A/N: We've come to the end of their journey. I'm sad to see it go, but there's no denying it: Sweeney and Mrs Lovett have climbed their mountain, and I think we should leave them alone now and let them enjoy the rest of their happiness. To the following reviewers: thanks for your kind reviews. You've inspired me to keep this story going.
Evanescent Wishes: I know the rolling-around-on-the-floor-screaming-feeling. I feel that right now - it feels like a dream that they aren't fighting for once. I agree: Sweenett forever =DD
lindzxhatter: Lindzzz, well you know I couldn't have pulled it together without you. Every time I opened my inbox and got another review I was grinning ear-to-ear. I'll miss them!
Crystal-Fey: Ili: it's weird, isn't it, but I feel exactly the same thing: Sweeney isn't aggressive with it anymore so it's sort of playful-sweet, shutting her up =D
linalove: Thanks for all your lovely reviews, I'm sad too but all good things come to an end. Now I actually have time to review the rest of your epic fics =D
SibellaJane: I'm glad you found it realistic. I pondered so long over what to do but smut really isn't my thing - at least, I just can't do it. This was your first story? Wow. =)
F8WUZL8: Fangirl squeal back! It really is a breakthrough. I can't thank you enough for all your honesty/wonderful suggestions. You're a sweenett writer's dream =D
Super Snuffles: Yes, just one more chapter. And that's all there is, there isn't anymore =)
LavenderShadow: We aussies/canadians have something in common: bacon, syrup - well, honey more than syrup, and normal-ish accents (we don't all sound like bush-turkeys!) Thank you so much for your funny reviews. I always smile when I read them.
Weasly the emo kid: Well? Do I get to live? Will I survive being made into a pie and fed to Lord Voldie? I'm stealing one of your last review lines for this chap, so I am eternally indebted.
Sweet Lunacy: It means a lot that you've taken the time to review. I'm glad you like it!
lilaclila-sweeney-johnny: Lilaclila - four days! Wow =O Sorry this last chap took so long! (I'll miss it too). As for the stove in the shop: you're very observant. I'm going to have to re-watch it and see.
AngelofDarkness1605: I'm not aiming to get it to 100 + words anymore. I feel they've reached that point of both realising they are kindred spirits, and that's when the author knows she must hang up her hat. I think these two would hate me if I were to write twenty more plus chapters of them in their old age: Sweeney gets arthritis, a walking cane and back problems, and every now and then gets the urge for a meat pie, while Mrs Lovett builds up a giant china plate collection, badgers him with tea parties every weekend with random chums she picks up at fairs and school fetes (Toby decides he wants to be a policeman, and thrash the life out of any criminals-in-the-making). =DDD
~We'll Grow Old~
"Mr T's gone!"
"Get here! Don't you lie to me boy!"
Mrs Lovett stumbled down the attic still half-dressed in her white blouse and bloomers. She had the fever in her eyes. It was the first time Toby had seen her with her curly hair completely unravelled. She looked like a dark Rapunzel but nothin' so sweet when she had him by the shoulders shakin' him senseless.
"I ain't! It's the damn bleedin' truth," he cursed back. "An' Im glad, you 'ear me mum? I'm sick o' sleepin' in the bath tub every night on account o' you an' 'is fightin'!"
She ran to the end of the corridor with a blush creeping up her cheeks. Where wos 'e? Where'd 'e gone?
"Don't bother goin' out, Toby called. "All the stuffs gone too."
She went out anyway, bursting onto the lawn like a bird anxious to eat the early worm. Her arms flailed and she spun round in all directions, expecting to see him coming up the lane.
"Where'd that flamin' devil get to," she howled, not caring if the neighbours heard. "It can't be all a dream. He wos there, an' I wos there, an'…an'…"
She recalled his hands cupping her waist in the darkness, tilting her neck back against his lips, his rough working fingers pressed into her back. The mere thought of it made her shiver, and she no longer felt the sun on her face. She was sliding back into the world of Sweeney Todd. And now she'd woken to the blaring sunshine and perfect sky and Toby telling her it was all a dream, a delusion. And Mr T was nowhere to be found.
I'm not a weak woman, she promised herself, taking deep breaths and forcing herself to look up at the calm blue heaven.
It was not enough. Her heaven was with him. Without his deranged company to compliment hers, she was just another sad middle aged woman the world would not miss and could do comfortably well without. He had not said much to her last night, but whathe had said was enough. He didn't make speeches or promises. He didn't tell her Lucy was erased from his heart. But what he had said.
"I never knew…I need you," he'd said in the darkness, before she'd unveiled herself to him.
It was the deepest confession he'd ever made to her, and likely any woman since Lucy. Did he regret it now the morning light washed away the deep cavern of night? Did he wish he could undo what they'd done? Had he done the typically Sweeney recourse of action, and fled?
The heat of the summer sun hit the garden quite strongly. This, and the shock of finding him gone was enough to make an eminently practical woman stripped raw. She no longer knew anything anymore: the glare of the sun in her eyes was her only surety. Nellie spent five minutes or more staring up at it, until her efforts produced the desired effect: the baker fainted clean away on the lawn.
* * *
He came through the back door with his arms bearing brown paper packages.
"Where is she?"
Toby was sitting glumly cross-legged in the corridor with the near-empty bottle of gin. He glared at Sweeney on sight. "Come to break 'er heart again?" he accused.
"I doubt it," Sweeney said softly, feeling his whole body tingle with an inner glow that no one else could know or explain. The air was increasingly light, the sky blue, and while he disliked both things, the thought of welcoming Eleanor in the darkness of another night, and many nights to come, had his heart intent on being as cheerful as he could muster despite the weather.
Until he saw her lying stone-cold on the lawn. The packages fell from his arms, as if showers of blood.
There was only one thing for it.
He rushed into the kitchen, found the glass vase with the week old flower water, and rushed outside again, dumping the contents over her pale face.
His shadow fell over her, and she no longer felt the ache of the sun. "I thought you'd left us," was the first thing she said upon waking.
He helped her to her feet. "No, my pet. The boy isn't my first pick of child, yet you…"
She looked past him, and finally saw the packages strewn across the threshold, filled with food and other supplies. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"You were asleep." He shrugged. "It wasn't necessary to wake you."
"Toby said you left."
"The boy is a peanut," Sweeney said with a frown. He took her down the back path, so that they might talk in private on the veranda.
"We can't stay here," she realised, hugging her bloomer legs as if she were a toddler shielding herself from the big bright world.
"Yes," he said, casting his eyes toward the fence that separated them from Sedgewick's house.
"He'll never know," Mrs Lovett said, thinking sadly of the corpse buried under the house. There were many things she wished could be undone – except for Lucy dyin', o' course.
"Possibly," the barber said. "But I can't live here knowing that. Can you?"
She looked him full in the face this time.
They were the same people they were last night. But they were not. Whether it was Clovelly, or the death of Mrs Sedgewick or a miracle – a change had come over Sweeney Todd.
"No love," she replied, thinking of all the packing she had to do. She got up to go inside. Again, she felt his hand on the small of her back.
* * *
~Two weeks later~
It was Sunday on a beach in the South of England somewhere, and nobody had died yet.
They walked arm in arm together along the boardwalk lined with black lamp-posts.
The sun had fused the clouds and half-empty skyline to give them a spectacular gold and black horizon. The hills were black, and the sky glowed deeply golden.
Toby was playing skittles with some boys on the beach. He'd grown used to the fact that Mr T was going to be around, and didn't shoot him daggers every time he walked in the door.
Nellie sighed. There was nothing more she could ask of the world. She never wanted to go back to London, and she never wanted to lose Mr T's smile. He reminded her of a rare animal; you could only catch him doing it when he thought you wasn't looking. Like now. "Mr T, wot you smilin' about?"
He gripped her arm tighter, and remained silent for a while. He was getting to know a few of the things that set her mind at ease, or unsettled her. His glove hand went to stroke the back of her neck briefly, and it pleased him that his new wife had not lost the childish ability to blush, and yet somehow look very knowing all at once.
A seagull flapped towards them, squawking for a feed. Before either of them could speak, they both bent instinctively and reached for the same stone on the ground.
"Great minds think alike," she grinned, snatching the stone away from him. Sweeney settled for kicking the bird instead. They watched as the terrorized bird limped away.
Their smiles mirrored each other, and they both found the gold sky a miracle neither of them had expected.
"Where should we go next, my love?"
"Anywhere the wind takes us, Eleanor."
"Nellie, love, heaven's sake, no one calls me Eleanor."
"Ah, but they do, Eleanor," Sweeney smiled stubbornly, looking out to sea.
She caught the tail end of the smile. "Mrs Eleanor Todd then," Nellie finished. She gripped his arm again, trailing her fingers across the fabric of the glove. "Jus' think Mr T, we'll grow old together, an' stone seagulls daily by the sea. Run a little gem shop. 'ave a girl, or a boy, or twins, an' we'll eat chives an' chips an' Turkish delight all day long, an' we'll put up lavender pot plants outside to make them tourists green wif envy, an' we can go bathin' in the sea an' you'll even eat your breakfast with jam on toast…" she was near breathless at the end of her speech.
He turned to gaze down at her, knowing he could make her nervous now in a way very different from his old fury. For some reason, he didn't want to shut her up this time.
"My Nellie," he said, trying out the words on his lips.
A few weeks ago, he never would have imagined it possible. Sweeney Todd gave in to love.
Thank you all for being the funniest, most touching, supportive readers I could ask for. It's been a pleasure journeying this story with you!
*I have two questions that would be great if you answered in your review:
1. Do you think the Sweeney Todd fandom is alive/dead/has the potential to grow?
2. Would you like to see further "what-if" epic fics written, or should this author leave it with Taming?
Your honesty is much appreciated.