A/N: I am trying out different writing styles and stuff, and this is certainly... different. I'm not quite sure what the heck this is... butyeah! Thanks for reading it anyways! xDDD Reviews are love. 3

One thousand, eight-hundred and twenty three. One thousand, eight-hundred and twenty four. One thousand, eight-hundred and twenty five scratches on the wall. Sixty months. Five years.

Five years of losing his thoughts to the beat of the drums. Drums to the beat of his pick, pounding down, pounding down. Splintering rock. Every day it is the same. Break your back or they do it for you. 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger,' they say, they lie. What doesn't kill you simply doesn't kill you.

Sixty months. Five years.

Five years by the crack of the whip, the rattle of the chain, and the screams of the men affected by both. This is a road less travelled, a path less taken. A crossroads and a turning point. Between Barker and someone else. Someone else who could stand behind Barker and stick his fingers into his ears, up to the knuckle if need be, to keep out the sound of the screams. Someone who could stand between Barker and the sun that burns and kills. Someone who could place his hands over the barber's eyes, and stare at the man with the gun without flinching. Because that someone just wouldn't care.

It is a choice. At once easier and harder. Build a better mousetrap, build a better man. Not a better man, no – a harder man. A stronger man. Everyone dies, but the strong just last that much longer.

Benjamin doesn't want to last longer.

But the someone, already lurking at the back of his mind, tells him to remember Lucy. Her hair. Her smile. Benjamin imagines her instead of the guards who kick him out of bed in the morning, instead of the other convicts who jeer and scorn at his impoverished frame that just keeps getting leaner as theirs grow into hulking masses of muscle. He wants to live for her. At first.

And then there's something else. A new face that takes the place of dying men, before the hangman's noose or beneath the lash. The Judge that sent him here.

Turpin. He's the one crying out, taking the place of some faceless wretch, and this time Benjamin is the one at the whip. Or rather... Todd. Because the someone has a name now, a name whispered into Benjamin's ear when the sun is hottest and the water has run out. Todd is the one at the whip, because just as he can listen to the screams and Benjamin can't, and he can bring that piece of leather down – again and again as long as it takes – onto the back of the judge.

Sweeney Todd can kill Turpin. And Benjamin has a new reason for living.

So, lost in that reason, he dies. Alone.

Now there's only Todd's face in the mirror. And Todd can get to the water before it's run out, and Todd can stand beneath the lash and not scream, and Todd can be alone. Because he just doesn't care. A new beginning that's easier and harder.

Unshakable apathy. To the sound of the drums.