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I’ll sort this mess out when I get back.

That was the promise he had made when he left, and Harry had tried to work on the solution for a bit on the plane ride before turning in for a rest. It never helped to head into a mission with a lack of sleep, and he wasn’t so upset he couldn’t fall asleep without much trouble.

He just hadn’t realized how long it would take to sort.

By the time he came back, scar grooved through his hairline, things had changed. Eggsy, Roxy, and Merlin had saved the world, and he was up for a promotion. The eldest and most experienced Kingsman. Arthur.

“Bottom line Merlin, how many positions do we have to fill.”

“It seems as if Arthur only had time to talk to a couple of agents before he went up against Eggsy, both of them from our branch. Percival and Gareth were both lost. Considering your change of position from Galahad to Arthur that leaves us with three openings.”

Information moved across the screen as evenly as Merlin’s voice, but Harry knew him. Know how each loss hurt because it cut him just as deeply. They’d known these men for ages, and while the nature of their work meant they didn’t go out to the pub after work on a regular basis they were still close in the way that people who risk their lives together are.

“Lancelot is still new, the world is going to shit with half the world leaders dead or injured, though thankfully we’ve got a bit of reprieve as some of the crime networks offed off quite a few of their own, but it is imperative we fill these positions quickly.” There was a quick tap at his clipboard and Eggsy’s profile filled the left half of the screen, information filling in the right. “The obvious choice is to have Eggsy fill your position. He was a top finalist, and honestly I’ve never been fond of the dog test myself. We teach them not to endanger lives if possible and then ask them to shoot an innocent creature in the head. You’ve seen the footage, you know how well he did against Valentine. I’m sure if we both propose to instate him as Galahad immediately no one else will argue. Then we would only have two positions to fill.”

Harry stared at the screen, fingers steepled, and it took a moment for Merlin to even realize he hadn’t given his consent.

“Harry?”

“No.”

“What?”

His voice was incredulous, and Harry couldn’t blame him. But the truth of the matter was that he had seen the video, had seen how close his protégé had come to death, and he didn’t like it. Something had awoken in him while he had been away, had battled his own mortality and came out by the skin of his teeth. “I said no. Eggsy will not be a Kingsman.” There was a finality to his voice, an edge to it that hinted at his determination.

“And why the hell not?”

“He failed the test,” Harry said forcefully, hoping Merlin would accept that answer and leave it alone, but knowing he wouldn’t. “That is all he needs to know. He knows too much about the organization though, and it’s not safe for him to leave us. We’ll keep him on, but he won’t be an agent.”

“Harry.”

He refused to meet Merlin’s eye, taking his glasses off and setting them to the side. “I know this isn’t something we’ll agree on.”

“You’re fucking right it isn’t.”

“I’m sure you can use him elsewhere Merlin. Just make sure he gets a decent wage, he’ll need to get his own place and we all know what that costs in London. Now then, in regards to these new recruits, shall we look for them one at a time or do you want a larger pool, two or three proposed by each agent, so we can potentially fill more than one position at a time?”

---------

There was something about swaggering down the hallway in a suit that was extremely satisfying. It was the first time he’d be called back since he had fucking saved the world, and while he’d had a few chats with Roxy and Merlin, and a mysterious Skype that had wound up revealing that Harry was alive that had practically split his face in half he’d grinned so much, it seemed like ages since he’d taken the capsule from the tailor’s to HQ.

Merlin motioned for him to close the door to the office and he did, standing ready without really noticing it. It was easier to have the posture required for a gentleman when he was dressed like one and felt like one.

“Have a seat,” the magician offered, and while that wasn’t what he expected he shrugged and complied. “I’ll cut right to the chase. We’re not making you an agent.”

The words cut, so deeply in fact the wound didn’t really register. Confusion scrunched up his face, brows furrowed together, until finally the tension started to ease. “Nothing against you Merlin but you ain’t cut out to be a comedian.”

“It’s not a joke.” The man was staring at him evenly, projecting that quiet yet confident presence that Eggsy had grown to somewhat interpret.

Merlin was serious.

He shot to his feet, chair off balance and toppling over with a clatter. “You can’t be fucking serious. No no no you can’t do this to me.” He ran his fingers through his hair, messing up the style that he’d been trying to perfect on his own. “This if bollocks! I saved the fucking world Merlin. Who the fuck are you gonna dredge up that can do this shit better than me?”

Remaining seated Merlin set his clipboard aside, leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms. “I agree.”

The quiet tone cut through the room, and Eggsy’s shoulders drooped. There was resignation to Merlin’s tone and Eggsy started pacing the room in short, sharp paces. “Then what the fuck is going on,” he finally managed to growl.

“Some of our agents are uptight assholes that are sticklers for rules. You’ve failed the final test, and they’re not satisfied with just accepting your performance taking out Valentine as an alternative. Look, Eggsy, I agree with you. This is bullshit. But it’s out of my hands.”

“So what, you called me in just to tell me to fuck off? I can’t just pretend like this shit didn’t happen. Won’t..” His chin jutted out defiantly as he stopped, feet and legs braced.

“I don’t want you to,” Merlin said, shaking his head and finally standing. “You belong with Kingsman. More than most I’ve seen come through here. I don’t have the authority to make you an agent or I would, but there are other positions available if you’re willing.”

The clipboard was picked up once again, and as Merlin started tapping on it information began popping up on the screen. “I know you’ve heard about Amelia, but she’s not the only one that failed to become an agent and continued on here.”

On the screen was Merlin, unmistakably. It was obviously a younger picture, and Eggsy gawked at the long, stringy hair that brushed against paisley clad shoulders. “I barely made the top six when I was proposed. Decent marksmanship, but I couldn’t get past all the hand-to-hand obstacles. When they figured out I’d never be great in the field they offered me this job, the magician.” Eggsy looked away to see Merlin looking at him, searching.

“Oh no. I ain’t the type to know about computers and shit. Not that hacking crap.”

“Dear lord no. That’s not it. The truth is, I’m Merlin because I do, well, everything. I comb through the important data, compile reports, arrange travel, dole out assignments, etc. But that’s my skill, to analyze data and keep everything organized enough to run the organization at a business level. That is not you. But you have your own talents. You know what it is to be an agent. You’ve had all the training and you’ve completed a mission successfully. I’ve hacked into traffic cameras, I saw your little stunt with that car you stole. Your driving skills are off the chart.

“Some of our agents also have someone else they deal with, someone that can keep up with their munitions and make sure they get to Bolivia by the 8th at 6:04am. A handler often takes care of some of the smaller details for just a couple of agents and monitors them real time, leaving me free to monitor the others.

“Harry hasn’t had his own handler before. As Arthur his tasks will be expanding, and as we are short handed as it is he’ll have more field tasks than the leader of our organization typically handles. It would be good for him to have his own handler, and backup in case that was necessary. We can’t afford to lose him now.”

“Harry?”

It was the first question out of his mouth, but it was an important one.

“Of course. You know him, you both get along. You’ll call him on his bullshit if he’s trying to do something too incredibly stupid. You’ll receive additional training. The easiest way to stay close to your agent is to be the one to physically transport him. I’ll have to test your driving skills and you’ll need to work on your pilot’s license as soon as possible. There are some technology related functions you’ll need to learn, but nothing too incredibly complex.”

It was something he needed to think about. Ever since the mission to take out Valentine he’d known, assumed apparently, that he would be the next Galahad. When he had found out Harry was alive he knew that business was up in the air, but he’d all but killed Arthur himself. There was an opening. There was no way after saving the world they wouldn’t call him back in. To go from that, from an agent to a what? Chauffeur? Nursemaid? in the course of a conversation had him reeling, and it was something he needed time to mull over.

“Does Harry know?”

The words seemed to find themselves on their own, in the air between them before he was finished thinking them.

Merlin hesitated slightly before shaking his head. “No. He’s never wanted a handler so I don’t think he really considered it. I can tell you that he insisted you remain a part of Kingsman but he left placing you to me. Honestly he might tell you to bugger off. He doesn’t know when to ask for help though, so we’re just going to give it to him. I’ll take care of that.”

The magician smiled, and it seemed to be verging on a smirk. “I haven’t even told you about the perks yet.”

---------

The rest of the week found Eggsy training. It was different, not quite as comfortable as the previous trials had been. They had been natural, some of them new but somehow just right whereas learning to manage monitoring live cam feed while searching for this or that tidbit of information and planning an escape route from behind a desk was unusual. He could handle action on the fly, holding back and giving orders over a headset was exhausting.

So far the worst part had been the expression on Roxy’s face when he’d told her the news, but then she’d offered to let him guide her through a mission to help with his training, and they’d bonded via their secure line about how fucking ridiculous the whole situation was. When he’d picked her up from behind the hotel she’d taken her mark to they’d ended up joyriding through London, putting his driving skills through their paces until they were both laughing, his anger at the situation all but subdued for the time being.

He’d run into Harry on his way to the flight sim, and while the new head of the British branch of Kingsman looked a bit more reserved than he usually did (Eggsy didn’t even know how that was possible) he flashed him a smile. “Thanks for sorting things out,” he told him honestly. “At least I get to stay, yeah? I ain’t that easy to get rid of.”

“Quite right Eggsy, quite right.” Harry rested a hand on his shoulder, squeezing gently, then dropped it. “Where are you off to?”

“Flight sims. Ain’t worried about nothing though, I’ll ace it.” He winked at Harry, relieved when Harry gave him a small smile in return. Now all he had to do was not mention why he had flight training, because Merlin had told him it would be best to delay telling Harry he had a handler until most of his training was completed.

“I’ll walk that way with you,” Harry offered unexpectedly, and Eggsy jerked slightly, startled.

“Course.” He turned before swallowing away a bit of his nerves. “Got any advice? All I’ve ever done before is a bit of training in case I had to land something in an emergency situation.”

---------

Harry was relaxed, a sensation he'd barely felt the last few weeks. It had been helpful a couple of days ago when he's ran into Eggsy on his way to the simulator. A pilot’s job was risky enough Eggsy wouldn't think too much of it, and he could enjoy the freedom and relative safety of flight without Harry developing ulcers.

That and Eggsy seemed accepting of it. There was no hint that he held any animosity toward Harry, no sign of devastation that he couldn't recover from. Merlin had stayed true to his word it seemed, there was nothing to suggest that he knew Harry had been the one to deny him his rightfully earned position.

Tomorrow he was heading in to accept his first real mission since all the upheaval had began. There was no doubt in his mind that it would be a small affair, something to get him back in the game, but at least he would be back in it. It would feel good to stretch his muscles again.

For the first time in a long time it seemed as if everything was going his way.

--------

Everything was going to shit. He opened his mouth, closed it again, then reopened it. His eyes darted from Eggy's face, innocent and excited, a puppy promised a walk, to Merlin's. Smug, content, daring him to disagree.

"I don't need a handler. I've never had one and I've done just fine."

Eggsy's excitement was waning and he held up a hand. "No offense Eggsy, this isn't about how capable you are. I don't need a handler."

"Aye, but we need you to have a handler." Merlin smirked at him. "You're no longer Galahad, you're Arthur. You're too important for us to risk. Eggsy here has more prerequisites than most handlers, I'm sure he'll be invaluable."

"Can I speak to you alone," Harry tersely directed to the magician.

"You said his placement was my decision. See Eggsy, I told you he might be disagreeable."

Eggsy had been watching the volley of conversation before him and he shrugged. "Don't take an idiot to realize I could be helpful. Frees up some of the other personnel that deal with Harry too. I got this." He grinned at Harry and Harry felt something tighten in his chest. If Eggsy was too close to him he could be hurt. Injured. Captured. Killed. "Bet we'll make a bloody awesome team. Lethal."

"Merlin."

The bald man straightened. "Ah yes, you'll be wanting to know the finer details. Now obviously as your personal handler it makes sense for Eggsy to be close physically as well. I'm sure you both know how to be discreet, so we've purchased one of the homes just down the street for Eggsy. Don't worry Eggsy, there are two bedrooms and you could easily convert the office to another bedroom for your sister when the time comes. When this mission is over I'll get the keys to you. It's pre-furnished, so moving in should be relatively easy."

That was not what Harry had expected, and not what he wanted to hear. The conversation was getting away from him. He was still trying to process, unsure how be could be so off balance when he made a living that required him to think on his feet.

"Enough about that. Here is your mission. Good luck."

Harey realized too late that the folder had been passed off to Eggsy, his new handler looking over the file as Merlin turned and left.

Shit.

---------

"I don't know what Merlin told you, but you'll be staying in the vehicle unless I direct otherwise." He was turned away from Eggsy, shrugging into a suit jacket that was, to his chagrin, off the rack. "A chauffeur's primary duty while on a mission is to be ready for a quick getaway."

"Not a chauffeur though, yeah? So just trust me. I ain't going to let nothing happen to you because I'm not in the right spot." Eggsy sighed and batted his hand away from his tie. “You look too posh. They'll know you're a prat from the moment you step foot in the place." He twisted it until it was just slightly crooked then reached up, knocking a few strands of hair off kilter.

Pursing his lips he stepped back, giving Harry a long once over that had him more self-conscious than he had any right to be. "Better. Now come on, we'll go over the assignment in the car." He grinned when Harry scowled. "Might as well get used to it. I ain't going nowhere any bloody time soon."

---------

The mission that had been assigned was basically a team building exercise, and Merlin had told him as much before they’d ever met with Harry. Organized crime was growing in the area, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to figure out if it was one large organizations or a couple with strong connections and treaties. They needed names, and even though their targets were marked as fairly low in the grand scheme of things the lower guys tended to have at least one or two connections of merit.

All Harry had to do was try to fit in. Loosen up a bit, be a man in the strip club down on his luck, looking for a bit of work perhaps. Try to get people to open up. Entry level.

Well, fit in and wear his glasses so that Eggsy could keep an eye on his goings on from inside the taxi he’d parked a couple of alleys away. His light was off, and slouched in the seat, staring at his phone, he did look as though maybe he was just taking a break.

But no. Harry fucking Hart was better than that. He didn’t need help, and when Eggsy had tried to pass him a comment there had been a rustle as the earpiece was removed. Then Harry had taken off the glasses, putting them in the pocket in the breast of his jacket.

Which he had then removed and slung across the back of his chair.

It would endanger the mission to march into the club and ask him what the fuck he was thinking, but stewing in the taxi meant that Eggsy had time to think of exactly what he would say to him when the mission was over. And he knew the exact routes to take that would give Harry no chance of escaping the taxi without risking actual harm to himself while Eggsy informed him of just exactly where he could shove his issues.

It was boring to just wait and do nothing, and while he allowed himself to text Roxy he felt too guilty to play any phone games, instead going back to the feed that he could see.

A good half of the screen was just recording the inside of the pocket, but from the other half of the glasses he was getting a bit of the surroundings. He was just about bored out of his mind when he caught sight of a couple of men gesturing toward Harry, talking to each other before one took out his phone. He couldn’t swear they were taking a picture, but his instincts screamed that they were. He kept his eyes fixated on the screen as he patted the passenger seat next to him, pushing away the suit jacket that would dress him up a bit and snagging one of his regular Adidas jackets.

As he put it on he could see one of the men making a phone call while continuing to cast glances over at Harry. He was reaching for his hat when a coat shifted enough for him to see the barrel of a gun.

Not for the first time that night he cursed Harry. If he had even left the damn earpiece in he could have warned him. Because he couldn’t see what Harry was up to he didn’t know if his phone was compromised, or if he was even still reading texts after the initial blow up when he’d taken off the glasses.

He still tried, tapping out a quick “come home” as a signal to get out while he got out of the cab before pocketing the phone. Now there was a part to play, and he was luck. It was himself.

Sauntering down the sidewalk in his cap and jacket was the easy part, and getting into the club just took a few quid to ease the way. The place wasn’t so small and local that Harry and him would be noticed as strangers and outsiders, and when he noticed a couple of chavs he nodded at them like he knew them. It was easy to get at least one out of a group to think that maybe they knew him and they just couldn’t place him. A bird’s brother some kid a year or two behind or before them. One nodded back, another toasted him with a raised glass, and he had made himself all but invisible.

He acted as if he was there for the same reason as anyone else. To get a drink and stare at some tits. He noted where Harry was, but the agent seemed engrossed in talk with a couple of men at the table he was at. That, or in watching the bird giving one of the other men a lap dance. There was no sign that he’d seen Eggsy, so he sauntered up to the bar, getting a pint and paying for it before turning around, resting his back on the bar and acting as if he was scouting a table.

It wasn’t until then that he “saw” Harry. He startled a bit in case anyone was watching, then swaggered over to where he was. “Oi! Dad!”

Harry turned his head sharply enough that Eggsy was convinced that maybe he’d somehow managed an entrance that he hadn’t caught. The baleful look he got promised hell later, and he just gave him a cheeky grin, letting his eyes drift over to the dancer that was checking him out.

“Mum thought you was at an AA meeting. Didn’t realize this was where you were coming.”

“You shouldn’t be here.”

“Looks like we’ve got something in common. Finally, I can bond with me stepdad, eh? Can you spot me 20 quid? I might forget to tell mum I ran into you.”

At least Harry seemed to pick up that something was off, and he played along, sighing in defeat, shoulders drooping as he reached for his wallet. “Shit. I’m out of cash.” He nodded to the men he was with. “Be right back, trouble with the old bag ain’t worth 20 quid.” Harry stood, reaching for his coat. “Where’s the ATM at boy?”

Eggsy managed to sneak a glance at the men he’d been watching through what small bit of Harry’s glasses he could. In that quick look he could see a hand resting where he’d seen the gun, and he felt their eyes on them the entire way to the door.

-----------

They were back in taxi, pulling away from the alley before Harry decided it was time to speak. “I told you to stay in the car.”

The entire walk back he’d stewed over it, knowing neither of them were in anything bullet proof and making himself a promise that he’d have one of Eggsy’s nonsense jackets made over to be safe. After he killed him personally of course.

“I have no need of a handler that cannot accomplish even the most basic of tasks and obey simple instructions.”

“Fuck that. I ain’t here to obey you and get your door with an ‘if you please.’ You don’t want no handler and I don’t want to be fucking wasted in some office when we both know I should be an agent, out in the field kicking arse and saving shit.” He hadn’t expected Eggsy to smash his hand down on the wheel, not hitting the horn but just taking out frustration, and he barely managed to conceal the jolt that ran through him.

“This is all I’ve fucking got Harry. Least I get to work with you, yeah? So stop being a prick. You could’ve got yourself killed with that fucking stunt of yours. Taking out your earpiece? Couldn’t even warn you about the men at your back because you’re too proud to admit someone else could be useful. You’ve trusted Merlin on missions, why the fuck won’t you give me a chance?”

Harry tried not to concentrate on the car veering slightly into the next lane. An awkward silence permeated the car, and after a few moments of that Eggsy swore in the front seat. “Fuck this Harry. Fuck you. Gentlemen this and gentleman that but you sure as hell ain’t acting like one. Shittiest part? I’ve got to file a fucking report. Yeah. I get all the paperwork. Thanks. And after this fuck up we’re going to get another shitty little mission like this. You can’t ruin this for me Harry. You fucking can’t. You’re the one that promised my life could change and you bloody well can’t just walk away now.”

He pulled over, and even from the backseat Harry could see his shoulders heaving as he took deep breaths trying to steady himself.

“Eggsy,” he started, not sure what to say without giving anything away.

“Get out.”

He looked up, and recognized where they were. It was a few short streets from his house, but it wasn’t on the corner or anything.

“I said get the fuck out!” Eggsy twisted in the seat, glaring at him. “Give you a chance to think on the way home.”

“A proper handler wouldn’t risk his agent getting mugged at night by being petty,” Harry said with a frown, falling back on a basic defense than fell a bit flat even on his own ears.

Then Eggsy grinned at him, expression wicked. “Guess it could be a bit dodgy here at night. Looks like you’ll have to wear those glasses of yours so I can keep an eye out for you. Brill idea that. Out you get. Sod off.”

It was probably pointless to argue with him, so with a sigh and slow, deliberate movements Harry extracted himself from the car. He’d made it a few paces when the car rolled forward and Eggsy’s window went down. “Night,” he called, pulling away from the car.

Harry made it half a block before he gave in and put his glasses on, not actually worried about his own safety, but more because Eggsy had had a few points. He’d caused this, and as much as he hated Eggsy being in even minutely in harms way at least these developments meant he could keep an eye on him.

----------

Eggsy was right in that the next mission they got was another bollocks assignment. More basic information fishing, and once again they were headed to a strip club. One that had a reputation for extras. Most of the girls also seemed connected to a prostitution ring in the city. What was difficult about all of this was that they couldn’t even trace who the owner of the club was. It was somehow registered to an 96 year old woman that had been dead for at least seven years, and while even a lower end employee would probably have the information they were seeking they needed to find the right one to bribe.

At least this time Harry got to play the rich gentleman looking for a night of pleasure without being noticed. He was much better at it than pretending to be middle class.

He was about to pull up to the drop off point when Harry spoke up. “I really don’t need a handler for a mission as simple as this.”

“Yeah, I know. At least leave your bloody earpiece in.”

In the mirror he could see Harry slipping on his glasses, shaking his head when they were settled. “No, this is as good a time to test you as any. This mission is simple, and there isn’t much danger to it. I want to hear your thoughts. Explain them out if you can. Unless it actually jeopardizes the mission I’ll be following your instructions.” Harry reached forward to grip his shoulder before getting out of the car, buttoning his jacket as he stood and strolling into the club.

Eggsy moved the car to the parking behind the club, grateful that the heavily tinted windows made it hard to see him, and even if he was noticed it wasn’t absolutely unheard of at this place for a driver to just be waiting while someone had a quick bit of fun inside. He knew that what had just happened was about as much of an apology as he could hope for, but it still helped something in him to relax.If Harry was on board that was basically job security. He had this.

And job security meant he could stop worrying about whether or not he’d get to keep the house. With his mum and sister moved from the hotel he’d temporarily put them in after the visit to The Black Prince to the house he’d hated the idea that he might fuck up and pull it out from under them.

He pulled out his phone, opening up the feed from Harry’s glasses, and tried not to be too distracted by the sights. Harry had already managed to get a drink and a seat, not too close to the action, but the glasses had rather spectacular recording features. There was quite a bit to see. He coughed, realized that probably carried over the headset, and cringed in his seat. “Right. Uh, casually do a scan of the room? Show me what we’re working with.”

After a second the feed changed, Harry glancing back towards the bar then dragging his gaze around the room slowly. Scantily clad women spotted the club, giving lapdances and draping themselves over customers. Harry paused with his gaze on one couple as a woman led a man back past a curtain to a back area before he settled his gaze back on the stage.

“Your best bet is going to be taking the right bird to a private room. It’ll be bugged but if you activate your cufflink it’ll scramble any noises that’d reach the mics. Fucker’ll block me out too, but I’ll still have the feed from your glasses if there’s an emergency.”

Cleavage filled the screen, and he could hear a woman’s voice purring over the mic. “Why hello. Haven’t seen you around here big boy.”

“Not her.” The words were out of his mouth before he could think. He hated her, whoever she was. The feeling was sudden and uncalled for. Of course Harry was in a strip club. Shit was going to happen.

The only response Harry gave was to the woman. He could only picture the bland curl of the lips as his agent spoke. “I beg your pardon, but I’m not quite ready to order.” He could see the tenner as Harry glanced down to tuck it into her garter belt and she sashayed off.

“Smooth,” he admitted, wishing Harry had kept the glasses on her ass as she walked off just a bit longer, and yet oddly satisfied that he hadn’t.

“Give me another look at the girls over against the wall.”

In the background he could see a new girl take the stage, and she was the one that managed to catch his eye. She didn’t seem quite as experienced as the others, but she still had some talent, and had obviously worked a pole before. “Keep an eye on the girl on stage. I’m going to run a search.”

He didn’t normally use a tablet at the same time as his phone, mostly because he’d only had a tablet for the past couple of weeks, but this was what Merlin had forced him to work on. He managed to capture a decent picture of her face from the feed, putting it into a search. Melanie. That wasn’t information to pass on, if Harry slipped and called her that they were both screwed. “Looks like she dropped out of uni and she’s stuck with student loans. Second month here, so she’s probably seen the boss or at least heard of him by now. Social media...oh fuck yes. She’s behind on her rent, we’ve got this. Looks like she owes 350 quid to her roommates by the end of the week or she’s getting tossed on her arse. Figure another 125 for another week’s rent and you’ll probably get her to talk for 500 quid. You could offer another 100 and she’ll probably be begging to call you if she hears anything.”

Harry’s gaze dipped down to his lap and Eggsy could make out the unsent text from his phone. Why her.

“Feeling I guess. Wait til she gets off stage. If she don’t go straight into the crowd she ain’t too comfortable. Bet this was her last resort. She’d probably like doing something else for the money, and she ain’t been here so long she’ll be too loyal.”

He watched as she left the stage, sauntering off, and like he’d suspected, she took a place against the wall next to another girl, not really looking at the room like she was searching for a next victim but rather as if she was prolonging the inevitable.

“Waiter.” Harry’s voice rang over the feed, and he saw a waiter head toward him. “That young lady that was just on stage? Yes, Sierra. Could you send her over?”

The girl seemed startled when the waiter approached her, gesturing toward Harry. She fussed for a moment with what little outfit that she had on before making her way to him, putting on a smile as she walked and able to give off a bit of an air of confidence as she wasted no time in straddling Harry’s lap.

For the next several moments the feed was a pale expanse of jiggling flesh with a moving band of fabric. At one point she turned and he got a rather close look at her arse wriggling around as Harry tucked several bills into her waistband.

She was back in his lap when Harry made his move. “I heard there’s a lovely back room at this establishment,” he murmured, and Eggsy was barely able to make out the words. Harry was now looking up at her face, so he could see the as it’s way across her features.

But she wasn’t automatically accepting his proposal. “Fuck, this might be her first time. Ask her if it is, and say you’ll pay double.”

Harry complied, voice pitched to be reassuring, and if Eggsy found himself shifting uncomfortably in his seat no one had to know. “Just what you're comfortable with Sierra. I prefer not to be in public when I could be enjoying a bit of privacy personally.” Eggsy could picture the look on his face, the smile and the way he would leave everything to her. Let Melanie make the decision and seem so entirely unpressured as she did so. He resisted the absolutely insane words that wanted to escape, that Harry should ask her to wear his glasses so he could see if he was right, and instead just had to sit back and watch as she finally nodded, reaching out for Harry’s hand to lead him to the back room.

She left Harry just behind the curtain as he paid the bouncer waiting there, stripping bills off a roll with ease, adding an extra twenty for the man, and then moving room number three.

“Say a few things as if you’re going to go through with it before you activate the cufflink. That way it won’t be quite as suspicious if they review the tape. I think one of the cameras is in the eye of that cat on that slightly terrifying painting. Not sure about the rest.”

After a few moments of Harry talking to “Sierra” the sound suddenly cut out. There was a moment as the pair repositioned themselves, and Eggsy knew Harry was trying to get them out of the view of the cameras. He had taken a seat with this back to the camera and she was kneeling between his legs. From that angle she could have been giving him a blowjob and the club’s camera couldn’t prove otherwise, but a surge of satisfaction ran through him as he noticed that Hary’s belt was still buckled, nothing mussed.

Eventually he saw got a spectacular view of the ceiling, Harry apparently pretending to have his head thrown back in ecstasy, and it was interesting to consider if that was really what the man was like when he came. By the time he forced his mind off that path money was exchanging hands, then Harry was moving out of the room and toward the rest of the club.

Jerking to awareness Eggsy started the car and pulled to the front just in time for Harry to exit and climb smoothly into the vehicle.

He couldn’t wait. As soon as they pulled away he glanced in his mirror, not that he could really see much than an outline in the dark. “Well?”

“Co-owners actually. She’s met one, knew the name of the other.” The corners of Harry’s mouth curled ever so slightly upwards, and Eggsy grinned. He was pleased. “Very well done Eggsy. The only thing you need to learn is not to be so stingy. We have the resources, and we don’t need to waste our time haggling. Make it an even 1,000 quid and it has a nice ring to it, plus it gives her a chance to either work on some of those loans or to find herself another job so she doesn’t have to sell her body unless she wants to.”

He absorbed the information and nodded. “Alright. Where to now?”

“Do you need to drop the car off?”

“Yeah, bit too conspicuous. Don’t mind dropping you somewhere first.”

“Hm, it’s getting late. Take a left at the next light.”

Eggsy merged lanes before answering. “So not home and not the shop either. Where the fuck are we going?”

“There’s a place a few streets away with a delightful lamb kebab for take away.”

Fifteen minutes later he couldn’t believe he was waiting for Harry to emerge, but what was truly unexpected was when he crossed to get in the passenger side, sitting next to Eggsy and passing him a box. “If you get any on the upholstery Merlin will know. Let’s take the car back then we’ll share a cab home.”

Eggsy opened the box, trying not to salivate at the seasoned rice he could see and instead snagging out a kebab he could eat one-handed. “Your wish is my command gov,” he proclaimed delightedly before pulling back out into traffic.

Later he didn’t even realize until Harry had already walked him to his doorstep that the agent would have to walk back to his house on his own. By the time he turned back towards him he was already out on the main street, strolling back to his own place with his umbrella tucked under his arm.

----------

He had to admit, he liked having his own handler. Of course most handlers didn’t invite their agents over for Sunday dinner and leave them watching princess movies with their sister as they ran out to grab some ingredient or other. When Michelle finally threw in the towel they had just laughed and they ordered in Chinese take out from a place he never would have tried on his own.

Most handlers also wouldn’t have shown up at his house, knocking at the door and staring down at his trainers when Harry opened the door, merely to explain that he’d lost his tablet charger and could he just come in for a few to open up a file that was too big for his phone?

He had also stopped keeping track of how often Eggsy had wound up sleeping on his sofa, and didn’t even bat an eye at the drawer his handler had taken over or the fact that he had bought a toothbrush holder just to keep the yellow one separate from his own blue. He’d even stayed over at the Unwin’s once when there was a concern that his own home was under surveillance.

Their teamwork was what was truly impressive though. Eggsy had a learning curve to be sure, and he really didn’t want to discuss their first flight (he’d vetoed them ever using helicopters after that) but the buzz of the young handler’s voice in his ear had him grounded in a way that he’d never experienced before.

They were working their way up the ladder of the organization now. One central hub, one family, but two siblings running slightly different branches in different ways, making it seem as though they were merely working under a treaty together. It was the sister he was worried about. She was vicious, the type to kill first and hide the body later, whereas the brother was a bit more subdued, simply wanting to be filthy rice and to let others run the business under his extremely loose guidance.

“Shot coming from your left ahead. Ignore it. Dodge if you can but they’re aiming at chest level so your suit should absorb the worst. Take out the one on the right first, give him a fucking headshot cause it looks like they’ve got kevlar.”

The bullet that hit him hurt, there would be bruises later, but he was prepared and managed to miss one entirely. Five bullets later and he was plugging the usb into a computer, waiting for the programing on it to decode the password before dragging the information they wanted over to it to start the transfer.

“Fuck. Harry it looks like someone’s coming up the backstairs. I don’t think they know yet, but we can’t let them sound the alarm. How much longer do you have until the data finishes?”

“45.”

“Go. Take him out now, come back for the USB.” He was already in motion at the go, caught the man by surprise as he opened the door and made it back to the USB with it already finished. He unplugged it, setting the computer back to its locked mode and wiping down the keyboard and mouse before heading out.

Getting out was relatively easily, and as he slid into the waiting taxi he passed the USB forward without preamble, Eggsy snagging it from him and plugging it in even as he pulled away from the parking spot. “Uploading it to the mainframe now, Merlin’ll probably have the damn thing cracked within 30. So, I’ve been fucking craving pizza, Italian work?”

“Somewhere I can get a good carbonara,” he said as he settled in for the drive, already knowing where Eggsy would head. “You should probably limit yourself to one slice of cake this time.”

“Bugger off.”

----------

The only way to take care of the heads of the organization was to go for both at once. Gwaine and Lancelot had both been assigned to the brother, and Harry was going to see to Roulette personally. They had followed them out of the country, knowing that even with their individual hotels swarming with security it would be easier to reach them than at their home base.

Eggsy had the car parked across the street, ready to peel out at a second’s notice. His phone was streaming as usual but today a tablet was as well for backup, and a second tablet and phone in easy reach for anything else that came up. “Two more on the third floor. Fourth is where it’ll get tricky, they’ve got three pairs working in a rotation but one roamer that seems to truly be random.”

“Advice?”

“Shoot the fuckers before they shoot you.”

“Thanks.” Harry’s voice was dripping sarcasm, but he knew it would settle his agent.

“I was going to save our distraction for the fifth floor but if you think it’ll help we can activate it early. Or you could risk bypassing it altogether. If they sound an alarm when you’re higher up you could wind with seven more deal with. Or seven to deal with on the way down.”

“Not if I come down the back way.”

“That was the backup,” he agreed easily enough. He was proud of how even his voice was, how he gave no hint that anything was wrong with the alley behind the hotel. Harry didn’t need to know that there were now four men down there, apparently on an extended break. He checked his pistols, keeping on in hand.

“Alright Arthur, fifth floor is primed. Are you ready?”

He set off the trap at Harry’s affirmation, a simple mixture of rotted smells sealed in a bottle that he had just opened remotely to blow through the air conditioning unit. Phone in his left hand he slid out of the car, crossing the street with his gun tucked into his jacket.

He muted his mic as he watched Harry’s movements, trying to act as if he’d accidentally wandered down the wrong street, distracted by his phone. The first thug started toward him, grousing at him to pay attention and he looked in one smooth movement that seemed to bring his arm with it.

The bullet went straight between his eyes. The second he got with a double tap to the chest before the others could react. He dove behind the dumpster, managing to get the fourth with a belly wound before stalking the fourth through the alley. A single shot to the back of the head and Harry had a safe escape route through the alley.

The bullet seemed to come out of nowhere. It somehow managed hit at exactly the wrong angle where the bullet-proofing was joined was all he could figure, ripping through the threads and into his shoulder. When he turned the third man with the belly wound was still pointing the wavering gun at him. He fired again, nailing him, but he followed up with a shot through the heart. Just to be certain.

He unmuted the feed before Harry could get suspicious. “Fucking nice job with the fifth floor. One crazy bitch to go and you get a free ice cream.”

He muted the feed while Harry answered, struggling to the car and getting in, putting pressure on the wound until he hissed before unmuting the feed again. “Still not done? Lame. Do I need to call for backup?”

“Five minutes,” the agent promised, and then he went to work.

Even from the angle of Harry’s glasses it was gorgeous to watch him in action. Mortality in motion. Eggsy found himself forgetting about the pain or the blood oozing down his arm as he watched Harry work. It was a thing of beauty, and when he finally stood over Roulette, sunk two bullets into her brain and one into her heart, Eggsy could breath again.

“Bring it home,” he said, waiting for the man to emerge. The fourth floor seven were milling around without orders, unsure of what to do, and Harry had a clean shot with the alley.

The car was on and ready to go when Harry opened the door to let himself in, and Eggsy pulled away immediately. “There were men in the alleyway,” Harry pointed out, voice relatively even.

"There were," he admitted, trying to keep his voice even, normal despite the pain.

"Staying in the car is your top concern," he could hear the anger in Harry's voice and he shrugged, not thinking, hissing at the movement when flares of pain throbbed through his shoulder.

"Is there a particular reason you're driving one handed?"

He was about to comment, distract Harry, when the agent leaned forward, straining against his seat belt.

"Is that blood?" His voice had risen, echoing in the vehicle, and Eggsy cringed.

"Look it ain't bad, flesh wound is all."

"Pull over immediately." Harry's bouce was tight but Eggsy kept his eyes fixed on the road.

"You know I can't do that. I ain't fucking up the mission because some bullet managed to knick my shoulder. It ain't that bad, yeah? So let me get us to the rendezvous point and we'll get this shit taken care of on the plane. I ain't the pilot."

The next thing he heard from Harry was Harry on the phone, demanding medical care be prepared and shouting at Merlin or whoever was unfortunate enough to be on the other line.

He just concentrated on driving and keeping his body at an angle so that the seatbelt put pressure on the wound.

-----------

Eggsy was asleep behind the curtain, shoulder bandaged and all sorts of tests run. All the tests had been run and everything pointed to a smooth and full recovery as it honestly hadn’t been that bad of a wound. There was the steady hum of monitors, the steady blip of his heartbeat, and still Harry couldn’t relax.

The tension was building steadily, the muscles in his back howling in protest and he knew his neck would kill him for the next day or two at the very least. There was a quiet tap at the door and he looked up as Merlin entered, clipboard in hand. “Still here Harry?”

He simply nodded as he rose to his feet, stalking closer to Merlin so that he wouldn’t have to shout as all the things he had been keeping bottled up came bubbling to the surface. “What were you thinking assigning him to be a handler?” he hissed, glowering at the magician.

“It seemed to be a good fit with his considerable skills,” Merlin pointed out, standing firm and Harry wished it was someone that had not known him so long, someone who would just back down and admit how wrong they were.

“He was hurt. Shot Merlin. A bullet went through him.” His voice rose, unbidden, and he couldn’t stop now, couldn’t help but unleash the fear and worry that had been building up in him since he’d first entered the alleyway. A perfect mission tarnished by his handler’s injury.

“And you’ve survived much worse. Honestly, he could easily have sustained worse injuries if we had never interfered with his life.”

“I gave him to you so you could keep him safe! Not so you could pull some shitty stunt and put him back into danger. I made it clear being an agent would risk his life too much, and you went and figured out the one thing that could put him in the line of fire the most. You trained him Merlin, you knew he wouldn’t just sit back in an office somewhere like a sensible person.”

“Aye, and you shouldn’t have put a stop to him becoming an agent either. That was a shite decision and you know it. Completely selfish of you. You robbed Kingsman of a good agent and I wasn’t about to let him waste his life running messages and cleaning up spills.”

“It was you?”

The hoarse voice behind him had Harry turning slowly, knowing and fearing what he would see. Eggsy was standing there, tilted a bit in an overcompensation for the injured shoulder. It was obvious that he was trying to give off the air of being strong, but yet he was staring at him with a wounded expression on his face.

“You’re the bloody reason I couldn’t become a fucking agent?” His voice was raw, the emotion slicing away at Harry’s composure as he tried to keep it all together.

“Eggsy. I can explain.”

“Explain what?” Now his voice was turning angry, venom filling the air. “What the fuck are you going to explain? That any chance I had at being a damn good agent was ruined because you threw a fit?” He took a step closer to Harry, lip curled into a sneer. “It’s a game for you innit. Sweep in and make someone believe they can be something, give em half a chance to change, and then you rip it all away.”

He could see how Eggsy would think that, and he was desperately trying to think of someway to get the young man to see that that wasn’t what it was about. Of course he would make a good agent, but it wasn’t worth it. Nothing was worth putting his life on the line. Harry could be that agent for both of them, he’d lived his life, and now he finally had someone that he needed to keep safe. “That isn’t fair Eg-”

“It ain’t fair? It ain’t fucking fair?” Eggsy lifted up his arm to gesture, forgetting his wound until it was too late. His face went pale, and Harry moved forward unconsciously to help him, only to have his hand batted away. “Fuck you Arthur.” The code name was spat between them, distancing them, and Harry couldn’t hide the hurt in his eyes as Eggsy moved back toward the bed, Merlin coming forward to check on the injury.

“Perhaps it would be best if you leave now Harry,” he said softly, and Harry found himself stumbling backwards before turning and all but fleeing with as much dignity as he could muster, trying to ignore the ache in his chest.

----------

Sitting in his office staring at the wall wasn’t the best use of his time. When he had first gotten home he’d been upset, and shoved all of that energy into cleaning the house. Then, when he couldn’t sleep, he worked on the paperwork required for the mission, all the logs and details that he could jot down and submit so there was something to go on while they waited for Eggsy’s final report. Gwaine and Lancelot had also met with success, and now it would have to be up to one of them to follow up with the intel they would gather with the crime network in disarray.

When he’d finally managed to catch a few hours of sleep he had awoken with absolutely nothing to do. Just an almost physical pain in his chest and a need to explain himself. He had started trying to write a letter, going back to the good, old fashioned ways, and now his bin was overflowing with bits of crumpled up stationary. That had finally lead to drinking, and when he’d awoken with a stellar hangover it was easy to decide that that was not the correct course of action either.

Now it was midday, and while he’d already ordered in some of the Chinese takeout he never would have eaten weeks ago it didn’t seem to be helping enough. Next on his list of possible solutions were ice cream and chocolate, and he didn’t want to admit he was at that level. Not yet.

When the knock came at the door he was actually surprised. It had been years since someone had approached his house without him knowing, and he approached the door cautiously, ready to take defensive action at the slightest sign of trouble.

----------

Eggsy jammed his hand back into his jacket as he stared at the door, waiting for it to open. He was still angry, still couldn’t quite believe what Harry had done, but he now at least knew why. Merlin had opened up after Harry had been sent away, and berating him for going along with the fucked up plan had helped take the edge off.

Now he just had to deal with Harry.

The door opened and he could see the tension easing from Harry, the lines in his face that smoothed out ever so slightly and the light sigh moving through his frame. “Eggsy.”

Faced with the man he found himself at a loss for words, so instead he just took a step forward, pleased that he was right in thinking Harry would open the door to let him in without any preamble, and then turned around in the foyer, looking up at the older gentleman as he tried to remember the words he’d practiced so often in the past couple of days.

“You’re fucked up, you know that?”

The small, almost resigned smile and nod that met his words did absolutely nothing to help him keep track of where he was going with this and he tried not to shuffle his feet as he took a deep breath, meeting Harry’s eyes and speaking.

“I ain’t no sodding doll to protect. You don’t get to make none of them decisions for me. This is my life, and I’ll bloody well do what I want with it, yeah?”

“I know that,” Harry agreed.

“You was the one that wanted me to be a fucking Kingsman, you proposed me, so what the fuck were you thinking when you pulled that stunt of yours?”

“I didn’t know you when I proposed you Eggsy,” Harry admitted. “It was fine to think of you living a life like mine, turning your life around and being your own sort of gentleman. It is rather an exciting way to live actually. But then I saw the footage from the mission I missed and,” Harry paused, mouth twitching up but his eyes still sad, “I didn’t like to see you in harm’s way Eggsy.”

“So you’re saying you did all this for me.”

Harry sighed but nodded, eyes cast down.

Eggsy kept his eyes on him, trying to search his face, voice soft when he finally asked the one question that he had to know the answer to, the one that would determine his next several decisions.

“Why?”

“I couldn’t bare to lose you.”

The words were whispered between them, and for the first time since Eggsy had met him he saw what it looked like when Harry Hart was frightened. When he wasn’t sure if he would be able to make it out of the bind that he’d gotten himself into. A tiny flicker of hope flared inside him so he put on his best smirk, trying to mask any insecurities he might otherwise give away. “Yeah? Well I’m here ain’t I? So what’re you going to do about it?”

Harry’s eyes met his, searching his face as thoroughly as he’d searched Harry’s just moments before, more so probably, and then he was stepping forward, lifting a hand to tilt Eggsy’s chin up as he pressed their lips together.

It wasn’t like there were fireworks or any of that shit. He’d kissed more birds than blokes, and most of the blokes he’d messed around with weren’t all that into kissing him. So it wasn’t too natural for him to relax into the kiss and let someone else lead.

But once he did it was worth it. Harry wasn’t quite as patient as he would have expected, licking at his lips and then nipping them gently when he wasn’t immediately allowed entrance, and it was no time at all before Harry’s tongue was in his mouth, tracing over his teeth as if he wanted to memorize them from the inside and Eggsy could feel himself already starting to get hard in his jeans.

He had to break it off, pulling back to suck in a lung full of air as he wiped a bit of excess spit off his lips with the back of his hand. “You fucking kidding me?”

Harry’s eyes widened, and he realized that the agent was taking this the wrong way so he reached out to grab his robe with his left hand, having learned his lesson not to stress his right shoulder too much. “We could’ve been doing this for months and you’ve been holding back on me? You’re a right prick you are.”

Harry’s response was the only right one available as he kissed him breathless again, pulling back long enough to murmur a string of apologies as he pressed kisses along his jawline and neck. Eggsy hadn’t even realized they’d moved until his back bumped up against a door frame and he relaxed, letting Harry continue to shower streams of apologies and praises against what skin he could reach with his polo unbuttoned.

He felt a leg nudge between his and he widened his stance a bit to allow access, letting his weight settle until he could feel the pressure on his crotch, rubbing shamelessly as his eyes drifted shut, concentrating on the feel of Harry sucking on his collarbone and wishing his lips were somewhere else entirely.

HIs eyes opened as the thought finally processed and he grinned at the ceiling before bringing his hands up to Harry’s neck, letting his fingers weave through the strands without pushing or pulling at his head, and he opened his mouth, willing to listen to the voice in the back of his mind that seemed to think Harry would appreciate whatever vulgar things came out of his mouth.

“Don’t think you know how long I’ve wanted this,” he said, not trying to keep his voice down, wanting Harry to hear exactly what he had to say. “Thought about it before, even, fuck, when we were on missions.” He rolled his hips, pressing purposefully against Harry’s leg and let out a long, loud moan. “Couldn’t fucking sleep thinking about you sometimes. Had to be real quiet at home, wanking in my bed, wishing it was you. Then I’d get up and already be hard at the thought of you, and I’d have to wank again in the shower. Think about you when I slicked up my fingers and opened myself up.”

He could hear Harry suck in a shaky breath, had known the instant Harry had stopped bracing himself with both hands so he could squeeze himself with the other. He thrust against Harry’s leg with a slow deliberate rhythm, grinning as Harry gave him a desperate look. “I’ve even wanked over here before. Couldn’t help it. You should see yourself in the mornings.”

Harry’s gaze drifted down, staring at the growing bulge in his pants, and he moved his hands to press at Harry’s shoulders, hoping he’d take the hint and get on his knees. “Thought about what it’d be like if you’d suck me off. Or maybe you’d make me suck you off, fuck my mouth and make me beg for it if you stopped.” He wanted that, desperately enough that he probably shouldn’t admit it, but even the thought of having Harry’s prick in his mouth was enough to flood enough saliva into his mouth that he had to swallow.

The agent was on his knees, and while Eggsy mourned the loss of his leg to thrust against he could feel the button of his jeans being undone, watched with his breath held as Harry unzipped his fly. He couldn’t bare it, reaching down to shove his jeans halfway down his thigh, only his fear of hitting Harry in the face with his cock stopping him from peeling down his boxers as well.

Harry smirked slightly at his impatience, slowly and deliberately hooking his fingers into the elastic waistband Eggsy couldn’t help but twitch his hips despite trying to stay still.

“Don’t stop now Eggsy,” Harry murmured, tongue darting out to wet his lips. “What else have you been keeping from me?”

“I fucking love you.”

He froze with the words barely out of his mouth, staring down in panic as Harry’s hands stilled. “Wait. Shit. Fuck. Harry I--”

“Are you serious?” Harry cut in before he could keep going, and there was something in the way he was looking at him, in the tone of his words. Something vulnerable.

His face was scarlet, “don’t fucking ask me that.” Those were the thoughts that kept him up the nights that missions didn’t, the feelings he didn’t know what the do with, and he wasn’t exactly ready to deal with them with Harry’s mouth centimeters from his painfully hard prick.

Harry looked at him for another second before his eyes darkened, a bit of a smile playing across his lips before he looked back down, pulling down his boxers. His left hand he let move to Eggsy’s thigh, squeezing gently as he spat into his right and wrapped it around his cock.

His grip was a bit loose as he started to move his hand, pumping slowly with this eyes riveted on the tip, the precum oozing at the slit there and starting to slide down the tip. He wasn’t prepared for Harry to lean forward, dragging his tongue over the tip to collect the fluid, and his hips jerked, a groan working it’s way out from between his teeth.

Harry was relentless in his steadiness. His hand stayed moving, short, steady strokes working his shaft while he licked and sucked at the head of his cock, pressing his tongue at the base where it met the shaft before pulling away. It wasn’t enough to actually find release, but it was enough to keep driving him toward the edge as he started to babble, begging Harry to tighten his grip and to go faster, thrusting his hips forward when he wouldn’t comply.

Unfortunately Harry was more experienced, and seemed to sense his thrusts, able to pull away just enough every time that his efforts were in vain. He couldn’t remember what all he said or promised, but finally the older man’s grip tightened, working his cock a bit faster until he covered the rest of his cock with his mouth, sucking and swallowing until Eggsy’s hips stilled and he shot into Harry’s mouth with a curse.

He managed to open his eyes, feeling dazed, in time to offer Harry a hand up, watching the man adjust himself through his robe. His lips looked puffy and swollen, and it was a trial not to reach out and run his thumb along the lower one, a trial he failed.

Harry simply caught the thumb with his teeth, looking at him with still dark eyes, and it was all over for him. This was a man he would follow to the ends of the earth, but hopefully they’d just be heading up to his bedroom.

Naturally Harry seemed to have other plans, leaning in and kissing him, letting Eggsy dip his tongue into his mouth to taste himself, before pulling back. “I know one shouldn’t hold words said in the middle of a shag accountable to the other person, but if it means anything, anything at all, I feel quite the same way.”

“Fuck me,” he breathed, not quite believing that this was actually happening.

There was a bit of a pause as Harry smirked. “I intend to.”

Harry winked, and Eggsy hadn’t known he could get hard again that quickly.

-----------

It was difficult to walk without revealing that he’d pulled a muscle in his inner thigh, and if he slipped up for even a moment and Eggsy or Merlin found out he’d never hear the end of it. It wasn’t his fault, and he certainly wasn’t too old, it was simply that he’d never even been tempted to try that particular position before and now he had proof why.

He made it to the round table, disappointing in its oval shape, and took his seat before the other two entered. Eggsy would be a moment while he found a spot to park, and Merlin would arrive on time, and probably not a second early.

So it was surprising when Merlin came in before his lover, giving his neck a rather pointed look before bringing out his clipboard and clacking away at it until Eggsy rushed in, looking a bit sheepish as he tried to finish slice of pizza he’d somehow managed to pick up. “Didn’t want to see a file on an empty stomach. What’ve you got for us today Merlin? Assassination attempt? Bomb threat? Blackmailed supermodels?”

He winked at Harry, completely obvious, and Harry tried to ignore him.

“Glasses gentlemen,” Merlin ordered, looking slightly disgusted at just how sappy they were being, and when they had complied he clicked something on his keyboard, pulling up two candidates that had made it through the final test.

“It looks like we’ve managed to find our replacements finally. Meet our new Percival, Devin, and our newest Gareth, Lucy. As you can see we only managed to find two agents out of the field that we had, and we still have a third position open. That leads us to our next potential candidate.” He tapped his keyboard, and Eggsy’s profile filled the screen. “This gentleman has been proposed for our new Galahad.”

Harry had been expecting the reveal, had turned his attention over to Eggsy as soon as Merlin touched the clipboard, and he was in time to see the realization dawn on his face, caught the way that his first reaction was to look over to Harry as if to check and make sure this wasn’t a joke.

He cleared his throat, unable to look away from Eggsy. “I believe that candidate would be ideal for the position Merlin. You can offer him the job right away.”

The grin spreading across Eggsy’s face was worth the ulcers he would doubtlessly get from sending him off on various missions, knowing that each one might be his last. Eggsy ran a hand through his hair, rubbing at the back of his neck, and then shook his head.

“Thanks boys but I ain’t really interested.”

Harry couldn’t stop the sharp intake of breath, his first instinct to believe that he has misunderstood Eggsy or not heard him correctly, but Eggsy just shrugged and settled back into his chair.

“I’ve got a fucking fantastic job already you see. Get to keep an eye on the main boss and whisper all sorts of filthy things in his ear when he’s trying to chat up someone. I’d rather be with Harry.”

He could feel Merlin’s eyes on him, probably trying to communicate something, but he couldn’t bring himself to look away. “You want to remain on as my handler,” he found himself saying, just to be absolutely certain he wasn’t missing something.

“Well, yeah. Guess so. Got some demands though.” He held up a hand and started ticking them off. “I ain’t staying in the car if you’re in trouble. Don’t care if I’ll be in danger, a shot in the shoulder is better than you getting shot in the head trying to get the fuck out of somewhere in a hurry. I’m agent level and we both know it, I just don’t want to get sent on some weird assignment when Merlin gets bored so I’m staying with your sorry arse.”

He held up another finger, counting it off with a swipe of his opposite hand. “My house is too bloody small. My sister is older than you figured and I want a proper office. Harry’s house is too fucking big for one person, so I’ll move in there and my mum will keep my house.”

Another finger went up as he stared at Harry. “If we ain’t on a mission we eat Sunday dinner with my mum, even if she cooks. I swear I’ll drive you to the hospital if we actually eat anything she makes.”

Harry just found himself nodding along to the demands, corners of his mouth curling up and so distracted he almost missed Merlin’s snort of disgust.

“Let me guess. You’ll want a codename too.”

Harry could have warned him, but Eggsy was already grinning and nodding. “Why the fuck not?”

“It can’t be one of the knights,” Merlin pointed out. “How about Guinevere?”

Eggsy shrugged. “Eh, she’s an okay bird. Powerful and shit. Means I’d totally be justified if I ever slept with Roxy,” he added, grinning cheekily at Harry and Harry had ideas for later to get back at him. “But I was thinking something a bit more wicked.”

“Yes, quite,” Harry said in agreement. He could tell that Eggsy didn’t really have much of an idea of what that could be, he probably knew the knight’s names by now, and a few of the major side characters of legend, but not which ones were taken and which ones were free. “I believe it is time I had my Excalibur at my side Merlin.”