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Haunted. That’s a good word for it. Eggsy feels haunted.

It’s like Dean took his fist to more than just Eggsy’s gut, like he reached into his life and left a burning handprint there that won’t ever really fade. Sometimes it’s just there like an old scar that’s healed over, but every now and then something will make it glow again, ember-hot and searing.

Eggsy isn’t afraid of raised voices. He isn’t. They can’t hurt him. They’re just noises. No physical form. He isn’t afraid of them. He’s goddamn terrified.


He cracks open one eye, two things coming to his attention immediately. First, it’s the dead of night when people have no business being up. Second, the bed is empty. He raises his head to glance around the room but no, Harry and Merlin are truly gone, nowhere to be found. That’s a state of affairs that just won’t do. Reluctantly, he rolls out of bed, rubbing at his eyes and shuffling out of the bedroom, suppressing a yawn.

“‘Arry? Merlin?” he mumbles sleepily, not really loud enough to be heard.

He freezes at the top of the staircase, one foot hovering in the empty air. They might not have been able to hear him, but he can certainly hear them. And he can’t make out exactly what they’re saying, but if there’s one thing he knows it’s when anger fills a voice. His throat goes dry and his grip on the railing tightens, turns white-knuckled.

“No, don’t, please don’t,” he whispers, barely breathes. It’s useless, of course, there’s no one to hear it but him, but he can’t stop himself. “Please, please.” His lips shape the word over and over, turning it into a silent prayer as his eyes close. That does nothing to impede his hearing, however; in fact, it improves it.

Merlin shouts.

Harry yells.

Eggsy whispers.

There’s one last shout, some sort of finality in it that Eggsy recognizes, then the sound of footsteps. He lets out a half-choked sob because those footsteps are coming for him. Dean’s mad and he won’t take it out on Michelle, at least, but that’s only because Eggsy’s an easier target. People don’t ask kids about bruises as much. Always figure they get them through clumsiness or some shit. Even if they’re shaped like knuckles.

Eggsy forces himself to move, races into the cavernously empty bedroom and eases the door shut, resting his back against it.

The footsteps come closer and stop right outside the door.

The breath catches in Eggsy’s chest. He yelps when the doorknob rattles, hands flying to cover his mouth, but it’s too late, Dean’s heard, he knows he’s in here, he’s coming, he’s coming, he’s coming-

“Eggsy?” It’s Harry’s voice, not Dean’s.

Eggsy’s shoulders slump forward in relief but he tenses right back up when he remembers why he’s shut the door in the first place. “You’re fightin’,” he rasps, hating the way his voice cracks. He grits his teeth, swallows, and tries again. “You an’ Merlin are fightin.’“ What little composure he’s managed to scrape together cracks. “Don’t leave,” he all but sobs, sliding down the door until he’s on the floor with his knees tucked up against his chest, face buried in his legs.

Only silence meets him.

“Harry?” he whispers.


“Harry?” A little louder this time.

Nightmare come true.

“Harry please, I’m sorry, whatever I’ve done, I’m sorry,” he babbles, scrambling to his feet, grasping fingers finding the handle and flinging the door open. Almost as soon as he’s done it Harry’s there, stepping forwards and wrapping his arms around him.

“My darling boy, you haven’t done anything wrong,” Harry assures him, running soothing hands down his back.

Eggsy melts into him, fingers curling in his shirt, burying his face into his shoulder. He tenses again when he hears Merlin coming up the stairs. This is it, where everything falls apart. Bracing himself, he pulls back a bit, enough to see Merlin come up and place a gentle hand on Harry’s shoulder.

“I thought you’d gone to bed,” he comments, certainly not sounding as if he’s about to walk out of their lives.

Harry cuts in before Eggsy has a chance to say anything. “I’m afraid we woke him with our little… disagreement.”

Everything clicks into place for Merlin and he slides his hand down Harry’s shoulder until it’s resting over Eggsy’s, still fisted as it is in Harry’s shirt. “My apologies, Eggsy. We didn’t mean to disturb you.”

Eggsy jerks away from the both of them, wrapping his arms around his chest and staring at the floor. “If you’re gonna leave, just get it over with,” he mutters, but there’s not as much venom behind it as he wants. He just sounds resigned, mostly.

Merlin and Harry swap surprised glances. “I don’t recall leaving ever being a part of this conversation,” Harry says.

Brow furrowing, Eggsy looks up. “But you… you were just fightin’, right?”

“Yes, we were,” Merlin agrees, but he doesn’t appear to be mad, or even upset. “But this isn’t the first time Harry’s been a prick and it won’t be the last. I’ve gotten used to it. I’m not likely to leave anytime soon,” he assures him.

Harry just rolls his eyes at Merlin, placing his hands on Eggsy’s shoulders to steer him towards the bed. “I think it’s time we all got some sleep.”

Eggsy’s hand shoots out to wrap around Harry’s wrist as he turns away to change into his pyjamas. “You won’t leave either. Right, Harry?” he asks, tone almost pleading.

Harry turns to face him, taking his chin in his fingers and tilting his head up until he’s looking the younger man right in the eyes. “Never. I promise.” He seals it with a light kiss before releasing him and moving off to change.

The morning finds them tangled together, Eggsy’s back pressed against Merlin’s chest, his hands wrapped tightly in Harry’s.