Quite a difference

It was very early in the morning when a certain baker woke up abruptly. She was trembling with fear and in spite of the fact she didn't wear anything, sweat was dripping from her body. Even now that she was awake, she could still feel and smell the fire that had burned her in her nightmare.

Desperate to get out of the bed in which she had dreamed so realistically about dying in such a horrible way, she rolled to the edge to escape from the rumpled sheets around her.

However, while doing so she bumped into a person who had just awoken by her own screams.

Thinking it was him, she tried to move to the other part of the bed, but before she could do so she was pulled back by two gentle arms.

"Nellie?" a voice asked kindly. "What's wrong?"

"Benjamin? Is that you?" the baker asked in return.

"Yes, it's me," Mr. Barker said softly to his wife. "What happened?"

The woman sighed in relief as she heard the calming voice of the man she had married a few weeks ago.

"I had such a terrible dream," she muttered as she moved back into the bed to cuddle against her husband.

Benjamin wrapped his arms around his wife and gently stroked her back to comfort her.

"Do you want to tell me about it?"

"Yes, I think so," she said softly into his hear. "I dreamed that... you were married to another woman, you even had a child together, and I was married to another person too. I was in love with you, but you didn't love me at all. There was an evil Judge who lusted after your wife and he banished you so he could steal your wife and daughter. After fifteen years you escaped and returned home, but your family was gone."

Nellie's speech faltered for a few seconds as she was again overwhelmed by the cruelty of the dream she just had had.

"And what happened then?" Mr. Barker asked as he held her tight. "Did I... did I fall in love with you?"

"No," the baker replied, tears welling in her eyes as she realized how the man from her nightmare hadn't fallen in love with her at all. "You had become a totally different person. You called yourself Sweeney Todd and you swore to take revenge on the Judge who had destroyed your family. You became totally obsessed with it, but I still couldn't help but love you, no matter what you did to me in my dream."

The barber wanted to interrupt her, but he remained silent as he saw how desperately the woman in his arms wanted to tell about her nightmare.

"But it was my fault," she mumbled. "When you, or rather Sweeney Todd, returned to London, I told him that Lucy, the woman he had married, was dead. It wasn't a complete lie, but it wasn't the truth either. She had poisoned herself but the arsenic hadn't killed her body, only her mind. I didn't want Mr. Todd to be confronted with that, I wanted him to be happy – with me. But when he was about to kill the Judge, a crazy beggar woman interrupted him. To get rid of her, Mr. Todd cut her throat. Only when the Judge was dead too, he recognized the beggar woman as his wife. He realized that I had lied to him about his wife and that I was thus responsible for her death. Because of that, he threw me in my own burning oven. I thought I was dead, but then I woke up here."

Still traumatized by the terrible nightmare, the baker started to cry silently. Her husband immediately pulled her closer to him and wiped the tears from her face.

"Don't cry, my love," he whispered in her ear. "It was a nightmare. It's not real."

She managed to nod before she buried her face in the crook of his neck, wanting to be as close to her real husband as possible to prove to herself that this was indeed Benjamin Barker and that he wasn't married to a certain yellow-haired woman called Lucy, but to her.

"Do you feel this?" Benjamin asked as he took her hands in his and held them firmly. "This is real. And I promise you, Nellie, nothing will ever come between us."

The baker looked at the man who was holding her hands. Moonlight reached the room and showed the familiarly handsome features of her husband. His eyes were filled with love and there was so much confidence in his voice that she finally calmed down.

"That's better, isn't it?" the barber asked gently.

She nodded, this time really managing to smile.

"I love you Ben," she sighed.

"I love you, too," he replied, stroking her hair. "You know I do."

He let go off her hands and instead he reached for her face. Nellie sat up and tangled her hands in the barber's hair.

As their lips met for a long and deep kiss, the memories of the nightmare faded and the fear and pain she had felt only minutes ago, were replaced with happiness. The woman felt better because her dream had made her realize once more that she should never, never take her wonderful husband for granted.

A few minutes later, both of them were asleep again in each other's arms and, this time, Nellie's sleep wasn't disturbed by the slightest hint of the bad dream she had had earlier; all there was, all there would ever be, was Benjamin Barker. Her Benjamin Barker.