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Secret Agent Man, Secret Agent Man

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Baby had been in jail when the news dropped that a mass producer of illegal drugs had poisoned her batch to kill the people who used her product. She had the antidote, but she needed her demands met before she would release it worldwide. He stopped paying attention to the situation after that, mostly because it reminded him of the people he had worked with-- and ultimately killed.

You rob to support a drug habit, I do drugs to support a robbery habit .

At least Buddy and Darling wouldn’t be affected by this. He watched as a few prisoners got the blue rash, and were put in medical the second they started to dance wildly. So much for tight security preventing drugs from getting in and out. He did his best to keep to himself and mind his own business, it wasn’t hard. With tinnitus, partial hearing loss, and epilepsy most people left him alone. He didn’t talk to anyone, and no one talked to him. The biggest issue was that he didn’t have music to drown out the ringing, but he was well medicated with anticonvulsants and pain medication for the migraines the ringing caused without his beloved distraction.

He was doing well in ignoring the situation around him, he had been in prison for the last few months-- the only connection to the outside world being the postcards from Debora and letters from Joe. The event with the poisoned drugs had come and gone, and everything was fine for the first few weeks afterwards. That was until a guard approached him and tapped him on the shoulder with a stack of papers. He was expecting the usual pile of postcards-- which were there-- but he was also instructed to stand up and follow the guard. He gathered up the papers and did just that. He was ultimately confused and assumed he had missed something said to him. His tendency to stay silent had just gotten worse while in prison. He had nothing to say. So he didn’t ask where or why he was going somewhere.

He was led into a room and was instructed to change into a pair of awkwardly fitted clothes. He was six foot three and pretty skinny, so the pants were too short and the shirt too big. He was handed a box with the personal belongings from his cell (the postcards mostly) and what he was admitted with-- which admittedly wasn’t a lot. He had been in the car with Debora when he let himself be arrested. She had kept most of his stuff. He was then led outside and only then did he realize he was being released. It felt incomplete, like he should wave goodbye to the cellmate he shared a silent camaraderie with. He hadn’t really made any friends, but the people in there were the closest he had since he ruined the heist.

It also tipped him off that something else was at play here. Usually there was some kind of forewarning that someone would be getting released. He’d seen people reacting happily to the news that they’d be getting out soon or they’d be getting a court hearing. He hadn’t even been in there for the mandatory five years before he could get a parole hearing. He wondered if maybe it was one of Doc’s associates that wanted him freed to become their driver. Or maybe one of people he had done a few heists with had gotten some strings pulled. His stomach churned at the idea, he had really wanted a way out of that kind of life. He had never wanted to be a criminal, he was just a driver trying to repay a debt. He had been more than willing to wait out his sentence and live a happy, normal life afterward.

He was led out the front, with a box of stuff and ill-fitting clothes. Then the guards just turned around, and he wasn’t sure if he had missed some instruction or they didn’t give him one. The partial hearing loss meant his hearing was shit, and tinnitus just made sure that he couldn’t tell if someone actually said anything or not unless he was looking at them.

He watched as the guards just walked back into the prison, like this was a completely normal occurrence. He looked forewards as a sleek black car pulled up in front of him and he got a feeling in the pit of his stomach that Doc definitely had to be behind this. It was his job to know everything-- and have everything under control. Even from beyond the grave.

A woman that Baby wasn’t quite sure the age of stepped out of the car. She had glasses on and dyed blond hair. She walked up to him in a way that showed she was completely unperturbed about getting a stranger out of jail. His eyes shot around before focusing on her lips as she spoke.

“Miles?” He had heard that name recently more than he ever before. He was sure of it. His eyes darted between her lips and her eyes to ease with understanding. She held her hand out and that gave him another point to focus on. He didn’t shift the box to his hip to shake her hand. Instead he stood still, holding the box with both hands.

“Call me Baby.” His voice felt weaker. He didn’t speak often before, but he was pretty sure he had gone a good few months without uttering more than a simple hum.

“Baby?” She put her hand down.

“B-A-B-Y Baby.” The phrase was familiar on his tongue. He was more attached to that name than Miles at this point in his life.

“Alright Baby.” She held out a pile of clothes that he assumed would fit him better. And on top was an IPod Classic, the kind he liked to collect. “I heard you like music. That it helps with your tinnitus. Must have been pretty unpleasant in there. This is yours, if you want it.”

He looked down at the IPod Classic for a second. He hesitated before finally shifting the box to his hip to take it. He started it up and scrolled through the music collection. He looked back up at the strange woman, confusion clear on his face. She was still holding out the clothes and waited until he was looking at her before she spoke again. Much like he did-- or moreso used to do-- when he’d speak to Joe and expect him to lip read.

“Call me Ginger Ale. You can change when we get to where we’re going.” Ginger Ale, Doc was definitely behind this if monikers were involved. He internally cursed for getting wrapped up in this life again. But he gathered the clothes Ginger Ale was holding out into one arm and let her lead him to the car. It felt weird climbing into the backseat. He set all of his stuff down in the seat adjacent to himself as he watched Ginger Ale climb into the front, a chauffeur was waiting in the driver’s seat. He pulled the already plugged in headphones on and scrolled through the collection until he found a song he liked. The music filled his ears and and he sank into the relief and familiarity that music gave him. It was a well needed distraction from the constant ringing in his ears and the fact that the last time he had been in the back of a car he was being arrested. And before that was the accident that killed his parents. He found himself mouthing the words without even realizing it.

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.

He turned up the volume as far as it would go and drummed out the backing piano on his thigh, hoping for any semblance of what it used to sound like before the two shots next to his ears took away the full range of enjoyment he had before.

Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see. I’m just a poor boy, I need no sympathy .

The car started moving and he could feel the familiar and welcoming hum of the engine and the subtle and unsteady vibrations that meant the car was moving. He placed his other hand-- the one not tapping out piano chords on an imaginary keyboard-- on the door to get a good feel for the vibrations. It reminded him of how Joe enjoyed music, a moving car was like a song to him.

Because I’m easy come, easy go. Little high, little low. Anyway the wind blows, doesn’t really matter to me.

He took a deep breath, so he was free. But what did that really mean for him? Would he be forced back into being a getaway driver to repay a debt that he wasn’t even sure he could repay. It had taken him years to get all of Doc’s money, and that was for stealing his Mercedes full of merch . How much was a life worth?

To me .

Would he ever get to see Debora again?

Mama, just killed a man. Put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger now he’s dead.

His piano playing stuttered a bit, a memory of shooting Buddy flooding his vision. On two different occasions he shot at Buddy, but he hadn’t aimed to kill, just to survive. But now Buddy was dead. So was Darling, and Doc, and even Bats.

Mama, life had just begun. And now I’ve gone and thrown it all away.

Buddy had been good to him. He’d been kind and even listened to music with him. But then he sent steel rebars through Bats chest and ruined the heist. Sending all of them on the run. He watched as Darling was littered with bullets and didn’t blame Buddy for saying it was all his fault.

Mama, oooo, didn’t mean to make you cry. If I’m not back this time tomorrow, carry on, carry on.

He didn’t feel like running anymore. He had wanted to drop this life of crime. And yeah, he really wanted to head west on 20, in a car he couldn’t afford, with a plan he didn’t have, just him, his music, and the road. And Debora. But he couldn’t keep running forever. He would be living the life he had wanted to avoid.

As if nothing really matters .

The car pulled onto the highway and the prison disappeared from view. He wondered if Debora or Joe knew where he was going, knew that the letters and postcards sent to the prison wouldn’t reach him. He wasn’t quite sure they knew, since he didn’t even know himself. He felt a knot in his stomach untwist and felt himself shift more into the professional, controlled person he became on heists. He wasn’t quite sure what was happening. But he knew that he had to get away. He wasn’t going back into that seedy underbelly, not again. He wanted to make Joe proud and be able to live a normal life with Debora. He could do this. He was the Spirit of 85; the joyrider, the ghost that baited the cops doing a hundred and thirty, headlights off, brakelights disconnected. Drove them in circles on spaghetti junction, left them in the dust every time when he could just barely see over the dash and the seat had to be as close to the steering wheel as possible for him to reach the pedals. He didn’t owe anyone anything anymore.

Well technically he did, someone had gotten him out jail.

Damn.

He was driven to a private airstrip. There were no large airport building, just large hangars and runways. That worried him for multiple reasons. The person who got him out-- by what must be magic-- was very, very rich. And he had never actually been on an airplane before. He liked cars. He liked feeling that connection with the ground when you drive over a hundred miles per hour. You feel like you’re flying, but you can also feel the rumble of the tires against the asphalt. It was comforting. He did not want to actually fly.

Ginger Ale got out of the car and Baby took that as his cue to get out too. They had parked right next the plane, the door open and stairs leading to it with no security checks or anything that he had heard others complain so adamantly about. He gathered all his things, slipping the IPod into his pocket. He didn’t bother turning it down, it had already changed to some other song that played a betrayingly calm melody.

“You’ll be taking this to get to where you’re going.” It was a pretty nice jet engine plane. It looked private, like it was just a tad too small to be a commuter. Then again, he didn’t know much about planes. “Someone will be waiting for you on the other side.”

“Other… side?” Baby looked confused, very confused.

“You’ll be heading off to England.” Baby gave an even more confused look, so Ginger Ale continued. “Don't worry, I'll be going with you. I'll just be busy with other things.” Another pause. “You did get our letter right?”

Baby shook his head no, he’d only gotten postcards from Debora and letters from Joe. But Ginger Ale just pursed her lips and approached Baby, she reached her hand in his box and rifled around the mail he had been given before he left. She pulled out a seemingly unmarked envelope and handed it to him. “I really suggest you read that.” She gave him a small smile before heading off the the plane.

Baby glanced down at the letter, flipping it over a few times, before he went to the plane, taking his time to walk up the stairs. He looked around in silent awe when he entered the cabin. He knew that most planes were not like this.

The cabin was made of only a few chairs and what appeared to be a fully stocked bar. It was very open, and looked more like a fancy hotel room-- without a bed-- than an airplane. He set the box down in one of the chairs and set the letter on the arm of said chair. Ginger Ale had already found a seat and pulled out what looked to be a clipboard mixed with an IPad. He raised his eyebrow at that, but didn’t say anything. Instead he grabbed the change of clothes she had given him and walked towards what he assumed was the bathroom.

The bathroom was pretty large and he changed without struggle. The clothes she had given him fit perfectly-- better than most of his clothes honestly-- and matched his style. Jeans, a t-shirt, and a jacket. He didn’t take the time to fold up the clothes from prison. They weren’t his and he’d prefer to never wear them again. He set them back in the box and moved it to the floor. He sat down in the newly empty chair and grabbed the unopened, unmarked letter. He flipped it over again a few times before opening it and pulling the paper out. It had a small insignia on top that looked like the letter ‘K’ inside of a circle and a small body of text.

Dear Miles Ferreira,

I am happy to inform you that most of your charges have been dropped and you’re being released from prison to live a new life. You’re not a bad kid, you’ve just gotten caught up in a bad situation. You’ve caught the eye of some very important and very powerful people with your skill, people who are charitable enough to pull enough strings to get you out of jail. But we have a favor to ask in return. You’ll be traveling to the good old country of England to participate in a training camp of sorts to give you a second chance at life. You’ll find out more when you land.

Kay-

He flipped the paper over to check if there was any writing on the back. Nothing. He didn't like this at all. He wanted to leave, go find Joe and Debora and live his life in peace. But before he could even stand back up the plane started rumbling and he knew that it was moving. It took less than a minute for them to get into the air and he was stuck. He couldn’t run from this, not anymore. He found his leg bouncing and his anxiety spiking, he didn’t even have his anticonvulsants or pain medicine and that thought alone seemed to make the ringing worse. He turned the music up to drown out the ringing. He leaned back, hoping to find some sense of calm. If he can maintain his calm while being arrested, he could maintain his calm for whatever got him out.

He eventually fell asleep to the soothing sounds of classical Mozart. His mind supplied him with memories of Doc and the song he had spent all night making after recording him saying that he was Mozart in a Go-Kart. He didn't feel the twinge of sadness at remembering his home and the odd compatible pseudo-friendship he had with Doc. His dreams didn't remind him that they were dead, not while he was asleep at least, but it wasn’t long until they faded into the nightmares that haunted him constantly.

He was sitting in the back seat, listening to music, while his dad shouted at his mom from the passenger seat. He was terrified as he watched them yell, the music up as loud as it could go in hopes of drowning out the yelling. Before he knew it the back of the semi-truck was fast approaching and they hit.

He could feel the collision, the uncomfortable jolt that came with crashing into the back of a forty ton vehicle. He shot forward, breathing heavily. His throat felt a little raw, as if he had just shouted. He didn’t know where he was but everything was still moving. He stood up on shaky legs and immediately went to lean on the wall as the weight of anxiety from the recent panic constricted his chest. The wall grounded him despite the continued shaking and the headphones just barely still in his ears were blaring a hard rock song that didn’t make the experience any better. He was on a plane, that he remembered. He took a few deep breaths to try and calm himself.

Should’ve been, could’ve been, would’ve been dead.

He could hear muffled speech from his side and he quickly turned his head to look, it was Ginger Ale and his eye’s immediately went to her lips as his mind pieced together the last part of her statement.

“-- alright, Baby?”

He swallowed thickly and nodded. He wiped at his face and he wasn’t quite sure if his cheeks were slick with sweat-- like his forehead-- or tears. Nonetheless he avoided eye contact as he pushed himself on the wall and went back to his seat. Ginger Ale seemed nervous a bit, but prepared. Almost as if she had dealt with a lot of these kinds of situations before, but never fully got used to it.

He sat back down in his seat and continued breathing to calm himself. He was tired, but he knew he wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep. He was staring at the Ipod he had placed back in his lap and with a deep sigh he removed his headphones.

His world was filled with that irritating ringing, but also with a gentle voice.

“Did the turbulence wake you up?” Ginger Ale was looking at him. So he responded with a shrug, he didn’t feel like talking right now.

She nodded, and there was a small companionable silence where she didn’t ask anything else.

The ringing in his head was followed quickly by a migraine. For the past few months he had medicine that would help with his migraines, but they didn’t give him any of that when he left. He squeezed his eyes shut and focused on his breathing. He was tired and felt like shit. He considered putting his headphones back in, but the music wasn’t nearly as good as it was before he lost some of his hearing. If he had a speaker, he knew he could appreciate it more by feeling the vibrations. Also music gave him a sense of normalcy that just didn’t apply to him right now. And he knew that being a getaway driver wasn’t necessarily normal, but he was his normal.

He pinched the bridge of his nose as nausea swept over him once again. It wasn’t long until he found a gentle hand on his arm.

“Are you sure you’re alright?”

Without thinking Baby signed PAIN near his head to indicated that he had a migraine. He was used to Joe helping him when his migraines got bad. Before he could correct himself and speak there was a tap on his shoulder and he opened his eyes.

MEDICINE YOU WANT Ginger Ale signed back, raising her eyebrows and tilting her head forward to show she was asking a question.

That took Baby by surprise, he didn’t expect her to know sign language. But he just nodded his head YES. Ginger Ale stood up and disappeared behind the bar, pulling out a bottle of aspirin.

ALCOHOL PLUS MEDICINE  Baby looked confused as he spoke. He wondered why they kept a bottle of pain medicine there of all places. He always heard he shouldn’t mix alcohol and pills, and wasn’t sure if that applied to over the counter pain medicine.

Ginger Ale shrugged. BEST PLACE.

Baby didn’t really have anything to say after that, so he didn’t say anything. He just took the offered pain medicine with a small glass of water Ginger Ale had given him, and waited for it to start working. It didn’t take him long to put his headphones back in his ears, he turned a Johann Strauss playlist since it was a lot less likely to have loud guitar riffs that caught him by surprise whereas Mozart had failed him.

He stayed awake for at least another two hours, tapping out the differents rhythms as he went through a good sized album of Strauss’ work. He was about halfway through Die Fledermaus Overture when he fell back asleep. And fortunately for him both the ride and his sleep were far smoother this time.

He ended up sleeping through the rest of the flight. He was roused awake by his ears popping as they started to lose altitude. He woke up, still a little bleary. He looked to wear Ginger Ale had been before, and she was wearing her seatbelt. When she noticed that he was awake she sat forward and signed at him.

SEATBELT.

He nodded and quickly fastened the seat belt. He held tightly to the arm rests on his chair in hope of grounding himself. He didn’t like how bumpy it was getting already. Perhaps if he focused like he did on the job-- on the job he used to have-- he could keep the stoicism that usually dissuaded people from bothering him too much or worrying over him. The landing wasn’t as rough as he thought it was going to be, and before he realized it was over and he was getting ushered off the plane with all of his boxed up things, by Ginger Ale. He could feel anxiety creeping up his legs at the thought of who he could possibly be going to meet, but he steeled his exterior like the professional driver he was.

The only person he could see was a tall man in a suit that looked like it was almost bursting at the seams, like when they shove a professional wrestler into normal clothes for a movie. It bothered him, especially when the man threw out his arms in a welcoming gesture upon seeing him.

“Mil-- Baby! Right?” He saw as the man’s eyes flickered to Ginger Ale and his confidence flickered as if he was double checking that Baby was what he wanted to be called. He regained his confidence and continued speaking, his southern accent thick but not something Baby wasn’t used to. Though it wasn’t something he had expected to hear in England. “Mighty fine to see you. We’ve had our eyes on you since you started boosting cars about yea big.” He gestured somewhere around his hip which was total crap because Baby was at least up to his diaphragm when he started boosting cars, and matter of fact he was taller than the stranger now. “We have a certain… proposition for you.”

Baby didn’t like that sound of that. He glanced and Ginger Ale, he felt that he could trust her. He didn’t like that he felt that after only knowing her for a few hours, but he did. She didn’t seem worried about what was going on, if anything she seemed a little annoyed. He looked back at the overly buff stranger, not saying a word, so a long silence ensued. The only sound was Baby’s headphones, the Johann Strauss playlist had ran dry and it moved onto a different playlist, a rock one. He could hear The Champs playing in the background like a soundtrack to his life.

“Oh, pardon my manners. I forgot to introduce myself.” He tipped his hat just a bit like a real southern gentlemen. “You met the lovely Ginger Ale who’s--”

“Not your personal assistant.” So that’s why she was annoyed. She stepped up to the stranger and handed him the clipboard tablet she had been holding. “I’m official now. I shouldn’t be running your errands.”

“I was asking a favor of you. You’re still the best with all the tech we have.”  The stranger’s attention was on Ginger Ale, who just rolled her eyes, but she was smiling. There was a bit of a pause before he turned back to Baby. “Well, you’ve already met the official Ginger Ale, and me? I’m Kay, but my friends call me Tequila.”

Tequila!


Chapter Text

Harry pinched the bridge of his nose. He was the most senior agent left in Kingsman and despite having a sometimes irregular mental health he was the best candidate for Arthur based on experience alone. He hadn’t been seeing butterflies nearly as often as when he first got his memory back. Only in high stress situations did they appear and wreak havoc on his mind. He kept in contact with both Kingsman doctors and Statesman doctors to work towards a full recovery. Luckily, as Arthur, he didn’t have to worry about being put back into the field and risking the mission.

That was a both a sad and good thing for him. He loved the field, he loved feeling like he was making a difference right then and there rather than from behind a desk. But he didn’t want to put people in danger like he had back on the Italian Alps. He was getting on in age, and with the head wound causing lapses in reality he wasn’t the most reliable field agent anymore.

Besides, someone had to manage the reconstruction of Kingsman.

They only had two active field agents, one being from Statesman, and the other being Galahad. They’ve slowly been filling the ranks with promoted staff, by pulling those stationed internationally that have shown potential promise in being a field agent. They went through separate training, as their loyalty didn’t need to be tested and they already knew what tests were run on the incoming agents. Harry and Eggsy and Tequila had worked together to create a different series of tests the day that Tequila had arrived from America. His insight was well appreciated as there were many Statesmen related tests that they had never considered in Kingsman.

As that had been going on the mansion was rebuilt as well as some of the agents houses. He’d been staying in a small bedroom at the shop-- which had been rebuilt immediately, Eggsy had been travelling back and forth between his mother’s flat and the Swedish palace between missions, and Tequila had rented a small flat nearby. It was a true nightmare. He felt so unprepared, if another attack even half the scale of the last one was carried out he was sure that Kingsman would be finished and never recover.

They had access to Statesmen’s funds, which was a pretty decent amount, but there was a small bit of pride that made him not want to dip too far into it. They had quite deep pockets themselves, but with construction underway it took a lot of money and a lot of people to get what they needed done when they needed it. And that all cost a considerable amount.

He could feel a small headache coming on so he poured himself a drink and sent a message out to the two active field agents and the four promoted staff finishing up training. It simply read:

Prepare candidates by tomorrow 1600 hours.

The mansion wasn’t finished, but they had miraculously rebuilt a good portion of the underground systems. The barracks and tube were finished, which were the important rooms when it came to training recruits. They could finish up the other rooms by the time they were needed. They couldn’t risk being so short staffed for any longer. Mission were already popping up and they couldn’t just send them all to Statesman to handle and Eggsy and Tequila were getting worn thin by the missions he was putting them on.

He sighed and closed his eyes, worried that if he opened them the butterflies would come back. Without looking he was able to grab the glass from his desk and down it with ease. He had never really wanted to be Arthur, some found the position to be an honor. He found it a way to age oneself a good twenty years. That must be why Arthur was always so old.

The best he could hope for was to change Kingsman around and prevent the rampant classism that was there just a few years ago and still showed it’s ugly head before Poppy tried to take down Kingsman. Eggsy hadn’t shared with him the looks he still sometimes got when he spoke with his South London accent, but he had reports and past meetings only to see this distaste some of the agents still held for him. Classist or not, they were good people and didn’t deserve to die. But everyone knew what they were getting into when they joined and were prepared for their inevitable deaths. It was still a tragedy nonetheless.

He was under a lot of pressure, and he had just added another thing onto his plate. He had to find a candidate.


 

Ginger Ale had had quick conversation with Kay-- Baby wasn’t Kay’s friend so he didn’t call him Tequila-- that he wasn’t supposed to be listening to. Ginger Ale had made sure he couldn’t read their lips by turning their backs to him. So instead he just discreetly turned down his music and listened as closely as he could. He didn’t get a lot of information since the ringing and shit hearing meant he couldn’t get a lot of information. But apparently Ginger Ale had to go to Bombay for some reason or other. He was also pretty sure she was telling him things about Baby, like how Doc always explained why he did what he did for the others in the crew. But he imagined she did it less aggressively.

As Ginger Ale started to turn around he turned his music back up and followed her with his head back to the plane. She gave him a soft smile before signing an exaggerated version of TAKE CARE as a way to say goodbye.

YOU ALSO. He didn’t smile back at her, but he meant it.

Then she left and he didn’t even get to watch the plane take off before Kay led him to a different, not-so-sleek, black car. He went to slide into the passenger seat when he saw the steering wheel and a driver was on that side. He paused for a second as he remembered that cars were different in England. He made his way to the other side and got in.

“You sure you don’t wanna get in the back?” Kay said, coming up to the window to ask Baby.

He nodded. He very much did not want to get in the back again. He was already in an uncomfortable position and didn’t want to further it by forcing himself to get into the back. Kay just shrugged after a few awkward seconds and slid in the back before leaning up to the chauffeur and telling him to go to the tailor shop.

Baby glanced at the chauffeur, he looked very much like the average british movie butler. His eyes quickly found their way back to the road and he wished he had his sunglasses. He was studying the road as the pulled away, using his knowledge of cars and traffic laws that he so easily broke, to determine what they were here. He assumed he’d have to drive these streets eventually, even if it was for his own fun, but it was hard to do when he couldn’t read the roads and cars like a book.

“You’re southern.” Baby spoke up for the first time in a good few hours after they were driving for a few minutes. He didn’t really want to start a conversation, but he could see Kay stealing glances at him from the rearview window. He turned his music down and leaned a bit so the reflection lined up with the other’s lips in anticipation of an answer.

“That I am. I’m from good ole Kentucky. Born and bred.” He flashed a charming smile.

“You’re here?” His tone was that of a question, but he wasn’t even sure if that counted as a question or not. But luckily, Kay took it as one.

“Let’s just say I’m a transfer.”

The rest of the ride was silent and Baby turned his music back up. They pulled up outside of a fancy looking shop that looked pretty brand new. It’s said Kingsman on the window. He watched Kay get out and he followed suit. He kept his work face, albeit was harder without his sunglasses. He was led into a dressing room and was very confused. What exactly had he been brought here for?

But then Kay touched the glass and the floor started moving down. He jumped back and tried to latch onto the wall, but the brick just scratched his hands. Despite wanting to keep the facade of stoicism he moved around erratically until Kay spoke up.

“It’s alright. This is normal.”

Baby looked at him confused. How was this normal?

“Kingsman Tailors have been around for a long time. After World War Two there was a lot of money going nowhere since a lot of their clients kids got killed in battle. They pooled that money together and put it to good use in funding this right here.”

“The... elevator?” He asked. He wasn’t quite sure why the elevator was so important, albeit was cool.

Kay just laughed at him. “No, no. Well, yes , the elevator is a part of it. But it’s a lot bigger than that. See, all that money means that they had power and influence. And they realized they could do some good with it. Kingsman ain’t just a tailor shop. It’s an independent intelligence agency no one’s ever heard about. Well, almost no one. Either way, we save the fucking world.” Harry had given him a proper, far more eloquent explanation of Kingsman that he was pretty sure the other had expected him to repeat verbatim for Baby. But he liked to do things his way.

Baby paused. What the hell had he stepped into?

“I’m a criminal.”

“No you’re not Baby. You just got yourself in with a bad crowd. Did you wanna be a getaway driver?”

Baby shook his head no.

“What about be a criminal, did you wanna do that either?”

He shook his head no again.

“We know just about everything. We know that you had to do that, that you didn’t get a choice in which crowd you ran with. And the fact that you willingly gave yourself up shows a big ass heart and the kind of mentality we need in a Kingsman agent.” He paused for a second. “Plus your driving is pretty fucking sweet.” Another pause. “You in?

“Am I in?”

“I’ll take that as a yes.” Baby couldn’t really refuse now, they were already here.

The elevator opened revealing a small room with a weird capsule in a tube. Kay climbed in without hesitation so Baby climbed into it as well. The door closed them in and next thing he knew they were shooting down the tube and Baby did not like this. He was really tired of him not driving and planes and weird transportation tubes. He was really out of his element here.

By the time his thoughts caught up with what was happening they stopped and the door opened. Baby felt a little sick and was pretty sure he needed to take his anticonvulsants because he wasn’t quite sure how long it had been since his last dose and his ringing was getting bad in the pauses between songs and he just felt off. He wasn’t quite sure how prescriptions worked here considering he wasn’t a citizen, but he needed them. He used to take them irregularly and just deal with the consequences as they came, but in prison he was on a strict schedule to take his medicine and he had kind of liked that.

He followed Kay outside of the tube, happy to be on solid ground again. In front of him was a large open window that showed a hanger with a few airplanes and cars and things he wasn’t even sure he could categorize. But there were also construction vehicles and workers with hard hats and yellow vests that made it seem like construction was underway. But he didn’t much care, he was too distracted by the sports and muscle cars he felt an itch to drive. He wanted to feel the engine purr and hear the tires squeal as he pulled stunt after stunt. He guessed he’d have to get used to driving on the left side.

Kay whistled next to him. “Impressive ain’t it?”

Baby didn’t look at Kay or even remotely acknowledge that he spoke. So Kay spoke again after a few seconds.

“Let’s head in before we’re late.” Baby stepped back from the window and followed Kay around back to a decent sized room with five other young men and women who all turned to face him when the door opened. They smiled at him when he entered, he didn’t smile back, but he did wave and that seemed good enough for him. He ducked back out of the room to get Kay’s attention before he left. “Kay?”

Kay seemed surprised by that name, like he wasn’t used to hearing it. Maybe he had a lot of friends who called him Tequila. “Hmm?”

“Can you get me a pair of sunglasses?”

“Sunglasses?”

Baby nodded.

“You need them?”

Baby nodded again.

Kay paused before nodding. “Yeah, I can get you a pair. I’ll be right back.”

Baby really didn’t like being put in situations he couldn’t prepare for. And he really didn’t like crowds of people. Something that always helped him was being able to hide his eyes from people. His eyes could easily betray his false sense of control over situations. It also made him more unapproachable, which meant he didn’t struggle over simple conversations since people didn’t start them with him.

He waited a little over two minutes for Kay to return with a pair of sunglasses. They were Ray Ban aviators and he slipped them on quickly, feeling a sense of comfort.

“I want them back, I’ll get you a pair of your own.” Kay responded, and Baby replied with a nod which was as good of a promise as he could give. He turned back into the room and turned his music up even louder.

Ch-Check it out ya’ll.

He could see everyone turning to face him again. They didn’t look menacing or judgemental, but the last people he’d interacted with before jail ended up dead or having to testify in court on his behalf. He wasn’t really feeling up to making any new friends. But luckily he didn’t hold their attention for long because a young woman walked in looking very rushed.

Rock and Roll could never have a Hip Hop like this .

After her came a man in a wheelchair. Baby didn’t really notice him until he heard his voice over the music in his ears. He had a thick Scottish Brogue.

“Fall in.”

Baby watched as everyone fell into formation, he awkwardly tried to mimic them. He turned the music down just a bit so that the other’s couldn’t hear it in the quiet room.

“Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Merlin. And you’re about to embark on one of the most dangerous job interviews in the world.” There was a pause as everyone took in the man’s form. The missing legs hidden under the kilt and the horrific looking scars that snuck from under the collar and sleeves of his sports jacket and a bit unto his face. He looked directly at Baby, his eyebrows raised as he saw the headphones and sunglasses as if it was a challenge in whether or not he’d give in under the stare. He didn’t, so Merlin just wheeled himself to the side. “Can anyone tell me what this is?” He grabbed something from one of the beds.

People raised their hands, but before Merlin could call on them Baby spoke up.

“It’s a bodybag.”

Their hands slowly lowered as Merlin nodded and set the bag back down. “Very good. Miles, right?”

“Baby.”

“Baby?”

“Call me Baby. B-A-B-Y, Baby.”

“Well, alright then. In a moment you will each collect a body bag…”


 

“Do you think he’s ready to back out there?” Harry asked, watching the feed from the barracks.

“I think it’s a bit too late to be asking that if I’m honest.” Eggsy replied, he was leaned up against the desk. Harry, Eggsy, and Tequila-- now officially Agent Kay-- were all gathered in a nearby office. The promoted staff went back to finish training after dropping off their recruits.

Harry sighed, “I just feel like we’re pushing him. He should be resting and recovering, not dealing with recruits.”

“I mean, at this point he’s just reciting a script ain’t he? Plus, probably more effective now than ever.” Eggsy shrugged, he remembered visiting Merlin in a private hospital. He seemed eager to get back out there.

“What do you mean by that?”

“I mean, look at him. If I saw that when I was a recruit I probably wouldn’t have stuck around. I’d be thinking, if that’s what happens to the tech then what the fuck must happen to the agents?”

Harry gave a small smile at that, and Eggsy saw that as a victory.

“Hey, Tequila.” Eggsy didn’t think he’d ever get used to calling him Kay, despite that being his Kingsman title. He was stuck getting called his Statesman title by anyone who knew it. “Why is your recruit listening to music and wearing sunglasses?” He paused, looking closer at the screen. “Wait, are those your sunglasses?”

Tequila chuckled shook his head. “The kid’s weird. He has certain quirks. But he’s a good kid, just a little different.”

Eggsy nodded, this was going to be an interesting training period.

“Shit, speaking of the kid. I need to fill out a form with medical.” Tequila remembered all the information Ginger Ale had given him. He had epilepsy and tinnitus, he needed a couple medications supplied to him and since he didn’t get out prison the fully legal or official way he didn’t get to bring his anticonvulsants or pain medicine with him.

Both Harry and Eggsy raised an eyebrow at Tequila, remembering the issues he had with substance abuse.

“What is it for?” Harry questioned, not making a move to hand him a tablet.

“The kid. He’s got medical issues. Tinnitus, epilepsy, the works. He has meds to help with it. Since we pulled him from prison back in the U.S. he doesn’t have any kind of prescription here.”

“Wait, wait, you pulled your candidate from prison? And he has epilepsy and tinnitus?” Eggsy was actually getting a bit more excited about this now.

“Partial hearing loss too.”

“And to think I was the diversity vote last go round.” Eggsy smiled and looked at Harry to see a disapproving look, which just made Eggsy smile more.

“You were more than a diversity vote Eggsy. I will admit you were one of the more unusual candidates, but I picked you for your skill and bravery.” Harry spoke matter-of-factually, while at the same time he grabbed a tablet from the desk drawer to hand to Tequila to fill out the prescription form with the information Ginger Ale had given him.

“I’m just teasing, Harry.” He looked back to Tequila. “He got all that then? Skill and bravery?”

Tequila just chuckled as he filled out the information. “His story is a good one. The Statesmen have been keeping an eye on him for the last ten years. Watching and waiting. He led the cops on a chase doing a hundred thirty-- that’s like… two-hundred something for you guys-- never caught him.”

“Wait, ten years ago?” Eggsy interjected, surprised. “He’s younger than me.”

Tequila shrugged. “Exactly.”

“Why did Statesman never intervene?” Harry asked.

“Never needed to. It was never a end of the world kind of situation. If we snuck our noses into every problem the cops were too lazy to investigate for more than a week well… we’d end up like you guys.” He smirked just a bit. Statesman had stayed secret, while two different world ending megalomaniacs had found out about their organization.

Harry and Eggsy frowned, but it wasn’t a harsh one. It was just the kind of frown one gives after their friend told a pretty nasty joke at their expense. Tequila’s intentions weren’t bad, and if you couldn’t learn to joke about a negative situation you could easily find yourself slipping into a deep depression.  

“So, I’m guessing the cops caught up to him then, if he landed in prison.” He guessed the cops did do their job eventually.

“Well actually, he gave himself up after ramming a bunch of steel rebars through one of the robbers and escaping the police on foot and car.”

Eggsy looked surprised, and a little impressed. Just a few years ago he would’ve gagged at the thought of steel rebars going through someone’s chest. Just just a few months ago he alleyoop’d a cowboy into an oversized meat grinder. He wasn’t shocked by much anymore. “He’s got me beat bruv. I just nicked a car and rammed it into the one chasing me. He’s like, a more extreme, cooler version of me.”

Harry raised an eyebrow. “You did save the world on two different occasions.”

“That’s a good point.” Eggsy pulled a face as if he hadn’t thought of that. They all laughed together for a moment before Eggsy stepped away from the desk and stretched a bit. “Well, I best be heading out. Daisy wants to watch Moana with me for the tenth time and I promised I would tonight.” He started towards the door when Harry spoke up.

“Eggsy, please. If you would, can you just act as an assistant to Merlin come tomorrow’s training? Show no bias to your candidate, but be there if he needs you. The physical therapy is tiring enough without training candidates. Besides, I think you’d quite enjoy this group far more than your own.”

“Let’s hope. This time I won’t be the only bit of rough.” He smirked before giving a lazy salute wave to his two companions and exiting.

After Eggsy left, Tequila set the tablet down on the desk, the form having been filled out and sent to medical. He could get Baby his medicine before nine tonight.

“I’m guessing you guys had the same issue we used to have back home?”

“Hmm? And what could that be?” Harry was genuinely curious on what Tequila that their issue was.

“No one really felt like recruiting outside their kind. I wasn’t here back when Galahad was recruited, but I’m guessing most of the recruits already had the kind of expensive suits you make.”

“Yes, that could be said about them. They were all rather aristocratic. I kept recruiting outside of the status quo, Eggsy’s dad almost made it. But he sacrificed himself to save me during training. Seventeen years later I recruited Eggsy, but he was too kind. He couldn’t shoot his bloody dog.”

“You make your recruits shoot their dogs?”

“It’s a blank, don’t worry. We’re not monsters. Either way he failed because he was willing to give up his opportunity for a better life in exchange for-- what he had assumed would be-- sparing an animal’s life.”

“So he failed. But he ended up becoming an agent anyway?”

“Well, he did save the world soon after. I would hope that would be enough of a final test.”

“So, neither his father, nor him, officially made it?”

“No, but they were more Kingsman material than any of us had been.”

“And what? You think my recruit’s got the stuff?”

“I think I see a lot of what I saw in Eggsy in your recruit. And much like Eggsy he’ll need a lot of refining. But it’ll be worth it. He’ll be a bloody good agent. I’m sure of it.” He looked Tequila in the eye-- it was hard to make full eye contact since he only had one eye-- to show that he meant what he said.


 

Baby was sitting in his bed, his headphones in while his IPod charged. He was thumbing through songs and playlists. The music distracted him from what was actually going on. He was stuck here, training to be a secret agent. He had a body bag that took him a few minutes to figure out someone to write. He neither wanted to put Joe or Debora. Ultimately he chose Joe, because the man was practically his father. He was more of a dad to him than his own dad had been. And Debora hadn’t asked for anything like this. He couldn’t get her dragged into this mess.

But now what? Baby was here, Joe was in a small old persons home and they didn't even spread the peanut butter to the edges. Debora was stuck in another dead end waitressing job since Bo’s fired her after he shot Buddy and ran off with her in tow. He had no way to contact them and they had no idea where he was. He felt alone, despite being in a room full of people.

He finished thumbing through songs, picked a playlist, and laid down to get to sleep. He was pretty sure training was going to be tiring and he was already anti-social without being half asleep. If he wasn’t worried about that then he would have no trouble staying up all night. He set the IPod on the night stand and turned off his light. It didn’t take long for him to will himself asleep with the music distracting his tinnitus.

He wasn’t quite sure how long he had been asleep-- it was at least a few hours since he was well into the playlist-- when he was woken up by water rushing onto his bed. He shot up, panicking as he gained his senses. Before he realized it his music was cut off from the water destroying his IPod and his tinnitus was back, screaming at him and making the already difficult situation worse. He couldn’t focus and the water was filling up the room fast.

He stood up on his bed and looked at the other recruits. He didn’t speak-- he couldn’t get the words out-- and he couldn’t hear the barking orders over the rush of water and ringing in his ears. Before he realized it everyone was swimming in one direction and the last bit of air near the ceiling that he had been relying on disappeared.

Chapter Text

Baby couldn’t swim. He had never taken the time to learn between working jobs for Doc and taking care of Joe. Learning to swim usually meant time and money, two things he really didn’t feel like wasting. Besides, he wasn’t a big fan of water. He liked roads and driving and music from his IPod, all things he couldn’t have when it came to swimming. He could manage himself pretty okay, but he was far slower than all the other recruits in getting where he needed to go. Nonetheless, he noticed a recruit with the blanket tied around their foot. He looked around in hopes of someone else noticing. They didn’t so he forced himself towards the recruit and grabbed around the blanket and tried to unwrap it. His vision was going dark around the edges as he fumbled with the blanket, only making it more difficult for him. He was losing consciousness, and before he could get the blanket untied he was pulled by a strong current as his vision went black . He wasn’t sure who drained the water or how they did it, but he regained conscious thought on the floor, in a different room, in a pile of soaked bodies all gasping for breath.

He was coughing himself too, and he could see the broken mirror that had been at the end of their room. It was a two way mirror apparently, and there was Merlin in a wheelchair, with a guy in an obnoxiously loud orange blazer on beside him. He pushed his dripping hair from his forehead as he looked up at the two, exhausted and feeling a little sick from the panic. He couldn’t hear anything, the water was still draining and everyone was breathing hard. He couldn’t focus on the words being said, but he was pretty sure that he was congratulating them for their quick thinking. Well the quick thinking of whoever actually got them out. But he redirected their attention back into the flooded room, where it was clear that the kid he was trying to save had died. He remembered hearing that the kid’s name was Alex. He might want to interact, but he is always observing. And he felt his heart sink. He had never liked the sight of death, it still sickened him and he felt chilled to the core, but at the same time he went from the scared boy he was, to the professional criminal Doc had wanted him to be.

It was a transition he never thought about making, but was instead an instinctually defense mechanism. One had to be cool in the world of criminals, and if he didn’t act cool then he’d get eaten up whether or not Doc was around to protect him. And now it was the only defense mechanism he had. Whether it be in the world of criminals or spies, it helped to seem cool, calm, and collected. He could hear the ringing getting worse and a headache coming as he realized that that had almost been him. He had almost drowned. And he felt even worse when he realized that he didn’t save him.

His jaw tightened and his eyebrow furrowed just a bit. What had he gotten himself into with this? He was so focused on the dead kid that he didn’t notice-- or hear-- his name being called until he was tapped on the shoulder. His eyes were guided towards Merlin, where he was able to understand what he was being told.

“Baby, you risked your life to try and save him.”

Baby nodded.

“That’s a brave thing. That’s the kind of teamwork we’re looking for.” He was addressing the rest of the group now. “I suggest you all take a page from his book. Nonetheless, trying isn’t everything. If you don’t succeed, you still fail. There’s no participation points when it comes to someone’s life.” Baby felt like that statement was heavier than it initially seemed. Especially with the guy in the orange jacket, whose eyes shifted down just a bit.

He had gotten a new iPod and a new pair of sunglasses a couple hours after the whole water fiasco. They had spent that time drying off and learning about the necessity of teamwork while working through the simulations-- something that Baby paid no attention to-- as they cleaned up the barracks. Baby couldn’t focus during the lesson and he definitely couldn’t go back to sleep once the room was dry. The ringing had a tendency to keep him awake. But he wasn’t the only one, many other recruits didn’t seem too comfortable with the idea of sleeping in the barracks after what had just happened.

The next morning, after everyone got little to no sleep, they were lead out to the front of the mansion they were apparently under in their fancy, well fitted jumpsuits. Baby was back to listening to music and hiding his eyes behind a pair of sunglasses, but he was still paying attention. Like he noticed the giant stack of dog cages with puppies in them, and how Merlin-- with the guy who had been in a orange blazer-- was telling them to pick a puppy.

When it was his turn, he could see a few different breeds left, but he hadn’t been able to stop staring at the Yellow Labrador puppy. At one point he had had a long conversation with Joe about potentially getting a hearing dog for him, since Baby’s job was kind of dangerous and he didn’t want Joe to be home alone for too long. But he had refused, claiming that they cost too much and he was fine. Besides, their apartment didn’t even allow pets. But he had done a heap of research into it, and labrador's made up a big part of the hearing dog community. Not to mention, they were sweet dogs to begin with.

So he picked that one without much hesitation. He planned to teach the little puppy sign language commands and tricks, and whenever he got out of this mess and could visit Joe he’d show off the tricks as some kind of proof that he was okay.


 

Harry was distracted. He had sent Tequila on a recon mission, Eggsy and Merlin were training the recruits, and he was left to actual work. There was a lot of paperwork that came with the position of Arthur. And they were on the heels of a pretty big case. In the recent months there was a large spike in missing children around the world. Especially the kids of the rich and famous. They had kept their eye on it for a while, but the pattern seemed pretty random. That was until someone connected the travels of one Hugo Costa with the locations of the kids who went missing. He had even been scoping out a house the day before the kid went missing that night. But before authorities could get to him he fled the country and they lost him for a bit.

There were reported sightings of Hugo down in Cambodia, and that’s where Tequila was at this moment. Reckoning to get any information on Hugo and his next step so they could launch a proper mission with all the information they knew. They were just glad that nearly all of the kids were returned home unharmed after a few days. Though they were found with different people in completely different locations. There was a pattern, Harry knew it, but he just couldn’t figure out what it was. He took off his glass and pinched the bridge of his nose, frowning as his fingertips rubbed against his empty eye socket.

He slipped his glasses back on and stood up, pouring himself a drink as he paced around his room. He needed to do something else other than wait for Tequila to get back to him. He downed his drink and left the room, straightening up his dress shirt as he walked.

He walked all the way to the medical bay and to a nurse who looked somewhat bored filling out paperwork. He could understand her pain.

“How is she?” He asked, not needing to elaborate further. There was only one room being occupied full time.

“Same as always. We’re hoping she’ll wake up soon, but with no changes to her current state we can make an assumptions.”

Harry nodded, “may I see her?”

“Of course.” The nurse smiled at him before going back to work.

Harry walked to the nearby room, where in the bed lay an unconscious Roxy Morton attached to too many machines to count. He sighed and sat down in the seat next to her.

He had never known this Lancelot very well. He was presumed dead for her entire run. But he had seen Eggsy’s reaction when they found her alive in the reinforced closet in the mansion. They had been very close, that was obvious. And the swell of emotion that showed on Eggsy’s face when he realized that she wasn’t actually dead showed that he had cared for her greatly, and her presumed death physically hurt him. And without ever really knowing her, he felt a certain connection, because if Eggsy could form a strong friendship with her, despite them competing for the same position, then she must be a great person.

He had read over her files and her past missions. She was a versatile and efficient agent, and he really needed her back in the field. They hadn’t replaced the position of Lancelot, and they didn’t plan to as Eggsy still held out hope that she would wake up. And a part of Harry hoped she would too, even if it was only to see an agent of her caliber in action. Or to see Eggsy’s face when he got to talk to her again.

He wasn’t quite sure how long he was in the room before the door opened and Eggsy came striding in. He seemed a bit surprised to see Harry sitting in the chair beside Roxy’s bed, but he just took a spot on the edge of her bed.

“She hasn’t really changed much.”

“No Eggsy, she hasn’t.”

“She’s gotta wake up though, see Rox is a fighter and she wouldn’t let something as small as a coma keep her down. She’s gotta come back.”

“So I’ve heard.”

“I mean, you’ve come back from a coma and from getting shot in the fucking head. Merlin survived a fucking landmine and all the blood loss, dammit Rox can survive this. I mean she was in the closet, she was fine why isn’t she waking up?”

“The doctors said she suffered severe head trauma. The entire structure collapsed. She was thrown around the compartment quite a bit, this sort of thing isn’t as odd as you think it might be.”

“And everything you and Merlin survived ain’t odd? ‘Cause it fucking is.”

“I know you’re frustrated Eggsy, but there’s nothing we can do besides wait.”

Eggsy paused, taking a long look at the still form of Roxy in her bed. She looked peaceful. He spoke with a tone that meant this wasn’t over, but he could be complacent for now. “Yeah, alright.”


 

Baby didn’t want to be here, but the dog made it bearable. Whenever they had free time most of the recruits disappeared to visit the agent that recruited them. But Baby sat with his dog and taught him signs and played him music. He probably would’ve visited Kay if he could, but he seemed to have disappeared into thin air. It was a little intimidating, his only connection to America and this entire agency had gone somewhere and he was left alone.

But at least he had his dog.

It had taken him a long time to figure out a decent name for the labrador puppy. He had originally thought about naming him Joe, but that felt weird considering Joe was still alive and if they ever got to meet it would be kind of confusing. So he thought of those that he knew that weren’t around anymore. And eventually he settled on Doc.

Doc and him had had a very interesting relationship. He had been forced into a life of crime because of Doc, and it originally seemed like that man was uncaring and unfeeling. But when push came to shove Doc proved that he had a bit of a soft spot.

When Baby was sixteen and got a black eye after not responding to one of the crew members questions one too many times, Doc got him ice and checked on him to make sure he was okay. Baby was pretty sure he also killed the crew member-- which made his stomach turn a little-- but he had made the effort to help him. Even if it was just making sure his driver was okay, it was still something.

Then again, maybe he just wanted a reason to believe that Doc forcing him to be a getaway driver was somehow okay. And that by naming a dog he already loved, Doc, he’d give the name a sweeter meaning in his memories.

He thought it would be pretty detrimental to give the dog the sign name DOCTOR since he might need an actual doctor at some point. But it didn’t take much to fingerspell D-O-C .

He spoke to the dog as he taught him signs, it was a long process but it filled up the time between training and gave him something to focus on while enjoying music with another living creature. He wasn’t sure if the dog could actually appreciate the music, but he liked to imagine that he could.

Days went by like this. They’d take written exams that Baby would have to take his headphones off for which made them pure hell. It reminded him of school, and he hated school. After the accident he pretty much stopped going, and the school’s wanted him out anyway. He’d only listen to music and he’d never listen to the teachers when they told him to take his headphones out. He spent more time in the office than in class and he never spoke up to explain why he did what he did so when he just stopped showing up they didn’t ask too many questions.

Besides, it was pretty hard to maintain a normal school schedule when you were a crime boss’ favorite getaway driver.

He was pretty sure he flunked the written exam and he surprised himself with how well he did at the shooting range. He never really liked guns, but he could fire lethal and non lethal shots when told to. Albeit was into a paper cutout of a person, he doubted he could land a lethal shot on someone. He couldn’t land one on Buddy.

He watched as the number of recruits dwindled and he was surprised that he was still around after the first few weeks. Eventually Kay came back and he asked him about sending letters out to people. He couldn’t get letters sent to the mansion as the location needed to remain secret as for sending letters out-- they had to be sent through rigorous checks to make sure no information was getting leaked. Apparently Kingsman had a problem with information getting out.

It was a long process, but he was able to send Debora and Joe letter’s to tell them that he was fine and that they could stop sending the letters to the prison. That he’d be there to see them soon enough but he couldn’t talk about it. It seemed pretty ominous and Joe was quick to ask if he was getting involved in crime again. He was glad to tell him that it wasn’t crime, but it was far more secretive than before. He couldn’t even go home.

Time seemed to pass by quicker now that he could communicate with Joe and Debora. It made things easier to swallow. Days came and went far easier since seeing them didn’t seem like it was near impossible.

He was even shying away less when other recruits tried to socialize with him. He still wouldn’t say much, but he’d listen through the music playing from his headphones and after he explained that he had hearing problem from an accident as a kid they didn’t question it much.

There were of course assholes, those were a constant in Baby’s life, but they didn’t seem to make it too far into training. He thinks that it had something to do with the man who wore that bright orange blazer-- he had learned his name was Galahad-- since he’d always mean mug anyone being an asshole.

He could definitely say that things had been going smoothly. But his life never could go that smoothly. Because a few days later they were getting carted into-- what he assumed was a-- cargo plane with these weird body suits on and he was certain that they were going to sky dive. Baby already didn’t like flying, so he definitely didn’t like falling.

To make matters worse he couldn’t wear his headphones on the drop, so he’d have to focus on making sure he pulled his chute at the right time while dealing with the constant ringing of tinnitus. The face shield didn’t do much to dampen the blinding sunlight and he was pretty damn glad that he had been put on steady medication for his epilepsy.

They were in the air and Baby was drumming out the tune of song after song as if he was listening to one of his lo-fi hip hop playlists to ease his tensions. When it was time to jump-- which arrived much too early for his liking-- he was frozen at the opening and he needed some coaxing by two recruits whose names he was pretty sure were Marie and Tyler. They grabbed his arms, told him things were gonna be fine, and pulled him into the air.

His eyes were squeezed shut and the sound of the wind whipping around the suit drowned out a lot of the ringing. He tried to pretend the sensation was like that of when he was speeding down the highway on a chase. But it wasn’t, in a car he had control, he had power. Right here right now, he had no idea what was going on.

People were talking, but he was too busy trying to get his breathing under control to actually pay attention to their words. There was a lot of chatter and a lot of yelling and by the time he opened his eyes he could see the ground and it was fast approaching.

“Baby! Hold tight!” He was pretty sure it was Marie speaking but he didn’t have too much time to wonder because suddenly arms were wrapped around him and there was a sharp tug that slowed their descent but caused Baby to slip a good foot down Marie’s body. That seemed to tug his mind and body into action. He tried to clambered up to get a better grip, but he just slipped more. Marie grabbed his arm before he could slip anymore and groaned at the strain of holding up someone a good foot taller than her.

“Do you have a chute Baby?!” She shouted over the roar of the wind. He looked around, everyone was latched on to each other like they had been, a few were below them holding on like they had. He took a second to make heads and tails of her question before realizing that one of them must not have had a chute. He fumbles for his ripcord, remembering the short instructional video they had received, and yanks it hard. He can hear fluttering and then he’s pulled up and away from Marie.

He had a chute.

Now he just has to deal with waiting to land.

He really hated this.

When Baby landed his legs felt like jello and he felt very irritated by the harness’ straps on his thighs. But nonetheless he was much happier to be on the ground than in the air. And he had managed to land in the ‘K’. He looked at Marie who had landed a few seconds before him. Without her he probably wouldn’t have snapped out of his fear. He couldn’t muster a smile, but he could give her a head nod.

He removed his helmet and the burst of fresh air and unfiltered light made him a bit nauseous-- not to mention the ringing was back full force.

He was lined up with the rest of the recruits after having a few good moments to calm his nerves, and he squinted at Merlin and Galahad as the group was addressed.

“Most of you did excellent, I didn’t have to scrap any of you off the ground. That’s a plus. However, not all of you managed to complete the challenge.”

A recruit named Roger spoke up. “Is it Baby? He lost his shit up there, didn’t listen to a goddamn word we said. Marie had to risk her neck to snap him out of it.” Baby hadn’t interacted with Roger much-- he didn’t interact with anyone much-- so he wasn’t expecting such backlash.

“It really wasn’t a big deal,” Marie defended him.

“But it is! You all give him special treatment! You let him do whatever he wants, he’s not even that good but you treat him like he’s a fucking prince. What is he even bringing to the table?”

Baby’s jaw tightened. He hated when other people talked about him like this. Like there was something wrong with him, like he got special treatment. He got medication and music and sunglasses, he wouldn’t really consider that special.

“Roger, if I do recall you and your partner did appear as a blip on the radar. I said to fly under. You would’ve been spotted and shot down. You know who wasn’t seen?” Merlin didn’t answer, but he raised his eyebrows at Roger. Galahad was smirking proudly behind him. “Now get out.”

Merlin looked back at his clipboard and Roger and another recruit walked off the ‘K’, mumbling obscenities. Before he could speak both him and Galahad simultaneously placed a hand on their glasses. Their eyes stopped focusing on the group and there was an awkward silence before Merlin nodded and Galahad, who then stepped up.

“Baby, come with me.”

Baby paused, looking around a bit curiously before readjusting the bundled up parachute in his arms and walking off with Galahad towards the mansion. He couldn’t hear well, but there were definitely confused whispers flying around as he left. He wondered what they had seen on their glasses.

Chapter Text

“Do you think he’s ready?” Harry asked, speaking into his glasses and looking at the display. It showed soundwaves under the title: AGENT KAY.

“Ready? For a mission?” Tequila asked, he was currently sitting in the cabin of one of Kingsman’s private planes after a long undercover mission, looking and speaking into his own glasses.

“Mm-hmm.” Harry hummed. “The information you gathered states that Hugo Acosta has left for Brazil, is that correct?”

“Yes, but no-- no to the kid. He’s not ready.” Tequila hadn’t been there for most of Baby’s training. But he had watched the feeds and read the reports in the little free time he had. The kid was good, but he wasn’t ready for a mission. He technically wasn’t even an agent.

“He might prove necessary.”

“Have you seen his hand to hand combat? That needs to go way up before he can go anywhere.”

“He wouldn’t be going alone. But it might be our only chance to catch the target, he’s fairly slippery. If we can get access to his mobile we can track him as well as anticipate his next move.”

Tequila sighed. Arthur had already made up his mind, he wasn’t sure why he was even asking him these questions. “I’ll be back in a few hours. Just… don’t send them off until I get back. I need to talk to Baby about this.”

“Rightfully so. He trusts you more than anyone else here, considering he hates this place I find that rather amusing. They’re going to starting the parachute test at the end of the next hour, when it’s over I’ll be bringing Baby in for a briefing. You can speak to him then.”

Harry cut the feed and ended the link. And Tequila sure hoped that Baby would at least be given a choice. He knew Baby had skills, but he’d seen the kid’s demeanor in the short time he was around for training. As much as he hoped his candidate did well, he didn’t want him to step into something he wasn’t ready for.


 

Baby had no idea why he was getting called away. He hadn’t done anything outrageously bad. Maybe they got fed up with his headphones or his sunglasses, but if they wanted to kick him out why would they do it in private? Merlin usually just told the candidate off in front of the group and had them leave. This was different.

He was lead into a small room so he could remove the harness that attached him to the parachute along with the bulky flight suit. He was back in the way too fancy jumpsuit they had given the recruits almost immediately. It always made him want to stand up even straighter despite his posture being pretty damn good already.

In the pocket of his jumpsuit he always carried an IPod and a pair of sunglasses. After the water test had ruined his first IPod both Tequila and-- funnily enough-- Galahad had given him new ones separately. He wasn’t sure if they knew the other had given him one, but he didn’t complain. He liked having his things in excess. When he worked with the people he had worked with, personal possessions didn’t last long. Especially with Griff around. He slipped the sunglasses on and the headphones in, hitting shuffle on his IPod since he was wasn’t quite sure what he was walking into. He kept the volume high enough to stop the ringing, but low enough that he wouldn’t miss a lot of details despite his hearing loss.

When he left the small room he could see Galahad’s expression of what seemed to be both confusions and amusement. Baby remained stone faced, but it puzzled him. He didn’t know Galahad very well, and he was sure that Galahad only knew him from training. Yet he acted like Buddy and Darling had whenever they saw him pull out an extra pair of sunglasses or pull out a completely different IPod just for one specific song. It was a sort of fond amusement, like it was expected of Baby, like Galahad knew his quirks, like he knew him . It puzzled him simply because he wasn’t sure why Galahad would pay enough attention to seem to know him like that. And it irked him to some degree, because no matter what Galahad wouldn’t actually know him. Especially after they hadn’t even shared a half assed attempt at a conversation.

He was somewhat lost in his thoughts until Galahad led him up and deeper into the mansion into a small study with Arthur sitting at the head of a long table.

“Agent Galahad, Baby.” He nodded to each as he addressed them, straightening up in his seat before point to the plethora of chairs at the table. “Please have a seat.”

Baby went to look at Galahad to try and get a gauge of the situation, but he was already on his way to sitting in the seat just to Arthur’s right. Baby sat down in one of the chair’s closest to the door since it was the chair currently closest to him. He couldn’t really bolt from the mansion in the middle of nowhere in a country he didn’t really know much about.

There was a bit of a pause where both Galahad and Arthur got the same look the Galahad and Merlin had before. As if they were looking at something that wasn’t really there.

“Merlin will be up shortly for a formal briefing after he’s done with the recruits, but it might be best to introduce the subject,” Arthur paused again and faced Baby straight on. “You have a very particular skill set that has conveniently come in handy as of late.”

Baby wasn’t sure if that was something someone would reply to. But he did. “I’m a driver.”

“Yes, yes, you are. An excellent one at that. One that can display that skill set to get the attention of a target. I’m assuming you can race.”

“I’ve only raced the cops. I was a getaway for heists.”

“Yes I know that, but if I’ve seen the correct helicopter footage-- and I know I have-- you’re often flashy about it. As if you’re a street racer.”

Baby shrugged. “It helps me get away.” Admittedly he had often thrown in unnecessarily forceful whips and gotten too close for comfort as a means to show off. But the getaway always came first.

“Do you think you could go up against street racers and win?”

Baby paused. He hadn’t really done much street racing. When he was little and would jack cars for joyrides he would often drive like he was a street racer, but no one really wanted to take on a twelve year old who could barely see over the steering wheel without the help of a phonebook as a booster seat. By the time anyone would be willing to race him he wasn’t looking for more speed and action since he was Doc’s driver. Not to mention he couldn’t get caught up for something as simple as street racing when he ran getaway for bank robbers. So no, he didn’t do much street racing and he wasn’t sure how he would do against a street racer. But he was rather certain he could do a pretty good job.

“Can I win?”

He had a bad habit of answer others questions with his own, usually Doc’s. It was mainly because he rarely got a say in the matter. Doc would ask if he was in, and he couldn’t really say no. So he’d test the boundaries by asking if it was something he could actually have a say in. He just never articulated that well. So it came out as the question he was asked rephrased as another question, usually whenever he was on the short end of a power imbalance, which he usually was.

Before Arthur or Galahad could question Baby’s question, Tequila came through the door with a certain lack of distinguished refinement that usually followed most of the Kingsman. He had been in a hurry, his plane had just barely landed when he took the steps two by two and jogged to the meeting room. He had passed Merlin on his way but didn’t make the move to stop, he was sure they were going to the same place.

“Baby, you can choose not to do this.” That was the first thing from Tequila's mouth.

“No one said he never had a choice.” Arthur’s expression didn't change from that neutral one that made him hard to read.

Tequila got closer to Baby, ignoring Arthur on the way. “Listen kid, they're gonna make it sound like you have to do the mission. But you aren't an agent yet. You still have a lot to learn.”

“At least let him hear the damn thing first.” Despite the curse, Arthur’s voice barely wavered.

“I just wanted to make it clear that he doesn't owe us anything.”

Arthur's eyebrow quirked in a challenging fashion. “Is that so, because I'm rather certain we got the boy out of prison.”

“That was Statesman.”

“And do tell how that line isn't blurred as of late?”

Tequila opened his mouth the argue but the door opened again. Merlin wheeled himself in, looking curious as to what was happening. “Am I interrupting something?”

Arthur cleared his throat and sat up straighter. “No. Nothing. I see you aren't wearing your prosthetics.”

“They damn hurt. Besides, I had to run another diagnostics test to fish out the bugs in the hardware. I thought it best to not use them whilst working for the time being.”

Arthur nodded, his one uncovered eye dropping just a bit at the plight of his dear friend. “Well, show us what you have.”

Merlin nodded and typed a few things on his tablet before an image of a man appeared on the screen against the wall that Baby hadn’t paid any attention to before. The man had just above shoulder length dark brown hair that waved at the end and a well trimmed beard. His skin was well tanned like he spent a good amount of time at the beach and had no trouble showing off his body. He looked cocky in his sunglasses and sports jacket as he talked to the bartender at an outside retreat.

“The target: Hugo Costa. He was spotted attempting to coerce a small child into his car in South London. He was stopped and after we dug into his records he seems to appear in a city a day or two before a child is taken from that city. We believe he is behind the wave of recent kidnappings.”

“And why haven’t we stopped him yet?” Galahad asked, looking rightfully pissed at the thought of a man kidnapping children.

“We don’t believe he’s working alone. We believe that this goes a lot deeper than just him. See, Costa was acquitted shortly after being spotted during the attempted kidnapping. He never saw a court date, he never spent a night in jail. The kid was returned safely to home and Costa flew out that night. We sent Agent Kay to do some digging to find to find out where he was going. If we can get access to mobile we could potentially see how deep this goes and find out who’s organizing it.

“Apparently Costa is a big fan of street racing. We got wind of competition happening just north of São Paulo that he’ll be spectating. He’s known to favor winners. If we can get close to him and plant this,” Merlin paused, holding up a small device, “on his mobile for just about ten seconds we’ll have complete access to everything’s he’s sent and has been sent, to where he’s going, and audio and video of his surroundings. It’d be damn helpful. And well, that’s where you’d you come in Baby. If you win, you can get close to him and plant the device. Agent Galahad would be there as backup in case things go haywire. He’ll be your protection and is the closest thing we have to a street racer here. Outside of you, that is.”

“You’d be a great asset to this mission,” Harry spoke up, “but as Agent Kay has not failed to mention you are in no way obligated to go considering you aren’t technically an agent yet and haven’t been fully trained.”

There was a pause where all eyes were on Baby and he hated it. He didn’t really want to go on a mission, but it sounded like he was needed and he was well practiced in having to do things he didn’t want to do. He liked getting a choice, but he felt utterly useless with one because when push came to shove he’d go where we was needed.

“Well, what do you say Baby?” Galahad spoke up, he was the youngest in the group and it was somewhat calming to see a far less serious face in the crowd.

“I’m your driver.”

Galahad gave a smirk while the rest of their faces didn’t change all that much. Baby wasn’t quite sure what he had just agreed to, but he hoped it was the right thing.

“You’ll receive a full briefing on the plane tonight, as for now, Galahad,” Galahad perked up at the mention of his name, “I need you to take Baby into town to buy him more clothes and pack your own bags. Unfortunately, Kingsman jumpsuits and bespoke orange suits aren’t going to allow you to blend in.” Galahad nodded and stood up. “Report back here at 1900 hours. And Baby,” this time he looked at Baby-- who was in the middle of standing up and froze at the mention of his name-- “any cars you think might do the trick?”

Baby didn’t say anything right away. He finished standing and thought about it for a few moments. “Subaru WRX STI, boost the engine if you can, remove any safety features and…” he paused, he had never actually used this before but he had seen it enough racing movies that he thought it might be helpful, “add NOS?”

Merlin nodded, he’d have a group of engineers start modifying one right away, they wouldn’t be hard to get considering the car wasn’t too fancy or anything. “Sounds like a plan, see you tonight.”

Baby nodded in response and started towards the door, Galahad close behind him. They made their way down the stairs and along the way Galahad put himself in front to lead him down to that dreaded tube train that he hated. It got them places fast, but it was small, underground, and something he had zero control over. He just made sure to turn his music all the way up to keep from hearing anything in the confined space let alone the ringing that drove him mad.

The tube ride lasted forever and he was glad when it was over. He followed Galahad up through that tailor shop he had entered with Agent Kay a while ago and out into the street. There was a cab waiting for them that Galahad didn’t hesitate to enter and Baby followed shortly after. Sitting in the back with someone else wasn’t as bad as sitting in the back alone, and it wasn’t as bad because Galahad started up conversation, which distracted Baby enough, even if he didn’t respond.

“Don’t worry too much about this mission, yeah? It’ll be a quick in and out, you’re not saving the world.”

“I’ll be saving some people’s world though.” Baby hadn’t been kidnapped, but Baby had been young and forced to pay off a debt that lasted until he was well into his adult years. He was roped into being a getaway driver and forced to give up his childhood to drive for a crime boss. He knew that the kids who Costa was taking were dealing with a whole different set of problems, but he could relate to them in some sense. His family was ripped from him, while they were ripped from their families. They weren’t able to be carefree kids, they weren’t able to have fun.

“Yeah, you will, and you’ll feel it too. They won’t thank you, but you’ll feel it.”

The cab stopped outside of a large apartment complex. Galahad told Baby to wait in the car and he disappeared into the complex. He came out twenty minutes later wearing a different outfit, holding a small duffel bag with what Baby assumed were clothes and toiletries. He guessed that Kingsman agents were quick to pack, it made sense if they had to leave the country at the drop of a hat.

Galahad looked very different. He was wearing jeans and the jacket from a track suit over a polo shirt. He had sneakers and a brandless baseball cap on. That was a complete turnaround from the bespoke suit he had been wearing earlier.

Galahad tossed the bag into the trunk and slid back into the seat next to Baby. He handed him a jacket.

“Use this to cover up part of your jumpsuit. It’s big on me so it should fit you.”

Baby took the jacket and slipped it on, zipping up the front. He missed his own clothes.

They spent a good portion of their time getting enough clothes for Baby to blend in with the street racers. Albeit, he was pretty dead set on getting plain white t-shirts, jeans, and bomber jackets. Galahad-- who insisted Baby call him Eggsy while they shopped-- would suggest clothes here and there and even go so far as to point out that they had enough money to throw in some polos and caps and tracksuits. Baby eventually agreed just to get him to stop suggesting them. However, he did splurge when it came to the rack of sunglasses.

They finished shopping with a good few hours to spare so Eggsy took Baby to a nearby pub where he showed Baby some technology they used as field agents. Baby refused to drink, he didn't like the smell and his dad had been drunk often enough that he associated alcohol with the violence against his mom. He had to be in the right mood, and it had to be the right alcohol. Besides they were heading on a mission soon, Baby wasn't actually quite sure what that entailed so it was best if he had his wits about him.

Eggsy didn’t hold back from drinking a pint as he talked and eventually it was time for them to head back. They took the cab back to the tailor shop and the tube back to the mansion in the middle of nowhere. Baby hated it just the same as he had on the way to London.

Before they could make it back up to the meeting room they were stopped on the way out of the tude by a lackey that Baby had seen around the mansion. They were brought down to the underground hangar where Merlin was waiting for them near the entrance of what looked like a cargo plane. Baby knew there would be a plane involved, but he hadn’t really thought too much about it until now. He needed to start thinking about good playlists for the flight.

Baby was handed a small bag with what he assumed was all his toiletries and medicine that had been left in the bunks. He took it and tucked it in with the new clothes he had just gotten. He’d need that if his flight here had been any indication.

He was also handed a pair of square sunglasses, and he was confused considering he had just gotten a bunch of sunglasses while out.

“Put them on,” Merlin ordered, and Baby followed that order. What he saw surprised him, there was an interface so that he could communicate with someone . It was a lot of information coming at him at once, and he knew that could only spell bad news for his epilepsy. He blinked a few times and saw as Merlin handed Eggsy a pair of sunglasses as well. “You inspired us Baby, we realized that classic glasses won’t fit every situation.”

It all made sense for him now, those spaced out looks they’d get before telling them something. It was the glasses, they were looking at something that was displayed on the lenses.

“You’ll be getting a full briefing on the plane via your glasses. Galahad, please keep contact during the mission.”

“I’m Baby-sitting?” Eggsy couldn’t resist the joke, he glanced at Baby who had given the bare minimum of an embarrassed smile. He smirked back.

Merlin couldn’t help but smile either. “Yes, you’re Baby-sitting.”

Chapter Text

“Your target is Hugo Costa,” Merlin began, speaking to them through their glasses. “He was spotted in an attempted kidnapping of a small child. We have our suspicions that he is the reason behind the wave of recent kidnappings, even more suspicious an anonymous donor posted bail for him after a mere few hours. This has us believing that this isn’t a sole operation. We aren’t quite sure who he’s working with, or what the purpose behind taking these children is. It’s your job to find this information.”

Merlin continued to explain the mission plan. Get in, get the attention of Hugo, plant the device on his cellular for at least a minute, and get out.

“Why can’t we just hack it remotely. If we get close enough I could just use my watch.”

“That’s temporary, and also fairly visible. If someone is working with him we want to make this as discreet as possible. If you plant it on his mobile we can enter his system discreetly.” Eggsy nodded and didn’t argue the matter further. “And one more thing, with your things I’ve included fake identification just in case. Eggsy, you’ll be going as Jeremy or better yet Jezza.”

Eggsy let out a huff of laughter, “you don’t find that a bit funny? A brit racing cars as Jezza?”

“I haven’t the faintest idea what you’re talking about.” Merlin said, with a look that said he did understand what was funny. Unlike Merlin, Baby genuinely didn’t understand what was so funny about that scenario.

“Well, on that bombshell,” Eggsy had a smirk on his face, “what about Baby? Is it Stig?”

“Unfortunately, no. Baby, your alias will be Ethan. And you two will not know each other in the slightest. You’re both there to race, Baby you’re there to win. Eggsy, you’re there to provide protection from a distance. Once you plant the device you can leave, but to plant the device you need to get close to him. He favors winners of the races. If you win, you can get close, plant the device, and finish the mission.”

“And then we’re done.” Baby said, just to clarify that he wouldn’t be dragged into more because of this.

“And then you’re done. Good luck, there’s transport waiting for you at the airfield. Return there for extraction once the races are over.”

And then the call ended and the image disappeared and they were back to staring at the interior design of the plane.

Neither one said anything to each other. They didn’t know what to say. Baby didn’t talk much and Eggsy was running through the plan in his head. Not for his own sake, he knew what he was doing. But he was worried about Baby. He had the main part in this mission and Eggsy was just back up. It was a lot to put on the shoulders of someone who wasn’t even technically an agent yet, and still had a decent amount of training to go through before he could be. But they were desperate for Baby’s skill set, he’d just have to keep a close eye on him.

The flight hadn’t been that troublesome. Baby didn’t sleep much and he had his music blasting into his ears, but there weren’t any hiccups like there had been the first time Baby had flown. At one point he had moved around the cabin and into the cargo area, where two sports cars were situated. Baby’s Subaru and a Nissan 370z for Eggsy. Eggsy wondered why Baby hadn’t suggested something like a GT-R, but he realized that if they showed up with top notch cars after never being at a racing event before they might seem a little suspicious.

He watched as Baby got into the Subaru and just sat, running his hand over the controls and getting a feel for the car. The kid wanted to be prepared, Eggsy could applaud him for that. He was acting like an agent. A good one.

“You think you can win in that?” Eggsy asked, leaning against the entrance to cargo.

“It’s the skill that matters.” Baby’s words ended the conversation then and there.

Eventually they both made their way back to the cabin and buckled in for the long flight. It was spent almost entirely in silence save for the few moments were Baby would beat out rhythms on his thighs.

They landed on an airfield outside of São Paulo, it was still early on in the day so they had a good few hours to sleep and work through the plan before they could go to the racing meet. They got out of the plane and saw an unassuming car closer to the edge with a happy looking older man.

Oi !” The older man waved at them. He must be transport. They walked over to him, holding their bags. “You must be the agents, yeah?” His accent was thick and he seemed somewhat unsure about his English at times.

“Yes, we are. Are you transport?”

“Transport? Yes I am. Guilherme. I work here in the Departamento de Recursos Humanos . Or, uh… Human Resources.”

Eggsy seemed somewhat confused. “We have a Human Resources Department?”

Sim . Someone has to clean up the messes and lie to the public.” There was a bit of a pause before Guilherme gestured to the car. “Get in, I’m giving you a ride.”

They did get in, both sliding into the back seat despite Baby being somewhat uncomfortable with it. Guilherme started the car and drove them both to a small home nestled in a town not too far from the airfield.

“This is my home. You stay here until the pegas then I drive you back to your cars and that’s the last I see you.” Guilherme got out of the car and Baby and Eggsy quickly did the same. They carried their bags into the house and were shown the small guest room. There was only one bed, Baby offered it Eggsy so he could catch up on some sleep. Baby instead decided to explore the town. He didn’t speak Portuguese, which was perfectly fine since his sunglasses and headphones kept people from interacting with him. He wished he still had his tape recorder, he would catch snippets of the language and the sounds of the small Brazilian town and his mind was running a mile and minute with the musical possibilities. He could spend hours exploring and watching and listening to what he could, but eventually he had to make his way back to get some sleep as well. They had a long night ahead of them.

Guilherme fed them a healthy meal and as the sun went down he drove them and their things to the airfield where their cars were waiting for them.

“I wish you luck, I wasn’t told a lot about your mission, but I’m sure I’ll be there for damage control after. I hope it’s successful.” Guilherme smiled at them, and they got out of his car.

Guilherme drove off and left Eggsy and Baby standing in a field with two sports cars. The sun was setting and the mission drew ever clearer.

“Directions to the races will be on your glasses. You enter first and sign up, I’ll be behind you twenty-odd minutes later, we can’t make it look like we came together. Try not to set anything on fire while I’m not there.” Eggsy gave a smirk as he cracked the joke, but it fell flat. Not because Baby wasn’t amused, but because Baby was getting into his mode . He was listening to Queen and he was focusing himself, much like he had to do when it came to being a getaway driver.

He didn’t talk, he didn’t smirk, he didn’t laugh. He drove, and he drove well.

They got into their cars and drove off to the races, following the directions on their glasses. Eggsy turned off a little while before the races became visible so that he could wait to remove any ties they had.

Baby could see the racing meet up, there were plenty of modified cars sprawled around a parking lot under an underpass. There were lights and music and plenty of women dressed in shorts that didn’t cover much. Baby parked his car close to a few others and got out, he scanned the crowd and could see plenty of people giving him strange looks. He was wearing sunglasses and headphones at what seemed like a party. The loud music, in what he assumed was Portuguese, mixed with the music in his headphones and created an offbeat mesh of the two songs that started giving him a headache, in retaliation he turned his headphones up more.

He looked around curiously and acted as casual as he could. He could act casual behind the wheel, but on his own two legs he had a bit of an issue with it. He could drive, that’s what he was good at. But anything else was a bit beyond his grasp. This wasn’t like the mission briefings with Doc where he could act calm and in control. He understood how those worked, he was in his comfort zone. But here he had no idea what he was doing and it put him on edge.

He put his hands in his pockets and rolled his shoulders, he could fake it at least. He meandered around the crowd, looking for a place to sign himself up for races. He wasn’t even sure if signing up was the right thing to do. He obviously looked lost as he was soon approached by a girl no older than himself.

“Are you looking for something?” She said, muffled by Baby’s headphones and the outside music to the point where he barely caught it.

He took an earbud out and looked her over. “Uh… yeah. I am.”

She paused before smiling and raising her eyebrows. “So… what is it? I know this place inside and out.”

He could hear it now, she was Australian, at least that’s what Baby assumed from her accent. “Oh, I wanna race.”

“Well, you’ve come to the right place. Do you wanna do straight shot or a course?”

“A course.” He needed a course, that’s where it mattered. His car wouldn’t stand against some of the other ones on a straightaway. But on a course where he could countersteer, whip, and drift he would dominate.

There was a pause where Baby assumed the girl was thinking before she pointed toward a cluster of people and cars. “Down there, I think there’s one happening at the turn of the hour. That’s also where you make bets if you want.”

“Thanks.” Baby said with a nod. He grabbed his earbud and was planning on putting it back in for the walk to the group of people when the girls spoke up again.

“I’m Julie, what’s your name?”

Baby paused, trying to remember the name that Merlin had given him. It took him a few moments, but eventually he remembered it, “Ethan.”

“Well, good luck Ethan. I’ll root for you.”

He nodded again and walked off. He realized that he probably should have said thank you for her rooting for him, but social interaction was never his forte. He got to the cluster of people and got set up to race. There were plenty of jokes about the short responses he gave and the fact that he was blatantly American, but he pretended not to notice.

He had some time waste so he kept his eyes open for Hugo, trying to remember what he looked like from the photo during the briefing. He thinks he spots him flirting with scantily dressed women on the far side of the crowd. He tried not to watch him too much and was glad to see Eggsy enter the crowd not too long after him. He couldn’t talk to Eggsy, but he could be comforted by his presence. At least he wasn’t alone in this.

Time flew by and Baby’s race was setting up. He slipped into his car and lined it up with the others. He could see the other ones and how they were modified beyond belief. He was used to cars that could blend into traffic for smooth getaways, but he doubted half the cars in this race were even street legal. Nonetheless, he had skill. He had been spending around spaghetti junction since he could see over the steering wheel. He had out raced cops and helicopters alike. He could handle this.

A woman in nothing more than a bikini top and shorts came out in front of the lined up racers-- there were eight total in two rows of four-- with a white handkerchief. Baby tightened his hands on the steering wheel and found a decent enough song for the race. He couldn’t have as much fun as he did evading police. These people were persummable good racers and he had to win following a set path. But nonetheless, it was driving. It was what he did.

He focused himself as the song started up.

Ooh, right through my head

I ain’t got the blues no more I said

Step some more I said, pick me up

Thinkin’ I got a lot, groovy I am

The chorus repeated a few times and, as if the world choreographed itself to Baby’s liking, the handkerchief dropped as the song picked up.

Baby started the race, looking for a window as he was in the back of th two rows. As people spread out due to speed and strategy Baby found his window and entered third. It wasn’t long before they took their first turn and Baby took the corner tight and quick. He used his experiences in escaping police to determine how he should take corners and as he pulled into second he realized he had room to show off just a bit.

He whipped his car around to mess with the cars behind him and did precise drifts to gain the attention of Hugo. It didn’t take long for his tricking to get out of control. During a turn he whipped the car around 180 degrees and reversed. He looked back and drove that way until it pushed him into fourth place. During the next turn he whipped the car back around the right way and floored it, using his his speed and skill to get him back into second. But it was harder for him to concentrate with all the stuff he could see on his sunglasses. It was giving him a headache and messed with his focus enough that he was slipping and third place had started to catch back up. He could hear Merlin in his ear, over the music, reprimanding him for losing ground.

“Baby, remember that you need to win this. You need to get and stay in first, you can’t pull stunts like that.”

Baby bristled a bit, he remembered all the flack he’d get from the crew members for showing off a bit too much during getaways and causing them to slide around wildly in the back of the car. No matter how much showing off he did he always got the job done and he didn’t like it when people tried to tell my how to drive. He wished that Merlin was in the back seat so he rattle him around a bit for doubting him. It was the one way he could get back at people. If someone was complaining about him during a heist he’d always take the turns a little too aggressively to slam them into the car door.

Nonetheless, he couldn’t stand the talking in his ear or the bright green information of the lenses that distracted him so he ripped the glasses off and threw them into the passenger seat. He felt around for one of the normal pairs he had weaseled out of Agent Kay all whilst keeping one hand on the wheel. He eventually found them and slipped them on, enjoying the plain, darkened view. This was much better.

This is when he missed boosting cars, people tended to leave sunglasses and IPods in them which meant he had garnered a large collection over the years. And now he just had one IPod and a few pairs of glasses. He missed his stuff.

He focused back on the race and sped up until he was safe in second, but just to be sure he decided to pull another trick, even if it was to piss of Merlin. The roads they were racing on were normal street roads which meant plenty of stuff on the edges and the sidewalk. On one corner there was a pile of black garbage bags, he hoped there was nothing hard in them but he wanted to cause some trouble with the racers behind him. He took the corner tight and counter steered right as on of his wheels came in contact with the bags. It ripped them open caused trash to fly everywhere behind him. It also caused him to go a bit off course but he corrected slowly and strategically so that he wouldn’t spin out, albeit he was close to doing just that.

He solidified second place as the cars behind him slowed down or over corrected for the trash flying everywhere. However, he was having a bit of issue with the person in first place, he couldn’t shake them from their position. He kept close behind them and decided on a rather risky move that would give him the edge he needed, he just had to be careful not to hurt him or the other driver.

Around the next turn Baby hooked the front of his car around the back of the other racers car on the inside. As the other racer took the turn Baby pushed the back of their car farther past the front and spun them out. Baby had to take the turn very wide, but it put him in first with the finish fast approaching. He could see the cars behind him catching up and he wanted to keep them from the back of his car. If they pitted him like he pitted the other driver he’d be screwed. He waited until he could see the finish at the end of a straightaway. He had Merlin put NOS in the car, he had never used it before and had really only seen it in movies he’d watch with Joe. So he used that experience to guide him. He assumed the button he had never seen before in any car was the NOS and hoped Merlin had set it up to be very user friendly.

When he pressed the button on the straight away it boosted him forward and out of the reach of other cars. He had gone pretty fast before, but this was a different experience. It shot him off, but it wasn’t long before he was slowing back down to his normal speed. Luckily, by that time the finish was right there.

Right before crossing the finish line he whipped the car so that it drifted across the finish line with a flourish and pulled off the the side, he was stopped and out of the way of the cars behind him as the song faded out. He could hear the crowd cheering and he felt a different sort of pride swell up inside of him. He liked the feeling of getting away after a heist, even if it was just because that meant he wasn’t getting arrested, but this was a familiar old feeling. It was like when he’d bait the cops before Doc and robberies came into the mix. It was like when he’d zoom around abandoned parking lots in a stolen car with phone books helping him see over the wheel. It was a feeling of joy and freedom that was different from the feeling he got driving for someone, he was driving for the mission but he was also driving for himself. He could rationalize all he wanted to that the stunts were to gain the attention of Hugo, but it felt good to push his driving to its limits.

Maybe he would’ve liked street racing if he hadn’t gotten tied up with heists. It hurt him a little that this might be one of the last times he’d ever get to experience this sort of thing. How many missions actually included illegal street racing? He doubted that-- if he did become a part of Kingsman-- he’d be able to go to these races and show off. And even if he wasn’t a part of Kingsman, he wasn’t the person to find these sort of illicit activities. He didn’t find the places to rob or the cars to take, he just drove. He didn’t know how Kingsman got wind of the races, but he knew that he wasn’t willing to go back into a seedy underbelly again to actually get wind of when they were going on.

He’d miss this.

He realized that all the other cars had stopped on the other side of the finish line and he didn’t run the risk of getting hit if he got out. He switched the sunglasses around before he got out of the car, as much as he didn’t want to see or hear information right now he thought it would be best for the mission. When he stood up he could see the crowd forming around his car and one of the people closest to his car was Hugo Costa himself. I guess they were right about him favoring winners.

Parabéns, meu campeão !” Hugo said as he approached Baby. His arms were in the air before he draped one over Baby’s shoulder. “ Qual é o seu nome ?” Baby didn’t answer, so Hugo asked again, this time in English. “What is your name?” Baby was glad that his headphones were playing music loud enough to muffle the sleazy man’s voice.

No, no, I know no, you don't mean it now

Baby paused, having to think about what name Merlin had given him. “Ethan.”

Sometimes, I roam

“Ethan?” He tsked and shook his head. “ Nada de bom . I will call you Anjo , okay? Anjo meu campeão . I have never seen someone race like that before, where did you learn?”

But I'll be coming back home

Hugo made Baby very uncomfortable. He wasn’t sure if it was because he knew the man kidnapped children, or because he was extremely invasive and loud. Baby assumed it was a mix of both. He wanted to step back, he remembered the mission thanks to a blip on his glasses. He needed to get Hugo’s cellphone. He also had to think of a response to how he learned how to drive like that.

Sometimes, I seem to be fly

“I just… practiced.” Baby said pathetically. He hoped the lenses were dark enough to hide his eyes as he glanced at Hugo’s pockets to see if he could find his phone.

I just don't know when to say bye bye

“Practice?” Hugo laughed loud and squeezed Baby’s shoulder, “ Anjo , that’s some practice!”

Hey baby, baby

Baby didn’t understand why that was funny but Hugo kept laughing anyway. And so did a lot of people in the crowd eagerly trying to win over Hugo’s approval.

I got that feeling, baby

“Here, let me buy you a drink Anjo .” Hugo said, grabbing Baby’s chin for a second before releasing him. Baby really hated this guy.

I have it, alright

Luckily, or unluckily, before Hugo can pull Baby to the little makeshift bar in the corner next to the speakers a loud, angry, and familiar voice cut through the crowd.

Baby, baby, baby

Baby, baby, baby

Baby, baby, baby

Baby, baby

“Baby!”

Chapter Text

Shit.

Out of all the things he had been expecting to see and run into on this mission, this definitely wasn’t it. He wasn’t the only one to hear his moniker called, a good portion of the crowd turned to look at the man that was pushing his way to the front.

“Do you know this man?” It was Merlin over the glasses. Baby wasn’t sure how to respond discreetly so he nodded slowly and hoped that he understood.

If you don’t see me again, it’s ‘cause I’m dead.

“You're not dead.” Baby spoke with the inflection of a question. But it definitely was not a question.

Griff ignored Baby as he fully emerged from the crowd and stalked right up to him.

“I could recognize that driving anywhere.” Griff was pissed. He ripped the glasses off Baby’s face like he had when they first met, but this time he stomped on them. Baby tried to keep a neutral expression, but the situation was stressful. So he slid the other pair of glasses from his pocket onto his face. “You fucked me Baby! I knew you’d get your hands red one day, but you cost me future jobs! You gonna make that up to me?!” He went to hit Baby but Hugo pushed Griff back.

“I think you're confused, maybe take a step back.”

“I ain't confused.” Griff tried to push past Hugo, but Hugo wouldn't give.

Baby locked eyes with Eggsy, he had no idea what to do. But Eggsy just raised his eyebrows and gestured to Hugo’s pocket with his eyes.

The phone.

Baby used the distraction to place the device on his cellphone, which was helpfully situated in his back pocket.  He acted like he was standing behind him out of protection. The entire altercation between Hugo and Griff lasted long enough to form a secure connection and to remove the device. They were in. Baby started to backup and by the time Hugo sent Griff to the ground with a strong hook Baby was halfway to the car.

He started running, he could hear Hugo in the back calling after him. He didn't have his glasses and he didn't know what to do. So he needed to leave he turned his music up louder and slid into his car and took off. He was running on muscle memory and panic. He wasn’t used to being the person to actually go through with the plan, he wasn’t toting guns or robbing people. His objective had always been to drive-- to get away. That’s what he could do in his sleep, it was his speciality.

And it was what he was doing now.

He was tearing down the roads until he couldn’t even see the lights or hear the music, and he kept driving. He was taking random turns and by the time he stopped going full speed he was in the middle of nowhere with only the light from the moon and stars. He was lost. In a foreign country. On a secret mission for a private intelligence organization. He was fucked.


 

Griff was laid out flat. Hugo had gotten a strong right hook straight to his jaw. The guy did himself up well but was strong as hell. That second on the ground was all he needed to for a few very large security guards to get their hands on him. They hoisted him to his feet and in his most likely concussion addled mind he decided to spit blood in the face of the man who had just knocked him down. Hugo wiped it off as if it was something that happened more often than not.

Hugo tsked his tongue, “you, my friend, have made a big mistake.” He looked to the guards holding Griff up. “ L eva ele pra van e amarra. A gente lida com ele depois ."

The two guards, one on each side of Griff, hauled him off to a van a good distance away. Once he was out of the way Hugo looked back to the spot where Baby had just been and shook his head.

“Should we go after him?” One of the other racers asked, he seemed eager to please.

Hugo just tsked. “You lost the race, you’d never catch him. Besides, he was shy. I’ll let him go.” He turned back to the crowd who looked like they didn’t really know what to do with themselves after that. “That man lost me meu campeão! But,” he paused, smiling into the crowd, “we can still party!”

The music started up and people cheered. They tried to seem smooth in their transition from watching to partying, but it was very awkward. Nonetheless the party did start again. Hugo walked up to the man handling bets and sign ups, he had lost his champion. He needed another.

He set up another course based race for an hour from now and decided to waste that time drinking and partying. His Anjo , or as the man had called him, Baby, had run off. Perhaps it was the fight, but it made Hugo a bit suspicious. He was told to keep an eye out today, after he was released he had to be on his toes. He was warned someone might try to come after him today to learn more about his dealings in kidnapping, and he hadn’t for a second expected it to be one of the racers. He still doubted it was Baby, but the way he had run off left him with a strange feeling.

He and brought the van and extra security incase someone tried to attack him. They could take the person down and cart them back to a hideaway to extract information. It wasn’t something he would do, rather it would be one of the security personnel. He was never the violent one when it came to this, he was just a grunt.

But now they had a bound and bleeding man in his van, who seemed too dumb to be in anyway a threat to him. But he wasn’t the mastermind anyway, he’d have to consult his boss on this later. Once he was plastered and had bed at least three winners.


 

It took Eggsy over an hour after Baby stopped driving to find the poor kid on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. It wasn’t out of not being able to find him-- there was GPS in the car-- but he had to wait around to make sure that it didn’t seem suspicious that he was leaving. He pulled up behind Baby, who was sitting in the front seat with the door open and his feet on the ground. He seemed a lot calmer than he did before running off.

He seemed to be staring into nothing, his headphones were in but Eggsy couldn’t hear any music pouring out. The IPod had died.

“Hey Baby, you did good back there. We’re connected now, we can see all his messages and calls and locations.”

Baby didn’t look up at Eggsy, but he did nod. “Everything’s fine?”

“Everything’s fine. It was kinda surprising when you ran off, but everyone assumed it was because of that man who attacked you. Who was that by the way.”

“I worked with him once.”

“In a job you did before you got arrested?”

Baby paused as if he was ashamed by his past. “Yeah.”

Eggsy could see the change in him. So he got closer to Baby and leaned against the car. “Don’t worry about it. I’m still best mates with the guys who ran with me before Kingsman. Before I got arrested.”

That got Baby’s attention. He raised his head and looked at Eggsy. “Arrested?”

Eggsy shrugged and smirked. “I nicked a car and and raced it around London-- backwards-- before I crashed it into a cop car.”

“On purpose?”

“Yeah, my mates were in the car with me and I wanted them to get away. So I wrecked it into the cops chasing us. They were offering to let me off easy if I grassed on my mates, but I refused. And then, well… Arthur found me.” It felt weird for Eggsy to call Harry, Arthur. He wasn’t used to it. He was used to calling him Harry, which no one who was an agent minded ut he knew he’d have to change when their ranks started filling back up.

“And then you joined Kingsman?”

“And then I joined Kingsman. It was a tad more complicated than that, there was a lot of saving the world before I could actually become an agent. But it was all worth it, they turned me into somebody when I felt like nothing.”

Baby didn’t say anything, but it looked like he had something on his mind. Eventually they both got into their cars and pulled away. Eggsy led Baby back to the air strip and the loaded the plane with their cars and boarded themselves. They situated themselves in the same seats that had brought them here and tried to do their best to doze off. It was extremely late and the mission had been stressful for both Eggsy and Baby. For Baby, being the main part of a mission instead of just a getaway was a lot more than he was used to, and for Eggsy, watching Baby navigate himself around his first mission stressed him out more than most missions did.

Before Baby even considered sleep he found a nice adapter to plug his IPod into and waited. The ringing in his ears was loud enough that it would keep him awake tonight unless he had a distraction. Besides his mind was running far to fast to actually be able to sleep. He was considering his position, the mission was something he hated. He hadn’t expected to run into Griff, he had expected Hugo to act the way he did. He definitely didn’t expect to lose communication between himself and the actual secret agents. It was stressful, and this sort of stress was something he wanted to avoid since he had been freed from being Doc’s driver.

He wanted to just exist , even if that meant he’d go back to jail.

Eventually they landed back on the Kingsman airstrip and got off the plane. Merlin was waiting for them. He was standing this time with the use of complicated looking prosthetic legs. They reminded Eggsy of a less violent version of Charlie’s arm. They were something that Baby had never even remotely seen before. Beside Merlin was his wheelchair incase he did need to sit down.

“You worked out the bugs?” Eggsy asked as he stepped out of the plane.

“For the most part. Walking still isn’t smoothed out.” Merlin said, looking up from his clipboard. That definitely explained the wheelchair. “Eggsy, head up to the debriefing room. Baby, head to the recruits barracks.”

Baby opened his mouth to say something, but Eggsy responded for him. “Hey, he was on the mission. He deserves to be there for the debriefing.”

“He’s not an agent.”

“You weren’t acting like that when we were planning on sending him off.”

Merlin sighed and nodded. “Fine. Baby, follow Eggsy to the debriefing room.”

Baby did as he was told. During the flight he had made up his mind. He had been quiet for so long, he had let people decide his course in life since he was little. People always had power over him, he was always paying off some kind of debt and everytime he was free from it he was dragged back in. So when they entered the debriefing room and Arthur told them to sit, Baby stayed standing.

“Baby?” Eggsy was confused, everyone was staring at him now. They were all seated as he stood there. “He said sit down.”

“I wanna go home.”

“What?” Eggsy was confused. He started to stand up, but Harry stopped him.

“The mission isn’t over. You can’t go anywhere until Mr. Costa is dealt with. He knows your face.”

“I…” Baby had thought he had this thought out well enough. That he would be able to leave.

“It’s for your own safety. Once he’s gone we can talk about this. Now, please sit.” Harry gestured to the seat next to Eggsy, and Baby sat down.


 

Griff felt like he was about to pass out, his head swam as it was pulled out of the bucket of water. He gasped loudly, trying to get as much air as he could to his lungs. He was moved so he was sitting in the only chair in the room instead of on his knees in front of the bucket. His hands were painfully tied behind him so no position in the chair was remotely comfortable.  He had been here for at least a few hours, getting beat to shit and nearly drowned until the water was as red as the stains on his shirt.

He was surprised when he wasn’t immediately assaulted again. There was a long pause and he could hear heels tapping long the concrete floor. He opened his eyes to see a woman with dyed blonde hair tied away from her face. She was wearing a black long sleeve pulled up to her mid forearm and black jeans. She was slipping on black gloves, very practical for torturing him if you didn’t count the intimidating stilettos.

“Hello,” she said, smiling falsely. “You have information I want. And I’m gonna get it from you.”

“I ain’t got anything you want.” His voice was gravelly and tired. He sounded very weak.

“Yeah,” she said, “you said that already. Right before you lost a couple teeth. Wanna try again?” Griff didn’t respond, so the woman continued. She stepped closer and got more in his face. “You have so many wonderful tattoos. It’d be a shame if you lost them, yeah? Well I can take them off, and I don’t mean with a laser. I’m thinking more of a knife? Maybe a hot spoon? What do you think?”

Griff didn’t respond again, so the woman stood up with a sigh and looked to someone behind Griff. “Get the hotplate.”

“Fine. I’ll talk.” Griff said.

“There we go.” She smiled at him. “You know Baby, as you called him.” Griff nodded. “From where?”

Griff was silent, so the woman straightened up and raised her foot and placed the far too sharp stiletto on his thigh and pressed down hard enough to puncture it. Griff screamed and hastily answered the question. “We worked heists together under Doc! He was the getaway driver.”

“Who is Doc?”

“Was. He’s dead. So is everyone Baby went on the last heist with. All dead except him.”

“Did he kill them?”

“I don’t fucking know.”

She slapped Griff across the face. “Then make an educated fucking guess. Did he kill them?”

“Probably. Kid seemed unstable. He wasn’t all there. A fucking retard.”

“Yeah, well that retard now has access to my person’s phone, which means he has access to me. So I need to know a bit more about him alright? What’s his real name?”

“I don’t know his real name.”

“Get the hot plate.” She was talking to the person behind Griff.

“No! Listen! We didn’t share real names. It was a rule. I just know him as Baby. But-- but there was a trial when he got arrested. We worked in Atlanta. He was arrested a couple months back and there should be files on it somewhere.”

She hummed and paused before looking at the person behind Griff. “Look into it.” Then she looked back at Griff. “You better be telling the truth.”

And so they waited, and eventually the person returned. Griff didn’t hear any conversation between them, but he could see that she saw he was telling the truth. Her eyes moved onto him.

“You were telling the truth, lucky you. His name’s Miles Ferreira, arrested and sentenced to twenty-five years. He had to serve five years before he could even get a parole hearing, yet he was out in a couple of months. That’s a bit suspicious.” She paused, stepping away from Griff. “I have one more thing for you. Something was thrown from behind him and the woman caught it with ease. They looked like a mangled pair of sunglasses. They were the ones on Baby’s face during the street races. They were the ones Griff had ripped off his face. “What’s Kingsman?”

“...What?”

“Kingsman, it says it’s a tailor shop but these sunglasses have enough tech in there to act as a super computer. What do you know?”

“I’ve never heard of that, I swear. Like I said, I ran with him for a heist, I don’t know nothing about any-- any suped of glasses.”

The woman hummed and looked like she was inspecting the glasses.

“He doesn’t know anything about them,” she spoke to the man behind Griff, “I’m done here. Kill him.”

“What?! Wait no! I told you what I knew, let me go!”

“Why? You’ve seen my face.”

“But… but I told you everything I know.”

“So? You were never gonna leave here.”

“Why-- why’d you fucking torture me you crazy Aussie bitch?!”

“The quicker you told us everything, the easier you’d die. Plus the better you’d look in a casket.” She left the room and before Griff could shout at her a bullet ripped through his skull from the man standing behind him.


 

Baby had listened to the debriefing and waited in the recruits barracks until they returned from the most recent training. He was contemplating what he had said. He wanted to go home and he had told them that. But he didn’t really have a home he could go back. Joe’s old apartment definitely wasn’t a place he could go back to. He had no idea if he could stay with Debora or not, where she was. He just wanted to get out of this world, but he didn’t really know where he fit into the normal one.

He had tried to live a normal life, and it had worked for a while. But he got pulled back in. And then he tried to live normally-- or as normal as one could-- in prison. But he got pulled back in. How many times would he have to leave before he could just stay normal.

He was stuck in his thoughts, the music helping him to focus as it hid the ringing in his ears. But eventually he was pulled out of them by the door to the barracks opening. He looked up, for a split second he thought it might be the other recruits despite it still being pretty early. But instead it was Agent Kay, the one he’d still hear get called Tequila.

“How’d your first mission go?”

Baby shrugged in response. “I think we did good.”

“I bet you did, you wanna come walk and talk with me?” Kay gestured to the door with his head and after a few seconds Baby nodded and got off the bed.

They walked down the hall, Kay leading the way, until he spoke up.

“Galahad told me what you said.”

“What I said?”

“That you wanna go home.” There was a pause. “I get it. It’s a tough job.”

“Am I going home?”

Kay sighed, “you can’t, not until Hugo’s dealt with.” There was another pause. “But if it’s consolation, it’s likely you’ll be able to leave once it’s sorted. We aren’t a prison, Baby.”

Baby didn’t say anything and neither did Kay for the rest of the walk. Kay lead Baby to what looked like an open gym. There was a couple people in there already in work out clothes practicing what looked like takedowns.

“Your trip to Brazil reminded me of something. You haven’t learned how to fight. And there’s this martial art I think you might like.” Kay said as he removed his suit jacket and hung it up in the corner.

“But I don’t need to know how to fight if I’m gonna leave.” Baby didn’t understand why he was still going to teach him if he was planning on leaving.

“You don’t need to be spy to know how to fight. From you records trouble follows you, you should probably know how to defend yourself at least.” Kay said while he rolled up his sleeves and toed off his shoes.

Baby followed his lead, he was back in the recruits jumpsuit so he just took off his shoes. Kay gestured for Baby to take off his headphones and he did, but before he could say anything Kay had taken a small remote out of his pocket and pressed a button. Music filled the room and none of the other occupants seemed to mind. It wasn’t loud enough that they couldn’t hear each other, but it did keep the ringing in his ears from giving him a headache.

The music was strange. Baby could hear drums, tambourine, and a very call and respond kind of singing. But there was one instrument he couldn’t identify, it was a string and sounded very weird but after that he was lost. He kind of liked it though. The singing however was clearly in Portuguese, at least he assumed from what he had heard while in Brazil.

“While you were in Brazil I remember this martial art I was taught during training. Kingsman and Statesmen, we have to know plenty of ways to fight and fight fast so that we can adapt to any situation. One thing I learned was this, Capoeira, it’s a Brazilian martial art that has one little quirk in it. You’re usually fighting to music.”

Kay was walking back and forth, rolling his shoulders as he explained and Baby looked at him with curiosity. “You fight to music?”

“Yup, it’s supposed to look like dancing. There’s a long history with the slaves in Brazil and how they created this so that they could practice fighting without getting caught, but nowadays it’s mostly just for fun and people don’t actually try to hurt their opponent.” Kay looked Baby right in the eye. “You will be learning to hurt your opponent. You will not be learning modern Capoeira.

“It’s a good place to start. I think for you at least. It’ll help with your reactions, it’ll give you dodges and smooth movements as well as some pretty intense kicks. It might seem useless at first but when you’re good at it and mix it with other martial arts it’s pretty damn dangerous. Plus it’s a good workout.”

Kay got into a lower position and Baby did his best to mirror him. Things started out slow, with the basic movement that Baby learned was called ginga . But it wasn’t long until they were practicing dodges and kicks. Baby liked it, he could fight with the music and the moves often flowed together even if he only knew a few. But he was picking it up quick. Eventually Eggsy came into the gym and watched them amusedly before joining in himself. They started to include movements from other martial arts when they were sparring in hopes of showing Baby how easy the transition would be from Capoeira to full blown Kingsman fighting.

Baby found himself smiling while training. It was a good workout and destressor. He even stopped thinking about what it would be like to leave for the duration of the training. He felt far from ready to have an actual fight, but he did feel like he was one step closer. The fact that Baby was there meant that Kay could show Baby what a proper fight looked like and despite being a step closer he was still a mile away.

And for a minute he considered that maybe he was willing to go all the way and become an agent if he got to learn how to keep himself safe. Perhaps missions wouldn’t feel nearly as stressful if he could actually defend himself. And if he had good people to spend his time with like Eggsy and Agent Kay, who he thought he might be able to call Tequila from now on.