Disclaimer: I own nothing of Mrs. Lovett, Toby, Mr. T.

Author's Note: Perhaps I shall eventually endeavor into writing lengthier ST fics, but for now... reviews are appreciated!


Starving for Warmth

She's sitting so close to the fire her stockings begin to smoke. But still she curses the cold.

"Mum," Toby says, causing her to pull her feet swiftly from the flames.

He smiles sheepishly. He's always so timid around her. Mrs. Lovett smiles in spite of the ever-present chill. She thinks Toby is a gentleman. But, maybe she's mistaken, because Toby thinks she's a lady.

"I- I was only wondering… it's awfully cold, and-"

"Come 'ere, love," she says.

It's almost midnight and he should be asleep. She scoots over so he can curl up under her arm. Huddling for warmth, they sit and watch the fire as though it's not so cold and it's not so bad and it's not so hard to fall asleep alone. Even when your bones is dead tired.

Mrs. Lovett yawns into the boy's greasy hair. Would do no good to wash him anyhow, even if it weren't so bloody cold, she thinks. Something about the smoke from her oven, but it hangs everywhere like a whore's perfume. Even Mr. T smells of burning flesh. Perhaps it suits him. Mrs. Lovett isn't sure.

Toby's arms are tight around her waist as though he can stop the hard times just by holding on to her.

Maybe Toby's too young to be a gentleman, but he's sweet. Perhaps a little too good for her liking, but dear to her, she supposes.

"What're you thinking?" Toby asks.

"Mmm… too tired to think," she mumbles, closing her eyes. It's a lie; she does the most thinking when she's tired. She opens an eye to peep curiously at him.

Toby smiles. "You're warm."

They laugh, but Mrs. Lovett doesn't feel warm. Toby's small little body clinging to hers, like he trusts her, like he's her son, Mrs. Lovett feels colder. She wonders, slightly panicked, if it's just her soul what's cold.

"Mum," he says again, interrupting her fears.

"Hmm?" she murmurs. She strokes his hair softly to relieve the nagging guilt inside of her.

"I was just wondering if I might help you in the bake house sometime. Like we've talked."

The guilt billows as Toby's eyes look eager and innocent. She pauses.

"Who'd greet the customers, then?" she says, tapping his nose with a finger stained dark with ingredients.

Toby frowns, and Mrs. Lovett feels his body shift with a sigh. But he drops the issue, nevertheless, because he's too sweet and good, and she just doesn't deserve it.

He falls asleep quickly, and Mrs. Lovett feels her leg go numb. She continues to stroke his hair, though, to prove she's not entirely numb.

Toby smiles in his sleep. Mrs. Lovett moves her feet closer to the fire until her stockings begin to smoke. She looks down upon Toby, then into the flames, and silently curses the cold.