“Tequila! Bloody hell, mate, how are you?” Eggsy practically jumps in the taller man’s arms and hugs him. “Merlin didn’t tell me you was coming to visit!”
“That’s because he doesn’t know,” Tequila says with a sigh. “I was going to surprise him, knock on his office door and say something like, you know, ‘surprise!’ or whatever, but I’m not even allowed on the train.” He gives Andrew a dirty look.
“Yeah, sorta on lockdown right now. Percival’s mission…well, it was rough,” Eggsy says, and tries not to shudder. He’s being rather casual about it all; his boyfriend had come quite close to losing a hand.
“Any idea when I might be able to see him?” Tequila says hopefully.
“Percival’s on his way back, so that’s a good sign.” Tequila looks absolutely worn out and Eggsy feels sorry for him. “Hey, my man should be available about the same time your man is…let’s get a pint or two while we wait, yeah?” Eggsy turns to Andrew. “Andrew, could you message me when Merlin and Percival get off the train?”
“Of course, Agent Galahad. It would be my pleasure.”
“Yeah, thanks, Andrew,” Tequila says. “Sorry if I was a bit of an ass to you earlier, just so jet-lagged.”
“No need for apologies, Mr. Tequila.”
“I told you, Andrew…call me Ben.”
“Yes, of course.” The older man smiles at them. “Have a good evening.”
Eggsy leads the way out the door. “You like spicy food, right? There’s a chicken place down here that’s to die for.”
“I’m right on your heels, partner.”
Eggsy heads for a favorite late-night restaurant not too far away. It’s a cold night, and the restaurant is half-empty, which allows them to speak freely without the danger of someone hearing the wrong thing. They place their orders and settle in with a pint. “This is NOT how I saw my holiday going,” Eggsy tells him. “First Christmas with my man, and what am I doing? Pacing the length and width of the shop while I wait to hear if he’s okay.”
“At least you didn’t travel halfway around the world to see him. I pretty much had to promise Ginger a diamond necklace to get her to help me talk Champ into letting me have a few days off.”
“Is that where we are right now? Comparing notes on whose Christmas plans have fallen through the most?” Eggsy asks with a grin. “I suppose I can’t complain, ain’t like Percival’s the moonlight and roses type, anyway. But it’s Christmas Eve, and I wanted to do something special. Had a whole evening planned out.”
“What’s keeping you from doing it once he’s here?”
“Well, nothing, except he will be fucking KNACKERED once he gets off the plane,” Eggsy says with a sigh.
“So do it anyway, just make his participation minimal.”
“Why, Benjamin…are you telling me to pamper my boyfriend? Have I fallen into one of those Hallmark movies?”
“Shut up.” Tequila throws a napkin at him.
“You’re lucky…Merlin will take one look at you and forget about being tired for at least the next six hours. I’ve heard very long, very detailed stories about the power of your cock.”
Tequila almost spits out his beer. “Beg pardon?”
“Merlin is VERY talkative when he’s had a few. LOTS of details,” Eggsy says with a shudder. “You’re well fit, bruv, but I didn’t need to know most of what I know.”
“Sorry,” Tequila says with a wince.
They finish their food and Eggsy orders something to go for Percival. Just as he’s pulling out his wallet to pay he gets a ping from Andrew. “They just got on the train. Guess we’ll see if your suggestion works out.”
“Let me know…just NOT in detail, please,” Tequila begs.
Eggsy lets them into the now-closed shop and turns on one light. “Sit down. Let’s just see how long it takes for them to notice us.” He flops onto the sofa and Tequila sits on a chair.
They heard the voices before they see the men. Tequila sits up straight, fixing his hat and fussing with the buttons on his shirt. “I really should call Ben,” Merlin’s saying as they come down the stairs. “I’m sure he’s wondering why I’ve been…” Merlin stops walking and stares at his boyfriend. “Am I so tired that I’m hallucinating? That…that looks like Ben.”
“You are not hallucinating, Hamish,” Percival says. “I see him, too.”
“Heya, Hamish,” Tequila says almost shyly, whipping the hat off his head. “Was wondering if you had plans for Christmas.”
“Bloody hell.” Merlin crosses the room in three sides and sweeps Tequila into an embrace. “I dinnae believe this.”
“Believe it,” Eggsy hears Tequila murmur against Merlin’s mouth.
He turns his gaze on Percival, who looks absolutely exhausted. His posture is perfect, as usual, although his shoulders sag ever so slightly, and his steps are almost a shuffle. “Hey, Percival,” Eggsy says quietly, his plans for the evening suddenly morphing into focus. “Let’s head off to yours, yeah?”
“All right,” Percival says simply, but the way he seems to hand himself over to Eggsy speaks volumes. “Good night, Merlin. Thank you. And nice to see you again, Tequila.”
“You as well. You two have a good one,” Tequila replies. “Your choice, Hamish. We can head back to you place, or a I got a REAL nice fancy hotel suite with a hot tub.”
“Bubbles,” Merlin says blissfully, and Tequila laughs.
Eggsy picks up the bag of food and holds the door. They head out to the cab and he lets Percival crawl in first. “Percival’s home, please,” he tells the driver. He desperately wants to pull Percival into his arms, wants to feel his warmth, his closeness. He knows this is the last thing Percival wants, however, so he simply puts his hand on the seat by Percival’s leg, his pinky finger on his knee. Percival looks over and gives him a weary smile. “Got you some chicken,” he says. “Took Ben over to that place we like, he thought it was good.”
“Thank you, Galahad,” Percival says. His spine is ramrod straight as he gazes out the window but his hand slides over to rest on Eggsy’s pinky.
They do not speak during the short ride except to thank the driver as they exit the vehicle. Percival briskly walks to his door and unlocks it, hanging up his coat and placing his Rainmaker in the bin. “That chicken smells delicious.”
“Not yet, let’s get you settled, yeah?” Eggsy simply puts a hand at the small of Percival’s back and guides him toward the stairs. “Know you wanna get into something more comfortable.”
“If that is an invitation to be intimate, Eggsy, I…”
“No.” Eggsy slowly turns Percival to face him. “Babe, I saw it all. You came real close to a serious injury. You think you failed because of that. I’m just so damn glad you’re home, don’t need anything else but to be where you are, okay? Swear down.” Percival gives him a curt nod. “I am your boyfriend, however, and it is Christmas Eve. Gonna give you a different sort of gift, all right?” Nod again. “Okay. Upstairs.” Eggsy wants to hug him, but instead satisfies himself with a brief kiss to Percival’s cheek.
He follows Percival up and into the bedroom. “I suppose a shower…” Percival begins, but Eggsy is already on his way to the bath. Eggsy starts the water, gets it to the right temperature, and closes the door to warm the room. He then goes to Percival’s closet and grabs a few hangers. He places them on the bed and looks at Percival.
“Doubt you want me to undress you. Unless you do, and then I’ll gladly help.” That’s one thing Eggsy’s a bit unsure of. He’s still learning how to help Percival decompress after a mission, and he isn’t sure how much touching he wants. Eggsy always likes as much hugging and caressing as possible after a mission has torn him apart, but he and Percival are very different creatures.
“No, I’m fine,” Percival says. He sits down to remove his shoes. Eggsy goes to the chest of drawers and pulls out a pair of trakkies and a jumper, laying them out on the bed. He lines up Percival’s slippers on the floor and returns to the bath to get a towel ready. When he returns to the bedroom Percival is just about naked.
“Leave your suit. I’ll check it and hang it up,” Eggsy says. Percival nods stiffly but as he passes by he reaches out to caress Eggsy’s cheek.
Eggsy takes care of Percival’s clothing and heads back downstairs. On his way down the hall he turns the thermostat back a bit; he knows Percival prefers it a bit chilly after a mission, since his adrenaline stays high for quite a long time. He then goes into the kitchen and prepares Percival’s plate. He’s pouring a glass of wine – Percival’s preferred post-mission drink – when his boyfriend enters the kitchen. “Thank you,” he says. He sits down and begins to eat. Eggsy starts puttering about the kitchen, preparing the coffee for the next morning, putting away a few dishes and things. He knows that Percival isn’t comfortable with someone sitting and watching him eat if they themselves are not eating.
“Another glass of wine?” Eggsy asks. He knows Percival usually limits it to one glass, but it’s been a rather trying day or two.
“No, thank you.”
“Be right back.” Eggsy darts out of the room and heads for the living room. He dims the lights and turns on a cooking show. He then returns to the kitchen, where Percival is finishing his wine and placing his plate in the sink. His body still droops with fatigue but there’s a bit more life in his eyes. “I’ll get that.” He takes the plate and rinses it off. “How about some telly?” He heads to the living room without checking to see if Percival’s behind him. He sits at the end of the sofa, giving Percival room if he doesn’t want to be touched.
Percival stands before him looking uncertain, fidgeting as he glances at the sofa. Eggsy gently pats the seat next to him and Percival sits down. He sits stiffly for just a moment and then relaxes, allowing his body to rest against the sofa cushion. He lifts an arm and puts it around Eggsy, who snuggles close. He knows that more than anything Percival needs control right now, needs to feel he’s the one in charge. And Eggsy is more than happy to comply. He knows his boyfriend is wiser, smarter, more mature. And he likes it, because there are ways that Eggsy is the more experienced, more knowledgeable one, and Percival respects that.
“Thank you,” Percival whispers into his hair. “Thank you for taking care of me. I do not like to admit defeat, or even fatigue…but I am so tired right now.”
“I know you are, babe. Figured I’d let you lead…you’d find your way to me soon enough.” Eggsy turns his head up. “Just so damn glad you’re safe…was really worried about you.”
“I do not like it when you worry.”
“Can’t help it…love you too much not to.”
“I am unsure as to why you love me like that,” Percival says. He doesn’t tell Eggsy he loves him back, but that’s fine. He shows it in far too many ways for it to matter.
“Because you’re handsome, you’re brilliant, you’re brave. And you put up with me…for that you deserve sainthood.”
“Putting up with you is one of my life’s greatest pleasures,” Percival says, and gives him a kiss.