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Too Human

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Mother says, “College first.”

Pugsley’s never been much for school - Wednesday is the smart one - so he goes backpacking through Europe instead, hitting every abandoned and haunted village, castle, cottage he can find. After a couple years, he settles in a dreary coastal village and shortens his name to Lee. He lasts six months there before he gets bored and moves to a London slum. He finds a dark little dive of a pub to frequent - has a regular table in a corner even darker than the rest of the bar where he watches people.

He’s at the bar, just out of an only mildly satisfying fight - his knuckles are throbbing, and his lip is swollen, but no one managed to draw blood - when he meets the marine recruiter. The man that slides into the booth across from him  is short, well built, and has a manipulative glint in his eyes that Pugsley appreciates immediately. He appreciates the beer the man slide across to him even more.

“Cheers, mate,” he toasts and down about half the point in one go. “So what do you want?”

The man grins. “You’re a hell of a scrapper. Every consider joining the service?”

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He breezes through basic training. It’s nothing compared to the things he got up to as a kid. He certainly gains a new appreciation for modern weaponry, but he also misses the more archaic tools of his youth. He returns to his little dive bar while he’s on leave after training. There’s a new bartender, a young blonde with a quick smile and a quick wit. The hair and smile remind him briefly of Amanda Buckman, but her mouth… her tongue is almost as sharp as Wednesday’s. It’s an intriguing combination. He watches passively, mildly interested, until some asshole who apparently doesn’t know how to take no for an answer reaches across the bar and grabs her wrist. Before Pugsley thinks about it, he’s in the assholes space, pulling him away from the bartender. He feels bones crack under his hand even as he presses a blade below the guy’s belt. The guy screams.

Lee squeezes his wrist again. “I think it’s time for you to leave, don’t you?”

The guy whimpers and bails the moment Pugsley releases him.

Puglsey tucks the knife away and turns to the bartender. “You alright, miss?”

“Michelle,” she answers shakily.

“What?”

She smiles, the expression almost steady. “You just saved my ass, mister. Literally. Think you can call me by my name. Michelle.”

He holds his hand out to her. “Call me Lee."


 

By the time he realizes, sharp tongue aside, how normal Michelle is, it’s too late. He’s already head over heels. So he puts his poisons and weapons and whatnot into storage, asks her to marry him, and moves her out of the slums and into a nice little flat in a decent part of the city that he technically can’t afford on his salary, but that she never questions. He briefly considers taking her home, plays the scene out in his head, then realizes he can’t even bring himself to tell his family he married someone so ordinary. He has no doubt they would love her just the same, but they’d likely pity him, and he doesn’t think he’d take that well.

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When Michelle tells him she’s pregnant, he’s ecstatic. Then he remembers that their child is entirely too likely to be have Addams traits. He spends the remainder of her pregnancy panicking - and sneaking bits of this and that poison into her food and tea when she can’t figure out precisely what she’s craving, confirming his theory that his genes will be predominant in the little one when the poisons abate her cravings. He lasts until a week to the baby’s due date before he breaks down and calls Wednesday.

Michelle goes into labor less than an hour after that call and he wishes he could believe that his sister’s ire hadn’t somehow crossed the ocean and caused it. By some other trick of fate, Wednesday’s flight arrives within a couple hours of the birth and Lee is waiting in the lobby when the cab drops her off. Her hair and clothes are both lighter and wilder than she would ever wear at home, but the glint in her eyes is all Addams.

“Well?” she demands.

He shrugs and forces a smile. “He’s an Addams.”

She rolls her eyes and punches him hard enough break a normal person’s nose. He waves off the security guard that starts toward them and is just grateful that they’re in a public enough venue that she can’t go for the dagger at her waist that he suspects she never should have been able to get through airport security, but has no doubts she has anyway. He takes her up to maternity by way of the elevator, preventing any shot she had of maiming him in the stairwell. 

Michelle looks up in confusion when they enter. “Lee?”

Pugsley smiles nervously. “Michelle, I’d like you to meet my sister Darcy. Darcy, my wife, Michelle.”

Wednesday spares Michelle a brief glance and nod. “Pleasure.”

Wednesday scoops the baby out of the cradle.

“No dropping him off the belfry,” Pugsley jokes weakly.

Wednesday gives him a Look before glancing at the name placard on the cradle. “Gary is an atrocious name, Lee.” She frowns, stroking a finger over the baby’s head and Pugsley can practically see her thinking, Too fragile. Too human. “Like an egg,” she mutters. “Eggsy it is then.”

Michelle is silently furious when it sticks.

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He’s back at the little dive bar where he met the recruiter, where he met Michelle, when he meets Harry. It’s been almost a year since his unit has deployed and London’s not the kind of place to let his darkside out. He’s antsy, and no one calls the law when people fight in dives like this. He doesn’t notice the gent in the suit at his table until he slumps back into his seat, and that in itself impresses him enough to just raise a brow at the guy instead trying for another fight.

“Your talent is truly wasted on the Marines, Mr. Unwin.”

Lee’s lips curl up slowly. “Didn’t tell you my name, now did I?”

The man’s lips twitch. “No, I don’t suppose you did.” He offers his hand across the table. “Harry Hart. I have a proposition for you.”


 

An hour before Darcy is due on Eggsy’s fifth birthday, Michelle steps into his room to make sure he’s cleaned up as she’d told him to, but freezes at the sight of the boy using a little knife to pulverize some sort of leaves and berries into his bare palm. She’s not sure if she screams. She definitely swoons. Lee and Eggsy are leaning over her with matching expressions of worry. She sits up too quickly, but ignores her head spinning. “Oh, Eggsy! Your hand!”

Eggsy blushes scarlet and wipes his palms on his jeans before he holds both hands up for inspection. “Sorry, mum, didn’t mean to scare you. I’m okay.”

“But… the knife… I-”

“Stopped bleedin’ right off,” Eggsy grins.

Michelle gapes and reaches for his hand.

Lee snatches Eggsy out of her reach. “Go wash your hands, son. Remember what I told you?”

“Can’t touch mama after playin’ with nightshade ‘til after I wash my hands,” Eggsy mutters at his feet.

“Precisely. Off to the sink you go.”

Eggsy scampers down the hall.

Michelle punches Lee’s shoulder. “Nightshade?!”

Lee rubs the back of his neck, looking sheepish. “Right… there’s some things I should probably tell you, love.”

When Darcy shows up, Michelle can barely breathe past the terror that seizes her.

Darcy merely raises an eyebrow. “He finally told you the truth, then.”

Michelle jerks her chin in a brief nod and answers a bit numbly, slum roots tripping out. “Eggsy was cuttin’ up nightshade right in ‘is little ‘and. With one o’ them knives ya gave ‘im last year. I passed out. He told me. Had a bit o’ a row. Now here ya are.”

Darcy rolls her eyes. “I told him to tell you when Eggsy was born.”

“Should I be scared of you?” Michelle asks, voice barely above a whisper.

“You’re family,” Darcy answers, like that explains everything.


 

Michelle isn’t expecting anyone, but opens the door anyway.

They don’t live in a bad spot, but this gent is too posh even for their respectable neighborhood. His suit reminds her of the one her sister-in-law had bought for Eggsy when he was three.

 She forces a polite smile. “Can I help you?”

“Mrs. Unwin?”

“Yes.”

“My name is Harry Hart. I’m afraid I have some bad news. Might I come in?”

Michelle casts a nervous glance behind her, at Eggsy playing on the floor.

“I mean you no harm,” Harry assures.

Michelle bites her lip nervously, but steps aside and gestures him toward the living room. She manages to offer him tea before perching on the sofa. She barely holds it together when he breaks the news about Lee. She thinks her shock over Lee keeping the fact that he left the marines from her is the only thing that holds the tears at bay. She’s vaguely aware of him offering a little trinket to Eggsy before letting him out.

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Harry intrigues Lee from the moment they meet, because he knows him, and the background he’s invented for himself before he volunteers any of it. And then it gets better - he’s a spy. And he offers Lee the chance to become one as well. To say he leaps at the opportunity would be an understatement - he was getting bored with the marines. The shadows and secrets of the spy world, though… he’s not sure he’ll ever bore of it.

He finds he has to reign himself in more and more the farther into the training he gets. The marines were fun at first, but never challenged him enough that he was tempted to use the other in his blood. Kingsman challenges him - Kingsman is fun.

He gets to go home for a few days before they’re set to run the trial mission. Eggsy is thrilled to see him. Michelle is wary. It’s the first time it really hits him how right his sister was - he should have told Michelle the truth from the moment he realized he loved her, and from the time Eggsy came along if nothing else. Because now… now his wife is scared of him, and he’s never felt so awful in his life. By the time he kisses them goodbye, he’s already determined that he won’t be coming back - that he’ll give her an escape from him.


 

He doesn’t intend on actually dying. When he leaves, his intent is to have Kingsman fake it, he knows for a fact it wouldn’t be the first time they’d done so. Then they run the mission, and he sees the grenade. He processes the possibilities faster than he’s ever thought through anything else in his life. Against his best intentions, he likes the agents in the room with him and doesn’t want to see them go before their time. They won’t survive the blast like he will. It’ll be an exquisite pain like he hasn’t experienced in ages, and make enough of a mess they’ll be convinced he’s dead. He leaps on the grenade.

 

 

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He picks up the pieces of himself and goes the only place he can think of - home. Mother and Father greet him readily, clearly thrilled to have him home. Darcy regularly sends him absolutely scathing letters, but always adds a postscript about Eggsy along with a picture or two, and he can’t say she’s in the wrong, so he readily bears her ire.

Still, and he really should have known better, he’s not prepared for the knife in his shoulder - he's surprised she didn't go for his gut, but he's also not sure she actually aimed - the moment she darkens the doorway herself.

She arches a brow imperiously and asks a question they both know she already knows the answer to. “Is my favorite nephew here?”

He can’t help but flinch guiltily.

She points a finger at her, her entire body language making the threat clear. “We will be discussing that very soon.” Then she turns, and looks up to greet their mother.

Pugsley can’t shake the feeling that his trouble is just beginning, and he’s not entirely certain if he’s going to enjoy it or not.