Chapter 1: "Wake Up!"
Eggsy snapped awake at the words. He instinctively looked toward the other bed, to where Daisy had been asleep. He could see her curled up under the covers; she’d probably ducked under when Dean had burst into their suite. He was already rolling out of bed, moving away from the voice that had woken him.
He’d barely gotten his feet under him when he felt Dean’s hand wrap in his hair. The customers liked it longer; it made them happier. But it had the downside of giving Dean a very good handhold, and Dean used it now to haul him away from his bed - dressed only in his boxers - and slam him up against the wall.
“Dean, please, not in front of Daise.” He hated himself for saying it; he hated how much he’d come to sound like his mother.
“Maybe I should,” he growled into Eggsy’s ear. “One of you’s gonna get it.”
“What’d I do?”
“Your last client was not happy with you, Muggsy. Ended up not buyin’ a fuckin’ thing.”
Eggsy shuddered. He’d done everything the bloke had demanded. “Hurt me, okay? I, I… Normal thing for fuckin’ up and, and then let the boys at me, okay? Just not in here, please.”
Dean took half a step back from him, but kept him pinned to the wall. Not that it took much. Eggsy knew better than to try and fight when Daisy’s safety was on the line.
“Get on your knees.”
Eggsy slid off the bed. He’d already been fucked, and he was gonna have bruises around his neck from the bastard choking him. He got to his knees, hands on his thighs and his head bowed. He saw the client walk across the suite to where the sofa was and leaned against the side of it.
“Crawl to me, bitch.”
He wanted to roll his eyes. He wanted to mouth off. But he knew better. And so he crawled to him, his head down. He supposed he was a little lucky. For as sadistic as the client had been while fucking him, at least the bastard was just humiliating him now.
When did that become something to be grateful for?
“Good,” the client crooned when Eggsy was at his feet. “Now kiss my feet. Show me how grateful you are to have been fucked by me.”
Eggsy lowered himself to the floor and started kissing his feet. He kissed and licked his way to one ankle and then swapped to the other foot. He bowed down again once he’d finished. “Thank you for fucking me,” he said, his voice soft and submissive. “I wasn’t worthy of it.”
“You really weren’t. You’re not even a halfway decent fuck.” He hummed. “I don’t think I’ll buy from Baker, after all.”
Eggsy cringed and went up on his knees. “I can demonstrate the chips for you. Please, activate it. See the sort of pain it puts me through.”
“Mm, I don’t know. You told me how much you enjoy that pain. Why should I reward you for a pisspoor fucking?”
“Because it ain’t a reward,” he whispered. “It’s… it’s an act. Swear it.”
“I see. So… you lied to me.”
“Yes, I lied. I deserve whatever you wanna do to me for it.”
He leaned down and wrapped his hand under Eggsy’s jaw. “Ask me to hurt you. Ask me to torture you.”
“Please… please torture me. I deserve it, for lying and for being such a disappointment. Please hurt me.”
He waited while the client got the disposable triggering card. He shifted his weight so he’d fall backwards when it started. He felt the pain coursing through his body as the chip activated, every nerve suddenly on fire. His muscles locked up and he fell back, unable to move, unable to scream. He’d expected the client to shut it off after a little while - maybe a minute - but the client just stood over him, watching him with a dark smile. Eggsy wished he could close his eyes or look away. He felt the tears coming and could do nothing about them as they fell. The chip had never been kept active for this long, and it was an eternity before he could no longer remain conscious in the face of the agony.
He didn’t know how long he’d been out for, only that he was being fucked. It rose in him to fight, but he fought that down and just let himself be fucked. He felt the client stiffen against him and then pale eyes fell on his.
“Six minutes,” he panted. “It took you six minutes to pass out.”
The client was still pressed tightly against him. Eggsy could feel his cock withering inside of him. “You… liked that… right?”
The client laughed softly. “Oh, yes.” He withdrew from Eggsy and got to his feet. “Now ask me for it again.”
Eggsy’s eyes widened. “What…?”
“Unless… you don’t want me to buy anything…”
Eggsy shuddered and closed his eyes for a moment. The client was going to do this to him all night, wasn’t he? He looked up at the client again, trying not to shake, trying not to show his fear, and then he obeyed. He asked to be tortured again, and then he waited.
Dean hauled him out of the suite. Eggsy didn’t struggle; he went along passively. Dean hauled him down to check-in and tossed him at the counter.
“He’s off shift tonight,” he snapped. “Tell the boys they can do what they want with him for the day, but not to touch his face.”
Eggsy gripped onto the counter. Maybe the dogs would get bored quickly. Or maybe he’d just pass out again. He’d been hurt enough the night before that it was possible, wasn’t it?
“Once they’re done with him, get the doc here. Make sure he ain’t gonna die on me,” Dean grumbled.
“Thank you, Dean,” he said quietly. It wasn’t out of gratitude; he knew it was expected of him.
He barely heard the receptionist calling the boys, calling Rottie. He just clung to the counter and reminded himself that Daisy was safe from being hurt; that no one was suffering for his fuck up but him. The thought that it was unfair didn’t even try to form. It had been a long time - a long time - since his life had been anything resembling fair.
Chapter 2: Human Shield
It was something that had haunted Harry; Lee sacrificing himself to save Merlin, James, and his mentor. He’d thrown himself on the grenade without even a thought for himself. If Lee had been someone else - a member of Kingsman and not just a proposal - maybe it wouldn’t have haunted him so badly. But he had been the field agent; he had been the one who should have noticed the grenade. And he’d missed it. He’d missed it and a good man had died because of it.
And now it was happening again, this time in painfully slow motion.
Kingsman suits were bulletproof, but bulletproof did not mean stab proof. He didn’t recognize the young man holding the knife, but his brain carefully cataloged every detail of the young man. He was maybe 24 or 25. His hair was a soft shade of brown and close cropped. He had a thin jawline beard and a mustache. His eyes were dark blue and he had a small scar above his lips.
He’d missed the young man coming near to them; his attention had been solely on Eggsy. And Eggsy had noticed the young man first. He’d turned to see what had caught Eggsy’s attention and came face-to-face with the assailant and his knife.
The knife was a switchblade with a black stiletto blade; the cutting edge was a line of gleaming silver against the black. The hilt was black inlaid with gleaming white mother of pearl. It was very lovely, and Harry would have appreciated it much more if it hadn’t been coming at him.
It wasn’t the first time he’d stared death in the face. His talk with Eggsy about how nothing had gone through his head occurred to him. It had been a lie; things most certainly had rushed through his head. Some of those things rushed through his mind again; some of the things, however, were new. It wasn’t quite his life flashing before his eyes, but certain important things.
Only the knife-blow didn’t come. Instead, he felt hands on his arm as another Unwin pushed him out of harm’s way to take his death. He staggered several steps before catching himself. He turned, and it seemed to take forever, toward the man who had just stabbed, if not killed, Eggsy.
It had been perhaps five or six seconds from the time he’d turned to see who or what had caught Eggsy’s attention. He was vaguely aware of how little time had actually passed, but it felt so much longer. So very much longer.
He stepped toward the assailant, bringing his umbrella up as he went. It wasn’t gentlemanly to fight in public, but he was going to hand this young man’s arse to him. On a silver fucking platter.
It became very clear to him, very quickly, that the young man hadn’t expected a posh gentleman in his fifties to have any fight in him at all, much less the sort of training Harry had. Harry left the young man bloodied and watched him run off; it took every ounce of his remaining self control to not open the umbrella and fire a stun pellet at him.
He sighed to himself, steadying himself, and knelt beside Eggsy. The wound was bleeding badly. He put his glasses on and tapped them. Merlin’s face appeared almost instantly. Harry’s gaze was on Eggsy and he didn’t have to say a word before Merlin was getting him a car. They were only a few minutes away from Kingsman, and then a few minutes in the tube, and then a relatively short run through Headquarters to Medical. Eggsy wouldn’t bleed out by then. He couldn’t.
It took an agonizingly long amount of time for the car to pull up. The driver helped him get Eggsy into the car. Harry cradled the younger man against his body. What a fucking way to pay back Lee’s sacrifice. He’d wanted to give Eggsy a chance at a better life, and what had he done?
He laid his head against Eggsy’s own. “I’m sorry, my dear,” he whispered.
He carried Eggsy inside the shop and started down on the lift. The bleeding had slowed but it hadn’t stopped. Eggsy’s shirt was soaked with blood and Harry could feel it soaking into his own suit. He wondered how much blood Eggsy had lost. His lips weren’t blue, but Harry hardly had the time - or the extra arm - to check Eggsy’s nails.
The medical staff was ready for them when he got Eggsy down there. The doctor had to order him out of the room and a nurse tried to look him over. He waved her off, letting her know that it was Eggsy’s blood, not his. And then he waited. Waited for the doctor to tell him if Eggsy would live or die; waited to know if it had taken too long; waited while time stretched into an eternity again.
Chapter 3: Dehydration
He was chained to a post in the center of the room, his ankles to either side of it and his wrists above his head; it forced him to stay on his knees, on legs that had been screaming for hours. That wouldn’t have been utterly terrible on its own, but every time they left him, they cranked the heat back up. He was sweat-soaked and his suit stank of it. His mouth felt like sand.
The door opened, bringing in a wave of relatively cold air. He fought to suppress a moan at the feeling of it. His captor left it open, letting the wonderful sensation follow him. He had a glass in hand and Eggsy could see the water in it. He could see the condensation on the side. He could hear the ice moving in the glass. Fuck, he could smell the fucking water.
His captor crouched beside him and held the water just agonizingly out of reach. He thought if he stretched as far as the bonds would let him, he might be able to reach it with his tongue. He had to fight from doing it. He knew it would just be taken farther away.
“Tell me about Kingsman.”
Eggsy closed his eyes and pressed himself back against the post. “Tailor shop. Savile Row. Full range of bespoke suits, although we offer tailored off-the-peg suits cheaper.” He opened his eyes and forced them to his captor’s face. “You wanna let me out, I’ll get you a discount.”
His captor hummed and then settled on the floor. He took a slow drink of the water and Eggsy nearly cried out at the sound of the ice clinking. Eggsy watched as some of the water dribbled down his captor’s chin.
“Wanna try that again?”
“I’m telling you! It’s a tailor shop!”
His captor held the water out to him and, for a fleeting moment, Eggsy thought he might actually be allowed a drink. But then his captor turned the glass, letting it spill between his knees. Eggsy cried out and fought to keep from sobbing. He forced himself to take a steadying breath.
“Well, maybe you’ll be willing to talk in a few more hours.”
He leaned his head back against the post, letting his arms go as slack as they could. He closed his eyes, trying to not think about the water; trying to not think about how cold it would be; how nice it would feel in his mouth; how he’d feel that chill radiate through his chest. He made a weak sound and tried to force those thoughts away.
He’d never talked, not even when it had been in his best interest, not even when he’d thought he was gonna be run down by a fuckin’ train. But this? This was a type of torture he’d never had to deal with. His body needed the water and he had felt himself weakening at the sight of it. How long could he stand it before they had him talking? How long before he just lost all self control at the sight of the water?
He wanted to tell himself that he’d die first, but… for the first time, he really wondered if he’d be able to keep his mouth shut. If he didn’t, it wouldn’t just be getting someone else in trouble with the coppers. It would mean the exposure of Kingsman. He closed his eyes, trying to gather what will he still had so that he could be ready when his captor returned.
He’d been dozing in the heat, existing somewhere between awake and asleep that was neither and both at the same time. Water was all he could think about. Nice, cold, refreshing water. Maybe even direct from the tap, with that faintly mineral taste that came from the pipes.
The door opened and this time he couldn’t stop himself from moaning. The cold was so good, so inviting. He looked over and his captor had a glass of water again. This time he set it on the ground, just between Eggsy’s knees.
“Tell me about Kingsman.”
Eggsy forced his eyes off of the water. The cold, ice-filled water. Fuck, what he wouldn’t give to have that pressed to his lips, to feel that cold goodness in his mouth. His tongue all but swelled in his mouth at the need of it.
“Tell me, and you can have it. I don’t want to do this to you, so just do us both a favor and tell me.”
Eggsy closed his eyes, trying to block out the need for the water. “Alright,” he said after a moment. “Alright, I’ll tell you.” He sighed and looked at the water again before looking back at his captor. “There’s a lower level. We… sell custom sex toys. You come in and give the code phrase and they take you down there. One bloke ordered a donkey penis dildo. Was the weirdest-”
His captor cut him off with a hard slap across his face. “I’m not stupid. What is it? Mafia? Feds?”
Eggsy shook his head. “Neither. Just a private company.”
His captor rose and left, slamming the door behind him. Eggsy watched the glass. He watched the ice melt; watched the condensation form larger and larger droplets and then stream down the glass. Fuck, he wanted it. There was no getting it, but he wanted it. He could feel the last shreds of his will giving way. He knew he’d talk before the end, and he hated himself for that knowledge.
The water level had gone down noticeably by the time the door opened again. He felt his eyes rolling at the feeling of the cold air. He clenched his jaw and tipped his head against the post. He was not. No. He wasn’t going to talk. Not for a fuckin’ glass of water… he’d probably sell his soul for a glass of water right now, but he wasn’t gonna talk.
He felt a hand on his wrists. “No’ talkin’,” he muttered, only half-aware. “‘s a sex shop.”
“What’s a sex shop?”
Female voice. Why female? That didn’t make sense.
He opened his eyes and looked up at his… captor? His captor who was unlocking his wrists? His captor who looked awfully like Roxy right now.
“Kingsman. ‘s a sex shop.”
She grinned at him. “Really? You’ll have to show me that area sometime.” She knelt beside him and unlocked his ankles. “I’d ask if you can stand, but I expect the answer is ‘no’.”
She guided his arm around her shoulders and pulled him up to his feet. She wished he weighed about 20 kilos less; she’d be able to carry him then. She half-carried, half-dragged him out of the hot room. She heard the weak moan as the cooler air hit him. She didn’t pause until she was back on the jet and they were in the air. She’d wanted to, but she couldn’t be certain reinforcements hadn’t been coming.
She got him water and helped him drink it. He cried out at the first sip and she had to force him from tipping the glass up. She didn’t want him to drink it quickly and throw it back up. She slowly gave him three glasses of it and then took a cloth and started gently washing his face and his wrists with it.
“Hey, feeling a bit more lucid, are we?”
He nodded a little. “More?”
She got him another glass and let him take it, although she watched him closely as he drank it. “So Kingsman’s a sex shop, is it?”
“Was I still sayin’ that?”
She nodded. “Yeah.”
He closed his eyes and settled back against the seat with a sigh. “Was afraid they was gonna break me,” he said quietly. “Was afraid I’d…”
“You didn’t,” she said. “That’s the important part.” She settled next to him. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you need a wash.”
“Fuck you,” he said with a soft laugh.
She filled up his glass again, although he hadn’t shown the same greedy need for the last cupful. “We’ll be home in a couple hours. I’m sure Arthur and Merlin will whisk you home promptly. You can go and have a nice, cold bath.”
He groaned. “You have no idea how fuckin’ good that sounds.”
“Why don’t you get some rest?”
“That sounds good, too.”
She let him drink what he wanted from the glass and then took it away. She watched him recline back and he was out almost immediately. She stayed in the seat beside him, watching over him while they flew back to England.
Kingsman had gotten back to better operational numbers. Enough so that Tequila had been transferred back to Statesman. The two agencies, along with other allied agencies, were having what they planned on making a yearly ‘round table’. The use of the term amused Galahad endlessly.
He’d gone along with Arthur on Merlin’s orders. Merlin didn’t expect anything to happen, but he wanted someone with Arthur just in case. And Arthur wasn’t the only agency head with a second. Tequila was there; he was the only on Galahad knew. Once this started being a normal thing and the agencies started working together more officially, he’d probably come to know more of them.
Most of the seconds hung out just outside of the conference room. They’d started getting to know each other a little. Most of them spoke English, at least to some degree. Tequila, however, had shocked the shit out of Galahad.
The second for the Japanese head kept shooting looks at his leader, a blond and hyper man who was clearly mixed race. Eggsy knew that look. That was Merlin’s patented ‘Eggsy no!’ and ‘Harry no!’ look. It made him grin and he’d gone over to try and talk to him. He’d been pleasantly surprised to find that the man spoke English very well.
And then Tequila. Fuckin’ Tequila.
“Good afternoon,” he said to the Japanese second and then bowed politely. “I’m surprised that your agency head isn’t much older than we are.”
“Yes, well, internal politics.”
Tequila nodded. “Yes, I understand that quite well.” He grinned. “If you both are free later, Galahad and I would be pleased to take you out on the town.”
Galahad frowned slightly at the use of his name. It was the only word he’d understood.
“Unfortunately, my agency head speaks mainly Japanese and French. I did create a translation device for these meetings, however I would rather not use that in public.”
Tequila winked at Eggsy. “Please don’t worry. I can translate where necessary, and… I’m sure the two of them can get along without language if necessary.”
“I think that could be quite enjoyable.”
Tequila grinned. “We’ll pick y'all up at 8 then?”
The Japanese man nodded once. “That is acceptable.”
Galahad shot Tequila a Look of his own as they walked away. “You know I’m in a relationship and married.”
“Ah, this is in the int’rest of international cooperation,” he said with a grin.
“Arthur might buy that; Tilde might buy that; Merlin, however, would growl and turn into a guard dog.”
“Nothin’ says you haveta do anythin’ more’n have dinner. I can do enough flirtin’ for the both of us.”
“S’long as you can take over that for me.”
They’d changed into civilian clothes. Tequila was in jeans, a button down, and his cowboy hat; Eggsy was in jeans, a polo shirt, plaque jacket, and a cap. The hotel the Japanese agents were staying at was only a couple blocks away. They were relaxed, just shooting the shit as they walked, and were mostly at ease. They were halfway to the hotel when Eggsy slowed. He’d… heard something, but he wasn’t sure what.
Eggsy shook his head and then shrugged. “Imaginin’ things, I guess.”
It was clear a moment later that he was not imagining things. A half dozen people came out from an alleyway and they found themselves quickly surrounded. The fight was short. Eggsy had no weapons and they’d had the element of surprise. One of the three one him managed to grab him from behind and then he felt cold steel against his temple.
“John,” he said.
Tequila’s eyes narrowed as his three backed off. He looked at Eggsy and saw how he was being held. He couldn’t rush the guy, not without getting Eggsy’s head blown off. He held his hands up.
“Alright, why don’t y’all tell us whatcha y’all want?”
“Wallets,” the one holding Eggsy barked.
“Y’all realize neither of us carry cash, right?”
He dug out his wallet even as he spoke. He tossed it toward the guy. Eggsy slowly lowered a hand to his jeans and dug his own out. He tossed it by Tequila’s own. One of the others grabbed them and went through them.
“Plastic,” he confirmed.
“Y’do realize the ‘n’ stands for ‘numbahs’, right?” Tequila drawled. “2-9-9-2.”
He nodded and the others took off. “We’re gonna take us a little walk.”
He nodded toward the alleyway. Tequila went down it while Eggsy was walked at gunpoint. Once they were out of sight of the road, he stopped them.
“Those numbers don’t work, I’m blowin’ his head off.”
“Yeah, figured ya’d say that.”
They waited for a few minutes. Eggsy caught Tequila’s eye and winked. Tequila leaned slightly and looked around the gunman. It was enough to distract him slightly, enough so for Eggsy to grab him by the wrist and flip their positions. He came away with the gun and held it on the man with a smirk.
“Your PIN is H-A-R-T,” Tequila smirked at him.
“Fuck you,” he laughed. “That card’s attached to Harry’s account. You really think I gave them my PIN?”
“Well, I didn’t, either, so…” Tequila shrugged. “I reckoned one of us would do somethin’ stupid.”
Eggsy grinned. “With us? Course.”
Tequila got into his other pocket and pulled out a couple zip ties. He guided their assailant’s hands behind his back and tied them. They waited for his friends to come back. They didn’t have long to wait. They looked more than a little surprised to see the roles reversed.
“Ya know, my friend and I here don’t take kindly to rudeness. So why don’t y’all return what’s ours and we’ll call it a day?”
They exchanged looks before tossing the wallets. Tequila went through his and, satisfied that nothing was missing, put it in his pocket. He picked up Eggsy’s and stuck it in his pocket.
“Now, why don’t y’all fuck off. You can come back for your friend here later.” He grinned. “Or my friend here can shoot. You know how us Texas boys are ‘bout shootin’ things.”
They watched the thieves run off. Eggsy took the clip out of the gun and stuck the gun in the waistband of his jeans. They started out of the alleyway and Eggsy nodded in the direction of their hotel.
“I’ll go drop this off, you go pick them up. I’ll meet you at the restaurant in fifteen?”
“You ain’t gonna tell Arthur some fucks got the drop on us are you?”
“Fuck no,” Eggsy laughed. “He and Merlin’d never let me live that down.”
This was light on the whump, I know... but you know how shows do something lighter before going into some really heavy things?
Chapter 5: Fist Fight
He was more agile than they were; his short-lived training in gymnastics had seen to that. But every so often, Dean’s boys managed to nab him before he could get away. Every so often they managed to drag him down from whatever he was parkouring over. Every so often, he found himself flat on his back, one of them straddling him, pinning him to the pavement.
If it was just one-on-one, he would have been fine. But no, it was never less than four-on-one. Every so often it was all five of them on him. They really were a fuckin’ dogpack; a rabid dogpack.
He’d managed to fend off the first of Rottie’s blows, but then the fucker had snapped at the others to hold him. For all he snaked and moved, they managed to grab his arms and pin them down. Not by holding them, no. By stepping on his wrists. Sometimes he could feel the bones grinding. Sometimes whoever was standing on him ground down, sending sickening jolts of pain through his arm.
This time, it was Poodle doing it; grinding down on his wrist so hard he nearly screamed. He knew that was the point. It had been years since they'd made him scream, and he refused to give them the satisfaction. Even if Poodle was silently threatening to break his wrist.
He glared up at Rottie silently; even through the man mocking him and trying to goad him into calling for help. This wasn't the sort of neighborhood you just… called for help in. It was a bad neighborhood. Calls for help were invariably ignored and shades were drawn. No one called the coppers; no one saw nothin'.
Rottie punched him in the chest. Eggsy's breath came out in a silent gasp. They were good at not marking up his face; Dean had told them he didn't want to hear Michelle's bitching about her worthless brat being beaten up by his boys.
That first hit connected, and then Rottie was laying into him. Blows fell on his chest, his stomach, his ribs. He took them silently, biting down on his tongue to keep from making any noise. He knew it made the beatings worse, but fuck if he was gonna let them win.
It was a while before he tired, and Eggsy knew what would come next. The boys weren't that creative; their unfulfilled threat was always the same. Rottie took out his gun and held it to Eggsy's temple.
"One of these days, Dean's not gonna give a fuck. Then your brain's gonna be all over the fucking pavement. Oughta start showin' us respect."
Eggsy’s expression didn’t change. Like dogs, they would sense the fear if he let it change. And then things would get worse. But he knew that, yeah, one day Dean would tell them he didn’t give a fuck, and that would be the end of him. For now, though, he was still useful in his stepfather’s eyes, and that was what kept him alive.
“Nuthin’ to say, son?”
Eggsy just stared up at him, his face as pointedly bland as he could make it. He hated when Rottie fuckin’ called him ‘son’ like they was all that different in ages. He knew what would come now, now that he hadn’t broken down and begged him to stop. Rottie pulled his hand back, spun the gun in his hand, and made as if to strike him with the butt of it. Eggsy clenched his jaw, doing his very fuckin’ best to stay still.
Rottie dropped the gun and started hitting him across the face, open handed, the way Dean usually did. He took it silently until Rottie’s anger at his defiant silence passed. His face felt swollen and was tingling painfully by then. Rottie got off of him, kicked him in the ribs, and nodded at the others. He grabbed his gun and they left.
Eggsy got to his feet and started brushing himself off, glaring after them. One day, one day, he was gonna get the better of them. Somehow.
Chapter 6: Isolation
Scene I of V
He was standing at the window, leaning his head against it. The view was spectacular. The mansion was up on a hill, overlooking the harbor. He’d never been to Monaco; fuck, he never thought he’d be in Monaco. In a little French-speaking country with a French-speaking John.
Two months, Dean had told him; he was gonna be a ‘travel companion’ while this rich prick named Jean-Pascal went on holiday. The mansion was clearly tended to by servants, servants who clearly hadn’t been recalled to work. He’d learned very quickly why, too. His John was a sadist; a serious fuckin’ sadist. And Eggsy was pretty sure he was bruised everywhere but his face. He’d figured the John stayed away from his face cos he was gonna actually… do traveling shit with him.
He thudded his head lightly against the window. He’d figured out the reason two weeks ago; two weeks ago when his two months were up. He’d tried to get across to his client that they were supposed to go back to London. The client had just laughed at him and shoved a document in his face.
He read it over and wondered when in the fuck Dean had done this. Cos he hadn’t been rented out for two months. He’d been fuckin’ sold. It wasn’t legal, obviously, but Dean had gotten a nice little sum of money for him. And then the fucker had given him a prepared note to write on a postcard for his fuckin’ mum, sayin’ that they was in love and he was stayin’ in Monaco. Yeah, cos his life would ever be somethin’ like Pretty Woman.
He’d tried to escape a week ago. The fucker had left him alone for a while, told him - Eggsy had gotten from context - to stay in the bedroom. Then he’d said something about a ‘reunion’; while he doubted it meant the same thing in French and English, he assumed they had similar contexts.
Eggsy’d waited until the car had driven off and then given it a slow count of sixty before trying to run. It was then that he’d discovered he’d been locked in the room. He’d looked around the room for something, anything, to try and pick the lock but there was nothing he could use. So he’d tried the window. It wasn’t the sort that opened. He’d hit it with the nightstand and the fuckin’ thing had just bounced off the window. The nightstand had gone on to leave marks on the walls as Eggsy had tried to find some point he could break through; the walls hadn’t been cheaply built.
So he’d waited by the door until the fucker got home. Eggsy’d expected him to come up, to fuck him or something… but he didn’t. He didn't come upstairs again for three days. And when he had come up, he’d come prepared for a fight. He’d tased Eggsy without preamble and then started strapping him while he was down.
Eggsy hadn’t been able to do much beyond curl up to protect himself and, eventually, scream from the pain. The pain had only stopped when he’d been close to passing out, but the John hadn’t stopped there. No, cos then the fucker’d raped him while he couldn’t fight back. He hadn’t used protection - why would he when he’d bought him? - but at least he’d used a bit of lube. Enough that getting fucked didn’t tear him up inside.
He wondered, laying in a pile after the fucker’d finished with him, if he shouldn’t start being grateful for the little things. Like the fact that he wasn’t bleeding from his arsehole on top of being tased, strapped, and battered into. The days and weeks ahead stretched out as his own private hell took shape in his mind.
And now, leaning his head against the window, he wondered how long it would be before he was allowed to see another living person. People needed to be touched to stay healthy; he wasn’t sure if it was physically, mentally, or both, but he knew it was needed. What was going to happen when that fucker was his only source of touch? How long before he started wanting to please that piece of shit just so he could fill that simple need?
He shuddered, hearing the key in the lock, but he didn’t turn around. He was going to be the insolent brat who rebelled as much as he could until he hit that point. Besides, he knew the fucker was just going to taser him again. He tensed up, waiting for it; waiting to feel the contacts biting into his skin; waiting until he went down. And then the beating would come, followed by the rape. He closed his eyes, just willing it to be over for the day.
It was another month before Eggsy was allowed to see anyone else. Eggsy didn’t know who it was, only that it was someone. Someone who hadn’t spent nearly four months hurting him. And if Jean-Pascal hadn’t had a vice-like grip on him, he would have tried to reach out to this new person. Just to touch and be touched.
“So you’re Jean-Pascal’s new friend, huh?”
“Yeah, I guess. I mean-”
He was cut off, sharply, when Jean-Pascal let go of him and struck him upside the head. He looked at his captor, trying to understand what he’d done wrong.
“Je ne parle pas anglais,” Jean-Pascal said slowly, accentuating each syllable. He motioned to the new man and nodded.
He cut Eggsy off, again, with a slap. And then he repeated himself, just as slowly. Eggsy stared at him for a moment and then thought he understood. He repeated what Jean-Pascal had said, slowly and hesitantly. His captor’s hand came up and he cringed away from the blow he assumed was coming, but instead Jean-Pascal cupped his cheek.
“Very good,” he said, with uncharacteristic gentleness. He nodded at his friend or… whatever. “Now, tell him that.”
Eggsy looked at the other man. He repeated the phrase again, not as slowly but just as hesitantly. He thought he was being told to tell the man that. Fuck, he hoped that’s what he was being told. He felt the hand on his face again, and he cringed until he realized he wasn’t being hit. He thought about what he’d been instructed to say. He knew ‘parle’ was a form of ‘speak’, and ‘anglais’ sounded like ‘English’.
“No anglais?” he asked hesitantly, hoping he wouldn’t be hit for mixing languages.
“Correct,” Jean-Pascal said with a slight smile. “From now on, you speak French or nothing.” He grabbed Eggsy by the jaw and squeezed. “And the more I have to correct you, the more I’m going to beat you.”
Eggsy shuddered. He didn’t know exactly what he was being told but he got the jist of it. English meant being hurt. He nodded as much as he could through Jean-Pascal’s grip. “French.”
He shuddered, because what was gonna happen when his captor was beating the piss out of him again and he ended up begging for him to stop? Because his captor delighted in pushing him to that point, to hurting him until he couldn’t keep from crying and begging for mercy. He’d have to learn how to say that in French, and fast.
That thought forced something that was a cross between a sob and a laugh out of him. He hated himself a little for that thought. It felt like he was giving up, and… wasn’t he? He was already jumping to obey his captor in order to avoid a beating. He’d stopped trying to escape, because he’d tried everything. At least, he thought he had, although part of his mind had started mocking him, insisting that accepting that had been giving up.
Maybe it was time to give up; to just accept that this was going to be his life; to just bow his head and try to get from day to day with as little pain as possible. Maybe… maybe if he behaved, he could (whatamIthinking?) convince his captor to be more… more gentle when he was fucking him.
Fuck, what was he becoming?
Chapter 7: Shackled
Scene II of V
It was late when Jean-Pascal came home; the sun was nearly set by then. Eggsy had been watching it out his window; watching it set over the ocean. He saw the car drive up. He always wondered where Jean-Pascal went when he left by car. The entire country wasn’t even a square kilometre.
He sighed to himself and went downstairs. His captor had been allowing him a limited amount of freedom, as long as he played by the rules. He offered Jean-Pascal a hesitant smile. “Hello.”
Jean-Pascal smiled at him and held his arms out. Eggsy went to him obediently and his captor put an arm around his shoulder.
“The call I got today,” he said brightly, well aware that Eggsy understood about one word in five. “They told me what you were up to. Do you think that’s acceptable behavior?”
Eggsy stared at him, trying to go over the words. He shook his head. “I don’t know.” He meant that he didn’t understand, but he was still trying to learn without any English context.
Jean-Pascal laughed. “The correct answer is ‘no’.”
That Eggsy understood well enough; it sounded close enough to the English that he’d been able to follow it. “No.”
Jean-Pascal herded him toward a door he hadn’t yet been through. Jean-Pascal opened the door and Eggsy had just enough time to register that it led down into the basement before he was pushed. He went down the stairs, rolling over a couple and sliding down most of them. He scrambled away from them, his eyes wide and on his captor.
“You tried to escape. We’ve been over this, Eggsy.”
Eggsy backed away from his captor, who matched him, step for step, until his back was against the wall. “I wasn’t bad!”
“No? You tried to pick the lock. You think they don’t tell me? You think they don’t know the price you’re about to pay?”
He pointed to a spot in the center of the room. Eggsy looked over there, actually looking at what was around him and not just keeping his attention focused on the major threat. There was a chain hanging from the ceiling that ended in a hook; there was a folded up thing of leather; there was a pair of shackles attached to the floor by short chains.
A weak whimper escaped him before he could fight it down. He shook his head weakly. “No. Please, I can be good!”
His eyes met his captor’s light, unyielding eyes. He knew that the more he fought, the worse it would all be for him. He wanted to fight; he wanted to make a break for the stairs and try to get out of reach. He wanted to… but he’d learned better. And so he went over to where he’d been ordered. He could feel himself shaking.
“Hands behind your back.”
Eggsy looked at him blankly and shook his head. “I don’t…”
Jean-Pascal reached out to him and Eggsy fought to keep otherwise still as hands closed on his wrists and guided his hands behind his back. He was breathing hard, nearly in a panic, and he had to fight to keep from bolting when he felt the leather slide along his arms. He felt Jean-Pascal tightening the laces of the binder and then buckling the straps on them.
“Since this is the first time you’ve tried this since I started letting you roam about the manor, I’ll go easy on you,” he said as he knelt beside Eggsy and locked the shackles on his ankles. “This is where you say ‘thank you, Jean-Pascal’.”
“Thank you, Jean-Pascal,” Eggsy repeated numbly.
He heard Jean-Pascal thread the hook through the end of the arm binder. He knew what was coming and he adjusted his stance, widening his legs so he’d be able to balance when Jean-Pascal pulled the chain. He’d expected Jean-Pascal to just yank the chain, but he pulled it slowly, letting his bound and breaking captive have the time to adjust himself as he was pulled into a strappado position.
“I’ll be down in the morning. If you’re sufficiently sorry, I’ll let you upstairs.”
Morning. Eggsy choked back a weak sound. He didn’t need to be able to follow the rest of it. He lowered his head. Fuck, he was actually missing the days when it was just a beating; when at best he’d walk away with a few bruises and at worse he’d end up in hospital.
By morning his shoulders were screaming. He’d started to doze a couple times, and every time the sickening feeling of his shoulders trying to dislocate forced him back awake. He heard Jean-Pascal on the stairs and nearly started sobbing with relief. But Jean-Pascal didn’t release him right away. Instead, he stood in front of Eggsy for a few silent moments.
“You tried to escape; that was one night. Try to escape again, it’ll be two nights. And we’ll go from there. Do you understand me?”
Eggsy nodded. “Yes.” He thought he’d gotten the gist of it, anyway.
“What do you say?”
Eggsy frowned a little, working it out in his head. “Thank you, Jean-Pascal?”
He started lowering the chain. As soon as Eggsy had slack enough, he let himself drop to his knees. His arms had started up another chorus of pain at being able to move. He stayed still as Jean-Pascal released him, and then he stayed on his knees. Jean-Pascal helped him to his feet and supported him after.
“Let’s go have a nap, hm? You’ve learned your lesson, haven’t you? No more escape attempts?”
Eggsy nodded a little, not looking up. “No escaping.”
Jean-Pascal kissed his temple. “Good boy.”
Chapter 8: Numb
Scene III of V
Eggsy heard the door unlock. He was sitting in the lounge, a book open in his lap and open to the same page it had been open to two hours ago. He’d been completely spaced out, dissociating. It happened a lot when he was alone and had nothing to do. Although he wasn’t alone; there were servants in the house, but… they weren’t friends. They heard him screaming at times and they… never tried to help him.
Once Jean had realized that he’d truly given up, he’d been allowed to be in the mansion unsupervised. All of the windows were the same as they’d been in the bedroom and the door needed a key from either side. The servants had a key and Eggsy had begged them once to unlock the door for him. They’d just… ignored him. Overtime he thought he’d figured out why. As long as he was there, Jean’s eye didn’t fall on them and they didn’t get the treatment he did. But… that had been the last time he’d tried escaping, because there really was no way out. And even if he got out the door when Jean opened it, he’d just be tased and beaten.
He closed the book and put it back on the bookshelf. Maybe he’d actually read some of it later tonight. He’d spent the weekend in the basement because he’d upset Jean. Maybe if Jean wasn’t still upset with him… and if Jean was, well… he knew what the man liked; he knew how he could debase himself (apologise; how I can apologise) to earn Jean’s forgiveness.
He heard two people coming toward the lounge. He sighed softly to himself. If Jean had brought someone home with him, it was a toss up whether he was going to be expected to be the doting husband or if he was being whored out. He really… hoped for the former. He was good at it and… well… if he was going (to have sex with) someone, he’d rather it was (my husband).
He turned when he heard them come into the room, a soft and submissive smile in place. He didn’t even think about it; it had become an automatic habit, and he wasn’t really certain when. He walked over to Jean and kissed the corner of his mouth.
Jean put an arm around him. “I’d almost think you’d missed me.”
“Of course I did.”
He put a hand on Jean’s chest and turned his attention to the man with him. He looked like he was somewhere in his fifties; maybe in the later half of them. His hair was immaculate and he wore glasses. He had some scarring around one eye and Eggsy wondered if he’d come close to losing it, or perhaps he had lost it and the eye was a prosthetic. He was in a suit; a really nice one at that. It probably cost somewhere in the range of Jean’s suits, although this man’s was English cut and Jean preferred Italian cut. The oddest thing about him was that he had an umbrella in hand, on a day there was no call for it.
“I don’t believe we’ve met before.”
Their guest smiled. “No, we certainly have not. I’ve no doubt I would have remembered you.”
Eggsy found himself laughing softly; he was almost giggling. It had been years since anyone had flirted with him, and longer since it had sounded so sincere. He’d still been in school the last time it had been anyone but a John. Although… he was aware that it could still be a John. But he sounded sincere and that was the part that felt so good.
“Henry, this is my husband, Gary. Gary, this is an associate of mine, Henry DeVere.”
Eggsy held a hand out. “I normally go by ‘Eggsy’. I answer to both and I’m sure you’ll hear me be called it, assuming you come by more often.” Eggsy thought he saw Henry tense up at the name. Certainly, the man’s grip on his hand tightened. “I wouldn’t expect you to call me that, of course.”
“Good to hear it,” he said, attempting to cover his reaction. “I do so detest nicknames.”
Jean went over to the sofa, keeping Eggsy with him. “Henry and I are thinking about going into business together.”
“Yes, your husband made quite the offer and I’ve decided to take him up on it,” he said.
They sat, and Jean pulled Eggsy down onto his lap. Eggsy put an arm over Jean’s shoulders, keeping his soft and submissive smile aimed at Henry. He listened as the two men talked, and he was very aware of how Henry’s eyes kept drifting to him. It was strange, though. He didn’t see lust in the man’s eyes, nor did he see that sadistic glint he’d become all too familiar with. It was… it was… well, he didn’t know what it was and that… sorta frightened him. Because it was Unknown.
Jean excused himself for a few minutes, and Eggsy knew what that meant. It meant Jean had noticed Henry looking at him, and often, and wanted him to offer himself up. Eggsy settled beside Henry, a hand on his arm, and smiled up at Jean as he left.
“Why don’t you tell me about yourself, Henry? I don’t have a head for business, not the way Jean does.”
Henry looked at the hand on his arm and Eggsy’s posture. Jean had called him his husband, and Henry had to wonder just how legal that had been. “I’m from London,” he said, something pointed in his tone.
Eggsy either didn’t notice it or just didn’t react. “It’s often rainy there, isn’t it? I’ve never been.”
Henry’s brow rose slightly. “Really? So you’re from Monaco, then?”
Eggsy laughed softly. “South of France. I moved here when Jean and I married.”
He smiled gently. He didn’t believe a word of it. For one thing, he doubted like Hell that there was another Gary ‘Eggsy’ in the world. For another, he had Merlin in his ear, verifying Eggsy’s identity against his mugshots. It had been five years since the last one and Eggsy was down a good 15 kilos from the look of him. He looked almost gaunt.
“Do you like my shoes?” he asked, seeming apropos of nothing.
Eggsy stared at him for a moment before looking down at them. They were black, shiny; typical shoes. “They’re Oxfords, aren’t they?”
“Yes,” he said, his eyes on Eggsy’s own. “I quite prefer them. I only wear Oxfords, not Brogues.”
Eggsy didn’t even react. They could have been actually talking about shoes. Maybe a few years ago the phrase would have brought up some feeling in him, but it didn’t now. What was the point? If this was the soldier, he was working with Jean and wasn’t going to help him. The single favor would be more than taken up just getting him away from Jean, much less getting him back to London.
And as he had learned, feeling much of anything just got him beaten. Mostly, he pretended to feel things, but only the things Jean expected him to feel. Inside, he was empty; he was broken; he was dead. If Jean let him drive anywhere (he’d have to let him go anywhere for that to even be in the realm of possible), he’d run down a fox without a thought; if he was handed a gun and told to shoot a pug, he’d do it (although he’d be just as likely to turn it on himself).
“I think I’ll go see what’s keeping Jean,” Henry said, his anger barely below the surface. He’d already gotten the information he’d been sent after. They’d just have to deal with his not getting anything more.
Chapter 9: Embrace
Scene IV of V
Also, the dog's name was my wife's idea.
He was sitting on Harry’s sofa, idly petting the man’s cairn terrier. The man had one that had been taxidermied up on a shelf in the downstairs toilet; its name had been Mr. Pickle. This one was named Colonel Ketchup. He… he felt something for the dog. Faintly, vaguely. He was still too afraid to let himself feel much of anything, even if Harry had been good to him since he’d brought him back to London.
He heard the door unlock and knew that meant Harry was home. He’d never tried the door when Harry was gone; he just assumed it locked from the inside as well as from the outside. He watched the terrier hop off the sofa and run to Harry. The man himself appeared in the lounge doorway in short order, Colonel Ketchup in his arms.
“Bonsoir,” Eggsy said automatically.
He closed his eyes and sighed softly to himself. He knew Harry wanted him to speak English again, but sometimes… sometimes it felt like he’d forgotten how to. He knew it could happen; he knew immigrants could forget bits of their native language as they spoke their adopted language more and more. But… he thought his issue might be more how he’d been forced into another language, especially considering that he still expected Harry to hit him every time he spoke English.
Harry shook his head gently. “It’s alright,” he said. “Do you feel up to company?”
Eggsy shrugged lightly. He’d been living with Harry for six months now. Harry had given him two months to settle in and start readjusting to living in London, and then he’d started asking him once a week if he was up for company. Thus far, Harry had always decided that Eggsy was not actually up for company.
“If you-” he cut himself off and began again. “If you want.”
Harry shook his head. “It’s only if you would like it, Eggsy.”
He watched Harry for a few moments. He let what little emotion he’d been putting into his expression drain away. “Do you want me to fuck them?”
“No, Eggsy,” he said gently. “You never need to force yourself into sex again. With anyone.”
He shrugged again, looking away from Harry. “I guess.”
Harry considered for a moment and then decided that Eggsy was up for a visit. He stepped back out of the lounge doorway. After a moment, a woman stepped inside the lounge. She looked nervous and uncertain, and Eggsy watched her for a few moments. She’d stopped bleaching and perming her hair, and she looked… more alert or something since the last time he’d seen her.
“Maman,” he said, that submissive smile slipping into place without a thought. “How’ve you been?”
“I’ve missed you. I’ve been so worried about you.” She took an uncertain step toward him. “C’n I sit with you?”
“Of course,” he motioned to the empty cushions.
She went over to him and sat beside him. She knew she should probably give him more space, but she couldn’t. She’d heard the tone he’d used with Harry; that dead, unfeeling tone. And now he sounded so pleased to see her. She knew it was an act. Harry had… kept her well informed.
She watched him for a moment. That smile didn't change, didn't falter. And she could see in his eyes how very fake it was. She'd seen that look in her own eyes for years. It told her so many things that Harry hadn't; it told her just how much abuse he'd endured. And it made her want to pull him close.
"How's Dean?" His voice sounded almost pleasant, as if he weren't asking after the man who'd seen this done to him.
Michelle cast a glance at the doorway. "I don't know," she said. "Harry had a talk with him. I… I called Harry. Used the, the favor. Dean let it slip what he'd really done. But I haven't seen him since then."
"Oh. So you mean Harry killed him." He shrugged as if to say, 'it happens'.
She made a soft, almost pained noise. Not at the idea Harry might have killed Dean or had him killed; she’d assumed that since the day he’d disappeared. It was his tone; his flat, uncaring tone. Sure, she wouldn’t have expected him to be sad about it, but… her baby would have had some reaction to it.
She pulled him close without thought and she held him tight against her. She felt him stiffen for a moment but he didn’t object. She knew he probably wanted her to let go of him, but she couldn’t make herself do it.
And it was a good minute before she felt his hands move; before she felt them on her back. His arms slowly tightened around her and she felt him bury his face against her neck. It was another good minute or two before she felt his shoulder shaking and felt the hot tears on her neck.
She rubbed his back and let him cry. Unless Harry had missed something like this happening (and she knew he had cameras hidden in the house), she knew this might have been the most he’d shown any real emotion since he’d been back.
“Mummy loves you, baby,” she said softly. “Je t’aime.”
Eggsy made a sound against her that might have been kin to a laugh. “Harry teach you that?”
“Yeah,” she said smiling just a little. “He tried to teach me more, but I just can’t get it. He thought… it might make you more comfortable.”
She heard how little emotion that single word had in it. She had a feeling that it was because they’d spoken about Harry. Harry was still a danger in his mind. She wasn’t stupid; she knew that it was going to take one Hell of a lot more than one crying spell before Eggsy was willing to let himself feel things on the regular. But it was a start.
“You know… maybe next week, if you’re up for company again, I can bring Daisy with me. She’s gotten so big.” She kissed his temple. “But only if you’re alright with it, baby.”
He doubted she even remembered him. She’d barely been three the last time he’d seen her. But fuck if the offer to let him see her didn’t… didn’t… He bit the feeling down.
“If you want, I guess.”
She frowned a little, thoughtfully. “Well… what if you came and visited us instead? It’ll just be the three of us, and you can see the new place. It’s really lovely, and… you’ve got a room there if you wanna stay over.”
He stayed against her. Just the three of them sounded nice… it meant no Harry. Sure, Harry hadn’t laid a hand (or a cock) on him, yet. But yet was the keyword there. He fully expected that it would start at some point.
“Yeah, okay,” he whispered. “Sounds very good.” He sighed; how fuckin’ hard was it to just… not slip like that?
“It’s okay, baby,” she said softly. “It’s okay.”
Chapter 10: Recovery
Scene V of V
It had been two years since Harry had taken him from Monaco; one year since Harry had convinced him to see someone. Harry had taken him to Kingsman, and Harry had told him what the place really was, what he really was. He hadn’t really understood at first why Harry had told him; he’d assumed it was cos a tailor shop wouldn’t have a fuckin’ therapist on staff. It was a couple months of therapy before he realized Harry was giving him something that could put a lot of people in danger; that he was trying to build trust between them.
Tonight, it was just him and Harry. Merlin was there more often than not; Eggsy hadn’t needed them to spell it out to figure out that they were together. But there was an agent out of country whose mission he was handling, so he was staying the night at HQ.
“I ain’t never thanked you,” Eggsy said softly.
Harry looked up from what he was reading. “You never needed to, Eggsy. I owe your family more than I can ever repay.” He paused before continuing. “Even had I not known who you were, I don’t think I could have left you in that situation. Although I may have… taken slightly longer to extract you.”
“Cos you… needed more from him.”
“Wanted,” Harry corrected.
“Mission woulda gone faster.”
Eggsy fell silent for a moment. "Doc thinks… thinks I should tell you somethin'." He paused and shifted uncomfortably. "I like you. I don't. I don't mean like…"
Harry closed the book and set it aside. "You'll forgive me, I hope, but is it not likely that what you're feeling is a profound sense of gratitude?"
"'s what doc said."
"And he is very likely correct."
Eggsy nodded and looked down at his lap. Harry could see the hurt in his face, and something very near pain. And… and some thinly veiled species of anger.
"I take it you disagree."
Eggsy shrugged. "Don't matter."
"Clearly it does." Harry reached over to him and gently guided him to look up. "Please tell me what you're thinking."
"That it's been two years. That… that’s what I felt at the beginning… That was gratitude. But this ain't. This is…" He shook his head. "I dunno. This ain't, you know, 'you can hurt me an' fuck me all you want'. This is. It's…"
"Go on," Harry said softly.
"This is 'I wanna hear about your day an’ I want to be next to you at night'." He watched Harry's face for a moment. "You don't feel it though, do you?"
"I am with Merlin," he said simply.
"That ain't an answer," Eggsy said. "Look, I ain't… I ain't gonna try an' get in the way."
Harry watched him for several moments. "Would it do any good for me to say that yes, I care about you more than I really should?"
Eggsy shrugged and looked away. "I wouldn't feel so crazy… cos it wouldn't just be somethin' I convinced myself of."
"What if," Harry began after a moment, "we agree to revisit this in six month's time?"
Eggsy frowned a little but then he shrugged. "I dunno what good that'll do, but sure."
Harry nodded. "Then we'll speak on this then."
It would give Eggsy more time to examine his feelings. And it would give him time to, as well. In-depth, and with Merlin. Because if Eggsy's feelings didn't change, then it would be a conversation all three of them needed to have.
Chapter 11: Stitches
He was sitting in A&E. His lip was split and he had a gash down the back of his head; it had been bad enough mum had worried over it and insisted they go. Dean had, rather obviously, stayed home. It wasn’t the first time his stepfather had landed him in hospital and it wouldn’t be the last.
He studied the ceiling as a nurse worked on his lip, first cleaning it and then stitching it. Dean had really done it this time. His head had stopped bleeding, but his hair - even as short as it was - was caked with drying blood. He didn’t even remember what Dean had hit him with. Hadn’t been a fist… Well, not the second time. The lip had been his fist.
“So, how did this happen?” the nurse asked as she moved onto his scalp wound.
“He… um…” Michelle was wringing her hands. The mother in her wanted, needed, to tell the nurse that her husband had done this. The broken down abuse victim, however, was too well trained to say nothing because that just made it worse later.
“Fell,” Eggsy said, lying easily. “I do a lot of parkour. Missed my footing, went down.”
“Amazing how you hit your lip and the back of your head.”
“Right?” Eggsy said with a natural sounding laugh. “Blacked out a little, was kinda unsteady when I got back up, went right back down.”
That part, at least, was true. He had blacked out when Dean had hit him with… whatever… it had been. He’d gotten to his feet as soon as he’d come to, more out of survival instincts than any real certainty that he could. He’d been on his feet long enough for it to register that Dean was back on the sofa, plopped down in front of telly. And then his knees buckled and he went down again.
“At the least, then, you’ve a concussion,” the nurse said. “We’ll need to do a CT scan, just in case it’s something more than a concussion.”
“Do you… do you think it’s necessary?”
The nurse looked over at Michelle. “He could have tissue damage, bleeding, brain swelling. It could lead to seizures, fluid buildup in the brain, infections, stroke, blood clots, even death. So yea, ma’am, it’s quite necessary.”
Eggsy saw the way his mother paled at all of that. “Fuckin’ chill out,” he snapped at the nurse. “Ain’t like my mum did this.”
“Of course not,” the nurse said.
Eggsy knew from her tone that she knew someone had done it to him. He’d been in there every couple months since he’d been ten, more and more often now that his mum had gotten married to Dean. Dean’d been real good at hiding that side of himself for the first two years. Well, it hadn’t been that Dean had been good about hiding it. Eggsy had thought that when he’d been little, but since then he’d done… well… more than a little research about abuse cos he had not understood why his mum stayed with him. That’s when he found out that was what they did. They treated you like gold, got you dependent on them for something, and then slowly broke you down.
It was why he couldn’t hate her, even though she came to hospital with him each time; even though she stood there, looking like she was in agony and wringing her hands. Because Dean had done this to her. People like Dean, they knew what they was doing when they started this shit. Dean hadn’t really even needed to try hard to isolate her. She didn’t have any family and, after a while, her only friends were his friends. His friends, who knew what he was cos they were the same. And now that he had his hooks completely in her, well, he didn’t need the sweet act.
He was still lost in thought when the nurse told him to follow her. She had Michelle wait out front and took Eggsy in for a CT scan. He wasn’t too surprised when it came out clean. He knew he had a concussion and that if Dean had meant to do more, he would have. He got up from the table and saw the nurse. She was giving him That Look.
He sighed. “Look, I did this to myself. I told you.”
“Mr. Unwin, you’ve been coming in here more and more often over the last few years, and I can’t help but notice that you and your mum have different surnames.” She paused pointedly. “If your stepfather is the one doing this…”
He offered her a bitter smile. “Let’s say, hypothetically, it is him. Whatchu want me do about it? Huh? Tell you? Then you tell the coppers, coppers come and either take him away for a couple months or he waves them off and they leave him. Either way, I get it twice as bad later. Or my mum does.”
She looked away uncomfortably.
“So… I was parkouring and I fell. And ain’t no one else gonna get any other story out of me.”
“You realize a hit like that could have killed you?”
Eggsy nodded. “Yeah, I know. Hypothetically speaking again, the day my stepfather decides to kill me’ll be the day he does it. You won’t see me in A&E. Hypothetically.”
She grimaced. “And you don’t… have someone who can help you?”
Eggsy laughed bitterly and looked down at the medal in his hand. He’d had to take it off for the CT scan. It was good for one (1) favor. Getting them away from Dean and keeping him from coming after them would take a fuck of a lot more than one (1) favor.
“No, ain’t got no one.” He looked away from her. “There’s a couple refuges I’ve looked into. Women only, but I can crash with my mates. The day she’s ready to leave him, I’m takin’ her there.” He shrugged. “But… nothin’ doin’ until she’s ready.”
“Well… you’re good to go then. Stop by check out on your way out.” She paused. “And I hope I don’t see you for a while.”
Eggsy scoffed; it was a bitter thing. He’d be lucky if he wasn’t in there again in a month.
Chapter 12: "Don't Move!"
“Don’t move. You move, we die. Luckily, I have this. This spray will freeze the trigger mechanism.”
He crouched beside Eggsy and froze the landmine he was standing on. He counted to three and then Eggsy rushed off of it… and he stepped onto it. He took Eggsy’s place; he was willing to die to keep the boy alive. He owed it to Lee, to Eggsy. And then… the landmine blew.
He woke with a scream in his throat, his heart hammering against his chest. He felt, almost frantically, to both sides of himself. He found Harry on the left, Eggsy on the right. Both were breathing slowly, deeply; they were still very much so asleep.
Merlin sighed, closing his eyes in the darkness and willing his heart to slow down. He relived that almost every night. But as ever in the nightmare, it didn’t go on to Harry and Eggsy leaving his side. He didn’t attract Poppy’s guards by singing. He didn’t blow himself up, expecting it to be the end of his life. No, in the nightmare, something always went wrong with the exchange and then landmine blew them both up. Or sometimes all three of them.
But he always survived, at least for a while. Because of the bomb proof suit he’d had on. It was how he’d actually survived with only the loss of his legs. That didn’t make the nightmares any better, any easier.
He felt where Eggsy was sleeping. He could feel the younger man’s arm around the princess sleeping on his other side. He rolled against Eggsy, pressing against him and wrapped his arms around him. He buried his face against Eggsy’s neck, breathing in his scent.
“Y’kay?” Eggsy’s voice, and thickly sleep slurred.
“Fine,” he whispered. “Go back to sleep.”
He knew he wouldn’t sleep anymore this night. He was too afraid the nightmare would return. Nightmare, flashback, a cross of both. He just wanted to relax against Eggsy, physically remind himself that he was there, whole, alive.
He hated that fucking nickname. Hated it. But he had gotten Eggsy to mostly stop using it. He couldn’t really fault him for using it while mostly asleep.
Merlin didn’t answer him, didn’t deny it. Eggsy kissed Tilde’s temple and then rolled over in Merlin’s arms. He put his own arms around Merlin’s neck and held tightly to him. He kissed Merlin, softly and gently at first, but then more deeply, more probing. He gently kissed Merlin’s lips as he broke the kiss.
“It’s alright, love. Harry n’ I are here, we’re safe.”
He guided Merlin’s head back against his shoulder. He knew his lover wouldn’t cry, at least not where he or Harry might see or hear it, but he could hold Merlin at least. He could be there until he felt at ease enough to sleep again. It was a long while before he felt Merlin’s breath slow and deepen, but he stayed against him, kept his arms around him. It was longer before Eggsy let himself fall asleep again. He needed to stay awake… just in case Merlin needed him again.
“I’m having difficulty pinpointing your location,” Merlin said over the glasses feed. His voice was crackling and the image of him was going in and out.
“Hey, no worries,” Eggsy said, his voice echoing from the acoustics. “Ain’t like it’s cold or nothin.”
“Is that sarcasm?”
“Nope. I mean, it ain’t exactly warm, but I don’t think I’m gonna freeze in it.”
He didn’t think the intention was for him to freeze in it. He had a feeling the point was for him to die slowly. They’d gotten the upper hand - although he still wasn’t too certain who they were - and he’d come to, dangling over the water. It had taken him a moment to realize he was down a deep well. He’d looked up in time to see them looking down at him, and then he’d hit the water. It was kinda room temperature; not exactly cold enough to kill him but still uncomfortable. And he was nearly up to his neck in it.
He’d heard them laughing above him but not watching. So he’d started climbing the rope. They’d known; known and let him get about a meter and a half before cutting the rope and sending him back into the water. There had been silence above him soon after and he’d felt along the wall. It was too smooth to climb and too wide to brace himself and climb that way.
The feed had been shit the entire time, but Eggsy knew the glasses worked fine after immersion. Clearly, they had something that was fuckin’ with it; something that was making it hard for Merlin to track him down. He didn’t have faith in many things, but he had faith in Merlin and Harry.
He hadn’t been able to sleep; there was no way to. The well wasn’t wide enough for him to do a proper back-float. And he’d started shivering. According to his heads-up-display, the water was 20°C and his body was having trouble keeping itself at a decent temperature. He was hungry, but that was something he could deal with. He’d spent a lot of his life feeling hungry.
The bigger worry was his arms and legs had started hurting in an… odd way. They were tingling like they were asleep, painfully tingling. And he was starting to have trouble breathing. The tech who’d stayed on while Merlin had gotten a couple hours of sleep had told him that he was probably starting to lose circulation in his limbs. It was something to do with constant water pressure, and the reduced circulation was what was making breathing difficult for him.
The tech offered to go wake up Merlin and he told her not to. The tech staff might not have Merlin’s experience at hacking, but they’d be fine until he got up. And he’d be no good to anyone if he was fighting to stay awake while he was trying to work code.
It was barely an hour later when one of the techs started yelling. Eggsy hadn’t been able to hear them clearly enough to know what was going on. But less than ten minutes later, Merlin was back on the feed. The static had gotten worse and he could barely hear him.
“W... ..ged to br.... ..their ..... ... have a ...ion o... .... Arth... ...ere in .... rs.”
“Merlin, I can’t understand you. Please repeat.” He saw Merlin talking and then the feed cut out entirely. “Fuck.”
He tipped his head back, looking up at the top of the well. It was blocked off by the support they’d dangled him from, and he couldn’t see much of the sky. He’d understood enough of what Merlin had said to get Harry’s codename. He closed his eyes and just hoped it meant they knew where he was.
Harry didn’t get to him by nightfall, and Eggsy was starting to wonder if they’d just lost him entirely when the feed went down. He’d drunk some of the water he was stuck in, out of simple need. It tasted strongly of minerals but it hadn’t killed him or made him sick. There was that much.
But a New Thing had started and he did not like it. He’d started getting itchy during the night and he’d felt under his shirt. He’d hissed in pain when he’d found the spot. And now that it was daylight, he tried to see what was going on, but there was too little light in the well.
He’d been awake for three days, and most of that without food. And so when the answer occurred to him, he realized just how badly his brain had slowed. There was something like trench foot going on, except he wasn’t just as risk on his feet; his entire body was at risk. He had a feeling that what he’d found had been a sore. Either the first of many or the first he was feeling.
He wondered if he should strip, if it would help to not have the soaked clothing right against him. But after a few moments, he realized that wouldn’t really matter. He was gonna be soaked no matter what, and maybe his clothes were helping keep some body heat in.
He wasn’t sure how much longer he could stay awake, or on his very numb legs. At optimal conditions, he knew he could hold his breath a long time. But he was exhausted, he was breathing for shit, and… well… he wasn’t sure if he let himself under to give his legs a rest that he’d be able to stand again after.
He leaned against the wall and could feel himself slipping into sleep. He tried to push himself away from the wall, but he was already feeling that spiraling sensation down into sleep. He wondered if he shouldn’t just… let himself sleep. He’d drown, but… he was gonna drown soon anyway. He wasn’t gonna be able to hold himself up much longer. He let himself doze against the wall.
He woke with a water-choked gasp. He’d slipped below the waterline. He struggled to get his feet back under him, and he barely managed. He thought he could hear voices above him; he had a feeling he was hallucinating. He leaned against the wall again. The call for sleep was too great.
He felt himself being tugged on and he struggled to open his eyes. “Rox…?”
He thought she was standing there, beside him in the water, somehow her head above his own. There was a rope hanging down and she was tying it around his chest. Oh yeah, he was far gone. He laughed weakly.
“Rope’ll break,” he muttered. “I’ll wake up in th’ water again.”
“No, it won’t,” she said softly.
She gave a tug on the rope and it started rising slowly. The rope rose to his underarms and then he was moving up and out of the water. She was attached by a harness and rose up with him. She kept her hands on his shoulders, wanting him to know she was there.
It was only a couple minutes before they got to the top. She helped Arthur and Percival get Eggsy out of the well before they got her back out. Arthur carried Eggsy back to the jet and they headed back to London.
He came to with a groan. He wasn’t standing; he was laying on something. Something kinda comfortable, and he felt dry. His eyes fluttered as he fought to wake up, as the survival instincts honed from years of living with Dean kicked in. They’d pulled him out before they could kill him, obviously, and he needed whatever advantage he could get.
“Easy, Eggsy. You’re safe. You’re home.”
He managed to get his eyes open. “Harry…?”
Harry smiled down at him. “That’s right. You don’t remember us finding you, do you?”
“I… ‘member a dream ‘bout Rox…”
Harry nodded. “That wasn’t a dream, my dear.”
“Medical,” Harry said as he sat on the side of the bed. “You have a number of sores, and a few of them are infected.”
“Yes, darling,” Harry said, brushing Eggsy’s hair off of his forehead. “It’s from being immersed in water for so long. You’ll be off duty for at least a month.”
Harry bit back a smile at the almost whining tone to Eggsy’s voice. “Because it’s going to take that long for your muscles to recover. You’ll be… spending a lot time in here until then.”
He leaned down and kissed Eggsy’s forehead. “I’ll smuggle in some ice cream and take away for you.”
If you're curious, the last message from Merlin was: We managed to break through their code and have a location on you; Arthur will be there in a few hours.
Chapter 14: Tear-stained
Harry knocked lightly on the bedroom door before going inside. He knew it wouldn’t matter; Eggsy wouldn’t hear it. But it still felt wrong to just go inside without announcing himself, especially given the younger man’s current condition.
The bed hadn’t been slept in. Harry walked around it and found Eggsy curled up on the floor. It hurt him to see that. Harry had left extra blankets and pillows out for him; he’d shown them to Eggsy so he’d know they were there. Eggsy… hadn’t used any of them. They were piled up, just as he’d left them.
“Oh, Eggsy,” he whispered.
The young man’s eyes were open and unfocused, but he was rigid. Harry could see how rapid and shallow his breathing was. It both hurt to see and ignited rage within the storm that existed beneath the civil and gentlemanly exterior. He wanted to hurt them the way they’d hurt Eggsy. But he bit that back. He didn’t want Eggsy to notice it.
He went to the young man and crouched beside him. “Good morning,” he said softly.
Unsurprisingly, Eggsy didn’t respond, but Harry had hoped there might have been some change during the night. Eggsy had disappeared on a mission; it had taken them years to find him. And even then, Harry suspected that his captors had simply grown bored with him; that they’d let them find Eggsy. They’d kept him drugged, to the point that Eggsy had obediently held out his arm when he’d been in Medical; it had actually frightened him when they didn’t inject him with… with whatever. And it wasn’t as if they could smile at him and whisper comforting words. The drugs had left him blind and deaf, although the Kingsman doctors were certain it wasn’t a permanent effect; it was just a matter of getting the remnants from the drugs out of his system. Apparently, whatever they’d used on him had bonded to his nervous system.
He reached out and placed a gentle hand on Eggsy’s shoulder. Eggsy cringed but didn’t try to move away from the hand. Harry dropped his hand away after a moment and Eggsy sat up. He held his arm out. Harry cupped his hand beneath his dear one’s wrist, lightly enough that Eggsy would be able to feel that he was being supported and not held. Harry leaned forward and kissed his forearm; he kissed where the track marks were still healing, and he felt Eggsy shiver in response.
He helped Eggsy to his feet; guiding, supporting, not forcing or rushing. He guided Eggsy from the bedroom and to the bath. He guided Eggsy’s hands to the sink and then let go of him. Eggsy felt around, getting his bearings. From how quickly he learned the room, Harry knew he had either figured out where he was or had been blinded for quite some time; he assumed the later. Without any further prompting from Harry, Eggsy began going through a morning routine. Harry left him alone, leaving the door open so he’d hear if Eggsy needed him or when he finished.
He went to his office and sat behind his desk. He could feel the emotions rising within himself and he fought them. Fought them until he couldn’t any longer and he wept. He was not a man who cried easily, but seeing his beloved so hurt and abused, so submissively accepting that he was going to be hurt… it was more than he could bear.
He managed to get control of himself again before he heard the shower stop. He could see where the tears had fallen on his desk; little imperfect circles that he wiped away before they could stain the varnish. He heard the shower stop and gave Eggsy time to dry off before going back to the bathroom.
Eggsy’s clothing and his towel had gone into the hamper. The young man, himself, was standing in front of the sink, right where Harry had let go of him. His head was down and his wrists were crossed. It wasn’t the first time in the past eighteen hours that he’d seen Eggsy stand like that.
Harry looked him over from where he stood in the doorway. He could see Eggsy’s reflection in the mirror, and the number of scars on his back. He could see others on Eggsy’s arms and legs. Every rib stood out clearly, and the bottommost ribs stood out a good two finger’s width from his body. Harry had known he was thin, far too thin, but he hadn’t seen Eggsy without a shirt on; he hadn’t seen just how badly they’d starved him.
He went to Eggsy and gently cupped his elbow. He guided Eggsy back to the guest room and got him some clothing. He gave each piece to Eggsy, and let him feel them before putting them on; jeans, a polo, a plaque jacket. It was the abysmally hideous one that Eggsy had loved so much.
Eggsy tipped his head slightly as he felt the jacket over. He made a so very soft sound as he recognized the style and pulled it on. He wrapped it around himself, closing his eyes and shivering. Harry could see the emotion in his face.
“Thank you,” he whispered, almost too softly for Harry to hear.
Harry cupped his cheek gently for a moment and then dropped his hand to Eggsy’s elbow again. He guided Eggsy to the stairs and guided his hand to the railing. Eggsy went down the stairs slowly; he remembered how many he’d gone up and that there’d been a landing, but they were still unfamiliar. Harry stayed two steps below him at all times, just in case Eggsy missed his footing.
They got downstairs without incident and Harry guided him into the dining room. He made Eggsy griddle cakes and sausage; a smaller portion that he would have served normally, but with how badly starved Eggsy had been, he didn’t want to give him too much too soon. He set everything out on the table and then showed Eggsy where it all was. Soon enough, the younger man was eating syrup-drenched griddle cakes and making soft sounds of pleasure.
He shook his head when he was finished and set the silverware down on the plate. “Why?” he whispered, the confusion so clear in that one word.
Harry pulled out the chair beside him and took Eggsy’s hands. He gently pressed them to his own face and let Eggsy feel him over. He wasn’t sure if Eggsy would be able to recognize him. Eggsy’s fingers trailed over his face, tracing his jawline, his nose, even the scarring from where he’d been shot. His hands went to Harry’s hair, to the soft curls that he hadn’t bothered taming yet.
“Not them…?” Eggsy whispered uncertainly.
Harry nodded, letting Eggsy feel it where he was still touching his face. He let Eggsy keep tracing his face, but he knew Eggsy didn’t know him. And why should he? It wasn’t as if they’d ever done something like this.
“Not them,” he whispered again, lowering his hands.
“Oh, darling,” Harry sighed softly.
He wanted Eggsy to know he was safe, that he was with people who cared about him. He could have Merlin bring home a medal; Eggsy ought to be able to recognize that. But… he didn’t want to wait eight or more hours. He didn’t want Eggsy living in the constant fear of anticipation. But how in Hell was he…
Harry sat up slightly, getting an idea. He guided Eggsy to his feet and took him to the downstairs toilet. He brought Eggsy’s hands to the shelf in there and let Eggsy feel it.
Eggsy frowned a little, feeling the wood beneath his fingers. He ran his hands over the top of the shelf and quickly found something unyielding. Unyielding and… furry? He tipped his head slightly, letting his fingers explore the furry thing. Soon enough he found a tail, four legs, ears, whiskers, a muzzle. He made a weak little sound and let one hand drop to a spot below the shelf, to the plaque beneath. He felt for the lettering and traced it, slowly.
“Mr. Pickle,” he whispered. He let go and turned, reaching out; Harry took his hands and they gripped onto him tightly. “Harry?”
Harry brought one of Eggsy’s hands to his face and nodded against it. And then the young man was in his arms, clinging to him like a lifering. He heard Eggsy whispering his name over and over again, until his name became a sob on Eggsy’s lips. He dropped one arm down and lifted Eggsy, carrying him into the lounge and settling them both on the sofa. He didn’t try to stop Eggsy’s tears; he just held him, rubbing his back and pressing soft, gentle kisses to the top of his head. He let Eggsy cry for the years of pain and misery he’d been forced to endure; for the so sudden relief at being home again.
Chapter 15: Touch Starved
They say that in order to remain healthy, a human being needs seventeen touches a day. For most of his life, the majority of Eggsy’s touches came from Dean and his boys - in the form of slaps and punches - or Dean’s customers, at least the ones paying for the use of Eggsy’s body. And so when the man who’d kept him from going to prison - one Harry Hart - put a hand on his shoulder the first time, the gentle touch sent shocks through his body.
“Lemme buy you a drink, yeah? To thank you.”
It wasn’t just that he wanted to thank the man. Harry had… touched him with a gentleness he hadn’t really had from anyone except his mother in a long time. They walked from the station to the Black Prince, Eggsy watching Harry in awe. Harry held the door for him when they arrived, and that well manicured hand fell on his shoulder a second time as they went inside.
They enjoyed their drinks, although Eggsy’s eyes kept dipping to Harry’s hands; those hands which had touched him so gently. It was nice, just… sitting in the pub with someone who wasn’t paying for his time; with someone who was there with him cos they wanted to be. Someone… other than his mates, anyway.
And then Dean’s fuckin’ pricks had come in. He’d told Harry to get out, cos he knew a beating was comin’. He wasn’t gonna put up a fight, not when it was all of them and he’d been warned about going in the Black Prince. But then they’d made the crack about Smith Street. Somehow, it had been utterly humiliating to have Harry hear that. Possibly because of how gently the man had touched him.
But instead of leaving, he’d beaten them all and then sat right back down with him. It had been the hottest fuckin’ thing he’d ever seen. And Harry had touched him again before leaving. That well manicured hand had fallen on his shoulder again, and this time Harry had squeezed him. Like he cared. Like Harry thought he was more than some delinquent whore.
Once Harry left, he’d hightailed it for the toilet and had a very satisfying wank. He’d left his free hand on his shoulder, imagining that it was Harry’s hand on his shoulder, Harry’s hand on his cock. He’d had to bite down on a scream of pleasure when he came. The barman was still out cold when he left, but Dean’s boys were gone. He knew what that would mean when he got home.
And it had meant a beating, only Dean had really gone fuckin’ batshit over Harry. But then Harry’s voice had been coming from fuckin’ everywhere and he’d gone to the tailor shop. Harry had brought him to a fitting room and he knew the Smith Street comment was going to bite him in the arse; he knew if he went into that fitting room, he was gonna be fucked. But that didn’t happen. Harry had just… brought him to a training program.
But then Harry had been hurt and left comatose, and there had been no more of those warm, gentle touches. He had gone down to Harry’s room in Medical every day, JB following obediently. He had touched those hands more than once, learning the soft feeling of the man’s palms and wishing he could feel one of them on his shoulder again. Some days he held Harry’s hand, silently willing it to tighten on his own.
He wanted those gentle touches; he needed them. And while he could touch and be touched by Roxy or JB, he wanted them to come from Harry. But Harry had been comatose for months and showed no signs of coming out of it. He wondered if he’d ever feel the man’s hands on him again. He doubted he would; his life just didn’t let him have things like that. But still… he couldn’t stop going to see Harry.
Chapter 16: Pinned Down
It was supposed to be an easy mission. Go in, get the information, get out. Either the recon team had fucked up… or they’d been deliberately fed misinformation. Eggsy was assuming the later, because everything about this massive cock-up screamed inside job.
He and Tequila had been pinned down for the better part of the day. If it had been a squad or somethin’ comin’ at them straight, they coulda fought their way out. Bulletproof suits and all that. But it was a fuckin’ sniper team and they hadn’t been able to get a fix on the fuckers. And snipers meant headshots.
“Shame neither of us brought a deck of cards.”
Eggsy snorted halfheartedly. “Strip-poker?”
“S’long as you take somethin’ off to even shit up,” Tequila was quiet for a moment. “Who you reckon’ll get here first?”
“Extraction,” Eggsy said with a confidence he wasn’t feeling.
They hadn’t heard from Merlin since they’d been trapped. He’d noticed someone piggybacking the signal; it put both Kingsman and the two-man team in danger. Merlin had cut communications.
“How’s your leg?”
Tequila shrugged. “Hurts like-”
“Tequila, I swear to God, I’ll shoot you myself.”
“Was just gonna say it hurts like a sonovabitch.” He chuckled. “There’s a time and a place for Ridiculous Southerisms. Pinned down and bleedin’ like a stuck pig ain’t the time.”
Eggsy rolled his eyes. “Says the man who just used ‘bleeding like a stuck pick’.”
“Excuse you,” Tequila said with mock offense. “I’ll have you know that ain’t no Southernism. That comes from y’all.”
“The fuck it does.”
“British colonizers in India,” he said with a wink.
“Huh,” Eggsy leaned back against the tree he was hidden behind.
“Glad to pass on my depthless wisdom ‘fore I die.”
Tequila wasn’t joking; Eggsy could hear it in his voice. Eggsy knew he’d lost a lot of blood. Bulletproof did not mean stabproof, and one of the people they’d fought hand-to-hand had managed a lucky shot. Eggsy knew a handspan or so higher and Tequila would have bled out in minutes.
Once they’d gotten relatively safe, he’d gotten Tequila’s trousers off and used one leg as a bandage and the man’s belt as a tourniquet to hold it in place and keep pressure on it. He wondered how much permanent damage Tequila would have in that leg. They’d taken the pressure off it every so often, but the slightest movement and it was bleeding again. The last time Eggsy had gone to check it, Tequila had just put a hand over his; they’d silently agreed to just leave it.
“You’re not gonna die, John.”
“Oh, shit, he done dropped the codename.” Tequila shook his head. “I’m doomed.”
Tequila could hear the note of hysteria in Eggsy’s voice. “I’m sorry. It’s just if I don’t joke about it, I’m gonna fuckin’ panic.”
Eggsy nodded. “Yeah. I get you.”
Tequila was quiet for a bit. “I hate to be complain’ again, but I’m freezin’.”
Eggsy looked at him. He was wrapped up in his own suit coat already. Eggsy shrugged his own off and put it over his chest. “C’mere.”
He shifted toward Tequila enough to let the wounded agent lean against him. He held Tequila, rubbing his chest and arms intermittently. It wasn’t long before he felt Tequila’s head on his shoulder. He shrugged it off.
“No, you stay awake.”
“Yeah, I know you’re fuckin’ tired, but you gotta stay awake.”
He smiled faintly. “Dunno if I can.”
“Yeah, well, you sleep and… and I ain’t never talkin’ to you again.”
Tequila bit down on a crack that wanted to come. Because wasn’t that why you didn’t let someone in shock sleep? So they didn’t die? Or was that concussions? Either way, he knew Eggsy would not appreciate the comment.
“Well, reckon I oughta stay awake then. Be hard to work with ya when y’ain’t talkin’ to me.”
“Glad we agree.”
Eggsy had to wake him up a few times over the next couple hours. The real problem was he was starting to doze off, himself. It was getting late; they were both hungry and thirsty; and the adrenaline had long since faded out of their systems.
It was dark when Eggsy woke to a pair of shots. He tipped his head back against the tree. They sounded a ways off, but he wasn’t sure how far off. He touched Tequila’s chest. He could feel the shallow, but steady, rise and fall. He thought about waking the man up, but why? They were gonna be dead in a few minutes anyway. Let him be comfortable until then.
It was… he wasn’t sure how long… maybe a half an hour before he heard footfalls coming through the jungle. He closed his eyes and listened carefully. He could make out five people. He sighed softly and got his sidearm out. He had half a clip left. He might be able to take them all out if he made lucky shots. At night. Without any light on his targets. But he doubted he’d get them before dying; not when Tequila had half his armor.
He heard them approaching their position, but he saw no lights. They probably had thermal night vision goggles on. Fuck. He looked at Tequila and debated shooting him before the enemy got to them. He closed his eyes, waiting for a sign that they were, indeed, the enemy. As soon as he had it…
“I’m sorry, John,” he said softly.
It was a minute before he heard the footfalls close in. His hand twitched on the gun and he tried to stay still, to give the impression that he was as asleep as Tequila was.
“Galahad, sir? Can you walk?”
Eggsy opened his eyes, looking up at one of the dark figures. In the darkness, he could just make out the Kingsman glasses. “Oh, thank fuck,” he breathed. “Yeah, I can. Tequila’s bad off, though.”
“We’ll carry him. Snipers have been neutralized. Transport’s just about a klick east.”
Eggsy slowly got to his feet, staying crouched over until he was certain that, yes, the snipers were, indeed, gone. He stayed with the pair carrying Tequila, keeping one hand on the unconscious agent. Hopefully, there would be some of that fuckin’ gel the Statesman came up with on the transport.
“You’ll be alright, bruv,” he said quietly as they moved out. “You’ll be alright.”
Chapter 17: Muffled Scream
The mission had been simple: go in, free the hostages, get them back to the jet and get out. They’d gone in at night. The compound was up on a cliff - it was only two metres high - and then there was a wall around it; the wall was another two metres. Lancelot had boosted Galahad up; he had pulled her up in turn. They worked well in concert, barely needing a word between them in what could have been as coordinated as a dance. The only other agent he worked that well with was Arthur.
She helped him up onto the wall. He pushed himself up onto the ledge - too thin to really brace himself well - and winked at her; the motion visible with their glasses in night vision, and she nodded as he dropped down. A few moments later, she heard the sound of metal on stone and he appeared at the top of the wall.
He helped her up and she let herself down and he quickly descended the ladder. Merlin had told them that there was a small building by this part of the wall, potentially a storage shed. He’d been correct, and they had a way over the wall for the hostages. There would be no need to try and clear the entire compound and get them out the front gate.
They found their way around the compound, their silenced weapons taking out half a dozen guards without their being noticed. They found a window leading into where Merlin had found the largest heat signature. Lancelot took out a glass cutter and cut enough of a hole to stick her hand through and unlock the window. A moment later, they were inside.
They split up, Lancelot going left and Galahad going right. They went along the walls until they got to the door. Galahad opened it and Lancelot went in first, firing at the guards to the left. He was right behind her, and took the guards on the right. By the time the guards realized what was happening, it was already too late. The two agents went through their kills, looking for the keys to the cell the hostages were in.
“Found them,” Lancelot said.
They went over and unlocked the cell door. They started getting the hostages out of the cell.
“Follow us; stay quiet,” Galahad said.
He took the lead, the hostages clumping behind him. They got the hostages back to the wall without incident. Lancelot went up the ladder first and went over the side. The hostages went one-by-one while Galahad kept watch. The last one got to the top of the ladder and froze.
Galahad climbed up behind him. “It’s alright. It ain’t really that high,” he crooned, trying to coax him up onto the wall. “Here.” He climbed as far as he could up the ladder and grabbed onto the wall, pulling himself up and balancing on the top. He held his hand out. “Come on. I’ll make sure you’re safe.”
The hostage took his hand and got the rest of the way up the ladder and onto the wall, and then froze again.
“It’s alright. She’s just below you; she’ll catch you. You’ll be fine.”
The hostage shook his head and started to take a step back without thinking. Galahad grabbed him by the arm to keep him from falling. The hostage flailed in an attempt to keep his balance and both men fell over the side of the wall. The hostage landed on Lancelot. Galahad hit the cliff’s edge with a sickening crack from his leg and went down the cliff.
Lancelot herded the hostages into jumping down one at a time, making the one who’d frozen go first, mainly to get it out of the way. Once they were all down, she followed and went to Galahad. His left leg was an an unnatural angle.
“Broken,” she said.
“No shit.” He nodded toward the hostages. “Get them to the jet. I’ll just slow you down and up the chances of getting them recaptured.”
She watched him for a moment and then nodded. The mission was more important than one agent. “I’ll be back for you,” she promised and led them away.
He pulled himself along the ground until he was out of sight of the compound and fairly well hidden. Every time he bumped his leg, he had to bite down to keep from screaming. Once he was hidden away, he waited, watching for Lancelot to return.
It was nearly a half an hour before she came back. By then the alarm had been raised and the surviving guards had found their escape route. Galahad curled up as tightly as he could, biting down on his own arm to keep from screaming from the pain of it. He tasted blood and felt hot tears on his cheeks, but he didn’t move. Not until the guards had passed his location and gone farther in their search for the missing hostages.
He saw Lancelot sneaking toward the compound and contacted her via the glasses feed. He saw her start at the sudden appearance of the second image and then look around until she had a bearing on him. She made her way to him and crouched by him.
She frowned slightly. “You realize… in order to get you to the extraction point…”
“You’ll need to set it; I know.”
“I’ll… go find a branch long enough and straight enough to use. I’ll need your belt when I get back.”
Galahad nodded. He watched her leave and then took his belt off. He lay back, looking up at the stars. He’d been through a lot of pain in his life, most of it at the hands of his stepfather, but this… this was unlike anything Dean had ever put him through. And he knew it would only get worse when she set it.
It was a while before she returned, but when she did, she had a branch that was long enough and thick. She’d stripped it of other branches before she’d come back. She tossed it down beside him and took her belt off. He looked at the branch and saw that it was longer than need be… and he had a feeling why she’d left it that long.
He watched as she cut it down and wordlessly held the extra piece out to him. He winced as she moved his leg and carefully ran her hands over it. She looked at him and he stuck the piece of branch in his mouth.
“On three,” she said. “One… two…”
He bit down, screaming as she set his leg. He felt himself crying again from the pain. His hands clenched in the dirt and grass. He was vaguely aware that the branch had muffled his scream to a quiet moan.
“Hard part’s over,” she said softly as she strapped the makeshift splint to his leg.
“They sending another jet?”
“Mm. Should be here in three hours.”
“Wonderful. I expect I can get to the extraction point by then.”
She batted his shoulder softly. “We’ll get there in plenty of time, but we won’t move until you’re ready.”
She held onto his hand, just sitting with him silently until he was ready. She helped him get up and balance on the once good leg, and guided his arm around her shoulders so she could support him.
They made their way slowly toward the extraction point. Several times they had to drop down and hide as a guard came near. Galahad had to bite down a scream every time, but he said nothing. It was what they had to do.
Once they got to the extraction point, Lancelot helped him get to the ground and settled so they could wait. They saw no more guards, but she kept up watch regardless, her sidearm in hand. It wasn’t until they were on the jet that she relaxed. She got him something for the pain and settled beside him for the ride back to London.
Chapter 18: Laced Drink
“Is it just me or’s this champagne taste a bit shit?”
“It’s an acquired taste, mate.”
Their target ended up being called away and Eggsy sank on the sofa. Roxy and Charlie’d had this sorta shit before. Maybe it was supposed to have that salty taste to it. He choked a bit more of it down, really hoping that was the case.
Cos the taste brought him back to a time when he’d used a pub as a spot to pick up Johns. It hadn’t been the Black Prince. Dean woulda had kittens if he’d been hookin’ in his stepfather’s pub of choice. No, this had been a seedy fuckin’ place and he’d found a bloke right off who was lookin’ for a pay-date.
They got cozy at a back table. He’d been back from his attempt at the Marines for all of two months, and he definitely still had that serviceman look going. There was definitely a market for it, too, based on the money he’d pulled in during those two months.
His date ordered them drinks and they discussed their transaction. That was how Eggsy’d learned to look at it; a transaction. It got too fuckin’ depressin’ otherwise. Eggsy had leaned close to him, one hand dipping under the table and slipping beneath his customer’s jeans. He couldn’t get too handsy, not unless he undid the bloke’s jeans. That was fine by him, really.
He’d noticed the slightly salty taste to the beer as he drank it, but… he didn’t really give it a fuck of a lot of thought. He was positive he’d seen the guys hands the entire time and he was positive his drink couldn’t have been drugged. But as someone once said: only fools are positive.
They left the pub, heading to the alley behind it. The bloke had paid for a blow job and the alley was a good enough place for it. But as they turned into the alley, Eggsy stumbled, feeling the world spinning.
“-d’you do ta’...”
The customer was right there; he caught Eggsy and threw one of the mostly-unconscious prostitute's arms over his own shoulders. He walked Eggsy to a car and got him inside. When Eggsy came to again, he was on his stomach. His arsehole hurt and he could feel the wet from whatever mix of blood, lube, and cum had been left behind inside of him. He could smell the lube that had been used, too; it was that really rank smelling, cheap-as-fuck motel lotion. His hands were tied behind his back, he was blindfolded, and a couple strips of duct tape had been slapped over his mouth. There was cloth or something inside his mouth, too. His legs were burning and he tried to kick, to figure out why his legs were in so much pain. Trying to kick just pulled on his wrists, and as he shifted a little more, he realized he’d been hogtied.
“Awake finally, huh?”
Sure, he couldn’t see the bloke, but he knew the fucker was close by him. Like, could probably reach out and touch him levels of close by. And then he felt a hand on his still screaming leg. He tried to kick away.
“Oh, calm your tits, kid. You’ll be let out in time. And, hey, you’ve still got the money for the bj and ya ain’t even doin’ one.”
He laughed and there was a knock at the door. There was enough of a gap with the blindfold that Eggsy saw the light level change twice; it was enough to know the bloke had checked outside before opening the door. He heard a couple people come inside and then the door be shut, locked, and chained.
“Where’d you find him?”
“Pub. Ain’t seen him there before.”
“Tight arse, too. Like a virgin’s cunt.”
“Oh, Goddamn it. You fucked him already?”
“I don’t like havin’ other blokes around when I’m fuckin’! It’s kinda gay.”
“So’s fuckin’ a bloke!”
Three different voices. So he had two more fuckings to look forward to. He could get through that. ‘s not like it’d be the first time a trick had turned into something like this. Just… usually he was gettin’ paid and wasn’t tied up… or he was gettin’ tied up and was gettin’ paid extra for it.
“Shut the fuck up, you cunts.”
A fourth voice. Alright, whatever. This was something he could get through. Although he wondered, and not for the first time, why he hadn’t just sucked it up and stayed in the Marines; why he hadn’t told his mum to calm down; why he hadn’t told her that the fuckin’ alternative - heavy accent on the fuckin’ - would be so much worse. But he knew the answer. She’d been so freaked out that he’d die the way his dad had that there’d been no calming her down. If he’d been able to see into this moment and tell her ‘one day, Dean’ll send me out hookin’ and I’ll end up hogtied and gang banged in fuckin’ no-tell motel’, would that have even gotten through to her? He really wasn’t sure.
A pair of hands - large, rough, calloused - yanked him from his thoughts. They were on his thighs, forcing them apart. He thought about just laying there, about just taking it and getting it over with. But even with everything Dean had put him through, he didn’t know how to. He kicked out as much as he could and tried to roll onto his side.
“Oh, no, no, no, honey,” the owner of the fourth voice drawled.
He felt a hand wrap in his short hair and yank his head back. He swore at them through the gag, but then the blindfold was lifted up and stilled at what he was being shown. At least one of them had a knife. And not like a fuckin’ kitchen knife; a fuckin’ hunting knife. It had to be just shy of 40 cm. One side of it was a straight edge and ended in a sharp point; the other side was serrated.
“We can do this one of two ways. You behave while we fuck you and, when we’re done with you, we let you go. No screaming, no fighting, no runnin’ to the coppers like a little bitch.” He paused. “Or… you fight, you scream, we fuck you anyway. When we done with you, we take you somewheres nice, cut that pretty throat of yours, and dump your body. Your choice, mate.”
Eggsy forced himself still. He was breathing hard and shaking from the effort of keeping himself from fighting. The blindfold was pulled back in place and the tape was ripped off of his mouth; the cloth that had been shoved inside was pulled out.
“What’s it gonna be?”
“I’ll behave,” he grumbled. He was slapped upside the head and bit down to keep from crying out. “The fuck was that for?”
“Say all of it.”
“No screamin’, no fightin’, no coppers.”
The hard, calloused hand forced the cloth back in his mouth and then slapped him again, this time to put the tape back in place. And then they were on his thighs again, forcing them apart. Everything in him screamed to lock up, but if he fought them and they killed him, who was gonna keep his mum safe from Dean?
He bit down as the first of them battered his way inside. He was almost glad one of them had raped him while he was out; that had, if nothing else, left him stretched enough that it wasn’t white hot pain when he was entered. He could hear the headboard slamming against the wall with every thrust and felt the entire bed shaking from it.
There was barely a pause between one fucking him and the next. But the second one didn’t just fuck him. That one leaned on his already screaming legs. He had to bury his face against the mattress because there was no keeping silent from that pain. Between that and the gag, it was muffled and muffled well.
“Gets you hot, doesn’t it?” the one fucking him mocked, leaning on his legs again until he screamed a second time. “That’s right, moan like the fuckin’ whore you are.”
Eggsy felt heat in this cheeks. He knew he was screaming from pain, but is that really what it sounded like to them? That he was enjoying it? It did not help that he’d felt himself getting hard and felt the hot sparks every time his prostate was hit. Logically, he knew it was just his body reacting to stimulus; he'd looked it up after Dean had sent him out hookin' the first time. But it didn't help, not right now. Not with one of them hurting him, raping him. Right now, it was just added humiliation.
When the last of them climbed on, there was almost no resistance inside of him. There was too much wet… too much cum… inside of him for there to be any real friction. He heard whichever one it was make a crack about him being as wet as a bitch, but he didn't even make a sound.
They'd been fuckin' him for close to an hour, or at least it felt that long. The last one climbed off of him and he hoped - he fuckin' hoped - they'd keep their word and leave him be. But then he heard one of them taking dinner orders and knew he was in for another round. At the least.
Time stopped having any meaning for him in the darkness. He hurt from the constant fucking, and his legs had become painful enough to bring him to tears. Or maybe it wasn't just his legs doing that. Maybe it was everything.
They'd each had a go with him three times now. That plus food… Eggsy thought it had to be after midnight. Dean was gonna beat the shit out of him for comin' home so late. Although that was really the least of his worries just now.
They'd left him alone long enough that he'd started to doze. He snapped awake when he felt the cold, serrated blade graze against his arm.
"I'm gonna untie you, honey, and you're gonna lay there just as sweet as anything. You give me trouble, and that's it."
He untied Eggsy's legs; Eggsy screamed into the mattress as they were finally allowed to extend. He felt fresh, hot tears under the blindfold.
"Now, I'll untie your wrists. You do a slow count of 100 before you move. You move before that, we might not be gone yet. You move before we're gone, we take a little ride."
Eggsy screamed again as his wrists were freed. He lay still, slowly counting in his head. He thought about moving when he was done, but he lay there for a second count of 100 before pushing the blindfold up and taking the gag out. He looked around the room; they were gone. He got to his feet and slowly dressed, his arms and legs feeling like so much jelly. His eyes fell on a little pile beside his clothing; they'd left him £200.
He took a taxi back to the estates. He’d thought about walking - what more could really happen tonight? - but his legs were barely willing to hold him up. He wasn’t surprised to see that Dean was waiting when he got in the door; he didn't even have the energy to try and duck the punch.
"The fuck you been?" Dean snarled.
"Tied up, some shitty motel." He held up the money they'd left him.
Dean snatched it away from him. "All fuckin' day and this is all you bring back?"
"Told you," he said wearily, "I was tied up. Like. Literally and actually fuckin’ tied up.”
Dean struck him again. “Gone all fuckin’ day, with a kinky fuckin’ trick, and you bring me this little?”
“So sorry,” he snapped. “Next time a group of blokes decide to gang rape me, I’ll have ‘em run it by you first.”
Dean grabbed him by the arm and started hitting him, hard, across the face. His face was numb long before Dean’s anger ran its course. Dean threw him aside and he didn’t have the strength to stay on his feet. He went down in an undignified pile.
“Ain’t like you can even rape a whore,” his stepfather spat at him. “Most you can do is ‘theft of services’. Next time you pull somethin’ like this, you either have a damn good excuse or I’ll put you in fuckin’ A&E. Get me?”
“Yeah, I get you.”
He’d stayed on the floor as Dean had gone off to bed. Once he thought he could, he pulled himself to his feet and managed - barely - to get to his room. It hadn’t happened again; he hadn’t let another customer buy him a drink.
He drained the rest of the too salty champagne as the creepy lookin’ fuck who’d told Sophie she had a call grinned at them. He sighed inwardly, barely hearing the fucker as he told them to try rohypnol ‘or maybe something stronger’. S’long as he didn’t wake up hogtied and in a motel, he’d call himself lucky this time.
Chapter 19: Shaky Hands
Harry had shown him around the house. He’d shown Eggsy everything except the downstairs toilet. He knew Mr. Pickle would bring up Questions, ones he couldn’t answer until Eggsy finished his final test and became Lancelot. The romantic part of him really liked the idea of Eggsy being Lancelot. The Knights had been father and son, admittedly their codenames were the wrong way around, but Harry wanted to be the sort of man in Eggsy’s life that he was sorely missing. A role that would, admittedly, not be the one he would aim to fill if he were twenty years younger.
He’d been watching the younger man a great deal as they, well, ‘hung out’. Not because he expected Eggsy to try and steal anything, but because he could see the difference between the young man he’d gotten out of trouble and the young man who was almost through the Kingsman training program. The only problem with watching Eggsy as closely as he had been… was that he’d noticed things Eggsy was trying to hide. The way his hands kept trembling for one; the way he’d just stare off into space for a few moments when he thought he wasn’t being observed for another.
Harry waited until Eggsy excused himself to the bathroom upstairs and contacted Merlin. “Did anything… unusual… happen at the club?”
“Not that I’ve heard about. Why?”
“Could you look, please?”
He heard Merlin start typing and knew he was pulling up the footage from the club and from the test. He heard Merlin hum softly and heard him entering another set of keystrokes.
“That is a little odd.”
“Eggsy kept grimacing while he was drinking his champagne, so I went back and listened to it.” He paused. He knew Harry did not like dramatics in speech, not unless he was the one making them, but Merlin knew what the implications were. “He asked them if they thought the champagne tasted off.”
“Fuck.” He started across the lounge and then stopped. “Thank you, Merlin.”
He didn’t give Merlin a chance to respond before cutting the feed and taking the glasses off. He went upstairs and stood outside the bathroom door. He hadn’t expected that Eggsy would know what that sort of drug tasted like.
He knocked lightly on the door. “Eggsy?”
“Let a man take a shit in peace, would you?”
“Eggsy, you’ve been up here nearly half an hour. I think we both know you are not… taking a shit.” He sighed softly. “Either come out or I’m coming in.”
“You’re a pervy old fuck, you know that!”
Harry could hear the edge of hysteria in the young man’s voice. He turned the doorknob and opened the door just enough to verify that Eggsy was, indeed, not using the bathroom. The young man was leaning over the sink and Harry slowly walked over to him.
“Couldn’t jus’ leave me alone.”
He could hear the misery in Eggsy’s voice. He put his hands on Eggsy’s shoulders. The face that looked up at him in the mirror was red and puffy. Harry could still see tears on the young man’s cheeks. The young man’s eyes were searching his face, and Harry had a feeling he was looking for derision, or anger, or perhaps even disappointment.
His voice was soft, compassionate and the only thing Eggsy was going to find in his face was a quiet relative of pain. Because he had caused this. Perhaps not directly, but he had left Michelle and her son with the medal and called it a day. If they’d needed him, he’d reasoned, they would have called him. He hadn’t considered that they might just… not call him; that they might think what he could or would do for them had a very tight limit.
Lee had sacrificed himself without a thought, and this was how he had repaid that sacrifice. He had left that young man’s wife and child in the hands of an abusive criminal and left Lee’s son in a situation where he would be raped.
Had it only happened once? Had it (and he would murder the man if it were the case) been at his stepfather’s hands? Had it been while he’d been working Smith Street? Had it been an actual date-rape? He wanted to ask, to demand the names and faces of the person or people who had done this to him.
But he bit that anger down and guided Eggsy to come away from the sink. Eggsy shrank away from him for a moment and then let himself be guided away. Harry guided him into the bedroom and Eggsy looked up at him uncertainly.
“Why don’t you get ready for bed, hm?”
Eggsy nodded. “‘kay.”
Harry left him alone and Eggsy watched him go. It was a moment before he heard Harry heading downstairs. Downstairs was good, right? Downstairs meant Harry wasn’t plannin’ on fuckin’ him right away, right? Cos why else would Harry have guided him into his own room and not the guest room?
He stripped and folded his clothes. He thought about putting something on but… what was the point? He wasn’t gonna convince a fuckin’ spy that he was too asleep to be woken up and, well, he owed it to him, didn’t he? Harry’d done and done for him even after he’d paid back the favor.
He pulled the covers back and got into bed. It was only a few moments before he heard Harry on the stairs again… and then going into the office. He was only in there for a moment before Eggsy heard him coming back to the bedroom.
Fuck, he hoped Harry wasn’t kinky.
He expected a lot of things when Harry opened the door again, but not… for him to be holding his laptop in one hand and a bowl of ice cream in the other. Eggsy stared at him openly as Harry came over to the bed and sat the ice cream on the nightstand and handed the laptop to him.
“Merlin was kind enough to upload a number of movies onto that. If you’d like to pick one?”
Eggsy nodded and opened the laptop. He expected, well, pornos; he hadn’t expected actual movies. There was a couple not even out for a month. He picked one and then waited apprehensively. Harry hadn’t gotten undressed. He’d… just taken off his belt, tie, and had unbuttoned the top two buttons of his shirt.
He got on the bed beside Eggsy; on the bed, not under the covers. He took the laptop off of Eggsy’s lap and nodded at the ice cream. “Go ahead.”
Eggsy watched him with wide eyes for a moment but then he got the bowl from the nightstand. He bit his lip and then scooted over until he was against Harry. Not… so he could grope the man or be more accessible. Just… just for the contact.
“Are you comfortable, dear boy?”
Eggsy shivered and smiled just a little. Was Harry really… not gonna say nothin’ about his bawling in the bathroom like a little bitch? “Yeah.”
He hit play and Eggsy slowly worked at the ice cream while they watched the movie. He’d missed like… half the fuckin’ franchise, but it stood alone just fine. He didn’t even realize he’d dozed off until he felt Harry pluck the bowl from his hands.
“S’ry,” he muttered.
“Go back to sleep,” Harry said softly.
He was aware of the movie playing every so often, and aware of the post-credits scene, but little more than that. It was noise in the background as he drifted off to sleep. He heard the laptop snap shut and startled a little. Then Harry’s hand was on his shoulder, squeezing gently as the older man whispered to him to go back to sleep.
He startled when he woke up, because he was in an unfamiliar (and too comfortable) bed. There was a hand on his shoulder and he was naked. Everything clicked into place just as he opened his eyes. He was in Harry’s bed. Harry who… had found him crying in the bathroom and then taken care of him.
He looked up at Harry; Harry, who was still sitting up against the headboard. He could see the concern in the older man’s face. Harry’s normally immaculate hair was starting to curl up and Eggsy could see where some of it had gotten messed up during the night. Harry had watched over him all night. Harry had slept sitting up, one hand on him just in case he… was upset or afraid or whatever else.
“Um…” Eggsy shrugged the blanket off one shoulder. “I’m… you know…”
“Oh, of course,” Harry said with a smile. “I’ll leave you to get dressed.”
Eggsy shook his head as Harry got off of the bed. “That ain’t…”
“I know what you meant, Eggsy,” he said softly. “I appreciate the offer but it was never a requirement of my caring for you.”
“No ‘but’s, dear boy.” He disappeared into his walk-in closet for a moment and came out with a garment bag in hand. “I’m going to shower and then make breakfast for us. Join me when you feel up to it.”
Eggsy grinned a little as he watched Harry leave. He waited until he was certain Harry was done with the shower before getting up. He’d thought about offering to join him but… Harry. Harry cared about him more than that.
Had there ever been anyone else in his life who’d… who’d, well, loved him the way Harry did? Harry, who gave and gave, and only asked in return that he be a better man than he had been before? It made him want to be all those things Harry thought he could be, all those things the world had always made so clear he never could be.
Chapter 20: Hallucination
It had been three months to the day since V-Day happened. Three months to the day since he’d watched Harry die. Three months to the day since he’d seen the bullet hit the glasses through the feed and cut out. Arthur never should have agreed to let Harry go, and he should have objected. Harry had been compromised, and they both knew it. He should have realized it was a trap, but he let himself be lulled by Arthur, both because of his rank and experience.
He was going to get utterly pissed. On a decent bottle of scotch, at that. The sort that would have cost him a month’s wages before Kingsman. He was making his way back home, the package under his arm, and he saw him, clear as fuckin’ day, just across the intersection.
Merlin felt his breath catch. He knew it wasn’t possible; knew it couldn’t be possible. But he still found himself rushing to the intersection. He got to it just in time for a lorry to pass in front of him. And then Harry was gone. Well, it wasn’t that Harry was gone; he was seeing a man in a suit with a similar hairstyle to the one Harry favored.
He groaned inwardly. This wasn’t the first time he’d seen Harry somewhere, or heard his voice, or some-fucking-shit. It was part of grief; he knew that. Grief… and guilt. He took out his mobile and stared at it for a moment.
How’s a drink sound?
He thought about adding more; he thought about adding in that he didn’t want to be alone right now. But… but he couldn’t expect Harry’s protégé to drop everything for him. Especially not with his having a girlfriend now and… well, Merlin was nearly certain that Eggsy’s feelings for Harry hadn’t been entirely platonic.
Had they ever… talked about Harry’s love life? About the fact that he was… that they were breaking one of the big rules of Kingsman? Or had Eggsy simply said nothing about his own feelings? Merlin thought that might have been the mostly likely thing. Given the young man’s stepfather, he doubted Eggsy had ever felt safe admitting to things like that.
soz t an i was busy
wanna come here?
Merlin stared at the message for a few moments. Eggsy had taken up residence in Harry’s house. Just where he wanted to be, really. In the house he’d spent so much time with Harry over the years.
If you’re busy…
i said we WAS busy merls
If you’re going to call me that, I’ll just take this bottle of scotch and go home.
was jus a joke promise come on over t’d love to see you too
He thought about telling Eggsy to enjoy his night with Tilde. She was a busy woman and their time was sometimes strained. But if he suddenly changed his mind, Eggsy would get suspicious of that.
I’ll be there in a few.
He took a cab to Harry’s… Eggsy’s home. It was strange knocking on the door when he’d had a key for so long. Eggsy let him inside and he was struck by how little Eggsy had changed the house. Except that the downstairs toilet door was open. Harry always kept Mr. Pickle private; Eggsy was displaying him. Because he’d been Harry’s, of course.
They went into the lounge; Eggsy’d already gotten them three glasses. It wasn’t long before the three of them had gotten half-way through the bottle. Merlin was pleasantly buzzed, but it hadn’t really helped what he was feeling.
“I miss him, too, bruv,” Eggsy said.
“‘s all over your face.”
Eggsy went over to him and sat on the edge of the coffee table. Merlin’s legs were on either side of his own and he was being careful to not let their legs touch, but even still he put a hand on Merlin’s leg. He watched the man’s hazel eyes for a few moments. The grief was so stark there, so open and clear.
“You know… when I stayed over that night, when I got to spend 24 hours with Harry? The only room I didn’t see was his bedroom.”
Merlin frowned slightly. “I’m not sure where this is going.”
“There’s a couple spots on the wall where the paper ain’t faded; picture sized spots. I mean, good job on getting them all before I moved in.”
“I don’t know what yer gettin’ at.”
Eggsy laughed softly. “You missed a picture. He kept one of you that was… ah… a bit more obviously romantic. He kept it hidden away in the armory. Open it up and the first thing he’d see was the two of you on holiday on some island.”
Merlin started to speak, stopped, and looked away. He sighed softly and shrugged. “We were never… ‘out’ at work. We couldn’t be.”
“Yeah. Like I ain’t s’pposed ta have a girlfriend.”
Eggsy grinned a little. “Kinda glad I never said nothin’ to him. I mean…” He tipped his head to the side in a half-shrug. “I know I’m obvious. Like. Embarrassingly obvious.”
“Harry would’ve been a gentleman about it.” Merlin shook his head a little and tipped his head back. “I keep seeing him everywhere.”
Eggsy got off the coffee table and sat beside him. “You know we’re here for you, right? Whatever you need, whenever you need it.”
Merlin laughed softly. “Thanks.”
“You know I mean it, mate. Anything. You just say the word.” Eggsy put a hand on his shoulder. “Stay the night. You don’t need to be alone right now.”
Merlin rolled his eyes. “Oh, yeah, that’ll look good.”
Eggsy nudged his shoulder. “Roxy spends the night sometimes. Plus, what the fuck’s Arthur gonna do? We ain’t up to nothin’. Just… friends spending time together.” He paused, and then grinned his perfected shit-eating grin. “And really, with how you’re feelin’ right now, I’d suggest we not, yanno, start snoggin’ or fuckin’ just yet.”
“Not with how I’m feelin’, no.” Merlin cleared his throat and took a drink from his glass. “Another time when we’re both a bit more sober and… I’m not feelin’ like this.”
Eggsy’s brow rose slightly, and his cheeks tinged slightly. That was… certainly one way to wipe that grin off his face. “Oh.”
Tilde looked over from where she was curled up in the chair. She got up and went over to them. She plucked the glass from Merlin’s hand, set it on the coffee table, and then took both men by the hand. She gently led them toward the stairs.
“Don’t argue with me. You both need affection and sleep. That’s all that’s going to happen.”
The two men let her lead them upstairs and into the bedroom that had been Harry’s before. They let her undress them for bed, her touches soft and nonsexual. And then they let her put them to bed, Merlin in the middle so they could both hold him; so they could both comfort him.
Eggsy lagged behind as they left Poppy Land. The adrenaline was fading from his system and it was hitting him; Merlin was dead. He’d missed something - fucking missed a mine when he knew they were in a fucking minefield - and Merlin had paid the price.
For his dad.
He got it, really he did. Merlin and Harry’d had to live knowing his dad died for them. He didn’t want to live with the fact that he’d killed Merlin, but Merlin and Harry wouldn’t have been able to live with letting him die.
Harry touched Elton John’s arm for a moment, signaling him to stop, and went over to Eggsy. “What can I do?” he asked softly.
“Nothin’,” he muttered. He looked up at Harry after a moment. “Can we…? I mean…” He shuddered a breath. “I can’t leave whatever’s left of him for the fuckin’ animals. I can’t.”
Harry looked over at where Merlin had cut down some of the branches and vines. This… was not something he wanted to see; this was not something he’d ever wanted to see. But he put a hand on Eggsy’s shoulder and squeezed.
“I’ll go find him,” Harry said softly.
It wasn’t hard to find him and Harry stared at the body for several moments. It struck him as odd that the only obvious damage was that he was missing his legs from the knee down. And then he nodded to himself. There’d been one bombproof suit on the jet. He and Eggsy had insisted that Merlin take it.
For all the good it did, Harry thought bitterly.
He went over to Merlin and hunkered down beside him. He realized Merlin hadn’t died immediately. He could see where he’d wrapped his tie around his legs and used it as a makeshift tourniquet. And he’d, for whatever reason, cut a number of plants Harry couldn’t identify and stuck them to the bleeding stumps. He leaned over to inspect them, trying to figure out what Merlin had been thinking, since there’d been no way to put pressure on, what, a makeshift bandage?
“‘s a relative of…”
Harry missed the next word. For one thing, it had been spoken in a weak and fading whisper. For another…
“Who else were you expecting?” came a quiet, weary whisper.
Harry stared at him in horror for a moment and then his training overcame his shock. “Galahad!” he yelled while carefully gathering Merlin.
Eggsy had come at a run. He didn’t know what Harry was yelling about, but he’d heard the panic in his voice, the fear. He stopped short when he saw Harry holding Merlin. The sight of it hit him hard, but his training had clicked on when Harry had yelled for him and he managed to force his feelings down.
“Knife,” Harry said with a nod to where Merlin’s knife had ended up.
Eggsy saw the blood that had pooled near it. The feeling that brought was harder to push down. As he leaned down, he heard Harry moving away. Rapidly. He turned to look at him and realized the man was jogging in the direction of the jet. No, he was nearly running.
“Oh, fuck me,” he whispered.
The panic and fear in Harry’s voice and his running to the jet only made sense if he needed to, say, get the bleeding to stop; it made sense if Merlin was still alive.
“Hope you can run in those shoes,” Eggsy yelled over his shoulder and took off to follow Harry.
He didn’t look behind him. For the moment, he did not give one single fuck if the musician got lost in the jungle. He was in bright fuckin’ feathers. Once they took care of Merlin - alive; Merlin’s alive - he or Harry could go find him. Part of him realized that wouldn’t be necessary; distantly he realized he could hear the man running behind him.
He took the stairs up into the jet two at a time and found Harry at the bed that had been so conveniently on the jet. The part of Eggsy still reeling from shock wondered - a touch hysterically - if that was why the bed had been there in the first place.
“Give me his knife,” Harry said.
All the emotion was gone from his voice. Eggsy had a feeling that part of his brain had shut down. He handed it over.
“Harry, there’s the gel…”
Harry nodded toward Merlin’s missing legs as an answer. He’d gotten a lighter - a real one and not a Kingsman one - while he’d been waiting on Eggsy and was using it to heat one side of the blade. Eggsy looked at Merlin and saw there was one pack of the gel over the stump of his left leg. He realized they’d only been sent with one.
“Hold him down.”
Eggsy straddled Merlin’s lap, his hands on the - not dying; he’ll make it; he’s gotta - man’s shoulders and leaned on them. He heard the sizzle of hot metal against flesh and felt Merlin buck beneath him. He heard Harry flick the lighter on again and he let up on Merlin’s shoulders.
Harry had to burn Merlin twice more before he was willing to untie the tourniquet and check if the entire stump was well cauterized. He only had to do it one more time after that. Then, without another word to Eggsy, he rushed out of the room.
Eggsy didn’t bother asking what he was doing. Now that they’d stopped the bleeding (and, hopefully, the fuckin’ gel was doing something for the blood loss), they needed to get Merlin to Medical. Harry was, obviously, getting them airborne.
He knew when someone was in shock, after getting them stable, the next step was to keep them warm and loosen any restrictive clothing. Kingsman suits weren't restrictive, but they weren’t loose, either. He worried they might be restrictive enough in this case. He unbuttoned Merlin’s shirt and undid his trousers.
A quiet but hysterical giggle escaped him. He’d been straddling Merlin, on a bed, and now he was undoing the man’s clothing. Fantasy come to life, he thought, trying to not break down into a fit of those hysterical giggles.
He pulled the blanket up from the other side of the bed and wrapped it over Merlin. He was all too aware of how pale Merlin looked and how shallow and rapid his breathing was. His lips had a slight, but present, blue tinge to them. The words ‘hemorrhagic shock’ and ‘common complication: death’ kept chasing around in his mind.
Harry could not fly the jet fast enough for him.
It had been a month since they’d been in the jungle. A month since they’d watched Merlin sacrifice himself. And Eggsy had all but lived in Medical the entire time. He’d spent part of it in Statesman’s Medical while Kingsman’s headquarters was rebuilt. He’d barely left Merlin’s side; he’d even taken to sleeping in the room with him. Once headquarters was rebuilt, Merlin was transferred to their Medical. He knew it bothered Merlin, but he even stayed with him once Merlin started therapy to work with the prosthetics.
“Do you want me to go?” he asked Merlin during one session.
“Yeh’ve got more things ta do than look after me,” Merlin snapped.
Eggsy wasn’t sure if he was legitimately annoyed or if he was embarrassed. “Harry has the staff, he has the agents who were on assignment, and he has Tequila. He told me he’d call for me if he needed me.” Eggsy paused. “Now, do you want me to go?”
Merlin ignored the question. He had a white-knuckle grip on the support bars as he tried to take a step. His fucking legs still hurt, and not just where he’d had surgery. Phantom pains; he knew they’d pass but it didn’t make the pain any less real.
Eggsy went over to the nurse who was there to help catch Merlin if he lost his balance. He tapped her on the shoulder and nodded toward the door. The nurse frowned at him, and then sighed and nodded. Eggsy watched her go and then turned toward Merlin.
Merlin glared at him for a moment and then sighed irritably. He took a step and faltered. Eggsy’s hands came up to catch him, but Merlin managed to keep his balance.
“I’m nae a feckin’ bairn,” he snarled.
Eggsy was taken aback. He had never heard Merlin actually speak like that. Sure, little bits of his accent surfaced at times, and he’d heard it thicken when he was mad, but this… this was a whole new level. Merlin had actually slipped mostly into Scots, and it told Eggsy just how upset Merlin really was.
He stepped closer to Merlin; close enough that he couldn’t try and step forward again just yet. He put his hands on Merlin’s chest. He looked up at Merlin, his eyes searching the older man’s face.
“I know you’re not,” he said softly. “Is that what this is about? You think this is makin’ me think less of you? Nothin’ could do that, Merlin. Nothin’. And anyone here says one fuckin’ word about it, and I’ll kick their arse.”
“It…” He huffed.
“It’s embarrassin’,” Eggsy said nodding. “I get it; I do. You think Harry wasn’t embarrassed? Got his fuckin’ arse kicked in an American pub.”
Merlin coughed a laugh. He was Mad and he was Embarrassed, and Eggsy was not going to change that.
“C’mon, mate,” he said, taking a step back from him. “Take a step for me, alright? We get to the end of this fuckin’ thing and you can have a break.”
Merlin sighed irritably and managed another step. Eggsy sounded like his fucking nurse. He knew, logically, that Eggsy cared about him and this was just his way of trying to take care of him. But Eggsy wasn’t wrong in his belief that Merlin was embarrassed. He was so accustomed to being in control that this was more than simply difficult for him.
He managed to get to the end of the bars and he could feel his legs shaking. It was amazing how much more difficult it was walking using only his thighs. He waited where he was while Eggsy brought over his wheelchair. God, he hated the fucking thing, but he let Eggsy help him into it and leaned back against it.
Eggsy moved around behind him and started wheeling him out of the therapy room. “What say we get you some lunch?”
“In my room.”
Eggsy said nothing for a moment. Merlin had been stubbornly refusing to eat anywhere else. But then he nodded to himself and kissed the top of his head without even thinking about it. “Sure. We’ll stop off there and I’ll go get us something.”
Merlin said nothing until Eggsy had wheeled him into his room. He thought about not even mentioning it, but… “Why did you kiss me?”
Eggsy stopped in his tracks and looked back at Merlin. “I…” Fuck, he had, hadn’t he? “Well… It… Guys-can-have-platonic-kisses-too.”
“Yes, they can,” Merlin agreed. “But that isn’t what I asked, now is it?”
Eggsy shrugged uncomfortably and looked away from him. Merlin watched him for a moment. Eggsy’s posture and the fact that he’d looked away answered the question for him. And it explained to Merlin the entire reason Eggsy had barely left his side. It wasn’t just that Eggsy had almost lost Harry (and Merlin knew what Eggsy’s feelings for Harry were) and now Eggsy had nearly lost him. It was that Eggsy had developed feelings for him, too, and Eggsy had unintentionally slipped.
Merlin thought about pushing the matter, but he also knew Eggsy wanted to spend the rest of his life with Tilde. He thought Eggsy probably felt like he was betraying that love by being in love with two other people, and two men, at that. That… and Dean had probably beaten it into him that being bisexual was only acceptable if it was because he was, to use the term, gay-for-pay.
“You’re right,” Merlin said. “I’m making too much of a thing about it; it was completely platonic.”
Eggsy looked back at him and forced a smile. “Glad we agree.”
He left to get Merlin his lunch, but not so quickly that Merlin hadn’t seen the pain in Eggsy’s eyes. There was really… no good answer for Eggsy, no good choice, and Merlin knew it.
While I can read and understand Scots, I'm not so good at going from English to Scots. So I employed the use of an online translator to check myself. It came back almost with what I'd thought it should be, but if it's wrong (outside of the 'I'm' cos that was intentional), lemme know. 💙
Chapter 22: Explosion
Part II of V
Every time Eggsy closed his eyes, he saw the end of the transmission before Brandon and J.B. had been killed. He hadn’t seen the explosions. He’d only heard the missile hit, and then seen the ruins of the house he’d lived in, that Harry had lived in. He hadn’t seen the missile coming. He hadn’t felt the heat of the explosion or heard the mansion collapsing all around him. He hadn’t had to dive frantically for the escape tunnel. He hadn’t been half-trapped when part of it had given way. He hadn’t had to pull himself along, doing a half-arsed military crawl with one shattered leg and one broken arm, hoping to just get into the safe room proper, hoping that the fuckin’ thing was even still standing. He hadn’t had to spend days down there alone, no mobile signal, no functional landline, not even the fuckin’ glasses, until one of the agents came to check in and found the crater.
No. He’d been busy in Kentucky by that point. Probably still moping over his cockup with Tilde or trying to get Harry’s memory back. He’d come out of the entire thing practically unscathed. And he felt so fuckin’ guilty over it.
He heard a soft, painful sound and looked at the bed. Its occupant was waking up, and he hoped she’d stay awake for a little while today. Not that… anyone would know Rox just by looking at her. She was covered in bandages, and her right arm and leg were elevated; she’d had a handful of surgeries as the doctors had used screws and pins and shit to try and fix her.
Her leg and arm had been struck by falling debris when part of the escape tunnel had given way. She’d been lucky enough to get herself out from it without tearing off too much of her own skin in the process, but not before the heat and flames from the missile had reached her. The heat wave had burned her, badly, and where it hadn’t met her skin, it had met her clothing and ignited it.
Eggsy hadn’t even wanted to picture her, trapped and struggling to get out and put herself out. Somehow, she’d done it. Somehow, she’d stayed calm enough and then had crawled on her burned and broken body.
“Hey,” came a whisper from inside the bandages.
“Hey, yourself,” he said, forcing a grin. “You look like shit, mate.”
“It’s the newest fad in Milan. I do not recommend it.” She coughed and grimaced. She’d breathed in a lot of crap while she’d been trapped. “How long have you been here?”
“Couple days,” he said with a shrug. “You’ve been kinda in and out. I hear multiple major surgeries will do that to a person.”
“Mm, also not recommended.”
“I’ll be around for a bit still. If you need somethin’. Merlin’s… well…” he shrugged.
She tried to move and Eggsy put a hand on her to still her. “I thought… they didn’t target staff.”
“Oh, they didn’t. But s’far as Merlin and I knew, it was just the two of us and we ended up in Kentucky, and found Harry. Alive. But, you know, we had to go do our job and Merlin ended up losing his legs.”
“Yeah. He’s still in the middle of learning to walk with the prosthetics.” He offered her a halfhearted smile. “I tried takin’ over for his PT nurse once. Stubborn, he is.”
She laughed softly; it ended with her coughing. “We should all do something nice for her.”
“Yeah, poor girl.”
Roxy was quiet for a moment. “I guess it’s a good thing we’re so short-staffed right now.”
Eggsy frowned a little and shook his head. “Why?”
“They can’t retire me just yet… They’ll have to wait.”
“Eggsy, I have been burned over almost every part of my body. The surgeons can’t be sure how well my arm and leg are going to heal. And that…” She let out a shuddery breath and was quiet for a moment. Because like fuck she was going to start crying, not with someone else in the room. “...that doesn’t even touch on whatever trauma I have.”
“Harry lost an eye and is seeing butterflies. He spent the last year thinkin’ he'd only studied butterflies. He’s got some serious trauma goin’ on. Merlin’s got his trauma.” He paused and shrugged. “I guess I got my own. I mean… sorta watched Brandon die, thought you was dead, thought I watched Merlin die, Tilde nearly died.” He fell silent. His trauma was all ‘I was around these people who really were traumatized’. What kinda fuckin’ pussy was he? “Point it, Rox, if they retired us for this shit, we’d all be gone.”
“You do know that you’re incredibly obnoxious, yes?”
He grinned at her. “It’s my best quality.” He looked over at her door opened and one of the nurses came in. “I think he’s gonna kick me out for a bit.”
“Come back after, yeah?”
“Course.” He stood up and kissed her forehead. “We’ll go skydiving.”
She laughed softly. “Sounds brilliant.”
Chapter 23: "Stay With Me"
Part III of V
In the end, Eggsy made his choice, and he didn’t regret it. Not beyond a few thoughts here and there about what could have been. But everyone had ‘what could have beens’, and he had more of those than just Harry and Merlin. Things like that were just part of life.
It had taken him the better part of six months to really get comfortable living in a fuckin’ palace and having servants to see to his needs. He’d grown up in the estates, for fuck’s sake. This was not something that happened to guys like him. Not guys who’d spent a chunk of their lives as a prostitute; not guys with a record as long as their arm. Alright, so maybe his record wasn’t quite that bad and, sure, most of it had been mostly petty shit. But there was that bust when he got caught slingin’ drugs for Dean and the time he’d totaled Rottie’s car.
The thing he had gotten comfortable with - and quickly - was being able to sleep next to Tilde every night. And that was where he was presently. Their naked bodies pressed together; his arm around her with his hand on her stomach. He was out; no one had ever told him that marrying a Crown Princess was so much work. Not in the sense of work, but in the sense of being in public quite often and being under their scrutiny, especially since he was the kinda guy who just did not marry royalty.
And that was why his mobile had rung three times before it penetrated his sleep. He realized it was Harry’s ringtone and scrambled for it. By the time it was in hand, however, it had gone to voicemail. He sighed and lay back.
His wife rolled against him. “Wha’s wrong?” she slurred, too asleep to think about speaking in English.
“Dunno. He’ll call back though.”
Eggsy checked the time. According to his mobile, it was 3:47 a.m., and they were only an hour ahead of Harry. When nearly a minute had passed and Harry hadn’t called back, Eggsy assumed that Harry had… misdialed or some shit. Or maybe the dog had hit it just right. He was just getting settled back into a doze when it chimed that he had a voicemail. He wanted to just go back to sleep and listen to whatever had happened in the morning, but he couldn’t. Married to royalty or not, living full time in Sweden or not, he was still Galahad. He was just… inactive until Merlin could figure out a way to keep his identity secret now that he was such a public figure.
He dialed his voicemail and more-or-less leaned the mobile against his ear. He frowned a little as he listened, and then a little more. And then he sat up, his jaw dropping a little as he listened. Once it was finished, he stared at the mobile and then had it replay the message. The message did not change. He set the mobile on the nightstand and then just… stared into the darkness of the room.
He started guiltily and forced out a laugh. “It ain’t nothin’, babe,” he said as he lay back down beside her. He put his arms around her again. “Just a butt dial.”
Now it was her turn to sit up. She switched her bedside lamp on and eyed him. “Just a butt dial. From Harry.”
“Yeah. Happens to us all.”
“Mmhmm.” She watched him for a moment, her head tipping to the side slightly. He was hiding it well, but she knew him; she could see the guilt in his eyes. “Eggsy, do you regret marrying me?” There was no accusation in her voice, no recrimination; just… simple curiosity.
“No, babe,” he said. He pushed himself up so he was sitting again. He put his hands on her arms. “Babe, I love you. I meant it when I said I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I mean, bein’ a prince is still… kinda intimidatin’, but… no, I’ll never regret it.”
“May I hear it?”
“Babe, I to-”
She put a finger to his lips. “Don’t lie to me, Eggsy,” she said softly. “Not about this. If you don’t want to let me listen, that’s fine, just don’t lie about it.”
He looked away from her for a moment. “You ain’t gonna… be upset, are you?”
She shook her head. “No, darling. I won’t be upset.”
He picked up his mobile and had it play the message again, this time on speaker. He kept his eyes on the mobile as it played. He was almost afraid of what he’d see in her eyes, what she’d think, what she’d say.
“I should’ve fucking said something,” it began.
Harry’s voice was slurred, which meant Harry was very drunk. Eggsy had never actually seen Harry drunk, much less drunk enough that he couldn’t hide it. It wasn’t a gentlemanly thing to do or show.
“But it wouldn’t have been appropriate. There’re times, Eggsy, when being a gentleman is, frankly, absolute shit. When you told me you’d gotten a girlfriend, I very nearly said something. But, again, that wouldn’t have been appropriate. A gentleman does not try and break up a relationship because he’s jealous. Fuck, a gentleman should be capable of handling his jealousy.” He sighed. There was the very definite sound of a glass clinking against Harry’s mobile as he had another drink. “And it’s not as if I’m alone or unhappy with my choice of lifemates. Or that Merlin’s injury has in any real way changed our relationship.”
That had concerned Eggsy, too. The use of Merlin’s codename and not his actual name over an open line. It would have been one thing if Harry had been contacting him via the glasses. But… not over an open line.
“He’s doing much better, you know. Walking like… right, right, you saw at the wedding. Now, I’m not unhappy for you, my dear boy. You found love… it just wasn’t with me. You have no idea, do you, darling? I sat there, watching you marry a woman I know you love - and please don’t take that the wrong way; she’s a good woman and very good for you - but all I wanted to do was stand up and yell at you ‘stay with me’. But… oh, bugger all. Eggsy, don’t listen to this. Just… delete it.”
He looked up at Tilde, searching her face for some sign. But she just smiled softly at him. She reached up and brushed his hair back with her fingers.
“You really ain’t upset…?”
She shook her head. “No. It’s not as if I didn’t know. I’m sure there’s one person somewhere who doesn’t know Harry’s in love with you, or that you were in love with him.”
“I thought he was dead. I. I wasn’t expectin’-”
She put a finger to his lips again. “I’m not accusing you of anything, Eggsy.” She offered him an apologetic smile. “I admit, knowing how you felt about Harry was part of why I… jumped so quickly when I thought you were proposing.” She still wasn’t entirely certain how else she should have taken ‘I want to spend the rest of my life with you’. “And I’m going to tell you what I said then: with this kind of commitment, I’m alright with it.”
He stared at her. His jaw had dropped again. “I. What?”
“We have a commitment to each other, one you said you don’t regret.” She laughed softly. “What if… we take the jet to London tomorrow? We’ll talk with Harry and Merlin, and we’ll… figure out ground rules so that everyone is happy.”
He stared at her again. Because… this was something else guys like him just did not get. He tried to speak and couldn’t. After a minute, the most he could manage was, “Really?”
She nodded. “Really.”
“Yes! We…” He shook his head. “Yeah, let’s do that.”
She laughed softly, shut off the lamp, and lay back. She took him by the hand and nudged him to lay down with her, and then she held onto him. They were quiet for a few minutes and she was nearly asleep again when Eggsy spoke.
“Do you… you know… want a boyfriend? Or a girlfriend?”
She laughed softly again. “We’ll talk about it tomorrow, darling.”
Merlin was rushing down to Arthur’s office. Galahad had contacted them from the air, telling them they needed to meet as soon as they could. Merlin had checked every source he could - even a few tabloids - while Galahad was en route. He’d found no sign of anything, but that didn’t necessary mean there was nothing going on. Governments didn’t always advertise problems, but he knew the Princess would have told Eggsy.
He knocked lightly before going into Arthur’s office. “Galahad, Princess,” he said, nodding to them both in turn.
And then Eggsy turned on the shit-eating grin. “Did I… forget to mention that this was personal, not business?”
“You little shit,” Merlin snapped.
Tilde went over to him and whispered to him. His irritation turned to surprise and he looked from Harry to Eggsy, and then stared at Harry.
“Oh,” was all he said.
And Harry… quite suddenly looked very embarrassed. “Merlin…”
“Dammit all, Harry,” Merlin sighed and then dug his wallet out. He took out two tenners and held them out to Tilde, who took them with a grin not unlike Eggsy’s own. “Why in the…?”
“He was… very drunk,” Tilde said, putting the money in her purse.
“Of course. I didn’t… consider it might be a drunken confession.”
Harry’s lips pressed into a line. “Am I… to understand that the two of you bet on whether or not I would say anything?”
“Of course not, Harry,” Merlin said dismissively. “We bet on which of you would finally say something.”
Eggsy stared at the two of them. He wasn’t sure if he should feel… somehow offended, maybe… that his own wife had bet against him here or really pleased that she had. He looked back at Harry and shrugged a little.
“Tilde… thought the four of us could, you know, talk about ground rules?”
Harry sat back in his chair and stared at Tilde for a moment. “Well… I suppose if Tilde has no objections… Merlin?”
He shook his head. “None.” He looked about to say something and then shook his head. “None.”
Harry frowned a little. “I do know when you’re hiding something. This… is not something where keeping silent is advisable.”
Merlin watched Eggsy for a moment. The pain he’d seen in the younger man’s eyes came back to him with startling clarity. But… how much was too much for Tilde? How much would it bother her? And for that matter, how much did she already realize?
“I didn’t believe you,” he said after a moment. “And I still don’t believe it was platonic.”
Eggsy tipped his head to the side a little and stammered for a moment before sighing and trying again. “Alright, so maybe it wasn’t. Maybe… Harry… ain’t-the-only-one-I-got-feelin’s-for.”
Tilde tipped her head back and clucked her tongue. “I should have bet Harry, too.” She looked back at Eggsy. “Darling, you are terrible at hiding when you love someone. That isn’t a bad thing, mind, but… you really are rubbish at it.”
“Helluva thing to tell a spy, babe.”
She grinned. “Well, then, don’t fall in love with a target. Problem solved.”
He laughed softly and ducked his head. He really… didn’t expect this to just be… accepted. “Alright,” he said after a moment, unable to keep from grinning. “So… ground rules…?”
“Don’t leave visible marks on him; he doesn’t need that all over the papers, too.” Tilde said. “Also, I would, perhaps, suggest something more secure than conversations over your mobiles.”
“Both are perfectly understandable,” Harry said. “What else?”
She shrugged. “That’s… all I’m concerned with. This isn’t something that needs to be fodder for tabloids.” She paused. “I hope you understand that my reasoning is not out of embarrassment.”
“No, babe, I think we get it. I’m… gonna be… the consort to the Queen someday.” Oooh, and wasn’t that intimidating to think about.
“It also…” she cleared her throat. “May be best if… I come with Eggsy on his trips to London. It will… look a bit odd if he’s always going by himself.”
Harry and Merlin exchanged a glance before Harry looked back at her. “Well, you’ll be welcome to come and stay with us.”
Eggsy hissed in a breath as an image occurred to him. And image of the four of them. In bed. Fucking. But… that would never happen. He was bi; Harry was bi; but he knew Merlin was gay. There was… no way he was gonna convince Merlin that… they should just… have a foursome, but fuck, it was a good image. One he’d keep for shower time.
Chapter 24: Ransom
Part IV of V
Eggsy came to with a groan. He couldn’t remember what had happened. They’d been at a party and then… then something had happened. And given his current state, well, he knew he’d been abducted.
He was on a hard, metal chair, a bag over his head. His ankles were cuffed to the legs, his wrists to the arms. After a moment, he realized there was a collar around his neck. He tested his bonds. A sharp, sickening pain shot through him as he moved his leg just a little. His bonds were metal, welded to the chair.
He heard a door open and heavy footfalls came near to him. They stopped just in front of him and he braced himself. His captor struck him across the face, but he kept silent.
“Finally awake, Your Highness?” A male voice, speaking Swedish with an accent.
“Whatever you’re after, you won’t be getting it,” he said. He’d gotten much better at the language since he'd been married.
“We’ll see,” was all his captor said and left.
He was left alone for what felt like hours before he heard the door open again. This time he heard two sets of footfalls. One - his captor’s by the sound of it - stopped right near him. The other was… maybe a metre or two away. He couldn’t be certain; there were too many unknown variables - the room size, acoustics, things like that - for him to be sure.
He felt a hand on his head and the hood was ripped off of him. He hadn’t been that far off about the distance, but he frowned at what he was seeing. The second man had a tablet in his hands and he could see Tilde’s stricken face on it. They were fuckin’ facetiming her.
“You see? Exactly as I said. We have your husband. If the money is not in our accounts in three days, we’ll be sending back a corpse.”
Eggsy’s eyes shifted up to his captor. His captor had a mask on. Alright, that… was a good sign. But then he looked at the man holding the tablet. That one wasn’t masked. Which meant he could describe him, identify him. And that meant he was dead either way.
“Don’t you fuckin’ pay it!” he yelled. “Don’t you give them-”
His words were cut off when his captor struck him in the face, hard enough that spots bloomed in front of him. He’d managed to bite down the cry that had risen from it.
“My stepfather hit me harder than that,” he snarled with bravado that he didn’t really feel.
His captor punched him again and he felt warm blood trickling down his lip. He looked up at the tablet and shook his head.
“Three days,” his captor said and the second one cut the connection. “Why don’t you want her to pay it, Your Highness?”
“Cos you ain’t gonna let me live.”
His captor laughed like they were friends. “What makes you say that?”
Eggsy nodded toward the other man. His captor sighed and shrugged.
“Smarter than I thought.”
He punched Eggsy again, this time in the stomach. Eggsy barely had time to get his breath again before his captor struck him again. Eggsy had no way to defend himself, no way to even try to escape the blows.
He was panting from the pain by the time his captor stopped striking him. His lips were swollen and bloody; his nose was bleeding; one of his eyes was already swelling shut. His captor angled his head up and the second one took several pictures of him.
And then they left him. He tipped his head back against the chair and let the blackness take him.
His mouth was dry when he woke up. Not that he was really concerned about dying of thirst. He was dead in two days anyway. His eye was swollen shut and his lips were tacky from the blood. He tried to wet his lips, but they hurt too much.
He leaned his head back against the chair. He wasn’t sure how long he’d been out, but he figured it had to have been hours; he had to piss like a motherfuck. He had a feeling they weren’t going to let him up to take care of it. Somehow, knowing that sometime between now and his death he’d end up pissing himself was worse than the fact that they were gonna kill him.
He managed to will away the throbbing pain that was his bladder by the time his captors came in. They went over to him; neither of them had a mask on this time. He looked between them. He didn’t know who either man was, so there was no way to even try and get that information to Tilde. Assuming, anyway, that they called or facetimed her again.
The one who’d been in charge of the tablet grabbed his left hand and forced him to extend his fingers. Eggsy fought it, more out of principle than any expectation of stopping them. They were gonna torture him, sure, but they were gonna have to work for it.
“Splinters under the nails now? Or you just jumping straight to ripping them off?”
The captor let go of most of his fingers, holding only onto the ring finger. A sarcastic comment rose to Eggsy’s lips… and promptly died when the other man held up a pair of bolt cutters. He tried to struggle, but there was little he could do as the bolt cutters were brought down. He turned his head away, trying to bit down on the scream he knew was about to come. He felt the metal biting into his flesh just behind his wedding ring and heard the snap as the bone was cut through.
He screamed, barely feeling the tears that had come with the pain. He wanted to black out again; he wanted to get away from the pain and the sickening feeling of blood pooling under his hand. Distantly, he could hear the weakly pained sounds in his panting breath. And… he could feel the wetness in his trousers. He tipped his head back, letting the tears come; tears of pain, of fear, of humiliation.
They left him, and he assumed they were going to have his finger delivered to Tilde. He just hoped she wouldn’t pay them a cent. She was losing enough as it was.
He’d dozed most of the… day? He wasn’t sure how long they’d left him alone for. His finger burned. Not just where they’d cut it, but where the finger, itself, should be. His brain kept insisting it was there and in pain. It wouldn’t bother him for long. He had little doubt that their next visit would be their last.
His eyes, well… his eye fluttered open when he heard the door open. This was it. Of all the ways he’d figured he’d die, this hadn’t even been on the fuckin’ radar. He felt numb, like he’d shut down emotionally. Distantly he was glad of that; at least he wouldn’t end up beggin’ for his life.
His captor held a gun in his face. His mind flashed back to his talk with Harry on the jet, when they’d talked about what had gone through the older man’s head when he’d been shot. He took a slow breath and sighed it out.
“I do hate to interrupt,” came a voice from the doorway. “But I simply can’t allow this.”
Eggsy choked out a quiet laugh. He should have known Harry would find him.
His captor turned the gun on Harry and fired, repeatedly. He heard the soft chiming of the spent shells hitting the floor. He could all but see Harry, standing there as if they hadn’t actually shot at him. He probably had the rainmaker out, covering what little area the suit didn’t. It brought a small smile to his wounded lips.
He heard two answering shots; the sound of them confirming that Harry was using the rainmaker. He watched his captors fall and heard Harry’s footfalls.
“Impeccable timing, Arthur.”
“I do strive for dramatic entrances,” Harry said.
He came around Eggsy and visibly faltered. His eyes moved from Eggsy’s bruised and battered face to his hand. He’d seen the pictures and Tilde had told them about the finger, but… but this was so much worse.
“Darling,” he said softly.
“Just take me home, love.”
It took Harry a few moments to find the release for Eggsy’s bonds. He guided Eggsy’s arms around his neck and picked him up. Eggsy leaned his head against Harry’s chest, breathing in the scent of the man and his cologne. A weak sob escaped him and he bit down the emotions that wanted to spill over.
“It’s alright,” Harry said softly. “I’ll never think badly of you, my dear. Especially not now.”
Eggsy buried his face against Harry and let himself cry as he was carried to the jet. He tried to bite the emotions down as Harry boarded. Harry whispered soft reassurances that it was perfectly fine to cry, and that he was safe.
“We’ll be home in just a few hours,” he heard Merlin say. “We’re taking you back to headquarters.”
Harry set him down and then sat beside him. Eggsy cuddled up to him and slept.
He came to with a groan. He was on his back, something warm was against him, and there was a tube taped to his arm. It was enough to tell him where he was: in Medical with an IV in his arm. He ran his tongue along his lips and felt the stitches.
He shifted a little, his eye opening. Tilde was asleep beside him, her arm slung over him. Harry was asleep in a chair beside the bed. Merlin was standing and watching him; he smiled a little when he saw Eggsy awake.
“Afternoon,” Merlin said.
The single word was enough to wake Harry up. He smiled warmly and took Eggsy’s hand. “How are you feeling, dearest?”
“Like shit.” He tipped his head slightly and then shrugged. “Better though.” He felt Tilde stirring against him and he kissed the top of her head. “Hey, babe.”
She made a soft sound, forcing herself up out of sleep. “You’re awake,” she said.
“Yeah, you ain’t very awake yet though.”
She nudged him lightly and then kissed the corner of his mouth. “Awake enough.” She put her hands on his cheeks. “Why didn’t you want me to pay? I would have.”
“Already seen one of their faces. They wasn’t gonna let me live.”
She made a soft sound and clung to him. “That’s what Harry thought,” she said quietly.
Merlin sighed irritably and turned away. He tapped his glasses. “What? No, we’re in a meeting. Handle it.” His lips pressed into a line and he sighed again. “Fine. I will be there shortly.”
He tapped his glasses again and went over to Eggsy. He leaned down and kissed him, gently and carefully. He pressed his forehead against Eggsy’s and then straightened up.
“Got something that can’t wait. I’ll be back once it’s seen to.” He looked at Harry. “You are still incommunicado.”
“Yes, sir,” Harry said with a little smile. He watched Merlin leave and then looked at Eggsy. “You’ve had an agent with you, the both of you, at all times.”
“Scared I’ll get away?”
Harry squeezed his hand gently. “Something like that, maybe.”
“Do you need anything?”
He shook his head. “Nah, babe. Just… the two of you, and Merlin whenever he gets done.”
Chapter 25: Scars
Part V of V
It was the middle of the night and he was awake. He wasn’t certain what had woken him. He could hear the Princess’ breathing - well, light snoring if he wanted to be accurate - but it didn’t take him long to realize what was missing. There should have been the sounds of two others in the bed with them, but… He reached over and confirmed that there was space on either side of him where they should be.
Eggsy getting up was what had woken him, then. He thought about just going back to sleep; perhaps even rolling up against Tilde and sleeping against her. It wasn’t as if it would be the first time. And then, whenever Merlin and Eggsy were done with… whatever… they wouldn’t bother anyone getting back into bed.
Instead, he got out of bed and his prosthetic - detecting movement - automatically scanned the room and brought up the option to display in night vision. He smiled lightly and had it activate. It let him creep out of the bedroom and down the hallway without making any noise
It was the middle of the night and he was awake. He wasn’t certain what had woken him, and then he realized it was his hand. More specifically, it was the finger that no longer existed. The doctors had told him the phantom pains would pass, but that it could take years. He’d gotten a prosthetic - it looked fuckin’ steampunk and he could actually use it. It had helped with the pain when he wore it. He didn’t know if it was cos his brain was getting some sorta input when he moved it or if part of the pain was just in his head.
He thought about just trying to go back to sleep, but… he wasn’t gonna get back to sleep with his finger insisting that it was there and hurting. Not because he couldn’t sleep through pain. He’d learned how to sleep through pain when he was a kid. But this pain… this pain brought nightmares. Nightmares that the three others had noticed, more than once. And if he started having nightmares tonight, they’d get on him again about going to a therapist or some shit like that.
And yeah, okay, fine, he probably should. He just… didn’t want to. He wanted to go on pretending that he hadn’t been really fuckin’ rattled by being taken like that. He’d been so fuckin’ helpless. He hadn’t been able to stop a single blow, and he wouldn’t have been able to do a fuckin’ thing but die if Harry hadn’t gotten to him. And that… really hadn’t been the worst of it. The worst thing about it… was how easily it could have been Tilde.
He got up before he could go any further down that particular path. He went downstairs to get a drink and knock the feeling of his missing finger down. The light was on in the lounge. He looked inside. Merlin was in there, sitting on the sofa; a pug on one side of him and a cairn terrier on the other. There was a drink on the coffee table in front of him, and a bottle of whisky that Eggsy knew was a good two glasses emptier than it had been the night before.
Eggsy went in and sat on the other side of the pug, picked the drink up, and drained it. “Thanks,” he said, putting the glass back. “Real thoughtful, that.”
Merlin offered him the ghost of a smile. “You know what I miss?”
“Stubbin’ your toe? No, no, that thing where you stub your fuckin’ little toe and break the fucker cos it snaps like nothin’.”
“No, Eggsy,” Merlin said. This was their normal banter when the loss of his legs started getting to him, but his heart wasn’t in it tonight, or this morning, or whenever the fuck it was. “I miss John Denver.”
Eggsy sighed softly and was quiet for a moment. If it were up to him, Country Roads would have disappeared from the world. It would have become an Unsong. “Well… no reason you can’t listen to him. I mean, please don’t play that fuckin’ song while I’m around, but…”
Merlin shook his head. “I thought about it, about… pullin’ somethin’ up on YouTube or somethin’. But… I dunno. It’s no’ the same.”
Eggsy’s brow rose slightly. He knew what Merlin was talking about. The man was a tech wizard, yes, who quickly, and happily, adopted any new tech he was given or found on his own. But there was one thing he’d never truly moved away from: LP records. Sure, Merlin had moved onto cassettes, CDs, and MP3s, but Merlin was a snob about them the way Harry was a snob about suits. Except, well, Merlin would use means other than an LP whereas Harry wouldn’t be caught dead in an off the peg suit.
Merlin sighed. “Yeah.”
The first thing Merlin had done once he’d gotten out of hospital was go through his entire music collection and take out everything John Denver. It was mostly CDs and his LPs, although he did have a couple cassettes that had too much ‘emotional value’ to have been discarded when they’d been replaced. He’d gone through all his devices and deleted the albums, too.
“I mean… at the time…”
Eggsy nodded. “At the time, you thought you was never gonna wanna hear him again. You thought it would always be too painful.” He shrugged. “Mum was like that ‘bout dad. Went through like a fuckin’ madwoman.” He paused. “Was the first time I ever ‘stole’ somethin’. She’d be off in their room or somethin’ and I’d sneak out to where she was piling stuff and I snag what I could hide. She wasn’t mad when she found my little stash, but fuck, she cried for hours. I thought I’d done somethin’, yanno? Told her I was sorry, and she just… held me and cried on me. Told me I was her good babe, that I was smarter than mummy cos I knew she’d want somethin’ of him.”
“You were smarter then than I am now; that’s… a wonderful thought.”
Eggsy leaned over and kissed his temple. “No, wasn’t smarter. Jus’ didn’t understand what was goin’ on, only that mum was gettin’ rid of all dad’s stuff.” He got up and went out into the entry hall. “Harry. Didn’t wake you, did we?”
Harry offered him a somewhat guilty half-shrug. “I noticed you were gone.”
Harry nodded. “I heard.”
Eggsy grinned at him and winked. He went to the hall closet while Harry went up to his office briefly. Eggsy waited until he came back down before they went into the lounge together.
Merlin had poured himself another drink when he’d heard Harry. He figured Harry was going to… to… something. Maybe nag at him for the late-night/early-morning drinking. What he did not expect was to see Eggsy come in with a little envelope and Harry with a box.
Eggsy handed the envelope to him and waited until he opened it. There was a small, clear plastic case inside with a memory card inside. He held it up with a curious look.
“Every John Denver song I could find.”
Harry set the box down on the coffee table. He took the top off of it and let Merlin see what was inside. It was full of his LPs and the few cassettes Merlin had kept. Harry slipped out one of the LPs and went over to the entertainment center. Merlin was the reason they still had a turntable in the house. Harry put the record on and gently set the arm to play it before going to sit beside Merlin while Denver’s voice filled the room.
Chapter 26: Secret Injury
Part I of III
They’d been walking through the jungle for a good half hour. Eggsy was leading; Harry was claiming issues with his prosthetic. That wasn’t actually his problem. Kingsman suits were good against bullets, but not so good at hand-to-hand weapons and they certainly afforded no extra protection against insect bites. He’d been stabbed low, almost on his hip. They had nothing on them to deal with it, so Harry had said nothing. There was no use worrying Eggsy over something that was well out of their hands. The bugs had also gotten thicker as they’d traveled and one of them bit him on the back of the neck. He’d killed it for its trouble, but he could feel where the bite had risen and his neck was starting to ache.
If he didn’t die out in the jungle, Merlin was sure to kill him. He wasn’t certain which death would be worse, either.
“Doin’ all right, all things considered. I mean… we finished the mission, even if the jet got blown to shit, and even if we’re cut off from Merlin. How’s your eye doin’?” He looked over his shoulder. “Any- Harry?”
“I’m fine,” he said automatically.
But Eggsy had stopped walking. “Like fuck you are. You’re sweating-”
“We’re in the jungle.”
Eggsy frowned at him. “Yeah, but it ain’t pouring off me the way it’s pourin’ off you.”
“I’m twice your age.”
“And probably twice as fit,” he snapped. “You’re pale.”
Eggsy crossed his arms. “Don’t try this shit with me, Harry.”
Harry sighed wearily. “We have several kilometres to go to get to the extraction point.”
“And we ain’t gonna get there if you drop dead on me.”
“I have no plans to ‘drop dead’ as it were,” he said and pushed by Eggsy.
“You’re favorin’ your right side.”
Harry’s lips pressed together in a tight line. “I am doing no such thing.”
Eggsy followed him, paying close attention to how Harry was moving. He was clearly injured, and it was just a matter of figuring out where. It didn’t take him long, as Harry brushed against a plant and left a streak of blood.
And then Eggsy was against him, pushing him in another direction and staying between his wound and the foliage. “You’ve completely bled through your fuckin’ suit, that’s what. Dammit all, Harry.”
“There was no one left to follow us, and it took time to bleed that much.”
He pushed Harry up against a tree. “Off with ‘em.”
Harry eyed him blandly for a moment before sighing heavily and undoing his trousers. He pushed them down enough for Eggsy to see the wound. It was still bleeding - the constant movement pulling it open - but slowly. Eggsy knelt beside him and looked the wound over. It was deep, but...
He sighed. “Ain’t much we can do about it and it don’t look like you’re gonna bleed to death on me.” He stood up. “Next time, fuckin’ tell me.”
“Yes, sir,” Harry drawled.
Eggsy shook his head. “Do you know what it would do to me to lose you again?”
Harry’s eyes softened and he nodded. “I’m quite aware. Just as I’m aware of how you would have worried had you known the entire time.”
Eggsy’s lips pressed into a thin line. Harry had him there; he would have worried over him the entire time. Eggsy shrugged after a moment. “Alright, alright.” He sighed. “You think you can make it the rest of the way?”
“Alright. You tell me if you need a break, okay?” Harry nodded and gestured in the direction they’d been heading. “Shall we, then?”
They walked another two kilometres without incident, although the pain in Harry’s neck had becoming a throbbing spike that was making him nauseous. He reached back and felt it. It has swelled noticeably in the time they’d been traveling. He wiped his fingers across it and they came away wet. He glanced at them - long enough to verify the watery discharge - before wiping it on his sleeve.
He knew Eggsy would be… less than pleased… that he’d hidden something. But it was an insect bite. How bad could that be? Alright, so he knew how bad it could be. It could be something he was having an allergic reaction to. It could be something lethal to humans. But they only had to make it five more kilometres through the jungle and they’d be at the extraction point.
Harry felt the world spinning. Every step became more difficult than the last. He stumbled and caught himself. He was very aware of Eggsy turning to face him, of those green eyes widening, of the young man calling his name. And then, all was dark.
Chapter 27: Delirium
Part II of III
It was dark. Eggsy had gotten a fire going and had laid out Harry beside it. He’d folded up his suit coat so Harry could have a pillow. He was exhausted and only awake because he couldn’t let himself sleep. He’d carried Harry the rest of the way to the extraction point and it had taken all fuckin’ day.
Harry had been in and out the entire time. It had worried Eggsy, because Harry had started rambling when he’d been awake. By the time he’d gotten them to the extraction point, Harry had been talking to people who weren’t there. And it wasn’t until he’d lifted Harry’s head to put his suit coat under his head that he’d felt the hot and swollen mass on his neck.
“Oh, you fuck,” he whispered.
When had that happened? Why hadn’t Harry said a fucking word about it?
He watched Harry for a little while. Harry came to, and this time he was talking to Chester. Eggsy sat by him, listening to Harry’s half of an argument. Harry stopped mid-sentence and looked up at Eggsy.
“Lee, I can’t tell you how proud I am that you’ve made it this far.”
Eggsy felt his chest tighten. “Harry…”
“One more test and you’ll be a Kingsman,” he laughed. “Well, unless you and James both pass it again.”
“Harry, Harry, I ain’t him. Please… I don’t think I can hear this right now.”
“You’ll be able to send your son to that school you’ve been looking at. There are other schools of course, and please forgive me if I feel there are better ones.” He paused. “Of course you’ll be able to afford them. I dare say on a Kingsman salary, you'll be able to give them everything you've ever wanted."
Eggsy closed his eyes. He'd never realized his dad and Harry had talked about this shit. He wondered how close they'd been, if they'd just been mentor/protégé or if they'd been friends.
"Oh, absolutely, bring them by. I'd love to meet them."
And then, blessedly, Harry closed his eyes and was out again.
Eggsy lowered his head and fought against his emotions. They rarely spoke about his dad, probably because he rarely asked about him. He’d always known his life would have been better if his dad had lived, but… he’d never really thought about how much better it would have been.
He stayed awake next to Harry all night, but Harry seemed to be finally and truly out. Harry was still out when dawn came and the jet landed. Roxy came down the steps from it.
“What happened to Arthur?”
“Bit by somethin’. I dunno, Rox. He’s… he’s been bad off all night.”
“Can you get him on board?”
Eggsy nodded and lifted Harry. He felt dampness on his arm and realized the mass on Harry’s neck had burst. Maybe that was a good sign. Maybe that meant he’d come out of this soon.
He carried him on board and got him settled across a couple seats. What he wouldn’t have given for a Statesman jet right about now, with a fuckin’ bed. He sat across from Harry, watching him as he felt the jet taking off. He didn’t move from the seat, not until they landed at HQ. But Harry didn’t stir, and Eggsy just hoped they’d have whatever was needed in Medical to bring him out of it.
Chapter 28: Unconscious
Part III of III
Harry had been in Medical for a week, and Eggsy and Merlin had taken shifts staying with him over night. They still didn’t know what had bitten him, only that he’d been mostly unconscious since arrival. The problem was, there were a lot of things in the jungles that they had no real knowledge of. The medical staff were trying a new treatment; they’d gotten a list of options from contacts who knew the area.
Eggsy had fallen asleep in the bedside chair. His dreams had been full of their trek through the jungle, only in the dreams Harry’s bleeding hadn’t stopped. In the dreams, the reaction to the bite had been worse. In the dreams, Harry was always dead before Roxy had gotten to them.
“Harry,” he whined, snapping out of the latest version of the nightmare.
“He’s alright, Galahad,” the nurse said, injecting the new attempt into Harry’s IV. “He’s still unconscious, but we’re hopeful.”
“Hopeful,” Eggsy repeated, trying to keep the bitter disdain out of his voice. It wasn’t the staff’s fault Harry was like this. Wasn’t even Harry’s fault, even if he wanted to blame the man for not fuckin’ telling him about the bite.
“Why don’t you go lay down? Get some decent sleep.”
Eggsy shook his head. “I’ll just have more nightmares.”
He left them alone and Eggsy pulled the chair up to Harry’s bed and took his hand. He stroked the back of it with his thumb, watching Harry sleep. He brought the hand to his lips and kissed it.
“Miss you,” he said softly.
He wished his life was That Kind of Movie, the kind where you just kiss the person you love and they wake up. But… it was never That Kind of Movie. He brought Harry’s hand to his face and leaned against the bed.
And then he realized he’d started dozing.
He got up and walked around the room. He didn’t want to go far from Harry, just in case whatever the medical staff was trying actually brought him out of it. But if he stayed still for too long, he was gonna be out again. He rearranged the bedside flowers; he very carefully brushed out Harry’s soft curls with a damp brush, trying to straighten them because he knew Harry had Feelings about them looking unprofessional; he tidied up the adjoining bathroom, although only he and Merlin had been using it and there was little to actually… tidy.
And then he settled on the bed beside Harry. He wasn’t going to sleep. He just… wanted the comfort of Harry’s body against his for a little while. But he wasn’t going to sleep. He wasn’t even going to doze. His eyelids grew heavy and he knew he needed to move, but Harry was so warm and he’d missed this feeling so much.
He made soft little sounds as he woke, fighting toward consciousness before his traitor mind could force him into a nightmare. Although he realized, as he woke up a bit more, that he hadn’t actually been having nightmares.
He looked up at the clock and groaned. He’d slept for twelve hours. Hadn’t he had a meeting like… five hours ago? But it had been with Merlin, since Merlin had taken over Arthur’s role while Harry was… like this. Merlin must have decided to let him sleep. He smiled a little and settled against Harry.
“I was wondering when you were going to wake up.”
Eggsy started at the soft voice and sat up enough to look at Harry. He put a hand to Harry’s cheek. “You’re awake.”
“Mm. I woke up several hours ago. Merlin was down here looking for you not long after.”
Eggsy shook his head. “Why didn’t you wake me?!”
Harry smiled softly at him. “I thought you might need the sleep, aside from which I have… not been awake the entire time.”
Eggsy lay against him, pressing his face to Harry’s neck. “You scared the fuck outta me, you know that?”
“I know, my dear, I know.” He laughed softly. “If it helps any, Merlin has decreed that I am never going on a mission again.”
“Good,” Eggsy said sulkily. “You keep almos’ dyin’ on us.”
“That’s a risk of the job, darling.”
Eggsy sat up again. “And you don’t get to take that risk anymore.”
Harry slid a hand up Eggsy’s back and guided him to lay back down. “Don’t worry, darling. Merlin is going to chain me to my desk until I stop trying to leave it.”
Eggsy smiled softly against his neck. “Good.”
Chapter 29: Humiliation
This chapter is 15-year-old Eggsy's first time being forced to prostitute himself by giving a man a bj. If Eggsy being 15 for this will bother you in any way, please don't read on and wait for tomorrow's story. 💙
“Take your time, Michelle,” Dean crooned.
Eggsy frowned, because that was a red flag; a huge red flag. Dean never told his mum to just take her time with anything. He’d bitch at her to hurry her arse up, usually her fat arse at that. Dean probably had a customer buying shit. Something Eggsy felt was absolutely confirmed when his stepfather threw an arm around his shoulders.
“We got stuff to do as it is. Guy things. Bonding.”
Michelle beamed at Eggsy, clearly happy that he was being a Good Stepson and Trying For Once. “I won’t be too long.”
Dean waited until she was gone and dropped the arm from around Eggsy’s shoulders. “Fuckin’ cow,” he grumbled. “Gonna spend twenty quid on a fuckin’ dress that’s just gonna make her look fat an’ expect me to tell her ‘oh, sweetie, you look so good in it’. Fuckin’ women, am I right?”
“Sure, Dean,” Eggsy said with no real conviction. He knew better than to tell his stepfather to fuck off when he was ranting.
Dean started down the street and Eggsy followed him, hands in his pockets and sulking. They went down a block before Dean turned down an alleyway. Eggsy sighed, loudly.
“This is stupid, Dean.”
Dean turned, quick as fuckin’ lightnin’, and punched him in the gut.
“I’m just sayin’, man. I got busted last month slingin’ shit for you. Coppers ‘round here know me. They gonna be on me in no time flat.”
“That’s why you’re not slingin’ right now, smart guy,” Dean mocked. “We’re waitin’ on someone.”
Eggsy leaned against the wall and crossed his arms, openly sulking again. It was only a few minutes before that ‘someone’ showed up. Dean went to greet him, and Eggsy frowned a little. He’d seen the bloke before; it was one of Dean’s mates. Not like one of his minions; one of his actual fuckin’ friends.
He felt his stomach wanting to shrivel up, cos he really did not like this bloke. He was always… starin’ at him. In a way he just did not like. It made him feel like… like… Eggsy’s eyes widened. The way the bloke was always starin’ at him made him feel like the bloke’d like nothin’ more than to get him alone in an alleyway and fuck him.
“Oh, fuck,” Eggsy whispered.
Dean brought the bloke over to him. “You remember Brian, yeah?”
“Yeah,” Eggsy groused.
Dean raised a fist to him again. “Stow the fuckin’ attitude, Muggsy. Brian gave us 40 quid for you to blow ‘im, and you’re gonna do it.” He paused, before continuing pointedly. “You don’t want me to be in a bad mood when your mum gets out of the store, do you? After spending all my hard earned cash. You want me in a good mood, don’t you, Muggsy?”
Eggsy got the message loud and clear: get on his knees and blow the fucker or his mum was gonna get beat. “Yeah, alright.”
He got on his knees and undid the fucker’s fly. He really wanted to just pull the fuck’s jeans and pants down, take the risk that the coppers would look at the wrong time and see a fuckin’ fifteen year old blowin’ some John while his pimp watched for trouble. It would be satisfying as fuck to see them both carted off for a bit. He might even manage to cry a bit for the coppers.
But eventually Dean’d get out, and he’d pay for it. Oh, fuck, would he pay for it. He’d probably be in hospital for a month.
Brian didn’t actually have pants on under his jeans; it made getting his cock out easier. Eggsy took it into his mouth, tryin’ to replicate what girls had done on him. His head bobbed as he fucked the bloke with his mouth, sucking hard on him as he went. He swirled his tongue around the tip and pressed up against the place under the head where he knew guys were super sensitive.
The cock’s owner wrapped a hand in his hair and leaned against the wall, bucking his hips at Eggsy’s mouth. “This really his first time? Brat’s a natural-born whore. Fuck.”
“Maybe I’ll start sendin’ him out on Smith Street,” Dean said from where he was watching for trouble.
Eggsy let himself be pushed back against the wall and let his - apparently - first John do most of the work. He closed his eyes, hoping it would be over soon. He woulda prayed for it to be over if he thought God gave a single fuck about anything that happened to him. His jaw, unaccustomed to having a cock to deal with, quickly grew tired and started to ache. Was this was it was like for the birds who went down on him? Was they just… waiting for it to be over? He thought he might never ask for another bj in his life.
It was a bit - felt like fuckin’ hours to Eggsy - before the cock was pulled out of his mouth. The bloke hadn’t cum though and Eggsy knew this wasn’t over yet. Was he gonna get fucked now?
“Finish me off with your hand,” he breathed.
Eggsy wrapped a hand around the cock. The cock that was right in his face. He bit down on a grimace as he started pullin’ him off. Cos he knew he fucker was gonna cum on his face. Sure enough, less than a minute later his face was being sprayed with hot cum. He dropped his hand and his head, just… hopin’ like fuck it was over.
But, of course, the humiliation wasn’t.
“Look up at me, whore.”
Eggsy sighed and did as he was told. The fucker had his mobile in hand. He took a couple shots of Eggsy, on his knees with a facefull of cum. And then he smiled in a way that Eggsy did not like.
“Open your mouth a bit. Yeah, just like that. Now lick those pretty lips off. Slowly, slowly.”
Eggsy did as he was told and he heard the shutter sound effect going off again and again. And then the mobile disappeared into a pocket. Eggsy unbuttoned the top of his polo and pulled it up enough to wipe his face off. He’d be able to feel the wet of the cum against his chest, but at least his mum wouldn’t see it. She wouldn’t know what Dean had made him do; what he was apparently going to keep making him do.
“Worth the £40,” the fucker told Dean as he left the alleyway.
Eggsy got to his feet and tucked his shirt back in. “We done?”
“‘m thinkin’,” Dean began, “that tomorrow you an’ me are gonna go do some shoppin’ of our own. We’re gonna get you somethin’ for work.”
“Dean…” he said softly, wanting to protest beyond that and knowing it wouldn’t do a fuckin’ thing.
“It’ll keep me in a good mood, the money comin’ in. And you do want me in a good mood, yeah?”
“Yeah,” he said miserably.
Eggsy lowered his head. He’d do it for his mum; he’d do it to keep Dean from beatin’ on her. He wanted to be angry at her cos she just wouldn’t fuckin’ leave him. But he couldn’t bring himself to be. Cos Dean'dbeen sweet at the beginning, until he knew he had her. And he could hate Dean. He could hate him easy; already did, after all. And everythin’ was Dean’s fault anyway.
Chapter 30: Abandoned
Eggsy was in a three-by-three cage. It was bolted to the concrete and there was no shade during the day. He was sunburned over most of his body. They’d stripped him to his boxers before they’d shoved him in the cage the first time. They gave him enough food and water to keep him alive. He’d been there for a week already and he’d learned their routine when it came to him.
He awoke at dawn, and he waited. It was only a few hours before a group of them came out. One had a semi-automatic rifle in hand. A second unlocked his cage and opened the door. The last two dragged him out. He struggled in their hands until the rifle was aimed at him, and then he let himself be dragged inside. He knew they didn’t have to make a kill shot; he doubted they would.
They dragged him inside the building and he was shackled over a table. His back was bruised and cut from where they’d been beating him every day. They never asked him questions; they just beat him. He’d stopped fighting not to scream days ago. He was in too much constant pain to do otherwise.
He blacked out before they were done with him and he woke up strapped to a chair. He was blindfolded. He tested the bonds and found they couldn’t just be wiggled out of. He wasn’t surprised, but he’d had to try them.
“So you’re awake.”
Male voice, standing near to him. It was the one who always held the rifle on him. He wondered if the others were in the room, too. He didn’t have time to wonder as a powerful and painful electric current coursed through him. He screamed from it and tried to pull at his bonds.
“Tell me about Kingsman.”
“It’s… a tailor shop.”
The current came again and Eggsy shrieked from the pain. He lowered his head after. His muscles were contracting painfully and his heart was jumping. And that was on top of the pain he was in from the daily beatings.
“How do I get inside?”
“We both know that’s not what I want.”
The shocks came again. He was crying from the pain, panting from it. “Dunno what else you want! There’s a door; you go through it.”
“Tell me what I want to know and the pain will stop. Or we can go back to beating you for another week and revisit the topic.” He paused. “You’ll still be here. Your allies aren’t coming.”
Eggsy shook his head. “What allies?”
“The ones who sent you here!” He punctuated his words with another few seconds of shock.
“I came here for a party!”
“You came here to spy on us.”
Eggsy shook his head. “I’m a fuckin’ tailor, mate. I came here cos my husband was invited and he had a business matter to attend to.”
He shocked Eggsy again, holding it for fifteen seconds. It left him whimpering in pain.
“Tell me how to get inside of Kingsman.”
Eggsy shook his head. “The shop’s on Savile Row, you go through the door. Boom, you’re inside Kingsman.” He screamed as the shocks came again. “What d’you want me to say?”
“There’s more than the tailor shop.”
Eggsy shook his head again. “No! There’s just the shop.”
He sighed as if he was disappointed. “They’re not coming for you. You’re disposable. You are just what they call a common type, are you not? Tell me what you know so I can get revenge for you.”
“I can’t… tell you anything else… cos there’s nothin’ to tell!”
“Such a disappointment.”
Eggsy screamed again as the current coursed through his body. His heart was jumping and he could barely breathe. He felt his consciousness slipping and wondered if he would even wake up, or if the shock would kill him.
He spent another week in the cage; another week being mercilessly beaten every day. Long before the week was over, he had to be dragged to the table. He was too weak from the constant beatings to be able to walk on his own. He’d stopped trying to fight them. It had the benefit, at least, of his passing out before he was too far into the beating.
He was barely conscious when he heard his cage door open. He was distantly aware of being dragged out of his cage, but instead of being brought inside, someone lifted him up in their arms. He let his head fall back; he was too weak to hold it up. He figured his next stop was a shallow grave. At least that meant an end to pain.
He could hear something loud. It took him a few moments to recognize the sound of gunfire. The sound faded… dulled somehow. He felt something soft under him. Soft? Why was there something soft?
He struggled, trying to get his eyes open and focused. He felt a hand on his chest and he fell back, too weak to fight against… whoever.
“Yer safe, lad.”
Male voice. Rolling accent. Familiar.
He sighed weakly. “Came for me…”
Eggsy felt a hand on his cheek and he tipped his head toward it, towards Merlin’s hand. Merlin meant safe. Merlin meant no more cage. Eggsy felt himself slipping back toward unconsciousness. He fought it.
“Why… so long?”
“We thought you were dead, lad.”
He could hear the pain and guilt in Merlin’s voice. He tried to reassure him, to tell Merlin that it wasn’t his fault, and that he’d told his captors nothing. But talking was too hard. He managed to mutter just one word before passing back out: “Stay.”
Merlin had been crouching on the floor beside the seats he’d laid Eggsy out on. He carefully sat and worked his prosthetics into something resembling crossed legs. He took Eggsy’s hand and twined their fingers. It would be a bitch to get back up, but that was fine. Eggsy - conscious or no - needed him right now, and he wasn’t going to move.
The fist collided with his jaw; Eggsy heard it crack. He still wasn’t sure how they’d gotten the better of him, but it hardly mattered. He was being held with his arms behind his back and he’d been forced to his knees. Rottie and Poodle had his arms and they each had a foot against a leg to keep him from trying to fight his way up. Doberman was behind him, standing between his legs with his hands on his shoulders. Yorkie was keeping watch.
Dean punched him again and Eggsy felt his lip split. He tasted blood. He looked up at Dean and spat it at him. Dean laughed softly, mirthlessly, and then hit him again.
“You’re gonna tell me where in fuck you took my wife and my kid.”
“Like you give a shit,” Eggsy snapped. He knew this wasn’t some sign that Dean gave a fuck about them. It was that he, Eggsy, had taken away something Dean considered his.
He punched Eggsy again, this time dropping down enough to hit him in the gut. Eggsy felt the air forced out of his lungs and gasped. Dean let him get a breath and then started hitting him again. This time, it was open handed strikes across his face until his anger ran its course. Which… was quite some time.
Eggsy’s face was numb, swollen, and red by the time Dean stopped. His ex-stepfather was panting from the exertion. Eggsy knew his face was probably gonna be one big bruise come morning.
“You little fuck,” Dean snarled. “You want this to end, you tell me.”
Eggsy just glared up at him. At least until Dean kicked him in the bollocks. Eggsy screamed, and tried to bend forward without thinking. The dogs held him still as Dean kicked him again. He wasn’t sure if he was gonna puke from the pain or pass out. The third time Dean kicked him, he did pass out.
He was still in the alley when he came to. His bollocks still ached, not that he was surprised. His face stung and he could feel that it was swollen. His mouth still tasted of blood. He pushed himself up, groaned from the pain of it, and forced himself up onto his feet.
He felt his pockets and was shocked to find he still had his wallet. After a moment, he supposed it wasn’t too shocking. He kept it in his suit coat’s inner jacket. He made his way to the street and hailed a cab. He collapsed onto the backseat and gave them the address.
They hit traffic on the way. What should have been a ten minute drive took nearly twenty. He paid the driver and went to the door. He leaned on the wall and hit the bell. It was a minute - a long fuckin’ minute - before the door opened.
“Eggsy?” Roxy realized how swollen his face was. She could see where the dirt had stuck to his tears. “Oh my God, what happened?”
“Can I crash here tonight? I don’t… wanna go home.”
She stared at him for a moment as she tried to figure out what part of Eggsy being beaten made him not want to go home. Because… she could not see Harry or Merlin laying a hand on him in anger.
“Of course, of course.”
She took him by the arm and led him inside. He was walking stiffly, and it was clear enough to her where he’d been kicked. That… was certainly another sign that it hadn’t been Harry or Merlin.
“Why don’t I call Harry?” she offered. “You can stay here, of course, but he’ll be worried when you don’t come home.”
He shook his head. “No, I’ll text him. Tell ‘im I’m stayin’ with mum.” He reached into his back pocket and groaned. “Got my fuckin’ phone. Figures.”
Roxy took out her own phone and started texting.
“Rox,” he protested.
“I’m just telling him where you are and that you’re staying the night.”
She watched him for a moment. “Why don’t you go upstairs and take a bath? There’s bath salts.”
He rolled his eyes. “You got bubbles, too?”
She gave him a mildly annoyed look. “They help with pain and swelling. You might want to soak a washcloth and put it over your face while you’re at it.”
He nodded. “Alright, alright. Sounds good.”
She watched him stand up. “You don’t want to go to A&E do you? With how you’re moving…”
He sighed a little irritably. “After Dean got done beatin’ on me, he kicked me in the bollocks until I passed out.”
“That can cause serious problems, Eggsy…”
“Yeah, I know.” He tipped his head back. “Look, if it don’t stop hurtin’ by the time I’m done with the bath, we’ll go, alright?”
“Alright.” She paused. “Thank you.”
He looked at her and shrugged before heading upstairs to her bath. He got the water going and found her bath salts; fuckin’ lavender scented. He was gonna smell like a fuckin’ girl after this. But whatever. The scent oughta fade by morning so Harry’d never know. He dumped some of the salts in and undressed.
And then sighed at what he saw in the mirror. Cos there was gonna be no hiding this shit from Harry. His chest was already bruising up, there were marks on his fuckin’ arms from where Rottie’d been holding him, and there was a good sized bruise forming where Dean had cracked his fuckin’ jaw.
“Dammit,” he sighed.
He didn’t want Harry knowing he’d gotten the shit beat out of him by his ex-stepfather. It had been one thing when he was puttin’ himself between Dean and his mum, but now? With all his fuckin’ training? What kinda fuckin’ agent was he? He could already picture the disappointment he’d see in Harry’s eyes. He wouldn’t say nothin’, but the disappointment would be there. It was why he didn’t want to go home.
He got into the bath and soaked the cloth. He lay back and put it over his face. It wasn’t gonna make the bruise go away, but he could at least cry out the shame without fear of being seen if Rox decided, for whatever reason, to come check on him.
Roxy took him home in the morning. It wasn’t exactly on her way to Kingsman, but she didn’t mind. She wanted to know he’d gotten home without incident. She waited until he went through the door before driving away.
Eggsy wanted to just stagger up to the bedroom, fall onto the bed, and sleep some more. His bollocks still ached, but they didn’t hurt any more than his jaw. Which… given that he’d heard it crack when Dean punched him, probably meant he really should go to A&E. He’d go to Kingsman and go down to Medical once he woke up again.
“In the lounge, darling.”
He sighed inwardly. “Harry, I’m real tired. Rox and I went out clubbin’ last night.”
“Eggsy, I know that isn’t true.”
Eggsy groaned and went to the doorway. Harry was dressed in a suit, but he didn’t have the jacket on. He didn’t even have his shoulder holsters on. Which… meant he wasn’t planning on going anywhere.
“Come here,” he said softly, patting the sofa.
Eggsy lowered his head and went over to him. He sat down and Harry gently guided his head up. He saw Eggsy wince and he frowned.
“We’re going to Medical.”
“Harry,” he said, protesting weakly. “Look, I…”
“No, we’re going.” He gently stroked Eggsy’s temple. “Don’t be angry with her, but Roxy told me the condition you were in. She was very concerned about you, as am I.”
“I shouldn’t-a let them get the better of me,” he mumbled.
Harry sighed softly, the understanding on his face. “Darling, how many of them were there? Four? Five?”
Eggsy nodded. “Yeah, five. But you managed it in the pub.”
“I also had the element of surprise. Did they come at you straight?”
Eggsy shook his head. “Jumped me.”
Harry put a hand on the back of Eggsy’s neck and gently pulled him close. “Alright then. They jumped you. There’s no shame in that, darling.”
He felt Eggsy’s shoulders shaking and he gently stroked his back. He thought about telling him that one Dean Anthony Baker would not be bothering him again. He’d gone down to the estates after Roxy had told him what happened. He hadn’t killed Baker. He’d just… hit him a few times, thrown him up against the wall, and told him - in no uncertain terms - that if he laid a hand on Eggsy again no one would ever find his body.
“You’re disappointed in me…” Eggsy said quietly.
“What?” Harry guided Eggsy to look up at him. “You think I’m disappointed?”
“Darling… I am concerned, I am worried. What I am most certainly not is disappointed.” He kissed Eggsy’s forehead. “Is that why you didn’t want to come home last night?”
Eggsy nodded meekly.
“Oh, my sweet one.” Harry kissed his lips. It was a chaste, gentle thing. “I have been disappointed with you once and only once.”
“When I wouldn’t shoot JB.”
“Yes,” he said and kissed Eggsy’s forehead again. “But even then, I did understand why it was so difficult.”
Eggsy laughed softly and sniffled. “Yeah, most traumatic thing you’ve been through.”
“Exactly.” He pressed his forehead to Eggsy’s. “Let me take you to Medical, darling. If not for you, then to ease my worries. The things Dean did to you can kill a man.”
“I ain’t dead,” Eggsy muttered, and then he sighed. “Yeah, alright. You c’n take me.”
“Good boy,” Harry said softly.
He kept Eggsy against him even while he called for a Kingsman car. A few minutes later, he got a rather irritated text from Merlin. Merlin had insisted that Harry stay home until Eggsy came back. He reassured Merlin that Eggsy was, indeed, with him and then kissed the top of Eggsy’s head. They were still sitting like that when the car arrived.
I hope you've enjoyed 31 Days of Beating On Eggsy 😁