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"If you don't manage to hook her, which I expect will be likely-"

"Oi, no need to be insulting my skills, mate," Eggsy blurts.

Merlin fixes him with his patented unimpressed look and continues as though the young agent hadn't spoken, "Because she's notoriously wary of any and all social advances after the events of 2003, then you may use action 7 to-"

The door to the operations office pops open, revealing a vaguely disheveled Harry Hart.

"Merlin, would you - Oh. Excuse me. Hello Roxy, Eggsy. Sorry to interrupt. Bit of a rush, I'm afraid," he says nodding at them briefly before turning his attention back to Merlin. "Merlin would you please just sign off on the bloody paperwork?"

"For the Aster Foundation?" Merlin asks, sounding surprised and annoyed; his specialty. He flicks at his tablet a moment and says, "Harry, I told you, I'm not approving a mission we haven't got worked out for a silence-priority target."

"Nonsense. It's a simple enough job. Barely more than a Lukewarm Waterford," nose wrinkling in disdain for the slang used to describe some spy trope or another. Eggsy glances at Roxy, who gives him a minute shake of her head, and he files it away to bother Merlin about it later. Sometimes he's certain they just make the bloody things up.

"Rubbish," Merlin replies tartly. "We can't even get in the door without risking a disturbance."

"Perhaps you can't," Harry says, looking smug. "But Zania can. She's just got the invitation last week. Thus, by extension;" he waves a hand at his own person.

Merlin swears crudely under his breath, and Harry says, "Just because you didn't think of it doesn't mean-"

Tapping at his tablet quickly, Merlin turns his glare back onto Harry, then says, "Fine. On one condition; you can be the one to call Tristan and explain why all his work's been scrapped."

"Naturally," Harry says, but his eyes flick over to Eggsy's when Merlin's gaze goes back to his tablet. The way the corner of his mouth is turning up, Eggsy reckons there's about a zero-percent chance of that actually happening.

He grins back at Harry, pleased at the responding crinkle around his eyes.

"Aye, there. It's done. Well get on with it," Merlin says testily, flipping a hand. "Fuck off to Italy. Some of us still have missions to prepare for that aren't mostly comprised of tuxedoes and champagne and Italian villas."

"Oh? Well then, Roxy, Eggsy; in bocca al lupo," Harry says.

"Crepi," Roxy replies automatically, smiling, so Eggsy just assumes it was a good thing and tips his chin up in farewell. Then Harry closes the door again, on his way once more.

Eggsy sighs faintly, staring after him. Harry'd just gotten back last night and Eggsy'd been busy spending the evening with Daisy and hadn't been able to catch up with his erstwhile mentor yet for a drink. It doesn't always happen, but it's a tradition Eggsy's more than happy to pursue, talking about their missions in Harry's office. Spending time with him. Anything, really, and yes. He's aware of how pathetic he is.

"Bloody reckless, ridiculous, children those two," Merlin mutters under his breath as he taps away at the tablet a few more times to bring back up the thread of their conversation.

Which sparks Eggsy's memory. "Oi, who's Zania? She a mark or something?"

A quick glance at Roxy tells him that she too is unfamiliar with the name.

"Hm?" Merlin asks, distracted when he looks up and squints at Eggsy's face, then catches up and resumes working. "Oh. No. Zania Bonatti, Italian artist and activist. Also Harry's wife."

"You wot?" Eggsy blurts, eyes snapping back to him, then over to Roxy like he might've mis-heard.

But he hasn't because Roxy's face wrinkles minutely in sympathy that has Eggsy's ears burning and he snaps his eyes away again in humiliation.

"Yes, Harry's married. Did he never mention that to you?" Merlin pauses long enough to frown briefly, then he shrugs. "Well, on to more important matters in France…"

 

-o0o-

 

"What's taking so long?" Merlin grumbles in their ears. "The exit's right there."

"Yeah, you fuckin' punter. Bloody twat," Eggsy spits, heaving another attacker back with a well-placed punch to the throat. "Suck on me berries, you piece of shite."

When he shouts in triumph as the next guy goes spinning off the catwalk he can vaguely hear Roxy laughing in the background while she hands some other bloke his arse, but he doesn't care. He's pissed. These henchmen are shite. This whole stupid mission is shite. The intel was bad. The mark had slapped him. His brand new suit had caught fire and worst of all-

"Really, Caradoc, try and be a little louder why don't you. I don't think they heard you in Spain," Merlin chides.

"Yeah?" Eggsy snaps back, eyeing the propane tank as he snaps the neck of the guy foolish enough to bring his pistol into close range and render it useless. "You want loud?"

"Och! No- Caradoc!" Merlin warns but it's already too late. He's got the grenade in hand and the pin loosed.

"Lance!" Eggsy bellows. "Out!"

Roxy's already turning and running past him laughing, "Fuck!"

Ignoring Merlin's shouting in his ear, he waits just until she's dived out the window and then lobs the grenade into the space beside the propane tank, spinning on his heel and chasing hard after the route Roxy's left open.

It's to the fire escape, then quick over the railing to drop down into the garbage bin in the alley, and then the warehouse behind them is exploding in a double-blast that makes him glad of the steel-sided bin, even if it does mean Roxy punches him in the thigh for half landing on her.

"Ohh, lookit that!" he says, pointing to the orange and black light and shadow that stretches across the sky, occluding the stars.

Yeah, alright. That had made him feel a bit better.

She rolls her eyes at him, then steps on his offered hands to sling herself over the edge of the bin and he climbs out slightly more slowly after her.

When she's back on her feet on the ground, she dusts off her suit, groaning at the bit of overripe banana and something… else… she flicks to the ground.

"Oh, that is rank," Eggsy says with a laugh, covering his nose.

Roxy tips her head back and stares at the sky. "You just had to bloody say something, didn't you Mer? Couldn't let him just blow off his steam the usual route, had to poke your bloody nose in and light a match."

The silence that greets her is probably the closest thing Eggsy's ever going to hear to Merlin apologizing.

"So, safe house on Rue de Solférino still green?" she asks, making sure to flick annoyed eyes over at Eggsy that tell him he is most definitely not going to get to pick dinner or have first shower.

"Right. Remind me to never let any of the new knights train with Hector for at least a decade," Merlin sighs. "And Eggsy, get your 'ead out of your arse."

 

-o0o-

 

Eggsy's just finished demolishing his third target on the empty firing range one evening when he sees the door open in his peripheral vision.

Normally he's up for a little friendly competition, or someone to show off to on the range. Tonight he doesn't want an audience. And he's really not feeling any better for the tattered bits of paper hanging from the clips that had once been a sheet shaped vaguely like a person.

With a sigh, he clears the empty magazine and gives his suit a good shake to double-check that there's no brass in his clothing. Slotting the handgun in its case, he kicks a few stray casings over the lip and down into the range and keeps his head down, hoping that whoever it is will see him packing up and leave him alone.

Of course, because his luck is just like that lately, the invader - or rather, invaders - walk right up next to his stall. As he turns and hits the button to bring back his targets, his heart plummets even further to see Harry standing there, a positively stunning woman on his arm.

Just the man he'd spent the most of the month attempting to avoid.

"Eggsy," Harry greets, corners of his mouth turning up ever so slightly into what is more or less a warm smile from the reserved gentleman. "Have you met Zania?"

Zania is tall, almost of a height with Harry, with long black hair that spills in waves down her back. She has dark, engaging eyes and a lean, oval-shaped face with a somewhat pointed chin. Her lips are elegantly bowed and her mouth is a little wide for her face but it just adds interest. She's wearing a red jumper over a crisp blouse and tight tan trousers that end in cognac-colored English riding boots. And of course, there's a sizeable diamond perched on her left ring-finger.

Harry's not wearing one. He's never worn a wedding band, Eggsy would have noticed. Except…
He is wearing his signet ring. He's almost always wearing that bloody thing. Had that been his clue all along? Right there in plain sight?

"No, I haven't," Eggsy says, pasting a saucy smile on his face and cocking an eyebrow. "As you well know. Been hiding her from me you ponce?"

It comes out with a bit too much truth to it, so Eggsy takes the hand she offers and brings it to his lips and just to be a brat, just to dig at Harry for it all, he puts on his poshest accent and says, "Charmed," to her 'Buonasera' as he gazes up at her with his best smirk.

"Yes, well, I'm afraid you're out of luck. She's taken," Harry says, pursing his lips. There's just the merest flicker of irritation in his eyes as his shoulders square up just the tiniest bit.

"That's too bad," Eggsy replies with a flirtatious wink, though he means it for all the wrong reasons.

"È quello di cui mi parlavi?" Zania asks Harry in an aside, though she's smiling broadly at Eggsy, who doesn't comprehend any of the Italian.

Harry's eyes flick over to Eggsy for a brief, speculative moment, perhaps searching for whether or not he's understood Zania's Italian.

"Si," Harry responds, apparently rather grudgingly if the set of his mouth is anything to go by.

Well, that's one word Eggsy knows at least. He glances at the slow-moving target line and briefly considers abandoning his mess just so he can get the hell out of this awkward situation before he embarrasses himself any further. But he'd never hear the end of it, and besides, he's never been one to leave other people to clean up his messes.

She leans over to Harry and murmurs, "Non mi hai detto che era così carino."

Harry merely arches an eyebrow at her, though Eggsy thinks for just the barest moment he catches a hint of a blush coloring Harry's cheeks.

"It is a pleasure to meet you," Zania says to Eggsy in accented English. "Will you stay and join us for some shooting? Harry has promised me some new practice."

"Thanks, but actually I was just about to leave," Eggsy replies. As though agreeing with him, the draw-line thumps behind him as it finishes bringing his target up to the front. He turns quickly to deal with the target so he can clear the hell out of there and go drink a pint or twelve until he's pissed enough not to think about beautiful Italian wives.

Grimacing, he pulls down the overkilled, tattered remains of the paper, stacking it quickly onto his many empty boxes of ammunition. He scoops it up to throw away, hoping his excess will go unnoticed, but it doesn't because really, Harry always notices.

The older Knight's eyes narrow on the shredded paper in Eggsy's arms and his mouth tenses. There's something just past curiosity and bordering on concern when he lifts his gaze to Eggsy's face, and that's way more than he wants there to be, so Eggsy slaps a grin over his features and says, "Range is all yours. Enjoy your evening."

"Oh, I am sure we will. I hope you do too," Zania says, smile warm and heartfelt.

And it's awful, but for just a minute, he hates her.

 

-o0o-

 

A hand clamps down on the back of his neck and suddenly Eggsy's spiraling backwards and spinning round and being pushed bodily up against a wall.

Harry doesn't explain, but Eggsy knows enough to go silent and trust him for it. Plus there's, you know, the fact that Harry's body is pressed full length against his. He's really not complaining.

Part of him knows that he should be trying to move on. Trying not to feel so stupidly in love with Harry every minute of every day that he's around him. Trying to accept the fact that what had been an improbability before is now closer to an impossibility. Because fact; Harry is married.

But it's not a big enough part of him to make him stop savouring the warmth of Harry's back under the palm he'd reflexively thrown up around his waist. Or the strength of the grip on his shoulder that's still holding him firm against the wall. And the thighs that are slotted right on either side of his, pressed firmly enough that it wouldn't take much for it to turn adrenaline into arousal… and the way Harry's face is right next to his, his breath warm and steady against his temple, lean lips set into a grim line while they wait, how it'd be so easy to just turn his head and-

Booted feet come stomping down the hall double-time, a flurry of guards rushing past them - or at least they would do, if one of them hadn't been doing a surprisingly (for underpaid henchmen) good job of bringing up the rear and spotted them on his swivel. Then the goons are all running right to where they're cornered, weapons raised, orders being shouted at them in Ukranian.

"Oh cock," Harry sighs, though the corner of his mouth twitches.

He looks down at Eggsy, a brightness of adrenaline in his eyes as he asks the silent question.

Eggsy sends him a mordant look and the corners of Harry's mouth turn up as he nods and then the hand on Eggsy's shoulder hauls him back out to the side and he's spinning and so is Harry and then there's gunfire and screaming and bodies falling. They move in tandem and in counterpoint, keeping to each other's backs, taking down their enemies in quick succession.

It's but a matter of moments and then they're standing in the silent white hallway, a half-dozen bodies at their feet. But that's only the beginning of their problems and Harry's frowning at their path ahead. Eggsy reaches out and brushes a bit of flattened bullet off Harry's ribs where it's hung up on his suit, earning himself a pleased nod.

"Any thoughts on progress, Operations?" Harry asks through his glasses, and when he gets a soft bid for patience, he turns to face Eggsy and says in a quiet aside, "Now do you see it?"

'It' presumably being whatever had caused Harry to attempt to yank him back from the empty hallway last time and sent a batch of guards after them. This time when Eggsy looks up along the hallway he sees the slight sheen on a square inset on the far wall panel that should have alerted him to the security sensors behind its face before he'd gone and stepped right into its path.

"I bloody missed it," he says, aghast. "I'm sorry, Galahad, I fucking missed it."

Harry tsks, setting a hand on his shoulder and angling his face down to look at him though he keeps his body pointed towards the hallway, ever ready. "Next time you won't. That's what experience is for."

An alarm wails to life over their heads, but it's the fire alarm, not some supervillain security alarm. The sprinklers overhead erupt into gushing fonts in an instant, startling Eggsy into spinning around reflexively, swearing. But Harry is as smooth as ever, simply bringing up his umbrella to shield him from the sudden deluge.

"Sprinklers? Really Sim?" Harry says, amused.

"What?" the mission handler says. "All the doors will be open now. I can't help it if the most pervasive security fault in alarm systems is in the triggering of a disaster alarm. It's efficient and it tends to get civilians out of the way too. Just because I don't care if you get your suit wet…"

Eggsy splashes down the hallway ahead of Harry, gun at the ready. He hits the wall at the end of the hall, then peeks around the corner. Gunfire answers him and he ducks back.

Well then. Doors might be open, but their target is definitely not unprotected.

"It's good to have you back, Sim," Harry says as he slots up against Eggsy, lowering his umbrella and readying it so that it will provide a shield for them both as they move down the hallway. Eggsy doesn't even care that there's water pouring down his face, he looks at Harry because he can, because there's always that stupid chance that one of them will die in the impending firefight and he won't get to look at him like this again. Bastard's smirking. His hair is still almost perfect, even with the water splashing down on it and Eggsy sighs, because he is so fucked.

"Ready?" Harry asks him quietly over the brash alarms and sporadic gunfire.

"Always," Eggsy replies, and turns the corner.

 

-o0o-

"Well that was a fucking new one. Can we call this a Frantic Marketplace?"

Simran laughs as Eggsy drops the pile of bags down onto her desk. There's one of everything he could think of from every vendor he passed on his way back from the most knife-edged mission he'd ever run so far.

Not in terms of global ramifications, of course. He'd merely been beheading a human trafficking ring that ran the border between the Punjab region and Pakistan, but by accidentally stumbling across a Taliban training grounds he'd come desperately close to losing his own head on the mission - would have if it weren't for Simran's absolute and unwavering support on the thirteen straight hours he'd been running to get back to safety.

Right at the start she'd spotted a little shop stall for him to slip into and shop for a momentary disguize, an attempt to lose his tail. It had failed, but he'd ended up with a handful of bangles and a scarf stuffed in his suit as he'd outrun soldiers through the bazaar. She'd coached him fast through his Punjabi and local knowledge and by the time he'd gotten to safety he'd somehow collected even a few more bits and bobs. So while he was waiting for his ride home, it had begun to be something of an amusement to collect a few things from the region near where Simran had been born.

"Maybe a Dizzy Rialto?" she says, peering into the nearest bag. "Bloody hell, did you buy half the country? Oh god, I love these!"

He shrugs a shoulder with a dismissive twitch, leaning against her desk as he continues laying out gifts. "A modest token of my appreciation."

Her dark doe-eyes crinkle around the corners and she smiles in embarrassed pride. She nudges his knee, rolling her eyes and chides him, "I was just doing my job, like you."

"Just doin' her job she says?" he replies incredulously, side-eyeing her with a cocked jaw. "No, mate, you were not at all ordinary on this one," he insists, piling more trinkets onto her desk.

"Honestly, Eggsy, I was on pins and needles the entire time. Between you and me, I was terrified I was going to fuck up something awful," she says. "I couldn't scarcely breathe the whole time."

"I couldn't have done it without you," he says honestly.

Besides, Eggsy might be new around here, but he's not an idiot. One doesn't survive being a knight for long if one fails to appreciate the help of those behind the scenes.

Even more than that there's a part of him that still believes that one day Harry's going to walk in and tell him he's screwed up somehow and they've kicked him out. Or the new Arthur is going to explain that, no hard feelings, but they've simply found someone better deserving of his spot at the table. He knows it isn't rational, but it's a feeling he can only seem to ease by making himself as much of a fixture as possible, hanging around headquarters whenever he's not busy with Daisy and mum, forming friendships with everyone he can.

He grins at her while she laughs over pulling out the folded silk scarf, promptly exchanging it for the one she'd already been wearing, and obligingly eats one of the candies she presses into his palm even if she laughs at the face he makes.

"I'm glad you moved back to headquarters. Harry was right," he says. "You're brilliant. Tops for sure."

She scoffs but smiles at him as she says, "Galahad lives up to his name again. If anyone's tops it's him."

"Oh mate," Eggsy says, stealing another one of the disgusting candies from her and popping it into his mouth. "You ain't lyin'"

 

-o0o-

 

He's just arrived back from a weeks-long mission, and while Roxy and Simran had invited him along to go and get a celebratory pint like they often do after missions, he'd begged off to go and spend time with his mum and Daisy.

But he'd come home to find that the ladies of his house were out for the evening, gone round Cheryl's, the note on the fridge says, just in case you're back early, love.

So he'd fished out a bottle of lager from the fridge, the fridge he's proud to be able to keep nicely stocked now, and dithered about. He'd turned on the telly, but the news always feels so old and farcical these days and any of the other programmes just hadn't been interesting enough to keep him from flipping channels. He'd rifled through the stacks of dvds on the shelf, but they're all Daisy's. All but one. A specific one that'd had him smiling to himself.

So that's more or less why he finds himself at Harry's front door, just a block over from his own, hands in his pockets, running a quick mental calculation that tells him there's a good chance Harry hasn't left for his next mission yet.

Between their independent mission schedules and Eggsy's own efforts at attempting to take a little space to get his head on straight and stop pining after a married man, he hasn't seen his mentor in almost two months. And the thing is, the conclusion that he'd come to is that so long as he never does anything about it, so long as he does his job well and is a good mission partner, there's no reason why he can't have everything else. He can keep everything of Harry that he already has, and that's so much better than nothing at all.

So when the door opens and it's Zania, not Harry who greets him, he merely puts on a smile and says, "Is Harry home?"

"Lui non è, but he is… 'just popped round the shops'? For some prosecco while I cook. You will come in and wait for him," she says, taking his arm and pulling him inside.

"Oh, don't let me interrupt," Eggsy tries, but she ignores him, ushering him over towards the kitchen as she pulls her mobile from her pocket. She nudges him right up onto one of the barstools as she waits for the call to connect.

"Harry. Il tuo bel giovanotto è qui. Tornerete presto?"

Eggsy can't make out what Harry says in return, but then, he wouldn't understand it even if Harry were right here in the room. He can't quite decide whether he wants to learn Italian now or not. On the one hand, he hates not being able to keep up. On the other, he's not really sure he wants to hear more of their personal conversations.

"Sciocchezze. Dirò quello che mi pare. Forse hai bisogno di una spintarella," she says with a laugh as she makes her way back to the stove, plucking up a wooden spoon and stirring the contents of the pot. Harry says something else, but she shushes him and signs off on the phone call.

She turns an almost mischievous smile on Eggsy and carries over a small plate of olives and peppers and finely-sliced meats that she promptly sets in front of him.

"You will eat. Good. Our Harry will be back very soon," she says with a dismissive wave and turns back to the meal she's cooking.

"Right. Thanks," he says, picking up one of the olives and popping it in his mouth. "Uh, so. How was the firing range?"

"Oh meraviglioso! Harry is such a wonderful teacher. Not the most patient, but he is very dedicated. You know this," she says, winking at him over her shoulder as she stirs.

"Yeah," Eggsy says, "Though I don't think I'm ever going to really figure out how to be a proper toff like him. He tries, but I never seen the bloody point of all those different forks and such."

She laughs, setting the spoon aside.

"No but why would you want to? I think sometimes he is too proper," she says with a conspiratorial smile as she places a wine glass at his elbow and pours a healthy portion of chianti into it for him. "I think you should teach him a thing or two. He tells me he met you because you stole a rude man's car? And drove it backwards through the city to outrun the Polizia, no?"

Eggsy winces, laughing as he groans out, "He told you about that?"

"And then there was the time in Moscow, si?"

Eggsy groans again, hiding his face in his hands.

"With the little motorbike?" she prods as she laughs and the front door opens to admit a bustling Harry.

"Mate, you didn't?" Eggsy whines, shooting a reproachful glance over at him as he sets his umbrella on its hook.

Harry eyes them both suspiciously before he brings the shopping into the kitchen and sets it down.

"Oh yes, he did," Zania says, smiling fondly at her husband and bussing a kiss to his cheek across the counter. "He tells me many things."

Harry's face goes stiffly unreadable as he turns narrowed eyes on his wife.

"Gli hai spifferato tutti i miei segreti?" Harry asks, and bloody hell, doesn't that go right to his bits, the way the rolling tones of the language sound on Harry's tongue. Soft and smooth yet punctuated and stretching in ways that make Eggsy suddenly certain he never wants to learn it now, just so he can listen to Harry speak it unhindered by comprehension.

She scoffs at him. "No. Sarei tentata, ma no."

He arches an eyebrow at her, but his face softens and he turns back to Eggsy with a faint smile.

"You're back early then. I trust everything was successful?"

"Of course," Eggsy says, masking his pathetic longing by putting on a slightly mocking veneer of cocksureness in his smirk and the way he slouches back in his chair. "I was brilliant."

Harry's look is bemused, and Eggsy smirks back at him for as long as he dares, then turns his attention away to take a quick sip of the chianti so he'll stop making bloody heart eyes in front of Harry's wife.

Christ. Maybe he hasn't got this worked out yet after all.

"Of course, Roxy and Sim were better," he adds, because it's true. And they're also a perfect reminder of where he ought to be right now instead, so he makes himself stand up and say, "In fact, I'm meant to go catch up with them for a pint. Post-mission and all that."

"Oh," Harry says frowning a bit. "Yes of course. Traditions are important."

Zania pouts at him, "But-"

"No really," Eggsy interjects, trying not to mourn his own bit of tradition with Harry. "Don't let me interrupt your dinner plans. I appreciate the offer but I really just stopped home to check on mum and Daisy and thought I'd pop by here on my way out is all. Just make sure you're still alive. Which you are, so…" He shrugs.

"Right," Harry says faintly, studying him a moment. Then he turns and steps back a pace towards the front hall, lifting a hand. "I'll see you out then."

Eggsy smiles as he waves goodbye to Zania, because as envious as he is, he can't hate her. She's been genuinely nice to him, even if he can't bear to be around this domestic idyll any longer. He heads up the hallway, ready to get gone and loaded, but Harry stops him before he can get out the door, setting a hand on his arm.

"I'm glad you came by. I knew you'd been doing well these past months, but reading the mission reports isn't quite the same, is it?"

"No," Eggsy agrees, smiling a little sadly. But it warms him to know that Harry feels the same way about their little one-on-ones.

"What was it this time, a Toasted Duvet?" Harry asks just a shade too brightly. Like he wants Eggsy to stay.

Eggsy tilts his head, scuffing his shoe against the front step. "Uh. A Himalayan Jellybean, if Merlin is to be believed."

That earns him a soft laugh, and Eggsy can't help but watch the way it flows over his features, softening the lines of his face and crinkling his eyes. God but he wants to stay. And that's exactly why he can't, not yet. He steps back, scuffing his heel a little to signal that he's going to be moving on again.

"Yes, well, I look forward to hearing about it," Harry assures him. He pauses for just a moment, then says, "Next time we'll have our drink."

"Wouldn't miss it," Eggsy replies. He pops a knuckle under his cap in salute, then saunters out the door without a backward glance. Because real love isn't selfish, right? And he really loves Harry. So as long as he has this much, he can live with it all.

Probably.

 

-o0o-

 

He raps his knuckles on the door, but like so many things, he's only halfway learned his lessons about being a gentleman because he pushes the cracked door to Simran's office open without waiting for a summons.

"Hey Sims, me 'n Roxy were-"

He very nearly swallows his tongue.

"Oi," he blurts, spinning around and holding his hands up over his eyes as the two women leap apart. "Shite. Sorry. Fuck."

"Close the door Caro," Zania says, laughing.

He obliges, immediately, slapping it shut. Then grimaces because he's an idiot and probably should have shut the door with himself on the other side of the damned thing and leave the two their privacy. But the sight of Harry Hart's wife with her fingers in some very un-platonic places while she'd been having the living daylights kissed out of her by Simran had been enough to essentially short-circuit his brain.

"Uh, sorry. Are you decent? I'll just slip out if you. I mean. Shite," he chances a glance back to see that Simran is, in fact, wearing her blouse again, so he cracks the door open and slips out again.

For a moment he just stands there, staring at the blank wall opposite him, then he scampers off down the hallway to go find Roxy and pretend like none of this had ever happened for at least a few hours. Almost in a daze he weaves around Analysts that are perpetually darting around Operations and makes his way towards the range where Roxy's supposed to be (but isn't), and then towards the gym when he doesn't find her there, then on to the locker room when he doesn't find her there either.

He does find her still in the showers, so he takes a moment to sit down on one of the benches by the lockers and try to fucking think.

Of course as soon as he does, the door pops open again to reveal a Harry. Eggsy vaguely (yeah, sure cuz) remembers that Harry'd been due back from Edinburgh several hours past now, but he's clearly only just arrived from the state of his attire. There's a bit of blood staining his collar, but otherwise he looks unblemished, if a little tired. He returns triumphant, then. Harry the gallant knight. Harry whose wife Eggsy had just spotted shaggin' a bird.

Eggsy is fairly certain that his heart stops for a moment.

"Eggsy," Harry says, voice warm, a faint smile spreading over his tired features. "Surprised to see you. I thought you were in Amsterdam?"

"Oh," Eggsy says, blinking away his shock. "Uh. Right, yeah. We finished that one up early. Just got back a bit ago, actually. About to head out for a pint. Roxy's still cleaning up though," he says, jerking a thumb towards the showers.

Harry's eyes track over to the marble-tiled shower bays and his eyebrows go up in consideration. "Oh, but that does sound like a lovely idea," he says with a sigh, pressing his fingertips to the scanner beside the locker bank. He pauses to check his watch as the latch pops on his locker, just next to Eggsy's.

Out of habit, Eggsy's sat in front of his own locker, which means Harry comes to stand right next to him. Without even the slightest hesitation, Harry starts stripping out of his clothing. And why should he hesitate? They're all professionals here. The locker room is just a locker room. He's seen Roxy tits to fanny plenty of times. It should be nothing. But Eggsy's feeling very far from professional at the moment.

"Uh, I'll leave you to your shower then," Eggsy says, pushing to his feet. Because as much as he'd fucking love to watch Harry strip out of his clothes, inch by fucking inch, there's no way he'd be able to do it without staring like a fucking punter.

"Unfortunately I'm going to have to settle for a wardrobe change," Harry says, halting him with conversation. He's shrugging out of his jacket and sliding it onto a hanger, then starting in on his shirt. "I'm running a bit late. Dinner with the wife," he says, looking slightly bemused as he glances at Eggsy, like there's some joke there - other than the macabre one that Eggsy's trying desperately not to think about.

And failing miserably.

Eggsy swallows against the knot of wild confessions in his throat as Harry peels out of the thin silk shirt and tosses it into his locker, leaving only his undershirt behind which soon follows, revealing the full lengths of his torso in all its toned, scarred glory.

"Pretty sure she wouldn't mind," he blurts, because he's lost hold of his tongue while doing his damndest not to stare at Harry's chest and then ending up somewhere worse when his eyes are drawn to Harry's hands as they take to his belt buckle next.

Harry arches an eyebrow at him as he smoothly glides the leather free with a soft snick that, yeah, that's going straight to Eggsy's wank-bank.

"Zania's rather a stickler for punctuality."

Eggsy's brain has broken, it's fucking fried, because he's still just standing there as Harry's trousers slide towards the floor and worse he can't help but add, "Yeah but she's- I just saw her. She was. Busy."

Harry pauses, fingers in the waistband of his shorts and says, "Really?"

Eggsy snaps his eyes back up from Harry's lower body. "Yeah. Right in the middle of… something," he says, because now he's past fucked.

"Well if you're sure, then, I think I will have that shower," Harry says, and Eggsy kindof hates himself for looking away when the love of his bloody life drops trou and steps out of his shorts. He's starkers and Eggsy is looking at his bleedin' hair instead of his arse while he's scooping up the rest of his discarded clothing and piling it into his locker.

"Yeah, good," Eggsy manages as he continues backwards, turning away as Harry reaches past him to pull down a fresh towel from the shelf and shakes it out.

He almost makes it past the lockers and to the door, but fate is not so kind as to show him any mercy.

"Oh, but Eggsy," Harry says, and on reflex Eggsy turns to look at him full on.

Harry's standing just beyond the arch of the shower bay, towel hanging loose over his arm, only partially covering his groin, gloriously bare otherwise.

"Since you've just seen her, I don't suppose you'd do me the favor of letting her know I'll be a few extra minutes?"

"Sure," he says, and fuck if it doesn't come out halfway to a bloody squeak as he backs away and then basically flees from the room.

He marches stiffly down the hallway and weaves his way quickly through operations, fully intent on bailing on his word and taking the coward's way out, when Zania and Simran turn the corner ahead of him, faces lighting up when they see him. They gesture him over quickly and he groans, shaking his head because fuck his life right now, but there's no decent way to escape them now.

He lets them pull him to the side of the corridor into a slight alcove at the corner that lends them just the merest bit of privacy.

"Eggsy," Simran says, reaching out and fluttering a hand over his elbow. "I'm so bloody embarrassed you had to see that. I really do apologize."

He tries to smile at her, because she's really, properly his friend and she looks so bloody chagrinned. "Forget it."

"No, I'm really sorry. I might have been done with the op, but that's no excuse for not being professional."

"We are generally much more discreet at Headquarters, yes?" Zania murmurs, a twinkle in her eyes. "But Harry was so late… and well." She shrugs her shoulders, gesturing expansively.

The mention of Harry's name, done so casually, so callously, has Eggsy going cold.

"Harry's just arrived off his mission," he says, voice tight as he tries to remind himself that he doesn't know all the facts. "So he wanted me to tell you he's going to be a few more minutes getting showered."

"Is he now?" Zania asks, arching an eyebrow at him, a little smile twisting across her lips. Her dark eyes hold some secret amusement. She finally breaks his gaze to look over at Simran and tease, "But how shall we amuse ourselves in the meantime?"

"Zani," Simran hisses, giggling.

Eggsy purses his lips against the surge of anger that he feels, frowning down at his shoes so he won't lose his temper enough to make a scene. That someone could have Harry and throw it away? To have Harry's precious trust and yet do this?

"I'm so sorry," Simran says to Eggsy, laughing and turning to pinch Zania's arm. "You were meant to come and apologize but you're only making it worse."

"Hey Sim. Eggsy, you ready?" Roxy asks from behind him as she approaches their little corner.

"Rox-a-lot!" He twists to look at her, then slings an arm over her shoulders like he hasn't seen her in days, not just minutes, he's so relieved for the exit. "Right. That's us off then," he says and steers Roxy briskly past them with a sloppy wave in parting, practically frog-marching her down the corridor.

"You really so hard for a pint?" she teases, laughing as she matches his pace.

"Mate, you have no idea."

 

-o0o-

 

Blood arcs through the air in a thick splatter.

"A tiny bit excessive, Caradoc, don't you think?" Harry muses, sounding only vaguely scandalized as he uses his kerchief to wipe the arterial spray off of his glasses.

"Nah," Eggsy says, squinting down at the freshly-minted corpse at his feet with its freshly-cut throat. As Harry replaces his glasses, Eggsy retrieves his second knife that's still lodged in the dead man's junk. He shakes the bit of blood and what is most likely the man's 'dangly bits' off his blade and then holsters it.

"No?" Harry asks as he pulls the blast caps free from the plastique attached to the now-open encrypted case, just in case there's another failsafe.

"He's a cheater, ain't he?" Eggsy says, glancing pointedly at the room in which they're standing; the hideous boudoir of mistress number four. "Guess I got a thing."

Harry pauses, looking over at him with an arched brow.

"Duly noted."

 

-o0o-

 

Eggsy's never had a problem keeping his mouth shut before.

Not for people's secrets. Not for information. He'd earned his fair share of thumps from opening his mouth just to piss someone off, but he'd never, ever been stupid enough to spill any beans. Round where he grew up, that sort of talk would get you killed.

But he's having a problem doing it this time.

Worse, it's starting to show that Eggsy has a problem. Simran's going to notice pretty soon that Eggsy keeps avoiding her invitations he used to accept. And when he'd put a private note in his file not to be paired with her as his handler, Merlin had given him a very stern frown, but accepted it. Fine in the short run, but Eggsy knows better than to trust Merlin to leave it alone forever. Roxy clearly knows something's up, and she never pushes because she's his mate. But he knows eventually she's going to ferret out the truth, because that's what she does. And worst of all, Harry's started to pick up on it, commenting that Eggsy seems tense or distracted when they're on a mission together.

So he has to decide. Has to pick one or the other instead of straddling this purgatory.

Tell Harry, or forget it entirely.

Problem is, he doesn't fucking know what to do. On the one hand, Harry's everything to him. He's never not going to be special, even if Eggsy figures out how to stop being in love with him. And it's a ruthless, horrible calculation but it's exactly the sort of thoughts they've all had at one point or another because that's what they do, so he knows, if it came down to it, he'd always choose Harry first over anyone else at Kingsman.

So the question is more about whether or not this secret's going to hurt Harry more by being kept or by being revealed.

On the one hand, ignorance is bliss. On the other, Harry deserves to know the truth. He deserves to be able to trust the people around him. Wouldn't it be better to hear it in a controlled environment than to find out accidentally? He thinks so. Harry would prefer the control.

So on that basis, he'd say yes. Except-

There's the gnarly issue of Eggsy's personal, selfish motivations. If he tells Harry is it really because Harry needs to hear it or because some small part of him is hoping that maybe, just maybe he'll realize she's the devil and divorce her and turn to Eggsy to cry on his bleedin' shoulder and then fall madly in love with him in return and marry him instead because it's a fucking fairy tale at this point, innit?

Or maybe he'll grow to hate Eggsy for being the bearer of bad news. He'll never trust him again for being grass for once in his bloody life. Sim will hate him and everyone at Kingsman will reject him without Harry's support and he'll be all the way back where he started on the streets of London but with a Harry-shaped hole in his life. He grunts in frustration, slamming the side of his fist against his hip.

Fuck. He fucking don't know.

"Eggsy?" Harry asks, sounding concerned.

"Wot?" he says, snapping his head up to look over at him. Right. They're on a mission. "What'd I miss?"

Harry shakes his head. "Only you," he grouses, "Only you could miss the thirty-second warning."

"Oh, what?" Eggsy says, turning his confusion into his best cheeky grin as the cargo door hydraulics on the plane start to extend, pushing the big gap open. "This? Big snooze. Properly boring stuff, this."

He turns around and walks backwards towards the edge of the floor like he couldn't care less. Harry follows after him, trying and mostly failing not to grin. He reaches out and grabs the front of Eggsy's harness, pulling them together on the edge as he grips the handhold to keep them from falling.

"Not just yet," he murmurs, only audible because of the glasses over the whipping cacophony of wind slipping around them. "But I suppose you're right."

Eggsy stares at him, studying his fucking precious face from closer than he usually gets to see, even if it is half-hidden by their goggles. He soaks up every bit of the fondness in Harry's face, the hints of happiness that he soon might never see directed his way again.

"After all, all we have to do is fall."

As the green jump light flashes, Harry bends his knees and pushes, launching them both off the edge.

 

-o0o-

 

The corner pub is busy this time of night, but the little corner he and Roxy have commandeered is away from the action and the noise for the most part.

Also has clear lines of sight of most of the place and is close to the emergency door.

So all around it's good. Comfortable.

Eggsy's starting to sweat. Just like his pint glass. His stupid nearly-empty pint glass. Roxy's sitting there with hers between her palms, slowly tipping her nails along its sides in a slow, steady little staccato. Her eyes are unwavering as they stare into his.

"Not going to work," he says, glaring at her as he plucks up his glass and tips back the rest of it, then holds it in the air to signal for more.

"Oh, it's working," she replies, eyes unflinching, the corner of her mouth twitching.

"Nope, I'm not gonna break," he says. Waves his glass a bit impatiently. Finally the bloody barkeep notices him and gives him the nod.

Roxy's tops at interrogation, but he's got it handled.

"Cut it out," he says.

Roxy's smirk widens.

 

-o0o-

 

"So listen," the voice in his ear says conversationally as he's pushed hard up against the hotel-room door and promptly has a tongue shoved into his mouth.

Andy, his handler continues. "We've never done one of these missions together, so I wanted to check in real quick."

Eggsy hums a moan in his throat that is both to encourage the mark currently groping his ass and also an affirmative to his handler.

"As you know, protocol prefers, and so do I, leaving the feeds running and me keeping with you at all times, just in case something goes wrong. But, you know," he says, voice going sardonic. "Not everyone digs the whole voyeurism thing. Stodgy buggers."

In the midst of being snogged within an inch of his life, Eggsy stifles a laugh, masking the contraction in his throat by shoving Stephen's jacket off his shoulders, sending it to the floor.

"So I just wanted to be sure. Are you good with following protocol here?"

"Mmm," Eggsy moans again, rolling his hips against Stephen's as he breaks the kiss and turns his head and presses his mouth in hot licks along the side of his neck. "Yeah, like that."

His modesty died a swift death years ago, and he'd much rather have someone watching his back while he gets ploughed the way he's about to.

"Okay, good to hear. Some of the older knights are such prudes, you know?" Andy laughs. "Lie back and think of England and all that poncey nonsense."

Eggsy groans and tips his head back.

"Come on," Stephen says, tugging at Eggsy's belt. "Come on."

Eggsy sets his hands to undressing himself quickly, tossing his jacket aside himself so that it lands flat on the table - Harry's bloody rubbing off on him, the bastard. He's worrying about the bloody suit in the middle of a shag.

It doesn't take long for Stephen to get Eggsy's trousers down, along with his shorts, and then he's dropping to his knees, wrapping his mouth around Eggsy's cock.

"Oh fuck," Eggsy breathes, because the guy's really going for it. "I fucking knew you'd be good at this, that mouth on you."

It's pretty much an exaggeration, but he's here to seduce, and the lights are dim enough that he doesn't have to worry about trying to make sure his face doesn't look fake.

He lets the guy suck him for a few minutes, because even the most pathetic blow job isn't something he gets every day, and this is far from pathetic. But he doesn't let it go on too long because he sure as fuck doesn't want to get fucked after he's come because that's so much harder to fake, and secondly because it won't do to have the mark get bored. He squirms, but doesn't push the guy's head away like he wants to.

"Don't, I don't want to come yet," he says breathlessly. Pleads really. "I wanna come on your cock."

"You're not close at all, are you?" Andy says with a laugh.

"Please," Eggsy says, and finally Stephen pulls away.

"Yeah, okay," the mark says, standing up again. "Since you asked all nice."

Eggsy steps out of his trousers, kicking them over by the table for easy retrieval should it all go tits-up, then bends down to peel off his socks because please, he has some pride after all.

Stephen strips out of his own, dowdier suit, watching as Eggsy makes his way over to the bed.

"You got kit?" he asks, glancing down at Stephen's half-unpacked suitcase sitting on the floor. There's nothing much but clothes and spare computer cables and a toiletries bag, so Eggsy scoops it up and zips it open.

"In there," Stephen says, kicking aside his suit in a heap, his nicely-proportioned cock bared.

Eggsy makes sure to give the mark a once-over, putting a look of thirsty approval on his face and winking at the guy when he looks back up.

"Not bad," Andy says in his ear. "If you like 'em nerdy."

He hums faintly in agreement.

Personally, his type is a bit older. A bit more dignified. A bit more ruthless killer. A bit more Harry Hart.

Unsurprisingly, he doesn't mention that bit.

Because it's supposedly a turn on, and because he'd much rather do it himself, given the choice, he grabs the lube from the bag himself and climbs onto the bed. He spreads it on his fingers, crawling onto his hands and knees on one hand and reaching back for his arse with the other.

Stephen grunts in frustration, and for a moment Eggsy thinks he's going to have himself preempted, but then Stephen's moving away and flicking on a light switch. The lamp beside the bed flares to life, and Eggsy squints at the brightness, blinking away.

"Reflections on the windows now," Andy notes dispassionately, and Eggsy looks over his shoulder to see the full extent of it. The big bay of windows is completely uncovered, and the bright light against the midnight backdrop of the city means there's a reflection that's halfway to mirror-clear.

"I want to see you," Stephen says.

Eggsy groans and turns his face away again so Andy doesn't have to watch this particular bit and he doesn't have to make faces for the mark. But he does give him the show, bending down and letting him see. He makes quick work of it, having prepared himself for this eventuality earlier. Then he casts what he's fairly sure is a coy, seductive look over his shoulder and crooks a finger at his mark.

Stephen's on him in a second, bouncing the bed a bit as he clambers onto it behind him. He's a bit uncoordinated in his touches and over-eager as he pushes his cock into Eggsy, but he's big and excited and that's a lot more to work with than Eggsy usually gets. Hell, a bed is more than he used to get.

Even better is that the guy's not half bad when it comes to the deed itself. He knows how to ease into it at first and pick up the pace at a steady rate. Probably all that rhythm in his fancy geological harmonics engineering or whatever the fuck his scientific specialty is.

And then something of a switch flips and he's getting really, properly fucked. It doesn't take long before Eggsy's actually moaning for real as the guy fucks him. The alcohol that had made Stephen clumsy earlier seems to be taking the edge off now, making him a little wild in bed, loose-limbed and passionate and hard but not ready to pop.

"Alright?" Andy checks when a hand cracks loud across Eggsy's ass for the second time.

"Hnn, yes. Fuckin' get it," he breathes.

He vaguely hears Andy say something to someone away from the mic as there's a quiet clatter in the background. But Eggsy can't be bothered to care because it's fucking brilliant sex he's having, and he throws himself into it. He spreads himself more, reaches back to drag at the hips pistoning into him. Stephen's fingers fist in his hair, pulling his head back enough that he can see himself in the mirrored windows. He doesn't even think about the fact that it's giving his glasses a full view of his and Stephen's reflection because he's distracted by watching how hot it is, watching himself getting fucked in the reflection.

"Oi. Looks like you're having fun," Andy teases. "Enjoying yourself?"

"Fuck yes," Eggsy says, groaning as he arches his back into it. "So good to get properly fucked."

The mark groans in response, slamming his hips harder into Eggsy, enough that he has to actually brace himself against the headboard.

But then it all goes sideways.

"Bloody hypocrite," Simran's voice snaps in his ear, sounding hurt and angry and confused. Confusing

"Sim!" Andy hisses, and then the feed goes sharply silent the way it only does when it's been muted.

Eggsy grunts, because the surprise has made him tense up and sent Stephen's cock skipping off his rim and that is not pleasant. When Stephen lets go of his hair to reposition himself and then grip his hips again for even greater leverage to thrust with, Eggsy sighs and drops his head to the pillows, fighting to avoid letting his frustration translate into his current situation.

Relax. Stay focused.

He groans for effect, and to try and convince himself to get back with it. He gets his shoulders under him, squeezing himself down around the intrusion, fucking more than ready for this to be at an end. Then he reaches down and tugs on himself, focusing on the physical pleasure and the mission and nothing else. "Fuck."

"That's it," the mark gasps out. "Yeah? You gonna come for me? You gonna fuckin' come on my cock pretty boy?" Stephen hisses, fingers digging hard enough into Eggsy's hips that he's going to have bruises.

"Nnngh," Eggsy groans, fighting off a bitter laugh at being called 'pretty boy'. He wants this to be over now, fucking big time, but he has to hit the moneyshot. Stephen's psych profile would suggest he'd handle a faked orgasm very poorly if he caught on, so he's got to do it. God he's so close but it's not there and he… he opens the mental vault he's kept shut so tight. He needs it. Harry would understand because he's on a mission, it's for a mission and Harry -

Harry.

Imagining Harry behind him is enough. He goes rigid, pumping his hand fast over his prick, squeezing his eyes shut and holding his breath so that the blood rushes loudly in his ears when he comes, leaving him in a perfect moment of peace with him and his little fantasy as he crests the peak.

It all comes rushing back all too quickly, the sound of Stephen grunting and groaning as he finds his own release, and the knowledge that his glasses are recording the whole damned thing in some random hotel in Köln. It makes him feel a bit sick all of the sudden, like it used to way back when it was for a few bob to buy food with.

But he's a Kingsman now, a professional, so he does his bloody job and he's fucking fab at it. He goes through the requisite steps that get the mark settled into the bed and well on his way to sleep. Andy keeps quiet now, other than to let Eggsy know that he's back again. He's not in a hurry to get out of there, because this isn't a seduce-a-snooze and grab job. Or whatever the hell stupid phrase Harry would call it. Soggy Suspenders or some such nonsense.

Point is, he's building a way in, a little relationship that will get him on the up a few days later when the guy tries to sell his earthquake-ray or whatever the fuck it is. Thankfully the mark is out within just a few minutes and Eggsy can slip away to the washroom to try and gather the bits of his composure that got blasted out of his hands.

"All good?" Andy asks as Eggsy shuts the door to the hotel room's bathroom and turns on the shower for noise cover, and because he's really looking forward to rinsing the mark off his skin for a bit.

"The fuck was Sim on about?" Eggsy mutters under his breath, knowing the vibrations through his skull bones will be captured by the glasses even without the words being audible to anyone else.

"Right. I'm properly sorry about that. It shouldn't have happened," Andy says, sounding a bit grim. "I want you to know I wasn't having people round to watch you or anything like that. I might crack a joke or two but I'd never make sport."

"Yeah alright," Eggsy mutters. "So, Sim?"

"Oh. She popped by for something else and I guess she heard your voice? Because she came right round my desk and saw you on my screen, then got all mad. Said something about you being a hypocrite for such a homophobic prick? I really didn't understand, sorry."

Eggsy swears under his breath as he slips into the shower.

"I could ask her, if it's important?" he offers tentatively.

"Nah, don't worry about it. It's'a misunderstanding is all," he says as he soaps up the washcloth.

It's bollocks is what it is.

And it's time it's dealt with properly.

 

-o0o-

 

"I need to talk to you," Eggsy blurts as soon as Harry opens his door.

Harry lifts an eyebrow at him, looking like he's some quick retort ready on his tongue, but whatever he sees on Eggsy's face must give him pause because after a moment he steps back and silently ushers his fellow Knight into his home.

Eggsy walks right in to the kitchen and living room, then, once satisfied that it's empty, comes back and marches right up the stairs to glance through the upper floor before heading to Harry's office.

He sets to pouring himself a drink, a few fingers of whiskey - not the really good stuff. The drinking stuff. He's learned enough now to know the difference. He knocks back the liquor, then pours another one for Harry.

When he turns, Harry's standing just inside the door, scrutinizing him carefully. He doesn't say anything, just watches Eggsy, waits for him to make his move.

Eggsy carries the glass over to him and pushes it into his hand.

"Drink that," he says.

Harry purses his lips a moment, but then he glances down at the liquor and tips it back in a smooth motion, draining the glass and then handing it back to Eggsy before folding his hands behind his back.

"Right," Eggsy says, turning away and putting the tumbler down on the desk. He grunts in annoyance, then shifts it over onto a coaster because yeah, he's gettin' there.

"There's something I think I need to tell you," he begins, thumb rubbing against the edge of the glass, giving him something to focus on other than how his heart is pounding and he feels basically sick. "But I'm not sure whether I should tell you."

"I'm afraid I can't answer that question for you," Harry says, faintly apologetic and Eggsy grimaces because he'd hoped but yeah, he'd known better than to think Harry would give him an easy out.

"But I can say that whatever you need to tell me, I'll listen. Whatever it is."

His voice is calm and reassuring and Eggsy sighs, squeezing his eyes tight, loath to ruin it. But he wouldn't be here if he hadn't already decided to do this. He takes a steadying breath and straightens his jacket. Turns to face Harry because he deserves to bloody have it said to his face.

"Your wife, she's been cheating on you. I saw her an' Simran all… together. And I don't just mean huggin' or nothin'. Like properly… And I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. I just. You deserve to know. You deserve better than getting betrayed like that."

The words fall heavy into the silence.

"Well," Harry says after a moment, voice stilted with surprise but remarkably calm still. "That is certainly not what I was expecting you to say."

Eggsy just swallows, looking down at the ground to give Harry a bit of privacy to process.

But to his utter surprise, Harry laughs. A chuckle at first, and then a deeper, full-throated laugh. Eggsy's eyes snap up to his face, but Harry's turning away, going to the liquor cabinet to fetch another glass, shoulders significantly more relaxed than they had been a moment ago.

"I'm afraid," he laughs again, shaking his head as the glass thumps against the cabinet. "I'm afraid you're under a rather large misapprehension about the nature of my relationship with my wife," he says as he pours a little cognac in the glass - the really good stuff, Eggsy notes absently as he scrambles to understand.

Harry carries the glass back to Eggsy, this time being the one to place it in his hand with a soft smile, like a reward.

"What you have told me comes as no surprise whatsoever. Though I thank you for being brave enough to come speak with me about this. I recognize that it must have been quite difficult. I'm honored by your loyalty."

Eggsy stares at him for a moment, mouth hanging open, then frowns down at the red liquid in his hand. "I don't understand," he says finally. His voice sounds small even to his own ears and he sets his jaw and makes himself lift his gaze again.

"Zania is going to be quite terribly amused by all this," Harry says with a bemused sigh. "Her and Simran both. You see, Eggsy, Zania is my wife in name only. Some fourteen years ago she came to the U.K. for some artist's gathering of some sort, and there she met our Simran. By the by they fell in love, quite unshakably so, which became a problem when certain individuals back in Italy got ahold of that information - or was it over her political views? I can never remember. Point is, she was meant to be imprisoned and her visa was going to expire, and Kingsman was on MI5's naughty list and many other dramatic events were unfolding," he says, waving a hand in dismissive generalization.

Eggsy can only stare.

"The long and the short of it is, it was simply more convenient for me to marry her and get a spousal visa. As I'm sure you're aware, only recently has the process for same-sex partners begun to be modernized, and since there was next to no chance that I would need such a heterosexual status for myself…"

Meaning…

Harry shrugs. "And here we are."

"Fuck," Eggsy says, swiping a hand over his mouth as he desperately realigns the last several months of his life. All the assumptions, all the missing pieces that make everything so much more rational. And he's made such a bloody fool of himself. "You could'a told me, mate."

"Oh, Eggsy," Harry says, eyes soft as he sets a hand on his shoulder. "I assumed you knew. You're friends with Simran, aren't you?"

"Yeah but-" Eggsy screws up his face. "Least I was. But then they were laughing and I weren't about to listen to excuses, not till I'd figured out what I was going to… god, I was so sure everything was fucked."

Harry's brow furrows in confusion, and Eggsy drops his hand, looking up at the man with more vulnerability than he wants to show but can't help because everything's changed.

"Harry, you've got to know. You come first for me, always. If she were sneakin' round behind your back then she was out, yeah? Everyone else was out. No matter what."

The hand on his shoulder shifts, rubbing soothingly against the soft fabric of his jacket. He can't help but lean into it a little, and then Harry's sliding his hand up to cup the side of his head, to rub his thumb against his cheekbone. Harry's just looking at him, brows slanted together over his dark eyes. Eggsy's fucking half a second from turning his face and nuzzling his palm so he's relieved, so relieved when Harry curls him in to his chest, tucking Eggsy's face to his shoulder as his other arm comes up to wrap around his back.

The wool against Eggsy's nose is warm, and smells so perfectly like home, like everything. Shoe polish and gun oil and leather and sweat and whiskey and posh aftershave and-

He clutches the glass awkwardly in his hand as he wraps his own arms around Harry's body, like he can burrow closer than he already is even though he can't. He's going to take everything he can get out of this, going to hold on until Harry lets him go and that's how it's been, how it's always been.

Somewhere miles past too soon, and eons before too late, Harry slowly releases the hold he has on Eggsy. He lets Eggsy step back and turn away and have a moment to compose himself while Harry goes and fetches the tumbler off his desk, taking it back to the liquor cabinet to get himself some more drink.

Eggsy pulls his shit together, feeling wrung out after such a confession that had been so long coming. He takes a sip of the cognac to clear his mind with the bite of alcohol, then another to savor the rich flavor.

"I think I'm actually starting to like cognac," he says aloud, considering the glass in his hand.

Harry turns to look at him, shoulders slanted in that way of his that makes him look just a bit rakish underneath all his gentlemanly veneer.

"I know."

 

-o0o-

 

"Caradoc, Galahad, I'm afraid we've run into a bit of a… well it's not exactly a problem," Simran says in his ear. "Standby for further instructions."

Eggsy pauses in the midst of setting up his sniper rifle in the abandoned apartment in the outskirts of Stockholm. His leg is freezing where it's pressed against the wall by the blown-out windows, snow proving more than a match for even his Kingsman suit. He hefts the scope from his rifle and peers around the edge of the broken framing on the window, zooming in tight on Harry who's pretending to read a newspaper near a little café that's nearly half a mile away.

Or maybe he is reading it. Bastard probably knows Swedish.

He doesn't look up at Eggsy, he's too much a professional for that. But he shifts and puts a hand on his knee, two of his fingers stretched in just such a way to be sending a signal to him.

Standing by.

Eggsy sighs, sitting back against the wall, thumping his fist against his knee to try and warm his stupid leg. But he doesn't put the rifle together. He doesn't need it exposed to the elements if they're going to be waiting for a late target or something like that. Not that he has such a luxury. He tries to tug the leg of his overcoat down over his thighs, but the cut of it is too trim and there's not enough fabric to do it.

Experience, as Harry says.

"Alright gentlemen, I've got confirmation. The primary target has already been handled by our friends from Tel Aviv. Got to hand it to the Israelis, they are quite the swift operators."

Eggsy grunts his understanding and sets about loading his rifle back in its case.

"All this freezin me arse off for nothing? I was looking forward to this one. Sim, tell them to play with their own toys," Eggsy grumbles as he slaps the case shut.

"Belay that, Sim," Harry interjects, sounding somewhere between annoyed and amused. "Send them our regards."

"Will do, Galahad. Operational update; Caradoc, maintain position till rush hour, then return to the stables. Galahad, continue with plan to make acquaintance with the tertiary target."

"Understood," Harry replies.

"Mate, at least bring me some coffee on your way," Eggsy grouses.

Harry just snorts derisively and gets up from his bench, folding his newspaper neatly and tucking it under the arm of his beautiful dark-grey overcoat. He settles the umbrella in the crook of his arm, then turns and heads for the university where a young professor is working on a transdermal delivery-system that is supposed to be painless and leave no trace.

Just a bit of foot in the door.

"Sim, are you really going to make me sit here? Do you see the bloody snow?"

"Just an hour, you big baby," she replies. There's a pause, and then a tiny beep that tells him she's switched channels on him. "We're on private now," she says. "I've got something for you, love. Check your tablet, yeah? And don't tell anyone I did this, either, if you please."

"My lips are sealed," he replies, laughing as he shuffles about a bit to get the tablet out of his 'briefcase' and then sits on top of it to get his arse off the cold ground. The tablet powers up and he gets it connected through the café's free wifi and then runs all the appropriate security protocols to get a secure connection back to the Kingsman server ID that Simran types onto his glasses' HUD.

It takes a minute, but the thing connects and he gets to the file in question. He gets it loaded, and Simran says, "Got it, yeah? I'm going to go back to Harry before he gets suspicious. You're on private but you can switch back in whenever you're ready. Good?"

"Yeah, thanks," he says, though he's a little suspicious now himself. But she goes silent in his ear and he really has nothing better to do so he hits play.

It's a glasses feed, that much is obvious from the get. And it's not his own, because the person the lenses stop and focus on as they skim over the Knights' lounge area is Eggsy himself. Surreal as fuck.

In the image he's dressed in his favorite suit, the one that is just off black, a midnight blue that has a bit of texture to the weave so that it catches the light every now and then. Harry had disapprovingly told him that it was too flashy for a gentleman, but he had had it anyway because he'd been sure he could wear it with minimal accessories and look modern. As much as he loved the suits Harry had had made for him, this one made him feel a bit less like he was dressing up in his da's clothes to have it, and he'd been pleased when Harry had grudgingly admitted that he looked fine.

He hadn't quite realized how much it showed off his ass with his shorter jacket, but then he's not complaining. Neither, apparently, is the person whose glasses these are, if the way the feed dips slightly from time to time is any indication.

In the video he's got his legs crossed and is leaning a bit on his umbrella, talking to Roxy. He's oblivious to whoever is watching him, too busy laughing at something Roxy is saying as she gestures, most likely relaying the more exciting events of a mission, since that's usually the sort of thing they talk all about while in the lounge.

Whoever's staring at him is in the kitchen area, from the looks of things, but they're not doing anything as far as Eggsy can tell, they're just staring through the glass at Eggsy. Following his every move as he interacts with Roxy, laughing and even going so far as to throw a few slow-motion punches her way so that she can demonstrate the counters she'd used.

It's almost unsettling to Eggsy to know that someone had been watching him so long without being noticed. Noticed by Eggsy, at least. Roxy had noticed. She'd flicked her eyes towards the kitchen for just a mere moment, then smirked her stupid self-satisfied smirk she always gets and had never looked back towards the kitchen again. Like she had condoned it, and Eggsy's ignorance.

Eggsy watches as the glasses flit over as Merlin leans into the lounge and says something muffled by the room's soundproofing. Roxy turns to reply to him and so does Eggsy. Merlin says something else and Roxy heads over to go speak with him, but the glasses shift back and remain on Eggsy throughout the rest of the conversation.

Sitting in Stockholm, Eggsy is wracking his brain for context, for what day this was, or even the month, but there's no relevant information. Just another day at Kingsman, another conversation with his friends.

Eggsy in the lounge gets abandoned as Roxy and Merlin leave, so he turns around enough that the kitchen would be in sight. In response the glasses dip down to the counter in a snap.

They're Harry's hands, Eggsy realizes immediately. The signet ring on his pinky, the broad, long-fingered hands. They're sitting next to a tea cup, loose and ignored while he'd watched Eggsy. But now they spring into action, pulling the lid off the teapot and selecting a small spoon to scoop some leaves out and into the strainer.

He doesn’t know what to do with that information. The fact that Harry'd been watching him so intently. That Sim had chosen to show him this on the sly. There's the tiniest kernel of hope in his chest but he shoves it aside ruthlessly to keep watching. When the glasses chance a look up again, film-Eggsy's noticed Harry in the kitchen, finally, and is walking his direction.

Harry nods in greeting as Eggsy pulls the glass door open and steps inside, then busies himself with pouring the boiling water over the tea leaves in the porcelain teapot.

"Alright?"

"Hello, Eggsy," Harry's voice says, looking back up at him. "How was your mission, then?"

"You've got to be joking," Eggsy-in-Stockholm breathes.

Because he's seeing his face through Harry's eyes, and for a few moments he looks bloody besotted. Like he might as well be wearing an "I <3 Harry Hart" tee shirt. The look gets covered quickly-enough that a less observant sort might not have noticed it, but Harry would have noticed. He would have had to.

In the background he listens to himself go into a rambling description of his adventures and Harry's polite and insightful questions in return, but mostly he watches Harry watch his face.

Is this what Simran had wanted him to see? Bloody hell, she could have warned him. It's torture watching his past self's cheeky façade repeatedly slip - to the point where he stares longingly when Harry's gaze dips a bit to watch his hands work with the tea accoutrements but not enough that Eggsy's face is out of the frame. Fuckin' humiliating.

But the video isn't even halfway through, and he groans. Because he wants to turn it off and quite possibly go bury his head in a snowdrift, but he also wants to find out what happens next.

He watches himself chatter for a while. Watches himself get a phone call and then regretfully say his goodbyes to Harry. Watches Harry watch him go. Watches the glasses dip down to Harry's hands for a long, still moment before Harry curls his fingers into fists briefly and then resumes making his tea.

The video cuts over then to an evening Eggsy recognizes immediately. He watches as Harry leads him to his front door and promises him that drink next time, then stares after himself as he strolls away down the sidewalk.

The video continues as Harry closes the door finally and turns, striding back up the hallway into the kitchen area once more.

Zania tuts disapprovingly at him and says, "ti voglio bene, ma a volte sei un idiota."

But this time, to Eggsy's shock, there are handwritten subtitles sketched across the bottom of the screen.

[I love you, but sometimes you are an idiot]

Eggsy pauses the video sharply. He shifts on the makeshift seat, swallowing against a suddenly dry mouth. He's a spy, so he's used to running roughshod over anyone and everyone's privacy, but… spying on Harry? Well. It takes a second.

But Simran wouldn't have given him this if… he presses play.

"I am well aware," Harry says, pausing at the stool Eggsy had just vacated and lifting a hand to brush his fingers over the stem of the abandoned wine glass. He hesitates, then lifts it, taking a large pull of the wine. His lips over Eggsy's.

"Non capisco," [I don't understand] Zania grumbles, stirring the pot on the stove with sharp motions. "Sei innamorato di lui. Eppure te lo lasci scappare." [You are in love with him. And yet you let him go.]

"Non è così semplice," [It's not that simple] Harry replies, sounding tired as he sits down at the bar.

"Ma tu lo ami, sì o no?" [But you do love him]

"You know I do," Harry says. "But-"

"L'amore è semplice. Cosa c'è di più semplice?" [Love is simple. What could be more simple?] she counters. She directs the spoon over in one direction saying, "Tu lo ami," then gestures the other and says, "Ti ama." [You love him. He loves you.]

"Lui mi ammira. Mi rispetta," [He admires me. Respects me] Harry says firmly.

"Cazzate," Zania mutters.

"Zania," Harry chides.

"No," she says, setting the sauce aside with a thunk and turning to face Harry with her hands on her hips. "Sei cieco? Il ragazzo è innamorato di te." [Are you blind? The boy is in love with you]

Harry's glasses lower to fixate on his hands, to watch the fingers that cradle the wine glass.

"Hai fatto tanto per la mia felicità, Harry. Ora devi pensare alla tua."
[You did so much for my happiness, Harry. You must do something for yours.]

The video ends, but as Eggsy sits there in stunned silence, it restarts, going back to the beginning of the footage once more. He watches again as Harry stares at him from afar, and this time it's completely different in meaning.

He pauses it eventually, just sitting there atop his briefcase, staring at the empty room. After a moment, he reaches up to touch a button on his glasses, to cycle through the channels till he's receiving the party channel again.

Harry's voice fills his ears, chatting politely with the young professor about her work. Eggsy doesn't bother to listen other than to check that everything's fine, just listening to the sound of Harry's voice.

He sighs, shaking his head as he presses his hands over his cheeks, nudging his glasses out of the way to slide his fingers over his eyes.

Sitting here is too compacted, too quiet and he needs to move, needs to work out all his jumbled thoughts and emotions. He checks his watch briefly, then glances out the window again and decides that it's close enough. He gathers his 'briefcase' and his 'architect's tube' and dusts the snow off his suit and starts making his way down the dusty old stairs in the building.

The address of the hotel is one of many that he's memorized for this mission, and he blends quickly into the flows of people on the broad, clean streets of Stockholm. In his suit and overcoat and accessories, he is unremarkable as he makes his way across town, and the threat level is absolutely minimal, so he has time to think as he walks.

Harry loves him. So why…

Does he profoundly doubt that Eggsy loves him in return? He'd said as much to Zania, hadn't he? It seems stupid, now knowing how stupidly besotted he looks every time he talks to Harry, but… and these past few months have been a bit tumultuous. He'd pulled away from Harry trying to respect his marriage, trying to figure out the mess of the mistaken infidelity.

But even the distant hotel isn't far enough for him to settle his thoughts. When he arrives at the elegant lobby with its tall ceilings and gilded décor and polished marble floors, he puts on his most charming smile for the concierge and gets ready to check in. He'll have a while to wait till Harry gets back at least. He gives his assumed name and stares absently at the mirror behind the front desk, using it to surreptitiously case the lobby out of habit more than anything else.

It's mostly the usual fare, tourists and businesspeople and employees bustling about their day. Except one man. A man who's sitting in the lobby, carefully watching everyone else. There's a coldness to his face, the sort Eggsy knows all too well, and Eggsy can just see the sort of scar stretching across his throat that very few civilians ever end up with. Could be nothing. Could just be a hard guy having a vacation like a normal person.

He taps the button on his glasses surreptitiously, telling it to capture the image and send it to Operations for processing. Facial recognition, probabilities, whatever they might find. It's not his mission, it's not an immediate thing to be dealt with, but it might be useful intel, so he does as he's trained and sends it up the pipeline.

"Okay, we have you and your husband booked for two nights, in the Superior Suite with the Harbour view," the clerk says.

Eggsy drags his attention back to the smiling woman on the other side of the polished desk.

"I'm sorry?"

The woman frowns slightly, glancing back at her computer. "Two nights in the Superior Suite? Did you expect something else?"

Bloody Simran. Brilliant Sim. No point in waiting. No point in keeping secrets that aren't secrets anymore. No more pining over misunderstandings and uncertainty. It's all going to go tits-up or be amazing, and living on the edge is where he likes to be best of all.

He smiles winningly at her and says, "No, that sounds right. I must have just misheard you."

The clerk goes through getting him all checked in, assuring him that their luggage has been delivered to the room and explaining the amenities, then sets the plastic keys on the desk between them with warm wishes for him to enjoy his stay. But he hesitates.

"My husband is busy with work for a little while longer and I might be out to dinner when he returns. Would it be alright if I left his key here with you for him to pick up when he arrives?"

She smiles sweetly at him, saying, "Of course," as she takes the key he hands her.

He fiddles with the little Kingsman fob dangling from inside his jacket pocket. It's attached to a retractable garrote, of course, but for the moment it's just something for him to touch.

The elevator is quiet up to his room - their room, and when he steps inside, the place is beautiful. It's a bit dated, a bit old-money looking, and it's just the sort of place he thinks Harry will love. Full-length windows in tall walls with airy drapes. Fussy bits of furniture arranged just so. And then there's the washroom with all its polished, gleaming stone tiles.

There's a fluffy white bathrobe waiting for each of them, and he pauses to listen to Harry's feed. Harry's just finishing up with the professor. Hears Sim tell him that he's already checked in, just to pick up his key at the desk.

It's enough time for him to get ready.

He strips out of his clothes, hanging them neatly in the closet space, stashes his gear and then fetches his toiletries bag out of the luggage. All at the same time he is both profoundly nervous and entirely calm. It seems like his hands ought to shake but they don't. He's on a mission now, so he's focused. He showers first, cleaning himself up from top to bottom. Gets himself ready just in case things go that direction. Then he runs a bath, runs it hot. Steams up the bathroom and drizzles the good smelling bath oils into the water.

Harry's another fifteen minutes' walk, if he's timed it right, so right when he's ready to get out of the water will be when Harry walks in the door, so Eggsy slips into the tub to wait and daydream how exactly he wants to go about seducing the man he loves.

 

And then the fucking hotel explodes.

 

-o0o-

 

Three days later, Eggsy lets himself into his house. Alone. Wrung out. Still slightly singed.

The place is quiet, of course. He has to check, because he can't not look in on them, not after all that. He had to come here first. But when he pokes his head into their rooms, Daisy and his mum are fast asleep, as well they should be.

That done he makes his way up the hall to where the phone is hooked onto the wall.

He hiccups a laugh. Point to Merlin. Landlines do still have their uses. He picks up the receiver and dials the number for the more archaic telephone routing service they still maintain.

"Oxfords not Brogues," he says to the operator that he's now fairly certain is a computer. There's a click as his call is transferred over to another service. He presses a few buttons into the silence, Caradoc is Returned, then hangs up the phone again and drags himself the rest of the way upstairs to the smallest bedroom in the house.

It's exactly as he'd left it. Plain and spartan and little more than a place to sleep on a proper bed for once, but it's his, and it's safe, and he's not seen something so lovely in… well, since the last time he'd laid eyes on Harry, but still.

He sighs, leaning against the wall of his room because his legs don't seem to want to hold him up anymore. It's late, like three in the morning or something, and he's so, so tired.

He plucks at the stained, burned bathrobe with tired hands that don't do much of anything, so he just drops his bag and drags himself the rest of the way to his bed. All his memories of the last three days seem a bit surreal as his body slowly accepts the safety and the calm around him.

There'd been a bomb on a ship in the harbour. Another in the city hall, he'd heard later, but that one hadn't mattered as much to Eggsy as the one that had ripped the face off of the building he'd been in.

And Harry hadn't been near either of them, so that was all that mattered to him.

He'd been fortunate he'd been in the bathroom at the time, since the bathtub protected him from the worst of the explosion. It had not, however, been pleasant to be naked at the time.

The robe had been the first thing he'd found, and a few random bits of clothing had followed. His glasses had been severely damaged in the blast, crushed by a huge chunk of concrete that had fallen on them. His things were scattered down the side of the building because the beautiful room he'd been meant to sleep in had been disemboweled.

After that he'd been in survival mode. Escape mode. By the time he'd gotten free of the wreckage of the building, there'd been police and emergency forces everywhere. Being a spy under an alias in a hotel that had just been the target of a terrorist attack meant sticking around was not a good plan by any stretch of the imagination.

And it would have been fine. He would have just disappeared into the woodwork, gotten himself to a safehouse somewhere, or just gone to ground until everything cooled enough for him to get back in touch with Kingsman and get an extraction.

But there'd been one, tiny, significant problem. When he'd broken into the service tunnels leading away from the hotel, hoping to find a discreet way out, he'd ended up face to face with the man from before, the one with the scar in the lobby. A man who'd taken one look at Eggsy and started shooting.

Armed with little more than his bathrobe's belt, Eggsy had been forced to take cover instead of engaging. Cover that had landed him face-first next to a second explosive that hadn't detonated. So then there'd been a bomb to disarm and a police-force to avoid and a badguy to chase down before he hurt anyone else. There'd been the boat chase across the waters to Scotland and a car-chase to London. It's why he's so oddly clad in the bathrobe even now. He'd grown almost strangely (a bit manically) fond of the thing in the three day race. It meant he had kept warm-enough not to freeze during his illicit return trip in the stolen soft-side boat and the last mile home he'd walked after ditching the stolen car.

Not bad spy work, if he says so himself. He'd started out with just a bathrobe, but by the end of it he'd had a gun and a laptop full of intel. Dropped a few terrorist bodies. Sporting a new stab-wound.

Bitty one. Just a nick really.

Probably should clean it though. Later. Maybe once it stops bleeding everywhere.

He thinks he hears something ringing, but he just rolls over and plants his face into his pillow, because he's been hearing something ringing in his ears for days now. He hopes the hearing-damage won't be permanent.

 

-o0o-

 

"Shh," he hears breathed against his temple as he slowly regains consciousness. "It's alright. Just a little pinch."

The voice is familiar, but then so is the distracting pain in his thigh.

He squirms away from the stinging pain as it renews but the arms hold him tight, so he sighs in frustration and forces himself to blink open his eyes.

Roxy. Good.

Or not good. She looks worried.

"All done," she says. "Go back to sleep."

 

-o0o-

 

When he wakes up again he's alone.

He's in his own bed but something's different.

It takes him a moment to place, because it seems so out of context, but it clicks soon enough. He can smell the unique combination of scents that belongs to Harry. A glance down shows him he's got a blanket tucked up to his chin that's from Harry's room. Harry's bed. He closes his eyes again for a moment, breathing in the mingled scents of the blanket and the bedding beneath him. Him and Harry, together.

Not quite the way he'd meant to get there, but he'll take it.

Footsteps sound on the stairs, heavier and of a different cadence than his mum. That, combined with the blanket over his chest means he doesn't bother opening his eyes because he's safe here. Not that anywhere is technically ever safe. But if whoever's coming up the stairs has been able to get past Harry Hart on their way to harm Eggsy, then he's pretty much a goner eyes open or closed.

The steps pause at the doorway a moment, then come inside a bit more quietly than they'd tread on the stair.

"Ah, good, you're awake," Harry says, somehow detecting that Eggsy is conscious.

He's not actually surprised. Eggsy pries one eye open to squint at him. "Am not."

His voice is raspy as fuck. Dried out from the sea air and the exhaustion and the dust he'd inhaled at ground zero.

Harry ignores his protest, choosing to sit down on the edge of the bed beside him instead as he sets the tray on the bedside table.

It's morning now, given the daylight streaming through the cracks round his curtains, and the smell of toast and juice wafting through the air. His stomach churns, as it would do after three days with next to nothing to eat.

He glances over at the tray as he pushes himself up a little in the bed. The blanket falls away and slowly he realizes that he's a bit nude underneath the sheets and the green tartan. Ah well. That's how he'd meant to be when Harry arrived, albeit he's three days late.

"That for me?" he asks.

Other than the way Harry's eyes snap back up to his he appears completely unruffled, and Eggsy is pleased to realize that he understands now that's not the case at all.

"Yes, of course," Harry says, sounding completely calm and perhaps even a bit bored as he reaches across the tray to fetch the glass of juice back over.

He's bloody grateful for the choice, because as hungry as he is, solid food right off would be probably uncomfortable in his empty stomach. The juice is cool going down and it gives his belly something to gnaw on. He can practically feel his blood sugar rising.

He smiles at Harry, but glances over at the walls of his little room, taking in the smudge of blood he'd left on the wall by the door. It tugs at something… something in the back of his mind but he's not sure what for the moment. He squints at the pile of ragged clothes and bloodied sheets in the laundry basket in the corner and tries to figure it out.

"You were in the hotel when it exploded," Harry says interrupting his thoughts, voice even. Except he's stating the obvious, which he never does. Which means he's off his game a bit.

Eggsy puts the glass aside and snags one of the pieces of toast. "Yeah. Bit dicey that one."

"When your glasses feed cut out…" Harry pauses, turning his head away slightly when his voice threatens to waver. "We'd thought we'd lost you."

Eggsy scoffs. "I ain't that easy to get rid of, love."

"I should think not," Harry replies faintly, lips pursing together.

Eggsy just smiles at him, because he can, because it really had been bloody close to being over in that moment and there had been a few minutes, a few terrifying minutes where his bomb-shaken brain had struggled to assess the extent of the damage and decide that Harry had to have been beyond its scope.

He frowns at the doorway again, and it takes him a moment, but he figures out what's been bothering him, and when he gets it he sits up more sharply.

The house is absolutely silent. There's no telly on for Daisy, no absent chatter of his mum on the phone, no clatter about the place at all. Worry floods him on reflex, but he doesn't quite scramble out of the bed because Harry wouldn't be sitting here talking if something were wrong.

"Where's-"

"Ah yes. I wagered that you would rather not have your mother and sister party to your recuperation, but also you had no desire to return to medical at headquarters," Harry says. "I sent them north to Zania's for a bit of holiday for a few days. I hope I didn't presume too much."

"Good thinking," Eggsy says truthfully, though he can't quite resist throwing at wink at Harry for it. "Getting us some privacy."

Harry's lips thin into an even tighter line.

"Lancelot was the closest when your call came through. She dressed your stab wound. The rest of your injuries appear minor. Scrapes and bruises. But we were only able to do a surface evaluation. Did we miss anything?"

His voice is flat, and for someone who didn't know him to look at him, they'd probably find him stiff and more or less disinterested in the proceedings as Eggsy slowly pushes himself more upright on the bed and takes stock of himself more explicitly.

Eggsy knows better. He sees the way Harry's eyes flick over him just a little too restively. He notices the way Harry swallows, and the way his nostrils flare ever so slightly. He notices the way his hands curl into fists, then open to press at the edge of the fabric of his suit unnecessarily. He notices the rapid beat of Harry's heart through the pulse at his throat, just visible under his skin.

Eggsy smiles at him, lifts a hand to set against his cheek. Curls his fingers along the edge of his skull and glides his thumb over Harry's cheekbone. More daring than he's ever been before.

Because he knows. He understands.

Harry loves him.

"I'm fine Harry," he says quietly, tilting his head. "Still got a bit of ringin' in me ears, and I wouldn't mind a bit of a lie-in the next few days, but otherwise yeah, I'm fine."

Harry's watching him carefully. He's gone still under Eggsy's touch, almost completely inanimate, waiting to see where this is going. It's the most uncertain he's ever seen him.

"Don't you know?" Eggsy asks, voice soft. He's finally right where he needs to be, finally free of any doubts, any misunderstandings. It's time Harry got there too. "You have to know."

Because it's pouring out of him, in every look he casts his way, in every time he searches for him first, follows his lead without a shred of doubt, touches him.

And Harry's face is shuttered, brows still, mouth unbending. But Eggsy sees the way his pupils dilate, hears the pattern shift in his breathing. Feels his pulse jump. He leans close, puts his face right up to Harry's so there's nothing but his eyes in his vision, till their breaths are mingling and there's no mistaking the intimacy of this moment.

"Tell me," Harry asks in a soft plea, the words cracked and catching on his edges, slipping past his veneer of calm.

Because he needs to be sure. He needs to hear the words that go beyond admiration and respect. Words that can't be explained away or rationalized.

He's more than happy to oblige.

"It's you, it is. Done deal. I'm arse over fucking tits in love with you."

The breath that rushes from Harry is a sharp one, a sudden crash as his control breaks. Then he's lifting his chin and taking Eggsy's mouth, arms curling fast and hard around Eggsy's body. He's dragged ruthlessly forward, his bare chest pressing hard against wool and buttons and silk and he wraps his arm around Harry's neck, puts his shoulder into it because he's not close enough, not nearly there even as Harry's tongue is in his mouth and he's kissing fit to bruise.

They may be gentlemen, but they're not gentle men. Not when it comes to the knife's edge of things. There's nothing gentle about how ruthlessly Eggsy had wrestled back his feelings these past months. Nothing gentle about the doubt Harry has battled. Nothing gentle about missed opportunities, lives almost lived. Nothing gentle about bombs in the harbour.

So while there's a part of him that wants to show Harry the softest touches, the sweetest succor, it wouldn't be enough. Not here. Right now he must show him the raging inferno that lives in his chest, the feral beast who lives on the blood of its enemies and the passions of triumph. He doesn't care that he snaps the buttons on Harry's suit he pulls at it so hard, and Harry doesn't either, because a gentleman isn't about a suit. A gentleman is about the purity of his truth, about commitment to his actions.

He rips the shirt, tears the placket from itself and the buttons at the same time. Harry just reaches up and snaps the last buttons at his throat and then he's dragging the fabric off, cufflinks popping free of their backs and pinging where they scatter along the bare floor and crack against the bedframe.

Eggsy lifts himself enough to get a foot down under Harry's calf, uses his weight with ruthless leverage to sling Harry down on the bed beside him. It doesn't matter that Harry would have gone with him because he needs to put him there. Needs to sling a leg over him to brace him there. He rattles the familiar belt free in moments, tugs the fly open even faster. He fists his hands in the fabric, hauls it down over toned, straining hips.

Shoes get pried of and thrown away to slap against the wall. Socks go rolling unheeded as trousers tangle in the struts of the bedframe. And then finally, wonderfully, he's crawling up over one naked Harry Hart, eyes filled with heavy intent and lips twisted towards sin.

He bends to lick a stripe up Harry's cock, pauses only to spit on the heated flesh, to let his mouth drool sloppy lubrication over him. And it's so tempting, so beautiful, but he'll linger another time. He lays them together instead, because he needs to see him. Needs to see it in his eyes, that lethal fire, that purity of purpose that is second to none. His lips bruise against Harry's teeth, his shins rake across his knees.

Harry's hand fists in his hair, clings to him as he grinds. Their cocks are electric, sticky and sparking with each thrust but there's more, there needs to be more. There needs to be pressure and friction and his weight isn't enough. He shoves a hand down to reach between them even as Harry does the same. Their hands compete for position, grapple and then slip into harmony without a thought. Their fingers slot together, spearing complements that come to greater strength as one.

And when he thrusts it's everything, because he sees it in Harry's eyes, feels it in the pulse of his cock. He gasps for breath, so overwrought he has trouble remembering to breathe. His face scrapes against Harry's, stubble roughening as he presses tighter, bites harder. He fucks against him and doesn't care that it hurts, that his thigh is screaming at him because it's not loud enough to overcome the pounding of his heart.

Because they're racing to the edge, charging headlong for the cliff that looms desperately closer.

"Fuck," he spits out, legs shaking.

Harry's fingers flex hard in his hair, jerk his head up. Harry bows up and swallows the curse on his lips, he drags the very air out of Eggsy's lungs. Eggsy can't breathe against him and he doesn't care, because if Harry wants the breath from his lungs then he'll give it to him. He'll give him everything.

His body convulses in desperation, in ecstasy, and then in orgasm. He spills himself between them, shaking, and only then does Harry let him go, let him gasp for desperate breath.

Harry's head falls back, chest heaving as he strokes them. Their tangled fingers spread Eggsy's come over their lengths, making it slick and loud and Eggsy doesn't care that it's too much, that he's too sensitive now, he just stays right there, staring down at Harry, watching the darkness in his eyes, reveling in the sweat on his brow.

He drives his own fingers through Harry's hair and their joined hands drag him down over the cliff after him. His exhale is choked, frozen in his chest as his body tenses and then he too is painting the tiny space between them with the evidence of his fall.

Their hands slip free as Eggsy rests his cheek against Harry's shoulder, breathing against the hollow of his neck. Harry's arm comes up to curl around his back, fingers settling into his hair. They're too hot, sweating and still breathless, but that doesn't matter. What matters is the way he can feel Harry's heart beating in his chest.

Eventually Eggsy rolls to the side, just so his weight isn't going to keep pinning Harry down. And because his thigh will probably hurt less to lay flat again. Harry moves with him so that they stay pulled close, his elbow under Eggsy's neck, fingers in his hair. Eggsy reaches out and finds Harry's other hand with his, tangling their fingers together.

They lay that way a while, catching their breaths, allowing their hearts to steady their pace. He's exhausted, but his blood is still singing with the 'act of congress', as Harry would probably say. It's actually a bloody nice term, Eggsy decides, because this hasn't just been the physical stuff, it wasn't just a nice shag. It has been about them, coming together as they are, filling in each other's gaps till there's none of the spaces left in between. At least for a little while anyway.

He traces idle patterns against Harry's hip, fingers sliding in the sweat and come left behind.

Harry is silent, considering as he lays there. Eggsy might almost get concerned that he's overthinking it, that he'll be trying to build up all his defenses again, but there's a laxness to his body, a groundedness.

Doesn't keep him from needing to test it, to hear that this wasn't just a one-off. Not just some 'glad you're alive' sex. He considers his words a moment, staring at the hands they have laced together. The glint of gold is Harry's signet ring, the only bit of clothing that he hadn't lost in the midst of it all.

It makes him smile.

"Guess I'm going to have to get over my hang up about sleeping with married men," Eggsy says, letting his head roll over so he can look at Harry and smirk at him.

Harry just bends his elbow further and continues running his fingers through Eggsy's hair.

"I wouldn't worry about it," he says idly, though Eggsy can tell from the sardonic tones he affects that it's anything but unconsidered. "As it happens, I have it on good authority that my wife is planning to divorce me."

Eggsy looks at him, eyebrows shooting up.

"As it so happens, she's in love with another woman."

"Shocking," Eggsy says, affecting a posh accent as he grins. "I never would have guessed."

"Indeed," Harry agrees, voice heavy with shared amusement. "But it's just as well, you see."

"Oh?" Eggsy prods, rubbing his thumb over the edge of the signet and then turning his eyes back up to Harry, who's turned his head finally to look down at him.

"Yes," Harry says, smiling faintly. "Because as it turns out, I'm rather in love with another man."

Eggsy closes his eyes, brushing his lips against Harry's shoulder.

"Good to know," he murmurs.