I had some trouble selecting the genres for this story, mostly because I can of course only pick two. The first part is mostly humor (and inspired by real life events!) and the last part is romance with some humor, but the middle part somehow ended up being rather gory (but well, this is Sweeney Todd we're talking about =P ). Just so you know that not the entire story is light and fluffy ;)

Rat's nest

Even before his eyes were open, Sweeney Todd was growling with anger. He had finally succeeded in falling asleep and although the restless slumber that was characterized by nightmares couldn't be described as very relaxing, it was the only way of resting that he was still capable of.

It was rare that he was able to find enough peace to fall in an uneasy sleep and he cherished every moment of relative oblivion. Thus it was no surprise that he was boiling with rage and frustration as a quick cast on his clock made clear that he had slept for less than an hour. He knew from experience that he wouldn't be able to fall asleep again and would have to spend another day tormented by exhaustion that his body refused to give in to.

The barber listened carefully, but it wasn't difficult to detect the noise that had woken him. The sound was coming from the room almost directly beneath his own. He had never been to that part of the building but he knew that Mrs. Lovett's bedroom was located there. He certainly had never intended to actually go there, but now that there was something going on in the room that had disturbed his rare sleep, Sweeney felt that he had every right to go down there to find out what was creating the noise and, more importantly, make an end to it.

He entered the pie shop half a minute later and walked passed the sleeping Toby without even looking at the boy. The lad had drunk once again so much gin that even a tenfold of the noise coming from Mrs. Lovett's room wouldn't be able to wake him. The barber would've envied the boy if only he hadn't known too well already that alcohol would only add to his despair.

The sleeping boy reminded him however of his own rest that was interrupted and as he marched passed Toby, the barber was so upset and anger with his landlady that he couldn't bother himself thinking of such things as knocking. Without thinking about it twice, he hurried through the parlor and kicked open the door to the baker's bedroom.

Sweeney had no idea what he would find in the bedroom, but certainly not this. He was greeted by the sight of his landlady, clad in nothing but a thin nightgown, hair streaming wildly down her shoulders. She was standing next to her bed, eyes scanning every corner of her candle lit room, a thunderous expression on her face. This wouldn't be so strange perhaps, if it wasn't for the fact that it was half past three in the morning, she was holding a roller pin and that her entire bedroom was one big mess.

Her eyes widened upon his unannounced arrival and her mouth opened as if to explain herself. Before she could do so however there was something behind him that seemed to catch her attention. Gaze focusing on something that wasn't him, the petite baker lurched forward, out of his view, swinging the roller pin crazily around.

The bewildered barber turned around to see what she was doing. To his shock, she had smashed the roller pin against the part of the floor which was right before the wall. Whatever she had tried to do had obviously failed, for the auburn haired woman was cursing under her breath. If Sweeney hadn't been confused before, he certainly was now.

"Care to explain what you are doing?" he snarled, more than annoyed that the baker who he intended to punish for interrupting his sleep wasn't even looking at him after his rather dramatic entrance.

"You dirty, sneaky little thing... if I ever get my hands on you..."

The barber raised an eyebrow, not sure how to react to the completely useless answer, that once again showed that she apparently was hardly aware of his presence.

Before he could think of a better way to attract her attention, the baker uttered a murderous scream and, rolling pin seemingly forgotten, threw herself at the floor a few yards from the spot where she had been a second ago, her hands finding nothing but air.

There was the flash of something that looked like a long, dark tail, just before the baker's hands smashed together, making it finally somewhat clear to the barber what his landlady was trying to do.

Having been unable once again to catch the small animal, Mrs. Lovett didn't get up from the floor.

"I've been chasing that horrible animal for more than an hour now," she groaned, finally addressing the barber.

"Just leave it alone," Sweeney replied, not seeing why Mrs. Lovett seemingly wanted to catch the rat no matter the cost.

"I tried," she answered, "but I can't sleep when that rat is in my room!"

She sighed as she spotted the uncomprehending look on the barber's face.

"It was running through my hair! No matter how often I scare that damn rat, it keeps coming back when I was trying to sleep again!"

Sweeney couldn't suppress a chuckle at the remark and the offended look on the baker's face that accompanied it.

"Just amuse yourself at my expensive," she muttered angrily, "but don't be surprised if I'm so tired tomorrow that I chop off my own arm or fall in my oven. Not that you would care, but I like to remind you that there is someone who has to bake those pies."

Sweeney quickly sobered when he realized what the baker was saying. He hadn't really thought about it before, but there was of course someone else living in the house who slept as little as he did. The baker didn't have the chance to sleep as well because she had to bake pies and get rid of his victims day after day.

Knowing that he was responsible for this and that it was indeed rude to be amused by the discovery that he was apparently not the only one thinking that Mrs. Lovett's hair was likely to attract a certain kind of animal, the barber sensed that she shouldn't have to go through this without his help.

He extended his hand towards Mrs. Lovett and helped her get up. As she straightened her dress when she was standing on her feet again, Sweeney noticed for the first time how utterly exhausted she looked. There was a jolt of guilt in the pit of his stomach because he knew that he was at least partly responsible for it.

The barber looked around the room, trying to catch a glimpse of the small animal that was bothering his landlady.

"It's gone now," she sighed, "hiding in a hole beneath the floor or something like that. It should be coming back within a few minutes, that's what it has been doing all this time."

Spending a few minutes in Mrs. Lovett bedroom doing nothing but waiting didn't seem to be the best way to Sweeney to spend the night, but it was not like there was anything else that they could do.

Trying not to look at the baker in her indecent state, he scrutinized the walls and the floor. He hoped to find a hole or some other sort of opening where the rat could be hiding, but there wasn't any.

Sweeney wasn't too concerned however; he had been forced to deal with rats during the entire time that he was banished and the circumstances had never been as reasonably good as they were now. He had been forced to learn to catch rats, either to prevent them from tormenting him when he tried to sleep or, in the most extreme cases, to eat them. After a few years of practice, he had always succeeded whenever he attempted to catch a rat. Surely those skills hadn't disappeared during the few months that he had spent in London, even though this was actually the first that he encountered in the house since his return.

The seconds passed slowly, but indeed, after a several hundred of soft clicks of the small clock standing on the nightstand next to the baker's bed, the squeaking noise of the rat could be heard. A moment later the sound was followed by the actual rat; it appeared from a dark corner near the door to the parlor.

Vaguely aware of the expectant look on the baker's face, Sweeney focused completely on the rat that was slowly approaching them, sniffling the floor before him as it moved.

The animal was restless, probably aware of the dark man, but made its way towards the center of the room nonetheless. The barber just watched, biding his time, knowing that he would only be able to catch the rat if it was close enough.

After another minute of silence that was only interrupted by the sounds of the rat's feet on the wooden floor and the soft noises it made, the small animal was within the barber's range.

Moving so quickly that the baker blinked with surprise and shock, Mr. Todd hurled forward, throwing himself on top of the rat. His hands felt the animal's furry skin, but before he could close his grasp around the rat, it managed to flee through the barber's extended arms.

Attempting not to show the annoyance that this failure caused, Sweeney returned to his original position, presuming that the rat would come back once again within a few minutes.

The small animal did indeed, but even as Mr. Todd repeated his attempt to catch it with even more care than the previous time, the rat once again managed to escape even as the barber's fingers brushed against its dirty fur.

Truly determined now to kill it, Sweeney took the razor from the holster on his belt and opened the knife, hoping that the sharp metal would be as useful in this situation as it usually was whenever he wanted to end a life.

When the oblivious rat was after a few very long minutes once again within the barber's reach, Sweeney threw himself at the little animal, razor held tightly in his hand.

The rat was also this time too fast even for Mr. Todd's unusually good reflexes. Perhaps finally aware of the man who tried to kill it, the rat ran away from the barber.

In order to escape however the rat had to get past Mrs. Lovett as well. The animal was only a few yards away from her and sat still for a second, obviously trying to decide how to get past her.

The baker had been watching the ordeal with great attention and saw the hesitation of the rat just like the barber did.

Mr. Todd recognized a second chance when he got one and threw himself forwards once again, knife aimed directly at the temporarily unmoving animal.

Mrs. Lovett however had a similar idea when the animal that had been tormenting her for quite some time was sitting still almost right in front of her.

She hurled herself at the rat just like she had done countless times earlier that night.

Both the barber and the baker moved towards the animal at the same moment. However, in spite of killing it like Sweeney wanted, the two of them collapsed and the rat ran away between them.

The barber growled with annoyance, becoming more and more agitated by the fact that the small animal got the best of him once again.

When he heard a terrified scream coming from Mrs. Lovett's direction and felt the warm liquid beginning to drop on the hand that was still holding the razor, it was horribly clear to the barber however that another escape of the rat wasn't exactly the worst result of their combined effort.

Mr. Todd looked away from the corner that the rat had run off to and fully focused his attention on his landlady for the first time.

Only then he realized that the knife that had missed the rat, had actually ended up in the baker's equally stretched left arm.

Her eyes were wide with shock and pain as she clutched the injured arm to her chest and saw the blood that dripped rapidly from the wound.

Knowing that he had to do something to prevent the situation from getting any worse, Mr. Todd kneeled down next to the baker, urgently pulling her arm closed to him so he could inspect the damage that he had accidentally inflicted.

Mrs. Lovett gasped as her instinctive defense was disturbed, tears beginning to fall from her eyes as they beheld the six inch long cut in her skin.

The wound was deeper than Sweeney had feared and from experience he knew that it had to be tended to immediately in order to prevent permanent damage.

All thoughts of the rat who was the indirect cause of this forgotten, the barber looked around quickly, hoping to find something that he could use to bind his landlady's arm to stop the bleeding.

But even if there had been something in the room that suited this purpose, it'd be impossible to find now that Mrs. Lovett had wrecked half of her bedroom in her previous attempts to catch the rat.

Not knowing what else to do, Sweeney took off his vest, intending to bind her arm with the fabric of it. The material however was coarse and too thick. Having no other option, he took off his shirt as well, tearing the white fabric into long strips as soon as he could.

When he was done, he found Mrs. Lovett lying curled up on the floor, body shaking with pain and blood soaking everything that her arm came in contact with.

The realization that a simple bandage wouldn't be enough was both very inconvenient and undeniable. The wound had to be cleaned as well, of only so he could take a proper look at it. If the injury was really serious, he wasn't sure whether he'd be able to treat it adequately. He couldn't take the risk of allowing the wound to cause permanent damage; if the cut was beyond his knowledge, he had to get his landlady to someone who actually was able to help her and make sure that she'd be able to get back to work as soon as possible.

He wanted to offer Mrs. Lovett a helping hand to get her up her feet, but it was clear that the woman wouldn't be able to walk at that moment, no matter how much he helped her with that.

Clenching his fists and cursing at himself for being so careless, he lifted the woman in his arms, carrying her to the kitchen. It was a good thing that Toby was in a gin-induced stupor; the last thing Sweeney needed now was the brat causing a scene because of the state of the two people getting past the couch he was lying on.

The distance from Mrs. Lovett's bedroom to the kitchen was a short one, but to the barber it seemed quite endless as he carried the crying and shaking woman in his arms. The fact that it was obvious that she tried to control herself but couldn't because of the terrible pain she was in, didn't make it easier.

Arriving in the kitchen at last, he intended to help her sit down on one of the chairs around the table in the corner, but it was impossible to do so because she wasn't able to sit upright without his assistance.

After a short moment of doubt, he laid the baker on the kitchen floor. Even Sweeney acknowledged the fact that it was rather cruel to do so, but he didn't know how else he could leave her safely for a few minutes.

To Sweeney's relief, the remains of a fire were still burning in the fireplace and with some wood it was quickly fueled to its previous magnitude and heat. He filled a kettle with water and placed it above the flames. Never before water had taken so long to boil.

While the barber had to wait for the water to be heated enough, he rushed back to the bedroom to pick up the remains of his shirt; he had forgotten to take them with him when he had rushed to the kitchen with his landlady.

Once he returned in the kitchen, the water in the kettle was boiling at last. He took the kettle from the fire and placed it on the ground next to the baker's jerking body.

Not knowing how else to get her close enough for more than a few seconds, he pulled her against his chest, trapping her body between his legs and arms so she couldn't fall down again.

The baker didn't react at all when she was dragged against the barber's body in a way that was a bit too rough for her situation; she was slowly losing consciousness because of the pain and the blood she was losing. The barber had to act very quickly and he knew it.

He wet one piece of the fabric that once had been his shirt in the hot water and rubbed it against the skin around the cut on the baker's arm, both removing the blood and cleaning the wound.

Once it was clean, Sweeney scrutinized the cut by light of the flames. The barber was immensely relieved because it didn't look as bad as it could've been. The cut was deep, but not so deep that he couldn't heal it. The wound also was relatively neat and clear; it was not that he had expected any differently of himself but at that very moment it was far from important how good his reflexes were when holding one of his razors.

After he had cleaned the wound, he wrapped the strips of his shirt around the wound, binding them tightly around her arm to cover the wound. The pressure on the cut would stop the bleeding and hasten the recovery process of the skin. There would probably be a scar for the rest of her life, but seeing that the wound was potentially fatal, this should only be a relief.

The bandage was in place within mere minutes. By that time however the baker was completely unresponsive. Whether she had fainted or simply had gradually lost consciousness he didn't know, but it didn't matter. The worst part was over; he had made sure of that. From now on, she just had to rest – her body had already begun healing its skin.

Even Mr. Todd sensed that he couldn't let her lie on the floor, so he picked the motionless woman up again, carrying her back to her bedroom.

The candles on her nightstand were still burning, as if nothing had happened at all. The mess in the room however made more than clear what had happened there; the smashed furniture was a silent witness of the attempts that Mrs. Lovett had made to kill the rat that had started all the misery of that night and the puddle of blood reminded Sweeney of something he didn't want to really think about just yet.

He pulled the blankets off the baker's bed back with efficient and emotionless movements and laid the hurt woman on the mattress with the same lack of feeling. After making sure that she couldn't accidentally hurt her arm in her sleep, he returned to the kitchen.

There he washed the blood off the floor and off his body, and disposed the other evidence of what had just happened there, just in case that Toby would go to the kitchen during the following morning. Sweeney figured that he didn't have to do the same in Mrs. Lovett's bedroom, because it was highly unlikely that the brat would come there.

He told himself that the work was done now, that he could go back to his own bed to get some sleep – if only for a few minutes – even though he already knew that he wouldn't be able to do so anyway.

There was something however that drew him back to the bedroom where he had left the baker, a little voice in the back of his head telling him to go back to make sure that his landlady was alright.

The barber wasn't very inclined to do so – the woman had caused more than enough trouble for one night already after all – but after a moment of hesitation, he found himself walking back to the room where everything had started.

It was a good thing that he had done so. Only when Sweeney observed the baker from the threshold of her bedroom, he saw that the skin of her face was unnaturally pale and that she still didn't seem to be breathing properly.

He approached her slowly, not really knowing what to do. But when he got closer to her, it was only more obvious that the help he had given her hadn't been enough for some reason.

Only after another moment of doubt he placed his hand against her neck, looking for a vein to feel her heartbeat. It was slow – too slow. But what shocked him most however was the coldness of her skin.

It seemed that she had lost more blood than he had initially feared and that the pain that he had caused accidentally with his razor had been greater than he had thought.

For the first time that night, panic rose within the barber. He could treat wounds and could deal with blood, but this was an entirely different matter. It began to dawn on him that there was a whole lot more at stake than just the mere usefulness of the baker.

No matter how much he needed her to carry out his plans, she was more than simply a pawn in his schemes. This truth hit him hard as he beheld her eerily still and quiet form.

He realized that his own body temperature was rising quickly as worry about the baker overwhelmed him. The heat within him increased even more as it dawned on him what he had to do in order to help Mrs. Lovett.

The barber was not happy to do so at all, but after all the misery he had caused, this was the least thing he could do. And even if she didn't need his physical warmth, he had to find another way to keep close to her until – if – she woke again. Seeing the current state of the bedroom, the only suitable place for him to stay was right next to her.

The barber didn't allow himself a single moment of doubt, knowing very well that he wouldn't do what was necessary if he thought about it for longer than he had done already.

Closing his eyes tightly as if it somehow wasn't really happening that way, he slid between the covers of the baker's bed. He moved as closely against her as he could, hoping that the physical contact and warmth would be enough to get her through the night.

This made the situation even more awkward than it already was, but Sweeney wasn't even aware of this – being so close to the baker only made it more obvious that she wasn't doing well at all.

All that he could do however was holding her tightly and ignore the way their bodies were pressed against each other now. He did so by making sure again and again that nothing accidentally touched her hurt arm, and focusing as much as he could on the blood-stained nightgown that she was still wearing – luckily the smell of blood had a calming effect on him even now.

Maybe it was just his imagination, but after a few minutes she really felt warmer than she had done before and she seemed to breathe with less difficulty.

Whether it was because of his landlady's seemingly improving condition or because he actually felt more at ease being so close to her, the barber relaxed somewhat as time passed slowly.

After another few minutes had passed there was no denying that the baker's body was recovering. But even if the barber was happy because of this, there was nothing that betrayed his relief.

Deciding to stay with her for a few more moments to make sure that the improvement wasn't just temporarily, he began counting down to the minute that it should be alright for him to get out of the baker's bed and return to his own room at last.

Even before his eyes were open, Sweeney Todd was growling with anger. He had been sleeping, really sleeping, which was better than anything he had managed during a very, very long time. But now, the complete and blissful oblivion was interrupted by several loud knocks on the door.

"Mum, Mum!" Toby shouted through the door, "Look what I found!"

Before he could tell the brat to go away and leave him alone, the door burst open and the boy who had been yelling entered the room in a noisy way.

"Look what I just found in the parlor," he said excitedly, "he was sitting on the table and I could just..."

Only when a look of horror appeared on Toby's face, the barber realized several things. Firstly, he we was holding his still sleeping landlady tightly, even now – apparently, he had somehow fallen asleep next to her and had remained so inappropriately close to her for the remaining hours of the night.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the situation was made ten times worse because her upper body was covered by a blood-soaked nightgown and his arm was wrapped around it. The shirt that once covered his chest now serving another purpose, the barber didn't even want to know what was going through Toby's head as he beheld the blood-covered baker and the barber that were lying closely next to each other in the bed.

The worst thing was to Sweeney however that this had felt so perfectly natural that he hadn't even been aware of this until he had seen Toby's shocked face. And even now he was relieved to see that the baker was sleeping so peacefully, he didn't want the baker's rest would be interrupted just like his was.

"Not a single word," he snarled at the young boy, the quietness of his voice compensated by the threatening tone of it.

The barber grabbed the blanket that had slid off the baker's and his own body and dragged it back in place. He wasn't sure whether he did so to hide his own arm that was wrapped around the baker's waist or to protect his landlady's dignity.

The moment of deadly silence that followed was interrupted with a soft, squeaking sound. It sounded horribly familiar, but it took Sweeney a moment to realize to find the source.

His initial urge was to look at all the corners, especially the darkest ones, of his landlady's bedroom. He didn't see the animal however and although this was nothing new, the place where he eventually spotted it certainly was.

The rat that he had been chasing that night was sitting meekly on Toby's shoulder and even allowed the boy to pet him.

"Where did you find it?" the barber growled as quietly as he could, in spite of himself rather curious how the boy had succeeded where both he and Mrs. Lovett had not.

The boy was clearly unsure whether he should obey the barber for doing so would mean he had to talk, something Mr. Todd had just basically forbidden him. But as Sweeney's frown deepened, Toby began talking, probably sensing that the consequences of not doing so would be even worse.

"I found him sitting on the table in the parlor," he whispered. "I wanted to chase him away because Mum doesn't like rats in her house, but he just kept sitting there, looking at me as if he wanted to say something. He let me pick him up and..."

Toby's speech faltered and his gaze focused on something on the floor. Following his gaze, Sweeney's eyes widened in horror as he saw the pool of dried blood that had come out of the baker's arm that night. He could only begin to imagine what the young boy was thinking now. Even though Mr. Todd was rather surprised that the boy had been able to catch the rat the way he had done, this was not the time to consider it.

"Mrs. Lovett had an... accident this night," Sweeney said, hoping that his gaze was severe enough to silence the boy without making him think the worst about the barber at the same time. "She is recovering now and needs to be left alone."

"But it's almost seven o'clock; she has to open the shop!"

Sweeney was silent for a moment, wondering how on earth he could've forgotten that both of them needed to get up in order to open their shops. Mrs. Lovett however had been unable to bake pies to sell today because of his carelessness and she would in fact be incapable of doing so for at least a few days. The barber himself was always more than eager to get to work, his customers giving him some much needed distraction, but now the idea wasn't so tempting.

The baker shifted lightly in his arms. Afraid that the conversation would end her well-deserved sleep after all, Mr. Todd cast the darkest glance he could muster at the boy.

"She needs to rest and she can't work today. I'll stay with her to look after her; you can do whatever you want as long as I don't see or hear you and you keep that rat out of this room."

Toby obviously didn't agree with this but as the barber continued to glare at him, they both knew that obeying was his only option.

Sweeney sighed as Toby closed the door behind him at last. The barber and the baker were once again alone, but Mr. Todd wasn't bothered by this. In fact, it was rather pleasant that he could look at the baker without being scrutinized himself.

Early rays of sunlight made their way into the bedroom, making it possible for him to see Mrs. Lovett without having to light another candle. The improvised bandage was still securely wrapped around her lower arm and although the fabric was white no longer, there was no blood coming through yet. Satisfied by this, his focus turned to the baker herself.

To his relief, she seemed to be mostly recovered from what had happened that night. She was breathing easily, her chest heaving gently every few seconds. She felt pleasantly warm and when he gently nudged the hand of her injured arm, she moved it a little, indicating that her wounded arm too still functioned.

It was not that he had never really looked at her, but as far as he could tell, he had never seen her so calm and quiet. He had no idea whether she always looked like this when she slept and he told himself that he did not want to know, but Sweeney was pleased to see her like this. He was relieved that she didn't seem to be in pain, but there was something else that was quite delighting to see her sleeping so peacefully. He had no idea what exactly this was, only that it was something that he didn't wish to think about just yet.

He was still lying right behind her and although this had been necessary at night to keep her calm and warm, there was no need for this anymore now that she was sleeping beneath the blankets. The barber moved away from her as he realized that there wasn't a single reason now to be so close to her.

He immediately missed her warmth however, his body having gotten used to the comfort of feeling her body next to his own more quickly than he had thought possible. Just moving back to her didn't seem like a good idea however.

Thinking of an excuse to touch her, he carefully ran his fingers over the pale skin right above her injury, judging the healing process by gauging her subconscious reaction.

The quiet moan that interrupted the silence wasn't what he had expected to hear, since he hadn't thought that the touch would hurt that much. As he repeated the gesture, the baker made a similar sound; only then he realized that it wasn't one of pain.

The baker actually shifted towards his arm, the only point where their bodies were still touching, and rested her face against it.

Mesmerized by this and not knowing what else to do, Sweeney decided that another approach should be tried as he realized that the baker wasn't fully asleep anymore.

"How are you feeling?" he asked, sensing that she was awake enough to answer his question.

"Wonderful,"she whispered sleepily after a few seconds, her eyes remaining closed.

Confusion welled within the barber once again; he had thought that she'd be feeling some pain at least. How could one feel wonderful mere hours after having been cut like that?

Before he could ask her to elaborate however, the baker sighed happily and turned around, her arms – even the injured one - locking themselves around his torso.

Even if he would've wanted to move away, he couldn't have done so without waking or even hurting the baker.

Telling himself that he couldn't do so after all the pain he had caused that night, Sweeney allowed her to hold him in such an unusual way.

Mrs. Lovett's body relaxed as she fell in a deeper sleep once more, but the strange smile didn't disappear from her lips.

For the barber there was nothing else to do than to remain sitting there, contemplating what to do next. He should get away from Mrs. Lovett as quickly as he could, if only he had a shop of his own that had to be opened.

After a few minutes he reluctantly realized that there was only one right choice he could make, one that would benefit both the baker and himself.

There was no denying that he had slept better than he done in a long, long time. Whether he liked it or not, it was clear even to him that Mrs. Lovett had to be the one responsible for this, no matter how bizarre it seemed.

He could tell himself that he needed to be properly rested in order to be able to remain carrying out his vengeance, that he needed the oblivion that sleep would give him more than anything at that moment.

But the truth was that Sweeney Todd knew very well that he wanted to fall asleep again with Mrs. Lovett in his arms, for the simply reasons that he could and that he knew that he'd enjoy it, no matter how unlikely it was. Whether he chose to acknowledge this was another matter entirely, but one he didn't want to consider in the near future.

For once not thinking about his usual worries, he carefully loosened the baker's grasp around his waist somewhat. Even though she was sleeping again, she resisted this, but eventually he managed to free himself temporarily.

Awfully aware of what he was doing, but also relieved because he knew how much he needed it, Mr. Todd laid down next to Mrs. Lovett, urging himself to get as close to her as he could once again. It was still rather awkward to do so now that he was fully awake, but the nearer he moved to her, the easier it was to give in to the mutual comfort they had shared at night.

After a few attempts, he felt just as comfortable as he had done when he had woken next to the baker a few minutes earlier. The barber wondered whether he should put his arm around her waist like he somehow had ended up doing at night. It seemed completely ridiculous, but after a moment he did it anyway.

Although he was completely awake after Toby's sudden interruption, it didn't take long before Sweeney found himself drifting back to sleep. The baker's now familiar smell and form guided him away from the harsh real world just as much as her steady breath and the rhythmic heaving of her upper body did.

Before he was lost in oblivion once more, Mr. Todd realized vaguely that he was very grateful that the rat had showed up in Mrs. Lovett's bedroom that night. The foresight of regularly seeing the animal that Toby seemed to have adopted wasn't too unpleasant as well.

Rats used to symbolize the way he had been forced to live when his initial life was destroyed, but the barber was rather sure that from now on, they would mostly remind him of the unexpected source of peace he had found because of them.