There were times Harry Hart loved his job, and times that he hated it.
Today was one of the days he hated it. He was standing on top of a wide slope on skis overlooking the skiing lodge in which he was staying. As Harry looked down his knuckles grew white from holding onto the skiing poles to tightly and he imagined himself falling down the slope, rather than sliding gracefully down it. You see, he couldn't ski. He had never taken up the activity and now here he was, being expected to just ski down this mountain.
"What are you waiting for?" called a voice to his left.
Sebastian Hamilton, his target. Sebastian was part of a group that did heists for other people. The Kingsman had gotten wind of a deal that had been brewing in Sebastian's gang that involved skiers. Merlin had created an alias for Harry of Simon Rosberg. Sebastian wanted the best skiers to undertake a very large heist and the cover of "Simon" included being a very excellent skier. They had just failed to make sure Harry could ski.
"I'm just..uh admiring the view" Harry said, adjusting the skiing goggles.
"Yeah yeah, enough of that" Sebastian said with a hint of annoyance in his tone "just get down that mountain. We haven't got all day!"
"Right, quite so" Harry said, trying to hide the look of fear on his face. He moved the skis so that the tips just met the drop below and prepared to push himself down the mountain.
Suddenly the sound of a snowmobile coming towards them reached Harry's ears and then it came into view. It came to a stop beside them and a young woman climbed off of the vehicle.
"I'm sorry to interrupt Mr.Hamilton but Mr.Massa is in reception to see you" the young woman said with an apologetic tone.
"Okay, well sorry Mr.Rosberg we'll just have to ski together another time. I'd better go, see you around?" Sebastian turned to Harry as he said those words and Harry nodded.
"It's such a shame we can't ski today, but I understand urgent matters of business. Good day, Mr.Hamilton" Harry said, putting a hint of disappointment in his voice.
Sebastian nodded at him and then turned to ski back the way they had come.
As soon as he and the snowmobile was out of sight, Harry let out a huge sigh of relief and turned his skis away from the ledge and began to slowly make his way down the hill the safe way.
As he made his way down, he touched the coms on his goggles "I bet you enjoyed that, didn't you"
Merlin's voice laughed in his ear "the great Harry Hart scared to go down a slope? I've recorded that for prosperity"
"It's your fault, you know. For sending me out without any training on skis, why couldn't Lancelot go?" Harry asked as he kept a careful watch on his slow progress.
"Because Lancelot is still recovering from being shot and you have more knowledge of the target" Merlin replied.
"This cover is not going to keep up if they find out I can't ski you know" Harry said.
"Well you better learn fast" was all Merlin said in reply.
The next day Harry went out on his skis to have a bit of practice.
It didn't go as expected.
He spent most of the morning going painfully slowly and when he tried to go a bit faster he kept unbalancing himself. He just couldn't understand why people loved putting two sticks on their feet and going fast down hills. It didn't make sense to him.
It was almost afternoon when he decided he had had enough. He had spent most of the afternoon in the snow rather than on it and he was getting cold fast.
He was just making his way back to his lodge when a voice said to him.
"That was the worst skiing I've ever seen, Bruv"
Harry turned to the owner of the voice and saw a young man next to him.
"And I suppose you're an expert at skiing?" Harry answered, not really in the mood to discuss how crap he was.
"Well I'd have to be, if I was gonna teach people" the young man replied "I didn't mean no offence anyway. I was gonna offer my help but clearly you don't need it"
"Oh. Please do forgive my rudeness It's been rather a long day and I've been trying to practice" Harry said holding his hand out "the name is Simon Rosberg"
The young man shook the offered hand "mine's Eggsy, Eggsy Unwin. I'm a ski instructor at the lodge"
"I don't suppose the offer of help is still there?" Harry asks "It's just my friend wants me to ski down the top of the tallest slope and well...I haven't been skiing for years"
Eggsy's face broke into a wide grin "not a problem, Bruv. Of course I'll teach ya"
Harry found the smile to be infectious and he smiled back "Thank you, Eggsy"
Eggsy nodded "we start tomorrow, yeah? 9am sharp. Don't be late!" he winked at Harry before moving to ski away from him.
As Harry watched him leave, he began feeling hopeful for this mission at last.
That next morning, Harry was waiting outside the lodge at 9am. He felt nervous and he didn't know why.
The nerves deflated, however. When Eggsy showed up. When he saw Harry waiting for him he smiled and jogged over.
"Hey, Simon. Ready to get started?" Eggsy asks as he drops his skis and kneels down to put them on.
Harry nearly forgets in that moment his cover but he quickly reacts "Yes, I'm looking forward to it"
"Good" Eggsy replies as he clicks his shoes into the skis. Harry quickly gets his own on.
Once they're all kitted up, Eggsy turns to Harry "now we're gonna start at the basics, okay? How to start and stop"
"Okay" Harry replies, and the lesson begins.
The first lesson isn't so bad, there were a couple of hiccups at the start but pretty soon Harry feels like he's slightly getting a hang of skiing.
"You did well today" Eggsy tells him as they walk back to the lodge "you'll be like Eddie the Eagle in no time"
This makes Harry snort "wasn't he terrible at skiing?"
Eggsy shakes his head "nah, Bruv. He may not have been the best at the Olympics but he must have had skill to get to them" Eggsy stops for a second then says "you know he was the reason I took up skiing"
"Really?" Harry asks.
Eggsy nods "Yeah. Eddie is like me you see"
"How?" Harry asks.
"Well he came from a working class background and was told he couldn't do what he loved. He did it to prove he could and he did" Eggsy looks up at Harry "not all of us are born with silver spoons up our arses, so we have to take every opportunity we can get. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do whatever I wanted. And Eddie, well it's like I said, he did it, didn't he? And if he could do it so can I"
This makes Harry pause for a bit then say "you have done well for yourself"
"Exactly, but I'm not stopping here" Eggsy replies "I'm aiming to compete one day"
"And I for one, think you can do it" Harry says.
"Really?" Eggsy asks and smiles softly "thanks"
"You're welcome" Harry replies, feeling warmth run through him at Eggsy's smile.
The moment is broken however by them arriving at Harry's lodge.
"So...another lesson tomorrow then?" Eggsy asks.
"Yes, at the same time?"
"Of course" Eggsy says, before turning and walking away from the lodge.
"Bye, Eggsy" Harry says softly as he closes the door.
The lessons continue for a while, with Harry getting better every day. Pretty soon they're on the bunny slopes teaching Harry how to downhill ski.
"Okay now it's just like I taught ya, move with the skis, not against them and at the bottom turn sharply to stop" Eggsy is saying but Harry looks worried and concern washes over Eggsy's features as he gently places his hand on Harry's arm.
"Hey, we don't have to do this, though it is safe. It's the smallest slope and I'm going to be going down with you" Eggsy says softly.
Harry nods "I know, Eggsy. Just give me a minute" he moves away from the edge a bit and closes his eyes, he tries to tell himself that he is a deadly secret agent that has been through far worse, but still he is afraid and that makes him angry. It's a bunny slope! He shouldn't be so afraid! And certainly not in front of Eggsy!
When he opens his eyes again, they are full of determination.
"Right, let's do this" Harry says, trying to hide the tremor in his voice.
"Are you sure, Bruv?" Eggsy asks.
"Positive" Harry replies and before he can change his mind he pushes himself down the slope.
The speed shocks him at first, but he gets used to it quickly and soon he is going down the slope quite easily. He even enjoys it in fact.
Once he reaches the bottom he swings sharply to the side to stop himself and waits for Eggsy.
Once Eggsy has joined him he takes off his goggles and yells "I did it"
Eggsy's eyes are shining as he makes his way towards him "you did! Well done! We'll have you going down the bigger slopes in no time!"
"Thank you, Eggsy" Harry says with warmth in his voice.
"Just doing my job, Bruv" Eggsy replies. But his answering smile says it all.
"So tell me, Mr Rosberg. How long have you been skiing?" Sebastian asks him one afternoon.
"For years" Harry replies "my mother positively grew me up on skiing, why?"
They're at the local cafe, sat outside in the brilliant sunshine that gleams down on the snow all around them.
"Hmmm, it's just the way you delayed going down the slope the day we met, it made me wonder" Sebastian takes a sip from his coffee, looking over the rim of it at Harry.
"What can I say? I liked the view" Harry says with a shrug, taking a sip of his own coffee.
"Yes but you seemed almost relieved that you didn't have to ski down that slope" Sebastian presses "it wouldn't do for you to turn out to not be as good as you say you are. Our operation needs competent skiers. Ones who have experience. If you haven't got that I will feel lied to and that won't end well for you" Sebastian's gaze bores into Harry's.
But Harry keeps his expression cool "I can assure you that my skiing skills are second to none, Mr.Hamilton. I will not let you down when the time comes"
"Good" Sebastian replies, and his smile is deadly.
That night, Merlin calls Harry through the coms.
"We have a situation" Merlin begins.
"I know" Harry replies "Hamilton is starting to see through my disguise"
"Not only that, but his men have been following the young instructor who has been training you"
"Eggsy?" At the mention of him Harry springs up "what's been happening?"
"I've been following the lodge monitors and it seems as if Mr. Unwin has been followed for some time. Ever since you and him began talking. I think that's why Hamilton has been grilling you about your skiing. I think he knows that you're taking lessons. This is dangerous now, Harry"
Harry sighs and rubs a hand tiredly over his eyes "what do you want me to do?"
"Cut off all ties with Mr.Unwin. Don't take any more lessons. You must keep the cover at all costs"
The words go straight through Harry's heart.
The next few days, Harry hardly speaks to Eggsy.
When Eggsy spots him and tries to talk, Harry walks away.
Every time he has to do this, it hurts. But it has to be done.
Pretty soon, Eggsy takes the hint and the warm look he usually gives to Harry is replaced with a cold stare.
It chills Harry to the bone.
He doesn't see Eggsy much after that.
Things come to a head pretty soon after that. Sebastian invites Harry out to go ski, where Harry finally has a chance to put to use all that Eggsy taught him. They're skiing quite a way from the lodge, quite far into the mountains actually, when Sebastian says; "So...what happened to your little friend?"
"Hmm?" Harry looks up at Sebastian and shrugs "what friend?"
"The one you spent almost every day with" Sebastian replies "you seemed quite close"
This statement all but confirms Sebastian had been spying so Harry just gives a careless shrug, even though his heart begins to quicken. He looks around at where they are, they are so far away from the lodge now that all he can see is white hills.
"Him? Would hardly call him a friend. Just someone who wanted some tips. Thought I'd help him out" Harry says.
"Funny, it looked the over way around to me" Sebastian says, fake casual.
"Do I look like I give a crap about what it looked like to you? I haven't seen him in ages. The little bastard stole from me" Harry lies, his eyes scanning his surroundings.
At this, Sebastian laughs "Just shows you can't trust people these days"
Harry nods, privately thinking the same about Sebastian.
Sebastian continues "so this little friend? You don't mind if we use him as target practice then?"
"What?" Harry tries not to turn to look at Sebastian too quickly.
"Well, our operation involves taking someone down fast, and I decided that we needed to practice it. I found your little friend and decided he was perfect" Sebastian says "these mountains are secluded so no one will see us"
"Why do we need to practice?" Harry asks, adrenaline going through his veins as he hears a snowmobile approach.
"So we're on top of our form" Sebastian grins "oh look, here comes are target!"
The snowmobile stops before them and the young woman gets down off of it. She then wrestles the young man slung across the snowmobile off of it and shoves him to stand before Harry and Sebastian.
Eggsy's wrists are bound behind his back and he has a gag around his mouth. His eyes widen when he sees Harry and he tries to yell against the gag, but the young woman draws a gun to his head.
"No words or I'll shoot" she spits at him, her eyes gleaming with malicious intent.
"Oh come on!" Harry says "he's just an innocent person! This was not how this was supposed to go"
"And Simon Rosberg wasn't supposed to be a bloody spy!" replies Sebastian, making Harry freeze.
When Harry doesn't say anything, Sebastian continues "you think I didn't know? I knew ever since I got recommended you. Your history seemed sketchy from the get go and when I finally got to meet you my suspicions were confirmed. You are not as good as you think you are. You walked right into my trap and now this young lad will die with you"
There was a rustle from the trees and Sebastian's goons appeared.
"And now, Gentlemen I take my leave. Goodbye" and with that he and the young woman got on the snowmobile and drove off.
Harry and Eggsy were left with the goons.
The goons slowly made their way towards Harry and Eggsy. Harry stood in front of Eggsy protectively and quickly murmured to him. "It's okay, I'll explain once this is dealt with, I promise"
Eggsy just gives Harry a wide terror filled look.
And that's when all hell broke lose.
The attack happens almost in slow motion, the first of the goons comes forward and Harry instantly has his skiing pole out, he quickly presses the top and a blade appears at the tip, which he instantly sticks into his nearest attacker.
Harry is a whirlwind during the battle, using all the tech Merlin had provided. Sending darts into enemy necks, using the ski poles and sometimes using his bare hands. All the while making sure Eggsy is protected.
In the end it's Harry and one goon left standing.
The man stands before Harry, a small grin on his face.
"Think this is over?" the man says in a low voice.
"It will be, when I'm done with you" Harry spits back, there is blood on the corner of his lips and his skiing equipment is all but in tatters now.
The man laughs, low and full of intent "you didn't notice, did you?" he asks "my friend in the trees"
Harry doesn't have a chance to whip round, it's that fast.
There's the sound of a gunshot.
And then Eggsy crumples to the ground.
Harry turns to Eggsy and catches him just before he falls, he looks at Eggsy in horror then down at the the bullet in his chest.
The goon laughs "awww? After all that he's still killed? How pathetic. Mr. Hamilton will be pleased" he pauses "I can't be bothered killing you, this will be punishment enough I think"
And with that, the goon motions to the sniper and then leaves the area.
Harry has Eggsy in his arms.
Harry has a possibly dying Eggsy in his arms and he doesn't know what to do.
"Harry? Harry! Speak to me. Help is on the way. Do you hear me? Keep the lad awake" Merlin is saying in his ear, it just sounds like white noise.
Harry is looking down at Eggsy, Eggsy looks scared and worried and Harry is feeling just as helpless.
"Hey, Eggsy. Stay with me, it's going to be okay. You hear me? Stay awake. I am so so sorry for all of this, If you just stay with me I will make it up to you"
Eggsy looks at him then and tries to smile "ya pro-promise?"
Harry smiles at him "yes, Eggsy I do. I promise"
"Good" Eggsy says as his eyes slip closed, he goes limp in Harry's arms.
"Eggsy?" Harry calls softly, but Eggsy doesn't respond.
"Eggsy?" Harry asks again in a broken voice as the sound of an air ambulance fills the mountainside.
Eggsy doesn't wake up for almost a week.
Harry never leaves his side.
Sebastian and his crew are swiftly dealt with. By Harry's own hand. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't clean. But at the end not even Arthur himself could stop Harry from getting revenge for Eggsy.
Kingsman learnt that day, never mess with anyone Harry loves.
When Eggsy finally does wake up, Harry is asleep beside his bed.
Eggsy blinks and looks round in confusion, before realising where he is. He presses the panic button and the room floods with doctors. The alarm also wakes Harry.
It takes all of Harry's willpower not to hug Eggsy, to not sprout everything he has to say right there, right now. The poor boy had only just woken up, but Harry was filled with so much relief by his waking he almost couldn't contain himself.
The doctors at this point kick him out anyway.
When Harry was finally allowed back into the room a few days later (to give Eggsy rest they said, but Harry knew the real reason why),Eggsy was awake.
Eggsy was sat up in bed, looking tired and pale but alive. He was watching TV but he switched it off when he saw Harry.
"The doctors told me you never left my side" Eggsy begins.
Harry nods, not sure what to say.
"Can I even ask what happened? Out there on the mountain? Or is that classified?" Eggsy asks.
"Um yes you may...I have no reason to keep it from you" Harry says.
"Well go on then" Eggsy says, crossing his arms over his chest "the truth"
"My name is Harry Hart" Harry begins "and I'm a member of an organisation called Kingsman"
Harry spends almost an hour talking to Eggsy, telling him about his job, what he does. Normally this wouldn't be allowed, but damn if Harry wouldn't break all the rules for Eggsy now.
At the end of the explanation Eggsy just shakes his head.
"I know it's a lot to take in" Harry says "but it is the truth"
"I know...it's just...I feel lied to" Eggsy says, he looks at Harry "I liked Simon"
"He was me, just apparently a good skier" Harry says "everything I said to you was true. I did enjoy our lessons and did need them. You helped me enormously in that part of the mission" he pauses and sighs "it's just that I wasn't cautious and I almost got you killed"
"Well I'm here now, you saved me" Eggsy says "and let's be honest you being a spy is pretty fucking cool....so..." he trails off to take Harry's hand in his "you promised to make it up to me, you know"
Harry looks down at their hands and smiles "I did, didn't I. And I will, if you want me to?"
Eggsy smile "of course I want you to, you pleb. As soon as I'm well enough you are taking me to dinner"
"Of course" Harry says, a small happy smile on his face.
Eggsy smiles back at him and squeezes his hand "good, now if you don't mind I'm gonna go back to sleep" he yawns to prove his point and Harry takes it as his time to leave.
"Of course, rest well Eggsy. I will be back later" Harry says to him, he gets up from his seat and places a gentle kiss on Eggsy's forehead.
Eggsy lets out a small contented noise and then snuggles into the bed, falling asleep almost instantly.
It's almost hard for Harry to let their fingers drop, but he does. With promises to return later.
And promises for them to have a better future now.