Notes: Keen Eddie belongs to people other than myself. I have no claim on the characters, and I am not making any profit from this story. This fic takes place after the episode "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite." Also, Eddie may be just a touch OOC in this story, especially towards the end. Sorry about that; can't be helped.
Since day one, Eddie had always had a tough time getting a read on Pippin. He was unpredictable, contradictory. He was a bit of a mystery. It was one of the things that had always intrigued Eddie about Pippin, although at times it could also be infuriating.
But a sudden lapse into sullen and immovable silence was unusual, even for Pippin. Eddie could tell that something was wrong. Pippin was withdrawn, quieter than usual. Melancholy, even. Something was amiss, without a doubt.
Eddie had first noticed it the night that he had delivered Anton Levy's daughter to him. Many of the members of the force had been sure that he wouldn't walk out of that house alive. Pippin had been worried too, Eddie knew. What's more, he had admitted as much to Eddie, which meant he had been really worried. But that in itself wasn't so odd, considering how dangerous Anton was.
When Eddie had walked out, when he appeared, perfectly fine, in Anton's driveway, Pippin had rushed up to him, and given him an embrace. Nothing particularly odd about that either, given how worried Pippin had been. But then, when he stepped back, Eddie noticed something different in Pippin's expression. That was the first time he had seen the resigned sadness in Pippin's eyes.
He had found it disturbing.
Since then, Pippin had become increasingly quiet and withdrawn. He smiled less, laughed seldom. He didn't joke as much. It was getting to the point where it was beginning to worry Eddie. He was pretty sure he wasn't the only one who had noticed, either.
He had made a plan to confront Pippin about it. Eventually. He knew he couldn't allow it to go on much longer, but truthfully, he had no idea how to go about approaching his partner. There was never any telling with Pippin, no knowing how he would react to any overtures. But Eddie knew he would have to do something.
Which was why he was caught only slightly off-guard when he walked into an empty office at the Yard to find Monty Pippin crying.
Pippin's back was to him when he entered the room, so Eddie didn't notice at first. The only warning he had was a loud sniffle before Pippin must have realized that he was in the room and did his best to stifle the tears. The inspector wiped hastily at his eyes and nervously moved the papers he had been looking at in his lap, holding them off to one side so that Eddie couldn't see them.
Eddie slowed to a halt as he entered the room, his eyes widening. After his initial jolt of startlement, Pippin recovered himself enough to look back at Eddie, and for a moment they just stood there frozen, staring at each other.
Pippin broke the tableau by clearing his throat and looking away. "Yes," he said, "what is it?"
"Pippin?" Eddie wasn't quite sure what to say. "You okay?"
"Hm?" Pippin seemed distracted. "Oh. Yes. Well. Perfectly fine. Thanks."
Eddie moved forward, striding around the desk that Pippin was sitting on the edge of until they were face to face. Well, he figured, now was as good a time for a confrontation as any.
"Pippin, what's wrong? You've been acting really weird lately."
"Mm," was Pippin's noncommital answer.
"Look, Pip," said Eddie, "you can tell me. I'm your partner."
"It's not important," Pippin mumbled.
Eddie crossed his arms. "Yes it is. 'Cause pretty soon it's gonna start affecting your work. And it's not safe for me to have a distracted partner. Besides, you always tell me everything. Sometimes more than I want to know. So why don't you just tell me what's wrong?"
Pippin looked up at him and scowled, although the expression was really more like a pout. "I'm not going to tell you. You'll think it's stupid if I tell you."
Eddie looked up to double-check that he had closed the office door behind him, then leaned back against the wall. "Well, if you're sitting in here crying about it, then it can't be that stupid."
"I wasn't crying," Pippin protested a bit too quickly.
"Uh-huh." Eddie didn't bother pursuing the argument, since it was obvious. "Look, Pip, I can wait here all day. Just tell me and get it overwith."
Pippin stared at the floor for a minute, looking embarrassed. Finally he said, "I lied to you. About my star charts. I did get them done." Eddie glanced at the papers in Pippin's hand, but he was holding them at an angle where Eddie couldn't read them.
Pippin fell silent. Eddie waited for more, but Pippin stared stubbornly at the floor and said nothing. "And?" Eddie prompted eventually.
"And, I... I'm not destined to find love." Pippin was scowling with a vengeance now, although on Pippin, all expressions were slightly cute.
Eddie rolled his eyes. "I'm not surprised, what with the way you lie to all the women you meet-"
"No, Eddie," Pippin interrupted. "It's not like that. It's not that I'm not going to meet anyone. I am destined..." Pippin paused. "You'll think it's rubbish."
"It is rubbish, but go on." Eddie was trying to remain as patient as possible. He knew that Pippin took this sort of thing very seriously, and when he was serious about things, he could be easily offended.
There was another long silence before Pippin finally decided to divulge the next tidbit of information. "I am destined to live forever pining for an unrequited love. There. I've said it."
Eddie fought the urge to laugh. Pippin was obviously very distressed, and seeing Eddie take his plight lightly wasn't going to help. "Pippin," he said patiently, "listen to me. These horoscope things only have power over you because you put your faith in them. They're ambiguous enough that they can be interpreted a hundred different ways, so whatever happens, you can bend the facts to fit the prophecy and say it came true."
"Anton's came true," Pippin spat. "Besides, there's nothing ambiguous about my charts. I'm going to pine for the rest of my life."
"Well if you believe you're going to, then you're going to," said Eddie. "See, that's the problem with these things. If you think you're going to spend the rest of your life pining, then you're not going to try to get over it. And if you don't try to get over it, then you will spend the rest of your life pining. It's a vicious cycle."
Pippin didn't say anything. His gaze roamed around the room, looking anywhere but at Eddie. Eddie sighed and drew up a chair, sitting down in front of Pippin. "It doesn't have to come true," he said.
"But it's already started," Pippin murmured, then pressed his lips together tightly. Eddie got the distinct impression that he hadn't meant to say that.
Eddie frowned, then grinned suddenly as the meaning of this dawned on him. "There's someone you like, isn't there? There's already someone you like. Did you even ask her if she likes you too, or have you convinced yourself that you're destined to pine, so you don't have a chance?"
"I don't have a chance," said Pippin.
Still grinning, Eddie asked, "What's her name?"
Pippin, apparently, didn't find this all quite as amusing as Eddie did. "What does it matter what her bloody name is?" he spat. "It's not going to work out anyway, and I know this for more reasons than just the horoscope, so you can cut it out right now."
"Well until you ask her, then there's no way you really know for sure, now is there?" Eddie pointed out. "Your destiny is what you make of it, pal. Don't for a second believe otherwise."
Pippin stared at him for just long enough that Eddie started to get uncomfortable. Then, "Ridiculous! Absolutely ridiculous. There's no way. There are too many obstacles, and I will spend the rest of my life wanting what I can't have."
Eddie sighed. This discussion was really going nowhere fast. "Why?" he asked. "What obstacles could possibly be so insurmountable?"
Pippin leaned forward, looking into Eddie's eyes. "Well, you didn't meet me on a red bus, for one thing."
It took several moments for the meaning of this to sink into Eddie's brain. His eyebrows shot up. "Me?"
Pippin rolled his eyes and looked to the skies in an expression that made it very clear that he thought Eddie was a complete idiot. "Of course it's you. Who else would it be?"
Eddie crossed his arms. "I see. So the real reason why you're so sure that you're destined for unrequited love is that the object of your affection happens to be a man."
Pippin frowned at the wall. "And one who has no interest in other men. So, as you see, my life sucks."
Eddie shook his head and sent a quick heaven-help-me look skyward. Would that God would send either a bit more patience or a bit more sanity into his life. Preferably a bit of both. Not likely.
"First off," he said, grabbing Pippin's chin and turning Pippin's face towards him, "don't assume things. And second-" Here he leaned forward and gave Pippin a swift kiss.
"Don't put so much faith in destiny."