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Summers Spent Practicing

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Harry comes and goes as he wishes, with very little notice; for men who have risen from the dead, as he explains, one must forgive their little peculiarities.

Eggsy would forgive a lot more if each and every time Harry didn’t choose the exact moment most likely to make him jump. The first time he’d spilled his tea all over himself like a little kid. That’d been humiliating. The second, third, and fourth times he’d gone for his gun. Now he tries to go for some heavy household object, like his steel kettle, because sometimes it might be Harry, yeah? but sometimes it might also be a gust of wind or J.B. whining for attention, and he doesn't want to actually kill anyone if they don't deserve it.

He’d like to say that when it’s Harry, he gives him a good clean fight, you know, just to keep him on his toes, but the truth is, recovering head injury and all, Harry still manages to beat the crap out of him most times with nothing more than his umbrella. It’s not a clean fight. It ain’t even a fair one, not with Eggsy trying to kick Harry in the fat balls and Harry practically bending Eggsy over his knee and spanking him.


“It’s good to see you,” Eggsy pants after the seventh time. “But maybe you could just use the front door like a normal bloke.”

“Where would the fun in that be?” Harry says, and smiles so brilliantly that Eggsy’s vital organs drop somewhere down to his knees.

He’s motherfucking Galahad now. He’s a Kingsman. He’s an international super spy James Bond womanizer wanderer champion shit-stirrer. Middle-aged men back from the dead with more grey in their hair than ever before should not be able to make him weak-kneed and tongue-tied. It ain’t cool. This wasn’t supposed to be part of the story.

One time he does manage to hit Harry over the head with the kettle and immediately feels a right arse about it. Harry stumbles backwards, wincing, and Eggsy drops the kettle. “Shit shit shit,” he says, paralyzed by the memories of watching Harry die on camera, but then Harry touches the back of his head gingerly and says, “An excellent shot.”

So they fight. It’s a dominance thing, Eggsy supposes, kind of like animals in a nature documentary. Then after Harry’s usually whacked Eggsy around and given him a couple of patchwork bruises, Harry will drop his umbrella and make them both tea.

“How have you been, dear boy?” Harry asks, taking a seat at Eggsy’s kitchen table.

“You know, the usual. Saving the world, licking Merlin’s arse, knives popping out of my shoes, beating up bad guys. That whole bit,” Eggsy says. “Oi, don’t hog all the sugar.”

Harry slides the sugar bowl over the table, a smooth glide. The fact that Eggsy now owns a sugar bowl will never cease to amaze him, and the fact that he maybe might have skulked around some high-end tea shops after Harry commented on his lack of sugar bowl -- that’s something Eggsy will take to the grave. But it’s the least he can do for Harry, innit? The man’s gone through hell and back. He deserves a poncy sugar bowl or two.

“Well,” Eggsy demands, “what about you? What’ve you been up to?”

“Much the same as you, I suspect,” Harry says serenely, and Eggsy wants to smack that look off his gorgeous face because despite the miracle of Harry showing up at his flat one day after Eggsy had already clawed his own heart out in grief, despite that, Harry won’t actually tell him what he’s been up to. Where he goes when he’s not popping over at Eggsy’s like an annoying deadly neighbour. If he’s still doing Kingsman work.

Harry Hart, international man of mystery, smug bastard, and Eggsy wants him so much his bones ache with warmth.


They go at it with knives once. Eggsy doesn’t even think. Harry manages to disarm the kettle from his hand, and they’re still in the kitchen, so Eggsy goes for the knife block and pulls out a paring knife that he almost never uses, considering he orders takeout all the time. The weight of the knife is strange and unfamiliar in his hand, but when Harry sees it, he smiles fondly and grabs the cutting board as a shield.

They go back and forth like that, Eggsy with the paring knife, Harry with the cutting board, until Harry whirls around and stomps on Eggsy’s foot, forcing Eggsy to drop the knife in surprise. He knows he’s done for the moment sees Harry go for it, and then suddenly it’s Eggsy on the defense with the first thing he can grab: a rice cooker.

Harry’s not as fast as he used to be. Being shot in the head will do that to you. Eggsy can see it in the way he fights, and if he’s being honest, sometimes in the way he speaks and calculates things as well. There are gaps in Harry’s head that didn’t used to be there, spaces that he has to pause to fill, but even an injured Harry is still a creature of brutal grace, and Eggsy has so much to learn from him, so much of Harry’s experience he wants to drink down.

“Your footwork needs improving,” Harry says after he’s managed to shove Eggsy to the ground, and both of his knees are bracketing Eggsy’s torso while Eggsy tries not to blush like a maiden fair. Goddamnit.

“Yeah, old man?” Eggsy taunts. “Looks like I still cut you up pretty good.” He lifts his hand and touches the gash over Harry’s cheekbone.

Harry stills. Eggsy stops breathing. Then Harry smiles, bright and true and wicked sharp with amusement, and says, “Let’s see you do even better next time.”


A Kingsman wouldn’t be a Kingsman if he didn’t love gadgets, and one day Eggsy goes home to find Harry lounging around on the sofa with an iPad.

“What the fuck,” Eggsy says because the mobile in his pocket won’t stop buzzing with texts (do be a dear and pick up some parsley from the market on your way home and you might consider providing J.B. with more exercise he’s getting rather round about the belly). He watches as Harry uses the iPad to dim the lights in Eggsy’s flat, turn on the kettle, draw the curtains, and make J.B. collar’s buzz so that J.B. comes trotting over on his puggy little legs.

“Did you bring the parsley?” Harry asks.

“What? No,” Eggsy says because he’d been dangling off a helicopter less than fifteen minutes ago when he got the text. He drops his gear on the couch.

“A shame,” Harry says. “A sprig of parsley livens up most dishes, and your cooking is already deplorable as it is. It needs all the help it can get.” Eggsy shuts his eyes to tune him out, and opens them only when he notices the uneven hitch of Harry’s breathing. He looks over. Oh damn. Harry’s taken a hit.

“Just a scratch,” Harry protests as Eggsy rolls over and proceeds to strip him out of his coat. “No need to fuss, my boy.” Harry’s already bandaged the chest wound but Eggsy makes sure to inspect it anyway before leaning back and glaring at Harry, who shouldn’t be out in the field in the first place, whatever field he’s in, whatever situation he’s getting himself involved with without Eggsy at his back to protect him.

“I might stay over for the next little while,” Harry says. “If you don’t mind.”

“Be my guest,” Eggsy says casually, and then goes to the bathroom to splash water on his face. Harry Hart, extremely distracting houseguest. Welcome to his life.

The truth is, Harry is both distracting in the sense that Eggsy wants to jump his elegant bones every single second of every damn day. But Harry is also distracting in the sense that he’s actually really fucking obnoxious and doubly so when he’s not feeling well. Harry has no compunction about asking Eggsy to run errands for him, fetch slippers for him, turning Eggsy basically into a domestic servant -- bet Harry’s family has a lot of those, yeah?

The worst part is, he issues most of his orders on the iPad. Harry seems to think it’s too crude to simply demand things of Eggsy in person, so Eggsy starts getting to-do lists and grocery items pushed to his mobile. If Harry needs his assistance Eggsy’s mobile will tinkle like a bell, and if Harry doesn’t have Eggsy on a leash like J.B, well, it’s damn close.

Eggsy’s flat only has the one bedroom, so Eggsy turns over his bed to Harry. He makes sure Harry has blankets, drinks, books -- lots of Chrétien de Troyes at Harry’s request -- and stops just short of going in to fluff Harry’s pillows on the regular. This is fucking ridiculous. Eggsy has a full-time job -- super spy James Bond womanizer wanderer champion shit-stirrer, remember -- but here he is, peering down at a sleeping Harry’s face like a doting aunt slash gormless pervert.

Harry lets me watch him sleep, is all Eggsy can think of instead.

The next morning Harry wakes up, yawns in his silk PJs, sends in a request for a hot cuppa, and when Eggsy brings it to him, Harry looks up at him with deep, dark eyes and murmurs, “Eggsy Unwin, protector of lost, hurt things.”

Eggsy’s stomach flips over, hard.


Eggsy tears the cuff of his trousers in a manner unbefitting of a Kingsman, but he has about a million of these things by now, so he just tosses it into his laundry basket when he gets home. It’s gone the next day, but he doesn’t notice it for at least a week because Harry Hart laundry ghost isn’t on his usual list of suspects, at least not until he finds Harry sitting on his sofa mending it while humming Edith Piaf.

“What’re you doing?” Eggsy asks suspiciously. He looks at the needle, half convinced this is an extension of their training exercises, but even though the needle is minnow sleek and sharp, Harry does not use it as a weapon to bring Eggsy to his knees. He slides it through the rip in Eggsy’s trousers and brings it out through the other side, thread attached.

“What does it look like I’m doing?” Harry replies. “I’m mending your trousers.”

“Yeah but why?” Eggsy says.

“Because a gentleman,” Harry says, “never goes in public looking anything other than perfectly put together as representing his station and carriage.”

“But I got other trousers,” Eggsy says, flopping on the couch. “Some of them even look exactly the same as this one.”

“The nature of bespoke clothing, Eggsy,” Harry says sternly, “is that each individual item has its own properties and is, in fact, not indistinguishable from the other items of your wardrobe.” He sews a few more stitches. “You need to take better care of your possessions, all in all.”

“A madman came at me with a machete,” Eggsy says.

“You should never let that be a deterrent to anything."

“Right-o,” Eggsy says, rolling off the sofa and onto his bare feet. “I’ll get that tattooed on my arse so I won’t forget. You hungry?” He starts heading into the kitchen. “Maybe I’ll cook up something awful just so you’ll have to eat it.”

“See that you do,” Harry says, while Eggsy pauses at the kitchen entrance and smirks.

The next time he runs into a madman wielding a machete, which is rather more common than one might think, Eggsy makes sure both cuffs get ripped. He goes home, waits for Harry to come over, and then shimmies out of his trousers in order to drop them onto Harry’s lap. “There you go, Jeeves,” he says, sauntering off to the bathroom in his tighty whities, and the sound of Harry’s chuckle trails him as he goes.


Eggsy might be the one to save things -- mothers, sisters, cats, dogs, countries -- but Harry is the one who fixes them. After the trousers comes the telly, after the telly comes the squeaky door hinge, and after the squeaky door hinge comes the umbrella. It’s a perfectly ordinary umbrella. Eggsy’s mum gave it to him the last time he visited. It doesn’t have holo shields or GPS or imbedded neurotoxins. It opens up and protects folk from rain, is all it does. Or used to, until a nasty wind snapped one of its wires.

“Hmm,” Harry says when he sees it. “Let me take a look at that.”

“What now?” Eggsy says. “It ain’t bespoke. It ain’t expensive. It ain’t fancy. It’s just a boring old umbrella, like anything else you might find in this boring old flat.” It occurs to him that until Harry came back from the dead and somersaulted through Eggsy’s window one evening, he actually hadn’t spent a lot of time at home. He’d acquired this flat after becoming a Kingsman because he’d wanted his own place with some bit of privacy, but it’d been just a place to sleep, eat, and change clothes. He looks around at it critically, using Harry’s eyes. Yeah, boring and common as shit, just like him.

Harry spends the next few visits trying to fix the busted umbrella. He takes it with him when he goes and brings it back with him when he returns. There’s blood on the umbrella this one time, but not Harry’s, thank fuck, and sometimes the umbrella actually looks worse for wear when Harry brings it back, not better, like he’d gotten caught up in a fight and had to use it for defense.

Harry buys some enameled wire and proceeds to repair the spokes by running a length of wire from one end to the next. It looks all right, sturdy enough, except it remains fairly weak because the next time Eggsy takes it out it tears again, this time ripping some of the fabric with it. Well, what’d he expect? His mum had gotten the thing out of a bin for two pounds.

Harry sighs in frustration when he notices the broken umbrella for a second time. He goes out and buys some matching fabric. He makes more repairs. “Here,” he says, handing it to Eggsy when he’s done. “Give it a try now.”

“The fuck for?” Eggsy says. “It’s just a stupid umbrella.”

“It’s your umbrella, Eggsy, a part of your home,” Harry says. “As I said before, you must learn to take better care of your possessions.”

“But what's the point?” Eggsy says, confused. “It’s my ordinary umbrella. If you needed an umbrella, or you wanted me to have a better one, you could just go out and buy, I dunno, an umbrella bedazzled with diamonds or something instead of fixing this one.”

“Diamonds are ostentatious,” Harry says, “and I find I’ve grown very fond of this umbrella. I would be reluctant to replace it with another.” He leans forward, predatory and beautiful. “Do you like this umbrella, my dear? Perhaps I should have asked instead of merely assuming. It is a bad habit of mine, to merely assume.”

Heat uncurls through Eggsy’s muscles. It’s not too different from the beginning of a fight. “I like this umbrella,” he says. “I might even, uh, love this umbrella.” Never go into a fight with anything less than all you’ve got.

Harry’s eyes search his face. “That would please me very much,” he says quietly.

Eggsy grins. “Yeah?” He doesn’t move as Harry reaches out a hand and touches his cheek. Harry lets it rest there, as if waiting for Eggsy’s permission, like Eggsy didn’t roll over for him on that very first day they met and bare Harry his belly. Eggsy takes Harry’s hand and moves it to his lips. He licks the pads of Harry’s fingers and bites down. Harry groans.

“You’ll be the death of me, you gorgeous thing,” Harry says.

“Then we’ll just bring you back again, yeah?” Eggsy says. “Got some practice with that. Bring you back and start all over.” Harry looks like he wants to say something else, something dull and responsible and adult, but Eggsy doesn’t let him. He pushes him against the kitchen countertops, slides the kettle off it, and pushes Harry onto it -- any flat surface will do. Harry’s smiling at him now, the edge of his mouth curved up like a shepherd's crook as Eggsy kisses his fill of him.

Outside they can hear it, just a little: it’s starting to rain.