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In Kenya, Eggsy falls off a flight of stairs.



The nature of the job is rife with risk but Eggsy’s never actually prepared himself for the inevitability of injury. He’s always been lucky; he’s never been shot, or stabbed, or thrown out the window of a moving vehicle. The same cannot be said of his colleagues.

Once, a Russian kingpin threw a broken wine bottle at Eggsy’s head but had missed by a margin. Luck, in little increments, though that doesn’t always mean he comes away unscathed. Roughed up, maybe, scraped, but nothing a little patching up can’t fix. Many brushes with death and yet —

Eggsy is out of commission because he falls off the stairs.

Roxy laughs for about five minutes. “It’s not the end of the world, Eggs,” she says emphatically, patting his cast when she pays him a visit in sickbay.

Oh but it is.


Eggsy is relieved from duty and confined to three weeks of bed rest. For the next six months he’ll be off the field: nothing on the table for him until he is fully recuperated. After that he’ll be put through extensive therapy and then who knows what the fuck else. No one is saying anything, least of all Harry. Eggsy hardly sees him anymore. He very nearly bursts into hysterical laughter when Merlin informs him Harry has visited him twice when he had been asleep.

Maybe with a bum leg Eggsy’ll be demoted to a desk job. In the face of things, it’s a superfluous worry when it’s possible he’ll never walk the same again. He’ll be that git with the funny limp. That could be his thing. Eggsy is not lacking in traits that set him apart from the berks at Kingsman and the last thing he needs is another handicap. He has nightmares where he’s amputated from the left knee down and it’s always after he’s been on a steady stream of painkillers. He wakes up terrified and breathing hard.

Once most of the pain runs its course, Eggsy is taught how to operate a wheelchair. It’s a standard issue wheelchair, no secret knobs to pull and tweak, outfitted with a cushy leather seat and a velour padded footplate. Eggsy learns to maneuver it, and just to be a complete and utter shit, roams the hallway at night when most of the nurses are on break.

It’s difficult, of course, with his leg in a cast and his balance constantly tipping, but he manages in fits and starts. By the second week, he makes it as far as the break room, at twice the speed it normally takes him. He makes a nightly pilgrimage to the vending machine and discovers the joys of Cumberland pie and Pick & Mix though not in combination. Still, his nocturnal adventures are not completely without risk: often he’s wheeled back to his room by one of the nurses, or chided by Merlin in the morning during routine checkups.

And then one night after a mishap with the vending machine, Eggsy drops his money on the ground and backs his chair into the wall. He’s pinching the tenner off the floor with the bare toes of his right foot when Harry appears at the end of the hall, a vision in a crisp white shirt, the sleeves pulled up to the elbows. He has a mug with the Kingsman insignia in his left hand and his glasses are pocketed.

Harry looks bewildered, or as bewildered as Harry Hart can possibly which is not much. Nothing ever ruffles him. Harry slides down to a crouch to scoop the wrinkled note off the floor, leaning close enough that Eggsy gets a whiff of his cologne. “Shouldn’t you be in bed, Eggsy?”

Eggsy shrugs. He feels like a moron, in a hospital gown and with his leg in a fucking cast. “Couldn’t sleep,” he sniffs, accepting Harry’s proffered hand. “What about you? Shouldn’t you be, I dunno, home or somethin’?”

The corner of Harry’s lip twitches though it’s not quite a smile. “I’ve been quite the busy man these days, I’m afraid. New responsibilities. You understand how it is.” It’s a vague statement.

Eggsy doesn’t ask, instead wrinkling the ten pound note in his fist. He stares blankly at the shelf of food through the glass partition, jamming his thumb into one of the buttons. “I wanna get the fuck out of here,” he says, without thinking. “Drivin’ me nuts, this place. Food is shit, TV is shit, Merlin won’t let me out of my fucking room. He thinks I’m a hazard to myself and others. I fell off some fucking stairs, Harry – I’m not a complete knobhead. Think you can pull some strings for me? Arthur?”

The new moniker slides off the tongue with some difficulty but Harry deflects smoothly by taking a sip of tea.

“Merlin has your best interests in mind,” he says, sounding a touch amused. “You shouldn’t loathe him so, Eggsy.”

Eggsy huffs. It’s not the response he’s looking for but it’s better than nothing. “Yeah, yeah.” He crosses his arms. “Whatever.”

“Eggsy,” Harry says. His tone makes Eggsy look.



Eggsy is discharged after a week. Merlin doesn’t look too pleased about it, especially after he catches Eggsy chatting up one of the nurses in their sleeping quarters.

“Don’t make me regret this,” he says, tucking his clipboard under one arm. He glances at Eggsy’s duffel in a corner. “Let it be said that if I had it my way I would have never consented to this.”

“Meaning?” Eggsy asks, just to be cheeky.

Merlin’s frown deepens. It’s a sight to behold. “Meaning you have friends in very high places, Eggsy. Count yourself lucky.”

Eggsy doesn’t bother hiding his laugh.


Eggsy hides out in his flat – newly procured as is the flashy sportscar, bought as soon as the money becomes real. The first thing he does is phone his mum. She’ll lose her shit if she sees him like this but protecting her doesn’t make lying to her any easier.

Kingsman foots his medical bills and pays for the guy, Ulrich, who comes in every day to help Eggsy to the loo. It’s unnerving to have someone twice his size constantly at his elbow so Eggsy fires him after the first few days, citing, “This just ain’t working out, mate.” He hadn’t known he could do that, but apparently they’re not paying Ulrich enough because he fucks off without protest. On his own again, Eggsy relearns everything by himself, starting with navigating through his flat without barreling into furniture.

It’s a struggle most of the time and he’s tired every day. The effort it takes to piss standing up is not worth the wave of triumph that washes over him after successfully undoing his flies one-handed, leaning his weight on his crutch, or managing not to bump his leg on the coffee table.

The bathroom is a mess by the end of the second week, water flooding the tile, the shower curtain torn off the railing. He slips a few times in the tub, bruising his left arse cheek tenderly. Eggsy wears his hospital gown without prejudice and duct tapes a loofa at the end of a spatula for scrubbing in the shower.

But he’s nothing if not stubborn. He sets up camp in his living room, arranging everything within reach at hip level: the remote control, a change of underwear, his pain medication. He can’t cook, obviously, without risking setting the flat on fire, so every night he orders takeaway.

Eggsy subsists entirely on a diet of Indian and Polish food, a veritable feast of curry and variations of pierogi. It’s a perfect solution to an imperfect situation and by the time he’s settled into the routine, he decides to add Chinese into his daily rotation. He’s dialing for lo mien when the doorbell buzzes in succession, a note of urgency behind the summoning.

There are only three people in the known world who know of this address so Eggsy proceeds to open the door with some caution.

He hesitates, but then the doorbell buzzes again. “All right, all right! I’m comin’ already. Fucking prick—”

It’s Harry. Of course. Eggsy should’ve known it would be, but the expression on his face freezes in shock anyway.

“Hello, Eggsy,” Harry says, both hands inside his pockets, face carefully neutral. “A funny thing happened the other day; a man I’ve employed to assist you through therapy rang to tell me you’d fired him.”

Ulrich, the rat bastard. Eggsy is surprised it took Ulrich awhile to tattle and that he’s not secretly part of the Bulgarian IT Team. “I always thought he looked like a prick,” he mutters.

Harry takes in the mess of Eggsy’s flat over his shoulder, his gaze cool and assessing. Somewhere under a pile of laundry, JB yips, recognizing Harry’s voice.

“Eggsy,” Harry says, admonishing. It sounds fond when he says it though of course that could just be Eggsy. “You do know your recovery is of utmost importance.”

“Yeah?” Eggsy says. “To whom? You or Kingsman? Or is there any distinction? Need me to be on the field ASAP, is that it?”

“Don’t you want to be on the field, Eggsy?” Harry sounds surprised.

“Yeah, yeah, I guess,” Eggsy says. It’s a sobering thought. He feels ridiculous, taking it out on Harry when it’s not his fault at all. But he’s the only person Eggsy can think of who’ll listen, the only one really available. “But I ain’t workin’ with a nanny, Harry,” he says. “Fuck that. I can manage on my own, thanks. No one’s watching me piss.”

Harry doesn’t blink, but the corners of his eyes crinkle visibly. “All right,” he concedes. “Enough with the invasions of privacy. Pack your bags, Eggsy.”

“Huh? I ain’t goin’ back to sickbay, Harry. No fucking way.”

“Who says we’re going back to sickbay?” Harry says. And then, sidestepping him neatly: “Why is there a slice of pizza on the floor?”



Harry arranges for a car to transport Eggsy’s things back to his house: clothes mostly, a few of JB’s toys. That dog goes wherever he goes, through hell and high water. Harry’s made his home wheelchair-friendly, giving Eggsy a wide berth to freely move around in, everything level and within his reach, mugs, cutlery, the furniture tucked into corners of the room.

It’s flattering, mostly, this level of thoughtfulness, until Eggsy realizes Harry must be doing it for a reason, that Harry wants to keep an eye on him. He’s always been supportive, even after the whole Valentine uprising but that doesn’t always mean that his intentions are pure. Harry does things for a reason; he’s not prone to fits of spontaneity. Maybe all this is  a last act of charity before giving Eggsy the boot. It’s been a fun two years at Kingsman. Eggsy has had a good run. Perhaps, because of the depth of his injury, it’s time to hang up the suit.

“I’ve hired another therapist,” Harry says that first night, seated at the head of the table and shaking pepper into his bowl of soup.

“Oh, hell no,” Eggsy says. “I thought we agreed to the no more therapists rule. I don’t wanna suffer through the indignity.”

“You need help,” Harry says. It’s completely the wrong thing to say but Eggsy lets it slide. He says nothing, stirring his soup until Harry sets his spoon down with a clink.

“Twice a week,” Harry begins, cutting into the ensuing silence. “Mondays and Fridays. Just a few hours a day. You can ask him to leave whenever you want.”

“He?” Eggsy snorts, lifting an eyebrow. “Really, Harry? Another bloke?”

“He comes highly recommended. And I’ve screened him myself.”

“Yeah,” Eggsy concedes. He stares Harry down but it doesn’t work. “All right.”

Harry dabs at his lips with a table napkin, looking pleased. “How’s your soup?”

“Not too bad, I guess.” Eggsy shrugs. He makes sure his spoon clatters when he drops it on the table. “But I could do with something with a little more flavor, I think.”



The new guy, Eric, is wet around the ears, nebbish, to the point of hilarity. He calls Eggsy “Mr Unwin, sir,” but he’s efficient enough and gives Eggsy all the space he needs. He isn’t condescending. He helps Eggsy only when he asks for it.

Eric hangs round until about lunch and then after Eggsy kicks him out. They’re both happier for it; Eric looks like he needs the time off, the sad sack.

Waiting for his tibia to set is like waiting for molasses to grow: you can only shout impatiently for so long before throwing up your hands and admitting defeat. At least Eggsy’s afforded a change of scenery. He’d have gone bonkers had he been left on his own for too long and may have broken his other leg by now if Harry hadn’t intervened. Eggsy likes cohabitating with him, as that’s the term Harry most often uses (‘Cohabitating’ –  like they’re furry animals or something) though they live, uniquely distinct lives.

Harry is rarely home.

Kingsman business, Eggsy understands, keeps him on his toes, but he can’t seem to justify the jolt of excitement that hits him whenever he hears the front door rattle. He imagines that’s what JB must feel like when he leaves for month-long missions.

With Harry out of the house, Eggsy can do a bit of poking around. Nothing in his drawers discredits Harry; he’s a man of taste and class. Harry keeps Cuban cigarettes in his desk drawer, owns a motley collection of cufflinks ranging from the mundane to the delightfully obscure (a pair of cufflinks monogrammed with his initials sits in his bottom drawer, doubling as a wax seal stamp), and owns an enormous vinyl record player where he plays Edith Piaf and warbly operatic music.

Eggsy uncovers tickets to the Royal Opera House in the pockets of one of his coats, which means Harry is probably a fan. It’s a trove of treasures too, as Eggsy uncovers a number of things: a smelted key ring, several coins of varying currency and once, a receipt from Smythson for a £595 fountain pen. But his most prized possessions Harry keeps under lock and key and Eggsy has yet to figure out the combination of his safe.

On the rare occasion he’s around at the same time Eggsy is awake, Harry makes them both dinner, slaving away like a blacksmith at the stove, sweating and ruddy-faced. He doesn’t do takeaway; Harry claims to take pleasure in preparing his own meals. “There’s a certain satisfaction to be had in getting your hands dirty,” he says, pointing with the teflon spatula. “Pass me the onions, would you please?”

One evening, he comes home with bags of shopping and Eggsy hobbles into the kitchen on his crutches to watch him work his magic on steamed mussels. His body moves like a well oiled machine, no movement ever wasted. It makes Eggsy want to ruffle him a little and at the same time throw himself out the fucking window.

Harry is economical with his movements as well as efficacious. He’s like a robot. Seeing him with his sleeves pushed up to his elbows turns up Eggsy’s crank a little bit, frankly speaking, but seeing him walk around with his jacket doffed and his leather braces on display is like the minimum equivalent of seeing him walking around starkers. He’s always perfectly coifed, without a hair out of place, even in the face of danger. Eggsy can’t help but imagine him wearing a t-shirt and jeans, eating out of a tin of yogurt, but he’s not stupid enough to set Harry’s wardrobe on fire. Maybe. Though one can live in hope of a sudden accident to befall Harry’s precious suits.

Harry pours himself a glass of white wine while waiting for the food to cook and Eggsy offers him the hand towel when he starts looking around for one. “Thank you,” Harry says gratefully, then smiles as he lifts his glass to his lips. He takes a perfunctory sip and loosens his tie before reaching over to adjust the heating on the stove.

JB pads into the room and starts sniffing at Eggsy’s ankles. Eggsy resolutely ignores him.

“Is there something you can’t do, Harry?” he teases.

“I don’t know,” Harry says, pretending to think. He’s got a playful smile on his face which prompts Eggsy to grin. “I’m a man of many talents.”

“That you are,” Eggsy agrees. “That you are.” And then: “You think you could whip me up some authentic Indian curry, then? I’m having a craving.”

Harry lifts an eyebrow. But later at the end of the week, Eggsy sniffs the air and shambles into the kitchen where Harry is hanging up his apron and setting out the cutlery. He looks at Eggsy expectantly, then at JB whose tongue is lolling lazily to the side.

Eggsy watches Harry swipe his pinky through the sauce on the ladle and lick his finger clean. He looks thoughtful for a moment. “I can’t decide if it needs more cumin or cinnamon,” he says before resting both hands on his hips. “Ah, well. I suppose this’ll have to do.”

“Knowing you, it’s probably fucking gourmet,” Eggsy declares. Then he blushes, not knowing why. “I’ll set the plates,” he offers. He hops over awkwardly on one foot towards the cupboard but Harry stops him with a hand on his forearm. “You’re a guest in my home. That won’t do at all, Eggsy.”


“Sit,” Harry orders placidly. “Dinner will be ready in ten minutes.”



They don’t talk about Kingsman. The thing is, Eggsy is hoping to bring up the possibility of working again because he feels like his brain is rotting away waiting on Harry day in and day out. It isn’t that he’s unhappy with the living arrangements; he’s grateful for the Spartan sophistication and berth of Harry’s bathroom, but four weeks of shapeless days make him as restless as JB without a chew toy. Also he gets the nagging feeling he’s putting on weight. He’s lost some definition in his arms and his stomach is looking a bit softer. Life can’t get any fucking better.

Eggsy wants to make himself useful; he’s not used to having so much free time to faff about. He wants to go on a fucking marathon, or shoot some bad guys. He can feel himself slowly losing it.

Eggsy has Eric take him to the pub one morning, a little further outside his usual radius. He doesn’t want to run into anyone he knows so he wears a hat over his head and turns up his collar. He looks ridiculous but Eric dutifully keeps his opinions to himself as he wheels Eggsy into the establishment.

He orders a pint and watches patrons come and go, recognizing himself in many of the listless youths hanging about, these kids with nothing to do and zero prospects. Eggsy sighs and polishes off his Guiness, smiling at the memory the drink evokes.

When he catches Eric staring, he drops the smile immediately, clearing his throat. “What are you starin’ at?”

“Nothing, Mr Unwin, sir.”



The thing is, Eggsy is a little bit in love with Harry. He’s not ashamed to admit it, but he’s embarrassed by the fact that it took him the better part of the year to own up to it. He’d avoided Harry after he’d faked his own death, furious, still, at the betrayal. The line they walk as Kingsmen – Eggsy should’ve known better than to trust anything.

There hadn’t been a funeral but he had had assumed that that was how it was done. With no body to bury you moved on to the next phase of life. The world didn’t stop for anyone, least of all a cad like Harry Hart.

Six months later, Harry turned up as the newly appointed head of the UK branch – a scar in his left eyebrow from where the bullet had grazed him, his fingers steepled across his lips.

Eggsy threw the door wide open and Harry had barely even blinked.


Eggsy falls into old habits, which is to say he sends Eric on a weed run.

It’s not easy to wheedle him into anything –the man, apparently, has Principles – but Eric caves eventually after Eggsy appeals to his sympathy while fattening his bottom lip into his best pout. “Come on, bruv. I thought we was on the same side. I ain’t tellin’ Harry; you know I ain’t no snitch. You can trust me, man. He’ll never know! Please! Do it for friendship.”

“We’re not friends, Mr Unwin, sir.”

“Yeah, well,” Eggsy says. “How would you like to make an extra hundred quid?”

Eric returns an hour later, looking peaky, a bag of premium weed in a ziploc bag tucked inside his cardigan. Eggsy thanks him for his time and Eric fucks off to do god knows what after his work hours are up.

Eggsy rolls himself a spliff then smokes luxuriously in Harry’s bathtub, bum leg propped up on the side while he eats from a bag of M&Ms set on an inflatable tray. Harry will probably kill him, but that’s something he can always worry about when the time comes. He’s on his third smoke when the room takes on dreamy fiery hues and it’s like looking through a bottle of fruit punch with the label peeled off.

Eggsy throws his head back, giggling, and knocks his headphones off in the process. He’s about to scoop them off the floor with the end of his crutch when Harry walks in, rooting through the medicine cabinet above the sink. He doesn’t seem to notice Eggsy in the room. He looks like he’d just arrived, the tail of his shirt riding up from the waist of his trousers.

“If you’re looking for painkillers it’s in the topmost shelf to the right,” Eggsy supplies helpfully, crunching on a palmful of blue M&Ms.

“Right, right,” says Harry absently. “Thank you.” He leaves the room but returns a second later, bottle of painkillers held aloft. “Eggsy,” he says, then blinks. He looks different without his glasses on, and Eggsy wonders when he started noticing these things. “What on earth are you doing? Why is your mouth all blue?”

“I’m high as a fucking kite mate,” Eggsy says triumphantly. “And I think my balls have shriveled up to the size of prunes. I’ve been in this tub for hours. I can’t feel my fucking leg. Oh wait – I’m not supposed to.” He laughs, uproariously, and nearly coughs out a lung.

Harry loosens his tie. “Where’s Eric?”

“Sent him home.”

“And the weed?” Harry looks like he’s stopping himself from smiling. There’s a wrinkle in his forehead that smoothes away when Eggsy grins up at him.

“The man isn’t completely useless. I like him better than that other bloke. What was his name?”

“Ulrich,” Harry reminds him, not the least bit moved by his cheekiness. He bats a hand through the air.

“Are you impressed?” Eggsy asks.

“Hardly,” Harry says drily. His mouth tips down at the corners. “I thought you put all of this behind you.”

Eggsy snorts. “It’s just weed Harry. It ain’t hard drugs. I ain’t doing coke.” He rolls his eyes, feeling suddenly petulant. “You ain’t my dad so stop trying to be.” He stops to retract his statement, fails. “I mean – shit. Shit, shit, shit, shit. I’m sorry – I wasn’t thinking—”

“No, that’s quite all right.” Harry’s face is inscrutable even as he lifts a hand. It takes Eggsy a second to realize it’s extended toward him, meaning – “Can I—”

Eggsy swallows, grateful the light in the room hides his blush.

“Yeah, go ahead,” he says, handing Harry the spliff, their fingers brushing.

Harry takes a short hit, coughing, then lets the smoke travel up the air before taking another longer hit. He rubs at his chest before seating himself on the toilet lid, undoing the first two buttons of his shirt with his right hand.

Harry hunkers down with his knees a width apart which stretches the fabric of his trousers across his strong thighs. “You know back in my Cambridge days, Merlin and I used to partake,” he takes a pause for breath, like he isn’t used to doling out truths about himself.

“Shut up.” Eggsy gapes. “Are you taking the piss? You knew Merlin in school?”

“Oh yes, knew him even before then, actually.” Harry laughs quietly. “Our mothers were friends as children. You should see him with hair. He grew it long, past his ears. He looked a bit like Mick Jagger. ”

“I don’t even know who that is,” Eggsy says. “I hadn’t even been born yet.”

“Oh, shut up.”

Eggsy laughs, flicking soapy water at him. Harry evades the trajectory and they lapse back into silence, which is less uncomfortable than Eggsy had anticipated.

It’s easy to talk about things that don’t matter and recoil from this unnameable thing hanging between them; easier still to pretend that it doesn’t exist. Evasion makes the ache more tolerable, lulls the sleeping beast of pain by cloaking bigger things from view. Things they won’t ever talk about, or allow themselves to acknowledge.

It takes so little to kill a man. And still, it catches Eggsy off guard, these little nuances that make Harry human: the slump to his shoulders, the tired lines in his forehead that take longer, nowadays, to disappear. The tea stain shaped like a teardrop at the cuff of a sleeve when he hurries for breakfast.

“Eggsy,” Harry says, breaking the silence. His voice low, like the breath at end of a weary sigh. “How’s your leg?”



The next evening Harry isn’t around to make dinner, held up in a conference call with members of the European branch (Kingsman EU) or something equally important. Eggsy stares at the phone on its perch by the desk, twiddling his thumbs as he contemplates takeaway. He gives it another hour before grabbing the phone off the stand and punching the number for Tao Lin’s.






The meeting drags on longer than Harry would like. He’s always hated politics but the new position makes it near impossible to avoid. Field work is easy; you’re given orders to follow. This new promotion comes with a lot of things: big shoes to fill for one, distrust mostly.  Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, and all that adage.

Eggsy is asleep in the guest room by the time he returns.

Harry busies himself with his tie, pours himself a glass of milk as a nightcap, easily the most stereotypical thing he’s done today aside from shouting at his assistant. But he’s tired, and it’s late enough in the evening that he can stop posturing. He drags himself over to the guest room where he pushes the door open a few inches.

Light from the hallway spills across the mauve carpet, slicing sharply through the gloom. Harry peers inside and looks, at Eggsy’s sleeping face, pale and honey-smooth in the dark, at the immoveable shape of him snoring softly under the duvet. There’s a churning in Harry’s gut which he dutifully ignores.

Harry shuts the door and pours himself another glass of milk. Then he boots up his laptop and prepares for another long night ahead.


It had been his idea. Spur of the moment, so out of character, but he’d remembered Eggsy’s look of betrayal two years ago when he’d found Harry seated in Arthur’s chair. The furious line of his mouth, the white-knuckled fists. And then a year of radio silence.

When Eggsy injures himself in Kenya, Harry pours himself a shot of brandy, lets the alcohol sit first in his hand before downing it one pull. He’d sent him there on an assignment, to track down a poacher with ties to the Irish mob. He knows better than to think it’s his fault. And yet – he’s the first one to inquire about Eggsy’s status, the last to leave sickbay before closing.

“It isn’t like you to play favourites,” Merlin had said, emerging at his elbow.

“I’m not,” Harry had replied, watching the steady rise and fall of Eggsy’s chest. His face had been drawn and pale, mottled with bruises from hits he’d been trained to take. It still didn’t make any of this easy. Harry had pocketed both hands lest the temptation to touch him overcame him.  

“Blindness comes in many forms,” Merlin told him. “Don’t let history repeat itself.”

“I’d be a fool to let it.” An answer, at the ready.



Merlin is his oldest friend and by extension his dearest, the last surviving face in a long line of disappointments. Harry has always had trouble sustaining friendships. People, over the years, falling off the radar for the usual myriad of reasons. It’s the nature of his job; no one’s got time to wait around for him, but he won’t trade Kingsman for anything else when it’s the only job Harry knows how to do. It’s a path he had chosen for himself and would be hardpressed to leave.

Merlin withholds all opinion until Harry arrives for work uncharacteristically late. Just half an hour because of the bloody traffic but Merlin’s eyes light up in wild amusement regardless.

“Cohabitation suits you, Harry,” he says at the door, taking the doffed coat.

“As always I value your opinion.”

“How’s our boy?” Merlin asks.

Harry glances down at his sleeve, brushing dog hair from his cuff. He can still taste breakfast at the back of his mouth – a tang of orange juice. “He’s a menace,” he settles on.

“And yet I’ve never heard you complain even once.”

Harry sets his briefcase down on the table. “Do you have anything for me to sign or are you just here to wheedle information?”

“Sharp, as always, I see,” Merlin chuckles, rubbing the lens of his glasses on the hem of his jumper. “Would you like me to send in Jonathan for some tea? It’s going to be a long day.”



As a boy, Harry’s father used to take him hunting in the country. To build character, if nothing else, as he used to be an awkward and lanky child, hardly any meat on his bones. His father owned a hunting lodge in Wexham and had a special room at home filled with hunting gear – an entire shelf of books on the subject, floor to ceiling, deer heads mounted on the wall collecting mould. He’d taught Harry how to load a rifle. He’d taught him, too, about the importance of timing.



There’s a pool in the training quarters. One day, on a whim, Harry decides to go before heading home. He dives into the heated pool, swims until he’s tired, his body knifing through the water, cutting cleanly with every stroke. He’d taken up swimming in boarding school, doing laps after class and training for competitions.

In the end, he’d gotten bored of all of it, discovered he was more suited to hand-to-hand combat.

There’s something to be said about the brutality of a fist connecting with flesh.

So he’d tried boxing, going home with his arms bruised yellow and purple every Christmas, much to the horror of his Catholic mother. After that, he’d tried running, and felt his chest constrict with the pain of exhilaration.


Cohabitation may suit him but it’s only enjoyable in short stretches. Eggsy is everywhere, as is the evidence of their new living arrangements: his trousers hung up on the shower rail, his medication in the sink, his dog panting after Harry and following him from room to room. He almost trips a few times because of that bloody dog but Harry can’t seem to find the heart to hate him completely even after JB shits on the carpet. Twice.

And he can tell that Eggsy’s bored because he’s taken to cleaning his guns and watching reality television, so Harry takes him to HQ against his better judgment where Eggsy gives Roxy high-fives as soon as the helicopter she’s in touches down.

Harry enjoys seeing the boy wreak havoc, but denies it vehemently when Merlin accuses him of his double-standards, appearing in his office with JB cradled against his chest.

Harry hides his smile behind his steepled fingers after Merlin delivers his preliminary report.

“I cannot wait until that boy’s cast comes off and we can send him on a mission to Guatemala.”

“Why so far when we can always keep him close at hand?”

“Playing favourites,” Merlin says, tapping his nose.  “Ah, I should have seen this coming.”



It is, at least, in part true. Eggsy is his favourite though it’s a lot more complicated than that. Harry had never wanted him living under his roof but had needed to find a way to watch over the boy, short of bugging his flat which Merlin had informed him would violate his privacy. He’d done something like that before so Harry didn’t understand why now was any different.

But he resolved not to do anything hasty and then resolved again, after seeing the perfect sty Eggsy had lived in (food on the floor and the smell of days-old socks), to fuck propriety and simply take him home. The boy clearly needed help but was too stubborn to ask for it, a trait Harry recognized within himself.

It’s quaint, living with someone, after all these years. It gives Harry something to look forward to even though they don’t see eye to eye on most things. Then, at dinner, Harry sees the state of Eggsy’s palms: the peeling skin, the chapped blisters. Eggsy picks at the skin idly in between bites of food.

Harry phones his tailor the next day and gives him an approximate measurement of Eggsy’s hands, drawing completely from memory. The day after he picks the gloves up from the shop, presenting them to Eggsy in sparkling gift-wrap after pudding.

Fuck me,” Eggsy breathes, shaking his head. “You had it made? For me?” He whistles, a low crooning sound.

Harry resists the urge to shrug purely because it’s not something a gentleman would do. Shrugging connotes uncertainty, but he’d planned everything from the trip to the shop down to the precise shade of the gloves. “Well, yes,” he says, only slightly off-kilter. “Of course.”

Eggsy lurches forward, hugging him at the waist, throwing him off balance. The angle is awkward because Eggsy’s sitting in his chair and Harry is standing up, Eggsy’s cheek pressed flat against the plane of Harry’s stomach. He’s soft. And warm. And Harry has to resist the urge to run his fingers through the downy hair at the base of his skull.

Taken aback by the gratitude, Harry pats him stiffly on the shoulder. “There’s a boy,” he says, suddenly at a loss for words. Only when his hand stills against the curve of Eggsy’s  shoulder does Eggsy look up at him and pull away, pink in the face with forced laughter.

“Right,” Eggsy mutters, clearly embarrassed. “Sorry about that, bruv. You wanna do the honors?” He waggles his fingers in the air, eyebrows raised hopefully.

Harry takes Eggsy’s right hand in his, solemn as he turns it palm-up, facing him. “You shouldn’t pick at the skin,” he says as he smoothes his thumb over the crease in Eggsy’s palm, the skin tender-pink and newly-healed.

“It fucking itches,” Eggsy sniffs. “I can’t help it.” He shivers at the drag of Harry’s finger, palm shyly pursing shut.

Harry holds his wrist captive and squeezes his thumb over Eggsy’s pulse.

Eggsy spreads his hand open slowly, holding his gaze until Harry is forced to look away.



That night, Harry shows Eggsy his saxophone, taking it out of hiding and polishing the dust motes off with a damp rag. “I used to play in a band,” he tells Eggsy who slaps his thigh, laughing, the little prick. “Lifetimes ago.”

You?” Eggsy shakes his head, snorting. Then ducks his head to clutch at his stomach, slapping his thigh again. “I’m sorry, I’m just trying to picture you in a fucking band. Playing the fucking saxophone no less.”

“I was young, once.” Harry pats the instrument fondly. “And it was a jazz band. The music we played.” He can’t help but feel a pang of nostalgia.

“I wonder if we’d still be mates then,” says Eggsy as he picks up a peanut from the bowl and launches it at Harry. Harry ducks in time, quelling him with a look. “What with you being posh and all and me being a complete plebe. Also you were in a fucking jazz band. That is quite honestly the hardest thing to wrap my mind around.

“It was the ‘cool’ thing to do back then.”

“You were worried ‘bout things like that? What’s ‘cool’ and what wasn’t?” Eggsy snorts again.

“I was seventeen.”

“It’s hard for me to think of you as being, well, anything other than what you are right now.” Eggsy stretches his arms behind his head and his shirt lifts, exposing the pale slope of his belly. He’s rounder these days, his angles softened by inactivity. It’s a good look on him and it makes him seem accessible in a way he hasn’t been for a long time since Harry had recruited him to join Kingsman.

“Strange, isn’t it,” Harry says contemplatively, raising his martini to his lips. “How we don’t know anyone at all.”

Eggsy flicks another peanut shell at him, and this time, Harry isn’t so lucky because it hits him square in the eyebrow.

“That’s some deep shit, mate.”

Harry takes a long pull of his drink.


Harry wakes the next morning, blinking at the light of the morning suffusing the room. It’s murky outside, with signs of a storm. He drags himself out of bed and showers, nicking himself shaving before padding down to the kitchen to put the kettle on. He’s still in his dressing gown and slippers but can’t be bothered dressing on a Saturday morning. Besides, it’s not even eight, neither a respectable hour nor a significant one. This is his time alone and he’ll spend it as he pleases.  

Eggsy nods at Harry from the table, snapping the newspaper shut. He looks like he’s been awake for some time though his shirt is on backwards. Probably he hasn’t showered, grabbed the shirt off the floor as soon as he staggered out of bed. The fact that Harry can imagine these things is troubling.

“Breakfast, Harry?” Eggsy points to the feast in front of him, burnt but earnestly prepared.

Eggsy slides a mug of tea across the table, before folding his hands expectantly in his lap.

If he could distill this moment, bottle it away –

I could get used to this, Harry thinks before he can stop himself. It’s a dangerous thought.



Harry develops a routine which he should have seen coming. Habit breeds order but it’s also father to many things: slovenliness for one, complacency.

In the morning, he goes out for his daily run, little breaks of clarity amid the constant tumult of his life, and then comes back in time to make himself a heavy breakfast before showering. Eggsy sees him off at the table, after, hobbling all the way to the front door with JB to wave goodbye. Even that blasted dog has grown on Harry and Harry wonders when it had all begun.

He spends the rest of the day at work hunched over the laptop, keeping his growing migraine at bay with tea and painkillers. There are new recruits to be debriefed, and a literal gaping hole in the treasury that someone needs to fix. Then a mission in Ghana though they’re short one agent and it looks like training will have to be rushed to meet deadlines.

When he comes home, Harry makes dinner, granting each and every one of Eggsy’s requests. Fish and chips one evening, calamari the next. And it’s so easy to fall prey to the trappings of mundanity. It’s so easy to sit down and have evening meals with Eggsy and feed JB scraps from the table just to get him to cease panting at his heels.

Eggsy brings colour into his life he hadn’t known it lacked. Harry realizes this one morning in the middle of a meeting, worrying loose a thread in his sleeve and tugging it free.



Harry watches him, from time to time: stumbling from room to the room in his crutches, completing a puzzle on the coffee table. Eric takes him to shops and they buy books together, huge tomes and musty paperbacks and they fill the corner of the guestroom in teetering heaps. Eggsy is an intelligent young man, despite, or perhaps because of his upbringing. Resilient and adaptable, always keen to learn.

He sleeps, sometimes, with the bedside lamp on. He can’t stand mayonnaise. And his preferred fighting style is, from what Harry can glean, hand to hand combat. Harry had watched him, once, sparring alone in the training quarters, his hands wrapped carefully, his footwork fast and darting, feet planted before the punch. His fists hitting the bag in rapid succession, thud, thud thud, thud, his panting breath echoing the room along with the slap of his bare feet. His hits were sloppy but strong, full of anger and adrenaline.

He’s the best Kingsman agent Harry knows, and he can say that without nepotism. He has his weakness, of course, that boy: namely, that chip on his shoulder. But out on the field he’s efficient and painfully earnest, a soldier razing ground. And he’s sly, like a chameleon, able to shape himself into any preferred persona with just the right amount of cheek.

“So how long have you been standing there, Harry, watching me like a pervert from the shadows?” Eggsy had asked, stilling the swinging bag with both hands.

“Long enough, Eggsy,” Harry had smiled, pocketing one hand. “Long enough.”

“Wanna spar?”

“In these clothes?” Harry had gestured to himself, feigning self-consciousness, bemusement.

“No, of course not, you minger.” Eggsy rolling his eyes. “Get your kit on and we’ll spar.”

“I have paperwork to do.”

Eggsy crosses his arms. “And yet you’re hangin’ round here ogling my pert little arse.”

Harry had almost choked.

“Come on, bruv,” Eggsy laughed, circling him, throat bobbing as he lifted a water bottle to his lips. “I’ll make it worth your time, yeah? You bring me down, drinks are on me; I bring you down, you take me out for a free dinner to a place of my choice.”

He thrust out his hand. “What do you say?”

Harry set his tablet aside and they shook on it. “Drinks and dinner.” He pointed to the boxing ring in the corner. “Sounds marvelous.”

Later, sweating and breathing hard, Eggsy straddled him on the ground, tearing his headgear off and gasping. “You cheated!” He jabbed Harry on the shoulder accusingly. “You let yourself lose on purpose.”

Always so perceptive that boy. Harry chuckled, head still ringing from the blows he allowed himself to take. He let his head thump against the floor, his whole body deflating in exhaustion. They’d gone for half an hour.

Harry blinked his eyes open, patting Eggsy on the hip to nudge him off his waist. Sweat pooled in the hollows of Eggsy’s collarbones, making them glisten. The dusty light of the room lit the tiny hairs on his arms.

“You were a terrific opponent. Congratulations.”

“Yeah, and now you owe me dinner.” Eggsy hoisted himself back onto his feet and held out his hand for Harry to take.



“Why am I still here?” Eggsy asks one night, three weeks before his cast is due to come off. “Why haven’t you kicked me out yet?”

Harry looks at him from his desk, shutting his laptop closed. He folds his hands in front of his face, then leans back in his seat. “Eggsy,” he says, sighing and rubbing the bridge of his nose. “You know, I’ve yet to uncover the answer to that question myself.”

“Oh, fuck off, mate.”






The cast comes off eventually. Months of build up and then the plaster is broken open like an egg, cast aside like skin.

Roxy gasps. “I should have signed that.”

Eggsy gets up to stand but wobbles slightly, off-balance. Merlin catches him by the arm before he trips on his face.

“You all right, laddie?”

Eggsy nods, shaky. “How long before I can walk normal again?”



Harry takes him out to dinner. Eggsy wears his best suit but the waist of his trousers cinches his belly so he forgoes it in favour of track pants. He’s gone all fat, and he isn’t the least bit surprised.

The doctor had warned him about that, had even said it may take awhile before he can get back in shape again. He feels heavier, certainly, with his shirtsleeves clinging to his arms. He needs to be in shape if he wants to go on missions again so he can’t skip out on physical therapy with Eric.

Eggsy takes one look at his reflection in the mirror and rolls his eyes. He pats his belly and lumbers out the door with his cane.

Eggsy has a lovely time with Harry but that goes without saying. He gets some looks at the restaurant, looking like a proper git and all, but he has a feeling Harry gets a kick out of it too. Challenge the status quo; he’s always been a bit of a rebel, like Eggsy.

They order appetizers, then a main course, and Harry asks for the house’s most expensive red wine.

“All this just because I can walk again?” Eggsy huffs, shaking his head.

“And thank heavens for that,” Harry says. “You don’t bathe as often as you think.”



It rains on the drive home. They take a taxi because they both had a little to drink. A song is playing on the stereo, a familiar croon that has Eggsy nodding along and humming. He looks at Harry next to him, utterly relaxed with his hands in his lap, before pretending to check on his phone.

The light of the streets are softened by dew and Eggsy closes his eyes and taps his fingers on his knee.



Harry walks him to the guest room, one hand on the small of his back.

Eggsy’s still walking funny, a twinge in every other step. He tries not to think about it. He’s flushed and a little drunk and strangely, staggeringly happy and when he turns around to face Harry to thank him for everything – for the food, the wine, the hospitality, the gloves Eggsy had worn so quickly with use – Harry grabs him by the shoulders to right him on his feet.

“Steady now,” Harry says. “There we are.”

And then Harry kisses him, so softly, lasting as long as the breath on a sigh. And it’s stupid but he tastes like this evening’s red wine. He moves away but Eggsy doesn’t let him, grabbing the end of his tie in a wrinkled grip. He tugs Harry forward, and Harry surges up, taking Eggsy’s face in his hands and licking the seam of his lips.

It’s sweet and just the little bit dirty, and it leaves Eggsy weak-kneed and trembling, his head brushing the textured wall behind him.

When Eggsy opens his eyes it’s like the world is suddenly in technicolour, sunspots dancing in his vision. Eggsy’s obviously lost his mind and blames the last six months on pain meds. Then, innocuously, Harry squeezes his shoulder, pushing himself off the wall where he’s braced on one arm. His face is an unreadable mask as always but there’s a softness to it too, cracks in the otherwise flawless façade.

It’s Eggsy’s job to notice details, know which strings to tug, but when faced with Harry, his thoughts lose the traction they normally observe. Half the time he second-guesses himself.

“Good night, Eggsy,” Harry nods, as if that settles it.

Eggsy watches him walk away, heart thudding in his ribs like a one two punch.




Eggsy sits in the guestroom. He’s set up shop here in the last few months: books in a corner, clothes folded away neatly in the closet. His shoes are on the shelf. It’s his untouched mug of tea that’s sitting on the bedside table. His laptop whirrs softly at the desk, humming in sleep mode. There are dents in the wall where he’s backed his wheelchair against.

Eggsy thumps his chest with a fist, his body still pumping with adrenaline. Nothing has changed. Everything in his room looks the same down to the shadows the hallway casts across the mauve carpet.

He rubs his arms and presses his knuckles into his eyes. “Shit,” he chants. “Shit, shit, shit.” Then he grabs his cane from the wall and stumbles out the room, past the many closed doors and then up the stairs to the master bedroom where he throws the door open on Harry reading in bed. He’s never seen Harry’s room before. It had always been locked, until now. And he’s never seen Harry in pyjamas, his hair undone and curtaining down.

Harry turns a page in his book. “Did you want something?”

“You’re a fucking bastard.” Eggsy limps over to the bed. “You can’t just kiss me and be all, ‘good night’!” He mimics the accent. “That’s just a shit thing to do; Harry, that’s the worst. And you know what? Fuck being a gentleman. You do these things and then you –” He throws up his hands in frustration. “What I mean is, you’re an idiot. I don’t understand what you want from me.”

Harry sets his book aside placidly. He sits up and rubs tiredly at his eyes. “All this time I thought I’ve been so transparent.” He clasps his hands in his lap.

“What?” Eggsy tilts his head slightly, watches Harry’s eyes. They’re moving fast, like he’s reading something. “Well, say something! Fuck!”

“Come here.” Harry beckons him to sit. Eggsy is still furious at him, thrumming with pent up energy, so when Harry starts kissing him Eggsy kisses him back, desperate and quick, grabbing him by the lapels of his night shirt and climbing into bed. He straddles Harry’s lap and Harry’s hands fly immediately to his waist, tugging his shirt over his head. His hands are warm.

“You’re so strange I hardly know what to do with you,” Harry says as he pushes his face up the side of Eggsy’s throat like a complete lunatic.

“Shut up,” Eggsy hisses. “Shut up, shut up, shut up.” He grunts as Harry inches the hem of his shirt up, exposing more of Eggsy’s stomach. Eggsy would be embarrassed by how much weight he’s gained but Harry doesn’t seem to mind, running his palms up his back and shoulders, before settling them gently on his jaw. He tips Eggsy’s face up to kiss him, brief, pressing their foreheads together so his nose brushes along Eggsy’s throat. He smells wonderful, like expensive cologne. His hands are gentler than Eggsy could have ever imagined.

There’s a soft spot under his chin that Eggsy has always wondered what it would feel like to kiss and he gives it a gentle tug with his teeth.

“Careful,” Harry groans, keeping him at bay. “Ah, careful.”

Eggsy pins Harry onto his back, shoving him down by the shoulders. Harry’s head lolls across the pillows, and he sighs as he admits defeat.


They made a good team before and they make a good team now; that hasn’t changed at all even after everything, even during sex.

Harry kisses him through every thrust, his body straining above Eggsy. He has a leanness that Eggsy admires, long runner’s legs, a careful appreciative touch. He’s stronger than he looks, in total control of the pace of their fucking, going steady and slow so Eggsy can feel the hot drag of his cock opening him up in increments. All the while Eggsy watches him, Harry’s face breaking open, a tendril of hair curling between his eyebrows.

“You don’t know how long I’ve wanted to do this,” Harry grunts.

“Yeah?” Eggsy shores up to kiss him. “Fucking pervert.”

“You underestimate the extent of my perversity.”

Eggsy laughs, biting him on the chin. He hasn’t been fucked in a long time, and certainly not like this, like he’s being consumed completely, stripped of every inch of self-consciousness. It feels like he’s burning up on the inside, every nerve ending on fire as Harry snaps up his hips and angles his thrusts to hit home.

Harry spreads him wide open, Eggsy’s ankle hefted on one shoulder, Eggsy’s left knee spread, pressed to the bed under the gentle pressure of Harry’s hand.

“Fuck,” Eggsy breathes between every panting kiss. “Harry, Harry. Fuck. Please, don’t stop.” His toes curl in spite of himself. Harry is so good at fucking; Eggsy doesn’t know how there’d ever been room for doubt. He feels the pressure build and build and then release, letting a strangled cry when he comes.

When he’s coherent again, he rolls onto his side, squinting up at Harry one-eyed and flushing. He rubs a thumb over the apple of one cheek, and then playfully nips Harry on the shoulder, leaving tiny marks with his teeth. Harry doesn’t shrug him off, just hums and sets his glasses down on the bedside table. He flicks off the lights, plunging the room into blue black darkness, before sliding the covers over them both. It’s so quiet that Eggsy can hear the neighbour’s dog barking.

He stares at the ceiling, wondering whose turn it is to speak. This thing is so fragile; there are still many things that could go wrong; it could still be too early to show his hand.

Eggsy isn’t articulate by any stretch of the imagination but at the same he recognizes that certain moments require grace; now is not the time for crudeness and yet he finds himself at an impasse. In a perfect world, there’d be a word for this, a way to describe the overwhelming wave rushing over him, leaving him weak and replete. 

“Harry,” he says, soft. He feels ridiculous that they’re about to have this conversation in the dark.

“Yes, Eggsy?”

“I thought if I got accepted into Kingsman life would be, I dunno, easier.”

Harry is quiet, listening. “Eggsy, we kill people for a living. Well, bad people.”

“Yeah I probably should’ve joined a cult. Would have been way easier for me.” He laughs at his own joke. And then: “I hated you for a long time, you know, after you pretended to be dead for oh, I don’t know, half the year. I fucking mourned you, Harry. I wore your suit for the longest time and then—” He doesn’t continue. “Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I think you’re a selfish prick.”

“People can change,” Harry says. “As I’m sure you can attest.” It’s not the apology Eggsy is looking for and it makes him angry.

“I didn’t really change, Harry. Not where it matters. I mean, I’m still me. Still a fucking plebe. I mean the suits are nice, but nothing’s changed. I’m not happier or better or anything. I’m just me.” Harry takes Eggsy’s fists in his hands. The motion startles Eggsy into looking up at him. He blinks.

“This isn’t about change, is it?” Harry says expansively. “This is about something else.”

“Yeah, maybe,” Eggsy mumbles.

“Tell me, then.”

Eggsy blows out a breath. He feels shaky and he wonders if Harry feels it too, the charge in the air and the distinct feeling that suddenly so many things are at stake. He clears his throat, fighting every instinct to recoil from the truth. “I’m fucking terrified.”

“Of what, Eggsy?”

“Of this!” Eggsy bats Harry’s hand away. “I lost you before, Harry, I don’t think I can do it again. Jesus, I sound like a fucking teenager. Fuck.” He starts to cry.


“I’m not crying!” Eggsy hisses, scrubbing angrily at his face. He hadn’t known he could do that, not after he’d watched Harry die in a video feed. He makes a valiant effort not to look Harry in the eye but fails when Harry touches his shoulder. Something about his eyes. He cries harder. “Look what you’ve made me do. God, you’re a real prick.”

Harry reaches for his face. “I’m sorry,” he whispers. “Eggsy, I’m sorry.”

Eggsy closes his eyes and laughs, a wet miserable sound. “That’s all I needed to hear the first time,” he says. “You prick.”

Harry squeezes his wrist, leans him forward so he can kiss him on the forehead. “You’re right,” he says. “I am a prick. A complete and utter prick.”

“Yeah,” Eggsy breathes. “I’m glad we both agree.”


Harry is lying on his back, one arm tucked behind his head. “You know, you’re not at all what I expected,” he says at eight in the morning. He sounds fond which means he’s probably half asleep. His voice is low, rough with sleep, and the gravelly scrape of it sends shivers crawling up Eggsy’s spine.  

Eggsy blinks one eye open, shakes his head. Harry looks resplendent in the early morning light.

Eggsy feels like a total dunce in comparison, with his bloated thighs and his soft belly, the line of hair trailing down his bellybutton. “Really, Harry,” he says, closing his eyes again. “Who the fuck even is?”



Harry draws him up, later in the afternoon, fucking him against the bookshelf and not bothering to close the door.

The wood thunks heavily, creaking under the rhythmic heave of their bodies. Eggsy nearly careens to the side a few times, legs wrapped tightly around Harry’s waist, Harry’s cock buried balls-deep in his arse, but Harry laughs and holds him steady, walking him to the armchair with a labored breath and grunt.

“Shit,” Harry says, uncharacteristically candid. He rakes the hair out of his face, glasses knocked askew on his face by Eggsy’s elbow. “I think I may have slipped a disc.”

Eggs smacks him on the arm. “Oh, fuck off! Are you calling me fat? Harry, are you calling me fat?

Harry laughs again. It’s disarming, that laugh, that grin. That fucking face. Eggsy digs his heel into the small of Harry’s back, rising up, and tilts his face up for a kiss.



Eggsy goes through six months of rigorous therapy. Somehow, he survives.

He’s in Mumbai having defused a dirty bomb when a familiar voice cuts across the bustling street and calls out his name. “Eggsy!”

Eggsy looks.

It’s Harry.

Of course it’s Harry.

Eggsy is only half surprised. He wends through the crowd, pocketing his glasses as he approaches, unable to hide the smile splitting his face.

Harry is in a starched white shirt and linen trousers, leaning his weight on a familiar black umbrella. His bare arms are bronzed with a tan; his sunglasses deflect the glare of the sun. He looks splendid, refreshed. Like a man out on a holiday and nothing more.

“What the fuck you doin’ here?” Eggsy says, crossing his arms. “I didn’t know you could go on holiday.”

“I was told there’s a little shop round the corner that makes phenomenal curry,” Harry says, hooking the umbrella over one arm. “Would you care to join me?”

“Yeah?” Eggsy says. He pretends to think about it, circling Harry to ogle him, rubbing his chin. “You payin’, Harry? You askin’ me out on a proper date?”

“If that’s what you want to call it,” Harry says.

Eggsy grins. He’d kiss him, if they weren’t in a crowded street market in Mumbai. He’d kiss him on the fucking mouth with tongue. He settles for leaning into him instead, elbowing Harry in the side, once, twice. He jabs a rib.

“Merlin’s going to kill you when you get back.” Eggsy laughs.

“I imagine so,” Harry says dryly. “I’m already dreading the paperwork.”

Eggsy’s grin grows exponentially. “So about this shop…”

Their shoulders brush with every step.