A Sweeney Todd Fanfiction
A young couple slipped silently through the streets of London at night. The first was a young man with wavy blond hair and bright blue eyes. The second was a young woman with long gold hair. She wore oversized mens' coat and pants, and her hair was tucked up under a large brown cap.
The man led her through the streets to a two-story house with black smoke threading out of the chimney. Johanna wrinkled her nose as a foul, rotting smell greeted her. The ground floor had a sign that read "Mrs. Lovett's Meat Pie Emporium." The top floor had one that read, "Sweeney Todd's Tonsorial Parlor." The man led her quickly up the stairs by the wall and into the second floor. The man rushed forward. "Mr. Todd?" He called out. No one answered.
The young man turned to her. "You wait for him here. I'll return with the coach in less than half an hour." He rushed over to the door, then paused, his gaze softening. "Don't worry. No one'll recognize you. You're safe now."
The girl looked wearily at him, disbelief in her tone. "Safe? So we run away and all our dreams come true?"
The young man nodded. "I hope so."
The girl lowered her gaze. "I've never had dreams." She said softly. "Only nightmares."
The boy laid his hand comfortingly on her shoulder. "Johanna, when we're free of this place all the ghosts will go away." He promised.
Johanna looked at him with the air of someone who has suffered through many years more than she had lived. "No Anthony." She whispered, shaking her head slightly. "They never go away."
Anthony refused to be deterred. "I'll be right back to you. Half an hour and we'll be free." He left, closing the door behind him. Johanna gazed after him, hoping despite herself that he would indeed return as he had promised. So many promises had already been broken, she didn't know what to trust anymore.
Johanna crossed the room, running her hand over the arm of the barber's chair. She looked at a photograph of a smiling woman and a young child. Johanna frowned. Why did the woman look familiar? She shook her head impatiently, then set the photo aside. She plucked one of the barber's razors from its box. She unfolded it, turning it over in her hand.
Suddenly, she heard a warbling voice coming from below, growing steadily closer. She set the razor down and gazed wildly around the room, looking for somewhere, anywhere, to hide. Johanna spotted an empty trunk and hurried over, climbing inside just as the woman walked. Through the keyhole, Johanna watched as the poor woman looked around the room, banking madly to herself.
A rough voice called out, "Who are you? What are you doing here?" A thin, dark-haired man with pale skin walked in, a razor held in his hand. Johanna wondered if he was Mr. Todd, the barber. He had dark, sunken eyes, a white streak in his wild hair, and modest clothing.
The woman began spouting out gibberish about the devil's wife. Suddenly she paused, looking at the man's face. "Don't I know you, mister?"
From a distance, Johanna heard a voice call out, "Mr. Todd?" She froze in horror. The voice belong to Judge Turpin, the man who had imprisoned her for fifteen years, who had tried to force her into marriage with him. If he found her now, she would be imprisoned again, never to see Anthony again.
Mr. Todd lifted the razor and sliced it violently over the woman's throat. Johanna had to cover her mouth with her hand to keep from screaming. Blood spurted from the woman's throat, her face frozen in a look of surprise. Mr. Todd walked over to the chair and kicked a lever, sending the woman falling through a trapdoor.
As Judge Turpin walked in, Johanna tried to choke back her horror. She had just watched a woman get murdered without doing a thing to prevent it. Guilt welled up in her, but it was overridden by fear. If she were discovered, she could very well share the woman's fate.
Johanna watched as Mr. Todd began to give her guardian a shave. They spoke for a while of Johanna as thr barber worked. The judge let out a content sigh. "How seldom it is one meets a fellow spirit."
Something flickered in the barber's eyes. "With fellow tastes in women, at least."
The judge chuckled uncomprehendingly. "What's that?"
Something dangerous gleamed in Mr. Todd's eyes. Johanna waited with bated breath, fearful for what was surely to come. The barber said in a low voice, "The years no doubt have changed me, sir. But then, I suppose the face of a barber, the face of a prisoner, a dog, is not particularly memorable."
Judge Turpin's look of confusion faded to one of horrible understanding. "Benjamin Barker." He growled.
Mr. Todd lifted his razor high, screaming out the name furiously. "BENJAMIN BARKER!" Hatred blazing in his eyes, he stabbed the judge's throat with his razor several times, blood spurting out onto his face and arms. A fierce light blazed in eyes as he killed the judge he hated so much. He paused, walking around to look the judge straight in the face, a fierce pleasure in his eyes. The heavily-bleeding judge let out a whimper of fear and pain.
Sweeney Todd slit the man's throat with his razor, then kicked the lever and sent him through the trapdoor. Once the judge was gone, he set down his razor. He suddenly seemed full of some inner peace.
Johanna lifted up the cover of the trunk, trying to get a better look at this Benjamin Barker. The barber turned, alerted by the sound, and picked up his razor once more. He began to walk over with his bloody razor in hand. Johanna gasped as he lifted the lid, revealing his blood-soaked face. "Come for a shave, have you lad?" He inquired in a dark tone.
Johanna shook her head, terrified. "No, I..."
Mr. Todd cut her off, yanking her out of the trunk. He threw her down onto the chair and remarked cruelly, "Everyone needs a good shave."
Mr. Todd lifted the razor. Johanna was frozen in place, preparing for death, when a scream came from below. Mr. Todd hesitated, then pulled Johanna close to his face. He looked her in the eyes, something other than hatred flashing in his eyes. Something like regret. "Forget my face." He whispered. The bloodied man hurried away, leaving the girl alone in the room.
Johanna sat very still for a long time, thinking about all she had heard. The barber had called himself Benjamin Barker. She knew that name very well indeed. How could she not? It was the name of her father.
Johanna stood shakily crossing the room slowly. She picked up the photograph once more, looking at the woman inside. The judge had once told her about her scumbag father who had a life sentence, and her beautiful mother who had gone mad from grief. He had told her that her father was a dangerous criminal, but she had never believed it. Half the people the judge convicted were innocent. The evidence, however, was undeniable. Her father was a murderer. There was no way to escape from that.
Suddenly, Johanna heard a scream of agony coming from below. She froze, uncertain of what to do. As she deliberated, the scream faded away to nothing. Johanna set the photograph down and began walking cautiously towards the door. She hesitated for a moment. Was she walking into a trap?Was she to die by her father's hand?
Johanna took a deep breath. Whatever happened to her, she couldn't let another innocent person die on her account. She slowly opened the door that led down into Mrs. Lovett's pie shop. The stairs creaked slightly as she made her way down.
Johanna found herself in a quiet little shop with a kitchen. It was also completely empty. She couldn't see anyone there who could have screamed. Johanna looked around, finally spotting a big metal door. The girl walked over and pulled it open to reveal a flight of stairs leading to another door. She made her way down carefully, trying not to trip in the darkness.
Johanna finally reached the last door. She hesitated, suddenly fearful of what she might see behind the metal door. The girl closed her eyes, taking in a deep, shaky breath. I cannot stand by while my own father murders. I must keep going.She slowly open the door, which creaked eerily as she pushed it back.
A morbid scene greeted her. The bodies of Judge Turpin and Beadle Bamford lay abandoned in a corner. Two more bodies lay a few paces away. The first was the mad beggar woman that Mr. Todd had killed. The second was Sweeney Todd, his throat slit by one of his own razors, which lay discarded behind him. The barber held the beggar woman in his arms, misery and tenderness lingering in his eyes beyond death.
Johanna gasped as she saw the beggar woman's face plainly for the first time. Though horribly distorted by years on the streets, her face was the face of Lucy Barker. Johanna's mother.
Johanna had resigned herself to the fact that her father was a murderer. She had come down here expecting to find him killing whoever had screamed, not bent miserably over the body of his wife. Johanna could see the love that lingered in his dull eyes and the tenderness with which he held his wife's body, and she remembered the faint regret in his eyes when he had spoken to her. They were not the eyes of a ruthless murderer, but those of a man who had been deeply wronged.
What had truly happened down here, who had killed her father, whom her father had killed, she might never know. But she could see now that her father had indeed felt love in his life. That was enough for her. Whatever wrong deeds he had committed, he had felt love, and he had felt regret. No point in trying to uncover his past sins now. What's dead is dead. He had clearly been a killer, but he had also been her father. She had to forgive him, if for no other reason than that. Let other hate him if they wished. She was his daughter, and she chose to forgive him.
Johanna reached out to touch her father's face, closing his eyes respectfully. She stood and was about to leave the room when she heard crying faintly in the distance. It seemed to be coming from the sewers. Johanna hesitated before making her way into the dank sewers.
She wandered through the sewers a while before coming upon a young boy curled up in fetal position, crying weakly. He had messy brown hair and patchy clothing. To Johanna's horror, the boy's shirt sleeve was stained with blood.
Johanna reached out and rested her hand on the boy's shoulder, shaking him slightly. "Hey there. Are you hurt? What's wrong?"
The boy looked up slowly, his eyes red from crying. "'E killed 'er." He said hoarsely. "Mr. Todd killed 'er."
Johanna wrinkled her brow. "He killed who?" Did he mean Lucy?
The boy sniffles slightly before answering, "Mrs. Lovett, ma'am. Like a mother to me she was. I couldn't let 'im 'urt 'er without paying for it." His voice dropped to a whisper as he continued, "I... I promised 'er I wouldn't let nothin' bad 'appen to 'er."
An eerie understanding washed over Johanna. "You killed Mr. Todd, didn't you?"
The child nodded, still curled up fearfully. "I 'ad to. They... they were plannin' to kill me, ma'am. 'E killed Mrs. Lovett I 'ad to kill 'im. I... I 'ad to." He lowered his head again.
Johanna thought for a while. Anthony would be back soon with the carriages. He did not need to see what she had seen. Anthony was a good man, but softhearted, and Sweeney Todd had been his trusted friend. He wouldn't be able to cope with the horrors the man had committed. She must forever keep the fate of her father from him. Let him believe that his friend was alive and well.
The girl looked down at the child. "Do you gave somewhere else to live?" The boy shook his miserably.
Johanna took the boy's hand in her own. "I'm going to make you a deal. If you promise never to speak of Sweeney Todd and the things that happened here again, I will take you with me."
The boy looked up, hope flashing in his dull eyes. "Really? You'll let me go with you, ma'am?"
Johanna nodded seriously. "But you must promise never to speak of this again, not even to me. Do you understand?"
The boy nodded fervently. "Thank you ma'am, thank you!" He got to his feet, wiping his nose on his sleeve. He noticed the blood on it, then looked away with a shudder. There was still misery deep in his eyes, but his natural cheerfulness had begun to repair itself. It was t much, but it was a start. "My name's Toby Ragg. What's yours, ma'am?"
Johanna turned her head, staring in the direction of her parents' bloody bodies. Finally, now that both were at the mercy of a higher power, she could bear their name with pride. "I'm Johanna Barker."
Toby reached out tentatively and grabbed Johanna's slender hand in his smaller one. Together, the two walked side by side out of the sewers and towards their new life.
I really like Johanna's character. I like how she's inherited some of her father's misery and strength, and how she's not just some pretty blond. I felt like showing her reaction to finding out who her father is. I mean, even if the judge didn't tell her who her father is, she knows that her last name is Barker as well. She's smart enough to put two and two together. I also wanted to give Toby a happy ending. I know that the musical's ending shows him going to an insane asylum, but I didn't want to do that to the poor guy.