Flowering

His mouth was warm and unexpectedly gentle. He kissed her with a great deal of care, like she was delicate as a soap bubble, ready to pop at any moment. Just as slowly and just as carefully, she moved her lips, kissing him back.

It was a strange dance, a careful little waltz in which each of them tried very hard not to scare or upset the other. It was like courting. It was like young love. It was like…nothing that Mrs. or Mr. Todd had ever truly experienced. It was them.

As carefully and gently as it had begun, it ended. He pulled his lips away and she reluctantly pulled back as well. He was smiling a little bit, a gentle curve of the lips. It was so out of character and out of place…but it suited him. The smile softened his harsh features into those of a kinder man.

"That was nice," she whispered.

"It was," he agreed.

They stood there, close to each other, just standing, looking at each other, studying the face of their spouse.

"Would you like to try it again?" he asked, his voice a hesitant whisper.

"Yes, I rather would."

So he put his arms around her waist, gently holding her. Her arms carefully reached up to wrap around his neck. Her finger traced a pattern on his cheek as her hand made its way to the back of his neck. His hair tickled her knuckles and she ran her fingers through it gently, relishing in the feel of it. Gently, he lowered his lips to hers again and they kissed, gently, quietly, carefully, by the kitchen sink in the moonlight.

It was soft and sweet, not asking or taking anything, merely trying out this new sensation. After a minute or two, he pulled away again and smiled. It was like he was a different person with that smile on.

"Sweeney?" she whispered,

"Nellie?" he replied.

"You're changing now, aren't you? You're not so angry anymore, you're making things…you're getting better."

"I think I am," he said.

"How's it feel?"

"It feels….right. Like this is how it ought to be."

"I'm going to go finish knitting that blanket now," she said softly, and unwrapped her arms from his neck.

"All right. I'm going to go finish whittling."

She sat on the back steps with a candle, staring out to sea as her knitting needles clicked rhythmically to the beat of the surf. It was quiet tonight, peaceful. It was the sort of night that plants came up, and in the silence, flowered 'fore the dawn.

Sweeney Todd sat down on the step beside his wife. His knee rested against hers. The careful scraping of wood joined the click of the needles and the rush of the surf and the soft whispering of the wind. It was a whispered symphony and it was the finest that Mrs. Todd had ever heard.

His knee was warm on hers, and as the moonlight lit her knitting and sparkled on the ocean, she wondered if this, whatever it was, could grow into love. It was said to grow slowly, but she wondered if in time, it could be. Tonight, under the moon and to the sound of their whispered symphony, anything seemed possible.