Author's note: I do not own Sweeney Todd. If I did…well, I'd put it back on Broadway for one thing. :) (This is rated 'T' for the theme of rape, but nothing too graphic.) Flashbacks are in italics, but you could probably figure that out :P
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She does not remember how she managed to walk back from Kearney's Lane to Fleet Street. She can vaguely hear Mrs. Lovett question her about where she has been. Johanna's been crying for over an hour…Lord of mercy, what's that stain…is that blood on your skirt? Wait, come back, Mrs. Barker…
She does not stop as she wordlessly takes Johanna from Mrs. Lovett's arms and walks up the flight of wooden stairs that lead up to the apartment. She does not look at the barber sign that hangs above the door. She also pointedly avoids looking at the razors that she knows are lying on the dresser. Instead, she waits for Johanna to calm down and stop crying before she puts her daughter back in her crib. She goes to sit down in the chair near the window, wincing as she does so. She can feel the bloodstained fabric of her dress cling uncomfortably to her legs, but she makes no effort to change her clothes. She is exhausted.
She looks out the window. Any other day, she knows that the Judge and the Beadle would have been standing below her window, waiting with an offering of flowers. The true offering wasn't really flowers. After Ben was taken away, it was an offering of protection, a bribe. She recalls a conversation.
"Lord, he's back again," Mrs. Lovett observes as she kneads the dough. "Why don't you go out an' talk to him, dearie? It can't hurt."
"Yes, it can," Lucy replies, looking out the window of Mrs. Lovett's pie shop, meeting the Judge's expectant gaze coolly. Johanna coos in her arms, and Lucy forces a watery smile to her lips as she gazes down at her daughter.
"Here," Mrs. Lovett moves to take Johanna from Lucy's arms. Lucy does not put up a fight. She feels as if all the strength has been drawn from her body. "Be nice to him, dearie. Mr. Barker is gone, an'… well…the Judge can take care of you."
Lucy does not care for what Mrs. Lovett says, but she leaves the shop all the same. When she exits, the Judge smiles politely at her.
"Hello, my dear," Judge Turpin murmurs as he holds out the traditional bouquet of flowers.
"It's Mrs. Barker," Lucy snaps with uncharacteristic sharpness. Ben's imprisonment has definitely made her weaker: she does not bother to hide anger anymore.
"Of course," He continues to smile and hold out the flowers.
"Why do you keep doing this?" Lucy asks after a beat, her voice little more than a whisper.
The Judge feigns surprise. "Why, I only want to be kind to you. And, given your situation these days…" His face is a mask of sympathy. "I am sorry for what has happened."
Lucy does not muster the strength to argue. She is so very tired.
"I did not have any choice, you know," The Judge continues. "The evidence against your husband was overwhelming."
Still she says nothing.
"I only wish to offer myself," The Judge murmurs, but he does not yet understand. Lucy will only be moved by a mention of her husband, not by a mention of any other man. The Judge tries once more, "I could care for you and your daughter."
"And what would I give you in return?" Lucy asks, her dull eyes meeting his.
The Judge smiles again but says nothing, he merely bends down to leave the flowers at her feet and walks away.
She starts to cry. She can not stop. God, it hurts. Her center aches, as do her hips and breasts where she knows there are vivid bruises, but it is more than that. Her heart feels as though it will give out. She wonders if she really is bleeding on the inside, for that is what it has felt like these past three weeks. Finally she gets up. It seems to take all her strength. She takes out her plain black dress, the one she wore when she went to see Ben in court, and again when she visited him at his holding cell in jail. She strips off her bloodstained one, wincing as she moves her legs to step out of the dress. She glances at herself in the mirror. Sure enough, there are bruises shaped like fingerprints on her hips, as well as on the swells of her breasts. There are teeth marks along her neck and collarbone. She can not bring herself to look at between her legs as she washes away the dried blood there.
"My dear Mrs. Barker, the Judge is sincerely sorry for your dreadful plight," Beadle Bamford attempts to ooze charm, but Lucy ignores him. She has done enough by letting him into her apartment, but she does not have to believe what he says.
She goes over to where Johanna is in her crib, and the Beadle follows her. "Charming," Beadle Bamford says, showing his crooked yellow teeth as he smiles at Johanna. She begins to cry in response. The Beadle ignores this, merely taking in the sight of Lucy as she picks up Johanna and cradles her to her.
The Beadle can tell that he is losing her. A last, desperate attempt, he lies brilliantly: "Judge Turpin has decided to reconsider his position on your husband's trial."
Lucy stops dead. The Beadle smiles. He's got her.
"It seems that the evidence we once looked at now seems faulty," The Beadle continues. "Your husband may be sent for at once."
Lucy can hardly believe it. She holds Johanna tightly to her, feeling hope unfurl its soft white wings inside of her heart.
"Of course, His Honor requests that you come to his house tonight," The Beadle adds, smirking behind Lucy's back. "You know, for your opinion on certain events."
"I…" Lucy looks down at Johanna, who does not seem to smile and coo as much as she once did. She must miss her father.
"Will you come?" The Beadle prods.
"Yes. Yes, of course. Tell him that this means the world to me."
When her black dress is in place, she goes back over to Johanna. Johanna sleeps peacefully, and Lucy hopes that Johanna will always be like this: untroubled, untainted by the cruelties of the world. She hopes that her daughter never has a night like last night.
The wine has made her drowsy. She should not have taken it, but it seemed to calm her nerves at the beginning of the night. She feels light, but not in a pleasant way like before. Now, she feels disoriented and out of her skin. The people around her dance elegantly, but they also bump into her over and over again. She finally falls back onto a chaise lined in red velvet. It feels wonderful to rest for a moment. She needs to clear her head.
Then, she looks up and he is there. She recognizes the flash of pure want in his eyes, and she feels dread rise within her.
There is nothing but pain as he descends upon her. She struggles against him, but he is by far the stronger of the two of them. He bruises her wrists and arms first by holding her down, but he will bruise much more before the night is over. His lips come down on hers, violent and intrusive. She makes a noise of disgust. His lips are nothing like Ben's. She is vaguely aware of the Beadle coming over and holding her arms when the Judge moves his hands down towards her skirt. She hears a rip of fabric, then she feels a burst of pain at her center. She struggles more. No no no no no no no. She doesn't want this. She doesn't want this.
Her screams are drowned out by the hysterical laughter of the crowd around her. Eventually, her screams turn into sobs and whimpers. She pleads for him to stop, but he showed no mercy to her husband…why would he show it to her?
Finally, he finishes with a gasp. The crowd disperses, chuckling under their breaths. The Judge gets up, fastens his clothing, and goes over to talk with a rich couple, the Beadle in his wake. She is left to recover by herself on the chaise. For several minutes, she does not fix her dress. Her neckline is pulled down to expose far more skin than she likes. Her skirt is twisted about her waist, and she distinctly smells blood. She has never felt more pain in her entire life. With a choked sob, she adjusts her dress. She glances at the Judge to see if he will look at her.
He does not spare her a second glance.
She heads back downstairs, taking the sleeping Johanna with her. Mrs. Lovett is mixing pie filling when she enters.
"Mrs. Lovett," Lucy's voice is hoarse and raspy, not at all its usual light soprano. "I wonder if you could look after Johanna for me again. Just for a few minutes."
Mrs. Lovett looks stricken at the sight of her. Nonetheless, she nods, dusts off her hands, and takes Johanna from her arms gingerly. "Of course, dearie. If you don't mind me askin', where are you headed to?"
"The apothecary," Lucy replies, her voice betraying no emotion.
Mrs. Lovett pales considerably. "Now, dearie…"
"I will be back in ten minutes, Mrs. Lovett," Lucy continues, not wanting to hear what her neighbor has to say. She nods vaguely and murmurs as she leaves, "Ten minutes."
It takes only five to go down the street and buy the arsenic. The kindly old apothecary merely looks surprised when she asks for the poison, but he does not question her or protest. She pays him with the last of Ben's wages. She will be able to put that money to good use. When she enters the pie shop again, Mrs. Lovett is lifting Johanna up into the air, smiling at her. Johanna does not seem to take to Mrs. Lovett even though the baker usually has such a way with children. Lucy takes her daughter from Mrs. Lovett gently.
"Thank you, Mrs. Lovett," Lucy says sincerely. "You've been a wonderful help these past three weeks."
Mrs. Lovett smiles gently. "No thanks necessary, dearie."
Without another word, Lucy goes back up to the apartment. She forces a smile for Johanna as she places her back in the crib. She takes the arsenic out of her pocket and regards the small bottle. It is so small…can it really do all that much damage? She hopes it can. She wants to forget everything. She wants to forget the pain in Ben's face when he was dragged away and when the Judge's gavel banged those final times. She wants to forget the horror of last night.
She takes the cap off the bottle and holds it in front of her face, examining its contents. She is about to swallow when she looks at Johanna. This is the first, and hopefully last, time that she is going somewhere her daughter can not follow. Johanna looks impossibly small in her crib. So small…who will care for her? Mrs. Lovett, Lucy supposes. The baker was a bit eccentric, and she had acted particularly strange around Ben, but she was a decent sort of woman. At least with Mrs. Lovett, Johanna would be able to live a moderately normal existence. More normal than any life she would have with Lucy. What kind of life could Johanna have when her mother was so irrevocably damaged?
Lucy continues to look at her daughter as she raises the bottle to her lips and swallows. There is almost no taste, but it seems to chill her insides. She sits back down in her chair and waits for the poison to do its wondrous work. Please, make her forget.
Her eyes flutter open. Ben's face is hovering over hers, smiling and his blue eyes sparkling. He leans over and gently kisses her forehead, her cheeks, her nose, and finally, her mouth. She responds easily to him, her body stretching out leisurely under his. He nuzzles her neck gently, and she can feel his cool breath along her collarbone, making her shiver pleasurably. Their cuddling is interrupted by a loud cooing from the other side of the room. Lucy smiles a bit against Ben's mouth as he rolls his eyes playfully and gets up from the bed. He walks over to Johanna's crib and tenderly picks up his newborn daughter.
"She's absolutely beautiful," Ben says, his eyes full of awe as he brings Johanna over to her mother. He sits down on the edge of the bed near Lucy, and his wife smiles at how wonderful he is with their daughter. "The men are going to fall down at your feet one day, aren't they?"
"Don't have her grow up too fast," Lucy teases him lightly. Ben only smiles at her as he hands Johanna over to her mother.
"But she is going to be a great beauty," Ben replies, reaching out and brushing a lock of blonde hair out of Lucy's eyes. "With a mother like hers, how could she not be?"
Lucy smiles and gazes down at the tiny bundle of life in her arms. Johanna's wide blue eyes gaze back at her. Ben's eyes. She brings her daughter up to her face to kiss her gently. Johanna coos once more, and Lucy falls a bit more in love with her. Her daughter smells of soap and milk.
"My beautiful girls," Ben murmurs as he puts a hand on Johanna's forehead as his daughter yawns adorably and shuts her eyes.
Just before she faints, Lucy thinks: Well, perhaps I don't want to forget everything
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