Summary: Mrs. Lovett hears singing.
Author's Notes: I notice that when I write another extended fic, new little tiny ones spawn out of it. So here's the a fic that's the result of "Ladies and Liquor." You don't have to read that to understand this one.
She was just making another pie for her lone customer of the day (a drunk who insisted upon calling her "love" and couldn't really care what he ate) when she heard it.
Mrs. Lovett hadn't been quite sure what that noise was at first, but, once she'd stopped her activities and just sat and listened, she'd realized what it was. Like a baby bird in a nest, just a light singing, nonsensical and off-tune. It was coming from outside, and, strangely enough, Mrs. Lovett got the impression it was above her. Setting her rolling pin down and excusing herself from her customer, she made her way outside.
She peered about, hands on her hips—nothing outside, but that singing was clear as a bell now, so Mrs. Lovett moved around to the side of her shop, towards the stairs. She squinted up at the top of them, and there, barely visible, was a huddled, shaking lump next to the door.
Her eyes narrowed. Mrs. Lovett did not approve of beggars at her shop, and she certainly didn't approve of them trying to get in up there—not with what she was hiding under the floorboards. "Oi!" she barked. "Get down from there!"
The lump of dirty clothes made no move, nor did the singing stop. Growling, Mrs. Lovett went stomping up the stairs, irritated. "Here now, you—get away from that door!" she shouted, and the beggar cringed against the door at the sound of her voice. Now that she was closer, she could see it was a woman, her dress black and grey and brown from filth, a dirty bonnet pulled low over her features.
"My home…" the beggar woman mumbled, stroking the door.
"You don't live there—nobody lives there," Mrs. Lovett said, scowling, reaching the top of the stairs and standing before the interloper.
"He went off on a trip," the old woman babbled, staring at the floor, her face obscured. "I have to watch the baby."
"What're you nattering on about?" Mrs. Lovett demanded. "Get off my stairs!"
But the beggar was now pretending to rock an imaginary baby, completely oblivious to Mrs. Lovett's presence. She was saying all sorts of nonsense to what she perceived to be a child, and just as Mrs. Lovett was about to stride forward and make this bint notice her, she caught a name.
And suddenly Mrs. Lovett knew.
Anger boiled within her like a black cloud. "You get out of here," she snarled, reaching down and seizing Lucy by the upper arm and dragging her unceremoniously to her feet. Lucy came limply, finally looking up to face Mrs. Lovett.
She looked terrible. Her eyes were sunken and hollow, her bones prominent, her hair brittle and no longer that beautiful golden yellow it had been before.
Mrs. Lovett gave her a vicious grin before shoving her back towards the stairs. "This ain't your home no more," she said firmly. "Who let you out of Bedlam?"
Lucy was twisting her hands and looking anywhere but at Mrs. Lovett. "My home," she repeated stupidly.
"No, not your home!" Mrs. Lovett replied, losing her temper and shoving Lucy again. She began bunting her down the stairs, flapping her arms at her. Lucy nearly tripped several times, and wouldn't have that have been a fitting end, if she would've fallen and broken her neck. But she didn't, merely reached the end of the stairs without incidence.
"Now get out of here!" Mrs. Lovett said again, waving her tea towel at the lunatic.
"So hungry—spare a little—?" Lucy suddenly begged, looking towards the pie shop.
"I ain't got no time for the likes of you! Get out, or I'll call the police!" Mrs. Lovett shouted.
Lucy waffled where she was momentarily, eyes rolling, her chin wet with drool, before finally turning and wandering off down the street, swaying and mumbling all kinds of nonsense to herself.
Mrs. Lovett huffed satisfactorily.
Wouldn't do to have her kind here, anyway.