"Why does she live here?" Sweeney asked Toby, who was dragging him willy-nilly along the potholed street. "This isn't a good part of town. She should have a mansion."
"What in the name of all razors was that noise?"
"It was just a sweet thing to say. That's all."
Sweeney gave him a dirty look.
They stopped in front of the ugliest house Sweeney had ever seen. It was the pie-shop she had owned, but the windows were cracked, the bricks were chipping away, and it seemed as though the entire building was leaning. Toby pushed open the unlocked door and they stepped inside.
"What has happened?" Sweeney asked, shaking a bug off his shoe. There was a heavy layer of dirt around the floor, and there was a strong smell of mildew. But even that smell could not disguise the scent of her, where she had walked and laughed and slept.
"She's upstairs," Toby told him sadly. "Sleeping."
Sweeney ascended the staircase, which creaked beneath him. The door handle was cold, but he turned it, afraid of what he might find.
She was sleeping in his old barber's chair, her beautiful face deathly pale and broken. While Toby had been nursed back to apparent health, she looked awful, thin and sickly and sad. Sweeney moved towards her, picking her up as gently as he could; she was weightless.
Toby padded into the room and watched as Sweeney sat down, cradling her. "She's pined after you every day, sir. Nothing would make her feel better."
"Toby, please. May I—have some time with her?"
Toby nodded, and backed out of the room, closing the door softly. Sweeney looked down at the wisp of the woman he had known so long ago, and, his hands trembling, he leaned to kiss her.
She blinked owlishly at him, her thin lips parting to whisper,
"Why did you come back?"
"Toby told me," Sweeney murmured to her. "And I had to. I love you, Nellie."
Nellie reached up and gently, so gently stroked the side of his face.
Then she slapped him.
"Ouch! Mrs. Lovett, what the-"
"How dare you!" she screamed, sliding out of his lap and grabbing one of his old razors from the desk. Brandishing it at Sweeney, she shrieked, seemingly losing her mind entirely.
"Two months since you disappeared! Never even bothered to write a letter!"
"It isn't like you waited anxiously for my return!" Sweeney snapped back. "The postal service works for you too!"
She lunged forward; Sweeney tried to dodge, thinking she would impale him with his own blade, but instead she kissed him hard on the mouth, shoving him back against a wall. When she broke away, Sweeney stared anxiously at her.
She punched him in the stomach. Sweeney cursed and tugged the razor out of her hand.
"Nellie. We made a lot of mistakes. And...leaving you was my biggest."
She shook her hand, smiling faintly. "You must really love me if you'll admit you made a mistake."
"Are you done with your revenge?" Sweeney asked her.
She nodded, then stepped forward and slid her arms around his waist, leaning her head on his shoulder. "I thought I would die without you, Sweeney. Every day was so hard."
"Are you done making up yet?" Toby's voice came through the door. Nellie jerked away from Sweeney and called, in a rather guilty way, "We can be."
"Good." Toby pushed the door open and stood before them. "Because I have three train tickets to the beach. And the train leaves in about six minutes."
Mrs. Lovett looked astonished. "Toby, how-"
"You gives me pocket money," Toby said, blushing slightly. "I saved. To repay you for all you've done to help me."
"Toby, I don't know how-"
"If you want to thank me, get on the train. I think we all...kind of deserve it." Toby smiled sheepishly. "Kind of."