Thank you so much to the lovely Sangeeta for being my beta fish so that I could hide this from Jordie a bit longer. You're awesome.
Sweeney? Not mine. That makes me sad.
The doctor was rambling at him again.
Toby sat in his chair, staring at her with blank eyes. She was speaking in a language he couldn't understand; all the short phrases of sounds ended higher than they started, like the questions Mrs. Lovett used to ask him. But her voice had been sweet and loving, and the doctor's was angry and frightening. He couldn't answer her questions, he couldn't speak to her; he couldn't say what he wanted to. Toby just sat in his chair and stared at her.
He heard a name mentioned that he thought he remembered, but the instant he started to recall the face he'd forgotten the name. He started to squirm slightly, but he kept his eyes focused on the woman before him.
She turned away; she couldn't bear having the eyes of a mad little boy digging so deeply into hers. Her anger welled slightly with this, and she made a noise that she knew would upset Toby—she wanted to, in a way, yet she really didn't know why.
Toby blinked. His breathing quickened. He began to swing his feet back and forth beneath his chair, scuffing the worn toes of his slippers against the floor as he'd done so many times before. For showing any emotion wasn't right, it didn't help, Pirelli had said that over and over…But Mrs. Lovett…She'd never scolded him for betraying his emotions.
The doctor kept asking questions, growing more and more frustrated, her fingernails drawing blood from her palms. Toby held his gaze, sitting perfectly still now.
Behind his blank stare, his mind was in a state of turmoil. He couldn't tell which was right. She spoke like Pirelli, but she always seemed a bit uncomfortable when he looked her in the eye for too long, just like Mrs. Lovett. She never held him like Lovett had and she showed little difficulty scolding him like Pirelli.
The woman couldn't stand this, watching him sitting there and stare at her while swinging his feet back and forth so rhythmically, like he always did. She wasn't getting anywhere, he wasn't answering anything, nothing was happening.
She spoke the words with such frustration that Toby began to imagine he was looking into a mirror, he was trying to tell himself something but it wouldn't get through. Yet seeing the doctor almost begging him to tell her something made the tiniest of cracks in his mental shield, allowing all the thoughts that he'd tried to keep away come rushing back in.
It's all my fault—what happened to Mrs. Lovett, it's all my fault, all my doing. There wasn't anything wrong with Mr. Todd, of course there wasn't, my imagination was wandering again... it always does. She'd mentioned my suspicions to him, she had to, and that had made Mr. Todd angry, it must have. He'd started to hate me, hate her, hate himself, hate the world. That was when he closed his eyes…he closed his eyes, but his eyelids stayed open. He was seeing everything but he really didn't know what was going on, he was dead. Dead—I hate that word. I hate it like I hate myself for killing Mrs. Lovett. I hate it just as much.
The doctors and the police men and everyone who's asked me questions in this language I can't understand all say that I killed him, that I did it; that I killed Mr. Todd. But I didn't, he killed himself, he wasn't seeing, I killed Mrs. Lovett and he killed himself because he loved her just as much as I did.
But she didn't love him quite so much as she loved me, she never knitted him a muffler for when the days grow colder… I need to find my muffler, mum…I seem to have lost it, I'm sorry…
That voice was like Pirelli's. I thought for a second that he might be there, in the room, and that made me afraid inside, because I couldn't show it on the outside, or he'd get angry with me…
The woman didn't talk any more. Silently, she stared back into his eyes before disappearing behind him to tie the straightjacket.
Pirelli is always here, he's still alive, still there…
…But where is Mrs. Lovett?
Where has she gone to?
She reached for his gag as well—she didn't know why he'd need it, he wasn't speaking anymore, but somehow she felt safer with it between them. Toby squinted upon noticing the red fabric and a stupid little grin spread across his face.
"Coo, mum, you've found it!"