A/N- This is an idea I've mildly nursed for years, but, in light of the upcoming movie, I figured I'd put this out there before Sweeney Todd is a Hot Topic t-shirt of the month.
Disclaimer- OOC-ness will abound in this story. Apologies. Also, I would do the whole, "I don't own Les Mis" thing, but I read that a copyright expires one hundred years after the author's death, and Victor Hugo died in 1885, so ha! No disclaimers have been necessary for twenty-two years! Except Sondheim is still alive, so let it be known that I don't own Sweeney Todd. Yet.
Attend the tale of Fantine la Blonde…
It was a dark, chilly morning in Paris when the Gillenormand carriage rolled in from Montreuil-sur-Mer. It stopped in la Rue de la Flotte, where a dark-haired young man stepped out, offering his hand to his companion.
The woman who emerged from the carriage was a startling sight. She had long, gray hair and a leer that lacked front teeth. Her clothes were worn and soiled, but beneath the crinkles of age and worry that lined her face bright, malicious blue eyes could be seen. Her traveling companion bowed to her. "I suppose, Madame la Blonde, that it is here we must go our separate ways," he said politely.
Madame la Blonde nodded, everything about her radiating impatience. "I do thank you for stopping for me, Monsieur Pontmercy," she said.
"No Christian soul would have left you there in the streets of that small town at night!" the young man cried. "But anyway, there's no place like Paris. I feel home again."
"Oh yes," smirked Madame la Blonde.
"Did you say you had, ah, unfinished business here, Madame?"
Madame la Blonde nodded slightly.
"You are young," the woman said, "and life has been kind to you thus far. You'll learn soon enough." When Monsieur Pontmercy did not reply, Madame continued. "There was a mayor and a whore… and he was a good man. A righteous mayor and a whore—he'd take her daughter in, he swore—and he was wonderful! And he was virtuous! And she was… not dead. There was an innkeeper who saw the whore was unconscious! The mayor came to get the girl… to take the daughter in!"
"The child, Madame!" cried Pontmercy, "Did the mayor get her from the innkeeper?"
"Oh, that was many years ago," Madame la Blonde replied softly, "I doubt if anyone would know…"
There was a moment of silence as the two attended to their similar reveries. Madame la Blonde kept her bright eyes fastened to the cobbles beneath her feet, and young Monsieur Pontmercy found himself watching a number of painful expressions cross her haggard face.
A stooped, dark figure darted from the shadows. Both Pontmercy and Madame la Blonde stepped back in alarm as the intruder approached them, palms outstretched, and began to beg. "Alms!" he cried. "Alms, for a miserable beggar!"
Monsieur Pontmercy dug into his pocket and dropped a few coins into the old beggar's hand, and the wretched creature turned his attention on Madame la Blonde. "Alms!" he moaned. "Alms! Hey! Don't I know you, lady?"
"Be off with you!" screeched the old woman, "Get away from me!"
Shouting, the old beggar scurried away in a hasty retreat, leaving Pontmercy and the hag alone in the street.
"You shouldn't be afraid of him," Monsieur Pontmercy ventured. "Paris is full of beggars. I've found that giving them a little…" his voice trailed away as he became aware that his companion was not listening.
At length, Monsieur Pontmercy said, "Well, Madame, if ever you need anything, I live with my grandfather at the Rue des Filles-du-Calvaire. Where can I find you?"
The woman started at the sound of his voice. She slowly turned her eyes to his open face and answered, still half-wrapped in her memories, "I imagine I shall be here, Monsieur, in the Rue de la Flotte. I shall not soon forget the young man who gave me a ride into Paris from the country."
Marius bowed again and climbed back into the waiting carriage, which lurched forward and clattered to the end of the street and turned away, out of sight.