My debut into the Sweeney Todd fandom! I hope you enjoy this oneshot. This story will not be continued but expect more Sweeney Todd fics from me! Also, my thanks go out to my beta Kayley Taylor!
Yellow Hair and Thursday Pies
Sweeney Todd looked thoughtfully out of the thin pane that separated London and his ominous barber shop. The streets of the city were cloaked with the forlorn loneliness, melancholy, and gloom that the English city was known for. The lanterns were not quite fully lit but merely glowed a soft golden color, as the evening had not yet fully set in. The early evening was furiously cold; he could faintly hear the screech and howl of the winds outside the thin glass. The soft tatter of rain against the roof of his shop interrupted the silence that enveloped his shop. Todd just stared out the window thoughtfully as he stroked his blade at his side lovingly.
He furrowed his brows together as he watched the vermin move throughout the narrow streets. Women, men, children; they were all alike. They scuttled on top cobble stoned streets with umbrellas shielding them from the harsh sting of the rain. They were all very alike, he noticed. Every so often the vermin stopped to say hello to a long forgotten friend with fake smiles parading their usual sullen features. The vermin were all arrogant, stubborn creatures. They all deserve to die, he thought. We all deserve to die.
The barber gawked at them with a sadistic and brutal curiosity. These were the creatures he slaughtered every morning, noon and evening. These were the creatures that he so vehemently hated. Todd was almost disappointed at their lack of uniqueness. The vermin all possessed the same face, the same body. He saw no difference in the creatures. They were simply waiting to be killed, waiting for their pulsing, hot blood within their veins to be shed.
Yes, he mused silently, vermin are all the same.
This day in particular was slow in business. Every so often, a man or women would enter Mrs. Lovett's Meat Pies beneath and would leave a few moments later looking satisfied and pleased. Todd laughed to himself in a rhythmic, sardonic chuckle. Would they, perhaps, be so satisfied if they knew they may be eating their father, brother, friend, uncle…? For some untold reason, Mr. Todd thought not.
Petite, diminutive footfalls upon the steps leading up to his humble shop woke him from his reverie. He grinned with pleasure as he turned towards the door to see the next unfortunate victim. The door was pushed open quickly and forcefully. A small creature stood in the doorway, its form petite and thin with straight posture and a cheeky smile.
Todd knit his brows together in confusion. The creature before him was certainly apart of the vermin of London. Yet, he never had quite a customer like the one before him. A cap was upon its head, the beak pulled down low so its eyes were shaded. The clothes it wore were poor, cheaply made rags pulled together that vaguely looked like an outfit. Neither said anything, both seemed confused. Todd could have said she was a female, a girl maybe. But that was more confusing yet.
The creature reached up to remove the cap from its head. Golden, yellow locks cascaded down her back like a waterfall. Todd felt his breath catch in his throat. He then decided that she most definitely was a female. Her eyes were large, round, and innocent. She reminded him of….her.
"….Lucy…?" he spluttered, with his voice wavering uncertainly.
The blonde smirked uneasily and proceeded to shake her head. "Wot ya talkin' 'bout, mister?" She paused and shrugged. "Nev'min' that, mister. I 'ear yer a mighty good barber, sir."
Todd gazed at her uncertainly and narrowed his eyes on her. This was not Lucy. This was just an unsophisticated, silly young piece of vermin that was pale with yellow hair, like her. This was not Lucy. This was a silly replica. And what would this replica need from him?
"You are no lad."
The girl smiled hesitantly. "But I gots money, mister."
"Ah... money, I see. I don't think you would particularly care for a shave," he said in his usually confident, self-assured and slightly sinister voice.
The blonde girl laughed softly and continued in a much darker manner, "Wot I need is, mister, I need ter be rid of this 'air! This bloody hair!"
Suddenly, the barber's expression darkened dramatically. This silly little piece of vermin wanted to be rid of her beautiful yellow hair? This was madness. He held his razor in his hand precariously as he neared towards her. She backed away and he moved towards her. Rage and grotesque malice reflected on his face. She saw it and it frightened her so. With anger, she curled her fists up and threw the coins at him. The girl quivered violently as he moved even nearer her. Her face blanched as he did not even pay any mind to the coins hurled at his face. She could see the fury reflecting in his dark, fathomless eyes.
"You need to be rid of this yellow hair, eh?" he said slowly.
The girl shivered once more and backed away. Somehow she figured he might not care for the truth at the moment. She shook her head violently. "No, sir! No! I must be leavin', mister! Momma's lookin' fer me, she is."
She walked towards the door but he immediately stepped in front of her. "It is not polite to lie."
"Tis not a lie, mister," she spluttered.
Todd's eyes flashed with wrath and malevolence. "The truth does find a way of being unearthed, my pet."
"Tis not lies!" she protested.
Todd darkened even more still. He clenched his fists in anger, his eyes narrowed, his breathing became more strained. "Tell the truth!" he boomed. "Now!"
"M-my yellow hair, mister, I-I need to be rid of it…" she uttered.
He grinned in response. "Now then, you can die with a clear conscience. We are needing fresh meat pies for Thursday."
Without warning at all, Sweeney Todd gave a piercing scream. The girl staggered back in terror. He flicked the razor open and moved towards her. She needed to be rid of yellow hair? He would rid of it. A strangled scream left her vocals as he slammed her against the wall. She stiffened; her blue eyes wide and locked with his dark ones. As he held her against the wall by her throat, he grazed the razor against her cheek. The razor slowly and painfully cut into the flesh of her cheek. He was immensely pleased to see the blood gradually trickle down her porcelain cheek.
"Yellow hair?" he mused out loud in a darkly, sinister manner. "So inappropriate during such desperate times."
The girl gave a gurgling sound that was silenced as he clamped a clammy hand on her mouth to seal her lips. She desperately tried to wriggle away from his grip. He only held her tighter. She was fighting him and his heart rate increased. His adrenaline sped up and his face darkened with excitement. Todd had the urge to kill the blonde girl, which had almost reminded him of Lucy, violently. He had the familiar yearning to kill her painfully and slowly. She did deserve it. She was a silly little girl with yellow hair that did not deserve such gifts.
"And you'd be beautiful and pale, and look too much like her…," he sang softly as he traced the blonde's cheekbone with the razor.
He saw her wince. She looked so deathly afraid and for a slight moment, Todd felt a bit guilty. He felt as if he was clutching Johanna in his hands and terrifying her. He knew then that he could never kill this girl while yellow hair adorned her head. For a moment, he briefly wondered if he was going to let the girl go. It was only for a moment but immediately after, his gaze hardened and he smiled in a sickly manner.
His eyebrows rose questioningly. "Yellow hair? Need to be rid of it, eh, girl? I'll rid of it for you," he growled.
He knew that without yellow hair that she was just like the other vermin of London.
The blade was taken to the girl's first curly lock and with a slight tug; it fell to the ground in ringlets. Her eyes widened and then she shut them tight. Again and again he cut the hair from her head. Soon her hair had all fallen to her feet in strands of curly locks. The girl no longer had her yellow hair, now she had nearly shaved uneven clumps of something that might have been called hair. Tenderly, she touched her scalp and recoiled in horror. Sweeney Todd grinned in response. The horror that distorted her features into something ghastly made him smile. She had not yet opened her eyes; she just stood there, her back against the wall with her fingertips grazing her scalp. Gaining courage, the silly girl opened her eyes and cried out when she saw her beautiful locks on the floor.
"Too late, my turtledove," he murmured with relish.
Sweeney Todd had often wondered: at what point did the victim realize they were going to die? Was it when he placed the cold steel against their necks and he slid it across and the first drop of blood was shed? Or perhaps it was as they fell down the shaft and onto the cobblestone floor below? Maybe they never realized they were going to die until they did die. But Todd knew for a fact that the girl before him knew she was going to die the moment she asked for her yellow hair to be ripped from her scalp. She had seen it coming and he relished that moment.
Todd slid the blade against the girl's porcelain throat quickly and without effort. Her hot blood sprayed onto his face and his clothes. Her body became limp in his arms and she sagged at bit, her breathing still evident. He frowned; he could faintly see her eyes fluttering. Again, he raised the razor, his friend, and struck her between her breasts. The blonde's face constricted in anguish and her chest ceased rising and falling rhythmical. Death had taken her in Sweeney's arms.
Again, he looked into the silly girl's face. It was so frightened, with tears still fresh on her cheeks. Her porcelain skin stained with blood, her throat slit cleanly. As he stared at the beautiful girl in his arms, the more and more she began to look like Lucy and Johanna.
His heart stopped in his chest.
Sweeney Todd screamed once more, looking wide eyed at the girl. "Johanna! I'd want you beautiful and pale, the way I've dreamed you were. Johanna!" he cried as he stared at the corpse.
It was neither his Johanna, nor his Lucy, but she was so strikingly alike that it struck his heart.
He barely noticed the heavy, panicky footfalls on the stairs. He had no guilt for the slaughter of the young, yellow haired creature. He only had guilt for massacring his darling wife and daughter's memory. He breathed hard, his bloody razor still clutched in his hand.
"Wot are you on about, Mr. T?" Mrs. Lovett asked cautiously behind him and her eyes finally caught the sight of the recently deceased former yellow haired creature. "Mr. T? Wot's 'appened? Gave me a fright, ya did. Screamin' like the meat in my pies," she rambled with a soft chuckle.
He turned away from the dead yellow haired brat. He looked past Mrs. Lovett and said as if talking to a ghost, "Mrs. Lovett, inappropriate as always," he said. He frowned and said forcefully and hatefully, "Get it out."
She only stared at him. "Wot?" she said in confusion.
"Now!" he boomed and she nearly jumped out of her skin.
Mrs. Lovett cautiously walked near the limp corpse. With a bit of effort, she placed it on top of the trap door and using the pedal, it opened and the body disappeared. "Poor thing," she murmured as she heard the crack of bones resonate from the basement. "She give ya a fright, Mr. T, did she?"
"No," he said forcefully as he moved back to the window. "It's no matter, Mrs. Lovett."
She frowned deeply and strolled to his side and gazed out of the window. She licked her lips nervously as she placed her hand on his arm softly. He twitched from the sudden affection.
"Don't touch me, leave now," he growled.
Mrs. Lovett merely smiled and moved her hand from his arm, but she would not leave. "Poor thing, it en't 'er fault she got yellow hair like your Lucy."
Sweeney stared at the window and recollected. He then moved his eyes to the yellow ringlets and huffed angrily. "Poor thing?" he murmured to himself. "Mrs. Lovett, you're a bloody wonder. Poor thing? I hardly see you saying that of the other unfortunate men."
"Nonsense, I 'ave sympathies for th' unfortunate men!" she protested and smiled. "Well, she en't your Lucy! She's jus' a silly little yellow haired git. And soon to be Thursday pies!"
Todd did not reply immediately, he pursued his lips and looked out the window. After many moments and what seemed like an eternity to Mrs. Lovett, he finally turned to her. "You are still here," he snarled.
She shrank back with surprise at his harsh and vulgar tone. Mrs. Lovett shouldn't have been surprised; she knew what Mr. T really was. But still, it surprised her. "Alright, alright. No need ta yell, Mr. T," she retorted before turning towards the door.
"We all deserve to die," she heard him sing to his friends behind her back. "Even you Mrs. Lovett, even I."
Her blood froze in her veins. For some reason, she almost believed that he would jump at her and slit her throat. But she heard no heavy footfalls coming towards her. He simply sang to his glittering friends. She shuddered at the sound of his silky, almost growling, tone.
"Oh, Mr. Todd, you'll n'ver believe she's dead, will ya?" she murmured to herself with a sigh.
Sweeney Todd jerked upright when he heard the soft sound of her voice, although her speech was inaudible. "Did you say something, Mrs. Lovett?" he asked, forgetting for a moment that he wished her to be gone.
Mrs. Lovett froze and weakly shook her head. "No, Mr. T, no I di'nt. Maybe yer hearin' things. You should get that checked out, you should."
He didn't believe her, but decided not to linger on it. "Out," he roared as he remembered that he wanted her to go.
Mrs. Lovett jumped in surprise. "Anythin' fer you, Mr. T," she murmured and this time Sweeney Todd heard it.
He barely heard her leave the room with the soft rustling of her dresses and her soft footfalls upon the rickety old stairs.
He blinked awkwardly as he opened the trap door with the pedal and ushered the blonde hair into the pit below with his foot. He watched it fall to the basement below silently. Tears did not fall from his eyes, but he felt sad. Not for the unfortunate girl and not for himself, but for the simple fact that yellow hair always made him weak.