AN: This was written for the livejournal community 10_quotes- the prompt was a quote from the film Vertigo.
There was a dream he sometimes had. It was beautiful at first, and if he could wake up in time it would stay beautiful. He could remember how her kisses felt, how she promised they would be married and live forever, away from the crowds and the smoke. If this was where he woke up, he would cherish the dream throughout the day.
But if it lasted any longer, it started to go bad.
In his dream she would pace about the barber shop, gathering all of Mr. Todd's things as she went. He sat in the barber's chair, and if he looked down he could see that he was tied to it by a thin bit of red yarn.
"If you change me, will that do it? If I do what you tell me, will you love me?"
He would ask the question each time, no matter how often the dream came. And she always gave the same answer, as she pushed back his wild hair.
He never really believed her, but would accept the answer. He would close his eyes as he felt her shave off his hair, ignoring the scrapes made by the hand of someone who had only watched such a thing and never done it before herself.
There was only one answer he could give her, after all. He suspected that she knew it, too.
"All right. All right then, I'll do it. I don't care anymore about me."
And so in his dream he would wait until she was done. When he finally was allowed to stand, she would hurry and bring him a long black coat. He would turn to look in the mirror, and it would not be his own face that he saw.
"You look lovely, dear. Oh, and take this- your hand looks so empty without it."
And the last thing Toby would see before waking would be his hand clutching a silver handled razor.
Sometimes he would reason to himself that it wasn't such a bad dream, not even when he let it get all the way through. There was nothing much to being Toby Ragg, and his own looks and simple mind had done him no good in life. What did it matter if she wanted him to be something else? He would do it for her, and if she loved him for it that would make everything alright.
He wouldn't truly believe this even as he thought it. Or at least not the first part- he certainly did believe that he would change himself if she asked him to. He couldn't even imagine refusing- to turn down her love was something he could never do, and that was that.
And if he changed, Toby sometimes wondered, would that mean he would hurt her, the way he was sure Todd did? To shape him completely, would Mrs. Lovett make him cut her skin with his razor and let the blood stain her dress when he grew angry? Would she make him do whatever it was that made those awful noises coming from her bedroom whenever Mr. Todd went in?
Sometimes he would go to her door after this dream, looking through the keyhole at her sleeping body, though he knew it was wrong of him to do so. He would watch her until he was sure his dream was false, that she would never be so cruel to him and that she would be glad to get away from such a wicked man.
He certainly hoped her dreams were better than his. He could never know, though once he could have sworn he heard her say in her sleep something about painting her hair yellow for someone.