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Your Soulmate Always Arrives Precisely On Time

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Eggsy found it a little ironic that he faked sick to get out of going to the nurse’s office. But he wanted one day, just one day where the mark was his. Didn’t people understand how much it could mess a kid up that you wake up and boom there’s a new permanent scar on your body, oh and by the way, there is a good shot by the end of the day, we’ll know who you are supposed to spend the rest of your life with. You’d think they would remember what it felt like, to wake up different, but no they get all gushy or just want to fill their report to put you in the database, sooner matched the better.

They didn’t never talk about what happens if you never get matched or your matched died or didn’t want you or fell in love while waiting. No it was just photo and description of your mark, your name, gender, birthdate all typed up and inputted, and then you get a call or a letter saying whoopdie-doo here’s the rest of your life.

But he didn’t say that when his mum woke him up singing happy birthday with a candle in a waffle covered in whip cream. He just thanked her and said he wasn’t feeling too well and maybe he’d skip school that day.

His Mum at least got it. “One day.” She said.

Eggsy nodded. She left the waffle and he realized as he held it there was a gift card taped to the bottom of the plate. He grinned, looked like he was getting some new sneakers.

But first, first he had to look.

He finished the waffle slowly and put the plate to the side. He stripped down and stood in front of his mirror. The marks all looked different, it all depended really. Some looked like an elaborate birthmark. His mum’s looked like a pretty tattoo, a cresting wave. Some more looked like brands, and others like scars.

In movies and books, the pretty the mark the better the relationship, more peaceful, more in sync. An ugly mark - well you were the villain weren’t you.

Eggsy looked at himself and found it on his hip. He touched it, felt the raised skin, the scarred skin. It took him a minute to realize that it actually looked like something, cross hairs. He had a scar of rifle cross hairs on his hip.

A symbol that meant death, a mark that made skin ugly. Eggsy smiled, it was about what he expected, he figured anyone who ended up with him as a soulmate couldn’t be that great.

The next day he went to school and presented himself to the nurse. She dutifully took the photo and made the notes and entered them into the database. “Now you just wait.” She said.

“How long?” Eggsy asked.

“Soonest is about two or three days if they are in the system after that, well people turn 18 and are catalogued every day.” She smiled. “It was two years for me. Same age, but he’s American, it takes time for the systems to search other nations. But that was a while ago, they’ve really been working on unified systems over the last few years, it’s improved wait times significantly.”

“Great, I’ve loads of patience.” The nurse smiled and snuck him a lollipop.

Eggsy hated waiting.

*****************************

Merlin’s personal computer was beeping but he ignored it for now. He adjusted his glasses and looked at his monitor. “Harry, would ye kindly just do your job?”

“I am.” Harry said as he made his way through the crowd.

“Oh really?” Merlin asked. “Because I am pretty sure that you were supposed to already be in back breaking into the safe. Instead I find ye still chatting up people and eating nibbles.”

“Do you know how many of these I’ve been to?”

“Aye, I do. That is sort of my job.” Merlin said. “Get on with it.”

“Well, this party has the best food I’ve had in years and I’m going to enjoy it. This thing is going to dawn I have time.” Harry said easily.

Merlin rolled his eyes and knew nothing would get Harry moving now, not if there was quality nibbles. He decided to open the message that was beeping on his private computer.

He read the email. Then he read it again. He had hacked the soulmate database years ago and flagged his file. And there it was, words that he had been waiting 26 years for:

Successful Match Found. Contact immediately.

“Harry.” Merlin said into the comms.

“What, I’m rather busy drinking actually decent champagne.” Harry groused.

“A soulmate match has been found for me.” Merlin couldn’t stop staring at the words. He vaguely heard a glass being put down.

“The mission will be completed within the hour. I’ll be back in the morning.” Harry said as he got to work.

Merlin looked at his computer, it would be so easy. All he had to do was one click and he would see his match, no waiting for the official letter to arrive summoning him to a meeting at the database office. 26 years he had been waiting for this, it could be all over. His finger hovered over the board.

And he turned away and helped guide Harry through the rest of his mission.

Merlin was sipping his morning coffee when Harry broke into his flat. He was pleased, his new security measures meant it took Harry four minutes, a new record. Merlin still wanted lasers coded to Harry’s DNA, but Chester said too many people would want them and denied the request.

“Well?” Harry asked.

“Well what?” Merlin asked back. He took another casual sip of his coffee.

Harry rolled his eyes. “Cut the bullshit. What’s his name, is he as ugly as you should have for a partner? Has he past security screening?” Harry poured himself a drink and sat across from Merlin.

“I haven’t looked.” Merlin said.

He waited.

 

5.

 

4.

 

3.

 

2.

 

1.

 

Huh, no reaction, he thought. He looked at Harry. “Good god did I actually make Harry Hart speechless?” There was still nothing. Merlin took a photo of Harry’s face. That seemed to wake the agent out of his stupor.

“Well then, I will.” Harry got up and headed to Merlin’s office. Merlin wasn’t worried, the door to his office was palm coded. Only he heard the snick of the door and went running down the hall.

“I programmed myself in.” Harry said, typing away. “There we go.” Harry leaned back in the chair.

Merlin stayed at the door, and waited for Harry to say something, do something.

Merlin broke after 5 minutes of silence. “Well?”

“Good news, it is a man.”

Merlin breathed out in relief, he had always been attracted to men and had long been terrified that his soulmate might not be.

“And even more good news, we’re shaving the last of it off.” Harry said, looking at Merlin, “We’re getting rid of the Picard, deal with it. You want to trust me on this.”

Merlin touched what little hair he had. “Why, it’s not so bad.”

“Merlin, we are shaving your head. It will make you look younger and better if it is all gone. And you really want to look younger.” Harry smiled. “Much younger.”

Merlin’s eyes widened understanding Harry’s implication. “How much younger?”

“He didn’t miss registration. And he’s not from a different country that had a database only recently connected. He’s across town, registered right on time.” Harry looked at the computer, “Well one day late.”

“Ye can’t mean?” Merlin stared at Harry in horror.

“I mean that your soul mate turned 18 3 days ago.” Harry started laughing. “Oh my god, your soulmate is a child.” Harry was laughing more.

Merlin walked over and sat in a chair. He took his his glasses off and pressed his palms into his eyes. “Why does the universe hate me?” He looked over at Harry. “It gives me you for a best friend, and a child for my soulmate. I thought they were dead, or unregistered, but no, no they just hadn’t been born.” Merlin groaned.

“I am a perfectly lovely best friend.” Harry said affronted. “Look I even found extra microchips and data drives, and brought them back, just for you.”

Merlin smiled a little. “Aye, that is a nice gift.”

Harry clapped his hands together. “Now I’ll get a razor and whatnot ready, you should probably research what music the kids these days listen to, I understand hip-hop is quite popular.” Harry stood. “We need to make you look a little less scary for when you have your first meeting with one Gary Unwin.”

They both paused after Harry said the name.

“Nae, can’t be.” Merlin said. “It’s not an uncommon name.” Merlin went to the computer and did some work. “Fuck me, he is. He’s Lee son.”

Harry closed his eyes. “Shit. Shit, shit, buggering fuck.” He sighed, “We’ll think of a story while we make you prettier.”

Harry dragged Merlin to the bathroom and thirty minutes later they looked at Merlin in the mirror, the last of his hair all shaved off. “Okay, so not prettier.”

“I look like a mobster.”

“Or a serial killer.” Harry said helpfully. “It does take a few years off though at least. That’s something. Just don’t wear a suit ever again, stick with jumpers. And maybe different glasses?”

“Maybe I just don’t go to the first meeting when I get my letter?” Merlin said quietly.

“No, no you are going, if I have to tie you up and drag you there.” Harry said. He swept up the stray hairs and threw them out. “Go shower, get the last of it off.” Merlin stripped down and hit the shower, neither man bothered by the nudity. “You will meet him, and play this out.”

“Why? I don’t care that the universe says he’s my soulmate, he’s 18, what do I do with an 18 year old, what does he do with me? I saw the numbers, I am older than his Mum.” Merlin let the spray hit his head.

“Because I know that as much as you’ve denied it, you’ve always wanted to be matched. The universe set it up this way, must be for a reason.”

“You don’t believe in that.”

“But you do, and that is what matters right now.” Harry said. “Your letter with your official meet time should be delivered in the next couple of days. And then you’ll meet him.”

“And lie to him.” Merlin said. “He’ll ask what I do and I’ll lie to him. I’ll tell him that I knew his father and lie to him some more. And then when I work random and crazy hours, I’ll lie to him some more. And he’ll know because he’s my soulmate and be able to tell and when he asks, I’ll just lie some more.” Merlin stepped out of the shower and dried off. “Tell me Harry how is any of that good?”

“Perhaps, you are being a little cart before the horse?” Harry suggested. “Perhaps, Sholto, you need to just meet him and we’ll go from there. If you like we can treat it as a mission, have me in your ear.”

“No.” Merlin said. “And get out of my bathroom.” Harry left him in peace

A lad of 18, whose father had died saving their lives.

This wasn’t going to be complicated at all.

**************************************************

Eggsy stared at his letter. He had to admit that he didn’t think his match would be this quick. That meant they had already been in the database and had to be within the country. Always took longer if they were somewhere else in the world. He opened it and there it was.

Mr. Gary Unwin,

Congratulations!

We are pleased to inform you that you are soul matched and that your first meeting has been schedule for Friday September 15 at 4:30 pm at…

He skimmed through the letter looking for the important information. And there it was

 

Name: Sholto Blair

Gender: Male

Birthdate: May 16th, 1964

 

Sholto.

He wondered if the guy hated the name as much as he hated Gary. He didn’t care that it was a bloke, but then did the math on the birth date.

44.

Jesus. He was older than mum. By four years. Oh god his soulmate was the right age for his mum. Eggsy shuddered a little. He didn’t know anyone that had a soulmate that old. Biggest difference he’d ever heard of was like 7 years.

Shit he had to keep this quiet until the meet.

Only of course Mum knew he had mail. And they figured it out easy enough.

“So, baby, tell me!” Michelle asked excitedly.

“Loser like you, actually has a soul match huh?” Dean sneered. Michelle shook her head just a little. They never talked about how Dean didn’t have a soul mark.

“Yup. Meet’s at the database office on Friday.”

“Nervous?” Michelle served up the potatoes.

Eggsy shrugged and didn’t really look at them.

“Oi, your Mum asked you a question. And I’m thinking we’re all going to be interested in the answer.” Dean pointed his fork at Eggsy. “Spill.”

“Sholto. His name is Sholto.” Eggsy said.

“Poofy name.” Dean said.

“I think it is charming.” Michelle said, smiling at Eggsy.

“He’s 44.” Eggsy blurted out.

Michelle was shocked and Dean just started laughing. “You got a bloke that old, fucking geezer. Bet he’s fat. Bald, likes to diddle kids, will want you to call him Daddy.” Dean was laughing so much he lost his breath.

Eggsy ate fuming. He ignored them both.

Maybe he just would skip the meeting.

But he knew he wouldn’t.

******************************************************

Merlin sat in the “matching” room. Their facilitator kept blathering on about how unique his case was, that they had never had an instance with a match taking this long to be made.

“Yes I am sure it will be the talk of the Christmas party.” Merlin’s voice was a little too hard and the poor woman flinched away. She had also kept a good few feet and at least one piece of furniture between them at all times. Harry’s idea of new glasses and jumpers with shoulder patches did not seem to work for ‘softening him up.’

“I am sorry, just a bit nervous. 26 years is a long time to wait to meet your soulmate.” He tried for a smile, but somehow that scared the woman even more. He went over to a chair and pulled out his tablet and began to work a little.

“I’m just going to get some water and the snack tray we provide for the meeting couple. I’ll be back in a tick!” She tried for cheerful and just sort of came across as desperate.

Merlin continued to work, trying to figure out the source code for a virus that had infiltrated MI-6.

“Excuse me?” There had been no knock, and Merlin had been involved enough in his work that he hadn’t heard the soft footsteps. “Hey, think I ‘ave my soulmate meeting here? You’re the handler, make sure we don’t bolt at the sight of each other?”

Merlin looked at the lad.

He still had baby fat. Just a little. He was also beautiful.

“Gary.” Merlin said.

“Um, Eggsy.” He said. “Prefer Eggsy.” He looked around the room. “So this is where they change people’s lives forever huh? Think they’d have better wallpaper.”

Merlin snorted a little. “Well they wouldn’t want to be too welcoming. Same reason there is no couch just chairs.”

“Yeah why’s that then?” Eggsy asked.

Merlin tilted his head. “Take a guess lad.”

Eggsy barked out a laugh. “Yeah guess some might get a little enthused. Don’t think have to worry about that today.”

“Oh really?” Merlin asked.

“Nah, got an old bloke didn’t I?” Eggsy sighed and sat across from Merlin. “Don’t know why the universe hates me, but jesus, he’s probably like an accountant, or a dentist.”

“What is wrong with those professions?”

“Nothin’, just...I dunno…”

“Would it make it better or worse if your soulmate works for a tailor shop?” Merlin asked.

“Shit, a bleeding tailor?” Eggsy winced.

“Worse, he works the computer systems, inventory, online orders, maintaining the web page.”

“Oh god, I got a bleeding IT nerd?” Eggsy stared at him in horror. “He’s going to be a fat nerd, who spends all night playing computer games, yelling on the internet and never been laid.”

Merlin grinned sharply. “Oh trust me lad, I’ve been laid plenty in my day.”

Eggsy looked at the man and realized who he was. Shit. “Sholto?”

“Most people call me Merlin.” Merlin held out his hand and Eggsy shook it. “A nickname that stuck.”

“Hi Merlin.”

“Hello Eggsy.”

The woman returned with the small snack train and broke into the standard soulmate spiel and handed them some pamphlets on how to cope with meeting your soulmate. She then asked them to move closer together and took a photo of the matched pair. “You can have the room for twenty minutes. Enjoy!”

Eggsy looked at the man. “You tricked me.”

“Nae.” Merlin replied. “Ye assumed and I just rode it out. Could have let it go until she came back in.”

“You don’t look like how I expected.”

“So I gathered.” Merlin’s voice was dry. “You at least don’t look quite as young as I feared.”

Eggsy scowled. “Yeah, because I’m thrilled to be with a geezer older than me mum.”

Merlin sighed. “I didn’t mean -”

“No it’s fine. You don’t want a kid, I don’t want a fucking dad, so we both pretend this never happened.”

Eggsy started to walk out. “I knew your father.” Merlin called after him. Eggsy froze in place.

Merlin stepped a little closer. “Lee. He was a good man.”

“You weren’t the one to tell us. Don’t really remember the bloke, but know it wasn’t you.” Eggsy turned back.

“Nae, that was Harry. We were all in a special...group, there was a live training exercise and your father died saving lives.”

“And now you are an IT nerd, retired out?”

“Something like that. I just thought you should know.” Merlin grabbed his coat and tablet, prepared to walk out of Eggsy’s life.

“You really been waiting 26 years for your soulmate? I did the math on you.”

“Aye.” Merlin said quietly.

“No, I mean I know you’ve been waiting, but have you been waiting ?” Eggsy stressed.

“Aye.” Merlin replied. “Aye, I have. I may have hacked the system to know when my match was in there before the letter would be sent.” He laughed a little. “And then I was so bloody nervous that my mate Harry had to actually look for me.”

Eggsy smiled at how flustered the other man looked. “Merlin, want to go grab a pint, maybe chat a little?”

“It would be a pleasure.”

“Aces.” Eggsy’s smile grew into a grin.

***************

The pub was quiet and they were quieter. Merlin went and got them a couple of pints and came back.

“Oh, do ye drink?” Merlin asked.

“I’m 18 not 12.” Eggsy said, glaring a little.

“Right. Of course.” Merlin said. He put the bitters in front of them. They sort of stared at each other. Merlin opened his mouth to say something, anything.

“Don’t ask me about my future plans.” Eggsy said.

Merlin closed his mouth.

Eggsy sighed. “Look, Mum wants more for me, than what is around. Would have left after my GSCEs, but I was an idiot and did well on them. So I’m still in there finishing up my A levels. It also keeps me away from my step dad a bit. But I ain’t got one fucking clue what to do after this.”

“Nothing wrong with that lad.” Merlin said easily.

They drank for a while. “I thought maybe the marines like my Da, but Mum would go mental.” Eggsy blurted out.

“It is a good option. But you’ve time to think of what you want. Do you work along with finishing school?” Merlin asked.

Eggsy froze a little and then drank half his pint. “Uh, do some odd jobs for my stepdad.” was all he said. “So how do you go from Marines to a tailor shop?”

“You get on the tube and then take a few turns and go through a door.”

“Haha.” Eggsy said, but he was smiling a little.

“You have a charming smile lad.” Merlin said softly.

Eggsy wrinkled his nose a little, it wasn’t the sort of compliment he was used to. He finished his pint, pushed the glass forward a little. Merlin raised a brow and Eggsy sort of shrugged and nodded, another pint sounded decent.

Merlin threw his hand up to signal the bartender and Eggsy flinched back and away automatically. Merlin pulled his hand back down slowly. Took a real good look at the young man. After a few seconds Eggsy had to look away, he couldn't handle that stare, it was too intense.

The bartender brought them their second round. Eggsy held the glass but didn’t take a sip.

Merlin just kept staring at him.

“I am 44. I have been waiting every day since I turned 18 to meet my soulmate. My mother died of a heart attack three years ago, but my da is the terror of a retirement complex up in Inverness. I have a brother who’s an accountant, he was matched when he was twenty. My sister is a vet, matched at 24 to a woman from South Africa. They live in Kenya and work together at an animal refuge. I have held four jobs in my life. Paper boy, maths tutor, soldier, and now my position with Kingsman Tailors. I’ve had plenty of affairs over the years, but have always received a clean bill of health. I have no arrests on my record not even a D&D. I can speak 4 languages, and am for sure an IT nerd. My best friend is Harry Hart, it was he who delivered that medal around your neck that you are trying desperately not to touch right now.”

“Why are you telling me this?” Eggsy asked.

“So that ye can know me a little. I cannot be completely honest with you on somethings Eggsy, but what I can tell ye I will. Even if it is to tell you I cannae tell you. I am fiercely loyal, dangerously protective, and I fight dirty.”

“I still don’t get it.” Eggsy said.

Merlin pulled a small scrap of paper from his pocket. “I want you to believe me when I tell ye that this comes with absolutely no strings.”

"Wot?”

Merlin finished writing and handed him the paper. “Memorize that. It is the address of my flat. There is no key. When I go home tonight I will input your name and picture into my system. That string of numbers and letters there is your personal passcode. That is my work number and my private and my email. I tend to work odd numbers, but if you absolutely need to call the private number. You are one of 5 people that has that number. No matter what I always answer it. Use it only as you need to. My door is always open to you Eggsy, you do not have to call first, I don’t care what time, what circumstances, that door is open.” Merlin drained his drink. “I’ll head out, I would like to maybe meet ye again, if you are interested. Let me know.” Merlin leaned down right by Eggsy’s ear. “I promise lad, ye are safe with me.” Merlin’s lips just barely grazed his ear.

Eggsy closed his eyes and when he opened them the man was gone. Eggsy stayed at the table and finished his pint, staring at the numbers, until he knew they were in his head. He then lit the paper on fire, no way was he bringing that into his flat.

His hit the station and was home in time for supper.

“Well, baby, how did it go?” Michelle asked.

“Yeah, was he a fat fuck, like I figured he would be?” Dean said from the couch.

“Be nice.” Michelle admonished, Dean ignored her. Michelle pushed Eggsy into a chair. “How was he, was he nice, was he handsome?” She grinned.

“Yeah.” Eggsy smiled slowly. He thought about the man, the glass, the intense stare, the soft smile. “Yeah he was attractive Mum. Polite, nice.”

“Wot’s he do then?” She asked, so excited for her boy. “He got a real important job?”

“Nah, runs the computers for a tailor’s shop. Invoices, orders, their webpage. Bit of an IT nerd.”

“Oh well, not exciting but sounds like nice steady work at least.” Michelle said.

“Really an attractive nerd?” Dean snorted from the couch. “Wot he going to do with a loser like you?”

Eggsy opened his mouth, but Michelle shook her head a little. Eggsy grabbed the plate she put together for him and went to hide out in his room. He ate the food and pulled out his phone. He made up a fake name and added Merlin’s number and email in.

He then sent a simple message.

I am glad I didn’t fuck off on the meeting.

An hour later his phone dinged.

I am glad as well .

Eggsy grinned to himself and absolutely did not bounce on his bed.

 

Five Months Later

 

Eggsy was shivering as he stood in front of the posh building. It wasn’t an especially large a flat building, but he could smell the money. He stood in front of the digital keypad. His fingers were shaking but he hit the number for Merlin’s flat. There was a pause and he looked up at a noise and saw a camera zoom in on him. He wondered if it could recognize him with the blood and eye already swelling shut. But the digital read out then said

Mr Unwin enter your passcode.

Eggsy carefully pressed in the code that he had memorized months ago and almost wept when he heard the snick of the door. He walked through the building and took the elevator to the fourth floor. He stood in front of the door and realized he had no way to get into Merlin’s actual flat. Only as he touched the handle, the door swung open and he stumbled inside.

Eggsy was tired, and sore, and so very lost. He toed off his shoes and managed to walk the few feet to the couch before passing out.

Merlin had received a security notification but it was not an alarm so he ignored it while he guided Lancelot and Sagramore through their mission.

Harry though had stopped by to be a bother and looked at the message. Once Merlin was done, Harry smiled. “It seems you have company. Finally getting cozy with the soulmate?”

Merlin quickly typed and pulled up the security feed from the flat - it wasn’t hard, the building was owned by the Kingsman. He looked as Eggsy stumbled through the building, the small bit of blood that dripped on the halls tiles. And then switched it to his flat’s cameras where he saw Eggsy on the couch. He kept watching, making sure that the lad was breathing.

“I need to file my report.” Merlin said and turned back to his other screen. Harry spun his chair around.

“I’ve been here for most of it, and I know how you write. I’ll file your report. Go home.” Harry said. Merlin was going to protest, but Harry just dumped him out of the chair. “Go. And now that I’m on standby, should you need any assistance to deal with any situations.” Harry sat in the chair and started typing. “Sholto, don’t make me kick you all the way to the train.”

Merlin left and an hour later was crouched in front of the couch. Eggsy hadn’t woken up at the noise of his arrival. He smoothed Eggsy’s hair back, took in the bruising, tried to assess the damage, but couldn’t properly. He hated to do it, but he had to wake Eggsy up.

“Eggsy.” Merlin said quietly. “Lad wake up.” There was a groan and a twitch, but nothing else.

Merlin leaned in closer and lay a very gentle kiss on the split lip. It was a liberty he knew. They had seen each other several times over the last five months, and had exchanged a great deal of emails and texts, but they were taking it slow. They were both terrified, even if they never admitted it.

So five months and it was only their third kiss. Merlin pulled away and saw that Eggsy’s eyes were open. “I ain’t no Disney Princess”

“Oh I don’t know about that.” Merlin said softly. “Big pretty eyes, soft lips, can carry a tune. Seems to fit the bill a bit.” He touched Eggsy’ hair again. “Who do I need to kill lad?”

Eggsy laughed a little, not realizing that Merlin wasn’t joking. “I deserved it.”

Merlin’s face went hard. “Dean.” He started to get up.

“Wot?” Eggsy said, but Merlin was already stalking to the door. “No, wait! Weren’t Dean!” Eggsy sat up with a groan, fuck his ribs hurt. But Merlin was tapping at a wall and Eggsy’s eyes bugged out as a panel moved and Merlin opened the gun safe. Eggsy saw at least half a dozen weapons. “Shit. Sholto, I swear it weren’t Dean and it weren’t any of his mates.” Merlin stilled and turned to Eggsy. There was plenty Eggsy hadn’t told him over the last few months, but he had never outright lied.

Merlin put the gun down carefully. “Someone hurt you.”

“Yeah. But not them.”

“I don’t like you hurt.” Merlin said quietly.

Eggsy smiled. “Might be the nicest thing you’ve said to me.”

“What happened Eggsy?” Merlin put the gun away and closed the panel.

Eggsy made a show of looking around the flat. “You got a nice place here.”

Merlin went back over. “Ye can tell me.”

“No. I can’t.” Eggsy said. “I’ll just go.”

“I’ll not see you leave without tending your wounds.” Merlin said. He gently pulled Eggsy up and lead him to the bathroom. It was a good space, large. He got a bath running. He then helped Eggsy out of his jacket and shirt. He checked Eggsy’s ribs, seeing the bruises blooming, but relieved nothing seemed cracked or broken. He wet a washcloth and drew it over Eggsy’s face, wiping the blood away. No one ever touched Eggsy with such care, he wanted to weep.

“You should forget you met me.” Eggsy said.

“No.”

“I’m no good.” Eggsy tried.

Merlin stopped the water in the tub, he had perhaps been a little enthusiastic with the bubbles. He stood in front of Eggsy and never looking down undid the fly of his jeans, pushed them down and helped Eggsy step out of them and his pants. Merlin helped Eggsy into the tub, never once sneaking a peek at Eggsy.

“You got a raw deal getting me as your soulmate.” Eggsy tried again. Merlin just sat on the ground beside the tub, still saying nothing. He ran a cloth over the skinned knuckles. “Me and my mates were robbing a place, guy came home early with a few of his mates, objected to us trying to lift his sound system.” Eggsy looked at Merlin. “That’s the soulmate you got, thief, loser.”

“How are your friends?” Merlin asked.

Eggsy was confused by the question. “Fine, made sure they got away.”

Merlin smiled, kissed Eggsy’s knuckles. “That sentence is why you are my soulmate. I’ll get you a robe.”

When he returned, Eggsy looked at him. “Can I stay tonight?”

“Ye can stay as long as you like.” Merlin said holding the robe. He tossed it over his shoulder and grabbed a towel. “Come lad, let’s get you cozy.”

Eggsy carefully pushed himself up and watched as Merlin’s eyes never flicked off his face for a second. “Right gentleman ain’t you?”

“When the situation calls for it.” Merlin replied.

“If I say it don’t call for it?” Eggsy asked.

“I’ll tell you to ask again when you are all healed up. I have My Fair Lady downloaded and can order in some takeaway.” Merlin offered as he wrapped up Eggsy in his robe. It only looked a little absurd on him.

"You got the movie for me?” Eggsy grinned. “Awwww.”

Merlin rolled his eyes.

“Come on, how many more of my favs you got in your system, 1, 5, anything I ever mentioned?” Eggsy joked. Only he realized that Merlin was blushing, just a bit. “You did, you have all the movies I ever mentioned.” Merlin left the bathroom and Eggsy trailed after him. “Wot about music? You look up the stuff I mentioned?”

Merlin shuddered. “Dubstep may have scarred me for life.” Merlin went to the kitchen and pulled out some flyers. “Pick what ye like.”

Eggsy wouldn’t look at them. “If I go through your cupboards will I find caramel Tim Tams? Wot about your nightstand, you got my favourite book in there?” He pressed.

Merlin swept the sheets away, needing something to do with his hands. “Yes! Alright yes, if you mentioned something as enjoyable I looked it up. Some I hated, some I loved, but I gave everything at least a quick glance. I’m a besotted fool, trying to do whatever I can to make a lad 26 years younger than me be able to tolerate my presence for more than an hour or so at a go. I am trying to make sure that my soulmate can perhaps see some value in a man who is far too old for him. I wanted to be able to talk to you, engage. I wanted you to stay.”

“I want to see you more than an hour at a go.” Eggsy said.

“You always have an excuse, homework, work, friends, plans. I see you and then you’re gone.”

Eggsy smiled sadly, “Didn’t want to wear out my welcome.” He took a breath. “I read that sad book - why is a sad book your favourite?”

“Because it is beautiful in its sadness, because she chooses her inevitable fate.” Merlin looked at Eggsy. “You read Never Let Me Go . You read a favourite of mine.”

“Had to kill some time at the library one day.” Eggsy tried for nonchalant and failed. “So is both of us being scared shitless of all this another sign that we’re soulmates?”

“Perhaps.” Merlin said. “You cannae wear out your welcome.”

“Yeah?” Eggsy asked.

Merlin stepped around the table and cupped Eggsy’s face. “Yeah.” He kissed Eggsy carefully, mindful of the swollen lip. He then pulled Eggsy into a hug.

Eggsy gripped him tight, until his stomach growled.

Merlin laughed and pulled away. “PIzza or Chinese?”

“Could go for Indian, like all appetizers.” Eggsy said.

“Mmmmm good call.” Merlin agreed. He made a call and grabbed them a couple beers. They started the movie while they waited.

Later that night Merlin started to show Eggsy to the guest room but Eggsy refused. “Don’t want to fuck, but wouldn’t mind sharing space with you.”

“Very well then.” Merlin agreed and they settled in together in the master suite.

They didn’t cuddle but lay there looking at each other.

“We gonna talk about your arsenal?” Eggsy asked. He hadn’t brought it up because frankly that many guns freaked him out a little.

“Now Eggsy, ye know I don’t support the Gunners or any English team. Betray my beloved Jags? Never.”

“Sholto.” Eggsy said into the dark. “A good bit of those guns, ain’t exactly legal.”

“Can you forget that you saw that cabinet?” Merlin asked.

“Yeah. Yeah you tell me you’re an IT nerd for a poncy tailor shop and you say it without a blink then I can forget I saw that.”

“I am an IT nerd for a poncy tailor shop.” Merlin said. He didn’t blink.

“Okay then, I guess my memory little fuzzy, did get beat up after all, easy for eyes to play tricks.”  Eggsy agreed.

Merlin held out his hand and Eggsy lay his on top.

 

*****************************

 

Eggsy woke up alone. He found painkillers and a glass of water beside the bed. He got up slowly, stiff. “Merlin?” He called out but there was no answer. He made his way to the shower, moaning as the soft spray from three different shower heads.

He made his way through the flat after getting dressed and stopped when he saw the gear on the table. It was serious shit, the highest end sound system that he had ever seen. There was also a rolex and a few other things. He picked up the note on top.

To help you avoid another mishap. Indulge me Eggsy.

Please .

Eggsy didn’t want to take it, wanted to be better than that. But he also knew Dean, what the loss from the night would mean, what it could mean for his mum. He looked at the note again, looked at the please.

He’d make it up to Merlin, he swore to himself as he put everything into the bag that Merlin had left out.

 

A couple weeks later Eggsy was staring at his mum in shock. “Wot do you mean you’re kicking me out?”

Michelle sighed. “I’m not kicking you out, darling.”

“You just asked when I was moving in with my soulmate, sort of implies you want me gone.” Eggsy glared at her.

“Well almost six months Eggsy, about this time soulmates start to get more, you know.” Michelle tried for suggestive but it just made Eggsy wince.

“We’ve been taking it slow, getting to know each other.”

“That’s good, that’s smart.” Michelle agreed. “But are you also maybe doing that to avoid…”

“Avoid?” Eggsy asked.

“Don’t make me say it.” Michelle winced. “Don’t make me ask you about your sex life.”

Eggsy shuddered a little. “No Mum, not trying to avoid that, just haven’t yet.”

They heard Dean banging about in the main bedroom, waking with what was going to be a hell of a hangover.

Michelle looked at Eggsy. “There are other reasons to consider moving out.” She said quietly.

“Mum, that’s why I need to stay.” Eggsy whispered back.

“No.” Michelle’s voice was firm. “You think I don’t know what you get up to, what he has you get up to? I don’t want you to join the marines, die like your father, but I don’t want you staying here, being broken bit by bit.”

“Like you?” Eggsy asked, angry.

But she just looked at him. “Like me.”

“Mum -”

“I want you out Eggsy, I’ll not see you be less than you deserve, I’ll not see you settle.” Michelle looked up as Dean came in. “Wot, do you need Dean?” Her voice quiet.

“Bit o hair of the dog, some eggs.” Dean said. Michelle poured him a shot and started a fry up.

“Hey Muggsy, might need you to do me a favour this weekend.” Dean said.

Michelle took a breath. “He can’t Dean. He just told me that he’s moving this weekend, in with his soulmate. Finally got himself all sorted there.”

“Oh really, moving in with the geezer?” Dean asked.

Michelle turned to Eggsy, eyes begging. Eggsy looked at Dean, looked around the flat. Thought of Merlin’s place.

“Yeah, yeah I am.”

“Won’t it be nice Dean, us having the place to ourselves?” Michelle said with a wink. Dean gave her a slap on the ass.

“Yeah, being alone’ll definitely be good.” Dean agreed. “Be nice not to see his ugly mug when I wake up.” Dean laughed.

Eggsy looked his mum who nodded just a little. “Yeah, happy to get out of your hair.” Now he just had to ask Merlin.

He looked at the window and the door. Shit the place looked fancy. He had looked at the webpage for Kingsman Tailors a bunch, it looked good, but of course it did, he knew Merlin would be aces at his job. But it didn’t really prepare him for seeing the shop in person. He took a breath and pulled the door open. Oh god the place even smelled like money. There was an old guy moving about bolts of fabric but he stopped when the bell chimed.

Eggsy waited for a sneer, a cutting word, but the old guy just said. “How may I help you sir?”

“Um, I need to see Merlin.” Eggsy said. “Er, Sholto Blair? Kind of important.”

“Of course.” The man gestured. “He’s probably buried in his work, but I’ll get word to him, it might just take a moment. You can wait in here, I’ll see you get some tea.” Eggsy looked at the sitting room. He wondered if anything in it was less than 100 years old.

“Thanks, um?”

“Andrew sir.” The old man said.

“Thanks, Andrew.” Eggsy repeated. He took a cautious step into the room and sat on a chair. It was pretty comfy. A few minutes later, Andrew brought in a tray and said that Merlin would be along as soon as he could. Eggsy pulled out his phone and started to play a game.

“Well what have we here?” Eggsy looked up at the voice. Old bloke, stick up his arse.

“Eggsy.” He said.

“Hmmm.” The man looked at him, exactly like he expected someone at this shop to. “And what is your business with Merlin?”

“My business.” Eggsy replied.

“This is my shop.”

“Still my business.” Eggsy smiled.

The man opened his mouth, no doubt to say something aresholey but another bloke came in. One Eggsy recognized, just a little.

“I know you.” Eggsy blurted out.

“Yes, you do.” The man smiled. “Chester, you have a phone call in your office.”

“See this man out, Harry, Merlin is busy.” Chester walked out without giving Eggsy another glance.

“Wanker.” Eggsy muttered. He looked at Harry. “You gonna show me the door then?”

“No, not until you’ve seen Merlin. He sent me to keep you company, he’s just wrapping up a call himself.”

“Awfully busy for an IT nerd innit he?” Eggsy asked.

“You have no idea.” Harry sat across from Eggsy. “I have known Merlin longer than you’ve been alive.”

Eggsy sighed. “Gonna warn me away from my fucking soulmate?”

“No, I was going to ask if you wanted to know any embarrassing stories.”

Eggsy leaned forward. “YES!!!!”

40 minutes later Merlin walked in and saw Harry sitting there pleased and Eggsy laughing hard, almost falling out of his chair.

“No.” Merlin said. “No, you two are not allowed to become friends.”

Harry stood, “Too late I’m afraid.” He nodded to Eggsy, “It was my pleasure to spend time with you, I have a house not too far away from Merlin, you are welcome whenever.”

“Thanks, Harry, you’re aces.” Eggsy said still giggling.

Harry walked over to Merlin, “I like him. Do not cock this up.”

Harry left and Merlin looked at Eggsy. “Whatever he told you was a dirty rotten lie.”

“He said you would say that.” Eggsy was grinning. “You got more friends like him?”

Merlin sighed, “Aye, a couple.”

“Your boss is a jackass though.”

Merlin froze a little. “Chester talked to ye?”

“Yeah, but mostly gave him the brush off, Harry rescued me.”

“I’ll impress on him that my soulmate is welcome here at anytime. I trust Andrew was kind to ye.”

Eggsy smiled easily, “Yeah he was cool. He manage the front all by himself?”

“There are those who work under him, do the actual sewing, but aye he works the front, his tiny kingdom as it were.” Merlin’s look was fond. “The mannequins are getting hard for him to move about, not that he’d ever ask for help.”

“I could help him, if he needs it sometime.” Eggsy offered.

“That is very kind of ye, I’ll make sure to mention it to him. Now I am due a break, want to go out?” Merlin asked.

“Yeah. Need to talk to you.” Eggsy replied.

Merlin nodded and they headed out. They went to a small cafe around the corner from the shop, where Eggsy shredded a napkin to bits.

“Lad, just tell me. Making me nervous here.” Merlin said.

“Wot?” Eggsy looked up from his nervous fingers.

“Dropped out of school, joined the marines, never want to see me again, have six months to live, just tell me.”

“Right.” Eggsy took a breath. “Mum has sort of kicked me out of the flat, told Dean I was moving in with you.” Eggsy looked at Merlin. “She wants me out before he pulls me too deep.”

“A good woman.” Merlin said. “Will she leave?”

“I hope, but…”

Merlin nodded, understanding. “And how do you feel about it?”

“Scared to leave her, but she ain’t wrong. I don’t get gone, it will be just more and more. I’ll pay you back for what you gave me.”

“I didn’t mind.” Merlin said easily.

Eggsy looked at him. “I do.”

“Okay, we can work something out. As you said, Andrew could use some help, and Harry travels a lot, his place needs some looking after, and I keep odd hours, so my place could use some help too.”

“I need a place to live too, can’t make a liar out of Mum, it would just come back at her.”

“Eggsy, I don’t mind you moving in.” Merlin smiled. “I don’t mind at all.”

Eggsy stilled his fingers. “Okay. Jamal and Ryan can help me this weekend.”

“We have a truck ye can use.” Merlin thought about it, “I have a couple friends as well.”

“Nah, me and my boys can get it squared, really just my personal things, don’t exactly need to move furniture. I can come collect the truck Saturday morning, be at your place I’m guessing three or four hours.”

“Very well then, I’ll make some space.”

“I won’t take up much.”

“Eggsy you can have all you need.” Merlin reassured.

“Okay then, Saturday.”

"Saturday.”

*********************************

“No fuckin way is this where you’re movin to.” Jamal said staring at the building. “You said he’s an IT nerd? How the fuck he affording this?”

“I dunno, didn’t ask, just move your lazy ass, let’s get a load up there.” Eggsy said, three garbage bags of clothes in his hand. He went to the keypad and hit the numbers. The whole ride up, Jamal and Ryan were mouthing off about posh gits and soft IT nerds and why couldn’t they have a soulmate sugar daddy?

They shut up though when Eggsy pushed the door open and Merlin was coming down the hall, pulling on a t-shirt.

“He ain’t from the fucking IT Crowd.” Ryan hissed.

“Shut it.” Eggsy hissed back, embarrassed.

Merlin ignored all that. “I meant to come down to help ye.”

“We got it.” Eggsy said.

“No we don’t, you got heavy shit, and he looks right fit. He can order us pizza and then help out.” Jamal grinned. “Less you worried about roughing up your typing fingers.”

Merlin held out his hands, a couple fingers just a little crooked, scars a plenty. “Already a little rough boys, and don’t mind getting rougher.”

Ryan whistled and Eggsy pushed him out of the door.

There was a good bit of swearing and trash talking as they unloaded and put Eggsy’s stuff away. At first he had been going for the guest room, but had quickly seen the space made in the master. Jamal nudged him and made several rude gestures. “My pal finally getting laid.”

Eggsy pushed him around and got him in a decent head lock, them both collapsing on the couch. Merlin went and grabbed beers for everyone.

“Where’s the pizza?” Ryan asked.

“I had timed the delivery it should be here any moment.” Merlin said.

10 minutes later there was a knock on the door. Jamal and Ryan were busy playing Fifa against each other and didn’t notice when Merlin’s hand went to the small of his back. But Eggsy did.

He noticed when the hand dropped away as Harry walked in with pizza.

“I was coming to help with the move and ran into this downstairs.”

“Excellent timing, when we’ve finished all our work.” Merlin said dryly.

“Isn’t it though?”

“So who’s the new posh guy then?” Ryan said looking over.

“This is Harry, he’s my you guys.” Merlin said waving at the two on the ground.

“Hey Harry.” They both said going back to the game.

Merlin put the pizza on the table and tried to think when there had been this much noise in his apartment and came up blank. He liked it. He grabbed a slice of pizza and a beer and watched Harry argue with Eggsy over what teams to cheer for. He eventually took a turn on the console kicking Jamal’s ass.

A few hours later it was Eggsy who was kicking all the company out and he and his guys got tired of watching Harry and Merlin just destroy people in Halo multiplayer.

“We can come back right? You’re not going to forget about us now that you live all high and mighty?” Ryan joked, but all three looked over to Merlin.

“I don’t see why Eggsy wouldn’t invite his friends to his home.” Merlin said. “This idiot shows up whenever, I’d imagine you two will be similar.” Harry pretended to look offended before strolling out with a wave.

Ten minutes later Eggsy and Merlin were alone. “I’m gonna shower.” Eggsy said.

“I’ll clean out here a bit.” Merlin replied.

“K.” Eggsy almost ran to the shower. He had no idea what to do. He had hoped that finding his soulmate would maybe be a way out of his life, but now that it had happened, Eggsy needed to figure out what was next. He stayed in the shower too long, he knew but he was scared to get out. Eventually though the warm water started to turn cold and he got out.

He made his way to the bedroom where Merlin was sitting on the bed in just his pants. Eggsy took a breath and dropped the towel around his waist. Waited for something, anything. What he didn’t expect was Merlin to come over, drop to his knees and lay a gentle kiss on the soulmate mark on Eggsy’s hip. He then stood and kissed Eggsy.

“Ready for bed?” Merlin asked like he hadn’t just broken Eggsy’s brain.

“Yes?” Eggsy replied.

Merlin went and got under the covers and Eggsy joined him. “So we going to get going?” Eggsy asked.

“Do ye want to?” Merlin pulled Eggsy into his arms.

“Yes.”

“Tonight?”

“No.” Eggsy admitted. “I, uh...never have...I mean I’ve done things, you know, lots, but.”

Merlin kissed the top of his head. “I understand. Take all the time ye need.”

“Can you stop being all cool and shit, it’s really annoying.” Eggsy said.

“I’ll burn the toast in the morning and make sure to have the worst morning breath ever.” Merlin offered.

“Good.” Eggsy snuggled into his arms.

 

It took less than a week for them to settle into a routine. Or as much of a routine as they could. Merlin hadn’t been joking about weird hours. He in theory should be working a 9 to 5, but was often gone in the morning by 7 and back anywhere from 3 to 9. And what IT guy had emergencies at 2am - not that Merlin ever offered explanation.

Eggsy went to class, hung out with Jamal and Ryan and did end up helping Andrew around the shop a bit, especially when a new shipment of fabric arrived or things needed to be moved. Like Harry he had stories about Merlin, though they were of a less embarrassing nature.

Eggsy was helping Andrew change the window display out and Andrew was talking about Harry and Merlin at 25.

“But you can’t have known about that. They would have been marines, or MI-6 or whatever back then, they weren’t sales and IT here then, only did that in the last few years, after they finished all that cloak and dagger stuff.” Eggsy adjusted the tie on the mannequin.

“Of course Mr. Unwin, but they’ve told stories.”

“You were talking personally.” Eggsy said looking at the old man. “You were talking like you were almost there.”

“I’m sure you are mistaken, distracted by helping me.” Andrew said looking Eggsy dead in the eye.

“Sure, I’ll just add it to the list of other things I pretend I don’t see or know.” Eggsy said.

“Very good sir. Would you like to learn how to tie that knot there?” Andrew asked.

“Why not?” Eggsy agreed.

And when Harry showed up bruised and with a broken arm on their doorstep, claiming he had been robbed in Milan, Eggsy smiled and handed him a blanket and said it was a shame. Living with Dean had taught him to never ask questions, you might not like the answers.

Eggsy liked how his world was being shaped, he wasn’t going to rock the boat unless he had to.

 

Jamal and Ryan were often over on Saturday nights and they had even played cards with Harry and this other bloke James, who also just happened to have known his dad.

“So what you are just magically decided to one day up and go to work for a tailor shop together?” Eggsy asked staring at the the older men while Jamal and Ryan were out on the balcony having a smoke.

“Life is full of strange and wondrous events isn’t it?” James said. “Best not to look for too many explanations into the weird and wacky thing we can life.”

“Uh-huh.” Eggsy rolled his eyes. “Could you all actually try to be sneaky about all this shit, it would make pretending not to see it a lot easier.” Harry and James looked at Merlin.

“Did you expect my soulmate to be an idiot?”

“Little bit.”

“Frankly yes.”

“Thank ye so much.” Merlin replied. “We aren’t tailors ourselves but we do work for Kingsman tailors.”

“I’m gonna go smoke.” Eggsy said stepping out.

“He’s too smart.” Harry said.

“Aye.”

“Bring him in.” James suggested.

"Fuck you, I only just got him after waiting this long, I’ll nae have him risking his life.” Merlin growled.

“Lots of jobs that aren’t field or wet work.” Harry said mildly.

“He’s not even done school, he might want college.”

Harry snorted.

“Okay, he doesn’t want college. Harry I can’t tell him the truth, Chester would have my head.”

“So you keep lying to the man you love.”

“I dinnae say I love him.” Merlin protested.

Both Harry and James rolled their eyes and then just stared at him.

“Fine I mayhap love Eggsy but -” Merlin heard the snick of the balcony door, realized his friends had set him up a bit. “I hate you both.”

“Yup, everyone out of my flat right now.” Eggsy said. Jamal and Ryan knew well that voice and were out within five minutes, with Harry and James not far behind.

Merlin and Eggsy stared at each other across the living room.

“You’re my soulmate.” Eggsy said. “Got this ugly ass mark on my hip that says that so I mean you kinda gotta love me.”

“I don’t find it ugly.” Merlin said.

“It’s bloody cross hairs.” Eggsy said. “It’s a goddamn scar.”

“I don’t find it ugly.” Merlin repeated. “And I don’t just love you because the universe seemed to decide that we were fated.”

“Oh really?” Eggsy crossed his arms. “Why you love me then?”

“Because ye are smart and beautiful and sharp, you are razor wire across my skin and I relish the pain. Because you annoy me at least 6 times a day but if I don’t see you for a few hours that’s even more annoying. Because you are you.” Merlin shrugged. “I don’t mind the cross hairs because ye were a bullet that tore through my life the day we met in that office and I am happy for the scars of that.”

“Well, shit, anything I say is going to sound crap next to that.” Eggsy said.

“Ye don’t have to say anything if ye don’t want.” Merlin offered.

"You leave the lid off the peanut butter.”

“Okay.”

“You have funny smelling tea, and your movie collection is too organized, and you snore, and do have just appalling morning breath, and you lie to me every single fucking day.” Eggsy stared at Merlin. “And I love you too.”

They stayed separated by the coffee table and sofa. “What do we do now?” Eggsy asked eventually.

“I don’t really know.” Merlin admitted.

“Fool around?” Eggsy finally suggested.

“Aye.” Merlin grinned and began to stalk towards Eggsy who tore down the hall.

 

*******************************

Merlin woke to a weird sensation. A touch on his skin. He opened his eyes and couldn’t see Eggsy. But then he felt what woke him again. A finger, Eggsy under the blankets just tracing the soul mark on his hip. Again and again the finger ran over the raised skin. Around and across, softly and endless motion. He could feel Eggsy’s breath against his skin.

“Eggsy?” Merlin asked, but there was no answer just that finger in motion, though it pressed a little firmer now that Merlin was awake. Merlin slid his hand under the blanket and combed it through Eggsy’s hair.

Eggsy said something but Merlin couldn’t make it out. “Budge up lad.” Merlin said. Eggsy wiggled his way up and lay his head on Merlin’s chest, just low enough that his fingers could easily keep tracing the mark.

“I asked what do you prefer?”

“Prefer for what?”

“Your friends call you Merlin, I’ve called you that and Sholto - what do you prefer? It feels like something I should know, and I don’t.”

“Merlin is a work name that has just stuck since most of my friends are work friends.” Merlin said.

“IT wizard?” Eggsy laughed a little.

“Do ye not think computers take a certain amount of magic?” Merlin asked.

“Sure, why not.” Eggsy agreed. “Don’t answer my question.”

“I am fine with either. My family calls me Sholto.” Merlin finally said.

“Is that what I am then?”

Merlin took even longer to answer. “Aye, if ye want.”

“Aye.” Eggsy tried for a growl but on top of the Estuary in his voice it was just absurd. Finally though the fingers stopped tracing and pressed in right at the centre of the cross hairs. He then covered the whole of Merlin’s mark with his hand. “You know, maybe it ain’t so ugly.” Eggsy kissed the Merlin’s chest and then flicked his tongue over a nipple. “Not ugly at all.” His hand moved in from the mark and slowly grasped Merlin’s cock. He didn’t move just stayed there holding him.

“Going to do something there Eggsy?” Merlin asked, voice even deeper than normal.

“Was more hoping you might do something.” Eggsy said. He tilted his head up and winked at Merlin.

“Are ye sure?” Merlin asked.

“Yeah.” Eggsy’s smile was luminous. “Not that the two fingers last night weren’t awesome, but I want everything.”

“I’ll be right back.” Merlin said. He went to the bathroom and was back in a couple minutes with a condom and a towel.

“Do we need that? I’m clean.” Eggsy said.

“As am I, but for your first time, for comfort sake, ye don’t want to go bare.” Merlin said. He put them on the table and crawled back into the bed and kissed Eggsy. Eggsy giggled when he realized that Merlin had also brushed his teeth.

They started slow, kissing, touching, but Eggsy was restless, hungry for it. Merlin grabbed the lube and worked his way down Eggsy’s body, kissing everything in his path. He licked at Eggsy’s cock and Eggsy moaned. He distracted Eggsy with his mouth on the young man’s cock while he slicked a finger and slowly pushed into Eggsy. It was easier for Eggsy than last night and it wasn’t too long before Merlin was twisting two fingers in and out.

Eggsy tapped at Merlin’s head. “Wish you had hair to yank.”

Merlin paused a little. “Really?”

“Nah, not really you a sexy beast, just as you are, but it would have easily got your attention, and you keep sucking on me and I’ll pop off and don’t want to, not until -”

Merlin nodded, understanding. “Three?”

“Yeah.”

“Breathe Eggsy.” Merlin said as three slicked fingers slid into Eggsy. It was more than Eggsy had had in him before and it took a moment to adjust but Merlin was patient. Eggsy soon was moving rocking his hips in time with Merlin’s fingers, dying every time they brushed his prostate.

“Okay. You now.” Eggsy said.

“Ye already have me in you.” Merlin teased, kissing Eggsy’s nose.

“Oh shut it and fuck me Sholto.”

“As ye command.” Merlin said. “How do you want to be?” He asked as he put on the condom and added more lube.

“Like this? Want to see you.”

“Mmmm, I do like to look at you.” Merlin said. He settled in between Eggsy’s legs and lined up and pushed just a little in.

“Fuck.” Eggsy said. “Okay yup see the point of the condom.” He took a breath and let it out slowly. He nodded and Merlin pushed until he was fully seated in Eggsy.

Soon he started a slow rocking, an undulation that allowed him to sink slowly into Eggsy again and again. It wasn’t long before Eggsy was cursing a blue streak and Merlin touched his cock and a few tugs and Eggsy was coming. Merlin followed shortly after.

He caught his breath and carefully pulled out ditching the condom and using the towel to wipe Eggsy up a bit.

“Yeah, if I had know it would have been like that, would have done it in that stupid office the first day. Good call on them to not have a couch.” Eggsy said.

Merlin laughed. “Come let’s have a bath, your body will thank me.”

“Can we spend the whole day naked?” Eggsy asked.

“I’ll call into the office, I think they can manage without me.” Merlin said.

“You sure?” Merlin had never actually taken a day completely off in months that Eggsy had known him, even if it was just an hour or two in the office that Eggsy didn’t have access to. The one that had some impressive security, even more than the building.

“Aye, Harry owes me a favour or thirty, Chester fusses he’ll distract him.”

It made Eggsy think of something. “Andrew called him Arthur once. After said he was thinking of someone else, but he weren’t.”

“Lots of people have a couple names they go by.” was all Merlin said.

“Arthur, the boss of Merlin.” Eggsy said.

Merlin just looked at him.

“Another piece I pretend I don’t have Sholto?” Eggsy asked, he stared at the water, sad. He hated that he ruined the moment.

Merlin picked up Eggsy’s hand and kissed his knuckles. “What matters right now, is that today I am yours, completely and fully yours.”

“Sure. Sure I can do that.” Eggsy agreed. They sank into the water together. And the rest of the day, Merlin was indeed entirely Eggsy’s in a way he hadn’t yet been.

 

***************************************

Eggsy finished school and Merlin took him to meet his family.

Merlin stayed at work for 36 hours and when he came home he woke up screaming, and Eggsy held him while he cried..

Eggsy visited his mum, whose makeup didn’t quite hide the bruises and Merlin put on movies and fed him junk food.

Merlin showed Eggsy how to shoot a gun, and Eggsy didn’t ask how Merlin was just so good at it.

Jamal and Ryan warned Eggsy that Dean had been growing erratic, been asking about Eggsy, and Eggsy hung out about the old estate a little more to keep an eye on his mum and Merlin quietly had him tailed.

Merlin went on a business trip with Harry and they both came back, blood in their suitcase, and Eggsy disposed of the clothes.

Eggsy made love to Merlin, and realized it had been a year since they met.

Merlin said I love you every day, and Eggsy knew that was never a lie, even when so much else was.

 

Eggsy was helping Andrew do quarterly inventory, it was late, but Merlin was still working somewhere in the office he had never seen, had never been invited to.

“Andrew?”

“Yes Mr. Unwin?” Andrew asked as he made a note on his page, in an ancient ledger.

“If I ask you one question, just one, only ever this one will you answer it?” Eggsy moved the bolts they were done counting.

Andrew put his pen down and looked at Eggsy. “Just this one Eggsy.”

“Is he always going to be lying to me?”

“Yes. Though it is not necessarily his choice.” Andrew looked at Eggsy and picked up his pen again. “Let us now go through the houndstooth.”

“Yes sir.” Eggsy agreed, weight on his heart heavy.

They worked their way through the fabric, hours of boring but somehow soothing work. Andrew was just about to suggest a break when Jamal came running in, knuckles and face bloody.

“Shit, Eggsy, thank god, you weren’t at the flat. fuck man.” Eggsy grabbed Jamal and put him on the couch.

“Wot happened? Where’s Ryan?”

Jamal was gasping for breath. “With your mum. Something went wrong, Dean went mental, deal broke, bunch of people got scooped up by the cops. He just went insane trashed the place and when your mum tried to stop him, he just back handed her, knocked her to the ground, grabbed a knife. We had shown up, the noise, and we promised you we’d keep an eye. Poodle were there too, and he and I got in the scuffle and Ryan got your mum up and out, but Dean’s hunting her down. Shit man, we got to go.”

Eggsy looked at Andrew. “I called Merlin, no answer, he had a delicate online situation to deal with I believe. I’ll keep trying.” Andrew promised.

“Stop the fucking lies. I need him now.” Eggsy said.

“I will keep trying.” Andrew said. “We can also call the police.”

“You don’t call the cops in my neck of the woods.” Eggsy said. “Not if you want to live. I’m going to save my mum. Tell Merlin that I’d appreciate it if he could leave his web page and help me save a life or two.” Eggsy started out the door and remembered something. Remembered someone. “Or better here.” Eggsy dropped the medal on the desk in front of Andrew. “I pretend everyday I don’t remember Harry, remember getting this. Call the fucking number if you even have to and say Oxfords not Brogues. Maybe that will get me some help. Let’s go Jamal.” Eggsy was running to the door, Jamal following behind and they didn’t see Andrew’s fingers shake as he reached for the phone.

Eggsy and Jamal approached the row of flats cautiously, and Eggsy could see the shattered windows of his old place. They went up the steps but couldn’t hear anything at first and then they heard the thump and the shout. Michelle’s scream.

Eggsy barreled in the room, to see Ryan crumbled on the ground, Michelle doing her best to protect him. Poodle was trying to drag her away and Dean had grabbed a bat. Eggsy didn’t think, just tackled Dean. Jamal jumped in to and tried to get Poodles’ hand out of Michelle’s hair. Eggsy was trying his best, and had a few moves, but Dean was stronger and meaner. He managed to get up and threw Eggsy against the wall and started trying to cave in his ribs.

Dean was swearing, running his mouth, Eggsy couldn’t even really figure out what he was saying, just tried to keep the blows from doing too much damage. He could see his mum and Jamal scratching at Poodle and that Ryan was at least breathing. He felt a hard blow to his face and it dazed him. He saw Dean grabbed the cleaver and tried to picture Merlin. It would at least be a nice thing to think about as he died.

“Get the fuck away from him.” Merlin roared. Harry and James were behind him.

How did guys who looked so posh, look so fucking scary. James stayed at the door, blocking it as Harry and Merlin went into the flat.

“Yeah, why should I listen to you? Not like a fellow like you is going to do anything.” Dean sneered looking at Merlin. “What you toffs know about fighting?”

“Rather a lot actually.” Harry said. “But there will not be a fight here.” And Harry tazed Poodle with his signet ring. Dean was just distracted enough that Eggsy managed to push him away and that was enough for Merlin to grab him and break the arm holding the cleaver. Merlin was fierce and methodical and breaking the man apart.

“Merlin that is enough.” Harry said. Merlin ignored him. “Merlin, Sholto! Oxfords not Brogues!” Harry yelled and Merlin finally stopped, dropping Dean to the ground. “We only take a life to save another.”

“Killing him would save plenty.” Merlin replied.

“Perhaps, and it may come to that, but killing him tonight would only cast too much light Eggsy’s way.” Harry said and that was enough to start calming Merlin down. “We will deliver these two, with plenty of evidence to the authorities after a healthy dose of amnesia dart. We will also see to Jamal and Ryan, you just take care of Eggsy and his mother.”

Merlin nodded and finally went over to Eggsy. He touched at his face gently, more beat up than that first time he’d shown on Merlin’s door.

Eggsy coughed and spit out a little blood. “IT nerd.” He managed to say.

“Well, those viruses can put up a mighty battle.” Merlin said.

Eggsy laughed a little but it hurt his ribs. “Go help Mum yeah.”

Merlin nodded and went over to Michelle and helped her up, and realized carrying her would be easiest. He nodded to Harry and took his two charges out of the small flat.

A couple hours later Michelle was asleep in the guest room and Merlin and Eggsy were sitting at the kitchen table, Eggsy bandaged up and on a fair number of pain killers.

“Thought you had a work situation.” Eggsy finally said.

“I did.”

“How many die because you came to save me?”

“My subordinates are decent and it wasn’t as dire as Chester had made it out to be.” Merlin said. “None of ours died.”

“But they could have. Because of me.”

Merlin looked at him. “I want ye to understand this Eggsy to keep you safe, do ye have no clue what I would do? I would destroy kingdoms, let a thousand die to help ye.”

“That’s bad math. One of me for a thousand.” Eggsy said.

“A thousand, ten, fifty, saving the world means fuck all if ye aren’t there in it.”

“And that’s what you do, save the world.” Eggsy replied. He looked at Merlin. “I think it would be very difficult to go back to pretending after tonight. And I don’t know that if you asked me to, that I could smile and say sure. I don’t know that we can last, no matter how much you are a part of me, if we go back to what we were doing.”

“It is not my call to make.”

“No, you came for me to tonight and brought reinforcements. You came for me when you were working whatever it is you do, so yeah, I think tonight it is your call.”

Merlin looked at Eggsy and then looked at his fingers. He saw that Eggsy was tracing their soul mark onto the table. He wondered if Eggsy even realized it.

“I am an IT nerd, and I did actually design the webpage for the shop.” Merlin said. “But my skills are broader than that.”

“How much broader?” Eggsy asked.

"I had been recruited away from MI-6, when I was 23. That is when I joined the Kingsman.” Merlin looked at Eggsy. “In the Kingsman I currently hold a position that I probably would have worked my way to in MI-6. We use names from the stories of King Arthur, they use letters of the alphabet. Just like in the movies.”

Merlin waited for Eggsy to clue in. He didn’t think it would take long and he was right.

“Q. You would have been Q at MI-6.”

“Aye. And for the Kingsman I am Merlin, their Quartermaster.”

“Harry and James?”

“Galahad and Lancelot.”

“And my dad?” Eggsy asked.

“He was also in the running for the position of Lancelot, and he died saving all of our lives.” Merlin explained. “We operate at the height of secrecy and discretion and we save the world.”

Eggsy nodded. “Okay then.”

Merlin blinked and waited, but Eggsy didn’t say anything else. “Eggsy ye cannot tell your mother or your friends.”

“I ain’t no grass.” Eggsy said easily.

“Beyond this conversation, we can’t really talk about the job. I can’t risk the security of my agents.”

“No sure, that makes sense.” Eggsy grinned, he loved how flummoxed Merlin was at the moment.

“Do ye have any other questions?” Merlin asked.

“Can we go cuddle Sholto?”

“Ummm, alright.” Merlin agreed.

“You’re the guv.” Eggsy walked towards their bedroom.

Merlin had no idea what was going on.

 

He had a better idea when Eggsy was found with Andrew everyday for the next two weeks.

He had a really good idea when he saw Harry and Eggsy jog by, and do some light sparring in the park.

And he had a very crystal clear idea when he got notification at work that his personal office had been broken into. He went home and saw Eggsy sitting all cozy at his desk, playing on what should have been a very secure computer.

“Sholto.” Eggsy said.

“Eggsy.” Merlin replied.

“You know, I don’t think the marines are for me, Mum’s right would just be cannon fodder.” Eggsy put his feet up on the table.

“i’m guessing though, that ye have come up with some future plans haven’t ye?” Merlin’s voice was dry.

“Well you see my soulmate works these crazy hours and sure I know he has some assistance, but I’m thinking that he could do with some more, especially if that person already got along real well with the front face of the Kingsman tailor’s and two of its deadliest agents.” Eggsy was entirely too smug. “I mean a man who manages to work his way through a quartermaster’s security well that’s someone you want to bring in innit?”

Merlin looked at Eggsy, his beautiful boy, his smart lad, his soulmate. Every day he realized more and more just how perfect Eggsy was for him.

Still he sighed dramatically and shook his head. “I admit, I cannae allow a man with this kind of sensitive information free. I think ye will be on lockdown for quite a while.”

“Yeah?” Eggsy asked. “How long?”

“For as long as we can have.” Merlin replied.

“Seems like a decent start.” Eggsy grinned. Merlin moved fast and grabbed Eggsy and tossed him over his shoulder hoping to wipe the grin off of Eggsy’s face. In the end he only made it bigger.

 

 

The next day Eggsy stood in Merlin’s office and looked at the fleet of vehicles through the window, all the computer monitors, still a little sick from the bullet train.

“Welcome to the Kingsman.” Merlin said.

“Fuck me.” was all Eggsy came up with.

“That’s on the schedule for our lunch break.” Merlin replied and he sat at a computer.

“Aces.” Eggsy said as he pulled up his own chair.