Chapter 8

The Icing on the People-Pies

My cheek was still oddly hot from where Mrs. Lovett had touched me as we re-entered her shop just after sunset. She invited me to eat dinner with them, and I agreed, though I stand by my claim that the annoying burning in my cheek distracted me and made me an easy target....

Wait. That reasoning didn't help me at all did it?

"Back in a tick, loves I'll just take the chicken out o' the oven. Toby, you want a pie for after, love?" All this was said as she reached into an oven to pluck out a pie and then placed it carelessly in front of Toby, before dashing to the other side of the counter. Good God, did the woman ever bloody stand still? I watched her dash around with the most uninterested look I could manage, once again making useless excuses for this action in my head. She reached into yet another oven - I was under the impression she only had, wot, about two instead of NINE - pulling out a chicken this time. I privately wondered how she didn't burn herself traveling at such velocity. I briefly looked over at the boy, whose eyes seemed to be asking the same question. My lips twitched in amusement, and Toby er, twitched...in return.

"Dig in!" She exclaimed, giving us a warm smile before disappearing (that's what she did, I swear. No bloody clue where she went). I opened my mouth to ask Toby if she saw which way she flew when he so rudely interrupted me.

"I ain't eating this pie, Mr. Todd. It looks like it's still bleedin'!" I straightened up in my chair quickly, and gave the boy a sharp look to hide my panic, which he misinterpreted. Or correctly interpreted, considering.

"I won't dare tell her that sir," He assured, "but could you just take a look at it? I mean, I'll eat it in any case, for her."

"Boy," I snarled, "I will not have you eat it if it's raw. Hand it here." He did so quickly, and I palmed it, peering at the pastry as if it might jump out of my hands and run off. Well, who knows? Depending on what parts were baked in it....I smirked, but then drew back slightly as I noticed red sludge oozing from one of the cracks in the crust. Well, that was rather....grim. Unfortunate. Disgusting. They were only supposed to bleed as they were alive! And dying! Not when they were....dead. Yea.

Toby stared at me curiously, and I stared back unreadably. " I'll bring it to your mother and get you a new one. Simple as that. No need to get all round up, son." I smirked briefly to appear amused, and held the pie in my hand as delicately as I could as I got up casually and wandered around the counter. As soon as I was out of his sights, though, I picked up pace, nearly running into just the woman I was looking for.

"Mrs. Lovett!"

"Mr. Todd?" She retorted, softer than I. I knew she realized how close to her I was, but no way was I going to remove myself from her vicinity. She almost ran into me, so she should move, or so the less-than-reasonable half of my brain said. These cold hearted excuses were making even me doubt me. But I would NOT melt. I would not soften. Not even for her.

This train of thought reminded me, strangely, of the corpse pie melting, or rather dripping, all over my hand, and I suddenly remembered what I had come back for in the first place. I took a few steps back, and cleared my throat. She smiled sweetly up at me in response. Damned woman!

"Mrs...Lovett." Yes, that's her name you twit! Good one! I mocked myself silently. U quickly brushed away the part of me that was harshly crooning, 'her name is Nellie though, Nellie!' Oh bloody hell man, remember the bleeding pie!

"You gave the boy a pie." She looked at me blankly, and I scowled, "you gave him a pie wot was still bleeding!"

"Actually, Mr -

But since I finally found my voice, and sense of pride, I interrupted her and kept going.

"You gave him a bleeding pie, and I will not have my boy eating raw meat! Especially human! I don't even know if it's health for 'im or -

Mrs. Lovett briskly walked over to me, only a few steps distance really, and covered my mouth with her hand.

"Your boy?" She asked coyly.

I froze. "Uh, yes." I said, "my apprentice. Can't have him growing ill. Then he'll be out of learning for a while and I'll have to re-teach him everythin' and the brat is a pain enough as it is..." She chuckled at my rambling, and I realized that once again my mask had slipped. When I say slipped, mind you, I mean it fell to the floor and got stomped on. Repeatedly.

"Your boy..." She said in wonder, "Mista T, if yeh want, he can be your boy too." She stepped even closer shyly, and I marveled about the fact that had this been last month, I might have pushed her away cruelly. I might've killed her. My eyes blackened with mixed emotions at such thoughts, and I asked her darkly in a way she might see as playful,

"Ah, Nellie, but what would that mean for us?"

Closer, now, so much closer. Too bloody close.

A mischievous smile graced her tender face,

"Whatever you want it to mean, love." That was enough for me, and I crashed my lips to hers abruptly, but not too harshly. And then I let myself melt. And soften. And all those other horrid things I so resisted associating myself with, if only for this one moment of pleasure and happiness.

We kissed for a few precious seconds, but the shock of it all caused us both to pull away after we had control of ourselves again. Or at least, that's why I pulled away. When Nellie's lips left mine, I felt a strange sort of emptiness in my heart that I had so carefully turned to stone, and she put her head on my shoulder, lifting her hand up idly to play with a lock of my unruly hair. Then she looked up, and said in almost a whisper.

"By the way, Sweeney, love, it's a cherry pie."

"Cherry pie?" Oh, that's right. I was still holding th pie I thought was going to kill my Toby, er, I mean, the boy.

"Mmhhmm." She affirmed with a contented sigh, lifting her head up and smirking.

Bloody. Rotting. Cherry. Pie. I grunted and tossed the offending piece of pastry to the floor. Then I lifted her off of me so I could look her dead in the eye, my hands still firmly on her shoulders. I smiled.

"Mrs. Lovett, Nellie - you are bloody out of your buggering mind."

And she deserved another kiss for her insanity, I'm sure.

THE END

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A/n: Sorry guys, I honestly didn't mean to end this so soon. The plot just kind of ran away from me there, so I hope you enjoyed it anyway. Read and review! And if you want this continued in any form, I can't promise anything, naturally. But we'll see. :)

Thanks for reading!