Author: Digimon Empress Yaten (de yaten)
Notes: I can't recall if Sondheim's version of Mrs. Lovett ever reveals her first name, but one of the more common first names for her in other versions is "Nellie" and that's what I'm going with. This isn't a song fic – the lyrics used at the beginning are for artistic purposes only.
Warnings: Brief mentions of blood.
Disclaimer: Don't own Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, its characters, or the song lyrics at the beginning.
Hush, love, hush.
Don't distress yourself,
What's your rush?
Keep your thoughts
Nice and lush.
Nellie Lovett had never been one to brood.
Now, some might take delight in playing the angst-ridden mourning lover, but no, not her. She wasn't one to stand at the window in the dark, a flurry of drama and old Victorian charm, and think on what could've been, if only.
So, after her husband croaked one morning , she didn't resort to theatrical grieving and conceal her face in a hideous black veil for weeks, sobbing about the unfairness-of-it-all. In fact, that same afternoon, she strolled into town wearing a lovely pink ensemble and treated herself to a nice new hat with the money her husband left her in his will.
There was only once when she felt herself slip into the easy role of a despairing woman with nothing left. Only once, mind you, and she prided herself on the fact that it was such an insignificant moment in the grand scheme of things that she soon forgot it even happened.
Except, she admitted, when Mr. T had pressed a blade to her throat after missing out on the opportunity to kill the judge. Though she never told him what memories his action had drudged up, because he might feel sore at her for touching what she had no right to touch.
It was the only time she ever dared to touch the revered razors of Benjamin Barker.
Curiosity struck her one lonely night, when the shop was closed (not that anyone came in anymore, with the price of meat what it was) and the droning chatter of the city died down to a few beggars and an occasional moan from a bawdy whore in the street.
So she had, innocently and out of boredom at first, decided to take a peek at his old possessions. The trick plank was easily lifted, and the decorative box inside, while covered with a small film of dust, was perfectly preserved.
A candle was set beside her on the floor – normally she didn't bother with the things, since keeping them lit became troublesome when there was a draft, but something about the way they made the darkness bounce around her was especially intriguing that night.
And, of course, when she creaked open the lid, the razors were still there. Extraordinary silver things, decorated with a curious design on the handle. She carefully lifted and opened one of them, marveling at the blade. The candlelight played off the surface easily, giving her a glimpse of her disheveled appearance.
The reflection of her face startled her. Surely, the light was playing tricks on her? The Nellie she knew was fresh of face, bright of eye, and pale as they come for the added illusion of wealth. But the dark circles underneath her eyes were a new addition. The haggard, weary face looking back at her was someone she had never seen before. She had always prided herself on her looks—she wasn't outrageously beautiful, she knew, but there was at least something classical about her. It was all very distressing.
And for a brief moment, she considered pressing the silver to her throat and sawing feverishly at it.
Should one saw at their own throat, she wondered, or press down quite hard and pull it across, like cutting the head off an animal?
She imagined the blood that would run down. A nice deep red, she thought, would look best against my skin. Though it would be shame if my skin went all mad and gummed up underneath the blade. Little balls of ripped flesh would ruin the quaint image she had of being found sprawled delicately across the floor, pretty as you please, with a deep crimson blood staining her throat. The razors would be oh-so-carefully clutched in her fragile, feminine hand. A testament to the cruelty of this world.
But no, she thought practically, closing the razor with reverence, and putting everything back in its proper place. Death never worked out like that.
Besides, she was not one to imagine such silly things. She wasn't some anguished writer, churning out stories of poetic deaths and the romantics of vampires and the Great Beyond before deciding to pen a suicide note and swallow a bottle of poison.
Neither was she a grieving widow driven to despair by life without her beloved husband. His death was a bit of a blessing, really, because now she was free to wait for Mr. Barker to return to her. Well, return to his old home.
He would come back. She must try to keep the shop open—it wouldn't do if she was thrown out of the place before he managed to get back to London, no doubt searching for his darling wife and child.
Well, she thought. She'll just have to take Mr. Barker in, then, out of the charity of her heart. She would have to help him overcome the tragedy of his wife's death and daughter's pitiful plight. They might rescue Johanna, then, and Johanna would get a taste of maternal love.
She'd still have to protect him from the silly little truths of Lucy's madness and eventually, she hoped, he would warm up to her. Maybe not completely, and he would never be able to love her as he had loved Lucy. But maybe, just maybe, he would tolerate a quiet life with Johanna and Mrs. Lovett. Or, she smiled, Mrs. Barker.
All she had to do was wait.