The kidnappers force them to switch cars three times, both times in unmonitored parking garages. In the first one they strip search both of them, and take away their phones, wallets and Holmes's various tracking devices. Turns out the guy has some experience with them – seeing that he carried four on him at all times.
"What about the case?" one of them asks, motioning at Eggsy's attaché case while Eggsy himself stands around in his pants, wondering if they're going to have him bend over or some shit to see if he's got anything worrisome shoved up his ass. One of them actually looks like he's fucking considering it. Two different guys have gone over his tiny ass suit, with metal detectors and other equipment – the one they found Holmes's trackers with. Jesus fuck, these guys are paranoid.
"Check it," the mercenary who's obviously the leader of the lot says.
Holmes himself is the very picture of disapproval. He radiates it. He's scowling and scoffing and has his arms folded very imperiously while the mercs go over his suit. He's also in his pants, and obviously well above the humiliation. Though why the hell should the guy feel humiliated? He has really nice legs. Really, really not wasting his time at the gym.
Eggsy honestly can't be blamed for noticing – he had fucking plans, and the kidnapping hasn't fully gotten rid of them.
"Are we quite done yet?" Holmes demands, while his suit is checked for a third time, and one of the mercs is grimacing his way through Eggsy's toys.
"Yeah, we're done," the leading merc says. "Put your clothes back on."
And they do, Eggsy shimmying into his too tight trousers quickly, casting glances around. Even now there is always one merc with a gun out, watching them closely – at far enough distance that getting to him would take too long to avoid being shot. The fact that it's Holmes they're worried about and not him doesn't make it any better because Eggsy is obviously an unplanned element to this kidnapping, and so they're hyper aware of him.
Plus, he's pretty sure at least two of these guys want to shoot him out of simple, pure homophobia. Fucking assholes.
Holmes dresses with the fastidiousness of a man whose closet only consists of suits – neat and meticulous, he goes over every article of clothing and picks at imaginary dirt before pulling the piece of clothing on. He tidies the cuffs and straightens the collar and knots the tie in a perfect, neat Windsor knot before easing the collar over it, the lines even and precise. Then he spends time smoothing out winkles from his trousers and checking the folds before easing himself into them. And then Eggsy gets a moment of pleasure of seeing him in his shirt sleeves before he pulls on the waist coat – and yeah, that's pretty nice too.
"Jesus Christ, this fucking –" one of the mercs mutters, glaring at Eggsy, who pretends to be embarrassed about drooling over the man – but hell. He has a role here. He's running with the role. He's fucking enjoying the role.
Do Kingsman agents wear waist coats? Harry never does. Neither does Arthur, as far as Eggsy's seen. It's two piece bespoke suits all the way. Which is a bit of a pity really. Holmes makes waist coats look pretty good. He even has a pocket watch and everything – and it looks fucking antique.
Holmes gives him an arched, pleased look, before glancing at his coat. And with a sudden spark of inspiration, Eggsy – who's already fully dressed, he just pulled his shit on, never mind the wrinkles – steps forward. He grabs the coat and then checks it over, smoothes down its wrinkles, straightens it's lines. Holmes watches him while fiddling idly with his cuffs for a final check and then the man steps forward and holds out his hands. And Eggsy eases him into the coat, slow and smooth.
One of the mercs groans with disgust.
"Thank you, my dear," Holmes says, turning to face him. Eggsy runs his hands over the man's front, smoothing down the notched lapel and straightening the man's tie. Holmes watches him, low lidded, touching his elbow.
The question mark is almost imperceptible through the clothing, but the question is repeated on Holmes's face before he glances at the table where their phones and Holmes's trackers sit in a sealed box, out of signal reach. Holmes looks at him, looks him over, arches his eyebrows. Do you have other monitoring equipment.
Eggsy draws a little X on the man's throat, and then looks up, eyebrows lifting. Then he rubs along the bridge of his nose, as if itching. You took my glasses, remember?
Holmes's lips thin and then he fucking pinches Eggsy's arm, trapping the loose skin between his fingers and the fabric of Eggsy's clothes. He presses down, meaningful and arches his eyebrows. Subcutaneous?
Eggsy just barely keeps himself from snorting at that. Another X against the man's throat. Then somewhat incredulously arched eyebrows. Do you have one?
The annoyed look Holmes gives him is answer enough.
"Alright, that's enough," the merc in the lead says while the others scoff and groan at them. "Grab the case and let's go."
When Harry arrives at the parking garage, he's not particularly surprised to find no sign of Eggsy. There is no sign of anything, in fact, and it takes him a moment to find the sealed box where the kidnappers shoved Eggsy's phone – along with Holmes's mobile and recording devices.
"Nothing useful," he says, annoyed, turning Eggsy's flimsy mobile in hand. When he unlocks the screen, it's still displaying Eggsy's profile on the rentboy website. Holmes's phone he can't even get into, naturally. "Even the first SUV they used isn't here.
"Well, we didn't really think we would find anything," Merlin says through the glasses. "These are professionals."
"Shit," Harry mutters, looking around. Damn Holmes for leaving Eggsy's glasses at Diogenes and damn Kingsman for not putting proper trackers on Eggsy. He isn't even wearing a proper suit – his suit is a mundane one, and too small for him at that. It might restrict his movements if it came down to combat.
"And we still don't know where Valentine takes them," Harry mutters.
"No, but we do know he doesn't always take them. Some of them he implants and lets go, like Professor Arnold," Merlin answers and there is the sound of typing. "The fact that Valentine knows about Mycroft Holmes, though…"
Harry grinds his teeth together for a moment and then straightens his shoulders, forcing himself to relax. Eggsy might not be an experienced agent, but he is well trained and talented – not to mention good at dealing with high pressure situations. He would manage and since the phones were present here, it meant that Eggsy was still alive and with Holmes. Which was better than nothing, as far as Holmes himself was concerned.
It would be a fucking mess if Holmes went and got himself killed. As it was, it will be a fucking mess if Holmes ends up disappeared, the same way some VIPs have so far. The man was one of the few, rare, truly irreplaceable entities in the British government, and though Harry can't say he particularly likes the man, he likes the stabilising effect he has.
But it is very much not Holmes he's worried about. Not after having witnessed first hand what Valentine did to the people he kidnapped. Eggsy had seen the footage too, though, Eggsy knew the truth behind the implants, he wouldn't take one willingly if it came down to it. But would Holmes?
"I don't know what it says about our preparedness, that Eggsy got himself kidnapped with a mere rentboy background, while Valentine all but brushed DeVere aside," he mutters, looking around.
"He has the luck of the devil, your boy," Merlin says. "Movement on the south exit – black Jaguar Xj. Looks like you're about to do some inter-agency dealing, Galahad."
"Oh I can't wait," Harry says and steps smoothly into the cover of a nearby concrete pillar, idly opening the strap binding his umbrella shut. The black car drives in smoothly a moment later, parking in the middle of the garage – a gesture of friendliness if he's ever seen one. They could've easily taken cover behind the couple other cars present, but instead opted for the open, unprotected space.
A woman with long dark hair steps out from the back, standing by the car with a newest model Blackberry in hand. "I have no time to play games," she says to no one in particular, not even bothering to look up from her phone. "May I have my employer's things, please?"
Harry smiles stiffly, and with his umbrella held at an easy, backwards angle, he steps out of the shadows. "Miss Anthea, isn't it?" he asks.
She looks at him, her face void of expression. "Mr. Holmes's things, please."
Harry considers her, her body language – tight but at ease, knows he's no threat to her. He steps forward and takes out Holmes's phone and trackers from his pocket, handing them over. "Your boss was kidnapped along with my underling," he says, and swings the umbrella idly from side to side. "I rather want him back."
She gives him a look before checking Holmes's phone, unlocking the eight digit code without pause. She does something, and then holds the phone out, not quite to hand it over. A moment later, an audio playback begins.
"Good afternoon, Mr. Holmes, and apologies for the rough treatment, but it really can't be helped. There is someone who would like to meet you and you are a hard man to schedule a meeting with," a voice says quickly, rushed. Male, mid thirties, accent nondescript – not quite British, not quite American. A second language, acquired and carefully honed so that it can't be pinned down to a location.
"I'm sure that if this someone had actually tried, some arrangement could've been made," Holmes's voice answers, tight, irritated. "I am not going to do anything stupid, you may put the guns away."
"Can't do that, unfortunately. Procedure, you know." The kidnapper answers and there's another voice.
"What about the kid?" male as well, early forties, a little less nondescript – there is inflections to the accent, middle eastern, bit of North Africa. Long assignments perhaps?
"Kill him," the first mercenary says, and Harry's fingers tighten on the umbrella handle.
"You will not," Holmes says, tight, furious. "Kill him and under no circumstances will I co-operate, you may be certain of that."
Harry meet's Anthea's eyes over the phone as the recording plays out. Holmes manages to wrangle Eggsy into the car with him – though why he does that, Harry isn't sure. He's grateful that the man didn't let his protégé be killed in any case – though he can't say he's particularly happy about the man pulling Eggsy into same situation he himself is in.
His eyebrows arch a little, as the recording goes on – painting a very clear picture of what the kidnappers think of Eggsy, and of Eggsy's and Holmes's relationship. Judging by the sound of it, Holmes and Eggsy are doing what they can to keep that belief alive – if Harry didn't know Holmes knew damn well what Eggsy was, he definitely would've bought it. He can very well picture it, Holmes with Eggsy clinging to him. A rich man with his sugar baby arm candy.
"Christ," Merlin mutters in his ear, and Harry just barely keeps himself from agreeing.
"How good is your agent?" Anthea asks, as the recording ends with Holmes's phone taken and stuffed into an isolated box.
"Very good," Harry says, and he believes it too. "But he is not equipped for a hostage situation."
"No, I don't imagine he is," Anthea says, pressing her lips together tight in a manner rather similar to Holmes's. "What do you know about the kidnappers?"
"That depends entirely on what you know about the kidnappers," Harry answers, smiling, tilting his head a little. He can't see, her hair is in the way, but he rather doubts he'd find an implant scar there if he looked. If there was one, then surely Holmes wouldn't be an issue for Valentine anymore. "Tell me, Miss Anthea… what do you know about the missing VIPs?"
She blinks at him, slow. "Get in the car, agent," she then says, and turns back to the Jaguar.
"Good luck, Galahad," Merlin says and, with a sigh, Harry gets in the car.
After a lot of circling and winding, the kidnappers take them to an airport. Eggsy's hand tightens a little on Holmes's when he sees it – fuck, they're going to be taken out of the country? Valentine isn't pulling any punches with Holmes, is he? They have more guards now, another car having pulled to ride along theirs after the first switch of cars, and now there are six people standing watch on Holmes.
Eggsy casts the man a look, arching his eyebrows. Just how fucking dangerous does Valentine think you are?
Holmes answers with tight, annoyed look. Very.
Not that Eggsy knows if Holmes knows about Valentine or not. The man doesn't know about the implants, that's for sure – while Eggsy hadn't managed to quite convey what they were, he knows Holmes did get the idea that they are fucking bad news. Eggsy's own reaction to them was a good fucking clue.
But fuck, if they're taken out of the country… Maybe he should've tried escaping back there, in front of the Diogenes Club, and damn the injury it might've cost him and Holmes. Their chances back there were much, much better than they were here, and infinitely better than they'd be wherever Valentine would have them flown.
"Go on, inside," the merc in the lead says, and after one last shared look of well, fuck, Eggsy and Holmes head up the stairs and into the private plane.
"Your employer must be really desperate to meet me," Holmes comments, as they're motioned to head inside, into the passenger compartment. It's fucking fancy inside, with leather seats and polished wooden tables, wet bars and everything. "And on his terms, too."
"Considering who you are, can you really blame him?" the merc says. "Please, have a seat, make yourselves comfortable. We'll be taking off shortly."
They sit, and though Eggsy would've preferred it, he can't sit beside Holmes this time – the seats are too spread out. He can only sit across from the man, which while making communication via expressions easier, puts an end to communication via-touch.
Holmes looks at him while buckling himself in, eyebrows moving, mouth a thin, tight line – he glances left, right, up down, and, very subtly, makes a gripping motion with his hand. It looks like he's just flexing his fingers, but Eggsy recognises it for what it is – someone holding a yoke.
Could you pilot this plane?
Eggsy tilts his head a bit from side to side, bucking his own belt – making it seem like an involuntary movement. I'm so-so. He's gotten the bare bones training during his time at Kingsman, and in emergency situations he can take the co-pilot's seat, maybe. But he's no trained pilot – that was training he would get only if he made it into Kingsman. He makes a face. I wouldn't count on it.
Holmes looks a little disappointed at that – he crosses his hands in his lap, his fingers twining together strangely. They form an H there. Eggsy takes it to mean that the man can pilot a helicopter – which might be helpful in some situations, but taking over a plane? Not so much.
Eggsy leans back in his seat, looking around, feigning worry and nervousness, taking in everything he can. It's a mid-sized passenger plane, with seats for about nine people plus the crew. Every seat's taken – there's Eggsy and seven guards, plus whoever's flying the plane. Everyone, expect for Eggsy and Holmes, is armed. A couple are even keeping Holmes at gun point, even now.
Running combat simulations in his head, Eggsy tries to figure out a way to take out everyone there without getting himself or Holmes killed – and every time he fails. These guys are no idiots, they're well trained and obviously nervous as fuck about Holmes. Whoever Holmes really is, it's enough to keep everyone there on their toes – so, even the fact that they're not worried about Eggsy isn't much help. The surprise wouldn't be enough.
Maybe if he got some of the mercenaries alone – he could feign a bathroom break maybe. He'd be escorted, that could get one or two guards alone with him. Quickly Eggsy glances around for the bathroom and then settles down again. No good, it's too open, with line of sight on the passenger compartment. No way to take out anyone without the others noticing.
Holmes watches him with a sort of weary look. "Calm down," he says, low. "It'll be alright." As he says it, he subtly shakes his head.
Apparently he doesn't think there's a way to take the plane safely either.
Eggsy sighs and then leans forward, reaching out, a scared little boy asking for comfort. With a slightly put upon sigh Holmes leans forward, reaching for him, tangling their fingers together. Underneath them the plane jerks slightly, and begins turning to face the runway.
V, Eggsy draws on Holmes's hand. Then A. Then L.
Holmes catches on from there, and draws the E himself on Eggsy's knuckles before his fighters tighten on Eggsy's. They share a tight look that's only half pretence. The plane starts its flight sequence, and out the window they can see the private airport, passing by as the jet starts gaining speed. They're taking off.
Holmes draws V, I and P on his hand, and then a question mark.
Eggsy draws a tight circle, and looks at him, steady.
"How long will this flight take?" Holmes asks, not looking away from Eggsy.
"About four hours," the merc answers, watching them with a gun resting idly on his knees. "So just sit tight and relax. You're not going anywhere."
Holmes makes a face and then they're in the air.
Kingsman has Mycroft Holmes under watch on and off because the man is vital to the stability of nation. Mycroft Holmes has insinuated himself so deeply into the running of the British government that things start stuttering the moment he goes missing – and not only because of the sheer panic it instantly causes in those who know his worth.
Harry is not entirely happy about getting a first-hand view of it. He, like all Kingsman agents, has his own opinions on governments and being a UK citizen doesn't make him any fonder of its management. But the truth of the matter is, Kingsman operates from the UK. They, too, benefit from Mycroft Holmes's influence. So here he is. At the heart of the Holmes empire.
Under the scrutiny of all of Holmes's people.
Anthea, thankfully, is the very soul of efficiency, and kills all attempts of interrogating Harry before they even begin. "Our co-operation will begin and end with the kidnapping case," she says to the assorted intelligence agents gathered in the meeting. "At 17:43 today, Mr. Holmes was captured in front of the Diogenes Club, along with an agent of an independent intelligence organisation, who was attending to him. Here are the particulars."
Harry sits back and watches her conduct the meeting. She's very good, and somewhere in the back of his mind Harry's rather envious of Mycroft Holmes with his connections, for having found her. Kingsman has nothing on her, only her code name and connection to Holmes – and that alone makes her quite remarkable. What a Kingsman agent she would've been, had they gotten to her first.
"Galahad here is representing the intelligence agency of the agent captured along with Mr. Holmes," Anthea continues and when someone lifts a hand to ask a question, she ignores it beautifully. "Now, let's talk about the recent kidnappings, the missing celebrities, intellectuals and politicians…"
Harry runs a hand over his lips and smiles. He can hear Merlin, scoffing in his ears. "She knows more than she lets on," the quartermaster says. "Probably aware of our recent effort to keep Holmes safe."
Harry hums in agreement. And she appreciates it, regardless of the cause. It was an attitude he thought he could rather admire – though he has no doubt she's looked into them as much as she could, that she was the one who ran Eggsy's background check for Holmes. Now, though, she doesn't care who they are or why they did what they did – she just wants her employer back as quick as possible, and Kingsman are a tool she's intending to use to gain that end.
Anthea informs the agents present of what they know about the kidnappings, the strides Mr. Holmes had done to solve the situation, and how it all related to this particular kidnapping case. With the information Kingsman had provided – as in, the news about the implants and the IP address of the computer that that triggered Professor Arnold's implant, which traced the whole thing back to Valentine Corporation – she was making leaps and bounds in her deductions and was all but calling for Valentine's head on a silver platter.
She didn't even care why Valentine did it or what the goal was, she just intended to deal with it. Wondering why was Holmes's job, obviously. Anthea just dealt with the problems presented to her.
Brutally efficient, this woman.
"If we go by Valentine's previous MO, they'll be out of the country by now," Merlin says to him.
Harry's smile fades a little. Straightening his shoulders, he concentrates on the matter at hand.
He can deal with professional admiration later. There's a job to do – and a protégé to find.