Disclaimer: Not mine. Used without permission or remuneration but with as much love and respect as Sweeney has for his friends; and given the nature of the prompts, I should probably state that I am not affiliated with Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, either.

This is a series of one-shots written for the LiveJournal community 6impearfics, where the prompts are BPAL's descriptions of their perfumes. The first one is Black Dahlia: Voluptuous magnolias strewn over orchid, star jasmine, black amber and smoky rose, from the prompt set Off With Her Head.

Should you have read the other set, Sex and Candy - yes, I am still working on it! This set is closer to completion, though.

She had done it again; dragged him downstairs from his spartan sanctuary to her overpoweringly feminine parlour where the swollen-rose wallpaper and the stench of perfume were starting to make him feel sick. The air upstairs might always hold a faint tang of copper and salt, but it was cleaner than the fug of baking and cheap perfume that pervaded down here, and so, so much purer than the stink outside. Ten more minutes, Sweeney thought as he sat suffering the close heat of the fire, and he would have stayed long enough for her not to make a fuss when he left.

Mrs Lovett, the very model of a good housewife, was sewing, making a shirt. Sweeney hoped it was for the boy and not for him. Every once in a while she looked up at him sidelong and smiled to herself, well pleased with her charade of domesticity. She thought he didn't notice, but he did. It was always as well to be aware of a fellow predator's movements, lest while you weren't looking they were on you, sinking their teeth into the back of your neck – as Mrs Lovett did all too often, trying to conceal her bite under soft, fleshy lips while her untamed hair cascaded over his shoulder, Rapunzel-like (and he was definitely not her prince), and her vulgar perfume invaded his senses.

Remembering the last time she had done that, Sweeney automatically felt for his holster, making sure of the razor's comforting presence.

A muffled exclamation told him that Mrs Lovett had pricked her finger. Out of the corner of his eye he saw her hold up her lace-gloved hand to inspect the wound. Her murmur of disappointment was nothing – she always chattered on, like the clatter of a wound-up clockwork doll or the creak of the gears in their own fiendish machine, it was how you knew they were working – but blood was beading from the doll's hand and he could smell it from here, cutting through her usual too-sweet scent, tantalising. An infinite improvement. The beginnings of the smell that savoured of a job well done. That tawdry little bead needed some help to blossom into beautiful rubies…

She noticed him staring. There must have been something in his look that, for once, unsettled her, for she blushed (a mistake, if what she wanted to was to divert his attention … all that blood rushing to her cheeks…) and covered the wound as if it were an impropriety.

Sweeney turned his face away and made his exit.


After that, her unbloodied smell affronted him even more.

He knew, because she was always pressing herself against him and her hands and lips and breasts were always in his face, exactly where she dabbed it – too much of it – and the cheap scent offended his nose. One would think that fifteen years of prison would have inured him to any foul odour, but no, that smell wafted up to him like a professional insult: so infuriating that the next time he was restocking his tonsorial supplies he bought a bottle of ladies' perfume – and God help him, chose something he thought she would like, voluptuous red rose and carnal jasmine. Not like Lucy's melancholy-sweet violets at all.

He knew he'd made a mistake as soon as he gave it to her.

"Oh, Mr Todd," she cooed, spraying herself with it indiscriminately and going into near-orgasmic raptures, "how kind you are!" so that he wanted to smash the glass bottle on the chopping board and rub her wrist in the fragments until she stopped twittering and the final note of the perfume was, satisfyingly, her blood. Do you see now how kind I am, Mrs Lovett?

Instead he stalked out of the room.


Now the place smelled of blood-red roses. Somehow that was even worse.