Eggsy supposes he should have fought harder to come with Harry to that church in Kentucky, should have tried harder to convince Harry to use him as backup. He supposes he should have just shot JB during that last trial for the Kingsman position, because, while he loved JB to pieces, if he’d just done the deed and passed then Harry wouldn’t be dead. He would have been a Kingsman and he wouldn’t have been left behind to watch as his mentor took a bullet to the head. His own head is full of suppositions, filled with what ifs after all that’s happened with Valentine and the almost end of the world. He acknowledges that this isn’t a good use of his time but as he waits for sleep to claim him, in a bed that doesn’t belong to him, there’s nothing else to occupy his thoughts.
Life had continued on for the most part after Valentine’s plans and half the world leaders’ heads blew to pieces. It took a while to sort out the mess with governments crippled and crime at an all time high but Merlin and the remaining Kingsmen had held down the fort. Roxy as Lancelot was a blessing, travelling from one mission to the next, stealing information enough to bring down fledgling crime organisations, killing bad guys left and right and generally being badass. He, on the other hand, had also done his fair share of missions—none as big or important as saving the world from the mind altering sim cards that had people killing people for no reason— but necessary nonetheless. While Arthur had not taken a whole lot of Kingsmen with him when he defected to the dark side, the remaining Kingsmen were still short handed when it came to the sheer amount of work that needed to be done, so Eggsy had been given the less sensitive tasks. He provided backup and did the easy information retrieval operations. He wasn’t yet a full-fledged Kingsman but rather a probationary agent. No, they didn’t name him Galahad immediately after he had saved the world, because even he understood that they wouldn’t just forget that he’d failed the exams. For a month after the failed Armageddon, Eggsy had done soft missions and truthfully he was thankful for it. After the initial high of his first mission, Eggsy had quickly tired of the violence. Leaving Valentine’s evil lair and coming home to his mother and baby sister crying had forced him to take stock of the last couple of days. It had reminded him that in the chaos of trying to stop Valentine, he had all but forgotten that he had just lost a friend.
They had given him Harry’s house temporarily. He had moved his mother and sister into Harry’s space but not in the past month had he thought it was theirs. He still had all of Harry’s things because he couldn’t bear to change anything. His bedroom remained untouched. His clothes and other possessions in the same place he left them, as if waiting for him to come back home. His mother and sister slept in the two guest rooms and he slept on the couch for the first few days. However, his mother had kept asking about him not sleeping in the master bedroom, about all the things that made this look like someone else’s home and who had lived there before them, and before he could really decide on it, he found himself almost subconsciously moving to Harry’s room.
The bed still carried a little bit of Harry’s scent on them— the woodsy, expensive smelling perfume he would wear and underneath it all the smell of gunpowder. In the mornings, before he got up, he would entertain the thought of rolling over and seeing Harry there beside him— sleep ruffled and gorgeous. He could imagine running his fingers over that soft looking hair and waking Harry up with a kiss. He had known the moment Harry had spoken to him outside of the precinct that there was something magnetic about this man. Like gravity, he had fallen for him in the short time that they had been together. He had mistaken it as a need in him to satisfy a father figure at first but he knows now that however twisted or wrong it may seem to some, he had wanted Harry. He had wanted the man who looked at him like he was worth something. He wants him now, as pathetic as that sounds.
The probationary period was over, and after deliberation by a panel of half dozen Kingsmen (some of which he had worked with), along with Merlin and Lancelot he had been accepted into the ranks and given the title of Galahad. It couldn’t have come soon enough; he was tired of being mopey and sad, and was ready to lose himself in harder missions and forget all about Harry Hart.
What he hadn’t prepared for was that with his new designation came higher security clearance and access to information he hadn’t had before— information such as that Harry Hart was still alive.
He was hooked up to beeping monitors— alive, but in a coma. His hair was shaved off and a jagged and long pink scar took up half his head. Apparently, Valentine wasn’t a very good shot and had managed to graze Harry’s skull but not hit any part of the brain. Someone had found him before the sim cards were activated and took him to the hospital. When their usual clean-up crew had come to take the body hours after the event they hadn’t found the body and proceeded to panic. Someone on the crew had the brilliant idea that some hick or another had taken Harry’s body to god knows where, and to do god only knows what under the influence of the evil making sim cards. It wasn’t until a week later that anyone had thought to check for John Does in the local morgue and at the local hospital and that was how they found him. The hospital had stitched him up to the best of their ability but because the brain was a sensitive little bitch there was no telling when Harry would wake up or if he would wake up at all for that matter.
All of this Merlin explains to him in his usual monotone as he stands still next to his mentor. They must see something on his face or hear something in his silence because the explanation sounds almost appeasing. As if this somehow explains why they let him think Harry’s been dead for an entire month. He should be angry with them but he can’t muster up the energy. He thinks he’ll be angry with them later. Right now he’s just feeling numb. He wonders if feeling will eventually come back to him, if it will come to him in waves— the anger, the relief, the worry— or if it will all come crashing simultaneously overloading his system.
“Eggsy, we didn’t mean to keep him from you,” Roxy explains, “but that first month was critical and he could have died at any minute. Not everyone knows he’s alive because we didn’t want to get everybody’s hopes up only to destroy them again if he didn’t make it.”
He doesn’t bother acknowledging what they say, because in that moment he couldn’t even look at them. It doesn’t matter to him the reasons they give. None of the politics of the thing matter to him. Later, he’ll feel betrayed by their silence but right now all he can do is stare at Harry’s sallow face and commit to memory all the details that he’d somehow forgotten in the month they’ve been apart.
Harry is in a coma for five more months after he finds out. He spends most of the time between his missions next to Harry’s hospital bed. He thinks about what to say to Harry when he wakes up. Thinks up phrases like: You prick, scared me half to death you did; Don’t go leaving without me again; Next time, just bloody shoot the fucker. Mostly he prays: Don’t die, please don’t die, I want to tell you: I love you.
Harry is used to waking up from the dead. He has been a Kingsman for more than half his life. He’s been shot at countless times; been blown up once or twice; been stabbed; poisoned; and almost eaten by a shark, once. He has survived mostly due to sheer will power on his part and the determination not to have to replace him from Merlin’s. However, he understands and accepts the universal truth that all men must die and one day death will decide that he has been lucky long enough. He had thought that facing the end of Valentine’s gun in front of the church was the end. People would have you believe that when you are about to die your life flashes before you— all your moments of happiness and loneliness, all your regrets and dreams, but Harry had never before experienced this.
All he used to feel was fear for the unknown after (contrary to popular belief he isn’t a machine and therefore feels things like fear) and something like relief. He doesn’t have many moments in his life to look back on. He has no family. He doesn’t have anyone who truly knows him and the closest he has to a friend is Merlin who he never sees outside of a work context. He has no real ties; no relationships other than with the Kingsmen he considers family by virtue of the fact that they would die for each other. There are no faces of loved ones to leave and who would grieve when he passes. He expected to feel that odd combination of fear and relief when he had faced Valentine but he remembers feeling something else entirely. He remembers that for the first time in his life when facing death he sees Eggsy’s face.
All he can see is Eggsy’s face, his desperation during their last encounter. He remembers their conversation and how he had told Eggsy how disappointed he was. He remembers the look on Eggsy’s face as he says the words, and how obvious Eggsy’s need to fix it was. He remembers promising Eggsy to come back and fix his mess. He thinks that Eggsy must be waiting at his house for him to come home and for once he wishes that he wouldn’t die. He doesn’t want the last thing he remembers to be the sadness on Eggsy’s face as he walks out the door.
His wishes come true.
Waking from being shot in the head is a terrible thing.
Good God, why is the light so bright? and why must everything hurt? I feel like I was hit by a 10 wheeler. Please for the love of all that is holy stop shouting— have you all forgotten that I was at death’s door? I do not deserve having to endure the terrible ringing in my ears.
The first thing Harry sees when he wakes up is blinding light being shone into his eyes. This is standard procedure… one he has had to endure all the other times he has woken up from a coma. The second thing he sees is the face of his wary doctor, Nimueh. Her face is a mixture of relief and reproach. He can already feel the tirade he will be receiving from her and Merlin. The third thing he sees is Eggsy— bright, beautiful Eggsy— shoving the good doctor away before she can really examine him.
“Harry, harry, it’s me Eggsy!” The boy shouts in his face like an over eager pup, “Do you know who I am? Do you remember me?”
The boy looks different than he did when they last saw each other. His hair is longer, face thinner and his eyes a little less bright. His style is different too; gone is that horrible hat and jean and jacket combo from the streets, replaced by tailored black pants, oxfords, and a soft looking grey jumper. He looks like the boy Harry saw under all those layers of anger and lack of self worth all that time ago. He looks healthy but sad and Harry can’t help but wonder if it was because of him.
He tries to answer Eggsy, reassure him that he’s alright, that he’s back and there is no need to feel sad or lonely or lost anymore. But all that comes out is a jumble of sounds. Everybody is quiet and looking at him. It’s the first time he notices the people in the room, sees Roxy and Merlin standing close. They all wait for him to say something again. He can see it on their faces— something is wrong and everything is quiet and suffocating. He’s afraid to try again, even more afraid to see Eggsy’s face. He knows what he’ll see there— the devastation he won’t acknowledge.
“Everybody out!” Nimueh shouts and everybody jumps, silence broken.
Eggsy can’t hear anything and can’t process anything. It’s like when he stands too near to an explosion. Everything is quiet. He is confused and trying to find the source of his current condition. Everyone around him is in a panic. He is lost, looking and unseeing. He sees Roxy’s face. She’s holding on to his shoulders, speaking to him but he can’t hear her.
“He’ll be alright Eggsy. They’ll fix it. Whatever’s wrong…” She repeats over and over again. “They’ll fix it.”
It’s as if she is speaking to a child who doesn’t yet understand that sometimes things don’t turn out for the better, but Eggsy knows. Eggsy knows that sometimes bad things happen to good people. That sometimes a man can kiss his wife and child goodbye, promise to come home before supper and never come home at all. He’s under no illusions that now Harry is awake things will be fine and dandy and that they can live on like before. He knows that Harry is changed and now it remains to be seen whether or not they can be happy that he woke up at all.
Harry hates therapy. He hates having to listen to people tell him what to do constantly. He hates the frustration of his slow progress. He hates having to relearn things that have come natural to him all these years. He hates the way his muscles are weak with disuse and how his tongue feels heavy as he learns to form words again. Most of all he hates that Eggsy hasn’t left his side since he woke up and sees every moment of weakness; every fall and every struggle. Harry draws the line at Eggsy attending his speech therapy sessions but he is there for almost every physical therapy session Harry has, and Harry almost questions Merlin how or why. He doesn’t for more than one reason.
He also doesn’t question how long he has been out of commission or what month it is but he knows a long time has passed since he was first shot in the head by the changing of the seasons. Before he knows it, authorized staff approve of his discharge and allow him to come back home. Ever present Eggsy offers to drive him home, and Harry wonders where this new sense of clinginess is coming from and whether it will continue on indefinitely.
His question is answered when Eggsy doesn’t leave even after he has walked him to his door, checked the vicinity for threats and finished drinking his cup of tea. Eggsy had explained to him once that he and his family had lived in his home for a short period of time after the Valentine incident. This was before he had become an official agent and had gotten his own house near Harry’s. Harry assumes that Eggsy would eventually tire and go home for the night but he instead shuffles around trying to make Harry more comfortable in his own home. He helps him to bed when he starts drifting off— takes off his shoes, belt, and cufflinks. Harry would protest, if he could, but he is tired from the long day and it feels nice to have someone’s hands, not meant to harm him, on his body. He sighs in contentment and settles in to the bed, not noticing the look of fondness Eggsy affords him as he tucks him in.
If in the morning, Harry wakes up to Eggsy cooking him breakfast, looking comfortable and soft in the warm sunlight, obviously having stayed the night in one of his guest rooms, he doesn’t call him up on it, well that’s no one’s business but his own.
Eggsy has never been very eloquent. His words are always too brash, too hard, too uncouth. He’s never learned to speak proper— like those highly educated boys and girls who make fun of him. Over the years, he’s learned to shout not speak to get his point across. God knows that during those early years that he was practically invisible unless he was shouting or fighting and that is the only way he knows how to communicate. He has never needed to be very articulate— it isn’t what people expect from him. He gets by on his charm and bravado. He makes up for his deficiency by being a good listener and being observant. He likes words but words often feel stupid on his tongue. He likes them better when he hears them from someone else’s. That’s why the silence at the house smothers him. Harry doesn’t speak even when he is spoken to. He has complicated facial expressions, that Eggsy is learning to read and a notepad to write on if he so needs it. All Eggsy hears at Harry’s is the sound of his own voice— desperate and awkwardly filling in the silence and the occasional old song from Harry’s old timey record player.
The doctor tells Eggsy Harry needs to practice and he tries desperately to engage him in conversation, he reads up on things that might interest Harry— things that don’t actually interest him— hoping to hear Harry’s opinion, but to no avail. Harry won’t speak to him or anyone else other than his appointed speech therapist for that matter. He knows from the doctors that Harry is struggling, and knows that it’s taking him a long time to even utter simple sentences. The aphasia was only supposed to be temporary but Harry still hasn’t recovered completely. Eggsy isn’t the only one who is trying and is being patient about it but after a while, even he is desperate for someone to talk to… someone who responds to his jokes and meaningless ramblings. It’s as if he was speaking to a brick wall— a brick wall that does nothing but listens and occasionally offers up a judgemental eyebrow twitch. He can feel Harry’s frustration though. He can sense it anytime Eggsy asks him a question and anytime the silence between them gets too awkward. The most pressing problem with the whole thing to him is, while he also desperately wants Harry to recover his speech, the silence often tries to encourage him to fill it with words about his feelings. He doesn’t want to blurt it out accidentally at a point where the object of his affections can’t respond to him in words. A part of him wants to hear the words of inevitable rejection and the explanation for it straight from the horse’s mouth- not just see the look of pity on Harry’s face.
One day the tension between them predictable comes to a boil. He’s just finished up a mission with Lancelot in Abu Dhabi. They were tasked with disabling a powerful arms dealer and preventing the sale of a nuclear weapon a terrorist was planning on smuggling into the UK and setting off at parliament. The mission goes well enough at first. They had conducted a dual entrapment operation with Roxy pretending to be the arms dealer meeting with the terrorist, and Eggsy meeting with their actual arms dealer pretending to be the buyer. Roxy had no problem with their wannabe terrorist, while he was loaded and smart, he was also too green to catch on to their ploy. Whereas, Eggsy’s arms dealer could smell their setup from a far. One thing or another had set him off and before they knew it, a barrage of bullets from heavy weaponry was raining upon him and his group had only managed to avoid getting killed. While they had neutralized the arms dealer’s body guards, their actual mark had escaped them with the location of the weapon of mass destruction still in his possession. Eggsy had come home to Harry’s house with not only his bruised ego at having failed but also with bruised ribs and a bullet graze to his arm which meant he’d be sitting out missions for at least a few days.
The first thing he notices upon coming home is the house dark. He already figured that Harry would probably be in his study watching the video feed of his mission and taking notes as to what went wrong. The study is the only place with light and Harry is exactly where Eggsy thought he would be: at his desk drinking a glass of scotch. His face is stormy- eyes angry and mouth set in a grim line. Eggsy knows, knows that his mentor is disappointed and angry at his failure. He knows this but he can’t help poking at the beast.
“What? Tell me what I did wrong huh? Tell me what I did.” He knows full well that Harry won’t say anything but hoping that he would get a reaction anyway.
“What was it that tipped him off? Did I not say all the things I was supposed to? Did I not look the way he thought I would? Did I not play the part perfectly? Come on, tell me what I did wrong, Harry. God knows you’d never held in criticism of me in the past. Come on, what’s stopping you old man? Fucking say something” He’s livid now— his face all red. All at once he’s standing there— a picture of barely controlled rage— all tense muscles as if he wants nothing more than to punch Eggsy and Eggsy can’t help pushing.
“Cat got your tongue, Harry?” Eggsy taunts. “Still not gonna say anything like a fucking coward? What happened huh… to the man who was all Manners maketh man like some posh elitist snob at that pub a while back. What happened to the man who’d convinced me that I was worth so much more with just his words? What happened to the man who pushed me all throughout training, compelling me to Try harder Eggsy, you can do it. What. Happened. To. Him? Are you even trying Harry… or have you completely given up you hypocrite?”
He’s all up Harry’s face now— having subconsciously moved closer and closer to Harry as he egged him on. Their faces so close, all Eggsy would need was one small little push, and his lips would be colliding with his mentors. He sees Harry moving away, and the sound of glass breaking doesn’t register to him at all. All he sees is how Harry had recoiled from him as if he was a poisonous snake viciously attacking him and it takes a while for Eggsy to realize that that was exactly what he had been doing. Harry makes no move to clean up the broken glass and instead walks away from Eggsy and as he stares at his mentor’s retreating back Eggsy can’t help but think that all he wanted was to succeed at something today.
In the morning, Harry wakes up to a note on his dresser: I’m sorry, and no Eggsy anywhere in sight.
Roxy supposes she really should have known that this was a bad idea.
In retrospect, when Merlin had suggested it, it seemed like a perfectly good solution to their predicament. Roxy and Merlin had had to endure the sheer stupidity of both Eggsy and Harry for months and locking them up in a room to finally confront their feelings after their more recent bout seemed like the only option they had left. They had imagined that Eggsy would finally tell Harry how he felt and Harry would finally just get on with it and do what everyone knew he wanted to do to Eggsy from the moment they met. Everyone knew how both boys felt about each other- can see the way Eggsy dotes on Harry and does everything to get his attention and approval and how protective Harry is of the boy- how desperate he is for Eggsy to be safe, whole, and happy. It was obvious to anyone with eyes that both men were miserable for the last couple of days. However, Eggsy had refused to discuss it and Harry was still frustratingly mute. Merlin had convinced her that getting Eggsy and Harry locked together in one of the normal fitting rooms at the tailor shop would fix whatever was wrong with them and while she was entirely dubious about the whole thing, the lack of alternatives had her going through with the plan.
All of the fitting rooms were scarily outfitted with cameras and recording devices (which Roxy is more than a little creeped out by) so both she and Merlin can see the boys sitting on the floor completely still and as far from each other as they can be in the confined space. They aren’t talking or doing anything at all. Eggsy seemingly content alternately observing the room and his oxford shoes while also avoiding looking at the other man completely. All the while Harry stares at him as if willing him to break the silence. Eggsy eventually cracks about half an hour in.
“I’m sorry, you know, about the other day…” Eggsy starts, “I shouldn’t have said those things to you. I know it’s been a hard coupl’a months for you and I had no right to harp on you like that. It’s just... I don’t know what I’m doing, to be honest. I miss... I miss talking to you like we did before. I miss telling you ‘bout the important stuff— about missions and Merlin and Roxy and ma family and just hearing what you think...” he trails off now finally lifting his head to look at the man whose been haunting him for months.
“I need you to make sense of things with me or I’ll go mad and I know you’ve been struggling and it’s not as if you don’t say anything on purpose but I’ve been trying and I just wanna know if you’re trying too. I just wanna hear your voice. It don’t matter to me if it don’t make sense. I just wanna hear it. Please.”
The way Eggsy is begging would break anyone’s heart but Harry still does nothing but just stare back. His face says he wants nothing more than to give in to Eggsy’s pleas but he can’t bring himself to say anything at all. He can’t bring himself to shape out the words in his mouth. He knows he can if he tries but he’s too ashamed… embarrassed by his disability and it would be so much simpler, if only Eggsy could read his mind. It would tell him all he needed to know, that Harry can’t allow Eggsy to hear him like this, can’t allow him to know this weakness because more than anything he doesn’t want to appear weak to Eggsy. He doesn’t want Eggsy to think he can’t protect him. He doesn’t want Eggsy to know he’s broken and if he doesn’t open his mouth he can still pretend he isn’t.
Eggsy won’t take any of it though and in a move that surprises not only his mentor but also the small crowd of people who’ve all taken to watching the video feed with Merlin and Roxy, he closes the distance between them with a kiss. It isn’t explosive by any standards— there are no fireworks in their first kiss only a gentle pressing of mouths— soft and sweet like nothing Harry’s ever felt before. It lasts for only a short while and before Harry can grab the moment Eggsy’s already moving away.
The shock of the moment paralyzes Harry and even if he could speak he knows he’d still have no words. Eggsy looks at him expectantly, “well?” and the silence after that one word stretches on before them and Harry can see- he can see the moment Eggsy gives up, his eyes teary in supposed rejection and before Harry can make a move to stop him they hear the door’s automated lock open and Eggsy dashes from the room. Eggsy’s half way down the street before Harry can get his bearings and thus never hears him utter “Eggsy”.
Eggsy should have known really, that it didn’t matter if Harry could say the words or not. He can still hear the rejection in the air, the silence rejection enough. He’s crying like an idiot when he gets home and doesn’t notice until after he had turned on the lights that his feet didn’t carry him to his house. Eggsy makes a move to get out the door but before he can, it slides open to reveal a haggard looking Harry Hart. Eggsy has never seen Harry look so clearly bothered that his clothes look rumpled and his hair a mess (as if he’d run his hands through them repeatedly in frustration). He’d laugh if he could but his face is still botched red from crying and he’s wiping away tear tracks with the sleeves of his jumper. He knows he looks even more a mess but he can’t be bothered. Harry seems to steel himself for whatever and closes the door resolutely behind him.
For once, Eggsy is the one at a loss for words. He can’t stand the sight of Harry and instead stands there looking at his shoes. Harry makes a noise to get Eggsy to look at him and it achieves just that, Eggsy surprised at the sound, the first one he’s heard Harry deliberately make since he left Eggsy behind only to get shot in Kentucky. There is practically no space between them and Harry reaches a tentative hand to Eggsy’s cheek.
“I didn... I didn’t think it mattered so much to you to hear my voice... didn’t think I mattered so much to you.” his voice sounded scratchy to his ears- unused. “I apologize for causing you suffering. I never wanted to be any sort of burden. I only wanted to protect you Eggsy.”
Then, Harry kisses him and it’s nothing like their first… all tentative at the beginning and later desperate and consuming; the culmination of all those months of yearning. They’re scrambling all over each other… colliding unstoppable, inevitable. Harry’s hands are everywhere all at once, touching him like a dying man finally allowed food and water and before they can get carried away Eggsy pulls away— puts space between them.
“What the hell? But I thought...” and Harry won’t let him get away. “Only just got it back... I suppose all I needed was that one little push” and the two of them are kissing again- the past forgotten between them.
Later, after a round of very noisy and enthusiastic sex where Eggsy attempts to coax every sound imaginable out of Harry’s lips, Eggsy will have Harry talk for hours— until his voice gets thin again and even then he’ll breathe words onto Eggsy’s skin until the sun peaks out from the horizon and both men are lulled to sleep.
“Eggsy, I know you enjoy frustrating me so but how many times must I tell you not to put the bread in the fridge. It is hard as a rock and we’ll be late again if we wait for it to thaw enough to be edible.” Harry tells him as he enters their kitchen— fully dressed and lovely as ever. He hums noncommittally and sidles up to his lover.
“It’s fresher if we keep it there.” he answers. He wraps himself behind Harry and peppers his neck with kisses. Eggsy can see the sides of his mouth twitching- trying to suppress the involuntary smile.
“Well, it’s too fresh.” Harry demonstrates by slamming the bread on the counter. The load thwack it produces rouses a whimper out of JB— who is observing them from his perch near the fridge.
Eggsy only laughs, “Alright, alright, quit your nagging, I’ll keep it in the cupboard next time, Old man.” Eggsy dances away before Harry can register the nickname, and when it does… Harry can’t help the laugh it startles out of him. And the sound of his laughter and the fondness in his eyes says the only words he still won’t utter out loud but Eggsy knows anyway: I love you.