A/N: Seriously, I noticed something! Writing for Sweeney Todd is incredibly fun. X3 (Especially when you're procrastinating studying for geometry.) I'm happy with how this fic turned out, so we'll see what you all think. 83
-insert epic disclaimer, huzzah-
-These Grey Areas-
It was a Sunday, and the church bells were incessantly ringing. They simply refused to shut up, and it was quite honestly beginning to get under Mrs. Lovett's skin. Not in an annoying way, of course, because they were rather pretty sounding. No, it was more of a way that got under her carefully constructed emotional shield, and it made her start to worry a little. Why, she didn't know, she didn't understand, but the bells made her nervous on that particular day…
She chewed her lip, not stopping even when she tasted the iron of blood. This only made her more concerned. Being anxious was absolutely not anything she was accustomed to. Nellie Lovett had it together. Well, she had to. Life with a disturbed, vengeful barber called for a balanced thought process. Not any woman was well equipped enough to deal with all that gore and angst. That she was able to made her feel a little bit proud, usually.
Oh, but those bells, those damned bells…
What would god say about her? Would he reward her for keeping her head held high and her, ah, business booming?
Oh, why am I even worrying all of a sudden about that, of all things? I don't even go to a church, generally…an' I don't intend to start now, so why…?
Her morals, gods forbid she had any, were acting up. Dreadful timing, really. It was about time to throw in a new batch of pies, too… The lunch time rush was almost ready to come streaming in. She couldn't possibly keep them waiting; that would be so very awful of her to do…
Yes, that's all very well, but how would it be any less awful that what she was doing to feed them? What was going on upstairs and down in her dark, secretive cellar…?
My, my… My 'ead is starting to spin a bit… That can't be any good.
About then, Mr. Todd was venturing downstairs from his shop to fetch a replacement for his shirt. The one he had been sporting had gotten so obviously soaked with scarlet highlights that it was soon going to be difficult to hide. The, ah, colour, forgive the coming pun, was bleeding through too clearly to risk a curious customer (future dinner special) inquiring what it was.
"Mrs. Lovett," he nodded, not intending to give her much of a second glance, but her distress caught his attention and it couldn't be avoided. He knew that if she ever broke down, they would be ruined. "Ah, shit. What's the matter now? Are you getting sick or something…?"
"No, no…nothing like that, love." She murmured, a hand held to her forehead, trying to steady herself. "I've just been thinking a bit, y'see…"
He rolled his eyes. Women, always thinking… When were they ever going to realize that it only arose yet more trouble for the world? When was anyone? "Thinking about what, now?"
"Oh, I don't even know, really." Swallowing, she blinked. Lord, get it together, would you? Breathing slowly, she said, "Are we going to hell for this, Mr. T?"
His heart didn't miss a beat, his eyes remained steadily fixed. Oh, so that was what it was about. With a sigh, he ran over his whole miserable life, past when he was stricken from Lucy. After that, he had died. He wasn't a man anymore, he was only a corpse, creating more corpses for the world's prized collection of tattered, hemorrhaging dolls.
What was hell to him?
He was already in hell, wasn't it obvious? He'd been in hell for quite some time now. And if it wasn't the real thing, he was positive he wouldn't have very much difficulty adjusting or anything like that…
The one who made the most bodies was the one who became the winner, eventually. Money, power…those didn't matter in hell. Not for any real remarkable value. Not as far as he was concerned.
Blood was the only currency that could be considered relevant in hell. So, all things counted, he was doing rather well for himself, as was Mrs. Lovett.
If she would just quit swaying around in the wind… Falling over here meant likely never standing up again.
He didn't like saying so aloud, but out of the other companions he'd met in hell, she was the most reliable one. And he thought she probably knew that. Actually, he was sure she knew. That was why she was so daring as to show she was a touch afraid of the constant onslaught by the infuriated elements.
He had to admire her some for that.
She looked over to him pleadingly, still waiting for her answers. No, Nellie Lovett wasn't going to pretend like she wasn't a realist. Awareness that the response wasn't going to be very nice was clear in her head. Clearer than a lot of other things, in fact. Sugar coat things…? Why? Why would you bother? It would only be that much more of a huge disappointment when you found out that the candy was actually on the sour side.
And so, they both decided around the same time that it really didn't matter. Happy endings were for fairy tales. Happy endings were fairy tales.
Dreaming up fairy tales was a wonderful activity to do in hell, and they were both guilty of that.
They were already damned anyway. Why not indulge a little while they were there?
Virtually everyone went to hell at some point or another.
"Please, just tell me, Mr. T… Are we evil, love?"
And that did catch him slightly by surprise. How definitive…he wasn't used to definitive. Definitive answers were never given, no matter how you begged for them, with desperate tears streaming down your pale, absolutely colourless cheeks—
Reckless. Oh yes.
Dangerous. Very dangerous.
Hopeless. Most certainly.
Frenzied. (With every slice of the blade.)
…But go back. Hopeless. Back to that one.
Oh, now… That was a word connected to desperate which rang through true the very most.
He turned to her and murmured softly, like he wished it weren't true, a sad statement. "Oh, love… No, we aren't evil. But we aren't good either… Don't get carried away and think that we are. We aren't evil; we aren't good. Good and evil don't exist, because they never have and never will…only desperate does."
With each word that hammered into her, her wide eyes softened with understanding. A tiny smile conquered her thin lips and she nodded. "Ahh…thank you, Mr. T. I…I see now."
And that, damn it, was infectious. Almost timidly, something slightly reminiscent of a sad, lopsided smile. A miniature, almost-curve on his face. Reaching for her hand, he brought it up to those now awkward looking lips, and he kissed it gently. "Of course, my sweet."
Oh, as much as they each generally hated letting a few barriers down, that bittersweet collection of moments was almost nice, for being spent in hell's favourite, cherished factory of death.