AN: Errrr...This was supposed to be a concluding piece to the "Enough" series, but it ended up differently...It's much more serious and sad than my other two one-shots.
The main theory of the story is that Sweeney is stuck in the cycle of killing, and to him, it is the way things are supposed to be. But Benjamin Barker makes him feel again, and this creates chaos, complicating matters...
I'm reminded of Buddhism, and the casting off of all attachments to the world around you, and this is how Sweeney copes with what he's become: he buries emotion and feeling, in order to complete his revenge.
Mrs. Lovett, of course, makes this difficult. :D
The poem is from my very favorite poet, the Sufi teacher Rumi. They're only small lines taken from a very long poem, but they fit the story, so...
"No better love than love with no object, no more satisfying work than work with no purpose.
If you could give up tricks and cleverness, that would be the cleverest trick!"
"I stand up and this one of me turns into a hundred of me.
They say I circle around you. Nonsense. I circle around me."
"Whoever finds love beneath hurt and grief disappears into emptiness with a thousand new disguises."
---- Dance in Your Blood, a poem by Rumi
To try and stop her, Sweeney Todd thinks, would be to stand up and try to clutch at the wind:
Mrs. Lovett, a force of nature, relentless in her pursuit of anything and everything, whirling skirts and her bright eyes, alight with a mischief he can't comprehend.
She always rattles on about how he is such a mystery; on the contrary, in his eyes, he can only see her as being the enigma, a ever-changing thing, never showing him exactly enough in those smiles.
She talks for hours, and yet, says nothing. But then, suddenly, she will turn up at his door, holding a dinner tray, and know precisely what to say.
This usually means saying nothing at all, for although Sweeney Todd needs very little in life, one thing he requires most of the day is silence.
Today, there is a lull in customers, a decline in the available clientele who so often stride into his shop, taking off coats and hats without one glance in his direction, assuming incorrectly that this barber is simply a man, a piece of furniture of a lower class, put there to do a job, and nothing more.
And while it is true that Sweeney Todd has been put on this earth to do only one task, it is not, as these gentleman always assume, to give men a good shave.
No, his purpose is to see red, fountains of it, a rain that is far more beautiful and cleansing to him than any water that falls from grey London clouds. Warm, not cold, and as it hits his skin and clothing, he's filled with a wave of heat, as if he's come inside from a snowstorm to bathe in front of a fire.
And he has a moment of brief clarity, a single instant where his mind is completely blank, a few seconds in which he is looking at himself, at those around him, and for once, he is completely aware of everything. For a moment, he is Benjamin Barker again, sensitive to the world's goings-on.
The moment passes, of course, but he's managed to hold onto some of his enlightening realizations.
Today was one of those days.
As he was slitting the throat of a young street vendor, the red flying up like birds away from water, he is suddenly hit with an onslaught of feeling.
His heart aches, almost painfully, thumping against his ribcage, and he sinks to his knees, managing to hit the pedal release for the barber's chair with his fist, still clutching his razor, which glints silver in front of him, like an anchor, keeping him tied to this world.
Staring into its shimmering depths, he's reminded in his moment of enlightenment of when he first laid eyes upon his friends, after so many years locked away.
And how, turning the blade's mirrored surface, he had been gazing directly into Mrs. Lovett's eyes, reflected in the razor's edge, gazing at him with longing, with a sort of pitiful loyalty. As if she had already known he would never be the man he once was, or the man she wanted him to be.
And now, his heart beating uncomfortably in his chest, he's hit with a desperate want for her touch, and to gaze back into those eyes that tell him he is the only one she's ever wanted.
Staggering, Mr. Sweeney Todd heads to the door.
Downstairs, Mrs. Lovett is kneading dough for new pies, knuckles moving in a rolling motion through the lump in front of her. Above her head, she hears the subtle creak of gears, and knows that Mr. Todd's served up another damned man for her in the cellar, bloodied and always looking shocked.
If they had any sense, she thinks, they'd know right away that dear Mr. Todd had no intention of letting them go, chin and face smooth as anything. They always looked like this was such a great, intense shock to them, but honestly.
You would think people would know better than to trust Mr. Todd.
This is not to say she doesn't trust him; she does, with all her body and heart and soul, but...
Eyes darkening, she frowns down at the dough, thoughtful.
He's certainly not Benjamin Barker anymore. Who was to say that he couldn't kill her? Who was here to tell her that he wouldn't?
Shaking her head so violently, she undoes a hairpin in her intricately pinned-up hair, she murmurs:
"Mr. T would never...I'm his partner in crime, after all."
Reaching for the pin, her heart sinks. Of course, that's all she is to him, she's sure. And if she is anything else, she's certain he'd never tell her. But Mr. Todd is not good with words. Perhaps, one day, she will wake up, and he'll come downstairs, and sweep her up in his arms into a passionate kiss, and tell her over and over that she is eminently practical, appropriate as always, and the only woman he's ever loved. The only one who will understand him.
This particular fantasy is a regular distraction, one of the more common daydreams she often loses herself in while going into deep thought during work.
As if on cue, she hears his boots, loud and impatient on the stairs, and turns her head to watch as he appears, feet first, followed by legs, and then the rest of him. Without looking, she reaches again for the hairpin.
He looks out of breath, and like he's been dropped into very cold water. Dark, shadowed eyes blazing, she is instantly rooted to the spot by his look, a smoldering thing that makes her stomach churn in a way that is not so unpleasant.
Striding up to her, he presses a finger to her lips, and fixes her with a stern glare.
"Say nothing of this," he tells her, "And I will perhaps indulge you more often."
Nodding slowly, she watches as tilts her chin, eying her as if eying a block of stone, ready to sculpt. He leans back, running a hand down her arm, then pulling her to him in an embrace, hands locked about her waist.
Her cheeks burning red, she no longer cares that they are in the shop, with its large windows looking out onto the busy Fleet Street, and she drapes her arms about his neck, mind buzzing.
"Look at me," he commands, and she does just that, taking it as permission to look at him as much as she pleases.
As her brown eyes fix upon him, he suddenly is filled with the notion of being wanted and is so overcome by it that he wastes no time in dipping his head and kissing her roughly, trying to convey how much her wanting him, needing him, means.
At the contact, she melts in his arms, letting out a sigh, and running hands through his dark hair.
As soon as the feeling took hold of him, so it passes, and pulling back, he's disgusted with how easily he has indulged in this brief, violently strong desire to be near her.
Now he can still taste her, gin and something sweet, and he is being ripped apart: one part of him longs to throw his arms back about her, and sample this taste again, but another tells him to throw the memory away.
Think nothing of this. Do not think of it again. It was a deviation from your path, and you must be more strict with yourself.
He's torn, but his feet carry him back up the steps and into his shop, where he collapses in the barber's chair, and closes his eyes, realigning his mindset.
Sweeney Todd is death and destruction, simple bloodshed and raw hate. He is not complex in his intentions, or his purpose. No, his life is orderly, a routine of complete simplicity. He has cast aside all possessions (perhaps unwillingly, but he has nonetheless), and his life now is to walk the path of revenge. Never to look back.
But Mrs. Lovett is chaos and frenzy, a whirling, complicated thing, and she unwittingly pulls him in with smiles and promises of love. Of a new life. He could be happy, her eyes seem to tell him.
He cannot listen, and will not listen.
Sweeney Todd will not tolerate disorder; it would throw his world out of balance.
So for now, and until he dies, he will kill, and kill again, because that is the way it is supposed to be. And Mrs. Lovett below will bake her pies, selling her soul every day to the man for the man she loves, and this too, is the way it is supposed to be.
Anything else would leave the world in discord.
Downstairs, Mrs. Lovett clutches her hairpin in one hand, and feels as if she's been thrown upside-down and shaken roughly.
Brushing hair out her eyes, still blushing, she tries to forget how his kiss made her forget everything. Lost in a sea of hopeless devotion, she knows that he'll never really change.
This was simply something he had been compelled to do, obviously by forces outside of his being.
Nothing more, nothing less.
"I swear," she mutters, returning to kneading dough for more meat pies, "That man'll be the death of me."
AN: Ohhh, god, the ending makes me sad...
I hope you enjoyed this little one-shot, and if you're a reader of "The History of the World", I promise you, I'll have a new chapter soon!
Reviews are very appreciated.