Disclaimer: I don't own sweeny todd! I'm not making any money off of this, so please don't sue! All you'll get is the debt from some student loans!!
Lucy Barker sat on one of the many benches strewn throughout the rough London streets. Matted corn-silk hair hid her face from the world and torn filthy rags hid her body. Today was May 5th, and it was time for her ritual once more.
Today was her daughters birthday. It was the one day a year that she could allow herself to be happy. No matter how shattered her heart was she could never regret the day that her Joanna came into the world. She was the only thing that kept her going, watching over her from the shadows, always watching, never seen.
She hunched over on the hard bench and nimble fingers darted throughout her tattered clothing pulling out the meager coins that she had begged for months to gather. She counted the coins once again running her fingers over the worn copper. It was Joanna's fifteenth birthday, soon she would have to give up even this ritual and she feared that her sanity would die along with it. But the child was getting older and she would no doubt marry soon and be under even tighter lock and key.
She clutched the jangling coins tightly in her hands and set off towards the market. The vendors sneered and spat at her as she wandered closer to eye their wares but she relentlessly pushed onward. She was used to the cruelty and disdain by now and long hardened to it.
She slipped into a tiny shop decorated with faded silk flowers and tattered ribbons. The years had been hard on everyone and the shop had barely made it this long. It had been her favorite place to shop years ago, when the world still held joy. Before her love had been ripped away from her.
Her fingers danced softly over perfumed bottles and sweet smelling soaps. She gently picked up two tiny bottles, scents that she had worn that her Benjamin had loved and that had soothed her fussing baby. Lilac and Jasmine, it made her eyes water betrayingly and she stubbornly blinked the tears away.
Next she gazed upon the shelves before pointing to a small pink and gold music box the owner handed it down without a word. He had watched the frail old woman for longer than he could remember, she came in every year at the same time and always paid and went peacefully on her way. She always looked so sad he wondered if perhaps she had lost a child, though he never dared to ask her.
He pulled two small sprigs of babys breath from the flower arrangements and glanced at her. She nodded one quickly, hunching even more into herself as if she wanted to hide from this world that she had left behind. He counted up the total and took the money from her hand. She slipped out the door with her purchase clutched tightly before he could wish her a good day.
For the next piece of her sad and lonely ritual she slipped into the park and began turning over the heavy smooth stones that lined the ponds edge. She replaced each one painstakingly before she moved onto the next. Finally she caught the glimmer of metal when she turned over a stone. She set it carefully to the side and dug her fingers around the side of the metal slowly unearthing it, revealing a battered and rusted metal box. She took her prize and shuffled off to sit in the shade of an old oak tree by the water as she waited for night to fall.
As dusk began to settle in her shrewd eyes darted quickly around watching the people leave. It wasn't safe in the park at night, that was when the terror of London started to come out. But Lucy knew better, the true evil walked in daylight and bowed to applause for the evil deeds done. She waited patiently and quietly until an old man by the name of Rake walked by and gave her a nod. The night denizens of the park knew her well and they remembered what day it was. There was a code among the thieves and beggars of London, many of them were more honorable that the high society that called for justice against them. She wouldn't be disturbed tonight, they would make sure of that.
So for one night the filthy beggar woman became someone else, someone that now only lived in her memories. She shed her rags and patiently scrubbed the filth that had accumulated over time. She ran the sweetly scented soap through her hair and over her malnourished body. As the dirt sloughed away moon pale skin began to shine through, she patiently combed her fingers through her hair and worked the tangles and knots out until it fell around her in a yellow curtain.
If anyone had dared to tresspass the park on that night they would have sworn that a fey mother had come to dance beneath the moonlight. She was thin but her hard life had kept her body shapely. She rinsed the soap into the murky pond and dabbed the perfume onto her body.
Finally she walked over to the battered metal box, that had once held her husbands fine tools, long since sold, and pulled out an old white cotton dress. It wasn't very fashionable anymore but it had held up well to the test of time, tucked safely away in her box and taken out only once a year.
She slipped into the soft dress and let it's long folds cover her bare feet. She tucked her box safely away and slipped away down the street silent as a shadow. Her feet carried her surely down the familiar path to Judge Turpin's house. There was a party in full swing watched over carefully by the cold hearted judge, in honor of Joanna's birthday. She slipped into the house by the servants door and hid amongst the other party goers. No one recognised her it had been too many long hard years and really who would care to remember the fac of a silly little girl who the great judge had wasted a bit of time with?
She waited and watched for hours until finally the judge slipped away to use the toilet. It was the only time that he would leave her ungaurded among the many guests. And she seized her chance.
She made her was to the girls side and softly pulled her away from her conversation with one of the judges friends. She slipped the flowers and tiny music box into her hands.
"Happy birthday, my dear little lark." Her voice was rougher than it had been was she was younger but it was filled with years of love.
"Won't you please tell me who you are mum? You come every year yet I don't know your name." Joanna pleaded softly as she did every year, knowing that the answer would be the same but hoping all the same.
"I'm only a memory, luv. Never give up hope my little lark." She kissed her daughters cheek softly and darted back into the crowd just before the judge emerged.
She didn't stay after that but slipped back out the way she had come. She wound her way back to the park and shed her soft dress careful to shield it from the tears that she couldn't hold back. She slipped back into her rags and back into her role as the lowly beggar woman. She could only steal so much time and she was always so afraid that her time would run out so she was careful to never steal too much of it at a time.
And as she did every year she gazed at the moon and let herself remember the life that she once had, filled with love and light.
"Oh Benjamin, I wish you could see her just one more time. You were the only one who could ever get the larks to sing." She sobbed into the night, just one more time.
Well I've written something that's actually finishable, a one-shot! Yay! I hope you liked it, please leave reviews! I need something to feed my muse or she might leave me again, cruel thing that she is!