Mrs Lovett has a nightmare, and Mr T hears the noise and goes to investigate. Both of them discover something about each other in the night. I was feeling a bit uninspired today and this is my attempt at a Sweenett romance one-shot.
I also own nothing S.T related blah blah blah.
WARNING: Sadness ahead! If you want light-hearted fluff this is not for you!
Mrs Lovett was dreaming again.
The sea called to her, as it did every night – only this time it was different. The dream had changed.
It always started off nicely, the same dream she dreamed every night. Mrs Lovett would be sitting by the sea in the moonlight, holding Mr Todd's hand. Then all of a sudden the lovely picnic disappeared and Mrs Lovett found herself tumbling down a hill. She tumbled and tumbled, but while she fell she could see Mr Todd staring at her from the top of the hill.
Then Mrs Lovett would hit her head on the bottom of the hill and wake up – and find herself in the basement of her bake-house, surrounded by the bodies of their dead victims – Mr T's and hers.
Through the grates in the floor Mrs Lovett could see the ocean swirling below. It was so close, she could smell the brine.
But there was no way of getting to it. All those filthy hands and slit necks clinging to her. There was so much blood!
When she was awake, Mrs Lovett did her best to shove those stinking bodies out of her thoughts, even while she was skinning them. Just pretend you're skinning a rabbit, she'd tell herself.
But dreams never let you forget. The blood came up to her knickers, along with the hands. No matter the amount of times she kicked at them and ran from the path of the flooding red tide; it always came after her.
And then there was him.
He parted the red tide, and the hands dissolved around them. Mr Todd came towards her with those silver twins, somehow shining despite the absence of light. He didn't grin or grimace or give any sign of recognition. She wasn't the baker to him no more. Not his partner in crime, not his carer, his mistress, his friend. Whatever by the sea dream she'd been dreaming was dead now.
He looked at her with the same disdain he did all his victims. She saw her own frightened reflection in those blades, still disbelieving. He won't hurt me, she told herself. He's playing with me. He's giving me the jitters on purpose.
But he kept coming, those silver twins laughing at her foolishness. The bodies around them shrunk and crumbled.
"It's time Mrs Lovett," Mr Todd spoke at last, that low, almost whispered voice right by her ear.
"We all have to die." At last, his lips formed an expressionless smirk. The brief emotion that flickered in his eyes was irritation, disdain. And enjoyment, Mrs Lovett realised horribly. He was going to enjoy slicing her up, because that was all she was to him. A bit of meat to be gutted.
She annoyed him, a fly in his ear. That was all. And now he was going to swat her.
"Please Mr T," she began, but Mrs Lovett couldn't finish her plea.
Her throat was seized by one of Mr T's sallow hands, and he held her there, evaluating her like a piece of art.
The dream always ended nastily, usually with Mr Todd chopping her body into little pieces and throwing them into the ocean.
The sleeping Mrs Lovett threw one hand over her face, as if anticipating the grisly end.
"Please Mr T," she mumbled. Her eyes flickered beneath their closed lids. "Be gentle," she whispered.
A moment passed, and brief moon-lit rays shone through the high window onto Mrs Lovett's grubby bed. A faded blue quilt stitched with roses half-covered the sleeping woman. She shuddered, but it was not from the cold.
No, Mrs Lovett never felt the cold. Her dreams were far colder than any change in temperature. Oh, what would she have given to be one of those dreamers – those dreamers who could wake themselves up on will and end the nightmare.
But Mrs Lovett never could.
She waited, feeling his fingers tighten around her throat. She waited for that moment.
The moment when Mr Todd bent over her with the razor in his hand, eyes gleaming as fierce as the furnace in her basement.
Only this time, the dream really did end.
Those unforgiving fingers loosened suddenly around her neck, and Mrs Lovett could breathe.
The razor, shining back her own strangled face, was not lifted in the air. Mr Todd did not bring his hand down slashing into her throat, where she could feel every tear of muscle and flesh. See her own blood splash onto his face. None of that happened.
Instead, the razor vanished, and Mr T was holding thin air.
The hand that usually murdered her lent down, and pulled her to her feet.
Mrs Lovett's eyes opened wide, surprised. She was really awake.
And looming over her was Mr T, those same lancing eyes looking down on her.
It was his hand, briefly touching her shoulder; that had woken her. Mrs Lovett's eyes darted to the floor; saw the wooden stool knocked to the floor. She must have knocked it over in her sleep. That's what brought him here, she realised. To her room.
Now she was half-awake.
And he was seeing her at her most vulnerable.
She didn't have time to put on that practical, cheerful face she'd practiced for so long. Here she was, the raw, gutted Mrs Lovett; sitting beneath him with only half her quilt, her thin night-gown and bare skin between them.
Mrs Lovett should have looked away. Saved some face. She shuddered, still shaking off the terror of that dream. Her curls were matted and sweaty against her forehead. Mrs Lovett made the pretence of wiping sleep from her eyes, but instead found water. Tears.
It was silly, all the times she'd hidden her sorrow from him. Her real sorrow, not just the longing looks she gave him to gain his attention. And now it was plain as a wart on her face, Nellie Lovett overcome with emotion from a simple bad dream.
She tried to look away.
But she couldn't. Mr T's eyes were like a drug – a trance – Mrs Lovett didn't know how to describe them. All she knew was that she couldn't look away. He could murder her or embrace her, but for those singular moments Mrs Lovett had no identity – as horrible as it sounded, she was his possession.
Maybe Mr T would never treat her the way he had treated Lucy, but she didn't want him to neither. Lucy might have had gentle words and tender touch, but that crazed woman on the streets would never have the man before Mrs Lovett now. The man full of ghosts and fire.
"I dreamed…" Mrs Lovett had no words, not now. Mr T was staring at her, as if he'd suddenly noticed she was a person and not a bit of furniture.
"I heard noise." Mr Todd waited for to explain, his face half in shadows, half-lit by the moon.
"It was just a chair love." Nellie had meant to keep her voice even, but now everything she'd hidden spilled over in those simple words. The sorrow in them was unmistakable. She couldn't even look at the chair lying on the floor.
Mr Todd did not look at the chair either. He stared down at her, unrelenting. Probably wanted to complain about the noise, Mrs Lovett thought. Probably going to scold me for disturbing him.
"I dreamed Her again," he said suddenly. He had no one else to tell it to.
Mrs Lovett didn't need to ask who "Her" was. It was all he ever thought about.
"It's this place," she said, drawing the quilt a little higher around her shoulders. "Gives us all nightmares."
Mr Todd nodded absently. The only reason he hadn't gone back to his own room was Lucy. He didn't want to go back there and dream her again. Not yet. If he stayed here a minute, some of Mrs Lovett's common sense might rub off on him.
"Mr T." Mrs Lovett was looking at him strangely…the kind of look he'd seen women give him long ago, when he'd been a man with a different name. But Mrs Lovett wasn't like those other women. Her gaze held more than sensual desire. It was a weary longing, born out of the deepest despair.
It stopped him from leaving the room.
"Will you take me?" she asked him.
Mrs Lovett had meant to add 'by the sea,' but somehow she couldn't find the words. The darkness in that room still had power over her, and if she voiced her secret dream, it might not come true. She might find herself tumbling back down that hill again, back to that horrible bakehouse with the smells and the corpses and Mr T's hate-filled eyes bearing down on her.
"Take you." Mr T didn't quite know what she was saying. Maybe he'd only half-listened to her singing that song about seagulls and flannels and English channels. Maybe he'd never paid half an ear to her chattering.
Now he found himself staring at her for a long time, longer than was necessary for either of them. He'd never really seen those eyes before, he realised. Mrs Lovett had never been far away: a gloved hand reaching out for him, a shoulder brushing his shoulder. But he'd always kept her in the background. Under the shadow of his dead wife.
And now that gaze.
Those large, welling eyes, yearning for something even Sweeney Todd could understand. They'd both been longing, for far too long. He'd been longing for the happiness in his past – and she – she was longing for happiness in the future.
For once Mr Todd didn't feel like dismissing her. What he saw now was not the practical Mrs Lovett setting him down here and there. Helping him tidy his messes. This was a different woman altogether.
Mr Todd was still standing over her, staring. He couldn't bring himself to sit down on the bed beside her. It somehow discomforted him, being in Mrs Lovett's quarters alone.
And then he realised. He hadn't known a woman, not any woman, in the fifteen years he'd been away. He'd had this woman bustling around him, tolerating her inane chatter for months. It occurred to him that Mrs Lovett's chatter was exactly like his silence. He was nursing his past in a bubble of quiet and brooding. Mrs Lovett hid her wounds just as carefully under a mask of cheerfulness.
He never thought that her river of sorrow could run as deep as his. He'd never thought this woman could compare to the golden spirit of his long-gone Lucy.
Mrs Lovett was right. He couldn't remember what she looked like. There was the odd smile, the odd flash of brilliant eyes and hair. But the rest was a blank. What did he really know of the woman he'd lost? Had she liked flowers? Mr Todd remembered buying flowers, or being near flowers. He remembered holding his child. He had flashes of their first moments together. He was there for Joanna's birth.
But what had they talked about, Lucy and he together? What was her favourite colour? What books did she read? What had conversation had filled the long hours into the morning?
That was it.
Lucy was a shadow, more of a shadow than the pale, haunted woman before him. What would he said to her now, if Lucy had lived? If they had met by chance on the black, smouldering streets? Would she even recognise him for the man she'd once had? Mr T couldn't see the happy ending he'd always envisaged anymore. Lucy wouldn't run into his arms. She'd do what they all did on the streets when they turned a corner and saw Sweeney coming….Lucy would cast her gaze away, shudder, and walk on.
There were no happing endings for Mr Todd.
'Well, love?" There was no command in that voice. No expectation. Mrs Lovett didn't expect him to hear her.
Mrs Lovett looked up at him, into that dark, enticing face. Enticing because it was worn and sorrowful, and tired. Tired from years of waste, just liker her own face.
Somehow less threatening now in the dark.
And then Mrs Lovett understood. No other woman would ever love him. No other could get to his past the way she had. For she, Eleanor Lovett, had lived at least part of his past, watching him and his sad life from the sidelines. He didn't have to speak. Mrs Lovett knew he might never shake off his past. But that was what made him Mr T; and Benjamin Barker no longer.
Mr Todd nodded, and brought her standing beside him on the bare floor. Her thin nightgown concealed little of her pale, bare body. He wasn't the sort of man to mind, or even notice. But he noticed her hands. He studied them carefully; her white, gloveless hands. Whiter than the moon, he thought.
He nodded. It was almost invisible, but Mrs Lovett saw it. "I'll take you," he said.
Mrs Lovett caught a glimpse of Benjamin Barker in that gaze. She drew into him, hiding herself from the moon in his shirt. He never bothered changing it, not unless Mrs Lovett swapped it for a new one. Right now she didn't care. Nellie kept waiting for him to brush her aside, to pull away.
But he did neither.
Instead, she felt one of those murdering hands rest on the top of her head. The other wrapped around her back. Was he holding Lucy? Mrs Lovett wondered briefly. Was he looking down at her? Or was he staring at nothing, eyes on the past?
Mrs Lovett didn't dare look up to find out. She was too busy being held by him.
"I'm with you Mr T," Mrs Lovett spoke the last words that would be spoken between them that night.
"I'm with you."
* * *