title Cuddle

author pinkeop

summary Mr. Todd wasn't a touchy-feely kind of bloke.

authors note Sickness was depressing- this one not so much. 8D Don't forget to read and review and leave your prompts for me in a review!




When he was in a civil mood, Mr. Todd would come down and watch Mrs. Lovett clean the shop after a long days work. He would follow her idly throughout the parlor as she straigtened things and set Toby to be. He would watch with patiently tolerant eyes as she cleaned the dishes and set the pies for the next day. Then, she would leave him by clever man-handling into the parlor and sit him down and together a bottle of gin would be shared between them. It just so happened to be one of those nights, and the fire crackled happily before them as Mr. Todd sat slumped on the couch with the actual bottle in his hands, drinking from it in a very ungentlemanly manner, pouring Mrs. Lovett a cup every so often she would tap the glass against the bottle.

It was silent between the two of them. Not even Mrs. Lovett longed to chatter at him. No, the two- the barber and the baker -sat in silence, watching the fire dance and lick at the newly set wood in the place. Mrs. Lovett puleld her legs up under her and leaned her elbow on the back of the sofa, resting her head against the heel of her palm, her face turned to look at her dear Mr. Todd. His profile looked tired, his eyes haggared, the bruises beneath them getting darker and more hollow. But his pale skin had a slight flush to them, perhaps from the gin or from the chill that settled on the parlor, the baker didn't know.

"Wot're you thinkin'?" Mrs. Lovett asked quietly. The man's brows were pulled together in the middle of her forehead as he turned his head to look at her. It wasn't an angry look, or a brooding look- more uncertain and doubtful than anything. He didn't say anything, just turned his face back towards the fire. The woman sighed a large exhale and brought her glass to her lips. She didn't expect a response to such a question, of course. Far too personal.

"I'm thinkin' about 'ow nice this is," Mrs. Lovett went on after a strech of silence. Mr. Todd said nothing. "Juss sitting by yeh, an' all. You're always up there in yeh shop. Pacing. It's like.. music." She looked at him again and lifted her head, reaching over her hand and just brushing the ends of his wirey hair. Beside her, he tensed, and she moved her hand back to cup her head. "Could tell the time of day with that pacin' of yehs. Sets me to sleep, it does."

Mr. Todd glanced at her.

"Sometimes I wake up to it, too," she went on. "In the middle of the nights. I want ta go up and sooth yeh to sleep, but..." She sighed. "Always stubborn, Mr. Todd, is what you is."

She sat a little straigter and reached for the bottle of gin. "Ere, gimme tha'. I think we should be cut off about now, don't you?"

The barber said nothing as she took the bottle and capped it. This time, she reached over a pressed a hand to his cheek. "It's warm down 'ere, Mr. T. An' you look in need of a nights rest. I'll grab yeh a blanket and you can stay down 'ere, hey?"

"That won't be nessicary, Mrs. Lovett," he replied, leaning his head against the back of the sofa.

"Just rest yeh eyes, then, deary." She said tiredly.

"I'll just rest my eyes a moment..." Mr. Todd repeated, giving into the fatiuge.

"You do that, love," she said as she stood. "Prop yeh feet up on the cushion."

"Just for a moment," Mr. Todd said as he shifted himself to lay across the sofa, his head resting on the arm.

"Shall I get yeh a blanket, love?" She questioned with tired, tolerant amusement as she placed the bottle of gin on the mantle above the fire.

Mr. Todd slung one arm over his face, pressing his eyes into the crevice of his elbow. "That wont be nessicary, Mrs. Lovett."

"Oh, no, of course not, love." She agreed. "I'll just get one for meself, then."

"Anything you say."

Mrs. Lovett shook her head, a small smile spreading across her lips as she slipped from the room for just a moment- really no more than a minute! -to retrieve the blanket off her bed. She scooped the bundle in her arms and clicked back into the parlor, stepping lightly with her heels.

Mr. Todd's arm now lay across his stomach and he was perfectly asleep, his breathing falling into even breaths. He looked so young, the dark lines that formed into his pale skin over the years completely erased, the frown lines, the wrinkles in his brow from the constant way his brows were slammed together in the middle of his forehead in such a discontent expression. Even the hollow bruises around his eyes seemed more shallow. His fingers twitched lightly in his sleep, his eyes moving around behind his closed lids, lashes fallen on his cheeks like black grins.

For a while, she just stood there, making sure that his sleep was not farse. Small fits writhed his body, but other than those, he lay still and silent, drinking in the relaxation that sleep brough upon you. Carefully, she lay the blanket over him and perched herself on the edge of the sofa, tucking it up to his chin.

"Mr. Todd," she whispered softly. The sleeping man did not respond.

How she longed for her Mr. Todd to dream of her, but she knew that the only woman behind his closed lids was his bright, beautiful, blonde Lucy. She knew he dreamt of holding her. Of his Johanna. Of how it all used to be. Of being Benjamin Barker once more. She knew, because she dreamt of it too- of the old days. Somedays she would dream of Mr. Todd loving her like she loved him, but mostly she dreamed of the old days. She dreamed of when the sun was always out and the rain didn't trap her like a cage. Of Benjamin's excited laugh when Johanna took her first wobbly steps. Of Lucy's bright smile that always seemed to mean that the day would be good. And then she dreamt of Mr. Todd, but in those dreams everything was always dark. When she dreamt of him, he held her, but he held her roughly, unsure of what to do with his hands. He would kiss her forehead, but shyly, as if he'd never been with a women in his life. Sometimes they would be together by the sea. But mostly she dreamt of when Mr. Barker was still... alive.

Without giving herself time to think through her actions, Mrs. Lovett pulled the blanket back and eased herself over top of Mr. Todd, nudging his arm inch by pain staking inch until it was no longer laying over his stomach, where she settled herself, her head pressed to his collerbone. She could feel his heart beating, she could. Her Mr. Todd wasn't a touchy-feely kind of bloke, and she could only think of what punishment she would be in store of he happened to wake. Letting the blanket drop, Mrs. Lovett lay entirely to stiff and still, waiting for him to awaken. When he didn't, she managed to relax atop him- he was warm beneath her, not as she thought he would be. She would that he would be as cold as his eyes, but when his arm shifted in sleep to be cast across her back- in an embrace, one might think -she was delighted to find his body gave off the most radiant warmth.

Mrs. Lovett closed her eyes. Just to rest em for a bit, she thought tiredly. I'll get up before 'e even has a clue... Just resting me eyes a bit...

When she opened her eyes again, the fire was long dead, and from the windows of her palor was the pale gray light of morning casting squares over the wood floor. Her heart jumped in panic, but she found herself unable to extract herself from the situation she should have been free from hours earlier. For Mr. Todd had her pulled closer to him, both arms tucked tightly around her, his cheek resting atop her head as her face was burried into his neck. They had moved during the night, her skirt was bunched around her hips and her legs tangled with his beneath the blanket that lay across their bodies. Somehow, her heels had fallen off during the night. She wriggled her cold toes against the warm quilt.

"Morning, Mrs. Lovett." His voice was deadpan.

She said nothing, tensing in fear.

"No use pretending, I felt your breathing change. And I can feel your heart- it's going mad."

Swallowing, Mrs. Lovett racked her brain. "Mr. Todd..."

"Don't bother, Mrs. Lovett," he said. "I've been up for hours."

Surprise coated her voice. "Then why're you still laying here?"

"When I know, I'll certainly tell you, Mrs. Lovett," he said hoarsely.

It was enough to mollify her. They could have a life together, her and her barber. Maybe not like she dreamed. Maybe not like he remembered. But they could get by...