Eggsy opened the door to the shop. It was a mess of a building site, with people working almost everywhere, but it started to take shape. Eggsy took a deep breath, his shoulders dropping as he exhaled. He hadn’t been back to Savile Row since he pulled a gun on Merlin in the rubbles of the old shop. He had only partly avoided the place on purpose, mostly it had been because of lack of time. Now, seeing this, seeing the front of Kingsman being rebuilt, a weight fell from his shoulders.
He let his backpack drop to the floor as well.
“Hey, we’re clo— Galahad?” Tequila came out from a backroom, wearing work trousers with a heavy tool belt, and a washed out t-shirt. He smiled from ear to ear when he recognised Eggsy and held out his hand to him.
Eggsy smiled too, taking the hand. “Didn’t expect to see you here.”
“Same. Didn’t you quit and marry a princess of some made up country?”
“As a prince of that made up country, I take offense with that,” said Eggsy, laughing. “But what about you? Making money got boring and you wanted to learn an honest trade?”
“Thought I’d help out,” said Tequila, looking around the shop. “My old man was a carpenter, so I thought I could supervise this thing – turned out I like the building part as much as the supervising. Least I could do after you guys saved my life, I figured.”
“Any time,” said Eggsy. “I’m looking for Harry… Is he here?”
“No, he’s at home. Not much of office space here yet.”
Eggsy frowned. “I went to his place, but it was empty.”
“Oh, yeah, he moved like a week ago,” said Tequila. “He lives close to Holland Park now. Hang on, I’ll get you the exact address.”
Tequila disappeared to the backroom. Eggsy slowly picked up his backpack. Harry had moved? How come he didn’t know that? It wasn’t that long since they’d talked, was it? Dropping in unannounced suddenly didn’t feel like such a great idea.
“Here you go,” said Tequila when he came back, handing Eggsy an old envelope with the address scribbled with a pen. “See if you can get him to sleep. He’s pretty bad at that at the moment.”
“I’ll do my best,” said Eggsy. He folded the envelope and used it for a short salute. “Thanks for the address. See you around.”
“Yupp,” said Tequila, grinning. He went back to work and Eggsy went outside to hail a cab.
This was the first time he was back in London since the wedding eight months ago. He’d entered the country with his British passport – he was allowed to keep his dual citizenship – and as soon as he got off the train from Heathrow (he wouldn't tell Tilde or his security detail about that part) he felt at home. This was home. The crowds, the noises, the smells. He had missed crowds! To disappear into them. To move with them. To be a part of them. In Sweden, no one let him be in a crowd – if proper crowds even existed in that country, he doubted it.
Then it was the constant, ever-present murmur of English. Everywhere. People on the phone, people in conversation, people in shouting matches. Not to mention speaker announcements and signs. He hadn’t quite grasped how much energy it took to not instantly understand everything around him until he finally did again.
Eggsy watched the streets pass by outside the cab window, feeling strangely melancholy about it all.
Or maybe it wasn’t strange at all.
He paid the cabbie, who had talked about nothing but football the entire way there and wished him good luck for the rest of the season. He walked up to Harry’s door, and rang the doorbell after checking the number on the envelope one last time. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other while he waited.
Harry opened the door in his shirtsleeves. He frowned when he saw Eggsy standing there with a backpack on his shoulder and cap on his head.
“What are you doing here?” asked Harry, he briefly looked around outside before he stepped aside to let Eggsy in. “Is everything all right?”
“Yeah, there’s no problem. It’s… I’m back.”
“Back.” Eggsy nodded. He lifted his chin. “You said you’re rebuilding the store last time we talked, and well… No offense, but you can’t do all this by yourself.”
“The Statesmen have offered—“
“They’re not Kingsmen.”
“Neither are you, anymore.”
“Well…” Eggsy put the backpack on the floor and looked Harry in the eye. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned this last year, then it’s the importance of tradition and legacy. Kingman’s my legacy.”
Harry’s face softened. He shook his head – if it was in disagreement or just at Eggsy being there was hard to tell. Tequila seemed to be right about the non-sleeping part, though; Eggsy couldn't remember ever seeing Harry this tired.
“Do you want a martini?” Harry asked.
Eggsy relaxed. “Always.”
"Come along, then."
Eggsy looked around as he followed Harry through the house. It looked nothing like the place Eggsy had inherited, and where he and Tilde had lived their first year as a couple. There they had lived surrounded by all of Harry’s things – his butterflies, his kitchenware, his linen, his art, his newspaper clippings… Mr Pickles – but here Eggsy couldn’t see anything that showed that Harry was the one living here. Sure, most of Harry’s old things had blown up at the same time as most of Eggsy’s, so maybe it wasn’t all that unexpected. Eggsy still found the lack of personal touch disconcerting. Even Haga palace, where he now lived, had more personality than this. There wasn’t anything personal, anywhere. Except… Eggsy stopped when he came into the small sitting room and saw his own wedding picture standing on a side table.
He smiled, but didn’t comment on it.
Harry walked over to the liquor cabinet and took out what he needed for the drinks. Eggsy hung his Jeremy Scott jacket over the armrest of a heavy leather chair. Feeling, as always, a bit underdressed drinking martini while wearing jeans and sneakers.
“Thanks,” he said, and sat down, when Harry gave him a glass.
“Are you sure everything is okay?” Harry asked as he poured his own martini.
“Then how can you be back? How can you even be here without a motorcade blocking the entire street? What’s changed since the wedding?”
“My old passport still says ‘Gary Unwin’, so... I’m like Jasmine in Aladdin.”
“I told you…” said Eggsy, smiling. “Legacy and shit. I’m going to spend the rest of my life building and protecting Tilde’s legacy. I’m going to be in books. I have a Wikipedia page—“
“I know, I’ve edited it.”
“What I’m saying,” Eggsy continued, “I’m part of something now that’s… insane. And huge. And I’m going to do all I can for that, but… before any of that happened, I was part of something too. And that was also insane and huge. I need to ensure that legacy too.”
“And what about… your day job?”
“We haven’t figured that out yet,” said Eggsy, looking a bit sheepish. “I mean, I’ve got a social calendar that I can’t juggle even when I’m in Stockholm 24 hours per day, so… I don’t know. We said I’d keep the prince-stuff at an absolute minimum, flying back and forth when I need to.”
“I see.” Harry tasted his drink. He walked over to the armchair next to Eggsy. “What does Tilde say about this?”
“She understands. I think. We made a deal. I’ll do this until all the agent positions are filled, or she becomes queen. Whichever comes first. Then… Queensman it is.”
Harry nodded. “Your mother- and father-in-law?”
“They think I’m here to finish my apprenticeship.” Eggsy made a face. “When the store’s up and running, we might have to bring in a bunch of reporters.”
“Do we now?” Harry raised his eyebrows, poorly hiding his smile behind the glass. “What did I tell you about a gentleman having his name in the papers?”
“Heh, I’m screwed there already,” said Eggsy. “As are you, by the way, after agreeing to be part of the wedding.”
Harry shrugged. “Small sacrifices.”
Eggsy smiled, his eyes briefly wandering over to his wedding photo. His entire life was insane, and he had the one-eyed bastard in the chair next to him to thank for all of it.
He cleared his throat slightly when he turned back to Harry. “Have you started recruiting yet?”
“There isn’t much of an organization to recruit to at the moment.”
“Can I see the short list?”
“There isn’t a—“
Harry narrowed his eye. “I knew we were in trouble when they start letting people in who didn’t shoot their dog.”
Eggsy grinned. “You know, that’s probably be the first thing I’ll change as Merlin.”
Harry raised his eyebrows.
“Yeah, see, it’ll keep me here to help out with things and sort out the confusion with both of us being Galahad, which—” Eggsy stopped, frowning. “Now that I think about it, you’re not going to be Galahad either, are you?”
“What do you mean?”
“Who, other than you, would be Arthur?”
Harry was silent for a moment, then he said, thoughtfully, “That wasn’t something I ever imagined for myself. I know some agents did, but I always thought it would end as it did outside that church.”
“But it has to be you.”
"Then, I vote for Harry Hart," said Eggsy, very formally.
This time Harry shook his head.
“Well, then," he said. He put away the glass and held out his hand to Eggsy. "It’s good to have you on board, Merlin.”
“Thanks, Arthur.” Eggsy grinned. “Now, where’s that shortlist?”