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Breathless (A Tale of Eggsy Unwin)

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Eggsy's heart is racing; thunder behind his ribcage, blood on fire under the skin.

He jolts upright in bed, sweat slicking his bangs to his forehead, his nerves live wires that prickle and ache all over. It hurts. It hurts very, very much, and he tilts his head back and draws in gulps of air, hands white-knuckling the sheets.

He can still hear it; bang... But it's not so simple as the word 'bang', more than it is the explosion of thunder that comes from being directly beneath the lightning strike. It's a physical strain to breathe, and he wants so bad to be able to lie back down and fall back to sleep.
But he knows what happens when he tries. Bang.

His fingers are trembling when he reaches up and clutches at his windpipe, pressing his palm over his heart. It thunders under his touch, beating up against the flesh like it might be trying to tear its way out of the skin. It's bad... So very bad.

JB perks his head up from the foot of the bed, giving a snorty grumble while he looks at his master.

Eggsy sighs. He scrubs a hand down his face, his palm clammy and fingers trembling. "Fuck..." He breaths, and he ducks his head against his drawn-up knees before he looks out the window.

It's still rather dark out, but Eggsy doesn't have time for deciphering what time it is exactly.

There's a half empty cup of tea on his bedside table, and he reaches for it and downs it--despite it being cold and flat--before he sits forward and rakes the hair back from his face with shaky fingers and short breaths.

He doesn't want to lose the burst of adrenaline in his veins. Instead of trying to go back to sleep--which he already knows he'll fail at--he pats JB's head before he climbs out of the bed and limbers up, giving himself a few good minutes to stretch before he drops to the floor and starts doing push-ups.

After about ten reps, he rolls over and does sit-ups.

Then he flips over again.

His heart never gets the chance to slow down.

He can feel the endorphins burning off in his system, feels the fear slithering out of his body in drops of sweat and heavily punished exhales.

He wishes he could feel this way all the time; wishes he could drown the whole world out the way he manages to swallow his memories like a giant, chalky pill.

Then the alarm clock on his bedside table rings, three loud, clear sounds, before a static line picks up over it.

"Galahad? Eggsy, are you alright?" Merlin's voice calls from the box, loud and laced with worry.

Eggsy wheezes, dropping down onto his face suddenly, the air whooshing out of his lungs when his gut meets the floor. "Christ, bruv, you gone an' nearly scared the piss ou'a me."

"My monitor alerted me that your heart rate was increased dramatically. Are you alright?"

"Y-yah, yah. 'M alright, jus workin' out." Eggsy replies, rolling over onto his back. He stares up at the ceiling, watching it turn pale as the sun streaks the horizon.

"Working out? Working out? At six in the morning?" Merlin inquires, voice leaden with disbelief.

"Yah."

There's a moment of static silence, and Eggsy's brows furrow in confusion at the way he can almost feel Merlin looking at him like he's done something wrong. "Eggsy, if you were masturbating--"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, Merlin! Wha in th' hell?!" Eggsy exclaims, brows furrowing as he sits up and whips his head around, giving the alarm clock an incredulous glare, as if Merlin could receive it from him. But realizing his glasses are perched on the edge of the bedside table as well, he supposes he is having a conversation with Merlin--though it feels a bit one-sided.

"As a young man your age, it's perfectly natural to have an active libido and the stamina to exert--"

"Please don' do this. Don' do this t' me, Merlin." Eggsy whines, scrubbing his hand down his face.

"...You were really working out?"

"Yes. Well, now I am."

"But... First you were masturbating?"

"Oh, Christ."

"Well, why are you up so early, Eggsy?"

"I had a bad dream, alright?!" Eggsy yells suddenly, feeling his throat tighten up around the words. He chokes a little. "I was... I was havin' a bad dream... 'S why I woke up so early; thas why my heart rate was so jacked."

He tries to level his voice out, but it just drops down to a cold, low place, and he hopes Merlin heard him because he will not be repeating that.

Merlin's quiet for a long time, and Eggsy uses the silence to wrap his arms around his knees, resting his chin on them. It feels a little safer, curled up like this.

"...Eggsy, I'm sorry. I was just trying to--"

"I know, Merlin. I got it."

Merlin clears his throat and sighs heavily. "Would you like to talk about it?"

"Ain't nuffin' you don' already know." Eggsy replies, and he can hear the gunshot in his mind, can see Harry's head whip back, his body hit the ground like a puppet with the strings cut. He can see the blood, hears the blast over and over, every night...

Sometimes, though, it's a little different.

Sometimes, it's Harry's finger on the trigger... And it's Eggsy's body that crumples to the ground.

This time, however, it was Valentine shooting Harry, and Eggsy woke up before the prestigious Galahad hit the ground.

It's been a month since Eggsy saved the world, but he felt like a complete asshole for thinking the world wasn't worth the one life he couldn't protect...

Merlin gives a quiet, "Ah. I see then. If you would still like to?"

"Fanks, Merlin. But... 'M still not in the mood."

They both know he will never be 'in the mood'. 'In the mood' is a dangerous place, even if in the company of someone Eggsy trusts so much as Merlin. The closest he got to being 'in the mood' was a minor break down he had one night out drinking with Roxy. He'd gotten all teary and blabbered to her how badly he missed Harry, how his life was falling to pieces around him when he thought he'd just put it together... He even told her about the nightmares, as personal and dark a secret as they were.

Roxy didn't judge. She barely even spoke. Mostly, she ran her fingers through Eggsy's hair and let him bury his face in the juncture between her shoulder and neck, his tears slicking up her neck and rumpling the fine silk of her blouse.

Merlin knew enough. After all, if a Kingsman was wearing their glasses or an auditory and visual pin, Merlin had it on record. Eggsy could tell that Merlin new what he was going through, also, because of the sympathetic looks he had received the next day. It would have seemed unordinary and out of the blue, but Eggsy wasn't drunk enough to forget all that he'd told Roxy, and Merlin wasn't a good enough faker to pretend like he could just sweep his dear friend's pain under a rug.

Merlin tuts quietly. "Right then. I'll just leave you to your... Work out."

"Hey, why you don' nevva checked up on be before? This ain't exactly the first mornin' I 'ad a nightmare an' woke up in a cold sweat."

"I just happened to be awake and on the monitor." Merlin replies simply. "I try to keep as close a watch on you and Lancelot as possible, without

interfering with your own personal privacy." He continues to explain. "You two are very important to--Kingsman."

Eggsy grins at that, his heart feeling quite a substantial bit lighter. On the bed, JB gives an incredulous 'boof' of approval.

"Thanks then." Eggsy replies quietly, raking his fingers through the thick of the front of his hair. "Oi, Merlin?"

"Yes?" Merlin replies, still on the line.

"Wot was you doin' up at six in the mornin', then?"

"...Catching the sunrise." He replies flatly, accent unruffled.

"You're a fine example ovva gent, Merlin." Eggsy says cheekily.

"Good morning, Galahad." Merlin says in a teasing tone, feinging exasperation.

The name tingles on Eggsy's skin. He might never get used to it; hearing Harry's glorious, regal codename tacked to his chest, pinned through the skin and right into the flesh of his aching heart. "Mornin'..." He says softly, wishing he could climb back into bed and fall back to sleep. Instead, he watches the sun break through the windows, painting what used to be Harry Hart's room a glittering yellow and red.

Only a month ago, Harry would have been waking to these walls, watching them glow pale green beneath flame and light. It's like fire, so warm and so beautiful, unlike the usual dreary gray of London. It's like fire, but he feels so cold.

"Mornin'." He whispers again, and the world keeps turning with little regard for his broken, bleeding heart.

**

It's been four months since Valentine and the shitstorm he unleashed on the planet. The world has nearly forgotten, thanks to several diplomatic missions from the Kingsman agents; briberies and truces with understanding leaders, threats and warnings to those less keen on letting the matter drop. Though the warnings were usually on Eggsy's part, and when he was teamed up with people like Percival or Gawain, it's splendid to watch their reactions to his rough, uncut 'street boy' methods.

It's been four months since Eggsy became Galahad, a most invaluable member of the Kingsman, the first of his 'make and model' to fit the position. Endless training, missions, marks; his life has become one successful campaign after another, with little downtime at home, which he relishes.

Four months that Eggsy pulled his mother and Daisy out from under Dean's boot, setting them up in a lovely flat that would have been his--were he able to bring himself to let all of Harry's precious memories go to waste. He's made a life for his precious family; just like he always wanted to...

Four months--four fucking months...

And they tell him now.

"Eggsy! You can't go into this without a clear head!!" Roxy calls after him. She'd been the one to tell him, only a few minutes ago, right before a very important Kingsman meeting and right after his arrival at HQ. With his wrist in a sprain splint and his cheek stitched up with butterfly band aids, he storms down the hall towards the Knight's Table, desperately wishing he's been lied to... There is no new Arthur... And it can't be him.

He figured Merlin was too scared to show his face; too much guilt, since he was probably at the head of the snake of deceit. Figures he'd send Roxy to do the dirty work--her bond with Eggsy wasn't going to be broken by something so trivial as the biggest secret anyone has ever kept from him.

Roxy had looked so hurt. But when Eggsy asked how long she'd known, she couldn't answer. She had known. She had known; the entire time.

Which made her just as bad as Merlin!! But he can't bring himself to let his anger out on her.

When he bursts into the Knight's Table chamber, Arthur's old office, his heart climbs up into his throat and stopped there, suffocating him. He can do nothing to swallow it down, and his eyes are unblinking, quickly flooding with tears that feel like fucking lava.

Merlin jerks his head up, already wearing his glasses with his tablet open.

He blinks harshly, as if Eggsy were an incredibly bright light, and drawing his shoulders up--like he was flinching away from a blow--he drops his gaze to the floor before sweeping it over to the head of the table.

Harry Hart lifts his gaze from whatever impending doom some evil villain was about to unleash on the world, and his mouth parts in a soft O of surprise.

Harry Hart...

Harry fucking Hart.

He's sitting right there! Alive and breathing! In Arthur's spot!

And he is changed.

There is a slight slump in his prestigious posture, as if holding his head erect requires too much attention to detail. He has the tiniest tremble in his right hand, which is holding a gold filigree pen over a stamped Russian document...

And his face...

Eggsy's heart pinches up so so tight at the destroyed glory that it is to behold Harry's face--after so long--no matter how he had changed.

He is still as gorgeous and soft-featured as ever, his mouth a thin, plush line, his jaw squared in a manner of regality. He's almost one hundred percent Harry Hart... But beneath the frames of his glasses an eyepatch is covering his left eye, the smoothest of black material. He reaches up and rakes a hand through his hair, leaving thread-bare trails through the well-kempt comb lines of thick chocolate.

"Harry..." Eggsy whispers, and a hundred nightmares come crashing into the front of his ribs, snapping them, flooding his heart, which has slithered back into place like a slimy, barbed little monster. His throat is raw and tight, and his legs are trembling with the effort it's taking to hold himself up. A hand flies out and clutches the doorframe, and he can't seem to remember how to blink, or how to breathe.

Harry just looks at him, and there's something incredibly tense and foggy in the whiskey-colored gaze of his one good eye. There's a crack in his composure, Eggsy swears he can see it, and for a moment he thinks there's light in Harry's eyes that usually paints someone's lashes before they cry. Eggsy thinks there might also be about a dozen other feelings actually painting themselves across Harry's face for a split split second; guilt, adoration, longing, fear, relief...

Harry hasn't moved; his eye still on Eggsy's face, his lips still parted. Something about the energy in the air shifts; then cracks. He closes his mouth, clears his throat, and ducks his head, as if looking at his protege has cost him a great deal of physical energy, and he is suddenly forlorn.

"Arthur..." Merlin says quietly, and Eggsy stumbles back at that, right into Roxy's waiting arms.

She supports a good deal of his weight, clasping the back of his neck with a soothing, warm hand, pinching the nerves to hold him upright like a cat caught by the scruff. "Eggsy, breathe." She whispers, trying to keep her tone light and soft enough so Merlin and Harry don't hear, but he sucks in a ragged breath, and it sounds wet and forced and broken.

It makes Harry's shoulders tense.

Eggsy swallows around the jagged, razor-sharp glass shards in his throat, blinking rapidly to stave off the tears that are stinging his eyes. He reaches a hand back for Roxy's hand, the one not curled around his neck clasping his hip, and he squeezes her wrist to ground himself. If his grip hurts her, she makes no mention of it.

She whispers to him again, even softer this time, and his head feels like all the blood has rushed out of his brain, leaving him woozy and nauseous. He wants to drop to the ground; keeps seeing Harry hitting the pavement like all his bones broke at the same time, keeps picturing the bullet exploding in the air over, and over, and over...

He sees the sky, blue and broken by clouds, the feed in half of the video cracked from the bullet impacting against the glasses... Then he sees black.

"Eggsy." Roxy says a little more firmly, and Eggsy licks his lips and stands up straight, a command he had mastered for himself long ago. He holds his head up and juts his chin out, pulling his glasses from his pocket.

"'M good, Rox, I'm... 'M good." He breaths, and then he looks back at Harry, who is looking at Merlin with a great deal of unnecessary concentration.

"Right then." He says suddenly, sitting upright and turning his head to look at the invisible figures sitting in the other chairs.

His voice, his voice! It cuts Eggsy's ears, burrows into his brain and digs at his heart like a forked spoon against the inside of a pumpkin, all wet and pulpy. But it's Harry's voice, and it's in the same room as Eggsy; not cutting in and out through some echoic fragment of a dream. This is perfect... And it kills him.

"Shall we begin, gentlemen? Lancelot?" With that, Harry gestures to her with a quirk of his jaw, and she comes over to sit on his left, but not before she leads Eggsy round the other side of the table to his spot... Right beside Harry.

A very powerful, very short war rages inside of his chest before he manages to slide his chair out and fall into place with lackluster grace. He feels poiseless, but he still holds his chin up and pulls his shoulders back, breathing through his nose. It feels like there's a thousand layers of cobwebs and ash sitting in his lungs, or perhaps several thousand leagues of water over his head. Breathing is a torturous, difficult thing to do, all of a sudden. But he manages.

He slips his glasses on and then he sees the others, Gawain and Hector with their eyes downcast, Kay and Tristan sharing looks, Percival sitting across from him.

Rather than goad or chastise and tease Eggsy, the other knight looks dramatically upset by the former's reaction; as if he actually has humanity and feelings. Maybe he didn't know that Eggsy was ill informed, maybe he thought Eggsy was being a tosser. Either way, he says nothing, merely gestured to the folder sitting in front of Eggsy that remain unopened.

Eggsy flinches, nods his head lightly, before he reaches out and opens it, scanning his eyes over the words his mind can't read. Even if it were in English, Eggsy wouldn't be able to make out a single line.
He swears, all the words say on the page are, He's alive, he's alive, he's alive...

And Harry is alive, and he's so close, he smells like musk and well-aged leather and something so distinctly Harry that Eggsy can't even find a name for it.

He doesn't hear a word of the meeting, but he nods occasionally and keeps his eyes on Roxy for an anchor. She will, every here and there, give him a tiny, reassuring smile, or nod towards the large double painting screen that displays the maps of several munitions bunkers that they will be busting soon.

He can feel every time Merlin's eyes scan over his back, perhaps lingering too long so that Eggsy's skin feels cold and he gets the urge to turn around and topple Merlin to the ground in a rage of betrayed fury.

When the meeting is over, everyone turns off their glasses, and Eggsy tucks the frames into his breast pocket. He is still holding onto a shred of composure, the one that allowed him to stand upright and make it to his chair without Roxy bodily carrying him.

The room is deathly silent, and it is a silence that screams. It screams like that gunshot, on and on without end, high and painful in Eggsy's ears.

Then Harry speaks. Without even looking at him.

"Eggsy..." He says softly, innocent and familiar enough, but it pierces Eggsy's chest like a burning hot poker.

He shoves his chair back, and the legs screech on the wood, as he makes to stand.

"Eggsy!" Roxy exclaims, blinking up at him as if he were the ghost brought back to life.

It unnerves him, his sudden urge to run and run and run the fuck away. It was so easy, to listen to Harry's voice, rich and eloquent, his accent untarnished, his cadence flawless...

Then he had to go and say Eggsy's name, Eggsy, and it was like the world had collapsed onto Eggsy's shoulders. He has to get away. He thinks he says so, and when he turns and starts heading for the door, Merlin grabs his wrist.

"Galahad--"He calls.

"Don't." Eggsy says harshly, his voice steely and his word crisp. His tongue feels like lead, hell, his body feels like lead, all numb and cold and heavy. He manages to lick his lips, and he tenses up like a bow, so tight, and Merlin releases him. "Jus don'."

"Eggsy, can we at least explain?" Roxy says softly, and her voice is one of the only things that has kept Eggsy together all this time. Late night call after hour long dinners and lunch meetings, anything, anything to fill the void of silence in his head where all that there is most of the time is bang, bang, bang on repeat.

"Oi, explain that you been lyin' ta me? All this time, yah? Explain that you didn' tell me somefing so important to me?" At that, he whips around and points and accusatory finger at Harry. "Wot about you? Why ain't you dead?!" He demands, and the question isn't the one he really wants to ask, but it does the best job of summarizing.

Harry rolls his shoulders, cold and pristine as usual, and Eggsy's gut riots and freezes at the sight. "To summarize, Kingsman glasses are of a special make, designed by Merlin to be able to protect and store all the information and computer chips necessary for them to function. Bluntly speaking, the lens took the brunth of the damage."

"Brunth? Your fuckin eye is gone, Harry!" Eggsy exclaims.

Harry purses his lips and nods. "Yes, well, thank you for reminding me. As always, Eggsy, you are a capitol of observation."

"Don' you get fuckin' smart on me. You was dead. I watched you die. I think I'd like a lil' more explaination that 'the fuckin' glasses took the bullet'."

Eggsy growls low in his throat.

Roxy's shoulders are drawn up, and she glances over Eggsy's shoulder at Merlin. Merlin looks like he might be about to cry.

Harry sighs. "Merlin, please."

Then Eggsy whips around and gives Harry an acidic glare, one that the latter actually cringes back from.

"Gala--"

He stops when the look of pure, undiluted rage on Eggsy's face sharpens.

"...Eggsy. After Harry was shot, the feed went dead. We had no way of knowing he'd survived the wound. About three months ago, the computer system alerted me that he was alive and well, in a hospital in Kentucky." He explains slowly, holding Eggsy's gaze with surprising bravery.

"How?" The blue-eyed boy demands, turning back to Harry with that scowl still dragging down his soft, beautiful features.

The look on his face has Harry's lips parting again, his good eye widening and his brows raising. He looks like he's about to say something very, extremely, incredibly important when Roxy stands up from her chair.

"He used a code-name that triggered the system when the doctors entered it in their computer records." She says, looking to Merlin, who is nodding, grateful to have the attention off of him. "Merlin's computers went wailing, he sent me to go get Harry, we've been recooperating him in the ICU for the past three months at HQ."

Eggsy's jaw clenches. "So yous jus been hidin' him from me. For tree months."

"We didn't want to upset you, Eggsy." Roxy says quietly.

Merlin nods, one curt shake of his head. "We were ordered to keep this information from you until a time came when you'd be able to process it harmlessly and painlessly with a sound mind. So far, you've failed spectacularly."

Eggsy turns to rail on him, and his hand is clenched to a white knuckled fists that he wants to drive into something; anything. But when he sees Merlin's face--shocked, guilty, pleading--he can't. Then, one word Merlin said to him clicks into place in his brain a little more violently than the others, teeth digging into soft tissue and holding fast.

"...Ordered." Eggsy whispers, and the look on Merlin's face screams, 'I shouldn't have said that'. Roxy covers her mouth, and looks down, one arm wrapping snugly around her slender waist. She takes a tiny step back, as if the waves of Eggsy's anger are washing across the floor and she doesn't want to get her Celine ankle boots wet.

Nobody says anything to him.

Eggsy turns and gives Harry his full attention yet again. "Ordered?" He repeats, and his voice is strained, his expression pinched at the brow and pulled down at the mouth. He wants to scream, and the urge to run is still tickling in his legs like dozens of needles.

Harry's gaze doesn't falter, but it does soften. "I can explain that, if you so wish it."

"If I so wish... Fuck." Eggsy bites, and he rakes his hand through his hair so hard he can feel the starry tingle of hairs being pulled from the root.

"Eggsy!" Roxy calls, and it's only then that the boy realizes he's turned and headed for the door. His fingers curl around the brass knob, feeling the cold, dead weight of it against his burning skin.

"Eggsy, please, sit back down." Merlin offers, and his voice actually sounds strained, like he's willing to show a little emotion and break his stoic visage if only to quell Eggsy's rage.

It's not enough.

"No..." Eggsy says softly, and he can feel their gazes burning him... Harry's, in particular. He shakes his head, "No," and yanks the door open. He gives it a violent pull once he's out, only satisfied when it slams shut and the echoic crash of wood hitting wood resonates down the hall.

He walks fast. He wishes he could run, but that would look cowardly, and Eggsy Unwin is many things, but a coward ain't one of them. He just walks as fast as he can... As far as he can.

He puts as much distance between himself and Harry Hart as possible.

If he thought believing Harry was dead was hard, he was in for a rude awakening.

**

He doesn't get far before one hand grabs his wrist, another the back of his neck, and his nerves are pinched, and a high-pitched 'Fuck!' cracks from his throat as he's shoved to the side and down a narrow hallway. His feet trip up over themselves, he's being led along so quickly, and though he wants to rage, his fighting instincts seem to be dampened down by his extreme emotional pain.

He's not sure he recognizes this part of HQ, but it could be the rage and agony burning up his chest, blurring his vision.

"Language." Harry's voice chastises, but it's half-hearted, at best. He releases Eggsy, and Eggsy spins around with the full intention of busting his former teacher in the face with his good fist.

But... Then he looks up... And he's so positively stunned; so damn relieved and tired and he wants to choke on his happiness. But it hurts too much. Harry is crowded into his space, too close to be considered gentlemanly, and there's that glorious scent of his cologne, and the scent of just him underneath it, spiced and clean and fuck. Their chests are nearly touching, and Eggsy can feel Harry's breath fanning across his cheek.

Eggsy is startled out of his stupor when a hand clasps his, and he realizes his own hand has reached up to touch the edge of the fabric patch covering Harry's left eye. Harry's hand is settled over his; not removing it, or making an attempt to push it away... Just holding it there; lightly.

He flinches, heart spiking up against his gag reflex, and drops his hand to his side, pulling it from Harry's grasp. "It's alright." Harry says quietly, leaning back and stuffing his hands unto his pockets. His suit hugs every line of his trim figure, and Eggsy rakes his eyes over him before he reaches up and scratches at the edge of the butterfly bandaid on his cheek.

He plucks his nail over the flesh, feeling the scabbing already beginning along the edge of the cut. Who punches someone in the face wearing a yellow diamond the size of a robin's egg, anyway?

Harry tuts him when he does this, and it makes Eggsy feel like doing even more irrationally defiant things. He puffs his chest up, dropping his hand despite himself, and he squares his shoulders and jaw. Even trying to force it out like this, he feels like he doesn't hold half the command that Harry does standing there nonchalantly with hands in his pockets and his shoulders lax.

"No. No, 's not alright. Nothin' is alright, Harry." Eggsy snaps, giving Harry another once-over. God, he's so imposing, just standing there, like the whole world spins under his feet and would stop if he tapped his toes twice.

Eggsy's sudden hostility--well, it's not really so sudden, but now it's coming from his mouth again--makes Harry's brows quirk up over the patch. "I had honestly hoped you'd be the one most excited about my return. Thought maybe you'd even make a few heinous zombie jokes."

"Oh, yah. Sorry. I forgot to make heinous zombie jokes when I realized you wos actually alive after all this time."

"Merlin tells me you've been staying in my home."

"Don' change the subject. And yah, so? Galahad should stay in Galahad's house." Despite his efforts to keep his anger up, Eggsy feels it waning like a dripping moon. Every second he spends in Harry's presence pulls one needle free from his damaged nerves, washes one sound wave of calming pleasure after another over his fiery blood. He can't bear saying that he only moved into Harry's house to protect the priceless heirlooms in the halls, the articles hanging in his office, the butterflies cased in glass and the flower pots in the windows--Mr. Pickles in the bathroom.

"Yes, Galahad, of course. Congrats on the promotion, by the way." Harry deadpans.

"You can 'ave it back, fanks. Hate to be a bovver; sides, Merlin can hook me up wif a nicer flat up the way." Eggsy says snidely.

Harry quirks a brow. "I'm sure he'd be happy to hook you up, yes. Perhaps you could have worked to get hooked up sooner?"

"Don' need your attitude, Harry."

"Then what do you need, Eggsy?"

"I need to understand why you hid from me!" Eggsy snaps, reaching up and--holy shit--shoving his hands against Harry's chest.

Harry is taken aback for barely a moment, his good eye widening, lips parting, and he has to take a tiny step back to regain his composure before he flies forward. His hands are iron vices around Eggsy's wrists, and Eggsy's back collides with the wall with enough force to honestly stun him.

It wears off very quickly, however, and then Eggsy is glaring up at Harry with enough venom to unleash biological warfare on several continents. "You wos so important to me, Harry--so important. You got no idea how I've felt these past few monfs, no idea. I been rackin' my brain, hatin' myself, blamin' the world for every lil' ting. When you been lyin' in a bed somewhere in this building, right in my reach, and you didn' want to tell me? Did you... Wot, did you not want to see me?? Cause I sure as shit woulda liked to see you. You got no idea the hell I been in, Harry--the sleep I've missed over your sorry arse."

"Eggsy, as I've said before, I was in quite a state these past three months. Why, why would I want you to see me like that?" Harry groans, releasing Eggsy's wrists when his struggling starts to make Harry--perhaps, Eggsy should start thinking of him as king--worry about the splint his sprained wrist is cast in.

"You let Merlin see you like that."

"Merlin is my Handler. He has been my good friend for a great many--"

"Rox, then?"

"Roxy was, after all, the agent sent to fetch me. It would have been highly irresponsible and inconsiderate to shove her out of the picture when she was the reason I had returned home safely."

"What wos inconsiderate wos you not lettin' me even know you were alright! An' why you send for Rox, anyway? I couldn' come get you? You wasn't coherent enuff to make whole sentences, but you knew you didn't want to see me?"

Harry tenses at that, and a muscle in his jaw ticks. "I had my reasons."

"Don' matta. I wanted to see you the most, and you hid from me. Wot, 'm not good enouh for you, Harry?"

"Don't say it like that, Eggsy. Please. It's very childish."

"Playin' fuckin' hide-n-go-seek wit me wos childish!" Eggsy snaps, pushing Harry again, forcing him to stumble backwards.

This is bad. This is so very bad. He's pushing Harry, yes, and he's letting out steam on his old friend, Harry... But Harry is now, also, Arthur. Eggsy's commanding officer, his chief of charge, his mentor, his boss, the King of Kingsmen. Eggsy could lose his position for being such a right prat...

But Harry had been no better.

Flushed with anger, some emotion actually touching the subtle features of his handsome face, Harry growls, hands lightning quick as he reaches out and takes Eggsy's wrists again. He pins them together, pushes the boy against the wall so hard that a picture frame not far off shivers with the quake. He gathers both of Eggsy's wrists into one hand and shoves them over the boy's head, even as he protests and moves to kick his knee up into Harry's gut.

It'd be less than what he deserved. Mostly, it's just instinct and combat training talking.

But the king, despite having less dexterous peripheral vision, butts Eggsy's knee down with his hand before he presses his own against Eggsy's thighs, digging the thumb of his other hand into Eggsy's hip to pin his waist against the wall with a hard shove.

"Get the fuck off me, Harry!" Eggsy snaps, and tears sting his eyes and anger pools in his gut. He bucks his hips, grinding up against Harry, who has suddenly crushed their bodies into a seamless line.

"Eggsy, stop." Harry says sternly, and something in his voice has gone cold as ice, and there's a tremble on his lips when he says it.

Eggsy stares up at him in stock-still wonder, eyes wide, brows pinched, his mouth gaping to let heavy breaths in and out. He's completely caged in against the wall, Harry's body a flawless streamline pressed seamlessly to his. Maybe it's the height thing--maybe it's a Harry Hart thing--but Eggsy's never fit this well against another person. All the birds he's chased have had their knobby shoulders and poky elbows and sharp hips digging into some or other meaty spot on his body.

But Harry... Harry is perfect. His hips bracket against Eggsy's, his chest a smooth plane, and he's not that much bigger than Eggsy, no, but it's just enough to get Eggsy's heart racing and his mouth dry as a cotton field.

His head feels fuzzy and clogged, his senses drinking Harry in, each point of contact prickling with the deepest desire for their cells to simply mesh and join. The entire world shrinks down to this one moment, which Harry trapping him up against the wall, and him losing every shred of desire to get away.

They're holding fiery eye contact with each other, and if Harry can read Eggsy's mind, Eggsy is fucked.

Blood floods south, and Eggsy has to snap his mouth shut and chew on his tongue to fight the sudden arousal pooling in his gut. His cock twitches in his slacks, suddenly waking up in his briefs, and no. That's not okay, because he's pressed up to Harry so tightly that sporting a sudden chub in his pants would be beyond mortifying and completely inappropriate.

He drops his gaze, but then it lands on Harry's mouth, and that's quite a mistake, because the king darts his tongue out to wet his lips, squeezing Eggsy's waist even tighter.

"If I try to explain, will you listen? Or will you stand there and argue while I'm handing you the god's honest truth?" Harry asks quietly, and his voice is low and dark, something that twists a coil of excitement up in his gut.

There's a long pause, where Eggsy really contemplates telling Harry to go fuck himself, then--for an even shorter pause--he thinks of asking Harry to fuck him. That, he realized quickly, would not go over well.

So instead, Eggsy licks his lips, flushing up his neck when Harry's good eye follows the motion. "...Alright. Go on, then."

Harry lets out a low sigh, the sound almost grateful, and he's standing so close that when he dips his head forward, his hair brushes Eggsy's forehead.

"I... I am not actually quite sure where to start."

Eggsy lets his head fall back against the wall, and Harry looks at the bared line of his throat, as if contemplating touching it with his gorgeous mouth.

"Why don' you start at the beginnin' then?"

"What would be the beginning? When we met, or when I died?"

"Fake died." Eggsy says. Then he starts. "Why would we have to go back to when we met?"

Harry shakes his head, running his thumb against the bare skin of Eggsy's un-splinted wrist. "No, you said fake died. We'll start there."

"Harry--"

"You obviously saw me get shot. Not sure how you managed to crack into my computer system to get the feed from my glasses, but that's surely something we'll speak of later."

"Give Merlin a run for his money." Eggsy grins cheekily.

Something about his expression is so fond and light that, suddenly, Harry is smiling down at him, his eyes soft and warm. "Perhaps."

"Go on then. I won' interrupt again, I guess."

"You guess." Harry says warmly, shaking his head. It's strange, that they're so close, so intimate, and the king is still so in control.

Eggsy wonders if Harry can feel his heartbeat raging in his blood, his skin on fire. He swallows hard, jutting his chin out. "So, you went down... You woke up in the hospital." A grin touches Eggsy's mouth, a shot at bravado that he desperately needs to take. "You fink ov me first ting?"

Brows shoot up over the line of the eyepatch. "I was shot in the head, Eggsy. The brain is quite a fickle creature." Harry deadpans, reaching up to touch the eyepatch. Eggsy instantly misses the contact on his hip. "I suppose I should say that I'm glad Valentine was a terrible shot, and too foolish to make sure I was dead. The bullet hit my glasses, fractured the left lense, and I went down... When I woke up, I was in a hospital bed, and my eye was gone. Apparently, despite the wound not being incredibly extensive, the trauma affected my brain quite a bit." He pauses, looking down at the floor with a contemplative, soft expression. "As I said, fickle. I'm lucky I recovered so well; thanks to Merlin, I'm sure. I was mostly unconscious for the first month, but the second I had enough motor skills to speak, I gave them a name I knew would have Merlin alerted promptly of my state."

"Recovered so well, eh?"

When Harry drops his hand back to Eggsy's hip--almost by instinct, without thought like it belongs there--he shakes his head, looking disgraced. "I barely started walking again two months ago. I've been in recuperative therapy ever since I returned. Do you've any idea how painful that is for me to admit? That I was weak, that I was honestly helpless for a time? Any idea?"

Rather than answer, Eggsy juts his lip out in a pout and drops his gaze.

"No. You don't. And I'm glad I had heavy incentive and thorough medication, otherwise I'd probably still be lying awake wishing I could chuck my body out the nearest window."

"Glad you didn' have the strength for that, then." Eggsy teases, and Harry's thumb digs into his hip in warning, but Harry is smiling.

"I am, too. Then I would have missed out on the pleasantness of this conversation."

"So... Why not me?"

"Eggsy." Harry grumbles.

"No, really, why not me? Why couldn' I see you?" Eggsy demands, and the heat that has settled in his gut from arousal is thinning, leaving him with that residual anger rusting away at his insides.

The king sighs, and when he pushes forward, he squeezes Eggsy's hip and wrists, touching their foreheads. "I told you once, I didn't want you to see me like that."

"Like wot, exactly? Said so yourself, the wound wasn't extensive, and, obviously, you aren't limpin' round wif a cane slurrin' your words. Tryna make me feel special? 'M flattered, Harry, but you owe me more'n that.

Harry lifts his gaze to Eggsy's, like fiery whiskey, and there's a static crinkle between the two of them. It steals Eggsy's breath, and he's incredibly surprised when Harry's hand slides up his ribs, skims over his erratic heart, and then cups against his throat. Surely, he can feel that heartbeat, raging and unrelenting, with his palm pressed perfectly over the soft spot of Eggsy's throat. Surely, he can see the way Eggsy's pupils have blown and his lips have parted, their bodies slotted together like perfectly cut pieces.

"...I can't, Eggsy." Harry whispers, his breath hot and clean against Eggsy's lips, and Eggsy is panting freely, fighting not to fall apart in Harry's grasp.

"Can't wot?" He asks, challenging, and before he gets a real answer, Harry's ducking down and sealing their mouths together.

It might be something of a cliche that Harry Hart, gentleman spy, does not kiss like a gentleman... But, fuck, there's no other way to say it. He simply does not kiss like a respectable man.

It's hot and carnal and demanding, leaving no room for tenderness or politeness. It's so damn incredible, however, that Eggsy can't seem to bring himself to care about how he's suddenly completely winded and dominated.

His teeth nip at Eggsy's lip and his tongue is prying Eggsy's mouth open, delving inside and sweeping across all of Eggsy's tastebuds like sin itself.

Eggsy whines in his throat, and none of his training can prepare him fo the way he loses all of his restraint the second he tastes Harry's lips. He thrusts his tongue against Harry's with as much enthusiasm, grinding his hips up against Harry's groin, loving the way he can feel the fucking glorious line of Harry's cock straining against his bespoke trousers. Now, he wouldn't consider himself a slut, but Eggsy moans like a fucking slut at the feel of Harry Hart's cock grinding against his through layers of friction.

He wants this... He wants this, god, he wants this so bad. Harry's mouth is like heaven, his lips gentle, his teeth rough, his tongue strong. He kisses like a starved, dying man, the hand on Eggsy's throat sliding up to card through his hair, holding Eggsy's head back, throat bared and body drawn tight as his mouth is ravaged.

Harry tastes like beautifully aged mint, and Eggsy wants to drown in his arms. He's light headed, letting himself be used, and he's risen onto his toes to get better access to that mouth on his, his hands grasping and tangling through empty air, wishing he could touch Harry, wishing he could dig his nails into the skin and tear Harry the fuck apart.

The hand holding Eggsy by the hair rakes down his throat, palming his erratic heartbeat before sliding down to wrap around Eggsy's hip. Harry draws the smaller male closer, holding their bodies flush, Eggsy's hands still pinned high over his head.

He wriggles, moaning helplessly against Harry's frantic mouth, and he jerks his hands against his hold. Harry seems to finally--thank fuck--catch on, and he drops Eggsy's wrists, using his freed hands to cup either side of Eggsy's face, his thumb pressing with unforgiving weight across the butterfly bandaids holding his cheek together. Eggsy latches onto Harry's wrists, holding those strong, calloused hands to his skin, wanting to touch every inch of Harry possible, but finding himself to afraid to let go of his iron grip.

The energy between them crackles, and it's so hot and the air is so thick and heavy... Eggsy can barely breathe. He wants all that Harry is to burn him to ashes, and he wants to wreck Harry like a fine Faberge egg thrown at the floor, a shattered stained-glass window; a thousand shards that only Eggsy can rearrange into a masterpiece.

He allows his hands to run up Harry's strong arms, and when he reaches the taller man's shoulders, he moans, open mouthed and filthy, before he's threading his fingers through Harry's hair. It's so thick, so fucking soft, and he wants to pull on it while Harry's settled between his legs, wants to lace his fingers through it while Harry's sucking hickies into his skin, crushing their sweaty bodies together.

The contact seems to break whatever incredible veil of zero inhibitions has fallen over them, and the reaction is immediate. It could go one of two ways--a lot filthier, or incredibly disappointing.

Then Harry parts their mouths, breathes roughly, and Eggsy tries to chase his mouth, and manages to snag Harry's lip with his teeth. Harry groans--fucking groans--at that, and the sound goes straight to Eggsy's dick, and he whines when he feels a slick of precum leak against his thigh.

"Harry--"Eggsy breaks off, because, god, Harry! He's alive, breathing, beautiful, and he's got Eggsy crushed in his arms and Eggsy can feel his mouth tingling from the roughness of his kiss.

Then Harry pulls back; more-so he shoves Eggsy away. It's sudden, and incredibly rough, the way he roughs him out of his personal space like one might discard an enemy. He keeps him pinned to the wall, at arms length, and Eggsy is pleased to see Harry is panting, stray chocolate hairs fallen out of place, the marks from his fingers raking through leaving generous trails from their wake. The action, however, makes his blood feel cold, and he stares up at Harry in confusion, expecting something more.

But Harry makes no move to close the space between them again.

The world seems to tilt on its axis, Eggsy's body drawn bow tight, every nerve tingling wildly, and he has his hands braced against the wall, his arms having fallen from Harry's shoulders when he was pushed back.

Harry looks... Well, no need to be polite; he looks like a fucking wrecked animal. His pupil is blown, hair mussed, and his mouth is red and abused, and Eggsy wonders if his looks just as well fucked and delectable. His shoulders are squared, jaw tense and dropped, and he's still trying to gather his wits about himself from the way he still hasn't said anything.
Eggsy wants to say something. He wants to draw Harry back in for another kiss; a gentler one. He wants to tell Harry everything he's felt, wants to give Harry everything he has to give, wants to make Harry feel... something.

There's something fiery about Harry, something pure and violently untamed that still lingers in the tiny threads holding him upright, in the set of his mouth, the glow of his beautiful hazel eye...

Eggsy wants to do something. He wants to be something.

But he's frozen by fear, and the look on Harry's face has gone from molten passion and confused pain to something colder. It's solidified, shifted like plates of ice falling back into place over the churning sea. He's slate still, his expression going soft and smooth as polished glass. He takes a long breath through his nose, rough and loud.

His composure has returned, and he is ever the sophisticated, suave, painfully unattainable and aloof knight Eggsy met not so long ago.

It kills him...

When Harry speaks, finally, it's low and deadly and it fucking hurts.

"Forget that ever happened."

Eggsy's world comes crashing around him, like broken glass raining from the sky, and his body goes limp and cold, and he slumps against the wall beneath Harry's hold. He sucks in a breath, means to use it to speak, but it just gets trapped behind the knot that had formed like a vice in his windpipe. He can't blink, just stares at Harry with a betrayed, completely baffled expression for as long as Harry will hold his gaze.

Then Harry lets him go, steps back to straighten his jacket. He rakes a hand through his hair combing it back to perfection with deft fingers, before he turns on his heel... And walks away.

He fucking walks away.

His stride doesn't even falter, and he turns down the hall and vanishes from sight before Eggsy finds himself lying so heavily against the wall that he nearly slides down onto his ass.

He reaches up with shaking fingers to touch his kiss-swollen lips, his eyes fluttering shut at the way he can still taste Harry's clean mouth on his, still feel those silken lips bruising his, still feel that body claiming his...

There's no way.

There's no fucking way he can forget.

Harry Hart is a cruel, selfish bastard; and he's out of his fucking mind.

Eggsy stands there for what feels like hours, barely breathing, thinking of Harry's fingers in his hair, on his skin, body pressed to his so perfectly, the way he looked at him before it all went, somehow, wrong...

Without the flare of passion and the warmth of Harry's touch, he feels the pain splintering through his sprained wrist from the way Harry was holding him, feels a tingling burn bursting in his split cheek where Harry gripped his face too roughly in the throes of passion.

There are loud, clipped footsteps coming his way, and he cups his tentative hand over his mouth, rubbing his thumb along the wet seam. When Roxy comes around the corner,--he's not gonna lie, his heart sinks--she gives a startled exclamation of his name before she's on him, touching his face, petting his hair, asking him pointless questions.

"Eggsy, are you alright, love? Honest, Eggsy, I'm so, so sorry. Are you alright?" She demands, and he lets his head drop onto her shoulder, feeling safe in her company, but no less confused.

"No..." He grumbles, his voice a tiny, thin husk...

No; he is not alright.

Not by a long shot.

He really is in for a rude awakening.