That's a Throat to Slit
Anthony. Naive, young, foolish, lovesick Anthony Hope. A sailor with hardly anything more than the clothes on his back, but held a heart of gold. The key to Johanna. His savior.
Sweeney owed his life to Anthony. As they journeyed to London, he watched the boy volunteer to work for him. He scrubbed the deck, whistling under his breath. There was never not a smile on that boy. Sweeney knew no one who would do anything for another man. Yet there was Anthony.
He didn't want to kill him. Though he knew there was no other way. The odds were finally in his favor. Anthony was in his way.
That's a throat to slit, my dear.
That's what Mrs. Lovett said. But what did she know? She hadn't met Anthony until now. She knew how to get what she wanted; he supposed. He should listen to her.
Anthony was too much like Benjamin Barker. He was too much like Lucy. Men like that didn't make it in the world. Perhaps slitting his throat would be a favor, save him from something worse later on.
He loved Johanna. Anthony never said it out loud, but the way his eyes lit up at her name confirmed it for Sweeney. He didn't know her, but somehow knew he wanted to be with her for the rest of her life. It was sweet. In some strange way. Benjamin Barker was the same. The moment he laid eyes on Lucy, he knew she was the One. It was romantic and naïve.
Sweeney imagined it. His razor slashing across Anthony's neck. His blood pouring from his throat. Lifeless eyes staring at him. It was his doing and it couldn't be undone.
He hated it.
He imagined Johanna in his place. The way he dreamed she was for years. Yellow hair tossed over her shoulders and pale cheeks even whiter with death. Long eyelashes framing unblinking eyes.
Johanna wouldn't miss him, would she? Sweeney didn't know. But their romance, their love, was fragile. She couldn't know him well at all. If they knew each other, that was. She wouldn't miss him. Couldn't. It was impossible to miss a love one never had. Never held in one's heart.
Sweeney would miss him.
No. He couldn't. He didn't know him like a parent knew their child. But calling him, "son" slipped out when he was nearby. Sweeney called the younger boys "son" in prison. But whenever it was Anthony, there was a meaning behind it.
Being with Anthony, coaching him, reminded him of parenting baby Johanna. That was how Benjamin Barker talked to Johanna. How he looked at Johanna. The love he felt with Johanna. It was easily compared to how he acted around Anthony. Those days on the ship. Sweeney gave him his address. It seemed a necessary. But he wanted to see Anthony again when he told him Fleet Street. He felt the same way when he took care of Johanna when he interacted with Anthony.
If he had a son, Sweeney decided, he would want him to be like Anthony. Innocent and humble. Yes, that was exactly how he would want his son.
It would be all right if Johanna married him. Anthony would be his son-in-law.
And part of him - apart he couldn't ignore - wanted that more than anything.
This one-shot came from a youtube comment that I couldn't find again, but the commenter said they believed Sweeney thought of Anthony as a son. I adore father-son relationships, so obviously I had to write this into a fic.
Thanks for reading!