Welcome to the Grave
Imagine Sweeney Todd never found Lucy again. Therefore, other events of the night were subtly changed. Think of it what you will, but tell me what you're thinking!
"Get some color in your cheeks, Mr. T, that's wot you need. Just let Mrs. Lovett take care of you, dear…"
"Anything you say…"
She examined him with a critical eye, noticing the listlessness and the brooding silence that constantly surrounded him. She resisted the urge to care for him and buried her hand in her hair, bustling about the dank room. The place seemed almost uninhabited without little Toby shadowing her every move. Poor little boy...deserved a better life than the little that he had.
"Your daughter's coming later, you know."
The barber raised his head. "Johanna? Johanna's coming?"
"Oh, that you pay attention to."
He stood in the shadows, pale skin glowing against the darkness. He stared at her with fathomless eyes that sunk into the gloom. "I pay attention to you."
"Of course you do. And maybe tomorrow we'll sell this hell-hole and go to the sea like you promised." She sighed and looked up to the ceiling, smoothing the apron of her dirty gown.
"Come here, Mrs. Lovett." He held out his hand.
Nellie stepped towards him – she always did. He never could see it. "Yes, Mr. T?"
He wrapped an iron arm around her waist and held her neck lightly with the other. She rolled her head ever so slightly towards his porcelain cheek. She knew he wouldn't notice. She reveled in this facsimile of an embrace, the only kind he would ever give her.
"How do you know Johanna is coming?" His rough, gravelly voice sent shivers down her spine.
"That one sailor lad – whatshisname – well, he said he'd bring her before they left. To thank you, or some rot like that."
"Hmm." She was still locked in a death grip. She recalled the gentleness that he had always used with Lucy, as if she was some precious jewel. Well, now it was another woman in his arms, and thank goodness for that. A door was opened downstairs. She shifted under his hands.
"Mr. Todd? I 'ave to get that…"
"Of course, of course." He let her go and continued pacing at the window like a caged animal. She watched him sadly before opening the door and slipping downstairs.
The steps creaked and so did the door as a boy came rushing at her with a little street urchin behind him.
"Mrs. Lovett, isn't it? This is Johanna." And he brought the urchin forward. Nellie gasped as she recognized the pale skin and yellow curls hidden underneath a hat. The features of the girl's face delicate and fairy-like, just like her silly mother.
She did not know how to react. "You're early," she said severely.
The lad looked worried. "I'm really very sorry, but the ship leaves in an hour…and I wanted to say thank you and good-bye to Mr. Todd. Is he upstairs?"
She nodded silently and blew an errant hair out of her face. If she could only wash it properly maybe he would look at her more often…Mrs. Lovett followed behind the pair, lifting her skirts off the dirty floor. She stepped in front of them at the door and rapped briskly at the glass. She heard footsteps on the old floorboards, and the door slowly opened. She motioned at the young people to wait outside for a moment, then took a deep breath and stepped in.
"Well? Who was that?" He surprised her, and she had to push on his chest to get him to move back.
"They're here, right now. You know, the sailor boy. Should I call them in?"
Sweeney nodded distractedly, his dark eyes fixed on the doorway.
"It's all righ', you two," she shouted behind her. They came in cautiously, like frightened children. The moment he saw his daughter, he breathed in sharply and moved towards her, stretching a hand out as if to touch her face.
"Johanna…" he whispered.
The girl shrunk back, casting a fearful look at Anthony. Sweeney Todd stopped like a knife had been thrust into his heart. His features hardened, and Nellie put a hand on his arm. He ignored her and took another step forward, interrupting the beginning of Anthony's speech.
"Take off your hat," he ordered.
Johanna stuttered and blushed. "Sir?"
In two more paces he reached her and lifted the boy's hat off himself, watching the golden curls tumble down her back. He cradled her face in his cold hands and she shivered. "My daughter," he said wonderingly. "Oh, Lucy."
Mrs. Lovett watched as the girl's blue eyes widen, her face turning white. "Who are you?"
Anthony tried to take Johanna's hand, his face a study of confusion. Mrs. Lovett shook her head at him. She had been afraid of this…now it would all end badly, and she would have to be the one to calm him down. 'Twasn't an easy job at all. Not with a man like Mr. Todd – not even a man like Benjamin Barker.
"Johanna, believe me. Judge Turpin, he…he stole you away from me, you and your mother, he exiled me-"
"You killed him," she exclaimed, her nightingale voice rising higher. "You killed him, I saw…I was hiding in that chest over there, you didn't see me…"
She yanked her head away, clearly agitated.
A trace of the old gentility came through as he clasped his hands behind his back earnestly. "I did it for you, for Lucy…he had to pay, don't you understand? They all had to pay for what they did."
Tears pooled in her eyes as she shook her head, no no no. She opened her mouth to say something, then shut it and buried her head in Anthony's jacket. "Blood everywhere," she sobbed, as her beau stroked her back tenderly, trying to lift her chin to look at her. Ever observant, Nellie saw how tight the barber's fist was clenched, and how his slim frame had begun to shake. She put her arm through his tentatively, and he slumped against her. Marveling at his vulnerability, she guided him over to the chair and sat him down. She knelt before him and put a cool hand on his cheek, kissing his forehead lightly.
"Ah, Mr. T. What will I ever do with you?" she murmured. Anthony approached slowly, Johanna still sniffling, pressed against his side. Nellie shot him a disapproving look, but he proceeded anyway.
"Aye, lad," came from the chair weakly.
"Whatever happened…I can never thank you enough for helping me and Johanna. There is a darkness within you, sir, but I hope you can overcome it." He glanced at the girl anxiously, and she stepped towards the chair, a small, twisted smile on her face. She bent forward and kissed her father lightly on his pale cheek, rosebud lips barely touching his face.
"Good-bye, Benjamin Barker," she said. "I wish I could understand." She straightened up to leave, and he grasped her arm tightly.
"Don't leave," he rasped, infinite pain written on his face.
"I must," she said firmly, tugging her arm away. He let go surprisingly easy. Anthony ushered Johanna out of the room, glancing behind only once, and shut the door behind him. The silence in the room was deafening.
"Golden hair, just like her mother…"