Johanna's Tears
by Oberon of Shadows

She is wearing green the first time they kiss.

He takes the stairs up to Mr. Todd's barbershop two at a time, but finds the room empty. Dread settles in the pit of his stomach, feeling more like a small boulder than an emotion, as he notices the blood that has splattered on the floor, the chair, and the glass-paned ceiling. Feeling the vomit making its way up his throat, Anthony quickly turns and heads down to Mrs. Lovett's shop.

At first the room seems empty, but after a moment he can hear the quiet sobs. Following his ears, Anthony finds her huddled under a table, still dressed in the ratty green clothes he gave her, her eyes red and raw, her cheeks stained with tears.

He crawls beneath the table and tries to hush her, but she only sobs louder. He hugs her to him, allows her to wet first his right shoulder, then his left.

They hear the boy come up from the meat house, his feet loud on the wooden floor of the shop, but he doesn't notice them under the table as he runs out into the streets of London.

At last she looks at him, her eyes wide and round and still watery: "He's dead," she whispers. "He's gone."

And Anthony doesn't know what exactly happens next, only that his lips are pressing ever so gently against hers. And he tastes the hot, salty tears and he doesn't know if they are Johanna's or his own.

She is wearing white when they are married.

They have left London far behind and they are in a place now where she knows no one and he knows few. They are alone in the church but for the priest, and they have managed to scrap up enough coins to buy her a beautiful, new white gown. It is lacy and feminine and just the sort of thing Johanna should always wear.

Anthony watches her walk slowly up the aisle. Her face is emotionless, but her eyes are watery as they so often are anymore. He tells himself they are tears of joy, but the secret places in his heart fear they are tears of mourning.

Her yellow hair is hidden beneath a thin veil; Anthony doesn't mind, because he will bury himself in that hair tonight.

She is wearing red when she kills him.

He is sitting on the ground, counting coins, when suddenly he feels her hands wrap around his throat from behind, squeezing tightly. He falls onto his back and she whirls around to straddle his chest, still choking him. He tries to fight her off, but she is hysterical, screaming and crying, and she somehow has managed to overpower him.

At last he gains control and pushes her off him. His eyes are watering and his breathing fast and hard, his heart is racing. He breathes for a moment and it's just long enough for him to recognize the red dress, the one with the black piping that he bought for her as a birthday gift.

"Johanna," he says, he voices ragged and raspy.

She is still crying.

And she screams again and throws herself on top, beating his chest and punching his nose, and again he feels her cold hands work their way around his neck. She wrings his neck, compressing the air, and he can hear her crying up until the moment when his vision goes blood-red.