Author: GreenWood Elf PM
A series of oneshots detailing the life of Mrs. Lovett, the sometimes penniless, rarely proper but always murderous pie baker of Fleet Street. Mostly ToddLovett. Rating may go up.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Chapters: 5 - Words: 7,960 - Reviews: 47 - Favs: 18 - Follows: 35 - Updated: 02-25-08 - Published: 01-04-08 - id: 3991098
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: I really shouldn't be starting a new fic now, but the "Sweeney Todd" movie was too delicious to pass up. This story will comprise of interconnecting one-shots based on Mrs. Lovett's life, the first of which is set fifteen years before the events in "Todd". Of course, I love feedback, so please review and let me know if you like, hate or couldn't care less about this story. I hope you enjoy!
Summary: A series of one-shots detailing the life of Mrs. Lovett, the sometimes penniless, rarely proper but always murderous pie baker of Fleet Street. Mostly Todd/Lovett. Rating may go up.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership of Sweeney Todd or it's characters.
Mrs. Lovett sat in her Albert's chair on Thursday evening. It wasn't a comfortable chair really, a bit creaky, a bit stiff and still smelling of the slop that slathered his clothes. Her late husband had been a butcher, he had. A fair one. And every night he came home stinking of slippery entrails and blood. Mrs. Lovett didn't mind so much, having a poor sense of smell herself.
But she could hear well enough.
Tiny shoes tapped on the floor above her. Rat-tat, rat-tat. Smart little boots for pretty little feet. The barber's wife was walking about, rushing about, fetching a fancy ribbon for her yellow hair, bouncing the baby on her hip.
Mrs. Lovett glanced at the low ceiling above. The chipped paint looked like ghastly scabs, catching the light of the gas lamps outside and casting crooked shadows over the walls. A frown folded her lips.
They were always making noise, they were, the barber singing, whistling, the wife laughing. The baby crying. God, she had never heard a baby cry so loud and the sound grated on her nerves, mocked her.
She had always wanted children, though Albert had never been keen on the idea. And now, and now the grave had him, the clay cold ground.
Her frown deepened.
Neat bottles of gin lined the sideboard, glistening in the fogged moonlight. Fetid air seeped in from the rotting streets.
Oh and she was rotting inside. Well, not rotting, but weeping, crying, crying like that baby upstairs.
Poor woman, all alone.
Albert's butcher shop sat silently and ghosts waltzed past the dusty counter, fingered his old, dull knives. And she had no means now. Her pockets were empty, her house threadbare. She had even thought of selling her hair. But the wigmaker said only gold hair was worth a pin, not brown, not her ratty nest.
Ah, poor thing.
Mrs. Lovett touched her brow, kneading the flesh, chasing away the first sharp pangs of a headache. A hansom cab pulled up the street and rolled to a stop in the gutter. The sprightly driver hopped down and brushed his black hat free of soot.
She stood, sidled over to the window and leaned against the chilly panes. The horse was handsome, standing there in his fine leathers, the traces polished. A sigh slipped past her pursed lips.
Albert had kept a pony to pull his butcher's cart. Up and down the alleys he would ride, delivering steaks to the rich and fatty chops to those who thought themselves grand enough to afford meat.
But even she couldn't afford meat now.
The cab driver hitched his horse to a post and walked up to her door. The bell rang. The bustle upstairs ceased.
"Is that the cab already?" Mr. Barker was coming down the stairs, his feet skipping a step, jogging along the hall.
Mrs. Lovett turned from the window and peered through the crack in the door.
Ah, he was dressed all nice-like tonight. Like a fop. But the man wasn't a fop, perhaps a little foolish, but not a fop.
She watched as he opened the door, spoke to the driver in a polite, jolly voice.
"It's the wife, you know," he laughed. "She has to look smart. But we'll be down in a minute if you'll wait. And here's something for your trouble."
Coins jangled, fell from Mr. Barker's smooth hand into the leather glove of the driver.
"Oi, anything you say, sir."
A hat was tipped, the door shut. Mr. Barker turned around, palms pressed to his hips. He was wearing a red waistcoat and lovely, laundered trousers-
A sudden knock drove Mrs. Lovett away from the door. She stumbled, tripped on the black hem of her gown and gathered herself.
He was calling to her, the warmth of his voice a living thing, a charmed entity that left her throat dry.
"Yes?" she replied stiffly and settled herself back into old Albert's chair. The edge of her gown was indecently lifted when he entered, but the man was blind and he had eyes only for her face.
"Mrs. Lovett, I'm sorry to intrude-"
"But I was wondering, if you'd be so kind-"
"I can't wait for the rent any longer. Me pockets are empty this month and I have at least one stomach to feed."
"Of course." Mr. Barker smiled, his strong shoulder leaning against the open door, the knob twisting beneath his hands. Pretty hands, such gentle, pretty hands. "I'll have it for you in the morning if you like. Have Lucy put the purse on the stairs when she goes out. But I wondered if I could ask a favor."
Mrs. Lovett drummed her fingers on her thighs. "What is it then?"
He chuckled under his breath, eyes down, on the tops of his polished shoes. "I'm taking Lucy to the theater tonight, maybe to a music hall after. Would you watch Johanna for us? She's asleep now, probably won't wake till morn unless she's fussy. If you'd only just sit with her, Mrs. Lovett. Lucy hates leaving her alone through the night and we never-"
"This isn't a nursery, Mr. Barker," Mrs. Lovett snapped.
The barber's smile faded. "Oh, oh of course, Mrs. Lovett. I had only thought-"
"But if you bring the cradle down here, I'll look after her. I've no one else to see to now anyway."
"Certainly." Mr. Barker looked relieved. "It'll just be a moment, just a moment." And then he turned on his heel, left the door ajar and rushed up the stairs. Mrs. Lovett heard him shuffling about overhead.
The cradle was lifted down, placed in the middle of her parlor on the old green rug and Mrs. Lovett stared at the thing. Lace. Lace and linen lined the little bed. Mrs. Barker carried the sleeping baby down in her arms.
"My thanks," she hummed, settling the infant gently within and placing a feather kiss atop the pink forehead. And then she danced out of the room, awash in a soft blue dress, crinoline petticoats sounding like fallen leaves as they swished about her dainty legs.
Mrs. Lovett folded her arms over her chest. She was painfully aware of her dreary widow's garb. Mourning, she was still in mourning while the barber's flighty wife was free to wear her finery.
Mr. Barker was at the door last, closing it behind him, still smiling.
"Good night, Mrs. Lovett. And I'll have the rent in the morning, no worries."
A jerk of her chin suggested her agreement or derision as it might be. The hansom cab pulled away, harness ringing merrily all the way down the street.
Mrs. Lovett was alone. Well, not quite.
Little Johanna wriggled about in her cradle, a shrill cry ripping her from sleep.
And inside, Mrs. Lovett wept as well.