let me go, Mr. Bamford" Johanna said warningly, clutching the razor behind her back. When he failed to relent, she yelled, "I SAID LET ME GO!"
Mr. Todd and Mrs. Lovett were continuing on their search when they were interrupted by a yell coming from above. Already on high-alert, the barber motioned the baker to follow him. As the pair headed back towards the bakehouse, she glanced helplessly back down the sewers, finding Toby would have to wait.
Mr. Todd made it back to his shop first and stopped dead in his tracks at the scene before him. Mrs. Lovett appeared moments later and gasped, throwing her hand over her mouth.
The Beadle's eyes were wide and blood trickled from his mouth as he held his hand over the gaping wound on his throat. Johanna stared back at him in shock and dropped what was presumably the weapon onto the floor. The injured man stumbled to the ground, and Johanna could now see the couple standing in the doorway. She jumped.
"I had to, he was going to take me back…" She backed away from them, "You don't know what it was like there, please don't tell anyone. Please."
Their eyes were fixated on the sputtering man on the floor. "Mrs. Lovett, take Johanna downstairs. I'll deal with this."
Mr. Todd and Mrs. Lovett looked at one another and he gave her a nod, Mrs. Lovett then went over to Johanna. Johanna's eyes widened in fear, "What are you going to do? Please don't go to the law, I beg of you!"
Johanna was shaking, completely traumatized by what she had just done. Her first instinct was to run away, but Anthony would be coming back for her any minute. Not to mention, if she did run, she had no idea where she would go and the streets of London were not a place for a young girl to wander alone at night.
Mrs. Lovett put her arm around the very distraught young girl. "There, there, dear… Nobody is going to the law, just come along downstairs with me and we'll wait for your sailor to come back..."
As soon as the two left, Mr. Todd turned his attention to the bleeding man on the floor. "We meet again at last, Beadle Bamford."
A/N: Well, here it is! If you like it, please follow and review. I have LOTS of ideas for this.