Hey guys, Phantomvarg here! This is just a small fic I wrote to cure my writer's block and get me back in the swing of fan fiction. I still have my JTHM fic to finish. Lol, don't worry guys, it'll be up- all in good time. Till then, you can read this lil' snippet of Sweeney Todd love.
This can go with either the film version or the stage version (save for the description of Sweeney's hair). So hopefully all ST fans will like it.
I don't own Sweeney Todd. Regretfully.
Mrs. Lovett kneeled before the hearth, attempting to warm her hands on the dying flames. Receiving little warmth, she removed the mesh gloves from her petite fingers, blew into them, then rubbed them together furiously before returning them to the meager fire. Another involuntary shiver ran up her spine, and she silently cursed herself for not preparing for the cold seasons properly when she had the chance. Freezing winds burst through every crack of the house, sending drafts skulking across the floor until she could barely tell the outdoors from in. The young widow had nearly forgotten how brutal the winters in England could be.
She sighed miserably and turned her head. Toby was sleeping soundly, propped up against the wall with a half-empty bottle of gin on the floor beside him. The child's gentle snoring, though it made her smile, did little to ease the feeling of loneliness creeping through Mrs. Lovett's insides. It was the sort of loneliness she only felt when he wasn't there with her.
Mr. Todd had left the shop hours before, just as a snowy twilight began to settle over the London sky. Mrs. Lovett had noticed a familiar expression on his face before he left; a look of anger, frustration; an exposé of pure contempt for the world around him. Without looking up from her pie-making, she casually asked him where he was going. The slam of the door and the violent tinkling of the shop bell was the closest thing to a reply that he offered. Now the grandfather clock in the corner of the parlor was striking ten, and Mrs. Lovett's worry for him was reaching its peak.
No sooner had she thought of him did the ring of the shop bell and the slam of a door echo through the house once more. Mrs. Lovett's heart fluttered as the barber's heavy footsteps came closer and closer, until his dark form entered the room.
Sweeney Todd stood there for a brief moment, staring at Mrs. Lovett with shadowy brown eyes. His hair and shoulders were dusted with fresh snow flakes, and, despite his heavy coat, his body trembled with cold.
"There you are, Mr. T," Mrs. Lovett said, not bothering to hide the relief in her eyes. "Was wonderin' where you go' off to."
He answered with a low grunt and nothing more. Mrs. Lovett, not expecting any more of an answer, turned back to the fire and added another small log to feed the starving flames. Mr. Todd took off his coat, hung it on the rack, and collapsed into the chair in front of the fireplace.
Once the fire was finally building up and the light of the flames illuminated the parlor, Mrs. Lovett got a better look at her dear barber. What she saw made her frown with concern.
She had always known that sleep never came easy to him, but the look of sheer exhaustion on his countenance was unlike what she was used to seeing. His stare was devoid of emotion. The dark circles under his eyes seemed even darker, chills rushed up his spine, and every so often his eyelids would droop almost to the point of closing before they suddenly became wide awake again. It was as if he hadn't got a moment of rest in a week, as if he was actually denying it from himself until he had spilled Judge Turpin's blood.
"Mr. T, you don't look well, love."
Todd tried to ignore her, to keep his attentions on the fire and away from the icy coldness of his body. But his efforts proved vain. He continued to shiver, and she continued to peer back at him occasionally. He averted his gaze from her every time, wanting nothing more than to be left alone in his misery. Todd felt as if this woman was set on maddening him. So what if he didn't look well? There was nothing to prove that he wasn't-
His thoughts cut off as his face suddenly twisted and a harsh-sounding sneeze escaped his lips and nostrils. Brilliant- now she'd never let him alone. He sniffed slightly, running a hand beneath his nose and swearing bitterly under his breath.
Mrs. Lovett had jumped slightly at the unexpected sound. "God bless you, Mr. Todd! You 'aven't caught a chill, 'ave you?"
Again her words went ignored by him, and Mrs. Lovett narrowed her eyes in annoyance. But she willed herself not to keep her gaze on him for too long. She turned back to the fire, prodding the sparking wood with an iron poker. She would catch his attention somehow.
"The Judge was 'ere today," she said, adding a touch of wickedness to her tone. "He said that 'e begs your forgiveness, and wants you to join 'im for tea on Sunday."
He growled at her spiteful joke, the first glints of anger flashing in his eyes. Mrs. Lovett smiled inwardly.
"There, see, you're not as stone-cold as you seem to be."
She stood and crossed the room to where the boy lay in his drunken stupor. Gently, she removed the empty glass from his limp hand, poured the remaining gin from the bottle, and offered it to Mr. Todd.
"'ere you are, love. Drink it down- it'll warm your bones."
Todd glanced at her and spoke in a whisper. "I don't want it."
"C'mon, now," Mrs. Lovett pressed on, "don't be such a mule."
"I assure you, I'm fine." His lips curled into an almost beastly snarl.
"Well, you certainly don't look fine. I wouldn't be surprised if you've caught fever." She set down the glass roughly, but her forceful movements didn't last. She reached out to him, her fingers aching to touch his face, to soothe away his anger.
"Please, you're shivering like-"
Before she could utter another word, Todd's arm shot out and seized her wrist firmly. Mrs. Lovett's eyes widened with fear and she tried to draw back her hand, but his grip tightened painfully, making her gasp. He glared at her silently for what seemed like hours, his eyes flickering with unspoken threat. At last he spoke, his voice dark with rage that he forced just below its boiling point.
"Don't. Touch. Me."
He released her. Mrs. Lovett stepped back, clasping her smarting wrist and narrowing her eyes.
She stomped away crossly, pausing to look back at him for a moment. Then she left the parlor to finish her baking, leaving Sweeney Todd to himself and the crackling fire.
Mrs. Lovett removed the last batch of pies from the oven. She wiped her floury hands on her dress and surveyed her work. They were all perfectly made as always, without a trace of evidence to reveal what they were made of. She covered them with a cloth to protect them from the dusty air of the bake house and began to climb the flight of stairs that led to the shop above.
Once there, she doused the lights and locked the door. She yawned widely, and that was when she suddenly remembered that she had left Sweeney Todd brooding in front of the fire. A tiny flame of resentment flared within her as she remembered how he had seized her wrist so roughly, but it was soon overshadowed by worry. She sighed in defeat: it didn't matter how he treated her. That was her nature: she'd always worry for him, even if he drove her to the brink of lunacy.
Mumbling to herself, she entered the parlor. The fire had died, leaving the room dark, but, except for a slight chill in the air, warmer than she had left it.
"Mr. T, it's late. Perhaps you should…"
She trailed off as she caught sight of him. He hadn't moved from his chair, but he wasn't in his usual, hunched over position. He leaned back into the cushions, looking rather flaccid.
Mrs. Lovett approached him cautiously. "Mr. T?"
Todd's eyes were closed, his breathing deep and steady. With a trembling hand, she reached foreword, almost afraid to touch him, though she had wanted to for so long. Her palm rested on his forehead, and she paused, waiting for him to open his eyes and fly at her. But nothing happened; he remained as still as before. Mrs. Lovett breathed a sigh of relief, partially for the fact that she did not feel the heat of fever rising from his skin. She removed her hand. Perhaps he had just been tired after all, and she need'nt have worried so much.
There was a snore from the other side of the room. Mrs. Lovett looked up to see Toby still drunk asleep. Vowing to put him to bed properly later, she pulled up a stool and sat beside the chair where Todd lay and watched him sleep.
Mrs. Lovett smiled to herself, weakly. She had never seen him sleeping before, having always retired to her chambers long before he had shown any sign of tiring. It was the echo of his pacing footsteps upstairs that lulled her into slumber every night. Sometimes she wondered if he ever slept at all. But, obviously, Sweeney Todd needed sleep as much as any other man, and she was thankful that she had been given the chance to see it for herself.
He was beautiful in his stillness. Sleep had transformed the usually sullen man. He looked peaceful, his eyes softly closed, his face relaxed and showing no sign of anger or bloodlust. One arm was draped limply over his stomach, and in his hand he held one of his silver razors. Despite his thin body, the pallor of his skin and the sheathed weapon he feebly clutched, he seemed like the man he had once been. Almost innocent.
Again, she longed to touch him, and she could not control her hand. She caressed his wiry, black hair, following the strange streak of white that flowed through it. She wondered what terror he had endured that had made him acquire such a feature, but Mrs. Lovett did not dwell on the thought. She went on exploring his face, her fingertips gliding lightly over his brow, his prominent cheekbones, and his smooth lips. He had aged; certain areas of his skin were lined with creases, but Mrs. Lovett thought the small lines not as the flaws of age, but as an addition to his magnificence and depth. After all, he was still handsome after fifteen years.
She knew she loved him. She had loved him since they day they had met all those years ago. Despite her marriage to Albert, Mrs. Lovett's heart ached for the barber every day. She had watched as the corrupted law officers dragged him away to be tried for a trumped-up charge, and she had to run to her room to hide her tears from her husband. The years and their dramas unfurled, and, after poor Albert died and left her widowed, she devoted her daydreaming to memories of Benjamin Barker.
"If you only knew, Mr. Todd," she whispered.
He stirred slightly under her hand, his face twitching a bit. She continued to stroke his face but recoiled away from him as he let out a low groan. Mrs. Lovett covered her mouth, stifling a cry of surprise and silently willing him not to awaken.
Todd's brow furrowed as he growled again. The fingers of his free hand twitched and his jaw clenched briefly before his body relaxed again. But his relief didn't last, for he was soon tense again. Mrs. Lovett steadied her quivering hand as she realized that Mr. Todd was not waking, but in the throws of a dream.
Or was it a nightmare? His head moved from side to side, as if he was looking for a way to escape his own mind. Todd snarled, his hand locking into a fist around the razor and growling indecipherable curses. It seemed as if he was he re-living the horrors of his imprisonment, and Mrs. Lovett's heart felt heavy with pity. She couldn't imagine the fear he must have felt while he was incarcerated on that God-forsaken island. Albert had told her rumors of the prison after Barker's arrest- tales of beatings, hard labor, death from exhaustion, lashings…
The visions she had imagined at the horrid stories flashed through her mind again, and Mr. Todd was in the center of it all. Her eyes stung with tears of sympathy, and she touched his face once more. Running her hand comfortingly along his cheek, Mrs. Lovett leaned in close to him, so close she felt his breath on her skin.
"Lucy…" he whimpered.
Mrs. Lovett felt her throat tighten with disgust at the name. Lucy, the woman Mr. Todd had adored for years. How she hated that it was the silly little nit's name he called out, and not her own. Lucy was gone (as far as he knew) - why couldn't he see that she, Nellie Lovett, was right there in front of him?
The tears fell from her eyes and, biting her lip, she pressed closer to him. Though she could barely understand why, she spoke to him, her voice shaking.
"I'm 'ere. I'm right 'ere, Benjamin..."
Todd calmed a little at the sound of his old name, but he still shuddered at the agony of his dreams. Mrs. Lovett acted before she realized what she was doing. Her arms seemed to wrap themselves around his shoulders, and the next she knew, her lips were firmly against his.
To her shock, he kissed her too, feebly, as he was still asleep. Mrs. Lovett's heart pounded against her chest as her dream came alive. She was kissing Benjamin Barker, Sweeney Todd, the man she loved more than anything else in the world. Her eyes closed and she lost herself in glorious fantasy. They weren't in the parlor of a drafty pie shop anymore: they were by the sea, sitting in the warm sand, and he was whispering her name as they kissed against a backdrop of the sunset.
But she was slammed back into reality as her conscience kicked in. It's not you he's kissing, it told her. It'll never be you. He'll never love you.
Mrs. Lovett forced her lips away from his. She gently released him from her trembling arms, letting his body slump against the chair once more. She watched him through streaming eyes, and, once she was sure he showed no sign of waking, stood and made her way to Toby. She gathered the young boy in her arms and turned to leave the parlor and get him into bed, but, before she did, she hesitated and looked back.
She couldn't help but to look down at Sweeney Todd's sleeping face for just one moment more.
Mr. Todd did not remember anything of his fitful dreams when he awoke the next morning, but he did notice the far-away look in Mrs. Lovett's eyes and how she remained unusually quiet for most of the day.
"What's wrong with you?" he questioned callously as she fumbled with her work.
Mrs. Lovett looked up at him with shimmering eyes.
"Nothing, love," she replied. "Nothing at all."
What he didn't know wouldn't hurt him.
Or kill her.
Feedback and constructive criticism are appreciated. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it!