Disclaimer: I do not own any of these brilliant characters.

A/N: I've had many discussions with friends about Mrs. Lovett's sanity and that's because I feel for her. But eventually I had to admit she was a bit crazy. So this was my attempt at defending her actions while still accepting that she was, obviously, insane to some degree. And if any of you can get past the corny beggining - which I could never seem to fix, I'm afraid - you might see what I mean. Oh, and if you do, please review, I still haven't got a clear idea of what I'm doing here.

She walks alone. It's raining. There's a bakery near her, but she can't get in. She's hungry too. It's too late at night for a kid to be out, but she doesn't have anywhere else to go. She feels cold and starts shivering so she sits down, with her arms around her legs and knees. It doesn't warm her. She cries. And then gets angry at herself for doing so. She gets up, looks around and starts running. She runs, as fast as her freezing body lets her but it's not working either, and suddenly she has to stop. She has no energy left in her. Frustration ironically burns inside her as she realizes: nobody is looking for her, she won't even be missed.

As she finds a wall, her body falls into it and it takes only a few seconds for the last bit of heat to be stolen from her tiny being. Finally, it all stops. She's free.

Nellie Lovett wakes up again. It's the third time this week she has this same dream.

Nightmare is more like it. She thinks.

She realizes her ever thinning frame might be one of the reasons she can't overcome this silly dreaming. She's always cold at night. But hard as times are these days, there's not much she can do. Deep down, she understands most of the reasons for this are her feelings of abandonment, even if she wouldn't ever admit it out loud. What she doesn't understand is why she's always still a little girl. She's long past her childhood, at 37.

The light of dawn brings her out of her trance, as she knows she has to get up to open her pie shop, miserable as it is.

By the time she's up and making her first batch of what is, justifiably, called the worst pies in London, she's already pushed everything about that nightmare out of her mind. She's not crazy, she's well aware of the fact that no one is going to eat what she's baking. Except maybe she will if she can't find a way to make a soup with some left over ingredients. It's certainly better when she can, but only slightly.

Some would say she's delusional; she just considers herself a very practical lady. She knows her fantasies are keeping her alive, they keep her moving. So she lets her mind drift away…

All of a sudden the pie shop is colorful and filled with life. There're people and therefore there's movement. And sound. There's a couple fighting just outside but it's the kind of fight that comes with caring too much and it's over before it's even really started. The laughter comes from a costumer with a child that looks too much like her lost tenant and his daughter. She focuses on the pies she's baking; only now they are as delicious as they've ever been and…

The sound of real bells ringing brings her back, because even now she can tell the difference. But then she doubts herself because it's him again. No, she must be losing her mind, at last. There's finally someone real here and she's still clinging to the memory of him. She won't allow it. She's a survivor; she won't allow herself to be anything else.

So she begins to talk, forcing herself to reality by doing so. She talks and talks and is surprised by how fast the words are coming out, it's been so long, she never knew how eager she'd sound. Blame it on human nature to have such a need to communicate. But, suddenly, as she does so, she realizes two things:

She's real again.

And she can't stop.

She's explaining everything about how awful her pies are but she's forcing them into his hand nonetheless because she needs to share. She needs to have someone know how it tastes too.

Finally she stops.

She looks at him again and feels as confused as before. It must be really him because he's never as somber and lifeless when she's daydreaming, but still she isn't completely sure. She's a practical woman; she understands how unlikely it is. She's been hoping for it to happen for too long, she's been alone for too long. She was bound to lose her mind sooner or later.