The first time Percival brought his niece to the shop, Harry didn’t think much of it. He and many of the other agents knew of the girl’s existence, of course, though that was mainly due to the fact that she was about the only aspect of his personal life that the normally-stoic knight would discuss. It wasn’t hard to tell that Percival adored little Roxanne “Roxy” Morton. And, for her part, she was a very charming girl, in the sense that she was very shy and soft-spoken, and that first day Percival brought her around, she’d spent a majority of her time there hiding behind his expensive bespoke trousers.
But apparently it had been Roxy’s idea to visit the shop, since she wanted to see where ‘Uncle Alastair’ worked- she, like most of the relatives of Kingsman agents, believed the tailor cover story.
She’d met two other agents, besides Merlin and Harry himself- there was Lancelot, or James, who immediately began referring to Percival as ‘Uncle Alastair' whenever possible, much to the other agent’s chagrin; and there was Guinevere, or Eggsy as he preferred, who grinned widely at the little girl, and Harry didn’t need to be a specially trained secret operative to see how Roxy relaxed a little bit in his presence.
Then Roxy departed with her uncle and none of the other Kingsman saw her until a few weeks later.
Harry had walked into the meeting room one morning, expecting to see only Percival and Merlin there, but it turned out he had two more guests awaiting him. While Merlin stood off the the side, his nose buried in his tablet, Percival was, as expected, in his seat, though he kept throwing anxious- if not slightly fond- glances towards the unexpected arrivals.
Eggsy was in his chair besides Harry’s, and bouncing in his lap was none other than Miss Roxy Morton. The girl, in contrast to her shy behavior before, had a large grin on her face as Eggsy held onto both of her hands and lifted them up, as if he were about to lift her into the air. Eggsy was also smiling, his eyes bright, and he didn’t appear to mind at all the fact that Roxy was wrinkling his suit.
Merlin glanced up and saw Harry standing there. “Ah, Harry. You’re late. Again.”
The man blinked for several moments before he nodded slowly, his composure returning. “Yes. Terribly sorry.” He walked forwards as the other three occupants of the room finally realized he was there. Percival had the decency to look embarrassed (possibly because his niece was there without prior notification, and in the meeting room), but all Eggsy did was smile wider. He released one of Roxy’s hands to wave at Harry, and the older man did not miss the way Roxy pouted.
“Hey, Harry!” the younger agent beamed. Harry smiled gently in return, unable to be in a bad mood when that smile was directed at him. “Look who dropped in to join us today!” He looked down at Roxy and nodded his heads towards Harry. “Say hello to Mr. Harry, Rox.”
Roxy looked suspiciously at Harry. Her tiny face scrunched up as she scrutinized him. Then, she turned around in Eggsy’s lap and buried her head into his chest. Harry barely heard the “hello” she muttered, muffled as it was by pinstriped wool. Eggsy laughed cheerfully and tried to get her to face him again, while Harry only raised an eyebrow and moved to sit in his seat. Once settled, he turned to Percival.
“Might I ask why Miss Roxanne has graced us with her presence today?”
Percival shifted in his chair, actually looking somewhat unsettled. “I’m sorry, Art-... Harry. Her parents had last minute plans, and her nanny has the day off. I had no choice.”
Harry nodded, smiling kindly to show that he wasn’t by any means angry with the agent. But still. “And why is she in the meeting room?”
At that, Percival looked even more ashamed, but he threw a glare in Eggsy’s direction. “Why don’t you ask Gary.”
Harry turned his head towards the young man in question. He had managed to get Roxy to lift her face from his chest, and he was now smiling at Harry like he’d done nothing wrong.
“What?” he said, innocent as a baby. “There’s no rule against kids in the meeting room.”
“It’s never been necessary,” Harry heard Merlin murmur.
“I saw Rox sitting on one of the benches in the shop and I offered to show her where all the real business happens.” He and Roxy shared matching grins. “She was all for it, weren’t ya, little princess?”
She beamed at the nickname and nodded. “Yes, Mr. Eggsy!”
Percival rolled his eyes. “You’re going to spoil my niece if you keep that up.”
“Like you don’t,” teased Eggsy. “Anyway. I guess you’re about to start a meeting?” He looked at Harry and tilted his head to the side, in that manner of his that Harry always found rather endearing.
“Yes. I don’t think Miss Roxanne will find it terribly amusing, however,” said Harry. There was an unspoken message: this is a classified meeting. Eggsy nodded and returned his attention to Roxy.
“You wanna get ice cream while the adults talk business, princess?” He glanced at Percival. “Provided your uncle lets us, of course.”
Percival was unable to say no in the end, especially when Roxy gave possibly the most effective puppy dog eyes in the history of the technique. So Eggsy strolled out of the meeting room with a seven-year-old girl in tow, leaving the three older men to conduct their business in peace.
Except Merlin, the jerk that he was, decided to instead smirk at Harry from over his tablet. “Looks like Arthur has a rival for Guinevere’s affections.”
Immediately Harry blushed. Merlin (as well as several other agents) seemed rather fixated on the notion that Harry had, well, feelings for Eggsy. Which he did not. He was merely blushing at the impropriety of the implication, that’s all.
Percival, unfortunately, also thought this. “He’s got quite the competition. Roxy has been asking about Eggsy nonstop since the last time she visited. She seems rather enamored of our Queen.”
“If you are quite done,” Harry said in his best threatening tone, “I should like to begin Percival’s mission briefing.”
Merlin and Percival both rolled their eyes, and said in unison, “Yes, Arthur.”
Sometime later, Percival left the shop for home, taking Roxy along with him. In addition to ice cream, it seemed, Eggsy had bought her a plastic crown, not unlike one you would find in a convenience store for a dollar or less, that was a bit too large for her head and decorated with fake jewels. For someone from an affluent family like Roxy’s, it was rather… tacky. But the little girl appeared to adore it as though it was the crown of the Queen herself, as she fixed it upon her head with a determined look every time it went crooked.
She waved Eggsy an enthusiastic goodbye, all the way until Percival had managed to get her into the cab. Then they drove off, leaving Eggsy and Harry both at the door.
“Miss Roxanne seems quite… fond of you,” Harry couldn’t help but comment. Eggsy smiled at him, and his stomach most definitely did not perform a somersault.
“She’s a great kid,” he replied. “Says she wants to be a tailor just like me and Alastair.”
Harry chuckled. “Perhaps we should see if she’d like to be a secret agent. Then she can work at Kingsman and do both.”
Eggsy took on a thoughtful expression. “Maybe. You never know, Harry. She could be the next Percival. Or Lancelot, if James keeps up his reckless streak.” He suddenly leaned in closer to the older man, causing Harry to inhale the scent of expensive cologne (the one he’d bought him for his birthday, hm) and chocolate. “She could even be the next Arthur if you ain’t careful.”
Harry gulped, taking a step back, all the while trying to maintain his professional facade. “By the time she is old enough to succeed me, I should like to be retired, Eggsy.”
The younger man, honest-to-god, pouted. “What, and leave me stuck with some stranger for a king?”
“How do you know? He could be an arsehole. Like Chester was.”
They both grimaced at the thought of the previous Arthur. But he was long gone now, thanks to Eggsy.
“Then I shall endeavor to make sure my replacement is not… an arsehole.” He paused as Eggsy smiled; he tended to find it amusing when Harry swore. “Besides that, you’ve failed to recognize something else.”
“What’s that?” Eggsy tilted his head.
“Miss Roxanne could very well be the next Guinevere. Especially if your behavior from Morocco becomes a trend.”
Eggsy did his best to keep up his pout, but amusement was definitely dancing in his eyes. “I told you, Arthur, that wasn’t my fault. One of that scientist’s goons grabbed my lighter and started fiddling with it. I told him not to.”
“I’m sure, Eggsy.”
“Besides, you like having me as your Queen, don’t ya?” Eggsy grinned, leaning in to bump shoulders with his boss. Harry probably shouldn’t have allowed it, he should have shot the young man a reprimand, but instead, he smiled gently, even against he rising wave of pink dusting his cheeks.
“You have your merits,” he admitted, and Eggsy’s grin grew wider.
They both stayed in the shop for a little while longer, Harry going through mission reports and Eggsy helping the tailors close up. When the time came for them both to leave, Eggsy threw the king his customary ‘see you tomorrow’ wave, which was responded fondly with a nod of Harry’s head.
To Harry’s combined amusement and exasperation, Roxy Morton became something of a regular fixture at Kingsman.
Not that she ever bothered anyone, heavens no. In fact, she sometimes trailed after the resident tailors, Andrew and Peter, and helped them organize fabrics and buttons and the like. It seemed as though she was determined to actually become a tailor herself, though how long that dream would last, time would tell. For their part, they were more than happy to let the little girl help out, as she was very charming, so Harry couldn’t complain about her presence there.
However, he did have a growing urge to complain that Guinevere was increasingly occupied with doting on the little girl.
Roxy, when not in the company of the tailors, was nearly always hanging onto Eggsy; either holding his hand or, on some occasions, sitting on his lap as he did something else, like reading reports (which she thankfully paid no attention to). Eggsy seemed to enjoy having a child interrupt what was supposed to be work, but for Harry, it was a confusing source of vexation.
Of course, he figured that it made sense for Roxy to get along so well with Eggsy over the other agents, save Percival. Eggsy did have a younger sister of his own, after all, and she was not much younger than Roxy herself. He had a natural way with children, and that was charming enough. But Roxy looked at him as though he’d hung the stars especially for her. And to make matters worse, Eggsy constantly indulged the girl with ‘stories’.
Oh, the stories. Eggsy told grand tales about a brave and loyal queen, who went out and saved the world on a regular basis. Pretty much everyone at Kingsman knew he was really just telling slightly-altered versions of his own missions to the child; a few things were omitted, such as the fact that half of the bad guys were turned into evil dukes and viscounts or wizards (which Merlin did not take kindly to), and frankly, it was a little ridiculous to expect anyone to believe that a medieval queen was capable of parkouring off of walls and beating an entire room of thugs into submission with martial arts techniques, but Roxy appeared enthralled with the tales nonetheless. Frankly, it was a miracle Eggsy could tell them without swearing once.
Harry was musing about all of this as he made his way to his office. He was not the only one who noticed Roxy’s obvious crush on Eggsy, but it seemed that everyone else had their own personal comments on what that crush was doing to the king. Merlin, in particular, was growing quite fond of bringing it up.
“It looks like the Princess has stolen the Queen away again, eh, Harry?”
Harry always replied in turn with a very politely-made middle finger.
He sighed and passed an open fitting room- but to his surprise, a familiar voice drifted out of it. Curiosity got the better of him, and he peered into the room.
Eggsy was kneeling on the ground, a tape measure in his hands, and a giggling Roxy held her arms out, as though she were being fitted for a suit. All the while, Eggsy was nearing the end to another one of his stories.
“And then the Queen turned in the evil duke to her King,” he said, voice going soft. “He congratulated her on a job well done, and the kingdom was safe once again.”
Roxy hummed delightfully, lowering her arms and turning to face Eggsy. “Mr. Eggsy?”
“Why doesn’t the King ever kiss the Queen?”
Fortunately for Harry, his own gasp of shock was drowned out by Eggsy’s immediate sputtering.
“Wh-... Why would he do that?” the young man managed, red as a tomato.
Roxy raised an eyebrow, ever innocent. “Well, they’re married, aren’t they?”
“But…” Her little mouth turned up in a frown. “If he’s King and she’s Queen… Why aren’t they married?”
“I-...” Eggsy faltered, and Harry found himself leaning in to hear the lad speak. “They just ain’t like that, Rox.”
Something akin to sadness was in the boy’s tone, but Harry couldn’t find the time to worry about it- his phone buzzed quietly in his pocket, drawing his attention away from the scene. And it made him realize that he was engaging in the rather ungentlemanly practice of eavesdropping, so he quickly stepped away from the door and continued, at a slightly hurried pace, up the stairs.
A few days later found Roxy standing in Harry’s office.
He’d heard her knock, although he hadn’t looked up from his papers when he gave the knocker permission to enter. So when the door opened, and tiny footsteps approached his desk, he looked up and was rather surprised to see Percival’s niece standing there before him. Her hands were clasped behind her back as she teetered back and forth on her blue mary janes.
Harry blinked. “Miss Roxanne,” he said slowly, setting down his pen. “To what do I owe the pleasure?” Somewhat eagerly, he glanced at the door, expecting Eggsy to be waiting for her in the doorway. However, they were the only two in the room.
Roxy’s brow furrowed, and she brought her hands to her front, only to have them play nervously with one of the buttons on her dress.
“Is Mr. Eggsy the Queen?” she asked simply, holding Harry's gaze for far longer than he thought a child able.
It certainly wasn’t what Harry was expecting, if his widened eyes were any indication. “I… beg your pardon?”
“In those stories, is Mr. Eggsy the Queen?” she took a brave step forwards. "None of you are tailors, are you?”
Beneath his desk, Harry’s hands instinctively went to his wristwatch, but before his fingers could change it to the amnesia setting, he stopped himself. No matter what Kingsman protocol said, Roxy was still just a child. That, and Percival probably would not take kindly to his niece getting an amnesia dart.
“Whatever makes you say that, child?” he asked instead, keeping his voice steady, as though he were merely entertaining the fantasies of a little girl.
“Sometimes, my uncle comes over to our house with scars and broken bones,” said Roxy. “And Mr. Eggsy has scars, too. I bet all of you do. I’m not stupid.” She sounded so sure, now. Her head was tilted up and her hands were on her hips.
Harry took a few moments to compose himself, and also to formulate an answer that would both satisfy Roxy and keep her away from Kingsman’s actual secret. She didn’t give him a chance to answer.
With a proud lilt to her voice, she announced, “And if Mr. Eggsy is the Queen, I bet you’re the King.”
Harry’s grip on his wrist tightened suddenly. “Miss Roxanne,” he said, leveling the girl with a cool look. “You certainly are a clever one.”
She smiled proudly.
The leader of Kingsman bit his lip before he sighed deeply. “I’m afraid I can’t say much. Though I believe you can infer enough for yourself from Eggsy’s stories.”
Roxy paused. “So… you’re all…” A moment’s hesitation. “Spies?”
Harry tried not to smile, but he apparently failed, as Roxy suddenly beamed with gratification. So he merely continued speaking. “Believe what you will, Miss Roxanne. But understand that no matter what, Kingsman operates at a high level of discretion. Do you know what that means?”
She nodded, her expression solemn. “It means I can’t tell anyone, right?”
“Quite right. May I count on you to keep Kingsman’s secret?”
It was probably foolish, downright absurd even, to let such a young child in on one of the most closely-guarded secrets in the country. Of course, Harry reasoned with himself, he had neither confirmed nor denied anything. And… there was the oddly persistent idea that Roxanne Morton was a woman- however young- of her word.
“I promise,” she spoke resolutely, and Harry found himself not so worried anymore.
“Then, if that’s all…” He glanced down back at his papers, indicating that he still had quite a bit to go through, but Roxy didn’t budge. In fact, her demeanor had suddenly become shy.
“Erm… Mr. Harry?” she asked quietly.
“If… If you are the King… And Mr. Eggsy’s the Queen…Then...”
Harry felt the blush come upon him. “Ah. Y-yes, that. Worry not, Miss Roxanne, he’s still your shining knight in armor. King and Queen are merely titles here.”
Roxy’s eyes narrowed. “So you aren’t married?”
“You don’t even want to be?” she persisted, incredulous.
Harry stilled, and it seemed to him like his tongue had swollen in his mouth. “I…”
Roxy pursed her lips, smoothing down her dress with both her hands. “Mr. Eggsy told me another story. He said that the Queen saved the day and all the King did was congratulate him. That’s all the King ever does. I asked Mr. Eggsy if the Queen ever wanted more than that. Do you know what he said?”
Harry swallowed thickly and shook his head. “N-No.”
“He said that the Queen loved the King more than anything in the world. He said that she would do anything and everything for him, and wouldn’t ask for anything in return, because she loves him that much.” Roxy was now glaring at him, and it was way more intimidating than a glare from a seven-year-old should have been. “I asked him why the King didn’t love the Queen back. He said it was because the King only saw her as a friend, and he looked so sad, Mr. Harry.”
She marched right up to his desk, and Harry, startled, leaned back into his chair to try and maximize the distance again. She looked rather comical, her shoulders just barely meeting the top of Harry’s desk, but her expression remained stout.
“Why can’t the King love the Queen?” she demanded.
Harry could do little more than stare at her. A thousand thoughts swam in his head, but the most prevalent one shouted at him like a man with a megaphone- or rather, a little girl with a surprisingly loud voice.
The Queen loved the King.
Eggsy loved him.
Slowly, Harry’s trembling hand came up to remove his glasses. He set them aside on his desk and looked Roxy in the eyes, his shocked brown to her tenacious amber.
“I… I assure you, Miss Roxanne. I didn’t know.”
The girl had the nerve to tut. “Uncle Alastair said it was obvious.”
Were Harry in a better state of mind, he would have remembered to scold Percival later for discussing the details of his co-workers’ personal lives with a child, but as it was, he merely lowered his head in shame.
“Then it seems I am not as observant as I like to imagine.”
“So,” she began, leaning over the desk as much as she was able- which wasn’t much, honestly. “Do you love Mr. Eggsy? Because you should. It’s how the other stories go,” she said, so matter-of-factly that it was obviously a child’s logic at work. “The King and Queen should be happy together. Especially this Queen. She’s saved the world, you know.”
Despite himself, Harry found a chuckle escape his lips.
She gave a small smile. “Mr. Eggsy deserves to be happy.”
“He does, child.” Harry smiled back at her. “He does.”
Harry emerged from his office with Roxy sometime later, only to find a worried Eggsy and a very frantic Percival waiting in the shop.
“Roxy!” he all but sagged with relief as he scooped his niece into his arms. “Where have you been?”
“With Mr. Harry,” she said simply.
Percival looked at Harry and frowned. “I’m so sorry, Sir, did she bother you?”
Harry held up a hand. “Not at all. We just had a lovely chat, is all.”
Eggsy raised an eyebrow at that, but he walked over to Roxy where she was perched in Percival’s arm and graced her with a tiny grin.
“Scared us half to death, you did, princess,” he scolded lightly, not sounding at all mad. “Tell us where you’re going next time, yeah?”
“It was a private conversation,” she declared.
Eggsy and Percival looked at Harry, who shrugged.
A few minutes later, Percival and Roxy were on their way home, leaving Eggsy and Harry alone once more in the shop.
“What did Rox wanna talk to you about?” asked the younger man, sauntering up to Harry with a curious expression.
“Oh, this and that,” he said dismissively. “You know, I rather think you were right about her becoming a Kingsman. She’s quite the observant young lady.”
“Yeah?” Eggsy half-smiled. “What makes you say that?”
“She’s well aware that we’re not really tailors, for starters.” Before Eggsy could let out an exclamation of disbelief, Harry continued. “No, I did not directly tell her anything. I merely did not discourage her notions.”
That placated Eggsy a little bit. “Oh. How much does she know, then?”
“She made a guess. A very accurate guess.” Harry smiled at Eggsy, and now that he was looking for it, he delighted in the way the younger man’s eyes lit up. Had they always done that whenever he smiled at him? “But that’s not all. She even found herself astute in a matter I myself have been sorely blind to.”
Eggsy frowned. “What d’you mean?”
“She was quite adamant,” he went on, now grinning, “that the King and Queen in your stories have a more… happy ending.”
Eggsy stared at him for a minute, his eyebrows knitted together as he tried to discern the older man’s meaning. Then, realization hit him, causing his face to fall quite dramatically as he turned a light shade of pink.
“Oh, Christ,” he murmured, stepping back in horror. “Harry, oh my god, she didn’t-”
“She did.” Harry’s tone was gentle, and he took a step towards Eggsy. Eggsy stepped back. “Eggsy, I’m not upset.”
“But I-” he fumbled, blush deepening. “Crap.”
He kept walking towards Eggsy, and luckily the young man’s feet seemed to have failed him, as he merely stood in place, staring with muted horror at the floor, unable to look into Harry’s eyes. He stood mere centimeters away, and used one hand to tilt Eggsy’s head up by his chin. Shuddering, the boy still didn’t look at him.
“Eggsy,” he commanded softly. Green eyes slowly, reluctantly, came to meet his gaze. “Is it true?”
Eggsy grimaced. Then, after a few agonizing moments, his shoulders sagged with defeat. “... Yes.”
“You love me?” he asked breathlessly.
Because of Harry’s hand, Eggsy was unable to tilt his head down in shame. So his cheeks burned as he faced the older man head-on. “Yes, Harry.”
He recalled Roxy’s words and smirked. “More than anything in the world?”
Eggsy’s eyes widened. “Oh god. How much did she tell you?”
“Enough.” Harry’s hand moved from Eggsy’s chin to cup his cheek, his palm feeling the warmth that radiated from the queen’s skin. “Enough to know that I have been a complete and utter fool.”
At that, Eggsy looked confused. “Fool-? Harry, what’re you talking about? If anyone, I’m the fool here, I…” He took a deep breath. “I understand that this is really awkward and all. But… please, can we at least stay friends?”
“Oh, Eggsy,” sighed Harry. His other hand came to rest on Eggsy’s waist. “It’s too late. I want much more than that, now.”
“Wha-” Eggsy’s mouth opened to inquire further, but at that moment, Harry leaned forwards to capture those lips for his own. The young man let out a surprised gasp into Harry’s mouth, but the king pressed back insistently. The hand cradling Eggsy’s face kept it there, allowing Harry put pressure into the kiss without worrying if Eggsy would pull away.
Soon, but not soon enough, Eggsy melted. His hands scrabbled up for purchase on the lapels of Harry’s suit, and when they found it, he pulled the man closer, even though it felt like they were already as close as they could be. Harry gave a satisfied moan, and was rewarded with a similar noise from Eggsy. They didn’t push the kiss further, as they were content to enjoy the feeling of each other’s mouths pressed against theirs.
Moments, or maybe centuries passed, until the need for air broke them apart. Eggsy’s face was still flushed, Harry noted fondly, leaning his forehead against he young man’s heated one. He could feel warmth on his own cheeks as well. Eggsy looked equal parts shocked and enamored.
He pressed another soft, chaste kiss to Eggsy’s temple. “I love you, Eggsy. My Guinevere.”
He felt the boy shudder again, but instead of shying away, Eggsy pressed further into Harry’s body.
“God, Harry… I love you. I love you so much.”
“I know,” he smiled. “A little princess told me.”
A full year later, Roxy insisted on being the ring bearer for Eggsy and Harry’s wedding. That way, she argued, Eggsy’s sister could be the flower girl. Harry and Eggsy smiled at her as they held each other’s hands, matching rings on their fingers, and agreed.
The wedding, after all, was happening because of her.