A/N: This is not based on any particular version's Sweeney/Lovett, but rather on my own ideas of the characters (well mostly Mrs. Lovett). The characters belong to Sondheim/Wheeler, not myself.

CONNECTIONS

With only the moonlight, dimmed by the heavy smog omnipresent about the city, to light her way, the woman makes her way up the back stairs from her parlor to the upstairs apartment. The iron staircase shakes ever so slightly with each step, and the presence of a few loose screws may have annoyed Nellie Lovett under ordinary circumstances, but she pays it little mind now. The baking is done for the night and the boy sprawled pitifully in a gin-induced slumber in her sitting room. She is beckoned by the warm, orange glow of the solitary candle the man keeps on his side table. She has always found fire comforting in its flickering evanescence, like a small creature as easily stamped out as a cockroach upon her pie counter.

She does not knock when she reaches his door; she has progressed beyond that. The dusty old bell jangles pathetically as she enters. She immediately grimaces. The smell of iron hangs sharp in the air, so strong she can taste it on her tongue. He has given her two bodies today, and though he has cleaned all the blood from the walls and floor of the room, its presence still lingers heavily in the air. She has never cared for blood. Much too messy of an affair to deal with, really. She always lets the bodies bleed out before taking the knife to them.

Isn't it ironic, she thinks with a smirk, she's become more a proper artist with a knife, cleaving all that flesh from bone, than the dispatching barber himself. Sweeney Todd sits in front of her, in his precious chair; he has not so much as thrown half a glance in her direction since she came in. She knows he has expected her to come. It has become their ritual, this, hasn't it?

"The work's done for tonight, love."

He does not respond. He is brooding again; he broods more and more with each passing business day, and this annoys Mrs. Lovett. She takes a step closer to him, watching his stony features carefully.

"One of 'em, the sailor, he had a beautiful pearl necklace in his coat pocket and I saved it, I did, would be a real pity somethin' that lovely goin' to waste in the fire… I thought I could give it to our little Johanna when we get her back someday…"

A dark eye twitches and a hand, curled around a silver razor, tightens dangerously. Nellie feels a surge of excitement, amusement even, at his reaction. She takes a step closer yet.

"Of course, that's if we'll even get her back… Who knows what state she's in now? That old judge, he's not one for bein' disobeyed… Poor thing, she could be dead, or worse…"

Ah, that did it. He erupts toward her from the chair like a tiger closing in on its prey, dark eyes burning like twin oil lamps. The razor in his grip flashes menacingly close to her neck, as if he dares to pull it on her. Yes. Yes. This is what she wants. She slinks forward, cat-like, and melts into his labor-hardened chest, half-lidded green eyes boring into him hungrily. Her delicate, calloused fingers trace unidentifiable patterns on his blood-spattered shirt, making sure to skirt the crimson droplets.

"Oh, Mr. T… you couldn't do it, not to your Nellie…"

The razor does not relax. Her expression hardens momentarily.

"At least not until you get Judge Turpin, love, you know that. Come on now."

He lowers the razor and she reaches for it. She takes it with little resistance, and chances a look at it. She knows it to be his favorite, the engravings on the hilt worn away by the gentle caresses of his fingers. She sometimes wonders what it would feel like, to be one of his precious silver friends, how gentle his touch on her might be then…

She sets the razor down on his side table; the gleaming instrument, of course, is not the reason she is there. Mr. Todd does not look at her. He is lost, again; lost in that endless sea of anger she knows is boiling under his pallor. She touches his face gingerly, coaxing him to look at her, to feel a connection, fingers flickering over the lines on his weathered face.

He whirls on her furiously, knocking the wind out of her as he slams her into the wall of the shop; she can barely catch her breath as his mouth is on hers. She feels his lips curl into a snarl as he forces his tongue into her mouth, almost choking her with the strength of it. She wrestles her own with it, scraping the tip against his teeth. She tastes blood, but is not sure whom it belongs to; any pain she may have felt surely dulled by his fingers grasping crudely at her breasts, trying to free them from her bodice. She pulls away from the kiss and arches against him, ginger hair spilling down from her shoulders as she stretches her flesh free from their cloth prison. His mouth is immediately there, sucking hard on her right nipple. She cries out as she feels his teeth clamp on tight, her fingers digging into his scalp and clutching fistfuls of coarse black hair. His other hand, at her left breast, fondles roughly, squeezing the flesh as if to burst it.

"Mr. T… Let… up a bit, love…"

He lets up on her breasts, yes, the hand that had been so rough before now encircling her neck, not tight enough to choke her, but enough to pin her helplessly against the wall. She grasps at his shirt, not caring now for the slight damp of the bloodstains against her skin, pulling him closer as he shoves down his worn trousers. A rough, wide hand finds its ways beneath her skirts; he grabs her undergarment none too gently, exposing her to his touch. A slight grimace of arousal or even disgust on his face, he watches as his blunt, calloused fingers stroke erratically the chestnut curl covered juncture between her milky thighs. She gasps and shudders, and this only makes the hand at her throat tighten. Struggling to remain conscious, she braces herself against the wall for what she knows will ensue.

He enters her sharply; she is not well lubricated and the friction causes her to whimper. She wraps a leg around his waist as he clenches fiercely her buttock, supporting them both in their unwieldy dance. She closes her eyes, listening to his rhythmic growls as he fucks her, breath hot and ragged on her ear, his thrusts rough and threatening to bruise. He pleasures her, though it certainly is not his intention. She knows he resents her, knows he cannot find her attractive or love her, not the way she wishes he would, knows he is using her – but not as much as she is using him. She hears his voice give an involuntary lurch, like a child's sob, as he succumbs to her, hand tightening so hard upon her throat now that she cannot see anything but bright, flashing lights; she cannot see his face as she cries out to him with the last of her breath.

"… Benjamin!"

He pulls away from her, her vision still murky as the water of the Thames but able to sense his horror nonetheless. Her heart soars at it. He cannot keep his eyes off of her, now; yes, now she has what she wanted from him. He is powerless. As her vision clears and she looks into the dark pools of his eyes, she sees heartbreak swimming amongst the anger. She grabs his hand, delight and passion and arousal playing upon her face yet nothing but coldness in her eyes, and touches herself with it. Not taking her eyes off of his, she climaxes gloriously.

Some time later, she finds herself caressing his arm as he caresses his razors and she feels she can understand him. He is off again, retreating deeper into his monstrous little world, but she knows him on some level. She knows they are destined to be one, the two of them, two people with broken souls making a life of death, together. She thinks it's a rather beautiful sentiment. She leans her head into his, grasping his hand with one of hers. He needs her.

"Come on to bed, Mr. T…"

As she leads him wordlessly out of the room, she does not forget to snuff out the candle.