I am a huge Sweeney Todd fan, but this is my first Sweeney phic. This is going to be a challenge for me, as it's a story about a growing relationship. I usually like to complicate things...And I adore Johanna and I adore Anthony, but I think their relationship is far more complex than some people believe. I could be very wrong here, I've never actually read a Sweeney fic, but I always got the impression that Johanna wasn't in love with Anthony and that what she did, she did for survival. Please don't throw things at me! This is why I'm writing this fic, so I can delve into a romantic relationship between the two which I find realistic. Don't worry, there'll be a lot of fluff!
Enough of me rambling, here it is...Pleeeease review if you like it! Please? I'm not above begging!
The welcoming embrace of slumber enveloped young Anthony and blackness surrounded him like a light shroud. He was vaguely aware of the closed hansom he was in, jostling quickly down the streets of London, but everything was veiled to him in this restful cocoon. No dreams polarised in front of his eyes, and his face flopped forward, his chin resting on his chest, as his breathing became easier. Nothing was bothering him, all the previous terror was as distant from him in this precious moment as the scenery that passed by unnoticed outside the buggy.
But there's no place like London!
That bitter, bitter growl spat through his rest as dauntingly as if Big Ben had tolled in the middle of his mind and he jolted awake as he caught the last remnents of a vivid picture flash through his punctured sleep. He shied away from it, his eyes falling upon the person that sat opposite him. But bile crept up his throat nonetheless and he had to force it down...
The Hell he had seen downstairs at Mrs. Lovett's Pie Emporium...A small boy with hair the colour of soot stood over two corpses, the reflections of the fire from the oven dancing upon them like devilish imps. Blood ran like water, entwining the lifeless figures, and he stepped back in horror as much from the stench of what seemed like rotting flesh, then the ugly sight that met him.
The boy looked at him, and a silver razor dropped from his hand and clattered to the floor. His face crumpled and whatever had seized him previously to commit such a heinous crime, disappeared, and tears racked through his small body as he sobbed, holding out his hand towards Anthony.
Anthony stumbled back from him and he hissed in shock when he saw Johanna's guardian dead and bloody as well.
"Did you kill them all?" was all he could manage to say.
But all the boy did was cry, and in a blind panic Anthony screamed out, "Johanna! Johanna!"
He did not see her body down here and he turned, racing up the steps, the only sound was the blood pounding through his ears and the child sobbing below where he left him...
Stop it! He swore to himself and he made himself pull away from those thoughts. He knew he would never forget those moments of hysteria, so there was no use in thinking of it now...No use...Oh Mr. Todd, he thought, a pang slicing through him. Such an odd, mysterious man who had obviously been troubled...But they had spoken often on the ship after he had found him on the sea, and while it had never been a friendship of warmth, Anthony would like to think they had had a friendship nonetheless. Nobody deserved an ending like that...
Johanna was shaking, he noticed. The slight girl was curled up in a ball, his coat around her shoulders as they made their journey far away from Fleet Street (and the horrors that lay behind there). The cap he had given to cover her beautiful hair was pulled low, and one could be forgiven for thinking the person was an effeminate looking boy.
"You should be asleep," he said softly.
Her eyes did not wander from the window, and she said nothing in response.
Anthony watched her, concern over his boyish features. He wished he could reach forward and touch her cheek gently to console her, but she had avoided his touch as much as she could during the night. It was a warm night. It was not from the weather her body trembled.
From his own nerves his legs were trembling now that sleep escaped him, and he folded his arms trying to calm himself. He thought of a song his Mother used to sing to him as a child, and he hummed it himself, trying to put a salve around his beloved's fears. His Mother had always fancied he had a lovely voice, and had been openly disappointed when the seas and his Uncle's tales of adventure had drawn him away from a life of music. She had been so proud when he had been accepted into the cathedral's choir…
To his frustration she started to weep softly, and he ceased that pursuit. He would find it bitterly amusing to tell his Mother in his next letter that his voice had made an angel weep.
Tears rolled down her cheeks, but she did look at him this time, "Please…Please you have a fine voice. Please continue singing."
He leaned forward concerned, "Then why does it make you cry? Johanna…What must I do so you won't cry?"
She closed her eyes and he did not get an answer. So sitting back, disappointed, they spent the next few moments in silence till she blurted out, "For God's sake, please sing! I can't stand the silence! All I can hear is her screaming, and I can't get it out of my mind!"
Anthony's brow creased – what had she seen that he had not? What he had been a witness to had been bad enough! Oh, Johanna, Johanna…
So the young man sung for his pretty love, as they rode out into the night, and she cried softly. She did not stop shaking.