Disclaimer: I do not own Keen Eddie and intend no copyright infringement.

~ for niagaraweasel ~

"Fiona, are you sure you know what you're doing?" Eddie still couldn't believe he had agreed to this.

"Poppy says if it doesn't hurt, you're doing it wrong."

Eddie could swear she was grinning evilly as she kneaded his tensed up shoulder muscles with all the sensibility of a hippopotamus.

Yesterday evening a surveillance had ended with a short distance sprint turned into spectacular fall down the damn hard concrete steps of a subway entrance. His back hadn't taken kindly to the exercise and tortured him all night.

It spoke volumes that he had allowed Fiona – Fiona, of all people! – to give him a massage in the vain hope of some relief from the excruciating pain.

Talk about foolish optimism… the rhythm of her attacks had changed so that it now felt as if a herd of buffalos was tap dancing on his upper back region.

He had considered asking Pippin, who surely knew a thing or two about massages… but taking into account how screwed up he was in everything that involved physical contact, he would have surely turned this innocent favor into something sexual.

No. Thank you.

So back to Mrs. Hippopotamus… who had suddenly stopped assaulting his body… to put on rubber gloves?

"Fiona, what are you doing?"

"Household remedy. Grandma used it on Poppy. Works miracles."

It stank to high heaven, that was for sure.

"Is that pig bile? You're not spreading pig bile on my back, are you? I've got a meeting with the Superintendent in an hour!" Eddie jumped off the couch, dashed upstairs and took a shower, frantically trying to scrub the beastly gunk off his skin.

Of course the smell stuck, no matter how much of Fiona's expensive showering gel he used. (Hey, she had practically been begging for it, hadn't she?)

Eddie could only imagine what the Superintendent would say. And all the other big wigs that were supposed to attend the meeting. Damn, he needed their consent to further investigate that drug smuggling scheme he had stumbled upon. Some really huge names were involved, lots of red tape, he needed to convince them that it was worth the risk… when he was smelling like a butcher after a long, hot day?

To hell with you, Fiona Bickerton.

Eddie's ability to present his case despite reeking like a decaying skunk was never put to the test, however. On his way to New Scotland Yard he was kidnapped by some thugs employed by one of the huge names. They sedated him, tied him up and hid him away in the cellar of a giant factory building ready for demolition. Nobody would find him there. They could simply let him starve or, more likely, die of thirst.

A fitting punishment, from their point of view, for him sticking his nose into other people's business.

Eddie only woke up once during the ordeal. He realized what they were up to and he also realized that this time, his luck had really run out. No way he'd get out of this alive.

Imagine his surprise when he opened his eyes again and caught sight of Pippin.

He definitely couldn't be in heaven, despite all the whiteness around him. Must be a hospital then.

"How in the world…?", he croaked.

"Fiona informed us that you used quite a distinctive eau de toilet this morning", Pippin grinned. "Easy job for the track hounds. We went through the pubs with them till they picked out the thugs that kidnapped you. Superintendent in person made them talk."

Shortly after Pippin left, Fiona stopped by. "Told you it works miracles", she triumphed.

Only then she noticed that Eddie seemed to have fallen asleep. Quietly she sat down by his bedside. A stray strand of hair was plastered to his forehead. Cautiously she removed it.

He sighed under the soft touch of her fingertips, and so did she.

A big sigh of relief.