This is Harry’s morning routine: he gets up, brushes his teeth, has a shave and makes breakfast downstairs by putting the kettle on for tea and the toaster on for toast. He reads the morning paper at the head of the table, scraping butter by the knifeful onto his toast. Then he finds something to do, like clean his guns or take the car round to the shop for an oil change. His life is a flurry of activity.
This is Harry’s morning routine with Eggsy: he wakes and blinks down at the weight of a leg slung across his waist. Eggsy is snoring softly, his mouth half-open, his hand fisted loosely in the folds of Harry’s shirt. He clings in his sleep. He has a terrible habit of sprawling. Eggsy has, incongruously, cold feet which he likes to rub up and down Harry’s shin. It still catches Harry off-guard, still makes him shiver.
Normally Harry is out of bed by eight, but with Eggsy around it takes him longer to get up, longer still to go about his daily routine. The kettle won’t be on until nine thirty and by then Harry’s hunger for toast and tea has abated completely.
Eggsy is still asleep by the time Harry finishes his breakfast. Harry, true to form, finds other things to do; his life is dominated by small rituals. He likes the comfort, sometimes, of routine. He waters the row of potted plants that line the window of the parlour, then goes through the project proposals from HQ that need his approval. They give him a migraine. He sends Merlin a decidedly emphatic e-mail.
When he likes to keep his hand busy, he polishes his shoes then arranges them by year of purchase on the second and third level shelves. Occasionally, he’ll make lunch early. Most of the time, the day is spent in an effort to pry Eggsy out of bed with varying levels of success.
Eggsy spends the night when he’s on leave. Then again, he spends the night even when he isn’t, slouching in Harry’s sofa with his pug and remembering to keep his feet off the coffee table. He watches Top Gear, makes a general mess of the bathroom by leaving wet towels on the floor and always, always, forgets to bring a toothbrush. He can’t be bothered wearing a shirt to bed, a fact that amuses and exasperates Harry in turns.
Harry has an extra pair of pyjamas hanging in the closet for him but Eggsy will bypass that in favour of wearing Harry’s pyjamas, folding the sleeves up to his wrists when not forgoing a shirt completely. He’s not the first one in bed but the last one out of it.
It surprises Harry, still, how keen Eggsy is; how he’ll sometimes put his head on Harry’s shoulder while Harry’s reading in bed and slip a hand inside Harry’s shirt before letting out a sigh.
Eggsy is, contrary to belief, a heavy sleeper. He can sleep through anything: construction, music, sirens, Harry shaking him awake.
Eggsy sleeps with his limbs askew, flat on his back with his feet hanging off the edge of the bed, his limbs twisted in the sheets. His body is solid and strong, but there’s a softness to him too, lent by sleep and lent by age that is much less apparent when he’s awake. He’s agile in motion, kinetic, but in Harry’s bed he’s slow to move, spending long stretches luring Harry back to sleep with lazy heavy-lidded smiles.
Harry likes to watch him attempt to get out of bed, slipping one limb and then another out of the cocoon he has constructed for himself. It’s a lot like watching a newborn colt find its footing, if a lot less uncoordinated and with understandably more grumbling.
Ten minutes later, Eggsy’s finally upright. Eggsy scrubs his face, stumbling blindly to the bathroom, giving Harry an absentminded kiss as he goes. He bumps into furniture, letting out a hiss as he drops his toothbrush on the floor with a clatter.
Because he goes to bed without a shirt on, Harry can admire the slim taper of his waist, the sturdy width of his shoulders, the light flecks of moles on his inner shoulder blades and upper arms when Eggsy emerges minutes later from the bathroom, leaning casually against the doorjamb, his hair mussed up and peaking. He has a birthmark shaped like a comma, half hidden from view by the waist of his pyjama bottoms, on the small of his back ,that only Harry knows about – the colour of milky coffee which Harry feels ought to be said. Each time Harry runs his tongue across the mark, Eggsy arches his back – a full range of responses: a sigh, a groan, the loveliest of keens.
Eggsy is never out of bed before nine thirty. He likes his sleep.
This is his usual routine: he’ll wake up of his own accord, tugging Harry back to bed. Or: he’ll wake up of his own accord and ask Harry if he’s remembered to walk the dog. Sometimes he’ll go back to sleep after he’s wrapped himself around Harry like a vice. Occasionally, he’ll roll on top of Harry, forcing him on his back and bearing down with his weight. When he smiles, it demolishes Harry’s willpower utterly.
Harry can never truly resist him and he’s starting to think Eggsy has cottoned on.
Eggsy rides him, slow, with the kind of leisure redolent of lazy mornings, leaning down to bite Harry on the chin.
Harry purchases a spare toothbrush. He purchases a number of things too, afterwards: pillows, a chewtoy for JB, cereal. He spends more time at home than at work. There is a clear demarcation, now, of all times, despite the fact that he’s the newly appointed head of the UK branch and saddled with more responsibilities than when he’d been a field agent.
Work is work, and home is… home is the shape Eggsy makes under the covers, with his feet peeking out like the wicked witch of the west from the Wizard of Oz. It’s the white noise of cartoons in the morning as JB yips and Eggsy dances round in the living room hopping from foot to foot, balancing a box of cereal in one hand and a bowl of dog treats in the other.
They eat breakfast together, sometimes not at all, but when they do, Harry opts to cook if only to rid Eggsy of the terrible habit of consuming sugar so early in the morning. He eats dry cereal by the palmfuls, milk separate. He has an aversion to fruit. Eggsy is young, still, and unlike Harry who is set in his ways to the point of calcification so his bad habits still leave room for remediation. Lately, however, Harry lets certain things slide: Eggsy’s propensity for sleeping in the nude, for example, or the dribbles of toothpaste in his sink that have hardened to stalagmites, even, actually, Eggsy’s utter lack of shame when it comes to seducing him, the way he knocks the book out of Harry’s grasp and climbs without preamble into his lap, chin tilted up for a wet, open-mouthed kiss. The way he rises up on all fours, arse in the air, keen to be undone.
On the issue of breakfast:
Harry isn’t completely against eating in bed though he wrinkles his nose when Eggsy leaves crumbs all over the bedding. Eggsy’s not a slob, but he has his moments, and really Harry ought to talk to him about the finer points of wearing your own clothes – he strolls about freewheeling in Harry’s underwear, for god’s sake – but all of that seems vastly negligible when Eggsy’s tilting up his chin, undoing the buttons of Harry’s shirt one-handed and straddling his thigh. And then kissing him, tasting of tea and buttered toast, his mouth slick and wet, his body perfectly moulded against Harry’s side. He always smells of sleep in the morning: face dented with pillow marks, his skin warm under Harry’s hands. But after Harry’s finished with him, the mineral scent of him changes, replaced by the sharp tang of sweat and the salt of his come.
Harry’s life is changed. It’s not dramatic but it’s noticeable enough that Harry wakes one day, blinking at the weight of a leg slung across his waist. And instead of getting up and going about his day, instead of responding to the myriad of e-mails he has left piled in his inbox over the course of his supposed leave, he decides, without hesitation, to cup the hand fisted in his shirt and go back to sleep. At the foot of the bed JB snorts, no doubt dreaming about the things that dogs often dream about.
Downstairs, in the kitchen, the kettle waits to be turned on. The clock chimes 9:30.