Chapter 1: Life Goes On

In the stillness of the night, anticipation permeated the air in complete irony. He rushed down the darkened corridor, the trinkets that crowded the floral-papered walls were hidden without light. In the countless times he threaded this path, his feet have memorized the way. He turned the knob without preamble, not even bothering to knock as if he would always be welcomed.

Only one candle on the bedside lit the room, casting shadows on the silhouette of the woman lying on her side, facing away from him as he stood by the door. He closed the door with his foot and as an afterthought, turned in the lock before he took large strides to the bed, discarding his cravat and bloodied shirt along the way. The mattress dipped with his weight as he scrambled to remove his boots and trousers, crawled over to spoon against the woman lying on top of the quilt. His hands sought the curve of her hips, tracing the silk of her slip down to its laced hem draping over the mid of her thigh.

Her calm breathing hitched as his fingers grazed the inside of her thighs, waking her from slumber.

"Ohhhhh, Mr. T," Nellie whimpered, edging her body closer to him.

He felt her hand grasped his, guiding his fingers into her as he nuzzled her neck through her thick messy curls. One of his legs draped over her, pulling her even closer to him as her body quavered with his ministrations in her core.

"Please...Mr. T, please..." Her begging was accompanied with her thighs and her walls squeezing his fingers.

Nellie was close to completion. He withdrew his fingers from her and rolled her to her chest—the pillow muffling her scream as he entered her in one stroke, the warmth of her sheath sending waves of pleasure through his tip. He tried to set a slower pace, thrusting in and out from behind her with subdued force. But when Nellie reached for the headrail to pull herself to her knees, both their movements became frantic—their bodies colliding with each other with much roughness.

He was beginning to lose control when he groped her chest and knead them hard in time of his thrusting. That was her undoing. She let go of the headrail to clutch his hands to her chest as she screamed his name while falling to the bed. The feel of her trembling against his body intensified for him the sensations of their coupling, he lost it too. He spilled his seed inside her, prolonging her own release.

Weak-kneed, they completely crashed to the mattress, his body trapping hers under. Only when he could take control of his breathing did he manage to pull out from her and roll off to his side of the bed. No sooner did she drape her arms around him and lovingly reached for a peck to his lips. She drifted back to slumber with her head pillowed on his chest while he absently stroked her wild tresses.

It was still dark when he woke up, morn has come but he very much doubted that the sun would dare peek in this gloomy London day. Despite the chill he knew was invading the outside cobblestone street, he felt warmth all over his body with Nellie snuggled right beside him. It was a much preferable option—to stay awake in bed with Nellie, waiting until she woke up and return the favour from last night.

But as he won't to admit, life goes on.

It was simply not the day to let time pass while lounging in bed; perhaps tomorrow could do? For today, let alone this morning, there was a multitude of tasks needing his attention. He left the bed feeling immediately cold even with the freshly laundered clothes Nellie always kept in the room for him. Before he changed his mind and get back to bed with Nellie, he dashed out of her bedroom, taking care to move silently so as not to wake her.

He went straight to the parlor for his first set of tasks, pausing at the entryway to ready himself for the next encounter. Much to his astonishment, the room was empty. He entered, nonetheless, to look around—finding blankets neatly folded in the couch; not one thing left that did not belong to either him or Nellie. They must have escaped to their new life in the wee hours of dawn, vanishing in a puff of smoke, without even leaving a piece of note for he had searched high and low and found nothing—not that he would admit it to Nellie.

Trying not to spare them another thought, he decided he would pour himself a strong tot of gin before Nellie could catch him; reprimanding him for drinking this early in the morning like a true hypocrite.

The second surprise of the day sprung out for him before he could get his hands to Nellie's gin.

"Mr. Todd! I hope you don't mind we helped ourselves in your kitchen," the sailor explained with a quiver still in his voice, possibly a remnant from his fear of him the night prior.

But Sweeney did not pay him any mind for his eyes sought the golden-haired maiden who had dropped her cup of tea the moment she saw him. It was like he had gone back in time— seeing Lucy before all the tragedy had wasted her. No, perhaps not before any tragedy stroke for the lady standing before him already had a hardened, beautiful face. There was a bit of Nellie there in Johanna's face—the look of a woman hardened by misfortune but came out triumphant. He figured Johanna could survive life without him.

"We really wanted to wait for you before we go... to thank you for, er, taking care of the judge and the beadle."

Anthony offered his hand to Sweeney, and absently, he shook it without much force as his eyes were still glued to Johanna.

"We better go now if we don't want to miss the ship. I'll—I'll go hire a coach and be back for Johanna. If she could stay for a bit while, Mr. Todd."

With his assent, Anthony went off with his little rucksack, leaving Johanna alone with him. The girl—no—the woman, clasped his hands, eyes shining with much gratefulness that made him look away.

"We are eternally thankful, Mr. Todd. Anthony and I, we would never forget your kindness and Mrs. Lovett's," the lilt of her voice sounded like a melody to him. "Here, I scribbled a little note last night, just in case we didn't see you before we leave. If you could just give it to her," she took a folded paper from her coat pocket and slipped it out to his hands. Eyes completely focused on the note on his hand, he did not see the embrace coming. He just stood there stiff while his only daughter embraced him for the first and last time. He ran out of time and before he could decide on how to respond, Anthony was back, more than eager to whisk away Johanna for good.

"Johanna, we're ready to go," the sailor announced and Johanna pulled away. Without hurry, she tied the bow of her bonnet to her chin while Anthony took the carpet bag Nellie had prepared for them.

"Goodbye, Mr. Todd," he heard Johanna whispered but he did not look up. He certainly did not usher them to their coach either. When the sound of their steps faded, he rushed down the bakehouse; wanting to shut the noise of the coach out as the two went away.

The bakehouse smelled of death—for how many corpses were just lying there waiting to be butchered? There were the two perverted bastards he slit the throats yesterday afternoon, and possibly another one by the counter. But he was down there for only one body. There, lying dead center in the room, right below the chute connected from the bottom of his barber chair was Turpin's corpse.

He strode to his body with purpose, his razor unsheathed in his hand. He wanted to drive it to his carcass over and over until all blood dripped from his body; mutilating his corpse as he had played Benjamin Barker's life. But when he saw his face, wide-eyed in fear even in death, he realized he need not waste anymore of his strength to this pathetic excuse of a man. He had exacted Lucy's revenge—a life for a life. Perhaps it was high time to end this bloodied madness?

Without even realizing, he dropped his razor to the floor, only barely registering as it clattered to the ground. He dragged the corpse by its measly hair and without hesitation threw it in the oven to burn in the eternal fire of hell. He did not want Nellie either to waste her time butchering and baking this one to a pie.

He stood there watching the fire as it caught on and turned the body into ash, thinking what could possibly lay ahead? Aside from his vengeance, what else did he has? An estranged daughter who will never know who he was, ready to sail away to another life. And—

There were light footsteps from behind him; and in a matter of time, Nellie was right beside him; clad in nothing but her shrill dressing gown and cradling two bottles of gin in her arms.

One bottle went to him, and with possibly a renewed sense of hope, Nellie clinked her bottle to his.

"Congratulations, Mr. T."

aeipathy - an enduring and consuming passion

I don't know why I'm so obsessed with these one-word titles. Hopefully, I would be able to write another fic with a longer title.

And I don't know what kind of crazy of I am for starting this fic without finishing Metanoia first. But this one was supposed to be the first fic, and it just keep on distracting me while I try to update. So there.

Thoughts? I hope y'all like it. xxx

PS. Ally and Sofia—you're the best.