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an acquired taste

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Kingsman was throwing one of their legendary ‘knighted’ parties. The new Lancelot had just been appointed, and they bloody knew how to welcome somebody. Harry and Merlin sat around the table having a shot war, while Gawain had seemed to acquire a traffic cone from somewhere, in the true British drunk fashion.

 

Percival stood at the side, sipping on his wine and watching the other agents frankly make fucking fools of themselves. He remembered his knighted party a few years ago. He hated it then and he hated it now - really, all he wanted to do was be curled up on the sofa at home reading a good book, but of course, Arthur had made it mandatory for all non-stationed agents to attend these parties.

 

Percival had become a new agent three years ago after being nominated by Gawain. Working in the 22 SAS for seven years had apparently made him a ‘good fit’ for the role and he’d managed to absolutely smash all of the tests. Really, he had no doubt that he would have been appointed; Percival knew he had all the skills to become an agent for Kingsman.

 

Well, it seemed everyone else was having a good time, at least. Wait - was Tristan only wearing boxers and fairy wings? It felt like more of a house party than a gentleman’s gathering. Percival rolled his eyes and lit a cigarette, taking a seat at one of the empty tables.

 

“Alright to sit down?” Percival looked up to see a man in a… less than fashionable mustard coloured suit. The green tie just made the whole suit look even more questionable.

 

“Uh, yes, that’s fine,” Percival replied, looking back down to his wine. The man sat down next to him and set his glass of whiskey on the table.

 

“Good party, isn’t it?”

 

“Fucking terrible.”

 

The man let out a hearty laugh and smiled at Percival. “Lancelot. But call me James.” Percival studied the man - this was the new Lancelot? They could have picked somebody with a better taste in clothes, surely?

 

“Percival.”

 

“It’s good to meet you, Percy.”

 

Don’t call me that.”

 

James chuckled, and the two sat there in silence for a while. Percival wasn’t in the mood to talk. All of the agents were getting on his nerves and he just wanted to retreat, but he couldn’t. Eventually, James cleared his throat and started to ramble.  “So, tell me, Percy. How long have you worked here? Why are you just sitting here and not having fun?”

 

“Don’t fucking call-” he sighed, and gave up. “Three years. I’m not fucking around with them because I’m not a bloody child.”

 

“Oh, come on, get that stick out of your arse. They’re just having fun. Come on, let’s go and join them.”

 

“There is no stick up my arse and I cannot think of anything I would like to do less than join them, or you for that matter.”

 

“Bit of a grumpy pants, aren’t you?” James grinned and pat Percival on the back as he got up. “I’ll see you at work tomorrow. I don’t apologise for the massive hangover that will be plaguing me.”

 

Percival glared at him as he watched James walk to the middle of the room and start dancing the macarena with some of the other agents.

 

He hated him already.




It was a relatively slow day in the HQ. Mainly because half of the agents had either rung in sick and the ones that had braved showing up we so hungover that they could have been mistaken for zombies. Percival had no sympathy for them, and carried on with the paperwork in his office, locking the door so none of the agents would barge in and disturb him. They weren’t stealing all his ibuprofen this time, that wasn’t happening.

 

He thought about James. The man had made a complete fool out of himself last night, and all the agents seemed to love him already. He ended up climbing on one of the tables, belting out the lyrics to some Whitney Houston song before falling off and passing out. God save the agent who had to take James home - he almost felt bad for them. Whoever it was. Not that he cared.

 

It was about midday when he decided to brave leaving his office and going to get a coffee from the break room. Percival was exhausted from the lack of sleep, and he hoped that the coffee would at least perk him up a little bit.

 

“Percy!” Percival knew that voice. And that fucking nickname. He turned around and sure enough, it was James. How did he seem so energetic?

 

“Good afternoon.”

 

“You look knackered. Why don’t you go home?” Percival grimaced. James was the one that should have been looking tired now. He should have had a fucking raging hangover, and here he was, as energetic as ever, telling Percival that he looked tired.

 

“I have a lot of work to do. Don’t you have a hangover?”

 

“Nothing a bacon sandwich and a couple of ibuprofen can’t fix.”

 

“Can’t argue with that.” Harry chimed, stumbling into the room so he could make himself a tea. Obviously, the shot war had taken its toll on him, and he was suffering the consequences today.

 

“Well, you did go hard with Merlin.” Percival chuckled.

 

“Yes, it seems that I learned the hard way that you can’t out-drink a Scot. He will be making it up to me over dinner tonight, so all is not lost.” Harry gave them a quick smile, and left with his tea, holding his head. Poor fucker, Percival thought to himself.

 

James leaned against the counter, watching Percival. “A lot of work to do then? Need any help?”

 

“I don’t think I’ll be accepting help from an agent that hasn’t even worked here for six hours.” Percival scoffed. He stirred his coffee, adding extra, hoping that that would wake him up a little.

 

“It can’t be that bad. Let me know if you need any help. I haven’t got a lot today, and you look bloody exhausted. If I can help out in any way, I will.” James took his mug, smiled warmly at Percival and left the room.

 

“Yeah, thanks a lot,” Percival muttered to himself sarcastically.




The air was so cold that he swore his fingers had turned blue, and the rain was pouring down. Tonight was the worst night to forget his umbrella, and Percival cursed himself for not bringing it with him. He didn’t even know what time it was… judging that even the corner shops were closed, it must have been late. Still, he was only about an hour away from home. Fucking great. He sighed to himself and pulled his coat closer to him, not like it helped; his coat was absolutely soaked.

 

He should have asked for help from another agent, but really, he was too proud to. Percival was regretting it now though, having to suffer 13 fucking hours of technically-meaningless paperwork. What was the point? All that happened to it was that it would get filed into the storeroom, never to be looked at again.

 

Percival was surprised to hear a car horn suddenly from behind him, and turned around quickly, hand reaching to his gun holster, ever the paranoid. He was even more surprised that he recognised that car. That hideous bright yellow car. Of course it was James, fucking James. The man stuck his head out of the window and beamed at Percival, and he stared back blankly.

 

“Well, why are you standing there? It’s pissing down. Get in.”

 

“No.” Percival turned on his heel and carried on walking. No, he wasn’t going to get into James’ car, no matter how freezing he was, no matter how far away his flat was. He shook his head in frustration when he heard James carry on driving behind him.

 

“Come on, Percy. It’s cold and you’ll get ill with all this wind and rain.” James called from the window. Maybe he had a point… Maybe he could just bite his tongue, make as little conversation as possible and get away from James relatively quickly. Percival rolled his eyes and climbed into the passenger seat reluctantly.

 

James lit a cigarette and offered one to Percival, who snatched it pretty quickly. God, he really needed it right now. He lit the cigarette and took a long inhale, blowing the smoke out of his nose and gently tapping it on the small crack of the open window. He watched out of the window for a while, taking in the city as it flashed past the both of them. Neither of them spoke for a while, much to Percival’s surprise. For once, James Spencer was being quiet, and he was happy with that.

 

Not for long though, because it was James fucking Spencer.

 

“So… why have you been out so late?” he asked, relaxing into the car seat a little more.

 

“Work.”

 

James widened his eyes. “Work? Why did you finish so late? More importantly, why were you walking home?”

 

“Because I had a hell of a lot of work to do… not that you’d know what work is. All of the drivers had gone home by the time I had finished, and I refuse to use the public transport.” Percival said, a little too snippy. He looked over to James, and wondered himself what exactly James was doing driving through London this late at night. Stalking him? Alright, that was ridiculous, even for James. “What are you doing driving around central this late?”

 

“Me? Oh, I was at my mother’s. I was going to stay there for the night, but I remembered that I need to go into the shop tomorrow morning for a fitting.” James shrugged. “I’m just glad that I saw you. It’s much too bad weather out there for you to be walking home.”

 

Percival nodded and went back to smoking the cigarette. He was tired, cold, wet, and frankly, fed up. It wasn’t that he didn’t appreciate what James was doing, not at all. But he just wished that he could understand why James was so eager to befriend him. The rest of the journey was relatively quiet, the only conversation being on current missions they were working on, which Percival preferred. He didn’t really like talking about personal life, and for once, James was respecting that.

 

He must have nodded off on the journey home because he was woken with a start when James nudged him gently.

 

“Percy, you’re home.” James’ voice was gentle and quiet and Percival let out a yawn. He stretched his arms out before opening the door and stumbling out of the car. Exhausted, he gave James a quick thank you and retreated back into the comfort of his own flat. He was sure he could hear James say something, but all that was on his mind was to get away and out of the cold rain.




9AM starts were always hell, especially when Percival hadn’t got home until about 2AM the night before. He somehow managed to use all his will to drag himself out of bed… his bed had never seemed more welcoming. Calling a taxi to get to work, he finished neatly styling his hair and threw on his overcoat. When Percival got to work, there wasn’t many people in. Merlin, of course, was present, but when wasn’t he? The man seemed to live in the HQ. The regular tailors were in, working on the newest bespoke suits, and repairing what seemed to be Galahad’s suit. Percival made a mental note that Harry probably wouldn’t be in the best mood today.

 

He’d barely made it to his office and taken off his coat when he heard a knock on the door. Percival took a deep breath, and sighed an “Enter.”

 

It was none other than James, the same usual perky, loud man he usually was. Percival would never understand how somebody could be so happy this early in the morning. It was practically the middle of the night. He scratched at his face, irritated, and offered the man a seat.

 

“Lancelot. What can I do for you?”

 

“Please, I’ve already told you. Call me James.” James laughed, sitting down and resting his elbows on the table.

 

“I will do no such thing. Why are you here, Lancelot?”

 

“I’ve just got our mission brief. Barcelona, drug ring we need to take out. So that means that if we can finish the operation quickly, we have a few days to relax on the beach.”

 

Percival blinked at him - a mission? With James? What exactly did Arthur think he was playing at? Three years working for Kingsman and he’d always been placed on solo missions. He just preferred it. Nobody getting in the way, nobody to annoy the living hell out of you-

 

“Percy?” James waved his hand in front of Percival, and he realised that he’d zoned out. Fuck, he couldn’t believe this.

 

“You must have your partners mixed up. Arthur only sends me on solo missions. So you’ll be… relaxing on the beach with someone else, not myself. Good day.” He grabbed the new set of paperwork sitting on his desk and started filling out the basics. Percival looked up, brows furrowed when he saw James still sitting there, flashing Percival the biggest grin.

 

“Arthur told me that he wants to start sending you on more doubles. You need to get your social skills up, apparently. His words, not mine.” James rubbed at his neck. He didn’t want to offend Percival. “Hey, it could be fun! Take out the bad guys, sip some cocktails on a nice beach with an actual blue sea. Can’t get that in England, can you? You get to murder people, I get to enjoy a nice Sex on the Beach.” James winked at Percival, and he could not have blushed anymore than he did.

 

“Absolutely not. My social skills are fine, I would just rather not work with incompetent twats, Lancelot. Tell Arthur that you’ll need a new partner for Barcelona.” Percival said sternly, shaking his head. James simply nodded, got up and left, looking somewhat like a kicked puppy.

The look on James’ face was not quite one that Percival had seen before, and while he would not have given less of a shit usually, he found himself feeling… guilty? Was it guilt? He didn’t know why. James annoyed the hell out of him, and here he was, feeling bad that he’d upset the man. It wasn’t as if James had ever been anything but nice to Percival, maybe that was it. He pushed the paperwork to the side and immediately left to find Arthur.

 

Arthur was sitting at the round table completing a brief for Tristan and Bors when Percival found him. He didn’t look up until Percival cleared his throat to grab the other man’s attention.

 

“Percival. Take a seat.”

 

Percival obliged. “Arthur. Why have you decided to send me on field with another agent? With Lancelot, of all agents?” He leaned back into the seat, agitated. “I thought we agreed, solo missions only.”

 

“You can’t go through your whole career only taking solo missions, Percival. You need to learn to work with people. Lancelot seems quite fond of you. He was the one who asked if you could be his partner.” Percival stared at Arthur. He didn’t know what to think or how to feel; all he knew was that all guilt had gone out of the window and he wanted to kill James. “Oh, don’t look at me like that, Percival. You’re a good agent, and he hasn’t been here long. Surely you want to show him the ropes? Your shooting score is one of the best in the agency.

 

Percival scowled at Arthur. “I am fine working solo. I don’t care if I’m your best bloody agent, I don’t want to work with anyone else, especially not James.”

 

“It’s not a request, it’s an order. You will be going to Barcelona with Lancelot and you will take down that drug ring. Thank you.”

 

“But-”

 

“Thank you, Percival.”

 

If looks could kill, Arthur would have been a pile of ash by now. Percival got up and stormed out of the room, absolutely seething. James had requested Percival to be his partner? Arthur allowed that? Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. Considering there was no way to get out of this… Percival knocked at James’ office door, entering when he heard the other man’s ever-chipper voice.

 

James’ face seemed to drop when he noticed it was Percival. “Oh, hi. Everything okay? I haven’t managed to speak to Arthur yet, but I’ll make sure to get a different partner, give me a few hours-”

 

“Why did you ask Arthur if I could be your partner?”

 

James was starting to blush, and he turned his face away so Percival couldn’t see it. “Oh. I… um… well, I like spending time with you, Percy. I thought it would be nice to go on field together, especially since it was in sunny Barcelona. You seemed like you could of done with a break.”

 

“I… I see. That’s, um, very kind of you, Lancelot. But you barely know me.” James turned back to Percival and smiled. He sat at the desk, pulled out an old whiskey and poured two glasses, offering one to Percival. “Bloody hell, James, it’s 10AM.”

 

“Shut up.” he said, “You’re mysterious. I like that. Gives me a challenge.”

 

“A challenge?”

 

“Yes. Out of all the agents, I know the least about you and I have spoken to you the most. I want to get to know you more. How can I call myself your friend when I don’t even know what your favourite film is?”

 

“We’re not friends-”

 

“Stop it, grumps. What is your favourite film, anyway?”

 

It shouldn’t have been such a difficult question, but anything James asked usually confused Percival. He couldn’t understand why out of all the agents, James was so hellbent on getting to know him. “If I had to choose… it would probably be Saving Private Ryan.” James burst into laughter at the response, leaving Percival raising an eyebrow at him. “What? It’s a good film.”

 

“Of course it is, it’s just so typical for an ex-army guy to say that,” James said, matter-of-factly. He looked down to the brief. “I don’t think Arthur gave you a copy, did he? We leave tomorrow. 7AM from the hangar, it takes around two hours, so not a long flight at all.” He passed the brief to Percival so he could read it. “It seems like a fairly easy operation. If you really want, I’ll give you as much space as I can. I’m… sorry if this has upset you.”

 

Percival read the file and gave James a small smile. “This is an easy operation. It’ll be fine.” he sighed and flung the file back to James. “I will do my best to co-operate with you.”

 

“Great. Can’t wait to kick some arse and drink some cocktails on the beach.”

Chapter Text

It was 5AM when the alarm rang. James sprung out of bed, quickly got dressed and rushed out of the door, getting to the hangar for 6AM. He was nervous but he couldn’t begin to hold in his excitement. His first mission! In sunny Barcelona!

 

And he got to complete his first operation with the man he thought was very attractive.

 

James wasn’t too sure what had attracted him to Percival. The man didn’t exactly seem… warmed, to James, after all. But fuck, was he gorgeous. And James was going to win him over somehow. He couldn’t be all doom and gloom all the time, surely? There had to be something that would make Percival smile, and James was determined to find out. He smiled and waved at a very tired looking Percival who had entered the hangar. Coffee in hand and a duffel bag in the other which James could only assume would hold a vast arsenal of weapons.

 

“Rise and shine, sunshine.”

 

“Shut up, James.” Percival entered the plane, James following along quickly. He watched as Percival dumped the bag onto the table and unzipped it, pulling out an array of guns, clips and explosives.

 

“Bloody hell, we’re taking down a drug ring, not taking out a whole city, Percy,” James said, stunned. He couldn’t take his eyes off of the sheer amount of weapons. Actually… this was going to be fun.

 

“Would you rather me bring nothing and let us get shot?” Before James could reply, Percival quickly cut in, “No? Didn’t think so. God, I hope they have coffee on this plane.”

 

James just laughed and took a seat. The plane was beautiful - sure, he’d been on enough flights on his lifetime, some in the premium class, but in this private jet, he felt like royalty. He could barely contain his excitement but thought better than to ramble on while Percival was still basically half-asleep.

 

Percival sat down next to him, clutching onto the takeaway coffee cup like it was the only thing keeping him alive. Hell, it probably was the only thing keeping him alive. He looked exhausted, and for the first time, his hair was less-than-perfect. James thought he looked adorable… fuck, he forgot he was staring. He tore his gaze away when Percival raised an eyebrow at him and scowled.

 

“Everything alright, Lancelot?”

 

“Oh, yes, yes. Everything is fine.” He watched out the window as the plane took off, smiling to himself.

 

By the time they’d landed, James was like an over-excited child, and he could only survive half-an-hour before he started gushing about the mission. A life like James Bond! It was only something he’d dreamed of, he never thought that he would actually become a spy.

 

They stepped off of the plane, James with the constant grin plastered off of his face, and Percival looking somewhat more tired than before he’d got onto the plane. He tapped his glasses, nodded and pulled James to the side.

 

“Merlin’s telling me that the intelligence he’s gathered shows that the lords are currently at their main drug den. It’s just outside the city, not hard to get to, but it’s likely that they will be heavily armed, so do your best not to get your head blown off, alright?”

 

“Noted. How do we get there?”

 

“Luckily Paris’ HQ has sent a car all the way down here for us to use. They have their own agents taking out the smaller dens as we speak. We’ll drive there, watch for a while, then make our way in. Use explosives if necessary.”

 

James let out a nervous laugh as Percival walked away. Explosives? Was he joking? Surely that would be a terrible, dangerous idea. This operation was supposed to be easy, yet here Percival was saying that they might need to blow up the bloody place.

 

“You can’t be serious.”

 

Percival snapped his head round to James and glared. “Do I look like I’m not being serious? Hurry up, we need to make a move.”

 

Once in the car, Percival seemed to relax a little bit, much to James’ relief. He knew that Percival didn’t want to be working with him, and he felt bad for putting the man in this position - he just hoped that he would warm up to him soon. James wasn’t all bad, he thought, anyway. The silence was deafening though, and James reached over to turn on the radio.

 

“Hey, it’s Spanish music,” James said, confused.

 

“Oh, really? That’s strange. Not like we’re in Spain right now.” Percival rolled his eyes.

 

“I know that, but I thought that… Oh, I don’t know. It’s catchy, though.” Percival shot a quick look at James, and he swore he saw the faintest of smiles on Percival’s face.

 

“I suppose. It’s better than what’s usually on the radio.” He glanced to the side quickly to what James assumed was the GPS system on his glasses. “We’re… around five minutes away. Take two lighter grenades, two guns, you have a holster, right?”

 

“Of course.”

 

“Well, you’ve done something right, then. Don’t bother taking clips because let’s be real here for a minute, Lancelot, you won’t be doing much on your first mission.”

 

“We’ll see about that.”

 

Percival stopped at the end of the road and turned to James. “I mean it. Don’t. This is your first time on the field and I really don’t want to take you home in a body bag. That just means more inconvenient paperwork for me.”

 

“I’ll be fine. Besides, you love me.”

 

“What the fu- Fine, just don’t get yourself killed.” Percival threw his hands in the air, exasperated. James picked up the weapons he needed and climbed out of the car. The neighbourhood was somewhat run down - old houses that seemed to be slowly crumbling away, potholes in the roads. James shook his head and waited for Percival to get out to follow.

 

He eventually got out, lighting a cigarette and leaning against the car.

 

“I thought you said we don’t have much time.”

 

“Shut up.” Percival flicked a cigarette at James’ head and held out his lighter. “Always good to have one before facing the field. Otherwise, I’m too stressed.” James nodded in silent understanding and lit his cigarette, leaning on the bonnet. Honestly, James was quite grateful to be smoking right now - nerves were starting to get the better of him as he realised the extent of the situation. This wasn’t a fancy Bond film, this was real life. One fuck up and he could get himself or his colleague killed.

 

Taking a long inhale on the cigarette, he stubbed it out after he’d finished. Percival was already starting to walk now and James followed behind closely, keeping an eye out for any sudden movements. Any sudden curtain twitch, opening windows or doors… anything could have been considered a threat.

 

“Here’s the house,” Percival whispered as they reached a run down looking house. Overgrown grass covered the front garden and one of the upstairs windows had been boarded up after being smashed. “Stay behind me. Keep as quiet as possible.”

 

He walked up to the door while James stood at the gate, keeping an eye on their surroundings. It was relatively quiet around them, the only noise being the faint sound of cars a few streets away, and a dog barking somewhere. Percival tried the door handle first, hoping that somehow, the door might have been unlocked. Of course, it wasn’t - it wasn’t as if a bloody drug lord would be running a drug house and not even locking the door. He turned around to James and tapped him to get his attention.

 

“Get your gun ready. We’re going to have to kick the door down.”

 

“Alright. Got your back.”

 

Percival nodded and with a few kicks, the door had broken open. They both ducked to the side momentarily and heard shouting and loud footsteps.

 

“We’re going in.” A moment after they’d stepped into the house, a man appeared at the top of the stairs, gun in hand, looking furious. James shot, hitting the man in the chest, and smiled to himself. Not bad for his first shot. Maybe this was easier than he thought.

 

His heart jumped out of his chest when a bullet went flying past the both of them, hitting the wall behind them. Percival ducked down and shot at the man that had appeared in front of them seemingly out of nowhere and shot at him. They listened for any more movement, any sound - nothing could be heard.

 

“Easy.”

 

“Lancelot, we haven’t finished yet,” Percival whispered urgently. “We need to check if anyone else is in here. You check upstairs, I’ll check down here.”

 

“Alright, see you in a second,” James said, and headed for upstairs. Stepping over the body at the foot of the stairs, James had only realised how fast his heart was racing. This was exciting - the biggest adrenaline rush he’d ever had, and he loved it. A thorough check done, checking under every surface, in every cupboard and behind every piece of furniture, he was satisfied that there was nobody else in here. But he had found the masses of drugs.

 

All of a sudden, he heard footsteps walking up the stairs, and drew out his gun again, hiding behind the door frame and watching intently. He exhaled in relief when it was Percival.

 

“We’ve cleared the hou-” Percival whistled in surprise. “Wow. That’s a lot of drugs.”

 

“Think we should sell them and make some dough?” James shut up quickly when Percival gave him that all-too-familiar death glare. “Alright, I’m just joking. We can’t fit all of this in the car.”

 

Percival stared at the pile of weed, in deep thought. “James, could you go and grab that duffel bag for me?”

 

“If you think you can fit this pile in that piddly little bag then you’re not as smart as I thought.”

 

“If you don’t get that bag for me I’m going to put a bullet in your head.”

 

“Understood.”

 

Percival searched through the bag, pulling out a blowtorch and frowning. “No, this won’t do. Excuse me for a minute. Don’t move.” James watched as he left the room. A minute later, he heard something sound like it hit the wall, and heavy footsteps walk up the stairs. He drew out his gun again, slightly anxious.

 

“For fuck's sake James, put the bloody gun down, it’s only me,” Percival muttered, walking in with a flamethrower. James stared at him in awe. Were they going to torch this massive stash? “Right, take a step back. I don’t want you getting burned. Well, I do, but that’s more paperwork on my end.”

 

With that, Percival let rip while James watched the pile go up in flames. It was… certainly effective, to say the least. Wait… fuck!

 

“Percival? We’re not wearing gas masks.”

 

Percival stopped and slammed his hand to his face. “Oh, shit. Okay. Alright, this isn’t too bad, we’ll just be a little high for a bit.” He watched as the weed burned and turned to James. “Let’s get out of here before it gets too smoky.”

 

They left and climbed back into the car and James suddenly burst into laughter. He didn’t exactly know what he found so funny but he just couldn’t stop himself. Percival turned to him, confused.

 

“What’s so funny?”

 

“I… I have no idea.” With that, Percival suddenly burst into laughter as well. The two sat in the car, laughing so hard that tears were rolling down their cheeks, and they hadn’t had a clue why. Percival lay back in his seat and tuned back into the comms system.

 

“Merlin?”

 

“Percival, report your status.”

 

“The targets have been taken down, the drugs have been destroyed. We’re… we’re now sitting in the car.” Percival looked at James and burst into laughter again. James couldn’t help it either… shit, he was stoned. Very, very stoned.

 

They both were.

 

“What are you two laughing about?” Merlin asked suspiciously. “Percival, stop laughing, you know it scares me when you laugh. How did you dispose of the marijuana?”

 

“We burned it.”

 

“Was you wearing gas masks?”

 

“Hell no.”

 

“For God’s sake. Stay where you are, one of the agents from Barcelona HQ is coming to pick you up and take you back to the hangar. I expected this from Lancelot, but not you Percival. You idiots. I’ll call you in an hour.”

 

Percival stuck his middle finger up and leaned on the window. “They’re coming to pick us up.”

 

“Why? We’ve got a perfectly good car, which we’re sitting in.” James said, frowning. “You should let me drive, I’ll get us back in no time.”

 

They burst into laughter again as an agent pulled up next to them, glaring at them as if they had been sent home from school. The pair climbed out of the car and walked to the other, climbing into the backseat.

 

“I can’t feel my bloody legs. Where are they?”

 

“They’re there, James. Right there.”

 

“Those aren’t my legs. Somebody’s taken my legs.” James’ eyes went wide. “It was you! You’ve taken my legs, you bastard!”

 

“Your legs are attached to you, you fucking idiot! Unless… we traded legs. Fuck, James. We’ve traded legs. You’re going to be short and I’m going to be tall.”

 

James sat there, mouth wide open. “Wow.” His stomach grumbled, and he suddenly realised how hungry he was. He hadn’t eaten since the night before, but fuck, it felt like he hadn’t eaten in days. “I’m starving. Can we get KFC?” James pouted and leant back, crossing his arms like a child when the agent driving ignored him.

 

Percival’s stomach growled in response. “KFC sounds good right now. Come on, Luis. Take us to KFC. We’ll be good boys.” He waited for a response. “Alright, fuck you then.”

 

The two sat there for a while, occasionally laughing at nothing. James continued to stare at his legs, wondering if they were actually his. They looked like it. He was wearing the same trousers, after all. But they didn’t feel like his. Maybe he really did switch legs with Percival. Fuck, he liked being tall, though.

 

Percival’s comms system buzzed. “Holy fuck, James. KFC is calling us.” He sounded like an excited child, and James jumped up and down in his seat in excitement.

 

“Well, answer! I want a Zinger meal. With extra hot wings. And some popcorn chicken.”

 

Percival nodded and answered. “Hello, I’ll take two large Zinger meals, a bucket of hot wings, a large popcorn chicken, and a bottle of 7UP, please.”

 

James whined in protest. “But I don’t like 7UP, I like Pepsi.”

 

“You’ll get what you’re given.” Percival snapped. “You’ll have to bring it to us… can you meet us? Preferably at the next traffic light, I don’t think our driver will stop. He’s being a bitch.”

 

“Percival, it’s Merlin. How bloody high are you?”

 

Percival took a moment to think. “Well, Merlin, you best find a way to magic some chicken into this car, otherwise we’ll burn your shop down too.”

 

“What the fuck? Listen to me. Where are you?”

 

“Somewhere with no chicken, which I’m very upset about.”

 

“You’re a fucking idiot. I’ll call Luis instead. I swear to God, you are getting triple paperwork for the next three weeks.” Merlin hung up, and Percival turned to James and shrugged.

 

“Well, the server was rude as fuck, but I think they’re bringing us chicken.”

 

James’ eyes lit up. “Good. If I don’t eat soon, I might die.”

 

“Please don’t die.”




The two landed in London, stumbling off of the plane in fits of laughter. They’d never got that KFC. James immediately opened Google on his phone, looking for a KFC near them. Merlin was going to kill them, but he was too hungry to care right now.

 

“What are you doing?” Percival asked.

 

“Looking for the nearest takeaway,” James replied, stomach grumbling on cue. “Want to join?”

 

“I suppose I could.”




They’d finally got their KFC. They both wolfed it down, feeling more hungry than they ever had before - sitting in silence. It was long after they’d finished when Percival surprisingly broke the silence.

 

“Your eyes are bright red.”

 

“I could say the same to you.”

 

“It’s allergies.” Percival snorted.

 

“Oh, and I saved the Queen today, Percy. Come off it.”

 

Percival smirked and called Merlin. “We’re coming back now to debrief. We’re at the KFC at Tottenham Court Road, so we shouldn’t be long. We’ll walk back, so don’t worry about sending a cab.”

 

“You’re in the shit, I hope you know that.”

 

“Oh, I know. See you soon.”

 

Merlin was angry. Very angry indeed. He scolded them for being careless, calling James an idiot and telling Percival that he should have known better. To be fair, he really should have, but he was so eager to finish the operation and get away from James that he just hadn’t thought of putting on that bloody gas mask…

 

They walked out of the office, looking like a pair of scolded kids. James looked at Percival, and he looked even angrier than he usually did. The effects of the weed had mostly worn off now, leaving them both tired.

 

“I’m really sorry,” James said quietly, preparing himself for Percival to lash out at him. To his surprise, he… didn’t.

 

“Don’t be. I shouldn’t have been so careless. As far as a first joint mission… it didn’t end go too badly.”

 

“We have triple paperwork for three weeks and ended up being so stoned that I thought we’d switched legs.”

 

“Yes, but it was… fun.” Percival shrugged. James smiled - it certainly had been fun. They’d had a good laugh, right? He hoped that he could spend more time with Percival in the future. As moody as the other agent seemed to be, James really enjoyed his company, and found himself… fancying the other agent. Just a little.

 

“I’m glad you had fun. Hopefully we can work again together soon.”

 

Percival scoffed. “No thank you, I’d prefer to carry on working alone.”

 

“Fair enough. See you around, Percival.” James walked away and grinned to himself. They were definitely going to be working together in the future. James would befriend him if it was the last thing he ever did - even if that meant blackmailing Percival with the KFC story.

Chapter Text

James was gutted. He never got to have those cocktails on the beach and now he was being sent to bloody Sweden. There was no sun in Sweden at this time of year, only snow. Merlin was surely punishing him for getting high on his first mission. This time he was going solo - something that admittedly put him on edge a little. He’d only completed one mission, with a well-respected agent, and he’d ended up thinking that his legs were stolen. Things didn’t seem to be going too well.

 

Still, he was grateful to even have his job, and looked forward to it. Even if it meant certain death from hypothermia. Okay, maybe he was a little overdramatic, but being used to the mild weather in London his whole life, a week in the cold seemed less than ideal. The first person he decided to tell of the good news was Percival. While he could have spoken to Harry, or Gawain even, he’d already got close to them. Percival, on the other hand, was a much trickier person to befriend, and he was determined to break that wall.

 

“Knock knock. It’s me.” James chimed, walking into office without bothering with a response from Percival. “Bloody hell, do you ever sleep? You always look exhausted.”

 

“Is there a reason why you’re coming to bother me before 9AM?”

 

“I have my first solo mission, and I’d like… some tips. You’re always working solo, so I figured who better to talk to than you?”

 

“Don’t die, don’t be stupid, don’t get high. Anything else?” James ignored Percival’s sigh as he sat down at his desk.

 

“Ah, who knew you could crack a joke? I thought you were only capable of humour when you’re intoxicated.” James shot back. Percival held his head in his hands. It was going to take a lot more than a large coffee to deal with James today.

 

“It’s incredibly simple. Don’t die, otherwise the mission fails and we need to spend more money to replace you. Don’t do anything stupid, because you risk compromising Kingsman or yourself, you risk injuring yourself, or dying. Don’t get high, because… well, you found that out for yourself, so I don’t think I need to explain that to you.” Percival said. “I’m not being sarcastic with you. Those are the general outlines. Oh, and make use of the comms system. Don’t be compliant because you think you’re the next James Bond.”

 

James nodded. “I see. Alright, then. Tell me, Percival, you said that your favourite film is Saving Private Ryan, didn’t you?”

 

“What has that got to do with anything?”

 

“I’ve never had the chance to watch it and I was thinking of renting it from the local Blockbuster when I get home from Sweden. Fancy joining me?” James tried not to blush, he really did, but he could feel his cheeks flushing. They hadn’t flushed nearly as much as Percival’s though, and he just about choked on his coffee.

 

“I…” Percival wanted to decline, tell the man to piss off. But something told him he couldn’t - maybe, it could have been tolerable. And, it was his favourite film, after all. Maybe it would be… nice? “I suppose that would be… alright. Yes, alright then.”

 

The smile on James’ face was almost obnoxious and Percival found himself nearly regretting his choice to accept James’ invitation. But he couldn’t lie, the grin on his face was endearing and it only made his blush turn a darker red.

 

“Lovely. I’ll grab some wine, and maybe some Dalmore if you’re lucky.” James winked, before leaving the office without another word. Percival sat confused, trying to figure this all out. Was James trying to get him to go on a sneaky date? Was he just being friendly? He didn’t know. A small, tiny part of him almost hoped that it might be a date… after all, James was quite attractive. But incredibly annoying. But… sweet. Fuck, where had that come from? Since when was he crushing on James fucking Spencer of all people?

 

He slammed his head on the desk, exhausted and confused. Fucking brilliant. This was just what he needed.




Honestly, Percival didn’t know why he was standing outside James’ front door right now. He didn’t have to turn up, he could have just stayed at home and awkwardly avoided James the next day. For some reason, that just didn’t feel right and now he was standing outside of James’ house feeling too nervous to ring the bloody doorbell.

 

Percival nearly jumped out of his skin when the door flung open. James stood there in a black turtleneck and trousers that seemed to define his arse even better than his questionable mustard suit. Percival liked this look a lot better… he was lost for words.

 

“Are you going to gape at me all night, or are you going to come in?”

 

He nodded and quickly walked in, avoiding eye contact with James. This was already going terribly wrong. Fuck, he wanted to just turn around and leave.

 

“You look lovely, Percy.”

 

Percival turned to James, trying not to stare at the too-tight, lovely trousers he was wearing. “As do you, James.” James smiled softly at him and led him to the living room. As it turned out, while James had a terrible taste in suits, his eye for interior was grand. A minimalistic interior, coloured white and red… Percival would never have expected it. He didn’t know exactly what he was expecting, but it wasn’t this. He sat down on the edge of the sofa, while James flung himself onto the other side.

 

They watched the film in relative silence. James seem to be rather enraptured by it, much to Percival’s pleasure. It was the quietest he’d ever seen the other man. And even though he’d planned to leave as soon as the film had finished, now he was sitting at the dinner table with James, on the second wine bottle.

 

“So how was Sweden?”

 

“Bloody freezing. Percy, I swear I died and am now a ghost. I’ve never felt so cold.”

 

Percival laughed at the ridiculous comment. Who knew the man could be so melodramatic? “Rather than being worried of being compromised or killed, you was more worried about the weather?”

 

“Hypothermia is no joke. It kills thousands of people a year.”

 

“Maybe if you’re a baby, old, or just stupid.”

 

“Unluckily, I think I may fall into the ‘stupid’ range.”

 

“Can’t argue with that.”




It was by all accounts a good night. A lot nicer than Percival ever expected, and he couldn’t help slipping in a few glances at James while he was watching the film. His jawline, the way his hazel eyes seemed to shine a little, the slight definition of muscle just visible from the turtleneck… it was a very nice sight, which Percival hated to admit. He almost didn’t want to leave.

 

As James opened the door to see Percival out, he opened his mouth to speak, and shut it, second-guessing what was on his mind. “Would you like to come over and watch another film next week?”

 

“How about you come to mine?”

 

James’ eyes lit up. “Of course. I’d like that. See you later.”

 

Percival lay in bed that night, unable to sleep. This was a regular occurrence - he’d gotten used to the insomnia, relying on coffee and occasionally a sleeping pill. That didn’t bother him. What bothered him tonight was the reason that he was being kept awake. He couldn’t get James off of his mind. He hadn’t known the man for very long at all, yet he found his mind wandering to James more and more. He’d never felt like this. Not about anyone. He never thought he would.

What was it about James that Percival couldn’t stop thinking about? James was, mostly, a terribly annoying man and everything about him seemed to clash with his own personality. But he was awfully sweet, and had a smile to die for. His confidence was something that Percival admired and the man had a heart of gold, from what Percival could tell. Hell, he didn’t even know if James was straight or not, he probably was. He knew he could never date a man, either. As much as his family had treated him… less than well, he didn’t want to lose them.

 

Frustrated, Percival took a sleeping tablet for the first time in weeks, hoping that he would be able to sleep and stop thinking about this man that suddenly seemed to have a huge presence in his life. It was 4AM, and he’d need to be at work in five hours. Fucking James.