“You’d look hot as a blonde,” Jordan says, and Eggsy rolls her eyes and tries to convince Daisy that really, she does want to eat those carrots and not mash them into everything, including Eggsy’s hair. Daisy is pretty sure that she does want to mash them into everything. Eggsy glances at her hair, now chocolate brown and flecked with orangey mash, and says,
“No.” She’d thought about going blonde years ago, when she was sixteen and wearing colorful, splashy bras under white tops, daring boys to touch her. She’d had no tits, thanks to years of ballet, but the bras had fixed that.
But then the attention had shifted from boys in school and on the estate to Dean, and Dean’s boys, and Dean running his hand through her mum’s own bleached-blonde hair and saying, “I like a blonde girl.”
And Eggsy hadn’t gone blonde. She’d swapped out her clothes—not trying to dress herself above the estate, ‘cause she’d seen what happens to the girl who try, what they’ve got to endure every day, and Eggsy’s not trying to make her life harder, not when she lived with Dean. She swapped out her white shirts for black vests and pink shirts pulled over them, makes sure her jeans have a little give, so she can run for it. She and her girls, they practiced in their four-inch heels, running down the length of the estate as fast as they could. Only Cheryl broke her ankle, the rest of them laughing and helping her up, putting ice on it and taking her to A&E where they had to explain, laughing, how she did it.
And Eggsy tilted her chin up when the nurses had looked at them, chav girls with their big hair and their false lashes and their tracksuit bottoms. Tilted up her chin and sucked her teeth, loud and obnoxious, and stayed right next to Cheryl while they set the bone and gave her a cast and crutches, because only last month Angie’s mum had gone flying at the A&E doctor who treated Angie for copping a feel. Eggsy’s mum would’ve just wept and yelled, and maybe if her dad’d lived it’d’ve all gone different, but it didn’t, and Eggsy’s learned to use whatever’s available to her.
“Fine, but maybe highlights,” Jordan says, sighing on the other end of the line. In the background Eggsy can hear Chantelle saying, “Tell her to go red!” and Jordan ignores her, saying,“I’m gonna go short, did you see X-Factor?”
It is Jordan’s heart’s desire to be Cheryl Cole.
“You should at least get your extensions out,” Eggsy agrees, giving up on feeding Daisy and grabbing a cloth to wipe her up. “They are looking rank, mate.”
“Fuck off, Eggsy,” Jordan says, and there’s a long pause before she allows, “Alright, yeah, they’re coming out.”
Eggsy laughs, picking Daisy up onto her hip and heading for the toilet.
It’s Friday, and so Jordan and Eggsy and Chantelle are going to tear it up. They’ve got appointments at the salon and then to get their nails done, and then—well. They’ll see from there.
“Look, I’ll see you in like, ten minutes, alright?”
“Yeah, alright,” Jordan says, and hangs up.
“Alright,” she says to Daisy, who beams up at her. “Let’s do this.”
Ten minutes later they reemerge, Daisy in a new outfit and Eggsy only a little drowned.
“Eggsy,” Dean says from the couch, where he’s got Mum tucked tight against him. Poodle’s slumped in the armchair, leering at her. “When’re you gonna come work for me, darlin?”
Eggsy puts Daisy in her playpen, making a face down at her and handing her a toy. Eggsy makes her money waiting tables at a cafe and teaching dance lessons at the studio where she learned. She pretends she can’t hear them all—that’s Gwen Unwin, she could have toured with the National Ballet, if her mum hadn’t completely lost it. Everyone knows about her mum’s complete meltdown about it, about how she’d screamed down the estate about Eggsy leaving, just like her dad had. And Eggsy, 19 and too young to realize that chances to get out don’t come around all the time, had hugged her mum and stayed.
It’s not that she doesn’t like teaching little girls (and the occasional little boy) how to turn their toes out and listen to the music—it’s just she’s 23 and going nowhere fast.
But she laughs, now, light like it’s a joke, the way she does every time Dean says he could find a job for her, because Dean’s jobs end with girls dead in motel rooms, coppers who can’t be fucked to look into a girl from the estates who got done in by some thug she was running with.
She puts her money away, bit by bit, spends it on getting her hair and nails done, and on Daisy. Buys sweet outfits and formula and strollers, because god knows Dean won’t—Daisy was supposed to be his son, and he’s never going to forgive her or Eggsy’s mum for it.
But really, she’s 23, and sick of it all.
“Come on, have a bit of fun with us,” Poodle says, right behind her, his meaty hands on her hips. Eggsy smiles and says, “I’ll be out tonight. Bye, Mum!” and darts out of the flat. Outside there are more of Dean’s boys, their hands sweaty and grasping, and Eggsy leaps over the stairs in her bare feet, heels in her other hand to avoid them.
Jordan reaches out a hand to steady Eggsy when she lands at ground level. “Alright?” she says, glancing up where Dean’s boys are leaning over, shouting at them, grabbing their dicks and fucking up against the rail.
“Eugh,” Chantelle says, snapping her gum. “Let’s get out of here before their brains come out their dicks.”
“They haven’t got any,” Eggsy says, planting her feet in her shoes. She flexes her fingers, looks at her ratty manicure. “Yeah alright, let’s go.”
And that’s it, she thinks. Her life will be trying to convince her mum to leave Dean, or at least let Eggsy take the baby and get out. She’ll probably settle for the least terrible man who fondles her tits after a night out, and pop out a couple kids. Done and done at 23.
And she’s thinking this, watching Pamela file her nails into points while Jordan and Chantelle talk about Cheryl’s horror of a two-year-old, and it knots in her gut. “Girls,” she says. “Let’s have a proper, wild night.”
They go shopping, and she finds the sluttiest dress she can, a bra that shoves her tits to her chin and a slip of elastic that shouldn’t even get to call itself pants but still costs £12.50, new strappy heels that will cut up her feet by the end of the night but make her legs and arse look amazing. They get their hair done, a few more layers and a blow-out for Eggsy, extensions out and a nice bob for Jordan and extensions for Chantelle, who will lose them by the end of the night the way she always does.
There’s a certain kind of power, looking like this. Her lashes are heavy on her eyelids and the hoops tug at her ears, but she feels—good. Even if it’s superficial, bought with money she could be using to catch a train anywhere else.
They go to the Black Prince, arguing about where to head after. “I mean, it’s gotta be far from here,” Chantelle says when they sit at the bar. “Catch the train, I mean. It’s only that lot ‘round here anyway, and I’m not gettin’ knocked up by one of them.” She points one white fingernail at Dean’s goons, who, unfortunately, are paying attention.
“What, you think just because her mum’s shagging the boss, you can say what you want?” Rottie demands, standing up and flexing his shoulders. He's tall and narrow, but Eggsy's seen him in action, with girls unlucky enough to follow him home. Rottie doesn't give a shit if you're a girl or not—he'll bash your face in just the same, and know that Dean will keep everyone hushed up.
Eggsy stands up, puts a placating hand on his chest, looks up at him through her thick eyelashes. "She didn't mean anything, mate," she says. "We were just finishing, leaving anyway."
He looks at Chantelle, then down at Eggsy's tits, and steps back. Eggsy smiles at him, lipstick slick. "Have a good night, boys," she says, and follows the other two out.
"Honest, what was that?" Jordan demands. "You turnin' into your mum? Maybe he'll make a nice husband for you, keep it all in the family, like."
"Or," Eggsy says, holding her hand up, Rottie's keys dangling from her fingers. "Where you wanna go, girls?"
"Oh, shit, man!” Chantelle whoops, climbing into the back seat.
Eggsy laughs, something coming loose in her chest. Tonight feels huge, yawning with possibilities. It's like she's on the edge of something, and the only thing she knows is that nothing's gonna be the same after this.
"Buckle up, girls," she says, and eases off the clutch, yanking the steering wheel. The tires shriek in protest, and sure enough, Rottie comes running, yelling and ridiculous, inaudible over the sound of the car. Eggsy laughs, and blows him a kiss before peeling up the street.
"Holy shit, holy shit!" Jordan shrieks, her smile wide and her teeth white against her tan. "Eggsy, what the fuck!"
"Oh my god!" Chantelle yells, and then, differently, "Oh my god!"
The lights flash, and Eggsy grits her jaw, glances at them both, and shifts into reverse.
She had a boyfriend when she was eighteen who was into all of that, cars and Formula One and Top Gear and even Nascar. Worked in a chop shop, but loved to take her out, show her how to be flash, pull donuts and and drive for miles backwards, hotwire a car. He loved how fast she picked it all up, used to pick her up from ballet classes, pretty and pink and put her behind the wheel and then fuck her in the back seat, in some not-quite abandoned car park. She’d chucked him when Mum had thrown the fit about ballet, and he’d gone down for lifting cars he should’ve known better than to pick up.
Still, it’s been a while, but she feels invincible, screaming the wrong way down streets, weaving through traffic while the girls shriek and yell and laugh.
And then there’s something in the road—a fox, maybe, or maybe a dog, or a cat, or—well. It’s something, and she swerves to miss it and rear-ends a parked car, and suddenly it’s all quiet, except for the sound of the sirens.
“I can’t get picked up,” Chantelle says, quiet and small. Eggsy glances at her in the rearview mirror. Chantelle’s got a record already, dumb mistakes that add up, and she could go away this time, for real. Jordan looks between them with wide eyes, and Eggsy looks at the cop through the windshield, and his annoyed face, round and fat.
“Get out,” she says. “I’ll sort it. Get out, both of you, and run, before he gets back up.”
“Out!” she shouts, slamming her hands on the steering wheel, and they do, scrambling out of the car. The cop’s eyes dart to them, and he reaches down, probably to pick up his radio, and Eggsy shifts into first, flies off the clutch, and slams Rottie’s precious fucking car right into the copper.
She was fucked anyway, might as well be properly fucked.
The cops love her. They’re in their ill-fitting suits with their receding hairlines, everything about them grey and watercolor, and she’s there in her black dress, the heels that are cutting her feet right up, tits out and arse barely covered. Their hands linger, and they’re not even subtle about the looks.
“Who were your friends, Guinevere?” the DI asks once he’s got her in holding, oily and patronizing.
Eggsy crosses her arms under her chest and stares at her reflection in the mirror. Her neck hurts, and her shoulders hurt from impact, and when she got dragged out of the car she’d gotten her elbow slammed. She has a clean record, despite all the trouble she’s been in and out of—she’s sure she’s on the periphery of dozens of reports.
“You’ll go down for it, and that’s 18 months,” he says, gentle. Like he’s trying to be a parent, when all he’s doing is licking his lips and looking at her tits.
“I want my phone call,” she says, and the DI sighs, rips up the deal she’d’ve to have been mad to sign.
“I hope it’s to your mum,” he says, and she stays silent, still staring at her reflection, her pointed nose and sharp jaw crisp in this light, the contours deepened by the overhead fluorescent shit. She looks—she doesn’t know. She doesn’t recognize this girl.
She waits until the door is closed, and then pulls out her keys from her purse. She’s got this old, dumb charm on there, pink and ropes in tarnished bronze with a number on the back. Her mother had pressed it into her hands after her father had died and said that if she ever needed help, needed anything, this number would save her. Eggsy’s fingers are shaking as she holds it and dials and hopes this isn’t another of her mother’s flights of fancy. Her stomach plummets when the woman on the other end says something about customer complaints. Of course.
“My name’s Eggsy—I mean, Guinevere Unwin,” she says. “I’m—I’m in Holborn Police Station and—my mum said to call—“
“I’m sorry, Miss, you have the wrong number,” the woman says.
“No, I mean—oxfords not brogues?” she says, desperately, fingers tightening on the phone. It’s so stupid, she sounds like such a twat even saying it, and of course it’s not—
“Your complaint has been noted,” the woman says crisply. “Goodbye.”
The line goes dead, and Eggsy drops the phone and leans forward in the chair. Eighteen months and she’ll never get another job. Daisy will be almost three by then, if she survives—if Mum does. God, how could she have been so stupid? Just one night, one night that was all she wanted, and this was obviously why she can’t get what she wants, because she fucks it up. That’s the Unwin way, isn’t it. Fuck it all up and fuck your family over in the process. Dad had done it, then Mum, and now Eggsy. Maybe Daisy will avoid it, since she’s only got half the shite DNA.
“You’re free to go,” the DI says, opening the door.
Eggsy lifts her head, pushes back her hair, and stares at him. “What?”
“Get out,” he says, not unkindly, and she does. Maybe—it’s a trap. But she walks through without anyone calling out, running at her with handcuffs. She gets sideways looks, snide and amused from people going about their days, and she lifts her chin, swings her hips a little more, plants her feet a little harder so the click of her heels nearly echoes.
She’s halfway down the stairs in front of the building, still waiting for someone to yell, to say that now she’s going to go down for three years, instead of 18 months, for trying to escape, when a man says, “Eggsy. Would you like a lift home?”
She pauses, which is a mistake because after 12 hours her feet are killing her, toes gone almost entirely numb, and while she's walking she can ignore it but as soon as she stops they just throb. She wraps a hand around the rail, trying to take some of the weight off her feet as she turns.
He’s—posh. Stupid thick-framed glasses, but a suit that fits him perfectly, one hand in his pocket and the other holding an umbrella. He’s got a fucking pocket square, and she thinks that if she does take a lift from him it’ll be a scene straight out of Pretty Woman. He’s also not looking at her, she can see it through the tinted glass, and she’s so sick of this. So sick of living her life invisible unless some idiot wants to put his dick in her—and apparently not even then, for this one. God, did Dean send him over?
“Who’re you?” she asks, trying to pull her dress a little lower, because she can feel it riding up her thighs, edging towards the curve of her ass.
“The man who got you out,” he says, still not looking at her. And right, there it is. It is straight out of a porno, and when she gets in that car—and she will, because if he did get her out, she owes him, and she knows how it goes for girls who owe men things—she’ll be bent over the back seat, taking his dick one way or another. He’s older than her mum, but at least he’s fit.
“Right,” she agrees, and is horrified when some of the exhaustion bleeds through. She forces a smile to her lips. “Thank you.”
He pauses, and then looks at her. She lifts her chin, and then frowns, tensing as he shifts away from the wall, unbuttoning his jacket and shrugging out of it fluidly. It’d be pointless to run, and it’s not like the cops will stop him, not if he had the power to get her out of there so easily. She doesn’t have to look, though, and drops her eyes to the rail, to her blue nails, filed to points. But instead of cupping her tits, or groping her arse, he drapes his jacket over her shoulders, tugs it into place over her shoulders.
“Allow me,” he says, and his eyes stay on her face while she puts her arms into the jacket, pulling it close around her. She’s not quite swimming in it. “My apologies,” he says. “I’m Harry Hart, and your father saved my life. I’m the one who gave your mother that number to call if either of you should ever need help.”
Eggsy stares at him. “What?”
Harry Hart hands her a box when they get into the car, and when Eggsy opens it she just stares—a pair of flats in her size, black, with pink dots. She owns a pair of these. She puts them on silently while he starts the car, and he waits until she’s got her seatbelt on before pulling out.
After a couple minutes he asks if she’d mind terribly if they stopped and got a pint. “I’ve had a difficult day,” he says, apparently without irony.
“It’s 11 in the morning,” she points out, and then bites her lower lip. He nods, turning smoothly towards the Black Prince. The car is a dream, floats over the roads, and her fingers itch to get her hands on it, but she stays still, watching his profile while he drives.
“Indulge me?” he asks, and she nods. He hasn’t slid his hand up her thigh, though she’d left a small gap, sitting closer to his side of the seat than the window side so if he wanted to—he said he knew her dad, though. Rottie probably won’t be there yet.
Harry makes polite conversation, once they’re at Rottie’s table. Charlie glances between them when they walk in, at Eggsy in last night’s dress and makeup and Harry’s coat, and he shoots her a knowing leer. If Harry sees, he pretends not to, one hand on the small of her back, waiting until she sits before he does.
It’s a little unnerving, actually.
Harry remarks on the bar and the neighborhood and the bloody weather while he drinks his first pint, and Eggsy tries not to interrupt. He’s got one of those voices you could listen to—the kind you want to listen to. He’s a tailor, he tells her, which is absolute bollocks, but she’s not about to call him on it.
“Were you an officer, then? Before, I mean?” she asks, when he’s nearly done with his first glass and settled back in his seat. His shoulders and back are straight but not—not like he’s trying. He just seems—elegant. And she’s never felt more estate, and somehow being wrapped in his jacket makes it worse. She can’t quite dredge up the attitude to pull around her like a shield, not when his jacket is already there.
“No, not quite,” he says.
“Was it—Iraq?” she asks, leaning forward, elbows on her knees because the table is filthy, and she’s not going to be responsible for getting the jacket dirty. She hasn’t even touched the white wine he ordered for her, which was absurd and perfect and fucking even more unnerving.
“It’s classified, I’m afraid,” he says.
“But he saved your life,” she presses, because her mother—Mum never talks about Dad. Raged, sometimes, when Eggsy was little, and cries sometimes, when she looks at Eggsy, who doesn’t look at all like Michelle and everything, apparently, like Lee. Eggsy knows it was Dad who gave her the nickname, said she looked like a little egg when she was born, no hair on her head until she was 18 months, and that she’d screamed and refused to answer when Mum had tried to call her “Gwen” after Dad died.
When she strains she can remember him, bits and pieces of him. A smile, walking in the park, birthday parties. She remembers mostly the feeling of it. Being warm and happy and safe, and she thinks it was cruel, really, to have ever had that, because she knew what she was missing when it was gone.
“The day your father died, I missed something,” Harry says, and though he’s right here, in front of her, he feels miles away. “And if it weren’t for your father’s courage, it would have cost the lives of every man present. So I owe him.” Eggsy tries not to smile, not in the face of the grief and remorse in Harry’s eyes, but she’s so fucking hungry to hear it. “Your father was a brave man,” he tells her, nodding to himself, and she nods back. “A good man. And having read your files…” he trails off. “Well. I think he might have wanted better for you.”
“Fuck off,” she snaps, reeling backwards before she can even think about it. How fucking dare he talk to her like that?
“Huge IQ, great performance at primary school, and then it all went sideways,” he says, voice going sharp. “Never formally accused but you always seemed to be around when something was going down. Odd jobs—“
“You think there a lot of jobs ‘round here, do you?” she snaps.
“Hardly explains why you gave up your future. You were tapped to join the National Ballet, and you threw that away.”
“You try living my life and see how well your dreams survive.”
“Of course, someone else’s fault,” he says. She stares at him, and then stands up, shrugging out of his jacket and handing it back to him, though all she wants to do is hurl it at his smug, posh face. Her feet scream in protest, even in the flats, and she should really pull the skirt down her thighs, but she can’t give him that satisfaction. Smug fucking twat.
“You’ve got no idea, and no right,” she says, fighting to keep her voice even. “My mum moved us here, to live with him. What do your files say about Dean, eh? I worked odd jobs to pay for shit like food, ‘cause she’s not allowed to work. Sends the wrong message to the lads.
“I didn’t go National because she went mental about losing me, like she lost my dad, which it seems like you know a little something about. There’d been that plane crash, you remember? She was shrieking about terrorists, I thought I was gonna have to take her to hospital the way she was carrying on, so I stayed. And then there’s the baby, ‘cause she went and got knocked up two years ago. Daisy’s 15 months next Tuesday, got a file on her yet? And I got those odd jobs so I can keep that baby in diapers and clothes. You know how fast kids grow? Got any fucking idea?”
Harry’s head is tilted towards her, watching her closely, but he doesn’t say anything, doesn’t reach out to take the jacket, so she takes a step towards the table to set it down.
“What the fuck you doin’ here?” Rottie shouts from behind her, and Eggsy closes her eyes and thinks: of course. She’s never going to catch a break.
“Some more examples of people living the best lives possible under the circumstances?” Harry asks archly, looking over her shoulder. Eggsy turns—it’s all of them. Rottie and Poodle, and four other idiots, all of them broad and menacing, lips curling in anticipatory smirks. The air’s thick with the promise of hurts yet to come, and Eggsy’d give anything not to know the flavor of that.
“No, they’re exceptions,” she says, keeping her voice even, shifting her weight and glancing at Harry, keeping the boys in her peripheral vision. “We should go.”
“Nonsense, I haven’t finished my drink, and you’ve barely touched yours,” he says, lifting his glass and looking pointedly at hers.
Rottie’s moved in close enough that his breath slides over her cheek, and the others have fanned out around her, so she can’t even get out the back door behind the bar.
“After you nicked his car, Dean says you’re fair game,” Poodle tells her, reaching out to stroke her arm with his knuckles, a provocative drag that leaves goosebumps in his wake. “Doesn’t give a shit what your mum says,” he adds, voice slick and intimate.
“Boys,” Harry interrupts, loud and oblivious to the tone of the room. “I’ve had a rather emotional day, and I’d appreciate it very much if you could let the lady and I finish our conversation before you address your own concerns with her.”
He looks at them all and honest to God bats his eyelashes. Eggsy closes her eyes because they’re fucked—her literally and him figuratively.
“You should get get outta the way, grandad, or you’ll get hurt and all,” Rottie tells him, leaning in and wrapping his hand around Eggsy’s upper arm. She tries not to flinch, putting Harry’s jacket on the table and forcing a smile.
“You should go,” she says, her heart pounding in her chest. There’s no way she can run, not with six of them, not with her feet hurting the way they are. And Charlie behind the bar won’t do shit, especially not if they—if he gets to participate. “It’s fine,” she insists when Harry looks at her. “He’s right.”
Harry sighs and puts his glass back down on the table with a heavy thud, and nods once, almost to himself, before standing. They all move aside to let him pass, and as he does he presses the jacket back into her hands. He doesn’t look at her, though, as he walks to the door, and she stifles the urge to beg him to call the police. He’s a posh, pompous fucker, but he’s—he will. Shit, shit, she should have checked her phone, what if Rottie went to Jordan and Chantelle first?
She’s going to be sick.
“You’re looking for another whore they’ll be on the corner of Smith Street,” Poodle calls after Harry as he walks towards the door, and then glances at her meaningfully, like she had any doubts about what was going to happen here—about what her future was going to look like.
They turn back to her, hunched shoulders and greasy smiles, and she’s not going to cry, she’s really not, but she inhales to say--Christ, she doesn’t know, but hears Harry, instead:
“Manners,” Harry says, locking the door, punctuating his words with each lock, “Maketh. Man.”
Eggsy wants to cry: what the fuck is he doing? Why doesn’t he just go call for help?
They all turn, letting go of her as they walk towards Harry fucking Hart. No wonder her father ended up dead, if he was following this idiot.
“Do you know what that means?” Harry asks, back still towards the six men advancing on him. They don’t say anything because why the fuck would they, they’re going to beat the shit out of him. “Then let me teach you a lesson.”
And then Rottie’s on the ground, his head bleeding where a glass smashed him.
Eggsy stares, and then looks up at Harry, who is walking towards Poodle and them.
“Are we going to stand around all day?” Harry asks, all clipped consonants, every word clean and unbearably posh, and he’s different, suddenly. Less toff and more—dangerous. There’s liquid in his movements, and Eggsy’s heart starts going double-time. Stupid to hope, but she just wants—just one more time. He could just save her one more time. “Or are we going to fight?”
Billy shoves forward and throws the punch, and somehow it’s Poodle who’s missing a tooth. Eggsy backs up and sits at the back of the booth, tucking her knees up and holding onto the jacket. Harry moves—beautifully. It’s like a dance, the way he moves, smooth and unerring, mind three steps ahead of where his feet are, trusting his body to follow-through.
Those idiots have no idea what’s going on, and Eggsy can barely follow it, sees Howie stab George and Poodle get electrocuted and held to the bar with some magnetic thing that Harry produced from she didn’t even know where. He uses the umbrella like it’s a valid weapon choice, and when Rottie pulls out a gun he opens the fucking thing and uses it like a shield and it works. And then something shoots out and Rottie’s stunned on the floor, and when Charlie goes to call the cops—and Harry stuns him.
He looks at her, and she shifts, pressing further back against the wall, watching as he sits across from her again, picks up his glass, and takes the last swallow.
“Sorry about that,” he says, and his shoulders are rounded now, shirt puckering a little as he slumps, some of the tension she hadn’t even recognized was there gone. “Needed to let off a little steam. Yesterday a friend of mine died,” he continues. “He knew your father too, actually.”
He nods again, just to himself, and then stands.
“Now, I do apologize, Eggsy. I shouldn’t have done this in front of you,” he says, fiddling with his watch, and then turns it on her. Eggsy jolts backwards, hard enough that she smashes her head into the wall, lifting her hands, feeling betrayed and then stupid for feeling it. ‘Course that wasn’t about her, it was just him needing to let off steam.
“No, please don’t, I won’t tell anyone,” she pleads, her voice shaking. This has just been—a fucking shit day. What was the point of all this if he was just going to kill her? God, she’d rather have fucked him in the back of his posh car, maybe he’ll still—maybe that hadn’t occurred to him, despite Poodle’s jibe about her being a whore. “I’ll do anything, please. If there’s one thing I can do it’s keep my mouth shut, I won’t tell a soul—I’ll do anything you want.”
“You won’t tell anyone?” he asks.
“Ask the feds, I’ve never grassed anyone up,” she says, eyes darting between the fist and his eyes. He seems—unaffected, and she’s got no idea how a watch works as a weapon, only that it obviously does because Charlie’s still down behind the bar.
“Is that a promise?” he asks, and it’s back, that posh veneer—like he’s untouchable, and if he wasn’t pointing that fucking thing at him she’d claw his face, just for talking like that.
“On my life,” is all she manages, and knows, bone-deep, that he’ll know if she gives him up.
He holds still, considering her, and then lowers his hand.
“Much appreciate it, Eggsy,” he says, expression and tone still menacingly smooth, and reaches out to take her hand. She flinches back, can’t stop herself, but he only brushes a kiss across her knuckles. “I apologize if I’ve upset you,” he says, still bent over her hand, different again, wry and something else. “It was not my intention. I wish you only the best of luck.” He smiles, then, faint, and squeezes her hand lightly before letting it go, picking up his umbrella, and walking out of the pub.
Leaving her with a room full of Dean’s men, unconscious, after he withdrew his protection.
Jordan and Chantelle are both fine—they’re headed up north.
“Thought maybe it was time to leave anyway, and I got nothing there,” Jordan says. “Then Mum called and said we shouldn’t come home. You’re not there, are you?”
“Yeah,” Eggsy says, climbing the steps to the flat, feeling like—no, knowing that she’s headed towards her execution.
“They’re gonna kill ya,” Chantelle says. They’ve got her on speaker, apparently, and Eggsy pauses, pulling Harry’s jacket tighter around her, glancing down at the flats he brought her.
“Daisy, though,” she says, and they both sigh, because everyone knows that Eggsy’s the mum in their family, and it’s like her Mum is the teenaged daughter who got pregnant, unable to fend for herself.
“Text us, yeah?” Jordan says. “So we know you’re alive.”
“I will,” Eggsy says. “Later,” she says, and then hangs up and pushes open the door to the flat.
Her mum runs at her. “Go, get out—he’s gonna—“ she gasps, and Eggsy doesn’t hear the rest because Dean’s punched her square in the jaw, knocking her back against the shitty fridge, keeping her pinned there with his hand around her throat.
Her mum’s screaming and crying, begging Dean not to hurt Eggsy, but he grabs her by the hair and hurls her across the room while Eggsy digs her sharpened nails into his wrist as he squeezes her throat.
“You shut the fuck up!” he screams at her, and then turns on Eggsy, one meaty finger jabbing at her chest. “Who was with you in that fucking pub?” he demands, spit flying, face red. Mum comes back, sobbing and not-quite touching.
“I want to know!” Dean shouts, spit flying, and she can’t breathe for the smell of cheap, shit vodka. “I want to know the name of the geezer you was with!”
“I wasn’t with no one!” Eggsy cries, and Dean pulls back his free hand and slaps her across the face, the hand on her neck holding her steady, making her choke herself on the recoil, and she can’t even draw breath to cough.
“I wanna know!” he repeats, grip tightening so he can slam her back again, holding her steady and bringing his other hand down, hard. Her lip splits and her mum screams, and in the background Daisy’s crying. Eggsy digs her nails into Dean’s hand, trying to get him to loosen his grip, she can’t breathe.
“I don’t know what you’re on about!” Eggsy yells back, her skin on fire, skirt around her hips now.
“Whose jacket is that then?” Dean demands, slamming her head back against the fridge. “Huh? Answer me!”
“No one! I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Eggsy screams, and he backhands her across the other cheek. She’s getting light-headed, her whole body shaking from exhaustion and adrenaline, and she wishes that he would just—do it. One way or the other just—
“Just tell him, Eggsy!” Mum begs, sobbing.
“I could kill you right now!” Dean shouts, grabbing the cleaver she knows he’s used to chop people’s hands with. He holds it against her chin. “Right now, right here, and no one in the whole world would notice!”
“I would,” Harry’s voice says, calm and unprovoked—and wonderful, she’s hallucinating now.
“I have enough evidence on your activities to have you locked up for the rest of your life, Mr. Dean Anthony Baker,” Harry continues. Dean’s grip loosens around her neck slightly as he twists around, looking for Harry, but the cleaver stays, ready to slice her throat, trembling, and Eggsy just holds still.
“So I suggest you leave the girl alone, or I shall be forced to deliver it to the proper authorities. Eggsy, meet me at the tailor I told you about,” he says.
Dean drops the knife and backs away, and Eggsy looks at her mother, who’s gesturing frantically for her to go, and then at the crib, where Daisy’s screaming still. Eggsy squares her shoulders, pulls her skirt back around her thighs, and walks towards the playpen, scooping Daisy up. Dean is staring, still looking around for Harry, and doesn’t seem to notice when Eggsy grabs her mother’s wrist until she’s got the door open. He lurches towards them and Eggsy turns around, pushing her mother out the door.
“Don’t,” she snaps, inhaling a shuddering breath. “Or I’ll tell him to do it.”
She’s got no idea if Harry’s still listening or not, but Dean’s uncertain enough that he just smirks at her, like he knows there’s nowhere they can run he won’t find them.
Eggsy shoves her mother out the door, holding Daisy close, and Rottie is, of course, right outside the door. Which Dean probably knew, and is why he let her have that one moment—
“Eggsy you fucking slag,” Rottie snarls, and Eggsy shoves Daisy at her mother.
“Go,” she says, and her mum nods and sprints down the stairs, the other idiots Harry bashed in ignoring her, sore about the beat-down and being denied what they were undoubtedly promised: Eggsy.
Eggsy’s legs are tired, and she wants to lay down and cry or shriek or possibly punch Harry Hart in his smug face, but she just looks at them, grins a little, blood bright and coppery in her mouth, and takes off running, jumping off the balcony and landing on the next building, running down the rails and over the stairs, meeting her mum at the bottom. They’re following, shouting and swearing, but by some fucking miracle there’s a cab circling around, and Harry’s coat has a black card in it that works perfectly well.
“Just—Kingsman Tailor,” Eggsy tells the driver. She pulls her phone out of her bra and texts Jordan and Chantelle—Alive, barely, don’t come home.
“Eggsy,” her mother says, cradling Daisy with shaking hands. “What the fuck?”
Eggsy slumps against the back of the seat, pulling the coat tighter around her, and says, “I don’t know.” She leans forward. “Actually—could you take us to a hotel close to that tailor? Price ain’t no object.”
The cabbie tells her not to worry—he’ll wait for her to come back out. He’s got a soft accent and his eyes get sad when he looks at her, and Eggsy tries to avoid looking at her own reflection, but she knows as soon as they get in the lobby that Mum’s going to have to do the talking.
“I look like shite,” she says, taking Daisy. “Just—fix your hair and hand her this card and you’ll be fine.”
Mum does it, though she looks like she expects to get thrown out, and the girl at the desk looks less reluctant to give a room when Mum explains Eggsy’s not staying.
“You could, though,” she says as the girl rings up the card. “You don’t have to—go. Eggsy, sweetheart.” Her eyes are welling up, her makeup already a wreck, and Eggsy kisses her cheek.
“I’ll be fine,” she says. “Alright here?”
“Yes, Mrs. Hart,” the girl says, handing Eggsy back the card, and Eggsy flushes and bites back her protests because, well. After getting bailed out of jail, that’s the nicest thing that’s happened all day.
“Eggsy—“ Mum starts, a different kind of frantic in her voice, and Eggsy says brightly,
“Enjoy the stay, I’ll call, yeah?” and heads back out to the cab.
“You sure you don’t want a hospital?” the cabbie asks when Eggsy climbs back in.
“I have to meet someone first,” she says. “Kingsman, please.”
The shop door is open, and Harry’s sitting with a tumbler full of amber liquid. She shoves the door open and stares down at him, gritting her teeth to keep her chin from trembling. He stands, face creasing when he takes in her injuries.
“The hell are you?” she asks, pleased her voice doesn’t break and she doesn’t cry because god, she’s so tired. “And don’t tell me a tailor, because that’s shit.”
“No,” he agrees. “I am sorry,” he adds, touching her lip regretfully where it split before turning away, leaving her with the faintest trace of heat that she instinctively puts her fingertips to. “Come this way.”
She follows him, but he walks into a dressing room and if he thinks for a second she’s going to let him—Christ, she’s so fucking tired.
“Come on in,” he calls, the way she’d encourage Daisy to get into the bath.
She steps in front of the mirror where he gestures. She wonders idly if he’s going to ask for that blowie, if he’s a kinky bastard who likes to watch himself get head.
“What do you see?” he asks.
She sees her face—hollowed out and ghastly, bruising and swollen where Dean hit her, the swell of her lower lip interrupted by an angry red line. Her makeup is smudged, and she tried to clean it up before going into that hotel, but it still looks faint. Her neck is purpling, and the swell of her tits just makes her look like a whore—the dress looks infinitely skimpier under Harry’s sturdy pinstripe jacket. She looks small in ways that have nothing to do with the fact that she’s wearing flats—her heels forgotten in Harry’s car. She looks like someone sucked the color out of her—like she’s fragile and broken in all the ways she’s always been afraid she was.
“Someone who wants to know what the fuck is going on,” is what she says, looking at his reflection, chin lifting because this is all she’s got: sheer bloodiness.
“I see a young woman with potential,” Harry says. “Who is loyal, can do as she’s asked, and wants to do something good with her life.
“Did you see the film Trading Places?” he asks, and she shakes her head—which frankly makes her a bit dizzy.
“How about Nikita?”
“Alright. My point is that the lack of a silver spoon has set you on a certain path, but you needn’t stay on it. If you’re prepared to adapt, and learn, you can transform.”
“Like Pretty Woman,” she says, wryly.
“Without the prostitution,” he agrees, smiling, and she can’t help the answering smile, tongue darting out to catch the blood when her lip opens. “Only, in this case I’m offering you the opportunity to become a Kingsman.”
“A tailor,” she says, lifting an eyebrow.
“A Kingsman agent,” he corrects, sounding very pleased with himself.
“Like a spy.” Classified, he’d said, and she should probably continue to be cross but it’s infectious, the spark of mischief. It’s fitting, she thinks, that twenty-four hours ago she thought everything might change, that it had to. It was—she’d been right, but in ways she’d had no way of knowing.
“Of sorts,” he allows, and then, with a wicked glint in his eye, “Interested?”
She turns around and looks at him. “My mum and sister.”
“I used your card,” she says, lifting it and holding it out to him.
He takes it and arches an eyebrow. “Where am I putting them up?”
“Grosvenor House,” she says blithely. “And they’re gonna stay there, and use that card, because you didn’t think at all about them, when you gave me an out, and he’d’ve hurt them to hurt me.”
He pauses, watching her, and then said, “You’re absolutely right, Eggsy. I would be happy to finance their stay.”
She frowns, then nods, forcing her face back to a neutral expression. “Then yeah. I’m interested.”
He nods, and the expression on his face isn’t a grin, not really, but there’s something—something about it that’s inviting her in on the joke.
“I suppose,” he says, after a second, “You’d like to wear something else.”
“Wouldn’t mind it,” she agrees.
“I hope you don’t mind, I took the liberty,” he says, gesturing to the chair in the corner. “Just knock when you’re ready, and we’ll continue.”
She waits a few seconds, and then a minute, until it’s clear he isn’t going to barge in on her—catch her half-naked and. She gets that this isn’t some kind of elaborate fetish, or if it is it’s barking, but shit like this doesn’t happen to Eggsy.
In the bags are—well, shit.
Two pairs of shoes: a set of trainers, and booties with three inch heels. Jeans, with a label she doesn’t even recognize. Bra and knickers—matching, lacy and gorgeous, and she flushes at the thought of Harry picking those out, something low in her stomach clenching, which is absurd because she still might punch him in the face.
They’re the exact blue of her nails, blue lace over yellow satin, fun and sexy and matching, the kind of lingerie she might have lingered over, longingly, in shops, unable to justify the expense. She indulges for just a moment, studying her reflection, how already she looks better, and she almost puts on the booties for effect. Thinks, as she twists in the mirrors, that this is the kind of lingerie you wear to be seen in, that you wear like a secret that will keep. The kind of lingerie a man buys a woman he wants to wrap up in his regard. Christ, she needs to stop reading Mills & Boon novels.
The shirt is a simple black tee, but there’s a black jacket to go over it, pseudo-military. She puts on the trainers, which delightfully have wings on them, and in the smaller bag finds make-up and hair ties. There’s nothing to be done for her hair, so she piles it in a loose knot on top of her head, and fixes up her eyeliner and mascara, hides the bruising with concealer and foundation, and passes over the pink lipstick for the darker crimson, which helps hide the split lip. When she looks in the mirror again she feels—like herself, a little more. Looks more like herself, in the faded and ripped up jeans, the popped collar of her jacket kissing her jawline. She sucks her teeth and then grins, jutting her hip out.
She looks well fit.
She knocks on the door and Harry comes back in, looking first at her, and then at the clothes she’d folded on the chair, and she doesn’t think she’s imagining the way his eyes hold over the slips of cheap lace and hint of strapless bra she’d been wearing.
“Shall we?” he asks.
“Let’s do this,” she agrees, and watches him press his hand to the mirror.
As the floor goes down, Harry explains what a Kingsman agent is, and what the agency does, and Eggsy wonders if maybe this is all a plot to take her to his secret lair at the center of the goddamn earth.
He has his own tube. Of course he has.
When they get out, the air smells different—Eggsy’s only been to the country a couple times, but it smells like that. Like grass, and she walks to the window, expecting to see—she doesn’t know.
But instead of grass, there are rows of cars and airplanes, and she stares in delighted wonder.
“Your father had the same look on his face,” Harry tells her, and then adds, “As did I.”
“Galahad,” a bald Scottish man says as they round the corner. He looks impossibly put together, and impossibly bored.
“My code name,” Harry explains, as the man looks at Harry and says, in a tone that manages to be affectless and annoyed all at once:
“Late again, sir.”
“Good luck,” Harry says, ignoring the reprimand entirely, all his attention focused on her, and she refuses to flush at all.
“In you go,” the other man agrees, gesturing, and Eggsy squares her shoulders, and pushes open the door.
There are eight other people in that room—two other girls, and six boys, at least three of whom curl their lips reflexively at her.
“Fall in,” the Scottish man says from behind her, and Eggsy stands next to the other two girls, falling to parade rest like the blonde one and listening to him as he explains that only one of them will be the next Lancelot, and that they should also fill out their bodybag information, and their next of kin’s information, so that Kingsman can apparently murder everyone if she breaks confidentiality. After explaining this in what she’s coming to understand is just the Kingsman affect of posh murder, he leaves.
Eggsy looks at the body bag and seriously, seriously considers writing Harry’s name on it, that absolute wanker. She’s functioning on no sleep, just got beat to shit, and she’s—what? Going up against these people? In competition? Christ. She’s a fucking ballerina.
“Roxanne,” the blonde girl introduces herself, smiling and extending her hand. “But, call me ‘Roxy’.” Posh, but friendly, Eggsy decides.
“Eggsy,” Eggsy says, taking her hand. Roxy leans in a little.
“Eggy?” she repeats, like she doesn’t want to offend if that is Eggsy’s name, but also can’t imagine how it could be.
“No, Eggsy,” Eggsy repeats, smiling a little to show she knows her name is ridiculous. Roxy’s lips twitch.
“Eggy?” one of the boys says, and Eggsy turns.
“Where’d they dig you up?” he asks, hands on hips as he leisurely looks her up and down, stopping at her tits for long seconds.
Eggsy can’t really blame him, even if he is looking to get smacked. Her tits look incredible in this bra.
“You know we’re not allowed to discuss who proposed us,” Roxy says, which is news to Eggsy, who’s starting to get the idea that Harry is just generally shite at everything except beating people up. What a wanker, she thinks fondly.
“No need to bite his head off, Charlie’s only making conversation, isn’t that right Charlie?” the blond boy says, sounding impossibly more posh than Charlie.
“I’m Digby,” the blond one says, extending his hand.
“Digby,” Eggsy repeats, almost incredulous because her nickname is absurd, but he seems completely unaware of the fact that he sounds like a twat.
“Eggy,” he agrees, “this is Rufus. Rufus, Eggy.”
Rufus has the expression the particularly inbred upper class have—the one that looks like someone’s taken a shit right under their nose.
Charlie hasn’t stopped staring at her, and Eggsy thinks if these idiots think they’re going to scare her—well. They’re idiots, and none of them, with all their money and public school educations, could summon up a tenth of the ingenuity Dean’s got for real intimidation.
“So, Eggy, where have we met?” Rufus asks, placid and sneering.
“Don’t know you, mate,” she says blankly, widening her eyes. “Or maybe you just got one of those faces. You know. Easy to forget?”
She turns, then, and picks up the body bag, feels, rather than sees, them walk away, snorting dismissively.
“Don’t mind them,” the other girl says, coming over and standing between Eggsy and the boys. “Need a pen?”
“Cheers,” Eggsy says, taking it.
“Amelia, isn’t it?” Roxy asks, and Amelia nods, smiling, before squeezing Eggsy’s hand and walking over to her own bunk.
Eggsy looks down at the body bag information, and wonders how fucked she’d be if she did write Harry’s name.
“It’s just scare tactics,” Roxy says, gently, misunderstanding Eggsy’s hesitation. “Nobody’s going to die.”
Behind them, the three grand wankers laugh, and Eggsy rolls her eyes and writes Harry’s name in ‘Next of Kin’. “Shame,” she says, and Roxy grins at her.
She falls asleep as soon as it’s lights-out and wakes up just as quickly, disoriented, and hits her light right before the others. There’s water—Christ, the whole room is filling up.
“Loo snorkels!” Charlie shouts, like that means anything.
Eggsy stares at him, but the others are agreeing, nodding and heading for where the toilets are. Even Roxy’s agreeing, shouting about shower heads and everyone except Amelia is swimming towards them. Eggsy glances at the door, and then swims for it—but that won’t work, there’s too much water pressure and that door opened in, not out.
She turns around, looking at everyone else—breathing? maybe? and then thinks if it’s a test—someone must be watching. And when she’s up to the mirror she presses her finger to it—no gap in her finger’s reflection, just like that one-way mirror in the bar. She grabs hold of the faucet and slams her heels into it. Her feet are screaming in protest, and a blister pops on impact. The window shudders, and the water makes everything sluggish, but she rears back and does it again, and this time it cracks.
Her lungs are on fire, and they’re all just—frozen, watching like absolute dickheads, as she slams her heels in one last time and the glass breaks, sending her rushing into the room beyond, choking and gasping for air as everyone else lands on top of her.
When they all climb up Roxy leans over and pulls Eggsy’s shirt down over her bra, patting her stomach in a friendly kind of way, tactile like every other girl Eggsy’s fallen in with.
“You weren’t really told what you were doing, were you?” she whispers as they stand up, like she thinks Eggsy might have picked a sports bra like Roxy had she known.
“Thought I’d sleep my way to the top,” Eggsy whispers back, And Roxy knocks her shoulder into Eggsy’s grinning before looking up as Merlin starts talking, congratulating them for surviving, every one of them.
Every one except Amelia, and Eggsy presses closer to Roxy, who looks stunned. Eggsy thinks she’s going to be sick—she hadn’t even looked for Amelia.
Merlin’s eyes drop to Eggsy’s bleeding feet. “Unwin, do you require medical attention?” he snaps, and she straightens, shaking her head.
“Plaster and I’ll be fine,” she says, because she’s been through worse en pointe—this is nothing, just likely to make a mess in her shoes. He nods, and opens the door to yet another barracks, identical to the first.
“You did well,” Roxy offers as they change into dry clothes. It’s only one in the morning. Maybe they’ll get five more hours of sleep—Christ she hopes it’s five more hours.
“You too,” Eggsy says. “I didn’t know—about the loo thing.”
Roxy shrugs, and they both glance at the empty cot next to hers. “How’re your feet? Did you get cut up?”
Eggsy shakes her head. “No, this is—last night, new shoes, out longer than I should have been. I’ve had worse, it’s just a mess. It’s been a fucking wretched couple of days,” she admits, sitting on the bed and applying the plaster that was sitting on her bed, like someone had anticipated she’d need it.
Roxy reaches out and gently touches Eggsy’s bruised cheek. “Boyfriend?” she asks carefully, because that’s such a minefield, innit? Asking a girl about her bruises, the ones she covers so carefully.
“My mum’s. We got away, but.”
“If you want,” Roxy offers, smiling a dark, terrifying smile, “after all of this—I’ll go with you and we’ll beat the shit out of him.”
Eggsy looks at her in wonder. She’s never had—she’s never met anyone like Roxy before, who’s so comfortable with her own violence. Eggsy’s always had to hide hers—that red rush of absolute murder that sings through her veins every so often. Learned to compromise, be small and fragile—broken already so there’d be no fun in breaking her further. She learned to be pretty, and graceful, transmuting that power into dance, until no one suspected anything.
Here, though—Maybe here she doesn’t have to hide it.
She picks the pug, mostly because it whimpers at her and Eggsy has always, always been weak to anything that’s needed her, and she thinks Daisy’d like it.
“A pug,” Roxy says. “You know they’re—stubborn, and not good runners.”
“Not his fault,” Eggsy says, and Roxy just purses her lips around a grin and says,
“Well, never let it be said you take the easy way out.”
They’re sitting on the lawn after lunch, playing with the puppies—Roxy’s calling her poodle “Scout”, which Eggsy thinks is fairly typical.
“Oh what are you calling yours, then?” she demands, and Eggsy lifts up her puppy, who tries to lick her face and barks at her.
“JB,” she decides. “Like 24—Jack Bauer.”
“Oh my God, Eggsy,” Roxy chokes, laughing into Scout’s fur.
One of the technicians—mostly invisible to the recruits, walks towards them.
“Ms. Unwin, if you’d follow me? Leave the dog,” he says, and Eggsy frowns, handing Roxy JB’s lead. “It’s Galahad,” the tech says. “There’s been an accident.”
Eggsy’s stomach plummets, and when she pushes the infirmary door open Harry’s laying in bed with a neck brace and tubing, a faint, ominous beeping.
“Is he gonna be alright?” she asks Merlin, staring at Harry. It seems—very, very wrong, for him to be so still.
“We need to have patience, Eggsy, alright? But there’s hope. If I were you I’d concentrate on your training. Make it through the tests, make him proud,” Merlin says, leaning into her, gentle and reassuring. Eggsy nods, still staring, watching the monitors blip regularly. That must be a good sign, she thinks. Regular, and all. That’s—fuck. Harry.
Roxy hands her JB quietly, and sticks by her side until they go through the next test. Eggsy focuses, because she learned to do that—to shove away all the ugly and reach for perfection, but when she’s still again she sees Harry Hart, who fights like a dancer and always looks like he has a wicked joke he’d love to share and who seems to have ensured that, along with a clean uniform, Eggsy always has lovely, expensive lingerie to tuck underneath the plaid.
It’s a long time before she falls asleep, and when she wakes up it’s to water, and she shouts, flailing for the light. Above her, with JB barking frantically, Charlie is laughing, bucket in hand, and Eggsy lunges, clawing her pointed nails down his cheek and drawing blood.
“Fucking cunt!” Charlie snarls, and his boys aren’t laughing now, are they.
“Don’t, Eggsy, don’t!” Roxy yells, pulling her back, pushing herself between them, one hand fisted in Eggsy’s pajama top.
“She clawed my fucking face!” Charlie shouts, his hand clapped over the bleeding.
“Charlie, fuck off,” Roxy snaps, shoving at him. Roxy’s probably only 5’3, but that still makes her three inches taller than Eggsy, a barrier, and Eggsy can’t help thinking that that’s lovely.
“Looks better that way,” Eggsy tells Charlie, scooping up JB and shushing him.
“Bitch,” Digby spits venomously, and Eggsy grimaces down at her soaked bed.
“Sleep in that one,” Roxy says, carefully not saying “Amelia’s” because Amelia never slept in that bed, in this barrack, but they both think of it as hers, and besides, Eggsy doesn’t want to find out that it’s some kind of penalty if she slept in another bed.
There are tests to ace, written ones and verbal ones, maths and shooting and races and obstacle courses. When Merlin flat-out ignores the scratches on his cheek and fails to discipline Eggsy, Charlie’s venom turns blistering. He insults her family, insinuates she must have sucked her mentor’s cock to get put up—she doesn’t say it was close, doesn’t think about the lace knickers she’s wearing and the heat that spikes through her when she puts them on, knowing Harry picked them out.
The thing is, if Harry had wanted her, like that—he could have had her. In the car after he picked her up at the station, or in the bar, or at the tailor’s, in the dressing room. But he hadn’t wanted that, her body in trade for this opportunity, and she’s insulted on his behalf. Harry Hart can be a right shit, but he’s not—entitled. He’s not like any man she’s ever met—not in real life, anyway. She’d expected him to be more like, well. Like Charlie, who reaches out to snap the line of her knickers when they’re showing while changing for bed. He’s not, and the fact that he hasn’t woken up yet is torturing her.
“I’m going to kill him,” Eggsy tells Roxy, sitting out on the grass and eating lunch. They eat outside a lot, letting the dogs run loose.
“He’s mad you’ve done so well,” Roxy dismisses.
“He’s not fondling you,” Eggsy shoots back, and Roxy’s smile drops off her face.
“What,” she says flatly.
“The night shooting. I was focused on you, he was focused on my tits.”
“How can Merlin let this go on?” Roxy demands. “He must not know, Eggsy you have to tell him.”
“Tell me what?” Merlin asks, crouching behind them.
“Eggsy’s being sexually harassed,” Roxy says, and Eggsy glares at her.
Merlin’s posture goes stiff and he looks at her. “What?” He sounds—dangerous. The way Harry had when he’d been threatening Dean.
“It’s just—nothing I can’t handle,” Eggsy dismisses. “Boys being dickheads.”
“Harry’s awake,” Merlin says abruptly. “He wants to see you. Ms. Langston, I’d like to have a word,” he adds, and Roxy nods. Eggsy glares at her pointedly, calling for JB, and Roxy just widens her eyes.
Don’t, Eggsy mouths, and clips on JB’s leash, heading back to the infirmary knowing Roxy is absolutely going to tell Merlin everything, because Roxy’s the kind of girl who, when she makes allegations like that, gets listened to. No one accuses her of asking for it, dismisses her out of hand. Roxy expects something to be done, and maybe it will be. The world works different for girls like Roxy.
Eggsy shoves open Harry’s door.
“Ever heard of knocking?” Harry asks, standing and looking in the mirror, clean shaven, and Eggsy’s stomach flips. She doesn’t cry in relief, or throw herself at her, and that alone should probably win her this whole Kingsman thing.
“Only when I’m casing a place to rob,” she says, instead of “You’re standing!” which is what she wants to say. “Merlin says you wanted to see me?” she prompts, keeping her voice level, casual.
It’s fine, she’s not—excited, or thrilled, or whatever. It’s fine. Whatever. Harry’s awake.
JB barks at him, probably sensing Eggsy’s stress, and Harry turns around, leaning back against the sink casually as he says, “I hope JB’s training is going as well as yours is.”
Eggsy wonders if he asked Merlin how she was progressing, if it was one of the first things he asked, and then mentally rolls her eyes at herself because God, shut up Unwin.
“JB, sit,” she says, and JB sits, beaming up at Harry, and Eggsy smirks.
“Congratulations on making it to the final six candidates,” Harry says, walking towards her, nodding to the monitor. Christ, Roxy’s photo looks like a glamour shot and Eggsy looks like booking shot. Oh Christ—it is her booking shot. Fuck.
“Your test results were even better than I could have hoped,” he continues, looking at her, and he smiles. His hair’s too long, and he’s wearing a red dressing robe and his voice isn’t dangerous, right now. It’s fond and warm and it does things to her—like makes her want to curl up in his lap while he plays with her hair and keeps talking to her in just that voice.
She just smiles, hoping that the heat she feels in her cheeks hasn’t turned into something as embarrassing as a blush, because she hasn’t blushed since she was six and she’s not about to start.
There’s a knock on the door, and Harry raises his eyebrows as though to say “See? Knocking” as he points at the door and says, “Come in.”
“Ah,” Merlin says. “Eggsy.” Her relief at being interrupted before she makes a complete twat of herself is overshadowed almost immediately. She can see in his face, the tight, protective look he’s got on, that Roxy’s told him everything. “I need to have a private conversation, you’re dismissed.”
Oh Christ, is he going to tell Harry?
“Nonsense,” Harry says. “Let her observe, she might learn a thing or two.”
Merlin pauses, glancing at her, and then sighs. “As you wish,” he says, and turns to the monitor. “Take a look at this.”
It’s Harry’s missing footage, clearly he turned it over to Merlin, and—
“Fucking hell!” she swears, jerking back. “That is rank, Harry.” It should probably bother her more, she thinks, that he blew a man’s head up. It should probably not be hot in the least. “You blew up his head? It’s a bit much, innit?”
“Actually,” Merlin says, dry and almost like he’s surprised not to put the blame of this on Harry’s shoulders, “the explosion was caused by an implant in his neck. Here, under the scar,” he says, zooming in. It’s fucking glowing.
They watch the footage—Eggsy’s surprised, well, not really surprised to find that middle-aged men don’t watch tech announcements, but then Harry’s goading Merlin into making him someone worth kidnapping so he can bait Valentine into—revealing his evil plot, or some bullshit.
“Right,” Merlin agrees. “We do need to have that private conversation, now,” he says. “Eggsy, if you’ll excuse us.”
There’s nothing she can say, really. “Please don’t tell him, I’ll handle it—I can handle it” or “It’s not my fault.” She doesn’t think Harry will think it’s her fault, is the thing, no more than Merlin does.
But if he does, if his opinion of her changes, and he never smiles at her like that again because of fucking Charlie, that cunt, she won’t be able to bear it.
Harry shifts, brushes past Merlin and pulls her arm through his, walking her all fifteen steps to the door, opening it. “I am very proud,” he tells her, leaning down to catch her gaze, smiling again. “And not at all surprised by what you’ve accomplished. You are exceptional, Guinevere, and it is a privilege to watch you.”
“Thank you, Harry,” she manages, soft and small, fingers tightening around JB’s lead to keep from clutching at Harry. She allows herself one smile, warm and sweet and too-revealing, before heading back to the barracks so she can scream into her pillow.
She thinks she hears, as the door swings shut, Merlin muttering, “Christ.”
Charlie’s gone by dinner that night, and Digby and Rufus glare at Eggsy but don’t say anything. Roxy’s almost daring them to, but Merlin must have convinced them that they’re all under surveillance—which they aren’t, Eggsy knows now, because if Merlin hadn’t known about Charlie, there aren’t as many cameras as they’ve been led to believe. Maybe there are more, now, though. She doesn’t imagine Merlin liked finding out what’d been going on under his nose.
They haven’t long to worry about them, though, because after the parachute test they’re both gone, along with Hugo, and then it is, incredibly, just Eggsy and Roxy.
Merlin looks almost pleased—or as pleased as he ever is.
“Your mission is to use your NLP training to win over the individual in your photograph. And when I say ‘win over’, I do mean in the biblical sense,” Merlin tells them.
Eggsy looks at the invitation, and then at her photo. He’s posh-looking, cleaned up, blonde, good smile, crooked teeth.
“No problem,” Eggsy says, because Roxy is the kind of girl boys like this marry, but Eggsy is the kind they fuck.
“We’ll see about that,” Roxy tells her, grinning.
They’re allowed to go shopping, down in what is apparently a mall on the third level of Kingsman HQ.
Roxy picks out a blue dress, tasteful and gorgeous, and knickers and panties that match. Posh, and elegant, and she’s done in about ten minutes. Eggsy, on the other hand, browses.
“You already have a vast collection of lingerie,” Roxy points out.
“I need something special, though,” Eggsy protests.
“Where does all of it come from?” Roxy asks mildly, rifling through the lacy, sheer lingerie. Eggsy plucks out a set that’s strappy, black and sheer in the right places. “That’s not even—Eggsy, seriously?” Roxy demands, and Eggsy grins.
“We’re supposed to know him biblically,” Eggsy reminds her. “I’m making that easy.”
She picks out a dress that flares out, pink tule peeking out from under the skirt, sheer panels belying the conservative neckline.
“Christ,” Roxy mutters as Eggsy straps on her heels.
“Threatened, Rox?” Eggsy asks, standing up and studying her reflection.
“No, but only because you’re going to have an impossible time hitting on the mark when you’re fending off everyone else who wants to date rape you,” Roxy says flatly, sitting in front of one of the vanities and trying not to laugh.
“You’d save me, though, right?” Eggsy asks, sitting beside her. Christ, this dress has nothing in the way of modesty.
“Not if it meant throwing the challenge,” Roxy says. “You’re on your own.”
The mark, whose name is Arthur, is, in fact, lovely. Broad shoulders and golden hair, sharp cheekbones and a kind of entitled confidence that translates well. Roxy gets to him first, leaning against the bar and pretending to roll her ankle, and he smiles and crouches down to examine it. Eggsy moves in on the other side, ordering a drink and perching on one of the stools, and she feels the moment he looks from Roxy’s legs to hers, follows them up to the curve of her ass, barely hidden in pink tulle.
“Hello,” he says, and Eggsy smiles at him.
“Hey,” she says, and his smile goes crooked, predatory.
“You here alone?” he asks, and she smiles and shrugs and says,
“Is service always slow here? One of my friends said it’s great, but I’ve been waiting and—“
“Here, let me,” he says, and gets the attention of the frankly furious-looking bartender, who glares at him but comes up with two glasses of champagne. He’s cute too, actually, cheekbones kicking it right off, blue eyes, curly black hair falling into them when he looks down. She thinks, though, he’s more interested in Arthur than he’d be in her, and anyway he’s not the target.
“How is your leg?” Arthur asks Roxy, who smiles and says,
“No, it’s fine, I’m so embarrassed,” as she accepts the flute of champagne. He turns, and hands the other to Eggsy, letting his fingers slide along hers, his thigh pressing against her knee.
Grinning, he lifts his own tumbler of scotch on the rocks—which Eggsy is extremely weak to, and this might not be a problem at all, sleeping with him. “Cheers,” he says, clinking with each of them and Eggsy makes a face—the champagne tastes rank.
“Not your usual?” he asks, and she shrugs and says,
“I mean, it’s not a scotch, isit?”
He laughs, surprised, and Roxy glares at her, then frowns and rubs her forehead. The lights seem brighter, and Eggsy turns to look at them.
“Oops, there you are,” Arthur murmurs as she collapses against him. “I’ve got you.”
“Roxy,” she mumbles, trying to force her eyes open.
“Her too,” he agrees.
She comes to tied to a bloody train track. An actual train track, with rope, like she’s in a bloody Keystone Komedy film. She doesn’t know the fucking ugly tosser standing over her, thinning hair slicked back, trench coat buttoned up, knife casually gripped—and able to see right up her skirt. Fantastic. Well, not right up it, her legs are tied together.
“This knife can save your life,” the man tells her. “I just have two questions for you: what the fuck is Kingsman, and who’s Harry Hart?”
At the other end of the tunnel, a train sounds and the tunnel starts getting brighter, and Eggsy starts struggling. Shit, fuck—
“I don’t know who the fuck that is,” she says, trying to find give, squirming, trying to pull—she doesn’t know, she’s small, so maybe she can go under the train, can that—can you do that?
“Come on, Eggsy, I just killed your pretty little friend, don’t give me the same bullshit answer.”
Fuck, Roxy, fuck.
“Fuck!” she screams, the train’s getting closer and she can’t look away—wants to close her eyes but she just can’t. “Please—just, cut the ropes, please!”
“Hey, hey!” he snaps, annoyed that he’s lost her attention, which is fucking absurd because she’s about to get run over by a bloody train and he wants her to look at him? “Eggsy! Is Kingsman worth dying for?” he demands.
“Fuck!” she screams, eyes slamming shut as the train barrels towards her, because it is, because she’s just a girl, small and insignificant really, in the scheme of it all.
Kingsman is huge, it protects people, the world, and there’s Harry—and even if she didn’t give a fuck about Kingsman, Harry’d said, ages ago, he’d asked her if she’d be able to keep her mouth shut. And she’d promised, she’d promised on her life, and she’s going to make good on that now, shit she didn’t even tell Mum where she was—and then she’s fine.
She can hear it, right on top of her, but she’s fine, and then the track fucking moves and it’s Harry standing there with the knife in hand.
“Congratulations,” Harry says. “Very well done.”
“Roxy?” Eggsy gasps.
“Passed with flying colors,” Harry says, kneeling down to cut the ropes.
“Good,” Eggsy agrees, and Harry nods, smiling down at her.
“No I’m not fucking alright, I almost got run over by a train!” she snaps, struggling to her feet. Her heel sinks into the gravel, knocking her off balance, and Harry grips her elbow, steadying her, his other hand big and warm on the small of her back.
“You were splendid,” he says, warm and intimate in her ear, and Eggsy thinks, fuck, she’s well and truly fucked, because Arthur was beautiful and her age and it wouldn’t have been a chore to fuck him. But she didn’t want him, not the way she wants Harry.
Merlin’s waiting for them, with Roxy and her mentor, who’s apparently called Percival. Roxy and Eggsy nod—Roxy looks incredibly put together and poised, but then she’s had longer to get herself under control. Eggsy only pulls slightly away from Harry when Merlin’s eyes drop to the solicitous hand Harry still has on the small of her back.
“From now on, there are no safety nets,” Merlin says. “You have 24 hours. Eggsy, you should know: your father reached this point.”
Eggsy nods, and glances at Roxy, who nods slightly back. They’re still in competition with each other, and Eggsy’s father got here, and no further. She wonders if her Mum will get a second medal, a favor from Kingsman.
“Dismissed,” Merlin says.
Harry takes her back via his personal tube, which makes her laugh, and hands her wet wipes, which makes her laugh harder. She wipes off her legs and hands of the soot, shifting to look at the dress.
“I think the dress is a lost cause,” she says.
“Pity,” Harry lies, and Eggsy laughs.
She wonders what Harry would have picked--if it would have been posh and slinky like Roxy's or sweet, maybe a little 50's--something expensive and this is a very dangerous game she's playing, all this wondering.
Harry's study is red, tidy, and papered with reminders that he is invisible. She wonders if it's not just a bit masochistic. If Harry needs to be reminded to be invisible, or if he did once upon a time, and now it's habit. She notices that he doesn't have his birth announcement anywhere, and of course there's no marriage notice because Harry seems a bit like one of those confirmed bachelors, only not as a euphemism for being gay, but maybe more of a slut.
But none of that means anything, because if Harry’s a gentleman, Eggsy’s still not—she’s not Roxy. Her name’s been in the paper for the ballet, she’s been mentioned in articles about the estate, was in the paper for her father’s obituary.
“I’m no lady, Harry,” she says, and tries not to be sad about that—or at least not to let on she might be, because now she’s so close to the end of the thing she just—she doesn’t see a way to win. Not against Roxy, who probably does have a title somewhere, tucked in her back pocket.
“Nonsense. It has nothing to do with the circumstances of one’s birth. It’s something one learns.”
Eggsy shifts in her seat, crossing her legs. It’s the adrenaline, she thinks, mostly—and the way he’s sitting, giving her his full attention, and how she’s wearing the lingerie he’s picked out for her, getting it wet, and she goes for wide-eyed ingenue, like she’s not wondering what he’d do if she dropped down to her knees in front of him.
Suddenly it seems like a really, really good idea to do that, actually.
“Yeah but how?” she asks, trying to distract herself back into the task at hand. Her dad died at this point in the training, and it’s possible ninjas or something’s gonna break in through the window.
“All right, first lesson: you should have asked me before you took a seat,” Harry says, and his eyes are dark and watchful, and Eggsy’s heart is hammering, the air tinged with that feeling she’d had right before she’d taken Rottie’s keys. Like the whole of her future was yawning in front of her and she was gonna be fucked if she didn’t fuck it up first.
“Yes, Harry,” she says, tries it on, sliding her thighs together a little, thrilling when his eyes drop to the expanse of her thigh on display, taking the long way back up to her face. Like he’s not afraid to be caught looking, like it’s another lesson, or a gift, something else she ought to be grateful for. Christ she’s so wet and he hasn’t even touched her. She’s fucked.
Harry smiles and stands. “We should get you out of those filthy clothes,” he says, crossing and offering her his hand—huge, even more when she puts hers in it. She’s fucking tiny next to him, now that she’s kicked her heels off in his front hall the top of her head doesn’t even clear his shoulder, and that’s—good. Lovely. Fucking great.
“Yes, Harry,” she agrees, but he doesn’t move, and she looks up at him, deliberate, through her lashes. He’s looking down at her, small smile tucked up into the corner of his mouth, eyes dark and Eggsy thinks—fuck it.
“Can—no. May I?” she asks, leaning up on tip-toes, stretching so her chest presses against his biceps, tilting her face up at him.
“Guinevere,” he groans, and she thrills a little at that.
“I’m asking first,” she says. “Please, Harry?”
She feels like she’s been waiting for this forever, and when Harry finally pulls her in, sealing their mouths together, it’s like she can breathe, or laugh, or run. Like she’s not done, not anymore—like she’s 23 and the whole world and her whole life are ahead of her.
Harry slides his hand into the wreck of her hair, grips and tugs, possessive, tilting her head how he wants her, the other hand sliding across her hip, down her spine and pausing—and it is only a pause, the promise of more in the stretch of his fingers—at the small of her back.
Eggsy fists her hands in the perfectly ironed expanse of his crisp white shirt, clinging. She hasn’t kissed anyone like this in years—not with intent, not like the first kiss of many, more than a way to get into bed. Though fuck, she wants that too, ravenous for Harry, to have him over her. Harry tastes a bit like whiskey, like he had a drink earlier, maybe while she was trussed up on the tracks, and something else, and she chases that taste, then goes slack when Harry drags his teeth along her lower lip. His hand feels huge and hot on her lower back, pulling her tight against him.
He shifts, sliding that hand lower and lifting her up, and Eggsy wraps her legs around his hips, settling and god, she could just rub off on him here, and the thought makes her choke, catch her breath and pull back for oxygen. Harry doesn’t even pause, just immediately shifts, dragging lips and teeth down the line of Eggsy’s neck — teeth grazing her throat and they’re moving, but Eggsy can’t—just shifts and wraps an arm around Harry’s neck, the other in his hair, trying not to grind against him like a complete slag.
She holds out until Harry starts them walking, carrying her like she’s nothing, still pressing kisses along her jaw, to the corners of her lips, the hollow of her throat. It’s the walking that does it, the shift of his hips under her thighs and his belt buckle pressing against her, and god she’s so fucking wet, the skirt of her dress rucked up against her thighs, no barrier at all, and Harry feels so hot, so good, all taut muscle and banked violence and Eggsy makes a choked sound, hips rolling just once. Harry rewards that with a low sound like a growl along her collarbone and his fingers digging into her arse, and so she does it again, heady with it. Pressing her clit against the lace of her panties, catching in a rough drag as she rolls her hips against him, gasping a little.
“Harry,” she manages. “Harry, please.”
“Hush, darling,” he murmurs, putting her down, sliding down the front of her, hands hot under her skirts. Eggsy feels like she’s going to combust, and then Harry’s unbuttoning the back of her dress deftly, pulling it off her shoulders and following the dress down with his mouth, pressing open-mouthed kisses to the hollow between her breasts, down her navel, to the underside of her belly. They’re in his bedroom, and once her dress is on the floor he presses her back, spreading her out on the bed, legs still hanging off the side.
He pauses, lifting up from pressing attention to the jut of her left hipbone, to survey her panties. Eggsy lifts her hips, but Harry presses her down again, smiling and laving hot, wet kisses against the fabric over her clit.
“H-Harry—“ Eggsy gasps as he lingers, tongue sliding under the rough edge of the lace, dragging down the seam of her, fucking in where she’s hot and wet and so ready.
She shrieks when he sucks her clit into his mouth, sliding the thumb of one of his hands into her, just a tease, and Eggsy is writhing on the bed, her shoulders curling up, choking back sounds.
“Has no one ever done that for you?” he asks, and she seriously contemplates shoving his face back down because who cares if no one else—they never did it that well, what is he, fishing for compliments? Eggsy’s had exactly one boyfriend who did that, did the ABC’s with his tongue and it felt like getting poked with one of those big rubber erasers, and she’s never let anyone else—just always said she’d rather blow them or get them inside her.
“Harry please,” she says, and doesn’t miss that—the way his eyes flash, the way his fingers tighten on her hips and thighs. He lowers his face, though—indulging, she thinks, rewarding her for asking so nicely—and sucks hard on her clit, follows it with teeth and tongue and the sudden burning stretch of two fingers inside her cunt, crooking them forward and Eggsy sits up, she comes so hard, whole body tensing, fingers ripping at the sheets to keep from tearing at his hair.
“Lovely,” Harry says, fucking his fingers lazily in and out of her as he leans up her body, placing haphazard kisses wherever he feels like it, pausing to worry one of her nipples until it’s red and raw. He’s still fully dressed, tie and suspenders and white shirt only a little mussed, and she doesn’t fucking care. Clenches her pussy around his fingers, rolling her hips and gasping high in her throat when he presses his thumb in small tight circles around her clit. “You react so beautifully, darling girl,” he tells her, pulling his fingers out of her. She looks up at him, and when he presses his slick, drenched fingers to her lips she opens, licks herself off of him, bobs her head and pushes his fingers to the back of her throat. Doesn’t break eye contact, and Harry slides his fingers out and grips her jaw.
“Show me, Guinevere,” he says, sitting on the bed, pulling away from her and unzipping his trousers. “You’ve been so patient,” he continues, “and I’ve been denying you. Did you want this in my office?”
Eggsy goes to her knees between his legs, less graceful than she’d like to be. “Yes,” she says, as he pulls out his cock, and then, because she can’t help it—“Yes.”
Harry Hart is—Christ, huge. Fat like a Coke can, and when she wraps a hand around her fingers don’t quite meet her thumb.
If there was a plan, at all, she loses it when he says, “Hands behind your back, Guinevere.”
He guides her with gentle caresses, tilting her face up, fingers sliding along the underside of his jaw as he fucks into her mouth, giving her a few moments just to taste him, to become intimately acquainted with how sore her jaw is going to be.
Harry is so carefully controlled, each thrust short, but every pull still makes her drool, precome and spit sliding down her chin and dripping down her tits. She can’t swallow it, can’t swallow around it, no matter how Harry tells her she’s good, perfect, doing so well.
“Just a little more, darling,” he murmurs as she pants against his thigh, gasping for breath, guiding her by the chin back down on his cock, relentless until he’s at the back of her throat. He pauses, and she looks up, up at his fond face, almost innocent like he was right before he beat Rottie and the lads to absolute shit, and Eggsy shudders. And then his cock is deep in her throat, using her, choking her, and Eggsy moans and tries to cough and Harry just puts his hand around her throat to feel her working frantically to swallow around him, to open enough for him.
He lets her bob her head down on him a few times before pulling her off. “Later,” he promises. “But right now, I’d like to have you.” He presses his thumb to her swollen lips, and she sucks on it just to watch him inhale sharply before he pulls back and reaches for his shirt.
He lets her help—shoes and socks and trousers and boxer briefs coming off in a flurry, and Eggsy’s always loved this, watching the way people change when their clothes come off. How they seem so much more honest without them, and Harry’s no different, though she thinks he’s just—more, somehow. Like everything that makes Harry dangerous and infuriating is all him, and without the suits and the glasses and the oxfords he’s somehow more so, and Eggsy is so hungry for him her mouth is dry.
Harry lifts her up, arranges her on the bed, in his bed, and she stretches out under him, hair spread on the pillows and she feels like a movie star, reckless and greedy as she pulls him down for a kiss while he slides his fingers back into the hot clutch of her cunt, three now, working her deliciously.
She pulls back to gasp, “Harry, I don’t think we’ll fit,” widening her eyes and making her voice breathy and high, and for just a moment he looks like he’s trying to figure out how to respond to that, and then realizes she’s laughing at him.
“Brat,” he admonishes, nipping at the underside of her jaw, and she laughs louder, tilting her head back a little, and opening for him, where he’s deep in her and fucking her open, making space for his cock. He keeps his thumb idly sparking over her clit, no pattern, nothing to keep her going, just casually driving her mad, trailing kisses along her chest.
And then he just keeps—doing that. Makes no move to fuck up into her, even though she can feel his cock, hot and leaking against her thigh. She can’t even reach for it, because he’s got her fucking frenzied, kneading the sheets and fisting her own hair, arching up against him, offering—anything. Everything. Brings her ruthlessly to the edge of coming and then backs off, takes his thumb away from her clit, stills the fingers inside her, sucks idly at a nipple. She’s going to go fucking insane.
“Please, Harry,” she finally manages, almost tearful. “Please, Harry, will you fuck me?”
“Darling, of course,” he says, indulgent, and she’d slap him if he wasn’t—Christ.
Harry feels huge and like a fucking fist stretching her open, making room for himself deep inside her, rearranging her to accommodate him, and hurts and burns and aches and Eggsy wraps her legs around his hips and sobs in relief, shuddering around him—not quite coming, but maybe a little, one of those rumbling orgasms that leaves her jelly but ultimately unsatisfied, still chasing it.
She feels like a secret, kept from the world by the stretch of Harry over her, inside her, and she laughs from the sheer joy of the thing, scratching her fingernails across Harry’s shoulders, his back, and Harry catches her laughing mouth in a kiss that leaves her dizzy, breathless.
“Perfect,” Harry murmurs, fucking her brutally, now, the wet sound of it filling the room, the hot clutch of her cunt around him and his balls against her ass, bending her in half and looking so pleased to pin her knees around her ears. “You’re absolutely perfect, Guinevere.”
Eggsy can feel herself starting to tremble, toes curled and cunt tightening, milking Harry's cock. She feels like she's going to break apart, like she'll shatter if she lets go, and doesn't realize she's shaking her head until Harry hushes her, presses a tender kiss to the skin under her ear.
“It’s all right,” he murmurs. “Come now, darling girl.”
When Eggsy resurfaces, Harry’s behind her, tucked up against her and fucking his fingers into the sore, fucked out mess of her pussy.
“Reckless, Harry,” she reprimands roughly, shifting her thighs and pushing her ass out to give him better access, and he laughs and kisses the nape of her neck. He’s seen her tests, and she saw his while he was convalescing—apparently Merlin believed in taking advantage of Harry’s weakness to have medical run the full battery of tests: he has slightly high cholesterol.
“It’s a big day tomorrow,” Harry says, getting up with a sigh to—fetch a warm cloth, apparently. Eggsy watches, bemused, as he wipes them both down gently, and then pulls the sheets up over them, wrapping himself around her. “You ought to sleep.”
“But—“ she says, and he tugs her closer, kissing her.
“Say, ‘yes, Harry’,” he tells her.
Eggsy snorts. “Shove it, Harry,” she says, but sleeps anyway, because he’s exhausting.
Eggsy wakes up to midmorning sun streaming through the curtains, and Harry Hart watching her, idly rolling one of her nipples between his thumb and forefinger.
“Good morning,” he says, sounding smug and far too pleased with himself. His hair's a disaster, and it curls against his forehead, and Eggsy is unspeakably delighted to know that Harry’s hair has a bit of curl to it.
“Mornin’,” she says, arching up into the touch.
“When we have time,” he says, hand abandoning her tit to slide between her legs, brutally rubbing at her clit. Eggsy gasps and arches, cunt throbbing. “I’m going to lay between your thighs and lick you until you scream.”
He sucks her earlobe, and Eggsy comes apart like that. Harry smiles smugly.
“Unfortunately, this morning we have an appointment with the tailor. What do you fancy for breakfast?”
Eggsy stares at him as he gets up, reaching for his dressing robe and routing around in his own closet before draping a bit of sheer nothing at the foot of the bed—presumably for her. “What?”
“I’ll surprise you, then,” he decides, kissing her slack lips. “Clean up and then come down for breakfast—I’ll lay out your outfit.”
It’s not that she didn’t suspect, really, that Harry’d been picking out her lingerie all along, but it’s different, knowing he knows what she’s got between her legs, covering her tits. Different knowing the dress she’s wearing is something he’s picked out, thought about her wearing. Christ she’s horny.
She does up her makeup and then joins him for breakfast out on the terrace, overlooking the garden, because of course this is the life Harry bloody Hart lives. It’s the life that she wants, though—as much as she’s letting herself want anything. It’s hard, breaking that lifetime habit of disappointing herself before the world got to her.
“Are you ready for the test?” he asks, holding out her coat for her. They’ll head to Kingsman tailor, first, and then off to HQ for the final test.
“Yeah,” she says, grinning and tilting up for a kiss, which Harry gives her, mindful of her lipstick, though she still reaches up with her thumb to brush away a hint of pink. “Yeah, I think I’m good.”
Arthur looks smug, is the worst of it. Like he knew that she was going to fail, and it hurts so much when he says it. She feels small and foolish and she hasn’t felt that way in months, years, really. The thing is, she could see the point to the rest of it. Even yelling at Merlin for leaving her the only one without a chute, she’d understood the logic behind all that.
She can’t see—what’s the point of shooting her dog? No one’s life is on the line, here—she’s not plummeting to the ground or tied to bloody train tracks. She’s sitting in Kingsman, with Arthur and JB, and she’s supposed to shoot the dog. It’s not like she doesn’t know that an agent might run up against someone who betrays them, that you can’t let your emotions get the better of you, but it’s not like JB’s going around telling state secrets. JB’s looking at her like he’s done good, sitting, now where’s the biscuit?
So she fails, and feels like a little girl, scooping up her dog and walking out the door, staring blindly at the car—which is easy enough to take, only she’s got nowhere to go. Her mum’s still at the hotel, Dean’s got the flat, it’s not like she can go to Harry’s, and the car isn’t hers and—shit.
“Oh my god, Eggs, what the fuck,” Chantelle demands when Eggsy shows up on her doorstep.
“Can I stay with you tonight?” Eggsy asks. Chantelle hauls her in, introduces her briefly to her new boyfriend, Aamir, who looks like he probably has a job, which is a step up in the world for Chantelle. Chantelle pushes her into the bedroom, strewn with clothes, shoes and Mills & Boon novels, and says,
“What the fuck is you wearing?”
Eggsy laughs wetly, wiping at her eyes and letting Chantelle get her into the bath.
“Got one of those glitter bath things,” she says. “Can’t be sad when you’re sitting in glitter, babe.”
Eggsy has to agree—it’s at least hard to be miserable when the bath is purples and golds and blues, and Chantelle settles herself on the toilet and telling her all the gossip. Jordan, apparently, is in Glasgow, though what the fuck she’s doing there nobody seems to know, and Chantelle’s taking classes, just a couple, though there’s some bitch trying to get her to quit the program. “Could be a nurse, you know,” she says. “I did good in school, an all.”
Eggsy soaks for an hour or so, and Chantelle hovers, bundles her into a rough towel and then hugs her close.
“Who is he, then, ‘cause I’m gonna fuck him right up,” she says, and Eggsy shakes her head because shit, fuck, she doesn’t even want to think about Harry right now. Chantelle sighs and gives her pants and a shirt to wear to bed, and tucks her in, smoothing her hand along Eggsy’s damp hair.
“Whoever he was—whatever you been doing,” she says. “Not worth crying over, sweetheart.”
She stays until Eggsy falls asleep, wakes her up when it’s time for dinner and talks about the news she’s got from the estate.
“No listen Dean’s gone right off,” she says. “Completely mental, talking about some posh fucker who’s got his place bugged.” She laughs, delighted at the thought, and Eggsy’s stomach tightens, rejecting the curry.
“I’m gonna sleep some more,” she says, and Chantelle nods, worried again. Eggsy curls up in Chantelle’s bed, and JB whines at her, settling at her feet, and Eggsy thinks: Roxy killed her dog, and pulls JB closer, buries her face in his sweet fur while he licks at her worriedly.
The next morning they’re making breakfast in their underwear, arguing over eggs and whether the sausage has gone off. It’s not quite normal, even though she’s done this more times than she can count. She was only with Kingsman a few months, but she feels like it upended everything, shifted her whole world a couple of steps to the left and now that it’s gone she can’t get her footing again. Still, it’s familiar, and she’s desperately grateful for that, laughing and trying to shove the sausages into the trash while Chantelle yells that expiration dates are a government conspiracy, when there’s a knock on the door. Chantelle grabs her robe and opens the door on a posh-looking driver, who actually takes off his hat respectfully and says, “Car for Miss Unwin.”
Chantelle’s about to tell him that Eggsy’s not there, Eggsy can see it, but. But Harry’s money is paying for the hotel her mum and Daisy are staying at, and she might as well go let him shout at her. It’s not like she doesn’t deserve it.
She’s got a sick, twisting feeling in her stomach the whole ride over. Pissed at Harry for sending a car, and not coming himself. Pissed at herself for expecting it—expecting better, although Harry always has shown a personal interest, even before—he picked her up from the bloody station. And he what, can’t pick her up from Chantelle’s?
And fuck Kingsman, anyway. She’d made it as far as Dad did, and she didn’t die, and she failed because she wouldn’t shoot her sodding dog, and fuck them. JB licks her face in agreement, and by the time the car pulls into Harry’s drive, Eggsy’s not in the mood for any of it.
“You throw away your biggest opportunity,” Harry says, dripping disdain, as he comes down the stairs, “over a fucking dog.”
Considering that fucking dog is in Eggsy’s arms, trying to get to Harry so he can lave puppy kisses all over him, Eggsy’s thinking Harry can go fuck himself.
“And then you humiliate me by stealing my boss’s car,” he says, and well, she’s not sure how the fuck they expected her to get out if that car hadn’t been meant for her, and anyway, that’s alright, isn’t it? Arthur’s a fucking twat.
“You don’t get to talk to me like that,” she snaps, because she’s never let any of them talk to her like that—not a single one of her boyfriends ever got to yell at her like this, and Harry’s older, and posh, and yeah, Eggsy fucked up. But the last time she was in the same room with him he was kissing her neck, her fingertips, and he can’t take that back. He’s not her father, and he’s not just her—mentor, or whatever. “You tellin’ me you shot your dog?”
“Yes,” he says, and walks into his bathroom where fucking—fuck—“and Mr. Pickle here reminds me of that fact every time I take a shit!”
“You shot your dog and had him stuffed,” she says, while a part of her brain repeats wildly Mr. Pickle? and also that she fucked a man who shot his dog and then stuffed him. “You fucking freak.” Shit she knew she had bad taste in men but she thought—
“No, I shot my dog and then brought him home and continued to care for him for eleven years until he died of pancreatitis,” he snaps, completely derailing her, looking wildly aggravated.
“What?” she says blankly, staring at the dog and then him, still cradling JB protectively against her chest.
“It was a blank, Guinevere. It was a fucking blank,” he says, voice gone quieter. “Remember Amelia?”
“Yeah,” she says slowly, staring at the dog. Of course she remembers Amelia—she let Amelia die.
“She didn’t drown. She works in our tech department in Berlin. She’s fine,” he says dismissively, like he hasn’t wrenched the floor out from under her feet. “Limits must be tested. A Kingsman only condones the risking of a life to save another.”
“Like my dad saved your life even though your fuck-up cost his,” she says, stung by the fucking posh distance he’s got, keeping her away, at arm's length. Like the way the cops always talked to her, not quite invested, but got to try anyway. “What’ve you got him stuffed here and all?”
It’s a direct hit—he straightens, but goes softer, somehow. When he’s fighting, Harry’s all beautiful lines and sharp edges, and he’s not fighting her now. She wishes he would, because at least that she can fight back against, she’s just so fucking tired.
“Can’t you see that everything I’ve done has been about trying to repay him?” he asks softly, and she feels it like a punch to the gut. Right. All about Dad, then, not about her, not—fuck. Stupid, how many times can she make that mistake? Boys who fucked her to try to get to her mum, and then to Dean, and she should have learned by now that mostly she’s just a go-between, a means to whatever end.
There’s a faint chime, and Harry steps away, putting on his glasses, and he’s not paying any attention to her at all. She grits her teeth and reminds herself that he’s paying for the hotel Mum’s at, and she should make good—stop antagonizing him. Be the good girl, apologize the way her mum always did, for things that wasn’t her fault, even when she was right.
But Eggsy—she’s not her mum. And Harry owes her better’n this. Because maybe yeah it’s about Dad, but it’s not just about Dad. He didn’t fuck her because of Dad, or make her breakfast, or buy her lingerie and kiss her because of Dad.
“Not everything was about him,” she says when Harry turns. He grits his jaw, all those lovely edges back, sharp as his suits, and he says:
“Now isn’t the time.” But it’s true, and she can see that, and that’s a bit of a relief, because she doesn’t know how she’d deal with being used to fuck the memory of her dead dad.
“What about Mum?” she asks.
“I’ll—I’ll sort it when I get back,” he says curtly, walking briskly past her towards the door. “It should only be a couple of days.”
He pauses at the door, though, turns and looks at her. Eggsy raises her chin, and he crosses back to her. “I’m sorry I yelled,” he says roughly. “We’ll sort it all out, Guinevere. I promise, we’ll make it all right. Just let me take care of this.”
Eggsy knows her face crumples, then, and he kisses her fingertips, her cheeks, before finding her mouth.
“I’ll be back,” he promises. “I’ll take care of it.”
But it’s like Valentine says: It ain’t that kind of movie.