Harry’s first impression of Eggsy, sitting across from him in the young man’s local, was that he was a little rough around the edges. He was quick to expect the worst from a person, distrustful, and defensive. Though these were all wonderful qualities in a decades-hardened spy like Harry himself, it was not what he had hoped to see in the young son of Lee Unwin. His father had a big heart and even bigger sense of humor. Perhaps it was the unlucky hand of fate Eggsy was dealt that kept him locked within the walls of his heart.
It was quickly apparent once he got to know Eggsy that his first impression had been unfair. From beneath the hardened street-kid exterior emerged a different Eggsy. Harry began to see a young man who was so energetic, inquisitive, affectionate, and downright playful that his manner could only be described in one way.
Eggsy Unwin was a human puppy.
It began with a dogging of his steps that went unnoticed by Harry for weeks.
“An’ Merlin said I ‘ad some of the best weapons scores they’d ever seen!” Eggsy bragged to him one afternoon when they ran into each other at HQ.
“That’s wonderful Eggsy,” Harry said sincerely. “I knew you would do great things with a little training.” Eggsy positively beamed under the praise, his chest puffing out and head held high. It made Harry ache to think how long the boy must have gone without anyone encouraging him.
“Eggsy,” Merlin called out as he rounded the corner to them. “Recruits are ta meet for the track run in 7 minutes. I expect ta see ye there.”
“Of course, sir.” The young man turned back to his mentor. “I’ll see ya around, ‘Arry.” He left to return to the recruit dorms.
“I see someone has a new tail,” Merlin remarked to his friend with a teasing smirk.
Harry scoffed. “I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.”
“Like you haven’t noticed the boy following your every move. He’s like a moth to flame.” Harry growled in annoyance, turning to walk away. “Or a baby duck,” Merlin continued, strolling right along beside him. “Or a lost sheep flocking to his messiah.”
“Do shut up. It’s all just the connection to Lee, I’m sure.”
“Ah yes, blame it on the tragic past,” Merlin turned to go back the way he came.
“Fuck off, Merlin.”
Merlin raised a hand without turning his back, middle finger held high. “With pleasure, Galahad.”
Next, it was the never ending questions.
“Where’re you from, Harry? Cuz, like, Roxy says we ain’t supposed ta talk about our mentors, but she slipped that Percival is her uncle, so it’s pretty obvious who proposed her. I asked if their whole family was tha’ posh, and she said ‘duh, we was raised like tha’. So now I guess I’m just wonderin’ where you turned up from? It’s obvious you came from money, but you’re also not a stuck-up wanker, so-”
“Eggsy, please stop before you burn out your vocal chords entirely. If you must know, I was born in London. Raised by two parents in business, both of whom were, as you say, ‘stuck-up wankers.’ I hated the way they treated others and vowed never to become like them.”
“So’s that why you joined the army? To get away? You was in the army right? Or was tha’ made up to cover Kingsman?”
Harry sighed, finally turning away from his paperwork to look at his candidate. The boy was leaned forward in his seat, elbows resting on the desk, his head tilted in curiosity. Harry tried to remain stern, but the look on his face was just too endearing. “Are you incapable of asking a single question at a time?”
“Are you incapable of answering a single one?”
Following that, Harry couldn’t help but take notice of the excitement Eggsy expressed at most situations.
“Galahad, I believe there’s an issue with your candidate,” Merlin started as he entered the office one afternoon.
Horrible images assaulted Harry’s mind: Eggsy accidentally shooting himself, breaking a limb on the climbing wall, cracking his head open when tripping on the track, splattering across the landing pad due to a malfunctioning parachute. “What is it? What’s happened?”
Merlin froze in his step, bewildered eyes taking in Harry’s pale face. “Nothing serious, really. I just believe you’ve accidentally recruited a puppy instead of a human being.” He slid his clipboard across the desk, revealing a video that looked like it had been taken on his glasses.
Harry pressed play, beginning a clip of Eggsy on the lawn. Based on the surroundings, they were near the kennels. Ah, the canine bonding days. Those were always Harry’s favorite.
Eggsy’s bright laugh came bursting from the speaker. “Yes, JB! Good boy!” He placed his hands on his knees to greet the little pug as it ran up to him, tennis ball lodged in his mouth. JB’s entire body wiggled, compensating for the lack of a tail to wag, and Eggsy knelt to scritch the little thing all over.
“Okay, sit!” JB’s rump went down firmly. “Lay down! Roll over! Jump! Play dead!” All of these tricks JB performed willingly, the last ending with Eggsy showing a finger gun and JB flopping on his side dramatically, his legs stiff. Eggsy was in stitches as he praised the little dog.
JB jumped up, head lowered in prime playing position, and Eggsy went right along with it, jumping back and forth to goad him into running behind Eggsy as they made their way across the lawn. The other candidates’ dogs took notice as well, leaving their masters to chase Eggsy in circles.
The video ended and Harry looked up to see Merlin staring him down. Harry realized he was grinning widely and dropped the look, clearing his throat. “I’m glad to see the two are getting along well.”
“Mmhmm,” Merlin said, swiping up the tablet. “Watch yourself, Harry.”
These observations, one by one, had Harry feeling things he had never felt before for another person. Sure, he had friends he cared about, fellow agents he looked out for, but he never had the desire to look after or care for another person the way he did Eggsy. If he was ignorant, he would have called his feelings paternal, but he knew only the most disturbed of fathers would look at their sons the way he looked at Eggsy. There was nothing familial about these feelings at all.
As Eggsy’s restrained body rose up from the depths of the false train track, Harry felt heat stirring in his gut. Eggsy strained against the ropes and it was like watching dog yank at a leash. There was so much power there, but it was restrained entirely by something as simple as a rope.
When he knelt over Eggsy to cut him free, the boy went limp. He look up at Harry with eyes wide with fear, but something else began to creep in. Harry was confused by his flushed face until he moved to free his ankles and had to overlook a telling bulge in the front of the young man’s jeans. Interesting. Very interesting.
To satisfy his craving to touch the boy, he grasped both his wrists firmly, hauling him off the track. His eyes drifted over the pinkened cheeks. “All right, Eggsy?”
“Y-yeah, I’m good. That was fuckin’ crazy.” Harry smiled at the meek voice.
“Charlie’s up next. Want to watch?”
Eggsy perked up at that, and Harry could practically see puppy ears atop his head, standing tall in interest. He led the boy upstairs with a hand on the small of his back, dodging knowing looks from Merlin as they settled in.
He hadn’t intended to get the boy drunk, but seeing him in his office, equal parts curious excitement and relaxed comfort was a heady temptation for Harry. He decided to knock out two birds with one stone and help himself relax while having the opportunity to be close to and teach Eggsy, two of his favorite pastimes.
Next thing he knew, Eggsy was sprawled across the sofa, feet in Harry’s lap and slurring his speech.
“Anyone ever told you ‘ow good you look in a suit, Harry? Seriously, bruv, yer waist is mental.”
With a hand that was maybe slightly out of his control due to intoxication, Harry reached down to brush across the exposed skin between Eggsy’s sock and the leg of his trousers. This was most definitely inappropriate, and wildly off color for Harry, but he had a feeling Eggsy wouldn’t mind. Much to the contrary, he felt a shiver go up the boy’s body.
Eggsy flipped himself around with a healthy dose of drunken struggling until his head had replaced his feet, pillowing himself on Harry’s thigh.
The boy was silent for a moment, deep in thought. “‘Ow many times have you thought you were gonna die?” Though he was obviously still drunk, the serious nature of the question sobered Harry up.
“I honestly can’t count the times. There have been so many near-misses. It’s certainly an expectation in this line of work.”
“Okay but how many times have you said to yerself ‘fuck, this is it, this is where it ends’?”
“I don’t know. Perhaps six? Seven? Those are memories I try not to relive.” His hand fell to the young man’s hair, stroking over the soft golden blond.
Eggsy’s eyes unfocused, brows pulling together. “I’ve ‘ad three. They was all in the last year.” He looked up at Harry again, thoughtful. “You’ve seen two of them.”
When no further explanation seemed forthcoming, Harry prodded for more information. “Care to elaborate?”
Eggsy huffed, turning on his side so that he faced away from Harry, and Harry resumed his petting- is that really the word his mind pulled forth?
“First was the day Dais was born. I spent all day at the hospital wiv mum, and Dean was being held overnight on possession. When I got back to get mum some things from the flat, he went crazy. He was throwin’ shite, screaming, bangin on about how we left, how I stole mum from him, ‘ow I was just a dirty fag.” Both he and Harry cringed at the word. “He grabbed me, knocked my head against the corner of the stove, and I went down. Woke up who knows how long later, bleeding from my head. I could barely move, couldn’t stand, had to crawl to where my cell was and try and call Jamal. I couldn’t even talk right, like the words weren’t there. I just cried into the phone till he came to get me. Don’t remember much of that day.” A hand grasped his wrist and led his fingers down Eggsy’s temple to a knot he hadn’t noticed before. He ran over it with his fingers, turning Eggsy’s head to get a better look. Sure enough, there was a large knotted scar on his right temple. A dangerous place to be hit.
“I should have put him in prison when I had the chance,” Harry said, fingers still working through Eggsy’s hair. He felt the young man relax into the cushions.
“Next was the first day we met. Dean had that butcher’s knife to my throat. Thought he was gonna slice me and that would be it. I was so scared to die in front of my mum, my baby sis, but then you was there.” Eggsy turned to look up at Harry with shining eyes. “You called him out and he stopped.” Harry felt pinned to the spot.
“Third was tonight. I woke up on the tracks and thought I was gonna die.” Eggsy hoisted himself up, turning fully to look at Harry straight on with wide, sincere eyes. “I thought I was gonna die.” His voice cracked, fingers curling into the fabric of Harry’s shirtsleeve. “I was so sorry that I disappointed you, that I couldn’t thank you for what you did for me.” Eggsy fell silent, rubbing the fabric between his fingers pensively.
“But then you was there, again,” he continued. “You was right there and I was so glad. Not just cuz I was alive but because I knew then that you were the best thing that had ever happened to me. My life was shit, but you cared about me. No one’s ever…” Eggsy tipped forward, forehead falling onto Harry’s shoulder. Harry reached up to grasp the boy’s shoulder.
Eggsy spoke again, this time so quietly he had to strain to hear. “You’re everything, Harry. You’re everything I want to be, everything I want.” Eggsy looked up again. “You’re everything.”
That was the straw that broke the dam, or whatever the saying was. He was too drunk and shocked to care. His hand came to Eggsy’s face, stroking a thumb over that smooth, perfect cheekbone, before their lips finally met.
Later, Eggsy’s energy had been sapped by his vigorous lips, touches, sounds that nearly drove Harry to take the boy apart then and there. Instead, he held him tight as he could, gave as good as he got, and reciprocated eagerly when Eggsy breathed out a confession of attraction against his lips.
Now, the young man was draped across his lap like some sort of angelic reimagining of the Pieta. Harry continued to brush through his hair, heart clenching as Eggsy turned to nuzzle against his chest. He was so gone on the boy.
He and Eggsy had a lie-in , suit fitting be damned, just so Eggsy could get his fill of the tender kisses and touches he so seemed to crave. He cuddled like a puppy, too, Harry was happy to add to his mental list of Eggsy-isms. It was not new, the knowledge that Eggsy was a very physical person. He tended to walk beside those he liked with shoulders brushing, would move around them as though he was in orbit, and he was very affectionate with JB. It was novel to see Eggsy so entirely vulnerable, lying with his face pressed into Harry’s chest in only his shirt and pants.
Harry felt as though he’d won some lottery and his prize was the affection of this most interesting creature. This hybrid of innocent boy, life hardened man, spiny mass of defensive maneuvers and vulnerable and expressive softness.
When they did finally drag themselves back to HQ, Harry gave his boy a goodbye kiss on the bullet train so that they could keep up the proper distance in front of the others. Nevertheless, Merlin’s eyes locked onto him immediately, his gaze hard and calculating. As soon as Eggsy disappeared into the candidate’s quarters with Roxy, the quartermaster turned on him.
“What the fuck did you do, Harry?” Merlin accused.
“Why do you assume it was me? For all you know, he could have dropped himself in my lap and told me I was gorgeous.”
One of Merlin’s brows ticked up. “He did, didn’t he?”
Harry’s silence spoke volumes.
Merlin sighed. “You have to be careful, Harry. If any word of this gets beyond us, he’ll be-”
“I know. Believe me, I know. It’s not as though we slept together. We had a lovely chat about it this morning. He knows the risks.”
“That’s not all, Harry.” Merlin stepped into his space, using every inch of his height to his advantage. “I have spent months training that boy. I know him, and I know that despite his past he is quick to trust. I know that he wears his heart on his sleeve and that he spent months worrying by your bedside during your coma. Ye will treat him with the respect he deserves, or I will kill ye. Get that?”
Harry blinked at the cool anger directed his way, then smiled. “Understood. Thank you, Hamish.”
A month later saw Harry waking up, in pain and confused, in a hospital bed an entire ocean away from home. He knew who he was and that he wasn’t where he should be, but everything else seemed to be too far off to grasp. He couldn’t help feeling that there was something very important missing, a memory that he knew would remind him of everything he had lost.
When they brought him his breakfast, the feeling grew even stronger. It was a disaster trying to use his right hand to eat, and the left fared little better, but he managed to get a bite of the scrambled eggs.
Eggs… odd, that he should feel so strongly about something so mundane.
The nurse came in to change his IV bag and flipped on the TV for him. It was a program about animals, but apparently only the babies. Harry was too tired to protest and so he turned his attention on the impossibly small kittens traipsing around their home. He didn’t care much for the narration, but at least the animals were cute. When the scene changed, the kittens were replaced with pug puppies. Their small, squished faces and flopping walk struck something within Harry.
“JB, sit! ”
The voice came unbidden to his mind, but it was as if the young man was in the room with him. His hand froze in the middle of bringing another shaky forkful of eggs to his mouth.
He pressed the call button.
Harry was in and out of awareness for a time, but when he awoke again, it was to a searing pain in his head. He groaned, but the vibration of his voice made the pain even worse, choking off the sound.
“Harry, hey, you’re all right,” a calming voice came from beside him. He pried open his eyes, cringing at the harsh light, to find the source. “I’m here. We’re going to be okay.”
As soon as he was able to focus on the teary eyes beside him, to take in the face of the boy he needed there so badly, he knew it was true. They would be okay.
He tried to lift his hand to touch his boy, but it only shook. Eggsy grasped it tighter, pulling it up to brush against his face for him. Always looking for pets, Harry thought as he drifted off again, just like a puppy…
It took months for Harry to be back to levels of strength even remotely normal for a man of his age. He worked everyday to become someone he wanted to be, to be someone Eggsy could be proud of.
It was an invaluable help to have someone there with him literally every step of the way. Eggsy was a constant support, a body to lean on, a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on. He was loyal, unconditionally affectionate, and entirely unswayed by the less savory parts of Harry’s recovery process. Good to know the puppy traits remained.
“Hand over the spoon, you git, it’s not the end of the world.” With that look of affection in Eggsy’s eyes, it was easy to surrender control to let Eggsy help him eat. If it had been anyone else, he would have punched them for even suggesting such a thing.
“Well, this isn’t how I imagined seeing you naked for the first time,” Eggsy joked as he helped Harry into the shower and onto a chair set up there. “But you don’t hear me complaining.”
“Believe me, my dear, that will be remedied at the first opportunity.” He reached out to give Eggsy’s bum a playful swat, and laughed like he hadn’t in a good long while as the young man yelped and jumped away from him.
A few weeks before his release from the hospital, Merlin flew over to visit. He arrived with a stack of paperwork for both him and Eggsy.
As Eggsy napped with his head on Harry’s mattress following the discussion of their respective instatements as Galahad and Arthur, Merlin’s voice grew serious. “Harry, ye have to know how hard his has been on the lad. We all mourned ye, of course, but for Eggsy… I don’t think I saw him smile once until ye called.”
That was unimaginable for Harry, a world in which his boy didn’t smile. And to know he caused him such pain…
“He loves ye,” Merlin continued. “I’m nae sure he’s told ye, but he truly does.” They both turned to look at Eggsy as he shifted, sighing happily when Harry brushed over his hair.
“I quite doubt that Merlin. He told me himself he’s never been in love, never been with a man before. I’m hardly someone he could-”
“The lad saved the whole feckin world, Harry, and it meant nothing to him. He could nae even be proud of himself for that if ye weren’t there to be proud with him.
“Of course, he grew up hearing only anger and negativity from those he cared for. I never want him to feel that way again.”
They climbed the steps to Harry’s home together, Harry choosing the support of Eggsy’s arm over his cane, and the boy opened the door to a jumpy, yapping pug.
“Why hello there, Mr. Bauer. Pleasure to see you again,” Harry greeted the ecstatic dog. “Who’s been looking after him?”
“On and off between Rox and Mum and Daisy depending. I knew we’d be home today, so I wanted to make sure he’d be here to greet you.” They stepped into the house and Eggsy immediately led him towards the sitting room. “Let’s get you settled and I’ll make us some tea. I know how much you hate the crap the Americans gave us.”
Harry rounded the corner, happy to be back in his familiar space and to just-
“WELCOME HOME, ARTHUR!”
Harry started as the cry met his ears. He snapped his head up to find his sitting room packed with countless of his Kingsman colleagues. A banner hung above them that read the same thing they’d exclaimed when he entered. They all stood around a cake decorated beautifully with his new codename.
Eggsy clung to his arm, vibrating with excitement. He felt the surprise turn to a genuine grin on his face. “Are you responsible for this?”
“Maybe!” Eggsy laughed, hugging him with one arm.
Merlin came up and took over the duty of being Harry’s cane, and Eggsy rushed off to greet his friends. It was a surreal and glorious sight to see Eggsy mingling with those he’d worked alongside for years. Of course he had no doubt the boy would do incredible things given the opportunity, but to see it in real life…
“I told ye he loves ye. Do you believe me now?,” Merlin said slyly. Harry could not answer, overcome with how quickly his outlook on life had changed with the influence of the incredible young man. He had even somehow broken his way through the hardened exterior of Percival, the most stoic man Harry had ever met, who was now laughing at something Eggsy had said.
“Come along, Arthur,” his oldest friend broke through his thoughts, smiling knowingly as he lead him further into the room, “your royal subjects await you.”
Later that night, after a particularly violent orgasm for Eggsy, brought in equal parts by Harry’s highly skilled tongue and the application of his fingers to Eggsy’s recently discovered prostate ( Look, where I come from, you’re lucky to get a kiss in with another bloke wivout gettin beat up. We ain’t takin the risk a’ stickin our fingers up each other’s arses) Eggsy flopped himself onto Harry’s chest, his rapid breathing slowing. Harry took his time to study his boy in a rare moment of complete relaxation. His soft hair fell over his face, the strands tickling Harry’s skin. One cheek was pressed against him, squishing up Eggsy’s face. A small contented sigh escaped his lips and he settled in, burrowing even deeper into Harry’s hold. It drew a smile from the older man’s face.
“I love you,” his boy murmured against his skin, obviously already close to sleep.
“I love you, too, darling,” Harry replied, smiling so wide it was nearly painful. “My little puppy.”