Disclaimer: I do not own Sweeney Todd, his little silver friends, or that Cruella DeVille hairstyle he sports amazingly well.
Sweeney opened his dim, watery eyes; not really waking up, because he hadn't really slept. He spun in his chair, just a tiny bit, to face the door. It was barely sunrise, but already the weak light of another overcast morning perched its color across his shop. There was so little color here, among his shades of gray and black.
And Sweeney knew the distraction of colors. He painted himself awful messes in the most vibrant and permanent of reds. Warm, gurgling splashes that fed his appetite for graceful labor and cold fatalities.
His blades knew well the textures and flavors of crimsons, scarlets, rubies. They bathed in every hue, every remarkably metallic taste. Oh, how Sweeney loved, at the end of long day's effort, to glance his reflection in their tinted surfaces. He saw a man one death closer to that ultimate act of revenge. Clutching the silver handles until the shades of red ran over his knuckles, he would replay the day's triumphs and the nearly burgundy fantasies of the future—so dark in their reality.
But it was not red that caught his eye now. It was not a vulgar shade that shone off the refection of his newly sharpened blades. Blue, like the sky that rarely broke past the gloomy Fleet Street atmosphere, in the form of Mrs. Lovett's dress hem, just above her ankles. He hadn't noticed her entrance, until now. But no, he mused again, watching the threads without lifting his downcast gaze. Not quite sky blue, even if it had been a while since he'd seen past the clouds. More of a—
Ah, so it was. As blue as every water-logged fantasy she fed him. Her dress was now an unfortunate reminder of a life by the sea he could never picture himself a part of. Marriage, home, friends, good weather—he had lost them all, and if he was granted them again, a different setting with different people, his former happinesses would plague him enough to bar new ones.
The dress moved, and she with it, from the door to the middle-most window. "You ought to keep this open part o' the time, Mr. T. The frost is meltin', see, on the corners of the glass. Won't be as cold now." She stretched the pane upward, and caught it with a rusted hook. She dusted her hands, looking absently at the street below.
"You look exhausted," she murmured unhappily. "Can't say we'll have fewer customers today, eitha'. Oh, but you'll be all right with the work load, always are. They don't come tougher than you, Mr. T." She paused, tracing his gaze to the bottom of her dress. "Somethin' wrong, dear?"
He wanted to tell her to rip away the end of her dress; he'd do it himself, with the blades that stretched like extended flesh from his fingertips. But he'd just sharpened them, and fabric would undoubtedly dull the blades. So instead he continued staring, lost in the pattern's rhythmic nature. So like the sea…
Even Mrs. Lovett is was little like the sea, he mused. Only a bit. Not that she was blue herself, not wet or cold or salty. Yet her attitude toward him reminded him of waves. She was hesitant, at times, barely reaching out where he stood on the shore of their shop. Other times, it was a massive pull that tied her to him. She would grasp his arm and assail him with the weight of her dreams until their intensity pulled him under and he could feel the chill of a foreign, suffocating loss on reality. Like an awful tide, somehow mesmerizing in its vibrant motions.
Yet, the sea had brought him home, hadn't it?
That hem. That blue hem, it tossed about her ankles, each thread a fragment of future. A piece of her… and him, on a sandy remote setting.
"What's got you so thoughtful, Mr. Todd?"
And it isn't so bad, he thinks. Maybe he's beginning to like blue better than red.
And he wonders aloud, "Are there any barbers by the sea?"