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i

Harry doesn’t think much about it at first. Doesn’t think much of anything at all beyond the way the sun glints off Eggsy outside a police station, the stubborn, contained belligerence in his body, how Harry can’t help but smirk a bit as he tilts his head in consideration.

This will be fun.

And that's all there is to it. Life, of course, has very different ideas.

*

Harry.

Harry pauses his fiddling, setting aside whatever latest experiment Merlin has going — and normally Merlin would be glowering at him for that, the incessant, bored snooping Harry gets up to whilst forced to dawdle about Merlin’s office like this. The fact that Merlin isn't currently being a possessive, cantankerous bastard about it all has Harry’s full and immediate attention. Half the fun in poking about is just to make Merlin fuss like a grumpy cat.

Merlin has thrown his glasses aside and is blinking up at Harry in disbelief, putting him much more in confused owl territory than anything remotely feline. If not for the sudden burning need to know the results of the candidates’ blood tests, Harry would tell him to stop trying to compete with Archimedes. Merlin might have even thrown a pen in his face and growled something about burning Harry’s Disney film collection.

Instead Harry feels like he's swallowed a lemon as he tries to imagine which of their pedigreed, snot-nosed trainees has enough fae blood for Merlin to be making that face and how much time they will now be forced to spend with them. God, Harry hopes it's Alastair’s girl at the least.

“Which one?”

Merlin rubs at his eyes and laughs, then puts his glasses back on and quirks his mouth at Harry almost mockingly. Harry's heart thumps. “Well you've really done it this time.”

Eggsy?

Merlin snorts outright at that. “The one and only. And not just that — he has fae royal blood. A lot of it, certainly enough to put him directly in line for the throne.”

Eggsy. We are talking about the same Eggsy here, the one I picked up outside of a police station just this morning. Whose father barely had enough fae in him to even register in your preliminary blood tests during his own candidacy. That Eggsy. And what — has Queen Titania herself been mucking about as a human for the past 20 years or so, living on an estate, just for a bit of fun?”

Merlin turns back to his work station and sighs, a sharp clack of keys under his fingers as they fly across the keyboard. “I think— Yes, here.” Harry moves closer to peer over Merlin’s shoulder, for all the unenlightening good it will do to stare at the array of images and diagnostics. “I think he’s a changeling, Harry. A fucking royal faerie changeling.”

“But he looks so much like Lee. Not to mention the multitude of other reasons that makes no bloody sense: there’s not one shred of magic about him, or at least no more so than any other recruit we’ve ever had, and other than a predilection and talent for freerunning and backwards driving that are beyond natural, I wouldn’t have pegged him for even a quarter fae.”

Merlin hums in thought and squints at something on the screen, flicking quickly through a few different charts. “Could be a glamour or some other kind of magic, to hide him here undetected. But the interesting thing is, you’re right about Lee. It’s a bit muddled, as all magical blood is, but Lee is Eggsy’s father. Well, mostly. Bloody magical DNA.”

“Lee sired a child with a fae royal, and then they switched out the child with Eggsy’s newborn half sibling,” Harry says flatly. “That’s preposterous.”

“The DNA doesn’t lie, Harry. But I’ll make some enquiries, quietly, see if we can figure out precisely whose child he is — and why they left him here.” Merlin smirks up at Harry with a sly glint in his eye and Harry grinds his teeth together, because he knows without Merlin even saying anything that the nosy bastard has picked up on all the things Harry doesn’t want him to. “In the meantime, why don’t you go check on our newest charge, make sure we keep him alive long enough for it to matter.”

*

So they drown him, of course. But as Harry watches the crackle of glass under Eggsy’s fist, the sparks that fizz near unseen across the surface, he shivers, a great shuddering heave that feels almost as if Eggsy had reached through the glass and straight into Harry’s spine, a hot electric current that leaves him in a rush of gasping air.

Well, fuck.

ii

As Harry watches Eggsy peer cautiously around his study at the manor, Harry smiles, just a bit, into his tea. It’s a rather damnable trait all things considered, this propensity Eggsy has to make Harry fond and all manner of other things that Harry intends to ignore fully, and Harry wishes he would stop.

Except for how he doesn’t, but Harry is a great liar, even to himself.

He still finds Eggsy’s wide-eyed circumspection much too endearing, regardless, especially the way his face flashes open and delighted at every slight discovery, all traces of surly distrust gone. Harry clears his throat and Eggsy’s eyes snap back to him.

“What do you know of magic, Eggsy?”

“Magic,” Eggsy says, disbelief written through every twitch of his expression.

“Yes, magic.” Harry snaps his fingers and the figure on the cover of the book in front of Eggsy begins to dance, winking up at him; Eggsy yelps and falls out of his seat.

Eggsy blinks slowly up at Harry and whispers “magic” with something like revelation.

*

They start small.

Truthfully, whilst Harry's family is old and well-established within the magical community, a bit of fae running through every line, he has little power to show for it. Few humans do. Merlin is rather an exception in that regard, but even then fae tend to find him more amusing than anything — and certainly nothing compared to what Eggsy has the potential for.

Harry's limited magical gifts, however, are still far more than Eggsy has ever seen, and it's hard for Harry to begrudge a single second of the way Eggsy nearly glows with wonder and excitement, head tipped down and green eyes glittering at the tiny, ephemeral likeness of a rose floating above his hands, simple parlour trick or no.

*

“So’s Kingsman protect the world with magic then?”

Harry puts aside his biscuit and considers his answer — until they have more solid information about Eggsy’s own ancestry, he's loath to go into too much detail about that aspect at least, but Eggsy does deserve the explanations Harry can give.

“Not precisely, no,” he says as he wipes his fingers clean. “The majority of Kingsman have no magic at all, nor any knowledge of its existence, which is why I've bundled you off for this lesson, as it were. As with most major agencies around the world, there are always a few of us who do have magic to monitor things — in our case, to watch for any nefarious magical plots amidst all the normal, human ones, and to catch anyone, such as yourself, with the kinds of talents that tend to find their ways into our organisation.”

“Huh.” Eggsy glances into his tea, pensive, and bites delicately at his full bottom lip. Harry looks away.

“The magical world is not what it once was, for better or worse, and as the fae have largely left us to our own devices for the past few centuries or so, so too has the magic dissipated in many ways.” Eggsy droops and Harry continues softly, cursing the part of himself that wants to give Eggsy all the things he can't possibly, “Not as exciting as what you were hoping for, I imagine.”

“But I have magic,” Eggsy says, sudden and fierce, like he’s stamping it on the world, eyes as sharp as Harry’s ever seen them.

“Oh, Eggsy. More than you can even realise.”

iii

“So Harry’s been showing you the basics then?” Merlin’s lounging back in his office chair, almost teasing — he may be beyond professional everywhere else, always at the ready, but this is his kingdom, and no one comes in or out or eavesdrops without him knowing about it.

It’s refreshing to see him glimmer at the prospect of having a proper student for once; for all that many of the knights have latent abilities that drew them here, Harry is the only one with any capacity for conscious control and has been Merlin’s only confidant in this for nearly two decades now, since the former Gawain retired off to whatever remote corner of the world he’s still holed up in. Harry remembers something vaguely about magical plant species in the Congo. Or was it the mountains of Azerbaijan?

Eggsy nods eagerly and Harry can nearly feel the excitement wafting off of him like a living, vibrating thing. Harry wonders if this projection is just the sheer force of Eggsy’s personality, the bright, beaming thing that it is, or if it comes from even deeper, some fae well of emotion writ large upon the world.

It’s a wondrous thing to behold, either way.

Merlin taps his fingers on his armrest in consideration, then smirks at them. “How about I show you some real magic?”

Eggsy glances between Merlin and Harry, wide-eyed, like he expects Harry to be insulted; Harry merely scoffs and rolls his eyes, then takes a seat back a ways. May as well let them have their fun — and god knows what Merlin has planned.

With a raise of his hand everything in the room that isn’t wired or bolted down levitates, held precarious and fragile for one second, then three, Eggsy’s loud, choking inhalation the only sound before all hell breaks loose and everything goes flying in a whirlwind round their heads and legs and everything else, a bright cacophony of motion. As suddenly as it begins, it ends, Merlin pulling his palm inward and closing his fist, every item shifting back, not a pen or sheet of paper out of place.

Eggsy’s gone still and fully slack-jawed and Harry nearly laughs outright at his gaping, stunned face.

That is sick.

*

Watching Eggsy work with Merlin over the course of his training is like seeing a flower bloom and open into something utterly unexpected, a dazzling shock with every waking moment, as much as even thinking up that comparison makes Harry want to turn his gun on himself and put himself out of his misery. An amnesia dart would do too, although he’d probably be right back at the overwrought imagery within a second of catching Eggsy’s grin after learning a new spell, as huge as anything but not nearly half as wide as the raw power he exudes more and more as he comes into his own.

Harry has met full-blooded fae, briefly anyway, in the course of his work, but it’s never been like this. Felt like this. Maybe it’s that the fae usually tend to closed-off disinterest, if not outright mocking amusement at humanity, or maybe it’s just Eggsy himself, whatever makes him, well, him.

All in all it’s kind of awful the way Harry can’t stop himself from this sort of saccharine hyperbole, and it’s a miracle that the rest of the trainees and non-magical staff of Kingsman never seem to notice how Eggsy almost glows from the inside out. He’s caught James shaking his head as if to clear it a few times after coming across the trainees, but otherwise no one seems the wiser.

Harry can feel the disparaging looks Merlin gives him as he holes up down in Merlin’s office with increasing frequency, scotch firmly in hand, but if there were ever a time to give into his capacity to be a maudlin drunk, he fails to see why now is not that time. And if he has to suffer then so does Merlin.

Today Merlin merely sighs and flops in the chair next to Harry, clutching at his own whisky like it might give him strength. All of the recruits are displayed over the numerous screens atop Merlin’s desk; they’ve all been assigned individual work to practise and Eggsy is there right in the middle. He’s somehow figured out how to call flashes of lightning from his fingertips, despite neither Harry nor Merlin teaching him any such thing, and is gleefully targeting everything within sight in the disused garden shed Merlin has set him up in, far away from everyone else.

Then Eggsy seems to realise that he can change the colour of the lightning and Harry quickly downs the rest of his tumbler instead of watching Eggsy’s manic twirling as he paints the room in vibrant, breathtaking lines of electricity. When he turns to see if Merlin also needs a top up, Merlin has the most utterly besotted look on his face and Harry snorts.

“Christ, you need this even more than I do,” he says as he pours generously into Merlin’s glass.

“It’s just— so beautiful.” Merlin almost sounds like he could cry.

Harry raises his glass towards him in commiseration. “We are truly and utterly fucked.”

Merlin doesn’t argue.

*

Merlin stares at Harry grimly, then pulls over the tumblers they barely even bother to put away anymore. Harry raises his eyebrows but accepts the glass nonetheless — he’s not one to judge, but it is rather on the early side, even for him.

“It’s barely half eight, Merlin, bloody hell.”

Merlin swallows a whole mouthful and refills his glass. “Drink up, you’ll need it.”

“Christ, I haven’t even had breakfast yet,” Harry says and then takes a leisurely sip. “I demand you feed me properly after this, or no second date for you.”

That only earns him an eye roll and more whisky. “I’m sure I can arrange something with the kitchen, where you were going to eat anyway, you git.”

“Something other than that dreadful porridge they’ve been foisting on me recently. I don’t care what the doctor’s orders are, I want real food.”

Merlin waves him off. “Yes, yes, I’ll make sure you’re fed properly. We’ll both deserve it after this.”

“Dare I ask?” Harry sighs into his glass.

“I was finally able to meet with our erstwhile faerie cousins last night.”

Harry eyes him, dubious. “It went that well, did it. Is Eggsy not theirs?”

Merlin actually laughs at that, but it has a dark, bleeding edge completely devoid of humour. “Oh, he’s theirs alright. In fact, he is Titania’s herself. Not just any nobility, no, the son of the bloody faerie queen.”

“You must be joking.”

“I most certainly am not.”

Fuck,” Harry says and grabs the bottle of scotch.

“Quite. It appears she had a lot of fun that Imbolc, nine months before Eggsy was born — although why choose Lee of all people, I have no sodding idea — and thought Eggsy’d be better off in the human world, away from any challengers until he’s older. I also got the distinct impression that the ambassador they sent to meet me was laughing at me.” Merlin considers the glass in his hand, makes a face. “He said, and I quote, ‘He’s to stay with Kingsman for now and you’re to protect him, keep him safe and alive as he grows into his full potential. When it’s time for him to know and remember, he will. And he’s Titania’s gift to this world, so you’d better guard him well.’ Then the arsehole grinned at me and fucked off back to faerie without even so much as a by your leave.”

“Seriously? Guard him? In our line of work? Not to mention that he can run magical circles around us, so what on earth are we supposed to do?”

“I haven’t the faintest. But Harry, you haven’t even realised the worst part: he’s Titania’s, the direct son of the queen. Although he won’t present for a while yet — he’s still practically a baby in fae terms — he will be an omega.”

“Oh dear god.” Harry stares at the now empty bottle mournfully and wonders if it’s too early to pop out for another and begin a proper bender.

With a weary rub of his face, Merlin starts chuckling again. “Maybe we’re meant to beat off all the alphas from faerie that he’ll inevitably start attracting into this realm once he presents with a stick.”

Harry moans wretchedly and holds the cool glass to his forehead; it is entirely too early for this shit.

iv

Keeping Eggsy alive, it turns out, is more than a full-time job.

Harry hisses at Merlin over his glasses, “How am I supposed to keep up with him if he just up and decides that he can walk through walls?”

I don’t know, but the last time you let him wriggle away like this on a mission he was so distracted by the baby he’d found with the hostages that he nearly walked into a bomb. So hoist yourself over that goddamn wall and go find him before we have a dead faerie prince on our hands.”

It goes without comment that Merlin will wring Harry’s neck first if that happens, well before the fae would ever have a chance. To say that they’ve both become fond of Eggsy over their months of work together would be a gross understatement. Sometimes Harry wonders if Eggsy is so oblivious that he can’t see the singular care with which Harry and Merlin treat him as compared to anyone else, or if there’s some sort of innate royalness that sees it as his due.

From the way Eggsy’s eyes still light up at even the smallest consideration, Harry has trouble believing the latter.

Harry takes a deep breath and eyes the wall in calculation, before finally flinging himself upwards and grabbing onto the few handholds that he can. Fucking hell, how does Eggsy always manage to make this look easy.

Not for the first time he curses the fae and how insistent they’ve been that Eggsy become a Kingsman; he can’t argue with the results — Eggsy is beyond brilliant, just as Harry had imagined he would be from the beginning — but how they are supposed to be held responsible for safeguarding his well-being like this is patently idiotic. Eggsy is a terror, like a newborn calf learning to run before he walks, and his magic burns so very bright it scares Harry sometimes that he’ll somehow extinguish himself before he truly has a chance to understand his magic, or understand himself.

Dropping down on the other side with a groan, Harry stumbles through the bushes that line that part of the wall before all but falling out into the garden proper. Some bodyguard he is. He thinks he can make out Eggsy having a go of it with someone in the hedge maze, short flashes of light popping up here and there.

He stalks forward with caution, umbrella drawn. Merlin had made sure they were assigned to this mission as it is one of the fraction that come in that involve actual magic. Placating Arthur has been a careful orchestration of words and distractions; he’d not wanted Eggsy in Kingsman at all, no matter how gifted Eggsy appeared to be (not that Chester knows even the half of it), and even now that he’s begrudgingly allowed Eggsy the title of Geraint, it takes not inconsiderable skill for Merlin to pass off the amount that Harry is assigned to work with Eggsy as routine and coincidental.

Of course, despite Eggsy’s tendency to sniff out and wander into trouble like an inattentive bloodhound, their operational success rate is hard to argue with: they work well together in the field, in a way that few agents can — and not purely for magical reasons either, which chuffs Eggsy to no end, and Harry too, although he never admits to it.

When he finally finds Eggsy, he’s not sure whether he wants to put his head in his hands or magick some kind of bell to tie around Eggsy’s neck for the rest of eternity. Eggsy’s dueling with a robot of some sort and his eyebrows and the tips of his hair have a singed, smokey quality to them and his glasses are covered in a layer of film as if he were a schoolboy that had had his latest chemistry experiment blow up directly in his face.

Harry’s afraid to even ask as he sneaks around the robot from behind. The latest pulse the robot fires is definitely magically imbued somehow, so plus one to Merlin’s latest intel that some scientist has been trying to combine the two, and Eggsy yelps and jumps back like his feet are on fire as it sparks in the dirt.

Eggsy slams a wave of energy at the thing and starts cursing when it merely leans back for a moment before resuming its assault. “Just die already, you fucking over-glorified toaster,” Eggsy growls, and Harry can feel the energy he’s pooling, grabbing directly out of the earth and air and welding into something stronger.

“Your magic isn’t as effective against metal as it is against people,” Harry yells at him over the robotic din and raises his umbrella.

Before he can line up a proper shot, however, the robot does something— strange. Without any idea how he can tell, Harry knows with sudden certainty that the robot is somehow attracting Eggsy’s magical energy and condensing it, preparing to turn it back on Eggsy himself.

Between one moment and the next, Harry has stepped through and into Eggsy’s space, his umbrella forgotten behind him as Harry scoops Eggsy up into his arms and turns his back on the robot, throwing up a wall just as all that energy is flung at them. With a booming screech of rending metal all finally goes quiet, Eggsy’s magic at last redirected towards the robot in a way it can’t avoid. Harry blinks behind himself in shock; he’s never performed that sort of magic in his life, nothing close to moving through space or building force fields, not even once. There’s no way he should be able to do what he did at all.

Eggsy pants up at Harry, an utter mess of grime and half-baked magic, and pets at Harry’s collar with the hand not wrapped firmly around Harry’s neck. “My saviour,” he says, with a rakish, soppy grin.

Underneath the smoke and ozone, Eggsy smells of apples and honey, impossibly warm, and Harry’s throat goes dry and he promptly drops Eggsy straight on his arse.

Eggsy squawks.

*

There are missions in Algeria, under the hot, blinding sun and sea salt air, with fragments of old, old magic that still haunt the steps of mortal men amongst white-washed walls; the tip of Chile, where ice meets frigid waves in crystalline fractures and Harry becomes certain that no magic will ever keep them warm and dry again; the bustling alleys of Tokyo, restaurants and tiny bars stacked on top of each other like tinned fish, and if they stand on the correct lines the spirits of the past layer over the present in great washes of grey-streaked light.

There are also quiet moments in between.

Harry’s never thought of magic having a smell, but with Eggsy it does, subtle, earthy and verdant, and Eggsy has the tendency to leave great trails behind himself, like his magic can’t help but want to touch everything, show everyone he’s here, poke and prod and investigate every tiny corner for all it's worth. Some days it seems like Eggsy grows more into his power with every single breath, and it astounds Harry that no one else ever notices the streaks of himself that Eggsy leaves behind. Or maybe Harry’s somehow become more attuned to magic and for the first time in his life he can see what was always there.

Eggsy’s taken to fussing over Harry and Merlin, mugs of coffee and delicate pots of darjeeling, an entire variety of finger sandwiches, fresh baked bread and jam, whole meals which appear with a whiff of magic and Eggsy’s expectant eyes, no matter how many times they tell him they’ve been feeding and taking care of themselves for decades now; Eggsy only harrumphs and narrows his eyes at them as he tells them “not bloody well enough,” and Harry would argue harder if only out of pure indignation, if not for the fact that the animal part of him is so very, very pleased. So he merely grumbles into his tea and smiles stupidly back at Eggsy’s happy, satisfied face.

Merlin brings Eggsy a pug which can turn into a tiny dragon when there are no non-magical creatures about: it’s hand-sized with thin, gossamer wings and sleek blue scales and breathes out the world’s smallest lick of flame and Eggsy takes to bringing him everywhere, completely enchanted by his miniscule frame and puppy kisses and ability to curl up on Eggsy’s neck and shoulders like a warm, living necklace. Merlin is completely, insufferably smug about it and Harry grits his teeth and stomps out to find something of his own.

He knows there’s no reason for his irritation, but it grips him nonetheless over passing days and weeks. And whilst he also knows nothing will ever come of it, that Eggsy’s a damn faerie prince who will have an entire selection of long-lived fae alphas once he’s matured enough, he still goes out to find something anyway — and he takes what dark joy he can out of the thought of eventually beating any unwanted alphas back with a stick.

When he presents Eggsy with a bouquet of magic orchids, more vibrant than any that can be found in the mortal realm and with delicate petals magicked to last for an eternity, Eggsy’s green eyes go wide and he clutches them with gentle, careful hands to his chest. Harry coughs as he suddenly realises what the fuck he’s doing, but forgets almost immediately as Eggsy thanks him and Harry can’t help but admire the pink that splashes across his high cheekbones, the angle of his jaw, his lovely, inviting mouth.

*

“I’m different, aren’t I? Even from other magical people.” Eggsy has that stubborn set to his mouth, the one that says he’s not leaving without the answers he’s looking for; Harry and Merlin exchange a glance.

“Yes, you are,” Merlin says after a long pause and sets aside his tea.

Eggsy nods at the ground, brow furrowed, and worries at his bottom lip. Harry wants desperately to smooth his thumb across that lip, to erase that pensive, troubled expression from Eggsy’s face until he’s his brash, cheeky self again.

“You are just as much of faerie as you are of the human world. You probably don’t know this, but you were born on Samhain, and conceived on Imbolc, during the times when the divide between the two worlds are at their thinnest. It’s— There’s a lot more for you to learn and know, and you will, but it’ll take time.”

Harry grinds his teeth against the urge to try to explain everything to Eggsy, or at least what he knows, which he doubts is even the half of it; the fae have been adamant and clear that Eggsy will figure out who he is in his own time.

“Right. It’s just—” Eggsy breaks off with a hoarse laugh. “Fuck. Something’s been… off recently. Mum thinks I’m going fucking mental. Swear down, she’s gonna have me admitted or something, but no matter how irrational it is, I just can’t seem to stop, well, messing with everything recently. I’ve redone my room, completely — new blankets, duvets, paint colours, the works — three times so far, but no matter what I do it just don’t feel right. I’m so restless I feel like I’m gonna itch right out of my own skin, like there’s this overwhelming burning in my gut. Which makes no fucking sense, cause everything is normal right now, innit. So is it cause I’m part of faerie or whatever? Some weird fae thing?”

Harry stands up and rummages around for a third glass to add to Merlin and Harry’s permanent collection, then starts pouring the scotch with the determination of a man about to go to the noose. If there is a ninth circle of hell, they’ve found it. Eggsy glances at the scotch in bemusement, eyebrows raised.

“Sexual reproduction amongst the fae works a bit… differently,” Harry begins, delicate.

Eggsy stares at him, face twisted up, opens and closes his mouth a few times and then seems to think better of it, reaching out for a glass and chucking its entire contents down. Harry refills it without having to be asked.

Sexual reproduction.”

“Yes, well…” Harry waves a hand for Merlin to continue and starts contemplating exactly how many amnesia darts they will need to ensure that none of them ever have to remember this conversation again.

Merlin looks rather like Harry feels, like a cornered animal that would prefer to jump off a cliff than continue this slow, inexorable death. “I didn’t think this would be an issue for more years yet, but yes. The fae… their biology does not necessarily relate to childbearing in the same way a human’s does. It is technically possible for any fae of any gender to be able to bear children.”

Eggsy’s face has gone utterly blank, devoid of any expression at all. “Are you taking the fucking piss.”

“Believe me, Eggsy, I truly wish we were,” Harry says.

Merlin takes a long drink before continuing. “If rumours are to be believed, some fae many centuries ago decided to develop the ability to bear children, regardless of sex, with some magical tinkering as a matter of ensuring lineage: you can’t have a bastard child, or be stuck with the child of an adulterous wife, if you’re the one who’s pregnant after all. It has to be yours.”

Jesus fuck,” Eggsy grinds out and snags the bottle of scotch as if he were considering going into hiding with it for the rest of eternity. Harry doesn’t blame him.

“So they became omegas,” Merlin mutters on, apparently no intention of stopping now that he’s started. “As a trait, it’s associated with the most important members of the faerie community, really — most fae would kill to be omegas.”

“And what, you think I’m an omega? I’ve never even been to faerie — I know barely anything about the fae at all!”

“You are, of that I have no doubt,” Harry says gently.

“And if we’d had any doubts, those symptoms you just described would have rid us of them.”

“What the fuck.”

“Based on what gossip has managed to travel back to our world, before omegas present as such, they often start, well. Nesting, for lack of a better word. They can become restless and irritable, as their body prepares for certain changes.” Eggsy stares back at Merlin in horror at the word changes. “Not— not as severe as you’re imagining. Have you noticed anything else? Anything physical?”

Eggsy goes bright red to the tips of his ears, and begins to stutter. “Well, I mean. Yeah. Like— Oh, for fuck’s sake.” Eggsy groans into his hands. “I can’t believe we’re even having this fucking conversation. But, yes, if you have to know, I’ve been horny as all fuck,” he says through his fingers.

Harry can feel himself flush at that admission, wonders if having his fingernails peeled off one by one would be less excruciating than this infernal discussion: he thinks it might. He’s nearly ready to call up Victor Lee, torture specialist for hire that Kingsman brought down five years ago, from where he’s rotting in a Lebanese prison and ask if he’s willing to test this theory out on Harry.

Merlin grimaces. “I’ll try to find what I can about omega physiology for you, so you can read up on any other changes or anything else you should be prepared for. The main thing is that once you do present fully, you’ll start attracting alphas. So we should prepare for the inevitability that you’ll be receiving a lot of fae visitors sooner rather than later.”

“Alphas,” Eggsy repeats dully.

“Not that much information about that has bled into this world either, unfortunately, but we do know that who becomes an alpha for an omega is all a bit random, and there’s some factor of compatibility. Certainly helped cut down on the inbreeding amongst the fae nobility though.”

Eggsy sighs. “What’s so special about alphas then?”

“Well, they have— Actually, I think it might be better if you just read it.”

“Fucking hell, I don’t want to know then.”

v

Eggsy squirrels himself away with his reading for a few days after that conversation — which is probably for the best, as Merlin goes back to Harry’s afterwards and it takes Harry half a week to feel like a remotely normal, non-hungover human being again.

Eggsy seems oddly cheerful when he comes back though. He’s also everywhere, even more so than before, and Harry and Merlin can’t turn around without a new cuppa or biscuit or something else appearing on the corner of their desks. Harry’s tempted to ask Eggsy about it, but the bright, determined gleam in Eggsy’s eyes stops him short and he decides it might be safer to chalk it up to omega magic or something wreaking havoc with Eggsy’s body and leave it at that.

There’s also the matter of how his things seem to keep disappearing or being misplaced god knows where, and he has the distinct sense that Eggsy’s magic has been cleaning up after Harry, quite possibly without conscious thought on Eggsy’s part. Or maybe it’s just taken to rifling through Harry’s rooms, like a sticky, nosy toddler who pulls things out and then wanders off with them.

Settling down at night for a brandy with his least favourite spare blanket and a cardigan he’s never particularly cared for does not help the near incessant migraine he’s developed in the slightest, especially when he’s already irritated all the time and suitably snippy, possessive of Eggsy’s time and attention in a way that he is much too far gone to do anything about, and there’s a sense of fond resignation that he shares with Merlin in glances as they both realise what proper fools they are making themselves out to be.

But soon enough he’s sent to Quito with Eggsy to chase down an arms dealer with a side business specialising in black magic; afterwards they huddle together with their knees knocking under the table at a tiny, bustling hole-in-the-wall and eat ceviche and drink wine until the wee hours, Merlin pouting in their ears about his ceviche-less existence, and Harry laughs too hard and forgets, for a while, the pounding in his head, how mad his life has become. How Eggsy’s mere existence has turned everything upside down, not that he regrets a second of it.

In the morning, Eggsy curls close on a bench and they drink thick, spicy hot chocolate in a quiet plaza before they need to board the jet and head back. Eggsy has a soft, sleepy smile on his face as he gazes back at Harry from where his head is resting on the bench so close to Harry’s shoulder and it’s terrible how much Harry thinks he might give to keep that smile there always.

“So you and Merlin, you’re both a bit fae, yeah?” His voice isn’t much more than a murmur over the low hum of the city.

“Well, yes, in the sense that everyone who has some magic is a bit fae. But that was all very long ago and it’s diluted now through the generations. It would be a gross exaggeration to call us fae.”

“Hmmm.” Eggsy looks down into his hot chocolate and pauses in consideration. “Yeah, I guess so. But it’s still there, you know. It’s part of who you are.”

Harry shrugs noncommittally; it’s never much bothered him, if he’s honest. He glances down at Eggsy, speculative. “Speaking of fae, you’re taking the whole omega thing very well by the way.”

“Well, after the initial shock anyway.” Eggsy snorts, before continuing, “But, no, I did my research. I got this alpha and omega thing on lock now. I ain’t worried, got it all figured out.”

The hot chocolate sours in Harry’s stomach at the mention of alphas and he grips his cup with grim determination and refuses to let himself spoil the mood for Eggsy, no matter how much of a strop the irrational, instinctual side of his brain is in.

*

When Harry receives the text, hey, you both need to come down to my rooms ;), he is draped in a chair in Merlin’s office, nerves on a frayed edge for no discernible reason, and has been bemoaning the state of the world and trading barbs with Merlin for the better part of an hour. Eggsy’s been spending a strangely large amount of time at the manor in recent weeks, rarely going to his actual home, but this is the first he’s mentioned it or invited anyone in and Harry exchanges a look with Merlin.

It starts subtly, wisps of magic clinging to the walls as they make their way down the hall, a fresh harvest scent unfurling and enticing them forwards, only growing stronger, thick vines of magic pulsing with scent and life.

Harry wonders if he’s in a trance. Harry wonders if he’s died. Whether this is heaven or hell. If such a thing even exists.

The sight and smell of magic made manifest into a living, breathing thing still doesn’t prepare him for what they find on the other side of Eggsy’s door. Harry is struck mute at about the same time he finally realises where all his things have wandered off to.

“My grandmother quilted that blanket!” Merlin somehow manages the feat of sounding completely offended and utterly awed and besotted at the same time.

Harry has over a million things to say, but the only one that comes out is, “I’ve been looking everywhere for that cardigan.”

Eggsy laughs, a hoarse, breathy thing, and then whimpers as his hand speeds up where it’s wrapped around his cock. “Glad you could finally make it. I’m dying here.”

Harry bites his tongue as his brain fumbles, lurching from one thought to the next, higher-functioning all but shutting down: Eggsy is stripped down to nothing but Harry’s beige cardigan, feet planted firmly on the mattress as he uses both hands on himself, impossibly slick sounds and a deeper, even more lovely scent emanating from him like a shockwave, green eyes glittering in the dim light almost as much as his magic, which is everywhere, twirling and curling in great streaks of multicoloured light; underneath the magic the room is covered in yet more of Harry and Merlin’s things, blankets and jumpers and random mementos, even Harry’s orchids in pride of place on the nightstand next to Eggsy’s bed, and if it weren’t Eggsy, Eggsy with his endearing smile, Eggsy whom Harry would give the world to if he could, it would probably worry him. But it doesn’t.

“What—” Merlin swallows. “Why did you ask us here, Eggsy?”

“Nnnnnnn…” Eggsy shudders through another ripple and continues, “The fuck does it look like, mate? You think I built this shrine to things that smell like you both and make me feel cared for just for kicks?”

“But we’re not—”

Eggsy cuts Harry off. “Fuck, should’ve known you’d both be stubborn knobheads about this. Did you even read the material you gave me? If you have any fae blood you can be an alpha, fuck’s sake. And don’t try to tell me you haven’t been acting like possessive, irritated arseholes, trailing after me with your sad puppy eyes. Trust me, I ain’t the only one whose body’s been going through some changes.”

Harry’s brain feels like it’s crawling through molasses, unable to tear his gaze away from the way Eggsy has somehow managed to arch himself into position to push three fingers into his slippery, dripping arse long enough to process this statement.

“I don’t…” Merlin whispers and Eggsy just moans.

“Just drop fucking trou and get in here already, I needed you two like yesterday, not to stand there fucking gawking while I’m dying here by myself. You’re the only two that I want, so forget whatever self-sacrificing notions you had and fuck me already. Please.”

At that pained, pleading tone, Harry begins stumbling forwards without even thinking, then stops. “Wait. Both of us?”

Eggsy pulls the hand off his cock long enough to groan and tug at his hair. “Christ, I gotta do all the work around here. Yes, both of you. And considering how you two are already basically married — have you heard yourselves bicker? — and everyone else here actually thinks you are, don’t tell me you’ve never thought about it before. For reasons beyond imagining, I’m completely arse over tit for both you impossibly dense, ridiculous arseholes, and I know you love each other too, even if you don’t realise it.”

That actually manages to snap Harry out of it a bit, and he turns to Merlin, bewildered— and Merlin is blushing, a warm flush spreading up his neck and to the tips of his ears blushing, and that’s. That’s.

Huh. Everything narrows down to that second, and Harry can finally admit to himself that, yes, he had fancied Merlin at one point, back when they were still green around the gills and posturing their way through this new, absurd world, but between work and everything else, there had never been time for anything to come of it, and they had settled, happily, amicably, into confidants and colleagues and Harry hadn’t thought much about it since, as close now as they are.

But Merlin is blushing and Harry realises that Merlin is irreplaceable, Harry has never trusted anyone more, and he’s still fit, somehow, ageing even better than Harry has (frankly, but Harry will never ever admit that aloud, even on pain of death), and that spark that’s lied long dormant flickers back to life just like that.

Merlin stutters ineloquently and Eggsy’s eyes are glassy as he mutters, “Yeah, yeah, you two should make out.”

Harry cocks his head and decides, well, fuck it, and does just that; Merlin’s eyes go round and enormous behind his glasses once he figures out that Harry is actually following Eggsy’s request and he puts his hands on Harry’s chest like he isn’t sure whether to push him away or pull him in, and then they’re kissing, a soft brush of lips, gently feeling each other out, before one of them — both of them maybe — groans and it disintegrates into harsh panting, bitten off kisses, Merlin growling into Harry’s mouth as Harry palms proprietarily at his arse, the floodgates on whatever latent emotions they have ripped open wide and demanding.

Eggsy’s guttural moan from the bed seizes their attention back just in time to see Eggsy come across his hand, fingers in his arse pumping harder as he shudders through it, ruddy cock still standing tall and proud at the end.

“Fuck, fuck, that was hot, but if you could move that party over here—” Eggsy breaks off to laugh “—I’d greatly appreciate it. Swear to god, my cock’s gonna come off if I have to keep jerking myself without one of you two buried in me. It’s just not going to go down.”

Harry looks at Merlin, Merlin looks at Harry, and there is wordless understanding: this is enough, for now, everything else can be figured out later. Eggsy somehow manages to come again with a high whine as they descend on him, shucking their clothes and pulling Eggsy in between them on the bed.

Eggsy’s mouth is as soft and intoxicating as Harry had always imagined underneath his lips and tongue and Harry knows with perfect clarity that Eggsy is right, they are meant to be like this, and Harry would be hard-pressed not to kill any other alpha who so much as touched Eggsy; and the fact that he can sense Merlin there with him, spooning up behind Eggsy’s back and trailing hands down Eggsy’s chest, and feel nothing but a sense of rightness is more proof that this can work, will work, than he could ever ask for.

Harry gently turns Eggsy’s head towards Merlin and admires the sight of Merlin’s large hand cupping Eggsy’s cheek, opening up Eggsy’s mouth beneath his with steady, overwhelming precision as Eggsy shivers in their arms.

The first time they make Eggsy come is with Harry’s face buried between his thighs, tongue and fingers insistent at Eggsy’s arsehole, the luxurious thick taste of him, his magic, driving Harry higher and higher, hot and tight and supple, rippling, around his tongue, whilst Merlin strokes his cock with firm, slow hands and kisses him through the broken wailing of so much but not quite enough.

Afterwards, when Harry finally pushes in and gives Eggsy what he’s begging for, Eggsy’s legs thrown over his shoulders and the beginnings of a knot forming — which should be more than disconcerting but somehow isn’t in the haze of everything else — Merlin kissing at his neck and shoulders, fingers covered in Eggsy’s own slick playing at Harry’s arse until Eggsy pleads for Merlin to let him suck his cock, he swears he can feel those tendrils of magic curling around them all, holding them close, together.

Wave after wave of heat continues like that, hands possessive and sure of each other, taking their time to explore every inch, until the last embers eventually burn themselves out many hours later.

*

Harry wakes from his dozing in the early morning to Merlin’s laughter; Eggsy’s cuddled in between them still, skin glowing from within and stretched out like a happy, lazy cat. If Harry looks closely enough, he thinks Merlin and he might be glowing a bit as well, if not with near the same incandescence.

“You’ve been courting us this entire time, you cheeky little shit.”

Eggsy grins and nuzzles into Merlin’s shoulder. “Took you both long enough to figure out — weren’t exactly being subtle. And like you have a leg to stand on. What do you call all those gifts of yours, hmmm?”

“Thicker than two bricks,” Harry agrees amiably, with a pleased sigh.

“What’s this then?” Merlin asks, and they all turn to look at the thick bands of colour carved into Merlin’s skin, into Harry’s, now that he's paying attention, around their arms and down their chests. Eggsy inspects them and preens, somehow managing to glow even more brightly, and Harry finds them on Eggsy too, vines curled around Eggsy’s shoulders and into the delicate dip at the small of his back.

“Means you’re mine now, our magic’s claimed each other. You don’t need to worry your pretty little heads about any other alphas coming to sniff around.”

“What.” Harry would give anything for Eggsy, for either of them, but he feels that this desperately requires more clarification. Claimed?

But Eggsy only smirks and snuggles into the bed more, giving them both a pat on the chest. “My magician and my most trusted knight,” he murmurs, which explains exactly nothing.

Merlin raises his eyebrows at Harry over Eggsy’s shoulder.

vi

When Arthur insisted that Harry go alone for once, Harry had figured he was just punishing them for letting their personal lives bleed into their everyday work interactions, and therefore Chester’s highly scandalised and nauseated face. Eggsy’s magic, even more so than before, has become a wild, demanding thing, and it's rubbed off on Harry and Merlin to no end with a constant need to touch, to savour.

As he stares down the barrel of a gun, a massacred church behind him and his magic all spent out, he knows without doubt that there was a lot more to it than that.

*

In the split second after the shot is fired, Harry dreams many dreams:

Eggsy’s screams echo through his head, through the earth itself, and time fractures, space splintered under the sheer force of Eggsy rage.

He's drowning. The world is drowning, under a furor which rattles Harry to his unmoored soul and batters reality and the veil that separates faerie from everyone else. And Eggsy, a sharpened point battering through it all, a shining, gleaming beacon with a magic-sharpened sword.

But mostly of darkness, buoyed, adrift far from anything, from anyone, all-encompassing black that falls into the starless night.

After an eternity there are hands, coaxing, gentle hands that breathe light and fire into Harry’s lungs until jagged shards of ice lodge into his sternum and all he can do is scream.

When he wakes, it's to Eggsy’s tired, worn gaze, so much older than Harry has ever seen it before, and Eggsy’s and Merlin’s magic holds him softly, the rough edges hewn off.

*

Kingsman is in chaos when Harry is finally able and aware enough to hobble around; one dead king and three dead knights, traitors all, has the tendency to do that he supposes.

He’s still trying to wrap his mind around the magic Eggsy must have performed to do… whatever it is he did that day. Saved Harry’s life, certainly, and broke all the laws of any magic Harry’s ever known in the process too. Eggsy’s been quiet, affectionate still in that all-encompassing way Harry’d never known anyone could be before him, but there’s a vast, steely-eyed resolve that’s new. Merlin keeps looking like he wants to say something but then thinks better of it with a shrug and a well, you’ll see.

Walking into the meeting room, where another loud, angry row about how Kingsman should go forward has erupted, well, Harry does see.

With the last of Eggsy’s patience apparently in tatters on the floor, he pulls out a giant, gleaming sword — the one from his dreams, Harry thinks distantly — and hops onto the table; for one second all the light from the windows seems to streak towards them, a shining beacon of golden skin and green eyes and the near unbearable brightness of the sword, like looking directly into the sun on a cloudless day, and then Eggsy slams the sword straight through the table and growls out, “Any of you fucks want this, then come pull it out of the bloody table.”

Harry fades to the back of the room, next to Merlin, as a new cacophony breaks out, the remaining knights confused and wary, angry even at what they must assume to be mere tricks.

“Oh my god.”

“I know. You should have seen him on Valentine’s Day.”

“King Arthur has reincarnated as an East Londoner with a love for Adidas and fast cars — not to mention a history of stealing those cars, and a number of other things as well. Also, I think we married him. Sort of.”

Before Merlin can respond, another voice breaks in, low and feminine and right in Harry’s ear, and he shivers. “I always promised I’d return him when he was needed most.”

He tries to turn, but he can’t see more than the vaguest outline of a person, and he has the most terrible sense of vertigo that keeps making him want to look away. So he does. He knows she’s there, and she’s watching with them, even if not directly, and what a scene it is: Roxy has cautiously moved forwards, and although she obviously thinks it’s ridiculous, she tries to pull the sword out anyways as Eggsy watches on, stoic, arms crossed over his chest, imposing in a way that Harry never would have thought him capable of.

“He is magnificent, my son, isn’t he?”

Merlin breathes, a long, slow exhale. “Aye.”

She sounds speculative as she says, “His father was the most direct descendant of the original Arthur, you know. That’s why I chose him.” But then she chuckles and pats them on the shoulders, or at least Harry gets the impression of patting, but it’s warmer, more ephemeral, than a human touch. “You’ve done well, my Galahad and Merlin. You have a long road ahead of you now, and much work to be done, but I do look forward to when when you will all be able to join us after it’s all complete.”

“In faerie?” Harry can’t keep the incredulity out of his voice; he’s only human and has a human’s lifespan after all.

“Did you think you can be around this much magic, bind yourself to it, wholly and completely, and to each other, without it having an effect?”

Harry doesn’t have an answer for that. All the knights are now tugging at the sword in increasing agitation and it doesn’t budge one bit until Eggsy easily slides it out with one hand, lets it blaze molten in his hands, and the room finally falls quiet — at least until Alastair sighs, “That table was a priceless antique.”

Eggsy smirks and magicks the sword away as he hops down from the table on his winged trainers. Harry remembers the way he’d winked at Harry when he’d shown them to him, how he’d said, well if I’m a faerie then I should have proper wings, yeah.

“Table ain’t the right shape anyway, now we can rebuild it correctly.”