FallingMidnight: Sorry for the long wait, I had writers block. But I finally have the perfect song to go for the series. From Evanescence, "Cloud Nine." I put the lyrics before the chapter. Also, I'd like to add that from this chapter on, I'll be doing something called "Preface." Which is generally a small entry from my mind that inspired what happens in the story and it'll usually be from Nellie's POV . And before I start, I'd like to thank the people who reviewed. Means a lot!
If I were to think of anyway I would die, it would be only be fitting that I bled from his blade. The sharp blade that took innocent lives from under my roof, and which I allowed without a glance over my shoulder. I may have told myself that I did what I did to protect him, and it may have been true to an extent. But when I look at it now, free of all pretences, I now realize. I feared the outcome, and I did what I did to protect myself. To never look upon his beautiful pale face in agony. For his pain was my pain, and his hurt was my hurt. He danced towards me, almost graceful, and he danced towards me with his blade, to spill my blood at last.
Guess it wasn't real after all.
Guess it wasn't real all along.
If I fall and all is lost,
It's where I belong.
The water splashed the boat, rocking it roughly across its rippled surface. Nellie brought her knees closer to her chest, lowering her head and clenching her eyes shut. As much as she loved the sea, the rocky waves made her head spin. It was quite ironic, when she thought about it. How she would always dream of living by the sea with Mr. Todd and little Toby. And finally, she was achieving her dream ... but with the happiness and possibilities warped. There was no Toby, there was no friends to bring over for dinner every Friday, and there were no merry evening strolls with Mr. Todd. Yes, she got one part of her dream. The one major part of her dream. But the man she dreamed he would soon become was gone. Gone just like the viel that blinded her to see that the man she dreamed would be with her forever was never there to begin with. She sighed, a foolish dream.
The storage room in the basement wasn't helping her sea-sickness either. It was damp, smelly and something was leaking. Nellie's skirts were torn to make a bandage around her palm after he accident with Sweeney...
It happened not too long ago after she thrown up her "lunch" over the railing. She knew it was illegal to serve any living thing that ... whatever it was. Her luck turned sour when one of the crew men caught her emptying her stomach, and scrutinized her for wasting the chef's hard work. Nellie could have laughed at that accusation if her throat wasn't so sore from pushing out the remainders of the gruel. The man grabbed her by the one sleeve that was soiled and dragged her down the uneven steps to the basements, Nellie allowed him the man-handle her until they reached the destination. One because she was too weak to protest, and secondly because she didn't need to dig herself into more trouble. She was already waist need in her own hole. The man tossed her into the room, slamming the door shut. Nellie stumbled around in the darkness, trying to adjust her eyes to the figures .. well, figure. Nellie did not even need to guess who the figure was. The certain scent coming off the figure was too familiar to not recognize. Nellie could see the streak of white gleaming in the dark. Fear slithered through her body, but she ignored its urgent cries that quaked her bones. As she took a step, she walked into something hard and cold, almost sending her off her feet. Was he that close when she came in?
She moved a curl of auburn hair from her face, "Yer in my way," she hissed, hate for the man crawling in her voice, and he noticed it, but did not yield to it. Instead, he remained rooted to his spot. Nellie clenched her fists, the rocks of the boat swayed her vision, and her eyes finally adjusted. She could see the outline of his slender body, the purple bruises around his eyes from his lack of sleep. His ghostly pale skin and pale streak the only thing giving her light in the cellar. His clothing dirty and still splattered into dried blood, his pants smeared with grease and dirt. But those eyes, those onyx eyes .. they were narrowed in hatred as they looked down upon her. In that moment, Nellie felt small. So small, she could be stepped on. So small that she wished the floor under her would open up and swallow her whole and hopefully, drown her in the crushing black abyss. Anything would be better than to serve a undeserved fate of eternity with this man. If someone asked her if she would mind living an eternity with the man standing right in front of her, she would have shouted "yes" without hesitation. Of course, that was her old self. The foolish woman who was so helplessly in love with this man that she was blind to see the monster within. She saw that monster very clearly now; as if she was finally given glasses to impair her vision. His eyes did not hide love like she wished, and his lips did not curl into the faintest of smiles when she arrived like she thought they did. No, he could not feel any emotions. He was not Benjamin Barker. This man, this - Sweeney Todd, killed the innocent and forgiving Benjamin Barker all those years ago and left that beautiful man to die. This man now was born from revenge and hate, he could not love and Nellie finally realized that - too late.
"I asked ya to move," she growled, grinding her teeth to relieve her anger, and gripped her fists to not throw them across his face.
He didn't answer, he folded his arms.
Is he tryin' to pick a fight with me? she thought in confusion, and opened her mouth again, "Are ya deaf?!" she snarled.
He finally spoke; his low velvet voice, "I'm having a thought here Eleanor. Was this how you always dreamt it to be? Having a life together?" he questioned, narrowing his eyes as he finished that question, spitting it out as if it was the most disgusting sentence to ever be uttered, "I could only imagine that this was far from your foolish dreams. But I wonder, after hoping you could get away of killing my Lucy, what was it you were planning to do next?"
Nellie shook with anger, her eyes widened in white rage. Sweeney smirked, flaunting a row of gold teeth. Inside, he was enjoying pushing Nellie to the edge. It was like a game to release his anger, and it was working perfectly.
"Get out my way," she growled.
"Or what Mrs. Lovett?" he tested, tilting his beautiful head to the side mockingly.
"Fuckin' fuckmook," Nellie cursed and shoved him out of her way, the impact of her dainty wrists pushing his strong chest could have broke something but he growled, grabbing her left arm and wheeled her around.
"Don't you ever touch me! You deceiving bitch!" he spat, his face twisted with rage.
Nellie spat in his face.
Sweeney slapped her. The pain stung like no other and sent her off her feet, but not before she grabbed his deranged hair, sending him onto wet floor with her. Fists, legs and curses were flying, as Nellie got a good grip on his hair while he held her throat beneath his cold hands. He applied pressure and Nellie refused to show pain, she would not succumb to him, not again.
"You killed my Lucy!" he growled, eyes wide with anger.
"Lucy ... died a long time ago," Nellie gasped, pulling his hair with all her might, hoping to rip it from his skull. He growled; with each pull, his grip around her neck grew.
"Get yer filthy hands offa' me," she whispered.
"Lucy is dead!"
"Good riddance!" Nellie choked out.
He growled again, bearing his teeth. Nellie brought her leg up and kneed him below the belt. He grunted, loosening his grip around her neck and Nellie slipped from it, but he grabbed a fist-ful of her skirts, slamming her back down on ground face first. She tried to grab for something as Sweeney pulled her back towards him, but earned a long cut from a broken piece of glass, she winced, red blood oozing. She looked back at Sweeney who was on his feet, face expressionless as his onyx eyes stared at her blood that was trickling onto the wooden floor.
His pale hand went into his trouser pocket and pulled out a razor, he looked at it fondly and Nellie gasped. How did he manage to escape London with that? This was it, he was surely going to cut her throat open, just like he did with all his other customers. But this time, it would be slow..slow and painful. She threw a hand to her throat subconsciously but he did not open his friend. He pocketed him, and as if Nellie wasn't even there, he walked out of the room. Leaving Nellie on the wet dirty floor, bewildered.
Nellie glanced at her hand again, she still couldn't figure out why he didn't kill her at that moment. What was he waiting for? She was sure it wouldn't get him into too much trouble. The sailors seemed to want her killed, always leaving her alone with Sweeney in rooms for days. But they never talked, never looked at each other in all of those times ... except, today. What provoked him to even pay attention her? To even pick a fight with her? Nellie sighed deeply, the man was impossible to figure out. Killing her couldn't do him in, what worse could they do? He was already sentenced to an eternity with her.
Nellie shuddered. He was waiting, waiting for the opportune moment to kill her. Knowing him, he would make her suffer. Suffer long and painfully until he'd finish the job. And what he did to her tonight was only the beginning of the torture he had in store.
"Mr. T! Leggo of me," Nellie growled, trying to escape from Sweeney's grasp around her wrists. He bared his teeth, growling at her like an animal. His sweet breath washed against her face, almost like a diversion. The scent weakened her muscles, and he won the struggle. "P-please.."
His eyes flashed dangerously, "That's right! Beg! Beg for me to spare your life. Beg!"
"Sweeney ... please, yer hurtin' me.." Nellie whispered, but that only tightened his grip around her delicate wrists.
His lips grew into a sadistic smirk, "No thanks. I'm intending on letting you suffer. And it'll be long, just to even the scale. For my Lucy," he hissed, his large hand grabbing hold of both wrists, while the other wound into her auburn locks, grabbing a fistful and pulling it on it roughly. He pulled her face closer to his; if anyone walked in, they would assume they were in a passionate hold, tangled together about to lock lips. However, the action terrified Nellie to the bone. Sweeney's nostrils flared, eyes narrowing, "Beg," he breathed.
Nellie shivered, "P-please, Sweeney ... stop this..."
He rammed her head back against the wall behind her, Nellie cried out. She just wanted to sink to the floor and die, why couldn't he finish it now? "Juss kill me ... p-please Sweeney ... Benjamin.. I can't do this anymore...juss do it!" she growled the last part.
Sweeney's eyes became slits, black pitless tunnels staring into Nellie's hazel eyes, "Bravery doesn't suit you Eleanor. I imagined cowardice and betrayal would be your options to a death threat."
Nellie gritted her teeth together, "Me? A coward?" spat Nellie, "You shouldn' judge me Mr. T, who was it that couldn' stay alive for poor little Johanna? Who was it tha' couldn' hold erself together for a few weeks? Hm?"
Nellie knew she was walking on thin ice, but she didn't care. She needed to push his buttons, to test his anger. She knew he would kill her, kill her in a heart-beat if he really wanted to. And at this moment, it looked like he really wanted to, who was Nellie to run from fate, what she deserved? Nellie may have lied to him, but she wasn't about to run from him. Not this time. She rose her chin higher, provoking him.
"You think I won't?" he growled.
Then again, there was a tiny part deep inside Nellie that knew he wouldn't hurt her. Maybe that part was still stuck in the past, when Sweeney was restrained to kill her since he needed her to cover up his bodies. But this conscience protested against those thoughts, and pushed Nellie up to the plate, testing Sweeney. What was there to lose?
Oh right, her life.
Sweeney pushed Nellie head back against the hard wood, and she gasped in pain. But he released her wrists, they stung and felt swollen. Nellie held them, confused and looked back at Sweeney. She pressed her back against the wall in fright,
He opened his beloved razor, the glimmer off its shine making his onyx eyes sparkle. He could sense the slow bubbling fear in Nellie. "You were saying, pet?"
Nellie didn't answer, "What do I ave ta live for, hm?"
She regretted those words. Toby, her little boy, her angel flashed before her eyes as she spoke those words. She promised him she would come back for him, and they would finally be able to live a happy and peacefully life together - far from London and far from Mr. Todd. How could she go back on her word?
"You? You have nothing to live for? How selfishness clouds your conscience, Eleanor," he growled.
Nellie narrowed her eyes, as his venomous black eyes examining his razor. "What do I have to live for? What is there to push me to purpose? To reason?" he asked.
His voice was full of hate this time. Instead, he was talking so softly and so quietly Nellie wasn't quite sure if he was aware she was still in the room. "My little Johanna, my lamb ... doesn't know I'm alive. And she's gone too, with ... with my Lucy," he whispered.
His long pale hands danced around the blade of his razor and Nellie looked at him suspiciously, "Mr. T?" she whispered. What was he planning? Nellie didn't trust this one bit...
This time, he spoke so lightly, Nellie had to strain her eyes to hear him, "What if I..." he broke off, the razor moving closer and closer to his own neck.
Nellie realized, and threw herself at him. There was no way he was getting out of their double life punishment. There was no damn way in Hell he was escaping their fate and leaving her there alone to suffer it for him. If he was earning a one-way ticket to Hell, God as her witness, she was getting one too. Nellie tried to knock the razor from his hands, her small hand clasping over his wrist. Sweeney snapped from him trance, eyes flashing upon her.
"Don't fucking touch me!" he growled and swiped his razor at her. Nellie jumped back, but the blade managed to cut her throat. The blood poured like a waterfall. Nellie was choking, and fell to the floor. Her tongue was getting too large, while blood poured out of her mouth. She collapsed onto the wet floor, praying to a higher power to lift her from this Hell. She closed her eyes, as the world grew darker. Toby, she cried. She would never forgive himself.
Rest now my friends...rest now forever ... sleep the untroubled sleep of the, angels...
Nellie gasped, screaming for her life as she began throwing her arms in the air as she awoke. Her heart was racing so much it hurt. Her pale chest heaving up and down as she gasped for air. God, her throat hurt. Throat, throat. Nellie threw her hands over her neck, feeling for the long cut. But it was bare, unscathed. The faint pain on her palm was her pinch to let her know she wasn't dreaming anymore. All a dream ... but it felt so real. Nellie panted, wheezing for air and scanned the dark room. It had to be midnight at least, there was faint light in the room due to the full moon outside. Nellie's eyes found another pair, and she cowered. The nightmare of her dream crawling against her drenched flesh. His pale chest gleaming in the dark, why wasn't he wearing a shirt?
Sweeney looked at Nellie from across the room. He couldn't get much sleep, not like it mattered to him. He didn't really require sleep. He needed to keep watch on Nellie, and make sure nothing funny happened. She was the only female on board, and she was bound to be a target for sexual harassment. Not like it mattered to him any, but if it got too far, he would have to step in. Eleanor's blood belonged on his hands, no one else. And that was a vow he made unto himself, and Lucy. So he sat at the far corner of the room, polishing his beautiful razor with his white shirt and he wouldn't stop until it would reflect his face. Until it would drip her precious rubies. Nellie was fidgetting in her sleep, mumbling things and clenching her fists. Sweeney narrowed his eyes at her small figure, it was almost as if she was trying to fight something. He rolled his eyes and looked back upon his razor that needed his attention. That's when she gasped, so loudly Sweeney's eyes snapped from his razor back to her. She was awake now, screaming and flailing her arms about. She looked like a complete mad-woman, gasping and throwing her arms everywhere. His own words stung; madwoman. Was this how Lucy was after he left? After she attempted to poison herself? He recoiled at the thought. His beautiful, virtuous and pure Lucy couldn't be compared to that tramp. His Lucy was swallowed with grief and loss...she wasn't thinking straight. But Sweeney knew that wasn't an excuse. His words rang in his head, she had abandoned Johanna. No, no. I can't think of my Lucy like that. The witch is planting doubt in my mind..she must be taken care of..he thought. Nellie finally calmed down, but her arms were wound around her throat, and she was feeling around for something. Sweeney could almost hear his mind clicking in realization.
She had a dream about him, about him killing her. He smirked, well at least her deluded mind was free from pretense. Her eyes locked with his, and Sweeney could read the terror behind them. He stared back blankly, and after a few minutes (it felt like hours to him) he broke the uneasy silence, "May I help you Eleanor?" he said.
Nellie blinked at him and shook her head, more to herself than to him. Sweeney noticed her eyes weren't quite on his anymore, and he followed them to his bare chest. He felt molested, and frowned, eyes narrowing once more, "Go to bed," he said, and began to polish his razor again.
He could have sworn he heard her snort, and she turned away from him, leaning her head against the wall. Sweeney did not look at her again that night, and neither did she.
Nellie did not gain any sleep. She refused to close her eyes while staying in the same room with that man. However, that option wasn't given with choice since she was locked in with him no matter what. She never knew she would see the day when she wished he would just fall off the boat edge and die. At least then she could sleep with ease. Nellie sighed, rubbing the cloth around the filthy dishes. She felt like a maid thrown back into the 13th century. The men were loud, crowded around a table, drinking heavily, smoking and eating like animals. Nellie cringed in disgust as she had to touch something at the bottom of the sink. She closed her eyes, pulling it from the drain and dumped it into the bin. Where the Hell was Sweeney anyway? He was supposed to be cleaning up with her. Nellie smiled to herself, hoping he got bathroom duty. She would sell her soul to watch him wallowing in filth.
"Oi! Bitch!" came a voice from behind her, Nellie jumped, "Bring er' tot o' gin, eh?!" shouted the man, known as Mark. Nellie sighed and bent down opening the cupboard. She felt a grab on his behind and Nellie's pale face flushed in anger. One hand clasped hard around the neck of the alcoholic drink, Nellie deeply wished to turn around and knock him out with the heavy bottle, but bit her tongue and straightened up, turning to him and handed him the bottle.
"Tha's right bitch. Ya like it when I do tha'!" he grinned, yellowish black teeth gleaming. Nellie wrinkled her face in disgust as he pulled her to him, fiddling with her corset ties. Nellie punched him in the chest hard, pushing him away.
"Ya wench!" he growled and pulled her hair. Nellie screamed as his friends jeered from the back round. He swung her to the wall and some dishes fell from its place, falling and shattering on the floor. Nellie growled, he was going to get it.
Mark sensed the boiling anger growing in the tiny woman, "Wha? Ya gonna kill me? Bake me inta a meat pie?!" he taunted. His friends barked with laughter. Nellie clenched and released her hands over and over. "Ya stay away from me, ya hear?" she said.
"Or ya'll what?" he pressed, picked up a knife from the counter.
"Sir, you don't wanna know," Nellie said, eyes narrowing.
Mark grabbed Nellie from the shoulders and spun her around and slammed her back against the wall, her head was spinning and it hurt. "Ya'll what?" he growled.
"I'll kill ya," Nellie hissed, ignoring the throbbing pain from her head.
"Ya and what army?" he said, his face pressing closer towards Nellie's and he brought the knife up, tracing her from her bare shoulders up to her cheek.
"That's not very nice," came a cool voice.
Nellie looked over Mark's shoulder to see Sweeney standing there, looking bored; pale as usual and purple rings under his eyes. Mark released Nellie, turning to Sweeney, "Don't ya have something to be cleanin'?" he said.
Sweeney's eyes flashed dangerously and in amazing speed he had Mark against the wall, his friends getting up, holding weapons. "Touch her again, and you'll rue the day you were born," Sweeney growled.
Mark nodded and Sweeney grabbed Nellie hard from her arm, brushing past Mark's stunned friends and retreated down to the basements.
FallingMidnight: Sorry that it's so short, I apologize. Anyways, hope you enjoyed! Free cookies for the people who review. Thanks a lot!