Eggsy Unwin doesn’t fall in love, thank you. Eggsy Unwin is young, single, fit as fuck, and it would be a goddamn shame for him to tie himself down to any one person when he could be out spreading himself around London, and now thanks to Kingsman, the entire world. There will be enough time for love and marriage when he’s old, like Harry was, and bald, like Merlin is.
Eggsy is twenty-five, and he has never counted the number of people he has slept with, only the number of princesses he’s bummed, one, but he remembers each one with a smile because for the time they were banging, or whatever, that person was perf. He couldn’t care less about gender, age (as long as they are legal because he ain’t a fucking pervert), weight, money, or occupation. He goes for the person, yeah? If they make Eggsy laugh, they are seventy-five percent to being in Eggsy’s bed, anyway.
So when Harry Hart, all long, lean, and bespoke-clad, stood posing against the wall outside Holborn, and then took out Dean’s boys with a goddamn umbrella, Eggsy thought to himself I would very much like to know if he would look that fucking suave with his cock lodged in my arse. In fact, Eggsy planned on suggesting something of the sort when Harry sent him home to get a meat cleaver shoved in his face.
Eggsy thought he’d get a chance when Harry took him inside a dressing room. Instead, he learned that he can hold his breath for a lot longer than he thought when provided with ample incentive, even if he would have preferred that incentive to be Harry’s cock down his throat rather than a dorm room filled with fucking water.
His goddamn life, honestly.
Eggsy Unwin doesn’t fall in love but he spends lunch times with Harry where he tells Eggsy stories of his daring missions all over the world. He works hard at every single task that bald fuck in the goddamn tartan jacket gives him not because he gives two fucks about what these elitist pricks think of him; he does it because he wants to make Harry proud. He never had no one be proud of him before but if he finally has someone to feel that way, Jesus fuck does he want it to be Harry.
Eggsy Unwin doesn’t fall in love but when he watches Harry snap back like someone off-stage yanked him with one of those big fucking hooks he saw on telly once, watches his brains and blood fly out of the back of his head he knows somewhere along the way he did.
So, Eggsy Unwin fell in love and he avenges that love with every single bullet he fires in that fucking bunker in the fucking mountain. Eggsy honors Harry’s memory by dragging that poison blade Harry told him about through that bitch’s arm who watched someone Eggsy thinks might have been the love of his life die on some piece of asphalt, and he kills her lover with her own fucking leg, watching him choke on his own blood. He still loses himself in the tight heat of a royal arse because he needs just a fucking minute, just one where he is not seeing the Kentucky sun shining through a glasses feed that won’t move. He replays the last moments of Valentine’s life repeatedly in his head when he is awake because he has to relive the last few of Harry’s when he tries to sleep.
Eggsy Unwin fell in love and now the first person to make him do it is rotting somewhere Eggsy can’t go and he will never know what started out with Eggsy envisioning him naked ended with Eggsy envisioning him in a tux.
“This is Merlin,” he says when he picks up the phone. An American is on the other end.
“This is Kingsman, is it not?”
“Who is this? How did you get this number?” Merlin is already going through various protocols, putting a trace on the call with a tap of his finger and wondering what traitor they have inside this fucking time.
“I have information on Galahad,” she says.
“I'm not sure who the fuck you are,” Merlin says, ready to kill in an instant, “but you had better tell me what the fuck you think you might fucking know now. Because if you are aware of who I am, you know I could wipe you off the map in,” his clipboard beeps at him, “fucking Kentucky without even breaking a sweat.”
“This is Ginger, from Statesmen. We're your American cousins.”
“I’ve never heard of Statesmen.”
“We never heard of you either until we thought to run DNA on our John Doe. As soon as I put it through the computer locked down and could only be accessed by Champ’s fingerprint.”
“Agent Champagne, he’s the head of Statesmen.”
“Really,” he says, sarcasm dripping, “and where are Agents Whiskey, Tequila, and Gin?”
“Whiskey and Tequila are both on a mission and Gin is in a med bay. Anything else, or are you being a smartass for fun?”
“You name your agents after alcohol, you have got to be taking the piss.”
“Well, from what I read on our computer, you name yours after Arthurian Knights.”
“And speaking of Galahad? You have his body? You must if you ran a DNA test although why you waited this long to do so is a wonder.”
“We have him, not his body. He’s alive.”
Merlin falls back into a chair, his knees giving out. Eggsy, who he had forgotten was still in the room, looks alarmed and rises out of his chair. Merlin stops him with a hand.
“That requires some explanation, but it’s all in the files I am sending to you now. I thought it would be best to call and introduce myself before I sent you random files that show that your agent is alive. Read them over and call me back, we can talk about how to get him home.”
“Yes, I will. Thank you, I’ll be in touch.” Merlin hangs up the phone and rubs a hand down his face. “Fuck.”
“Merlin? Did someone find Harry’s body?” Eggsy asks, his hands clenched in his lap. Merlin’s clipboard dings next to him. Files received.
“They found him, they being Statesmen, Statesmen being the American version of us.”
“He’s alive, at least he is now. How I don’t fucking know. Ginger, the woman on the phone, sent us his medical records.” Merlin picks up his tablet and brings Harry’s files up on the wall so they can both read them.
Alpha-Gel. Multiple surgeries. Unresponsive coma. The words swirl around Merlin’s head. He will go to Dr. Gipson to discuss the plan to get Harry home. Discuss a plan for when he wakes up. Discuss what his will says if he doesn’t.
His breath hitches in his chest, like the first stirrings of a panic attack, but wetter. He is crying he realizes. When Harry died, before even a year had passed since James, Merlin felt like everyone he loved was being taken from him person by person.
To have Harry thrust back into his life was the best sort of miracle even if Merlin had to feed him and wipe his wrinkled arse.
“He’s alive,” Eggsy whispers, to himself it seems, before running out the door into the hall.
Merlin keeps staring at the files until the night staff comes in to clean the Table Room.
After talking with Gipson, both alone and on conference calls with Ginger, they are able to bring Harry home two months later, when he has healed enough for air travel. Ginger flies with him, and once they get Harry comfortable in his room in medical, Merlin gives Ginger the tour of Avalon and spends a delightful two hours with her while the Statesman plane refuels and restocks for its flight back to the States. Ginger is smart as a whip and Merlin hates the two agencies didn’t know about each other before. Already they have discussed sharing tech and improving upon the other’s designs. Merlin’s head bursts with the heady euphoria of meeting someone whose intellect matches his own and having his best friend back on this side of the veil.
After she leaves, Merlin goes back to Harry’s room and sits in the chair next to the bed. Harry’s head is covered in gauze and he has a gray pallor Merlin doesn’t like. His body seems smaller than Merlin remembers, or is it that Harry always seemed larger than he was? He isn’t sure, but the Harry in the bed looks like a low-toner copy of the Harry in his head. As vain as he is, Merlin knows Harry will throw an absolute fit if he wakes up.
When he wakes up.
Eggsy sits in the chair that Merlin had brought in for him, or at least he assumes it was Merlin. Yesterday the chair next to Harry’s bedside was one of those hard, metallic jobs that made your arse hurt and your back lock up. Merlin had been in and out of Harry’s room all day, finding Eggsy glued to the chair each time.
“You know, Eggsy,” Merlin had said, sounding annoyed but being anything but, “they say a watched pot never boils, and after all these years I can assure you, a watched Hart never wakes. I swear that man puts himself into comas just so he can lie about and be lazy.”
This morning when he returns to Harry’s room, having been tossed out by his collar, almost literally, by a bald, black, brawny nurse by the code name of Cedric, and then thwarted by the same when he tried to sneak back in, he finds a comfortable arm chair next to Harry’s bed. Merlin is a right prick, but he’s also the fucking guv and Eggsy loves him even if he wouldn’t admit it with a goddamn gun to his head. Possibly not even JB’s head. He thinks Merlin is fond of him as well, enough to make sure Eggsy’s parachute always works.
So, Eggsy sits next to Harry in the comfy chair provided by Merlin or other magical forces. He plays on his phone. He talks. He strokes Harry’s hair back from his face and looks at the parts of Harry he can see around the bandages that cover his left eye and temple. And, like Merlin, he is grateful because no matter how Harry wakes up from this, Harry is alive, and that is all of Eggsy’s Christmases and birthday’s come at once.
Gerald, for it will be a long time before his name is Harry, curls himself further into a ball as he reads in the patch of sun shining through the window. He has been reading this book for what he feels is forever. It is not a long book, but he is given so little time to read. He pauses and thinks through his morning, making sure he has done enough to take this break. He had made his bed and tidied his room. His clothes are laid out together for the maid to wash and his shoes were shined by his own hand. He had walked the perimeter of his room ensuring his belongings are where they should be. Books alphabetized, clothes in the wardrobe separated by purpose and color, curtains opened and arranged just so.
He had run the morning paper in for Papa, laying it by his coffee before he came downstairs. Gerald loved seeing Papa in the morning. His Papa was always so perfect. Each movement precise, even his clothes seemed to fall into order under his influence. Never a wrinkle, creases perfect, cufflinks doing their best to gleam even in the darkest rooms. Gerald would wait at the table for Papa to seat himself and start eating before Harry starts his own meal. Mother took her meal in her room and would be down later after Papa left. After breakfast he studieds his languages and maths with his tutor.
The sun is so warm on his back and hair as he lay reading and it puts him to sleep before he realizes it. A sharp slap to his calf wakes him up. His mother towers over him dressed in her fur trimmed blue dressing gown, her chestnut hair framing her face in waves and her lips an angry slash of red. In her hand is the long ruler she carries in case she finds something that needs correcting.
She always does.
“What is this?” she asks, arms crossed as she looks at him.
“A break, Mother, before I start on my afternoon studies and chores.”
“A break? What have you done to deserve such a thing?”
Gerald recounts his morning to her while she still looms, unimpressed.
“Not enough.” She recites a list of what she expects him to do before bed as she walks away from him. Gerald follows her. “You must be useful Gerald, at home and in your future career as head of the family. People who are not useful are not wanted. People who do not contribute are cast out into the cold. People who are not useful,” she turns and leans down to look him in the eye, “are better dead. You are no longer a child. I will no longer coddle you as I have up till now. Work, be useful, or leave. Those are your choices.”
She smacks him again on the leg, harder. He jumps and flinches back.
Gerald is ten.
In his room, alone because Cedric had thrown Merlin and Eggsy out, Harry jerks in his bed once and then quiets.
Eggsy kicks around his flat, if you can call something that takes up the entirety of one floor a fucking flat, sock feet slipping on the expensive flooring while he makes tea and hums along to the playlist he has piping through the rooms. He knows it’s ostentatious but when he got his Kingsman pay, he went a bit daft with money and bought this, and a gorgeous three bedroom place three floors down for his mum and Daisy, within the first week. Eggsy wanted to give himself, his family, and his friends a place they couldn’t have even dreamed of back in the estate.
He picked this for himself because it had few walls, and after the dark, enclosed, stifling atmosphere of the estate flat he wanted somewhere where he and the people he loves could breathe. One wall is floor-to-ceiling windows, and the others are rich, dark woods that complemented by clean, modern lines accented in cool silver. However, just like him, the posh exterior contains something less posh. Mismatched beanbag chairs surround a gaming station, comfortable couches and chairs face a media wall, and his sister has her very own Peppa Pig room in the back. Eggsy’s bed is in a loft area up the only flight of stairs and he loves the mornings when he wakes up to his mum and Daisy watching telly or Ryan and Jamal fighting over a video game. Those mornings he looks down from his bed, letting that happy feeling of providing for his family settle in his gut and warm him.
Eggsy, however, is less enthused about the place when it’s just him and the silence echoes. He sent a quick text to Ryan and Jamal earlier but they are both working. Mum and Daisy were out with some single parent group his mom has joined. Roxy was on a mission. Merlin was Merlin, and Harry was in a coma. He could try to sneak back into Harry’s room, but he was pretty sure Cedric could take him in a fight. The man is a mountain, he is, and Eggsy gets enough bruises when he is working, ta very much.
He sits down on a beanbag, burrowing into it with his tea in his hands. Sipping from his mug, he contemplates his options. He could see what he could pull, but he didn’t like bringing unknowns back to his and it seemed like too much trouble. He could have a wank. That's a promising idea.
He looks at his watch and then picks up his phone, dialing.
“Tilde, love, have any time for a lonely friend?”
“Eggsy, hello. You are looking for someone to be dirty with? There are people closer than I.”
“None are as sexy as you though. What are you doing?”
“I am going over some documents that my father is too lazy to read.”
“Sounds like something I should get my party hat on for. What are you wearing?”
“Wouldn’t it be more fun to be wearing less?”
“Possibly, although Gustaf, my bodyguard, will be scandalized if I undressed in front of him.”
“Why don’t you head to your room then? I am sure we can amuse ourselves for a bit.”
Eggsy hears her sigh and knows he has won. Aces.
“Fine. I will be calling you over Skype in five minutes. I expect you naked, on your bed, with the dick of your choice and a bottle of lube next to you. I will have the same. Now go get ready before I change my mind.”
“I think I might marry you someday, love.”
“You’d have do a lot more than save the world for that honor.”
Eggsy wakes the next morning tender and loose-limbed, still seeing the gorgeous image of Tilde getting herself off with nothing but her perfectly manicured fingers and the sight of Eggsy fucking himself stupid with the pink jelly dildo Tilde had sent him on his birthday. He finds said dildo laying on the floor, in desperate need of a cleaning, when he gets out of bed and almost busts his arse when he steps on it. Grinning, he takes it into the loo with him and throws it in the sink until he finishes showering.
An hour later he is out the door in his favorite trackies, a thermos of tea in hand for Merlin, and a book to read to Harry while he waits for the man to wake up.
“Gaheris, when I said ‘on your left’ I meant your left, not your right, which is decidedly not your left,” Merlin grouses at him over the comms.
“Yes, Merlin.” Eggsy answers.
“Do you know your left from your right, or should we have remedial lessons for you when you return home?”
“Oh, fuck right off, I was distracted by the shots flying over my head.”
“I suppose,” Merlin hums. “You’ll be coming to a door directly on your left again, you’ll know its the proper direction because the wall on your right will not have a door. Take the stairs up to the roof. Percival is waiting in a helicopter for extraction.”
Eggsy storms up the stairs, racing for the helicopter as soon as he sees it. He almost stops dead in his tracks when he sees Percival lift his arm, his right arm fuck you very much, Merlin, gun in hand, and level it at his head. The bullet whips by his face and is just about to pull his own when he hears a thud behind him. He glances back at the now dead arsehole behind him and jumps into the plane.
“Jesus, Perce, I thought you would shoot me for a mo’ there.” Eggsy pulls himself up into the seat next to Percival.
“Gaheris, if I planned to shoot you I can guarantee you would not see it coming. Please keep that in mind whenever you may think it is acceptable to call me ‘Perce.’”
Eggsy grins and ignores Merlin hooting in laughter in his ear.
When he arrives back at the manor he goes down to medical not only to check in on Harry, who is still sleeping or coma-ing or whatever the fuck the git is doing (being an arsehole is what Eggsy would call it), and to let Cedric or Morguase cluck over the bruised ribs he has. He debriefs with Arthur, who he likes a damn sight more than the last, with her long black hair, mahogany skin, almond eyes, and zero bullshit attitude. He doesn’t know if she likes him that much, but he thinks she might respect him at least and that is enough for Eggsy right now. He then heads to Merlin’s office to drop off the USB drive he risked life and handsome limb for.
“Welcome back, Eggsy, another successful mission. Starting your own collection of Sun covers?” Merlin asks.
“Nah, that’s Harry’s thing, innit? I’m going for a more personal route. I go out on the pull after every mission and keep the condom wrappers in an album along with a number on my personal rating system.”
“Not at all, guv. I am single, fit, and young. Besides it’s tradition now, save the word, get my prick wet.”
“Charming. How is Crown Princess Tilde these days?”
“Aces as always, spoke to her last night. We like to keep in contact, catch up.”
“I know, I walked in on that Skype session you were having in your office last month.”
“Teach you to knock next time, yeah? Aren’t we supposed to be gentlemen?”
“Gentlemen do not wank in their office with the door unlocked.”
“This one does, so keep that in mind.”
Harry is lying in the bed for the third month in a row although he is unaware of it. He has slept through the second surgery, the first happening in Kentucky, to reconstruct his skull. He doesn’t know they had had to open his head up to release cranial pressure. He does not know he has a twisted mass of scarring starting at his white, sightless eye and disappearing into his hair. He does not know he has flat-lined twice since the shooting, once on each operating table. He does not know he will never be the man he was before he stormed out of the loo and boarded the jet for some godforsaken church in Satan’s Arsehole, Kentucky.
For Harry his time in the bed is spent cycling through memories, dreams, and darkness, and even these things he is not aware of.
Eggsy knows the details of the surgeries and momentary deaths on the tables because he has read Harry’s chart ad nauseam, looking up medical terms on his phone, pestering Cedric when he still doesn’t understand, and trying to prepare himself for who Harry might be when he wakes.
He sees Harry twitch and each time he thinks this is it, Harry is waking up. He calls Cedric the first few times until Cedric explains, with great patience, that involuntary movements are common in patients like Harry. Now, Eggsy just waits for a few minutes each time Harry moves and another small spark of hope die each times his eyes stay closed.
Eggsy, who is still smarting over the telling off he got from Enide, a lovely nurse who is like a mum only scarier, for being willing to sit in medical for Harry but not for himself, is licking his wounds in a grimy pub. He raises his hand at the bartender to signal for another pint and then hunches back over the one he is already drinking. He pulls his hat further down over his face and burrows deeper into his track jacket. This is far enough away from his neighborhood he shouldn’t run into anyone from before Kingsman. He wants to be anonymous for a while.
“Are you not going to order one for me?” He barely quiets his resigned sigh.
"Wasn’t planning on it. Was planning on drinking on my own tonight. How d'you find me anyway?" he asks, turning towards her. "Wow, you look great, Rox."
She smoothes down the gray tweed swing jacket she is wearing over what looks to be vintage, and knowing Roxy it is, black cocktail dress. She smiles, her white teeth shining, enhanced by her red lips.
“Thank you, although it’s rather stating the obvious don’t you think?” she replies with a wink. “And you have to ask how I found you?”
Eggsy rolls his eyes. “Why you slumming it with us plebs tonight, it looks like you had somewhere far more interesting to go to.” He knocks back the dregs of his first drink and picks up his second.
“I had a date with Johnathan.”
“Who’s Johna…” Eggsy’s eyes go wide. “Galahad Johnathan? No shit.”
“No shit. He’s nice.”
“Too nice for you. Great bloke, don’t get me wrong, and one hell of an agent. But he’s nice nice, get me?”
Roxy shrugs. “He is, that was the point. I wanted to see if nice did it for me.”
“And did it?”
“Not at all. To his credit he gives fantastic head, but he wanted to stroke my cheek and tell me how pretty I am.”
“Wasn’t into you tying him up and smacking him?”
“I didn’t even try. He got me off. I got him off. I left to have a drink with you even if it meant coming to a pub where my heels stick to the floor.”
“I can make your heels stick to the ceiling, lass,” someone with zero sense of self-preservation says from behind Roxy. She turns on the barstool and gives the man a long appraising look, like she might consider it, like she isn’t mapping out the first four areas she will stab him in.
“You think you could fuck me good and proper then?” Roxy has affected Eggsy’s accent, and it horrifies Eggsy to hear it coming out of her upperclass mouth.
“I am positive I could. Make you forget your own name, I would. Have you yowling like a proper kitty.” He moves closer to her. “Name is Malcolm, but you can call me Daddy.”
Eggsy throws back his head laughing, almost dislodging himself from his stool. The man scowls at him over Roxy’s shoulder.
“Something funny, you little wankstain? Maybe if you could keep your woman here happy, she wouldn’t be after my knob instead of yours.”
Eggsy holds up his hands. “Nah, mate. She’s all yours. I could never satisfy her.”
Roxy looks back at him. “That’s the truth,” she says, cold condescension in her voice, before swinging back towards “Daddy.”
“Now, Daddy,” she says, all breathy and soft, as she opens her legs for him to step between, which like a moron he does. Her right arm moves quickly. “I was wondering how you were planning on fucking me,” Malcom’s face goes white and his mouth forms a perfect O, his terrified eyes on Roxy’s face. Eggsy can’t help but to wince in sympathy. Roxy’s arm makes a twisting motion and Malcom makes a sound that sounds like eeeeeeeee, “when your little prick is lying on the floor.”
Most of the eyes in the pub are on Roxy and Eggsy, but no one seems willing to come to Malcom’s aid, not even the pricks that had been standing behind him snickering, who now are standing behind him looking anywhere in the pub but him.
“He should apologize, Rox, for talking that way to you.”
“I’m… sorry…” Malcom squeaks out, the white pallor of his skin being replaced by a dull yellow. He looks like he might pass out.
Eggsy figures he won’t be getting another drink in this bar so he finishes his second and throws money down on the bar top.
“Come on Rox, let’s go grab a bottle and get shit faced at your flat, yeah?”
Roxy lets Malcom go, and he does a slow motion slide to the floor, cradling his bollocks and emitting that high pitched squeak every so often. His friends still refuse to look at him or at Roxy and Eggsy.
Back at Roxy’s flat, she takes her heels off and places her feet in Eggsy’s lap, which he is rubbing absentmindedly. She closes her eyes while she sips her drink.
“Eggsy, I will marry you if you promise to do that for me forever.”
“No thanks mate, I don’t fancy having Percival lop off my bollocks for touching his precious angel.”
“Oh, no, we wouldn’t have sex. I adore you, Eggsy but it would be like fucking my own brother…”
“No, I want you to be around to massage my feet. In return I will buy you all the atrocious clothes you want, and you can pull whenever you’d like, as would I.”
“So’s all I got to do is rub your nasty toes?”
She kicks him in the chest. “My toes are exquisite, thank you.”
“Yeah, they are,” he replies, admiring how her nail polish glimmers under the low light in her flat.
“So are you going to tell me why you were in some shit pub drinking alone? Girl trouble? Boy trouble?”
“Oh, excellent.” Her eyes sparkle. “Tell Mummy Rox all about it.”
“I think I might be in love with Harry.”
“Harry Hart, formerly thought of as dead and known as Galahad, now lying in medical missing an eye and in a coma. That Harry. Your mentor and a man, what twenty five, thirty years your senior?”
“I have to say I didn’t see that coming, but I can see it. I only saw him a few times when we were training, but he had something about him that makes you want to rub up against him. He smelled wonderful too. He walked past me once in the manor and I almost followed him back down the hall. Too bad for me though, from what I understand he's gay unless the job calls for it.”
Eggsy scowls. “How the fuck would you know?”
“Eggsy, Alistair has been close friends with him, and Merlin, since he joined Kingsman.”
“Wait, and Merlin, what’s that supposed to mean, are him and Merlin together?”
“What? No, I don’t think so. I’ve seen no evidence they are.”
“Oh, well that’s good then, I guess.”
“Does it bother you that you want Harry, is that why you’re drinking?”
“No, it don’t bother me none, it’s just I don’t know how it could work. He’s all posh and shit, and I’m, even under my Kingsman suits, just a pleb. And I like being a pleb. I like my ‘atrocious’ clothes, and my accent, and my music. I like banging about with Jamal and Ryan, being lads, doing some free running, eating fish and chips and I don’t want to change any of that.”
“And you shouldn’t, Harry obviously thought enough of you to propose you so I don’t see why he would want you to be anything you are not.”
“There’s a difference between proposing someone to be a Kingsman and choosing someone to bend over your desk, yeah?”
“I see you’ve given this some thought,” she says. “I’d like to hear more about this desk scenario.”
“Oi, fuck right off, you know what I mean. I don’t think a man like Harry would want me.”
“Well, why do you want him?”
“I don’t know, Rox. When I saw him take down Dean’s dogs at the Black Prince I had one of the biggest hard-ons I have ever had. I ain’t never seen anyone move with such power and control before. It was like he was having a walk in the park. I figured it was just lust, yeah? That I would get a mo’ to suck him off or something and I would be on to the next person. But then I spent time with him and found out that he’s funny. He’s funny, and self-deprecating while being the vainest of arseholes, and a fucking cock when he’s mad, but he believed in me and then I let him down, and somewhere during all that laughing and yelling and disappointment he got shot in the fucking head, died, and made me realize I want to see what his stupid hair looks like when he wakes up in the morning.
She sits forward and pats his hand. “Oh, Eggsy, you pathetic tit. You’ve got it bad.”
Eggsy sinks into the corner of her sofa, doing an odd combination of rubbing and hugging her feet to his chest.
“Yeah,” he sighs.
Gerald fiddles with the buttons on his suit jacket, uncomfortable in it and feeling like a giant prat. It is his father’s funeral and now that he is the man of the house, it falls to him to represent the Cheatum family. His mother appears in the doorway.
“Do you plan on fiddling with your suit all afternoon, Gerald, or would you like some come see your father buried with the rest of the family?”
“Coming, Mother,” Gerald says, straightening his tie once more and turning from the window. His mother looks severe and beautiful as usual, her hair pulled up and away from her face in an elaborate twist. Her black dress is the latest spring fashion and her makeup looks so effortless it must have taken an hour. Gerald worships her and loathes her at the same time.
He always has.
She walks behind him as they move down the hall and toward the stairs. “Why he had to die now is beyond me. How am I supposed to present your sister in society if we are all in mourning?”
“I’m sure he did not plan it to thwart your social plans, Mother. Massive heart attacks are notoriously difficult to calendar.”
“Don’t be smart, Gerald, it’s unbecoming, especially when it’s someone as vapid as you are. After the funeral you and I will have a nice long talk as to what will be expected of you now that you are the man of the house. There are expectations,” she fixes him with the same look that made his knees tremble when he was a child, “and you will live up to them.”
His shoulders creep up to his ears, a familiar tension settles around his heart, and he goes cold and hot at the same time.
She stops at the top of the stairs, her red tipped nailed hand reaching out and snatching at his arm. “But for now you will go greet our guests and you will ride with your sister and I directly behind the hearse. When we come back you will make sure you speak to everyone. You must make contacts.”
“At my father’s funeral?”
“Yes, most of the people will feel sorry for you, a young man so recently lost his father. Jeremiah made money, and lucky for us, managed it well, but he could have made more if he hadn’t of been such a cold fish.”
“He was your husband, you loved him. You married him.”
“Don’t be absurd. I married him because he was rich and he let me do as I pleased. It was a transaction. He got an attractive wife who could move about in society and I got a husband who left me alone once we had the two children we agreed on. You and your sister are bullet points on a contract, darling.”
“You are an absolute cunt.”
“So people say, but I serve a purpose. Your sister will serve the same, marrying the right man and strengthening our name and power. You will marry the right woman, run the Cheatum investments, and keep me in the lifestyle I have grown accustomed to.”
“And if I refuse?”
“You will not. This is your duty. Remember what happens to those that serve no purpose? Those that are lazy and useless? They are cast out with nothing. How long do you think those little boy toys you think I don’t know about will want you when your wallet is empty? They aren’t fucking you for your personality.”
Gerald wrenched his arm out of his mother’s grasp. “You should know since it’s doubtful Papa was fucking you for yours.” He beings descending the stairs, his mother behind him, the picture of a loving family united in grief.
The next day Gerald joins the Army. He doesn’t speak to his mother, or his sister who is a miniature version of their mother, again.
Gerald is eighteen.
Eggsy hobbles into Harry’s room and lowers himself into the chair next to the other man’s bed. He sits for a moment, grateful to be resting somewhere where it is quiet and calm, and cool.
“This one went a bit shit, Harry, I ain’t gonna lie. For about ten minutes I was positive that me and Galahad were toast. Literally toast, because the fucking prick who we was after had an honest to god flame-thrower and was lighting the whole fucking room up. But Johnathan, that’s the new Galahad by the way, they tried to give me the name before we knew you was alive and all and I told Merlin he could shove it up his arse. There was no way I was taking your name when I knew how you felt about me.
“Anyway, Johnathan, the smart little fuck he is, somehow got behind the arsehole and put a bullet in the back of his skull. Got the fuck burned out of his arm for it, but better an arm than the whole body, yeah?”
Eggsy shifts in the chair wishing the painkillers they gave him would kick in. He sits quietly for a few moments, watching Harry’s chest rise and fall with his breathing.
“I sure wish you would wake up. I want to apologize for those things I said in your loo, for not realizing that it was a blank, for…” Eggsy sighs and looks at his hands, “for disappointing you. I want to tell you all the things I’ve done since V-Day. Merlin says I’m a good agent, Harry, and you’d be proud of me, but I would sure like to hear it from your mouth instead of his. There is so much I want to ask you about being an agent. We lost a lot of the Table on V-Day. Percival is the most senior agent, and he’s a mate, but he doesn’t exactly invite late night chats over martinis, yeah?”
Harry doesn’t respond.
Eggsy doesn’t even know if he expects him to anymore.
Gerald falls in love in the Army. While he has been sexually active with men since the age of sixteen, he has not been with anyone since he enlisted. In the two years he has been in the Army he has worked hard and caught the eye of his superiors, and now they tapped him for officer training.
It is at RMA Sandhurst that he meets Lawrence, a gorgeous man four years older than Gerald with pale skin, flashing white teeth, and eyes like the night sky. The first time he speaks to Gerald, he drops his tray on the floor. All the gentlemanly poise his mother beat into him, sometimes literally, disappeared the minute Lawrence looked at him.
For some reason unknown to Gerald they become fast friends, studying, spending free time, and eating most meals together. Their high scores make them the darlings of their class.
One night they are in one of their favorite spots, a clearing in the woods a small walk from the main buildings. They had been there since the afternoon having brought their books and packed a small meal. The food is gone, the books are forgotten, and they lay on their backs, side by side, talking.
“Your mother sounds like a terror, Gerald. After her the Army must seem like a cakewalk.”
Gerald chuckles. “She’s a cunt. How my father married her, much less dared to fuck her, is beyond me. I would have worried she would put a knife in my back the minute it was turned.”
“Have you spoken to her since you left?”
“She wrote a letter a few months after I enlisted, letting me know that I was shirking my duty to the family, to her. She demanded I come home at once. I never wrote back. My inheritance from my father is untouchable by her, and I have no interest in the family estate or everything that comes along with it.”
“An estate, are you nobility?”
“No, just wealthy, not that I give a toss about it. What about you? You never talk about your family.”
“Not much to say. We are minor nobility, hence my ease in entering officer training, but no money to speak of. I am the third son, so whatever money or title there is, it’s not something I will ever see. I figured my best chance at making my own way lay with the military. My parents were happy to no longer worry about me I think.
“Look at us. Gerry with no title and a country pile. Larry with a title but little more than a pile of shit to his name. We make quite a pair.” Lawrence rolls to his side facing Gerald, props his head on his hand and smiles down at him.
Gerald’s breath catches and his stomach twists looking up at him. He realizes he is in absolute love with this man, with his deep voice, quicksilver smiles, and cheeky winks when they are about to get up to something they should not be getting up to.
Lawrence keep smiling down at him. In the glowing gloom, Gerald can make out the white flash of his teeth and the gleam of his eyes, but not much else.
“Gerald,” Lawrence starts. “I…”
Then Gerald does the most idiotic thing ever. The most dangerous. The most impulsive. He rises up and kisses Lawrence on the side of his mouth, breathing in his cologne. Lawrence goes still. Gerald drops back to the ground and waits for Lawrence to hop to his feet, to yell, to hit him, to run for one of their superiors.
Lawrence slides his hand down the side of Gerald’s face and into his hair, gripping it tight, before his mouth lowers down to Gerald’s. It is slow for the first few seconds, almost chaste, until Lawrence’s tongue moves against Gerald’s lips and he opens them. The minute their tongues touch they are grasping at each other’s body, their hips and thighs are rubbing against the other, and quiet moans float out into the night.
Lawrence comes to his senses first. He stands, pulling a confused Gerald to his feet and back into the cover of the woods. Lawrence fucks him against a tree with nothing but a tube of petroleum jelly Lawrence has for chapped lips to ease the way. When Gerald wakes the next morning, his arse is tender, his lips still feel Lawrence’s on them, and when he gets out of bed he laughs when he sees a few bits of leaf and branch on his pillow.
For the next nine months they are even more inseparable if that is possible. They still study together as neither of them are so stupid as to let their class rank drop, but more often than not those study sessions end up with them naked and pawing at each other. Gerald feels like everything in his life is slotting into place. He is a little over one month from graduation and he’s having quite a lot of sex with the man he loves. He is already thinking about buying a small flat in London for them, not that they would spend a lot of time there. As officers they would rarely be home, much less home together, but a little place that they could call their own would be wonderful.
Two weeks later, three weeks before graduation, as they are walking down a hall together, Lawrence pulls him into a cleaning cupboard.
“Risky, this, shagging in a broom cupboard.”
“We won’t be shagging, Gerald.”
“Then what the hell are we doing? Did you get a sudden urge to clean the halls?”
"Gerald," Lawrence looks at him with pity and Gerald feels as if he might be sick. "Sgt. Singerson pulled me aside today. He wanted to talk with me, see how I was faring. He wanted to warn me about making sure that nothing scandalous would attach to my name when I was so close to the start of a very promising career. He also mentioned that I might pass along the same warning to you. He wouldn’t want people to misconstrue our relationship."
“He knows about us.”
“Yes. And if he does, others know as well. My family name, as worthless as it is, is the only reason we have not been thrown out on our ears for fucking.”
“We will be more careful. We graduate in three weeks and we can leave Sandhurst behind. I will buy us a place in London where we can be together.”
“And who do you think we are?”
“Two men who love each other.”
“Love! Gerald, you were fun, I will not deny that. Quite an excellent fuck if you don't mind me saying so.”
“But nothing, Gerald. We will chalk this up to youthful indiscretions and when we run into one another at some officer do in a few years, our pretty wives on our arms, we will share a wink and a smile.”
Gerald stands, his mouth opening and closing, unable to process this sudden turn his life has taken. “I love you, Lawrence. Surely you feel something for me.”
“No, I do not. I am not queer, Gerald, and I won’t risk my military career for the sake of a tight arse. You were fun, but you aren’t worth me losing my rank or my family name. If you thought you were, you are not as smart as I gave you credit for.
“For the rest of our time here, we will continue to be cordial, as for us to stop speaking suddenly would draw even more attention to us, but we will not longer be alone, ever. My advice to you is to find a pretty, vapid wife to pop out a couple of kids for you. Play the upstanding officer and family man, and keep your love of cock quiet, and don’t fall in love with every man that fucks you, Gerald. Use your head.”
Two years later Gerald hears through the military grapevine that Lawrence died in a car accident. He goes to the funeral as expected of someone that was so close to the man during training. There he offers Lawrence’s wife, who stands in black, holding the hand of a little boy, his condolences. She asks his name, twice. Lawrence had never spoken of him.
In his hotel that night he gets drunk and tries to remember how Lawrence sounded when he was whispering endearments into Gerald’s ear as he drove into him, relentlessly, but those are overshadowed by Lawrence telling him that he was not worth it, that he was not loved.
Gerald knew this, but he had hoped he was wrong. He is twenty-two.
Eggsy and Roxy make their way through the ballroom, Eggsy steering Roxy with his arm around her waist as she discreetly keeps their mark in their line of sight. The rhinestones sewn into the bodice of the jet black, taffeta and silk dress she is wearing are sharp, beautiful, and cool against his hand. Much like his best girl here, he thinks. He stops them at the bar, a martini for him, a vodka tonic for her.
“Parker is directly across the room,” Roxy whispers in his ear while she nuzzles the side of his face. He turns towards her, wearing an indulgent smile, so he can sweep the room with his eyes. Parker leans against the wall, talking with another man, his hands making expansive gestures that almost cause him to spill his drink down two separate guests. Eggsy, since Parker is paying attention to only his conversation partner, takes a few moments to assess the man.
“Doesn’t look like much, does he?” he asks just loud enough for Elaine, his handler, and Roxy to hear. He is a tall weed of a man with a receding hairline, weak chin with the most wispy, embarrassing excuse for a goatee Eggsy has ever seen, and large, almost protruding, eyes. He does not look like a mad genius who, over five years, made a code that entered in the right governmental computers can knock out the power grid for whole countries, if not worldwide.
(“It would cause a soft apocalypse,” Merlin says during their mission briefing.
“A soft apocalypse? It ain’t a fucking jumper, Merlin. It may not unleash zombies, but I think it would fuck up a lot of shit.”
“Yes, Eggsy, 'it would fuck up a lot of shit,' as you so eloquently put it. That is why you and Roxy will go to the party and dose him with a pen while Percival gets me into his network. That will destroy the code from both ends.”)
“Percival is in place, your turn, you two,” Elaine says over Eggsy’s glasses.
Eggsy and Roxy walk across the room towards the mark, under the guise of heading to the restrooms. Once they get close, Eggsy pivots, knocking Parker’s glass to the floor.
“Dreadfully sorry,” Eggsy exclaims while Parker dabs ineffectually at his suit jacket. “Please allow me to get you another drink.”
“No, that’s quite alright.” Parker eyes him with distaste before his eyes slide over, and settle a little more appreciatively, on Roxy.
“I insist. Majorie, be a love and keep the gentleman company while I get him a replacement. Vodka tonic?”
Roxy smiles up at Parker before taking the handkerchief from his hand and resumes the job he forgot the minute he looked at her.
“What is it that you do?” she asks him. “Oh, that sounds fascinating,” she murmurs when he answers her.
Fifteen minutes later Eggsy and Roxy slip out of the party when one guest falls to the floor, dead. Elaine cleans any bit of them there is off the security tapes as they ride to the shop in the back of a Kingsman cab.
Merlin meets them when the train pulls into the manor.
“Eggsy,” he says, “Harry’s awake.”
Eggsy stops dead. “Since when?”
“Yesterday. We couldn’t tell you until you completed your mission.”
24 hours earlier
Harry fights his way toward the surface, not with gusto, no, just slowly and steadily as if he is swimming up from the bottom of a pool with unlimited air. He can hear a deep rumble to his left, a voice, but he can’t place it, though it sounds familiar, so he points himself toward that and rises.
He opens his eyes… no, not plural. Just one, the right. His eye. His left is covered with gauze and he can’t seem to move it underneath his lid. There is no pain, curiously enough, just disassociation. Pain medication then, and the good stuff. If medical felt the need to pump him this full he shudders to think of how he would feel without it.
He clears his throat and turns his head just in time to see Merlin jump out of his chair.
“Christ, you gave me a fucking fright, Harry. I have gotten so used to being able to get a word in while talking to you, I forgot you could do something other than lie there like a lump. Would you like some water?”
“Please,” Harry croaks at him and then grabs the straw with his lips the minute Merlin places it there. He raises his hand to push the cup away when he has had enough. His hand trembles. “What in the bloody hell happened to me,? he asks when he can.
“Valentine shot you in the face. Do you not remember?” Merlin looks at him with grave concern. “The Church, Kentucky, any of it?”
God, the Church. Of course Harry remembers it. Every single inhibition he has ever had disappearing in the space of one heartbeat. The anger he had felt listening to that disgusting man spout filth and hatred from his lips, the anger that had made him get up to move outside before he did anything he would regret, and then it became something he no longer would regret.
Blood sprayed hot and salty on his face, the impact of other people pounding against his bones, his high brain functions reduced to nothing but glimmering and cold decisions on how best to kill the next person. Gun parts to the face, lighter to the face, snap the neck, a bullet in the head, post through the body, one-two-three-dead-four-five-six-dead-roll up-roll up. Harry remembers the moment his head cleared for a moment, when his grenade went off, perhaps, and wanting that signal back instantly, and being overjoyed when it was.
At the end, when he looked around horrified at the bodies littering the floor, it wasn’t because he had done it, it was because he would never know that feeling of freedom again, that feeling of doing what he wanted to do as opposed to what was expected of him.
Merlin is looking at him, waiting for an answer. “Yes, I remember it. Why aren’t I dead?” He was ready to die when he walked out to Valentine, he was supposed to die.
“Apparently, God loves an idiot, because although you took a bullet to the brain, you are still here. Something I am very happy for.”
“Getting sentimental on me, Hamish?”
Merlin stands. "Let me get a gun.”
“Piss off,” Harry manages a smile, forced as it is. “How long until I can get back out into the field ?”
“Harry…” Merlin sits again and scrubs a hand over his face. “We… Jesus. We aren’t sure if you are going to be an agent again. You've lost your left eye. ” Harry startles in the bed, upsetting the small table Merlin had pulled over to set the water on. “There was cranial pressure and swelling, we don’t know rest of the damage yet. We won’t know until you are able to move around more.”
Harry lays back, stunned.
This is his penance then.
Eggsy throws himself into Harry’s room without knocking or wondering if the man is up for visitors.
When he hears the door open, he raises his head from where he had been looking down at his hands. He has shaved, his hair is clean and combed in the closest semblance of his old style that is possible with the bandage still around his head and over his eye.
“Harry,” Eggsy stutters out. He is standing in the doorway, one hand gripping the frame, still dressed in his tux, his bowtie hanging loose around his neck and his glasses in his pocket.
“Eggsy,” Harry responds softly, “aren’t you looking dashing?” Harry looks back down at himself, a look of sadness on his face. Eggsy doesn’t even have time to parse why that look is on his face before he is crossing the room to Harry, leaning over, wrapping his arms around Harry and sobbing into his neck. Harry, after a moments' bewilderment, holds on just as tight, murmuring soothing nonsense in Eggsy’s ear.
Cedric, the fucking battle ax that he is, kicks Eggsy out before Eggsy has even had a minuscule amount of the time he needs with Harry.
He squeezes Harry’s hand as he stands to leave. “I’ll be back first thing in the morning, yeah? I’ll bring your robe and slippers, and some of your books.”
“You have a key to my home?” Harry looks incredulous.
“Harry, bruv, I don’t need a key to get in,” Eggsy says with a smirk.
“Well, be that as it may, you needn't go out of your way for me, Eggsy. I am sure you have more important things to be getting on with rather than running about for me.”
“Harry, it’s no trouble…”
“Eggsy, I have to insist. Merlin can get those things for me.”
Eggsy leans down directly in Harry’s field of vision and places both hands on his shoulders, staring at him until Harry meets his eyes. “Harry, if you think there is one place I would rather be than right here with you, after spending every day I could right here waiting for your sorry arse to wake up, that that bullet did more damage than we thought, yeah? I’ll see you tomorrow. If you think of anything else you want, text me or something.”
Cedric clears his throat.
“Fucking hell, mate. I’m going.”
Harry stays sitting up after Eggsy and Cedric leave him alone. Before Eggsy had come in he was watching his hands tremble in his lap. He wants to think that the shaking will stop as he heals, soon his hands will be as steady as they were pre-V-Day. Merlin had filled him in on all the fun he had missed while bits of his brain dripped out the back of his skull that morning while he helped him shave and tidy his hair, but he knows in his heart of hearts the shaking will not stop.
He can’t tell much about his mobility. Traumatic brain injury aside, he has been in a bed for nine months, give or take a week, and it has taken it’ toll. He still wobbles like a colt when he gets out of bed, using his IV stand to help him get around his room. He hopes he can start physical therapy soon so that he can see what he can expect his new normal to be.
And Eggsy. Now there was something he was not expecting. Not that Eggsy wouldn’t become a Kingsman. No, even after he had made a complete arse of himself by yelling at the boy, sounding just like his thrice-damned cunt of a mother, he had decided Eggsy would be a Kingsman if he had to cram the idea down Chester’s throat himself, may the pompous old bastard rot where ever he lies. What surprised Harry was how Eggsy had rushed in and looked at him. Harry knows he was a little more enamored of Eggsy than he should be, but knowing that Eggsy was as enamored of Harry made something glow inside of him.
And made him hate the decrepit body even more.
The Harry that brought Eggsy to Kingsman could have made a few discreet overtures and if Eggsy returned, them he would have courted Eggsy. He doesn’t care about the age difference, much, they are both grown men and can make their own decisions.
But now? Now that Harry has aged overnight from a fit man in the prime of his life, Kingsman’s best, to a one-eyed cripple? He wouldn’t even dream of trying to date Eggsy now, he couldn’t stand to see the pity Eggsy would feel for a man who was about as useful as a paper door knocker. No, now he will be thankful for Eggsy’s forgiveness and friendship.
Eggsy stops by Harry’s house on his way back to his own flat. He may have made Harry think he would pick the lock, which he does sometimes, while wearing his Adidas, in broad daylight, to add an element of danger to it, to keep his hand in, but he has had a key since before they knew Harry was coming home. At first Merlin gave it to him because Eggsy promised to clear the house for the new Galahad, a job Eggsy drug his feet on, good thing too. Ever since they knew Harry was coming back, it was now for Eggsy to keep it ready for Harry when he came home. Merlin assured Eggsy that they had cleaners on staff for this, but smiled when Eggsy snorted in laughter and gave him two fingers.
He walks through the house packing one of Harry ridiculously expensive LV Kingsman bags. The “height of discretion” his pretty pink arsehole, the goddamn thing has K’s all over it. He may blend in with them now, but Eggsy will never understand the posh, freaks the lot of them. By the time he finishes the bag has a couple of paperbacks, some sinfully soft satin pajamas which Eggsy did not smell when he realized they still held the ghost of Harry’s cologne, some toiletries, including said cologne, which again, Eggsy did not sniff, his slippers and the man’s knitting. Eggsy did not know Harry knit, but now that he does he had better get a fucking baby-arse soft jumper this Christmas. In blue.
He brushes out Mr. Pickle before he leaves, assuring the creepy little thing that his daddy would be home soon which Eggsy was glad of because that meant someone else could take over dead dog dusting duty, no offense, Mr. Pickle. He takes one last turn around the house, making a note to go out in a few days before Harry gets to come home and stock the pantry for him. Quick, easy stuff and tea because Eggsy drank all of Harry’s one day when he was lonely for him.
He also drank all of Harry’s whiskey one night as well and slept naked in the master bedroom bed but he doesn’t plan on sharing that story with Harry.
Eggsy walks in to Harry’s room two days later to find him comfortably ensconced in the robe and pajamas knitting away while BBC plays in the background.
“Why didn’t you ever tell me you knit?”
Harry smiles up at him. “When would it have come up? ‘Eggsy, my boy, would you like to become a spy for Kingsman? Yes? Excellent. Now tell me, what is your preferred scarf length? You see, I am a dab hand at knitting and I thought I’d make you one.’”
Eggsy laughs out loud ,and it seems to echo in the room. “It goes against my whole vision of you, you know? Gentleman spy, lover extraordinaire, terror of evil doers and sheep everywhere.”
“I prefer alpaca, thank you. It’s a dream against your skin.”
“Well, la ti da, pardon me.”
“It seems it’s good I have hobbies. I’ll have more than enough time to indulge in them now.”
“Why’s that? You’ll be out of here in no time, yeah? Back at it again. New code name, though, seeing as Merlin gave it away before we knew you was waking up.”
For a second Eggsy sees Harry’s hands tighten around the warm wood of his needles and something ugly skitters through his one eye, blink and you’ll miss it quick.
Eggsy makes himself blink.
Harry sets the knitting down in his lap. “Eggsy, I will not be entering the field for a long time, maybe never. I've lost my eye and we are still ascertaining my other injuries.” Eggsy watches Harry force a smile. “It is time for me to retire anyway, to leave it in the next generation’s hands.”
“That’s shite and you know it. Even if you ain’t in the field, you’re still a fucking Kingsman. Fuck, they should make all the new candidates sit in a room with you for a few hours so’s they can stare at you and try to figure out how to be an eighth of the agent you are.”
Harry snorts under his breath. “Yes, I am sure I would inspire such awe in the trainees with my missing eye.”
Eggsy can feel the back of his neck getting hot. “I ain’t going to sit here…” Eggsy’s glasses ping. “Gaheris… Right, be there in five.”
“Off and away? I should not have to tell you to be safe,” Harry says, knitting once more.
Eggsy opens his mouth to tell Harry off for saying shite about himself. Harry holds up a hand.
“I know, Eggsy. Forgive me, I am still processing this. Go, do your mission with gusto and bravery as befitting a protégé of mine, then come back and tell me all about it.”
Eggsy smiles. “See you in a few days, Harry. You won’t even know I’m gone.”
Harry does know Eggsy is gone.
He knows Eggsy is gone, and it is eating him up inside. He doesn’t begrudge the boy his entry into Kingsman, not completely anyway. He knew Eggsy was Kingsman material, and from the agent logs he read through on the tablet Merlin had brought him, Eggsy has surpassed even Harry’s high hopes.
What he does begrudge is the fact he is not out there with Eggsy on his mission. Harry had, besides entertaining thoughts of sharing a bed with Eggsy once he won the Lancelot title, entertained thoughts of sharing missions with him. He thinks that they would complement each other. Eggsy’s brash, new blood swagger complimented by Harry’s graceful and seasoned lethality. And then ofter a mission well done, the frame of Eggsy’s thighs complementing the long lines of Harry’s back.
Now Harry sits in a hospital bed with a bandage around his head and knitting a scarf instead of running down an alley that smells of piss with a Rainmaker clutched in his hand.
Who is he anymore?
He doesn’t know if he isn’t a Kingsman. Is he still Harry Hart if he doesn’t don a bespoke suit and deadly oxfords in the morning? If he can’t massacre a group of ten men bent on killing him without mussing his hair? He isn’t Gerald Cheatum anymore. His mother and sister are both gone, the former from old age and bitterness, the latter from a deadly mix of alcohol and pharmaceuticals. The family money and properties went to Harry through a complicated, meandering path of straw men and fictional heirs when Gerald Cheatum “died” in the line of duty and his mother and sister’s life estate ended with their death, but even if it hadn’t, Kingsman paid well and often. Harry had no need for the family name or money. Resurrecting that person brings back memories of a harpy screeching, high pitched and loud, and thin rods bruising the backs of child calves. Even thinking the name makes him sick.
So if he is not Harry Hart, Bespoke Death come to call, and if he is not Gerald Cheatum, top of society, who is the old man who sits broken in this bed?
People who aren’t useful are better off dead, his mother used to tell him.
He wishes he was.