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Love Potion No. 9

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Eggsy cursed his feet when he realized that they had taken him to Arthur’s office.

It wasn’t much of a surprise that they had.  Whenever Eggsy was at HQ with nothing to do- which was rarely- he gravitated to Harry.  The problem, of course, was that right now the last person Eggsy needed to see was Harry fucking Hart.  It took Eggsy a fraction of a second to stop short- a fraction of a second too long, as it turned out, because there was Harry himself coming around the corner.

Eggsy tried to make himself backtrack, duck around a doorway or into a closet, run away.  At this point Harry couldn’t fail to notice the snub- but later, when this was all over, Eggsy would explain and Harry would understand and maybe even thank him for it.

That was a lucky escape, wasn’t it, my boy? Eggsy could already picture Harry joking.  Can you imagine if I’d-

“Eggsy, are you all right?”

He had officially hesitated for too long.  Harry was at his side now, his hand coming to rest lightly on Eggsy’s arm. Eggsy winced in preparation for he didn’t even know what, but then nothing else happened- there was just Harry’s hand on his shoulder, as warm and infuriatingly paternal as ever.  Just Harry’s eyes meeting Eggsy’s with that soft and understanding look as he waited for Eggsy to relax and remember that Harry had never hurt him and never would.   

It had been months since Eggsy had last flinched away from Harry like that, and longer still since Harry had asked Eggsy if he preferred not to be touched and Eggsy had told him- gut twisting as he weighed whether or not he was giving his answer for the wrong reasons- that no, he didn’t mind, he just needed some time to get used to it. 

Eggsy blinked at Harry, confusion making him falter.  “I… I don’t know.”

Harry’s eyebrows knit together, his face a picture of concern and nothing more.  “Eggsy, did something happen?  Are you feeling all right?”

“I dunno.  Are you?”

“Am I… feeling all right?  Perfectly- why?”

“You don’t have any… you know-” Eggsy swallowed- “weird urges?”

“Eggsy, I honestly don’t have the first idea what it is you’re talking about.  Come with me.”  Harry tugged Eggsy into his office, sat him down in an armchair, and poured them both a drink.  He pressed Eggsy’s glass into his hands and set aside his own before crouching in front of Eggsy and saying seriously, “Can you tell me what’s going on?”

Eggsy wasn’t sure he could, but he took a sip from the glass Harry had given him and did his best.  “There was an accident down in R&D.”

He had been getting a run-down of the new watch model from Elaine, who ran the department, when she was called away.  Eggsy had been alone in the lab when something exploded and he found himself lying flat on the floor, with a ringing in his ears, a weird floral scent in his nose, and Elaine- white-faced at his side- asking if he was all right.

“I heard something about that,” Harry said.  “But I didn’t know you were involved.”  Something in Harry’s tone suggested that whoever had neglected to mention it to him could expect all of his assignments to take him to Siberia for the next while.

“Well.  I was.”

Harry’s hand came to rest on Eggsy’s knee, rubbing gently but not climbing any higher.  “But you’re all right?”

Eggsy took another drink and continued.  “I thought I was, but Elaine made me go down to medical to get checked out anyway.”

“And then?”

“Well, then things started to get weird.” 

There were a couple of nurses down in the medical wing who had had a particular fondness for Eggsy ever since he had spent every free moment at Harry’s side while he was still recuperating after Kentucky.  The one who was assigned to check Eggsy out after what happened down in R&D was not one of them.  It had always been Eggsy’s impression that the guy didn’t like him very much- so when he asked Eggsy if he wanted to have coffee during his next break, it would have been putting it mildly to say that Eggsy was surprised. 

“One of the nurses propositioned me, is the thing,” Eggsy explained, his fingers curling into fists in his lap.  “Not subtly.”

The phrase And by coffee I mean sex may have been involved.  Eggsy winced just remembering it and Harry saw, naturally.  His expression hardened.  “Who was it?” he asked in a low voice.

“I ain’t naming names,” Eggsy told him firmly. 

“Eggsy, if you’ve been harassed…”

“It weren’t harassment, Harry, okay?  He made a pass, I said no thanks, we both left it at that.”  Harry seemed unconvinced, so Eggsy pressed on.  “Look, Harry, if you wanted to go after people for hitting on me today you’d get tired real fast because since then basically everybody has.”  Except you, Eggsy didn’t add, because that was the most wonderful, horrible, baffling part.  Harry hadn’t.  Ever since Eggsy had started to suspect that something strange was happening, he had been terrified that Harry would.  Terrified that he would finally, finally see want in Harry’s eyes and know it wasn't real.  Terrified that he would have to tell Harry- Harry- that he wasn’t interested.  Terrified that he wouldn't be able to do it. 

Down in the medical wing, back when he still thought it was just that one nurse, Eggsy had felt bad as he tried to let him down gently.  After all, Eggsy had had his share of casual encounters; under other circumstances, he might have been game.  It wasn’t that nurse’s fault that Eggsy was only into one guy these days.  It was no one’s fault but Eggsy’s- and Harry’s, if Harry could be blamed for being so fucking amazing all the time.

Eggsy had left the medical wing after being pronounced fine, and that was when he met Elaine, who had told him that a grenade prototype one of her techs had been working on had malfunctioned and caused the- luckily minor- explosion.  And that was when she had asked Eggsy out too.  The nurse Eggsy had been able to dismiss easily enough- he must have just misunderstood his interest all this while- but Elaine… Eggsy had it on good authority that Elaine, while technically bi, pretty much only dated women.  Maybe, he thought, it was some kind of belated joke on the new guy.  He wasn’t sure, but he channeled Harry as best he could, graciously turned her down, and went on with his day.  But things had only gotten weirder from there.

“It was like one of those dreams where everybody stares at you and it turns out you’re naked,” Eggsy told Harry.  “Except I was awake, and not naked.”  Everywhere he went, people watched him with decidedly hungry expressions.  When Eggsy went to the library to file the hard copy of his latest mission report, the guy behind the front desk turned beet red and practically swallowed his own tongue trying to talk to Eggsy.  When he went to the gym, one of the knights nearly fell off his treadmill when he looked at Eggsy, and another almost dropped a weight on his foot.  When he ran into Bors in the hallway, Eggsy was treated to a variety of sexual puns that he really could have lived without.

Beyond a brief bum pinching incident, things had mostly not gotten physical, but it hadn’t taken Eggsy long to become absolutely convinced something strange was happening.  He hadn’t known what to do, since his usual method of problem solving- asking for Harry’s advice- was off the table if Eggsy wanted to avoid him.  So, he’d gone for a walk through HQ hoping that his thunderous expression would ward off any further advances and that he’d come up with a solution on his own.

The former had actually worked pretty well, but the latter…

Well.  It didn’t matter, since his feet had taken him to Harry anyway, and Harry had acted… like this.  Normal.  Worried about Eggsy, but otherwise not out of the ordinary at all.  Eggsy stood by what he had thought before; it would have been awful if Harry had hit on him under the influence of whatever this was.  It would have been potentially friendship ruining if Eggsy had failed to resist him.  But still, it hurt to think that the one person who wasn’t affected by Eggsy’s current condition was the one person Eggsy had actually been hoping to attract.

“I don’t know how an explosion coulda caused this,” Eggsy said, “but it’s the only explanation I can think of.  Harry, you gotta-”

“I believe you.”

“You do?”

“Eggsy, of course I do.  It’s strange, I’ll grant you, but… well…”  Harry looked thoughtful.  “I know R&D was working on something under the orders of my predecessor.  The substance was meant to make agents more… appealing to their targets on honey pots.  I didn’t care for the implications of its use and I told Elaine to shut it down.”

While Eggsy supposed it could be considered funny that a man who thought telling prospective agents to shoot their dogs was a perfectly good test of loyalty chose to balk at this, he also knew that Harry in particular had issues- understandable, given what happened in that church- with the idea of taking away someone’s free will.  So that was another reason they were both lucky that Harry seemed impervious- because when Eggsy looked closer, he could see traces of fear in Harry’s expression as he realized that not only was this drug or whatever being used right now- all accidentally- it could well start affecting him at any time.

Harry’s lips flattened into a line as he drained his own glass.  

Eggsy tried to defend Elaine.  “Might not be her fault, Harry,” he said.  “It was still a grenade malfunction on one of the desks that started all this, so if anything like that got spilled or- I dunno- released in the explosion, it would've probably been just lying around in a drawer somewhere, which don’t sound like Elaine.  Maybe… maybe someone else from the lab lifted it when she was about to get rid of it, you know?  A thing like this could be a temptation.”  Though only to someone with no idea what it would really be like, Eggsy thought ruefully. 

“It’s possible,” Harry agreed.  “If that’s true, whoever they are they’re getting fired.”

And probably Harry was thinking about the ethical implications of a member of R&D stealing something like that for his own personal use; Eggsy didn't envy him having that to consider.  There was a petty part of Eggsy that actually just wanted whoever had caused him all this trouble to be out of a job, but he also knew that getting dismissed from an organization like Kingsman tended to be more complicated than that.  "I know you need answers, Harry," Eggsy said.  “But I’m a little bit more worried about the short run here if you know what I mean.”  

“Yes, of course,” Harry said quickly.  “I’m sure there’s a way to counteract the effect.  Unfortunately I’m not a scientist.”

“We need Elaine or Merlin or summat?”

“Precisely.” 

Eggsy had been thanking his lucky stars that he hadn’t run into Merlin yet, but he wasn’t looking forward to facing Elaine again either.  He shrugged.  He didn’t have a preference. 

Harry nodded slowly.  He squeezed Eggsy’s knee lightly, and it was like Eggsy could feel the heat of Harry’s touch in his belly as well as on his skin.  “We’ll go down to the tech division together and see who we can turn up, all right?  We’ll figure this out.”  

Eggsy nodded jerkily. He watched as Harry rose smoothly and went to his desk.  While he was there, Harry took a few cartridges from one of the drawers and reached into his jacket, pulling out a gun.

“Fucking hell, Harry,” Eggsy said. “Word overkill mean anything to you?”

“Tranquilizers,” Harry explained as he loaded his gun with them.  He sounded faintly hurt- the way he tended to if someone accused him of overreacting when he felt he’d shown remarkable restraint.  

“No one’s done more than get a little handsy,” Eggsy protested.  “Usually not even that.”

Harry scowled.  “Well, no one’s going to do anything if they’re unconscious,” he said.  He looked over at Eggsy, and- seeing that he wasn’t armed- loaded his backup weapon with the same rounds.  “Here.”

Eggsy took it and rolled his eyes but didn’t object again.  A Kingsman was prepared for any eventuality, after all, and just his watch and Harry's wouldn't do much good if for some reason things got violent.  Anyway, a solid excuse to tranq everyone he worked with was probably the stuff of Harry’s dreams.  Eggsy would be lying if he pretended not to think Harry looked stunning.  Harry wasn’t in the field much anymore, and sometimes he didn’t seem quite… whole when he wasn’t ready for battle.       

“Ready?” Harry asked, holding Eggsy’s gaze steadily. 

Eggsy shrugged again.  “Sure.”

Harry reholstered his gun and crossed to the bookshelf.  He pulled one of the books forward a little- Hemingway, of fucking course- and the whole shelf slid aside to reveal a smallish room.  “Panic room,” Harry explained.

“No way in hell you’re sticking me in there,” Eggsy said, gripping his own gun a little tighter.

Harry’s lip quirked.  “No, Eggsy.  It’s just the easiest access point from this office.”  There was a panel on one wall, and Harry punched a code into it.

Alarms started blaring.  “What the fuck?” Eggsy had to shout to be heard over the noise.

“Chemical spill alarm,” Harry explained.  “I tend to agree with you that Elaine must not have known that there was anything other than basic explosives involved, or she would have triggered something similar herself.  Everyone who might have been exposed will be scanned and then sent to a designated area to wait and everyone else will evacuate.  It should clear our path.”

“But don’t we need… someone?”

“Merlin won’t leave the base, he’s too used to having his fingers in every pie; he’ll just start running scans to find out what happened.  If Elaine even suspects it’s to do with what happened earlier today, she’ll have done the same.  She had a perfect record until today.  Whoever that desk belonged to should actually hope I find him first.”

Eggsy couldn’t tell if Harry meant that seriously or if he’d said it to be funny, but it startled a laugh out of Eggsy all the same. 

Harry’s smile was a little tight, but it looked genuine.  He closed the panic room behind him and put a light hand on the small of Eggsy’s back as they headed for the door.  “Ready?” he asked one more time.

“Yeah,” Eggsy said, leaning briefly into his touch.

Harry’s face softened even further, and then he let go of Eggsy and walked out into the hallway.  Eggsy tucked his gun into his waistband- the cold weight of it against the small of his back was nowhere near as reassuring as Harry’s hand- and followed.

*   *   *

Eggsy discovered that, bathed in flashing yellow light and utterly empty of anyone, the hallways of Kingsman HQ were seriously fucking creepy.  He and Harry walked for a good while before they saw another soul, and Eggsy was almost relieved for a moment when, a floor down, they caught the tail end of a group of evacuating Kingsman employees- or, by the looks of them, a group of trainees with their instructor trailing behind them.  Though they missed the trainees, who were too busy doing a text-perfect evacuation to look twice at Eggsy, they didn’t miss the instructor- and because that was exactly the kind of day Eggsy was having, it was Lancelot.  Harry had already turned the corner when Roxy called out Eggsy’s name and Eggsy- like an idiot- stopped and turned to look at her.

“Do you know what’s going on?”

Eggsy eyed her warily, letting his fingers brush the butt of his borrowed gun without drawing it.  “Yeah,” he said.  “Bit of a clusterfuck.  The sooner everybody gets out of here the sooner everything will go back to normal.”  Eggsy really hoped he was right about that, because he did not want to live like this.

“Right,” Roxy said.  She took an unsteady step toward Eggsy.  “Eggsy.  You- uh-” her eyes fixed to him as though she was looking at him for the first time and her pupils dilated.  Her lips twitched, fluctuating between a confused frown and a sultry smile.  “This really isn’t the time, but-”

“No, Rox, it really, really ain’t.”

“-do you maybe-”

There was a metallic click, the hammer dropping on Harry’s gun.  “Keep walking Lancelot,” he said.  Harry’s casual tone- and posture as he leaned against the wall next to Eggsy- had so much steel underneath it that it wouldn’t have fooled a child, let alone Lancelot.  Eggsy could only hope that Roxy’s instinct to defer to authority figures would carry her through because Eggsy would prefer if Harry didn’t tranq her.              

Roxy’s eyes flicked between Eggsy and Harry.  “Right,” she said slowly.  She lifted her hands as if to appear non-threatening.  “Of course.”  She backed away and followed her trainees to the exit.

Eggsy let out a breath he hadn’t known he was holding.  “Was you gonna shoot my best mate?” he asked.

“I hadn’t decided,” Harry returned crisply.  “Come along.”

Eggsy took one last look in the direction Roxy had gone and did as Harry said. 

In the end he and Harry made it to the tech wing without further incident.  Still, Harry seemed twitchier than usual and there was a coldness in his eyes that honestly scared Eggsy more than anything else about this day had. 

Without thinking, Eggsy reached for him, tugging Harry closer by the jacket lapels.  “Are you okay?” he asked. 

“Am I okay,” Harry repeated, huffing out a laugh.  He slumped a little, right shoulder pressed against the wall.

Eggsy, still facing him and gripping his jacket, did the same.  “This has to be strange for you.”  Eggsy wasn't entirely sure, even as he said it, what he meant by 'this'.  The use of mind altering chemicals, maybe- or the feeling that he had to guard Eggsy on a trip through their own headquarters. 

“And not for you?”

“Well, it ain’t the best day I ever had,” Eggsy admitted with a sigh.  He looked at his shoes, because it was easier to say this when he couldn’t see Harry, so close and so painfully gorgeous.  “It’s… weird.  Having all these people I know aren’t into me suddenly throwing themselves at me.”

Eggsy felt light fingers brush over his jaw and lift his chin.  “No one should speak to you that way that doesn’t love you,” Harry said.  His voice was rough and his hand was shaking and his eyes-

His eyes

“Harry.”  Eggsy’s tongue flicked over his lips and he watched Harry’s gaze follow it.  He felt something that was too much like hope and terror at the same time to properly be either.  “Are you… Is it starting to affect you?”

“Oh, my dear boy,” Harry breathed.  Eggsy’s hands flattened against Harry’s chest and Harry’s eyes drifted closed.  “It always has been.”

Did Harry really have such good control over himself?  Or was wanting Eggsy so alien to him that he immediately identified the feeling as wrong and simply ignored it?  A miserable sound escaped Eggsy and his fingers curled back into fists, pulling Harry closer, close enough to feel the heat coming off him in waves.  Distantly, Eggsy registered that he was about to be stupid again.  “It would be okay, Harry,” he said, pressing their foreheads together.  “If you-”

Harry growled.  “No it damn well wouldn’t.”

Eggsy winced, because of course not.  There was always the church, always the fundamental truth that no one deserved to be made to do or want to do something that they didn’t- least of all Harry.  He was probably going to have to go back to therapy just for this, and he hadn’t even done anything but look at Eggsy’s mouth like he wanted to devour it.  “Right.”

“I haven’t forced my affections on you before,” Harry continued.  “I will not start now.”  And Eggsy could feel every word he said- the warm huff of Harry’s breath across his cheek, Harry’s lips fluttering against his skin.  The sensations were sufficiently distracting that it took Eggsy a moment to process the actual words.   

“What?” Eggsy managed when he did.

Harry gave a bitter half-laugh, lifting his hands to frame Eggsy’s face.  His fingers were trembling.  “I didn’t even notice it at first, how could I?  It would be impossible for you to look more beautiful in my eyes.  But then you told me what was happening and I could feel it.  This… impulse that doesn’t come from me.  It’s lucky, I suppose, that I have had so much experience resisting you or-” Harry hung his head.  “I don’t know what I might have said, or done, or...”                       

“Why?”  The possibility that, if what Harry was saying was true, he hadn’t made advances to Eggsy today not because he couldn’t even imagine it, but because unlike Elaine or Roxy he had filled Eggsy’s senses absolutely.  

“Why what?”  Harry’s smile was harsh but somehow sweet.  “Why do I love you?” 

“Why didn’t you say?”  Eggsy was proud of himself for finally making a full sentence.  “Not just today, I mean.  Why-”

“Because the last thing you needed was a man twice your age- who is your boss besides- making advances when he was meant to be a mentor, perhaps even a father figure, to you.  I suppose I knew you had a right to know how desperately I wanted you, but I was afraid to lose what I had with you.  To be fair-” Harry sounded wry- “I never thought that I could be a danger to you.”

“You’re not,” Eggsy said, nosing closer, fitting their lips together, feeling Harry just barely kiss him back.  “You ain’t gonna hurt me, Harry.”  He pressed closer still and lined their bodies up, hands moving fitfully over Harry’s strong chest.  “You ain’t gonna do anything I don’t want you to do.”  Harry’s fingers slid into his hair and Eggsy shivered.  “Want you.”  Harry’s grip tightened, his lips pushing a brief but firm kiss into Eggsy’s mouth. 

When Harry moved, he moved fast, slamming Eggsy’s back against the wall.  Eggsy clutched at him briefly before Harry caught his wrists and pressed them into the wall too, holding them still above Eggsy’s head.  Eggsy wouldn’t have minded his change in circumstances if it hadn’t been unexpected enough to awaken a very well conditioned fear response.  Harry felt Eggsy’s pulse quicken under his hands, he had to.

Harry held Eggsy still but didn’t move otherwise, nostrils flaring as he took three labored breaths before speaking.  “And I hope that you’ll still say that when this is over.”

It took Eggsy a few seconds to figure out what Harry was really saying.  “You think it’s affecting me too.”    

Harry appeared to have succeeded in cooling himself down- maybe that moment where Eggsy was actually afraid of him had been the same splash of cold water for him that it had been for Eggsy- because he lifted an eyebrow in a way that looked almost normal.  “Isn’t it?”

A few minutes ago, Eggsy would have said hell no.  After all, it wasn’t like he’d been into it with any of the people who had propositioned him thus far.  But that actually made sense, didn’t it?  If this stuff had been designed to cause heightened interest in the agent too- which would make its own kind of sense- it couldn’t very well be in every single person that agent ran into.  It would have to be in their target.  And in the absence of a target it must have settled on the person that Eggsy actually wanted.  And when he really thought about it…

Eggsy tried Harry’s trick: three slow breaths.  “I wouldn’t do this to you.  Not in a situation like this, I wouldn’t try to force your hand.  Not even if I knew I’d never get another chance.”  He knocked his head against the wall, shutting his eyes tightly.  “I swear to God, Harry, I’d never-”

“I know.”  Harry sounded impossibly warm.  “And I swear that I will still feel this way when this is over.”       

Eggsy nodded jerkily. 

“If you do too, I would very much like to continue this conversation.”

“Yeah.”  Eggsy forced his eyes open.  “Yeah,” he repeated, feeling a little bit more himself. 

Harry must have been able to see as much on Eggsy’s face, because he let Eggsy go, releasing his wrists and backing off from him.  “All right?” he asked.

Eggsy nodded again.

“Now.  If you would feel safer without me-”

Eggsy couldn’t shake his head hard enough.  He wouldn't feel unsafe without Harry, exactly- he didn’t need Harry’s protection- but he did want Harry with him.  He felt better with Harry there- more grounded, more… him. 

Having everyone looking at him in ways they never had before made him feel like he’d become a different person overnight.  But Harry looked at him as he always had, because… Eggsy let it wash over him, the possibility that this really wasn’t chemicals playing with his mind.  That Harry really did want him, really did love him, might really be his when this was over.

“No,” he said.  “I’d rather be with you, yeah?  Might need you to keep the techs in line.”  The more Eggsy let himself believe it, the more everything seemed to take a different shape.  What if it had been less ingrained obedience to her superiors that had made Roxy turn away, and more some energy Harry was giving off today that claimed Eggsy as his?  The thought made Eggsy shudder in the best possible way.          

“All right,” Harry said slowly, nodding.  He reached briefly for Eggsy, as if to steer him towards their next destination, but he aborted at the last second.  It stung, but Eggsy reminded himself that they were making the right decision, just avoiding temptation until this was over.

There would be plenty of touching once it was. 

Harry held the door to Merlin’s lab open for Eggsy, and Eggsy slipped inside.

As Harry had predicted, everyone had evacuated except for Merlin himself, and Elaine had made her way there from R&D.  She was leaning over his shoulder, and by the looks of things they had been bickering for some time.  So, Eggsy thought.  Both of them at once, then.  He couldn’t decide if that was better or worse, and he couldn’t help hanging back, leaning against Harry a little as Harry stepped into the lab behind him. 

Elaine stopped cold when she saw them, and she slumped forward.  “I should have known.” 

Merlin's eyes darted from Elaine, to Eggsy, to Harry, to the computer screen in front of him.  There they remained, stubbornly, as if by force of will alone.  “All right,” he said slowly.  “Who’s going to tell me what’s going on?”

“Elaine didn’t brief you,” Harry said.

“Elaine didn’t know what was going on until just now,” Elaine snapped, bristling.  “Until you came in here with gorgeous there, I was still hoping the problem didn’t come from my division.”

Merlin pulled a face and started typing something.  He didn’t stop even as he looked sidelong at Eggsy, squinting as if Eggsy was the sun.  “What do you remember about what happened?”

Eggsy explained it all as he had to Harry, from the explosion to the moment he started to notice people acting strangely to the moment he put those two things together and realized that they had to be connected.

“That was when he found me,” Harry chipped in.  “And that was when I remembered that R&D had been working on something to these specifications.”

Eggsy could see that Harry had been right about Elaine.  She looked angrier that this had happened on her watch than Harry could probably ever be- and, given that it was clearly a struggle for him to keep his hands off Eggsy now that he had some idea of how very welcome his touch would be, Harry seemed pretty fucking angry. 

“I’ll find out what happened, Arthur,” she said gravely.  “I would prefer not to speculate until then.”

“Fair enough,” Harry replied. 

“I will say that I did not disobey your orders, and I had no idea the substance in question had not been destroyed.”

“I believe you,” Harry told her gently, and Elaine’s shoulders- which had gone as stiff as Eggsy had ever seen them- relaxed.  “We prioritize,” Harry said, in what Eggsy thought of as his ‘Arthur’ voice.  “First we find out exactly what is happening to Eggsy and how to put a stop to it.  Once we have, we’ll worry about why it happened.”

Merlin and Elaine both nodded.   

“So,” Harry said.  “Is there some kind of antidote?”

“Not strictly,” she said.  “The effect was never meant to last more than six hours on the outside, and during the early stages the development of antidotes isn’t really a priority anyway.”

“I suppose we’re lucky there wasn’t a poison in that desk,” Eggsy muttered.

Harry had been hovering close enough for Eggsy to feel his intoxicating heat yet pointedly not touching him, but at that his hand shot out and gripped Eggsy’s wrist.  Still holding Eggsy hard, Harry addressed Elaine again.  “How long has it been?”

“I calculate about five and a half hours since he was exposed.”

Eggsy let out the breath he had been holding since Harry grabbed him.  “So it’s almost over,” he said, relieved.  In half an hour he could be thinking clearly again, and he would finally, finally be able to touch Harry properly. 

“Possibly,” Merlin said.

Eggsy, Elaine, and Harry all looked sharply at Merlin.  “We have no idea what effect the… method of delivery had on the material,” he explained.  “It could last for much longer than it did in your tests.”

“How much longer?” Harry asked sharply, his thumb sliding possessively over Eggsy’s pulse point.

“A few more hours, days, forever- there’s no way to know.”

“We can synthesize an antidote,” Elaine said, voice turning a little desperate at the look on Harry’s face when Merlin suggested that Eggsy might be stuck like this forever.  “All I said was that there wasn’t one prepared.  We will figure out a way to neutralize the effect, I swear it.”

Merlin nodded.  “We should get a blood sample to begin with.”

He fetched a syringe and Harry- with obvious reluctance- backed off to give Merlin the space to draw a little blood.  Eggsy looked away- he might save the world for a living but he wasn’t into needles, okay?- and stared stubbornly at the floor until-

“Eggsy,” Merlin started, “do you-”

“Please don’t finish that sentence if it isn’t to do with solving this,” Harry said.

If Eggsy had needed proof that it was only Harry he felt drawn to right now, he had it because he felt nothing but relief when Merlin nodded.  He pulled the needle back and looked hard at the sample he had taken rather than at Eggsy.  “Yes that’s probably for the best.”

As Merlin and Elaine started running their tests, their conversation might as well have been in another language for all Eggsy understood of it.  The word ‘pheromones’ was bandied about a good deal, but though the two of them seemed to know what they were doing Eggsy couldn’t help getting a little scared.  That after everything he’d been through his life was going to be changed forever all over again- and this time not for the better- by a lab accident.       

This panicked train of thought was brought to a halt by Harry’s finger gently hooking under Eggsy’s chin.  “Eggsy,” Harry said quietly. 

“Harry,” Eggsy managed, the inside of his mouth going dry.

“We’ll figure this out,” Harry said.  “I promise you.  You will not be stuck like this.”

Eggsy nodded emptily.  Harry’s eyes were as dark as Eggsy had ever seen them- and it was almost too easy for Eggsy to forget his worries altogether when he looked into them.  “Harry,” he breathed.  “Let’s get out of here.  Please.”

Harry moaned, pressing burning lips against Eggsy’s temple and then burying his nose in Eggsy’s hair.  “You must know how much I want to.”

“Then let’s just do it.”  Eggsy pressed closer, seeking Harry’s heat.  “I won’t regret it.”

“Yes,” Elaine said sharply.  Eggsy didn’t look in her direction, but he could feel eyes on him.  He thought they had probably been on him for some time.  “Get out of here.  You’re very distracting and we have work to do.”

“We can’t,” Harry said. 

Eggsy squirmed against him.  “Please, Harry.”

He could feel Harry shake his head, but the weight of Harry’s hands around his waist told a different story.  “Eggsy…”

Eggsy took a few breaths.  It was like being so close to Harry- the smell of his cologne, the strength of his hands and the warmth of his body- had sucked all the air out of the room.  “I know,” he said slowly.  “I know, Harry.  I just really want to be alone with you.  I can control myself, I think.  I just… it’ll help, okay?  I’m sure it’ll help.”      

“All right,” Harry said after a moment of charged silence.  Eggsy didn’t- couldn’t- look around, but he felt Harry move.  “Merlin, your office?”

“Fine,” Merlin said.  “Do not fuck on my desk.”

“You have my word,” Harry replied.

Eggsy doubted that the fact that it was Merlin’s desk or the fact that Harry had given his word would do much good if either of them broke, but he supposed every little bit helped.  Harry held the door to Merlin’s office open for Eggsy and pointedly left it ajar once they had stepped inside.  Eggsy sat down on Merlin’s couch and watched Harry cross to Merlin’s desk and rummage through one of the drawers.

He did feel better now that they were alone together- calmer, peaceful, more grounded.  It could have been some kind of imperative to get his target alone- but it was also how being with Harry had always made Eggsy feel.

He devoured Harry with his eyes.  He took in the firm, clean lines of Harry’s body and the broad slope of his shoulders as he bent over the desk.  Eggsy wanted to press his face into the hollow between Harry’s shoulder blades.  Harry’s hair had worked free of its usual severe style and was falling- just faintly curly- over his forehead.  Eggsy wanted to bury his fingers in it.  More than anything, Eggsy wanted to peel off Harry’s perfect suit, his protective armor, and get at all the parts of Harry that were vulnerable, weak- and all the parts that were dirty, uncivilized, ungentlemanly.  He wanted anything and everything that Harry Hart routinely hid from the world.     

As Eggsy watched, Harry made a triumphant noise and produced a deck of cards. 

Eggsy snorted, feeling… complicated.  He was more desperately aroused than he’d ever been in his life, and he was angry at everything that was keeping him from acting on the impulse to touch.  But underneath it he felt something tender, a kind of indescribable fondness.  Even so turned on he could hardly think, Eggsy also just liked Harry.  He liked him so much.  “You wanna play poker?”

Harry shrugged.  “It’s something to pass the time.  And it should distract us.”

“Not strip poker, then.”  The image plastered itself across Eggsy’s mind all the same.  Harry discarding one article at a time, baring himself for Eggsy, Eggsy doing the same- probably at a much faster rate, given how difficult it was for him to focus at the moment. 

Harry growled low in his throat.  Perhaps he could imagine it too.  “No,” he said.  “If you can’t be sensible we could try chess.”  Even as he said it, Harry kept rifling through Merlin’s drawers for something else. 

“No chess,” Eggsy said to take his mind off the desperate- and, given everything they had just said to each other, foolish- hope that Harry was looking for something to use as lube.  He looked at the chessboard Merlin kept in the corner of his office, his eyes lingering on a bishop.  “Too phallic.”

“Ah,” Harry said, huffing out a laugh as he found whatever he was looking for.  He produced a bag of sweets that he probably intended to use as chips. 

On the subject of phallic things, Eggsy could see the line of Harry’s half-hard cock through his trousers as he crossed to the couch.  Eggsy’s mouth watered at the sight of it.  “I wanna blow you so fucking much,” he said, the words coming out of his mouth too quickly for him to even think about swallowing them. 

Harry sat a respectable distance away from Eggsy and gave him a long, heavy look.  He stiffened a bit, though, so Eggsy knew Harry wasn’t unaffected.  Slowly, Harry asked, “Is it getting worse?”

“Dunno.”  Eggsy had been thinking about sucking Harry’s cock since before he properly knew him, and he had only wanted it more since then.  And knowing that Harry was hard for him…  Still, he could normally keep from just saying things like that, especially since they had agreed not to act on what they were both feeling, not yet.  “It just came out,” Eggsy admitted.  “But I do mean it.  I’ve wanted to for such a long time, Harry, you got no idea.”

“For the record,” Harry said, doling out some of the sweets, “so have I.”

Eggsy wanted to suck Harry’s cock so much he could almost taste it, almost feel it on his tongue.  He could imagine Harry, his voice a stripped growl, saying how much he loved being in Eggsy’s mouth.  And over and over Eggsy reminded himself why he couldn’t, not yet, and Eggsy would find a way to abide by it- he would- but suddenly he had to say more, know more, have as much finally said between them as possible.  “You work so hard,” he said.  “And you just… you care so much.  I wanna make you feel good.”

Harry swallowed and Eggsy traced every second of it with his eyes.  Harry’s throat was one of the few places that really showed his age- and Eggsy had seen him stripped down for sparring, so he would know- but Eggsy found even it beautiful.  He wanted to kiss Harry’s pulse-point and then press his face into the hollow of his throat. 

“I think about it when I find you sitting at your desk.  I wanna get on my knees for you and suck you, hear you tell me how good I’m making you feel.  You’d do that for me, right?”

“Yes, Eggsy,” Harry said softly, and Christ- his voice.  “Of course I would.”

“And I’d be so good for you, Harry.”

“I know you will.”  Harry’s eyes met his for a long moment and then snapped away, down to the cards in his hands.  He began shuffling them- long fingers looking exceptionally gorgeous just then.  And though Eggsy knew that it might be mainly the chemicals coursing through his system, he also knew that Harry had said ‘I know you will’ like a promise, and Eggsy could all but feel those fingers knitting into his hair and directing him. 

“Harry,” Eggsy whispered.

“We need to think about something else,” Harry said, dealing out five cards. 

“I don’t think I can.”  Eggsy picked up the cards Harry had dealt to him, the suits and numbers swimming before his eyes.  He placed his bet anyway.  “It helps,” he said.  “Talking about it, it helps.”

“Is that right?”

Eggsy only half knew.  He knew that curling his fingers around the cards instead of Harry’s tie and letting Harry keep looking at him like that without kissing him was the hardest thing he’d done in a very long time.  But it did, just slightly, take the edge off to tell Harry what he wanted, to know that Harry heard and that he wanted too.  “Yeah,” he said. 

Harry matched the bet as if he was paying exactly as much attention to his cards as Eggsy was.  “All right,” he said. At first he didn’t say anything else and Eggsy worried that he had pushed Harry too far, but then he added, “I’ve spent a very long time trying not to want you.”

Eggsy suddenly couldn’t swallow enough.  “And how did that work for you?”

“Mixed,” Harry replied, discarding two of the cards in his hand and then giving Eggsy a long look.  “How many?”

“Uh.  Three,” Eggsy said, dropping cards at random.

Harry dealt them out.  “It was one thing to entertain a passing thought here or there.  To be surprised by how lovely you looked in the dressing room that first day.  To catch a glimpse of you in Merlin’s footage of the trials and think… something that a gentleman wouldn’t say aloud.” 

Eggsy placed another bet, his hand shaking slightly.  “Who’s a gentleman right now, Harry?”  

Harry raised him.  “I wanted to run my tongue down your stomach.  I wanted to leave bruises on your hips and spend myself between your thighs.”

“Fuck, Harry.”

Eggsy put his cards down and Harry did the same.  Eggsy dimly registered that Harry at least had a pair, which was better than the nothing that Eggsy had been holding.  He pushed the small pile of sweets toward Harry.  Harry’s hand shot out suddenly, his long fingers wrapping tightly around Eggsy’s own.  “I didn’t lie when I said I saw promise in you.  I had faith in you, always.  But after the loyalty test it was like it all became so much more real.  I truly imagined you as a fellow knight and I wondered how I would be able to keep my desires in check when I could hardly do so when you were my candidate.  But beyond that, it occurred to me for the first time that I… more than wanted you.  That I was falling for you.  The twenty-four hours you spent in my home, I spent thinking about laying you out on my bed and kissing every part of you.  Seeing how many times I could make you come in one night, with my hands, my mouth, my cock.”

Every word Eggsy knew suddenly seemed horribly inadequate to express what he was feeling.  Harry had said it before, that he loved Eggsy, but Eggsy was still coming around to believing it.  Eggsy wasn’t used to feeling lucky, but he did right at that moment.  He would feel luckier still if he could just throw himself at Harry the way he desperately wanted to.  “And since?” he managed to ask.       

“The general content of my fantasies has not changed,” Harry informed him. 

Eggsy licked his lips, watching Harry’s eyes trace the motion with single-minded interest.  So many people had looked at him like that today, but only in that moment, only when it was Harry with that look in his eyes and those words coming from his lips, did he feel like he deserved it.  “Harry,” he started, honestly not knowing how he was going to finish that sentence. 

Luckily, he didn’t have to.  “Arthur?” Merlin called from the other room.  With Eggsy so far away from him, he sounded more like his usual self. 

“Yes?” Harry called back, his eyes still fixed to Eggsy’s face.

“We believe we may have come up with a solution.”

“Thank fuck,” Eggsy muttered.  One less thing between him and finally, finally getting Harry to touch him. 

“That was quick,” Harry said.

“We’re very smart,” Elaine said sharply.

“Very well.”  Harry looked faintly amused.  It cut through the arousal in his expression and softened his eyes, reminding Eggsy again that this was the man he was in love with as well as the man he wanted to shag his brains out. 

“Harry,” he said again, everything else drying up on his tongue. 

Expression still incredibly tender, Harry reached out to Eggsy.  “Shall we?” he asked. 

 “Yeah,” Eggsy said.  He took Harry’s hand and squeezed tightly as Harry stood him up and they made their way out of Merlin’s office together. 

Elaine and Merlin were waiting for them.  Elaine had a very scary looking syringe in one hand.  Merlin’s eyes dragged over them as they stepped out as if he was checking that they had kept their promise and he seemed satisfied, his eyes sticking briefly to Eggsy despite what looked like his best efforts.  He swore quietly to himself and turned his gaze to look stubbornly at Harry’s shoulder instead. 

“You said you’d made a breakthrough,” Harry prompted. 

“Yes,” Elaine picked up.  “We think so.”  She brandished the syringe. 

Harry’s eyes narrowed, his grip on Eggsy’s hand tightening.  “And you’re absolutely sure that it won’t just make things worse?”

“As sure as we can be,” Merlin said.  “But you know that we can’t exactly test it on anyone else first.”

“It’s okay,” Eggsy said.  “It’s okay, Harry.”

Harry raised their joined hands and held Eggsy’s to his lips, kissing the knuckles gently.  “I would not put you at risk for anything.”

“I know.  But there’s always some risk, right?  And it’s my choice.”

Harry’s eyes drifted closed.  “I know.  I know.”   He leaned forward and rested his forehead against Eggsy’s again.  The need to kiss him, to push him up against the nearest desk even with Merlin and Elaine watching, still simmered under Eggsy’s skin- but in the moment it was enough to share his breath as Harry pressed another kiss to his knuckles.

Eggsy lifted his free hand, tracing the line of Harry’s face.  “We’re so close, Harry.”

“That’s what scares me,” Harry answered.  He turned his head, rubbing his cheek into the palm of Eggsy’s hand.

Now that Harry mentioned it, it frightened Eggsy a little too.  He had never thought for a second when this day started that it would turn out like this and suddenly he was scared- he was terrified.  After being so sure for so long that Harry would never see him like that Eggsy almost had him.  The thought of something going wrong now… well, it most certainly made Eggsy stop and think for a moment.  So he stopped, and he thought, and at the end of the day he was still going to let Elaine use whatever was in that syringe because a) he wasn’t going to stay like this and b) life was too damn short and too fucking dangerous to spend worried about how things might go to shit later on.  Under any other circumstances Harry would probably- definitely- agree with him.

Eggsy couldn’t have asked for better proof that he cared.  “It’ll be okay,” he told Harry with as much confidence as he could muster.

“I think I’m meant to be saying that to you.”  Harry sounded faintly rueful. 

“You’re doing fine,” Eggsy said, leaning in and rubbing his nose against Harry’s. 

Face contorting, Harry made a soft whining noise and nuzzled closer.  He released Eggsy’s hand to frame his face and pull him into a kiss.  Eggsy had known that before, in the hallway, they hadn’t really kissed.  Not like he’d always been sure Harry Hart would kiss if he put his mind to it.  But even so he hadn’t realized just how little he knew about what it would be like until it was happening.             

Harry kissed Eggsy like he was a feast and Harry had been starving.  Like he might never get the chance to kiss Eggsy- or anyone else, for that matter- ever again and he had to make the most of it.  Like he wanted to own Eggsy inside and out and this was the first step toward branding Eggsy utterly his. 

And Eggsy felt branded.  He felt owned.  Harry nipped at his lower lip and licked into his mouth, and Eggsy felt like there was no part of him that Harry did not become intimately acquainted with over the course of that kiss.  Eggsy tried to give back as good as he got and Harry let him in, welcomed him, sucking at Eggsy’s tongue.  He tasted like scotch and something sweet and he let Eggsy’s arms go around him like he wanted to belong to Eggsy as much as he wanted Eggsy to belong to him.   

The kiss seemed to go on forever, and yet it was too soon for Eggsy’s liking when Harry ended the kiss with a wet click.

For a while, all Eggsy could do was suck in deep breaths, his forehead resting against Harry’s as though- if he just kept close enough- that moment would never have to end.  He wasn’t sure if he was sorry that they hadn’t saved their first real kiss until after they were both thinking clearly again or pleased it had been exactly like that, with Harry- proper, gentlemanly Harry- too overcome to hold back.  When Eggsy opened his eyes he saw that Harry’s were still tightly closed and his expression was pained- as if he had the same mixed feelings about what they had just done that Eggsy did.  Eggsy’s tongue smoothed over swollen lips.  “I thought we weren’t going to-”

“No,” Harry said, voice cracking halfway through.  “I know.  I just- I had to- in case you- oh, hell.”  His hand tightened a little in Eggsy’s hair, drawing his head back with unexpected gentleness, and he kissed Eggsy’s pulse-point.  “In case,” Harry said again, not making much more sense to Eggsy than he had the first time- not that it was easy to make sense of anything with Harry’s burning lips pressed to his throat. 

“Are you two finished yet?” Merlin asked.

Harry kissed Eggsy’s neck one more time, slowly- as though he either hadn’t heard Merlin or was drawing the moment out specifically to make a point.  ‘Yes,” he said thickly.  Gently, reluctantly, he put his hands on Eggsy’s shoulders and pushed him away.  “Yes.”  

“Yeah,” Eggsy managed a moment later.  “Yeah, I’m ready.”  Walking those few steps away from Harry and toward Elaine and Merlin was incredibly hard.  Both of them looked torn between annoyance and arousal.  Both of them looked like they wanted this whole thing over with as much as Eggsy did. 

Okay.  It was going to be okay.  He was going to get better, and he and Harry were going to be together soon, and everything was going to be fine.

But is this really that kind of day? the same horrible part of Eggsy’s brain that often thought that Harry and Kingsman and every good thing he had found in both were going to turn out to be just some dream he would have to wake up from asked.  Is this really the kind of day where you get to be with Harry at the end of it?       

Since that was the same part of Eggsy’s brain that had never thought for a second that he would get to be with Harry at all, Eggsy didn’t think it was qualified to judge- but he still wavered briefly.  What if he hadn’t kissed Harry long enough or held him tight enough while he had the chance?  What if he would never be able to again? 

Eggsy shut that thought down firmly.  He sat in the chair nearest Merlin and nodded shakily to him and Elaine.  “I’m ready,” he said again.   

Merlin smiled kindly.  Elaine swabbed Eggsy’s arm and stuck him with the syringe. 

There was a brief sting and then it was over and Elaine was drawing away.  Eggsy looked over at Harry, who was leaning against a desk with his arms crossed over his chest.  Harry flashed him a tight smile before turning his attention to Merlin and Elaine.  “How long can we expect to wait?” he asked. 

“That’s something else we don’t know,” Merlin said.

Elaine was obviously still doing everything she could think of to get off Harry’s naughty list.  “Probably not too long, though,” she put in. 

Harry nodded, mouth flattening into a thin line.

Merlin looked at Eggsy.  “How do you feel?” he asked.

“About the same.”  Eggsy thought the rest of them were going to have to tell him when it had stopped working.  Sure, he’d said and done some things that he probably wouldn’t have if he hadn’t been dosed, but Harry looked as gorgeous to him as he ever had and Eggsy didn’t see that changing any time soon.  He knew that he needed this stuff out of his system for a lot of reasons, but it was hard to look at Harry and the figure he cut leaning against that desk and think about anything but being in his arms again.  

“Once we have reason to believe that it’s been neutralized,” Elaine said, “we’re going to have to run a few additional tests on you.”

Eggsy met Harry’s eyes, all dark and hot and his.  “How long will that take?”

“A couple of hours.”

A couple of hours sounded like an eternity in that moment- but Eggsy had wanted Harry for so long, and only the day before he had thought he would never, ever have him.  He could wait a little longer.  He held Harry’s gaze.  “Yeah,” he said.  “Okay.  Just a couple of hours.”    

*   *   *

In the end it was all rather anticlimactic.

The antidote didn’t work instantaneously- but the effect Eggsy had been having did slowly wear off.  It grew weaker and weaker until Merlin and Elaine looked at Eggsy and then at each other and declared that they no longer felt its influence.  Through it all, Harry’s expression had become more and more difficult to read, his posture more and more closed off, which Eggsy had resolutely told himself could be explained in any number of ways. 

Harry went back upstairs as soon as he was convinced that things were back to normal again.  Before he could leave, Eggsy had called out to him, “When they’re finished with their tests, I’ll come and find you, yeah?”

The line of Harry’s shoulders was stiff, but his expression softened- and that at least was something, or so Eggsy told himself.  “Yes, Eggsy, of course.  I’ll see you then.”   

That had been several hours ago.  Eggsy had been poked and prodded and scanned since then.  He’d had his blood peered at under a microscope and been subjected to a number of tests he couldn’t even begin to guess the purpose of.  Through it all, the only thing Eggsy wanted was to be with Harry again. 

And yet.

And yet when Merlin finally kicked Eggsy out of his lab, exchanged a significant look with Elaine, and very firmly told him to go see Arthur, Eggsy hesitated.  He took his time obeying, paying more attention to the sight of the various Kingsman employees getting back to work after the evacuation than to where he was going.  None of them gave Eggsy a second glance- so while Eggsy’s next conversation with Roxy might be an awkward one, he supposed the rest of the debacle would be easy enough to put behind him.

Except, of course, where Harry was concerned.  That thought jolted Eggsy back into the present, and he noticed that his feet had taken him to Harry’s office just like they always had- because at the end of the day he was always going to be completely mad about Harry.  But was Harry actually mad about him?  Eggsy just didn’t know.    

He made himself knock on Harry’s door.

“Come in,” Harry’s voice called a second later.  It sounded unusually rough, and Eggsy hesitated a moment more before obeying.  “Eggsy,” Harry choked out when he walked in.  His face tripped over the welcoming smile he usually wore when Eggsy came into his office and just sort of collapsed.  Harry looked… wrecked.  It had been a while since he’d left Eggsy in Merlin and Elaine’s care, plenty of time for him to put himself back together, but he hadn’t.  His hair was still disarranged and spilling over his forehead.  His suit was still wrinkled and imperfect.  He had discarded his glasses, taken off his jacket and tie and rolled up his sleeves, and by the looks of the fresh glass on his desk he had just started drinking. 

There was a joke in there about Eggsy finally learning some manners- he still wasn’t all that great at the whole ‘knock and wait for permission’ thing- but Harry very blatantly failed to use it.  He just stood, lingering next to his chair with one hand braced on his desk, and watched Eggsy.  He had that wary look on his face that he always did when he woke from a dream of the church- Eggsy had stayed over at his house enough times to recognize it- and didn’t yet trust himself to know an enemy from someone who just happened to be there. 

Eggsy hated that he had put that look on Harry’s face.  “I…” he stopped, and locked the door more because he didn’t want any interruptions than because he thought they were likely to need privacy.    

Before that stuff wore off, it had been easy enough to trust Harry’s word when he said that he had always wanted Eggsy, easy enough to believe that as soon as it was out of his system they could be together.  It wasn’t so easy now.

Now he remembered that this was Harry Hart, the most out of his league man Eggsy could even imagine.  Now he remembered that he had had a crush on Harry almost as long as he’d known him, and there were reasons- a lot of them- for why he had never admitted it aloud.  So what if Harry had been wrong before?  What if he’d been hit hard and he’d simply tried to rationalize the sudden desire he felt for Eggsy by telling himself that he’d always wanted him?  Always loved him?  What if Harry now felt as violated by that stuff and the things it had made him want as he had after the church?  What if- now that Harry knew how he felt- everything Eggsy had always been afraid of was about to come to pass?  What if that stilted and wary look was going to replace the warm, affectionate expression Harry had always gifted him with when he dropped by Harry’s office?  What if all the casual touches Eggsy had only just started to get used to- to depend on- would slowly disappear as Harry came to terms with how Eggsy really wanted to be touched?  What if-

Eggsy brought his racing thoughts to an abrupt halt.  What if Harry was thinking the exact same thing?  Eggsy realized he probably looked sick to his stomach.  He probably looked horrified.  Suddenly he could remember Harry saying because the last thing you needed was a man twice your age- who is your boss besides- making advances when he was meant to be a mentor, perhaps even a father figure, to you.  He could remember Harry saying I haven’t forced my affections on you before like the only way he had ever been able to picture anything happening between them was if Eggsy felt he didn’t have a choice.  And as much as Eggsy knew that he hadn’t said anything he didn’t mean wholeheartedly, Harry didn’t exactly know that.  What Harry knew was that what he had always been afraid of had most definitely come to pass. 

Eggsy took a breath.  Whether Harry had been wrong about how he felt about Eggsy or not, he deserved to know the truth.  Eggsy could do this.  He could be brave.  For Harry.  “About the things I said earlier.”

“Yes?”  That wary look was still on Harry’s face. 

“I meant them.  All of them.”  Before he could hesitate again, Eggsy crossed to Harry, took his face in both hands, and kissed him. 

The quantity of relief he felt when Harry- hesitantly at first, and then with more energy- kissed him back, his hands coming to rest around Eggsy’s waist as though they belonged there, was immeasurable.  Eggsy figured that Harry was always going to be a powerful kisser, but this one was softer, sweeter- and it made the kiss Harry had given him earlier look decidedly like the kind of kiss you gave someone who might never let it happen again.  Eggsy ran his fingers through Harry’s still-mussed hair and kissed him back like his life depended on it until he felt Harry carefully, gently, disengage.  Harry pressed a few little kisses to Eggsy’s lips and drew away, his eyes still closed.  “Eggsy,” he began, slowly but pointedly letting Eggsy go.  “So did I.”  Eggsy reached for him again, but Harry flinched away.  “But we shouldn’t- I shouldn’t-”    

Eggsy could still taste liquor and Harry on his tongue and there was no way- no fucking way- that he was letting Harry walk away like today never happened.  But.  Well, it was a pretty serious paradigm shift, imagining a world in which Harry fucking Hart had been pining after him all this while.  Once he did imagine it, though, a couple of things became clear to Eggsy.  He sighed and leaned against Harry’s desk, rubbing his forehead.  “I get it, Harry.”

“Do you?” Harry asked slowly.

“Yeah, I really think I do.  You must’ve told yourself a lot of things, to really believe that I’d never want you.  And you must’ve come up with a lot of reasons why us being together was such a bad idea that you shouldn’t even try to change my mind.”

Harry was silent for a moment, and then he let out a long breath, shoulders slumping.  “Yes,” he admitted.  “I suppose I did.”     

“Those thoughts don’t just disappear when you find out I do want you after all.  And I ain’t gonna just tell you to get over it.  I respect you too much for that.  So if you just can’t get your head around it yet, if right now the idea of being with me scares you more than it makes you happy, you can tell me that.  I will wait for you, because you’re worth it, Harry Hart.”  Eggsy reached for Harry again, and this time Harry let him.  Eggsy gripped him by the belt loops and tugged him closer, resting his forehead against Harry’s again.  “You are so fucking worth it,” he said earnestly.  “But-”

“But?”  Harry still sounded rattled, but there were traces of the old Harry in there again.

“But if you’ve got yourself convinced that you’re turning me down for my benefit, then you are very, very wrong about that.  Because there is no reason you could possibly have come up with for why we would be bad for each other that I haven’t thought of too.  And there wasn’t a single one of them that stopped me from falling in love with you back when I thought you would never in a million years feel the same way about me.  And there’s no way in hell that any of them are going to keep me away from you now that I know that you do.”

“Oh, Eggsy,” Harry sighed out, and he sounded so sad that Eggsy thought Harry was going to try to let him down gently again.  He nuzzled Eggsy, pushing a soft kiss into his hairline.  “You didn’t say that, you know.”       

“What?”

“That you were in love with me.”

“I still can’t believe you don’t know.” 

Harry huffed out a laugh, breath warm across Eggsy’s skin as he lingered close.  “May I infer, then, that I am not the only one having trouble getting his head around this?”

“Yeah,” Eggsy said, pressing his face into the crook of Harry’s neck and just inhaling.  “Yeah, you may infer that.”

Harry’s hand shook faintly and then steadied as it came to rest on the back of Eggsy’s head. 

Eggsy’s lips slid over Harry’s skin.  “Please don’t push me away.”

“Suddenly I’m not sure I can.  I suppose…”  Harry hesitated, but even so Eggsy felt something in him relax as Harry's fingers carded through his hair.  “Our lives are terribly unpredictable to deny something we both want.”

Eggsy kissed Harry’s throat.  “Good.  I don’t have to say it.”

Harry laughed again, breathlessly.  “My dear boy.  I do love you.”  He cradled Eggsy’s skull in his hand and kissed the top of his head.  “Beyond reason.”  

Eggsy’s hands twitched where they rested against Harry’s hips.  He wanted to touch him more, but though he felt that they had most definitely turned a corner he still wasn’t sure that it would be welcomed.  His thumbs moved in light circles, the fabric of Harry’s trousers soft and slightly warm.  “Can I- can we-” 

If Harry wanted to wait Eggsy could, would.  He didn’t know if Harry was hard and wanting again, if he had ever stopped, if he had maybe brought himself off thinking there was no way Eggsy would come to him wanting to pick up where they left off.  Eggsy’s own arousal had faded during his time down in the lab as Merlin and Elaine’s pincushion, but it hadn’t taken much to bring it back.  He inhaled again, taking in Harry’s cologne and that slight hint of musk that suggested that maybe- just maybe- Harry was as turned on as he was.

He didn’t want to let Harry go, though he would if that was what Harry asked of him- because he meant it, absolutely, when he said that Harry was worth the wait.  But that didn’t mean that he didn’t want, so fiercely he could almost taste Harry on his tongue.

Harry was silent for a moment that seemed to stretch for an age, and then he pressed another kiss into Eggsy’s hairline.  “Yes,” he said at last, voice as rough as sandpaper.  “Yes, Eggsy, you-”

He didn’t finish, although it was possible that Eggsy simply couldn’t hear him over the roaring in his ears.  Eggsy was hardly even aware of himself moving until he felt the sting as his knees hit the floor.  He did hear Harry’s gasp though, very clearly, as his fingers dug into Harry’s hips and he leaned up and pressed his face into Harry’s groin- and oh yeah, Harry was hard all right.  It took Harry’s big hands only a second to find Eggsy again, petting his shoulders and coming to rest in his hair and on the back of his neck.  

Eggsy let his eyes drift closed, savoring the moment.  That musky scent was stronger down here and Eggsy liked breathing it in.  He rubbed his cheek against the hard line of Harry’s cock through his trousers, listening to the next hitch in Harry’s breathing.

Then he looked up, and Harry was looking back down at him.  His eyes were dark and hot, and this time Eggsy knew that there wasn’t any kind of drug or aphrodisiac behind that expression, just Harry.    

He wasn’t sure he would ever get enough of it. 

Eggsy let his tongue flicker out, mouthing at Harry through his clothes.  That time Harry made a noise in the back of his throat, but he didn’t break eye contact and neither did Eggsy as his hands went to Harry’s belt.  He took his time unbuckling it and undoing Harry’s trousers.  He wanted this to last and he figured Harry would tell him if he was going too slow.  Then again, Harry struck Eggsy as very much the delayed gratification type, and he looked entirely mesmerized, swallowing another moan as Eggsy drew his cock out of his briefs and just held it in his hand for a moment. 

“You’re just fucking gorgeous, aren’t you?” Harry said, still in that rough, perfect voice.

“Think that’s my line,” Eggsy replied a little breathlessly- because Harry was.  Harry was long, and thick, but he wasn’t too big either.  At the risk of sounding all goldilocks, he was just right.  The slightly tapered head was flushed red and shining, and Eggsy’s mouth was watering for it.  He let it come to rest against his lips.     

“Your mouth,” Harry whispered, sounding so fond, so aroused, and Eggsy was more than happy to put that mouth to work for Harry.  

Eggsy suckled at the smooth head of Harry’s cock, tasting him.  He used his hand, wrapping it around the base as he lapped at the slit.  “I been thinking about this,” he said, tongue flickering out across Harry’s cockhead.

“So you sai-” Harry broke off with a groan as Eggsy jacked him a couple of times before flattening his palm against Harry’s hip and sucking him deep, swallowing around his gag reflex to take Harry in.  Harry groaned again, softly. 

Eggsy bobbed his head up and down, enjoying the heaviness of Harry in his throat before pulling off with a wet pop, looking up at Harry through his eyelashes to admire his handiwork.  “Good?”

“You know it,” Harry said breathlessly.  “You’re amazing.”

And Eggsy felt it, with Harry looking at him like that and sounding like that.  But his capacity for teasing was nearly at an end.  He kissed up Harry’s shaft, loving the silken feel of Harry’s cock, now slick with his spit, under his hand.  He should have known it would be like that, that he would be the one to ask for more, the one to beg.  “Harry,” he said.  “Show me.”

He could see in the way Harry’s lips twisted upward that he understood.  Eggsy swallowed Harry down again, not stopping until his lips met his fingers, and then he released Harry’s cock again, moving to grasp Harry’s hips. 

Harry’s fingers carded gently through Eggsy’s hair once more and then tightened as he started to move, slowly at first, and then a little faster when he saw how well Eggsy took him.

And he said so.  After a while, the words of praise ran together in Eggsy’s mind.  Everything was Harry’s cock sliding over his tongue, Harry’s fingers in his hair, Harry’s thumb probing the hinge of his jaw.  He filled Eggsy’s throat beautifully and Eggsy just held on as Harry’s gorgeous voice washed over him.  Eggsy’s cock ached in his trousers, but he ignored it, focusing on Harry as his thrusts got shallower and his words melted into soft groans.  “Eggsy,” he finally said, voice like gravel.  “I’m-”

Even if his mouth had not been busy at the moment, Eggsy didn’t think he would have been able to talk.  He just tightened his grip on Harry’s hips and stared up at him. 

Harry held Eggsy’s eyes and came down his throat with a bitten-off curse. 

Eggsy kept sucking until Harry pulled out carefully, dropping to his knees in front of Eggsy and drawing him into a wet kiss.  He groaned around Eggsy’s mouth and reached between them, undoing Eggsy’s trousers in an almost-clumsy rush.  “I want to see you come for me, darling,” Harry said, kissing up the side of Eggsy’s face.

Just that and the lingering taste of Harry in his mouth would probably have been enough to bring Eggsy over the edge, but Harry had to go and curl his fingers around Eggsy’s cock too.

Eggsy looked down and the sight of those long, graceful fingers wrapped around his cock made him moan.  Harry’s calloused hands stroked him once, twice, a third time- and then Eggsy was coming, smothering a cry in Harry’s lips.             

“Perfect,” Harry murmured, kissing Eggsy’s temple tenderly and then producing a handkerchief to clean him off. 

They just kissed for a while after that, unhurriedly, and that was nice too, that was perfect, that was one more thing Eggsy thought he could easily become addicted to. 

It seemed like Harry was enjoying it as much as Eggsy was, because he only broke away from Eggsy’s mouth when the phone on his desk rang. Since Harry had his glasses off, someone had evidently resorted to harnessing Kingsman HQ’s massively underused and somewhat antiquated telephone system.  Harry lifted the receiver and rested his forehead on his desk for a second before he said, “Yes?” in a voice that wasn’t quite as even as usual.

So that was Harry Hart’s post-orgasm voice.  Eggsy muscled down a smirk.  He wasn’t sure he’d ever get enough of that either. 

He couldn’t hear what was said on the other end, just Harry’s answer: “I see,” and then, “Yes, you can expect to hear from me.  Thank you, Elaine.”

Eggsy sat back on his haunches and leaned against the wall.  “What was that about?”

Harry was clearly not happy.  He collapsed into his desk chair, wearing that hollow, haunted look he usually did when someone’s mission went very wrong.  Eggsy had wondered, those times he had seen that look before, just how long he could keep it off Harry’s face.  Now he knew.  “Apparently one of Elaine’s techs, a young lady, has a crush on an agent.  I gather she only thought of using the substance very briefly before she fully considered her actions and decided it would be wrong.  She stowed it in her desk and promptly forgot all about it.”

“Ah,” Eggsy said.  So- ethical implications, and all that. Judging by Harry’s expression, he didn’t especially care that the tech in question had thought better of using this stuff, or that if not for a very particular series of events none of what happened that day would have happened at all.  “So that’s still kind of ugly.  But she obviously didn’t mean for things to go like they did.  And she never hurt anyone at all, technically-”

Harry gave him a Look. 

“All right,” Eggsy said.  “I’m not sure I even convinced myself just there.  And I... I know you gotta do something.  But if it hadn’t happened, you and I might still be… you know.  So really, we kind of have her to thank for this.”   

Harry regarded Eggsy for a long moment, then laughed shortly.  “I know I’m not unbiased in this matter.  And Elaine is still on the warpath.  If I handed the decision over to Merlin, who is as impartial a judge as we can hope for under the circumstances, would that satisfy you?”   

Eggsy nodded.

Harry’s face softened and he reached out to Eggsy.  There was the faintest glimmer of relief in his eyes when Eggsy went, happily, climbing into his lap.  Harry’s enormous desk chair seemed made for that- hell, Harry seemed made for that.  He fit against Eggsy so perfectly.  

Eggsy traced a line from Harry’s temple to his chin with a fingertip.  “You still aren’t quite sure of me, are you?”

“I…”

Eggsy pressed a kiss into Harry’s hairline.  “I’m gonna make you so sure of me, Harry Hart.”

Harry’s arms went around him.  “I suppose, then, that I may count on your coming home with me tonight?”

There was such warmth in Harry’s tone, such promise.  And he had already described the things he wanted to do to Eggsy in his bed.  Eggsy had gotten his fantasy; it was only fair that Harry get his, and Eggsy couldn’t wait.  “Yes, Harry,” he said.  “Fuck yes.”