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with your fierce tears

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And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

-Dylan Thomas, "Do not go gentle into that good night"

-

 “Harry, have you been seducing my dog?” Eggsy asks, his poker face ruined by the corner of his mouth twitching upwards.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Harry replies primly. As if JB isn’t receiving a prime belly rub on Harry’s lap. He knows Eggsy can see through the lie as plain as day. If JB making a huffing sound doesn’t make it obvious enough, the incriminating pile of dog treats on Harry’s desk is a dead giveaway.

Eggsy ambles over to Harry’s side of the desk, grinning down at JB nestled on Harry’s legs. He scoops the pug up, holds JB up at arm’s length to assess him with a critical eye, and raises an eyebrow at Harry in an impressive imitation of Merlin. “No wonder he was getting so fat. You’ve been spoiling him. 

“He was hardly slim, before. You might also want to train him so that he doesn’t accept treats from strangers.”

“Oi, not my fault he’s naturally chubby!” Eggsy pouts. “And, ‘sides, you’re not a stranger.” 

Looking younger than his twenty-seven years with his dimples and sunny smile, Eggsy is radiant here, in the early afternoon light streaming in through the briefing room windows. Harry doesn't let his fondness show, but it's a near thing.

JB isn’t the only one Harry would spoil in a heartbeat.

Eggsy sets JB down on the ground and straightens, leaning his hip against Harry’s desk and invading Harry’s space. “Anyway, you’ve been stuck with paperwork all morning, yeah? How ‘bout lunch?”

Harry finished his paperwork thirty minutes ago, but he hums and taps a finger on a small pile of forms, giving the air of someone who has work to do. He ducks his head a little to hide the smile threatening to spread on his lips. “I’m afraid I still have a few issues to take care of.”

“Harry, you’ve been cooped up here for hours. You’ll starve, mate. You’re coming with me for food. Can’t have our Arthur starving, eh?”

Harry swallows a chuckle and sighs as if put upon. “I suppose.”

It is worth it to see Eggsy beam at Harry with all the pride of a classic mother hen. Allowing Eggsy to fuss over him is, Harry supposes, a little like having a grown son fuss over a parent nearing the age of dotage. Not that Harry is anywhere near that age, mind, but he is well aware that his age is catching up with him. At least being Arthur means that he rarely goes out in the field these days.

“So, Rox told me about this new Greek place last week. We could go there.”

Eggsy chatters on, JB snuffling at his ankles, and they step into the July sunshine. It's peaceful. If life were like this every day for the rest of his life, Harry would be okay with that.

He’s happy, just like this.

- 

Eggsy comes back from a Copenhagen mission with a few cracked ribs and a nasty gash on his left shin, which Merlin takes one look at before heaving a sigh that could possibly cause an earthquake.

“The things you get yourself into,” Merlin chides as Harry watches, amused. Eggsy uses the moment Merlin turns to grab a syringe to squint at Harry. This only serves to amuse Harry even more. “I swear, we never had to run into so many explosions before you joined us.”

“Am I ever going to live down the whole blowin’ people’s heads up thing? Valentine was two years ago, Merlin.”

“As if you’d ever live down saving the world,” Merlin snorts.

Eggsy twitches when Merlin inserts the syringe in his shin, then doubles over with a shout in the next second. Harry is by Eggsy’s side in an instant, his hands hovering, hesitant. He can hear the muffled sounds of Eggsy swearing double-time.

Merlin kneels down and carefully places a hand on Eggsy’s shoulder. “Eggsy. Eggsy, what’s the problem?”

“Fuck, I dunno. My leg hurt, and then it was like someone electrocuted my spine. Fucking, buggering, fuck! Fuck, it hurts.” Eggsy draws in a shaky breath through his teeth. He doesn’t raise his head, still hunched over in his seated position, his breath slowly evening out. Harry and Merlin exchange looks with varying degrees of alarm. After a minute, he straightens up. “Shit, okay, I’m good.”

Masking his uncertainty, Harry holds Eggsy’s wrist and rubs circles over the pulse point with his thumb. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah.” Eggsy unclenches his teeth and tries again. “Yeah, I’m fine.”

Merlin is already flagging down one of the doctors and tapping rapidly onto his tablet. “Just to be safe, we’re keeping you here for testing and observation.”

Eggsy looks ready to argue, so Harry squeezes his wrist warningly. “Do as he says, Eggsy.”

If it weren’t Eggsy’s health he was worried about, Harry would find it endearing to see Eggsy struggle a bit before deflating entirely, submitting to Harry’s orders. As it is, Harry can only feel relieved that Eggsy is so quick to listen.

-

Eggsy stays in the infirmary for three days and leaves with a clean bill of health.

The sudden onset of pain doesn’t recur, and none of the tests reveal anything out of the ordinary. The gash and ribs are healing, and Eggsy’s adrenaline levels are slightly elevated, but there is nothing worrisome that any of the medical staff can find. They chalk it up to stress and exhaustion. 

The day after he’s discharged, Eggsy smuggles lo mein and kung pao chicken into the shop just for Harry, and they dismiss whatever worries that may have lingered over the incident.

-

They’re in Prague, Harry traveling to negotiate with a particularly stubborn government agency and Eggsy assigned as his bodyguard, when Harry first notices the tremors.

“Your hand,” he murmurs and sends a pointed look towards Eggsy’s left hand. The boy glances down at his trembling fingers and huffs, shoving the hand into his suit pocket. Harry catches his wrist and draws the hand out again, cradling it between his own two hands. The tremors don’t stop, even when Harry draws a firm line down the palm with his thumb. “Are you nervous?”

Eggsy flushes. “Well, you are feelin’ me up in public.”

“Cheeky bugger.” Still, Harry lets go of Eggsy’s hand. “The last time I checked, you were quite the exhibitionist.”

What?” Eggsy chokes, his face now a satisfying shade of scarlet. 

“I am obligated to review mission footage, Eggsy,” Harry reminds him. “Your last honeypot was exemplary, even for Kingsman standards. Although your discretion could use some work. It’s a miracle you did not end up on Youtube.”

“Shut up.” Eggsy smacks Harry’s arm half-heartedly. “God, I couldn’t look Merlin in the eye for a week.”

There’s still traces of a dull flush on Eggsy’s skin, and Harry wants to see if Eggsy’s ears will turn red. He spends the rest of their ride trying to tease more colour onto Eggsy’s cheeks.

He forgets about the tremors.

-

Harry catches Roxy frowning at the screen of her phone at HQ and asks, "Is something the matter?"

She startles. "Oh, Arthur. Sorry. It's just Eggsy was distracted during our sparring session today. I've been asking if something's wrong, but he says everything is fine."

She doesn't say and I think he's lying, but Harry hears it anyway.

"I'll check in with him tomorrow, since I have an assignment for him. If there's any problems, I'll let you know and have you go instead." Harry makes a mental note to check for any potential problems concerning Eggsy's mother and sister. Family problems tend to make the boy twitchy. "Thank you for telling me."

He can tell by how Roxy's shoulders sag the tiniest bit that she's relieved. Then her shoulders tense up again, not in wariness but in...caution, perhaps.

"Arthur--no, Harry." Roxy rarely addresses him by his real name, much like he seldom addresses her by hers, because they rarely associate outside of Kingsman. Merlin and Eggsy are the only ones who say Harry's name on a regular basis, and while Harry is fine with Roxy calling him by his given name, the rarity of it raises an inner alarm in his head. "I have a personal question."

Harry doesn't let his wariness show. "Yes?" 

She hesitates. "You'd make sure Eggsy is okay?"

Oh. That. Harry relaxes. "Yes, of course."

"You care about him an awful lot." And it might be Harry's paranoia acting up, but she sound like she's fishing for something with that question.

"If this is an insinuation that I am guilty of favouritism"

"That's not what I meant," Roxy quickly assures him. She takes a deep breath, choosing her words with obvious care.  "It's just, well, Eggsy cares about you. I wanted to know if you care about him just as much."

Which is sweet, if Harry thinks about it. She's looking out for Eggsy, protecting him from attaching himself to a failure of a father figure. 

"Rest assured, Roxy," Harry says, "Eggsy is like family to me. I care for him deeply."

Roxy looks startled all over again. "Like family? Like...a son?"

"Precisely."

Roxy gives Harry a funny look, like they're reading the same book but are on different pages. Harry isn't sure if the one who has to catch up is Roxy or himself.

"Alright," Roxy says, faux-brightly, "I'll be on my way." She walks away, presumably processing the idea that Harry is entirely willing to be Eggsy's fairy godfather. He can hardly blame her for being shocked. He doesn't know when he became so attached to the boy, either.

-

There are no problems with Michelle, and there are no problems with Daisy other than the fact that she can speak in full sentences now, meaning that she can tearfully say things like, "Eggsy, I missed you lots!" 

It's very angelic and also very damning, because now Eggsy feels guilty about long-term missions abroad.

Harry hides his relief that Eggsy's source of distraction was such an adorable one, and instead says in his driest tone of voice," I do hope you can make it to Amsterdam and back in 24 hours."

"I'll be back for dinner." Eggsy executes an exaggerated curtsy and swaggers out the door, something he seems to do just to hear Harry groan. Eggsy is capable of manners. He just seems incapable of resisting any and all opportunities to raise Harry's blood pressure.

Harry'll have to lecture him again when Eggsy comes back. He tries not to smile at the thought.

-

The lecture is promptly forgotten when Eggsy is extracted from Amsterdam thirty hours later, drenched in sweat and swearing up a storm every time a doctor so much as breathes on him. 

"Oi, I said nothin's wrong with me brain! I ain't concussed or shit. Check somewhere else, for fuck's sake!" Eggsy is curled up on his side, refusing to lay flat on the bed because apparently he feels like his limbs are being stabbed every time he stretches them.

They increase his dosage of painkillers' and scan his brain, then his whole body, then test his blood. They biopsy his organs, his muscles, his brain. Harry doesn't go home for four days, and Merlin would probably force him to go if it were not for the fact that Merlin is too preoccupied with finding out why their Galahad is experiencing excruciating pain one minute and extreme numbness the next.

On day five of testing and arguing over what the problem is, Harry goes home for three hours. He lies awake in his bed, anxiety crawling through his skin until he slams the door behind him and goes back to HQ. He drags an armchair to the infirmary and sleeps there instead, sitting as close as he can to Eggsy’s bed.

Harry doesn't hold Eggsy's trembling hands for fear of triggering any more pain.

-

Day six is when the biopsies and tests finally show answers.

Harry's heart sinks.

"So you're sayin' that my nervous system is dying," Eggsy says, unnervingly calm. He is perched on the edge of his bed, legs dangling, shoulders slumped. So terribly young. Harry’s sitting in his armchair, turned to face Merlin instead of the bed.

Merlin looks physically pained by what he has to say next. "It's not Multiple Sclerosis, or any other common neurodegenerative disorder that we know of so far. We don't know how to cure this. Or what the cause is. We're assuming that the trauma from the explosion in Copenhagen triggered an underlying genetic disease."

Eggsy straightens in alarm. "You sayin' me mum and sis might catch this?"

"We can test them, but it might be from your father's side," Merlin reminds him. “Or just a singular incident. And what you have isn't contagious. So you can talk with them."

"What happens to Eggsy, from now?" Harry dares to ask.

The look on Merlin's face is so genuinely apologetic that Harry can hardly breathe. "Well, if his nervous system keeps going at this rate, he'll keep experiencing pain, numbness, tremors...He'll eventually lose both sensation and mobility, beginning from his extremities, and eventually his brain will start shutting down.” 

He's dying. Harry's blood runs cold at the thought. Eggsy is dying.

Of course, we’re doing all we can to prevent this, and there’s some time. You’ll still be relatively healthy for a while, so we can’t say that—”

Eggsy's voice only shakes a little when he interrupts. "How long?"

There’s a moment of hesitation. ”At this rate..." Merlin's voice is gentle, and for whose benefit that is, Harry isn't sure. "Ten months at most."

Harry drops his hand to Eggsy's, curled into the comforter, and squeezes tight. He should worry about hurting Eggsy, but damn it all, Eggsy doesn’t seem to care, and Harry can't bring himself to, either. He grabs and holds on. Wills himself not to scream.

-

An hour later, Roxy dashes into the infirmary, propriety be damned, and throws her arms around Eggsy, who is still sitting on the edge of his bed, his left hand in Harry’s. Harry feels Eggsy’s fingers clench and relax, and the very movement breaks Harry without warning.

He doesn’t even excuse himself; he pushes himself up and lurches out of the infirmary, leaving behind the sounds of Roxy saying no and why and please. He leaves behind the past fifty minutes of this can’t be happening and oh god not him and I thought we’d have more time in the armchair and locks himself into a bathroom stall.

For a moment, he’s sure that he’s going to heave what little lunch he ate, but all that comes out of him is a keening sound that he’s never heard from his own mouth before. It’s the sound of an animal dying.

I’m not the one dying, Harry thinks. Eggsy is dying. And it should hardly come as a surprise, because working as a Kingsman agent does tend to shorten a person’s lifespan, and for all Harry knows, Eggsy could die next week from a shot through the head. Danger is omnipresent in their line of work, and this isn’t the first time Harry has had to cope with losing someone he considered family.

Everybody dies.

And yet, Harry has been deluding himself, pretending Eggsy was an exception, because Eggsy deserved to be one. Brilliant with a weapon, tender with loved ones, and loyal to a fault. Harry has been blindsided by Eggsy’s mortality in the face of his wicked smiles and carefree laughter. Two years into Eggsy’s knighthood and never once has Harry considered that he might outlive the boy.

How naive of him. All this time, he has made the mistake of thinking not him. Watching Eggsy, young and alive. So much potential with his entire life ahead of him.

Not him.

Not yet.

Oh, what a fool Harry has been. 

-

Harry returns to the infirmary when he’s sure that he’s composed enough not to embarrass himself in front of his two youngest knights. Roxy is sniffling the lightest bit, her shoulder pressed against Eggsy’s with their hands held tight between them. Eggsy’s eyes are dry, and they’re unfocused, as if he’s still unsure if this is not some kind of nightmare. Both of them look achingly young, sitting side by side, their feet dangling. It makes Harry want to go lock himself in the bathroom again.

Instead, he takes steady steps to his armchair and seats himself as gracefully as he can. He owes it to the both of them to be strong.

“Eggsy.” Harry doesn’t choke on his name. He can’t. If he chokes now he won’t know how to breathe again. “I’ll have your mother and sister tested for any abnormalities tomorrow. Would you like to tell them about your condition?”

Eggsy’s breath hitches, his eyes opening wide, panic setting in. “Oh God, how am I goin’ to tell Mum? How do I tell Daisy?” It’s as if he finally realized that this isn’t a dream, there is no way out, no backup or extraction team or exploding chips to save him at the last minute. “Fuck, I can’t, I can’t do this—“

Roxy wraps an arm around Eggsy’s shoulders, shushing him. “We’ll help you, Eggsy. We’re here for you.”

“We’ll do everything we can,” Harry promises, his heart twisting. He doesn’t say I’ll do anything. I can’t watch you die. I won’t let you die before me.

He doesn’t say if I could die instead, I would.

Michelle and Daisy are both brought in for testing the very next day at HQ. No secrecy is required, since Michelle had been informed about Eggsy’s involvement with Kingsman shortly after she demanded to know how the hell Roxy had known about the SIM cards when the rest of the world didn’t. 

They let Daisy play with Roxy in a different room while Michelle is given the truth, delivered from Harry. Always the bearer of bad news.

He tells her that they’ve discovered a genetic defect causing Eggsy’s nervous system to fail, and that they need to check if it’s hereditary. He doesn’t flinch at Michelle’s devastated look when he tells her that the disease is fatal, as far as they know. He tells her that they’re doing everything that they can, but there are no guarantees.

He doesn’t tell her that it’s his fault, for bringing Eggsy into Kingsman, for signing the boy’s death warrant the same way he signed the father’s.

“So you’re saying my son is going to die,” Michelle says, her heart fracturing before Harry’s eyes. 

“I’m so sorry,” he says.

He expects her to slap him, or yell at him. She’s been distantly polite to Harry since she’d been re-introduced to him, and he’s sure that this will break the truce between them.

There’s a moment when he readies himself for the rebuke, when Michelle takes a staggering step forward, but it never comes. She folds into herself, a sob wracking her entire frame as she rests her head on Harry’s chest. She’s impossibly small, her shoulders hunched and spine curved, defenses shattered in the wake of her despair.

Harry holds her as carefully as he can, lets her come undone here so that her children don’t see.

-

Michelle bravely manages a wobbly smile when she sees Eggsy in the infirmary.

Her words repeat endlessly in Harry’s ears as he watches the two of them embrace, Daisy clamoring to be included as she squeezes between them, oblivious to her brother’s fate.

I was prepared to lose him to you, she had said.

I wasn’t prepared to lose him to something I gave him.

And for all that Harry has faced death and worse, has been dancing on a knife’s edge for decades, he admires Michelle’s bravery. 

He isn’t prepared to lose Eggsy at all.

-

After Merlin and all the other medical professionals they have recruited agree that Michelle and Daisy don’t seem to share Eggsy’s condition and Eggsy’s pain becomes manageable thanks to a regimen of painkillers, Eggsy surprises everybody by insisting that they all act like everything is normal.

“I ain’t gonna spend the next ten months in bed rest,” Eggsy snaps as he secures his cuff links. “If I have me meds I can still go work for at least a few more months, yeah? I feel fine. Give me a mission.”

“That is a spectacularly bad idea,” Harry argues. He wishes Merlin were here to back him up for this, because Eggsy in his suit and glasses makes Harry forget that things are not okay, that he can’t play pretend and send Eggsy to Rome and let the boy take an extra day to visit the Vatican. Eggsy with his hair combed and in shiny black oxfords doesn’t look like he belongs in the infirmary. He looks like he belongs in a firefight. Like he’s going to be alive for a very long time.

“Damn it, Harry. I sparred with Rox four hours ago. I’m good to go.”

“Your mother—”

“Knows I do dangerous stuff. She says she won’t stop me.” Eggsy takes a step closer to Harry, and the gesture alone makes Harry’s heart constrict. “Just let me go, Harry."

Harry hates how his voice isn’t as stern as it should be. “I can’t have your health compromise a mission.”

“You and I both know that I’m one of your best,” Eggsy grits out. “My health ain’t gonna be a problem for at least a couple more months. Stop fuckin’ stalling and let me go do my job.”

“Eggsy,” Harry says and doesn’t know how to continue.

“I’ll be careful,” Eggsy says. “I promise.”

It’s a lovely lie. Harry wants to believe it. Then again, Harry wants a lot of things. All of the things he want seem to be about Eggsy, these days. He wants Eggsy to be healthy. To be happy. To be safe. Ironic, now that he thinks about it. If he wanted Eggsy to be safe, he should have stayed well away from him.

It’s too late for that. 

“Alright,” Harry finally says, because if Eggsy is so determined to see whether a bullet can kill him faster than his body can, the very least Harry can do is stack the deck. “There’s a retrieval mission in Rome.”

-

After Rome, there is Bangkok. After that, Shanghai. Then Sydney. Munich. Dublin. Cairo.

It’s almost like Eggsy isn’t living with a ticking time bomb flowing through his veins. Almost like the meds he takes four times per day are just vitamins. Like he doesn’t have only nine months left. As if Harry’s the only person who sits in his office, reviewing footage, and desperately wishing that Eggsy would just stay.

Eggsy stops by and asks if Harry wants Italian for lunch. Harry orders fettuccine and swallows down any damning words that might betray himself.

-

Training recruits takes months, and it's best to not have vacancies at the table if they can help it. There's no doubt that Eggsy will no longer be an active agent in a while. They need to begin the selection process as soon as they can so that the new Galahad is ready once Eggsy steps down.

It’s the sensible thing to do, but Harry still hates himself when he gathers the knights and tells them to propose candidates within the week.

-

It's been six weeks since Eggsy's diagnosis when the boy almost gets himself killed via a bullet to the jugular.

"You know I'm okay, right?" Eggsy queries from where he's propped up in the infirmary bed. There's a thick bandage around his neck, with extra gauze pressed to the right side, where the bullet had nicked.

Harry has been pacing the infirmary since Eggsy came back, blood soaking through fingers and ruining his suit. He can't let go of the image transmitted through Percival's glasses, the moment when Eggsy had stumbled backwards, hand clamping down on the side of his neck that had spurted blood. 

"You won't always be this lucky," Harry says, his pacing slowing to a stop. He feels so tired.

"If I were really lucky, I'd live to see thirty," Eggsy says, dry as the desert sun. "Luck ain't doin' much for me at the moment."

Harry's face does something completely beyond his control for the first time in decades, and Eggsy softens, his voice contrite. "Harry, 's alright. I'm okay, really. Don't make that kinda face, bruv. C'mere."

It's like Harry has no control over himself anymore, like his higher brain functions have all been shut down. He moves to sit on Eggsy's bed without any input from his brain. It's eerily reminiscent of those godforsaken SIM cards and the church, except it's not violence and anger guiding him this time. It's Eggsy's gentle voice and warm hands, encircling Harry's wrists and anchoring him, soothing the ever-impending sense of loss and emptiness.

Eggsy smiles wryly. "You know, Rox told me how you think of me like family. I thought it was funny, but..." He slides his hands down to fit his fingers between Harry's. "I shoulda known you'd take this bad. 'M sorry." 

Harry looks into Eggsy's eyes, earnest and apologetic and beautiful, and his brain slams back into gear with the worst revelation of Harry's life.

He's in love. 

It's only years of training in subterfuge and deception that save Harry from cracking open and handing Eggsy the truth, his heart on a silver platter. He can't let Eggsy know. Eggsy is young and gorgeous and dying within a year, and Harry hates himself for figuring this out when he needs to learn how to let this boy go.

-

Eggsy recovers from his injury and promptly asks to go on another mission. It's a terrible idea, and Roxy convinces Eggsy to take an extra three days off, but Merlin's disapproving stares and Harry's half-hearted arguments can only do so much to dampen his determination. If Harry were less of a coward, he would ban Eggsy from missions and deal with Eggsy's wrath, but he's still in the process of reconstructing his defenses in the aftermath of his awful revelation, and he doesn't have the courage to face Eggsy for extended periods of time without losing his mind and saying something terribly inappropriate.

He distracts himself with checking footage from Tristan's last mission and briefing Gawain on a new mission regarding crocodiles, of all things. Then there’s piles and piles of paperwork, which Harry loathes but dutifully fills out with the aid of tea and biscuits. Harry might be having a midlife crisis about his infatuation with a dying boy, but the world is always plagued with disasters that Kingsman must prevent or solve.

When he runs out of things to do--which Harry did not think possible--he eventually brings up Galahad's feed to see how the boy is doing. 

Eggsy seems to be doing fine. He's just finished defusing a bomb in Paris, where it's beautiful at night, where Eggsy is just as beautiful as the cityscape itself, and Harry's heart treacherously reminds him that he wouldn't mind joining Eggsy in the city of love.

Now that he's officially off-duty, Eggsy has cut his comms with Merlin, but he doesn't turn off his glasses before a young lady approaches him, a coy smile gracing her lips as she leans into his space. The feed shows Eggsy's gaze dipping briefly to her cleavage, and then his arm being offered to her. She takes it with a laugh, her bare arm wrapping around Eggsy's in his suit.

Harry shuts the feed down. He knows better than to watch or seethe in jealousy. After all, it's hardly a surprise that Eggsy wants to have fun before time runs out.

It doesn't stop Harry from deliberately pulling Eggsy from all honeypot missions, after that, though. Eggsy can sleep with as many people as he wants, but Harry refuses to watch any of it.

-

Eggsy still eats lunch with Harry whenever he's not on a mission. They're eating Korean takeout in Harry's office and discussing the new Galahad candidates. Eggsy's proposal is a tall, quick-footed young man of Syrian descent, and Eggsy is betting money that it's either him or Roxy's candidate, who happens to be a baby-faced boy who is incredibly gifted with a knife. 

"I'd say Kay's candidate is also a fair bet. She hasn't lost a hand-to-hand with any of the other candidates, and she's very intelligent." Harry wipes his mouth and sets his empty container to the side. "She actually reminds me of Valentine's assistant."

"Yeah. Terrifying, fit, and fast as a rattlesnake. I see whatcha mean." Eggsy says, his attention on his food, and Harry can’t ignore how there’s the faintest tremor in the hand that’s holding the chopsticks. Eggsy is a quick eater, and relatively skilled with wielding chopsticks, but his fingers are slow, almost clumsy, and inexcusably shaky. Harry takes the plunge.

"I wanted to talk to you about something."

Eggsy doesn't look up. "Yeah?"

"It's about your firearm scores at the range yesterday.”

That catches Eggsy's attention. He’s still looking down where his chopsticks are poking at his egg rolls, but his shoulders have tensed up. “What about ‘em?”

“I’ve noticed that your accuracy has dropped by eight percent, compared to three weeks ago.” Harry keeps his tone conversational. It will be a disaster if he even so much as hints at sounding accusatory. “I was wondering if there was a particular reason for that.'

Eggsy stiffens. “What, a bloke can’t have a bad day at the range?”

“A bad day at the range could mean a bad day in the field, and you know that.” The way Eggsy sets his jaw does not bode well for this conversation. “I’d rather not have you die any sooner than you have to.”

“Look, yesterday was a fluke. I ain’t slippin’ down some slippery slope or nothin’. Don’t treat me like some time bomb.”

It’s a step too close to Harry’s thoughts for comfort, but he doesn’t let himself wince. “Eggsy, I can’t allow you to go on missions if I think you’re not in any condition to do so.”

The sound of Eggsy inhaling sharply is a sure sign that lunch is officially ruined. Then comes the click of Eggsy setting his chopsticks down, a very possible precursor to the rest of the day being ruined as well. Which is looking more and more like an inevitability, judging by how Eggsy stands and grips the edge of the table until his knuckles turn white.

“Don’t you pull me that shit on me, Arthur,” Eggsy hisses. “Don’t fuckin’ tell me I’m not good enough for this. I ain’t spendin’ my last eight months doing nothin’. ‘M not gonna just lay there and rot.”

Harry hates how every word from Eggsy’s mouth is another dent in his composure. He rises to his feet in an effort to claim higher ground. “Eggsy, you can spend time with your mother and sister. You should do things you’ve always wanted to do. Take a chance on something other than risking your life. You can’t outrun bullets forever. Why must you insist on doing this to yourself?”

“What, so you wanna get rid of me now?” And Eggsy sounds hurt, which is preposterous, because Eggsy isn’t the one who has to watch the love of his life try to self-destruct before biology finishes the job. “That what you want, Harry? Bootin’ me to the curb because I ain’t gonna last long anyways?”

“That isn’t what I’m trying to do, Eggsy—“

“—because I swear, I might as well just go off myself right now—“

“—Eggsy, stop—“

“—because I hate this, I hate thinking this might be my last mission, I hate that my fucking hands shake all the time, I hate that you don’t smile at me much anymore, I hate all of it. I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die and you, you’re still—you goddamn bastard, I fucking love you.” And then Eggsy goes white and slaps a hand over his mouth.

There’s so much pain in those last words that for a moment, Harry thinks he’s finally snapped and hallucinated. “I beg your pardon?”

It takes a minute for Eggsy to regroup. “I, uh, I’m so sorry. Fuck. I shouldn’t have said it like that. I’m so fucking sorry.”

“Eggsy, did you just tell me—“

“Let’s pretend that never happened,” Eggsy says.

Harry is having none of that. “You just shouted that you love me and want me to pretend it never happened?”

“Yes.”

“Why?” Harry is still recovering from his second groundbreaking revelation of the month. It’s not his fault that his mouth is running on autopilot.

“'Cause, I wasn’t gonna tell you. I wasn’t gonna do that to you. I wasn’t going to tell you I love you and then fuck off to oblivion. I ain’t that selfish.” The sound of Eggsy upset, hunched in on himself and miserable, makes Harry snap to attention, his world falling back into place in a heartbeat. “'Cause you don’t feel that way ‘bout me, and you’re gonna be all gentlemanly ‘bout it, let me down easy or somethin’—”

“Eggsy.” Harry walks around the table to stand in front of the boy—his boy—and locks eyes with him. “What makes you think I’m going to ‘let you down easy?’”

It’s gratifying, the way Eggsy’s eyes go wide, the way his breath stutters out of him. “What?”

“What makes you think I’d let you go anywhere I cannot follow?” Harry takes a brazen step forward, and it’s a miracle that the earth doesn’t shatter beneath his feet. “If it were up to me, I would never let you out of my sight.”

“Harry, what the fuck.” Eggsy takes an instinctive step back, his rage dissolving, and Harry follows him, step by step, until Eggsy’s back hits the wall and Harry’s standing an arm’s length away. He can’t let Eggsy run from this. Eggsy needs to know that if Harry had a choice, if Eggsy said yes, he would follow Eggsy to the end of the world.

Harry takes one more step, placing his left foot between Eggsy’s, their faces only inches apart. He takes care not to touch, not yet. He hasn’t received permission.

“I’m already quite mad for you, my boy.” He dips down a little to Eggsy’s eye level and lets his gaze linger tellingly on Eggsy’s lips before dragging his eyes back up again. “Since you’ve already quite ruined me for anyone else, you might as well take responsibility.”

“What happened to thinking of me like a son?” Eggsy says, breathless. He looks so hopeful, like he doesn’t quite believe what’s happening.

“I won’t say no to you calling me daddy, if that’s what you’re asking.”

That shocks a strangled laugh out of Eggsy. “You perv. I am never callin’ you that.”

“Good.” Harry would rather not be haunted by Lee anyway. “Now, are we going to stand around here all day, or--”

“Yes,” Eggsy breathes, and then Harry’s pressing him against the wall, one hand cradling Eggsy’s jaw and the other around his waist. He kisses the corner of Eggsy’s mouth and sucks at his bottom lip, taking his time before biting down. Eggsy moans, a desperate sound that makes Harry shiver, and he uses the opportunity to invade the boy’s mouth, searching out Eggsy’s tongue and seducing it. Eggsy makes the most delicious sounds when Harry fucks his lovely mouth with his tongue, and it makes Harry wonder if he’ll whimper just like that if he rimmed the boy until he came.

They separate, panting and hungry for more, but Harry forces himself to pull back, satisfaction curling down his spine when Eggsy whines and attempts to follow his mouth. He takes a moment to admire Eggsy’s spit-slick lips and imagine what they’d look like stretched around his cock, and then remembers that there are more pressing matters at hand.

“I meant it, darling, when I said you’ve ruined me. You’ll destroy me if you leave for a mission and do not come back.” Harry presses a soft kiss to the tip of Eggsy’s nose. A blush spreads on the boy’s face like wildfire. “I’m dreading losing you as it is.”

“Christ, Harry.” Eggsy lets the back of his head hit the wall with a thunk. “Your timing is shite.”

“Time isn’t something we can afford.”

Eggsy curls his arms around Harry’s neck. “If you think kissing me will change my mind--.”

Harry kisses Eggsy with the desperation that’s been crawling through his skin ever since he started his mental countdown. He crushes his mouth to Eggsy’s and kisses him like a man starved for water in a desert, like a long-lost lover reunited with their other half. Like he already misses Eggsy with every fiber of his being.

“Okay,” Eggsy gasps into Harry’s mouth. “Okay.”

-

They come to an agreement: in exchange for no more missions, Eggsy will now be supervising the new Galahad candidates, with Merlin assisting when necessary. 

Also, Eggsy is moving into Harry’s place and expects to be ravished on a regular basis, beginning tonight.

-

“Oh my god,” Eggsy pants and threads a hand through Harry’s spectacularly mussed hair, gripping it just hard enough to send a tingle of pain morphing into pleasure. “Please, ‘m almost, Christ—”

Harry hums around his mouthful of cock, which evokes a truly sinful moan from Eggsy, and sucks, hard.

Eggsy keens, a drawn-out, filthy sound that sends a jolt down to Harry’s erection, still trapped within his trousers. He keeps his arm pressed across Eggsy’s hips to hold the boy down and swallows every bitter drop, suckling lightly until Eggsy starts to whimper, overstimulated. He pulls off and admires the picture his boy makes, naked and boneless, sprawled over Harry’s navy bedsheets.

After recovering some of his senses, Eggsy pushes himself up on his elbows with a scowl. “You didn’t even take your tie off.”

“I was rather preoccupied,” Harry says, perhaps a touch smugly. He loosens his tie knot and slides the offending article off his neck. “And you were certainly not complaining five minutes ago.”

It’s marvelous to know that Eggsy’s blush extends all the way down his chest. “I'm complaining now. Clothes off.”

Harry obliges, because he is planning to do some truly indecent things to this boy and he’d rather not have to rip a seam while he’s at it. He unbuttons his shirt, his movements slow and precise, allowing Eggsy to enjoy the view, and makes a show of undoing his cufflinks and his shoulder holsters. By the time he’s down to his black briefs and nothing else, Eggsy is half-hard again.

“Please tell me you’re going to fuck me now.” Eggsy spreads his legs invitingly, and Harry’s cock twitches, the movement noticeable despite its confinement. 

“Not yet,” Harry chides, and nudges Eggsy so that he rolls over onto his stomach. Then he grips the boy’s hips and lifts them up. Eggsy takes the hint immediately, settling onto his knees so that his spine is arched, delectably so, with his arse in the air. “I do have to prepare you.”

“Don’t be a gentleman, Harry. I can handle a bit of rough.” Eggsy wiggles his bum. “I ain't gonna break.”

Harry mouths a wet kiss to a pert arse cheek, biting down gently in reprimand. “This gentleman is perfectly capable of fucking you into the mattress, darling.” He listens to Eggsy chortle into a pillow and slathers his fingers in lube. “However, I’d first like to take my time with fingering you until you cry. Would you be amenable to that?”

Eggsy’s laughter abruptly chokes off. “Oh, fuck yes. Do it.”

Harry traces over the puckered opening of Eggsy’s hole, running his fingertips over it until the tension in Eggsy—who is remaining mostly quiet for this—bleeds out. He slides a finger in to the second knuckle without much trouble and proceeds to explore, thrusting in and out in shallow jerks, crooking his finger to determine which spots make Eggsy whimper. He adds a second finger after a while, maintaining a slow, maddening pace. 

Then he hits Eggsy’s prostate and it’s like a dam has broken. Eggsy is suddenly a swearing, gasping mess, clawing at Harry’s bedsheets and begging more, more, more— 

—And Harry’s shoving in a third finger, because he didn’t realize that hearing Eggsy beg could wreck his self-control this easily, hadn’t anticipated how Eggsy spreading his legs, pushing his arse back and gagging for it could knock the very breath out of him. The sounds of his fingers squelching with lube every time they thrust into this beautiful boy and Eggsy’s voice, babbling incoherently, is the most delicious symphony Harry has ever heard. It’s like fine-tuning an instrument; every stroke over Eggsy’s prostate is another high-pitched note of sheer pleasure, every pause between thrusts a low groan of need. 

Harry leans down and presses a lingering kiss to the dip in Eggsy’s lower back, his fingers relentlessly conducting Eggsy into a crescendo. He grazes his lips against the sweat-drenched skin there and commands, “Come now, show me how gorgeous you are.”

Eggsy buries his face into the pillow and wails, his come staining Harry’s sheets and his entire body quivering under Harry’s hands. Harry draws back to realize that Eggsy curls his toes when he comes, and somehow that realization is the proverbial straw on the camel’s back, and his self-restraint is shredded into tatters.

He hooks a hand around Eggsy’s thigh and pulls, turning him so that he’s on his back again, taking care to make sure the boy isn’t lying in the wet spot, and reaches down to tug his own briefs off. 

“You didn’t make me cry yet,” Eggsy croaks, cheeky bugger that he is. Then he raises his eyebrows, impressed. “You could probably make me, if you let me suck you off.”

“Tempting,” Harry says as he settles between Eggsy’s legs, his cock bobbing against his stomach. He kisses the inside of Eggsy’s knee, scraping his teeth against it just to feel Eggsy shiver. “But it will have to wait for another day. Are you comfortable?”

“I’ll be more comfortable with your huge cock inside me,” Eggsy purrs, his prick still soft but his enthusiasm hardly dampened.

It’s not that impressive, to be honest. Harry’s length is average for his height and build, but it’s definitely thick, and he’s not so repressed that he doesn’t enjoy Eggsy’s blatant desire to have it inside himself. “I hope you’re prepared to actually cry, this time.”

Eggsy grins, all hunger and want. “Make me.”

Harry lines himself up and pushes in, feeling Eggsy open up for him, tight and hot and perfect. He grasps for the tattered remains of his self-control so that he doesn’t just fold the boy over and fuck him senseless, because he wants to take Eggsy apart, so damnably slow that they both burn up inside out. He wants to be consumed by this, wants it to obliterate every last part of himself until all that’s left is the part of him that will love this boy for the rest of his days.

He bottoms out, his balls pressed against Eggsy’s arse, and Eggsy scrabbles at Harry’s shoulders, pulling him down, gasping. “You’re inside me, oh sweet jesus fuck, Harry, Harry—”

They kiss, sloppy and wet, and Harry bites down on Eggsy’s lower lip, tugging at it. He pulls out, inexorably slow, and Eggsy wraps his flexible legs around Harry’s waist, urging him to speed up, to thrust, to slam back in and fuck him.

“Patience, Eggsy,” Harry rasps, his entire body straining not to give in.

“Oh my fucking god,” Eggsy groans, his cock twitching, plumping up again. “If you think just 'cause I’m sick I can’t take a cock up me arse good and proper, I’m gonna punch you and flip you over, then ride you so hard your prick is sore for a fuckin’ week.”

“I know you can take it,” Harry soothes, trailing kisses down his throat. “I just want to take it slow today.”

Like we have all the time in the world, he doesn’t say. 

Eggsy's eyes soften, as if he know what Harry is thinking. He wraps his arms around Harry’s neck and pulls him in so that their torsos are pressed together, Eggsy’s hardening cock trapped between their stomachs. “Then what are you waitin’ for?”

-

They rock together, sharing kisses, panting into each other’s mouths, Harry rolling his hips and nudging at Eggsy’s prostate until Eggsy’s sobbing, tears leaking from his wide eyes, pupils so dilated that there’s only a thin rim of green left of his irises. Harry murmurs sweet, soft nonsense into Eggsy’s skin, his mouth, his hair, says I’ve got you and my darling boy and I’ll never stop loving you.

Eggsy sobs a litany of Harry’s name, like Harry’s the only thing left in his world, and Harry finally takes pity on him and starts to pump Eggsy’s cock, watching Eggsy come apart at the seams.

After Eggsy stops shuddering from his third orgasm, he starts to pull out, but Eggsy stops him.

“I want you to come inside me,” Eggsy says, and Harry can hardly say no.

He kisses Eggsy slow and honey-sweet, slamming once, twice, slow but hard, so close to the edge, and shakes apart in Eggsy’s arms. Let’s himself believe that just for now, they have all the time in the world.

-

Harry wakes up the next morning to Eggsy drooling on the pillow cover. The image shouldn’t be so endearing, but then again, Eggsy defies all logic and reason. Harry watches the sunlight glint off of Eggsy’s long eyelashes and wonders how he’s going to survive this.

He could have saved himself, if it were a week ago, and he’d lost Eggsy then. He would have been forever damaged, his heart torn in half, but he would have survived it, would have lived with parts of him missing until he was buried six feet under.

Now, though.

Now he knows what Eggsy tastes like when he laughs. Now he knows that Eggsy curls his toes when he comes. He knows Eggsy loves him back. He knows all these things and he knows that this knowledge will be the death of him, the final dagger in his heart when he wakes up to a morning where he won’t be able to see Eggsy asleep, skin golden and smooth under the early sunlight.

Then Eggsy snuffles, cuddling closer towards Harry, and Harry thinks this is worth it. Even if he doesn’t survive losing Eggsy, he can’t stop loving this boy even if he tried.

-

Merlin coughs, not quite fully hiding his smirk, and Harry is struck with the irrational urge to tell him to wait until he’s finished.

He doesn’t. Eggsy gives his best sheepish smile to Merlin as he hastily buttons his shirt and slips off the desk. He inches towards the doorway, giving the Scotsman a wide berth. “Hey, Merlin, I’m, uh, just done eatin’ with Harry. So, yeah. I’ll go check the recruits now.”

He dashes out of the briefing room, leaving Harry to finish tucking his shirt back into his trousers. Merlin turns to Harry, his eyebrows raised and his mouth quirked in bemusement.

“Eating, I see. Had a good meal?”

Harry sits back down, disgruntled. “I was quite looking forward to bending him over this table, so tell me that you’ve interrupted us for a good reason.”

“I did, but I want to know how long this has been going on, first.”

“For heaven’s sake, why?”

Merlin doesn’t answer, which is an answer in itself.

Harry pinches the bridge of his nose. “Oh, for the love of…Fine. Two weeks. Now tell me who won the pool.”

“So you were the reason he didn’t throw a fit about not going into the field anymore.” Merlin says, absentminded as he checks for the winner. “That would be Roxy, then.” Merlin smirks. “She thought she was out for sure, since you’d kindly informed her that you had familial feelings for the boy.”

“Oh, shut up.”

Merlin’s smirk slides off. He walks to the seat across Harry’s desk and seats himself, leaning forward in concern. “Are you going to be alright? What with his condition…Have you talked about it with him?” 

“Not much. We’ve agreed that if his condition deteriorates to the point where he isn’t capable of autonomy, I’ll.” Harry swallows, because it was easy to just nod and say yes to Eggsy in the privacy of the dark, but it’s much more difficult to articulate this in the light of day. “I will not let him suffer. I cannot bear to see him like that.”

“Are you alright with that?” Merlin asks, and his gentle tone is almost unbearable.

Harry huffs a hollow laugh. “I’m not. But the truth is, I’d rather it be me than anybody else. I don’t think I could let anybody else do it.”

-

He thinks of Eggsy kissing Harry’s fingers, fingers that pulled triggers, slit throats, killed so many people and will one day kill Eggsy too. How Eggsy had pressed his lips reverently to each knuckle, as if Harry’s hands were his salvation. 

If it’s you, it’s okay. Eggsy had murmured into Harry’s palm. You’re the only one that’s good enough to end me.  

And only a killer could understand this, only someone who lives on the knife’s edge can ever really know, but Harry, for all his grief and hurt, had been viciously glad when Eggsy had said that. After all, this is how he will keep Eggsy, in love and in death.

-

Eggsy spends four dinners a week with Michelle and Daisy, determined to make sure they remember that he loves them, that he treasures them beyond words and measure. He comes back a little melancholy every time, tucking his nose into Harry’s throat, breathing in until he’s less sad, more aroused. 

It’s been three weeks since Eggsy moved in, and he’s riding Harry with a reckless abandon that’s all lust and aggression and blood-burning want. Harry’s back is propped against the wooden headboard of his bed, and he’s admiring how Eggsy’s thighs flex when Eggsy bites out, “Join me for dinner with Mum and Daisy tomorrow.”

Harry’s hips stutter. “Do you really want to bring up your family right now?”

“Shut up and say yes,” Eggsy growls, and slows to a stop. It’s downright unfair, how that snarl in the back of his throat does terrible things to Harry’s sanity. 

“Fine, yes,” Harry says, and groans in relief when Eggsy lifts up and slams back down, repeating the motions in increasing force until Harry’s biting down on a whine and coming so hard his vision blurs. Eggsy, being the menace that he is, laughs and spurts his come all over Harry’s stomach and chest.

When Harry’s mind is less muddled by an imminent orgasm, he grumbles, “You just used sex to make me say yes.”

“I learned from the best,” Eggsy says sweetly, swiping a finger through the come splattered on Harry’s skin and sucking it into his mouth. Harry forcefully reminds himself that no, he’s not really capable of coming twice in one night.

-

Dinner is a much noisier affair than Harry expected. Daisy talks with her mouth full while Eggsy and Michelle take turns wiping her mouth, chiding her lack of table manners. JB patters around, his tongue lolling, hopeful for a bite of ham. Even amidst his ceaseless chatter, Eggsy brushes his foot against Harry's calf every so often, a sly smile lurking on his lips. 

It's all quite domestic, with Michelle sitting across Harry and asking him to pass the salt, and JB sitting at Harry's feet, looking up at him with an air of expectation.

"Harry, stop feeding JB," Eggsy grouses. "Soon he's gonna roll around 'cause he can't walk."

"Honestly, Eggsy. I've no clue what you're talking about," Harry lies.

Eggsy volunteers to do the dishes and bans Harry from helping, leaving him to sit on the couch and have a serious conversation with Daisy.

"But Eggsy said cats and dogs can't be friends," Daisy says, solemn in her woes. "So we can't have cats."

"What a grave misfortune." Harry reaches down to scratch between JB's ears. "Although, I believe that your brother would still let you have a kitten, if you asked him very nicely."

"Don't give her ideas," Michelle warns as she walks back from the kitchen, a mug of tea offered to Harry in her outstretched hand. He accepts graciously, his smile rueful. She sits on the couch as well, tugging Daisy onto her lap and kissing the top of the child 's head. "We've already a handful over here."

"It might help, if the house feels too big," Harry suggests.

Michelle looks at him, her gaze thoughtful. "You look like you could use some company, yourself."

"I've all the company I need, I think." 

Daisy wriggles off of Michelle's lap to join JB on the floor, her peals of laughter the only sound filling the space of everything unsaid.

"You love him," Michelle says. It's not a question. 

Harry says, "More than anything in the world," and it sounds like surrender.

"He talks about you." Michelle sips her own tea. "He thinks you hung the moon. Told me he trusts you with his life."

The implications in that sentence alone make Harry's heart stumble in his chest. It shouldn't come as a surprise, but if anything is more discomforting than Michelle knowing that Harry is sleeping with her son, it's Michelle knowing that Harry will be ending her son's life.

"I trust him with mine," Harry says.

Michelle sighs. "I figured." She pauses, struggles to get the next words out. "You're always welcome to have dinner with us. Even if Eggsy isn't here." 

"I couldn't," Harry starts, and then realises that there's no point in pretense when the boy you love is going to be gone, the spaces in your home too empty, too big in the wake of losing him; he is going to be alone. "I'd like that, actually. Thank you."

"It helps, having other people." Michelle was a widow, Harry remembers. Never really stopped being one. She knows what it's like.

Oh. 

-

"Would you like to get married?" Harry asks as they lay under the covers, his reading light still kept on so that he can see Eggsy's face. As he predicted, Eggsy's mouth drops open.

"What, you and me? Married? Are you serious?" 

"I don't joke about these things, Eggsy." 

Eggsy chews on his lower lip. “But, there ain’t much of a point. Same as right now, ‘cept the rings and piece of paper.”

“It was just an idea,” Harry says, leaning in to press a kiss to Eggsy’s bicep. Eggsy sleeps shirtless, and his bare shoulders are a constant source of distraction.

“Don’t want you stuck with a dead guy’s ring,” Eggsy mutters, and Harry shushes him, presses him into the mattress, kisses him until they both forget what they were talking about.

-

Except, Eggsy doesn’t forget about it.

“I was thinking Vivian,” Eggsy says as he sets down a small, squirmy ball of fluff down on their dining table. “You know, from Pretty Woman.”

Harry looks at the tiny ginger kitten and sighs. “Did you tell Daisy that she can come visit the cat whenever she likes?”

“Not yet.” Eggsy scoops the kitten up again before it wanders off the edge of the table. He places the kitten on the floor this time and straightens up with a small smile. “I didn’t want you to be alone, though.”

“You talked to your mother,” Harry says, his eyes on the kitten making its way around the dining room. He wishes Eggsy weren’t so damn kind about this. 

“Yeah. And she told me I’m an idiot.”

That makes Harry look up. 

“And yeah, I was an idiot.” Eggsy crowds into Harry’s personal space, his hands smoothing Harry’s shirt over his chest. He smells of sandalwood and honey and gunpowder. “I’m an idiot, and I’m gonna leave, and I want you to have every bit of me that I can give you.”

Harry’s hands catch Eggsy’s waist. He can feel the warmth of him through his shirt, the heat of him burning into Harry’s palms. It’s a heat Harry would enjoy being burned by. “Eggsy.”

“What you said last week, do you still mean it?” Eggsy asks. “Do you still want to marry me?”

How does Eggsy not realize that Harry would take anything Eggsy offered him? Eggsy could have a mouthful of arsenic between his teeth and Harry would still kiss him until his heart bled out.

“Yes,” Harry says.

-

They don't have time and public ceremonies are overrated, they both agree, so they get it done and over with as quietly as possible. They dress in their best respective suits—Eggsy in a charcoal three piece and Harry in a dark maroon tux with golden accents to complement Eggsy’s red tie—and ask Merlin to officiate, which he does after a token amount of grumbling. 

Daisy has the honour of bearing the rings, while Michelle and Roxy both take pictures from the side. They don’t have anybody else, but the rest of the knights have all sent small, expensive wedding gifts over the past three days in their stead.

It’s perfect, even if Daisy almost drops the rings twice and Michelle actually starts crying halfway through the ceremony. Roxy is horrible at taking pictures; they mostly end up blurry and crooked, and Merlin keeps making snide comments while officiating, but Eggsy is laughing like he’s never been happier, sliding the golden band onto Harry’s finger with shaking fingers that tremble all the time these days. There is no til death do us apart because, really, death won’t stop Harry from being in love with this boy.

“I now pronounce you two idiots husbands,” Merlin announces, and Eggsy gleefully drags Harry in by his lapels and kisses him hard, like they’re the only two in the room.

Harry manages to not embarrass himself in front of his new mother-in-law—which is something he will never call her out loud, they both agree—and keeps his hands to himself until he and Eggsy stumble back home, Eggsy shutting the door by pushing Harry against it and kissing him breathless.

Then Eggsy drops to his knees without so much as a warning, nuzzles against the front of Harry’s trousers once, and undoes the front of Harry’s trousers to pull his cock out in record time.

“You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in my life,” Harry manages to say before Eggsy smiles at him and swallows Harry down to the root in one go. 

He scrabbles a bit against the door with a hiss before he realizes Eggsy is tugging at his hips, his fingers digging into the meat of Harry’s arse. He laughs a little incredulously and thrusts into the damp heat of Eggsy’s mouth. He gets an encouraging moan in response.

“Eager, aren’t we?” Harry says, petting Eggsy’s hair and thrusting faster. Eggsy has a talented mouth, which he enjoys showing off by blowing Harry under his office desk and making him come with just his tongue and the right amount of suction. Having his mouth fucked doesn’t require as much skill, but it does tend to get Harry off much faster.

Eggsy kneeling in his suit, his wedding suit, now, and eagerly moaning around Harry’s cock drives Harry over the edge much faster than usual. Harry squeezes the back of Eggsy’s neck in warning right before he comes down his throat and doubles over at the force of his release.

“We didn’t even make it to the bedroom,” Harry points out, his chest heaving as he struggles upright again.

“Sorry ‘bout that.” Eggsy doesn’t sound particularly sorry, his breathing erratic and his cock tenting his suit trousers as he tucks Harry back into his underwear. “Been wanting to do that all day.”

Harry hums and cradles Eggsy’s jaw, his thumb sliding across Eggsy’s lower lip. He’s developed a particular obsession with it. Eggsy turns his head to nip at his thumb, teasing at the pad of it with his teeth. Harry shudders.

“You can make it up to me.” Harry pulls Eggsy’s chin to make eye-contact. “I want you to fuck me until I can’t walk.”

Eggsy growls, Harry’s thumb slipping from his mouth as he surges up to kiss him hungrily, and for one wild moment Harry’s almost sure that his knees are going to give out under him. 

“Bedroom, now,” Eggsy purrs between filthy kisses, his erection grinding against Harry’s thigh before he finally moves back, dragging Harry down the hallway and up the stairs, pausing every few steps to push Harry against a flat surface and plunder his mouth with the intensity of a predator consuming its prey. Harry lets him take the lead, wants it, craves the sensation of being consumed by this boy, his boy, his husband. The very thought of it makes him moan into Eggsy’s mouth. 

Then they’re in the bedroom, Eggsy walking Harry backwards towards the bed, shoving him so that Harry’s back is hitting the mattress. He crawls over Harry to look down at the very picture of debauchery he must make.

“I haven’t even taken off my jacket,” Harry says, not that he really cares at this point.

“I like you in that jacket,” Eggsy says, running his hands down Harry’s clothed chest, and it feels like being owned, like every inch of Harry belongs to Eggsy, from his mouth and skin and arse to his heart and blood and bones, the golden ring on his finger a constant reminder. “I like you in that suit. I could eat you up in that suit.” The hunger in those green eyes, it makes Harry want to offer himself up as a meal, a sacrifice, willing and ready. “Mind if I ruin it?”

Harry spreads his legs. “I’d be disappointed if you didn’t.”

Making good on his word, Eggsy rips Harry’s shirt open and mangles his trousers before he comes once with Harry on his hands and knees, then comes again with Harry on his side, one of Harry’s legs thrown over his shoulder and every thrust deeper than the previous one.

Having already stripped between round one and two, Eggsy mercifully divests Harry of the rest of his clothes after the second round. Then it takes approximately four minutes for Eggsy to get hard again after Harry sucks Eggsy’s fingers into his mouth, tongue swirling around the wedding ring in a lewd imitation of Harry’s favorite trick to make Eggsy swear during a blowjob. 

Eggsy has Harry on his back, practically folded in half, and Harry knows his back will give him hell later, but right now he’s trying to urge Eggsy to rut harder into him, because consequences be damned, Eggsy fucking into him with a blinding, savage grin and saying mine, mine, you’re mine is worth every backache.

He feels Eggsy’s teeth bite down on his throat with bruising force as he comes for a third time, and his cock twitches at the sensation of ownership branded into his skin, the thrill of being marked by Eggsy’s come dripping out of him. He wants Eggsy permanently etched into his body, proof that Harry will belong to Eggsy even after Eggsy is gone. After all, Eggsy is already a bone-deep ache inside him.

“I love you,” Eggsy says, his eyes soft and tender, his touch gentle as he lifts Harry’s leg to clean between legs with a washcloth. He kisses the inside of Harry’s ankle and says, "my husband," tone reverent.

Harry pulls Eggsy down for a quick kiss. “I love you as well, husband. Now go let Vivian in.”

The sound of Eggsy’s laughter. Their ruined suits scattered on the floor. Little Vivian clamoring down from Eggsy’s hands to settle with purring satisfaction by Harry’s head. The warmth of Eggsy climbing onto the bed and kissing Harry’s cheek. Harry hoards each and every one of these, memorizes every detail, clinging to them so that he doesn’t drown in the incoming tide.

-

Harry later finds in his email a series of photo attachments sent to him from Roxy. Some of them are slightly out of focus and have some truly unflattering angles, but each photo shows Harry smiling wider than he ever seen himself before, his eyes always on Eggsy. 

He prints every single one of them, then frames the one of him and Eggsy enthusiastically kissing and keeps it in his office.

-

They don’t go on a honeymoon, because Kingsman needs Arthur here and they’re still only halfway through the selection process for the new Galahad. Eggsy fills his hours with his family, with his friends from before Kingsman, with Roxy, Merlin, and most importantly, Harry, who looks at the calendar and counts six months, just six more if he’s lucky.

It might not even be six. 

Eggsy comes back from target practice with his hands shaking, his grace and elegance bleeding out of him, his fingers unsteady on triggers, not even capable of signing his name properly on forms. 

Eggsy will never fire a gun again. 

He follows Eggsy down when his boy, his lovely boy with his trembling hands and wet cheeks, slides down the wall and crumples to the floor. He holds him, his husband, the love of his life, and lets him cry. 

-

“Is there anything you want to do?” Harry asks. Before it’s too late.

They’re walking homewards from Savile Row, Eggsy’s left hand in Harry’s right. Eggsy’s wearing the gloves Harry bought for him last Christmas, which reminds Harry to start deciding on what he’ll get for Eggsy’s Christmas gift. It’s already mid-November, and if he plans on custom ordering something it’s best to have it taken care of early.

“Like, a bucket list?” Eggsy hums. “Dunno, actually. What do people usually do when they’re ‘bout to kick it?”

A small part of Harry flinches, but he doesn't let himself react. Like every other time Eggsy makes a flippant remark about dying. 

“Bungee jumping, I presume. Or strip clubs. A visit to the Great Wall of China. I’ve no idea.”

Eggsy groans. “I’ve done all of those. And more. Fuckin’ Kingsman is a one of a kind deal for getting crazy shit done. 

“It doesn’t have to be anything extreme. Any movies you wanted to watch, perhaps?” 

“I didn’t watch the last Bourne movie yet,” Eggsy says. “Stupid to call it a Bourne movie, though. Matt Damon isn’t playing the main character anymore. And I’ve always wanted to give Breakfast at Tiffany’s a go.”

Harry steers them to the DVD rental shop. “Movie night it is, then.”

“Also, I want you to fuck me on the dining table,” Eggsy says with a straight face. 

“…We could work that in.”

- 

Eggsy’s bucket list basically consists of action movies interspersed with classic romances and a series of new sex positions that are only possible by the virtue of Harry’s stamina and Eggsy’s flexibility. 

It becomes something like a routine. They settle against each other on the couch and let Vivian crawl over them as they watch Eggsy’s pick of the day. If they’re up for another movie by the end of the first one, Harry queues up terrible spy movies so that they can ruthlessly critique the agents in them.  

Sometimes, they don’t finish the movie and Eggsy crawls into Harry’s lap, mindful of not squashing Vivian. Eggsy is determined to christen every single available flat surface in their home, and Harry has every intention to help his boy in his quest for increasingly athletic sex acts. Once, they break one of Harry’s chairs and laugh themselves to sleep. 

If Harry sometimes lays in the dark and thinks of the peace before the storm, neither of them mention it.

-

They spend Christmas at home with Daisy and Michelle as their guests, JB and Vivian sniffing at each other curiously in the living room. Michelle brings beef stew and mashed potatoes with a frankly mouthwatering chocolate cake for lunch, which leads to Eggsy catatonic on the couch with his full stomach.

Just after Harry is done with the dishes, Roxy and Merlin ring the doorbell. Meredith, Roxy’s poodle, is also added to the mix of animals sniffing around on the floor while Michelle greets their new guests, seating them and offering them tea. Harry attempts to reclaim his role as the host, but Michelle waves him back towards Eggsy, still wading out of his food coma and taking up the entire couch. 

Harry pretends not to be cowed by the younger woman—who he resolutely does not refer to as his mother-in-law—and lifts Eggsy’s head up so that the boy can settle it on Harry’s lap.

“I don’t think I can eat ever again,” Eggsy moans.

“Nonsense. Your metabolism is exceptional even for your age. You’ll be up for more in no time.” Harry runs a hand through Eggsy’s hair. The boy is due a haircut.

Eggsy quirks a mischievous eyebrow. “We talkin’ ‘bout me metabolism or refractory period?”

“I can hear you,” Roxy hisses at them, and Merlin barks a laugh from beside her.

They spend the rest of the afternoon talking about mundane things, like what movies Eggsy and Harry have seen recently or if the new Mexican place at Camden Market is really as good as the rumors say it is. Harry notes with no small amount of pride that Vivian has seemingly tamed her two canine companions, Meredith and JB both obedient as she climbs onto them like the budding acrobat she is. 

Dinner, which Eggsy ends up practically inhaling, is roast duck and sautéed brussels sprouts, paired with red wine for everybody except Daisy and Eggsy, who get sparkling cider. Eggsy pouts, just a little, because he doesn’t drink anymore thanks to increased pain meds, but he grins and clinks his glass with Daisy’s, says, “C’mon, big girl, gimme a toast. There you go.”

Merlin has baked a truly masterful cherry pie, which has Eggsy making indecent sounds and Roxy kicking Eggsy under the table. Harry has two helpings before he cleans up, carrying the dishes to the sink. Roxy follows him.

“You don’t have to help,” Harry says, though he knows it’s pointless.

Roxy shrugs and grabs a dishcloth. “I want to.”

It’s nice, Harry finds. Having someone who knows the things he can’t bring himself to consider during the day. Brushing shoulders with someone who knows that Eggsy drops the dishes and shatters them sometimes, his fine motor skills deserting him. Someone who feels the clock ticking down as keenly as Harry does.

Gifts exchange hands one they both return to the living room, Daisy opening her presents first with squeals of delight. They all sit in a circle, chuckling and talking, and Harry realizes that this is his family, now.

Eggsy looks pleased with the dark green tie Harry picked to complement Eggsy’s eyes, and in turn presents Harry with a set of golden cufflinks that have Harry’s initials carved into them. Merlin takes a picture of Eggsy fixing them on Harry’s cuffs, and Harry notes that Merlin’s photography skills are far better than Roxy’s. Of course, he doesn’t say that out loud. Eggsy does, and is brutally rewarded for his honesty by their Lancelot.

Later, after their guests are gone and Vivian is again the only pet in the household, Harry says, “So I actually have another present for you.”

Eggsy perks up. “Yeah?”

He tugs the boy closer to nip at his ear. “I recall something you mentioned about wanting to tie me up.” Eggsy makes a gratifying noise in his throat. “Let’s see how well your new tie works, shall we?”

-

When the new year comes, Eggsy melds himself to the line of Harry’s back under the duvet and presses a slow, wet kiss to the back of Harry’s neck. His fingers trace from Harry’s collarbone down his chest to his stomach, dipping to where hip meets groin.

“Don’t go out today,” Eggsy whispers, his breath hot against Harry’s nape.

I’m not the one who’s going to leave, Harry thinks. He crushes the thought and brings Eggsy’s hand up to his lips, traces Eggsy’s lifeline on his palm with his tongue.

He stays in bed.

-

Harry comes home to darkness and Vivian rubbing up against his ankles in the hallway. Eggsy is back at HQ, conducting an overnight training exercise. He won’t be back until tomorrow morning.

It’s so quiet here, without Eggsy to brush his hand against the small of Harry’s back, his laughter filling the spaces between the oak and cherrywood. It’s hardly the first time Eggsy and Harry have spent a night apart; Kingsman isn’t the kind of work that can adhere to the schedule of a day job. Coming back to an empty home was his norm, just four months ago. 

And yet. 

“Have you been a good girl?” Harry murmurs, scooping Vivian up with both hands. She’s growing bigger but no less adventurous, eager to climb over Harry’s suit at all times. “Looks like you have me all to yourself tonight.”

She purrs, curling her soft head under Harry’s chin, and he tucks her into the hollow of his throat. Takes a moment to breathe.

-

He drinks two cups of tea before he gives in and pours himself a glass of whiskey. One glass turns to two, then three, and he is contemplating breaking out the vodka when Vivian mewls from where she’s perched on his thigh. It sounds too much like chastisement, so he guiltily puts the alcohol away and sits on the couch, petting her absentmindedly.

Eventually, his moroseness gets the better of him and he queues up My Fair Lady, because he’s a masochist, and listens to Eliza Doolittle speak about the rain falling in Spain. 

Vivian falls asleep on Harry’s lap and he still can’t bring himself to go upstairs, because the bedroom will be empty, there won’t be anybody joining him, no Eggsy to kiss him goodnight and snipe about Harry’s cold feet.

This is what it’s going to be like, in a few months. This is going to be Harry’s night, every night, and it’s horrible.

He queues up Pretty Woman next.

-

“Harry, why are you sleeping on the couch?” Eggsy sounds puzzled, then incredulous. “Are you wearing the same clothes you were wearing yesterday?”

There’s a crick in Harry’s neck from sleeping without a proper pillow. He pushes himself up into a sitting position and rotates his neck, then checks his watch, which he didn’t take off. Of course. “You’re back early.”

“It’s half past eight. You’re usually up at, what, seven?” Eggsy’s suit jacket is draped over an arm and his tie is loosened, his glasses already pocketed. He still looks much more put together than Harry does in his rumpled shirt and wrinkled tie, though. “You look like shite. Christ, why didn’t you go up to bed?”

“I dozed off,” Harry lies.

Eggsy says, “I hope you’re not going to be like this every time I’m not around to take your old man arse to bed,” and that’s it, that’s Harry’s breaking point.

“You’re not going to be here,” Harry snaps. Eggsy freezes, his bemused smile replaced by a look of confusion, and Harry stands up, his voice rising in volume. “You're going to die. You’re going to leave me, and I’m going to be here, alone, sleeping on the damn couch because I can’t face going to an empty bed.”

The look of hurt on Eggsy’s face should stop him, but Harry can’t pretend like this. He can’t swallow down the words that bubble up from the dark, dark pit inside of him. “You might be alright with that, but I am not, Eggsy. Forgive me for being weak, my boy, but I cannot stand the thought of losing you. I am not going to be alright after this.”

His composure is fractured and crumbling. He has to stop. Eggsy doesn’t deserve this. Eggsy’s making light of his situation is a coping mechanism, and Harry knows this, knows that the boy is trying to just accept all of this, but god help him he’s so angry. Harry doesn’t want Eggsy to accept any of this. He wants Eggsy screaming and kicking and fighting. He wants his boy to hate this. Hate his failing health. Kingsman. Harry.

“It ain’t much of a trip for me, either,” Eggsy hisses, eyes narrowed and mouth curled back into a snarl. “You think I’m peachy about this? I can’t even fire a fuckin’ gun or wash the dishes. If I don’t take my meds I hurt so much I can’t even see straight. I’m fucking useless.”

“How dare you die before me,” Harry throws at Eggsy’s face, which flashes from shock to amazement to fury. 

“Don’t you fucking blame me for this, Harry Hart. You know what, fucking good for you. Now you know what I felt like, huh? You got shot and I thought you were dead and I hated every minute of it. Fuck you.”

“That was hardly my fault,” Harry growls.

Eggsy sneers. “Yeah, well you think me dying is my fault, then?”

“It’s my bloody fault!”

The silence is deafening in the absence of their shouting. Eggsy drops his jacket on the floor and stares, slack-jawed. “What?” 

Harry feels numb, like all of his insides have been scooped out of him. “It’s my fault.”

“What the bleeding—how the fuck is any of this your fault?”

And this, this is the truth that has haunted him since the beginning: “This wouldn’t have happened to you if I didn’t bring you to Kingsman.”

Eggsy’s jaw clicks shut. He opens his mouth, closes it, then opens it again. “You’re takin’ the piss.”

“If you weren’t a Kingsman,” Harry continues, “and if I hadn’t sent you to Denmark for that mission, you wouldn’t have been in the explosion. Your condition may have never happened. You’d still be healthy.”

“Okay, woah, back up.” Eggsy sounds calmer, a little wary. “So you sayin’ you’re to blame for me gettin’ blown up, which got me sick, which nobody could have fucking predicted?”

“I should have,” is all Harry gets out before Eggsy steamrolls over him.

“Oh, fuck no, you have not been—oh what am I talking about, of course you fucking did. Of course you fucking, wow. You blamed yourself all this time?” Eggsy runs his hands down his face. He looks tired. “Harry, look, I coulda said no. I could have said no thank you, I don’t wanna get shot, and could’ve not saved the fucking world. This is on me. And I could’ve still got sick. Dean coulda socked me hard and triggered this bullshit. Harry, none of this is your fault.”

Harry searches for that tendril of anger, but it’s been drained out of him. All he can find is weariness and what ifs. “You weren’t supposed to die before me.”

“Yeah, well. I wasn’t exactly expecting it.” 

“I should have died. Back in Kentucky." 

“Don’t say that.” Eggsy’s voice goes hushed, filled with an old ache that still tastes of hurt. “Don’t you dare say that.”

Warm fingers touch Harry’s face and his vision blurs, Eggsy’s hands breaking him open, the sound of his voice cracking in desperation. “I’m so sorry, Eggsy. I’m so terribly sorry.”

Eggsy shushes him, guides him down to the floor so that they sit with their legs entwined. He leans his forehead against Harry’s, his hands strong and steady as they cradle Harry’s jaw, even if they shake the tiniest bit. “I’m sorry too, Harry. Sorry for sayin’ stuff like that. I’m sorry I yelled at you. I’m sorry I’m gonna leave you here.” He presses a kiss to Harry’s temple, where the starburst scar is. “Sorry for hurting you like this.”

When Eggsy pulls back, Harry sees that Eggsy’s crying, too. 

“But I ain’t sorry that I love you,” Eggsy says, his voice hitching. “I ain’t sorry I got you back after I thought you were dead. I ain’t sorry for bein’ Kingsman, and I sure as hell ain’t sorry I met you. Harry. Harry.” There’s so much longing in Eggsy’s voice, in the way he says Harry’s name, like he misses Harry so much even though they’re right here in each other’s arms. The way Harry yearns for Eggsy even when the boy is inside him, in his arse, his mouth, his very blood and bone. “You’re the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Eggsy wraps his arms around Harry’s back and pulls him in, tucks Harry under his chin and holds him there, anchors him.

“I wouldn’t change the past three months with you for anything,” he says into Harry’s hair. “And however much more time we get, it’s better than nothing. I’m glad we got this much.” He laughs weakly, his voice scratchy from tears. “I love you. I love you so much.”

He murmurs it endlessly, I love you, I love you, more than anything in the world, as Harry cries into his chest.

-

“That was our first fight as a married couple,” Eggsy says, later.

Harry sighs. “I suppose it could have been worse.” He removes his shirt and remembers, “I was supposed to get work done.”

“Fuck work,” Eggsy says. Then adds, “or me. Me is a better option.”

The laugh that bursts out of Harry is completely unexpected. It shakes him, realigns his world. Makes it easier to breathe. He thinks maybe, just maybe, he might survive this.

“You are most definitely the better option,” Harry agrees, pressing his smile to Eggsy’s.

-

Merlin hands him a new manila folder. “We’re down to three candidates for Galahad’s position. We’ll have to have Kay, Lancelot, and Galahad present for the next task. We’ll schedule it to be in three days.” 

“Of course,” Harry says.

There’s a small pause, most likely because Merlin is debating whether he wants to say something or not. Then: “So I’ve noticed that you’re looking less like you’re about to throw yourself out the window. Are you coping better with Eggsy’s situation?”

Harry smiles. It hurts a little less to do it, now. “I’m rather still devastated by it. We’re dealing with it together, though. Properly, this time.”

“Good to hear.” Merlin turns, as if to leave, then pauses. “If you ever need company, I have minions to delegate to.”

His smile widens. “Thank you.”

-

Roxy’s candidate doesn’t make it through.

“Har—Arthur, this is Tariq. Tariq, you’ve seen Arthur before, right?” Eggsy shoos his candidate into the living room. 

Tariq, who is just as tall as Harry but much leaner, still young and fresh out of uni, looks quite intimidated by seeing his potential future boss in an armchair with a lapful of kitten. “Hello, sir.”

“Pleasure.” Harry shakes the boy’s hand. He’d reread the boy’s file to prepare for what might be an awkward 24 hours, given that Tariq is in the home of his potential predecessor and potential boss. “Congratulations on making it to the final two candidates. Your firearms scores were exemplary.”

“Thank you, sir,” Tariq says, a shy grin stealing over his face. “I wasn’t expecting to make it this far.”

“Oi, don’t say that. I have faith in you!” Eggsy hollers from where he’s hanging up his jacket.

“Indeed,” Harry says. “Considering that you have both former Galahads at your disposal for the next twenty-four hours, I’d say you should use this opportunity to ask whatever you want.” 

“Not ‘former’ yet,” Eggsy reminds him with a quick peck to his cheek, settling down by Harry’s legs to pet Vivian. 

Tariq seems to relax at this display of domesticity. “Well, is it true that you beat up a gang of thugs to impress Gala—sorry, Eggsy when you first met him?”

Harry quirks an eyebrow at his husband, who feigns ignorance. “Someone’s been telling tales.” He smiles benignly at Tariq. “Well, why don’t we start that story with how Eggsy got himself arrested by stealing the thug’s car?”

-

With Tariq in the guest room and Eggsy snuggling aggressively into Harry’s chest, Harry finally says, “He’s going to be the next Galahad.”

“Oh?” Eggsy peeks up at him. “How do you know?”

“Merlin and I will be conducting the last task, and Kay’s candidate doesn’t trust either of us enough to pull the trigger. Tariq trusts me now, thanks to you, and he trusts Merlin, from what I can tell of his results from the parachute task.”

“He loves that dog, though,” Eggsy says into Harry’s collarbone.

“He trusts us not to give him senselessly cruel orders,” Harry says, “and it’s not your fault for not pulling the trigger. We’ve been over this. You were right not to trust Chester.”

Eggsy sniffs. “Still.”

“…Also, he’s a firearms expert. Miss Hunter is not as experienced with guns. He’ll be able to tell that they’re blanks.” 

Which is, to be honest, how Harry had passed his last task as well.

“You fucking prick.”

-

In the drawing room at HQ, Harry offers his hand to Tariq and pretends it doesn’t hurt when he says, “Welcome to Kingsman, Galahad.”

After Tariq shakes Harry’s hand, his grip firm and steady, Eggsy gives Tariq a tight smile and claps a shaky hand to his back in congratulations before Merlin whisks off their new knight to be measured for a new suit. Before he closes the door behind him, Merlin nods at Harry with a knowing look. There’s a brief rush of gratitude for Merlin’s tact, then Harry’s entire focus is on Eggsy, who’s just staring at the closed door with a look of sheer loss.

Eggsy, with a suit that fits loosely because he’s been losing muscle and his appetite’s been ebbing, still young and still fierce, still beautiful, and no longer Galahad. 

It breaks Harry’s goddamn heart. 

He steps closer to cup Eggsy’s cheek. “Eggsy.”

Green eyes snap to Harry’s, and then Eggsy moves. He’s crowding against Harry and attacking his mouth, practically vibrating out of his skin under Harry’s hands, pinning Harry up against the wall and grinding their hips together with raw desperation. There’s a hand in Harry’s hair and another shoving at his shirt, tugging until Harry can feel buttons popping off. He bites a harsh reprimand into Eggsy’s throat and hears Eggsy whine, high-pitched and needy. “C’mon, Harry, harder, I want it harder.”

“If you don’t stop,” Harry bites out, rutting up against Eggsy’s cock pressed to his, “we’ll be coming in our pants like schoolboys.”

“Posh bastard, you and your filthy public schools,” Eggsy pants. He keeps grinding into Harry, but there’s not enough pressure, not enough contact, and Harry wants to attach his teeth to Eggsy’s throat, but the boy isn’t tall enough for Harry to accomplish that and rut against him at the same time.

With a growl, Harry turns them to slam Eggsy up against the wall instead, bending his knees to dip down and grab hold of Eggsy’s thighs and lift.

He almost overbalances for a moment, but manages to right himself and press Eggsy in place with his hips, lining up their still-clothed erections and grinding hard. He bites down on the Adam’s apple protruding from Eggs’y neck, eliciting a yelp. Eggsy clutches at Harry’s back, his mouth running non-stop. “Oh god, yes, do that again, fuck, more, harder, don’t stop, don’t fucking stop, Harry, jesus fucking christ, Harry—“

And then Eggsy is tightening his legs around Harry’s waist with a filthy moan, tensing up and riding out his orgasm, trapped between Harry and the wall. He’s bound to be oversensitive but Harry doesn’t stop, just keeps thrusting against Eggsy until he drops his head to Eggsy’s shoulder and bites into his suit jacket, groaning his release as he thrusts weakly once, twice. 

The adrenaline seeps out of him, his arms shaking with the effort to hold onto Eggsy as he lowers them both to the floor, wrecked and their trousers still zipped and buttoned. He wants to say something. Anything.

Instead, Eggsy leans in and kisses him, chaste in a way he rarely does. “Thank you.”

-

Harry pulls some strings to get a carriage in the London Eye just for Eggsy and himself on Valentine’s Day, because Eggsy wanted to try it, just the once. 

It’s hardly impressive, compared to what they’ve done for Kingsman, but Eggsy still laughs with delight and takes pictures of the skyline. His features are softer here in the darkness of dusk, making him look younger. 

As their carriage descends slowly from the top, Eggsy kneels in front of where Harry’s been seated, takes Harry’s left hand, and kisses his wedding ring.

“Next year,” Eggsy says, looking up at Harry with green eyes full of affection, “I don’t want you to spend this day alone. Call up Roxy. Or Merlin. Or hang out with Mum and Daisy. I’m not saying you ain’t allowed to be sad.” He leans in, arms on Harry’s knees, close enough to kiss. “I just want you to be okay.”

Harry doesn’t swallow down his words anymore. “It might take me a while.”

“That’s alright.” Eggsy kisses the corner of Harry’s lips. “As long as you get there someday.”

-

It’s still February when Eggsy shakes Harry awake.

“I can’t feel my feet,” Eggsy says, panic in his voice and devastation in his eyes.

-

Eggsy stumbles when he walks, his gait slow and dragging, uneven in a way Harry has never seen him before. Merlin takes one look at them, Eggsy scuffling in, his shoes untied, with a shoulder around Harry, and wordlessly fetches a wheelchair.

“I’d rather die,” Eggsy says when he sees it, but Harry’s face crumples at that and he immediately backpedals. “Sorry, bad joke."

They pull in all the professionals they have and keep Eggsy overnight. Harry can’t bring himself to leave, but Vivian needs feeding, so he stands outside clutching his phone while Eggsy is in the MRI room. 

Roxy brushes up next to him, looking weary. “How is he?”

“His peripheral nervous system is dying first. He’s lost sensation in his feet, and mobility’s going with it.” Harry thinks of Eggsy, graceful and free on his feet, a gymnast even in a warzone. “He can’t walk.”

For a horrifying moment, he thinks he might break down right here. 

“Do you need me to do anything?” Roxy says. Her small hand is firm on Harry’s arm, her calm only betrayed by how she bites down on her lip. The gesture reminds him of Eggsy, and how she’s Eggsy’s best friend. How she’s being brave for the both of them.

That brings him back to more stable ground. “If you wouldn’t mind,” he says, pressing his keys into her palm, “could you go feed Vivian for me?”

-

Roxy returns with his keys and a fresh change of clothes for both Harry and Eggsy. She stays by Harry’s side, her hand on Eggsy’s leg under the covers while Harry holds Eggsy’s hand as they spend the night in the infirmary. Merlin comes and goes, a new mug of coffee with him every time. He pulls Harry aside a few hours after sunrise.

“There’s nothing we can do,” Merlin says.

Harry looks at the bags under Merlin’s eyes, the regret in the lines of his forehead, and knows that some battles are destined for defeat.

“Thank you,” Harry says sincerely. “I’m taking him home.”

-

Roxy comes with them, assisting Harry with carrying Eggsy up the stairs to the bedroom. Eggsy seats himself on the bed, propping himself against the headboard, and Roxy sits with him. She takes Eggsy’s hand in hers and speaks with him in low, hushed tones while Harry collects Eggsy’s things scattered about in the study and living room, depositing them on the bedside table for Eggsy to reach easily. 

“Bedrest for me. Bloody brilliant.” Eggsy sighs. 

“Stop whining,” Roxy says, her heart obviously not in the quip. She stands up and hefts her duffel bag over her shoulder. “I’ll be back from Nepal as soon as I can. Try not to drive Harry insane.” 

She presses a quick kiss to Eggsy’s temple and leaves, squeezing Harry’s arm as she passes by. Harry hears her let herself out and he closes the bedroom door.

“What ‘bout Vivian? Poor kitten slept all alone last night.”

“She can be on her own for a few more hours,” Harry says. He sheds his jacket, then his shirt, leaving them on the floor without caring how they would wrinkle. He doesn’t care, doesn’t think at all. He moves instinctively, his hands reaching for Eggsy, the warmth of him, proof that he’s still alive. “I want you to myself for now.”

-

Harry fucks Eggsy hard and fast and brutal, their headboard shaking at the force of Harry’s thrusts. He fucks Eggsy like they’re running out of time, like if he doesn’t come inside Eggsy this very instant he’ll die right here and now.

It’s not that far from the truth.

“Harry. Fuck, Harry!” Eggsy groans and pushes at Harry’s chest, struggling to push himself up on his elbows. Harry slows to a stop. His brain is too full of static. Eggsy places a hand on Harry’s neck, his fingers against Harry’s hammering pulse point. “I can’t believe I’m sayin’ this, but slow down.”

“I can’t.” This is his surrender. His white flag. The admittance of defeat. I don’t know how.

Eggsy bites at Harry’s chin. “Take your time, like you usually do.”

“We’re out of time, Eggsy.” 

Harry’s breath shakes apart, too loud in the ensuing quiet. He’s been blindsided by this, by the sight of Eggsy in a wheelchair, the clock ticking down louder and louder. He’s been a Kingsman for decades, has killed and tortured and saved lives, lied his way through beds and hearts, and yet here he has no idea what to do. He can hardly think.

“Yeah, okay. Here, let me.” Eggsy shoves Harry up, coaxing him to pull out and sit on the bed with his feet braced against the mattress. He then carefully climbs into Harry’s lap, straddling him. “Slow, okay?”

“Okay,” Harry echoes. 

Eggsy smiles, a precarious thing that wobbles on his red, bitten lips, and lines up Harry’s cock, sinking down on it inch by inch. Harry’s hands slide up Eggsy’s thighs on their own accord, slipping under his arse to support Eggsy’s weight as he lifts up and lowers himself again. The pace is torturously slow, slower than they’ve ever tried before, because Eggsy’s always preferred fast and dirty to slow and soft. Today, though, Eggsy’s savoring every second. 

Long fingers card through Harry’s hair, caress his cheekbones, worship every scar left on Harry that Eggsy can reach. Eggsy traces every inch of Harry’s face, like he’s trying to burn every detail into memory.

“I’m going to miss having shower sex with you,” Eggsy says, half-jokingly. 

“Eggsy,” Harry says, and crumbles. 

Their hips move together, slow, while Eggsy wipes at Harry’s tears with his thumbs, kisses Harry’s eyelids. 

“I can't,” Harry says. He doesn’t have words after that, so he repeats himself. “I can't.”

Eggsy kisses him, fleeting butterfly kisses on his cheeks, his temple, his mouth. “I know. I’m sorry. I know.”

-

Eggsy lays on top of Harry, his head cushioned against Harry's chest as they both watch the latest Bond film from the couch. On the screen, Daniel Craig breaks yet another new gadget. Eggsy scoffs.

"If I did that, Merlin would murder me." 

Harry rubs Eggsy's back. "He did leave me trapped in a bank vault once, for ruining the new tech I'd been testing."

Eggsy lifts his head to look Harry in the eye. "Seriously?"

"It was in 1992. We were both young." He had been on less friendly terms with Merlin back then.

"You would've been my age," Eggsy points out.

"You're young, my boy." Harry takes care to emphasise 'boy.'

"Hmph." Eggsy drops his head back with a little more force than warranted. "I'm never going to grow old, at the very least."

Harry freezes, his heart skipping a beat. Then he exhales. Says, "I'm sorry that you won't."

"That makes two of us," Eggsy grumbles. He turns the movie off. "You have work tomorrow, yeah? We'll finish the movie later. Take me to bed."

They sit up, Harry sliding off the couch first. He slips his arms under Eggsy's knees and back, Eggsy twining his arms around Harry's neck to avoid being dropped. 

As Harry carries Eggsy up the stairs to the bedroom, Eggsy snorts in realization. "We didn't even do this for our wedding day."

"Better late than never, I suppose," Harry says, and carries Eggsy over the threshold.

-

Harry leaves for work under the conditions that Eggsy keeps his glasses on and stays in contact at all times. It's not the same as having Eggsy with him in his office, but it's nice, having Eggsy chat idly in his ear, making inappropriate jokes and suggesting ideas while Harry ponders over mission assignments.

They eat lunch while Skyping each other, Harry eating his sushi takeout while Eggsy eats leftover lasagna that Harry cooked last night. Their house isn't wheelchair-friendly, so Eggsy is stuck on the first floor, where Harry left him with Vivian for company. Thankfully, the kitchen is wide enough for Eggsy to warm the lasagna in the oven without difficulty, but the dining room is a different story, so he watches Eggsy hoist himself from wheelchair to couch to eat his food.

Merlin drops by with updated intel on Tristan's mission and says hello to Eggsy, unperturbed by the fact that their Arthur is on a Skype lunch date. 

There's still two mission feeds left to review when Eggsy finally runs out of patience and whines into Harry's ear about his boredom for five minutes straight. Given that Eggsy's never been good at staying still, it's an understandable problem, but Harry can't concentrate like this.

"You know," Harry says, closing his laptop and resigning himself to distraction, "I believe we've never had phone sex."

Eggsy shuts up. "Are you saying what I think you're saying?"

"That depends," Harry says. He might be smug. Just a bit. "Are you going to be good?" 

-

Michelle brings Daisy and JB for dinner, hesitating for a millisecond before swooping down to kiss Eggsy’s cheek. Even though Harry forewarned her about the wheelchair, it must be difficult to see her son like that. 

“Can’t you have the house be fixed up to, you know, be more accessible? You could put in a lift so you don’t have to carry him upstairs, right?” Michelle asks, leaning against the kitchen counter while Harry finishes washing the dishes. 

“Eggsy says there’s no point in making such changes from a long-term perspective,” Harry says on rote. He’s already had this argument with Eggsy. He’s rearranged the dining room and installed a handle in the shower, but Eggsy refuses any other significant changes that might ease his time confined to the blasted wheelchair. “To be completely honest, I suspect part of the problem is his pride.”

Harry acutely empathises with how Michelle draws out an exasperated sigh. “I swear he takes after his father in the strangest ways.”

“Lee was quite stubborn,” Harry agrees. He looks at Daisy in Eggsy’s lap, her eyes bright and curious as Eggsy explains why he’s in a wheelchair. She doesn’t understand that Eggsy will be gone soon. Harry isn’t looking forward to when she finds out her big brother isn’t going to be around anymore. “He doesn’t have much time.”

There’s a muted look of terror in Michelle’s eyes. Harry recognises it. He sees it in the mirror every day.

-

After so many days of staying indoors, Eggsy is wild with cabin fever. He has taken to obsessively cleaning and reassembling all the firearms he can find in the house, and he is on the edge of using Harry’s wallpaper as target practice for throwing knives. 

There’s only so many times that Harry can distract the boy with sex—whether it’s through a phone or in bed together—so he proposes a walk.

“Fine.” Eggsy doesn’t even complain about the wheelchair. “I just need to get some air.”

Which is how Harry ends up pushing Eggsy’s wheelchair through Regent’s Park, Eggsy in jeans and a parka zipped over his sweater, and Harry dressed in a coat over his cardigan and trousers. It’s quite chilly, given that it’s early March, but Eggsy seems to relish the cold. His bare fingers snag Harry’s coat sleeves when he reaches backwards.

“The shitty thing about wheelchairs is, I can’t see your face.” Eggsy cranes his neck to look back at Harry.

“We could find an automatic one instead, if you’d rather not be pushing the wheels.” Harry considered buying one, earlier, but it’s very likely that Eggsy will lose use of his hands soon, which makes the hand controls rather pointless.

Eggsy turns back to look ahead. “Nah. Not like I’ll be getting out much anyway. Gonna be stuck in a bed soon and all.”

“You are many things, Eggsy, but an indoor person is not one of them.” 

“Oi, shut it.” Eggsy laughs. “I can stay still.”

Harry doesn’t have to feign the doubt in his voice. “If you say so.”

-

At Eggsy’s request, they walk by the shop at Savile Row. They don’t enter; they simply stand gazing at the store front. Eggsy trails his fingers across the railing in front of the shop, his lips pressed together in a flat line. 

Harry turns his head to observe the shops across the street. He doesn’t want to watch Eggsy say his goodbyes.

-

Roxy walks home from the shop with Harry after she returns from decimating a terrorist cell at the base of the Himalayas. She'd been on a sensitive mission and hadn't kept in contact with anyone but her handler, so she's keen on hearing about Eggsy's condition.

"Don't tell him this, but I was a bit terrified." She's stiff with the discomfort of the very admission. "I kept thinking, what if I come back and Eggsy's just—gone?”

It seems to be a trend in Harry's life now, the mutual fear of losing Eggsy. The prickly sensation of realising that, despite having known that this moment was coming since nearly eight months ago, they're still disastrously unprepared to bid farewell.

"And if I'm like this, well, you must feel worse." Roxy flashes an apprehensive look at Harry. "You love him so much."

Harry's throat closes up, but he doesn't let his voice waver. "I do."

-

"I'm lucky, if you think about it."

Eggsy's words prompt Harry to blink back his sleepiness, shifting to make out Eggsy looking up at the ceiling. He doesn't ask Eggsy to elaborate, but Eggsy does so anyway.

"You know, remember how I told you that if I was really lucky, I'd live to see thirty?"

Harry does remember. He remembers everything about Eggsy. He doesn't ever want to forget.

"Thing is, I am lucky. I'm lucky to have a friend like Rox, ain't I?" Roxy, who is fast asleep in the guest room, tired out from dinner and verbal reenactments of the highlights of her most recent mission. One of Kingsman's deadliest knights. Eggsy's best friend. "And I'm lucky to have been a Kingsman. Hell, I'm lucky to be alive after all the shite I've been through."

Eggsy turns, rolling to his side so that he's facing Harry. "I'm lucky to have you."

Harry can't make out what expression Eggsy is wearing in the dark, but he can feel the curve of Eggsy's smile against his lips. He has a feeling that there's something terrible hiding behind that smile. Something just waiting to step into the light.

"Why are you saying this?" Harry whispers after Eggsy pulls back.

Eggsy puts a gentle hand to Harry's jaw. The tremors in his hand are even worse, lately. And just like that, Harry knows.

"I think I've been lucky long enough," Eggsy says. 

Harry can't breathe.

He forces the words out. "When?"

"One week," Eggsy murmurs against Harry's lips. "I'm gonna lose my hands soon. My fingers are gettin' numb. No point in waiting for me to be a vegetable."

A week. Eggsy wants to die in a week. All the oxygen is gone from the room.

They were supposed to have more time.

No. 

Don't do this. 

Are you sure? 

Please. 

Not yet

There are so many words climbing their way up Harry's throat, but he doesn't say any of them. He swallows them down, one last time, and says, "I never considered myself lucky until I came back from the dead and found you waiting for me."

Eggsy laughs, a wet and delirious sound against Harry's mouth. "Yeah, we're lucky that we even had this much."

-

The next day, they tell Roxy after breakfast. She looks at the both of them, her devastation clear on her face. Harry has never seen her so upset before. 

"Sorry, Rox," Eggsy soothes, her hands in his. She just cries harder.

She stays there, in the living room with Eggsy, while Harry calls Merlin and tells him. He asks to have the week off, and Merlin says that Harry better not even show his face at HQ for the next couple weeks. Merlin then promises to come over later in the afternoon, and promptly hangs up to delegate his work to his minions.

Roxy heads to HQ to finish her mission report, her eyes puffy from crying.

The rest of the day is spent planning the rest of the week and taking care of practical matters. They discuss funeral arrangements (closed-casket at the nearest funeral home), financial matters (all of Eggsy's savings to Michelle and Daisy), and what to do with Eggsy's material possessions (Harry inherits everything, not that he knows what to do with them yet). By the time Merlin arrives, they've drawn up all the requisite legal forms and have them signed. 

As Merlin goes over their papers to ensure everything is right, Eggsy and Harry call Michelle and tell her about their plans. She doesn't start sobbing until right before they hang up, and Harry pulls Eggsy to his chest to comfort him.

Merlin, satisfied with the arrangements, informs Harry that Roxy has applied for vacation for the upcoming two weeks, and that he will be sending out a notice to the other knights on Harry's behalf. Before he leaves, he claps a hand to Harry's shoulder. "Don't worry about us. You just take care of your boy."

-

The second day, Eggsy's friends visit to say their goodbyes.

Harry doesn't know them well; they've only met twice, once as Eggsy's boss and the other time as Eggsy's husband. He keeps his distance for the afternoon, checking his email while Eggsy laughs and reminisces with his mates for the last time.

After several hours, their guests reluctantly head out the door, hugging Eggsy with tearful goodbyes and promises to be at his funeral. They nod at Harry, who thanks them for coming, and when he closes the door behind them Eggsy starts to sniffle. Harry takes his boy to the couch and they stay there, watching movies until Eggsy nods off and Harry carries him up to bed.

-

The third day is quiet. 

They stay in bed until lunch, Eggsy cataloguing every inch of Harry's skin with his finger and tongue, urging his hands to remember how Harry shakes and tenses and comes apart under them. Eggsy bites down on Harry's nipples, presses his fingernails into Harry's scars, and opens Harry up with trembling fingers guided by Harry's steady ones. He adds fingers so slowly that Harry is almost certain that he’s going to come before Eggsy enters him, but Eggsy is adamant about having Harry come on his cock today. Harry eventually just lets his arms collapse and buries his face into the pillows, leaving his arse up in the air.

Thrusting three fingers steadily into Harry, Eggsy leans in to press a filthy, open-mouthed kiss to Harry's hole, eliciting a string of swear words that aren’t gentlemanly at all. Eggsy snickers and continues lazily fingerfucking Harry into incoherency, licking around Harry's rim, his tongue teasingly flickering in and out. 

Eggsy,” Harry warns, and Eggsy withdraws his fingers and plunges his tongue in.

After what feels like hours of Eggsy shamelessly slurping at his hole, Harry growls and pushes himself up, dislodging Eggsy. He shoves Eggsy onto his back, kissing him deep and tasting himself in a way he couldn’t alone, will never do again after Eggsy’s gone—and Harry shoves the rest of those thoughts away, doesn’t think about anything but now and Eggsy and how he needs that red, dripping cock inside him immediately.

Harry straddles Eggsy and sinks down on his cock, relishing the stretch and burn. Eggsy groans and clutches at Harry's hips, and Harry ignores what the rest of the week has in store.

He slams down onto Eggsy's cock again and again, kicking up the pace until Eggsy's on the verge of release, then slows down, watching Eggsy keen and beg. "Oh please, Harry, for the love of everything holy, let me come. Please, fuck, Harry—”

Finally Harry relents and resumes his brutal pace, tries to make it hurt, make it burn all the way to his bones, because this might be the last time.

(It is.)

-

Later, after a shower and lunch, they start receiving visitors. Mostly Kingsman knights, with a fair share of support staff dropping by as well. Most of their visits are brief, filled with placatory I’ll miss yous and goodbyes. Some of them shake Eggsy’s hand; some of them give him quick, stilted embraces. Tristan, affectionate person that he is, kisses Eggsy’s cheek before he bids farewell. Percival says, “It was an honor to work with you.”

Roxy and Merlin both drop by, confirming that they’ll be back after tomorrow. Roxy seems to have fortified her defenses, her smile steadier when she nods at Eggsy.

Tariq comes a little before dinnertime. He drinks tea and talks about how his first mission went—very well, as Harry can attest to that—and promises to be a Galahad worthy of his title, agreeing readily when Eggsy tells him to keep their Arthur safe on Eggsy’s behalf. 

Before Tariq leaves, he clasps Eggsy’s hand in his and says, “Nobody believed I would make it. To be honest, I didn’t think I’d ever be, well, somewhere I never belonged before. And now I belong here. You believed in me even when nobody else did, and that means a lot to me.” He looks at Eggsy with so much respect and gratitude. “I’ll spend the rest of my life indebted to you." 

Eggsy’s voice is rough when he replies with, “Yeah, I’m bloody proud of you.”

-

Michelle and Daisy move into the guest room on day four.

They bring JB with them and watch him tumble about with Vivian. The four of them sit in the living room, for the most part, and act like nothing’s wrong. It’s a normal day. The last one they’ll ever have with all four of them as a family.

Michelle holds Eggsy’s hand the entire time.

After dinner and a couple rounds of charades, Harry takes Daisy upstairs to put her to bed while Michelle and Eggsy talk in the living room. He reads her a bedtime story until she’s breathing the slow, steady inhale-exhale of the soundly asleep. He doesn’t leave until Michelle steps into the room, her eyes wet, and they exchange their goodnights. 

Eggsy is wiping his eyes when Harry comes back down. He kisses both of Eggsy’s eyelids and lifts the boy into his arms, his heart heavy as he faces the stairs, the night that is coming, the last three days.

-

Day five is when they tell Daisy.

It also happens to be the day Eggsy’s fingers don’t move anymore. He’s losing sensation in his palms and wrists as well. Harry feeds Eggsy lunch by hand, and by the end of it Eggsy is terribly miserable. 

It’s perhaps the kinder thing, ending Eggsy’s life with Harry’s own hands.

Daisy doesn’t understand why her big brother is going to be gone in two days. She clings to Eggsy and pitches a fit. Michelle leaves the room to put herself back together while Eggsy hugs Daisy awkwardly with his arms, his hands loose and unmoving. 

“Your big bruv loves you. You know that, right, Daisy girl? I love you.” Eggsy kisses Daisy’s hair and smiles for her.

-

Roxy joins them for dinner, her duffel bag in her arms, ready to sleep on the couch for the next two nights. She helps Harry serve dinner and keeps Daisy occupied while Harry hefts Eggsy to the bathroom. 

Eggsy complains about the whole ordeal. “You have to help me wipe my arse after I take a shit. I was kinda hoping to die before that happened.”

If wiping Eggsy’s arse every day was what Harry had to do to keep him alive, Harry would gladly do it. He’d do worse things, but he doesn’t say that out loud. Instead he says, “Considering the things I’ve done with your arse, I hardly think wiping it clean is an issue.”

“Yeah, but it’s the principle of the thing,” Eggsy grumbles.

-

Roxy stays up in their bedroom, sitting by Eggsy’s side of the bed and talking with him quietly. It’s mostly mundane things, jokes and giggles that are common in sleepovers. Neither of them mind Harry, spooning Eggsy from behind and breathing softly into Eggsy’s hair, a quiet audience member to their stories.

Harry is almost asleep by the time Roxy leaves the room.

-

Merlin comes by exactly in time for breakfast, also with an overnight bag. He’s brought his own sleeping bag to spread in the living room. Their house has become host to a sleepover party, their own vigil before the last day.

Eggsy spends the whole morning with Daisy and Michelle, ensconced away in the guest room, while Roxy and Merlin talk over logistics with Harry. Before they start preparing lunch, Merlin slips a syringe full of liquid over to Harry.

Harry takes it and doesn’t say a word.

After lunch, Eggsy spends two hours talking to Merlin in the study, and after that spends the rest of the afternoon talking privately with Roxy. Harry does his best to not look at the clock and obsess over how his husband is now saying his goodbyes to his loved ones. 

They all have dinner together, five adults and one child, and sit together in the living room until Daisy starts nodding off. Harry helps Eggsy upstairs so that Eggsy can tuck his sister in one last time, and then Eggsy bids goodnight to Merlin, Roxy, and Michelle. It’s so quiet, like the world is muting away, quieting in preparation for Eggsy’s last day.

“Go to sleep,” Eggsy says.

“I don’t think I can,” Harry says.

Eggsy snuggles into Harry’s chest, his breath tickling Harry’s collarbone. “I want you awake and not looking like shite tomorrow. Breathe with me.”

Harry follows Eggsy’s lead, inhale after exhale. Breathe in, breathe out. Even though his mind is still in a frenzy, panicked and unready, his body calms and relaxes. Eggsy still smells of sandalwood, and that’s the last thing Harry thinks of before he falls asleep.

-

Harry wakes to Eggsy staring at him. “You could have woken me up.”

“You look cute when you sleep,” Eggsy teases. “And I just woke up, so don’t worry.”

It’s early in the morning. The last morning Harry is ever going to have with Eggsy. They’ve already had their last Christmas, their last winter, and now it's their last spring. It’s unfair, how nearly everything that should have been their first has ended up their last.

The words slip out before he can stop them. “Would you be disappointed in me if I told you I’ve considered dying?” 

It’s not something Harry wants to think about too deeply, but he’d be lying if he said he’s never considered taking the easy way out. He’s getting old. It’s not like he has many close friends or relatives. Kingsman, he’d die for, but the only thing Harry wants to live for is Eggsy, and Eggsy won’t be here anymore. Kingsman will survive without Harry.

Harry would follow Eggsy anywhere. Even to the grave.

Eggsy studies Harry’s face. “Do you want to die?”

If Eggsy had asked this perhaps half a year ago, Harry would have said yes. 

Now there is Vivian to take care of. There is Roxy, who is now as much of Harry’s friend as she is Eggsy’s, and there is Merlin, unwavering and loyal. There is Michelle, who is braving through terrible loss again, and Daisy, still a child. These are the people Eggsy loves, and Harry will take care of them as long as he lives.

“Not anymore.” Harry strokes Eggsy’s cheek, his hair. “Though, at my age and with my line of work, I don’t really think I need to do anything to hasten my death.”

“You survived a bullet in your head. You’ll be fine,” Eggsy says, and kisses him.

-

Merlin, Roxy, Michelle, and Daisy join them in the bedroom, gathered around the bed while Harry feeds Eggsy slices of apple that Michelle brought up. Eggsy is sitting up, leaning against Harry’s chest, Daisy sitting between Eggsy’s knees.

“I’ll miss you,” Merlin says. 

“Same for you, Merlin. You’re the guv'nor,” Eggsy winks. Merlin pats Eggsy’s shoulder and goes downstairs. 

Roxy crawls onto the bed and hugs Eggsy hard, her voice muffled into his shoulder. “I love you, you berk.”

Eggsy hugs her back as best as he can. “You’re the best, Rox. Love you too.” 

After Roxy leaves, Michelle gently nudges Daisy. “Daisy, baby, say goodbye to your brother.”

There is a petulant look on Daisy’s face, but she still kisses Eggsy’s cheek and says, “I love you, Eggsy.”

Michelle leans in, pressing a tearful kiss to Eggsy’s hairline. “Oh, baby. I’m going to miss you. Eggsy, I love you so much.”

“Love you too, Mum. And you, Daisy.” Eggsy hugs them both. Waves goodbye.

The door shuts softly behind them, leaving Harry and Eggsy alone on the bed. Harry presses a kiss to Eggsy’s nape. He breathes in. It’s noon.

They have three hours.

-

They don’t say much, surprisingly. They’ve already spent so many of their days talking, trying to learn each other before their inevitable time limit. Harry thinks he should be more panicked, but the part of him that he’s forged within himself ever since he became Galahad anchors him. He has an objective, and they’ve prepared for this since day one. 

Most of their time is spent kissing, lazy presses of lips and indulgent tongues. Harry runs a hand down Eggsy’s ribs and Eggsy sighs into him, content.

“It’s almost time,” Eggsy says.

“I know.”

“I thought I was ready, but I’m still a bit scared.” 

“I know. I am as well.”

Eggsy’s green eyes are wide and serious when he says, “I love you, not just for the rest of my life. Forever. I don’t care ‘bout afterlife shit. Don’t care if it exists or not. I’ll still love you tomorrow.”

Harry takes out the syringe. “Eggsy, darling, I love you more than anything else in the world.”

Eggsy offers Harry his arm. “Do it.”

Harry kisses Eggsy as he pushes the plunger.

-

“I love you, Eggsy. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.”

He repeats himself until he’s hoarse. Until the pulse under his fingers is silent. Until the tears stop coming.

-

The funeral is quiet. All of the available Kingsman personnel have showed up to pay their respects, and the sight of them reminds Harry of how Eggsy was so easy to love. So disarmingly charming that Harry hadn’t realized he was in love until it was almost too late.

Merlin herds Eggsy’s non-Kingsman friends to a red-eyed Michelle, who’s accepting condolences left and right. Daisy is in Roxy’s arms, crying softly. Harry stands a few feet from Michelle, numb to it all.

“You hanging in there?” Merlin asks, sidling up to Harry.

“Barely,” Harry says honestly. He doesn’t have the energy for subterfuge. “I just want to go home and sleep.”

Merlin heaves a commiserating sigh. “Don’t we all.”

They stay like that, Harry receiving occasional condolences as widower and Merlin directing people to seats when necessary, until Harry has to step up to the podium and deliver a eulogy. 

He doesn’t really have much to say. All of the words inside him are meant for Eggsy, not for a grieving audience. They don’t understand that outliving Eggsy feels like Harry’s greatest failure. They don’t know that Eggsy’s last words, gasped out before his final breath, were I’m yours. That Harry keeps these fragments of Eggsy to hoard as his own.

“Eggsy, as we all know, was quite an extraordinary young man.” Harry summons the part of him that was Galahad, the part of him that sits in Arthur’s seat, and speaks about how the love of his life will never kiss him again. “And I was truly lucky to love him.”

-

The truth is, if Harry were given a choice to save himself, to never meet this boy and fall in love, to not have his heart broken like this, he wouldn't take it.

He'd choose Eggsy, every time. Even if it killed him.

-

Merlin stays over in the guest room.

Technically, his things stay in the guest room. He mostly sleeps in the living room, snoring in the armchair or on the floor, staying up with Harry while they drink their way through whiskey and wine and vodka. 

Harry sleeps on the couch. He’s not sure he can face sleeping in the bedroom just yet.

-

After three days of shutting themselves away from the world, Harry and Merlin both return to Kingsman. Harry’s office is terribly quiet without Eggsy’s voice in his ear.

“Mind if I join you for lunch?” Roxy asks, holding up Chinese takeaway. The sharper edges of her look softer, less like Lancelot and more like Roxanne, a girl who just lost her best friend, her armor tucked away.

“Taking up the mantle of being my lunch partner, I see.” The fondness is a dull ache in his heart.

Roxy hands him a set of chopsticks and gives him a smile, small but genuine. “I promised to take care of you.”

Of course, because Eggsy is protective until the end. It’s hardly surprising. The lump in Harry’s throat swells, and he doesn’t hide the break in his voice when he thanks her. They’re past the point where facades matter.

After lunch, Roxy gives Harry a USB flash drive.

“I don’t know what’s on it,” she says, “but Eggsy asked me to give this to you, after the funeral.”

There’s a certain way Roxy sets her jaw and straightens her back when she’s putting on a brave face, and Harry sees it now, just as she steps to him hesitantly. She wraps her arms around Harry’s middle and squeezes him in a tight hug. It’s unexpected but not unwelcome, the warmth of her small body leaning into his, so Harry returns the embrace, settling into the comfort of having someone to share the grief with.

Roxy pulls back after a minute, her smile sharper, the Lancelot Harry knows and admires bleeding back into her. “I’ll bring Thai food tomorrow, if you like.”

Harry doesn’t have to force the smile this time. “I would like that very much.”

-

In the office at his home, Vivian twines herself around Harry’s ankles and he plugs the USB into his laptop. There’s an anticipatory feeling curling through his stomach, half-dreading and half-curious. 

There’s a single video file. The thumbnail shows a clear shot of Eggsy’s face, and Harry instinctively recognizes what this is.

He opens the video and presses play.

Eggsy comes to life before him, his face and and torso in clear view of the camera. Harry can see that the Eggsy in the video is sitting on their living room couch, and he’s wearing a threadbare teeshirt that Harry hasn’t had the heart to put in the wash just yet.

“Uh, this is working, right?” Eggsy fumbles on the screen and brightens. “Yes. Yes it is. Harry! Hi, Harry!”  

His boy waves at him enthusiastically from the screen, and Harry can’t help the affectionate laugh that bursts out of him. “Hello, Eggsy.” 

“So I got this idea after Skyping you at lunch yesterday, and no, I don’t mean that I’m leaving you a video of me for you to wank off to. Seriously, Skype sex. Who knew? You dirty old man. Sorry, but I ain’t takin’ my clothes off for this.”

And this, the way Eggsy goes off on tangents and smirks and winks at the camera, it’s so breathtakingly Eggsy, alive and real. It makes Harry’s chest hurt. 

“But yeah, I wanted to leave you somethin’ to remember me by. Nothin’ too serious, 'cause we’ve done plenty of serious shite already.” Eggsy smiles with a shrug. “But Harry, I don’t want you to remember me all sick and sad and stuff. Later, like, ten months down the road, or like five years later, when you remember me, I don’t want it to hurt.” 

Eggsy’s face falls. “God, I know, I’m so sorry that you’re gonna hurt, Harry. I’m so fucking sorry we ain’t got more time. I—fuck, I miss you so much already.” He breaks off and wipes at his eyes. “Shit. Sorry. Anyway, it’s gonna hurt a lot at first, but you’re gonna get through it. I know you will, because you’re Harry Hart and you’re fuckin’ amazing. Christ, I think you still make my knees go weak and shit, yeah?”

“So the point is, I know you love me and it’s gonna be a bitch for a while after I die, but I want you to, you know, get better. Like, someday from now, you’re gonna tell yourself that you’re okay, and you’re gonna mean it. And when you remember me, you’ll remember the good stuff. Like, the song from that Phantom of the Opera show you took me to? What was it, remember me fondly? Something like that.” Eggsy smiles, bright and just as lovely as Harry remembers him. “So yeah. I’m just gonna talk about, well, the good times.”

-

The video is eleven minutes and twenty-nine seconds long. Eggsy cheerfully talks about anything and everything.

“So, seriously, I think we need a RED 3. And funny, you’d think Bruce Willis is the one who’d remind me of you, but you kinda feel more like Helen Mirren’s character. Not that you’re ladylike, Jesus, I did not need that image in my brain—“

“—if you end up getting Vivian fat, I will come back and haunt you. Seriously, you and your thing for buying pet snacks is such a pain in the arse—“

“—I don’t care if it’s not the gentlemanly thing to do. No boys—or girls, because girls can be terrifying—are gonna come sniffin’ at my baby sis til Rox teaches her how to break their arms. If Daisy gets a boyfriend, Harry you gotta give him the talk, scare the shit outta him—“

“—remember how we almost got caught by Merlin when we were shagging in fitting room two?”

And the video comes to an end all too soon. “So, I guess I’m done. I hope you like this, 'cause Harry, you make me really fucking happy. Past few months were the best time of my life. I hope it was the best of yours, too.” Eggsy scratches the back of his head. “I think that we’ve been real lucky, Harry. Maybe you don’t feel that way right now, but that’s what I think.” 

Eggsy smiles, soft and tender, and says, “We’ll be okay.”

His words are so full of love, his faith in Harry so staggering, and Harry covers his mouth to not let his grief pour out.

On screen, Eggsy clears his throat, his cheeks pink, and sends a deliberately cheeky grin at the camera. “Okay, so remember me fondly and all that. Yeah?” His grin softens, his voice kinder. “And don’t you forget, Harry Hart, even if I’m not beside you, I still love you every day.”

The video ends there.

-

Harry rewinds the video and watches it again.

And again.

And again.

He watches Eggsy on the screen and mouths every word until he memorizes all eleven minutes and twenty-nine seconds of it.

“Don’t you forget, Harry Hart—“

“—even if I’m not beside you, I still love you every day,” Harry finishes with him under his breath. He inhales shakily and expels his breath in a choked off chuckle. The tears slide down his cheeks, unchecked. “Every goddamn day.”


Epilogue

It takes a while. 

Harry has lunch with Roxy whenever she isn’t on a mission, and they build a friendship that isn’t contingent on having a mutual friend between them. He invites Merlin to his house more often, because it’s nice to have a drinking partner, and Vivian is, against rhyme and reason, very attached to him. 

There are weekly dinners with Michelle and Daisy, who both are much more resilient than Harry would have expected. Michelle’s smiles become less haunted over time, and Daisy wears Eggsy’s medal and hugs Harry every time he visits.

There are missions, of course, because the world still turns and there are people trying to enact their megalomaniac fantasies every once in a while. Harry reviews mission feeds and completes budget forms and briefs knights for missions. Tariq, true to his word, keeps Harry safe and saves Harry’s life by sniping down an assassin during a negotiation that goes tits up in Berlin.

Harry spends Wednesday nights with Vivian purring in his lap and a movie playing on the television. Sometimes he still wakes in the middle of the night and ends up sleeping in the guest room, but those days lessen as the months pass.

On their first wedding anniversary, Harry spends the entire day as Daisy’s playmate and doesn’t go home. 

He replays the video whenever a small part of him, still bleeding out from the exit wounds of Eggsy’s death, panics as if realizing all over again that Harry’s missing half of himself, scrambling to remember what Eggsy smelled like, what his voice sounded like, how he tasted first thing in the morning.

He knows every word in that video by heart and can recite them all, but it still takes him a long time to say the whole monologue without crying.

-

One day, Harry wakes up feeling exactly the same as the day before. He makes tea and has toast with butter, reads the paper, and shuffles into his office to collect the mission reports he is taking back to HQ today. He smiles fondly at the wedding picture of him and Eggsy kissing, framed on his desk.

On a whim, he opens up the video and listens to Eggsy’s voice, watches how his eyes crinkle with mirth, and Harry’s mind does not capsize under a tidal wave of grief.

After eleven minutes, Eggsy smiles on the screen and Harry says the words with him:

“We’ll be okay.”

And for the first time, he means it.