For a request meme on LiveJournal: the request was Fogg, or Fogg/Lovett.


The Madwoman of Fleet Street

It was dark, damp, and lonely in the asylum, and the cries of the inmates wore on his nerves - the screams of the new arrivals, the hysterics generated by the experimental treatments doctors liked to use his house for, and the eternal keening the mad girls kept up. In the pie shop, there was warmth, conviviality, and Mrs Lovett.

He had started to come here on the recommendation of the men who fetched in his patients; they had raved about the pies. He came back because of the pie-maker.

She had the most exquisite hair, unlike anything he had seen on his wards. Russet corkscrew curls, shining with health and prosperity now, tumbling over each other in a careless arrangement that wasn't quite ladylike, that invited a man to take out the hairpins one by one until that marvellous hair was completely exposed, loose and au naturel, to his hands and to his gaze. He liked to keep her talking.

"The ward of a judge? Ridiculous what those lunatics think!" Her eyes tracked upwards for a moment, to the upper floor of her shop, and then back to him. She smiled, fascinating. "I suppose her friends don't want her back? She's with you for life?"

"I suppose so, Mrs Lovett. My poor charges are too much for their friends in their sad afflictions. I keep them safe from the outside world."

Perhaps he might bring her in. He detected a certain instability in her that would suffice as a reason. Indeed, such a thing always manifested itself eventually in his patients, no matter how virulently they protested their sanity on first being brought to the asylum.

"Is the barber still at work at this hour?" he inquired of her, unwilling to leave the vicinity of the charming Mrs Lovett just yet and feeling that he may as well use his time away from the asylum efficiently.

"Mr Todd - oh, no, I shouldn't think so. You go back to your asylum and watch over those poor girls. Make sure no one comes to take them away." She winked at him and re-entered her shop.

If he could bring her in, he would keep her and that unique hair in a cell alone. All the better to watch over her.

--

When she sees him coming, she reaches for the carving knife. Presumptuous creature, not seeing where he isn't wanted - just wait until she tells her Mr Todd. He'll want to protect her, he will.

At least Mr Fogg had told her where Johanna was. An asylum was probably the best place for her (like mother, like daughter) and now she could trouble her father no more. All traces of that unfortunate first marriage erased, clearing the way for another. How gratifying.