Many thanks to Mary for beta reading.
This story was requested by Gothic Godess.
You won't loose me
Little Toby smiled cheerfully when he saw the penny Mrs. Lovett offered him. He couldn't believe his luck and felt great gratitude for the woman who looked after him with so much love. She was such a relief after all those years he had to work for the cruel signor Pirelli, who was never nice to him, never spoke friendly to him, and especially wouldn't pay him for his work.
Only then he looked at the purse she was holding. His eyes widened when he recognized it.
"That's signor Pirelli's purse!" he spoke shocked.
Mrs. Lovett tried to hide it, but it was too late: he was sure of it.
"It's just a present Mr. T. gave me for my birthday," she said quickly.
He looked from her eyes to the purse and back, his young mind trying to understand what was going on
"You're lying," he said finally.
Mrs. Lovett could've denied it with the same smoothness when she had told him the purse wasn't Pirelli's, but he looked so stern and sincere she just couldn't.
"Why do you think I am?" she asked, wondering how that simple boy could almost read her mind.
"Mr. Todd would never give you anything."
"You heard me," he said firmly, though he couldn't look her in the eyes anymore. "Mr. Todd wouldn't give you a purse, he wouldn't remember your birthday even if you had told him twenty times, he just doesn't…"
The way Mrs. Lovett looked at him made him shut up. She was suddenly pale, really pale, and she didn't know whether she should cry or be angry. How dare the boy after all, to judge her relationship with Mr. Todd… but that was the point, part of her did realize there was not a relationship. Yet, what if…
"What is it boy?" She asked slightly annoyed, for she just had been imagining herself by the sea together with Sweeney Todd.
"You have that strange look in your eyes."
She knew perfectly well what he meant, but she tried to be not too obvious. He didn't buy it anyway.
"Mum, you know how much I care for you and I just don't want something to happen to you. I just have a feeling that if you stay trying to get Mr. T. to like you, if you keep seeking his attention like you do… why don't you see it… that look in his eyes. It's creepy. Why don't you…"
His speech faltered, knowing it was useless since she was probably daydreaming about Mr. Todd's eyes now anyway. Why couldn't she just see how foolish it was?
"I'm there for you, Mrs. Lovett. You aren't dependent on him for company and friendship."
She rumpled his hair playfully, wishing he would drop the subject.
"It's a bit different with Mr. T. love, you're too young to understand that."
Absentmindedly she stared at nothing in particular.
"Does he ever says something about me? When I'm not there I mean…"
She looked at him hopefully, like he just hadn't warned him for the barber.
"You know he doesn't."
He pitied her for her disability to see that the barber didn't love her at all – he didn't even like her.
"That man can't love Mum. He's dangerous. I don't know how he was in the past, but he's changed. It must be. He isn't who you think he is – or who you want him to be."
"Now love, don't be unreasonable. Mr. T. is a good man. He won't harm anyb… he won't harm us, I mean."
Toby shook his head in disbelief of he naivety of the usually so world wise woman. And again she stared absentmindedly into the distance.
But this time she was not thinking about Sweeney Todd. Well, actually, she was, but in a different way than the boy thought – very different. For only now she realized what it meant that Toby had recognized the purse. It was a good thing he didn't believe her lie after all, because the purse, which originally belonged to the murdered man, wasn't directly linked to Sweeney Todd now, but yet she sensed that the boy would find out the truth sooner or later. And if he did… Sweeney Todd would be in great, great trouble, and she as well.
She had to prevent that, but that would mean that she would have to silence the boy she loved as her own son. And that could be done in only one way, because Toby wasn't the one to keep a secret, and especially not if it was about something so cruel, so horrible, and in a certain way, so unfair. It was a horrible dilemma… but she just wouldn't be able to bear it if she would lose Benjamin again.
"Mum… are you alright?"
His innocent and sincere worry for her was like a stab with a razor in her own throat.
"You don't have to worry about me love. Now, come here."
She pulled him closer to her and held him motherly.
"I don't want to lose you Mum. You're the only one I got, and you're so good to me. I'll always be there for you. I just don't want you to be hurt."
"Don't be ridiculous, I won't be hurt, and you won't lose me…"
She smiled reassuringly at him and wiped a few tears from his face.
"Don't be silly love."
She kissed his forehead and held him a few moments longer to hide her own tears. The poor kid. No matter how hard it was, it had to be done. If he'd go to the Judge... Mr. Todd would be arrested and undergo all the pain, punishment and torture again before they would finally kill him. She couldn't let it happen, she just couldn't.
"Well love, we can't keep sitting here forever, talking nonsense like this. Come on, let's go back to business, the customers will want their pies tomorrow morning. You always wanted to work in the bake house, right?
The boy nodded slightly, not knowing he should be glad now he finally would work in that nice warm place where he could really help his adoptive mother, or if he should try to persuade her once more of the dangers of Sweeney Todd she didn't see herself because of her stubbornness and blindness.
But the smile on her face seemed real, and he felt like it wouldn't help if he would continue the conversations about Sweeny Todd's intentions. Sooner or later she would feel it herself, for better or worse, he thought, when he followed her into the burning heat of the bake house.
The end is quite sudden, but well, we all know what happened in the bake house.