A/N: Because some people are born to live in delusion!
Lovinett: Glad you like it! Fortunately I've gotten off my bruised petunia to write some more!
the-sadisticalovett-nutcase: Yeah, I made it confusing since it was night and dark. Sweeney threw her out of his room, pretty much. Sorry for the confusion!
gingerbritishgypsyelf: Sincere apologies I kept you waiting more than 3 days! Thanks - I think my writing style is convoluted full stop!
AngelofDarkness1605: Writing until late and shopping sprees? I think that's awesome! =D And napping! This is my break from endless lesson planning!
MireiLovett1846: Equally, my dear, have I missed your tantalizingly clever reviews! They always have so much life and colour! Hurrah and a happy 2011 to ye, Mirei!
It's funny how imagining things often enough makes them come true. Like dreams, for instance, Mrs Lovett thought, stamping her soaked-through boots on sodden grass. And funerals.
Such a shame it was the wrong funeral. She'd been praying for the Judge's. Oh well. The rain snaked through her undergarments. He held her hand. Only for moral support, mind you. And rumours about their being half-married and all.
Sweeney and the baker at the funeral. Some random man's funeral. Someone who'd eaten too many pies and had a heart attack on Friday night at the shop. They'd gone ter show their support. Might look a bit suspicious otherwise.
Imagining things often enough made them true. She imagined market-shopping with Mr T on Tuesdays.
And Wednesdays. And men drunk on ego. Mrs Lovett watched them all side-long out of her eye, all decked out in their black funeral best. They chortled and celebrated. Not to mourn, of course. The women too, puffed up like pastries with their feathers sticking out of their heads. The baker snorted. She was hardly in a position to pass judgement.
"I'll kill him, kill him, kill kill kill kill kill him, YES, my pet. Kill him. Kill. Kill Him. Kill the Bleeder. Kill -"
She silenced her dream lover with a swift pinch in the underarm. "Now you shut it afore you get us both locked in Bedlam, or our heads sent straight to the choppin' block."
He opened his mouth. "But to kill – the blood – the taste – Nellie, to kill."
"I know love," she said soothingly, rubbing his shoulder, "I know. For a poetic soul such as yerself, you're a bit low on words at the moment, ain't you, Mr T?"
Not a tear shed, to be expected. The churchyard was streaked green with weed. It was supposed to be all grey, you see. Rain pouring from the trees, flowing up from the creek floodingly. The whole thing was over in under twenty minutes. They didn't even see him go into the grave.
Even still. He'd poisoned the whole thing. Him. The thing that crawled outta the sea.
The Judge was there at the front of the crowd, constantly turning around. Smirking like some deluded priest who thinks he's just witnessed some saintly apparition beamin' down a hill. He was pricing her mentally, was he? Or picturin' her naked. Whichever, it made her feel filthy and ill.
The air was stung with sour taste – or was death itself she could taste, warm on her tongue? No, no love. It was just a bit o' blood. She'd bitten down hard on her lip. Forgotten she weren't in her room no more, chewing on dead fruitless hopes. Oh well. Better out here where it was light and cloudy, than the dim little hole she called home. 'Bout as cheery as a funeral parlour, frankly.
She bit her tongue again – instead of gasping. Him – circling through them crowd like a fattened vulture. Well-heeled and dripping with sick articulation. The phony claw of the law.
"The Judge," breathed the familiar whistle down the back of her neck.
Men – all royal highnesses in their own head! She turned her head briefly. Satin ruffles brushed her wayward curls. Thick blue beads swung into her skin. And just a scent – a tincture mind – of flower perfume. What kind of flower, she didn't bloody care. The baker had lived too far in deep in amongst the city scum to know how real crushed petals smelt. But she could guess that it would smell just as good as heaven.
"Wot you plan ter do, Mr T? Throttle 'im in broad daylight? Bash 'is brains out?"
"No." Sweeney placed a false arm around her arm. He didn't mean his grief, even when it was fake. He wouldn't have bothered neither – if she hadn't coached him specifically on Grief Ettiquette when they'd rushed out the door that morning. Pies, after all, never slept.
"Do you believe you can cure him? Magically heal him?" Turpin's sneer was barely audible.
"Yes." She didn't hear her own reply. It came as breath on wind – drowned out by far greater sounds.
It was like chewing marbles. She'd done it once as a girl. Nearly broke her teeth. They made arrangements, shook hands. Rather, he kissed her hand, tipped his hat, and trundled off, Beadle trailing behind.
Mrs Lovett shook her head. That man really needed ter get himself a dog.
A man pacing the pavement, delved too deep in his own nightmare slumber. He walked so easily amongst the dead, it was easy to forget he was there. The mourners passed around him – part of their own Sunday tide going toward a shore of teas crumpets cakes happy songs and silly dances – anything too shake off the odd funebrial taste. Soon, they'd be home.
In the end the man was the only one left. Besides the other mourner.
"Mr T!" She caught up just on the corner. He didn't listen. Or see. He walked under water, holding his breath as the heavy tides swept in to drown them all.
There was something she could do – something before he reached the corner – she couldn't stand – couldn't take being near that slimy old man – slipping on hour old ice, she snatched the barber's razor hand.
"Benjamin," she said, breaking him out of the spell. It honest-ter-god was the magic word!
His brow creased. He shook of the deluded, white hand. "What are you doing here? Where's the Judge?"
"I can't see 'im now," she panted, cupping his shoulders in her hands. "On important business, he is. We made an appointment tonight though. 8 o 'clock sharp, he says, and wait for the streetlight to go out at the end o' Fleet Street."
"Perfect time to slit his throat," Sweeney said, standing up stiff-backed all of a sudden. His eyes shone. "I'm coming with you."
"Mr T," she pleaded, looking along the end of the streets where the crowd milled around hazy threads of light thrown from the shops, "we got hours yet till then. You can come. But neither of us is in the right mind ter head home. Not in that hell. Let's get a drink somewhere, just you an' me."
He'd be caught in an instant - all those rivers of blood! She had no intention of letting him walk anywhere near the Judge. He didn't know that, o' course. Poor, simple soul.
And so a drink magicked into a coffee – with the two of them sitting right there in the corner of the throne, staring out of the brightness onto the street outside. The barber seemed caught in yellow fog. Was he smilin' more in the light? She wondered. Or was it hopeless? How could she wake him up to her?
"I couldn't find Lucy's grave," he said, breathing hoarsely into the table.
Of course he couldn't. "Of course you couldn't," she echoed, patting his hand.
Then the coffee arrived. It was a flamin' carousel ride, Mrs Lovett thought, smiling up at the waiter. She was on it – he was sitting on the dumb animal in front – and they'd never, ever get off.