A/N: This is a series of three one-shots (so I guess it's a three shot) that are more or less interconnected solely by the line 'His name was Benjamin'. However, they can easily be read as a single story. It's really up to you, the reader. Anyways, this first one is Sweeney's POV, the second is Mrs. Lovett's, and the third is Toby's. Only the last is AU. The first two could have happened within the bounds set by the movies. Anyways, enjoy. Please read and review if you like it.


What I feel is not mere anger. It is a rare fury, hot and red and sticky as the blood that runs down my skin in rivulets. It is almost alive in its own right, pulsing within me. There is no escaping it. It disgusts me, but I am past the point of disgust; entrances me, but I am already a slave to it. I can no longer distinguish my blood from that of the unlucky victim I have so recently dispatched because everything hurts. Such pain is hardly unusual. Everything hurts but I feel nothing. I feel nothing.

There is only red in my vision, the slick stains on the floor and the walls and on me affecting my mind so completely that everything – whether it truly is or not – appears to be caked in blood. The moon itself can easily be scarlet instead of silver, bathing everything in a diabolical light. I stand, chest heaving, eyes wild, and stomp heavily down on the pedal. The barber chair contorts and heaves, tipping backwards and dumping so many pounds of human meat down into the trap door. It swings shut and I hear the muffled crunch of bones snapping. The screaming, the gurgling, the spray, and the crunch - it is my own twisted orchestra, a symphony of chaos that I compose every day. It sounds constantly in my head; the sound of death that is my life's own score. And it always needs another movement.

Breathing so heavily I am nearly panting, I sink down onto my chair, thudding heavily against the back. My eyelids slip shut and black overtakes the red. My temples pound, the exhilaration and sheer wonder that always accompanies the climax of my masterpiece steadily draining away through my feet as it always does. I am hollow, the thoughts and feelings and breath and heartbeats echoing inside of me, floating around without aim or cause. It always feels worse to be so low after being so high, the fall from the pinnacle of existence ending in a destructive crash. Craving it, needing it, I retreat further into the void of nothing. Loving it. Hating it.

There is Lucy, and there is the Judge, and I am going to kill him. That is all there is to life – all there needs to be. The acidic burn of the anger falls away to emptiness, followed by the grief and the hurt. Until I kill the judge, it will be like this. After that... I am not sure.

Without warning, I find myself lost in a frenzied swirl of words; where there has been only silence and the scream of my jumbled thoughts, now there is noise and speech, and I am being dragged roughly out of my reverie.

" –all these bloodied shirts an' all. Well, here's your laundry anyways, Mr. T."

There is suddenly a pile of clothes upon my lap. I glance down at them, scowling.

"No use talking to you," the voice – now easily recognizable as Mrs. Lovett – complains. "A bloody corpse would be a better conversationalist . Ah well, I take what I can get, I guess. Try to keep your clothes a bit neater next time, will you?"



I leap to my feet, suddenly aware that I am covered in the red liquid. It is caked on my skin, my hair, my room. Everywhere. "We have to clean this up." What if the judge comes? What if he comes and sees this! Then I will never get to him.

"Why do you think I came up here?" I don't need to look up to realize that there is a bucket of soapy water in her hands. I can hear the condescension in her voice, the amusement and frustration all rolled into one. And yet there is an underlying... something. A something that is always there, always ultimately more powerful than any other sound. The something is only meant for me, I know, and it only ever grew the closer I got to her. I can hardly care less.

"Of course." I respond to her blabbing without giving much thought to the words that slipped from either my lips or from hers. I peel off my sodden shirt, opening the trap door once more and throwing it down. Watching the fluttering descent of the cloth until it comes to land upon the recently dispatched customer who also rests below, I then turn to Mrs. Lovett. She looks startled, jumping back slightly as if I had been turning on her with my razor blades rather than to simply grab the bucket from her hands. I clutch the course braided rope that makes up the handle and slosh the water all over the floor. Without another word, I snatch the brush, scrubbing away in silence.

I feel her eyes on my back. They burn like nothing else I have ever encountered. Uncomfortable, I wish she would stop staring at my bare skin with such a strange hunger. Her gaze makes my entire body bristle with revulsion, almost as if she is actually touching me. It takes a moment for me to realize that she is, and I stop my work, frozen beneath her fingers. Anger flares up and I twist about to look at her. Surprisingly enough, she also appears angry. She is speaking again, but I am too distracted to listen to her or to remain furious enough to take action against her. I need her and she needs me and neither of us can succeed without the other. For now.

I cannot kill the judge without her. Or without getting the floor clean.

"Look at the laundry!" she is saying by the time her barrage of words penetrate my defences. "Do you have any idea how long it took me to get these clean! Now they're filthy again! Next time, don't stand up when there's clothes on yer BLOODY lap!" she is almost screaming now, her harsh voice grating against my ears. Her noise echoes around the room, against the walls, taking the place of the symphony I work so hard to create. After a long moment of suffering through her tirade, I stand. "You try washing your own shirts next time, and I'll soak them in blood, eh?" she yells.

I stare at her for a moment, examining her face. "I'm sorry." I mutter finally, spitting out the words. I do not mean them, nor do I sound for a moment like I do. But I know that they will pacify her for the time being. They do every time.

Lovett stares back at me; her eyes wandering downward, only briefly, across my bare chest. And then along my belt and onto the razors gleaming from my holster. Back up again and to my eyes. I look away. 

The eyes are the window to the soul and I know all she will see is black. And red. That's all I see. "I guess I forgive you," she says predictably. She always does. "I always do... except for once."

I am back on my knees. Scrubbing. Cleaning. The judge could come any minute.

"Except for one man. I don't know if I can ever forgive you for killing him."

What makes her think I want her forgiveness? All I want is the Judge... and my Lucy. Her face dances in and out of focus. But she still has yellow hair. As always, my thoughts of her are one of the few constants in an unstable world; a vision of my Lucy can at once keep me alive and bring my world crashing down. A constant like my precious silver friends. Beautiful, entrancing, wonderful. And a constant like the infuriating chatter of my neighbour. Except that she has suddenly stopped speaking.

The rhythmic sound of my scrubbing stops. Why isn't she speaking? I fix the floor with an appropriate scowl, my muscles locking up from the shock of the silence. My world is thrown into a spin. I have wanted her to leave me alone... but now that she has, I am not sure of what to make of it. My gruffness has never stopped her before. What is different this time? I remain immobile for some time, only the sound of my breathing filling the void that she has left. My thoughts and feelings are contradictory and I do not know what to do or what to think, so I think and I do nothing. I feel nothing.

Finally, she begins again and the little normalcy that my world permits is restored.

"He was a good man, you know," she is saying, though her voice is oddly thoughtful and sincere compared to her usual meaningless chatter. Occasionally it seems if the woman stopped talking the world would stop, so she would just kept going for all eternity. My inability to cope a moment past proved that theory to be all-but true. "A good man." I am not particularly surprised by the news. I have probably killed many good men, but they still deserved to die. Everyone does. No-one is that good. I need to kill the judge.

"There are a lot of good men," I growl. This one had been no different than all the rest of the folk. Probably happy, perhaps with a family and a pathetically cheery smile on his face. Pushing myself to my feet, I survey my handiwork. The floor is spotless. I turn to Lovett, planning on telling her to leave. I no longer need her; my work is done and it is fine with me if the world is chaos without her and I can't move. But she is gone. I hear a noise behind me and whirl around, my fingers brushing the silver tops of my razors. Their feel send shivers down my spine. Lovett kneels on the floor, retrieving all the clothes that I had dropped earlier. "A kind man," she says, continuing her list of all the things that she would never forgive me for destroying.

"There are lots of kind men," I respond again. I wonder if this conversation is some sort of veiled condemnation for not being all the things she mentions. A kind man would have helped her instead of blankly watching her gather up the bundle of clothes. Give her some appreciation instead of using her for laundry and food. But that was why the good, kind men are dead, and I am still alive. Lovett stands, struggling to hold all the clothes at once without dropping them. She fails, but eventually she gets 

everything balanced perfectly well without my help. Dropping the clothes onto my barber's chair, she picks them one by one and surveys the blood and grime on them with a very displeased eye.

"Look what you did, Mr. T," she chastises. "These were perfectly clean."

"Your man sounds perfect," I say suddenly. The man has been on my mind - not the state of clothes - and mention of him slips out from my lips without my conscious consent. "More like a dog than a person. Like a dog," I hiss. I am angry at her for throwing my faults in my face.

"Oh, he had his faults, love," she assures me. I wait, glowering across the room at her, watching her fold laundry for a long time. She is dragging out the moment, ignoring me purposefully. I am not in the mood for games, but neither will I give her the satisfaction of inquiring further into the matter. It is a game of silence, and I am the master. She cannot stand going long without talking, so I know I will win. But it is a horrible wait and I am almost certain my patience will fail. I almost break when she sighs. She seems to sense that she has lost and must speak before her very head bursts from the strain of abstinence. I am thankful, for one moment later and she would have been the victor. "He was too in love," she admits.

I recoil. It hits very closely to home. Such a fault is a devastating one. A mistake only made by a fool. He deserved to die, then. It is better that I killed him than to let him feel the inevitable pain of loss. Lovett should realize this. "He deserved to die." I don't realize that I am speaking until Lovett responds.

"I know, love. We all deserve to die, hmm?" she is teasing now. Not completely, for there is still that light of the something lurking in her gaze and she seems oddly morose, but it is enough for me to bristle slightly at her words. At my words. She finishes folding the laundry, having separated the garments that remained clean from the dirty ones. Silently, which is a strange state for her, she puts the clean clothes away in a large trunk in the corner of the room.

When she is finished, she moves close to me, shirt in hand. I take it from her and put it on at her wordless command, slipping into it without care for how messily it hangs from my impoverished frame. I wonder again why she looks at me the way she does - a sorrowfully abused, scrawny man, hardened from years of labour - but I make no more of it. She is talking again, and this time I am listening. "Ah, he was a bloody fool, he was," she recollects. Her voice holds fondness and regret. She speaks as if she is just realizing that her words really are true. "He never knew I loved him."

I frown. So I had killed her lover, had I? The thought makes my pulse race, sending perverse chill down my spine. I did not know that she had a lover after her gross mammoth of a husband had finally gone off and died. Stolid as always, my face does not reflect any of my inner thoughts. Did she bake him into her diabolical pies along with all my other faceless victims? Did she watch as he got devoured by her hungry patrons? She is buttoning my collar, her face nearly buried in the neck of my shirt as her fingers work. She winds a cravat around my neck and tugs on the cloth, straightening it over my throat.

I pull away. It is straight enough. I began to pace, slowly. The rhythm of my boots is soothing.

Who was this man? I am not sure why I care, but I am disgusted at myself and the fact that I do. Lovett crosses her arms and stands, unmoving, watching as I traipse back and forth across the floor. Back and 

forth. Again, and again, and again. Lovett is moving to the clothes on my barber's chair, bathed in the silver of the moon, the moon that had only moments ago been as red as blood. Not looking at her, for my eyes are glued to the floorboards, I can hear her move to the door. The quiet jingle of the bell alerting me to her movements. She is finally leaving me, alone with my demons.

"Got eaten up, did he?" I wonder almost silently, lost in curiosity, torn between that and an unfamiliar emotion that could almost have been guilt.

"No." Lovett answers simply. I am startled that she had heard me and glance up only long enough to fix her with a smouldering look. Why was she still here? I do not meet her gaze for very long, moving towards the window. I now pretend like she has already left, as she should have. There had been no reason for her to disturb me in the first place. I could live another day without clean shirts, with a bloody room.

No, no I couldn't. But that didn't give her a reason to stay.

I hear her speak a name.

My heart nearly stops. "What did you say?" I whisper, feeling the corners of my mouth twitch as my mind processed the information it is suddenly bombarded with. My eyes are hard, blank, and my brows lower to darken them further with angry black shadows. "What- what did you say?" I demand again, voice sharper. I nearly scream, my voice a gravelly roar that explodes from my chest. The power of it rattles the pane of glass that separates me from the filthy air of London.

"His name was Benjamin." She says it. I knew it! I am pulling air in through my nose, filling my lungs and breathing , slowly. My jaw is tight, my neck is tight and my head feels as if it will burst from the strain. I look about, frantic to find some sort of escape route. I feel caged. She is at the door. I should kill her, but I know I will not. There is only one thing left to do. I fall away from myself, moving mechanically to my barber's chair and sitting down. I stretch out upon it, a mess of arms hung haphazardly over the arm-rests and legs sprawled out in front of me. I retreat back into my shell, the fire in my eyes dwindling out until I can finally breathe again.

I shut the room out and my lips form the words I had said and believed far too often. "He deserved to die." Even Lovett herself had admitted that Benjamin had been a fool. The biggest fool of all.

"He deserved to die," Lovett agrees slowly, "but do you deserve to live?"

It is not a hard answer. "No."

"No," She agrees again. "But don't try to institute justice this time, love. I'm not in the mood for Sweeney pie." She is gone. There is silence.

And I feel nothing.