Summary: Happy endings always come to those who believe…right? Besides, he promised. Sweenett.
Disclaimer: If I owned Sweeney Todd, neither Sweeney nor Mrs. Lovett would have died. So needless to say, I don't own it.
Author's Notes: Holy cannoli, Shedemei the novelist wrote a short one-shot. This is also written in a style that's fairly different from my usual style, so…yeah. Hope you like.
Nellie Lovett stands beside the window, leaning her forehead against the pane. The glass is cold, but she doesn't feel it; she is warmed from within, humming a soft, contentedly meandering melody. Her full, hopeful heart goes out to the poor souls below, grey wraiths moving through the haze of melancholy that seems to blanket the street. They can't be happy, can they? Not like her. Her happy ending is close, and soon it will be within reach. She knows this. She believes it with every fiber of her being.
She hears the door swing open behind her. The others in the room mutter and whimper, but she smiles. Over the undercurrent of noise, she hears a low, sympathetic voice speaking of delusion. She almost laughs aloud. Delusion? Ha! If she were delusional, she wouldn't have that particular visitor at the door, and that visitor wouldn't happen to be…
"Mr. Todd!" She rushes into his waiting arms, nestling her face into his chest as he clutches her tightly. "I've missed you. You've missed me too, 'aven't you?"
"Of course," he soothes her. He pats the center of her back, once.
"I know, I didn't even 'ave to ask, did I?"
He chuckles. "No."
"It's been a while. How've you been keepin'? You still so…angry? I mean, you used to sit and do nothin' but brood upstairs all day long…"
"Doin' just fine," is all he will say to that. "Have they been treatin' you well?"
Nellie lifts her chin a bit, lowering her voice conspiratorially. "The others 'ere, they ain't like me. There's nothin' wrong with me, is there? They all think…"
"Of course not," his voice is dismissive, almost gruff. He grips the back of her head and pushes her cheek against his heart again.
"How's Toby? Does he miss 'is mum?"
"Where is 'e? You said you'd bring 'im to see me."
He steps back from their embrace, still holding her elbows. "Do you really want him seein' you like this?"
She sighs, surveying her surroundings. Haunted, reddened, unfocused eyes flicker at her, as if from the walls themselves. She looks down at herself, at the only dress she was allowed to bring, which is worn and faded by now. It won't fade any more, she tells herself—this will all be over soon. "No."
"And don't worry, my pet. You'll see him soon."
Nellie smiles, almost to herself—See? Any day know, I know it… "You promise, love?"
"I promise." He holds her close again, swaying her side to side. Her eyes drift shut, blocking out the dankness, the darkness of this place she yearns so desperately to leave. Sometimes she can feel it threatening her, black nightmares seeping through the cracks in the walls, stealing into her beautiful dreams. She shivers; the sooner she gets out of this horror-infested prison, the better. She's likely to go mad herself if she stays in London any longer…
She whispers to him. "When will you take me to the sea?"
"Soon, love," he croons. "Soon."
"You said that the last time!" Make me believe you. Please. "Why do I 'ave to wait? It's been so long! I did what you wanted! You said you'd marry me if I…"
"Come now." He lifts her chin up so she can look at him, and her eyes open. "You know I wouldn't go back on me word, right?" Sweeney Todd smiles, his eyes glowing benevolently.
That's the voice he used to use to speak to his customers, satin smooth, so easy to follow. But she knows there are no barbs hidden in the velvet of that oh-so-sincere voice. Not this time.
He rests his forehead against hers. "Do you trust me, Nellie?"
Nellie's eyelids drift shut again. She fists her hands in the material of his shirt, squeezing until her fingers ache. "Yes."
"When it's time." He pries her clutching hands away, giving her a secretive smile, as if they were co-conspirators in yet another criminal escapade. She returns the expression.
"All right," she says resignedly.
"That's a good girl." He pats her cheek. She turns her head, kisses his palm. "I should go."
"Already?" She gazes up at him, crestfallen.
"You know they never let me stay long," he reminds her.
"Can I 'ave a kiss goodbye?"
He only laughs and says again, "Soon, my love. Soon."
Mr. Todd turns from her and slips quietly out the door. The man of the sympathetic voice that Nellie heard a few moments earlier closes it.
"So you see," comes the concerned, reedy tone as the two men proceed down a winding stone staircase and a gray hallway. "She's just the same. Still persisting with that sad delusion, poor child. And to think of what she did to all of those men what came to 'er pie shop…"
"It is terrible," Todd agrees.
They have reached the door.
"So good of you to visit 'er, sir. Typically we don't allow visitors, you know, especially to those unfortunate souls with violent tendencies. And you're certainly the only visitor that's been comin' regular-like for over a year."
"I know," says Sweeney with a curt nod. "Thank you, Mr. Fogg."
The barber steps onto the London street, leaving Mr. Fogg's Private Asylum for the Mentally Deranged. As he walks, he rubs his hands together briskly, his lip curling in disgust as he attempts to erase the touch of Mrs. Lovett's lips from his palm. The scowl becomes a sneer as he reviews in his head what he has done to his little accomplice: though all of his crimes have been uncovered, he walks free, and the woman that the city now knows as the "demon baker of Fleet Street" stands in a room upstairs with the other redheads, watching him from behind chilled glass and a heavy grille. Toying with her is worth his skin crawling when her arms wrap around him like clinging snakes, and so much more amusing than killing her.
Nellie watches Sweeney Todd leave, humming through a serene smile. She has done what he asked of her—she claimed both his and her crimes—and now he has only to live up to his end of their little bargain. Her happy ending is close, and soon it will be within reach. She knows this. She believes it with every fiber of her being.
A/N: So, in case my vagueness lost any of you, Sweeney told Mrs. Lovett he would marry her and take her to the seaside if she took the fall for him. So now she's in Bedlam, and he's been visiting her for over a year, telling her each time that eventually he'll get around to getting her out of there. And she believes him, because...well, she would. But I was trying to wait to reveal that until the very end; it was about killing me not to write a vivid description of the setting.
PLEASE REVIEW. LACK OF FEEDBACK ON MY RECENT STORIES HAS GIVEN MY MUSES TERRIBLE DEBILITATING ILLNESSES.