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The Crime of a Stolen Heart

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It’s cold, wet and he’s just barely keeping Daisy covered with his jacket. The rain is beating down his neck, and his snapback is doing a piss poor job to keep his head dry, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is running. He runs and doesn’t stop. Not even when people on the street give him looks of shock like he’s lost his mind, or perhaps he doesn’t belong.

Eggsy knows he doesn’t belong around these parts, but he has nowhere else to go. He has one destination in mind, one place his mum told him to go if he ever needed help. Eggsy needs help. Daisy needs shelter, and food. More than the shitty jars of baby food he managed to snatch and shove into the pack hanging from his back. Only one nappy, a change of clothes and two of her favorite stuffies. None of this would do. He needs to do better, and he hopes he can find it here.

There are shouts behind him, voices gaining on his person. Eggsy pushes himself faster, his sodden trainers hit the walk with a loud thud, causing the puddles of rain to splash up his jeans, soaking him up to his knees.

He can see the sign lighting in the distance, and he’s not far now. Eggsy stops to wait for a car to pass the street, before rushing forward and it set him back a bit as the shouts are getting louder, closer. Eggsy manages to shove past a few men standing around the door. A door that declares this posh looking place Kingsman. An exclusive gentlemen's club, but he clutches the medal around his neck, and pushes the door open.

All of the noise stops, as each man looks at him. They are all in expensive suits, bespoke he recognizes easily. A man in a navy blue suit, white and blue striped tie with glasses steps around a chair he was sitting in. He’s tall, at least taller than Eggsy and he’s gauging him with the most scrutinizing set of blue eyes he has seen.

“Can we help you, young man? You seem lost,” he says. His voice is polite, but there is something condescending underneath it.

You don’t belong here, is what Eggsy hears. He’s right, though, Eggsy doesn’t, but that doesn’t stop him from saying, “I need help.” It’s more of a plea, he begs with his eyes for some remorse. Eggsy ain’t trying to be a charity case, but his baby sister is still somehow asleep, but shivering beneath the shelter he provided her from the cold.

Another man chimed in, he’s bulkier than this one, has the same glasses and suit. Eggsy slowly notices they all have a similar cut suit, color, and glasses.

“There is a shelter just on the other side of town. Perhaps that is where you were headed?” The bigger one suggests with the same tone and implication carries in his words.

Eggsy presses forward, as he can hear what could only be Poodle and Rotty asking if the men, outside the doors, had seen Eggsy and a young girl. This is the moment Daisy decides to make her presence known, and he’s lucky she’s kept quiet this long.

She whines and reaches up for his face. “Shh,” he hushes her and holds her a bit tighter to his chest.

“You need to hide me bruv,” Eggsy insists. He’s not given much explanation, but he has no time for that and can hear Rotty get louder with whomever it outside this pub.

“I don’t need to do anything,” the tall one replies, leaves him to stand there alone and walks behind a bar. “You need to leave,” he says simply and is dialing on a phone.

Eggsy is sure it’s the filth. “No,” he begs, and rips the chain off of his neck and slams the medal onto the countertop. “Oxfords not brogues. Oxfords not brogues,” he repeats, desperately, what his mum had instructed him to.

The man who had held the phone drops it, and has now got Eggsy around the collar, pulling him damn near up and over the bar.

“Where did you hear that?” he snarls, and there is danger in his eyes. Eggsy starts to wonder if this was a good idea, maybe he was better off letting Dean and his goons reach him.

Daisy is crying now, she must be lodged against Eggsy’s body and counter. “Let go, bruv. You are hurting her.” Eggsy tries to pry his hands away, but that’s not why he’s released.

A girl comes up behind this man, dressed almost identical to the rest, and whispering about minding the code. A promise that must be kept. This man is guarded, but nods his head and allows Eggsy to stand on his own two feet.

It all happens quickly. Eggsy doesn’t have time to react as he’s being guided by the girl, to the back of the pub. They go through a sitting area with billiard tables, a small library, and chairs for comfort, and through a door to quaint sleeping quarters.

“Stay here. Shut up and keep her quiet,” she hisses, before closing the door and addressing what Eggsy assumes to be Rotty and Poodle in the building.

He sits on the bed, and unwraps Daisy to inspect her leg. It is a little red, but won’t bruise and she is sniffling. He feels bad. Eggsy took her from all she knew in her short 2 years of life, and now they are in a place where no child belongs; he had no choice.

Not after what he had seen, and all they knew came crashing down around them. This would be better, he hopes it will be better.

“I’m sorry, flower,” he tells her, as Eggsy makes sure her nappy is still good. She’s one more mess away from this one being useless, and fuck why didn’t he change her before they left? Oh, right, because he was trying to get them out.

“We’ll get you changed, okay?” he asks her, and she nods her head causing the two pigtails, he haphazardly managed to create, on her head to bounce. Her blonde curls are soaked, and he works to dry them off with a dry corner of his polo.

He doesn’t notice he’s shaking, until he brings his hands up to smooth her bangs away from her forehead. It’s part of how fucking cold he is, he realizes, and because he’s just fucked off and left his mum.

Not that she was there anymore, and that hurt more than he could put into words. Eggsy buries his face into Daisy’s neck and quietly sobs for a quick moment. In the matter of an hour, he’s lost his mum, taken his baby sister and probably put her, and himself, in more danger than they were in before.

Eggsy isn’t sure how much time passes, but there is a knock on the door - at least they are polite - and the same girl, as before, pops her head in, before coming all the way in and closing the door behind her. Daisy has fallen asleep, and he prays she’ll stay that way for the remainder of the night. It’s late, just after ten he figures, and well past her bedtime. He wasn’t even able to sing her to sleep, like he usually did.

“What is your name?” she asks, almost demands, and takes the chair in the room and sits carefully. She crosses a leg over the other, and waits. “Where did you get that medal?” she presses, when Eggsy doesn’t say anything right away.

“My mum,” he informs her. “She got it when I was a kid, from some bloke who was sorry about my Dad’s passing. I’ve had it since I was a kid. She told me to say oxfords not brogues.” He doesn’t know why he’s just spilling everything, and maybe it’s in hopes she’ll believe him and not kill him.

Something about this woman’s appearance screams danger. She’s smaller than Eggsy, and probably his age or a little younger, but she radiates power.

“Hm,” she hums thoughtfully, her eyes falling onto Daisy. “Children are not welcome here,” she says, after a moment.

Eggsy tightens his arms around her. “I ain’t bringing her back where we came from, bruv. Children aren’t exactly welcome there, no matter what that bastard says, yeah?” Somehow Daisy stays asleep through this.

Her brown eyes are piercing into Eggsy’s soul, analyzing him, just as the other bloke had and she purses full lips.

“The boss isn’t going to be pleased,” she murmurs, under her breath, and sighs heavily as she stands. “We are dealing with your...issue, but he will want to know more.”

They stare at one another, for what seems like hours, before she comes forward a bit like she’s studying an animal, before she turns to leave.

“Hey,” he says, as she makes her way to the door. “Are we safe tonight?”

She stops and glances over her shoulder at Eggsy - her eyes soften fractionally. “You are safe tonight,” she promises, and leaves him alone.

He situates better so that his back is propped against pillows and headboard. Eggsy kicks his shoes off, it’s probably not polite to wear them on furniture, especially when they are a sodden mess. Not that anything about Eggsy’s person, or clothing, isn’t dripping wet at this point, but he’s not laying anywhere naked.

Daisy snuggles closer against his chest, and Eggsy manages to wrap them in the duvet he was laying on. It’s warm, dry and will do for tonight. And if Eggsy is being completely honest, the bed and linens are the most comfortable he has ever been in. He just briefly acknowledges he hadn’t given the woman his name, nor does he know anyone else's. That should bother him, but he feels a sense of security here, and can’t figure out why. Eggsy is fast to fall asleep, but never all the way under, always alert enough that if they need to run again, he can pop up within a seconds notice.

Eggsy has no idea who this boss is, who the Kingsman truly stand for, but he prays to a God, he doesn’t know he wholly believes in, that this was the right choice. They are safe for the night, he can worry about tomorrow when the day breaks.

Chapter Text

Morning is quick to come, and he’s woken out of a sound sleep with a babbling Daisy on his chest.

“Good morning, my love,” he whispers. “You sleep good?” he asks her.

She nods her head, and pats her tummy. Words have been slow to come to her, but Eggsy was working on that, as much as he could.

“Words, babe,” he reminds her gently.

“Hungy,” she manages.

Eggsy sighs at the mispronunciation, but she’s a bit better. “I know, Dais. I brought something for you.” He sits up, and works the straps off of his shoulders - he just now realizes he slept with the backpack on - to open the pack and grab a jar of mashed bananas.

Thank Christ he brought a spoon, too. Eggsy works to feed her and he’s just done when someone knocks on the door.

It is the same small woman, who peaks her head around, with a tray in hand and it has actual fucking food on it. Eggsy could cry. There is scrambled eggs, toast and even a cuppa.

“You are an angel,” Eggsy claims, and ends up feeding most of the egg to Daisy; she needs it more than him.

She is watching him, Eggsy can feel her eyes on his person as he shovels down what’s left of the meal.

“You never told me your name,” she accuses, after a few minutes have gone by and Eggsy drains his tea.

“Eggsy,” he supplies.

She scrunches her face. “Eggy?” she wonders.

Eggsy laughs and shakes his head. “Nah, Eggsy,” he corrects her with a chuckle.

She’s extending her hand forward and as he takes it says, “I’m Roxanne, but call me Roxy.”

“Roxy.” He nods and settles an antsy Daisy better on his lap. “Is there a loo we can use? I need to take a leak and wash her up a bit.” He’s not too enthused about washing her in a sink, but not expecting anything better than that.

What he’s not expecting is to be led to a full size bath, just one door next to his, and Roxy provides plush towels.

“I don’t have clothes for you, but you can at least get cleaned.” She points to the blood that’s dried to his cheek from last night when Dean backhanded him, and Eggsy almost forgot it was even there.

He gives her a genuine smile, because she’s been the most welcoming since he arrived last night, and to be fair he just sprung up here with the assumption that he and Daisy would be granted shelter here. Eggsy is lucky they were.

“My boss will want to see you around 10. It’s 8:30, so take your time,” she encourages, and closes the door behind her to give them privacy.

Eggsy gets Daisy out of her clothes and into a warm bath. There are too many expensive soaps, and he’s not sure which to use for her hair, but this is not concerning to Daisy who is romping around the tub chasing bubbles. It’s not something they have access to back home, and he’s sure she’s going to cause herself to get dizzy and fall over with the way she’s dancing in circles to catch the flying suds.

“Come on, babe,” he coaxes her to sit still, and manages to rinse the shampoo out of her hair. He’s successful at avoiding soap and water in her eyes, a screaming Daisy isn’t what he needs right now.

He doesn’t do more than give himself a quick wash up, gets the dry blood off of him, dirt and grime from being soaked down with rain yesterday. Eggsy is aware he doesn’t smell the best, but what can you do, especially when the last time you had money to wash your clothes was a month ago. He made due with the tub at the flat, but they never came clean like in a machine. Eggsy shrugs back into his clothes, as Daisy quietly plays with a towel, and he goes to comb his fingers through her hair and get it up into a ponytail for now.

“All clean,” he tells Daisy. Who is now in the baby pink romper he took with him, as quick as he could, on his way out. “Ready?” he asks, and scoops her into his arms.

“Hurt, Egg.” She pats his injury, and her bright blue eyes literally tear up.

He takes her tiny hand and kisses the palm. “I’m okay,” Eggsy promises, and at least that’s true.

They head back to the room they were given for the night and wait. Daisy, at least, is amused by her stuffie and he’s mindlessly scrolling through his phone. A part of him isn’t sure why Dean hasn’t tried to make contact with him this way, and it’s a little disconcerting to say the least.

He’s lost in messaging Jamal and Ryan, to let them know that he’s okay, and Daisy is good. They always were ones to worry about them, and even shelter them a few times, but it wasn’t going to do this time. There was too much going on, Eggsy really wishes that he hasn’t seen what he has, but unfortunately that is his life.

A knock on the door pulls him from his thoughts, and so he’s left to deal with now and not what went on last night.

“Eggsy?” Roxy pops her head around the door, and waves him to follow her.

He takes Daisy, and the pack that contains the few belongings they actually have, to walk behind Roxy. Because he’s not running through the place, and scared for his and Daisy’s life, he can actually take in the space.

Just beyond his little sleeping quarters there is a sitting area, brown leather chairs, a fireplace, dark wood coffee table and end tables with a bookcase in the corner. The walls are all wood paneled, in a similar color to the furniture with beige curtains, which are thick enough to keep out light and wandering eyes - Eggsy assumes - easily hiding this place. It is all hardwood floors, with elegant area rugs littering the floor, and it’s all warm and inviting if he’s being honest.

The bar is made of the same wood, it’s like the walls and structure are one. It was well stocked, but of course it would be, with the most expensive liquors, alcohols and draft beers Eggsy has ever seen. He’s lucky he can name a few, and a lot are in other languages he cannot pronounce.

“This way,” Roxy says, pulling him from his observation and shows him up a staircase. She knocks on a mahogany door, and waits for a gruff ‘come in’ before entering.

It is a large space, almost as large as the first floor. Another billiard table, bookcases and seating area, but what pulls his attention is the oversized table. It isn’t a desk, it’s an actual table you would see in a film or some shit at a law firm. It’s long, has 10 chairs and there is someone sitting at the head. An older man, in his late 40’s - Eggsy would have to guess - and the most striking thing about him is his bald head, and perhaps his sharp, angular features or the way he’s staring at Eggsy like he’s the biggest inconvenience in his life.

“Thank ye, Lancelot. That will be all,” bald man says in a clipped tone, he’s got glasses on as well, not the same shape as the other blokes or Roxy for that matter. The tips come to a point, almost like a horn, but they are just as black and thick as the rest. “Please, sit,” he says. His Scottish burr wrapping around Eggsy like a poisonous gas, but there’s something attractive about how deep and low it is.

Eggsy sits two chairs away from him, and finally notices the two men in the room, one flanking each side of this man. He’s in a suit, as well, and it’s different from the rest. Eggsy assumes to differentiate between staff, and whoever he is. Eggsy has no fucking clue what this place is.

The man leans forward, his elbows on the polished glass-top table as he begins to speak. “I understand you came to us last night, and a few men followed you here. My men were able to trace them back and they are involved with Dean Baker, but they were looking for you, and the girl.” His hazel eyes fall on Daisy like she’s an insect that will infect them all.

“He’s my stepdad,” Eggsy supplies, as he instinctively tightens his hold on Daisy.

He claps his hands together, forefingers meet one another and he presses them to his mouth before he points to him, and says, “You had the medal. One that is only given to members -” he stops when the man, the taller, thinner one, clears his throat and starts to whisper something.

It’s the same bloke who had him by the collar, and up over the bar; Eggsy recalls.

“Are you undermining me, Percival? Are you trying to suggest we go against what this was built on? Protecting our own?” His tone is cool. Eggsy finds himself shivering in response.

“No, sir,” Percival replies, but it’s clear - at least to Eggsy - that he’s fighting the urge to argue further.

“Anyway,” he sighs. “You are in possession of one.” He’s sizing him up with his eyes. “How did ye come to hold one?” he’s curious, above all else. He tilts his head to the side, just a minute thing but it speaks volumes in the quiet room.

Eggsy swallows the lump forming in his throat. “My Dad, Lee Unwin. Mum got it years ago. I was just a kid, and she always told me if I needed help to come here and say ‘oxfords not brogues’. Some shit about a favor owed to us. And...last night my step dad went mental. Drunk off his arse, like that’s anything new, and I needed to leave. My mum...well she ain’t here anymore. I’ll just say that.” He doesn’t go into more detail, not in front of Daisy and he sure as shit does not want to relive that right now.

This man takes a long pull of air in through his nostrils, and exhales loudly. “Aye,” he agrees, like this information is going to disrupt his existence. He leans back in his chair, and rubs his temples as if he’s just got a headache. A few moments pass, before he focuses on Eggsy and then his eyes fall back to Daisy.

“I will provide ye shelter. That is until we figure out what to do with you, but children do not belong here, and I will not put my establishment and men in jeopardy housing Dean’s kid.”

Eggsy immediately straightens in his char. He isn’t going to allow Daisy to go back to that psycho.

“She’s mine,” he lies quickly. “Daisy is my daughter.” He looks at him, and watches how he visibly deflates with exhaustion.

His jaw tightens, and he smooths the lapels of his grey suit jacket, tightens and straightens the pink and navy blue striped tie, that doesn’t need fixing, before he says, “Alright then. Because Dean and his men are looking for you, you will not be permitted to leave here alone, and if you have anywhere to go Lancelot will take you,” he explains, as he dials a number into a phone on the desk and shortly Roxy is coming through the door.

“Sir,” she says.

“Lancelot, please take Eggsy and his daughter to the estate. It seems there is a debt we owe this young man and his family.” He looks like he wants to say more, but refrains from doing so. “Lancelot can explain more to you, and our resources are at your disposal. I will see to it that Percival and Bors get supplies you need for your bairn.” He motions to the men behind him, and ignores Percival, who growls under his breath.

“Come on, Eggsy,” Roxy says.

Eggsy is at the door, and they are already whispering to one another. “Hey,” he calls, and gets everyone's attention. “You know my name, what’s yours?”

Percival and Bors stiffen, Eggsy can see them reaching for the guns they are packing. The guns Eggsy took note of, as soon as he ran into this joint.

The bald man smiles, but it never touches his eyes. “Merlin,” he supplies and then waves them off in dismissal.

---

Merlin can feel his headache rage, he’s not only having to deal with one of Harry’s fuck ups, but it includes a child. He snaps his fingers, and Bors is quick to fetch him tablets for his head, and water to wash it down. He’s not sure who he wants to kill more, Chester King or Harry fucking Hart, but the old man is dead. Which is why he’s in this fucking shit-show. He can kill Harry then.

“I would say the lad is calling bullshit, but I remember Lee.” He’s not happy about this, and everything having to do with their current situation can fuck off.

“Sir,” Percival says, and Merlin waves his hand around. “Sorry, Merlin,” he corrects. Merlin really hates the formalities, but in front of strangers and meetings it is necessary. He also hates this fucking suit, and feels like he’s playing at something he’s not. “How do we know he’s not part of Valentine’s men? Just coming to finish the job?” Percival worries.

“Aye. I know. I thought of that. I’m still wondering how the fuck he held onto that medal all these years.” He’s really wishing he was in front of his computer, and just fucking about with surveillance tapes. “Find out all there is to know about Eggsy Unwin,” he instructs.

Percival groans. “Is this before or after we go around playing personal shopper for his kid?” he wonders sarcastically.

“Before, after. I don’t fucking know. You are second, appoint someone to do the goddamn job, but get it done and make sure that shipment goes out to Columbia by tonight like it’s scheduled. We are not shirking on our fucking business for a young man and his child,” he grumbles, and lays his head on the cool glass of the table. It is oddly soothing, and helps the throbbing behind his eyes - that hasn’t gone away since last night, when Percival came busting into his personal room with this horseshit.

Merlin almost wishes he had dealt with it then, but he was just fresh off of a job, and he was in desperate need of sleep. He can sense them hovering. That is annoying.

“Go on with ye. I will be fine and do not need people up my arse, like Chester did all day.”

He’s grateful when they leave him alone to sulk. Not that Merlin makes it a point to pity his own life, but this is just a fucking disaster and he already was up to his eyeballs in the bullshit King had left when he got a stroke and fucked off. Their relations with other gangs has been shaky due to Chester King fucking over agreements. That was never good, and Merlin was left to try and patch them up so that they could continue to use borders, and other means to get their supplies in and out of London.

“I didn’t ask for this garbage,” he mumbles under his breath, and to no one but himself.

Merlin gathers himself to stand and makes sure his suit and tie are presentable, before he heads out of the club and to the cab waiting for him out front.

The trip to The Royal London Hospital is quick, they aren’t but a 10 minutes drive away and that’s with bad traffic. He knows his way around the halls, to the elevators, presses number 3 and the medical staff recognize him easily.

He gives them a smile, and wave in greeting, they’ve been nothing but the best, and nods to his men who flank the door.

“Tristan, Lamorak,” he says, and goes through.

It’s quiet, as it always is, when he takes a seat to the left of the bed, and looks at the hand laying there. It is un-moving, it never does more than sit there and he wishes it would do something, anything.

Merlin looks up, and wants to smother the man in this bed with a pillow. He also notices he needs a shave, maybe he can have Tristan do that. The man never enjoys facial hair, why make him deal with it now? Because Merlin is sure he’ll hear about it when the bastard wakes up, if he wakes up.

He pokes the man’s chest. “Ye are a right prick for getting yourself shot.” Merlin pokes him again. “You better wake the fuck up and take this position. I don’t want to be Arthur. Chester always made sure to groom you, his Galahad. The chosen one,” he sneers, but smiles anyway.

“Only you would get shot in the eye, end up in a coma, and leave me to deal with a fuck up you made 17 years ago, Harry.” Still, Harry lay un-moving, not giving Merlin shit back; he hates it. Merlin sighs to himself and leans back in the chair, as he watches machines breathe for Harry.

Chapter Text

“Holy shit,” Eggsy whispers on an exhale, as they enter the large foyer.

It was a few hours outside of London. The manor was large, and he wonders if this is all just for Merlin, but it suddenly strikes Eggsy that it is probably for the club, members, or whatever they are.

The decor is similar in color to the club, with just a bit of soft golds and navy blue splashes here and there. Like in the scroll work weaving up the wallpaper, delicate swirls through the gold. It was attractive, Eggsy can admit that.

It’s obvious Merlin has money and a lot of it.

Daisy’s expression mirrors Eggsy’s, while he walks them around the large space, and the fact that this is only the entrance is unbelievable.

“This way,” Roxy motions for him, as she heads towards the staircase dominating the middle, just past a round table that held a large vase with an array of gorgeous flowers.

Eggsy is lost in the beauty of the place, and from the looks of the outside, it is easily three stories, bigger than the stacks of flats he was in before this. He grips Daisy tighter and follows Roxy. They go down the hall, pass a wall of doors and he assumes this is where their members sleep, to climb up a second set of stairs.

This area is more remote, and there are not as many doors, just four.

“Here.” She opens one furthest down the hall, next to a large window that overlooks the gardens, and fuck there is even a pond out there with goddamn swans in it.

“Pwetty,” Daisy says, pointing out the window.

Eggsy takes her hand to give it a gentle kiss. “Yeah. It’s pretty,” he agrees, before following Roxy.

The room is larger than home, if he was being completely honest, it was probably as big as three of them put together. There was a large king size bed dominating the east side of the wall, the north wall just all windows, large, white curtains were slew across rods to drape beside each window, and there was even a desk beside the door.

“This is your personal room, and here is the bathroom,” Roxy says, as she veers over to the west wall, and behind a mahogany wood door is a bathroom that was, in fact, the size of their flat.

“Fuck me,” he breathes. His attention is brought to Daisy, who pats his cheek with her little brow furrow in a frown.

“Bad,” she chides, and Eggsy can’t help but laugh at her.

“Yeah. I said a bad word,” he acknowledges, and moves further into the room.

There is a claw foot tub, and separate shower stall that is fit for the queen. Eggsy doesn’t say anything, isn’t sure he can form words for how grateful he is, but he also knows this is all temporary. A debt that needs to be paid, he remembers Merlin’s words.

“This is too much,” Eggsy argues, but there is little heat in his tone; his voice carrying no weight to it. “Merlin can just give this up?” He finally turns to Roxy.

She’s giving him a small smile, just a careful curve of her lips. “This is unused space, and none of the Kingsman will miss it,” she promises. “We will come here at night, during the day we will be back at the club.” Her eyes zero in on Daisy, while pursing her lips. “That might be an issue,” she admits, as she gathers out her phone to text someone.

Eggsy instinctively hugs Daisy closer. “She won’t be a problem, promise.” He knows this is an issue, but he can take care of his own, and no one is going to separate them.

“I just mean we have no place for a child, but I can put a bug in Merlin’s ear.” She’s still on her phone, brow tight as she types away and nods her head when it pings. “We should be okay,” she assures, more to herself, but Eggsy appreciates it all the same.

“I’m sure you want to get settled. There are some clothes I can give you to change into. Merlin has given me an allowance to be sure you and your daughter are cared for.” She heads to leave. Eggsy wanders behind her. “I’ll be back,” she promises, and closes the door.

Eggsy sets Daisy down, allowing her to explore because she’s been pretty pent up since last night, and he hasn’t let her do much beside walk a couple of feet; he’s been afraid to let her out of his sight. But there was enough room, and she could roam for a bit.

He then remembers something he needs to address with her, at least so that no one will take his flower away. Eggsy sits on the floor at the foot of the bed, and watches her for a minute. She catches on quickly, and tottles over to him before hopping at him, her little hands hit his chest.

“Rawr,” she growls, a game he plays with her when they are alone. He jumps back, arms shielding his face, feigning fright.

“No! Don’t hurt me!” he cries, and she’s placing big, wet kisses to his cheeks as she ‘attacks’ him. “I need my Dais back,” he begs, as her little mouth chomps at the air. He wraps his arms around her, and kisses her soft cheeks until she’s a fit of giggles.

“There’s my baby,” he says adoringly, wiping the fallen blonde curls from her face. “Can you do something for me? It’s super important.” He levels a gaze with her, holds her bright blue eyes with his. “It’s pretty here, yeah?” he asks her. She nods her head. “We can’t let them know I’m your brother,” he whispers.

Daisy’s small brow furrows. “No, Egg?” she wonders.

“No,” he shakes his head. “I need to keep you safe. You want to stay with me, yeah?”

She wraps her tiny arms around his neck, holding him as tightly as a two year old can. “Mine,” she demands. Eggsy pats her arm.

“Yes, I’m yours,” he allows, sighing. “To stay with me you need to start calling me Dad, or Daddy,” he hopes she understands, but he’s also talking to a toddler.

Her face becomes thoughtful, it’s the same expression she makes when he asks her to choose which stuffy to bring in bed, when she wanders into his room. She plops her bum in his lap, a small finger brought to her chin. Eggsy has to bite his lip to stave off a giggle. She looks up at him, trust, security and love in her eyes, like Eggsy holds the world for her, and he does to an extent.

“Daddy,” she decides with a final nod. “Egg look like Daddy,” she says for further explanation.

Hearing it, rather than thinking it, is something else entirely, and has his heart beating faster than when he was running to get away from Rottie and Poodle, but not in the same manner. His chest warms, becomes tight with the size his heart has grown to be with her decision. Eggsy nuzzles her cheek, bestowing a series of kisses there to entice a shrill of laughter, and giggles from her, which are so much easier to coax out now than in the past.

“Okay,” he finally says, and stands with her still in his arms to clean himself properly.

---

Just like Roxy told Eggsy, they were at the club next day, and Eggsy didn’t like how all of the men were staring at him and Daisy. A few wore resting murder face, just like Merlin, and some were a bit friendlier and gave him a greeting, but the atmosphere was lacking all welcome. He was a stranger, a disruption in their routine.

There was one, who wore a sneer like it was his natural face, his eyes swept over Eggsy like he was a parasite to be studied. He wasn’t taking too kindly when he came to stand in front of him, a sly smile in place.

“Where Merlin pick this one up, then?” he asks, his accent smooth, but voice lacking interest. It was more of an insult to Eggsy, than curiosity.

Roxy moves in front of Eggsy and Daisy, to which Eggsy shifts around her, because he ain’t some damsel in distress that needs defending.

“Merlin didn’t pick me up anywhere, bruv.” Eggsy lay his estuary on thick just to give this arse something else to snicker at.

His face contorts with disgust, nose scrunching against the way Eggsy pronounces each word. “What the fuck, Lancelot? Merlin just allowing any pleb to wander in here?” This man is clearly offended now, good; Eggsy thinks.

“Back off, Charlie,” she warns, finally coming between the two. “It isn’t your business, now is it?” she asks, carefully, and it’s clear that it’s not.

But that doesn’t seem to stop Charlie from smiling above her head, a thin, nasty thing. Makes him look uglier than the huge honker dominating his face. “This was my grandfather's business, so I do believe it is mine,” he argues, causing Eggsy to wonder what the fuck he is on about.

Daisy makes a noise in his jacket, an impatient sound letting him know she’s had enough being held there and wants to wander about.

“Hold on, babe,” he soothes quietly.

“Be on your way,” Roxy demands, and forces pass him with a shove to his shoulder.

It’s impressive that Charlie does, but makes sure to give Eggsy a watchful look.

“Kids don’t belong here,” he calls after them. Eggsy decides to ignore it and follow Roxy the rest of the way through the club.

It looks the same, as it had last night, and he only has a second longer to appreciate the decor. For a place ran by blokes, it was clean and well kept, but he figures gentlemen, yeah? He knows pubs, clubs in his neck of the woods would not look like this, and more often than not would have the best whores in the area. He hasn’t seen any of that here, and a little surprising, but maybe they kept that sort of thing under wraps.

“I had this stocked with a few things,” Roxy says over her shoulder, as she brings him to the room he was in the first night.

He wasn’t sure what to expect, but he sure as shit was not anticipating toys, children’s books, and a little cot for Daisy to lay on. The bed was still there, and Eggsy could appreciate it. He turns to Roxy, who was now sitting in a chair in the corner of the room.

“What are you guys?” he wonders, having forgone that question yesterday, as Daisy is busying herself playing with a baby doll found in a chest of toys.

Roxy levels a blank stare on him, and replies, “we are the Kingsman. An organization that deals in pharmaceutical trade, and military weaponry.”

Eggsy is silent for a moment, before he snorts - not so delicately - only to chuckle at her. “Bunch of bollocks for a gang type thing.” He shakes his head. “Ain’t dumb, bruv,” he says, even as she raises a brow. “Cover is a gentleman's club, right? But you ain’t a gent, are you? Look, I notice a lot of things, like how you lot dress the same - or damn near - and all have these fancy glasses, the pieces you are carrying, rings,” - he gestures to the signet ring on her right pinky finger, “and the medal.” He finally pulls out the only item he has left from his Dad, that Dean couldn’t destroy over the years.

“Shit is real gold, and I know because I almost pawned it for money to buy food.” He rubs his thumb over the K, something he has done since he was young when anxious. “It’s the only thing I have left from my Dad, and I know this ain’t cheap stuff. Not sure if I am right, but you lot ain’t a gentleman’s club who deal with legal drugs and weapons.” It’s his turn to raise a brow, challenging her to argue, say he’s wrong.

She exhales, it’s not a heavy breath, but enough Eggsy can see she was holding it in. “However,” Roxy avoids his observation. “It is my job to keep you and your girl safe. That means we will be in close proximity for awhile. I know your stepdad and his boys were out looking for you last night, and his way of...dealing, are not conducive and more troublesome to London.”

“Everything about Dean is trouble,” Eggsy grumbles, but agrees with what she is saying. “So, you are basically my babysitter,” he sums up and doesn’t know how he feels about that.

“Essentially, yes,” she refrains from rolling her eyes.

“Perfect,” Eggsy mumbles, and goes back to watching Daisy. “Guess you and I will become the best of friends.” He smiles.

Roxy gives a small laugh. “Near enough,” she agrees.

Chapter Text

That headache was back, and it has been a few weeks since Mr. Unwin came to them. So far the lad wasn’t under foot, and Merlin barely notices the little lass. He knows Roxy is getting antsy with having to hover over them, but he can’t have Dean and his men fucking up anything. Harry wouldn’t forgive Merlin if he cocked this up, not that he plans to, but isn’t exactly warm to handling his affairs...mistakes is a better word.

Percival dug up all he could on Eggsy, and it wasn’t anything groundbreaking, petty crimes, a few arrest charges for dealing with drugs and one for prostitution. That was surprising to Merlin. The lad was gorgeous, anyone with eyes could see that, and young. He wasn’t older than 24, his birthday having just past, but it wasn’t uncommon for Dean Baker to handle prostituting.

Giving that the slime was Eggsy’s stepfather, Merlin shouldn’t be so surprised that he would sell out his own stepson. Seeing as Dean deals with all of the prostitution on Smith Street, and that was not something Kingsman took liberties in. They let Dean run that side of town, at least for now, it was a work in progress, and something King said he was working on but as it turns out, was not.

Merlin was rubbing his temples again, because Charlie was arguing across the table with Tristan. He really wishes he could kick the little shit to the curb, because he was a bigger thorn in his side than Harry in a fucking coma, or the shit he has to deal with regarding Harry’s mistake. He felt like a broken record, his head playing this scenario and shit over and over, but Merlin has no way out or a way to stop it.

“Enough!” he roars, because quite frankly he’s had enough of listening to this shit. Silence fell over the table, he finally opens his eyes to level a stare on each of them. He stops on Charlie for a moment, daring the lad to say anything, his eyes speak more than his loud mouth ever could. “I suggest ye forget whatever it is ye are about to say about my rule, and don’t think I didn’t just hear that whole squabble with ye.” His accent thickens when angry, not to mention he’s been losing sleep over their latest shipment, among other things.

By the collective looks, Merlin knows they all assume he checked out of the conversation 20 minutes ago, but he was listening. Always listening, and he would be a shit King if he didn’t...interim King. Fuck, he really was missing his computers right now. They didn’t talk back.

“Sir,” Charlie says, anyway. Merlin waves a hand, knows it’s a futile attempt to shut him up. “I think it would be good for us to take turns, to take shifts with that garbage you let under our roof.”

“And why is that?” He’s patient, expectant, because Charlie has a lot more to say than that. “Do ye feel Lancelot is doing a poor job? That she can’t handle the assignment?” His tone is cool, calm.

“No,” he answers. “But we don’t know him. No one knows what he is capable of, and what trash he’s brought in with him. Sir, you allowed him to bring a child here. You are destroying every facet of the Kingsman my family has tried to build!” His fist comes down on the glass tabletop.

Ah, there it is. Merlin was waiting for him to throw it into his face, he was honestly surprised it took him this long; his grandfather has been 6 feet under for 4 months. Merlin gives a nod, refuses to meet the bastards eyes.

“The truth is, Charlie,” Merlin begins. “Your grandfather did fuck all with what his father had built. If anything, he ruined it and I am trying to repair what we once were, and don’t give me that look. I am twice yer age, know a bit more about the history than your mother has chosen to provide.” He looks to the west wall, where portraits of previous Kings hung, and it was true; Merlin was not familial.

He takes a deep breath, looks back to Charlie - who is smug. “But this crown was not yours to procure, it was Harry’s and where that is not likely to happen for some time, I am in charge. It was left to me, by your grandfather when Harry, the bastard, fucked off trying to protect our shipment. I do believe you owe me some ounce of respect. This seat was never to be yours until Harry was old, and unable to.” Charlie opens his mouth, but Merlin mows over him, continuing. “And aye, technically that means ye would be in this seat, but ye are not and I suggest ye shove yer pride and privilege up your arse,” he finishes, anger rippling off of him.

Charlie stands, his chair topples behind him in his haste. “Fuck you, Merlin. You will never be suitable for this seat,” he snaps.

Before he can storm out, Merlin says, “Not on yer best day boyo.” When Charlie turns to him, confusion clearly worrying his thick brows, Merlin adds, “Fucking ye, not on yer best day.” He’s smiling as Charlie stomps out like the prat child he is.

Merlin slumps in his chair, not giving a fuck as to who will judge his posture. He has the respect of each man sitting here.

“Go on with the rest.” He waves a hand about, only vaguely listening to Percival as he informs Merlin of the men who were selling drugs to kids. He was at least happy to know those ones were taken care of, Merlin doesn’t partake in drug sales to children.

---

“Daisy,” Eggsy whispers, poking his head around a door.

It was late at night, and he fell asleep with her on his chest, instead of placing her in bed. But he was tired, and knew the easiest way to get her to sleep, was with him, a bad habit to be sure.

That wasn’t his biggest problem, though, as he went searching for her. This room was bigger than his, almost twice in size, and held a king sized bed that seems to be grander than his own. He checks under the bed, lifting a dark grey bed skirt, and no Daisy to be found. He was beginning to worry, she never went off without him, but she was getting comfortable in the space and meant she was going to explore.

“Daisy,” he repeats, voice a bit louder. Eggsy wasn’t sure who’s room this was, but the door was open a crack, and he figures she must have gone in here. “Flower,” he says in a sing-song voice, hoping to make a game of it would cajole a giggle out of her.

“There are no flowers here,” a voice says, causing Eggsy’s spine to go ramrod straight. He would recognize that Scottish brogue anywhere, with its deep richness, and it was all yummy. Eggsy really needs to focus on finding his girl, and not that.

He turns until he meets a set of serious hazel eyes, all dark and hooded with more danger, and a bit of something else. And oh, fuck him, the man was clad only in a bath towel.

“I am sorry, Merlin, but have you seen my girl?” Eggsy knew he was to keep a better eye on her, but she was the exploratory type, what with being 2 and all.

Merlin hasn’t made a move from his spot, eyes shifting around the room and back to settle curiously on Eggsy. “I don’t believe I have,” he responds, all calm but there is something underneath the tone; irritation, Eggsy figures out.

“Okay.” Eggsy tries for a smile, it’s a tight thing, as he backs out - Merlin watching him the entire time.

Eggsy ducks out, and runs down the hall, hissing Daisy’s name and can hear a giggle from across the hall. He goes to it, opens the door and sees Daisy with Roxy. They are sitting on top a daybed, and he hasn’t ever noticed this space before, but maybe it was because he was scared to death to wander further than his quarters, the kitchen, and gardens.

“Daisy,” he almost cries, because he’s glad he found her. “What do you think you are doing?” he’s sterner now, hands on his hips as he stares down at her little face. She’s smiling, happy, as she places makeup on Roxy’s face, rather haphazardly. It made Roxy look like she was a clown. “Should I call and see if they have a spot for you in the circus?” he asks, and sits Indian style on the bed next to Roxy.

“I would curse at you, but little ears,” she warns, her tone carrying all of the awful things she wants to say to him. “She is doing a fabulous job,” she tells him, earning a bright dimpled smile from Daisy.

Eggsy can only grin back, because Rox looks awful but Daisy is happy and that’s all that matters. They laugh, and even Eggsy allows Daisy to ‘paint’ his face - as she calls it - and Eggsy forgets about the mostly naked Scotsman just a door over from his.

---

“Have there been any changes?” Percival is the one to ask the doctor.

It is daily morning rounds and Harry is their first stop, as Merlin made sure. Merlin sat at a table in the corner of Harry’s room. He doesn’t need to inquire information with Percival around.

“None that we can see, but his brain activity has not wavered, so that is good. People can be in comas for weeks, months, sometimes even years, but we will let you know as soon as we detect a change.” Percival nods his head, as the medical team exit and takes a seat by Harry’s bed to collect a hand in two of his.

It got quiet, but Merlin continues to type on his laptop, a few coding errors on the technology side of things. The other men were trained well enough, but Merlin always has his hands in the pot, as he once ran it. He really wants to go back to that life, it wasn’t as messy.

“I am growing wary,” Percival murmurs softly. “It has been months and no change. What if…” he allows the question to hang in the air. Merlin got up to cross the small room and lay a reassuring hand on Percival’s shoulder.

The man so rarely doubts, often is the most optimistic knight he has, especially in regards to his husband. Who is currently lying in a hospital bed, not moving, nor giving snide remarks about how ridiculous Percival sounds, something that is very much a Harry Hart trait. It would usually evoke irritation from Merlin, but like this he finds himself wishing the bastard would pop up and fight with him.

“We wait as long as you are comfortable with. They have not deemed him vegetative state, and that is something, hm?” His tone is soft, comforting as Percival nods his head, takes the other one of Harry’s hands to hold close to his lips. “There isn’t much faith in this job, and we are lucky to come out alive most days. We have trained, been through enough to know, but he wasn’t in a position that this or death could be avoided. He did good, Percival, and so we will hold faith that this bastard will wake. Because I swear to Christ I will piss on his grave for leaving me in charge, and to deal with his mess that is Eggsy Unwin,” he growls a little. He gave Percival’s shoulder a squeeze, before returning to his previous seat.

Percival cocks his head thoughtfully, tosses a look over his shoulder to Merlin. “How is that going, by the way?” he switches subjects, and Merlin knows it’s easier to discuss work than personal matters.

Merlin hums a bit, as he finds his place in the program, but Mordred has already seemingly gotten things under control and now Merlin is left with nothing to do. He opens the BBC webpage, scans about a bit.

“He stays out of the way, and surprisingly his lass. There was an instance the other night, but the lad found her well enough. I haven’t heard much since.” He leaves out how Eggsy saw him practically naked, and he sure doesn’t mention the way his cock liked the way Eggsy had swallowed thickly. That mole over his Adam’s apple moving deliciously as he did, and Merlin found himself thinking of it more than he would like, more than he let on.

Merlin shrugs. “It is just a pain in my arse to keep Dean Baker out of our way. Some of his men have been sniffing around the pub, and Charlie is growing antsy with the added men lingering about.” He waves a hand dismissively. “I think he just looks for a reason to get rid of Eggsy.”

“He does seem to have an issue with him around. It could be Mr. Unwin’s status? Not one of us, that sort of thing.” Percival goes back to watching Harry as he speaks. “I know Harry would have something to say about that. It was one of the issues brought up when Chester was around. Something about times changing and evolving. I think that is why he had proposed Lee Unwin 17 years ago, but I cannot be sure.” He looks frustratingly back at his husband. Merlin smiles a bit, can see the love and annoyance on Percival’s face, much of his feelings towards the man lying still.

“Aye, but I am not proposing the lad. This is to protect him, a favor paid that Harry owed.” Merlin sighs a bit, closes out the laptop because crime has increased in the estates, Dean Baker’s stomping grounds, and it’s pissing Merlin off. “This Dean Baker is more an issue than just keeping Eggsy’s scent hidden from him. His men are plastered all over the BBC news page, and that means more of us to clean it up. We don’t need attention being drawn to drug exchanges. I might stop all supplies to his end of the City.”

“Is that smart right now?”

“Probably not.” He got quiet. Merlin’s gaze shifting to Harry, and he wishes he could ask for his advice, because these problems are bigger than him. It’s now Percival’s turn to stand and make his way to Merlin, offering a firm hand against his neck, a bit of tension leaves him with the touch.

“You are a greater King than you give yourself credit for.”

Merlin pats Percival’s hand. “He was trained for this, not me.” Percival’s grasp tightens before he lets go.

“I know,” Percival agrees softly, and goes back to sit beside his husband.

Chapter Text

“No,” Eggsy tells Daisy sternly, even as she continues to reach for the very expensive looking decanter. He taps her little hands away.

They are in the pub, club, whatever they call it or want people to believe it to be. Roxy has a meeting with Merlin and the rest of the members, so Eggsy is wandering about the first floor with his girl. The front doors tell the world they are not open yet, and Eggsy wonders how many people actually need a drink at 10 in the morning.

It isn’t like he’s not used to seeing men who get drunk and high before noon, and even often less was his mum...sometimes. He’s been so busy that the thought of his mum hasn’t crept up much, and it’s not like he doesn’t miss her; he does. He’s thankful Daisy hasn’t done more than cry for her in her sleep, but that broke his heart regardless.

Eggsy was shit at lying to ones he loves, and he loves Daisy.

“Daisy,” he hisses and lifts her into his arms. “That is not a toy, and you have plenty in the other room. We can go back in there.”

She scrunches her small features up at him. “Shiny, daddy,” Daisy claims, pointing her chubby little finger back at the crystal, which is containing an amber liquid. Eggsy assumes it’s scotch, or perhaps whisky.

She’s gotten better at calling him daddy, and only once slipped in front of everyone. He was going to take it, because she was little and could easily cock it up more.

“Not for little girls to play with.” He’s only brought her out because she was antsy in the small room, and no one told him they couldn’t come out here. “I said we could walk around, but not touch anything.” She huffs in his arms, but nods her head.

He sets her back down to watch as she toddles about. Her bum crinkles from the nappy rubbing against her leggings. Merlin was generous with the items that they were given. Eggsy even has a few new polos and jeans. He briefly wonders how anyone knew his size, but shoves the thought aside as a man - he’s never seen - comes storming down the stairs and out the door.

The lot of the Kingsman are down to follow, muttering about people who act like children when they don’t get their way. Eggsy quickly scoops Daisy up and starts to wander towards his spot, until someone calls his name.

“Eggy,” Charlie sneers, and he absolutely hates how the bastard says his name wrong.

Eggsy turns, a tight smile on his face as he, not so politely, corrects Charlie. “It’s Eggsy.” He’s sure his face says more than his words, because Charlie is smiling that evil grin when he knows he’s gotten up Eggsy’s back.

“Where you going?” he wonders and plops his arse in one of the overstuffed leather, brown chairs by the fireplace. “We were just about to have tea, and I’m sure Merlin would enjoy his piece around for it.” He obviously wasn’t expecting Merlin to be behind him as he says this, because Charlie seems pretty surprised when a pistol is cool against his neck.

Eggsy has the pleasure of watching all of the color drain clean out of Charlie’s face, and he’s whiter than a ghost.

“How’s this for a piece,” Merlin replies, a low growl that is whispered into Charlie’s ear. “Mind yer neck,” he warns, it’s a chilling tone. Somehow, that entices a shiver to run down Eggsy’s spine, and he can’t articulate words why that is sending blood rushing to his dick.

He sobers up quickly, because Daisy is squirming impatiently in his arms.

“It is ungentlemanly to be speaking so fowl in front of a little lady,” Percival reminds him coolly, and he seems to appear out of nowhere with a tea tray. “Outside of his poor manners, which he has plenty of.” He glares at Charlie, before continuing, “Because his mother was sure to ship him off to school for such. Would you care to join us?”

The bloke seems a little warmer than their first meeting. If Eggsy is being honest, they all are, except for Merlin. Who honestly wasn’t rude, in the beginning, but standoffish, short, professional.

“I don’t wanna impose,” Eggsy manages to say around the lump in his throat, because Merlin still has a gun to Charlie’s neck and no one seems to find this a little odd, or perhaps an overreaction.

Merlin waves his hand about, the one holding the gun, like it’s nothing. “No imposition, lad,” he responds, a little kindly and not as cool as he has been.

“You mind not waving live weapons around when I have my girl?” Eggsy asks, a little harshly and he isn’t the least bit sorry when Merlin puts it back and looks properly cowed. “Thanks,” he mutters a little nervously, because everyone is staring at him like he has four heads.

Maybe speaking back to the mob boss wasn’t exactly the smartest thing, but he ain’t gonna surround himself, or Daisy, with a bunch of willy nilly men - much like she was in the flat with Dean and his goons - who wave about weapons.

Daisy is getting more impatient as time passes. “Tea, daddy,” she presses, and wiggles out of his hold to trot beside Percival and tug his trousers. “Tea, pease,” Daisy says.

“Please,” Eggsy corrects her and nods when she repeats it properly. “And I guess she’s decided for us.” He shrugs, but isn’t able to get completely comfortable in his seat, especially when Daisy is finding it in herself to test out almost every man’s lap, before she decides Merlin is a perfect fit.

Eggsy tries to stop her, but all of them shoo him off say she’s a joy and such, and Eggsy is a little taken how a room full of men - who could probably kill him with their pinky - seem to enjoy a 2 year old girl.

“Babe, why don’t you sit with me?” he suggests, and she’s whining while he tries to remove her.

“The lass is fine,” Merlin promises and shoves his hands away.

His reflex reaction is to snatch Daisy away, but there is a softness in the hazel eyes that look up at him. Something Eggsy hasn’t seen since they’ve been here.

She is content, no matter how cold the man is to everyone else, and Eggsy can’t argue when his girl is comfortable. So, he settles back into the chair, but doesn’t ever take his eyes off of her.

---

“Butterflies!” Daisy squeals.

They are romping around, more like Daisy, the gardens. Roxy is not far behind, always there in the shadows, but never interrupting unless Eggsy asks. It’s a little unnerving sometimes, so he hangs back a bit until she catches up with him with a brow lifting curiously.

“You don’t have to hang around like a hawk lurking pray,” Eggsy smiles as he says this. “Don’t mind the company anyway. Can get a little lonely with just a toddler.”

Roxy keeps pace with him now, as they head over a small bridge above the pond, and further back where more butterflies flutter about.

“Don’t run,” Eggsy calls, because Daisy is all left feet when she trips over thin air. He shakes his head; she’s so clumsy. “You ain’t got balance, babe,” he reminds her, as he’s helping Daisy right herself.

“Yuh huh,” Daisy argues. Her little eyebrows scrunching together. “Butterfly!” She points at the monarch that is flying just past her face. Daisy giggles and runs after it, and only falls four more times, once on her face, but gets back up and continues her chase.

“She’s excited,” Roxy comments. Her eyes watchful the entire time. Eggsy gives her a wide grin and turns his attention back to Daisy.

“Yeah. She’s 2, so bit of excitement over something that flies about in the sky, yeah?”

It was a beautiful day. The clouds parting enough to allow some sun through, grass was just damp, not too wet from the previous nights rain.

“We heading into the pub today?” he asks, attempting to make some form of conversation. “Know you usually head in around this time.” And he’s expecting this, half of the reason why he suspects she came outside in the first place.

Even though she was assigned to keep a close eye on them, Eggsy was normally able to wander the grounds without her breathing down his neck, but always in eyesight.

Roxy was silent for a moment, he could see her thinking her words carefully. “No,” she seems to decide on. “I am actually to keep you here for the day. There has been...business that needed attending to, and it was brought back to the pub.”

Eggsy stops for a moment, his face felt cold as what she was saying properly settled. “I’m guessing not the good kind.” He wasn’t exactly sure what he was trying to ask of her, or if he was at all.

Something about her voice, how it was so precise, so smooth and steady, or how she was giving him a blank stare. Her brown eyes giving nothing away and maybe that was for the best. Because all Eggsy knew was illegal drug trade and, he was sure, smuggling of weapons that was not for the military meant bad things.

“Deal go wrong, or somefing.” His accent a little thicker with his nerves, and it ain’t like he hasn’t been in the throws of a deal gone bad at home, but knew what that was like.

Dean wasn’t much, but Kingsman seems bigger than him and his goons, with their shitty pistols - usually second hand - and knives. Often times it was a beating to the face, someone was shorted cash during a run on Smith Street and Dean made certain the man’s kneecaps were blown out, but that was as dangerous as it got, and Eggsy didn’t like the idea of his girl surrounded by that again. Especially when they were as large as Kingsman, or skilled as far as Eggsy can tell.

“Something like that,” Roxy responds nonchalantly.

He isn’t sure he’s pleased with that answer, nor does he want specifics, if he’s being completely honest with himself.

“Just answer me this,” he chooses to say. Roxy shifts to face him, with that expectant brow raised again. “Are we safe?” Eggsy is finding himself asking this more, more so than he ever has in the past, but he couldn’t help it. Not after Dean lost all control in his drunken rage and killed his mum. Eggsy didn’t think he could feel safe around anyone, even when they were promising it.

“Yes,” she says. “When Merlin said he’d keep you two safe, he meant it.” Eggsy wasn’t able to find a reason to argue with that, her voice sincere and carrying all faith in the man she spoke of.

“Alright,” Eggsy nods and decides he’s going to follow Daisy, because if he hangs about with Roxy much longer, he will find himself asking more questions. Questions that may or may not be answered, and more than likely he will not like the response to them.

---

Later that night, Eggsy has just gotten Daisy to sleep and she wouldn’t - even if he were to bribe her with all of the sweets in England - go in her own bed. So, he settles on her next to him and scrolls through the phone Kingsman has given him. One of the many things taken from him, and he can’t find the mind to disagree because they can be traced back.

It’s late, just after 11, and it was hell that night. Eggsy sang 6 lullabies, and shit that’s about all he knew, with a bedtime story. He’s tired himself but fuck if he could shut his mind off, and is mostly just mindlessly looking up the kinds of trainers, and wishing upon a star - one that will likely never be granted - that he could have a winged pair. They were white, Adidas, with wings on either side a top the heel of each trainer.

Eggsy is able to slowly drift a bit, new shoes on his mind, when he hears the bang of a door slamming, and what sounds like a very angry set of feet stomping up the stairs. Normally it is fairly quiet around this time, save for the occasional patter of Merlin next door, but usually all is calm.

His defenses kick in.

That fight or flight, so ingrained in him now it’s second nature, taking over and he’s outside of the room, before he can even think to shove on a proper pair of pajama bottoms and not the pants he’s sporting. He’s a little surprised to see Merlin barrelling up the stairs. There is blood on his left cheek and all over the nice powder blue button down, even a few specs over the heather grey trousers.

“Uhm.” Is all Eggsy manages to sputter, but not purposefully. He’s sure keeping quiet would have been smarter, but Eggsy has never been the smartest when it came to shutting up. Or so Dean has told him a time or two, or the shiners he’s gone to school with. “Sorry,” Eggsy adds and is backing up into his room.

Merlin is watching him. His hazel eyes dark, hooded with danger and Eggsy is suddenly aware of the blood on his hands, knuckles, so beautiful regardless.

“Ye should get some sleep.” Was Merlin’s response, before he was moving quickly to his room, slamming the door and the lock clicking from the other side.

Eggsy isn’t sure he can move, can process what he’s just saw. A part of him wants to run, but the responsible part of his brain forces him to stay, not leave Daisy alone. He heads back into their room, climbs beneath the sheets and pulls Daisy close.

It’s a long while before he can relax. His adrenaline is pumping fast, causing his heart to pound against his chest. He’s not troubled by the blood, Eggsy has seen plenty of that in his time, but what bothers him more is the fact that he is more worried if it is Merlin’s, and if Merlin is okay.

Chapter Text

“She needs more nappies, and I could really use to get out of here,” Eggsy mentions to Roxy one morning. Daisy is happily eating cheerios and a banana in the kitchen at the estate. “I know you guys can get it ordered, but itching to get out.” He shifts a bit on his feet, before settling beside Daisy with a cup of coffee, and toast with jam.

Roxy gazes up from her breakfast of granola, and berries with yogurt. “I have to clear it with Merlin,” she responds.

Eggsy curses under his breath, because he’s pretty sure the bloke hates him. He hasn’t so much as said two words to him since what he saw, but maybe that was more precaution than hate.

At least he gives a small smile and nod to Daisy when he sees her.

“Is he even here?” Eggsy looks around.

The estate has been quiet, most of the other members staying in personal flats, or out on jobs. He only notices Percival lingering, and Merlin is a familiar face around, but no conversations held. Maybe he was busy, and didn’t have time to get to know the chav that lives under his roof now, or didn’t want to.

“Mm,” Roxy answers, thoroughly engrossed in her food, and tablet she is scrolling through. “I found some cute shops, not far from Kingsman, and we could take a trip there. I will propose this to Merlin and see we get extra security and a car.”

Merlin strolls in, just short of his name being spoken. The man always dressed to the nines in a bespoke suit, and a freshly polished pair of black brogues. Today it is a charcoal grey, with a deep plum dress shirt, waistcoat to match and strikingly silver cuff links. It’s hard for Eggsy to not find it attractive, along with his freshly shaven face and head.

“What are ye proposing, Lancelot?” Eggsy notices he always uses code names, and never addresses his knights as people. “Good morning,” Merlin says directly to Eggsy, then gives that small, kind smile to Daisy.

Daisy gives a wave and goes back to her banana. “Morning,” Eggsy says softly, a little stunned he was even speaking to him.

“Eggsy needs a few things for little Miss Unwin here, and would like to personally go out and collect them. I suggested we add another security measure, and take a car.” Roxy is all professional in her request.

Eggsy can see Merlin contemplating this as he pours a cuppa, and butters a slice of toast. He figures he will say no, too risky, can’t have Dean finding out where Eggsy is and risk their business. Because with men like him it is all about protecting your establishment, the money coming in and drugs going out. Eggsy has seen it enough to know what they are, who Merlin is.

Not to mention what he saw, it was clear Merlin took care of those who threatened Kingsman.

“Take Charlie with you, and I will have Bors drive the car. Extra protection cannot hurt, and I would rather not lose some of my best.” He nods to Roxy. Eggsy can see the pleasure flare in her eyes, and he has to wonder how long she has been a part of the Kingmsan.

Once his brain catches up with who Merlin suggests they take, a part of him wants to die, because Charlie loathes him and it isn’t like he is all that fond of Mr. Hesketh.

“You will have two hours. That should be plenty of time to get the lass settled with her necessities, and an allowance of 200 pounds should work, aye?” Merlin asks, as he digs into his pocket to produce an old leather wallet and two 100 pound notes.

Eggsy stares at the money, not sure he can take it. “I ain’t a charity case,” he finds himself saying.

Merlin gives that same tiny smile, the one he usually gives his girl.

“I know.” Merlin holds it out for Eggsy, who still does not accept it, even when Roxy coughs into her fist and glares at Eggsy. “If it makes you feel better, you can do some cleaning around the pub at the end of the night. We can always use an extra set of hands.” The offer is enticing, and one Eggsy can respect.

With that, Eggsy takes the money and mutters a tiny thank you. There is something about the hazel eyes analyzing him, a knowing look.

Merlin finishes his cuppa, toast, and makes a point to touch Daisy’s cheek. It is a little thing, just a soft brush of his fingers. “Be sure to get something pretty, little Miss.”

Daisy beams up at him and offers a mashed slice of banana to him.

Merlin looks at it, perplexed, and nods. “That is a banana,” he confirms, but Daisy grows frustrated when he doesn’t see that she is offering him a slice.

“For you,” she presses. Her arm extends up more, a small grunt leaving her little lips. “Tank you, for be nice to Daddy,” Daisy explains.

“She is sharing, and we are working on sharing is caring. It is her way to say thank you.” Eggsy decides to help him out, because the man seems so out of his league here.

Merlin takes it, and actually eats it; Eggsy’s heart swells a bit. “Thank you,” he tells her, and walks away.

---

“This is bloody ridiculous,” Charlie gripes from the front seat.

Eggsy is trying to get Daisy into her car seat, but she is whining and fighting him each time he attempts to get her buckled.

“You need new nappies, and Merlin even gave us extra for you to get something pretty. Please, baby, just sit still,” he tries to convince her, and she is momentarily distracted when Eggsy mentions something pretty.

Charlie twists in his seat to look back. “Isn’t she big enough to just sit there, or maybe on your lap.”

The hairs on Eggsy’s neck stand from irritation. He knows the extra security is a necessity, but Charlie, seriously? The wanker has had it out for Eggsy the day he set foot into the pub, and he hasn’t exactly made his distaste in Daisy and himself hidden. Eggsy ignores him and settles beside Daisy with Roxy on the other side. He catches the hint, at least, and doesn’t say anything until Daisy is whining that she wants her juice.

“For fucks sake, shut the brat up.” Eggsy throws one of Daisy’s toys at his head. One of the harder, rubber ducks he brought from the flat when they ran away.

“She’s 2 years old!” Eggsy shouts. “Watch your mouth, yeah? They are bloody sponges and pick up every word,” he snaps, not at all hiding his anger now.

Daisy stops her whimpering to look at him, while Eggsy and Charlie stare each other down. “Daddy mad,” she whispers, rather loudly, towards Roxy. Eggsy can hear Roxy muffle a laugh over her hand, but chooses to keep his eyes on Charlie.

“Watch it mate,” he warns, but this doesn't seem to affect Charlie as he smirks and turns back around.

They venture through a few stores. Daisy has two new boxes of nappies, some of the better kind too, since he doesn’t have to pinch pennies and get the cheap store brand that fall apart after two wees. Eggsy helps load them into the boot, along with an array of new clothes. Daisy insists she need a princess dress, since she is a princess, and Eggsy tells her that all of the time. They have over 150 pounds left, and so he splurges on the 30 pound dress, that will only fit her for six months, if he’s lucky.

She is growing like a weed, and Eggsy doesn’t know if he can keep up with brand new attire for her. He figures if Merlin can give him a job around the pub, he could at least afford to get Daisy discount store brand clothing, maybe not something as expensive as this.

“How are we on time?” Eggsy wonders. Daisy is hanging off of his hip busy playing with the new giraffe stuffie he got her, she was so good in the stores that he decides to indulge her just a little more.

Charlie is ahead of them on the walk, and Eggsy thought he should be doing more than looking at his phone the entire time. At least Roxy has her eyes peeled, always darting around the crowd of people, and there isn’t much traffic right now, plus Eggsy knows Dean and his goons would still be asleep at this time, especially on a Tuesday morning.

“We have about an hour left. You are quick in the shops,” she muses thoughtfully and tips her chin towards Charlie. “It took him an hour to decide on a part of boxer briefs.” Eggsy snorts, because somehow that doesn’t seem unbelievable for the bastard.

“We could get something to eat?” He directs more to Daisy, than to Roxy for permission, but she nods her head nonetheless and they are on their way to McDonald's. It was the only place he could get Daisy to agree on.

He was happy to see her eat 2 of the 4 McNuggets he ordered, and manages to eat all of her apple slices.

“What’s his deal?” Eggsy inquires when Charlie walks off to use the loo. “I didn’t do dick to him.”

Roxy finishes off her burger, wipes her hands and says, “A few power dynamics have been made within the last six months, and he doesn’t like them.”

“And that has to do with me, how?”

“It doesn’t, not really. If he were where Merlin is, I mean Arthur, he would not have followed the code and kept the promise given to your family with that medal.” She gestures with a fry, to his neck, and munches on it.

Eggsy is extremely grateful that prat wasn’t in charge, and he sort of wants to know more, but Charlie comes back looking like someone actually pissed on his pretty shoes.

“Let’s get out of here. I feel like I’ve caught something off of the faucet.” He’s wiping his hands with a sani-wipe out of his pocket, and looking like he stepped in shit. “I’m hungry,” he complains.

“You could eat?” Roxy waves a hand around. “Don’t tell me your parents didn’t bring you here once in awhile.”

The fact that Charlie didn’t answer was answer enough. Eggsy makes sure to wipe Daisy off, made sure all of the sticky BBQ sauce was gone, before he lifts her into his arms, and they head to the car.

Once they are home, Eggsy takes Daisy from the car and wanders up to their room, with their bags, to place her in bed for a bit.

Merlin is walking out of a room adjacent from his. He was bare chest with sweat glistening on skin. Eggsy doesn’t realize he’s staring, until Daisy lifts her head and sleepily says, “I got pwetty things.”

That seems to grab Merlin’s attention, and he’s doing that fond smile. Eggsy can feel his groin ache, but thankfully his dick remains deflated as he is holding a 2 year old.

“I’m glad.” He nods before disappearing into his room.

Daisy pulls away to tap Eggsy’s cheek, causing him to shift his attention from where Merlin left to her.

“He dirty,” she claims. Eggsy’s feet start to move into their own room. “Need bath. Daddy give bath?”

Eggsy felt his heart drop to his toes. “No, baby, I’m not going to give Merlin a bath,” he answers, and unpacks her new clothes and shoes.

“Well,” she says and toddles behind him. “I get bath?”

He spins on a heel to look down at her, a fond smile on his lips. “How about before bed?” Eggsy offers.

“Kay,” she agrees and wraps her little body around his leg, as he finishes putting her new outfits away.

If Merlin continues to give them an allowance, or pay him for small jobs around the pub, Eggsy is going to need a new chest of drawers for his own clothing.

---

The next morning Eggsy woke in bed alone and sort of began panicking. Daisy never got up without him, and certainly wouldn’t wander out of their room. He checks under the bed, in the bathroom, the closest, and darts across the hall to Roxy’s room.

Eggsy knocks once, before he’s finding himself barging in with a disheveled Roxy popping her head up from the mess of duvet.

“Daisy here?” He doesn’t even bother saying excuse me, or I’m sorry, not even a good morning.

Roxy is up and out of bed within seconds, a gun in hand and searching all over the place for Daisy. It should trouble Eggsy that every time something is alarming, they reach for guns, but right now he doesn’t say anything because his flower is missing.

They make quick work of clearing the third floor, go down to the second, and finally towards the stairs where Eggsy can hear a shrill of laughter, no doubt from a small girl, following an equally happy laugh, but from men.

Eggsy isn’t giving a fuck about appearances as he flies down the stairs, into the parlor and finds his girl dancing around in her new pink, frilly dress and twirling about to make it swish.

“Daisy Grace,” Eggsy says sternly, earning himself not only the attention from her, but also every man in presence. Which seems to be the entirety of the Kingsman, with Merlin sitting at a desk and the rest in comfortable chairs.

He walks in, and all dignity is out the window as he’s clad in his boxer briefs, and collects a frowning little girl.

“I show pwetty dress!” She shoves, as hard as a toddler can, against his chest. “They like, daddy!” Daisy almost yells.

“You scared me half to death when I woke up and you weren’t there,” he hisses, because not only was he worried, but now embarrassed to high heaven with his choice of clothing, or lack of.

Merlin is standing and rounding his desk to come beside him. “It is alright. The lass wondered down about an hour ago hungry, and was very proud of her dress.” He shrugs.

Eggsy raises an eyebrow, unimpressive, at the lot of them. “It ain’t okay, bruv. I woke up and she weren’t there. For all I know we could have been found and she could be gone.” His voice is higher, angrier than he intends, and he’s all of a sudden aware he is in a room full of members to a mob.

“Very well,” Merlin amends. “I am sorry,” he says, sincere.

“Don’t let it happen again,” Eggsy responds, then turns on his heel and runs out of the room, because he’s pretty sure they could all pull a gun on him, and blow his brains out.

He can feel, rather than hear, Roxy behind him. They are all the way upstairs, as he quickly spins to face her before hiding under his bed.

“I just did that,” he whispers. Eggsy isn’t sure what shocks him more, the fact that he just basically told off a mob boss, or that he survived.

Roxy is grinning like a loon. “You did.”

“I lived,” Eggsy mutters.

“You did,” she agrees.

“I’m gonna go question my life choices now, because I just yelled at the man who is keeping us safe and alive.”

He ignores Roxy cackling on the other side of the door.

Chapter Text

He was woken out of a sound sleep. Percival frantic in his ear when he answers his phone, but Merlin can barely make out more than he was moving and doctors say this could be signs Harry is waking up.

It’s 4 in the morning, an hour too early for him to be awake and Merlin is quick to toss on clothes. He’s barely got a suit jacket on as he heads out the door, long before anyone else is awake, and manages to call a cab for himself. He would normally use one of their cars and drivers, but he knows it can take a little longer to wake a driver, and he doesn’t want to waste any time if Harry is coming out of his coma.

The room is quiet, but he catches a doctor before heading all the way in and is asking questions.

“Is it possible?” Is all he wanders. Merlin knew enough that it can take days, to weeks, to come out of a coma.

“It is possible, yes. We haven’t seen much outside of hand movement, but that is usually the first signs.” Dr. Kendall has been with Harry the entire time, save for a few fill ins when she actually took a day off, or at least 4 hours. “He’s been doing well off of the ventilator, and this is promising. We just have to have some more patience and faith.” She gave his shoulder a squeeze before walking off.

Percival is sitting beside Harry’s bed, a hand in his, and Harry looks the same as he has for the past two weeks. It’s been a long road, and will be even longer once the ponce decides to show them his remaining brown eye.

Merlin idly wonders how much of a fit Harry will throw about that, but figures he can surprise him with a custom pair of glasses with the left side blacked out. Harry did enjoy the glasses they assigned to each Knight.

“How are you?” The question is soft, as he places a hand to Percival’s shoulder. “Ye have been here all night. I will sit here, and you can get some sleep because I will be needed at the pub later. I can stay until lunchtime. Go, have a shower, eat something, and then sleep.”

“What if he wakes and I’m not here?” Percival worries, and it is so rare Merlin hears him sound unconfident, or defeat.

“This arsehole would do that to me, but not you, Michael,” he spoke his Christian name, something he so rarely does now, but in this moment it felt right, needed.

He gave a curt nod, placing a tender kiss to Harry’s stubbly cheek and a small bow to Merlin before he heads out.

Merlin replaces his spot, he can keep this seat warm for his Knight...his good friend. He’s never thought about being in love, spending his life with another man and growing old with someone, but he’s glad they both have this with one another. In this moment, he is glad he does not have that. Because this looks like more torture than it’s worth.

---

The days are long, and not moving quick enough. He’s taken Percival off of assignments, and sent Roxy out. Merlin knows it’s a shit decision, considering she was to watch over Eggsy and his kid, but he needs the extra man...woman. Everyone else is out around London, and he’s sent Charlie to keep an eye on Dean’s every move.

Tristan is still guarding the hospital door, he and Kay taking shifts. So, that leaves Merlin to hover over the lad and his lass. Which is the biggest pain in his arse, but he’s not breaking the promise Harry gave to them. He’s seriously hoping he comes to soon, because Merlin has plenty of words to say to him when he does.

“Daisy, sh,” Eggsy hushes the little girl. Who is squealing a bit on his lap.

Merlin was back at the pub for some work. He already was in a meeting with his connections in Scotland, and that went pretty well. Merlin still kept in touch, even during Kings rule, and it was paying off for him now. They were a great source for the supply they were acquiring from Ireland. Most people assumed nothing but sheep, and land, but that was why they were perfect for hiding their merchandise there. Merlin has a few men in mind to go stay there, and some more they were working to get into the gang.

“Wet, daddy,” she cries a little. He looks up from his laptop, and Eggsy is holding her, his eyes darting around, appearing to be looking for a space he can change her.

“There is a bathroom just a door over.” Merlin motions with his hand. “If she needs to play, bring her downstairs. The doors are locked and no one should bother ye,” he says and goes back to his reading.

Eggsy stands, he can feel him hesitating by the door. “It is fine, Eggsy,” Merlin repeats for clarification. He makes sure his tone is soft, kind, because he’s seen Eggsy flinch, on more than one occasion, with loud voices.

“Thanks,” Eggsy mutters.

Merlin internally sighs and prays Lancelot’s assignment goes without a hitch, he doesn’t know what he will do if she is out of commission. Luckily, he has designed their glasses for close monitoring of such jobs, and it has been working in their favor.

He’s not on the server for monitoring, and occasionally dips into it, but today he has to focus on more political matters. Ones he’s loathed since taking this seat.

It’s quiet again, for once, until he hears a load smash and then a shrill of crying. Merlin is up, gun out, and scaling the stairs before he can think and finds Eggsy holding a distraught little miss in his arms, a bit of blood on her little hand.

“What happened?” he barks, a little louder than he intends, and causes Daisy to cry harder.

“Sorry, sorry,” she repeats through her tears.

He collects himself and comes forward. “I’m sorry I scared you.” Merlin wants to see where she is bleeding, how deep the cut is. His brogues crunch along broken glass, and he can see it was a crystal dish off of the end table.

“She’s good, guv,” Eggsy promises. “It’s me,” he corrects Merlin’s previous thoughts. Eggsy holds up his palm, and he can see a gash. “Got blood on her when I picked her up,” he explains.

Merlin leaves them for a moment to collect a broom and dustpan, and starts sweeping up the broken little pieces. It wasn’t anything important, no matter if it cost 500 pounds, but he wasn’t going to tell Eggsy that. The lad would likely insist on paying him back, working off his debt around the pub when it wasn’t necessary.

“I have a first aid kit upstairs. There is a large sleeping area up there and I can tend to that.” Merlin is gesturing to his hand, before he tosses the remains of the dish in the rubbish bin.

“I can do it. I’ve had worse,” he mutters, and that somehow doesn’t surprise Merlin.

“No, let me help,” Merlin insists and doesn’t take no for an answer as he leads Eggsy back up the stairs, and down the hall.

He sat him on the bed to grab what he needs, and it’s shallower than he thought. It is just a gash in the middle of his palm, probably will need some reinforcement glue, and steri-strips.

“Ye got luck,” Merlin says as he cleans it. Eggsy only hisses once when he pours some alcohol on it for cleaning, and dabs away the excess. “How did it break?” he keeps his tone light as he works.

“She grabbed it. I tried to catch it before it fell, but couldn’t. I was trying to pick up the biggest piece and cut myself.”

“Mm,” Merlin hums, as he applies some liquid bandage. He gave it a blow to help it dry, Eggsy tries to pull away on reflex. “Stay still, please.” He’s shocked when Eggsy does, and finishes dressing it. It only needs three steri-strips and he secures it with a plaster.

“Merlin kiss it?” Daisy asks from her spot beside Eggsy.

Merlin watches a very attractive dusting of red color Eggsy’s cheeks, before he’s answering, “No, babe.”

Daisy seems put off by this, her little brows pull together in an adorable frown. “Kiss make it better,” she says with a nod.

“Will it heal faster that way, Lass?” Merlin wonders.

“Yes,” she answers seriously.

“Well,” Merlin replies. “Who am I to impede on your daddy getting better?”

Daisy seems pleased with his words, and Eggsy is quick to insist he doesn’t have to.

“She’s 2, it’s cool, guv. Daddy is fine, Daisy. I’ll be okay.” His words seem to help him very little, as Daisy starts to pout.

He can’t help the smile that graces his lips, nor the need to make this little girl happy. Before Eggsy can protest again, Merlin is touching his lips ever so lightly to Eggsy’s injury.

If he was red before, he is now the color of a tomato, and Merlin thinks it’s a lovely color on Eggsy’s pale complexion.

Merlin stands to put everything away. “I do believe I have more work to do, Daisy, so you will have to excuse me. But perhaps ye should listen to your daddy, and don’t touch things not meant for little girls, aye?”

“Kay, Merlin,” she agrees.

He doesn’t say anything else and goes back to his office, leaving Eggsy gaping behind him.

---

The shrill of his phone pulls him from the surveillance he’s going over from Lancelot’s job, and trying to figure out how the fuck she got caught and injured. Merlin really wishes this wasn’t his life, he cares deeply for Roxy and not to mention this puts him the eternal babysitter of Eggsy and Daisy.

Roxy was deeply apologetic, like getting caught was her fault and it was not. Even with her injuries, Merlin cannot figure how the lass can blame herself.

“What?” he snaps.

The job was done, yes, but one of his was laying with their foot up, in a cast, and has two broken ribs. He wasn’t going to go into Harry still ‘coming out of a coma’ as they so nicely put it, for the second fucking week in a row. To say that was annoying, would be a vast understatement, but time. They say give it time, Merlin is seriously running out of fucking time he’s willing to wait.

“Merlin,” Percival says gently. “There is someone who would like to speak with you.”

His heart is in his throat, beating wildly and choking off his airways as a very slow, garbled voice, that is oh so familiar, says his name.

“Logan.” It wasn’t the same, but can detect it is Harry.

Merlin smiles. It’s a slow, wide thing, completely genuine. Something he hasn’t done in what feels like a lifetime.

“It’s about fucking time ye woke your arse up,” he chides, but his voice betrays him. It’s thick and a little watery. “Chester did say you were always late,” Merlin laughs and it’s refreshing to hear Harry’s laugh, or at least try to.

“You will come up, yes?” It is Percival’s voice now. “Some doctor’s just came back in, and I’d like you to hear what they had to say, as well.”

“Of course,” Merlin says, without thinking. Like he doesn’t have a young man and child he has to look after. “Be there shortly,” he promises and they hang up.

He tries to troubleshoot who he can trust with them, but with most of the Knights out and Roxy put up, he is left with only one choice.

“We are going to Hospital, but I will need you on your best behavior.” He crouches to Daisy’s level. Merlin doesn’t give Eggsy a choice to say yes or no, and by the way he’s looking, jaw set and tight, Merlin knows Eggsy is aware there isn’t one.

“Kay,” Daisy nods her head, causing her cute pigtails to bounce.

Somewhere along the trip to see Harry, Merlin wonders when he began to think a little girl’s hair was cute, or actually not mind Eggsy’s company.

It turns out Merlin has a lot to ponder, but it can wait for now.

Chapter Text

“Really?” Harry asks, as he’s using a stress ball with the right hand.

Therapy has been coming along rather nicely, and Merlin has been working mostly from his laptop in Harry’s room, or at the pub with Eggsy and Daisy. It’s been a long 3 weeks, but they are hopeful to get Harry discharged and home with services provided by an in-home nursing agency. Merlin has combed many, along with Percival, and found one that would suite Harry’s needs.

“Aye,” Merlin agrees. He’s trying to work on a prototype, the bare bones of it, for video feed in their Kingsman glasses. As of yet, he has only been able to get audio, but he’s this close to figuring out the right ratio in the new model.

Harry switches hands, seeming a little puzzled with the information Merlin has given him. “Who hangs on to those for over 17 years?” He wonders.

Merlin shrugs, “Apparently the Unwin’s did. Lancelot has told me a few things, bad home life and such, and that was easily notable with how they came to us.” He types away a bit more and smiles. “Finally,” he breathes and sends the plans to Mordred.

“I am sorry you’ve had to deal with this,” Harry is nothing but sincere, Merlin easily detects it in his voice.

It is much smoother now, with speech therapy and all. To say Harry was displeased would be the understatement of the year, he was right put out. But as Merlin reminds him, a bullet to the head will fuck with your speaking. There was also an issue with the right side of his body, to which he and Merlin agreed Harry would not be out doing jobs anymore. And thank fuck for that, because it meant once all of this was sorted, Merlin would be able to take back his proper place as Merlin.

“It is alright, Harry,” Merlin assures with a small smile, and he wonders if he even really knows Merlin would not do this for anyone else.

They fall back into comfortable conversation, how the business is running. Merlin informs him of the new connections they have grown to acquire, with an organization in America: The Statesman. Their head, Champ, was too appreciative that they took care of Valentine and his whole corporation, and offering their services, with the ability to use them for supplies.

“At least something good came of this,” Harry says, as he touches the leather patch where his left eye once resided. Merlin goes to say something, but Harry is waving him off. “The rest of me is healing, if the worst that came of this was a lost eye? Well, I am very fortunate.” He gives Merlin a soft smile.

Merlin leans forward to grasp his hand. “I’ve missed you, Harry,” he murmurs lowly, and no other thing is more true than that. Yes, this has been a huge disturbance in his way of life, but overall if they had lost Harry? Well, Percival wouldn’t be the only one having a hard time coping with that. He’s completely grateful Harry is in one piece, so to speak, awake and on the mend.

Harry squeezes back, it is stronger than it was a week ago. “Don’t go soft on me now,” Harry teases lightly, earning him a throaty laugh from Merlin.

“Alright, ponce,” he responds.

“Better,” Harry approves, but his remaining brown eye tells Merlin the feelings are completely reciprocated.

---

“Daddy,” Daisy whispers close to his ear.

Eggsy blinks awake, not realizing he has fallen asleep when a little girl was supposed to. She is propping herself on elbows and her little face is just a few inches from his, a small smile on her lips.

“What is it, Dais?” he wonders with a groan, because he was entirely too comfortable in this spot, and was having the most erotic dream of Merlin all sweaty and shirtless from a workout.

It’s then, that Eggsy realizes he is sporting a boner. He grabs the duvet and covers himself, and starts thinking of the time he’s seen Dean naked in attempts to work himself down. It works, thank Christ.

“New man,” she tells him, and that has Eggsy straightening in bed and looking around. There were few times he was wishing he has a gun, and this was one of them. Daisy giggles beside him, as she pats his cheek.

“We lone, down there.” She is pointing to the door.

He’s momentarily very confused, a little worry flying through him and causing his chest to constrict that they’ve been found, but then Eggsy remembers. Merlin’s other Knight, or the man to take his place, was discharging today and coming to live here in the manor. The news was a little unsettling to Eggsy, to say the least, but he had given them his medal, yeah? So Eggsy should take comfort in that, at least a little, but he was so accustomed to the other blokes and didn’t know much about this Harry Hart, besides Merlin muttering about the bastard giving him heartburn.

“Right, Merlin’s friend,” Eggsy confirms and decides to get off of the bed to use the loo. “Did you go down there by yourself?” He asks her, while he washes his hands.

Daisy is just entering the loo, nodding her little head. “Hawwy nice,” she assures him, a small hand patting his thigh as if putting his mind at ease; Eggsy appreciates the attempt.

“You think most people are nice,” Eggsy reminds her and scoops her up to place a series of kisses to her chubby cheeks.

The giggles erupting out of her are delightful, and he wonders how Dean could find her little life anything but precious. Eggsy knows he’ll cherish her, for as long as he lives, and hopes she never has to find out what was her life before. Not that this is the most convenient, but he has to admit they are the safest they have been, and he’s admittedly very content with their arrangements.

“I wuvved,” she insists, and who is Eggsy to argue with that?

“You are very loved, my flower,” he promises, with another sweet kiss to her small nose. “Are you hungry?” Eggsy looks to the clock and notes it’s nearly dinner time. He hopes she wasn’t asleep the entire 3 hours, much like he was, and that she will sleep tonight.

“Yeah,” she says with a nod and pokes her tummy. “It make noise, rumble grumble,” Daisy stage growls.

“Is the monster going to get me?” Eggsy feigns fright, always trying to make a game of most things. “Must feed the Daisy before the monster gets me.” His eyes wide with horror, which earns him a shrill of happy laughter out of her.

“Rawr!” She lunges in his arms, and into his neck, to ‘eat’ him.

Eggsy starts making a series of blood curdling screams and shouts to get the jaws of the monster off of him. He is having too much fun, and almost misses the door swinging open, wood banging against the wall, with both Roxy and Merlin surfacing, guns out and everything.

All laughter dies down, as Merlin stares at them, his eyes dark and guarded with danger, and something else. Eggsy swears it looks like protection.

A long moment passes before anyone says anything.

“It’s just a game, Merlin,” Roxy whispers, a little breathlessly, reassuring there is no real issue at hand.

“Sorry,” Eggsy murmurs, feeling a little foolish. Daisy has now ducked her head against his neck. “We didn’t mean to startle anyone, just a bit of fun, yeah?”

Merlin nods his head and takes a few steps forward. “Forgive me, despite ye both being guests here for just over a month. I am still unaccustomed to...games, involving children. She has been almost invisible, save for a few appearances here and there.”

Eggsy meets him halfway and finds himself laying a reassuring hand on Merlin’s bicep, their eyes never wavering from one another.

“Ain’t gotta apologize for worrying, just...could you lot not bust in with loaded weapons?” He gestures to Daisy, an eyebrow lifting with concern. It’s not the first time, and sure not to be the last, he’s requesting this, but it tugs his heart just the same. They are safe, cared for, protection bleeding off of Merlin and Roxy in waves, not to mention the rest of the Kingsman have done nothing but be just as attentive.

“Very well,” Merlin responds, voice softer than before and he does that small smile, but he’s looking at Eggsy the whole time; his heart skips a beat. “We have arranged for Harry’s favorite supper, shepherd's pie, and I would like it very much if ye both ate with us.”

Eggsy is about to explain Daisy likely won’t eat that, when she bounces excitedly in his arms and shouts, “Pie, daddy!”

This time, Merlin’s tender smile is directed toward her, and it’s warmer than before. Nothing in life makes Eggsy turn to goo, than someone showing his flower her worth, that she’s important, and Merlin does that. Eggsy wonders if the man even realizes it, or if it’s just a reaction, something he’s known people to have when around her.

Even at the market, back home, when he would accompany his mother and Daisy was just a tiny thing - not that she’s awfully big now. The whole lot of women, and even sometimes men, would crowd around to coo at the small babe. Now that Eggsy has a moment to think of it, he felt like a proud dad even then, and he wasn’t really caring for her 100% of the time, but he guesses filling in where Dean was lacking, would cause him to feel that way.

“It’s not the sweet pie, luv,” Eggsy tells her, and watches her face fall. All of the adults repress laughter at her disappointment, but Merlin surprises him further, his lips just a breath from Daisy’s ear.

“I did hear there would be actual pie, if good little girls eat most of their dinner,” Merlin whispers.

All of a sudden, Eggsy has an overpowering urge to grasp him by the collar and yank him into a kiss. He steps back, putting some space between them and Merlin’s smile fades a little, notable hardness cloaks his once kind eyes with apprehension.

There is an apology on his lips, because Eggsy didn’t mind his closeness, as far as Daisy was concerned. But how does he say, oh, sorry, yeah, didn’t wanna spring on ya and snog you to death? You don’t, and Eggsy’s not about to. So, he leaves it, and let’s Merlin bow out with a polite nod, a quiet request they join him and leaves.

Eggsy exhales the breath he was holding in, and has to place Daisy down, because she’s all of a sudden heavier than the approximate 2 stone, she actually weighs. He shakes his head of all affectionate thoughts, because he was a damn mob boss, yeah? Not like Eggsy hasn’t had a run around with dangerous men, if not more - or so he thought at the time - in the past. He pushes the thought away, and addresses the scowling little miss in the room.

“Wot?” he screeches, because she’s giving him a look - that he realizes is so their mother.

“Rude, daddy,” Daisy accuses, and he can’t even correct her, because it was a bit rude.

“Yeah,” he breathes, it’s a hard huff that leaves his lips. “We’ll go, alright?” Eggsy tries very hard not to grin stupidly, as she hops up and twirls around the room.

---

“You are sulking,” Harry accuses quietly, as the dinner wine is being poured. “Why?” he presses, when Merlin says nothing and continues to help Percival.

Once King died, Merlin made it a point to send staff on regular vacations, it wasn’t like they didn’t have the money for it. And it certainly wasn’t needed, also a luxury Merlin was not used to yet, even after working for Kingsman for nearly 30 years. They always kept a cook handy and gardener, two of the things Merlin didn’t quite like but didn’t mind setting tables and helping with laundry and such. Still, Merlin kept them, because most of the staff were generations of working for Kingsman.

“I’m not sulking,” Merlin denies, because he’s not.

Percival scoffs beside him, but sobers up quickly with the look Merlin is giving him. No matter their friendship, he is still in charge and sometimes he uses that to be left alone, when personal matters were concerned, or his feelings for that matter. It was easy to say he was guarding himself, and perhaps he was, but at this moment he did not feel like sharing with the class.

But Harry doesn’t catch the hint, nor does his scowl do anything to deter the imp from inquiring more.

“Yes you are,” he argues. “You’ve been throwing a silent fit ever since you came down from that boys room,” Harry points out, and it’s like a light goes off in his brain as he sits up straighter in his chair. “Oh. Ohhhh,” he drawls out, and Merlin wishes he was in the wheelchair. That way he could push him down the hall.

“It is about him,” he says, easily putting together pieces to a puzzle, that sure as shit don’t need to be put together. “You fancy him, Logan,” Harry says in that annoying sing-song voice he does.

It’s usually when he knows more than what’s good for him, but Merlin isn’t going to confirm anything, not when the lad in question is standing in the doorway to the dining room, with a very excited little girl beside him. A weight, that he wasn’t even aware he was carrying, lifts off of his shoulders.

“Please, sit wherever you like,” Merlin manages around the lump forming in his throat.

He clears it, wonders how the fuck Eggsy and Daisy showing up for dinner is causing him to react this way, and he hopes to bloody Christ Harry doesn’t pick up on anything. But the brow he is raising, a sly smile on his lips, gives him away. Merlin silently curses to himself, because this only means more questioning after dinner.

“Come on, Dais,” Eggsy probes gently, tapping her small shoulder to get the girl to move.

They all take their seats, it’s quiet at first, but low conversation slowly starts, and Merlin ignores the daggers shot at Eggsy and Daisy by Charlie; he needs to address that. He was pleasantly surprised that Harry is taking an interest in them, and actually having a conversation with Daisy, or as much as one can have with a 2 year old.

“Your dress is very pretty, Daisy,” Merlin offers, when there is an actual pause, and enjoys the little blush on her cheeks. “Was that one of your finds last shopping trip?” he wonders.

It is a powder blue, almost Cinderella type dress, but it looks lovely with her blonde hair.

“Yep!”

“Come on, less talk more eating, yeah?” Eggsy coaxes her, because she was awfully distracted by all of the conversation.

“But pwetty man nice,” she insists. Her brows pulling together in a small scowl. “Be nice,” Daisy tells him.

Eggsy seems momentarily confused. “Pretty man? Who, Harry?” he wonders, because he’s the only new face here.

“Noooooo,” she sighs dramatically. “Merlin,” she tells him simply.

Noises of cutlery hitting plates sound in the now quiet dining room. “I’m sorry?” It’s Merlin who speaks first.

Harry is reeling beside him, a grin so wide it should crack his face. “Oh, this is good,” he mentions, and glares when Merlin kicks his leg.

“Daddy say pwetty,” she goes on to say and Merlin can see Eggsy virtually die inside. The lad’s face lost several shades of color, and an odd hue of green is tainting his usual gorgeous complexion.

“I...I never said that,” Eggsy hisses, a low whisper towards Daisy.

“You did!” Her voice raises. “No lie, daddy. Lie mean no pie.” Daisy is now pointing an accusing finger in her father’s face, and Merlin is wishing he could look away from Eggsy’s horror stricken eyes, but they are pretty eyes.

Charlie is snickering, and says, “So, what I said about your piece was-” his words cut off, and Merlin can hear the click of the safety being taken off of a gun. Roxy is humming beside Charlie, and nonchalantly eating her supper.

“Ye might want to choose your next words carefully,” Merlin warns Charlie, but his eyes never leave Eggsy’s.

“Daddy nap,” Daisy continues around a bite of pie. “Say Merlin pwetty,” she clarifies.

Eggsy looks as if he wants the ground to swallow him up, his mouth gaping open and closing like a fish out of water. Harry is now covering his mouth with a linen dinner napkin, and Percival has hidden his smile behind a wine glass. The only one giving looks of disgust is Charlie, but Merlin knows Roxy must have jabbed the pistol harder into his thigh, because he goes back to eating.

Merlin works to compose his shell shocked expression and return his attention to Daisy. “Well, that is a lovely compliment that no one has given me before.”

Daisy gasps, with all the surprise a 2 year old can give. “You pwetty,” she insists.

“Thank you,” he smiles kindly at her, before his eyes wander to Eggsy, who is now staring at the table. “You are pretty as well,” Merlin says.

Daisy smiles widely, because she would be the only one to think he spoke to her, but he knew Eggsy would know it was for him. Merlin hopes he knew, because he is realizing he thinks the lad is rather pretty, among other things he’s discovering, since spending so much time with him recently.

He is thankful everyone goes back to eating, everyone but Harry who is now leaning so far in his seat, he should fall off.

“We are discussing this later,” Harry whispers, it’s so low only Merlin can hear.

“We are not,” Merlin denies, but knows it’s bullshit, because Harry won’t leave him alone about it.

Merlin is so fucked, he thinks to himself.

Chapter Text

“No,” Merlin says, as soon as they get a free moment. Apparently pie is a huge thing for Daisy, whipped cream and all involving to top the already sweet treat. Which incidentally results a very sticky, and sugar high toddler.

Merlin finds himself making a mental note to keep sweets, around the pub and estate, at adult level and out of reach of small hands. He heads towards the mini bar, pours a dram of scotch for himself and makes a martini for Harry.

“Why not?” Harry wonders, and Merlin can hear the smile in his voice. He doesn’t have to turn around to know Percival has taken a seat beside his husband, and that Harry is grinning like a fool.

Roxy has taken leave to her room, in her temporary quarters on the first floor, and is sure Charlie is loving having to keep a closer eye on Eggsy and Daisy tonight, but Merlin needs a night to clear his head. Perhaps he’ll pound out a few bags, later, but now he has to deal with a one curious Harry Hart, and that was a recipe for disaster.

“Here.” He hands the prepared drink off to Harry, downs his dram and goes back for another. “Can I interest you, Percival?” Merlin inquires, as he makes his two drams this time.

That dinner was a cock up, and if only for secrets spilled for all to hear, whether willing or unwilling, and Merlin was clearly a willing participant in this equation. Why he felt the need to spill his feelings, attraction, or whatever you want to call it, was beyond him. The knowledge didn’t sit well with him, and he can’t place the growing tightness in his chest. Anxiety, maybe? Fear that Eggsy was only speaking out of his arse, or Daisy rather. He didn’t have much experience with children, but often times people say they speak the truth. They don’t know enough to lie, yet. Not ones so young.

“Vodka and tonic, please.” Was Percival’s answer, and for a moment Merlin forgot he was offering him a drink.

Merlin was quick, finishing his in the process and cut himself off at that because he really did want to burn off some energy. He couldn’t very well do that while he was pissed off his arse, and that could result in an injury if he wasn’t careful.

“What?” Merlin is now sitting across from them, and Harry is gazing at him with the same look he gets when he’s got an idea, usually ones involving shooting and sometimes explosives.

He breathes a sigh of relief, Harry looks better, like Harry, beside the patch over his eye. The new glasses were almost done, as of yet Harry has no idea Merlin is having them made. Regardless of how happy he is to see Harry home, he’s slightly irritated with him.

“You fancy him.” Harry is doing a poor job at concealing his joy at the thought. “Admit it, Logan, you fancy the lad and that bothers you.”

Percival rolls his eyes, stands to get another beverage, heavier on the vodka this time; Merlin notices.

“What is there to admit?” Merlin snaps. “He is attractive, aye. Anyone with a set of eyes can see that.” His tone is a bit harsher than he intends, but he’s put off by this and can’t explain why.

Harry has a sly smile in place, Merlin can see the next words written on his lips, and so he prepares for whatever is about to come out of his mouth.

“You called him pretty,” Harry points out. Percival nearly chokes on his drink, and Merlin has a mind to pour some on Harry.

“I called the lass pretty,” he lies smoothly. “Every one heard me.”

There was silence and all of a sudden Percival couldn’t look at him any longer.

“Logan,” Harry sighs with disappointment.

Before he can carry on any further, Merlin is up and moving towards the door. “Do not finish that sentence,” he barks and stalks out.

“You really needn’t tease him, he’s had a rough go of it since having to be Arthur,” Percival chides softly, but pulls Harry close for a warm kiss to the temple.

Harry looks to the closed door. “Which is why he needs this Eggsy.”

---

The bag swings, he bounces around it a few times before making a one two punch. His fist hitting the bag, knuckles ached. It has been a while since he’s worn just wraps, but needs the extra force against skin, bone. Merlin craves the burn, wants to feel this tomorrow and he can get a better punch in without gloves.

It’s too warm in here, they turned the heat up since it dropped in temperature. The days were cooler, less sunlight as December approaches and soon it will be Christmas. Merlin is momentarily distracted by the thought, he’s sure Daisy to get a visit from father Christmas. He shakes the idea off, just for now, and goes back to stalking the bag; his opponent.

He hasn’t had a real partner in some time. Harry less interested in the sport, and James was one of the few who gave as good as he got. Merlin was missing him, was yearning for the competitiveness that a human opponent gave. But the suspended bag of sand would have to do.

Merlin starts with a basic warm-up, never goes at it full on, no matter how much his anger fuels that at the moment. He could hurt himself, he’s not stupid and practices a safe routine. He quite likes his knuckles intact.

It’s a one two punch combo, a dance as he moves around the room a bit, and throws a few more. He repeats it, tossing a few air punches, and landing some on the bag, until he gets to the end of his routine and does a freestyle. Allowing all of his frustration, pent up energy, tension, bleed out. There’s been so much going on in the last 6 months, he needs to just let go.

He shifts easily into a speed workout, using the previous warmup as his start, and moves through the 6 rounds. First is the easiest, crisp, light punches that get his muscles and joints moving.

He’s on round 3.

Which consist of non-stop fast punches for 15 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds. Merlin repeats this until the 3 minute round is complete, but he doesn’t get to finish as the creak of the door catches his ear. He stops, pulls his pistol from the back of his trackies pocket and has the safety off without realizing who it is.

His breath is quick, fast, adrenaline coursing through his veins, heart pounding against his chest, clogging his ears with the noise. So much so it takes him a second to visualize Eggsy standing just inside the room, hands up, palms forward to show he isn’t of harm. Merlin lowers the pistol, a loud exhale leaving him as he tosses the weapon onto the mat, and goes back to move around the bag.

Eggsy doesn’t say anything, Merlin can see him enter all the way, door closing behind him before he sits on the floor, just off of the mats.

Merlin finishes the 6th round, giving it his all, hard, fast punches for 3 straight minutes and is tanked by the end, just as he should be. But somehow he’s hyper alert, clocking Eggsy’s eyes while Merlin wipes the sweat off of his chest, face and neck, before he takes a long pull of water, nearly draining the whole bottle.

The room is quiet, save for the clanking of chains from the perpetual swinging bag.

Eggsy still staring.

“I ain’t a boxer, or nothing, but ain’t you supposed to wear gloves?” Eggsy asks quietly.

Merlin shrugs, “Ye don’t have to, no, but have to be smart about it.” Eggsy nods his head. “It is okay to box without wraps, as well, but it’s usually encouraged you at least wrap them.” He’s now standing beside the bag, grasps it to halt the movement.

Another silent moment passes. They are just looking at one another, mostly Eggsy’s eyes darting from Merlin’s chest, to his face and the gun on the floor. He only occasionally looks at the boxing bag, and then back at Merlin.

“Didn’t mean to startle you,” he apologizes. “Can’t sleep for shit, and I heard a lot of noise. Ever since I left, been on edge, yeah?”

Merlin hums an agreement, he understands that too well. “Want to try?” He decides to focus on something else, and not the growing ache in his groin from the way Eggsy is looking at him.

He can see Eggsy’s hesitation, as he produces tape and gloves. “It’s a good way to burn off some energy, and ye look like you need that.” Merlin can see Eggsy is buzzing with it, it’s the way his fingers pull at his pajama trousers, leg bounces.

“Sure, yeah,” Eggsy answers. He comes to stand in front of Merlin, and just watches how Merlin wraps his hands.

“Right or left?” Merlin asks, while he finishes the second hand.

“Right.”

“Alright. Ye are going to want your left shoulder facing your opponent.” Merlin grabs Eggsy’s shoulders, shows him how to stand and angle his body. “The bag is your opponent, and you always want to protect your dominant side.”

Merlin gets into stance. “Legs shoulder width apart, arms up. This is the upright stance.” He waits for Eggsy to mimic him. “Good. Ye are going to want to start by punching air, get comfortable with the movement. Because you are right handed, ye are going to lead with your left foot and fist. This gives you the most penetration power.”

He continues to explain, watches as Eggsy moves around a bit, his body a little stiff, uncomfortable with the motions, but after a few minutes loosens up. He comes behind Eggsy, his chest against Eggsy’s back, his skin warm and soft to his. Merlin only stills for a moment, because he smells gorgeous. It’s a soft vanilla, lavender scent, clearly from the soap he must have used on Daisy.

“Now,” Merlin whispers, once he’s resembled some sort of composure. A lump forming in his throat, voice caught there. “You are going to move around the swinging bag, sizing it up like you would a human opponent.” He pushes it, and starts to move around. Merlin waves his hand for Eggsy to follow.

“One two jabs,” he instructs, as Eggsy makes a swing. “Don’t put your all in yet, you’ll tire yourself quicker.” Merlin nods his head, appreciates the way Eggsy’s shoulders, back muscles contract and constrict with each swing.

“Excellent,” he approves and doesn’t miss the wide, shit eating grin Eggsy gives him from the praise. It makes him forget to breathe, just for a second, because he is breathtaking.

Merlin teaches him the simplest warm-up, coming up behind him to show him a new form - the semi crouch. His hands smoothing up Eggsy’s forearms to guide his hands. He doesn’t miss the way Eggsy’s breath catches as he does, and leans in a bit. Merlin’s mouth just inches from his ear.

“Just like that,” he says softly. Eggsy shivers against him, but doesn’t miss a beat when Merlin steps away and supervises his workout, giving occasional instruction. Advice on which angle to take, how many punches to give in a round, how long and how often.

“Not bad for a beginner,” Merlin says, pleased, after Eggsy completes a full warm up.

Eggsy flops onto the mat, exhaustion in his shoulders, his chest and face glistening with sweat.

Merlin tosses him a towel, and a bottle of water, to which Eggsy catches, wiping himself off and drains the bottle.

“How often you do this?” Eggsy wonders. “Never heard you before,” he admits.

“Every day, usually in the mornings.” Merlin unwraps his hands before coming over to sit in front of Eggsy, and takes the gloves off then works the wraps off.

“Will they hurt?”

“Nae.”

The silence grows uncomfortable, a tension in the air that Merlin can’t explain, it’s a heavy thing. That is, until Eggsy stands and what could only be a hard on, pressing against the fabric of his pajamas. Merlin swallows thickly, forces his eyes up to Eggsy’s face, and gives a nod.

“Thanks, by the way. Wouldn’t mind doing this again,” Eggsy murmurs, and darts out seeming to have used up all of his courage on that alone.

Merlin has to stand there for a second, to properly collect his thoughts, before he cleans up and heads back to his room where he takes a stupid hot shower.

The feel of Eggsy against his body is embedded into his brain, and Merlin finds himself having a good, slow wank before he falls into bed and drifts into a dreamless sleep.

---

Eggsy books it out of there, because if he stayed for another moment, he wouldn’t be able to keep to himself any longer. Between having Merlin flush against his body, and the clear boner he was sporting, Eggsy was going to bust a nut right there.

He looks to be sure Daisy is sound asleep, makes a beeline for the bathroom and has a quick, hard wank under a cold shower, because his skin was on fire. He has gotten good at those, with having a toddler around and all.

No matter how strung out he feels, from that work out, he is completely fucking wired from Merlin’s close proximity, and the fact that the Scot was aroused as well.

Eggsy doesn’t sleep but 3 hours that night, and it’s only after 4 in the morning he’s able to stop thinking about his boxing lesson.

Only to wake from an erotic dream involving himself and Merlin, sweaty bodies pressing together - on the gym floor - after a go with boxing, clothes stripping off to have the hottest sex he’s ever had.

He’s grateful Daisy is still sleeping, and can go have another furious wank before she’s asking for bananas and cheerios.

Eggsy was gone, going, falling and it was fast.

Chapter Text

“She ain’t yours, Muggsy,” Dean sneers. He has Daisy in his arms, clutching her too tightly, a hand wrapped around one of her pigtails.

Her pigtails are a mess, all out of place from when Eggsy had dressed her in the morning. She’s crying, reaching for him. Eggsy can feel his heart breaking. He can’t do much, there is a cold pistol against his head, and Dean has a knife to her throat.

“Let her go,” he screams. It’s futile.

His laugh cuts through Eggsy’s soul, stabs his heart.

Eggsy closes his eyes, warm tears running down his face. “Please,” he whispers, begs. “Let her go.” It’s the last thing he can say before a loud bang goes off.

He wakes with a start, heart thumping loudly in his chest. It takes Eggsy a few moments to realize it was a dream. That Daisy is sleeping soundly in her bed. His sheets wet, cool with his own sweat. Another loud crack of thunder shakes the room, causing his chest to vibrate, Eggsy all but jumps off of the mattress from the force.

It’s pouring rain, big large drops slam against the window pane and Eggsy is surprised Daisy hasn’t woken yet. He runs a shaky hand over his face, catching the sweat and tears as he does. Eggsy carefully untangles from the covers, sheets and duvet wrapped around his legs, and he heads to the loo.

The scalding hot shower does nothing to warm his body. He can still feel the cool press of metal against his skull, the weight of the pistol and vibration of it going off. He can still hear Daisy screaming for him, how each time she calls him daddy it’s another yank at her pretty blonde hair from Dean. It’s all Eggsy can do not to scream, shout, into the silence. He doesn’t want to wake Daisy, so instead he cries, bites his fist until he notices a few drops of bright, red blood swirling down the drain with water.

“Fuck,” Eggsy whispers, to no one but himself, washes the wound and turns the water off to get out and towel off before putting a plaster in place. At least it's shallow and nothing detrimental.

Eggsy pulls the plush, navy blue robe over his chilled body, hopes it will provide some warmth. After sitting on his bed, for an hour, watching the lightning illuminate the dark sky Eggsy decides to get up. He makes another quick check over Daisy, pleased when he sees she is sleeping soundly, her favorite stuffie tucked securely under an arm.

The manor is quiet as Eggsy wanders to the kitchen, not expecting anyone else to be up since it is after 3 in the morning, and was pleasantly surprised to find Merlin cradling a mug at the large island dominating the middle of the space.

He was about to turn around when Merlin murmurs, “Storm wake ye up?” His voice is soft, thicker than normal, the accent heavier. Eggsy pauses, turns on his heel, and heads all the way in.

“Cuppa?” Merlin asks as he stands to grab another mug.

“Sure.” Eggsy settles onto a bar stool, two sweats over from where Merlin sat. He starts fiddling with the sash around his waist, hoping it doesn’t reveal anything risque; he wasn’t expecting anyone up.

“Black? Cream, sugar?”

“Two sugars and a splash of cream, please,” Eggsy responds. He accepts the prepared cuppa with a warm smile. “Cheers,” he says, lifting his up. Merlin mimics the gesture and the noise of two porcelain cups clinking together is deafening in the quiet space.

An unfamiliar, yet comfortable, silence falls between them. Eggsy does all he can to avoid staring at Merlin’s bare chest, all broad and gorgeously sexy, scuplted shoulders. Or the way hooded, deep hazel eyes seem to assess him, watching the way he takes a sip.

“What demons trouble you in the night?” Eggsy inquires.

Merlin’s raising a single brow, a curious air surrounds the man, and maybe that was the wrong choice of words.

“I don’t sleep well during thunderstorms,” Merlin says honestly. He places his empty cup down, body angled to face Eggsy better and he can see the whole of his chest.

Their time in the gym did it little justice. The dim lighting of the kitchen accentuating each curve, divot, of his muscles. His collarbone seems it could hold Eggsy’s cuppa and what he wouldn’t give to suck a beverage from the crevice.

“Eggsy?” Merlin says. He has to shake his head, because it looks like Merlin was asking him something. Eggsy inclines his head, making certain his full attention is on Merlin...and not his body. Merlin gives him a soft smile and says, “I was asking what demons are keeping you up.”

It takes him a moment to answer, as a single finger traces the lip of the mug, deciding whether or not he wants to tell the truth or skirting around it.

“Just bit of a bad dream is all,” he murmurs. Eggsy hopes Merlin doesn’t get too curious and press for more information. He’s happy when all he does is get up, give his shoulder a reassuring squeeze, and cleans up his tea mess.

At the door, Merlin says, “Try to get some sleep, aye? I know your lass is quite energetic these days.”

Eggsy gives an appreciative nod, and lets out a long sigh once Merlin left. He can still feel the weight of Merlin’s hand on his body, and the next shiver he gets isn’t from cold sweats, but the desire for those hands on more than just a plush robe.

---

“You look like shit,” Roxy comments.

They are walking through Hyde Park, Daisy is a few paces ahead romping around in a few piles of leaves.

“Thanks,” Eggsy replies dryly.

She takes his elbow, guides him to a bench, and forces him to sit. “No offense, but have you slept? You’re starting to resemble one of the Addams kids.”

A soft laugh left his lips. “I look that bad?”

“Pale, eyes sunken and purple.” She shrugs. “Addams is a polite observation, I think. It’s either that or say you look like night of the living dead.” That coaxes a long, hearty laugh out of him. Something Eggsy hasn’t done in a week.

The nightmares kept coming, always the same. Dean figuring out he has Daisy, taking her from him, and Eggsy ending up dead from it. Maybe it’s a sign, maybe he needs to go back, keep them safe that way. The idea is unsettling, and no fucking way was living there better than this. He was doing the right thing, he did the right thing - Eggsy mentally corrects.

“Haven’t been sleeping,” Eggsy admits, not that it’s a huge secret at this point.

“What’s keeping you up? Is it the Dean thing?”

Eggsy shrugs, “I keep having this recurring dream that he comes to take Daisy away, kills me after as well.” He can admit this much, tell Rox a little. He trusts her more than anyone else, and if he’s vague enough it won’t give chase that he fudged the truth and Daisy is really Dean’s.

Roxy passes him a sympathetic glance, slings her arm around his shoulders, and plants a firm kiss to his temple.

“You guys are safe, Eggsy. He won’t be able to get to you. All of us will make sure of that, especially Merlin,” she says with a smile.

“Oi!” He shoves her kindheartedly, trying his best not to grin. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means what I said. Merlin is quite taken with you and Daisy, and he isn’t taken with most people.” Eggsy’s heart thumps into his throat. He tries not to put too much thought into that, because taken with them doesn’t have to mean it the way Eggsy hopes it means.

He hasn’t had more than a hand full of meaningful conversations with him and virtually none of them have brought him to believe there was interest there. At least that’s what Eggsy keeps telling himself.

Merlin only taught him how to box, his body close, warm against his. His thoughts quickly spiral out of control, and all of a sudden he is hot, sweaty and naked with Merlin as they roll around the gym mats.

Eggsy is pulled from his erotic daydream, as Daisy shouts for him, her little arms occupied by a small, wiggly thing.

“What is that?” Eggsy asks, as Daisy runs right into him and tries to climb his lap. He lifts her up and examines her closely.

“Look, daddy.” She smiles up at him and offers the wrinkly, fur ball. “Puppy!” Daisy screeches.

He lifts the whimpering pup from her hands and holds it at eye level. “Oh my days,” Eggsy murmurs. “Where did you find him?” he asks, after inspection confirms the dog is a he.

Eggsy giggles as he earns a few licks to his nose. “Aren’t you adorable,” he coos.

“Box over there, daddy.” Daisy points where she had been playing.

Roxy is the one to get up and investigate. She comes strolling back with a sad look on her face. “Box says they were for free, but none others were in there. Means this little guy was all alone.”

“Awwww,” Daisy whines. “We can keep him, right?” Her voice is hopeful, as she turns her wide blue eyes on Eggsy.

Somehow, the puppy seems to copy her and he now has 3 sets of big eyes looking at him: Daisy, puppy, and fuck even Roxy.

“Pleaaaaaaaaaaaaase,” Daisy begs.

It wasn’t that Eggsy doesn't want to tell her yes, because he’s cute and cuddly. And okay, Eggsy sorta always wanted a puppy, but it isn’t his house, and he sure as shit wasn’t going to bring the dog without the okay.

---

“Puppy!” Daisy announces as they arrive home. She bounces into the larger sitting room, where multiple deep voices are echoing from, holding the dog up high as if he were Simba from The Lion King.

Eggsy was quick to follow, trying, but failing, to grab the small canine from her bitty hands. Somehow she was quicker, and how the hell a human a quarter of his height could be so fast, with her short little legs, was beyond him.

“Look!” she giggles and scrambles where Merlin is sitting. “I found him.” Daisy sounds entirely too proud. The wide smile on her face, dimpling her cheeks, seems infectious as each knight soon mirrors her expression.

“And what a pleasant find he is,” Merlin appreciates, ignoring each doubtful glance his way.

The only one who is incapable of keeping their mouth shut, says, “You hate dogs, Logan.”

“I do not hate them,” Merlin denies. “I just prefer cats,” he corrects Harry.

“Can we keep him? Daddy says I gotta ask, and help.” Daisy nods her head seriously, as serious as an almost 3 year old can be. “I make sure he good boy,” she tries to convince Merlin.

Harry is grinning like a loon, Eggsy wants to know why. But his answer is received when Merlin gives her a gentle smile, sweeps the fallen hair away from her face and says, “Of course ye can. A princess such as yourself shouldn’t be denied gifts.”

Eggsy’s heart does a little flutter and it’s all he can do not to melt onto the floor. “Honestly, it’s no trouble if she can’t keep him,” he interjects. Eggsy doesn’t want Merlin to feel pressured by her cute face, because he sure as shit is effected on a regular basis.

Harry delicately snorts, but a kick from his husband ends it quickly, as Daisy gives her best pout.

“It is no trouble,” Merlin promises, which seems to dissolve the little strop Daisy was brewing to have. “Does he have a name?” he wonders.

Daisy looks thoughtful for a moment, and then turns to Eggsy. “You name him, daddy.”

“You sure? He’s yours.”

“I found him, you name him.”

“I think that sounds like a good idea,” Merlin comments, shifting his gaze to Eggsy’s, hazel eyes expectant.

“JB?” he answers, not entirely sure because it's the first damn thin that pops into his head.

“And what would that stand for? Just blown?” Charlie wonders, amused and a little cocky.

Harry wacks him in the shin with his cane. “It is ungentlemanly to speak so foully in front of a little lady, Charles,” he snarls, and Eggsy can see the clear effort it took for Harry to keep from swearing.

“You fucking-”

“Finish that sentence and ye will never speak again,” Merlin threatens nonchalantly, keeping a pleasant smile in place as JB licks his cheek.

Charlie bites back the rest of his words and storms out of the room, actually stomping his feet.

“Someone needs to take care of him,” Tristan mutters under his breath.

Eggsy gives an eager nod. “He ain’t gonna like what I have to say, he keeps it up around my girl.”

It’s only by sheer strength Eggsy hasn’t beaten the shit out of him, but he ain’t trying to lose the place he has here. They are safe and well looked after. Eggsy can’t do anything to fuck that up, and if that means allowing Charlie to verbally abuse him, then he’s taking it; Daisy is far more important than his pride.

“Mm,” Merlin hums an agreement. Just as Merlin is about to hand JB over, the little pup pisses all over his jumper and it's the first time Eggsy notices his clothing - what with being too busy staring at his face, among other things.

“Oh shit!” Eggsy hurriedly takes JB. “Sorry, bruv.”

Daisy pats Merlin’s cheek. “It’s okay. Daddy good at cleaning messes. Daddy change me when I mess. Right, daddy?”

The whole room goes quiet, Eggsy can feel every man’s eyes on him. "Erm, yeah. But my job, innit?”

“Gotta clean Merlin, too, daddy,” Daisy insists, her little brows pulled together, even as Eggsy scoops her up.

Eggsy can feel his face get as hot as an iron. “I...uh,” he stammers.

Merlin waves a dismissive hand, but a fond smile in place. “That’s okay, Daisy. I can care for myself. But perhaps your daddy would like to clean me up another time,” he adds, and Eggsy forgets how to breathe.

“Okay!” Daisy claps her hands. After a few moments pass of Eggsy standing there, she touches his cheek. “You staring, daddy,” she whispers.

At that, Eggsy manages a quick retreat and makes sure to avoid eye contact with Merlin, or any other member beside Roxy, for the next week.

Chapter Text

Eggsy swept the small foyer between the entrance and front door, before emptying the dustpan and wandering in to make sure Daisy hadn’t overstayed her welcome. He was careful not to step on the little pug, that easily became his shadow, and scoot him along with his foot.

The Kingsman were very nice, despite being mobsters and all that, as of yet no one has actually confirmed that’s what they are, but the signs were hard to mistake. Eggsy stood just off to the side, watching her twirl around with the duster he had given her; she was insistent on helping. Something about sharing chores, and all that, not that Eggsy was complaining. He is glad she was partaking in earning her keep, but he wasn’t convinced she needs to do that.

“I think that’s good, flower,” he says, placing the broom away and grabbing for the duster. “You did a good job,” Eggsy praises.

Daisy was smiling brightly up at him and managed to scoop up the puppy, who is all too willing to go into her overindulgent arms. The nightly snuggles were getting out of hand, but Eggsy wasn’t going to complain too much. JB was quiet, and only pissed in her bed once. It was Eggsy’s bed he has made a mess in several times, and only because Daisy was having a hard time sleeping alone.

Eggsy figures it’s a phase and will soon pass, but he’s finding it difficult to sneak away and punch at the bags a bit, in the gym. Ever since Merlin taught him a few things, Eggsy was craving it, and it got out a lot more energy than scaling the walls would.

“Yes, splendid job, Daisy,” Harry echoes, as he wandered in to sit with a few others by a low fire.

She slides towards Eggsy, still a little shy around Harry and he figures it’s due to the eye-patch, but it doesn’t take her longer than a few minutes to warm up and she’s romping around - no doubt showing off for Mr. Harry, as she calls him.

JB somehow manages to squirm out of her hold, but is quickly scooped up by Harry. Eggsy notices the bloke is quite taken with the little canine, and he remembers hearing something about a Mr. Pickle. Eggsy hasn’t been brave enough to ask what the fuck the man was talking about, but knowing Daisy, she would likely ask for them.

Eggsy sets out to polish some glasses, placing the clean ones in their spot behind the bar. He’s about halfway through, when he notices Merlin’s absence. He’s usually congregated with the rest, almost like a nightly routine where the whole of them - or the ones in the pub - gather around the hearth, a drink in hand and soft laughs filling the space.

It’s very much like a family, all of them comfortable with one another, and Eggsy has a mind to wonder how they came about, how men who could kill with their eyes closed all seem to share a special bond. Somehow he feels undeserving of the same treatment they give one another. He didn’t earn a spot here, did nothing but be born to Lee Unwin, to have the medal around his neck. It’s the same medal he notices they all possess, some have them sewn into a pocket square, others wear them around their necks like Eggsy.

After a few times of Merlin muttering on about Harry, his fuck up and repayment, it wasn’t hard for Eggsy to piece some things together. Harry was the reason he was here, regardless of how, but he needs to thank the man, somehow, someway. Eggsy wonders if he can get a moment alone with him, properly thank the bloke for the gold, silver and assorted other metals, around his neck.

Eggsy pockets that for now, focuses on the little giggles easily coaxed out of his flower, because a bunch of dangerous men are so taken with a little girl.

It’s almost like dealing with a gentle giant, so to speak. Just very skilled and deadly giants. Because fuck, they were all a good 4-5 inches taller than Eggsy.

He’s temporarily pulled out of his mental rambling when Lamorak joins the group. It was only a few weeks being here did Eggsy notice the man. A tall, lean, red bearded bloke with streaks of white, hair the same. Eggsy swore his cheeks were a permanent shade of pink, like that color after you’ve been outside too long in the cold.

“Where’s Merlin?” he asks, once he’s finished with his task and bringing hot cocoa for his girl, and a jack and coke for himself. Eggsy settles on the floor beside Daisy in front of the fire, where she climbs into his lap getting comfy.

JB doesn’t even move from Harry’s lap, making himself a bed on the blanketed legs, all curled in a ball. His puppy snores fill the space, fire crackling, and a comfortable air settles over them.

Eggsy relaxes, enjoying this, and it feels like a family, like he belongs. The serene space is disturbed, when he’s jerked forward, a foot meeting his back, causing him to spill some of his drink.

“The fu-...what is your problem, bruv?” he growls toward Charlie, who was the only one close enough to be a twat.

“Sorry, foot slipped,” Charlie sneers, but a piercing gaze from Harry tells Eggsy is was intentional.

“Charles, is that how we treat our guests?” Harry’s tone is cold as ice. “I am under the impression you are a gentleman, but yet here you are acting like some low class pleb.”

The words seem to cut through Charlie’s composure. “You...you fucking twat,” he all but spits out. “The only pleb here is this sorry fucking leech, and you have the nerve to insult me? After all my grandfather did for you?”

Eggsy can see Harry’s remaining eye blaze, almost go black and all of a sudden worried he’s going to get caught in the crossfire of some bullets. These blokes seem to be very handsy with their weapons.

“No, see, your grandfather did nothing for me. Not the way you remember it, and you’d do well to respect your superiors, hm?” Eggsy can see Harry’s hand twitch towards, undoubtedly, one of the pistols he’s packing in that double holster.

“And one’s birth does not define them as a pleb or not,” Harry continues, seeming completely put off by what Charlie has said.

“He’s a fucking leech and you know it,” Charlie snaps, as he stands and takes his leave. “I’m telling Merlin about this fuckery.”

“You forget,” Harry chimes in, louder this time. “He is the one who allows the ‘leech’ to stay, as you put it.”

Charlie then stomps his foot like a prat child and heads upstairs.

“What’s a pleb, daddy?” Daisy inquires with her brown rimmed lips.

Eggsy is at a loss for words. Out of everything Charlie could say, he chose that. Not that Eggsy hasn’t referenced himself as one before, but never in front of little ears. It wasn’t like Charlie has Daisy in his best interest, no matter how much he is supposed to abide by ‘the code’ as they say.

“It is not a nice name for someone,” Eggsy finally says, and it’s the best explanation he can give, rather than fully trying to get an almost 3 year old to understand it means a person beneath others - of low social class, standing, in society...basically garbage.

Daisy’s small brow comes together, forming a V between them. “He mean,” she decides and goes back to licking her chocolate covered fingers.

---

“You are there. I can see 4 others, but not as many as we figured.” Merlin watches as Mordred monitors Tristan and Lamorak.

They found a good opportunity to sit down, get some more information from Dean. It was being held at the Black Prince, Merlin would have gone himself, but Harry insists he was too close to the situation, whatever the fuck that meant.

So what he just has Daisy in his lap here and there, it wasn’t that big of a deal. And yeah, he was giving Eggsy more boxing lessons, but what the fuck did that have to do with them settling some business with Dean and his shit show of a crew.

Whatever fucking mob he thought he was running, it amused Merlin.

“Need a few more shipments,” Merlin can hear Dean tell them. “Got a few sellers out on Smith Street. Need up front, promise to pay in the next week.” Merlin listens, this is always the request.

As much as Merlin wants to tell them no, he okays the deal. They have a contract, and no matter how silly that can sound for mobsters, one thing with Kingsman is they held promises, contracts if you will, with other gangs, trying to keep the drug trafficking neat and tidy, and he’d abide by this one. As of yet, Dean hasn’t done anything for the agreement to be null and void. Chester has it set up that if they pay within two weeks of supply being delivered, Kingsman would stay in business with them.

“Go ahead,” Merlin murmurs to Modred, who relays the information.

“I hate that slime,” Harry snarls from his spot on the sofa, nearly giving Merlin a heart attack. The bastard was sleeping.

Merlin sighs, takes off his earpiece and comes to sit beside Harry. “You and I both,” Merlin agrees, giving Harry’s feet a shove to make more room, earning him a jab in the ribs.

“I am crippled, Merlin,” Harry hisses, but chooses to place his feet into Merlin’s lap.

“Ye are a pest and nothing more,” Merlin corrects him. He allows his head to bob back against the couch, a comfortable silence fell between them, as the soothing tap of Mordred’s fingers against the keys start to lull him.

“I’ve been waiting for him to cock up,” he whispers sleepily, after a few moments. “Our frequent visits must tip him off.”

Merlin has noticed less problems on Dean’s end, something the man has never been good with, in the last 20 years, is keeping a clean and low-profile with his dealings. But, as of yet, the authority hasn’t gotten involved, and so Kingsman has kept their distance.

“This is possible,” Harry agrees. “I want to know how he hasn’t been found guilty for Michelle Unwin’s death.”

That has Merlin straightening up. “What?”

Harry’s staring at him, a little confused. “You did know, yes? Is that not why Eggsy is under our care? I am sure it has nothing to do with merely escaping poor living conditions, if that were the case he would have done it years ago, or Michelle for that matter.”

“Where the fuck did you find that out?” Merlin sits up, causing Harry’s legs to fall onto the floor. He has to help him right himself, so that he doesn’t tumble with them.

“I didn’t, I just know,” he admits with a huff. “Call it intuition, or whatever bullshit.”

“I know his mother died, but not how.” Merlin starts thinking through all of their encounters, and if it turns out Dean had killed her, well...that was excuse enough for their ties to be terminated.

It seems Merlin has a few things to dig up.

Chapter Text

“More,” Eggsy moans. His breath ghosts over Merlin’s mouth in quick, hot huffs.

He’s pinning Eggsy against the mats, as he grinds his groin down. Their erections pressing against one another, the friction welcome along with other delicious sensations. Eggsy’s precome is warm, wet, seeping through his trackies and creating a spot on Merlin’s.

It’s early in the morning, far earlier than Eggsy should be up, but Merlin is having a hard time complaining with this gorgeous creature beneath him. All squirmy and whimpering with need. It takes all of Merlin’s willpower not to nut in his pants, and what a waste that would be. He’d much rather expel his spend all over Eggsy’s face, right after Eggsy has busted a load in his arse.

“More?” He asks, a low growl. “Is that any way to ask for something?” Merlin nips an earlobe, enticing a soft moan out of Eggsy before a set of eager hands smooth over his head, nails scraping along scalp.

His skin prickles with the touch. Merlin leans into it, before dipping down low to claim Eggsy’s mouth with his - tongue slipping between lips parted on an exhale, joining the other in a sultry dance. He tastes of mouthwash, clearly having freshened up before working out, and it seems perhaps someone was prepared for this exchange, or hopeful enough.

Somehow this knowledge causes Merlin’s dick to swell further, push harder against their connected bodies. He detects the warmth of precome gather at his tip. Merlin adds another roll to his hips. Eggsy mewls into his mouth, which Merlin consumes greedily, enjoying the way he’s now clawing his back with one leg curled around his and yanking his body closer. As if there was any space left between them, but the lad somehow succeeds and his chest is now firmly against Eggsy’s.

Merlin shifts a bit, rolling them to the side so that Eggsy is the one hovering above him, all shocked and bereft with the change in position.

“Ye going to fuck me?” Merlin wonders, eyes blazing with desire and a new joy when Eggsy’s pupils dilate, until he can no longer see the gorgeous blue-green iris.

A moment passes before Merlin’s managed to coax his face close, just a breath away and Merlin can taste the sweetness of peppermint on his tongue, as Eggsy exhales.

“It is rude to keep one waiting,” he whispers, a needy thing, an eyebrow quirked, expectant.

Another minute goes by before what Merlin says clicks in Eggsy’s brain, he can see the gears turning and soon Merlin has a wandering hand up the leg of his shorts. Fingers clumsy, impatient, as they seek purchase of his hole. Merlin’s breath hitches in his throat, a catchy inhale once Eggsy’s forefinger grazes tightly wound muscle.

“Aye,” he breathes, and takes a fistful of disheveled, honey-brown locks. Digits weaving through soft, fluffy strands, until he brings their faces together.

It is a desperate, needy kiss, full of tongue, and lip biting, as Eggsy inserts a finger. Merlin can feel himself fall through a void, it’s been so long, and soon he’s hit the ground with a loud thud.

Merlin scrambles on the floor, a mess of tangled sheets and limbs...his own limbs; he realizes. It takes him a few minutes to properly process he is in his room, on the floor and aching. His dick throbs, tenting his pants, and can swear he feels the loss of Eggsy’s delicious fingers inside him. He scrapes a tired hand over his face, a painful moan left his lips with the reality it was just a dream.

A very erotic and wonderful dream.

He regretfully gathers himself to stand, places the linens back onto his bed, and decides on a cold shower where he works to dispel the tension in his body, and cock. It is nowhere as great as what his mind had conjured up, but he’s used to his hands and they suffice to at least curb the boner. It does nothing, though, to take away the itch. Just a constant buzzing along his skin, like it was alive and if anyone touches him he’d pop a hard on. But perhaps not just anyone. He shook his head of the thought, got out and toweled off before dressing in his workout gear, forgoing the vest.

It’s a little silly to go break a sweat after having a shower, but he can't shake this feeling. Like his adrenaline is still in high gear, even after a cold ass shower and wank. The Manor was still silent, everyone asleep, Merlin is usually the first up and likely the last to sleep. He likes to make sure their home is peaceful, that all of his knights are safe. It’s a ritual he goes through. In the morning he wanders about the house, checking all of the safety locks, ensuring nothing went on in the night, not that he doesn’t have this place kitted out.

Merlin kept tabs on everything. His tablet sync to every camera, motion sensor, and safe located in the Manor. It helps him sleep better, and with running a mob? Well, you couldn’t be too safe.

He’s expecting a quiet workout when he enters the gym, but what he doesn’t expect is to see Eggsy. The lad is jogging on a treadmill, clad only in his gym shorts, sweat beading on his skin. Merlin stands there for a moment, at least he hasn’t been noticed, but he can see the earbuds sticking out of Eggsy’s ears.

All attempts to escape and rid the remnants of his dream quickly go out the window, as he watches Eggsy’s shoulders flex, back muscles move with each step he takes. It takes him longer than it should to find his bearings, but he manages enough to come all the way in and set out to wrap his hands. He needs to punch something, anything, because he sure as shit can’t focus on the growing ache in his groin, or the urge to rip Eggsy off of that machine and roll with him on the floor.

Working hard to push that image out of his head, Merlin continues to wrap his hands and come to stand in front of the bag. He pushes it to swing about, and can see Eggsy has given him notice as the bag shifts just out of view. Merlin doesn’t miss the way Eggsy’s movements waver just a little, he takes entirely too much joy knowing the lad likely enjoys what he sees. He makes a few punches at the air, just warming up, before his fist meets sand filled leather. It feels good, releases a bit of tension that’s coiled in his muscles, just waiting to break free.

His focus averts from the very attractive man in the room, putting his all into the workout, and doesn’t realize Eggsy has abandoned his spot on the treadmill, and is wrapping his hands just on the other side of him.

Merlin finishes his warmup round, only to be met with a panting young man, all flushed from his run, or...Merlin doesn’t finish the thought, because assuming he’s having an effect on Eggsy would be a wee bit too cocky. Which his cock is responding rather quickly with the way Eggsy is eyeing him, he works hard to quell the rise of said dick.

“Was wondering if you wanna spar a bit?” Eggsy asks, a little hopeful and an undertone of something else. He waves his hand to the open floor, moves away from his previous task and takes a stance ready for whatever move Eggsy makes.

They size one another up, neither really ready yet, and Merlin sure as shit wasn’t going to charge first. It would be too obvious, so they circle one another in what feels like a feral dance. It is oddly arousing, not that Merlin needs any help appreciating the way Eggsy moves, his hips sway a bit as they bounce around, shoulders tensing for whatever Merlin throws at him, muscles tight.

Finally, Eggsy lunges at Merlin, it is a surprising attack, not full on charge but taking him from the side and slipping a leg to kick out his. It almost worked. Merlin falters some and quickly regains his balance to pin Eggsy onto a mat. They roll around a bit, both fumbling to gain control over the other. He’s almost got Eggsy, his hand grazing an apparently very prominent erection, and it takes him a moment to realize it’s not his.

Eggsy froze beneath him and they both stop breathing. The room is silent, a single pin drop would be deafening, as they watch each other.

“M’sorry,” Eggsy whispers, face turning an impressive shade of scarlet. “I...I should go,” he adds quickly before scrambling to his feet. Merlin doesn’t stop him, too distracted with how hard he’s gotten to really chase him, and watches Eggsy scurry out.

A loud exhale leaves him as his body sinks to the mat, allowing his cheek to rest against the cool surface. He doesn’t get up for an embarrassingly long time, and it’s only because Tristan is knocking on the door, and poking head around the door to notify him there is a situation.

“Be right there,” Merlin promises, and at least his dick is back to an appropriate size and he can get dressed and face the Table without having to explain anything. Not that anyone would think to ask, beside Charlie and that’s only because he’s an annoying twat.

---

“You?” Eggsy asks, a little shocked.

Apparently the lot of the Kingsman had an emergency to tend to. Which left Eggsy and Daisy on their own, or so he thought. To be honest, he might have expect Charlie to sit with them, but not the man sitting so properly. The picture of a true gentleman, with all the refinement of one as well.

Harry raises an eyebrow, “I believe I am competent enough to protect you and your daughter.”

Eggsy starts tapping his foot, lips pursing in consideration. Not that he has a whole lot of say, or much to contemplate since they all already fucked off and he’s left with Harry anyway. The man was making huge strides in his PT, and walking almost close to normal with the cane. Eggsy has seen him move rather quickly, so at least that wasn’t an issue and he’s heard Merlin comment on ‘the ponces damn near perfect’ gun scores since leaving hospital.

Daisy stands from her spot on the floor with JB, and cradles the puppy close before standing beside Harry and giving his knee a pat. She’s grown close with him over the last few weeks, and Eggsy is forever in debt with the men who show her so much kindness.

“He good, daddy,” she promises Eggsy. His heart swells at her attempt to put his mind at ease. She’s entirely gentle, caring, and Eggsy is forever thankful he ran out that night.

“I swear to keep you two safe. Merlin would kill me if I allowed anything to happen to you.” Eggsy was going to ask what Harry meant, but was cut off as Daisy took the show and grabbed all of Harry’s attention.

The following 6 hours were filled with adventure, dress up and lunch. Eggsy was pleasantly pleased when Harry was playing along with her, following all of her orders, and didn’t complain a bit when she put makeup on his face, a tiara on his head, and was insisting he was the next princess.

In fact, Harry was looking quite delighted with her declaration of his new royal status.

He’s just got her down for a nap, and thanked all of the nap God’s out there that she went down without much of a fight. It was perhaps due to how hard she was playing all day, and not much of a surprise when he wanders down the stairs, and into the sitting room where Harry has a tray full of tea, biscuits and a few tea sandwiches, with a tired smile in place.

“She’s quite energetic,” Harry comments, as Eggsy gets comfortable on the other end of the sofa. Eggsy snorts delicately, prepares his cuppa and knicks a few items to munch on.

“Nearly 3, and the energy only increases after her nap.” It was comical the way Harry’s face sagged a little more. “You’re doing good, bruv. You got any kids...er, I mean been around any?”

Harry chuckles, “No. The only niece and nephew I have live, what feels like, worlds away and I usually just send them cards and money on birthdays and Christmas. I was not much for children.”

This surprises Eggsy, as he nibbles on a cucumber cream cheese sandwich.

“But you’re so good with her,” Eggsy insists. He dunks an orange, cranberry biscuit into tea, and can see Harry’s soul die a little. “Wot?”

“That is gastly,” Harry manages, horrifyingly, before sipping his own tea. “I honestly thought only children did that.” The pure disgust is palpable in the air, Eggsy almost finds it amusing.

“Oi! Ain’t a kid.” Eggsy continues to eat the way he likes, and ignores the nostril flare from Harry, as if he’s suppressing vomit.

It’s after Eggsy’s third one that Harry can’t help but add, “Didn’t your parents teach you manners.” As soon as the words are out of his mouth, Eggsy can see he’s regretting them.

He can see the apology on his lips, and waves a hand to dismiss it. “Nah, you good. Old enough to not let that shit get up my back, yeah? And ain’t like you are Charlie, your skin is honestly crawling from this.” Eggsy has a gentle smile in place, as he waves a hand to gesture his eating habits.

“It was wrong of me to bring that up, I apologize greatly, and I’d also like to add my condolences for your mother’s passing. She was young.” Harry’s tone soft, a mix of regret and genuine concern for Eggsy’s loss.

Eggsy was grateful for his words, more than he can voice. “Thank you,” he says quietly.

Harry provides a kind smile in turn, a slight curve of lips that deepens his dimples. “I heard she was killed,” he mentions nonchalantly. “The authorities still haven’t found the killer.” It wasn’t a question, a statement, and Eggsy shouldn’t expect them to know anything less.

Somehow, Eggsy has managed to avoid the entire subject altogether. What with Merlin being busy running things, Roxy getting back into rotation and overall worrying about Dean, no one has asked. Maybe they all assume it was an overdose, or perhaps a deal gone bad at the flat, which would be completely plausible, except it was far from the truth.

“Yeah,” Eggsy agrees with a shrug. “Guess they just haven’t gotten a good trail. Not surprising, it's estates and we are kinda disposable to the filth and such.” Harry hums thoughtfully. “What?”

A moment passes, he can see a few things play over Harry’s features, curiosity most prominent of them all.

“Did you happen to see anything, Eggsy?” Harry asks, voice no louder than a whisper, as if he can see through Eggsy. See the truth that he’s managed to keep quiet.

He honestly didn’t want to shake anything up, worrying that if he turns Dean in it would attract negative attention to himself, and his spot would be blown. Then how would Eggsy keep Daisy safe? She was the only reason he was doing any of this. If it came down to himself, he would have just fucked off to his mates, praying that Dean gave a single shit and not kill him, too.

“No.”

“Are you sure?” Harry presses, leaning a bit towards Eggsy. His remaining brown eye warm, kind, somehow caring and holding a silent promise Eggsy was safe.

Trust. Someone urging him they can be trusted.

The unspoken vow heavy between them. Eggsy considers it, maybe they can rid of Dean altogether and Eggsy can take the little money, he’s managed to save, and get him and Daisy started somewhere. He experiences a moment of apprehension. All of a sudden the idea of being away from Merlin fills his chest with anxiety, an entirely new feeling for a person who isn’t related to him.

Eggsy’s about to speak, but is interrupted with shouts, people filling the foyer and soon darting through the sitting room and into the office just off of the room.

Harry is up and following, leaving Eggsy a bit out of loop and wondering what the fuck is going on. There was a shout, a cry in pain, and Eggsy easily recognizes it as Merlin - without even needing to have heard it before, and that revelation should be bothersome in itself, but it’s not.

“Ye bloody bastard!” Merlin roars. He’s in a chair, arm exposed and Eggsy can see the clear evidence of blood.

“Shit! What the fuck happened?” Eggsy squeezes himself between people, and watches Harry pour more white liquor over the wound. “Bullet?” Eggsy asks, as he comes to press a clean flannel, that he stole from Roxy, over the bleeding area.

“Aye,” Merlin breathes heavily. “The lot of ye can fuck off somewhere. It isn’t my first one.” When no one moves, he barks out, “Get the fuck out!” Louder this time, because Eggsy presses firmer to suppress some blood flow.

The only ones remain are himself, Harry and Rox.

“Can you check on Dais for me?” Eggsy asks over his shoulder. “I can be of some help here.” He can feel her gaze hot against his back. “Please?”

Merlin gives a nod towards Roxy, and now focuses on Eggsy as she leaves them alone. It is a little unnerving as he uncovers the area, it is shallow, just a flesh wound and could do with a few stitches.

“Gonna need some suturing in the deepest area, fucker almost missed it too,” Merlin grumbles, and hisses when Eggsy replaces the flannel.

“Stop moving.”

Harry is gathering a box full of supplies. Ones that Eggsy has seen in hospitals, and laying out what they will need.

“I’ve got it from here,” Harry assures.

“Sewn up a few,” Eggsy offers, and reaches for the suturing kit. He doesn’t ask how they came about things like that, perhaps they have connections or knicked a few while Harry was in a coma.

“Ye can buy supplies,” Merlin says, as if he can read Eggsy’s mind.

“Oh,” he responds lamely, like he hasn’t stolen a fucking thing in his life. “Gonna sting a bit,” Eggsy warns

“I know,” Merlin says through gritted teeth, when Eggsy starts the first.

He’s a bit out of practice, last wound he had to dress was one on his leg from a run in with some shady guys of Dean’s. It was a knife, luckily not deep enough to be worrisome. He can feel Merlin’s eyes on his work, his breathing has slowed from the quick, shallow huffs he gave before, to smooth, careful exhales.

The blood now a trickle, which will soon stop, as Eggsy secures the 4th one. Eggsy lifts his head a bit and his heart stops. Their faces are just mere breaths apart. He can feel the heat of Merlin’s exhale on his lips, which cause him to zero in on Merlin’s mouth. Evidently they are a mess, his lower lip busted open with the beginnings of clotting where it split.

“I can fix that,” he whispers, and it’s as if they are alone.

Eggsy involuntarily leans in, but manages to compose himself, remembering he should clean it. He closes his eyes for a moment, can feel Merlin’s breath hitch with his proximity, and it takes all of his strength to shift away and grab sterile water to soak gauze.

He keeps his mouth shut as he dabs away blood, uncovers beautifully fucked up lips, but no less kissable. Eggsy attempts to rid his mind of such luxuries, he’s just a guest in their home, a job for them to complete, and finishes his task.

“Gonna apply some liquid bandage.” Eggsy grabs the bottle, paints the solution over the cut, and makes sure to place it into Merlin’s palm. “Ain’t waterproof, no matter what the label says, you’re gonna need to apply more.”

With that Eggsy turns to walk away, only to be held still as Merlin tightens his grip around Eggsy’s wrist.

His hazel eyes are warm, the warmest Eggsy has ever seen them. The corners crease with a small smile, just a crook of lips as not to ruin the good work Eggsy did.

“Thank you,” Merlin breathes. A thumb presses at his pulse point, long fingers caress the inside of his forearm for just a moment before letting go. The gratitude carrying so much more than thanks, something deeper in his words.

Eggsy stumbles back. His throat swelling with a yearning, one he’s not experienced since his first kiss, stomach fluttering about as he heads up to wash and change. He’s left with little time to float about with newfound infatuation, because Daisy is up shortly after he dresses.

At least he can hope to ponder the phantom weight, of Merlin’s fingers around his wrist, once she down and out for the night. He hopes.

Chapter Text

Merlin grumbles to himself, something about the internet failing, a bit annoyingly with the lack of thank you gifts he finds for someone who patched you up. He rather thought there would be more at his disposal, and not have to search high and low through the confines of what seems to be a black hole of endless information.

“Coding problem?” Harry enters his office, not so much as a knock as he’s parking his arse in a chair, looking far too cheerful.

“No,” Merlin snaps. He doesn’t mean to, but he’s rather irritated. Fuck this shouldn’t be so hard because it is simple, yes? “Why the fuck can’t I find something suitable?!” He almost yells, which isn’t like him unless he’s working Charlie out of a rather sticky situation, which thank Christ hasn’t been his problem since taking over as Arthur. Only one good damn thing about this crappy position, but at least this wouldn’t be his burden to bear much longer.

Harry was excelling past most Doctor’s expectations, not without the aid of a cane but it was far more than the diagnosis of ‘being stuck in a wheelchair, unable to use his right side’ they had been told in the beginning. Perhaps it was from how hard Percival was pushing the man, though Merlin knew the rewards were very much in Harry’s favor. And he tries not to think those thoughts now as he scours the internet for a gift to give Eggsy.

“What exactly are you trying to find, Logan?” Harry wonders. “Did you break your favorite dildo again? I told you to stock up on those, only makes sense when they go out of bloody fashion.”

Merlin’s attention is momentarily averted. “You really think I’d be so concerned over a bit of silicone? Come now, Harry.” He chides quietly but opens another window to order a few more, just in case. He smiles pleasantly and goes about his earlier quest, which he is failing miserably at.

That doesn’t sit well with him, Merlin is not used to failure, of any kind if he’s being honest. Maybe a proper gift would be for Daisy. He switches to a toy store, but that won’t do, as much as Eggsy is taken with his daughter; he wants to woo Eggsy. No. Woo isn’t the right word, he wants to show gratitude. At this point, Merlin should just write a note in his haphazard handwriting, thanking the lad for his help. But he wants it to be more substantial than just a note.

“Fuck it.” Merlin tosses his hands up, currently done with his mental tirade over the decision and the little help he’s getting from Harry.

Not that he’s asked Harry for his help and only because the bastard will go on and on about him having a thing for Eggsy. There is no thing that he has, not a whit, and at this point he’s not sure who he’s trying to convince more.

He’s so distracted that he doesn’t notice Harry getting up, moving to the mini bar, and pouring drinks. Distraction is not a good look on him.

“Here.” Harry hands him a two finger dram Scotch and returns to his previous seat with a martini for himself. “Whatever you can’t find is obviously troubling you. That V between your brows is deeper and those wrinkles.” He’s squinting with his good eye, gesturing around his own to demonstrate his frown lines. “Getting old there, Logan,” he teases.

“I hate you, you know that right?” Merlin says cradling his face in his hands, fingers rubbing his temples where a headache starts. “Shouldn’t you stay away from alcohol with your medication?” He asks as he looks up, a brow raised with challenge. “Ye know, being old and all.” His voice carries humor, a bit teasingly, as Harry scowls but proceeds to sip his drink.

He would push the envelope further, but Percival wanders in and snatches the glass out of his husband’s hand, only to sit beside him and finish the rest himself. Merlin smiles, ducking his face down, and goes back to his computer.

“Don’t you have anything better to do than try and fuck with your medication and annoy your friend? Who is your boss, by the way,” Percival offers, coolly, a touch of displeasure in his tone. Harry goes to open his mouth, only for Percival to bowl over him. “No. No amount of stress, or what have you, will negate an alcoholic beverage, Harry Hart.” An annoyed grumble leaves Harry lips, but no words to counter what his husband just said.

Merlin revels in silence for a bit, pleased that Percival came in to render Harry speechless, which is as rare as seeing a unicorn. And while Merlin is on such subjects, he thinks of the impending birthday of a certain little girl in the Manor. He knows Eggsy isn’t expecting anything, but Merlin feels Daisy deserves more than what he’s gathered, her previous life has given her. He can see, as well as hear, all that Eggsy tries to do.

It is sweet and courageous.

What with living in less than desirable circumstances with Eggsy’s mother and stepfather. He figures the mother wanted nothing to do with her. But how anyone could knowingly give their child up? Or perhaps something more serious happened. Merlin doesn’t know he’d have the bullocks to care for his child alone, let alone a daughter.

Eggsy’s strength stirs a desire deep within.

Merlin pushes the thought aside in an attempt to focus on his new search, because his brain is all over the damn map.

“What do little girls who are about to turn 3 like?” He wonders aloud, not really looking for an answer.

“Dolls?” Percival suggests. “I know when Roxy was little, she liked G.I. Joes, but she wasn’t exactly surrounded by many female influences.”

“Aye,” Merlin agrees.

Her father, James, would bring her into the pub on many occasions, often because her mother would need to work extra shifts. At least he was a good man, took responsibility for his child.

“Daisy seems to like pretty things.” Merlin muses as he scrolls through hundreds of choices. It was endless, how many fucking baby dolls could one kid need? How does a child even choose?

There were at least 20 different choices for Baby Alive, Adora, Cabbage Patch Kids, and holy shit people were really buying dolls that looked like actual fucking babies.

“Jesus Christ,” he sputters. “How does a child go about choosing a doll?!”

“That’s what you are worried about?” Harry asks. “A child’s doll?”

“No,” Merlin snaps, irritated. “I was looking for an appropriate thank you gift for Eggsy.” He ignores the way Harry was staring at him. “What?”

“You say thank you and move on,” Harry says, rather dryly. “There is simply nothing more you do. I mean, he patched you up, which was wonderfully kind, but thank you and that is all.”

Percival snorts, “I just tie you up and fuck you senseless.” Merlin chokes on his last sip of Scotch.

“That is not even a remote possibility, Percival!” He replies, appalled that his knight would even suggest such a thing. “I expected more from you,” Merlin adds as he stands to fetch another drink, because what the fuck.

“I didn’t suggest it for you, Arthur sir, but that is what I do when Harry patches me up.” Percival says calmly, even as Merlin is waving a hand about hoping to stop his oversharing. “You do not have the same relationship with Eggsy,” he simply adds.

“Or do you,” Harry chirps, amusement clear in his tone. “I’ve seen the way you look at him, Merlin. You stare at him like an all you can eat buffet.” The tosser is wagging his eyebrows. “Admit it, you fancy him.” Merlin wants to smack the smug expression off of his face.

“I don’t know why I wished you to wake up so soon.” Merlin takes the bottle back to his desk and goes back to shopping. He’s seriously veered off course, but it was so easy to find about 30 things to purchase for Miss Daisy. “I do not fancy him,” he mutters 10 minutes too late, causing Harry to laugh at him.

“I can read you like a book, Logan, you forget that. You’ve also forgotten I’ve known you for nearly 30 years. Your old age is showing.”

He reaches over to grab the pillow off a chair and tosses it at him. He would have went for the paper weight, but figures Harry has suffered enough brain injury and he rather wants the sod to take this job.

“Go play with your husband,” he suggests.

They know an order when they hear one and thank fuck leave Merlin alone. He fills a cart with over 200 pounds worth of children’s toys and moves along to another site to seek what he requires. He calls for Andrew, their personal tailor, and asks to retrieve a specific shoe size; Merlin has an idea.

---

Daisy’s face is pressing up against the window, tongue just barely missing the glass. Eggsy shifts her away.

“We ain’t going outside, babe,” he tells her, for the 5th time that morning.

The clap of thunder causes her to jump and scurry off of her perch to climb his leg. Eggsy easily lifts her to plant a soft kiss to her forehead, hoping to stave off the way her body is shaking. It’s been raining for days, not an entirely new thing for London, but Daisy is getting antsy and that can make for a trying few days. But he’s luckily kept her busy up until today, with books tea parties. He even let her give him a makeover. To which Roxy fell over laughing at his expense, what with the way Daisy managed to create two pigtails with her barrets, and he had only lost a chunk of hair through the process.

“It’s alright, yeah? You want to keep JB safe? He seems scared, too.” Eggsy points to the dog bed. Where JB is curled in a corner, his little beige body shaking with each crack of thunder.

Daisy pokes her head out from his neck, “JB scared too?”

“Yeah.” He brought her forward, allowing her to clamber off of him and onto the plush pillow to cuddle JB close.

It only buys him a half hour of time and if only because the rain starts to let up a bit with no thunder to be heard or lightening to be seen.

The Manor was seemingly quiet, apparently no work was needed to be done and the lot of Kingsman was hanging about in one of the many studies that took up the first floor. Eggsy tries to keep Daisy in their own little part of it, one room that Merlin has decked out with children's toys, books, and assorted other things for little girls and tykes.

Daisy pops up from her spot and goes back to the window.

“We are not going out,” Eggsy says, not looking up from his book. “You’ll catch a cold and we can’t be having that when a certain little girl has a birthday in 2 days, hm?” That grabs her attention and soon the quiet room is filled with giggles and squeals from a seemingly happy child.

“Birthday!” She chants as she runs around the room, causing JB to hop up and chase her.

Eggsy chuckles as he goes to try and stop the shrieking child, and yipping puppy. “Shh, babe.” He takes her little body to hoist her onto his hip. “It’s quiet time, yeah?”

But he tickles her tiny tummy cajoling the sweetest of giggles out of her, a sound Eggsy never tires of listening to. Their playful behavior seems to attract a crowd and soon they are joined by Roxy.

“Did I hear it’s a little girls birthday soon?” Roxy asks as she reaches for Daisy, who happily goes without a fight. Eggsy adores how much Daisy loves Roxy and vise versa, and admittedly he loves Rox too. She’s a good mate, one Eggsy hopes to always keep in touch with no matter the circumstances.

“I got her. Why don’t you go relax or something?” She offers.

Eggsy hesitates for a moment because Daisy can be a handful. “You sure? I don’t mind sitting here with her.” He actually was hoping to have a bath. A literal fucking soak in the tub, because since working out regularly and boxing he was sore as fuck.

“I’m going to take her with me into the parlor. It’s too silent and stuffy in there and I think some gentlemen would love a tea party with a little miss.” Roxy is spinning Daisy around which causes her to laugh uncontrollably. “Would you like that?” She wonders and continues to twirl her around.

“Yes!” Daisy giggles with a bright red face. “I play with Rox, daddy!” She shouts excitedly. “Pleaaaaaaaaase!” Daisy begs, but not for long because Eggsy can’t stand to see her pout.

“I suppose,” Eggsy relents as Daisy cheers and quickly adds, “But you come get me if you need anything, yeah? I won’t be long. Just gonna go relax for a bit.” He gives Daisy a pointed stare. “You be a good girl, okay?” Eggsy kisses her small nose.

“I good daddy!” She promises with a serious face. “Bye bye!” Daisy waves happily as Roxy mounts her on her shoulders and gallops out of the room with Daisy’s pigtails bouncing around.

Eggsy laughs to himself as he wanders upstairs and towards his room. He plans to sit in that water until he’s all pruned and wrinkly. He’s got his vest off and kicked off trainers by the time he enters the room heading straight for the loo; but back tracks when he notices a box on the bed.

A box that sure as shit wasn’t there before. It is wrapped in a blue and green plaid paper with a black bow atop. There is a note taped to the top as well. Eggsy rips it off to read, a smile pulling at his lips the entire time, because it’s from Merlin. An apparent thank you gift for the week prior. Something pulls at his heart, a feeling he can’t quite articulate, as he carefully removes the wrapping and gasps.

Underneath the beautifully wrapped package contains a pair of white Adidas winged trainers. Ones Eggsy has only dreamed of owning and was planning to purchase once Daisy’s birthday and Christmas were past; it appears he doesn’t have to now. Eggsy runs a hand over the smooth surface; he can’t accept these, they are too much. He exhales a long sigh, packs them away, and goes about his bath.

The water is heaven against his skin, loosening all of the tight muscles, as he settles into a generously big tub. Eggsy even used some of those muscle relaxing bath salts he found in the cupboard. He closes his eyes in an attempt to find a nap or at the very least allow his mind to wander past dirty nappies, story time, and a crying toddler. But he isn’t able to relax the entire time, all he can think of are the trainers tucked securely in their box and the meaning behind such a gift.

Could they be more than a thank you? Eggsy ponders that, because as of late it seems Merlin’s been a bit more attentive. Gentle wasn’t the right word, but things like making sure Eggsy has his favorite marmalade in the morning. And maybe he spent a little more time during breakfast with them. It doesn’t bother Eggsy in the least, because Daisy seems smitten with him anyway and vise versa. Is it possible Merlin fancies him? Even just a wee bit?

His head floats about with the notion, because what would a powerful mob boss want with Eggsy? A pleb off the streets begging for shelter and basically leeching off the lot of them.

Though he was trying to earn his keep, no way was he working off half of what they’ve used, but Eggsy could try.

Eggsy shook himself of the idea, it’s just fairy tales, and happy endings weren’t in the cards. He submerges himself to rinse shampoo out and makes quick work to condition it, wash his body, and get out. His eyes never leave the trainers the entire time he dries off. He gets himself dressed in clean trackies, vest, and hoodie before descending the stairs where it’s quiet.

It's almost never quiet when Daisy is concerned. So he only mildly worries, because she’s surrounded by people who constantly carry firearms, not that it brings him the most comfort in the world, but at least she won’t be harmed by outside forces. He checks the parlor where a few men reside, but notices the french doors that lead to the gardens are open and a few men are sitting in chairs under shelter. It’s still raining, just a drizzle, but there is a chill in the air.

What he sees almost knocks the air out of his lungs. Not only is Daisy covered in mud, soaked from head to toes, but Merlin as well. She’s riding on his back and Christ how the man hasn’t fallen in several mud puddles is beyond Eggsy. He also tries to slap down the growing erection from watching the man clad only in trousers and button down, that clings to his body so deliciously and fuck it’s white so it’s a bit see-through.

Eggsy swoons and has to hang onto the back of Harry’s chair for balance, as he tries to get his bearings enough to react properly. He should be mad, and he is mad that Daisy could get sick and might be miserable for her birthday.

“Oi!” Eggsy shouts once he’s found his voice. He can see Daisy gasp, her little lips form a perfect O, while she slaps hands over her face at being caught.

“What did I say about playing in the rain?” He chides as they make it to him.

He takes her off Merlin’s shoulders and decides not to hold her because she is bloody soaked and her pretty blond hair dirty. “Look at you! You’ll catch your death out here.”

“I apologize, Eggsy, she said it was alright.” Eggsy can hear Harry snort as he passes, something about warning Merlin.

“Bruv, she’s almost 3, there’s no fucking way would I allow her out here. It ain’t even just the rain, but it’s chilly.” Eggsy eyes Merlin. His lips are a tinged blue and he’s shivering, though surprisingly Daisy is not. But kids tend to be immune to conditions that cause adults to go running indoors and living in a hot bath for hours.

“Hot bath, now, and you’ll need a cuppa. I’ll ask someone to fetch that for you while I bathe her.” He gives Merlin a pointed stare, daring him to argue or refuse the order.

Eggsy is shocked when Merlin nods while giving another quiet apology before scurrying off like a beaten puppy. It takes him a few moments to realize he’s just ordered the boss around; he really needs to learn to keep his mothering to himself. He’s about to lead Daisy through the Manor but rethinks it and hefts her up as to not track dirt and water onto the floors.

Guess he’s going to be cleaning himself again.

---

And sure enough when Daisy’s 3rd birthday rolls around she earns herself homemade chicken soup, instead of the cake and pasta dinner he was planning to serve.

His girl is all sniffles and coughs while huddled up in the middle of his bed with her favorite stuffie and blankie. Eggsy inwardly sighs. It won’t do him any good to get pissy and punish her. This is punishment enough, especially since she can’t play with the doll house he had gifted her.

She did, however, open it and gave a boogery smile. Her blue eyes watery and red rimmed with cold as Eggsy wanders back into the room.

He’s thankful Roxy offers to sit with her while Eggsy prepares the soup to bring up. He even has a cuppa prepared for another poor sick soul.

“I’m gonna go check on Merlin, okay? Be good for Rox for just a bit longer.” He kisses her warm forehead and decides to fetch the children’s medicine and doses her before leaving.

Merlin sniffles, coughs, and is blowing his nose when Eggsy meanders in.

“Ye don’t have to do this,” Merlin rejects nasally. He sounds almost as pitiful as Daisy, and that’s hard to accomplish since she’s a child. “I can do this for myself,” he insists, even as he struggles to sit up.

Eggsy figures Merlin got the worst of it, but ignores his refusal of help in favor to set the prepared tray in front of him.

“I’m not leaving until I’ve seen you eat at least half. My great gran’s recipe. Mum swore by it when I was growing up. Always said the secret was in boiling down the chicken bones.” It was one of the few things Eggsy actually learned to do. “Eat up,” he instructs and settles on the side of the bed.

A few silent moments pass while Eggsy watches Merlin take three small bites. “You know,” he says thoughtfully, as he wipes up some broth off Merlin’s chin on pure instinct. “I never did thank you for the trainers,” Eggsy murmurs quietly. He lifts a hand to halt Merlin when his mouth opens to speak. “I know it was a thank you gift, but...no one has ever been nice to me like that. Or Daisy. You’re aces with her, yeah?”

Merlin gives him a warm smile. “She’s lovely.”

“Thanks.” Eggsy fiddles nervously with his jeans. “Just...thanks. It was a lovely gesture.”

His breath hitches in his throat when Merlin touches his hand.

Long fingers wrap around his and Eggsy forgets to breathe when Merlin says, all in his nasal glory, “Ye deserve all the nice things, Eggsy.” It takes Eggsy a beat to actually decipher if this is a dream or not. He knows it isn’t, knows this is real, but he can’t come to terms with being worth anything. To anyone or anything.

“Don’t waste your time on me,” Eggsy finds himself whispering. He doesn’t know why, it just sort of slips out of his mouth involuntarily. “Ain’t worth it.” He adds casting his eyes down as cheeks heat up because Merlin’s stare is so intense, like it can see through his soul.

“I find ye worth more than you give yourself credit for.”

The words wrap around him, cloak him in warmth. It’s all soft and gentle as Merlin pulls at their joined hands. His chin bobs up to coax Eggsy closer, and he’s finding himself being drawn in by an unseen force. He can feel the heat of Merlin’s breath against his lips as he tips in closer, and he’s just a hair away now.

They abruptly separate when Roxy pokes her head around the door.

“Sorry, Arthur. I would have knocked but Daisy needs you Eggsy. She got sick all over the bed.” Eggsy hangs his head, because caring for a child never ends. Especially one who’s sick.

“Coming,” Eggsy replies sadly. He gives Merlin’s hand a squeeze as he stands. “Finish that.” He points to the soup and darts out.

He doesn’t even have time to process what almost happened, and maybe that’s for the best.