Mrs. Lovett brought him flowers, as she said she would.
"Daisies, Mrs. Lovett? Really," he groaned, and rubbed a frail white petal between his frail white fingers. The petal gave way, and he threw it aside. "Was this completely necessary?"
As always, his brow was dark and his mouth turned down, but the woman's heart thrilled. He had not only noticed the flowers, but he cared enough about it that he addressed the subject. It was so hard for her to get anything out him anymore.
(Not as much laughter as she remembered, and what there was of it was dark and cruel.)
"Now, Mr. Todd, I told you I was going to bring them," she said primly, adjusting them in their makeshift vase, and hiding the broken flower behind the others. "There now!" she said, taking a step back to join him. "Lookit how cheery they are. Isn't that just a treat?"
Todd muttered something, or maybe it was just a run-of-the-mill scoff, and stepped away from her to look out the window. "It won't matter when they're soaked with blood." He smiled, his pretty lips twisting slowly, at the thought. It was the first time he had smiled all day. He really was so predictable. "And you were worried this room needed—what was it? A splash of color." He couldn't help but turn when he said that, to enjoy her reaction.
(He had once loved flowers. Or someone else had. It was hard to remember.)
As always, she remained unruffled. Sometimes he wondered if he could ever really frighten her. Mrs. Lovett merely cocked an eyebrow, and let out a short bark of laughter. "Well, they isn't all blood-soaked yet, now, is they? So until then, you'll just have to enjoy them, in spite of yourself."
"Anything you say, Mrs. Lovett," he said.
"As you say, Mr. Todd," she said, and started to make her way out the door. "I'll have your dinner ready in an hour or so, if you'll be wanting to come down."
"Of course," he said coolly.
They both knew he wouldn't be down, and she'd be back up eventually, bringing him food and partaking of his company. For some reason, they both pretended otherwise. It wasn't their fault they knew each other so well.
(The love of my life.)
It is only possible, some say, to ever have one really great love in your life. To bind yourself completely to one person. Even if you love again, you know too much. About life. About love. About how things die. And it never really is the same.
(All we have is now.)
See, Benjamin Barker, of Fleet Street, had once had his Lucy. This was such young, pure, delirious, simple love. She was his darling angel, he was her lovely gallant. Together they had a child, Johanna. Every time he went out, he would bring her flowers.
"For you, my love," he would say, giving her the posies or daisies or whatever had struck his fancy that evening. Since he always bought them late, in the violet twilight, they were never so fresh, or too alive. She couldn't care less.
"Oh, but you are too sweet!" she would say back, gently taking the splash of dying color with her hand. And they would both smile shyly, as if still made anxious by the presence of the other. As if it were too good to be true. As if they could blink, and it would all be gone.
(We were never meant to be a part of the future.)
Nellie Lovett, of Fleet Street, had once had her Albert. This was a comfortable, devoted, real love. In their shop was found laughter, often raucous, always loud. They were both people who heartily enjoyed the company of many people, but were content in each other. Maybe it was because of that, they had never had children. Every Sunday, she would make him his favorite meal, special for him.
"For you, lovey," she'd say, serving the meat pie. Her flyaway hair was just as dusted in flour as the rest of her, but he couldn't care less.
"What would I do without you, Nellie?" he'd ask gruffly, and give her a peck back before turning his attention completely to the pie. She would laugh, and say he'd surely die. As if with her, he'd live forever. As if nothing existed but good food, good drink, and each other, and they'd never have to worry about anything else.
(There was never any hope anyway.)
Our two heroes had lived together before, in calmest peace and the most eminently appropriate of neighborly affection.
What happened then was that everything was taken from them anyway, either by cruel men or a cruel God or both. To be perfectly frank, they both had a good laugh in secret about it. It really was too funny. To be even more honest, their old selves never would have seen the humor.
Things change. More importantly, people change. They die. That inescapable dance to dust.
Benjamin Barker killed, buried, and resurrected himself as a new man—for this he remains unpersecuted. Gone was the soft warmth, of eyes and hair and smile, replaced by diamond black and a frozen sneer, and all the red inside. Instead of Benjamin Barker stood Sweeney Todd.
A new man, a new life.
Nellie Lovett was more passive—a victimless crime, striking her unawares. No longer was she the soft plump sweet thing she had been before. She found herself a widow, with harder lines and sharper angles. She had to add externally the color her complexion had always had before. Red, white, smoke. And now no one called her Nellie. She was Mrs. Lovett now.
A new woman.
And now our two new heroes lived together. Again, if things are kept simple, or for the first time if honesty is coming into play. These ones lived in relative peace, and maybe not the most appropriate of neighborly affection—but certainly they had an arrangement that mostly pleased them.
Sweeney Todd would live with her, and keep her company against that long night, and provide all the ingredients he could ever want. Mrs. Lovett would keep him safe, from everyone and everything. Even himself.
It was possible that they didn't share everything as they had before, with others, because they were both surprised when Todd found his way down to the kitchen for early dinner that night.
He smiled wanly when she gave a little squeal of delight.
"You look like you've seen a ghost, Mrs. Lovett.," he said. "It's only me."
She finished rolling the dough of this batch of pies with a decisive thump of the rolling pin, before putting the finishing touches on a lonely few to the side. "And who says you ain't a ghost, Mr. Tee? What with how little you eat. Nearly scared the life out of me yourself!"
There was a silence between them, which Todd broke. "And what," he said, nodding to the pies she was pinching together the crust on, "is that?"
She laughed. "Oh, I'm afraid it's nothing so exciting, these ones being for you and me and Toby. Had to stick to the more, ah, commonplace, you see, save all the high-class stuff for the customers."
He grimaced. "I can't imagine. You needn't bother, though, I meant to tell you I wasn't having any dinner tonight after all."
"Oh, it's just chicken, you silly thing!" she cried, laughing harder, which even got a chuckle out of him.
"Of course," he said.
"As if I'd have us respectable people eating that, what with us having a bit of spare cash these days!" She wiped her eyes. "All right then, if you're down here you have to help." She picked up a pan and motioned for him to do the same. He obeyed, gingerly, after appearing to give it some thought.
"Right then," she said briskly. "Down to the bakehouse! Just follow me, there's a good man."
Once in the bakehouse—or charnel house, mausoleum, whatever word seems to suit best—the woman had Todd open the heavy oven door. She showed him how to place the pies in just right, and he followed instruction carefully, almost solemnly.
When he stepped back, she couldn't bring herself yet to close the door. There was just something—unsettling, about the flames dancing feverish in the hollows of his cheeks and lighting his eyes from the inside. Bleeding rubies, not hard-edged diamonds. Todd misinterpreted her hesitation as a signal for him to take charge, so he reached past her and closed it himself.
"Thank you," she said weakly. "And those'll be done in just two shakes, Mr. Tee, never you worry. Best dinner you've had in a while, if you can bring yourself to choke it down. Yes," she goes on, oddly. "Leave it to me. Don't you worry."
(They pretend, but there was never even a glimmer of hope.)
Todd wondered what had come over her. "I'm not worried," he said. "I trust you, Mrs. Lovett." He smiles, rather too self-consciously, and he is lying, because it dawns on him they are probably talking about something else.
"Well," she said. "It'll all come out all right, love." She doesn't believe it, he can tell. At least not completely. If she's being honest. She smiles, as wan and meaningless as he's ever managed, and pats his shoulder awkwardly.
Impulsively, he put his hand on hers. Then he pulls her close and whispers darkly in her ear. "I have no doubt, my pet. No doubt at all." He let her go, and pulled back.
He doesn't believe it for a moment either. Even they're only marginally aware of the fact, they can tell this new life is quickly drawing to a close. It just logically could not go on for ever. They're locked into a track, a path, that leads to only one place. Their vicious circle. Their triumph of inevitability.
(To die will be…)
So Sweeney Todd looks Nellie Lovett in the eyes, her skin warm and bright from the light of the very bake oven, all fire and flame, that will be her end. And Nellie Lovett looks back at Sweeney Todd, his hand as ever nervously, unconsciously at his side near the very lovely silver razor, all ice and chill, that will be his end.
They share a kiss, maybe more. The food, the flowers, the fire, the blood. It was everything they had before and yet so different. So twisted.
Sweeney Todd was the love of Mrs. Lovett's life. Mrs. Lovett was the one love of Sweeney Todd's life. And they would be each other's end.
It was only fitting. After all, it was nothing that hasn't happened before.
A/N: And there we go! I'm like ninety percent sure that's a wrap, but I thought that about the first chapter, so we'll see. Congratulations are in order, this is the first story I've ever continued past a single chapter. Hooray!
Sweeney is slightly different in this chapter, mainly cause I started listening to the original cast whatever and Sweeney just seemed so much more—well, getting at least a marginal amount of enjoyment out of life. He would laugh, he would joke, he'd shout, etc. Now I love my psychopath movie Sweeney best, although for any purists out there of course I know it's not the original, etc., but I thought he could use a sense of humor.
Love you all, and please review, cause guess what, it's the only thing that makes me happy in this dark winter of finishing my GE's.