A/N: I've been wanting to write a fic about this quote ever since I found it . . . and, after seeing a local production of Sweeney Todd a few days ago, I was finally inspired to do so!
This is meant to take place immediately after A Little Priest (my second fic to do so, teehee). In the version of Sweeney Todd I just saw . . . well. It was the most sensuous, suggestive rendition of A Little Priest I've ever seen, that's for sure. Todd and Lovett were literally ALL OVER each other, groping one another at nearly every lyric, even starting to tear off the other's clothes . . . I was half-expecting them to start having sex right on stage, to be honest. xD
Anyway, their performance inspired me to scribble this out. I hope you enjoy. It's a bit OOC, but hopefully not enough to deter you from reading it. ;]
Yes indeed, I think that Todd and Mrs. Lovett have been lovers, though not by his choice, I suspect. – Stephen Sondheim
Each of her limbs was quaking as she stormed into the parlor and snatched at the nearest gin flagon. Not bothering to find herself a glass, she put the rim of the bottle to her lips and let the liquid fizzle and burn down her throat, infusing her body with warmth. But it was far from enough to quench her anger.
How could he have done that? How could he have such nerve? She had been so delighted when she'd found his eyes staring into hers, free for once of the shadows that usually haunted them whenever they locked gazes. No, for once, Sweeney Todd was seeing her, and it was bliss, absolute bliss, those dark eyes so focused on her, so intent and yet so free, as he swept her into a thrilling dance.
And then – her heart had just about burst from her chest with joy, it really had – he had gone beyond just noticing her. He had been teasing her. Flirting with her. Engaging in playful verbal banter even as his hands groped her buttocks, grasped at her clothing with urgent desire, wandered over her breasts. He had been toying with her in ways she had only ever dreamed . . .
She had waited for that moment ever since he had returned home, that moment when he would forget his stupid Lucy, that selfish, delusional, half-dead thing . . . that moment when he would realize that someone else had always, would always be there for him . . . that moment when he would give her some of the affection that was usually only shown to his wife or razors . . . and he had.
But then – as soon as their waltz had ended, as soon as their waggery had silenced – then he was gone yet again, eyes ghosted and dead as they roamed back towards her shop window. Before she knew what was happening, he had left, stomping methodically back up the steps to his barber shop, leaving her standing in the kitchen, flushed and dizzy and desirous –
How dare he do this to her? she wondered, pacing restlessly, taking another swig from the gin bottle. How dare he lead her on like that and then just up and leave? That couldn't have all been an act on his part – could it have? No – no – she had seen it in his eyes, seen that dark sparkle of enraptured lust reflected there, just as sure as she knew it had been emulated in hers.
What happened? What changed? Had she done something wrong? Perhaps she should have kept up the jesting longer . . . but it had seemed like the perfect time to end it. Besides, her agile, quick-witted tongue had begun to grow thick on her, her mind fogging under the spells that his presence seemed to put on her, magnified one hundred times (a feat she hadn't thought possible) by the way her affections, for once – for goddamn once – were being returned.
So she had ceased her side of the banter, and had returned to the task of undoing the buttons on his shirt (well . . . more like ripping the fabric, truth be known), pressing up against him, plundering the skin of his neck with her greedy lips. It had all been so perfect . . . too perfect . . . for it had not lasted. That was when he had twisted away from her, barely noticing her, already drowning once more in what she could not see.
Nellie was shaking again, anger and unfulfilled lust knotting and fermenting in her every bone. Lucy had most likely interfered, she guessed, Lucy had probably wormed her way into his thoughts yet again. It was always Lucy who got in the way of them, always that Lucy . . . even without her physical presence, she hung over the house like a persistent fog.
Nellie Lovett was, all in all, a patient woman. Rushing things, pushing the limits of a situation, only led to setbacks. Better to wait it out, better to move in slow. . . . That was why she had been so careful around Sweeney Todd ever since he came back to London. She could see what a fragile state he was in, she could see how he was hurting . . . so she was careful in how she handled herself around him, careful to not say too many words or brush against him too often (though every once in a while, it must be admitted, she did forget herself, and find her fingertips lingering extendedly against his skin).
But today was different. Today he had given her hope – real, tangible, delicious hope . . . and then he'd left her stranded. Adrift. Burning.
Nellie Lovett's patience was gone.
Caught up in a fever of rage and concupiscence, she was not entirely aware of her pounding footsteps hurtling her outside and propelling her up the stairs leading to her tenant's room, nor of throwing open the barber's door with a bang. Sweeney stood by the window, razor in hand, vaguely polishing it with a cloth as he stared out through the glass panes. He looked completely as he usually did – save for the fact that his shirt was still half-open (she swallowed hard) and he had forgotten his discarded vest downstairs – and did not even look around when she entered the room.
That only further stoked the fires of her fury.
"You – you – " Nellie could not think of a word appropriate enough to describe the man. She slammed the door shut and whirled to face him. "You bloody stupid fool!" Perhaps not the most clever insult, but she wasn't striving to be artful right now; she was far too angry for that.
"What – what – what was that?" she raged. "One moment you're dancing and smiling and've got your hands halfway up my dress – and then the next you're just not there! That's – you – you can't just pretend that it meant nothing – that you didn't – that's no way to treat a woman, Mr. Todd!"
And he did not have the grace to so much as look at her, even now.
"Are you even listening to me?" Nellie fumed.
The fact that he wasn't didn't surprise her, but really. He had some nerve, leaving her flushed and panting and needing downstairs . . . as if it had only been a game, as if he was above such human desires, which she knew he wasn't – oh no, he sure wasn't – he could pretend all he wanted but she'd seen that fire in his eyes, she'd felt the desperation in his hands as he pulled her to him, stroking, grabbing –
Red clouded her vision as she thundered towards him. She grabbed his shirt collar with her right hand, forcing him to face her, while snatching his razor and throwing it to the far side of the room with her other hand. Had she been thinking clearly, she would have done none of this – her barber had enough of a temper, she didn't need to try and provoke it further. And just never mind the fact that he far surpassed her in physical strength.
But she was barely forming coherent sentences at the moment, much less coherent thoughts.
"Now, you listen here!" she barked. Her furious motions seemed to have gotten his attention – his eyes were fixed on hers, and had gone wide. He seemed surprised by her anger, so surprised it had temporarily paralyzed all of his movement. Good. "I'm not going to put up with this, y'hear? I'm just not, Mr. Todd. If you don't care about me, that's fine – I respect that, I always have, and I've kept my distance all these years – but that – but when you – "
"Mrs. Lovett," said Sweeney in a very tranquil voice. Were she not so enraged, she might have found the situation amusing – it was she usually who was coddling and coaxing him in his angered states, not the other way around. "Calm yourself."
"Calm? Calm?" she shrieked, shaking the hand that still grasped at his shirt collar. "No, I will not bloody well calm myself, thank you very much! So what've you got to say for yourself, hmm? What've you got to say about the way you left me high and dry back there after pretending – after making me think – after implying we might actually be – that you might actually – "
"Mrs. Lovett – "
The anger was burbling so high and mighty within her it was a miracle she could still speak at all. "No, I won't listen to your excuses! I won't, d'you hear?"
"Mrs. Lovett – " he tried again.
With a snarl, Nellie yanked Sweeney by the collar to the opposite side of the room and slammed him against the wall, more than prepared to launch another tirade of fragmented, angry words in his direction . . . but seeing him with his back against the wall, body very still, eyes huge with shock and – was that fear? The idea that she was scaring him was almost laughable, and yet that seemed to be what it was . . . well, she supposed he'd never seen his landlady behave quite like this before . . .
The rage was still boiling and bubbling in her stomach, throughout her body, rolling through her like the mightiest of wrathful rivers . . . and yet, too, with him being so near yet again, her desire was beginning to rise anew. . . . Craving physical sensation, she moved one hand to press against his muscular chest; the hand gripping his collar moseyed upward to caress his throat. With a purring hum of pleasure, she leaned into him, breathing in his scent.
She felt his body stiffen. "Mrs. Lovett . . ."
"Shut up, Mr. Todd," she mumbled into his skin, nipping at his collarbone.
Hands began to push at her shoulders – a light warning – a warning she normally would have heeded, but did not today. "Get away . . . Mrs. Lovett . . . I can't give you . . . Lucy . . ."
Damn that woman. "She's gone, my dear," Nellie said to his neck, running her hands all along his body, savoring him.
"But . . ."
A growl escaped her throat as she lifted her head away from the crook of his neck to capture his lips with her own, effectively silencing him, pushing herself against his frame more firmly, trapping him between she and the wall.
Because Nellie Lovett was done waiting.
And she was no longer taking no for an answer.
A/N: Bet you never thought it would be Nellie pushing Sweeney up against the wall and not the other way around, eh? ;)
Anyway, I leave the rest of this scene to your imagination, loves. And, as always, any and all feedback is truly appreciated.