A/n: okay okay okay, I'm horrible I know. But still. My life is crazy, I haven't had the time or inclination to keep going. I was in a show that got crazy, but in the moment I'm in audition-callback limbo of Jekyll and Hyde (Lucy Harris PLEASE!), so why not keep going?

Oh and Saloma-Kiwi, if you're still reading, the plans for a certain gossipy, pompous throat will be revealed within the next two chapters…hooray!

Alright, enough Lindsey-teenage-angst chapters. Time to move the story along. Hooray!

Chapter 10

For several weeks, life passed without incident on Fleet Street. Business in the barber shop continued steadily. The pie shop was thriving. Lindsey learned to hold her head high against gossip, like her mother had. Sweeney fought murderous urges to slaughter every gossiping vulture that looked at Lindsey sideways. Lindsey had gotten past her fear of the bake house. Sweeney was bit more outward about his feelings. But only a little.

But of course it couldn't last.

Mostly because Dahlia Brady was bitter. And very perceptive.

She had been a childhood friend of Benjamin Barker. As they grew into young adults, she grew to love him. But just as Nellie's had been, her love was thwarted by Lucy Carlisle. She was 17, beautiful, and blonde. With one look, 19 year old Benjamin Barker was lost to both Nellie and Dahlia. Within two months, they were married. In a year, Johanna was born.

Her father had been ready to give Dahlia and Benjamin his blessing, that is, if Ben ever asked for her hand. Thus the rivalry between Nellie Lovett and Dahlia Taylor began. Nellie had less a chance at him than Dahlia. Nellie Landon had married Albert Lovett a year prior to Lucy's arrival in London. By the time Johanna was born, their daughter Lindsey was already two.

Dahlia couldn't help herself but to wish horrible things on Lucy Barker. She hated her. It wasn't long after losing Ben that her father married her off to Louis Brady. She now had a husband, and soon after, a child to look after. She had to put Benjamin Barker behind her. And for the most part, she did. Even after he was arrested and Lucy died (a day she celebrated) she rarely thought of him. The first time she did was twelve years later. Anne was twelve, the twins were ten, and Louis had taken very ill. Pneumonia. It struck and killed quickly. She was left a widow. Alone, she was left to wallow in all the loss she'd experienced in her life, including Ben, who wasn't dead, but may as well have been since the day he married Lucy. Three years later, she caught sight of Sweeney Todd in the marketplace with Nellie Lovett and her daughter. Anne had insisted on greeting Lindsey, who she highly considered her best friend. Dahlia knew that the twins would react to the trio however she did, so even as Anne exchanged an enthusiastic greeting with her friend, the twins stood behind their mother, exchanging tight-lipped smiles with Nellie. Right off, Dahlia thought nothing of the disheveled, angry man with them. But she caught him staring at her, and it was then that she looked straight into his eyes. Though they were brown instead of black, she would know their shape, their depth, their history anywhere. When she pointed out that Nellie had yet to introduce them to her friend, he was introduced as Sweeney Todd.

This took Dahlia off-guard. She spent days agonizing over this. It finally occurred to her. Of course if he had been arrested and banished for life, Benjamin Barker wouldn't keep his old name. There was no way there was another man who looked so similar and knew to go back to the barber shop on Fleet Street.

Now she and Nellie were on an even playing field. Both widowed. Both with children. Except Nellie had a slight advantage. She was around him all day, every day. Dahlia had no excuse to be there. She had no sons to bring for a shave. She never bothered with Nellie Lovett's pies, she always preferred Mrs. Mooney's shop. So she found a reason to use Anne for once. She'd always felt that her eldest daughter's friendship with Lindsey Lovett rendered her useless. The twins were her pride and joy. Anne was to be ignored at all costs. But whenever she brought her daughter to visit her friend, Mr. Todd was nowhere to be seen.

It had been months since she had visited the pie shop when the news of Nellie's death, and Lindsey's marriage, reached her. Before sending her daughter's for confirmation of this news, she started up the rumor mill-like mother, like daughter. It wasn't like she hadn't targeted Nellie Lovett before. How different could Lindsey be?

In the end, even after her death, Nellie Lovett managed to triumph. No, she had not won Mr. Todd in the end. But her daughter did. And for that, Lindsey Lovett had to go.

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Across London, Sweeney Todd had become uncomfortably aware of the policemen that had been watching the shop all day, since he and Lindsey had gotten up. He was worried. Not only for his sake, but also for Lindsey's. He knew she had made a mistake, sending Toby away instead of dispatching him. Had he finally turned them in after all this time? If he discovered that Mrs. Lovett was dead, he certainly would.

It was around four in the afternoon, just an hour before the dinner rush would start. Sweeney was with a customer. He had finally managed to forget about the officers. He had stopped checking on them periodically. That was his first mistake.

There was a commotion in the shop below him. He raced to the window, and saw his entire life crashing down. There was a crowd of people, bystanders, outside the pie shop. There was a police carriage with four more officers. And the two officers that had been on the street all day were dragging Lindsey out of the shop.

STSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTSTST

They weren't there for them. She was just paranoid.

That was what Lindsey had tried to tell herself since she had started the breakfast pies. Those two officers are merely supervising. Maybe it was a new operation, station a couple officers on a different street every day, just to watch the proceedings of life around there, and today was Fleet Streets turn.

At the same time, she was reminded that she had let the only living breathing witness of Sweeney Todd's crimes go free. She couldn't bring herself to kill him. He was only a boy. But maybe that was a mistake. She tried to go about her day in a relatively normal fashion. She made the pies, baked them, and served them, like she did every day.

She had brought her last batch upstairs for the day. She had a good hour before the dinner rush began. She was pleased that she was ahead today. The sign on the door still said closed. That's why it was most curious when she heard the door open.

"We won't be serving pies for another hour, I'm sorry," she said, without looking up from her work.

"We're not here for pies," a deep voice said.

Lindsey looked up. It was the two officers. Bloody brilliant. She swallowed and took a deep breath before answering. "What can I help you gentlemen with then?" Cool, calm, and collected. She could do this.

"Are you Lindsey Lovett?" the other asked.

"Todd," she corrected, going back to her work, trying to look calm.

"Is your maiden name Lovett?"

"Yes sir."

The larger of the two took a few steps towards her. "Then I'm afraid you must come with us."

Lindsey backed away from his outstretched hand. "Whatever for?"

The other started around the other side of the counter. Lindsey was trapped. "Miss, please come quietly, we don't need you to make a scene."

She backed defensively into the wall. "I will come quietly if you will tell me what I am being taken for."

The first officer nodded to his partner. They seized her around her upper arms. Foolishly, she dropped her rolling pin to the floor. She thrashed against their hold, but they were stronger than her. She fought against them, making it difficult for them to haul her out of her shop. She was trying to buy herself time. Where was Sweeney?

There was a crowd gathered by now, but she didn't care who saw. She thrashed, kicked, and fought against her captors. She was nearly to carriage they had waiting outside, when a voice behind them growled, "Let her go!"

Her head snapped around. She let out a sigh of relief. Sweeney had come to her rescue after all. He wouldn't allow these men to take her away. Before the officers had time to react, Sweeney had reached them.

"Let her go I said," he growled again, seizing her shoulders and ripping her from their hold. He locked her into his embrace and retreated from the officers.

"Sir, we have a warrant for her arrest, I'm afraid she's going to have to come with us."

Sweeney glared back at the officer who'd spoken. "On what charges?" The two men exchanged an uncomfortable glance. "On what charges?" Sweeney repeated, his voice low and dangerous.

One of the men drew a paper out from his pocket and read aloud, "The warrant is for the arrest of one Lindsey Lovett for the murder of Tobias Ragg."

The pair gasped. "I didn't kill him!" Lindsey shrieked.

"Then where is he?"

"He left the shop, right after my mother died. I never laid a hand on him, you can be sure of that."

The officers looked at each other. "Sergeant!" on of them called towards the group of three by the carriage. The tallest of the three joined them. In hushed tones, Lindsey's plea was explained to him. He surveyed Lindsey and Sweeney with cold, eyes, completely without compassion.

"So what's the problem? You have the warrant. I don't care if you have to kill the barber first. Take her!"

An immediate struggle ensued. The first two officers went for Lindsey. With one hand still holding her, Sweeney beat both of them back, then reached for the razor at his hip.

It took two officers to drag Lindsey away from Sweeney, and three to beat him into submission, or at least stop him from going after her.

When it became clear to Lindsey that Sweeney would not be able to rescue her now, she began to scream. Her mind was racing too fast for her to form thoughts or words. She just screamed.

Sweeney fought hard against the three holding him away from his struggling wife. One knocked the razor from his hands. Another punched him straight in the stomach, causing him to drop to the ground. The third rained several blows to his face until his nose was bleeding, his lip was split, and one eye was blackened.

The beating continued until Sweeney was completely subdued and Lindsey was gone. The crowd began to disperse in horror. The three officers left him lying in the street, bruised, bleeding, and unconscious.

In the shadows cast by the stairs of the barber shop, Dahlia Brady carefully measured the results of her experiment. A smirk spread across her face. For once, she had done well. For the first time, she had come out on top.