All aboard. Hit the road. All the bullshit... Can't be ignored.
It's hard to place...In my face. No emotion.
"Straight to Video" - Mindless Self Indulgence
a/n: I do not own Sweeney Todd, the play, the movie, or the characters.
Mrs. Lovett moved quickly up the cemented stairs ascending from the basement. The cold air hit her face so roughly it gave her goosebumps. Damn winter. Damn cold. The worst part was that she had left her coat upstairs in the barber shop, and the fire in the living room just didn't seem as warm as usual in the low degreed weather. Not that she minded going upstairs to get her coat. No, it wasn't her that minded. It was the other person who stalked the area above her small shop. Constantly, she could hear his footsteps in the middle of the night. Pacing back and forth. Quiet murmurs that she couldn't make out even when she attempted to stand on her couch on her tippy toes and put her ear to the ceiling. Which, by the way, Mrs. Lovett does not recommend, as shortly after she had lost her balance and fallen over with a bottle of Gin spilling over on her newly bought dress. You know, if it had been anyone else up there, Mrs. Lovett would be just fine with barging in, grabbing her coat, and ignoring any words thrown at her or glares casted her way. After all, it was her shop. But this one... this one was different.
His name was Sweeney Todd, and whether Mrs. Lovett liked to admit it or not, the last thing she wanted to do was disturb him when he wanted peace. However, it wasn't anything that he would say or do that would scare her. He had a razor put to her neck before, for goodness sake. No, it wasn't that she was scared of. It was his silence. His unbreakable silence. The walls of defense that were so apparent that it practically stenched the air to the point of suffocation. Just being in his presence sometimes made Mrs. Lovett claustrophobic even when they were the only people in the entire room. And yet, even as she felt him pull away even though he clearly was already a million miles away from her emotionally, she couldn't help but have her gaze linger on him much more longer than it should. Nor could she help dusting off her dress before entering the barber shop, hoping just slightly that he would glance her way and tell her that she looked nice today.
But that was foolish to think. The poor man was, after all, infested with mental thoughts that haunted him day after day. The things that he had been through... Losing his wife and child to a Judge so full of lust and greed. Being deported for years only to come back with no one there waiting for him. No one, but her. Not that it mattered if she was there or not. She was not his main concern or his main focus. She understood this. She had to.
Sighing, she rubbed her arms with her already numb hands and watched as her hot breath became a cloud of fog and drift off into the night sky. Perhaps she could just wrap herself in those wretched things called blankets that she had found laying on the streets abandoned years ago. Of course she'd have to ignore the fact that they constantly smelled like cat piss, no matter how many times she washed them. Desperate times calls for desperate measures. Opening the shop door slowly, as to not ring the bell that, though short-termed, rang very loudly through the currently empty roads of Fleet Street. Slowly creeping her body through the small part she left open for herself, she closed the door silently and moved across the deserted shop. There was flour scattered here and there. Most of it had been brushed out by dearest Toby. That poor child did anything she asked of him. Though she was fond of him, she sometimes worried if he was becoming too Dependant even though he was just a mere boy. Walking into the living room, the welcoming sound of a crackling fire meeting her ears, she threw up her hands exasperatedly.
"That's the third time this week!" she exclaimed in a hushed voice.
Toby was wrapped up in every blanket that could be found in the house, cuddled up next to a now empty bottle of gin. My God, this child will drink me out of me own home at this rate... Mrs. Lovett thought to herself, shaking her head. Well, there goes her brilliant idea.
Twirling a strand of curly dark hair around her slim, bony finger, she decided that whether she wanted to or not she would either have to go upstairs to get her coat or try to sleep while shivering her arse off. With slight reluctance, she chose the former. I'll just have to be very quiet.
Out the side doors and slowly up the stairs leading to the barber shop, the frills at the end of her dress swept up the dust that had collected from the dirt roads, leaving a trail of brown mist in her wake. She pulled her dress up wards in the front and clicked her heels against the cement stairs as quietly as possible until she got to the door. She knocked once on it with the tip of her pale knuckles. "Mr. Todd?" Mrs. Lovett called out in a low voice. "Mr. Todd? Are you awake?" There was no response. Not that she really expected one, but at least he couldn't say she didn't see if he was busy or not before walking in. Opening the door, she tried to keep the sound of her shoes on the wooden floor muffled. "Mr. Todd...?" She said again uncertainly and scanned the room. There was no one there visible. The only noise coming from the room was the slightly chilled wind outside passing through the fragile glass window and hitting the pages of a small, untitled brown journal that had been left open on his vanity.
She closed the door behind her and walked into the middle of the room, her eyes darting everywhere. Anxiety began to swell up inside of her. Usually she knew when Mr. Todd went out, because she was always inside cleaning or merely enjoying time spent with Toby, and she could hear him enter or exit his parlor. It was that slight knowledge of knowing precisely when he had left that seemed to calm her nerves, because at least she knew he would be coming back. However, this time, he was gone. And she didn't know when he had left but it had to be when she was in the cellar earlier and couldn't know when he had taken his leave. Something about not knowing, something about being left in the darkness about his absence, disturbed her. What was worse was that she saw his coat on the floor next to her own. That means that wherever he went, he was probably chilled to the bone, and that just did not set well with her.
Grabbing both the coats, she ran outside of the parlor and headed down the stairs, nearly tripping trying to get her coat on while running. Fumbling with the buttons, she decided it would just have to wait. Across the streets she seemed to glide, her eyes scanning every corner and every long, dwindling street. Hoping for some sign of Mr. Todd. He has to be here somewhere...
Walking down one of the narrow, dark paths, water dripping from the overhead onto her head from above, she shivered. The rats were following her, squeaking loudly as two of them fought over a small piece of bread crust that they had luckily found. "Stop, now," she said, nudging the rats with the tip of her shoe. They nearly stared at her for a second and continued to fight. Sighing, she fell against the brick wall of one of the buildings and slid down. There was no way she was going to find him even if she ran around all night. He was always in the darkest places, talking to himself in soft whispers. Knowing him, she thought, he was probably freezing to death and not even caring about it. Clutching his coat close to her heart, she bent her knees up wards and rested her head on them. Mrs. Lovett could smell his scent in his coat. It smelled strangely of face cream and an odd type of perfume that he had seemed to carry with him wherever he went. She never asked what it was but he always wore it. It was like dandelions mixed with hot cocoa. It was so subtle but to her it was so noticeable. Then again, she noticed a lot of things about him like this. Not that he would ever know, or ever care. That's just the way he was. Cold, distant, and haunted...
Her mind wandered towards thoughts of him like it did oh so very frequently until it was interrupted by a soft murmuring voice.
"There's a hole in the world like a great black pit and the vermin of the world inhabit it. And it's morals aren't worth what a pin can spit... and it goes by the name of London."
Her ears perked up immediately. She knew that voice. She knew that song. Looking up from her knees she saw him turn the corner. Mr. Sweeney Todd was there, with his head hung low and his hands in his pockets. His boots were splashing in the water puddles and getting all over his pants yet he didn't react at all to it.
"Mr. Todd!" She cried out, springing to her feet. For one of the few times ever, Sweeney lifted his head and looked at her. "Mrs. Lovett?" he said quietly, slightly confused at why she was there. However this confusion was quickly subsided as he looked away from her and to the ground once more. Running to his side, she began placing his coat on him. "You must be losin' your head, Mr. Todd. Out here in the blisterin' cold. Could catch a fever, don't ya know? Can't have that now can we, lush?" She said, helping his arms go through the correct holes in the coat and buttoning it up in the front. He made no responsive action towards her at all but merely stayed quiet and stared down. She was not offended at all by it. She was used to him ignoring her. Regardless, however, she knew that deep down inside that there was still her Benjamin Barker. And that was enough for her to put up with every silence that came from his bearing. "Come now, back to the shop, you're as ice cold as Mrs. Kennington. That ol' bat. Wouldn't break her heart if her own children died." Mrs. Lovett said, rolling her eyes and brushing the hair out of his stern, dark eyes. "Don't touch me," he muttered when she did it, but did not nudge away. "Sorry, Mr. Todd," she apologized softly, and she meant it, too. Mr. Todd never let her touch him, even if it was in a comforting way. Sometimes she couldn't help it though. All she really wanted to do was break through his walls of ice and warm him to his core. But she knew she couldn't. Not yet, anyways...
They walked together with a considerable distance between them. She couldn't get too close, but she stayed close enough to be able to hear his shuddered breaths. Into the shop they walked in and the slight warmth of the room seemed to make him uncomfortable. "I was fine," he mumbled towards her. "Don't be silly, Mr. Todd. You were about to become one of my meat pies at the rate you were freezing," she said, sitting him down in front of the fire in her rocking chair. He looked up at her and watched as she looked at Toby with both fists at her sides. He knew she was determining whether or not she should take one of the blankets from him. But he was fine, really, he was. He had gone for a walk because he had to think, as always. Things had been on his mind. Judge Turpin, Lucy, Johanna, and those nightmares... The same reoccurring nightmare he had been having ever since he had resumed his place in Fleet Street... Sometimes it felt like he never stopped thinking. The only relief he got was when his razors slipped so delicately off the necks of his customers, leaving a trail of red, liquid rubies in its wake. It was almost like a drug to him. The only thing that calmed his soul...
Well, one of the things. His conscious spoke underneath his thoughts. But he shut it down. That voice had no business here. It never would. Perhaps Benjamin Barker had a conscious... Sweeney Todd did not.
"I can't wake the poor thing," Mrs. Lovett said to herself, her hand rubbing her chin slightly. "You'll just have to sleep in my bed. That'll do, yes. I'm sure I have a spare quilt under it that you can use. And I do so want you to be warm, Mr. Todd. Honestly, these nightly walks in the winter just won't do. No, not at all..." Sweeney ignored her and stood. "I'll be fine, I'll just sleep upstairs. You worry too much." He grumbled. Mrs. Lovett stared at him sternly. "I worry just the right amount about you, Mr. Todd." She said. And with that, she disappeared into her bedroom, coming back with a extra quilt in hand. "It's quite dusty, but it'll have to do." She said, motioning for her to come into her room. However, he stood still, his face emotionless.
"I told you i'd be fine Mrs. Lovett."
"You tell me a lot of things, love."
Sighing to himself, Sweeney knew that this was a battle he would not win. "Alright, fine, if it'll get you off my damn back..." He followed her into the room and she searched through her drawers. "Here, slip into some clean garments while you're at it, won't you?" She said, throwing him a clean pair of clothes. He caught them in his hand and glared sharply at her. "Hush, now, love. You'll thank me tomorrow when you wake up without a fever." She winked at him and gave him a small smile. He did not recipicate it, but at least his stare softened and she knew he would give in purely because he was not in the mood to fight back. However, something bothered him that did not have anything to do with what was burdening his heart recently. Just as she went to leave, she called out to her.
"Mrs. Lovett?" He said.
She stopped in her tracks and looked back at him.
"Yes, Mr. Todd?"
"Why did you come out to look for me?"
The shock of the question hit Mrs. Lovett in such a way that it made her faintly dizzy. Though her composure was sturdy she felt as though someone had attempted to push her over mentally. "Well, Mr. T, to put it quite simply... I was worried. And you had forgotten you're coat. I suppose a silly thing like me couldn't help but go out to look for yeh." She said, her voice laced with slight tremble. Sweeney did not pay attention to a lot of things that she did, and to have him pay any detail to something she did do, warmed her heart greatly. Without a response, Sweeney turned away from her and she knew that was her cue to leave.
"Goodnight, Mr. Todd, sweet dreams."
As she closed the door behind her and her footsteps quickly faded, Sweeney Todd began to undress himself bearing scars that adorned his chest. "Goodnight, Mrs. Lovett." He said to himself. Even though he felt cold to her touch, to her every word and phrase, he couldn't help but feel a tad bit broken at her words. He knew in the depth of his soul, no matter what, that Mrs. Lovett would never leave his side. But even though she was there to take care of him, bring him food and customers that brought him temporary relief... She could never take away the nightmares.
No one would ever be able to take away the nightmares.
That's the introduction. I hope I didn't drabble for too long. I tend to do that when I write. Criticism is appreciated as long as it's constructive. Just so everyone knows, yes, I absolutely adored the movie and I'm totally in love with the play as well. I've always had a huge love for Mrs. Lovett and Sweeney Todd so I'm glad I can begin to write about them.
3 R&R. Chapter 2: You're So Amazing will be up when it's finished, so look out for it. : Much love to anyone who sat down to read this 3.