Sweeney awoke with the sound of the birds chirping outside. Bloody Eleanor, why did she always have to leave breadcrumbs for them? he growled in his mind, too tired to do it out loud. Refusing to open his eyes just yet, he covered his ears with one side of the pillow and turned around. He was surprised to find his body colliding against her own warm one. He sighed, must have been one of those nights in which she left him so exhausted that he succumbed to sleep before he had the chance to stand up and go upstairs to his own room. But he couldn't bring himself to regret it, for some reason he couldn't quite comprehend, he always slept better when she was with him. He'd found that no amount of gin, no fantasies of his happy past, not even a good slit of someone's throat before going to bed could keep the nightmares at bay like Eleanor Lovett could. But he rationalised with himself that it was probably just because of how restless the damn woman was in her slumber, not letting him sleep two hours straight without elbowing him or stealing the covers, nothing more. He sighed again and instinctively pulled her closer, her messy hair tickling the tip of his nose. He inhaled deeply, expecting her sugary cinnamon scent of freshly-baked cookies to flood his senses. However, it wasn't cinnamon what filled his nostrils, but rather a flowery aroma, like lavender. It seemed somewhat familiar to him, but he couldn't pinpoint where he'd smelled it before. It must have been a long time ago for the memory was distant, almost faded. Suddenly, it hit him. It was Lucy's soap. Angrily, he pushed her away, how dared she!? But when he opened his eyes, the first thing he saw weren't Eleanor's dark copper curls but a distinct shade of yellow hair he knew like the back of his hand. Lucy.

"Benjamin!" she protested softly when he felt him shoving her, her voice thick with sleep. To Sweeney it was the most wonderful melody in the whole world.

He wasted no time in pulling her back into his embrace, relishing the feeling of having her in his arms again. Suddenly, all the memories from the night before came flooding to him, killing the judge, killing his Lucy and killing—or attempting to kill— Mrs. Lovett. Then the time in the white room, the mysterious voice of the Watcher, her challenge and his chance to go back to his wife again. And now there he was, holding her close, feeling her soft intakes of breath as she slept peacefully. It was so surreal, it almost felt like a dream. But if it was a dream, he'd made the most out of it before he woke up. He rolled her body over slowly, careful not to wake her so he could gaze at her beautiful face. Her blond lashes, the delicate freckles that adorned her pretty nose, her soft rosebud lips. She was an angel. His angel.

All of a sudden, he heard some gurgling in the room and momentarily releasing Lucy, he propped himself up on his elbows to try to locate where the sound was coming from. It wasn't hard. In a small cot next to the window he saw his daughter peeking out, smiling brightly at him. He got up from the bed and made a beeline for the crib. Sweeney gingerly picked up Johanna in his arms and cuddled her small form. His baby, he thought and much to his dismay, he felt his stomach tightening at the thought of his other baby, in a different timeline, that he would never get to hold. Mercifully, Johanna brought him back to the present by fisting his nightshirt with her pudgy baby hands. Her father started bouncing her up and down and the little girl couldn't stop giggling. Sweeney was internally smiling himself as he played with his daughter despite the stoic indifference on his face, the perpetual resting face of Sweeney Todd. But he had his girl back now, both of his girls, and for them, he'd try to leave the bitterness aside, try to forget about any horrors and pain inflicted on him in Australia. For them, he'd become Benjamin Barker again. He managed to smile softly when he caught his reflection in the mirror— unbroken unlike when he used to slaughter his clients for a living— and was elated to see Benjamin Barker, young and vibrant. The lines of his face were gone, as well as the perpetual dark circles under his eyes, and so was the white streak in his hair. He undid the top buttons of his nightshirt and just like he suspected there were no scars. At least on the outside, he was unbroken too.

But he knew his time in Australia had been real, it had been too vivid, too agonizingly painful for it to be just a bad dream. And so was his return to Fleet Street fifteen years later, his murders, his revenge, and everything else he didn't want to remember. Sweeney Todd was positive he hadn't lost his mind. He reckoned that in this new timeline they must have gone back in time. He recalled the voice telling him it would send him back to when it all began. He shuddered, suddenly overwhelmed by the possibility of today being the day the judge Turpin set his filthy eyes on his wife. He put Johanna back in her cot and went back to his bed, frantically shaking Lucy awake.

"What day is it? What day is it?" he asked her as he grabbed her by the shoulders. She was startled. There was something unusual in her husband that morning, waking her up like that. It was so unlike his calm and gentle demeanour.

"It's Sunday, darling. You don't have to work today" she replied, trying to keep calm.

"The date! Lucy, what date is today!" he pressed on. The urgency was obvious in his voice.

"It's the 16th of April of 1871. Why are you asking? Is there anything wrong?" she asked tentatively but he didn't seem to hear her. He let out a sigh of relief. That was almost three months before their first encounter with Turpin. He had enough time to devise a plan to prevent it from happening. No one would take him from his family again.

"Sorry, I had a nightmare and woke up terribly confused" he told her and soon he felt the soft hand of his wife on his left arm, rubbing his skin with her thumb in a soothing manner. He put his own over hers and intertwined their fingers lovingly, his other one cupping her face and bringing her closer for a kiss. It was just like he remembered, soft and sweet and innocently unhurried as if nothing in the world mattered but their kiss. There were no urges, no nagging thoughts of betrayal and weakness in the back of his mind. The way it should be. Unfortunately, it didn't last long, because she pulled away and stood up, opening the curtains and smiling as she gazed at the filthy street down below and then up to the grey skies of London. Only she could find beauty in such depressing things. And he loved her for it.

He lay back on the bed and watched as his wife tended to their baby. But soon enough, his eyes dropped and he fell back asleep. When he opened them again, his stomach rumbled. He glanced at the clock. 9:30am. She is late with my breakfast, he thought angrily. Although he still didn't eat much, he'd gotten used to her serving him three proper meals a day. For all her faults, Eleanor was a good cook and he sometimes found himself looking forward to her scrumptious dishes now that they had the money for some nice quality ingredients. He recalled how one day she surprised with the most delicious breakfast he'd ever tasted and they made it a tradition to have a feast every Sunday morning. He could practically smell the scrambled eggs and bacon bathed in gravy just like he liked, with some cheddar cheese on the side and a muffin as dessert. We deserve it, love. We had a bloody hard week. Bloody being the key word here, she'd said with a wink and he couldn't help his lips twisting into an amused smirk.

"What are you smiling at, darling?" Lucy's soft voice woke him up from his trance. He shook his head, remembering where he was and with whom. He saw she was preparing breakfast in the little kitchen space on the side of the room and moved to sit on the table.

"Nothing, my love. It smells delicious" he said although he couldn't smell anything in the air. His wife blushed and looked down. His smirk grew, almost turning into a proper smile. She was so delicate, so shy, it was so easy to make her blush. Unlike the shameless Eleanor, who didn't even blush when she undressed for him in broad daylight. Enough of her! he thought and banged his fist down on the table. Lucy was visibly startled and he immediately felt bad. "Sorry, I thought there was a spider" he lied and she went back to her cooking. He realised regretfully than more than half of what he'd told his wife so far were lies. White lies, but lies nonetheless.

"Here you are" she said as she put a plate of soggy porridge in front of him and sat on the other chair to eat her own. Made with water, because they didn't have enough money for milk, let alone honey or syrup. He recalled that Benjamin in 1871 didn't have his own tonsorial parlour and merely used the space they rented as a home. Having to travel to the customer's houses earned him less money and took considerably longer. He'd talk to Lucy about the possibility of opening his own barber shop there. They would have to arrange some furniture and find something to separate the shop from their living quarters, like some drapes or room dividers, but it could be done. And when the money started flowing in, they would move away from Fleet street, to a bigger house they could actually own. And he'd be free of her.

"Hurry up, darling. We don't want to be late for church" she said, pointing at the food he hadn't touched. Truth be told, he didn't find it very appetising but he supposed he had to eat something not to disappoint her. However, he certainly didn't want to go to church. Not now that he knew for a fact that God didn't exist and the only thing above them was a selfish Watcher that enjoyed playing with people.

"It's going to rain, Lucy. I think we should stay here. We don't want Johanna getting sick." Lucy just giggled.

"Benny, this is London! It rains every day. Johanna is used to it. We'll go. What would everyone say if we don't?" he simply grunted in response. One thing he didn't like about Lucy was how much she cared about what others thought of her, how keen she was in keeping appearances at all cost. It was one of the few reasons they ever argued. "Honestly, Ben, what is wrong with you today? You are acting so strange. You love going to church!"

Benjamin Barker did love going to church, but simply because it was something they did together. First as a couple and then as a family. But he'd never enjoyed sitting still in a room full of people listening to a sermon about repentance by a man who'd probably committed more sins than half of them together–although Sweeney was sure he had sinned more than the priest now. But there was something he did remember enjoying on church days: their walks in the park with Johanna after the ceremony. Just the three of them, feeding the ducks, having picnics near the lake… He didn't really like being outdoors anymore but he thought that perhaps doing something he used to love would help him bring Benjamin back and forget all of Sweeney's memories that threatened to ruin everything.

"I'm sorry, my sweet. You are right, we ought to go to church. Now after that we can enjoy a nice walk in St. James park, what do you say?" and Lucy just giggled again. He couldn't comprehend how a single person could harbour so much joy. If he didn't love her so much, he'd find it sickening.

"Didn't you say it was going to rain?"

"Yes, but now that I look at it properly, the sky doesn't seem so dark" he simply said and she agreed. He ate half of his porridge before going to change and in half an hour, the Barker family left for church.

He was miserable throughout it all. Sitting on one of the front pews like a proper Christian family, Sweeney couldn't help the direction his thoughts were taking. Murderous thoughts filled his mind as he surveyed the parishioners in attendance today. He recalled fondly how he'd slit the throats of some of those men and how he watched several others eagerly devouring their fellow churchgoers. Vermin, all of them. Then his thoughts inevitably went to her. Eleanor would have been laughing next to him about these people's hypocrisy. Attending church in the morning with their families but visiting brothels at night, joining a prayer about forgiveness when they beat up their wives black and blue simply for making their tea a tad stronger than usual. His eyes focused on the priest. The little priest. For all the moralistic nonsense he was spewing he reckoned he should have listened to Eleanor and killed him so she could have baked him into a pie despite that awful lot of fat. Although he wasn't sure about her claim that he didn't commit sins of the flesh, as his dark eyes seemed to repeatedly focus on a young lady not older than sixteen sitting in the front row. What a pig, he should have been served as such.

Thankfully, the walk in the park was infinitely better. They were relatively alone due to the cloudy sky and he was able to enjoy himself with his family. Walking arm in arm with Lucy, they marvelled at their little girl enthusiastically pointing at everything she saw with a look of wonder in her face. She was such a happy baby and he damned the judge for ruining her childhood. But now he had been given another chance to prevent it and he'd do everything in his hand to stop it. All was going well until he spotted a particular oak three and memories once again started to assail him. Mrs. Lovett in the pretty white and blue dress, sitting next to him on a picnic blanket, the urchin nowhere in sight. Her telling him she could eat him up and honouring her promise later that night. Her broad smile as she told him about her dreams; their own house by the sea, their wedding, their happy family. The memory was so vivid it haunted him. Because despite not acknowledging her at all, he could very well see himself living in her fantasy future and thought that perhaps it wouldn't be so bad.

Lucy's giggles at Johanna's babbling brought him back to reality from the umpteenth time. He didn't understand himself. He had everything he wanted, his Lucy and his Johanna and the chance to prevent the wrongs that were done to them so they could be happy. The three of them could be a happy family, like it was supposed to be. But Mrs. Lovett's ghost didn't seem to leave him alone. Where was she anyway? He hadn't seen her at church although that wasn't surprising, but neither had he caught sight of her when they entered Mr. Lovett's butchery to pick up some meat that was about to expire so they could have a proper Sunday roast. Instead of appeasing him, her absence only unnerved him. She'd been infesting his thoughts all day and she didn't even have the gall to appear? Wasn't she supposed to be there to tempt him into falling in love like the Watcher said? He tried to ignore it, to enjoy his time away from her overbearing presence and her constant headache-inducing chatter while he enjoyed a perfectly delicious roast with his perfect wife. But the thoughts of her continued festering in him. She probably was lurking in the shadows, watching his perfect family and plotting to destroy it. Perhaps she was even conspiring with the judge, he wouldn't put it past her. Who knew what other nefarious plans she had to separate him from Lucy and have him all for herself, to trap him in her web of evil like a spider would. Lucy and Johanna retired to nap soon after washing the dishes and he couldn't take it anymore.

Sweeney sprinted down the stairs and into the shop, only to find Albert Lovett behind the counter, talking to some customers.

"Where is she!?" he screamed and Mr. Lovett looked confused. His small beady eyes looking at him as if he'd lost his mind. "Your wife! Where is Mrs. Lovett?"

Mr. Lovett seemed to grow angry, whether at his question or his manners, Sweeney didn't know. "What are you playing at, Mr. Barker? My wife is dead."